Cover Reveal!! Genius de Milo!

Howdy folks!

At long last, here is the absolutely awesome new cover for GENIUS DE MILO, the sequel to my scifi backpacking comedy FINDERS KEEPERS.

Huge thanks to my pal Roy Mauritsen who brought it to life!

Look for updates soon about the official book launch!!

Genius De Milo

In the Writer’s Chair – Taking a Novel from ‘Almost’ Done to ‘Actually’ Done

There’s a strange feeling that comes with almost being done with a novel.

Almost.

I’m having that sensation now.

The sequel to Finders KeepersGenius de Milo — is just about done.

The manuscript is written. I printed it out, doubled spaced, and have been reading the pages for the last few weeks.

I’ve read every word on every page, twice, and I’m down to the last 20 pages on the third and final read-through. Some pages are perfectly clean, others have lots of hand-written notes, and the rest are somewhere in between.

In addition, the Genius de Milo manuscript is in the hands of three trusted friends who I’ve worked with before, who will be sending back their notes within the next month.

There’s an excitement to being almost finished. A flutter of anticipation.

There’s also a sense of … ooooh, this book is going to be great, but I’m basically done, so … let’s ease up.

And there’s even a middling sense of … I want to be done already. I’ve been at this a long time. I’m ready to move on.

But mostly … I’m feeling good.

Yes, the fatigue can set in, but this time around I’m coming to the finish line with energy, focus, and enthusiasm.

I’ll be done reading pages within a day or so.

Then I need to get back to the computer, and start transferring all of my hand-written notes to the electronic file. In most cases we’re talking minor technical edits — a spelling mistake, a misplaced comma, the wrong character name!

But there are cases where a sentence or paragraphs needs to be re-written, and one section I’m going to cut entirely because it doesn’t serve the story. There’s some character development that I liked, but not enough to warrant slowing down the plot. So that’s gone.

I’ll have to fill in some details through Web searches, and fact check a few items.

I figure it’ll take me 2-3 weeks to input all of my changes, by which time I should be getting notes from my reader crew. What comes next will depend on their notes. They might have minor notes, or perhaps they’ll be more extensive. And then I’ll have to think on them, and decide which ones to incorporate into what by then should be a ‘clean’ manuscript.

But getting back to being almost done …

This is the time to really focus. To appreciate that being almost done isn’t the same as being actually done. It’s those final edits, those little tweaks that can clean up a mistake, take a passage from good to great, and even elevate the tenor of the entire novel.

The finishing touches are vital. At least that’s been the case for me.

Yet getting those final touches across with nuance and sophistication, while fighting off the fatigue of just wanting to be done, is critical. It’s where the mental discipline comes in. The focus.

So here I go, ready to finish another novel, one that I’m awfully excited about.

Genius de Milo has been a lot of fun to write. I’m curious as to what you all will think. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it.

Now it’s a matter from getting this book from almost done to actually done.

Wish me luck.

 

Note: this blog originally appeared on the Crazy 8 Press Web site: http://www.crazy8press.com/2014/10/20/in-the-writers-chair-taking-a-novel-from-almost-done-to-actually-done/

Meet the Author – Russ Colchamiro at Shore Leave

Howdy folks!

This weekend — Friday, August 1 – 3 — I’ll be down in Hunt Valley, MD for Shore Leave, a fan-run science fiction that is loads of fun — with Spock himself Leonard Nimoy as one of the big name guests.

I’ll also be there with my  Crazy 8 Press partners in crime, and where we’re debuting our new fantasy anthology, Tales of the Crimson Keep.

CrimsonKeep

I’ll be there meeting fans, signing books, and turns out I’ll be talking on a LOT of panels.

