Friday, May 30, 2014

Music/Theater: Interview with Brazilian actor/artist/singer/producer Raul Veiga

Today we're meeting super talented, handsome Brazilian actor Raul Veiga, who is also a singer, musician, writer, artist, and entrepreneur. Among his many amazing accomplishments, he wrote, produced and performed his own one man show musical, participated in several Brazilian TV soap operas, and created his own production company! Does he even have time for anything else? Luckily, he wasn't too busy  to talk to us and we're very excited to introduce him to you.

Raul, tell us where you're from, and what's your background.

I'm from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I was a typical middle-class kid, my father was a policeman and my mother was a teacher. When I was 9 years old, in fourth grade, I attended the American School of Rio de Janeiro, where I had a chance to develop the foundations of my education. This had a great influence in my life.

I can see that, you speak perfect English! I had the pleasure of watching you sing and perform in "Stand Up Musical" (in English) a few years ago. You're a great performer and the show was vibrant and exciting. Do you have a musical idol? Who is your biggest musical influence and why?

I have some people that have inspired me somehow during some point in my career. When I started working with musical theatre back in 2007, I really didn't know anyone besides Andrew Lloyd Webber. It took me some time to understand what it was all about. So I got a chance to study
the work of Stephen Sondheim, to learn from the iconic voices of such actors as Colm Wilkinson, and understand that Cameron Mackintosh was the one who was making all the money.

As an artist with multiple talents, what is your favorite art form and why?

I like the art of storytelling, whether it is through acting, or through writing a story, producing a movie, a play, recording a song or a DJ mix set. It's all about imagination. Sometimes it can convey an important message, or it may simply entertain. I believe that our only escape from the existential inevitability of death, besides religion, is storytelling. Humans have been doing this since the dawn of days.

Great answer and I agree, being a writer myself. You're now making music too - deep house. That's a big move from the Sinatra and ABBAesque musical projects you've been recently involved with. What prompted you to follow this direction?

I've been a DJ since I was 15 years old. It was actually my first job. I got into house music when I lived in London, in 2002, while I was studying music production and sound technology. I like the idea of the mix set, because as I was saying, it's also a story. The songs are in a certain order as to evoke different types of feelings and moods. I'm not making music for big nightclub rooms, my sound is not commercial. I'm making music for DJ bars, and for events where you want to hear
sophisticated electronic music, but you will also be able to talk to your friends, the music is not there in your face. I create the atmosphere, you choose to dance if you want, it's not required, but
you probably will.

That's very interesting! Another side of your creativity. And what do you enjoy the most between the interaction with your fans?

I like their support. They are intelligent and sometimes very funny too.

Where can we see you next, and where can we buy your work?

Soon, our movies will be available by Video on Demand. Also, I have a Patreon page, where you can crowd fund my passion for electronic music. It only costs $1 for the basic plan, and you have access to all my exclusive mixes.

Awesome! I'm looking forward to watching the movies and checking your exclusive mixes! Talking about movies, is there a character you'd like to portray one day?

Yes, I would like to play Sweeney Todd one day, but I'm still too young (thank God).

That would be fun! For now, what are your plans for the coming year?

I'm producing two short films I wrote, in which I'll also act, and I'm also producing a major musical theatre show budgeted over $1.5 million dollars. - -

That will sure keep you busy. Great projects! Do you have any opinion about the cultural scene in Brazil, compared to the US?

I really can't say about the US, but I believe a basic difference would be that here (in Brazil), we have more governmental backing for our projects. It can be a direct fund or an indirect one, through tax benefits. Even though the private market invests, they have help from the state.

Interesting to know. Is there anything else you'd like to tell our readers?
If you believe in your dreams, you will do it. It takes hard work and time, but don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

That's definitely a great advice and I'm so happy your dreams are coming true! Thank you so much for sharing with us! It's been a pleasure to host you and we wish you lots of success always.

To know more about Raul and his work, click here:
Raul Veiga performs in ABBA the musical

And don't forget to check his exclusive deep house mixes:

Monday, May 19, 2014

Book: I Can See Clearly Now - by Dr. Wayne Dyer

I've been a reader of Wayne Dyer's inspirational books for quite a while. Every book he writes presents us, readers, with a small feedback of his past - everyone who reads Dyer knows he was raised in foster homes while still a child before his mother was able to gather all her sons together again, after his father left them. This story has pretty much shaped most of his adult years. 
Now, in his new book "I can see clearly now", he gives us a much wider snapshot of his earlier days, from a young toddler playing happily in the snow to a teen rebelling against a biology project, growing into a young man having to obey orders in the military and achieving his goal of becoming a teacher. Every circumstance evolves into something that will ultimately fit together to complete his life puzzle. It's an eye opening memoir, showing us all that everything happens for a reason and there are no accidents. By exposing what happened to him in this memoir, he explains how he came about to be what he was meant to be and how he made it happen by believing in his dharma. A great inspirational book.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Books: Massive Black Hole nominated for 50 Self Published Books Worth Reading at Indie Author Land!

