Alligator Preserves Episode 48: “Last Gasp” with Author Howard Levine

Last Gasp, by author Howard Levine. A page-turning thriller!

Author Howard Levine talks with Laurel about “Last Gasp,” his new political thriller, and about his writing process and where he finds inspiration.

Laurel still can’t believe Howard hasn’t read Dan Brown . . . !

 

 

Watch the interview here:

Listen to “audio only” here:
(available soon)

Show Notes with Links:

  • Author Howard Levine

    Howard Levine introduces himself and his work.

  • Laurel is reminded of Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code.
  • Link to Howard’s interview in The Big Thrill (Oct ’18).
  • How Howard was able to make readers feel some compassion for his villain.
  • Religious zealotry and its manifestation in our world.
  • Laurel discusses Howard’s stunning sentences and sense of place, and asks about when he knew he could write well. (Shout-out to Short Story class teacher Joseph Heller)
  • Howard and Marian Levine in Quebec City, Quebec

    Who inspired him to write “Last Gasp”?

  • Howard discusses his characters and how he comes up with names.
  • Blues singer Susan Tedeschi.
  • Developing the brother relationship.
  • Vietnam Vets Against the War (VVAW)
  • Howard talks about his writing routine and offers advice to writers and authors.
  • Transcendental Meditation in his daily routine.
  • Howard at a reading at Bowie Public Library, Bowie, MD

    Shout-outs!
    Black Opal Books
    Literary Agent Donna Eastman
    Authors Carol Bellhouse and Stephanie Spong (Laurel’s editors!)

If you enjoy my podcasts, you might enjoy my books!

Please help keep me, Laurel McHargue, host of Alligator Preserves, on the road! Would you treat me to a monthly cuppa tea? And by that, I mean please become a patron! “Please and thank you”~Ron Swanson

If you enjoyed this episode and others, please subscribe to Alligator Preserves on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts, and tell your friends about it! I’d love it if you “liked” the episodes you listen to, and I’d love it even more if you’d post a quick comment!

Please support Alligator Preserves on Patreon.  You will be rewarded!

Alligator Preserves Episode 47: Kathleen Kaska Talks Murder Mystery!

Award-winning author Kathleen Kaska visits with Laurel and discusses “A Two Horse Town,” the second book in her Kate Caraway murder mystery series.

An animal rights activist herself, Kathleen focuses on those she relates to best: the underdogs.

She writes in multiple genres, including historical fiction, and also talks about her Sydney Lockhart mystery series and mystery writer “triviography”!

Watch the interview here:

 Listen to “audio only” Here:

Show Notes with Links:

Kathleen introduces herself and talks about her involvement in publishing world, and then answers the following questions:
• Why an Animal Rights mystery series? What in your background set you up to be an animal rights activist?
• What did you do as a child for fun?
• Who inspired you to write?
• Would you read a passage from A Two Horse Town, your  most recent novel?
• What is your writing routine?

    Many other books by Kathleen Kaska• You’re  a PANTSER. So many characters! How did you keep track, and were there any surprise characters that popped up as you wrote?

• Please discuss your character’s greatest fear (in “Run Dog Run” Kate’s is failure). What’s her fear in A Two Horse Town?
• What’s YOUR greatest fear?
• IDA! Counterweight to her twin sister Veda. Real people?
• Another scene to read?
• Any personal experience with Native American tribes?
• What’s next for Kate Caraway…how many?
• Sydney Lockhart historical fiction series–Might you come to the Delaware Hotel in Leadville?

• How many more books are waiting for you to write them?
• Do you have a favorite book of yours?
• Shout-out to Black Opal Books
• Preserves?

Kathleen speaks to an audience of fans at Watermark Book Company in Anacortes, Washington!

 

 

If you enjoy my podcasts, you might enjoy my books!

Please help keep me, Laurel McHargue, host of Alligator Preserves, on the road! Would you treat me to a monthly cuppa tea? And by that, I mean please become a patron! “Please and thank you”~Ron Swanson

If you enjoyed this episode and others, please subscribe to Alligator Preserves on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts, and tell your friends about it! I’d love it if you “liked” the episodes you listen to, and I’d love it even more if you’d post a quick comment!

Please support Alligator Preserves on Patreon.  You will be rewarded!

