About Russ Colchamiro


Website:
Russ Colchamiro has written 700 articles so far, you can find them below.


Mad Men Season 2 Finale Tonight

I’ll save my big review until after tonight’s season finale, but Mad Men is one of my favorite shows right now. Creatively this show went in an unexpected–and very cool–direction this year, and I can’t wait to see how it all ties together …I’ll save my big review until after tonight’s season finale, but Mad Men is one of my favorite shows right now. Creatively this show went in an unexpected–and very cool–direction this year, and I can’t wait to see how it all ties together …

Out on Parole: My Week in Writer’s Prison

At this point I wouldn’t say I’m 100 percent released, but I’m out on parole.

I mean that writer-wise.

Starting last weekend I got hit by what turned into a nasty cold that really wiped me out. I still went to work every day–although I probably shouldn’t have–but when it came to working on [i]Crossline[/i], or blogging … forget it. I was locked in my cell.

Started with a sore throat, and then morphed into a chest and head cold, fever, aches and no energy. For me, that’s a priAt this point I wouldn’t say I’m 100 percent released, but I’m out on parole.

I mean that writer-wise.

Starting last weekend I got hit by what turned into a nasty cold that really wiped me out. I still went to work every day–although I probably shouldn’t have–but when it came to working on [i]Crossline[/i], or blogging … forget it. I was locked in my cell.

Started with a sore throat, and then morphed into a chest and head cold, fever, aches and no energy. For me, that’s a prison of sorts, because while I wanted to be out roaming free creatively, I felt very confined. Locked up. To me, being sick is like being in a cell with a window. I can see outside and be tempted to go out there, to see it so close I can touch it, but yet I can’t do it. My body just wouldn’t allow it.

I’m much better now, not completely recovered, but certainly well enough to be clacking the keys again now (yay!), and enough so that I’ll be back on my early morning schedule tomorrow and writing [i]Crossline[/i] again. I’m working on a really big, really important sequence, so it’s time to get rocking.

Truthfully, if there was ever a time to be knocked out of commission, this was it, because I’m at a critical point in the writing process, and sometimes taking a break–planned or not–helps give me perspective, and then a fresh eye when I get back to it.

So now I’m out on writer’s parole, and hope that by the end of the week I’ll be totally free and clear.

In the Writer’s Chair: Untangling Story Knots

As I noted in my last blog, I’m in the middle of working out a major sequence in Crossline, the new novel I’m writing. And as happens to me often when I’ve got a big sequence to work out, I’m a little stuck, like trying to untangle a massive ball of string.

I’ve got this idea, and it’s pretty crucial to the overall story, and while I’m close to working it out, I’m not quite there. So picture this big ball of string. It looks cool, and I want to get at it, so I start pulling the string loosAs I noted in my last blog, I’m in the middle of working out a major sequence in Crossline, the new novel I’m writing. And as happens to me often when I’ve got a big sequence to work out, I’m a little stuck, like trying to untangle a massive ball of string.

I’ve got this idea, and it’s pretty crucial to the overall story, and while I’m close to working it out, I’m not quite there. So picture this big ball of string. It looks cool, and I want to get at it, so I start pulling the string loose. And there it goes, on and on, and then it gets stuck in knot. OK, no problem, I’ll just slow down a minute and untangle that knot. And I do, and then resume the greater untangling.

But the longer I go the more knots I find, and even though as a major sequence–this ball of string–it looks great overall, I keep getting stuck on the details. And like with a ball of string, sometimes the knots are big and sometimes they’re small, but either way, I can’t get to the end until I’ve untangled that knot.

That’s how my mind works. Not always, but it happens fairly often when I write. All the ideas I’ll need to make this book really explode are already in my head, drawn from the ether. It’s all there. But the sequence of events are all jumbled up, and I’m not sure if what I’m planning right now makes sense. So I have to follow the string as far as it will take me. And sometimes like that ball of string, I somehow manage to get myself all tangled up worse than when I started, so I have to go back and retrace the string to now undo the new knot I just created.

So … yeah … sometimes this writing business takes a little longer than I would like. But that’s also part of the fun. Untangling the knot. Because If I’m having fun unraveling this mystery, coming up with a story that totally works, and then running my finger down the string to make sure there are no little knots left over to trip me up, then I’m confident that anyone reading the story will have just as much fun.

I can’t say how much longer it will take for me to untangle this particle knot. Maybe I’ll have it untangled by the end of the day, maybe the end of the hour. It could take me days, or even weeks. I never know. But what I do know is that I’m close, and when I get this ball string all straightened out, it will have been totally worth the effort, because if I’ve worked out all the knots, the story I’m meant to tell will be on the page. And then we’ll really have some fun.

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2008/10/18 08:21

My Novel Mojo is Back! Thank You Puerto Rico!

Just got back from Puerto Rico last night, and I’m feeling good. Liz and I had a fun trip, including attending a wedding on the edge of a rain forest–more on that later–so it was good just to get away for a few days and recharge.

On the writing side of things, my time away helped do for me what I had been hoping–kick in some story mojo. I’m deep into writing my next book–[i]Crossline[/i]–and there’s a big scene that takes place about two-thirds of the way in. It’s a crucial sequence toJust got back from Puerto Rico last night, and I’m feeling good. Liz and I had a fun trip, including attending a wedding on the edge of a rain forest–more on that later–so it was good just to get away for a few days and recharge.

On the writing side of things, my time away helped do for me what I had been hoping–kick in some story mojo. I’m deep into writing my next book–[i]Crossline[/i]–and there’s a big scene that takes place about two-thirds of the way in. It’s a crucial sequence to the overall story, so I really have to get it right. Thing is, I haven’t been exactly sure what the scene should be.

So … yeah … that’s kind of an important issue to resolve.

I’ve gotten the key characters where they need to be, and I’m very happy with the build-up. There’s tension and excitement, there’s a few twists, and, of course, there’s humor. But the pay-off. Yep. Gotta nail it.

What I’ve learned about myself over the years as a writer is to trust myself. When I start a project I rarely–no strike that, I don’t think I’ve ever done it–do I have the entire story figured out. I usually have a good idea of where I want to go, some of the central conflicts and themes, and some key scenes. The rest I figure out along the way. I trust in my writing process. I trust that, eventually, I’ll get where I need to be.

My time in Puerto Rico went a long way to that end. Just having the time away, free from distraction, gave me the time to think. Which is sorta ironic for me, as I figured out a major sequence while attending a wedding, with about 200 people, in the middle of a torrential rain storm. Funny how that can happen. Sometimes just getting out of my regular element is what I need to clear my mind and allows the ideas to flow. I’m not quite sure how or why it works, but pretty consistently, I’ve found that mixing it up a bit–in essence splashing some cold water on my face and refreshing myself–helps the writing mojo kick in.

I haven’t figured out the entire sequence yet–still working out some of the details–but I now have a major plot element figured out and I’m very close to tying up the loose the ends. Just a few more points and I think I’ll have it. Could be today, could be tomorrow, could be a week from now. Maybe a month. Who knows? But it doesn’t matter, because I’m close.

For me, at least, the writing process is mostly about rhythm, about repetition, just banging away at it day after day after day. But sometimes I need to step away, to physically get away from the keyboard and let my mind work, so that I can come back to the keyboard with fresh ideas and full of energy, and then clack away at the keys again.

This time around, a wedding near Puerto Rican rain forest restarted my writing mojo. I’m never quite sure when or where it will happen. I just trust that it will.

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2008/10/15 06:02

Puerto Rico + Wedding = Mojo for My Next Book

Tomorrow morning Liz and I will be heading off to Puerto Rico to attend a wedding, and while we’re there, we figured, let’s take an extra day, so we’ll be hanging out until Tuesday.

And for that I say, thank god.

For all sorts of reasons it’s been a long, rough stretch these last several months, and I’m ready for a break. I’m not even sure what hotel we’re staying in or where on the island it is. All I know is that I want to be someplace that isn’t here, have a steady flow of umbrellTomorrow morning Liz and I will be heading off to Puerto Rico to attend a wedding, and while we’re there, we figured, let’s take an extra day, so we’ll be hanging out until Tuesday.

And for that I say, thank god.

For all sorts of reasons it’s been a long, rough stretch these last several months, and I’m ready for a break. I’m not even sure what hotel we’re staying in or where on the island it is. All I know is that I want to be someplace that isn’t here, have a steady flow of umbrella drinks and then I’ll figure out the rest.

The break comes at a good time for me writing-wise as well. I’ve been hitting a really good stride lately, and I need to think a few plot points out. I’ve found that getting away can really jump-start me creatively, and help the ideas flow. In fact, way back in 2001, when Liz and I were on a cruise to the Carribean, we were in the gym, looking out over the water as I bopped away on the eliptical machine, when I had a major a-ha moment, one that had a major impact on Finders Keepers and really helped nail the ending to the book.

So yes indeed, I’m looking forward to Puerto Rico.

Let the chill begin …

In the Writer’s Chair: Write Every Day

While down at the Baltimore Comic-Con after party Pig Roast, fellow writer dude Jim Chambers and I were, besides knocking back a few, bestowing some writerly wisdom (such that it was), to Eric, the teenage son of another friend who was at the shindig.

Eric expressed some interest in writing–specifically zombie stories (hey, whatever floats your boat)–and so Jim and I took it upon ourselves to school the lad. And in doing so, Jim also schooled me. Or should I say, reschooled me.

AmonWhile down at the Baltimore Comic-Con after party Pig Roast, fellow writer dude Jim Chambers and I were, besides knocking back a few, bestowing some writerly wisdom (such that it was), to Eric, the teenage son of another friend who was at the shindig.

Eric expressed some interest in writing–specifically zombie stories (hey, whatever floats your boat)–and so Jim and I took it upon ourselves to school the lad. And in doing so, Jim also schooled me. Or should I say, reschooled me.

Among the pearls of wisdom we espoused, we suggested to Eric that he:

* write what you love

* write because you love it

* set writing goals

* write your way

* even if the words don’t come right away, sit there until they do, no matter how long it takes

None of this is rocket science, but it’s amazing how often we can overlook the basics, just because they seem so … basic. But they are the cornerstone of getting writing done.

And as we were talking, I mentioned to Eric that even if he can’t get to his writing every day, try to make a consistent schedule and stick with it, as the routine will help him find a rhythm. This is where Jim chimed in. He flat out disagreed, at least in part. He was in total agreement about routine and rhythm, but he essentially insisted, is that the hallmark of writing is this–[b]Write Every Day[/b].

While in my head I was thinking about finding the balance in life–juggling work, family, health, finances, etc.–with my writing schedule, Jim just struck a nerve with me. Because you know what? He’s right.

Write Every Day.

That doesn’t mean I can write for the same amount of time every day, but it’s better if I write something–anything–than to write nothing. It’s like anything else. The more you do it the better you get. And it’s amazing how quickly you can lose your edge. Since Jim’s proclomation I’ve written just about every day (sorry, dude, had to skip one or two), but I’ve been writing more in the last 10 days than I have in months.

It’s amazing the kind of time I can find for things when I just stop making excuses and do it.

So thanks, Jim. You gave me the kick in the butt I needed. It’s not that I wasn’t writing, it’s that I felt I wasn’t writing [i]enough.[/i] And sometimes I just need to hear the right thing at the right time in the right way from the right person to get me on track, or to kick it up another gear.

Write Every Day.

Indeed.

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2008/10/07 06:52

PHOTOS: Baltimore Comic-Con/Pig Roast

If you want check out the action from the 2008 Baltimore Comic-Con and the after hours Pig Roast and the Hennstead, go to the PHOTOS section. Pics galore!

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2008/10/04 17:56If you want check out the action from the 2008 Baltimore Comic-Con and the after hours Pig Roast and the Hennstead, go to the PHOTOS section. Pics galore!

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2008/10/04 17:56

Baltimore Comic-Con: Night of the Pig

As is becoming an annual event, after the Saturday session of the Baltimore Comic-Con, a bunch of gathered at the Henn House for a fiesta, with the main attraction being … what else … a roast pig!

And when I say pig, I don’t mean pulled pork, I mean Roast. Pig. Snout and all.

During the day, while we were at the convention, Rich’s father-in-law picked up the pig, took it home, and literally ripped that sucker up. He yanked off every scrap of pork he could dig his fingers into. SAs is becoming an annual event, after the Saturday session of the Baltimore Comic-Con, a bunch of gathered at the Henn House for a fiesta, with the main attraction being … what else … a roast pig!

And when I say pig, I don’t mean pulled pork, I mean Roast. Pig. Snout and all.

During the day, while we were at the convention, Rich’s father-in-law picked up the pig, took it home, and literally ripped that sucker up. He yanked off every scrap of pork he could dig his fingers into. So by the time we gathered at the Henn House, there were pans and pans of roast pig ready for the eating.

I don’t eat roast pig, so I can’t say how it was, but a room of about 15 guys devoured about 75 percent of it, so I’d say it was a big hit! Not only that, we carried on the tradition of pizza on the grille (as if there’s any other way), tapped a quarter keg (which we kicked), and headed down into the basement for a long session at Henn’s bar, where many a martini and other concoctions were whipped up and guzzled (I stuck to beer).

BBQ, beer and comics, talking about comics, reading comics, and guzzling beer all at the same time. For a bunch of comic book nerds, this was the ultimate. And if Seven of Nine from Star Trek showed up in her skin-tight uniform, I think there would have been a mass heart attack.

The bodies slowly trickled out during the night, but those who ducked out early missed a midnight feeding of BBQ chicken wings imported from Buffalo (LaNova … sooooo gooooooood), with the party’s final call about 2:30 am. Which wouldn’t have been so bad, except that we had to be up at 8, to be on the road by 9, to just barely–and mean just barely–make the Amtrak back to New York at 10 am.

All in all it was another great weekend for the Baltimore Comic-Con.

And the best part is, we’ll be doing it again next year…

Baltimore Comic-Con: Bins of Treasure

One of my favorite ways to spend time at comic book conventions is to rifle through the discount bins, which is exactly what I did at the Baltimore Comic-Con. Some of the bins are 10 percent off, some 20, and others as much as 40 or 50 percent off.

For those of you who aren’t into comics, let me give you a quick glimpse into the physical books themselves. For either an ongoing series, or a limited mini-series–the individual issues–ranging between 24 and 32 pages–come out on a monthly baOne of my favorite ways to spend time at comic book conventions is to rifle through the discount bins, which is exactly what I did at the Baltimore Comic-Con. Some of the bins are 10 percent off, some 20, and others as much as 40 or 50 percent off.

For those of you who aren’t into comics, let me give you a quick glimpse into the physical books themselves. For either an ongoing series, or a limited mini-series–the individual issues–ranging between 24 and 32 pages–come out on a monthly basis. These individual issues are the cornerstone of comic books. As you might imagine, these physical books can really pile up over the years, so it’s pretty common to find comic book collectors with long white boxes in which to store the comics.

Most collectors take each individual comic book and do what’s called "bag and board," which simply meaning taking the individual comic book, laying flat against a specially measured piece of white cardboard, and then placing that board and comic book inside a clear plastic bag. This protects the comic book from getting beat up. The long white boxes are for the individual comics, which then stack nicely.

Then there are trade paperbacks, in which multiple comic book issues–usually encompassing an extended storyline–are bound into a paperback. This is what I tend to do. Buy the paperbacks. I just don’t have the time or space to collect the individual issues anymore. It’s like buy an entire season of a TV show on DVD in a box set.

I wound up buying a new reading copy of Watchmen, which you’ll be hearing a whole lot about into next March, when the movie comes out. I don’t know if the movie will hold up, but the comic book–just 12 issues as a limited series–is just an absolute masterpiece. I can get this bound version at any comic shop, but I found one in a 40 percent off bin, so I was pretty darn happy about that. I’ve had the same paperback for more than 10 years, and it’s pretty beaten up at this point, so it was time for an upgrade.

That was the only book I bought from the discount bin, but just the looking is fun. Thumbing through all those boxes. It’s like going to garage sales or antiquing. You know most of what you’ll find you don’t want, but every once in a while you find a great buy, which makes it all the sweeter.

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2008/10/04 17:57

Baltimore Comic-Con: Rain, Schmain. Comics Galore!

It was absolutely pouring rain most of the weekend, but it did nothing to hamper a good time down at the 2008 Baltimore Comic-Con. Unlike the mega-show of San Diego, Baltimore is more of a straight comic book convention, for people who like to read and talk about comic books. There were local and some out-of-town retailers, and a pretty heavy hitter list of comic book writers and creators, including Mark Millar, who wrote [i]Wanted[/i], the source material for the Angelina Jolie/James McAvoy movIt was absolutely pouring rain most of the weekend, but it did nothing to hamper a good time down at the 2008 Baltimore Comic-Con. Unlike the mega-show of San Diego, Baltimore is more of a straight comic book convention, for people who like to read and talk about comic books. There were local and some out-of-town retailers, and a pretty heavy hitter list of comic book writers and creators, including Mark Millar, who wrote [i]Wanted[/i], the source material for the Angelina Jolie/James McAvoy movie that was out this summer.

Beyond that, you had creators of all ranges, from some newbies debuting their first comic books, to some mid-range creators, like Kyle Baker (who signed a book for me) and then some more seasoned veterans, like Matt Wagner, creator of [i]Mage[/i], considered one of the best comics ever.

Yours truly was in attendance with writer/creator dudes Rich Henn, Jim Chambers, and Rich Koslowski, who was in from Wisconsin, hobbled foot and all. I spent the afternoon wandering the crowds and checking out the booths, and a lot of time at Koslowski’s booth, talking comics, helping him sell his stuff, and, of course, talking up [i]Finders Keepers.[/i] I had a few copies out on the table, and even made a few sales myself!

Baltimore was also a family affair, as Koslowski’s wife (Sandy), and daughter (Stella), were at the booth, with Stella decked out in kitty kat costume and face paint, with the cuteness drawing in some extra fans. She even had her own portfolio of drawings!

Beyond that, I laid the groundwork for some extended [i]Finders Keepers[/i] projects that I hope to get into the swirl next year, so all in all it was another successful convention. The convention also went through Sunday, but I was back on the train back to New York by then, completely wiped out from a looooooong night of beering it up, but I’ll get to that in the next blog. (At this point, I only have two words about it: Pig. Roast.)

And check in soon for pictures from the event, with a few that you just need to see to believe.

To Be Continued …

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2008/09/30 06:46

NEW BOOK RELEASE! SciFi Noir

Crackle and Fire Russ Colchamiro

Schedule of Events – Guest Interviews 2020

You Could Be Reading...

Murder in Montague Falls

Blog Archives

Goodreads

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