DA Kentner writes the column THE READERS' WRITERS for the (Freeport) Journal-Standard and GateHouse News Service. My alter ego KevaD lives under a stairway of dreams where he writes stories and grumbles about everything. Click the pic to visit KevaD's blog.
Drop me a line at dakentner@yahoo.com

I invite you to read my award-winning short story posted on Calliope Magazine's web site.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Entrepreneur and Author Anthony Scaramucci

Anthony Scaramucci is the recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2011 New York Award in the Financial Services category. He is also a Managing Partner of SkyBridge Capital, an alternative asset management firm, holds a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School, and a BA in Economics from Tufts University. A contributor to CNBC, he is also on the Board of Overseers for the School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University and a member of the NYC Financial Services Advisory Committee. 

A father himself, Anthony's life took a major and sudden shift when his own father was diagnosed with brain cancer. The Scaramucci family rallied, and following successful surgery, celebrated the victory over a deadly disease. True to Anthony's nature he wanted to do something more though. Today Anthony is a Board Member of The Lymphoma Foundation and The Brain Tumor Foundation. A brief video of Anthony's dedication and story can be seen at YouTube 

Another level of this man's depth is his belief in not just the United States of America, but of the individuals themselves. In his book "Goodbye Gordon Gekko: How to Find Your Fortune Without Losing Your Soul," Anthony shares how to find wealth, survive the loss of wealth, and the importance of personal and spiritual relationships.

"Goodbye Gordon Gekko" isn't just about finances. Not at all. It is a peek inside Anthony's firm conviction that this country's greatest asset is the American people, and that by understanding people, capital, and culture, anyone can use that knowledge to enrich their life financially as well as spiritually. In "Goodbye Gordon Gekko," Anthony Scaramucci shares how to succeed in life by doing what's right.

Q) You frequently refer to spiritualism. Exactly what does that term mean to you? 

A) It is being in touch with and staying in touch with the notion that there are positive reasons for our existence. Spiritualism means recognizing that, as humans, we do not have all of the answers, especially the central: our origins and the reasons for why we are here. The concept of Spiritualism for me means that there is a higher power and an acceptance that we are here for noble reasons. 

Q) One reviewer made note that your book provides a "moral compass" for Wall Street professionals to follow. To what or whom do you credit your unwavering belief in the goodness of people? 

A) I can't honestly say that there is any one person who gave me this world view. Just a compilation of life experiences and interaction with people that are both well intended and bad intended. Locke or Hobbes? This has been the great debate since the enlightenment. I write in the book that 3% of the planet is inherently evil. So that's 210 million on a population of 7 billion, but it's not everybody. While that group has some brand names, Hitler, Bin Laden and others, the truth is they are the scourge of history and by and large there is a very large group of us and are good and kindhearted and we are consistently annihilating them. Freedom is the best model. Just think about the amount the amount of philanthropy we have in America. No one is perfect, least of all me, but force in our historic future is grounded in goodness. 

So for me, I really think it is part of our design. However, without hope or feelings of optimism about the future we can turn very cynical. In January I spent a week in Iraq with the US Army. Corruption is quite high in Baghdad and a number of private citizens that I talked to there feel that until people are hopeful about the future, they turn to figuring out what and how they can get things for themselves in a way that breaks the social contract that Locke described. Yet cynicism can be turned quickly with the right laws and adherence to property laws. If we set up the right form of government and law enforcement as well as start to effectively tap their oil reserves they will turn things around. 

Q) You have incorporated many personal anecdotes, mishaps, and conquests in your book. Of all the events in your life, which do you hold most dear? 

A) I don't want to sound cliché, but it is really the simplest moments that I hold most dear: a foul ball tipping into my hands that I was able to give to my seven-year-old son. A conversation with a university professor. A kiss from my grandmother. All good times and great memories, but also the feeling that I had on the day I appealed my bar exam failure to the NY State Bar. I lost the appeal. I remember the pain of that and the pit in my stomach. Good times and Bad are the human condition. You are going to be set back by life; it just happens. When it does, when you hit the floor are you made of china or rubber? Be sure to bounce. 

Q) What do you do to recharge and relax? 

A) I love my children and spending time with them. The number one form of relaxation for me is reading. I also enjoy time with friends and loved ones. A good workout is a great stress reliever. 

Q) While "Goodbye Gordon Gekko" is educational and inspiring, the book is also autobiographical. Why did you decide to include your personal story in a book about building financial security? 

A) I thought it was important to lay a framework and a context for who I was and where I came from so after I introduced myself to the reader, they could then assess whether they wanted to take what I was saying. I wasn't trying to focus as much on financial security as I was someone's fortune. The word fortune isn't just money; it is about the portfolio of life. 

Q) At what point can Anthony Scaramucci look back on his life and know he truly succeeded?

A) Never. I am comfortable with who I am, but I am not going to define life as a destination that you pass through some sort of success portal, and then wa-lah you are successful. The most successful people know that a life well lived is when you are doing your best to help other lives, either through your love, your products and services, or your philanthropy. While it's impossible to please everybody, those closest to you should know your goodness

Friday, July 22, 2011

Calliope Magazine Posted My Prize-Winning Short Story

Mensa's Calliope magazine posted my story to their web site today. I hope you'll take the time to read it, and maybe let me know what you think.
The Caretaker

Thank you!

- David

Film Producer and Author Max Elliot Anderson

Max Elliot Anderson writes the books he would have liked to have read while a boy.

To understand that statement is to understand Max's life. His film producer father wrote seventy books, but Max was drawn to the wonders of the film studio, and until the last decade devoted much of his life to film. 

A husband and father of two, Max now resides in Rockford, Illinois, after traveling the world in his film pursuits. And his accomplishments are remarkable.

"Pilgrim's Progress" featuring acclaimed actor Liam Neeson won Max a Best Cinematographer award. The PBS special "Gospel at the Symphony" garnered an Emmy nomination and won a Grammy for the double album. Max also won national Telly awards (the non-theatrical equivalent to the Oscar) for his productions of "Youth Haven," a "Safe Place for Kids," and "Tracy's Choices," and he has been directly involved in over 500 TV commercials for True Value Hardware Stores.

Following the terrorist attacks of 9-11, Max's life changed. Though he still avails himself to film, a passion within him awakened and he began to write. He hasn't stopped. To date Max has seen seven of his books for boys published. They range from the "Newspaper Caper," a mystery filled with thrills, humor, and plenty of bad guys, to "Legend of the White Wolf," a tale of devotion and a unique, lifelong bond. 

Yet, while all of Max's stories are well-crafted and thoroughly enjoyable, sometimes within a writer is one story that simply has to be told. It becomes a part of the writer's life as necessary as air. For Max that story is "When the Lights Go Out," a children's adventure book about the day the United States changed forever (due out August 1st). And while the story is designed to entertain and enlighten children about 9-11, I believe it is also about this deeply religious author's coming to terms with an event that altered his own course and destiny. 

Max Elliot Anderson is a compassionate and caring man who shares his love of life and humanity through film and now children's books.

Q) What do you think was the inner driving force that compelled you to write "When the Lights Go Out"? 

A) As I’ve spoken in schools, I began to realize something. Children who are 8 to 13 today, know little or nothing about what happened on 9/11 or why it’s important in their lives. I talked with a few adults about this and found that their experiences were the same. We do a good job of teaching about D-Day, and Pearl Harbor, but not so well with 9/11. With the 10th anniversary of 9/11 this year, I thought it would be a good opportunity to draw attention through a story that kids would also find exciting to read at the same time. Since 9/11 reduced many of my client production opportunities, this book became even more important to me. 

Q) What one message do you hope readers walk away with after reading "When the Lights Go Out"? 

A) No matter what your age, it’s important to be aware that there are still people in the world who would like to do us harm. Even children can notice things that aren’t right, and then tell someone about it. 

Q) You also write for Guideposts, True Stories of Extraordinary Answers to Prayer. To what do you attribute your abiding faith in God? 

A) I was raised in a family of seven children. My father rubbed elbows with lots of people in various ministries. When I was a child, frequent guests in our home included pastors, missionaries, recording artists, actors, and more. I could sense the genuine commitment these people had, and how their faith had helped to chart a course in their lives. My parents also had a positive spiritual influence on me, making issues of faith quite a natural part of a full and balanced life. 

Q) A bit star struck, I have to ask. "Pilgrim's Progress" was Liam Neeson's first feature film. Have you two stayed in touch at all?  

A) I wish I could say yes, but my work has included a lot of famous people over the years. It simply isn’t possible to have an ongoing relationship with them, and the production business really doesn’t work like that. In a similar way, my life has included travel to some of the most exotic and wonderful places on the planet. Unfortunately, those trips included a camera and hard work. So I never had the opportunity to simply enjoy much of what those locations had to offer. 

Q) "Tracy's Choices" also won The Christian Filmmaker Award for Best Documentary. The true story of a young woman's life decisions and the ultimate destruction those choices had on her, you filmed it with your trademark compassion. What was it about this particular woman that affected you strongly? Video trailer:

A) I think it was the fact that Tracy grew up in a fairly typical Midwest town. Even she admitted that she never expected her life to turn out the way it did. And yet, it was because of the choices she made at each fork in the road so to speak. My interest in producing the project grew out of the fact that society, at the time, told young people that they weren’t accountable or responsible for their actions. What happened to them, especially if it had a negative outcome, was someone else’s fault and they were just the victim. Tracy simply proved that we are each ultimately responsible for our own lives. 

Q) You avail yourself to schools and welcome opportunities to speak with children and parents about the importance of reading in education. To stress the significance of what you do, I need to point out many authors don't go to schools. Why do you? 

A) I grew up hating to read. Since my father had published so many books during his lifetime, I had to find out why I’d never been motivated to read any of them. This caused me to study nearly 300 books in bookstores and the library. From want I discovered, I began to craft the kinds of stories I would have enjoyed reading as a child. Reading is so important because kids today are not required to use much of their imaginations. Videos, TV, video games, DVDs and other electronic devices, do all their imagining for them. And as I tell kids, readers are the leaders others follow. 

Q) What's next for Max Elliot Anderson? 

A) I enjoy the writing process more than any other creative outlet. So I hope to get back to writing again soon. It’s just that for nearly four years, I did nothing but write. The result was thirty-six action-adventure and mystery manuscripts for kids. I guess what’s next is to continue finding publishing outlets for them. With the way that much of marketing and promotion have shifted to the author, I’ll continue working in those areas. I produce a video book trailer for each book, and am looking for film production companies that might be interested in bringing some of my stories to the screen. That would be seeing things come full circle in my life, although I don’t intend to be involved in the production process. It’d be a little like a surgeon having to operate on his own child. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Addendum

My apologies to Ms. Carlie.
For whatever reason, blogspot isn't allowing me to post her other book covers where I need them within her interview. So, here they are:

Indie Author Angela Carlie

With the advent of the Internet and the ease of self-publishing, writers have discovered a viable new platform to present their work to potential readers. While that is good news for serious writers, the fact thousands of books are popping up every month creates a bit of a minefield for readers. For sadly, the harsh reality is independent e-publishing has also created the means for some real junk to be produced by people only interested in earning a few quick dollars at the readers' expense. As such, when a true talent emerges from the forest of new authors publishing their own work, I get excited. 

Angela Carlie is a dedicated and gifted writer of Young Adult (YA) and Middle Grade stories. Though this wife and mother enjoys creating fantasy worlds abounding with shape shifters, yellow dragons, wrestlers, and zombie kids ("Land of Corn Chips" and "Loramendi's Story") she also wrote "Dream Smashers," an unpretentious look at the difficulties youth face today, including a meth addicted mother, and the inner courage and strength each of us possesses. "Dream Smashers" is a love story, but it is also a tale of discovery and persevering and well worth reading. 

