Thursday Thoughts: Cruisin’ at 30 000 (words that is)

I did my first NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge in November. The goal is to write 50000+ words in one month. I didn’t think that I would accomplish this since I am a slow writer, but it did get me started writing longer works.

Most of my creations are poems or short stories. I joke that I write short stories because of my attention span, but my stories seem to come to a natural conclusion sooner rather than later. Deciding to write a novel definitely pushes me out of my comfort zone.

When I read, I’ll often skim over longer descriptions and dialogue that I deem unnecessary (no offence to my fellow authors). Sometimes I am forced to go back if something doesn’t make sense, and my reading habits are usually the culprit.

So, I write how I read. Just get to the point and move on.

My novel started as a continuation of one of my short stories. At the end of November, I wasn’t even close, but I was pleased with what I had written up to that point. My characters were developing through their actions and words, there was suspense at the end of each chapter, and I had a good idea what the ending was going to be.

Sometimes I can write quite a bit in one sitting, other times, not so much.

I hit the 30 000 word mark last month. It’s been slowly creeping ahead ever since. The problem is that the ending is written, the characters have had their adventures and adversities. They have solved their problems (oops, spoiler alert…). The story in essence is finished.

So now I go back to fill in descriptions I feel are necessary, not for boosting word count—ok, maybe a little—but to create an engaging story for the reader. I am also going over the dialogue, trying to make it informative while keeping it realistic. Sometimes I find that extended speeches by a character seems unnatural, as most people need time and breaks to formulate their thoughts. I personally am not usually a prolific conversationalist, so that may have a lot to do with it.

I guess the question is: Would you like to read a novella or a novel?

-Leon


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

Purchase paperback directly for the author!

Tuesday Tirade: Yet Another Aggravation Courtesy of Amazon.

Everyone likes free.

Free books bring readers into your world, and introduces them to your writing at no risk. Sure, they may have to sign-up for my newsletter—depending where they have heard of it, but that’s marketing.

The first place I published my free sample eBook was on KOBO (now Rakutan-Kobo). It was pretty easy and it allowed you to set your price to free—no questions asked.

Then I did the same for Amazon/KDP. Not as easy and the lowest you could set your price was $0.99. I did some research and found many self-publishing sites that recommend you set your Amazon prize to “Perma-free”. I thought that this was a good idea to be able to get the book into the Top 10 of certain categories (that took another line of research).

I searched: Perma-free, permafree, and permanently free on the KDP site with no luck. So, back to the other publishing sites to discover that all you have to do is notify Amazon of a lower price elsewhere and they will match it.

Done. (Wait for it.)

Nope. After several months, I just happened to notice that the book was back at $0.99. Long story short:

It’s happened four times, and each time I email I get the same cut and paste message: I’m sorry that you have been facing this issue. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We need a little time to look into the problem with technical team.

The last time I received this message: Thank you for your information on pricing. From time match prices elsewhere online, including free promotions. Unfortunately we’re not able to accommodate your request since competitors have your book over the $0,99 as shown on the picture below:

 What was the picture? My full volume. At its full price. Not the sample book…

Arrgh.

There are lots of free books on Amazon. I wonder if they have the same problem. At least it gives me something to write about.

-Leon

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

Purchase paperback directly for the author!

Weekend Wrap-up: June 12

Just a quick recap before I start my day:

From my blog this week

Thursday Thoughts: Poem to Story – One of my poems inspired a short story.

Weird Wednesday: June 9 – Cartoons and Aliens – Conspiracy theory anyone?

Tuesday Tirade: The Trouble with Teens (the numbers, not the kids) – Math mayhem

Music Monday: What Goes Around Comes Around – Disco comes back, but not the bellbottoms. Whew!

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

Purchase paperback directly for the author!

Weekend Wrap-up: June 5

I’ve been trying to write everyday. At least something. Blogging helps because it gives me a schedule of weekly topics. My main writing project, a continuation of one of me short stories into a full length novel, moves ahead like a sputtering car, slow but sometimes jumping ahead in spurts.

If I’m stuck, I will often just write the dialogue, then go back and fill in the thoughts and descriptions. I go back to previous chapters and see where I can elaborate; I am in no danger of having to pair down my word count.

I try to keep track of details, so that I don’t contradict what happened or repeat myself. You would think that since I am writing it, I would know what has already been said, but things slip by.

I had a good writing day yesterday, not on the novel, but on a short story. I saw a writing prompt for a contest on Reedsy and I instantly had an idea. I actually took one of my NaPoWriMo poems and reworked it into a story. I almost got in 1000 words, which is the minimum length. OK, about 70 words were from the poem, and I used 10 words from a line from one of my lyrics, but I’m counting them.

I also came across a fun prompt (see Fibbing Friday below), so there’s a few more words for the tally.

