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Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews Q&A with Author Russ Colchamiro

Hi Gang-

Below is a new Q&A interview with yours truly, courtesy of book reviewer and interviewer Laurie from Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews. Here we talk about my latest novel, the mysterious scifi space romp, CROSSLINE, my favorite TV shows, whether I’m an early morning chirpy bird or grumpy bear (take a guess), and where I would go, anywhere in the world, if my publisher was footing the bill:

Welcome Russ!  It’s so great of you to stop by today and agree to answer some questions .  I’m excited to find out a little about you and your books.

How did your start your writing career?

I wrote a King Arthur-style short story in the third grade. It was pretty bad, but I had fun with it. Then in high school I wrote a short story trilogy — about the ‘troubles’ in Ireland, of all things — which is actually the basis of my new sci-fi space adventure, Crossline. Go figure. So Crossline was actually 25 years in the making. But before that I started to get more serious about writing in college, and became a journalist professionally, so I was always writing.

But in terms of fiction I dabbled with comic book scripts and more serious short stories in my 20s, when I needed to sort of prime the pump, and get some really awful writing out of my system. And then about 10 years ago I started writing what became my debut novel, Finders Keepers. It’s been non-stop ever since.

Describe what it’s like to be an author in three words.

Thrilling. Heartbreaking. Exhausting.

If I came to visit early in the morning would you impress me as being more like a chirpy bird or a grumpy bear?

Grumpy bear, definitely. I don’t drink coffee — I’ve actually never had a cup of coffee, ever — so it takes me a while to ‘wake up’, even after I wake up. It’s nothing personal to anyone. I just need a little ‘me’ time before I really get going. But I have two little kids, so they’ve trained me to jump into daddy mode pretty much on demand, whether I’m in the mood or not!

How do you react to a bad review of your book?

Thankfully there have been far more good ones than bad, but with the negative reviews, I admit they can get under my skin a little bit … but usually not for long. If someone criticizes my work and I think they’ve made a fair point, I try to incorporate those comments into how I think about writing going forward, and look at the feedback as an opportunity to improve as a writer going forward. And I’m not just saying that. Sometimes the truth hurts! Ha.

But if I disagree with the comment or I feel that it makes no sense, I let it go. It just doesn’t bother me. One reviewer gave Finders Keepers a low rating because he said it had too much naughty language. But there’s an F-bomb on the very first page, including a kinky love-making scene. He knew what he was getting into and he kept reading anyway. There’s a compliment in there somewhere. But what did he think he was going to read going forward? That one made me laugh.

Tell us about the absolute BEST fan letter you have received.

A few months ago I attended the LunaCon sci-fi convention in Rye, NY. I was at my table, promoting Crossline. And then I heard a girl’s voice. “Russ!” I turned around and saw Kelly*, who is now a freshman at Syracuse University. She met me at a convention about a year before, and bought and read Finders Keepers, which she loved. She asked me if I was working on the sequel, which I am, and if I would have it ready for LunaCon 2014. I told her I wasn’t sure, but that I’m trying. She said, “Don’t rush. Take your time. Make it great.” That’s about the best moment I could ask for.
(*Not her real name)

What are your favorite TV shows?

Yikes. Tough one, but here goes: Current shows: Dexter, Breaking Bad, The Big Bang Theory, Homeland, Game of Thrones, Justified, The Killing, Sons of Anarchy, Mad Men, The Americans. Of all time: Sports Night, Northern Exposure, The Sopranos, The Wire, Homicide, The Shield, Seinfeld, Friends, Scrubs, Battlestar Galactica (remake), Lost, The X-Files, The Office (U.S. version), The Honeymooners, The Simpsons, Family Guy, M.A.S.H., House, Brotherhood, ER, The Twilight Zone, Star Trek, Star Trek Next Generation, Cheers, Columbo, Law & Order, The Odd Couple

Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?

Hmm …. I want to be careful about specifics, as doing so would ruin a few surprises I have coming in new books that I’m working on, but it’s safe to say that one location is hot, humid, and rocky, and the other is really cold. And I mean REALLY cold. Use no more than two sentences.

Why should we read your new book, Crossline?

Crossline is part rollicking space romp, part parallel Universe stranger-in-a-strange-land adventure, and part mystery. It’s a pulpy epic tale that will keep you guessing — and out of breath — laced with great characters, plenty of twists, and loads of humor.

