Thursday, February 27, 2014

Feature Interview: The Rob Cerio

Author Rob Cerio
Rob Cerio. Author. Screenwriter. Family man. Possible sufferer of multiple personality disorder (Captain Chaos...cough...sputter). He is best known for his Jake Price series (Dimensional Games and Interdimensionally Yours, Jake Price), a science fiction series about a "Dimensional Moderator". Cerio has contributed stories to the steampunk anthologies Dreams of Steam II, Dreams of Steam III, and New Orleans by Gaslight and is a contributing writer for the Sci-fi web series, The Adventures of Keith Flippen. Rob has admitted he is not a fan of the Jayne hat, but I forgive him.

The Usual Unusual Disclaimer: WARNING! Do not read blog near open flame. Do not stick blog in electrical socket. Do not read blog while taking a shower. Do not read blog while playing a harmonica and strumming a guitar. Reading blog while doing any of the above may cause blindness, seizures, outright confusion, and/or death. If any of these medical conditions occur while reading blog, consult a doctor immediately. Unless you die. Because that shit ain’t curable.

Karma Girl: May I call you Mr. The Rob? Also, why do people call you “The Rob Cerio”? There’s got to be a story behind that.

Rob Cerio: Well, I have a friend whose kids refer to me as "uncle The" so I guess you can call me that. This whole "The" thing is an example of how letting a joke run for too long can have lasting impact. At one of my first appearances, where I was totally a small fish in a big pond, a group of my friends thought it would be funny and/or humiliating to start screaming "Oh My God! THE Rob Cerio!" and it stuck. Now I can't introduce myself as "Rob Cerio" without at least one person saying "Don't you mean 'THE Rob Cerio'?" I have just come to accept it as part of my brand.

KG: In 2010, you published a book called Dimensional Games. In 2012 you published the sequel, Interdimensionally Yours, Jake Price. Can you tell us about these books and what influenced you to write them? Booze? Peyote? The redeeming love of a beautiful woman?

Dimensional Games
Rob: The redeeming love of a beautiful woman is ALWAYS a good reason to write a book. Booze and Peyote less so. The Jake Price books are about a 'Dimensional Moderator' Whose job it is to make sure that tourists in alternate universes don't screw them up too badly. My main inspiration was watching a group of LARPers (Live Action Role Playing) at a convention act out a scenario, followed by a bunch of World Of Warcraft gamers having a LAN party. It occurred to me that if there is an alternate dimension where elves and fairies exist, these guys would be the first ones to buy a ticket to get there. It follows that they would interfere with the natives, and screw up those worlds in a pretty comical way. It also follows that the people that sold them the ticket would have a real problem with that. Jake Price is a working class schlub whose job it is to prevent the chaos and ensuing comedy. Sadly he's actually not that great at his job, but it makes for some great comedy.

Interdimensionally Yours, Jake Price
KG: Can we expect more Jake Price in the near future?

Rob: I'm currently working on a third Jake Price adventure, Jake Price and the Reality Realtors. It's coming along, but entirely too slowly.

KG: As one of the writers credited to the Sci-Fi serial spoof, The Adventures of Keith Flippen, what would you say is the best part about writing for the show?

Rob: Keith Flippen is an interesting project. It started as a one-off, 48hr film festival entry, but evolved into the webseries that we're all very proud of. I would say my favorite part of writing for the show is coming up with funny, yet Megalomaniacal dialogue for Queen Calamitous. I get the biggest kick out of watching the actress bring her to life.

KG: What other works are you known for?

Rob: I have gained quite the reputation as a steampunk author. I have been published a few times in Dark Oak Press' Dreams of Steam series, and in New Orleans by Gaslight by Black Tome Books. I feel like my steampunk stories resonate with readers because I always base the tales on actual history rather than fantasy. There are such great tales and personalities sitting in the history of New Orleans for example, that it's almost a crime not to use them.

KG: We’ve come to the part of the interview known to one and all as THE SERIOUS THREE, wherein I ask the interviewee three incredibly significant, undeniably serious questions. You must answer these questions as honestly and as seriously as humanly possible.

QUESTION #1: Who is Captain Chaos, and what is your affiliation with him? And what about this Captain Kahunah guy?

The Captain, macking on some poor schlub's wife.

Rob: Captain Chaos is a superhero that is apparently stalking me and trying to seduce my wife. I swear, if I'm ever in a room with him at the same time, he is going to get a piece of my mind. It's my understanding that he's based on a character played by the late Dom DeLuise in the Cannonball Run movies, so I may have to find out who's a fan. CaptKahunah is my Twitter handle, (which I took primarily because CaptChaos was taken, that bastard!) and is based on a nickname from college.

QUESTION #2: Whovian, Browncoat, Trekker, or all of the above?

Rob: TrekkIE first and foremost, but a dedicated Whovian as well. My Dad took me to my first Trek Convention when I was four, and I've been a fan ever since. I have had several starfleet uniforms over the years, and own one of those super long Tom Baker scarves. I enjoyed Firefly, but I wouldn't be caught dead in one of those ugly Jayne hats.

QUESTION #3: Where can my loyal readers follow, stalk, bug you for an autographed copy of your book (Facebook, Twitter, various Cons you will be attending, etc.)?

Rob: I have a special "Stalk me like a Pro" section of my website,, but you can find me on twitter @CaptKahunah, my facebook author page "TheRob Cerio" or just friend me. I will be appearing at CoastCon in Biloxi March 5-7, CyPhaCon in Lake Charles April 4-6 and the LA SciFi Costume and Film festival in Baton Rouge April 25-27.

Thanks for taking the time for this interview. You may resume your harmonica/guitar playing.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Interview with Karen Griffin aka Karen Plaisance

Author Brian Patrick McKinley interviewed me a while back for his blog, The Ravings of a Sick Mind. I was on my best behavior, of course...(trying so hard to look innocent). Be sure to visit his site for more interviews with the authors of the VWSG anthology, Fresh Blood.

(Reblogged from The Ravings of a Sick Mind)

My series of interviews with the authors of Fresh Blood continues today with the talented (and very funny) Karen Griffin!

  1. Tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been writing? My name is not Karen Plaisance. Karen Plaisance is the name I use to hide from the voices. I am a hack writer/blogger/massage therapist. I don’t do happy ending. If you ask, I’m legally allowed to kill you with my t-bar. I’ve been writing since I was five. To be fair, A is for Apal wasn’t the bestseller I thought it would be, but I’m hoping for better sales with the reprint. I think it’ll do well with today’s hipster market.
No happy ending! You have been warned.
No happy ending! You have been warned.
  1. Which story did you contribute to Fresh Blood and what made you want to write that story? The story “Ghosts and Houseguests” started out as an unpublished novel I wrote years ago that I shortened for the anthology. I got the idea for the character Dori before I came up with the plot. A child vampire seemingly dependent on her elders turns out to be the oldest known vampire in existence. She runs New Orleans and who knows what else? And she likes dumpster diving and can’t keep track of time to save her unlife. I loved the irony.
  1. What other work have you done? I wrote a book a while back called Mercy Bound. A fated death oracle is accidentally blood bound to a vampire when a job interview goes horribly wrong. The leader of the New Orleans vamps wants to use her for her gift, a group of vampire hunters wants her on their side so they can destroy the New Orleans vamps, and her vegan/witch aunt just wants her home for dinner on time. Wacky hijinks ensue. I’m currently writing the sequel. It will be finished sometime before I die.
  1. What is it about vampires that makes you want to write about them? Vampires are smokin’ hot. Not the sparkly ones. Never the sparkly ones. (Insert Cringe Here)
  1. What other interests do you have and how do they influence your writing? I’m secretly obsessed with the 90’s. That was my era. I want my era back. I’ve been told this will probably not happen unless I build a time machine or start to age backwards or something. MB takes place a few days before Y2K. The main character has the ability to tell the most likely way a person might die, and I eventually plan to introduce a character that will be a die hard Saints fan. His most likely death day will be February 7, 2010 from a heart attack. He’ll have a smile on his face, though. Figure it out.
  1. Give us some links where we can find your other work (if available):
For those of you who want to know the real me, call my mother. She accepts bribes. Be aware, I get a piece of that action. I can’t give out her phone number or address, so here’s my Facebook page instead. Yes, that’s my real name. And my real nose:

If it’s gripes and existential nonsense you’re looking for, my blog Doomtown is chock full of ranty goodness! Feel free to hit up the tip jar ‘cause ranting ain’t easy. If you like the site, please follow. The one follower I have is getting lonely:

You can buy my book here:

Or here:

And of course, my short story “Ghosts and Houseguests” can be found in the VWSG’s anthology right here along with many fine authors who totally didn’t pay me to say how wonderful they are…(wink, wink):

No refunds.

Oh, and for those of you who were wondering what the hell a t-bar is:

You’re welcome.
 Fresh Blood 
Find Fresh Blood: Vampire Writers Support Group Anthology #1 on Amazon:

Monday, February 10, 2014

Paint Me Like You Paint Your French Sex Dolls

My sister Tammy is getting married this Saturday, and I'm her maid of honor. As such, I was told that I would be responsible for planning the bachelorette party. My first thought was, "Crap! I'm going to have to figure out a place to have this thing. I'm going to have to figure out catering and booze and make sure everyone has a designated driver. I'm going to have to hire a stripper." My next thought was, "I'm going to have to hire a stripper. Hell yeah!" This thought came moments before she told me that absolutely, under no circumstances was I to hire a male stripper to this shindig. Kill all my fun, why don't you. Because I love my sister-and because she's going to be the matron of honor in my wedding and will find all sorts of clever ways to get her revenge should I disregard her wishes-I did as I was told. I'm a good girl, I am.

What could have been.

