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, September 21, 2012

Bestselling Romantic Suspense Author H.C. Brown


Australia’s H.C. Brown’s aunts traced their family lines to William D' Ansie a French (Norman) knight who rode with William The Conqueror. Never one to shy away from inspiration, “Betrothed to the Enemy,” the story of a young Saxon woman forced into marriage with a Norman knight, became H.C.’s debut ebook in the United States. Published now in the U.S., South Africa, Australia, and the U.K., the author’s popularity continues to grow. So much so, she created her own Yahoo.com chat group solely for her fans. 

Not content in any one romantic subgenre, H.C.’s work includes murder mystery, historical, contemporary, science fiction, paranormal…wherever her mind takes her. “Murder by Design” was a novel that placed in a contest and was quickly contracted by Pocketbooks Australia. Her ‘Purr-fect’ erotic paranormal romance series with a historical ambiance captured readers’ attention around the world. 

This prolific grandmother holds a degree from Oxford, taught physics, chemistry, English Literature and History, is an international all breeds cat judge, and an all breeds tutor judge with the Australian Cat Federation. Forty years ago she married an Aussie surfer she had known for a mere three weeks. Their journey through life together is as exciting today as it was that first day on the beach. 

H.C. isn’t content unless she’s writing. To date, she has had twenty-four books published. This year alone she has seen “A Tryst of Fate” and “Lord and Master” published in ebook format. “Sea Games,” an erotic contemporary romance with a twist, is due out Oct 8th, “Hurt Me Good” (MM BDSM) Nov 5, “Night Games” Dec 17th, “Jungle Games” Feb 11 2013. “Dragonfae: The Soul Catcher,” the author’s return to her love of romantic paranormal stories, hits the Internet bookshelves Feb 18 2013. And, of course, she has five projects nearing completion as well as a joint erotic series actively in the works with another author. That doesn’t include the completed seven volume novel-length YA warlock fantasy series waiting for H.C. to revise and submit to agents and publishers. 

Good grief. The woman wears me out just talking to her.

Q) Where did this insatiable need to write come from? 

A) I have often wondered this myself.  As a child, my mother used to tell me stories all the time.  She would write me little stories and sign them “from Fairy Blue Eyes”.  I think my bend toward fantasy came from those early years. I had a gift for writing from an early age and won a scholarship at the age of ten to a prominent English Girls School. There I immersed myself in literature and today I still read four to six books a month. 

Q) Okay. Why haven’t you borrowed from your own romantic interlude with a surfer and written that story? We would love to read it. 

A) Romantic interlude? He swept me off my feet —literally. The surf here is dangerous. The rips can drag a person out to sea in a foot of water. I had arrived in Australia a month previously and had no idea of the dangers. A wave knocked me over and I slid between his legs. A bronzed muscular arm wrapped around my waist.  I looked up into his dark blue eyes and hoped he didn’t have a “sold” sign hanging around his neck. I guess writing about this happening to someone else would ruin the memory. Actually, my husband is in many of my stories. Not as a character per say but I instill his attitude and respect toward women in my heroes. 

Q) You were born in England, but moved to Australia. What prompted that decision? 

A) I lived in London. I loved the history but hated the cold and the constant gray sky. I had family in Australia and in Queensland, the sun shines seven out of ten days. The opportunities for a career were outstanding. 

Q) You stay so busy, how do you and your husband keep your own romance smoldering? 

A) We are together 24/7.  He is an artist and specializes in outback Australian scenes mostly the red center. He paints and I write. We live close to the beach and you can usually find us walking hand in hand most mornings. Our romance has never faltered and we’ve lived through some crazy times. I look at him all the time and think I am the luckiest woman in the world to have him. 

Q) What caused you to actually sit down and write a story, then offer it for publication? 

A) At first, I wrote the warlock series for my children with no intention to publish. Publication came to me with Murder by Design as you mentioned earlier.  Readers enjoyed my story and wanted more. I take great pleasure in writing; it is like breathing to me now—an essential part of my life. 

Q) Any parting thoughts for your readers and those yet to be introduced to your work? 

A) For my readers: I value every one of you. Your emails and support are food for my Muse. To those who haven’t read my work: If you like strong yet gentle heroes and heart stopping romance, you will enjoy one of my stories.
DA Kentner is an author and journalist www.kevad.net

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Overcoming Life’s Hurdles - 13yr old Rapper Lil JaXe


Jake Zeldin stutters. Unfortunately, some people view “different” as weakness, and Jake became a target for bullies. Sadly, the bullying wasn’t limited to his peer group. Teachers reportedly joined in with comments such as “I don't know what is more annoying, that voice or your stutter.” That was two years ago, and Jake Zeldin now stands on the brink of international fame. 

Jake discovered rap and a freedom not just of his mind, but from his stutter as well. When Jake picks up a microphone, he transforms to Lil JaXe, a talented rapper who has garnered the attention of the music industry and fans alike. Lil JaXe is set to headline the the Canadian Urban Music Conference Sept. 22nd (http://canadianurbanmusicconference.com/). He is also performing at Free the Children’s WE day (http://www.weday.com). His mission? To show others who have been bullied they are not alone. 

With over 1.5 million views of his YouTube video, Jake has also been featured alongside rappers Mos Def and Talib Kweli on Pacha’s Pajamas, a children’s hip-hop album about the environment released in July. This amazing young man is definitely someone to keep an eye on as he performs across the U.S. helping organizations combatting bullying and other concerns that affect us all.

I’m stepping aside now to allow my grandsons Kyle and Brennan Kentner to ask the questions. 

Q) How scared were you the first time you got up on stage? 

A) To be honest when I get up on stage it makes me feel whole. I can communicate like everyone else, it makes me feel confident and liberated. I feel like I was born to perform. 

Q) Do you still attend the same school where you were bullied by your teachers, or are you now privately tutored or home schooled? 

A) The first time I was bullied by a teacher was in Grade six. I no longer go to that school but I visit sometimes and I like to show him that it was actually him putting me down that actually motivated me to get to this point. I do attend a public school where I was bullied again last year however again every time I get pushed down it makes my drive to succeed stronger and stronger. 

Q) Do people treat you differently now that they know you have such a wonderful talent and have become so well-known? 

A) People are amazed by my ability and talent and allot of kids think it is cool that I meet tons of celebrities and get to hang out and rap for them. I still get teased sometimes by people who don't believe. 

Q) Are you a free-style rapper, or do you write your own raps? 

A) I do both. I love to free style and think of things on the spot and it allows me to communicate easily and say things that I want to say without any problems. I also love to free style because it really shocks people to hear the difference from my normal talking.
I have been writing my own songs now for three years. I get my inspiration from things that happen around me and things that I go through. I have written five songs now and I hope to continue.
 

Q) How old were you when you figured out rapping was the easiest way of communicating? 

A) I went to summer camp when I was 10, and was asked to join a rap battle.
They gave me a word and I was to create a rap around it. I could not believe that I was ever able to do that without stuttering. From that time on, I never stopped and I never want to stop!
 

Q) Do you plan on staying solo, or do you have a goal to merge your talents with other rappers and form a rap band (such as the Wu-Tang Clan or the more "old school" Run DMC)?

My goal is to be solo and to continue to rap and write incredible inspirational songs and to do features for other artists. 

Q) Do you only use rap to entertain, or do you ever "rap" to communicate with friends and family? (i.e. Just normal dinner conversation)
 

A) I mainly use rap to entertain. I wish it was that easy to incorporate it with my every day speaking but it is hard to always find things that rhyme. I did recently incorporate the rap into my presentations in school and it is definitely allot easier for me to present in front of large groups when I am rapping.
Kyle and Brennan are the grandsons of author DA Kentner www.kevad.net

 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Historian, Author, and Journalist St. Sukie de la Croix



St. Sukie de la Croix is an internationally published journalist, columnist, fiction author, playwright and photographer. Besides having written dozens of short stories and poems for anthologies and magazines, Mr. de la Croix has seen his dance plays “A White Light in God’s Choir” and “Two Weeks in a Bus Shelter with an Iguana” take life on stage. Teaming up author Rick R. Reed, the prolific duo produced the novel “Ambrose and the Waif,” a compelling story of madness, greed, love, and murder revealed through a series of letters. 

Born in Britain, Sukie became a recognized journalist writing articles for underground and alternative presses. After he moved to the U.S., his frank, outspoken viewpoint of the world around him, as well as his photographic skills, landed his work in numerous periodicals, including a ten week historical series in the Chicago Tribune. 

Sukie’s love and passion for history began his ten year journey into Chicago’s past, culminating in the book “Chicago Whispers: A History of LGBT Chicago before Stonewall.” Obviously, in order to track events that began in the 1670s, Sukie spent hours on end researching archives, studying photographs and artwork, and piecing together long silenced voices to reestablish a forgotten and many times suppressed evolution of LGBT history in the Windy City. From civil war vice dens to Jane Addams (founder of Hull House) to artists and authors to playwright Lorraine Hansberry (“Raisin in the Sun”), Sukie examined every pebble he could find that might reveal a grain of fact. But, true to his character, Sukie spent as much time on the street, tape recorder in hand, interviewing people and capturing their stories and lives for posterity. Whatever event Chicago could produce, Sukie was there. 

On Rick R. Reed’s recommendation, I purchased a copy of “Chicago Whispers.” What I found was much more than the “abc” style documentation readers sometimes find in history books. Sukie has a voice, a very powerful and distinctive voice, that not only resonates with the reader but lingers in our minds like a trusted friend sharing his time and experiences, encouraging us to ponder the past’s defeats and victories, and accept that history is a signpost to tomorrow.
“Chicago Whispers” is indeed a book that ends with the reader’s beginning.

Q) I am in awe at the diligence required to bring this story to life. What compelled you to begin your decade long journey that became “Chicago Whispers”? 

A) When I visited a gay bookstore and was told there was no book about the history of  the LGBT community in Chicago, I decided to write one myself. Having said that, it's easy to start writing a book, but finishing a book is something else entirely. The most common observation I've received from readers is about my attention to detail, and that came from a blind stubbornness to "get it right." I'm very aware that the lives of LGBT's who have gone before me should be treated with respect, and therefore I tried to keep my own analysis and opinions out of it and let the documents from the period speak for themselves. I've stayed very close to my sources. 

Q) Chicago is notorious for its “that’s Chicago” attitude of social and political surrender. How did you manage to burrow through that barrier? 

A) Corruption has been, and still is, rife in Chicago. It's a part of the city's make up and is what makes it so fascinating. I interviewed 70-year old drag queens who talked about working for the mob with all the ease of a current 20 year old saying they're a barista at Starbucks. I was also shocked by the extent of police corruption and I tried to find something positive to write about them, but the truth is they were vile, as were the politicians, the lawyers, the judges, and organized crime. LGBT's were just a cash cow to them. 

Q) You went beyond the obvious, digging deep into political figures, celebrities, and all races and genders. What was the greatest difficulty you had in piecing together Chicago’s LGBT past? 

A) I tried to keep the chapters in some sort of timeline, but certain people and issues overlapped into different chapters and periods in time. After much gnashing of teeth and pulling my hair out, I decided to just keep writing and worry about chapters later. In the end it all fell into place on its own. I focused on one issue, one person, at a time, and researched until the well was dry. Uncovering gay history is more detective work than anything else, so I waxed my mustache and used my "little grey cells" like Hercule Poirot. 

Q) It is a bit ironic that a ‘Brit’ did what no one else had. Do you believe your foreign roots helped or hindered your efforts? 

A) History books are written by people who weren't there. American authors write about European history all the time, and vice versa. Books about the American Civil War and the Roman Empire are written by people who weren't there. Helped or hindered? Never thought much about it until reporters started bringing it up. I do think the accent helped me in gaining access to some libraries that required a membership card I didn't have.  

Q) “Chicago Whispers” doesn’t end on a contemporary note. How soon can we look forward to the next installment? Yes, we want one. 

A) I've written the sequel, which is now with my publisher, the University of Wisconsin Press. It covers the period June 1969 until June 1975 and documents the radical Gay Liberation Front and the making of a gay community in Chicago. I've also just completed a memoir of growing up a little sissy boy in Post World War II England, and I'm currently writing a novel about lesbians in 1924. After that I'm writing a book of essays. I'm busy.  

Q) Any parting comments for those who haven’t read your work yet?  

A) My mission in writing Chicago Whispers was partly to reclaim the contributions made by LGBT's to the culture of a great American city. The words to "America the Beautiful" were written by a lesbian after she visited Chicago, Katherine Lee Bates. That song belongs to us, and it's a lesbian song. Let's take it back. I also wanted to document the lives of a wondrously diverse group of people whose only common bond was their sexuality, but who somehow carved a niche for themselves in a society that rejected them. And I also wanted to retrace the path of those who set out on the long road to our liberation.
DA Kentner is an author and journalist www.kevad.net

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sh*tty Moms Kilmartin, Moline, Ybarbo, & Zoellner


Four ladies decided to write the book on being a sh*tty mom. Literally.

Potential readers may find the title inappropriate, but that’s only because they haven’t opened the jacket to discover our own complicit involvement in providing literary fodder for the creative process. Basically, that means the authors, social peeping Thomasinas that they are, wrote the book “Sh*tty Mom: The Parenting Guide for the Rest of Us” about their observations of everyday parenting, branding our foibles and unexpected child-rearing victories with their unique sense of humor, and are now selling those observations back to us. And, yes, that’s a very good thing. 

From the authors’ bios: 

Laurie Kilmartin is an Emmy-nominated writer for CONAN on TBS, and, as a stand-up comedian, has appeared on CONAN, Last Comic Standing, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Comedy Central. She lives in Los Angeles with her son. 

Karen Moline is a journalist and author who has written more than two dozen nonfiction books, as well as two novels. Karen and her son live in New York City.

Alicia Ybarbo is a four-time Emmy award–winning producer. She has worked on NBC’s TODAY show since 2000. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children. 

Mary Ann Zoellner is a three-time Emmy award–winning producer whom has worked at NBC news for 16 years. She lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters. 

With topical topics such as ‘Your Children Want to Ruin You,’ ‘It’s Come to Your Attention That Your Kid Is Merely Average,’ ‘Yes, the Babysitter Is Judging You,’ ‘How to Get Rid of a Mom Who Wants to Stay Over During the Entire Playdate,’ ‘How to Drop Off Your Sick Kid at Daycare Before the Teacher Figures It Out,’ and, ‘He Wants Sex; You Want to Sew Your Legs Shut for Ten Years,’ there truly is an acceptable psychosis for each of us. 

This book is funny. So, here’s the warning label: Do not read while taste testing a latte’s temperature with an infant on your lap. Do read during a PTA meeting when Mrs. Perfect is extolling her child’s impact on the education system so you have something to blame your hyena laugh on. Do not read at your mother-in-law’s. No matter how you try to explain it, she’ll know you were laughing at her. Again.

“Hello, this is Laurie, I'm gonna respond for all of us if that's ok.” 

Q) How did the four of you not just decide to write together, but to write this book? 

A) MaryAnn, Alicia and Karen came up with the premise, Sh*tty Mom. They wanted a parenting book that was funny and also a response to what seems like one new book a month that terrifies moms into thinking they are doing everything wrong. As a standup, that's exactly how I treat motherhood onstage, so right away, we were on the same page. 

Q) The obvious question; How were the individual topics selected for full frontal assault? 

A) I just took an inventory of my life and notice that I hid a lot of my parenting tricks from people, because they sounded wrong. Anytime I felt like, "I hope no one finds out I do this," I turned it into a chapter. 

That's basically what the book is. So, yes, I do leave my son's breakfast out the night before so I can sleep in on Saturdays. Yes, I have no idea if he was a good sleeper as an infant because as soon as I'd put him down, I'd drown out any noise with an industrial-strength fan. Yes, I barricaded him in his room once so I could get through a conference call without anyone knowing I was working from home with a sick toddler. And I still carry the shame of being yelled at by a naked woman for bringing my 4 year old son into the women's room at the Hollywood YMCA. 

Q) I'm feeling obvious. Any plans for another joint venture? 

A) We all have kids to put through college, we'll do anything. 

Q) The four of you are professionals, each carving your own deserved place in the entertainment industry. Briefly, please describe the give and take process required to pen this book without the use of scorpions hidden in napkins and jalapeno laced sour cream. 

A) Before we sold the idea, Mary Ann, Alicia and Karen had some thoughts, and I ran with them. After we sold the book, I sequestered myself in Los Angeles and cranked it out in about 5 months. At least half of Sh*tty Mom was written on weekends, at a McDonalds in Burbank, while my kid was in the Play Place.  (At this point, there's nothing I can't tune out.) Since we four are of like mind, they left me alone to put it all together. It helped that we were on different coasts. None of the three New Yorkers wanted to talk to me at 11 PM Eastern, and I was too bitchy to converse with at 6 AM Pacific. 

Q) While this question is cliché, the emotions involved never are. Humor aside, what is the one attribute you possess that you hope to pass on to your own children? 

A) Just looking at the world economy, I think we all hope our kids grow into adults who are able to forage for food and sew their own clothes. 

Q) Any parting thoughts for potential readers? 

A) You're a better mom than you think you are, and your neighbor is worse.
DA Kentner is an author and journalist www.kevad.net