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thoughts writers

The Purge: Redux

I periodically purge my email subscriber list. I have done three since I started with my mail host. The last purge email was opened by 3 subscribers, so they remained on the list. The others? Well, they get archived and are not counted in my stats. Which means my open rate goes up. I rather have 50 subscribers who are interested in my writings than having a large list and low open percentage.

I do state in my sign-up that subscribers should check their spam folder if they don’t receive the welcome email. Often, the welcome email is the only one that is opened and sometimes it is not even that.  I assume that most of the addresses that have no opens are the secondary ones that people use to sign up for free stuff.

Here is what I send:

Dear Subscriber,

Ever see the movie, The Purge? Don’t. It’s a terrible movie. I can’t believe they made more than one, two more actually. Anyway, this email is going out to subscribers who haven’t opened any emails for at least 2 months. I may have made a mistake and accidentally added you to this list, so I apologize and you can stop reading now. 

I am glad that you wanted to read my books and subscribe to my newsletter. Part of being a writer is to entertain readers. I hope that I have been doing this on a weekly basis.

However, nobody likes unwanted email, and I don’t want to contribute to the digital trash folder. If you no longer want to receive my newsletter and updates, please let me know by unsubscribing at the bottom of the page. If you have any comments or feedback, I would love to hear it.

I’m sad to see you go, but hopefully you will drop by my website from time to time, or follow me on social media. Cheers!

Yours sincerely,

Leon Stevens

I add “Important Unsubscribe Information” to the subject line. Does that get more opens? If it is opened by a subscriber with no previous opens, then yes. I probably could put “More Free Stuff!” but that would not be nice, would it?

One of the marketing tips I hear over and over is to build a mailing list. That makes sense because the readers of your books are the buyers of your books and have an interest in your career. Just like blogging, it’s a way to make a connection with people who are genuinely interested in what I am doing.

Do I hope my subscribers purchase my various offerings? Of course. Will I continue to inform and entertain regardless? You bet. That’s what I enjoy doing.

-Leon


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

Categories
cartoons Just plain weird Weird Wednesday

Weird Wednesday: Cartoons

If you are new to Weird Wednesdays, it is my day to share some of my odd writings, or more often, my cartoons: “The Miniscules” and “The Untitled”.

Both showcase my odd sense of humor while minimizing my drawing skills.

Here is a short video that you may not have seen yet:

The Miniscules: Origins trailer

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

Categories
humor

Decisions, decisions

I went to pick up shampoo the other day. The questions needed to complete this task came at me fast and furious:

Is my hair fine? Sure, I guess it’s doing OK.

Dry & damaged? Isn’t everyone’s?

Needing of fuller body? Maybe.

Fizz control? Shoudn’t have used the last one.

Do I want conditioning? Yes. I suppose.

In need of a silky sheen? Does it ever!

Dandruff? Who am I, my dad?

How much grey hair am I getting? (Oh yeah. Gonna be just like my dad)

Does it have cracked and split ends? How should I know?

How long have I been standing here? Hey, look! This one is cheaper. Now just to quickly grab a tube of toothpaste.

Wait. What the…!?

-Leon


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

Categories
poetry readers thoughts writers

Monday Musings: To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme

Reading over the thirty poems that I wrote in April allowed me to assess my writing style. Verdict: Haphazard.

Admittedly, I don’t read a lot of poetry—more now than before—for various reasons. I have more preferred genre preferences, and I suppose I don’t want to be influenced by the style of others. When I began to write poems, I didn’t set out to write a particular form or have a rhyme scheme in mind. It was all about getting my thoughts down in a way that I thought accurately represented the concept. I let the process dictate the final outcome.

As children, we learn rhyme from nursery rhymes, primer reading books, and word families. It becomes second nature to rhyme, and sometimes it is hard not to.

From the very start, I found that rhyme placement was a way to grab the reader’s mind, and too many often detracted from the imagery or idea that I was trying to convey. So, some of my poems have very few, but when they occur, it’s effective. I guess you could call it fluid form poetry or floating rhyme.

I try not to use an unfamiliar word or words that can’t be immediately understood by the context unless, of course, that important rhyme gives exigence to incorporate the word “reticent” (or taciturn, for that matter).*

Learn the rules so that you can break them or make up the rules as you go along. If they don’t work—change them.

I’m not saying that my writing is unique, but it is mine from my heart and mind. I chose to share these words with the world because they help me put things into perspective, and I hope that they can do the same for others along with providing entertainment in this world we all share.

– Leon

*exigence (n.) – demand, requirement

*reticent (adj.) – discreet, restrained, taciturn   


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

Categories
Uncategorized

Second Chance Sunday: May 2 (My Music)

Since I last posted this, many more readers (yes, you) have followed my writing journey. To let you know that I am not all weird cartoons, poetry and science fiction, Here is another side of me:

First posted on February 23. (Yeah. It’s a shorty)

I finally put all my video and audio files on one page. Music, like writing, is meant to be shared, so I hope that you appreciate my creations. Emotions inspire me to write music, so while some of my compositions hopefully will make you smile, there is a sadness in a few, while others may cause you to reflect.

-Leon

My Music and More



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

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Categories
poetry

Month/Weekend Wrap-up: May 1

I did it. Thirty poems in thirty days. I don’t think I will change to much when I go back to revise them. Even though some were rushed (I tried to write them before a certain time in the morning to keep my posts consistent), they did benefit from the time constraint.

I’m not happy with how I set up my poem page, so my next task is to put them all into a book. Looking back, I should have done that as I went along. let me know if you would like a copy.

What’s that? Do I have a favorite? I can’t say that I do.

I didn’t read as many posts this month but here are a few you should visit:


Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021 – #Pot Luck – #Music Monday: So Many Genres by Leon Stevens – Sally has a great following of engaged readers. Thanks again, Sally.


Guest Post: Leon Stevens – Thanks to beetleypete for the opportunity to share my thoughts with his readers.

To embark on my next challenge:

Poetry Prompt from NaNoPoWriMo:  Don’t write a poem today.

Done.

Wait. I have one more:

Mom

Sometimes we didn’t see eye to eye
Except for the year I was as tall as you
It was long ago in years
And since then I’ve grown
It’s true
Your experience I oft ignored
Thinking I knew better
Not true I realized
You will always see and do
More than me
Without your love
I wouldn’t be…here
I apologize for any grief
As a no-it-all teen 
Or caused by my stupidity
Looking back on all that time
The trips we took
The glasses of wine
Some of the best time spent
Oddly when it didn’t seem
The next room they can hear us bitchin’
Sharing what we think is best
You and I fighting in the kitchen

Happy Birthday, Mom.

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

Categories
poetry

NaPoWriMo: Day 30 (Destinations)

NaPoWriMo

Poetry Prompt from NaPoWriMo:  Write a poem in the form of a series of directions describing how a person should get to a particular place.

Here it is. The last day of the challenge. I want to thank you for stopping by and reading my daily creations. I hadn’t poetry for a while, since I shifted my focus to my science fiction writing. It was a good incentive to get back to what started my writing journey, and looking back on the last 29 days, I’m happy with what I wrote.

Here From There

No two people
Will arrive at the same place
Given directions and a numbered pace
We line them up
And teach the skills
Then release them with free wills
Learn the basics
So you can make the choice
Everybody has a voice
Start at Reading Road
Make sure you don’t miss Comprehension Boulevard
Turn at Writing Avenue
Left or right it’s yours to choose
You will see Math Street coming up
Spend time at the Basics block
If you miss it
You may get lost
Don’t hesitate to ask for directions
Everybody there 
Is extremely helpful
And each has a different perspective
You can try to climb the hill 
Of  You Can Be Anything You Want To Be
For some it’s better to go around, you’ll see
There is no shame to turn around
And start again a second time round
Sometimes it will be best 
To ignore the GPS
You will find your destination 
Changes as you travel the nation
But when you arrive
Take a look around
This will be the place you’ve found



Read it again on Medium.com (yes, I do get paid/read): Day 30


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

Categories
poetry

NaPoWriMo: Day 29 (Windows)

NaPoWriMo

Poetry Prompt from NaPoWriMo:  This one is called “in the window.” Imagine a window looking into a place or onto a particular scene.

One more day to come. I think I’m going to miss the routine.

Looking Back

My childhood home disappears 
Behind the climbing tree
My first college dorm fades
Into the brownstone facades
My apartment with the narrow stairs
Slowly hidden by its neighbor  
The rented house seems smaller
Even though I’m not the last to leave
The waving line dwindles
While the music plays 
I must have missed the point
When the mountains yielded to the prairie
I looked away for a moment 
The ocean gone when I return my gaze
I am sometimes filled with envy that
The rear window has seen the last 
Of all my firsts



Read it again on Medium.com (yes, I do get paid/read): Day 29


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

Categories
poetry

NaPoWriMo: Day 28 (Questions)

NaPoWriMo

Poetry Prompt from NaPoWriMo:  Write a poem that poses a series of questions.

Up early this morning. Again. To. Much. Pressure.

Purpose

What will I write about today?
The poet pondered
Lying in the meadow away
From distraction
Will it be poignant?
Do I try to shed a little light?
Does it need to give a fright?
How can the words I write
Make a difference in someone’s life?
Will rhyme present itself
At the proper time?
Where will inspiration come?
Or do I sit here deaf and dumb
Until the words…until the words…
Begin to surge
Why do I write anyway?
The poet sat and questioned 
There are not enough words
To answer that
Then
Then as the sun set
And the moon rose
And the sky exploded
In a tumult of emotion
The answer was revealed
Because I can
And the poet’s fate was sealed


Read it again on Medium.com (yes, I do get paid/read): Day 28


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

Categories
poetry

NaPoWriMo: Day 27 (Up early and waiting)

NaPoWriMo

Poetry Prompt from NaPoWriMo:  To be announced

Up early this morning. Was able to pick up some work for the week. It’s been a while so I couldn’t say no. Since the prompt isn’t posted yet, I’ll offer this:

Control

Like clockwork
Until it isn’t
Routines repeat 
Until they don’t
Stay in the groove
Until you jump out

(What’s that? No, it’s not a rut. OK, it’s kinda a rut.)
Don’t change
Until you need to
Expecting the expected
Until the unexpected jars you into accepting that no matter how hard you try
You’re not in complete…

Control

Read it again on Medium.com (yes, I do get paid/read): Day 27


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