60 is NOT the New 40! Alligator Preserves Episode 46

Visit with me as I share a humorous essay about my experiences with medically induced menopause and discuss the (oftentimes ridiculous) realities of aging!

Listen Here:

Watch this episode on YouTube Here:

Show Notes with Links:

(coming soon!)

More Links:

Please help keep me, Laurel McHargue, host of Alligator Preserves, on the road! Would you treat me to a monthly cuppa tea? And by that, I mean please become a patron! “Please and thank you”~Ron Swanson

If you enjoy my podcasts, you might enjoy my books!

If you enjoyed this episode and others, please subscribe to Alligator Preserves on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts, and tell your friends about it! I’d love it if you “liked” the episodes you listen to, and I’d love it even more if you’d post a quick comment!

Please support Alligator Preserves on Patreon.  You will be rewarded!

Alligator Preserves Episode 45: Decade Six!

I believe we do birthdays wrong! To celebrate the start of my 6th decade, I honor those who raised and tolerated me, and those who’ve helped to make me the person I am now.

Thank you, Marilyn Hintsa, for my awesome birthday crown!
I’ve been a lucky girl.

In addition to pieces I wrote about my Mum and Dad, there’s also a poem I wrote for them while they were still alive called “Don’t Leave Me.

Listen Here:

Show Notes with Links:

More Links:

Please help keep me, Laurel McHargue, host of Alligator Preserves, on the road! Would you treat me to a monthly cuppa tea? And by that, I mean please become a patron! “Please and thank you”~Ron Swanson

If you enjoy my podcasts, you might enjoy my books!

If you enjoyed this episode and others, please subscribe to Alligator Preserves on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts, and tell your friends about it! I’d love it if you “liked” the episodes you listen to, and I’d love it even more if you’d post a quick comment!

Please support Alligator Preserves on Patreon.  You will be rewarded!

Alligator Preserves Episode 44: Thank You, 2018!

From my family to yours, Happy New Year! Goodbye, 2018!

In this last episode of 2018, I do what everyone says we should do every day: I consider the things I’m grateful for.

Okay, fine, I consider the things for which I am grateful! Like prepositions . . .

Listen Here:

Show Notes with Links:

  • Christmas of ’63 with my sisters (that’s me on the far right)!

    I thank some of the people who have been influential in my life (the podcast would be hours long if I mentioned everyone)

  • I share the essay I wrote for the Redbook‘s America’s Hottest Husband contest (read it in the introduction of my book Hunt for Red Meat (love stories)
  • The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle
  • Watch for Waterwight Breathe: Book III of the Waterwight Series in 2019!

More Links:

Please help keep me, Laurel McHargue, host of Alligator Preserves, on the road! Would you treat me to a monthly cuppa tea? And by that, I mean please become a patron! “Please and thank you”~Ron Swanson

If you enjoy my podcasts, you might enjoy my books!

If you enjoyed this episode and others, please subscribe to Alligator Preserves on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts, and tell your friends about it! I’d love it if you “liked” the episodes you listen to, and I’d love it even more if you’d post a quick comment!

Please support Alligator Preserves on Patreon.  You will be rewarded!

Alligator Preserves Episode 43: Fruitcake!

Collin Street Bakery Deluxe Fruitcake! Photo from their website. They’re still in business, and my birthday’s just around the corner (hint hint!)

 

In this episode, I describe my unusual experience with fruitcake over the years and I make many excuses for  why this month’s newsletter is late!

(“NOT” on that last part!)

 

Listen Here:

Show Notes with Links:

  • C-ration fruitcake. Photo stolen from Chip’s Facebook page.

    My inspiration: Thank you, Chip Armstrong!

  • Bighorn Book Club
  • Collin Street Bakery
  • Episode 42: The Blessed Biscuit short story link
  • Sign up for my newsletters (or read them from the Newsletters tab in my menu bar!) and email me at laurel@strackpress.com with your fruitcake story!

More Links:

Please help keep me, Laurel McHargue, host of Alligator Preserves, on the road! Would you treat me to a monthly cuppa tea? And by that, I mean please become a patron! “Please and thank you”~Ron Swanson

If you enjoy my podcasts, you might enjoy my books!

If you enjoyed this episode and others, please subscribe to Alligator Preserves on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts, and tell your friends about it! I’d love it if you “liked” the episodes you listen to, and I’d love it even more if you’d post a quick comment!

