Book Review: The Beauty Shop

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The Beauty Shop by Suzy Henderson, 313 pages, Avis Press, November 28, 2016. Genre: Historical Romance. Warning: May Contain Spoilers. I was raised by the Greatest Generation, the men and women of World War II. My grandfather and seven great-uncles … Continue reading

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Book Review: Fear Dreams by J. A. Schneider

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Book Review: Fear Dreams by J.A. Schneider, RGS Media, March 28th, 2016; 240 pages. May Contain Spoilers. Fear Dreams is a tense, psychological, thrilling mystery. It has the atmosphere of the films “Dominique” and “What Lies Beneath”. The tension builds … Continue reading

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Interview with Stuart Kenyon

Hello, all! Today I am interviewing Stuart Kenyon, author of Swiftly Sharpens the Fang, and the Subnormal Series.

Leigh: Thank you so much, Stuart, for the interview! My first question relates to your latest work. I really loved your latest book, Swiftly Sharpens the Fang. What motivated you to write it?

Stuart: The Brexit vote. I first imagined the storyline a couple of years back, but I planned to work on other projects first. Then Britain voted to leave the EU. In my opinion, the referendum result legitimised racism in some people’s eyes, and sure enough, within days, there was a spike in the number of xenophobic attacks reported.

Leigh: What do you think about the rise of Donald Trump and more broadly, the rise in popularity of far right political parties in Europe?

Stuart: It troubles me greatly. Just seventy years ago – a blink of an eye in historical terms – fascism was defeated, its ugliness exposed for the world to see. But, it seems, people have short memories, and the world seems to be regressing. Hopefully, we won’t have to learn our lesson the hard way again.

Leigh: I noticed you’ve previously written a Dystopian trilogy, which I very much look forward to reading soon. Can you tell us a little bit about what the trilogy is about?

Stuart: The SUBNORMAL trilogy centres on, Paul, a young man with Asperger’s Syndrome, who lives in an alternative-reality contemporary Britain. The UK is ruled by a tyrannical dictator who believes that anyone who isn’t “productive” – like the disabled – should be marginalised and persecuted. Along with a crew of unlikely allies, Paul uses his intelligence to strike back against the Government which oppresses him.

Leigh: One of the things that has me excited to delve into your trilogy is the main character. My daughter is autistic and I think there aren’t enough books and movies out there that have such characters. Would you agree?

Stuart: I certainly would! My son is autistic, too, and I have many traits of Asperger’s myself. Diversity, especially as regards to disability, is sadly lacking in fiction, both in literature and on the screen. Also, the representations we do see are often clichéd.

Leigh: Are there any specific petitions you’d encourage those of us concerned about the rights of autistic persons to sign? Also, which charitable organizations do you think are doing truly important work right now?

Stuart: There is a particular petition, yes: Young Minds . In the UK, young people with autism and mental health problems are being sent to mental hospitals which are almost Victorian in their approach and atmosphere. Okay, bit of an exaggeration, maybe, but they are far from suitable for the children therein. Furthermore, they’re often hundreds of miles away from their families. As for a charitable organisation doing great work in the UK, the National Autistic Society is a great example. We’re having trouble with our local authority over our son’s transition to secondary school (blog coming soon), and the NAS have been a great help.

Leigh: Thank you, Stuart, for taking the time to answer my questions. Readers, if you want to check out Stuart Kenyon’s works, you can find them at Stuart Kenyon on Amazon . Thank you!

Check the blog posts below for how to subscribe!

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Book Review: Swiftly Sharpens the Fang

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Book Review: Swiftly Sharpens the Fang: A Brutal Tale of Racism, Radicalisaton, and Revenge by Stuart Kenyon, 293 pages, 2017, English language Kindle Edition, Distributed by Amazon Digital Services LLC, ASIN: B01MU2C1R5. Warning: May Contain Spoilers.             This book is … Continue reading

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Formatting in Word 2016 for a Print Book 1

You had this story bursting inside you, demanding to be set free. You’ve liberated it onto the pages of your Word 2016 program. You want to publish it, but you aren’t sure what you need to do to make the document publishable for a printed book. (For formatting for Kindle E-books, see my earlier post).

