Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Book Bar welcomes you

Raising the bar on reading!

Welcome to The Book Bar today everyone.  Please order up your favourite drink and get ready to head into the lounge where our new guest is looking forward to meeting us.   He graciously consented to doing a guest article to share and of course give us an introduction to his newest book.  I want to introduce you to.... B. D. Bruns.  Here's a little background on him before we get started:

Adventurer B. D. Bruns has traveled to over 50 countries to gather material for his bestselling books. He’s won 19 national and international book awards, including three national Book of the Year awards. Bruns’ first fiction book, The Gothic Shift (2014) won the International Book Awards Best Short Story Collection. He also contributes to Yahoo Travel, BBC, CNN, The Daily Beast, and The Travel Channel.

Bruns’ travel adventures span from entering the Pyramids of Giza and swimming in the Panama Canal to climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and touring Torture Museums in Estonia. He has attended ceremonies from the descendants of cannibals in the South Pacific and has been consulted by a ghost tour in Malta. After residing in Dracula’s hometown for several years, Bruns moved to Las Vegas with his Romanian wife, where they live with two cats, Julius and Caesar.

In his own words....

Vampire Glitter and Zombie Stickers

Once I loved vampires and zombies, but no more. Like kids at the end of Halloween night, weve eaten too much of the good stuff. Weve been so saturated with these trite baddies that content providers are desperate to find a new spin on them. True, new spins are not new. Anne Rice brought rock-n-roll to vampires decades ago. But cant we all agree that vampires are about more than teen angst? Im all for a whole new generation of teens falling in love with vampires and werewolves, but surely Dracula would rather meet Van Helsing than Edward. And zombies? In multiple recent adaptations zombies run faster than Usain Bolt. 

We’ve lost sight of what made our most iconic nasties nasty in the first place. Real fear is the discomfort of encountering something that defies our understanding of the world. 

Vampires and zombies are now so mainstream that little old ladies display car stickers of their undead grandchildren. We must not let our baddies become so accessible. Monsters are supposed to be worse than teen angst. Sure, it’s awful and stuff, but it’s just not good enough. Revving up classic horror icons with video game frenetics isnt good enough, either. It wont stand the test of time. It may entertain but it will not keep you up at night. We must return to the source!

"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” - H.P. Lovecraft

Of course, the unknown is precisely what publishers and Hollywood say they want, but clearly don’t. The unknown is risky, and business is business. So they want familiar baddies with a proven track record of financial success. So, is originality doomed? Not at all! One can revisit a classic without destroying what made it, well, classic. May I suggest a good mash up? Keep the best of things and find new, exciting ways to combine them together. Look at American Horror Story. They give us all the stuff we want to see with a fresh spin, like their third season, Coven: witches and voodoo queens in a turf war in New Orleans. They are devilishly clever at incorporating disparate themes and, in the process, creating a fundamentally unique story. But their witches are still witches and voodoo is still voodoo. 

Im no thriller purist: its all for entertainment, after all. I fully supported Michael Jackson’s use of zombies in Thriller. Just dont dilute the monsters to the point where little old ladies think they’re cute. Monsters have dignity, too. 

  My newest book...

A fishing village nestled in Italian cliffs, peopled by simple folk with religion and superstition. A b
An edge of your seat thriller set on the exotic Amalfi coast. An exorcism was the first thought but last desire of Giuseppe. His contentment working with his sister at their ancient paper mill in 1860s Italy is shattered when he witnesses Old Man Grapaldi summoning the Devil. Omens from the sea threaten the village and bizarre, violent happenings at their mill threaten his family. With their church rocked by inner turmoil and so many good men succumbing to dark secrets, Giuseppe himself must overcome his fears and his physical handicap to save his beloved sister.

The bartender's input ...

The book just keeps you turning pages.  The characters are so believable and the suspense is amazing.  The time period and the setting just add to the terror of the plot.  I am not usually a fan of this genre but I really enjoyed the book from beginning to end.  The author has a gift of painting vivid word images in your head...and in your heart.  I highly recommend this book.

B.D. is happy to give away a copy of his wonderful new book.  First come, first "served".  Leave your email address for me and I'll be sure to send you out your copy.  Trust me, this is a book you will want to read.

