In the Writer’s Chair

SciFi Rock n’ Roller Coaster Q&A – Guest Author: Roy Mauritsen

Roy Mauritsen is the author of Shards of the Glass Slipper, an epic fantasy fairy tale adventure in 2 novels, Book I: Queen Cinder & Book II: Queen Alice

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SciFi Rock n’ Roller Coaster: Hey Roy! You strapped in? Let’s have some fun! Have you ever, or would you ever go sky diving? Details!

Roy Mauritsen: I’ve done a lot of exciting stuff…. been SCUBA diving with 30 reef sharks, horseback riding across the Scottish highlands, white water rafting in Costa Rica, African Safari, and I’ll do more to be sure… BUT I am not drawn to sky diving… but who knows, one day I might have an opportunity and I’ll probably give it a shot!

SFRRC: We have a magic kitchen, which can prepare any meal you want. Cost and prep time are not an issue. You can either eat alone, or invite guests from anywhere in time and space, fictional or real. What’s your ideal, one-time only menu? Who joins you? And what’s the venue?

Roy: The best memories are made with life-long friends and some really good BBQ in the back yard. Having the time to gather all in one place like that would be magical. And maybe Steven Spielberg…

SFRRC: Speaking of appetites, when it comes to fiction, what three books would you most like to read that you haven’t gotten to yet?

shards-audiobook-coverRoy: Genius De Milo by some guy named Russ.., The IX by Andrew Weston, and Patrick ThomasMurphy’s Lore … I’ve actually never read it and I’ve known Patrick for years! Ha-ha! I have no time to read.

SFRRC: What book, in any genre, has stayed with you the most, long after you read it?

Roy: Alice in Wonderland. I read it as a child and now some 40 years later I based one of my novels off of it.

SFRRC: Star Wars or Star Trek? Why?

Roy: Star Wars always appealed to my sense of adventure.. Star Trek I like too, but seems a little bit more structured and science-y. Plus lightsabers.

SFRRC: Favorite character from any SciFi movie?

Roy: Buckaroo Bonzai jumps to mind. But I’m sure there are others!

SFRRC: There’s been a resurgence over the last decade, bringing SciFi back to TV. Favorite SciFi show that’s debuted in the past ten 10 years?

Roy: I really enjoyed the reboot of Battlestar Galactica.

SFRRC: We love Rock n’ Roll here at SFRRC. What’s your favorite kind of music? And if you could go on tour with any solo artist or band, for one year, all expenses paid, from any time in history, who would that be?shardsbook1_cover

Roy: I listen to a wide range, but generally it’s mostly progressive and World I’d say… But top of the list is YES. Their music has always resonated with me on a much greater level than any other.

SFRRC: In our bag of tricks is a single wish, granting you one, specific super power — which you can use at your discretion for one full week. You have to pick now. One-time only offer, and your power can’t be that you can give yourself more powers. What’s your power, and why?

Roy: Teleportation: global range. So I can travel more efficiently on a week-long vacation!

SFRRC: Now that your powers are used up, we can now send you to a magical realm filled with wonders and dangers with almost unlimited possibilities, where you’ll encounter all sorts of creatures, friendly and otherwise. If you go, there’s a 50-50 chance of you making it back to the life you know now. If you do make it back, you’ll be filled with stories to share that authors can only dream of inventing. But if you don’t make it back — whether dead or alive, thriving or not — you can’t ever return, and the people you know in this life will have no idea where you’ve gone or what’s become of you. Would you go?

beanstalk-display_finalRoy: Definitely I’d go! Because as much as it a chance to lose a part of your life it’s also a chance to encounter a new life. Change it up! These days most people are tethered to their old lives, restrained from developing a new life for themselves.

SFRRC: When you writing career is over, how would you like to be remembered, both as a person, and as an author?

Roy: As someone who set out to do things and accomplish some if not all, rather a person that merely talked about doing great things as they sat on the sidelines watching life go by.

SFRRC: OK. We’ve tortured you enough. You’re a writer. What are you working on now? Promote away!

Roy: As a writer AND an art director for two small press publishers I’m quite busy. These days I have my artist cap on and I’ve been doing a flurry of book covers for Perseid Press.

On the writing front I’m scratching out story ideas I’m a huge planner and not the most prolific of writers so there’s lots of planning before I even start to crack the next story.

The other hat I have on is Audiobook producer. My first novel Shards of the Glass Slipper Queen Cinder has been turned into audiobook (available on audible). I worked directly with the narrator, and myself spent weeks mixing in music and sound effects to make it a more immersive listening experience. At over 16 hours long that was quite a task.shardsbookII-cover

I did it again for a short story entitled “Syrenka” which a prequel story to my first book. And I will be doing it again as we’ll be recording book II. That audiobook should be out next spring!

Thank you very much for reading!

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1w0-1QojUo

Book I: Queen Alice

Book trailer:

Audiobook ( Book I) 
audiobook promotional trailer:

http://www.shardsoftheglassslipper.com

SciFi Rock n’ Roller Coaster Q&A – Guest Author: Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Award-winning author Danielle Ackley-McPhail has worked both sides of the publishing industry for longer than she cares to admit. Currently, she is a project editor and promotions manager for Dark Quest Books and has recently started her own press, eSpec Books (www.especbooks.com). dmcphailhighresHer published works include five urban fantasy novels, Yesterday’s Dreams, Tomorrow’s Memories, Today’s Promise, The Halfling’s Court: and The Redcaps’ Queen: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale, and a young adult Steampunk novel, Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn, written with Day Al-Mohamed.

