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Sunday, June 16, 2019

6/17/19 - Stavroula Toska, an original content creator, writer, director, producer and actor, spoke with host Janeane Bernstein from our KUCI studios

LISTEN to today's conversation
with featured guest Stavroula Toska

Stavroula Toska is an original content creator, writer, director, producer and actor based in New York City by way of Greece. Her debut feature documentary, Beneath the Olive Tree, was narrated and executive produced by Academy Award winner Olympia Dukakis. Based on journals found buried beneath an olive tree in Greece the film brings to light the stories of Greek women who were exiled in concentration camps during the Greek civil war with the support of the United States and Great Britain. Beneath the Olive Tree went on to receive multiple awards and recognition in the US and abroad. Toska's most recent project is the multi-award-winning scripted series, SWITCH. Based on her personal experiences as an undercover dominatrix, Toska takes viewers on a journey to the riveting world of BDSM from a deeply benevolent, unorthodox and cerebral POV by following Stella (based on Toska's real life character) and the main characters as they navigate leading a double life, the struggle for power, identity, ambition, love and family. SWITCH is a workplace drama exploring the many aspects of human nature, trauma and conditioning that most people never discuss openly, and follows in the steps of Brene Brown's work on vulnerability and Bessel Van Der Kolk's decades of research focusing on the brain, mind and body in the healing of trauma. 

SWITCH has been taking film festivals by storm winning a record 10 awards in less than 6 months:
- BEST STORY AWARD, Santa Fe Film Festival
- BEST SUSPENSE / ACTION AWARD, New York Women in Film and Television, Go Indie TV, Roku TV Film Festival
- OUTSTANDING ACTRESS AWARD for Stavroula Toska, New York Women in Film and Television , Go Indie TV, Roku TV Film Festival
- BEST PILOT AWARD and BEST NEW SERIES AWARD, Calcutta International Film Festival
- BEST PILOT AWARD and BEST NEW SERIES AWARD, Los Angeles Independent Film Festival
- BEST PILOT AWARD at the 2019 Best Shorts Film Festival
- BEST WEB SERIES AWARD at the Global Shorts Film Festival
- BEST PILOT and BEST WOMEN’S SHORT FILM, Crown Wood International Film Festival

As SWITCH is quickly finding an audience around the globe, Toska is working on a book about the many life lessons she learned while working as a dominatrix and looking to develop SWITCH into long form episodic.

Season 1 of the short form version of SWITCH is now available to watch exclusively on www.switchtheseries.com

Stavroula's other works as a producer and/or director include In The Vice, Pronoia, The Sounding, LIVIN' THE DREAM, Monsters, and The New Abolitionists, a feature documentary on human trafficking. She serves as a mentor for youth interested in filmmaking through the Reel Works Organization, she is on the board of directors at the Hellenic Film Society USA, and serves as the Events Director for the Film Fatales New York Chapter.

SWITCH will be screening at the Dances with Films Festival June 22, 2019.


USA, 2018, HD, 24 min.

WRITER: Stavroula Toska
DIRS: Stavroula Toska, Cady McClain, Laurie Weltz, Katie Maguire
PRODS: Stavroula Toska, Katie Maguire
CAST: Stavroula Toska, Olympia Dukakis, Andrew Chmelko, Eleni Yiovas, India Ennenga, Cady McClain, Alicia Greene, Jon Lindstrom, Catherine Eaton, Catherine Chadwick, Julian Elfer

Based on the true life story of creator and lead actress Stavroula Toska, SWITCH follows Stella, an immigrant woman with a dark past who begins training as a professional dominatrix in New York City’s most exclusive BDSM Establishment while battling PTSD.

SWITCH takes viewers on a journey to the riveting world of BDSM, from a deeply benevolent, unorthodox and cerebral POV, by following Stella and the main characters as they navigate leading a double life, the struggle for power, identity, ambition, love and family. SWITCH is a work place drama, much like ER but in a dungeon.

6/17/19 @9:30am pst - Amy Collins, President of New Shelves Books, joined Janeane live on KUCI 88.9fm

LISTEN to today's conversation
with featured guest Amy Collins.

Amy Collins is the President of New Shelves Books, one of the best-known book sales and marketing agencies in the US. Collins is a trusted expert, speaker, and recommended sales consultant for some of the largest book and library retailers and wholesalers in the publishing industry. In the last 20 years, Amy and her team have sold over 40 Million books into the bookstore, library, and Chain store market for small and midsized publishers. She is a columnist for and a board member of several publishing organizations and a trusted teacher in the world of independent publishers.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

6/17/19 @9:15am pst - Marika Lindholm along with co-editor Domenica Ruta joined host Janeane Bernstein to talk about ‘We Got This,' which marks a social movement with stories from single mothers representing a diverse range of experiences.

LISTEN to today's show featuring
Marika Lindholm and co-editor Domenica Ruta


Marika Lindholm is one of the editors of a new anthology “We Got This” (Sept. 10, She Writes Press), which chronicles the journey of more than 75 solo moms. It even includes a story from Amy Poehler! They come from a variety of diverse backgrounds, and some are single parents by choice, and some by circumstance.

Domenica Ruta is the author of the New York Times bestseller With or Without You, a memoir about growing up with a heroin-addicted solo mom. Her recently published book, The Last Day, a novel, was written in a postpartum fugue state as a new solo mom to her son. She lives in New York City.

‘We Got This’ marks a social movement with stories from single mothers representing a diverse range of experiences. Lindholm’s new collection features featuring Anne Lamott and Amy Poehler and brings together solo moms with grit, heart, and humor

NEW YORK CITY – In the United States alone, there are 15 million hard-working, diverse, dedicated, and resilient women single mothers. This fall, 75 solo mom’s voices will be featured in the groundbreaking title “We Got This: Solo Mom Stories of Grit, Heart, and Humor” (She Writes Press, September 10, 2019). They unite to break the stigma around single moms, to empower others facing similar situations, and to show the ferocity of the love they feel for their children.

Filled with essays, poems, and inspirational quotes, We Got This features moms connected by a conscious coalition despite age, race, culture, sexual orientation, economic circumstances, and route to single motherhood. We Got This reminds solo moms that they are powerful and important ― and that there’s a whole community of women out there who understand what they are going through.

DR. MARIKA LINDHOLM founded ESME.com to ignite a social movement of solo moms. A trained sociologist, Lindholm taught courses on inequality, diversity, and gender at Northwestern University for over a decade. After a divorce left her parenting two children on her own, she realized solo moms lacked much-needed resources, support, and connection. She built her social platform, Empowering Solo Moms Everywhere, out of this combination of academic and personal experience. In addition to publishing numerous scholarly articles, Lindholm has been a regular contributor to Psychology Today, Working Mother, Mind Body Green, and Talk Space. She has published essays and fiction in the Daily News, Elephant Journal, The Hill, Ms., Silent Voices, and the Southern Indiana Review. Keep up with her at https://esme.com/.

“We Got This:

Solo Mom Stories of Grit, Heart, and Humor”

Frank, funny, and unflinchingly real stories by solo moms, for solo moms

In the United States, more than 15 million women are parenting children on their own, either by circumstance or by choice. Too often these moms who do it all have been misrepresented and maligned. Not anymore.

In We Got This, seventy-five solo mom writers tell the truth about their lives—their hopes and fears, their resilience and setbacks, their embarrassments and triumphs.

Some of these writers’ names will sound familiar, like Amy Poehler, Anne Lamott, and Elizabeth Alexander, while others are about to become unforgettable.

Bound together by their strength, pride, and most of all, their dedication to their children, they broadcast a universal and empowering message: You are not alone, solo moms—and your tenacity, courage, and fierce love are worthy of celebration.

Edited by Marika Lindholm, Cheryl Dumesnil, Domenica Ruta, and Katherine Shonk

September 10, 2019 | She Writes Press

Short Stories/Memoirs

In an interview, Dr. Marika Lindholm can discuss:

  • The unfair stigmas that single mothers face
  • What makes We Got This a necessary book for the Solo Mom community
  • How the book can benefit two- parent homes
  • The inspiration behind We Got This
  • How the collection of stories came together
  • The growing trend of being a single parent by choice
  • Social truths that bind solo moms regardless of their route to single parenthood

An Interview with Dr. Marika Lindholm
How did you rally 75 single mothers into submitting their unique stories for We Got This?

