Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Novel Saving Miguel - Does Father REALLY Know Best?

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     After reading Saving Miguel, you may come to the conclusion that this epic drama could have been prevented if only the relationship between eight-year old Miguel and his father was different. Isn't that how it usually works between parent and child? Anatoly Brushnikov, Miguel's father, was one of the most powerful and richest men in the world and his relationship with Miguel was built on his experience of his own relationship with his father.

     Anatoly's father, Miguel's grandfather, had been one of the richest and most corrupt business barons the world had ever known. But with his obsession to rule the world, Anatoly's father physically and emotionally ignored Anatoly while at the same time placing unrealistic expectations on Anatoly to 'follow him into the 'family' business'.

     When Anatoly reached adulthood and had his own sons, his father's warped view of fatherhood was passed on to yet another generation of Brushnikovs through Miguel and his brother Thomas. Under no real fault of his own,  Anatoly was destined to repeat the same mistakes and inflict the same childhood traumas on Miguel and his brother as he had endured himself under his own father. 

     Without spoiling the story, the below dialogue is between Anatoly, Miguel's father; Thomas, Miguel's brother; and Miguel. 

     Isabella, Miguel's mother, plays a minor role in this particular scene.

     Here is the scene. The family is in their opulent dining room, surrounded by servants, eating dinner right after Miguel had run away to the city and then was retrieved by his father's Gestapo-like army. Miguel had not spoken a word to the family in weeks and this was not the first time he had run away. Miguel's brother Thomas attempts to 'stir the family pot' at the dinner table by asking Miguel where he had been. Anatoly attempts to intervene.  

    “So, Miguel, where did you go today?” Thomas asked.

     Miguel looked at Thomas but did not utter a word. He was too busy creating sculptures on his
plate with green beans and mashed potatoes. Anatoly glared at Thomas with a look that needed no
explanation; Thomas, do not start something with your brother! Uncomfortable with any conflict
whatsoever, Isabella wiped the corner of her mouth with her napkin, removing a small portion of
food and a large glob of bright red lipstick. She peered at her husband nervously, hoping that he
would stop Thomas from going any further with Miguel.

     “What?” Thomas asked his father innocently. “I am just trying to find out where my little brother went today. I was worried.”

     Anatoly laughed at Thomas’s lame attempt at sincerity and then replied, “Where Miguel went today is between him and…his parents.”

     Then to prove to Thomas that he had the situation under control, Anatoly looked at Miguel and asked, “Miguel, where did you go today?”

     Miguel did not appear to hear his father. He continued to build a white and green mountain out of mashed potatoes and green beans.

     "Miguel, I asked you a question!” Anatoly stated in a most stern voice, but then he
immediately backed off with more of a plea to the boy, “Please answer me, Miguel.”
     Miguel did not acknowledge his father. 
       The Brushnikov family is not your ordinary TV family from the 1950s. But, you will find that out on your own when you read Saving Miguel


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Friday, July 26, 2013

A Book Review of Saving Miguel, a Novel by John Bradford Branney

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Novel from author John Bradford Branney portrays the aftermath of a global financial collapse.

Saving Miguel is a novel set in the near future and asks us to confront a world where pensions are gone, hedge funds have dissolved into smoke and the banks have all collapsed. Onto this canvas, Branney paints a stark picture of the rise of the Oligarchs, a few rich and powerful men to rule over this new world. These new monarchs govern their worldly fiefdoms and subjects through fear and intimidation, establishing a modern-day feudal system rivalling that of Medieval Europe.

Author Branney spent twelve years observing the world’s financial markets and watching them implode. During this time, the world has witnessed the technology crash, subprime loan crisis, an overall sluggish global economy, persistently high unemployment, out-of-control government spending and stimulus, the European banking crisis, and the slow growth in the previously
hot economy in Asia.

The green shoots of recovery are delicate at best and the first winds of complacency are likely to uproot them and cast them to the rocks. This book serves as a timely reminder of the need to tend these shoots with care.

“I watched the financial decline unfold like a horror story playing out,” said John. “I wondered what the world would look like if the global economy collapsed. What would happen to governments? What would happen to ordinary citizens who rely on pension funds and investments for retirement? Who would rule this new world?”

 Saving Miguel  takes place in the not too distant future when the global economy collapses into the
deepest abyss the world has ever known, pushing over seventy-five per cent of the world’s population into poverty. Most of these people lose to this global economic crash. Security, money, dreams, and most importantly, hope for the future all destroyed by the greed of a few. Out of this world comes an eight-year old boy named Miguel who initiates a roller coaster ride of events that turns this world upside down. Miguel is just a boy but he is the only hope the world has left…

John Bradford Branney was born and raised in the United States and attended the University of Wyoming where he received a B.S. degree in Geology. Upon graduating, John entered the oil and gas industry as an engineer. Over his career, he held various positions in field operations, sales and marketing, logistics, program management, and the supply chain. During his career, he also obtained a MBA degree from the University of Colorado. John currently lives in Houston Texas with his wife, Theresa. Saving Miguel is the second published book for Branney.

For more information, visit the author at John Bradford Branney, Author  on Facebook and at his other blog at http://johnbbranney3.blogspot.com/

Saving Miguel is available in all good bookshops and online retailers both in paperback and eBook formats

Mirador Publishing may be contacted via their website at www.miradorpublishing.com

Now, click the link to read what others are saying about Saving Miguel!! 

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SAVING MIGUEL! It's a Bird! It's a Plane! No, It's Another Drone!

CLICK to JOIN Miguel on his Quest!!

      It was a hot and sticky day in the city’s marketplace. Dust and the sour smells of decaying meat and vegetables permeated the stifling air. The large crowd of people bumped into each other as they attempted to walk up and down the bustling street, turning left and right through a maze of food stands set up along the street. For a few tokens issued by the Monarchy, citizens could buy one of the few gaunt animal carcasses hanging on hooks or the past ripe vegetables rotting in the sun.

     A small metallic bird hovered over the marketplace, searching for a human who matched the facial features programmed into its tiny electronic brain. The metallic bird zoomed back and forth from one end of the marketplace to the other, recording the dimensions and measurements of each face in the crowd, so it could crosscheck these against its mission parameters.

    A long haired man with a long, unkempt beard stood on one corner of the bustling marketplace selling cheap hallucinogenic drugs to any unfortunate citizen who needed them, but more importantly could pay for them. The long haired man looked up in the sky and watched the silver-colored bird buzz back and forth, up and down the length of the marketplace, like a bumblebee on steroids.  

     The long haired man ripped open his backpack and pulled out what appeared to be an old radar gun used by police officers from days in the past. He flipped on the radar gun’s power switch and pointed it in the little metallic bird’s direction. When the metallic bird zoomed past the man again, he aimed and pulled the trigger on the radar gun. The metallic bird’s tiny engine sputtered and then stopped midair, sending the metallic bird on a collision course with the ground. However, before the metallic bird met its fate, it had already sent to its master the GPS coordinates of its prey.

                                             Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (or drone) - A common sight
                                                   in the 'Big Brother is Watching You' world of Saving Miguel.   

       The above four paragraphs were taken from my action adventure called Saving Miguel.
The inspiration for Saving Miguel came from a haunting concern I have about the global economy
and my vision of what the world would look like IF and when global economic Armageddon

      In Saving Miguel, the post-economic Armageddon world resembles Russia in the 1990s after the
Berlin Wall fell. A few super-rich opportunistic and well-connected individuals or Oligarchs in
Russia ended up controlling the resources and power of the country while ordinary people lived in poverty and did most of the suffering. In Saving Miguel, this same situation expands globally!         

       Like most people, I have watched the global economy with concern as it has flirted with disaster
off and on for the past twelve years or so. In my career in the oil and gas industry, I was trained to be
a scientist and a businessman, not an economist, but when I read and listened to what the media
was reporting and how the markets were performing in 2008, it did not take too much imagination to see how close the world was to unraveling, economically speaking. Even today, the symptoms are there for a global economic upheaval; an overall weak global economy, persistently high unemployment, out-of-control government spending and stimulus, the European banking crisis, the weakening of the U.S. dollar, high government debt, and the slowing of growth in the once hot Asian economy.

      Saving Miguel is not a story about the global economic Armageddon. It is a story about the
aftermath of global economic Armageddon and how people have learned to survive. More importantly, it is a story about the resilience of  common people and how they find hope in a world where there is little.   

       I hope you decide to give Saving Miguel a try and escape to another time and place! Enjoy the journey!

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