Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Changing Things Up & Some “Mighty Writers”

This is normally a day I reserve for a re-blog from another bookish blogger… Mighty Writers

However, I’m in the final push of a Relocation Adventure—not that far in space and time; but, covering Vast Tracts of psycho-spiritual territory


I’m doing a regular blog today and may re-blog for the rest of the week—mental hygiene demands certain precautions :-)

So, who are those “Mighty Writers”?

2,000 kids in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA shooting for a Guinness World Record.

From the Mighty Writers WebSite:

“We’re going to set a new world record for most kids writing at the same place at the same time.

“Our topic, “If I Were President…”

“The date: Tuesday, July 26 at 10am.

“Where:  The steps of the Art Museum.

“Two simple requirements: You have to be between the ages of seven and 17.

From the current President of the USA:

“… your program’s selection as one of the 50 finalists distinguishes [Mighty Writers] as one of the top arts-and-humanities-based programs in the country.”—President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

“On the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where Rocky once ran, a crowd of smiling faces danced to ‘Uptown Funk’. They stretched and clapped, pumping blood through their veins to prep for a world record attempt.”

“It’s what everyone’s talking about. It’s on the minds of the kids. I hear their families talking about it. And they have a lot to say. I hear them talking about it all the time around Mighty Writers, so this is their chance to really put it on paper.”

Two examples of what the kids wrote (as if they were President…):

“Instead of giving military aid, I’d like to give just aid ’cause we are enforcing violence. We are violence. We need to be the aid.”

“Main issues that I would focus on if I were president would probably be things like equality between everyone. I think everyone should be treated like a person, no matter race, gender, skin color.”

From Guinness World Records adjudicator Michael Empric:

“What I love about this record is that they’re not just breaking a record. They’re trying to bring a social component into it, bring attention to the schools in Philadelphia. And teaching kids to write, which is something I love doing. It’s something I grew up doing. So to see all these kids here trying to break the record title doing that is really exciting.”

Check out this video :-)

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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Author Interview ~ Max E. Stone

There are over 70 Author interviews on this blog—writers of all ages and levels of experience

Today’s interview is the third for Mr. Stone—here’s his first interviewhere’s his second interview

And, at the end of this interview, Max is giving away 5 free audio books :-)


Author Max E. Stone

Click Image to Visit Max’s Site

 Welcome back to the blog, Max! Great to have you with us again. For those who might be new to the blog or your work, what genre do you write in? 

Thanks for having me back, Alex! It’s great to be here again! And I write, as a reader once put it, hardcore thrillers. These thrillers are set in New England, for the most part, and are about three seemingly different families woven together by events involving their children. 

What’s the latest in the series and what are you working on now?

The latest in the series is entitled Black Cradle, which is the fourth book and a broader version as well as “second volume” to August to Life which gave background on the families the series centers on: the “old-money” Warrens, the “working-class” Bennetts, and the “nouveau-riche” Johnsons.

As for what I’m working on, during Camp NaNoWriMo this month I’m hard at work on Black Roses, which adds in another family, the Jacobs. Like one of the original families (the Warrens) they’re extremely affluent and are “rooted” in New England. However, unlike the other family, they’re very close with each other. Or, it seems that way until Detective Bennett has to dig through their secrets after the patriarch is murdered. I’m looking to have this story completed by late 2016 to early 2017.

Sounds fascinating, Max. Would you lay out the timeline of the series?

O.K.—four to date. In order, they are: August to Life, The Bleeding, One Minute There and Black Cradle. Black Roses will be the 5th book. Black Cradle ~ Max E. Stone

Coming back to your work at Camp NaNoWriMo, what’s your writing process like?

Lately, my writing process has been more varied and free, especially with location, though music is always a part of it. I have a couple of playlists on Spotify that I always work with and I have them on my phone, iPad, and laptop as well, so I can always write, no matter where I am. So, for the most part, I write with music. It gives my pen or fingers a rhythm…

Have you read any good books lately?

Not too long ago I finished Into the Light by Aleatha Romig. Oh my goodness—it was amazing.  The way it was written—with its suspense and twists and turns—that’s what I’m striving for with each of my books

Anything else new on your writing journey, Max?

The 3rd in the series, One Minute There, became an audiobook not too long ago; and, I’m giving away a few copies of it. Noah Michael Levine did an amazing job, both with it and the previous one in the series, The Bleeding.

How can my readers win a free copy of One Minute There?

I have five copies to give away; so, the first 5 people to leave a comment on this blog post will receive a free copy…

Where can we find you, Max?

You can find me at my WebSite; on Twitter; or, on Facebook.

Thanks, Max, for another interesting interview


And, folks, after you watch these Highly Evocative trailers for Max’s books, why not ask him a question or two in the Comments ( if you’re one of the first five, you can ask an author a question and win a free audiobook :-)

Finally, if you’ve heard of NaNoWriMo and wonder what Camp NaNoWriMo is, the biggest difference I could find is that, at the Camp, you get a cabin :-)

What is a cabin?

How do cabins work?

How do I start a cabin with my friends?

How do I leave a cabin?

What do I do if a cabin mate is posting abusive content or spam in the message board?

What happens to my cabin after the month is over? When are cabins reset?

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

Five tips for helping out an author . . . or any artist really

Pretty simple ideas in today’s re-blog; but, very powerful, too…

The Novel Fox recently released my third book and it got me thinking about how novel creation is a community effort. I mean there is a writer, an editor, a design team, some marketing people, etc, etc, etc. . . . It’s ridiculous really. This seems strange, I know, considering the art of writing is so solitary. Ah, it’s a paradox . . . .


I greatly appreciate all of my friends and family members supporting me on social media, pushing that “like” button and whatnot whenever one of my books is released. I love it when they purchase it and tell me how great it is. It’s fantastic and, in fact, it’s one of the reasons I do what I do. But in this age of the Internet and ebooks and other crazy sci-fi creations that didn’t exist a few scant decades ago, it can be difficult being a writer…

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Game Writers Are Indeed Writers

This is a Bonus non-re-blog post-like-post about a recent decision of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Here’s a quote from their recent post—SFWA to Admit Game Writers Starting August 1st, 2016:

“Writers who help create narratives for video games, table-top roleplaying games and card games will be eligible to be admitted to the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) following a membership-wide vote.”

End of Bonus non-re-blog post-like-post

STEM Girls – Ten Books Featuring Girls Rocking Science by Nancy Castaldo

Today’s re-blog deals with women and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math…

Nerdy Book Club

Yes, I was a science geek.  I was a girl who looked under rocks, couldn’t wait for dissections in biology class, and was the president of my college science club. That didn’t mean I didn’t love to read, like most girls. I did. In fact, I entered college as a duel Bio/English major. It wasn’t until sophomore year I changed to Bio/Chem.

The fact is that many girls love to read and, traditionally, have been encouraged to head into the humanities. The majority of boys love to take things apart and do science experiments. Both are fine, but here are ten books that feature girls rocking science. We need more books that challenge stereotypes and we need to encourage girls to enter STEM fields. And even if they don’t, they need to see that they can!

These are titles boys will enjoy too. These books are for any curious kid…

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