R.I.P. Mr Loaf — Take It Easy

When I heard of his passing I was going to write something, but Clive beat me to it and produced a great post for a great performer.

The sad news has come through in the past hour of the passing of Marvin Lee Aday, who you may know better as Meat Loaf. I’ve been a fan of his ever since he unleashed Bat Out Of Hell onto the world, and he has always been my ‘go to’ guy when things were getting […]

R.I.P. Mr Loaf — Take It Easy

Free Book Friday Jan 21: Itsy Bitsy Book Bits

Sometimes I bite the bullet and spend money. I don’t like spending money; what I do spend on are needs rather than wants. It would be nice to be able to spend on a want or two, but I’ve never been much of a spender either.

Sometimes you do have to spend money to make money, though. Marketing and advertising books can get expensive, without results, and there are many (very many) companies and people who help indie authors get the word out. I have used a few for previous book releases.

I have used Itsy Bitsy Book Bits before and have been happy with the results in traffic, reviews, and sales. you can see the promotional page here: The View from Here on Itsy Bitsy Book Bits

There is also an author interview: Author Interview With Leon Stevens

Feel free to leave a comment there.

-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.


Discover New Authors: BookFunnel and StoryOrigin Promos

Zarina Macha is an award-winning independent author of five books under her name. In 2021, her young adult novel Anne won the international Page Turner Book Award for fiction.

Her three published YA fiction works are Every Last Psycho (2018), a compilation of two novellas that deal with heavy trauma and mental illness; Anne (2019), a coming-of-age novel about domestic violence, and Around Midnight (2020), a novel about an emotionally abusive teenage relationship.

She has also published two poetry volumes; Art is a Waste of Time (2018) and Single Broke Female (2019). Both explore the essence of womanhood, including sexuality, femininity, and emotional angst. She regular performs her poetry at various functions in London, including Poetry Unplugged, the Farrago Slam, and the Global Fusion Music & Arts Spoken Word events.

Macha also writes contemporary new adult romance under the pen name Diana Vale. Her Kirk University books are standalone stories about students who find love at university.

Zarina is offering this book for free:

Kindle Unlimited

This is an interesting promo. It is organized by more established indie authors to help promote new/lesser-known ones. Why? Because everyone starts at the bottom and needs a boost. 

Free Books

Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of four books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and The View from Here, his first science fiction novella.

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

Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Thursday Thoughts: Beware of the Digital Horde

When I purchased my laptop 3 years ago, I always had grand plans to keep things neat and organized. No need to clutter the desktop, right? Get rid of unneeded files in a timely fashion. Make easily identified folders—and folders within folders (which of course have folders inside). Label files with clear and concise names. Delete any unnecessary emails and create folders (more folders?) with different categories for easy access.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Let’s start with the desktop. I’m proud to say this is relatively bare. I do have a folder that is identical to another with some of the same files, but I think that was a duplicate I had made months ago for reasons I do not recall. Why is it still there? Because it’s a pain to go in and cross-reference to see if there are later versions of the files which would allow me permission to get rid of them. So the folder sits.

I’m paranoid that I’ll accidentally erase something I’ll need later, even though I’m pretty sure I’m done with it, so I create “To Delete” folders (within folders, of course) which act as a junk-drawer-catch-all-just-in-case-oops folder. Yes, I have needed the occasional file from one of those.

As a writer, I have several versions of my work, from the planning and outlining, to the first/second/third drafts, and onto the editing/beta versions. It’s difficult to click delete on those, so they get relegated to—Yeah. That folder.

When you download a file and then move it to the appropriate folder, the original stays in the downloads. Then you have to go back and make sure that you have a copy of what you need or if what you downloaded was actually necessary. That’s a pain.

On to the emails. When I started fresh with a new account, I told myself to keep it sparse and uncluttered. Yeah, right . . .

Now to WordPress. I am certain that all you WordPressers can relate when I say: Media folder. Every little gif, jpeg, mpeg, png you use is there and if you delete it, your past posts are affected. What to do? Yeah, you guessed it—leave it be. I still have 13 gigs worth of gifs I can use, although I may have a solution to this. I’ll keep you posted.

