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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Indie Author Spotlight: Jay Cole

What happens when you get abducted by an alien and then left naked in the middle of the exchange floor of the NYSE? You get admitted to a mental hospital, of course.

And so begins the tale of Tony Sterling, a once prominent stock broker turned mental patient. But is Tony really crazy? Sure the stock exchange thing was bad, but how would you react if you had just been beamed up to an alien spaceship and questioned about the ins and outs of human society by an alien writing a term paper? Now that he’s on a 30 day involuntary commitment to Sunny Park Hospital, Tony has to convince the lovely Dr. Busteir that he’s completely sane and Larry the alien truly does exist while he navigates the choppy waters that is the mental hospital.

Conversations with Larry Xenomorph presented itself as a sarcastic romp with an alien abductor but turned out to be something wholly different. There was plenty of sarcasm, yes, and the humor was pretty good for the most part. What surprised me about this book was that it went from kind of childish to a poignant, heartwarming story completely seamlessly. Tony starts off as kind of a pissed off wise ass, but slowly turns into someone who genuine begins to care about the people that surround him, even though they are mental patients. All of his descriptions given to Larry of everyday societal nuances were oddly on point even though they were supposed to be over exaggerated lies. Some may construe the ending as a little contrived or stereotypical, but it didn’t play that way with me. It all just seemed appropriate, the perfect way to wrap things up.

A quick, easy, good read, Conversations with Larry Xenomorph will put a smile on your face and warm your heart just a little bit.

You can buy his book on Amazon!


Now let’s meet the author!


Jay Cole has suffered from Obsessive Keyboard Disorder since before there were keyboards. That makes him . . . mumble, mumble, mumble . . . years old.

The written word just appeals to Jay. He's written magazine articles, novels, scripts and a ton of standup comedy. His favorite genres include humor and comedy, romantic comedy, science fiction, and a bit of action adventure. He's found that the humor in life is a vital resource that we all share. Everybody laughs, and isn't that truly marvelous!

First up, give us a Twitter synopsis of the book (140 characters or less):

If you’re talking to aliens, you’re crazy, but if it’s true, how do you convince your lovely psychiatrist that reality is indeed stranger than science fiction?

Where did you cook up the idea for this book?

I like to put my main characters in impossible situations and see how they cope. Any dilemma is naturally adaptable to humor since there is no correct answer.

Specific to Xenomorph, one cannot go to the grocery store these days without being assaulted by the tabloids at the checkout stand. I saw yet another bogus headline about alien abduction and I wondered what you would say to an alien kidnapper. Certainly, that would be a rather unique conversation.

Add the impact (preferably, comic impact) on the abductee's life and… Conversations with Larry Xenomorph.

Is there any personal experience hiding in the pages of Larry Xenomorph?

I was once transported to an alien spaceship along with a fabulously beautiful woman. She thought it looked remarkably like a suite at the Hilton in Waikiki, but she was mistaken. The little paper umbrellas in the Pina Coladas fooled her.

Other thoughts... Well, I did grow up in the Northeast US, so I'm familiar with many of the local quirks that you find in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, etc. Also, whenever one's choice in life is laugh or cry, I choose laugh, and so did the main character, Tony.
Other than that, I'd have to say that poking fun at the human condition is my normal modus operandi, so the conversations with Larry were not a stretch for me.

What would Larry’s name be roughly translated from his shriek-whistle-click language?

Lash LaRue. (Google it. :)

Actually, if we skip amusing L-iteration, the most accurate translation would probably be 'brilliant child'. Either that, or I'm completely mistaken because of his shriek-whistle-click accent.

Do you believe in extraterrestrial life? More importantly, do you believe in alien life as advanced as Larry?

Without question, and for very valid, although not particularly short, reasons. The only three ingredients necessary for life to begin are amino acids, lipid, and an energy source. The recipe itself may not be as important as the fact that, in the universe as we understand it, the ingredients seem to be as common as missing teeth at a hillbilly hoedown.

Many scientists believe that the abundance of complex organic molecules discovered in space may mean that life started to develop very shortly after the Big Bang, and may indeed be "the norm" for our universe.

Amino acids have been found scattered throughout the universe, even free floating in nebulae.

