Please help me extend a warm welcome to Hugh C.N. Miller.
Welcome to the PBS Blog!
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Hugh C.N. Miller and I am from Johannesburg, South Africa
Okay. South Africa in the house.
My Uncle’s name was Hugh! What kind of music do you like?
Ava Max, Julia Michaels and loved Prince and the revolution.
Are you employed outside of writing?
Yes. I own my own design and web development studio for past ten years.
Do you design your own book covers? What’s that like?
I design my own book covers, website and book typesetting, since I am a graphic designer and web developer. I have also designed book covers for other people over the years. Love the control of knowing what I have seen in my mind as the cover and being able to achieve that myself and not having to hope a designer gets the picture in his.
Very nice! Are you married? Kids?
Yes. I’ve been married for twenty-seven years. I have one daughter, Samantha, 20 years old.
Wow. 27 years? That’s awesome! Let’s talk about writing. How did you get into Science Fiction?
Always have had a passion for Sci-Fi and prefer futuristic novels to everyday life events, also a nicer escape from reality.
I feel you. Is this your first book? How was the process of publishing?
This is my first book to be published, have written various stories in the last 30years, but remained only in my drawer. Thought it was time to pursue this dream with more energy and accomplish something I always wanted to be, an Author.
What do you think of the world we live in?
Think it needs love, tolerance between races. We need to understand that we all humans, on same sinful level in front of an almighty God to one day judge us on love.
Since you write about robots, I have to ask, religious or nah?
Yes, I believe in a creator and savior above all the superheroes, the real one who came to save humanity, Jesus Christ. There is so much evidence for design vs evolution, never mind the peace and joy that comes from believing in a God who is in control, and that includes covid19. My book is all about a case for the creator as seen by an Android robot.
What’s your favorite TV Show? Movie?
All time favorite move is The Matrix. TV Show: Lost
Okay, The Matrix is definitely a dope movie.
If you had one superpower that could change the world, what would it be?
A superpower to ensure every human has a little home and food every day.
I love that.
Thank you, Hugh, for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!
Hugh C.N. Miller is a South African Science Fiction Author, with his latest novel published and available on Amazon: “Interview with Things” He is a Graphic Designer and Web Developer at his own agency: HM Studio since 2011. He has over 30 years of extensive design and advertising experience.
…and if you are a fan of Science Fiction, check out his book. It’s giving me iRobot vibes!
About the Book:
In the year 2047, artificial intelligence with Androids segregated in massive domes manages a seemingly perfect world. In an apparent glitch in the Dome software, an Android discovers the essence of who he is was set for termination, a dark hidden secret that would threaten the stability of the entire human race as his relentless mission to find life, purpose, and freedom begins, plummeting David, a human journalist’s life into turmoil. In his quest to understand creation, evolution, free will, death, and faith, an unexpected new threat to humanity greater than the Androids emerge as the Federal Robotic Bureau hunts down this rogue robot in a breakneck chase.
Are you an author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE.
Please help me extend a warm welcome to Andi Brooks.
Welcome to the PBS Blog!
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Andi Brooks. I am originally from England, but I have lived in Tokyo for the last 15 years.
Nice! What would your perfect writing room look like?
That’s an interesting question as I was thinking about that only last week. I would love to have a desk in the bay window of a Victorian house overlooking the sea. A rugged, stormy coastline would suit me very well. I love to walk along the beach alone in winter and search the black waves for inspiration.
Yess. That sounds soo relaxing. Let’s talk about when you published your first book? What was that like?
My first book was a collaboration with the American writer Frank Dello Stritto. “Vampire Over London: Bela Lugosi in Britain” was originally published in 2000 and reprinted as an updated and expanded second edition in 2015. A biography of the famous Hollywood actor forever associated with Count Dracula’s role on stage and in the 1931 film, the book was the culmination of a decade of research. It was very exciting to see it in print and gratifying to have it universally praised by critics and readers.
Before working on the book, I wrote articles on vintage horror, sci-fi, and fantasy films for magazines in the UK and America. After the book was published, I put together a Bela Lugosi blog (https://beladraculalugosi.com/) to share the research material and wrote a silly poetry book, but I mainly devoted myself to writing music and promoting live shows in Tokyo.
Apart from one article on the love affair between Bela Lugosi and Clara Bow, which won the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Award in 2017, I wasn’t really involved in writing much until I threw myself into Ghostly Tales of Japan.
What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The most exciting thing?
