By Theresa Bakken
Desideratum is Latin for things that are desired as essential. The Desideratum Podcast celebrates storytelling - the art of telling and the journey of listening. Join audiobook narrator Theresa Bakken and her wordsmith friends for new episodes every Friday featuring conversations with writers and excerpts from their audiobooks or recorded short stories. Tune in to hear an artist you love or to find your new favorite storyteller.
Follow your heart Behind the Lens, Episode 27 with Jeannee Sacken
Our featured story comes from freelance photographer and writer Jeannee Sacken. In her debut novel, Behind the Lens, Sacken honors strong women. She champions their education and freedom to follow their hearts and passions. Her characters are courageous and complicated. She takes us to a war zone with a photographer who focuses on truth and witnesses cruelty, love, cultural beauty and betrayal. It's a riveting, multifaceted story set in Afghanistan. You will hear a scene from the novel and find out why Sacken's own life trajectory changed - why she followed her heart and started sharing women's stories. You can find out more about Jeannee Sacken, connect with her on social media and buy her book in the links below. She has also shared the names of charities helping refugees from Afghanistan right now. Thanks for listening. Links to Jeannee Sacken's work: https://www.jeanneesacken.com https://www.facebook.com/jeanneesacken https://instagram/authorjeanneesacken Link to Amazon to purchase Behind the Lens: https://amzn.to/3gNzfOo Organizations accepting donations of new clothing, shoes, supplies, and money: Islamic Society of Milwaukee, Milwaukee Muslim Women's Coalition, Lutheran Social Services, International Institute of Wisconsin, Jewish Social Services (based in Madison) Volunteering assistance: email@example.com (Catholic Charities of the Diocese of La Crosse), teamrubiconusa.org/resettlement, cclse.org/afghanistan-refugee-assistance
September 17, 2021
A journey of darkness and light - Luz by Debra Thomas, Episode 26
Our featured story is a harrowing tale, a heart wrenching story about a journey through compassion and cruelty. Author Debra Thomas spent years writing the novel Luz and more years finding just the right publisher for the story - She Writes Press. In our conversation, she shares personal insight into the life lessons about perseverance and living with regrets that she wove into the characters. She talks about real life experiences that gave the story its authenticity and explains why she thinks fiction is the best vehicle to move us towards empathy and truth. You can find a great book club study guide for the novel put together by author and Bookish Road Trip founder Mary Sheriff on Debra's website. https://debrathomasauthor.com/planning-the-perfect-book-club-with-luz/ Thank you to the International Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys Book Club and Reading Nation Magazine for shining a light on Luz and leading me to it. And, thank you for listening.
September 10, 2021
The best person for the job, in When the Men Were Gone by Marjorie Herrera Lewis, Episode 25
Our featured story comes from Marjorie Herrera Lewis. Marjorie is a career sports writer covering football at all levels in Texas. In fact, she was the first female sports writer to cover the Dallas Cowboys. So when, through a happy set of coincidences, she found out about another female sports enthusiast who stepped up during WWII and coached high school football in Texas, she knew it was a story she had to tell. Tylene Wilson's story was lost to the dust bins of history before Marjorie wrote her novel When the Men Were Gone. Now, the book has made the Best Books lists in Sports Illustrated and Newsweek, is a Book Club selection of Readers Digest and the International Pulpwood Queens, and is now under a film contract. Listen to how Marjorie found Tylene's voice in late night writing sessions, and what Marjorie's big picture themes of the book are (hint: it's bigger than Texas football). Her audiobook narrator, Eva Kaminsky, is an accomplished television, film and broadway actor who has won multiple Earphones Awards for her narration work. Find the rest of the story and more about Marjorie Herrera Lewis on her website https://marjorieherreralewis.com/ and see a picture of the real life Tylene Wilson posing with her football team on the Desideratum Podcast website. https://desideratumpodcast.com/ Thanks for listening.
September 3, 2021
Episode 24, author Claire Fullerton, Little Tea, and how the past is always with us
Our featured story is from Claire Fullerton, a storyteller who visits the past and studies how it shapes us over and over again in her writing. We talk about how being an outsider and an observer sparked her study and love for the south. She shares her unplanned writing style - you won't find it in any writing class. And, she describes her first trip to Como, Mississippi, where she set part of the novel Little Tea. You will hear a reading from Little Tea - a section from the beginning of the novel where you discover the title's significance. You can find fantastic pictures of the ocean in her backyard and the shepherds in her life on her instagram feed @cffullerton And, you can find her novels and her engaging reviews of other author's novels on her website. https://www.clairefullerton.com/ I will put a little more of the Little Tea conversation on the Desideratum Podcast website - a lucky listener bonus about Claire's ancestral connection to and understanding of Ireland where her novel Dancing to an Irish Reel is set. https://desideratumpodcast.com/ Thanks for listening.
August 27, 2021
Discover dark secrets, inner demons, and fate Walking Among the Trees with Frank Oliva, Episode 23
Our featured story is from Frank Oliva's debut novel Walking Among the Trees. The Psychological Thriller is a journey through secrets and past sins. You will hear the beginning of the book as the two priests venture into the trees. And then, you will walk a little farther into the trees with the author to hear about: what he researched to get just right in the story; how the seed of the story was planted when he was a teenager working at a Catholic church; and how he found the time to create the novel's slow burn - with a couple jump scares along the way. Here's Frank's website to find out more about him and to order the book to find out the secrets it reveals for yourself. Thanks for listening. Frank Oliva's Website
August 20, 2021
The surprisingly timely historical fiction - The Second Life of Mirielle West by Amanda Skenandore, Episode 22
Inspired by a surprising find in a library, today's featured story is from author Amanda Skenandore. She is an award winning historical fiction writer and a registered nurse. Her latest novel The Second Life of Mirielle West is set one hundred years ago in America's only leper colony. We talk about The Carville Leper Home and how the patients quarantined there long ago gave Amanda perspective on the current health crisis. Her essential thing is evident in her storytelling, and her ideas about what historical fiction writers might be exploring a hundred years from now intrigued and surprised me. She shared a great picture of herself at Carville doing book research in 2019. You can find it on the Desideratum Podcast website. https://desideratumpodcast.com/ You can find The Second Life of Mirielle West and learn about Amanda's other successful novels on her website. https://www.amandaskenandore.com/. Find out more about her narrator - the classically trained voice actor and Creative Changemaker Nicole Poole on her website. https://www.nicolepoole.com/. Thanks for listening!
August 13, 2021
After Francesco - grief, hope and gallows humor with Brian Malloy, Episode 21
Our featured story comes from author Brian Malloy's new novel After Francesco. You will hear his talented and award winning narrator Michael Crouch read an excerpt from the audiobook - a scene where the main character Kevin measures his grief not by remembering what was, but by thinking about what will never be. You will also hear Brian explain - in his even and calming voice - how this emotional ride of a story is anchored in his personal experiences in many different ways. I love what his character Aunt Nora says about family. And, Brian's answer to the 'essential things' question caught me by surprise with its altruism. We begin by talking about when he was writing the 'author's note' during lock down - during the pandemic - a very different pandemic than the one he chronicles in the book - which honors those who fought a life and death battle against disease, hatred, indifference, and ignorance during the 1980's. You can find After Francesco and all of Brian's work through his website https://www.malloywriter.com/after_francesco_.htm. And, I'll put a picture of Brian with his Minnesota AIDS Project buds at the March on Washington in 1987 on the Desideratum Podcast website. https://desideratumpodcast.com/ When you want to hear more from narrator Michael Crouch, here is his website: http://www.michaellockwoodcrouch.com/ Thanks for listening.
August 6, 2021
Forever 51 it's not your daughter's vampire story, with Pamela Skjolsvik Episode 20
Our featured story comes from author Pamela Skjolsvik. She always considered herself a non-fiction writer, trained to tell the truth, but then one day she discovered she likes to make things up and she's good at it. She's written a vampire novel called Forever 51 that she says is not your daughter's vampire story. She's funnier than her last name and she's open and direct in surprising ways. I've been asking authors and everyone else about their COVID pandemic experiences - the silver linings and the losses. Her experience took my breath away. I'll put more about her and her picture on the Desideratum Podcast website. Below are links to her website, an article CNN published by her in 2020, and her social media pages. Thanks for listening. https://www.pamelaskjolsvik.com/ https://desideratumpodcast.com/ Here is the link to her CNN article about her mother's last days: https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/30/opinions/presidents-callous-words-covid-19-skjolsvik/index.html and these are Pamela's social media pages links: https://twitter.com/pamelaskjolsvik https://www.instagram.com/pamelaskjolsvik/ https://www.facebook.com/pamelaskjolsvikauthor
July 30, 2021
Episode 19 Hunting Teddy Roosevelt historical fiction with James A Ross
Today's featured story is an excerpt from the historical thriller Hunting Teddy Roosevelt. The story takes place during Roosevelt's well documented safari in Africa in 1909. Author James Ross places an assassin on the trip hired by forces who want to keep Roosevelt out of politics forever. And he creates a female journalist / explorer who travels with the safari and whose work shines a light on colonial atrocities in the Congo. The story has layers of excitement and personal discovery. You can find the book wherever books are sold and connect with James on his website and through his newsletter. On the Desideratum Podcast website you will find a link to his MOTH main stage storytelling - which gives you a taste of his next project. Thanks for listening. https://www.jamesrossauthor.com/hunting-teddy-roosevelt https://desideratumpodcast.com/
July 23, 2021
Episode 18, When the Apricots Bloom with author Gina Wilkinson
Our featured story comes from former foreign corespondent and award winning journalist Gina Wilkinson. Her rich and suspenseful novel, When the Apricots Bloom, was inspired by her time in Bagdad twenty years ago. The story is told through the lens of three resilient women: an artist, a diplomat’s wife, and a secretary. Their complicated friendship and shared goal to protect their families is peppered with historical truths that transport you to their reality. My conversation with Gina explores the long standing idea that fiction is the lie that reveals the truth. You will hear Chapter 1 of the book come to life through the voice of narrator Raghad Chaar. You can find When the Apricots Bloom in all its formats here: When the Apricots Bloom on Amazon. You can see a photo Gina took in Iraq that helped her develop her characters friendship on the Desideratum Website. A special thanks to Vida Engstrand at Kensington Books for connecting me and Gina. And, thank you for listening.
July 16, 2021
The River Maiden Book 1 The Once and Future Series by Meredith Stoddard, Ep17
Our featured story is from author Meredith Stoddard who writes folklore inspired fiction. You will hear the beginning of her Book One, The River Maiden, in her Once and Future Series. There are five books in this contemporary fantasy series - so far. Meredith says she has more story to tell. 'These characters have mountains to climb, caves to feel their way through and emotional swamps to navigate.' Listen for how Meredith's characters are changed by betrayal and kindness. Hear what informs the choices they make and the way they see the world. There's an echo of this character development in Meredith's personal stories about her grandmother, Joyce. The lessons in life that Joyce gives Meredith draw from her nearly 104 years of experience. Meredith is the grateful granddaughter of a storyteller and a memory keeper. Read more of the Once and Future series as well as her short story bonus material on her website. http://www.meredithstoddard.com/ . And, here is a link to the author she mentions in the podcast - who she recommends to everyone - Steven Pressfield, https://stevenpressfield.com/books/the-war-of-art/ The featured picture for this episode is Joyce at 100. You can it on the Desideratum Podcast website and Desideratum Podcast Facebook page. https://desideratumpodcast.com/ , https://www.facebook.com/DesideratumPodcast/?ref=pages_you_manage Thanks for listening.
July 9, 2021
The Flying Cutterbucks with Kathleen Rodgers and Michelle Williams, Ep16
As we head into the Independence Day holiday, on today's episode Kathleen Rodgers shares her impassioned convictions about democracy and talks about the stand she found the courage to take as an author. She invited her narrator and dear friend Michelle Williams to join the conversation. They dive into high school memories about CB radio handles and the eastern New Mexico sky. Kathleen says she can feel the land and smell the wind in Michelle's narration of Kathleen's 4th novel, The Flying Cutterbucks. Hear for yourself in our featured story, Chapter 1 of The Flying Cutterbucks, where the opening lines will take you back to a moment in October 2016. When you want to listen to the rest of the story, here is a link to Kathleen Rodger's The Flying Cutterbucks audiobook on Audible. https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Flying-Cutterbucks-Audiobook/B096MW4N6N And, a link to all of Kathleen's books and more on her website. https://kathleenmrodgers.com/ Thanks for listening.
