Notes from An Alien

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Tag Archives: Roz Morris

A Conversation about Reading like a Writer . . .

Reading like a Writer There were no comments on this past Monday’s post—Our Blog Conversation Stays Focused on Truth in Fiction—so, I get to venture in my own direction… :-)

And, my personal directional focus for the current long-haul is what many writers spend much of their time doing—Reading

Not all writers write every day, contrary to what the ‘Net-Gurus keep screaming.

Not all writers who balance reading and writing take care to read books recommended by ‘Net-Gurus.

Many very serious writers actually make their own decisions about what they read; and, often, it’s exactly what they most like reading—the stuff that gets them thinking like a writer—the books that inspire their own personal brand of creativity…

My all-time favorite fiction writer is C. J. Cherryh and I’m in process with a reading marathon of her work—many I’ve read before, some I’ve never touched—around 20 books…

And, there are about 5 books I’ll read after those—various works of poetry…

I’m preparing to go from writing my series of shorts—The Story Bazaar—to writing a second poetry book; and, contrary to those pesky ‘Net-Gurus, I’m doing only what my Muse urges me to do…

I’ll share a bit from a writer I often re-blog here, Roz Morris, from a post she wrote for Writers Helping WritersRead More Fiction (a note for non-fiction writers—you can easily “translate” what she says...):

“…we’re all story lovers. But I mentor a lot of authors and you wouldn’t believe the number who tell me they make a deliberate point of not reading other fiction. I ask their reasons, and the answers have a certain logic:

  • They don’t want to be influenced by other writers or inadvertently copy an idea, character, or plot situation.
  • They need to spend the time writing because they’re struggling to fit enough hours in.

“But when I’m critiquing their work, I frequently see problems that could be solved by studying the fiction of others. Here’s the short list of the usual suspects:

Boring Exposition
Failing to Give Readers What They Want
Dialogue Issues
Writing that Falls Flat

And, here comes another attempt to give you a reason to comment on this post and keep the Conversation going:

My past post, How To Read Like A Writer, that considers the book, Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them (P.S.), by Francine Prose.

Here are just a few statements from that book:

Concerning writers reading to learn how to write—“…the connection has to do with whatever mysterious promptings make you want to write. It’s like watching someone dance and then secretly, in your own room, trying out a few steps.”

“You will do yourself a disservice if you confine your reading to the rising star whose six-figure, two-book contract might seem to indicate where your own work should be heading.”

“The only time my passion for reading steered me in the wrong direction was when I let it persuade me to go to graduate school….I left graduate school and became a writer.”


I hope I’ve given you enough to ponder so you can share your thoughts and/or feelings in the Comments to continue this particular topic…

And, if you’d rather, share a comment with your own suggestion for a Conversation here…

All suggestions need to be in the realms of Reading or Writing or Publishing; or, any two at a time; or, all three at once :-)
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This Is What Happens When a Blogger Goofs; Or, My Attempt to Actually Feature Roz Morris Talking about #SelfPublishing…

So, back at the fated time of shortly after midnight, I turned one of Roz Morris’ posts into a re-blog…

Big mistake in my own estimation, since my schedule (devised after years of blogging) is “full” posts on Monday and Wednesday, new short Tales on Friday, and re-blogs on the other days (to encourage my readers to widen their travels in the blogosphere)…

And, since, back on the 10th of this month, I ignored a re-blog in favor of a full post about Roz’s new book, it only seems fair that I do a full post about the re-blog I did only hours ago…

Not Quite Lost: Travels Without a Sense of Direction Here’s why:

Roz has a new book out…

I blogged about it in these posts:

#BookReview of #RozMorris ’ #NewBook ~ a Wonderful ! #Travel #Memoir

Follow-up Video about Roz Morris’ #NewBook

Not Quite Lost – Travels Without A Sense of Direction

And, the re-blog earlier today also points toward this warm and wonderful book…

The post-proper is, The Real Schedule of a Self-Published Book.

And, if some of my readers feel that I don’t have to “go to this ‘trouble'”, when I’ve already “pointed” to Roz’s post with the re-blog, I must confess I believe most blog readers don’t take links out of posts; but, if the post has enough white space in it, they actually might read the excerpts provided…


Roz’s reason for her post:

“A report of the Frankfurt Book Fair in The Hot Sheet caught my eye this week, and I have to admit it’s got me a trifle narked….Here’s the point that worried me. In self-publishing, every manuscript ‘is accepted and each title is invested with the minimum amount of means’”.

Then, after providing critical information about her editorial work with other writers, Roz says:

“…by way of example, let me take you through the editorial process for my latest book, Not Quite Lost.”

I will now leave it to each reader’s conscience to actually go read Roz’s detailed run-through of the work she engaged in for her Self-Published new book…

However, for the non-link-takers:

“This is not the schedule of a book that was ‘invested with the minimum amount’, either financially or in terms of time. Indeed, I’ll wager my book had more care than it would get in a traditional publishing house. How do I know this? Because I’ve worked for them as well.”

Pow! Take that, whoever made that ill-advised statement at the Frankfurt Book Fair

And, while encouraging you to not deprive yourself of reading Roz’s Full Post, here’s a refreshingly accurate statement from her:

“Yes, self-publishing is done by amateurs. It’s also done by responsible, professional authors who nurture a book properly and take care in its production to create a book that’s worth a reader’s time.”

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Not Quite Lost – Travels Without A Sense of Direction

Not Quite Lost: Travels Without a Sense of Direction Monday, I published a “review” of Not Quite Lost – Travels Without A Sense of Direction by Roz Morris, that also had a video of Roz being interviewed by author, Joanna Penn—a fascinating conversation about this delightful “Travel Memoir”….

Yesterday, I followed all that with another conversation with Roz about Not Quite Lost—brilliant because Henry Hyde brings out aspects of the book that make it a must read for any serious writer ( not to demean it’s complete appropriateness for readers :-)

Today, I offer a short third-time’s-a-charm post, simply recreating a page of Review Snippets from Roz’s own blog (the name-link after each snippet takes you to the full review…):


‘Sparkling with wit, humour and pathos’ – Vivienne Tuffnell

‘Filled with charm and wit … from small giggles to full-on guffaws’ – Davida Chazan aka The Chocolate Lady

‘Charming as h*ll!’ – Vic CWP

‘Well played, well crafted, funny and insightful’ – Just Another Bookworm

‘Turns the mundane into the hilarious or the dramatic’ – Andrew Collins

‘I devoured most of it in a single, long, bewitched session’ – Henry Hyde

‘Bloody good – keep a copy in your guest room and you’ll never see your guests’ – Clare Flynn

‘Laugh-out-loud moments and old-fashioned GOOD writing’ – Icy Sedgwick

‘Move over, Bill Bryson … beguiling’ – Peter Snell, independent bookseller

‘Engaging memoir of the road less travelled’ – Debbie Young

‘A novelist’s eye for detail … and for romance and drama in the everyday’ – Sandy Bennett-Haber

‘Stylish, lovely, well crafted’ – Ignite (top 1,000 Amazon reviewer)

‘Quirky, fun read .. made me want to go out and have adventures’ – Limey

‘Full of interior and exterior travel in the everyday and special … moving’ – Angela Kubinec, Easy Street Mag

‘Totally wonderful’ – Alexander M Zoltai

‘Wry humour, precise details, beautiful writing’ – Fictionreader

This blog’s regular fare will continue tomorrow………
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Follow-up Video about Roz Morris’ #NewBook

I’ve already  published the post, #BookReview of #RozMorris ’ #NewBook ~ a Wonderful ! #Travel #Memoir

Today, I feel I must ditch the regular Re-Blog and share a video with Roz Morris and Henry Hyde… Author Conversations

Mr. Hyde is a writer, designer, and editor; and, Roz and he talk about her new book, which I review in that post up there from yesterday :-)

So, if you think you’d like to hear two authors talking about how books are written; and, listen to Henry detailing why folks should read Roz’s new book, I think you’ll enjoy 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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#BookReview of #RozMorris ’ #NewBook ~ a Wonderful ! #Travel #Memoir

The title of this post may not be “pretty”; but, it should have some hashtag “influence” on Twitter…

Roz Morris ~ Author The reason for desiring the influence is Roz Morris‘ new book, Not Quite Lost – Travels Without A Sense of DirectionNot Quite Lost: Travels Without a Sense of Direction

I know I used the words “Book Review” in the title; but, I’m much more the reporter here; so…

Here’s Roz telling us about the Source of her new book:

“A notebook is essential travel gear, of course. I have a special one I use when I’m off home turf. It’s an old leatherbound book embossed with the name ‘visitors’ – because it is the book I write in when I’m a visitor.”

