Weekend Wrap-up: My first 1-Star review!

It was bound to happen. Not everyone is going to enjoy every author’s books. But I have to admit, my heart dropped a bit when I saw the rating.

1.0 out of 5 stars Boring Stories
Reviewed in the United States on July 10, 2021
Boring stories that don’t draw in the reader. Nothing really interesting happens.

Can I dispute the review? Not really, since this is the opinion of an individual, and there is nothing that I can say except thank them for their honesty. I suppose I could ask the question. “Did you read the whole thing?”

Hard to say. Here’s the KDP graphic:

Someone read the whole book on Kindle Unlimited on June 4th, and someone purchased the Kindle version on July 3rd.

I also took a look at what other books they reviewed to see what they enjoy. There wasn’t any other science fiction there, so I suppose it isn’t a surprise they did not care for it. It would have been nice to have my book turn them on to the genre, though.

On the plus side, it does give credibility to the reviews, not being all 5-Star glowing/gushing.

Hey, wait! I’m working on a straight! I just need a 2-star and I’m all in! No poker face here…

Am I over it?

Yeah.

-Leon

From my blog this week

Thursday Thoughts: Recipes – Just a serving suggestion? – I can’t remember what I wrote (and why), and I don’t feel like looking. Wow. That’s lazy, Leon.

Weird Wednesday: Spectator Sports – Hey look! The Olympics are on now.

Tuesday Tidbits: Weathering the Weather – Hot, hot, hot.

Monday Musings: Author’s Comments – Commenting on reviews

From other blogs:

Friday Review Share – Stevie’s weekly contribution to the author community.

My First Blog Interview – Not mine, Pete’s.

poem-other places – A very apt poem about the fire situation in BC.

Defining Moments – FromCavewalls

diversity in books // book talk #1 – A very good topic.



Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.
www.linesbyleon.com

Purchase paperback directly for the author!

Free Book Friday: New giveaway platform

After waffling for months, I finally decided to join BookFunnel. The biggest obstacle was price. It’s not expensive, buy I’m am already using StoryOrigin, so It’s kind of like paying for cable and Netflix. And I’m cheap. Well, maybe thrifty, or money-conscience.

The main reason to bite the bullet was to reach new readers (along with connecting with other authors). I joined my first campaign and created my first poetry promo which immediately received 2 participants. I’ll do a comparison between the two platforms in the future.

Anyway, time to pour a second cup of coffee and finish watching the Olympic athletes procession.

Free Sample from Shane Shepherd

Featured author

Current promos are here: Discover New Authors and Free Books

That’s it for this week!

Leon

The story behind Free Book Friday:

I’ve met many authors and readers during my time marketing, cross-promoting, and blogging. I think writers have a responsibility to inform readers about all the indie authors out there in the very crowded world of book publishing. You can’t do it alone, and why would you when you have a supportive group available?

Readers don’t just read one author – they stick with their favorite genres. There lies the power in cross-promotion. If one of my readers buys a book from an author I promote, then chances are there will be a reciprocal effect, or so is the hope. Do I want to boost sales? Of course I do. Do I want to boost other’s sales? Why not. It’s called karma.

Speaking of free, do you want to review either of my books? Drop me a message telling me why (and the format).


Sign up for my newsletter and receive a free eBook of your choice.

Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Thursday Thoughts: Recipes – Just a serving suggestion?

I like to cook and bake. I try to make bread once a week, usually a baguette of a french loaf, but I got some rye flour, so I’m into rye bread for a while.

My grandmother would make rye bread in her own way. My sister and I asked her for that recipe once, and she pointed to her head and said “watch”. So, she poured and dashed the ingredient into the bowl—no measuring implements required unless you consider a handful as a measurement—as we looked on and guesstimated the amounts. Even with her arthritic hands, she could kneed better than anyone.

The result? Same as always – Best rye bread ever.

My mom has the “recipe”, and it’s good, but it’s not the same. My sister makes it, and it’s good, but it’s not the same. I make it, and it’s good, but—well you get the idea.

I usually follow a recipe once, then make my own variation. My entrees never taste exactly the same, because I often add different ingredients based on what I have in my fridge. Baking is somewhat unforgiving to artistic license I have learned, so I have experience some failures. Oh, I eat them…usually.

