Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Story Waiting to Happen: StoryBrooke Gardens

Originally posted at the Virtual Writers, July 20 2015.

This month we’ll visit the wonderful StoryBrooke Gardens, a small plot created by Lauren Bentham above Baja Norte’s beach.

I must admit I’m not sure I’m the right person to write this month’s column. I have never written children’s stories and I know them only as a reader. Yet, being absolutely mesmerized by this gem, I couldn’t resist. The fact that Lauren has done an impressive job will definitely make my task easier.

Upon arrival, the visitor is greeted by two friendly bunnies. Now, which way should we go? The warm welcome makes it difficult to decide. Ok, southbound.

A child jumps merrily, followed by his dog. Is he going on a trip? He looks happy, but he’s carrying a bindle. Is he running away from home? Or is he simply embarking on an adventure?

Within spitting distance, a fairy talks to a giant bee. Her small little feet splash playfully in the water of an old fountain. Nearby, a magical bicycle waits. It’s propelled by colorful balloons and if a dreamer sits on it, it will take him on a magical journey.

A track of colorful stars leads the way into a big tree trunk. It’s hard to resist, so here we go.

On the other end of the trunk, we turn left and almost trip on a gardener tortoise who insists that we must read the Book of the Butterfly. “The best is yet to come.” A few flowers grow from one of the pages. It must be magical too.

The tortoise then urges us to talk to the magician. The initial plan was to find ideas for a story with lots of fairies and bunnies and… Oh, well, let’s go talk to the magician.

Tea is brewing and, at the tempting offer of a cup, we spot a cauldron filled to the brim with incantation books and a skull on a stack of novellas guarded by a doll plagued with a mysterious pestilence. Umm… Caution is of the essence.

In the meantime, the magician foretells a rather eerie and enigmatic future at the sound of a haunted music box and the cawing of crows in the distance. He sends us off to search something. He means characters and stories, most likely. In doubt, we hurry away.

Back on the main track, let’s follow the flying ladder. White balloons are always a good omen.

Right around the corner, a white fox and a family of mice seem to be extremely busy – happy mouse, mommy mouse, two mice in love, a few sleepy ones and Excalibur. Excalibur likes to fly, something his family and friends find totally preposterous. A mouse was not made to go around flying, especially not holding on to such a fragile leaf. After witnessing an endless family argument that follows with Excalibur throwing a tantrum and defiantly flying away, we move on.

Oh, gosh, Humpty, what happened to you? He doesn’t reply. He wiggles his legs back and forth, sitting straight on his chair to avoid spilling over. We tiptoe away. We don’t want to distract him and be the cause of a disaster.

Back at the original landing point, let’s now turn left, following a path of stars once more.

A bunny boy and a bunny girl sit by a camera. The two friends wait for the perfect moment to take a snapshot of something mysterious only the two know of. They point west.

“Why west?”

They say that that’s where the story is. We believe them, although… There seem to be stories everywhere.

We stumble upon another family. This time, it’s a family of foxes and bunnies. Intriguing…

“Cookie?” offers a fox, holding a lamp. “Momma fox is baking,” he adds.

“I’m looking for a story,” we start. And he points west. I don’t argue. I just follow the magic unicorn and drag you, dear fellow writer, along.

A baby giraffe, two ducks and a kitten guard a pile of books.

“Do you have my story?”

They smile and point.

Ah, here we are! A crane lights the way to the house of dreams while a boy holds his pet fish. A panda rows a colorful paper boat. We go inside the house to find these words “all that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream”, a quote from Poe’s poem.

Reality and fantasy, family and friends, dreams and struggling to grow up, these are but a few of the themes we could write about.

StoryBrooke Gardens is an astounding location, filled with small details we can draw inspiration from. There is much more to explore than is shown in this month’s column. I have only provided you with a small taste, a very small taste, of Lauren’s creation. She quotes Steve Jobs in her profile. “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” That is so true.

I invite you to drop by and grab a few ideas for stories because… there’s a story waiting to happen at StoryBrooke Gardens.



A Story Waiting to Happen is a series of monthly articles about sims in the virtual world of Second Life®. The goal is to trigger ideas for new stories, new characters and new settings. If you write a story prompted by the following post, do consider leaving it in the comments or a link to it. Thank you.

Disclaimer: Virtual Writers and I are in no way affiliated with any shop located in the sims featured in this column, nor do we intend to promote them.