That notebook is where she mined 25 years of travel for the tales in Not Quite Lost.

 In fact, that notebook also contains prompt-material for her first two novels, as well as a few future ones…

And, before I get into reporting on this book, I must mention those first two novels—both incredibly unique, both exquisite reads: My Memories of a Future LifeLifeform Three


Also, before we consider Not Quite Lost, I must trumpet the praises of Roz’s Writing Books, the Nail Your Novel Series

And, backing up just a bit more (before we move forward), I can’t fail to mention Roz’s deep and rich experience as a ghostwriter…

Let’s just sum all that up with a quote from one of her Bios:

Roz Morris published nearly a dozen novels and achieved sales of more than 4 million copies – and nobody saw her name because she was a ghostwriter. She is now proudly publishing as herself with two acclaimed literary novels and is frequently compared to Margaret Atwood, Ray Bradbury and Doris Lessing. She has also been a writing coach, editor and mentor for more than 20 years with award-winning authors among her clients. She has a book series for writers, Nail Your Novel (and a blog, and teaches creative writing masterclasses throughout Europe and for The Guardian newspaper in London.”


I’ve just finished reading Not Quite Lost – Travels Without A Sense of Direction and I took just a few notes as I traveled along with Roz and her husband, Dave (who must not be slighted; so, here’s a Bio for Dave Morris…).

Before my few personal notes, taken as I read Not Quite Lost, here’s my idea of some Promotional Copy for Roz’s latest book:

Entrancing Tales ~ Chummy Anecdotes ~ Delightful Humor ~ Surprising Truths ~ Impeccably Lovely Writing; and, dare I say, Much More:-)

My Sparse Notes from Not Quite Lost {there are 19 Tales in the book—the ones not mentioned below had a quality similar to some of Emily Dickinson’s poems, full of meaning that can be experienced; yet, leaving a trail of mystery in my mind...}:

Eve of destruction: a childhood home

Excerpt: “A family house is one of your guardians.”

You are not Morgana and I am not Merlin

I can’t reveal any of the words of this particular tale; though, it is full of humorous riddles…

I came to find her

This one is pure sweetness…

Staircases to nowhere

This one’s about a house that wouldn’t completely vanish…

Travels without a sense of direction

One word here: intrepidity (oops, that was four...)

A time traveller’s road

Rather amazing—Roz shares the personality of a road…

Cold sleepers

Utterly fascinating…

An earthquake

It was in Italy; and, Roz, during nitely retellings (repeated as mundane prayers): “I’d done the typical writerly thing – I was filing it away, to be able to tell it faithfully afterwards.”

Strictly faking it

A few reveals about her ghostwriting days and submissions of her own first novel, mingled with a very impressive flash-mob dancing gig…

West word

Such a lovely ending…

Roz gives a handy recap of all the places visited and a couple surprise links to the flash-mob dance and a Pinterest page of all the places in the book…

She also reveals how a few of the locations spawned places in her novels, past and future…


If you’d like to read a “real” review and some supporting articles, try here, here, & here,

I’m going to share a video of Roz and Joanna Penn talking about Not Quite Lost; but, at about the 5 minute mark, Roz mentions a Particular Memoirist, whose name appears in some of the promotional copy for her book:

‘Move over, Bill Bryson … beguiling’ – Peter Snell, independent bookseller

Must include one last quote from Roz before the video:

“Not Quite Lost” is, as she says, a “…first collection of narrative non-fiction. Set mainly in England, it’s an ode to the quiet places you never realised might tell you a tale.”

Now, before I get out of the way and stop breaking many blogging rules: the following “Juicy” video travels quite a bit down it’s own trails, covering, among other paths—Fiction writers “keeping it real’ when writing memoir—Personal Essays—Writing for Therapy—Journalling—Splurge Drafts—Libel—Writing Novels—Marketing…

Hope you don’t have to suffer an ad before the interview…

Enjoy :-)

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