First Free Book Friday of 2022 / The Return of the Interview: In (a new) Conversation With . . . Me!

I haven’t done a self interview in a while, and since I have a new book out, I thought it was time.

Whatcha doin’?
Not much, you?
Same. Working on anymore interviews?
I have two scheduled in January, but nothing right now.
We haven’t done one for a while either. Maybe we should?
Who will interview whom?
Rock, paper, scissors?
You’re on!

[in unison] Rock. Paper. Scissors.
Rock
Rock
[in unison] Rock. Paper. Scissors.
Rock
Rock. Why do you always pick rock?
Nothing beats rock.
Paper does.
Does it now …? Again.

[in unison] Rock. Paper. Scissors.
Paper
Paper
This isn’t going to work, is it?
Not if we keep picking the same thing.
What if we pick the one who has done something interesting?
Sounds fair.
What did you do?
I read a book. You?
I wrote a book.
Well, well. Aren’t you fancy . . .

In Conversation With: Leon Stevens

I’m hanging out with author Leon Stevens. I just heard you wrote a book.
[whispering] You are supposed to offer me a beverage.
Oh yeah, I forgot. Would you like a beverage?
No thanks, I’m good.
[silence] . . . Sigh, really? . . . Why don’t you tell me about your book?
Well, it’s a continuation of one of my short stories from—
The Knot at the End of the Rope. Yeah, I read it.
I know you read it—wait . . . How did you do that?
Do what?
Speak in italics.
I don’t reveal my secrets. Please, continue. Why continue a story?
Many of my stories, like a good short story, tend to end leaving the reader to think or to ponder about what may or may not happen.
Like a cliff hanger?
No, more like an open ending. Some readers commented that some stories left them wanting more, which was my intent, but the more I thought about it, the more ideas came to me.
So why continue The View from Here?
You have to teach me how to do that.
Later. Go on.
Anyway, I never felt I wrapped that story up effectively. Sure, I created a natur—
Hey, no spoilers!
I don’t think I’m giving anything away. Anyway, I changed the ending of the short story to allow it to continue.
You can do that?
Sure. I’m the writer.
Cool. So . . . not a short story then?
Nope. It’s my longest yet, 30 000+ words. So, it’s a novella.
Do people read novellas? Doesn’t that just make you a lazy novelist?
Books don’t have to be long epics to be good. Some of the greatest books are novellas.
Right. Name five.
Umm, sure. Be right back.

[silence]

Animal Farm, Of Mice and Men, Slaughterhouse Five, A Clockwork Orange, and The Call of the Wild.
Did you just Google that?
Maybe. But you have to admit, those is some fine readin’.
Yeah. You’re right. Are you happy with it?
Yeah. I think I wrote a pretty good story. And a cool cover. Want to see?
Sure!


Nice. Have you stopped writing poetry then?
Stopped? No. Slowed down? Definitely. I think poetry comes from many places but is always sparked by an intense emotion. Maybe I’m in a level emotional state right now. I’m working on putting all my latest poems into a collection called, A Wonder of Words.
You mean, A Wonder of Words.
Show off.
Care to share a poem?
Sure. Here’s the title poem:

A Wonder of Words
 
A collision of ideas
A contusion of thoughts
A confusion of viewpoints
A disregard of refuse
A shelter of dwellings
A marathon of runners
A density of swimmers
A pollution of cars
A wonderment of stars
A desire of hopes
An obsolesce of pennies
A press of books
An obscurity of poets
A collision of ideas
A contusion of thoughts
A wonder of words

Very nice. Reminds me when as a child I learned that a bunch of crows was called a ‘murder’. I thought that was pretty cool.
And a parliament of owls. Yeah, that was the catalyst for it.
Got a cover yet?
Tentatively. Here it is:

[Ding]
Pizza’s ready.
That’s good because I was getting hungry and bored. Let’s eat.
I thought you were going to show me how to do that italics thing?
It’s all in the control. i will show you later.
What’s with the lower case—oh, I get it! Nice!
Nice.
Now let’s eat before it gets cold.


See (and hear) my first two self interviews, plus many other authors.

https://linesbyleon.com/the-interviews/

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.

Free Books

There are few opportunities for poets on both platforms so I decided to try a year long page for the free offerings. I’ll try to add more throughout the year.

Ongoing in 2022: BookFunnel
Ongoing in 2022: StoryOrigin

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, his first science fiction novella.

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 / Top 10 Interview Questions

I have a few interviews in the queue for January, so in the meantime, here are a few of my favorite questions—and answers, from 2021:

Musician Abigail de Niverville – The very first question.

