Episode 18, When the Apricots Bloom

Gina Wilkinson’s story about friendship and moral dilemmas facing three women in Bagdad was inspired by her own experiences in Iraq twenty years ago. That’s when she took this picture of two young girls near the Mutanabbi Market. It helped her envision the childhood friendship between two of her three main characters.

The complicated friendship and shared goal to protect their families is peppered with historical truths that transport you to their reality. My conversation with Gina explores the long standing idea that fiction is the lie that reveals the truth.  You will hear Chapter 1 of the book come to life through the voice of narrator Raghad Chaar.  

You can find When the Apricots Bloom in all its formats here: When the Apricots Bloom on Amazon

Episode 17 The River Maiden with Meredith Stoddard

Our featured story is from author Meredith Stoddard who writes folklore inspired fiction.  You will hear the beginning of her Book One, The River Maiden, in her Once and Future Series. There are five books in this contemporary fantasy series – so far. Meredith says she has more story to tell. ‘These characters have mountains to climb, caves to feel their way through and emotional swamps to navigate.’  Listen for how Meredith’s characters are changed by betrayal and kindness. Hear what informs the choices they make and the way they see the world. There’s an echo of this character development in Meredith’s personal stories about her grandmother, Joyce.  The lessons in life that Joyce gives Meredith draw from her nearly 104 years of experience.  Meredith is the grateful granddaughter of a storyteller and a memory keeper.  Read more of the Once and Future series as well as her short story bonus material on her website. http://www.meredithstoddard.com/ . And, here is a link to the author she mentions in the podcast – who she recommends to everyone – Steven Pressfield, https://stevenpressfield.com/books/the-war-of-art/  This featured picture is Joyce at 100. Thanks for listening. 

Episode 16, The Flying Cutterbucks with Kathleen Rodgers and Michelle Williams

Two old friends reconnect with each other and their small town roots. Our conversation begins with CB radio handles, dragging main, and remembering how family – specifically being a daughter – shaped who they are today.

As we head into the Independence Day holiday, Kathleen Rodgers shares her impassioned convictions about democracy and talks about the stand she found the courage to take as an author. She invited her narrator and dear friend Michelle Williams to join the conversation. They dive into high school memories about CB radio handles and the eastern New Mexico sky.  Kathleen says she can feel the land and smell the wind in Michelle’s narration of Kathleen’s 4th novel, The Flying Cutterbucks.  Hear for yourself in our featured story, Chapter 1 of The Flying Cutterbucks, where the opening lines will take you back to a moment in October 2016.  When you want to listen to the rest of the story, here is a link to Kathleen Rodger’s The Flying Cutterbucks audiobook on Audible. 


And, a link to all of Kathleen’s books and more on her website. 


Thanks for listening.

Episode 15 Spellbound Under the Spanish Moss with Kevin Garrett & Connor Judson Garrett

This week’s featured story is from a father and son writing team. You’re going to hear Chapter 1 from their book Spellbound Under the Spanish Moss, A Tale of Southern Magic.  Get ready for a raven, a witch and a bullfrog! You will also hear why the ‘why’ is so important to them, how the magical world they’ve created has real world ‘good truths’, and what impact a real life car accident had on a fictional character.   When you are ready to hear the rest of the story, here is a link to the book and audiobook. Thanks for listening!  https://www.amazon.com/Spellbound-Under-Spanish-Moss-Southern/dp/B094K3W3DV/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1624055606&sr=8-1-spons

Episode 14, The Library of Lost Souls by Meghan Holloway

Today’s featured story was inspired by a teller of tall tales – a lover of stories. As we head into Father’s Day weekend, listen to Meghan Holloway talk about the ways her grandfather enriched her life and her writing. Meghan has written a successful WWII Historical Fiction published by Polis Books called Once More Unto the Breach and is working on a trilogy in the Thriller Crime genre with Hunting Ground released last year, and Hiding Place out this August. But, we are talking about something very different – a book she wrote that is set in the future. At its heart, it is a love story about what it means to be human and the ways we grapple with loneliness and loss. Today we are talking about The Library of Lost Souls.



Episode 13, Joan an excerpt from The Eves by Grace Sammon

Today’s featured story is from Grace Sammon’s novel The Eves. Grace describes The Eves as a multi-generational novel portraying lives lived well and lives in transition. It captures the conversations we wish we had had with our parents, if we had taken the opportunity, and the lessons we would want to impart to our children, if they were ready to listen. Told through the voice of the psychologically complex Jessica Barnet, this is her story. Listen to: why Grace struggled with her main character being called a liar, how Grace uses a nerdy explanation of Mitochrondrial DNA, and what Grace sees in those simple handprint paintings from childhood. Connect with Grace on social media and find her book through her website https://gracesammon.net/.   Thanks for listening. 

Episode 12, Gawk with Dianne Bilyak

The featured story Gawk is about that fishbowl feeling, when you realize others see you as different. The way Dianne Bilyak writes about growing up with her sister Chris – who has down syndrome – is heartrending and funny. It’s a gift to siblings and parents of all abilities. Dianne is a disability rights advocate, an author, and as she says ‘ a poet who went off the rails’. Her book with a long title, took a long path to publication. It’s a great story. You can find Nothing Special: The Mostly True, Sometimes Funny, Tales of Two Sisters through her website. And, you can see how the sisters relate today on her Nothing Special Book Facebook Page. Thanks for listening!


Episode 11, Mercy

Today’s featured story is from Edgar Award Nominee Joseph S. Walker. The Edgar Allan Poe Awards are presented every year by the Mystery Writers of America. The story Joe chose for the podcast is a short story titled Mercy. It was inspired by the growled word ‘mercy’ in the the Roy Orbison song Pretty Woman. It’s published in a clever anthology called Peace, Love and Crime where each story draws inspiration from a song of the ’60s. Listen to why Joe enjoys contributing to anthologies and what essential thing he fights for every day.  You can find all his published work through his website and find the anthology with Mercy in it at Untreed Reads Publishing.  Thanks for listening. 

Joseph S. Walker Crime Writer : https://jsw47408.wixsite.com/website

Peace, Love, and Crime (paperback) edited by Sandra Murphy : Untreed Reads Publishing

Episode 10, Border Song

Our featured story this week is from Laura Kemp. Border Song is set in Oklahoma, a long way from Laura’s Michigan based Yellow Wood series. She explains how she feels about nature – especially the wild places. And, she talks about being a spooky storyteller at heart.  You can find her books on her website and check out the world she has created at ‘Kemp Camp’ on FB.  Thanks for listening.


Episode 9, Garden Crow

Todays featured story is from Robert Gwaltney. It’s a special excerpt from his debut novel The Cicada Tree.  Before the story, we talk about how powerful early childhood experiences can be, what advice his granny Louise gave him about where to sit, and what music influenced him while he was writing The Cicada Tree.  After the story, hearing about his essential things will make you want to reach out and be friends!  You can find him on Facebook, and I highly recommend you check out his website and blog.  The Cicada Tree will be available January, 2022.  Thanks for listening.  https://robertlgwaltney.com/