Free Book Friday, Book Review and my latest Interview: In Conversation With Author T.J. Christoff

But first, Inktober day 14: Helmet

October 14: Helmet

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


In Conversation With Author/Poet T.J. Christoff

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:

Today I have the pleasure of sitting down with author TJ Christoff. Glad you could make it.

Hello Leon, it’s a pleasure to be here with you.

Your poetry goes back all the way to 1983. What took you so long to publish?

That is an excellent question—

Thanks.

Actually, I am a firm believer that nothing happens by accident. Everything happens exactly when and how it is supposed to. I didn’t publish sooner because it just wasn’t the right time for me to do so.

Why did you decide to put all your collections into one volume?

I really think I did that more for myself than for anything else. I wanted to have a published book with all of the poems that I had written and maintained to that point in my life.

Is there a poem that you have written that you think best encapsulates you?

There have been many, but that changes over time as I change over time.

I know what you mean. Any new projects on the go?

I’m currently working on my Master’s Degree, so my writing projects are pretty much on hold for now. However, I have always said that I am merely the conduit for a much great source to use as He (or She) sees fit. I can’t write to save my soul. So, if I am inspired, I will write, but I am not consciously thinking about new projects at the present moment.

Inspiration sneaks up on you, doesn’t it? It’s not something that can be turned on or forced.

That’s a fact! I can’t tell you how many times I have “tried” to write a poem, only to be disappointed by the results. But then again, there have been countless times when I would be trying to fall asleep at night, tossing and turning, only to have to sit upright, turn on a light, and grab a pen and paper to scrawl the words that seemed to be pouring out of me from seemingly nowhere. Once penned, I would find that I was then able to drift off to sleep very peacefully.

When you are not writing, because we can’t do that all the time, what do you enjoy?

LOL…School has me writing quite a bit. In fact, I just had to write a 1- page paper for this week’s assignment. But, on those occasions when I do have a bit of free time, I usually spend it with my three dogs and my kitten, or with a few friends just making memories.

Music is a part of my life, what about yours?

Ah yes! For me, music is like air, I can’t imagine my life without it!

Care to share any of your favorites?

I love pretty much all music, with the exception of heavy metal. However, my favorite is Contemporary Christian music. I really appreciate how positive and uplifting the songs are. The thing about music, is that it can very quickly affect one’s emotional state. It has the ability to transport a person through time and space almost without effort. The way I see it, there is already plenty of negative going on in the world, so I like to find ways to funnel in as much positive into my life as possible. I get that through listening to Christian music.

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like music or get some sort of emotional benefit from it. Are you ready for the lightning round?

Let’s do it!

Great! Here we go.

Favorite city?
Sedona
Pet Peeve?
Rudeness
Least favorite food?
Anything seafood
The Late Show or The Late Late Show?
Is there a difference??
If there is, it’s negligible…
Last binged show?
Grey’s Anatomy

Well, that all the time we have today, Thanks for participating. Anything you want to plug?

Feel free to check out my website at www.tjchristoff.com

I just did.


Book Review: Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Have you read The Martian? Then you’ve read Project: Hail Mary. Kinda

It’s not verbatim, that would be…well, not a good idea for an author. Authors have their own unique writing style and trope preferences, and Andy Weir is no exception.

Spoilers after this point. Just sayin’.

Man stranded: Check
Man uses science to survive: Check
Man makes mistakes using science: Check
Man almost dies: Check
Man doesn’t die: Check
Man makes life or death decision: Check
Man becomes a teacher: Check

That last one was disappointing. In The Martian the main character ends up teaching at NASA (in the movie for sure, I don’t remember if the book ended that way). In Project: Hail Mary the final paragraph is him teaching a class of alien children. This would have been a great ending if I hadn’t read the previous book. It only made sense that Dr. Grace would go back to his chosen career.

Did I like it? The concept was well thought out and believable. Some of the science was confusing at times, but I find that with most sci-fi books. So yeah, I liked it. Kinda.


New Promos (StoryOrigin / BookFunnel)

New Authors: Poetry

Eight poets offer free samples of their work

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.
www.linesbyleon.com

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C’mon, space stuff!

