Thursday Thoughts: A Book About Nothing (contains spoilers)

Now that NaNoWriMo is over, I have time to reflect on the process of writing a book. I am reminded by this iconic scene in pop culture:

[Two men sit across from each other drinking coffee in a diner]

“This should be the show.”
“What should?”
“This.”
“Just talking?”
“Just talking.”
“About what?”
“About nothing.”
“Nothing?”
“Nothing.”
“You want to do a show about nothing?”
“Everybody’s doing something. We’ll do nothing.”

It never is about nothing, though. Even the most mundane events are something, but who wants to watch or read about mundane events? (I see that no one has their hands raised.)

When writing fiction, something has to happen. And not just one thing. In The Lord of the Rings, the trip was not uneventful. They were chased, attacked, pursued, captured, and trapped. They needed to venture through caves, haunted woods, got caught in snow and floods, and fought their way through armies. It was one thing after another, and it felt like the whole Middle Earth was against them*. And they only lost one, and he wasn’t even part of the original group. Pretty good story, huh?


[inaudible]
What’s that?
[inaudible]
They lost two? Well, you can’t count Gandalf—
[inaudible]
Because.
[inaudible]
Just because. It’s magic.
[inaudible]
Then don’t read it then.
[inaudible]
No need for that language…

The reader has already bought into the premise that the characters will encounter difficulties and problems they will have to solve to survive. That’s why they are reading your story, right? Your characters have to get into jams—and out of them. If they don’t, the story ends.

Things have to happen on a regular basis. Too much time between events or not enough suspense will lose a reader. Too many in a row will exhaust them (The Fast and Furious, anyone). How many crises is too many to have on an adventure? And if your protagonists keep finding ways to solve them, does it become unbelievable? There is a fine line between believable and ridiculous —even when you suspend your disbelief.

When it comes to believability, science fiction has the majority of nit-pickers. There are great writers who research and employ experts in order to get the science (or potential science) right. I don’t write technical science fiction. I don’t enjoy reading overly technical stuff either and I’ll skim over those parts. So, how do I explain my technology to a reader?

Q: “How does your Faster-Than-Light drive work?
A: “You press the green button.”
Q: “Then?”
A: “You get there fast.”

How many times do read read about or watch a main character dangle precariously off a cliff or building and still feel tense, knowing that they are going to get out of this alive . . . or will they**? Can you kill off a main character? Sure, but you have to do it in a way that moves the story forward—and not in the first chapter.

Also, have all the good (and bad) tropes been used***? Is there anything truly original or is everything just a variation of a previous story. I found myself having to go back and change something I previously wrote because I’ve read a published book with the same idea. The same book that’s now in the hands of my editor. Yeah, there’s stuff in there that I swear I thought up all on my own. Really.

Readers read to escape. Writers write for much the same reason and to entertain, of course. You can’t entertain with a book about nothing, can you?.

-Leon

*Spoiler alert: It was
**Spoiler alert #2: They do.
***Spoiler alert #3: Yes


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.

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Nov 19 – Free Book Friday / Interview: In Conversation With Author Dani Hoots

Thank you, WordPress, for making the editing screen font really big after months of being really small. A warning or heads-up would have been nice.

NaNoWriMo Totals to Date: 13 209 words, 18 cups of coffee, one cup of Earl Grey, one cup of tea (unknown), two glasses of Rum & Coke, one glass of cabernet, and a half-pint of a Session IPA.

About the interviews:

When I published my first book, I looked for ways to reach new readers, and being a brand new author, participating in various book bloggers interviews was a good way to start. Some interviews were standard questions, while others had more individuality built into them.

I then did a twist on the author interview by interviewing myself (Leon Interviews Himself). I then thought it would be fun to get to know some of the authors I was cross-promoting with, and the Friday Conversations were born. Guess what? They are a lot of work. I look up the authors information, visit the website so I can craft a unique set of questions (OK, there are a few standard ones) to let my readership get to know these new authors. Worth the work? You bet. Here is today’s conversation:

Dani Hoots is a science fiction, fantasy, romance, and young adult author who loves anything with a story. She has a B.S. in Anthropology, a Masters of Urban and Environmental Planning, a Certificate in Novel Writing from Arizona State University, and a BS in Herbal Science from Bastyr University.

In Conversation With Author Dani Hoots



Today I have the pleasure of sitting down with author Dani Hoots. Thanks for stopping by.

