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

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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.

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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…. David T. Pennington, author of Peer Through Time

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Today folks is a double feature from author, David T. Pennington.

David T. Pennington

David, thanks for being my guest today. Please tell us about you.

Laughter is among my favorite things in life, though I have yet to dabble in humorous writing. I leave that up to others for now. I make my living as a data analyst in the biopharmaceutical industry, but my long-term goal is to write full-time. If it takes twenty years, then this might end up being my retirement plan.

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?

With regard to writing, I’m at my most productive for the first two hours of my day, and that inspires me to get out of bed.

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?

I’ll say comedian Kathy Griffin, to see if some of her energy, or her publicity/marketing genius, might rub off on me.

What’s the story behind your latest book?

It emerged between 2011 and 2014, as a sequel to a novel I had written previously. In that novel, a minor character was transported into the future and couldn’t return to her own time. For the new book, I promoted her to the main character and started writing about her life twenty years later. That story became Peer Through Time.

Tell us your writing process.

I do some brainstorming, write a loose outline, and start writing. When the first draft is done, I put it away for at least a week, then re-read it, taking notes on inconsistencies, awkward phrasings, nonsensical character motivations, etc. I revise as many times as it takes until I’m comfortable sharing it with others. I get feedback, preferably as specific as possible, and revise some more. After hiring an editor, I revise further, and then repeat those last two steps. I remind myself that while revision is key, I must not get caught up in endless revision. Release it to the world and start writing the next book.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I sat down to write Peer Through Time, I was looking back at having taken many, many years to complete my first book. If I wanted to be serious about this one, I had to have a plan. That’s when I realized I wanted to be a writer, as opposed to someone who writes occasionally.

Tell us about your main character.

Carmela always feels out of place, but she always manages to fit in. She’s motivated by her sense of justice. She has a deep desire to reunite with her biological family, and later, with her adoptive family. She’s a victim of time travel, so she refuses to be a victim in any other way.

What are you working on next?

I’m working on the sequel to Peer Through Time, which I plan to release in 2016.

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?

None that come to mind. Perseverance is ultimately what led to my becoming a published author, but I don’t consider that an extraordinary talent.

Who are your favorite authors?

Robert J. Sawyer, Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child, Ray Kurzweil, Michio Kaku, Paul Davies, Richard Dawkins, Harlan Coben, Robert Charles Wilson, Erica Spindler, Scott Sigler, David Sedaris, Anne Rice, Dean Koontz, Greg Iles, Dan Brown, Gregg Hurwitz, James Scott Bell, and many more.

What do you like to do with your free time?

I like to hike the hills of San Francisco, go to comedy shows, eat with friends, and spend time at home with my partner and our pets.

Tell us about your plans for upcoming books.

After Peer Through Time’s sequel, I’ll complete the final book in the trilogy—which is actually the first book I started writing—and then I’ll start a new, standalone novel.

Any final thoughts?

Thank you for the interview, and to the readers, thanks for reading!

About the Author

David T. Pennington grew up in a small northern California town called Paradise, but his home is in San Francisco. While his associate’s degree in computer programming has helped pay the bills, his bachelor’s degree in psychology has informed his writing. His love of fiction–mainly mysteries, science fiction, and thrillers–is balanced by his fascination with books on futurism, theoretical physics, and cosmology. Peer Through Time is his debut novel.

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About the Book:

Title: Peer Through Time
Author: David T. Pennington
Publisher: Quantaj Publishing
Pages: 371
Genre: Science Fiction
Format: Paperback/Kindle

In 2079, a time travel experiment sends physicist Carmela Akronfleck further back in time than she’d intended. Though she’s still in her small northern California town, the year is 1936 and she must learn to live without the technology she’s come to rely on. Her neurological implants should be dormant, but she receives a cryptic message, periodically accompanied by an audio transmission from the future. It’s the voice of her former psychotherapist, an android named Kass, stating his innocence in a series of murders occurring in 2079.

When Carmela deciphers the code as a hit list, she’s shocked to discover her mother and sister are among the intended targets. Further evidence reveals the killer’s true identity, but the inoperative time portal prevents her from returning to save her family and vindicate Kass.

She considers another option: hunt down the killer’s ancestors and avert his existence without radically changing history. She devises a plan to protect her family, haunted by doubts that she’s becoming the kind of person she’s always loathed—one willing to take another’s life.

For More Information

  • Peer Through Time is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Book Excerpt

September 19, 2079

Prowling around in an empty office late at night may have been a bad idea, particularly in high heels. Sara Drake stopped and leaned against the wall to remove her shoes. She dropped the left one, its heel clattering alarmingly loud on the corridor floor. Sara froze when she sensed something … a presence. She’d never believed in disembodied spirits, nor had she ever experienced an awareness of someone watching her—but someone, or something, was here.

“Hello?” she said, leaning slightly toward the end of the hallway. “Kass? I got a message to come here. Are you in there?”

She heard a soft, electronic click—like when the security system had granted her access into the luminous, vacant lobby of Peer Therapies. She had looked back at the darkness outside, wishing she’d asked QUINT to leave its headlights on. She could just make out the driverless vehicle’s silhouette through the fog creeping up from the canyon. The car waited for her in the soundless, somber night.

A shiver ran through Sara just before she turned her attention away from the window and toward the bright antechamber, sparsely furnished with but a few cushioned chairs and side tables. In the two times she’d been here, she’d never seen more than one other patient in this room, so there was no tangible reason for her apprehension. But the reception desk was abandoned, too. The message she’d received earlier had led her to believe someone would be here to receive her—so where were they?

“This is what happens when you try to automate everything,” she muttered. “Robot psychologists. What next?” She reviewed the message with her cybernetic optical implant:

Mrs. Drake, please return to your local branch of Peer Therapies. Earlier today you left behind an important item. Our apologies for the late hour, but we must return it to you right away.

It wasn’t that late—quarter to eleven—and Sara Drake wasn’t tired. She was bored and ready to try new things, venture into the unknown. Seeking psychological counseling had been a giant step into the unknown. Her son’s recent suicide had sparked something in her: a will to delve deeper than she’d ever allowed, a will to try and understand why she’d abandoned her own flesh and blood.

Eric was a killer. A failure. A piece of garbage that should have been incinerated instead of being allowed to rot and become fetid.

That had been her perspective for the past seven decades—until Eric took his own life. After that, all the other reasons faded away and she was left staring at herself in the mirror, as if reading her own mind for the first time. What she saw said that Eric was an embarrassment. That was the sole reason she had cut him out of her life. It was all about how his actions reflected on her.

She only knew one therapist employed here, a male named Kass. No last name. Employed and male may not be appropriate terms, because Kass was a machine. Not that it was polite to call them that—synthetic humans or androids were the more acceptable terms—but in the relative privacy of their own home, she and Phil referred to Kass and his kind as robots.

Did they have homes or did they sleep here in the office? Did they even need sleep? Probably not. Kass was likely here, in his office, powered down. Sara had walked past the reception desk and into a corridor illuminated by a soft glow. Now she picked her shoe up off the floor and held both shoes in one hand.

“Hello?” she called again, raising her voice.

The doorway to her therapist’s office was at the end of the corridor. She should march right up to it and announce herself. But something inside her made her hesitate. She couldn’t think of any items she was missing, and even if she’d left something here, she could retrieve it in the morning. There was no reason for her to be here an hour before midnight. Her boredom, along with her desire to momentarily escape from Phil, had brought her here.

That, and the message—and her own agenda.

One hundred ten years of life. So many things she’d forgotten—and others she’d like to forget. She’d heard rumors that such a thing might be possible—nanobots fiddling around in your brain, modifying or eradicating only certain memories—but all her connections to the scientific research community had denied anything like that was available. Her ex-husband’s company, Wakeup Technologies, hadn’t invented anything new in years, but Peer Industries had—and Sara suspected it was no coincidence that the previous therapist, the predecessor to Kass, had lost all its memories. If anyone could help her snoop around and find out more, it would be someone from Peer. Maybe her therapist, if it—if he—could be persuaded.

She heard the electronic click again.

The physical shock coming up from the floorboards overtook her instantly. With a jolt, her knees buckled and she lost control of her entire body. She couldn’t breathe. All her muscles clenched. In the instant before death took Sara Drake in its merciful arms, it was as though her every organ, her every blood cell, had burst into flames, searing her from the inside out.

Dino Hunt – Goodreads Contest

Dino Hunt
by Max Davine
Exclusive Goodreads Giveaway

2 people will be selected at random to win a paperback copy of Dino Hunt by Aussie author Max Davine.

Contest Closes May 10, 2015.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Dino Hunt by Max Davine

Dino Hunt

by Max Davine

Giveaway ends May 10, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to Win

 

 

dino hunt front cover

Off The Map – Goodreads Contest

Off The Map
by Max Davine
Exclusive Goodreads Giveaway

2 people will be selected at random to win a paperback copy of Off The Map by Aussie author Max Davine.

Contest closes May 10, 2015.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Off The Map by Max Davine

Off The Map

by Max Davine

Giveaway ends May 10, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to Win

of the map front cover

Goodreads Giveaway – Angel Valence

Goodreads Giveaway:

Angel Valence by Max Davine.

Contest is open to anyone in Australia.

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Angel Valence by Max Davine

Angel Valence

by Max Davine

Giveaway ends March 31, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Interview With…. Lillian Csernica

Welcome readers and book lovers. Today I am joined by Lillian Csernica. Lillian was born in San Diego and is a genuine California native.She resides in Northern California with her husband, two sons and three cats.

Her very first short story sale, “Fallen Idol,” appeared in After Hours and was later reprinted in DAW’S YEAR’S BEST HORROR STORIES XX. Lillian has gone on to publish stories in DAW’S Year’s Best Horror Stories XXI, 100 Wicked Little Witch Stories, and HORRORS! 365 Scary Stories. Lillian has also published an historical romance novel, SHIP OF DREAMS, and has written a considerable amount of nonfiction in the field of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. She has also been a columnist for Speculations, writing “The Fright Factory” and “The Writer’s Spellbook.” Her controversial column of literary criticism and short fiction reviews, “The Penny Dreadful Reader” ran in Tangent, earning praise from such leading lights of the field as editor Ellen Datlow.

PR photo colorLillian. thanks for being here today. Please tell our readers about you.
I’ve been married 26 years, I have two teenage sons, and I love to travel.  My sons both have special needs.  My older son has cerebral palsy and seizure disorder.  My younger son is high-functioning autistic.  Their needs keep me at home most of the time, so that means I have to do my traveling inside my own head.  Fortunately, that makes me well-suited to be a writer.

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The alarm clock.  I’m a night owl and I tend to stay up later than I should.  On weekdays I have to be up early to give my older son his medication and get him ready for the school bus.  On the weekends I sleep late, but I do spend most of my day in my office working.

ShipEbook
If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
My patron saint, St. Irene of Chrysovolantou.  In the 9th Century, she was abbess of a convent in Greece.  The story of her life and the miracles she worked can be found at http://oca.org/saints/lives/2015/07/28/102119-st-irene-chrysovolantou.

What’s the story behind your latest book?
I’m working on a trilogy I call The Flower Maiden Saga, historical romance set in Japan, 1865 to 1867.  In the first novel, my heroine Yuriko is a British girl sold to a corrupt samurai by her diplomat father to settle a gambling debt.  She escapes and meets my hero, Tendo Kazuhiro, who fights to protect her from the corrupt samurai.  Right now I’m halfway through the second novel.  Tendo and Yuriko are now married and facing all the challenges that presents given how much his family disapproves of him marrying a foreigner.  The social and political upheavals of this period in Japanese history provide a lot of story material.
What are you working on next?
The third book.  I’m also quite busy with short story projects.  I’ve begun writing steampunk, and I find I really enjoy it.

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
I’m good at public speaking.  I was on the Speech and Debate Team in both high school and college.  That training comes in very handy, especially when I’m on panels at conventions.

frightfactory

Who are your favorite authors?
Tanith Lee, Elizabeth Peters, Wen Spencer, Terry Pratchett, A.M. Burrage, and Seabury Quinn.

What do you like to do with your free time?
Watch the wildlife in my backyard.  A creek runs along our back property line, so we have wood ducks, deer, foxes, squirrels, and a variety of wild birds.  I keep the bird feeder filled, which also provides some entertainment for my three cats.

Tell us about your plans for upcoming books.
I look forward to writing the third novel in The Flower Maiden Saga.  Most of my other work involves fantasy of one type or another.  Historical fiction is wonderful, but fantasy will always be my first love.

Where can people find you on the web?
lillian888.wordpress.com
Goodreads
Twitter
Amazon

Any final thoughts?
This is a great time to be a writer.  We have more options than ever before.

Thanks for being my guest today Lillian. Readers, be sure to check out Lillian’s links on Goodreads and Amazon for some great titles.

spellbook

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