Uncorking a Story

Zaida Alfaro is the youngest of six children and was born into art. Her mother is a painter, composer, and musician who taught Zaida how to play the piano at the age of twelve.  She became a professional musician at eighteen and, having been burned by a bad recording contract, is now an independent recording artist and performer.

As a lover of cozy mysteries, Zaida decided to take her musical experiences and put them on paper. The result is The Last Note: A Miami Music Mystery. In this first novel she combines her background as a musician, her love of her hometown of Miami, and her Cuban culture to spin a tale of music and murder.

In this interview we discuss her early influences as a singer and songwriter, the importance of having faith and support during the writing process, and how perseverance led to her earning a publishing contract with Cozy Cat Press. For more information on Zaida, including where to buy her music and novel, please visit https://www.zaidamusic.com/.


Direct download: Zaida_AlfaroV2.mp3
Category:Authors -- posted at: 8:02pm EDT

Tony Pavia is a retired American history teacher and the former principal of Stamford High School, Trinity Catholic High School, and New Canaan High School. Matt Pavia, his son, teaches English and American studies at Darien High School in Connecticut. Together, they collaborated on a book telling the stories of Vietnam Veterans who were from the town of Stamford, Connecticut.

After thousands of hours of research and hundreds of hours of in-depth-interviews with Veterans or, in some cases, relatives and friends of those who died in the war, Tony and Matt conclude that these veterans have often been portrayed in an unfair way through both pop culture and the media. This is not a book of war stories, but one that shows a generation that is much more accomplished than what most give them credit for.

Listen in as we discuss Tony’s personal memories of that period of time including what life was like as a teenager during such a time of cultural change. Matt does a great job explaining how they went about conducting the research for the book as well as the challenges they both faced when cold-calling Veterans and convincing them to share their experiences for the book. What was most fascinating to me about this conversation was hearing how their perceptions of this war and the veterans who served in it were changed as a result of writing this book.

Tony and Matt’s book can be purchased by clicking here, and while it focuses on the lives of Veterans from one small but diverse part of Connecticut, the stories you will read about can be applicable to Vietnam veterans from Anytown USA.  Happy listening.

Direct download: Tony_and_Matt_Pavia_Mixed.mp3
Category:Authors -- posted at: 1:03pm EDT

Jane Green is the author of nineteen novels, including seventeen New York Times Bestsellers, one cookbook, and various short stories. She is published in over 25 languages and has over ten million books in print worldwide. Even though all of this is true, she still took an hour out of her day to speak with me!

Her latest book, The Sunshine Sisters, was released this past May and is, as People Magazine says, “A warm, satisfying tale about the love that binds even the most dysfunctional of families.”

In our discussion, Jane talks about how she originally wanted to be a visual artist and how her love of reading led her to painting with words—and what an artist she is! Just as I can hear a guitar solo and identify the player, I can read Jane’s words and identify the author. As writers, we all work with the same raw materials (i.e. vocabulary), but Jane can put words together in such a way that the reader not only sees the story but also feels the emotions of her carefully crafted characters. Her books are, truly, works of art.

Our discussion ends with Jane's advice to both aspiring and established authors as she underscores the importance of being well read and why all writers need PHD; persistence, humility, and discipline. Happy Listening!

Direct download: The_Jane_Green_Interview.mp3
Category:Authors -- posted at: 11:36am EDT

Bill McGarvey is the author of The Freshman Survival Guide, a resource for incoming college freshmen to help them navigate their first year away from home. He also has a regular column in America Magazine.

Bill is also an accomplished musician, having written his first song when just eight years old. He’s currently releasing short films to accompany the tracks on his album Beautiful Mess. The film for “Broken Lullaby” can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRcf2v7ig5Y

Additionally, his duo TwoHorseman, takes heavy metal classics and transforms them with an Americana vibe. Check out their version of Judas Priest’s “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vF99PtCZBXg

You can pick up a copy of The Freshman Survival Guide wherever books are sold.

Direct download: BillMcGarvey_For_Libsyn.mp3
Category:Authors -- posted at: 12:47pm EDT

George is a career naval aviator whose thirty years of active duty service included four command tours and five years as a carrier strike group chief of staff. He began his writing career in 1978 with an article in the U.S. Navy’s professional magazine, U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings.

In addition to his Rick Holden thrillers published by Braveship Books, he has written thirteen other books distributed by mainstream publishers, including several bestselling novels in the rebooted Tom Clancy’s Op-Center series, including Out of the AshesInto the FireScorched Earth, and Dark Zone.  With his longtime collaborator, Dick Couch, he coauthored the New York Times best seller, Tom Clancy Presents: Act of Valor the novelization of the Bandito Brothers/Relativity Media film.  He is also the author of The Kissing Sailor, which proved the identity of the two principals in Alfred Eisenstaedt’s famous photograph; as well as over three-hundred articles in professional journals and other media.

George has received a number of national and international writing awards, including: the Navy League of the United States Alfred Thayer Mahan Award for Literary Achievement, the Surface Navy Association Literary Award, the Navy League of Australia’s Annual Essay Competition, the Naval Helicopter Historical Association Mark Starr Pioneer Literary Award, and the Military Writers Society of America Silver Medal Award, among others. George speaks frequently at writing classes and seminars including: San Diego State University Writers Conference, La Jolla Writers Conference, San Diego Writer’s Ink, Southern California Writers Association, Coronado Writer’s Workshop, and other venues.

George is the Director of Strategic Assessments and Technical Futures at the Navy’s Command and Control Center of Excellence in San Diego, California.  He and his wife Becky live in Coronado, California. Other than writing thrillers, he likes nothing more than connecting with readers. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter, and learn more about his books, blogs and other writing on his website: http://www.georgegaldorisi.com/ – especially his “Writing Tips,” – which offer useful advice for all writers from established authors to future best-selling writers.

Direct download: GeorgeGaldorisiForUpload.mp3
Category:Authors -- posted at: 9:25am EDT

Andrew Peterson was born and raised in San Diego, California and graduated with a degree in architecture from the University of Oklahoma. After mentioning to his wife that he was disappointed in much of what he was reading, Andrew accepted her challenge to write something better and started down the roller coaster ride of becoming a published author.

Andrew followed First to Kill, his debut thriller featuring Nathan McBride, with six additional McBride novels, the most recent having been released on July 3rd of this year. Listen in as we discuss Andrew’s perspectives on the industry, his writing process, and the similarities he sees between professional golfers and published authors. He freely shares some great advice for budding authors in this interview so stick with it until the end when he divulges what helped him most in his career, and what he wish he did much, much earlier when he started to write.

You can learn more about Andrew Peterson and his books at https://www.andrewpeterson.com/

Direct download: The_Andrew_Peterson_Interview.mp3
Category:Authors -- posted at: 9:37pm EDT

Patricia Fuqua is the founder of Dating Diamonds, a service that empowers women to meet the right man the second time around and is the creator of the 1st Date to Soulmate Program. Since 2008, she’s helped over 500 women meet the right man by designing a personalized plan that she helps them implement. She’s polished the art of relationship in her 40-year marriage to her soulmate husband.

Her clients can be found in major cities including Sydney, Washington D. C., Sacramento, and San Francisco.  She mentors women to use the story of their lives to create the relationship they choose the second time around. She holds coaching credentials from the Academy of Excellence as well as the Wanless Institute and is a certified Matchmaker with the Matchmakers Institute.

Earlier this year her book Second Time Around: How to Date Your Right Man (2018) was published. Her first book, Manifesting Your Soulmate, was published in 2008. Both can be found on Amazon.com. You can reach out to Patricia by visiting her LinkedIn profile.

Direct download: Patricia_Fuqua_For_Libsyn.mp3
Category:Authors -- posted at: 3:21pm EDT

Linwood Barclay is a former columnist for The Toronto Star and the author of several critically acclaimed novels including Too Close to Home and No Time for Goodbye, a #1 Sunday Times (UK) bestseller. He lives near Toronto with his wife.

Listen up as Linwood and I talk about his early influences as a writer, how living in a trailer park and the loss of his father at sixteen has impacted his writing, and why detectives should always keep empty bottles in their cars while on stakeouts.

Our interview concludes with some advice to budding authors including why, even in this age of independent publishing, agents are still critical to the business. He also imparts some wisdom on what to put in front of them to get their attention.

Direct download: LinwoodBarclayLibsyn.mp3
Category:Authors -- posted at: 6:10pm EDT

Christopher Ryan has always been a storyteller. Whether "ranking" on friends as a teen, covering street crime and dirty politics in The Bronx as an award-winning reporter, or teaching High School English, he serves the story above all else.  

I recently chatted with Chris about his time as a journalist during New York City’s violent crack epidemic, his desire to become a police officer, and the decision that led him into the classroom and ultimately to his first published novel, City of Woe. Along the way we talk about his gumption as a high school student to call Marvel Comics and interview Stan Lee and how all of his experiences on the streets of New York City influence his writing.

If there’s one thing I learned during this interview it’s that Christopher Ryan seeks to combine all of his loves to tell tales that question justice, faith, and the nature of good and evil.

Direct download: The_Cristopher_Ryan_Interview.mp3
Category:Authors -- posted at: 6:13pm EDT

Hunter Shea is the product of a misspent childhood watching scary movies, reading forbidden books and wishing Bigfoot would walk past his house. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself.

Hunter’s novels can even be found on display at the International Cryptozoology Museum. His video podcast, Monster Men, is one of the most watched horror podcasts in the world. He’s a bestselling author of over 13 (lucky number!) books, all of them written with the express desire to quicken heartbeats and make spines tingle. Living with his wonderful family and two cats, he’s happy to be close enough to New York City to gobble down Gray’s Papaya hotdogs when the craving hits.

I recently spoke with Hunter about his path to writing, his affection for all things gore, and the importance of getting people to care about characters. As he puts it, “If you don’t have characters people care about, who cares if the monster eats them all?”

Stick with the conversation to hear a real-life ghost story and Hunter’s perspectives on Werewolf porn. To learn more about Hunter Shea and to buy his books, visit https://huntershea.com.

Enjoy the show.

Direct download: Hunter_Shea_Master.mp3
Category:Authors -- posted at: 11:02am EDT

“They don’t hire girls into the FBI,” these were the words Tess Gerritsen heard from her guidance counselor after expressing an interest in the Federal Bureau of investigation. While that sentiment feels like a dark cloud that hovered over our culture during the time of Tess’ high school days, it’s one that has a silver lining considering she eventually went on to become an internationally acclaimed bestselling author.

Tess’ path to writing, though, was not what you would call linear. Inspired by her appreciation of Nancy Drew novels, Tess had a dream of becoming a journalist at a young age, but her father, a Chinese immigrant, eschewed journalism as a career path and Tess eventually studied medicine, receiving her medical degree in 1979.

While on maternity leave, Tess wrote a short story that won first prize in a fiction contest and this success planted the seed that she might be able to have a career as a writer. When she and her husband, also a doctor, found it challenging to both work full time as doctors and raise a young family, Tess volunteered to stay home with the kids as well as focus on her writing. This move paid off as Tess is now a multi award winning bestselling author who has sold more than 30 million books around the world.

I recently had a chance to speak with Tess about her career as both a physician and author. We discussed how she made the leap to writing full-time and what it takes to write successfully in multiple genres. Listen in as we chat about why the best stories written are those whose subject matter elicits strong personal reactions in the writer, why it’s critically important to feed your curiosity as an author, and how she and her husband could have been considered persons of interest in the Golden State Killer case.

Be on the lookout for Island Zero, a Tess Gerritsen penned movie, available in video-on-demand starting May 15th. Directed by her son Josh, this old-school suspense thriller is available for pre-order now exclusively from iTunes.

Direct download: Tess_Gerritsen_for_Upload.mp3
Category:Authors -- posted at: 5:07pm EDT

Brian is a founding Partner of Anderson Porter Design and has developed a proven process of project delivery in the Cannabis Industry. To date, he has designed facilities for cultivation totaling over 150,000sf as well as 14 retail dispensaries.

His path to this space, though, wasn’t what you might call linear. He grew up on a Christmas Tree farm in rural Connecticut, so I guess you could say that horticulture is in his blood (though he’s not a grower). After attending the Rhode Island School of Design for his undergraduate work and Harvard for graduate school, he went off to work in Europe where, in addition to making his bones in the architecture world, he did some stage acting.

Upon his return back to the States, Brian challenged himself to work on a variety of projects before joining up with his brother and business partner to establish Anderson Porter Design. It was their experience working on a project for the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston that gave Anderson Porter the credentials in designing high security buildings that led to their entrance in the legal cannabis space – ironic given the federal government’s stance on cannabis.

From site planning to ribbon cutting, Brian and his team at Anderson Porter Design work with entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry to design, engineer and construct facilities that transform ideas into successful, profitable businesses.