Thank you for having me! I am excited to be here.

Wait till you get your parting gift… Beverage of choice?

Tea or scotch.

Nice. You have written a couple of books, like…about 50? Just a hobby for you, I guess?

Heh people like to call it a hobby but it is definitely a job. I spend about 8 hours a day writing or editings. I love creating worlds and characters and once they come alive in my head, I have to write them or they will nag me to no end.

I spend 8 hours a day trying to write…What was the first book that you wrote?

The first book I wrote was The Quest. I actually wrote it in high school, but of course edited a bunch before publishing.

When you are not writing, what are you doing?

Reading, watching anime, hiking, and making tea.

I saw that you have an apothecary. So that makes you… born 500 years too late?

Or perhaps I was alive 500 years ago and I am back now! Herbal tea is definitely big right now though, especially with Christmas coming…

If you could go back and be born at a different time, would you?

I think we romanticize the past a lot, but also the present isn’t that great so maybe? If I did, it would probably ancient Sweden. But thinking about it makes me cold…

Channeling your inner Viking?

I definitely have a full Viking Apron dress I wear at the Renaissance Faire.

Have you ever found any money?

I have found like $20 in a parking lot. I also watched $5 fly out my car window. Oh actually, I found a $200 giftcard to Safeway but I turned it in as it could have been someone’s food money. To be honest though, I sat in my car for a while before making that decision.

I think you made the right one. It would have been easy to take it, butthat choice would probably have always weighed on you.

Perhaps. But I am pretty sure that the guy we gave it to pocketed it since he didn’t write anything down.

Sigh…

What’s something you say that you think is funny, but no one else does?

Werewolf jokes

Care to share one?

How do you stop a werewolf from attacking you? Throw a stick and shout “fetch!”

Sigh…I always ask my guests about music. Any favorites?

I am really loving UNWELL/Matt Copley, Falling in Reverse, La Femme Pendu, and Melanie Martinez, but I love anime music, punk rock, and some metal. I have a western playlist going for my current series, but I claim it’s not country music.

Some country doesn’t sound like country these days. Some good stuff, though.

Care to partake in the lightning round?

Suuuurrrrreeee?

Desert or Dessert?
Desert
Rock or Roll?
Rock
Otters or Penguins?
Penguins most definitely
Favorite city?
Edinburgh
Shamrock shakes. Yea or Nae?
I have no idea
How many digits of Pi do you know?
I have dyslexia so I cannot for the life of me memorize numbers. So 3.14
At least you know the least you should know!

This has been fun, but we must wrap it up. Any links you wish to add?

My upcoming book REVENGE, which just won the Firebird Book Award, comes out November 16th and is an LGBT Sci-fi Western. Check it out here: https://danihoots.com/books/revenge/. And check out my other 8347243927 books here: https://danihoots.com/books/

8347243927 books? Touché.

New BookFunnel and StoryOrigin Promos

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.

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.

Purchase paperback directly for the author!

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 / My latest Interview: In Conversation With Author Cara Cilento

About the interviews:

When I published my first book, I looked for ways to reach new readers, and being a brand new author, participating in various book bloggers interviews was a good way to start. Some interviews were standard questions, while others had more individuality built into them.

I then did a twist on the author interview by interviewing myself (Leon Interviews Himself). I then thought it would be fun to get to know some of the authors I was cross-promoting with, and the Friday Conversations were born. Guess what? They are a lot of work (the interviews, not the authors). I look up the authors information, visit the website so I can craft a unique set of questions (OK, there are a few standard ones) to let my readership get to know these new authors. Worth the work? You bet. Here is today’s conversation:

Cara Cilento has been a speech therapist for over twenty years in various public schools. Currently, she lives in suburban North Jersey on her own terms. Cara defines her own personal success as living her truth and not what is expected of her. Snapshots: Say Cheese! is her first published book which has taken a lifetime of experiences—traumatic, joyful, abusive, healing and reaffirming—as her muse.

In Conversation With Author Cara Cilento

Today I have the pleasure of sitting down with author Cara Cilento. Thanks for stopping by.

Thanks for having me. 

I always begin with the offer of a beverage. Pick your poison. 

Thanks! I’ll have a Moscow Mule. It’s five o’clock somewhere, right? 

You bet! Tell us about the “Living Now” Award. Is that like the Nobel Prize or something?

