An Interview With Hip Hop Artist Jae Blacc

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Jae Blacc Is a hip hop artist who has just released the single, You Bad; here is a link to his Twitter account:

 

https://twitter.com/jaeblacctfe

 

Q:  What made you interested in music?

 

A: Music has always been therapeutic for me. I can listen to any genre of music and feel at peace because my interest started with Love. Music has always been there for me even when it seemed like no one was including God( which I know God really was). Once I started writing I realized I was able to connect with people through my art. Music allows me to share my thoughts, feelings and experiences with the world. I hope to inspire someone to change for the better.

 

Q:  Who are some of your musical influences?

 

A: Who are some of my musical influences lol. I laugh because I came from an era where all music was played together. My Hip Hop influences are Ice Cube, 2 Pac, Jay Z, Wu Tang Clan, Big Daddy Kane, Run DMC, Rakim, LL Cool J, N.W.A, Nas, Eminem, to be honest it is just too many to name.
Q:  What inspired you to write, “You Bad.”

 

A: What inspired me to write “You Bad” is women with low self esteem. I am so tired of seeing women who do not know their worth. I also want young females to understand it’s not the physical appearance, clothes, money etc that makes a woman Beautiful. What makes a woman Beautiful is her having a Good Heart.

 

Q:  Your press release says you have been played on 12 radio stations worldwide. How did you get yourself on the radio in the first place?

 

A: I got on the radio for the first time by making a bet with one of the radio personalities about a Duke University and NC A&T University basketball game. Here recently TG TOPFLOOR Entertainment and DUCMG Management has done a great job with promotion. Their marketing strategies have radio stations wanting to interview me.

 

Q:  What is your strangest backstage story?

 

A: I really have not had anything strange happen to me backstage. Whenever I’m backstage I’m usually by myself focusing on the job at hand which is making sure everyone is being entertained.

 

Q:  What kind of day job or income source do you have and how does it influence your music?

 

A: To be successful in music I understand how much money an individual will have to invest into themselves. I have my own film company, TopFloor Visual Films but I also have my Commercial Drivers License that allows me to do in and out jobs to make a little extra. Being able to shoot a music video for myself at anytime or have my own web series like #BlaccOnBlaq has brought more recognition to my musical career.

 

Q:  What kind of themes do you like to write about in your music?

 

A: When writing verses I love to focus on the Truth. With that said the Truth is not always beautiful but it is needed. For example their are a lot of rappers who glorify selling drugs. They make it seem so easy and the reward is so great that it makes a lot of our youth feel they can have large amounts of money, big houses, tons of women, planes etc when in reality the only thing 90% of them will see is prison time or end up murdered. That’s why it’s important for artists like myself to speak the Truth even if it’s not the popular thing to do.

 

Q:  What do you like about the music industry?

 

A: What I like about the music industry is it gives an artist a platform or opportunity to spread a message to the masses, plus for an artist it never hurts to be able to make money off of something he/she loves to create.

 

Q:  What would you change about it?

 

A: One of the things I would change about the music industry is choosing who decides what music is played to the masses. The Hip Hop image to me is so incredibly fake because it causes people to stereotype artists. Since there is no balance in Hip Hop, artists feel they have to make music that has nothing to do with them in order to have a chance of making it to the majors. These days if you are not talking about Drugs (taking for personal use or selling), naked women, sex or money then the music industry will not even give you a chance to be successful. That’s why the Internet has change the music game forever.

 

 

Q:  What is your biggest professional accomplishment so far?

 

A: Every accomplishment in my professional career has been big because it has paved a way for me to reach my next goal but if I had to pick one it would be getting my music picked up for a sitcom and played in a feature film.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

 

 

An Interview With Jazz Singer Key LaBeaud

 

 

 

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Key LaBeaud is the lead singer for the band The Key Sound, here is a link to her YouTube page:

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjBYokKxEblWkFRqkb5RITw

 

 

 

Q:  When did you know you wanted to be a jazz artist?

 

A: It wasn’t a conscious decision as much as it was something I gravitated toward. I was an only child and the only grandchild for years so I was always exposed to the music of older people including jazz. I merge jazz with contemporary music to keep things fresh. Jazz artists from the past we look up to would be doing new things so I like to have a Miles Davis or Herbie Hancock perspective about music. I liked everything and still do but jazz is so smooth…

 

Q:  How do you decide on a song set?

