Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Is That Really A Word??


I’ve written a number of posts explaining how I understand words—one of the slipperiest things we humans use.

Words

Image by Christian Ferrari ~ http://christian-ferrari.blogspot.com/

I was deep in discussion with my Best Friend last night and she made the eloquent observation that words are, in fact, slippery…

It seems that words come from some other realm, change meanings like chameleons, and slip our minds like cat burglars.

Of course, I’m only talking about English words because I have scant understanding of other languages—languages which have donated many words to English.

But, I do love to look up word histories when my writing demands control over deeper meanings.

I often use an Online Etymology Dictionary for those listings of the roots of words…

Two other cool word-study sites:

Wordwizard

The Sciolist

And, once words are born and start growing up—especially in their adolescence—they pretend they mean new things and they start mating and acting like they’re really some other word.

One simple example—”bad” means “good”…

So, since I’m merely a maverick explorer of the surreal landscape of words, I thought it best to call in an expert.

Anne Curzan is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of English at the University of Michigan. She also holds faculty appointments in the Department of Linguistics and the School of Education.

That may seem to make her some dry-as-dust person to invite into this blog but I can assure you she’s quite capable of talking just like the rest of us :-)

In fact, she has a remarkable ability to understand how the rest of us use words, even those adolescent ones…


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Strange Fantasies


From Psychology Today: “Fantasies are not frivolous. They can be entertaining, distracting, frightening, even arousing, but they also allow for creativity and help us plan for the future.” Strange Fantasies

I’m doing a rare Saturday post because I’ve just released STRANGE FANTASIES—31 Short Tales of Mystery and Wonder.

Yes, the stories are available as individual posts; but, now you can have all 31 Strange Fantasies on your Kindle for 99 cents.

It took me 7 months of Fridays to write them and I worked hard to “bend” the Fantasy Genre.

Just in case you’ve never considered reading “fantasy”, perhaps because you feel it’s too frivolous, here are the root meanings of the word:

early 14c., “illusory appearance,” from Old French fantaisie (14c.) “vision, imagination,” from Latin phantasia, from Greek phantasia “appearance, image, perception, imagination,” from phantazesthai “picture to oneself,” from phantos “visible,” from phainesthai “appear,” in late Greek “to imagine, have visions,” related to phaos, phos “light,” phainein “to show, to bring to light“. Sense of “whimsical notion, illusion” is pre-1400, followed by that of “imagination,” which is first attested 1530s.”

So, read all 31 short fantasies on this blog or get the Kindle book, cheap :-)
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A Poll About Polls


Getting feedback on a blog isn’t necessary if the blogger’s motivated by a strong sense of service.

A Poll About Polls

Image courtesy of Craig Parylo ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/parylo00

But it is nice to know what readers feel and think…

I’m feeling like I should start a new kind of post—the Friday Poll.

But, I need to give you a poll to see what you want…

I’m stopping the Friday Fantasies (they’ll still be available to read here) but I’ll soon be publishing them as an e-book.

So, simple poll today—you’re choice of four alternatives—but…

There’s a place in the poll called “other”.

If you vote “Strongly Agree” or “Agree”, do, please, put something in “other”—what kind of poll you’d like to see…

Here we go:

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COMING SOON ~ “The World’s Best Story”!


NEWS ALERT: “Enter the first social contest to reward writers and readers in the search for the next blockbuster story.” World's Best Story

This is for Writers & Readers—with prizes for both.

My favorite publishing-aid company, Fastpencil, has teamed up with World’s Best Story to offer a stunning set of prizes! {check out the Full List below}

I’ll let Kevin Flight, their Account Manager, tell you what they’re up to:

“We’re coming down to the wire in the entry phase of the World’s Best Story contest that aims to find the next great blockbuster in books and beyond. The contest is taking submissions from writers across the world through August 12 to share a story they feel will be a smash hit in books and beyond. The grand prize winner will be published alongside best-selling authors by FastPencil PREMIERE.

“Following the entry period, stories will be reviewed by readers from around the globe and then eventually narrowed to a Top 10 group of finalists with the winner being announced in November at the Toronto International Book Fair:

  • Round 1 (August 13 – September 10): Readers review favorite stories and narrow the field
  • Round 2 (September 11 – October 8): Readers rate Top 100 finalists blockbuster potential
  • Round 3 (October 9 – November 14): Judging panel votes on Top 10 for World’s Best Story grand prize
  • Grand Prize Event (November 15): Announcement of the grand prize winner at Toronto International Book Fair

“Please consider entering the contest, as well as sharing with your readers and social networks.”

