Daily Archives: May 21, 2015

Interview With…. Russ Colchamiro, author of Genius De Milo

Genius De Milo banner

Today I am featuring author, Russ Colchamiro. Russ is the author of the rollicking space adventure Crossline, the hilarious scifi backpacking comedy Finders Keepers, and the outrageous sequel, Genius de Milo, all with Crazy 8 Press.

Russ lives in West Orange, NJ, with his wife, two children, and crazy dog, Simon, who may in fact be an alien himself. Russ is now at work on the final book in the Finders Keepers trilogy.

As a matter of full disclosure, readers should not be surprised if Russ spontaneously teleports in a blast of white light followed by screaming fluorescent color and the feeling of being sucked through a tornado. It’s just how he gets around — windier than the bus, for sure, but much quicker.

Russ Colchamiro

Russ, thanks for being here today. Please Tell our readers about you
From the outside looking in I’m a sci-fi comedy writer, married, with 4-year-old twins – my little ninjas – and a transplanted New Yorker now living in suburban New Jersey.

However … I know there have been rumors floating around that I may in fact be a fugitive from another dimension, with the intergalactic agency in charge of such matters hot on my trail, looking to drag me back to where I’ll face my day of reckoning.

I don’t like to engage in this kind of unsubstantiated gossip, so for now let’s just say that when I’m not writing my goofy books I’m a former journalist turned PR guy working in the commercial real estate industry, mostly in New York City. And I have a crazy dog, Simon.

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My alarm clock! 🙂 But seriously … I adore my kids – a boy and a girl. They keep me on my toes. And I’m always thinking about my next book, or finding the right way to tell the story I’m working on. I may be an addict! But if so … no rehab for me. I’m a lifer.

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
Albert Einstein. Beyond his obvious scientific brilliance, he had a wonderful sense of humor, and philosopher’s approach to life and the Universe. I’d love to know what he thinks about the modern world compared to what he thought it might be at this point.

What’s the story behind your latest book?
My debut novel Finders Keepers is a scifi backpacking comedy, loosely based on a series of backpacking trips I took through Europe and New Zealand, set against a quest for a jar that contains the Universe’s DNA.

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

Genius de Milo (and Finders Keepers) is for fans of authors such as Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, and Christopher Moore, and movies and TV shows such as Harold & 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.

So for Genius de Milo, think Midnight Run meets Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

As the second book in the series, I wrote Genius de Milo with the understanding that it needed to work on three levels:

  • as a satisfying, self-contained novel that new readers can enjoy even if they haven’t read Finders Keepers
  • as the second novel in the Finders Keepers trilogy that both continues and enhances the overall narrative and individual story arcs
  • structurally as a lead-in to the final, upcoming novel that will conclude the trilogy

Awesome. Tell us your writing process
I sit at my computer and type words. And then hope I put them in the right order. Before that happens, though, I talk the story out loud. I try to get inside the minds of each of the characters, and see where that takes me. The parts inevitably fall into place. And then about half way through the novel I realize I have this crazy adventure to figure out and I really have to focus!

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
Mostly since I was a kid, but certainly by the time I was in high school. I loved English class because it gave me a chance to be a wise-ass and get approval both from my teachers and students. I’m not saying I was a great (or even good) writer back then, but I knew I was on to something.

Tell us about your main character:
A: There’s actually two. When we first meet Jason Medley and Theo Barnes in Finders Keepers, they’re both in their early 20s, with Jason from New York and Theo from New Zealand — from opposite corners of the world and with entirely different personalities. Jason is kind of a nervous Nellie, with no idea how to get himself from one place to the next. But Theo is more mellow, and an experienced traveler. They meet unexpectedly in Venice, and become fast friends.

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.

In Genius de Milo, which 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 mayhem.

So now Jason and Theo are trekking across America to put things right, and keep Milo from destroying the planet. Along the way they are joined by Jamie — a hotel clerk from Eternity — who may or may not be on their side.