In 33 1/3 words (see what I did there?) or less, tell me a little about you.

I’m a musician and author from the East Coast, now living in Toronto! I also play the oboe, sing, and write lyrics. I’m very inspired by the places I grew up around back home. Did I do that right?

You’re a little over, but I’ll let it pass.

C. Streetlights

Do you have a favorite meal or snack to eat that other people just think is weird?

I really enjoy rice cakes with peanut butter. People don’t get it and complain about how tasteless and dry rice cakes are, but honestly, with peanut butter it is *chef’s kiss*.

I do like peanut butter. I discovered Jiff Dark Roasted recently. Now that’s…as you put it…*chef’s kiss*.

I am putting that on my shopping list to give it a try. I’m usually a Skippy girl, but the dark roasted sounds delicious.

Effie Kammenou

You are of Greek ancestry. Does it bother you when people mispronounce gyro?

Ah, the gyro. With the way it’s spelled, I don’t blame Americans. This is what it looks like in Greek: γύρο. That letter that looks like a y is gamma. But it’s not a hard g. It’s g and y together formed in the back of the throat. Perhaps, if the English spelling dropped the g, it wouldn’t be as mispronounced. And that’s your Greek lesson of the day!

I suppose its that same way with Vietnamese “Pho”.  

Yes! That’s another understandable common mistake.

Dani Hoots

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!”

Cara Cilento

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.

Kyle A. Massa

Do you have a favorite meal or snack to eat that other people just think is weird?

Taco Bell. I have an irrational affection for that place.

I think you should try Maui Taco—if there is still one in Manhattan. There was only one more in the mainland US—at the Minneapolis airport.

Dang, Google tells me there are none left on the mainland. But if I ever make it out to Hawaii, I’ll buy a taco and cheerily announce, “This one’s for Leon.”

That’s sad news. I always looked forward to the mad dash between flights.

Now onto the best of the lightning round:

Nicole Pierman

What number am I thinking of?
Number 3 because that’s my favorite number and yours too (from now on). 

G.G. Collins

Ever pick up an armadillo?
No, but they’re really cute

A.R. Silverberry

Favorite city?
Drive south of the sleeping lady and her soaring redwoods, cross a golden bridge—where on a clear day you cast your eyes twenty miles out to sea and just make out the islands—and you find it. Most days you hear the foghorns.

You could go to the marina. Today you don’t. You pass an expansive park, housing two grand museums. Then you’re heading down Van Ness. Better stop at Tommy’s Joynt for the world’s best pastrami on rye. Afterward, there are more destinations than you can explore in one day. You might walk the wharf and fight the seagulls over a loaf of the greatest sour dough bread on the planet. Or head to Chinatown, the largest and oldest outside of Asia, for dim sum. Or take in Jackson Pollack at MoMA. Or drive the up-and-down dizzy streets. Or the crookedest. You might take in a ball game or the strains of the world-class symphony orchestra, or simply head to Telegraph Hill for the panoramic view.

Whatever you do, you’re charmed and seduced, and it never leaves your heart.
So … San Francisco.
[Grins]

Elizabeth O’Carroll

What number am I thinking of?
11
Close enough.


There you go. Some of the highlights of my first 13 interviews. You can read them all in their entirety here:

https://linesbyleon.com/the-interviews/

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.

BookFunnel and StoryOrigin Promos

Dec 29 – Jan 26

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, his first science fiction novella.

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 Dec 24

Hey, where is this week’s interview?
-There isn’t one this week.
Why not?
-Just the way it worked out, I guess.
C’mon, there’ gotta be like a million authors out there.
-But not all of them want to be interviewed.
But some do.
-Yes, some do.
Well?
-Well what?
What am I going to read?
-What if I compile a list of my favorite questions from previous interviews?
Great! I’ll wait right here.
-I’m not doing it now. Next Friday.
Oh. But what am I going to read now?
[sigh]
I heard that.
[eyeroll]
I saw that.
-Here’s a copy of my novella. I haven’t formatted it yet as an ARC, so it’s like an AARC.
Nice! A sci-fi novella, “The View from Here / The View Inside” Haven’t decided on a title yet?
-Not yet
Can I suggest one after I read it?
-You sure can!
Cool.

Elysia Strife is a self-published author of science fiction fantasy and romance novels.

Adopted by two educators, Strife developed a deep love for learning new things. In 2012, she graduated from Oregon State University with two Bachelor’s Degrees in Public Health and Human Sciences: Interior Design and Exercise Sport Science. Her past wears fatigues, suits, and fitness gear, sprinkled with mascara and lace.

Free sample of her latest book:

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.

BookFunnel and StoryOrigin Promos


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, his first science fiction novella.

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 / In Conversation With Author A. R. Silverberry

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:


A. R. Silverberry writes thrilling fantasy and science fiction for children and adults. His novels have earned numerous awards, including three Florida Writers Association Awards and the Benjamin Franklin Award gold medal.

Today I have the pleasure of sitting down with author A.R. Silverberry. Thanks for dropping by. Can I offer you anything to drink?

If you have French roast coffee lying around, that would be wonderful.

I think I can do that.
[various kitchen sounds]
[15 minutes later]

You have a few awards listed on your website. Which one means the most?

Some of them go back years, and the feelings they aroused have faded. The most recent, three Royal Palm Literary Awards for my forthcoming YA science fiction, Shadow House, floored me. Judges were composed of agents, editors, and writers. In other words, no slouches. I hoped I might place in one of the categories, but to grab two golds and then first runner up for unpublished book of the year, that sent me over the moon. Reading the judges’ comments added high-octane rocket fuel.

Do you remember what the first story you wrote—or came up with—as a child?

I do! I was probably six. I use to dictate them to my mom in our tiny upstairs bathroom. She sat on the edge of the tub while I acted out what was going on. We had a three-step metal ladder that I used as a prop for an X-Ray machine. Can’t remember anything more about the story, other than crawling under said ladder. I asked my mom to note the machine sound I made and to show me how she’d written it. She pointed to nondescript scrawl I was skeptical of. Shouldn’t it have been Gshiuzzzzzzzz?

Gshiuzzzzzzzz. That’s definitely a machine sound.

California was hit hard this year by wildfires and drought, not to mention the pandemic. Is this something that affected how you write?

I can’t write if I don’t have something to say. The plight of the world figures big in my recent novels and inspires the story’s theme.

You are also a psychologist. Does this influence your writing?

Actually, very little. There’s a far stretch between theory, research, and static academic description of people and what they are really like. Writers want to capture something true. So I think very little about what I “know,” and just open up and listen to what my characters are telling me. Freud nailed it: “Everywhere I go I find that a poet has been there before me.” I would add: and penetrated to the heart of things. Shakespeare and Jane Austen profoundly understood human nature.

It’s always fun to have another musician to chat with. You play piano and also compose—

Wait! You play as well? What’s your instrument? What style?

Classical and acoustic guitar. I compose more than I play though. Performing just wasn’t my forte. Neither is recording my works, so it takes me quite a while to get things finished.  Do you have a favorite composer?

My favourite? Don’t make me choose! Let’s start with classical: Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Stravinsky.

Do you listen to any other musical genres?

Jazz: Miles Davis, Coltrane, Monk, not to mention that Brazilian wave of the 60s. Better not get me started on Rock. I would have to mention The Band, Bob Dylan, Crosby Still and Nash, Sting, The Who, The Beatles, The Stones, Van Morrison, Cream, Fairport Convention, and any permutation of Steve Winwood.

Some good choices on that list! Are you ready for the lightning round?

Yep.

Camping or hotels?
Camping.
Big Sur or Big Mac?
Big Sur.
Favorite TV show?
I’m not watching any currently. Going for movies instead. The first few seasons of Arrow were fun—but favourite? This is going to date me: Frasier.
 Favorite city?
Drive south of the sleeping lady and her soaring redwoods, cross a golden bridge—where on a clear day you cast your eyes twenty miles out to sea and just make out the islands—and you find it. Most days you hear the foghorns.

You could go to the marina. Today you don’t. You pass an expansive park, housing two grand museums. Then you’re heading down Van Ness. Better stop at Tommy’s Joynt for the world’s best pastrami on rye. Afterward, there are more destinations than you can explore in one day. You might walk the wharf and fight the seagulls over a loaf of the greatest sour dough bread on the planet. Or head to Chinatown, the largest and oldest outside of Asia, for dim sum. Or take in Jackson Pollack at MoMA. Or drive the up-and-down dizzy streets. Or the crookedest. You might take in a ball game or the strains of the world-class symphony orchestra, or simply head to Telegraph Hill for the panoramic view.

Whatever you do, you’re charmed and seduced, and it never leaves your heart.

So … San Francisco.
[Grins]
Aisle, window or middle seat?
Window.
Do you feel sorry for Pluto—the ‘planet’, not the dog?
Naw, I’m not prone to anthropomorphizing rocks with layers of frozen gases.
What is your favorite palindrome?
The square palindrome

R o t a s
O p e r a
T e n e t
A r e p o
S a t o r

is pretty cool. There were some in Poisonwood Bible, but I don’t recall them. [Spoiler Alert!] The ending of The Lacuna, one of my all-time favourite novels, feels like palindrome.

That’s a good one. Hadn’t seen that before.
This has been a pleasure. Thanks for chatting. Any links you want to share?

Thank you, this has been fun! Here are some helpful links.

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Amazon Author Page


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.

Author Offering Free Books

Purchase Links

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, his first science fiction novella.

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 / In Conversation With Author Kyle Massa

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:

Kyle A. Massa is a fantasy author living somewhere in upstate New York with his wife, their daughter, and three wild animals. His published works include two books and several short stories. When he’s not writing, he enjoys reading, running, and drinking coffee.

In Conversation With: Kyle A. Massa

Today I have the pleasure of sitting down with author Kyle A. Massa. Thanks for dropping by. Can I offer you anything to drink?

Thank you, Leon! Coffee with some sort of sugary flavoring, please.

I have sugar . . .

Perfect, thanks!

I’m glad I get to talk to another author of short stories. Is it a lost art or is there a resurgence in the popularity?

That’s a great question. With the rise of social media, bite-sized articles, and shortening attention spans, some authors predicted a corresponding surge in interest for short fiction. The theory clicks logically, since shorts require far less time investment than novels.

Yet we haven’t seen this play out. Novels remain the dominant medium of prose storytelling, while short stories are still, in the words of J.G. Ballard, the “loose change in the treasury of fiction.” It’s difficult to pinpoint why our reading habits contradict our technological conditioning. My personal theory: Readers are more patient than the average person; we celebrate lengthy tales rather than avoid them. Or, in other words, readers are weird.

All that said, the short story is certainly not a lost art. All sorts of influential contemporary writers focus almost exclusively on shorts, including Kelly Link and George Saunders. Plus, big publishing entities still recognize the importance of short fiction (see HMH Books adding a Best American Sci-Fi/Fantasy series in 2015, or Amazon’s recent launch of Kindle Vella, which breaks long-form stories into serialized shorts).

All in all, short fiction is like cult classic movies: Both have small but dedicated fanbases.

…Sorry, that was a long answer.

Long answer to a short story question. Although, who has loose change anymore, right? Did you know that we have the same website theme?

Ha, yes, I did notice that! I’m surprised there aren’t more of us.

It was second theme I have used. I think it is cleaner than some of the options.
In one of your stories, you base a character on Kilgore Trout. Is Vonnegut an author you are influenced by?

Definitely! I love how Vonnegut uses humor and absurdism to address our biggest problems, such as war, intolerance, and eventual apocalypse. Plus, you’ve got to give props to a guy who ends his greatest novel with the words “Poo-tee-weet?”

I totally agree.
When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?

In second grade. An author visited our classroom and led a creative writing workshop, challenging us to write a story based on a photo. Mine’s too embarrassing to mention, but the experience of creation never let me go.

You know I have to ask about it now…

Oh, alright. Something about a kid fleeing a bathroom because he found a portal to another dimension inside. Ya gotta start somewhere.

Not to far-fetched. Toilet training can be traumatic for some—it might feel like another dimension in there.  What was the first book you published?

A weird little novel called Gerald Barkley Rocks. It’s part mystery, part contemporary fantasy, and part rock-and-roll elegy. Plus, it features lots of cats.

Were you an avid reader when you were younger?

Oddly, no. I was much more interested in movies and video games. I really didn’t become a reader until I attended Ithaca College, where I discovered writers like Salman Rushdie, David Sedaris, Joyce Carol Oates, and some guy named William Shakespeare. Plus, we had an outstanding bookstore about 10 minutes down the road. Shoutout Buffalo Street Books!

Do you have a favorite book?

American Gods by Neil Gaiman. It’s challenging, thoughtful, complex, funny, and utterly brilliant.

I have tried to get into Gaiman’s works. I haven’t read that one yet. It may be my final attempt.

Great to hear! It’s not for everyone, but if it’s for you, you’ll be enchanted.

In your author blurb, you mention running. What’s the longest distance you have done and are you concerned with time or the experience? 

Hmm, not too far…maybe five miles? I definitely run more for the experience than for time. I love cranking up the volume on my favorite songs, then pounding the pavement. It’s a freeing experience.

How has the past year affected your writing?

In hindsight, it was harder on my writing than I realized. Around November 2019, I planned a novel that would follow five characters in three different years: 2000, 2010, and 2020. However, March 2020 brought the pandemic, which quickly dumpstered my enthusiasm for any writing about the year. So that book stalled.

I waffled between several replacement projects until I finally settled on Eggs for the Ageless, a trunk novel I hadn’t touched since 2014. Fortunately, I’ve been feeling much better about my writing of late, and Eggs will hatch in mid-2022, along with a bunch of other stuff.

Are you a music lover, and if so, care to share some of your favorites?

For sure! I’m a big fan of classic rock, particularly The Who, The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, Jethro Tull, and The Doors. I used to despise modern music, but I’m getting less crotchety about that. Wolf Alice is my current favorite.

I have heard some Wolf Alice.
Do you have a favorite meal or snack to eat that other people just think is weird?

Taco Bell. I have an irrational affection for that place.

I think you should try Maui Taco—if there is still one in Manhattan. There was only one more in the mainland US—at the Minneapolis airport.

Dang, Google tells me there are none left on the mainland. But if I ever make it out to Hawaii, I’ll buy a taco and cheerily announce, “This one’s for Leon.”

That’s sad news. I always looked forward to the mad dash between flights. Are you ready for the lightning round?

Let’s do it!

Public or active transportation?
Active (though I’ll have to walk, because I learned to ride a bike relatively recently—I know, it’s sad)
At what depth does snow become annoying?
When the White Walkers start showing up
Last binged show?
Succession
Favorite city?
The Big Apple, of course!
Do you carry a wallet?
Yup
Hardest tongue twister?
The Peter Piper one

This has been a pleasure. Thanks for chatting. Any links you want to share

Likewise. Thanks so much, Leon! For those who’d like to learn more about my writing, you can find all my work at www.kyleamassa.com. Enjoy the feeling of deja vu from the theme!

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.

Author Offering Free Books

Kinda Like Free: KU Titles

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, his first science fiction novella.

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 / In Conversation With Author G.G. Collins

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:

G.G. Collins loves the southwestern US where many of her stories are located. She can be found hiking through ruins of the ancient ones and enjoying New Mexican cuisine. When not traipsing about, she makes up stories with great friendships, quirky characters and, oh yeah, dead bodies. In real life she shares her time with a man, several neurotic—and psychic—cats and the ongoing struggle to grow a garden.

In Conversation With: G.G Collins

G.G.  Collins

Today I have the pleasure of sitting down with author G.G. Collins. Thanks for stopping by.

You’re welcome. Nothing I enjoy more than talking about writing, except maybe stringing words together.

Can I offer you in a beverage this fine [insert time of day here]? —Morning. It’s always morning, Leon.

Tea drinker. Hot, iced or instant. My favorite brew is Assam.

Coming right up!
You have conducted some interviews yourself, but with the characters you created. How did that come about?

Reporting made it easy for me to interview my own characters. I noticed that some publications liked to use character interviews so I thought, geez, this would be fun. My favorite was the interview I did with the characters of Atomic Medium. Rachel Blackstone works for a magazine in Santa Fe called High Desert Country. So I assembled everyone on the rooftop and placed salsa, chips and margaritas on the table. The alien bad guy was a little defensive at one point saying, “Who are you calling mad? Why is the so-called space alien always the bad guy to Earthlings? We need to organize. We have rights.”

These interviews are entertaining and they give the reader some insight to the story. I dare say they help the writer with that too, perhaps enabling more fully-formed characters as a series progresses.

Having dialogue with your characters does give them an extra dimension.
Do you write full time?

Oh yes, but I have a writing day job which complements my fiction writing. I also have two blogs. One is my book blog Reluctant Medium at Large. It’s not just book stuff, but lots of quirky things about Santa Fe, New Mexico where my stories are set. The other is Parallel Universe at Large where I write mostly reviews of international TV shows and the occasional news posts.

Did you write the Reluctant Medium series before your Young Adult books?

The young adult books were first, followed by the Taylor Browning Cozy Mystery, Dead Editor File. But oddly Reluctant Medium was the first published even though written later. I guess I’d finally done my time learning writing. Taylor Browning was inspired when I worked at a book publisher. We published a mystery series and I thought wouldn’t it be interesting to write a book about a mystery editor who does sleuthing on the side. You know, editing real murder mysteries is not possible, but have real consequences.

Rachel Blackstone is a reporter and I began writing her shortly after I began reporting. Real life has a way of intruding nicely into fictional efforts. Neither were originally conceived as a series, but developed that way.

What was the first book that you remember reading?

