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
readers thoughts Uncategorized

Book Reviews

“Hey, Leon. You often talk about the importance of book reviews. Why don’t you post your reviews?”
“I do.”
“You do?”
“I just said I did, didn’t I?”
“I haven’t seen any here.”
“I don’t post them here.”
“Where are they?”
“On my Goodreads page.”
“Oh. OK. Where’s that then?”
“I just told you.”
“Gotcha.”

I usually write something about the books I have read or at least give it a rating. Here are a sampling of some of my favorites. Reviews that is.

Read the follow up: The Zombie Survival Guide. No action, but lots of handy tips!
Sometimes books just don’t do it.
I’m pretty sure I had read this as a child.
I saw the movie (well, part of it) on one of the classic movie channels. I was disappointed.
I don’t think that my 2-star review will have a negative affect on Child’s book sales.

I usually read at night. I would be able to read more books if I didn’t keep falling asleep. Zzzzz…

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
readers thoughts writers

Short Stories: Minimalist Reading and Writing

I write like I read. I don’t like reading long, drawn-out descriptions of characters and settings, and I’ll often skim the paragraph for the essential points. Always? No, it all depends on the author. This is why, more than likely, that I primarily write short stories.

A writer doesn’t have the luxury of pages to develop settings and characters when writing short stories. The reader has to be supplied with the minimum information and be allowed to form their own vision. We have to trust our writing to guide the reader and understand and accept that there will be some variation.

There is a skill in writing short stories. I don’t know what it is yet, but I’ll let you know when I find out.

Did I plan this to be a short post? You bet.

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

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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
readers thoughts

Thursday Thoughts: Re-Reads

There are many books that I have re-read. The mark of a good/great book is one that compels you to return for another go. There are many reasons for a re-read:

– You missed something the first time. I do this a lot. Usually it is because I read at night and I fall asleep and forget
– It is exciting
– It tugs at your heartstrings
– You can relate to it
– It is so well written that you enjoy it just as much as the first time
– It brings back memories of where you were when you first read it.

So here is a list of books that I have read more than once, not in any particular order (not even alphabetical you ask? Nope, not even alphabetical…)

Ready Player One
Alive
Breakfast of Champions
Slaughterhouse Five
The Foundation Trilogy (and beyond)
Ringworld
Klondike
Cather in the Rye
The Stand
The Long Walk
The Chrysalids
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (and the other ones)
A Canticle for Leibowitz
The Arctic Grail
Oryx and Crake
A Wrinkle in Time
The Lord of the Rings
The Chronicles of Narnia
The Complete Calvin and Hobbes (and all The Far Sides)

There’s probably more…What books have you read over and over (or just over)?

-Leon

Categories
readers thoughts writers

Thursday Thoughts: Writing

I’m going to take a few days off from writing here-I think. Unless something inspires me to craft something spectacular, I am going to spend some more time on my current project, a yet unnamed novel (or novella) based on a short story from my most recent book, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.

Most of my stories are short-some very short, less than 100 words, but I plowed away at this new project during NaNoWriMo. I didn’t make the 50000 word goal (their goal, not mine), not that I thought I would, but nevertheless, I wrote more than I would have and would like to finish.

Interested in reading some of my writing? I have some free sample eBooks on my book pages. https://linesbyleon.wordpress.com/books/. If you are interested in reviewing any of them, let me know.

So, if you celebrate anything during this time-or do not, stay safe, be happy, and reach out to those who can’t be physically present. See you in a few days.

-Leon

Categories
humor readers writers

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.

Categories
readers Uncategorized writers

Why I Write

I sent this to my newsletter subscribers earlier in October.

I want to thank you for taking part in my writing journey. Writers write to share their ideas, visions, and emotions, and I hope that you find my weekly rambles entertaining. I write in a lot of different styles, which may or may not be the best way to keep a readership.

I think about it this way: My writing is like a box of…(I’ll stop there to avoid copyright infringement). But it is. You know the one, that assorted box that you get at Christmas, the one with the candy map. You always go after your favorites, but sometimes you take a little nibble of the one with the chocolate squiggle. Maybe you discover that you like it, or perhaps it makes you glad you didn’t buy a whole box of strawberry creams.

What was the first thing that I wrote that wasn’t part of a school assignment? Probably a song lyric, but I always scrapped it because I was never happy with the result. When I decided to pursue classical guitar studies, I began to compose, letting the music provide the emotion instead of words. I wrote many pieces, some I wrote down, still others I forgot. I recorded some, but it never came out polished. I make too many mistakes, I can never play as close to perfection as I want, I get nervous performing in front of people or a microphone, so it takes a lot of takes to get something that I am OK with. The first piece that I wrote is called Riviera Galliard, which is an homage to the Renaissance composer, John Dowland. I hope that I can record it and share it with you. There is my incentive.

I wrote a few others in the same style before turning to acoustic guitar after hearing the Canadian guitarist Don Ross. Unfortunately, most of those pieces have been lost. Either I can’t find the scores that I wrote down, or my memory decided that I didn’t need to know those anymore. I can still dig up little snippets, but it is like reading a corner ripped out of a book.

Fast forward to my poetic journey. I ventured back into lyric writing to make sense of a difficult situation. The poems followed as some of the unused ideas became short poetic pieces. Most of my poetry is short and not too complicated. As one reader put it:

 “Lines by Leon is an eclectic mix of poetry and thoughtful, personal reflection. The ideas are straightforward with an understandable simplicity.

I wanted people to reflect on the poems and seek connections without having to try to interpret deep philosophical meanings or search for hidden underlying messages.

During my poetic journey, I started to sketch images that came to me. Some of these images evoked ideas that became my short, short stories-one or two paragraphs that tell part of a story that leaves the rest to your imagination. Some of my stories became longer, but still without conclusion, similar to waking from a dream and lying in bed thinking, what the…?

Enter science fiction: My forever favorite. If you have read my blog post, Returning to Roots (and I hope that you have), you will know that my father introduced me to this genre. We would watch science fiction T.V. shows, and he would read me stories. It was only natural that I would turn to this topic as my writing developed. I was able to cross my styles when I wrote a series of post-apocalyptic poems that are featured in my next book, The Knot at the End of the Rope.

I also want to keep a sense of humor in my writing. Some of my poems and stories will hopefully make you chuckle or smile. My blogs and newsletters give me a chance to poke fun at things, be cynical at current events, and showcase my odd sense of humor.

Some writers stick to the same formula, and their readers stick with them, which is perfectly understandable. A successful author wrote that to be successful, you have to write what your audience wants. I do want to entertain readers, but I’m not trying to make everybody happy. I’m trying to make myself happy, by hopefully providing material that can be enjoyed by others.

If you are here for my poetry, fear not, I continue to write and still have pages to revise. It took me three years to get to my first book, and I promise that it won’t take another three for the next. For my sci-fi fans, I am proud to share my short stories, which could not have happened if it wasn’t for my father. Let’s all gather to share to love of the written word—no matter the style.

Leon

Revised Nov 11 12:00

I almost forgot. When I get reviews like this:

It makes me happy and lets me know that I am on the right path.