Thursday Thoughts/ Inktober Day 14 (Tick): The Final Frontier

Inktober Day 14: Tick

Inktober Day 14: Tick

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

Thursday Thoughts: The Final Frontier

I’ll never go to space, but I am glad that William Shatner got the opportunity.

-Leon


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.
www.linesbyleon.com

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Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Weird Wednesday/ Inktober Day 13 (Roof): Nothing to See Here

October 13: Roof

Roof with no walls
Offers shelter
Walls with no roof
Offers…nothing

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


Weird Wednesday: Nothing to See Here

Well, not nothing as you already figured out, but what’s weird is that I don’t feel like writing anything today—

“Maybe you should plan out your posts in advance…”
“Shush, you. Maybe you want to write today’s post?”
“Maybe I will.”
“Really? You’d do that for me?”
[snarkly] “No.”

Anyway, after putting the finishing touches on my newsletter—

“See, you do that in advance.”
“Are you done?”
“Yup.”

As I was saying, after putting the finishing touches on my newsletter, I didn’t feel like writing anything else, so here’s my newsletter if you would like to check it out:

Lines by Leon Newsletter: October 13

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.
www.linesbyleon.com

Purchase paperback directly for the author!

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Sign up for my newsletter and receive a free eBook of your choice.

Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Tuesday Tirade/ Inktober Day 12 (Stuck): Stick to it.

I don’t like sharing my day with anything…

Inktober: Day 12 (Stuck)

If this didn’t happen to you when you were a kid, then you weren’t a kid.

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


Tuesday Tirade: Stick to it.

Have you ever seen the commercial where the fried egg slides around on the non-stick pan? Ever try to melt a bunch of candies and wipe it clean in one stroke of a paper towel? How about frying anything with no worry of having a difficult clean up? Muffins dropping out of an overturned tray?

My takeaway?

  1. Eggs don’t slide like that
  2. Melted candy, although very tasty, is messy
  3. I made a blueberry pancake this morning–Yes, a pancake. Why make 3 small ones when you can make one big one—and the blueberries left little round residue marks that took soap and water to remove. Non-stick my—
  4. Muffins in my Betty Crocker tray cling for dear life when upended

Things will stick to my grandmother’s cast iron pan unless a liberal amount of oil/butter is used. No worse than my other pans. I have four. Cast iron, Green Pan, Gotham Steel, and an old non-sticker that was probably one of the first (and probably not the healthiest.)

To make clean-up easier, maybe I should just boil everything.

“Rice and pasta will stick.”
“Oh, right.”

-Leon

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.
www.linesbyleon.com

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!

Music Monday/ Inktober Day 11 (Sour): The Unknown Known

October 11: Sour

Went for the literal…

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


Music Monday: The Unknown Known

I found my old iPod shuffle which had some playlists that I hadn’t heard for quite some time. Each song brought back memories, some pleasant, some…well, not so much.

Often we stumble upon a band that grabs us from the first note, chord, or lyric, and think, “I wonder if anyone else knows about this band?”

Of course they do. But sometimes it feels like we are the only one who likes them, and we do one of two things: Tell people about them or keep it as our little secret—which it is not. Bands don’t exist without a following, large or small.

I heard Frightened Rabbit about a decade ago and no one I knew had ever heard of them. I listened to them a lot, but then they dropped off the radar as my life moved on until the discovery of that iPod I mentioned.

When I was preparing to write this post, I was going to post a video…then I discovered that the lead singer had taken his own life several years ago.

I can’t pick a favorite song. Maybe you can.

-Leon

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.
www.linesbyleon.com

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!

Tuesday Tirade / Inktober Day 5 (Raven): Amazon’s Algorithms

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

It happened again. My free book on Amazon had been changed to the LPP (Lowest Possible Price) for the fifth time since I went through the process of getting it offered for free. All one has to do is to show that the book on Amazon is offered for a lower price on a competitors website. So that’s what I did.

I first published my sample book on KOBO. Is was easy:

  • Upload your file – Check
  • Select price – Free – Check
  • Publish – Check

Done.

Now to let Amazon know that people can go to a different platform instead of theirs.

[Collective gasp from Amazon executives…]

It was fine for a while, then I noticed that the price had reverted to $0.99. After emailing the CSR (Customer Service Representative) and providing the competitor’s links, it was fixed. This happened three more times in the last year without any explanation why, except the cut and paste reply:

“From time to time, we may match prices elsewhere online, including free promotions.
Unfortunately we’re not able to accommodate your request since competitors have your book over the $0,99.”

So, each time I had to email them the links to show that it was free on KOBO (.com, .ca, .uk, .in, .au, .de).

Finally, after the fifth time asking how we can avoid this continuing issue, the CSR (never the same one) told me the problem. The algorithm scans competitor prices and adjusts theirs accordingly. Apparently, Amazon’s computer program can’t tell the difference between my free sample book and the complete collection. Can you?

Maybe I should make it as my Captcha…

Now I admit, there are similarities. The cover illustration and fonts are identical, and the titles each have the exact same words with the exception of four additional words on the book on the left.

You might have noticed the bubbles on the right side are cut off on the full collection. That’s just how I made the “Excerpts” cover.

If you saw these books handed to you, which one would you take. Yeah, you’d take the one with more stuff.

So, now the book is free as it is supposed to be. Got a Kindle? Go download my free book and boost it to the top of the Best Sellers Rank in the free category. Please feel free to share the link with anyone you want.

-Leon

On a final (frontier) note: Mr. Bezos invited Mr. William Shatner to go to space in the Blue Origin rocket. It’s no Enterprise, but I’m happy for him (Shatner, not Bezos).


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.
www.linesbyleon.com

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!

One-Liner Wednesday: Humorous Quotes

Have you ever written a quote that just makes you chuckle? How about reading a quote from Yogi Berra (not the bear) and thinking “That’s brilliant…wait! That makes no sense!”

What’s your favorite quote (yours or someone else’s) that makes you giggle?

Here’s mine:

“You may think that I am bitter, but I’m not. I’m tangy.” – Leon Stevens

For Linda G. Hill’s One Liner Wednesday

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.
www.linesbyleon.com

Purchase paperback directly for the author!

Monday Musing: 12 and 12

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We observed the Autumnal Equinox last week, so for the last few days, we have been enjoying a somewhat equal amount of day and night, thanks to…physics*?

The spin of the Earth, where the sun is, how we orbit around it all combine to give us this phenomenon**. It also will give us a whole lot of night in about 3 months, no thanks to Daylight Savings Time (DST) which Robinhoods an hour from the evening to make the morning brighter (technically, this doesn’t change the length of the evening, but when it gets dark at 4 PM, it sure feels like it).

Some places don’t do this, and the time is the time all though the year (Only in North America you say? Pity.). I never remember when this is supposed to happen—it was recently (a few years ago?) moved from/to…November?…to/from October? Or is it the other way around?***

Why? Something to do with farming or saving electricity or trucking****. It’s just something we have to live with. DST***** serves a purpose, even if it we don’t understand the reason behind it.

-Leon

*I am not an expert in physics.
**Facts may or may not be factual.
***See? What do I know?
****I suppose I could look it up, but what is the fun in that?
*****Also the name of a lesser-known K-Pop group.

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.
www.linesbyleon.com

Purchase paperback directly for the author!

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Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Monday Musing: Election Day.

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It’s election day in Canada and if you live anywhere outside of Canada, this is probably news to you. Canadian elections don’t tend to make international news. So, as a recap of the electoral system:

Weird Wednesday: Elections

Now, you have either:

1. Read the post or

2. Pretended to read it.

Either way, it won’t make a difference in the outcome in about 12 hours.

I forgot to mention in the post that due to the majority of Canada’s population living in the east, most of the seats in parliament are decided by the time the polls in Ontario close, and very rarely do the seats won out west affect the final outcome. That’s “representation by population” working for you, folks.

To quote the most famous Canadian, “Is that weird…or what?“*

-Leon

*William Shatner

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.
www.linesbyleon.com

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!