Meet John Davis

This week, I’d like to introduce John Davis, pulp science fiction author of the Gunship series, the Fleet series and many other stories. If you’re a fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Firefly, or pulp sci-fi in general, you’ll love his books.


Adam wants anything but a normal life. As captain of the Gunship, he and a crew of unique characters do what they have to in order to survive. But with a war between planets looming, the only decent paying job could be the job that kills him.

John Macallen Davis is the author of over 30 published stories, and has picked up a readership because of his pulp influence on science fiction. Prior to writing full-time, he worked for a satellite company that everyone hates while studying physical fitness in college.

When he’s not writing, John enjoys reading and listening to good music and is trying to learn how to play the guitar. He reads a variety of books, most notably early 1900s pulp fiction and Stephen King.

John currently lives in Southwest Virginia with his wife of 15 years and their two children.

1. Tell us a little about you and what you’re working on.

I’m a regular guy who loves to read/write and I’ve worked my butt off every step of the way. I figured out somewhere along the way that authors typically find success when they pin their hat to a certain niche and style. I write short stories and love science fiction, so I incorporated the lifestyle of a 1920s pulp author and so far it’s worked. That’s my niche. Short stories that are fun to read. I’m not striving for perfection here, I just push myself to entertain readers. Currently I’m laying the foundation for a brand new series called Reach, which takes place in the distant future and will arrive in serialized installments.

You As A Reader

2. When did you first fall in love with books?

We were rather poor growing up and books were cheap. So while a lot of my friends were scoring the newest video games, I was forced to read. It didn’t take long for me to discover that books are both a form of entertainment and an escape. The human imagination is far better than any video game I’ve ever played.

3. What’s your favorite book from your childhood?

I was really into fantasy growing up and I know the obvious answer here would be Lord of the Rings. However, it’s not. I was quickly sucked into the world of Conan the Barbarian and really loved the idea of a strongman with a wicked weapon basically roaming through whatever country he pleases and making short work of anyone who tries to stop him. To me, this was the idea of true freedom and absolutely spells adventure! I still get excited by it today, and collect as many of the old Savage Sword of Conan magazines as I can get my hands on.

4. Of the books you’ve read, which one changed you the most?

I think all published authors have had the same moment. For me, I bought a book based on the EVE universe (science fiction), only to realize that it was like reading a 600-page dictionary. I mean, there was absolutely no sense of action or adventure, and I began to wonder how this book (though well-written in a literal sense) ever got published. That’s when I did some research online, found out the guy was a first-time author, and realized that anyone who takes it seriously enough can get into this writing thing – even me.

5. What’s the last book you read and your current favorite?

The last book I read was the second novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children. I saw the movie and it was original enough to get me excited, so I rushed out to continue the story. My current favorite is At The Earth’s Core by Edgar Rice Burroughs. In fact, I’m a huge fan of pulp fiction and this guy had it all figured out.

6. If you could meet any author, alive or dead, who would it be?

Well, as a writer who’d like to know as much as possible about success, I would have to pick Stephen King. The guy is obviously great at what he does, but he had some earlier struggles that I also dealt with. People think that he can publish anything now and it will become a best-seller, and that may be the case, but he didn’t start out with that kind of fame. Just like us, he started from the very bottom and worked his way up.

You As A Writer

7. When did you first know you were a writer?

This is a very good question as I suffer from severe social anxiety. I knew pretty early on that I was a writer. Deep down, writing provided a way to unwind and much like reading, it just felt right to me. The problem that I faced was avoiding the conversation. Whenever we ran into people we knew out in public (people we hadn’t seen for a while) the question always popped up. The last thing you want to do when you have social anxiety is to talk about writing. They want to know where you’re working and you want to avoid the conversation entirely, so “stay at home dad” was my escape hatch for a very long time. Eventually my wife called me out on it and that’s that. For most authors, I’m sure this sounds like a very strange problem. I’ve actually turned down potential book signings in my area because I’m horrified by the idea of sitting at a table and talking about myself all day.

8. Do you remember the first story you ever wrote? If so, what was it about?

Absolutely, and it was terrible. I didn’t get far enough to name it, but it was planned as a fantasy book. I quickly realized that writing fantasy is much harder than writing science fiction. The story involved a lot of snow and vampires, if I remember correctly.

