Episode 110B – Jim Christina – Podcast and Radio

Overview

Besides writing, Jim does a live radio show each week that talks to a variety of authors. This gets turned into a podcast. We discuss the pros and cons of a podcast and why an author may want to, or may not, decide to include podcasting in their repetoire.

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Transcript

[00:00:46] Stephen: All right, so let’s move on to some author. Before we get onto a good topic about the podcast and radio. Tell me a little bit about some things you’re on book 13. What are you doing? Different? What have you learned over [00:01:00] 13 books. Okay. 15. So in the time we’ve talked, you’ve gotten two more books out.

[00:01:05] Jim: The a series is 13, then we have 15 and actually I have a poetry book thrown in there too.

[00:01:12] Stephen: Okay. So what do you mean the series?

[00:01:15] Jim: How to relax and let. I don’t try to shove stuff in that doesn’t belong. That’s a great lesson to learn. And it’s a hard lesson to learn. Yes, I agree. And I have now have learned that if the story isn’t coming to be easily, move on to another story. Maybe come back to that one.

Maybe not. It just depends.

[00:01:39] Stephen: So. You mentioned letting it flow, don’t putting in things that don’t belong. It’s interesting. You say that because you mentioned you’re a musician. I also have played music most of my life. Not as much anymore, I’m getting back into it, but I was just chatting with some old band mates and we were talking you two and about how the basis is very [00:02:00] subtle in what he plays.

His baselines are not complex. All over the place and he leaves room for the rest of the music to breathe. And that’s rare. We were just coming and that’s a skill in any creative endeavor. Same with a painting music writing. It’s interesting. You say that. I like that. I used to play bass. That’s what I play.

I love those. All right. Yeah.

[00:02:23] Jim: I had it. I had an old, the fender P bass pre 64, CBS. Oh

[00:02:28] Stephen: man. Those are the

[00:02:29] Jim: best. Oh my God. It was such a clean instrument. It just played. So. But mostly we did the band I played in at the time it was a Rottweiler. I played in two bands and this was one set rock group that we put together for shows only was called back-talking.

And I played bass in that effect. When they put together the band, a guy named Irish, we can’t, he said, I said, I don’t play bass. And he goes, if you do, now,

[00:02:58] Stephen: these are the strings. Here’s the [00:03:00] friends.

[00:03:03] Jim: He gave me the basics. And from there I took it on, I was already a really good finger picker and I’m really good guitars.

So picking up the place, wasn’t that difficult,

[00:03:12] Stephen: right? The band, we were all musicians. I played piano. Most of us played piano, but we’d been in band together for eight years. So

[00:03:21] Jim: yeah, I believe that I play piano, banjo, bass guitar.

[00:03:27] Stephen: I’m working on guitar. Those little strings are so close together. It’s hard for me.

[00:03:33] Jim: Yeah. I’m actually trying to get back into it. Um, I haven’t played in about four years and my, I lost all my calluses. Now I’m going to pick up a classical guitar because I’m a wuss and I want the nylon strings.

[00:03:46] Stephen: Yeah. It’s almost like a rip your fingers apart. So when you’re writing, Jim, what do you use the right?

What software services? What’s your writing practice?

[00:03:57] Jim: I just use a desktop computer [00:04:00] and word. I just use word. I pre format my pages. Give me an idea of where I’m at. And we write everything in six by nine precise. So I always know where I’m at in each page. It’s a. And so I never have to worry about, okay, how many pages have I got now?

Cause I’m on eight and a half by 11, 12 point 12.5, new Roman double space. Now I don’t do that. We ask our writers to do that. I don’t do that right now, but I just use word and I have graded whatever upgrades come. I just

[00:04:40] Stephen: automatic now. Yeah.

[00:04:42] Jim: Yeah. It’s one of the best word process out there. So you might use

[00:04:46] Stephen: it.

What do you do? What do you do to market your books?

[00:04:50] Jim: We do a mom. We have a little marketing section on our website. In fact, Richard’s working on that today. There’ll be a, there’s a little store on the website, which will be opening, probably. I think [00:05:00] this weekend we do Facebook. We do through, well, we do press releases through worried about.

If you’re not, if you’re not willing to go out there, shamelessly self promote. Don’t right. And don’t give up your day job God’s sake. Don’t give up your day job. So if you think you’re going to write a book and get paid, I got

[00:05:24] Stephen: flash point and you might get paid. It’s just not going to be the gold bathtub

[00:05:29] Jim: pay.

Let’s see, I hit a home run with Jonah blue because Jonah blue got picked up by two colleges in oh eight and they use it in their history. Because of the research I did. That’s awesome. Uh that’s but that’s rare and that’s 80 books a semester, so

[00:05:48] Stephen: we had something that’s nice.

[00:05:50] Jim: It’s respectable.

[00:05:52] Stephen: Yeah, this is, so I got to ask, is that a rifle in the background?

Looks like a long barrel something it’s hard to hear. [00:06:00] Yeah. Yeah. That’s

[00:06:01] Jim: the Kentucky rifle. Nice. That’s a good story with that is my, my best friend. I met him in Vietnam in 1969 and he was in the Marines and I was in the army. We’ve remained friends to this day. He was a rebel maker called Fox bluff rifle works at Tennessee, and I got the very first rifle.

He made 100% in his shop board. The barrel that I have, the first one and I have the last one. That’s the last one. My son has. But he made the rifles for the three main characters less than a week. Really? Yeah. And yeah. And he delivered them to south or North Carolina where they were filming the movie and that each principal got two identical rifles to use.

And at the end of filming, they were going to present one to each character and they were all gone. They were stolen all six rifle. Oh my God. [00:07:00] Yeah, I know $60,000 where the rifles, right. Those rifles were 10 grand a piece. Wow. But that’s a lot of work.

[00:07:09] Stephen: That’s a lot of work

[00:07:11] Jim: because he did all that. He did everything in his shop.

He did everything poured. The steel is, did everything. The man was magician when it came to that.

[00:07:21] Stephen: That’s uh, we were talking to creativity and stuff. There’s another, that’s very creative to any of that metalwork woodwork and all of that.

[00:07:31] Jim: Yeah. Unfortunately, a major in orange got to us and he has developed Alzheimer’s and so he is, he lives in Nebraska now and slowly going away and it’s, it is what it is.

Anyway.

[00:07:46] Stephen: Let’s move on to author discussion of topic of interest. You also run a podcast and it is part of the radio show. So tell everybody a little bit about that [00:08:00] whole setup and what you do for the podcast.

[00:08:03] Jim: We, we have a live radio show that goes out weekly at 6:00 PM. Pacific time on LA talk radio. It is a.com.

It’s a, it’s an internet radio station, but we go out in it is we talked to authors of screenwriters, playwrights. Songwriters. We talked to anyone who has anything to do with the written word and we’re out. Our show is 50 minutes and it’s w our guest is tire show. We don’t, we don’t cut them short ever while we did last week, because the guy who wrote our or opening music was an old position friend of mine, Rick Gilman.

And he passed away the day before the show last week. And, but he had generously donated to two pieces of music to open our show with. And I had known Rick for 40 years anyway, but we don’t, we don’t skimp on the rider. We let them talk about what they want to talk about. We try to get them to give away their trade secrets, which [00:09:00] what’s your, when do you like to write, what’s your favorite time to write, but what do you do if you get writer’s block and how do you get out of it?

Just to get process what’s your process? Because we, we give our show towards new writers. So new writers, a lot of them.

[00:09:16] Stephen: I like that because that’s what this is focused on. New writers that aren’t on the USA bestseller or hobnobbing with Stephen King on the weekends and stuff. We

[00:09:27] Jim: have that we deal with New York times, best sellers.

We deal with a worldwide world known bestseller writers. And we’ve had, like I said earlier, John Sanford has been on the show. Craig Johnson been on the show. We’ve had the Polish of prize winners on this. Oh, that’s cool. Yeah. And, and my wife does all the booking and we have we’re booked now through March of next year.

