The planets must have finally aligned, because our favorite resident blogger/Photoshop terrorist/space cadet has written a book. Not just any book- but a SciFi book with a blast of fantasy and a galaxy of humor.
I had the privilege of reading SALOON AT THE EDGE OF EVERYWHERE and am happy to say it was everything I thought it would be- a funny and sweet read that doesn’t take itself too seriously, just like the author himself.
A.H. Browne’s story was so irreverent that I just had to know more about the brain behind the book. Well thank our lucky stars, because today I get to bring you none other than Pouring My Art Out himself, A.H. Browne.
Why PMAO? I am assuming you are asking why I chose this as the name of my blog. I did a post in the first days of my blog explaining how I am all art-side-of-the-brain. I took a test, conceived by psychology students at a major university. I got freakishly high scores on the art side. My brain just doesn’t work like a normal person’s brain. I spend my life trying to figure out artistic solutions to logic problems. I don’t even drive like a regular human being. I don’t have my multiplication tables memorized.
So I do a lot of kinds of art. I write, draw, paint, carve tikis, write songs and play the guitar, and on and on. I have most of my art hanging in the garage. And I have drawers full of poems and stories and novels, not to mention the ones I started and never finished. The blog was originally started for two main reasons. To share all my old stuff was the obvious one, and to give me a place to vent all the crazy ideas that run though my brain, which works a little like a small cage full of squirrels… on crack. And to tell the stories that have occurred during my rather adventurous life.
But the other reason I started the blog is because someday my kids might have kids, and those kids might grow up to have kids. And sooner or later one of them is going to ask his parents why he is such a freak. And instead of explaining to them how they are just like me, they can just point them to the blog.
What is your writing process like?
My writing process in general tends to vary with what I am writing. For a song, I start with a good hook line, which might be the title, and work from there. For a poem, I just pick a topic and start rhyming from the beginning line. I can write a story based on a plot that I have already finished in my head. But for the novels, I tried something specific, both as an experiment and a challenge. I wouldn’t let myself figure out what was going to happen past the next sentence. I would invent a new character whenever the action slowed down for more than two words. Or just throw some crazy new idea into the mix.
The weirdest thing about this is that I created characters that I had no idea how important they would be in the story later. And that is what life is like. You meet someone and have no idea that they might end up being your best friend. It sort of reads like real life, but I made sure to pace it like a movie with no slow parts. So it is like my life in that way.
But I often got my hero into situations that I couldn’t figure out how to get him out of. I would get stuck for a day or a week, and then all of a sudden the answer would pop into my head. I love that moment.
What do you love most about writing? Least?
I write everything by hand in a notebook and then type it up at the end of a chapter. I love it when the ideas are flowing so fast that I can’t keep up. What I hate is when I can’t read my own writing when I try to type it.
What motivated you to write SALOON AT THE EDGE OF EVERYWHERE?
The novels came about because I have all these ideas in my head that want to get out. And I wanted to finish a novel and actually publish it. But most of all I wanted to make fun of everything that people take too seriously. And aliens give you a good way to do that. Because they don’t put things into the same context as we do. We think things make sense just because we are used to them being that way. Aliens have to try to make sense of it from their own perspective. I can take politics and religion and nudity and morality and art and racism and war and everything that happens on this planet and look at it from new angles. It was so much fun.
Explain THE OTHERWHERE CHRONICLES.
Okay, this is tricky. My daughter, Jessica, who helped me get the first of the series published, says I need a one minute ‘elevator’ pitch. Because explaining these would take as long as it would take you to just read them. The main character is human, over 50, lazy, sarcastic, irreverent, and… oh, who am I fooling? The main character is me. But not the me in this dimension. He lives in a reality much like ours, except that Earth has been discovered by the advanced alien races.
Our hero works as a custodian at a Texas bar on an alien space station. He plays poker with a group of human and alien friends, and during one game, alien pirates arrive on a hijacked Disney cruise liner. Arthur and his friends mount a daring rescue mission, and hilarity ensues. And the entire universe is watching as the whole thing unfolds because it is being broadcast live by aliens known as the Reporters. But it is important to remember that this is just book one, and I have three more finished, and more to follow after that… because San Francisco almost gets blown up, and then there is this human/alien intergalactic corporation that might just be a front for an invasion from another dimension, and assassins, and then Arthur ends up leading a ragtag fleet of ships against… oh forget it. It would be easier to read it yourself. There is action and adventure, and humor and… stuff…
Followers of your blog know you are of lover of music. How much does music play a role in your writing?
This is sort of a funny question, because most of the time I would have said that music doesn’t play much of a role in my writing. It is more like writing plays a big role in my music. But it just so happens that music does pop up in the novels. Arthur imparts his love of classic 1970′s hard rock to some of his alien friends, and takes them shopping in Berkeley when he goes back to Earth to visit his mother, right after he saves San Francisco from being destroyed. And I actually quote the words from a song I wrote way back in the day at the very end of book four when he goes back to the Saloon to say goodbye to his old boss. Because that song is about leaving Earth on a spaceship.
How did you celebrate the completion of your book?