 

A: I take into consideration the instrumentation, the audience, the venue, and what I want to project to them.

 

Q:  How did your band get together?

 

A: Through referrals from other musicians and sitting in with people.

 

Q:  What is your oddest backstage story?

 

A: Nothing odd. I’m the only female so I just have to constantly listen to their feeble attempts and plots try to get get women’s attention.

 

Q:  Who are some of your musical influences?

 

A: Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Anita Baker, Sade, Chaka Khan, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane.

 

Q:   What kind of day job do you have and how does it affect your ability to perform in your band?

 

A: I used to be an English teacher and it was hard for me to get out. Luckily, I’m also certified in General music for elementary school. At he end of last year, a small private school called me out of the blue for a job teaching music to learning challenged children. It’s part time so I can gig at night. It’s perfect and I’m happier.

 

Q:  What is your greatest triumph as a band?

A: It’s a new band. I’ve been a band leader for less than a year. I’m happy to have a regular gig at a cozy French Quarter club three times a week. (Jazz Cafe 209 Decatur Street New Orleans, LA) People tell me my voice brings them in.


Q:
 What was your biggest let down?

 

A: The band auditioned for a spot on Bourbon but the club didn’t think we were loud enough to get folks to come in. Plus it was a slow night.   We were told we were great but not obnoxious enough to get folks’ attention form the street. I’ve since integrated other genres and fuse styles to make it more palatable to most folks. It’s hard to keep a crowd for standards and straight ahead jazz unless you’re in a well known jazz establishment and unfortunately, that’s dying out.

 

Q:  What do you love about New Orleans?

 

A: There is a lot of opportunity for unknown talent. There’s a variety of places that appreciate a lot of different things. Of course the food can’t be compared to anywhere else.

 

Q:  If you could have a famous jazz composer write a song just for you who would you pick and why?

 

A:  Duke Ellington because he can make a song swing or sing with some class. I use some of his songs in my set.

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

An Interview With Writer Charlie Johnson

 

Charlie H. Johnson, Jr.
Charlie Johnson is the author of the novel Superstition; here is a link to his website:

http://chjbooks.webstarts.com/

 

 

Q: What is Superstition about?

 

A: The story of Superstition starts with a search for the Lost Dutchman gold at Superstition Mountain in Arizona in 1942 during which a man is murdered.  Carlos, a psychic detective in New York City, is called on by a rich woman in Arizona to search for her lost parents.  Carlos’ search for her parents leads him back in time to the search for the lost gold, a series of photographs taken during the search, and the murder.  Carlos’ investigation puts him in danger from a mysterious sniper.   He is shot, and the shooting is the key to the solution of the mystery of both the murder and the rich woman’s lost parents.   The story interweaves legend, mystery, danger, the return of the dead, spiritual possession, and facts.

 

Q: What inspired you to start your series?

 

A: The character of the psychic detective Carlos was created in the first book in the series about him, entitled Duplicity, and it is his interests and cases that are the heart of the seriesCarlos specializes in solving mysteries and disappearances from the past.  In Duplicity he sought to solve the mystery of Judge Joseph Crater, who disappeared in New York City in 1930.  In Superstition, Carlos’ investigation takes him to Arizona and the search for the Lost Dutchman Gold.  As a practicing historian, the mysteries of the disappearance of Judge Crater and the search for the Lost Dutchman Gold have always been of interest to me, and writing these two books about investigations into these mysteries gave me a chance to learn more about them and to express my ideas about the truth behind the mysteries.

 

Q: What makes Carlos worth reading about?

 

A: Carlos is the central character of these mysteries and a very unique psychic detective.  He is a quirky man in his 40s whose life is full of eccentricities.  He is an interesting and sometimes inexplicable character who often turns the expectation for normal behavior on its head.  There’s a lot of me in Carlos, but also he often surprises me by his reactions and what he does.  Sometime he is funny; sometimes he is crazy.  He is not predictable.  He’s a unique character who, after I created him, took on a life of his own.   He is worth reading about because his adventures and the danger that he puts himself into are full of surprises and unexpected, dangerous situations.

 

Q: Why are psychics so interesting?

 

A: Psychics are interesting because we all have an uncertainty and ambivalence as to what happens before and after death.  Life is unpredictable, but we experience it directly.  Death and the non-physical world are unknown, but it is in the nature of human beings to wonder about them and seek answers.  Religion is one way in which answers to the unknown are sought.  Psychics are another way to seek information about the unknown worlds of the past and future.  They are interesting to us because they appear to provide us with a window into the the world beyond physical life.  They know of the unknown.  They can raise and speak with the dead.  They have ways of knowing that common people don’t have.  They hold the promise of telling us what we want to know.  However, psychics are also mysteries.  We want to learn more about them in the hopes that we can discover their powers and if they can, in fact, communicate with the dead.   We want to believe that they can see into the world beyond, so we are interested in what they do and how they do it.

 

Q: Who are some of your favorite authors and why?

         

A: I have always been interested in reading about the search for the unknown, the lost, and the conundrum of the missing.  Books such as The Empty Robe:  The Story of the Disappearance of Judge Crater by Stella Crater and Oscar Fraley;  My Search for B. Traven by Jonah Raskin (B. Traven was the author of  The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, a book–which was made into the famous movie–about a search for treasure);  In Search of Butch Cassidy by Larry Pointer; The Search for Bridey Murphy by Morey Bernstein.   I have been fascinated by magical realism authors, Carlos Fuentes, Luis Borges, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  I enjoy reading Charles Bukowski, James Baldwin, and Evelyn Waugh (Brideshead Revisited). I like reading about men alone in their cultures, like Colin Wilson’s The Outsider and The Stranger by Albert Camus.  As an historian, I have been interested in reading about men who sought to make revolutions and their fates, like Resistance, Rebellion, and Death by Albert Camus, the historical development of socialism in To the Finland Station by Edmund Wilson, English and French history and French intellectuals.  Those are a few of my reading interests

 

Q: You worked as a financial officer for a county food bank. What was the most challenging thing about that job?

 

A: The challenges of the job were to seek to assure the validity and responsibility of the organization in fulfilling its human service purpose of feeding hungry people and to accurately report the financial activities of the organization in doing so.  The great reward was in helping to convert the appalling waste of food in this country to the service of the hungry and needy.

 

Q: What makes you what to go back to teaching?

 

A: I have always enjoyed teaching, but due to the folly of youth, I threw away my first opportunities to become a lifetime teacher.  I sought to redeem my purpose to be a teacher in many ways informally afterwards in my life, and I have recently embarked on a second career in the world of formal education to fulfill my mission of teaching.

 

Q: What is your weirdest teaching story?

 

A: My weirdest teaching experience was in being dismissed from teaching at Ashford University for focusing too much on the direct education of students rather than on the bureaucratic expectations of the organization.  I was continually hounded on the dominating importance of fulfilling the expectations of organizational bureaucrats intended to stop my efforts in teaching and focus on satisfying their demands.

 

Q: What are some valuable things you can teach your students about writing?

 

A: The most important and effective way to learn to write is to read a lot, write a lot, and learn the essentials of grammar, punctuation, diction, and written expression.  If  one wants to be a writer, it is necessary not only to read the words of whatever it is that you are reading to follow the story, but also to be aware of the word use, punctuation, and sentence construction.

 

Q: If you could ask Carlos one question about your future, what would it be?

 

A: If I could ask Carlos one question about my future, it would be, “Will I write another mystery in the series about him.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

An Interview With Actor And TV Host Lawrence Chau

 

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Lawrence Chau is the host of Ghostly Encounters; here is a link to his website:

 

 

http://www.lawrencechau.com

 

Q:   How did you become involved with Ghostly Encounters?

 

A: Via an audition.  It was that simple.  The producer, Brian Dennis was in the room and he was stunned after my read. Stunned could mean I either bombed or I did well.  Fortunately, it was the latter.  The callback with the executive producer, Phyllis Platt, however, wasn’t as smooth.  I nearly didn’t make it because there was a mix-up with the location (different address) and a snowstorm was brewing.  I got there all flustered.  Casting said take a breath and come in when you’re ready.  I went in and did a good script read.  However, I think the nail on the coffin was the enthusiasm in which I shared my own paranormal stories with them.  They didn’t just want a host, they wanted a believer.

