Monday, August 26, 2013

Villains in thriller SAVING MIGUEL, oh my!!!

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     In my adventure novel called Saving Miguel, there are numerous bad guys, sometimes more bad guys than the reader can count on one hand. But, some of these bad guys actually make it to a higher level on the Badness Richter Scale, they make it all the way to the level of...drum roll  please...VILLAIN!

     We all have our favorite villains from books, movies, and TV and we root for them to win or be defeated. In my opinion, the difference between a plain bad guy and a real villain is that the villain somehow makes the viewer or reader forget about the villain's dark side, even for a split second.     

     Below is a short scene I pulled from my novel Saving Miguel. In this scene, one of my characters named Mr. Stewart receives a package from a business associate. Based on what he finds, the reader should be able to determine that Stewart is not your normal kind of guy. From this short scene, is it possible to determine if Mr. Stewart is a good guy, bad guy or villain? You be the judge.

Stewart stood staring at the object. It was flesh-colored, cylindrical and small. Stewart lowered his head over the hood of his vehicle and noticed the object had a fingernail. He looked at the other end of the object and it turned out to be the bloody stump of a finger. After the initial shock, Stewart
picked the finger up and studied it. He was staring at the top two joints of a very small finger, still warm from the bubble wrap. This Ahmed character is one nasty bloke! Stewart thought, smiling at the discovery.  
Stewart set the finger down on the bubble wrap and peered into the manila envelope to ensure he had gotten everything out. Near the bottom of the manila envelope was a small piece of paper that Stewart pulled out. Written in a childish scrawl on the paper was the following; a sampel 4 DnA or figerprint. Stewart studied the clouds in the sky while regaining his composure. He then carefully wrapped the finger up into the bubble wrap and placed it in the envelope.  

     So what do you think? Is Stewart a good guy, bad guy or villain? You will have to read Saving Miguel to find out the answer if you don't already know. 
     So, what makes a memorable villain? What is the difference between a bad guy and a villain? I am sure everyone has a different opinion, but there have to be some common factors? I have listed a few factors that I believe influence a character to be categorized as a villain versus just an ordinary bad guy. 

1.      A redeeming quality or characteristic that allows the reader or viewer to ignore or overlook the atrocious behavior the person is demonstrating. This redeeming characteristic can be charm, a good sense of humor, being a good parent or something else that distracts us from the bad behavior.  One of my favorite villains of all time was Tony Soprano. The dark side of him was a murderer, philanderer, major criminal, and sociopath. But, underneath this harsh sociopath was a little boy who could be charming and persuasive. After all, his seedy behavior was his mother's fault or that's what he leads you to believe in the show! Tony was the life of the barbeque when he was on his best behavior and when he wasn' out.

Tony Soprano - Villain or bad guy?


2.      Intelligence. The stereotypical bad guy usually does not have much in the old intelligence  department. They commit crimes until their stupidity catches up with them and then they are caught. It is hard to emotionally connect to these 'bad guys', but add a personality, some intelligence or a high IQ and that bad guy becomes a villain. Let me use Dr. Hannibal Lecter as an example. He was a serial killer and cannibal who once said, "A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti." Even though he was a psychotic killer, some people actually emotionally connected with Hannibal the Cannibal, including young Clarice Starling, the FBI agent who became his confidant. Without his intelligence, Hannibal Lecter was just another run-of-the-mill serial killer. With his intelligence, Hannibal Lecter became interesting, someone to converse with about art or wine, as long as he was on the opposite side of the shatterproof glass.
Hannibal Lecter - Villain or bad guy? 

3.      Moral compass off kilter. This is one characteristic shared by both bad guys and villains. They are missing a moral compass. These people do not know the difference between right or wrong, or maybe they don't care if their deed is right or wrong. Where there is no guilt, there are no qualms.

4.      Believable. The character cannot be too far over the top. Extreme examples on both sides of the 'villain bell curve' will not be believable to the reader or viewer. They have to be bad enough to be a threat but not so bad that the character moves from believable to fantasy. 
Walter White - Villain or bad guy?

Check out the bad guys and villains in Saving Miguel and then drop me a note. Tell me what you liked about them, what you didn't like about them, and whether they are villains or merely just bad guys. While you are at it, Click to order another of my book, Light Hidden by Darkness, you can take a another trip without leaving the farm! ;).  
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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Saving Miguel! - A Book About Hope!