Click here for the full, expanded interview …

 

Russ’ Newsletter: Vol. 7, No. 2: CROSSLINE on Amazon!

Howdy Gang!

It’s been a strange start to the year for me. After a very nice holiday I season I got sick for about two solid months — the second month pretty much a cough I couldn’t shake — but now that we’re into March I’ve got some very exciting news to announce:

CROSSLINE is for Sale!

Thanks to the gang at Crazy 8 Press, the book is printed, the snazzy cover by Glenn Hauman is done, and you can now buy your very own copy from Amazon by clicking here:

Crossline full cover.psd

And for all of you e-book readers … guess what? CROSSLINE is available in e-book as well! Click here for the e-book:

 

 

 

 

Thumbs up reviews for CROSSLINE!

So now that CROSSLINE has launched — ha ha — what’s the early word? Here’s what just some folks are saying:

“Clever, witty, and relentlessly trippy.”   — Chris Millis, author/screenwriter “Small Apartments”

“Crossline is a well crafted, fast-paced chase through the stratosphere. A page-turner!  — Thomas O’Callaghan, Author of the John W. Driscoll series       Want more reviews? Check ’em out here!

BIG Thanks!

As I sign off for this edition, let me give a big shout out to the boys at Crazy 8 Press, and of course to all of you, who continue to support me in all of my crazy writing adventures. And if you happen to pick up a copy of Crossline for yourself, I sure hope you have a good time.

That’s why I wrote it.

All the Best,
Russ

www.russcolchamiro.com
@authorduderuss
authorduderuss@gmail.com

 

 

 

Lunacon 2013 — My Schedule

Hey Gang-

I’ll be spending the weekend at Lunacon, in Rye, NY. I’ll have a table in the dealers room, with copies of Crossline and Finders Keepers. And here’s my speaking schedule:

10 am – “Humor in Science Fiction,” in the Poplar Room, with Elektra Hammond, Theodore Krulik, Alex Shvartsman, and my pal Patrick Thomas.

1 pm — “Less Sh*tty Second Drafts” in the Poplar Room, with Lawrence M. Schoen, Laura Anne Gilman, Michael A. Ventrella, and C.E. Lawrence (Carole Bugge)

4 pm — “Self-Promotion for Private People,” in the Elijah Budd Room, with D.L. Carter, Laura Anne Gilman, Danielle Ackley-Mcphail and Gail Martin

6 pm — “Finding The Right Critic,” in William Odelle Room, with Alex Shvartsman, D.L. Carter (Dee Kenealy), Myke Cole, April Grey

 

 

‘On the 5’ — Movies I Thought Would Stink, But Won Me Over

1. Galaxy Quest: Star Trek is an easy target for spoofing. But that doesn’t make  Galaxy Questit easy to do. Galaxy Quest is not only a fun adventure unto itself, but it deftly parodies the Star Trek franchise while respecting its audience, and is packed with spot-on performances across the board. Galaxy Quest could have been laughable. Instead, it stands up on multiple levels as quality — and fun — entertainment.

2. Cryus: A grown man with an unhealthy attachment to his mommy gets in the way  of a solid relationshp with her new boyfriend. Hardly a novel idea. And yet this indie really works, thanks to nuanced performances from John C. Reilly, Marissa CyrusTomei, and, perhaps most surprising, Jonah Hill, who is proving to be a lot more than at first meets the eye. Cyrus is indeed a bit odd and just a little creepy. But give it a shot. It works.

3. Con Air: Sure it’s big and loud and ridiculous on every level. But it’s also fun as Con Airhell. Action-packed, well-paced, with over-the-top stunts that blows sh*t up real good. Plus a killer cast including Steve Buscemi, Nicholas Cage, Ving Rhames, John Cusak, and others. Con Air never pretends to be anything it isn’t. It’s just top notch at being what it is.

4. The Matrix: When The Matrix first came out, I thought: Keanu Reeves as the star of a futuristic, sci-fi action movie? Uh … no thanks … dude. And for two years, even when friends of mine told me how good it was, I resisted. And then, finally, I broke down, and rented it. Yep. It’s a great movie. It’s a slightly derivative reluctant hero in the vein of other scifi/comic book stories such as Miracleman and Mage, and I’m sure others, but the surfer/slacker/burn-out star brought the mojo.

5. Sideways: The cast, writers and director are all quite good, so why did this movie surprise me? Because it’s about two middle-aged layabout who are selfish, lazy, and, ultimately, not loyal, reliable, or honest. But the movie works because there’s a human quality underneath, about struggling to find your way through a life that doesn’t quite live up to expectations.

