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Beautiful Writers Podcast

Author: Linda Sivertsen

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Listen in as author Linda Sivertsen (aka Book Mama) brings together the world’s most beloved bestselling authors for monthly chats on writing, publishing, deal-making, spirituality, activism, and the art of romancing creativity. These up-close conversations are a fan favorite, frequently profiled on “Best Podcast” lists/blogs (i.e., The Motley Fool’s “10 Best Podcasts for Women”) and at the top of the Literature category on iTunes.Join Linda and her celebrity co-hosts for deep, funny, powerful interviews with authors and songwriters who have pulled it off—from breakout success to staying power. Heart-centered encouragement, street-smart advice, and insider success (and failure!) stories for every writer and creative type. Details of biggest mistakes, best shortcuts, behind-the-scenes agent, press, and publishing stories help you gain the courage to get your book, blog, ballad, or biz birthed into the world.New shows post each month. Guests include: Abby Wambach, Candice Bergen, Ann Patchett, Maria Shriver, Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Gilbert, Tosca Lee, Dean Koontz, Brené Brown, Glennon Doyle, Van Jones, Taylor Dayne, Lee Child, Steven Pressfield, Rob Bell, Terry McMillan, Anne Lamott, Dani Shapiro, Gabby Bernstein, Martha Beck, Seth Godin, Robert McKee, Danielle LaPorte, Marianne Williamson, Arianna Huffington, Mary Karr, Gretchen Rubin, and WME super-agent Jennifer Rudolph Walsh. If you’ve ever wished you could sit down with your favorite writers to ask them how they do it, year after year, book after book (or album after album), consider this your new, not-so-guilty pleasure.Take your dreams from idea to done with us. The Beautiful Writers Podcast. Where inspiration is constant, and swearing, optional (although highly appreciated). Find out more: https://www.beautifulwriterspodcast.com
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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. Welcome. Lindaxx
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. Write on! Linda PS. Subscribe at BeautifulWritersPodcast.com to be the first to hear our episodes when they drop:).  
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  
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. Welcome.
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. Welcome.
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.Linda xo
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! Lindaxx
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. Lindaxx
Ann Patchett: Unplugged

Ann Patchett: Unplugged

2018-11-0101:30:051

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. Welcome! xoPS: Subscribe here so you'll be the first to know when a new episode airs. (And, for more info, go to www.BeautifulWritersPodcast.com)PPS: If you love the show and want to help spread the word, please take a sec to give us your thoughts and/or a 5-star rating on iTunes. apple.co/2sbpC1J
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.Welcome.xoPS: Subscribe here so you'll be the first to know when a new episode airs. (And, for more info, go to www.BeautifulWritersPodcast.com)PPS: If you love the show and want to help spread the word, please take a sec to give us your thoughts and/or a 5-star rating on iTunes. apple.co/2sbpC1J
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