Weird Wednesday: Cartoons and Crazy Weather

The last few days, the temperature has dropped to -35 C (this is the range where Fahrenheit starts to catch up) . Today, it is forecasted to be 0 C (32 F).

We have also had 3X the amount of snow than we had all last year. Good for the farmer’s fields, but I’m running out of places to put it.

Crazy . . .

Cartoons!

The Miniscules

The Untitled

My newsletter goes out on Wednesdays:

Lines by Leon Newsletter: January 26

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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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Tuesday Tirade: Word Documents

I knew you’d find something.”

Adding page numbers to a Word document.

Does that send shivers up your spine? Induce a feeling of nausea? Make you utter words that you never want to say in front of your mother? Bring on a headache? Cause you to run away screaming or just sit and pull on your hair?

If you answered “Yes” to any of those, then . . . You’re normal.

An astute reader of my latest book pointed out that there were no page numbers in my paperback. Well, that was interesting, I said. I never noticed. I can’t remember the late time I noticed (or used) page numbers in a book that I was reading. So, I went into my manuscript, and lo and behold, no page numbers.

My last book had ’em. Why doesn’t this—wait a minute, I chose not to name my chapters, so a Table of Contents would look odd—so maybe that’s why. Well, that’s easily remedied, I said (see where I’m going with this?).

Here is a handy guide to adding page numbers to a Word document:

  1. Doing “A” produces result “B”
  2. Result “B” is not what you wanted
  3. Reading the help menu directs you to do “A” but only if action “C” is selected
  4. Following step 3 produces result “D”, but numbers start on the wrong page
  5. Repeating step 3 produces a different result entirely
  6. Using you preferred search engine, spend an hour locating everyone else in the world with the same problem.
  7. Read “Easy steps to insert page numbers in Word.
  8. Yell at screen, “That’s what I did!”
  9. Try something else and get something else which looks close but numbers start at “1” and disappear on subsequent pages.
  10. Do a sequence of steps that you will never be able to repeat and marvel that all the page numbers are there, but—you didn’t want to start on the very first page, but the page with chapter 1.
  11. Following more research, create a “section break” which, if the instructions are correct, should solve the problem.
  12. That doesn’t solve the problem, but does result in two sections with both interlocking and independent connections.
  13. Take a deep breath
  14. No, Deeper.
  15. Do everything you just read in ever permutation possible until—
  16. Hey, there they are. Roman numeral for the first 6 pages, then regular starting on chapter 1.
  17. Stop. Slowly save the document.
  18. Walk away.

Ah. Now I remember why I didn’t add page numbers—or maybe I just forgot.

-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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Tuesday Tidbits: Mailing Lists for Authors

No rant? Thou doth forsaken me again . . .

Love ’em or not, if you are an author, you probably have one or have been told you need one. If you are a reader, you may have signed up for one because:

  1. You enjoy the author’s books
  2. You want to have advance notice of future publications

Or:

3. You want a free book (most popular)

Good subscribers are had to find and keep. As an author, you have to offer value to the readers on your list. If you are just going to send purchase links, then many will not stick around.

Most mailing lists are generated with a Reader Magnet, a free book or sample chapters for example. Readers will either:

  1. Enjoy your writing and purchase your books
  2. Enjoy your writing and hang around for more freebies (being a beta reader for your next book or receiving your book for free in return for a review)
  3. Take the freebie and unsubscribe
  4. Never open any emails again

Number fours are easy to spot. Most have a “junk” email address that is used for this purpose as to not clog up the personal one. You know I’m talking to you doodlepoodle57_hahaABC@yahoomail.crom (Dot crom? yahoomail? Haha? Very funny. You might as well use an AOL* address)

I send out a newsletter each week (some authors will say that’s too often), but This is what I give them:

  1. Writing updates. Giving them insights on the workings of a writer.
  2. ARC/Beta reading opportunities. I think that in the beginning, all your subscribers should be rewarded for supporting you by becoming your A-list street team. They can have the bragging rights by saying, “I knew them when they were first starting out.”
  3. Links to my blog posts for that week. Many readers don’t subscribe to my blog so I give them the highlights if they want to read them. I like to think that I am an entertaining writer, so this is a way to offer more value between book releases.
  4. Advance Sales notices. Sometimes I’ll run a sale for my subscribers before making it public.
  5. More freebies. Here is where the cross-promotions come into play. With SO and BF, authors team up to advertise to each other’s mailing list, either in a group, or individual. If you are a mystery writer, what better audience than another mystery writer’s list. I always openly state that in my newsletter, saying that author’s are working together to help readers discover new works.

Onto the list.

I purge my list every two months, by sending out an Unsubscribe email to anyone that hasn’t opened the last 10 emails. That way I keep my open/click rates higher- but also eliminating the dead weight.

Do you need a mailing list? Not if you’re a reader, but if you are an author, the answer is maybe. Is it a lot of work? Yup. Is it worth it? Probably.

-Leon

Related post: Free Book Friday: July 7 – Is free a good thing?

*AOL: Service provider unknown by GenY/Z/Millennials



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!

Music Monday: Songs You Might Want to Hear- The Weakerthans


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.


I’ve moved a lot in my life. One year, in the second year of college, my friend and I moved eight times in a month and a half. We couch surfed at a few places before scoring a sweet sublet, but that was only for a month, so we were back at it all too soon. I think we may have skipped out on another place after only a week, because the landlord was an ass. We only had a few bags and no furniture, so being semi-nomadic wasn’t that hard.

Finally, the uncle of a friend had bought a six-plex so we got to stay in three of the suites while the cleaning and paperwork was getting finalized. The last suite was thankfully the last, and we enjoyed the next year and a half having a place to call home.

There’s a certain feeling you get when you look around an empty house or apartment once all your belongings have been removed. You can see events happening, and hear the laughter (and the tears). Even with a thorough cleaning, you can still smell lives that graced the space.

There is also a distinct finality when the door is shut and there is no turning back.

“Sun in an Empty Room” captures all of this perfectly. This is one of those songs that makes me stop what I’m doing and just listen.


The Weakerthans are an award-winning and Juno-nominated Canadian indie rock band from Winnipeg. They disbanded in 2015.

I hope you enjoyed my selection 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.

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Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Weekend Wrap-up Jan 21: And now the good news . . .

First the sad news:

Rough two days on the celebrity front. Meat Loaf, the iconic theatrical rocker passed away (read Clive’s post below), and then we lost comedian Louie Anderson. I grew up with these two, seeing them start their careers, have some tough times, and then falling into a good place in their lives.

The older we get, the more people we know, and unfortunately, the more we will lose.

On to the good news:

Well, I’m pleased. Reviews of my novella, The View from Here, are starting to come in, and the consensus it that it’s a pretty good read (and not just from my mom and dad). Here are what readers are saying

“I found the adventure astounding in more ways than one. . .”
“The author does an amazing job of world building . . .”
“ An engaging story that you don’t want to miss..”
“. . .it was a truly captivating gentle sci fi adventure . . .”

That’s why I write.

-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 21: Itsy Bitsy Book Bits
Thursday Thoughts: Beware of the Digital Horde
Weird Wednesday: Just Cartoons
Tuesday Tirade: Dollar Stores
Music Monday: SMusic Monday: Songs You Might Want to Hear- Ben Howard

From the blogs of others

R.I.P. Mr Loaf – Clive did a good job!
What Do Bloggers Owe Their Readers and Vice Versa? – A lot?
Throwback Thursday #22 & JusJoJan – For the Love of Cooking
#Bloganuary – Day 19 – Check out all of Stevie’s Bloganuary posts.


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!

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.

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!

Weird Wednesday: Just Cartoons

Cartoons!

The Miniscules

The Untitled

My newsletter goes out on Wednesdays:

Lines by Leon Newsletter: January 19

.


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!

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!