I first encountered Angela over a year ago when she was working on "Land of Corn Chips." In all honesty, I'm normally not a reader of YA. But Angela's ability to tell a story pulled me right in. I took an instant liking to her characters and their witty banter. So much so that a year later I followed up on our chance meeting to find out if "Land of Corn Chips" had been completed. I was elated to learn that it had, and I immediately purchased the book and read it in one sitting. 

A vegetarian and massage therapist, Angela enjoys kayaking, hiking, traveling, and just hanging out with her husband and son. Still, she is a believer in giving back. A portion of the proceeds from "Dream Smashers" go to Share of Vancouver, WA, a non-profit sheltering and feeding folks trying to get back on their feet. She is an advocate for the Indie Authors Relief Fund and contributor to the Indie Authors First Book Project which provides books to low income families.

Q) Independent publishing is risky. Why did you choose this route over traditional publishing?

A) Independent publishing was a scary thought for a long time. I tend to navigate toward the scary, though. To be honest, it only caused my heart to pound in my ears for about five minutes. My debut novel, Dream Smashers, was written to be read, and it wasn't being read while waiting to be noticed by the traditional publishing industry. It's now available for the entire world to read. That's why I decided to self-publish, and I haven't looked back. Of course I'd still totally consider traditional publishing, but for now, I'll keep on producing stories and publishing them for the world to read.

Q) Technically, you publish under Darkside Publishing, which is a small group of united YA authors. Why did you elect to write YA?

A) Creating teen characters allows the writer to explore a little more than with adult characters. The teen years are about discovery which allows for interesting and fun opportunities to create from. I love reading and writing this genre.

DarkSide Publishing offers an excellent selection of well written YA novels to choose from. For more information on our titles, check out the website at http://darksidepublishing.com 

Q) Do you foresee a day when you will expand to other genres?

A) I have written a few adult paranormal/horror fiction. Perhaps I'll publish some of them in the future.

Q) In an interview you mentioned how as a vegetarian you sometimes receive "hateful comments." What on earth do people find offensive about your choice of diet?

A) Ha! I have no clue. It totally cracks me up. One guy told me once that I'm a hypocrite and a plant hater. He said that plants have feelings too and that I was prejudice for choosing to kill plants over animals. Hilarious. What really got me was this guy was overweight, had high blood pressure, and was recovering from a stroke. He rarely ate vegetables. Go figure. I've decided to choose not to spend my time in arguments with such people and just walk away.

Q) A number of reviews have come from young adults who thoroughly enjoyed your work. How did it feel when you realized your stories had truly connected with your audience?

A) Great question. When reviews began to trickle in I was absolutely elated when they were positive. I'm sure most authors are. The first negative review was a bit hard, though, especially with my novel Dream Smashers because the negative reviews were coming from people who had never dealt with the types of people in this story. They didn't get it. So, to me, it was sad they wasted their time with this novel because I wrote it for people who have had to deal with addiction in loved ones.

After some time, positive reviews didn't give me the same feeling as in the beginning. Sure, they were great, but what I wanted to see was people understanding the story. I'm not going to complain about any positive review, but the ones that make my smile wider are from people who clearly understood Autumn's story and it showed in their review.

The best review was from a reviewer who went through a similar situation growing up as Autumn (the protagonist) did in Dream Smashers. She told me that she was so moved by the story that she hasn't been able to give the book justice (in her mind) with a review. Talk about making every single ounce of hard work put into publishing this novel well worth it.

Q) Any parting thoughts?

A) I'm getting ready to publishing my next novel, Loramendi's Story. It's the first book in a series called Lords of Shifters and should be available mid-August.

It was such a lovely surprise when I received your request for this interview. Thank you so much for taking the time to ask me about my work! I truly appreciate it and wish you and your readers well.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Romantic Suspense Author Jill Sorenson

Imagine being in a canoe on a silent, peaceful river, just you and your hired guide. A feathery breeze mixes the scent of pines and berries with your sun-warmed hair. Summer's heat embraces your skin. You close your eyes. The subtle, soft strokes of your escort's paddle caress a lulling rhythm to your ears. The beats intensify to pulsing thrusts. You open your eyes to discover the water's serenity now churns in a milky froth. Droplets wet your skin, your body quivers, excitement and a desire to experience the moment, to reach the climax of the raw energy surrounding you races through your core. You find you can't look away, though an ancient throbbing at the base of your skull demands you should. Then the chapter ends and on the next page Aunt Gert pours a cup of tea with a shot of vinegar to help you forget the woodsy musk of the handsome guide. Unless… 

…unless you are reading a book by a new breed of skilled authors who have bridged the gap between mainstream romance with its closed bedroom doors and the torn bodices of erotica. 


A handful of authors such as Jill Sorenson have melded the two long-divided territories of mainstream and erotica, and interwoven the aspect of physical pleasure and fulfillment into heroines and heroes previously destined to only wear a smile the morning after or the first page of the next chapter. This accomplishment takes a mastery of prose capable of seducing the reader without so much as a missed breath into scenes heretofore thought best kept hidden from view. 


A quiet homemaker, wife and mother of two daughters, former school teacher and San Diego resident Jill Sorenson (who never goes anywhere without a spiral notebook within reach) kicks down doors with her literary proficiency and command of language. But first and foremost to Jill is the story itself. She pens riveting tales of suspense filled with original and unique characters for both Harlequin and Bantam Dell. Her work has also appeared in Cosmopolitan magazine. 


Her latest novel, "The Edge of Night," finds a struggling single mother forced by conscience to stand against a crime-riddled neighborhood while taunted by a crazed killer. Simultaneously released "Stranded With Her Ex" pits two exes against their simmering passion and the betrayal that broke them apart. 


To see the future of romance doesn't require a crystal ball. A reader need only pick up a Jill Sorenson novel.

Jill's Web Site 


Q) What prompted you to break traditional boundaries and bring active physical exploration in to mainstream romance? 


A) First of all, thank you for thinking I'm ground-breaking! But the fact is that most mainstream romance novels have open-door love scenes. Romantic suspense authors like Linda Howard and Sandra Brown have been turning up the heat for decades. Pamela Clare and Lisa Marie Rice, more recent examples, also write steamy love scenes. 


I've always appreciated authors who keep it real and use frank language over flowery euphemisms, so I followed in their footsteps.


For me, sex is the ultimate expression of romantic love. I want to feel the passion between the characters and share it with my readers. Many romance fans, myself included, find it thrilling and satisfying to read about hot sex between loving partners. 


Q) You create names that correspond to your characters' attributes. Noah YOUNG - an inexperienced police officer. Ben FORTUNE - wealthy pro surfer. Daniela FLORES - a delicate flower. Why do you do this, and how difficult do you find it at times coming up with a suitable name? 


A) Those are the most literal examples of how my characters' names reflect their attributes. Most of the time I try to find something that just sounds right. Right now I'm working on a character named John Ledger, a sex crimes detective with a dark past.


I liked the "edge" in there. It can be difficult to find the perfect name but it's part of my wacky process.


Q) Behind a pen, you're fearless. What's a typical real-life day for you? 


A) Oh, thank you. My typical day starts at 4 or 5 a.m. I usually write for a few hours before the kids wake up. My girls keep me very busy, especially in the summer. I take my spiral notebook to swimming lessons, the beach, and the park. No matter how full my day is I always try to fit in exercise. I've recently started running. It works wonders to keep my stress levels down and energy up. 


My youngest starts Kindergarten this fall, so I'm looking forward to a quiet house at long last! 


Q) Within a number of your stories you incorporate Young Adult characters and themes, but have said you probably won't write a YA book. Why not? 


