Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Getting to Know You #Interview with John W. Howell.

Welcome to this week’s interview and today my guest is John W. Howell, author of the thrilling John J. Cannon Trilogy, which I read and enjoyed, as well as Circumstances of Childhood which took us into the world of football and high finance. Just released is The Contract which is a collaboration with author Gwen Plano, and is already receiving great reviews. More about John’s books later, but first the official word about this charming author and blogger.

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon.

The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016. John’s fourth book Circumstances of Childhood, launched in October of 2017 tells a thriller story of riches to rags, football, Wall Street, brotherly love, redemption, and inspiration with a touch of paranormal to keep you riveted. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets. And if you click the photos it will take you to John’s latest post about Lucy, Bailey and Twiggy.

.Twiggy, Lucy, Bailey

Time to find out which of the questions John has selected to answer and a look at his wonderful selection of books.

Welcome John and can you describe one most embarrassing moments of your life?

When I was in College I loved to, play practical jokes on my fraternity brothers. One night while they were all having dinner in the lowest level of the house, I took out all the light bulbs of every lamp in every room on the three floors above. Of course, I kept the blubs in a pillow case since I knew I would be returning them. After dinner, they all came up to the upper floors, and it was pitch black. Everyone was yelling and couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I was sneaking up the back stair with the bulbs and was caught. The brothers stripped off my clothes and wrapped me in masking tape. They then carried me across the street and chained and locked me to a sorority house porch pillar. Long story short the police and fire department were called since it required a bolt cutter to undo the chain. My tape was beginning to show places that should not be seen. I was given a warning and had to take a walk of shame back across the street. I never checked to see if the story made the nightly news.

How would you describe your fashion sense?

For forty plus years I dressed in the classic business style. I wore subtle color suits of deep blue, black, or grey with maybe a barely noticeable pinstripe. Summers and winters called for different weights of wool but still wool. Shirts were usually white or blue with white cuffs and collar and always a silk tie. Shoes varied in color from black to black and included cap-toed oxfords, wing-tipped oxfords, and plain toed oxfords. It was easy to dress. I merely pulled out a suit from the left and put it back on the right.

Very dapper suited John.

So if you saw me today, you might ask, “What happened?” You see I never wear dress shoes or socks. In fact, the only shoes I wear are boat shoes with no socks, and I only do that when I dress up. I am usually in board shorts and a t-shirt. I do have some nice fishing shirts that I occasionally wear to the doctors but typically am pretty casual. Flip flops, cotton baseball cap, shorts and a t-shirt are du rigor today.

Sally here: I found this very dapper beach photo of John to show you too.

What do you consider to be the best dish that you prepare – and have you the recipe?

I love to cook and have some favorite dishes. The one that stands out regarding consistency and praise is my pasta Amatriciana. It has an authentic flavor with just a hint of heat and a creamy texture which can be described as melt in your mouth. I have the recipe.

Image Pinterest


  • I pound penne pasta
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 5 strips of bacon chopped
  • 2oz Pancetta chopped
  • Diced 3/4 cup onion
  • Diced 1 TLBS garlic
  • Diced, I x 28 oz can whole plum tomatoes, drained, chopped with juice reserved,
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 TLBS freshly ground black pepper (very important)
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese.


  1. Cook penne to el dente (9-10 min).
  2. In large pan heat olive oil on medium, add bacon and Pancetta and cook till light brown stirring often.
  3. Add onion and cook until tender.
  4. Add garlic and cook until soften (do not burn).
  5. Add chopped tomatoes (I usually put them in the pan whole and use kitchen shears to cut them up)
  6. Simmer for 10 minutes on low heat.
  7. Add basil, pepper and Parmesan cheese and stir.
  8. As the sauce thickens, add the reserved tomato juice until the desired thickness is achieved.
  9. Add the sauce to the pasta and serve with parmesan cheese.

 If you could get rid of one household chore, what would it be?

I would love to get rid of Vacuum cleaning. (Hoovering in the UK). Our house is all wood and tile flooring, and with three dogs you can imagine the tumbling tumbleweeds that build up if the floor isn’t swept regularly. Although we have a central vacuum system, it is still a chore to do each room. If you try to skip a place for a while, then the tell-tale dust bunnies roll through the door. When we had the house built, we were supposed to have kick plate suction outlets strategically placed throughout the house. This would allow attacking the dust periodically with a broom and merely sweeping into the kick suction place. The contractor thought we were crazy and installed the kind of ports where you have to plug in a hose. By the time we discovered the mistake, it was too late to go back. So now we have this long hose which is a pain to get out and put away. If we had the kick plates, the room would take maybe three minutes to sweep. Also, when my wife and I divided up chores, it was my luck to get the vacuum duty now that the kickplate idea was dead.

Sally here: If I could offer some advice John, use your vacuum chore as an opportunity to entertain and obtain some exercise.

Knowing now, what you didn’t know then, what would you have done differently?

If I knew then that getting a book published need not be a hurried process, I would have taken more time on the first. Once I finished the first manuscript I was hell-bent on getting it published. I sent out queries and lo and behold a publisher wanted my book. I was so thrilled and barely read the contract. Of course, I signed and then came to understand that it would be three long years before I could finally be on my own to continue publishing. You see the publisher had the rights to all my characters. Yes, that’s right. When I wrote to find out when the second book in the Trilogy was going to be published, there was an extended period of no answer followed by information to the point that no one knew when the next book would come out. Now I was in a pickle since I used this time to finish the other two books. I finally asked for and got a waiver on the character question and then published the second book. I allowed the contract to expire without a renewal. Had I not been in such a hurry I think I could have taken my time to find a different publisher with probably less stress.

Now it is time to take a look at the new book written in collaboration with Gwen Plano. The Contract: Between Heaven and Earth

About The Contract

The earth is threatened with a catastrophic political event which could result in international warfare and destroy all life on the planet. In heaven, a divine council decides that extraordinary measures are essential. They call for an intervention that involves two souls returning to earth. The chosen two sign a contract that they will work to avert the disaster.
Brad Channing, a Navy SEAL, and Sarah O’Brien, a teacher, become heaven’s representatives on earth. The story follows them as they individually and then together face overwhelming obstacles and eventually end up on a strategic Air Force base in California. It is there that they discover a conspiracy to assassinate the President of the United States.

The terrorists have a plan for global dominance and they are determined to complete their mission. Although military leadership appears to have the President’s best interests at heart, it is not clear who can be trusted and who should be feared. The action is rough and tumble as Brad and Sarah try to figure out the culprits for the plot that will turn into a worldwide conflagration unless stopped.

If you enjoy thrillers, this is one with enough twists and adventure to keep you riveted and guessing. If you like your thriller along with a good romance, Brad and Sarah’s initial attraction and eventual love will sustain you as they live out their heavenly and earthly desires. A Great summer read.

One of the recent reviews for the book

This story grabbed me from the first word on the first page. Imagine that humans make contracts before returning to Earth to complete lessons or missions? While this book is fiction, many of us believe this is exactly the case. When Teresa and Peter are summoned to an emergency gathering of the Elder Council (in heaven), they have no idea they are about to be chosen for an Earth mission that will not only save lives, but the entire Planet Earth itself.

Enter Brad and Sarah. Both come into bodies and situations that are traumatic and frightening. AND, they have no memory of what they agreed to do in heaven. Sarah is in a dangerously abusive marriage and Brad is a Navy Seal in active battle. As this story unfolds, it is fascinating how the authors brought these two together on Earth and how aptly they depicted their instant attraction to each other. I’m not going to post a spoiler and tell you the outcome of this story. I will only tell you that is the perfect blend of thriller and spiritual – between the yin and yang. It is a fast-paced, riveting and rewarding read. I hope we will see more collaborations from these two authors If you love a good thriller with the stakes so high it makes your pulse pound, while gaining spiritual insights, you will love this book!

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

Other Books by John Howell

 Read the reviews and buy the books:

and on Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow John on Goodreads:

Connect with John.

Blog Fiction Favorites,
Authors db
Google +


About Gwen Plano

Gwen M. Plano, aka Gwendolyn M. Plano, grew up in Southern California and spent most of her professional life in higher education. She taught and served as an administrator in colleges in Japan, New York, Connecticut, and California. Gwen’s academic background is in theology and counseling. Recently retired, she now lives in the Midwest with her husband and enjoys writing and travel.

Gwen’s first book is an acclaimed memoir, Letting Go into Perfect Love. Her second book, The Contract between heaven and earth, is a thriller fiction novel, co-authored by John W. Howell. It is available now for pre-order. Author Jan Sikes read the manuscript and wrote that “The Contract is the perfect blending between the physical and unseen world with unbreakable bonds between human and spirit.”

You can find out more about Gwen on her website:

Also by Gwen Plano

Read some of the reviews for the book:

And Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Gwen on Goodreads:

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you enjoyed seeing another side to John Howell as I did… please feel free to share.. Thanks Sally.

102 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Getting to Know You #Interview with John W. Howell.

