Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: The State of Writing

#MainStreetWriters & Virtual Worlds


19 days ago I published a post that detailed the goals of the Main Street Writers Movement:Two Author Friends in The State of Writing -- Kitely

  1. To encourage my neighbor writers in the creation of art.
  1. To attend local literary events, because gathering to discuss ideas and encourage creativity is an essential and radical act in these times.
  1. To support my independent bookstore or, if I don’t have one, order direct from the publisher.
  1. To foster a healthy small press and literary magazine climate by reading new work and submitting my own.
  1. To introduce new friends to my core community, allowing us to grow louder and stronger together.
  1. To credit writers and presses publicly for their ideas, photos, and efforts, and to be genuine with praise.
  1. To celebrate every success in my community as a shared success. This is Main Street. Parades welcome.

And, to address the import of the first image up there, it shows two of my author friends (Ali Noel Vyain and Jane Watson) in the virtual world, The State of Writing, on the virtual grid Kitely.

World Portals in Virtual World Kitely We recently, thanks to the owner, author, Jane Watson, began to discuss  Main Street Writers as it relates to her Worlds.

Even though the Movement stresses local engagement, my first awareness of it was from an author in London—it seems to be going global while it establishes itself in localities

And, as far as the virtual worlds I visit, there are writers from Ohio, Indiana, Maryland, California, Germany, Australia, and the Country of Georgia (among other locations on the Earth)

In Jane’s worlds, whether we’re sitting in a cafe, climbing a mountain, taking a boat ride, hang-gliding, or walking under water, we constantly come back to talking about reading, writing, editing, publishing, and other writerly topics… Marina in State of Writing - Kitely virtual world

So, you can join Main Street Writers as a person “…who wishes more people were reading and talking about literature.“

And, you can come join us writers and artists in Jane Watson’s virtual worlds.

Here are a few guidelines for entering Kitely and finding Jane’s worlds:

Go to Kitely.com and join up for free.

 Kitely works best with the Firestorm virtual world viewer—you definitely want the one that says “Opensim” in the description…

Most viewers have the Kitely grid predefined, so you can select it from a menu. For example, in Firestorm the Menu is labeled “Grid” and is located under where you enter your username and password.

When you first enter Kitely you will find yourself at the Welcome area, where can choose your first avatar.

Then, go to the Explore World Pages on the Kitely webpage and enter State of Writing in the Search Bar.

Though, you might want to visit another world of Jane’s called Avatari—you can find a bunch of different avatars there, grab as many as you want…

When you’ve logged in, find the avatar, Arton Tripsa, in search. To facilitate contact you may offer her Friendship and she’ll invite you to the Writers Island Group and, if necessary, send you some LandMarks to help you get around…

If you’re baffled by these instructions, send me an email, amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com, and I’ll have Jane contact you directly and help you enter her virtual worlds :-)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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 ~ Elizabeth Thompson


The woman you’ll meet today is a very good friend of mine—intelligent, witty, and compassionate.

She’s described herself as, “Just a little old lady in a muumuu at heart, habitual writer, raging bibliophile, raving loony.”

I think we’re both right

I met Elizabeth when I was the Events Manager on Book Island in the virtual world, Second Life.

I’d be getting ready for our weekly Writers’ Discussion and Elizabeth would arrive and sit on the rope that surrounded the stage we gathered on

It sometimes took a bit of prodding to get her responses during the discussions—whatever she said always unique and spot-on

We don’t see each other at events on Book Island now—we meet up for amazing discussions with other writers at places like The Muse in Jane Watson‘s The State of Writing, in the virtual world Kitely.

