Alert: A Very Special Visit To “Notes from An Alien” !

February 26, 2011

Monday, the 28th of February

Columbia Business School graduate, Irina Avtsin

Telling us about “Rediscovering the power of ‘No’”

For all Readers, Writers, and Publishers

Make your life easier by learning to say, “No”!

Follow the “co-author” of Notes from An Alien, Sena Quaren:
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When Is The Word “No” Better Than The Word “Yes”?

February 25, 2011
I normally post to this blog Monday through Saturday, every week.

Yes, that’s quite a schedule but it helps with search engine visibility and I have a lot to say.

Yes, I’ve had a number of author interviews lately and there are some really cool ones to come next week.

Yes, it does still take me just about as long to post an interview as my own words, what with all the emailing and editing.

Yes, I do work about 12 to 14 hours a day, seven days a week on pre-publication activities for my forthcoming book.

No, I won’t be posting tomorrow. And, No, I won’t even be looking at new posts from my Blogroll buddies or making comments on your blogs…

Yes, it feels Great to say “No” today ’cause I’m going to do the final revisions on Notes from An Alien today, tomorrow, and Sunday.

Monday is a Special Day!! Irina Avtsin will be here to tell us about the Power of the word “No!” :-)
Follow the “co-author” of Notes from An Alien, Sena Quaren:
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AND, Get A Free Copy of Our Book


Invitation To The Madhouse ~ Report On Self-Publishing

February 24, 2011

Alert: Stay turned to this channel for a special broadcast, Monday, 28 Feb.
Irina Avtsin will tell us all about the power of the word, “No!”.

{This post is almost a rant and purposefully written in a voice I rarely use…}

A madhouse is where insane persons are confined or a place exhibiting stereotypical characteristics of such a place.

This, to me, right now, is what self-publishing is.

Let me define my terms a bit more precisely:

“Sanity” has roots indicating “healthy condition” or “soundness of mind”. If I temporarily constrict my argument to the term “publishing”, most people who are trying to keep up with the frenetic pace of change in this arena of human experience would, I feel, tend to agree that publishing is not in a healthy condition or showing soundness of mind.

Many of those same people would go further and claim that self-publishing is the medicine needed for the sick field of publishing.


I’ve been involved in self-publishing for about six years now and the last year has seen me working overtime to come to terms with how to best take advantage of the opportunities that self-publishing seems to offer.

I don’t have space in this post to detail the ills of the traditional publishing route but anyone interested can easily find much to ponder.

So, try to accept one point on a conditional basis: self-publishing can bring a book to market faster and supply the author with higher royalties than traditional publishing, as long as the author is not already on the bestseller lists or in the stable of a publishing house being preened to take the book-world by storm when the right marketing moment arrives.

If the above statement is true, one would think that an author would find it easier to self-publish…

My experience has been that the word “easy” needs to be carefully defined with ample attention being paid to whether said author has what it takes to build their own following and work intensely at experimenting till they find the particular combination of tasks that can assure them a sufficient platform of eager individuals waiting to render them aid on publishing day.

If you are comfortable with building relationships, if you can be honestly altruistic in those relationships, if you can multiply the number of those relationships, if you have the time to attend to them with care and diligence, if you have the money to pay for or can trade for the expertise of editors, artists, and publicity specialists, then, maybe you would say self-publishing is easier than going the traditional route.

The reason I’ve been willing to persevere in the madhouse of self-publishing isn’t because I can easily fulfill all the ifs in the last paragraph.

I will continue to do all I can to successfully self-publish my work-in-progress because I lack the patience to search for an agent who would accept the unusual book I had to write and must publish, because I don’t have a few years to wait while such an agent finds a publisher who thinks my book can sell and negotiates a contract, because I refuse to be paid a royalty that can have itself disappear in paybacks to the publisher if the book doesn’t sell, and because finding an editor I don’t have to pay and supplying cover artwork are something I was able to personally handle.

So, from my perspective, the crumbling house of traditional publishing and the raucous adolescent scene of self-publishing are both “madhouses” but I’m a writer and I have a book I’ve written and I want people to read it and I had to make a choice…

I chose self-publishing.

I’ve written about this topic before in this blog and using the handy Top Tags Cloud in the side panel will lead you to those other musings…

What are your thoughts, theories, experiences, and rants or raves about traditional publishing and self-publishing?
Follow the “co-author” of Notes from An Alien, Sena Quaren:
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AND, Get A Free Copy of Our Book


Author Interview ~ Daryl Sedore

February 23, 2011

Alert: Stay turned to this channel for a special broadcast, Monday, 28 Feb.
Irina Avtsin will tell us all about the power of the word, “No!”.

Today’s interview is with an author whose blog posts I eagerly anticipate.
Must soon read his books :-)


Daryl, when did you begin writing and can you remember how it felt inside, back then?

I began writing at the early age of 10 years old. How did it feel? It was and is, euphoric, liberating, and exciting all wrapped up in each stroke of my pencil. To create characters and have them do horrible things to each other was better to me than playing Monopoly or Risk in those days.

