Monday, January 13, 2014

PUYB Virtual Book Club Q&A with 'Storytelling: The Indispensable Art of Entrepreneurism' Rudy Mazzocchi

Rudy Mazzocchi is here at the book club today to talk about his new business/entrepreneur book, Storytelling: The Indispensable Art of Entrepreneurism!

Rudy Mazzocchi is best known as a medical device and biotechnology entrepreneur, inventor, and angel investor, with a history of starting new technology ventures throughout the U.S. and Europe. He’s been privileged to have the opportunity to see the newest innovations in healthcare and work with some of the most brilliant researchers, scientists and physicians in the industry.

Authoring more than 50 patents, he has helped pioneer new companies involved in cardiology, oncology, orthopedics, neurosurgery and even embryonic stem-cell development. Through these efforts, he has become the recipient of many technology and business awards, including the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in Healthcare (2004), Businessman of the Year Award (2005), and Global Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2013).

Combining these experiences and opportunities, with thousands of hours of travel and long evenings in hotel rooms, he found the initiative to start writing a collection of award-winning business/medical thrillers based on true events, known as The EQUITY Series. STORYTELLING was his debut non-fiction business book released in November 2013.

Visit his website at

Thanks for joining us at the book club today, Rudy!  STORYTELLING – The Indispensable Art of Entrepreneurism is quite different from the suspense thrillers I’ve known you to write.  How come you came up with a book on entrepreneurism?

Well, the two suspense thrillers are based on true events and real medical sciences that I’ve encountered during my career as an entrepreneur and start-up CEO. Exploring hundreds of new technology developments have provided me with the source of materials for these novels. After receiving three entrepreneur/business awards, I was nominated a second time for the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in Healthcare. During the interview process, I sat before the judges who repeatedly attempted to discover the secret of my success. Since I’ve had no formal business/finance education or training, I was hard-pressed to provide an answer. It was really only then did I realize that it was ALL about how one tells the story. Apparently, none of the current business/entrepreneurism programs at the university level have ever focused on this key element. It was those judges who encouraged me to write this book based on my experiences of establishing a dozen technology companies over the past twenty-five years.

Who would benefit the most from this book?
This book will benefit not only the wannabe and experienced serial entrepreneur, but those individuals who are required to engage and motivate an audience – any audience: divisional managers, salespeople, product designers, etc. It’s an essential art that can make the difference between success and failure. (I provide real life examples of both in this book.)

How hard was it to switch over from fiction to nonfiction?

Since my novels walk a fine line between fiction and non-fiction already, this was an easy transition. The biggest difference is that I needed to do a much deeper degree of “fact checking”. I actually sent chapters out to other business associates who were involved in many of these stories in order to get their validation of the facts!

What was your very first startup business and can you tell us what you learned from the experience?

I tell this tale in STORYTELLING… it was when I was a first-time CEO and founder of a medical device company at the age of twenty-eight. I didn’t realize it back then, but the only skill I really had (assuming ambition didn’t count), was my ability to tell the story. I easily became enthralled with the technology and their medical applications to the point of wanting to see as many surgical procedures as I could to further educate myself. The raw human element associated with each event provided me with the necessary “hook” of the story.

What kind of advice can you give to new startup business owners?

First… buy my book… lol. Secondly, do your homework and craft the appropriate story that contains all the necessary components of ANY good story. Think about those stories we all loved to hear during our childhood. They had a great beginning, middle and ending. Pull it together, rehearse it, and then continue to perfect it.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell your readers?

This author greatly appreciates all the tremendous support from readers of both my fiction and non-fiction books. My literary agent is diligently speaking with many movie producers and screenwriters in an attempt to bring The EQUITY Series to the big screen. It’s been a wonderful and rewarding process!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

PUYB Virtual Book Club Q&A with 'My Death: A Personal Guidebook' Jeremy Kagan

PUYB Virtual Book Club Q&A with 'My Death: A Personal Guidebook' Jeremy Kagan

Jeremy Kagan is here at the book club today to talk about his new memoir, My Death: A Personal Guidebook!

Jeremy Kagan is an internationally recognized director/writer/producer of feature films and television and a tenured professor. Some of his feature credits include the box-office hits HEROES, the political thriller THE BIG FIX, THE CHOSEN (2 time Grand Prize winner),and THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN (Gold Prize Moscow Film Festival). Among his many television shows are KATHERINE: the Making of an American Revolutionary and HBO’s CONSPIRACY: THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 8 (ACE Award for Best Dramatic Special). His film ROSWELL,THE UFO CONSPIRACY garnered a Golden Globe nomination and he directed the pilot for the hit series DR. QUINN: MEDICINE WOMAN. Other television films include, for Showtime COLOR OF JUSTICE about racism and BOBBIE’S GIRL about a lesbian couple andCROWNHEIGHTS about the 1991 riots, which won the Humanitas Award for “affirming the dignity of every person.” Kagan has won an EMMY for Dramatic Series Directing and directed “West Wing” and Spielberg’s ”Taken.” He has made films for The Doe Fund which is the most successful program in America helping the homeless and for The Bioneers which organizes leaders in ecology and social justice, and TreePeople.

Professor Kagan teaches graduate courses at USC in directing and has created the Change Making Media Lab, which has made projects on cancer prevention, obesity and ADHD. Kagan has served as the Artistic Director of Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute and is on the National Board of the Directors Guild and Chairperson of its Special Projects. His books DIRECTORS CLOSE UP, Vol. 1 & 2, are published by Scarecrow Press. A Graduate Fellow of the American Film Institute, he has an M.F.A. from NYU and a B.A. from Harvard University. He has taught master seminars on filmmaking in Hong Kong, Hamburg, Hanoi, France, Lebanon, Israel, Ireland and India.

His latest book is My Death: A Personal Guidebook.

You can visit Jeremy Kagan’s website at

Thanks for coming to the book club, Jeremy!  I have to admit – your book so intrigued me.  Would you like to start off by telling us just what an out of body experience is like?

Jeremy:  I expect that OBEs are similar in some ways and different in others depending on the pre-conditioning of the person.  What you believe now effects what you will experience.  What was true for me is that I knew little about these kind of journeys though some 15 years before I had seen the famous book by Robert Monroe and retained something about silver cords connecting the astral body to the physical body and being able to float from room to room like a kind of ghost.  None of this happened to me in my near death experience. My experience was about letting go.  Meaning I lost my physical abilities and senses, I couldn’t see or hear or move and I had to accept that and even more accept that I was dying and had to let go of being here, let go of my career, my family and relationships, my ego.

So the moment you left your body, what can you compare that to?

Jeremy:  I looked for words to describe the ecstasy as I wrote the book: This final letting go, giving up, had an experience to it.  Unexpected.  It was like air released from an inflatable pillow.  Like water gently overflowing a container. Like a sphere whose surface has somehow dissolved and everything within flows easily out in every direction. And there was no pain.  No pain at all.  Just this smooth dissolution of being.  It was remarkably soothing.

When you have an out of body experience, did you ever feel that you couldn’t ‘go back’?

Jeremy:  There was no going back.  The idea of return was not even an idea.  The issues was where I was going to and what would happen next. 

Why did you decide to go to a sweat lodge in the first place?

Jeremy: I had gone to sweats before.  As I mention in the book these experiences were intense and challenging.  You are in the dark, it is very hot, you sweat a lot, its really uncomfortable, but I had powerful visions doing these sweats and felt cleaned of worries, as in the kind of sweat lodges that I had gone to, you are asked to tell the truth and to speak to wishes you have for yourself, for others and to give away those thoughts and emotions that are possessing you. Powerful stuff.  And this was the night before my birthday, so I thought it a good idea for a kind or pre-birthday preparation.  

Your book can be called an aid to help people get over their fear of dying.  How do you feel it does that?

Jeremy:  Well, I have that fear of dying and had that fear of dying.  This experience where I died or went through some mystical experience of dying and death allowed me to know that consciousness does not end with the end of the body, and that the transition itself can be blissful, and the experiences out of the body can be ecstatic and perfect.  Yes I also went through my version of hell, but that too turned out to be an illusion, and just to know that is to remove much of the fear of any form of afterlife.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell everyone?

Jeremy:   This book is about learning to live with death, learning to appreciate the miracle of living, and hopefully it is a preparatory document for the journey that we all are taking.  I want the reader to know that awareness does not end with the end of your body. That love for everyone and everything is a possibility. And that we need to "lighten up." Meaning not take things so seriously, opening up our hearts, removing the heaviness that can drag us down, becoming a light for others, being passionate yet not attached, and letting go of the constraints that limit us to being the remarkable beings we truly are.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

PUYB Virtual Book Club Q&A: Interview with Elizabeth Woodrum, author of 'Maisy and the Missing Mice'

We welcome Elizabeth Woodrum to PUYB Virtual Book Club!  Elizabeth is here to talk about her new book and writing for the children’s market.  Ask her a question in the comment section and we’ll pick one of you to win free audiobook copy of her delightful children’s book, Maisy and the Missing Mice.  This contest will begin today and end on January 10 so get your comments in!  Only those leaving an email address (so we can contact you) are eligible to win.  Good luck and thanks for entering!
More about Elizabeth Woodrum:
Elizabeth Woodrum is a full time elementary teacher in Ohio. She began writing as early as when she was in elementary school, but more recently began writing material for use in her classroom. From that writing, grew the desire to write books for the general population of children and adults alike. The Maisy Files, a children’s series, is the first series that she has published. The series currently has one book, Maisy and the Missing Mice. Elizabeth plans to add more books to the series, and would also like to publish books for adults in the future.

As a reader, Elizabeth prefers the fantasy genre, but she enjoys realistic fiction as well. Some of her favorite authors include JK Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, Rick Riordan, Veronica Roth, Suzanne Collins, and Nicholas Sparks.

Originally from Indiana, Elizabeth currently resides near Dayton, Ohio with her two pets: a cat named Butterscotch and a dog named Reese Cup.

You can view more about Elizabeth Woodrum at

 About Maisy and the Missing Mice:

Maisy Sawyer is not your average fourth grade student. She is a detective with a special skill for solving mysteries. She loves black and white mystery movies, cherry lollipops, and her dog, Reesie. When a thief known as The Black Boot steals the school’s mascots and her lollipops, Maisy sets out to solve the case. Can she help return the mice to their home in the science lab? Will she ever see her beloved lollipops again? Find out in the first book in The Maisy Files series.

Visit the book trailer at


Thanks for coming to the book club, Elizabeth!  Get comfy, grab yourself a cup of coffee and let’s get started.  My first book was a children’s book so I feel we have a lot in common.  Why did you decide to write for the children’s market?

Elizabeth:  I have been a teacher for over a decade.  The majority of that time has been spent teaching fourth grade language arts.  So, after spending my days working with words and children, I decided that realizing my dream of being an author would probably be most successful if I wrote for the children’s market.  I know the age group I’m writing for, so I feel that makes me able to write to their interests.

Where are you from and what do you do for a living there?  Do you have family?

Elizabeth:  I am originally from Indiana, but I currently live outside of Dayton, Ohio.  As I mentioned before, I am a teacher, but I work in a rural district in Preble County, Ohio.  My family is located in Indiana, but I do have my furry family with me in Ohio.  My dog Reese Cup, who was the inspiration for Maisy’s dog, and my cat, Butterscotch, keep me company at home. They are quite the twosome!

Back to your book, tell us all about Maisy!

Elizabeth:  Maisy is a fourth grade student with a special skill for solving mysteries.  She enjoys old, black and white mystery movies.  So, she pretends to be in a black and white world when solving a case. She even has an old fashioned hat that she wears when she’s on a case.  She also loves cherry lollipops.  She has a large collection of them that she has received as payment whenever she’s solved a case for someone.  Maisy almost always has at least one cherry lollipop with her!

Every book of fiction has a pivotal point for the reader that they can’t forget.  What do you think is one of the pivotal points in your book?

Elizabeth:  I’ve had many students in my school read the book.  Many of them have mentioned that they were interested in who the thief was more after he steals Maisy’s cherry lollipop collection.  Since Maisy is so attached to her lollipops, she becomes even more determined to solve the case at that point.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell your readers?

Elizabeth:  Maisy is an enjoyable and unique character.  I doubt you have come across someone exactly like her in your reading, even of the mystery genre. Reviews have mentioned that she was fun to read about and that readers are looking forward to more stories.  I do plan to have this be a larger series.  There are no set plans yet, but book two is in the process of being written.  I hope to have it out sometime in early 2014.