“Chasing Ghosts” With Paranormal Investigator Brian Harnois

May 21, 2010 at 10:17 AM (Interviews) (, , )

Photo Courtesy Of Brian Harnois

As long as I can remember, I’ve had encounters that were paranormal and I never quite understood them.  I did stupid things like use an Ouija Board and got an undesired effect. When Ghost Hunters, a program that features the paranormal group TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) headed by Grant Wilson and Jason Hawes,premiered in 2004 on the SyFy Channel, I was hooked and learned more than I thought I possibly could and I didn’t feel so alone in my experiences.  Brian Harnois was a investigator on both Ghost Hunters and Ghost Hunters International. He has now founded his own group, The Paranormals.  I was ecstatic when Brian agreed to do this interview.  Brian is extremely talented and one of the most knowledgeable in his field.

You have been investigating the paranormal for a long time; what specifically happened to you that made you want to learn more and chase ghosts so to speak?

I got into the paranormal when I was about 11 years old. I was sleeping over my friend Josh Gravel’s house one night. As anyone knows, when parents tell kids to go to sleep they never do. Josh had bunk beds in his room and I was on the top bunk and he was in the bottom bunk. It was about midnight and we were joking around like kids do. All of a sudden a full body apparition walked through one wall of his room, walked right in front of us and through the opposite wall. I couldn’t believe what I saw. Needless to say we didn’t sleep in that room that night. But after that experience I was hooked. I started reading everything I could about ghosts. I went to all the libraries and did all the research I could. Then I started to do little cemetery hunts when I was 15 or 16, and the rest is history.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching you on Ghost Hunters and Ghost Hunters International. You really made the show great and I was sad to see you go. Can you elaborate on why you left the shows? Also, how did you become to be on the shows?

I left Ghost Hunters because of all the drama and the way they treated me for the whole time I was on that show. GHI was a little different, because there was no drama and I liked everyone that I worked with. The only problem was the travel time and the time away from the family. We would be gone 5 out of 6 months and that was a big problem.
I was on the Ghost Hunters because I had been with the TAPS team since 1999 and I was the case manager/training instructor for the group. GHI was a little different because I pitched the spin off show to Pilgrim Films and they loved the idea. The only problem was I didn’t pitch an international show, that is a whole story on its own how it got to that point.

Duuude, Run! It had to be one of my favorite episodes on GH. Seriously, how scared were you? I was scared just by watching you!

I really wasn’t scared out of my mind. Me and Dave Hobbes(Cameraman) were on some downtime taking some photos of the prison and I had one of my funny feelings while walking down cell block 4. As Dave took a picture we saw a huge black shadow come out of one cell, walk right across our path and go into another cell door. We both froze, but Dave screamed in my ear. I freaked out and yelled “Dude,Run”. That’s how it all happened.

What is the most frightening thing that has happened to you out in the field?

Photo Courtesy of Brian Harnois

Photo Courtesy of Brian Harnois

It is a very long story, and not one to be told here, but my most scariest experience had to be when we had a case up in Maine. Myself, Keith and Sandra Johnson, and a couple of other investigators went to go check out an 80 something year- old lady that was supposedly possessed by a demon. And OH YEAH she was possessed. Her eyes went completely black and Keith had to perform and exorcism on her. It was a crazy and petrifying night.

You started “The Paranormals”. How is that going and can you talk about some of the investigations you are doing?

The Paranormals are going strong. We have a lot of work to do, but we are getting to where we want to be in the paranormal community. I can’t talk about the investigations we are going on, but you will hear about them soon enough.

You and Donna LaCroix formerly of Ghost Hunters and Ghost Hunters International had your own radio show for awhile and it was very informative and entertaining. Will you be doing another radio show?

I have no plans to do another radio show, but I have been asked by a bunch of different internet radio networks. I don’t think I will ever do another one, but you never know.

What is something new you are working on and are doing?

The Paranormals are working very close with a producer to get back on TV. It is very close to being a done deal, so keep an eye out for it.

I saw that you are writing a book; when can we expect that to be released?

The book should be released in the spring of next year. It is going to be about all my exploits in the paranormal over the last 18 years. It is going to be a good read.

You appear at paranormal conventions across the country. What are the ones that are coming up and what do you teach and talk about at them?

I do not have any coming up in the near future, but you never know when I will be asked to come to one. As for teaching and talking, the audience at that time is responsible for the topics. Whatever they want to hear about is what I talk about.

What advice can you give to aspiring paranormal investigators? What equipment is a must have? Also, what can they do to join a local group?

The best advice I could give is to read, read, read. Knowledge is the best thing to have when dealing with the paranormal. The more knowledge you have, the better prepared you are to handle the situation at hand in a clients house. The best equipment you can have is an audio recorder, an EMF detector, camera, and a flashlight. You don’t need all the expensive equipment you see on TV to be a good investigator. You just need the basics. If you want to join a local group, make sure you know the groups background before you join, and make sure you are good fit with the people in the group. The internet is the best place to search for a group in your area to join as well.

You have two daughters; will you be teaching them paranormal investigations when they get older? Perhaps have your own family business?

Well, I don’t know if Michelle will let me train them in the ways of the paranormal. But, if she does and they are interested, I could see this being a very good family business.

How did you get your nickname Wheezy?

I was nicknamed Wheezy because I had the flu one day back in 2005 and tried to smoke a cigarette. My lungs didn’t agree to the smoke and I started wheezing. Hence, the nick name Wheezy!

What cool hobbies do you have?

I really don’t have many hobbies. I love hanging with my family, reading is a must. I love to read. And the best time is sitting down after the kids are in bed and watch some TV with the wife.

You are a huge Star Wars® fan; have you been to any of the conventions, have any collectibles?

The last big convention i went to was Wizard World Con. That was an amazing convention with tons of Star Wars stuff going on. I used to have a huge collection of Darth Vader collectibles, but I got rid of them because I had no room for them in the house.

You have come out and said you are Bi-Polar. I admire you for your strength and honesty. Does it feel like a big weight has been lifted now you can get the help you need and know now what hasn’t felt right in a long time? What advice can you give others with this disorder?

It was a definite huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I didn’t even know I had the disorder until August of last year. So it was a relief to finally find out what was wrong with me and get the help I needed. The only advice I can give is to make sure you keep taking your medication and get the therapy you need to battle this disorder. You can beat it, and I think I am doing just that.


Brian’s Website:

http://www.brianharnois.net

Follow Brian on Twitter!

http://twitter.com/BrianHarnois

The Paranormal’s Website:

http://theparanormals.org/

The Paranormal’s Facebook Page

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Something to *Fight For- An Interview With Kelly Burdge of NoMara

November 4, 2009 at 4:45 PM (Interviews, Music, Concerts) (, , , , )


kellynomara (1)

NoMara: The band name derives from the Buddhist Lord of misfortune, sin, destruction, and death, Mara. Mara is the ruler of desire and death, the two evils that chain man to the wheel of ceaseless rebirth. Mara reviles man, blinds him, guides him toward sensuous desires; once man is in his bondage, Mara is free to destroy him”. Mara can be defined as the evil in all of us. In relationships, especially with people close to us, many of our actions including words can be used like darts to hurt and inflict pain. Over time, those words and actions wear and tear down others to the point that we lose them from our lives. NoMara means our partner is not Mara and should not be abused as if they are the evil one. The answers to our individual issues lie within us, not others. She is not Mara, she is not your fight!

I have the pleasure to know Kelly Burdge; the lead singer of NoMara and to be introduced to his music- his band.  I was inspired by his story and his music. The words to his songs are something we can all relate to; his passion to drive on through and make his dreams a reality should tell us that we can do anything we set our minds to.  This Ohio based rock band has been working hard to get their music to us and Kelly has kindly given me an interview to share in depth about his fervor and dedication to his life long dream.



Your band just emerged in 2008. What drove you want to start a band?

You know, who doesn’t want to start a band?  I can remember growing up and listening to KISS Alive and thinking to myself, “Wow, this is something special…which reminds me…I should be eligible for some kind of benefit for being in the Kiss Army all these years.”  At any rate, I chose a different path which included sports, college, 9-5 and so on.  I always kept music close to my heart and frequently attended tons of shows whenever possible to see the bands that gave me that spark inside.  To me, it all comes down to the connection between myself and the band at the live show.  I can listen to CD’s all day long, but until I see them live and “feel it” in the flesh, it does not become burned into my soul.  It really wasn’t until the past few years I honestly gave any serious thought to becoming a musician.  In fact, it all started a couple years ago when one of my favorite bands, Fuel, announced online they would be seeking a new lead singer and would be holding auditions.  I thought to myself, “Self….could this be a sign?” Well not having the courage to submit an audition tape, I did reach out to a long time friend and one of the world’s most amazing rock drummers, Troy Luckketta from Tesla.  I told Troy I wanted to do a song together and I didn’t think he took me too seriously but nonetheless, he was very supportive.  Troy suggested finding a few local guys and start jamming. Well, where else to find a couple local musicians but at your neighborhood coffee shop? We jammed one day in my apartment and the addiction kicked in.  Over the course of the next few months, I literally began writing tons of songs, mostly in the form of short stories without the music.  Looking back, anyone who has ever known me always knew that being a front man in a rock band was my true dream and fantasy in life. Music has been the one thing in my life that has always been there, never failed me, and has always done what it set it out to do, heal and sooth.

How did you start the process? Who co-writes the songs with you?

Process is a good description. Starting and maintaining a band is certainly a process, not an event.  Not really any band experience, I kind of assumed finding a group of musicians to give up their lives and go on tour with me would be easy.  Come to find out, the music business is a bit more complex.  Typically, a band gets together as friends or colleagues from a local scene and writes music together. My situation was a little different than that; I wrote all my music with already established musicians in a studio.  A good friend of mine named Phil Taylor (Future Leaders of the World) had recently teamed up with ex-Evanescence band member John Lecompt on a new project called “Machina” that was based out of Little Rock.  I contacted Phil telling him about all these songs I had been working on and he suggested I come work with him and John to see what we could come up with.  The next thing I knew, I was down in John’s studio and before I knew it we had 12 really good songs and POOF! I was a front man!  So, the next step was to find a band.  In September of 2008, I spent a weekend with Troy and let him hear the final product for the first time.  He was very surprised and proud at how far this dream had come in a very short period of time.  We immediately began the process of putting a band together.  For most of 2008, the band was based out of the San Francisco Bay Area.  We toured a bit with a great band called Pop Evil, but the chemistry was just not there with that line-up, so I had to make a few changes.  Currently, the band is based back in Ohio but still has nationwide roots with our lead guitar player coming from San Francisco (Nicky Now) and our bass player (Matthew Paul) coming from Atlanta.  Our other guitar player (Steve Prater) and drummer (Andy Perkins) are Ohio boys from Kenton.  I am extremely pleased with this line-up and truly feel they are connected with the music; each bringing their own energy and vibe into the songs giving them life.

You told me that you didn’t know you could sing for the longest time; what happened to make you realize you can?

I am still very much a student of singing and learn more about it every single day.  If you could hear the first time I stepped into the studio box to sing you would laugh your butt off. Again, I had never been in a band, had a lesson, or been on a stage other than one or two times doing karaoke.  In fact, the first time I ever stepped foot on a stage was opening for Tesla at a sold out show in California; I think I fooled them.

What kept me going was I could hear in my head how it needed to be sung.  I would also imagine how singers like Brent from Shinedown or Jacoby from Papa Roach might sing the song.  I would take all that in and let it out with my own flavor and style.  I have been taking lessons and asking lots of questions when in the company of talented local and national artists on how to keep getting better.  My vocal coach Stephanie is amazing; she really helped me gain the confidence I needed. I also do my best to keep my voice healthy by not drinking alcohol or smoking.  Water is also key.

Your lyrics are drawn from relationships and the hardships from them; what emotions and memories do you draw from to pen the lyrics?

Well, if there is one thing we can all relate to it’s the pains and joys of being in a relationship. For me, my life struggles have always been about accepting my place in the world and being content day to day.  For some reason I have always felt like I was missing something and just not complete.  Having children certainly filled most of that void but having that true connection with a partner has seemed to always flee over time in my past.  I frequently ponder and wonder why this happens and I still do not know.  The current songs of NoMara do stem from a particular point and instance of time in my life not too long ago.  The record actually tells a story from beginning to end.  The first track is called “Last Call” and is about the end of a relationship.  It’s about that last call, last text, or email…when we finally realize this relationship is over.  The remaining tracks are about the period of time after a break-up detailing the thoughts and process we go through in getting back on our feet.  Relationships are great practice for personal growth.

Which song is the closest to you heart and that you are the most proud of?

Without question Fight Song means the most to me.  All I ever wanted was someone who wants to be with me as much as I want to be with them.  That song is going through some changes right now and I think the updated official version will be even better. We are playing the new version live on this upcoming tour and do see it being released on radio soon if things continue to progress for us. Personally, I don’t think the world needs another love song. I think we what need is a fight song that will keep us together so we never ever fall apart.

What obstacles have you pushed through (and currently) to make this dream your reality?

I think the biggest obstacle has been maneuvering around in today’s music business. Everything is so different than bands experienced prior to 2002.  The biggest challenge is getting your music out to the people.  Yes, there are more tools today than ever before with social networking and online music stores but there is also a tremendous amount of bands out there saturating the consumer.  Getting yours into their ears is a challenge.  I have always been a firm believer that the cream comes to the top and if the music is good enough it will eventually be heard and embraced.  As a band, we need to stay focused and healthy while on the road.  All of us are committed to doing whatever it takes to get the music to the people.  Hopefully, the people will respond by becoming NoMara fans and coming to our shows.

How are you defying yourself as a band?  How are you making yourselves stand out from the rest?

I think our band is in a position to accomplish some great things.  All of the guys are seasoned musicians that have been down the road before and have experienced what works and what does not when it comes to “surviving out there”.  We just had this conversation tonight at practice as we processed our shows from the past weekend.  We all want NoMara to be a class act from the minute we enter a town to the time we leave.  We don’t subscribe to the stereotypical “up all night- sleep all day” rock and roll lifestyle.  Don’t get me wrong, we have our fun on the road but we do our best to keep things balanced and in perspective.

What would/does “success” mean to you?

Well for years I viewed success by the how much money I had, but over the past few years’ success has been defined as living life chasing dreams.  In my old job,I was surrounded by people counting the days to retirement.  I never subscribed in my heart to that mentality and did not want my children watching me live my life doing something I was not passionate about.  Everything I do today or become involved with has to have a purpose.  It must have something to do with making the world a better place.  Aside from this rock and roll life, I am a licensed substance abuse counselor.  I recently co-authored a book that uses the languages of sports to reduce high risk behaviors in youth and young adults.  I would like to eventually get the book out and be able to visit local high schools during the day while out on the road rocking and rolling during the nightshift.

Who and/or what is your inspiration/muse?

My children are my inspiration.  Without question they are the best thing that ever happened to me.  It’s difficult being away from them while on the road but we manage to stay in touch daily via cell phones and this trip out we are going to try some web cams.  They both rock!

You are going on tour soon; how are you preparing for it?

The band finally arrived in Ohio a couple weeks ago.  We immediately began daily rehearsals and played a few regional shows.  Nowadays the band has to play the part of management, marketing department, promotions, booking agent, etc.  If we are not rehearsing, we are talking to venues, reaching out to new fans online, or sleeping.  The tour kicks off Friday at the Newport Music Hall in Columbus. We then head down to Nashville and into the northern U.S. for a few weeks.

NoMara will be playing at Columbus, Ohio’s Newport Music Hall November 6th!  To check out other tour dates, please go to their Myspace music page:

http://www.myspace.com/nomaramusic

Follow NoMara on Twitter!  They follow back!

http://twitter.com/NoMaraMusic

To buy tickets for their shows:

http://www.nomaratickets.com/

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Paying It Forward By “Healing”: An Interview With Musician Josh Charles

October 5, 2009 at 5:05 PM (Interviews, Music, Concerts) (, , , )

Josh Charles

Josh Charles is a remarkable man and musician.  He is an inspiration to others; more should pay it forward for the greater good.  Josh is giving back to the community of New Orleans.  Download the single “Healing Time” on iTunes or Amazon and 100% of the proceeds  go to The Preservation Resource Center (PRC) of New Orleans to help rebuild, restore, and preserve the architectural history and historic neighborhoods that support the local culture and character of New Orleans.  As stated in an article in the Huffington Post by 2morrowknight, Josh stated that ” I’m trying to do my part to give back to the city of New Orleans which has given me so much as an artist.”

Read more at: Huffington Post

Josh began playing at an early age.  He began playing piano at the age of 8  and he started playing guitar at 13.  He was classically trained and spent summers at band camp.  His piano playing can be linked back to blend of New Orleans music and gospel styles.  You feel at peace when you listen to him play; a part of you can go back in time and feel his soulful music enter your heart  and you can’t help but move along with the notes.

Josh Charles is also teaching a master class at Steinway Music Hall in NYC on the how to play New Orleans /Boogie Woogie Piano even if you’re never played. It is Saturday, October 10th from 3-5 PM; all beginners are welcome.  If interested, please contact him: masterclass@joshcharlesmusic



You are on Twitter; have you found that spreading your music and message has been helped by it?

I am thankful that I found Twitter. I was just telling Gavin DeGraw last night that I find Twitter to be my favorite way to communicate with fans. It’s amazing, in real-time you can share personal thoughts, pics,vids,music and I really enjoy interacting with people. When I’m on tour, I meet people from Twitter and I’m so appreciative for their support. Twitter is also how I stay connected to everyone. There is so much great content on Twitter and I feel so lucky to have so many great tweeps who help me out – I must name some here: @buzzedition,@alyssa_milano @collective_soul ,@jason_pollock @_stevewoods @kevin_desoto @kim @lorimoreno @krystynchong  –the list goes on and on but I feel very lucky to be considered worthwhile among tweeps.  In short, I love TWITTER..

You have said you are a “wandering nomad” and you feel a kinship to New Orleans.  Do you see yourself moving back there soon?

At some point, I would love to move to New Orleans for Take 2. I love the city with all my heart and soul.

You started playing in blues clubs when you were a teenager.  Do you have any crazy stories from playing in clubs at such a young age?

My first job was at a blues joint in KC. It was on a 100 year old beat up piano with jagged keys and missing notes- I would bleed from the sharp edges and playing so hard. I had no microphone and it was a 4 hour a night rowdy blues and boogie woogie gig.

What makes you want to get up every day?  What inspires you?

I love being able to share my music with the world. Knowing that it’s helping make a difference in people’s lives is a very powerful thought. I take it very seriously and work very hard on my craft.

You recently met Smokey Robinson; please tell us of that experience.  How does it feel to meet other remarkable musicians?

One of the nicest, most gracious and caring guys on this planet. He fills the room with joy and it’s an honor. I”ve been so fortunate to meet amazing people and musicians. Just recently, I shared an afternoon with Allen Toussaint playing piano and singing songs and it was a highlight of my musical life. I mean it’s Allen Toussaint!

If you could meet anyone, who would it be and why?

Wow just one?  I’d love to have spent a day with Ray Charles 🙂

“Healing Time” is eligible for Grammy’s in the following categories: Best New Artist, Song of the Year and Record of the Year.  That is incredible; how does it make you feel to be recognized in that way?

It’s an honor! Healing Time has tremendous potential to make a difference in people’s lives and help rebuild New Orleans. I can’t stress enough how important it is for people to download the song and pay it forward.

To learn more about Josh Charles and his cause, please visit his web page:

http://joshcharlesmusic.com/home/

Follow Josh Charles on Twitter:

http://twitter.com/joshcharles

Become a fan on his Facebook Page:

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=18473958150

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“Bad Things” With Jace Everett

October 2, 2009 at 1:17 AM (Interviews, Music, Concerts) (, , , , )

Jace

Photo Courtesy of jaceeverett.com

You have heard Jace Everett’s voice.  HBO’s huge success, True Blood, has his song “Bad Things” as the opening title theme.  It’s his sexy, sultry voice that you can’t help sing along with or tap your foot to when you sit down to watch it on Sunday nights.

Jace is just more than one song of a hit TV show. His talent is evident.  His deep, sweltering, expressive music turns you on, grabs you and doesn’t let go.  When you listen, you can relate and take the stroll with him along his emotional memories.

Jace, when did you realize you made it in the music business?  What was your defining moment?

Have I made it? I’ve been making my living with music for over 10 years. In a sense that’s “making it”. But this business is really about tenacity. You go up and down like a see-saw for years only to find when you look back that the only thing that’s amazing is that you’re still doing it! My defining moment is every day I get up and do it again.

When did you 1st start singing and realize it is what you wanted to do with your life? How did you prove to others that you will be successful?

I started singing in public when I was 12. I always knew this was what I wanted. I don’t really worry about proving things to other people. It’s enough to prove it to myself.

Which singers do you emulate?

All of them! Big influences on my actual singing are Bono, Tom Waits, Tom Petty, Joe Cocker, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash. Different songs call for different kinds of singing. Those are the guys I rip off most often though!

Your song, “Bad Things” is the open title song for the show True Blood; how did that come about?  Did you have any idea how big this show was going to be and how has the success of it impacted your music and life?

Alan Ball discovered the song on iTunes and thought it was a good fit. Turns out he was right. The show has been a huge shot in the arm for me.

I have listened to your new album, Red Revelations and it is filled with dark, bluesy, arousing goodness.  What was your focus for this album?

I wanted to synthesize all my different influences into a fresh sound. Outlaw country, rock and roll, blues, torch songs, the whole shebang.

How would you personally categorize your music?  More Rockabilly than country? More like blues than rock?  All of them?

Yeah, I leave that up to the marketing guys. My music is just that; my music.

You like whiskey like I do, what is your favorite kind?

Jamesons Irish

What do you do to unwind from a crazy day?

See above!

What is your “Bad Thing” or habit?

Too many to list.

I would love to see you do a duet with Chris Isaak; perhaps go on his show, The Chris Isaak Hour because you remind me so much of him.  Could that be a possibility?

Chris is a far better singer than I am. Beautiful falsetto. Very Orbison. A lot of folks assume the “Bad Things” was a take-off on “Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing”, but it wasn’t. I’m certainly a fan of his and there’s obviously some rockabilly in my music, but Chris does a really unique and great thing that’s quite different from me. I’d be delighted to work with him. Never know.

Can we expect a nationwide tour soon?  I would love to see you in Columbus, Ohio.

We’ll see how sales go. It takes money to make it, but I’m on the West coast a lot this year as well as some UK shows. 2010 should be busy.

Please, give me one crazy story from a show.

I remember playing a small club back in the 1990’s when the power went out. Turns out the manager of another act had pulled the plug in the middle of my set! I was young and full of rage. I picked up a monitor and threw  it across the stage at the guy. The power returned pretty quickly.

How do you prepare for a show?

Quietly with about 15 minutes of silence in a room by myself.

What is the biggest lesson that you have learned in your career?

Never surrender, never quit, and don’t believe everything you hear; the bad or the good.

You have been nominated for Spike TV’s Scream Song of the Year; how does that make you feel?

Amused.

To vote for him, please go here:

http://www.spike.com/event/scream2009/page/vote/category/33121


To know even more about Jace; to see where he will be playing and to buy his album RED REVELATIONS, visit his website:

http://jaceeverett.com/

Follow him on Twitter!

http://twitter.com/jaceeverett

Myspace:

http://www.myspace.com/jaceeverett


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Breaking Through Walls; The Essence Of Being Unstoppable – An Interview With Musician Roni Bryant

September 26, 2009 at 2:33 PM (Interviews, Music, Concerts) (, , )

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Thomas Greanias Emerging: More Mystical Than Atlantis Itself

September 19, 2009 at 1:00 AM (Interviews) (, , , , )

Thomas

Thomas Greanias is the New York Times bestselling author of Raising Atlantis, The Atlantis Prophecy and The Atlantis Revelation. Also, his eBooks are No.1 on Amazon worldwide and his Audiobooks on iTunes are No.1 worldwide. He is one of the leading authors of adventure novels. When you read one of his novels, you can’t put it down.  You are pulled into a vortex of mystery and intrigue.

The mystery of Atlantis appeals to many. A lot wonder if it really existed; perhaps even buried far below an ocean. Maybe someone will find Atlantis someday, but until then, we can read and enjoy the puzzle surrounding it.

I was ecstatic when Thomas agreed to an interview.  I feel honored and privileged.


What is your process of researching for your novels?

A mix of intuition and connecting the dots. There are so many mind-blowing “factoids” floating out there in our overloaded information age dying for some perspective. I end up looking at the trends behind those facts, past and present, and extrapolate what the future might hold, where we might be heading.

What drove you to pen the Atlantis novels?

The failure of my screenplay Chain of Command —my “big buck spec script,” according to Daily Variety —to get produced back in the late 1990s. It was about a female secretary of education who becomes the president after a nuclear attack takes out Washington and the first 15 guys in line. Columbia made the similar “Air Force One” with Harrison Ford instead. Since then, every actress considered for my script eventually played a female president, vice president or first lady in a movie or TV series: Glenn Close (Air Force One),Sigourney Weaver (Dave), Geena Davis (Commander in Chief) and Mary McDonnell (Battlestar Galactica). What’s funny is that over the years at Hollywood parties I get comments from some people about how much they loved my movie. They think they’ve seen it, but it was never made. So instead of waiting for Hollywood, I wrote Raising Atlantis.

You have been a correspondent for national security issues; has this experience given you a lot of knowledge for your novels?

The Atlantis Prophecy would not have been possible were it not for my first-hand tunnel-crawling and associated experiences in Washington, D.C., years ago. I knew I was going to write a novel about it someday, but I didn’t know it would come out after Raising Atlantis as The Atlantis Prophecy.

I am a big fan of Clive Cussler, who has given you high praise. How does it feel to have other bestselling authors,especially of your genre, give you great acclaim?

Flattered and undeserving.

When did you begin writing stories? What or who has been your biggest inspiration?

Preschool. Leo Tolstoy is my biggest inspiration. War and Peace humbles you as a writer with both its vast scale and personal intimacy. And his later short works like Father Sergius and Hadji Murad are practically religious experiences in themselves. But I think it was John Jay Osborn’s novel The Paper Chase, based on his first year of law school at Harvard, that got me started. I loved the idea that we could take the raw experiences of our lives and turn them into stories that inspire others.

What do you do besides writing your next novel; any fun hobbies, any crazy collections?

I do a lot of fun things with my wife and two boys, and I’m fortunate enough to have some of the most interesting friends around. I seem to go back and forth between the sand and snow.

Can you tell us about your new novel that will be coming out?

THE PROMISED WAR is about an Israeli counter-terrorism agent named Sam Deker who gets blown back to 1410 BC and the ancient Israelite army’s history-changing invasion of the Promised Land.

Can you tell us more about the contest that you have been doing for readers?

*You can see the two finalists yourself on YouTube. Just type in Atlantis Revelation.

What advice can you give to struggling writers?

Remember that writing is both a craft and a business. You’ll always struggle with the craft, whether you’re unpublished or Leo Tolstoy (who didn’t believe the novel was even an art form when he penned War and Peace). And the business is changing before our eyes. Editors are spending less time reading manuscripts and more time trolling the Web to see who has an eBook, blog or other form of proof-of-concept that seems to be working. So work your craft, but get your work out there as soon as you can, too.

*Thomas Greanias had a contest called The Atlantis Revelation Movie Trailer Mashup for a chance to win and watch the trailer on CBS. You can see the entries here:

Mashup Entries

Learn more about Thomas Greanias on his website:

http://www.thomasgreanias.com/index_loaded.html

On his website,you will also find where to order his books,eBooks and Audiobooks.

Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/officialthomasgreanias

Thomas Greanias is on Twitter!  Follow him here!

http://twitter.com/ThomasGreanias

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Knocking Out Diabetes- An Interview With Buster Douglas

August 27, 2009 at 5:09 PM (Interviews) (, , )

Buster and Garrett Morris *photo courtesy of Buster Douglas

Buster and Garrett Morris *photo courtesy of Buster Douglas

Former undisputed heavyweight champion Buster Douglas is a boxing legend. He caused one of the most surprising upsets in sports history when he knocked out undefeated champion Mike Tyson on February 11, 1990 in Tokyo, Japan; Buster was the underdog with 42-1 odds.  His mother died 23 days before, but she was with him that night and he has said he won because of and for his mother; his mother is what kept him going.  That fight changed his life forever and he had fame and fortune and with all of that came adversity.  With 38 wins and only 6 losses he was unstoppable until diabetes knocked him down. The loss of his mother sent him into a downworld spiral, he began to eat and drink to excess and gained 200 pounds.  He was nearly killed by a bout with diabetes; it sent him into a coma.

*Book cover courtesy of Buster Douglas

*Book cover courtesy of Buster Douglas

Buster got a second lease on life and made changes for his health. Many Americans suffer from Diabetes.  It is a struggle every day; trying to find the right foods and make the right decisions. Buster had the same issues, but survived and found a way to live with this disease with his new book, “Buster’s Backyard Bar-B-Q: Knockout Diabetes Diet”.  In it, he and his friend Tony Reynolds wants you to be able to live life to the fullest without the difficulty of Diabetes.  Tony also shares a heartfelt story about his father and his battle with Diabetes.

I had the pleasure to talk to Buster and Tony about their book, Buster’s life now, some other thoughts and how he wants others to be able to live a full life with the disease.

Diabetes almost killed you, a lot of Americans suffer from this disease, did this inspire you to write your book?

Yes, it all started at Tony’s house and him telling me about  his dad being a diabetic and what he went through and also discussed how big of an impact it (Diabetes) had been on my life.  We discussed the food and how it was an adjustment for me and then it all materialized and we went from there and started creating different recipes that I liked and what his father enjoyed and that is where it all came about.

What is your most favorite recipe in the book?

The Bar- B-Q Grilled Chicken

Have any of the people who have read your book told you that it has helped them?

Tony stated: Yes, there is a guy who is following Buster on Twitter; he emailed us and told us that he and his family make the Aloha Chicken and they eat that once a week and feel that it has helped them; has lowered their cholesterol as well. We have gotten a few emails from people who like the book and the recipes.

In fact, at this year’s Memorial Tournament, Dan Sullivan, who is one of the executive directors, actually tasted the BBQ sauce on the wings and said he will start serving that at the tournament.

Are you thinking about opening up a restaurant here in Columbus Ohio for people with diabetes?

It will be more about the sauce, we are going to market it; there are talks about getting it out there.

Do you do any exercises to help your condition?

I have a treadmill and I try to do that 2 or 3 times a week for 45 minutes.

Where can your book be bought?

It is sold mainly through Amazon

You were in a movie called Pluto’s Plight; did you enjoy being in the movie and will we see you in any more movies in the future?

I enjoyed doing that movie, there was a lot of pride in it.  Yes, I do plan on getting involved with some more projects, but right now I am focusing on promoting my book.  I do want to get back out there and do some more movies.

You have never left Ohio, it’s always been your home and I’ve read where you been helping your community where you grew up; how are you helping?

Right now, it is about spreading the word about being healthy; living a healthier life.  It is such a challenge in these times because here in America we have such a wide variety of foods we eat; we can eat 24 hours a day and I am trying to shed some light on the disadvantages of overeating and how awful it can be.  We need to exercise and eat correctly.  When I stopped fighting, I had to make an adjustment on how to make my life better as far as eating and drinking.  I got a second chance on life.

What do you look forward to every day?

Getting out and being productive, thinking about being positive and living life to the fullest.

What is your inspiration?

My mother and father.  Now I have a family, I appreciate them more every day; all the things that my parents had to go through to put a roof over our heads and to provide for us.

What hobbies do you enjoy?

I like tinkering with my automobiles; I have a classic 1970 Chevy.  I like being with my sons; getting involved in their lives-the activities they participate in.

Are your sons going to fall in your footsteps with boxing.

Well, right now, I don’t think so. They are playing football and basketball.  My oldest son is starting his own family now.

Do you enjoy being a grandfather?  Do you spoil your grandchildren a lot?

Yes, it’s cool!  (Tony mentions that he spoils the grandchildren a lot; he is really good with kids)

The UFC and Mixed Martial Arts is very prevalent right now.  What is your opinion on it?  Do you feel that it is overshadowing boxing?

No, not at all. It is just another form of entertainment and talent.  These guys use their hands and their feet; there is a lot to look out for.

Are you suffering any ailments from your previous boxing career?

No, I have no injuries related to boxing; I am thankful every day.


* If you are like me; you either know someone in your family or a close friend that has Diabetes.  This book is a must read for them and you to better understand the disease and how you can enjoy food and take back your life.  I found it very imformative and heartfelt. I will be giving this book as a gift to others and I hope you do too.  Let’s help Buster spread the word and help us make better, healthier choices in our lives.

Please join Buster’s Backyard Bar-B-Q party here: http://iambuster.ning.com/ It is intended for people who are interested in Diabetes awareness or friends to come share info.

You can order “Buster’s Backyard Bar-B-Q: Knockout Diabetes Diet” here on Amazon: http://amzn.com/1442145862

You can also follow Buster on Twitter! http://twitter.com/iambuster






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Living Among Gnomes; Using a Spork To Dig Inside The Mind of Author Jeremy C. Shipp

August 14, 2009 at 2:45 PM (Interviews)

jeremyphoto (1)












Jeremy C. Shipp is a man of many talents.  Whether he is building a fort with his garden gnome army armed with sporks, writing his stories or losing his hair due to his haunted house, Jeremy never fails to entertain!  He is a fiction writer (and if you may, Bizarro Fiction) who has quite a few published works under his belt of sporks.  His tales like Vacation, Sheep and Wolves and his numerous short stories  never fail to twist your mind into a vortex of bewilderment. Jeremy also has created a short film called “Egg”:

So, please come on this journey with me through the recesses of Jeremy C. Shipp’s mind.  Perhaps you will want to have your own army of garden gnomes or party with evil clowns.

I read your first novel, Vacation; it was like a David Lynch movie, very mind bending.  Is that your intention?  Are all of your novels and short stories written that way?

When writing a story or a book, I prefer going places I’ve never been before.  And so, my readers come along for the ride.  Vacation is especially mind-bending, I believe, because the main character experiences a paradigm shift.  He leaves one reality, and enters another, and this is a confusing and surreal experience.

Please, explain your fascination about gnomes.

I’m a giant yard gnome myself, and so I’ve always been close to my kind.  But I walk a crooked line between my people and humanity.  Most gnomes live in hunter-gatherer-based eco-villages, and prefer to avoid civilization altogether.  And while I may be an anarcho-tribalist, I enjoy living among humans.  Outside of my comfort zone, I’ve learned a lot about myself.  I’ve also learned that humans are good at heart.

When did you write your 1st story?  What was it about?

My first memorable short story, I wrote in 4th grade.  The tale was called “Chomper,” and it was about a green alien who ate anything, and who had an affinity for opera.  Then when I was 13, I wrote my first novel, and I’ve been writing about one a year ever since.

Was there an inspiration for you to write; a person or a gnome perhaps?

I’m constantly inspired to write by the gnomes and people in my life.  I’d say that I started writing due to the books I loved as a kid.  Stories by Ray Bradbury, HG Wells, Alexandre Dumas, etc. made me want to try writing a book myself.  And so I did.

I read where your house is haunted; can you share a spooky story about it?

During the renovation period, my dad and I were up in the attic, taking apart the old chimney.  Eventually, something started rising out of a pile of ash.  At first we thought it was an animal of some sort, but it turned out to be an old doll.  We still have the doll, or perhaps the doll has us.

Please, give us a glimpse into your mind; what is your writing process?

I start out with a spark, which might be an idea or a striking image that grips my brain and won’t let go.  Then I brainstorm a bit, or just start writing the story.  Sometimes I know where the story’s headed, but I never know exactly how I’m going to get there.  I like not knowing.  I like feeling the confusion my characters feel.  I put them in situations I don’t know how to get them out of, and we discover a solution together.

Cursed Cover (2)

You have a new novel coming out Halloween this year called Cursed.  I have yet to review it, but can you tell us about it?

Cursed is about Nicholas, Cicely, and their friends.  They create an informal support group for cursed individuals.  Together, they try to cope with their problems and find their happiness.

You are on Twitter and you interact with, support and are very kind to every one of your followers, especially your fans; do you feel that Twitter has helped you sell your novels and get the word out there?  How so?

Twitter, Myspace, Facebook, Goodreads—they’ve all helped me to connect with new readers and form new friendships.  Word of mouth is so important to a cult writer such as myself.  My readership is growing steadily, and that’s thanks to the support of my dedicated fans.

Besides writing, what do you enjoy doing?

I enjoy hanging out with my wife and my family, reading books, watching ducks, petting my cat, playing the piano, using telekinesis to move plastic straws, tickling coconut monkeys, listening to the theme song from Charles in Charge, hiking, camping, laughing, playing improv games, meditating, watching the stars, smelling flowers, making lists, collecting weird figurines, Twittering, conversing, doing animal activist stuff, learning about the world.

How long did it take for you to get published?  What was the process?

As I said, I started writing novels when I was 13, but I didn’t start sending my work into the publishing universe until I was 18.  So I had quite a few years to practice.  After a few months of sending out my stories, I was published in an online magazine, and I’ve been getting published in magazines and anthologies ever since.  Of course, I’ve received hundreds of rejection letters over the years, and they’re as much a part of my success as the acceptance letters.

As far as my novels go, I didn’t really attempt to get any published for many years.  But after writing Vacation, I felt as if I accomplished everything I set out to accomplish.  I knew I wanted to get this one published.  Vacation was too weird for many publishers, but not so for Raw Dog Screaming Press.  They embraced my novel, and I thank my lucky stars for their support.

What did you do when you found out that you were going to get published?  Did you have a party with the horde of gnomes?

I partied with my family, the gnomes, the coconut monkeys, the ninja monkeys, and even the evil clowns.  We all danced the publication jig and we ate novel pie.

What is the best advice you can give to aspiring writers who want to get published?

Write from your heart, your gut, your spleen, your mind, your soul.  Check out ralan.com and duotrope.com, and follow the submission guidelines exactly.  Write every day.  Take chances with your style and your voice, and make mistakes.  Make sure you’re entertained by your stories.  If you’re not, chances are no one else will be either.  And don’t worry about rejections.  They’re a balanced part of a writer’s breakfast; high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acid

Please visit Jeremy on his website here: http://jeremycshipp.com/index.html

You can buy a signed book from his bookstore!

Also, follow Jeremy on Twitter! http://twitter.com/JeremyCShipp

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Musical Encounters of a Third Kind*; An Intimate & Heartfelt Interview With Steven Shanks

August 6, 2009 at 2:54 AM (Interviews, Music, Concerts)

Steve Shanks

If you ever have the pleasure to meet Steven Shanks, a local aspiring musician here in Columbus Ohio, you will find he is an old soul, a very gifted musician who just wants to be heard. His lyrics grab your soul and melts your heart. When you listen, you can relate to his sentiment and you find yourself  feeling the same way or a memory comes flooding back. The strum of his guitar is a heart beat to our inspiration and every note creates a surge of emotion.

Steve loves comics, his crazy dog,  his girlfriend and wants to be a superhero. He has a heart of gold who is misunderstood most of the time.

When did you realize you wanted to be a musician?  How did you get started?

In 6th grade, me and a friend went and saw Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Later that year, I received a cheap Casio keyboard for Christmas and got excited about it and it went from there. The passion started there but I really didn’t start to play until I was in my twenties.

What has been your inspiration for your lyrics to date?

It started with heartbreak; you can only sing so much about it, loving someone who will never love me back. Over time, it became about telling the story.

With that being said, now that you have found love, do you feel that your songwriting style will change?

Yes, it has a little bit, but there are always crazy experiences and unfortunate circumstances. It is hard to get approval for “happy” songs. To be honest, I don’t think that anyone wants to hear how happy you are.

You play acoustically, but do you ever see yourself playing with a band again?

NO (Steve laughs after this big no) because I have played with bands before and feel that creativity is stifled and I can’t find anyone that I would like to play with. I don’t like to play with others. (More laughter)

What are your musical influences?

A long time it used to be U2 and there are also ties that go into Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure; the idea that I can play music and change the world, but that seems absurd right now. Damien Rice is a big influence; I’ve drawn a lot of comparisons to him. Also other influences are Pete Yorn, Travis, The Jayhawks and The Frames. Le Miserables the musical has been important. The specific song in Les Miserables called “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” has a definite story being told and told passionately. I think that song changed my delivery of my lyrics. Why do it (make & play music) if you are not passionate about it?

