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

Copy of CAS_3220
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. 
Book Cover(1).jpg


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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:

Which is Better Words or Pictures


Recently I saw the film, ‘Words and Pictures’, starring Clive Owens and Juliette Binoche.  The film portrayed an English prep school teacher who loved the art of words as much as his friend, another teacher, loved the art of paintings.  To the painter her work was art and she said, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”  Which wasn’t her quote but was attributed to Frederick R. Barnard.  To the art teacher’s surprise, the English teacher made a compelling case among his students on why words were better than paintings.

To defend his belief, I will use an analogy for demonstration purposes.  A painting can clearly show what a person looks like and what they are doing or wearing, at that precise time in history.  Some may even agree that you can guess what the person is thinking or feeling from a painting by the shape of their lips or the smile on their face. In writing, the author can add so much more to the idea of the observer, such as what he/she ate that morning or where they were before or after that time in history.  A writer can describe their actual feelings on paper and what brought them to feel that sense of pleasure or fear.  A writer can then go on to describe what made them happy or sad; what circumstance made them feel that way.

A writer loves it when their words are able to describe something so precisely that the reader is pulled in to their work of art.  Whether it is a poem, short story or a beginning of something much larger, the art of writing itself can help the reader escape into a place that calms the mind or relaxes their tired muscles as they read word after word.  As they begin reading they can be lying at the beach on a warm sunny day with the wind blowing their hair, as the spray of ocean water mist hits their feet, just as they see sea gulls flying overhead.

Not to try to sway you either way, I will let you be the judge of what you think is better, a painting or an actual poem, literary work or group of words defining a painting. The words that describe the situation, the person or the event as illustrated can not be defined by a simple drawing but by descriptions of thoughts, feelings, and perceptions.  For more information about writing, visit The Writing Coach.’


Writing to Edify

walkSo many authors are in the world today. It is hard to know who is writing for wealth, fame, riches; I want to tell you that my main purpose is to encourage you and edify you into gaining wisdom. Knowledge is great but wisdom is from above. I recently have written an E-Book called, “Walking with the Father”. The purpose of this book was to share what I have learned with others. This book should help you with your Christian walk with God. It is free on Smashwords by clicking this link:

Walking With the Father is a Christian based book that helps those that might be struggling with their faith or who simply want to increase their relationship with God. Many of us have been in a place where we have sought after God. We have been confused, broken hearted, lonely or in search of answers. We have desperately needed to find help in times of trouble. Walking With the Father is a spiritual handbook designed to give you the answers you seek. It is a Christian guidebook that clearly lays out ways to guide you in the right direction to becoming closer to God.


Amazon buy link is here:
I tried to give it free on Amazon but couldn’t so the price is .99 cents for Amazon’s fees.

Anomaly by Michael Gilwood

Michael Gilwood (1)

Michael Gilwood is the Pen name for Stephen Woodward. Michael’s writing career began at the age of nine; writing children’s columns in the local Kentish newspaper. At seventeen, he started to write short stories and poems. After reading hundreds of books, he blamed his nearness to writing to the overly imaginative works of Verne, not because it was his first, it was he who could deliver his then childish mind, making him wonder how someone could vividly paint an invisible image inside his head. He was fascinated by the power of literature. Since then he enjoyed writing, enjoying the pleasure it brought to others. He found it a way to escape from the real world, inserting himself within his own. His other works include: DOK. Both books are available on Amazon.

Science Fiction Novel- Anomaly Synopsis:Anomaly

When two-hundred year old human remains are found on one of Neptune’s moons, Earth’s history falls into chaos. The momentous discovery points planet earth towards a solar system a thousand light years away. Twenty years later, Captain Philip Wakefield and his team, onboard the starship Excelsior, reaches the solar system of Mintaka and continues the investigation. But they are not the only thing evolving in the galaxy. Something frightening has them in its sights. Their discovery of the very cradle of humankind becomes a struggle for interstellar survival. This science fiction book is sure to excite your senses and imagination of the world of space.

weltron-urban_regular                                                                         Exerpt

“My name is Philip. This is Alana and Ramaan. We are scientists. We have come here to gather information about this planet, its life-forms and cultures, its riches and composition and then we will move on to the next planet in this system we call Phot. We come from Earth, the third planet of a G7 star in the centauri region.”

“We know why you have come. Here, you’ll need a flask of Amostalina for your woman.” Shar gave them a small phial of white liquid for Lexia and smiled.

“Almost twenty-thousand of your years ago, we lived in peace in your solar system on the planet you call Mars. Everything was perfect. Everything was as it should have been until the war between the Gorinos, or the dark ones and us, began. At the same time, a terrible disease struck Mars. It drifted quietly and almost destroyed us. As a result, we separated and fled to different parts of the galaxy to escape the impending doom that encircled us. We have our Platnios outside to warn us of intruders. It was them who told us of your arrival.”

“Those plant creatures, you call them Platnios?” Philip’s confidence suddenly came back with a rush. He felt at ease. Shar sensed it, and smiled again.

“They are territorial; if you don’t provoke them, they won’t hurt you.” Ramaan felt an urge to roll up his sleeve and show Shar his arm.

“They are genetically made to serve and obey us?” He moved forward and gave them a book written in their language. Philip was sure his gift would help Lexia with her translations. Ramaan meanwhile was taking photographs of interest and sending the results to Sentrywatcher.

“How is it that you are familiar with the English Language?” asked Philip.

“It is our second language and the mother tongue of our descendants. Come, I will show you and your crew our hangar and what we are doing here.”

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A Writers Gift


Christmas Time is Around the Corner so I thought I would give you a few inspiration thoughts about the season of giving. Christmas time should be a time of reflection —a time of giving to your family and friends. At Thanksgiving we gave thanks for the people we love and the things that God has given us, but why not continue on that thanks by giving to others. Writers often give their time to inspire, edify and encourage others through their writing. Many think that writing is easy but few take on that career choice. To me a writer has to enjoy what they do and have the gift of writing —the gift of putting thoughts and imaginations on paper.

So my gift to you this season is the following poem. I encourage you to give to someone else this year in the form of writing. Writing helps us to relax, inspires us to love others, works our imagination and helps us be creative.

Remember Christmas is a time of giving not a time of regret. Remember Jesus is the reason for the season. Give honor to him before anyone else this season. Without him we wouldn’t have any reason to celebrate at all. Hope you all have a merry Christmas and happy New Year.

What do I see this Christmas Eve?christmas

I see Love and kindness throughout the land,
Christmas music is played by the band.
Children are happy decorating the tree,
The Christmas star is shining for all to see.
People’s hearts are merry and gay,
For it has been a joyous day.

Up above the choir is singing,
Heaven’s bells are ringing.
All are singing in one accord,
Praising Jesus our King and Lord.
Way beyond the clouds and blue,
God’s love for me tis true.
I see the Lamb of God on the throne,
He loves us all and we are not alone.

The angels are hovering close by,
because Christmas is drawing nigh.
A turtle dove is reposing on a tree,
Tis there to show me that peace is upon me.
I see a miracle as Christmas draws nigh,
The world is merry while angels rejoice on high.

Does Our Success Depend on Others

Does our success and happiness depend on others? Think about this question carefully. Some might say yes because if people aren’t interested in buying our product then we fail. Some say no because you are only as successful as you choose to be.

Really there are two ways to look at this. You might say success is happiness and living a fulfilled life. Others say success depends on how well their business is going and by how much money they have in the bank.

Now let me ask the question again. Does our success depend on others? Do you still have to think about the question or have you made an observation already? I am going to talk about success with businesses verus success with contentment.

In Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development, a person develops a sense of pride in their accomplishments in the fourth stage called: Industry Versus Inferiority. Social interaction is key and important in this time of development. Children will become more and more capable of performing increasingly complex tasks. As a result of this, they strive to master new skills. After completing one task they are able to move on. When they are encouraged by parents and teachers they develop a feeling of competence and belief in their skills. They feel acceptance by others and helps them build self esteem. Without self esteem it is more difficult for an individual to become successful. Those who receive little or no encouragement feel incapable and doubt their ability. Each individual needs to be able to deal with new social and academic demands. If they are doubtful of their abilities they cannot master any new task. Often they might trying for fear of failure. They might think it is easier to give up than to complete their objective.

Now some view success as having contentment in one’s life. The same theory applies. When a child is negatively influenced by others it affects their self esteem. Some might rise above negative thoughts of others but some dwell on it for years. I am not a Psychiatrist but have observed people in different scenerios in life. Many dwell on past experiences and they are usually negative experiences. Some say if, “If I was treated better growin up, I….” The fact is that people care about what others think of them. One can choose to live life to the fullest and forget those past experiences or one can dwell on it and never succeed.

James M Copeland- Crime Mystery Author


James Copeland is a crime mystery author of Bottom Bones and Blindsided. He  was born in Walker County, raised in Cullman County in Birdsong, Alabama. He  retired from the public work place, after many years of sales, management and  ownership of businesses. He has accomplished many things in his life time, but  feels nothing more satisfying than what he is doing now. He has a great feeling  of accomplishment by just having reached this phase of his new career in  writing.


Detective FRANK HAWTHORN receives a call from W.J. FISHER. He said that his son Milford Fisher had disappeared. He found his boat near the Memphis, Tennessee branch of the Fisher Granary Corp covered in blood. Later that day the boat disappears as well.

Hawthorn is told that young Fisher discovered someone was stealing millions from the company and now he is missing. Everyone believes him dead except Hawthorn who has a premonition that maybe…he’s still alive.

Detective Hawthorn works his magic to solve the crime. After several incidents and mishaps, he discovers the truth and finds the guilty individuals. There is an important twist in the story and Frank Hawthorn uncovers a plot that will keep you on your toes. Frank wears his heart on his sleeve and is BLINDSIDED when he discovered the truth about the woman he loves while he searches for the truth. You’ll never guess what happens in this riveting tale.

blindsided_coverMy Review

This book fascinated me from the start.  Who doesn’t like crime mystery books about detectives.  This book is a interesting read about a detective that changes jobs due to the lack of support given to him at his previous job.  Then when things start to look depressing, he gets his first real break as a detective for the wealthy Fisher company owner.  His son is missing and Frank Hawthorn is on the case.  Trying to fight off his feelings for Mr. Fisher’s daughter and work the case at the same time, it gets pretty interesting.  This story would entice anyone interested in mystery, suspense, romance or crime detective stories.  I give it a 5 stars.  Can’t wait to see what else James Copeland has in store for us.

Join- James Copeland at:




Youtube Book Trailer:

Book will be released shortly on Amazon.  Keep updated by viewing his Facebook Fan page.

Six Important Things to Remember When Book Writing


As a writer, I have learned that there are some very important things to consider when writing a book or a blog post. Here are some tips for writing that will help any author master their skill.

1. Know your audience.  Readers will be critical when it comes to your writing if they were expecting something different.  If a writer states that their book is geared toward kids but uses a lot of adult language, then the author was not taking into consideration the audience.  Same applies to a writer writing for adults and but uses simplistic language. 

2. Engage your audience with every part of your book.  Don’t make the first page very interesting and then make the rest of it boring.  You have to keep the reader guessing on what is going to happen next.  Make the reader want to keep reading even though they might want to stop.

3. Clarify what your book is about.  If you are writing a book for educational purposes, to be humorous or just plain fictional, make sure to let the reader know that in advance.

4. Get rid of excess baggage.  Don’t go on and on and on about something that is not important or that does not need to be there.  I recently picked up a book that was extremely long. I wished I could have shown the author where they could have cut parts that didn’t help the storyline.

5. Make your characters interesting.  No one likes to read a book when they hate all the characters.  Bring life to the character.  Don’t make them sound too educated.  Use contractions, use words that would use in normal everyday life.

6. Last of all, edit your book.  Don’t let your book go to print without someone qualified to edit it.  There are programs you can go through where you can get informative advice on how your book reads.  Readers want to enjoy their time spent reading, not correcting all of your errors.


Other related articles:—6-Most-Important-Points-to-Keep-in-Mind-When-Writing-Feature-Articles&id=3488222—How-to-Write-Good-Articles&id=7519162

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