Saturday, July 19, 2014

Writers4Higher features Brinn Colenda

Welcome to Writers4Higher




The purpose of the Writers4Higher blog: to feature authors in a new light, a fresh look at the way writers use their talents and life energies to uplift humankind. Writers4Higher doesn’t promote religious or political views. Authors are asked to answer three simple questions: simple, yet complex.


This issue, Writers4Higher features

Brinn  Colenda




Hi, Brinn. Welcome to the Writers4Higher family!


Tell me about yourself. Your book(s), your life, your inspiration. 


I have always been in love with books. When I was a kid growing up in Virginia and North Carolina, I read everything I could get my hands on--mysteries, histories, biographies, thrillers, Reader's Digest, Boy's Life, it didn't matter. During the summers, I would stay up all night reading. Completely intellectually undisciplined and stuffed full of useless trivia, I read my way into the Air Force Academy by acing multiple-choice standardized tests. I quickly learned that I was not nearly as smart as I thought I was...something that has been repeatedly re-emphasized as I continue to meet amazing people on my life's path-- there are lots of intelligent, talented, and wonderful people on this planet.

I had the good fortune to spend two years working in the U.S. Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia, as the Chief of the Air Force Section of the U.S. Military Group-Bolivia. I checked out in the embassy Beechcraft C-12 Super King aircraft and flew all over that gorgeous country, going places that most Bolivians had never visited. Tour completed, I won a Post Graduate Fellowship at the Hoover Institution of War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. Again, I was surrounded by people with enormous intellects-- Nobel Prize winners, former cabinet secretaries, ambassadors, tenured professors, and the like. All seemed fascinated by my stories about Bolivia. Eventually, I got the message-- if these well traveled and educated people did not have a clue about Bolivia, then non-Nobel Prize winners, non-former cabinet secretaries, non-ambassadors, non-tenured professors, etc probably wouldn't either. So, I started writing the stories down. As I am a great fan of thrillers, I decided to write a thriller located in Bolivia, based on my experiences, suitably enhanced of course (I am a pilot, after all!).

Then life intervened and my wife and I welcomed three baby boys into our lives within the space of twenty months. Yikes! So, I put the writing on hold for more than a decade. Eventually, I started working with the manuscript at night. With the help of some really good (and extra patient) writing coaches, I finally beat it into shape, even won an award. The result was a political-military thriller, The Cochabamba Conspiracy.

Now I was hooked on the euphoria of writing. So I wrote book two of the series -- Chita Quest, published by Southern Yellow Pine Publishing. The story takes the reader from New Mexico to Vietnam, China, Mongolia, and ultimately, the city of Chita in Siberia as Colonel Tom Callahan tries to unravel the mystery of what happened to his father who was shot down at the end of the Vietnam War. As he starts his quest, friends and associates begin to die violent deaths. Coincidentally, in Chita Quest, Tom Callahan is aided by Asian governments who are concerned about the growing power and militancy of the Russian president who is attempting to gain concessions and power in Asia-- much as the real President Putin is attempting in Eastern Europe today.

Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?


I plan on expanding this planned Callahan Saga “Trilogy” into a six or seven book series, extending backwards to the end of the Napoleonic Wars, then bringing it forward to the beginning of the Cochabamba Conspiracy.

Book #3, which will take place mostly in and around New Mexico, is about halfway done. I am also trying my hand at short stories.

I would love to use my writing as a way of traveling and giving talks. I love to meet people. If I can inspire people to read more, to write more, to think more, I will be satisfied.

How do you use your talents/time to help others?


I was a teacher in the Air Force, specifically a jet pilot flight instructor. I love to teach, especially working with young people. When we first arrived in Angel Fire, I became a ski instructor and an accredited snowboard/freestyle skiing judge. Eventually I became the Series Director for the New Mexico Series of the United States of America Snowboard Association (USASA) where I was in charge of all the official snowboard and freestyle skiing competitions in New Mexico.

Currently, I am an elected Village councilor for the Village of Angel Fire.

I am a member of the Vietnam Veterans of America and serve on the board of directors of the David Westphall Foundation which helps maintain the New Mexico Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park, the first Vietnam memorial in the United States and a model for The Wall in Washington D.C.