So, is this complaining the impetus to rectify the e-horde?

Ha! (Maybe).

-Leon


Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of four books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and The View from Here, his first science fiction novella.

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

Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Weird Wednesday: Just Cartoons

Cartoons!

The Miniscules

The Untitled

My newsletter goes out on Wednesdays:

Lines by Leon Newsletter: January 19

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Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of four books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and The View from Here, his first science fiction novella.

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

Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Contact me!

Tuesday Tirade: Dollar Stores

“Don’t buy my food there. It tastes funny.”
-No, it doesn’t. You’re just fussy.

If you saw my post on Sunday, you know that I’m disappointed with dollar stores. You used to be able to go in, pick up eight items, and pay—wait for it . . . $8—unless you live in a region that taxes their residents when they buy gum.

OK. I get it. Dollar stores have been around for a while, and it is unreasonable for them not to raise prices because we all know (but don’t understand completely) about inflation.

Some stores don’t hide that fact, even changing their names. Dollar-rama is now Dollar-rama Plus.

Most prices within are around $1.25. Still a good price for off-brand products like: Enerjizer batteries, SunLite dish detergent, and various kitchen utensils by Betty Cracker*. Not to mention weird snacks I’ve never heard of (a handful of Choco-Cluster Crisps anyone?)

*OK. This one is a lie. My local Dollar store carries Betty Crocker cook/bakeware and utensils at reasonable prices.



Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of four books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and The View from Here, his first science fiction novella.

Not ready to purchase yet?

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

Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Open Book Blog Hop: Jan 17

What part of writing are you best at? Not compared to everyone else, but compared to you?

I think when you are able to identify what you are best at as a writer is when you will find what makes you unique.

I like to think that my writing is odd. My ideas and observations can be humorous, but also weird. That’s probably the reason I started writing short stories. I had many thoughts to put to paper and each one, like a dream, played out in different ways, some longer, some shorter, some head-scratching, and others just plain, “What the—?”

There is an art to the short story. I don’t know what it is yet, but I keep trying to figure it out. Each story brings me closer to an unknown destination as I try to navigate with a map with no labels.


Let’s see what other blog hoppers say… click on the blue button below to find out or just leave a comment.

Rules:

  1. Link your blog to this hop.
  2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
  3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
  4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
  5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party! Click here to enter

Music Monday: Songs You Might Want to Hear- Ben Howard


There is a radio show on CBC here in Canada that occasionally does a feature called SYNTH: Songs You Need To Hear.

Now, I can’t say to someone, “You’ll like this song” (or book for that matter) because I can’t presume that others will share my taste in music (or books), so it is safer to say, “You might like this” and if they don’t like it, so be it.

Maybe you will find a new favorite.


Some songs make me stop what I’m doing and just listen. Thankfully this song doesn’t get a lot of airplay when I’m driving. Although the last time I heard it was on a 4 hour drive to visit my parents after not being able to for over a year. Each curve and straightaway on the highway, framed by the trees passing the window against a clear blue morning sky felt like my own private video. I didn’t remember all the words, but no one was there to judge.

UK residents will be more familiar with Ben Howard. I’m glad I am.



In book news:

The View from Here – Now Available

What would you do if you found yourself on or in another world? Do you have the skills and knowledge needed to survive or to make sense of what you see?

Thomas sets out on a hike he has done many times before. Taking only what he needs for the three or four hours he expects to be gone, he passes a vehicle in the parking lot. The handwritten note on the dashboard read: Not Abandoned. The view at the end of the trail was not what he expected—neither were the friendships.

Two people with adventurous spirits, heading off into the unknown with only their physical fitness and combined knowledge to get them through everything they may encounter.

How far would you make it?


I hope you enjoyed my selections today.

-Leon


Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of four books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and The View from Here, his first science fiction novella.

Not ready to purchase yet?

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

Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Sunday Smile: (Very) Recent Reminiscence


Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of four books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and The View from Here, his first science fiction novella.

Not ready to purchase yet?

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

Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Weekend Wrap-up Jan 15: New date for book release

I moved up the release date for the Kindle version of my novella. Why? Why not. It was ready, the paperback was already published (that was the only way ARC readers could post reviews), and . . . and that’s it.

