A gift at the new Velvet Thorn mall

Just over a week ago The Velvet Thorn had a complete rebuild. And, obviously, the mall got a complete overhaul too. Today we placed our vendor boards back in the mall. And, given that the new style for VT is pretty much to our taste (you'll notice that there's always been a very Victorian, with a Steampunk edge, to Raven Park, and the darker use of rust and electricity is very us), we thought we'd give all members of VT a house-warming gift to celebrate the new build, and the new year. So, pop over to the VT mall, make sure you've got your VT group tag active (please note that if you're not a member of the group, there is a L$250 fee to join), find our boards:

and touch the gift box:

The gift is made very much in the theme of the new VT build.

Note that the gift will only be available into the early new year. Expect the gift-giver to disappear any time from the 3rd onwards.


2012: Our year in review (Part 2)

This is the second part of our review of Z&A's 2012. You can find part 1 here.

July kicked off the second half of 2012 quietly on the Z&A front, with no product releases and nothing written here on the blog. That's not to say we weren't doing anything. Behind the scenes we were working on the early planning for The Femdom Hunt III, and Antony was starting to have a play with some code that would turn into a new product range.

August saw no product releases either. Again, we were working in the background on The Femdom Hunt III (the hunt was announced on the 1st of the month) and Antony was still busy working on the code for the new product range that would be released in time for the hunt.

August did see us welcoming Beaumont Manor back to having a full region. We also contributed a couple of items to their "freebie shop". You can still find these items over there.

This month also saw us taking part in the Down and Dirty Hunt. For this hunt we made a whole new kind of product: a simple RLV trap in the form of quicksand. This has since gone on sale as a Z&A product.

September was yet another month that appeared to be a quiet one on the Z&A front but which was very busy behind the scenes. By this point we were well into organising the Femdom Hunt III. Also, work was still under way with developing and testing the new range of vehicles. Some testing was nice and gentle and simply involved having a nice wander around Raven Park:

Other tests.... well, let's just say when it's Zardia and Antony testing, anything can happen...

October was, unsurprisingly, very busy. The Femdom Hunt III kicked off, we released the new range of Z&A vehicles, we kept on top of and ran The Femdom Hunt III (which included Antony having to put up with some terrible abuse by some of the hunt locations!), Antony found time to make some changes to the Avatar Radar and we put the Halloween gifts out for everyone again. Late on in the month we also started work on a project for Raven Park, which would be revealed in...

November was yet another month where most of the work was going on behind the scenes. Antony started work on a brand new project (which is still ongoing as of the time of writing, and should be ready for release early next year -- perhaps in time for our third birthday) which kept him fairly busy. Also behind the scenes we were working on a new Mansion building for Raven Park. Towards the end of the month it was ready and we deleted the old one and dropped the new one into place. As of the time of writing all but one room is furnished and available for play, but there is still more work to do (at some point soon we aim to provide descriptions of all the rooms available along with some pointers on how to use each of the toys).

Towards the very end of November we released two new vehicles. One was the carriage that had been the Z&A gift for The Femdom Hunt III, the other was a RLV sleigh. We made the sleigh available as a winter gift for all of the members of our store group.

December has been another month where much is ongoing behind the scenes. As well as the new ongoing project, Antony started work on another product which, as of the time of writing, is being tested and tweaked and should be released early next year. The changes to the play area at Raven Park continued and we're also delighted to report that the rental side of the region is not only full, but we now have a waiting list! (the gamble from earlier on in the year was very much worth it).

We released three new products (both builds that had previously been hunt gifts) and, of course, made our Christmas gifts available for free again. We also accepted an invite to, and made a build especially for, Deirdre and lelo’s Fetish Spot.


And that brings us to the end of our review of Z&A's 2012. It's been a really enjoyable year for Z&A. We've had a lot of fun building new things. We've had a lot of fun making stuff that helps make people's SL more enjoyable (or less enjoyable... *wink*). We've especially had a lot of fun making a place where people can play and live. While we did say at the start of this review that we have no master plan (and this is true), there are plans for what'll happen in the new year. Work is under way on new products and they should be revealed within the next month or so.

To everyone who has shopped with us, hunted with us, or just visited Raven Park and enjoyed the surroundings: thank you for helping make 2012 a great year for Z&A.


2012: Our year in review (Part 1)

This year has been another fascinating and surprising year for Z&A. We're the first to admit that there is no master plan, that we have let Z&A grow and evolve naturally, that the most important thing for us is that this is fun and that everyone we deal with is happy with what we do. Once again we finished the year surprised and delighted at how much we've grown considering our humble beginnings.

January was a pretty quiet month for us. Antony had a play with the idea of a relay checker, initially as something that would be placed around the shop to help people diagnose any problems they might be having with our products, and then we quickly released it as a free product to help everyone. We did release a couple of products, including a new Punishment Picker and the very popular Z&A Strap-On.

Two big announcements were made that month. The first was our decision to hold a mini-hunt around Z&A to celebrate Z&A's second birthday. The second was the formation of Raven Park, a playground and hangout created out of the older Shackles Femdom (something which, a little later on in the year, was to grow much bigger).

February was a very busy month for us. We released quite a few new products, including a black version of a popular simple throne, along with the catch/hold holding cells and the Quadripod; and then a little later we released two new cells, the Corner Chained range and the Pipe Bed.

This month we also experimented with the idea of having a guest vendor in the store. For this experiment we invited Evelock to place a vendor in our main store. This worked well and Evelock would go on to having a store nextdoor to Z&A's main store (but more on what made that possible a little later).

February saw two very big events, for us. The first, of course, was the birthday mini-hunt. We planned this having no idea how well received it would be. The idea was to have people wander around the main store and the Raven Park playground and pick up a collection of gifts we'd left out. We weren't sure how many people would turn up. We weren't sure at all if it was going to be a massive flop or not. We needn't have worried. It was a very busy weekend that weekend and lots of people turned up and made the whole thing really fun. It was a real delight to see so many people wandering around and exploring.

The second event followed just after the end of the mini-hunt, but had been in the planning stage for about a month, and we'd been busy working on it for a couple of weeks leading up to it. On the last day of the month we deleted the main store building, and the cell store, and replaced them both with a brand new build that would join it all together. This was our biggest and most ambitious store build to date and we made it big enough to last us for a while to come. Hopefully it'll last us more than a year (normally we've found ourselves replacing the store every year, or more). Of course, it didn't quite work out that way, as we needed to build a special sky platform for a new product range, but more on that later...

March, which we'd planned on being a quiet month after all the work running up to the mini-hunt and the new store, didn't turn out to be so quiet after all. Around the middle of the month we were told by our neighbour that they were letting their 1/2 of the region go. We had another long conversation, the same as we'd had before when this last happened, and this time the outcome was different. Whereas last time we decided to just stick with our 1/2, this time we decided to take a risk and take on the whole region, making the other 1/2 available for rentals.

Although slow to get started we're now in a position where, not only is every single plot being rented, we have a waiting list for plots. And we're lucky to have some wonderful residents on those plots. It's worked out really well.

April was another busy month for us. I kicked off with us taking part in two hunts (one build being, we think, the only chocolate RLV cell on the grid), with us being in a third hunt by the middle of the month. Also, around the middle of the month, we released six more cells and two new gags. By the end of the month we released five more products, including the rather popular RLV Force-TP Sentry.

May kicked off with us sponsoring the Femdom Community in SL's Femdom Fiesta. This month also saw Antony playing with a pet project that, by the middle of the month, was released as a freebie known as the Z&A Avatar Radar.

May also saw the release of a product that had Antony all excited as he was building it: The Z&A Police Box Cell. That wasn't the only cell build that we did that month. Towards the end of the month we sponsored a Science Fiction themed dance at The Velvet Thorn. As part of this we built a special cell that was given as a gift to all who attended. This, in turn, would inspire a new small range of cells that would be released in...

June was another very busy month for us. It kicked off with us taking part in the Fetish Love Hunt. Our build for that probably took us as deep into full-on fetish territory as we've ever been and, to this day, we're still debating about if we should release it as a product (as we often do with hunt builds).

A few days later we announced the release of a range of science fiction themed cells, inspired by the build we'd done for the VT dance the previous month. Whereas all our other cells, so far, were very much about doors and bars and walls and the like, this range concentrated on force fields, both visible and invisible. One cell even doing away with any visible door, walls or roof.

June also saw the release of a new Z&A carry restraint as well as the release of two versions of the Z&A Lamp Post -- a build that started life as the gift for a hunt earlier on in the year.

Finally, towards the end of the month, we released two new gags. The mousetrap gag is still one of Antony's favourite gag builds.

And that takes us half way through Z&A's 2012. The review of the second half can be found in part 2.


Deirdre and lelo’s Fetish Spot

As avid readers of Second Life Fetish Fashion we were delighted to receive, a couple of days back, an invite to take part in Deirdre and lelo's new Fetish Spot. While we don't exactly do fetish fashion, we obviously do fetish and, in part, cater for a section of the fetish community that isn't so well supported (come on designers, let's have more stuff for guys!).

The idea of the Fetish Spot is simple: invite designers and builders of fetish items and kinky stuff to make a thing available for just L$10 and then have people gather and hang out and meet and greet and get a great selection of (full, not demo items) samples of people's work.

So, with that in mind, we've made an item that's a very Z&A product and is currently exclusive to the Fetish Spot location. It's a rebuild of an item that was a gift during our Second Birthday Mini-Hunt, this time done in 100% mesh (and still with a land impact of just 1 prim).

To get this product head over to the Fetish Spot and look for our board:

Also, while you're out and about, grabbing Z&A bargains, don't forget that there's just a few days left to get our Christmas Gifts and our Winter Gift.


Three new products

We're delighted to be able to announce the release of three new products into the main store and onto the Second Life Marketplace. The first two are two styles of wooden pet cage. These two products are our first ever 100% mesh builds. Because of this they give quite a bit of detail despite having a land impact of just 3!

The third and final product is a fun RLV trap, in the form of quicksand:

This product will grab any open-RLV-relay-wearing victim who happens to walk into it and will hold them there for a time you set, or until someone else comes along and releases them. Optionally it can be configured to strip them as they're released (because, of course, quicksand would cause all your clothing to fall off -- no, really, it would).

As always, you can find these products in our main store and on our marketplace.

While you're down at the main store don't forget that there's still time to pick up our Christmas gifts and your own copy of the Z&A Sleigh.


Now that it's December...

Now that it's December it's time, once again, to make available some seasonal builds and gifts available.

First off, the Christmas stocking version of our popular Punishment Picker is now listed on the marketplace:

As usual, this will only be available until the end of the month and then it'll be packed away for another year.

Also, in addition to the winter gift we announced a couple of days ago, we're making our Christmas builds available for free again. Just pop down to our main store and look for and touch these two boards:


A new mansion for Raven Park

Over the past six or so weeks we've been working away, on a build platform high above Raven Park, creating something we've been wanting to create for quite a while now.

The plan for the project goes back quite some time, at least a year, before the plot that was known as Shackles Femdom became Raven Park. When we first took over complete ownership of Shackles we decided that we'd like to update the building known as The Mansion. While the building we were using was (and still is) a great build, the layout was never quite right for our needs. Because of this we kept saying that we should custom-build a mansion building that would be exactly what was needed. Much time passed and other projects got worked on and completed, but we finally got round to this one.

Today we dropped the new building in place:

All the rooms the old Raven Park Mansion used to have are still there (two BDSM play rooms, a pamper room and the office) but, this time, there's space for more. We have firm plans for the extra rooms but, while the "old" rooms are still there and ready to use, the new rooms will look like this:

until we get around to furnishing them.

Please feel free to drop in, explore, play and make the most of The Mansion. We hope you have as much fun using it as we had building it and will have furnishing it.


Two new vehicles and a winter gift

It's around six weeks now since we announced our new range of RLV-enabled vehicles and we're happy to say they've been well received. Now that a little time has passed we've decided to put the carriage (which was our gift for The Femdom Hunt III) out for sale including, of course, a rezzer version of it too:

As well as this we've also made a winter-themed vehicle. We're very pleased to announce the release of the Z&A Sleigh. As with all our other vehicles, for those who want to make the vehicle available for public use on their plots and in their regions, we have the rezzer version:

The vehicle itself is also, of course, available. However, from now until the end of December, we've decided to make a gift of this. If you would like your own copy of the Z&A Sleigh all you have to do is come over to the Z&A vehicle test track, find this board (it's with all the other sale boards):

make sure that "Friends of Z&A" is your active group (if you're not a member yet there's a joiner next to the board) and touch the board. When you do your own free copy will be delivered to your inventory.

And, while you're there, please do feel free to try our the other vehicles available.

Also, all being well, anyone interested should be able to try out the sleigh in proper winter conditions this Saturday. Keep an eye out for the sleigh as an attraction at the Femdom Network Ice Queen Winterfest.


Halloween Gifts

Now that Halloween is almost here, it's time to put out the Z&A Halloween gifts again. If you're in need of a prop or two, or even an outfit, for a Halloween bash, and especially something with a little sprinkle of RLV, you need to head down to our main store and slap these boards:

Also don't forget that this weekend is the final weekend of The Femdom Hunt III. If you're intending to do the hunt, and pick up 60+ gifts from around the grid (two of which are Z&A builds -- the one in our main store and the one at Raven Park), and you've not started yet, this is going to be your last chance. If you've not grabbed Z&A's gift yet you really should think about heading down and doing so, it is related to recent product releases and you don't want to miss out.


Avatar Radar v1.6

It's been a while since we've mentioned the Avatar Radar here on the blog. Despite the lack of mention Antony has been tinkering with it on and off since the initial release (it's turned into a bit of a pet project for him -- something to tinker with when he's not busy on major projects) and, today, v1.6 has been released.

The main improvements, since the last announcement, include things like improved workings of the menus, the ability to configure the vertical scale used to position the avatars above the map, an access mode that lets you share the menu with others and some general improvements to the robustness of the detection of avatars and the way the avatar "bugs" clean themselves up.

As always, this is a free product. Just pop down to our main store to get a copy.

While you're there, don't forget that The Femdom Hunt III is now on and this means there is a gift hidden in the store somewhere (it also means there is a gift hidden on Raven Park and at around 60 other locations around the grid). Also, while you're at the main store, why not pop up to our new vehicle test track and try out our new range of RLV-enabled vehicles? They're all free to rez and play on so you can see if you like them before you even think about shopping for one.


Announcing: Z&A Vehicles

It might seem that, here at Z&A, we've been rather quiet over the past few months. To some degree we have been. One reason is that we've been working hard on organising The Femdom Hunt III (kicks off today). But that's not the only reason.

For the past couple or so months we've been working on a new product range. As with last year's release of the cells and the creation of the cell store we're launching with a whole range to choose from. There are 10 vehicles available right now from the main store and from the marketplace. In addition to the 10 new vehicles there are also 10 rezzer versions (these include a copy of the vehicle and a public rezzer that you can use to give access to the vehicle -- perfect if you want to provide a bit of fun for visitors to your parcel or region).

The new vehicles are as follows:

Each vehicle has an RLV-enabled sit point, some where the "victim" is the driver, some where the "victim" is a passenger. When locked on by RLV the other passengers get to control their access to their inventory, their rights to use IMs, etc. They also have the option to strip the victim.

All vehicles have copy permission (so you don't have to worry about losing it) and some are mesh. Because they are copy, rather than transfer, we have a no refund policy. But don't worry, we've thought about that. We don't want anyone paying for a product they've not tried. With this in mind we've created the Z&A Test Track:

We invite everyone to come along and use this facility to try out the vehicles. Just walk down the steps, round the front of the landing area, and touch the rez board for any vehicle you wish to try. You'll also find sale boards there for the vehicles and the rezzer versions.

If you have any questions about the vehicles please don't hesitate to drop Antony Fairport or Zardia Avindar a line and we'll do our best to answer all we can.


Coming Soon! II

Something's changed about the new thing that turned up in the shop last week. Apparently one of the question marks has gone missing, and now and again something keeps popping up in its place...

Surely soon must mean real soon?


Coming Soon!

Zardia and Antony have had a bit of a move-around in the main store. The last set of products to be released, which were sat on the "new" display stand, have been moved into the shop proper.

And this has turned up in its place:

What could it be? How soon is soon? Does it have something to do with The Femdom Hunt III?


Welcome back Beaumont Manor

Since the early days of Z&A we've always been lucky to have the support and encouragement of many people and locations in Second Life. Especially important to us, given that it's the primary driving force for many of our products, is the support we've had from many members of Second Life's Femdom community. One such region that's always provided plenty of encouragement is Beaumont Manor.

So, understandably, we were a little sad when, a while back, Beaumont Manor had to scale back. And, as you can imagine, we were delighted to hear that the Manor was expanding and growing to a full region again. We've been and had a tour and it looks wonderful. And, of course, there's some Z&A toys sprinkled around the place.

This weekend sees the grand opening of the new Beaumont Manor, and everyone is invited:

The official opening event starts at noon, Second Life time, tomorrow (September 1st) and runs until 4pm. As you can see in the above invite, there's all sorts of music, including life performances.

You can find the new Beaumont Manor here:


Down and Dirty

It's hunt time again. Starting tomorrow we're taking part in the Down and Dirty hunt:

We've actually made a new kind of build for this hunt, something you won't have found in our store so far (although, obviously, still very much a Z&A RLV device) and, while it might not be obviously "Down and Dirty", it will get you down and dirty.

The hunt kicks off tomorrow and you can find more details about it on the hunt's blog.

PS: Talking of hunts, don't forget that at the start of this month we announced the launch of The Femdom Hunt III. Be sure to spread the word and make sure that your favourite Femdom/BDSM/fetish stores and Femdom regions are in the hunt.


Two new gags in the main store

It's been a while since we added to our growing range of gags but, last week, Antony finally made one he's been meaning to make for quiet some time, and we've also decided to properly release a build from quite some time ago.

First up is the older build. This is a nice basic tree branch with rope gag, good for when you want to shut your victim up but just with simple outdoor materials:

Second is a gag that should not only keep your victim quiet (okay, it'll probably have the opposite effect but that's even more fun, right?), it should also teach them a very harsh lesson. This is the mousetrap gag:

You'll find both these products in the gag section of the main store as well as on the Second Life marketplace.