I did a little dance when I saw the first paperback copy in my hand. But this is very much an ongoing concern. I leave the end of the fourth book with our hero having a way to visit any dimension, any reality, that he wants to. So anything I can think of, I can have him do. I may never finish writing these. I will have to get back to you.
Who was your biggest supporter during the writing of SATEOE?
Well, Jessica helped me get it published, but she still hasn’t read it. My wife doesn’t ‘do’ science fiction. I had a friend, Dave, and a cousin, Kelsey, who I emailed chapters to as I wrote it, and they helped a lot.
Who was your biggest supporter growing up?
My parents were very much the ‘you can be whatever you want to be’ parents. But we all realized early on that the way my brain works, I can create art but I can’t market it. I really need a manager. But yeah, my parents.
Teenage A.H. Browne wanted to be…
You don’t want to know. I was a rebel. I spent my time beating my head against the walls of authority. I had no goals or plans. I still don’t really have those. My brain doesn’t work that way.
If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?
I have had more jobs than anybody I have ever met. You name it, I have done it. And it isn’t like I have made any real money out of this yet. I am sort of stalling getting another crappy job, so let’s just pretend we didn’t hear that question.
If you could have one drink with one author- living or dead, who would it be, and what would you drink?
I would love to sit down with Winston Churchill and have a pint of Boddington’s at a pub while discussing his series of books he wrote about World War 2. And his History of the English Speaking Peoples. Man, that guy knew the English language. And he lived history.
Tell us one thing no one would ever guess about you.
You would never guess that I am shy. Once I know you, I wont shut up. But I can’t just walk up to people and schmooze. I can’t even ask the waitress for a refill of my iced tea. It sucks.
A.H. Browne’s story begins just as all good stories do, with a reluctant hero. Our hero is Arthur Blacke, a loveable loser whose life orbits around playing poker and maintaining the status quo. That is until a hijacked cruise ship full of intergalactic pirates interrupts his weekly poker game.
Once hostages are taken, Arthur and his friends are threatened with more than just harshing their calm. Does this affable custodian have what it takes to become the Space Cowboy the Universe needs to save it?
You’ll just have to buy the book to find out.
Book one of The Otherwhere Chronicles, A.H. Browne’s SALOON AT THE EDGE OF EVERYWHERE is a breath of freshly oxygenated air that I highly recommend.
Hello everyone, and welcome to what I’ve come to pray is my last interview. Hey! Pulitzer guy… ya fanug! I might be praying, but that’s all this girl’s doing on her knees for your award! … ahem. Anyway, I’m here with the one and only Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Rudolph how are you doing today?
R: I have a head cold. I know it’s hard to tell because my nose is always red. In fact, I am pretty sure that is how those stories got started in the tabloids. But I do not have a drinking problem and I gave up snorting the ‘snow’. Sure, I like to put a little rum in my egg nog. We all do that. It is cold where we live.
You want to talk about a drinking problem ask me about Blitzen. How do you think he got that name? I remember once when they were playing some reindeer game… this is back before they let me play with them… Blitzen broke both of Prancer’s front legs. Prancer, that’s the gay one… not that there is anything wrong with that… couldn’t prance for three months. You have any idea what it’s like to be a gay reindeer that can’t prance?
H.E.: Can you give us any insight into what working for Santa is like?
R: First of all, it really pisses me off that people think we work just one night a year. Santa has a magic bag that is sort of like a Tardis… bigger on the inside than on the outside. But he doesn’t have a magic toy factory. It is more like a sprawling 600 acre complex of tool shops, fabrication plants, painting facilities and so on. Not to mention the vast warehouses for stuff coming in and going out. We get shipments of finished products and raw materials from all over the world.
All that stuff has to get moved from place to place. The elves load it on big work sleds and guess who gets to drag it where it needs to go. I was pulling work sleds long before I got to pull the big guy’s sled. See, that is our magic. We can make stuff float, or hover or whatever. And the reindeer don’t have a union. It isn’t all fun and reindeer games, I can tell you. At least we got the elves to stop using whips.
H.E.: Oh, my. That sounds barbaric. I suppose you have no family?
R: A family? Are you kidding me? When would I have time? And believe it or not, my nose is a genetic mutation that comes in handy when it is foggy, but it isn’t exactly a magnet for the babes if you know what I’m saying. Would you date somebody with a glowing body part?
H.E.: The world is dying to know: which of the Reindeer are male and which are female?
R: Donner and Blitzen are male. Prancer is a dude, but he is a little light in the hooves if you know what I mean… not that there is anything wrong with that… And Dasher, Comet and Cupid are all guys. Dasher is sort of full of himself, and Comet is a real asshole, but whatever.
Dancer and Vixen are the only ladies in the Christmas lineup. But I use the term ‘ladies’ in only the loosest sense… ha, that’s funny now that I think about it. Vixen earned her name the hard way… oh man, I kill myself… yeah, that girl puts out like a vending machine. She will present her haunches to any male mammal with a pulse.
H.E.: On more pertinent topics, do you have any knowledge of the charges currently building against Santa Claus?
