Retired Fighter Pilot and Best-Selling Author Dan Hampton on VALOR

We’re All in Need of a Hero
Dan Hampton Has One for Us

Lt. Bill Harris was a WWII hero you probably haven’t heard of. Award-winning author and retired fighter pilot Dan Hampton plans to change that. His new book VALOR introduces us to the Saga of One Man’s Defiance and Indomitable Spirit in a style that reads like an adventure novel.

We chat with Dan about Lt. Harris, the power of resilience, why he thinks Ukrainian President Zelensky is so successful, and why the US Air Force is the best in the world. Join us for this fascinating and inspiring chat.

Click the player below to hear the chat with Pam and Dan Hampton

About Dan Hampton
Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Dan Hampton flew 151 combat missions during his twenty years (1986– 2006) in the United States Air Force. For his service in the Iraq War, Kosovo conflict, and first Gulf War, Col. Hampton received four Distinguished Flying Crosses with Valor, a Purple Heart, eight Air Medals with Valor, five Meritorious Service medals, and numerous other citations. He is a graduate of the USAF Fighter Weapons School, USN Top Gun School (TOGS), and USAF Special Operations School. A frequent guest analyst on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC discussing foreign affairs, military, aviation, and intelligence issues, he has published in Aviation History, the Journal of Electronic Defense, Air Force MagazineVietnam magazine, and Airpower magazine, and written several classified tactical works for the USAF Weapons Review. He is the author of the national bestsellers Viper Pilot and Lords of the Sky, as well as a novel, The Mercenary.

For his book, Valor: Click here
Click here to follow him on Facebook

 

Author and Speaker Cy Wakeman on dealing with a messy life

Cy Wakeman’s new book
Life’s Messy, Live Happy

Do you feel like your life is messy? That things are often in chaos and sometimes life just seems so unfair?

Cy Wakeman wrote a book to give us hope. Titled Life’s Messy, Live Happy, she tells us that we are often the source of our own suffering, and how we can flip the switch from suffering to self-reflection. The subtitle is even more inspiring: Things Don’t Have to Be Perfect for You to Be Content.

We’ll talk about how we’re NOT a self-help project, she’ll give us tips on avoiding the roller coaster of emotions, and we’ll hear the story of Good, Bad, Who Knows? It’s a fun chat with lots of good info tucked in to help you Life Happy, even if life IS messy!

Click the player below to hear the chat with Pam and Cy Wakeman

About Cy Wakeman

Cy Wakeman is a drama researcher, international leadership speaker, and consultant. In 2001 she founded Reality-Based Leadership. She is the author of three books: Reality-Based Leadership: Ditch the Drama, Restore Sanity to the Workplace and Turn Excuses Into Results (2010), NY Times Bestseller, The Reality-Based Rules of the Workplace: Know What Boosts Your Value, Kills Your Chances, and Will Make You Happier (2013), and her new release No Ego: How Leaders Can Cut the Cost of Workplace Drama, End Entitlement, and Drive Big Results (2017). In 2017 and 2018, she was named as one of the Top Global Leadership Gurus by Global Gurus, a Top 100 Leadership Expert to Follow on Twitter, and was deemed “the secret weapon to restoring sanity to the workplace.”

For more about Cy Wakeman: Click Here​
F
or her book, Life’s Messy, Live Happy: Click here
Follow her on Twitter: @cywakeman
And on Instagram: @cywakeman
Click here to watch her videos on YouTube
Click here to follow her on Facebook

 

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Michael H. Cottman: Segregated Skies

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Michael H. Cottman on
David Harris – the First Black Commercial Airlines Pilot

When you get on a plane to fly somewhere, do you think much about the pilots in the cockpit?  I mean, sure, you hope this isn’t their first flight, and that their eyesight is good. But do you wonder if the pilot is white or black?

Back in the 60s, you wouldn’t have to wonder because the pilots were all White. That is, until David Harris came along.

Pulitzer prize-winning author Michael H. Cottman takes us through the story of Harris, the first Black commercial pilot, in his new book “Segregated Skies: David Harris’ Trailblazing Journey to Rise above Racial Barriers.

Written for young adults, the book is a good read for all ages. In our chat, we learn some of the things that David experienced as a black man in the military and at American Airlines in the 60s. We learn about David’s tenacity, persistence, and doggedness and how he eventually became a role model for all pilots at American Airlines. Plus, how his swagger helped him change the status quo!

In our chat, we also talk about how Michael himself was racially profiled, run off the road and called names. Listen in as we talk about an aviation pioneer, and find some life lessons we can ALL take from this book.

Click the player below to hear the chat with Pam and  Michael Cottman

About Michael Cottman

Michael H. Cottman is an award-winning journalist and author. He is currently program editor for the NBCUniversal News Group’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Team – NBC News/MSNBC/CNBC. He was formerly editorial manager for NBCBLK and worked as a political reporter for the Washington Post and a reporter for the Miami Herald. His past books include Shackles From the Deep, The Wreck of the Henrietta Marie, and Million Man March. He has appeared on National Public Radio’s Tell Me More, CNN, The History Channel, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. Cottman was also part of Newsday’s reporting team that won journalism’s highest honor, the Pulitzer Prize, in 1992 for coverage of a deadly subway crash in New York. He lives in Maryland, where he spends most of his time reading, researching, writing — and looking for the next big adventure to share with readers.

​For his book, Segregated Skies: Click here
Follow him on Twitter: @mhcottman
And on LinkedIn: Click here
Go to his website: Click here

Professor and Egyptologist Kara Cooney

The Good Kings
Absolute Power in Ancient Egypt and the Modern World

Dr. Kara Cooney returns to discuss her new and provocative book The Good Kings: Absolute Power in Ancient Egypt and the Modern World. The book covers five Egyptian pharaohs – or kings, if you will – and discusses the concepts surrounding power: how is it earned, who controls it, and why the many often give up power to the few.  Oh… and does any of that correlate to our modern life?

Dr. Cooney tells us how authoritarianism starts, how that power is maintained, and if she is seeing signs of it in the world today. Plus what people gain from aligning with corrupt people in power and why cognitive dissonance is important to allow  corrupt leadership to continue.

We also discuss how in the past women had equal power to men in some areas (would you believe Los Angeles, 300 years ago?!)  And why we are starting to ask what is power, what is value, and why is there so much sexual abuse.

So. Much. Fascinating. Conversation.  Dr. Cooney will give you lots to think about, I promise.

Click on the player below to hear the chat with Kara Cooney and Pam

About Kara Cooney

Dr. Kathlyn (Kara) Cooney is a professor of Egyptian Art and Architecture at UCLA. Specializing in craft production, coffin studies, and economies in the ancient world, Cooney received her PhD in Egyptology from Johns Hopkins University. In 2005, she was co-curator of Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Cooney produced a comparative archaeology television series, entitled Out of Egypt, which aired in 2009 on the Discovery Channel and is available online via Netflix and Amazon.

Her latest book, The Good Kings: Absolute Power in Ancient Egypt and the Modern World, Kara turns to five ancient Egyptian pharaohs–Khufu, Senwosret III, Akenhaten, Ramses II, and Taharqa–to understand why many so often give up power to the few, and what it can mean for our future. Published by National Geographic Press, this book will be released in late 2021.

Her book When Women Ruled the World: Six Queens of Egypt explores the lives of six remarkable female pharaohs, from Hatshepsut to Cleopatra, and shines a light on our own perceptions of women in power today. Published by National Geographic Press, the book was released in 2018.

The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt was Cooney’s first trade book, and it benefits from her immense knowledge of Egypt’s ancient history to craft an illuminating biography of its least well-known female king. As an archaeologist who spent years at various excavations in Egypt, Cooney draws from the latest field research to fill in the gaps in the physical record of Hatshepsut. Published by Crown Publishing Group, the book was released in 2014.

Cooney’s current research in coffin reuse, primarily focusing on the 21st Dynasty, is ongoing. Her research investigates the socioeconomic and political turmoil that have plagued the period, ultimately affecting funerary and burial practices in ancient Egypt. This project has taken her around the world over the span of five to six years to study and document more than 300 coffins in collections, including those in Cairo, London, Paris, Berlin, and Vatican City.

She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband Remy Hiramoto.

For her book, The Good Kings: Click here
For more from Kara: Click Here
Follow her on Twitter: @KaraCooney
Instagram @KaraCooney

Author and Historical Curator John Rhodehamel


Author and Historical Curator John Rhodehamel

When it comes to the Lincoln assassination, we’ve all heard that John Wilkes Booth was insane orthat  he was an alcoholic. But what if the real motivation behind his actions was white supremacy?

John Rhodehamel is the former Archivist of Mount Vernon and the curator of American Historical Manuscripts at the Huntington Library. He’s written several books about George Washington and about Booth. And now he brings us a well researched book called “America’s Original Sin: White Supremacy, John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Assassination. It’s the first book to explicitly name white supremacy as the motivation for Lincoln’s assassination.

What brought him to that conclusion? How common  was white supremacy back in the day? Does he see any parallels to today’s world? Plus why was Booth so pro-slavery and Lincoln so anti-slavery, and what was the final straw for Booth?

We had a few technical difficulties with the audio of this chat with John Rhodehamel,  so we offer you a transcript
of the interview instead. See below.

About John Rhodehamel

John Rhodehamel is the former archivist of Mount Vernon and curator of American historical manuscripts at the Huntington Library. He is editor of George Washington: Writings and the American Revolution: Writings from the War of Independence, 1775-1783. He lives in Newport Beach, California.

For his book, America’s Original Sin: Click here

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pam Atherton
John, so very glad to have you with us.

John Rhodehamel
Well, thank you for having me, Pam.

PA
So I guess the first thing is, what is America’s original sin? Where did that phrase come from?

JR
I got it from James Madison, you know, the father of the constitution. In the letter to Lafayette he mentioned, “The dreadful fruitfulness of the Original Sin of the African trade.”  But it is by no means an original notion. People have called slavery and white supremacy our republic’s original sin for a long time, since James Madison. And it’s still used. People still refer to it today as America’s original sin. And of course, we’ve had a lot of discussion of that in the news. The 1619 project, of course, naming white supremacy as the leading characteristic of American civilization. I don’t know if I would go that far, but certainly it goes back four hundred years, from the time of the founding.

PA
So when we think about white supremacy, I don’t know that I ever thought of it is any of the reason behind John Wilkes Booth. I mean, of course, we had heard about his alcoholism. And as we find people say, when assassinations or murders happen, “well, he had mental problems. He had mental issues.” And I think, of course, we go that direction. But I’ve heard you say that when it comes to political assassinations, that rarely is it mental illness, that it’s often politically motivated.

JR
Well, I think it’s very true. Most attacks on presidents and presidential candidates take place for political motives. Booth set the pattern when he was the first to assassinate a president, and he was quite explicit in his writing, some of which were published at the time, that his motivation was to preserve white supremacy. He saw Lincoln as a traitor to the white race. He thought emancipation could lead to what they call race-mixing, and a pollution of the so-called white race. Of course, the whole concept of race is completely unscientific, but it’s been an important one and continues to be important.

PA
Right. So give us a little background on John Wilkes Booth. Tell us a little bit about him, how he grew up, and then eventually how he came into his strong beliefs on being pro-slavery and white supremacist.

JR
Lincoln – I think we can say he hated slavery for so long, he couldn’t remember what he didn’t hate it. I think Booth was the same way. It was the same way in that he was for slavery and loved it for so long, he probably couldn’t remember when that started either. It started in childhood.  He grew up in slave country. His father, Junius Brutus Booth, was the greatest tragic actor in America, preeminent tragedian for more than 30 years. They lived on a farm in Bel Air, Maryland. That was a slave state. And when he was exposed to a lot of people, most of the people he encountered were enslaved, were oppressed.

