NCRA member publishes debut romance/murder mystery novel

Incredulity by Kathy ZebertNCRA member Kathy Zebert, RPR, CCR, has a debut romance/murder mystery novel entitled Incredulity. The book is currently available for preorder on in both paperback and Kindle. Hard copies of the book will hit shelves on Oct. 8.

The story follows the budding romance between Callie, an official court reporter in Austin, Texas, and Dominic Jaxson, a local rancher she meets at a nearby restaurant. After several months of dating, Callie finds herself as happy and content as she was before she lost her husband to cancer several years prior, until one morning when reporting the day’s court proceedings, Jaxson is suddenly brought before the judge on murder charges.

While Incredulity is her first published novel, Zebert says she has been writing for many years, including as a contributor to the JCR and various other publications.

“My desire to give the reporting profession a voice in the mainstream media in part motivated me to write this book,” says Zebert, who adds that she plans to continue to write about the characters she has developed in a follow-up that will open with the next chapter of the characters’ relationship. She also notes in the book that she was inspired by her love of many things, including her faith, family, friends, profession, and cowboys.

Zebert, who has been a freelancer and an official court reporter since 1994, notes that she has reported in Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia. A past president of the Tennessee Court Reporters Association, Zebert has also presented seminars to both professional court reporters and students and has served as a guest speaker at numerous state court reporter associations, including at the NCRA Convention & Expo, the National Verbatim Reporters Association, and the Mississippi Judicial College Fall Conference.

Zebert is currently a freelance court reporter in Chattanooga, Tenn., and is the owner of Stenedge, a continuing educational resource for legal professionals. She can be contacted at or at

NCRA member named employee of the year

NCRA member Deborah Cohen-Rojas, RPR, an official court reporter for the 19th Judicial Circuit Court in Lake County, Ill., was named employee of the year by the court, according to an article that appeared in the Daily Herald on Feb. 16. Cohen-Rojas was selected from 12 employees who were recognized as employee of the month. She was honored in part for her work with the Veterans History Project.

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NCRA member, firm owner nominated for Amazing Women Award

The Long Beach Press-Telegram posted an article on Oct. 26 announcing the nomination of Jeri Kusar, RPR, owner of Kusar Court Reporters and Legal Services, for the newspaper’s Amazing Women Award in the business category. Kusar says she was propelled to succeed by her own mother’s dream of becoming a court reporter.

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NCRA member recognized for new certification

The Post-Standard announced on its site that NCRA member Marita L. Petrera recently earned the Certified Realtime Reporter certification. Petrera, who resides in Marcellus, N.Y., also holds the nationally recognized professional certification of Registered Professional Reporter.

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I’d rather be writing books

I fire up the computer, turn on the modem, punch the TV remote control, hit the on button on my other computer, flip the button on my steno machine, open the file — and then I remember this is on Icap. I don’t need the modem for this show. I turn off the modem.

I am captioning golf tonight, the Talisker Masters, from 11 p.m. until 4 a.m. from Melbourne, Australia. I’d better pull up the leaderboard on Google and check the spelling of those Asian names. I glance at Spark, the National Captioning Institute Messaging System, and see that there are 37 captioners online captioning television shows all over the world. Only a handful will still be online when I finish my assigned show in the early morning.

I sit in my office chair in cotton pajamas alongside my bed, a candle burning on my dresser. A bag of Cheez-its and mug of coffee is close by — but not so close to my equipment that if I knocked it over, it would be a disaster. I swallow a quick gulp in between strokes on my steno machine.

I have a long night ahead, but golf is easy to caption compared to hockey. I can see my captions on the Golf Channel without having to rely only on an audio feed (more commonly known as a telephone).

Such is the life of a closed captioner. I have been providing closed captioning for television for the past 15 years. I work from my home — that has allowed me to stay at home and raise my two daughters — a good thing since I am a single mother by choice. I adopted my two daughters, now 14 and 21 years old, from Nepal and Vietnam. I also homeschooled them (my ninth grader is in a private school-home school program in high school now, which is nice).

I feel blessed to have the job I have, which pays well, but I hope to launch a new career as an author. I just finished my Masters in Creative Writing and published my fourth book, Seventh Dimension – The Door, A Young Adult Christian Fantasy. Writing books is my passion, but closed captioning pays the bills. At 57 years old, I continue to follow my dreams, knowing God will lead me, and for that, I am grateful.