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.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Fit and Fabulous Author Teresa Tapp



With the holidays winding down, and our waistlines inching out, it seemed the right time to introduce renowned fitness expert Teresa Tapp, co-author of “Fit and Fabulous in 15 Minutes.”

Ms. Tapp developed T-Tapp, a highly praised health regimen featured on major TV networks and talked about around the world. T-Tapp doesn’t utilize weights or machines, no stretch bands, in fact, no equipment at all. Neither does it require jumping up and down on knees and joints that would really rather forget the whole thing.

T-Tapp was developed to utilize muscle movement. Yes, you have to work your muscles. Sorry, but just thinking about being healthier won’t drop you a size or two. “Fit and Fabulous in 15 Minutes” is the complete introduction to the T-Tapp plan that reshapes the body through a sequence of muscle movements, working layer by layer, to cinch and tighten the muscles and burn fat. As Ms. Tapp says, “All you need is four square feet of space and just fifteen minutes a day in order to see a dramatic loss of inches.”

Naturally, to transform an active workout to paper required some doing. Ms. Tapp enlisted the aid of award-winning author Barbara Smalley. Together, the duo has produced a book and accompanying DVD that are garnering rave reviews and scores of satisfied customers.

I found the book easy to follow. The authors don’t bore the reader with endless facts and figures sure to put us to sleep rather than stimulate us to get out of the chair. Quite the contrary. “Fit and Fabulous” jumps right into the heart of the matter, encouraging and cajoling us to come along for an extraordinary ride with an ending that will leave us feeling better about ourselves.

If you’re like me and could lose an extra pound….Okay - If you’re like me and tired of being told to wear a slow moving vehicle sign when I go for a walk, or just want to tone up your already marvelous physique, you might want to check out “Fit and Fabulous in 15 Minutes.” It’s for everybody, and that’s important.

Q) Not everyone chooses a career as a trainer. What headed you down that path?


A) My passion for teaching and helping others has always been a part of me. Being able to motivate, educate and instill confidence in others is very gratifying. I believe that hurting my back as a teenager was an definite turning point in my desire to teach others how to train for less pain.

Q) The obvious question: Why should we adopt the T-Tapp workout and not one of the other thousand or so already on the market? 

A) In addition to being an efficient and effective body sculpting workout that improves strength, flexibility and healthy heart function, its special method of full fiber muscle activation can be applied to other workouts for faster results too.

Q) Another question born from experience: Is this the only book we’ll need, or will there be more? 

A) “Fit and Fabulous in 15 Minutes” explains each exercise in great detail so no other book is needed. However, I do have another book about brain-body fitness with core floor activation in the works.

Q) You are a genuinely nice lady filled with exuberance. How can a person alone in their home catch the ‘fire’ necessary to begin a daily regimen they aren’t accustomed to?

A) A person should never feel alone with T-Tapp. In addition to having a very active and supportive community of t-tappers from all over the world who educate and motivate each other on our free forums, we also offer unlimited email and telephone support for free. Plus we have certified T-Tapp Trainers in various cities across America and in Europe who offer classes, clinics and on-line training.

Q) Any parting comments for fans and potential readers?

A) Yes You Can! The human body is an amazing machine that can rebuild and reshape regardless of age. Understanding how to use T-Tapp Method to create muscles with density instead of bulk and how to use movement to decrease inflammation is the secret to success to looking and feeling better the rest of your life.

It's never too late! I welcome you to come join and be a part of the T-Tapp family where there is always someone willing to help you achieve results.
DA Kentner is an award-winning author www.kevad.net


Friday, December 13, 2013

Multi Award-Winning Author & Journalist Hank Phillippi Ryan



Hank Phillippi Ryan is an investigative reporter and TV journalist whose work at uncovering the truth has garnered her thirty Emmys and twelve Edward R. Murrow awards. Hank has carried her passions to writing, and the accolades for her six mystery novels include two Agathas, an Anthony, and a Macavity; three of the most prestigious awards in the mystery genre. In a nutshell, Ms. Ryan is amongst the best at what she does, be it as a reporter for Boston’s NBC affiliate, or at creating breath-stealing suspense novels.

Now residing in Boston with her husband, a renowned civil rights and criminal defense attorney, Hank’s journey began in Indianapolis. It was there she became the vice-president of the Midwest Chapter of the National Beatles Fan Club and dreamed of being Nancy Drew. High School led to college which led to work experiences worthy of an autobiography. Those jobs included a stint as press secretary to a U.S. congressman and a position in the Washington Bureau for Rolling Stone magazine. As a reporter she’s gone undercover, interviewed world leaders, sent criminals to prison and freed innocents wrongly convicted.

While I would thoroughly enjoy discussing Hank’s fascinating life, we’re here to discuss her bestselling novels, the latest of which is “The Wrong Girl.”

Hank’s novels walk a fictional parallel to her life. She initially introduced readers to seasoned reporter Charlotte NcNally in the suspense novel “Prime Time.” Readers demanded more, and a four-book series followed McNally’s exploits.

Continuing in the vein of a tough, yet sensitive reporter willing to risk all for the truth, Hank next unveiled Jane Ryland, a reporter willing to dig deep in to the most sinister of circumstances. In “The Other Woman,” the first of this new series, the character of Ryland is surrounded by political double-dealing and constant danger. Once again, the reviews, accolades, and demands for more rolled in.

“The Wrong Girl” is a story caught in today’s interests. Reporter Ryland uncovers the worst possible nightmare for a family – that their child isn’t theirs – and strikes hard at those who could/can profit from child-switching scenarios. It’s a risky topic for an author, and to pull it off the writer not only has to know the subject matter, but have the skill to keep the story flowing and the suspense at a believable, yet, knuckle whitening pace. Hank Ryan does that and more.

If you haven’t picked up one of Ms. Ryan’s books yet, do so now. Yeah. Right now.

Q) Obviously, the characters of Charlotte McNally and Jane Ryland mirror your investigative reporter
career. But fiction allows a writer to take a character beyond the author’s experiences or abilities. What did you instill in your heroines that real-life Hank Ryan doesn’t possess?

A) Oh, gosh. I have wired myself with hidden cameras, confronted corrupt politicians, gone undercover and in disguise—what I hope to bring to the books is authenticity, you know? A genuine feeling of the high stress and high stakes of being an investigative reporter. I’ve won 30 Emmys for my reporting (!) and every one of those Emmys represents a secret that someone didn’t want me to tell you. A secret someone didn’t want you to know.

As a reporter, then, no matter if it’s the real me or the fictional Jane, we have to be curious, right? And skeptical. And confident. Someone asked me to describe Jane in one word—and that was a difficult task! I finally came up with “determined.” And that’s me, too.

What’s different, though? Ah, Jane is a great driver.  Charlotte is funnier than I am.  But it’s a more difficult question than it seems—because they are true characters, you know?  Even though they are fictional.  So they behave in ways I can’t always predict. This is part of what Sue Grafton calls “the magic.”

The characters won’t always do what I want them to do—they are such strong personalities, they often dictate what’s right for them. As an author, that is fascinating to discover.

Q) Many readers enjoy the edgy romances you infuse into the stories. Why did decide to incorporate romance in suspense series?

A) Well, thanks! Yeah, the attraction Jane has for Detective Jake Brogan—and him for her—is complicated, because they are professionally prohibited from being together. A cop can’t date a reporter (he’d be the first to be blamed for a leak) and a reporter can’t date a cop (how can she cover the crime beat? What if she has to criticize her loved one, or throw him under the bus?). So it’s a very difficult quandary for them.

Why is there a bit of romance? Well, someone once asked me if I could write a mystery/thriller without romance. No, I said. Not if the characters are real people, right? Because we’re all—no matter where we are in life—wondering about that part of our existence that has to do with love. Whether we have it, or don’t.  So a living breathing person—character—is going to be concerned with that. Like Jane and Jake.

The same person asked me if I could write a romance without a mystery. No, I said. Because—what would the characters DO for a whole book? You can see why I write crime fiction!

Q) We’re human; second-guessing comes with the job. Without going into details, is there a report you wish you had handled differently?

A) Happy to go into details. Years ago, maybe 12? I did a story about radioactive medical materials, and how the security in labs was so lax that these potentially dangerous items were being stolen. One of the elements that’s used is Krypton.

In my story, I called it Kryptonite.

I still think about that. At least I can laugh now. Kind of.

Q) You potentially saved many lives with a story of how school bus recalls weren’t getting delivered to schools. Laws were changed as a result of your work. Following up on the previous question, what’s the story you’re most proud of?

A) Such a touch question. We’ve changed laws and changed lives, gotten millions of dollars in refunds and restitution for consumers. We found huge problems in the 911 system that were sending emergency responders, police and firefighters to the wrong addresses—that’s now been fixed.

We found heartbreaking deception in the mortgage banking and home improvement industries—new laws were passed to make sure that didn’t happen again.

We’ve revealed some potentially life-saving infant tests that were not being done in certain hospitals—now they are.

After 35 years as a reporter, I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished. And I always think my best story will be the next one.

Q) Reporting and writing are not nine to five jobs, and you do both. How do you keep your home life
intact?

A) Laughing. Truly, that’s part of it. Let me confess that there is absolutely no way to do it all perfectly, so I try to be organized and prioritized, and I try to laugh and enjoy it every day. What needs to get done, gets done. I am big on lists, and have been known to do a task, then PUT it on the list so I can check it off. 

