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Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

Apr 12, 2019

In this episode, Mark interviews author Danny Bell and voice actor and model Whitton A. Frank about The Black Pages series that Danny writes and Whitton narrates.

Prior to the interview, Mark shares a word from the episode's sponsor, Findaway Voices . . .You can learn more about how you can get your work distributed to retailers and library systems around the world at

In the personal update segment Mark shares an update on the work for the self-narrated audiobook version of The 7 P's of Publishing Success as well as his recent guest spot on Episode 6 of Joanna Penn's new Books & Travel Podcast.

In their chat, Danny, Whitton, and Mark talk about:

  • How the initial idea for "The Black Pages" came to Danny from a variety of sources, including something he reflected upon when watching Doctor Who.
  • Danny's interest in the deaths of secondary characters on various television shows in which are often shared as no big deal, whereas if the protagonist or their close friends suffered the same fate, it was a major trauma.
  • Purposly not making the protagonist a straight white guy
  • The element of humor that is a part of the narrator in Empty Threat.
  • How Elana is a black and white character in a morally grey universe and was created with a lot of room to grow through each book.
  • The unique experience of Whitton as both the voice and the face of Elana.
  • How Danny and Whitton clicked when they met at a party that neither of them had been in a mood to want to be at.
  • The way that Danny started seeing Whitton in his head when he was writing the character of Elana.
  • Whitton modeling for the concept art for the cover, which led to the cover designer asking if she would be the model in the actual shoot.
  • Voice Over Atlanta, the biggest VO conference in the US that Elana just got back from.
  • The plans for the release of book three in the series and the special "full cast" production of this one (with Whitton still as the main narrator).
  • The debate over whether or not Elana needed to have a love interest in the first two books
  • And more . . .


After the interview, Mark makes an offer to do a random giveaway to two people who comment on the show notes for Episode 70 at

Comments have to be posted by Noon EST on Thursday April 18th and eligible entries will be comments about one of the following:

  • What book would you love to escape into? (the way Elana can slip into a book)
  • What secondary character from any fictional world? (book, television, movie, etc) would you love to save (the way Elena saves the lives of secondary characters)


Mark then reflects upon the concept of something Danny said in the interview - "the most important thing you can do is to FINISH."

After, Mark shares a brief clip from the opening of Empty Threat.


Links of Interest


Danny Bell is the USA Today Best Selling Author and Amazon #1 Best Selling Author of The Black Pages and he nearly had an out of body experience when he realized that the song Mr. Brightside by The Killers is thirteen years old and that would surely mean that he was also older than thirteen. Older than double in fact! Certainly not triple.

He has three cats, Mister, Jameson, and Koala, and they all tolerate each other. He would never compare himself to Robocop, why would he do that? He plans to continue to write books forever with hope that one day there will be a Quantum Leap style thing where Dr. Sam Beckett will help fix his life, or failing that, the time-traveling ghost of Samuel Beckett, the author, will tell him that he has been pronouncing ‘Godot’ wrong the whole time. He isn’t sure why anyone ever wants a bio, but if you’re willing to read random things about him that may or may not be true, he’s willing to provide you with them.

Whitton Frank performed in her first show when she was 8 years old, and spent her summers through her high school studying at theAmerican Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco.After majoring in Acting and Creative Writing at Carnegie Mellon University, Whitton travelled to Russia to study at the Moscow Art Theatre.

Following this Whitton moved to Los Angeles and was subsequently discovered by Tony Basil. This meeting led to her role in the US TV series ‘Cold Case’ and the films ‘Amnesia’ and ‘Who Are You?’, both of which won awards at various film festivals around the USA.

In 2016 Whitton launched her own production company Red Compass productions which is dedicated to promoting women in film and theater and telling their stories. The Company produced a revival of the 1970’s hit Out of Our Father’s House, which tells the stories of American women, in their own words. They have also produced a short dark comedy/horror film called Seeing Green, which is currently making the rounds at film festivals.

She can been seen in the TNT hit, Murder in the First Season 3 acting opposite Curry Grahm, as the lovable and quirky Jenna Laffy.

Also in 2016 she did voice over for the Star Wars Fan Film: Star Wars Toy Stories Rogue One. voicing Jyn Urso and Rei. This stop motion film has been screening and winning awards at conventions and film festivals around the world. For their work, the cast was invited to present it at Comic Con in San Diego. In the past two years she has narrated 5 audiobooks and is working on several more. You can check out her work on


The music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0