From a pretty early age he hated abolitionism. He called abolitionism, the movement to end slavery, treason, and that it would really be a disaster. And as early as when he was 20 years old, he wrote a long 5000 word political statement, in the form of speech. He was explicit in saying this country was formed for the white people, it wasn’t for blacks. Blacks are inferior, slavery is benign, and an important institution in which slaves are well-off, and they’re happy in slavery. None of that was true, of course, but many people believed it.

Booth was not an outsider. Most white Americans in the north as well as the south, 160 years ago WERE white supremacists. I think today, when we speak of white supremacy, it calls to mind extremists, radicals, with nazi views and rifles and body armor and all that kind of stuff. It’s an ideology that I believe, and I hope, Americans today abhor. But 160 years ago, not only was it very common, but the civil science of the time had presumably proven that people of color were inferior to Northern Europeans. And the belief was shared by politicians, clergy, journalists, scientists. It was a consensus that was based on the idea of white supremacy.

PA
So, white supremacy at the time, was a very normal thought process. I mean, it was, in a sense, almost even respected. Versus now where of course we abhor that, hopefully, as you said. But at the time, it was a very normal thought process. So John Wilkes Booth wasn’t crazy in that thought, right?

JR
Not at all. His father, Junius Booth, was an alcoholic, and was authentically nuts, even though he did great things. So that’s part of the reason it was easy to put in a charge of insanity and alcoholism on his son.  I think there’s a tendency in American society to deny the importance of politics in assassination, to believe it’s a bolt out of the pathological blue. So yeah, that’s comforting to us. But almost all American assassins except for the guy that killed Garfield, (whose name I can’t pronounce, but he was genuinely crazy), but all the others were acting for political motives, including Lee Harvey Oswald. Booth acted for political motives. He thought he was acting for the white race. And he was astonished, at all the stops for Lincoln’s funeral train, and during the 12 days he was on the run, that in all the newspaper accounts, that most people condemned the assassination. He had thought it would be triumphant. And it’s certainly true that there were hundreds of other men in 1865 who would have been glad to kill Lincoln. It’s just that Booth was the only one who did it. Lincoln was the most detested, most controversial, most hated man in history. Yet the assassination changed that.

PA
So the feeling I got was that if Booth had not assassinated Lincoln, somebody else was going do it.  It was just a matter of time. Was that the feeling at the time?

JR
Oh, certainly. Some people around Lincoln felt that he was in very great danger. But they feared he didn’t take them seriously enough. For 19th century men, sort of a cultural thing, the greatest disgrace was cowardice. And of course Lincoln was not a coward. He had been champion brawler of the Indiana and Illinois frontier. He was a champion wrestler, he could beat anyone. And he was very reluctant to take out precautions because he feared it might make him appear cowardly. And he was also fearless. So despite the efforts of some of his friends and subordinates, he did not take the kind of precautions that he should have. So it’s not unlikely that Booth, or someone like him, would find him.

PA
So how did you come to this conclusion now? How did we miss it over all the years? Was it just easier to assume Booth was crazy and an alcoholic?

JR
I think it’s comforting to believe that assassinations are for those reasons. I would say in the historical profession, it hadn’t been missed. And I’m not claiming that this is an original idea. It’s consensus opinion that white supremacy was one of the main motivations. But there’s never been a book that has supported it to the extent that I have. My book is a dual biography of both Lincoln and Booth. And it’s also an analysis and interpretation of white supremacy as it existed in 1865, as well as the history of the Civil War.

PA
Talk about your research because it is a dual biography. And I was fascinated! We grew up learning about Lincoln, we thought we learned everything there was to know. We knew he was poor. But the abject poverty that he lived in was beyond comprehension to me. I had no idea how absolutely poor he was, and how abandoned he was. So what kind of research did you do that brought you all of this wealth of information?

JR
Well, I’ve been working on this for long time.  We did a big exhibit –  “The Last Best Hope of Earth” – at the Huntington Library in 1993. And I was the sole curator of that exhibition. It was the biography of Lincoln with original documents and manuscripts,  some of which were handwritten. And the Huntington had hundreds of manuscripts. And so I’ve been working on this for quite a while. In terms of Lincoln’s impoverished childhood, again, so much of this has been known to people, but none of it was really emphasized.

PA
Well, it’s fascinating to me to learn both and then to realize that Booth was only 26 when all this happened, when he died. Which is really fairly young.

JR
It certainly is. And he achieved success at a very young age. He was one of the most successful actors of his day. He was critically a brilliant actor, as his father had been and his brother Edward was a brilliant actor. He was an action hero, a star. He was a master of stagecraft. He put on very, very exciting performances. And by the time he was in his early 20s, he was making about twenty thousand dollars a year. Over three quarters of a million today, I suppose. He was making good money at a very young age. He was one of the most successful actors. Yeah, he was an action hero. And boy, he was a great ladies man. He was irresistible to women.  Things were going very well for him. And he knew that the conspiracy he undertook could end up costing him his life, which it did. He said explicitly that he was willing to die for the south, for the white race, and that’s exactly what he ended up doing.

PA
Wasn’t there like 10 kids in his family? How much of this was his need for attention? Perhaps this was how he was going to make his mark?

JR
Well, I don’t know that it had to do with the size of his family. But he was obsessed with fame. He says, from a very young age, that he had to have fame.  And the point is, he wanted major fame, not theatrical celebrity, which he already had. He wanted to go down in history, to be remembered. And he made it clear that even infamy would be acceptable to him. Lasting remembrance. And he certainly did achieve that. Everybody knows his name

PA
An interesting thing I found was at the very end of the book, you’re talking about how one of the things that Booth wanted to do was to destroy Lincoln, and to destroy everything he’d ever done, and make him a footnote of history. When in reality, he did the opposite. Where Lincoln had been unliked, even hated, at that period of time and considered to be a race traitor and not very good at handling what was going on with the country, by his assassination,  he made Lincoln this huge martyr.

JR
It is very ironic.  Lincoln, too, desired fame, but for doing good things. And ironically, Booth, who is this terrible tyrant, had a lot to do with Lincoln’s canonization. Lincoln was killed on Good Friday. That Easter was called the Black Easter. And many, many sermons preached in the north on Sunday talked about him shedding his blood for the country.

PA
So let’s do that contrast of white supremacy then and white supremacy now. With time did those feelings lessen? Is that why for a long period of time, we didn’t hear quite as much about it? Or has it just taken a different form?

JR
Well, I think it’s greatly diminished in force, and numbers of adherence. There have been a series of enlightenments over the last 160 years, some of which are scientific. Anthropologists have demonstrated that there is just a single human species and that blacks and whites just have different ancestries. So, I think I think part of it is simply people becoming more enlightened with the passage of time. But white supremacy 160 years ago was a majority position. Today, it is very much a minority position with a much small percentage of the population having that ideology..

PA
Although I will say, every day in the news, you’re starting to hear more and more people and politicians talking about supremacy and replacement theory, some not even well-veiled. People have become a little bit more emboldened, I think, to talk about it.  I think it’s something that certainly is causing people fear.

JR
Yes it is, And I think we should remember, the Confederacy was specifically founded on white supremacy, and white supremacists today often fly the confederate flag. Surprise, surprise.

PA
The book is called “America’s Original Sin: White Supremacy, John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Assassination.” It’s by John Rhodehamel  You can find it at bookstores anywhere. And of course, we’ll have a link to it on our website. If you want to find out more about John, you can go to his author’s page on Amazon and we’ll have a link to that as well. John, this is really a deeply researched book. How long did it take you to put it all together?

