Archives for July 2013

The TV commercial for Secondhand Sight

finalist-shiny-webThere’s a pretty good chance you won’t see it anywhere else, so I thought I’d show you the television commercial for Secondhand Sight, a finalist for the 2013 Readers’ Choice Award for Fiction/Horror.

For a limited time, you can visit this website for a FREE copy, in exchange for a fair review of the book of Amazon.

Love it or hate it, just give your honest opinion of my novel.

That’s all I can ask.

So without further ado, here’s the commercial on YouTube.


Serial killer cells

southernprose_cover_SHSI have written five books, both novels and nonfiction.

But I only write about things that interest me.

My lifelong love of thrillers and detective fiction, combined with my interest in supernatural phenomena, led to my desire to first write Coastal Empire and then Secondhand Sight, a paranormal thriller.

The villain of Secondhand Sight was a serial killer, one of the scariest and most depraved members of our society — a person who murders a number of people, simply for the perverse pleasure of killing them.

Speaking of Secondhand Sight, this month you can get a free e-book from Story Cartel and be registered to win a free Amazon gift card at the same time.

And tell your friends.

At the polar opposite end of the spectrum in regard to my reading interests are science and medicine, inspired by my research to write Divine Evolution and then Counterargument for God.

Mix all my various interests in a blender, and about the worst idea I might ever conceive might be a serial killer infected with AIDS, intentionally spreading the virus to everyone with whom he comes in contact.

Let’s face it — the words “serial killer” and “HIV” ought to send a chill down your spine.

Or it could cause you to weep tears of joy.

What if scientists discovered that genetically modified HIV virus could be used to cure cancer?

Doubts are perfectly understandable. Seeing is believing.

So watch a three minute video found at this link, and learn to believe in miracles.


Travesty of justice: Kolton Houston versus the NCAA

photo from

photo from

Full disclosure: I am a graduate of the University of Georgia, class of 1983. I bleed red and black.

It is fair to say I am an avid Georgia Bulldog fan.

Nevertheless, I’m quite sure that my school allegiance doesn’t color my judgment in this matter, based on the available facts, not emotion.

That caveat aside, I will say that it is nothing less than a travesty of justice that Kolton Houston remains ineligible to compete on the football field. And that’s not just my admittedly biased opinion.

ESPN’s Outside the Lines told the basic story, a rather depressing tale of how one young man has been forced by this monopoly that controls every aspect of collegiate sports to pay, and continue to pay, for the mistake of a medical professional made almost four years ago.

The NCAA has unchecked power over the lives of people such as Kolton Houston, a young man who reportedly dreamed of wearing the Bulldog uniform since he was four-years-old.

And as Lord Acton famously said, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Once upon a time, all the way back in 2010 a high school athlete was injected with a forbidden anabolic steroid to facilitate healing from shoulder surgery.

No doubt, somebody made a bad judgment call.

Compounding an error in judgment into a tragic mistake, the injection went into fat instead of muscle, causing Houston to test positive years after that one-and-only treatment.

As a result of that error, Houston has become the most tested athlete in the history of college sports.

The evidence remains incontrovertible — even if Houston knowingly accepted an injection of a banned substance once during high school, he never repeated the mistake.

So why does he remain ineligible to play?

What more can the young man do? How much longer must he suffer for the mistake made by his doctor?

Due to this travesty of justice, Houston has lost three years of eligibility to play college football.

Chip Towers reported in the AJC that in a desperate gamble, Houston even underwent risky elective surgery in an attempt to remove enough contaminated fat tissue from the injection site to regain his eligibility.

It almost worked. The surgery reduced the level of steroid in his tissue from 260 nanograms per milliliter all the way down to 4.

But that’s not good enough for NCAA president Mark Emmert. The NCAA’s inflexible standard remains a maximum of 2.5 ng/ml.

When asked about the issue, Emmert sneered that he was surprised Georgia officials had the audacity to complain after Houston’s appeal was denied.

After all, he had lifted the preposterous lifetime ban previously given Houston after being presented with the overwhelming evidence of his innocence.

Emmert simply wasn’t willing to go any farther. Rules are rules.

Unless the NCAA president has a change of heart or until 1.5 ng/ml more of this banned substance dissipates from Houston’s body, this poor young man will remain on the sidelines, confined to the practice field. However, things are always subject to change.

The NCAA currently has a bit of a public relations problem.

That monolithic monopoly potentially faces a class action lawsuit brought by several former student athletes, who have grown tired of watching the NCAA reap billions in profit that they have steadfastly refused to share with those same players.

A piece of unsolicited advice to the NCAA — it would be unwise to have me serve on that jury, given my current frame of mind.

The organization could stand to have a little positive news in the media, especially right at the moment.

The reader may be wondering: is there anything you can do?

Why, yes.

There is a petition in support of reinstating the eligibility of Kolton Houston that already has a several thousand signatures.

Thousands more need to sign.

Enough is enough.


Secondhand Sight: 2013 Readers’ Favorite finalist

southernprose_cover_SHSSecondhand Sight, my second novel as “Rocky” Leonard, has been named one of six finalists in the Fiction/Horror category in the 2013 Readers’ Favorite International Awards.