July 2, 2021
Spellbound Under the Spanish Moss by Kevin Garrett and Connor Judson Garrett Ep15
This week's featured story is from a father and son writing team. You're going to hear Chapter 1 from their book Spellbound Under the Spanish Moss, A Tale of Southern Magic. You will also hear why the 'why' is so important to them, how the magical world they've created has real world 'good truths', and what impact a real life car accident had on a fictional character. When you are ready to hear the rest of the story, here is a link to the book and audiobook. Thanks for listening! https://www.amazon.com/Spellbound-Under-Spanish-Moss-Southern/dp/B094K3W3DV/ref=tmm_aud_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1624055606&sr=8-1-spons
June 25, 2021
The Library of Lost Souls by Meghan Holloway Ep14
Today's featured story was inspired by a teller of tall tales - a lover of stories. As we head into Father’s Day weekend, listen to Meghan Holloway talk about the ways her grandfather enriched her life and her writing. Meghan Holloway wrote a successful WWII Historical Fiction published by Polis Books called Once More Unto the Breach as well as a trilogy in the Thriller Crime genre with Hunting Ground released last year, and Hiding Place out this August. But, we are talking about something very different - a book she wrote that is set in the future. At its heart, it is a love story about what it means to be human and the ways we grapple with loneliness and loss. Today we are talking about The Library of Lost Souls. http://www.polisbooks.com/authors/meghan-holloway https://www.meghanholloway.com/the-library-of-lost-souls
June 18, 2021
The Eves by Grace Sammon Ep13
Today's featured story is from Grace Sammon's novel The Eves. Grace describes The Eves as a multi-generational novel portraying lives lived well and lives in transition. It captures the conversations we wish we had had with our parents, if we had taken the opportunity, and the lessons we would want to impart to our children, if they were ready to listen. Told through the voice of the psychologically complex Jessica Barnet, this is her story. Listen to: why Grace struggled with her main character being called a liar, how Grace uses a nerdy explanation of Mitochrondrial DNA, and what Grace sees in those simple handprint paintings from childhood. Connect with Grace on social media and find her book through her website https://gracesammon.net/. Find a picture of Grace with a special handprint quilt her beta readers created for her on the Desideratum Podcast website. Thanks for listening.
June 11, 2021
Gawk by Dianne Bilyak Ep12
This weeks featured story is from author Dianne Bilyak. It's a vignette from her memoir Nothing Special: The Mostly True, Sometimes Funny, Tales of Two Sisters. The title tells you a lot. This book with a long descriptive title took an unusual and interesting path to publication. I am excited for you to hear about it. I loved Dianne's dedication in the book "To my inimitable sister, Chris Bilyak, thanks for making my life fun, for always singing with me in the car, for 'liking me a lot', and teaching me that dancing can solve most problems." You can find the book through Dianne's website, and get a glimpse of the sister's relationship today on the Nothing Special Book Facebook Page. Thanks for listening! http://diannebilyak.com/
June 4, 2021
Mercy - Mystery Short Story in Peace Love and Crime Anthology by Joseph S. Walker, Ep11
Today's featured story is from Edgar Award Nominee Joseph S. Walker. The Edgar Allan Poe Awards are presented every year by the Mystery Writers of America. The short story Joe chose for the podcast is titled Mercy. It was inspired by the growled word 'mercy' in the the Roy Orbison song Pretty Woman. It's published in a clever anthology called Peace, Love and Crime where each story draws inspiration from a song of the '60s. Listen to why Joe enjoys contributing to anthologies and what essential thing he fights for everyday. You can find all his published work through his website and find the anthology with Mercy in it at Untreed Reads Publishing. Thanks for listening. Joseph S. Walker Crime Writer : https://jsw47408.wixsite.com/website Peace, Love, and Crime (paperback) edited by Sandra Murphy : Untreed Reads Publishing
May 28, 2021
Border Song short story by Paranormal / Romance author Laura Kemp, Ep10
Our featured story this week is from Laura Kemp. Border Song is set in Oklahoma, a long way from Laura's Michigan based Yellow Wood series. She explains how she feels about nature - especially the wild places. And, she talks about being a spooky storyteller at heart. You can find her books on her website and check out the world she has created at 'Kemp Camp' on FB. Thanks for listening. https://laurakempbooks.com/