Our anthology features great writing by well-known, and yet to be discovered, solo moms. We searched for previously published work by Amy Poehler, Audre Lorde, Mary Karr, Anne Lamott, Elizabeth Alexander and other notables, but the real fun was finding lesser known solo mom authors to share their original stories. Fortunately, over the years, I’ve established a network made up of wonderful writers who’ve contributed to ESME. We reached beyond that network as well, posting calls for work in a range of communication channels for women writers. We had a treasure chest of submissions but had to make some hard choices based on our goal to weave an inclusive story that represented a diversity of solo mom experiences. The enthusiastic response by writers hoping to join our collection of solo mom voices was incredibly reaffirming!

What is your definition of a “solo mom”?

A solo mom is any woman who parents alone, whether by choice, circumstance, or surprise. The term solo mom is an intentional dismantling and redefining of the “single mom” stereotypes that have been used to denigrate hard-working moms. Adopting the phrase solo mom allows us to write a new, more accurate definition, one that highlights solo mom’s strength, resilience, intelligence and ingenuity. The term solo mom also has the benefit of including women who are solo due to a variety of circumstances such as a partner’s deployment, incarceration, abandonment, deportation, death or frequent travel for work. The reasons for being solo might differ but all solo moms are united in their fierce love and dedication to their children. As we say at ESME, solo doesn’t mean alone.

What inspired you to put the book together? Why now?
During my own divorce over 15 years ago, I recall looking for, and not finding, books about solo parenting that spoke to my heart, rather than offering practical advice. I was hurting and wanted more than a how-to book. After starting ESME and seeing all the heartfelt writing by our solo mom contributors, I searched the shelves to see if the book I needed, so many years ago, had been written. I found wonderful memoirs and fiction that featured solo moms, but there was still a hole to fill. I’m proud that our book invites the reader into a community of solo moms who lay bare their fears, joys, hopes and challenges, thus inspiring and celebrating anyone raising children, especially on their own.

Why do you think it’s crucial to tell these stories right now?

Our current historical moment, where the gap between the super wealthy and the working class continues to grow, where the cost of living rises but wages don’t, where federal taxes take a deeper cut into paychecks, where our children are practicing “active shooter” drills at school, where educational opportunities come with a steep price tag, where social supports such as healthcare, food assistance, and childcare support are at risk—it's incredibly frightening for solo moms. It’s critical that we show solo moms that they are not alone and that they are worthy of being honored and celebrated for their heroic efforts. Equally important, by sharing their profound stories, we defy the stereotypes that convince voters and politicians that solo moms and their children are a social ill, unworthy of support. I wish We Got This could be required reading for everyone in the Senate and House, because once they got to know the moms in our book, it would be very difficult to vilify and compromise the safety and health of solo mom families.

You are very passionate about making people aware that single moms in the US are a diverse group. How do you think the collection of stories in We Got This represent that?

Yes I’m very proud that we are able to share so many solo mom perspectives in their gorgeous variation. Not only do we feature solo moms who represent diversity in terms of race, culture, sexual orientation and economic situation, we also showcase diversity of experience: moms with special needs children or special needs themselves, women who became solo due to divorce, deployment, incarceration, a husband’s mental illness or death. We feature solo moms by choice, by adoption and by surprise as well as a range of human experiences such as, suffering a heart attack while a spouse is deployed, adopting a baby that lands in the NICU for many weeks, helping a heroin addicted son, pondering how to explain a father’s suicide and many more stories that are certain to resonate whether or not you’ve faced similar challenges.

Why do you think there is a growing solo mom trend? How do you think that will change parenting culture for the next generation of parents?
Divorce rates are dropping but divorce continues to be the main reason women become solo moms. Sadly, the opioid crisis and increased suicide rates have also forced women to parent alone -- in many cases grandmothers have stepped up. However, one of the most dramatic trends is the willingness of women to parent alone when they don’t find a suitable partner. Many women don’t want to wait for their prince or princess to start a family. They are keenly aware that their biological clock is ticking and don’t want to miss the chance at motherhood. The biggest change in parenting culture is that its decidedly more fluid. Increasingly, parents aren’t married or single for the first 18 years of a child’s life - families are in flux - and that’s OK. I hope and believe there will be more acceptance of a variety of family arrangements, such as one home for the children that mom and dad, or mom and mom, rotate in and out of. Or multiple solo mom families sharing a home to help each other manage work and family obligations. These scenarios may sound unstable or threatening to some but we’ve had many generations of solo moms who toiled in invisibility or shame. As long as we continue to put children’s needs front and center, parenting culture in all its permutations and combinations should be supported and accepted.