Oh, if it was only that simple! The Living Now Book Awards aim to promote the year’s greatest lifestyle books and their authors. They pick books that help us learn how to live healthier, more meaningful, and more productive lives for ourselves and our loved ones. The Living Now Book Awards honor new books that may help us better our lives, from cooking and  entertaining to fitness and travel.

Did you have a love of reading and writing as a child? 

Absolutely! I would sit for hours on the porch and read. In elementary school, I would go to the library all the time. I would take out books like Encyclopedia Brown to Ramona The Brave. On vacations, my suitcases had at least three books packed. I must have been the only kid in High School that loved Summer Reading.  

It’s so easy for kids to forget school once summer rolls around and the ones who would benefit the most by doing it are the ones who do it the least.

Absolutely. Interestingly, I found that many children aren’t exposed to reading, especially with the onset of tablets and iPhones. Using a tablet to expose you to reading and phonics is just not the same. You would be surprised how many children I have taught that do not know simple nursery rhymes, but that’s a conversation for another day.

What was the first book that you wrote? 

Hiccup the Magic Elf. I think I was in fourth grade got gold star and a special pencil. Did you mean professionally? Oh, Snapshots was my first. 

No. The first book is the first book. That’s a great title, Hiccup the Magic Elf. Could be a book in the works?

I have thought about it. It’s on my to-do list along with my middle grade historical fiction.

When you are not writing, what are you doing? 

When I am not writing, I am doing things with my family and, get ready for it…I ghost hunt. I go once a month, at least.

I have never met a ghost hunter before. Care to share a quick story?

I’d love to. A few months ago, I was investigating a haunted bed and breakfast in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Historically, Gettysburg is a fascinating place to begin with, but it is known for having hauntings. So, as I was walking though a field, I decided to take pictures. I always set my camera to take shots in rapid succession and in the first picture, there is a picture of forest. In the second, there is a picture of the same forest with white mist around the base of the trees. The third picture the mist was gone. I can’t explain it but that’s the point, right? To see things you can’t explain.

44444912. sy475

Ohhhhh…goosebumps.

The blurb for your book, Snapshots, sounds like soul-searching and the revealing of your inner  feelings. Is this an apt description? 

It is actually. When it was being released, many friends asked me how I felt about putting my journey on the page for everyone to read because it puts your vulnerability on display, but I never thought there was anything revealing about it. I think everyone feels vulnerable when they are seeking autonomy and finding themselves. 

And not everyone is able to manifest those feeling into words—which is where us poets come in right?

Yes. I try to make the implicit explicit using the flexibility of language.

You mention on your blog “…being an award-winning author who writes with LGBTQ+ themes is hardest of all.” What I find hard is saying the acronym. I’ve seen several other  versions: LGBTQ2, LGBTQ2S, LGBTQ2s+, LGBTQIAPK, LGBTQIA+, LGBTQQIP2SAA. Any thoughts for  people who may be confused with this? 

There are a lot of versions and everything keeps changing. I even wrote a blog about how the gay flag has changed so I understand where people can become confused. I think we should all be focused on making the world a better place for the  straight and LGBT+ community. I think the time we spend on what we call ourselves could be better spent on people and not labels.  

I agree. You also have a love for photography. What catches your eye to say, “I need to capture that” ?

 I love street photography. I love taking pictures of people in their every day which captures a slice of life or a glimpse of their  human condition. Even if it’s the ugly truth I think there is beauty in it. I am actually having a showing in November. 

I have a few like that, I actually put together a short video with music of some places I have been.

I always ask my guests about music. Any favorites? 

I love jazz music. I was supposed to go to New Orleans for their poetry festival but due to travel restrictions, it was canceled. I’m a live music junkie though. I was driving to see Alanis Morissette in inclement weather when it was canceled due to a tornado. I  was determined to go.

New Orleans is definitely worth the trip for jazz and music lovers. Even during the slow season, there is music everywhere. Literally.

Care to give the lightning round a go? 

Absolutely— Wait—let me finish my drink…okay, go. 

