Categories
cartoons humor Just plain weird Weird Wednesday

Weird Wednesday: The Miniscules-Origins

When I started The Miniscules it was just an avenue for some strange ideas that I had in my head. sometimes they got into predicaments because of their size, then later they became embroiled with current events. With a bit of time on my hands, and in answer to many queries like, “Where did the Miniscules come from?”, I decided to use my rudimentary skills to produce what I like to call: “a waste of a few hours of my day…

Now to continue your refresher of The Miniscules so far:

I changed my Instagram account from @theminiscules to @lines_by_leon to keep my branding consistent.
I found an old one that I hadn’t posted before.
A mix of funny, older, and current events
And then the return to school

So, there you go. I hope that you enjoy The Miniscules as much as I do.

-Leon

Categories
poetry readers writers

Tuesday Thoughts: Book blogging-To Tour or Not to Tour (and free stuff)

Oops, I did it again. Not really an oops, I meant to do it. This week I spent time visiting book blogs and blog tour sites. As an independent author, I spend more time looking for new ways to reach readers, marketing, and all that stuff than I do writing sometimes. Marketing is exhausting. Physically- fingers, back, and eyes, and mentally- my brain hurts after a while. Now don’t get me wrong, I know it’s a part of being an author, and I have met some really cool people and seen some great blog pages.

After my first book came out, I looked at doing a book blog tour but was overwhelmed by the choices available. Being a new author, I wanted to do things right, but as a frugal (cheap) person, I didn’t want to make the wrong decision and throw away money. One of the challenges in marketing is to find the best avenues to put your budgeted amount. Really, it comes down to finding “the best bang for your buck” (I don’t know why I put that in quotations. I suppose someone coined that phrase).

As I usually do, I over-analyze things. When flat-screen T.V.s came out, it took me two years to buy one-which in the end saved me money since the prices went from over $1000 to under $500. I still kept Mr. Cathode-Ray Tube for many, many years before becoming a full flat-screen household. Man, that guy was heavy to carry out.

But I digress.

Each blog tour I looked at had its pros and cons. One review said “Great!” while another said, “Don’t waste your money.” Like book reviews, these are all subjective, but it is still hard to part with money that may be more effective elsewhere-or not. Arrgh.  

I looked at blog tour posts on many sites. Some stops had no likes or comments. If I were to participate in a blog tour, would I be assigned stops with a decent amount of traffic? So I began to revisit book blogs. I did this last year, so I thought it was time to do it again. Is this a lot of work? Oh, yes, but I think the time spent is worth it. I mentioned earlier that there are many avid readers doing their part to spread the enjoyment of the written word. I am glad that people are willing to spend time informing their followers of all the excellent works out there, especially from indie authors.

What is the main thing I am looking for in a book blog? Engagement. If my book/book review is featured on a site and there are no comments, can we assume that no one saw it? Books need to be talked about. Not dissected, just discussed. Out of ~100 book blogs I visited, less than ten had actual conversations about the featured books. You know who you are because I emailed you to compliment you on your blog (and ask to be featured, of course). Some bloggers may not want that level of engagement, which is OK too.

Which got me thinking about engagement on my pages. I write to entertain, to put into words what others may not be able to, to share my experiences, and to show my love of writing. So, for a limited time, I’m going to let anyone download my sample copy of my poetry book without an email/newsletter opt-in. The only caveat is that we discuss the poems or writing process. I’ll set up a page for that purpose.

Sounds like a plan? I hope so!

Download: Excerpts from the book – Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures

Categories
humor music music Monday thoughts

Music Monday: Sell-out or Just Business?


A few news stories have come out over the last few weeks about musicians selling the rights to their song catalogs. Now, this is nothing new, one of the first bombshells was when Michael Jackson purchased some of The Beatles songs – which I believe were repurchased years later. Recently, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Mick Fleetwood have all sold parts of their own catalogs.

Why is it good business to own song rights? $$$$$$. Royalties are paid every time a song is played/performed publicly. Radio (yes, we still have that), online streaming, T.V. (yes, we still have that too), and movies are some examples. Ever wonder why you only hear snippets of songs during your favorite sports events? After a certain amount of time, royalties need to be paid, so the venue plays 10-15 seconds. Loophole? Maybe. But the first 10-15 seconds of Thunderstruck is the best part. Come to think about it, it is the only part. Why do you hear weird variations on that birthday song in restaurants? You guessed it-royalties.

I don’t remember the first time I heard a song that I liked used in a commercial. I do remember that many years ago (no, I’m not telling) cries of “Sell-out!” were repeated by music fans when the bands that they loved allowed popular songs to be used to sell…whatever. It’s not so surprising now–it’s just business. Can we fault an artist for trying to make money? OK, don’t answer that. That’s a whole new can o’ worms.

What can I handle? I can tolerate a song being used in its original form to sell a truck, insurance, banking services, or whatnot, but please, please, if you sell your song, sell the lyrics as well. Don’t know what I’m getting at? One of my favorite songs is–was–Rocket Man by Elton John. Now, when I hear that song, all I think about is the lady who “…shops at Rakutan”. Thanks a bunch, Elton.

Given the opportunity, would I sell the rights to my songs? Probably. Maybe. It depends. If my creations made me a decent wage that allowed me not to want for anything (FYI–that’s a low bar. I’m very frugal), I don’t think that I would. Never say never, though, right?

So, for all you restaurants looking for a cheap alternative to The Birthday Song, for only $0.27/use, I present to you, Happy, Happy Birthday:

 
 Happy, happy, happy,
 Birthday, birthday, birthday
 You were born [insert number here] years ago
 Happy, happy, happy,
  Birthday, birthday, birthday
 We’ll stop here 
 So we don’t have to pay… 

Darn, I didn’t think this through…

-Leon

Categories
humor thoughts

Food for Thought: Fitter or Fatter?

Fitter fatter, let’s get ‘at her. I know that not being able to go out as much as usual is getting to many people. Physical distancing rules are a tough pill to swallow. And many activities have had to be curtailed. Throw in the winter weather-if you are so lucky to live where the seasons actually change, and it’s hard to get in the exercise we want. Many people are taking up different habits, usually revolving around food. Here are a few things I enjoy:

Baking Bread: I started to bake bread because I figured out that 20 cents worth of flour makes a $1.49 loaf of bread. Which was the reason I always bought bread on sale. Plus it is sooo tasty. If you have ever pulled a fresh loaf of bread out of the oven, you know that it is hard to wait for it to cool before you cut a steamy slice from it and decorate it with a all too generous serving of butter (oh yes, you have to use butter). Then, maybe ½ hour later you realize that you need to bake more. I’ll quote myself here: “Don’t bake bread unless you are prepared to eat the whole loaf.” That was the reason that early in history, bread was baked everyday. Not the rumour that it went stale quickly.

My grandmother always made rye bread. No recipe, and bit of this, a pinch of that. Even in her 70’s she would be there with her arthritic hands, kneading away. I think that was the only time that it didn’t hurt. My mother made the same bread, but it never turned out the same. My sister wrote down the recipe when grandmother visited her one time. It’s good, but int’s not the same. I finally got the recipe. It’s good, but it’s not the same. What was her secret? We will never know, but I suspect it may have been the old farmhouse woodstove. Or the old farmhouse lard. Or the old rye flour…

There is a lot of different breads to experiment with, even a failed loaf is kind of tasty. My favorite is pizza dough. After many variations, I have it nailed. I’ll let you in on one secret. Make the dough 3 days in advance (yes, 3 days) and put it in the fridge, covered of course. The slow rise makes for a light and crisp crust. Try to say crisp crust 5 times fast! My second favorite is a French baguette. Good with soup, as a Po’boy, or sliced with a fresh tomato. I still partake in the Parisian ritual of tearing off the heel straight away. I observed this outside a boulangerie where no heel made it out the door untorn. Oh, the humanity!

Sweets: Cookies, pies, cakes. It’s all good. But my all time favorite is…oh it goes by so many names. So like a a culinary earworm, I’m giving it to you, so that I’m not the only one stuffing my gob with this delight.

1/2 Cup Margarine, 1 Cup Peanut Butter, 1 pkg Butterscotch chips, Mini marshmallows. You know what I’m talking about…

Beverages: I love coffee. I started drinking it as a teen (‘cuz it was cool) with cream and sugar. Then I weened myself of cream, then sugar, so that I finally was able to enjoy the actual taste of coffee. I realized how bad some of the take-out / fast food coffees were. I won’t name any outright, but they know who they are. Once in university, I sat with my buddies and drank at least 20 cups of coffee (thank you free refills!), and subsequently was up for 24 hours after. Subsequently, the restaurant revoked the free refill policy.

It is easy to drink more coffee now, but I do limit myself to a couple of cups in the morning, and occasionally one in the afternoon. If I need a hot beverage, I’m turn to my second favorite, tea. Holding a hot cup of tea feels different than a hot cup of coffee. Can’t explain that but try it out. I didn’t know that there were so many types of tea until I had High Tea in London. A whole menu of tea there was. Don’t get me started on the sandwiches. I have a collection of teas that I delight in: Green, White, Ginseng,  Chamomile, Orange Pekoe, English Breakfast, but I’ll always return to my first love.

As a famous thespian in his greatest role once said, “Tea, Earl Grey, hot.”

Categories
cartoons funny friday humor Just plain weird

Funny Friday: When Does This Become That?


I was sitting around one day…wondering…When does this become that? After various mullings, musings, flowcharts, and scientific calculations, I came up with:

Did this answer my question? Not in the least. I am however perplexed by the magical floating table…

-Leon


Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of two books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. Visit www.linesbyleon.com

Categories
readers thoughts writers

On the Move


After way too much planning and researching, I have decided to move my domain name to WordPress. What does that mean? Well, I won’t have 2 sites-that’s just a silly thing. I’ve been pretty happy with the engagement on WP and it seemed to make sense to focus my endeavors where there is more traffic- and cool people!

Will it go smoothly? I have no idea. I’m not the most technologically adept person; I am hoping that it will and there will be no disruption.

So, that being said, hang on and let’s see what happens!

Categories
readers writers

Sunshine Blogger Award

Thank you, Lorene M, for the nomination for the Sunshine Blogger Award! Let’s get started shall we? First, the not so fine print:

Rules

  1. Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  3. Nominate up to 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

Here are my answers:

1. Which is the best thing that happened to you in 2020? – I published two books! My first was a book of poetry, and the second a science fiction short story collection. Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.

2. Which is the emotion you predominantly feel and why? – Hmmm. Is hungry an emotion?

3. Have did blogging taught you until now? – I think you want to know is that blogging has taught me to write a little quicker and with more spontaneity.

4. If you knew for sure you will succeed with something, what would you start and why? – I would enroll in astronaut training. I’d like to go into space.

5. What is your biggest regret and what have you learned from it? – I wish that I had tried harder in school. I think that I learned to try my best later on in my life at things that I attempted.

6. If you had unlimited powers and resources for one day, what would you do with them? – There is too much to fix in the world, even with a gift of this. And there’s always the saying, “Absolute power corrupts.”

7. If you had to describe yourself in a short sentence, what would that sentence be? – How short of a sentence? one word? Two words? Am I running out of time? Wait! I got it! I’m an-

8. What is your favorite quote? I have two: “Commitment is doing what you said you would do, long after the mood you said it in has passed.” I credit it to Bear Grylls, but he may have snagged it from someone. The other, I wrote myself, and I still giggle when I read it: “You may think that I am bitter, but I’m not. I’m tangy.

9. If you could be someone else, who would you choose to be and why? – I can’t be someone else until I’ve figure out how to be me first.

10. What is the stupidest most expensive thing you ever bought? – I wish I had the money to buy a stupid expensive thing. In reality, I am way to cheap.

11. If you could learn anything (something you don’t already know), what would you learn and why? – There are many instruments I would like to learn how to play.

The Questions:

Minute to Win It! You have 60 seconds. Come back and fill in details after if you wish! Timer…starts…NOW! (what are you waiting for?)

  1. Smoothy or crunchy?
  2. Kirk or Picard?
  3. Dogs or cats?
  4. Coffee or tea?
  5. Ren or Stimpy?
  6. Favorite explorer?
  7. Need more time for the last question?
  8. I prefer my broccoli cooked and my cauliflower raw. You?
  9. Spell check – on of off?
  10. What word do you always spell incorrectly?
  11. Can you recite pi to more than 2 decimal places?
  12. Bonus question? How many?
  13. Final question? Why do you know that?

My Nominees:

Categories
cartoons humor Just plain weird Weird Wednesday

Weird Wednesday: More Miniscules + Creatures.

Continuing the evolution of my “artistic” side. Some ideas are poignant, others come from everyday situations, the last one was inspired by all the sports repeats in 2020. You can see that I haven’t figured out where to put the web link:

I started a “Miniscules: Origins” movie. I got as far as a trailer (will post that soon). The last one was due to changing my Instagram account.

“Can I see more creatures” you ask? Of course.

There hasn’t been anyone around in days.
It belongs to no one now
Reclaimed and renewed
Without interruption
Or corruption

I hope you have been enjoying my scratches and scrawls.

-Leon


Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of two books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. Visit www.linesbyleon.com

Categories
Uncategorized

Meet Guest Author, Leon Stevens…

Thanks to Chris @thestoryreadingape for giving me the opportunity to do another interview with myself! Originally posted on January 12 / 2021

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Leon Stevens Interviews Leon Stevens

Hello. I’m Leon Stevens, and I’m sitting here with author Leon Stevens who has written two books, Lines by Leon-Poems, Prose and Pictures, and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.

Well, here we are again.

It seems that way.

You wrote down a list of questions for the guest post on thestoryreadingapeblog.com. Where did you come across that site?

Through my WordPress blog. I was reading a re-post of a book marketing article.

How is your blog coming along?

Better than I thought. I’ve been writing something almost daily.

Nice. Shall we get to the questions?

Fire away.

Now bear in mind I do know all these answers, so try to forget who I am.

I wish I could.

[silence]

I’ll let that pass. Question 1: Have you always been a writer?

Not until…

View original post 723 more words

Categories
readers thoughts writers

Newsletter Success: Benchmarks

Earlier, I wrote a post about paring down my email subscriber list (The Purge). I went from 97 subscribers to 48. Sounds like a lot doesn’t it. That’s half my list. So yeah, it Is a lot. I started my newsletter to keep my readers entertained between my writing projects and to give them some insight into my writing journey. It’s both personal and professional.

How do I gauge success? I have a few benchmarks:

  1. When my subscriber list had more non-friends and relatives – Check.
  2. 50% opens – Check
  3. Subscriber engagement (comments, clicks, purchases) – Check. (This doesn’t count my mom who always replies to my newsletter, “I really enjoy your newsletters. I look forward to them every week.” Thanks, Mom. Love you too.)
  4. 100 subscribers – Almost…there…until…

I hope my subscribers look forward to my emails. I went with a weekly newsletter because is I think that once a month is too long between updates. For daily engagement, I turned to this blog. I hope that you enjoy my thoughts, ramblings, and humor.  

-Leon

Curious? Lines by Leon Newsletter January 6

Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of two books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. Visit www.linesbyleon.com