 

 

Q:   Why do you think people are so fascinated with the paranormal?

 

A: The mystery of the unknown is a natural magnet for curiosity.  This applies to the esoteric arts, aliens, ghosts, and even religion.   Strange things happen which science can’t explain or has yet to explain, and that is intriguing.

 

 

Q:   Have you had any paranormal experiences of your own?

 

A: Quite a few.  I remember resting at an empty park after the Chinese New Year festivities in Hong Kong. I was dozing off when a gust of wind blew and woke me up.  I look up from the bench and notice an apparition standing about 40 feet away.  Separating us is a giant circular flowerbed.  I get up.  The figure is motionless, just staring at me. I think, “Maybe he’s come out to do tai chi.” I glance at my watch.  It’s 2am.  No one comes out to do tai chi at 2am!  I start to walk around the flowerbed, wondering if I should approach him.  Then the figure starts to slowly bob up and down in an eerie, unnatural way. A chill races through me, but I force myself to keep walking with my eyes locked on him. Suddenly his head starts to turn in an Exorcist-like way following my every step around the perimeter of the flowerbed. That’s when I jettisoned out of the park. I wasn’t hanging around for a Linda Blair 360 degree head rotation!

 

Q:   What is your new short For Glory’s Sake about?

 

A: It’s a short film about an attorney (me), who gets to the truth about a female student athlete accused of juicing (using steroids) to compete.

 

 

Q:   What made you interested in the project?
A: I have a general rule when it comes to working on dramatic short films or independent films:  If the project is topical, controversial, and has some sort of social significance with a positive message, then I get involved.

 

 

Q:   What kind of day job or income source do you currently have and how does it influence your creative work?

 

A: I was fortunate to have carved out an illustrious showbiz career in Asia for ten years before returning home to Toronto and then relocating to Los Angeles where I currently live.   I was wise enough to invest the money I made in Asia in real estate.  This has afforded me the luxury of pursuing my passion for acting and other showbiz interests in North America, where it’s tough, especially for Asian male entertainers to cut a break. When the cameras aren’t rolling, I’m either collecting rent or flipping a property, though I’m weaning out of it. I didn’t want to be a typical struggling actor in L.A. waiting tables or bartending to make ends meet (besides I’d be awful at it). Mind you, I have great respect for actors, who do that.  It’s a hard life.  Believe me, I know what struggling is.  Leaving Toronto for Hong Kong with two suitcases and $2000 and having to learn Cantonese in a foreign land and finding work was no easy feat.  I juggled multiple jobs at the same and barely slept.

 

 

Q:   Who are some of your acting influences?

 

A: Bradley Cooper because he’s managed to carve a sound acting career with creative control, that is, he is able to produce many of the films he stars in.  Plus, he defied the odds when a casting director said he wasn’t leading man material.  I’m all about defying the odds and breaking glass ceilings (Hey, I am one of the few Asian male entertainment hosts on air in America, right?).  Female-wise, I love Cate Blanchett.  I think she’s the next Meryl Streep.  Solid, solid, solid acting every time.

 

 

 

 

Q:   You say that Ghostly Encounters “went global.”  What exactly does that mean in layman’s terms?

 

A: Yes, it airs internationally on cable.  We started out in Canada on W Network and VIVA, and then it got picked up by BIO. in the U.S. in the early years.  It currently airs stateside on Destination America (as of last year), north of the border on OWN Canada, and most recently in Asia on Crime & Investigation TV.  I’m not involved with the production company and the deals it brokers with the cable companies; all I can say is: “It’s the show that keeps on giving.”

 

Q:   What is your oddest on-set story?

 

A: I wish I had an on-set Ghostly Encounter of my own to share, but nothing strange ever happened whilst filming at the old Crystal Ballroom atop the historic King Edward Hotel in Toronto.  No flickering lights, no slamming doors, no strange voices recorded on tape, no images captured on camera.  Nada.  Darn!

 

 

Q:   If you could interview the ghost of any celebrity, who would you pick and why?

 

A: Ooh, that’s a good question.  Probably Princess Diana.  Rumor has it she predicted her premature death in her own diary, and supposedly it involved a car.  Like I said, intriguing, right?

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

 

 

An Interview With Writer Rob Neighbors

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Rob Neighbors is the author of Palm Avenue; here is a link to his website:

 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/rob-neighbors-98493239

 

 

Q: What is Palm Avenue about?

 

A:Palm Avenue,” is a classic tale about a farm girl from Kansas who comes to Hollywood to become a big star. It is a story about the “Hotel California.” I believe that song by the Eagles refers to how people come to California seeking fame and fortune and how they get caught up in that whole pursuit to the point where they can never return to place that they were before. They can “check out, but never leave.” The two main characters in “Palm Avenue,” Ashley and Brady come to California for completely different reasons, but they both become addicted to action in different ways, where they can’t return to their native state of Kansas. Not intact anyway.

Q:  What inspired you to write it?

 

A:  I received a phone call one day from a friend and he said, “Hey, write a book like “50 Shades of Grey” and you will make millions of dollars.” I had always wanted to write a novel, so I guess I needed a little push, and that was it. Millions of dollars would be nice, but it was time I wrote a novel for the experience of it. I went out and bought the book (50 Shades) out of curiosity.  I tried to read the book and hated it – I was only able to read four chapters. I thought about the demographic for that book (mostly women) and wondered if I could write something for that audience. I remembered an outline for a script I had done years ago and I dug it out. That outline had a strong female protagonist, and I decided to turn it into a novel, which is now “Palm Avenue.”

Q: What makes Ashley Duncan different than other characters like her?

 

A: Ashley is a character that has been written about many times and mythologized in reality and fiction.  Think of real life success stories like Marilyn Monroe, or more recently, Jennifer Lawrence.  Ashley is like Dorothy following the yellow brick road to the Emerald City. The difference is that Dorothy wanted desperately to get back home, but Ashley wants desperately to escape Kansas. Ashley decides early on to do anything it takes to be a part of the Emerald City (Hollywood) and everything that represents.  Ashley is a strong female character by the fact that she is driven and will not let anything stand in the way of her goal, but she is also very flawed.  She has self doubt and falls into some of the usual Hollywood traps of sex and drug addiction. By the end of the book she is transformed into someone very different than the person she arrived as.

 

 

Q: Who inspired the character of Brady?

 

A: Brady is like a lot of guys those of us who grew up in small towns remember. Brady was the big fish in his small pond (hometown Colby, Kansas). He was the award winning quarterback, homecoming king, and son of the beloved local veterinarian. Ashley was his “queen” in high school.  They were the dream couple everyone envied. Brady’s ego can’t handle it when Ashley leaves him and the hometown in pursuit of her Hollywood dream.  Brady runs to LA after her and quickly realizes  his hometown hero status will not get him a cup of coffee in this town.

 

Q: Who are some of your writing influence?

 

 

A: Probably my earliest writing influence was Larry McMurtry.  I used to visit my grandparents house when I was 10 or 11 and I was drawn to the book, “The Last Picture Show,” in their book case.  It is a very risqué book. I was able to find the dirty parts like a heat seeking missile. I didn’t understand sexual content at the time, but it made quite an impression. The sex in that book is not there for exploitation, but to show the often tragic consequence people face due to their choices. The movie was great also, but the book is fantastic. Other influences include Hemingway, Bukowski,  Carver, Steinbeck,  Mailer , and Tennessee Williams. I tend to like writers who go into depth about the human condition, rather than focus on plot points and fantasy.

Q: Why do you think there are so many books and movies set in Hollywood?

 

A: Everyone seems to be fascinated with Hollywood. There is the glamour aspect of course that everyone is drawn to – the red carpet premiers, movie stars, swimming pools and palm trees. Then there is the seedy underbelly that is equally fascinating. The whole setting lends itself to desperation and drama, which makes for good fiction.

 

Q: What is the most valuable lesson you have learned about promoting yourself as a writer?

 

A: I decided to self publish “Palm Avenue,” rather than to try to seek  a publisher. That could have taken years, and I don’t have that much time. I wanted to write a book that particularly people in Hollywood could relate to. This is a book that will ring true to I think anybody who has tried to make a go of it here – which could be thousands of people. I am writing two sequels to “Palm Avenue,” and think it will be more marketable as a three part series. Marketing is a challenge, but one thing about it, if I don’t market the book, nobody else is going to.

 

Q: What life experiences do you like to draw from when you write?

 

A: I have lived in Los Angeles for over 20 years and I have experienced a lot. I did the whole drug/nightclub scene in Hollywood in the 90’s. I have worked as a limo driver, a bartender, and a screenwriter. I have been married and had kids. I have been divorced, dead broke, and desperate, and I have been incredibly lucky at times.  I have been on the fringes of the industry, and an insider for a bit. I have known many actors, musicians, and writers, both wannabes and those with various levels of success.  I have seen many people wash out and die, and others rise to the top. I think I am certainly qualified to write about this subject matter.

 

Q: Why did you decide to write a novel after so many years as a screenwriter?

 

A: I have basically given up pursuing screenwriting as a career. The movie business has changed tremendously since I first started. The types of movies being produced now are generally not what I write. I am excited about the whole Netflix thing, which in the past few years has opened up a whole new world of opportunity for creative people. One thing I have noticed is that everyone wants to read a book, whereas nobody wants to read a screenplay. If someone offers to hire me as a screenwriter I will jump at it, but I am no longer seeking that out.  Novels are a product by themselves, but screenplays are only blueprints for films that are often never made. Screenwriting can be one of the most frustrating endeavors in the world.  For now, I will write novels and seek an audience, and then if people want to make them into movies, we will talk.

Q: If you could give Ashley one piece of advice what would it be?

 

A: Some folks might think my advice to Ashley would be to stay home.  Not so. I think that people are always going to be drawn to Hollywood. Those people have to do it. They have to try it. I say to those individuals, come on out and give it a shot if you have to!  Just remember you may have to sacrifice a lot for your dream. A veteran Hollywood guy once warned me before I came to Los Angeles to always “cherish my family.” I didn’t listen to him and that was a huge mistake. In the end, your family is all you can really count on. That would be my one piece of advice for Ashley – pursue your dream, but always cherish your family.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

An Interview With Writer Anita Evensen

 

AnitaEvensen

 

 

Anita Evensen is the author of The Unassisted Baby; here is a link to her website:

 

http://www.theunassistedbaby.com/

 

Q:  What inspired you to write The Unassisted Baby?

 

A: When I was planning my first unassisted birth, there was not a lot of how-to information available on the topic. I had to do a lot of research to give birth at home without a midwife. For example, I had to figure out how to tie off the umbilical cord, what the placenta should look like, and how to get a birth certificate afterwards. I wanted to make it easier for others going on the same journey. So I actually started writing the book during my pregnancy while I was still planning my first unassisted birth.

 

Q:  What made you interested in unassisted birth in the first place?

 

A: It’s hard to pinpoint when I made the decision to give birth on my own. There were several things that led up to it.

 

My third pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. And as traumatic as that event was for me emotionally, my body handled it just fine. While I did have a conversation with a midwife over the phone, I was never examined or assisted during this time. Afterwards, I thought if my body can handle a miscarriage without assistance, why do I need help giving birth? My body seemed to have it all under control.

 

During my next pregnancy, I initially had midwifery care and was planning a homebirth with them. But the midwives weren’t as friendly as I would have liked them to be. They also didn’t communicate blood work results until I bothered them about it. And when I asked how I could prevent vaginal tears during birth, they had no answers for me. Instead, they assured me that they knew how to stitch the tears.

 

If I had really bonded with my midwives, I might never have considered leaving them. But it seemed like everything they knew how to do I could do as well. If something really went wrong, I would have to go to the hospital anyway.

 

And when I was already strongly leaning towards giving birth unassisted, I actually met a mother who had done the same. That was my final nudge.

 

Q:  What are the advantages of unassisted birth?

 

A: While my husband didn’t seem to think there was a big difference between my unassisted birth and my birth with a midwife at a birth center, they were completely different experiences for me. Giving birth unassisted is an incredibly empowering experience.

 

The greatest advantage about giving birth unassisted is that you really get to tune into what your body needs you to do. Instead of looking to someone else for guidance (how to breathe, when to push), you get to be in charge.

 

To a certain extent, you can still have that with a midwife, but you have to find the right caregiver.

 

Another advantage is that giving birth with only your partner present is that you can bond with him. I barely noticed my husband during the midwife-assisted birth. The midwife took center stage, and he faded into the background. When I gave birth at home, he kept me distracted from the pain, and he was right there ready to help.

 

Q:  What is the most misunderstood thing about it?

 

A: I think the biggest misconception people have about unassisted birth is that it’s risky. I can already hear medical professionals scream when they read this sentence.

 

Yes, things can go wrong in labor and childbirth, but in most cases they don’t. And when things go wrong, it’s often caused by the medical interventions. I know many women who ended up with C-sections because of inducing labor before the baby is ready, not letting women eat, given mothers an epidural etc.

 

Of course, before you can give birth unassisted, you have to realize that you’re taking on a big responsibility. You’re responsible for your birth at the hospital, too, but you can shift most of the burden onto others. Unfortunately, that doesn’t guarantee a good outcome for you. Babies die in hospitals, too, but that doesn’t make the news very often.

 

Q:  What kind of day job do you have and how does it impact your ability to write?

 

A: That’s a good question. About the same time that I started to write the first edition of the book, I started working part-time as a freelance article writer. Having editors review my work really made me a better writer. The articles I write are often instructional, too. Sometimes I wish had more time to write my own books, but I really enjoy writing it for a living, too.

 

My other, more intensive job is raising and homeschooling my 4 children. Taking care of them obviously cuts into the amount of time I have available to write, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

 

Q:  What kind of formal training have you had?

 

A: I haven’t had any formal training as a writer. I have no background in medicine or midwifery, either. While I do hold a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, I haven’t worked in the field for many years.

 

But when it comes to unassisted childbirth, I have done my research. And I have some experience, too. So far I have given birth at home unassisted twice. And those were my favorite births.

 

Q: What have you done to promote your book?

 

A: I have created a website loaded with information about pregnancy and childbirth. I also have a presence on Facebook and Twitter, although I’m not very active on the latter. More recently, Holistic Parenting Magazine wrote a review of my book. I ended up putting excerpts of that review on the cover of the second edition of my book.

 

Q: I used Facebook groups to spread the word about my book initially, but I have since dropped out of all but one of them. I have contacted a few other sites about reviewing the book, but there hasn’t been a lot of interest.

 

A: For anyone looking for a book on unassisted childbirth, they’re bound to stumble over it on the web, especially on Amazon. Since it’s such a niche market, it’s really hard to reach the people who are interested in it. Traditional advertising wouldn’t work. But then again, I don’t really expect this book to become a national bestseller based on its topic.

 

Q:  What are some of the dangers of unassisted birth?

 

A: There is always a chance for something to go wrong. I would say that there are at least two things every woman should be aware of during an unassisted birth: umbilical cord prolapse and hemorrhage. Both are rare, but when they happen, they can be fatal for baby and mother respectively.

 

The good thing is that giving birth naturally at home can prevent both umbilical cord prolapse and hemorrhage, since they are often caused by medical interventions in the first place. And if the mother-to-be knows the warning signs when it does happen, then she can get to the hospital quickly.

 

As scary as giving birth unassisted sounds to the majority of the population, many official studies agree with my opinion that homebirths are safer than hospital births. And less than 100 years ago, giving birth naturally at home was the norm in the United States. Many societies around the world still give birth without medical staff just as every other living species on Earth.

 

Q:  What’s on your birthing cheat sheet?

 

A: That’s a good question. :-) But you don’t have to buy the book to find out. There is a printable copy of the birthing cheat sheet on my websites as well as a prenatal care and homebirth supplies checklist.

 

The birthing cheat sheet includes a quick early labor to-do list, what to check for after the birth, and a place to record baby’s measurements. It’s just a quick guide to remind mother and partner what needs to be done.

 

Q:  What makes an instructional book easy to read?

 

A: I tried to write the book as a how-to guide. I went through every step of the labor and childbirth processes and explained to the reader what would happen next and what needed to be done. And while I tried to include every eventuality, I also aimed to keep it short and relevant.