From my blog this week

Fibbing Friday: Complete the – I stumbled upon this prompt in the afternoon and couldn’t resist

Weird Wednesday: June 2 – The Survey returns and CartoonsThe Day Before continues, and an unscientific survey

Tuesday Tidbits: Longevity – What’s the oldest thing you own?

Music Monday: I’ve Heard That Song Before – Sound familiar?

Second Chance Sunday: Blog ‘Bout Book Blogs – A long lost post I found

Here are a few other blogs I have enjoyed:

playgrounds and graveyards / poem-hubris – Shawn wrote 2 poems in response to the discovery of the remains of 215 children at a former residential school in Kamloops, BC.

Today’s #Photograph 3/Jun/21 – Stuart always has some wonderful photographs


Tuesday Tunes 59: More Seventies – The greatest decade in music? Maybe not, but there were a lot of great songs.

-Leon

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

Purchase paperback directly for the author!

Weekend Wrap-up: May 28

Quick! How many days in May? August? What about March? Can you instantly recall that information? You are lucky. I sure can’t. If you are like me, you had to start to recite: “Thirty days, has September, April, June…” and once you eliminated those ones, you came to the answer of 31.

Did you know if you put your fists together with your index fingers touching, starting from the left, each knuckle is a 31 day month and the dips are all 30 (except for that weird February which I can never remember what year is a leap year). Sure you have knuckle left over, and you have to point with your nose, but hey, it works.

I can recall many facts when I watch Jeopardy, many more if I have recorded it and press pause (not to Google, just to think). When I comes to math, I wish I was able to recall certain facts without resorting to tricks. I suppose mathematicians and scientists have a good memory and are able remember and recall what they learn instantly. Same goes for musicians. There’s an upcoming post in there – if I remember to write it. Now where was I…?

From my blog this week

Free Book Friday: May 28 – Review Copies

Thursday Thoughts: NFTs – WT#? – Should I jump on the NFT bandwagon?

Weird Wednesday: May 26th – Cartoons – Another The Day Before

Tuesday Tidbits: Life Lessons Learned From Exercising – Deep thoughts? Maybe?

Music Monday: You Oughta’ Tune – Yer Makin’ Me Cry – Autotune: Yay or Nay? Plus a song that makes me cry.

Here are a few other blogs you should visit:

Shards of Broken Glass – What did you collect as a child?

Stop and smell the roses? You should.

Short Story Collections – Free books courtesy of Stevie

Questions for Americans – The snacks are different. Not just the accents.

Smorgasbord Health Column – Laughter is the Best Medicine – The health benefits by Sally Cronin

Send me an email!

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

Purchase paperback directly for the author!

Weekend Wrap-up: May 22

I was able to get get back to my weekly blog schedule this week. I would like to plan out my posts better, but I’ll admit, most of the time, it’s a night before or morning of routine. Like right now…

I do keep a running Word doc with my ideas and thoughts to build on. Recently I had tried out a program called Shaxpir which I wrote about here: Tuesday Tune-up: Writing Tools / Programs. I was having some difficulty logging—Oh. You’re not done reading the linked post yet? Sorry. I’ll grab a coffee then…

Done? Great!

As I was saying, I was having some difficulty logging in and accessing my work, and the support that I was getting was substandard. Finally, Someone on a community board offered a solution that worked. Now the task is to remove my content—which thankfully did not have much new material—and delete the program.

Speaking of support, here is an update on my Wattpad vs. Inkitt experience (see this week’s Free Book Friday for context). I was having difficulty in Inkitt creating single spaces between my lines of poetry because each ‘Enter’ key stroke created a new paragraph.

After posting on the support forum, I received a response a week later, which did not work, and I haven’t heard anything since. Several other writers in the community offered solutions, with the same result.

I had abandoned Wattpad many months ago, but decided to give it a try. Experiencing the same issue, I emailed their support staff, and received an answer the same day, which worked! Want to create single spaces? Shift + Enter. Ta-Dah!

Wattpad: 1 Inkitt: 0

Have a great weekend! Here’s something else to read:

From my blog this week

Free Book Friday: May 21 – Reading & Writing Sites – A new promo, plus my thoughts/questions on Wattpad and Inkitt.

Thursday Thoughts: Aroma Therapy – Smells. Yes, smells.

Weird Wednesday: May 19th – Cartoons and Rhetorical Questions – Just what it says. Is it funny? I think so.

Tuesday Tirade: ROI – I rethink my reviewing strategy.

Music Monday: Riviera Galliard – I finally record one of the first pieces I wrote for classical guitar. It only took [cough] years.

Here are a few other blogs you should visit:


Twitter: Why do I bother? – Do you like Twitter?

Thoughts about letter writing – When was the last time you hand-wrote a letter?

The Anti-TBR Tag – Everyone has a “I won’t read that, list.”

Bags For Life Or Bag For The Week? – Plastic shopping bags. Do you still have them?

Still looking for some readers to go over my NaPoWriMo book:

Send me an email!

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

Purchase paperback directly for the author!

Free Book Friday: May 21 – Reading & Writing Sites

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.

Quick question: Have you used any of the links that I have provided? Let me know if you have found anything interesting.

New this week:

Reading & Writing Sites

I have used the writing sites Wattpad in the past, and most recently, Inkitt to gain some readership for my books by posting my sample books there – with little success. I don’t know how many readers visit those sites vs. how many are writers.

Have you visited either site as a reader? A writer? What has been your experience?

My next posting will be a bit of a test. I am going to post my NaPoWriMo collection on each site to see which one excels in two categories: Reader acquisition and site support.

Before I post I still need a few people to read over the collection:

Do you have an eye for details? I compiled all my NapoWriMo poems into one volume, but it needs a once over to check for errors. Send me a message below. I’ll send a word doc. for editing.

Use contact form below

Those are just the new ones! Click the link below for currently running promotions!

Discover New Authors and Free Books

Do you have a free book you would like featured?


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

Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Weekend Wrap-up: May 15

I received my first shot of AstraZeneca several weeks ago. Two weeks ago I had a sore throat and a runny nose. Cold? Seasonal reactions? It went away in about a day. A week later I tested positive for Covid-19. Boo. I have been limiting my contacts over the past year as best I could, but there you go. As per health regulations, I was required to isolate for 10 days from when my symptoms started, so it was actually only 4 days. Unfortunately, one of my contacts has to isolate for 14 days from last contact.

You try to do everything right, and it still gets ya. Would it have been worse without the first shot? Can’t say, can you? You have nothing to compare it to, but more than likely it may have been.

It got me to thinking. How many people skirt or bend the rules for self-isolation. I could have gone for a run or a bike ride, popped out to the store, etc. I wasn’t going to because it’s the right thing to do for the health of the community.

I was able to put a dent in my freezer food, and made some interesting – and not so interesting – meals from my pantry. I missed my exercising routine, and I now dislike burpees even more…

I wrote and read more, so not a total write-off.

From my blog this week:

Thursday Thoughts: Blogging Questions? – I’m sure other bloggers have the same.

Open Book Blog Hop: May 11 – What we can do with 26 letters. I had fun with this and then realized that I missed an opportunity to talk about who music is created with just 12 notes. Might be a future Music Monday.

Tuesday Tune-up: Writing Tools / Programs – I am still displeased with Shaxpir (Confused? Cuz ya didn’t read it.)

Music Monday: Nobody’s Perfect – After this I finally got around to recording “Riviera Galliard”, the first piece I wrote. Tune in to Music Monday for the result.

I didn’t read many posts this week but here are a few you should visit:

New bloggers: Following Back – Good post from beetleypete

Monday Funnies… – Chris likes “The Far Side”. Me too.

Which brings me to this cartoon that I posted on Wednesday:

Stay tuned for more “The day before”.

Still looking for some readers to go over my NaPoWriMo book:

Send me an email!

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

Purchase paperback directly for the author!

Free Book Friday: May 14

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.

My new page will showcase the promotions that I am involved in, and will be updated every Friday. I hope that you will find something new.

Featured Freebie:

Last week’s offers:

Do you have an eye for details? I compiled all my NapoWriMo poems into one volume, but it needs a once over to check for errors. Send me a message below. I’ll send a word doc. for editing.

Use contact form below

Try your hand at reviewing!

Those are just the new ones! Click the link below for currently running promotions!

Discover New Authors and Free Books

Question: Is the italic font annoying? I’m up in the air about it…

Another question: Do you have a free book you would like featured?


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

Oh, pick me!
C’mon, space stuff!

Thursday Thoughts: Blogging Questions?

I’m relatively new to blogging, only doing it since 2019, and I’d like to get your thoughts on a few things.

Do you blog more than you read others, or are you primarily a reader? I suspect most people on WP write more, but maybe there are more that just enjoy the various offerings.

How often do you update your web pages? I have been working on streamlining my landing page, trying to keep it uncluttered and easy for visitors to find what they need while showcasing my work.

How much storage space do you use. Oh, I still have plenty, but there are a lot of photos and such. If I delete them, then the posts that use them will have the little “image not available” on them.

Do you find the block editor “yell at the screen worthy”?

And now he dirty word: Monetizing

I use my blog to: exercise my writing skills, entertain, inform, and to let people know that I am here. Through my blog, readers can visit my website if what I write is interesting to them. While there, they can: purchase any of my books or merchandise, receive free samples of my books when they sign up for my newsletter, listen to some of the music that I have written, and look for free offerings from other authors I promote. 

I notice that some posts are partial, which if you wish to read the rest, a link is provided that will take you to the writer’s website. Obviously, this will boost the traffic there, but do you tend to pass those over in favor of staying within the WP feeds? I could probably put my posts onto my Medium.com page and get more reads there, but that feels like I’m trying to control where the reader goes.

Do you use your blog primarily for revenue, or is it for the love of writing?

There you go. Discuss.

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

Purchase paperback directly for the author!