Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Monthly Archives: March 2017

Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Thirty-Seven

“Alternative Facts”

Alexander M Zoltai


“What are you talking about?!”

Jim had been arguing with his friend Tom for about an hour—they thought they were discussing various points about the way the city had encouraged so much business construction.

Tom responded: “You don’t know what I’m talking about? After everything I’ve been saying?

“Well, I know What you’re talking about but it still makes no sense…”

“It’s just like the papers say; my god, this is the fifth time I’ve said it…”

“Said what?”

“The papers have always said that the city needs more business—were right near the highway—folks are moving out—we need business to attract residents.”

“Oh, that’s what you’ve said forever—thing is, more business building means less residential building—more business will make more folks move out.”

“Not necessarily—“

“Hell you say!”


The following day, Jim and Tom got into it about women in the sciences.

“Tom, I agree that women have brains but not the smarts needed for the hard sciences.”

“So, keep all the intelligent women in the soft sciences—like what?  domestic science, home economics?”

“Don’t twist what I say—smarts is different than brains—“

“Whose dictionary you using?”


About two days later, Tom and Jim were “discussing” the political scene.

“Jim, how can you believe that the progressives are for the middle class when there is no middle class?”

“No middle class? Tom, you’re so middle class I think they created the term just for you…”

“What’d’ya think middle class means?”

“Well, it seems like you’re using a meaning from some other part of the galaxy…”


Tom and Jim were at the cafe and had just made a new acquaintance, Mary, who was apparently a writer.

What’s referred to as communication was an activity that Tom and Jim were never that good at; but, they had a rare opportunity to learn about communication while Mary was sitting at the table…

About five minutes of general comments circulated around the group; then…

“So, Tom, what about that ball game?”

“You call that a ball game? The Trojans were asleep!”

“Asleep? They were moving, right?”


“Well, your Bulldogs must have over-eaten again!”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about!”

“Neither do you!”

Mary stood up and bowed a bit…

Both men said, “Where ya goin’?”

Mary smiled faintly and said, “Somewhere that has no opinions flying—a space for truth and civility—a land that spawns the search for real answers and firm conclusions.”; and, she promptly left.

Tom and Jim began to argue about who had chased her off…


Read More Story Bazaar Tales

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Three steps to a smoother writing style

My favorite sentence from today’s re-blog from Roz Morris:

“Verbs are your propellant” :-)

Nail Your Novel

317528561_6f008366a3_zThis week Joanna Penn invited me to her podcast to talk about writing style and voice, which you can see in a few weeks’ time. We got so involved in the subject that we didn’t finish her question list and this point didn’t make the cut. So I thought it would make a useful post.

Joanna asked me to pinpoint a few easy style fixes – so here they are.

1 Ditch the filler words

Look at this:

Paul had told me on the phone during our initial contact that he had been swindled several years before by a man who he had considered to be a friend.

Quite a mouthful for such a simple point. Give me my red pen.

What worries me here is the number of syllables. They slow the sentence in the reader’s mind. Sometimes that’s good, but sometimes those syllables are unnecessary speed bumps. Here…

View original post 565 more words

#MainStreetWriters – Joining Together to Improve the Literary Landscape

Main Street Writers Movement

Click this Image to find out How to Join…

Since I published my first and the most complete post about the Main Street Writers Movement, I’ve begun my own little campaign in my own location—Akron, OH, USA—by emailing info to the local library’s Adult Services Librarian and receiving a very positive response. I’ll be calling local bookstores, writers’ groups, and publishers next.

Actually, I’m hoping I meet someone else during this process who’s also promoting the Movement :-)

I must share that MSWM is not just for writers; it’s for “Writers, readers, booksellers, publishers, editors, publicists, agents, and anyone who wants to participate in the literary conversation.”

