How do you use social media?

I use social media to keep in touch with family and friends who don’t live close by me. And to promote my author interviews and other authors’ books and writing. Plus, of course, advertise my own writing.

Rosanne Catalano Speaks With author Joseph J. Mazzella

Rosanne: Hello Joseph, and thank you for joining me on the BOOK CONVERSATIONS PAGE. Can you tell us what inspired you to write? And have you always wanted to become a published author with the publication of your books: “Walking the Path of Love” and “A Journey of Love”?

Joseph (Joe): Thank you, Rosanne, for granting me this interview. I think the truth is I have always been inspired to write. I have been writing for a local county newspaper here since I was 18 years old and I am 56 now. Something deep inside me keeps me wanting to write and share what I have learned in this life. Yes, I also always wanted to be a published author but after a lot of years of rejections from the big publishing houses, I finally decided to self-publish my two books so my readers could have them.

Rosanne: Which of these books would you like to talk about here? Or would you like to speak about what compels you to write your many short stories that have been published (in newspapers and online)?

Joesph (Joe): The truth is these books are collections of my many short stories that I have shared in the local newspapers and online over the years. I still always manage to find the inspiration to write at least one new one each week and I thank God for that. I truly believe that most of my writings are inspired from a place beyond me and I am just happy to share them with as many people as I can.

Rosanne: What inspired you to write your stories and books?

Joseph (Joe): Basically, when I was a boy I found that there were so few books out there on how to live and be happy in this life. There were books on fitness, relationships, and making money but hardly any on just living a loving and joyful life. I started then to explore these subjects myself and write about them and I have never looked back. It has been a wonderful journey and I hope it continues on for many years to come.

Rosanne: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book “A Journey of Love”?

Joseph (Joe): I may have included more of my recent work in it since it was written several years ago. Usually the stories I enjoy the most are the ones I have just written although a lot of my older ones have a special place in my heart.

Rosanne: Have you ever experienced writer’s block? How did you get over it; if you did?

Joseph (Joe): I think every writer who has ever written has been blocked at one time or another. I have found the best thing to do is not to force things. Just relax and do something else for a while or a few days. The inspiration will always come back and sometimes at the most unexpected times. I have often said: “God has a sense of humor” because many of my best ideas have come when I am driving far from home with no pen or paper in sight.

Rosanne: Tell us a little bit about the cover art on your book(s). Who designed it? Or was it more than one cover artist?

Joseph (Joe): Both of those covers were picked by the publisher after I described what I wanted on them. When I was younger many of my story ideas came during long walks I would take on nature trails here. It was from them that I realized that life itself is a journey we make one step and one choice at a time.

Rosanne: What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Joseph (Joe): I am mainly busy caring for my adult, mentally challenged sons but when I get a chance I enjoy my walks outdoors, listening to beautiful, uplifting music, playing with my dogs, and reading.

Now for a couple of quick “get-to-know-you” questions.

Rosanne: Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what type of music?

Joseph (Joe): I often do listen to music both when writing or just relaxing. Like most people I enjoy most of the music I heard as a child; mainly from 1970 to 1990. I can sing along to hundreds of those songs and find they uplift me as I go through the day.

Rosanne: Do you write in the daytime or nighttime?

Joseph (Joe): I almost always write during the earlier hours of the day usually before noon. That is when I feel most energetic and creative.

Rosanne: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? And where did you grow up?

Joseph (Joe): I grew up in the mountains of West Virginia (in the USA) and have never moved from them. When I was a boy I wanted to be a cowboy but my fear of riding horses put an end to that. In college, I went from wanting to be a businessman to a psychologist to finally being a teacher. Even though I haven’t worked as a teacher for 30 years now I feel that is still my main calling which I do through my writing.

Rosanne: Are any future writing projects in the works?

Joseph (Joe): Each week is a new project as I continue to write and share both locally and online. I don’t have any plans for new books at this time, however. The price for self-publishing is just too much.

Rosanne: Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers?

Joseph (Joe): Only that I wish them a lifetime of love, learning, laughter, and joy as they travel on their own journey through life. May they travel light and live well.

Rosanne: Where can they find out more about your book (webpage, blog, buy link, etc.)?

Joseph (Joe): My books are available on at:

1) Link to Walking the Path of Love:

2) Link to A Journey of Love:

I also have a webpage at:

Rosanne: Again, thank you, Joseph J. Mazzella, for allowing me to speak with you this month; the second author to do so since I took over the ‘Book Conversations Page’ from my former collaborator DIANE MORASCO. I’m not sure why I didn’t think of you in the past since we’ve known one another for a long, long time! Glad I was able to rectify that now.

Thank you our dear readers for coming here. If you want to read two collections of wonderfully inspirational short stories, do get your copies of Joseph J. Mazzella’s books, “Walking the Path of Love” and “A Journey of Love”; direct links to his books are above. Yes, I did read both of his books and loved them and I know you will too.

Don’t forget to come back here on March 25th for my next talk with a different author and/or writer. If you would like to be interviewed for this page, just drop me an email at: Thank you Mark A. Shaffer and Joseph J. Mazzella for speaking with me in October 2022 (Mark) and February 2023 (Joe)! I have enjoyed both interviews and got to know you guys much better.

Walking the Path of Love Joseph J. Mazzella

A Journey of Love Joseph J. Mazzella

Rosanne Catalano Speaks with author Mark A. Shaffer

Hello dear readers, it’s Rosanne Catalano here, the publisher of ‘Literary Voices Magazine.’ I am sorry to inform you that after much thought, I decided NOT to publish Literary Voices Magazine but rather to concentrate on only showcasing other authors and writers on this platform (which was once the blog for my former magazine, ‘The Cat’s Meow for Writers & Readers’).

I am bringing you Author MARK ALAN SHAFFER’S INTERVIEW (below) since my former collaborator DIANE MORASCO has vanished into the Universe of the unknown.

I know more than anyone that life goes on despite a collaborator vanishing and/or going off-grid. Rather than DIANE MORASCO interviewing the three previous authors she did for ‘Literary Voices Magazine’s’ Book Conversations Page (January 2021 – May 2022 issues of LV), I now present to you an excellent writer and science fiction author MARK A. SHAFFER…

ROSANNE: Hello Mark, thank you for granting this interview so that our readers can get to know the author behind your book(s) and stories. Can you tell us what inspired you to write? And have you always wanted to become a published author?

MARK: Hello Rosanne, yes I can tell you that I have always enjoyed reading science fiction so, with my active imagination, I decided to try writing a science fiction story too.  I am inspired by different locations, pictures, people, and music.  I am especially inspired by Al Stewart. The song “Running Man” helped me to work on my new upcoming books “Mystery by the Bay” and “Megastar.”

ROSANNE: Which of your books would you like to talk about here?

MARK: Crimson Enigma, the First Book of the Enigma Series.

ROSANNE: What inspired you to write this series of books?

MARK: My first book, ‘Transference,’ was a short story originally, which I was inspired to write by my grandfather, who was an Inventor, and my father, who was a B17 Pilot. The second book Crimson Enigma is a much longer book with sketches in it to help explain the story. The inspiration for it came more from people and music from the 70s.

ROSANNE: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

MARK: No. I think the story stands well by itself.

ROSANNE: What part of Crimson Enigma did you have the most fun writing?

MARK: Actually, I had fun writing the whole book. Especially the beginning, when Agent Dan Shelby and Agent Christine Walters were outside the Freedom III Station, and the surprise at the end of the novel.

ROSANNE: Which of your characters do you relate to the most, and why?

MARK: Mitch Hawkins. He knows he has made mistakes in his life but he is working hard to get his life back together and on track, after he loses someone very precious to him.

ROSANNE: What was the hardest scene to write, and why?

MARK: When Jasmine gets hurt, and Mitch thinks she might have died. I recall feeling for both of them.

ROSANNE: What perspectives or beliefs have been challenged with this work?

MARK: That if you have enough faith in the Universe, anything can happen.

ROSANNE: When you’re writing an emotional or difficult scene, how do you set the mood?

MARK: I play the music that some may think is a little sad. I also remember the good times I had with my grandpa and my dad growing up.

ROSANNE: What is a significant way your book has changed since the first draft?

MARK: I wrote Crimson Enigma like I write most of my books. It started out as a lot of short stories, then I put them all together in one novel.

ROSANNE: Has writing and publishing a book changed the way you see yourself?

MARK: Yes. I have actually written and published two (2) books. The first book was a science fiction short story, titled “Transference.” It is now out of print but I am re-writing this story and will have it published again. With Crimson Enigma, the actual First Book of the Enigma Series, it was a great feeling to know that I could write an actual book (rather than just short stories) and have it published, to know that people are reading my words and enjoying them.

Even though some said I was wasting my time writing. I know now I can do it. Never let anyone steal your dreams!

ROSANNE: Have you ever experienced writer’s block? How did you get over it?

MARK: Yes I have. To get over it, I go for long walks and listen to music. Just do anything besides write.

ROSANNE: Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it?

MARK: It was created by a Canadian artist friend of mine named Angele Gougeon. She did all the artwork for Crimson Enigma and Megastar.

ROSANNE: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

MARK: I enjoy photography and making models of my story ideas.  It makes it easier to write when I can actually see what I am writing about.  As soon as I get more room to work, I am getting back into the model-building aspect of my writing.

ROSANNE: Now for a couple of quick “get-to-know-you” questions. First, do you write in the daytime or at nighttime?

MARK: Nighttime is the best time for me to write.

ROSANNE: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? And where did you grow up?

MARK: Believe it or not, I wanted to be an Astronaut. Since becoming an Astronaut required proficiency in Mathematics, and I truly stunk in Math, I changed my career choice to become a published Author.

I grew up in a little town in Northeastern Ohio; near Akron/Canton. Although I lived in different cities in Ohio, I always came back to my hometown; where I currently reside.

ROSANNE: Are any future projects in the works?

MARK: Yes, I am rewriting “Transference” to make it longer and add artwork to it as well. Also working on two other books in the Enigma Series- “Mystery by the Bay” and “Megastar.”

ROSANNE: Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers?

MARK: Crimson Enigma is available through,, or contact me at:

ROSANNE: Where can they find out more about your book (webpage, blog, buy link, etc.)?

MARK: On Facebook:

ROSANNE: Thank you, Mark Shaffer, for being the first author I’ve spoken with for my “Book Conversations Page” (which originated from my collaboration in “Literary Voices Magazine” with my NOW-MISSING collaborator DIANE MORASCO).

Thank you for coming here, our dear readers. Don’t forget to get your copy of Mark’s mysterious science fiction book, “Crimson Enigma,” on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and/or

Crimson Enigma’s direct link for Amazon:

Crimson Enigma’s direct link for Lulu Press:

Stay tuned for the next author or writer I interview; I will let you know beforehand the author’s name!

Crimson Enigma
Mark Alan Shaffer