🙂

Here’ my schedule, if want to say howdy:

FRIDAY

8 pm — Hunt
Science Fiction Comedy
Moderator: Aaron Rosenberg
Panelists: Russ Colchamiro, Peter David, Lorraine Anderson

 

9 pm — Hunt
Why We Love SF
Moderator: Russ Colchamiro
Panelists: Susanna Reilly, Phil Giunta, Daniel Patrick Corcoran,
Stuart Roth

10 pm Hunt/Valley
Meet the Pros

SATURDAY

1 pm
The Writing Process — Derby
Moderator: Russ Colchamiro
Panelists: Phil Giunta, Melissa Scott, Amanda Headlee, Lorraine
Anderson, Danielle Ackley-McPhail

2 pm
Crazy 8 Press — Salon F
Moderator: Bob Greenberger
Panelists: Aaron Rosenberg, Glenn Hauman, Russ Colchamiro, Mike
Friedman, Peter David

3 pm
Using Social Media — Belmont
Moderator: Russ Colchamiro
Panelists: Jenifer Rosenberg, Keith DeCandido, Dayton Ward, Danielle Ackley-McPhail

4 pm
Game of Thrones — Salon E
Moderator: Kathleen David
Panelists: Jen Rosenberg, Russ Colchamiro, Glenn Hauman

SUNDAY

11 am
Orphan Black — Salon E
Moderator: Russ Colchamiro
Panelists: Jen Rosenberg, Marco Palmieri, Susanna Reilly

Noon
Tracking All the Moving Parts — Derby
Moderator: Eric Bakutis
Panelists: Kirsten Beyer, Russ Colchamiro, Jeff Lang, David
Mack, Jim Johnson

2 pm
Giving and Getting Good Critiques — Derby
Moderator: Aaron Rosenberg
Panelists: Susanna Reilly, Russ Colchamiro, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Steve Wilson, Eric Bakutis

In the Writer’s Chair: The One That Got Away

My latest novel, Crossline, is a scifi adventure about two men — a civilian space pilot forced through a wormhole and into a war-torn parallel Earth, and the CEO of the corporation who launched the pilot to begin with — and how their journeys intersect.

But underneath the scifi elements lies a more personal story– a trilogy, in fact — that I wrote in high school. It was my first real attempt at fiction, and, all things considered, it wasn’t half bad.

It was based on the ‘troubles’ in Ireland, which, of course, I knew absolutely nothing about, but when you’re trying to impress a girl, well … you make stuff up and hope for the best. The girl, in question, did like the stories, and she was impressed. But not so much that things went the way I wanted.

And in terms of the written material itself, here’s the real problem:

I lost them.

Or, I should say, I lost parts two and three. I wrote those stories by hand, and then typed them up, because this was back in the mid 1980s, before everything we did was on computers and saved on a hard drive. And, because, I was a putz.

I don’t remember if passed the printed pages onto to someone or I simply left them lying around somewhere, but I didn’t have the mental wattage to make copies or keep track of them. I still have the original — with the truly awful title Skies of Green — but the others are long gone.

For several years after that I tried to recreate them, to expand on that trilogy, but that original magic, even back then, was lost to me.

The core story stuck with me — I always felt I had something there — but I was never able to recapture the nuance, and improve upon it. To write a new version.

So they drifted into the ether for the better part of 20 years.

And then … I had the inspiration for Crossline — the scifi part of it anyway — and suddenly my original story had a new life.

Bringing that story full circle gave me real satisfaction, and a sense of closure.

Yet as pleased as I am with how Crossline turned out, and the excellent response I’ve been getting to it … those original missing pages are still out there somewhere.

And like the girl I was trying to impress, in some ways, those pages – and the words they contained — are the ones that got away.

 

This blog was originally posted on the Crazy 8 Press Web site: http://www.crazy8press.com/2014/05/12/the-one-that-got-away/

 

8 Things You Need to Know About Author Russ Colchamiro

Here’s a new series we’re running at Crazy 8 Press …

You wanted to know more about us, but you know what they say … be careful for what you wish for. You might surely get it! What that warning in mind, here are 8 Things you Need to Know About Crazy 8 Press Author Russ Colchamiro (but might have been afraid to ask, or might be traumatized by, now that you know them).

1- Russ’ first work of fiction came in the 3rd grade. It was a King Arthur-esque action/mystery tale, with the evil King Quenpor. Wow. Was it bad.

2- During his student teaching tenure in Buffalo, NY, Russ taught five classes a day, all 11th grade English. He didn’t meet two of his students because they were out — on maternity leave — each for their second child.

3- A one-time Wiffle ball aficionado, one summer afternoon, in front of his house in Merrick, NY, on Long Island, Russ was on the mound. Pitching, he chucked a pretty good slider, which his buddy smacked over his head. Russ dashed after the batted ball, across the street, head craned in the air. He leapt, to make an incredible basket catch, Willie Mays-style, but his foot hit the curb, hard. When he came down, Russ landed on his wrist, to brace himself. He wound up badly spraining his left wrist, which required a splint, and broke the big toe on his right foot, putting him on the DL for 6 weeks. The first recorded injury in Wiffle Ball history.

4- The characters of Jason Medley and Theo Barnes, from Russ’ hilarious Finders Keepers trilogy, are indeed based upon Russ and his friend, a native New Zealander. Russ does warn readers, however, that all of the European and New Zealand backpacking scenes, are, in fact, fictional, no matter how authentic they might appear. But all of the scifi, galactic, time-bending elements are totally real, based on true events.

5- During one crazy night in Brooklyn he will never forget, Russ did place his lips on those of a dead girl. A very. Dead. Girl. But that’s a story for another day, which he promises he will tell … once the therapy sessions enable him to recall the event without sending him back to the loony bin.

6- In his rousing scifi adventure novel, Crossline, Russ penned a truly hilarious scene involving Gefilte Fish. But he had to cut the scene to keep the action moving along. He’s trying to find a way to bring the scene back in follow-up Crossline adventures, but can’t promise because he can’t stand the smell or taste of Gefilte Fish, no matter how many Seders he attends.

7- During Russ’ trip overseas, many moons ago, that inspired his debut novel Finders Keepers, his cat, Alex, was hit by a car. Alex was terribly injured, but ultimately made a full recovery. About 15 years later, while Russ was at the NY Comic Con debuting Finders Keepers, his dog, Simon, was hit by a car, terribly injured. He, too, made a full recovery. We don’t know what’s up with that book, it’s got some crazy mojo attached to it. Which is particularly odd, considering that, fundamentally, Finders Keepers is about enjoying life to its fullest, as often as you can, as thoroughly as you can, for as long as you can.

8- In both Finders Keepers and Crossline, some of Russ’ characters profess their love and loyalty for one another, themes that are particularly important to him, even within the context of his wild, scifi adventures. In all cases, Russ says those scenes are really love letters to his wife, Liz. Even after 14 years together, Liz is more than Russ’ wife; she’s his girl.

 

This blog was originally posted on the Crazy 8 Press web site: http://www.crazy8press.com/2014/05/02/8-things-you-need-to-know-about-russ-colchamiro/

Crazy 8 Press Author Spotlight: Russ Colchamiro

Here’s a fun Q&A from my pals at Crazy 8 Press, about what I’m up to …

Hi folks. As part of our Author Spotlight, we’ll be spending some time this month with Russ Colchamiro. So far he’s been spending his Crazy 8 Press time squarely in the scifi world, and what a time it’s been. We have a new Q& A with Russ, where he unveils all sorts of goodies. Take a look …

Crazy 8: Let’s jump right in. Your new book is Crossline. Give us the quick rundown. What’s it about?

RussCrossline is a fun scifi adventure — think Firefly meets Back to the Future.

But to flesh out it a bit, Marcus Powell is a modern day space pilot, who through mysterious circumstances is forced through a wormhole and into a parallel Earth, where he ends up in the middle of a war he may have been destined for all along.

Meanwhile, back on our Earth, we learn the history of Buddy Rheams Jr, the poor, uneducated gas attendant from nowhere Texas, who stumbled into owning oil wells, became a tycoon, and used his wealth and influence to create the space program and develop the technology that ultimately displaced Marcus Powell in time and space.

Throughout the novel we learn how and why the lives of these two very different men intersect, and what that will mean for both of them.

Crazy 8: Thematically Crossline is about discovering just how far you would go to return to your family, when separated through incredible circumstances. How has that theme affected you personally? Why is that theme important to you?

Russ: As a father of two young children, my worldview has obviously changed. Each day I’m more embedded with my own family, and the notion of being ripped away from them is sobering. WritingCrossline actually helped me gain clarity. It’s one thing to say, “I’d do anything for my family.” But what does that really mean? It sounds big and important and noble to say the words out loud, but if put to the test, ‘anything’ becomes something specific, and that’s when we strip away the clutter. As a husband and father, I’ve come to realize just how unimportant most other endeavors can be. That’s not to say I think other people or activities don’t matter. They do! It’s just that there’s lots of noise out there, and when I’m calm, and let the distractions pass me by, it’s easier to understand and embrace what matters most.

Crazy 8: Did you base any of your characters on real people? If so, how much of the ‘real’ person made it onto the page? Do you have any guilt pangs about revealing their personality for others to read?

Russ: Chill, who is sort of the Obi Wan Kenobi-type character in Crossline, is based on a real person, someone who has had an incredible influence on me. I can say without exaggeration that without this person, my life would have taken a very different turn, and my guess is that I would have struggled for a much longer time to find my way.

In terms of how I wrote the character, Chill is obviously not the same as the real person; I made very distinct changes. But Chill was my way of honoring this man, who I respect immensely, and whose guidance and wisdom has helped shaped my views, both philosophically and how I approach my day to day. He’s a great man. My intention was to have those qualities influence the other characters in Crossline, predominantly Powell.

Crazy 8: What did you edit OUT of this book? Are you saving that material for sequels or another project? Or did the scene/character just not work in the context of this book, or perhaps just not work at all?

Russ: There were a handful of additional scenes with Chandra Powell, the wife of Marcus Powell. I liked the scenes — they built up the character and added more humor — but ultimately they slowed the pace of the novel. Chandra’s a great character. She’s strong and feisty and in a very real way is one of the novel’s true heroes. But I needed to keep the plot moving along. Besides, she gets plenty of ‘screen time’ when it counts most.

Crazy 8: Switching gears a bit … your first book was Finders Keepers Now that you’ve had time to reflect on it, and knowing what you know now about your craft and the audience’s reactions, what would you do differently if you had the chance to start over and write it again fresh?

Russ: Even though Finders Keepers is a flat-out comedy, as with Crossline, there are multiple characters, and we see the story from their distinct points of view. As such, we jump from character to character. I really like this style of storytelling, but if I had to do again, I would have spent longer stretches with each character in Finders Keepers as we’re first introduced to them, so that the reader can really sink in and ‘get’ where they’re coming from. Looking back I can see that maybe I was zipping along a little faster than I intended. The readers can ultimately catch up, but I would have taken a deeper breath to start the novel. It’s still super fun, tho!

Crazy 8: Authors are often also rabid readers. What do you read? Which books/authors best inform your writing style?

Russ: The Stand, by Stephen King, is my fiction bible. Great storytelling, great characters. Vivid imagery. I refer to it often. Also, any number of novels by Christopher Moore, who for my money is the funniest author out there. Lamb, You Suck, and Fool are favorites. I also love the biographies of David McCullough, including Truman, the Great Bridge, and the Jamestown Flood. Though fact-based, they read like mysterious, and have helped me see how to structure my own stories.

Crazy 8: What book — which is relatively unknown to others — do you strongly recommend that others read? Why?

Russ: Body of a Girl, by Leah Stewart. It’s about a young, female crime reporter who gets too close to a story she’s investigating about the murder of another young woman, who she feels was a kindred spirit of sorts. The reporter loses herself in the investigation, and finds herself delving into some murky waters. It’s taught and compelling. One of my favorite books of the last ten years or so.

Crazy 8: Last question. Shameless plug time. Where can we find your new book, and how can we, as readers, most easily interact with you?

Russ: Finders Keepers and Crossline are both available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo, as well as through Crazy 8 Press and my Web site.

I’m out there on social media, so for those who want to connect, here’s the best places to find me:

@authorduderuss (Twitter)

www.facebook.com/RussColchamiroAuthor (Facebook)

www.russcolchamiro.com

www.crazy8press.com

@crazy8press (Twitter)

And for extra fun:

Check out the Crossline book trailer.

Enjoy the Finders Keepers book trailer.

 

This blog was originally posted on the Crazy 8 Press web site: http://www.crazy8press.com/2014/04/21/author-spotlight-russ-colchamiro/

Meet the Author: Russ Colchamiro at Twisted World Villains and Vixens Con

Hey folks … I’ll be attending the Twisted World Villains and Vixens con Friday – Sunday in Philly. In addition to sharing a table with Sawney Hatton, selling books, and doing signings, I’ll be doing a reading and speaking on panels. Here’s my schedule:

http://thetwistedworld.com/

Friday, March 28
7:45 pm – 845 pm
Summit 6
How to write good villains & Killing your characters

Saturday, March 29
3 pm – 4 pm
Summit 1
Mythological Villains

Saturday, March 29
5 pm – 530 pm
Summit 11
Reading from Finders Keepers, Crossline

Author Talk: Q&A with Sawney Hatton

Howdy folks. I will be appearing at the Twisted World Villains & Vixens convention in Philadelphia the weekend of March 28-30, and will be sharing a table with author Sawney Hatton. So we figured it was an opportune time to check in and see what that crazy sonuva gun is up to:

Q: So… Sawney Hatton–if that’s your real name–you’ve primarily been a screenwriter for the last decade. What motivated you to write your first novel, DEAD SIZE?

Sawney_Hatton

SH: At the height of my obscurity working as a screenwriter in Los Angeles (credited under my other real name, which, frankly, is also suspect), I penned several spec scripts that went unproduced. Of these, DEAD SIZE was an original story I had been quite fond of. When I decided to take the plunge into novel writing (me being a ravenous reader of novels), I selected the script to be the blueprint for my debut opus, as it features all the elements I love most in a narrative: dark comedy, mystery, horror, fantastical creatures, artistic pretensions, and weird sex.

Q: Given your switch in mediums, what was the biggest challenge for you as a writer to pen a novel… other than your obvious talent impairment?

SH: A screenplay is pretty much bare-bones storytelling–you’re concerned with plot structure, action descriptions, character development, and dialogue. But a screenplay doesn’t read like a novel. It doesn’t have the same breadth of detail, the same immersive emotional impact. When writing a novel, you’re putting flesh and blood and guts and hair onto the bones of a story. You can say so much more in a novel, and for me that’s what makes writing one so challenging. You have to determine how much is too much, how little is not enough. You have to figure out what makes your story flow best. Every word–or omission of them–counts.  Dead Size 400x533_rev

Q: We see that you’re sharing a table at the Twisted World Villains & Vixens convention in Philadelphia the weekend of March 28-30 with author Russ Colchamiro, he of FINDERS KEEPERS and CROSSLINE fame. Why would you even consider pairing up with such a devious bastard, much less do it?

SH: He paid me, up front, in champagne wishes and caviar dreams.

Q: We understand the two of you collaborated years ago on a short film that won some kind of twerky award for Best Movie or something equally meaningless. How did you two boneheads pull that off? I mean… seriously?

A: It is true Russ and I teamed up to produce a Twilight Zone-inspired video short called “Light Chasm” that went on to garner major acclaim at some performing arts high school in New Hampshire, I think. The work beat out 3, maybe 4 other submissions. We pulled it off the old-fashioned way: we used free equipment and paid nobody. We did have our creative differences; namely, Russ couldn’t act and I couldn’t direct. It was obviously a winning combination.

Q: Last question (two parts): Why on Earth should anyone spend their time and money on anything you’ve written? And, especially, what sort of serious mental or emotional problems would motivate someone to actually stop by your table and say hello at Twisted World?

