• Revisited - Faking the Grade

    In this revisited episode of the True Fiction Project Podcast, actor, writer, and stand up comedian Shenuque Tissera shares his story of how he went from a Doctor of Geography to a Stand Up Comedian. He talks about the expectations his parents had of him after immigrating to the US, and his fear of disappointing them as he faked his graduation and dropped out of graduate school. We hear all about the Art of Killin' It and the other projects he is currently working on. The episode ends with the short story titled, Faking the Grade by Michael Kobzik. In this story we follow an aspiring stand up comedian who officially drops out from becoming a Doctor of Geography but still shows up at his graduation to receive a fake diploma to appease his unaware parents. 

     

    IN THIS EPISODE: 

    • [1:57] What is Shenuque’s primary career? 
    • [2:50] Shenuque walks through his college education path. 
    • [11:38] How did Shenuque fake his graduation? 
    • [13:10] Shenuque talks about his start as a stand up comedian. 
    • [14:53] We hear about the Art of Killin' It
    • [16:43] How is Quidditch (quadball) actually played? 
    • [22:37] What do Shenuque’s parents think of the decisions he has made with his career? 
    • [23:50] Shenuque tells us about the Twenty Sided Podcast and his character. 
    • [26:36] A short story Faking the Grade by Michael Kobzik. 

    KEY TAKEAWAYS: 

    • Follow your heart. Shenuque knew that he wasn’t destined for the graduate school path. Once he followed his heart he was able to find a career that he absolutely loves and is wildly successful at.  
    • Quidditch is a real game that was played at the college level! 
    • You can be more than one thing in life! You don’t have to silo yourself into one career, follow your passions and see where you end up.  


    Fiction Credits: 

    Excerpt written by: Michael Kobsik 

    Excerpt narrated by:  

     

    BIO

    Shenuque is an actor, writer, and stand-up comedian. He portrays 'Jaylen' in the theatrical production of the Art of Killin' It. He's been featured on HBO Max's Human By Orientation. He is also the voice of Yaksha Rah on the Twenty Sided Podcast. You can find him @shenuque on Instagram or @fakeshenuque on TikTok. 

    Shenuque Tissera Website  

    The Twenty Sided Podcast  

    Shenuque Tissera's Twitter  

    Shenuque Tissera's Instagram  

    Shenuque Tissera's TikTok  



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    35m - May 21, 2024
  • Revisited - Operation Mom Book Launch

    In this revisited episode of the True Fiction Project Podcast, Traci DeForge, Founder and CEO of Produce Your Podcast, is back on the podcast as we talk about Reenita’s book, Operation Mom: My Plan to Get My Mother a Life and a Man. Reenita’s publisher, Dr. Morissa Schwartz joins the conversation as well. Dr. Schwartz is the Founder and CEO of Dr. Rissy’s Writing & Marketing and GenZ Publishing, LLC and was named to Forbes 30 Under 30 list. They talk about current trends in publishing and how Dr. Schwartz is making strides to increase diversity and representation among writers. They discuss the power of strong female characters and cultural representation in modern fiction and later in the episode, Reenita shares a short excerpt from her book, Operation Mom: My Plan to Get My Mother a Life and a Man

       

    IN THIS EPISODE: 

    • [03:55] Dr. Schwartz’s journey into publishing from a career in BioSciences 
    • [08:52] Operation Mom and GenZ Publishing’s partnership and how Operation Mom connects with American young adult audiences 
    • [12:58] Representation of strong female characters and diverse cultural backgrounds 
    • [20:25] Diversity in publishing and GenZ’s commitment to storytelling for young adults 
    • [26:10] Future plans and dreams for Operation Mom  
    • [32:51] Book excerpt: Operation Mom: My Plan to Get My Mother a Life and a Man written and read by Reenita Hora 

     

    KEY TAKEAWAYS: 

    • Podcast listenership for comedy podcasts and narrative fiction podcasts grew exponentially during and since the pandemic. 
    • Over 60% of books are still published by men over the age of 45 – and most publishers are white men. GenZ Publishing is making strides to change this statistic by publishing more diverse writers.  
    • Representation and cultural diversity is so important in modern fiction. Not only does Operation Mom give readers a strong female lead, it also represents a cultural experience located outside of the U.S. 

     

    Fiction Credits:  

    An excerpt from Operation Mom - My Plan to Get My Mother a Life and a Man written and read by: Reenita Hora 

    https://www.facebook.com/ReenitaMalhotraHora 

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/reenita/ 

     

    BIO: 

    Morissa is one of Forbes 30 Under 30 in Media for 2022. Dr. Morissa Schwartz is the Founder and CEO of Dr. Rissy’s Writing & Marketing and GenZ Publishing, LLC. 

    Dr.RissysWriting.com is a marketing and writing company ranked #1 in PR and in the top ten in Social Media and SEO for New York and New Jersey on Thumbtack. GenZ Publishing is a publishing company that has produced 15 Amazon bestsellers. 

    Dr. Rissy has been featured on Forbes, MTV, and is a bestselling author herself. She speaks professionally about inspiring others through words and entrepreneurship and was named the “Voice of Generation Z” by Community magazine. Dr. Rissy is a contributor for Entrepreneur magazine. 

    She holds a doctorate in Literature from Drew University and has a Master’s in Communications. 

     

    Dr. Morissa Schwartz on Facebook 

     

    Dr. Morissa Schwartz on LinkedIn 



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    41m - May 7, 2024
  • Revisited - Jerusalem Road with Simone Yehuda

    Welcome back to another episode of the True Fiction Project Podcast. This week we are revisiting an episode that was recorded October 12, 2023 to mark the October 2023 events between Israel and Hamas, marking the most significant escalation of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict in several decades. 

     

    With the heaviness in the world still today and the events playing out in Israel and the Gaza strip, I introduce a story brought to audiences through playwright, poet and screenwriter, Simone Yehuda. Simone discusses her screenplay, Jerusalem Road, which has wild synchronicity between the storyline and what is happening between the Israelis and Palestinians right now. Simone talks about why it is so important to release her screenplay right now. She shares the history of both the Israelis and Palestinians feeling that home is the same place, and the barriers that are at stake. We then hear a scene from Simone’s screenplay, Jerusalem Road. The scene compares and contrasts the years of suffering the two character groups, Palestinians and Jews, have faced and how both groups were forced into exile. 

     

    IN THIS EPISODE: 

    • [2:47] Simone discusses her background and where her story Jerusalem Road came from. 
    • [5:01] Is it true that all of her screenplays focus on the reconciliation of opposites divided by major barriers where survival and identities are at stake? Why did she choose this path?  
    • [6:33] Why is Jerusalem Road so important and why release it right now with the events happening in the world? 
    • [9:02] Who are some of the characters and what is the context of the characters? 
    • [12:26] What is the history of both Israelis and Palestinians feeling that home is the same place? 
    • [15:24] Has the significance of the screenplay expanded given what is happening this week?  
    • [16:36] Can we bring about change through storytelling? 
    • [17:52] Will Simone’s screenplay go beyond a screenplay into something more? 
    • [22:00 A scene from the screenplay, Jerusalem Road, written by Simone Yehuda.

     

    KEY TAKEAWAYS: 

    • We’re all a human family. We have to try to put an end to the inhumane treatment that is happening. If we keep defending “our own” and not stepping out to right against the things that are going wrong in the world then they will continue to happen.  
    • If we can’t talk to each other and listen to each other then disaster will follow. Each person’s story is valuable and a way to get to know each other’s lives, cultures, and history. Take the time to listen to stories as much as you tell them.  
    • There is so much loss happening right now, so much inhumane activity happening all across the world with racism, ageism, prejudice behavior. Take the time in your day to spread kindness and empathy. Do what you can to make the world a better place.  