A) I don't have any plans to write YA, but who knows? I was a rebellious teenager and I enjoy channeling that for secondary storylines. Writing a full novel with teen characters might be too taxing for me emotionally. In romance, there is a guaranteed happy ending.


I'm not sure I could write a happy YA because I was not a happy teen. 


Q) You have stayed true to your love of contemporary suspense and not given in to the temptations to write the current trend of vampires and werewolves. What is about your chosen genre that instills such loyalty in you? 


A) I don't think it's a case of loyalty or temptation. I don't read much paranormal and have no interest in writing it at this time.

But I never say never. If I can't find success in romantic suspense, I will write something else. 


Q) Any parting thoughts? 


A) I have two new releases this fall with Harlequin, and another next year for Bantam Dell. All of my books are available in print and digital.

You can also request them at your local library.

Thank you!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Author and Renaissance Man Robert Valdes-Rodriguez

Renaissance Man: A person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas.


I would add to that definition the requirement of "gentleman," as then the term aptly applies to Robert Valdes-Rodriguez, or RVR as he has been called for the better part of his life.

The business community knows Robert as an entrepreneur and Wall Street executive unafraid to challenge himself as well as others. Where Robert stands apart from so many of us is not his ability to dream and establish goals, but to actually work toward achieving those goals and pursuing the dreams many of us will merely reflect on in later years, wishing we had taken the risk.

Yet, Robert's true passion is for living life. Married with four children his personal time includes the ocean, good wine, great ties, and giving back. To that end, each year his company, RVR, donates a portion of online sales to a new charity.

Robert decided to write a book titled "MEN: 10 Essential Skills."

While the topics he dwells on include tying a tie, playing poker, proposing a toast, and others, it was the last one that truly caught my attention and helps to define the character of Robert Valdes-Rodriguez – "Keep the Girl."

Yeah. "Keep the Girl." Men and women put so much time and effort in to winning each other, and then sometimes forget to put the same energy and passion in to keeping each other.

Passion is a simple word with infinite importance. When we lose our passion for living, we are subject to sitting on the sidelines watching the parade of life pass by.

And living life passionately defines the man known as RVR.
Robert's Web Site RVR Neckwear

Q) What prompted you to write "MEN: 10 Essential Skills"?

A) The idea came to me after many years of bantering with my brother and brothers-in-law during family reunions about the skills that men just need to know. We would never agree, so I always knew that a short list would serve as a fun topic for a book - and it would it give me the last word with them. The motivation to execute the idea started as a gift idea for the menswear stores around the country that carry RVR ties and pocket squares. When I surveyed a few of our best clients, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive, ultimately resulting in pre-orders to sell in their stores.

Q) Your company, RVR, provides neckwear designed by you. To what do you attribute this unique interest?

A) Throughout my 20+ years on Wall Street, I had a 'lucky' tie that I relied on for important client meetings and events. Now, as a designer, I have a unique insight into the customer that RVR Neckwear is serving. Our company identifies with professionals such as attorneys, bankers, television personalities and anyone who depends on an eye-catching tie with uncompromising quality as part of their lifestyle. In fact, if you were to ask our typical client what they love most about RVR ties, they would reply, "I get a compliment every time I wear one!"

Q) Truly passionate people generally had someone in their younger years as a role model encouraging and supporting them. Who filled that role in your life?

A) My father, for so many reasons. Firstly, he was always the most elegantly dressed man in the room. My father, an attorney in Cuba, emigrated to the U.S. in 1961. Leaving his worldly possessions behind and starting over in a new country, he taught me about taking risks to pursue one's goals. Watching him succeed with a new life insurance career, I learned about persistence and the balance between confidence and humility. Lastly, by the loving way he interacted with my mother or the kindness he showed to even a stranger in the elevator, I learned to treat everyone around me with respect.

Q) What primary values do you hope you and your wife instilled in your own
children?

A) Take charge of your own destiny. Learn from your mistakes. Work hard, play hard.

Q) What one life lesson do you hope readers carry with them from your book?

A) Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today.