Interview With Jon Koons

Sat down with Author Jon Koons to talk about writing and his new book: Willoughby’s Time & Space App.  jonphoto
1. How long have you been writing?
Forever. I wrote stories and song lyrics when I was ten. Got more into it around the college years, and had my first story published in a legit anthology about a decade later in 1994. The story, THE ADVENTURE OF THE MISSING COUNTESS, a Sherlock Holmes pastiche, first appeared in The Game Is Afoot: Parodies, Pastiches, and Ponderings of Sherlock Holmes— edited by Marvin Kaye. Oddly, since then that story has been reproduced in another anthology, in a magazine, and has been turned into a stage play, and incorporated into two others.
2.What got you started in writing?
Just a way to be creative, I suppose. Found out that I didn’t suck at it, and kept going. One of my short story collections is called: A FEW STORIES THAT WERE TRAPPED INSIDE MY HEAD And Just Had To Get Out.
3. What main genre do you write in and have you written in other genres?
I have written in every genre, even non-fiction and editorial, however I gravitate towards humorous science fiction and fantasy.
4. What publishing route have you used and/or what publishing company have you used?
My two previous children’s picture books, A CONFUSED HANUKKAH and ARTHUR AND GUEN, were published by Dutton Children’s Books, a division of Penguin, one of the largest publishers in the world. The industry has changed drastically since then, so my current novel was published by a hybrid online publisher who essentially prints and distributes through Amazon. I am not, as many people do, trying to become the world’s best selling online author. I have published the current novel (and will the upcoming sequel) primarily to get some notice and good reviews, then to pitch the series to a traditional publisher.
5. What inspired you to write this book? Is it the 1st or in a set of books?
Actually wrote the initial version of book decades ago. Probably just for fun. Was asked to rewrite it as a YA by an editor who subsequently didn’t buy it. (sigh) Dug it out last year and completely rewrote it, stem to stern, to accommodate new technology, current YA sensibilities and modes of speech. This is the first in a trilogy, although if it is picked up and sells well, it will likely become a trilogy of 6 (like Hitchhiker’s guide To The Galaxy, to which my book has been compared). Who knows? Maybe I’ll end  up with forty novels, like Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series (to which my book has also been compared).
6. What marketing routes have you used to promote your book?
Freebees, contests, social media, email blasts. All the normal stuff that everyone does these days.
7. Is writing your main career or do you have other jobs?
Although I would like it to be one day, I write along side being an actor, singer, director and multi-talent variety performer. That means I do virtually all of the variety and circus skills out there. Magic, juggling, stilt walking, fire eating, etc. Plus graphic design and pretty much everything in the fine and performing arts.
8. How do you start off writing? Do you research, brain storm, or just set the title and go from there?
Just have an idea, sit down at the keyboard and see where it takes me. Research is done along the way as needed. I create a mental, sometimes written, outline and then let the story write itself. I rarely plot out specifics unless I’m doing a serious murder mystery or such, and then only sometimes. I do like to listen to my characters and see where they want to go.
9. Who inspires you to write and do they help with ideas for the book?
Life inspires me to write. Everyone I see or talk to helps with ideas.
10. If you could write one last book what would it be about?
About 70,000 words.
11. What advice would you give a new author?
I would give the same advice I give to wannabe actors: There are only two kinds of people who write— The kind who have to write because it’s in their blood and they can’t do anything else; and the kind who don’t write. Run with it, stick to it, and revise, revise, revise!
12. If you had to tell a new author something to watch out for in writing, what would it be?
Be grateful for any and all comments, criticism and advice that you can get— then sort it out for yourself and write what and how you feel. Take good advice from those you respect. Don’t sweat the rest. Also, rules of writing, just like painting or acting or whatnot, are for people who don’t write. They are made to be broken, as long as you understand them first. I, for example, punctuate the way I want to, and have a whole introduction in the book I’m currently writing as to how and why.
13. How do you respond to bad reviews or if you havent ever had one, tell me how you would respond if you got one?
If I can respond to a bad review, which is usually not possible (and of which I have had very few), I try to find out the specific reasons behind the review, and what I might be able to do to use them as suggestions to become a better writer (actor, artist, etc.). That being said, reviews these days are largely by people just to make themselves feel important, and have little to actually do with your work. Mostly codswallop, so I feel free to ignore most of them and stumble on. [I recently got a review of the audiobook in which someone says that a character’s speech is too old fashioned, and people don’t talk like that anymore— obviously missing the fact that the character was born in the mid 1800’s, and left planet Earth by about the 1920’s. Speaks too old fashioned indeed. These are the reviews, from people who don’t even pay attention to what the book is about, that I completely discount.]
14. Do you have anyone to read your book and give you advice on it before it is published?
Always. Always have some trusted family and friends (my wife, son, author friends, etc.) to give you their opines before going to print.
15. Pretend this is a job interview, Tell me about yourself as an person and/or author?

This is best handled by the bio on my author website:

Jon Koons is an author who resides in New Jersey, U.S.A. But please don’t hold that against him. He has written everything from children’s picture books to short stories to scripts and novels. His work can be found as print books, ebooks, audiobooks, in anthologies such as Cool Sports Dad; The Game is Afoot: Parodies, Pastiches and Ponderings of Sherlock Holmes; The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories; as well as in periodicals like Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine (are you sensing a theme here?), Weird Tales Magazine, The Jewish Standard (of all places), and lining bird cages across the country. As a frequent contributor of short fiction and book reviews to Weird Tales Magazine he was eventually made an Associate Editor, meaning he gets to correct other authors’ punctuation and spelling. Although Jon writes in just about every genre, his focus is on science fiction and fantasy that is humorous. At least to him.
Also known as a performer under his nom de plume (which obviously means ‘name with feathers’) of The JestMaster, Jon does ridiculous things like magic, ventriloquism, walking on stilts, eating fire and riding a Penny Farthing bicycle; for which he has garnered acclaim, awards, second degree burns and cracked ribs. As an actor Jon has appeared on Broadway (in a show that closed after only a couple of weeks—but it wasn’t his fault, he swears), on TV, in commercials and in such classic films as Revenge of the Nerds 3: The Next Generation. He also produces and narrates audiobooks, saving him the expense of having someone else do it.
After twiddling around with writing all that other stuff seemingly forever, now at an age over half a century old (advanced, yes, but not too crusty, because as you know fifty is the new forty-nine) he has finally become a published novelist. His fondest desire as an author is that after you have read all the Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett and Christopher Moore novels you can get ahold of, that you give his novels a shot. Admittedly there is only one at the moment, but as long as people keep buying it there will be plenty more to come.
In his dubious spare time, Jon hangs out in his big old house with mice in the walls and in serious need of repair, with his wife Mikki, who is a talented woodwind player and the love of his life; his miraculous son Merlin Ryan, a chip off the old block—heaven help him; their ferret Grig; and an ever changing cast of characters, both real and imaginary. @trappedstories

book blurb
Two Human Teens. One Intergalactic Resort. An Alien Pageant Under Attack. Time to Party!
When a trip to the mall goes from weird to WTF?, high school students Brad and Stephanie find themselves transported to the oddest and most wonderful place in the universe. Or some universe at least. It’s like Club Med, but more like Club Mashup, filled with a cadre of strange and unusual aliens.
With memberships to the only Intergalactic, Pan-Dimensional, Crosstime Resort in the cosmos, our heroes must foil a plot by dastardly villains bent on its conquest. What can two human teens do about it? Throw a party, of course! Along with the very first Intergalactic Beauty (?) Pageant.
Can they get contestants from countless cockeyed worlds to join their pageant, best the baddies, and save the planet?
Willoughby’s Time & Space App is the first exciting book in a series of over-the-top YA sci-fi novels. If you’re into daring teens, incredible alien worlds, and intergalactic escapades, you’ll love Jon Koons’ hilarious tale.
Buy Willoughby’s Time & Space App and embark on this wacky, out-of-this-world adventure today!
link to Amazon or other buy link.

Interview with Author DeAndrea Byrd

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Thought you might find this interesting!  Sat down with Author DeAndrea Byrd about her writing career and what book she wanted you to check out.  Here is the interview:
1. How long have you been writing?
I have secretly been writing all my life, via poems, notebooks, short stories etc. I was inspired at a young age by my mom and grandmother. The were both writers.
2.What got you started in writing?
What got me serious about writing professionally, was other people’s need for information. 
3. What main genre do you write in and have you written in other genres?
My specialties include “How To” books, workbooks and journals for entrepreneurs
4. What publishing route have you used and/or what publishing company have you used?
I took the self publishing route via Amazon Createspace (now KDP Kindle publishing)
5. What inspired you to write this book? Is it the 1st or in a set of books?
I noticed I was being asked the same question over and over ” How do you plan those big sold out events DeAndrea? How did you get vendors and sponsors at your event? I decided to put all my knowledge, research and experience into a book. 
6. What marketing routes have you used to promote your book?
I have mainly used social media as my biggest marketing strategy. I also use vendor events, speaking engagements and old school flyer tactics
7. Is writing your main career or do you have other jobs?
Writing is not my main career yet, but I do consider myself an infoprenuer.
8. How do you start off writing? Do you research, brain storm, or just set the title and go from there?
Brainstorming is my first go-to-action. I use journals and Google Docs to brain dump option. Because I have such a creative mind, its important that I get my ideas out right away. I refer back to my journals and docs as needed.
Then I go back and outline my thoughts, develop at least 3-5 title ideas, and commit to a writing schedule.
9. Who inspires you to write and do they help with ideas for the book?
I am inspired my life, earth, my family and experiences to write. Life is my school and inspiration.
10. If you could write one last book what would it be about?
If it was my last day on earth and I could write 1 last book, I would totally write my memoirs. They would all be short stories mixed with letters to myself.
11. What advice would you give a new author?
Listen to yourself, Breathe and just do it. The world needs you.
12. If you had to tell a new author something to watch out for in writing, what would it be?
Do not let fear, grammatically errors and other people’s opinions make you procrastinate
13. How do you respond to bad reviews or if you havent ever had one, tell me how you would respond if you got one? Bad reviews get no response from me. They are just not my target audience and that’s ok. I would use every review to make my work better.
14. Do you have anyone to read your book and give you advice on it before it is published?
Yes. I also do a test “FREEBIE” and give the book out via digital download to get feedback.
15. Pretend this is a job interview, Tell me about yourself as an person and/or author?
DeAndrea, the daughter, sister, mother, wife, author, business owner, aka super women. Helping others and teaching are my super powers. DeAndrea Byrd is a seasoned business coach and consultant. As a self-taught entrepreneur, she has launched multiple successful businesses both online and in a traditional brick-and-mortar setting and has a passion for helping other entrepreneurs automate their business, create a workflow strategy, and increase their profits by creating digital products. 
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Link to purchase book:
Link to all books:

