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Let's Talk Books with Robin Van Auken

Arts & Culture Podcasts

I'm a writer, and I interview other writers. I enjoy learning new things and sharing what works, especially in the book publishing industry. On the web at https://www.RobinVanAuken.com


United States


I'm a writer, and I interview other writers. I enjoy learning new things and sharing what works, especially in the book publishing industry. On the web at https://www.RobinVanAuken.com




Let's Talk Books Episode 023: Reimagining Celibacy with Tonya Anderson

Tonya Anderson is a writer, sacred therapist, and inspirational speaker. As a mental health counselor, she has vast experience working with people from all walks of life. She has a lot of wisdom to share, and her latest project is one that will make you sit up and take notice. We're talking about a new book in the works and a course that accompanies it.


Let's Talk Books Episode 022: The History of Writing with Robin Van Auken

My husband, Lance, enjoys giving gifts. He finds amazing gifts, imaginative presents with meaning and symbolism. For example, when we purchased our lovely house on the river, he knew we had traded in our dream to live on a boat and sail far away. Okay, my dream. He mounted our ship’s bell—one he ordered for us with the name “Tangent” cast on it (my dream boat’s name)—on a plaque to commemorate the “launch” of our house. On the ship’s bell pull, he sewed two pearls from my wedding dress....


Let's Talk Books Episode 021: Horse Talk with Robin Van Auken

Today, I'm talking horses. Our son invited us to visit for the weekend, and join him and his sweetheart at the Charles Town Races in West Virginia. I'm a huge fan of horses, and the racetrack is attached to a casino, of which I'm not a huge fan. I abhor casinos. It's not the gambling, which I don't partake, but the fact that these are massive, noisy, stinky buildings filled with people and are meant to do one thing - separate people from their money with deceit. I don't mind separating from...


Let's Talk Books Episode 020: Interview with Janice Ogurcak

Janice Ogurcak is the Director of Public Programming and Outreach at the World of Little League Museum. This museum is to Little League what the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown is to Major League Baseball. Its filled with significant artifacts that range from serious to frivolous. There is a piece torn from the Berlin Wall when it fell, the badge of a fireman who perished in the World Trade Center on 9/11, a 1970s-era Troll Doll and a patch that flew in space. Each of these...


Let's Talk Books and Writer's Retreats with Robin Van Auken

Spring is supposed to be here, but I live in northcentral Pennsylvania, and it's slow coming. We've had several snow storms in the past few weeks, but the ground is too warm for it to stick around. Then we endured rain and high winds. I believe the temperatures are rising next week to the 60s, so I'm itching for a writer's retreat. I like to go on solo writing retreats, isolating myself from the Internet and phone, and the various tasks that get heaped on my shoulders. My husband is heading...


Let's Talk Books Episode 018: Interview with Kathy Kolb

Kathy Kolb is the publisher of NorthcentralPA.com, a news outlet that’s been online since 2009, and she’s been steadily growing since then by personally connecting with her readers. I know, this sounds impossible — how do you connect with thousands of people? She’s accomplished this by building an amazingly loyal Facebook following, which total tops out at 31 thousand people! Kathy’s been chronically ill for the past 30 years. This illness prevents her from having an active life, physically,...


Let's Talk Books Episode 017: Interview with Lance Van Auken

Lance Van Auken is probably the world’s foremost experts on the history of Little League Baseball. There’s only a handful of people who may know more, or as much, as Lance. He earned this honor by being a Little League volunteer, and employee, for most of his life. He shares this knowledge as the co-author of “Play Ball! The Story of Little League Baseball®." He attended his first Little League game as a baby in his mother's arms, as his father coached his four older brothers at Cross Bayou...


Let's Talk Books Episode 16: Interview with Wendy Butler Dean

Wendy Butler Dean is the owner of The Omnibus Publishing, a boutique publishing company that specializes in children’s books, Young Adult novels, and some non-fiction. The Omnibus is a hybrid company, combining a unique blend of older, traditional book publishing and new, digital publishing. She produces ebooks and print on demand paperbacks. Wendy’s a savvy publisher and knows how to harness the power of building a community. Many of her authors are people she has connections with, either...


Let's Talk Books Episode 15: Solitude with Robin Van Auken

Today I try out a new software platform for recording podcasts, Anchor, and experiment with recording smaller audio clips, transitions, and putting together a show on the fly. I've done this to test the system and to see if I want to use it in an upcoming communications class I teach at Lycoming College. I also discuss an amazing book, "How to Be Alone," by Sara Maitland, a handbook on solitude and why it's important for people, particularly those individuals with introversion qualities. If...


Let's Talk Books Episode 014: Interview with Tank Baird

Today I chatted with my good friend Tom “Tank” Baird about his passion for archaeology, and how he's become a local expert on the topic of prehistory and Native American cultures. I met Tank in 2005 when he rolled up to my dig site in Muncy on his Harley Davidson, with his beautiful, blonde wife, Anita, on the back. The two were clad in black leather, on a loud motorcycle, and just a little intimidating. I was teaching people, including children, how to excavate at a public archaeology dig...


Let's Talk Books Episode 013: Interview with Steve Altier

Steve Altier is the author of the books for young people, and is best known for his children’s books, the Gabby and Maddox adventure series. Not content with lessons for little ones, he’s written a Young Adult novel, “Lizardville, the Ghost Story,” and he’ll soon release a sequel. Steve grew up in Mill Hall, a small town in central Pennsylvania, on Lizardville Road, so yes, it’s a real place. He’s given up the snow for life in sunny Florida, and he lives in the Tampa Bay Metro area with his...


Let's Talk Books Episode 012: Interview with Marjorie Maddox

I tried to imagine an early morning drive with poet Marjorie Maddox, whose creative suitcase is crammed with metaphors. I was enveloped in fog, which occluded my vision, on this particular day. My surroundings became the murky sea, and my auto a submarine. The tall, stark silver maples along the roadway became the kelp forests off the coast of California, and the 18-wheeler entering the road from the left became a large, gray whale, which I followed into a labyrinth of coral reefs (the city)...


Let's Talk Books Episode 011: Interview with Melody Johnson

Melody Johnson writes paranormal romance. She’s the author of gritty, urban fantasy stories about vampires, and other unnatural creatures. Melody graduated magna cum laude from Lycoming College with her BA in creative writing and psychology. She credits her time at Lyco, and her writing classes for much of her success. Sage advice from her college mentor encouraged her to look at writing as a long-distance marathon, not a sprint. By writing one page each day, at the end of the year, she has...


Let's Talk Books Episode 010: Interview with Mary Woods

Mary Woods is an artist, a poet, and the author of "The Heart of the Matter,” which guides the reader to becoming wholeheartedly happy. I know Mary through her service work with Beloved Community Council and Heart of Williamsport. We've worked on the HoW project for three years, and it's amazing to see the change of heart she's experienced as the project assistant. HoW's mission is to collect stories from our diverse community, identify what people value, and share this information to guide...


Let's Talk Books Episode 009: Interview with Dave Bellomo

Dave Bellomo is a fitness expert, personal trainer, and author. I met Dave about 18 years ago, when he worked as a personal trainer. I continued to work with Dave after he opened his own gym. We had a lot of fun brainstorming and creating fitness books and digital workout manuals. You’ll learn about Dave’s passion for Kettlebells, a unique, simple, yet highly effective piece of exercise equipment. Dave is an expert and has authored two books on the topic. He’s worked with high-level athletes...


Let's Talk Books Episode 008: Interview with Nancy Panko

Nancy Panko has achieved amazing success with her book, “Guiding Missal,” an unusual story about a prayer book that is carried in the pocket of three generations of men as they navigate war. As she held the Military Missal in her hands, Nancy thought, “If only this little book could talk.” Her novel gives the prayer book a voice. Based on actual events, Nancy’s award winning novel is partially narrated by the small Catholic prayer book that George Panko received as he prepared to deploy to...


Let's Talk Books Episode 007: Interview with Louis E. Hunsinger, Jr.

Louis E. Hunsinger, Jr. labors for posterity. He does this as a historian, preserving Lycoming County's heritage as a writer for newspapers, magazines, programs, and books. He's the co-author of eight books. His publishing career began with his good friend, Dr. James P. Quigel, and in 1999, the duo published the paperback, "Williamsport's Baseball Heritage," a photographic narrative about professional baseball, through Arcadia. This book was soon followed up by, "Gateway to the Majors:...


Let's Talk Books Episode 006: Interview with Joseph W. Smith III

Joseph Smith III is a writer and a high school English teacher. He's also author of three nonfiction books that focus on his two favorite topics: The Church and Film. His first book, "The Psycho File," is a comprehensive guide to Alfred Hitchcock’s Classic Shock film. His second book, "Sex and Violence in the Bible," surveys Explicit Content in the Holy Book. It’s a squeamish topic a lot of Christians shy away from. In the book, Joe champions a frank and forthright approach. He’s shopping...


Let's Talk Books Episode 005: Interview with Lorena Beniquez

Lorena Beniquez, a writer, photographer and a filmmaker, and the author of a new book, Lost Coal Country of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Published by Arcadia, the book is part of the Images of Modern America series, so it’s part history, part photographic art, and part travel guide. Lorena visits many places in her book, including the site of the last coal breaker in America, scheduled for demolition soon. She also visits the spooky village of Centralia, abandoned 50 years ago when the the...


Let's Talk Books Episode 004: Interview with Mike Reuther

Mike Reuther is a journalist by profession, but he never stops writing. Most mornings, before he heads to work at the daily newspaper, where he reports on government, politics, health care, crime, sports and general news, Mike works on his novels and self-help books. A non-nonsense and prolific writer, he has 18 books he’s self-published since 2011. Mike ReutherHis fictional characters are complex characters who find themselves in difficult situations, often with the odds stacked against...