For those of you who can stay longer - an interview with the author.  Refills anyone before we get started?

Rapid fire questions:

 What is your dream car?   A VW bus… isn’t that what the Mystery Machine was? 

 Do you prefer to give a gift or to receive one? Give

 Do you prefer a sit down meal or a picnic? Picnic

 Are you left-handed or right-handed? Right

 What is your favourite drink?  (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) Water. Yes, really.

Serious stuff:

 What was your favourite book as a child? 

Castle Roogna, by Piers Anthony. The cover showed a sword-wielding warrior whose companion was a giant spider. What’s not to like? It led to a voracious appetite for fantasy. 

  What person influenced you most in your lifetime? 

My father. Not only did he have a library of thousands of fantasy and sci-fi novels, he was also a Boy Scout Master. These things shaped my outlook significantly. 

 What motivated you to become an author? 

Castle Roogna, by Piers Anthony! I was hooked on reading from that moment on… I was about twelve… and by age fifteen I knew being an author was my goal for life. Making it happen took another two decades, of course. Even worse, I began with nonfiction! Nonfiction makes sense, though, when you’ve lived through an experience that is fundamentally unique—I was the sole American working in cruise ship restaurants—and it got my authoring feet wet. 

Were you a good student in school? 

In high school I was above average in grades but mostly bored with all the stuff that didn’t interest me. In college I was an excellent student because I could choose my subjects and get as deep as I wanted. Somehow I managed to write during those days—despite school work and a full time job—unleashing my imagination onto the page. It was all terrible stuff, of course, but it kept me sane. I still have it somewhere, but would be mortified to actually re-read any of it. Then again, I feel that way about my first published book, too. We grow with each project—or should, anyway!

 What do you like to do to relax? 

I work on gargantuan jigsaw puzzles—to the tune of 18,000 pieces—and listen to chill music. I also enjoy reading big fat books on history. Big projects work well for me. Apparently I need a noteworthy goal for everything I do. I guess that’s a good thing. 

 What famous person, either living or deceased, would you like to meet in person and have dinner with? 

George Washington. I’d ask him to make some of the language in early documents a bit more specific to hopefully avoid some of the issues plaguing us today. On a less serious note, I’m dying to meet Oprah so I can convince her to feature my book In the House of Leviathan. 

 What adult authors do you like to read that you can pass onto us? 

I am a voracious reader of history. David McCullough is my favorite author, a man who can make any history a page turner even though you know (or should know) the outcome! I still don’t know how he does it. 

 As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?

In the beginning I believe my goal was to be a dinosaur. After reading a book about a warrior with a giant spider as a companion (Castle Roogna, mentioned above) I definitely wanted to be that. I was told I’d have a better chance of being a writer, since I clearly had an active imagination. Upon reflection, I think it’s the other way around. 

 What’s more important in your opinion: character or plot? 

Character is more important than plot, though it’s a close call. I haven’t met anyone who was particularly interesting if he/she had never done anything or survived something in their lives. But a plot without people is worthless because it’s the people that we care about, that we relate to. To paraphrase Stephen King, create characters that people like and then do horrible things to them. Thus, the characters first!

 Do you have any plans for your next book? 

I love placing my books in very different times and places and this next book’s setting is California gold rush country in the 1880s. I’m drawn to places where a vast mix of races and religions interact. This is also beautiful country where I lived and hiked for years, so it’s all near and dear to my heart. Having experienced a place is necessary to really capturing it, I believe. 

 Are there any last thoughts for our readers you would like to share? 

I strongly urge readers to seek out authors with passion for their work. All too often copycats get all the shelf space and then we’re stuck in a loop of knock-offs and no originality. Look at how Twilight churned out tens of thousands of teen angst/monster books. I am happy for the author’s success, I’m not happy for that of her imitators, who offer nothing but reap the rewards. No doubt I’m just jealous!

Where you can find out more about today's author...


                               *Facebook:  BDBruns

                               *Twitter:  lovebruns


Thanks for dropping by The Book Bar and checking out today's featured book.  You are always welcome here and I look forward to seeing you next time we have a scheduled event.  

Cover charge....your smile.

The Book Bar will be open for business next month - June 20th.

It's a wrap.

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