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What Did I Learn Today?

 Info, inspiration and insights from authors & experts I book on radio & podcasts.

From "Climate Restoration: The Only Future That Will Sustain the Human Race" by Peter Fiekowsky & Carole Douglis:

Blue Planet is a Silicon Valley-based company that produces rocks by capturing excess carbon in the air. These carbonate rocks are sold in place of mined aggregate for concrete and other building materials. San Francisco International Airport used Blue Planet’s concrete in one of the boarding areas.

Ann VanderMeer, editor of the free online sci-fi Anthology, Avatars, Inc., did many radio interviews recently. She explained what makes a successful sci-fi story: It is important to note that science fiction always has a connection with the principles of science. It should not be completely unbelievable, because it then ventures into the genre fantasy. 

Interesting distinction, Ann!

Yesterday, on Mary Jane Popp's show "Poppoff" on KAHI/Sacramento, Dr. Stuart Jamieson, author of his memoir "Close to the Sun: The Journey of a Pioneer Heart Surgeon" was asked where we'll be in 10 years regarding transplant advances: 

"It will be similar to how far we've come with cel phones in the last 10 years. We're working on using a machine similar to a 3-D printer to create new organs using stem cells"

Wow, cool stuff, doc!

Booking lots of radio for Jane Finkle, author of "The Introvert's Complete Career Guide: From Landing a Job, to Surviving, Thriving and Moving on Up". Jane, an introvert herself, points out that some very well-known, incredibly successful people are also introverts--Elon Musk, Warren Buffett, Marissa Mayer, and Bill Gates, to name a few.

Just listened to a fascinating interview on WPHM-AM/Port Huron with James Pyle, human intelligence training instructor and co-author of "Control the Conversation: How to Charm, Defend and Defend Your Position" (Career Press). He analyzed the Brett Kavanaugh/Dr. Christine Blasey Ford hearings--after watching all 8 hours, he watched it again with no volume--"because who knows body language better than the deaf". And watched it all over AGAIN with no picture "because who knows listening better than the blind".

Jim is a real pro--dedicated (and patient!) Glad to be working with him and his co-author Maryann Karinch!

Any author who makes a Steve Martin reference is OK in my book--and it ties in nicely. From Nathan Jamail's new release, "Serve Up, Coach Down: Mastering the Middle and Both Sides of Leadership" (Career Press): 

Steve Martin once described what happens when we go to a foreign country, get in a taxi, ask to go to our hotel, and find out the driver does not speak English. Our first instinct is to speak louder: "I WOULD LIKE TO GO TO TO THE HOTEL"--as if being more forceful will suddenly trigger latent language synapses in the driver and compel him to magically understand. It never works. And it doesn't work in business either. If you don't believe in and own the direction your company is going, than  forcing people to "do it or else" will not make you more believable or restore your power.

You know him as Murr from TV's Impractical Jokers. He's now a best-selling author! James S. Murray's debut novel is "Awakened" (Harper Voyager)...a heartstopping thriller where horrible things happen on a new NYC subway line (no, seriously, it's fiction!) While the reviews have been terrific, it wasn't an easy road to get Awakened to the bookshelves....but the effort paid off! 

Read this interview except with Murr from

I wrote the novel 14 years ago, long before Jokers. I spent a year of my life writing Awakened, honing it as this very fast-paced summer-beach-read kind of page-turner. And the next year, I sent it out to every agent and publisher and it got returned to me... are you ready for this? Unopened. Sealed! They didn't even open the envelope! I couldn't get a single person to read it. And so about a year ago I thought, you know, that book was great, I loved writing it. So I sent it in to HarperCollins and one day later they bought the trilogy from me.

How is shopping evolving? Barbara E. Kahn, author of "The Shopping Revolution: How Successful Retailers Win Customers in an Era of Endless Disruption" has studied the Amazon phenomenon; she says soon, Alexa will be able to connect to our appliances, will know when supplies are running low (laundry detergent, etc) and automatically re-order--without us having to do a thing! Wow!

This campaign was a blast to work on! 3rd grader Sage Marie Spaeth was one of last year's winners of Roald Dahl's Imaginormous Challenge--a contest for kids ages 5-12. The rules are simple: submit a story idea in 100 words or less for a chance to win one of five incredible prizes! Five lucky "golden ticket" winners will be selected again this year! 

So much time and so little to do. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it. (I still love that movie)

Nigerian born author Chibundu Onuzo started writing her first novel at the age of 17, and it was published four years later! Now, at 27, she's released her latest book "Welcome to Lagos". In a recent interview she discussed her lifetime love of books and reading: 

Libraries are so miraculous. It’s really sad that they’re closing libraries; it’s cutting off people’s opportunities. I know what it is to come from a culture where books are a luxury. In the library I was a member of in Nigeria you could only borrow one book at a time. Here, I discovered you could borrow 10 books at a time – riches! Wealth beyond measure! Books are expensive in Nigeria. So reading is an expensive habit. I became aware at an early age of the power of books.

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Sometimes, something in an author's bio just leaps off the page and gives me a "Damn, that's cool" moment. I've had the pleasure of getting to know John Griffith during his radio campaign for "A DAD'S FUN GUIDE TO RAISING HAPPY DAUGHTERS: Imagination Activities Against Body-Snatching Zombie Naysayers And Other Foes of Happiness”.

His book is awesome..and so is this:

Griffith is also a composer and musician--when trekking across the globe, he makes it a habit of finding the most popular blues jams where he sits in and hammers on the piano with the local stars in countries such as Canada, Bermuda, England, New Zealand and even Qatar. 

Rock on, JG!

Fun fact: Screenwriter/director/author S. Craig Zahler wakes up at 3pm and writes all night!

(something I learned from trying to book him on morning drive interviews...but a great guest!)

Film rights for Zahler's latest release, HUG CHICKENPENNY, have already been snapped up by The Jim Henson Company (Dark Crystal, Labyrinth), which is coming on board to produce Zahler’s movie adaptation. The designers at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop will work closely with Zahler to create and build the animatronic puppet versions of the titular character “Hug".

Breaking up is hard to do...but it doesn't have to be!

Sally J. Boyle is a Certified Financial Planner and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (Yes, that's a thing!) She went through her own nasty divorce and shares some of her personal and professional wisdom in DECONSTRUCTING DIVORCE: Taking the Mystery out of Divorce and Its Impact on Your Family, Finances, and Future

I believe this is the most important thing she writes in the book:

Divorce is not about winning. It's about recognizing that you've made a decision as two intelligent human beings that you've grown apart and are looking at how you can best salvage your family through the split. That's not about winning--not a contest, anyway. That's about maintaining balance and composure in finding a healthy way to break up. If there is a win, it should be for the whole family. Trust me--it will be worth it. 

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