Melissa Powell Gay

We all have to go on our personal odysseys for growth and money or whatever, but it’s not until we return home that we see how much we’ve grown…or regressed. Melissa’s Mount Pleasant series shows us the life and times of Iris and her father Henry after she leaves the big city lights for simpler rural times. We talked about the second book in the series “Every Now and Then” and her plans for addressing racial tension in a time where compassion amongst races seems to be waning. Ben was off larping or planting microgreens so Dom handled this biz. Give it a listen..or don’t! The least you could do though is check out Melissa’s work. Enjoy.

Andrea Kleine

Andrea is an author, choreographer, performance artist, and former Richmonder! Her new novel Eden is about two sisters twenty years after getting kidnapped as children. With an opportunity to testify against their childhood kidnapper, Hope sets out to find her off-the-grid (titular) sister.

You can find Eden at Chop Suey, Amazon, or wherever you kids buy your friggin books these days!

Paula G

Paula Gillison is an author, poet, artist, and all-around inspiration! She’s got a refreshingly open-minded approach to all creative outlets and is here to share her wisdom and part of a short story!

Paula is an active blogger. You can find all kinds of goodies at her website, https://lackofbetter.wordpress.com. You can also usually find her at the monthly Writer’s Den poetry slams!

Michele Young-Stone

Michele’s new novel, Lost in the Beehivehas a lot of buzz! That’s a little bee humor for ya. It was featured in O! Magazine last month and Patricia Smith–acclaimed author of The Year of Needy Girls, co-organizer of the RVA Lit Crawl and, most importantly, previous P&C guest–calls it “a heartbreaking, life-affirming novel that champions the radical notion that to embrace our truest self is the one thing we can do to save ourselves. These characters and their lives and this beautiful story remained in my mind long after I finished reading.”

Lost in the Beehive is a coming of age story with magical fantasy elements. It’s about life and love and growing up gay in the 60s and BEES!

Michele was a delightful guest. She reads from Catcher in the Rye, as well as from her book. We talk about bildungsromans and the joys of growing pains! She is also the author of Above Us Only Sky (2016) and The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors: A Novel (2010). She is welcome back anytime.

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David L Robbins

We landed ourselves an interview with a national bestseller! Yes sir, Prose and Cons sure has hit the Big Times. Don’t worry, we’ll make sure to thank all of our devoted listeners when we win our first Podcasty, or whatever the Grammy equivalent is…

David had graciously invited us to record in his home and was idly strumming a well-worn guitar on his deck as Dom and I walked up. Before we knew it, we were seated comfortably on the second best back porch in Richmond, ice waters in hands. As I handed him the mic, he quickly grabbed a nearby candelabra and, snatching a large candle off the top, created a damned functional mic stand.

Dom characteristically bungled his “research” within the first 30 seconds of the interview, fortunately, I was there, armed with my wealth of knowledge and snappy wit.

From there, it was smoooooth sailin’! David is as gregarious as he is prolific, and he is prolific. In the second half of the episode, he reads the first two chapters from what will be his 15th published novel, Isaac’s Beacon.

This really is a fantastic episode, and well worth a listen. If you haven’t already, could you please subscribe to our humble podcast? We’d sure appreciate it.

David would like everyone to know about James River Writers, the best and biggest local organization for writers. Check our their monthly Writing Show and their annual conference.

Bill Blume and Phil Hilliker

Phil and Bill are two fine fellows. They are also extremely talented Middle Grade and Young Adult authors!

Phil Hilliker has been a successful freelance illustrator for sixteen years. After working so closely with many different authors, Phil started thinking about the stories that he wanted to tell and became a writer himself. As a writer and as an illustrator, Phil tells us that he quickly recognized Middle Grade (the expanding literary genre aimed at 8-12 -year-olds) as his true niche. Though as yet unpublished, Hilliker has secured a literary agent for his exciting new novel, Atomic Diner, and is working on his next novel, this one based around “frontier” tall tales of the American West.

Though not a Richmond native, Phil says that the local writing community here has played a huge part in making the city feel like home. Hilliker is the Membership Coordinator for James River Writers, the largest writing group in Richmond (including more than a few prior P&C guests, like Kris Spisak, Patty Smith, and Cheryl Pallant). He has also created a wonderful hobby: Scrabble paintings. For years, Phil has created micro-paintings on the back of Scrabble tiles and has been leaving them in random public spaces. So, if you happen to find one around the Greater Richmond Area, hit him up!

Phil also teaches an awesome Introduction to Children’s Book Illustration at The Visual Arts Center of Richmond.

Bill “Wildcat” Blume has been on our list of guests we want on P&C for a long time. A longtime member of JRW, Bill served as the chair for their 2013 annual writing conference and is a frequent moderator of The Writing Show, a monthly writing panel at The Firehouse Theatre.

A writer since way back, Bill is the author of many published short stories, as well as the exciting Gidion Keep series, of which the first two books, Gidion’s Hunt and Gidion’s Blood, have been published so far. It’s a YA series about a teenage vampire hunter, navigating the tricky path of adolescence while using his wiles to kill devilish vamps.

Bill and Phil were wonderful guests, and we had a ball talking about Howl’s Moving Castle, Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire, and the vexing vampirical post-Twilight landscape for Young Adult Paranormal Fiction. Plus, advice for anyone who wants to publish a book! Check it out.

Since we’ve recorded this episode, Phil has sent me a couple of clarifications from our discussion, which I will include here. There has been quite a bit of criticism of the Indian in the Cupboard series from the Native American community, some links to which can be found here. Also, the story about Stephen Fry being unable to say the phrase, “pocketed it” while recording the first Harry Potter book is, sadly, untrue.  On a positive note, Felica Day has, in fact, narrated quite a few audiobooks!

This is Prose & Cons, thanks for listening ~

Patty Smith and Cheryl Pallant

Patty and Cheryl, authors and organizers of the RVA Lit Crawl, joined the full Prose & Cons crew in the WRIR studio to chat about books, poetry, and life!

Patty Smith is a full-time Literature and Writing teacher at the Appomattox Regional Governor’s School in Petersburg and the author of The Year of Needy Girlsher debut novel set in Smith’s native Massachusetts. Many settings and themes from the book stem from Patty’s own life, such as the struggle of a working-class woman teaching at an elite school, the fear of being an openly gay teacher in a tight-knit community, and the tragedy of a local ten-year-old boy’s murder. The stage of this grisly tale is set with a immersive and ominous prologue describing the events leading up to this boy’s untimely death, and the story delivers a powerful and thoughtful examination of false accusations in a small town.

Author of twelve books, professor at the University of Richmond, dancer, spiritual healer, and cutting-edge researcher, Cheryl Pallant is truly a woman of many talents. During our conversation, we focused on her two most recent books: in Ginseng TangoCheryl tells the intimate true story of her year in Daegu, South Korea; Her Body Listening is Pallant’s newest collection of poetry, described by the author as “a poetic reflection of [her] final year in training as a Healing Touch practitioner”. Cheryl is also the author of Contact Improvisation: An Introduction to a Vitalizing Dance Form, drawing upon her decades of experience in freeform dance, and the upcoming Writing and the Body in Motion: Awakening Voice through Somatic Practicebased on her innovative and immensely popular and Writing from the Body workshops.

This is a killer episode, with anecdotes and nuggets of wisdom galord. Give it a listen!

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Patty (left) and Cheryl (right) after their joint reading at Chop Suey Books on January 23, 2018.