All posts by Russ Colchamiro

In the Writer’s Chair – Taking a Novel from Almost Done to Actually Done

RussThere’s a strange feeling that comes with almost being done with a novel.


I’m having that sensation now.

The sequel to Finders KeepersGenius de Milo — is just about done.

The manuscript is written. I printed it out, doubled spaced, and have been reading the pages for the last few weeks.

I’ve read every word on every page, twice, and I’m down to the last 20 pages on the third and final read-through. Some pages are perfectly clean, others have lots of hand-written notes, and the rest are somewhere in between.

In addition, the Genius de Milo manuscript is in the hands of three trusted friends who I’ve worked with before, who will be sending back their notes within the next month.

There’s an excitement to being almost finished. A flutter of anticipation.

There’s also a sense of … ooooh, this book is going to be great, but I’m basically done, so … let’s ease up.

And there’s even a middling sense of … I want to be done already. I’ve been at this a long time. I’m ready to move on. Continue reading

My Favorite Child — Sticking it to the Man

FKfrontcoverSometimes I just want to stick it to the man.

With the super awesome power of my books, that is.

Sometimes it’s a hoot, poking fun, or just calling out the absurdities of life by going over the top with some goofy character or hyped-up scenario.

And sometimes it just doesn’t fit. I’ll explain:

In FINDERS KEEPERS, I crafted a scene with the character of Donald — a 40ish, balding worker-bee called into the CEO’s office; an office in Eternity, the realm that oversees the construction of all celestial bodies in the Universe.

In this scene, the CEO was in the process of humiliating his secretary, yet again, simply because he could.

The elevators had gone out in the building, yet the CEO was forcing his secretary to walk down some 40 flights of stairs to retrieve his lunch order. And, of course, the CEO did all this through an intercom, adding to the humiliation.

Donald, who happened to walk into this scene, volunteered to do the grunt work, sparing the secretary this mortifying task. Ultimately, it did not go well for anyone. Continue reading

Slipping Through an Open Window – The Thief in the Night

Russ photo 2An open window. Moonlight. That’s how it came to me.

This is going back almost 25 years ago now. I kept seeing the scene. Two hands perched on a windowsill as a breeze blew the curtains in. And then the story took shape.

A single burglar sneaks in through a second story window, to rob the place. Yet while he’s in a supposedly empty house, he encounters, well…I don’t want to say too much, but what was intended to be a quick in-and-out job turns out to be so much more.

Essentially, I had a one-act play in mind, in three parts. It was a fun situation; it made me laugh. And yet…I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it.

Fast forward to Shore Leave 2013, sitting at a local diner, and our Crazy 8 Press man behind the engine Bob Greenberger directed us all to do an anthology, The Tales of the Crimson Keep,so get your ideas together.

While I nodded and said okay, sure, anything you need, Bob, I’m in…on the inside I’m thinking oh, crud. I’m lousy at short stories. I have no idea how I’m going to pull this off. Continue reading

The Dark Returns – Stepping Outside with Frank Miller

batman-vs-superman-frank-millerSuperheroes — and their creators — lurk in all corners of the globe.

In this case it was Bethesda, Maryland, at the SPX (Small Press Expo) comic book convention, around 1997 or so.

After hours — maybe 1 a.m. or so — I was hanging out at a party in one of the hotel rooms with my pal and comic book fan extraordinaire Tom Peters, putting back a few beers. And who should wander over but Frank Miller.

Dark Knight Returns. Sin City. Daredevil. Elektra Assassin. Ronin.

Yep. That Frank Miller.

Having known Tom for many years at that point I knew his love of comics and the various encounters he’d had, so I turned to the famed creator and said, “I’ve got a Frank Miller story for you.”

Slightly amused, Frank Miller indulged me as I queued up the scenario for Tom. For the record, I don’t remember Tom’s original Frank Miller anecdote, but I sure as heck remember what happened next.

MillerAs background … Tom is more than a comic fan. He’s a comic book aficionado. Even 20 years ago he saw comic books as a true art form, and is in a very real way a comic books scholar. He wasn’t your typical comic book ‘nerd.’ Continue reading

The One That Got Away

Russ Farpoint 2014My latest novel, Crossline, is a scifi adventure about two men — a civilian space pilot forced through a wormhole and into a war-torn parallel Earth, and the CEO of the corporation who launched the pilot to begin with — and how their journeys intersect.

But underneath the scifi elements lies a more personal story– a trilogy, in fact — that I wrote in high school. It was my first real attempt at fiction, and, all things considered, it wasn’t half bad.

It was based on the ‘troubles’ in Ireland, which, of course, I knew absolutely nothing about, but when you’re trying to impress a girl, well … you make stuff up and hope for the best. The girl, in question, did like the stories, and she was impressed. But not so much that things went the way I wanted.

And in terms of the written material itself, here’s the real problem:

I lost them.

Or, I should say, I lost parts two and three. I wrote those stories by hand, and then typed them up, because this was back in the mid 1980s, before everything we did was on computers and saved on a hard drive. And, because, I was a putz. Continue reading

Agent Ambush

Russ Farpoint 2014My Darkest Night? Agent Ambush

My memory is hazy on the some of the details.

But that’s what happens when you get pulverized. Shock overtakes your system.

In the fall of 2008 I attended a Backspace writer’s event in New York City. What particularly drew me to the event was a session wherein new authors submit a portion of their work, to have it read aloud in front of a group, and a panel of agents gives commentary.

If things go well, you just might find yourself with an agent, and, even better, a book deal.

At the time I was polishing up my debut novel Finders Keepers, feeling it was just about ready for prime time. So I submitted a page from the prologue — not the version I ultimately published — but a page of manuscript that I was certain was going to absolutely kill.

It killed all right. It killed me.

There I was, sitting in a NYC hotel conference room, listening to various passages from other emerging writers, and thinking that some were actually half-way decent, and others were, well … less so. But either way it didn’t matter to me, because I knew — absolutely knew — that nobody had anything as clever and inventive as what I had with Finders Keepers. There was simply nothing like it out there. Continue reading