JR
Well writing the book, which is 420 pages, took a year. But I think I’ve been writing on the assassination one way or the other for more than 30 years,

PA
So it was just kind of the accumulation of all this learning you’ve done over the years.

JR
And I felt this made a contribution. There were a lot of good books on the assassination. And I’ve read most of them. No one had really emphasized the white supremacy before. So I thought of trying to do that,

PA
Right, to draw that that line, that connection. Because I think it is easy for us. We hear this all the time, after mass shootings. “Well, they were mentally ill.” And, you know, maybe that’s not it. And we need to stop using that as a convenient way to place the blame. Maybe we need to look a little deeper. And that’s what you did with this book where you said, “You know what? His white supremacy was deep, and he really believed in it.”

JR
He certainly did. And said so, in his writings.  He said, this country was formed for white people and not for black people. They are completely secondary to us. And they are better off in slavery.

 PA
I’m so glad that most of us are passed believing any of that kind of stuff. What a detrimental thing that has been to humanity. John, this is really an amazing book, it really helps us to understand, and actually puts us there, with Booth being there with Lincoln. As you said, it’s a dual biography of the two of them. And it helps us to understand them better and to understand the times better,  We can’t take their personalities and put them in today’s time, as we understand them. We have to understand what things were like at the time. And you did that for us. So thank you.

JR
Oh, thank you very much, Pam.

Pioneer in the LGBTQ+ Community Arlene Goldberg on Simple Human Dignity


LGBT Pioneer Arlene Goldberg on Simple Human Dignity
A snapshot in time before Rainbow Flags and Pride Parades

A pioneer in the LGBT community, and lead plaintiff in a groundbreaking ACLU Federal lawsuit for gay marriage rights in Florida, Arlene Goldberg shares her story from her book Simple Human Dignity, a personal and touching memoir.

We hear firsthand about growing up gay in the late 50s and 60s, having to lie to the people most important in her life, and how she felt she let her parents down.

Arlene shares what areas we still need to work on, the surprising issues facing older LGBT Americans, and what allies can do to help the LGBT community.

Click on the player below to hear the chat with Arlene Goldberg and Pam

About Arlene Goldberg

Arlene Goldberg is a leader and pioneer in the LGBTQ+ community, and the recipient of Equality Florida’s 2014 Voice for Equality Award. She was one of the plaintiffs in the groundbreaking ACLU class-action lawsuit related to same-sex marriage laws in Florida. History was made when she and her wife, Carol, became the first same-sex couple to have their New York marriage officially and legally recognized by the State of Florida. Arlene cofounded Visuality in 2011 in Southwest Florida, and Southwest Florida Pride, Inc. created the Goldberg Award in her honor, to recognize outstanding individuals that have contributed to the cultural, social and economic fabric of the LGBTQ+ Community in Southwest Florida.

For her book, Simple Human Dignity: Click here
Follow her on Twitter: @agoldberg32
Follow her facebook business page (you can always message her there:)

Bestselling Author Michael Farquhar Shares More Bad Days in History!

Think You’ve had a Bad Day?
Michael Farquhar Delves into the Day-to-Day Saga of
Ignominy, Idiocy, and Incompetence in History

I can’t remember the last time I laughed this much in an interview – especially one that included carbuncles, cannibalism, and Thomas Jefferson’s rear end. Bestselling author Michael Farquhar shares More Bad Days in History and reminds us that history is not all black and white – that complexities exist – and that we are all pretty much the same.

Michael tells us how General Patton’s widow put a Hawaiian curse on her husband’s mistress, how Joe DiMaggio gave Florence Kotz a doozy of a day, and how Colonial Massachusetts had some terminal consequences for disobedient children.

Having a bad day? You won’t feel so bad after listening to our chat!

Click on the player below to hear the chat with Michael Farquhar and Pam

About Michael Farquhar

A former writer and editor at The Washington Post, Michael Farquhar is the bestselling author of numerous books, including the critically acclaimed Behind the Palace Doors and Secret Lives of the Tsars, as well as the popular Penguin “Treasury” series: A Treasury of Royal Scandals, A Treasury of Great American Scandals, A Treasury of Deception, A Treasury of Foolishly Forgotten Americans. His latest titles are Bad Days in History: A Gleefully Grim Chronicle of Misfortune, Mayhem, and Misery for Every Day of the Year, and its sequel More Bad Days in History: The Delightfully Dismal, Day-by-Day Saga of Ignominy, Idiocy, and Incompetence Continues. He lives in Washington, D.C.

For more from Michael Farquhar: Click here

Never Kiss a Chicken – Bottom of the Sky Author William C. Pack has a Children’s Book!

William C. Pack – Bestselling Author of
The Bottom of the Sky
Writes about Kissing Chickens in his New Children’s Book!

How do you go from the crazy world of Wall Street to the chicken coops of Montana, and write a sweet book for children, after you have a bestselling novel for adults?

William C. Pack explains why he wrote “Never Kiss a Chicken” after the success of his adult novel “Bottom of the Sky.”  We talk divisiveness, niceness, kindness (both active and passive) and why one should never kiss a chicken.

And, it turns out, we both speak chicken! A delightful conversation with an interesting man.

Click on the player below to hear the chat with William and Pam


Photo Credit: Mallory Regan Photography

About William C. Pack

Wlliam C. Pack Photo Credit: Melanie Nashan Photography
Wlliam C. Pack Photo Credit: Melanie Nashan Photography

William C. Pack is a multi-award winning author. Born and raised in rural Montana, Bill left home at an early age and worked a variety of jobs from truck driver to cook before earning his GED and, at age 21, joined a major Wall Street firm. He rose to become the youngest Executive VP/Divisional Director of the largest investment firm in the world while simultaneously acting as CEO of a private food manufacturing company affiliated with Beatrice Foods and served a prestigious 3-year appointment with the NASD (now FINRA) in creating and enforcing rules and regulations on Wall Street.

At 43, due to an illness, Bill left Wall Street to pursue lifelong goals. Bill took the SATs and earned a slot at Stanford University as the oldest undergraduate on campus. In 3 years he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with distinction and high honors. His thesis received the Annual Reviews Prize in Anthropological Sciences and Bill became the chief archaeologist of Stanford’s Greater Yellowstone Archaeological Site Survey.

Bill’s greatest dream was to be a novelist. He was a Lucas Artists Fellowship Writer in Residence and in 2007, his first short story was published. Soon after, his debut novel, THE BOTTOM OF THE SKY, a rags to riches family saga published to great critical acclaim. The novel was a finalist for the National Best Book Award and a contender for the Pulitzer Prize. THE BOTTOM OF THE SKY was also chosen for the prestigious One Book Billings Award and has been taught in advanced university literature and creative writing classes.

Bill has been featured on NPR affiliates, the PBS-syndicated show Between the Lines, Face the StateForbes Personal Best, and a host of local and regional radio and television shows.

Bill has used his book sales to raise money for women’s and children’s charities, including: Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse in SF, The Nevada Women’s Fund, the Angel Fund in MT, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Reach Out and Read CO, Reach Out and Read AZ, Babcock Elementary in Sacramento, Rafael House in Portland, and others. Bill was a Board member of the Institute of the Americas, solving energy issues in the Americas, and of other charities.

Bill Pack is married with grown children and delightful grandchildren. After residing in Northern California for many years, Bill and his wife returned to Montana, where he enjoys hanging out with his big dogs and even bigger wildlife. NEVER KISS A CHICKEN! is Bill’s first children’s book.

  • Photos courtesy of Mallory Regan Photography and Melanie Nashan Photography

For more about William C. Pack: Click here
For his book, Never Kiss a ChickenClick here
William C. Pack on Facebook: @williamcpack

One Step Further: The Story of NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson


Katherine Moore, Daughter of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, talks about their children’s book One Step Further

If you’ve seen the inspirational film Hidden Figures, you know a little of how women, especially black women, were treated during the 50s and  60s,  especially in male-dominated industries. The stories of  Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughn, and  Katherine Johnson helped us to understand what challenges women faced.  Katherine was the NASA mathematician whose calculations were critical to manned space flights, from Project Mercury with John Glenn, all the way up to the moon flights and space shuttles.

Before she passed away at 101 in February of 2020, Katherine and her two daughters – Joylette Hylick and Katherine Moore — wrote a children’s book about her life and the racism and misogyny she faced.  Published by National Geographic, One Step Further: My Story of Math, the Moon, and a Lifelong Mission is a deeply personal portrayal of female empowerment, women in STEM, and the breaking down of racial barriers across generations.

It’s a wonderful book that will inspire little girls for generations to come!

We talked to Katherine’s daughter Katherine Moore, and got some insight into their lives. We talked about growing up in the 50s and 60s with Jim Crow in full swing, what kind of an impact her mother had on the space program, and what she hopes children will take from this remarkable book.

Click on the player below to hear the chat with Katherine and Pam


About Katherine Moore

After attending Bennett College and Hampton University, and receiving a Masters of Science in Information Systems from Montclair State University (formerly Montclair State College), Katherine Moore spent 33 years working in public education as an educator and guidance counselor in New Jersey. She currently resides in Greensboro, North Carolina.

For more about Katherine Johnson: Click here
For the book, One Step FurtherClick here

Award-Winning Author David Giffels on Barnstorming Ohio


Barnstorming Ohio to Understand America
David Giffels gives us insight into America and Americans in his new book

Ohio has picked the winner of the presidential election 29 out of 31 times since 1896… so they must be on to something. David Giffels traversed the state to find out what the people of Ohio were thinking about the election and what challenges they were facing. He put his discoveries down in his book Barnstorming Ohio, To Understand America.

There are 5 distinct different areas of Ohio, which makes it the cross-section of America, and gives us some insight into what the people of our country are thinking. In our chat, David explains what issues each area deals with, how Amazon is changing the landscape of Ohio, AND America, by taking over decaying malls, and how farmers are trying to survive despite the trade wars and bad weather.

Will Ohio get the presidential election right this time? No matter if they do or not, we’ll have a better understanding of America and Americans, by Barnstorming Ohio with David Giffels.

Click on the player below to hear the chat with David and Pam


About David Giffels

Barnstorming Ohio author David Giffels has written six books of nonfiction, including the critically acclaimed memoir, Furnishing Eternity: A Father, a Son, a Coffin, and a Measure of Life, published by Scribner in 2018. The book has been hailed by the New York Times Book Review as “tender, witty and … painstakingly and subtly wrought,” and by Kirkus Reviews as “a heartfelt memoir about the connection between a father and son.” It was a Book of the Month pick by Amazon and Powell’s and a New York Times Book Review “Editors’ Choice.”

His previous books include The Hard Way on Purpose: Essays and Dispatches From the Rust Belt (Scribner 2014), a New York Times Book Review “Editors’ Choice” and nominee for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, and the memoir All the Way Home (William Morrow/HarperCollins 2008), winner of the Ohioana Book Award.

​Giffels is the coauthor, with Jade Dellinger, of the rock biography Are We Not Men? We Are Devo! and, with Steve Love, Wheels of Fortune: The Story of Rubber in Akron.

A former Akron Beacon Journal columnist, his writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic.com, Parade, The Wall Street Journal, Esquire.com, Grantland.com, The Iowa Review, and many other publications. He also wrote for the MTV series Beavis and Butt-Head.

His awards include the Cleveland Arts Prize for literature, the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, and a General Excellence award from National Society of Newspaper Columnists. He was selected as the Cuyahoga County Public Library Writer in Residence for 2018-2019.

Giffels is a professor of English at the University of Akron, where he teaches creative nonfiction in the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts Program.

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