Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Big Magic

Today’s re-blog is a wonderful review of a book by the writer Elizabeth Gilbert :-)

Live to Write - Write to Live

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.

Not many books I’ve read about writing and staying inspired have confronted the fear factor, so I was eager to read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. At long last, the library copy became available, and I have the book in my hands.

What I like about what I’ve read so far is that Gilbert expands creativity beyond the page and talks about “creative living . . . a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.”

One of the things I love about being a writer is license to be curious, because while I may escape to my studio every day to face the same blank page, I’m also tasked with learning new information, meeting new people, asking questions, being curious.

Gilbert acknowledges that courage is necessary for creativity. Some days, sitting at my desk is scary and I…

View original post 439 more words

A Special Educator’s Guide: Top Ten Books to Interest Your Dormant Middle School Reader by Suzanne Tiffany-Salogub

You don’t have to be a “Special Educator” to benefit from today’s re-blog — Just have kids (or, have friends with kids) in “Middle School” — from 11 to 13 years old in the U.S.A. :-)

Nerdy Book Club

How can we awaken a dormant reader? They need to be presented with engaging and accessible texts. Always! All the time! We need to get our students reading books that are an appropriate challenge. The problem is our students or children who find reading difficult, also are conflicted with the idea that they are reading a book that looks “babyish” or the topic simply does not interest them.

Here is a list of high interest books that grasp the attention of the middle school student.

twice told tales

Twice Told Tales Series by Olivia Snowe

This series from Capstone Publishing takes the most beloved classics and brings them into the 21st-century. Olivia Snowe uses the familiar storylines and makes it relatable in the eyes of the modern middle school student. Snow White meets a NYC alley? It is sure to grab your students’ interest!

black and white

Black and White by Paul Volponi


View original post 569 more words

Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Twenty

Who Is The Victim?

Alexander M Zoltai


The moon was dirty dancing with the clouds.

James Whitlock was cruising the main drag looking for a victim.

He was mad—had been since Thursday—mad enough now to punish someone.

Everybody was guilty—they all deserved to be punished.

He really wished he’d get mad enough more often.

A young girl was just rounding the corner.

He turned to walk ahead of her in the same direction; but, a bit slower so she could catch up…


The headline said:

Thirteen-year-old Mauled then Raped to Death
Witness Shot, Condition Poor


Peter Wilson had been the witness—in critical condition for three days—alive enough to tell his story about Melissa Monseur’s brutal beating and fatal raping; but, he couldn’t identify the man, except for approximate height and weight—the light had been behind them and Peter had watched it all in silhouette.

He hung on to life for two more days…


James Whitlock read the newspaper story with great satisfaction—he’d been right about where he shot that boy, made him a witness—what a bonus for his sense of righteousness. And, people would be really freaking out, so the next killing had to be even more shocking.

He’d learned to kill in the Army.

Learned to hate other people from a young age.

Couldn’t remember his childhood.

He’d been planning his recent killing mission for four years.

Never the same place—not even close—each a year apart…

He was eager but well-disciplined—waited for the right victim (wished he could get mad enough more often so he could punish more people; but, would not change the plan)—delivered the right punishment…


The headline said:

82-year-old Robbed and Beaten to Death

Millie North’s neighbors could not believe it—the investigating officer was so sickened he took emergency leave—the small town mourned for months…

James Whitlock enforced his discipline but didn’t think they were paying him enough attention so he took particularly strong action—made sure enough people were punished.

The headline said:

65 Fatally Shot at One-Year-Anniversary Remembrance Event for Millie North


He’d evaded every pursuer except the one who found him during one of his very normal fishing trips.

The headline said:

Serial Killer Finally Captured
Lead Detective Honored


He’d been in prison for a year of his life sentence when he found the right moment…

The headline said:

Two Inmates Killed at State Penitentiary
Guards Unable to Identify Killer


He had disabled the cameras…

His cell mate said:

“I can’t turn ya in ’cause I can’t prove ya did it; but I can warn ya—“

“Warn?! Hell you say!”

“I can warn ya that God ain’t lookin’ kindly on ya…”

James laughed and spit on the little man.

Years past and his cell mate would occasionally warn him…

He killed no one else.

He began to stay in his cell even when offered recreation time.

His mind was in turmoil…

He couldn’t shut down the thoughts.

You’ll burn in Hell—you aren’t important…

I am!

You’ll be burned alive and not die…

I’m not sorry—they deserved to be punished!

You’ll suffer more than you can bear—much will be revealed about how small you are…

He would mumble to himself, urinate in his pants, and refuse to eat.

You should die a slow death.

No! ……… I should die, yes…

You never should have been born.

I’m tired of living…

Over many more months, the voice kept up its indictments:

You’re slime and excrement…

I’m slime and excrement…

You’re not worth keeping alive…

I’m not………

Finally, the headline said:

Prisoner Disembowels Himself
Dies Screaming, “I don’t want to be punished; but, I have to die!”


Read More Story Bazaar Tales

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

The Master Plan

Bonus Re-blog:

I’m on Wattpad and this post is very exciting — the future of storytelling looks extremely bright :-)


The following post is written by Wattpad Co-founder and CEO Allen Lau.

I wish I had written a blog post like the one you’re about to read when Ivan and I first started Wattpad 10 years ago. Although we shared our plan numerous times in bits and pieces, it was scattered across the internet, and very few people outside of the company had the complete picture.  

The First 10 Years

Our plan was actually quite simple. We wanted to revolutionize how people discover, share, and connect through stories. Here’s how we did it:

  1. We created a reading app for the RAZR and other feature phones using public domain classic books to attract our first group of users.
  2. We leveraged the growing audience to attract our first group of writers who would share original stories on Wattpad. We created direct connections between these writers and readers around the world.
  3. We…

View original post 1,521 more words

Writing Process

This re-blog is not long but very full of good advice and insights — whether you’re a struggling writer or thought once you might like to try to write something, there’s a gift for you in Diane’s thoughts :-)

Live to Write - Write to Live

writingprocessSMALLBack in college, I had an English professor who talked about her “process” all the time. She talked about slaving over a piece day and night until worried friends finally took the type-written pages from her sweaty hands and turned them in for her because she never felt like her writing was good enough. Of course, once it was submitted, it was accepted and praised. The message my eighteen-year-old self took from hearing a semester’s worth of this kind of talk was that a writer’s process was necessarily difficult and even painful. I didn’t take any more English classes during my undergraduate career.

For years I thought all writers had the same process and I thought it was more difficult that a career in medicine.

Now, many years later, I realize each writer has their own process, and it’s up to each writer to figure out what process suits them…

View original post 728 more words