Title logo

We all need a safety net,
but need a true friend
even more...

What does a child go through
when a parent is an opioid addict?

I write thrillers to help readers with their own pain ~ Geoffrey Wells.


I wrote Never Less in the first person entirely from the point of view of two twelve-year-olds, making the assumption that they see through the parental obfuscation--and desperately want to help.

Nearly 92,000 persons in the U.S. died from drug-involved overdose in 2020, including illicit drugs and prescription opioids, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH). And, over the last two years the COVID pandemic has accelerated those fatalities.

As you know, I write thrillers on tough subjects, and the opioid research I have done for my new middle grade mystery is the most devastating. There are wonderful books for adults on how to manage opioid addiction, however, there are very few written for kids on how to manage an addicted parent. This book is to help middle graders with their own pain.

Here is the description…

The day two twelve-year-olds stumble across a secret tunnel is the day they start to save their dads. Pablo is a Dreamer kid whose father is one step away from deportation. When self-assured Mindy begs Pablo to help her distract her dad from taking narcotics, Pablo realizes she too has a father to save.

Can their octogenarian mentor keep them away from the derelict mill, now being used by drug traffickers? Or will the kids become victims in the drug trade when Pablo risks his life to sabotage a black market operation?

Never Less is a timely and empowering story to help middle graders learn about the complexities of the opioid crisis in an adventurous and relatable way. Young readers will see how they can solve tough grown-up problems by relying on their true friends more and more…never less.





Leah has been working as an illustrator and title lettering artist for over 30 years. Her illustrations and calligraphy have appeared in numerous art books; design annuals, including Communication Arts, Society of Illustrators, Print, Spectrum, Visual Club, and RSVP.

Book Publishers:
HarperCollins; Hyperion; Disney; Little, Brown; Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt; Penguin; Random House; Candlewick; Macmillan; Viking; Henry Holt; Algonquin; David R. Godine; Penguin NZ; Hazard Press (NZ); Tarn Publishing (NZ)
New York Times; Utne Reader; GAMES; Urbanite; Santa Fe Reporter; Horticulture; Eating Well; Woman’s Day; Delta Sky; and many others. 

Thank you, Leah for describing our process:

“When designing the cover for Never Less, I was excited about illustrating the scene Geoffrey suggested, because it was dramatic, visually complex, and emotionally intriguing. He provided wonderful references of the area and architecture. I was also inspired by the way Geoffrey weaves together intense, up-to-the-moment social issues with echoes of their deep historical connections. As an artist, I strive to make visual connections between art styles of the past and present, and I especially enjoy layering subtle collage elements, mainly from my collection of antique books and ephemera, beneath the detailed imagery I create. In this cover, if you look closely, you can see portions of a star map, a map of the Long Island coastline, and a Prohibition-era newspaper. The challenge (as always) is to pull all of these elements together in a cohesive way that appeals to the eye, mind and heart.

One unusual aspect of this cover (for me) was the title calligraphy. I’ve been writing with dip pens for most of my life, and though I now create titles in many different mediums and styles, this is the very first time my main lettering tool ended up being a Sharpie! Geoffrey wanted to capture a sense of urgency, as if Mindy were writing a note for Pablo. It was a fun challenge to come up with a Sharpie style that would evoke that feeling while remaining legible in thumbnails and harmonizing with the rest of the art.

Thanks so much, Geoffrey, for all your references, wise suggestions, curious spirit, and patience!”

~Leah Palmer Preiss

Please share this page on social media.

Like this:

Like Loading...
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x


keep calm
& write us

%d bloggers like this: