Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Rotten Reviews and Terrible Trolls

Today’s re-blog is for writers; and, also, for friends of writers to share with their writer friends; and, also, for those of you who might have a small ember of the writing fire warming your heart…

Lit World Interviews

You will get bad reviews. It’s inevitable, I promise you. Take comfort in the fact that it’s a rite of passage all writers go through. Every – single – one of them, and after the first one has you on the floor, bawling your eyes out, and inexplicably trying to chew your own foot off for a while, they’re not so hard to deal with. Some are pretty funny, and some are just to be ignored. There are people out there who delight in trashing books, and sometimes the authors of books too, for reasons unknown to most decent humans. Sometimes it’s jealousy, and sometimes it’s just because they’re mean. Sometimes also these one star stabs to the soul are perfectly legitimate in their author’s hearts and minds, because they really didn’t enjoy what you wrote for reasons that do or don’t make sense to you. Whatever the reasons are…

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The Pen is Mighty

Ah, pens…

Today’s re-blog shows what can happen when you use one :-)

A Teacher's Reflections

Writing is a powerful thing.  And, so is reading.  To my surprise and delight, this is what I received in the mail recently:

imageYes, it is a postcard from author Kate DiCamillo.  It is even signed, “Your Friend”.  I sent her my blog post on ‘Really Understanding Children’, because Beverly, the character in her book RaymieNightingale,  is just like my Beverly at summer camp.  Well, it was really more than that; I truly understood both children.  I needed Kate DiCamillo to know that.  I think she does, as she wrote this on the bottom of the postcard:

imageThe words read, “P.S.  Thank you for sending on your wonderful blog about Beverly and Beverly.”

The pen most definitely is mighty.  It holds more power than typing the keys on a keyboard.  Handwriting seems to hold real feelings.  I remember the curves of the letters in my grandmother’s writing.  When I…

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Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Forty

Whose Dreamscape Is This?

Alexander M Zoltai


John Perkins rose from his desk.

He was in his private car on the 10th Anniversary Transcontinental  Run of his company’s premier passenger train, Dreamscape One.

He drew aside the deep blue, velvet curtains and had to marvel at the view—he’d been working at the desk since morning, when he was near the Plains of Casvella—now, he could see a sliver of the setting sun in a cleft of the highest peak of the Sage mountain range.

His car was the last, behind the caboose (utterly rare on a passenger train), well insulated from the passengers and crew; except for his long-time friend, Engineer-Conductor, Tony Sustrella, famous “King of the Caboose” and devoted to John’s protection…

He let the curtain close and sat back at the desk—work was his mistress—trains were his wives…

His phone rang and switched itself to the speakers:


“Yeah, Tony…”

“We’re forty minutes out from Lost Canyon—want an alert at fifteen?”

“No, I’ll join you in your space in five.”


John stuffed a few papers into his attaché, locked a few more in the safe, put his cup and saucer in the bin by the door, covered the short distance between his car and Tony’s space (something that he loved because, if done right, it was perfectly safe; but, was always on the edge of danger...), and knocked on the door, which opened instantly.

“Hey, John, you look totally ready for the meeting—how long d’ya think we’ll be there?”

“You know I hate Lost Canyon and can barely stand the new Mayor’s meeting room—I’d say one hour, tops.”

“O.K., I’ll keep the paid customers and crew on the train and give the passengers extra drinks and treats so they won’t mutiny.”

“Right… Tony…?”


“I need ya to help me consummate a decision.”

“Sure thing.”

“I want to leave the company and relax in a damnably well-earned retirement—you want to be the boss?”


“You, the man I trust most—the man with almost as much knowledge of the company as me—the man smart enough to learn the rest of its secrets; and, the man who is probably drooling inside right now…”

Tony’s smile said it all…

John pulled some papers out of the attaché and laid them on the table, along with his pen.

Tony glanced at the transfer of ownership papers then looked at John—“You sure…?”

“Come off it, Tony, you know damn well I am.”

“Yeah, you never did joke much…”

John chuckled and pointed at the papers.

Tony signed them…


The meeting lasted fifty minutes, the passengers were still happy, and Tony sat bemused in the caboose…


Four hours later, in the middle of the Shasteen desert, in the dead of night, Dreamscape One derailed—all passengers and crew (including Tony Sustrella) were dead—the train was a blazing wreck—John Perkins was wandering in the desert, crying his heart out…

Gradually, he began to wake from his dream-world—gradually he became cognizant of his true surroundings—much more gradually, over a period of weeks, he tried to work out what the dream might mean—the purpose of the train, the meaning of Tony, the significance of the transfer of ownership, and the tragic yet imaginary accident…

John decided he’d get some train simulation software for his computer so he could model Dreamscape One, reconstruct the dream—work out the message more fully, integrate the shadowy meanings and events into his waking life…


Read More Story Bazaar Tales

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I Am Not a Writer

Can you write and still not be a “writer”…?

Today’s re-blog puts forward some fascinating opinions………

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

zz IMG_0011By Sheila Siegel

According to all the books on writing that I have read, I am not a writer. I am a psychologist, an anti-slavery activist, and a reader, but I am not a writer. Yet, I have written a book.

I approached writing as I do everything, with focus and determination, but, when I am writing, get stuck, and feel I have nothing to say, I don’t sit down at my computer and stare at a blank screen as other writers exhort. I get up and read, paint, or take the dogs for a walk.

I don’t blog even though it sounds like a good idea. I don’t journal although I have bought several with all good intentions. I had a five-year one where each day was given three lines. After six months, I had made one entry. I gave it to a friend who wanted to write.

I have…

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Creating a Literate World


“Literacy is transformative: it increases earning potential, decreases inequality, improves health outcomes and breaks the cycle of poverty.”

Just in case you didn’t know, UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, based in Paris, France.

And, they organize World Book Day (held April 23 in some places…)

Amazon is jumping in to help three literacy organizations this year:

First Book, Room to Read, and Worldreader

I’ve never written about the first two; but, this makes the 10th post about Worldreader (to read them all, click here…)

I got an email today from Worldreader about a new program they’re kicking off on Sunday, April 23rd:

Digital Book Drive

If you take that last link you’ll find 6 e-books that you can donate for $1.00 each and have them sent directly to students in Ghana and Kenya

 Oh! You can also decide to send multiple copies of each book to multiple students :-)

It looks like it might be only for folks in the U.S.A.; but, they do accept Dollars, Euros, and Pounds

And, the books (as you’ll see if you take the last link) are stories that take place in the country the students are from

Worldreader is headquartered in San Francisco with offices in Barcelona, London and Accra.

If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com