Joy Harjo: Poet Laureate of the United States
Mar 31, 2020 4712
In THE interview of my life so far, Joy Harjo, Poet Laureate of the United States (the nation’s “official” poet!) is here. She’s the first Native American to hold this position, and I’ve been a weepy mess since she agreed to chat with us. As someone who lived on raw land in Northern New Mexico and studied with Native Americans, I'm deeply moved by her talent and activism on behalf of tribal peoples and vulnerable female populations. For some reason, I had a strong intuitive sense that Joy would have a perspective on the global Corona pandemic currently sweeping the globe that would bring a higher vision and comfort—and boy, did she! Her thoughts on this topic surprised us both and remind me why I love talking with visionary creatives; you never know what magic awaits!
Joy is the author of nine books, including one of my favorite memoirs, Crazy Brave. Her many honors include the Ruth Lily Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the Poetry Foundation, a PEN USA Literary Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She's also an award-winning musician with five CDs of original music. Throughout this episode, you're going to hear snippets of her performance for the Library of Congress the night she began her formal duties as Poet Laureate. Her musical talent, paired with her spoken-word performance, is spellbinding. If you're not yet a fan of poetry, I'm telling you, that's about to change.
Joy does something else on this episode we've never done before—she reads a piece she's currently working on for her new memoir. And here's the thrilling part—you get to hear her EDITING it in real-time as she reads, crossing out words and replacing them with others. You might feel like you're watching Michelangelo paint, while at the same time, getting the gift of seeing that we're not so dissimilar in how we must labor to string beautiful words together.
Joy's mother was Cherokee. Her father Muscogee (Creek)—the 4th largest native population of more than 500 tribes in America. Although my experiences are with Cherokee, Suquamish, Navajo, and Tiwi peoples, Joy has my heart, as you'll see. This interview feels like the culmination of all I've ever wanted—to meld my tree-hugging environmental work and my writing with my affection for Native American culture. It's hard to put it into words, so I'm going to stop trying. Hopefully, this episode will speak for itself.
Except to say that reaching out to Joy, when I was terrified to do so, has taught me something valuable. It's made me realize that if we can't commit now—at least internally—to our deepest longings, when will we?
Stay safe wherever you are.
Terry McMillan & Laura Munson: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Novelists
Mar 1, 2020 3574
These New York Times bestselling authors on tour meet here for the first time. Laura Munson is promoting her first novel, Willa's Grove, while Terry McMillan is about to share with the world her tenth or eleventh novel, It's Not All Downhill from Here. (She prefers that you don’t expect her to keep count.) Both women have decades of butt-in-chair know-how with which to enlighten us and make us laugh.
When I say enlighten, boy, do I mean it. Does anyone else need to learn how to put healthy boundaries around their writing practice—like, for instance, to keep family and pets at a respectful distance during storyline crunch times? Terry doesn't mess around, which is probably why longterm publishing success seems to come so easily to her, both on the page and in the hit movie adaptions of her books. (#StellaGotHerGrooveBack #WaitingToExhale …) You might want to take notes. I did.
Terry and Laura also share other similarities. Both novels find their lead characters in a midlife shake-up. As they ask themselves the BIG questions, thankfully, their posse of wise (and wisecracking) girlfriends is ever-present.
Listen up for behind-the-scenes details on daily practices. Dealing with distractions (omg). Mental toughness. Commitment. And, writing retreats. (Yes, Laura hosts popular retreats in Montana, and Terry's been to mine in Carmel. We chat about the importance of getting away. But. I also share my best DIY tips for creating your own writing retreats for free—tried-and-true strategies for any writer, anywhere, that have helped a lot of people get 'er done.)
Get ready to fall in love with these two if you haven't already. And, if you've got kids nearby, please God, get out the ear muffs! Terry just might drop an F-bomb or two (and, who am I kidding--it's not like I can be trusted in that arena).
Whoops! Keepin' it fun, y'all. That's why I do this. 'Cause it's fun!
Write on. xo
Cheryl Strayed & Nia Vardalos: Answering the Biggest Questions that Stump Writers
Jan 31, 2020 3261
In this “What would they do?” episode, I ask Oscar-nominated screenwriter, actress, & bestselling author Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Instant Mom) and #1 NYT bestselling memoirist and Oprah book club pick Cheryl Strayed (Wild and Tiny Beautiful Things) writing & career questions that stump me (and maybe you, too!). Idols to the rescue! What a comfort to learn that they still struggle in many of the ways I do—and what a relief to hear their best workarounds.
I don’t have to tell you we’re living in crazy times. If you're reading this with one ear tuned to news of the dumpster fires in Washington, and/or other noisy alerts, alarms, and amusements, stay close.
I fell in love with Cheryl and Nia together after seeing the stage production of Tiny, Beautiful Things in Pasadena. Nia was playing the lead role of Sugar—Cheryl's advice columnist alter ego—and although Cheryl's book was one of my favorites, I was wholly unprepared for experiencing the material live. And, can you believe it—these ladies are just as wise, funny, and profoundly open-hearted as you’d imagine or hope for after experiencing their work.
All three of us, as you’ll hear, are currently in the thick of creative blocks. Doing our best to find our way. And yet, it feels like the writing gods were smiling on us as we hashed out our processes on air. (Well, the tech Gods were a little harder to appease. You'll notice a few scratchy cell-phone reception moments, but we do what we can, people, from our homes and in our pajamas.)
I feel like the luckiest person with a call-in conference line and a dream. And, triply so because I get to share these once-in-a-lifetime conversations with you.
Joel Stein: A Funnyman's Defense of Elitism
Dec 9, 2019 5033
Humor writer and journalist Joel Stein has kept me laughing for over twenty years with his brilliant columns in Time magazine, the LA Times, Entertainment Weekly, and more. With his hilarious and insightful new book, In Defense of Elitism: Why I'm Better Than You and You are Better Than Someone Who Didn't Buy This Book, he's got me nerd-crushing on his battle to wrestle back honor to the intellectual elites from the populists.
In it, Joel, a self-confessed elitist, travels to a conservative small town in Texas to find out what's going on in the minds and hearts of the county with the highest percentage of Trump voters to impart a little wisdom their populist way. Instead, he becomes a translator of sorts, for both sides. As Joel writes, "Populists believe our complex society is so secure that disaster is near impossible no matter who is in charge. Elites know it's not. Most of our [elitist] work is calculating risk and planning for contingencies. We invented reinsurance, and if you give us a few years, we'll come up with re-reinsurance."
Joel and I are liberals, in case that's not abundantly clear. But my Republican friends laughed as hard as I did while reading this book. (Yep, in a courageous, or incredibly stupid move, I force-read chapters to them, and as you'll hear, they still like me. In fact, I think they think I'm a little cooler now.) It's no secret there's a great divide happening in America, but not around my campfire. Joel's book is so smart and entertaining that I just had to bring him here on the show. You're welcome, humanity.
Find out why legends like Walter Isaacson, Jimmy Kimmel, and Dave Barry rave about this book—and also, what Joel thinks about getting your famous friends to rave about your book. (Omg. Did he really admit this about blurbs/testimonials on air? Publishers might die. #FakeBlurbs.)
Along with hashing out and then healing the political divide (phew! problems solved!), we dive deep into the mind of a funnyman writer and his best advice on morning vs. night writing (and why working at home is a "huge mistake," especially if you have a refrigerator). We cover getting paid to write, even when you have no idea what the hell you're doing. How the magazine and book industries are changing (and why spitballing for each other is a Godsend, even for an atheist). Why you MUST read your work out loud or risk kicking yourself later, and the art of pitching yourself relentlessly, even though it sucks. All while using the biggest words we know. Because nerds have the best words.
Welcome, Joel Stein. I'm so happy you're here.
Anita Moorjani & Kelly Noonan Gores: Miraculous Healing
Oct 30, 2019 4273
What's it take to make a story go viral? Global? To top the charts as word-of-mouth carries your tale far and wide—for days, months, or even years? There's no one formula. But certain things help stack the odds in your favor. Like novelty (a unique idea). Grabbiness (where your reader is instantly pulled in). Brevity (requiring no significant time commitment—at least not to get them hooked). Universality (people see themselves in your story). The urge to merge (large numbers want to share your work, and do!).
Chart-topping is something my guests for today's Beautiful Writers Podcast episode know well. Kelly Noonan Gores is the director, writer, and star of the global phenomenon, the HEAL documentary, now out in book form this month. She's joined by Anita Moorjani, who you may know of from her gob-smacking miraculous healing story. (Riddled with cancerous tumors, Anita walked out of the hospital cancer-free following a near-death-experience.) Her New York Times bestselling memoir, Dying To Be Me, inspired millions, including being the impetus for why Kelly finally made the film she'd been dreaming of for nearly a decade.
I LOVE this conversation—especially hearing about the magical way in which both women were “discovered” by publishers, just as they were finally feeling ready to be seen and heard in the world, after years of resistance. (Funny how the universe knows our innermost thoughts.)
As Kelly points out in HEAL, nearly half of Americans—more than 133 million of us—lives with a chronic disease. Close to 80 million of us have multiple conditions. If you're suffering or love someone who is, I believe these women will make you feel a renewed sense of hopefulness. Hope about the body’s innate ability to heal. Hope about how you were born to have a life you love. And hope about how to follow their lead to create a unique, grabby, universally beloved story of your own.
I'm so glad you're here!
For more information, go to beautiulwriterspodcast.com
Dani Shapiro & Gabby Bernstein: Divine Duo
Oct 1, 2019 3305
Bestselling besties, Dani Shapiro & Gabby Bernstein, are all over the media with their current bestsellers, Inheritance and Super Attractor. Perhaps you’ve heard them here, on past episodes for prior books. But what you’ve never before witnessed is the two of them TOGETHER. Despite their close friendship and longtime desire to share a mic or stage, this is a first. (Happy dance!) The part of me that lives for literary matchmaking is in full swoon right now.
That’s what these two New York Times bestselling authors (of 17+ combined books) do best—raise the bar on what’s possible. Each time I see them hit a new life or career goal, it’s not long before they seem to exceed it—permitting us to follow suit. That doesn’t mean life doesn’t have its hardship, but if you’re buoyed by grace, gratitude, and good cheer, they’re your people.
I trust this conversation will make you feel all kinds of hopeful as Dani and Gabby reveal real-world writing strategies with out-of-this-world processes. Feel reassured as they talk about how they tap into their book titles. Pace and format their books. Overcome resistance to create multiple streams of income. I believe you’ll become inspired as they explain how they work within time to EXPAND it (doing less to attract more). And delight in their devotional habits that access magic.
Coaxing angelic support might be mentioned, too (wink, wink), including a personal guardian angel story I relive that's REALLY out there. (Shocking, I know.) Gabby's on a first-name basis with the Archangel for Creativity and Communication, and invites you to be, too! All helpful, because as Dani says, "You have to believe you're a writer before the world concurs.”
I mean, do you have a better strategy than reaching for the divine? I didn’t think so.
Welcome to woo. We're so happy you're here! xo
Deepak Chopra: Metahuman & Infinite Creativity
Aug 30, 2019 4064
He’s authored 90 books. A Fellow of the American College of Physicians. Teaches meditation (with Oprah!). Been a husband for 49 years. A devoted father and grandfather. And he's beloved by Lady Gaga. So, other than his daily coffee, yoga, and more cushion time (“Om”) than a geriatric dog, what more could a guy want? Plenty, it turns out. Nothing short of enlightenment. And not just for himself, if humanity’s going to make it. Good thing he’s written the book on that.