Note: One of the characteristics of Second Life is the fact that it's constantly and rapidly changing. Sims come and go; others look quite different, as time goes by. Do take that into consideration when using the links provided.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

He Who Has a Why To Live


“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” He carried this quote in his wallet. The tiny piece of paper had been folded many times. It was so well hidden that he had completely forgotten about it. He married, had six children and worked hard to raise them. He lost his wife and many good friends. He now had 20 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren. At his death bed, his surviving daughter asked “How did you manage to do all you did, Dad?” That’s when he recalled the quote and replied “Look around. I had a why.”

(Prompt: Your favorite quote)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Saw House

Cica Ghost

The “event” was that day of the year when the black house demanded feeding. They tried small animals and big animals; these always came back unharmed. As revenge, the house would draw people in. They would simply disappear, only to be spit out in pieces throughout the next days. The town learned. They started with the “As”, moving on to the “Bs” the following year. It was terrifying for everyone; for everyone except for 101010010. His parents wanted to choose a name starting with an “R”. They couldn’t figure out which, so… He was extremely fond of his robot name.
100 Word Stories
(Prompt: Saw)

Sunday, August 9, 2015


Independence Day

When the dancer moved her body sensuously, the crowd gasped. They were mesmerized by her beauty. She roamed the stage in slow motion circles, her arms contouring her breast and hips. Suddenly, out of nowhere, she had a small snake in her hand. The snake slid around her arm up to her neck. There was an odd look on the snake’s eyes, but then again, snakes always look odd. As the snake slowly wrapped around the dancer’s neck, no one did anything. By the time the police arrived, the snake was long gone. They found it later during the autopsy.

Sunday, August 2, 2015



Sound Stage 2 was a kid-free zone. The director hated children.
When he realized his main actress was pregnant, he started paying alimony but fired her.
Years later, a kid asked to talk to him. He refused.
The director was then forced to work on a show for children, go figure. Yes, the kid was 14 but he was the owner of the studio.
One day the director went crazy; he abhorred kids and he would have plenty of time to dwell on that, right after the trial ended.
The studio had become a kid-free zone again, that’s for sure.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


Land of Glory

When he entered the room, a spike through his chest, everyone thought he was joking.
When he collapsed in agony, everyone thought his acting was brilliant.
When a puddle of blood appeared, everyone said “He’s awesome with special effects.”
When he begged for help, the room was ecstatic. “That’s why he’s the best,” some shouted.
When he didn’t move anymore, a speck of doubt crossed their minds. It only lasted a few seconds.
When everyone left, the police received an anonymous call.
There was a dead body on the floor alright. No spike though. It would be a long night.

Monday, July 20, 2015

A Story Waiting to Happen: StoryBrooke Gardens

StoryBrooke Gardens
This month we’ll visit the wonderful StoryBrooke Gardens, a small plot created by Lauren Bentham above Baja Norte’s beach.

I must admit I’m not sure I’m the right person to write this month’s column. I have never written children’s stories and I know them only as a reader. Yet, being absolutely mesmerized by this gem, I couldn’t resist. The fact that Lauren has done an impressive job will definitely make my task easier.

Upon arrival, the visitor is greeted by two friendly bunnies. Now, which way should we go? The warm welcome makes it difficult to decide. Ok, southbound.

Read More at the Virtual Writers website.


Note: One of the characteristics of Second Life is the fact that it's constantly and rapidly changing. Sims come and go; others look quite different, as time goes by. Do take that into consideration when using the links provided.

Sunday, July 19, 2015


Tierra de Fuego

John’s only grandniece had six children. At family gatherings, John was always somewhere else with his old buddies, a tropical island, a cruise, a religious peregrination. He wasn’t religious, but any excuse worked. This time, his coward friends decided to visit their families. So, when a choir of kids asked John why he looked all wrinkled, he showed them his gold teeth. “See this? You won’t get any. You’re out of the will.” Little did the family know that he had already spent all his money and that he had no intention of parting from his teeth, even after dying.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Hopeless Conversation

Tim's Dreams by Romy Nayar

“Mary and Patrick named their daughter Joan. Joan married Anthony and had a baby girl they named Andrea. Andrea partnered Rosie and adopted baby Mary. Mary married Patrick; they had a daughter they named Joan. Joan got married to Anthony and had a baby girl…”
“Wait a second. There’s something wrong with this. Genealogy doesn’t go in circles. If you tell me their baby was called Andrea…”
“No. She was called Hopeless.”
“What a cruel name to give to a child!”
“Not at all. They were… hoping for… less… of a circular family history. Get it?”
“Jeez. What a dumbass.”
100 Word Stories (Prompt: Hopeless)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

SL12B - So, What’s the Problem?

SL12B's exhibit by Lesly Elizabeth Rotaru (leslystarbridge)

I am not a Second Life blogger, nor do I intend to be.
This post is the result of my observations and opinions.

A few years ago, when Linden Lab decided to drop the organization of Second Life (SL) Birthdays (SLBs), like many others, I felt the responsibility to do something about it. And I did. I (along with London Junkers, my SL accomplice) took part that year.

I had a strong admiration for the herculean effort of both organizers and volunteers who stepped up and took matters in their (our!) own hands. The SLB celebrations didn’t die. As a matter of fact, it seemed that there was a renewed sense of enthusiasm.

Well, things happened and I was faced with a few issues I shared with the organizers back then. Then, I saw those I respected leave the organization team, for whichever reason (I’m not implying anything one way or the other) and I never applied again. Nevertheless, I continued to visit the sims, even if only teleporting in to see specific areas.

This year, I decided to visit every single exhibit in the SL12B.

SL12B's exhibit by Lesly Elizabeth Rotaru (leslystarbridge)

When It Comes to the Crunch

The Hunt

I love hunts, so I thought a good way to start would be to do the SL12B hunt. It’s a good idea to host a hunt and I believe it’s not the first time one happens on SLBs grounds. So, I was hopeful to find something interesting.

Problem 1: The maps. I’m bad with maps and that’s why I delegated the task of navigating through the different parcels to London. However, even I realized that the option of placing a star on top of each parcel offering a gift was a tricky one, not to mention the rather chaotic placement of the sims’ names on each bit of the map.

Problem 2: Identifying the gifts. Some were designated SL12B[something]. Others had been completely renamed. Some were inside folders. Others went to the Objects system file. Suggestion – name the gifts according to the sim where they are located, for instance SL12B Sp[ectacular] #1. It would be easier to know whether we had missed a gift. It would be easier to organize them in our inventories.

Problem 3: The prizes. I am not the ungrateful type. I believe that when someone offers a gift, he/she does it from the heart and that we should receive it candidly and be thankful. Some exhibitors are amazing creators and are able to offer extraordinary prizes. Others must rely on someone else’s skill or their own. And that’s fine. Having said that, the SLB is a window into what SL has to offer. Special attention should be placed on what people take home with them from their visit to an SLB.

The Exhibitions

The impression I got when I arrived at the SL12B for the first time (remember, I was doing the hunt) was that it was a sandbox.

A certain visual cacophony is inevitable, especially with small parcels in such close proximity. Yet, some of the exhibits looked incomplete. Others were simply too ugly to look at, I’m sorry to say. But even the ugly ones belong in an event like the SL12B. “Ugly” is a debatable concept and besides not everyone is a building master. I get that.

Problem 1: Product displays. I grabbed a few landmarks along the way and teleported to the creators’ stores only to see the exact same items there. I understand that the theme “What Dreams May Come” was general enough to accommodate practically anything, but if I wanted to see a store display I’d go to a store. I am not against people using their creations. However, I’m strongly against people using their creations without making an effort to present their interpretation of the theme.

Problem 2: Recycled exhibitions. Some of the exhibitions were previously featured at other events. One thing is to have a specific, very identifiable style. And many in SL do. Another is to show the same over and over again.

Problem 3: Cliché-ridden exhibitions. Not everyone is a creative genius. Not everyone is skilled enough to present something unusual and clever. Beds, pillows, sheep and other sleep related options are always dangerous. Unless you have an original way of working with those elements (and a few did), you’re stuck. The line between being utterly ridiculous and totally ingenious is a fine line to tread.

Problem 4: Lag. Unavoidable? Yes. It’s SL. There’s lag. Period. Could we reduce it? Yes. Was that done? No. What I saw was tons of people walking around with impossibly high ARCs. I found that disrespectful towards other visitors, but… what the heck… what’s really important is to look good, right? I walked like a duck, removed all my attachments and wore an invisibility layer. That lowered my ARC to green and I managed to survive.

Problem 5: The exhibits looked amazing in the photos! I hate being unfair. Since my first impression of the exhibits was so poor, I started checking blogs and other social media channels. The photos published there were amazing. When I teleported to the exhibition itself, things often looked different. This is the problem of changing the Windlights to get a nice shot. I have nothing against nice shots, quite the contrary. But… well. I figured I wasn’t being unfair after all.

Applying to take part in a celebration of SL carries within itself a lot of responsibility. You’re expected to show your best. I’m not sure everyone understood this.

The Concerts/Shows/Other Events

I can’t comment. I didn’t attend any.

The Volunteers

I visited the SL12B sims throughout several days. I only encountered two volunteers in the welcome area. They were very nice, very polite and welcoming. They offered assistance and encouraged me to visit all the exhibitions. Good job!


A few doubts did come up. I'm sure there's a logical answer to all, but... Ok, so...

Q1: Why did some exhibitors have parcels twice as big?
Q2: Why did members of the organization also have parcels? Considering that there’s a selection process, this seemed slightly… awkward.
Q3: Who paid for the sims? Perhaps the answer to this question would provide some clarification to questions 1 and 2? If yes, I withdraw the comment I added to Q2.
Q4: Were the exhibitions reviewed after they were set up in order to verify if they complied with the Exhibitor Policies?
Q5: Was the hunt trail tested in order to create a cohesive event?

The Upside

I did not single out anyone in my criticism and I will not single out anyone in my praise. I can tell you nevertheless that I’m glad there were exhibitors who did make an effort. They interpreted the theme their own way. They allowed us a glimpse into their worlds, their experiences in SL and their dreams. Well done!

SL12B's exhibit by Lesly Elizabeth Rotaru (leslystarbridge)

Into the future

I understand that organizing an event such as the SL12B is of a magnitude often hard to comprehend.
I understand that a multitude of factors can easily slip through the organizers' fingers.
I understand that the number of applications must’ve been far bigger than the number of parcels available (I hope my assumption is correct).
I understand that selecting or rejecting someone based on a descriptive paragraph and a name provides fragile ground for picking.
I understand and I don’t wish to declare SL12B a disaster area, far from it.

Those who put effort, commitment, time and most likely money into this community celebration are to be complimented.

To all who didn’t recycle exhibitions, who didn’t set up shop, hoping to draw people to their stores, to those who created something new especially for this event, I congratulate you. You deserve my respect. And believe me, I appreciate and value your work.

See you next year at the SL13B.

Sunday, July 5, 2015



Singing and dancing in the rain was not his thing. However, he was tempted to do it anyway just to ruin his damn shoes, a birthday gift from his girlfriend. Anticipating something as catastrophic as a pair of bright orange shoes, he had told her not to get him anything. She insisted and the result was… catastrophic. When the weather got worse, all he could think of was singing and dancing in the rain. When he returned home with ruined shoes and a well-rehearsed guilty look, she broke up with him. Hah! She knew him all too well, didn’t she?

Sunday, June 28, 2015


Collins Land

The grotto was pleasant. The two tramps, Roger and Romeo, had dragged a sofa and a few other commodities inside. With the fireplace in the center, the area looked homey.
Then, Romeo decided to bring a lady tramp to live with them. The altercations became constant. She worked at night, so she was happy not to have to take part in the quarrels.
One day, when she got back home, she found a note from Roger. “I’ll be back in a few decades. Romeo checked out, permanently.”
Roger that, she thought. It worked. She had the grotto all to herself!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A Story Waiting to Happen: Hestium (Full Article)

Originally posted at the Virtual Writers, June 5 2015.

It seems only fitting that Hestium should be my choice for the launch of Virtual Writers’ new blog, as it is one of the richest locations for the creation of stories and characters I have ever visited. I first read about Hestium at Honour McMillan’s blog in her post Hestium, Another Tiny Gem in Second Life. Advised that it was a quarter of a sim, I dropped by to do a bit of research and see if there was enough material to use for this monthly column. I immediately realized that Hestium takes the same approach as I do with stories. Start with a question. “Who lives here? That is for you to discover. There are clues to be found”. Who can resist such a challenge?

The whole place took me by surprise. Except for a small plot that is marked private, this rather small area feels like a whole sim. The space is cleverly utilised, and – as we walk around and discover hidden secrets – many ideas for stories come to mind.

In preparing for this column I usually spend quite a bit of time on location. I try to understand the sim from the point of view of its creator. “Wander around and find the stories – they are yours to make and to keep”.

A story is made of many different elements; however, when the characters are powerful, alive, compelling, endearing, obnoxious, or absolutely hateful, magic happens – and Hestium is very particular in the way it offers ideas for characters. We are encouraged to explore every little detail to create the “who” in our story.

While enthusiastically living and breathing Hestium – imagining the life of the explorer with her travel trophies, the apothecary and the artist, even the vendor by the archway – I totally missed the opportunity to write a column about them. As so often happens in Second Life®, the sim began to change to welcome new imaginary residents.

So, without further ado, join me on this journey. Let’s find those new residents who recently decided to make Hestium their home. I’m sure that, when you visit the sim yourself, you’ll find these and many more.

“Welcome to Hestium. Please explore – open doors, enter the village houses, look under the beds and open chests.”

No writer would be able to resist permission to go anywhere and discover clues! Writers are inquisitive by nature. And if you add the question “Who lives here?”, the scenario is set.

I rarely give you a long transcript of the notecards provided by the creators of the sims we visit, however,Boudicca Amat’s words are the best presentation and I wouldn’t be able to come up with anything better!

“What is Hestium? 

It’s a place of refuge for its inhabitants. (…) Who are these people? That is for you to discover. Their homes hold clues to who they might be – sometimes in plain view, sometimes hidden away. Why are they in Hestium? That too is for you to decide. You create their stories. (…)”

On to meeting the characters!

Standing before the first house I come across, waiting to see if there is anyone at home, I notice that this is, most likely, the house of someone who has traveled through the Far East. There is an elegant blend of Chinese objects. The mixture of colors is attention-grabbing, red being one of the strongest.

A cat is sound asleep in front of the fireplace. By its side, I notice a table with a glass top. Visible is a list of guests, probably a page from a registry book. I think that this character will be a retired owner of a hotel in China. There he acquired an exquisite taste in art and elegance.

I venture onto the top floor, a bedroom decorated with beautiful objects brought back with him, a synthesis of sorts of everything he went through, the good and the bad.

I think our character is getting ready to write his biography; a desk and a chair in the corner of the bedroom announce many hours of personal recollections poured onto the page. Outside, in a veranda full of wonderful roses, a wooden chair faces east (how fitting). He comes here to sit and dream.

Before I leave, curiously enough, I notice there is a bird cage in the room, however its door is open and the bird is outside, free. This could tell us a lot about our character.

Choosing characters’ names is more often than not a very personal matter, so I’ll leave their naming to you.

The next house I come across is decorated in a Western antique style, a few Victorian elements standing out. In blacks and grays, it deeply contrasts with the previous one.

A French bulldog stands guard and quickly decides I am friendly enough to allow in. He has probably barked a few commands to his sibling on the upper floor, because I am completely ignored by him; he’s too busy out in the veranda, scrutinizing the horizon, waiting for his owner.

I think this house belongs to a woman. There is a feminine touch in the bedroom, whites and soft pinks, a boudoir and what seems to be a hat box.

As I climb up to the second floor… Oh! Interesting. A piano, mirrors and ballet barres. A ballerina. I don’t think I’ve ever suggested a ballerina as a character before. Let’s see. While I pretend to play the piano (yes, it’s a very generous piano), listening to a string of songs, imagining our ballerina practicing endless motions of repeated movements, always aiming for perfection, I imagine she is at the peak of her career.

When I come back downstairs, my eyes stumble across… How could I have missed it? There’s a white swan on the mantelpiece!

This is what fascinates me about Hestium. Every single detail counts and at each turn, you understand that everything has a purpose.

On to the next house which is slightly more modern in style. A cello leans languidly against a chair. While I play Bach (yes, this cello is also extremely generous), I notice some artwork on the wall. I think we might have a few ideas here both for the story and for the title of our story, dear fellow writer. The quote belongs to Mick Jagger. “Lose your dreams and you might lose your mind.”

Perhaps this is the home of a disillusioned musician, or conductor? Although there are a few feminine elements upstairs, flowers in fragile porcelain tea cups and a vanity mirror with enough light to brighten the darkest of days (and this could be symbolic of the character’s state of mind; his need to be a star again, to feel he’s back in the spotlight), I think this is mostly a masculine setting. The décor and the furniture have very straight lines and everything seems to have been chosen for efficacy, rather than elegance, although, that there is an artistic feeling to many of the objects in the house.

As I come back to the living-room/studio, I notice the photos on the wall. I am not sure, but I could swear they are from Portugal. Perhaps this conductor is an expatriate?

Right across from the conductor’s house, is the home of an inventor; the steampunk work bench is a dead giveaway. Perhaps he’s a bit of a nutcase and astronomy is high in his interests. He has a whole filing cabinet with the most outrageous inventions; I imagine that most of them are fascinating calculations and machinations on how to travel through space.

As I observe the room, I notice that one of the contraptions has something written on it, a message perhaps. It’s rather difficult to read, but I can just about decipher “I am not what you call a civilized man…”. Then further down, “I do not therefore obey its laws and I desire you never to allude to them before me again.” Oh… Well… It does sound slightly dangerous. Could the inventor have a secret? Something from his past?

I tip-toe upstairs, hoping he won’t catch me. The apparently peaceful bedroom, the birds chirping in the balcony, is invaded by the sounds of a train. At first, I think it’s the tiny train on a shelf that is doing that, however, I quickly realize that there’s another floor above; the sound is coming from a miniature train table. This is where our inventor hides away, in this loft. But from what? His wife’s criticisms that he’s always daydreaming? Or from the conductor who holds a growing grudge against him? Could it be the noise or… something significantly more serious? The beginning of a story is paved by questions and more questions!

