Author Factor: Notable Nonfiction Books

Finding Purpose After Service: Mentoring Veterans and Sharing Wisdom Through Writing (w/ Rich LaMonica)

July 06, 2023 Mike Capuzzi Season 5 Episode 184
Finding Purpose After Service: Mentoring Veterans and Sharing Wisdom Through Writing (w/ Rich LaMonica)
Author Factor: Notable Nonfiction Books
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Author Factor: Notable Nonfiction Books
Finding Purpose After Service: Mentoring Veterans and Sharing Wisdom Through Writing (w/ Rich LaMonica)
Jul 06, 2023 Season 5 Episode 184
Mike Capuzzi

On episode 184 of The Author Factor Podcast I am having a conversation with author, Army veteran, and podcast host, Rich LaMonica.

Rich is a motivational speaker, author, and 22-year veteran of the United States Army. He is the author of the book, 13 Step Guide to Success.

He is the host of The MisFitNation Podcast which helps veterans find their voice by telling their stories along with bringing in experts who are willing to share tips on how to be successful through their actions.

Learn more about Rich by visiting:

For more details about our short, helpful book publishing program, visit

Show Notes Transcript

On episode 184 of The Author Factor Podcast I am having a conversation with author, Army veteran, and podcast host, Rich LaMonica.

Rich is a motivational speaker, author, and 22-year veteran of the United States Army. He is the author of the book, 13 Step Guide to Success.

He is the host of The MisFitNation Podcast which helps veterans find their voice by telling their stories along with bringing in experts who are willing to share tips on how to be successful through their actions.

Learn more about Rich by visiting:

For more details about our short, helpful book publishing program, visit

Mike Capuzzi [00:00:00]:


Welcome to another profitable episode of The Author Factor podcast. I'm Mike Capuzzi, and I want to thank you for joining us. My guest today is Rich LaMonica. Rich is a motivational speaker, author, and 22-year veteran of the United States Army. He's the host of the podcast The Misfit Nation podcast, which helps veterans find their voice by telling their stories, along with bringing in experts who are willing to share tips on how to be successful through their actions. Rich is also the author of the book 13 Step Guide to Success. Rich, welcome.


Rich LaMonica [00:00:36]:


Thanks, Mike. It's awesome to be here. I'm glad we're finally able to get this thing going.


Mike Capuzzi [00:00:40]:


Yeah, I appreciate that. And you and I were kind of getting to know each other and you've done some really cool stuff and you're still continuing to do some very cool stuff, but we're not allowed to talk about it, so we'll leave that for folks who want to reach out to you and maybe be on your show. But Rich, I very briefly touched on your background. I'd love to hear more and share with our listeners, obviously your military background and then what you're doing today and obviously what you're doing with your podcast.


Rich LaMonica [00:01:09]:


