#Author #Interview Michael Bernhart- Psychological #Thriller Series The Max Brown Novels

Description. How Existentialism Almost Killed Me: Kierkegaard Was Right is the fourth and final novel in a series that tracks the life of Max Brown as he grudgingly matures. Provisionally dubbed a philosophical thriller, this novel finds Max Brown and his wife Sally staring down middle-age and an empty nest. In an ill-advised attempt to restore meaning to their lives, they allow themselves to be herded into a trivial assignment as CIA contractors. This morphs into a real and dangerous assignment taking on remnants of the Khmers Rouges in Cambodia and Thailand who are producing and selling counterfeit drugs. The battle is waged on elephant back, in a Thai brothel, in Cambodian minefields, and in the strongholds of the KR in western Cambodia.

The author ran a healthcare program in Cambodia; one of the challenges was fake drugs. A positive consequence of this experience: the context and problem are faithfully portrayed.

The series. The novels track the life of a man who earnestly wants to avoid trouble but whose behavior, or circumstances, repeatedly drops him into it. He becomes a smartass as a defense against a pretentious name, Maxwell Smythe Brown IV; this trait – which he doesn’t seem able to shed – keeps him in hot water. But there’s also depth: an enduring obsession with the paradox of a benevolent creator presiding over a universe chock full of wickedness.

The series has two running themes. The first is the above-mentioned life-stage progression; each novel finds Max dealing with a new set of issues common to men his age. The second running theme is the nature of evil, and, conversely, God. A different face of evil is examined in each novel. In the fourth it’s the Khmers Rouges, and they can do evil like no one else.

Buy: ebook and trade paperback available at: https://www.amazon.com/author/michaelbernhart

Hard cover available at: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/michael+bernhart

Author website: http://www.houghpublishing.com.

 

Interview

What genre do you write?

The (pretentious?) label I’ve co-opted is philosophical thriller. These are not the first novels to mix philosophy with chase scenes, but a conscious effort is made to weave larger questions into the narrative and structure of the books.

Who or what was your inspiration for writing?

Like many others, I started writing as an outlet when I was in an unhappy situation. Also like others, the product that one generates under those circumstances projects deep bitterness. It takes a lot of reworking to convert that raw material into something a reader is willing to spend time with. Yes, authenticity is a wonderful thing in literature, but do you really want to immerse yourself in 400+ pages of thinly disguised self-pity?

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I have a vintage airplane (Mooney 20E) that I use to bore holes in the sky. A magical machine. It brought me through severe thunderstorms just yesterday to a safe landing. In fact, I think I’ll take a break from these questions and go up to the airport and give that venerable bird a hug.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

John le Carré, Garrison Keillor, and Bill Bryson used to be my favorite authors. Bryson for his easy and infectious humor, coupled with wonderful nuggets of information; Keillor for his insights and beautifully crafted (and clever) short pieces; and le Carré for his meticulous research and gripping structure. I say they used to be my favorites. Now I get depressed when I read them; how do they do it?

Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.

I am a considerate, creative, and indefatigable lover.

 

Your Writing Process

What excites you about writing?

I like to lie. I’m too old to enter law school and become a lawyer and too thin-skinned for politics; the only other profession left open to a congenital liar is writing.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I advance the plot during the evening when I’ve had a few. In the cold, harsh, sober light of day I clean it up.

Then I rewrite ad nauseum, especially after publication. An unheralded revolution in publishing is the potential for the self-published indie to improve a novel forever. Thanks to the permissive policies of CreateSpace, Nook, etc. an author can revise and re-upload infinitely. If the author’s paying attention to constructive feedback, he or she can steadily work toward a decent book. The traditional publishers, in contrast, are stuck with the original version until the last Remainders table has been cleared.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Hell yes. Scram, vamoose, get! The industry is choking on an excess of books. Three thousand new novels every day. I don’t need any more competitors.

Is there any other genre you have considered writing in?

Romance. I find it cloying to the point of nauseating. Could I do that? No, but the challenge is intriguing.

Most people envision an author’s life as being really glamorous.

Most people are wrong.

What would you like readers to know about you, the writer?

I am a considerate, creative, and indefatigable lover.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

“Stay away from that woman, Mike. She’s trouble.” Advice that went unheeded.

 

Your Books

 

What story haven’t you written yet but would like to? A NY Times bestseller. Is there anything holding you back from writing it? A shortage of talent.

What kind of research do you do for your books?

This question merits a lengthier reply. Thanks to the efficiency of internet search engines, an author can lard up a novel with excruciating detail in an effort to lend the work verisimilitude. You’ve seen it: the make and model of the gun the hero/perp/bystander is packing. Maybe some ballistics info is included. A note to those authors: it isn’t working.

Perhaps this is why we hear the repeated refrain, ‘Write what you know.’ I’ve had the good fortune to live and work in many parts of the world – some of them pretty dismal. That broad experience doesn’t ensure a readable novel, but it protects your work from the patent artificiality that undermines much of what we find on the shelves today.

 

Your Characters

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

Half and half. I wonder which half comes across as more credible? Reviewers are fond of noting that my characters are “over the top.” Almost no one of my circle of (dull) acquaintances is over the top. In fact, few of them are even likeable, a requirement for inclusion in a readable novel.

Is there a character from one of your books that resonates deeply with you?

Ronnie the redoubtable Scot in the fourth novel. Everyone likes him. I may have made an unwise decision re Ronnie.

 

Random Question

Do you have any final comments you would like to make?

The great lover bit. Did you catch that?

 

Other Fiction by Michael Bernhart

How I Made $3,200,000 from My Hobby

How Ornithology Saved My Life

How Speleology Restored My Sex Drive

How Existentialism Almost Killed Me: Kierkegaard Was Right

 

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#Author #Interview Susan Aguilar for “Silent Screams”-An Autobiography

“SILENT SCREAMS – An Autobiography” By Susan Aguilar

Available on Amazon Kindle or in Paperback or at Barnes & Noble NOOK and LuLu.

Synopsis: “Susan was an adventurous, fun-loving little girl, until mishaps and misfortunes turn her life completely upside down. Spanning over 19 years, this is the true story of a young girl’s struggles with puberty, self-mutilation and sexual exploitations.”

Bio: “Earning her MSBS in Psychology, Susan Aguilar has written short stories and other memoirs to help troubled teens through any struggles they might be facing. She is a Who’s Who in American Universities and is currently working on her PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology.”

 

Interview

What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?

“I write mostly autobiographies; it’s very cathartic and I enjoy sharing my stories so others don’t feel alone in some process they might be going through. I like to reach out to others and be supportive in decisions a person makes. Whether I agree with the decision, or not, they won’t be alone as they travel through their journeys.”

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

“I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was very young. I like words – I love the English language. It’s about communication and interacting with others.”

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

“I’m an avid Scrabble player. HaHa; once again… I like words.”

 

Your Writing Process

  • Why do you write?

“I write because it releases a lot of stress. SILENT SCREAMS – An Autobiography took me over 5 years to write. It was extremely emotional for me and hard to get through. I would have to put it away for months at a time sometimes, just to refocus. The overall process of writing the book, though, was mentally rewarding for me.”

  • Do you listen to music or have another form of inspiration when you are writing?

“I love music! I refer to some music in my book and I think it helps pull a story along when you add some reference to music to it. I have twin daughters who both have Aspergers and they also are music fanatics. So – they are my biggest inspiration, but they introduce me to new songs all of the time and it’s wonderful.”

  • What would you like readers to know about you the writer?

“I’m a joyful person. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I’ve been blessed with an amazing family and wonderful friends. I’ve been through a lot; my faith keeps me going.”

  • What is the best and worst writing advice you have ever received?

“The best advice I have received is to “keep writing”; the worst advice I have received is to “stop telling people about it” – and to that I say: “screw it – I’m telling the world!”

  • Do you have a system for writing?

“I do…. When I am feeling at my lowest is when I seem to write more and write better. The emotions tend to flow when I’m “in my head”.”

  • Do you track word count or write a certain number of hours per day?

“No; that doesn’t seem to appeal to me much. I just write. I have an outline that I start with; but skip around and fill in certain areas as I remember them. It’s all about how I’m feeling at the time and which story I want to tell: For example; If I get angry with my brother, I might skip a couple of chapters in my writing process and find an area in my outline where I mention that he pissed me off when we were kids and write about that – it’s very therapeutic.”

  • What was the most uplifting moment you’ve experienced during your writing career?

“I think the most uplifting moment for me was when I handed my book over to my family and they received it with open arms and were so positive in their reviews about it. I was nervous and scared to let them read the book; but it was inspirational the way they supported me and it made me feel accepted.”

 

Your Books

 

  • Your book is about to be sent into the reader world, what is one word that describes how you feel?

“Excited!”

  • When a new book comes out, are you nervous about how readers will react to it?

“Absolutely! I get nervous about whether it is well-received or not. I get nervous thinking about a joke in the book that maybe no one understood or if it’s edited just right. The whole process is nerve-wrecking. The nerves start to calm down when it’s actually received with 5 star ratings and great reviews, though. That helps a lot.”

  • What can we look forward to in the upcoming months?

“Since my book has been well-received; I have had many requests for a sequel. So I have begun working on SILENT SCREAMS – THE ADULT YEARS – An Autobiography.”

  • If your book is available in print, how does it feel to hold a book that has your name on the cover?

“My book “SILENT SCREAMS – An Autobiography” is available in Paperback on Amazon, Nook and Lulu. It is also available on Amazon Kindle. It was a surreal moment to hold my book in my hands for the first time – but even more exciting when one of my friends, who lives far away, sent me a picture of them holding my book. It was an amazing moment.”

  • Is there something special you do to celebrate when one of your books is released?

“When my book was officially published, my family threw me a “ Book Publishing Party”. It was so sweet and such a surprise. They have been so supportive of my endeavors and made me a cake, brought gifts and even had balloons – it was fun.”

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#Author #Interview: Kevin Hammond-“The King’s Peace”

Genre: Fantasy

Available at Amazon for Kindle

Synopsis: “The Kingdom is young and yet it stands in great peril. Dark tales of the unnatural have reached the King’s city. The King is slain in his bed and the storm on the horizon brings black ships closer to the coastal city of Erenon. Nathaniel, a clever thief has stumbled upon a job that brings him to the home of the King when he is slain and Nathaniel is unwillingly dragged into the quest to reach the southern garrison which has gone quiet in recent months. Strange powers are helping and hindering him and the small company of soldiers dispatched to that garrison as war comes to the city. They will find those horrors that plague the common man, an ancient legend will unravel, and a deception so epic in scale it involves the Gods. The whole world of man and nations who live on the other side of the mountain range known as the Great Divide will come together in a war no one really understands and as the kingdom fights to survive it will face an enemy they know nothing about.

 

About the Author

 “I always thought there was something very iconic about falling down a really big hole. Until that happens I’ll just write some stuff.” Find author Kevin Hammond on Facebook.

 

What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?

I write everything, and I cross them over, and muddle them up. It’s all about knowing what the rules are and then finding ways to break them. That’s why I write them, because stuff the rules!

 

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I moved to America, and ended up in a tiny wee town somewhere removed from civilization. Really there is nothing else to do here. It was around about then.

 

Who or what was your inspiration for writing?

I think the crazies are your inspiration for writing. Everyone has crazies in their head, and I think a lot of people worry about it. I say don’t worry at all. Madness is going to be fun. Don’t fight it just enjoy the ride.

 

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I eat cake and I drink hot tea. I stick my pinky out because it tastes better that way.

 

Where do you hang out online? Website URL, author groups, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc?

I have Facebook like everyone else these days. But sometimes I like to go on twitter and Crack awful jokes on other people’s tweets. I don’t know those people but I love them because they tolerate it so well.

 

What books are currently on your nightstand?

The lies of Locke lamora. Just started it and liking it so far.

 

Do you remember the first novel you read?

It was a famous five book. I remember a girl who really wanted to be a boy and I wonder why we still struggle to accept other people for who they are.

 

What would you like readers to know about you the individual?

I’m not stabby. Not even remotely.

 

Who are your favorite authors and why?

I love Christopher Moore as he is so funny. I love Jack Kerouac because his book was so unlike anything I had read before. There are lots of them.

 

Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.

I can clap with one hand. Seriously, solver of ancient riddles through weird double-jointed hands.

 

Where are you from originally?  Family?

Scotland originally, and I have a wifey and one child creature and a whole gaggle of cats.

 

Is there anything unique about your upbringing that you’d like to share with readers? 

No, I was like other children. I loved the sensation of falling from heights, liked to lie on the road to see if the cars would stop or just run over me. And I discovered much about the world by trying to eat it. Did you ever lick the bottom of a battery? Awful.

 

Your Writing Process

 

Why do you write?

Exact same reason other people write. We absolutely have to.

 

What excites you about writing?

Knowing how the story ends and discovering how on earth I get there.

 

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I don’t have a schedule. Just write when it’s time to and don’t force it when you can’t.

 

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Yes! Don’t listen to other writers. Seriously, don’t. It’s your story and you have to do it your way. Ironically, you can’t trust what I am saying either.

 

What would you consider is your favorite part of a book to write? The beginning, the middle or the ending?

The end. That’s a relief.

 

Is there any other genre you have considered writing in?

All of them. They are all equally valid. One day I plan on trying to normalize tentacle porn.

 

Do you listen to music or have another form of inspiration when you are writing?

Nope, never listen to anything but the noise in my head.

 

Most people envision an author’s life as being really glamorous. What’s the most unglamorous thing that you’ve done in the past week?

It’s not even remotely glamorous. Most of us work just to support ourselves. Last week I fell asleep at my desk for a few moments and had a weird dream about a giant baby head who ruled the world. You should have seen him, he was so adorable. But every time he smiled someone had to die. How on earth can a life like mine be called glamorous?

How long does it take you to finish a book from start to submission?

As long as it takes, a few months or a year or whatever.

 

Do you prefer writing series books over non-series or does it matter?

It doesn’t matter. But I am writing a series the now.

 

What would you like readers to know about you the writer?

I love hugs. Anyone will do.

 

What is the best and worst writing advice you have ever received?

Write what you know. Write what you know about.

 

Do you have a system for writing? 

Not at all. I just wing it.

 

Do you track work count or write a certain number of hours per day?

No, don’t even care about that.

 

Have you ever had one of those profound “AH-HA!” moments while you were writing?  Would you be willing to share it?

Oh, I murdered someone I liked and I realized I liked that and everyone who felt the same way I did wouldn’t like it at all. Still, I did it.

 

What was the most uplifting moment you’ve experienced during your writing career?

Seeing someone had reviewed a book I wrote and liked it.

 

Your Books

 

Your book is about to be sent into the reader world, what is one word that describes how you feel?

Floopy

 

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I can’t favourite my own stuff, sorry. But a few is going to be my answer for this.

 

When a new book comes out, are you nervous about how readers will react to it?

Nah. Once it’s out there I’m done with it. Whatever happens.

 

What can we look forward to in the upcoming months?

Living your life and trying not to suck at it. There are a lot of people who fail at this simple task.

 

Of all the books you have written, which would you consider your easiest to write? The hardest to write? The most fun to write?

Anything first person is the best thing to write. This is because you sort of slide right into it. Other than that writing isn’t hard. It’s writing things that are good, this is the hard part.

 

What story haven’t you written yet but would like to?  Is there anything holding you back from writing it? Psychedelic drug fueled erotica. I haven’t written it because I have no idea what to say.

 

What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you enjoy the research process?

None. I hate it. I believe in high larceny and BS. Just try to make it sound convincing.

 

Do deadlines help or hinder your muse?

Pfft, no to all deadlines. They are dead to me.

 

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

Just start writing. Right off the top of the head.

 

What was your first published work and when was it published?

I wrote a book called magic, fairy tales and inter dimensional poking devices. No longer in print. That was a lifetime ago.

 

If your book is available in print, how does it feel to hold a book that has your name on the cover?  What is your favorite cover of all your paperbacks?

I haven’t bothered with print, yet. I’m hopelessly bad with this kind of stuff. I started the process but it was hard so I got scared and ran away.

 

What is your favorite published story?  What is your most popular published story?

Nothing I write has gathered much attention. After you read this interview you will see why.

 

What is your least popular published story?  Why do you think readers don’t like or “get” the story?

It’s right out of my head so people come up with all sorts of conclusions I hadn’t even thought of.

 

Is there something special you do to celebrate when one of your books is released?

Eat cake and drink tea!

 

Your Characters

 

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

Completely imagined, maybe. I don’t want to tell.

 

Is it hard coming up with names for your characters?

Sure, but then real names can be wonderful. I have an unpublished thingy with a character named stormy champagne. That’s a real name, too.

 

Have any of your characters ever haunted your dreams or woken you up during the night demanding attention?

No, that’s what real people tend to do.

Which of your stories would make a great movie?  Who’d play the lead roles?

I don’t expect that to happen. But Christopher Walken would play everything.

 

Do you make a conscious decision to write a certain type of character with a certain occupation, or do the characters decide for themselves what they want to be?

I decide for it is the only place where I rule.

 

What in your opinion makes good chemistry between your leading characters?

Oh, just let them fight all the time, like real people do.

 

Is there a character from one of your books that resonates deeply with you?

There was one, who has to choose between being who he is and who he is destined to become. Only his destiny is to end up dead and he knows it. That’s just kinda awful.

 

Random Questions

 

Name one website you visit every single day.

MSN to see what silly thing has happened in the world today

 

Where do you get your daily dose of news?

Facebook!

 

 

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“A Long Time Ago on a Reservation Far, Far Away”-Indigenous Pop Culture Conference, June 2nd

June 2nd at Saarland University,  Red Haircrow will be giving a presentation at the Indigenous Pop Culture conference, topic is native films and filmmakers and going beyond the stereotypical limitations of Hollywood or other non-Native industries by representation their cultures, peoples, history and future, fiction or non-fiction. Read more about the conference and participants at their website.

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June 2nd in Saarbrücken at the “#Indigenous #PopCulture” Conference

On June 2nd, Red Haircrow will give a presentation at the “Indigenous Popular Culture Conference” at Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany. The conference is titled: “A Long Time Ago on a Reservation Far, Far Away: Contemporary Indigenous Popular Culture across the Globe.”

ABSTRACT: “While many people express growing boredom with Hollywood and other western film studios producing sub-standard, unoriginal movies or rebooting television series or films of the past, the Native indie film industry is booming. Despite the low ebb of unique productions to which even Hollywood admits, scripts by people of color, including Natives, continue to be rejected and ignored primarily because they don’t fit the stereotypical material usually churned out about them by others.

Thus, more Native filmmakers today than ever before are writing, filming and sharing their own work, by Natives for everyone, representing and presenting themselves and their stories, whether fiction or non-fiction. More Native artists and filmmakers are collaborating and coming together in events, such as the Indigenous Comic-Con whose inaugural celebration took place in November 2016, to encourage and promote each other. It is also open to the public, and all are welcome.

Discussion will include why films about Natives made by Natives so important; what the issues and benefits are both for Native individuals, nations and communities, and non-Natives; and the intersectionality of native films with social justice, activism and sovereignty. Material will include visual examples of contemporary native films, filmmakers, production companies and organizations, such as A Tribe Called Geek that report on, encourage and promote contemporary artists and filmmakers.”

More details about the event, here.

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