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

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

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)

Meet Sarah Armstrong-Garner

This week we’re getting to know Sarah Armstrong-Garner, author of Sinking, a delightful YA fantasy novel and the first of a trilogy.

Jocelyn washes up on the shore of eighteenth century Ireland, alone, naked, and missing all of her memories. Taken in by a lonely old woman full of plots and schemes for the lovely yet enigmatic creature, Jocelyn knows only one thing. She longs for the sea with every ounce of her being. Yet it tried to kill her.

Aidan Boyd loves two things. His ship and the sea. When Jocelyn is thrust upon his vessel in the midst of his superstitious crew, he finds himself intoxicated by her—willing to give up everything for her. He soon finds he cannot live without her.

But something holds Jocelyn back. The whisper of another’s love. The embrace of water. Does she belong to this world? Or could Jocelyn possibly be from the sea?

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

Hello and thank you for having me on your blog! I am a YA fantasy writer and mother to three rambunctious children, who make everyday exciting. I am currently working on Rising, the third book in the Sinking Trilogy.

I’m excited to read more about Jocelyn!

You As A Reader

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

I first fell in love with reading when I visited my Aunt and Uncle’s and picked up the book From the Corner of His Eye, by Dean Koontz. It was the first time I had read a book for fun and after that I was hooked.

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

My favorite book from my childhood would have to be The Jolly Postman and Other People’s Letters. It is so much fun to pull out letters and read them.

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

From the Corner of His Eye gave me the love for reading as an adult and Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman brought me into the world of fantasy. Both of theses books challenged me to see the magic in the world.

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

The last book I read was A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. It was brilliant and a fun read. My current favorite is The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I love the world Marissa created with her books.

The Lunar Chronicles is my current favorite, too.

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

William Shakespeare because I would love to meet the man who created works of love and tragedy that still last today, and also to see if the theories of who he really was are true.

You As A Writer

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

I didn’t realize I wanted to be a writer until college, but looking back I was always writing and creating stories. I even have a play I wrote in elementary school.

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

The first story I ever wrote was about a bear, swan, and the dangers of strangers. I was in elementary school and my mom helped me write it. I wish I could find it, but we wrote it on a typewriter and the original was lost over time.

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

Managing my time. I’m the oh no, wait-for-the-last-minute-to-do-anything writer, which I am getting over slowly. The best part is seeing my books finished and to be able to share my imagination with others.

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

The best advice I have ever received is to follow your heart and do what you love. If you work hard it will happen, you just can’t give up.

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

I am finishing up on The Sinking Trilogy and then I’ll be moving on to finish Autumn in Neverland.

Ooh, such a tease! I can’t wait to hear more about it.

Fun Stuff About You

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

I love photography and animals. We have a small Ronald McDonald farm with chickens and a rabbit.

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

That’s a great question. Hmm… I would have to say dancing. I would love to be able to dance, but I have two left feet.

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

That’s easy, I would go to Bantry Ireland and visit the Bantry House.

BantryHouse.com

Final Thoughts

15. How can people connect with you?

Anyone can find me on Facebook, Twitter @Sarahtwyla, Instagram under Sarah Armstrong-Garner, and of course my website SarahArmstrongGarner.com

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

Thank you so much for having me here today! I would like to tell everyone to follow your dreams and put in the work, for nothing happens over night.

Thank you for sharing a bit about you. I’ll keep an eye out for more of your books!

If you’d like to buy her book, you can find it here:

Amazon: Sinking

Barnes & Noble: Sinking

Meet Mariah Avix

This week I’m introducing the editor of the amazing podcast 600 Second Saga, Mariah Avix. You may have heard a few of my stories published there and they couldn’t have found a happier home. In addition to the podcast, she is also the author of Dangerous Metal, Oak Stream Hollow, and Summer Solace, the first novel in the Smoke Jumper series.


Malcolm needs a summer away to decide if he wants to stay with his cheating wife. His daughter Daisy never wants to see the people who betrayed her.

In a cabin as far from the city as they can get, Faye, the park ranger, warns them of fire, woods, and wildlife.

Will either learn to love or trust again or will the forest devour them first.

Now for the interview.

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

I am Mariah Avix and I’m currently working on a rewrite of a novella in my Smoke Jumper series. I’ve also got a rewrite of an urban fantasy novel in progress…progress used in the most loose way possible here.

I can’t wait to read more about Faye!

You As A Reader

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

When I was small. I was talking recently with my mom and sister about this after hearing LeVar Burton speak and I was absolutely sure that my grandma had recorded herself reading Ramona Quimby to me. And yes! I wasn’t imagining it. She’d read both Ramona Quimby and The Secret Garden into a cassette recorder and I was able to listen to those. That was definitely a moment of falling in love with books.

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

In addition to those I loved Swan Lake. My recollection of this was that my mom would read it to my sister and I while the music played. (I had a chance later to see the Swan Lake ballet performed in St. Petersburg which was incredible.)

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

I think all of the books have changed me a little. It’s a great part of what books do, they make you change and see the world differently which I love. The most? I’m not sure I could answer that. Maybe Hitchhiker’s Guide? Maybe Shards of Honor? Maybe a few of the books I read as a pre-teen that I don’t remember the names of, or even if my recollection of them is accurate any more but some ghost of them still haunts my experiences? 

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

The last book I read would be Ancillary Justice. I listened to the audiobook and the second was done by a different narrator so I’ve been very hesitant to jump into it. My current favorite is all of them? I’m sort of floating around in a I Love Them All space so no favorite.

I’m sure most readers can relate to that happy state of being. I know I do right now. They’re all so good!

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

This is hard! I’m not sure because there’s the whole don’t meet your heroes thing. I think any author I could meet would be one who would want to be my friend and hang out with me and discuss the minutia of being an author with me. (I’ve been incredibly lucky to have made some great friends through NaNo, FB, Twitter, and through doing the podcast.)

You As A Writer

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

I’m really not sure. I’ve always loved making up stories, but putting them down on paper with some seriousness has only come in the last 5 years or so.

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

I’m not sure it was the first, but I have somewhere a nice little handwriting book that I wrote a story in when I was maybe 5 or 6? I don’t even know what it was about. Hopefully I’ve gotten better at story structure since, but I think I’ve gotten worse at handwriting.

I’ve never met an author who actually likes their own handwriting.

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

Deciding to rewrite or kill. I’m not sure sometimes, often even, if I should rework the entire story or chuck it and start over knowing the things I know now. There is a huge cyclical nature to it and I’d like to use that better when I can. But I get so hung up on I put SO much work into this story and I hate throwing it all out and only keeping the knowledge that I’ve gained when I feel like I should keep more.

The best part is the bringing the story to life. I love that moment when I do the final audio record and even though I’ve worked and reworked and re reworked the story to death it still pulls at my heartstrings and makes me feel all the things. I love those moments.

I know what you mean about deciding whether to keep working on it or to move on. It’s hard to know if/when any idea becomes no longer worth the work.

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

All the writing advice is wrong. Seriously. The best thing to hear is that all the super prescriptive “you have to do it this way Or Else” things are wrong. Work your way.

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

Always working on Smoke Jumper’s stories. Shifters and protecters of the woods. And a thousand pieces of flash fiction.

For the record, I totally blame you for my newfound obsession with flash fiction. I’d never written anything that short before and now I can’t stop. And it’s all your fault.

Fun Stuff About You

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

Podcast! Audio!

I love audio, I love taking a piece of work and turning it into something else. Giving that additional layer of life and breath to the story. I do audiobook narration and of course the 600 Second Saga podcast (and if anyone hasn’t listened to your episodes, especially Ann, they have to!).

Aww, thanks.

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

Being charming. Just being perfectly, incredibly, impossibly charismatic. It’s a skill that is so far outside my universe I’m not even sure how it works, it is one of 2 things that I think are legitimate magic in our world. (The other being impossibly large amounts of money.)

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

Antarctica is pretty appealing. But really? Space. I want to go to space. I know you said in the world, but I reject that and say an all expense paid trip I entered would be for space. Up. All the way.

That’s awesome!

Final Thoughts

15. How can people connect with you?

Twitter is great, @MariahAvix and my website insani-x.com.

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

Stories are very important. Tell them.

Thanks for sharing a bit about you, Mariah!


Be sure to check out her podcast 600 Second Saga and if you like what you hear, consider giving your support through Patreon. If you’d like to read or listen to Mariah’s books, they are available on Amazon and Audible:

Summer Solace ebook

Summer Solace audiobook

Oak Stream Hollow ebook
Oak Stream Hollow audiobook
Dangerous Metal ebook
Dangerous Metal audiobook

Meet A.S. Akkalon

This week I’d like to introduce you to the talented and hilarious A.S. Akkalon, aspiring author and blogger. Get a taste of her humor and read her exceptional short stories at www.asakkalon.com


A.S. Akkalon planned to run away and join the circus until the fantastical worlds of David Eddings, Katharine Kerr, and Raymond E. Feist inspired her to become a fantasy author. 

By day, she works in an office where computers outnumber suits of armour more than two-to-one, and by night she puts dreams of medieval castles, swords, and dragons onto paper.

If life has taught her anything, it’s that the cat is always right.

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

My name is Alecia and I’m definitely not obsessed with cats or dragons. Sorry, I can’t say that with a straight face. 

As well as cats and dragons, I’m moderately fond of medieval castles, and manage to maintain my romantic illusions about them because I’ve never actually visited one. Nor have I visited a hobbit hole even though I live in Middle Earth.

I am working on making friends online with people I will never have to meet, ridding the world of coffee by drinking it all myself, and editing my high fantasy novel, which is still WAY TOO LONG.

I’m trying – and failing – to not judge you for the hobbit hole thing. Not that I’m jealous of you for living in Middle Earth or anything.

You As A Reader

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

I think I’ve always loved books. It’s possible in a past life I was a book.

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

I loved so many books as a child, but one of my favourites now from back then is Winnie the Pooh because it’s cute, funny, and at least a little profound. I’m working on collecting it in as many languages as I can… and then learning the languages. Collecting the books has turned out to be easier than learning the languages.

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

I left this question for last because it was the hardest. Is “the heavy one that I dropped on my foot, breaking it” a valid answer?

I can’t decide whether to roll my eyes or be impressed that you managed to break your foot with a book.

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

The last book I read was Catling’s Bane by D. Wallace Peach. I just finished reading it for the second time. The first time I was beta reading for Diana, the second time was just for fun. If you enjoy beautifully written fantasy I recommend you check it out.

Sorry, I can’t pick just one favourite book. The others might get offended and smother me in the night. Or maybe that’s the cat.

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

Shakespeare, because then I could say I met Shakespeare. Also, I could see if he talks as funny as he writes. 

You As A Writer

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

I write every day, but I’m not convinced I’m a writer now. In fact, I’d rather not be.

There’s something about labelling it that feels limiting. If I’m a writer then I ought to be like this and behave like that, and I’m automatically *not* a whole pile of other things, like a vegemite sandwich. It’s easy to do both writing and vegemite sandwiching. It’s much harder to be both a writer and a sandwich.

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

I’m not sure it was the first story I ever wrote, but I remember writing and illustrating a story about a pricess (not being able to spell “princess”). She started out as a little pricess and turned into a big pricess. Somewhere along the way she was captured by an arch-villain called the Big Thing. Don’t worry, she escaped in the end. And possibly was eaten by a plastic crocodile.

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

I find plotting difficult. It took me six months of planning before I started writing my current work in progress. Then there was the time my Roomba ate the index cards of my first draft. [asakkalon.com/wall-e-roomba] That was a desolate day.

I was horrified just looking at the pictures!

Every evening when I get to sit down and work on my book is the best part, except when my cat bites me for reaching over his back to type.

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

“Stuff happened” is not a plot. Even if it was exciting stuff.

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

Right now I’m editing my fantasy novel RAIN ON DRAGON SCALES, and today I love it. Tomorrow might be a different story. 

The very short summary: An impetuous arena fighter must mend a powerful duke’s alliance with a clan of dragons if she’s ever to return home.

I’m also working on improving the very short summary for RAIN ON DRAGON SCALES, adding two posts a week of random humour and snippets of life to my blog, and writing a short story to give to people who sign up to my blog. The short story is called THE DRAGON’S APPRENTICE, and it’s about a human boy who is apprenticed to a dragon. It turns out I’m very slow at writing short stories.

Fun Stuff About You

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

Reading about writing. Oh, and world domination.

Does your cat know? Because His Royal Fluffiness might have some objections.

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

Learning! (And no, that’s not the same as wishing for more wishes.) Because then I could get to be an expert in anything else, obviously.

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

An isolated cabin in the snowy mountains somewhere, with a log fire and reliable internet.

Final Thoughts

15. How can people connect with you?

I blog at www.asakkalon.com, or you can find me on Twitter way too often (@AkkalonAS).

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

Thanks for having me here. It’s been fun! And cats are better than dogs.

Thanks for gracing my little blog with your unique flair.

If you enjoyed A.S. Akkalon’s answers as much as I did, leave a comment and let us know, then check out her blog for more hilarious fun.