July 24, 2021
As the title says, it's dual Boston artists in this episode. Kicking things off is singer-songwriter Linda Marks, who has a brand new album out called “Monuments of Love.” Inspired by and written during the pandemic, the album touches on a lot of the last year, from the health risks we were all faced with to separation anxiety to lost moments with loved ones.
Linda and I talk about how she stayed creative during this difficult time, even hosting a regular livestream music series. We also look at how she completed two other albums, “The Piano” and “Songs at the Heart of Life” during COVID. Linda also has a big triple album release show planned for Aug. 1 at The Burren in Somerville.
After Linda's interview, enjoy one of the tracks for the new album, “Prayers,” written for a musician friend who battled a hellish case of COVID but is now on the mend and singing once more.
Following this, I'm back with Daniel Promotes, and we also find ourselves chatting about the last 15 months and what it's been like for him. Daniel's also been hard at work joining Ambitious Writerz, and it looks like there's going to be touring in the near future. We look at the Boston rap scene and how it weather the pandemic, focusing on some artists who really made their mark with new releases during this time.
July 17, 2021
Recently, I had the chance to read the new graphic novel “Adora and the Distance,” available exclusively through comiXology Originals. It was created and written by Marc Bernardin, who has a lengthy history in television, journalism, and comics.
“Adora and The Distance” is an amazing story about a young girl named Adora who faces a violent force called The Distance, a city-killing threat. Rather than wait for it to bring an end to her home, she and a group of adventurers set on a quest to stop it.
The story is years in the making, and Marc and I talk about how it came to be and the hurdles faced pitching it to publishers before connecting with comiXology. “Adroa and The Distance” is inspired by Bernardin’s daughter who was diagnosed with autism as a toddler, and we talk about what it's like raising a child on the spectrum and how they're often portrayed in media.
Marc and I also talk about the team he worked with. This includes Ariela Kristantina (Illustrator), Bryan Valenza (Colorist), Bernardo Brice, (Letterer), and legendary comics editor Will Dennis. I learn how they worked to create the vivid, lush world found in the pages of this comic and how it even influenced some of the story.
July 15, 2021
Boston singer-songwriter Matt Jatkola returns to talk about his newest singles—“When Tomorrow Comes ” and “Japanese Butterfly.” Both were written at different stages of Matt's battle with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. “When Tomorrow Comes” was written shortly after he received the diagnosis in early 2020, and “Japanese Butterfly” was penned as his treatment was nearing its end. Matt's been cancer-free for nearly a year now.
We talk about Matt's mindset when he began writing the songs and why he wanted to share the story through his music. Matt shares his feelings when he was diagnosed and how it feels to have a clean bill of health. We also look at Matt's interest in professional wrestling and how it helped him to get through both his treatment and the pandemic itself.
Keep listening after this interview, because I've got both songs for your listening enjoyment. They have very different sounds, both of which I really liked.
July 14, 2021
Boston's Dan Nicklin and I dive deep into the history and amazing work being done by Henley Row Studios. Nicklin founded this years ago and in that time it's undergone a lot of growth. Nicklin talks about the studio's creation and some of the artists he's worked with. The studio has released a number of great songs under The Henley Row All-Stars, which features a revolving cast of musicians.
Nicklin's a member of the band OldJack and they've got a new single out called “Take a Picture.” The song has a strong message about social media and mental health, which Dan outlines as well as past works that have a similar theme. It's an issue that many are dealing with from the pandemic and we need to keep in touch and offer a friendly ear when needed.
Live music has begun to return and Dan and I talk about comfort zones and how people feel about being back in crowded venues after more than a year in COVID. OldJack has some shows scheduled and we talk about how it feels to be back on stage.
Following this, enjoy the new single, “Take a Picture.”
July 9, 2021
Comic writer and artist Jeremy Haun joins me again, this time for his exciting new project, Haunthology. It's a 144-page collection of more than 20 black-and-white horror stories, all written, drawn, and lettered by Haun. Currently there's a Kickstater page for the comic with some amazing rewards, including digital and print copies, an enamel pin, T-shirt, and much more.
When the pandemic hit last March, Jeremy's life went from over-full to a complete stop. It was a tough time as all the projects he was working on paused, some for good. He said that storytelling makes him happy, and what began with a three-page tale has grown over the last year into this amazing collection.
In this interview, we talk about the concept and how it helped him through a very difficult year. Jeremy also talks about how horror can comment on the world around us, and what Haunthology has to say about the events of 2020. We look at how the experience has influenced his plans for the future and what it'll mean once the world of conventions comes back.
Jeremy takes us through the world of Haunthology and some of the different monsters, nightmares, and apocalypses he wrote about. We also look at the different story elements and how they're also found in his other works, such as “The Red Mother” and “The Realm.”
July 8, 2021
In her new book “Fierce and Delicate,” Renee Nicholson looks back on her 14 years as a ballet dancer, which began as a child and ended abruptly with a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. Renee pulls no punches in this book—written as a collection of essays—and talks about the internal struggles experienced when it came to certain topics. As she puts it, nearly everything was taken out of the book at one time or another.
Renee and I talk about the direction her life took after her time as a dancer ended. This includes a new teaching role and she reflects on how her time in ballet prepared her, from guiding young dancers to dealing with their parents. We also look at the ways that the dance world has changed, how young dancers are learning from one another, and the way they're planning for the future.
“Fierce and Delicate” isn't Renee's first foray into the writing world and she talks about working in Narrative Medicine, where she helps people in difficult medical situations to share their stories.
July 6, 2021
The name Marjory Stoneman Douglas is one that many find familiar and in her new historical fiction novel “Among the Beautiful Beasts,” author Lori McMullen takes on Douglas's story. The book blends an urgent midnight chase through the wetlands with deep dives into her journalism career, environmental activism, and much more.
In this episode, Lori and I talk about what led her to writing about Douglas' life and the different avenues down which the research took her. The midnight chase that opens the story didn't actually happen and Lori talks about the role it plays in the book.
We look at Douglas' life—spending her childhood in New England nursing her mother, marrying a swindler 30 years her senior. writing for the Miami Herald, and protecting the Florida Everglades. Lori and I also look at Douglas' legacy and the many different stories she's left behind.
July 2, 2021
BONUS—WALLIS talks about following up on the success of “Lonely Christmas”
Opening this episode is comic writer Ricardo Sanchez, who describes the recently released “Shy Ninja” as a labor of love. It was his daughter Adara who came up with the concept, and the two worked together to further develop the story. Adara also made some amazing concept art, which is reflected in the work of illustrator Arianna Florean.
Shy Ninja is a graphic novel about a shy adolescent girl who finds her inner potential while combating her social anxiety disorder… at a local School for Ninjas. Young Rena suffers from social anxiety disorder. It keeps her from engaging at school, from hanging out with her best friend in person, or participating in any sort of group activity. Pressed by her mother to find some social outlet, she enrolls in a School for Ninjas as a joke—and in an instant, her life changes.
Rick and I talk about the origin of the comic as well as how he and Adara built the world of “Shy Ninja.” We look at working with Arianna Florean and the back-and-forth as the issues progressed as well as Adara's input for the art.
Following this, I sit down with WALLIS to talk about her new single “Another Day.” Her first song was a tremendous hit, with over 1 million views of her music video. We talk about the pressure of following up on that success, as well as the adventurous recording process.
After the interview, I've got the new song for your listening pleasure. I really dug the fusion of different styles.
June 27, 2021
A few years ago at Boskone, I had the chance to meet author Robert Redick to talk about his book “Master Assassins.” Well, he's back with a sequel, “Sidewinders,” which hits bookstores on July 6 and in e-book format.
“Sidewinders” continues the story of the Hinjuman brothers, Kandri and Mektu. The story takes place in a lethal desert twice the size of the Sahara, and features giant man-eating spiders, nomadic shape-shifters, and carnivorous plants—all while the magical servants of the tyrant they have wronged chase at their heels.
Robert and I go into the worldbuilding from the first book and how he continued it in the sequel. We talk about the fantasy genre and its struggles with misogyny and how this has improved in recent years. Robert has gotten to travel quite a bit and we look at the places he has been and how it's influenced the book.
June 22, 2021
Former Citywide co-host Jeff Royds returns with a brand new project, Burnt Endz, and the debut album, “Soundtrack to the Apocalypse.” It's a rock-infused EMD collection with a story of alien invaders that hit the human race with a zombie apocalypse.
Jeff is best known for his work with the band We Are Bullethead, but the kind of music in Burnt Endz has been a love of his for years. In making the album, he dove into the genre and found some great new artists. Jeff and I talk about the different things he had to learn or re-learn when making the album.
Following this, enjoy three songs from the album—“Now Let's Go Kill Some Mutha F@_King Zombies,” “The Sky is on Fire,” and “Zombies v Aliens.”