She is also the author of the solo collections A Legacy of Stars, Consigned to the Sea, Flash in the Can, and Transcendence, the non-fiction writers’ guide, The Literary Handyman, and is the senior editor of the Bad-Ass Faeries anthology series, Dragon’s Lure, and In an Iron Cage. Her short stories are included in numerous other anthologies and collections.

SciFi Rockin’ Roller Coaster: Hey Danielle! You strapped in? Let’s have some fun! Have you ever, or would you ever go sky diving? Details!Danielle Ackley-McPhail: I’ve always wanted to go up in a hot-air balloon, but I can honestly say I’ve never had a desire to jump out of a perfectly functional plane. Just saying. Hang-gliding might be interesting, though…only my hubby would have a coronary if I even suggested it.

SFRRC: We have a magic kitchen, which can prepare any meal you want. Cost and prep time are not an issue. You can either eat alone, or invite guests from anywhere in time and space, fictional or real. What’s your ideal, one-time only menu? Who joins you? And what’s the venue? BabaAliandtheClockworkDjinn_lg

DAM: Everything has no calories, right? Meat. The most succulent, best-prepared meat…lamb, steak, rabbit, duck, venison….I could die happy without anything else even being on the table, but for those who are big on sides, creamy crusty homemade mac and cheese, buttery homemade mashed potatoes, and fresh-picked corn on the cob. And I would invite everyone who was hungry.

SFRRC: Speaking of appetites, when it comes to fiction, what three books would you most like to read that you haven’t gotten to yet?

DAM: Clockwork Crown by Beth Cato, Alma Alexander’s Shifter, and the newest Rachel Griffin book by L. Jagi Lamplighter.

SFRRC: What book, in any genre, has stayed with you the longest after you read it?

DAM: <blushes> When I was thirteen I read The Outsiders by SE Hinton 21 times in a row.

SFRRC: Star Wars or Star Trek? Why?

DAM: Both, I love a great sci fi, and these are both lasting legacies with much to offer in both entertainment and message.

SFRRC: Favorite character from any SciFi movie?

DAM: Tech Sergeant Chen from Galaxy Quest. He had so many subtle layers.

TW3-COVER-REVAMPSFRRC: There’s been a resurgence over the last decade, bringing SciFi back to TV. Favorite SciFi show that’s debuted in the past ten 10 years?

DAM: I’m a little hazy on time since I see most things after the fact on DVD. I would say Firefly, if it’s in the right time frame. If it’s not …. really hard to say since I don’t get much time to watch TV. Of course, if this counts, I would also say FaceOff, which is a reality show, but yeah, really high on my list.

SFRRC: We love Rock n’ Roll here at SFFR. What’s your favorite kind of music? And if you could go on tour with any solo artist or band, for one year, all expenses paid, from any time in history, who would that be?

DAM: I’m really big on Celtic music and other folksy type genres that come from the same roots. If I was able to follow someone around for a year, though, it would be SJ Tucker. Fabulous. Absolutely fabulous.

SFRRC: In our bag of tricks is a single wish, granting you one, specific super power — which you can use at your discretion for one full week. You have to pick now. One-time only offer, and your power can’t be that you can give yourself more powers. What’s your power, and why?

DAM: The limitless power (for that one week) to heal everyone I meet of their most grievous hurt, be it physical, psychological, mental, emotional, etc.

SFRRC: Now that your powers are used up, we can now send you to a magical realm filled with wonders and dangers with almost unlimited possibilities, where you’ll encounter all sorts of creatures, friendly and otherwise. If you go, there’s a 50-50 chance of you making it back to the life you know now. If you do make it back, you’ll be filled with stories to share that authors can only dream of inventing. But if you don’t make it back — whether dead or alive, thriving or not — you can’t ever return, and the people you know in this life will have no idea where you’ve gone or what’s become of you. Would you go?

DAM: I would not. I like to believe there are people on this earth who would notice and care if I were to disappear and to do so willfully and put them through the heartache and grief of not knowing what happened…I could not do that to those I care about. And to be truthful, I already come up with some pretty fantastic stuff so I will be content with that.

SFRRC: When you writing career is over, how would you like to be remembered, both as a person, and as an author? SoGSoE Postcard copy

DAM: To be remembered fondly, to be remembered as someone who touched others’ lives and enriched them in some manner, be it through my writing or as a friend, as a true follower of Christ and all that entails, with love, not judgement. Though, in truth, I’m sure the one thing I will be remembered for—at least by those who actually know me—is for my hugs. There are worse things in life.

SFRRC: OK. We’ve tortured you enough. You’re a writer. What are you working on now? Promote away!

DAM: As an editor I am working on The Side of Good / The Side of Evil, a superhero/villain flipbook anthology, which is now available for pre-order in multiple formats. As a publisher I’m working on The Weird Wild West, edited by Misty Massey, Emily Lavin Leverett, and Margaret S. McGraw, and as an author I am working on a story for the Were- anthology by Zombies Need Brains! and on Eternal Wanderings, a spin-off novella series related to my Eternal Cycle novels based on Irish myth.

To learn more about her work, visit www.sidhenadaire.com, www.especbooks.com or www.badassfaeries.com.

Twitter: @DMcPhail

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/danielle.ackleymcphail

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Danielle-Ackley-McPhail/e/B002GZVZPQ/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/989939.Danielle_Ackley_McPhail

SciFi Rock n’ Roller Coaster Q&A – Guest Author: Alex Shvartsman

Alex Shvartsman is the author of Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma and Other Stories and H. G. Wells, Secret Agent.

AlexSciFi Rockin’ Roller Coaster: Hey ​Alex! You strapped in? Let’s have some fun! Have you ever, or would you ever go sky diving? Details!

No. Na-ah. Nope. Not happening. If you want me to exit the plane, it better be parked at a nice airport terminal somewhere. If you expect me to exit a moving plane at high altitude, you better be prepared to shove hard. And even then, there’s a decent chance I will overpower you and enjoy stale airline pretzels as I wait for the death machine to land.

SFRRC: We have a magic kitchen, which can prepare any meal you want. Cost and prep time are not an issue. You can either eat alone, or invite guests from anywhere in time and space, fictional or real. What’s your ideal, one-time only menu? Who joins you? And what’s the venue?

Alex Shvartsman: I’d love to share a meal with Teddy Roosevelt, Benjamin Disraeli and Mikhail Bulgakov. At that point I’m pretty sure I would not remember the food served, or the venue serving it.

SFRRC: Speaking of appetites, when it comes to fiction, what three books would you most like to read that you haven’t gotten to yet?funnyscifi_cover

Alex: There’s a mountain of books in my To Be Read pile which resembles Everest in terms of both its height and how intimidating it is to approach. Somewhere near the top of this pile are Chuck Gannon’s Raising Caine (which I already started and need to finish), Tom Doyle’s The Left-Hand Way and Peter F. Hamilton’s The Abyss Beyond Dreams. Anyone got a few extra hours in the day they can spare, so I can read these sooner?

SFRRC: What book, in any genre, has stayed with you the most long after you read it?

Alex: This is not a fair question in that I have to pick just one. But if I must pick, I’ll go with Birthright: The Book of Man by Mike Resnick. I think it was the first collection of short stories that tied together into a novel (a la The Martian Chronicles or Tuff Voyaging) that I read and truly enjoyed, and it influenced my approach to writing and space opera in considerable ways.

SFRRC: Star Wars or Star Trek? Why?

Alex: Star Wars for sure. I prefer unabashed fun adventure to (slightly) more serious and scientific SF any day.

hg wells alexSFRRC: Favorite character from any SciFi movie?

Alex: Morpheus from The Matrix, probably. I don’t watch very many movies, to be honest.

SFRRC: There’s been a resurgence over the last decade, bringing SciFi back to TV. Favorite SciFi show that’s debuted in the past ten 10 years?

Alex: Is it cheating to say Game of Thrones, since it’s fantasy? Probably the most influential genre show in recent years, and definitely a ton of fun.

SFRRC: We love Rock n’ Roll here at SFFR. What’s your favorite kind of music? And if you could go on tour with any solo artist or band, for one year, all expenses paid, from any time in history, who would that be?

Alex: I’m partial to Queen, Billy Joel, The Beatles, and Chris de Burgh. If I had to tour with anyone though, given my own artistic tendencies, it’d probably be Weird Al Yankovic.

SFRRC: In our bag of tricks is a single wish, granting you one, specific super power — which you can use at your discretion for one full week. You have to pick now. One-time only offer, and your power can’t be that you can give yourself more powers. What’s your power, and why?

Alex: If it’s only for one week, I suppose I’ll take super-intelligence. That way I can cure cancer, design an FTL drive, and solve the plot problem on page 47 that has been bothering me of late.

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SFRRC: Now that your powers are used up, we can now send you to a magical realm filled with wonders and dangers with almost unlimited possibilities, where you’ll encounter all sorts of creatures, friendly and otherwise. If you go, there’s a 50-50 chance of you making it back to the life you know now. If you do make it back, you’ll be filled with stories to share that authors can only dream of inventing. But if you don’t make it back — whether dead or alive, thriving or not — you can’t ever return, and the people you know in this life will have no idea where you’ve gone or what’s become of you. Would you go?

Alex: Nope. Are you kidding me? I’ve got plenty of stories to tell as-is!

SFRRC: When you writing career is over, how would you like to be remembered, both as a person, and as an author?

Alex I write for fun and don’t truly consider it to be a career. I want to entertain my readers and instill a sense of wonders, especially for those younger readers who might pick up my books. More than any kind of award, I would love to hear someone say that they got into writing because they read my books as a kid one day.

SFRRC: OK. We’ve tortured you enough. You’re a writer. What are you working on​ now? Promote away!

cthulu cover-hi-resAlex: I have two fresh anthologies: one just came out (Funny Science Fiction, you can buy it now, cheaper than a fancy coffee at Starbucks!) and the other is coming out in October: Unidentified Funny Objects 4, headlined by George R. R. Martin and Neil Gaiman among many other fabulous authors.

As to my own work, I’m about half way through writing my grimdark fantasy novel “Eridani’s Crown.” My latest funny short story is in the current (September) issue of Galaxy’s Edge magazine. It’s called “Dreidel of Dread: The Very Cthulhu Channukah.” You know you want to read that. Finally, if you like that sample story you can pick up my collection, Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma and Other Stories. (I promise, some of those other stories are not about Cthulhu.)

SciFi Rock n’ Roller Coaster Q&A: Author Guest – Ilana C. Myer

Ilana C. Myer has written for the Globe and Mail, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Salon, and the Huffington Post. Previously she was a freelance journalist in Jerusalem for the Jerusalem Post, the Jewish Daily Forward, Time Out Israel and other publications. She lives in New York City. She is also the author of the new fantasy novel, and her debut, Last Song Before Night, published by Tor Books.

Become a Fan: http://facebook.com/DaveCrossPhotography or visit http://DaveCrossPhotography.com

Become a Fan:
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SciFi Rockin’ Roller Coaster: Hey Ilana! You strapped in? Let’s have some fun! Have you ever, or would you ever go sky diving? Details!

Ilana C. Myer: No way! Maybe when I’m 90!

SFRRC: We have a magic kitchen, which can prepare any meal you want. Cost and prep time are not an issue. You can either eat alone, or invite guests from anywhere in time and space, fictional or real. What’s your ideal, one-time only menu? Who joins you? And what’s the venue?

Ilana: My favorite food in the world is the hot chocolate at the Agelina’s café in Paris. While it’s most special if my spouse is present, I don’t care who is with me as long as I have a pitcher of that incredible hot chocolate with some whipped cream on the side!

SFRRC: Speaking of appetites, when it comes to fiction, what three books would you most like to read that you haven’t gotten to yet?

Ilana: I’m looking forward to reading BARSK, by Lawrence Schoen, which comes out in December from Tor Books; ORLANDO by Virginia Woolf because I keep hearing about it and really, it’s about time; and a book-in-progress by David Mack that I have on queue to beta-read, that I know is going to blow me away.

SFRRC: What book, in any genre, has stayed with you the most long after you read it?

Ilana: It’s really tough, just about impossible, to pick just one! But a standby is TIGANA by Guy Gavriel Kay.

COZuNg9WEAA8-OI (2)SFRRC: Star Wars or Star Trek? Why?

Ilana: Star Wars, because lightsabres. 

SFRRC: Favorite character from any SciFi movie?

Ilana: Han Solo, obviously!

SFRRC: There’s been a resurgence over the last decade, bringing SciFi back to TV. What’s your favorite SciFi show that’s debuted in the past ten 10 years?

Ilana: I really love Firefly.

SFRRC: We love Rock n’ Roll here at SFFR. What’s your favorite kind of music? And if you could go on tour with any solo artist or band, for one year, all expenses paid from any time in history, who would that be?

Ilana: My musical tastes are all over the map, though mostly instrumental. If I could tour with any musician, it would be Loreena McKennitt.

SFRRC: In our bag of tricks is a single wish, granting you one, specific super power — which you can use at your discretion for one full week. You have to pick now. One-time only offer, and your power can’t be that you can give yourself more powers. What’s your power, and why?

Ilana: When I was younger I’d have answered differently, but now I’d say I would want the power to heal—myself and others. I have a new awareness as I advance into my 30s of how vulnerable our bodies are.

Ilana book signingSFRRC: Now that your powers are used up, we can now send you to a magical realm filled with wonders and dangers with almost unlimited possibilities, where you’ll encounter all sorts of creatures, friendly and otherwise. If you go, there’s a 50-50 chance of you making it back to the life you know now. If you do make it back, you’ll be filled with stories to share that authors can only dream of inventing. But if you don’t make it back — whether dead or alive, thriving or not — you can’t ever return, and the people you know in this life will have no idea where you’ve gone or what’s become of you. Would you go?

Ilana: Now why would I do that, when I can read and write and have the same experiences.

SFRRC: When you writing career is over, how would you like to be remembered, both as a person, and as an author?

Ilana: She kept right on fighting.

SFRRC: OK. We’ve tortured you enough. You’re a writer. What are you working on now? Promote away!

Ilana: I’m currently working on the sequel to LAST SONG BEFORE NIGHT, which just came out from Tor Books on September 29th. It’s a fantasy novel set in a world where art and magic are intertwined, and the protagonists are poets.

http://ilanacmyer.com/

http://www.npr.org/2015/09/29/443410272/last-song-is-a-beautifully-orchestrated-fantasy-debut

SciFi Rock n’ Roller Coaster Q&A: Author Guest – Patrick Thomas

Howdy folks! Today is an exciting day, as it marks the launch of a new, recurring column I’ll be posting — The SciFi Rock n’ Roller Coaster Author Q&As. Seeing as how I’m a SciFi Guy, love me some rock n’ roll, and have loads of author friends, I figured it was time to have a little extra fun and check in with my fellow creative maniacs. But rather than just your standard ‘what are you to questions’, we here at SFRRC are going to push the boundaries a bit. And to kick off the inaugural column, I recruited my good pal and fellow author Patrick Thomas, who, quite frankly is a heckuva good writer, and maybe the sweetest guy I know!

I hope you enjoy the new column. So here we go!

pat thomas photo sm

Patrick Thomas has had stories published in over three dozen magazines and more than fifty anthologies. He’s written 30+ books including the fantasy humor series Murphy’s Lore, urban fantasy spin offs Fairy With A Gun, Fairy Rides The Lightning, Dead To Rites, Rites of Passage, Lore & Dysorder and two more in the Startenders series. He co-writes the Mystic Investigators paranormal mystery series and The Assassins’ Ball, a traditional mystery, co-authored with John L. French. His darkly humorous advice column Dear Cthulhu includes the collections Have A Dark Day, Good Advice For Bad People, and Cthulhu Knows Best. A number of his books are part of the props department of the CSI television show and one was even thrown at a suspect. Fairy With A Gun was optioned by Laurence Fishburne’s Cinema Gypsy Productions. Drop by www.patthomas.net to learn more.

SciFi Rockin’ Roller Coaster: Hey Pat! You strapped in? Let’s have some fun! Have you ever, or would you ever go sky diving? Details!

Patrick Thomas: Nah. I’m afraid of heights. I went rock climbing once just to prove to myself I could do it. There was much screaming on my part, but I made it to the top so I never have to do it again. So, sky diving not likely without a good reason or a large cash payout.

SFRRC: We have a magic kitchen, which can prepare any meal you want. Cost and prep time are not an issue. You can either eat alone, or invite guests from anywhere in time and space, fictional or real. What’s your ideal, one-time only menu? Who joins you? And what’s the venue?

Pat:  A buffet with everything from shrimp scampi to chocolate soufflé to lobster bisque –pretty much every good food I can think of. Most definitely guests. Lots of guests. Besides family and friends, I’d bring back passed loved ones like my Dad and grandmother, aunts and uncles, friends, even my childhood dog – you didn’t say they’d have to be human.

I’d invite the Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy, Elvis, Humphrey Bogart, Mark Twain, Gandhi, and Jesus to start with. I’d have friends that were lost along the way. I’d bring most of the cast of my Murphy’s Lore Universe. Be nice to finally hang with the gang from Bulfinche’s Pub. And the main cast from Exile and Entrance, my first novel. And a host of literary characters – Sheeve and Ahaz, Rincewind and the luggage, Carrot, Granny and the Discworld witches, Spenser and Hawk, Miles Vorkosigan, Garrett, Archie and Nero, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, Superman, Batman … oh heck, the entire Justice League and Avengers, Ford and Arthur, the characters from the Princess Bride. And that’s just the start, depending on how many the venue could hold.

startenders II_cover 5SFRRC: Speaking of appetites, when it comes to fiction, what three books would you most like to read that you haven’t gotten to yet?

Pat: The Shepherd’s Crown, the *sniff* last Discworld by Terry Pratchett, Marathon Man by William Goldman, and Genius De Milo of course.

SFRRC: What book, in any genre, has stayed with you the longest after you read it?

Pat:  Tough one. The first ones that pop to mind are Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy by Doulas Adams, The Princess Bride by William Goldman, and The Mysterious Stranger and other stories by Mark Twain. And Tales of Time and Space which I read in about 4th grade.

SFRRC: Star Wars or Star Trek? Why?

Pat: Before Phantom Menace, Star Wars. After, it’s a toss -up. Love the epic action of Star Wars Episodes 4-6 and the weekly adventures and optimism of Star Trek.

SFRRC: Favorite character from any SciFi movie?

Pat: H. Phil Lovecraft, PI from Cast a Deadly Spell

SFRRC::  There’s been a resurgence over the last decade, bringing SciFi back to TV. Favorite SciFi show that’s debuted in the past ten 10 years?

Pat: Firefly was a bit longer than 10 years so I’d pick The Flash and Doctor Who.

SFRRC:: We love Rock n’ Roll here at SFRRC. What’s your favorite kind of music? And if you could go on tour with any solo artist or band, for one year, all expenses paid, from any time in history, who would that be?

fairywithagunredoPat:  I love lots of music, but favorite would be the Blues. I even wrote a few songs back in the day and got to sit in with Eddie Shaw and The Wolfgang twice. They used to play with the legendary Howling Wolf. While a number of acts spring to mind – Alice Cooper, The Blues Brothers, The Beatles, Weird Al Yankovic, Harpo Marx, Josie and the Pussycats (c’mon, living in a cartoon adventure and going to outer space for a year would be kind of cool) – I’d have to go with Elvis, but the young one. Although if Harpo was doing a music tour with Groucho and Chico, then I’d be stepping over Elvis’ blue suede shoes to go.

SFRRC:: In our bag of tricks is a single wish, granting you one, specific super power — which you can use at your discretion for one full week. You have to pick now. One-time only offer, and your power can’t be that you can give yourself more powers. What’s your power, and why?

Pat: The most fun would be flying or teleportation, but if I only had a week the one that would make the most difference would be the power to heal. Maybe combine them – the power to make myself and others fly and heal them in the process.

SFRRC: Now that your powers are used up, we can now send you to a magical realm filled with wonders and dangers with almost unlimited possibilities, where you’ll encounter all sorts of creatures, friendly and otherwise. If you go, there’s a 50-50 chance of you making it back to the life you know now. If you do make it back, you’ll be filled with stories to share that authors can only dream of inventing. But if you don’t make it back — whether dead or alive, thriving or not — you can’t ever return, and the people you know in this life will have no idea where you’ve gone or what’s become of you. Would you go?

