Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Story Bazaar

Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Twenty-Six


Politically Correct

by
Alexander M Zoltai

~~~~~~~~~

Of course Dan was special…

Every one was, in some way—his way was just being part of the historical elite—white and proud; but, tolerant of other folks; and, always politically correct…

He couldn’t understand all these recent efforts to secure “rights” for so many divergent groups—it was getting to be that anyone could select some feature of their body or some aspect of their social status or some particular addiction they had and turn it into a movement; and, the media was all over all of them…

There was this black fellow at his place of work—hard working, fairly intelligent; but, too damned insistent on having every single idea heard—not just the appropriate ones; but, every single idea…

And, the young gay guy—so sensitive it seemed he’d cry if you didn’t smile at him…

One stormy Monday, Dan was chosen to lead an employee meeting.

He did just what he’d been trained to do—keep things on topic—redirect stray comments toward company goals—rephrase criticisms about management—generally, make the meeting reinforce why all of them were working for the company.

The meeting was a war—he couldn’t control it; so many of them were working to dismantle his every effort—he wished he had a gun so he could shut the dumb shits up…

He quit his job…

Later in the week he saw a special news item about his former company…

Another manager had brought a gun to a meeting—shot three blacks, two gays, and five other whining idiots…

He still couldn’t understand all these recent efforts to secure “rights” for so many divergent groups.

But, he still felt special…

Every one was special, in some way—his way was just being part of the historical elite—white and proud; but, tolerant of other folks; except stupid blacks, prissy gays, those complete idiots who wanted some special bathroom rights, and women who wanted to do what men should do…

None of his small group of friends knew where he’d gotten to…

A few months later he was featured in some very special news coverage—him and his newly purchased gun and the slaughter he’d committed at the local mall………

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Read More Story Bazaar Tales

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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………
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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

Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Twenty-Five


Please, Just Help Me Help Myself

by
Alexander M Zoltai

~~~~~~~~~

Kwame Wekesa sat on the ground in front of his modest home, wondering about the future of his family.

The weather wasn’t helping anyone—the ancestral spirits seemed to have abandoned all the farmers—the earth itself was snubbing seeds…

Perhaps he should visit the city, talk to those (what were they called?) development people…

~~~

Kwame got new seeds—new tools (very unfriendly tools)—had to get help to read the “manuals” from the development people—thought his ancestral spirits might be nervous…

~~~

Six months passed—nothing improved—his family was beginning to starve…

~~~

One of the Big Countries sent food—Kwame and his family rationed what they got, very carefully.

~~~

Other folks came to visit, rather like the development people; but, they came to Kwame, he didn’t have to go to them; they asked him many questions; they lived in tents and visited the fields with him—more questions, then they all talked with themselves and on their radios.

Later, a helicopter arrived with three more people and some strange tools.

Kwame then learned that most of the tools had been made according to a plan devised from his own answers to all the many questions these folks had asked him—he got along with the tools as if they were old friends…

They taught him about making the air get more moist with a very strange machine—he didn’t understand but they told him he’d helped them make the strange machine…

They also brought seeds just like the ones he used to have—he fed the seeds from the first group of development people to his starving cow (praying it wouldn’t get sick…).

~~~

New sprouts two months later.

Three more months and there were baby vegetables.

Two years later and Kwame was forming a collective with his neighboring farmer friends that helped them all begin to export food.

~~~

Three years later:

Kwame held his new son—thought about those kind folk who’d asked him so many questions—decided they were friends of his ancestral spirits………

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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

Ten Publishing Predictions for 2017


2017 Book Industry Predictions I’ve been published by Lulu and FastPencil and Amazon and Wattpad… 

One of these days, I want to get around to being published by Smashwords

Perhaps (whenever I decide it’s “complete”), I’ll put my Story Bazaar there…

Nevertheless, if you put “Mark Coker(the Founder of Smashwords) into the search box at the upper right, you’ll find around 23 informative posts (including this one) about the BookWorld.

His article, 2017 Book Industry Predictions: Intrigue and Angst amid Boundless Opportunity, begins with these thoughts:

“If you could see into the future, what would you do to change it?

“Each year I polish off my imaginary crystal ball and attempt to divine how the boiling crosscurrents of technology, competitive intrigue, author aspirations, and reader tastes will shape the opportunities facing authors, publishers and retailers for the year ahead.

“As I caution each year, the prediction game is fraught with folly.  No one really knows what will happen tomorrow, though there are plenty of clues.

“Book publishing is in the grip of multiple long-term macro trends.  Like strong trade winds, these forces will fill the sails of those who can harness them while swamping those who don’t.

“2017 will mark a special milestone for the ebook industry.  It marks the ten year anniversary of the Kindle.  It’s also the ten year anniversary of Smashwords’ incorporation.  In early 2007, after three years of crafting our business plan, I hired our first programmer and began active development on the Smashwords platform which we launched in early 2008.”