Hidden talent? 
I manage to lose my mug of coffee daily. My kids bought me a Tile. You know that square you put on your keys so you can find them? Yea well they bought me one to put on my coffee mug. 
I hear you. Nickel or dime? 
Dime. Nickels are bulky. 
What is the oldest thing you own? 
I just actually found a doll I had as a child and it is not one of those cute little “aww put it in the crib” dolls. It’s one of those you  would see in a horror movie. I don’t know what my family was thinking when they gave it to me and now I have questions. 
Favorite city? 
Joplin, Missouri. That’s where my wife is from. 
Shamrock shakes. Yea or Nae? 
Oh yea. 
How many digits of Pi do you know? 
3.14159…and I usually round it up to 3.1416
Nice. It makes the circles more accurate that way.

This has been fun, but we need to wrap it up. Any links you wish to add? 

For latest news on my next book and works in progress you can find me at www.caracilento.com.

Cara’s Photographs:

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.

New Promotions from StoryOrigin and BookFunnel

Paperbacks? Yeah. We still do those!

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.

Purchase paperback directly for the author!

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!

Spooky Sunday / Inktober Day 31(Risk): My First Horror Story (a risk in itself)

My First Horror Story: Ten Years

If you haven’t read yesterday’s post yet, take a quick read for an introduction to this one:

https://linesbyleon.com/2021/10/30/weekend-wrap-up-inktober-day-30-slither-somewhat-spooky-saturday/

Done? Great. Let’s continue.

Is horror much different from post-apocalyptic or science fiction? When I set out to write this one—yesterday—I wanted to make it an homage to the king of horror. Not King, but the king, H.P. Lovecraft.

I hope you enjoy.

Ten Years

We dared each other to spend a night at the old Barnavois place. We were only 17 at the time, and we were invincible.

Or so we thought.

I went first. I spent the first hour exploring around with my flashlight, opening creaking doors, peeking into closets, poking through old boxes and drawers. The kitchen had a few old pieces of cutlery and dishes—and a lot of dust.

I got bored and dropped the remaining dished on the floor, delighting in the sound. On the mantle in the living room was a mirror which I was surprised wasn’t already broken.

Until now.

I walked away from the glimmering shards scattered in the fireplace.

As night fell, I rolled out my sleeping bag on the floor near the entrance for no other reason but to thwart any attempt to frighten me. As I drifted into a slumber, I thought that I could hear footsteps coming from upstairs.

I called out, “I hear you! If you climbed up there, you’re not fooling me!” and I sat up against the wall to listen. The footsteps continued, but this time, they sounded like they were on the staircase.

I wasn’t going to fall for this and lose the bet. I pulled my legs tight against my chest and wrapped my arms around them. The footsteps became foot stomps. Closer and closer they seemed to come. I felt cooler than I ever had before and began to shiver uncontrollably. I closed my eyes tight, yet I could still see everything in the dim glow of the moon shining through the window in the door. I could sense a finger running across my cheek.

I had enough.

He laughed at me the next day and vowed that he wasn’t going to chicken out. I was all set to do the same thing he had done to me, but before I got to the house, it was already ablaze.

The police report was that he must have set fire to the place and run away. The only thing left in the rubble was a staircase board with three words carved into it: Ten years left.

* * *

I had forgotten all about the incident until yesterday when, while lying in bed, the news feed on my phone ran an account of the unsolved disappearance on the anniversary of the incident.

Ten years ago.

Ten years ago…

My eyes close, then I open them up, and only a few hours have passed. I am half off the other side of the bed. I wake up in a cold, clammy sweat, and I need a shower. It feels strange to shower in the middle of the night. Stranger still, I could swear I see a shadow moving across the curtain.

What the…?

I lie awake for an hour. Then another. Screw it. I get up and make coffee and sit to watch whatever is on TV. Which is nothing. Literally. Cable must be out. Same with the router because none of my devices work.

Great.

I must have fallen back asleep, as I wake up to the television blaring the morning weather. I already showered, so I get ready for work.

On the bus as usual, but no one is sitting next to me. Fine by me, I think.  You people can stand if you want.

I’m restless all day. At work, as I type, different words appear on the screen, and I have to backspace a lot. I feel that there is someone watching me. It’s like I’m on display. Stop it! I yell out loud. A co-worker walks quickly by my office.

I’m not getting much done, so I call it a day and decide to head home. My Uber driver pulls up, looks at me, and speeds away.

Seriously?

The bus ride home feels different. There are no seats, so I am forced to stand, and people keep bumping and pushing into me.