R: Which charges are we talking about? I know for a fact that he has warrants out for his arrest in at least 15 countries. Most of that is stuff he does when he is on vacation. And he plays pretty fast and loose with the rules here at the pole. Because he makes all the rules.
All that other stuff, I could care less. I have my own problems. But if the cops ever put a sobriety checkpoint on the roof of a house on Christmas eve, there are going to be a lot of pissed off kids in the morning, that’s for damn sure.
H.E.: And how would you describe the role of a certain elf, Lipschitz?
R: Lipschitz is a dipshit. He calls himself a whistle blower. The closest he ever got to that is what I caught him doing to Prancer in the stables one night.
H.E.: Have you witnessed any kind of abuse or domestic violence?
R: I have my job… and my life… to think about. Ratting out the big guy would be like testifying against a Mob boss… when you work for him. I mean, that guy is stone-cold fucking crazy. Do you know why he wears red all the time? It isn’t a fashion statement. It’s so the blood doesn’t show. Rumor has it that there is a dungeon under one of the toy factories. Elves, animals and people dissapear when the big guy gets angry. I know for a fact that he melted Frosty the Snowman with a welding torch.
And Mrs. Claus? Let’s just say that she walks into a lot of door edges and falls down a lot. That is the story and I am sticking to it. I’ve said too much already.
H.E.: Final question: Two generations of Americans are dying to know – is the claymation holiday movie based on your life?
R: Which movie? You have any idea how many movies have me in them? There are hundreds of them. And none of us sees a dime in royalties.
Most of those were put out by our P.R. department. They are good. They are like the Disney corporation. And you know what? Santa pays attention to his image. But it’s all reindeer shit. If they ever made a movie of my life it would be directed by Quentin Tarantino and it would be rated X.
I met the Abominable Snowman once. Fucker tried to eat me. And that island of misfit toys? That place is a freak show. Remember that Toy Story movie that had the kid in it that tortured toys and cut them up and stuck the parts back together to make sick mutants? That kid has nothing on Santa. Picture being in that kid’s room when the toys come alive… and you are frying on some really bad acid.
But Santa really can make toys come alive. And sometimes he likes to blow off a little steam. The island of misfit toys is where he goes to play Dr. Frankenstein. I think you get the idea.
Today we feature the last of the Santa Spam series that documented the final days before Santa’s arrest for prostitution, money laundering and drug trafficking. Tomorrow begins our Countdown to Christmas featuring interviews with his childhood friends and present associates. Prepare yourselves for a shocking inside view of the man behind the beard. I bring you…
SANTA SPAM – PART THREE
With news of Santa’s recent jailbreak spreading like wildfire, I have decided to rerun the original blog posts that started it all- beginning with the original Christmas series SANTA SPAM 1-3. We’ll follow that up with daily interviews ranging from childhood friends who knew him when, to the riff raff who witnessed his fall from grace. This week promises to paint a picture of Santa as you’ve never seen him before. Ladies and Gentlemen I give you:
SANTA SPAM – PART ONE
North Pole – Shocking developments today at the North Pole rocked legal and judicial communities all around the world.
Santa Claus, under arrest for a variety of charges since early this year, has escaped custody. The warden for the North Pole District Detention Facility declined comment.
Unnamed sources cited mafia connections in this classic jailbreak, which ultimately caused an entire wing of the Detention Facility to be shut down for repair. “Total overkill,” one guard said, “One minute, I was rousting this sex offen… uh, checking on the prisoners, and the next I woke up in the middle of the deflated Bouncy Castle down on the floor. The inmates were devastated.” Other sources confirmed that riotous prisoners were transferred to separate them after a near riot over the Bouncy Castle.
The usually taciturn District Attorney maintained that, “We will of course seek justice for the people in this case. This is in no way over.” An unnamed source close to the DA hinted that the unofficial verdict here in the Pole region is ‘good riddance’ after the ongoing circus of civil disturbances resulting from Santa Claus’ arrest and incarceration.
At the height of the Santa Crisis, the NAACP provided Claus an attorney to replace Jose Baez, who quit the case citing personal reasons. Santa Claus’ pro bono lawyer declined comment, but later Al Sharpton issued a statement saying, “Justice is served for Brother Claus. Whether he’s free now or was set free later by an activist jury doing the right thing, justice has prevailed.” NAACP and Sharpton spokesbrothers were available for further comment.
The legal circuit media here in town were not put off breaking news for long, however. Only hours after Claus’ mysterious and violent escape, North Pole Police responded to a 9-1-1 call allegedly made by staffers working for Gloria Allred, the lawyer representing Mrs. Claus in her divorce proceedings. One jelly-donut-filling-smeared officer stated, “We have no suspects at this time, but the connection with the jail break cannot be overlooked.” A source within NPP said off the record that one key item logged into evidence were salad tongs that were found at the scene.
Other sources close to the presiding judicial figures in these cases hinted at a unilateral backroom deal that would settle both cases without further court drama. Just this morning beat reporters went to the blogs to announce that Mrs. Claus boarded a commercial flight out of the Pole, possibly confirming rumors of this alleged backroom deal. No official representatives of any North Pole offices were available for comment after this.
FOLLOW THE DEBACLE: