Episode 20 is a solo episode where, in response to a few listeners who reached out and asked if he’d be willing to share more about his background and experience as an author, Mark takes the opportunity to reveal his own writer journey and the lessons learned along the way.
Prior to the lessons, Mark shares a bit of a personal update that includes the following:
- Work on the forthcoming traditionally published book MACABRE MONTREAL which he is co-authoring with Shayna Krishnasamy
- Work on the forthcoming anthology he is editing for WMG Publishing called FEEL THE LOVE
- The new goal of weight-lifting at the gym now that the 21 K half marathon goal was reached (and the interesting way that ties in to LESSON ONE) and the importance of that to his “healthy writer lifestyle”
This episode’s “Twisting by the Fool” Tongue Twister came from a listener request.
Mark does both the requested tongue twister (you know, the one about Peter Piper) as well as in the voice/accent specified by that same listener who enjoyed that from Episode 13’s twister done in the voice of Brian’s mother from the Monty Python movie Life of Brian.
He informs listeners that if there is a particular tongue twister they want him to try, or even if there is a silly voice they want to hear it in, to email or ping him on Twitter (@MarkLeslie)
The Terrible Tongue Twister segment (AKA “Twisting by the Fool”) is sponsored by Findaway Voices, who provide all the tools that an independent author or small publisher needs in order to get into the digital audiobook market.
The tongue-twisting corporate sponsorship helps pay for the hosting fees for the podcast. Mark takes a moment to thank new Stark Reflections Patreon supporters (you can support the show for as little as $1 a month) as well as those who have shared reviews of the show.
The first lesson Mark shares is in relation to being open to new perceptions, new ways of seeing things and how, sometimes, locking ourselves into a fixed view can potentially lead to us limiting ourselves. Listening to an audio book by Dan Clark has re-inspired him to consider his own biases. He shares his own experience with the gym in this regard as well as a look back on how, just a little over ten years ago, he was biased and prejudiced against self-publishing. He shares what and how his eyes were opened in that regard when he met Terry Fallis as a bookseller, who had originally self-published his novel The Best Laid Plans that went on to win multiple awards and be adapted into a CBC Television mini-series.
The second lesson that Mark shares takes him back to his earliest days of discovering the love for storytelling and writing. And that is the magic that happens with the pen kisses the page. Of something being created now and enjoyed later. Writers take that for granted, but it is tinkering with immortality. He shares his discovery of his mother’s old Underwood typewriter and how his storytelling evolved from “live” imagined stories with Fisher Price figurines to stick figure tales, then full length cartoons, and then longer text-based stories.
The third lesson has to do with the learning that happens when you are first writing and how, even when creating something that might be considered throw-away early fan-fiction style writing, there’s a lesson to be learned. Mark shares what writing a terrible novel at the age of 13 taught him about discipline and sacrifice and so many elements that are important for a novelist to learn.
Mark ends the show asking listeners if they enjoyed this writer journey and if they want it to continue in future episodes (feel free to poke him directly or comment below with your thoughts on that), but also promises that there are more great interviews with amazing folks coming.
Links of Interest:
- Episode 2: Living the Healthy Writer’s Life with Joanna Penn
- Macabre Montreal: Ghostly Tales, Ghastly Events, and Gruesome True Stories
- WMG Publishing Fiction River Anthology Series
- Dan Clark
- Terry Fallis
- Conan the Barbarian Comic Books (1970s to 1990s)
- Mark’s Website
- Findaway Voices
- Sign up for a free author Reedsy account and get a $20 credit towards professional services for authors