Profile: Author Barry Hornig

Were you on line at Studio 54? Did you ever swap drugs for gold in Tangiers? Or try on a dog collar at the Botany Club? Ever marry a countess or a Playboy playmate? Meet Barry. He did all of that and a lot more. He’s had many ups and downs and has probably forgotten more than you’ve fantasized, but this book is what he can recall…

“I hope I left a roadmap and some signposts to show other people that when they get lost, there is a way out."

Thus goes the pitch of Barry Hornig’s candid, compelling, revealing, and ultimately inspiring memoir, Without a Net: a True Tales of Prison, Penthouses, and Playmates (Köehler Books, 2015), which, from idea to polished manuscript, took him eight years to complete.

Without a Net is the story of a young man from a middle class background who shoots for the stars and goes after things that aren’t attainable, and when he thinks he has them, they get taken away,” states Hornig. “In the process, he winds up incarcerated, threatened with guns, and succumbs to addictions, but through a powerful series of visualizations he manages to manifest somebody who helps him change his whole life around through love and compassion. And through that, he is able to help other people.” Hornig’s over-the-top life is told with honesty, self-mockery, hope, and more than a little Jewish humor.

The decision to write this memoir came about from Hornig’s anger about his great ups and downs in life and the question, “Why do they continue to happen to me?” He needed to get it out of his system. Through writing, he hoped to see life more clearly and get rid of some of the anger and pain. He decided he wouldn’t misdirect his energy by looking back, but instead concentrate on looking forward and benefit from lessons learned, and it worked. “I hope I left a roadmap and some signposts to show other people that when they get lost, there is a way out,” says Hornig. “I believe that with determination, visualization, and the right partner, you can emerge from any darkness, live an interesting and fruitful life, and recover your sanity and your spiritual balance.”

In addition to his personal journey, the book offers a kaleidoscope of America from its triumphant and proud years in the 50s to a more recent time when – from Hornig’s perspective – “A great power has been shamefully falling apart. We’ve killed all our heroes, and there’s nobody to look up to. Violence never wins. And Gordon Gekko was wrong; greed is not good. (Sorry, Oliver.)”

Writing Without a Net had its challenges. From telling the truth, to stirring the hot coals, to old temptations re-awakening, to unsupportive peers telling him he was wasting his time and would never finish the book, Hornig admirably stuck to his vision through it all and came through the other side with a completed manuscript and a renewed sense of reality.

Besides the obvious painful, emotional journey of having to access his troubled past, Hornig’s challenge included the fact that he’s dyslexic. Because of this, he decided to work with Michael Claibourne, who helped him organize his thoughts and Without a Net Coverpen his words. Claibourne loved his life story and had been urging him for quite a while to write it all down.  It seemed just as exciting as any of the screenplays they were working on. “My creative process was a form of channeling with Michael, who acted as interviewer, scribe and psychiatrist,” adds Hornig. “We wrote this memoir from Topanga Canyon to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, Montana, and New York City. Sometimes lying down and sometimes sitting up.  In person, over the phone, and over the net. It was complex but clear. I tried to be truthful and honest with all the subjects.”

In spite of help from his writing partner, as well as support from his spouse and family, becoming an author has been overwhelming for Hornig, to say the least. “I can’t quite wrap my head around it,” he says. “All I did was tell a story. We’ll see what happens from there, and I’ll leave it up to my audience.” He’s looking forward to sharing some of his experiences in this journey with younger people, and hopes that this book puts him in a venue where he can talk to them. “I want to spread the news: it’s never too late.” He hopes readers will learn from his story and even find themselves in it, and realize that even the most destructive impulses can be overcome. “I have been able to forgive the people who wronged me, and forgive myself for wronging the people that I wronged – both the ones who are dead and the ones who are still alive. And looking back now through the other end of the telescope, it’s all very clear.”

Barry Hornig currently divides his time between Santa Monica, California, and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where he owns a gallery of fine art rugs. He is a professional sports fisherman, an expert on the paranormal, has talked with beings from space, had visions in Masar-i-Sharif, has been blessed by Muktananda, and hugged by Ammachi. “I have so many more stories to tell… and they’re not all autobiographical” states the author on what lurks on the horizon. “Screenplays, movies, all with messages. I am hoping that with this book my other story work will be taken seriously. And that in turn the other work will get out and more lessons will be learned.”

Connect with Barry Hornig on the web:

Website / Facebook / Twitter

Without a Net is available from Köehler Books, Amazon, B&N, and other online retailers.

My article originally appeared in Blogcritics

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The Story behind ‘Turning to Stone’ by Gabriel Valjan

Originally posted on The Story Behind the Book:

TurningtoStone_FlatforeBooks (1)Several streams flowed into the river for Turning To Stone. Roberto Saviano’s Gomorrah was influential for giving me a sociological portrait of the Camorra and Naples, although I’ve been to Naples. The Financial Crises of 2007 and 2008 also inspired me. While I’m not paranoid or susceptible to conspiracy theories, I never subscribed to the analyses that American media outlets offered the public.

Journalist Andrew Sorkin’s corpulent Too Big To Fail, at 500-plus pages, is considered the definitive post-mortem on the Fiscal Crisis of 2008. While I was writing Turning, UMass Amherst graduate student Thomas Herndon and Professors Michael Ash and Robert Pollin came along and exploded Harvard duo Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff’s pro-austerity argument. R & R said that a country would collapse when its public debt hits 90% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Herndon et al. proved that the hypothesis and the methodology were specious…

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Book Review: Turning to Stone (Roma Series Book 4), by Gabriel Valjan

Originally posted on The Dark Phantom Review:

TurningtoStone_FlatforeBooksInternational spy Alabaster Black returns in this the latest instalment in Valjan’s exciting mystery/suspense Roma series.

