Meet Sean R Frazier

This week I’d like you to meet the hilarious Sean R Frazier, author of The Call of Chaos and The Coming Storm, the first two books in the fantasy series, The Forgotten Years.


The Realm has been torn asunder. With the forces of Chaos having overrun the land, besieging cities and infesting them, Cor’il and his friends know the truth—that history has been a lie, that balance must be restored, and that it will all get worse before it gets better.

Magic has returned to the Realm, and not just for the Threadweaver to command. Threadspinners of every variety have emerged, using magic with neither skill nor knowledge, and adding to the chaos. Meanwhile, the Red Swords hunt all magic-users, determined to scour them from existence.

Can Cor’il and his friends restore balance before the Realm erupts in strife and destruction? And, if so, what happens from there?


When Sean Frazier was growing up, he never really paid attention to the written word. It wasn’t necessarily something he enjoyed at the time. Once he graduated college, however, the spark ignited and he decided to write something and try to get it published.

And it was…well, not-so-great. Truly, it wasn’t the highest caliber material ever produced. But the spark was still there, even if it was simply buried deep within.

Eventually, that overly-loquacious, meandering work of wordsmithing became his first book, “The Call of Chaos”. It took many, many years, but Sean finally rekindled that drive and found that he did, indeed enjoy writing.

When he’s not writing, Sean enjoys running, playing video games, and spending time with his family. He is a bona fide Halloween zealot, loves hot wings, is a grand master at telling terrible jokes and, oh, his cat can beat up your cat.

(He’s a total dork.)

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

I’m a runner, a gamer, a husband, a father, and an author (which STILL makes me grin when I say it). Currently, I am currently working on the third Forgotten Years book, Descent Into Madness. I also have a side project going which is not really going very quickly.

You As A Reader

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

I read Stephen King’s Skeleton Crew during a vacation and couldn’t get enough. My problem with books is that, while I love to read, I don’t read as much as most people. I think my attention span is shot.

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

I will always have a soft spot for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

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

I’m not sure if a book has changed me, per se, but I do know that Nine Princes in Amber and The Eye of the World placed me on the path to writing.

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

I last read Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles. I am slowly making my way through The City Stained Red. My absolute favorite from the last couple of years is Ready Player One.

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

I think it’d be pretty great to hang with Brandon Sanderson.

You As A Writer

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

I didn’t really know what being a writer meant until I had already been a writer for years. I started writing in junior high but it was merely something I played with. I didn’t consider it “writing.” Turns out, it was! To be a writer, just write stuff. Boom! You’re a writer! It wasn’t until maybe 10 years ago that I realized I LOVED writing, and it was much more than just dabbling.

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

It probably would’ve been for a school assignment. I recall a brief retelling of Cinderella. Skateboards were involved.

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

I went into the whole author/indie pub thing knowing next to nothing. Figuring everything out has been the most difficult part, and I am nowhere near feeling like I even know what I’m doing. The best part has been connecting with so many wonderful people and joining them in their journeys alongside mine!

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

I take all writing advice with a grain of salt. What works for one person may not work out for someone else. The ONE bit of advice that helped me the most, however, would be “get an editor, you dingbat.”

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

Descent Into Madness is the third book in my Forgotten Years quadrilogy (if that’s not a word, it is now). It continues the story of Cor’il and his friends as they unravel a hidden history that nobody knew existed. My side project is called “The Last Available,” and it is a comedic take on traditional fantasy. It’s moving pretty slowly, however, because Cor’il and his friends are very demanding.

Fun Stuff About You

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

I love gaming (tabletop and videogames), hanging out with my family, and running. I used to play the guitar quite a bit but that’s taken a back seat to other endeavors.

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

I would become an instant expert in figuring out how to make writing a well-paying career!

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

I know you said “anywhere in the world,” but I’d kinda like to go to the moon. But if we’re talking Planet Earth, then I’d probably have to say Europe. There is a lot to see and a bunch of different cultures packed into one area.

Final Thoughts

15. How can people connect with you?

There are several places you can catch my idiocy:

Website: seanrfrazier.com

Facebook: facebook.com/SeanRFrazierAuthor

Twitter: @TheCleftonTwain

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

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to ramble on your blog!

Thanks for sharing a bit about you Sean! I can’t wait to dive into The Forgotten Years books!

If you’d like to read Sean’s books, you can find them both on Amazon.

The Call Of Chaos: The Forgotten Years Book 1
The Coming Storm: The Forgotten Years Book 2

Meet J Douglas Burton

This week I’d like you to meet J Douglas Burton; author of Straw Soldiers and Red Cross, the first two books in the Sleepwar Saga; The Star Travels Of Dr. Jeremiah Fothering-Smythe, a series of novellas; and many more.


Book Two of The Sleepwar Saga

The nightmare begins again.

Just when Andy thought it was safe to get back into bed, it happens again. Plucked from the safety of his home, high school star quarterback Andy Flashman is thrown into a chase with deadly consequences. 

The boy. The boy with the powers. If Andy and friends don’t find him before the enemy does, it won’t just be his life on the line. He, Kaz, Jason, Meesha, Samir and Pegah must scour a creepy hospital every night until they find the boy.

No one is safe.

Red Cross, book 2 of J. Douglas Burton’s “Sleepwar Saga” is tense, thrilling, and laugh-out-loud funny. Don’t miss out!

J Douglas Burton is a clever pseudonym for real-life human being ‘James Douglas Burton’ who hopes you’ll never find out his real name. 

Although born in the United States of America, Burton actually grew up on the bonnie shores of Scotland (and inland, as well) but moved back to the States as soon as he could afford it. Sorry Scotland. 

Currently he resides in Lincoln, Nebraska, where he hopes to become a recognized author. Or even just recognized. Seriously, even his friends barely remember who he is. 

Besides YA series “The Sleepwar Saga”, he is the writer of several novellas available for the Kindle, including “The Star Travels of Dr. Jeremiah Fothering-Smythe” whose six installments are also available in collected versions both for the Kindle and in actual paperback form which you can hold in your hands and everything.

