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, November 23, 2012

Award-winning Author Lois Greiman


 Lois Greiman was born on a North Dakota cattle ranch. After graduating high school, she opted for the ‘southern’ clime of Minnesota to train and show Arabian horses. Since that time she’s raised three children and written stories in numerous genres, including romance (humor, contemporary, historical, paranormal), children’s, and mysteries. She’s also amassed a list of awards and honors for her storytelling abilities. And certainly, with past jobs as a high fashion model, veterinary assistant, and fitness instructor, Greiman has a wealth of her own experiences to draw from for inspiration.  

Readers may be familiar with Greiman’s cocktail waitress turned psychologist character Chrissy McMullen who has starred in a number of humorous mysteries, the latest of which is “Uncorked.” In “Uncorked,” Chrissy’s on and off again romantic interest Jack Rivera is the chief murder suspect, and Chrissy is determined to clear his name in spite of the position and female company she last saw him in. 

Now, “Finding Home: A Hope Springs Novel” is being released this month. In this story Greiman melds her humorous side and equestrian knowledge with the touching tale of Casie Carmichael. Casie has to return to Hope Springs, SD, to sell her family’s broken down ranch, unaware that every orphaned animal and troubled child in the area seems to be waiting for her, along with a former beau not so convinced her practical in every way fiancé should become her groom. “Finding Home” is aptly titled as that’s just what readers should experience; a sense of warmth only a real home can provide. Pick up a copy. I think you’ll be glad you did.

Q) Obviously, we don’t need to strain our eyes to see the similarities between you and Casie. Why did you choose this story (Finding Home) to parallel so many facets of your life? 

A) Farm life is a big part of who I am and horses have always been good for my soul. So I thought it was time for me to put those two aspects together in a way that (I hope) is meaningful to me as well as to readers. Finding Home is a ranch story, but I think it's more than that. It's a story about hope and hardship and the invincibility of good. I think we all need a little of that right now. 

Q) Your story settings span warrior Scots to London witches to pirate lords, and now you’ve taken us to contemporary South Dakota. What era and locale is your favorite to use for your endless menagerie of characters? 

A) The wonderful thing about fiction is that I don't have to choose a favorite. I can live in all those places and enjoy every one of them to the fullest. But I have to say, the Black Hills of South Dakota is a spiritual place for me, somewhere I return to time and again with my family and my horses. 

Q) You claim to love happy ever after endings, but haven’t given Chrissy McMullen and Jack Rivera theirs yet. Why not? 

A) Chrissy isn't the kind of person who will ever be entirely happy. She makes far too many problems for herself and wouldn't be content any other way. Besides, I'm having too much fun with her and Rivera to give them any kind of tranquility! 

Q) In a 2007 interview, you mentioned that you first decided to write mysteries when your sons moved out of the house. You also once said how you didn’t start writing seriously until after your children were born. Just how influential have the changes in your life been on your writing career? 

A) Extremely influential. For instance, my first granddaughter was just born a few months ago and suddenly all my fictional characters seem to be pregnant. Look out Chrissy McMullen!! 

Q) You have said you would like to write a literary story. Though clearly a romance, “Finding Home” does embrace a literary element with its masterful characterization and fluid prose. Will we see you venture into women’s fiction in the near future? 

A) Firstly, thank you for your kind words. 'Masterful characterization’ –wow! But, is Finding Home really a romance? I think of it as women's fiction. While it does have romantic elements, that's not the main thrust of the story. To me, Finding Home is the story of a young woman trying to find her place in the world. 

Q) Any parting comments for fans and readers new to your work? 

A) I'd like to say thank you for picking up one of my novels and for giving me the opportunity to flex my literary muscles in so many different genres! It's an honor to be able to tell lies for a living.
DA Kentner is the author of the acclaimed suspense novel Whistle Pass http://whistlepass.blogspot.com/

 

 

 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Psychic, Medium Matthew Fraser


Matthew “Matt” Fraser is a “2012 best Esteemed Psychic in America,” was named a “Psychic Superstar” by OM Times Magazine, has appeared on numerous talk radio shows, and is internationally known for his abilities, as well as being a truly nice person with a warm sense of humor. Basically, Matt’s one of the nice guys who also gives his time and support to Forever Paws Animal Shelter (foreverpaws.com) and the New Hampshire Cultural Diversity Awareness Council. He also wrote a book. 

“The Secrets to Unlocking Your Psychic Ability” is an ebook which I found priced at $2.99 on Amazon.com. “Secrets” is an easy to read and understand book designed to aid readers in exploring their own psychic abilities. Included are many exercises, tools, and techniques that can be utilized on a daily basis to help people enrich their lives. Will a reader be able to talk to their dearly departed ancestors in three easy lessons? No. This isn’t a hocus pocus magic wand or medicine sideshow snake oil guaranteeing anything other than an offering of assistance and guidance to those interested in searching inside themselves and connecting with threads of awareness and conscience they believe to already be there. One thing is for certain: Matt’s writing is clear and enjoyable, and many readers will walk away with a new outlook on the world around and ahead of them. 

Matt attributes his abilities to his mother and grandmother, a Native American “seer.” Thousands of people from all around the globe have had lingering questions answered by Matt and many continue to utilize his talents long after their initial meeting. If you have ever wondered if you have an inner ability to connect with the unseen, or simply want to enhance and take advantage of the intuition most of us believe we have, “The Secrets to Unlocking Your Psychic Ability” may well be a book you should read.

Q) Most people have experienced a déjà vu moment at some point in their life. Do you believe, as some do, that déjà vu is a window to inner awareness or a parallel to psychic abilities? If not, why not? 

A) Definitely. We have all experienced that moment of deja vu where we feel that we have either been at that same place at a given point of time or that we had met that same person before and just could not remember. This is our intuitive psychic ability stepping in and showing us that we in fact have seen this before and we are in the right place and in fact right on track. It reminds us that we are right where we need to be or that the person we just shook hands with is someone that we are supposed to have met and will bring us into a new positive opportunity within our life. Deja vu reminds us that we are constantly tapping in and out of the spiritual world and that we also have access to universal information. 

Q) How important do you believe your Native American heritage is to your psychic abilities? 

A) I believe it is very important, one because Native Americans are very spiritual people and two because heritage can play a huge role in psychic abilities. Everyone is intuitive /psychic or has abilities to some degree, but those families who embrace it more have strong connections with their abilities and it is passed down to future generations. Having psychic abilities run so strong on both sides of the family and it enabled my gift to be discovered a lot earlier in my life and allowed me to truly embrace it and familiarize myself with it instead of keeping it hidden. Not only was this gift present way back through my great grandmother it was also embraced by my grandmother on my mother’s side who also was a psychic medium. She would read for friends and family during the day by sharing messages from loved ones in heaven and also used it to help those around her find guidance in everyday life. I also use this same gift of connecting those here in the physical with those in spirit on a day to day basis. It is such an honor to see the love, joy and hope that these messages bring. 

Q) Why should someone like me who has never really sought to explore any psychic potential buy your book? 

A) Great Question! The reason being is because your intuition- psychic ability is a powerful tool that you carry with you that you can use to improve your life in just about any category. Your psychic ability allows you to use your intuition to not only know more about yourself but also to feel situations before they happen that can help you find the positive outcome in many situations. Developing your own psychic abilities will help you to life a more positive and fulfilling life by seeing or feeling beyond the obvious to the underlying connections know those around you on a deeper level, and also appreciating all the good and positive opportunity that we have to look forward to in our life. 

Q) Of course, there are those with no interest in this topic whatsoever as well as firm believers. For those on the fence, where should they look first to decide if they should accept psychic ability as reality? 

A) They should first take a look at their own experiences that had occurred in their lives. We have all had our intuition talk to us at one point or another in our life as a hunch, a feeling knowingness. Maybe you knew not to go out on a certain night and you did which resulted in a flat tire or you thought that you were going to get a promotion at work and that week it was given to you. The signs are all around us, take a look at some of those experiences that you just cannot explain, you will see that your intuition was at work guiding you. 

Q) You are in constant motion and demand. What do you do to relax and recharge? 

A) Prayer, meditation and good friends are the best ways that helps me to relax and recharge. Being able to collect my thought through a quick meditation before speaking to large groups helps. Also I pray every day. It connects me to a state of peaceful calm, and helps me stay centered while energizing my thinking from previous sessions. 

Q) Any parting thoughts for your fans and those not familiar with you? 

A) Start increasing your attention on your spiritual journey. It is a wonderful ability that is available for you to use and many find it has helped increase their positive thinking and closeness with others. Pay attention to your hunches. Start writing down your dreams. Just pay a bit more attention to how you feel around people and situations. Personally, I found it a gift that once I began to accept and develop has evolved and allowed me to connect with others and bring messages of love from the departed on the other side. It only takes a minute of your time to take hold of this amazing ability. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving.
DA Kentner is the author of the acclaimed suspense novel Whistle Pass. http://whistlepass.blogspot.com/

 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Attorney/Author Samuel Bearman


This interview is more an attempt to educate than learn about an author and his or her work. Flooding and the accompanying intricacies and pitfalls of insurance coverage leave many folks wondering if they are covered or if they should be covered. Samuel Bearman and Dennis Abbott wrote a book titled “Your Guide to Handling Flood Insurance Claims.” 

Mr. Bearman is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Duke University and has been practicing law for over twenty years. 

“Flood Insurance Claims” isn’t a voluminous legal masterpiece sure to confuse the reader. In fact, the book consists of three chapters. The authors kept the number of pages to a minimum, opting for quality and comprehension in their message. And, bless their hearts, the language is in lay terms even I can understand. 

Bearman and Abbott walk the reader through flood insurance; from what kind a property owner should have, to how to obtain it, to what information/documentation must be kept and provided to successfully file a claim. Bearman, along with Dana Oberhausen, also wrote “Your Guide to Understanding Florida Personal Injury Law.” 

So, if you’ve ever had questions about flood insurance, maybe “Your Guide to Handling Flood Insurance Claims” is a book you should check out.

Q) The first questions I think most folks will have are how much of the information you have compiled is available through other sources, and why should we buy your book? 

A) The general information contained in the first chapter can be found at various FEMA websites and from FEMA/NFIP publications. We have taken information from all these sources and have organized it into a simplified explanation of the important terms and conditions of the flood insurance program. Chapter Two addresses flood claims from a legal perspective and we know of no other publication which attempts to do this. Finally, there is a useful FAQ section in Chapter Three which answers the most common questions relating to flood insurance. 

Q) On the first page you point out that the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is now a part of the Dept. of Homeland Security, and that the federal government will make flood insurance available to a community if certain steps are taken by that community. To some people, that chain of involvement won’t sit comfortably. How intricate is government involvement to a homeowner just trying to insure the property they’ve worked hard to own? 

A) Buying flood insurance is as simple as contacting your local insurance agent. The same agent who provides you with car and homeowners's insurance can usually sell you flood insurance. 

Q) In the book you list several important forms flood victims will need to file claims. How important is it that a homeowner have specific ‘to the letter’ forms? 

A) A flood policy has strict filing requirements and requires specific information when making a claim. Forms have been developed by FEMA which incorporate these requirements. It is very important to use these forms. These forms will usually be furnished by the adjuster. However, the forms are provided as a courtesy only and if not provided, the policyholder has the responsibility of providing the appropriate information. 

Q) To protect themselves in the event of flooding, what documentation should a property owner either not have stored on site or have duplicated in a secondary safe location? 

A) Obviously, any documentation relating to ownership and value of the property is important is resolving your claim. "Before" pictures of your house and contents are invaluable in settling your claim. You should always keep a current inventory of your personal property. Make sure these documents are kept in a safe and dry place. 

Q) What is the greatest pitfall homeowners need to be aware of when purchasing flood insurance? 

A) Be sure to discuss the realistic replacement cost of your property with your agent in deciding on how much insurance to purchase. Many policyholders are underinsured. Be sure to protect your equity in your property and also purchase a sufficient amount to obtain the greatest benefit under the policy. 

Q) Vehicles and boats are not covered under most flood insurance policies. What kind of policy would provide coverage for these in the event of flood damage? 

A) Your car and boat policies usually cover flood damage but make sure you discuss this with your agent. Not all policies are the same and flood exclusions are common. 

Q) My curious question: Flood insurance carriers have received a bad rap due to recent disasters and stories of nonpayment. Do recovery odds actually increase when a homeowner hires an attorney, and, how can most folks afford an attorney when they’ve just lost everything? 

A) A flood policy has critical deadlines and requirements and if not met, an otherwise valid claim will be denied. A policyholder not only needs an attorney, they need an attorney with experience in handling flood claims. Most attorneys will work on a "contingency" basis and will be entitled to a fee only if additional payment is obtained. 

Q) Any parting comments? 

A) Flood insurance claims are handled the same way in every state because this is a federal program. The procedure in the State of Washington is the same as the procedure in the State of Florida. If we can help with any questions, particularly regarding flood damage from Hurricane Sandy, just let us know.
DA Kentner is the author of the acclaimed suspense novel Whistle Pass http://whistlepass.blogspot.com/

Friday, November 2, 2012

Author, Humorist, Journalist Reavis Z. Wortham


Texan Reavis Wortham is an award-winning writer and photographer whose humorous articles on outdoor life, hunting, and fishing have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers such as Texas Sportsman, American Cowboy, and Vintage Trucks. His article “Shooting Squirrels in a Barrel” received an award from the Outdoor Writers Association of America. A retired educator, Reavis continues to reside in Texas with his wife of many years who has been the focus of several of her husband’s tongue in cheek columns, and is obviously a lady of great patience, charm, and a poor aim as she hasn’t hit him yet. 

These days, many of us seem to primarily attribute the concept of ‘humorist’ to political commentaries or comedic takes on world events. Dave Barry and Erma Bombeck became household names with their witty observations of life around them. But the visage of a man, his feet propped up on a wood burning stove in a general store, or tying fishing lures on a porch as he spins his yarns, is fading from our culture. Fortunately, we still have a few writers like Patrick McManus and Reavis Wortham to remind us our routines and hobbies can be hilarious. Reavis recently wrote about his experience with a fictional 900 number for fishing enthusiasts who enjoy a little rod play. I was laughing so much I choked on my soft drink, which sent the dog barking for my wife, who gave him a treat and told him to go lie down. I now keep my cell phone within reach at all times. 

Reavis’s humor and love of quirky characters resulted in a collection of short stories titled “Doreen’s 24 Hour Eat Gas Now Café.” If you’ve ever hunted or fished, or been abandoned during deer season to enjoy the quiet of home, “Doreen’s” is probably a good laugh you’ll enjoy for hours. 

However, Reavis’s storytelling interests extend beyond the comedic. Last year “The Rock Hole” debuted. “The Rock Hole” introduced the Red River Mystery Series featuring Ned Parker, an aging lawman in 1964, and his relatives and friends. The author’s combination of superb prose topping a recipe of mystery and suspense sprinkled with downhome humor quickly garnered much deserved attention. Still, “The Rock Hole” only served notice of things to come. 

“Burrows,” the second in the Red River series, was released this year. Reavis’s masterful writing takes us inside a terror-ridden warehouse of trash, booby traps, and murder that keeps the reader turning the pages. Yet, within the story is a childish purity matched with an aging character’s soon-to-come death that results in a tender connection of past and future. Interestingly, more than one reviewer, including Publishers Weekly, has likened this fine and touching balance to Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.” What’s next from Reavis Wortham? We can only hope it comes soon.

Q) How did the comparisons of “Burrows” against “To Kill a Mockingbird” change your opinion or attitude of your writing abilities? 

A) Comparison to such a great work of literature is embarrassing, to say the least. I am humbled that the reviewer thought BURROWS reminded them of such a famous and successful novel. It made writing much harder, though, because now I find myself overthinking what I’ve done. 

You mentioned Pat McManus, who I’ve admired for years, and again, there’s that comparison thing that causes me to need a bigger hat size, but is also a great honor. Frankly, what I’ve produced works until I pause to read for relaxation, and then I feel like a hack. When I’m writing, I’ve learned to never open books by Larry McMurtry, Lee Child, Robert Crais, Tim Dorsey or my friend John Gilstrap (to name only a few), or any of the classics. These guys make it look easy, so I just plow ahead until deadline with a sick feeling of dreaded failure, and then send the manuscript in and hope for the best. I think I’m getting better, though, book by book. 

Q) You actually started writing “Burrows” in the 1980s. What was it about this story that wouldn’t go away and caused you to eventually bring it to life? 

A) I have a fascination with certain stories I’ve read through the years. Nearly 35 years ago, I read about the Collyer Brothers from New York, who in the 1930s were hoarders to the Nth degree, long before these true life television programs. Those guys filled a New York brownstone with a lifetime of collected junk, which eventually killed them both. So I thought, what if… 

The idea was originally a short story that I shelved. Over the years, I’d take it out, dust it off, and try to rewrite it in a variety of ways, using contemporary settings. I couldn’t get it out of my mind. An entire brownstone filled with junk that eventually kills the owners. And then, while I was working on BURROWS the plot led me to The Cotton Exchange, in my fictional town of Chisum. Again, I thought, what if…and the simple idea of hoarding gone wild became the main story line in BURROWS. 

