Categories
poetry readers

Lines by Leon Paperback

I finally figured out how to accept payments, so here is your opportunity to win a free book. I have 40 copies left from my original order. Anyone who purchases my book directly from me until the end of March (in preparation for National Poetry Month) will be entered to win their book for free. I can only ship to Canada and the US.

linesbyleon-1

Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures

Signed paperback and bookmark direct from author US Orders (free shipping)

$15.00

Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures

Signed paperback and bookmark direct from author Canadian Orders (free shipping)

CA$15.00

I appreciate your support!

-Leon

Categories
poetry

A Poem: Winter

After reading two posts:

I remembered a incomplete poem I had started. So, since it was stupid cold outside yesterday, I finished it.

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


Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and Journeys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar

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Categories
humor poetry

Snow Days: A Poem

It’s been awhile since I wrote something poetic. I joke that ” I do my best writing when I am running or hurting. Often, that is the same time…” I need to get out of that rut. I know that more than half my poetry is light-hearted or has elements of humor. Poetry comes from all emotional states, is influenced by many beautiful events and locations, and like a painting, captures the essence of the creator in that moment of time.

So, sometimes the words will just start to flow, without having to tip the bottle and slap the bottom. This one came after hearing cancellations being announced on the local news.

Snow Days

​There once were days when children woke in the morning
Discovering too much snow or a wind chill warning
A needed respite from learning and correcting mistakes
After all, it is Wednesday, for goodness sake
So, too cold for school, we were all bundled up
Told to play outside, come back in time for sup

Now, with pandemic restrictions, school boards did adapt
With Zoom classes, learning packs, and one-on-one chats
The parents cried out,
 “You have to still teach them, we can’t do it alone.”
Teachers replied,
“Try teaching 31 students in your home.”

Now when school gets cancelled, the snow day is no perk
Kids can learn in their PJ’s the way their parents go to work

 -Leon

Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and Journeys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar

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poetry writers

New Poets

Are you a poet? If you write poetry, then yes, you are. You don’t have to be publish or even share your creations. Keep them close to your heart if that’s what is needed in your life. Release them into the world like a flock of doves or a bunch of balloons when you are ready to share your visions with the world.

Poetry is painting with words, just as music is painting with sounds. Perception is subjective and one person’s viewpoint can radically differ from that of another. Poems add an extra layer, telling the reader that there are alternate ways of thinking about a place, situation, or a state of mind.

The world looks distinctly different depending on what time of day you are out. I’m a morning person now, but I’ve done my time as a night owl. I enjoy running or biking early and late. The morning quiet is not the same as evening quiet.
  
 Untitled 
 
 Sun on the horizon breaks
 The birth of a day
 As the world awakes
 Birds stir
  
 Middle of the day
 Lifetime a world away
 Brightness blinds
 Unless clouds hide
 Blue sky
  
 Life slows
 Darkness grows
 A shroud of stars
 Drawn over the earth
 Sleep until the dawn calls
 A new rebirth 

So, keep writing, share when you want to, and look at the world like no one else can.

-Leon


Poets: Have a book you want to promote? Want to reach new readers? Submit your reader magnet to this my created promo on StoryOrigin:


Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and Journeys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar

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music music Monday poetry readers writers

Music Monday

Book trailers. Got one? If you have released a book, you have probably at least thought about it. Do you need one? I don’t think it is necessary, but it doesn’t hurt.

When I was working on my poetry book, part of the package was a book trailer. Now, did I want to leave the entire process in the hands of a team I did not know? I didn’t want to give up that much control so I put together a rough trailer and sent it off to the production team.

I knew that I wanted to showcase the illustrations in the book, and to let the reader know, I wrote this short description: This book has words to encourage you, to make you laugh, and to invite you to reflect. With each chapter, a lens opens, revealing a different observation. I slightly modified it to match each frame that I chose.

I then used an acoustic guitar composition that I had been working on-it took a while to record it (I keep making too many mistakes when I’m under pressure), but eventually I had it ready. Then came the rain. The rain sounds, that is. I added them for two reasons. First, as a calming intro/outro to the video, and second-and I’m not embarrassed to admit it, to mask any little background sounds. But more for the beautiful sound of rain. Don’t you just love walking in a rain shower?

So, I sent off my idea, and after a bit of back and fourth, I had my book trailer. Sometimes I just listen to it for the music…

Categories
poetry readers writers

Let’s Talk!

Earlier this week I blogged about reader engagement on book blogs. https://linesbyleon.com/2021/01/19/tuesday-thoughts-book-blogging-to-tour-or-not-to-tour-and-free-stuff/ If you don’t want to read the whole thing here is the main point:

“What is the main thing I am looking for in a book blog? Engagement. If my book/book review is featured on a site and there are no comments, can we assume that no one saw it? Books need to be talked about. Not dissected, just discussed. Out of ~100 book blogs I visited, less than ten had actual conversations about the featured books. You know who you are because I emailed you to compliment you on your blog (and ask to be featured, of course). Some bloggers may not want that level of engagement, which is OK too.

Which got me thinking about engagement on my pages. I write to entertain, to put into words what others may not be able to, to share my experiences, and to show my love of writing. So, for a limited time, I’m going to let anyone download my sample copy of my poetry book without an email/newsletter opt-in. The only caveat is that we discuss the poems or writing process. I’ll set up a page for that purpose.

Sounds like a plan? I hope so!

Download: Excerpts from the book – Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures

I have set up a discussion page, so feel free to download the book and make any comments or questions that you have, here: https://linesbyleon.com/discussion-blog/

Hope to see you there!

Categories
poetry readers writers

Tuesday Thoughts: Book blogging-To Tour or Not to Tour (and free stuff)

Oops, I did it again. Not really an oops, I meant to do it. This week I spent time visiting book blogs and blog tour sites. As an independent author, I spend more time looking for new ways to reach readers, marketing, and all that stuff than I do writing sometimes. Marketing is exhausting. Physically- fingers, back, and eyes, and mentally- my brain hurts after a while. Now don’t get me wrong, I know it’s a part of being an author, and I have met some really cool people and seen some great blog pages.

After my first book came out, I looked at doing a book blog tour but was overwhelmed by the choices available. Being a new author, I wanted to do things right, but as a frugal (cheap) person, I didn’t want to make the wrong decision and throw away money. One of the challenges in marketing is to find the best avenues to put your budgeted amount. Really, it comes down to finding “the best bang for your buck” (I don’t know why I put that in quotations. I suppose someone coined that phrase).

As I usually do, I over-analyze things. When flat-screen T.V.s came out, it took me two years to buy one-which in the end saved me money since the prices went from over $1000 to under $500. I still kept Mr. Cathode-Ray Tube for many, many years before becoming a full flat-screen household. Man, that guy was heavy to carry out.

But I digress.

Each blog tour I looked at had its pros and cons. One review said “Great!” while another said, “Don’t waste your money.” Like book reviews, these are all subjective, but it is still hard to part with money that may be more effective elsewhere-or not. Arrgh.  

I looked at blog tour posts on many sites. Some stops had no likes or comments. If I were to participate in a blog tour, would I be assigned stops with a decent amount of traffic? So I began to revisit book blogs. I did this last year, so I thought it was time to do it again. Is this a lot of work? Oh, yes, but I think the time spent is worth it. I mentioned earlier that there are many avid readers doing their part to spread the enjoyment of the written word. I am glad that people are willing to spend time informing their followers of all the excellent works out there, especially from indie authors.

What is the main thing I am looking for in a book blog? Engagement. If my book/book review is featured on a site and there are no comments, can we assume that no one saw it? Books need to be talked about. Not dissected, just discussed. Out of ~100 book blogs I visited, less than ten had actual conversations about the featured books. You know who you are because I emailed you to compliment you on your blog (and ask to be featured, of course). Some bloggers may not want that level of engagement, which is OK too.

Which got me thinking about engagement on my pages. I write to entertain, to put into words what others may not be able to, to share my experiences, and to show my love of writing. So, for a limited time, I’m going to let anyone download my sample copy of my poetry book without an email/newsletter opt-in. The only caveat is that we discuss the poems or writing process. I’ll set up a page for that purpose.

Sounds like a plan? I hope so!

Download: Excerpts from the book – Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures

Categories
humor poetry readers writers

Leon Stevens, Author Interviews Leon Stevens, Reader (Part I & Part II)

A series of interviews that I did with myself. Enjoy!

Leon Stevens · Leon Stevens, the author, interviews Leon Stevens the reader.

Today we sit down with Leon Stevens, the reader. We haven’t chatted for a while, how have you been?

   -I’m doing well, thanks for asking!

Tea?

   -Oh, yes please.

Say when.

   -When?

When you want me to stop pouring.

   -Can’t you tell when it’s full?

[silence]

Well then, enough of the small talk. Let’s get started, shall we? First question:

What was the first book that you remember reading?

   -Ever?

Yes.

   -Wow, that’s a great question.

I thought it was.

   -I guess if I try to remember all the way back, I’d have to say, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

That’s the one with all the holes in the pages through the apples.

   -Yup. I think that I got my finger stuck in one of them.

I think we all did.

[laughter]

Any others worth mentioning?

