Author Archives: Evolved Pub

Reflections on Johnny Appleseed Day by Author Gregg Sapp

A Blast from the Past!

Did you know that September 23rd is Johnny Appleseed Day? (Neither did we.) We’ve learned a lot about this extraordinary real-life character in the last couple of years, thanks to the amazing work of author Gregg Sapp, who drops by here to share some thoughts on this occasion.

It happens to come shortly on the heels of us learning that Fresh News Straight from Heaven was honored with the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award – Best Novel – Summer 2018 (1 of only 3 honored in that category), making this the truly perfect time to learn about this amazing character (and a great book).

Gregg Sapp

People often ask me why I wrote a novel about Johnny Appleseed. In reply, I like to ask them to tell me what they know about him.

Some describe him as a scruffy vagabond horticulturist, part mountain man/ part hippie tree-hugger, skipping barefoot through the forest primeval like a woodland nymph with a bag of apple seeds slung over his shoulder, a song on his lips, and a rotten-toothed grin for everybody he met.

Others think of him as a howling, wide eyed lunatic who spat venom preaching an obscure and bizarre brand of evangelical Christianity to everybody within earshot, the kind of person that you’d cross the street to avoid if you saw him approaching on the sidewalk.

Still others recall him fondly from images perpetuated in the many children’s books written about him. They describe him as an unkempt but saintly oddball who was sweet to animals and little children, and spread peace, love, and good neighborly understanding wherever he went, kind of like a hobo Mister Rogers.

All are true, and yet there’s much more to this complex, enigmatic, and downright weird historical person.

My interest in Johnny Appleseed began when I was growing up in central Ohio. There, I was close to many of the places where his legend was born. I liked to imagine that he’d passed through the fields and woods near my home. In seventh grade, for a history assignment to write a short biography of some famous Ohioan, while everybody else wrote about presidents, inventors, entertainers, war heroes, etc., I chose to write about Johnny Appleseed.

To me, the reality of John Chapman (his real name) is much less interesting than the folklore about Johnny Appleseed. The real person was of no particular significance. He didn’t do anything that changed history. But he did represent something important to Americans. Johnny stood apart, a character unlike anybody else, who at the same time appealed to something universal.

Other beloved characters in American history are probably better representatives of some of the qualities attributed to Johnny – his honesty, his pacifism, his faith. But no other beloved characters in American history is weirder. Johnny’s oddities are iconic. The mush pot on the head, the coat made of a potato sack, the sack of seeds on his back: Johnny’s image is a celebration of American eccentricity. He is the American Don Quixote.
That’s why his birthday, September 26th, is nationally recognized as Johnny Appleseed Day.

We need more oddballs, misfits, cranks, crackpots and hare brains like Johnny Appleseed. We admire these people because even though they violate social norms, they are entirely true to themselves. You can’t fake weird.

By writing my novel, “Fresh News Straight from Heaven,” I like to think that I’m keeping that tradition alive. We can all use a little Johnny Appleseed in our lives. It would be appropriate to celebrate Johnny Appleseed Day by giving yourself permission to be a little weird.

As always, thank you so much for your support. Without you, there would be no us. Feel free to contact us anytime at

Victoria Lehrer

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In seventh grade, Mrs. Trader inspired me both as a writer and a teacher. In her class, I learned I loved to write and that my classmates liked to hear my stories. Her spirited students engaged in dramatic performances, hands-on projects, and lively discussions—nothing like the poor subdued souls across the hall, managed by the teacher with long green eyes. So Mrs. Trader was my model when I started a school and set aside my writing—that is, until it dawned on me that tribes of children have loved learning by listening to stories for thousands of years. So I wrote about a million words that speak to head and heart, which I am still reading to my child listeners. But now I’m writing stories, my second million words, to speak to the heads and hearts of adult readers and listeners, and hoping my classmates will like them.




Watch for The Timeline, Book 5 of the “New Earth Chronicles,” to release on 3 October 2022.

Past the stargate, Captain Jack Merrick welcomes the sight of beautiful Gaia Earth, but the starship Stella Lumina cruises a gray, bleak world that is anything but welcoming.

When Jack conferred with Moira and Zeb, recently rescued from a Dark Planet, he didn’t expect to be returning them to a wall-enclosed cell of forced labor. In this timeline, cells like the one he gazes upon near Washington D.C. are all over the planet. Citizens filled with nanobots walk the streets like robots, while some madman claiming to be the aspiring god of Earth relentlessly rains down poisons lethal to living systems.

Moira and Zeb reveal to Jack that their kidnapped children are among the trafficked children held in tunnels beneath the streets of Washington, and he knows Stella Lumina and her crew must remain in this dismal timeline to help rescue them.

W. Town Andrews

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A native Pennsylvanian, Town Andrews has lived and worked in several western states and the Philippines. He speaks multiple languages, including fluent Spanish and Visayan. Working, reading, parenting, linguistics, history, music composition and performance, and travel have all influenced his storytelling. His career has involved the building trades, agriculture, marine sciences, developmental distilling, theater musicianship, and marketing functional fluids to manufacturers and engineers.

“I love my work. But for fun, I write these stories.”



Scott Shinberg

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Scott Shinberg has served in leadership positions across the US Government and industry for over twenty-five years. He has worked in and with the US Air Force, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and most “Three-Letter Agencies.” While in government service, he served as an Air Force Intelligence Operations Officer and a Special Agent with the FBI. He lives in Virginia with his wife and sons.




Watch for A Shot in the Dark, Book 5 of the “Michelle Reagan” series, to release in April 2022.

With a single pull of the rifle’s trigger, CIA covert action operator Michelle Reagan—code name Eden—ignites a bloody war between Peruvian drug cartels.

While pursued by both cartels, Eden discovers Christina, an undercover CIA officer long believed to be dead. Her plan to exfiltrate the undercover officer back to the US escalates the blood feud raging between the cartels.

Wanted by both cartels, Eden must determine Christina’s true motivation: is it to return home to the US, or is she a double-agent for the cartel run by her lover? When cornered by a cartel’s soldiers, Eden must make the tough choice: attempt a high-risk rescue of Christina, or flee alone to save her own life.

Why Evolved Publishing, and who is EP, exactly?


First, this is really aimed at our readers, but I think aspiring authors will also find it informative. At Evolved Publishing (EP), we have a motto: “Quality is Priority #1!” We often joke that it isn’t just a slogan, but practically our religion. In fact, that’s not such a joke, as we take it more seriously than you may know.

At our inception in August 2011, I never imagined we’d be that publisher (or agent on behalf of publishers) who rejected 95-99% of submissions. I always thought that was rather lazy on their part, that they weren’t giving authors a fair shake. In the last 7 years, my thinking has changed a bit on that score. I still think they’re overly tight and not terribly fair, but I also think I understand why: frustration.

At one point (I think in 2012-2013), I rejected 157 consecutive submissions. Man, that was sooooooooo frustrating, and a bit heartbreaking. In our first 4 years after forming, we rejected approximately 97% of submissions. So yeah… we did, in fact, become that publisher—not because we wanted it that way, but because we were determined to maintain the highest possible standards.

Nowadays, I can happily report that we’re only rejecting about 80-85% of submissions—still high, but a little better. Two things have happened: 1) we receive fewer submissions, and; 2) the overall quality of those submissions is higher. I view these as extremely positive developments. Perhaps word got out to authors out there that EP is tough! That’s okay. In fact, that’s perfect.

The end result? Ah, well, this is what it’s all about. The end result is a great team of creative professionals, producing well-polished, engaging, intriguing, highly entertaining books for our readers. If you look at our average reviews at sites like Amazon, you’ll see evidence of that. You should also take a look at some of the awards we’ve won, which you can find here:

And let’s talk a little about those awards…. I think it’s important because, these days, one can grab an “award” from just about anywhere. Many of them, frankly, aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. We try to focus our attention only on those awards sites that carry a reputable brand. Yes, at EP, we’re all about brand reputation. And so, we know from some of these awards sites that, depending on genres and seasons, they award anywhere from 2% to as many as 10% of submissions. Despite those tough, low numbers, we’re enjoying a 50% to 80% success rate at the very same sites. We’re WAY above the curve.

Additionally, when we submit to review sites like Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Midwest Book Review, Readers’ Favorite, and others, we invariably receive a great review.

Why is that? Well, I refer you to the first three paragraphs of this post, but to recap…. We’re very (I usually hate that word) discerning about the authors we bring on board. Then, we employ editorial guidelines that are second to none, in my opinion, to bring to you a highly polished, most professional product.

You work hard for your money, and whether you’re paying $0.99 for an eBook or $29.95 for a top-notch hardcover, you deserve a great value. We give it to you. That’s our promise, and that will never change.


We have some talented new authors who’ve joined the EP Team in recent months, and whose work you’ll be able to enjoy soon (or whose books recently released). We hope you’ll embrace each of these (alphabetical by last name, with first books releasing 2018 or 2019):
Jackson Baer – Contemporary Suspense Thrillers
J.P. Barnett – Suspense/Horror Thrillers
Patrick Canning – Literary/Contemporary Adventure
Taya DeVere – Literary/Women’s Fiction
D.M. Earley – Suspense Fiction
Teri Fink – Historical and Literary Fiction
Carmen Kemp – Literary/Women’s Fiction
Chris Krupa – Crime Thrillers, Mystery/Detective
A.K. Kuykendall – Conspiracy Thrillers, Horror, Science Fiction
Jason LaVelle – Suspense Thrillers, Paranormal
Melsa M. Manton – Science Fiction/Psychological Thrillers
Richard Robbins – Contemporary/Literary Sagas
Daryl Rothman – Literary Suspense, Young Adult Fantasy

We welcome all of these authors, who add to the rich environment here at EP.

Be sure to stay tuned to this blog, and to SUBCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER, to remain up-to-date on all the exciting book releases we have coming your way. We hope you’ll also follow us on FACEBOOK and TWITTER.

As always, thank you so much for your support. Without you, there would be no us. Feel free to contact us any time at