The most difficult aspect of being a writer for me is trying to overcome a lack of faith in my ability. I generally know when an idea is good, but I can’t overcome my doubts about my skill as a writer. If I hadn’t been firm with myself, I would still be revising the stories in my latest book, but there has to come a time when you have to say that enough is enough and put your pen aside. As it was, the stories in Ghostly Tales of Japan went through endless rewrites. I agonized over every choice of word and punctuation. It is good to strive for perfection, but you have to realize that there is really no such thing. Being always dissatisfied is a good motivator always to try harder.
The best thing about being a writer is hearing back from readers who have enjoyed reading your work. It makes all of the pain that goes into writing worthwhile.
We do tend to judge ourselves harshly but hearing feedback from readers makes it worthwhile for sure. Andi, who is your favorite writer?
It depends on my mood, but H. G. Wells and H. P. Lovecraft were firm favourites for many years. The scale of their imaginations is astounding.
Wait, wait, wait. I gotta ask you about the TV show real quick. Lovecraft Country, did you watch? Like or Nah?
I’ve never heard of it!
Living in Japan, you can miss an awful lot unless you watch Netflix and the like, which I don’t. I always tend to hear about things long after the fact.
Lovecraft is great for radio adaptations, but tends not to do so well on the screen. I did love the Reanimator films, but I haven’t seen many over good adaptations. I did a quick search online for Lovecraft Country and watched a clip. I can’t really tell if it’s for me or not, but you have sparked my interest, so I will give it a go.
And give it a go you should!
I also love the ghost stories written by M. R. James. I don’t think he has ever been better. At the moment, however, I am completely immersed in the writing of Carlos Ruiz Zafón. The Shadow of the Wind is one of my all-time favourite novels. I have reread it so many times. Although I said that there is no such thing as perfection, this book is as close as it comes. Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s skill was breathtaking. It is such a tragedy that he died so early. The world has been denied the many wonderful books he could have written, but what he left behind is something to be very grateful for. I have literally just put down The Angel’s Game, the sequel to The Shadow of the Wind. I can’t wait for the next book in the series, The Prisoner of Heaven, to pop through my letterbox.
I love it. What is the most thought-provoking book you’ve ever read?
Perhaps Oh! The Places You Will Go by Dr. Seuss. I read it to my son many times when he was small. The truth in that wonderful book will always be relevant. It made me reflect on the ups and downs of my life. Things certainly haven’t always gone to plan, but the disappointments resulted in me taking a different path, which led to where I am today, which is not a bad place to be.
What is the worst advice you’ve ever been given?
When I was at school, a career advisor told me that I should forget dreaming of being a writer, an artist, or a musician and get a job in a factory because it was regular work. I have ignored the advice of his like ever since.
I don’t blame you! Like, whaatt.
Outside of writing, what are some of your passions?
Music has been a big part of my life since my teens. I can’t imagine a day without music. I’ve been in many bands, either playing bass, guitar or singing. About three years ago, I put the guitars aside and decided to start making electronic music. It was something that had been in the back of my mind for a very long time. I regret not trying earlier because it has given me total musical freedom, but better late than never! You can find my electronic musical misadventures on my Bandcamp page (https://airstripone1.bandcamp.com/).
I love it. Musical Therapy is a real thing for sure. We love music on the PBS Blog. In fact, today’s Throwback Thursday! What kind of music do you like?
I listen to a very wide range of music. I like to have something to suit whatever mood I am in. My first music love was the 1970s British band T. Rex. They inspired me to try my hand at making my own music. David Bowie was also a big influence in the 1970s. Then along came punk rock, which was the perfect soundtrack for my teens. Buzzcocks, Siouxsie and the Banshees, X-ray Spex, and, of course, The Sex Pistols had a deep impact on me.
Towards the end of the 1970s and into the early 1980s, I loved British electronic music. Along the way, I’ve listened to everything from folk to jazz. I must give a special mention to Christmas music. I love Christmas and its music, both traditional and popular. I think I have around two hundred CDs of Christmas music!
Sheesh, Andi. Lol
Today, I have listened to underground Japanese electronic music, Nina Simone, the Blade Runner soundtrack by Vangelis, some solo albums by Mick Karn, and David Sylvian of the band Japan. I have an insatiable appetite for music, and I am addicted to buying CDs and records. I try to find something new to listen to almost every day.
What songs have you completely memorized?
My memory is absolutely dreadful! There are some song which I have been listening to for over forty years, and I still don’t know all the lyrics. It’s bizarre! The only song, apart from ones which I have written – and I’m not sure that I can remember them, which I think I know all of the lyrics of is, like many people, Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. It’s not a song I usually listen to, but somehow it has wormed its way into my brain. If you only know the words to one song, it’s not a bad choice. I remember lines from movies more but often forget the plots. I love movies as much as music. One day I would like to make my own.
