Open Book Blog Hop Dec 27: Dinner Guest(s)

Thanks to P.J Maclayne for today’s topic.

If you could invite anyone in  the world to be your dinner guest, who would you invite?

You could open a book or Google to gain knowledge of a person, but I think to have an opportunity to sit down with someone in your home, in a coffee shop, or a dive bar for a few hours would be a real eye-opener. I would even offer to buy the drinks (secretly hoping for the reply: No, no. It’s on me.) Here are some different people—in no particular order.

Anthony Bourdain: He came across as egotistical, brash, and a bit of a bully, but the more I watched his shows and read his books, the more I was intrigued. During travel, I would visit the places that he did, which was never a poor choice. I would confess that I was not a very good cook, so we would cook together. He tragically took his own life a few years ago.

Herodotus: The original Rick Steves/Lonely Planet guy. Hearing about the history before history became history. This guy travelled and saw most of the Seven Wonders of the World before they succumbed to time—with the exception of the pyramids. All this before it was easy to travel. I’d show him TripAdvisor, and I’m sure he’d be impressed.

Kurt Vonnegut: So many authors to choose from, but he is one of my favorites. 

Margaret Atwood: Oh, to pick her brain.

Patrick Stewart: C’mon, how cool would that be.

Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop. https://fresh.inlinkz.com/party/7d3ce9d9de2548f3ab2f535442237a99
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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, a science fiction novella to be released in March 2022.

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Weekend Wrap-up Dec 25

I wasn’t going to write an update this morning. Many people will be waking up to celebrate Christmas, others have already been there/done that, and many more will either be going about their normal lives (or as normal as things can be) either not celebrating anything, already celebrated something, or waiting in anticipation to celebrate their culture’s tradition.

I’m up early, as I often am. So, as always (or usually) I write. Something.

Whatever you do today, be safe, be kind, be happy.


From my blog this week:

Music Monday: Songs You Might Want to Hear – Sunburst by Andrew York. My favorite classical guitar piece.
Tuesday Tirade: Winter and Cereal
Weird Wednesday: Recurring Numbers – 2? how about 22?
Free Book Friday Dec 24 – I’m out of interviews. Whaaahappen?*

*Bonus points if you know what movie that is from.


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, a science fiction novella to be released in March 2022.

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Weekend Wrap-up Dec 18: Writing Update

I have been going over the corrections and suggestions in my latest novella manuscript that I got back from my editor. There are some errors I still make, but overall, so far, there hasn’t been a sea of blue edits.

I have to start thinking about book covers. I should have done this sooner because I know it will take some time to source this task. Any cover designers out there you would recommend? Or, are you one? Maybe you want to be one . . .


From my blog this week:

Music Monday: Songs You Might Want to Hear

Tuesday Tirade: Angry Cat was lonely.

Weird Wednesday: Poem/Cartoon

Free Book Friday / In Conversation With Author A. R. Silverberry

From the blogs of others:

The Cookie Chapters: Canadian Treats – Mmm. Butter tarts.


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, a science fiction novella to be released in March 2022.

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Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Weekend Wrap-up Dec 11: Winter – A Poem

It was v-v-very c-c-c-c-cold for a few d-d-d-days last week, then it became warmer, and now they (the weather people) are forecasting above freezing temperatures tomorrow. It made me think of this poem that I wrote and posted in February:

Winter

If you have never seen the hoarfrost cling
To wires, fences, posts, and trees
If you have never witnessed heavy snow
On every tree branch hanging low
If you have never watched the ice floes beat
Upon frigid shores too cold for feet
 
Ventured across a frozen lake, I’ve done
With sundogs adorning the low noon sun
I’ve trudged with snowshoes on wind-blown drifts
Even biked by snowy cliffs
Shoveled walks and pushed out cars
Watched breath become a frozen cloud
When others dare not go outside
I’ll fear not, I will not hide
 
I do often dream of warmer climes
But I sure would miss the wintertime


From my blog this week:

Free Book Friday / In Conversation With Author Kyle Massa

Weird Wednesday: Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast – It turned out well, if you were wondering

Music Monday: Lullaby (an original) – Ten months in the making.

Weekend Wrap-up Dec 4: The Increment Excident – Little dogs have little poops. Thank goodness!


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, a science fiction novella to be released in March 2022.

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C’mon, space stuff!

Weekend Wrap-up Dec 4: The Increment Excident

The Increment Excident

I stopped by a friend’s place to check on the dog. After a brisk walk, I kindly directed her to take care of her business as her owner would not be home until later. Having thoroughly explaining the situation, she proceeded to take her number 2.

Now, keep in mind that she is not a scientist by any stretch of the imagination, but I will let her explain in her own words what transpired, to create what followed that I consider a comedy of errors. And I quote:

“Well, you see, the excrement was lacking the necessary mass and density to allow gravity to exert sufficient force to extricate it form the luxurious hairs around my bumular area.” (See, I told you she wasn’t a scientist).

