Author Interview – Walter O’Neill 8.12.13

I’d like to welcome Mr. Walter O’Neill Jr. to my blog today and thank him for sharing his insite into being an author with us. He is working on a wonderful series about a bounty hunter that you will surely want to check out on your Kindle!


1.       What is your name and where do you call home?

Walter O’Neill Jr home is where the heart is, although I now live in Largo FL, with my wife Vikki and my strange cat Squishy

2.       Do you have a pen name?

Yes I do J.R. O’Neill

3.       What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or fewer words, what would you say?

“The Shadow Force Series Book One The Garden Planet, Episode One Anwar” It is the story of Jon Ryder galactic bounty hunter extraordinaire, in his fight to defeat a group of terrorists bent on the destruction of civilization.

4.       Is the above book part of a series?

Yes, and it is being released in episodic parts book one “The Garden Planet” is comprised of 4 episodes, the second of which will be available on Kindle August 2013, with the completed work due out in paperback by Dec 1 for the Christmas shopping season.

5.       What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing?

I never made the conscious decision to start writing, it just happened. The book the Garden Planet I originally wrote in the early 1990s on legal pads. It was just this year that I decided to re-write, and publish it. I have been inspired to start work on some other books and other genres. I am currently completing a historical novel called “Miami” it is the story of the founding and phenomenal growth of the city of Miami FL from 1908 Population 345 to the 1985 population 2,500,000 approximately. It follows the story of two families, and there ups and downs.

6.       How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book(s)?

Glen Barnhardt Designed the cover, we went through a couple of designs before settling on the final version.


7.       Did you listen to any particular songs while writing your book(s)?

No, I rather have no distractions.

8.       How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?

Well this book was originally titled the Garden Planet, the name came to me at the same time as the inspiration to write it, I was crossing the “Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Florida sometime in 1993 and the whole story as well as the title popped into my head, I wrote the first 20,000 or so words that very night, it was the first thing I had ever written. Now this year I found when I was contemplating publishing it, that the title was already available on kindle although not science fiction, I still decided to change the name somewhat to the Shadow Force book one The Garden Planet.

9.       Do you have a book trailer? If so where can we watch it?

No not yet

10.   Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hard-covers or audio-books?

Paperbacks that way they are easy to carry around.

11.   Are you a self-published/Indie author?

No, I didn’t really know how to do that so I am working with Glen Barnhardt at his new endeavor Blue Mountain Publishing, from Brooksville FL

12.   If you’re a self-published/Indie author what made you go that route instead of the traditional publishing route?

Well I went through Glen because he made the entire deal effortless.

13.   Have you ever read a book more than once? And if so what was it?

Oh yes, many, Tolkien, and Piers Anthony come to mind. I have reread their books many times.

14.   What is your opinion of novellas?

I usually like books that are in the 2-3 hundred page range, yet I don’t really have a preference. I just love a good story with characters that I can have an emotional connection with.

15.   Have you ever read a book just based on its cover?

All the time, and usually I am pleasantly surprised. I don’t think I have ever started a book and not finished it.

16.   What is your favorite film based on a book?

To be honest I have always been disappointed by movies based on books, you lose so much of the story. I try never to see movies after I have read the book, the other way around works much better for me.  Tom Clancy comes to mind.

17.   What is your favorite book genre at the moment?

Well Sci-Fi I guess, as that is what I am working on.

18.   What books have made it onto your wish list recently? And why?

I don’t get a chance to pay attention to what is coming out, (embarrassing I know) I tend to pick up whatever my wife is done with.

19.   What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format?

Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels, currently “Ten Big Ones” (Just starting)

20.   If you could invite any four (4) celebrities (alive or dead) to your dinner party, who would you invite and why?

Jules Vern, and H G Wells, would top the list, I think they were time travelers. I would also invite Ronald Reagan, for advice, and Abraham Lincoln for courage. Twisting the question a bit if I could invite 4 of my characters from my novels, they would be Jon Ryder, Sara Osgood, Tom Kelly, and Shannon O’Brien.