    Fiction Credits: 

    Excerpt written by: Simone Yehuda 

     

    BIO

    Simone Naomi Yehuda was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts to a German Jewish Holocaust survivor and French Catholic mother whose own mother was a leader of the French Resistance. Writing became her cure for massive psychic trauma. She began as a published poet (two books: THAW and LIFTING WATER) and multi-produced playwright (including a play, WILLING, Off Broadway). While in New York, she played the flute with the New York Symphony and was a member of the Mass Transit Dance Company. Simone began writing screenplays full-time ten years ago hoping to reach a wider audience. She now writes feature screenplays that include JERUSALEM ROAD, THE NEW EVE, LOVE AND HOMICIDE, THE THIRD MOTHER, THE SIG OF A FREE MAN and  MATADORA! Her scripts focus on the reconciliation of opposites divided by insurmountable barriers where survival and identity are at stake. Simone’s adult twin daughters, physician Valerie Gabriella Press and psychologist/artist Corinna Nicole Press, live in Chicago and San Francisco respectively. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with her historian husband Barry Michael Shapiro. 

    Simone Yehuda's Website  

    Simone Yehuda's LinkedIn  

    Simone Yehuda's Facebook  



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    27m - Apr 23, 2024
  • S4 Ep 12 - The Kohinoor, Mughal Sequence: In Conversation with Anand Thakore

    In the last episode of season 4 of the True Fiction Project, I am honored to welcome the amazing Anand Thakore. I’ve known Anand since we were in school together, and it has been incredible to see his journey and learn of his success as an Anglophone Poet and Hindustani Classical Musician. During this episode we reminisce on some of our school experiences and share stories. Then we dive in to learn what Anand is up to now, while he shares his latest projects. We hear an excerpt of music and a poem from Deepankar Khiwani, titled Cathedral. Anand shares his experience working with Deepankar and how their work together inspired him to start writing poetry again. The episode goes on to include three original pieces by Anand Thakore titled Sea Link, My Place and Mughal Sequence. Tune in for this entertaining episode!  


    IN THIS EPISODE: 

    • [2:28] Anand shares about his journey with Sanskrit.  
    • [4:03] What was Anand’s journey with music and poetry?  
    • [9:49] What is the style of contemporary Indian writing?  
    • [10:50] Anand shares his story about the creation of the Mughal Sequence.  
    • [13:50] What is the backstory behind some of his latest pieces? 
    • [16:30] How do poets utilize characters in their poetry?  
    • [18:42] Anand talks about the work he’s done with Deepankar Khivani.  
    • [21:23] Anand shares the song and poem Cathedral by Deepankar Khivani.  
    • [22:51] We hear the poem Sea Link, by Anand Thakore.  
    • [25:09] We hear the poem My Place, by Anand Thakore 
    • [26:24] Why was Anand feeling like a sock puppet?  
    • [29:01] Anand shares more about the poem Mughal Sequence and then we hear an excerpt from it. 


    KEY TAKEAWAYS: 

    • [12:51] Anand wants the American audience to understand that they are a trans culture, multicultural, multilingual people. Their themes are Indian, their language is English, their music can be Indian, they can also experience Western music in great depth. 
    • [14:49] Anand feels that poetry really has to embrace the moment and be very short and brief and make its statement in a short space.  
    • [16:32] Sometimes poets reveal themselves when they are pretending to be someone else.   

     

    Fiction Credits: 

     Poems below written and narrated by: Anand Thakore


    Cathedral Poem: Written by Deepankar Khiwani and narrated by Anand Thakore 


    The Cathedral & John Connon School 


    Anand’s song at end of episode: 

    • Pt. Anand Thakore - Kabir Bhajan-Kuan thagva nagariya lutal ho (Juhu Hamara Festival Kaifi Azmi Park 2019)


    Anand's other works and information:

    De Kooning's Smile: Collected Poems

    In Praise of Bone

    Elephant Bathing

    Seven Deaths and Four Scrolls

    Selected Poems-1992-2012

    youtube interview and reading at book launch

    Anand Thakore introduces you to 'In Praise of Bone' ( video)

    _THE-KOH-I-NOOR, Poetry International , Anand Thakore


    BIO

    Born in Mumbai in 1971, Anand Thakore grew up in India and in the United Kingdom. He has spent most of his life in Mumbai. His published collections of poetry include In Praise of Bone (2023), Waking In December (2001), Elephant Bathing (2012), Mughal Sequence (2012), and Seven Deaths and Four Scrolls (2017). A Hindustani classical vocalist by training, he has devoted much of his life to the study, performance, composition and teaching of Hindustani vocal music. He received musical instruction for many years from Ustad Aslam Khan, Pandit Baban Haldankar and Pandit Satyasheel Deshpande. He is the founder of Harbour Line, a publishing collective, and of Kshitij, an interactive forum for musicians. He holds an MA in English Literature and is the recipient of grants from The Ministry of Human Resource Development and The Charles Wallace India Trust. He lives in Mumbai and divides his time between writing, performances, and teaching music. His fourth collection of verse, entitled Seven Deaths and Four Scrolls, was recently shortlisted for The Jayadeva National Poetry Award. 

    Anand Thakore's Facebook  

    Anand Thakore's Website  

    Poetry International Website  



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    S4E12 - 35m - Apr 9, 2024
  • S4 Ep 11 - Memories of the Alhambra: In Conversation with Pablo Sáinz-Villegas

    Music is a way for everyone to connect, no matter where they come from or what their beliefs are. Today’s guest Pablo Sáinz-Villegas is on the True Fiction Project Podcast to talk about why music and Spanish guitar is the perfect vehicle for storytelling. He discusses the difference between the guitar and Spanish guitar, and how even though they all may have the same six strings, and the same tuning, they all offer something different. He shares his stories of working with other musicians and how storytelling comes out of each piece, whether working alone or collaborating with others. Tune in and close your eyes to enjoy the piece Recuerdos de la Alhambra (Memories of Alhambra in English) by the Spanish composer Franciso Tarrega at the end of the episode.  


    IN THIS EPISODE: 

    • [2:45] What does Pablo mean by the statement “music and Spanish guitar is the perfect vehicle for storytelling?” 
    • [5:25] Is there a difference between a guitar and a Spanish guitar? 
    • [7:26] Does Pablo always have the opportunity to explore storytelling even when collaborating and playing with other artists? 
    • [10:05] How is Pablo providing children with the opportunity to explore the magic of music? 
    • [13:07] Pablo gives an example of what he means by storytelling through music.  
    • [16:00] Close your eyes and enjoy hearing the piece Recuerdos de la Alhambra by the Spanish composer Franciso Tarrega.  
    • [19:17] Enjoy another piece played by Pablo titled Asturias (Leyenda) 


    KEY TAKEAWAYS: 

    • [3:25] Music is an experience that we cannot touch, we cannot see, but we feel, and those are the experiences in life that are most transcendental, most profound to us.  
    • [5:25] While all guitars have six strings and the same tuning, each instrument is related to a different kind of music because they have different features.  
    • [15:07] Music is a way for people to come together and share stories, share about life, and connect on a deep level that connects to our hearts.  

     

    Fiction Credits: 

    First song: Recuerdos de la Alhambra by the Spanish composer Franciso Tarrega 

    Second song: Asturias (Leyenda) - Isaac Albéniz. Pablo Sainz-Villegas. LIVE at Teatro Mayor, Colombia 

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EowSRVAp8rM 

     

    BIO

    Sainz-Villegas is the "global ambassador of the Spanish guitar" (Billboard Magazine), a star who has brought classical music to millions of people from the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium to a floating stage on the Amazon River or Carnegie Hall in New York. He has been the first guitarist in 38 years to perform at the Philharmonie with the Berlin Philharmonic under Kirill Petrenko. In addition, he has collaborated with artists such as John Williams, Yo-Yo Ma and played for world leaders as the Dalai Lama. Thanks to his charity work Pablo Sainz-Villegas has also been able to bring access to classical music to tens of thousands of children in Spain, Mexico and the United States. 


    Pablo Sainz Villegas' Website  

    Pablo Saniz Villegas' Personal Facebook  

    Pablo Saniz Villegas' Twitter  

    Pablo Saniz Villegas' Instagram  



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    S11E4 - 22m - Mar 26, 2024
  • S4 Ep 10 - Wondrous Experiences

    After experiencing a tragic bicycle accident, Mark Berridge spent a year getting his health back. He then decided to write a story to inspire others to keep pushing a little bit further, because they are stronger than they think. This week on the True Fiction Project, Mark Berridge joins Reenita to talk about his accident, and what led him to write his nonfiction book, A Fraction Stronger. Mark discusses future work that he hopes to accomplish, shifting from a nonfiction author to a fiction author, and hopefully one day to playwriting. We then hear an excerpt from the short story, Wondrous Experiences, where a man takes a trip and allows himself to experience it from a new perspective, seeing how the world is truly vibrant and full of possibility. 


    IN THIS EPISODE:

    • [2:20] Mark talks about winning an award for his nonfiction book.
    • [3:26] What is A Fraction Stronger about?
    • [5:13] Mark discusses his physical therapist that was instrumental in his journey to be able to walk again
    • [9:03] Does Mark hope to write more books?
    • [15:57] Mark shares where people can learn more about him. 
    • [17:32] Mark shares an excerpt from the short story, Wondrous Experiences.


    KEY TAKEAWAYS:

    • [4:43] We are all a fraction stronger than we realize, and if we find that inner strength and channel it and embrace the support around us, then we can achieve almost anything. 
    • [14:58] In a world where we are so interconnected in a way because of technology, there’s still nothing quite like going somewhere and really making connections and finding your tribe, or finding something that changes your life.
    • [24:26] If you immerse yourself in the world’s range of potential experiences, you can feel truly alive. 


    Fiction Credits:

    Story written by: Mark Berridge

    Story narrated by: Mark Berridge


    BIO:

    Mark Berridge has broad experience in negotiation, marketing, strategy and transformation. His most prominent corporate role was the Chief Negotiator for Rio Tinto Iron Ore from 2012 to 2015 where he led the pricing strategy for revenue worth USD20 billion.

    Mark always enjoyed finding high value in complex situations. In March 2019 he became his own subject matter when a bicycle crash changed his life forever. Mark fractured 2 vertebrae and heard the devastating words spinal cord injury. He spent 7 weeks in hospital and 9 months in full time rehabilitation regaining the ability to walk. He will strive to maintain and improve his mobility all his remaining life.

    Mark now writes and speaks about the impacts of disruption and how we can fight our way forward from almost any situation. His inspirational award-winning book A Fraction Stronger was released in the USA September 2022.


    A Fraction Stronger Book

    Mark Berridge's LinkedIn 

    Mark Berridge's Personal Facebook Page 

    Mark Berridge's Business Facebook Page 

    Mark Berridge's Instagram Page 

    Mark Berridge's Website 




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    S4E10 - 26m - Mar 12, 2024
  • S4 Ep 9 - Masala Movie

    Learning about her adoption at age 21 was quite impactful for Priya Subberwal, along with the lack of conversation that her adoptive parents had with her afterwards regarding her biological family. Today, I am honored to have Priya join the True Fiction Project, she is a long time friend of mine, and is a wonderful storyteller. We start the episode discussing her business, Disha Limited, where she helps people set their homes up for the best energy through Feng Shui work. She talks about how to utilize the evergreen elements of Feng Shui as well as what to prioritize for 2024. We then get to hear the story of how Priya found out she was adopted, and what that was like to find out as an adult. Priya reads an excerpt from her story, Masala Movie, in the book, My Voice about what she uncovered through the process of trying to find her biological parents and how she brought closure to herself. 


    IN THIS EPISODE:

    • [2:30] Priya explains what her business, Disha Limited, is. 
    • [5:10] How does it work if your home has bad energy?
    • [6:10] What does Priya mean about good Feng Shui in Hong Kong and San Francisco?
    • [7:50] How does Priya work with people who are on more flat land who don’t have natural Feng Shui?
    • [8:37] How does Feng Shui change across the years?
    • [9:10] What does the year of the wood dragon mean for Feng Shui?
    • [10:52] Priya describes her short story, Masala Movie, in the book, My Voice.
    • [20:05] Priya shares an excerpt from her story, Masala Movie, in the book, My Voice, when she learned about her adoption. 


    KEY TAKEAWAYS:

    • [6:13] Feng Shui is all about the wind and water, mountains play a very important role because they work as the antennas, it’s where the energy is stacked from the planets and then through wind it comes down and settles at the base of the water. 
    • [9:37] For 2024, the year of the dragon, the best ways to benefit from Feng Shui are to utilize the Southwest of your home and the East. The Southwest is for happiness, advancement, promotion, and happy events. The East is for networking, finding leads, any kind of business work that is done in the home.
    • [18:47] Priya decided to write about her journey of finding out she was adopted as an adult as a way to find closure after her parents had passed away. Her story is fantastic for those who have been adopted or for people who are considering adoption. 


    Fiction Credits:

    Story written by: Priya Subberwal

    Story narrated by: Priya Subberwal


    BIO:

    Priya Subberwal is a qualified Classical Feng Shui practitioner. A trained interior designer, her interest in Chinese Metaphysics was sparked by a chance look through at a coffee table book on the subject in 2000. After extensive reading on the subject, she formally started studying in 2007 and applying it to her daily life. Friends and family too gained from her knowledge and fascination. Priya aims to bring focus and stability to the lives of others. In 2016 she formed the company 'Disha' which comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Dishadhara’ meaning direction - something that she strives to give her clients.

    Priya is a yoga enthusiast and an avid reader. She lives in Hong Kong with her banker husband and a dog. She is a mother of two adult daughters, who love giving her unsolicited fashion and make-up advice. Interestingly, she previously co-owned a cricket team “Kowloon Cantons” in Hong Kong and has co- authored an Amazon bestseller novel #my voice -A collective memoir by women of substance.


    Dishas Consulting Website 

    Priya Subberwal's Instagram 

    Priya Subberwal's Facebook 

    Priya Subberwal's LinkedIn 

    My Voice Book



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    S4E9 - 27m - Feb 27, 2024
  • S4 Ep 8 - Mr. Taffles Pants of Insanity

    What would it be like to experience a 26 mile dinner party? Today, on the True Fiction Project, I am joined by author and screenwriter, Daniel Finkel. Daniel shares with us his story Mr. Taffles Pants of Insanity, how it came about, and the adventure he has taken to write this story and get it out to the public. He talks about other screenplays he has written and what his next steps are for this adventurous story. Daniel discusses what it was like growing up in L.A. and Hollywood and how his experience may have differed from others. At the end of the show, we hear a chapter titled The Dinner Party from Mr. Taffles Pants of Insanity where the characters explore through a 26 mile long underground dinner party. Tune in to hear more of this insane story!


    IN THIS EPISODE:

    • [1:55] Daniel tells us about himself and how he is a Hollywood guy in the most non Hollywood of ways. 
    • [3:39] What is Mr. Taffles Pants of Insanity and how did it come about?  
    • [6:07] Why didn’t the screenplay end up being made into a movie as planned?
    • [7:50] What screenplay did Daniel write that was made into a movie? 
    • [8:50] What is the true life inspiration to Mr. Taffles Pants of Insanity
    • [12:38] What is the book wrap tour?
    • [14:39] What are the next steps for the story? 
    • [16:28] Where can listeners find out more about Daniel’s work and events?
    • [17:24] Daniel explains what his favorite part of the book is. 
    • [19:45] We hear a chapter titled The Dinner Party from Mr. Taffles Pants of Insanity by Daniel Finkel about navigating a 26 mile underground dinner party. 


    KEY TAKEAWAYS:

    • [9:03] Changing one thing about yourself can change the perception that others have of you. 
    • [15:39] Never stop dreaming, your dreams can come true!
    • [19:50] If you ever get a chance to go for a 26.2188 mile dinner party, you are in for quite an adventure! Grab Mr. Taffles Pants of Insanity to see what I mean! 


    Check out HelloFresh and use my code truefictionprojectfree for a great deal: https://www.hellofresh.com/


    Fiction Credits:

    Story written by: Daniel Finkel

    Story narrated by: Daniel Finkel


    BIO:

    I moved to LA to work in the entertainment industry, where I learned I didn't want to work in the entertainment industry. But I got to read screenplays by writers with big agents that were horrible. So I started to write my own screenplays that were also horrible. And it worked! I started to option and sell them… eventually selling the biggest piece of crap I ever wrote to MGM. But then my brain literally went on strike. I was supposed to write this script with a big time commercial producer and I literally couldn't think of anything. My brain forced me to write only ideas that I was passionate about. So I co-wrote and directed my first feature film Everything Will Happen Before You Die. The cast was amazing and I got to direct major league talent like Academy Award Nominee John Hawkes and Marc Boone Junior (Sons of Anarchy). It was a dream come true.

    However, there's a big missing part of this story… MUSIC. It all started when my roommate asked me to be his vocal sidekick in this rave rock psychedelic lounge funk band called The Serotonins. The idea was I would be a cow and he would be the farmer. Well, he never dressed as a farmer, thus The Mad Cow was born. I became a bit of a counter-culture hero in the Burningman scene and played to packed clubs for years. 

    And TODAY… I'm beyond excited to have published my award winning debut comedy/satire/sci-fi novel MR. TAFFLE'S PANTS OF INSANITY. It's an incredible feeling to have written my first book but even more of an incredible feeling to know that I'll be writing them for the rest of my life. And now we just released the audiobook which I couldn't be more excited about how it turned out. Oh and yes… the MUSIC. A couple of pals and I wrote an EP of songs based on the novel. I will be performing this at bookstores and weird stages all over North America (to start.)

    Daniel Finkel's Personal Facebook Page

    Daniel Finkel's Instagram

    Trailer for the Audiobook 



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    S4E8 - 30m - Feb 5, 2024
  • S6 Ep 7 - Conversations with Good Men

    Raised as an evangelical Christian, Bethel Swift started her dating journey late in life, after realizing that God was not going to drop the right guy in her lap. Throughout her three part book, Conversations with Good Men, Bethel shares poems of her experience as a daughter and then about her dating life. In this episode, you will hear what propelled Bethel to turn her personal experiences into a story, and what she found along the way. Bethel then reads two of her poems, the first called The Artist Takes Herself on a Date, which represents her journey of becoming a strong version of herself and the lessons she learned. The second poem, Potpourri Rain, is about her experience with sexual assault from someone close to her, which sent a chill down my spine. Tune in to learn more about Bethel’s dating journey

    Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault


    IN THIS EPISODE:

    • [1:57] Bethel shares what her book Conversations with Good Men is about. 
    • [4:02] What propelled Bethel to turn her own personal experience with dating into a story?
    • [5:40] What did she find in her explorations?
    • [9:35] Why did Bethel include conversations with her father in a book about dating? 
    • [12:44] Bethel shares about the pieces she will be reading and where the stories came from. 
    • [13:34] We hear Bethel’s first poem The Artist Takes Herself on a Date
    • [16:50] Bethel shares her second poem Potpourri Rain. (Trigger Warning - Sexual Assault) 


    KEY TAKEAWAYS:

    • [2:59] In order to find the love of your life, you have to actually go out on dates and spend time with people to find out what your deal breakers are and what things are really important to you. 
    • [7:50] We cannot expect our lovers to be everything for us, it puts unrealistic and high pressure expectations on relationships.
    • [16:08] Women will sometimes behave unexpectedly after an assault, like still being friends with the person or still trying to please that person. It can take days, months, years sometimes before women realize that the person did them wrong and that they don’t have to carry the blame. 


    Check out HelloFresh and use my code truefictionprojectfree for a great deal: https://www.hellofresh.com/


    Fiction Credits:

    Poems written by: Bethel Swift

    Poems narrated by: Bethel Swift


    BIO:

    Bethel Swift is a San Diego based artist, poet, indie publisher, workshop instructor, professional home organizer, and the author of Conversations with Good Men (2020, Swift & Sparrow Press). Bethel's poetry has been published in Armenian Poetry Project, Haiku Journal, San Diego Poetry Annual, and Expressions from Englewood as well as exhibited at Columbia College Chicago. In 2017, Bethel was the recipient of an AWP Writer to Writer Mentorship with poet Sandy Coomer (Available Light). Prior to that, she studied poetry under Kristina Marie Darling (Dark Horse) and Larry Sawyer (Vertigo Diary) at the Chicago School of Poetics and with Martha Vertreace-Doody (Glacier Fire) at Kennedy-King College. Bethel earned her degree in journalism from Columbia College Chicago (in 2007) and her journalistic features, interviews, reviews, and opinion pieces have appeared in multiple print and web publications.


    Bethel Swift's Website 

    Bethel Swift's Personal Facebook Page 

    Bethel Swift's Business Facebook Page 

    Bethel Swift's Twitter 

    Bethel Swift's Instagram 

    Bethel Swift's Pinterest 

    Bethel Swift's LinkedIn 

    Conversations with Good Men



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    S4E7 - 21m - Jan 23, 2024
  • S4 Ep 6 - Toddy Trails

    Welcome back to another episode of the True Fiction Project Podcast. Today we feature Chef Avanish Martins. Avanish discusses how his restaurant, Cavatina, came to be and how he made the decision to focus on Goan cuisine. He discusses what “toddy trappers” are and why their skill is so essential to Goan food. Avinash describes how he tells stories through his cuisine and the beautiful way he ties the culture in by plating his food. We learn how the coconut and tree are used in the Goa Culture, and how Pader Pader Ponk Ponk was used to wake up the town. Toddy Trails the fiction piece from this episode takes us along the journey of a local baker who’s yeast has been ruined, risking a critical order he needed to fill. A friend encourages him to use toddy to replace the yeast, and after many attempts he nails down a successful recipe, only to have his rolls of bread stolen. Tune in to hear how the story ends!

    IN THIS EPISODE:

    • [2:38] Avinash introduces himself and talks about how he grew up.
    • [3:34] How did Avinash’s restaurant, Cavatina, come to be?
    • [6:03] What are “toddy tappers” and how does Avinash utilize it in his cooking?
    • [11:28] Why does Feni get a bad rap? 
    • [12:50] How does Avinash’s cuisine differ from other Goan cuisine that is found in other restaurants? 
    • [13:46] What is a Chitari artist and how is their artwork represented on Avinash’s table? 
    • [18:09] Where did the roots of Goan cuisine originate from? 
    • [19:41] How can those of us outside of South Goa and India get to explore and experiment with Avinash's cuisine? 
    • [22:31] Is there one particular kind of ingredient that you would say is quintessentially Goan that we don’t know about? 
    • [24:58] What did Pader Pader Ponk Ponk represent? 
    • [28:13] We hear the short story Toddy Tails written by Reenita Hora


    KEY TAKEAWAYS:

    • [8:35] Toddy is at risk of not being harvested in Goa due to the next generation not wanting to work the dangerous job of harvesting toddy. If there is no toddy, the product doesn’t exist, you cannot make it with anything else. 
    • [13:19] Avinash has experienced many parts of the world, and has decided that he will feature his Goan cuisine as Local Heart, Global Food. The food is genuine Goan good, with flair from other parts of the world. 
    • [22:40] The most important ingredient in Goan cuisine would be coconut. Coconut in all forms is a versatile element in Goan cooking. There is nothing of the coconut that goes to waste including the tree itself. It can be used for rafters of a roof, the leaves make beautiful shade nets, the spikes can be used as brooms, the husk is used to make ropes, and more!


    Check out HelloFresh and use my code truefictionprojectfree for a great deal: https://www.hellofresh.com/


    Fiction Credits:

    Excerpt written by: Reenita Hora

    Excerpt narrated by using AI

    BIO:

    Chef Avinash Martins has got the humble Goan cuisine to an international level with farm to table practices and traditional cooking methods but presented it in a modern flair

    Chef Avinash Martins' Instagram 

    Chef Avinash Martins' Facebook 



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    S4E6 - 34m - Jan 9, 2024
  • S4 Ep 5 - New Rock New Role

    Richard Sparks has been successful in so much of his work from writing The Schoolmaster, performed by Rowan Atkinson, to aiding an opera singer to launch her career. The one area he couldn’t seem to get into was fiction writing, until now that is. On today’s episode, I am so excited to have writer and author Richard Sparks on the show to discuss his prior pieces of work as well as his new fantasy novel! Richard shares what it was like to work with John Cleese, Rowan Atkinson, and others. At the end of the episode, we hear a clip from his new fantasy story, New Rock New Role that talks about a man who gets sucked into a video game and is trying to understand how he got there. This is Richard’s take on how it would feel to be a character in one of the games that he frequently plays. 

    The clip we hear is from early on in the book and series, and there is more to come! Grab a free audio book chapter and ebook chapter or buy the full novel released December 12 on his website - www.richardsparks.com! 


    IN THIS EPISODE:

    • [1:37] Richard tells us about what he’s been doing and the work he’s done with John Cleese, Rowan Atkinson and others.
    • [6:38] A clip from The Schoolmaster by Richard Sparks and Rowan Atkinson.
    • [10:14] Richard tells us about his experience in the music industry. 
    • [11:58] Richard shares about his new project, a fantasy, and how it was inspired from real life. 
    • [19:45] A clip from New Rock New Role read and written by Richard Sparks. 


    KEY TAKEAWAYS:

    • Richard doesn’t take credit for launching people off into their careers, he says they are all a collaborative relationship, where both sides are needed to be successful. 
    • Comedy is fear and pain and misery and disasters and things going wrong and people falling into puddles and betrayals and miscommunications and what good adventure isn't full of that.
    • Richard struggled to become a fiction writer because he couldn’t connect with the content. He has now finally embraced fiction writing now that he can use his own voice.


    Check out HelloFresh and use my code truefictionprojectfree for a great deal: https://www.hellofresh.com/


    Fiction and Schoolmaster Credits:

    Excerpt written by: Richard Sparks

    Excerpt narrated by: Richard Sparks

    Schoolmaster Clip performed by: Rowan Atkinson

    Schoolmaster Clio written by Richard Sparks


    BIO:

    Born in England, and a graduate of Oxford University (Exeter College, where, like both JRR Tolkien and Philip Pullman before him, he read English), Richard started out as a writer of stage plays, comedy revues and TV, for such shows as Not the Nine o’clock News. Rowan Atkinson performed his Schoolmaster sketch in John Cleese’s The Secret Policeman’s Ball. UK TV credits include The Famous Five, The Flying Kiwi, The Optimist, The Worst of Hollywood, and a lot of script editing. On being hired by Columbia Pictures TV, Richard moved with his family to Los Angeles. His lyrics have been recorded by talents as diverse as Dom de Luise, Eric Idle, Vanessa Williams and Plácido Domingo. He has written libretti for several new operas composed by Lee Holdridge (TV’s Beauty and the Beast, et al.), produced by the LA Opera, as well writing new English versions of German and Italian classics. His non-fiction books, Diary of a Mad Poker Player, and its sequel, Getting Lucky, chronicle his adventures in the poker boom of the 2000’s. Along the Cherry Lane is his biography of the music producer, Milt Okun. “High Adventure Spiced with Low Comedy,” inspired by his love of online role-playing games, New Rock New Role is the first of four volumes Richard has written so far in the New Rock fantasy series, and is his fiction debut.

    Richard Spark's Website 

    Richard Spark's Facebook

    Richard Spark's Instagram 

    Buy New Rock New Role Fantasy Novel Today!



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    S9E4 - 25m - Dec 19, 2023
  • S4 Ep 4 - Storms From a Clear Sky

    Denise has an incredible skill of turning the truth of WWII into a fiction book that people will both learn the history from while also finding the story engaging and entertaining. An award winning writer, teacher, actress, director and producer, Denise is a wealth of knowledge, and I am so grateful to have her back on the show. She shares why America and the world has such a fascination with spies and then dives into how spies helped lead Japan to their attack on Pearl Harbor, 82 years ago today. Denise discusses why she chose to write fiction vs. nonfiction and how she used her research to create such an engaging story. She then reads an excerpt from her story Storms From a Clear Sky where the Americans realize that they’ve been assisting a Japanese spy all along.   


    IN THIS EPISODE:

    • [3:16] Denise shares why she thinks the world has such a fascination with spies, spy networks, and how they operate.
    • [6:20] We hear the story of a Japanese spy prior to WWII.
    • [10:02] What was the spy relationship between the Japanese and Germans against the US?
    • [17:00] Did American spies drop the ball in 1941 to miss the attacks?
    • [19:15] Why did Denise decide to write fiction rather than recreate nonfiction accounts of everything that she has discovered through her research?
    • [22:51] Denise shares a short excerpt from her story Storms From a Clear Sky.


    KEY TAKEAWAYS:

    • Pre World War II, the Japanese were encouraging anyone to step inside their consulate on American ground and offer up any information. There were actual trained spies or there were just somebody who saw ships or any information on the Americans. They started planning the attack on Pearl Harbor in January of 1941. That is when they got serious about it and they did all sorts of different activities to prepare for that war.
    • Due to the American spies, America knew the date for the attack from Japan, but didn’t know the time and place that it would occur (attack of Pearl Harbor 1941.) 
    • The task for Tadashi Morimura, a Japanese spy, to gather valuable information was boundless. It was easy to observe the movements of the ships, the submarines, their moorings, and the times of patrols from where he was staying on American land. 


    Check out HelloFresh and use my code truefictionprojectfree for a great deal: https://www.hellofresh.com/

    

    Fiction Credits:

    Excerpt written by: Denise Frisino

    Excerpt narrated by: Denise Frisino


    BIO:

    A Seattle native, Denise Frisino, is an award-winning writer, teacher, actress, director, and producer.

    Whiskey Cove, her first novel, a fast-paced who done it, centers around Prohibition in the Northwest.

    Next came Orchids of War and Storms From A Clear Sky, both finalists in numerous national competitions, including 1st place for the Hemingway Book Award for 20th Century Wartime Fiction.

    When researching for these historical fictions, Denise spent over 10 years interviewing 50 men and women from the WWII era. She weaves the experiences of those she interviewed into her story about Japanese espionage along the West Coast prior to WWII, then follows the same characters throughout the war.

    She is currently working on the last book in the Orchids Trilogy and the movie script for Whiskey Cove

    Her blogs and YouTube channel contain some of the WWII veteran interviews and she has just launched a new web www.wwiiinterviews.com.

    Denise has stood atop 5 mountain peaks over 14,000 feet, lived aboard one of the old Mosquito Fleet boats on Lake Union, and drank scotch with Katharine Hepburn. She enjoys being on the water and loves her rowboat. Denise and her husband continue to enjoy the many facets of the Pacific Northwest.