This honor would not be possible without the efforts and skill of my editors, proof readers, copy editors, cover designers, and all those who helped me produce these three books that have been deemed worthy of finalist recognition.

This year I’m blessed to have three books remaining in competition in three different categories, with Secondhand Sight joining Always a Next One and Counterargument for God!

One Readers’ Favorite reviewer wrote about this novel:

The plot is deceptively simple because it is so ingenious. Dan’s descent into a manic paranoia is skillfully documented, and one feels for him in the mental confusion that accompanies his visions. The author also includes some interesting thoughts on the nature of dreams, hallucinations, psychometry (psychic revelations via touching objects), and the power of the mind. Murder mystery and paranormal fans will love this book.

finalist-shiny-webLast year I learned the hard way that a five-star review doesn’t guarantee a novel will become a finalist.

I know that I’m very fortunate for this opportunity.

Coastal Empire never made it this far.



Counterargument for God: 2013 Readers’ Favorite finalist


Truly, my cup overflows.

My book Counterargument for God has been named one of six finalists for in the 2013 Readers’ Favorite International Awards contest in the Non Fiction category Religion/Philosophy.

One very kind reviewer said:

As I review this book, I find myself wanting to quote the author. His presentation is tactful, eloquent and stated in a logical manner. John Leonard has extensively researched the scientific arguments he discusses in this book…The author states his own personal beliefs in a non-threatening logical manner. I find this book well-written and documented. It is very easy to highly recommend this book.

finalist-shiny-webOn a somewhat related note, Dr. Robert Rose will be interviewing me on Wednesday, July 10th. This will be my third visit to “Rewiring Your Brain.”

The first two interviews took place earlier this year, on April 5th and then again on April 17th where I offered my “positive” counterargument for God using the best scientific evidence the current experts in their respective fields have given us.

I was very pleased when Dr. Rose invited me back for a third hour, this time to discuss how Christianity affected my life.

Dr. Rose is one of the most interesting and open-minded atheists I’ve met on my faith journey.

It should be a very interesting conversation.

Best of all, I’ve doubled my odds of earning that trip to Miami!

Always a Next One: finalist in Reader’s Favorite contest

southernprose_cover_AANOMy book Always a Next One: true stories of dog fostering has been named one of four finalists in the Non Fiction/Animals category for the 2013 Readers’ Favorite International Award contest.

It’s a great honor just to have made it this far.

Authors from all over the world enter the contest each year. More books and authors entered this year’s contest than ever before.

One Readers’ Favorite review said the following:

“Always a Next One” is a wonderfully written story of a family’s involvement with taking in foster animals until their permanent homes are found. Readers who like Herriot’s animal stories will be drawn to John Leonard’s writings and will want to read more than the sample chapter of dog stories featuring Leonard’s beloved Ox at the book’s end.The writing in each story is consistent and not maudlin and the animals’ characters come through believably. Simone the cat is a cat, not a human in disguise.

finalist-shiny-webHowever, this year’s competition is more formidable than ever. The other three finalists also earned five star reviews.

Furthermore, the judges may decide none of the finalists merited the gold medal. Just because the medals exist for each category doesn’t mean they must be awarded.

The winners will be announced September 1st.

Finalists are introduced and invited to the stage. Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medalists also receive a physical award. The banquet will be held November 23rd in Miami, timed to coincide with the Miami Book Festival International.

A visit to Miami in November sounds really nice!

A review of The Lone Ranger

Full disclosure: I was a huge fan of The Lone Ranger when I was a kid. Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels could do no wrong, in my eyes. Now, fast-forward forty years.

As a writer, I know it’s strictly forbidden to speak poorly of your critics. But then it occurred to me that these aren’t critics of my novels, so I should feel free to speak my mind.

So I must ask professional critics who gleefully savaged Disney’s The Lone Ranger: did we watch the same movie?

The Lone Ranger has been described as a “clunky two hour grind“, a “runaway train“, an “unholy mess with slapstick antics“, something that “not even Johnny Depp can rescue.”

Only the guy at Forbes got it mostly right: The Lone Ranger is a “fun summer ride.”

His only mistake was to say Pirates of the Caribbean was a better film.

Let’s face it: Pirates was a lot of fun but in reality the first movie had no plot. The entire movie was literally based on a two-minute ride in an amusement park.

Johnny Depp plays Tonto.

Johnny Depp plays Tonto.

I never bothered watching any of the sequels. Johnny Depp wasn’t just the best thing going in that quartet of movies; he was all Pirates had. And yet, that was more than enough to sell tickets.

By comparison, The Lone Ranger actually tells a story.

No, it wasn’t perfect. The scene with the rabbits was bizarre and disturbing, and the little kid dressed as the Lone Ranger could have been edited out with no harm to the main story.

No, it was nowhere near as brilliantly conceived as Memento, not flawless executed like LA Confidential, or as quite as funny as The Princess Bride.

But it didn’t have to be. The movie only had to be entertaining, and it was. Very entertaining.

And after all these years, I finally know that “Kemosabe” means “wrong brother.”

My wife’s first words after the final curtain dropped were “that was excellent” and “I definitely want to see it again.”

This same woman said of Pirates that considering the money it grossed, she expected it to be better.

So these aren’t merely the jaded words of a lifelong fan, but the opinion of a woman who’s hard to please when it comes to movies.