Day at Whitehall Middle School

whitehall middle schoolWhat a fun day I had.

John Mierz, a teacher at the Whitehall Middle School, and I met at the Barnes & Noble book signing on November 6th.  The students there are preparing for a big writing assignment that will last an entire month.  John invited me into Ms. Kibart’s classes to talk with their seventh graders about writing and, in particular, how to develop strong and memorable characters.

tumblr_ntbaymGPK91tjufa4o1_1280I put together a PowerPoint presentation with things I’ve learned about character development, including strategies for introducing humor and compassion into the characters.

Such bright and inquisitive minds.  They kept me busy answering questions all day long.  Where did you get the idea for the book?  How did you decide what to name your characters?  How did you come up with the strange characters in Bernie’s woods?  Are you writing another book?

The time just flew.

I asked John and Vicky to invite me back next year!



Posted in News | Comments Off on Day at Whitehall Middle School

Barnes & Noble Mega-Signing

On November 6th from 6-9 PM, the Muskegon Barnes & Noble will be hosting a mega-event in which FIFTY Michigan authors have been invited to present their books.

Barnes and Noble Mega-Event

Come and meet the authors.  They represent every genre you can think of and they will have plenty of copies of their books to see and discuss.

You can get a head start on your Christmas shopping with a book signed by the author. What a wonderful gift!


Posted in Book Signings, News | Comments Off on Barnes & Noble Mega-Signing

Afternoon with the Authors

The Norton Shores Library is sponsoring a special event on November 4th.

Norton Shores Library

They have invited three local authors (Scott Payne, Ron Robotham, and myself) to come in and talk about the process of writing, publishing, and, of course, about our books.

November is National Writing Month, so it’s very timely.

Please join us!

For more info, check the Facebook Event Posting.


Posted in Book Signings, News | Comments Off on Afternoon with the Authors

SILVER – Literary Classics

literary-classics-SILVER-AWARDS-SEAL-300x300This is a rather special award.  The Literary Classics Awards are given only to books that have distinguished themselves for children.

The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Putty just won the Silver Medal in the 2015 Literary Classics Book Award Contest.

The book was entered in the Young Adult Fantasy category.

They wrote a wonderful editorial review for the book.

An Awards Ceremony will be held in Los Angeles on April 2, 2016.  I’m very tempted by this one.  It’s the same time as the AWP Conference, which would be fun to attend.

Thank you very much!



Posted in Book Awards & Honors, News | Comments Off on SILVER – Literary Classics

FINALIST – Best Indie Book Awards

BIBA2014BlankWhat an interesting award!

The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Putty just won 3rd Place (a FINALIST award) in the 2015 Best Indie Book Awards contest.

The book was entered in the Young Adult category.

What made this award so interesting is that they also took the time to tell us in detail what they liked about the book and what they thought we could have done better.  VERY interesting feedback, and I promise it will be factored into the next book.

Thank you!


Posted in Book Awards & Honors, News | Comments Off on FINALIST – Best Indie Book Awards

GOLD MEDAL – Readers’ Favorite


Readers Favorite - GoldWe just learned that The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Putty won a Gold Medal in the Readers’ Favorite Book Contest.

The book was entered in the Fantasy Category.

The Awards will be given out on November 21st at special Awards Ceremony at the Regency Hotel Miami.  It sounds like an interesting event and Marge and I have been talking about attending.  (I’ll keep you posted.)

We also received an editorial review for the book, and I’m pleased to share it here:

The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Putty by Steve LeBel is an epic science fiction novel about creation, and a race of shimmering gods that use something called universe putty to help mold worlds, and such. Get it? Kind of like Silly Putty, but on steroids. The story begins with Bernie, growing up in the shadow of his father, Simeon, one of the most renowned universe builders with three best universe awards. After his parents divorce, his father abandons Bernie and his mother. Forced to live in poverty, Bernie grows up with minimal friends. Billy is the bully that plagues Bernie his whole life, especially after Bernie came to his friend Suzie’s rescue. After Bernie graduates from school with a universe building degree, he applies for a builder’s job, and lands a probationary position with The Business. As an average student the odds are against Bernie from the start, especially when he finds out that his nemesis, Billy, is in the cubicle next to his. Billy’s uncle is the boss. Bernie is given a trial project of building a universe and if he passes, he gets a permanent position. Billy is out for revenge from day one, and sets out to sabotage any chances Bernie has.

