The Primgraph Christmas Special is Out Now!

12/18/10  at 8:22 AM
The Holiday issue of The Primgraph is out now and - as you will see - it is a rather different one!

This issue we have largely put aside our regular articles to bring you a Christmas special, filled with stories and pictures from some of your favourite Primgraph writers - and some who are new to the magazine too!

You will be able to read Frau Annechen Lowey's account of the planning it takes to send presents in the Steamlands.

Miss Qwis Greenwood has the story of the ingenious solution that the Tinies came up with to ensure that the Guvnah received the best ever Christmas pudding.

Miss Beq Janus has the story of The Little Match Girl of New Babbage, while Mr Linus Lacombe tells us of the time that Steelhead Nearly Lost Christmas - and all its scamps as well!

Miss Ceejay Writer tells a story of holiday good will set in the dieselpunk region of Seraph City, while Miss Jedburgh30 Dagger has another tale of New Babbage - where a lonely librarian receives An Unexpected Visit.

All in all, there's a cornucopia of Tales for the Season!

In addition to this, we have - courtesy of Mr PJ Trenton - a super long episode of The Quest for the Golden Prim. The academics have escaped ... but Nan and Minnie are being held by the pirates. Will they manage to get away? And if they do ... will they find that worse dangers await them?

This is the final installment of Volume I of the Quest; Volume II will be starting in our first issue of the New Year!

Other familiar features you will find in this issue include Frau Lowey's always excellent advice on Etiquette. This issue, as we celebrate Christmas and contemplating our Thank You notes, she has some timely advice to give on the writing of letters. And Her Grace the Duchess of Caledon Carnteigh allows us to peek once more into her closet to share some of her incomparable fashion secrets ...

And to illustrate all this, our magnificent team of photographers: PJ Trenton, GM Nickolaidis, Twisted Lemon, Alex Aeon and Beq Janus have captured some stunning images to supply your with some incredible holiday eyecandy!

So, with no shortage of fascinating articles and beautiful illustrations supplied by our brilliantly talented team of photographers, we welcome you to this fourteenth - and very seasonal - issue of The Primgraph.

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How do I get my copy of The Primgraph?


Well, there are various ways to get The Primgraph!

Best of all, you can join our Subscribe-o-Matic group, which will deliver the magazine to you automatically when it is published. The Subscribe-o-Matic kiosks are located in historical and steampunk sims across Second Life (for example, you’ll find ones at all the Caledon infohubs). And if you can’t find one in your favourite sim, why not ask the owner to install one?

It is also available through SLMarkpetplace (just search on the site for The Primgraph). This will deliver you a copy in the form of a Thinc book that you can rez and read inworld.

But if you prefer to read the magazine online but not inworld, there are choices too. Firstly, there’s the wonderful Calaméo system, which allows you to moves smoothly through the pages, giving you the feeling of reading a real magazine. You’ll find Issue 14 here – and please do leave a comment!

But, if you like to download your magazines to read as you commute to work, or in the bath, or wherever, you can also obtain a standard pdf for downloading and printing.

So, really, you have no excuse for not reading The Primgraph. In fact, why aren’t you reading it now?


Steam Santa and Archaeology are Coming to Babbage

12/17/10  at 11:10 AM
Not together of course
see how rumors get Started !
Greetings it is the Holidays
busy busy in all worlds ..
New Babbage would like to extend an Invite to all
With two Most Special New Babbage's Very Own Events
Piermont Landing's
The Steam Santa and Boiler Elf Ball
And
The Aether Salon
December topic
Archaeology
with Mr. Linus Lacombe
Piermont Landing Proudly Presents
The 3rd Annual
Steam Santa & Boiler Elf Ball
New Babbage
Holiday Greeting Card Contest
Saturday, December 18th
6pm to 9pm SLT

Music by the Amazing DJ Bats
Sponsored By
House of Rfyre
BlakOpal Design
The Curious Seamstress
Hatpins
December Build Contest
New Babbage Holiday Greeting Contest
3 prim Limit
There is Snow In Babbage !!
Let's Show The Beauty of The New Babbage Season
Take a Photo make a Capture all your very own
Place it on a Prim
Make a Memory !!
New Babbage Holiday Greeting Card Contest
3 prim Limit
1st prize 2000L
2nd prize 1000L
3rd prize 500L
and Ribbons too :-)
Archaeology!
Aether Salon

(actually celebrating two years, but who's counting?)
Sunday, November 21 at 2 pm slt
Babbage Palisade & Academy of Industry
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Babbage%20Palisade/254/60/106

We’ve long been fascinated with ancient peoples. Add in exotic locales, the promise of fame, and wealth, and the result is an irresistible lure for many historians, scientists, and treasure hunters. We are honored this month with the talented Mr. Linus Lacombe who will guide us through the development of archaeology and how it has increased our understanding of past civilizations. Bring your friends and your mummies.