I’ve been chastised when asked to prepare on of those meal prep boxes*, where everything is all ready to go, and includes a step-by-step picture map with the first instruction being: “Read the entire recipe card before starting.” Yeah, whatever…

-Leon

*In one of the commercials, they say these meals are great for preparing dinners “on a budget.” Really? Maybe if you include the 4 or 5 free meals they send, but after that— I could eat for a week on the price of one box.


Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.
www.linesbyleon.com

Purchase paperback directly for the author!

Weird Wednesday: Spectator Sports

From early on in history there have been spectator sports. Although are not all sports meant to be viewed by spectators? Why else would you go and chase a ball around on a field?

Watching sports is a personal choice. Some may see it as a waste of time (five hours times four days = I didn’t get anything done because of The Open golf championship), While others see it as a way to connect with co-workers (“That player was pretty good in that game, huh?).

I like some sports, but others—not so much. When the sport world ground to a halt because of that thing that should not be spoken, I watched a few of the re-runs, but eventually I got of the couch and went out for a run.

Since the Olympics will be starting soon (good idea or bad?), here are a few thoughts in no particular order or preference (I’ll make fun of my sports too):

  • Cycle racing (The Tour de France just wrapped up on the weekend): I’ll stand here for ½ and hour to see my favorite rider—Wait, they are all bunched up and look the same.
  • Nascar: Around and around and around…YAY! A crash! (that’s what you are waiting for, right?)
  • Soccer/Football: What an exciting game! What was the score? One Nil.
  • Marathons: Do I want to see them having fun (Mile 3) or not (Mile 25)
  • Hockey: There is an old joke, “I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out.”
  • American football vs. Rugby: Too much protection vs. Not enough?
  • Equestrian: I’ve always thought that the horse should get the medal.
  • Bowling: Amateur – Strike, spare, spare, strike, spare. Professional – Strike, strike, strike, strike, strike…
  • Basketball: Maybe they should have 4-pointers.

Finally, in the “Wait! What?” category:

  • The National Cornhole Association: Yeah. There is a sport called Cornhole.

Onto this week’s cartoons:

“The Miniscules”

“The Untitled”

.

That’s all the weirdness for today.

-Leon

Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.
www.linesbyleon.com

Purchase paperback directly for the author!

Gift ideas?

I just happened to check in at my Zazzle store and noticed the sale is just on for today. I wish they would let me know beforehand.

This is the best deal I’ve seen in a while: 50% off all mugs!  
Code: XMASJULY2021

Designs by Lines by Leon

Just a few of the many designs

Tuesday Tidbits: Weathering the Weather

We had a mild winter. Not a lot of snow either.

In some places there is too much rain. It hasn’t rained here in three weeks*. Even when it did, it was negligible. We just had two weeks of over +30C (~+90F) degree heat. Heat records seem to get broken every few days. I’m not going to talk about all the permafrost melting in the Arctic, although I guess I just did.

There is smoke in the air from the forest fires; the experts said the season started a month early.

What part can I play, I ask myself.

I don’t drive very often. I prefer to bike when it is practical to do so. I recycle and reuse as much as possible, and I only buy what I really need, and only after my fixes become unfixable. The dishwasher in my apartment is brand new—I haven’t used it once. Even during the heat, the air conditioner is used sparingly.

I’ll buy an electric vehicle when it is time to do so. With fuel prices not looking like they are going to go down anymore, and having to limit emissions, it just makes sense.

Sometimes it is easier not to think about it, but that’s not the answer.

-Leon

* At the time of posting, thunderstorms are rolling through. We need the rain, but could do without the lightning. I’m sure there will be a few more forest fires after this.

Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.
www.linesbyleon.com

Purchase paperback directly for the author!

Monday Musings: Author’s Comments

I recently ran a promo with Itsy Bitsy Book Bits which gave their pool of reviewers free access to my poetry book. I unfortunately did not see any sales, but the reviews that I received put my BookBub total to 21, Goodreads to 37, and Amazon to 14. This made me ponder the appropriateness of author’s commenting on reviews.

There was a post about this a few months ago. I posted two questions in some Goodreads groups, but have had little feedback.

Authors: Do you comment on the reviews that you receive?

Readers: Do you like when authors respond to your review?

I have replied to many of my reviews in the past. My thinking that it is a personal touch that connects the two parties. In some reviews there have been questions or comments that I thought deserved a follow up. I have “liked” some reviews in the past, but maybe that’s bordering on arrogant?  

I don’t think that it is appropriate if an author retaliates for a poor review. It has probably happened, though I have never seen it. If a reader pans an author’s book, they are not expecting a scathing retort, they are voicing their opinion—which is the purpose of reviews.

The other dilemma is if you comment on one and not the other, does that hurt a reader’s feelings? If you are an author, you probably re-read your reviews, but as a reader, do you post and forget or do you look at other’s reviews after the fact?

Just some thoughts to mull over. What do you think?

-Leon

Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.
www.linesbyleon.com

Purchase paperback directly for the author!

Weekend Wrap-up: July 17

The Road Trip

I made a trip that I haven’t made in over a year. Each turn and curve of the road revealed a familiar scene, barely changed. The highway is smoother in spots and rougher in others. Some of the roadside stores are overgrown, victims of the past year’s events.

Fuel is more expensive now, so I keep my speed slower than I did the last time and draft behind the transport trucks for added economy. Four hours later, I pull into the gravel driveway.

The house looks the same except for a fresh coat of paint, and a new patio. The occupants look the same, a little smaller maybe, but as spry as ever.

I hug my parents for the first time in over a year. I relax my embrace, but mother keeps a tight hold. I guess it’s not over yet, so we remain here a little while longer.

From my blog this week

Free Book Friday: The Little Library that Could

Thursday Thoughts: To be(ta) or not to be(ta) – Getting close to this next step

Weird Wednesday: July 14 – Food for Thought

Tuesday Tidbits: On the right track! – New reviews for my poetry book.

Monday Musings: Out of Touch – Away for the weekend

From other blogs: Poems

lapses in memory – From Shrubaboti


Rebirth (haiku)
– From eob2



Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.
www.linesbyleon.com

Purchase paperback directly for the author!

Free Book Friday: The Little Library that Could

Neighborhood Lending Libraries

You have seen them. Those little houses on posts with the glass doors next to the sidewalk. There are several around that I frequent. Since many public libraries were closed during the pandemic, they did come in handy. I always wonder about the etiquette though.

Do I:

  • Return the book to its original home?
  • Put a different book in its place?
  • Put it in a nearby library?
  • Sanitize?
  • Spend some time and organize into genres? Alphabetical order?
  • Leave a note complaining of the lack of reference books?
  • Write a review and leave it in the inside flap?
  • Use them as a dumping place for all the books I don’t read anymore?

Do you make use of these book depositories?

Free Samples from Various Authors

Current promos are here: Discover New Authors and Free Books

That’s it for this week!

Leon

The story behind Free Book Friday:

I’ve met many authors and readers during my time marketing, cross-promoting, and blogging. I think writers have a responsibility to inform readers about all the indie authors out there in the very crowded world of book publishing. You can’t do it alone, and why would you when you have a supportive group available?

Readers don’t just read one author – they stick with their favorite genres. There lies the power in cross-promotion. If one of my readers buys a book from an author I promote, then chances are there will be a reciprocal effect, or so is the hope. Do I want to boost sales? Of course I do. Do I want to boost other’s sales? Why not. It’s called karma.

Speaking of free, do you want to review either of my books? Drop me a message telling me why (and the format).


Sign up for my newsletter and receive a free eBook of your choice.

Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Thursday Thoughts: To be(ta) or not to be(ta)

Are you a beta-reader? Have you ever used one?

I think it is time to open up my newest work, a novel based on one of my science fiction short stories, to readers to gain some feedback on the story so far.

In essence, the story is finished, the characters have had their adventure and are…[spoiler alert]. It has been a stretch for me to write something longer than 4000 words. It’s been fun, don’t get me wrong. I’m amazed at what I’ve come up with and it has exceeded my expectations.

I write like I read. I don’t like long drawn out descriptions or seemingly endless dialogue, but part of that is the way to immerse the reader in the story. I probably need to be more descriptive in my writing, but I like to give out the basic ingredients and let the reader form their own picture because that’s what we all do when we read, right? Go to a movie based on your favorite book to see someone else’s interpretation (that wasn’t what Hogwarts was supposed to look like…)

I’ll usually go for brevity over elaboration. I use vocabulary that most people will recognize or be able to understand based on context. When I’m reading, I don’t want to have to look up the meaning of a word.

I admit that I am a new writer. Twenty years from now I’ll be a better one. George Lucas reworked Episodes IV-VI because more tools were available. I’ve gone back to earlier chapters to add dialogue and scenes because ideas have come to me. I’m adding to my toolbox with every page I write.

All the more reason to write more.

-Leon


Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.
www.linesbyleon.com

Purchase paperback directly for the author!