Figure 1Saving Miguel, a novel by
John Bradford Branney. A terrifying
look at what could happen if the world
stays on its current trajectory.
   Click Here to Enter Adventure 

It began really unraveling on September 11, 2001. Not only could the terrorists get away with striking civilian  targets inside the United States of America's borders, the terrorists could inflict a security virus on the U.S. economy that has yet to recover. The attack by terrorists on U.S. soil led to the retaliation by the U.S. on Iraq and Afghanistan soil. Twelve years later, America is still engaged in these two wars, paying for it with both lives and dollars. Add the cost of these two wars to the cost of additional security at airports, sports events, and our borders, plus economic stimulus programs, plus government bailouts, plus the unprecedented domestic spending spree on food stamps, cell phones, and welfare, plus Obamacare, and what happens? Fire up the old printing press and make some more of those U.S. dollars because the United States of America is overextended. 
Figure 2 - Afghanistan War rages on
with both human and economic casualties.
Courtesy of Huffington Post.

But long term, can the U.S. economy continue on its current fiscal and economic path? How long will U.S. investors like China continue to finance our fiscal irresponsibility? When will investors in t-bills from the good old U.SA. say enough is enough? And what happens when the U.S. can no longer find investors to fund its massive debt? What happens to the value and the spending power of the U.S. dollar as more and more money is printed to cover the ever increasing government debt?

Figure 3 - This is why we now have four dollar loaves of bread in the U.S.
The U.S. dollar that our parents and grandparents knew is no longer worth
what it was and as our government piles on more and more debt, the U.S. dollar
will buy even less. Photo courtesy of the Resilience Group.   

The U.S. dollar cannot sustain its clout in the world marketplace if it continues on the same path it is heading. The politicians in Washington can talk all they want about the U.S. dollar being the bastion and bellwether of the global economy, but as the U.S. continues to pile on more and more debt, funded by an ever increasing supply of U.S. dollars, sooner or later the bubble bursts and the U.S. dollar plummets in value, causing the biggest global economic landslide the world has ever known.

So, is the world of Saving Miguel realistic? Is there enough hope and good sense in the world to prevent it from happening? Read the book and see what the horrific consequences are if we do not get a grip on our governments.

Not everywhere in the economy is gloomy. I want to close this post number 6 on a positive note. I am providing a link on Mark Carney, the new governor of the Bank of England. At this stage, Britain's economy is not as dire as many predicted it would be at this stage. They have had two consecutive quarters of growth and according to this article their manufacturing sector is strengthening and oil shale drilling has curbed inflation on fuel prices. Good job, Britain!

  Alex Brummer on Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England

                                                         Click Here for the World of Miguel

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Saving Miguel Presents a Terrifying Vision of World Economic Collapse

            In my novel Saving Miguel, it was my intention to paint a realistic picture of what the world would look like after Global Economic Armageddon. In the harsh new world that exists after the world economy has collapsed, the values of major currencies have plummeted; countries, companies and entire industries have disappeared; unemployment has skyrocketed to over 70 per cent; governments and their politicians have fallen from grace and prosperity.

This new world is now owned and run by a few, wealthy Oligarchs who treat the citizens of the world as their subjects and the world's resources as their own.

         But, how did the global economy escalate to the point where this vision could actually occur? It did not happen over night. The world economy has gotten progressive worse and more volatile over the last decade. We are now seeing the results of overspending and fiscal irresponsibility by governments and individuals alike. Countries, cities, companies, and individuals are declaring bankruptcy in droves. The sluggish world economy progresses on a wing and a song.

        The link below is to a video called Economic Collapse 2014. It summarizes the current political and economic situation in the most powerful nation in the world, the United States of America. Many commentators compare the U.S. to another great empire that is destined to fall, just like the  Roman Empire. Both empires lived in excess, overextending themselves. Both empires were led by corrupt and ineffective politicians. If the United States falls, like the Roman Empire did, the domino effect to other economies would be devastating. 

What can we do? Well we can take the advise of such pundits as Glenn Beck and have x number of years of food supply or build a bomb shelter or arm ourselves, but that assumes we cannot stop this economic slide that has already begun.

US Government Budget Deficit Spending. Courtesy
The next best thing is to replace these people in Washington who have ineffectively led the government. You will see them in this video. These lawmakers have put this country in jeopardy through poor legislation and pork belly economics. Where are the elected officials who will reestablish fiscal responsibility and work to get the country living within its means, before this world becomes the world of Miguel!

I hope you enjoy Saving Miguel and provide me feedback after you have read it. Now, please enjoy the video.

Economic Collapse 2014

Friday, August 2, 2013

Saving Miguel - Novel Presents Terrifying Vision of World Economic Collapse

                                              Press Release

A new 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 percent 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 the 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 by John Bradford Branney.

For more information, visit the author at Saving Miguel by John Bradford Branney on Facebook and at his blog at

‘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