Pat: Tempting, but not now. After my kids are grown and on their own, I’d probably have a different answer.

SFRRC: When you writing career is over, how would you like to be remembered, both as a person, and as an author?

Pat:  As a good man, a fun and funny guy, a loving father (and grandfather. And great grandfather – I’m not planning on stopping anytime soon.) As a writer who brought readers some joy, gave them a laugh and created characters and worlds that felt like they were a second home with characters they think of as friends.

cthulhu knows best 3 name fix bSFRRC:: OK. We’ve tortured you enough. You’re a writer. What are you working on​ now? Promote away!

Pat: Constellation Prize (the 2nd Startenders book) just came out as did the trade paperback edition of The Assassins’ Ball mystery I wrote with John L. French to follow up on the hardcover last year.

I’m working on a BIG blast for the 20th anniversary of Murphy’s Lore to see how many books I can get done in time for 2017. Hex will be getting his own collection in 2016 and a novel for 2017.

Hopefully there will be a Murphy’s Lore novel for 2017 as well a bunch of collections including young Terrorbelle’s time as a Daemor in Faerie. There is another Dear Cthulhu collection done. I’m working on a podcast humor show, which I’m hoping to premier 4/1/16. I have a middle reader out, finishing up a re-write on a paranormal romance, and I’m shopping an urban fantasy.

www.patthomas.net

https://www.facebook.com/PatrickThomasAuthor

http://astore.amazon.com/patrthomauth-20

 

My Balticon Panel Schedule – May 22-24

Howdy folks!

I’ll be attending the Balticon annual scifi show in Hunt Valley, MD, this weekend.

I’ll be manning my table throughout, selling and signing books, and mixing up with new and returning fans, and sharing a table with my partner in crime and fellow Crazy 8 Press author Aaron Rosenberg.

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If you want to come hear me speak, here’s my panel schedule for the weekend, all on Sunday:

Sunday, May 24

How to Intelligently Do Horrible Things to Your Characters
11 AM
Salon B
Trisha J Wooldridge (M), Katie Bryski, Russ Colchamiro, William Galaini, Joshua Palmatier

Every character does not have an idyllic past, nor is their journey through a story always smooth. How do you decide which of the wide range of awful things happen to your character, and how to treat traumatic events appropriately but not water down the impact of the events on your characters and story

 
Readings: Russ Colchamiro, Adam Ruben, Alex Shvartsman
1 pm
Chesapeak

 
How to Do a Blog Tour
2 pm
Tack
Mel Hayes (M), Starla Huchton, Tee Morris, Maria V Snyder, Russ Colchamiro

How to use a blog tour to generate publicity for your upcoming release.

 

The Book Cover Conundrum – How to Make it Great

This guest post originally appeared on My Loves, Lives, and Passion

The cover for every book is critical, sometimes even more important than us writers want to admit. We want to think that the story we’ve crafted alone should be enough to ‘sell’ our books, but let’s face it: covers sell books.

I’m the same way when I buy books. The cover absolutely helps draw me in.

Genius De MiloWith that in mind, I had very specific ideas about the cover I wanted for my latest novel, Genius de Milo.

I knew I wanted a yellow cover with red type. Why? Because the covers to my other novels are red/purple and blue, respectively, and I wanted contrast as they are lined up on the bookshelf!

But the color scheme is only one aspect. Now I needed a design concept. So I enlisted my pal and fellow author Roy Mauristen, who designs covers for a lot of authors, and does a great job at that.

I started off with the idea that I wanted a lot of turtles on the cover. And I wanted them flipping around like popcorn. Why? Well … it’s important to the story. We tried to make it work, but Roy just couldn’t find the right turtle image. So finally we started over.

And that’s when I switched to the bubbles filled with DNA helixes. Again, these are important to the story. Once I had that idea Roy went off to the races. He did an absolutely fabulous job bringing my idea life, and then added the hand with the pin about to pop one of the bubbles. I wasn’t so sure how I felt about it at first, but I was totally wrong, because it works great, and never would have come up with it myself. That was all Roy.

At that point we made a few tweaks, but otherwise the cover just fell into place.

The response I’ve gotten so far has been fantastic. I’ve gotten nothing but enthusiastic reviews of the cover, so to my pal Roy … thank you!!

The words may tell my story, but the cover helps sell the book.

Now that you can see it for yourself … how’d we do?

Dear Reader By Russ Colchamiro – I Write Some Wacky Novels. Or Do I?

This guest post originally appeared on The Writer’s Life eMagazine

Dear Reader by Russ Colchamiro Dear Reader 3

The Writer’s Life newest feature, Dear Reader, gives authors a chance to talk to their readers – YOU!  

Today’s guest is Russ Colchamiro, author of the scifi/comedy, Genius De Milo.

Dear Reader…

I write some wacky novels. And yet they are also not so wacky.

I’ll explain …

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

It’s a scifi backpacking comedy that falls under the category of what I like to call ‘Cosmic Lunacy’.

So when people ask me what my book is about, and I give them the explanation, I pretty much get only one of two responses. The first — my favorite — is this one: “Wow! That’s so crazy! How do you come up with this stuff? I gotta read that. Sounds awesome!”

And then I secretly (or not so secretly) bask in the glow of the compliment.

write letter - manYet the second response is juuust a bit different. Which is to say that I am on the receiving end of a blank, stern, judgmental stare — and utter silence.

And though no words are exchanged, I can see the thought balloon above their heads as clearly as the daggers being shot at me from their eyes. And the thought balloon goes something like this: “You are an imbecile. Leave. Now.”

So let me ask: Are you, dear reader, the sort of folk who insists upon rigid, predictable storylines that don’t dare venture in the world of wacky? Or, like yours truly, do you like to have loads of fun?

Because if you are fans of authors such as Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, Tom Robbins, and Christopher Moore, or movies and TV shows such as Harold & Kumar, Bill & Ted, Hot Tub Time Machine, Time Bandits, Groundhog Day, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Quantum Leap, Northern Exposure, and Third Rock from the Sun, you might want to check out Finders Keepers, and my latest novel, Genius de Milo.

Genius de Milo is the second book in the Finders Keepers trilogy, where our bumbling 20-something backpacking heroes Jason Medley and Theo Barnes are once again tasked with retrieving a radioactive jar filled with the Universe’s DNA … before it wipes out the galaxy.

And whereas Finders Keepers was set predominantly in Europe and New Zealand, the action in Genius de Milo has shifted mostly to the U.S. And, of course, there’s lots going on in Eternity, the ‘cosmic’ realm where the Universe is created.

So Genius de Milo is more Midnight Run meets Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Also, since we’re sharing … well, technically, I’m sharing … even though my novels have that authentic you-are-there, on-the-ground feel to them, I kinda, sorta … fabricated all of the backpacking and Earth-bound travel scenes. Yep. I made them up.

But all of the scifi shenanigans are totally real and based on my personal intergalactic experiences.

Because it turns out — shhhhh, don’t tell anyone — I’m actually a fugitive from another dimension and the intergalactic agency in charge of such matters is hot on my trail, looking to drag me back to where I’ll face my day of reckoning.

Can’t say I’m ever looking forward to that.

Anyhoozle … while I’m still on Earth and up to no good, I like to write about the big questions we ask tend to ourselves: What does it all mean? Where do we come from? Is this all a dream? Is life random or is there some grand design?

And then I juxtapose those themes with the smaller, day-to-day questions we all face: How do I feel about my personal relationships? When is the plumber getting here? Is my Internet service working? Can I get the girl? Will my career ever amount to anything? Can I pay my rent? When are we going to see the new Star Wars movie?

So … wacky, but not so wacky.

There’s so much more I could tell you about what I get up to, but … I’ll leave that for my novels. Because if this letter gives you any indication as to the type of author I am, then you know you’ll be in for one heckuva ride.

Wanna come along?

Yours truly along the space time continuum …

Russ Colchamiro

Guest Post: Russ’ Top 10 Writing Tips for Aspiring Authors

This guest post originally appeared on FictionZeal

Guest Post by Russ Colchamiro

Russ’ Top 10 Writing Tips for Aspiring Authors

Throughout my travels as an author, young and aspiring writers often ask me how they themselves can become a great writer.

I usually chuckle – inwardly if not outwardly – not because the question is funny, but because it touches on something all authors seek: what’s the secret formula for success? And the answer is … it’s different for every author.

Genius-De-Milo-bannerI’m not so sure I can turn you into a great writer, but for those who are willing to indulge me, here are my top 10 suggestions for improving as a writer:

  1. Write every day. The more you write, the better you’ll get.
  2. Don’t try to be perfect. As my hero Zig Ziglar says, ‘you don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.’ In other words, if you never write the first word no other words will follow up. Just get going and trust that it will come.
  3. There’s a big and important distinction between writing and editing. To my eyes, the writing phase is the content dump. Just get your thoughts down, even if they are sloppy and convoluted. The editing phase is where the surgical crafting and precision comes in.
  4. Be your own writer. I find so many aspiring authors who want to write like Stephen King or Hemingway or whomever else they love and admire, or whatever’s trending at the time. Having author heroes is great. But you’re not them. You’re you. Write in the style that you find most comfortable.
  5. Don’t fear the blues. Discouragement is natural. Fight through it. Every writer, regardless of age or gender, has at one point or another felt like giving up. Don’t. If you’re stuck or discouraged, take a break. But then get back to it. You need to power through the rough patches to get to the good stuff.
  6. Quality feedback is key. Some writers prefer writer’s groups, others, like me, prefer just a handful of trusted beta readers for input. Whichever you choose, most important is that you enlist the help of readers who will give you the feedback you most need, but not necessarily what you want to hear. Cheerleaders are important, but if you want to improve your story, and your craft, enlist those will give you both technical and structural feedback that enhances or corrects what isn’t working.
  7. Celebrate accomplishments. Writing the first word is a big deal. Without word one, there’s no word two. Finishing a short story or a chapter in your novel is a milestone. So is finishing the first draft, the second, and so on, all the way to getting published, and then, hopefully, making sales. You need the emotional boosts of each milestone to give you juice to keep going. I’m not saying you should throw a parade for each little victory, but take some time to enjoy the small, medium, and big moments. You will have earned them all.
  8. Don’t be afraid to start over. Sometimes the story you’re working on will fall flat. That doesn’t mean the work is done. I’ve had occasion to delete entire chapters, rewrite characters, and even rip out entire sections of a book I’ve written because they just didn’t work, for whatever reason. Starting over is not a failure. It’s a mature acknowledgment that you went of the rails somewhere, and it’s time to course-correct.
  9. Develop a thick skin, because you will get rejected. A lot. So don’t worry about it. Nobody likes rejection, but it’s part of a writer’s life. Sometimes the rejections are fair, sometimes they’re not. We’ve all been there. Welcome to our world. You are now part of the club.
  10. Write because you love it. If you plan on publishing a novel, there is simply no way to predict whether it will achieve commercial success, at any level. But you can always control how dedicated you are to your craft. My suggestion is to focus on the work. Write well, write for yourself, bring on great, brutally honest editors who give you the feedback your book actually needs — and then hire a skilled publicist if you can afford one. And if there’s fame and fortune at the end of your journey, all the better.

Talking Books with Russ Colchamiro, Author of SciFi Comedy ‘Genius de Milo’

This interview was originally posted on As the Page Turns:

Q: Can you tell us what your new book, Genius De Milo, is about?

Russ: My debut novel Finders Keepers is a scifi backpacking comedy … think American Pie meets Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s loosely based on a series of backpacking trips I took through Europe and New Zealand, set against a quest for a jar that contains the Universe’s DNA.

My newest book, Genius de Milo, is the second book in the trilogy, where our bumbling backpacking heroes Jason Medley and Theo Barnes are once again tasked with retrieving a radioactive jar filled with the Universe’s DNA … before it wipes out the galaxy.

Genius de Milo (and Finders Keepers) is for fans of authors such as Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, and Christopher Moore, and movies and TV shows such as Harold and Kumar, Bill and Ted, Hot Tub Time Machine, Time Bandits, Quantum Leap, Groundhog Day, Northern Exposure, Third Rock from the Sun … and Midnight Run.

Q: Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

Russ: Visual! Check out these great character illustrations and backgrounders!

http://russcolchamiro.com/books/finders-keepers/character-illustrations/

Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

Russ: Usually … they are completely original characters, but from time to time I use someone I’ve met as a baseline, and then I try to make that character distinct from the person I know. I find the more I veer from the real person the better the character becomes. Trying to write a character that’s true to someone you know can be quite restricting. The character you are creating — this fabricated person — needs to think, act, and feel in a way that is true to whomever he or she needs to be within the context of the story, without feeling tied to the “original” person.

Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel or do you discover it as you write?

Russ: A combination of both. By the time I’m ready to clack the keys I’ve already plotted out a decent chunk of the narrative, but I always find that the story expands, twists, and turns organically during the writing process. My approach is to let the story unfold as it needs to and fill in the blanks as necessary, rather than trying to force what I “think” is right, but doesn’t “feel” right. It’s important to me that the narrative holds up — that the foundation and its interlocking parts are rock solid. But there also needs to be a rhythm and flow.

Q: Your book is set throughout the United States.  Can you tell us why you chose this country in particular?

Russ: Whereas Finders Keepers was set predominantly in Europe and New Zealand, the action in Genius de Milo has shifted mostly to the U.S. And, of course, there’s lots going on in Eternity, the ‘cosmic’ realm where the Universe is created.

Q: What would you do with an extra hour today if you could do anything you wanted?

Russ: Sleep!

Q: Which holiday is your favorite and why?

Russ: Passover. Because it’s the one instance — to my limited knowledge, anyway — where we celebrate the fact that the Lord kicked some butt in the name of the Jews. I’m not particularly religious, but when the plagues and such are being chucked down on the Pharaoh’s people … it’s like this awesome action movie and the bad guys are getting whupped … big time.

Q: If we were to meet for lunch to talk books, where would we go?

Russ: The park. I love to be outside on a sunny day, yet in the shade, leaning against a big tree.

Q: What do you like to do for fun?

Russ: Spend time with my kids. But if it’s totally just for me: go to the movies, binge watch TV, travel, watch baseball, listen to music, and read.

Q: What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors?

Russ: Write because you love it, write for yourself, and write every day. And if you can make money at it … all the better.

On a more technical level, work with beta readers and editors who will give you actionable feedback that helps you improve the story you’re working on —

and your craft — in very specific ways.

If you’re getting feedback like, “oh, I like that” or “eh, I didn’t get it,” then they’re not really helping you.

Be highly selective, choosing people who will tell you what you actually need to hear, not what you want to hear. And keep your world of trusted ‘advisors’ on the small side. Feedback from too many people will distract and confuse you.

Ultimately … only you can decide what having “success” means to you. There’s lots of disappointment and rejection in being an author, so having a healthy sense of self-worth and realistic expectations will go a long way towards keeping your sanity.

Remember that once you’ve finished your novel and, if it’s published, you are no longer in ‘author’ mode, but in ‘retailer’ mode. You’re trying to sell your books, and that’s an entirely different skill set and experience than writing.

That’s why it’s important to try to manage your expectations and define how you define success.

Being an author is a lot of work, so try to have as much as you can along the way.

– See more at: http://www.asthepageturns.blogspot.com/2015/04/talking-books-with-russ-colchamiro.html#sthash.qGd0NLjZ.dpuf

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