Finally, I come across the Cat and Mouse Pub. This is where the whole village gathers, I’d say Mondays and Wednesdays (hint, hint; Boudicca, the owner, has a reading event on these days).

The village meets for a lot of chatting and a bit of an argument, too. The retired hotel owner may be nostalgic, but he is perhaps infatuated with the ballerina who only has eyes for her job. The orchestra conductor is also infatuated with the ballerina and he hates the hotel owner, however he has bigger problems with his neighbor, the inventor. The inventor, well, he’s a dreamer and he might be the one asking a very serious question one day, as everyone sits by the fireplace. “What makes a person beautiful?” (click the Chatterbox on the table for other ideas).

This is only a small fraction of what you might find at Hestium. The parcel is packed with such a rich array of details that you could sit here for several months and come up with a story each month without having to ponder too much about it!

My suggestion is to pay attention to every single object, to its location, to its size and color. Each one is an invaluable source of inspiration.

Ah! And remember that “Flintlocks, cudgels, daggers and swords [are] to be handed to the innkeeper for safe-keeping” commands a leaflet on the notice board. Also, no fakirs are allowed. No wonder!

I must say that I seriously doubt I have given enough justice to Hestium and to Boudicca’s creativity. Beyond the houses and the pub, there is much more to visit and draw inspiration from, I assure you. I particularly enjoy the slice of sand with a view to an island, the mystical stone circle and a mysteriously alluring door, half open and hidden in the forest, an entry from another world filled with the characters’ stories, or a passageway to so many new stories, because… there’s a story waiting to happen at Hestium.


A Story Waiting to Happen is a series of monthly articles about sims in the virtual world of Second Life®. The goal is to trigger ideas for new stories, new characters and new settings. If you write a story prompted by the following post, do consider leaving it in the comments or a link to it. Thank you.

Disclaimer: Virtual Writers and I are in no way affiliated with any shop located in the sims featured in this column, nor do we intend to promote them.


Note: One of the characteristics of Second Life is the fact that it's constantly and rapidly changing. Sims come and go; others look quite different, as time goes by. Do take that into consideration when using the links provided.

Sunday, June 21, 2015


Raven Lake

Waving energetically didn’t solve her problem. She tried whistling and even throwing stones. Nothing. She lifted the axe from the floor and swung it over her shoulder.
A man approached quickly and tried to take the axe away from her. “What on Earth, lady!” 
“What on Earth?! Just get off my lawn! Don’t you see the sign?!” 
He hadn’t seen it, considering the puzzled look on his face. Well, it was too late now. 
The sign read “Stay off my lawn or I’ll chop your head off.” Yep, getting all those words on such a small sign was a pain.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

At the Relay For Life Silent Art Auction

Today marks the beginning of the week-long (June 20-27) silent art auction organized by the Relay Wizards for Spunky. The auction takes place at the Builders Brewery in the virtual world of Second Life, along many different events like a ball, a poetry slam event and a building event. All proceeds go to the American Cancer Society. I was invited to take part in this Relay for Life event and I have decided to donate my poem "Found". Thank you to London Junkers for creating the visual background that goes with my words.
If you can, do consider helping. I appreciate it. Thank you.

Sunday, June 14, 2015


An ounce of discretion is worth a pound of wit, they say but Tommy didn’t care. He cracked jokes continuously and annoyed the hell out of everyone. After a night of drinking, Tommy decided to walk back home. He wobbled through the streets until a car pulled over. The next morning, he woke up to a terrible hangover and a huge surprise. Someone had tattooed “STOP!” on his forehead. That was bad enough but when he finally noticed some of his vital organs were missing, it was too late. An ounce, just an ounce, would’ve saved his life… they say.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Story Waiting to Happen: Hestium

It seems only fitting that Hestium should be my choice for the launch of Virtual Writers’ new blog, as it is one of the richest locations for the creation of stories and characters I have ever visited. I first read about Hestium at Honour McMillan’s blog in her post Hestium, Another Tiny Gem in Second Life. Advised that it was a quarter of a sim, I dropped by to do a bit of research and see if there was enough material to use for this monthly column. I immediately realized that Hestium takes the same approach as I do with stories. Start with a question. “Who lives here? That is for you to discover. There are clues to be found”. Who can resist such a challenge?

Read More at the Virtual Writers website.


Note: One of the characteristics of Second Life is the fact that it's constantly and rapidly changing. Sims come and go; others look quite different, as time goes by. Do take that into consideration when using the links provided.