In Genius de Milo Theo is now a family, but he still has that travel bug in him. He almost always wishes he was still going on adventures across the globe, so he’s not as focused on the here and now as he should be. But because of that 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 off course. Which happens quite a lot!

Yet Jason is far more grounded, and in fact is about to propose to his girlfriend. He’s building a career as a journalist, 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.

What I mean is that 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.

What are you working on next?
The final book in the Finders Keepers trilogy. My plan is to have it ready for fall 2016.

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
It turns out that I had Lyme Disease, likely for at least 25 years. Whereas with most people they get some sort of debilitating joint pain, I had what was the equivalent of chronic fatigue syndrome. I was always exhausted. And yet I lived with it for so long that I powered through anyway. Nobody believes me when I tell them about my symptoms. Despite my exhaustion I was still plugging away from 5 am til midnight almost every night. So I guess I just have a stubborn will to ignore my own fatigue. I was diagnosed with Lyme January 2014 and was on antibiotics and supplements for a year. I seem to be symptom free. It’s a strange experience. But so far so good.

Who are your favorite authors?
Christopher Moore, Kurt Vonnegut, Chuck Palahniuk, David McCullough

What do you like to do with your free time?
Free time? What’s that?! But when I get a rare minute … sleep, take naps, and rest. In that order. Otherwise, travel, read, watch TV, movies, be with my wife and kids. And I’m a baseball junkie.

Tell us about your plans for upcoming books.
After I finish off the Finders Keepers trilogy, I have an idea for a baseball-themed sci-fi novel, a children’s book series, a Finders Keepers spin-off series, and something else that I can’t talk about just yet. In between I’ll be contributing to a Crazy 8 Press alternate-reality anthology called Pangaea, which we funded through Kickstarter. It’s due out fall 2015.

Any final thoughts?
Shameless plug! Buy my books! :p

For More Information

About the Book

Genius De Milo 2

Title: Genius De Milo
Author: Russ Colchamiro
Publisher: Crazy 8 Press
Pages: 320
Genre: SciFi/Comedy
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Best pals Jason Medley and Theo Barnes barely survived a backpacking trip through Europe and New Zealand that — thanks to a jar of Cosmic Building Material they found — almost wiped out the galaxy. But just as they envision a future without any more cosmic lunacy:

The Earth has started fluxing in and out of existence, Theo’s twin girls are teleporting, and Jason can’t tell which version of his life is real.

All because of Milo, the Universe’s ultimate gremlin.

Joined by the mysterious Jamie — a down-and-out hotel clerk from Eternity — Jason and Theo reunite on a frantic, cross-country chase across America, praying they can retrieve that jar, circumvent Milo, and save the Earth from irrevocable disaster.

In author Russ Colchamiro’s uproarious sequel to Finders Keepers, he finally confirms what we’ve long suspected — that there’s no galactic Milo quite like a Genius de Milo.

For More Information

Book Excerpt

Jason’s smile dropped away, replaced with a silent, open-mouthed slug of resignation, that whatever was happening was authentic, and unfolding in real time.

In a shared-brain moment Jason and Theo slowly panned in Jamie’s direction until finally she felt their accusatorial eyes lock on her. And though neither of them spoke, the imputation of blame came through with perfect enunciation: What did you do? What’s coming?

But what could she say? Which cluster of words could encapsulate both the scope and nuance of their predicament? Jamie could offer a pretty good guess as to why their immediate surroundings morphed before their very eyes—it had to be Brigsby-related, didn’t it?—but when it came to the what, she was equally mystified.

So all she could do was stand there. She blinked a few times. Then a few times more. The night went bracingly still, as if every fractal of sound had been drained from the Universe. The three of them held in place, petrified, as if the incredible forces converging upon them were seemingly just to be unleashed. Which, of course, they were.


Interview With Glen Aaron, author of The Prison Trilogy



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Hi Folks. Today I am chatting with Glen Aaron, retired lawyer, international business & banking consultant and author of several fiction & non-fiction books. Including The Terrorist, Broken Justice and his latest non-fiction release of The Prison Trilogy: The Ronnie Lee And Jackie Bancroft Spencer Morgan Story.

Glen. Thanks for being my guest today. Please share with our readers about you.
I am a retired lawyer and international business and banking consultant. In the twilight of my 40 year practice, I came to represent an heiress of The Wall Street Journal, who later decided to marry another client of mine, an interior decorator. The name of the heiress was Jackie Bancroft Spencer Morgan and her new husband was Ronnie Lee Morgan. Jackie was 72 years old. Ron was 50. I had previously placed Ron in bankruptcy in that he owed about $1.5 million and couldn’t pay it. Jackie wanted to give him ample money outside of the bankruptcy. So I set up a blind trust and over the course of a half dozen years Jackie poured $40 million worth of cash and assets into the trust. When she mysteriously died, the Bancroft’s sued me and every member of my legal staff. Ultimately, the result was a two-year prison sentence for me in federal prison. The reason was quite technical. The Prison Trilogy starts with this book, The Ronnie Lee And Jackie Bancroft Spencer Morgan story, a tale of people, greed, envy, manipulation – even crime.

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I actually look forward to getting out of bed each morning about 5 o’clock to start writing either on a book that I’m working on or my column for the local newspaper that reviews the works of West Texas authors. I am stimulated by the desire to write and to read the creative works of others.

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
I would like to hang out for a day with Barney Frank and ask him questions about events that he has written in his new book. My reason for wanting to do so is to gain some understanding of how a person finds the strength to continue fighting in favor of unpopular causes, one after another.

What’s the story behind your latest book? 
Well, I have already mentioned how the book begins, but to understand Jackie one must understand the history of the ownership of The Wall Street Journal. Her husband, Hugh Bancroft, Jr, who was owner of the Journal, along with a sibling, died after only five years of marriage to Jackie, leaving her at their New Mexico ranch with three small children, but also as one of the wealthiest women in America, which she really didn’t realize for the first few years. In part, the book is her story, but it is also the story of Ron Morgan and a tale of greed and manipulation and what it can lead to.

Tell us your writing process.
I begin writing at 5 o’clock in the morning and write until noon. By this time, either the body or the muse has left me and I go on to other things. I do this six days a week. In nonfiction, as The Prison Trilogy is, I look at all of my research, cross index it, and then begin to develop an outline of chapters. In nonfiction, I allow myself to go with the flow of the plot, keeping in mind basic writing principles of fiction. Of course, this creates a lot of rewrites.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I graduated from Baylor University with an undergraduate degree of English literature and a dual degree out of the business school in macro economics. Even though I had business knowledge, much of which was handed down to me by my father, I was a bit of a romantic and loved literature. I thought that I would like to write. However, after graduation from law school at the University of Texas and entering law practice and business, there was no time for 40 years to write anything but legalese. As I entered federal prison and ended up with Colonel George Trofimoff as my cell-mate, I saw this as an opportunity to write. That story became the second book in The Prison Trilogy, which is about Colonel George Trofimoff.

Tell us about your main character.
As you’ve seen from what I’ve said about the Ronnie Lee and Jackie Bancroft Story, there are actually two main characters in the book, Jackie and Ron, as I viewed them through my eyes as an Observer. Interestingly, for someone who had the magnitude of wealth that Jackie had, she lived rather modestly but did immodest things, such as building what she called her “little Pearl,” the $23 million theater for the performing arts, nestled in the mountains of Ruidoso, New Mexico. She paid cash. Ronnie Lee Morgan, on the other hand, personifies just about every character defect you can think of. Of course, I represented both of them. Lawyers don’t generally sit in judgment of their clients. If they did, they would have no clients. However, this book takes liberty from that principal by simply telling the story.

What are you working on next? 
I’m currently working on what I believe will be called The Race To Destroy Life On Earth. The question is, which will win the race of destruction: nuclear proliferation or eco-destruction?