So, I’ve been prodding her, on and off, for years, to have an interview here

Let’s get this thing started :-)

~~~

Elizabeth, how about we start with some basics about you? Nicole Turner - Author

I’m a writer. A minimalist. I’m married (almost a decade now). I’m 29. I live in the great state of Alabama. I’ve been writing books in the same territory (chic-lit, new adult fiction) for over a decade.

What would you say your writing “style” is?

Messy. Flawed. Silly. But oh-so honest. I like writing about the people I wish I knew. I call them my imaginary friends because I carry them every single place I go. They keep me company when I’m lonely and give me something to sleep to at night. As a matter of fact, I named one of my mains Lullaby because for the better part of a year, that’s what she did for me—sat up in my dark bedroom with me, helping me clear my head when I needed to in order to fall asleep.

So, want to tackle “Why do you write”?

From personal callings gifted by Divine Providence to desperate dreams of sweet immortality, I’ve heard a million answers to this question. Some people are in love with the idea of it. Some people like the lifestyle. Some want to make a living. Some want to be read, to be heard, to be understood. There are people who write with the purest intentions; they want to change the world for the better. I think these are all wonderful reasons to put pen to paper. Sadly, though, my answer isn’t as colorful, exciting, or noble. I just do it because I like to.

[ Editor’s note—Elizabeth is now up to speed :-) ]

As far as publishing goes, what route would you say you’re taking?

I’ve been self-publishing since I was 19, I think. What I like about self-publishing is, you’re in complete control of your finished product (or mostly are). And in my case, there’s not a lot of upfront cost. If you have the time and desire to learn about cover design and basic self-promotion, you can do a whole lot with nothing but your talent and time invested. That’s pretty amazing. I don’t think I could ever do traditional publishing. I’m not brave enough. And the idea of my words being mass-printed and available for the world to pick apart and analyze petrifies me. I love that I can pick and choose who I share what with.

In your opinion, Elizabeth, what does it take to be a good writer?

A story to tell and a willingness to tell it. Honesty. Patience. Hard work. You have to be willing to put yourself out there. And stand there and take it with a smile when the unpredictable, sometimes unkind world reacts to your art. It’s like taking your sweet, precious, irreplaceable pet bunny and gently tossing it into a cage of starving lions. I’m sure there’s a chance they might just look at it and walk off (in a take-it-or-leave-it sort of way), but most likely, they’ll gobble it up OR rip it apart and roll around in what’s left. For me, that’s the toughest part.

Who are your favorite storytellers?

Erma Bombeck. I have every single one of her books. She was the funniest lady. I love and admire the way she could take a mundane task like doing the laundry and turn it into a 10-page chapter about trips to Hawaii and that one time she went to a potluck dinner and caught the table linens on fire. She was a drama queen in the best sort of way—an original desperate housewife. But her desperation was a different kind.

I love Dolly Parton, and I have since I was 5. I love her songwriting, her acting, and I really loved her children’s book I am a Rainbow. She’s kind and gentle, but she shoots straight. There is so much power in humble honesty.

My mom. When she’s telling a funny story, she gets so tickled by the memory, she starts laughing and can’t finish telling it. And when she’s telling campfire tales she does an impression of a chicken which can not be described with words. It’s priceless.

How do your favorite storytellers inspire/shape your own stories?

I recently decided, my new motto is, when it comes to campsites, hotel rooms, and other peoples hearts, leave it better than how you found it or leave it alone in the first place.

My mother used to clean hotel rooms for a living, and we never, ever left one we’d stayed in without her cleaning it first and leaving a tip for the housekeeper. This is very important to her. I used to laugh at her for it, but I’ll never forget and hopefully I’ll pass it down to my own kids someday.

I read a story Dolly told once about a statue of her they’d erected in a park someplace in her honor. She mentioned how her father would go out there and clean the bird poop off it. She teared up when she talked about how much that meant to her.

Care to share some advice for other writers?

There’s a lot to be said for remembering how you started out and appreciating how far you’ve come. What’s even more important, maybe, is that you don’t forget to look back and try and help out those who aren’t quite up to your progress point yet.

Elizabeth, I truly hope we can get you back here, soon, for another interview—Thanks a Heap :-)

~~~

Elizabeth’s WebSite/Blog
Her Pinterest Page
And, Her Flickr Page

Nicole left us this postscript:
“Whenever I have books available for purchase, or for free through giveaways, links will be posted on the sidebar of my blog.”

Now is a great time to ask Elizabeth some questions in the comments…

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

The Librarian Who Became a Novelist


I have a new (virtual) friend who just happens to be a fine poet.

Lucia St. Clair Robson

Click to visit Lucia St. Clair Robson’s site…

“Virtual” because I met her in a place called The State of Writing—which is in the Virtual World, Kitely.

She’d just visited for the first time two nights ago and we shared a boat trip (virtually) last night.

This morning she left a comment on yesterday’s post with a link to a fascinating article in the Capital GazetteLucia Robson: How I made peace with telling lots of lies for a living.

As usual, I’ll excerpt (with comments) and encourage you to go read the full article

Early in the article, Lucia says:

“In 1975, I accepted a job in Anne Arundel County’s exceptionally fine public library system.”

You’d think someone who’d spent so much time around books would be able to imagine writing one; yet, after an editor told her she should do just that, she said:

“Don’t be ridiculous. I don’t know how to write plots or character development or snappy dialogue.”

Luckily, the editor replied:

“Just shut up and do it.”

After much prodding, she began her attempt to write a novel, finished a six-chapter draft, sent it to the editor who’d gotten her into this, and had him give her the name of another editor to submit to—result (in Lucia’s own words):

“A week later Pam called the library and offered me a contract to finish what turned out to be a 562-page historical novel, Ride the Wind.”

Lucia went on to write nine more novels

And, apart from asking you, again, to go read the full article, the best ending to this post is this excerpt:

“My tenth and latest work of fiction, Devilish, is set in the present in Anne Arundel County. But no matter when or where a novel takes place, the writer and the reader make an unspoken pact. The astute reader says, ‘I know you’re lying to me, but I’ll suspend disbelief on the chance that, together, we’ll come to some greater truth.’

“That’s how I’ve made peace with being a professional liar.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

%d bloggers like this: