EP08-A Book and Its Cover with Debbie Gonzales

Episode 8 - Deb Gonzales.jpg

In this Episode:

Deb discusses the inspiration, creative process, and dedication for her debut picture book, GIRLS WITH GUTS!:THE ROAD TO BREAKING BARRIERS AND BASHING RECORDS. In this episode, she highlights some of the vignettes featured in the book, the passage of Title IX, and impact the tenacious female athletes of the past have had on the educational and sporting opportunities girls engage in today.

Launch date - May 14, 2018. Preorders now available.

Launch date - May 14, 2018. Preorders now available.

About Debbie Gonzales:

Debbie Gonzales is a career educator, curriculum consultant, former school administrator and adjunct professor, and once served as a SCBWI RA for the Austin Chapter. Deb currently devotes her time to writing middle grade novels, crafting teacher guides and various other freelance projects. She's the author of six “transitional” readers for New Zealand publisher, Giltedge, and the forthcoming non-fiction picture book Girls with Guts: The Road to Breaking Barriers and Bashing Records (Charlesbridge, 2019). A transplanted Texan, Debbie now calls beautiful Ann Arbor, Michigan home where she lives with her husband John and spunky pup, Missy. Deb earned her MFA in writing for children and young adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.


Let’s connect:

EP07-A Desire to Belong with Mary Atkinson

EP07-Mary Atkinson Slide.jpg

In this episode:

In this episode, Deb and Mary discuss the connection her protagonist Tillie has with her sport, her family and friends, and her inner desire to belong. They explore how the sport of skating serves to empower Tillie to eventually become accept her authentic nature, as well as to embrace life on life’s terms.

About Mary Atkinson:

Mary Atkinson is the author of the award-winning TILLIE HEART AND SOUL (Best of Kirkus Indie 2017, Moonbeam Golden Award Pre-Teen Fiction 2018). She is also the author of OWL GIRL and MARIO’S NOTEBOOK. Her poetry has appeared in magazines and anthologies and her fiction and non-fiction have been published widely in educational markets. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College. She lives in Maine where she enjoys walking her dog, Maisie, in the woods and by the sea. She does not know how to roller skate.


Let’s connect:

EP06-An Analysis of the Athletic Protagonist with Shannon Gibney


In this episode:

Deb deep dives into literary analysis in both of Shannon Gibney’s incredible YA novels. Using Deb’s MFA thesis as a guide, the two explore the sports novel as a medium granting athletic protagonists a feeling of authenticity, emotional resonance, and genuine challenges - both on and off of the field.

About Shannon Gibney:

Shannon Gibney is a writer, educator, activist, and the author of See No Color (Carolrhoda Lab, 2015), a young adult novel that won the 2016 Minnesota Book Award in Young Peoples' Literature. Gibney is faculty in English at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, where she teaches critical and creative writing, journalism, and African Diasporic topics. A Bush Artist and McKnight Writing Fellow, her new novel, Dream Country, is about more than five generations of an African descended family, crisscrossing the Atlantic both voluntarily and involuntarily (Dutton, 2018).

Contact Information:


Let’s connect:

EP05-Movement is Transformational with Lisa Hesse

EP05 - Lisa Hesse Slide.jpg

In this episode:

In this episode Deb and Lisa engage in a thoughtful conversation about body image, the mind-body connection, the transformational effect athletics has on girls of all ages. As a teen coming-of-age on the cusp of the passage of Title IX, Lisa shares how her life-long love of sport has served to be salvation for dark times in her life.

About Lisa Hesse:

Lisa is a national board certified professional health and wellness coach, yoga instructor, and personal trainer. She’s dedicated to assisting her clients in achieving their health and wellness dreams and creating sustainable, positive and strength based super powers of joyful living. Lisa’s a licensed exercise physiologist, certified personal trainer, cancer exercise specialist, yoga instructor, and certified running coach who lives and works in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


Let’s connect:

Building a Community from Your Podcast: An On-Air Coaching Call with Carol Cox


Access the link to the episode here.


