Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Sixty-Six

The Light Within the Darkness

Alexander M Zoltai


The Prime Leader, Cerbrus, was staggeringly angry…

The Minor Leaders, all twenty-six of them, were in a meeting that he was not invited to.

They had attempted to keep it secret—he sent his best troops to bring the ingrates to his Residence.


Eighteen years before, in a mountain village, a girl was born—she had various Signs associated with her birth—her parents did all they could to keep her from discovery as the longed-for Promised Child…

Her name was Pershone.


The Minor Leaders were not arrested so much as escorted to the Prime Leader’s Residence—each proceeded by a cohort of their own troops and a standard bearer—all surrounded by the Prime Leader’s Imperial shock troops.

If the whole Land were to be attacked, repulsion would be quite easy…


Pershone knew she had a Mission—knew she must be circumspect—knew what to do…


The Prime Leader began to speak to the Minor Leaders:

“I will spare your lives, in the Name of my relation to the Godhead, SupremePrime.

“You will all show repentance by performing a spiritual trek to the Sacred Mountain, Itrisurk and camping near the Allu Canyon.

“Then, you each will walk up, alone, to the Cave of Luro and repeat a prayer I will provide.

“After which, I will welcome you back here to enforce my own brand of penance, to be observed before your peoples…”


Pershone travelled to the mountain, Itrisurk, taking only a female friend and three pack animals.


The Prime Leader arranged to have a special cadre of his undercover troops activated—covert agents triggered into action by secret messages—one in each of the Minor Leaders’ personal guard corps…


Pershone and her female friend, Lai, reached Allu Canyon and camped directly below the Cave of Luro…


The Minor Leaders arrived at Allu Canyon and encountered Pershone and Lai…

The Leaders engaged in a heated discussion about what to do about the two women until Pershone walked up to them… They immediately fell quiet and Pershone said:

“I am the woman who has matured from my previous state as the Promised Child.”

They all, Leaders and soldiers, looked at each other; but, none spoke…

Pershone walked extremely close to the Leader of Nesru and said, softly:

“I will gift you with knowledge. The Prime Leader has spies in your guard corps. He intends to kill each of you; but, I will stop this plot. Quietly tell the other Leaders.”

The Leader of Nesru went to each of his Peers and privately conveyed the message.

When he had returned to Pershone, she walked around the large group of men; and, as she walked, certain of the soldiers dismounted and began to follow her—twenty-six of them…

When she had returned to where she began, she stopped, and the men who had been following fell faint…

She then said: “Now, let us talk about your fear of the Prime Leader…”

The Minor Leaders told her of their secret meeting to plan some way to override the Prime Leader’s death grip on their plans and hopes for their peoples.

They all admitted being intimidated by various forms of dread and apprehension when confronted by the powers of the Prime Leader…

When they had talked themselves out, Pershone said:

“You give the man more power than he actually has—you make him into a god when the only God there is has created this man just as He created you.  He has certain traits that can instill fear in those who have learned to be fearful—learned I say, since you all are brave men in your own realms…”

The Leaders looked at each other and began to smile… with hate in their eyes…

Pershone spoke:

“You will not attempt to subdue this man with the same tactics he uses against you. I will confront him and clear the way for your future—this is why I was born… You must stay here until word reaches you of my success.”

She gave them further orders; then, she and Lai departed…

The men had no desire to do anything but what Pershone had told them to do…


The Prime Leader waited anxiously for word from his spies…

When evening of the third day arrived, he decided to send his shock troops to Itrisurk…

Before he could give the word, he was alerted that a strange woman desired an Audience.

Being a man who’s prime sport was taking advantage of women, he gave permission for her to enter his Chamber…

She appeared to him as a mere country girl with a friend attending her; perhaps, a village elder’s daughter…

He spoke:

“Young woman, what brings you to the Court of the Prime Leader, the Representative of the Godhead?”

“I come to warn you.”

“Of what, my dear?”

“First, your spies in the guard corps of the countries’ Leaders are incapacitated. Second, the Leaders themselves are in counsel together at Itrisurk.”

“You are an unwelcome messenger, my dear… Still, you aid me… I was about to send my shock troops; but, pray, how in the world did you know this and what made you come here?”

“I come here to inform you that the other Leaders are in counsel to reorder their domains so they can form a unified federation of nations, none being a supreme ruler, all being just and fair supporters of tranquillity.”

“Who are you?”

“I am the incarnation of a power that can wither you—I am your Conscience.”

He ordered his priests to chant his most mighty incantations…

While this was happening, he approached the woman and locked eyes with her.

