To mark the occasion of Hinamatsuri / Doll’s Day, Nika Thought-werk and Fitch Lekvoda are pleased to invite you to join us March 3 2019 for DOLL FEST FOR ALL at the Crystal Rose in Caledon.
Hinamatsuri (雛祭り Hina-matsuri), also called Doll’s Day or Girls’ Day, is a special day in Japan. Celebrated each year on 3 March, platforms covered with a red carpet-material are used to display a set of ornamental dolls (雛人形 hina-ningyō) representing the Emperor, Empress, attendants, and musicians in traditional court dress of the Heian period.
On Sunday, March 3, 2019 I had the pleasure of participating in the first annual “Doll Fest For All” as a featured author, in the form of my in-world avatar, Ceejay Writer. I was delighted to be interviewed during the event by Miss Nika Thought-werk, a small clockwork girl. Nika is also the Post-Mistress of the United Clockwork Postal Service (UCPS). The UCPS is the premier postal service in the Steamlands of Second Life. In partnership with her Ghost (her close friend out in the Real World), she writes books and poetry.
My books were made available for purchase at the Fest. I’d recently re-created all my books (except the cookbook) inside the virtual world of Second Life, using a new publishing system created by Miss Nika Thought-werk. These are fully functional, full-length books, readable in-world, and can even be set out for display. Most importantly, the clever scripting of these Werk Books protects the author’s work from piracy. The publishing system is free, and can be obtained at Miss Thought-werk’s post office in the city of New Babbage. You can also find Werk Books and the free publishing systems at Nika’s Bazaar Books in the Second Life Marketplace.
Following is a transcript of my conversation at the Doll Fest with Miss Thought-werk.
Ceejay Writer: Allo, Nika!
Nika Thought-werk: Miss Writer, welcome to Doll Fest For All 2019
Ceejay Writer: Thank you Nika, am happy to be here.
Nika Thought-werk: Might you like to have a seat?
Nika Thought-werk: So … may we begin?
Max: Nika! CeeJay!
Calla Iris Waydelich: \o/
Nika Thought-werk smiles and unfolds her questions. “Thank you for coming tonight.”
Ceejay Writer: If you want me to stand anywhere in particular, just let me know.
Nika Thought-werk shakes her head. “This is fine, I think …”
Ceejay Writer: Good! Cause this bit of carpeting is EXCEPTIONALLY plush.
Nika Thought-werk: blinks “Except-lalalalalalalalalalala?”
Nika Thought-werk looks up to her guest. “Miss Writer, welcome, and thank you for speaking at the first an’yule Doll-Fest-For-All author talk. As we start, I wonder if you might talk a bit about the world you write about. Is that ok?”
Ceejay Writer: Sure! Industralia is a country on a planet called BrightHope. There’s also the far-off exotic land of Caybris, the String Of Pearls tropical island chain, Out West (I haven’t yet named ‘out west’, but will before we go adventuring there), Frostica at the north pole and Shivvera at the south pole.
Ceejay Writer: So far, the stories have all taken place in Industralia, though I’d really love to take an airship to Caybris one of these days. They have exotic spices, lovely traditional dances and music, and weird scientists and even weirder doctors.
Nika Thought-werk: blinks and nods slowly “Doctors can be weird indeed.”
Ceejay Writer: They certainly can!
Ceejay Writer: Industralia may seem like its just naturally evolved into a Victorian-ish society powered by steam, but in reality, everything about the planet BrightHope was planned in advance. Quite a few aspects of society were not left to chance, though the citizens aren’t really aware of that. Oh, and I say Victorian-ish, as there is no Queen Victoria in my world.
Nika Thought-werk: nods quietly.
Ceejay Writer: In fact, the only monarchy is in Caybris, and that’s considered a quirky anomaly. Industralia is governed by the Mayors of all the cities and towns, working together as teams. It’s truly a society that’s so far avoided the political traps of absolute power corrupting absolutely. Eventually, I will write BrightHope’s ‘origin story’ – and THAT will be my first venture into writing Science Fiction.
Nika Thought-werk nods. “Sounds very nice.”
Max: wait, so are you invalidating my victorian doll av? 😛
Ceejay Writer tosses a gumdrop at Max, beaning him neatly on the forehead
Nika Thought-werk giggles
Ceejay Writer: But the real roots of my world, and my characters, are deep in Second Life, especially New Babbage. Writing a Ceejay biography for the New Babbage website led to quite a bit of storytelling, which grew into the seed that grew up to become The Flight To Brassbright.
Nika Thought-werk smiles. “That is quite a lot … so …”
Nika Thought-werk: your story is truly your story from the sounds of it, then. You are well into your series of books, and you are not the only character in them. You’ve written quite a bit about the Liddles. Who are they, and how do they play into the world you write about?”
Satu Moreau: Hallo!
Ceejay Writer: We meet Letitica Liddle in The Flight To Brassbright, as she gives Constance (the character that grew out of me, Ceejay) food and shelter during her long traveling adventure. At this point, she’s a widow, having lost her inventor-husband in a freak reversible-wallpaper accident. Very tragic. They had to bury him floral side out.
Nika Thought-werk: So sad really …
Ceejay Writer: Anyway, Letitica dearly loved Gerard, and as she told Constance about him, I learned to love him too. I felt badly that I’d only introduced Gerard Liddle long after his death. So, since writer’s are very powerful creatures, I decided to give Gerard a happy childhood, one we could all read about. And that is how A Life Invented came to be.
Ceejay Writer: It’s one of three shorter books written for kids ages 10-13. The other two are The Steamkettle Kids Save The Day, in which three young kids thwart a crime using their cleverness and smarts. The Legend of the Engineer is a holiday story, the tale of a New Year’s day tradition in Industralia. I enjoyed introducing folklore into my world and will look for an opportunity to do that again.
Nika Thought-werk: I like holy-day stories very much … don’t you?
Ceejay Writer: I love them! They are a reason to bake cookies!
Max: mmm cookies
Frenzy: is it true Dolls are sugar powered?
Nika Thought-werk nods and smiles. “I am sure the Liddles might bake cookies … that might explode …”
Max: eep. talk about indigestion!
Ceejay Writer: My world has coal cookies and Frostica brittle!
Nika Thought-werk: Sounds like a nice couple. Thank you for sharing about them. In writing your characters – and making them live and breathe for your readers, what inspires you? Constance is you, of course – do the Liddles have an inspiration from elsewhere? Care to talk about where the idea for the couple came from?”
Ceejay Writer: I think perhaps the old I Love Lucy sitcom, with Lucy and Desi playing off of each other, was partly to blame for the creation of Letitica and Gerard. Letitica is a slightly batty, freewheeling, happy woman, and Gerard is the sensible one. Well, sort of.
Nika Thought-werk giggles and wonders about the sensible part.
Ceejay Writer: His inventions don’t exactly point to a sensible man, but he’s probably as close as we’ll get to one.
Nika Thought-werk nods quietly
Nika Thought-werk: So … you have four books for sale at Bazaar Books so far … but, you are gearing up for a new novel, aren’t you? What is it about, and how does it connect to the rest of the world you’ve created?
Nika Thought-werk shouts “Blond hair!”
Satu Moreau: o.O
Nika Thought-werk blinks “Sorry Miss Writer – it’s Twist-Barbie.”
Ceejay Writer: Hee!
Ceejay Writer: Down The Tubes follows The Flight To Brassbright in the Chronicles of Industralia series. It centers on urban life in Brassbright City, the largest, shiniest city on the continent. It’s directly inspired by New York City. The action starts at Citywide Postal, where due to appalling/weird circumstances, four letters have been stuffed into the wrong pneumatic tubes and have been opened by the wrong recipients.
Nika Thought-werk: It is about the mail?
Nika Thought-werk perks up.
Ceejay Writer: It IS!
Ceejay Writer: They don’t realize it’s a mistake, though, and they start taking action based on the letters they’ve received. Eventually, other people become affected as the ripple effect spreads outward. It’s been a huge challenge to write, and if I knew then what I know now, I probably wouldn’t have attempted it, but it’s too late for that now, the stories have hooked me!
Nika Thought-werk smiles. “People do not know how much mail matters, don’t you think?”
Ceejay Writer: I completely agree. Words are power – and words on bits of mail are even more powerful, as they can transport.
Nika Thought-werk nods. “I concur!”
Beryl Strifeclaw smirks
Nika Thought-werk: If someone wished to buy your books, where could they find them?
Ceejay Writer: I’m the only author named Holuta on Amazon.com, so that makes me easy to find. You can also learn about them at my author website, brassbrightcity.com, or join my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/brassbright. I also have a monthly newsletter, called Postcards From Industralia.
Ceejay Writer: My author website will help you find all these resources, and more. I also have fun stuff and freebies at my site. I’d love it if you bookmarked my page!
Sera: The monthly newsletter is really good
Ceejay Writer: Thanks, Sera, I try!
Ceejay Writer: I have a Steampunk Curse Generator at my site. 😀
Nika Thought-werk: Do you have any advice for any aspiring writers in the audience to get them started?
Emi: Write things. Lots of things.
Ceejay Writer: Emi – exactly.
Nika Thought-werk giggles at Emi
Ceejay Writer: The easiest advice I can give is advice that so many find difficult to follow, including myself. Place your butt in a chair and write. Every day. No excuses, no worries about the quality or the quantity, just write. When it becomes a natural part of your daily routine, then you can expand to think about storylines and characters.
Ceejay Writer: And you may find you’ve already written the seeds of stories in your daily exercises. Also, read a lot. Read authors you admire. See how they craft their stories. Don’t deliberately try to imitate them – just soak up their work. It’ll influence you in good ways.
Ceejay Writer: Personal influences include Gail Carriger, Shelley Adina and Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris.
Sera: All excellent choices!
Nika Thought-werk nods. “So, that is very good advice … are you ready for questions from others, then?”
Ceejay Writer: Sure, all questions welcome!
Nika Thought-werk: Any of you have questions for Miss Writer?
Nika Thought-werk: looks around and turns back …
Nika Thought-werk: Miss Writer?
Ceejay Writer: If anyone thinks of a question later, feel free to IM me – I get offlines.
Beryl Strifeclaw grins
Nika Thought-werk: I have one last one … if I may?
Ceejay Writer: Yes Miss Nika?
Ceejay Writer cups her ear and leans towards the wee clockwork
Nika Thought-werk: If you could be a dog, a ball of cotton, or a chocolate chip cookie, what would you be?
Nika Thought-werk blinks
Ceejay Writer: I… would be a ball of cotton. It lasts a long time, doesn’t melt, and smells fairly decent.
Ameshin Yossarian: :))
Beryl Strifeclaw claps for the answer
Sera loves the clever question and the clever response
Satu Moreau: Hehe
Ceejay Writer wipes a drop of sweat from her forehead.
Nika Thought-werk nods. “You heard it here first, friends! Thank you, Miss Writer … and if you wish to buy Miss Writer’s books in this world …”
Nika Thought-werk adds “Please visit the book stand in the corner of this room”