At home, I make something to eat, but it tastes off. There’s a knock on my door, but no one is there. I hear the TV in the living room, which I didn’t turn on. I go in to turn it off—and it already is.

The light upstairs flickers, and a cold wind hits me. I’ve felt that cold before.

Ten years ago.

I’m scared. My chest tightens. I fight for breath. I need to get some fresh air, so I put on my shoes and head out for a quick walk before the sun goes down. I have a few hours, or so I thought.

As I descend the front steps, something doesn’t feel right. It’s dark. It shouldn’t be, but it is. I’ll make this a shorter walk, I say to myself and head down the street. There are no cars—or people. There should be.

My footsteps sound louder than they should, so I suddenly change my stride, and for a brief moment I can hear them offset from mine before becoming one again. As I walk faster, I hear the footsteps keep pace.

I turn to go back, but in front of me is the burned remains of…that house. I feel pressure on my forearm as if someone is holding me—or guiding me.

I hear whispers, but I can’t make out any words except for the last one: Next

I tell myself that the word before kind of sounds like for/lore/more/nor/whore… any word other than the one that makes the most sense.


Last day: Risk



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.

Purchase paperback directly for the author!

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 / Inktober Day 30 (Slither): Somewhat Spooky Saturday

October 30: Slither(yn)

All previous drawings: https://linesbyleon.com/inktober/


Weekend Wrap-up

It’s Saturday.

“Tell us something we don’t know…”

When I realized that Halloween landed on a Sunday—how often does that happen?

“More often than when it lands on Friday the 13th. Now, that would be spooky.”

Well anyway, I decided to take advantage of the alliterative possibility, and created “Spooky Sunday”.* I then realized that I have nothing to write about today, so here we are on “Somewhat Spooky Saturday”.

Let’s talk horror stories, shall we?

“Finally.”

Quiet you. When you are asked about horror writers, who do you think of? Stoker? Shelley? Barker? King? Koontz? Rice? Lovecraft? Poe? Need I go on?

“Nope. It’s quite alright.”

Anyway, there are many. I don’t read much horror, but I did get started with King early in his career. I read some Koontz and Saul before discovering Poe and Lovecraft. There is something about Victorian horror that modern writers just can’t come close to. Maybe it’s the flowery writing or the ability to creep a reader without resorting to gruesome details. H.P. Lovecraft is the only horror writer that made the hair on my skin rise up and sent a shiver through my spine. I wish I could remember which story it was—or maybe I don’t.

I’ve written poetry, science fiction, post-apocalyptic, and humor, but never horror, although some may argue that my short story There’s no Place Like Home is more horror than post-apocalyptic.

So I decided to write a horror story**.

“Whaaaa…?”

I know, right! I’ll post it tomorrow.

From my blog this week:

Free Book Friday / Inktober Day 29 (Patch): My latest Interview- In Conversation With Author Elizabeth O’Carroll

Thursday Thoughts / Inktober Day 28: No Thoughts at All… – Really? None?

Weird Wednesday / Inktober Day 27 (Spark): Recipe for Success (or Disaster) – An odd thought and cartoons.

Tuesday Tirade / Inktober Day 26 (Connect): Ripe ideas – This was my favorite post of the week.

Monday Musings / Inktober Day 25 (Splat): How Slow Can You Go? – V….e…r….y

From the blogs of other’s:

Just Right For Halloween! – A collection from Stevie Turner.

Friday Spotlight 29th October – Abbie Johnson Taylor – Another blogger’s interview with an author

Identifying as a Content Creator (or not) – Con – TENT or CON – tent?

Trick or treat — canine edition – Costumed Canines

For the Love of Libraries – We still have them? Of course!

10 Real Life Home Fashion Choices from the 1970s – Oh, the horror…


*Where does the punctuation go in this case? Or should I be using quotation marks in the first place?

**Short, of course.


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.

Purchase paperback directly for the author!

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 / Inktober Day 29 (Patch): My latest Interview- In Conversation With Author Elizabeth O’Carroll

October 29: Patch (Don’t use Reggie’s All Purpose Econo-patch)

All previous drawings: https://linesbyleon.com/inktober/


About the interviews:

When I published my first book, I looked for ways to reach new readers, and being a brand new author, participating in various book bloggers interviews was a good way to start. Some interviews were standard questions, while others had more individuality built into them.