Please support Alligator Preserves on Patreon.  You will be rewarded!

 

Alligator Preserves Episode 42: The Blessed Biscuit

Me and my men at the Lead Ass Inn!

I’m sharing my 9th short story with everyone–a Christmas story about work/life decisions and a man presented with a dilemma.

As a bonus, I read my personalized version of the beloved poem “The Night Before Christmas.

Listen Here:

Show Notes with Links:

  • Short Story #9: “The Blessed Biscuit” narrated
  • Epiphany
  • The idea of having enough
  • I read my version of “The Night Before Christmas” (The Lead Ass Inn is the name of our home, Klaus is our life-size nutcracker, Charlie is our guest cat, Melanzana is a Leadville shop which makes hoodies and all kinds of good wear-gear right in shop)
  • Link to my version of the Christmas poem

More Links:

If you enjoy my podcasts, you might enjoy my books!

If you enjoyed this episode and others, please subscribe to Alligator Preserves on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts, and tell your friends about it! I’d love it if you “liked” the episodes you listen to, and I’d love it even more if you’d post a quick comment!

Please support Alligator Preserves on Patreon.  You will be rewarded!

 

Alligator Preserves Episode 41: “Sisyphus Wins” with Author Jerry Fabyanic

Jerry interviewed me at his radio studio last August! He is a wonderful supporter of local authors.

Jerry Fabyanic–author, columnist, radio show host, and denizen of Mother Earth–talks with Laurel McHargue about his novel Sisyphus Wins and about growing up as a gay man in a time when coming out was not acceptable.

He discusses his philosophy of life, strides in the LGBTQ community, and the Georgetown Christmas Fair where he and dozens of other authors will have their works available (December 1-2 and 8-9, 2018).

Listen Here:

Watch the YouTube Interview Here:

Show Notes with Links:

  • Jerry talks about his relationship with Mother Earth
  • and about “bagging 14ers”
  • He discusses how his novel Sisyphus Wins–“a novel about self-acceptance, forgiveness, and triumph”–reflects his love of nature
  • Discussion of Mount of the Holy Cross and Jerry’s actual fall
  • How much of the main character, Jonathan Slovanco, is autobiographical?
  • We discuss our Catholic mothers
  • “Voice” in his work and how it might influence readers
  • Discussion of Moby Dick and Ahab’s struggle with the universe
  • The idea of revenge in Moby Dick
  • Growing up poor and why he moved to Colorado
  • Why Sisyphus Wins is for readers looking for literature that is more provocative
  • Jerry Fabyanic

    We joke about why Jerry chose to live such a “mundane” life…NOT!

  • Jerry discusses growing up as a gay man in the ’60s, his coming out experience with friends and family, and his fears for the LGBTQ community today
  • The book Boy Erased by Garrard Conley and the film based on the book. Link to film Trailer
  • Psychological traumas we carry from our childhood
  • His teaching years
  • Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA)
  • Georgetown Christmas Market
  • KYGT Radio
  • JerryFabyanic.com with Higher Living Reflections blog
  • BighornBookClub.com
  • email: Jerry@jerryfabyanic.com

More Links:

If you enjoy my podcasts, you might enjoy my books!

If you enjoyed this episode and others, please subscribe to Alligator Preserves on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts, and tell your friends about it! I’d love it if you “liked” the episodes you listen to, and I’d love it even more if you’d post a quick comment!

Please support Alligator Preserves on Patreon.  You will be rewarded!

 

 

Alligator Preserves Episode 40: “Bronxland” with Paul Thaler

Author Paul Thaler

Paul Thaler, author of “Bronxland,” discusses his new coming of age story and the tumultuous decade of the ’60s in America. His story will bring you back to your middle school years, regardless of where you grew up.

Listen here:

Watch our visit on YouTube:

Part 1    and    Part 2

Bronxland

Show Notes with Links: 

  • Who is Paul Thaler and how did the idea of Bronxland emerge?
  • Paul, author of Bronxland and other books, shares classroom stories with Laurel, author of “Miss?” and other books.
  • Discussion about the environment in schools in the ’60s and relationships…in the courtyard, with classmates, with teachers
  • School orchestra award medal story and lessons learned
  • The true “crush” Paul had on his math teacher and the art project no one will ever forget
  • Sex in the laundry room and the creepy guy in the theater
  • The big fight and the idea of respect
  • A time of innocence and heartbreak
  • Coming of age story, discovering one’s place in this world
  • JFK was a Bronx boy and greatly influenced PaulPaul Thaler sent me this JFK Bronx school photo (Riverdale Country Day School). Can you guess which one he is? Hint: he’s the one who already looks presidential!