Sunday, June 7, 2015


France Portnawak

The woman held on to the rope. “Try,” roared the man from the dingy boat. Giant waves crashed against the side of the sinking ship and she struggled hard. Her whole life seemed nothing but a drop of nothingness in the overwhelming circumstances she was in. She took a glimpse down and jumped but the boat went down with the wave and she missed it, plunging into the dark cold waters. As she sank, she felt strangely calm. She felt like she was flying and she didn’t fight it. I’ve tried all my life, she thought, now I’m finally free.

Sunday, May 31, 2015


Edloe, Tierra de Fuego, Waterland

When she dropped her cake, a murmur of excitement spread through the room. Miss Perfect had messed up. When she picked up the smashed pieces of cake and tried to put them back together on the plate, everyone chuckled; everyone except him, the stranger with the pierced nose. He walked up to her slowly, sat on the floor and got a few pieces that were still scattered about. “Cake?” he asked the crowd. “No? Your loss.” Since then, once a year, the two of them smash a cake to pieces and ask “Cake? No?” to reply in unison “Your loss!”

This story was written for the 10th Anniversary of Laurence Simon's (Crap Mariner in Second Life) 100 Word Stories Weekly Challenge podcast where he features stories written by himself and other writers. Thank you and Happy Tenth!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Liebster Award, Nominated by Andante Zen!

Andante is a fellow writer whose work I have been following for quite some time. At the moment, he is working on his illustrated online novel The Last Canvas. This is an extremely interesting work, combining several forms of artistic expression.
I have been asked to nominated other fellow bloggers (I'll post their names soon!) and answer a few questions. Here they are.

01- Why do you write?

The best way to answer this question is to quote Isaac Asimov, “I write for the same reason I breathe - because if I didn't, I would die.” As simple and as complex as that!

02 - What motivates you to write?

The urge to write is always there. I'm an avid reader. I read everything, anything! Other authors' work, of course, but also publicity brochures, ads, newspapers, magazines, online and offline. Curiously enough, my stories are often prompted by visual information. That is one of the reasons why I find the virtual world of Second Life (SL) so interesting for writers. The possibility of drawing inspiration from being immersed in an environment packed with colors, sounds, objects, different ambiances is definitely a plus.

03 - When did you start writing? And blogging?

I have been writing all my life, ever since I managed to master a sentence on a piece of paper! For many years, I wrote bits and pieces, mostly fragments of stories that paved the way to the writer I am today. I started blogging more than ten years ago; it was a diary of thoughts about everyday events. I opened my writing blog in 2012. That's when I started writing full-time.

04 - Does publishing online interfere with your writing process, and how?

It doesn't. I have published a countless number of stories in my blog, short-fiction mostly, and I seem to have been able to follow the path I have planned to tread.

05 - What is your writing process -- do you have a preferred place, hour, a ritual to write?
I usually use a word/phrase prompt and a visual prompt to trigger a story or an episode/chapter within a novel. Having these two elements seems to be more than enough for me to start writing. I usually sit at my desk to write. However, I also choose a location in Second Life to sit my avatar. I'm very fortunate to have a wonderful home in SL with a large variety of ambiances that help bring inspiration for my writing. I don't have a particular time of day to write. My day revolves around writing or anything writing related, whether research or plotting or writing itself.

06 - Do your online readers influence you, and how?

I think they encourage rather than influence me. I'm very lucky to have a few people who read my stories regularly and who always have a positive word to push me forward!

07 - Have social medias changed your writing, and how?

Oh, yes! I think having access to more information, in a faster fashion, is very important. I also think that interacting with other writers helps improve my writing.

08 - What do you do to overcome writer's block?

I write! That's the only way. I write every day, even if it's gibberish and trash. Training your brain to accept that you must write, is the best way to get "unstuck". In SL, I host a weekly writing event (Saturdays, noon SLT/8pm Portugal time) called "500 Word Snatch Challenge". The idea is to write 500 words in 30 minutes. Sometimes that is very easy; other times, not so much. However, the fact that we sit at a table with other fellow writers and try to achieve that goal is another great way to overcome writer's block.

09 - What are you favorite authors -- in Literature, cinema?

So many! I'll choose one that is a big influence, Edgar Allan Poe. He was a tireless writer of mystery and horror tales and is considered the father of detective stories. His puzzling death was never explained and that fact only adds to the aura of intrigue that surrounds this extraordinary author. As to cinema, I love Hitchcock, Cronenberg and the Coen brothers.

10 - Does writing help you in your personal life, and how?