  1. Fantastic interview with John. I enjoy learning more about our writer friends and snippets of their lives. John, I’m still cracking up trying NOT to visualize you naked and taped up chained to a house, LOL. And I’m with you on those suction outlets. I miss my big ranch bungalow where I had them to sweep the hardwood floors right into the hole without vacumming. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  2. From taped-up prankster to dapper John to casual scribe. You’re certainly a colorful character, John! I’m with you on vacuuming, although a few worse chores come to mind…like cleaning out the refrigerator, cupboards, and closets. What I wouldn’t give for a robot to do all the housekeeping 🙂 Terrific interview, John and Sally ❤️❤️

    Liked by 4 people

  3. What a great interview, Sally. It was fun to see John in his pre- and post-retirement attire. And, his fraternity story is unforgettable. LOL Thankfully, no one was hurt, at least not physically. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Great interview, Sally. I loved to learn more about John (tape and all! I hate ironing, but never had a huge house to hoover so…) and I’m pleased he found a way to carry on publishing his books (I think plenty of us have rushed our first book…). Thanks for the reminder that I must catch up with John’s books soon. Good luck John and Gwen with the new book!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – Music, Food, Travel, Legends, Books, Special Guests and Stories | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  6. Hi Sally & John
    Great interview with John. I had forgotten he was from Texas. John, I Iived in San Antonio from 66 to 83 and graduated from UTSA. We use to drive over to either Padre Island or Mustang Island for a day on the beach. Great memories from those days. I got a tickle from the suits. I too for years wore a suit every day. I don’t miss it. I own only one now and it only comes out for required occasions, funerals, etc. Even at church, there is no tie worn (hate those colored rags around my neck). I’m copying the recipe, it sounds great. Thanks, Sally for your continued promotions. HUGS

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Ah yes, one can take the boy out of Detroit, but not Detroit out of the boy I guess… Your antics, and mutual disdain for vacuuming, leave me with giggles that shall burst forth throughout the day, when I least expect it. Actually, I am going to try to convince my sibs to join me in putting together an Italian feast for dinner, so thank you for the recipe. If they are not married to the idea of lasagna, perhaps… Carry on, John and keep up the good work (give the pups a hug for me)

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Getting to Know You #Interview with John W. Howell. | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  9. Great interview. I always enjoy learning mroe about other writers on the blogosphere. Loved the student prank story – trying not to dwell on the image of the tape starting to slip and the ‘walk of shame’. What happened to the light bulbs? Did they find them? The recipe sounds good somight add that to my pasta repertoire.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Wow, John, your fraternity brothers took getting back at you to a whole other level! Good thing you didn’t hide the toilet paper, I’d hate to see what they’d have done then, lol.
    You might want to try a Roomba for your floors. It does a good job and the dogs will have fun chasing it, too 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  11. A great interview, Sally and John. I too hate vacuuming (although I love the Mrs. Doubtfire clip!) I put my back out many years ago and my doctor said, no vacuuming, so hubby took over the job. I simply forgot to tell him when my back got better! No problem now as in Spain we just sweep and wet mop the marble floors. We have a rescue dog as well, a bit larger than your small dog. Love her to bits.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Getting to Know You #Interview with John W. Howell. | Campbells World

  13. That college flashback was LOL entertaining–although I’m sure you didn’t think so at the time. Talk about paybacks! 😀
    I did some things when I first started publishing I would have done differently too. There’s definitely a learning curve to being an author. I’m glad you found your niche, John.
    Love your casual lifestyle too. I hope to be as lucky when I retire!

    Liked by 3 people

  14. 😂 It’s difficult to type when you’re shaking with laughter. Sorry, John … but whoever was driving that Karma Bus was clearly unlicensed. Loving the casual attire, and those beautiful 4 legged babies. Great interview my friend. Thanks so much, Sally.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. What a lovely recipe, John. It sounds a little like Pasta Arrabbiata, but yours sounds like it has a perfect balance. I’m not a cook, but I’ll hand over the recipe to he who is. 😁
    I was wondering if one of those vacuum robot cleaners would be any good for you, John? They do the job for you, although the dogs may think it a great new toy to play with.

    Lovely interview, both. My best wishes to you.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. These posts are so fun, Sally. Chained to a sorority post wrapped in nothing but masking tape? Ha ha ha. I would never have guessed. What a story. And I also learned the hard way, John, about the downside of trad publishing. I’m glad to see having so much success as an indie author. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Fabulous interview!! I loved the Mrs. Doubtfire reference too. It made me chuckle. You know, every time I see Lucy and Twiggy together, I think she’s taken over the mothering job. 🙂 Congrats, John! Best wishes always. Oh, and I am beyond thrilled that Sally used my review! Thank you, Sally. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Wonderful interview, Sally and John. I chuckled at the most embarrassing moment, sighed at those adorable dogs, nodded at the vacuum cleaner chore because I can relate, and almost drooled at the recipe. 🙂 The Contract sits on my coffee table awaiting for me to begin, but my son’s graduation festivities began at the same time the book arrived. So, I will soon start reading, and I know I’ll love it. Congrats to you all!


  19. I enjoyed learning more about John but try not to picture him all trussed up in tape! Yikes! I have read all of your books, John, and have Circumstances of Childhood on my TBR list. The new book sounds fascinating. Best of luck to you and Gwen. Great interview, Sally and John! Hugs to you all xx

    Liked by 1 person

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