PRIZES FOR READERS:

Every time you review, rate or vote, you will be issued a ticket for monthly draws and a chance at the grand prize:

  • A $2,000.00 shopping spree — where else but at Beyond the Rack!

Sign- up to our newsletter and stay tuned. More great prizes will be announced until voting begins August 15th!

PRIZES FOR WRITERS:

  • World’s Best Story
    Grand Prize:

    Premiere™ Publishing

    • PREMIERE™ Publishing & Distribution — The grand prize includes an author contract under the Premiere™ imprint, a $25,000 value! The savvy professionals at FastPencil PREMIERE will work with the winner during every aspect of publishing, marketing, and selling their book to top grossing retailers in the U.S. and Canada. Premiere™, an elite general publishing imprint from FastPencil, publishes books by bestselling authors such as Mercer Mayer and James Kahn. Premiere™ is currently distributed by Dover Publications.
    • U.S. & Canada trademark and IP protection — Trademark protection in the United States and Canada will be provided to the grand prize winner courtesy of Benoît & CôtéIntellectual Properties, a $4,000.00 value!
    • $2,000,00 shopping spree — where else but at Beyond the Rack!
    • Book Tour — Grand prize winner gets a fully sponsored book tour, with PR and marketing support in the U.S. and Canada for your blockbuster story.
    • Pubslush — Platinum Prep Package (a $250 value), a Pubslush Tote, a Pubslush Blog feature (blog.pubslush.com), tweets on the Pubslush Twitter, Homepage content exposure during the campaignPlatinum Prep includes:
      • Pre-campaign Checklist
      • E-mail templates designed to be used during various points of your campaign to be sent to campaign supporters
      • Initial e-mail consultation with campaign relations coordinator
      • Reward level consultation and creation
      • The Guide: Tips To Successful Crowdfunding
      • 90 minutes phone time with our campaign relations coordinator
      • 90 minutes phone time with our social media director
      • Unlimited e-mail support with both our campaign relations coordinator and social media director
      • Customized tweets and Facebook statuses for the beginning stages of your campaign
      • Shout out on Pubslush’s social media: 10 tweets and 1 Facebook post throughout the campaign
      • Feature on the Pubslush blog
      • Opportunity to guest post on the Pubslush blog, subject to approval of the Pubslushteam.
  • 2nd Place:

    Wavecrest Master
    Publishing Package

    • Wavecrest Master Publishing Package — The second place winner will be awarded aWavecrest Master publishing package, a $7,499 value. In addition to wide distribution through major retail outlets, this package includes editorial and format review, line editing, a professionally designed book cover, and a PR package that includes a press release distributed to 500 media outlets.
    • U.S. & Canada trademark and IP protection — Trademark protection in the United States and Canada courtesy of Benoît & Côté Intellectual Properties, a $4,000.00 value!
    • $500,00 shopping spree — where else but at Beyond the Rack!
    • PR and marketing support in U.S. and Canada
    • Pubslush — A Gold Prep Package, (valued at $175.00), a Pubslush Tote, a Pubslush Blog feature (blog.pubslush.com), tweets on the Pubslush Twitter, Homepage content exposure during the campaign.Gold Prep includes:
      • Pre-campaign Checklist
      • E-mail templates designed to be used during various points of your campaign to be sent to campaign supporters
      • Initial e-mail consultation with campaign relations coordinator
      • Reward level consultation and creation
      • The Guide: Tips To Successful Crowdfunding
      • 60 minutes of phone time with our campaign relations coordinator
      • 60 minutes of phone time with our social media director
      • Unlimited e-mail correspondence with both our campaign relations coordinator and social media director
      • Feature on the Pubslush blog
      • Customized tweets and Facebook statuses for the beginning stages of your campaign
      • Shout out on Pubslush’s social media: 5 tweets and 1 Facebook post throughout the campaign
  • 3rd Place:

    FastPencil Premium
    Publishing Package

    FastPencil Premium Publishing Package

    The third place winner will be awarded a FastPencil Premium publishing package, a $1,999 value. In addition to wide distribution through retail outlets, the package includes Editorial and Format Review, Cloud-based access, collaboration capabilities, and more, including a professionally designed book cover.

    • U.S. & Canada trademarkTrademark protection in the United States and Canada courtesy of Benoît & CôtéIntellectual Properties, a $4,000.00 value!
    • $500,00 shopping spree at Beyond the Rack!
    • PR and marketing support in U.S. and Canada
    • Pubslush — A Gold Prep Package, (valued at $175.00), a Pubslush Tote, a Pubslush Blog feature (blog.pubslush.com), tweets on the Pubslush Twitter, Homepage content exposure during the campaign.Gold Prep includes:
      • Pre-campaign Checklist
      • E-mail templates designed to be used during various points of your campaign to be sent to campaign supporters
      • Initial e-mail consultation with campaign relations coordinator
      • Reward level consultation and creation
      • The Guide: Tips To Successful Crowdfunding
      • 60 minutes of phone time with our campaign relations coordinator
      • 60 minutes of phone time with our social media director
      • Unlimited e-mail correspondence with both our campaign relations coordinator and social media director
      • Feature on the Pubslush blog
      • Customized tweets and Facebook statuses for the beginning stages of your campaign
      • Shout out on Pubslush’s social media: 5 tweets and 1 Facebook post throughout the campaign
  • 4th–10th Place:

    FastPencil Wide
    Distribution Package

    • FastPencil Wide Distribution PackageValued at $299 each, seven additional publishing packages will be awarded to the 4th thru 10th place winners. These DIY Wide Distribution packages help you format, publish, and distribute your book and eBook through FastPencil, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other retailers.Readers
    • Pubslush — A Bronze Prep Package (valued at $50.00), a Pubslush Tote, a Pubslush Blog feature (blog.pubslush.com), tweets on the Pubslush Twitter, Homepage content exposure during the campaign.Bronze Prep includes:
      • Pre-campaign Checklist
      • Customized e-mail templates for campaign start/post campaign to send to supporters
      • Initial e-mail consultation with campaign relations coordinator
      • The initial consultation is a way for the campaign coordinator to better know you and your campaign. Post-consultation will include a strategized brainstorm session, campaign review and promotional tips.
      • Reward level consultation and creation
      • The Guide: Tips To Successful Crowdfunding
      • 30 minutes of phone time with campaign relations coordinator
      • Finalized edits to project page
      • Unlimited e-mail correspondence with campaign relations coordinator
  • 11th–100th Place:

    Pubslush — All winners will receive the promo code option to redeem the Pubslush Guide: Tips to Successful Crowdfunding.

    Sign-up to their newsletter and stay tuned. More great prizes will be announced until voting begins August 15th!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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
* Google Author Page

GRAB A FREE COPY of Notes from An Alien

A Reader’s Bridge To Their True Self . . .


Did you know the best-selling book genre is “Self-Help”?

Do you know the roots of the genre?

Think it’s Psychology?

Eastern Mystics?

Philosophers?

The Prophets of Religion?

I’ll leave the True Beginning of Self-Help as an exploration for your inner self to appreciate…

What I give you today is the latest best-seller in the genre: Jessica Lamb-Shapiro’s Promise Land.

First a very curious bit of a review of the book:

“Jessica Lamb-Shapiro has an unusual relationship to the self-help industry: her father is a child psychologist who has authored numerous books on the subject. Lamb-Shapiro’s inherent ambivalence is at the heart of Promise Land: My Journey Through America’s Self-Help Culture, in which the author immerses herself in the world of seminars, mantras, and self-improvement, all the while exploring the nation’s enduring fascination with perfection. By turns funny and sad, the book is, ultimately, a deeply personal story—and a really good read.”
ParisReview.org

Apparently, her father’s books of self-help never sold well.

The NPR site has an interview with Jessica—audio and written. Here are a few excerpts:

“Lamb-Shapiro writes that even though she ‘had recoiled from self-help’ her entire life, she wanted to know ‘why people liked self-help so much, what it meant to them, whether it worked; and if it didn’t work, why people still craved it.’ It’s a funny and observant book that takes an emotional turn when she starts writing about a tragedy in her own family.”

Jessica: “You know, there’s a way in which philosophy tells us how to live our lives and self-help books tell us how to live our lives. So, you know, we tend to think of philosophy as this really lofty territory and self-help books as this ridiculous low-brow territory and I think that the language that they use and some of the ideas reflect that. There’s some base level where they’re trying to do the same thing, which is why something like ancient Greek philosophy can be sold in the self-help section.”

“People seem to be interested in self-improvement and so much of self-help is about buying things, so it makes sense that infomercials and reality shows, which tend to sell things, are part of that. And I think that that’s one of the ways that it just seeps into our lives. Because you can be exposed to an infomercial in passing or watch a reality TV show and you might not think that you’re engaging in self-help but you’re still being exposed to a lot of the ideas and values of it.”

So, where did self-help begin?

Reading the Words of a Prophet.

Reading what the Philosophers borrowed from the Prophets?

Reading what the Psychologists borrowed from the Philosophers?

Reading what the Self-Help Gurus borrowed from the Psychologists?

And, perhaps most importantly, why do you think Self-Help is the World’s Best-Selling Genre?
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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
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GRAB A FREE COPY of Notes from An Alien

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