Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: free books

The Story Bazaar, Some Strange Fantasies, and Other Free Books…

I thought I’d forego my usual Saturday Re-Blog and pitch my newest short story endeavor—Friday Story Bazaar—a new Tale every Friday, until I think I’ve written enough to publish another book…

Story Bazaar

Cover by Jane Darnton Watson

And, because on Saturdays I publish the same Tales on Wattpad, I’ll share that link, where it’s simply called Story Bazaar

So far, there are 25 Tales, of no specific genre—a real mixed bag of story-forms…

Strange Fantasies

Cover by Jane Darnton Watson

So that’s the newest story endeavor; but, I also have 33 Fantasy short stories at the link Friday Fantasy that are also on Wattpad as Strange Fantasies and available as a book on Amazon (cheap, $.99…).

Plus, the left side-bar has more of my writings that are freely downloadable (a Novel, a Poetry Book, a Fable, and an Essay about Words…) — if you’re on your phone, you’ll have to use your general “Menu” button and find something like “Request Desktop Site” to see the left side-bar :-)

Plus, going to my site on Lulu, will let you download two more free books—a compilation of Spiritual Writings and a book made from my previous Blog…

Finally, one more free book—my unique method of letting folks interpret their own astrological charts………
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…
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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Bestsellers, Major Literacy Project, The World Hasn’t Completely Fallen Apart, and FREE BOOKS :-)

This is my first “Kitchen Sink” post of the New Year—I’ve secured my new apartment in my old city; I’m increasing my health tweaks; I’m a bit less “fractured”; and, I can “breathe” a bit better… 

Free Books

Image Courtesy of Judith P. Abrahamsen ~

First topic—Meet the Writers Who Still Sell Millions of Books. Actually, Hundreds of Millions.

Commented on are the authors Paulo Coelho, Stephen King, Dan Brown, John Grisham, Ken Follett, Nora Roberts, James Patterson, Stephenie Meyer, Nicholas Sparks, Danielle Steele, Debbie Macomber, R.L. Stine, J.K. Rowling, Dean Koontz, Jeffrey Archer, David Baldacci and Mary Higgins Clark.

One of the more interesting statements is:

“How do you get to be a blockbuster author? Typing is not enough, though some of these novels certainly read that way. The writing quality and storytelling vary tremendously, but there are some similarities among hit writers.

“Chiefly, they’re extraordinarily productive. They publish with Swiss-clock regularity…”

And, for the starving authors out there who still have dreams of being just like those mega-selling writers, I must point you toward what I consider the most import post on this blog—What About All The Authors Whose Books Don’t Sell Very Many Copies?

Here’s an excerpt from that post:

“If failures becomes invisible, then naturally you will pay more attention to successes. Not only do you fail to recognize that what is missing might have held important information, you fail to recognize that there is missing information at all.

“You must remind yourself that when you start to pick apart winners and losers, successes and failures, the living and dead, that by paying attention to one side of that equation you are always neglecting the other.”

“Are you catching the drift yet?

“Perhaps, no matter what an author does (or, a publishing company), most books will still sell not so many copies?”

Again, if you’re trying to sell your soul to become a bestselling author, read the Facts in that post

Now, onto the Top Books That Made People Readers In 2016.

That article is about the Major Literacy Organization, WorldReader; and, it lists the best-loved books of folks who (before WorldReader got to them) had very few books, if any at all

Perusing these lists would be enlightening for any reader:


Top Books among parents and caregivers in India (Read to Kids Program)