Lipid forms naturally in a variety of chemically active aqueous environments.

Lastly, every star and every volcanically active planet produces energy. NASA roughly estimates there are 10 billion terrestrial (rocky, like Earth) planets in our Milky Way galaxy alone (http://go.nasa.gov/1kb0iBc). Add moons that are volcanically active or heated by tidal (gravitational) forces and you're adding billions, or possibly hundreds of billions, to that figure. It would be insanely ludicrous to bet than none of these environments have liquid water.

Add a few billion years of evolution and voila! Igor can now scream, "It's alive!" as something crawls up onto the beach.

Add a few million more years, and the top of the food chain will likely be launching an alien Sputnik on more than a few planets.

Add 1000 years more and... Frankly, who knows what capabilities an alien civilization a mere 1000 years ahead of us might have?

With only three very abundant ingredients to start the ball rolling, the simplicity (and tenacity) of life is even more convincing than the Drake Equation. The fact that we have yet to detect extraterrestrial life (Fermi Paradox) is not evidence that it does not exist. Human hubris and religious fanaticism cannot compete with basic organic chemistry, which would still occur naturally throughout the universe even if humans did not exist.
I'd be enormously surprised if humans (particularly, Republicans) were the most advanced species in the universe.

Who was your favorite patient to write?

Tough question.

Carl, the engineer, was fun. I worked for many years with brilliant scientists and engineers, and I met quite a few who were incredibly well-educated leaders in their profession, but I had suspicions that they needed someone to tie their shoes for them in the morning.

Carl is brilliant, but reality baffles him. The fact that he could 'engineer' his own reality with feathers and glue was just a delightful bit of silliness.

On the other hand, grandmotherly Anna personified the extraordinarily intense pain that many mental patients deal with in their lives. In a way, Anna was the most real.


Who’s your favorite fictional alien, besides Larry, of course?

Since I prefer to look on the lighter side of life, I'll pass on all the aliens who make serial killers look like amateurs, and I'll have to go with ET from the movie of the same name. I love the fact that he was intelligent enough to fly around the universe in a spaceship, and yet he was still caring, compassionate and benign. ET was Earth-normal sane, and empathetic enough to befriend a human child despite no common language. He also had a good bit of humor attached to his persona.

I wish I'd written that script, and not just for the box office millions. What a great character!

For those writers looking to create just such an inspired character, might I suggest leaving a trail of Reese's Pieces in your backyard every night? Believe me, something will come along to either inspire you or overturn your garbage cans

What can we expect next from Jay Cole?

I have two books coming out in 2016.

History's A Scream is a permafree ebook that compiles the best of an old blog that I was forced to abandon (Unusual circumstance, but that's another story.) along with some new entries to give the reader a unique insight into our ancestors. That is, our forefathers and mothers were just as crazy, fallible and stupid as modern folks!
Anyone who does not think human history is hilarious is reading the wrong history books! For example, did you know that Genghis Khan once explained his style of personnel management?

"I handsomely rewarded loyalty, even among the people I conquered. The carrot and stick theory works. My personal theory, the carrot and horrible, screaming death, works really well."

History really is a scream!

Next...

The Session is a humorous novel that will be available in ebook and paperback.
Margo and Thomas Bertolli were cursed by an ancient witch and condemned to be together forever. What does a husband and wife do after 3000 years of marriage? The same thing that a modern couple does after six months... They try marriage counselling.
Naturally, their counselling session uncovers a bit of their rather extensive past:

[Thomas and Margo recall being burned at the stake in 520 BCE by superstitious villagers, who feared they were 'demons who never aged or died.']
Margo's whole body jerks and she looks down sharply. "OW! My foot's on fire!"
"Mercy! Please, let it get to her tongue."
"Oh, shut up!"
"But, sweetheart," Thomas gasps through the thickening smoke, "you're the one wanted us to do more things together."

The entire story takes place in a single one-hour counselling session. If you think your marriage has baggage, you ain't seen nothin'!

Lastly, I'll continue posting to my blog, Find Your Funny (http://fyfunny.wordpress.com), to help other writers add a touch of humor to their writing. It's fun, and laughter is always best when shared.

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