   -I do recall reading Curious George, Pippi Longstocking, Hardy Boys, and I liked pop-up books. Oh, and the Highlights magazines.

Next Question: What was the first book that fascinated you?

   -That’s an easy one, A Wrinkle in Time.

Why that one?

   -My fifth-grade teacher read it to us. I looked forward to that time. He was a great reader, and I was sad when the book ended. It was a kind of a dark adventure for that age group.

Did you like reading?

   -I didn’t dislike it, but I wasn’t a voracious reader.

Were you encouraged to read?

   -I think so. My dad would read to me at bedtime. He would make space stories for me. I later found out, when I started reading science fiction on my own, that many of those stories were ones he had read before. I don’t fault him for it. It was funny reading a story and thinking, “Hey, Dad didn’t make that up!”

Do you have a favorite genre, or do you have a variety of interests?

   – I usually read science fiction, and I prefer the older works over new. I do enjoy historical non-fiction, especially about explorers. I do enjoy some fantasy from time to time, as well as crime dramas.

What book have you re-read the most?

   -I would have to say, Klondike by Pierre Burton, followed by Alive by Piers Paul Read, and The Chronicles of Narnia.

Favorite book?

   -Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut.

Any newer books that I might know that you have enjoyed?

   -Umm, you know the same books I do.

I suppose that’s true…Well?

   –Ready Player One and The Martian would be the most recent. But again, you knew that.

Have you ever not finished a book?

   -Yes.

Care to throw it under the bus?

   -Nope. Not fair to the authors. Sometimes a book just doesn’t fit with the reader.

I understand. Well then, last question: What will you be reading next?

   -I’m waiting for you to finish your science fiction book.

It’s getting there, don’t rush me.

   -I’m just yankin’ your chain, I’ve liked what I have read so far.

Thanks. I appreciate that.

   -I knew you would.

I knew that you knew that I would.

   -I’m not playing that game.

[silence]

I guess we are done then. It has been a pleasure interviewing you.

   -Well, thank you. It was fun! We should do this again.

Agreed!

Interview, Part II: Leon Stevens, Reader, Interviews Leon Stevens, Author

I have done a few interviews on some book blogs this year and have always enjoyed it. But then I thought, what would I say in an interview as a reader? Solution? Interview myself! So I did. As you can see, this is Part II, where I interview myself as an author this time.

Leon Stevens · Leon Stevens, Reader, Interviews Leon Stevens, the Author

Today we have the pleasure [eyeroll] of sitting down with Leon Stevens, the author. How have you been?

   – Considering all that has been happening, I have been OK. You?

You know the same as I do. We share a place, remember?

   – Just being polite, you know.

Moving on. You have some exciting news to tell.

   – Had.

What?

   – I had some news. Like a month ago.

Would you like to share it?

   – That’s why we are here, isn’t it?

Yes, indeed. Let me spill the proverbial beans then

   – I’m not going to clean those up.

[silence]

Do you want me to say it or not?

   – Go ahead.

You published your second book this year, a science fiction book, I believe?

   – That is correct. It’s called The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.

Interesting title. How did you come up with that?

   – It’s the first story in the book, and the rest tells you what is in it.

But what does it mean?

   – You will have to read and find out.

I did. You know that.

   – Then why are you asking?

I thought that other readers would like to know.

   – Well, it’s all about how choices that life gives us are not always good things, I guess. It is the shortest story in the book.

You like writing short stories, don’t you?

  – My stories always seem to come to a natural conclusion sooner rather than later. Say what you want about short attention spans…

Do you have a favori—Wait! Where are you going?

   [from another room] – I thought we were done.

No. We are not.

   – Want some coffee?

Sure. Are you using the press?

   – Is there any other way?

Nope.

[elapsed time: 15 minutes]

   – Here you go.

Thank you. Shall we continue?

   – Fire away.

[sipping sounds]

Mmm, good coffee.

   – Thank you. It’s one of my favorite things.

Before the break, I was asking if you have a favorite story?

   – That’s tough. Each story has its charm in how it came about and what ideas I was trying to convey. But if I had to choose—

You do.

   – As I was saying, if I had to choose, it would be Reasonable Hand-drawn Facsimile.

Because?

   – Probably because it has elements of humor. It made me laugh when I thought about it. My editor said that she laughed out loud when she read it. Now, that’s the sign of good humor writing.

Do you consider yourself a humor writer?

   – Quite a bit of my writing has elements of humor, so yes. I like to make people laugh.

There are quite a few post-apocalyptic stories in the book as well, along with poetry. Poetry? What’s up with that?

   – I don’t know which came first, the stories or the poems, but I recall coming up with the idea that sometime in the future, writings from after an apocalyptic event would be found. So naturally, I named the series Found.

That sounds like the premise of the book, A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller Jr.

   – That’s not far off. I didn’t mean it to be, but as I was coming up with the poems, it was a book that came to mind. It is the first post-apocalyptic book that I remember reading.

You write many different styles. Do you think that will limit your appeal by segmenting your readership?

   – Well, I do now. Thanks a lot.

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing.

   – Limiting my appeal? Or writing different styles?

I thought I was asking the questions here…

   – Can’t we have a spirited discourse once and a while?

How long have you been waiting to throw in that word?

   – Quite some time. Impressed?

Very. OK. Back to my point. I’m just worried that your poetry readers won’t like your science fiction stories and vice versa.

   – I’ve thought about that. But if I am inspired to write something, I don’t want to limit myself. I still write poetry. It took me four years to publish my first book of poetry—I’m not going to be able to put out another right away. I hope my readership will embrace my eclectic writing.  It is about entertaining and keeping readers engaged.

And how do you do that?

   – I began to write a blog, which became more of a satirical/humorous take on life. Then when I started my newsletter to keep my readers updated on my writing journey—

Writing journey. I like that.

   – Thank you. Anyhoo, I try to keep my weekly newsletters informative and entertaining. I hope that people read and appreciate them.

Ever thought of doing a podcast?

   – I wouldn’t know where to start. Do you?

Not a clue. Last question: Who are The Miniscules I keep hearing about?

   – You’ve heard about them from other people?

Not really. I just thought that we should mention them.

   – Oh.

They are dear to your heart, are they not?

   – No. Not really. I’d miss them if they went away, though.

But they’re not going anywhere, right?

   – Nope. They still have lots to say.

Well, thank you for taking to time to answer some questions. Any final thoughts?

   – You’re going to clean up those beans, right?

Yes. Not to worry…

   – Don’t forget to take out the garbage when you go.

I’m not going anywhere. I live here.

   – Oh, right. Another cup of coffee?

Please.


Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of two books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. Visit www.linesbyleon.com

Categories
music music Monday poetry

Music Monday: Music and Poetry-The Connection

I wrote this guest post for the blog Spines in a Line (great name, right?) so I decided to post it here today.

Music and Poetry-The Connection

When you think about poetry, music doesn’t always spring to mind. When you hear your favorite song, most people don’t connect it to a poem. Song lyrics, on their own, have to be categorized as a poem, don’t they?

Definition of Poem: A poem is an arrangement words that convey or express a thought, feeling, or emotion, in an imaginative style. Poems will often have rhyming and rhythmic elements, sometimes in a repeating or predictable pattern.

It is a broad definition, which is why there are so many different classifications of poems. From the classic Shakespearean sonnet, Japanese Haiku, to concrete visual poetry, poem styles number in the hundreds. What I like about poetry is that as long as you are able to paint a picture with your words, you are a poet.

Music also has many styles, but I think composers have a harder time stretching the boundaries, because the human ear is used to the 12 notes in Western music (and a few more in Eastern). Because I am more familiar with the former, I will limit myself to that.

Music has been a part of humanity longer than spoken language, although you could say that music is a language in its own right. Tribal celebrations with music (or just rhythms) were some of the earliest ways to convey emotions and information. Early church chants were religious texts set to the seven notes of the modern scales. Traveling troubadours sang about events, and composers turned from instrumental compositions to operatic masterpieces. Africans, brought to America as slaves, fused their own culture with the music of colonial Americans, giving birth to Blues, Jazz, County, and finally Rock & Roll.

I started out writing song lyrics, some which became songs- others are still waiting for the right music to come along (good at writing melodies? Let me know…). Some of my songs remained short and unfinished, and those became some of my first poems. As I wrote poetry, sometimes inspiration would lead me to think that some of my poems needed a little something more to create that imaginative style.

The first poem that I set to music was, Never the Same, which describes the loss of a friendship. I think that I was noodling (that’s the technical term for playing random notes/chords on the guitar in hopes of finding something that sounds cool) on my guitar, and what I came up with was slightly sad, but introspective. It made me think of that poem as I played, and I believe that the poem is a much better creation because of the marriage of the two.

The next poem, If (The Refugee), started the same way, but this time I decided to write music specifically for it. I also experimented with recording techniques and layering.

I am going to do more with poetry and music. They are two of the things that I enjoy, and being able to combine them gives more depth to the creation.

-Leon


Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of two books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. Visit www.linesbyleon.com

Categories
cartoons humor poetry thoughts

A Poem: Wishful Thinking

Just a quick thought this morning:

Two days in
And everything seems status quo
Fingers crossed and hopeful thoughts
Only 363 days left to go

-Leon


Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of two books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. Visit www.linesbyleon.com