I feel ridiculously blessed to welcome Dr. Deepak Chopra on the Beautiful Writers Podcast today. It’s his FIRST tour stop for MetaHuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential, which pubs next month via Harmony Books. Our mutual friend, Arielle Ford, is our special-sauce guest co-host. She’s widely credited with making Deepak a household name back in the day as his longtime book publicist. (Arielle helped facilitate the rapid growth of self-help, launching clients like Marianne Williamson, Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer, Neale Donald Walsh, and her sister, Debbie Ford, before authoring eleven books herself.) Deepak and Arielle are like family, the kind forged over lifetimes, she says. Doesn’t sound too farfetched after hanging out with them.
No stuffed shirts here! As Arielle promised, Deepak is delightfully FUN. Sure, I couldn’t get him to complain or gossip—not even about politics (well, he did mention some “thugs"). But girlfriends had to break it down, and Arielle and I got our fix at the end once he hung up. Here’s to hoping the big D is too busy contemplating the universe (or lack of one—just wait) to care that we closed the show talking about him behind his back. Just balancing the scales, Deepak. You drew first blood with those names you called my girl at the top of our show. (Smiley.)
We’ve got a lot to cover, including how haters caused Deepak to take the MD off his books for a time (say what?!); ways in which meditation increases our creative genius, and his especially enlightening answers to our rapid-fire Q's. If you’ve ever hoped to get off the rat wheel (BEYOND the wheel), you’re going to love this new book, as well as his advice for accessing "the window of infinite creativity.” We talk silencing the inner bullies in our heads, and his favorite author & book, which I ordered immediately.
Of course, he’s got a meditation schedule you’ll never in a million years be able to replicate, but may find wildly entertaining. Pretty much the same thing for his nighttime sleep rituals—how can anyone remember all this stuff, much less implement them? Ahh. A girl can dream. Or, go beyond the dream. Isn’t that the point? I mean, it’s all an illusion, right?
All I know is the guy’s voice makes me happy. “Like champagne bubbles in my head,” Arielle says. Here, here. Drink up.
“Best-Of" Part 3 Episode
Aug 2, 2019 5094
Hello, beautiful writer! This is my favorite time of year—when I get to dive back into past episodes of the #BeautifulWritersPodcast and release our annual “Best-Of” show. (We’re on #3, in case you’ve been keeping track.) I’ve had a blast curating a wide variety of my favorite clips from summer 2018-19, and hope you enjoy revisiting excerpts you’ve already heard but may have forgotten, or meeting some of these bestsellers for the first time. (I’ve also pulled snippets from Marianne Williamson’s episode from our archives—since her presidential debate performances have her front-and-center in the news right now and likewise on my mind. God, she’s prolific—and generous with her writing wisdom.)
Our line-up for today’s episode is, once again, jaw-dropping. I feel like the luckiest girl at the party. Curious to learn what motivates Lee Child to continue racing to finish the next installment of his billion-dollar Jack Reacher series year after year? Great. He’s about to get vulnerable. Or, details of how Catherine Oxenberg used the power of her pen to write in real-time to save her daughter and take down a terrifying cult? Yep. She’s here too. As is Abby Wambach, Seth Godin, Ann Patchett, Meg Wolitzer, Austin Channing Brown, and Steven Pressfield (again, yay!). Plus so many others.
Thank you for being here! And for sharing your enthusiasm for this show. I love hearing about how you binge listen, take pages and pages of notes, and look forward to the book (I’m working as fast as I can—promise:)). You and your writing needs are on my mind and in my heart as I strive, always, to keep bringing you the best of the very best.
May your writing journey be as light and easy as a summer breeze.
PS. Subscribe here and be the first to know when a new episode airs. Of course, you can find all our interviews below and over at www.beautifulwriterspodcast.com.
Catherine Oxenberg: Rambo Princess Diaries
Jun 30, 2019 3397
Guilty on all counts! For a mom fighting to take down a terrifying cult and free her daughter, India, there are no sweeter words. Just last week, mother, actress, royal, and first-time author Catherine Oxenberg saw the fulfillment of her years-long campaign to stop Keith Raniere and his organization, NXIVM (pronounced nexium). A New York jury took less than five hours to render Keith guilty of charges that include sex trafficking, conspiracy, racketeering, and possession of child pornography.
This is not the norm, by the way—to bring down a cult leader, much less his entire world, before a mass type of Jim Jones tragedy unfolds. And it’s not the norm to pen a book in real time as it’s all happening. But what’s a mother to do when she's convinced her daughter is a victim of sex slavery and could be murdered or influenced to commit an “honor suicide” any day as the group's leader becomes increasingly erratic? Is she supposed to stand by idly as law enforcement fails to take her fears or evidence seriously? Not if you’re blessed with a platform, as Catherine has been since her 80s Dynasty fame. Not when you have a particular skill for gathering evidence, rallying the media, and writing a detailed, riveting account of the play by plays.
The book, Captive: A Mother's Crusade to Save Her Daughter from a Terrifying Cult, is truly CAPTIVATING. And, in a move her publisher (Simon & Schuster) couldn’t have predicted when they banked on this new author and purchased the proposal for this story without an ending, the guilty verdict would come out a week before the release of the paperback.
I always told her she was magic. I always told her she was otherworldly. I always told her she was powerful and courageous. I even wrote those words to describe Catherine Oxenberg over twenty years ago in my first book, where she shared the story of her own abuse. But I never could have foreseen how my friend would have to depend on those traits to save India's life—and the lives of countless women by leading the charge to bring their perpetrator to justice. It’s the bond Cath and I have from raising Indie and Tosh together that brings a depth and humor to this conversation that I cherish. I think you’ll find it surprisingly fun—and insightful about the writing process, too, especially if you're interested in working with a co-author.
But most certainly if you’ve got a burning desire to share your story and have an impact. Captive is a living embodiment of the term "power of the pen." And isn’t that why we write—so that our stories change the world?
Throughout this fight, people called Catherine crazy. They called her paranoid. They called her desperate. I call her the Erin Brockovich of sex trafficking and cult-busting. I couldn’t be prouder of this real-life princess warrior, and can’t wait to share today's conversation with you, including a super sweet message from India at the end of the episode.
Meg Wolitzer: Blockbuster Novelist
May 31, 2019 3025
Acclaimed bestseller Meg Wolitzer joins me today on the Beautiful Writers Podcast! Her TWELFTH novel, The Female Persuasion, is now out in paperback—a story perhaps even more relevant today than when it was released in hardback. When Meg started writing the manuscript, she, like many of us, believed we were about to swear in our first female president. We all know how that turned out. But did you ever stop to think about how authors scripting characters in books at that time had to revisit their storylines following our election's unexpected outcome? Hmmm.
Meg’s work is especially hot right now for several reasons. First, a book she wrote fifteen years ago, The Wife, garnered an Oscar nod and a 2019 Golden Globe win for Glenn Close (for Best Actress in a Drama). Glenn’s not-a-dry-eye-in-the-house, standing-ovation acceptance speech was a rallying cry to women everywhere to own their power and FOLLOW THEIR DREAMS. Something Meg saw her mother—also a critically acclaimed, bestselling novelist—model powerfully at home and in the publishing industry. Second, with various projects in different stages of development in Hollywood (including The Female Persuasion being co-produced by Nicole Kidman for Amazon Studios), my guess is that Meg is far from done suiting up for the red carpet.
I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed having this conversation and how excited I am to share it with you. I know you’re going to get valuable tips from Meg’s vast experience, especially if you’re struggling with procrastination or need inspiration to Marie-Kondo your files or writing space. I believe you'll love what she has to say about the highs and lows of doing this work—and how she gives us a little window into her celebration rituals upon finishing yet another book.
Ahhhh… finishing! Now, there’s an especially hot idea.
Butt in chair, my friends. These chats always remind me to sit down and get back to the page. Butt in chair, fingers on keyboard.
PS. Subscribe at BeautifulWritersPodcast.com to be the first to hear our episodes when they drop:).
Abby Wambach: Wisdom from the Wolfpack
Apr 30, 2019 4945
You know Abby Wambach as a soccer legend—a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist. But do you know how she makes all those countless travel hours on the road and in the air, less grueling and more grounded? You know Abby as a two-time New York Times bestseller. But do you know how she and her wife, bestselling author Glennon Doyle, hit the pause button and re-energize and reconnect after especially busy months giving us so much of themselves? Martha Beck (my guest co-host today) is unscripted here as well. This Harvard Ph.D. and former professor may surprise you with what she really thinks of the “need” to get your college degree. (Hint: cover your ears if you’re sensitive to swear words.)
Welcome to a super fun, intimate conversation between friends, including key advice Martha gave to Abby and Glennon when they first started dating, and how this podcast was part of their love story! (Whaaaat? I know. I couldn’t have dreamed up that storyline.) Even though Abby’s new book, Wolfpack, is a New York Times bestseller and she’s currently white hot on the media circuit, you’re about to hear additional things you haven't heard Abby share before. But be forewarned. You might feel a sudden urge to ditch your cell phone for prolonged periods (detox anyone?) while more fully merging with your pack. Here’s hoping your pets won’t mind when you break into spontaneous howls.
Because, people. It's time to change the game. Put me in, Coach Abby! My inner wolf and I are suited up, ready to play.
For more information, go to beautifulwriterspodcast.com
Candice Bergen: Memoirs & Collaboration
Mar 31, 2019 3672
Oscar-nominated and 5-time Emmy-winning star of Murphy Brown turned New York Times bestselling memoirist (twice!), Candice Bergen is in the house! And she is every bit as irreverent and funny and whip-smart as you’d hope. Joining us in today's guest co-host chair is someone we both adore, the legendary book editor Betsy Rapoport, who edited Candy’s second memoir, A Fine Romance, and who I’ve been lucky enough to call my mentor for the past eighteen years.
Despite being the highest paid actor on television for a long time, Candice is exceptionally humble. But Betsy and I manage to get her to share gold about her creative process. From her erratic work ethic; what it was like being the first female to wear the 5-timer jacket hosting for Saturday Night Live; and how she’s embraced Instagram, nearly “breaking the Internet” posing for an eclipse photo with her Book Club cast-mates Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, and Mary Steenburgen. Unlike many of our guests who became household names before the advent of social media, Candice relishes posting pics and scripting funny captions for her feed.
I don’t know if it’s easier or harder not to take yourself so seriously when you were born into Hollywood royalty. Some speculate that Candice’s humility is a byproduct of being the daughter of Edgar Bergen, a famous Vaudeville ventriloquist whose dummy, Charlie McCarthy, was beloved by millions and had a bigger room than Candice did in their home. Her first memoir, Knock Wood, is a candid portrayal of a little girl trying to earn a father’s love.
Candice has always been a writer—starting with magazine work for Esquire following her first movie at nineteen. We cover so much in this chat, including what makes a good book title (poetic, evocative, counter-intuitive), and why sometimes the publisher decides to forgo all that to bank on clarity. We talk about how bloody hard it can be making the audio version of your book—but how it’s a good excuse to order comfort food. Candice shares the anxiety she feels when writing memoir, and the role of an editor (in this case, Betsy) to help her go deeper. Although Candy’s latest book is a love letter to her daughter, Chloe Malle (a writer for Vogue), her first husband—the late director, Louis Malle, and her current husband, Marshall, I hope you’ll find this conversation a bit of a love letter to the collaborative process. That and showfolk, dogs in costume, and smoking sage bowls.
Tosca Lee: Writing the Perfect Thriller
Feb 28, 2019 3906
Bestselling thriller author of ten novels, including The Progeny, Firstborn, The Legend of Sheba, Iscariot, and the Books of Mortals trilogy (with New York Times bestseller Ted Dekker), Tosca Lee is in the house! She’s representing this genre proud with The Line Between, a dystopian page-turner already optioned for television by Edward Burns and his Marlboro Road Gang Productions, in partnership with Radar Pictures (#cantwait). As you’ll hear, the female protagonist could be the little sister of one of my favorite Dean Koontz characters (Dean’s a former guest of this show)—bad-guy killing heroine, Jane Hawk.