9. What has been the most difficult part of your writing journey? The best part?

The best part of my journey has been the day I received my first check ($26). I still haven’t cashed it and it’s framed. I couldn’t get over the fact that someone out there was paying to read stories that began in my head. When it comes to the most difficult, some days you wake up and you just don’t want to write. I try to write for five or six hours each day, and just like any other job it has its days. I love writing, don’t get me wrong, but some days you just want to lay around and watch television all day. Learning to push through that mental attitude has been the toughest part, but I also believe that it’s what separates successful writers from aspiring writers.

10. Of all the writing advice you’ve received, what helped you the most?

Hang around a barber shop long enough and you’ll eventually get a haircut. I know, it sounds silly, but this is a gem when it comes to advice. Surround yourself with people that you respect in the world of writing. Hang around long enough and you’ll begin to pick up their good habits. I came in with zero knowledge of how the publishing industry works and I’ve written two #1 best-sellers (albeit briefly) on the Amazon Kindle. One of the two lasted for a whopping three hours, but that’s three hours that I outsold every Star Wars book on the planet. Hanging around with the right crowd had a lot to do with it.

11. Tell us about your current project and any others you’re working on.

I just wrote a short story called Hollow Earth that’s currently available across most eBook platforms. I also recently finished up a novel-length story called Wicked Dead, and it’s currently being butchered by my editor. As for this week, I’m world-building for a brand new science fiction series called Reach. Notebooks and sketches, all of that cool stuff.

Fun Stuff About You

12. Besides writing and reading, what are some of your other interests?

I actually attended college to become a fitness trainer and lift weights regularly. That seems to be my other anxiety relief outside of reading/writing. I’m also a big family man. I hang out with my daughter (who also loves to read) or play Nintendo with my son. I’m a die-hard fan of the show Survivor.

13. If you could become an instant expert at any one thing, what would it be and why?

Minimalism. Those who know me know that I’m not a technology guy. I used to be, but then I discovered minimalism and it has made my life more enjoyable. Minimalism is the art of simplifying your life and it truly does work. Outside of clothes, I’m currently in the process of streamlining my possessions down to a dozen or so. Minimalism involves a lot of prayer, meditation and a great understanding of how the world really works. I was first turned onto minimalism through reading up on transcendentalism. What is life really about – that’s the mystery, right? I don’t have the answers, of course, but I can guarantee you it doesn’t involve owning the next iPhone. 

14. You’ve just won an all expenses paid trip to anywhere in the world. Where would you go?

I’m the hermit and my wife’s the traveller, so I would probably let her decide. She’s very supportive, so it’s the least I could do. I know she’s always wanted to vacation in Hawaii.

Final Thoughts

15. How can people connect with you?

My official website is johndavisbooks.wordpress.com and that’s pretty much my hub of activity. From there, I have links to the rest of my pages (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube).

16. Anything else you’d like to tell us?

Never give up. Never ever give up. Writing is a very hard industry to work in and you will always work harder than you’re paid. If you are writing for the right reasons, hanging around the right folks and working hard, you will eventually find success. I’ve also put a lot of faith and trust in God’s will and He has yet to lead me astray.

Thanks for letting us get to know you a little. I know I’ve come away from this interview inspired to work even harder.

Are you interested to learn more about John Davis’s books? You can find them all on Amazon.

Gunship 1: The Flight
The Fleet: book 1
Hollow Earth

Meet Anne Wheeler

This week I’d like to introduce a friend of mine, Anne Wheeler. She’s the author of Forever’s End, an Asrian Skies short story and the upcoming novel Asrian Skies.


Katryn Holt scarcely remembers what life at the research station on Iythea was like before the Haederans arrived—but she can’t forget what life is like now. Between the forced labor and nights spent dreaming of a home she’ll never see again, quick glimpses of her sometimes lover Kaz are the only bright spot.

But now Kaz is dying, and the thing he wants most is the one thing Katryn can’t give him…freedom.

1. Tell us a little about you and what you’re working on.

I’m Anne, worker bee, mom to a three-year-old, and new indie author. I just self-published a short story, Forever’s End, and my novel Asrian Skies is set to be released this fall.

You As A Reader

2. When did you first fall in love with books?

Ha. When I was four, I memorized a half-dozen books and told everyone I could read (I couldn’t). I’m sure I badgered my parents into “just one more book” at bedtime well before then.

Sounds familiar.