It’s funny how stories come about. The View from Here started as a short story, but I always knew there was something missing, so I decided to continue the adventure. Here’s what some of the early reviewers are saying:


“I did like the world build, how the inside cave was explained and explored. Also this is the kind of situation any sci-fi fan dreams of to find a way of travel to another place/time, a place where the rules that make our world work do not apply at least not in the same way.”

“This is a really lovely story! I did thoroughly enjoy this, it was a truly captivating gentle sci fi adventure that took me on a journey along side the characters in the book. Really great ideas & storyline, I felt a little sad it was over…”

Even my editor said she enjoyed the world I had created. So far, so good.

-Leon

The View from Here

What would you do if you found yourself on or in another world? Do you have the skills and knowledge needed to survive or to make sense of what you see?

Thomas sets out on a hike he has done many times before. Taking only what he needs for the three or four hours he expects to be gone, he passes a vehicle in the parking lot. The handwritten note on the dashboard read: Not Abandoned. The view at the end of the trail was not what he expected—neither were the friendships.

Two people with adventurous spirits, heading off into the unknown with only their physical fitness and combined knowledge to get them through everything they may encounter.

How far would you make it?


From my blog this week:

Free Book Friday Jan 14: Try Before You Buy – Why offer free books?
Weird Wednesday: What a Waste / Cartoons
Music Monday: Songs You Might Want to Hear- Indigenous Canadian musicians. – Yeah. It was about time

From the blogs of others

Made With Love – Poetic family recipes
The author’s website #blogging #amwriting – Good advice about blogging


Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of four books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and The View from Here, his first science fiction novella.

Not ready to purchase yet?

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

Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Free Book Friday Jan 14: Try Before You Buy

Ignore the right-hand picture. No interviews this week

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.


There are many reasons to give away your product for free. The “try before you buy” is a time tested method to entice new customers. The free sample table at the supermarket is a great example. It was also a way for me and my college roommate to eat a free meal. Hint: Turn your jacket inside out and wear a hat for the second time round of the potstickers.

As an author, it’s the same, but without the free potstickers. Free books, either sample chapters or the first book in a series, are no risk for the reader—don’t like it? No sweat.

I try to read the works of the authors I promote. Some I like, some . . . not so much. But since every reader’s taste is different, I don’t often offer my opinion—I’m very picky on what I enjoy reading—so I let the reader decide. It’s free. No risk. I don’t like to do reviews either, for that very same reason. I do appreciate the authors who have taken the time to review my works.

My only criteria for not promoting a book is that it doesn’t contain any disturbing content. What do I consider disturbing? It’s different for every reader, so that’s moot.

I sent out review requests for my newest book to my newsletter subscribers and have had 35 downloads. Will that translate to 35 reviews? That’s the hope, but some readers will not, and that’s the risk of handing out your book for free. I send out an email to everyone who clicked on the download link, outlining the time expectations and giving them the links to post their reviews.

So now I wait. But two keeners have already weighed in on The View from Here:


“I did like the world build, how the inside cave was explained and explored. Also this is the kind of situation any sci-fi fan dreams off, to find a way of travel to another place/time, a place where the rules that make our world work do not apply at least not in the same way.”

“This is a really lovely story! I did thoroughly enjoy this, it was a truly captivating gentle sci fi adventure that took me on a journey along side the characters in the book. Really great ideas & storyline, I felt a little sad it was over…”

I just received conformation that my paperback copies are on the way, so Mom, you can stop clicking on the download link, I have a special copy just for you and Dad.

-Leon

Discover New Authors: BookFunnel and StoryOrigin Promos

Shane Shepherd was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. At a young age he developed an interest in space exploration. That led him to major in aerospace engineering at UCLA. During his time there, he developed a passion for writing and decided to become an author instead of pursuing a career in his field of study. Now he currently writes science fiction focusing on steampunk and space opera.

Shane is offering Book 1 for free!

Free Books

Note starting date: Jan 15-Feb 15
Ends Jan 31

Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of four books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and The View from Here, his first science fiction novella.

Not ready to purchase yet?

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

Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!