Steve LeBel does a magnificent job of creating a race of gods that are, above all else, human, except for being immortal creators that is. Steve’s writing style pulls you into the story with a sense of humor that often occurs in the last line of a chapter. You simply cannot help laughing out loud, while turning the page to start the next chapter. Although this is an epic sci-fi novel, it is a marvelous story that will touch you in more ways than you would ever expect. The Universe Builders is smart, witty, creative, and captivating like nothing I have ever read before. Almost impossible to put down. Awesome!

Reviewed By Stephen Fisher for Readers’ Favorite

Posted in Book Awards & Honors, News | Comments Off on GOLD MEDAL – Readers’ Favorite

BOOK of the YEAR – Independent Author Network

INA Book of the Year 1st PlaceThe final results of the Independent Author Network’s Book of the Year Awards have been announced.


They declared The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Putty to be the Book of the Year (1st place) for 2015.

The book was also entered into the Young Adult Category where it won the Outstanding Young Adult Novel Award, which made it eligible for the Book of the Year Award.

This is what they had to say:

We are pleased to announce that your book, The Universe Builders, is the First Place Winner in the 2015 IAN Book of the Year Awards.

Standing out from the more than 450 entries, your book was an early favorite. Your story’s creativity and innovative ideas thoroughly charmed and entertained our judges. We congratulate you on this excellent achievement.

This award comes with a $1500 cash bonus as well as some other cool prizes.

Needless to say, we’re thrilled with this outcome.

awards 03.1

This is the link to the Independent Author Network’s Press Release.

Posted in Book Awards & Honors, News | Comments Off on BOOK of the YEAR – Independent Author Network

Arts & Drafts Festival


Come join the fun at the Ross Lake Park 39th Annual Craft Show.

There will be lots of local authors with their books.  Every one will be happy to tell you about their books and to sign any copies you’d like autographed.

Here’s the details:

Saturday, August 15th from 10 am to 5 pm
Ross Lake Park
82 Randall Rd.
Muskegon, MI 49441

These maps will show you where the park and the exhibitors are located. (click to enlarge).

Ross Park    Ross Park Layout 1    Ross Park Layout 2

sales 01And, of course, I will have The Universe Builders available.

Come on by and say hello.  We will be at booth 161.



This event was a lot of fun.  These are some pictures we took during the fair.  I plan to attend next year’s event too.

IMG_1425 IMG_1428 IMG_1430 IMG_1432

Posted in Book Signings, News | Comments Off on Arts & Drafts Festival

North Muskegon Art Fair

north muskegon art fairI’m looking forward to the North Muskegon Art Fair on Saturday.  These are the details:

North Muskegon Art Fair
August 8th from 9am to 4pm
Walker Park
1502 Ruddiman Drive
North Muskegon, MI 49445

There will be at least a dozen local authors attending the event.  I will be in booth #101, located on the sidewalk facing Ruddiman Drive.

Stop by and say hello.

For more info:  Click Here

I thought I’d share a few pictures from this event.  It was fun and I’m definitely planning to attend next year.

IMG_1411 IMG_1401 IMG_1406 IMG_1409

Posted in Book Signings, News | Comments Off on North Muskegon Art Fair

OUTSTANDING – Independent Author Network

INA young adult outstanding

We just received notice that The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Putty has been declared the OUTSTANDING YOUNG ADULT NOVEL in the Independent Author Network Book of the Year Contest.

The book was also entered into the Fantasy Category where it also did well, finishing as a FINALIST in that category.

Needless to say, we’re delighted with this outcome.

(And the cash prize is pretty cool, too.)

IAN Finalist

Thank you, IAN.


p.s. Because The Universe Builders won the OUTSTANDING YOUNG ADULT NOVEL, it is eligible for one of the top three awards (20015 Book of the Year – 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places).  Click here to see how we did!


Posted in Book Awards & Honors, News | Comments Off on OUTSTANDING – Independent Author Network