Oh my, the one that made the biggest impression on me was, “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” by Shirley Jackson. I read it when I was about 12 or 13. Wow! I didn’t expect that ending. I’ve always loved the weird and spooky. I’ll still watch “Twilight Zone” reruns. My favorite is “The Odyssey of Flight 33.” I’m a big “Supernatural” fan and certainly it has encouraged the storylines in my Rachel Blackstone series.  

What do you do to unwind, or do you have to?

Yoga makes the top of the unwind list, but most types of exercise will work. I watch international TV series and review many of them on my Parallel Universe at Large blog. Movies before pandemic; can’t wait to go back. And I love to travel, although that’s not always relaxing. Travel today, can be quite challenging.

Challenging is an understatement …
You live in the US Southwest. Did you grow up there or were you drawn to it?

Both. For decades the Southwest has attracted artists and writers. For artists, it’s the clear light. The sky is special in this area; vivid azure. For this writer, it is the magic of the place. I am so aware of the ancientness, of the peoples who came before, the Ancient Puebloans. Their history and culture teaches me about the importance of Mother Earth. Bandelier is spectacular with its cliff dwellings and breathtaking Alcove House, some140 feet above the canyon floor. It is reached by stone steps and four ladders. I used this in the storyline of Anasazi Medium. These ruins take me back in time. Every occasion I walk a trail, I think of those who walked it before me. It infuses my writing with timelessness and history.

It’s interesting that you mention the Ancient Puebloans. My latest story mentions Mesa Verde, describing how an alien civilization lived.

Some believed in the star ancestors.

I also enjoy hiking. What is your most memorable hike?

The first time we walked the Borrego Trail outside Santa Fe, we kept hearing water. We thought it’s just around that next bend, or maybe the next bend. We finally gave up, turned around and headed back which is mostly up hill and through the forest. It taught us a lesson; you have to save enough energy to get back. And being wimpy hikers, that’s important. The Aspen Vista Loop is fantastic during the autumn with the cascade of golden aspen leaves. But beware. It’s a tough climb.

I usually have music playing, except when I’m writing. You?

I actually listen to music more when I’m writing. But nothing with vocals – or I’ll be singing and that’s not good for writing, or listening. Usually, I’ll choose something like David Arkenstone, Stephen Halpern or Ottmar Liebert. And Spa on Sirius XM is nice too.

[Crash. Boom]

Oh, you know what that sound means, don’t you? That signals the lightning round. Are you game?

Line them up.

Favorite drink?
Margarita, margarita, margarita.
I enjoy my tequila straight. A nice Reposado or Anejo for sipping. But I won’t pass up a Margarita—on the rocks, of course.
Rocks or frozen.
Dine out or eat in??
Out! Please!
Favorite city?
Santa Fe, New Mexico with Paris, France at a close second.
Last binged show?
“The Code.”
Ever pick up an armadillo?
No, but they’re really cute. You know they can remain under water for six minutes and walk on the bottom of a pond? They can also inflate their stomachs allowing them to float. Too much information?
Nope. That’s good to know. Might make it into another quiz.
Can you solve a Rubik’s Cube?
No interest in doing so.
What search engine did you use before Google?
There was a search engine before Google?!
What does G.G. stand for?
Pseudonym

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

The new Taylor Browning Cozy Mystery, “Editor Kill Fee” is scheduled for release in 2022. Taylor will be investigating the disappearance of the president of the local mystery book club. Is it supernatural or just a wrong turn? 

Books available at Amazon worldwide: G.G. Collins Amazon Page

Blogs: 

https://reluctantmediumatlarge.wordpress.com/

https://paralleluniverseatlarge.wordpress.com/

Twitter: G_G_Collins

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 BookFunnel and StoryOrigin Promos

Author Offering Free Books

Kinda Like Free: KU Titles

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, his first science fiction novella.

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!

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

NaNoWriMo Totals to Date: 16 120 words, 25 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.


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 Effie Kammenou

Effie Kammenou is a first-generation Greek-American who lives on Long Island with her husband and two daughters. When she’s not writing or posting recipes on her food blog, aptly named cheffies kitchen, you can find her entertaining family and friends or traveling for ‘research.’ In 2015, three years after the death of her mother from pancreatic cancer, she published her debut novel, Evanthia’s Gift, book one in a women’s fiction, multigenerational love story and family saga, inspired by her mother and her Greek heritage.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater Arts from Hofstra University.

Today I have the pleasure of sitting down with author Effie Kammenou. Thanks for stopping by.

It’s my pleasure, Leon. Thank you for having me.

Beverage of choice?

That depends on the time of say. Vanilla latte in the morning. Water or iced tea for the rest of the day. A cup of hot tea at night. But if we’re out for the night, a glass of rosé.

Let pretend it’s evening. I won’t pass up a chance for a glass of wine.

Sounds nice. Cheers or as we say in Greek, Yamas – to our health!

[sounds of clinking glasses]

Your books are highly rated on Goodreads. Ever get a bad review?

Yes, I’ve received a couple. Fortunately, only a couple. One even brought me a spike in sales. How did the reviewers phrase it? ‘It was a shame because the writing was pretty good, but between the cursing, sex, and vulgarity, this book should have come with a warning.’

How did you deal with it?

I laughed! My books are far from vulgar or sex-driven. Curse words are used by a few characters when appropriate. Sex scenes are tasteful and between people who love each other deeply. But sex sells, and I had a spike in sales that week. Bad reviews can be good, too!

That is a pretty good selling point for some. My 1-star review said, “Boring stories. Nothing interesting happens.” No spike in sales with that one!

You can’t make everyone happy. Let is roll off your back. I was told early on that some bad reviews are actually good. It gives validity to all the good reviews. That way, readers won’t think your book is only being reviewed by friends and family.

Your exactly right. It did hurt a bit at first, but I got over it.
Which book are you most proud of?

It will always be my first, Evanthia’s Gift, for several reasons. It was an accomplishment I never thought I’d reach. I had a story in the back of my head that kept growing in my imagination. It was always just a thought—a maybe someday idea. But then my mother died in 2012, and the impact was devastating on our whole family. I had expanded the story to make it a generational saga. My late mother was the inspiration for one of the main characters and my way of honoring her and our Greek heritage.

I like that gesture. It’s heartfelt. Who is your target audience, and how do you reach them?

My niche audience is the Greek reading community. I would be nowhere without them. They continue to be loyal and supportive to this day. But I don’t just market to Greeks. My books are women’s fiction and contemporary romance novels, and I target readers who prefer those genres. Since the books are generational and feature main characters from their teens to their elder years, women of all ages have reached out to me regarding how relatable the story was.

It takes me a while to finish a book because I usually fall asleep after a few pages at bedtime. Are you an avid reader?

I was more of an avid reader before I started writing. With a day job, family responsibilities, and writing my own books, it’s hard to find the time to read as much as I’d like. My solution to that has been audiobooks. I listen to them while I drive, cook, and do chores. 

I can’t do audiobooks. Tried it. Didn’t care for them.
You are of Greek ancestry. Does it bother you when people mispronounce gyro?

Ah, the gyro. With the way it’s spelled, I don’t blame Americans. This is what it looks like in Greek: γύρο. That letter that looks like a y is gamma. But it’s not a hard g. It’s g and y together formed in the back of the throat. Perhaps, if the English spelling dropped the g, it wouldn’t be as mispronounced. And that’s your Greek lesson of the day!

I suppose its that same way with Vietnamese “Pho”.  

Yes! That’s another understandable common mistake.

Mother’s and Grandmothers always make the best food. Who is the better cook—you don’t have to answer if it will get you in trouble…

OMG! I don’t dare say me over my mother. A lightning bolt will come and strike me down. LOL. The traditional recipes I make are hers, so …

I always ask my guests about music. Any favorites?

Classic rock and disco. During my high school years, I listened to rock and all those great singers/songwriters. But once I got to college, I discovered the nightclubs, and it was all over. I love good classic disco. I also like some of today’s music.

Let’s speed things up a bit and go to the lightning round, shall we?

Sure!

What’s the difference between a spatula and a flipper?
You know I write a food blog, right?
Just checking. There’s a bit of debate with some acquaintances. I know the answer…
A spatula is a flat rubber or silicone tool used to lift food from bowls or mix ingredients. A flipper removes food from a pan or flips burgers, omelets, and such.
Paper or Plastic?
Paper
Poolside or beach?
Though I live on an island, I prefer my backyard pool. No sand, seaweed, or jellyfish.
Favorite city?
Do I have to have a favorite? I’m a New Yorker, and I’ve always loved NYC. But each city has its own charm and draw. I adore Paris, Athens, and Rome.
Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy?
Jeopardy
Is Effie short for something?
Efthemia. It’s a commonly used Greek name. Our tradition is to name after the grandparents and both my grandmothers carried that name.
What is the Pythagorean formula (the triangle one)?
Are you kidding? It’s been 45 years since I took geometry.
No. I’m not kidding. Minus 10 points.
So harsh! Taking a stab at it, doesn’t it have something to do with the degree of each angle of a triangle equalling the total area? If not, I want at least 5 points back for trying.
Sure, take the 5.

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

Thank you. It’s been fun chatting!

Bookbub
https://www.bookbub.com/authors/effie-kammenou

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/EffieKammenou/

Twitter
https://twitter.com/EffieKammenou

Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/effiekammenou_author/

Food blog
https://cheffieskitchen.wordpress.com

Newsletter Sign up
https://www.subscribepage.com/effiekammenou

Website
http://effiekammenou.com

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.

Black Friday Begins Today!

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

New BookFunnel and StoryOrigin Promos

StoryOrigin
BookFunnel

50% on all products in my Zazzle store as well!

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, his first science fiction novella.

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, his first science fiction novella.

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 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, his first science fiction novella.

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Nov 5 Free Book Friday, my latest Interview: In Conversation With Author Greg Granderson

Day 5 of NaNoWriMo Update: 3472 words as of yesterday. 5 cups of coffee, 1 glass Cabernet.


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:

Greg Granderson is a Science Fiction and Faith-based Graphic novel / comic book creator and publisher. As a former police officer, he has worked in the school system, and he has a passion for seeing young people being highly encouraged and making excellent life choices.

In Conversation With Author Greg Granderson

Today I have the pleasure of sitting down with author Greg Granderson. Thanks for stopping by.

Thanks for having me, Leon, it’s a great honor!

Honor? That’s debatable…Can I interest you in a beverage?

No, I’m good thanks.

Easy guest. Nice. I’ll have to admit, I never was much into comics or graphic novels, although I did start to read The Walking Dead after getting into the show. Were you always drawn to this style?

Well, I’m an 80’s kid from Brooklyn New York, and comics were a huge part of my life growing up. I never thought I would ever be creating my own books though, LOL! I just really enjoyed the characters and all the adventures they got into.

Do you do your own illustrations?

Yes, but I am not a traditional artist. I use digital 3D modeling and sets, to craft my visual stories.

I read that you were a police officer. How did you choose that career path?

I would have to say that came from a heavy influence of comics and movies growing up. It shaped a lot of my career choices because I also serve in the military. I guess you could say that I developed a heavy hero complex, LOL! It gave me a strong sense of servitude and desire to help people.

How did being a police officer guide your writing?

TEAM GREAT: Decisions And Outcomes by [Greg Granderson]

I used to teach the Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.) program to 5th graders as a police officer. I visited many schools within my city and taught the program which has been around for close to 30 years, much like the D.A.R.E. program. I came up with the idea for Team GREAT, about a super powered team of officers of the future, that protect the citizens of their city from gang violence, among other high tech threats, while teaching the program. I negotiated a vendor contract with the founders of the G.R.E.A.T program and am now creating my own series.

It sounds like a great (excuse the pun) way to reach out to youth with a medium they are familiar with.

Yes, the curriculum series is three issues, which two are available on Amazon now in ebook form. There is a platform for police officers to order the books in paperback for their students as well.

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

ABSOLUTELY! I’ve always loved reading comics and choose your own adventure books. I actually wrote a school play in the 10th grade that my creative writing teacher was so impressed with, that she submitted it to a Young Play writers Competition in Brooklyn. It didn’t place and I didn’t think much of it at the time, but her enthusiasm about my writing was very encouraging, especially when most kids at my age mostly had dreams of being a prize athlete, LOL! 

I hear you. I wanted to play football, but my high school didn’t have a program, and neither did my community. Guess I’ll never know how it could have been.

When you are not writing, what are you doing? 

I’m very active in my church and like to spend time with family…LOVE WATCHING MOVIES!!!!

Favorite movie?

That would have to be Big Trouble in Little China, starring Kurt Russell

I usually have music playing, except when I’m writing. You?

I like silence most of the time…although lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of musical scores, LOL! Dude is an epic composer, really love his stuff!

I just looked him up. I didn’t recognize the name at first, but I do recognize all the moves. He has quite the resume.

Yep, my favorites are his Batman and Superman (Man of Steel) scores.

Care to give the lightning round a go? 
Sure, lets do it!!!

Dawn or Dusk?
Dawn
Favorite city? 
New York!
First book you remember reading?
Super Fudge by Judy Blume
What is the tallest building in the world?
Empire State building
It was, but not for a while now.
Name three thing that begin with a double letter.
Eel, oozing, ooh! LOL
Did you have to Google that?
YES! LOL!!!
I’ll have to deduct a few points, sorry.

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

Thanks Leon, this has been great! I will share my Amazon author page link:

https://www.amazon.com/Greg-Granderson/


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.

Sci-fi Free Book Promo

Poetry Gift Ideas

Free Samples from new Poets

Explore New Poetry

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, his first science fiction novella.

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!