It's always an honor to be nominated for an award, especially being an Indie writer. And it came as a very welcome surprise when I received an email from Indie Author Land/Read's manager, advising me Massive Black Hole was nominated for their contest, among so many other books and novels. The site has several categories and roughly 9-12 books competing in each genre. The 5 most voted from each genre were winners. The voting ended May 18th and we were among the 50 best!!!!

So, what is Massive Black Hole about? Here's the blurb:

Massive Black Hole is a surrealist literary fiction novel that explores moral issues concerning suicide, abortion, friendship, betrayal, life's purpose and the existence of hell through the lives of the protagonists.

At 18, Cibele, a student from Rio de Janeiro, dreams of a life in New York and moves to the big Apple as an au pair girl, where she meets the precocious Amy, a young scholar whose goal in life is to study sciences and astrophysics. While visiting the MET, Cibele is impressed by a particular work of art depicting hell, in the style of Hieronymus Bosch. When Amy introduces her to astronomy, she is consumed by fear of black holes. Lost and confused with what to do with her life, she meets ambitious Agatha from Texas, who came to New York to succeed as a fashion model. While trying to survive and achieve their goals, the 3 young women question the meaning of life, death and the existence of hell, and their friendship ultimately turns into a maze of betrayal, jealousy and selfishness.

>>>Because hell is real! Embark on this spiraling journey through Rio de Janeiro, Texas and New York discovering the ambitions of 3 young women trying to find the meaning of life. Through a series of events that prompt them to play with each other's destiny, they will face their ultimate challenge: is hell real? 

And here are some excerpts from some great reviews received both on Amazon and Goodreads:

"What I found interesting is that, as the story unfolds, all three protagonists undergo a major development. In Massive Black Hole nothing is as it seems at first, and friendship is a word taken too lightly. Both Cibele and Agatha, while initially very different, become cutthroat 'bitches' stopping at nothing to achieve their objectives, even if the assumptions their fears are based upon are far from reality. Barbosa shows a twisted side of femininity, where looks are everything and sex is a means that justifies the end.

But the book is about more than women taking advantage of each other and their surroundings. It is also a story of redemption and forgiveness. Throughout the book, Barbosa explores certain religious themes (religion shaped one character's past and another's future) that serve as a statement on humanity in general. Not only that, she also explores the controversial notion of hell being here and now (for some) which, while not widely accepted by Christians, is in line with Eastern religions and the concept of karma.

Overall, this was an interesting and enjoyable read. While I would personally opt for a more intimate narrative, the story flowed fine in third-person narrative. There were no awkward time shifts and all flashbacks served their purpose. Agatha's life turned out as one would have expected, however, both Amy and Cibele's development came as a surprise. There were some minor repetition and edit issues, however, none distracting enough to take away from the reading experience. I'm glad this book found its way to my desk." - Henry Martin, writer

"My favorite, “Christ’s Descent to Hell”, sums it all up. As a former crisis/school counselor this was a great book for me to read. Homeless & transients can be quite challenging to work with. Great story line, kind of a psychological thriller, most of the time it was easy for me to read/follow, no grammar errors or out of story line sequence, quite a few unexpected twist/turns, never a dull moment & great characters. It did pull together later on. Might even make a great movie. I ended up giving it a rating of 5 stars." - Tony Parsons

"Massive Black Hole is a well-written, interesting story with three female leads who reveal details in separate POVs (from their teenage connection to their forty-something disconnect). Rio, Texas, and New York City serve as backdrop for Andrea Barbosa's tapestry of a novel that interweaves the lives of three women from youth to middle age. Lush descriptive writing takes you inside each location setting, and deeply felt, thoughtfully drawn characters lure you into their stories. Multiple POVs and flashbacks are two difficult writing tasks that if not done well, can easily confuse readers. I'm impressed by the author's ability to breeze through various narratives while keeping the story flowing smoothly.

I loved the unique concept and the intrigue of following these women to see where life would take them. Get ready for envy and betrayal between the once close knit three some, One life turns out well, however the others do not, thus a splendid element of surprise might make your mouth fall open.

Massive Black Hole is a thought provoking, literary work that will cause you to ponder specific areas long after you finish the read. Excellent debut novel and highly recommended for readers age 17 and up." - Rhonjer

"The author did a great job in giving us a piece of reality and the intensity of emotions that everybody possesses. We have to face it, life is not easy but despite all the issues and problems that goes along with it, this book made me realize the value of our choices and the aftermath of our decisions. Well-written and definitely worthy of a spot in your library." - Jenny Lane

"Massive Black Hole is one of those books that make you think. The story is about three characters, Cibele, Agatha, and Amy. Each one has her own set of flaws, which make their interactions fascinating. The dichotomy of Agatha's beauty to her personality and how each character affected the other two was well done. I like how the story progressed and love the ending.

If you're looking for a good read that engages your imagination and philosophy of life, then read Massive Black Hole!!" - Jon de Silva, writer

Take a look at Massive Black Hole on Amazon for more reviews and information:

Thank you for all your support! Much love and appreciation! Don't forget to leave a review!