I then did a twist on the author interview by interviewing myself (Leon Interviews Himself). I then thought it would be fun to get to know some of the authors I was cross-promoting with, and the Friday Conversations were born. Guess what? They are a lot of work. I look up the authors information, visit the website so I can craft a unique set of questions (OK, there are a few standard ones) to let my readership get to know these new authors. Worth the work? You bet. Here is today’s conversation:

In Conversation With Author Elizabeth O’Carroll

Elizabeth O’Carroll is a world traveler, ESL Teacher, Rehabilitation Counselor and Minister of Metaphysics.
She is a native Californian and author of two book series of middle grade to young adult Realistic Fiction.

Today I have the pleasure of sitting down with author Elizabeth O’Carroll. Happy that you made it to this Word document. Such a warm and inviting atmosphere, isn’t it?  Can I offer you a hot or cold beverage?

Ooohh…I would love a cup of cyber “Almond Latte!”

You’ll have to give me a minute…

[Various sounds of a complicated coffee order.] Time elapsed: 3.56 minutes.

Here you go.

WOW! Who knew that cyber coffee could seem so…real!

You published your first book in 2019. Tell me about it.

Yes, “Tae Sung’s Peculiar Life” is now a series, and the first book’s title is “Tae Sung and the Flattened Snake.” I was inspired by my elementary students where I teach English, here in South Korea. They told me all about aninjured snake that the students found merciless enjoyment poking with sticks. They told me it had been run overby a car and was flattened in the middle. Hence the title of the first book evolved! As a teacher, mother, counselor, and mother, I never miss a golden opportunity to have a talk about ‘morals and ethical behaviors!”

The book teaches empathy and Tae Sung learns of his innate ability to connect energetically to other livingthings. There is a villain “Creeper” who bullies Tae’s best friend “Squeak.” Several of the events came from thestories my students shared with me. They are a never-ending source of creativity in writing!

Kids have quite the imagination, don’t they? For many people, creativity, and sense of wonderment wane as they get older.

Hmm…..I wonder. I feel it is on an individual basis. If a person has become complacent in their life, as in the ‘same old routine.’ Then there is no stimulation to the right brain where all those wonderous elements reside. Therefore, ‘change your thoughts, change your mind.” Choose to seek out the ‘little kid’ that still lives in our hearts and minds.

What prompted you to write your “Myloh” books?

The first book in the  series of “Myloh’s Ocean Adventures” is, “When Myloh met Sorry. ”It  was a daydream the Co-Author, Missy Richardson had while sitting on a beach. She saw a plastic bag floating on the ocean waves and the jelly fish washed up on the shore. That was all I needed to start an adventure! The book addresses environmental awareness of the hazards of helium balloon release. It’s a fun journey with Myloh and his ocean friends. “Sorry” is a balloon whose path crosses with Myloh, the handsome jellyfish.

The second book, “When Myloh met Professor Seamore” is another adventure to the depths of the ocean to seek out a wise old seaworm for answers about micro-plastics. Another ocean pollution awareness theme.

The third book is in the ‘Beta stage!” “ When Myloh met Dolly” and Myloh helps Dolly (dolphin) find her family. It is focused on seismic ocean blasting that affects the sonar ability of mammals to communicate with each other and the coral reefs dying. I am hoping to release this book in February 2022!

The ocean pollution problem isn’t new, but more people are raising awareness these days. Any new projects on the go?

Of course! I just need more time! “When Myloh met Dolly” and “180 Degrees” are in the works as additions in their respective series. I also have some movie -series pitch scripts that I trust will land in the right hands soon! 😊

Fingers crossed, right? In your bio, you said you like to travel. Bummer of a hobby to have these last two years, right? What did you do instead?

Geez….the past couple years have been a blessing and a barrier at the same time! Learning to be in this new ‘norm’ has allowed me to get back on track with my writing and allowing some dust to collect on my shoes. Fortunately, I was able to travel Europe for six months volunteering and writing Tae Sung before the barriers arrived. I feel now it is more about working with what we have, finding the gratitude in all things and doing our ‘inner’ work. Happiness is an ‘inside job!”

Any places in the world that you would define as magical?

I feel there is magic everywhere! It is inside of us and we reflect back what is ‘inside.’ I find magic out on my roof apartment here in Korea. The butterflies, birds, bees, new flowers blooming. That is magic to me! Although, I must say, Verona Italy was magical with all the purple wisteria everywhere, Romeo and Juliet balconies!