“My dream is bigger than my fear.”

Have you ever felt like that?

My guest today, Debbie Gonzales, heard that from a guest she interviewed on her brand new podcast and she said it’s what pushed her forward to launch.

In this on-air coaching call, Debbie asks me questions about launching her podcast, including:

  • Creating a community of listeners

  • The magic number for a Facebook group

  • Tips for working with a podcast editor/team

  • Imposter syndrome

  • How I felt when I published my first episode

  • Promotion strategy when launching

  • And more

About Carol and Speaking Your Brand:

The Speaking Your Brand podcast is hosted by Carol Cox. At Speaking Your Brand, we help women entrepreneurs and professionals create their signature talks and gain more visibility to achieve their goals. Our mission is to get more women in positions of influence and power: on stages, in businesses, on boards, in the media, in politics, and in our communities. Check out our coaching programs and workshops at

EP04: The DNA of Rock Climbing with Kristin Lenz

EP04-Lenz Slide.jpg

In this episode:

Deb explores Kristin’s love of nature, mountains, and the treacherous sport of rock climbing. It’s astounding to know that Kristin’s life-long passion for scaling the dangerously sheer edges of a mountainside inspired her award-winning novel The Art of Holding On and Letting Go. In this episode, Deb and Kristin engage in a deep-dive literary analysis of the novel and the inspiration that lies behind it.

About Kristin Lenz:

Kristin Bartley Lenz is a writer and social worker from metro-Detroit who fell in love with the mountains when she moved to Georgia and California. Now she’s back in Detroit where she plots wilderness escapes and manages the Michigan Chapter blog for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Her debut young adult novel, The Art of Holding On and Letting Go, was the 2016 Helen Sheehan YA Book Prize winner, a 2016 Junior Library Guild Selection, and chosen for the 2017-2018 Great Lakes Great Books state-wide literature program. 


Let’s connect:

EP03: A Dream Bigger Than Your Fear with Gabby Whitethorne

Episode 3 - Gabby Whitethorne Slide.jpg

In this episode:

In this episode, barrel racer and breakaway roper Gabby Whitethorne describes the thrills and chills of the rodeo, as well as the commitment and dedication required to succeed in her sport. She also proudly expresses her devotion to her culture, her family, and her horse.

image1 (1).jpeg

Let’s connect:

EP02: Team Work - You Get What You Put in with Julie Bliven


In this episode:

Julie and Debbie discuss the impact participation in athletics has had on Julie's personal and professional life. In addition, they explore the premise of GIRLS WITH GUTS: THE ROAD TO BREAKING BARRIERS AND BASHING RECORDS, the non-fiction picture book project they share.

About Julie Bliven:

Julie Bliven is an Associate Editor and Contracts Manager at Charlesbridge Publishing. She holds an M.A. in Children’s Literature from Simmons College, where she played collegiate basketball as a Simons Shark.


Let’s connect:

EP01: Success Requires Failure with Geraldine Carter

Episode 1 - Geraldine Carter slide 2.jpg

In this episode:

Focused, deliberate, intent, and supportive - entrepreneur Geraldine Carter embodies the spirit of the female athlete. In this episode, Geraldine and I discuss how her life-long participation in sport has come to define her commitment to excellence in work and in life. We also explore her emotional connection with the premise of GIRLS WITH GUTS: THE ROAD TO BREAKING BARRIERS AND BASHING RECORDS and how its message can serve to inspire and motivate young female athletes today.

about Geraldine carter:

From co-founding Climate Ride in 2008 and scaling the socially-conscious company to a seven-figure budget, to biking alone across southeast Asia, to coaching entrepreneurs on how to achieve their own lofty goals, Geraldine loves finding practical, efficient solutions to complex challenges. After directly experiencing the value of outside perspective and mentorship, Geraldine began sharing her 10+ years of business experience and mindfulness training through coaching. An ICF accredited Associate Certified Coach, Geraldine takes pride in challenging herself and her clients to reach higher and find bolder ways forward. 


Let’s connect: