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

RoyM_author_RGB

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: 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:
http://facebook.com/DaveCrossPhotography
or visit
http://DaveCrossPhotography.com

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

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.

b49_banner_1

 

 

 

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.

PUYB Virtual Book Club – Interview with Author Russ Colchamiro

This interview originally appeared on PUYB Virtual Book Club

Welcome to the book club, Russ!  First, I am so in love with that cover.  I don’t know if it’s the colors or what but it just pops.  Before we get into the meat of the interview, can you tell us who did your lovely cover?

Russ: Glad you like the cover for Genius de Milo! It’s really exciting. The design concept is actually mine, including the color scheme and all of the bubbles with the DNA helixes inside. That’s significant to the plot, by the way!

But my pal and fellow author Roy Mauritsen is the creative genius and art designer who brought it all to life. This is his baby. And it was his idea to add the hand with the pin about to pop one of those bubbles. It ties the entire concept together. He did a fantastic job. Roy does covers for lots of people. I hope to work with him again.

PUYB Virtual Bookclub- Large

In your book, Genius De Milo, two teenagers – Jason Medley and Theo Barnes – are backpacking through Europe and New Zealand and they find something interesting. Can you tell us more about that?

Russ: When we first meet Jason and Theo in Finders Keepers, the first book in the trilogy, they are both actually in their early 20s, with Jason from New York and Theo from New Zealand. They not only come from opposite corners of the world, but they have entirely different personalities. Jason hasn’t traveled much, is kind of a nervous Nellie, and has no idea how to get himself from one place to the next! But Theo is more mellow, and an experienced traveler. They meet unexpectedly inVenice, and become fast friends. Together they just seem to fit.

Yet while still in New Zealand, Theo found a jar that causes these hallucinogenic side effects he can’t explain. (The jar contains the Universe’s DNA, but he only discovers that much later). In any case, it makes him feel like he’s winding through the fabric of the Universe, so he’s compelled to find answers, and finds his way to Europe.

Jason knows none of this when they first meet in Venice, but by the time their adventure is over, they’ve pretty much saved the Milky Way from disaster.

My new book, Genius de Milo, picks up a few years after that. The Universe is fluxing in and out of Existence, Theo’s twin three-year-old girls are teleporting, and Jason can’t tell which version of his life is real. That’s because Milo – the Universe’s gremlin — got his hands on that jar of DNA and is causing trouble.

That sends Jason and Theo across America to put things right, and keepMilo from destroying the planet. Again. Along the way they are joined by Jamie — a hotel clerk from Eternity — who may or may not have their best interests in mind.

Take us into the lives of Jason and Theo – what are their strengths and what are their weaknesses?

Russ: In Genius de Milo Theo is now a family, but he still has that travel bug in him. He almost always wishes he were out there in the world going on adventures, so he’s not as focused on the here and now as he probably should be. But because of that innate adventurer’s spirit — and the temperament to just kind of roll with the punches if those journeys don’t go according to plan — he’s able to keep them on track, even when he and Jason veer way, way, way off course.

Jason, meanwhile, is far more grounded, and in fact is about to propose to his girlfriend. He’s building a career, and genuinely wants to help other people. But he still inherently seeks the approval of others, and has trouble trusting that he’s on the right path. What confuses him most — but may in fact be his greatest asset given the predicament they are in — is that despite his generally conservative nature he seems to be in tune with the shifts in the Universe.

Meaning … he’s really quite intuitive about the sense that things aren’t ‘quite right’, and even though he’s not sure what that means, and that nobody other than Theo could possibly understand him, he’s learning to trust those instincts more, and make decisions accordingly. And sometimes that means sacrificing what he wants for what others need.

How did you come up with such a cute storyline?

Russ: The Finders Keepers series is loosely based on a series of backpacking trips I’ve taken over the years through Europe and New Zealand and my travels across the U.S.

Separately …  years ago I had been tinkering around with some story ideas and one day, out of nowhere, a line popped into my head:

“Jason Medley had on his night stand a jar that contained the essence of the universe.”

And I said to myself: “Who in the heck is Jason Medley and what on God’s green earth is the essence of the universe?”

I really didn’t know the answer to either, but my own travels where so outrageous that I started to see the narrative coming together, linking my trips around the world with this tale of cosmic lunacy — an Earthbound backpacking adventure meets Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Also … I read a lot about philosophy, mythology, and spirituality, which have become core tenants of my personal life. Those ideas are very much a part of this series. And don’t worry … these are fun and funny popcorn books and are meant to put a smile on your face. But there’s real substance too.

They say that all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point where the reader just can’t put the book down.  What do you think is that one pivotal point in Genuis De Milo?

Russ: I know it would be totally lame of me to say that I think there are tons of pivotal moments! Ha! But early on The Minder of the Universe — that’s the omnipresent character who basically oversees the Universe — discovers that the Earth is fluxing in and out of its existence, and that if something isn’t done about it soon, the planet he loves most will be wiped out forever. He also realizes that Milo, his ultimate eternal foil, is the cause. So it’s game on!

And, of course, Jason and Theo end up right smack in the middle of this galactic smack down.

If that doesn’t give you an idea of what you’re in for with Genius de Mio, I’m not sure what will.

What’s next for you, Russ?

Russ: I’m already working on the third and final book in the Finders Keepers trilogy, which I’m hoping will be ready by Fall 2016. I’m also contributing a short story to Pangaea, an alternate reality anthology my author pals and I at Crazy 8 Press are writing. Pangaea was actually successfully funded through a Kickstarter campaign. After that … lots more books!

 

In the Writer’s Chair: The Story Behind the Story – ‘Genius de Milo’

This guest blog originally appeared in The Story Behind the Book

***

Much like the structure of my novels, the story behind the story is a three part adventure …

Part I: Chance Encounter

Back in college I ran into a guy I knew a little bit, but not well. Scott. I was in the classroom building, and Scott asked me what I was up to. I told him I had a semester left of classes, and then I was going to do my student teaching (I was on track to become Genius De Milo 2a High School English teacher).

He said: “Why don’t you take an extra semester and go on exchange to Europe?”

Immediately and without thinking about it I retorted, “I can’t.”

And he said, “Why not?”

Stunned, I had no answer. I was so used to saying ‘no’ to life back then that I rejected the idea out of pure instinct. But I really wanted to be a ‘yes’ to life person. And going on this exchange program overseas was something I had really wanted to do, even though — back then — it was so unlike me to actually do it.

So immediately after Scott and I spoke I applied for and was accepted into the International exchange program. The next summer I spent a month backpacking across Europe, and then went to Manchester Metropolitan University in northern England for my final semester.

Funny thing was, I rarely ever saw Scott before that one encounter, and I never saw him after. Ever. But that one, single conversation helped changed my life, and though he doesn’t know it, I have Scott to thank for it. He was the specific catalyst I needed at that very moment in time and space.

That spirit, that magical quality of having just the right person at just the right time come into my life is the very spirit that I try to capture in my books, starting with Finders Keepers.

Which takes us back to the trip itself…

Part II: The Netherworld Effect

There’s a time in life when you’re caught in the netherworld between college and a career, when you’re not a student anymore but you don’t want to grow up, have a career, pay your bills. You know the drill. You’re stuck in that middle zone and I wanted Finders Keepers to capture that, that sense that anything is possible, but because anything is possible, it can get a little scary and overwhelming.

I hadn’t traveled much back then. I was still very naïve. This was in 1994, a completely different world than what we know today. There was no Internet, no cell phones, no Facebook or Twitter. You couldn’t Google a place to stay in Barcelona because there was no Google. If you were stuck in the middle of Romania in the middle of the night — which actually happened to me — guess what? You were actually stuck.

So while I was backpacking in Europe I had this very wild, frantic, unpredictable adventure that legitimately changed my outlook on life. I know it sounds cliché, but in my case it’s absolutely true. A lot of my trip — the people I met, the places I saw, the trouble I got into — made it into the novel, including a guy I met from New Zealand, who became one of my best friends.

About a year later he came out to see me in the U.S., when I was living in Tempe, Arizona, and then fast forward again to early 2001 and I went to see him this time, in New Zealand.

As I say in my new book, Genius de Milo, the sequel to Finders Keepers, he and I only seem to do things big. And I’m not typically a do-things-big kinda guy. But our adventures together are the backbone of the series.

Part III: Sci-fi Shenanigans? Say What Now?

On a totally separate track … I had been tinkering around with a couple of story ideas and one day, out of nowhere, a line popped into my head:

“Jason Medley had on his night stand a jar that contained the essence of the universe”.

And I said to myself: “Who in the heck is Jason Medley and what on God’s green earth is the essence of the universe?”

I really didn’t know the answer to either, but after going on these travels and collecting notes, I started to see the narrative coming together, linking these outrageous trips I took with this tale of cosmic lunacy — an Earthbound backpacking trip meets Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

And thus the Finders Keepers series was born.

My newest book, Genius de Milo, is the second book in the trilogy, where my bumbling backpacking heroes Jason Medley and Theo Barnes — based on me and my pal from New Zealand — 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 & Kumar, Bill & Ted, Hot Tub Time Machine, Time Bandits, Quantum Leap, Groundhog Day, Northern Exposure, and Third Rock from the Sun.

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.

And once I take a little breather, I’ll be writing the third and final book in the Finders Keepers trilogy. I’ll just need to take one more trip to pull it all together …

You Could Be Reading...

Crossline

Blog Archives

Goodreads

Russ Colchamiro's books on Goodreads
Finders KeepersFinders Keepers
reviews: 10
ratings: 303 (avg rating 4.00)