That sounds like a beautiful place to visit. Let’s dive into who Elizabeth is. What would you like the readers out there to know about you?

I have never been good talking about ME. All the educational degrees, life experiences and other labels that get tagged on through our life adventures….are just a reference. A little bit of ‘me’ is in Myloh and Tae Sung. Tae Sung’s abilities are similar to my own innate abilities (we all have them!) and his life experiences he endures in the second book resonate with my own past.

Well, I feel that everyone should know that there is a story inside of them waiting to be written. Reading is transformative and it expands our creativity and perspectives. Writing is very cathartic as well.

Isn’t it, though? My poetry started out as therapeutic before I decided to publish.

Poetry is so amazing in that it engages-heart, mind, body and soul. With all your innate abilities connected, it is therapeutic as well as creatively profound! As a counselor, suggesting a personal journal is our ‘go to’ tool that helps clients get in touch with themselves. Eliminate the disconnect!

Do you have any phobias?

Fortunately, I do not have any phobias! In my research (counseling) I have learned that phobias are rooted in fear and fear is a learned behavior. Fear is based on ignorance-the ‘unknown’. Therefore, to overcome phobias, we must educate ourselves and lean into the phobia and connect with why it is there and rise above it. Innately, as humans we create these behaviors as default survival mechanisms, and it prevents us from fully living. Only the individual as the ‘key’ to unlock themselves from their own mental prisons.

I’m always afraid that my ATM card will get stuck in the machine…

I enjoy music. Do you have any preferences?

Ed Sheeran, Keith Urban, Andre Bocelli, (it is my true nature—love—peace) I enjoy a large genre of music! My son recently introduced me to some controversial rappers that have brilliant content-opinions in their lyrics. “Hopsin”, Donald Glover, Tom MacDonald. I am not political, however, there are some profound concepts these musician’s address.

I saw Ed Sheeran open for Taylor Swift (yes, I went to a Taylor Swift concert, but I took my niece, so that’s my excuse). As a guitar player, I was blown away with what he could do as a solo act.

Ahh, yes! Musicians have mutual appreciation for each other, it’s a vibe.

Are you ready for the lightning round?

Yup!!

Great! Here we go.

Pumpkin Spice. Yea or Nay?
YEA!!
Favorite city?
Dubrovnik, Croatia
Summer or Winter?
Winter-hot chocolate
Rock & Roll or Smooth Jazz?
80’s soft rock!!
Turtles or Armadillos?
Turtles!
What number am I thinking of?
11
Close enough.

The producer (me) is telling me that we are out of time. Anything you want to plug?

Of course! You can find my books on Amazon and more information on the individual websites!

Both of my series have new books coming in 2022! I want to wish the world to find peace, love, and happiness in their own little bubbles in this big universe!! Also, know that we all make a difference one small step of kindness at a time!

https://mylohsadventures.com/

https://taesungspeculiarlife.com/


Read all previous interviews here: https://linesbyleon.com/the-interviews/

Reads From StoryOrigin and BookFunnel: 

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.

Featured Poetry Author

Free sample

Featured Sci-fi Author: Luke Davids

Purchase Link

Books on sale or under $2.99

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.

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Thursday Thoughts / Inktober Day 28: No Thoughts at All…

October 28: Crispy

“Doug Jines likes his bacon crisp.”

If you know where that comes from, congratulations, you are in an elite group. Well, maybe not elite, but less that most people will recognize the reference.

All previous drawings: https://linesbyleon.com/inktober/


Thursday Thoughts:

 Ever have no thoughts at all?

Some times it’s easy and we don’t even have to try. In the scary version, it sometimes happens when we are driving, and we realize that we haven’t been paying attention to anything and some time has as passed. Often, it happens when we might be sitting and relaxing and we just zone out for a brief amount of time. When I’m running or cycling, I can sometimes enter that state where I’m just…”Am”.

It’s difficult to try too not think when we put that constraint in place. Don’t think of pink elephants. Now that’s what you are thinking about, right?

Many people’s minds will race as they try to get to sleep. That’s a terrible feeling, isn’t it? With no other distractions, our mind can take over and process everything it couldn’t because we were so focused on watching “The Masked Singer”* or “The Bachelor”**.

Meditation can be a stress reliever, but it can also be stressful. I don’t try it very often anymore. I have in the past with varying degrees of success. When you are able to be in the moment, it’s a relaxing feeling. It takes dedication. For some, it’s worth a try.

-Leon

*I don’t watch.

**I really don’t watch.


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.

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Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Tuesday Tirade / Inktober Day 26 (Connect): Ripe ideas

“I don’t like twisty things.”
Inktober Day 26: Connect

All previous drawings: https://linesbyleon.com/inktober/


Tuesday Tirade: Ripe Ideas

Planning for National Novel Writing Month: Brainstorming ideas


As I cut into the avocado, I knew immediately that it was a mistake. The razor edge of my paring knife pierced the outer layer entering the still hard, unripe (and therefore inedible) inner flesh. Too hard for guacamole, the halves were wrapped in plastic in hopes of salvation without oxidation.


The bananas, bought green—why were there not any bunches with a yellow hue?—sat amongst the apples and oranges in the bowl. Each morning, the anticipation of having the perfect banana, yellow with some black mottling, for breakfast was enough to send me into a nervous state. Finally, on that cloudy day in May, it happened.

Unfortunately, the next day, the remaining bananas were all black, as if during the night a coup was declared, so I was forced to quell the new order by placing them into the freezer to be forgotten until a loaf of banana bread was required.


The peaches were piled high. Removing any other than the top layer would result in a catastrophic avalanche. I choose one that had a slight give when I pressed my thumb where the stem had been. Do I roll the dice on this one? Will it be juicy? Mealy? When I cut and twist, will the skin extricate itself leaving the remainder firmly attached to the pit? I couldn’t risk it and placed it back for the next unlucky victim.


Vine-ripened tomatoes, straight from my garden, ruins any chance of being satisfied with the store-bought variety. Yet, despite the fact it is mid-winter, I throw caution to the wind, only to be deeply disappointed…again. Will I ever learn?


Ahhh, Squash. You never fail me. I forget about you, yet when I need you, you are always there, waiting, ready to supply the needed nutrients I have been craving.


Will any become the next great novel?

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.

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C’mon, space stuff!

Monday Musings / Inktober Day 25 (Splat): How Slow Can You Go?

Inktober Day 25: Splat (Pestus Pancakus)

All previous drawings: https://linesbyleon.com/inktober/

Monday Musing: How Slow Can You Go?

I took out the first pizza from the 500-degree oven and set it aside to cool. As I proceeded to place the second one into the oven, the pan caught on the rack, jarring it from my hand. I watched as the toppings slowly—or so it seemed to be—sliding off the tomato sauce lubricated crust and landing on the bottom of the oven.

Five hundred degrees if hot enough to melt cheese on contact, caramelize onions, and crisp the edges of oily pepperoni, not to mention making a mess that’s nearly impossible to clean. I quickly scooped up the remains with a flipper before too much damage was done. Cleaning up is a whole other story.

Some things in life look great in slow-motion. The diving touchdown catch or the flapping wings of a hummingbird. Some things in life happen slowly but are not so great—the sliding of your vehicle on an icy road as it makes its way toward the rear end of the car in front of you.

Other things seem to happen in slow-motion. The pizza incident, for one. The closing of a locked car door after you realize that the keys are still in it and it’s after hours (and also a holiday). Falling of your bike gives you a chance to reminisce on the last ten minutes of fun you had before pondering how much it’s going to hurt when you make contact with the ground while trying to formulate a plan to do a stunt-like barrel roll ending in a quick leap to the feet, hands raised, looking around to the onlookers and crying out, “Superstar!”

In reality, you know it’s just going to hurt.


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.

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Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Inktober Day 24 (Extinct) and a Sunday Survey

Inktober Day 24: Extinct

Mistakes
We made a few
Then a few more
Consequences piling up
Identifying the tipping point much too late
Futility becomes the word de jour
We didn’t learn a thing
From the past
Mistakes

All previous drawings: https://linesbyleon.com/inktober/

Sunday Survey

When I started conducting my author interviews, it was a way to get to know the people that I was participating in my BookFunnel and StoryOrigin promos. I thought I would post them on Free Book Friday along with the promo information.

Well, I now have 7 in the queue, and In a bit of a quandary. I’m running out of Fridays!

Let me know if you want me to post two interviews/week.

Haven’t read any? http://linesbyleon.com/the-interviews/


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.

Purchase paperback directly for the author!

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!