 

The book doesn’t have to be read cover to cover. The great thing about this book is that it has an extensive table of contents. This makes it easy for women to find what they’re looking for. I even included a Father’s Guide for partners.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

An Interview With Jazz Musician Spider Murphy

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Spider Murphy is a New Orleans jazz musician; here is a link to his website:

 

http://www.spidermurphy.net/

 

 

Q:  What made you interested in being a professional musician?

A: My mother absolutely hated the fashion and the message that was being touted  to the media by popular musicians back in the very early sixties. If Mom hated it,  as sure as the sun coming up in the morning , I was going to make it my mission in life.

Q:  When did you have your first public performance?

 

A: My first public performance was also my first paid gig. It  was in “64 for the Chicopee Massachusetts Girl Scouts Xmas Party.

Please ignore my answer to question #1.

Strapping on an electric guitar and all the girls suddenly digging on me at that 1st gig was what got me hooked.

My Mom hated that too.

 

Q:  What do you like about the New Orleans’ music scene?

 

A: I like the number of people here in The Crescent City that know the difference between “BAD” music, and the kind of music that I perform.

 

Q:  What kind of day jobs have you had and how do they influence your work?

 

A: I’ve worked delivering newspapers, in box factory, as a field hand in the tobacco fields, on shipping docks, as a telemarketer, a teacher, delivery driver, and I even worked for my Journeyman’s Papers, contractors license, and operated two of my own hardwood floor businesses in California and Colorado. I even worked for Goodwill here in Louisiana after Katrina for a while.

I used to use the tough and grueling physical aspects of all these day jobs to create the balance I needed for  my artistic endeavors.

I have abandoned and eliminated my day job years ago.  I have discovered that pampering myself usually gets a great performance out of me.

Ha!

 

 

Q:  Who are some of your musical influences and how can we see those influences in your music?

 

A: My four years at Berklee College in Boston had to be the most influential on me musically. During that period of time I got on the right path to developing  my own unique style.

Some of those teachers there were Gary Burton, Quincy Jones, Alan Dawson, Wes Hensel, Oscar Peterson, Dr. William Leavitt, and my personal guitar teacher was Pat Methany. For the 10 years before college I studied at the Pizzatola Music School under the musical guidance of Giuseppe Pizzatola and Robert Ezold.

I don’t know about seeing any of my influences, but you can sure hear them in my playing. I personally hear my teacher Bob Ezolds’ licks popping out just about at every performance.

 

 

Q:  How do you go about selecting a song set?

 

A:  As soon as I step onstage I qualify my audience.

That determines what songs I choose and in what order.

 

 

Q:  What is your weirdest work story?

 

A: Years ago New Orleans music legend Skip Easterling asked me to perform a duo with him at the Ponderosa Stomp at the House Of Blues. An hour before the performance Skip and I got in the shuttle bus at he hotel to take us to the gig. There was another couple sitting in the front seats sharing the ride. I was excitedly gushing to Skip about the possibility of meeting Scotty Moore, Elvis’s guitar player. Rumor had it that he was going to be at the Stomp. As I was bloviating about how Scotty Moore was one of my early guitar idols and when I was gigging at the Bahia Hotel in San Diego years before, Scotty Moore came up to the stage and complemented my guitar playing, the woman in the front seat of the shuttle bus turned around and said, ” excuse me, this gentleman whom  I’m with is Mr. Scotty Moore. He and his wife were on the way to the Stomp too.

We talked and talked and talked and talked and he and his lovely wife were in the front row when Skip and I had to play that evening…………it was good weird.

 

Q:  How did you select the members of your band?

 

A: My Dad played keyboards. He always said to me…….”Your problems son, will never be the music itself. Your problems will always be with the other guys you share the stage with.”

I select them with lots of care.

 

 

Q:  What kind of training have you had?

 

A: I have been very fortunate to have received excellent music training starting when I was six years old. Ten years at the Pizzatola Music School for reading and sight reading and then four years at Berklee for an Arranging and Composition. Music theory tempers your musical chops like fire and repetitious hammer blows tempers a sword.

 

 

 

Q:  What song tells the story of your life, and why?

 

A: The old Mississippi Fred McDowell song – You Gotta Move…….

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.