May 21, 2021
Garden Crow excerpt from The Cicada Tree by Southern Gothic author Robert Gwaltney, Ep9
Todays featured story is from Robert Gwaltney. It's a special excerpt from his debut novel The Cicada Tree. Before the story, we talk about how powerful early childhood experiences can be, what advice his granny Louise gave him about where to sit, and what music influenced him while he was writing The Cicada Tree. After the story, hearing about his essential things will make you want to reach out and be friends! You can find him on Facebook, and I highly recommend you check out his website and blog. The Cicada Tree will be released in January 2022. Thanks for listening. https://robertlgwaltney.com/
May 14, 2021
Mommy Van Gogh from parenting with humor book I Love You More Than Coffee author Melissa Face, Ep8
Today's featured story is from Melissa Face and her collection of parenting essays called I Love You More Than Coffee. Her book celebrates early motherhood, but it's not just for new moms reaching for their coffee. It's also for moms looking back and remembering. Melissa is quick to smile and laugh, a joy to talk to. Listen to why she's glad she wrote these essays, how her daughter's confidence makes her say wow, and when she felt the cosmic shift of motherhood - that moment of no longer feeling like the center of her own universe. You can find her book and her schedule of coffee and library talks on her website. She also shared a great picture of her and her kids that we will put on the Desideratum Facebook page. Thanks for listening. https://melissaface.com/
May 7, 2021
The Hedonist short story from A proud Scot lass author Alison Ragsdale Ep7
Our featured story comes from Alison Ragsdale, a proud Scot lass, who writes emotionally charged novels that often require tissues. I want you to listen to how her own personal resets - adapting to her life's unexpected events - shapes her characters and her storytelling. I love what she says about supporting characters grounding her stories and the gift her father gave her that shows up in her characters lives. She has lived a global life and walked a winding path... Alison's latest novel Her Last Chance launched this month. You can find it and all her novels on her website. http://www.alisonragsdale.com/ I'll post a picture of Alison in Scotland on the Desideratum Podcast website. https://desideratumpodcast.com/ Thanks for listening.
April 30, 2021
Voices short story from Body Language by author Marylee Macdonald, narrated by Adam Barr Ep6
The featured story this week is from Marylee Macdonald's collection of short stories Body Language: Twelve unforgettable portraits of heartbreak and desire. The story is brought to life by her talented audiobook narrator Adam Barr. Marylee's work in this collection is about the solace of touch and it's connection to well being. She also talks about place and how she uses it to put her characters in uncomfortable situations. Why she does this, turns out to be very personal for her. Her ideas about nature and nurture and love are rooted in her experiences with adoption. Listen for what she has to say about identity, motherhood and the physicality of creativity. You can find her novels, her short story collections and the ways she helps other authors with their writing, publishing and marketing on her website. maryleemacdonaldauthor.com You can find out more about narrator Adam Barr and connect to his extensive library of audiobooks on his website. https://www.adambarrnarration.com/
April 23, 2021
Ignorance or Innocence short story by upmarket Women’s fiction author Johnnie Bernhard, Ep5
Our featured story Ignorance or Innocence is from Johnnie Bernhard. It will be included in an anthology of short stories about home, in September, 2021. Johnnie wrote this story awhile ago, before her successful novels. Unlike her novels, this story is autobiographical, set in a small Texas town where she moved in 8th grade. It's kind of a story about being an outsider, but Johnnie has this way of seeing the 'Gift' in things, even hard things like loneliness. You will hear why she starts every story with character and family and what part of writing she equates to a runner's high - it's fantastic. She's fantastic and she's clearly doing what she was meant to do. After you listen... you can listen to her TEDTalk here, https://www.ted.com/talks/johnnie_bernhard_the_human_story You can find links to purchase her novels and audiobook on her website. http://www.johnniebernhardauthor.com/ You can find her mentoring writers through Gemini Ink https://geminiink.org/ And, you can see a lovely picture she shared of her and her mom Loula Mae taken on Johnnie's wedding day. We will share it on the Desideratum FB page. Thanks for listening.
April 16, 2021
Unexplained Aerial Phenomena short story by PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist Steve Wiegenstein, Ep4
Our featured story comes from Steve Wiegenstein's twelve story collection Scattered Lights. Like Steve, the characters in these stories are deeply rooted in the Ozarks. Yet through his storytelling, he unearths something more universal than regional in each human motivation and interaction. In Unexplained Aerial Phenomena the character Janine says, "Every story fills a need." I hope after you listen, you feel the need to read all of Steve's stories from this collection and from his series of historical novels. You can find them on his website where you can also read 'whatever he feels like writing about' on his blog. Congratulations to Steve on Scattered Lights being named a Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction 2021. Thanks for listening. https://www.stevewiegenstein.com/ , https://www.penfaulkner.org/2021/03/02/announcing-the-finalists-for-the-2021-pen-faulkner-award-for-fiction/
April 9, 2021
Thirteen Seconds from Follow me to Alaska by Texas to Alaska author Ann Parker Ep3
In this season of rebirth and renewal, when new beginnings are announced by every budding leaf and celebrated by every spectacular bloom; it is the perfect time to meet Ann Parker and hear her perspective on seasons, bravery, truth and essential things. Her featured story is called Thirteen Seconds. It's about a plane crash. It is just one of many stories in Ann's practical and deeply personal book Follow Me to Alaska. Look for Ann on social media @annparkerfollowmetoalaska, and @realalaska2day. You can see some of her breathtaking videos on her YouTube channel (Follow Me to Alaska Ann Parker). Her book and audio book are on sale on her website https://followmetoalaska.com/ and on Amazon and Audible. We shared one of our favorite pictures of Ann on the Desideratum Facebook Page @desideratumpodcast. Thanks for listening.
April 2, 2021
Aperture spoken word poetry written and performed by Irish novelist Daniel Wade, Ep2
A talk with Daniel Wade is a walk on a wandering path. Come along as he talks about the sea, about Ireland's long history of storytelling and about how we should all be looking for a lighthouse. The featured story is from Embers and Earth, Daniel's spoken word album. Aperture is about Daniel's grandmother and darkness. I am grateful to hear it in his own voice. Daniel is a poet, a playwright, a debut novelist and like all of us, he's hard to put in one category. As he says, he's something in between. You can hear more and read more of Daniel's storytelling on his website (www.danielwade.ie) . Follow him @danielwadeauthor or @wadeinthewate11 on FB, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Spotify, Apple Music and SoundCloud. You can find the Baudelaire 200 Years Literary Festival on FB @Baudelaire200Years. And, on the Desideratum FB page @DesideratumPodcast, you can find a picture of Daniel's grandmother Phyllis on vacation a long time ago - on a boat in the NY harbor - surrounded by light. Thank you for listening.
March 26, 2021
Something More short story by author of literary fiction with a Southern drawl Mandy Haynes, Ep1
Today you will get to know author Mandy Haynes and hear her story Something More about a little girl named Jewell who sees beauty in small things and who is truly more precious than diamonds and rubies. Mandy Haynes is an author of literary fiction with a southern drawl. Her official tag line is "Hell, we cain't all be saints." You can find her books Walking the Wrong Way Home and Sharp as a Serpent's Tooth: Eva and Other Stories wherever you buy your books and on her website https://mandyhaynes.com/ You can keep up with Mandy's latest projects on social media @mandywrites. And after you listen to the podcast, you might want to hear Miss Twiggley's Tree, https://www.pbs.org/video/georgia-read-more-miss-twiggleys-tree/. Thank you for listening. 15OUqZZqVWdKY3jyXXEg
March 20, 2021