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

I’m J Douglas Burton (call me JD!) and I’m an American author from Scotland (long story). My current project is a clockpunk Regency novel in the vein of Jane Austen with an air of Philip K Dick to it.

It will be called: Cogs & Cognizance.

You As A Reader

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

Literally before my earliest memory.

I learned to read at 3, and read my first novel by myself at 4 (The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe).

Books have always been one of the most important things in my life.

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

Gosh. A toss-up between The Hobbit and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Both were read frequently, and delighted my imaginative young mind. But since The Hobbit also made me cry, maybe I’ll give the nod to that one?

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

Not counting The Bible (as I think we’re discussing fiction) I would say most likely David Eddings’s The Belgariad. (A five-book series telling one story, so I’m counting it.)

I’d never fallen so in love with fictional people before. Garion and Ce’Nedra especially are as important to me as my own family members. Possibly more so.

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

Last book? Malignant by Emily Kazmierski, which I’d definitely recommend.

My current and perennial favorite is Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita – the greatest single thing the English language has produced and one which justifies its invention single-handedly.

(Hyperbole? Not a whit!)

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

Philip K Dick on one of his non-paranoid days. How I’d love to trade ideas with someone so endlessly full of them!

You As A Writer

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

I’ve always written; or, as far back as I can remember.

But when did I know I was a writer? Hmmmm…

In college some time, I suppose, when I began to seriously develop screenplays.

Screenplays are still my first love as I understand and gravitate to film structure so much more than that of novels, for some reason.

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

Afraid not! It would have been a two-sentence one in playschool (i.e. before Primary 1) I imagine.

For American readers, Primary 1 is First Grade.

The earliest I can recall any details of was in primary school at some juncture, involving me becoming an owl then waking up to discover feathers on my bed.

I was marked down for the “it was all a dream” cliche – followed by the age-old “or was it?” twist.

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

Most difficult? Writing!

Best? Not writing!

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

The simplest and yet most helpful piece of advice is the oft-given but ever-true:

“Get on your ass and just write, for God’s sakes!”

Nothing else comes close to being as useful.

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

Cogs & Cognizance is about a young woman in 1796 named Hattie Casterbridge, who lives in a version of England where clockwork technology has become so sophisticated and ubiquitous that it rules everyday life.

When an attack on a local clockwork manufactory results in the owner’s suicide, Hattie tries to investigate but is turned away from doing so by the Clockwork Oversight Committee due to a combination of personal bias and sexism.

Not to be deterred, Hattie chooses to stick her nose in anyway, and butts up against the wealthy man her mother would like to marry her off to. Annoyed by this Mr Somersby fellow, but finding herself on the same side as him, she gets caught up in a deadly struggle against an enemy with a lethal world view – and may have to change her views about technology when one piece of physical evidence might prove to have a literal mind of its own.

Fun Stuff About You

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

I like to write and perform music – but I suppose that still involves “writing”!

I adore TV and movies – even if I have little time for either these days – and especially enjoy watching anime. Your Lie in April is one of the best TV series ever made.

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

Cooking.

I love cooking, and wish I was better at it.

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

Japan!

I’m theoretically learning to speak Japanese (although I haven’t looked at a lesson in ages!) and would love to visit – especially the countryside (though Tokyo or Osaka might be fun to go to as well).

I’m a super picky eater, so wouldn’t wish to stay long, as it would be difficult to find enough Japanese food that suits my tastes to sustain me for very much time!

Final Thoughts

15. How can people connect with you?

Twitter mainly: @jdouglasburton

You can drop me an e-mail at: drjeremiah@mail.com – if you like.

Or hey, why not leave a comment on my blog? The website is: www.jdouglasburton.com

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

I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.

(Okay, that’s a Johnny Cash song, but it makes me sound cool and dangerous so I’m claiming it.)

Thanks for sharing a little about you! I’m thoroughly sucked into the Sleepwar Saga, so I’ll just tootle on back to the ever so delightful Kaz and the rest of the gang as soon as I’m done here.

Seriously, people. Read it. It’s addicting. I’m even putting the link right here to make it super easy to find.

Straw Soldiers (The Sleepwar Saga, Book 1)

Red Cross (The Sleepwar Saga, Book 2)
Enter The Unknown (The Star Travels Of Dr. Jeremiah Fothering-Smythe, Book 1)

Meet Negeen Papehn

This week I’m introducing author Negeen Papehn. Her debut novel Forbidden By Faith is coming out in spring of 2018 with City Owl Press.


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

A little bit about myself, hmmmm…I am a mom and a wife. I have two boys, they are 8 and 10 and usually keep me on my toes. They are in the “arguing phase” of their relationship right now, so it’s lovely. I am a dentist by day. I know, not a glamorous job, nor is it even close to writing, but I dig it. I get to interact with a lot of people, and I am definitely a social butterfly so it works for me.

I started writing about 4 years ago. I didn’t do it thinking I would ever actually finish a book or that anyone would read it. Growing up, I sang and wrote music and poetry. But then adult life took over and I lost that creativity. A few years ago, I started getting desperate for an outlet; it felt like I was suffocating without it. A friend suggested I write a book after I told her an elaborate recollection of a situation that had transpired.

Two weeks later, I thought, what the hell, and sat in front of my laptop. The rest is history.

You As A Reader

When did you first fall in love with books?

I fell in love with books at a really young age. I’ve been reading for as long as I can remember. My dad loves to read so he instilled that into all of us. I love the ability to escape into someone else’s life, or into a fantasy world, when I read. It’s calming and thoroughly therapeutic for me.

What’s your favorite book from your childhood?

ARE YOU THERE GOD, IT’S ME MARGARET by: Judy Blume  

I can’t even remember how many times I read that book when I was young. I identified with it, because although both my parents were Muslim, I too wasn’t raised practicing a secular religion. My parents taught us about God and being good, more spiritual than anything else. And I was in a predominantly Christian community at the time. So I had a hard time figuring out what I believed and where I fit in. We were more spiritual in our learnings and I prayed much like Margaret did, like I was having a conversation. Add in all the pre-teen drama/situations and it was the best book ever, LOL.