    WWII Interviews Website 

    Denise Frisino's Website 

    Denise Frisino's Facebook 

    Denise Frisino's Instagram 

    Storms From a Clear Sky Book



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    S1E4 - 31m - Dec 7, 2023
  • S4 Ep 3 - Relationship With a View

    Welcome back to another episode of the True Fiction Project Podcast. Today I am joined by writer, podcaster and CEO of Tulla Productions, Nicole Christie. Nicole is a fabulous storyteller and helps others both in the corporate world and entrepreneurs to master their storytelling skills. She talks about her podcast, Here for Me, which highlights badassery stories from people who have gone through difficult situations and persevered to the other side. Nicole discusses why storytelling is so important, and then walks us through the premise of Relationship with a View. She then reads her short story, Relationship with a View, about a woman who meets a man in the elevator of her apartment complex and they hit it off right away but their relationship takes a sudden turn. Tune in to hear more of her story!


    IN THIS EPISODE:

    [2:41] Nicole shares about her podcast all about choosing yourself, and what that means.

    [4:14] What is Tulla Productions and how does she help brands?

    [7:19] What does storytelling look like for a notable person that hires Tulla Productions?

    [9:20] Why is storytelling so important?

    [11:06] Nicole shares the premise of Relationship with a View.

    [21:20] A short story, Relationship with a View by Nicole Christie.


    KEY TAKEAWAYS:

    Social media highlights all the good things happening in people’s lives, but misses an opportunity for genuine connection.

    Storytelling is what lights up the threads of continuity between humans. The more that our stories are raw, candid and vulnerable, the more genuinely connect with each other.

    Many people go through hard moments, but they are able to come out on the other side with healing and a fresh outlook. Nicole’s podcast showcases guests from all walks of life that share their story.


    Check out HelloFresh and use my code truefictionprojectfree for a great deal: https://www.hellofresh.com/


    Fiction Credits:

    Excerpt written by: Nicole Christie

    Excerpt narrated by: Nicole Christie


    BIO:

    Nicole is a writer, podcaster, and entrepreneur. She’s the founder and CEO of Tulla Productions—a storytelling studio that connects leading brands and notable people with their audience through human-centered audio, visual, and print stories—and the creator and host of Here For Me, a podcast about the power of choosing yourself. She has been a storyteller since she could string words together and it’s her passion to bring tales of courage, impact, and utter badassery to life!

    Nicole Christie's Instagram 

    Nicole Christie's Website 

    Here for Me Podcast 

    Nicole Christie's LinkedIn



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    S4E3 - 30m - Nov 28, 2023
  • S4 Ep 2 - Thrillville USA

    Welcome back to another episode of the True Fiction Project Podcast. This week we have Taylor Koekkoek on the show, who is the author of the short stories series, Thrillville USA. Taylor talks to us about the inspiration behind the short stories and how pieces of the stories are pulled from his life. He talks about how he included Oregon’s opioid crisis into the story and why he felt it was relevant. Then we learn what is next for Taylor as far as future projects he is working on. At the end of the episode, he reads us an excerpt from the first story of the Thrillville USA series, where we follow a character finishing his shift at the amusement park and the scandalous scene he stumbles upon behind the back side of the Scrambler. 


    IN THIS EPISODE:

    [3:18] What is Thrillville USA?

    [4:40] Why did Taylor decide to name his book series after Thrillville?

    [6:29] What was the inspiration behind Thrillville USA?

    [7:51] How Taylor tackles the subject of Oregon’s opioid crisis and is it discussed in all the short stories?

    [11:12] Taylor tells us about the excerpt he is going to read to us.

    [13:28] What future works will we see from Taylor?

    [15:55] An excerpt from the first book of the Thrillville USA series by Taylor Koekkoek 


    KEY TAKEAWAYS:

    [3:19] Thrillville used to be a little roadside amusement park outside of Oregon that felt like a little bit of a death trap with rides that bucked in ways that didn’t seem natural. Many rumors about fatalities and bodily harm were told about the amusement park, but they are believed to be false. 

    [6:29] Thrillville USA was inspired by an amusement park that Taylor and his brothers visited from time to time when they were younger. The characters are not based on people he knew directly during his childhood, but instead pieced together from stories he heard from other people that he met. 

    [10:03] There is an unintentional metaphor between the amusement park and drug use, being a dangerous activity that is also ominous, fun and exciting. 


    Check out HelloFresh and use my code truefictionprojectfree for a great deal: https://www.hellofresh.com/


    Fiction Credits:

    Excerpt written by: Taylor Koekkoek 

    Excerpt narrated by: Taylor Koekkoek 


    BIO:

    Taylor Koekkoek received his MFA from Johns Hopkins University. His work has been supported by Oregon Literary Arts, the Breadloaf’s Writer’s Conference, the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and has appeared in Paris Review, Glimmer Train, Ploughshares, The Iowa Review, online at Tin House, and elsewhere. His short story collection, Thrillville, USA, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2023. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife, Joselyn Takacs, also a writer.

    Facebook Personal Page

    Twitter Personal Account

    Instagram

    Thrillville USA Series



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    S2E4 - 23m - Nov 14, 2023
  • Season 3 - Public Speaker and Comedians Mashup

    Welcome to this week’s True Fiction Project Podcast. During this episode, we are mashing up the public speaker and comedian interviews and true fiction pieces from season 3! These episodes include: How to Human 101, Brought Together by Bagels, and Faking the Grade. Each interview and story has something unique to share, ranging from an alien learning to read human body language and facial expressions to an unlikely set of neighbors who bond over bagel preferences, to a doctor turned comedian who fakes his graduation. Tune in today to hear interview snippets and full story stories from each episode! Find the link to the full episode in the notes below.


    IN THIS EPISODE:

    • [00:47] Interview snippet of Brian Galke discussing how to read human faces and creating a valuable connection with someone else. 
    • [1:49] Short story, How to Human 101 by Parker James
    • [6:55] Interview with Gastor Almonte where he talks about living in America while being a child of an immigrant and not meeting their expectations. 
    • [8:28] Short story, Brought Together by Bagels by Gastor Almonte 
    • [16:01] Interview with Shenuque Tissera about chasing his dreams despite what his parents might think. 
    • [17:56] Short story, Faking the Grade by Michael Kobzik.


    KEY TAKEAWAYS:

    • Face reading is all about letting people feel seen and heard. If you attempt to speak someone’s language, you will be treated differently and build better relationships. 
    • Immigrant stories are the best American stories because their world view was different, the things they had to go after were different. Many of the kids of immigrants are artists, and the work that they put in first drove the direction of their families in America.
    • Follow your heart. Shenuque knew that he wasn’t destined for the graduate school path. Once he followed his heart he was able to find a career that he absolutely loves and is wildly successful at. 


    Check out HelloFresh and use my code truefictionprojectfree for a great deal: 


    How to Human 101

    A short story written and read by: Parker James

    Parker Hicks LinkedIn | Parker Hicks Twitter 

    Brought Together by Bagels

    Short story written by Gastor Almonte, Read by Kristen Udowitz

    Gastor Almonte's Website | The War Report Podcast | Gastor Almonte's Facebook

    Gastor Almonte Twitter | Gastor Almonte Instagram | Story Collider Website

    Faking the Grade

    Short story written and read by: Michael Kobzik

    Shenuque Tissera Website | The Twenty Sided Podcast | Shenuque Tissera's Twitter 

    Shenuque Tissera's Instagram | Shenuque Tissera's TikTok 


    Resources:


    S3 EP2 How to Human 101

    S3 EP9 Brought Together By Bagels

    S3 EP12 Faking the Grade



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    27m - Oct 31, 2023
  • S4 Ep 1 - Jerusalem Road

    Welcome to the start of season 4 of the True Fiction Project Podcast. This episode was recorded October 11, 2023 and rushed to release to mark the October 2023 events between Israel and Hamas, marking the most significant escalation of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict in several decades.