The venue, at least, was easy enough to figure out. She wanted to have it at Painting With a Twist. For those of you not in the know, PWT is a class where local artists guide a bunch of hapless art noobs through the process of painting a chosen piece of artwork. You can attend a public event on their calendar, or you can book a private party. After a bit of back and forth between Tammy and the guys at PWT, I set up the party for the eighth of February, Saturday night. Tammy picked out her painting and gave me the guest list. She even set up a Facebook event page for her guests to RSVP. We bought a couple of food trays, I emptied out my liquor cabinet, and we got there early to set up. Me being me, I figured that before this night was over, something would go horribly awry. I couldn't have been more wrong. Besides two no-shows, everything went off without a hitch, and fun was had by all. But I can't take credit for all the success of this big to do. No, for that I will have to give credit where credit is due. I'd like to thank all the lovely employees at the Gretna location of Painting With a Twist for putting up with a bunch of tipsy art noobs. But mostly, I'd like to thank our surprise guest, Brad.

Brad, in all his glory.

At first, we were all a little leery when Tammy's coworker, Cheree, introduced him to us, but he quickly became the life of the party. Especially since he was more than willing to join in on the fun.

Brad, surveying his canvas.

While the rest of us despaired at our dubious art skills, Brad demonstrated his genius by yelling, "Screw this grapes and wine glass shit! I'm going to paint a Brad original!" And paint it, he did.

Brad displays his talent for good art...and wooing the ladies!

As the night went on, it became clear that among us sat a true Picasso. A very sexy Picasso.

The chosen artwork.

Brad's finished product.

PWT artist/helper examines Brad's work with much praise and adulation.

Suffice it to say, Brad's painting was the best of the bunch, and we all fell in love with him for it. In fact, I don't think there was a woman among us that didn't want to take him home with her. Alas, Brad's heart-and other organs-belonged to only one woman. He is currently residing in the trunk of my sister's car, possibly awaiting the day she will give her current fiancĂ© his walking papers and elope with him instead.

A sex doll can dream.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Feature Interview: Shannon Kitchens-Stonicher

Shannon Kitchens-Stonicher
Shannon Kitchens-Stonicher is that fabulous mix of librarian, filmmaker, and part-time writer that makes me believe she just might be a superhero in her downtime...if there is such a thing for the Shannons of this world. Today, she joins us for an interview, and no, she will not be wearing a cape.

Karma Girl: Please state your name, place of residence, and occupation for the record. Be aware, we know who you are and where to find you.

Shannon: Shannon and part-time writer. Kitchens; Metairie, LA; librarian by day, filmmaker by night.

KG: You started a Kickstarter project in February of last year called The Adventures of Keith Flippen. Can you tell us a little bit about this project and how it got its start? Was the mafia involved? The space mafia, perhaps?

Shannon: The Adventures of Keith Flippen is the story of Keith, a space-age Didgeridoo player, who is caught right in the middle of the epic, apparently endless, struggle between noble Colonel Victory and the evil Queen Calamitious. Paying homage to classic Sci-Fi Serials such as Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, The Adv. of Keith Flippen is a modern sci-fi parody with a retro look and those delicious cliff-hanger endings. With eye-popping, on-a-tight-budget sets and innovative art direction, each episode is a little gem of hilarious, campy mayhem.

Keith Flippen started out as 48HFP (meaning, it was made from concept to finished product in 48 hours or less), where it won an almost embarrassing amount of awards, including the 2012 New Orleans Best Overall. But before we were a winner, the Sunday after filming, as we were reviewing the finish product on my couch, one of the cast looked at me and said, “When are we doing the next episode?”

As the 48HFP Keith Flippen toured the country, we got that same question over and over. So we decided to start a Kickstarter.

I’m pretty sure the Space Mafia had to be involved because I’m still baffled by the money we raised on Kickstarter.

KG: What plans do you have for Keith Flippen in the future?

Shannon: For right now, the immediate future of Keith Flippen is full of merch. We have tee-shirts and shot glasses and stickers and all sorts of fun stuff that will go towards the funding of Season 2, which will probably be in limbo until we can raise our view count dramatically or secure additional funding.

KG: What other projects are you working on?

Shannon: On the burner next is a new web series called Athyl the Mermaid. A vlog like show where Athyl, a trailer-trash, foul mouth, forty drinking merman who lives in a kiddy pool in the back yard, rates current events, pop culture, and all things life on how f**k-able it is.

This spring we’re thinking about shooting a 4 episode web series called “Drunken Sherlock” where a drunk Sherlock solves the wrong crime. This is very early in development.

I’m also working on a co-writing project with a friend across the country where we’re going to write the next Disney fairy tale movie (and blog about it on Writing the Magic).

KG: What’s up with MoralBot 3000? Is it really moral, or is it just programmed that way?

Shannon: Oh MoralBot! His circuiting isn’t quite right, but his heart is in the right place. He reveals the moral of each episode, as well as is an actual functioning robot (really, he is). Though, he may have been cross connected with the professor’s disastrous fortune cookie machine...

KG: How does one pay tribute to Space Buddha?

Shannon: Good question. I suspect by keeping calm and carrying on. Though, I’m following the word of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, so I haven’t kept up with the modern views regarding Space Buddha.

KG: Where can my readers find, follow, stalk you?


Feel free to follow Ms. Kitchens at Shannon on Writing, Rewriting, and Filmming, the blog she writes when not filmmaking or saving the city from evil doers. Keep us safe, Shannon, and may Space Buddha be with you always.