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

KITE RUNNER by: Khaled Hosseini

I can’t really explain how this book changed me, but I just know that it did. It was the first of a series of books I read taking place in the middle east. It opened my eyes to the horror that so many in this world face, and reminded me of how privileged I actually am to have been born and raised in the States. My life could have gone so very differently had my parents not left Iran to study in America so many years ago. This book’s tragic beauty and heartbreaking devastation has stayed with me from the moment I read it. 

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

The last book I read was THE HATE U GIVE by: Angie Thomas

My favorite book, that’s hard. I love ME BEFORE YOU by: JoJo Moyes. It is the one book that made me want to be a writer. I aspire to make my readers walk away with that much emotion over my characters and my stories. I thought about her MC for weeks after I turned the last page. Even now, when the movie comes on, I’m still hit with the same deep sadness in my chest, despite knowing how it will all go.

I also love NIGHTINGALE and NIGHTROAD by: Kristen Hannah. ROOFTOPS OF TEHRAN by: Mahbod Seraji, THE KITCHEN HOUSE by: Kathleen Grissom. All phenomenal books. Truthfully, this list could go on forever. So many amazing writers and books. But I’ll stop J

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

Hmmm…that’s a hard one. I think I’d like to meet Claire Messud. Truth be told, I haven’t read her books (yet) but I had this amazing conversation with one of my CPs (critique partners) about her. I looked her up and read some articles she was interviewed in; all the slack she gets for her “unlikable” female characters. Something she said when asked if she would be friends with her lead in THE WOMAN UPSTAIRS, struck a chord with me.

“If you’re reading to find friends, you’re in deep trouble. We read to find life, in all its possibilities. The relevant question isn’t, is this a potential friend for me, but is this character alive.”

I love this.

My second book, the one I am currently working on, has a heavy storyline and characters that are causing an uproar among my CPs and Betas. Everyone loves one person or hates the other. I’d love to pick her brain on how she deals with the “unlikable characters” and deciphers what feedback to use and what to leave behind when it’s so inconsistent. How does she stay steadfast in her story? If someone “hates” one of my characters, I have a hard time not feeling like that is a reflection on my abilities as a writer. 

You As A Writer

When did you first know you were a writer?

I still don’t think of myself as a writer! LOL. I have major imposter syndrome. I doubt it will ever go away, even when I’m holding my book.

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

The first story I ever wrote was when I was about thirteen. I remember thinking that I wanted to be a writer then, so I grabbed a notebook and was on a mission. I can’t remember now how far into the story I actually got, but I do know it was about a girl who meets a boy and he breaks her heart. Apparently I had an affinity for emotional love stories then too!

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

I think the toughest part of the actual process is the beginning brainstorming phase. Coming up with a storyline that’s interesting, different, and deeper than just the surface. Because I feel like such an imposter, I’m always worried I’ll run out of “good ideas” and then this dream will all be over. I almost paralyze myself with it. I don’t get writer’s block too much once I get started, my block comes in the beginning when I’m trying to get it going.

The best part has got to be the relationships I’m making. This writing community is AMAZING! I work in a very competitive field where everyone points out the other’s flaws in hopes to grab one more patient. Or patients that look at us with scrutinizing eyes trying to figure out whether we are “taking them for a ride,” or who blame us for everything that goes wrong, despite our explanations beforehand. Sometimes it’s really tough, and very discouraging. But this writing community is filled with encouragement and camaraderie. There’s no competition, like you would think, just overall happiness at each other’s accomplishments. Everyone pats each other on the back and holds each other’s hands. It’s truly refreshing. I am in awe and absolutely love it!

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

“No matter what happens, you’ve already won.” My boss just said that to me the other day. He’s one of my biggest fans. I was having a panic attack over covers and marketing and the idea that this whole thing will flop because I make the wrong choice on color or don’t know how to get the word out there correctly, etc. I was freaking out about failing. He said, “The reason why you were able to go through this entire process so quickly is because you were fierce. You didn’t start this thinking you’d become some big famous author. You told me you did this because you wanted to and you loved it. And because of that you had nothing to lose; you were fearless. Don’t you see, you’ve already won? This has become so much more than you ever imagined. Remember that. Hold onto that. You can’t fail.”

I repeat it like a mantra when I’m having the many panic attacks I have over this whole thing, LOL.

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

My debut novel, FORBIDDEN BY FAITH will be out February of 2018 with City Owl Press! Here’s a little blurb…

Sara is Muslim. Maziar is Jewish. When she meets him one unexpected night, her world is turned upside down. It seems like fate when he tells her he’s also Iranian. Just as her mind begins to soar with the possibilities, he shatters her hopes when he tells her he’s Jewish. Despite the centuries of unrest behind them, Sara and Maziar embark on a forbidden love affair, attempting to navigate through the cultural and religious prejudices that beat them down and attempt to tear them apart. Deep within the trenches of her battle, Sara finds herself more empowered and careless than ever before. As she tries to find herself, she realizes that choosing who to be could mean losing the people she loves.

My current project WHAT WILL BE is an Adult Upmarket fiction with heavy romantic elements. I am currently in the editing phases and am hoping to have it ready to query in a few months!

Fun Stuff About You

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

I love spending time with my family, hanging out with friends, wine tasting, going on vacations. I am pretty easy and low key. I am a social butterfly for sure, but prefer it in casual, intimate settings.

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

I’d be an expert on doing hair and make-up. It’s the one girlie thing I never mastered and I totally suck at it.

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

Can I travel all across Europe? That’s what I’d want to do. I’d love to go to Greece, Italy, France, Germany, everywhere.

Final Thoughts

How can people connect with you?

On my website, www.negeenpapehn.comTwitterFacebook, and Instagram

Anything else you’d like to tell us?

For anyone who’s thinking about taking that leap, trying something you’ve always wanted but never have, or finding something you are truly passionate about, JUMP! You have nothing to lose. Take it from me, magic happens when you least expect it!

Thanks for sharing a little bit about you! I’m really looking forward to reading about Sara and Maziar!

