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!

Weekend Wrap-up Dec 18: Writing Update

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

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


From my blog this week:

Music Monday: Songs You Might Want to Hear

Tuesday Tirade: Angry Cat was lonely.

Weird Wednesday: Poem/Cartoon

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

From the blogs of others:

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


Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of four books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and The View from Here, 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!

Weekend Wrap-up Dec 11: Winter – A Poem

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

Winter

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


From my blog this week:

Free Book Friday / In Conversation With Author Kyle Massa

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

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

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


Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of four books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and The View from Here, 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!

Time Machine Tuesday: My Very First Post

As I mentioned on Sunday, I will be scaling back my posts this month as I participate in NaNoWriMo, so I’ll offer up this little nugget in the meantime:

It’s been a year since I joined WordPress. I had a blog on my previous website, but it was getting very little traffic. I have enjoyed meeting other writers and reading their wide variety of creations. I have slowly grown my readership and have made meaningful connections with many other bloggers.

So, on this one year anniversary, here is the first post I offered up to WordPress readers:

Day one of NaNoWriMo Update: ~ 1000 words and two cups of coffee.

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.

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

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

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


About the interviews:

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

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

In Conversation With Author Elizabeth O’Carroll

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

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

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

You’ll have to give me a minute…

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

Here you go.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What prompted you to write your “Myloh” books?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you have any phobias?

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

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

I enjoy music. Do you have any preferences?

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

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

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

Are you ready for the lightning round?

Yup!!

Great! Here we go.

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

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

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

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

https://mylohsadventures.com/

https://taesungspeculiarlife.com/


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

Reads From StoryOrigin and BookFunnel: 

The story behind Free Book Friday:

I’ve met many authors and readers during my time marketing, cross-promoting, and blogging. I think writers have a responsibility to inform readers about all the indie authors out there in the very crowded world of book publishing. You can’t do it alone, and why would you when you have a supportive group available?

Readers don’t just read one author – they stick with their favorite genres. There lies the power in cross-promotion. If one of my readers buys a book from an author I promote, then chances are there will be a reciprocal effect, or so is the hope. Do I want to boost sales? Of course I do. Do I want to boost other’s sales? Why not. It’s called karma.

Featured Poetry Author

Free sample

Featured Sci-fi Author: Luke Davids

Purchase Link

Books on sale or under $2.99

Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of 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!

Inktober Day 24 (Extinct) and a Sunday Survey

Inktober Day 24: Extinct

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

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

Sunday Survey

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

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

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

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


Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of 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!