This time Alabaster (aka Bianca Nerini) and her colleagues takes us to Naples, where tension is rapidly escalating between mafia clans and where she must outwit a powerful crime syndicate named Camorra.

Counterfeited euros and bonds, anagrams, car bombings, sexy women assassins on motorcycles, undercover detectives, and delicious Italian food mix together in this page-turning thriller filled with international intrigue. At the heart of the plot is a mysterious agent named Loki who, via the computer, communicates intelligence to Bianca. The problem is, we don’t know who she or he is, or what his motives are. We only know Loki has an avid affinity for anagrams which Bianca must decipher. Needless to say, not an easy task.

I’ve read all of the Roma series books and I found this to be the most complex…

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Book Review: ‘April Snow’ by Lynn Steward

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Title: April Snow
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Author: Lynn Steward
Publisher: Lynn Steward Publishing

I thoroughly enjoyed reading April Snow, book two in Steward’s Dana McGarry Series. In this instalment, we follow beautiful, sensitive, and independent Dana as she, now newly single, travels from her home-base New York to London to relax for a couple of days following her recent filing for divorce.

Hurt and vulnerable, Dana can’t help question her decision to end her eight year marriage, while at the same time wonder about her career as buyer for B. Altman, her true calling in life, and who she really is deep down. She must also learn to take care of herself and not make everyone else a priority.

In London, a helpful priest, Father Macaulay, guides her and helps her ponder these questions. Doors begin to open and she goes back to New York with the possibility of two new career paths. She also starts taking riding lessons and becomes involved with a handsome and wealthy man who seems to care for her deeply, becomes her mentor, and suggests a daring move that might launch her career. All appears to be moving well. But then, fate shows her face in the most unexpected and tragic of circumstances, and once again destiny puts Dana to a test.

Lynn Steward has a special talent when it comes to writing about women who are strong yet sensitive and vulnerable. Her knowledge of the fashion business speaks for itself; the story sparkles with authenticity. I found the dynamics and cut throat aspect of the fashion industry especially fascinating. Readers will love Dana and following her ups and downs as she tries to fulfil her journey in life. The story moves at a quick, comfortable pace, making this a great leisurely read. The secondary characters are interesting and Steward will make you love them or hate them. April Snow is an entertaining, compelling sequel to A Very Good Life and I can’t wait for book three. Recommended.

My review was originally published on Blogcritics

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Book Review: The Accidental Art Thief, by Joan Schweighardt

Originally posted on The Dark Phantom Review:

TheAccidentalArtThief_medTitleThe Accidental Art Thief

Genre: General fiction

Author: Joan Schweighardt

Websitewww.joanschweighardt.com

Publisher: Twilight Times Books

Find The Accidental Thief on Amazon 

Set in New Mexico, this is the story of 45-year old Kathryn (aka Zinc), a deeply sensitive yet socially awkward woman who’s lived all of her existence without making her own decisions, and whose life suddenly forces her to take charge, face her fears, and grow as a human being.

For the past 25 years Zinc has cared for an old art collector and lived in a casita under the protection of his estate. She writes poetry and her only possessions are her two dogs. Life is monotone and safe for Zinc, whose idyllic environment is perfect for hiding from the world. But things abruptly change when the old man suffers a tragic fall and dies. His nasty daughter Marge takes…

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Character Interview: Commander Truchaud from R.M. Cartmel’s mystery, The Charlemagne Connection

Originally posted on Beyond the Books:

character interviewWe’re thrilled to have here today Commander Truchaud from Dick Cartmel’s new mystery, The Charlemagne Connection. Commander Truchaud is a 45 year old police detective from Nuits-Saint-Georges, currently on leave there from his post in the National Police in Paris, the capital of France. It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

RMCARTMEL_GARDENBB: Thank you so for this interview, Commander. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers? 

CT: I think so yes. Certainly the narrative is an accurate description of what actually happened, and he has described the feel of the middle of high summer on the Côte.

BB: What do you believe is your strongest trait? 

CT: I am a very thoughtful policeman. I wouldn’t have reached the rank of Commander if I wasn’t. That’s…

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Book Review: ‘Death Is Always a Resident,’ by Lorraine Jeffery

Originally posted on The Dark Phantom Review:

Death-is-Always-a-Resident-Ecover_9781462124763_FULL (1)Jan Myers is a widowed mom and director of the Forest Hills Skilled Nursing Facility in Ohio. One day she receives an unexpected visit from Detective Pollander from the Columbus Police Department, asking unsettling questions about a Mr. Packard Nickle, who used to be a resident but had suffered a heart attack and died recently.

Jan and the staff are disturbed by the detective’s visit, especially after he begins interrogating the nurses and aides.

Soon the reason for the detective’s visit becomes obvious: there’s been either negligence or murderous intent surrounding Mr. Nickel’s death, and the whole facility is put under the microscope, especially Jan, who’s the director. It turns out the victim was a very difficult and demanding man, and most nurses and residents would have cheerfully strangled him.Jefferyshe won’t be able to get any job in Ohio when he’s through. The list of suspects begins to pile up, and it’s up…

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