Bellypunk!

12/16/10  at 10:59 AM
It is with an enthuastic Ai yi yi yi yi! that I introduce our Dear Readers to something new in the Steamlands. Bellypunk!
"After the fall of the Kingdom of Granada, the people were pushed into exile within the Balearic Island Region, silent for hundreds of years. They called their home “Cala Mondrago”, and it would be the oceans oasis."

Please visit the Adventures of a Steam Oasis blog and learn more about the history (both real and fictional) of Cala Mondrago.

While visiting Cala Mondrago, be sure to take time to relax at The Laughing Djinn, touted to be "the Steamlands one and only steamtastic belly dance tavern". The club offers bellydancing shows on Saturdays at both noon and 9pm slt. The Djinn is a wonderful venue - absolutely stunning in decor, and offers relaxed pillowed seating to rest upon as you enjoy a show.

Founder Bianca Namori is having such fun in her new world; her enthuasiasm is quite contagious! She explained some of her goals for Cala Mondrago to me this way:

"I want the sim to be known for these things:

* Community of steampunks that can rp together, learn about different things from one another, and express themselves in a whole new steamland realm.

* Twice a week RP sessions that can follow a main storyline or people can venture out on their own. It's just where the "citizens" get together and RP or even chit-chat in character.

* Known as an "artistic" or "creative" culture/sim. As we know the east india worlds/desert lands are known for their exotic ways, clothes, and ideals. I want that to shine through in steampunk as well"
.

Stop by soon and explore. Dress in loose flowing clothes and kick your shoes back into the closet. Run barefoot. And as Bianca says, "May the desert warm your heart, and the sands your soul."

Empty Mailbox at the R. F. Burton Library

12/14/10  at 6:54 AM
Ms. Capalini sits in her office in the back of the workshop, her leather apron and goggles hung near the door. Frowning, she spreads the five manuscripts out on the desk, each one still folded and sealed.

"No peeking." a voice says calmly. Canolli startles as she looks around, then relaxes as Mr. Tenk points to the folded papers. "No peeking, there could still be some submissions tomorrow."

"Evening, Big Man." She slides the manuscript she'd been fingering the edges of across the desk. Huffing, she gets out of the chair and crosses the room to the window, her frustration apparent. "Do you realize we had 17 submissions last year? Illustrations.. It was.. so.. oh I don't know.. encouraging." Her voice trailed off as she leaned her forehead against the dirty glass, her breath making the window pane fog a little.

"You gotta have patience. Could be last minute entries.."

Canolli stared out the window for a few minutes, watching the plumes of smoke from neighboring factories rise over the skyline. Sighing, she began to turn from the window. "I just feel like no .. one... cares....." her voice trailed off as she realized she was standing in the room alone.

Reminder: The 3rd annual flash fiction contest concludes midnight tomorrow.. Read guidelines for it here.

Celebrate Christmas in Caledon with Designing Worlds!

12/13/10  at 10:48 AM
Join us in our Northpoint studio at 2pm SLT today, Monday 13th December as we come to the end of this season with our traditional Christmas in Caledon show. And we're inviting our audience to join us after the show to try out some wonderful winter sports - so please wear warm Victorian gear for the show - skates and skis are provided!

A waterside setting in Caledon Tanglewood

We'll start the show in Caledon Tanglewood and take a fascinating glimpse at one of the communities there - the Tinies. We'll be finding out about Tiny events - including a year-long reading of a favourite book -and learning about a magnificent Christmas pudding, too!

The Spires of Caledon Oxbridge

Then it's over to Caledon Oxbridge to learn all about this vibrant University in Second Life, and some of the courses and events associated with it. Once a Community Gateway, it's now a thriving independent institution - with something to offer everyone!

Finally we visit a region of Caledon that has been decorated for Christmas fun - Caledon Victorian Gardens. You'll be able to see some of the winter enjoyments set out here - they include skiing, skating, tobogganing, an ice carousel - and a hot chocolate stand!