Awesome. Thanks, Mike. Again, thanks for having me on the show. And I was born and raised in a railroad apartment, basically in Jersey City, New Jersey. My mom and dad taught us the value of hard work. They both grew up in the had four children and they had to provide for all four of us. And my dad that sometimes would have three jobs, he owned a bar, worked at the city more, worked for the electric company, and drove a truck at the same time to provide for us. While my mom didn't make it out of high school, was still trying to get jobs so she can provide as well. And they did that grind all the time. We never wanted for anything. Of course you don't raise kids. You're not satisfied with what you have because other kids have stuff. But then you realize that how hard mom and dad are working to make sure that you do have those pants, you do have that shirt, you do have those shoes. So you kind of go through that life cycle of learning those lessons that they give you and of course, lessons that you don't want to hear them tell you when you're little and the when you older. Oh, that actually works. That's something. That's awesome, dad. I wish I would have actually listened to you then as now I have a kid that's asking me the same questions and I feel like I'm just punching myself in the face because I didn't listen to you when you told me. As I got through high school, I always wanted to join the army. I guess as a kid I sit on the TV along the couch with my dad watching black and white TV, 13 inch TV, and I don't know if it was Vietnam or maybe some war that was going on in Israel at the time. I said that that's what I want to do. I want to be a soldier. I just want to be a soldier like you were. You were in the army? I want to do that too. He said yeah. He just always said yeah. And then when I got to my junior year high school, going into senior year, I said that, I'm going to sign up for this delayed entry program. I need you to sign up, and then you sign the paper for me. No. He said, Enough of us have served. You're going to college. You need to be the first one to go to college. First boy to go to college. Whoa. I haven't taken any classes to get ready for college, so my whole senior year, I took three Math’s, three Sciences. I was taking classes with all the underclassmen, and all my friends were off by noon and just hanging out, doing senior year stuff, so I had to put in all that hard work. Took my SATS. Somehow I passed them, and I got into Berkeley College in New York, and then I transferred to St. Peter's College in New Jersey the second year for sophomore and into junior year, and I just still didn't want to go to college. The whole time, I didn't want to be there, did not want to be there. I had fun in St. Peters because I played football, so I was able to hit people, and some anger got out of me. And then one day, I just said I said, I got to go some dumb college. I'm going to join the army. So 22 years I served in the army. Started off in Georgia, Korea, Kentucky, Kansas, Alabama, Korea, and Kentucky. Now Maryland and the back here to Kentucky, to Tennessee, Kentucky border retire in between four trips to combat. Pretty intense combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. I retired in 2015. Also got my bachelor's degree in 2015. After all. Finally got that degree, I started. I took one complete year off. I couldn't find a job. No one was biting on my resume. They said that I wanted too much money, but they never asked me how much I wanted, because they figured I served that long. I'd want x amount. And they never asked me. I just want to get out of the house. I wanted a purpose. So at exactly 365 days, I got hired by the Mission continues to mentor other veterans that are going through that same transition, six month transition at home, vetting back in their communities, volunteering the nonprofit of their choice and doing great things in life. I did that for two years, and then my old first song called, said, hey, you want a job training soldiers? Heck, yes. Within ten minutes, that phone call. I already filled out my application, got called for an interview, got the interview, got the job. I've been working there now the almost four years now. Almost five years. Almost five years now doing that. In that time, I've obtained my master's degree from Georgetown in emergency and Disaster management and currently pursuing my doctorate from Liberty 2020 hit. As you know, the whole world shut down in 2020. And I took it as I tried to give humor to it with COVID So every month, I would put a little post on Facebook, and you made it to this level, Jamanji. You went through this this because every year, every month, they gave us some weird fear factor stuff that was going on, made it to these levels. Now we got to go to this level. And then at the end of the year, I made a whole list of things that you can do to be better. My daughter just looked at me and said, dad, you need to write that as a book. And that's how the 13 Step Guide to Success came out. I wrote it as a book. Each one of the steps I put on the end of that post in Facebook became a step in the book, and I thanked my dad in there, and that's how I started that portion. The I launched my podcast about the same time, Misfit Nation, to give veterans that voice to get that pressure off their chest so maybe they'll stay with us a little longer. We won't have that number of 22 a day, and they can breathe a little bit, and those both have been growing. And then I said, the book has helped me now to be a coach and a mentor. So Misfit Nation is also an LLC, so I can do that stuff as well.


Mike Capuzzi [00:06:09]:


All right, so you've pretty much been doing nothing for the last seven or.


Rich LaMonica [00:06:12]:


Eight years, is what you're saying.


Mike Capuzzi [00:06:14]:


You went from 22 years of service to then getting your bachelor's, master's and working on your PhD now.




Rich LaMonica [00:06:25]:


Yes, sir.


Mike Capuzzi [00:06:26]:


Holy moly. That's awesome. Rich. That really is. Wow. If you don't mind, before we start talking about your book, are you able to share, like, when you were in the service, what were you doing in the army?


Rich LaMonica [00:06:38]:


My job was chemical operations specialist, so I trained soldiers on trained and led soldiers in the chemical warfare. Basically, I had to survive chemical war for weapons, mass destruction. And later in the career, I was doing things with actually looking for them and being able to identify and dismantle.


Mike Capuzzi [00:06:53]:


Well, thank you, obviously, for your service. That's a lifetime, for sure. Let's talk about your book. And I went through it. You were kind enough to send a digital copy, and I will say and I don't typically do this, but I went through just a table of contents for first, right? And I was going through there like that's really a good idea. That's a really good tip. It's nice what you've done here in this book. Because we're probably similar in age, I'm looking at this saying, wow, there's some really good wisdom here. So first of all, congratulations with that.


Rich LaMonica [00:07:28]:


Thank you.


Mike Capuzzi [00:07:30]:


So let's talk about that. Can you share other than your daughter's encouragement? Rich, was there any other reason for you to do this? It wasn't like you were doing this for your business or anything like that, which a lot of our authors are. Was it just a matter of just sharing your wisdom?



Rich LaMonica [00:07:46]:


Just sharing, basically sharing my wisdom. And a lot of times I just write stuff and just leave it in the computer somewhere. And I have notebooks full of notes for every diploma I've been on, wrote journal the whole time. So I have pages and pages of stuff I wrote but never put anywhere. And my daughter, when she graduated high school, she published her for her book The Unexpected right out of high school. And then she got a degree in creative writing after that. So she's my editor in chief. So she edited this book. She pushed me to publish it, but it was that little push because I always pushed her to do things. She said, dad, you can't just leave that on Facebook. You have to write that. That's something you have to expand upon and tell people. So when I did that, I started the bells to Light started going on in my head. I can actually do this as a coach now. I can coach people how to be successful. I can mentor youth, I can go give speeches at organizations. And she actually was the guiding light to that without even knowing it.


Mike Capuzzi [00:08:38]:


Isn't that amazing how that can come full cycle like that? How cool is that? That your daughter. So real quick, before we go off from that, what kind of book did your daughter publish?


Rich LaMonica [00:08:48]:


It was a book about a young girl who basically led a sheltered life, mike in a gated community, went home school until she went to college. Then when she went to college, the kind of went that Buck Wild thing when kids go away from home. And I asked her when they first said, Is this about you? Because you kind of sheltered, being in the military and stuff? No, it's about a bunch. It was a mixture of kids that she met throughout her journey because she moved a lot in life, so she was able to meet a lot of different kids, so she was able to mold them all into the main character and great book.


Mike Capuzzi [00:09:19]:


So it was fictional. It was a piece of fiction.


Rich LaMonica [00:09:21]:


Fiction book.



Mike Capuzzi [00:09:22]:


Wow. Very cool. My daughter, going into her senior year of high school, published a book also about dog rescues. You and I were talking about my dog before we hit record. So that inspired her to write or publish because she went out and found 25 The Dog Rescuers and compiled a book and raised a bunch of money, and it was a very cool experience for her. So that's very neat that your daughter did that. All right, so let's talk about 13 Step Guide to Success. And just to entice our listeners, rich, can you share one or two of the takeaway things that you've written about in that book that would just entice readers to want to go grab a copy?


Rich LaMonica [00:10:01]:


Definitely. Step one right away. We have lost the ability to look at people and talk to them. You've definitely lost the ability once this box, like me and you run a box right now, talking to each other without this mean, you may never have met this box, this computer. But there's some people that never talk to humans outside of this. They don't go outside, they don't look people in the eyes, and they don't tell people how they care about them. So that first step is tell the people that are in your circle how much you care about them. Give them that bro hug. Tell them you love them and you want to see them around still. You don't want them to just disappear. That was the first step. I had to write that in there because a lot of people think I have no emotions whatsoever. I don't care because I was in service for so long. They just think I'm rough and do all this. But I do understand that you have to have that love and care for other people, and you have to look them in the eyes and talk to them. Another step is telling you to actually look up when you're outside instead of looking at your phone. Look up so you don't walk into walls and maybe talk to people. Look up and see people. Look down and see the dogs. I talk to a dog before I talk to a person most times anyway. But if they have a dog, I'll bend out, talk to her. What's his name? Yeah, what's your name? But I think those are important steps to be successful as a human. Then, of course I went through a lot of other things. Breathe the air outside. You're not going to die. The air will not kill you. Get outside and walk. Get outside of your house and maybe clean your house and go outside. Clean your house, clean the neighborhood and clean build that community. And that's what my goal is to get those communities to build up and stop relying on everything that's on 1600 Pennsylvania. Rely on what's on your block. Your block is what matters. And if you can make that good, you can make the next block good and keep moving out.


Mike Capuzzi [00:11:39]:


So my first thought is, boy, in this day and age, it's kind of like revolutionary, what you're suggesting here, crazy as it is, because you and I grew up with this stuff, right? Just the fact that it sounds so profound in this day and age. As far as the book, again, I know you wanted to kind of encapsulate and capture everything in there. Can you share, Rich? Are you using it much in your day to day stuff? How do you use the book? How do you promote the book?


Rich LaMonica [00:12:11]:


I see more promoting it now is usually just a word of mouth now, but when I'm out talking to people mentally, the rules just pop in my head and I start talking, like on the book, talking to someone. But it's all my words. So I tell them what I believe we should be doing as a people, not as me or you. It's as all of us need to do this stuff. You got to be humble and everything you do in life, stay hungry and keep hustling. Hustling is what my dad taught me, didn't mom, but also taught me to be humble. And if I do something great, that's whatever it was, a team effort, someone else helped me. I had someone else had to get me to where I am. And always thank those around you and always be willing to ask for help. Get that circle around your circle of friends, circle of trust, and stack those victories every day. And stacking victories was not in the book. That's something that came out after the book. So that's something we've been promoting a lot more in The Misfit Nation. I'll stack every day.


Mike Capuzzi [00:13:06]:


Yeah. Do you see yourself rich? Are you one and done or have you sort of been encouraged? And now think about what else you can do.


Rich LaMonica [00:13:15]:


I'm currently writing a second book called The Climb. It's about a soldier who's been through multiple deployments. And this book starts with him at the end of his last deployment on top of a mountain. All the smell of the battles around him. He has blood all over him. He's looking down, asks, how is he the only one still here? Why is he still here? And then it goes through all of his deployments and the it's going to go into his PTSD battle after for the second half of the book. So it's going to be kind of fictional, but based on reality. The I'll publish that and then hopefully at the end of this year, in between my dissertations done, in between that PhD thing.


Mike Capuzzi [00:13:55]:


So it's fiction. You said it's fictional. So you did nonfiction. Now you're moving. Just out of curiosity. Today is a two interview day, and I just interviewed a woman. I didn't even know this until she mentioned on our podcast because and all the stuff she sent me. She has written five fictional novels, an entire series, and then moved to nonfiction. And now she doesn't even write books. But I found it very interesting. I've always wanted to write a fictional book. I just don't know if I can. I'm sure. Is it a challenge? Do you find it a challenge?


Rich LaMonica [00:14:29]:


Yeah, I was doing chapter by chapter and then sending it off to my editor in chief to rip it apart and tell me how bad it was or how good it was. Character development, I think, is the hardest part of it, getting each character to build them in and maintain that character throughout without changing or losing anything from a character as you go. And we're changing them on the fly. But it was important for the main character to actually change, to go from the way he was when he started in service to how he was at the end at the end, which is actually the beginning of the book. When he sitting on top of that mountain, he's a totally different dude than he was when the started the journey. So you had the character develop him into where he was when he began, so what he turned into and how we can get him help.


Mike Capuzzi [00:15:13]:


And you said, Are you envisioning this to be a series, this book, or is it?


Rich LaMonica [00:15:18]:


At first I wasn't, but when I talked to a couple other author and they said, you need to make it into a series to actually get the readers to dive into it and want to help with the PTSD side especially.


Mike Capuzzi [00:15:30]:


So are you just out of curiosity with that? Are you tying I'm a fan of this. I've done it many times. My daughter did it with her book. Are you going to tie any sort of nonprofit? Like, some of the proceeds of the book would go to military stuff, or have you thought about that?


Rich LaMonica [00:15:46]:


I have not thought about it, but if I did, it would probably go to one that I'd have to research them.



Mike Capuzzi [00:15:50]:


Yeah, sure.


Rich LaMonica [00:15:51]:


Travis Mania Foundation. Probably one I would go to. They match veterans up with you to mentor them. It's one way to help with that.


Mike Capuzzi [00:15:59]:


I would encourage you to check it out, Rich, because first of all, I think it's personally, I like giving back not all my books, but certain books I've done. We just donated a nice little check to Tunnel to for Towers, your old Romping ground. And I think it's important if that's kind of what you want to be about. But I think with this book, with this series, I think you could actually have a neat connection, and then it allows you in the marketing and promotion of it to have yet another powerful story about the why of the book. And it allows you to cut through some of the clutter of fiction stuff. There's a ton of it no different than nonfiction, but it gives you another different angle to approach it and gets some media exposure.


Rich LaMonica [00:16:41]:


Exactly. That's a great idea. I had not thought of it, but Tunnels and Towers is also very awesome.


Mike Capuzzi [00:16:47]:


It really is. I've did a ton of research. I'm mike damn, I couldn't poke holes in it at all.


Rich LaMonica [00:16:55]:


They do stuff for people across the country. I've encouraged people to donate to them. Our job will match donations, so I've encouraged people in office to donate to them. Just last year.


Mike Capuzzi [00:17:05]:


Yeah, and as of right now, that organization, we did the donation this year for last year. But I think, like every dollar goes directly to the first responders vets that they're helping, which in the nonprofit world is pretty much unheard of. It's an awesome organization. So, Rich, you're publishing fiction now. You did the nonfiction. Are there any words of advice for someone who's out there who hasn't done either a speed bump you've encountered or a mistake you made that you just want to warn someone else about?