The Importance of an Editor and Beta Readers for Independent Authors

Learn some important tips and insights into writing from an author. If you are an independent or self published author, it is really important to have someone read your manuscript.  They can give you some advice and editoral tips on the book such as editing misspelled words, correcting grammar and such.  Beta readers can catch stuff the author can’t see because authors have a way of just glancing at their story instead of reading it word by word.  They may even catch something in the story that doesn’t make sense to the reader.  Anyway read more on this topic from this blog post: The Importance of an Editor and Beta Readers for Independent Authors


Why Are Books So Important to the World


Why are books so important to everyone? We as individuals are capable of inventing new ideas, creating manuals to teach others how to save lives, writing books to teach our children about history and setting up new laws that will forever change our lives and the lives of others. Without setting up schools, libraries, new governments and new laws, where would this country be. We have educated ourselves beyond our ancestors by reading and studing books and manuals. We now can read manuals about healthcare, how to fix things, how to make things and so on. Books are filled with knowledge, parables, insights into a happy life, helpful topics about life, love, fear, child rearing, prayer, worship and helpful advice. One can read about romance, the creation of the world, future events, and big battles that men have fought. Without books we wouldn’t know anything about other cultures, extinct animals, important historical events, scientific studies, and fascinating research. Books help us to have critical thinking skills, teaches us how to perform task, helps us plan for our future, perform jobs better, and solve problems. Contracts do not carry any weight unless written down and signed. Writing makes it easier to define and analyze all sorts of problems including Math problems.

Writing first started with drawings and symbols in the Old Stone Age. Then progressed into ideographic scripts by the Sumerians and Egyptians. Then progressed into syllabary symbols. The first paper used was originated in Egypt called the papyrus. Later alphabetic writing was originated in the Middle East and spread through the Greeks and Romans. Back then, only scholars and scribes could write. Writing was known as an educated skill and therefore over time became widely used by educated people. Our knowledge of history is due to written text material. Writing is an art and is used by everyone to some degree. Music, Literature, and Drama owe their development to writing. “It is the writer who might catch the imagination of young people, and plant a seed that will flower and come to fruition.”
– Isaac Asimov




Reasons I Write Books


I was asked by a publisher once, what was the reason that I came to be an author. The simple and plain truth is I love to write stories. I’ve always had an active imagination; love art, creating something, anything; creating stories that evoke the imagination. I hope my stories inspire, edify, and encourage others in a way that they may want to spread around that joy they received, from reading a good book.

There is no limit what you can do, where you can go, or who you can become in a book. You can be a teacher, doctor or even a princesss in a book. You can travel to new heights, swim in the ocean with dolpins, or fly high in the sky as a superhero. You can fight villains or rescue a damsel in distress.

Most writers choose the writing profession merely because of their need to write things on paper. Each book started from an author writing one word at a time on paper. Some writers write because they want to leave behind a part of themselves. after they have passed on. Some writers write to educate or instruct others about something. There are so many reasons a writer writes but writing is an art in itself. You can create new worlds, design masterpieces from words on paper, and leave behind a legacy of history to the next generation. I write to help someone to become a better person.  Hopefully my words will instill something in them that will help them have good morals, compassion and love for others.  Stories can inspire and edify, but sadly there are some that don’t.  Hope you enjoy my words and I encourage you to show that love, compassion and decency to someone else.  Words we say to someone, and things we do for someone can truly change peoples lives. They will remember that person for years that truly inspired them.

In the faces of men and women I see God and in my own face in the glass, I find letters from God dropt in the street, and every one is signed by God’s name, and I leave them where they are, for I know that wheresoever I go others will punctually come for ever and ever. — Walt Whitman


Tracy Kauffman is a young adult and kids book author from Alabama.  Works include: Southern Adventures, Southern Attraction, Gwendolyn’s Wish, My Boyfriend the Squire and Richard the Lionheart.  Check out her newest book: Captain Honeybear– Available on Amazon.  Preview the book here:

Southern Attraction- Young Adult Romance Book

The Writing Entrepreneur

Southern Attraction Coverart (2)

After tornadoes blast through Alabama in April of 2011; I wrote this book in memory of those that lost their homes or even their lives.  After seeing the tornado destruction and losing power for over a week, and seeing many lives changed that day, I wanted people to remember what happened not only to the state of Alabama but throughout the south.
Southern Attraction is a young adult romance book about a girl who loses her parents and is forced to live with a country-fied redneck uncle from Alabama. There she has to rediscover who she really is.  She goes from the snooty beauty queen cheerleader to part of the southern charm.  She has to choose between two young men that she likes.

Heather has everything she ever wanted; money, clothes, friends, popularity and parents that adored her. Until one terrible day, she loses it all. She is uprooted from a place she…

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Captain Honey Bear – Kids Book

Captain Honey Bear is a cute kids book, short story, about a bear who has to serve a sentence for stealing honey from a bee’s nest.  It teaches kids good morals including having compassion and forgiveness for others. It is inspiring and uplifting story for the young at heart. Please check out this book by Tracy Kauffman on Amazon.  It is available on Kindle Ebook and in Print. Buy Here:


Tracy Kauffman is a kids and young adult author who writes fictional books for enjoyment, while trying to teach that good morals go a long way.  Visit her author profile here.

Niche Marketing Tips


Ways to Approach people (including teachers) about your book!

1. First look at your target audience or niche market. If your book targets students of any age group, schools are an excellent place to sell books. If your book doesn’t target students, think about other groups of people who it might help. Many churches have small groups and age- or gender-based fellowship groups. Other community associations and service groups are often looking for speakers.

  • Approach people by offering them a service. Offer to do a speech or presentation. It can be about writing, books, business, etc…
  • Presentations should be around 20 minutes minimum, an hour max. Think about what your book can teach, and focus on that in the presentation. Your book itself should certainly be a part of the presentation, but don’t make it the entire focus.

2. Look at what your book is geared toward, then focus on that.

  • If your book is geared toward a certain topic such as: Self Help Topics, see what groups are in your area that cover toward this.
  • If your book is a health or medical book, you can attend medical conventions and offer your expertise.
  • If your book is geared toward teens, place your book on online teen websites.

3. Different ways to approach people. Emails are more friendly and don’t seem too pushy. Schools post teacher’s emails on their sites. Cold calls are more direct but can be handled in a friendly way. (Some people prefer this method.) Send letters out to teachers, libraries, businesses, bookstores etc.

3. Have a way for people to contact you. List your contact information on your website. Have a page explaining that you are available for bookings.

Now lets look at ways to reach children. Schools are full of children. Teachers have a hard job to do and sometimes need to take a break. That is where you come in. You might offer your assistance to them by offering to come do a speech to the kids. Below is an example email you could send them. Make sure you follow up with them. If they agree on you coming in to their school, then let send them a book order form that kids can buy your books before hand. You might want to bring some free pencils or stickers to those that didn’t purchase a book.


Check out this book on Amazon: Captain Honey Bear

The Sweet Name of Jesus

Godly Witnesses For Christ


Jesus refers to himself by many names. His name is powerful.One day our Lord will descend from Heaven with a shout.  All will bow before our King. Let us praise his Holy name. Jesus our Lord. His name is wonderful, his name is wonderful, his name is wonderful, Jesus our Lord.
John 15:5- I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: John 14:6- Jesus saith into him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. Romans 8:1- But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were sinners, Christ died for us. John 6:35- And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. John…

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Poem-The Angels Are Close By


God gives his angels charge over us,
to keep us safe from harmful things.
They will cover you with their wings,
when you dash your foot and sigh.
The angels are always close by.

They minister to us when we need them,
and they raise us up when we fall.
They surround us daily and stand tall.
When you close your eyes and cry,
The angels are always close by.

In a lowly stable, Jesus was born,
The angels were close by,
Early that Christmas morn,
to sing praises to the king.
When the Shepherds drew nigh.
The angels were close by.

When Jesus died on a cross,
that dreadful Easter morn,
The angels were close by.
When Mary seen him and took a deep sigh,
The Angels were close by.

The angels rejoice when a sinner repents.
They sing praises to our God.
In the last day, they will come with the Lord.
On a white horse, Jesus will fly,
With the angels close by.

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