Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Stephen King

It’s International Children’s Book Day !

And, here are just a few of the quotes from the International Business Times article, International Children’s Book Day Quotes: 20 Sayings About Reading To Share With Lit Lovers:

“When I got [my] library card, that was when my life began.” ― Rita Mae Brown

“A book is a gift you can open again and again.” — Garrison Keillor

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” ― Stephen King

“I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library.” — Jorge Luis Borges

And, here’s a video with a nice man reading a story to You :-)

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There are 66 posts about writing advice on this blog and they include this one since I tag my posts with keywords; so, if you take that last link, you might see this post again at the top of the list, unless I’ve written another post about writing advice before you take that link—ah, the ins and outs of the Internet :-)

Today’s post features another blog’s articles about writing advice

The blog is Brain Pickings and the blogger is Maria Popova and I wrote about her in my post, A Blog for All Seasons.

However, she has a particular post, Famous Advice on Writing: The Collected Wisdom of Great Writers, that may have a somewhat flamboyant title but does pack a severe punch

It’s essentially a link-post—as she says:

“By popular demand, I’ve put together a periodically updated reading list of all the famous advice on writing presented here over the years, featuring words of wisdom from such masters of the craft as Kurt Vonnegut, Susan Sontag, Henry Miller, Stephen King, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Susan Orlean, Ernest Hemingway, Zadie Smith, and more.”

Maria has 109 links to various authors’ advice; and, here’s just a bit of advice from this author (especially, if you’re relatively new to the craft of writing)—it’s much better to read the books of other authors that have no writing advice than it is to read writing advice and not apply you’re own judgement to it.

Naturally, that would mean I’m actually sharing two pieces of advice:

  • Read a lot.
  • Write a lot

If you don’t do the second one, you can’t generate your own judgement to apply to the advice of other writers.

I know, that may sound quite convoluted; but, we’re talking about writing, not about baking bread—though, there may be a few tricks that can be transferred from baking to writing
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Author Interview ~ Red Harvey

There are Lots of Author Interviews on this blog

Today’s is a bit different…

First, because the interview is with another Wattpad author (there are six more, just above her, in the list at that link up there…).

Second, this author is a bit feisty :-)


Red Harvey - Author O.K., Red, give us a few personal insights?

Well, I’m just a girl, standing in front of some readers, asking them to read her…no, okay, I flubbed that up.

Do over. I’m a Puerto Rican crazy person, and if I don’t rid myself of the crazy ideas (also known as stories), then I’d go into overload mode. That, and my two kids drive me nuts, in the most loving way possible.

What do you do all day?

I write, and I write, and I write. Mostly science-fiction, although I slipstream into other genres, like fantasy and horror. I’m also big into essay writing.

When I’m not writing or being a mom, I’m teaching college composition, editing for the academic journal Penumbra, or editing at my indie press Nuff Said.

What’s your favorite part about speculative fiction?

I love the oddity. Every genre has the potential for oddity, but speculative fiction feeds off it in order to transport the reader properly.

Why do your stories often strike a dark tone?

Could be because I’m (read above) a lover of odd, which then translates to dark. I also find life to be dark, and in my stories, I throw life on a screen.

Who inspires you?

Stephen King. Kidding. And not kidding. But no, really, my newest inspiration is a very distant cousin, Julia de Burgos. She was a poet, feminist, and nationalist, and though her life was a disjointed tragedy, I’m inspired by her drive to promote equality and kindness.

When did you first think about being a writer and/or when did you first do some writing?

Like the corny cliche goes, I’ve written from a young age. However, I never finished a full-length novel until I was 24 (I’m now 29, if that puts things into perspective). I got pregnant with my first son and realized I needed to finish something instead of starting a chapter, moving onto a different story, or jotting down a short story. My mind used to be all over the place about writing. Now, it’s only sort of all over the place.

Care to share a bit about what it’s like on Wattpad?

Being on Wattpad is inspiring, addictive, and rewarding as hell. Utilizing a simple interface, anyone can post a story, and receive feedback in minutes. Does it always work out that easily? No, but sometimes it does, and every writer needs and wants that golden ticket of feedback, so why not try Wattpad? I didn’t intend to turn this into a Wattpad infomercial, but there ya go.

Tell us a bit about your works on Wattpad (especially, Obsolution, my current read…).

I have a few works on Wattpad, such as a horror novella, The Dark, or a paranormal thriller, Cursed, but my labor of love is the sci-fi novel, Obsolution. Gender dynamics have always fascinated me, and sci-fi is my go-to genre of choice, and so I decided to push the two together. Obsolution is about an average retail manager living in a futuristic setting. He inadvertently gets his hands on revolutionary 3-D tech, and prints a female version of himself. Through the eyes of his clone, or Sam, he sees the world differently, all while contending with the growing mechanization of the workforce.

I worked in retail for a long time, and as I rung up people’s purchases, the thought that a machine (or a monkey) could do my job crossed my mind many a time. I worried I might lose my job constantly, but fate gave me a new one, so yay! I’m glad to be out of that world, but I’m also grateful for the real-world experience I gained.

What’s the big project at the moment?

Currently, I’m chugging along on a space opera about four explorers compelled to answer a mysterious alien invitation. As their journey progresses and the decades fly by, they find themselves changing, for better or worse.

Looking forward to reading that, Red…

And, thanks, so much, for taking time out of your busy day to share with my readers about your writing life…

See ya on Wattpad :-)



Red on Wattpad
Red’s Blog
O.K., time to ask Red some questions in the comments :-)
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The Ecology of A Blog Post & The “Rules” of Writing

I’d never considered putting “ecology” and “blog” in the same sentence ’till yesterday.

The Ecology of Blog Posts & The

Image courtesy of Zsuzsanna Kilian ~

When the idea shot through my mind, I went to my Oxford dictionary to confirm my hunch and found:

“…deals with organisms’ relations to one another and to the physical environment in which they live.”

If I change one word and drop another one, we have:

…deals with posts’ relations to one another and to the environment in which they live.

Let me demonstrate…

On 30 May, 2013 I wrote what I consider one of the most important posts on this blog—What About All The Authors Whose Books Don’t Sell Very Many Copies?

On June 26th of this year I wrote the post, Why Trying to Write a Bestseller Is Bad for Your Mental Hygiene.

The second post had a link ( a “relation” ) to the first post

Both posts had links out to other blogs ( relations to the environment [ blogosphere ] in which they live ).

There’s more to the ecology of the post about trying to write a bestseller—the following comment on that post:

“Thanks for the post – the truth will, indeed, set you free. I’ve begun to suspect that a lot of advice is an echo chamber. One ‘tip’ is to make money off wannabe authors with advice – I’ve seen many posts that seem to contain a lot of copy/paste and pacing outlines to force your story into. I’ve also read a number of successful novels that violate ‘standard advice’.

That comment was contributed by Kate Rauner and she provided a link ( relation ) out of the comment to examples of writing advice on her own blog

Many blogs take advantage of what used to be called “hypertextual” links—to posts within the blog itself and to other blogs (which can well have their own internal links)

I just might start calling them Ecological Links.


To continue the ecology of posts idea and show you a couple of my favorite posts by Kate, here are some Ecological Links out of this post:

The Sirens of Titan and Vonnegut’s Writing Rules

On Writing – A Memoir Of The Craft

A Nobel Prize Proves It – I Live Under a Rock

Even though many of Kate’s posts are an exploration of why certain books are popular; and, she’s looking for writing advice, she did say, in that comment on one of my posts (about not trying to write a bestseller), that “…the truth will, indeed, set you free.”, and “I’ve begun to suspect that a lot of advice is an echo chamber.”
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Have You Read Any #VisionaryFiction ?

Yesterday, I wrote about Visionary Fiction; but, mostly, from the perspective of the writer. Visionary Fiction Alliance Book Store

Today, I’ll look at it from the reader’s perspective.

Let’s look again at the qualities of Visionary Fiction:

  • Growth of consciousness is the central theme of the story and drives the protagonist, and/or other important characters.
  • The story oftentimes uses reincarnation, dreams, visions, paranormal events, psychic abilities, and other metaphysical plot devices.
  • The plot [or story] is universal in its worldview and scope.

Have you ever read a book that does those things?

Was it classified as some particular genre?

Margaret Duarte, one of the Editors with the Visionary Fiction Alliance, has a compelling argument in her post, What Is Visionary Fiction?, that makes VF a Sub-genre of Speculative Fiction (and, there’s a really cool genre-graphic).

The VFA website says this:

“Visionary is a tone as well as a genre. The ‘visionary’ element can technically be present in any genre and set in any time.”

I’ve written a number of posts about genre—a fairly slippery topic

So, with no intention of setting up a controversy (since questions of genre can be highly colored by many personal factors), I’ll make the bold statement that Visionary Fiction is a “Supra-genre”

Let’s look at some examples of VF, from the VFA site, and ask ourselves what other genres they also belong to:

The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

The Celestine Prophecy – James Redfield

Chocolate and The Girl with No Shadow  – Joanne Harris

From the Corner of His Eye – Dean Koontz

The Illuminatus Trilogy  – Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea

Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah – Robert Bach

Javid Nama –  Muhammad Iqbal

Jonathen Livingston Seagull – Robert Bach

The Journeys of Socrates – Dan Millman

Keeping Faith  – Jodi Picoult

Life of Pi – Yann Martel

The Mists of Avalon – Marion Zimmer Bradley

Odd Thomas series – Dean Koontz

No Retreat, No Surrender – Corey Yuen

The Stand – Stephen King

Twelfth Insight, Thet: The Hour of Decision – James Redfield

Valis – Philip K. Dick

Way of the Peaceful Warrior – Dan Millman

What Dreams May Come – Richard Matheson

So, are those books Visionary Fiction first, then some other genre?

Some other genre, then VF?

Both at the same time?

See how slippery genre can be? :-)

Still, I think Visionary Fiction is a valuable Quality to consider when a reader’s tastes crave Universal Themes, Growth of Consciousness, and Metaphysical Plot Devices.

So, if you’re one of those readers, check out the Visionary Fiction Alliance’s Bookstore.
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