Rich LaMonica [00:17:41]:


I think the speed bump I encountered was doing it myself the first time, publishing via Amazon without any, I guess, publishing house or something behind me. So you have to do everything yourself. So if you don't have a team behind you to market and do all that, it's going to be rough. It's not going to flow out the gate unless every one of your friends and family is also sharing at the same time you are to their networks, which is usually just your network anyway because they all have the same circle. So if you don't have an outside source, get one. Even if it's just a one person shop that can do all your social media and all that stuff. So you can concentrate on maybe booking, being on shows, so you can talk to people about your book. It'd be a lot easier in life. That's one thing I learned really quick. It's hard to do it alone, very hard to do it alone. With my daughter's book, we published it via Page publishing, and they kind of took care of a lot of the headache side of it, the publishing and all that. But she didn't get to see a lot of the royalties. You lose out a lot in that one. But we got to meet a lot of people on the tour and she didn't have to worry about it. So I booked the tours and we did all this stuff. And with mine, I did local tour here with it and I did a lot more shows. And then also because I have day job and everything else going on, it was a little harder. So I would encourage a new author to have at least a social media manager or an HR PR person, a PR person to help out along the way. Every step of the way, even if it's chapter one is done, you can't wait to get to this or something just to get this post out there and get it going.


Mike Capuzzi [00:19:10]:


Are you self publishing the fictional series?


Rich LaMonica [00:19:13]:


I'm trying not to. I'm going to keep sending it out until someone bites.


Mike Capuzzi [00:19:19]:


Are there any publishing houses that focus on fictional stuff or even nonfiction, but from veterans? Are you aware of any of those kind of publishing.



Rich LaMonica [00:19:26]:


There is one out there, but they are actually pricey. Even though they're for veterans. It seems like they're trying to lease the veteran.


Mike Capuzzi [00:19:34]:


Interesting. Okay, so, Rich, as we get ready to wrap up, I'd love to hear from your own words what has meant to you to be a published author?


Rich LaMonica [00:19:47]:


When I first got the hard copy in my hand, I didn't think it was real until it got delivered. When it came to the house, I was like, this actually happened. You seen it on Amazon, you see the picture. That's pretty. It's great. It says you're published, but you don't see anything. But when you feel it like, I've accomplished something. No one else in my family has besides my daughter. Now, me and my daughter both are published authors, and that's something we can sit and talk about forever. We both are published authors, and every Wednesday we go to lunch and we talk about other things that we're both pursuing. She's in fitness now, so she does fitness writing and all that, and then I do all the things that we've already done doing. So she's probably busier to me with her two job, three jobs she has, plus her own online business. But we talk about those things. And having this just a hard copy, I guess the humbleness to me was like, it's just a book. But then when people come up and shake your hand and say, this is an awesome accomplishment, you should have done it earlier. I never thought of doing it earlier, but thank you.


Mike Capuzzi [00:20:45]:


Wow. Who knows, maybe there'll be a co authored book. Rich, you and your daughter, that sounds like that might be a cool idea.


Rich LaMonica [00:20:51]:


That one might be about dogs like your daughter. Since I have four rescues, she has three, seven rescues.



Mike Capuzzi [00:20:56]:


I think you qualify for that. That's very cool. Hey, Rich, this has been awesome. I was looking forward to it. I was reading about you on PodMatch even well, before you and I connected, I think even last year I found I saw your profile on PodMatch. I was impressed by it, and I'm glad we finally got to connect here. So thank you very much. How can our listeners learn more about you and where's the best place to grab your book?


Rich LaMonica [00:21:24]:


It's on Amazon, of course. So that's the best place to go. the It's 13 Step Guides to Success. Or you can go to our website, It's all one word,, and it's under our store. So you'll see the book and click on that, and it will take you right Amazon anyway. And if you need to contact us, there is a contact button on there. If you want to be on our show or you want us just to chat with us about any advice, we're right there for you. We'll get right back to you. Okay?


Mike Capuzzi [00:21:50]:


And real quick, just to give a plug to your show. If you're looking for any guests, what would be an ideal guest for you?


Rich LaMonica [00:21:56]:


I like authors like you have on here. I love authors. Entrepreneurs, anyone that's been do they have.


Mike Capuzzi [00:22:03]:


To be a veteran?


Rich LaMonica [00:22:04]:


No. Veterans are a priority, of course, but anyone that has value added to the veteran community is what we're looking for. So if you're a life coach, a fitness coach, a mental health professional, because we need a lot of that in the veterans sphere. There's a lot of different options in mental health, so we'd love to have different mental health options. Come on. So we're not all just giving pills to our brothers and sisters. There's other options. You can do exercise and whatever, but any expertise is perfect to come on and help a veteran, maybe start their own business, write a book or maybe get into Hollywood.


Mike Capuzzi [00:22:36]:


Very good. Well, Rich, thank you very much. Appreciate your time. Obviously appreciate your service, and great to meet you.


Rich LaMonica [00:22:43]:


It's great to meet you. Thanks for having me on. Bye.