  • Lots of history in the novel…a special place in time…the tragic decade of the ’60s
  • Where did Paul learn compassion?
  • Story of the missing boy (Etan Patz) and how it’s handled in Bronxland
  • Writing a novel and the “avalanche of memories” that come into play
  • Black Opal Books and how publishing is sometimes more difficult than writing (because of the letting go)
  • Our mutual friend June Trop and her work
  • Aunt Selma and the comic book debacle
  • Wonderful, horrible characters and the stolen clarinet
  • What Paul does for fun, why he writes, and will there be a sequel to Bronxland?
  • Find Paul on Amazon, Black Opal Books, and Facebook (there’s a JHS82 page)

More Links:

If you enjoy my podcasts, you might enjoy my books!

If you enjoyed this episode and others, please subscribe to Alligator Preserves on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts, and tell your friends about it! I’d love it if you “liked” the episodes you listen to, and I’d love it even more if you’d post a quick comment!

Please support Alligator Preserves on Patreon.  You will be rewarded!

Alligator Preserves Episode 39: About That Body

In this episode, I share some writings in poetry and prose on the topic “The Body” for a special project and discover something about reading instructions!

Listen Here:

Mum and me and our saggy cheeks, April 2017

Show Notes with Links:

Body Batik

A body batik, the most stunning creation on earth
Wrung from a lifetime—begun with a thought and a prayer
Lined by a hand unseen, wax designs sketched before birth
Patterns present themselves often before we’re aware

Skin of an infant, luminous, fragrant and pure
Hiding within it adventure and challenge and grief
Never foreseeing the hardships we all must endure
Born to exposure—a lifetime, though surely too brief

Teenage perfection with makeup and primping routine
Taking for granted the glowing of health and fresh youth
Carefree and negligent, no need to mind the machine
We were invincible, now we can laugh at the truth

Growing maturity, comfort and pride in our skin
“What are your secrets?” they’ll ask, as we gracefully age
“Having accomplishments, balancing yang with our yin,
We’re the creators of joy in our lives at each stage!”

Old age surprises us, creases appear to unfold
Splotches and patches of skin we expect to stay smooth
Thinning, translucent and bumpy, a sight to behold
Pricey medicinals, daily required to soothe

A body batik, the most challenging canvas from birth
Etched with experience, pleasure and pain and repair
Creases and wrinkles embellish us, value their worth
Live in them lovingly, cherish your internal flair

Crafted with purpose and care is our body batik
Each one unveiled as a masterpiece, each one unique

Enigmachine (a 200-word challenge about “The Body”)

This faulty machine I inhabit remains an enigma. “We can send a man to the moon,” but this arthritic bump on my finger and, and, and. The ands are too trite to discuss. I wrote a piece about menopause in which I addressed my Mum’s droopy cheeks, among other sagging things, when I became keenly aware of my own floppy parts. Her sister took umbrage. How could I be so disrespectful to my aging mother?

Mum laughed.

I watched as she disappeared, her hair and skin thinning, until finally she was gone. A breeze might have carried her away. I held her hand, a near duplicate of my own, and as her engine fluttered to failure, I marveled at the framework that had carried her through 89 years.

Will my framework carry me as long? Will my frequently fluttering heart match the mileage hers endured? Will I be as prepared as she was to leave the burden of a broken machine behind when new parts are no longer in stock?

Perhaps. Until then, I’ll (try to) control my displeasure as each new “and . . .” hijacks my machine. Until then, I’ll service and lube as necessary.

And I’ll smile.

Me and Mum. We’d laugh about being twins separated by 30 years!

More Links:

If you enjoy my podcasts, you might enjoy my books!

If you enjoyed this episode and others, please subscribe to Alligator Preserves on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts, and tell your friends about it! I’d love it if you “liked” the episodes you listen to, and I’d love it even more if you’d post a quick comment!

Please support Alligator Preserves on Patreon.  You will be rewarded!