Michael Puttonen


Michael Puttonen is a Minnesota native and writer of action/adventure novels with a touch of fantasy. He honed his craft writing short stories before expanding into writing full-length adventure novels. Always an avid reader, his tastes include an eclectic variety of genres and styles that encompass storytellers both past and present. As a writer, he feels an affinity for action and adventure and loves fantasy for the freedom it offers in creating alternate worlds. His direct influences include the pulp fantasy of E.R. Burroughs and the historical fiction of Bernard Cornwell. His SANYEL series features the adventures of a young, gifted female shaman as she confronts a male-dominated world. This ongoing series currently includes the books SANYEL, DISRUPTER, CIRCLES AND STONES, and BONES OF THE GODS.

Smashwords Interview

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I can’t honestly say what my first written story was prior to contemplating writing as a career, but I still have a copy (typed using an old manual typewriter) of the first story I wrote as an assignment for the Institute of Children’s Literature, which I had enrolled in with the hope of learning how to write for young children. I had dreams (fantasies?) of becoming the next Dr. Seuss. I had no prior writing experience and it showed. My wonderful instructor, author Ethel Gorham, was patient and understanding. Over the next year, she guided me to become a more competent writer, though I still had considerable room for improvement by course’s end.

I titled my first assigned story "Second Best." Students had to write a short story featuring the objects and people shown in one of three illustrated scenes. I chose one depicting a farm scene with a young girl and slightly older boy running toward a man standing before a barn. I turned that scene into the tale of a girl with an older brother who was frustrated that she would always lose whenever they raced. Her farmer father suggested she try a competition more suited to her skills, which resulted in a jumping contest won by her. I can’t say it was a very good story. My instructor, however, pointed out my errors in a way that gave me confidence to continue, and I’m thankful I finished the course. My dream of becoming the next Dr. Seuss never happened, but I’m still writing so it all worked out, even if not as I envisioned.
What is your writing process?
My writing process normally begins with a random idea, one that might be about anything. A person’s name might pop into my head, or a location, or something more complex. If I’m smart, I’ll jot it down on paper (yes, I still use paper). I’ll put the idea aside, and later I’ll go through the ideas I’ve recorded to see if I find any worth developing further. If one strikes my fancy, I’ll often immediately find myself jotting down additional inspirations for the character or the plot.

When I feel ready to begin writing, I’ll sit at my computer and start typing. I keep my notes within reach, although sometimes they refer to scenes I know won’t come up for several more chapters. At times, I won’t have anything but an opening line or a title, and sometimes not even that. I find that simply beginning the process releases the creative imagination. Of course, some days are more productive than others are. If I can write a few hundred words, I’m happy. Some days the flow is with me and it seems effortless to write a thousand words. On other days, I struggle to finish a single paragraph. I write in the mornings and keep at it for several hours, with the time spent dependent on the ease with which the process is unfolding on that particular day. I have never been one to stick religiously to a timetable. Some writers insist you must write something every day. I can go days without even approaching the computer, and then start up where I left off. I find that a few days away from the project allows the mind to formulate new ideas. You might not even be consciously aware of this, but when you come back, the inspiration for new plot directions or characters is miraculously there.

I am astonished how often a simple idea can turn into a short story or a novel. It is almost as if the story has always been there, residing in some mystical realm, with the writer simply a vessel charged with seeing it manifested in this world.
Read more of this interview.

Where to buy in print


Price: Free!
Price: $2.99 USD.
Circles and Stones
Price: $2.99 USD.
Bones of the Gods
Price: $2.99 USD.


