Kristine Kathryn Rusch – Women of Futures Past

Discrimination of women is still a problem in today’s world within the workplace, as well as legal and social discrimination. One woman shines a spotlight on discrimination in media, mainly Hollywood and science fiction.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch, a USA Today bestselling writer and author of the book, “Women Of Future’s Past”  details how the long-standing discrimination and belief that men dominate the genre came about“A lot of young writers and science fiction fans don’t want to hear about the women who came before them,” Rusch says. “Women have dominated the field, writing the prototypes for Han Solo and Indiana Jones, and writing bestselling books and movies.”

Unfortunately, many of the award-winning writings from women have never been anthologized, or kept in print.

“Unlike the works from men, many of the writings from women have vanished,” Rusch says. “It’s not just in books. A huge controversy ignited when ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ merchandise left out the lead characters. Both were women.”

Over the course of her 30-year career, international bestselling writer Kristine Kathryn Rusch has won or been nominated for every major award in the science fiction and fantasy field. She started two publishing companies, including the influential Pulphouse Publishing. She has won awards for her editing as well as her fiction—and she is, to date, the only person who has won the Hugo award both as an editor and as a writer. In 2016 alone, her fiction will appear in four year’s best collections. As of March 2016, her short stories have won two different readers’ choice awards.

In addition, I can testify that she is warm and witty and gifted. We had a far-ranging interview about the history of women in SF, her own trailblazing path, and that of some of the authors represented in this superb anthology.

You can hear that interview by clicking on the grey podcast bar below. You’re in for a treat.

Author’s photo by Lauren Lang

Link to her website.



Charlotte Bennardo – Evolution Revolution: Simple Machines

Charlotte Bennardo, whose latest book is Evolution Revolution: Simple Machines. In the great tradition of Watership Down, Bennardo brings us a human vs animal conflict as developers threaten the forest where the story’s colorful creatures live. The first to recognize the danger is the plucky grey squirrel Jack, who at first has a tough time convincing the other animals of the forest that there is a problem, including his own sister. But with the help of Colin, a young boy in a wheelchair, Jack begins to understand the concept of the wheel and with that understanding comes a way to block the progress of the developers’ machines.

This is a perfect chapter book for youngsters and the phrasing and cadence of the prose makes it a delight to read aloud.

Find out more about her on her blog.

To hear our interview with Charlotte Bennardo, click on the grey podcast bar below:


Christopher Kelly – America Invades


christopher-kellyxamerica-invades-coverDid you know that America invaded England during the Revolutionary War, or that Russia was invaded by the United States in 1918?

Those are just two of the fascinating stories you’ll find in America Invades: How We’ve Invaded or been Militarily Involved With Almost Every Country In The World.

The United States has either invaded, fought in or had a military presence in 191 of the 194 recognized by the United Nations, adds Kelly, a military historian who has documented American invasions great and small and their effects. The only countries we haven’t been militarily involved with are Andorra, Bhutan and Liechtenstein.

“Our first major invasion happened before we even declared our independence from England,” says co-author Christopher Kelly says. “Nearly 3,500 colonists invaded what is today Colombia in 1741.”

He and co-author Stuart Laycock spent two years researching this fascinating book. Among the photographs in a special photography section is a portrait of Queen Marie of Romania, obtained from Maryhill Museum in Goldendale. In the podcast below he talks about visiting Maryhill and the connection between his family and the queen.  To hear our interview, just click on the grey podcast bar below.

About the authors: Christopher Kelly is the son of a Korean War veteran and the descendant of Stephen Van Rensselaer, the leader of a disastrous invasion of Canada during the War of 1812. Kelly is the past chairman of Chyron Corp. (now ChyronHego) and the former director of Kelly Television Co. and Kelly Broadcasting. His co-author, Stuart Laycock, is a British historian and author. Laycock is the author of All the Countries We’ve Invaded which covers British military history.



Kei Lum Chan and Diora Fong Chan – China: The Cookbook

Go beyond spring rolls and General Tso’s Chicken…

Instead of ordinary take-out, cook in with these surprisingly simple and authentic make-at-home


The definitive guide to Chinese home cooking

kei-lum-diora-c-johnny-hanchina-the-cookbook-coverAn accessible and authoritative collection featuring 650 delicious and authentic Chinese recipes, all meticulously selected and tested for the home kitchen, accompanied by explanations of Chinese ingredients, and easy-to-implement suggestions for alternatives to specialty items

Decades ago it may have been challenging to find basic Chinese ingredients, even in specialty Asian markets, but today cooking authentic Chinese food has never been easier. Items such as bok choy, hoisin sauce, and glutinous rice— once considered exotic ingredients—are now commonplace in the aisles of most general supermarkets.

Thoroughly researched and curated by Chinese culinary experts Kei Lum Chan and Diora Fong Chan, CHINA: THE COOKBOOK guides readers through the vast realm of authentic Chinese home cooking. Recipes are clearly laid out and explained in accessible terms, inviting home cooks of all levels to expand their menu and providing them with the information they need to delve into this ever-popular cuisine. The dishes range from familiar favorites that can be found on most restaurant menus such as Dim Sum (which, translated, means “touch the heart”) and Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs to lesser-known regional family recipes including Jiangsu’s Drunken Chicken and Fujian Fried Rice.

In addition, there is a section in the front detailing the differences between the eight regional cuisines and 33 sub-regional cuisines in China. And, at the end, there is a section featuring recipes from award-winning Chinese chefs from around the world – Hong Kong, Melbourne, San Francisco, Vancouver, B.C., New York and London.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Kei Lum Chan and Diora Fong Chan are the bestselling authors of 17 cookbooks and are regarded as top culinary authorities within China. Kei Lum Chan is the son of Mr. Mong Yan Chan, a Chinese journalist, editor-in-chief and food critic of a prominent Hong Kong newspaper, who authored “Food Classics,” published in 1953 and still in print today, long considered the Chinese food bible. They live in Hong Kong.

To hear our interview by phone from Hong Kong, click on the grey podcast bar below.


Leigh Rubin – The Big Book of Moo



Cartoon Leigh Rubin ImageIf you’re looking for cartoon hijinks with a high percentage of Holsteins, then when it comes to Leigh Rubin’s The Big Book of Moo, we’ll quote the words of the old Gatlin Brothers song, “It just doesn’t get any better than this.”

Rubin’s one-panel cartoon, “Rubes,” appears in more than 400 newspapers internationally, and he’s been making people laugh every day for more than 30 years. His propensity for the bovine population has led him to be a big hit at conventions of cattle ranchers and dairy farmers around the country. And that, in turn led to this book. It’s being produced under the auspices of the National Dairy Herd Information Association, and a portion of the proceeds go to scholarships for veterinary students.

It’s also the largest collection of his work to date, with more than 300 cartoons.

Cow fanciers will find that, by actual count, 77 percent of the cartoons in this book contain at least one cow. That’s because, as Rubin notes,  “Cows are funny.”

So is he. Check out our interview with Leigh Rubin by clicking on the grey podcast bar below:

Aja Raden – Gem

aja-raden-of-gemgem-coverIt is hard not to pull out all the stops and employ every superlative in your vocabulary when describing Gem.  Quite simply, the book effortlessly manages to be both endlessly captivating and extraordinarily thorough as a reference.  The photography is superb and the stories are delicious. There is a reason that the book is subtitled “The Definitive Visual Guide,” without a hint of hyperbole.  I cannot imagine any jeweler in the country who would not want one of these as a sales aid for his customers. Below is the publisher’s description. To listen to our interview with introduction writer Aja Raden, click the grey podcast bar at the very bottom of the page.

From diamonds to sapphires to limestone, GEM profiles all major gem types and other precious materials, revealing the riches of the Earth, from raw minerals to exquisite jewelry. Crystal-clear photography and illustrations abound on each page to showcase the gems’ different cuts, colors, and uses.

GEM goes beyond other reference books by featuring some of the rarest and most valuable stones and jewel-laden artifacts in history, describing in rich detail the stories and legends that surround them, from their journeys in the company of royalty, film stars, and thieves to the curse of the Hope Diamond and Ludwig II’s pocket watch. Gem concludes with an 80-page illustrated directory that provides all necessary comprehensive data to a variety of other rocks and nonprecious stones.



Beth Pratt-Bergstrom – When Mountain Lions are Neighbors

beth-pratt-bergstromwhen-mountain-lions-are-neighbos-coverW1lderness beats in the heart of California’s urban areas. A mountain lion known as P-22 lives in the heart of Los Angeles. Porpoises cavort in San Francisco Bay after a 65 year
absence. And on the Facebook campus in Silicon Valley, Mark Zuckerberg and his staff have provided a home for an endearing family of wild gray foxes. A movement of diverse individuals and communities is taking action to recast wildlife as an integral part of our everyday lives.

When Mountain Lions Are Neighbors explores this evolving dynamic between humans and animals, including remarkable stories, like how Californians are welcoming wolves back to the state after the incredible journey of wolf OR-7; how park staff and millions of visitors rallied to keep Yosemite’s famed bears wild; and many more tales from across the state. Written by Beth Pratt-Bergstrom of the National Wildlife Federation, these inspiring stories celebrate a new paradigm for wildlife conservation: coexistence.

Not only will you find great stories, but beautiful photos as well.  To hear our interview with Beth, click on the grey podcast bar below.

Bonus:  Ten Remarkable Wildlife Moments in 2015, Beth’s post on the National Wildlife Federation blog HERE

And you’ll find her website HERE.