Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Second Life

Author Interview ~ Johnpaul Mahofski

As many of you know, I spend lots of time in the virtual world, Second Life (and, recently, Kitely, too).

Lots for a writer to do in these worlds—at a café, library, or even a fishing club—talking about writing or, as writers do, talking about everything else

One of my long-term friends has had three names, so far, for his avatars—Soup Johnson, Relish Resident, and Brokali (trying on personae is often practiced in virtual worlds…).

His real-world name is Johnpaul Mahofski and I’ve done four past posts featuring him and his unique fiction:

Breaking Boundaries ~ Microfiction

Microfiction ~ Revisited

MicroFiction Reprise :-)

And, we had a mini-interview in this post—My Friend ~ Micro-Fiction Writer & Prison Librarian

And, here’s an article about Microfiction, itself.

Those links to Johnpaul’s posts will lead you to some of his stories

So, let’s have a proper interview with this man.


Would you tell us a little bit about yourself, Johnpaul?

Let’s see I have low self-esteem and suffer from depression and anxiety. I definitly think those two aspects are me. On paper, I am Johnpaul Mahofski, age 43. I’ve been in the taxable workforce since I was 15. Prior to that, I carried newspapers and cleaned offices and, along the way, I’ve earned a B.S. Education, emphasis Mathematics; and, an M.L.I.S. Masters, Library and Information Science.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I read a decent amount, work my day job, fish, and attend church regularly. Oh! And, hang out in virtual worlds

And, the title of our mini-interview revealed that day job as prison librarian—an exemplary service you perform

So, Johnpaul, when did you start writing?

I always enjoyed writing; but, I’d say it was in the early nineties that I penned a column for the college newspaper called Pope’s Thoughts. Little did I know these stories were what I now call microfiction. After that, I earned a bit in journalism (on the side) up until about five years ago—sports reporting, feature writing, local meetings. I did this mostly for Pittsburgh newspapers.

Can you explain your motivations for being a microfictioneer?

I think the best I can say is that short columns and stories are what feels the best. I don’t know about novels for me I love to just punch, hard and quick.

Where do you get your ideas?

I’m a people watcher.

Do you ever experience writer’s block?

No, but I do experience laziness.

Are there any particular authors who’ve influenced you?

Charles Dickens, David Barry, David Sedaris, Lydia Davis, Eminem, Biggie, Tupac, Nicholas Sparks—not in that order.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

I think when you self publish the only challenge is yourself.

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your book or getting it published that you would change?

I feel like I would have done more stories

How do you promote your work?

I haven’t marketed this work yet. (see above—low self-esteem, anxiety, depression {Also see my punctuation.})

Would you say your stories are mostly based on your people-watching or is it also imagination?

Yes, both play hard in these stories.

Do you have any favorite stories in this collection?

No, every little story is important to me.

What project are you working on now?

I’m working on a professional project, an anthology; plus, I’m doing a lot of research about Saints, hoping to write microfiction about them.

What’s been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? Or, what’s been the best compliment?

As a journalist I was often criticized and told “We’ll call you”. It hurt a lot. The best compliment is being interviewed on this blog.

Well, Johnpaul, your best compliment is a compliment for me :-)

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Read, visit your libraries, and write with your eyes closed once a week.


Thanks, so muchJohnpaul, for an interview that’s let my readers peek into a corner of the mind of a microfiction author…

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The Happiest Writer/Illustrator I Know

Let’s start with an image of this woman:

I used to work as an events manager for a place that catered to writers in the virtual world, Second Life. That’s where I met Debbie.

