Books

Crazy 8 Press Author Spotlight: Russ Colchamiro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@authorduderuss (Twitter)

www.facebook.com/RussColchamiroAuthor (Facebook)

www.russcolchamiro.com

www.crazy8press.com

@crazy8press (Twitter)

And for extra fun:

Check out the Crossline book trailer.

Enjoy the Finders Keepers book trailer.

 

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

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

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

http://thetwistedworld.com/

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

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

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

Author Talk: Q&A with Sawney Hatton

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

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

Sawney_Hatton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author: Sawney Hatton

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s how I talk about it now:

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

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

Just two sentences.

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

Is it my personal best?

Not sure.

But I’ll take it.

 

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

 

 

The Writer’s Tale: A Love Story

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

But within those pages … are love stories.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

My New Year’s Resolution – Listen to Hank

When I think back to a year ago — one year ago exactly — I was in a similar, but distinctly different place in the world.

I was geared up, feeling good, had lots of positive mojo going, and beyond work and the family, I knew that 2013 was going to be a huge year for me on the writing front. I knew it in my bones.

I was about to finalize Crossline, my first original novel with Crazy 8 Press, and I was working on the re-launch of my debut novel, Finders Keepers, also with Crazy 8 Press.

And then ……. I got bronchitis. I typically don’t get more than one or two colds a year, but I managed to pick up some super strain from my kids, and I was really sick.

For four. Straight. Months.

Not fun.

Then, the day I finally stopped coughing, and felt good … I got nailed with some wicked stomach virus that wiped me out for three days. Grrrrr.

I ultimately got my health back, and I did, in fact, release both books through Crazy 8 Press, to critical praise. But I was also in the process of selling my apartment in Queens, and buying a house in New Jersey, which also meant packing, and moving, and lawyers, accountants, realtors, plumbers, electricians, painters, and so much more.

By the time 2013 ended, I was simply exhausted.

So what’s my New Year’s Resolution for 2014?

To remain as healthy as I can, to enjoy my new home, and continue to watch my children grow and thrive.

And while I’m at it, keep building the buzz on Crossline and Finders Keepers, do as many signings, and appear at as many cons as I can, and debut the Finders Keepers sequel, which, if all goes well, will be showing up this fall.

Ambitious? Maybe.

But you know what? If all my authordude endeavors weren’t just a little bit, well … crazy, and at least kinda BIG … then it just wouldn’t be any fun, now would it?

Because as my Finders Keepers giver-of-wisdom Hank would say, “If it comes too easy, Kid, it probably ain’t worth doing in the first place. So stop yer belly achin’ and go get it done.”

Thanks for the advice, Hank. I’m doing just that.

My New Year’s Resolution is now officially under way.

 

* Note: This blog originally appeared on the Crazy 8 Press web site at: http://www.crazy8press.com/2014/01/13/my-new-year-resolution-listen-to-hank/

Ingrid Hall Interviews Author Russ Colchamiro

Author Ingrid Hall recently interviewed me on a whole range of topics, including what makes my wacky author brain work. Enjoy …

Hi Russ, lovely to meet you and by the way you have the best website I have seen in ages!! Spill the gossip!!

Hi Ingrid, great to meet you too! Okay. Here goes. I’m 42, married, with two young children and living in the Queens section of New York City, although I’m on the verge of buying a house in New Jersey. I’m a former journalist, now working in public relations for real estate companies. As a fiction writer, I’ve done some comic book scripts and short stories, but now I purely write novels. My debut novel, the raunchy, sci-fi backpacking comedy Finders Keepers, was very well received. Think American Pie/Superbad/Hot Tub Time Machine meets Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. My new book, the mysterious, action-packed space romp Crossline, is getting similar buzz. It’s fun.

Sounds like you are a busy bee and your novels sound like they would be totally up Lenora’s street! So, is writing your full time career?

Not yet, but I’m working on it! I’ve had some Hollywood interest in my projects, but nothing serious to report just yet. Certainly my goal is to write fiction and have that pay for my life.

What is the worst job that you have ever done, and why?

I scrubbed pots in a bakery one summer when I was a teenager. It was hot as hell, it was hard work, it paid lousy, and the owner was kind of a jerk. Other than that I loved it!

We’ve all done jobs like that, it’s a rite of passage! If you could have written any other book by any other author, what would it be, and why?

The Stand by Stephen King.

I am a huge fan of Stephen King, however I have never come across The Stand. I might have to check that one out! How would you think your parents would describe your book? Does this differ from how you would describe it?