I’ve put the notorious night-owl Tosca together with my guest co-host today, Hayli Baez, because I adore them both. And, for the unique things they have in common—namely a past with pageantry, as in beauty, which has helped both of their current careers; an obsession with world-travel, fed in part by those pageants; and get this—late-night video-game playing! (Admission, I’ve never played a video game in my life, so I’m dying to know the allure of shooting fake people.) You might be wondering how a busy author like Tosca has time for such an indulgence but says it helps her come up with some of her best characters and storylines. And, I’m guessing her three boys think she’s the coolest.
Speaking of cool, Hayli has THE dream job according to my son (and probably yours, too). She actually gets PAID to livestream herself playing video games on Twitch. Yes, that’s really a thing. She also happens to have written excellent fan fiction as a teen and still gives me the best book recommendations of anyone. And, she’s family. I can’t take any credit for her beauty or brains, as she’s my fiancé’s daughter, thus not blood-related. But, as soon as I learned she’d read the entire Harry Potter series more than anyone I’d ever met (or heard of!), I was deeply proud. Lol.
I’m excited to share this chat, with its many pearls, including how Tosca plots her suspense and thinks about each character’s arc within the three-act structure (and her two invaluable book recommendations on the subject). There’s her refreshing take on the thriller genre and how she recruits top experts for her research to make her work bulletproof (and how you can too!).
I am also fascinated by her thoughts on how travel helps the writing mind play and wander; her description of dealing with the twin demons of fear and procrastination, and why letting someone see your writing before it’s ready is like allowing them to see your cellulite! We talk balancing writing time with platform building (social media); how her hot farmer husband handles her 20-hour writing days (and bakes cookies); what to do when an author friend writes a book you just don’t like; and how when her friends are mad at their mates, they'll ask her help in devising the perfect murder plot.
If you love action, conspiracy, romance, and questions of whom—and what—to believe, you’re going to adore this high-octane story of survival and love in a world on the brink of madness (and its sequel, out in September). And, you’ll be taken with the sanity and sweetness of this killer author and her deep gratitude for her craft and her readers. I left this conversation more in love with books and writing them and know it will likewise inspire your reading and writing life.
Taylor Dayne: Tellin' It From Her Heart
Feb 1, 2019 3824
75 million albums sold. 18 top ten hits recorded. Named in 2018 by Billboard as one of the top 60 female artists of all time (#35)! I’m guessing you are or have been, a Taylor Dayne fan (soundtrack of your life stuff, right here). I feel blessed to call Taylor a dear friend and can attest that she’s everything you’d hope a superstar to be—which you’ll soon experience as she opens up her heart and memories about the coolest details. Like what it was really like to open for Michael Jackson in a stadium of 60,000 people for his RAD tour. Or, what happened when Prince brought her on stage early in her career in a scene that will have you thinking, “Wait! Didn’t I just see Bradley Cooper do that with Lady Gaga in A Star is Born?!”
Taylor’s memoir, Tell It To My Heart (named after one of her most popular ballads) pubs on Valentine’s Day and goes deep and vulnerable about topics you’d never guess by watching her career, starting with her tragic childhood in which her voice gave her the fire and inspiration to stay alive.
Popular podcaster/TED producer/ media communications coach, Bronwyn Saglimbeni, is today’s guest co-host. I love this woman! She, like Taylor, is also a busy mom and business owner who happens to have a rockin’ rock band side hustle. Can you stand it? I’m such a singing wanna-be!
Thank you for joining me for this magical conversation, punctuated by snippets of several of Taylor’s biggest hits. We’re going to talk about so much, not the least of which includes healing, the music industry, what it’s like to write brutal truths about family members who are still standing, why standing on that TED or TEDWomen stage is as scary (or scarier!) than singing in a stadium, and learning to trust yourself—a challenge for us all. There’s no holding back here, and a whole heap of heart.
We're so glad you’re here.
Lee Child: Writing & Righting Wrongs
Dec 21, 2018 3037
Jack Reacher’s back at #1! But that’s no surprise to the millions of “Reacher’s Creatures” who anxiously await each installment of this thriller series—23 at present count. With PAST TENSE (Delacorte Press), author Lee Child once again puts us on the edge of our seats and leaves us there, ensuring that our journey with this ex-military policeman turned drifter continues to live up to the Forbes magazine label as the "strongest brand in publishing.”
It’s not every day I get to talk shop with a writer who’s sold over 100 million books. But what makes today’s interview especially THRILLING for me was getting to share the mic with my guest co-host, Tom Bergeron. Lucky for me, Tom’s day job with Dancing with the Stars just wrapped for the year and he had time. Time to brainstorm his dream literary guest with me and then make the intro. #BestJobEver. The result is one of my favorite conversations to date, and I hope yours too!
Lee and Tom have cult followings the world over, but for very different personas. Lee and Jack Reacher (don’t even think of making me separate the two here) are formidable—towering, intimidating figures. Tom, on the other hand, is adored for his light, comedic personality and jokes that at least he’s taller than Tom Cruise (the star of several Reacher films). Of course, as you’ll see, Child is a blast to interview and Bergeron has a dark side (as is revealed via his recent turn to dramatic acting).
But what most interested me here was talking with two icons at the top of their game. Few authors have the kind of rock-star financial or creative freedom Lee has created for himself. And, having formerly hosted both America’s Funniest Home Videos and Hollywood Squares (for which he won an Emmy), Tom has been part of three of the most popular TV shows of all time. For a girl who’s lived many years of her life within eyeshot of the Hollywood sign, that holds all kinds of gifts for me.
Speaking of gifts! HAPPIEST and MERRIEST of holidays to you and yours, you guys. I can’t believe another year has flown by. I couldn’t imagine a better way to spend my time than here, with you, on this show. Thank you for listening. I feel so blessed.
Until the New Year … Write On!
Seth Godin: This Is Marketing!
Nov 30, 2018 3237
After 18 international bestsellers, Seth Godin has released perhaps his most important book. His new title: This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn To See (Portfolio) just hit #1 on The Wall Street Journal list and was an immediate New York Times bestseller. But Seth could care less. What this master teacher knows (and wants us to know) is the joy of serving the smallest viable audience. The satisfaction that comes from making things better by making better things. "The best-selling book in America this year will not be purchased by 99% of the population,” Seth tells me and my guest co-host Samantha Bennett. But that’s good news for us writers because “smallest is easy for us.” It’s this mindset, as you’ll hear, that keeps the infinite resource of creativity from shrinking away.
Seth and Sam (bestselling author of Get It Done and Start Right Where You Are) are big admirers of each other’s work, and nothing thrills me more than being a literary matchmaker by putting people together on this show. Like when Glennon Doyle came on to guest co-host with her idol, Anne Lamott (who she’d never met). Or, how Terry McMillan and Dani Shapiro, both great novelists and teachers, swapped outrageous stories and laughs. Or the time Robert McKee guest co-hosted with one of his literary favorites, Dean Koontz. To hear Sam and Seth talk shop left me mostly speechless. (Not my norm, as you may know. I think I said fewer words in this entire episode than in my usual intros!)
I feel so blessed to be here. Seth has taught and inspired millions of entrepreneurs, marketers, leaders, readers (and me!) via his daily blog (one of the most popular in the world), and through his online courses, lectures, and bestselling books. He’s the inventor of countless ideas that have made their way into mainstream business lingo (from the book blurb! and Permission Marketing to Purple Cow, Tribes, and The Dip). But marketing—telling our stories to people who need them—is in crisis. For thirty years Seth has seen this revolution coming, describing it to us, and mapping it out for us. And it's being taken away by bottom fishers and scammers. Thankfully we have Seth to guide us through meaningfully connecting with people who want what we’ve got.
You’re also about to hear why he stopped napping (this is pure gold!); his thoughts on debt (which could help you keep more of your gold); what it takes to reach the masses (and how to avoid making average stuff for average people); getting into the practice of picking yourself; Godin’s First Law of Book Signings, and, brace yourself, the future of bookstores.
And, for those of you who don’t yet know Sam, you’re in for a major treat. Warning, though: She’s addictive, and you’ll have one more person to follow after this episode. Sam’s the owner of the Organized Artist Company and one of the most brilliant and delightful people I’ve ever known (which is why I'm the luckiest that she’s my copilot over in the Beautiful Writers Group).
Okay! There’s so much to cover. I’m so happy you’re here.
Ann Patchett: Unplugged
Nov 1, 2018 5405
This award-winning, bestselling American (and Nashvillian!) treasure is laying it down with straight talk about her charmed writing and publishing career. Instead of learning from our authors' struggles, as we often do on this show, today’s episode is about ABUNDANCE. Ann’s story is a unique one—published at twenty in The Paris Review, followed by one extraordinary success after another—where we get a rare glimpse of the writer’s dream life come true.
"I didn't get into any trouble,” Ann tells us. "I didn't stray from the path. I didn't become a drug addict. I didn't become an alcoholic. There was just too much positive reinforcement for writing.” But that hasn’t kept her from acquiring a deep understanding of the human condition—and a fearless writing style for which she’s beloved. Bestsellers like Bel Canto, based on the Japanese hostage crisis (which won the Orange Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and was recently made into a film), Truth and Beauty (a tender, brutal book about loving a person she could not save), and Commonwealth (a novel that begins with an illicit kiss that leads to an affair that destroys two marriages and follows six children whose lives were disrupted) are just a few examples of how Ann isn’t afraid to dive deep into life’s complexities.
In this 90-minute chat (edited down from over two hours!), I was pinching myself to get to talk with this icon as if we were old friends. From books to film (and opera!); landing the right agent; getting PAID for your work; how not to suck at love or marriage as you try and balance a near-obsessive love of craft, and stories behind her new photographic book on Nashville, I hated to see this conversation end. And, bonus! Ann shares where her best ideas come from (which wasn’t what I expected)—including her take on the story of how she and Liz Gilbert shared a novel through the ethers. I couldn’t take notes fast enough.
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Steven Pressfield & Tim Grahl: Slaying Creative Dragons
Sep 28, 2018 3663
There is an enemy. You are the enemy. Resistance will kill you. If you’re a Steven Pressfield or "The War of Art" fan (who isn’t?!), you already know that. You also know that you are not alone, and resistance can be beaten.
But, good God, doesn’t it feel a little harder these days with the world seemingly going off the rails?
I wasn’t sure Steven could ever write something as masterful as The War of Art. Despite selling millions of copies of books in both fiction and non-fiction—that book was tops in my eyes. But he’s done it again, with "The Artist’s Journey: The Wake of the Hero’s Journey and the Lifelong Pursuit of Meaning."
If you’re wrestling with trying not to fall into the time suck of 24-hour news, you’re going to love this chat. Joining us is book marketing superstar Tim Grahl, who you may know from his past books, "Your First 1,000 Copies," and "Book Launch Blueprint." But today he’s here with Steve for "Running Down a Dream: Your Roadmap to Winning Creative Battles." Steve’s publishing company, Black Irish Books, published the two books in tandem and I can see why. They’re both page turners and pack an even more powerful punch when digested together.
On today’s show we talk about how we lie to ourselves about how busy we are (and how little time we actually need to get our art completed). We discuss the odd phenomenon that the writer often rejects first book ideas, and Steve gets playfully ribbed and respectfully praised for his obsessive research habits. Tim shares top book picks, and Steven explains why he turns away from his gorgeous Malibu ocean view to face the wall when he writes.
We also cover the fundamentals of the Hero’s Journey and the subsequent Artist’s Journey, and how once you get on this train, there’s no getting off.
In what Steve calls a bit of an “OCD convention,” we dive into the nitty-gritty about setting up one's office and life to avoid distractions. Tim shares how he practices being vulnerable with small pieces before he puts out something truly scary for him (like this new book), and the three of us laugh about professional jealousies and the crazy-making reality of competing with (or being held back by) your friends and family.
Listen up, too, for fave tech hacks, book launch tips, schedule simplifying strategies, and this most important message: YOU have important work to do on this planet. So, let’s go!
I’m so glad you’re here.
PS: Subscribe here so you'll be the first to know when a new episode airs. (And, for more info, go to www.BeautifulWritersPodcast.com)
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New! Bday Mix: Expert Top Tips
Aug 26, 2018 3283
On this annual birthday episode of the Beautiful Writers Podcast, my wish is to give the gift of conversations you haven’t heard before. Fresh and (hopefully) profoundly helpful content to uplevel your writing experience.
Today’s show makes my heart happy. It’s a collection of excerpts from industry superstars conducted over several years for the Beautiful Writers Group (my membership community, where this podcast was born and writers get all sorts of support for $25 a month). I’m elated to finally share some of my most cherished snippets of advice from our expert series interviews, today, free of charge.
We start this birthday party off with the author of "Get It Done" and "Start Right Where You Are," Samantha Bennett (who now joins me every month to answer questions in our monthly Q & A calls). Sam is a creative genius with an enviable bedside manner. Meaning, she gives our members soulful, tear-jerking, butt-kicking advice they can’t get enough of. I have no doubt she will get you motivated and EXCITED about what you can and will achieve—in as little as 15 minutes a day.
Next, Harrison Scott Key—winner of the Thurber Prize for American Humor for his memoir "The World's Largest Man"—will make you laugh (and blush) with his insane stories. Nothing and no one in his life are off limits. Harrison's nearly unbelievable work ethic will either scare the hell out of you or renew your faith in scaling any publishing mountain. Warning: get earplugs for the kids! (Smiley.)
The bestselling author of "Paris Letters" and "A Paris Year," Janice MacLeod, helps us say YES to our writing life over everything that doesn’t matter. She shares how she scripted every writer’s dream life by ditching the day job to travel the world—in do-able steps. Plus, I can almost guarantee you’ve never heard what she learned about the power bookstores have over your book covers. (Say, what?!)
Arielle Ford, author of ten books (including her international bestseller "The Soulmate Secret") has the unique mindset of having been a literary agent and top book publicist (with 12, #1 NYT bestselling placements). Though grounded and practical, Arielle bleeds mystical. For this show, she shares her Secret Sauce for connecting with the Unified Field, where everything you want—in publishing and in everyday life—is already waiting for you.
Tim Grahl, book marketing rockstar, is the author of "Your First 1000 Copies" and the recent, "Running Down a Dream" and helped five of his author clients hit the NYT bestseller’s list in the same week! In this conversation, Tim talks about how to put your best foot forward on Amazon.com (where 40-65% of books are sold)—which includes details of ramping up your author page and how to get those pesky 1-star reviews removed.
Author Rhonda Britten, who has one of the most painful childhood stories imaginable, created a program to keep from taking her own life. Fearless Living has healed her and countless others and led to four books and an Emmy-winning role as a life coach for TV's "Starting Over." Rhonda is always coming up with new tricks and the one she shares here—a touching exercise for connecting deeply with your book—is one of the coolest tips I’ve ever heard.
And finally, acclaimed YA novelist, Aditi Khorana--who was my guest co-host here last month with best-selling novelist Rosie Walsh--shares how her 1,000-word a day diet helps her be so prolific. Among other things in this excerpt, we talk about how to train your beautiful muse to show up and play full out.
I wish I had time to share all of our BWG expert interviews with you here! But you can get immediate access to our full library (and other benefits of membership)at beautifulwritersgroup.com
Welcome. I'm so happy you're here! xo
Rosie Walsh: Ghosted. A Publishing Phenomenon
Aug 1, 2018 4238
Auctions. Bidding wars. Squealing agents and champagne toasts. To some, this is the stuff writerly dreams are made of. Novelist Rosie Walsh is here from her home in Britain to humbly share details of her magic carpet ride as the author of one of the most anticipated global publications this year.
GHOSTED, Rosie’s debut book in America, celebrated its birthday the day we taped this episode. Pub day in the states! For a book that has sold in thirty-one countries and topped several bestseller lists already, I feel like the luckiest girl at the dance here to have had so much time—over an hour!—with this very busy new mother and author.
I had to ask Rosie the age-old question: what makes a page-turner? How do you write a story people, and that includes publishers, can’t put down? Because, cover to cover, I was swept away by this book. As an example, check out this marketing hook right on the back: "Seven perfect days. Then he disappeared. A love story with a secret at its heart.” Aren’t you dying to know the secret? I was, and I’ll tell you this: I never saw it coming.
Nor did my dear friend and one of my favorite writers, Aditi Khorana, our guest co-host for this episode. Aditi and Rosie are both critically acclaimed Penguin novelists, and I think you’ll love hearing them compare notes on how to outline their books and craft their exciting plot lines. Their publishing wins will inspire you and their stories on editing and ditching hard-won prose are a dose of realism. In fact, Rosie’s honesty—about what she was willing to do, make that what she had to do to get her words worthy of the heights they’re currently hitting—is astonishing. (Hint, you don’t get published by legendary editor Pamela Dorman through her own Viking/Penguin imprint—with past titles like Bridget Jones's Diary, The Secret Life of Bees, Queen Sugar, Me Before You, etc. in her line up—unless your storytelling is world-class.)
And, yes, in this chat you’ll also here three girls talking about boys. And love. And longing. And the odd yet universal phenomenon of being ghosted.
I'm so glad you're here.
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Austin Channing Brown: Racial Justice & the Power of the Pen
Jun 30, 2018 3873
Memoirist and racial justice leader, Austin Channing Brown, is here to chat about her celebrated debut: I’M STILL HERE: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness. From the book’s first line—“White people can be exhausting,” she had my undivided attention as I—like countless white women—am exasperated by white privilege and feel a great urgency to cease being exhausting. But where do we start? There is so much to learn! Thankfully, Austin is wise and patient, huge-hearted and playful. As she masterfully lays out what we need to know, we can’t help but hang on her every written word. Because it’s time. Time to know better. Be better. Do better.
My prediction is that upon hearing Austin read an excerpt from her chapter, “Why I love being a black girl” you'll instantly understand why Brené Brown, Glennon Doyle, and Jen Hatmaker are fans. By the close, when she shares part of a letter she wrote to her then unborn son, you will be too.
Our guest co-host on this episode, Daniel Mallory Ortberg, is a dear friend of Austin’s and their easy laughter is contagious. Daniel is the author of the New York Times bestseller TEXTS FROM JANE EYRE: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters, and the recent, THE MERRY SPINSTER: Tales of Everyday Horror—a collection of short stories based on fairy-tales. He is also the Slate advice columnist, Dear Prudence, syndicated in over 200 newspapers. But you’d never know any of that by his humble nature and hilarious newbie stories.
Listen in as we delight in talking shop together. Other topics include: life-changing tech programs we use to organize our writing; favorite writing books on craft that have been career game changers; details of landing agents and book deals; how we've utilized groups and beta readers for up-leveling our work pre-publication; persevering through early rejections, and how sometimes life indeed conspires to make your dreams come true.
Nell Scovell: Just the Funny Parts & Then Some...
May 27, 2018 2414
A veteran comedy writer for TV, film, and books, Nell Scovell (who also produces and directs!), is here to chat about her new memoir, JUST THE FUNNY PARTS… And a Few Hard Truths About Sneaking into the Hollywood Boys’ Club. Who is Nell Scovell? You may not know the name, but if you’ve ever watched The Simpsons, NCIS, Murphy Brown, The Muppets, Newhart, Charmed, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Late Night with David Letterman, the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, or Sabrina the Teenage Witch—which she created—you’ve no doubt laughed at something Nell has written.
And, if you're a fan of the monster bestselling book LEAN IN, by Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg (that Nell co-authored), you’ve already spent hours inside her head--which is a fun, heartfelt, intelligent place to hang out! I’m crazy about her and this book—a memoir VOGUE magazine calls: “The new Bossypants meets Lean In.” If you’re someone who writes, can you imagine a dreamier blurb?
Listen in as Nell and I talk about navigating writing collaborations; writing ideas that never pan out, and how to see feedback as constructive, not critical. We discuss pitch meetings—including a word-for-word hilarity she gave to Larry David; accessing creative flow; how not to let men or politics derail your writing, and why she says fearing the blank page is like fearing an empty dog dish.
This no-nonsense Harvard grad (cum laude—sheesh, right?!) will leave you inspired to COMPLETE—and then shamelessly SHARE your work with the world—while standing up for your rights to be seen, heard, and PAID. Nell is an outspoken, longtime advocate for diversity and gender equality in Hollywood; so much so that years before the #metoo movement was on everyone’s lips, she risked everything to go wildly public about the sexist culture, hostile work environment, and lack of female writers in late-night TV. Thankfully, for us, when she gambled it all, her bravery was rewarded, and Nell’s voice was not only not extinguished to a whimper but roared to make it safer for everyone else.
God willing, may Nell Scovell continue to use her voice for the funny parts--and far more--for decades to come.
P.S. Remember to get your copy of JUST THE FUNNY PARTS. And, while you’re at it; prep for next month’s show with Austin Channing Brown’s hit debut: I’M STILL HERE: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness. Austin, a powerful voice for racial justice and a stunning memoirist, is also so much fun—as you’ll see. #Icanteven #bestjobanywhere
P.S.S. Subscribe here so you'll be the first to know when a new episode airs. (For more info, go to www.BeautifulWritersPodcast.com)
P.S.S.S. If you love the show, please take a sec to give us a 5-star rating on iTunes, which helps spread the word! https://apple.co/2sbpC1J
"Best Of" Part 2 Episode
May 1, 2018 4878
Welcome to Part 2 of our “Best Of” episode! Notice the “quotes” here; it’s not remotely possible to pick favorites amongst favorites. "Best Of" is just easier than typing, “a-sampling-of-some-of-my-beloved-booky-conversations-of-many-such-favorite-convos” on an album cover. (Did that even make sense?)
Back in August of last year, when I put together Part 1 of this show, I couldn’t foresee the celeb authors who would soon join me and my guest co-hosts on air. Tom Hanks. Maria Shriver. Van Jones. Gabby Bernstein. Dean Koontz. Gretchen Rubin. Rob Bell. Danielle LaPorte. And more. They called into our conference line and met Glennon Doyle, Martha Beck, Dani Shapiro, Robert McKee, Leeza Gibbons... and me in the virtual green room for an hour+ of writerly love. Both my list of guests and guest co-hosts boggles the mind—at least my mind. Because outside of dominating the sock-out tournament on my third-grade school’s blacktop at recess, nothing has ever flowed more seamlessly or been more fun for me.
These writers make me so happy. They're funny and smart and so ALIVE—as you can tell by their quick repartee. And, like me, they’re obsessed with words, paper, binding, fonts, black tea, blacker coffee, and butt-in-chair-finger-moving strategies as they attempt to heal themselves and the world. Every one of them feels lucky to make a living pulling words from the ether and onto the page, and thus doesn’t take their position or platform lightly. They relish sharing their creative wealth with our soulful, brilliant listenership—YOU!—which is why so many of them come back again and again to guest co-host.
So. Sit back. Speakers up. Earmuffs on the kids (yep, swearing is a thing these days... especially on this episode!). And have notepads ready, unless you want to wait for the book. Odds are, the words, phrases, and ideas you love will be there for easy access for all eternity. Or until paper stops growing on trees—which might actually be a good thing—but don't tell anyone I said that. #conflictedtreehugger
Here we go, beautiful.
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Geneen Roth: Messy & Magnificent
Apr 1, 2018 4159
Martha Beck guest co-hosts in this radical conversation with legendary author Geneen Roth, which aired on Easter Sunday, 2018. Whether you celebrate the holiday or not, imagine this. Chocolate eggs. Jelly Beans. Ham. A little Hawaiian bread with your butter. Or, a LOT of Hawaiian bread with your butter… plus gravy. I mean you’ve tried that, right? Gravybutter? Good God.
My point: do you ever wish you could finally attain peace over your weight and what you eat? This episode won’t be sending the food police to your door—no worries!—but it may bring some much-prayed-for relief. I know it has for me, as you’ll hear.
These women—Geneen and Martha—are walking, talking, living proof of the magic of transformation, in a wildly abundant and crazy fun kind of way. The three of us have what just might be the radical conversation you’ve been wanting. Because let’s face it; everything you thought was going to fix things hasn’t so far.
Perfect timing, I figured, for a holiday about mercy and freedom and rising and angels. Ya?
I heard of Geneen’s work years ago, back when book angel Oprah Winfrey shared her awe of this woman’s writing with the world. Geneen was one of the first to link compulsive eating and perpetual dieting with deeply personal and spiritual issues that go far beyond food, weight, and body image. And Lord, can she write. Her words are poetic. Hypnotic. Delicious, all on their own. Food for thought and the soul. As the author of TEN titles, including the just-released THIS MESSY MAGNIFICENT LIFE (Scribner), and The New York Times bestsellers When Food Is Love; Women Food and God, and Lost and Found (about losing all of her money to Bernie Madoff)—Geneen is PROLIFIC. With lots to say about healthy ways to get our books completed, and how to live peacefully as a writer, teacher, and sane citizen in an insane world.
Bestselling author Martha—who is in her 17th year as an O, The Oprah Magazine columnist (can you imagine making all those deadlines?!)—is pretty smart about that stuff, too. Can I get an Amen?
I know you’re going to love Geneen as much as I do. One of her superpowers, for the past 30+ years, is helping people find freedom at her weight, food, and money retreats and seminars. Rather than pushing away the “crazy” things we do, Geneen’s work proceeds with the conviction that our actions and beliefs make exquisite sense. The way to transform our relationship with food, our body, and so much more, is to be open, curious and kind with ourselves—instead of punishing, impatient and harsh.
Ahhhh. Told ya. Church. Even when you find yourself eye to eye with that chocolate bunny with the big ears. Especially so.
P.S. Subscribe here so you'll be the first to know when a new episode airs. For more info, go to www.BeautifulWritersPodcast.com
Maria Shriver: I've Been Thinking
Feb 27, 2018 4002
You’ve watched Maria Shriver on TV for decades. Read her many bestsellers. Cheered as she and her family founded and championed some of humanity's greatest causes. Now’s your chance to get to know her more intimately than perhaps ever before.
Maria’s here, on for the first day of her new book tour! In this playful, deep interview for I’VE BEEN THINKING: Reflections, Prayers, and Meditations for a Meaningful Life (Pamela Dorman Books/Penguin Random House), Leeza Gibbons and I talk with this New York Times bestselling author of six (surely now seven!) titles. We muse about family, friendship, parenting, and divorce. On the struggle to believe we’re doing enough; the different ways we three get our writing done; Time Debt and what’s truly important, and the steps we should all be taking to safeguard our precious brains from Alzheimer’s and other dementia.
Guys. This episode is epic for me. It’s hard to put into words what it means to host the show with someone who’s touched my life so beautifully for so long (Leeza). But to then have another idol of mine for nearly twenty years (Maria) as our guest?!—Good God. Life can be so surreal. And, as Maria points out, it can also be incredibly complicated. For everyone. Doesn’t just knowing that make it easier already?
Imagine this. Your uncle promises the country that he’ll land us on the moon—uttering some of the most famous words in the history of our world. Your parents start the Peace Corps, Head Start, Jobs Corps, and the Special Olympics—all organizations still uplifting the masses. How the heck, against this backdrop, do you find your words, your voice? And yet, as you’ll hear, it was Maria’s words, Maria’s voice that truly changed the course of my life and in part gave me the freedom I have now.
I’m extra excited to share this conversation with you—one in which Leeza stumps Maria during our rapid-fire Q & A with the hardest—and I’m guessing funniest—question she’s ever been asked. (Hint: It may have to do with hair and coffee, although not hairy coffee.) Then, as Maria tells us she’s NEVER before been asked our next question, and I hear these long-time besties laugh—I’m now thinking: How in the world did I get so lucky? Here’s a woman who worked her way up from writer to producer to anchor at both CBS News and NBC news, and traveled the world interviewing presidents, kings, activists and more—and has been interviewed countless times herself. Did we really just hit the back-to-back question jackpot here? (Smiley.)
Surreal indeed. I’m so glad you’re here.
P.S. Subscribe here so you'll be the first to know when a new episode airs. For more info, go to www.BeautifulWritersPodcast.com
Debbie Ford's New Book
Jan 31, 2018 4049
The late Debbie Ford is here today, via her sister, Arielle Ford! In a kind of tribute to sisters, joining us as my guest co-host is my sister, Carol Allen. The four of us—Debbie, Arielle, Carol, and I—have a long friendship, so I’ve been looking forward to this sweet, informal convo. We cover so much beyond the book, including Debbie as a spiritual leader and bossy little sister; writing and the whacky world of dealmaking; magical beginnings with Deepak Chopra; muses + guides that wake us up at 3:00 a.m.; the healing power of guttural crying, and soulmate secrets you may never have considered before.
And! Wait until you hear how this book—YOUR HOLINESS: Discover the Light Within (that drops March 6th, HarperOne)—came about! This is seriously mystical stuff. You probably know Debbie as the author of ten books including The Dark Side of the Light Chasers; Spiritual Divorce; Why Good People Do Bad Things, and The Best Year Of Your Life. With a foreword by Marianne Williamson, this prayer and inspiration masterpiece is being called Debbie’s most powerful book.
Arielle, who is giving us her first interview for Your Holiness, is also the author of many bestsellers, including The Soulmate Secret, Wabi Sabi Love, and Turn Your Mate Into Your Soulmate. As for Carol, I’m as excited to share my kid sis with you as I was when I took her to my kindergarten class for Show & Tell back when we were kids. Carolita helps me make sense of this world more than anyone else and is not only one of the most popular astrologers and love experts in the country, but a storytelling force of her own with a massive fan base for her newsy and hilarious writing.
Thank you for spending your time with us as we endeavor to bring down a bit of fairy dust ala Angel Debbie. At a time when so much in our world feels uncertain, and suffering is so prevalent, Debbie’s voice is more essential than ever.
Happy listening. Write on!
P.S. Catch us next month, where my guest is the Architect of Change herself, Maria Shriver, with my beloved Leeza Gibbons as our guest co-host.
P.S.S. Subscribe here so you'll be the first to know when our new episodes air. For more info, go to www.BeautifulWritersPodcast.com
Gabby Bernstein: On Judgment & Bestsellers
Dec 23, 2017 3219
I LOVE this soul sister. Gabby Bernstein makes me laugh. Her honesty is refreshing. Sometimes I look at her and think I’m witnessing an honest-to-goodness, real-life angel. But when this #1 New York Times bestselling author of THE UNIVERSE HAS YOUR BACK, and five other bestsellers sent me her latest book, JUDGEMENT DETOX (dropping Jan. 2nd from North Star Way), I didn’t think I could do it. I figured I had zero chance of embracing, much less TALKING about a subject I could barely stomach. Detoxing my judgment? Are you kidding me?
When it comes to eating, I’m all about detoxing. Give me a juice fast any day of the week, and I’ll pucker up and chug the slimiest of swamp grass. But emotionally, I’m in activist-mode, #metoo-ing and marching with chin held high. Additionally, I live in a part of the world—Los Angeles—that’s experiencing its worst fire season ever, in December, mind you; at a time when our administration’s rolling back environmental protections with the speed and ferocity of our Santa Ana winds. Not judge? Not interested.
Except, I know better. Anger and judgment provide an energy boost, but the pump is temporary—certainly no long-term strategy for wholeness or happiness. What if Gabby has come up with a way to be nonjudgmental AND outspoken? More peaceful while more vocal (and effective)? A girl could hope. I had to give her a fair shot.
Not to mention, I knew we’d have one hell of a writing and publishing convo. Because girlfriends can talk shop! And we’re mad crazy in LOVE with this industry. Gabby does not disappoint. Her candor—about her writing insecurities and internal and external fixes—will not only make you laugh and surprise you, but will help you better create, receive, and navigate your own publishing prowess.
It is my great honor to welcome you into one of my favorite chats yet. As I reflect on the blessings of the past twelve months, this show leaves me shaking my head. Tom Hanks? Van Jones? Glennon Doyle? Dean Koontz? And Gabby? I’m not entirely sure how I got here or where we’re going, but my heart overflows with each interview and download.
Thank YOU for sharing your time and love and curiosity with me month after month. I wish you and yours the Happiest of Holidays and a coming New Year that will somehow surpass even your brightest and most beautiful hopes and dreams.
P.S. Subscribe here so you'll be the first to know when a new episode airs. For more info, go to www.BeautifulWritersPodcast.com
Dean Koontz: Master of Suspense
Nov 21, 2017 3913
500 million books sold. 38 languages. 14 #1 New York Times bestsellers. How is that possible? My guest co-host, Robert McKee, and I couldn’t wait to get the inside scoop on a bestselling career that has spanned fifty years and been compared to the Beatles. Welcome to the epic world of Dean Koontz, who is totally delightful and slightly worrisome, in a crawl inside your brain and lays eggs kind of way. (Wait. Don't repeat that! In reality, what struck me as most odd is that he's not at all creepy.)Dean's new thriller, THE WHISPERING ROOM, drops TODAY and will leave you breathless. You might have to sleep with the lights on for a while, but you’ll beg for the next book in this series just the same because our protagonist, Jane Hawk, is that addictive.
She's my shero. A rogue FBI agent on a mission to save her son, Jane is intuitive and fearless and perfectly on time with the times—putting the fear of God into abusive men everywhere. If only we could bring her to flesh-and-blood life. And then clone her on every street corner.
In this episode, you’ll learn the difference between suspense and mystery; how to "let the character be the character"; how to make the fictional world more real—to the point of being swept away by it; what readers are looking for in the first two paragraphs of a book to make them buy; the three things setting (or nature) must accomplish; why reaction is more important than action; how worrying about paying the rent discourages a lot of artists + and the mindset you must have to break through. Of course, there’s so much more—including a civilized disagreement about the existence of the muse and a little Hollywood bashing.
I feel so blessed the legendary Robert McKee is back on the show. Imagine, these two experts talking shop about Setting and Suspense and Opening Hooks and Dialogue and so much more. Speaking of dialogue, Robert’s latest book, DIALOGUE: The Art of Verbal Action for the Page, Stage, and Screen will floor you with how much there is to know about the act of talking. Who knew?! Fortunately, McKee does. The details are so detailed I thought about quitting writing to find a day job until I remembered I’m too old for that and took wild amounts of notes instead.
The show, as they say, must go on. So take a listen. You’ll see why the writers of Pixar (creators of TOY STORY and FINDING NEMO), consider McKee’s STORY seminar a rite of passage. And how alumni of his courses have earned 200 Oscar nominations (with 60 wins) and 1,000 Emmy noms (with 200 wins).
As for Dean and this thriller genre. If you’re tempted to think it’s not for you because you hightail it out of the room when the 10 o’clock news starts as if a quake just hit, and watch Abraham Hicks videos on replay in a desperate attempt to trust in a benevolent Universe, I feel ya. Same, same.
But with Koontz and McKee as our guides, we just might find a whole lotta heart and sanity in the story. Even after the sun goes down.
I’m so glad you’re here.
Next up for our Holiday show, join me as I interview Gabrielle Bernstein about her #1 NYT bestselling career + her upcoming book JUDGMENT DETOX. Not that I'm judgemental or anything, but if I were, I'm thinking this would be the time of year to work on it. (Smiley.) Subscribe here so you're the first to know when it posts. For more info, go to: www.beautifulwriterspodcast.com.
Tom Hanks: Uncommon Type
Oct 27, 2017 4026
The one and only Mr. Tom Hanks is here, and he’s caffeinated and ready to rock this podcast—with melodic typing accompaniment, no less. I couldn’t have chosen a better guest host than Danielle LaPorte to join me in perhaps our most enjoyable conversation yet. From the first seconds of Tom's hilarious/unorthodox entrance, we do our best to keep up with one of the world’s most creative minds. But as he soon learns, we ladies have several psychological tricks up our sleeve, and even get him to gut laugh a few times (go, D!).
The 17 fictional stories in Tom’s book, Uncommon Type: Some Stories (Knopf), are whimsical, satirical, surprising, funny, and deeply touching. The characters and worlds he creates stay with you. Change you. Cause you to see things, you’d never thought of before.
According to Kirkus: “While these stories have the all-American sweetness, humor, and heart we associate with his screen roles, Hanks writes like a writer, not a movie star.” Steve Martin says: “It turns out that Tom Hanks is also a wise and hilarious writer with an endlessly surprising mind. Damn it.” Just what you’d hope to find from this Oscar-winning (2x) actor, screenwriter, director, producer, and musician Renaissance man who has previously published pieces in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, and The New Yorker, but for whom this is his first collection of fiction. We can only hope it won’t be his last.
Pull up a chair and sit a spell as we mix up our usual format a tad and experience the interviewing time of our lives. And P.S.—We just might get Tom to comment on our fantasy of he & Oprah running for office.
God, I love this gig. I’m so happy you’re here. xx
Next month: I interview novelist Dean Koontz (500 million books sold) about his new thriller, The Whispering Room, from the NYT bestselling Jane Hawk series. The legendary screenwriter/story + dialogue coach, Robert McKee will be back, this time in the co-host chair. Subscribe here so you'll know the minute it posts. For more info, go to: www.beautifulwriterspodcast.com.
Van Jones: Beyond the Messy Truth
Oct 10, 2017 4645
CNN political correspondent and New York Times bestselling author Van Jones (THE GREEN COLLAR ECONOMY, REBUILD THE DREAM) is in the house! Just in time, too, to get our stinking thinking turned around before next month's Thanksgiving feasts (because didn’t we have enough food fights post-election last year to give us indigestion 'til 2050?). Van’s new book, BEYOND THE MESSY TRUTH: How We Came Apart, How We Come Together (Ballantine), soothes the ache. Reading it brings instant relief. Points our way back to love.
If you’re sick of crazy, if you’ve had ENOUGH, this is the episode for you! I’m elated to share this conversation with #1 New York Times bestselling author Glennon Doyle (LOVE WARRIOR), who is back as our guest host. She and I are longtime fans of this environmental and human rights hero, but even more so now, having spent nearly an hour and a half with him. And boy do we talk writing—including rejection, how hard it can be, and tools to help you get it DONE.
You probably know Van as the level-headed TV personality with dear friends on both sides of the political aisle. But the quiet child who grew up in the south going to church and loving school would grow to be agitated. It was at Yale Law School where Van became hip to just how not free America can be. Being arrested at a peace rally and watching the Rodney King beating go unpunished were just a few of the reality checks that lit a fire in Van to become a fighter against injustice. And at times, a loud-mouthed revolutionary. A self-described bomb thrower turned bridge builder.
Van was Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House under Obama and despite relentless attacks from conservative media, he had a major impact. He’s such a big thinker and so effective that many people hope he'll run for president. But we’re not going to go there today because he’s focused on serving in other ways. Like writing. This new book, BEYOND THE MESSY TRUTH, is the map to get us back. Jolt us out of the bi-polar, divisive, arrogant insanity we now find ourselves. Calm the crazy in us all. Deep breath. I feel better already.
Thank you for listening. I am humbled and honored to be in conversation with these two love warriors. Welcome.
Next up, I interview Tom Hanks about his upcoming book of short stories, UNCOMMON TYPE: Some Stories. The incomparable White Hot Truth author, Danielle LaPorte, will guest-host. Subscribe here so you're the first to know when it posts. For more info, go to: www.beautifulwriterspodcast.com.
"Best Of" Episode, Part 1
Sep 1, 2017 4976
Want to be a writer? A career author? In case you haven’t heard, the blank page can be a real A-hole, and the book industry no less intimidating. If you’ve ever wished you could sit down and ask your favorite authors how they do it—how they REALLY pull it off day after day, year after year, book after book—you're going to love this show.
Today’s a Celebration Day here at the Beautiful Writers Podcast, our first-ever "Best Of” episode. I’m Linda Sivertsen, your host, and these snippets make up Part I of more to come. Basically, it was IMPOSSIBLE to choose the “best” snippets from 22 hours of audio with the most lovable, talented storytellers in the world (bestsellers like Elizabeth Gilbert, Glennon Doyle Melton, Seth Godin, Brené Brown, Martha Beck, Anne Lamott, Steven Pressfield, and so many others), where all topics were fair game. If you’re already a fan of the show, I think you’ll love reliving these hilarious, wicked smart moments. If you’re new here, we’ll hopefully leave you wanting more.
Every episode we’ve done, from the show’s inception with Danielle LaPorte and me to the past 14 months where I’ve brought on different monthly celebrity guest hosts, they’ve all been dear to me. Most of our interviewees are on a book tour at the time of our chats, and with combined book sales in the hundreds of millions, they know just what to say to bring INSTANT relief and ah-has! no matter where a person is in their life or creative process. I’m still starstruck by every interviewee. I think you may be, too, as evidenced by the fact your 400,000 listens/downloads so far have put us in the top 5% of all podcasts of all categories! GRATEFUL doesn’t even begin to cover it.
In closing, I can’t tell you how tempting it was to turn this into a 3-hour episode by including every one of our 26 interviewees. All are survivors. Thrivers. Proselytizers. And their religion is kindness. They’ve faced incredible hardship and more rejection than a family of rats in a restaurant. Yet, they’re still standing. Still laughing. Still giving. Still writing. Rather than short change them (and you!) with snippets too short to get inside of, I’ve broken them up into Part I and II (coming soon).
Until then, subscribe here so you never miss an episode. And, of course, you can find all of our interviews in their entirety below and at www.beautifulwriterspodcast.com.
Write on, my friend. I’m so very happy you’re here. xo
Jennifer Rudolph Walsh on Together-ness
Jul 31, 2017 3773
Oprah's agent, THE biggest literary agent in the world, is on today’s episode of the Beautiful Writers Podcast with one of her star clients! Jennifer Rudolph Walsh is the head of the Worldwide Literary Department at WME (William Morris Endeavor). Along with repping authors like Sheryl Sandberg, Arianna Huffington, and Brené Brown, she’s sold the books you’ve heard about here multiple times—HOURGLASS, DEVOTION, and STILL WRITING—by one of our favorite writers and guests, Dani Shapiro!
Dani is back as today’s guest host with her rock star agent for an intimate look at the kind of relationship every writer dreams of.
Jennifer and Dani’s “soulmate” connection started nearly two decades ago, which makes this episode so unique. It’s loving. Kind. Cozy. Fun. Not exactly the first words that come to mind when you think of high-powered lit agents. But Jennifer is far from jaded or standoffish, as you’ll see. “Everyone who has breath has a purpose,” Jennifer says, which is just the kind of feel-good encouragement you may need right now. In case you’ve forgotten to breathe or remember that you have a purpose.
You’ll be reminded when you hear about where to access precious pockets of time for your dreams, and how caring passionately about your goals but giving zero f#cks about the nonsense and noise you can’t control makes all the difference. We hope you’ll be encouraged to hear about how agenting is a two-way street, and how we’re all doing our best to wrap our arms around the changing realities of social media and platform building when what we’re desperate for are both community and a revolution.
Community. Revolution. Jennifer’s middle names. She’s currently building the ark before the flood, so to speak, with her creation of the TOGETHER LIVE tour, an annual speaking tour that's coming to ten cities this fall. Featuring heart-stopping stories from our Glennon Doyle Melton and Elizabeth Lesser, and so many other wonder women (Abby Wambach! Luvvie Ajayi! Sophia Bush!…), TOGETHER LIVE is affordable, accessible, raw, and ignited. It’s also curious, fierce, intersectional, and Zero Bulls#it. Or, as Glennon says, a ten-city, three-hour traveling Love Rally.
Kind of like what we hope you’ll find in this conversation with these love-bug wonder women. Welcome.
Rob Bell on Creativity & the Bible
Jul 1, 2017 2772
TIME magazine named author Rob Bell one of its “100 Most Influential People in the World” for many reasons. Listen in as Linda and her guest co-host—NYT bestselling novelist of THE SECOND SON, Charles Sailor (our April guest)—chat with this beloved author of many binge-worthy NYT bestsellers including LOVE WINS, HOW TO BE HERE, and WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT GOD. From his top-rated podcast, The RobCast; his wildly popular sermons; touring with Oprah, and performances on stages around the world, being around this husband and father of three is an addictive experience. Some would say, do say, they can’t get enough, and tap into his high-speed DSL line to the Divine as often as possible.
Rob is currently on tour for his new book, WHAT IS THE BIBLE?: How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything (HarperOne). By bringing dry, historical characters to life, he's forever changing people’s perceptions of this book from an outdated, primitive, barbaric collection of fairy tales to a work of surprising relevance and transformative power for modern-day living.
And, what these two men have to share about the exhausting, crazy making, mind-is-always-elsewhere, death-to-normalcy act of being a writer? Oh, Lord! Guys, their experiences are a lifeline. You just might never see things the same way again. Thank heavens!
Danielle LaPorte: White Hot Truth-teller
May 25, 2017 4461
Author, Visionary, & Oprah SuperSoul100 leader, Danielle LaPorte, isn’t risk averse. No. She’s “risk erotic.” But that doesn’t mean she didn’t get a not-so-little unwelcome surprise after choosing to walk from a Big 5 publisher and go rogue to self-publish her latest book, WHITE HOT TRUTH: Clarity for Keeping It Real on Your Spiritual Path from One Seeker to Another. Linda and bestselling author Dani Shapiro (9 books; currently on tour for HOURGLASS: Time, Memory, Marriage)chat with D about what taking big risks really looks like when the realities of funding your mission, your art in the world, test your “limits.” This is what Danielle calls the teeth of entrepreneurship.
Three writers. Two on book tour. All mothers with sons. On today’s episode, they get real and really vulnerable about:
Tradeoffs and damn hard parenting lessons learned (stuff you can’t take back and don’t ever want to regret); the fear of not looking pretty enough on stage; why confidence is not necessarily a writer’s friend; the courage it takes to step into a bigger arena (where the stakes keep getting higher), and how writing is like a lover who waits for you (who sometimes argues!).
They talk, too, about not having a Plan B; the GIFTS that come from saying no because of your values, health, or family priorities; what goes on Instagram and what doesn’t; how to find the spine of your book—the rhythm of things, and being in total effing denial about time. As you listen to Danielle say: “I’m so done with not having fun in getting where I want to go,” think about how that can be your new mantra. About how, via her example, you can walk and write lighter and brighter.
Write on. Welcome.
Charles Sailor: Hollywood Rebel
Apr 27, 2017 5093
Charles Sailor, a Hollywood screenwriter and the New York Times bestselling novelist of "THE SECOND SON” (a book that sold six million copies in the late 70s and has been optioned by the biggest stars) is the single biggest influence on Linda Sivertsen's writing career.
“Uncle Chuck,” as she calls him, was her late father’s best friend and her model for what a writer’s life looked life. While he was in L.A. scripting TV shows like “Kojak,” “Rockford Files,”“Chips,” “Get Christie Love!” and “Charlie’s Angels,” Linda and her family were living in Northern California, but when he’d visit, the glamor and excitement of his world infused their home like cologne. She was his biggest fan—still is—and followed him from room to room, including into his limo on book tour, determined to learn everything a teenager could about his world.
Wrestling with fears or lack of faith in your abilities? Not if Charles Sailor has anything to say about it. The sky's the limit with this guy who has cheated death; broken American publishing records; penned some of your favorite TV shows, and brought a top movie studio to its knees. But to Linda, he's just Uncle Chuck—dreamer and magic maker. If you're pining for whopping doses of possibility thinking and stellar real-world writing tips about how to craft stories readers can’t put down, it's all here.
Anne Lamott: Hallelujah Anyway
Mar 11, 2017 4124
Glennon Doyle Melton is back on the Beautiful Writers Podcast; this time in the co-host chair with Linda Sivertsen. Fresh from her whirlwind tour for the #1 New York Times bestseller, LOVE WARRIOR, Glennon shares heart-centered updates on those dizzying details, as well as love notes on her recent divorce (yes, they're darling like that), and romantic musings on her engagement to soccer legend, Abby Wambach (simply captivating).
Linda and Glennon couldn’t be more excited to interview their long-time idol (whom they’ve never met)—Anne Lamott—the much BELOVED author of the New York Times bestsellers: Help, Thanks, Wow; Small Victories; Stitches; Some Assembly Required; Grace (Eventually); Plan B; Traveling Mercies; Operating Instructions, and several novels—including Imperfect Birds and Rosie. And let’s not forget, her universally adored, how-to writing classic, Bird by Bird.
Anne and Glennon have so much in common it's hard to keep up, but here’s a sneak peek list: Oprah; sobriety; motherhood; bestsellers; acts of charity; Sunday-school teaching, political activism, overall adorableness, and the not-so-enviable burden of social anxiety (unless you figure, as Linda does, that it’s sneakily behind their distinct talent for taking universal feelings and making them hilariously darkly dramatic and touching, thus earning them the adoration of the masses).
Tune in as Linda and Glennon catch Anne BEFORE she embarks on tour for this, her 17th book: HALLELUJAH ANYWAY: Rediscovering Mercy. Because she hasn’t yet been asked a million questions on the topic and therefore won’t be looking for the exit routes. Because the world could sure use more mercy right about now. And because you'll soon find out what it means, where you can find it, and why it’s so radically important.
Guru Singh: Buried Treasures Revealed
Dec 9, 2016 5423
Linda Sivertsen interviews her longtime friend Guru Singh—a third-generation yogi, spiritual leader, and author—for one of her most powerful conversations yet. Named “Best Guru in L.A.” by Los Angeles magazine in the early 90s (that claimed Guru's yoga classes were so popular, attendees had to levitate for space), Linda made an appointment to see what all the hype was about. What she found was positively addictive.
For decades, people of all faiths have flocked to this minister of Sikh Dharma because, as you’ll see, his unique and profound take on the world is spellbinding. We also can’t say enough about Guru's memoir, BURIED TREASURES: The Journey From Where You Are To Who You Are, a book that takes you through a most mystical of hero’s journeys.
About this episode! Guru Singh is epic, and we need epic right about now. We promise you’ve never heard insights like the ones you’re about to discover… crazy-cool strategies on bringing through your most inspired writing; cutting-edge wisdom on what the heck is going on with our planet (and between the sexes!), and the enormous benefits of sitting in the lap of your creator and whispering in its ear, to name a few. It’s long. Our longest episode yet. And we’re guessing you may just wish he’d gone on even longer:).
Guru has requested we tape today’s show without a co-host, to make the chat a little more intimate. Get your pen and papers ready, if you’re not driving. Because your mind is about to be blown.
To learn more about Guru, go to GuruSingh.com. And, to take your writing dreams from Idea to Done, we’ll see you over at: www.beautifulwriterspodcast.com
Elizabeth Lesser: Creative Courage
Nov 1, 2016 3644
Linda Sivertsen and bestselling author and Oprah magazine columnist Martha Beck team up yet again... this time to interview their buddy… the New York Times bestselling author and Omega Institute co-founder, Elizabeth Lesser. Elizabeth's new memoir, Marrow: A Love Story (HarperWave), tells of being her sister’s “perfect match” for a bone marrow transplant when in their real lives, the two were more of a mismatch. (Incidentally, this leads to unimaginable highs of emotional and spiritual healing.)
Hear these three friends share behind-the-scenes details around the stress/honor of speaking at TED/TEDWomen; working in depth with Oprah to put on a tele-conference for a mere 15 million people; the challenge of writing about family members; how standing tall with integrity and openness around those we love can lead to a "soul marrow transplant,” and how the often "boring practice part" of a person's spiritual practice often results in a kind of unparalleled life potency that more than makes up for any of the daily grind.
So, if you’re able, brew up a cup of tea and put your feet up for this heart-and-soul(ful) conversation.
To learn about taking your dreams from idea to done with Linda: beautifulwriterspodcast.com
Paul Williams: Hitmaker for Generations
Sep 30, 2016 3288
Music icon Paul Williams shares a hilarious, heartfelt hour with longtime bestie, Linda Sivertsen (who moved into his mansion 26 years ago to care for his pups so he could go get sober) and this month’s guest host, bestselling memoirist and novelist Jillian Lauren. Paul, whose standards have been recorded by Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, David Bowie, Tony Bennett, The Carpenters, Willie Nelson, REM, Diana Ross, The Dixie Chicks, and so many others—including Jillian’s rock star husband!—shares a secret-weapon creativity tool that led to winning the Oscar for “Evergreen” (with Barbara Streisand), an armful of Grammy’s, Golden Globes, and a recent New York Times bestseller. Oh, and an induction into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. There’s that.
Paul’s songs, “We’ve Only Just Begun,” “Rainy Days and Mondays” “You and Me Against the World” and “The Rainbow Connection” from the Muppets, have been anthems for generations. (Ever watch The Love Boat? Yep; that theme song’s there, too!) Not bad for a guy who calls himself “orphaned trailer trash” and never had formal musical training—but instead scribbled down the songs playing in his head. We know you’ll be riveted hearing Paul's iconic voice as he sings the play-by-play details and lyrics of a Grammy-nominated song he downloaded in the park, AND Paul's advice for getting out of your own way to create the best work of your life (it’s so much easier than you think). If there’s anyone who can assure you you’re never, ever alone in this creative journey, it’s Pauli.
Get ready to be inspired, too, with how this tuned in, hilarious soul keeps getting MORE successful (and happier) with age. The creative heights he’s reached in the first half of his seventies are astounding, as is how he’s fighting for the digital rights for all writers. But career magic aside, it’s Paul's humanity—that thing that’s led him to help thousands of people one on one in recovery, and millions throughout the world via his lyrics—that’s truly contagious. Trust us: you're going to want to catch what this man's got, so snuggle in and listen up...
Terry McMillan: Novels, Memoirs, & Films--Oh My!
Aug 29, 2016 4007
Legendary novelist Terry McMillan chats with Linda Sivertsen and guest host Dani Shapiro while on tour for her 8th novel, I ALMOST FORGOT ABOUT YOU, currently getting rave reviews from the New York Times Book Review, The Los Angeles Times, and O magazine, to name a few. Terry's #1 New York Times bestsellers Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back were hit films (starring Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett). Once again she's created what readers expect from a McMillan book—characters full of wit and rich with friendship… oh, and great sex scenes, but we’ll get to that later.
Like Dani (author of Still Writing, and also a bestselling novelist and memoirist, who was a guest of this podcast late last year), Terry’s taught for years as a professor, so they'll be talking craft and inspiration in this ridiculously fun interview filled with hilarity and adult language. Heads up! If you’ve got kids within earshot, you might want to push pause. Linda, Dani, and Terry will be ready when you are—slightly rebellious and always grateful—digging deep, and going for the light.
For info on past episodes, or details on taking your writing dreams from idea to done, visit us at: beautifulwriterspodcast.com
Glennon Doyle Melton: Beautiful Love Warrior
Jul 30, 2016 3737
Linda Sivertsen and her guest co-host, bestselling author and Oprah magazine columnist Martha Beck, are self-described giddy fan girls in this playful, wise interview with Glennon Doyle Melton--author of the New York Times bestseller, CARRY ON, WARRIOR. Her new memoir, LOVE WARRIOR (Flatiron Books), is now available for preorder and the reviews--“astounding” (Rob Bell), “epic” (Liz Gilbert), and “blew me away” (Brené Brown)--barely hint at the mind-blowing experience that is this book (trust us)!
Glennon’s blog, Momastery.com, reaches about a million people daily, and and her non-profit, Together Rising, has raised more than 4 million dollars to aid women and children in crisis around the world. We cannot say for sure where Glennon's magic fairy dust comes from. Could it result, perhaps, from her raw, extraordinary honesty? (You may remember how Martha told Danielle LaPorte and Linda Sivertsen during her episode for this podcast last year that: “Every time you get more honest, you get more magical.”) Regardless, tune in to find out why, in comparing herself to Glennon, Martha’s now threatening to put her own head in the toilet:). Enjoy!
Take your dreams from idea to done with us. Find out more: http://beautifulwriterspodcast.com
Marianne Williamson: From Tears to Triumph
Jun 24, 2016 2722
Marianne is a spiritual teacher and author of 11 books—(4 #1 NYT bestsellers), who shares with us unforgettable insider publishing stories, including the dangers of ignoring the “still, small voice within” when it comes to media and pressure from industry experts. We discuss being pregnant with a book; how to invite more miracles, and the difference between learning through suffering vs. joy. As the founder of Project Angel Food (a meals-on-wheels program serving homebound people with AIDS); a co-founder of The Peace Alliance (supporting legislation to establish a United States Department of Peace); her tireless work to end poverty (worldwide), and running for Congress (bringing the revolutionary concepts of love and forgiveness into the political arena), this visionary woman doesn’t mess around! Newsweek magazine has called Marianne one of the 50 most influential baby boomers, and with her new book, Tears to Triumph: The spiritual Journey from Suffering to Enlightenment, the brilliance continues… To hear past and future podcasts, and learn more about how we can support you on your writing journey, head over to www.beautifulwriterspodcast.com
Arianna Huffington: Revolutionizing Sleep for Creativity (… and everything else)
May 19, 2016 1640
You know her as the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post—a position that’s garnered Arianna the title of “the 52nd most powerful woman in the world” (Forbes, 2014). But for the girl who once shared a one-bedroom apartment with her sister and single mother in Athens, Greece, it’s the simplest things—like the regenerative powers of a good night's sleep—that have come to matter most. It’s Arianna's crusade, in fact, to share the dangers of not getting enough pillow hours ("sleep deprivation is the new smoking"), and the urgency (fun, too!) of changing our ways. Arianna's new book, The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life One Night at a Time, is truly transforming lives—and energizing creativity worldwide. We can’t wait to share this conversation—perhaps the most important show we’ve ever done or could do. So get ready to get more high-quality, restorative, beautifying, sex-a-licious zzzz’s starting hopefully as early as tonight!
To subscribe to future podcasts or learn more about how we can support you on your writing journey, head over to www.beautifulwriterspodcast.com
Leeza Gibbons: Embracing Fierce Optimism
Apr 23, 2016 3126
If for some reason you can’t place the beautiful face of Leeza Gibbons, you’re going to remember the voice. Leeza is one of the iconic voices of our time. She was a longtime correspondent for Entertainment Tonight and Extra, and had her own syndicated talk show. But it's her voice that has launched more radio hours than Casey Kasem or Dick Clark. Leeza is also an Emmy winner, a New York Times bestelling author, of Take 2: Your Guide to Creating Happy Endings and New Beginnings, and has just released Fierce Optimism: Seven Secrets for Playing Nice and Winning Big.
Much to Donald Trump’s dismay, Leeza won his last season of The Celebrity Apprentice (where she raised a quarter of a million dollars for her charity, Leeza’s Care Connection), by being nice. We’re going to talk about that because Nice is the new black as far as we’re concerned. Leeza is on her whirlwind book tour and thankfully made time after guest hosting THE TALK over at CBS here in Los Angeles to race home to be with us. We couldn’t be more grateful, or bigger fans of this fiercely loving optimist.
To subscribe to future podcasts or learn more about how we can support you on your writing journey, head over to www.beautifulwriterspodcast.com.
Robert McKee: Story is Everything
Mar 19, 2016 3605
In Hollywood, Mr. Robert McKee is a living legend, a kind of “God" among storytellers. This creative writing instructor teaches a program to sold out audiences worldwide that he developed as a professor at the University of Southern California. He's the author of Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting. This bible, currently in its 19th printing has become required reading for film and cinema schools at Harvard, Yale, UCLA, USC, etc. McKee has sold many of his own screenplays for film and television, and his students include 63 Academy Award winners and 164 Emmy Award winners. We’re ELATED to bring you the man Russell Brand calls: “… a wanderer… a misanthrope... a whisky-sipping, dusky voiced, Bogart-esque Sinatra but in prose...” Huh? Stay tuned. Like Russell, we were mesmerized to learn from this master and know you will be too!
To subscribe to future podcasts or learn more about how we can support you on your writing journey, head over to www.beautifulwriterspodcast.com.
Brené Brown: Daring to Create Greatly
Feb 19, 2016 2460
One of today’s most beloved authors, Dr. Brené Brown shares behind-the-scenes details of her incredible life and career including: What it’s like to have 3 books on the New York Times bestseller’s list at the same time, why she won't read her reviews, funny/moving details of her meeting with Oprah and Maya Angelou, and what trips her up when writing and real life collide. If you’re one of the over 25 million viewers who’ve watched her 2010 TEDx Houston talk on The Power of Vulnerability, you know that this research professor at the University of Houston is heartfelt and hilarious. (Case in point, her “A" to our “Q" on “Sleep or Sex?” just might be our favorite one yet!) It is with very full hearts that we bring you this conversation. To subscribe to future podcasts or learn more about how we can support you on your writing journey, head over to www.beautifulwriterspodcast.com
Seth Godin: Tribes, Blogs and Book Biz
Jan 20, 2016 2375
Seth Godin is one of the world’s most successful authors and bloggers, and has changed the way people think about marketing and work. He's written 18 international bestsellers that have been translated into over 35 languages. For a long time, Unleashing the Ideavirus was the most popular ebook ever published, and Purple Cow is the bestselling marketing book of the last decade. Other bestsellers include Permission Marketing, All Marketers Are Liars, Small is the New Big, The Dip, Tribes, Linchpin, and Poke the Box. Seth has an MBA in marketing from Stanford. He’s been a CEO, a book packager, and sold a business that he started for $20k for $30m. In other words, we have a lot to learn from this man, who lives in NY with his wife and their two sons and has a compassionate heart that’s as large, if not larger, than his masterful brain. For more inspiring interviews with best-selling authors, subscribe to the Beautiful Writers Podcast on iTunes. To get access to our thriving community of writers visit TheBeautifulWritersGroup.com.
Steven Pressfield : Resistance and Invoking the Muse
Dec 21, 2015 2908
In this lively chat with a legend of contemporary literature (The War of Art, Gates of Fire, The Legend of Bagger Vance … ), Steven Pressfield shares details of his own hero's journey, and his best pro writing tips: the “Foolscap Method” for starting (and ending) a book, working with the “equal and opposite” energies of assistance and resistance, and how to invoke the muse without pissing her off. Steven’s warrior code approach to the creative life has been the saving grace for writers and creatives around the world who endeavor to overcome the inevitable pull of self-sabotage. His classic style is captivating, making this one of our favorite interviews of the year. Join us as Steven illuminates the Odyssey of the creative journey like only he can. For more inspiring interviews with best-selling authors, subscribe to the Beautiful Writers Podcast on iTunes. To get access to our thriving community of writers visit TheBeautifulWritersGroup.com.
Mary Karr : Write the Next True Thing
Nov 20, 2015 2108
Known for her dry humor and unrelenting honesty, bestselling memoirist Mary Karr shares how she threw away the equivalent of four finished books, how she gets through the “scary blankness” of bad writing days (and invokes favorite prayers!), why she ALWAYS writes a proposal for every book, and one of her biggest motivations (hint: a lot of writers will disagree with this one). While Mary’s first love is poetry, her 1995 memoir, The Liar’s Club, reignited the memoir movement, while her most recent book, The Art of Memoir, reveals in detail both her personal process and insights from a decade of teaching the form at Syracuse University. You’ll be ready to do the tough work and tell the tough truth after this jam-packed conversation. For more no-holds-barred conversations with your favorite authors, subscribe to the Beautiful Writers Podcast on iTunes.
Elizabeth Gilbert : The Big Magic of Creative Living
Oct 19, 2015 1727
In this conversation with Elizabeth Gilbert, our generation's "Mark Twain," we unpack the inherent magic of language, embracing the sacred "No," what it takes to have the things you say you want, and to sex or not to sex on book tour. Ha. Liz has an extraordinary way with words (but you knew that) and a rich perspective on what it means to share your magic with the world. Her eighth bestseller, BIG MAGIC is nothing short of brilliant and we're elated to have her with us. For more inspiring interviews with best-selling authors, subscribe to the Beautiful Writers Podcast on iTunes. To get access to our thriving community of writers visit TheBeautifulWritersGroup.com.
Martha Beck : Shortcuts to More Magic
Oct 13, 2015 2040
This interview is so full of magic it’s not even funny. Except that it is! Martha Beck's passion for writing (and life!)is infectious, and you'll quickly see why she's so prolific (recently completing her 10th book, in the midst of a very full artist life that includes world-class painting). Listen as Martha shares some of her best “shortcuts" to attaining more magic, including details of her “integrity cleanse,” the best advice she’s ever been given (summed up in two words), the ultimate marketing strategy for any creator, and what the “rocket ride of rapture” means for your productivity. Buckle in. Her ideas are lightning fast. For more inspiring interviews, follow the Beautiful Writers Podcast here on Soundcloud or subscribe on iTunes. And for access to our thriving community of writers, coaching calls and more, visit TheBeautifulWritersGroup.com.
Kyle Gray : Inviting Angels into Your Book
Oct 1, 2015 2162
This tapped-in, tattooed 27-year-old Angel communicator hails from Scotland, and brings a laid back approach to spirit. He's authored 4 Hay House books and a deck series including Angel Prayers and Wings of Forgiveness. In this interview, he shares examples of the importance of keeping track of your agent/royalties, how impromptu proposal art helped land him a book deal, and how another advance allowed him to take an 8-month break from clients to make the writing of his book “a pilgrimage.” He also shares how legal issues happen—even with the most spiritual of intentions—and his thoughts (and those of the Angels) on writing about other people. He believes we writers are recruited by the universe to write on our subjects, and that it’s an honor. For more insider publishing knowledge, monthly coaching calls and so much more, go to www.thebeautifulwritersgroup.com and join our thriving community. For more great author interviews, follow the Beautiful Writers Podcast on Soundcloud or subscribe on iTunes!
Gretchen Rubin : Creativity-Saving Habits
Oct 1, 2015 2358
Gretchen Rubin is the author of 3 blockbuster New York Times bestsellers—The Happiness Project, Happier at Home, and now Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives. Her books have sold more than 2 million copies worldwide, AND, she has a podcast of her own! Check out Happier with Gretchen Rubin on Soundcloud http://bit.ly/1Vr7v2f. For access to more insider publishing knowledge, monthly coaching calls, and so much more, join our thriving community at TheBeautifulWritersGroup.com and for more great author interviews, follow the Beautiful Writers Podcast on Soundcloud!
Laura Yorke : What Agents Really Want
Oct 1, 2015 2477
Laura is a veteran book editor, publisher, literary agent and writer who has published many bestselling authors, including: Maria Shriver, Mary Tyler Moore, and Jodi Picoult. She began her 25-year career at Simon & Schuster, where she worked as an editor at three different imprints before moving to Putnam and then becoming the Editor-at-Large at Regan Books. She’s now a top agent at The Carol Mann Agency (and sold our recent interviewee Janice MacLeod—the NYT bestselling author of Paris Letters) and has gotten deals for many of Linda's clients. (They share the same birthday and almost always fall in love with the same projects!) We know you’re going to love hearing Laura's take on big book auctions; “Dream” vs. “Nightmare” author clients; the lucrative career of ghostwriting, and what it’s like to be a gal peddling other people’s dreams. Get access to more insider publishing knowledge, monthly coaching calls, and so much more, here : thebeautifulwritersgroup.com/ and for more great author interviews, follow the Beautiful Writers Podcast on Soundcloud!
Jillian Lauren : Writing the Hard Stuff
Oct 1, 2015 1937
You may know NYT best-selling memoirist Jillian Lauren from her Jersey-girl-ends-up-as-harem-girl story (really)in Brunai (the subject of her first book, SOME GIRLS). Now we celebrate motherhood in her stunning memoir, EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED. Laugh with us as Jillian admits being jealous of other writers (isn't the truth REFRESHING?), and marvel as she shares her practical tips on being so prolific. For access to insider publishing knowledge, monthly coaching calls and so much more, join us in our thriving writing community: www.thebeautifulwritersgroup.com. For more great author interviews, follow the Beautiful Writers Podcast on Soundcloud or iTunes.
Sarah Manguso : When Writing Heals the Writer
Oct 1, 2015 2313
Like most of our favorite authors to interview, Sarah Manguso is a writer’s writer. Linda and Danielle were texting each other during the interview as true blue fans: “She's the REAL DEAL!” May her insights on this practice we all love inspire you too! A few bio deets: Sarah is the author, most recently, of Ongoingness: The End of a Diary. Her five other books include The Guardians, named one of the top ten books of the year by Salon, and The Two Kinds of Decay, named an Editors’ Choice by the New York Times Book Review and a Best Book of the Year by the Independent, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Telegraph, and Time Out Chicago. Her essays and poems have been widely published and she's taught writing at several prestigious schools, including Columbia, NYU, and Princeton. For access to insider publishing knowledge, monthly coaching calls, and so much more, join us in our thriving writing community: www.thebeautifulwritersgroup.com. For more great author interviews, follow the Beautiful Writers Podcast on Soundcloud!
Dani Shapiro : Behind the Scenes Writing
Oct 1, 2015 2219
Bestselling author Dani Shapiro (of the memoirs DEVOTION and SLOW MOTION, five novels, and her latest: STILL WRITING: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life)talks with Linda Sivertsen & Danielle LaPorte for the Beautiful Writers Podcast. Hear Dani share her love of the craft, her doubts each time a book appears, and how she avoided her agent's call, not knowing Oprah was calling:). Get access to insider publishing knowledge, monthly coaching calls, and so much more, as a member of The Beautiful Writers Group. To join our thriving writing community, go to: thebeautifulwritersgroup.com/ and for more author interviews, follow the Beautiful Writers Podcast on Soundcloud or subscribe on iTunes!