3. What’s your favorite book from your childhood?

This is too hard! I’d have to say Little House on the Prairie, since I went through four copies. It always amazed me that a girl my age could live so differently, yet not all that long ago. But the Nancy Drew books and anything by LM Montgomery got a lot of use as well. I still have boxes upon boxes of those stashed in a closet somewhere.

4. Of the books you’ve read, which one changed you the most?

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. It didn’t change me as a person, or even a reader, but as a writer, it made me realize there was a happy medium between Christianity and fantasy—that both could coexist within the same author, in the same book. It had a huge influence on me when I decided to write.

I know what you mean. It’s comforting to realize that Christianity and fantasy aren’t mutually exclusive.

5. What’s the last book you read and your current favorite?

The last book was Hugh Howley’s Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue. Someone on Twitter recommended it, and I’d never have picked it up on my own, but I enjoyed it. I recently discovered Lois McMaster Bujold, so I’d say one of her books is a current favorite—either Memory or The Hallowed Hunt. Yep, I have eclectic taste in books!

6. If you could meet any author, alive or dead, who would it be?

I’ll be unoriginal and say CS Lewis. I’ve never enjoyed an author’s non-fiction books outside of his.

You As A Writer

7. When did you first know you were a writer?

Only about a year ago, during my husband’s last deployment. I had a lot of free time and bits of a story were stuck in my head. As soon as I let myself write it down, it just appeared on paper.

8. Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?  If so, what was it about?

Yes, my first novel!

9. What has been the most difficult part of your writing journey?  The best part?

Writing has been a huge wakeup call about my low self-confidence. It’s really hard to take constructive criticism and not feel like you’re falling apart or that your work isn’t the worst thing ever written. That’s something I’m still working on, and I dread the first one star review of Forever’s End.

On the plus side, it’s been an introduction to two new worlds—the one I created in my head, and the amazingly supportive community of writers across the world.

Every writer goes through this exact struggle. You’re definitely not alone.

10. Of all the writing advice you’ve received, what helped you the most?

Trust in your own process. That’s really difficult (see above), but as a writer who has trouble following the “writing rules”, it’s the advice that really sticks with me. We all have different ways of writing, but as long as projects get finished, I don’t think there’s really a wrong process.

11. Tell us about your current project and any others you’re working on.

Asrian Skies is about a fighter pilot princess who becomes a spy. That sounds a lot crazier than it is, really. It’s just about to head off to the editor, so I’ll get to focus on its sequel, which in the grand tradition of second novels, is giving me a whole lot of trouble. I also have a few short stories set in the same world that are in various stages of drafting and revising. One is so self-indulgent I may never release it, but you never know!

Fun Stuff About You

12. Besides writing and reading, what are some of your other interests?

I’m a lapsed flight instructor. I keep telling myself I’ll get back into it one day, but let’s face it, my students always wanted to kill me, and writing is safer (and more fun, but don’t tell my pilot friends). I also hike and try to take at least one trip a year to do some solo exploring—this year is the mountains around Tucson. Coincidentally, that was last year’s trip as well. Even more coincidentally, part of Asrian Skies involves my characters tromping through the mountains.

13. If you could become an instant expert at any one thing, what would it be and why?

ANYTHING. No, really, I’d settle for being an expert in anything. I’m the definition of a dilettante.

14. You’ve just won an all expenses paid trip to anywhere in the world.  Where would you go?

Japan! I’ve been there a dozen times on business, and I’d love to go back and spend time outside of work really getting to know the people and culture.

Final Thoughts

15. How can people connect with you?

Facebook is the best way.

16. Anything else you’d like to tell us?

 I really appreciate the opportunity…and it’s been enjoyable!

Thanks for being on the blog. I can’t wait to get a peek at Asrian Skies!

If you’d like to read more, you can find her books on Amazon. And be sure to keep an eye out for Asrian Skies, coming this fall.

Forever’s End

A hidden message in Monsters University

If you know me, then you know I’m slightly obssessed with Pixar. Their movies, their storytelling techniques, their support of young talent, pretty much everything about the studio. But don’t worry, this post isn’t going to be a big fangirl fest. (Though I could fill up several posts.)

Of the many things they are excellent at, overlapping story arcs is a big one. It’s most obvious in their ability to tell stories that appeal to both children and adults. It’s evident in every single one of their movies, including Monsters University, the sequel to Monsters Inc.

For those who haven’t seen it, it’s a story about two very different monsters, Sully and Mike Wazowski, and how they learn to work together to achieve their dreams. Although, if you haven’t seen it, you should probably go watch it before reading the rest of this post.

Don’t worry. I’ll wait.

Is it done yet?

Now?

Okay, let’s continue.

Beneath the many obvious themes is a not-so-obvious underlying message this movie makes. You see, even though all Mike has ever wanted in life is to be a scarer, he never actually becomes one. Not even in the original movie is he a scarer.

Most kids movies usually involve some form of the theme “you can be anything.” Ratatouille, The Lego Movie, How To Train Your Dragon, Planes. (Okay, so I’m obsessed with animated movies in general. What can I say? I’m a nerd.) And there is absolutely nothing wrong with those themes.

The sursrising message Monsters University shows kids is that it’s okay if we don’t achieve our dreams. It shows them how to continue on when hard work and dedication isn’t enough. It’s the personification of the quote, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land in the stars.”

Mike didn’t become a scarer. He didn’t even manage to graduate from Monsters University. But he did learn that not achieving his dream didn’t make him worthless. He learned to see worth in who he was, rather than who he wanted to be.

He didn’t become a scarer, but he did end up working for the company he admired so much. He learned that even though he didn’t reach the moon, he still wound up in the stars. And the stars are a pretty awesome place to wind up.

Meet Paul Saylor

I’m sorry I haven’t been posting here as often lately. The end of summer is always crazy and hectic, but I’ll hopefully be able to bump up productivity soon.

In the meantime, here’s another author interview. Paul Saylor is the author of The Road To Gatlen series and Resurrected, the first book in the Advanced Knights Templars series.


Her mother dead, Addylyn Yago spent her entire life in the village of Yvryt bearing all the responsibilities of her family. Her brother Tymy has the Sickness, an incurable and debilitating disease, and must take daily medicine just to stay alive. Now her father has fallen victim to a fatal illness as well, one that no medicine can seem to stop. Addylyn is summoned by her dying father. He gives her an Artifact of the Ancestors and tells her to travel to the distant and fabled city of Gatlen. There, she will be provided with a means to cure Tymy. But it will be a long and perilous journey, filled with dangers unknown. At the same time, suitors promise her a safe and comfortable means for the rest of her life. With the town rulers mounting pressure to seize the Yago property, Addylyn is torn between keeping her brother alive and risking it all on…. The Road To Gatlen.
1. Tell us a little about you and what you’re working on.

My name is Paul Saylor, I’m more or less new at self-publishing, but I’ve been writing off and on for over twenty years.  The project I am most active on right now is a serialized novel called The Road to Gatlen.  I currently have the first two parts, “A Single Step” and “The Beaten Path” available on Amazon.com for the Kindle.  The third piece, “Detour” is nearing its draft completion.

 As of today, Detour is now available for purchase on Amazon.

You As A Reader

2. When did you first fall in love with books?

I first started getting into reading books at a regular pace around the fifth grade.  I got into books meant for an older audience by authors like Clive Cussler, Tom Clancy and Stephen Coonts.

3. What’s your favorite book from your childhood?

Stephen Coonts’ The Flight Of The Intruder

4. Of the books you’ve read, which one changed you the most?

There is no one book that has really changed me. Reading in general has had the biggest impact, because slowly over time, it has inspired me to write stories of my own over the years.

5. What’s the last book you read and your current favorite?

The last book I finished is Anne McCaffrey’s All The Weyrs of Pern.  I don’t have any one favorite, however there are several that routinely top my list: John Le Carre’s The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, Patrick O’Bryan’s Master And Commander, Frank Herbert’s Dune, and Robert Heinlein’s The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress.

6. If you could meet any author, alive or dead, who would it be?

Charlotte Wessels, who is also the singer for Delain, wrote a story called The Deviant Hearts.  I have a very unique and equally very personal, yet coincidental, connection to that novella.  Since then, I’ve been eager to spend an hour or two with her.  Even more would be ideal.

You As A Writer

7. When did you first know you were a writer?

In high school, during my junior year, I had a project themed set of courses.  For the English side, my project was to start a novel.

8. Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?  If so, what was it about?

Yes, I do. I started a story about US Navy combat pilots in a modern setting.

9. What has been the most difficult part of your writing journey?  The best part?

I had written a completed novel and submitted it to several literary agents and publishing houses many years ago.  All of whom either did not respond or returned form rejection letters.  So that was a tough time, and I even stopped writing for awhile.  Another tough time was when I started the “Advanced Knights Templars” series.  I only completed the first episode.  I did not like the start of the second one.  Having to start over combined with the fact that the first one was doing terribly poor on Amazon made me quit writing a second time.

I have two best parts so far.  One is whenever I get an upset reaction over things I’ve done to characters.  It always makes me feel like I’ve succeeded when I evoke a strong reaction of a reader that they feel they must express that reaction to me.  The other part that also gets me giddy is knowing that the first episode in The Road To Gatlen, “A Single Step”, has sold in at least five countries.  So I get to say I’m an international author.

10. Of all the writing advice you’ve received, what helped you the most?

David Feintuch, author of the Nick Seafort Saga, once put on his website that he would help any writer starting out, since he received so much help as he started out.  I wrote to him and sent him a sample of my writing.  And he wrote back, advising that I should break up dialogue more instead of having long speeches.  I think that has helped conversations flow better in my stories ever since.  I was very sad to learn of David Feintuch’s death shortly after his assistance.

11. Tell us about your current project and any others you’re working on.

As stated before, The Road To Gatlen is a serialized novel.  Currently, two parts are available for purchase on Amazon.com (or any other site for Amazon, like co.uk, .ca, .de, etc.) for Kindle.  I am nearing draft completion of part 3, “Detour”.  There are ten parts total planned for this series.

Again, since doing this interview, Detour has been completed and is now available for purchase as well.

Other projects would include another serialized novel tentatively titled 7 Days.  It is inspired by a Nightwish song called “Seven Days To The Wolves”.  The basic premise of my story is that seven people are trapped in a small, confined space for seven days as it slowly marches them towards an unknown fate.  Poisoned drinks are available for anyone wishing to choose death over facing the unknown.  And also, I have one that is a short novel (may be around 300 pages) of a steampunk style airship captain.  More to come on this one as I develop it further.

I have also further considerations of projects that involved serialized stories where, at the end of each one, a main character is facing a critical choice.  Readers would then vote on a poll to decide what the character does.  This then drives the next episode and so on.

Fun Stuff About You

12. Besides writing and reading, what are some of your other interests?

Astronomy.  I have a telescope with an 8” mirror (not much, I know).  But I enjoy looking at the Moon and Jupiter a lot with it.  Next, I hope to get a solar filter so I can view the Sun.

Also, over the last two years, I’ve started going to concerts.  I’m almost 40, and my first concert ever was just two years ago when I saw Nightwish, a symphonic metal band.  I am new to listening to that genre so I didn’t know what to expect.  However, Delain also opened for them, and I fell in love with that band as well.  Both are now among my favorites to listen to.  And on some occasions, their music has been deep, heavy, and fast enough, that I’ve written action sequences set to the pace of a few songs, such as Delain’s “Hands of Gold” and Nightwish’s “Scaretale.”  I’ve been to two Nightwish shows, and two Delain shows (technically four since Delain opened for both Nightwish shows).  I’ve come away with five set lists, a guitar pick, a couple new good friends, and many great memories.

13. If you could become an instant expert at any one thing, what would it be and why?

Self-publishing, and by that, I mean all the necessary skills tied to it: marketing, writing, etc. I’d love to have this as a full-time job.

14. You’ve just won an all-expenses paid trip to anywhere in the world.  Where would you go?

This one is tough, like with books, there isn’t any one place I’d like to go.  I have so many, like Montreal, Hamburg, London, and Amsterdam.  Right now, I don’t have one selected as a “must” above all the others.  They are all musts.

Final Thoughts

15. How can people connect with you?

Currently, Twitter is the best way.  It is the platform I use by far the most.  I do have a Facebook page under the same user ID: @PaulSaylorWOI, but I hardly ever post there.

16. Anything else you’d like to tell us?

To drive home my obsession with stories and books, I also have an online used bookstore under the same company name I use to self-publish: Worlds Of Intrigue.  Currently, my entire inventory is available on Amazon.

Thanks for sharing a bit about you, Paul.

If you’d like to check out his books you can find them on his Amazon author page and at the links below.

A Single Step (The Road To Gatlen, Book 1)

The Beaten Path (The Road To Gatlen, Book 2)
Detour (The Road To Gatlen, Book 3)