21.   What’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing?

Just keep writing no matter what.

22.   Do you have any hobbies that aren’t related to reading & writing?

I enjoy siting by the ocean, boats in general, and exploring new places

23.   Where can your readers follow you?


Goodreads author page: None (I think)




Marriotts Orlando World Center – My 2-Star Review


Let me start by saying that I recognize that everyone’s experiences are different when they travel and what is important to me in a hotel might not be important to everyone else. Therefore, this review is solely a reflection of my experiences at the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort and not based on anyone else’s opinions.

The following is a list of areas I chose to cover in this review and my thoughts/comments. Why did I select these particular areas? Simple, because these were the things that most impacted my experience during my stay.

  1. General Appearance (5 Stars) – Although I am giving this hotel a 5-Star rating for general appearance I want to remind everyone that appearance is only skin deep. The look of the hotel both outside and inside the main area was wonderful. The grounds are clean with well manicured lawns and the indoor “public” areas are very nicely decorated with new furnishings and a welcoming feel.
  2. Layout / Floor plan (1 Star) – Yes, I gave this a 1-Star rating. The reason is simple – THE SELF-PARKING parking lot has to be at least a half-mile, if not more, from the main lobby. I get that they want everyone to use their over-priced valet parking, but come on – some of us don’t even want to pay the $14.91/day for the self-parking. There is no way I was going to pay double that to do valet parking. Besides my employer was paying for the hotel so… No, they were not going to approve valet parking. I know you think I am kidding, but I’m not. The walk from the self-parking lot was at least a half mile from the main lobby – then you still had to walk another quarter-mile to get to my hotel room… lets just say I got a lot of exercise this trip.
  3. Customer Service (1 Star) – I’m actually not even sure I want to give the hotel a 1-Star rating for this, but I don’t like to give no stars. The thing is this – the service wasn’t all bad – it was just bad where it mattered to me. The first lack of customer service was the total disrespect they showed when assigning me my first room. Okay, I was there for a conference – and therefore my work was paying for the room, but that doesn’t mean you should give me the worst room in the hotel. I brought my family along, and we planned to make the week-long trip a family vacation (as well as a business trip). So, we walk into the room and what do we find? A note taped to the balcony door saying that it has been locked due to construction and that we are not able to use the balcony. When we look out the window there is PVC piping on the railing, and a ladder/ramp along the outside of the balcony. Therefore all the workers can see straight into our room as they work. Yeah, not happening. They should have known better than to assign that room to anyone. It just showed me that they don’t care about their customers. I was a paying customer – give me a good room! Then when I called down to the front desk to request a new room the gentleman said, “You can come down to the desk at one o’clock and maybe we can get you a better room.” Maybe? Maybe, are you kidding me?! When my husband went to the front desk and expressed our frustration – they quickly gave him a new room (a nice one I might add). You might be thinking that this should improve my customer service rating, but it doesn’t. Why? Because it just made me feel that, as a woman, they didn’t want to service me, but as a man my husband was taken seriously. Yeah, I’m not into the whole treat men and women differently thing. Next on the “customer service” rating – the cleaning crew was rude! I asked for some conditioner (BECAUSE THERE WAS NONE!) and what response did I get? “Call the front desk!” then she walked away! Last item on the “customer service” rating – When we returned to the room after a long day at Epcot the door to our room was open. I called the front desk, who quickly sent me to security. They came up and did a “test” on the lock to see whose card had been used in the lock last, and did they bother to tell me? NO! What does that say to me? Well it tells me one of their employees had been in my room, but they didn’t want to tell me that so they just ignored me!
  4. Room – Okay, the first room received a ZERO STAR rating, but the second room I would give 3 Stars. Why a 3-Star rating you ask… Well, the layout was fine, but there was NO VENTILATION! When you took a shower everything in the bathroom was wet with steam. I couldn’t even keep my clean clothing in there to change because they would end up wet by the end of the shower. That meant that when I got out of the shower and dried off I had to step into the sink area (where there was no door for privacy) naked to get dressed. That is not fun with two children running around. The lack of ventilation didn’t contain itself to the bathroom. At night in the room the air was dry and thick with dust from the air conditioner. After the first night I woke up with a sore throat. After the second night I was congested and had a migraine. By the end of our stay I WAS SICK, as in taking Dayquil and Nyquil. Last on this list – I have to mention the cleaning crew again. When I go to a hotel I expect that when I return to my room after say… lunch… that my room will be clean, but NO, they never arrived until after lunch. They must have been understaffed, but come on – if you have a hotel that big HIRE MORE PEOPLE! Oh, wait… I do have one more thing to add… They had candy, water, etc. just sitting out and a refrigerator full of drinks (alcohol included – without a lock on the refrigerator – EASY ACCESS FOR CHILDREN). Anyway, the selection was great, but the prices were obscene! Seriously, who is going to pay $4-$5 for a bottle of water?!?!?! GIVE ME A BREAK!
  5. Food/Restaurants (1 Star) – I have no idea how the food tasted at the hotel because OMG the price was ridicules. We were going to eat breakfast at the hotel, but for two adults and two children it was going to cost us $80 – $90. HELL NO! Come on, look at the government per diem rates for food in your area when planning your menu rates. You are WAY OVER PRICED!!!
  6. Pool (4.5 Stars) – YES THE POOL WAS AMAZING! I should say pools because they had more than one and all of them were wonderful. My only complaint was about the guy manning the water-slide. My husband took my 7 1/2 year-old daughter up to the top of the water-slide and she was so excited… however, the gentleman at the top wouldn’t let her go down because he said that she was one inch to short. Yet, we saw (numerous times) children smaller than her going down the slide throughout our stay. Yeah, he was in a bad mood that day… I mean his job is sitting at the top of a slide all day… I guess I get it, but come on don’t crush a 7 1/2 year olds only wish for the day!
  7. Business Center (1 Star) – I am only giving this a 1-Star rating because they do offer something, but come on this is the first hotel I have stayed at in a very long time that didn’t offer a free business center at least for minor printing needs. No, they offer a FedEx run business center that over charges for internet time and printing. Thank you, but no thank you!
  8. Miscellaneous – These are just a few other issues I had: fruit-flies in the restrooms and lack of afternoon shuttle busses to the Disney parks.

Okay, overall I have to say that I was VERY DISAPPOINTED with my experience. The only saving grace – my company paid, and they had a Starbucks in the lobby!

So, my final rating is… 2 Stars

Author Interview – Tim Girard

Today’s guest is Tim Girard. Tim is a screenplay author, and is working on some very exciting new scripts that I personally would love to see on the big screen. If you’re a film buff too be sure to keep reading…

  1. What is your name and where do you call home?

I am Tim Girard. Currently, and against my will, I live in California

  1. Do you have a pen name?

No pen name. Not this time. Maybe someday. For now, I want you to know who I am!

  1. What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up what would you say?

I’m of a different breed. I am working on a screenplay epic titled “Legends of the Seven.” The first screenplay is called “Shards of the Seven.” The second is “Into the Dreaming” while the third is “The Dream Catchers.”

My most recent “book” would have to be “The Song in the Chamber.” Summing it up, though, is something else.

The Song in the Chamber is about a “gifted” doctor desperately trying to work out how real his nightmares are while searching for someone “gifted” like he is.

  1. Is the above book part of a series?

The book is a stand alone. My first (and to date only) horror, in fact. The screenplays are a part of a series. I have several others in the works also.

  1. What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing?

Writing is natural for me. I don’t know that I have a specific inspiration for my start. As for how long, well, let’s just say it’s been a long time. A very long time!

  1. How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book(s)?

My “cover” is stark and ambiguous. It is the title on a black page, so not very “inviting” by itself.  It is meant to convey the nightmarish landscape the Doctor is experiencing while highlighting the grotesque nature of his search.

  1. Did you listen to any particular songs while writing your book(s)?

Songs. Yeah, huh. No, not really. I try to write in silence. I find I focus better that way. That being said I cheat a lot and put on whatever strikes my fancy. I like folk and rock and roll and alternative. My MP3 player has a lot of variety.

  1. How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?

The Song in the Chamber title really came from an event inside the story. The doctor has power and his goal aside from finding another like him is to make living music, born from the fear and stench of those about to die. It’s macabre and gruesome, I know.

  1. Do you have a book trailer? If so where can we watch it?

No trailer. Love to, but not for this one.

  1. Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hard-covers or audio-books?

Great question. As an author I am crazy about e-books. I write short little shots to the gut. E-books afford me that opportunity. As a reader I live for a book I can hold and think about.

  1. Are you a self-published/Indie author?

Indie all the way! Wouldn’t have it any other way. My work is pretty bizarre and experimental and I am a control freak about it. I think a publisher/editor and I would end up killing each other!

  1. If you’re a self-published/Indie author what made you go that route instead of the traditional publishing route?

Oh absolutely. It is a catch-22. With indie publishing there is a control factor. Unfortunately there is also an opportunity for really bad writers to put really bad stuff out there. I know it sounds obnoxious. I do. But it is the truth. There is a lot of mediocrity out there.

That being said I can’t imagine it any other way!

  1. Have you ever read a book more than once? And if so what was it?

I devour anything Steinbeck. Love the guy. I read and re-read all the time. I am a history reader so I go over books time and again, catching snippets here and there. Specifics? Yikes. The Flying Fortress, the Mighty Eighth. Those are current. Previously? World War 1, The Iliad, the Prophet. Just about anything by Rilke.

  1. What is your opinion of novellas?

When done well they are extraordinary! When not done well, they are a page long. I do not have patience for poor writing. If I am not caught I put it down.

  1. Have you ever read a book just based on its cover?

Oh probably. I have also not read a book because of its cover. Covers are necessary and should be an introduction. They should not be grotesque or outrageous.

  1. What is your favorite film based on a book?

I would go geek and say Lord of the Rings. That series was amazing.

  1. What is your favorite book genre at the moment?

Like I said, I am a Steinbeck freak. Aside from that I am involved with the air war in WW2, a host of neurology books as well as any number of books on trains and mythology and the1950s, and man. A lot actually!

  1. What books have made it onto your wish list recently? And why?

I’m a little too disorganized to have a wish list. There is one called a Higher Calling I am anxious to read (B17 story). I just picked up two Steinbeck books.

  1. What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format?

Steinbeck, a book about BF109 pilots, Black Hawk Down. They are trades and hardbacks.

  1. If you could invite any four (4) celebrities (alive or dead) to your dinner party, who would you invite and why?

Only four! Wow. Joseph Campbell, Hannibal Barca, John Steinbeck, and probably someone crazy like Lon Chaney.

These guys were special for different reasons. Campbell was a wizard of story. Hannibal fought Rome with elephants (how can you not love that?) Steinbeck was, well, Steinbeck. And Chaney understood the character of man.

  1. What’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing?

Absolute best advice? A couple of thoughts. First: it’s a marathon. Don’t expect it to be quick or painless. Second: Endure. It’s a marathon. Third: remember your audience. Fourth: remember your story. Fifth: it’s okay to do something radical. I’m kind of hoping you will.

  1. Do you have any hobbies that aren’t related to reading & writing?

What!?! There are hobbies not related to writing? Blow me down! Sort of. Not really. I am in production putting together a stylized animated short. I travel. I critique. I’m kind of all over the place.

  1. Where can your readers follow you?

I’m with Amazon and Linkedin, probably the best way to find me. I don’t facebook and I have so little time to blog. I do twitter, on rare occasion but it is for my zombie character. (That’s a long story there!)

So, that was Tim in a nutshell. I hope you enjoyed his interview as much as I did. Now, go out there and do something radical!