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Interview with Russ Colchamiro, author of sci-fi comedy ‘Genius De Milo’

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Russ ColchamiroRuss Colchamiro 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.

His latest book is the science fiction novel, Genius De Milo.

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About the Book:

Genius De Milo 2Best 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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Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Russ Colchamiro.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

Russ: I have several books in publication. My novels include the scifi backpacking comedies Finders Keepers and Genius de Milo -– think American Pie/Midnight Run meets Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — and the scifi mystery adventure, Crossline –- think Flash Gordon meets Escape from New York. I also contributed a short story to the Crazy 8 Press wizards and demons anthology Tales of the Crimson Keep.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

Russ: I was in deep negotiations with three mid- to large-size publishers, who all wanted Finders Keepers, but because of the economic downturn they all cut back on their production. They all said that if the economy had been better they would have signed me on the spot. So I wound up going with a small indie publisher, Three Finger Prints.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

Russ: Once we agreed, it took about six months to produce Finders Keepers and get it published and ready for sale.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

A: Finders Keepers debuted in October 2010, just two months after my twins were born. So the boring truth is that I didn’t do a whole of extra celebrating. I had my hands full, both figuratively and literally!

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

Russ: Let out a deep breath!

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

Russ: I’m far more efficient. I have a much better sense of what the story needs and what it doesn’t need, so I’m not wasting nearly as much time with content that will never make the final version. I’m also getting much stronger at pacing, finding the right balance between pushing the plot forward but also taking enough time to develop the characters so that the readers are invested in the outcome.

I tend to write complex, interlocking character arcs and storylines into the overall narrative, so I’ve had to force myself to really focus on what’s most important, and then build around it.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

Russ: I published Finders Keepers in October 2010. I didn’t know it then, but it was right before e-books took over the market … and also in the middle of what turned out to be the biggest economic downturn in a century. Not what I’d call ideal timing! As I said above, I originally published (print and e-book) though a small indie publisher, Three Finger Prints, but despite the economy I had success right away.

I was able to land a national distribution contract (uncommon for a first-time author), with Finders Keepers carried by several Barnes & Noble stores throughout the country. Finders Keepers also received very supportive write-ups by Publishers Weekly, and I was one of only a half dozen authors globally to be invited by Wattpad to become one of their featured authors.

And then right after Finders Keepers debuted, e-books revolutionized the way readers digest novels, and for authors it’s been an entirely new and ever-changing world since then. I wound up reprinting Finders Keepers through Crazy 8 Press so that I now have my entire catalogue under one imprint, and control all of the rights, which is nice.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

Russ: I take a certain pride in having brought my ideas to the page in a way that others can enjoy. Or ridicule! Ha. But seeing my books on a shelf, in someone’s home, or in a bookstore, or available online, let’s me know that I set my mind to accomplishing something that was important to me, and that I did it as well as I knew how to do — and was able to do — at the time that I did it.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Russ: Write because you love it, write for yourself, and write every day. And if you can make money at it … all the better.

On a more technical level, work with beta readers and editors who will give you actionable feedback that helps you improve the story you’re working on — and your craft — in very specific ways.

If you’re getting feedback like, “oh, that was good,” or “it wasn’t for me,” then they’re not really helping you.

Be highly selective, choosing people who will tell you what you actually need to hear, not what you want to hear. And keep your world of trusted ‘advisors’ on the small side. Feedback from too many people will distract and confuse you.

Being an author is a lot of work, so try to have as much as you can along the way, and unlike me, celebrate every step along the way. We writers need as much encouragement as we can get!

Character Interview: Cedric, the Dark Lord, from Melodie Campbell’s Rowena and the Dark Lord

character interviews logoWe’re thrilled to have here today Cedric, the Dark Lord, from Melodie Campbell’s new fantasy novel, Rowena and the Dark Lord, book 2 in the Land’s End series.  Cedric is a 35 year old Earl, master mage, and ruler of Huel in Land’s End.

It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Cedric.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers? 

Damn right, I want to set things straight. They have me portrayed as the villain, the Dark Lord. That is utter nonsense.

Rowena_and_the_Dark_Lord_Front_Cover (1)I am the Earl of Huel. And yes, I am a powerful mage. Rowena is my wife. Everything I do is to protect her and our unborn child. How can that be villainous?

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently? 

I should be the hero in this book! Twice, I have rescued Rowena from certain death, and have killed the villains who dared to kidnap her. Yes, one was my worthless brother, a fool who would have risked her life among depraved men. The other was the King, an abusive tyrant who struck Rowena in front of the whole court. Of course I had to kill him. So why I am considered the villain?

What do you believe is your strongest trait? 

I never give up. It’s to the death. And I have never lost a battle yet.

Worse trait?

My weakness for Rowena. We are destined to be together, whether she believes it or not. She is my heaven, and without her I am in hell.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be? 

That fellow who plays Eric in True Blood…Alexander Skarsgard. He is strong. He looks like me.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Rowena, of course. Our telepathic bond becomes stronger with each passing day. Soon, we will not be separated.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out? 

When I had to leave my body and take on another. It was the first time I had done that. Luckily, I chose well. Ha! Wait until you read the sex scene that results from my invading another body. Rowena will feel the lust of two men for her…

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why? 

Why would I want to be anyone else? There is no need. I cannot be killed. Yes, you heard me right. I cannot be killed.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away? 

Pah! This is not the ending that should be. I will be back in book three to make it right.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if she decided to write another book with you in it?

She has no choice. She must write another book. My power will influence her. I am a powerful mage, you see.

Thank you for this interview, Cedric of Huel.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Look for me in Rowena and the Viking Warlord, book 3 in the Land’s Ends series, coming in fall 2013.  The battle begins…

about the book

Dark magic…dark passions….

When Rowena is abducted from Arizona and taken back to medieval Land’s End, one thing is clear: she must learn to control her powers of magic. It isn’t easy being a modern girl in an archaic land, and when Rowena accidently conjures up a Roman Legion in mid-battle, Land’s End is on the brink of a war that could jeopardize everything and everyone she loves.

The stakes are raised when the Dark Lord reappears and traps Rowena in a cyclone of lust and passion. Once again, she is torn between the man she loves and the mage who fires her desire.

Purchase the book on Amazon.

Currently #2 Timetravel in Canada!  Top 100 in US!

about the author

Campbell-author-400Melodie Campbell achieved a personal best this year when Library Digest compared her to Janet Evanovich.

Melodie got her start writing comedy (stand-up and columns.)  In1999, she opened the Canadian Humour Conference.  She has over 200 publications including 100 comedy credits, 40 short stories and 4 novels. Her fifth novel, a mob caper entitled The Goddaughter’s Revenge (Orca Books) will be released Oct. 1. She has won 6 awards for fiction, and was a finalist for both the 2012 Derringer and Arthur Ellis Awards.

Melodie is the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada. Her humour column ‘Bad Girl’ appears inThe Sage.

Find Melodie on the web:

www.melodiecampbell.com

www.funnygirlmelodie.blogspot.com

Facebook: MelodieCampbellAuthor

Twitter: @MelodieCampbell

A Conversation with Humor Writer Noah Baird, author of ‘Donations to Clarity’

Noah BairdNoah Baird wanted to attend the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, but his grades weren’t good enough (who knew?). However, his grades were good enough to fly for the U.S. Navy (again, who knew?), where he spent 14 years until the government figured out surfers don’t make the best military aviators. He has also tried to be a stand-up comedian in Hawaii for Japanese tourists where the language barrier really screwed up some great jokes. On the bright side, a sailboat was named after the punchline of one of his jokes.

He has several political satire pieces published on The Spoof under the pen name orioncrew. Noah received his bachelors in Historical and Political Sciences from Chaminade University, where he graduated magna cum laude. He knows nothing about hoaxing Bigfoot. Donations to Clarity is his first novel.

You can visit his website at www.noahbaird.com or his blog at www.noahbaird.wordpress.com.

Connect with him at Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Noah-Baird-Writer/100193913390453.

About Donations to Clarity

Donations to ClarityThe plan was simple: hoax bigfoot, then sell tours to bigfoot enthusiasts. The plan wasn’t brilliant, and neither were Harry, Earl, and Patch. The three chemical-abusing friends only wanted to avoid the 9 to 5 rat race, but their antics attract the attention of a real bigfoot. When the misogynistic Earl is mistaken for a female bigfoot by the nearsighted creature and captured; it is just the beginning of their problems.

The U.S. Government has a plan to naturalize the mythical creatures living within the U.S. borders. The problem is the plan needs to be carried out carefully. You can’t just drop little green men and Sasquatch in the middle of Walmart without warning Ma and Pa Taxpayer. The naturalization program is not ready to be set into motion, and the rogue bigfoot is bringing too much attention to itself, including a feisty investigative reporter who uncovers the truth of the government conspiracy and two bigfoot researchers. No longer able to contain the situation, government agents are tasked with eliminating the bigfoot and all witnesses.

Between bong hits and water balloon fights, Harry and Patch come up with a plan to save Earl and the lovestruck bigfoot. Where do you hide a giant, mythical creature? In an insane asylum, because who is going to listen to them?

Along the way, the three friends learn Star Wars was a government training film for children, the truth behind Elvis meeting President Nixon, and the significance of the weight of the human turd.

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Noah.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

First time. I have some articles published, but this is the first book.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

I tried everything. I was at the point where I thought self-publishing was my only option. As I was researching self-publishing options, Second Wind Publishing contacted me.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

About 7 months.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

It was surreal. I didn’t do anything special. I think I called my parents and had a few drinks.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I started calling newspapers, local bookstores. The usual things.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

I don’t think I’ve changed much.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

It’s a lot harder to get a book sold than I thought. It’s far more difficult to get a bookstore to host a signing than I anticipated. I really thought I was in the club.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

The interaction with the other authors. It’s great to be able to read their book, pick up the phone, and talk to them about it.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Don’t listen to the inner voice telling you that you can’t do it.

Giveaways, Contests & Prizes!

To celebrate the release of Noah’s book, Donations to Clarity, he will be attending the Pump Up Your Book Live! November Author Chat / Book Giveaway Party on Friday, November 18.  This is the perfect opportunity to ask Noah anything on a one on one basis.  Plus, he’s giving away a copy of his book to one lucky person who participates in the chat!

Click here to find out more details!

 

 

 

Interview with Maya Jax: ‘I’m really happy with how everything has turned out’

Loving spy and mystery novels, Maya Jax entertained the idea of being a secret agent and started working at an embassy overseas while doing her master’s in international relations.  During this time, she finished her first screenplay, an action/thriller about spies and nuclear weapons.  She pitched it to a friend in Hollywood, who told her she had talent, but to never – ever – show anyone the script again.  Realizing her love for writing was stronger than her desire to spy and fight crime, she attempted a second screenplay focusing on what she knew best — trying to make it as a writer.  The screenplay turned into a manuscript and the result was chick lit novel Escapades of Romantically Challenged Me.  You can read more about Maya on her website www.mayajax.com.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MayaJax

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Maya-Jax/137505986269231?ref=sgm

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Maya.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

This is my first time being published.

Q: What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

When I was three, I would dictate stories to my Granny as she typed them on her typewriter and then she’d bind them with staples, so technically my first book is an untitled story about Carebears.  Copyright issues weren’t my thing in preschool.  Aside from that little gem, Escapades is my first.

Q: For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

I knew I wanted to do it through Lipstick Ninja Press, so that part was actually easy!

Q: How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

Any kind of rejection is brutal, but I kickboxed for a while and think of each rejection like a blow in the ring.  It doesn’t feel great; you really don’t want it to happen again, but you have to let it go because the fight isn’t over yet and there’s still a chance to win.

Q: When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

I wanted complete control over everything and I knew with Lipstick Ninja Press I would get it.  Plus, I love the name.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

I was ecstatic.  I flew to Victoria to stay with one of my best friends, and she went into labor the next morning, so my celebration was met with a whole new one!

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

We thought we’d try a field marketing promotion to fit the theme of the book, so we had teams of girls dressed as superheroes (when Lelaina is introduced, she’s dressed as Catwoman) handing out emery boards with the book’s info in a few US cities and in London.  It was so much fun, especially in the UK.  I had to get permission from the London Police first.  They were so confused by the whole idea.  If only I’d recorded that conversation.

Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

No, I’m really happy with how everything has turned out.

Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

I haven’t been published again yet.  I admire authors who can release more than one book in a year.  I don’t have it in me!  I think that would be like going into labor again a few weeks after giving birth.

Q: Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up?  What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

For me the biggest thing was discipline.  It was hard to say no to friends and family.  I’m lucky they are so supportive (and forgiving!), but if I’d disciplined myself more in the beginning, then I don’t think it would have been such a long process.  Now that I have a routine, it won’t take as long the next time around.

Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

I landed a great job at an entertainment company that I adore.

Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

Definitely a superhero.  Or something on Broadway.

Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

The thing I love most about writing is that I can write fantasy worlds and still come out with a little dignity.  Dignity would be harder to salvage if anyone ever saw me on Broadway.

Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?

I hope it’s what I’m doing now, but on a bigger scale.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Robert McKee once said that you know you’re a writer when you hate doing everything else.  And he’s right. Writing is hard, but if you don’t like what else you’re doing, life is so much harder in the long run.  If you know this is in you and it’s what you want to do, then go for it.  And no matter how many times you’re knocked down, get up and try again.

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