Would you like to find Brinn?

Check out the links to this talented author:

Brinn Colenda's Blog
Brinn Colenda on Goodreads



Be sure to visit the Writers4Higher Market! We have gear for the writer in you.

Rhett DeVane
Fiction with a Southern Twist





Saturday, July 5, 2014

Writers4Higher features Andrea Brunais

Welcome to Writers4Higher




The purpose of the Writers4Higher blog: to feature authors in a new light, a fresh look at the way writers use their talents and life energies to uplift humankind. Writers4Higher doesn’t promote religious or political views. Authors are asked to answer three simple questions: simple, yet complex.


This issue, Writers4Higher features
Andrea Brunais




Hi, Andrea. Welcome to the Writers4Higher family!

1. Tell me about yourself. Your book(s), your life, your inspiration.

After many years in newspapers, I’m now a sort of “backpack journalist” writing news releases and creating video news stories for Virginia Tech. More than just a marketable skill, writing has been a way for me to satisfy a drive for creative expression while expressing certain truths about the world. I was lucky enough to learn, early on, that a good writer isn’t expressing himself or herself; the best writers express the reader.

My first novel, Night of the Litani, was set against the civil war of Lebanon of 1975. I wanted to keep readers enthralled while helping them learn about the Middle East in a way that did not vilify ethnic groups including Arabs, who were horribly stereotyped then and still are. I strove to make a page-turner but at the same time earn critics’ respect. I’m happy to say I succeeded on both counts, though I’m sad to say the book did not make me a household name!

In my new novel, Mercedes Wore Black, I create a contemporary scenario where readers can experience the changing face of journalism as well as be introduced, up close and personal, to some of the fragile Florida environments I’m blessed to have visited. As a journalist, I’ve flown 10,000 feet above Crystal River watching a federal wildlife agent count manatees, and I’ve also been out in the shallow, glittering waters of Tampa Bay where seagrasses and tiny shrimp and other sealife gain footholds. I’ve also seen some old Florida pols in the Legislature wheel and deal, so that’s another setting I wanted to share with readers. Finally, I’ve seen the puppet-masters control the Florida Legislature – the special interests who spread big money around and thwart the public interest.

My inspiration comes from those authors such as Kurt Vonnegut, whom I once met, who subscribe to the school of thought that “writing is easy. You just open a vein and bleed.” (Digression: The Quote Investigator attributes the saying to Paul Gallico, author of The Poseidon Adventure, in the 1946 book Confessions of a Story Writer.) The best writers eschew the easy, clich├ęd strings of sentences that often pepper one’s first drafts. One of my great college writing teachers, Thomas E. Sanders at the University of South Florida, said: “There is no great writing; only great rewriting.”


2. Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?

I hope to continue writing about my characters Janis Pearl Hawk and Leah St. Clair, fueled by their passion for good journalism and the environment. Their adventures could spawn a series of Florida-based novels. I can’t wait to see reader response! I also hope, one day, to employ my writing skills on behalf of vulnerable populations, when I have the luxury to write without worrying about monetary gain.


3. How do you use your talents/time to help others?

I mentor young women writers on the job, and I also do what I can to promote women novelists. I’ve been doing book reviews for various publications for years and go out of my way to review women’s work because so much of the media favors men. (If you don’t believe me, do a count!) As a journalist, I wrote a lot about child abuse in Florida. I found that many politicians are oblivious of the fact that some 40 children a year die from abuse or neglect. One day I’d like to devote myself full time to improving the prospects of children at risk of abuse. On a personal level, I also hope one day to write important things down for my children – to share with them the principles and beliefs I’ve tried to live by. And I hope my fiction continues to be an avenue for the expression of values, even as its primary goal is entertainment.


Would you like to find Andrea?

Check out the links to this talented author:







Be sure to visit the Writers4Higher Market! We have gear for the writer in you.

Rhett DeVane
Fiction with a Southern Twist





Writers4Higher features author and blog master Darrell Laurant

  Hi Darrell. Welcome to Writers4Higher. Tell us about yourself. I am something of a hybrid creature, geographically speaking...