If you’re interested in her debut novel, be sure to check back in spring 2018. In the meantime, you can browse City Owl Press’s other titles at cityowlpress.com

Meet … me!

Now that I’ve done a few author interviews, I thought it would be only fair to answer my own questions myself. So this week you get to learn a little more about me!


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

I live with my husband, two boys, and one country cat who shows his love by jumping out of the bushes and attacking my legs. I bake oddly shaped bread and almost always forget the dough at some point in the process. I volunteer for my church in any capacity that doesn’t require standing on a stage. And I watch a lot of Jane Austen and Disney princess movies to make up for all the testosterone tromping around my house. If you ever catch me humming, you’ll have to tell me, cause I almost never realize I’m doing it.

You As A Reader

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

My earliest memory of books is my mom reading The Chronicles of Narnia to me and my siblings at bedtime. The moment I truly fell in love with books, though, is when I asked my mom for a recommendation in Jr. High and she handed me The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. I’ve been in love with books ever since.

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

Aside from The Blue Sword, which is still one of my favorites, I most remember the Little Critter books and the Henry And Mudge books. I love how simple they are, even for picture books. There aren’t any heavy themes or lessons to wade through, just fun stories about some fun kids. And who doesn’t love St. Bernards?

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

Second to the Bible, I would say The Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce had the biggest impact on me. Alanna is such a brave, determined girl and I was able to fight through many difficult moments because of her example. I still channel her courage sometimes, when life is especially tough.

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

I just finished reading Six Of Crows by Leah Bardugo and I’m in awe of her plotting skills. I hope to someday be capable of writing that well. As for current favorite, I recently fell in love with An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. Laia is exactly the kind of YA heroine I’ve been waiting so long to find. As great a role model as Alanna was and is, I always wished I could read about a heroine who wasn’t naturally brave or courageous. So many strong YA heroines are the kind of girls who act first and think later, who put their neck out for the ones they love even if their necks aren’t long enough. There’s nothing wrong with those kind of heroines, but it was nice to be able to experience learning how to step up and be brave with Laia. We wouldn’t have the phrase ‘fight or flight’ if there weren’t fliers. But the fliers need heroines to help them learn how to be fighters instead of just showing them how to fight.

Sorry, I’m a bit passionate about this book.

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

I would love to meet JRR Tolkien. I know, original, but I’ve been reading the book The Letters Of JRR Tolkien and he sounds like he could hold his own in this century just as well as in his own. I mean, what fantasy writer wouldn’t want to chat with the godfather of fantasy who spoke of his writing as a “silly fairy language” that he just couldn’t leave alone?

You As A Writer

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

My junior year of high school I took a brave leap and signed up for a Writers Workshop class. That was the first time I realized how much writing helps me process my emotions. I’d always focused on music before then because it’s what I knew. It was the easiest road. But the first time I put a piece of myself into words, a crack shot through the dam holding back all my stories. Over time, more and more words dribbled out, until a few years ago I decided to put all my effort into becoming a working writer and busted that dam wide open. Now I couldn’t build that wall back up even if I wanted to.

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

Yikes, I don’t remember much, but I know it had something to do with horses. In fourth grade we all made books by hand, drew the pictures, bound the covers, created the whole thing from beginning to end. Mine was plastered with horses. And if I remember correctly, most of them only had two legs because I hadn’t yet learned the concept of foreground and background. I just told my teacher the other legs were hiding.

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

The most difficult part has been believing in myself. There will always be someone out there better than me, more experienced than me, more intelligent than me. Oftentimes it’s hard to remember that that doesn’t make me insignificant, inexperienced, or stupid. When I make mistakes it’s easier to compare myself to who I want to be and become discouraged, than to look at who I used to be and feel proud of how far I’ve already come. I still have a long way to go, but I’m getting better at taking pride in the work I’ve already done and am still doing.

As for the best part, I have to say it’s the rush I get on those rare nights when I get to sink into my stories, my characters, my worlds and let reality disappear for a little while. I haven’t yet mastered the art of writing amid distraction, so those are the nights I make the most progress. Writing is mostly a lonely endeavor, but in those moments I’m in such awe of the power of imagination that I forget to be lonely.

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

I’ve read it, heard it, seen it over and over and this one observation keeps me writing more than anything else. It’s that the most important difference between a published writer and an unpublished writer, is that the published writer didn’t give up. Determination isn’t a guarantee that I will get published, but quitting is a guarantee that I won’t. So any aspiring writers reading this, no matter what people tell you, you only fail if you give up.

“Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you’ve already done.” – Newt Gingrich

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

Right now I’m editing/rewriting my first novel, The Ambassador’s Daughter. You can read the full description on the books tab of this website, but it’s a YA high fantasy about a 16 year old girl who, after a mysterious near-death experience discovers the Fae and learns that a lot of people want her dead. It’s the first in a planned trilogy and will be followed by The General’s Daughter and The Siren’s Daughter.

Another novel I have outlined, but haven’t started writing yet is The Suncatcher Stone (you can read the full description for this on the books tab as well). It’s an undersea adventure about a young Undine boy who finds himself on a quest for the legendary Suncatcher Stone to save the one Undine he loves most, his half-sister. Think Indiana Jones as a merman.

Until I finish those, you can read my short stories which can be found at the short stories tab on this website.

Fun Stuff About You

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

I was going to share the things I actually find time for these days, but seeing as that’s mostly sleeping, I’ll share a few of the crazy career ideas I came up with during my oldest kid’s first year when baby brain temporarily broke my common sense filter.

Let’s see, first I was going to knit until my hands fell off and sell everything I made on Etsy, but I quickly realized I don’t love knitting that much. Then I was going to open, manage, and run a summer camp for foster kids, something I’m much more passionate about, but have zero experience or qualifications for (I mean, I’d just become a mom, when exactly was I going to find time for all that?). So I went back to the crafty options and came up with the craziest idea of all. An alpaca farm. I guess I was gonna stash them all in the basement of our apartment complex? With the washers and dryers? Yeah, that’s not nuts or anything.

Anyway, I mostly play around on the piano and doodle in my sketchbook when I find a rare few minutes to myself these days.

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

Time management. If I could manage my time like an expert, this book would be done by now. But I suppose the gift of a powerful imagination must come with the curse that is constant distraction. Of course, Twitter doesn’t help with the focusing either.

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

New Zealand. Or Ireland. Or Scotland. Hawa’ii? Okay, I can see why the authors might hate me for this question.

Final Thoughts

15. How can people connect with you?

I’m on Twitter far more often than I probably should be. I also have a Facebook page and a few Pinterest boards full of art to inspire my works in progress. You can also find a few of my short stories at the podcast 600 Second Saga, created and edited by the fabulous Mariah Avix. You can find her interview here if you’d like to learn more. And of course, I’m the creator of this blog/website, but you already knew that.

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

This “interview” was a lot harder than I thought it would be and I’m much more sympathetic to the complaints of the authors who’ve endured the punishment. Not enough to change the questions though. 😉

Also, I cohost a weekly Twitter chat under the hashtag #turtlewriters where slow writers can get to know each other and encourage each other in our goals. You can read more about that on the #turtlewriters tab on this website as well.

If you made it this far then I give you a solid round of applause! Congrats! Thanks for reading about me and please stick around and explore the website.

Meet B.B. Swann

This week I’m introducing B.B. Swann, author of the adorable young adult novel Breaking The Bro Code.

B.B. Swann wanted to be a writer when she realized writing words was easier than saying them out loud. Still, somehow, she became a teacher, too and talks quite a bit.

B.B. Swann lives in Southern Illinois with her two- and four-legged family members. She loves to run, binge watch Netflix health documentaries, and talk to her three teens when they have a minute to spare.

Most nights you can find her reading or writing into the wee hours of the night. She believes in the almighty power of caffeine and battling old age with purple hair and lots of sarcasm.

It’s the 80’s. Hair is big, styles are bitchin, and Molly Mason must run for her life. Her plan is simple—race fast enough to get a cross country scholarship. Hayden Bishop has a different idea—convince Molly, his best friend’s girlfriend, that he can treat her better.

Hayden and Molly find themselves entangled in a relationship with more twists and turns than a Rubik’s Cube. Friends interfere. Lies are born. Molly’s scholarship is put in jeopardy and Hayden’s chance to win her is slipping away. Only the truth will save them, if they can both find it in time.

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

Well, I’m originally from a small town north of Chicago called Winthrop Harbor. The cornerstone of Illinois is our claim to fame. I grew up with my older brother and parents. Middle class, little pink houses, that kind of life. My parents were both hard working and passed that trait onto me. I went to college and received my Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education, then my Master of Education in Language and Literacy. I’ve taught pre-school special education, at risk pre-school, kindergarten, 1st, and 3rd grade. Now I live in Illinois across the river from St. Louis. I moved here when I met my husband (in Florida on a vacation by myself—but that’s a whole other story) I have three children, two sons (both in college) and a daughter who is a junior in high school this year. I also spend a lot of time alone with my furry children—three cats and a dog. They know all my secret plot lines because they’re the only ones home most of the time to bounce ideas off of. They give tremendous support but aren’t much help with critiques! 

You As A Reader

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

I’ve always been a reader. I learned to read when I was three or four (thank you Big Bird!) and I’ve been reading ever since. My parents always valued education and wanted me to do well. I remember when we would visit family on the weekends and my cousins would want to run around outside at my aunt’s farm. I did plenty of that, but mostly I would lay on her bed and read romance novels. She always had a paper grocery bag filled with them and I would take one, read it, then put it back and get another. That’s probably why romance is my favorite genre. Sometimes I look back and wonder if my parents knew what I was reading because some of them were pretty racy. I’m not sure a ten-year-old should have been reading adult historical romance, but I loved it. I still remember some of the plots lines and characters.

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

Not historical romance! Actually, my favorite book was called Scruffy, I can’t remember the author or the plot but it was about dogs, one of my favorite animals. I remember one dog in the book named Hamlet, a bull dog. He was the pet of a barman at a bar named The Prince of Denmark. That character stands out now because at the time I got a new puppy who looked like the Hamlet in my mind’s eye and I named him after the character. Funnily enough, my dog was a terrier and didn’t end up looking anything like the bull dog in my mind. Being the precocious child I was, I told everyone I named him Hamlet because I liked Shakespeare. Who’s going to argue with an eleven-year-old who claims a love of the Bard?

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

So many books became a part of me in little ways, and big ways. Everything I’ve read shaped the way I think and view the world. Maybe I’ll sound like everyone else on the planet but the Harry Potter series affected me the most. I didn’t read a lot of fantasy prior to Rowling’s series and I fell in love with her world right away. As the years passed and more books came out, my own children grew old enough to enjoy them too. That’s the part I loved the most, sharing those words with them. First reading out loud then, when they were old enough, reading along side them. My oldest son and I were the biggest fans, and I remember having to buy two copies of the final book because neither one of us wanted to wait for the other to finish reading so we could share the book. Years later, when Universal opened the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, we booked a trip and went two weeks after it opened. I remember the look on my son’s face when we walked in that first day and stood next to the Hogwart’s Express train engine. The look of wonder and excitement he had was probably on my face too. He looked at me and said, “Whoa.” One little word that held all the memories of reading the books to and with him. Those books will forever remind me of my kids and those special times.

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

The last book I read was Vice City, written by a friend of mine, S.A. Stoval. It’s a crime thriller about a mob muscle, Pierce, who contemplates his purpose in life and considers retiring, but is faced with solving one final problem for his boss, Nick Vice. It’s filled with suspense and even a little romance between Pierce and the man he was supposed to work over for the boss. The plot kept me turning the pages to find out what would happen. The second book is due out next year and I can’t wait!

As for favorites, that’s hard. My favorite adult author is Dean Koontz, his Odd Thomas series is the best. I like a lot of John Greene’s YA’s, Rainbow Rowell, Danielle Paige’s Dorothy Must Die series, Jen Mann’s People I’d Like to Punch in the Throat. If I keep looking at my kindle library you’ll know them all soon. I also write picture books so I have a few favorites there, too. Dr. Seuss, of course because he was a rule breaker. He wrote books with references to the problems faced by society during his time that still apply today. I respect that, and it’s what I hope to do with my books. Chris Van Allsburg is another favorite. His thought provoking illustrations and stories always leave the reader saying what if? That’s important because it makes us think beyond the story and forces us to use our imaginations. As a teacher, I like to encourage my students to always keep thinking and learning, his books are great for that purpose. Though this past year, one little girl told me she had nightmares after I shared The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, so I might want to rethink using that one this year. In this book, Van Allsburg has pictures suggestive of a story and one open-ended line captioning the picture. Readers are supposed to “fill in the blanks”. Her imagination filled them in a little too much I think.

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

Could I just attach my kindle library here? I would love to meet any of the authors I mentioned, and so many that I didn’t. One of the best and scariest things about writing is that you put a piece of yourself into every story, and the pieces of others that I’ve seen makes me want to meet them all. But if I had to choose one, I think it would be J.K Rowling. I admire her integrity and how she does so much for others despite the fame her books have given her. She understands the importance of having empathy and paying it forward. To go from where she was, on welfare and struggling, to having everything she could ever want and still be an advocate for those in need, that’s impressive, and I’d like to have a chance to thank her. She gives writers a good name.

You As A Writer

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

Growing up in the 70’s, I can remember watching Sesame Street as a child. My mom didn’t work outside the home until I was older so I never went to pre-school, and Big Bird was my teacher. I learned to read before kindergarten and I think it was from a combination of that show and my parent’s reading habits. Writing is a natural extension of reading for me. I used to make up stories in my head, but I never actually wrote them. When I played with my friends, usually with Barbies, (forgive me if you’re a feminist but I loved my dolls) I created the scripts for each one. Looking back, I guess those were my first leaps into romance writing. Barbie and Ken had lots of conflicts.  

More formal writing began when I was a junior in high school and I took a creative writing class. Our teacher was wonderful. She let us call her by her first name, Sarah, and I can remember more than once when she was there as a shoulder to cry on. She was the first one to tell me I was a writer, and that what I had to say was important enough to write it down for others to read. Mostly then I wrote poetry. It was a great avenue for getting out all that teenage angst.

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

Do I really have to confess to this? Well, I started a story in class junior year. It was terrible. I don’t remember much, but I do remember I spent a whole page describing what my main character looked like and what she wore. It’s embarrassing to think about. The first “real” story I wrote is a picture book named Katie Comma. It’s a story inspired from my time working with young children about a comma who gets blown from her book and tries to find her way back to where she belongs by diving into sentences. I wrote it last year after deciding it was time to get serious. I joined an SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) group and took the first step toward becoming an author. It’s currently with a publisher and will hopefully be published in a year or so. I can’t wait to see it published and be able to use it in my own classroom when I teach about proper uses of commas. And yes, I am team Oxford!

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

The most difficult part is having the confidence needed to deal with rejections. Each book or story is a part of me that I am sharing and that can be scary. It’s hard to let critique partners or agents read your work when they might (and should) tell you what needs to be fixed. Writers need skin a mile thick and that takes a while to develop. When I send out a query or manuscript to a beta reader, I remind myself that all critique is good, and brings me closer to the success of sharing my stories.

The best part is when someone reads one of my books and tells me “I couldn’t stop reading!” In August, that happened and I finally got an agent, Cathie Hedrick of the Purcell Agency. She and I have been working to get my YA romance, Romancing Death, ready to sell and it’s been fabulous! Probably one of the most important things I can say about her is that she loves my book almost as much as I do and will do everything she can to get it out to readers.

That’s what writing is all about for me, making other people happy and sucking them into my story. I want others to love them, too, and when they have something positive to say, it warms my heart. 

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

I’ve had some great advice from some incredible writers and it’s difficult to choose one solid piece, but I think the best advice was from my friend Chris. I had written Katie Comma and wanted to know how to get published. Chris has a pretty successful YA series about dragons, so I asked her what the steps were to get published. She told me the first thing I needed to do was join a critique group and have other writers read my writing. And she was right, of course. I have my local SCBWI and RWA (Romance Writers of America) groups where I share, but also several online CP’s (critique partners) I’ve met on Twitter. It’s great to have that many people reading my work and improving it. But you have to take everything with a grain of salt, as they say. Sometimes your partners don’t see the whole picture and you may know something works even if they don’t see it yet. But typically, if three or more CP’s suggest a change in a word or plot point, I take that as a sign that I need to rewrite.

The things I’ve learned from my CP’s have helped me become a much better writer. Sometimes their comments are hard to hear because writing is so personal. It’s a piece of you on the page, and to hear someone say you did it wrong, well, it’s not always easy to take that constructively. But without their help, my writing would stagnate and never get better so I welcome the comments, good or bad.

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

I have a YA romance called Breaking the Bro Code, about Hayden and Molly. He likes her but she’s his best friend’s girlfriend. When the best friend turns out to be a jerk, Hayden decides to show Molly that he can treat her better. We see their struggle to overcome the lies and drama from their classmates and her ex.

There is plenty of teenaged angst and drama, and, because I have lots of experience with them, sports; both running and soccer. My daughter and I are runners and my sons and husband played soccer. I had lots of experience to draw on and my kids made good critique partners, too. What teen doesn’t love telling Mom she doesn’t know what she’s talking about, right? Bro Code is available now on Amazon and Createspace. Aside from Katie Comma, I have several completed picture books that I am trying to find a home for, too.

My next project is a short story anthology I am working on with several other authors. I’m not sure I can mention the title yet, but I will say it involves fairy tales with sci-fi and fantasy twists. I’m excited to be a part of it and can’t wait to share it. We plan on publishing it in November.

I have a YA sci-fi I wrote early on that needs lots of revisions. It was my first ever novel and I have learned a tremendous amount since then that I would like to apply to this story. The biggest change being a complete POV change from third to first person. 

Fun Stuff About You

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

If I’m not reading or writing, which is rare these days, I like to be outside. Running is my favorite sport and I try to do it as often as I can. I’ve run five full marathons and thirteen halves, along with several shorter races. Running the holy grail of races (Boston) is out of reach because I’m not fast, but I did run in Boston this summer when we took our daughter there for a Leadership Summit at Harvard University. That counts, right? My favorite part is how I feel after a long run. Covered with sweat, tired legs, thirsty as hell, but knowing I carried myself eight miles, ten miles, fifteen miles, it’s incredible. It makes me think If I can do that, I can do anything.

Spending time with my family is most important, though. I have three children and anything they do interests me. For some reason, they aren’t totally against hanging out with mom some of the time. But that might be because mom pays for things. 😊

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

I don’t think I’d want to be an expert at anything. I love learning new things and finding ways to share that knowledge. I think if I were an expert, the thrill of learning would vanish. I mean, if you know it all then there’s nothing left to learn. That’s not a place I’d want to be in.

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

This question is easier to answer! I sort of have this goal to visit every state in the US. I’ve got plenty covered but the more remote and expensive ones may be harder to reach. An all expense paid trip to Hawaii or Alaska would be great! Hawaii in the winter and Alaska in the summer. I hate to be cold. Outside of the US I think I’d like to travel to Europe. My great grandparents immigrated from Germany and Denmark. I’d like to visit those countries for sure and maybe trace my roots.

Final Thoughts

15. How can people connect with you?

I do all the typical social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram) and have a website with links to my media. (www.bbswann.com) But I like to meet people in person, too. I’ll be at a reader’s conference September 29th and 30th called PennedCon St. Louis. It’s a great time to meet hundreds of authors and have a chance to purchase books. The organizers, Amy and Rick Miles, have hosted the conference for the last four years as a fundraiser for Autism Speaks, an organization that helps families with autistic children. I went last year as a reader with a friend and it was inspiring. This year, I will be there as an author, so I’m super excited to share my books. If anyone is interested in supporting Autism Speaks or checking out the conference, the information can be found on their website, pennedcon.com

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

Yes, thanks for having me on your blog. Your questions forced me to think about something I usually don’t—myself. Sometimes self inspection is necessary to be a better writer. And it was fun!

Thanks for stopping by and sharing a little about you. I’m loving Molly and Hayden’s story and can’t wait to see how it ends. They’re so cute!

If you’d like to read Breaking The Bro Code, you can find it on Amazon and Createspace.

Breaking The Bro Code – Amazon

Breaking The Bro Code – Createspace

Meet Emily Wendell

This week I’m introducing Emily Wendell, author of The Inventor series. They’re steampunk romance and the first book, The Inventor And His Muse, is available now.


The year is 1855. Since the Great Exhibition, steam has taken the world by storm and destroyed Gemma Hayslip’s engagement. It’s fine; he clearly wasn’t good for her. Her life returns to the mundane until a man from New London, who is a Lord of somewhere, falls out of the sky (literally), promising to make her rich if she’ll come back to New London with him. With two younger sisters and a failing farm, Gemma agrees to Lord Winston Winchester’s terms. Caught up in his web of power, Gemma finds herself in an inventor’s paradise until someone starts threatening their lives. Now, Gemma and Winston must outsmart a killer before she loses everything she was trying to save.

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

My name is Emily, and I live in San Francisco. I have a degree in computer science, so I’m a pretty technical person. I enjoy seeing the confusion on people’s faces when they find that I also write sci-fi/romance.

I’m currently working on the third book in my Inventor series. It’s a Steampunk series set in New London and follows a group of inventors. It’s the last one in this story arc and with these characters, so I’m slow writing it as I don’t want to say goodbye to them yet.

You As A Reader

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

My mom always read to me as a child, so I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t obsessed with books. I loved the stories and their silly characters.

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

As a kid, I liked The Cat in the Hat (really anything from Dr. Seuss). As I grew older, I loved the Goosebumps series.

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

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. It’s an empowering and enlightening book, and I was not expecting it to blow my mind as much as it did. I highly recommend it.

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

Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn is the last book I read. My current favorite is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

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

Jane Austen. She’s written several of my favorite books, so it would be interesting to talk to her about them and her life.

You As A Writer

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

Despite writing short novels in high school, I didn’t really consider myself a writer until college. That was when I started taking it more seriously, becoming more descriptive and learning how to create emotion in my stories. I paid more attention to plot and crafted deeper characters and themes.

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

When I was a kid, I wrote a few pages about a girl, her sister, and her crush. I remember that she wore a fuzzy sweater and they went ice skating, but that’s it. I thought I printed it out, but it was either lost in a move or was thrown away as I’ve never been able to find it.

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

The most difficult part is putting my writing out there. Novels are such personal works, pieces of our souls, so it’s tough exposing that to everyone and receiving criticism. The best part is the writing itself, the excitement when inspiration strikes and my fingers fly across the keyboard. I love all my characters, and I enjoy spending time with them.

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

Just write, even when you aren’t inspired. It’s almost forcing yourself to write, but that’s the only way to create a habit. Creativity breeds creativity, so you can’t give up or wait until you’re inspired to write. You have to try every day or a few times a week.

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

The Inventor and His Protege is my current WIP. As I mentioned earlier, it’s the third book in my Inventor series, and it’s going pretty well. Book 2 (The Inventor and His Scourge) is being reviewed, so I may have edits for that, but it’ll be published hopefully before the end of the year. I also have other WIPs to edit and of course a million new story ideas, haha. The ideas never stop. It’s a mixed blessing.

Fun Stuff About You

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

I play a lot of video games and enjoy watching sports. I’m a big Star Wars nerd and love most things sci-fi. I also attend a lot of comic cons and cosplay.

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

History! I love learning about different time periods, civilizations, and cultures. It’s fascinating and why most of my novels take place in another era. I spend a lot of time researching and hope to be able to travel more in the future.

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

Oh, this is tough. I’m watching a show on Egypt, so that would be at the top of the list. I would tour the pyramids and see all the monuments and temples.

Final Thoughts

15. How can people connect with you?

I’m on Twitter @empress_emily, Goodreads, and I have a sort of active blog, thepodnoodles.com/emilyw

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

Thanks for having me, and thanks everyone for reading!

Thanks for sharing a bit about you! I can’t wait to read more about Gemma and her adorable Winston!

If you’d like to read Emily’s book you can find it on Amazon. And keep an eye out for the second book, The Inventor And His Scourge.

The Inventor And His Muse

Meet Willie Handler

This week I’m introducing comedy writer Willie Handler (yes that’s his real name, so don’t ask).  He’s the author of the political satire, The Road Ahead as well as several short stories published online on CommuterLit and Show Me the Funny.

What’s my plan to get my novel published? Plan A is to contact every literary agent in the English speaking world.

If that doesn’t work? Plan B is to pull a Rupert Pupkin (King of Comedy, 1982) by kidnapping a publishing executive and holding him or her ransom until my book is published.

I finally went with Plan C, I self-published.


Rick Tompkins, a suburban Toronto insurance broker, never considered a career in politics until a good friend, who happens to be the leader of the Conservative party, asks him to run for office. He accepts the offer, with the understanding that he would probably not win, but can use the opportunity to gain some visibility for himself and his business. Jerry Switzer, a veteran party worker, is sent in to guide Rick through a campaign in a riding that hasn’t elected a Conservative in years. 

Rick fumbles his way through the election campaign and manages a surprise win but at the expense of saddling his party with an impossible commitment. What makes matters worse, Rick is anything but politically correct. He offends everyone in his path and stumbles from one political scandal to another. Still, Rick has one saving asset: a political party machine that is able to spin scandals to its advantage.


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

I’m Willie and I got involved with creative writing less than three years ago. I had a long successful career working for the Ontario government. I left the government just over five years ago and decided what I wanted to do was take my sense of humour and put it to use doing creative writing. Last fall I released my first novel, The Road Ahead. The book is a political satire, which makes sense considering my background. As they often say, “write what you know” (some attribute the quote to Hemingway). What the quote says to me is that you use what you already know to explore new worlds and places you don’t know. I did a better job applying that while working on my second novel. It also falls under humor but takes place on Mars where a permanent colony has been established. The protagonist, Dix Jenner, is a chef in the colony and the only survivor after an explosion destroys the colony. He is picked up by two Martians, Bleeker and Seepa, who agree to shelter him because they would like to study him. I really like this story because it has allowed me to bring out my creative side. 

You As A Reader

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

I began reading at age 4 and became an avid reader. I remember going to the library on Saturdays and checking out the maximum number of books allowed and returning the next week to sign out another stack of books. I kept this up throughout school. I read fiction and bios. When I started working, I began to read less. I found I was spending so much time on reading related to my job that I had little time for pleasure reading. Later in life, I returned to reading.

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

I don’t have a favorite book from my childhood but I remember I read a lot of Hardy Boys books

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

This is a difficult question to answer because I have read books for entertainment or to learn. Two very different outcomes. Looking back the book that stands out most in my mind would the The Diary of Anne Frank. My parents were both survivors of the Holocaust and I’ve read many books, both fiction and nonfiction, dealing with the Holocaust. But Anne Frank’s book speaks on many levels.

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

The last book I read was for my book club. It was Our Little Secret by Roz Nay. The book is a psychological thriller with a terrific twist at the end. There’s a review on my blog and I highly recommend. My favorite book has always been To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

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

I would love to meet Philip Roth. He is such a prolific writer and so much of his work I can relate to. I’m not even sure what I would ask him but I’m sure I would come up with questions about a some of his books.

You As A Writer

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

When I finished the first draft of The Road Ahead. I remember looking down at the 155-page  manuscript that I had just printed and told myself – I guess you are a writer. When I started writing the book it was more of a personal challenge. I never considered myself a writer. I’m still not comfortable with the label.

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

I did write some funny stories when I was young. All I remember was that they were fantasies but don’t remember any more than that.

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

I went into this with no experience, plans, strategy, nothing. I just sat down and wrote. I had no network of other writers. I wasn’t using social media. Consequently, while writing my first novel, I felt very isolated. I went from working in a busy office environment to sitting alone at home in from of my computer. That was a difficult transition for me.

Yet, I also really enjoyed it. In particular, starting a new project. The start is the most creative part of the process and I find it exciting and exhilarating. I have all these ideas and images in my head and you can’t get them down on paper fast enough. After several months, a fatigue begins to settle in. But the early stages of the process can be so much fun.


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

Me take advice? Ha! Never.

I have too much of an independent streak. The only advice I have for other writers is don’t listen to anyone. It’s your book so don’t let anyone tell you how to write it.

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

I mentioned earlier that I’m working on a humor novel about a chef on Mars. It’s called, Loved Mars, Hated the Food. I should point out that despite the premise, this is not a science fiction novel. I’ve nearly completed the first draft and I’m very proud of this novel. I think it’s funny and unique. I’ve let my imagination run wild on this one. I have a few projects that I’ve been thinking about and can’t decide which one I will tackle next. But it will be nothing like anything previous. I would never write a series or a sequel. I always want to try something fresh and new.

Fun Stuff About You

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

I love sports. I used to play and coach hockey and other sports. I was a competitive runner. However, health issues have ended my athletic activities. I still cycle and swim to keep in shape. But I really miss running. I also enjoy gardening, preferably in the spring and summer. Cooking, eating out, crosswords, politics, making a fool out of myself, hashtag games and traveling. The summer of 2017, I went on a river boat cruise of the Danube River.

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

It would have to be somewhere exotic. I used to say French Polynesia but two years ago I finally made it. I think I would choose South East Asia – Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia.

Final Thoughts

14. How can people connect with you?

I’m very accessible. I love connecting with other writers on my blog, williehandler.com, on Twitter, and Facebook.

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

Thank you for profiling me. The online community is very supportive and this is just another example of how amazing it is.

Thanks for sharing a bit about you. I look forward to reading Dix’s story!

Do his stories interest you? You can find his first novel, The Road Ahead on Amazon in paperback and ebook.

The Road Ahead