What stigmas do you hope to break?

In politics, the media and dinner party conversations, single moms are often portrayed as a problem to be solved. According to the stereotypical storyline, they’re clueless, irresponsible, lazy, morally lax, and unable to stop having children. They mooch off of social welfare programs, the persistent stereotype says, and they would rather have more babies than hold down a job. In researching the book, and in my thousands of conversations with solo moms, I can confidently say that the pernicious single mom stereotype is a fabrication. If anything, solo moms are weaving their own safety net by working multiple jobs, sharing homes, bartering services, swapping clothes and helping each other every day. We Got This features their individual stories but also sheds light on one truth that unites all single moms across age, race, class, and culture: children come first.

6/17/19 @9am pst - Author Rea Frey spoke with host Janeane Bernstein about her novel, Not Her Daughter

LISTEN to today's show with featured guest Rea Frey!

Rea Frey's first novel Not Her Daughter (Griffin/St Martin's 8/21/2018) published to great acclaim, just a few to mention being PopSugar naming it one of Summer's Hottest Books, Publishers Weekly including it in their Mysteries and Thrillers 2018 Roundup, Parade included it in list 20 Chilling Thrillers by Women to Read This Year, and Crime Reads listed it in 5 Debut Crime Novels to Read This August.

The mass market paperback version is coming out this June, and we are booking Rea for radio interviews! Would you be interested in chatting with her about crime fiction, kidnapping (and her own scare story...), and this top selling book?

Rea was tapped to do her own script for the major motion picture version of the book, and she can also speak about this and her book to screen journey.


Gripping, emotional, and wire-taut, Not Her Daughter raises the question of what it means to be a mother—and how far someone will go to keep a child safe.

Emma Townsend. Five years old. Gray eyes, brown hair. Missing since June.

Emma is lonely. Living with her cruel mother and clueless father, Emma retreats into her own world of quiet and solitude.

Sarah Walker. Successful entrepreneur. Broken-hearted. Kidnapper.

Sarah has never seen a girl so precious as the gray-eyed child in a crowded airport terminal. When a second-chance encounter with Emma presents itself, Sarah takes her—far away from home. But if it’s to rescue a little girl from her damaging mother, is kidnapping wrong?

Amy Townsend. Unhappy wife. Unfit mother. Unsure whether she wants her daughter back.

Amy’s life is a string of disappointments, but her biggest issue is her inability to connect with her daughter. And now Emma is gone without a trace.

As Sarah and Emma avoid the nationwide hunt, they form an unshakeable bond. But what about Emma’s real mother, back at home?

With a degree in creative writing from Columbia and six traditionally published books under her belt, Rea has helped hundreds of clients refine, hone, and craft their own ideas into full-fledged books. Whether it’s working on a book proposal to sell to a publisher, ghostwriting a memoir, or consulting on a great idea, Rea’s fifteen years in the publishing industry will clarify the message, mission, audience, and ultimately help find a home for a client’s work.

When she’s not promoting her novels, NOT HER DAUGHTER, and her upcoming release, BECAUSE YOU’RE MINE, you can find her creating writing workshops, ogling her sexy husband, homeschooling her incredible daughter, or plotting her next great adventure.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

6/10/19 @9:45am pst - Suzanne Johnson joined Janeane to talk about her latest film, The World Without You

LISTEN to today's conversation
with featured guest Suzanne Johnson!

About Suzanne C. Johnson - Marilyn / Producer

After years of devoting her life to her family, and to nursing, Suzanne Johnson finally listened to her heart and made the leap from being a mother and nurse to following her dream of an acting career. She began her journey by enrolling in acting classes and combing the internet for casting announcements, gamely submitting herself for every part she thought would be a good fit.

In her first feature film, Empty Space, a powerful drama, she was cast as a waitress in a rural diner trapped in an abusive relationship. After that role, she was hooked. A series of parts followed in several shorts, student films and features. Suzanne played a range of roles, including a mother to a dying girl in a faith-based film, the love interest of a sheriff in a rural town, a hippie psychic, and a Southern socialite with a poker fetish. It was a solid start to her film career but she wanted more. What would be the next big step?