Title Author Publisher Category
1 The Talkative Tortoise / बातूनी कछुआ Jeeva Raghunath Tulika Publishers Storybooks
2 नन्ही उँगलियाँ/Little Fingers शीला धीर/Sheila Dhir Tulika Publishers Storybooks
3 The Musical Donkey / सुरीला गधा Namrata Rai Tulika Publishers Storybooks
4 रंगबिरंग/Rang Birang Madhav Chavan Pratham Books Storybooks
5 सोना बड़ी सयानी/Sona badi Sayani Vinita Krishna Pratham Books Storybooks
6 Hawa ped / हवा-पेड़ ज्योत्सना िमलन/Jyotsna Imln Katha Children’s poetry
7 बूडाबिम/Boodabim (it’s a name) अलंकृता जैन/Alnkrita Jair Tulika Publishers Storybooks
8 भीमा गधा/Bhima’s Donkey Kiran Kasturia Pratham Books Storybooks
9 My Best Friend / मेरी सहेली Anupa Lal Pratham Books Storybooks
10 Red Umbrella / लाल छतरी Nandini Nayar Tulika Publishers Children’s poetry


Top books in school and library projects in sub-Saharan Africa

Title Author Publisher Category
1 Magozwe Lesley Koyi African Storybook Project Beginning readers
2 A Tiny Seed: The Story of Wangari Maathai Nicola Rijsdijk African Storybook Project Beginning readers
3 The Girl With the Magic Hands Nnedi Okorafor Worldreader Young Adult Fantasy
4 Ready? Set. Raymond! (Step into Reading) Vaunda Nelson Random House Children’s Books (Penguin Random House) Beginning readers
5 Disability is Not Inability Wairimu Mwangi The Jomo Kenyatta Foundation Beginning readers
6 Old Mother West Wind Thornton Burgess Public Domain Children’s classics
7 I Am An African Wayne Visser Self Published Poetry
8 Boastful Sui and Grandmother Goes to the Pictures Marg Reynolds Self Beginning readers
9 The Secret Garden Frances Hodgson Public Domain Children’s classics
10 The Adventures of Robin Hood Howard Pyle Public Domain Classics


Top Books among teens and adults reading on the Worldreader app

Title Author Publisher Category
1 Broken Promises Ros Haden Cover2Cover YA romance
2 The Holy Bible: King James Version Various Public Domain religion
3 First Love: Thinking of Him A.V. Frost Beaten Track Publishing romance
4 Sugar Daddy Ros Haden Cover2Cover YA romance
5 There’s Something about Him Lauri Kubuitsile Worldreader romance
6 Forever My Love Heather Graham Open Road Integrated Media romance
7 The Girl with the Magic Hands Nnedi Okorafor Worldreader fantasy
8 A Quest for Heroes (Arabic) Morgan Rice Lukeman Literary fantasy
9 Damaged Souls Stine Arnulf Self published Romance/Fanfiction
10 Le Roman de la momie Théophile Gautier ILIVRI romance

So, if you’re still with me but having a rough time feeling positive about this new year, this article should help:

It may have seemed like the world fell apart in 2016. Steven Pinker is here to tell you it didn’t.

And, for the imperturbable, constant readers: Free Books in your Inbox…


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

To Write Well, One Must Be As Healthy As Possible…

After an operation (was it 3 or 4 years ago?) I got very serious about my health.

Recent events have made me focus on that issue from a new perspective.

I should be back to my normal blogging habits soon, perhaps even tomorrow…

To give this post a bit of substance, I’ll recommend you explore the left side-bar—many resources and gifts await……… :-)
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

Free World-Wide Shipping for the #Bookworm & Scads of #Free #Books to Read

It’s easy to help you get your books with no shipping costs, “world-wide”.

Free Book Shipping and Free Books to Read

Image Courtesy of Judith P. Abrahamsen ~

Just go to Book Depository or wordery

Here’s the info from Book Depository‘s About Page:

“Welcome to Book Depository, the world’s leading specialist online bookstore. We’re proud to offer over 14 million titles, all at unbeatable prices with free delivery worldwide to over 100 countries. Whatever your interest or passion, you’ll find something interesting in our bookshop full of delights.

“Of the 30 million titles ever printed in the English language only a few million of these are in print. We are seeking to make available as many of these titles as possible (and working to do the same with foreign language titles). This way, we will have the largest breadth of titles available in the world.

And, here’s what wordery says about itself:

“We’re one of the fastest growing online bookshops and our mission is to provide you with an alternative haven to buy the books you love. We offer over 10 million books and provide free delivery to over 100 countries.

“A place where booklovers could discover new reads and chat to helpful staff with a genuine enthusiasm for all things bound. It would, in short, be like a traditional bookshop. But with all the convenience of an online store: great service, an outstanding choice, round-the-clock access, excellent value, and – of course – free delivery to anywhere in the world.

“…we’re committed to working with charities to improve literacy among young people, because we believe this is a crucial measure of a healthy society. We partner with national literacy charities and a local primary school to engender a love of reading among pupils. It’s proving a real success, and many children have discovered a love of literature as a result of our efforts.”

Now, let’s jump from the beloved world of Print books to a particular digital haven of Free Reading

I’ve written about Wattpad a number of times; but, today, I want to get under it’s “skin”.

First, by revealing (from a literary studio called PlymptonA Short History of Serial Fiction, since Wattpad specializes in the serialized reading experience (with around 85% of its 35 million monthly visitors reading on their phones…).

Regular readers know that I’ve been immersed in Wattpad for around 5 months (serializing my already-written novel, fantasies, poems, and a fable…)—reading Many books, from writers at all stages of the experience-spectrum—finding the “beginners” with bad grammar but powerful storytelling more enjoyable than some “experienced” writers who cloud their stories with over-written, florid prose

I’ll even risk saying you can find “Any” kind of writing you want on Wattpad.

And, something Very Unique in the Wattpad reading experience is the tête-à-tête you can have with the authors :-)

One thing book-collectors won’t like is you can’t keep the books you read on Wattpad (unless the author has created a digital copy they’re selling)

But, since the tag line of this blog is “Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing”, I can’t end this post without saying that writing on Wattpad IS one of the many forms of Publishing; and, if you’re desperate to publish but are put-off by all the necessary learning in order to self-publish and abhor the insane efforts necessary to be traditionally published (and, you don’t mind letting folks read your work for free until you, perhaps, receive an offer for a book deal) you may want to check out how to write on Wattpad and learn how to generate more engagement with your writing.

Plus, here’s a video, well-acted and produced, yet ingenious in showing one way folks write (and gain acceptance) on Wattpad:


And, here’s a video of an ultra-real, unique-to-the-Max member of the Wattpad Community ~ ( the end is just too cute :-) 

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

Author Interview ~ Jennifer Morrey

You may know that I’ve jumped into the middle of Wattpad in full Engagement-mode

So much so, that I already have interviews here with three Wattpad authors:   Holly Gonzalez,    J. A. Partridge, and Raphyel M Jordan (here are all the Author Interviews…).

And, here comes number four :-)

~~~  Welcome, Jennifer. First of all, please, tell us about your series, how many books are planned, and any other info you want to share.

Thank you for this opportunity to have an interview! I think the favorite subject of any author is their books…

I’m writing a series called The Ball of Lights. Four books are planned,  two books are completed—available right now on Wattpad, Gallel’s Heir and The Value of Gifts. Book Four is called The Land Beyond The Eastern Horizon. Book 3 does not yet have a name.

The first book, Gallel’s Heir, is the story of what a mother will do to Gallel's Heir protect her daughter from a life she fears, and what a powerful mind mage will do to free a demon she is in love with..

The beginning chapters of Book Three will be posted within the next few weeks. Book 4 has several chapters posted. Before you think I am crazy to post book 4 before book 3—well, it starts with another main character in another part of the world; what is posted takes place towards the beginning of Book 1. The story lines align in Book 4.

Another book, one of my favorites, is a novella I plan to expand into a novel—this is called The Ancient of Dunáya.

Humans believe the well of Dunáya forest is a wishing well, but really drinking from it unlocks and brings to the surface what lurks in the heart. This is from the same world as The Ball of Lights, but 2500 years in the past and (small spoiler alert!) the character Sirah is actually the time mage in most of Gallel’s Heir‘s chapter quotes.

Well! I’ve read Gallel’s Heir—Excellent Book—and you just solved a mystery for me :-)

So, let’s go back in your history a bit—what was your first inspiration for writing?

When I was a kid, I didn’t play with baby dolls or Barbies… They just didn’t interest me. I played with trolls, the ones with the stick-up, colorful hair. I had about 50 of them at one time and created back stories and family groups for all of them. My favorite, Rolletta Neugan, still watches over me on my desk. I still talk to her. My first stories were about her and her family… I made a whole world for them that still lives in my mind. The earliest drafts of my books existed in that world.

Incredibly fascinating, Jennifer…

So, are the sentient species in your novels actually trolls?

Not exactly. Over time, my characters got taller and more human like. Though, I do have races that are blue or gray, in addition to the brown or pinkish groups we are familiar with.

You write fantasy. What do you think of the standard fantasy races– elves and dwarves and orcs and so forth?

If I ever devised a plot where I needed a non-human sentient race, I wouldn’t steal from Tolkien. His Scottish speaking dwarves and snooty, long-lived, and elegant elves were clever back in his day. But really. We are creative people. We should invent our own races.

As far as races like orcs, who are destined to be evil, bloodthirsty, or destructive. I just can’t accept that in my writing. In my stories, free will is an important theme. If a race of orcs existed, then they must have the right to choose to be good and loving like the rest of us.

Again, Jennifer, incredibly fascinating…

So…you wouldn’t read a fantasy story featuring dwarves or elves or bloodthirsty orcs?

I would tend to avoid cliché of any kind. One notable exception, however, is the writing of one author on wattpad: JCKang. His Dragon Scale Lute series is excellent, featuring elves—but, in an Asian setting. Imagine, ninja elves.

Way cool :-)

What do you think of other standard fantasy elements?

What, like dragons or fairies? They certainly have their place in fantasy. Again, I avoid any cliché. And I wouldn’t choose to read werewolf books.

I’ve read one of your books; but, for the sake of my readers here, what magic is left in your world, with no dragons or fairies or bloodthirsty orcs?

A crystal ball is a major element in my series. It is called the Ball of Lights and Truths. “Urim and Thummim” means “lights and truths” in our world.

There are mages who sense the life force,  or “wari”, in living things. Wari is what links the soul to the body and allows the soul to interact with the world. Water mages can sense wari and manipulate it to heal injuries or illness, or steal it to gain strength or longevity.

I well remember the intense issues surrounding wari that Dylin faces in Gallel’s Heir

More about mages, Jennifer?

Mind mages, in addition to their ability to heal, can sense emotions; if well trained they can read or manipulate minds.

The highest order of mage is the time mage, who can sense the flow of time and can sense future or historical events with clarity. In order to become a time mage, a person must devote considerable time and emotional energy, and be at peace with themselves and the universe. They typically have experienced some tragedy that shattered them. They have a link with the Taleni, the Creators.

You certainly have a way to make the reader care about your characters. From where do you draw your inspiration?

I draw a lot of inspiration from groups or individuals I have worked with. I spent many years as a counselor in youth residential treatment. While there, I realized that a young teenager who had experienced the abuse and neglect that Dylin did would most likely turn to self-harm, or cutting. Dylin is the mother who wishes to protect her daughter in Gallel’s Heir.

Some readers have found her cutting distasteful, as if her weakness is somehow unacceptable, while other weaknesses, such as alcoholism or plain rudeness are ok. But I couldn’t remove this characteristic—it is too realistic for a girl of her background.

I have also spent some years caring for adults with disabilities. This is reflected in The Ancient of Dunáya‘s character, Sirah, a person with disabilities who was abandoned by her mother as an infant. She was raised—and abused—by the innkeeper her mother left her with.

I hope with Sirah to show the world the value that all people possess, and that people with disabilities deserve the same dignity and respect as everyone else. We finally live in a world where abuse and neglect are not tolerated.

You share a lot of philosophical ideas, especially in your beginning-of-chapter quotes. What do your chapter quotes add to your chapters, and what do they mean for you?

I typically use chapter quotes to reveal information that would be useful for the reader. I show several prophecies relevant to the series, written by time mages, or reveal information obvious to the characters, but unknown to the reader, like cultural norms. People in Galia often participate in polyandry (the legal union of a woman with more than one man). This is unusual in our world, but accepted in Galia. How would the reader know this, without some way for the author to reveal it?

Many of the chapter quotes are my own philosophies, or my own poetry, rewritten by time mages.

Some of the chapter quotes seem to have a religious theme. Are you a religious person yourself?

Yes, I am a devoted Christian… but I am also an avid science lover, which is reflected in the chapter quotes. I could have been an astrophysicist, if my life had taken a slightly different turn.

My faith, though not Christian, also sees agreement between religion and science. But, again, for our dear readers, how can you be religious And scientific? Aren’t those two realms of knowledge diametrically opposed?

Not any more opposed than the questions Why and How. I am a lover of truth. If I had lived in Galia or Inoplius, I would have become a time mage.

A lot of the chapter quotes, and other themes throughout the books, subtly reconcile science and religion. At the end of The Value of Gifts, the character, Ophia, hears the story of Creation from a time mage. A careful reading of this and the chapter quotes will show I am talking about the Big Bang, evolution of galaxies, evolution of species, and the rise of humans to sentience, but in the form of a parable. Why did I bother to include this? Because Creation has been one of my favorite subjects for a long time and a main reason I studied Anthropology at a major university.

But that is the subject of another discussion. I plan to write a book on it.

I’m starting to understand where some of the “power” of your characters comes from…

Well, moving along. Who are your favorite authors on Wattpad—what works are you reading now—what do you look for in a Wattpad story?

I already mentioned JCKang. Another favorite is JAPartridge (whom you recently interviewed); I was one of the first to complete his novel, Kingdom of The Stone, and he dedicated a chapter to me. I am currently reading his Stone King.

I am anxiously awaiting the next chapter of DAJB01’s Abhorrent Practices.

GreatGustav has a lighter style, and I am reading his Tale That Could Not Be and Defenders of Destiny. This last series is unique, in that he is writing it based on characters submitted by other Wattpad authors; he is using my Casandra, who will be featured in my next series, as well as Minara, The Ball of Lights‘ main villain.

My most favorite author on wattpad is my daughter, Elly. She is seven years old and just learning to spell, but her story ideas are amazing. She shares a Wattpad account with me. Check out her book, Going Into Inoplius, about the adventures of her stuffed cat, Seven.

I am also reading an author called amzolt, who writes emotional poetry and who likes to interview his favorite authors ;-)

What do I look for in a Wattpad story? I won’t read a story with bad grammar and excessive typos. These tell me the author hasn’t put their soul into it enough to make their work presentable for public view.

I look for interesting, unique characters; I try to avoid the cliché fiery redhead warrior princess. Excessive battle scenes get boring; I prefer a psychological connection to the characters. Show me the story, don’t tell me.

Some favorite off-Wattpad authors are: Brandon Sanderson, Diana Marcellas, Orson Scott Card, and Gail Carson Levine. And what fantasy author/reader doesn’t love JK Rowling?

Well, Jennifer, thank you, so much, for shoring with us in this interview. I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed your Gallel’s Heir and I look forward to reading the rest of the series. I’ll also check out The Ancient of Dunáya when I get the chance—build up the “reads” and “votes” and “comments” for a wonderful author like you.

Well, Alex, thank you, again, for this opportunity—the interview and the free promotion :-)


O.K., Folks—Comments and Questions for Jennifer are definitely welcomed…

Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

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