Jonathan Ferrara – Guns in the Hands of Artists

In the 1990s, the New Orleans murder rate exploded. In 1996, 350 people were killed—the highest number in the city’s history, and the highest rate in the nation. In response to this crisis, gallery owner and artist Jonathan Ferrara and artist Brian Borrello, launched a powerful project: Guns in the Hands of Artists. Over sixty artists, including painters, glass artists, sculptors, photographers, and poets, used decommissioned guns taken off the city streets via a gun buyback program to express a thought, make a statement, open a discussion, and to stimulate thinking about guns and gun violence in America.

As gun violence continues to devastate the nation on a daily basis, Guns in the Hands of Artists reemerged in 2012 as a community-based social activist art project that has since traveled to six cities across the US. Using art as a mirror for life and interweaving the works of thirty diverse artists with the voices of seventeen national thought leaders, this book is an important outgrowth of the exhibition and an extension of its efforts to employ art as a vehicle for dialogue, as a call to action, and—ultimately—as an agent of change.

Essays by: Walter Isaacson, Senator Tim Kaine, Lupe Fiasco, Richard Ford, Joe Nocera, Trymaine Lee, Lolis Eric Elie, John M. Barry, Dan Cameron, Lucia McBath, Harry Shearer, Jonathan Ferrara, Brian Borrello, Maria Cuomo Cole, Michael Waldman, E. Ethelbert Miller, Mayor Mitchell J. Landrieu, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly.

More about Mr. Ferrara at his gallery website, HERE.

To hear our interview with Jonathan Ferrara, click on the grey podcast bar below:

Paul H.B. Shin – Half Life

Our guest today is a an award-winning journalist for more than 20 years, most recently for ABC News. He previously wrote for the New York Daily News. He was born in South Korea and lived in London during his childhood. He now lives in Brooklyn, New York.

His debut novel, Half-Life is a page-turning thriller involving a North Korean nuclear scientist on a delicate diplomatic mission to the US when his wife disappears with their newborn son. Paralyzed with fear at the repercussions of her decision the scientist Han Choos-soo turns to his colleague Park Jun-Young a man he suspects is an intelligence operative. He soon regrets his decision as Park cuts a swath of mayhem in the name of helping Han. and the chase forces Han to confront the harsh realities of his home country.

To hear our interview with Mr. Shin, click on the grey podcast bar below:


Leonard Marcus – Golden Legacy: The Story of Golden Books

To hear our interview with Leonard Marcus, click on the grey podcast bar below.

For baby boomers and those slightly older, childhood would not have been so rich without Little Golden Books, those cleverly-written, beautifully-illustrated and elegantly-printed yet inexpensive and indispensable companions of our younger days. It is a bit startling to realize that Little Golden Books are celebrating 75 years. We are pleased to have with us this morning eminent children’s book historian Leonard Marcus, whose book Golden Legacy: The Story of Golden Books chronicles the fascinating story of the creation, marketing and worldwide impact of these gems.

Mr. Marcus is a frequent contributor to the New York Times Book Review and Horn Book Magazine. He has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, ABC’S Good Morning America and BBC Radio 4, and has a long list of honors.

Find out more about Mr. Marcus at his website HERE.


William R. Forstchen – The Final Day

William R. Forstchen has released the final book in his John Matheson series and it makes a perfect conclusion to the saga of a small community in North Carolina as it deals with an apocalypse that, for once, has nothing to do with zombies.

The story began with One Second After and continued with One Year  following an event in which three atomic bombs were detonated high in the atmosphere and sent massive electromagnetic pulse or EMP across the country that fried every computer or sophisticated electronic circuit in the country. Airplanes fell out of the sky, Electric power plants quit, Cars died, elevators trapped people. Those on ventilators and respirators died. There was no way to transport food quickly, and those in large cities starved.

Civilization fell apart. Bands of marauders looted, some turned cannibal. Without electricity, the country retreated technologically to the 1800s.

In the little college town of Black Mountain, North Carolina, college history teacher John Matheson proves to be an excellent leader, but he has to deal with problems as much within his community as without. Black Mountain learns to defend its small patch of re-emerging civilization, sometimes against overwhelming odds.

The victories, as in real life, are not without costs, all the more wrenching because the characters are well fleshed-out, complex and believable.

Forstchen is an excellent storyteller, and the first to write about the dangers of EMP, a subject all of us would do well to understand. The books also deal with complex moral questions such as when should a soldier disobey an order he knows is morally wrong.

You can hear our interview with William Forstchen by clicking on the grey podcast box below.

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.