- Confession time.
It was my turn among us Crazy 8 Press authors to run the new anthology. My theme was that each story (there are 15 total) had to include at least one act of love or romance, at least one murder, and mayhem welcome … with every story set within a science fiction setting.
I also opened up the doors (as we have been doing) to outside author friends of ours, and I insisted that the lineup include about an equal mix of male and female writers.
The stories are all one-shots … so there are no interlocking characters or inter-connected narratives. Each author delivered his or her own story, in their own distinct Universes.
But why this theme?
For the uninitiated … among works of fiction, I am the author of the three-book scifi backpacking comedy series that includes FINDERS KEEPERS, GENIUS DE MILO, and ASTROPALOOZA (the final book in the series, which launched earlier this year).
She’s a private eye, envisioned in that classic Sam Spade style — trench coat, fedora, and all, the kind of character I’ve always wanted to write.
I upgraded Hardwicke in the series finale, ASTROPALOOZA, where she plays a fairly prominent role. But I knew early on that I eventually wanted to give her a stand-alone series, where she becomes the central figure. The star.
Going forward my plan is to give her at least three books of her own, which will include her origin story, at least one key nemesis, and a long and tortured journey which helps drive her underlying motivations.
But before I dive into an entire series, I wanted to do a test case with Hardwicke. So I figured, what better way than through a short story, with her in the lead, as a way for me to get a better sense of who she is, how she operates, and what the future holds for her.
Thus, my tale in this anthology is entitled: The Hardwicke Files: The Case of My Old New Life and the One I Never Knew. The narrative has Hardwicke investigating a mysterious fire at a music club in E-Town (the realm where the Universe is created), where a body turns up dead, and with a tangential connection to Hardwicke herself.
Another confession — when I set this anthology in motion, in my mind’s eye I thought I’d get nothing but detective stories. And I did get a few others. But I also got stories with superheroes and supervillains. Stories set off-world and in space cruisers. Plus artificial intelligence, a monster mash and (for good measure) … one DuckBob!
Did I have my own motivations to set this anthology in motion? You bet.
But like any great mystery, this collection of love, murder, and mayhem stories had me starting off in one place, taking me across the Universe and back, and ending up in a way—and in places—I never saw coming.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Love, Murder & Mayhem from Crazy 8 Press will be on sale both in print and digital formats in July. Stay tuned for updates!
Russ Colchamiro is the author of the rollicking space adventure, Crossline, the hilarious sci-fi backpacking comedy series, Finders Keepers, Genius de Milo, and Astropalooza, and is editor of the new anthology, Love, Murder & Mayhem. He is a member of Crazy 8 Press.
Russ lives in New Jersey with his wife, two children, and crazy dog, Simon, who may in fact be an alien himself. Russ has also contributed to several other anthologies, including Tales of the Crimson Keep, Pangaea, Altered States of the Union, and TV Gods 2. He is now at work on a top-secret project, and a Finders Keepers spin-off.