Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: reader opinions

What Happens When We Read? ~ Part Two

Here’s Part One :-)

Our last post had me saying: “part two of this topic will explore, in a bit more depth, the difference between what the author intends and what the reader gets”

I thought hard about how to do this and I’m sure, at some point in the future, I’ll be writing more about it.

In fact, back in January, I wrote the post, Rewriting While You Read ~ We All Do It …, which touched on this topic.

So, my intense thought came up with the idea that various readers getting various things from what an author writes and that it may or may not be what the author intended could be well-served by putting part of an author’s work here and urging my readers to say what they get from it—what they think the book will say… Then, we’ll have the author say how close folks got with their intuitions


I chose the Prologue from the book Notes from An Alien since a prologue is intended to foreshadow what the book will and won’t be. The reason I chose this particular prologue is that I’m the author of that book and I know exactly what I intended. I’ll reveal my opinions on how close you got to what I intended in a future post :-)

Here it is:


This is a tale that spans a large tract of time: from the horrific 500-year war to the immaculate peace—a peace we feel will never falter since we so often stumbled, fell, and rose again on the road we had to create to find that peace.

My name is Sena Quaren and this book is a story told in “notes”. Even though some readers may think it is a novel or a history, its form is difficult to classify in what are called genres.

What I say next may or may not be believed but, either way, this story is true—true as fact or true in the way fiction can rise to heights unattainable by mere facts.

I am a woman from a star system about twelve light-years from Earth. If you choose to believe me, my story might be considered a history lesson—how to achieve unity and peace—a lesson that Earth desperately needs. If you choose to not believe I’m real, my tale might be considered a science fiction story about how to achieve unity and peace—a lesson that Earth desperately needs…

I’ll proceed on the premise that I am real.

My sources of information range from the official and personally-invasive computer records of the corporate World, Anga-Param, to the vivid oral traditions of the religious World, Anla-Purum, to the stories handed down through my extended family. And, even though I’m speaking to you now in what’s called first-person point of view, most of the story will be told in what writers call third-person omniscient, which means that the other people in this tale won’t be the storytellers.  This is what writers on Earth use to give them more freedom of expression—jumping from an overall point of view to very personal views and back out, much like what a camera does in a movie. My “voice” will return when the story arrives at my birth.

This story’s spine is the line of ancestors that culminated in my life. The final chapter will be told by my daughter, Ararura. She is my future.

There’s something important you need to know before you read the story: My people, the Angians, over many hundreds of years, learned to work with naturally-occurring plasma.

Sorry for this short scientific digression, but if you don’t have a basic understanding of plasma, you’ll miss much of the meaning of this story.

The forms of matter most people are familiar with are solids, liquids, and gases—all of which keep their electrons in orbit around the nucleus—the core of an atom. Plasma is a state of matter in which the electrons and nuclei are separate and most of it is invisible. Still, because of its electrical and magnetic properties, its ability to organize and shape the other forms of matter is incredibly more powerful than gravity. Another important fact is that plasma is the most abundant form of matter. About ninety-nine percent of the universe is plasma.

Some common, visible examples are lightning, neon signs, an aurora, and a simple fire.

O.K., scientific digression done.

We Angians have learned to harness plasma as a catalyst to increase the receiving and transmitting qualities of our minds. Note well, though, that common, invisible plasma also carries an imprint of emotions.

The Angian system’s plasma distribution caused a natural and powerful enhancement of mental/emotional connection between two of our Worlds—Anga-Param, the corporate World, and Anla-Purum, the religious World. Luckily, this only happened during a short period every five years when the two planets were closest to each other.

It should be noted that this mental/emotional planetary connection was used extensively as a weapon in our 500-year InterWorld War. There are even some who claim plasma is the primary conduit for spiritual experiences.

Before we learned to use this power productively many people were doomed to a miserable life in mental institutions. A small percentage of us not only escaped the confusion of the interpenetration of other minds and hearts but could train ourselves to use the plasma even when the planets were not close. An even smaller percentage could reach out beyond our planets and explore alien minds. This is how I found Alexander, the co-author of this book.

Alexander is my transducer—my way of communicating with Earth’s people. We have an intimate mental/spiritual bond—not “conversation” but something much deeper and higher—a conceptual bonding. A simplistic example would be to say that we share things like the idea of dog and cat but not the knowledge of beagles and tabbies. A more accurate example would be that we easily share an idea like four-footed, domesticated animal but not ideas like dog or cat or lizard. Those differences take much more conceptual exploration and sharing.