The size of the book will usually determine what size to go with. Most novels run between 200 and 450 pages in a 6” by 9” format. Although other sizes can be used, this is the most common size for a printed paperback.

However, first things first. You’ll want a fresh copy to ensure all your indents and page breaks are as you like them. “But Leigh,” you may protest, “It’s not how it looks that matters, it’s the content!” The truth is nobody is going to enjoy your work very much if they are distracted by formatting, margin, indentation, spelling, and grammatical errors throughout your book. Formatting is very important. One may not be able to judge a book by its cover, formatting, etc., but if an author truly loves the product of his or her imagination, would the author not do everything he or she can to make it the best it can be?

Open a new Word document. Go into “Layout”. Select ‘Size’. From the drop down select “More Paper Sizes”, like so:

More paper Sizes

Go in and change the paper size from 8.5 X 11 to 6 X 9, like so:

Page Setup 1

Page setup2.png

Next, change the margins from 1” to .5” (for up to 300 pages) or .75 (for 301-500 pages) all around with a .13” gutter, like so:


Copy your entire book, title page and all, and paste it to a new fresh word document in Normal mode. Make sure you paste it using Keep Text Only.

Normal mode is here:


Once that is done, you no longer have any indents, page breaks, etc. in your document.

Run spell check and grammar check. Take the time to read the recommended word in context. It makes the difference between “Of coarse” and “Of course”. Don’t assume Grammar Check is always right. Always Grammar Check the Grammar Checker!

The final step will be to place the indentations, page breaks, page numbers, footer, and header as needed. I will put out more tips on how to do these things in later installments.

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Word 2016: Removing the Page Number from the First Page

If you want to simply make the first page number disappear from the page, follow these simple steps.

First, go to the Insert tab at the top of the page. Select Header. From the drop down, near the bottom, select “Edit Header”.


This automatically takes you to the Design section of the Header and Footer. Check mark the box next to “Different First Page”.


It should automatically delete the page number from either the header or footer of your document. If it does not, move the cursor there and delete the number. Hit the red X to close the design tool.



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Chapter Two: The Devil in the Details

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Shrieking Mandrakes by Leigh Holland Chapter Two: The Devil in the Details             “You’re the devil.” he said from the other side of the door. “Oh, don’t be silly.” I protested. “The devil is bigger. He’s also taller and has … Continue reading

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Shout Out to SelfPubBookCovers!

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I wanted to take a moment to give a shout out to SelfPubBookCovers ! I love writing, but I must admit, I’m not a book cover artist. I often second guess my choices when I try to put together a … Continue reading

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Formatting in Word 16 for Kindle

Today, I’m going to talk a little bit about formatting in Microsoft Word 16 for Kindle.

First, you just type like you normally would. That being said, there are a few things Kindle doesn’t ‘translate’, such as special word styles, headers, footers, bullets, auto numbering, text boxes, and certain types of fonts. Putting those things into a document you intend to upload, convert, and publish on Kindle won’t even register, so it’s wasted effort.

What does Kindle recognize? Bold, italics, headings, and indentation. Kindle will automatically indent the first line of a paragraph if you don’t- although I personally prefer to indent them myself. Also, if you want to see what your e-book manuscript will look like after conversion on Kindle, you can set the document size to 3.5″ by 5″, with .25″ margins all around. That view will give you a pretty good idea how it will look on Kindle.

Don’t forget to use a Page Break to separate the Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication Page, and between chapters. This will create a neater and cleaner presentation for your readers.

Happy Writing!

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One: The Sinner and the Savior

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Shrieking Mandrakes by Leigh Holland Chapter One: The Sinner and the Savior            Blast. The cobblestone looks nice from up above it, but when you’re lying on it, it’s just a bunch of jagged little rocks. They don’t pierce as … Continue reading

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