Open Book Blog Hop: Jan 17

What part of writing are you best at? Not compared to everyone else, but compared to you?

I think when you are able to identify what you are best at as a writer is when you will find what makes you unique.

I like to think that my writing is odd. My ideas and observations can be humorous, but also weird. That’s probably the reason I started writing short stories. I had many thoughts to put to paper and each one, like a dream, played out in different ways, some longer, some shorter, some head-scratching, and others just plain, “What the—?”

There is an art to the short story. I don’t know what it is yet, but I keep trying to figure it out. Each story brings me closer to an unknown destination as I try to navigate with a map with no labels.


Let’s see what other blog hoppers say… click on the blue button below to find out or just leave a comment.

Rules:

  1. Link your blog to this hop.
  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.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party! Click here to enter

Sunday Smile: (Very) Recent Reminiscence


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 Jan 15: New date for book release

I moved up the release date for the Kindle version of my novella. Why? Why not. It was ready, the paperback was already published (that was the only way ARC readers could post reviews), and . . . and that’s it.

It’s funny how stories come about. The View from Here started as a short story, but I always knew there was something missing, so I decided to continue the adventure. Here’s what some of the early reviewers are saying:


“I did like the world build, how the inside cave was explained and explored. Also this is the kind of situation any sci-fi fan dreams of to find a way of travel to another place/time, a place where the rules that make our world work do not apply at least not in the same way.”

“This is a really lovely story! I did thoroughly enjoy this, it was a truly captivating gentle sci fi adventure that took me on a journey along side the characters in the book. Really great ideas & storyline, I felt a little sad it was over…”

Even my editor said she enjoyed the world I had created. So far, so good.

-Leon

The View from Here

What would you do if you found yourself on or in another world? Do you have the skills and knowledge needed to survive or to make sense of what you see?

Thomas sets out on a hike he has done many times before. Taking only what he needs for the three or four hours he expects to be gone, he passes a vehicle in the parking lot. The handwritten note on the dashboard read: Not Abandoned. The view at the end of the trail was not what he expected—neither were the friendships.

Two people with adventurous spirits, heading off into the unknown with only their physical fitness and combined knowledge to get them through everything they may encounter.

How far would you make it?


From my blog this week:

Free Book Friday Jan 14: Try Before You Buy – Why offer free books?
Weird Wednesday: What a Waste / Cartoons
Music Monday: Songs You Might Want to Hear- Indigenous Canadian musicians. – Yeah. It was about time

From the blogs of others

Made With Love – Poetic family recipes
The author’s website #blogging #amwriting – Good advice about blogging


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

Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Weekend Wrap-up Jan 8: Resolutions.

When did people start making New Year’s resolutions? Don’t 90% of all resolutions fizzle out in the first month?

Did you make one? Has it fizzled or still going strong?

I didn’t make one per se, but I’ve been trying not to snack at night (not having chips in the house helps), and even though I like to be active every day (the -30 C winter temperature doesn’t help), I’m trying to overcome my aversion (loathing? distaste? abhorrence? Call it what you will) of the dreaded burpee.

Wait. The what?

The Burpee is named for a physiologist named Royal Huddleston Burpee. For his Ph.D. thesis at Columbia University in 1940, he invented exercise as a way to assess the fitness of non-active adults.

In a nutshell: Starting in a standing position, you squat, place your hands down as you jump your feet back, do a push-up, return to the squat, and jump up with arms extended up.

[Gee, that sounds like fun.]

It doesn’t take many to get the heart pumping. So, I’ve been trying to do at least 10 each day.

So far so good. But I still don’t like ’em.

-Leon


From my blog this week:

First Free Book Friday of 2022 / The Return of the Interview: In (a new) Conversation With . . . Me! – Oops, I did it again.
Weird Wednesday: Spam, Spam, Spam, Wonderful Spam.
Tuesday Tidbits: New Year, New Purge – Update. Subscriber open rate went from 38% to 48%
Free Book Friday on a Monday: Wait. What!? – ARC for my sci-fi novella still available.


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

Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Weekend Wra—Wait. Year-end Wrap up

It’s 2022.

The new year used to be the time you would write the wrong date on your checks, but who writes checks anymore. People sometimes make resolutions, but who carries through on those anymore. The night before used to be a time to gather in a big crowd , but who feels like that is a prudent choice anymore.

What about Top Ten lists? Who doesn’t like those right?

d

Top Ten words I used in my blogs:

  • the
  • a
  • and
  • is
  • of
  • for
  • but
  • that
  • I
  • obfuscate

Top Ten Annoyances

  • Spam calls
  • Spam email
  • Spam comments
  • Amazon
  • Amazon
  • Amazon
  • Rude people
  • Expiration dates
  • Tik Tok

Top Ten Sports Bloopers

  • When the player tripped
  • When the fan
  • When the goalie let that one in
  • When the slam dunk wasn’t one
  • When the ball got stuck
  • When the ball bounced off his head
  • When the animal ran on the field
  • When the racecar wouldn’t start
  • When the fan interfered with the play
  • What that other funny think happened (that was hilarious)

We lost way too many people this year due to the pandemic: 5.5 million

Mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, grandparents, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, girlfriends, boyfriends, (is theyfriends a thing?), just friends . . .

We lost many public figures as well, the latest being Rev. Desmond Tutu and actress Betty White. Soon, news programs will air In Memorium segments, and we we will watch and say, “Oh yeah, I forgot about her/him.”

I just heard this song on the radio (who listens to radio anymore?). From way back in 2005. “Happy” New Year everyone.


From my blog this week:

Free Book Friday / Top 10 Interview Questions
Weird Wednesday: Just Cartoons
Tuesday Tirade: Bad Writing Sells? – Well, I finished the book. No, not mine, well yes, I did finish mine, but that wasn’t the book I wrote about.
Music Monday: Songs You Might Want to Hear / Latest Book Sneak Peek – Who is Andy Shauf?


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.

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!

Fibbing Friday

I haven’t participated in this for a while but I came across Maggie’s post and after reading the first question, I quickly compiled my own. Now to go back and read hers and others.

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Fibbing Friday is hosted by Frank this week over at his blog Thoughts and Theories. 
  1. What was Fahrenheit 451 about?

Three college buddies having a hot wings contest.

  • In 1984, who or what was “Big Brother”?

The guy that I used to have to share a room with until my sister moved out.

  • What do the Hunger Games supposedly commemorate?

Weight Watchers changing its name to WW.

  • What exactly was the Andromeda Strain?

Doing too much heavy lifting.

  • What was Logan’s Run about?

What Millennials would be like in the future.

  • What is the difference between the red pill and the blue pill in The Matrix?

One was a generic brand, so about $43.

  • What is the significance of the different hats in The Adjustment Bureau?

Just there for this question to be asked X number of years later.

  • What happens to all the Martians at the end of The War of the Worlds?

They realize that we already polluted our water, so it wasn’t worth the effort.

  • What vessel does Capt. Nemo pilot?

A dory.

  1. What do Axel, Otto, and Hans find at the center of the earth?

An Amazon Distribution warehouse.

That was fun!

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.

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!

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 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.

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.

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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 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.

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!

Inktober Day 22 (Open)

After I finished drawing the nest I though, “Those are some big babies…” and, “How are they fitting in the nest?”*

Inktober Day 22: Open

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

*It must be a Tardis nest. Yeah, that’s it.


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.

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!