Direct download: Ep1_BrianAndersion.mp3
Category:Entrepreneurs -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Psychologist Gay Hendricks is counselor, writer, and teacher in the field of personal growth, relationships, and body intelligence. He’s best known for his work in relationship enhancement and is the founder of The Hendricks Institute, where he and his wife Katie conduct workshops focusing on what they call conscious loving. Together, they have written close to 40 books, trained thousands of coaches, appeared on Oprah, and have hosted seminars around the globe.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Hendricks about his career not only as a writer but also as an academic, counselor, and corporate trainer. Listen in as he speaks about the power of completion and why it’s so important to be honest and take responsibility for your actions both in the boardroom as well as in personal relationships. You’ll hear about his ah-ha moment when it became clear what he wanted to do with his life and how that led to his losing over one hundred pounds. Also, you’ll hear about how some of his fiction has been picked up for screen adaptation.

You can learn more about Dr. Hendricks at www.Hendricks.com.

Direct download: The_Gay_Hendricks_Interview.mp3
Category:Authors -- posted at: 12:20pm EDT

Dr. Warren Farrell is the author of the just-published The Boy Crisis (with co-author John Gray). It exposes the boy crisis worldwide, as well as the causes and solutions that can be implemented by parents, schools and policy makers. 

Dr. Farrell has been chosen by the Financial Times as one of the world’s top 100 thought leaders. His books are published in over 50 countries, and in 19 languages. They include two award-winning international best-sellers, Why Men Are the Way They Are plus The Myth of Male Power.

Listen in as we discuss the biggest challenges facing boys today, why the role of an active father is critical in a boy’s life, and what can be done to address and reverse the trends we are seeing.

He has two daughters, and lives with his wife in Mill Valley, California, and virtually at www.warrenfarrell.com.

Direct download: The_Warren_Farrell_Interview.mp3
Category:Authors -- posted at: 10:10am EDT

Erin Boardman Wathen is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) and a Food Addiction Counselor (INFACT). She’s a Certified Spinning® Instructor (STAR 3), Vinyasa Yoga instructor (200 Hour) and Classical Pilates instructor. She’s also the author of Why Can’t I Stick to my Diet, a book that uses an addiction based model to help readers understand why diets are so hard to stick to and how to live the rest of their lives while not being on a diet (while still maintaining weight loss). Readers will uncover how to ditch the diet mentality for good by keeping to her specialized food plan and if that sounds overwhelming, have no fear - Erin provides the tools for combating any food obstacle.

I caught up with Erin recently and we discussed what drove her to write this book and how she developed a unique approach to thinking about sugar as an addiction; albeit one that is more powerful than any other chemical addiction. You’ll hear her talk about the time she started her first diet in her early teens as well as the struggles she had with sugar well into adulthood. You’ll also hear some very personal and motivational stories about how cutting sugar has changed her life for the better.

You can learn more about Erin by visiting her website at https://www.ewwellnesssolutions.com I highly recommend that you follow her video blog which can be seen on her website as her videos are not only informative, but also creative and highly entertaining.

Direct download: Erin_Wathan_Interview.mp3
Category:Authors -- posted at: 11:10am EDT

Laurie Handlers is a Sex and Happiness Coach and the author of the Amazon #1 International Bestseller Sex & Happiness: The Tantric Laws of Intimacy.

Through her company Butterfly Workshops, she offers sexual health and awareness courses plus leadership courses for corporations and individuals throughout the world.

For over a decade, she’s hosted the weekly radio show Sex and Happiness where she discusses all topics about, you guessed it, sex. Laurie has also produced and starred in two independent films: “Beyond Dinner” and “Tantric Tourists.” Her current focus is on Sexual Ecstasy at Any Age and is currently writing a book called The Magic and Mastery of Sex and Happiness After Sixty.

As an aside, I interview people for a living and I really love interviewing people who are experts in fields where I have next to no experience. Oftentimes when I lose a project, a client will tell me it’s because I didn’t have enough experience in their category or that someone on the team wanted to go with someone who they’ve used in the past, and that’s all very rational, but the truth is they are doing themselves a disservice.

When I go into a situation where I know next to nothing, my curiosity takes over and I probe into areas that other people might not dared to tread. Additionally, my interviewee will sense my naiveté and then put on the hat of teacher, thereby giving more detailed explanations of whatever subject matter they are expert in. In short, it leads to really fluid and insightful interviews and I think you will discover that to be the case in my conversation with Laurie.

Now you may be wondering, hey Mike, won’t you be embarrassed if your eighty plus year old parents heard you carrying on about this? Well, consider this - after Laurie’s mother passed away, her father became her student. Let that sink in for a second, she taught her father everything she knew about sex and intimacy! Aside from that, my parents know that I've had sex as I've given them grandchildren.

One thing I learned in my talk with Laurie is that Tantra is much more than just sex. In this conversation you’ll hear why Laurie believes we all have to change and adapt throughout life, why it’s important to come to peace with our own emotional and physical needs before we can fully do so with another, and why it’s so damn hard for many men and women to have an honest conversation about what they want in the bedroom.

You’ll hear the advice she’d give young couples on how to have a fulfilling sex life well into their golden years as well as how to talk to one’s children about sex in a way that’s open, honest, and will set them up for fulfilling emotional and physical relationships in the future.

I hope you listen to this entire interview with Laurie because it comes to a nice climax towards the end. This Spring, she'll be doing a multi-city tour running some seminars called What to do About #MeToo. You can learn about those events and more about Laurie by visiting http://www.butterflyworkshops.com/

Direct download: Laurie_Handlers_Main_Mix.mp3
Category:Authors -- posted at: 10:49pm EDT

Lou Aronica didn’t intend to be a writer; born on Elvis Presley’s birthday, Lou felt it was his destiny to be a rock star, but that all changed after a teacher encouraged him to develop an evident talent for writing.

After graduating college with a degree in English, Lou planned on becoming a teacher, though a bad economy and a flood of talent competing for teaching jobs that simply weren’t there pushed him into the only other career well suited for an English major—publishing.

After rising through the ranks in the publishing world, a window was opened when Lou's company was purchased by News Corp and the powers that be decided his services were no longer needed at the helm of Avon Books. Armed with some free time (and a golden parachute), Lou wrote what became his first novel, USA Today Best Seller The Forever Year. In addition to successful followup works of fiction, Lou has also penned non-fiction as well as helped develop other authors through his company The Fiction Studio.

In this interview you’ll hear how Lou got his start, the importance of being honest as a writer - especially when writing fiction - and his perspectives on how the publishing business has changed with the advent of The Kindle and the rise of independent authors. You will also hear a recurring theme in Lou’s life, how events don’t always unfold the way he wants them to, but do so in a way that moves his life forward for the better. To bring it back to where our conversation began, Lou discusses his return to music and the singles he is releasing every week through his blog, which can be found at louaronica.com/blog.

Follow Lou Aronica on Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheStoryPlant

Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lou-aronica-536b60/?trk=hp-identity-name

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/louaronicaauthor/

Direct download: Lou_Aronica_Final_Interview_med.mp3
Category:Authors -- posted at: 10:50am EDT

  Today is a big day for Uncorking a story because I get to share with you my conversation with Bruce Miller, the creator of Smart Alex - a new, better for you, snack food. I love talking to entrepreneurs because I’m always left feeling inspired by their stories; the drive and ability to put thought into action is a skill that few people have and I think it’s worth uncorking the stories of those who do so successfully. Bruce Miller, though, didn’t set out to be a snack food disruptor (whatever that is). At an early age, he demonstrated a talent in art and his parents encouraged that by enrolling 11-year-old Bruce in a painting class.  From there it was off to art school in New Haven for college and then onto jobs at smaller ad agencies in Connecticut and New York before landing at Jordan McGrath, Case, and Taylor where he worked under James Jordan as a copywriter. My mother always said that behind every great man is an even better woman and interwoven in this interview is a love story. After moving to California to service his biggest client, Bruce kept up a long-distance relationship with a woman named Maria Guella. They soon became engaged and she, as well as the professional transition Bruce made at that time, would play an important role in the Smart Alex story. This podcast is being brought to you by my new book Motel California, the third in my Farrah Graham series. If you like an intriguing story with colorful and comical characters, Motel California is what you need to be reading right now. You can buy it online wherever books are sold (or give the image to the right a little clickity click, click, click). You can learn more about Smart Alex at: www.smartalexfoods.com Download Here
Direct download: Bruce_Miller_Podcast_final.mp3
Category:Inspiring Stories -- posted at: 3:15am EDT