So, when the founder of Main Street Writers Movement, Laura Stanfill, tweeted a link to a story in Oregon Coast Today, I knew I had to blog about it

The article was written by journalist and author, Lori Tobias, and here are a few excerpts:

“Today, for what might be the first time since Girl Scouts, I took a pledge. It involves the simple promise to join other writers in supporting each other. A given, right? Not necessarily.”

A critical comment about the lack of support when her novel was published:

“After Wander found a home, I was overwhelmed by the genuine happiness for me. But I was also sucker punched by those who claimed to share my joy, but soon bowed out of my life.”


“…when Laura Stanfill…mentioned she was forming the Main Street Writers Movement to encourage other writers to support each other, I got it. As a publisher and novelist herself, Stanfill has seen what can happen to writers when the community lets them down.”

And, about the potential of the Movement:

“Stanfill launched the movement barely a month ago, but already she’s seeing the impact. When a publisher and an author, both from Ann Arbor, separately contacted Stanfill, she connected them. They are now friends and supporters of each other’s work. She’s had people take the pledge from all over the country and even as far away as London…”

Then, Lori quotes Laura:

“What I want to do is encourage writers to celebrate each other and to honor each other’s successes and efforts, so we’re all stronger and less lonely. By talking about the market and sharing stories, writers start to feel better about themselves. We are better and happier when we are allies for each other.”

If you have any interest at all, do go read the full article; and, don’t forget, this Movement is for “Writers, readers, booksellers, publishers, editors, publicists, agents, and anyone who wants to participate in the literary conversation.”
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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The MFA is Not a Calling Card: The Low-Residency View

Today’s re-blog is a relatively deep look into the Master of Fine Arts programs…

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

A guest post from Kevin Haworth:

zz haworthbiggest Kevin Haworth

Like other Brevity blog readers, I have been following the thread of conversation this week started by Emily Smith and continued by Dinty W. Moore. As the director of a low-residency MFA program, I have my own investment in this conversation, and a desire to see my students’ experiences represented. And while each of these writers makes salient points about the challenges of an MFA education, both essays fail to speak to the hundreds of low-residency students currently working toward their MFAs with high hopes and great dedication.

Emily Smith contends that “the MFA is a literary calling card, a title not unlike Vanderbilt or Kennedy that can often buy entry into the otherwise classist structure of the literary world.” For low-residency students, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Low-residency students have long had to grapple with the lower…

View original post 985 more words

Author Interview ~ Fatima Ammar

I met Fatima very recently and haven’t, yet, read any of her works {since this was published, I have begun reading her…}; but, from her profile on Wattpad, her presence on Twitter, and her WebSite, I deduced a critical quality for writers—an independent power of creativity

Let’s get this interview in gear…


> So, Fatima, want to tell the folks your a.k.a. and what you consider your writerly function? And, a bit of Bio would also be very nice… Fatima Ammar - Poet/Writer


Moonshine Noire is the a.k.a. and I’m a poet/writer.


I was born in the foggy town of Southport in (Merseyside) North West England where I’ve spent just over half my life. The other half I spent in a beautiful town called Hammamet in Tunisia, my parents’ homeland, giving me an in-depth understanding of cultural differences and the beauty of diversity. I’m multilingual as a result of the move and reasonably better off for it (the Jasmine Revolution inspired quite a few poems and articles from me).


I’m an adult science student (won’t go into details).


I spend most of my rare free time walking about aimlessly in secluded woodlands/beaches or obsessing over art, music: classical (listening to Fauré right now), rock, swing, blues…, or in awe over everything macabre. I mostly write and publish online though I have been offered a few official publishing deals that I’m still considering. I suppose I could write a book about my life story so let’s keep it brief and stop.


> When did you start writing?


I’ve been writing for as long as I’ve known written words, my earliest recollection of writing is when I was six years of age. I still write pretty much in the same genres as I did back then: fantasy, adventure, sci-fi, mystery… Anything interesting or unusual. I started to write poetry about a year after that when my teacher started to read poems to us in class. I stopped writing for a few years from 11 to 14 years of age but since then it’s an inescapable necessity for me. That is when I’m not plagued by the notorious writer’s block.


> What would you say are your writing inspirations or “muses”? Fatima Ammar - Poet/Writer


I have been cursed with an outrageously wild imagination. I’m that person who seems to space out once every ten minutes. I escape to the confines of my own maze of fictional worlds in order to make sense of the literal one we live in. Everything inspires me in the way that nothing really does (does that make sense?). I’m mainly driven by my thoughts as opposed to experiences or images etc. My poetry is probably the most inspired thing I write. I draw from everything for that. For me, poetry is the pulp of emotion and the beating heart of artistic expression. What you can’t express in any other way, you can almost always count on poetry and the plethora of words in all the languages of the world to help you out. From the teasingly short Haiku to the tediously strained Epic, something is bound to work!


I mostly write ‘for myself’ and by this I mean I don’t try to please the reader or write exactly what seems to be popular or trending. I hate insincerity. The only point in writing is to be genuine and honest to yourself and to others. You owe it to the reader to show them what you want to show them rather than what they think they want to see.


> So, Moonshine, who are your favourite writers and why?


I have been mad about Oscar Wilde since reading The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Ballad of Reading Gaol, and The Importance of Being Earnest. He’s so sincere in what he wants to say even when he’s being humorous.


I also have a soft spot for Franz Kafka because of his brilliant incorporation of the bizarre and fantastic with the real. I pretty much thrive in his surrealist humour and agonised satire.


One of my many aspirations is to write a novel with a Kafkaesque feel to it…


This wouldn’t be a list without Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I don’t feel this one needs an explanation.


Sylvia Plath also needs no introduction. I also admire the works of William. S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. Charles Baudelaire is a big inspiration of mine. Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine, too.


Taha Hussein, certainly!


> Living writers, you say?


Haha, alright. Sarah Waters, J. K. Rowling, Nawal El- Saadawi, Julian Barnes…


This list looks so short compared to what I read!


> Lists are like that… :-)
So you do most of your writing on Wattpad—what’s that like for you?


I discovered Wattpad in September 2012 and I haven’t looked back since. I’ve gained the trust and comradery of quite a few Wattpaders, it has helped me grow in confidence and explore my technique. I have learned a lot from my fellow users and I hope they have learned something from me too!


It is a fun way of communicating with the reading world and it helps that it’s free!


I only use the website because I haven’t used a mobile phone (cell phone in America?) in a couple years out of my own way of avoiding unnecessary distractions but it is enough to keep track of things.


If you want to read or write, Wattpad is a great platform.


> And, you’re a great person to interview! Thanks for taking the time to give my readers an introductory view of you and your writing…


Here comes more info and important links to Fatima’s work:




Sara In Atlantis

Click Image to read on Wattpad

 Sara In Atlantis:

“Time travel exists, ghosts are real, and magic isn’t an illusion. Forget everything you are told to believe, believe what you see.”
Sara, a young girl, finds herself in an underwater kingdom where everything she ever dreamed of finding comes true. However, with the good comes the bad.
Can she help restore balance to Atlantis and end the tyrannic dictatorship of the sea King by rescuing pirate ghosts and fighting alongside mermaids?






The Portal of Deceit

Click image to read on Wattpad

 The Portal of Deceit:

An underrated physicist disappears, leaving behind only rumours of his whereabouts, he returns with inventions from another world passing them off as his own. Soon he becomes a billionaire and his multinational corporation tops every other on Earth for its massive advancements in technology and science.
Wormholes, political corruption, billionaire liars, energy-generating crystals, and a foolhardy escape plan. What could possibly go wrong?





Sailing on a Sea of Moondust

Click image to read on Wattpad

Sailing On A Sea of Moondust:



Visit her on Wattpad — You’ll find 39 additional works from Fatima there :-)




I will create a space in my To Be Read list for this woman :-)

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