He then has a fascinating section entitled, Ten Years of Indie Publishing in Review

Then follow his ten predictions (do take the link to the full article for Mark’s enlightening commentary on each of these predictions):

1.  Indie authors will continue to capture greater ebook market share in 2017 

2.  The glut [of books] will grow more pronounced

3.  Ebooks will face greater commoditization pressures in 2017

4.  The publishing industry will begin to recognize KDP Select as the cancer that it is

#5 is “missing” or it’s called Boiling Frogs

6.   Large ebook retailers pushed to the brink

7.  Kindle Unlimited will continue to harm single copy ebook sales in 2017

8.  Many indies will quit or scale back production

9.  Industry consolidation will hit self-publishing

10.   Amazon to face anti-trust scrutiny for unfair business practices

And, here are some of Mark’s closing remarks (directed straight at self-publishing writers — if you aren’t one, share this post with any you may know...):

“Okay, so I’ve painted a stark picture for 2017.  What are you going to do about it?

“First, remember that you are not powerless, despite the efforts of those who seek to beat you down and take your power.

“Recognize that the collective actions of authors and publishers like you will determine the course of this industry.  If you have strong feelings about a particular future you’d like to see realized, it’s incumbent upon you and everyone you know to take a stand, organize with fellow authors and put words to action.

“I realize some authors are unable take a public stand.  I’ve spoken with many of them – including many big name NY Times bestsellers – who’ve privately thanked me for speaking out for them, and they’ve encouraging me to continue speaking out.  Some of these authors have confided to me they’re unable to speak publicly for themselves.  They’re afraid of recrimination from Amazon; they’re afraid of recrimination from their friends; or they’re afraid of seeing their books carpet-bombed with one-star reviews from Amazon partisans.  If you must remain silent, I respect that.  But if you have the ability to share your concerns with your readers and author friends, whether publicly or privately, please do.  Do it for you.

“Despite the challenges writers and publishers face, I continue to believe as I’ve believed for the last decade that there’s never been a better time to be a writer.  There’s never been a more exciting time to be involved in publishing.”

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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

Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Twenty-Four


Governance

by
Alexander M Zoltai

~~~~~~~~~

Jim Witman sat in his apartment wondering about the latest news.

It’d been twenty-three years since the Peace Agreement and no one expected a war.

Jim called his best friend, Hank Bourne, and said:

“Heard the news?”

“Yep. Good thing the World Federation got its Protective Force trained and ready.”

“Think they can rein in both South Africa and Botswana?”

“Well, it is 2138, not 2115—over twenty years to get ready…”

“Yeah, I guess there’s not much to worry about…”

“Not unless some other countries decide the Protective Force will be too busy to fight them, too…”

“I think things are too good now for any other countries to start a war.”

“Yeah, things are way better without all those stupid tariffs and taxes.”

“Wouldn’t be if the Economic Committee hadn’t made all those trade adjustments—what’d they call it—Fiscal Unity?”

They talked for another half hour and Jim decided he had to go to the Cafe.

~~~

He found most of the regulars in attendance and was particularly happy to see Marge Leseine.

He got his cup of Yerba Mate and made his way to her table.

“Hey.”

“Hey, you.”

“You must’ve heard about the war…?”

“Absolutely. What a radically stupid thing to do…”

“I suppose the South Africans didn’t think it was stupid to defend their country…”

“Well, yeah, but they shouldn’t have gone into Botswana, that’s the job of the Protective Force. Now they’ll both suffer from Federation Intervention.”

“Yeah…”

“Shame…”

“Yeah…”

“Think any other countries will start being stupid?”

“Sure hope not…”

“Yep.”

They talked for a few hours and he made sure they had a date for a movie later in the week.

~~~

Jim was watching the Federation ‘NetCast.

“Troops have surrounded both armies and naval forces have blocked South African ports.

“The uprising should be quelled within forty-eight hours.

“Humanitarian aid is already infiltrating the fringes of the civilian areas.”

Jim went to the South African Herald site.

“President Thato Coetzee has declared the incursion into Botswana a ‘tragic mistake’ and assures us our troops are withdrawing back into home territory.”

Jim went to the Botswana Times site.

“South African troops are not yet retreating; but, Federation troops are said to be containing them; though, we have no proof of that.

“General Seretse is threatening to bomb South African outposts on the border.”

His mind drifted off the screen and went into wonderment about the insanity of war.

He’d gotten used to clarity and rigorous honesty in the news—violence tainted everything…

The wars of the 2090’s had sickened all of humanity—things had rapidly changed—large movements of people pushed for transparency and ethical behavior.

He wondered about God’s seeming willingness to let things get out of hand so badly on the Earth; but, he knew, without free will humans would be mere toys that God programed for Lord knows what…

But the massive upheavals of the 80’s and 90’s, the dislocations and ruptures, the die-offs of so many poor folks…

Jim knew there were few truly valid options for humans.

His studies in philosophy and psychology had convinced him that the human “condition” was, at best, tricky to keep “balanced”; yet, all the effort to unify the world was paying off—very sad it had cost humanity so damned much to get to that balance…

He wasn’t sure about religious motivations—the major faiths had “reconciled”—still, even though he believed in some kind of “Creator”, he couldn’t say he was “religious”.

There was that Faith some folks called “rational”—he didn’t know…

He did know that unity was the new goal in every area of life.

He did know that human beings really needed peace to prosper.

He wasn’t sure if he dared ask Marge to marry him…

He wanted kids but…

Better wait and see what happens after the war’s over………

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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