Was there any certain date or time you remember when you began to either think of yourself as or call yourself a “writer”?

I wrote on and off throughout my early years and then in the year 2000 I began writing my first full length novel and felt I was a writer at that moment. When that novel was completed, I sent it out to literary agents and started writing another one. I’ve been writing since and have numerous titles out.

What are your hopes, or dreams, or goals for your writing?

Mostly, to be able to do it for a living and to live comfortably enough to be able to do it. I write every day and produce new, publishable material four to five times a year. In five to ten years I will have dozens of novels available which increases the odds of getting noticed on a wider scale.

What do you feel has taught you the most about “how to write”?

1. Reading fiction (It’s what I write). 2. Stephen King. 3. Reading books on the craft of writing. I’d like to add conferences, since I’ve been to numerous ones around North America, but I won’t, because I didn’t learn much in their seminars and I only recommend conferences for the one on one’s with literary agents.

Who are your favorite writers and why are they favorites?

Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Clive Barker, Jack Ketchum, Harlan Coben, Charlie Huston, Dan Simmons, to name a few.

They’re my favorites because they all write thrilling, non-stop serious fiction. Unexplained events, unexpected twists and turns and downright darn good fiction.

Where and/or how do you get your ideas for your writing?

My ideas come from numerous places. Sometimes one will just be there, and other times one will show up while reading the newspaper. The idea formulates based on external stimuli and then the creative side takes over and forms a coherent story. I then take the characters and make their lives hell.


What is your normal revision or editing routine?

Once the novel is complete, I put it away for a month and start writing something else. Then, when I pull it out I do a read through from beginning to end. After that I give it to my wife to read, who incidentally is a published author. Once she is through with it, I make her edits and read it through again, only this time, I read it through character by character to manage their growth and character arc throughout the story. I will purposely go to each P.O.V. chapter of each character until they have all been studied thoroughly.

Finally, I will read the novel backwards. I start with the last page and then read the second last page and so on until I reach the first page at the end. This ensures I see any minor mistakes I’ve failed to see before because an author can get too close to their work and sometimes get lost in their story as they edit forward.

Marvelously unexpected editing tip, Daryl :-)

Are you published?

I am published at and throughout the e-reader world via Smashwords. My books are being bought at the Sony reader store, the Apple iBookstore, and on the Nook at Barnes & Noble. I will be publishing more in the next few months.

Tell us about your blog: its purpose, how you go about deciding what to post, and what you want to do with it in the future?

My blog has a theme that I try to adhere to on a weekly basis and that theme is inspirational writing. I post about the craft of writing and how to stay motivated and just keep on doing it. I have written guest posts for Write to Done and the Urban Muse Writer.

Thank you for the opportunity to do this wonderful interview with you. I really appreciate it.

Thank you, Daryl, for an extremely interesting interview :-)
Daryl’s blog is located here
His Amazon Author page is here

Time to ask Daryl some questions in the Comments :-)
Follow the “co-author” of Notes from An Alien, Sena Quaren:
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AND, Get A Free Copy of Our Book


Can You Trust An Alien; You Know, The Kind From Outer Space?

February 22, 2011

Alert: Stay turned to this channel for a special broadcast, Monday, 28 Feb.
Irina Avtsin will tell us all about the power of the word, “No!”.

If you’re new to this blog, you may think its title, Notes from An Alien, refers to either me, Alexander M Zoltai, or writers in general being aliens…

Let’s see: The roots of the word “alien” come from “strange” or “foreign”…

O.K., I’m strange and most folks find writers, as a group, strange. We writers also have strange and often foreign places as the spaces we create within–our minds, our settings, our being alone so much…

But, when I asked if you could trust an alien, I meant one from a strange and very foreign planet.

Being the writer I am and writing the book I’ll publish in May made me have to trust such an alien. I’m her co-author. I’ll let her explain:

My name is Sena Quaren and this book is a story of my People—a story told in notes; and, even though some readers may think it is a novel or a history, its form is difficult to classify in what are called genres.

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.

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 star 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—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.

Does Sena sound like a person you can trust?

Do you think she’s real or just a literary device?

Is it believable, with what most folks think when you mention aliens, that Sena is so reasonable and seems to truly want to help Earth?

Would you like a free copy of the pre-publication edition of the book?

Would you be the kind of person to give a bit of feedback and get your name (or, alias) in the back of the book?

Why do humans, so often, cast aliens as sneaky, manipulative, or downright evil?
Follow the “co-author” of Notes from An Alien, Sena Quaren:
On Facebook
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AND, Get A Free Copy of Our Book


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Alexander M Zoltai I started writing seriously rather late in life but I'm forging ahead with roaring flames in my heart... I've written the novel, "Notes from An Alien", with Sena Quaren--taking her other-worldly experience and translating it for an Earth audience. No, I'm not Channeling. I'm merely taking the "reality" of one of my characters to a new level :-)


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