Ha! My parents don’t read my books. I think they’re afraid they won’t get them, or won’t like them. That’s okay. I get it.

You’ve already mentioned that you write Sci Fi, do you have any plans to work outside of that genre?

My first few books have been science fiction, with a heavy dose of humor. The next few will remain in that genre. But I have plans down the road to branch out, with a few murder mysteries on the way, and maybe a spy novel, or even a series.

I love it when authors can be versatile! What inspired you to write your first book?

It’s a long story! My first book, Finders Keepers, is loosely based on a series of backpacking trips I took through Europe and New Zealand. Those adventures were not just truly exciting times in my life — and they were — but they helped shaped my perspective in many ways. They had such an impact upon me  me personally that I wanted to capture their spirit — and in some cases, the details — in a way a reading audience could join in, as if it was their journey, too. Separately, I had an idea for this outrageous, comic lunacy-style sci-fi adventure about a jar containing the Universe’s DNA. The two ideas may seem totally isolated unto themselves, but I found that they blended wonderfully into a novel that is fun, funny, and outrageous, but with some real heart to it. I’m actually working on two Finders Keepers sequels, to complete the first trilogy.

I’m definitely hooked! Do you ever get moments, and if so how do you hang onto them?

Definitely. I often get that thunderbolt a-ha! moment where I’ll frantically write ideas down on whatever I can get my hands on. Torn off pages of newspapers, napkins, the inside cover of a book I’m reading. Whatever. As long as I can take the notes. I just never know when or where those kooky ideas will come.

Or when you will use the kooky ideas if you are remotely like me! Do you have a structure when you are writing, and if so what?

I’m very big on getting the ending right. Of course it’s a matter of opinion if I’ve done so, but in my eyes I nailed the ending for both Finders Keepers and Crossline. I also know where the Finders Keepers sequels are headed, and the endings of both books are going to be awesome, if I do say so myself!

What are you reading at the moment, and why?

Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life, by James Hollis, PhD. It explores some themes that are important to me and I’m also reading some Batman graphic novels, because, you know … Batman is awesome!

What is your favourite movie and why?

Raiders of the Lost Ark. There are many others I love across various genres, but if I only get one movie, it’s Raiders. If there’s more fun to be had at the movies, I haven’t experienced it.

Do you have an opinion on life after death, and if so what?

I believe there’s a force to the Universe far greater than we can understand. We got here somehow! Whether it’s the gods, it’s magic, purely organic, or it’s just part of some wild dream, I’ll probably never know. But there seems to be some connective tissue in the Universe, some energy, that we’re all a part of. So that when our physical bodies die, I think our energies, or soul, drifts into the ether and finds its way … somewhere. As a parent, I want to believe I’ll always be connected with my children, even after we’re done on the Earth, but that could just be wishful thinking. I suppose we all have to move on, sooner or later.

We do and I am a firm believer in the continuation of the soul…Totally changing the subject, when you eat out would you choose Chinese, Indian or Italian, or other, if so what?

Depends upon the specific restaurant, but generally speaking … Chinese. Chicken with Cashews.

London, Paris or New York and why?

I’m a New Yorker, so big love there. I’m a huge fan of London as well. But, Paris? Not so much. We haven’t gotten along too well.

Ah, sounds like there might be a story or two in there somewhere about Paris…What do you have in the pipeline?

I’m halfway through the first of two Finders Keepers sequels. My plan is to write them back-to-back, wrapping up the first trilogy. After that, I have a baseball-themed sci-fi novel in the works, and then we’ll see what I’m in the mood for. My plate is full for the foreseeable future.

Yeah, I have lots of books lined up…It’s just so difficult trying to find the time to write them all! What inspired you to be a writer?

It’s not so much that I’m inspired to write … it’s that I have to write. Have to. It’s who I am. It’s what I do. It’s as essential to my personality as my DNA. That either means I’m really passionate, or crazy. Possibly both.

Do you write poetry or short stories as well? If so what?

I am so bad at poetry. I mean … so bad. It’s embarrassing. I’ve dabbled with short stories, but I have a tough time with them. I tend to write big, so I need more room to explore. Although I’ve written some comic book scripts, and I think I have a good feel for them. I quite like it, and hope to do it again at some point.

I think, poetry is one of those things that you can either do, or not do.  I definitely fit into the cannot do category! How do you overcome writers block?

Step away from the project, and let myself be distracted by something else. Anything that keeps me busy and out of my head. I like to exercise, so that often helps. I’ll watch TV, clean my apartment, go for a walk. Or I’ll just go and break things in frustration. Kidding! But distraction is a great way to get unstuck.