The World Without You is a story about the Frankel family who come together in 2005, a year after the death of the youngest son Leo, a journalist, at the hands of Al Qaeda to memorialize him at their summer cabin in the Berkshires. In so doing, they discover that the man they are burying is not quite the golden brother and son they thought, nor are they, as a family, the singular force for all that is helpless and downtrodden in the world that they were raised to be. Stuck in this country house together for the first time in years, each of Leo’s survivors must admit untruths they’ve been holding onto about not only him, but themselves, and finally obliterate the old family mechanism, to have any chance at surviving as “The Frankels,” in the future.


6/10/19 @9:30am pst - Speaker, trainer, and consultant Jason Jordan, joined host Janeane to talk about FireStory!

LISTEN to today's conversation
with featured guest
Jason Jordan!


Your FireStory is My Passion!

When it comes to business, I live for a moment. It is a special moment in any interaction I have with a new client. We are rolling along. I am asking questions. Then...


I find the FireStory. I can see it in my client's face. They lean forward, and their cheeks turn red. Their entire demeanor becomes animated. The client radiates commitment, passion, excitement, and dedication rolled up into a fiery ball! We have arrived!!

In nearly 20 years of work in Field Sales, Product Marketing, and Business Development in a variety of industries, I can tell you that these moments were few and far between. We were almost exclusively involved in things like features, advantages, benefits, vision statements, mission statements, TPS reports, core values, and especially financial reports. These didn't inspire much passion, but they did come in handy when I was having trouble falling asleep some nights...

I completed my MBA in 2004 at Texas A&M, with a focus in Entrepreneurship. I found competing in case competitions (before the rise of "Shark Tank") to be especially exciting! I remember noticing, at the time, that the teams that usually won were expert storytellers, and always had a compelling narrative for the inspiration for their business idea. I would watch as their stories connected with the judges, and their faces would crack into beaming smiles. That was when I first realized how storytelling could impact business.

In 2009, I launched my dream career as a professional speaker and coach, primarily focused on the interaction of the Generations (Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials). I developed programs on Intergenerational Sales Tactics, Leadership Development, and Communications, which were delivered at corporations and events around the country. Giving people tools to help them connect with others outside their generation was immensely satisfying, but the more business leaders, entrepreneurs, and influencers I worked with, the more I pushed them toward sharing their story.

This inevitably led me to the stories that matter most: The FireStories!

I am committed, for the rest of my career, to helping people discover and share their FireStories. In a world that is overrun with information and people trying to be heard, what we truly need is UNDERSTANDING. We don't need to know what you do or how you do it. We need to know your WHY. Your FireStory provides your WHY.


Twiter @yourFirestory

6/10/19 @9:15am pst - Natasha Scripture, author of MAN FAST: a memoir, joined host Janeane on KUCI 88.9fm

LISTEN to today's conversation with featured guest
Natasha Scripture!

Her soul-searching journey takes her deep into the wilderness: from meditating in an Ayurvedic ashram in southern India to toiling on a vineyard on Mount Etna to going on a solo-safari in southern Tanzania (where she also marries herself-yes, it's a thing).

​This is a book to inspire readers who also want to discover their truest, wildest, most empowered selves.

Natasha Scripture is an author, poet, activist and former aid worker. As a spokesperson for the United Nations, Natasha covered humanitarian crises around the world, including conflicts and natural disasters in Ethiopia, Haiti, Libya, and Pakistan. Before the UN, she worked as a writer, producer and editor for a variety of organizations, including the BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera English, TED, National Geographic and Condé Nast Publications. She has been interviewed by CNN, ABC News, BBC Radio, the Irish Examiner and Women’s Health (Australia), among other news outlets, been published in the New York Times, The Telegraph, Glamour UK, The Sydney Morning Herald, Huffington Post, The Boston Globe, the New York Post and The Atlantic, among other publications, and been featured in Marie Claire and The Sunday Times Style magazine. Natasha has a Masters of Science in Gender and Development Studies from the London School of Economics, and a Bachelors degree from New York University. She is certified in Ayurveda Foundations from the California College of Ayurveda and has studied the Ayurvedic art of health and healing with Dr. Vasant Lad, founder of the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Natasha has lived in several different countries and travels frequently. Yet no matter where she is in the world, she seeks to inspire and empower women with her writing and storytelling.

Natasha Scripture
Author of MAN FAST: A Memoir
Twitter: @natscript
IG: natashascripture