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2018

Notes From an Alien and Strange Fantasies

LMediaEditing

Creative professionals looking for inspiration or guidance on a project can visit the Notes from an Alien blog. Created and curated by Alexander M Zoltai, who describes himself in the site's "about" page as a writer with roaring flames in my heart, this resource provides up-to-date blog posts on miscellaneous topics related to literature.

Who it's for

Notes from an Alien offers readers content that will feed their creative drive. True to its title, the site should particularly attract those interested in abstract thinking from a creative mind. Blog posts range from think pieces to short poetry. All of the content on the site, from its blog posts to its short stories to its author interviews, is free, giving new and continuing writers a chance to learn from other writers.

The site

The viewer will be taken directly to the blogroll at the main page of the site. There they can read Zoltai's excellent writing blog posts. The site is in a simple Wordpress template.

At the top of the page, there are links to other pages that include:

  • About This Blog – A short bio and an explanation of the website
  • Story Bazaar – 96 short stories by Zoltai
  • Strange Fantasies – Fantasy-themed short stories by Zoltai
  • Our Author Interviews – A compendium of author interviews
  • Special Links – Links to recommended philosophical documents

Other pages shown at the top include material on Zoltai's book of the same name as the website, Notes from an Alien. They are:

  • Behind the Scenes
  • Reviews
  • The Book ~ Notes from An Alien

On the left-hand side of the page is a sidebar that provides links to articles around the site. Using this toolbar, visitors can subscribe to email updates and send voice messages to Zoltai himself. Many of these links can be accessed from other pages. The site provides a customary search bar just below the main tabs for anyone looking for a particular post.

Present throughout the site is a five-star voting system for each post and page. This system makes it clear to Zoltai what content is resonating with readers.

About this blog

The heart of the blog is Zoltai himself. On this page, Zoltai states that I publish this Blog to help you explore Reading, Writing, and Publishing. I work to create a conversation with my readers on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday – the rest of the week I share posts from other valuable blogs.

Zoltai has written Notes from an Alien, a novel available for download from the site. He has published a book of short stories, Strange Fantasies. He has also provided 95 short stories for the Story Bazaar section of the website.

In an online biography linked to the "about" page, Zoltai says that he has always loved language but he didn't begin writing seriously 'till his late 50's. He currently lives in Akron, Ohio. He also maintains a Twitter account, where he follows other writers and current events.

The blogroll

Zoltai writes from his stream of consciousness to develop a blog that covers aspects of reading and writing. Just a few of the blog posts spanning back to January 2011 include:

  • Conversation about Reading Print Books or Ebooks (part of a long-running series)
  • My Mother's Fairy Tales
  • The Bookmark of a Reader by Kirsten LeClerc
  • It's an Illusion
  • Conversation about Reading Challenging Books
  • Poetry that includes "Tender Dawn," posted originally on the Leaf and Twig blog
  • A Book's Job by Barb Rosenstock

These stories and "conversations" can serve as springboards for aspiring writers and as resources for keeping up with the writing profession as it evolves.

In "Blog Conversation about Beginning to Write a Book", Zoltai shares his experiences with writing and publishing his works, which include a poetry book and a novel. He states that writing a book can begin at an earlier phase than when the writer actually puts pen to paper. He poses a series of questions for aspiring published authors, including "Have you had a book's beginning happen to you?" This post will not only guide new writers on their path, but hopefully it will inspire and motivate them as well.

Another blog post by Zoltai delves into recent developments by answering the question "Which is better for a writer – Social Media or Search Engines?" Zoltai discuses the experiences he's had with various social media sites – he has had varying success. He merits search engines for getting people to blogs.

Again, Zoltai's experience as a published author and a blogger greatly informs him in giving valuable advice to his audience. The piece, and its subsequent postings, go into detail in discussing how new tools can help writers with their work.

According to Zoltai, after this topic did not receive enough comments, he moved on to the next topic of conversation. This focus on ensuring that blog readers are engaged helps the blog to stay relevant.

In addition, guest posts keep the blog fresh. A guest poem from the "leaf and twig" blog contains a simple macro nature photo and it reads "Wild beauty/on the fence rail/a compliment to flowering weeds." A quick guest post from "BREVITY" discusses Dick Tracey and his experiences writing about horse-racing mysteries while also being a jockey in real life.

New "conversation" posts are up on the site every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, while posts from other sites are up every Tuesday and Thursday. This daily posting schedule helps the site to stay relevant and engaging.

Story bazaar, strange fantasies, and behind the scenes

The site hosts a variety of works from Zoltai, all available for free on the site. "The Throbbing Heart" tells of a writer who has a supernatural encounter, "Break Free…" begins with a man carrying his wife to a refugee spacecraft, and "Falsehood and Truth" finds two friends discussing false news stories on Twitter. These stories are broad in their subjects.

The author's dedication to consistent writing will inspire writers to work just as much as the stories themselves. The stories themselves are free resources that can serve to inspire other writers. In this way, Zoltai's site works as a sort of a library for anyone wanting to write his kind of stories.

Another source for short stories is the Strange Fantasies tab, which makes available all of the short stories compiled on Zoltai's Strange Fantasies eBook. These stories will appeal to a more particular set of writers.

Pleas to a magical Titan are made in "Minotaur of the Shadows," "The Queen's Tragedy" sees a king witness horrifying the decay of his wife, and "The Befuddled Blogger" is a more metaphysical post that sees a blogger questioning the idea of what it means to be fantasy.

On the Behind the Scenes page, Zoltai includes content that is related to, but not included, in his Notes from an Alien novel. Many of these stories build upon the world of the novel. Zoltai writes on this page, This collection of posts is about the Spaces not obviously visited in Notes from An Alien—glimpses into the depths of the book—character disclosures, about people already in the novel and those yet to be mentioned—revelations of events that happened in the Worlds of Angi but weren't rendered in the published edition.

One post, "Earth-like Issues In An Alien Story" provides a guide to where present-day issues are addressed in his science-fiction book, another provides start charts as a guide for the setting of the story, others expound on daily life under future civilizations. Although fans of Zoltai's books may get the most out of these posts, others may glean information about his thought process in creating a fictional world.

Author interviews

In addition to full short stories, Notes from an Alien provides interviews with authors. Many of these authors are first-time book writers. The interviews are probably the best reference for new writers looking to see what it's like to write their first book. They also offer an in-depth look into the lives of the authors and their backgrounds.

One interview profiles a Wattpad author and mother who has worked on horror and thriller novels. Another author discusses his thought process before starting a book. With names such as J.G. Weller, James Crawford, and L.E. Crane, blog readers can get a look into who real book authors are and their ways of thinking.

Inspiration

The best way to learn writing is to learn from and follow other writers. If you are an aspiring writer seeking to get started in the process of writing a book, Notes from an Alien can provide you with free short stories, discussion on topics affecting writers, and examples of authors who have written their own books. Blog readers can be sure that Notes from an Alien is a blog by a writer for writers.

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