The sharing we do is rich and meaningful and Meaning is what is most important. Even though trees and flowers and bodies in the Angi system are significantly different than on Earth and even though the way Angians think and feel and act has its peculiarities, there are sufficient similarities that make all the Angian jargon unnecessary. The only times I worked hard to give Alexander specific words to use was when reference was made to names of people and places.

I’ve come to completely trust Alexander to take the meanings I give him and share them with you in meaningful ways. I’ve had significant culture-shock learning about your World and you would feel the same thing if you truly experienced our Worlds. Yet, understanding is the goal—unity of thought and feeling. Even though the specific history of our Worlds is different than yours, I’m sure you’ll find valuable information in this story—information that can help Earth.

Alexander and I have worked together to interact with hundreds of humans before we ever sat down to write this book—he worked to help me understand humanity so I could make my story of real help in the efforts to stem the tide of the multiple, global crises Earth is suffering. I’ve communicated, with Alexander’s help, through forums on the Web as well as through the avatar he created for me in the virtual world, Second Life. As this book was being written, we interacted with many reviewers on our publisher’s web site, FastPencil. At the end of this book you’ll find a listing of the people who helped me prepare for and accomplish the incredibly complex task of writing a book.

My story begins with one planet, the corporate World, Anga-Param, just a bit ahead of Earth in technological development and another planet, the religious World, Anla-Purum, in some timeless state of self-engrossment.

Even though our Worlds are now approximately 1,000 years further along the evolutionary trail than your World, my story begins with a time quite similar, in meaning, to what Earth is experiencing. Anla-Purum, the religious World, is at the stage of Earth cultures called “primitive”. Anga-Param, the corporate World, is what might be called “advanced”. In the thirty years before the beginning of my story Anga-Param had sent automated ships to Anla-Purum, delivering what you might call radio equipment. It differs from your technology in one important way. Because it works in tandem with our abundant plasma, not only words are transmitted. Emotions are also riding the waves.

This mental/emotional, plasma-radio contact was the first proof that our Worlds had deep similarities. For example, learning each other’s languages was as simple as learning a new dialect of one language.

So, there it is. You’re about to read the story of a People who went from a 500-year InterWorld War and nearly complete loss of hope to enduring security. May the truth we discovered bring you courage to face the necessities of building a path toward global peace.


So, if you decided to read the rest of the book, what would you expect to experience?

And, what would you not expect to experience?

Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)

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Is Self-Publishing Prone To Producing Crap ?

self-publishing Since I’m self-published, you might think my answer to the title question is a big, “No!”.

Actually, I think self-publishing can produce some fine books right along with all the crap :-)

One thing I feel is desperately needed, now that self-publishing is becoming so popular, is a better way for readers to judge the quality of self-pubbed books. Reviews can help, a little, but are too easy to abuse. We need some new method of reader appraisal—any ideas??

I read an article a while back by an author associated with Writer’s Digest: The “Self-Pub Is Crap” Debate. They begin by stating two common viewpoints:

Most self-published work is crap. Anyone can “publish” their e-book and call themselves an author. None of these “books” are edited. It’s a huge pile of crap that’s just getting harder and harder to sift through. (God save us from the crap!)

Traditional publishing produces a lot of crap. Their standards are declining, and they don’t even know what readers want. They are “out of touch” and unneeded gatekeepers.

I recommend reading the full article. They reach a fairly solid conclusion :-)
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Survey Results ~ New Directions

Our last post was a survey; and, while I encourage you, if you haven’t voiced your desires, to scroll down and add your opinions, it’s been up long enough to not see any new votes for the last 24 hours.

I currently have an average of 58 people coming to this blog each day, which isn’t so bad considering I started it on January first.

There are about 7 people who regularly comment and the survey had 39 votes. Since each person could check 3 options, there may have been 13 people contributing to the results (so far).

The topic with the most votes (20.5%) was Writing, closely followed by (c. 18%) Writers’ Issues.

One surprise for me was the number three slot (15.4%), How Notes from An Alien Can Help Earth. If you’re new to the blog, Notes from An Alien is my book, being published May 16th and available free from the link in the right side-bar :-)

The remaining votes fell out like this:

Self-Publishing c. 10.3%

Reading & Genre Explorations both c. 7.7%

Language, Author Interviews, and Social Issues all at just over 5%

And, Global Issues and Publishing both at c. 2.6%

I gratefully thank everyone who voted and, again, encourage those who haven’t to scroll down and take part.

I’ll be pondering these results and working toward satisfying my readers’ desires; at least those readers’ desires which got expressed.

It’s interesting to me that there were no topics with more than around 20% of the vote. The spread of interests intrigues me.

What are your thoughts?
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