SH: People should spend their time and money on my work because I am really tight with Ammit, the Egyptian devourer of souls. You snub my books, your soul is screwed for eternity. I’m not playing here, people.

I encourage all those with any serious mental and/or emotional problems to stop by my table and enlist. I am building an army of the imbalanced, which I expect will be advantageous when I declare war on ourselves.

About the Author: Sawney Hatton

Sawney Hatton is an author, an arsehole, and famed hunter of the Giant Beaver. Other incarnations of Sawney have written screenplays, produced corporate videos, and played the banjo and sousaphone (not at the same time). He laughs at death, which has made for some very awkward funeral services.

You can follow Sawney Hatton on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. His debut novel, DEAD SIZE, is available online most everywhere in eBook and paperback. His short collection of short fiction, WHITE SPACE & OTHER STORIES, can be found exclusively on Amazon (eBook only). Visit his website at www.sawneyhatton.com

 

 

In The Writer’s Chair: Big Ideas Using Few Words

As an author, when you start out with an idea, you think that writing the novel is the hard part. But then you do it, you have your novel, and then … it’s time to sell. To market.

When I first started talking to people about Finders Keepers, my ‘elevator pitch’, such that it was, lasted about half an hour. Okay, maybe not a half hour, but it took me so long to explain what it was about that I exhausted myself.

Why? Because I was trying to tell it all. And that never works.

For those of you who have read it, and for those who haven’t, Finders Keepers is a raunchy scifi backpacking comedy with a lot characters, told from various points of view, wherein various story lines slowly but surely come together into a pretty crazy – and satisfying – conclusion.

So there I was, fumbling my way through the description, until it became clear that I really had to figure this out.

In total I probably spent the better part of three months scripting, and revising, and re-writing myself until finally I could recite the essence of the novel that both hooks a potential reader, and stays true to the content.

Here’s how I talk about it now:

Finders Keepers is loosely based on a series of backpacking trips that I took through Europe and New Zealand, set against the quest for a jar that contains the Universe’s DNA. It’s like American Pie/Superbad meets Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Those two sentences have helped me connect with a lot of new readers, and sell a whole bunch of books.

Just two sentences.

But coming up with those two sentences? It took a ton of work, and an endeavor I’m proud of.

Is it my personal best?

Not sure.

But I’ll take it.

 

* This post originally appeared on the Crazy 8 Press Web site at http://www.crazy8press.com/2014/03/11/personal-best-the-finders-keepers-elevator-pitch/

 

 

The Writer’s Tale: A Love Story

So far my novelist career has been comprised of outrageous science fiction adventures, a mix of screwball comedies and multi-dimensional chaos.

But within those pages … are love stories.

In my scifi backpacking comedy Finders Keepers, Donald and Danielle are newlyweds in Eternity, who, through bizarre machinations, accidentally knock a jar of the Universe’s DNA into the still for  ming Earth.

As these two characters fret about the disaster they’ve caused, they individually go to great lengths to protect the other. As Donald says at one point of Danielle, “She’s not just wife, she’s my girl.” But when he says those things … that’s really me talking about my own wife, Liz.

We’ve been together now for more than 13 years, and have two children together. Yes, she’s the mother of my children and indeed she is my wife. And she’s my girl.

Switching gears to my scifi adventure Crossline, our hero, space pilot Marcus Powell, is displaced into a modern-day, parallel Earth, desperately trying to get back home to his wife and daughter. When he laments his predicament — that he is responsible, at least in part, for his own misfortune — he’s expressing his innate desire to be reunited with his girls. Nothing else to him matters.

When I wrote Crossline, it was always me — as a husband and father — thinking about how I’d feel and act if I was ever separated from my family, and what I’d be willing to do to be reunited with them.

My novels have been described in many ways, but no matter what adjectives one might use, I know that in my writer’s heart, there are love stories within those pages.

 

*Note – this blog was originally posted on the Crazy 8 Press web site: http://www.crazy8press.com/2014/02/17/the-writers-tale-a-love-story/

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