We eat a lot of carry-out salmon, haven’t gone on vacation for years—and my husband and I adore each other. I am a hard worker, and really lucky, and I count my blessings every day.

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

A) You know, if we’re lucky, when we were kids, someone put us on their lap and began “Once upon a time…” We all love stories, and as a journalist and as a crime fiction author, that’s what I love to do—tell stories. Riveting, suspenseful page-turners of stories, that’ll keep you entertained and up too late turning the pages.

My book THE OTHER WOMAN (some call it The Good Wife meets Law & Order) won the prestigious Mary Higgins Clark award—that lets you know it’s a smart, suspenseful thriller, with no graphic sex or violence. THE OTHER WOMAN also was nominated for the Agatha, Anthony, Macavity, Daphne and Shamus—that lets you know it’s among the top novels in all realms of crime fiction.

The brand new THE WRONG GIRL (what if you didn’t know the truth about your own family?) is already a multi-week Boston Globe (and others) bestseller—and is nominated for the best Suspense/Thriller of 2013 by RT Reviewers Choice.

Readers (like me) who love Lisa Scottoline, Tess Gerritsen, Sue Grafton, Sandra Brown, Harlan Coben—well, they say to write the kind of books you love to read. That’s what I’m doing.

Right now I’m working on the next Jane Ryland thriller, TRUTH BE TOLD (how far would you go to save your home?)—it’ll be out this time next year!

But meanwhile, do let me know how you like THE OTHER WOMAN and THE WRONG GIRL. Find me on Facebook and Twitter! And go to http://www.hankphillippiryan.com/ and click on “contact”—your message comes directly to me.

Thanks so much for this—what a treat!
DA Kentner is an award-winning author www.kevad.net

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Barn Artist Scott Hagan



The person I’m spotlighting this week isn’t an author, but the man and his work are both so incredible I had to share who he is and what he does.

Scott Hagan paints barns – literally. His artwork, his master craftsmanship, can be found all across the country. You see, Scott turns barns into his canvas in order to create gallery worthy paintings. From abstract designs, to complex birds, to advertising that rivals the faded vestiges of our roadside past, Scott does it all. And, sadly, he’s one of the few remaining true barn artists left. There are those who ‘paint’ barns with vinyl. Scott arrives with his truck, scaffolding, brushes, buckets of paint, and his artist’s eye.

Generally, each commissioned piece of art takes about three days, depending on the prep work required. That can involve a total stripping down to the bare wood in order to achieve the proper base for the new paint. Then Scott does what he loves; he breathes new life into what many might have thought a lost cause, and leaves behind him a colorful piece of treasured Americana.

Scott also adorns gymnasiums (walls and floors) with his artistry, as well as silos, buildings, football
field fifty-yard lines, and just about anything else of size and substance. Whatever the client can imagine, be it mascot, logo, image, or message, Scott can make it happen. His work has received accolades in many newspapers and magazines, including The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Ripley’s Believe It Or Not even did an article about him. Yes, he’s that talented and dedicated to his art. And, yes, he will speak at schools and groups, depending on his availability.

Q) I know you started by painting the Ohio Bicentennial logo on barns. But, what was it that convinced you to turn that endeavor in to a career?

A) I really did not know it would turn into a career, in time it just developed into one. It was hard initially to convince myself that it was possible to have enough projects to make a living. Today much of my success relies on people finding my website, and social media. 


Q) The detail you incorporate on such a huge scale is incredible, and you do it by hand, no air brushing. Why did you opt to hold true to the methods and techniques of the past?

A) I like to use the brush for several reasons. For one it’s what I do best and learned on. Two, it puts the paint on thicker that way- air brushes in my experience won’t hold enough volume for the size of the area I am painting. On occasion however, I have used aerosol cans but usually for effect.

Q) What has been the strangest thing you’ve been asked to paint, and, what has been the most difficult ‘canvas’ to work on?

A) The most difficult areas to paint are the metal buildings. While they seem to last forever, the shape of the surface requires an extra amount of patience.
For me the most unusual image was this- In a new school’s gym, I painted a huge picture of the "Old School" with the school’s mascot coming out of it. This was the center feature of the gym! 

Q) Your current personal goal is to paint a barn in every state. How close are you now?


A) I am only up to 17 states (I think). I'll be adding a new state in the spring – Massachusetts; a Betsy Ross style flag on a building.  I'll also be in the Cape Cod area in the near future.

Q) Any parting thoughts for readers or folks interested in contacting you?

A) Sure, I am best known for painting barns, but really my skill is painting anything large on most any surface. I really enjoy painting in school gyms and facilities. The travel is also a fun perk of the job, and I hope to visit some of the west/mountain states in the future.
DA Kentner is an award-winning author www.kevad.net