I certainly still spend time in Second Life, with writers, but I haven’t seen this woman, virtually, for quite some time

Debbie Ridpath Ohi

I learned of her creativity the first time I met her—she created objects in Second Life, like a pile of books that was really a chair and an artist’s easel you could use

I do hope you’ll check out every link about her in this post but I want to import some words she uses to create a “picture” of herself:


jeff | writing | blathering | long soak in a hot bath | my nieces and nephews | my sister’s books | San Francisco sourdough | canoe trips | board gaming | office supply stores | bookmarks | filking | science fiction/fantasy | my iPad | songwriting | reading in the tub | Star Trek:The Original Series | sushi | food movies | sappy happy endings | spicy teas like cinnamon and licorice | my harp | chocolate | Nahanni trip | Urban Tapestry | creative people


wasted time | leaf blowers | whiners | squirrels | telemarketers | cigarette smoke | people who send big e-mail attachments without asking first | swimsuit shopping | spam | tv commercials in movie theatres | cellphone slaves | squeaky shoes | being stuck in a line without anything to read

Most of the people in Second Life choose creative aliases for their avatars.

I knew Debbie as Inkygirl, which is also her Blog For Children’s/YA Book Writers And Illustrators, which includes [her] Writer’s and Illustrator’s Guide To Twitter, interviews, [her] MicroBookReviews [scroll down a bit for this one], book reviews in comic formatwriting/publishing industry surveysWriting & Illustrating a Picture Book For Simon & Schuster BFYR post series [scroll down a bit for that one, too] and 250, 500, 1000 Words/Day Writing Challenge. Also see [her] Inkygirl archives, Category archives, and comics for writers [again, scroll down] (including Will Write For Chocolate). [She] tweet[s] about the craft and business of writing and illustrating at @inkyelbows.

I’ll do one more thing to encourage you to visit and explore her site. Here’s one of her Will Write for Chocolate comics:

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A Tribute To My Virtual (Real) Friend . . .

Regular readers of this blog know well my work on Book Island in the virtual world Second Life.

Some of you have read the guest post I did for Joel Friedlander, Second Life: Virtual Book Promotion and Word of Mouth.

Some folks claim that friendships in virtual worlds aren’t real

I would say two things:

They didn’t use the right virtual world.


They’ve never been in a virtual world.

Perhaps a quote from that guest post is in order:

“If you’ve never experienced virtual reality, the first, obvious yet often-overlooked, fact is that there is a real person behind every virtual person. You may be sitting in a fake coffee house, ‘drinking’ fake coffee with a 3-D representation of another person, but that other person is ‘there’, responding to you

I have a friend on Book Island named Donjuan Writer.

He’s ultra-intelligent, from the UK, living in Sweden, writes awesome poetry, and is looking into making films in Second Life.

I’ve had many amazing conversations with him.

Recently, he told me he’d had a “breakout” event—performed some of his poetry in public.

There’s a video down there with him performing the poem and I’m going to put the words here, too.

First though, I want to give the definitions for a word used in the poem—bollocks:

1 – the testicles.

2 – [treated as singular] nonsense; rubbish (used to express contempt or disagreement, or as an exclamation of annoyance).

War On Bo**ocks

Ladies and gentlemen,
Brothers and sisters
Children and animals
Flora and fauna,
rent boys and feminists,
movement-makers and cynical bastards,
people of the world,
I declare a war,
on Bollocks.

Let us not be mistaken
this is not a war on dog’s bollocks.
“Dog’s bollocks” is our unifying cry.
it is bollocks
and bollocks alone
that calls us to action.

For too long,
bollocks has paraded itself as reality.
Broadcasted bollocks
has been viewed by our children.
Bollocks has been exposed to the peoples of other cultures,
even the very notion of culture,
has become bollocks.

We have no idea to what degree bollocks may have infiltrated our borders.
We can never document how much bollocks has gone unchecked.
And while the bollocks that springs to mind
hang before our opened eyes,
the untold bollocks beyond our peripheries,
aside from our focus,
underlying the fabric of our cares,
hanging there in the gob-smacked vacuum of the truth-filled cosmos,
continue to taunt and dare us.

There is so much bollocks in our midst that it is fair to conclude that the world rests on the top
of almighty bollocks.

To the bollocks, I say “bollocks”
and take back what’s rightfully mine;
my bollocks
my business
and the bollocks of men, women and children
are their own bollocks.

The bollocks we rise against
are the bollocks that would destroy us.
the bollocks that would enslave us,
the bollocks that would have us teetering on the edge as we slave away in a rut that has us pummeled and bombarded by bollocks
day in
day out,
the bollocks belligerently bashes, beats and bastardises
our rights to just hang about and talk bollocks.

Our rights will be etched loud and proud on our collective, human constitution,
the right to bare bollocks
in the name of world peace
space travel,
clean energy,
healthy food
affordable medical care
access to education
and the longevity of life;
the ability to travel the globe
with a smile on our faces and to smile without fear in the face of a new endeavor
an endevour into the future
the future that is free
from this bollocks.
Brothers, sisters, hermaphrodites,
hear my plea,
Bollocks to bollocks
it’s dog’s bollocks time!

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Author Interview ~ Laura Cantu

Some of you may know I was the Events Manager on Book Island in the virtual world Second Life.

We had many writers attending events and a few of them have been interviewed here.

Here comes another one :-)


Welcome to the blog, Laura. Let’s start with you telling us about your newly finished book, O. K.?Ancient Rising

Sure, Alex.  Xandria Drake: Ancient Rising is a paranormal fantasy novel that puts a unique spin on the history of certain supernatural beings. The story is told through the words of a quirky, yet endearing young lady named Xandria Drake. Her journey through the mysterious and magical worlds of hidden realities forces her to question everything, including herself. Through experiences with darkness, light, chaos, and order, Xandria learns about love, sacrifice, and how to overcome fear. Like an alchemist changes lead into gold, Xandria eventually finds herself transforming into a new person.

So, where’s your book available?

Well, I decided to self-publish and worked with a friend to make it available on Kindle.  For the first run, we decided to release it in parts to allow people to try it before really committing. The full book will also be available very soon. Eventually, it will be available in paperback on Amazon as well.

Your readers can visit my Author Page and explore a part or two of the book :-)

Yes, I noticed you have three parts of the book already available! So, How did you come up with the idea for your story?

Well, it all happened in a strange and serendipitous kind of way. There I was, singing in the shower and washing my hair, when the background information of the story just downloaded into my consciousness. The experience was so vivid that I could almost see a colored map, complete with dates, events, and places, right in front of me. I enjoyed the material immensely and could not stop thinking about it. I even dreamed about it. Eventually, I was begrudgingly convinced by my inner dialogue to “try” to write about it. I had never written anything of this scale in my life and certainly did not think of myself as an author. Yet, there the inner voice was, prodding me to proceed. Scared and intimidated, I raised the lid of my laptop, clicked on the word processing program, and stared at a blank screen. Within seconds, my fingers were typing, taking me along for a ride. Characters came to life, the story formed, and I simply let it happen. It was like watching a movie.  I knew there was information to be released, but I had no clue how it would happen.  The entire process was amazing, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Certainly sounds like this story was ready to be born :-) Do, please, tell us a little about who Laura Cantu is.

I suppose I’ll begin by telling you of my professions. I have two main careers. I am a Doctor of Oriental Medicine by day, and a professional ballroom dancer by night. I love both of my jobs, but if I had to choose only one, I would choose dancing.  I absolutely love to dance, and I hold several national titles.  I placed 4th in the world in the Professional World Argentine Tango Championships and currently compete professionally with my partner and husband, Louis Bar, in the Dancesport Championships Circuit. Additionally, I dance with students and amateur partners in both the International and American dance styles.  My partner and I perform all over the world and enjoy every minute of it. There is nothing like connecting with the music, my partner, and the audience to create inspiring and meaningful moments. The benefit of having the privilege of sharing these moments with others is simply magical!

Aside from dancing and performing acupuncture on patients, I also freelance as an artist and graphic designer. I design brochures, logos, etc., as well as paint portraits, draw, and sculpt.  Most recently, I’ve added writing to my repertoire. Some have called me a Jack-of-all-trades, yet I like to think of myself as simply being creative.

O.K., I just have to ask, if you care to answer, how old you are and where you’re from.

That’s a fun question. I am 38 years old according to popular belief, but I feel more playful and energetic with each year that passes. I appreciate life and value every year that I have the honor to enjoy life’s experiences.

I was born in Kentucky, but moved almost every year until I was 24 years old. I’ve lived in North Carolina, California, and many states in between. One place I’ve never lived is overseas. My husband, however, is from France. Luckily, I get to travel a lot

Do you find time for any hobbies?

It can be difficult, but I try. Sometimes to relax, I watch movies, read books, and play Second Life.

Is there anything else you’d like us to know, Laura?

First, I would like to say thank you to your readers who’ve gotten this far in the interview :-)

Also, a HUGE THANKS to you, Alexander, for asking me to do this interview. I love your blog and am thrilled that you asked me to be a part of it!

You are Very Welcome, Laura :-)


O. K., Folks, now is the time to ask Laura your questions in our Comments :-)
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Author Interview ~ Nia Holden

Today’s post gives us 42 Author Interviews :-)  Nia Holden

It also introduces another author I met when I was Events Manager for Book Island in the virtual world Second Life.

We had an Open Mic at Book Island’s library every Sunday and that’s where I was introduced to Nia’s writing—deeply meaningful poetry, often dark, yet always showing glimmers of hope

Nia is from the country of Georgia.

I’m quite honored she’s decided to be interviewed here


Nia, please tell us how long you’ve been writing.

Alex, I’ve been writing from early childhood

Do you remember your earliest writing? What was your reason for writing then? What did you like about it?

My first writing was fairytales. It seems I just liked to write. I found there weren’t a lot of fairytales, which got me wondering why people hadn’t written more :-) So, I wrote them myself and asked my mother to read them for me.

In my writing back then, I liked that fantasy can be endless and you can imagine anything—there are no rules—you have the feeling there are no walls to break—you’re free to move and describe what you’re seeing.

Would you describe your writing style for us?

Hmmm… Writing style… I don’t think I have any special style

What do you think is your motivation for writing?

Each person has their own way of describing their motivations; but, I don’t think I have any unusual motives, I just write, that’s all.

Are there any writers you admire who you might call your “inspiration”?

My inspiration is Galakhtioni, the Georgian poet. When I read his poems, I was so affected I felt the world changed around me. I found that the soul is a mirror and it shows us the inside world of a person.

Georgian is your native language but how much of your writing has been translated into English?

I try to translate all my work because I’ve found a lot of amazing people who care about what I write; so, I always try to translate so I can share with them.

Would you tell us how much you revise or edit your writing?

My writing needs lots of work. I always edit and correct until I have the best possible result. Everything needs hard work to get what you really want, nothing comes easy.

What are your published works?

I have two published books, Heart Beat Time and 65 Cells.

Would you tell us what kind of help you received in your publishing?

My friends helped a lot with publishing.  I want to especially mention Don Shattuck—an amazing person. He works hard to help me correct my terrible English and grammar mistakes :-) Also, he helped me upload my books to Amazon. I want to thank him, very much

When will you be published again?

I don’t know what will be in the future. I live for today and write when I have something to say.  So, the future is for the future.

What are your most important hopes or goals for your writing?

My hopes? Better to say my Dream. If even one person understands what I try to say in my writing and something in their soul changes—they see something they didn’t see before—I will be happy.

Nia, thank you, so much, for letting us know about your books and giving us a glimpse into your life as a writer :-)


You can have both of Nia’s recently published books by visiting AmazonHeart Beat Time65 Cells

From the book descriptions on Amazon:

Heart Beat Time is first collection of poetry by Nia Holden, a young woman with deep roots in eastern European culture translated for the first time into English. Her unique viewpoint on life and love will startle and amaze new readers. 65 Cells is a collection of fiction and poetry.”
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