Friday, June 24, 2022

Joni Sensel shares the premonition of a lost love in memoir and Americana band June Star are back with their 17th album

From nearly the start of their romance, author Joni Sensel knew she would lose the man she loved after experiencing a dark premonition. Though she kept this secret, upon his death she was compelled to share it in her memoir, “Feeling Fate: A Memoir of Love, Intuition, and Spirit.”

In this interview, we talk about the premonition and how she knew it was real, sharing the story with her family, and what she's chosen to include in the book.

After that, the Americana band June Star and I dive into their new album, “How We See It Now,” their 17th release to date. Band members Andrew Grimm and Dave Hadley talk about the new directions they went in with this one and some of the folks they worked with.

June Star is part of a really cool Boston show on June 28, but they also have more than 50 shows planned for the summer. We look at some of their stops, favorite places to play, and how they manage such a busy schedule. Plus, the guys play a couple songs for us!

Monday, June 20, 2022

Robert Steven Goldstein takes on a new perspective with “Will’s Surreal Period”

After reading just a couple chapters of Robert Goldstein's fourth novel, “Will's Surreal Period,” I have to say I was completely hooked, so it was a blast to speak with the writer on the various ins and outs of the characters, theme, and setting. Here's a quick look at the synopsis:

When William Wozniak, a San Francisco artist who has struggled for years in obscurity, suddenly and inexplicably finds himself painting in a startlingly new surreal style, he is embraced by the art world.

But health issues lead him to a neurologist, where Will discovers that his new artistic style is the result of a life-threatening brain tumor. He must decide whether to have surgery to remove it—relegating him to painting once again in the drab style that defined his years of anonymity—or allow the tumor to grow and most likely kill him.

To make matters worse, William and his wife Rosemary are struggling financially, having been disowned by William’s father Arthur, a cantankerous and homophobic old widower. Arthur is cared for by his younger son, Bertram, in a big house in Scarsdale, New York. But when Bertram, a gay man in the closet due to his fear of being disinherited, finally comes out, Arthur decides to switch allegiance to Will and move to California.

A mess ensues.

And it remains to be seen whether Laurel, a portly, progressively minded California real estate agent who’s taken an improbable liking to Arthur, will make the situation better—or worse.

Robert and I look into the choice that his main character has to make and how this blends with the other storyline of the dysfunctional family. We talk about his choice to retire in his 50s and pursue writing and how it's defined him as a person. Robert shares the stories of his first three novels, how they're all tied together and at the same time, stand alone.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Sooz and I talk Boston radio and the two-year anniversary of Oh Hello Boston

Launched in March 2020, the Boston-based online station Oh Hello Boston has achieved a lot in a short time and we are damn glad it's here. Station founder Sooz joins me to talk about how the station got its start amidst the hardest days of the pandemic. We look at her joining forces with long-time Boston music scene personality Michelle Dipoaola. Together, they developed a massive library of music by bands in Boston and around New England.

But Oh Hello Boston is far more than music. The station is home to such shows as Decade Stroll, which plays one song per decade ('80s to '20s) across five-song blocks and New England Roots Reggae,which explores the region's reggae history and its current artists. It also re-broadcasts local staple On The Town With Mikey Dee. We look at the different programs and how Sooz came to work with these amazing people.

Friday, June 3, 2022

Psychiatrist Dr. Jess Wright takes on fiction writing in debut novel, and Pearl Cutten returns with some upbeat new music

Kicking off this episode, Dr. Jess Wright makes the move from renowned psychiatrist to novelist with his new book, “A Stream to Follow.” This book explores and heart and mind of Bruce Duncan, a WWII battlefield surgeon adjusting to life after the conflict's end. But for Bruce, the battle is far from over. Haunted by the soldiers he tried to save, a own near-death experiences, and lost love, Bruce has far to go.

Dr. Wright and I talk about the creation of Duncan and how his own relatives who served in WWII helped shape the story. We talk about mental health in the 1940s and how difficult it was for anyone—especially men—to talk about it. Dr. Wright also looks at his years of writing medical books and the challenges he faced when it came to penning a fiction book.

Our second interview welcomes back Pearl Cutten, who's been on the show before. She's got two new singles to share— “Change” and “Far Away.” Both are upbeat, catchy tunes, which is something we could use right now. Pearl talks about the stories behind both songs, especially “Change” and how it's focused on not being afraid to tear down what you have for something new.

These two singles also tie into Pearl's background and we look at those elements and why it was so important for her to include them.

After these interviews, enjoy the two songs, which will both be on Pearl's upcoming album, “Fragments of My Soul.” 

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Anne Whitney Pierce takes us to Cambridge in the 1960s in new book

Author Anne Whitney Pierce has called Cambridge home for her entire life, and over the years has seen a lot happen in the 02138 zip code. In her new book, “Down To The River,” we see the lives of Boston elite as they begin to fade into obscurity. Stuck in a powerfully dysfunctional family, their children enter the world of Harvard Square at the height of the Vietnam era. As they cling together for comfort and support, they are pulled by the Cambridge undertow as politics, sex, drugs and rock and roll sound their siren call.

Anne has so many stories of Cambridge to share and in this episode, we see what the area was like—both through the eyes of the teenager she was then and the person she is now. Anne takes us through the character creation and how the environment of one of Boston's most notable neighborhoods shaped them. We look at what it's like to write for the market and how that can pose a challenge when it comes time to decide what the story will be. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

“I Am The First” comic explores bullying and mental health alongside hope and being true to yourself

The recently-released comic series “I Am The First” is a powerful story that touches on subjects like bullying, grief, and even suicide. But there's another message as well—that hope is still out there. The comic is the brainchild of author Jeremy Flagg and working with illustrator Amanda Kahl, they have created a story that has resonated with readers in a number of ways.

In small-town Maine, standing out in a crowd can be dangerous. Alec hasn't had an easy life. After his father died, his mother married Don to help make ends meet. What she didn't know, her second husband would turn into an alcoholic leech. Worst yet, his drunken rages are directed at Alec, the son he never wanted.

To make mattes worse, Alec has a secret even he doesn't understand.

Then there's Roxanne, a friendship that fell apart as Alec struggled to cope with the death of his father. Despite the walls he's erected to shield himself from the outside world, Roxanne is determined to be more than a sidekick in his life. So when the comic book aficionado discovers her friend has gifts beyond the average lanky-teenage boy, she is determined to teach him what it means to be a hero.

In this interview, Remy and Amanda talk about how they came to work together on this project. Amanda dives into the process of creating the visuals while Remy shares the challenges of being a novelist and writing something where brevity is they key. We talk about the different messages behind the series and the response they've gotten from readers. The series is currently in issue 2, with the third to be released later this summer.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Dan Franklin takes us through the terrifying world of “The Eater of Gods”

BONUS TRACK: Nice Vice and I talk 90s music and his arrival as an artist

It's a blend of rock music and horror stories in this episode. Up first, author Dan Franklin and I do a deep dive into his debut book, “The Eater of Gods.” Here's a quick synopsis for those curious:

Nothing really dies if it’s remembered, his wife had told him.

In the dying village of Al Tarfuk, lost among the war-stained dunes of eastern Libya, professor Norman Haas learns the location of the tomb that had been his wife’s pursuit. The final resting place of Kiya, the lost queen of Akhenaten, whose history had been etched from the stone analogues of history for her heresies against the long absent pantheon of Egyptian gods.

He never expected to discover that the tomb was the final resting place for more than the dead. And as his team of researchers find themselves trapped inside the ancient tomb, Norman realizes all too soon that his wife was right—

Nothing really dies if it’s remembered…But some things are best forgotten.

Dan talks all about the real-life story behind this book, and how the editing process helped him as a writer. We swap tales about meeting legends in the writing world and ways to boost your skills in both telling tales and spreading the word. Dan takes us through the worldbuilding he did, the endless research, and how he made the characters who they are.

After that, Nice Vice and I talk about his new single “No Ends,” which looks at being in your 20s and the personal strife of having to figure that out. We talk about the bands of the 90s that helped shape his sound, and where he's going with his debut EP, “First Dose.” At the end of the show, be sure to give the new single a listen, I can promise you won't regret it.