    With the heaviness in the world today and the events playing out in Israel and the Gaza strip, I introduce a particularly timely story brought to audiences through playwright, poet and screenwriter, Simone Yehuda. Simone discusses her screenplay, Jerusalem Road, which has wild synchronicity between the storyline and what is happening between the Israelis and Palestinians right now. Simone talks about why it is so important to release her screenplay right now. She shares the history of both the Israelis and Palestinians feeling that home is the same place, and the barriers that are at stake. We then hear a scene from a table read of Simone’s screenplay, Jerusalem Road. The scene compares and contrasts the years of suffering the two character groups, Palestinians and Jews, have faced and how both groups were forced into exile.


    IN THIS EPISODE:

    • [2:47] Simone discusses her background and where her story Jerusalem Road came from.
    • [5:01] Is it true that all of her screenplays focus on the reconciliation of opposites divided by major barriers where survival and identities are at stake? Why did she choose this path? 
    • [6:33] Why is Jerusalem Road so important and why release it right now with the events happening in the world?
    • [9:02] Who are some of the characters and what is the context of the characters?
    • [12:26] What is the history of both Israelis and Palestinians feeling that home is the same place?
    • [15:24] Has the significance of the screenplay expanded given what is happening this week? 
    • [16:36] Can we bring about change through storytelling?
    • [17:52] Will Simone’s screenplay go beyond a screenplay into something more?
    • [22:00 A scene from the screenplay, Jerusalem Road, written by Simone Yehuda.


    KEY TAKEAWAYS:

    • We’re all a human family. We have to try to put an end to the inhumane treatment that is happening. If we keep defending “our own” and not stepping out to right against the things that are going wrong in the world then they will continue to happen. 
    • If we can’t talk to each other and listen to each other then disaster will follow. Each person’s story is valuable and a way to get to know each other’s lives, cultures, and history. Take the time to listen to stories as much as you tell them. 
    • There is so much loss happening right now, so much inhumane activity happening all across the world with racism, ageism, prejudice behavior. Take the time in your day to spread kindness and empathy. Do what you can to make the world a better place. 


    Check out HelloFresh and use my code truefictionprojectfree for a great deal: https://www.hellofresh.com/


    Fiction Credits:

    Excerpt written by: Simone Yehuda


    BIO:

    Simone Naomi Yehuda was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts to a German Jewish Holocaust survivor and French Catholic mother whose own mother was a leader of the French Resistance. Writing became her cure for massive psychic trauma. She began as a published poet (two books: THAW and LIFTING WATER) and multi-produced playwright (including a play, WILLING, Off Broadway). While in New York, she played the flute with the New York Symphony and was a member of the Mass Transit Dance Company. Simone began writing screenplays full-time ten years ago hoping to reach a wider audience. She now writes feature screenplays that include JERUSALEM ROAD, THE NEW EVE, LOVE AND HOMICIDE, THE THIRD MOTHER, THE SIG OF A FREE MAN and MATADORA! Her scripts focus on the reconciliation of opposites divided by insurmountable barriers where survival and identity are at stake. Simone’s adult twin daughters, physician Valerie Gabriella Press and psychologist/artist Corinna Nicole Press, live in Chicago and San Francisco respectively. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with her historian husband Barry Michael Shapiro.

    Simone Yehuda's Website 

    Simone Yehuda's LinkedIn 

    Simone Yehuda's Facebook 



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    S4E1 - 27m - Oct 19, 2023
  • Season 2 - Actors and Musicians Mashup

    Welcome to this week’s True Fiction Project Podcast. During this special episode, we are mashing up the actors and musicians interviews and true fiction pieces from season 2! These episodes include: A Good Samaritan, The Night That Dancing Saved By Life, and The Garden of Earthly Delights. Each interview and story has something unique to share, ranging from a woman who lived in a cult, a man who danced himself away from some serious dangers to a couple who show up to defend the Lord. Tune in today to hear interview snippets and full story stories from each episode! Find the link to the full episode in the notes below.


    IN THIS EPISODE:

    • [01:16] Interview snippet of Beth Hennessy discussing living in a cult, and her family leaving the cult. 
    • [2:24] Short story, A Good Samaritan by Beth Hennessey 
    • [8:01] Interview snippet of Anand Bhatt discussing his love for latin music and how he emerged into the world of Latindian music.
    • [9:05] Short story, The Night That Dancing Saved My Life by Anand Bhatt
    • [21:54] Interview snippet of Tramell Tillman sharing his experiences as the character Seth Milchick in Apple TV+ series Severance and what it was like working with director Ben Stiller. 
    • [23:39] Short story, The Garden of Earthly Delights written by Parker James


    KEY TAKEAWAYS:

    • Don’t be so busy in your own life that you miss horrible things that are going on around you. As what happened with the good samaritans and their avoidance of the cult that Beth Hennessey and family were in. 
    • When all else fails, put your dancing shoes on and get out on the dance floor! Enjoy your life, because you never know when it’ll be your last day. 
    • Actors have to be able to really identify with the roles they are going to play. In the example that Tramell Tillman shares, there were details down to the characters full name that he stood aside and discussed with directors so that everything aligned.


    Fiction Credits:

    A Good Samaritan 

    A short story written and read by: Beth Hennessy 

    HOME | Kalliah | Kalliah Music Facebook | Kalliah Music Twitter | Kalliah Music Instagram

    The Night That Dancing Saved My Life

    Short story written and read by: Anand Bhatt

    Anand Bhatt’s Spotify | Rock Star Recipes TV Show on Amazon | Anand Bhatt’s Facebook | Anand Bhatt’s Twitter | Anand Bhatt’s Instagram


    The Garden of Earthly Delights 

    Short story written and read by: Parker James

    Parker James Twitter | Parker James Linkedin


    Resources:


    S2 EP 11 Good Samaratian Full Epsiode

    S2 EP 13 The Night The Dancing Saved My Life

    S2 EP 8 The Garden of Earthly Delights 



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    31m - Oct 10, 2023
  • Revisited – The Don Of The Southern Boundary with Les Bird

    Welcome to this revisited episode of the True Fiction Project Podcast. I have the privilege of speaking with Les Bird about his fascinating history as a Marine Police Officer in 1976 during the Hong Kong Handover. Les has now written two books about his 21 years in the Marines and his work in helping Vietnamese refugees arrive safely in Hong Kong following the end of the Vietnam War. He recounts specific memories of rescuing refugees from hired criminals and pirates and details the less than ideal conditions of travel that so many Vietnamese braved in order to make it to Hong Kong. Also hear a short story based on Les’ Marine adventures called, The Dawn of the Southern Boundary, from Anna Marie Evans. 

     

    IN THIS EPISODE:


    • [02:41] Who are the “Boatpeople” referenced in Les’ book and why were they fleeing to Hong Kong?
    • [07:25] Why did Hong Kong welcome these refugees when other countries were not as willing and what was Les’ role as a Marine Police Officer?
    • [10:44] What was Les’ connection with a former soldier in South Vietnam?
    • [16:23] What was the condition of the refugees as they arrived in Hong Kong?
    • [19:15] Les recalls memories from his time as an officer and the corruption that he encountered.
    • [29:45] Short story: The Dawn of the Southern Boundary by Anna Marie Evans


    KEY TAKEAWAYS:


    • It’s estimated that starting in 1975, between 1 and 2 million people fled by boat over the next 15 years from Vietnam to Hong Kong. 
    • Following the Vietnam War, Hong Kong became a hub for Vietnamese refugees to find safety and through the United Nations, be relocated to other countries like the US, Canada, and Australia.
    • Many Vietnamese refugees arrived in Hong Kong in unsuitable conditions as they were crammed by the thousands on boats for four to five weeks with no sanitation and little fresh air or food. 

    

    Fiction Credits: 


    Short story written and read by: Anna Marie Evans

    Contact Information: Anna Marie Evans - hkhradio3@gmail.com


    BIO:

    Born in 1951, Les comes from a military family. His father, grandfather and three uncles all served in the Royal Navy, whilst his mother served as a gunner with the Royal Artillery during World War II. Les was the second from his family to serve in Hong Kong. His father was part of the British Royal Navy force that came to Hong Kong in August 1945 at the end of the Japanese military occupation and subsequently helped in the policing of the territory throughout 1946.

    Les Bird joined the Royal Hong Kong Police in 1976 and worked in the Marine Police for 21 years until June 1997. 

    Bird’s work was diverse – he was a rural inspector of West Lantau and in the early 80s he returned to launch-going duties overseeing the influx of tens of thousands of Vietnamese refugees in the years that followed. During his service, Les commanded three of the five Marine divisions and also headed the SBU, the Marine Fast Pursuit Unit combating cross-border smuggling of people, arms, drugs and luxury cars.

    After leaving the police in 1997, Les moved into the private sector, working in the security industry across Asia. He is an endurance athlete and has taken part in Ironman events and long-distance triathlons worldwide. He represented Great Britain at the 2009 Ironman World Championship. In 201,1 he swam the English Channel and in 2012, summited Mont Blanc.

    In 2020, he spoke to a sold-out audience at the Hong Kong International Literary Festival about his memoir “A Small Band of Men: An Englishman’s Adventures in Hong Kong’s Marine Police.” And at the 2021 Festival, he presented photographs and stories from his second book “Along the Southern Boundary: A Marine Police Officer’s Frontline Account of the Vietnamese Boatpeople and their Arrival in Hong Kong.”

    Les Bird Website

    Les Bird on Facebook

    Les Bird on Twitter

    Les Bird on Instagram

    Les Bird on LinkedIn



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    35m - Sep 27, 2023
  • Revisited - True Fiction Favorites: A Case Study on Anna Delvey/Anna Sorokin

    In this revisited episode of the True Fiction Project, I speak with Diann Wingert, psychotherapist turned business mindset coach and the host of the Driven Woman Podcast. 

    Why are people so fascinated by Anna Delvey/Anna Sorokin, who bilked her way through the New York social scene? As a psychotherapist, Diann was particularly intrigued by her motivation – what drove this seemingly successful young woman to engage in such fraudulent behavior? Interestingly, much of Anna's motivation can be traced back to her childhood. She was always a bright and imaginative child, but she was also drawn to the finer things in life. This combination of factors likely contributed to her later sense of entitlement and her willingness to take whatever she felt she deserved – even if it meant breaking the law.

    Tune in as Diann Wingert explains where Anna's personality pathology starts to develop, personality of entrepreneurs vs signs of narcissism, and the real reason audiences like stories where humans are missing morals. Later in the episode, we hear a fictional story written by Parker James.

    Shifting Weight - A Fictional Story in Print 

     

    IN THIS EPISODE:

    • [03:42] Anna Sorokin's personality and what was really the driving force behind her?
    • [10:23] Creative people need to go where creative things are happening. For Anna, that was Paris.
    • [14:00] Diann Wingert explains Anna’s personality pathology starts to develop in New York
    • [18:40] Someone called Anna a sociopath and she considered it a compliment. 
    • [24:00] Why do we like stories where humans are missing morals?
    • [31:55] Diann talks about age and maturity
    • [34:40] The common ambition shaming of women 
    • [38:18] FICTION: Shifting Weight written by Parker James
    • [40:34] Justin James sauntered into the house
    • [41:50] I need you to wire me $2,000, please

     

    KEY TAKEAWAYS:

    • Celebrities who came from humble beginnings knew that their hometown was not where they belonged
    • Most people will continue to live a lifestyle and have very close expectations to what they grew up 
    • The flaw in her psychological makeup is that she didn't have empathy for the people that she was taking advantage of 
    • People are drawn to flawed characters because every one of us has the potential to be arrogant, manipulative, to be an opportunist, to be dishonest. Although we like to watch them fall so we can be reminded that we in fact are not, reassuring us of our own morality
    • Diann Wingert talks about age and maturity. Does it come as a result of being incarcerated or as she aged and matured 
    • We admire, applaud, support, and encourage ambition in males. But girls are supposed to be modest. We are supposed to accept what is offered to women. But men do. So why is this?

     

    BIO:

    Diann Wingert is a psychotherapist turned business mindset coach who serves the growing number of female solopreneurs who struggle with self-employment after successful corporate or nonprofit careers by helping them identify and eliminate the obstacles that hold them back so they can embrace their full potential for success. She is an expert in the mental health challenges of entrepreneurship and how ADHD presents in adult women and entrepreneurs.


    LINKS:

    Diann Wingert is a psychotherapist turned business mindset coach who serves the growing number of female solopreneurs.

    WEBSITE: http://diannwingertcoaching.com/

    PODCAST: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-driven-woman/id1513039926

    INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/coachdiannwingert/

    LINKED IN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/diannwingertcoaching/

    HXGO - New Delhi Song 



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    47m - Sep 12, 2023
  • S3 Ep 12 - Faking the Grade

    Welcome back to another episode of the True Fiction Project Podcast! This week's episode is the finale for season 3 and we have actor, writer, and stand up comedian Shenuque Tissera on the show to celebrate! Shenuque shares his story of how he went from a Doctor of Geography to a Stand Up Comedian. He talks about the expectations his parents had of him after immigrating to the US, and his fear of disappointing them as he faked his graduation and dropped out of graduate school. We hear all about the Art of Killin' It and the other projects he is currently working on. The episode ends with the short story titled, Faking the Grade by Michael Kobzik. In this story we follow an aspiring stand up comedian who officially drops out from becoming a Doctor of Geography but still shows up at his graduation to receive a fake diploma to appease his unaware parents.


    IN THIS EPISODE:


    • [1:57] What is Shenuque’s primary career?
    • [2:50] Shenuque walks through his college education path.
    • [11:38] How did Shenuque fake his graduation?
    • [13:10] Shenuque talks about his start as a stand up comedian.
    • [14:53] We hear about the Art of Killin' It.
    • [16:43] How is Quidditch (quadball) actually played?
    • [22:37] What do Shenuque’s parents think of the decisions he has made with his career?
    • [23:50] Shenuque tells us about the Twenty Sided Podcast and his character.
    • [26:36] A short story Faking the Grade by Michael Kobzik.


    KEY TAKEAWAYS:

    • Follow your heart. Shenuque knew that he wasn’t destined for the graduate school path. Once he followed his heart he was able to find a career that he absolutely loves and is wildly successful at. 
    • Quidditch is a real game that was played at the college level!
    • You can be more than one thing in life! You don’t have to silo yourself into one career, follow your passions and see where you end up. 


    Fiction Credits:

    Excerpt written by: Michael Kobsik


    BIO:

    Shenuque is an actor, writer, and stand-up comedian. He portrays 'Jaylen' in the theatrical production of the Art of Killin' It. He's been featured on HBO Max's Human By Orientation. He is also the voice of Yaksha Rah on the Twenty Sided Podcast. You can find him @shenuque on Instagram or @fakeshenuque on TikTok.


    Shenuque Tissera Website 

    The Twenty Sided Podcast 

    Shenuque Tissera's Twitter 

    Shenuque Tissera's Instagram 

    Shenuque Tissera's TikTok



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    S3E12 - 35m - Aug 29, 2023
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