Bonus Movie: Ghost: Let’s see. A sappy love story about a dead fiance who comes back to rescue his girl from his killer? This is so NOT for me. And if I had to sit through one more commercial of Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore rubbing each others’ hands while making pottery, I was going to smash my TV! Ahh! And yet … Ghost is a subversively entertaining popcorn movie that had me hooked. I’m not saying I’m proud of it, but I did like it.

The Story Behind Crossline

Here’s my blog post on the Crazy 8 Web site, about the origins of my new book, Crossline:

http://www.crazy8press.com/2013/03/01/crossline-explained/

As with all great stories, Crossline was inspired by — what else — a girl.

I’ll explain.

Crossline is actually the melding of two completely disparate ideas I developed a dozen years apart. Back in the late ‘90s, I had an idea for a sci-fi comic book mini-series. A buddy of mine helped me see how big Crossline could really be, so I upped the action and then we put the very beginning of Crossline into layout. But the comic book never took off, so to speak.

Yeah. Okay, great. But … what’s this about a girl?

Well … back in high school I had a crush on a redhead, who was a tried and true American Irish lass who also happened to be fiery and passionate about all things Ireland and the IRA. So of course I had to write about it, because who better to capture ‘the troubles’ then a 16-year-old Jewish kid from Long Island who knew absolutely nothing about Ireland?

And so a trilogy of short stories came to be. They were lumpy and unpolished, but there was a real cross-border love story set within political action and intrigue, and each story was an improvement over the last. The framework for something special was in place.

(For the record, I never published the stories, and to my chagrin at the time, I never got the girl.)

And yet … I held onto the story idea, and when at long last I saw how the sci-fi component could really raise the stakes to this human drama, I started writing the novel. It took almost 25 years, but Crossline has finally arrived.

The space adventure gets the action rolling, but there’s a saga that comes with it. And lest this all sounds a bit heavy … fear not. I replaced the original teenaged angst with some philosophical musings, cosmic shenanigans, and loads of humor, cuz like Plato himself liked to say, that’s just how I roll (or maybe it was Confucius, I forget).

In any case, if Crossline sounds like your kinda thing, it will be available both in print and e-book through my pals at Crazy8 Press. Coming soon.

Crazy 8 Press to Publish Crossline

Here’s the blog from Crazy 8 Press announcing my new book, Crossline:

http://www.crazy8press.com/2013/02/16/coming-in-march-crossline-by-russ-colchamiro/

Up until now our little gang at Crazy 8 has published books by just our little band of writers — the founding members, as we like say (ahem-hem). But we finally thought, you know, it’s time we opened our doors to some of Russ Grooves an Alien

our fellow writers and bring them into the Crazy 8 family. As announced at Farpoint this afternoon, this will be our next offering and one we’re excited about.

With that, let’s  welcome our newest brother in arms — author Russ Colchamiro.

If you don’t know Russ, his debut novel was the hilarious sci-fi backpacking comedy Finders Keepers, which he published to some nice fanfare through 3 Finger Prints.

In fact, review site Ruled by Books had this to say about Russ: “There are only a handful of comedic authors that I enjoy, tops among them being Douglas Adams and Christopher Moore. After reading Finders Keepers … add Russ Colchamiro to that list.”

And now he’s back with his latest novel, Crossline, which will debut in Mid-March as the first official Crazy 8 novel written by an outside author.

So what’s Crossline about?

If you ask Russ, he calls it a modern-day Buck Rogers/Flash Gordon-style space opera, with his usual time-bending, philosophical shenanigans mixed in, as well as action, space soaring thrills, some deadly, but lovely ladies, and of course, loads of humor.

Space battles? Check

Wormholes? Check

Alternate realities? Check

Pot smoking shaman? Check

You want more? Keep checking in with us here  for further updates and pretty soon we’ll hear from Russ himself about how this crazy space opera came together.

Russ’ Newsletter: Vol. 7, No. 1 – New Book — Crossline has a Deal!

Howdy Gang!

I hope everybody had a festive New Year’s and that you’re starting off 2013 with a bang.

Liz and I had an adventurous holiday break with our little ninjas, including lots of family time, and now we’re embarking on that classic rite of passage known as potty training! We also squeezed in a few movies, including The Hobbit (2-D version), which was a bit long, but had a great last hour, and Django Unchained, which was bloody, funny, and a bit too long, but also good.

As for my adventures in writing …

Crossline is a go! I have indeed secured a publishing deal, so you will be seeing Crossline in both e-book and print versions some time in March.

Woo Hoo!

As you may have heard (from me), Crossline is a modern-day Buck Rogers/Flash Gordon-style space opera, with my usual philosophical shenanigans mixed in. To get this galactic joyride into your hands (and eyeballs), I’ll be working with the maniacs — and I say that in the best way possible — over at Crazy 8 Press, who have had quite a bit of success in their own right.

The boys at Crazy8iatics, including New York Times best-seller Peter David, as well as Robert Greenberger, Aaron Rosenberg, Glenn Hauman, Michael Jan Friedman, and Howard Weinstein have until now only published their own works, so I have the honor (or is that dishonor?!) of being the first outside author to be invited inside the walls of Castle Crazy.

I’ll have many updates to share in the coming months, including specific publishing dates, snazzy artwork, and, of course, where you can buy your very own copy!

And in case you were wondering if I’ll be doing any conventions and signings …

Russ’ Spring 2013 Convention Schedule

Okay. C’mon. Admit it. You miss me. Well … yer in luck! I’ll have a table, will be doing signings, and may also speak on a few panels at the following sci-fi shows in early Spring:

* Lunacon: March 15 -17, Rye, New York

* RocCon: April 7, Poughkeepsie, New York

If you’d like to come by, stop over and howdy-do!

Rumblings About Finders Keepers II

And while Crossline launches (ha-ha), I’m already hard at work on the first of two Finders Keepers sequels. No word yet on a publishing date, but if all goes well, we’ll be seeing our fun-loving goofballs some time in 2014.

That’s all she wrote for this edition. But stay tuned for updates in the coming weeks and I’ll be sure to have lots of new info to share about Crossline

All the best,

Russ

10 Whumpin’ Rock Songs Daughtry Should Cover

Daughtry’s Break the Spell is by far my favorite album from these guys, and as I’ve blogged about previously, I think they are going to be around a long, long time. Their songs have great hooks, and they’ve got a lead singer — Chris Daughtry himself — sporting a Hall of Fame voice (see where I rank Chris among my favorite rock n’ roll singers ever).

I’m sure the Daughtry boys are itching to get back into the studio, but while they are out there touring, they typically mix in a few cover songs into their set list, including one of my all time favorite rock songs, Rebel Yell by Billy Idol.

 

Speaking of covers, if Chris and the gang are open to suggestion, here are ten whumpin’ rock songs I’d love to hear them bang out. Some you might know, some maybe not, but either way, I think Daughtry would do them all justice:

  • Eye of the Tiger, Survivor
  • Enter Sandman, Metallica
  • Rockin’ in the Free World, Neil Young
  • Like I Do, Live
  • Cum on Feel the Noise, Quiet Riot
  • Plowed, Sponge
  • Twilight Zone, Golden Earring
  • Hazy Shade of Winter, Simon and Garfunkel
  • A Matter of Trust, Billy Joel
  • No Easy Way, Robert Tepper

I’m sure there are many others the Daughtry boys would do justice. Any songs you’d like to hear them cover?

Russ’ Movie Review: Skyfall – Shaken … or Stirred?

There’s been a lot of chatter out there about whether or not Skyfall truly measures up as one of the better, or even elite, James Bond movies, with Casino Royale generally considered by many (including me), to be one of the best in the series and certainly the best Bond outing in many years.

There have been those who felt Skyfall didn’t hit the mark, or that while it is a good movie, it isn’t a good James Bond movie. But I’m here to say this:

Skyfall.

Kicks.

Ass.

Skyfall is not only one of the best Bond movies in the entire 007 series, it’s one of the better movies I’ve seen this year.

What Worked: There is a LOT to like about Skyfall. First, it’s just a great looking and sounding movie, with exotic locales and all the polish a Bond movies deserves.

But on to Mr. Bond himself. Now in his third go as 007, Daniel Craig has never looked more comfortable in the character. Clearly a few years older since he first took the role, he really seems to understand who and what Bond is, and how to embody such an iconic character. Craig has the physical brute force required to handle death-defying situations, the intelligence for the ‘spy’ aspects, and enough charm to woo those lovely ladies.

Skyfall also gives us perhaps the most humanized take of James Bond in the entire series. The detractors say that such human foibles take away from 007, and led to their disappointment. I agree that the existential crisis Bond goes through would only work once. Skyfall has to be a stand-alone entry; it cannot be the model for future outings. But as a one-off, I found the layers of Bond quite compelling, and, in fact, drew me deeper into the character than ever before.

The plot, which borders on being too layered at times, has an actual story and theme, with Bond and others given the time to talk and think and reveal themselves. Unlike many Bond movies, there are only a handful of action sequences, allowing the story to unfold much more organically than we usually get with 007. The rewards are that I was genuinely interested in what was happening, rather than just waiting for something to blow up real good.

Beyond Craig himself, the cast is mostly superb. Judi Dench, as always, is fantastic as M, and we also get believable and even quirky performances from Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whipshaw as the new Q, and Berenice Marlohe as one of the most exotic and alluring Bond girls in a long, long time. And, of course, Javier Bardem as the villain Silva has just the right mix of being twistedly over the top without being a cartoon. He’s a warped mind with a real plan. Quite simply, he is a deadly and unpredictable foil for Mr. Bond.

The fun is back. After the pretty weak and unpolished Quantum of Solace, Skyfall was far more self aware and humorous, and those lighter moments helped elevate — and loosen up — what is a pretty intense movie start to finish. Whereas Casino Royale was more overt popcorn movie, Skyfall is more intense thriller.

What Didn’t Work: Without giving away too much, there wasn’t enough time spent with the Bond girls themselves. Bond is at his most devilish fun when he’s sparring with (and bedding) the delicious Bond girls, and in Skyfall, those scenes are a bit sparse, and one of the reasons I think the detractors didn’t feel that Skyfall was a true “Bond” movie.

Speaking of Bond girls, Naomi Harris as field agent Eve fell flat. Compared to the other performers, she was the weak link. She just didn’t exude the … Bond girlness … we want, and she didn’t bring enough sizzle to the repartee with 007.

As for the plot, Director Sam Mendes said that Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight gave him the confidence to tackle certain themes that are typically absent in popcorn action movies. But with Skyfall, some of the plot is essentially an exact replica of The Dark Knight. The plot works within Skyfall unto itself, but I felt that, not only had I seen this before, I had just seen this before.

The plot also hinged on some pretty incredible timing, in parts, and I’m not sure it would really hold up under tighter scrutiny. Then again, it’s a James Bond movie, so how tight do we expect the plots to be? A minor blip, but a blip nonetheless.

Finally, the opening sequence is an extended action piece that, on paper, delivers real excitement. And at times, it did. But in others, I found the directing to be a bit mechanical. I wasn’t always as riveted as I wanted to be.

Shaken or Stirred?: Skyfall is an intense, riveting and thoroughly entertaining entry in the James Bond franchise that actually had something to say about fighting terror in the modern world, and in fact, is one of the best entrees in the entire 007 series. In some ways I liked Skyfall better than Casino Royale, although it’s not quite as fun, and time will tell if it will have that same “re-watchability” factor.

Whereas Casino Royale was a reboot, Skyfall is re-invigoration.

Skyfall missed opportunities, but for a James Bond fan that demands a real movie with his popcorn fun, I found that Skyfall delivered in a big, big way, and nicely sets up the coming adventures with a character that has finally shed his past so that he can fully engage in the future.

I can’t wait for what 007 has in store for us next.

 

Finders Keepers Hits NY Comic-Con 2012

Sorry I’m a little late on this one, but I’m still catching my breath after the NY Comic-Con.

I was there on Thursday of the 4-day event, but I got more than my money’s worth. Comic-Con is always such a madhouse, with Thursday being the most manageable day by far.

While there I got to see some of my writer pals, including No Small Bills and Too Small For Tall author Aaron Rosenberg, and Glenn Hauman — both with Crazy 8 Press — as well as Keith DeCandido and Star Trek author stud David Mack.

And, as always, I had my adventures with long-time partner-in-crime Rich Henn, who was out there slinging comics like a madman. We wound up having late-night burgers and beers — all was good in the end. Although the fries were wire-thin curly cue, so you had to eat them with a fork – or by the handful. Not prime French fry logistics, but that should only be my biggest problem.

During the show itself, I was out there doing the usual Finders Keepers promotion, and made a new fans, including:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, of course, this dude:

 

 

 

 

This will likely be my last show of 2012, but based on what’s in the hopper, it’s starting to look like 2013 will be quite a year indeed!

 

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