Caledon Victorian Gardens

The show starts at 2pm SLT, but you should be in our Northpoint studios by 1.30pm at the very latest to make sure of getting a seat. And afterwards we're inviting you to join us in Caledon Victorian Gardens to enjoy the fun of the winter sports there! Make sure you are well wrapped up - and suitably Victorian!

Or tune in at 2pm SLT on Monday for the live show – where you can now chat with other audience members and even some of the participants during the show – or catch it later in the week on our shows page on the Treet.tv web site.

Tinyville Library in Caledon Tanglewood

This is the last show in our present season, but we'll back on Monday 24th January with a whole new season of shows featuring design and designers in virtual worlds! So if you know something that you think we should be covering in our next season, write to us at designingworlds@gmail.com.

Sweet Words: An Interview with “da Clockwork Dragon of New Babbage”

12/7/10  at 10:36 AM


I’d like to introduce you to Miss Sheryl Nantus, a successful published writer who is also unique in many ways. For instance, in Second Life, she is Sheryl Skytower, a small clockwork dragon with a cookie fixation. But there’s more. Sheryl has turned her NaNoWriMo projects into publishable novels. Her latest is "Wild Cards and Iron Horses", which she wrote while sitting in the CocoaJava Cafe, a Second Life bohemian coffee house in the steampunk city of New Babbage. Sheryl’s novel gives playful homage to some of the city’s quirks and folks, which adds to the fun.

As the builder of the CocoaJava Cafe, (which is now under the ownership of Mister Blackberry Harvey), I am of course tickled to pieces that my cafe helped to inspire this rollicking Steampunk style old west adventure.

["Wild Cards and Iron Horses" cover art by Kanaxa]

The official teaser for "Wild Cards and Iron Horses" reads thusly:

Their love rides on a spring and a prayer…

During the recent Civil War, a soldier risked his life to save Jonathan handleston—and lost. With the help of an advanced metal brace on his crippled hand, Jon now travels from one poker tournament to the next, determined to earn enough money to repay the man’s debt.

Prosperity Ridge is supposed to be the last stop on his quest, but his brace is broken and he needs an engineer to repair the delicate mechanisms. The only one available is Samantha Weatherly, a beautiful anomaly in a world ruled by men.

Sam is no fool. Jon is no different from any other gambler—except for his amazing prosthetic. Despite a demanding project to win a critical contract to develop an iron horse, she succumbs to the lure of working on the delicate mechanisms. And working with the handsome Englishman.

Like a spring being coiled, Samantha and Jon are inexorably drawn together. Sam begins to realize honor wears many faces, and she becomes the light at the end of Jon’s journey to redemption. The only monkey wrench is Victor, a rival gambler who will stop at nothing to make sure Jon misses the tournament. Even destroy Jon and Sam’s lives.


It’s not often one gets the opportunity to pick the brain of a clockwork dragon writer, but Primgraph reporters are known for their intrepidness. Armed with a bag of cookies, I managed to lure Sheryl in for a conversation about the craft of writing. It helped that she was suitably stuffed with those cookies and couldn’t run away till she digested, so we had quite the lovely chat.

I asked Sheryl about her early days. I was curious how long she had been writing. She nibbled yet another cookie, sighed happily, and replied. “Well, technically I've been writing all my life. Way back in the Middle Ages I got a little ditty called "Be Kinder To Your Binder" printed in a school collection when I was eight years old. It was about a binder who gets recycled into another binder and finds a new life. Recycling and Reincarnation. Talk about lofty writing, eh?”

Occasionally I struggle for a plot notion. I was naturally quite curious to learn what inspired the stories that Sheryl writes. She belched a bit of smoke, then settled down. "Usually my plots come to me from the classic "What If?" game we all like to play. With "Wild Cards and Iron Horses" I started off with the simple sentence of "What would happen if I had a mechanical brace on my hand? What could I do with it? Could I use it for crime…" and it went on from there."

She paused, fidgeting nervously, then added, "Not that I'm endorsing crime. Unless it's freshly baked cookies, in which case all bets are off."

Poor thing. I quickly changed the subject, exclaiming, "you wrote an entire novel in the CocoaJava Cafe! I can’t tell you what an honor that is for me. Please tell me why the cafe works so well for you!"

Her smile told me that I’d touched on a comfort zone. After looking around for more sweets, she replied, “I loved and continue to love writing in the Café because it's just such a wonderful place to hang out and let the creative juices flow – or just percolate with some fine coffee, tea or your delicious chocolates!” I promptly gave her a chocolate, and she continued. “I'll set up in the Café and wander off at times to get a cuppa tea in RL, popping back in to see how I'm doing. If I only wrote so much in RL as I do in SL…*laughs*”

Sheryl is a true New Babbager, evident in the inspiration she draws from the city. “The Café offers a great place to just sit and enjoy New Babbage” she says. “From the trams that fly on by (usually literally into the air and into orbit) to the "interesting" events at Brunel Hall it gives me a great setting to soak up some steampunk atmosphere and inspire me.”

Amazing a writer can get anything done with all those fun distractions! I became curious about her “real life” writing space, and asked what it was like. “Ooh… well, I've got quite a few. At home I have a desk with a million books on the craft of writing about to topple over on me and cover me forever, or at least until the archaeologists disinter me in a few centuries. When I'm out I'll creep into a corner at my local Barnes & Noble with a large chai and bang away at my laptop until it screams for mercy. Or I'll be at a Panera Bread with another chai and some shortbread, nibbling away.”

I chucked at the thought of her nibbling habits carrying over in both worlds. “In RL I look much like my SL avi.” she said, patting her robust belly.

With so much to inspire her, I wondered if she ever experienced ‘writer’s block’. I asked her what she does the words just aren’t flowing well. She stopped staring at the truffle jar long enough to answer. “I usually go away and read- anything. Nonfiction, fiction, manga, play Zyngo… er, never mind that last one. I know some people say to fight through it but I find it more frustrating to write crap and KNOW I'm writing crap than to just walk away and catch my breath.”

“Sheryl”, I queried, “What inspires you? What causes you to drop everything (including your search for more sweets) and write?” She would have blushed if she could have, and brushed a few cookie crumbs off her metal scales, before speaking. “A story that demands to be told. In "Wild Cards" I started off with the premise of a man needing a metal brace to be able to use his hand. Then I extrapolated as to *why* he'd need to use his hand so badly. Then *how* he got the crippled hand. Then the hopeless romantic kicks in and I start running.”

On behalf of you, dear Primgraph reader and hopeful writer, I dug deeper into the craft of bringing a novel to reality. I asked Sheryl pointedly, “I’m sure our readers are a curious about your methods. Do you write from an outline, simply let the words flow and see where they go - or does your writing style take another form?”

I had to repeat the questions twice, as she’d spotted a cake in the far corner. Once I’d cut her a generous slice, she settled down happily and resumed the conversation. “I usually start with where I want the story to end – if that makes any sense. I come up with the characters and what I want/need them to do and then set them loose in the world I've created. They may zig and zag at times but they usually always end up where they should be in the end. Usually.”

This of course led to the wondering if any of her characters had ever surprised her. She nodded vigourously. “Definitely! Gil Grassfeathers in "Wild Cards" started off as just another street urchin but he tugged on my hair and stomped on my feet and got himself a whole supporting character credit.” We both chuckled knowingly as she added, “Sort of reminds me of some *other* street urchin in New Babbage, if you ask me.”

Sheryl has successfully harnessed the power of NaNoWriMo writing, and I wondered what advise she might have for others who like to participate in this annual tradition and hope to become published themselves one day. She finished her last bite of cake and gave the empty plate a forlorn look before replying. “Chug on through the first draft then relax. Catch your breath and start editing *after* the New Year has started. Don't even think about submitting it to an agent or a publisher until six months have passed.”

I got her another slice of cake, which inspired her to offer more encouragement. “And NaNo novels *do* sell. My first novel with Samhain Publishing, "Blaze of Glory" was a NaNo Novel and "What God and Cats Know", presently out with Lyrical Press, was another NaNo Novel. So you can sell these works – but not without putting in the time to edit and polish to the highest degree.”

Our time was running out... as were all the sweets in the Cafe. “This has been a lovely chat. Do you have final thoughts, Sheryl?" She giggled and said, “I luvs cookies. Donations always accepted at my residence or shop in New Babbage. And I'm sorry for stealing all the chocolate beans from the Café.”

You can visit Sheryl at her website, and find samples of her books, "Blaze of Glory" and "Wild Cards and Iron Horses" at the Samhain Publishing website - and don’t forget to look for "What God and Cats Know" at Lyrical Press. Amazon and Nook users can also get samples of Sheryl’s books as well!