So, when I attempted to remove the problem in question with a sanitary wet-wipe, I must have pulled on one of those luxurious hairs situated near the aforementioned ‘bumular’ area, which startled her, causing her to dash away and make the ill-fated decision to take matters into her own ha—paws.

She scooched her butt along the frozen ground which accomplished two things—none of which were the desired outcome:

  1. The action increased the surface area dramatically, diffusing it unevenly (not onto the ground)
  2. The temperature of the ground created what could only be called a ‘poopcicle’ in the ‘bumular’ area

Opening the door allowed the dog to seek shelter inside where rugs and carpets abound—perfect for doggie bottoms. I quickly scooped up the hell hound and placed her in the tub. Now, where is the puppy shampoo?, I wondered.

Not wanting to leave the dog very long in the tub, empty of course, I frantically opened cupboards and closet doors, to no avail. Warm water and a rag it is, then.

Now, the dog is used to being bathed and groomed, so thankfully she did put up with me and the warm, wet rag, and several minutes of washing and rinsing. When I had effectively removed all traces of unwanted residue, I dried her off and let her sit on the towel to complete the process.

Finding the only dog hair product available, a bottle of fur de-matting/conditioning spray, I sprayed the fragrant aerosol mist on her behind and spent the next few minutes combing out the luxurious hair around her bumular area.

My work done (this was not what I had expected), I received the kiss I always get when I leave. She watched me sadly as I closed the door. As I left, I could only think of one thing:

“She’s going to go lick her ass, isn’t she . . .?”


From my blog this week:

Music Monday: Songs You Might Want to Hear– Who is Donovan Woods? The answer may surprise you.

Thursday Thoughts: A Book About Nothing (contains spoilers) – My thoughts on story writing.

Free Book Friday / In Conversation With Author G.G. Collins – Would you believe I only have 2 left in the queue? Any authors interested? Heck, I’ll take anyone!

From the blogs of other’s:


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, a science fiction novella to be released in March 2022.

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Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

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 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, a science fiction novella to be released in March 2022.

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Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Weekend Wrap-up Nov. 27

NaNoWriMo Totals to Date: 16 664 words (17 264 if you count the forward that I wrote and and some duplicate paragraphs I found lurking at the bottom of the word doc.), 26 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.

Am I happy with my novella progress? Yeah.


From my blog this week:

Short Story Sunday: Well, short, short stories. – I took a few moments to pen this humorous tidbit

Music Monday: Songs You Might Want to Hear – Like Canadian musicians? We got lots. Here’s another one.

Black Friday Stuff and my latest interview: In Conversation With Author Effie Kammenou

From the blogs of other’s:

-Leon

US and UK for Kindle price. All other regions have the paperback price

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, a science fiction novella to be released in March 2022.

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C’mon, space stuff!

Thursday Thoughts: Attention Span

I recently came across a recent study that said most people lose interest when reading online articles after about twenty-five to thirty words. With the prevalence of many online platforms offering shorter

-Leon

NaNoWriMo Totals to Date: 15 845 words**, 24 cups of coffee, one cup of Earl Grey, one cup of tea (unknown), two glasses of Rum & Coke, one glass cabernet, and a half pint of Session IPA.

The paperback is actually on sale right now.

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, a science fiction novella to be released in March 2022.


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Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Weekend Wrap-up / Nov 20

NaNoWriMo Totals to Date: 13 580 words, 19 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.

Weekend Wrap-up:

Did I mention that I’m a slow writer? 1000 at a sitting (usually an hour or two) is doable and I occasionally reach that, but 300-800 is usually the norm. If I had all day to write, maybe I’d have more, but I’m like a bucket under a leaky pipe.

Huh?

It fills up slowly drip by drip, then when it’s full you dump it out before having to wait for it to fill again.


From my blog this week:

I revisited some reading related posts from a year ago, but I won’t repost the reposts.

Music Monday: Songs You Might Want to Hear – Like Canadian musicians? We got lots. Here’s one.

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

From the blogs of other’s:

-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, a science fiction novella to be released in March 2022.

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Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Weekend Wrap-up / NaNoWriMo Day 13

NaNoWriMo Totals to Date: 8218 words, 12 cups of coffee, one cup of Earl Grey, one cup of tea (unknown), one glass Rum &Coke, one glass of cabernet, and a half-pint of a Session IPA.

I had a few author interview questionnaires to put together, so I got caught up on those. Now back to the writing.


Weekend Wrap-up

From my blog this week:

I hope you have enjoyed some of the revisits of some of my earlier and favorite posts. I have to admit that I had to edit a bit before linking. a few spelling errors and outdated reference needed to be fixed.

From the blogs of other’s:

I visited some blogs that had the tag NaNoWriMo to see what other writer’s experiences has been so far and to offer encouragement and congratulations. One writer has already finished the required 50K words.

Keener…

OK. Now back to the writing.


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, a science fiction novella to be released in March 2022.

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Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!