Bones of the Gods
Series: Sanyel. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 221,000. Language: English. Published: January 28, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action, Fiction » Fantasy » General
A bizarre vanishing has shaman Sanyel and her adventurous companions seeking answers. What they find on their increasingly perilous quest baffles and disturbs as they come closer to uncovering the strange mystery of the bones of the gods.
Circles and Stones
Series: Sanyel. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 146,580. Language: English. Published: December 15, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action, Fiction » Fantasy » General
Tribal shaman Sanyel and her friend Izzy have agreed to help rescue a former enemy’s son from the boy’s abductor, a prominent, powerful leader. Their mission takes a strange turn when various people—both known and unknown to the rescuers—inexplicably begin to appear and then disappear before their eyes, threatening not only their mission but the very stability of the world they know.
Seven and One Tales for Young Readers
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 7,630. Language: English. Published: May 21, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fairy tales & fables, Fiction » Children’s books » Short Stories
Eight delightful and thought-provoking stories for young readers...twin sisters battle over who can make the world a better place...a boy with no shadow learns to compensate...a cat will always be a cat, even if a king...a strange creature arrives in Farmer Frank's corn field...Grandpa knows a story or two, but how do they end?...an ancient tree protects a town...
Series: Sanyel, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 106,910. Language: English. Published: March 26, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action, Fiction » Fantasy » General
Owning a keen wit and intelligence, an ability to control animals, and following a life path unusual for a female in her male-dominated culture, sixteen-year-old Sanyel is building a reputation in her small corner of the world as a formidable adversary and ally. A former foe calls this wily, often underestimated female shaman "the Disrupter." The belligerent Cruxun will soon find out why.
A Gift For Joey
Price: Free! Words: 3,170. Language: English. Published: October 22, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Holiday » Christmas
(4.33 from 3 reviews)
Christmas short story—When a desperate act on Christmas Eve threatens to ruin Christmas for his young son, Sam Turner does not anticipate the surprising turn that will make this Christmas one to forever remember and cherish.
Series: Sanyel, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 117,230. Language: English. Published: September 25, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action, Fiction » Fantasy » General
At fifteen, Sanyel is as good as dead. Banished by her tribe for committing an unforgivable transgression, she now faces an impossible challenge—surviving exile to a desert littered with the sun-bleached bones of all cast out before her. If she lives, a perilous new world awaits beyond the cruel sands…and a chance at redemption.

Michael Puttonen's favorite authors on Smashwords

Various Authors
Latest book: Wyrd Worlds II.
Published September 20, 2014. (4.00 from 3 reviews)

Smashwords book reviews by Michael Puttonen

  • Granny Pegg's Great Chase&Granny Grinalot's Day in the Desert on May 13, 2013

    Loved the first story. To me, the second had a somewhat weaker plot, though the writing for both was terrific. Found myself chuckling time and again over the author's wit, which is generously displayed in numerous passages. Excellent flow to the narrative, and the pleasant illustrations captured selected scenes well. Overall, a satisfying read. Children should find these stories enjoyable.
  • Return on May 14, 2013

    A moving tale about a man approaching the end of a hard, unfulfilling life. A final return to a place of mixed memories brings honest reflections on choices made and chances missed. A sad, wistful, and wonderfully written story.
  • We the People on May 16, 2013

    Filled with equal measures of anticipation and anxiety, and having utmost confidence in her leader and protector, the narrator tells of her family's harrowing encounters during an oft-taken journey to a precious water source. All that her family desires is nourishment, safety, freedom, and to be together. A tense, somber tale, told from a unique perspective in a compelling fashion.
  • Wyrd Worlds on Oct. 14, 2013

    Anthologies are always tough to review, as the process requires judging the work of a group of dissimilar authors as a single entity. "Wyrd Worlds" is a collection of stories by an international pool of science fiction and fantasy writers, all of whom are self-published. Edited by Steph Bennion, who also contributes to the collection as an author, the book includes fourteen tales, each with a striking plot and memorable characters. Some are clearly stand-alone short stories, and others appear as excerpts taken from a larger narrative (although I could be mistaken about that). The writing is uniformly excellent throughout, and any fan of sci-fi or fantasy genres is certain to find a tasty tale or two to satisfy the palate. The selection is broad, the menu enticing. The stories include everything from persecuted elf herbalists to imaginary selves, from barbarians to time travelers to aliens. In a future time, ancient gods protect their turf, and on a world where a ruthless government shows no humanitarian impulse, a young woman strives to find her way. There are half-bloods, corpse-raisers, and hidden mischief-makers. As with all anthologies, the reader will find favorites among the stories along with others that hold lesser interest. For me, the majority engrossed and delighted, but I have to specifically mention "The Imaginary Invasion" by Ubiquitous Bubba, a clever and deliciously humorous tale that had me laughing out loud (as did "Explain That To A Martian"). I enthusiastically recommend "Wyrd Worlds" to anyone looking for a highly entertaining read.