If you only had 60 seconds remaining on this planet, what would you say, and who would you say it to?

I would tell my children that I love them dearly, that I’ll always be with them in one way or another, and that I hope they build a life for themselves that makes them happy. That they should laugh and have as much as fun as possible along the way.

Do you have any pets – If so what?

I was always a cat person, but we’ve had a dog – Simon – for the last four years. He was a rescue. He’s a great dog. A little crazy at times, but a good dog.

Our friends have a dog named Norman, I’ve always found it strange how people give animals “real” name instead of crazy ones…

What advice would you give your 18 year old self?

Ha! Where do I begin? I would encourage my younger self to stay in good physical shape, say yes to many more opportunities, be responsible to myself, my family, my friends, and colleagues, and then make decisions based on what I think is important to me, based on my values, not what others think. And I would encourage my younger self to write every day, no matter what. I would also strongly recommend – if not insist – that I ignore the clerks and bullies of the world. Don’t let those fools get in the way of becoming who you are. To steal a line from Billy Joel as he ends every concert, ‘don’t take any shit from anybody.’ Laugh every day.

Russ, it has been my absolute pleasure meeting you today!

You can check out Russ and his AMAZING website at https://russcolchamiro.com/

This Q&A interview was originally posted at http://www.ingridhall.com/

In the Writer’s Chair: The Jelly Jar Fatality

It began with a jelly jar, and ended with a doorknob.

Okay. So I need you to be with me for a minute.

Being a writer, particularly an author who takes a year or two complete each novel, the research and writing process is predominantly a solitary experience, and one that readers — for the most part — don’t see.

Well … here’s a peak through that window as I look to finish the first Finders Keepers sequel, and my third novel under the Crazy 8 Press banner:

The last few months have been a whirling dervish. I recently sold my apartment in Queens, NY, and, at least for the time being, I’m living in my in-law’s loft in Central New Jersey.

And when I say “I”, I’m talking me, my wife, my three-year-old twins, and my dog. So, yeah … it’s an adjustment.

During this process — which is still ongoing — I’m also trying to buy a house in Northern New Jersey. If all goes well, it’ll be another 2-3 months, and then we get to start our new life, all living in one place with all of our stuff. Coolio.

Only … I still have to be a dad and a husband and keep delivering the goods for my full time day job in Manhattan. And … I’ve got another book to write! Yikes!

So where does the jelly jar and doorknob come into play? Glad you asked.

About three months ago, as we really started the packing process, and the end was finally in sight to sell our apartment, things started to fall apart.

Literally.

The first was the refrigerator. One morning, after having walked the dog, I came back — thinking about a key sequence I needed to smooth out for the Finders Keepers sequel.

But when I opened the fridge to get myself a cold drink … WHAM-O!

A jelly jar fell from the shelf, and smashed on the floor. The jar fell because the protective plate on the inner door fell apart. It broke. And by the way, have you ever tried cleaning up jelly and broken glass off the floor while keeping your dog and young son from trying to ‘help’ you? Double yikes.

Turns out, however, that the jelly jar fatality was just the beginning. In the following weeks, not one, but two more inner refrigerator shelves broke. Three of the four burners on my stove went out. The light socket in the hall closet died.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to hold the rest of my life together, and somehow find the brain space to keep the Finders Keepers sequel moving forward. Delusional on my part? Possibly. But I’m a writer through and through, and us writer dudes have a veeeeeery tough time putting projects on hold.

Nevertheless, the boxes are piling up in my apartment, all while we continue to pack, to wrap up negotiations on selling my apartment AND on the weekends going house hunting in New Jersey to find a new place to live while we also coordinate child care during the few months we’ll be with my in-laws.

And then the toilet seat breaks. Not the whole toilet, just the seat and lid. And because it’s us, it’s not a standard ceramic seat, but a specialty seat that needs to be special ordered. So when I called the plumber we used asking for assistance — perhaps not as cordially as I should have — he basically told me to stick it someplace unsavory.

Which meant me going back to him and groveling appropriately to smooth things over — which I did — and we got a new seat delivered and installed. And then three weeks later … it came lose again! Ah! But it was still hanging on. Barely.

So now we’re getting closer and closer to moving out of the apartment — movers are booked, closing is scheduled, we’ve almost — almost — arranged for day care in New Jersey – and I’m still holding out hope — fleeting as it may be — that I can advance the Finders Keepers sequel just a bit.

I did manage to squeeze in a weekend appearance at Shore Leave, in August, and I do have a few others signings lined up.

And then … just two days before I needed to move out — and have the buyer of our apartment do a final inspection before she writes us the big check — I reach for the doorknob, so I can enter the hallway.

Something I’ve done thousands and thousands and thousands of times over the past eight years.

I reach for the doorknob and … it fell off.

Seriously.

The doorknob. Fell. Off.

It was one of those classic ‘laugh or cry’ moments. And to protect my manhood here, I won’t say which.

Later that day, I went out to Home Depot to get more boxes, and pick up the inner doorknob stem to fix the darn thing. Only … Home Depot doesn’t carry that one particular part. Grrrr. Next up was a trip to the hardware store, which — mercifully — did have it, and after a few twists with a screwdriver, the doorknob was back in working order.

There’s actually more to this story — so much more — but it would take more time and energy than any of us have.

In terms of my living situation, my apartment is officially sold, the check has cleared and in my bank account, and I am, indeed, living in my in-law’s loft. With a nifty 2 hour commute —  each way, every day. But we’re getting closer to buying our own house, so there’s light at the end of this enormous tunnel we’ve been negotiating.

As for the Finders Keepers sequel … I haven’t been able to clack the keys on it for a while, but I’ll be back at it soon enough. The rest of the boys at Crazy 8 Press are bugging me to get that done!

But when I do finish, and I will … if you happen to notice a scene — or even a slight reference in there — to jelly jars or doorknobs … you now know the story behind the story. You’ve peaked through the window.

And if you’ve got a jelly jar story of your own … share it with us. Maybe it’ll make it into the next Finders Keepers novel.

Unless, of course, my computer falls apart while I’m writing it.

(Note: I am a contributing author/member with Crazy 8 Press. My latest blog entry, The Jelly Jar Fatality, was originally posted on the Crazy 8 Press Web site on September 30, 2013.  For more information, or to read the original post, visit http://www.crazy8press.com/2013/09/30/the-jelly-jar-fatality/)

The Pen & Muse Interview with Author Russ Colchamiro

Interviewer Denise Alicea w The Pen & Muse book review site stopped by to chat with me about my new book, the mysterious, action-packed space romp, Crossline, what inspired the story and the characters, and advice I might offer to new writers:

Interview with author of Crossline, Russ Colchamiro!

Q: Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!

A: I live in Queens, NY, married with two kids and a crazy dog. I’m a baseball junkie, and I love to travel whenever I get the chance, which hasn’t been much since fatherhood came along! And I probably shouldn’t watch it as much as I do, but The Big Bang Theory is total comfort food for me. When it’s on, all is well.

Q: Tell us about your book? How did it get started?

A: Published through Crazy 8 Press, Crossline is a rollicking space adventure about an American space pilot — Marcus Powell — who has been selected to test Taurus Enterprises’ Crossline prototype ship and its newly developed warp thrusters, which, if successful, will revolutionize space travel as we know it.

But during his journey Powell is forced through a wormhole and into a parallel universe —including a parallel Earth — where he finds himself at the center of a civil war he may have been destined for all along.

On this other Earth, he reluctantly teams up with a gorgeous, trigger-happy rebel leader, a pot-smoking Shaman, a crafty pie maker (watch out for her!), and a weary soldier who really hates his guts. Powell then has to survive a cross-country rescue mission with them and some trippy vision quests long enough for his wife and young daughter — who are back on his home Earth — to outsmart Taurus’ reclusive CEO, whose own secrets may prevent Powell from ever making it back home.

So what you’ve got with Crossline is a really fun scifi adventure, mixed in with humor, action, and mystery to solve. I think people will dig it.

The origin of Crossline is two-fold. It began as a short story trilogy I wrote in high school, around 1987 or so, very loosely based on the ‘troubles’ in Ireland, even though I really knew almost nothing about it. Ha! And then about ten years later I started working on a space adventure comic book idea. It never saw publication, but I knew I wanted to tell this epic adventure as a novel. But the short story trilogy is really the heart of Crossline. The space component then gave it a setting to become fully realized.

It’s a bit more intense than the novel itself, but here’s a pretty cool book trailer to give you a scope of the novel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJ8fey7_4VA

Q: How do you create your characters?

Click here to read the rest of the interview …

 

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

Hi Gang-

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

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

How did your start your writing career?

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

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

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

Thrilling. Heartbreaking. Exhausting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are your favorite TV shows?

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

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

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

Why should we read your new book, Crossline?

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

Click here for the full, expanded interview …

 

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