Interestingly enough, while in the first few chapters of my next novel in THE RED RIVER mystery series, THE RIGHT SIDE OF WRONG, another distant memory stirred. Back in the 1970s I read about a man who was arrested down in Mexico. The guy went to jail, where he suffered unthinkable brutalities in the hands of both the guards and prisoners. He bribed a guard to let him make one phone call to his best friend who owned a used car lot just across the border, in Texas. The car salesman hung up the phone, crossed the border with enough guns to start a small country, and shot his way into the jail. He found his friend, and together they fought their way back across into Texas. How can you not use that idea when your protagonist in a new novel finds himself in Mexico, needing help? 

Q) Your wife is a poet. Have you considered infusing her art form into one of your stories? 

A) My bride, who I call The War Department in my newspaper columns and magazine articles, has fun with poetry, but she has never even tried to get published. I don’t have that knack, but maybe one of my characters, twelve-year-old Pepper, can start writing poetry. That might be The War Department’s role in the next book as we watch Pepper grow older. My bride and I have co-written a few newspaper columns that came out surprisingly well, with few resulting injuries to my person. 

Q) You truly do create some very funny characters and situations. What or whom do you credit for your style of homespun humor? 

A) I have to thank Pat McManus for his inspiration to commit humor, as well as the late writers Corey Ford and Donald Westlake. Those guys spin tales that make me laugh, but at the same time, the stories are real and give a sense of atmosphere and place. There’s always humor in everything we do, even in the worst moments of our lives, so I try to break up the tension to give the readers a break. Other guys who were inspirational to my humor and attempts to write are William C. Anderson, (who I guess truly inspired me to write way back when I was in high school), Jack Douglas, and finally, Jean Shepherd and Max Shulman, all very funny guys, and sadly, all gone. 

Q) Western, country, rural…whatever term a person chooses to brand the traditional style of a humorist with is fading. Do you believe it can be saved, and, if so, how? 

A) Publishers these days are asking for contemporary situations. That’s what sells, and when you deviate from what’s working, they get nervous. I am the Humor Editor of Texas Fish and Game Magazine, one of the few outdoor magazines that lists a staff humorist. Back in the day, Ed Zern and Corey Ford kept us entertained with their stories that were funny and atmospheric, but made us think. I believe that’s because America was 80% rural, and their small town guys were recognizable to a changing society. Today, we’re 80% urban, and too many folks find western, country or rural humor to be corn pone. 

That said, Pat McManus still gives us chuckles in his monthly Outdoor Life columns, so traditional humor is still alive and well. But too many other magazines are a little too snooty to print something as low as humor. Remember the days when The Saturday Evening Post printed funny columns? Today’s mainstream magazines have turned to sex, cooking recipes, sex, fashion, and fifty shades of sex, forgetting how it was when Prudence Macintosh and other humorists brought something different to the publication. We all need to stick with what brung us. The old ways worked then, why not now? The Humorist can be saved, if publishers lighten up and allow writers to produce work that is fun and clean. 

Q) Any parting thoughts for fans or folks who have yet to read your work? 


A) Well, my novels aren’t full of humor, and don’t expect the same thing from book to book. I have no formula, and although the main characters continue to reappear, each novel is different in some way. 

The reviewers have been very kind, so it looks like I’m doing the right thing, only I don’t know what that is. Someone said BURROWS is the child of Harper Lee and Stephen King. Hummm. 

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD takes us back to a time that is truly gone, and rapidly disappearing from memory of those who were there. The very foundation of that novel is disappearing as well. Small town life in rural America, specific ways of speaking and phrases that fade into oblivion from disuse are vanishing, so when I started THE ROCK HOLE, I simply wanted to preserve those things and tell a good story about how simple people in their small communities deal with the outside influences of the world. 

THE ROCK HOLE was a true, traditional mystery. The much darker BURROWS was a “mystery thriller.” I think the next installment in THE RED RIVER series, THE RIGHT SIDE OF WRONG is a thriller that rubbed up against a mystery, at least until the surprise ending that even shocked me. The books show that even in our darkest days we can find humor or levity, at least for a moment. I thank anyone who reads my newspaper columns, magazine articles, or the novels, and I’m humbled that you’ve selected my work from the many thousands of books out there.
DA Kentner is the author of the acclaimed suspense novel Whistle Pass  http://whistlepass.blogspot.com/