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
I do not think so. I can’t paint. I can’t play a musical instrument. I can speak publicly and write.

Who are your favorite authors?  
In fiction, I have always been intrigued by the ability of John Grisham. In nonfiction, I look for those extraordinary authors who do credible research and take it to the level of telling an interesting story.

What do you like to do with your free time?
Sit with my wife in the evening, have a glass of wine, interesting conversation, and pet my dogs.

Tell us about your plans for upcoming books.
Well, as I mentioned I’m doing research on nuclear proliferation and eco-destruction. Surprisingly, I have for years done research on the biblical tenants of the New Testament. I have always thought it would be interesting if you took the English common law principle of proof, “by a preponderance of evidence” and applied it to the writing and teachings of the New Testament. I don’t know whether I will ever finish that are not.

Where can people find you on the web?
Either at GlenAaron.com or prisonobserver.com or Amazon.com.

Any final thoughts?
Yes, I want to thank you very much for having me and giving The Prison Trilogy and its first book, The Ronnie Lee And Jackie Bancroft Spencer Morgan Story exposure, and I would like to thank BK Walker for administrating the blog tour for me. Thank you

Observer: The Ronnie Lee and Jackie Bancroft Spencer Morgan Story
Book genre: Biography of Wall Street Journal heiress; nonfiction intrigue and crime
Publisher: Glen Aaron using Create Space
Release date: April 1, 2015
Buy linkAmazon.com

Book Blurb

When Jackie Bancroft’s husband died in 1952, he left her an heiress to the income and value of The Wall Street Journal and one of the wealthier women in America. Almost 50 years later, Jackie would marry Ronnie Lee Morgan, a 50 – year old gay interior decorator. Morgan was one of many clients in the active law practice of author Glen Aaron. This unusual marriage lasted until Jackie’s mysterious death five years later. Throughout that period, Aaron became entwined in the personal lives and demands of the couple, along with handling many of their legal affairs. The huge money and property distributions made by Jackie to her husband, designed and handled by Aaron, resulted in a two – year federal prison sentence for Aaron. The first book in the Prison Trilogy is this story


Through the course of four years, Ron bought several million – dollar Puerto Vallarta properties, some for rental, some with an eye toward resale; all in the name of the trust I had set up for him. This was causing a problem. When Ron initially explained how he wanted the trust to work, or, at least, how he envisioned the goal, it was to be an income – generating entity protected from domestic creditors, the IRS, and Jackie’s children. Therefore, I envisioned never conducting business in the United States. I had never filed for a tax identification number, nor had the trust filed an income tax return.

However, throughout the first few years of the trust, Ron imported large amounts of artworks and furnishings from other countries and warehoused them in El Paso. He also took unreported, large cash distributions into the United States. This was not how to protect oneself within a trust. No matter how I might admonish him, I would find, after the fact, Ron paid no attention and threw caution to the winds. I could never tell, through many aspects of Ron’s life, whether he felt invincible or whether he just couldn’t perceive risk/reward exposure.

In following the goal of creating an offshore cash-cow for Ron’s future, I had established a corporation and office in Belize that headquartered an online casino. Acquiring the software through professional contacts in Vegas and setting up accounting and payment controls took about a year. Belize was ideal for an online casino because broadband T-1 connections were plentiful and the domain name address would be Belize. Additionally, the major Caribbean undersea fiber line connecting instantaneously to the entire world was within stone’s throw of where I had set up the online casino. In the second year, the casino was cash-flowing twenty – five – thousand dollars per month with hardly any overhead.

To diversify the activities and income of the trust, I retained a CPA and Hong Kong attorneys to establish a Hong Kong trade Corporation with an office in Shenzhen, China. The trade companies served multiple full purposes because of the myriad opportunities in China. Its primary purpose was to protect importations of artworks, sculptures, and furnishings from all the countries Ron had haphazardly imported into the United States.… Although Ron was as tight – lip about those details as he was about most other details, it was pretty clear he was stockpiling a high-end inventory for his post – Jackie future.

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