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Musically, I don’t see anything changing for me; there has been amazing let downs because it doesn’t feel like it’s going to go anywhere. I had my chance to talk to people in the industry. I’ve played out a lot locally and out of state but I just don’t feel like anyone is interested or listening honestly. Is it because of only one guy with his guitar; how exciting can that be?

What are you working on now? Will we be expecting some sort of EP?

I am constantly learning more about my craft and polishing old songs, but I’m not playing out. Something is always being written, but I’m not working on much at this time.

No, every recording effort I have gone into has fallen through every single damn time; I just record on my own in my bedroom.  It’s hard to have someone pay attention. I’ve had people cry in the middle of my sets; let’s just say I increase the bars sales because I depress the shit out of people.

How have you been promoting yourself?

You have helped- thanks Misty! (And then he mentions my tan and toe ring; typical Steve, ha!) I have a Myspace Music page.

I do want to mention that my friend T.J. and I are setting a quest for Comic Con Website- stay tuned for that!

How do you handle and deal with the frustration of trying to get your music out there?

There is a dream that every musician has; you can quit your job, tour, play, write and if you are not careful, it can be about the money. If things repeatedly fail, there is major frustration. Essentially, each band is like a small business; they invest time, money and their lives. You live very transparently by putting your heart out there in a song and when nothing comes of it, there is a massive amount of discouragement. The best thing you can do is take time off and get away and remember why you did it because you love it.

Where can we see you play?  Do you have a schedule that you can give us?

There is no schedule. I have played open mic nights mostly at the Treehouse; no one is booking me yet.

You are an inspiration Steve; you have never given up on your dream, do you have any advice for other musicians?

Do it because you love it. If you do it for any other reason, whether if it’s money or fame, etc, you will find yourself disappointed. If you do it because it is something you enjoy, you won’t have a problem.

Is there anything else you want to share?

I get carried away on a project and forget about time (Being abducted my little aliens in my mind*) and upon my eventual return to reality, I have no clue how much time has passed.

I won’t stop a creative spirit stride; I just keep going. Most of my relationships have failed due to my creative addiction.Thank God for my girlfriend to be very understanding!

If I had a super power, the world would make sense to me. I would end up being more like Hal Jordan (The Green Lantern)



He just wants to sing for you.

Please visit Steve’s music page here:

http://www.myspace.com/timidblue

Follow him on Twitter!

http://twitter.com/timidblue


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Interview With the Harber & Miller Band

July 30, 2009 at 2:58 PM (Interviews, Music, Concerts) (, , , )

Harber and Miller Band

I have a special treat for you today!  I interviewed the wonderful, talented Christian Harber of the Harber & Miller Band.

From their Myspace music page they are defined as:

“The quintessential southern rock band, but somehow never losing that small town identity that has branded them rock’s west Texas badboys. They’ve reigned as a genuine force of nature, boasting rock n’ roll’s concept of road warriors and show performances with songs like “My Release” and “Yesterday’s Fool”. Unleashing their songs at the beginning of 2005, the band seemed to capture a steadfast refusal to be just another southern rock band and will release a new EP winter 2009. 


The Harber and Miller Band defies genre sound and transforms southern rock and alternative rock with powerful, soulful vocals. The composition echoes the work of Lynard Skynard, The Black Crowes or even hints of artists like surround the style of Government Mule.”

The band members:

Christian Harber
Vocals & Guitar

David Miller
Vocals & Bass

Wes Korner
Drums

Juan Carlos
Lead Guitar


How did you guys get together and form The Harber and Miller Band?  When was it formed?

David Miller and I, Christian Harber, met at church sometime early 2005, few years before we actually started singing together.  One night I was playing “Wanted Dead or Alive” by Bon Jovi on the acoustic and David started singing harmonies with me.  I was immediately surprised and said;” wow, we sing really well together”.  We recorded our first CD less than a year later.

How long did it take for people to notice your great sound? (i.e., record deal)

We’re not really sure some people have gotten it yet…hahaha!  But our music is liked by the Gen Y and Baby boomer generation.  Our sound really defies genre.  We combine a plethora of styles from country down to alternative rock.  Our sound mixes our music preferences with a Southern Rock/Blues/Americana result.

What is your inspiration for your lyrics? How do you write them?

I (Christian Harber), I’m the songwriter and as cliché as it may sound, I’ve seen a lot and been through a lot in my life.  I realize that people struggle with different demons and different situations, much like me.  I think most of the songs I’ve written are about those battles.

Why are you branded the “Bad Boys”? Any good stories you can share?

Bad boys? I thought it was Baptist, LOL…just kidding.  We may be branded that but there’s nothing on the record that stands for it.  We certainly don’t follow too many rules but a lot of people say that we really know how to live.

What band do you most identify with?

Individually we all have way different flavors but together I think we can say that we…..have absolutely no idea!  What we do get is that we definitely defy specific genre but that our fans really enjoy the music we make.

What do you like to do in your spare time?  What hobbies do you most enjoy?

We’re Texas boys! BBQ and anything that gets us away from work and close to water or snow!  Just about anything; reading, movies, hiking, boating, tubing and having a killer time with friends and family.

Your new EP is coming out this winter; what should we expect?

We think this EP will finally showcase what our band is all about.  We’ve managed to pique the interest of serious music professionals, which we intend to, collaborate with in the studio.  This EP will definitely leave a deep mark in our music career with all the intention to not disappoint our fans.

So, when will you be coming to Columbus, Ohio so I can see you live and party with you?

That, my dear Misty, depends on just how well we continue our march towards our goals.  As soon as our EP is out, we have some marketing strategies that can possibly include supporting our EP in your area.  We would love for you to get to know us and enjoy a HMB night out with us “Bad Boys”. Thanks for interview, is our pleasure.

Please listen to their soulful, compelling music here: http://www.myspace.com/harberandmillerband

Follow them on Twitter!  http://twitter.com/HandMBand

I hope you fall in love with their music like I did.

Thank you guys for giving me this interview!  I thoroughly enjoyed it!

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