[00:09:51] Stephen: Wow. So why did you choose to do something like this as opposed to anything

[00:09:56] Jim: else? I mean, my co-host my original [00:10:00] soul. Co-host Bobby Jean Bell. She had a show on around the town, around in Santa Clarita, California. And every time I knew came out with a new book, she would have me on her show and we would discuss the new.

And then they canceled her show or around the barn. I’m sorry. Then they canceled her show. So we got together a couple, three, three weeks later and over some, everything gets done over margarita is the chips and salsa. That’s the way the world, we sat around with some Margaret meters salsa and thought, I said, look, Bobby, Gina says, why don’t we start a radio show of our own, call it the writer’s block.

And. Uh, we can get it on LA talk radio. I’ve already talked to Sam who owns the station and he’s more than agreed that let us come in and take up an hour of his week. And we, we put it together and we started the show. It started four months later.

[00:10:54] Stephen: Wow. Yeah, that’s how most of them seem. That’s what this was.

I was thinking. Thinking about it. And then [00:11:00] I finally just told my son, I said, Hey, uh, you’ve got a book out. Let’s just do an interview. See how it goes. And I’ll go from there. Next. I know it’s two years later.

[00:11:08] Jim: Exactly. It takes, sometimes you have so much trepidation. Do I pull the trigger? Do I not pull the trigger?

Is this going to be any good? And that that’s the big thing. And it turns out that it is good and people love it. And the writers love it because we get to talk about things, but they don’t get to talk about. And one of the things that we do that most shows don’t do nothing against you, Steve, but I’m

[00:11:33] Stephen: going to say something against you here,

[00:11:35] Jim: but we made a commitment that every guest on our show we’d read their book.

I read a book a week for a new, for a writer. That’s going to be on my show and I don’t always read for enjoyment. In fact, none of us read important. We have to see, to see what their writing styles are like. And so we can ask the question. [00:12:00]

[00:12:01] Stephen: I understand and appreciate that. Totally. And that’s something I know a lot of my author friends talk about wanting to do a podcast or some of them do it.

And some of them hesitate. They’re not sure it’s worth it. It’s not always, oh, it’s a half hour each week. Now there’s other things you gotta do. There’s maintenance. And that’s one of the things I knew I couldn’t do because I have a day job. I have my own writing. I have a family. I still want to do the podcast.

Writer service. It’s a niche I saw it needed. I felt like I could do this to offer to other writers and help them. But I knew I could not read a book a week and do everything else I was doing. So I just didn’t make that commitment, which is not good or bad. It’s just different. And I think to think about that.

[00:12:53] Jim: We want them to just relax and have a good time on our show. We tell them look, cause I call every [00:13:00] writer the Tuesday before their shows is on. And we talk about the show. Have you listened to it? If not, you may want to listen to at least one episode before the show. It goes on on Thursday. You get a feel of what we do because it’s primarily controlled chaos and.

We have three people that are distinct personalities that are co-hosts and all of us are, have good senses of humor. And all of us will just jump all over each other. Never are writers, but each other, we do all the time and we have fun and I’ll sit here. Sometimes if I’m having a croaky day, I’ll have a glass of bourbon before.

We recommend. Look, if you’re going to be on my show on Thursday, grab a glass of wine, sit down, relax, have fun. We’re your friends. We’re in your back porch. We just BSA, right? That’s all we’re doing. And that’s how the show is.

[00:13:54] Stephen: So Y and I’m asking you this, I have my own answers. Why make a decision [00:14:00] to spend your time talking to people, recording, doing, putting a podcast.

And that doesn’t make money because these usually don’t make too much money unless you get some sponsors after a thousand shows or something. Why choose to do

[00:14:13] Jim: that? We have sponsors more support tortured by LA talk. Radio is one of our sponsors, a creative edge. Publicity is another one of our sponsors and blacked out publishing custody bay books is another one of.

[00:14:28] Stephen: It does help get out you’re publishing.

[00:14:31] Jim: Absolutely. We get everything out. And if we want to talk about a new book, we’ve got coming out, it’s our show. We can do that. So, but no, we don’t, you don’t make money yet. It’s strictly a service to the writer and I’m sure you know that. Yeah, we have, we have a good time with them.

I only had one writer that was really bad. He’s writing was phenomenal. Writing was exceptional, but his wife [00:15:00] had died two weeks before he was on the chair. And all he could do is talk about his dead wife for an hour. I want to shoot myself in the head and romance novels. Oh, we have seven in a row. Oh my God.

I told my wife is one who? Books, books, our show. She’s known as double. I actually have one more, one more romance and all I’m going to go in the bathroom and shoot myself in the head. I can’t read another room because they’re all the same. Well, near your formulaic and it’s handsome guy, beautiful woman have sex.

Don’t have sex. Get pissed off leave. Come back, have more sex. It’s like, they send out this big, long thing and the women just in the blanks, right. Changing the name,

[00:15:49] Stephen: predicting unison. There’s something to be said for that too. That’s what people want the reader,

[00:15:55] Jim: but women, women, especially because you can get through them

[00:15:57] Stephen: in a hurry.

Yeah. And they eat them up. [00:16:00] So more power to you. If you can write that style. And then in. So do you, you have, you thought of, like you said, you haven’t a whole years where the people booked, so obviously it’s popular, you’re helping out the writers. Do you listen to many other podcasts yourself?

[00:16:19] Jim: I do. When they send them to me.

Okay. I do. And when I go on their websites, before I put them on the show, if they have a podcast, I’ll listen to maybe one or two of them kind of get an idea of where they are. If they’ll send it to me, Vicky was sending me a podcast was two before the writers are on our show. So yeah, we do listen to other podcasts.

There are so many pockets and you can’t caters to a mall. Where do you draw the line?

[00:16:48] Stephen: And that’s definitely considered. Someone wants to start a podcast. How do you fit in what’s your, I don’t want to say angle, but you gotta have that. You haven’t had to have a

[00:16:58] Jim: niche. [00:17:00] And if you don’t then don’t do the podcast because it’s just another thing.

Yeah. Ours is live. It goes out live, which is unique in our industry, but the podcast is available the next day. If you want to download it, listen. And then Richard, cause we do everything. I’m going to Skype because I want to see the. Like we are right now. So I, we do everything on Skype and then Richard takes records the entire show, and then he puts commercial Briggs and all kinds of funny little crap in there.

We have the video that goes out as well. So we have the bag we have in live, the live show podcast and a video.

[00:17:41] Stephen: You chose to do an interview type of show. Cause that’s the other consideration. I know some people listen to interview shows, but there’s craft podcasts and there’s various styles and what you can do and learn.

So with 13, 15 books, you could have done a craft when you could have done one [00:18:00] where you focus on writing and craft, but more like Joanna Penn or something where she has a lot of that. But also some interviews. That’s what was, was there any big thinking? Let’s do interviews with new authors as opposed to craft and publishing.

You could have done that too. We do a couple

[00:18:18] Jim: of those shows a year. We do a publishing show. Fact. We just had one. Um, last September we had one, it turned out really good. And like I said, we do a couple of those a year. We’re going to have another one. I think it’s July. Well having another one on Franklin and publishing and, uh, yeah, we do get into that, but I want to give this author also a chance, especially new authors to come in and talk about authors.

Talk about themselves. Let’s face it. If you can get them talking, you’ve won the.

[00:18:51] Stephen: Right. You mentioned the author and I’m not blaming him, not his fault. He was in a bad head space to be doing an interview, talking about his wife. [00:19:00] Totally get that. Right. But for me, I put some recommendations on my website because you always get those new authors.

I understand. I have a lot of authors who say I have never been on a podcast or interviewed I’m so nervous. And I get a lot of that because they’re new authors. That’s the idea. But that would be my biggest advice is relax and just chat because I’ll say, so tell me a little bit about your. I’ve always wanted to write.

My first book is about this, and then it does this and they tell me the whole story in 10 minutes about their book. And then they look at me and I’m like, I hope you have a great day. It’s like, where do I go? You got to try to just relax a little bit. People read books as much for the book as they do the author.

And when you’re on an interview, they want to know the author. So if they like you they’ll read the book, uh,

[00:19:55] Jim: It also helps if you have a good book, it’s [00:20:00] funny you bring that up because I was on another interview on Monday, Jennifer Perry, Madam Paris, whatever it is, salon, I think is what it’s called. And she said, so tell me about, can a bad writer write a good book?

I said a good writer can write a piece of crap too. That’s all going to depend on where their brain is when they’re, when they sit down at the typewriter or they sit down at the keyboard.

[00:20:26] Stephen: A lot of people hate Stephen King. A lot of people hate talking the long drawn out descriptions. I liked some of that. What I don’t like is Kings endings. Most of the time.

[00:20:37] Jim: Yeah. I, I gave up on Stephen King after the shining.

[00:20:40] Stephen: Oh wow. The shiny was, is one of my top three books of all time.

[00:20:44] Jim: Me too. Me too.

Salem’s lot too is right up there. I, yeah, I have learned over the end and one of the things that I did learn in writing. You can be very descriptive and not be page long. Yes. But it’s sometimes [00:21:00] all it takes is a short paragraph. And if it works that way, Don’t make it flowery because if you make a flower, you’re going to lose your reader.

[00:21:08] Stephen: Yeah. And everybody has a style that they get. I just got into reading Lee child, Jack Reacher, which I’d never picked up before thriller reader, but I saw the TV show and I loved it. So I’m like, okay, now I got to read the book and his style is so different from most everything else I read. They’re short sentences.

There’s not a lot of flowery descriptions or anything. Moving on. And he still gets 300 page books that I’m like, just wanting to

[00:21:39] Jim: read. Yeah. I like it when I’m reading an author and they’re there, their chapters are like two or three pages. Yes. It allows me to take a breath and move on to the next chapter.

[00:21:51] Stephen: It very much fits the new, the revival of the serial had fiction.

[00:21:59] Jim: We just did one [00:22:00] with, uh, Bob Brill, who is a, he’s a radio announcer in LA on, on KNX T radio, a CBS affiliate and a very good friend of ours and very good friend of mine. And we just, I’ve been one of his books for Tuscany bay called them the tattoo murder.

And he does that. He, but his chapters and his chapter breaks are dates times and places. Star it’s a date time and a place.

And he’s, he’s, he’s very descriptive without being overly descriptive. The guy described the guy, sliced the ribbons to a T and in half a page.

[00:22:43] Stephen: There’s a good

[00:22:43] Jim: skill to that. There’s a root, but he also writes westerns and we’ve done some of his stuff too.

[00:22:50] Stephen: Well, let me ask you another question I thought of for the podcast.

So you do a radio show, it’s live, um, and it turns into a podcast. I know my son used to [00:23:00] do one of those. He’d do a radio show every week and they’d turn it into a podcast. How was that different from what I’m doing? Where I just put it out as a podcast? What, what are the differences

[00:23:09] Jim: for people? The difference is when you’re doing a live radio show, anything liable to happen.

Ivy and has, we’ve tried to call guests before they don’t answer their phones. As they say, just talk over it. I just keep going. You can’t stop things happen in live radio that you can edit some of it out if you want on it. When, if it turns into a podcast, which is nice, but if you happen to get started late, it doesn’t matter when the podcast, because the podcast will start when you hit.

There’s editing mostly I think is what the most difference is. Isn’t the editing,

[00:23:44] Stephen: editing and not, and you also have to have that definite commitment because you have a timeframe every week. You’re sitting down. If you have a hard time sitting down every day at six to write, then you’re probably not going to go sit down every night at 8:00 PM to do a podcast [00:24:00] or do a radio show.

[00:24:01] Jim: When we first started seven years. Our first hours were eight to nine or eight to eight 50, and then they offered us a seven o’clock slot. And then they offered us a six o’clock slot. So I said, don’t get me any lower than six o’clock because we will get no listener. But yeah. And when we hit six o’clock slot manager took off like a scalded cat because now people were available to listen without cutting into their TV.

Right into their TV time.

[00:24:32] Stephen: There’s a really popular paranormal radio show podcast coast to coast am. Yeah. Yeah. There are like midnight to 2:00 AM my time.

Yeah. I know a couple of friends have been on there. Yeah. We

[00:24:48] Jim: had a writer that was on there, um, is, I think is a. He was a bristle. He wrote a paranormal book that we did [00:25:00] years ago. And in fact, he was the very first book we did as

well without doing our own. And, and he was on no of coast to coast. And he’s been on a lot of the paranormal shows, although I didn’t think he was booked with that parent role, but as my opinion got it. And he had to do a lot of rewrites. Oh yeah. He’d had a lot of redundancies. And he’s a professor at, I said, Bruce, you should know better

[00:25:28] Stephen: teacher, professor English doesn’t necessarily mean the craft of writing.

It does

[00:25:33] Jim: not. And so people don’t get that always a history or English teacher. Why doesn’t he know that? Because there’s a difference, right? Yep.

[00:25:41] Stephen: And just because you have a misplaced comma or a bad word choice in a book, it doesn’t make it a bad story and people want the story. They’re more willing to overlook.

Error.

[00:25:56] Jim: And if I had to give any advice to a new writer,

[00:25:59] Stephen: that was going to be [00:26:00] my next question. What’s your

[00:26:01] Jim: I, if I had to give any advice to new writer, my first bit of advice would be write your dialogue, match your character. You have to write your dialogue, match your character. Things don’t need to be said correctly.

Things don’t need any punctuated correctly in dialogue. Editors don’t get that

a

[00:26:21] Stephen: lot. I was just gonna say, I’ve had to argue my editor a couple of times on dialogue,

[00:26:25] Jim: touch my dialogue and the content of the book, but don’t mess with my dialogue. And if you’re writing an action, if you’re writing like an Irishman, you can write the accent into the dialogue without having the overly Irish follow what I’m saying.

If you say for instance, I have a character in one of my, oh, is the return. His name is Kiran O’Connell and he’s, he ran away from the 14th, British Grenederes at a Fricker and wound up in [00:27:00] Louisiana. He doesn’t know how, or doesn’t remember getting there. He just remembers he’s there. And he Stryker this guy, gesture records holding him a gunpoint because he just popped up out of the grass, scared the living crap out of them.

And it’s his, would you mind me putting down? So I can get me a full, good kit out of the grass. You spell it out that way. That’s exactly how you’re going to read it. So you don’t need to put an Irish accent in a, especially if you’re reading for an audio book, Richard, I had such a problem getting this guy who did a Western, that we wrote together that don’t do a Western accent.

Don’t do a Southern name. The accidents are written into the dialogue, leave it alone. But so that would be the, that would be the biggest bit of though I, I could give to a writer is make your dialogue match your character.

[00:27:45] Stephen: Yeah. I’ve got a other friend, uh, Jeff Elkins, uh, he calls himself the dialogue doctor and he works, but his day job is computer programming, AIS with dialogue, for learning systems.

So worked with authors on their [00:28:00] dialogue for books and focuses on that to help exactly what you just. Uh, make sure your character and dialogue match and that not every character sounds the same. That’s another huge, hard thing to do. And people

[00:28:12] Jim: cut people off and, and that you could write that into the dialogue.

If a dot.dot means it’s somebody just cut you off. Okay. You know it, and you don’t always need to put, he said, she said at the end of a, of a quote, it’s just little tricks. Um, and as you write, just keep writing, keep working on your dialogue. Yep. I agree.

[00:28:39] Stephen: All right, Jim, I appreciate you taking some time talking to me today about your book and some radio podcasting, and hopefully I’ll, everyone will go check out the radio show or the podcast.

[00:28:53] Jim: I hope so. All

[00:28:54] Stephen: right. Well, great. I hope you have a great day. I know you do as well. [00:29:00] You do as

[00:29:00] Jim: well. Steven take care of my friend.

[00:29:02] Stephen: I hope so.

[00:29:03] Jim: You know what? If you send me an email, Jeff christina@yahoo.com, send me your address. I will send you a signed copy of the return of Jefferson’s chance, a hardbound.

Nice. And maybe a copy of my poetry.

[00:29:18] Stephen: Okay, I’m up for it. I’ll sign that one too.

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