Cerbrus’ body began to subtly vibrate—he began his own chant, a contrapuntal intonation to his priests’.

As Cerbrus’ body increased its vibrations, his fear became manifest—he reached for the woman…

He collapsed.

Pershone asked Lai to counsel the priests; then, she helped Cerbrus to his feet and instructed him:

“You will abdicate your rule, you will go to a far country and farm a plot of land—you may have nine helpers in your new life—I let you live…”

Pershone stretched out her hand and pointed at Lai…

Her friend began to softly glow…

Pershone said to the priests: “She is my arm—she is my hand—none may oppose her.”

Pershone vanished…


Read More Story Bazaar Tales

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A Creative Nonfiction ABC

Like all writing “rules” or “advice”, take what works for you and avoid the rest.

Multiple Award Winning author, C. J. Cherryh said: “No Rule Should Be Followed Off a Cliff.” :-)

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

zz zeyBy Karen Zey

Avoid adverbs assiduously.

Befriend brevity.

Capture sensory details: creamy, crackling or crisp.

Devise dialogue that sounds like real talk. Drop the tags.

Em dash your way to emphasis—and limit those exclamation points!

Flash your essay. Or pen your theme in long form.

Grasp the grammar rules. Ain’t no problem bending ’em on purpose.

Heed your inner muse, but write beyond the self.

Imagine the reader imagining your experience. Read your work aloud.

Juxtapose tender and tough to add depth.

Keep studying your craft—writing is arduous.

Lay down heartfelt moments with lyricism.

Merge metaphors and memories for prisms of meaning.

Narrate with a compelling arc: sweeping tale or braided strands of thought.

Open with a strong hook that hints of more to come.

Punch up your ending with a powerful thought that lingers.

Question every word choice. Quell your penchant for purple prose.

Revise, obsess; revise, lose sleep; revise…

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Perhaps More Writers Should Aspire to Be Like Edgar Allan Poe…?

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe

As a preface to the main text of this post, I offer a statement fraught with truth (and, perhaps, fear, for some...):

“…most books, both traditionally published and self-published, don’t sell well. Whether your book is intended to inspire, inform or entertain, millions of other books and media forms are competing against you for your prospective reader’s ever-shrinking pie of attention.”

That quote is from Mark Coker, the Founder of Smashwords, “…the world’s largest distributor of indie ebooks.”—I also used it in a post I did back 2013, What About All The Authors Whose Books Don’t Sell Very Many Copies?

O.K, preface accomplished…

When I said up there that “Perhaps More Writers Should Aspire to Be Like Edgar Allan Poe…?”, I didn’t necessarily mean more writers should do “spooky” stuff (but, of course, not all Poe’s writing is “spooky”…); nor, did I mean more writers should drink themselves to death…

What if you knew that:

“…Poe earned only about $6,200 in his lifetime, or approximately $191,087 adjusted for inflation.”

What if you also knew that:

“…$191,087 was all you got for 20 years of work and the stuff you wrote happened to be among the most enduring literature ever produced by anyone anywhere?”

Those quotes are from an article in The Millions, entitled, Edgar Allan Poe Was a Broke-Ass Freelancer.

A few more excerpts from the article (the Voice in these quotes is Catherine Baab-Muguira):

“Last October, in the depths of a depression so profound and overwhelming that I had to take mental-health leave from work, I started rereading Poe for the first time since I was a kid… I encountered a writer completely different from the one I thought I knew…He was actually a lot like my writer-friends, with whom I constantly exchange emails bitching about the perversities of our trade—the struggle to break in, the late and sometimes nonexistent payments, the occasional stolen pitch….Poe’s short stories weren’t the adventure-horror tales I remembered, either. They turned out to be exquisitely wrought metaphors for despair.”

“You never enter the same Poe whirlpool twice. Much of his work has a purposeful, built-in double nature; he intended we discover ‘secret codes’ of meaning… “

“This points to the other important, less acknowledged, double nature of Poe’s work. It’s both art and commercial entertainment. Few other American writers so obviously and continually straddle the gap between high and low culture, between art for art’s sake and commercial enterprise.”

“I think if Poe hadn’t had to write for money, he’d probably have faded away long ago.”

And, in a second section of the article (which contains more details about Poe’s literary life), Catherine says:

“Picture this: A tech breakthrough has made mass publishing cheaper than ever before. With the cost of entry down, new publications launch with much high-flown talk about how they’ll revolutionize journalism, only to shut their doors a few years or even months later. Because the industry is so unstable, editors and writers are caught in a revolving door of hirings, firings, and layoffs. A handful of the players become rich and famous, but few of them are freelance writers, for whom rates remain scandalously low. Though some publications pay contributors on a sliding scale according to the popularity of their work, it’s mostly the case that writers don’t earn a penny more than their original fee even when their work goes viral.