If you could live in a movie, which would it be?
I’m not sure that I would like to live in any of the movies I watch, being a lifelong horror fan.
Even the non-horror films I like tend to have elements of darkness that I wouldn’t want to experience. If I’m forced to choose, perhaps it would be Lost Horizon – the Frank Capra original, not the musical remake. I don’t think I would hesitate to accept the offer of escaping the madness of this world to spend my days in the utopia of Shangri-La.
If you could, would you visit the past?
I would love to. There are so many great periods I would like to visit, but wherever I decided to go, I think I would stop off in 1979 first to give a few words of advice to my teenage self. I’m not sure that he would listen, but there are two facts of life that I wish he had known!
Thank you, Andi, for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!
Andi Brooks is a writer of English and Irish descent based in Tokyo. He began writing on vintage horror and science fiction films for American and UK magazines in 1991. With Frank J. Dello Stritto, he co-wrote “Vampire Over London: Bela Lugosi in Britain” (Cult Movies Press 2000), a critically acclaimed biography of the Hollywood legend forever associated with the role of Dracula. In 2017, he received the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Award for ‘Dracula and the It Girl,’ an article which recounted the short-lived love affair between Bela Lugosi and silent screen star Clara Bow. In 2020, he published “Ghostly Tales of Japan,” a collection of thirty original ghostly stories set in various Japanese history periods. He is currently writing a second volume of ghostly Japanese stories and a guide to the terrifying sites of Tokyo.
Wherever you are in the world, welcome. I have been MIA a minute, and I’ve noticed an uptick of Freedom Readers to this blog. You guys are fantastic.
If you have not already done so, be sure to visit the About Page to learn more about me and this blog.
My name is Yecheilyah, pronounced e-SEE-li-yah, aka EC. It is a Hebrew name meaning Yah Lives. In case you are wondering, I was not born with this name. I follow in the footsteps of Maya Angelou, Ntozake Shange, Sonia Sanchez, Amiri Baraka, Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Kwame Ture, and others who are not widely known by their birth names.
At some point, I imagine these people, like I, have awakened to a truth that demanded a better version of themselves and a better way of living. Not only did they strive to change their perspective on life, but they changed their names to fit the newly developed person, they became. (I am drafting an article called “The Power of Your Name,” about the vital role our name plays in author branding. I should have it ready for you sometime next week).
Speaking of growing, this blog is so much more than what it was. It is the primary platform from which I share my work and the work of others. From our home office, living room, or bedroom, we can reach people worldwide. Isn’t that amazing? While I don’t intend to blog forever, I hope what I share here serves a purpose. With so many people home now because of this global pandemic, I take my role as writer/author/blogger even more seriously than ever. I know now more than any other time the power of the written word and its capability to change lives.
This blog runs mainly by a few weekly posts you might want to know about.
The Women with Blue Eyes – I usually author poetry and black historical fiction, but I have a secret love affair with Fantasy and Sci-Fi. My first published novel (The Aftermath, 2012) was Sci-Fi. I got interested in writing in this genre after reading George Orwell’s 1984 in 2008.
The Women with Blue Eyes is a free fantasy story I have been sharing freely here on the blog. When Tina’s nephew Ronnie died, it traumatized her. It wasn’t just that he died. It was the way he died. After taking custody of Ronnie’s sisters and brother, Tina experienced supernatural phenomenons that eventually led to therapy and hallucinogenic suppressants. This didn’t help.
She meets Azbuga, an Archangel sent to tie the missing pieces together, still connecting her to Ronnie’s death.
Paschar (pu-shar), is the angel of vision, once tasked with guarding the veil between the physical world and the heavens, between consciousness and unconsciousness, between awareness and illusion. She once saw the beauty of visions from the Almighty and projected these into human consciousness. Now, she is limited, capable only of seeing physical beauty, extracting energy from mortal man, and projecting illusions. Paschar has fallen, and in a jealous rage, she attacks black men for their energy. How dare he choose them over her?
Can Tina, Jason, and Az defeat Paschar and her Legion once and for all? More black men are dying, and you can’t fight spiritual warfare with physical weapons.
This series is divided into two parts, and I am sharing freely part one, chapters 1-20. Click here to read chapters 1-17. Chapter 18 publishes next week. (Note: The Women with Blue Eyes is a Rated-R Fantasy series. You should know there is some profanity for those sensitive to cursing, and adult language).
My intent is to use this platform as a motivation for completing the series and one day turning it into a full-length novel.
Throwback Thursday Jams – If I was on the edge of a cliff, music would be one force pulling me back from jumping.
Okay, well, that’s a lil dramatic but, yea. I love music. Tee Hee.
So while I’m a serious person, I am also a silly and musical person. I love R&B and old school soul, and Thursdays are all about introducing you to some of my favorite throwback jams. Now, when I say throwback, I don’t mean that they are all technically throwbacks. I post music ranging from Old School (60-80s), the 90s (my fav), and the early 2000s. And sometimes I might post something new-ish because I just like it. Check out the Throwback Thursday category to jam out.
Black History Fun Fact Friday -Black History Fun Fact Friday is a weekly blog series of articles focused on Israelite/Black/African American history. While the title of the series includes the words “Fun Facts,” not all pieces are “fun,” in the sense that is is all positive. My intention with this series is to present black history as it is without adding to or taking away from the truth, despite how brutal or uncomfortable it may be to read.
Take Sun-Down Towns, for example. The unfortunate truth is that some all-white communities today are all-white neighborhoods because they were once sun-down towns or cities where blacks were driven out and not allowed to enter after sun-down. Read more about that here.
And while this is a weekly series, we have had no new articles in a few weeks. There’s a good reason for that, and I will let you all know about that exciting bit of news later!! In the meantime, if you would like to participate, I am still accepting black history guest blog posts for this feature. Please click here to learn how to apply.
These are some top weekly posts you can get used to. In between them, I share poetry, quotes, blog, and writing tips I call Indie Author Basics with EC based on my experience as an Independent Author.
Byron brushed the lint from his uniform as he approached the home of his last client of the day. Walking up the steps he noticed the beautiful brick home in the well-groomed neighborhood. Must be HOA, he thought. Homeowners Associations had these rich white neighborhoods looking like no one lived in the houses and whoever lived in them certainly had no children. The grass is always a vibrant green and cuts in perfect lines, there is no trash on the sidewalks and although he saw dogs and cats, even their poop wasn’t visible. Damn. Byron knocked on the door and looked down at his paperwork.
The door swung open and a woman smiled back at him.
“Good afternoon ma’am my name…”
Byron paused, mesmerized. The woman’s skin was dark chocolate, her hair so silky black it looked fake, her lips thick and plush with a coat of the reddest lipstick he’d ever seen, and she wore those childbearing hips well. But none of that had anything on her eyes. The woman had the most beautiful blue eyes he’d ever seen. Strange against such cocoa butter skin. They had to be a contact lens. He could look right through them. He cleared his throat. A woman had never had him so caught off guard.
“My name is Byron Fisher with Guaranteed Insurance Co. We have you listed here as requesting a return visit.” Byron held up a hand. “I know. I’m not the guy from last time but you were on my route, so I thought I’d stop by and see which plan might interest you,” he smiled.
“Oh yes,” said the woman, her voice soft and delicate.
Damn, thought Byron, his manhood growing. He’d better get it together quick. The Khaki pants he wore today wouldn’t do much to hide the excitement. He cursed himself for not deciding on jeans.
She could hear his thoughts and smiled despite herself. She could see in more than one direction as she read Byron’s energy. Her eyes were cameras quickly processing the environment. They zoomed in on the car coming up the street, the lady walking her dog on the corner and the mailman who was late again. Even the candy wrapper in the cracks of the concrete. If she concentrated harder, she could make out the image of the child who left it there while waiting for the school bus to arrive.
Byron’s biography flashed against the screens that were her eyes. It told her he was single with no children and plenty of money to spend. He was also an orphan as a child and moved around a lot before enlisting in the military. After the army, Byron got into the Insurance business. Life never looked better. Well, almost never. The woman smiled. She saw his weakness too, his hurt.
He was in love once. Some detective woman he couldn’t have because she dated his friend. The woman’s eyes flashed. She was digging. The chief warned of digging. It required the use of too much energy, but she had to know. So, she dug, and her eyes were claws that pierced his skin for secrets. It was safe. At least now. He couldn’t feel anything. At least not yet.
Byron wiped at his brow, frowning at the sudden wave of heat on his face.
The woman smiled, the flashing red dots on the screen of her eyes signaling the passion emanating from the man in front of her. He wanted her. This would be easy. She stopped digging before he fainted in broad daylight. The chief wouldn’t have that again.
“So very nice to meet you,” said the woman. “I am sure we can find something that I like. Please, come in.”
Byron smiled as he walked into the home of the beautiful blue-eyed woman. He couldn’t believe his luck. Some women were easy. Maybe he’ll get her to sign off on more than just papers. He smiled and her blue eyes flashed, a smirk on her face as she closed the door behind him.