As writers, we often pour onto paper some of our most troublesome concerns. My writing is far from autobiographical; yet, I do see a pinch of whatever is worrying me at the moment here and there in my texts. Writing becomes a way of understanding and coping with reality. So, I think it does.

11- You're free to deliver whatever message you want for whomever reads this.

If you dream of writing and you think you're not good enough, write anyway! Write as much as you can, whenever you can. Write as if your life depended on it. You'll see that your writing will improve and you'll become more confident each day that goes by. If you're a reader, read as much as you can within as many different genres as possible. Although many established writers have no need to interact with their readers (I still think everyone does!), many of the new ones feel that it's important to have some kind of feedback. Encourage them to continue to write, and do give your opinion about the stories. Be constructive, not destructive!


Kats Beach

The large group gathered at an Italian restaurant for wine and cheese.
She hated it. She hated the fake smiles, the fake white teeth, the fake everything.
For two excruciating hours, and out of desperation, she chopped cheese in small cubes with a huge knife while everyone pretended to be everyone else’s friend.
At the end of the get-together, the proverbial group photo was taken.
Several years later, she sat down at the same restaurant. She looked at the photo while holding that same huge knife, the one she would get rid of right after finishing the wine… by herself.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Word That Doesn’t Exist

Tierra de Fuego

That word doesn’t exist, Randy thought, suspecting Patrick, his neighbor, to be either under the influence or raving mad.
Raving mad was a good option, considering that Patrick decided to fill his garden with truck tires recently. When asked why he was doing that, Patrick replied it was for the aliens to land safely in his back yard. Randy laughed.
“But where did you hear that word?”
Patrick, the neighbor, replied, “From the aliens.”
Randy would remember this many years later. The mystery word meant hello and it would be the first word Randy had to learn after the invasion.
100 Word Stories

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold

Milk Wood

The Virtual Troll Convention was highly anticipated by the troll community. The sessions went quite well until a man stood up and started yelling incomprehensible sentences. The trolls were appalled. This was a serious event where they learned new tricks to annoy others in-world. Suddenly, a troll grabbed the man by the collar. “You are destroying our event.” The man calmly ignored the troll and started banning them all, one by one. “I always wanted to do this,” he said, an evil tone in his voice. In fact, he was the owner of the place and the trolls didn’t know!


I think this week’s story is easy to understand even if you’re not a resident of a virtual world. However, if you’re not, I can tell you that when you’re the owner of a location in a virtual world, you can ban people from visiting your location by ejecting them and placing them in a ban list. If they try to enter your location again, they’ll get a message informing them that they cannot enter. The trolls got trolled, but some things never change and they got banned too!

Sunday, May 3, 2015



Nothing prepared him for the strenuous race. They told him it would be easy peasy. They lied. They told him to watch out for the spectators who, in their enthusiasm, tended to try to grab the runners; he didn’t see any spectators. Nevertheless, he ran like never before. He knew he’d be the winner. But the finish line was empty. Why? He didn’t understand. Suddenly, he realized that the “Finish” banner was nothing but a clothes line where t-shirts and a few diapers were hanging from. “Damn, I should’ve worn my glasses. This thing of looking handsome is not easy.”

Sunday, April 26, 2015


Betelgeuse 5

“I refuse to sink” read the tattoo on her chest. Decades of wars and narrow escapes turned her into a survivor. Yet, she knew. The capsule injected under her skin was her anchor. 

As a child, she disappeared for a week, to her parents’ frantic despair. When she returned, the stories of strange looking beings with oddly shaped eyes and white skin were hurriedly dismissed. 

When they finally came back for the data in the capsule, she smiled. That was the moment she had lived for. She asked them “take me with you” and they did. She’s over 250 today.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The God of Boredom


Against his will, he had just been promoted from a minor deity to a major god. They told him that people were always bored nowadays, so being the God of Boredom would be good. He knew why he was bored. It was because Patrice, his neighbor, had stolen his favorite book, the one about minor deities. He hated it when people messed around with his things. Could he become the God of Hatred? Noooo! He was stuck with boredom now. That’s why, before promoting anyone, the High Council of Gods should offer options! Free will and all that? Gods… Pfft.

Sunday, April 12, 2015



Frying pan in hand, Linda looked outside. Tony was late; her darling husband who swore to wed her for better or for worse and all that crap, until... She waited for hours and hours.

When Margaret, the owner of the house, arrived, Linda gave her the pan treatment first.

The problem was that Tony had years of experience. He entered the house through the back and… Let’s say Linda’s life suffered a slight rearrangement and there it was… till death do us part.

Frying pan in hand, Tony thought “amazing how easy it was to solve two problems at once”.