“I’m speaking of Poe’s time, not our own. Still, I expect some of this will sound familiar. Pretty much the only piece missing is a pivot to video.”

As always, I urge you to go read the full article; but, as a fitting end to this post:

“When I first cracked back into Poe last October, my therapist begged, ‘Please stop reading him. He’s too depressing.’ But my experience of reading Poe and other writers on Poe the last 11 months has been the opposite of depressing. It helped me climb out of a very deep hole.

“In the end, Poe only pocketed $191,087, but he did get the immortal fame he grew up dreaming of. And I got taken, blessedly, outside myself. If the past is anything to go by, what lies ahead is not destruction. It just might be the stuff of our wildest dreams.”

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Procrastination Is Fear of… What?

Sure today’s re-blog is for Writers — and, Readers — and, Publishers — and, children — and adults — and, men — and, women —- right?

Live to Write - Write to Live

procrastinationDo you procrastinate on projects?

Do you put off tasks that can be done quickly, but are tedious?

Do you avoid certain activities for as long as possible (making phone calls, for instance) because your heart rate increases at the thought of doing them?

I recently saw the phrase “procrastination is fear.” It resonates with me.

Why do we put off things we know need to be done for our business – or to better ourselves?

Fear of success? Fear of no one liking what we do? Fear of rejection after trying? Fear that our goal (making it ‘perfect’) will fall short?

Do you procrastinate on making decisions? If you delay long enough, the decision will be made for you (in most cases), so, you actually do end up making a decision — to let time determine the answer for you.

I can procrastinate on blog posts because I want to…

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Authorial Decisions ~ WebSite, Social Media, Blogging…?

I haven’t featured Jane Friedman (author, digital media strategist, editor, publisher, professor, speaker) for quite some time… Authors, Websites, Social Media

I’ll be sharing excerpts from two of her articles…

The first one leans toward author websites, the second toward social media…

Jane tends to conflate blogs with websites, which is perfectly understandable; yet, be aware, a blog can be considered “social media”…

And, I must emphasize that no matter how much help any of the excerpts may be, not reading her full articles will be a great loss (especially if you’re a writer…).


The first article is, What’s More Important: Author Websites or Social Media?


“These days, I get more noticeable results from my website and blogging efforts, email newsletters, and in-person networking than I do from social media. Not that I want to give up social media—quite the contrary—but I could walk away from Facebook and still earn a living. Not so with my website—it’s absolutely fundamental.”

Then, there are these bullet topics, as reasons a website is important (each Ripe with juicy info.…):

* Being more discoverable through search
* Offering the media (and influencers) the official story on you and your work
* Securing high-quality email newsletter subscribers
* Understanding what social media use is effective
* Monetizing the audience you have

Then (especially for those folks who won’t read her full article):

“Thankfully, you don’t (or shouldn’t) have to choose between having an author website or participating on social media. Nurture both. Choose to make your website a proud and strong showcase for your work and what you want to be known for, and don’t expect social media to always be the hub for all your branding or reader discovery. You’ll be stronger if you have a multi-faceted approach, especially if and when social media fails you.”

Article twoSocial Media for Authors: The Toughest Topic to Advise On

Excerpts (again, stressing that there’s much more meat to chew at the full article):

“Of all the topics I teach, social media is the most vexed. Even in a small class of writers, I find varying skill levels and experience, and a mix of attitudes—and these two factors play a strong role in what people need to hear or learn. I believe a successful social media strategy is driven by one’s personality and strengths, as well as the qualities of the work produced—leading to a unique approach for each writer.”

Then, she throws a critical bombshell of Truth:

“Because social media is widely considered essential to book marketing and promotion, yet it’s constantly changing, it’s become a burden and source of anxiety for beginners and advanced authors alike.”

And, the following bullet points (again, each Ripe with juicy info….):

* Your social media following grows mostly when you produce more work.
* Use social media to micro-publish or to share your work.
* People break social media “rules” all the time and succeed.

So, I’ll leave you with Jane’s summation on social media; and, one last time, urge you to read her full articles:

“So what can I possibly say to writers to help them become better at it [social media]? Well, first, don’t take it all so seriously. Look for what you enjoy. Have a spirit of questioning and discovery. Follow a daily routine that works for you. Sustainable and meaningful social media practice isn’t so different from getting your ‘real’ writing done.”

If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com