The Book Cellar
Our monthly Local Author Night returns featuring Kevin Theis (Invading Nirvana), Tori Telfer (Lady Killers), P.M. White (Buzz Ride), and Michael Moreci (Black Star Renegades).
About Kevin Theis:
Kevin is a Chicago writer, actor and director. His published works include "Confessions of a Transylvanian," written with co-author Ronald Fox (published by Berwick Court Publishing), "Invading Nirvana: a Chicagoan in the City of Angels" (published by Fort Raphael Publishing) and adaptations of both Thomas Heywood's play "The Fair Maid of the West" and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Sign of the Four," the latter of which was written in conjunction with Shanghai Low Theatricals (both published by Dramatic Publishing).
Apart from his writing, Kevin has been an actor on stage and screen in Chicago for over 25 years. He has appeared on stage in the roles of Salieri in "Amadeus," the title role in "Richard III," George in "Of Mice and Men," Edward in "Someone Who'll Watch Over Me" (Jeff Award nomination, Best Actor) and Mr. Lockhart in "The Seafarer" (Jeff Award winner, Best Ensemble).
Kevin is also a director for the stage, having been thrice nominated for Jeff Awards for his direction of his own "Fair Maid of the West," City Lit's production of "Jeeves and the Mating Season," and greasy joan and co.'s "The Mandrake." Kevin has directed over thirty shows in Chicago, including an adaptation of Terry Prachett's "Monstrous Regiment" for Lifeline Theatre, "A Moon for the Misbegotten" for Seanachai Theatre and numerous shows for the Oak Park Festival Theatre.
He has also appeared on television in NBC's "Chicago Fire" and "Chicago PD", Fox's "Empire" and ABC's "Betrayal."
About Invading Nirvana:
Chicago theater veteran Kevin Theis, co-author of the cult classic “Confessions of a Transylvanian: a Story of Sex, Drugs and Rocky Horror,” presents: “Invading Nirvana: a Chicagoan in the City of Angels” the story of one actor’s quixotic odyssey into the heart of the entertainment industry: Hollywood, California.
From the early preparations for his trip to La La Land to his search for representation, his encounters with the famous (and soon-to-be famous) as well as his deep-dive exploration of this unique and fascinating city, “Invading Nirvana” is a must-read for anyone considering moving to L.A. to pursue a dream of breaking into show business.
The author is both candid and unsparing in his description of the industry, the city of Los Angeles and the challenges of being a performer in Hollywood looking for work. Casting agents, pay-to-meet workshops, the comedy club scene, film and TV auditions as well as a peek inside the audiobook world; every aspect of the entertainment industry is thoroughly examined in this hilarious and comprehensive look at life as a professional actor in Hollywood.
About Tori Telfer:
Tori Telfer graduated magna cum laude from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing. She was the recipient of both the Edwin L. Shuman Best Senior Honors Thesis in the English Major in Writing Award and the Edwin L. Shuman Fiction Award; an NU Undergraduate Research Symposium award; the J.G Nolan Scholarship and the Hulda & Maurice Rothschild Endowment for academic excellence; and a membership in Phi Beta Kappa.
After college, she worked in children's publishing and teaching before going freelance. Over her 4+ years of freelance experience, she has written marketing copy for everything from specialty manicure tools to indie theater companies, worked with CEOs and startup founders as the editor-in-chief of Hippo Thinks to help them publish in places like Forbes and Fast Company, edited numerous PhD dissertations, written viral reported pieces, and been featured several times on longform.org. She has also done plenty of catering, which she not-so-secretly adores.
Her writing has appeared in Salon, VICE, Jezebel, The Hairpin, The Awl, GOOD magazine, Chicago Magazine, The Establishment (forthcoming), and elsewhere. (See Clips.) Her screenplay, DETECTIVE IN THE CITY OF BEAUTIFUL WOMEN, was awarded honorable mention in the Table Read My Screenplay contest. She has written, produced, and directed two plays.
Her first book, LADY KILLERS (Harper Perennial), will be released on October 10, 2017. It's a "thrilling character study of the most diabolically complex, fascinating female psychopaths in history." —New York Times bestselling author M. William Phelps, DANGEROUS GROUND: My Friendship with a Serial Killer.
About Lady Killers:
Inspired by author Tori Telfer's Jezebel column “Lady Killers,” this thrilling and entertaining compendium investigates female serial killers and their crimes through the ages.
When you think of serial killers throughout history, the names that come to mind are ones like Jack the Ripper, John Wayne Gacy, and Ted Bundy. But what about Tillie Klimek, Moulay Hassan, Kate Bender? The narrative we’re comfortable with is the one where women are the victims of violent crime, not the perpetrators. In fact, serial killers are thought to be so universally, overwhelmingly male that in 1998, FBI profiler Roy Hazelwood infamously declared in a homicide conference, “There are no female serial killers.”
Lady Killers, based on the popular online series that appeared on Jezebel and The Hairpin, disputes that claim and offers fourteen gruesome examples as evidence. Though largely forgotten by history, female serial killers such as Erzsébet Báthory, Nannie Doss, Mary Ann Cotton, and Darya Nikolayevna Saltykova rival their male counterparts in cunning, cruelty, and appetite for destruction.
Each chapter explores the crimes and history of a different subject, and then proceeds to unpack her legacy and her portrayal in the media, as well as the stereotypes and sexist clichés that inevitably surround her. The first book to examine female serial killers through a feminist lens with a witty and dryly humorous tone, Lady Killers dismisses easy explanations (she was hormonal, she did it for love, a man made her do it) and tired tropes (she was a femme fatale, a black widow, a witch), delving into the complex reality of female aggression and predation. Featuring 14 illustrations from Dame Darcy, Lady Killers is a bloodcurdling, insightful, and irresistible journey into the heart of darkness.
About P.M. White:
Intense, can’t-shake-it curiosity led Pat White (a pseudonym) to drive for Uber after researching his growing interest in ridesharing and other disruptive and “new economy” businesses for an article in a prestigious business journal. Pat’s articles on technology and strategic communication have been published in professional business journals.
Pat began working in 1979 for the Chicago Board Options Exchange before becoming a retail stockbroker for some of Wall Street’s largest firms. In 1996, he received an MBA in management. He went on to work for the business college he graduated from, focusing first on executive education and then serving as director of the university’s for-profit media company, where he showed his skill at rescuing ailing organizations.
The lifelong Chicagoan was president of a technology company owned by a founder of a prestigious leverage buyout/private equity firm on Wall Street before returning to Chicago after an eleven-year hiatus in Indiana. He has managed money for Hollywood celebrities and advised some of Chicago's most influential families and businesses in the areas of turn-around management and strategic business growth.
About Buzz Ride:
Why would a financially-comfortable, fifty-something father of two – with a Mercedes – drive Uber late at night on the toughest streets of Chicago? Pat White (pseudonym), a financial advisor and business strategist, decided to go undercover to research how the disruptive technology of ridesharing affects commerce. Soon his business study warped into a study of humanity . . . and himself.
This reserved Baby Boomer first had to face his fear of picking up strangers in his own car and driving them to unknown locations. Most were over-privileged, over-served Millennials in route to their next adrenaline rush or wherever they were crashing for the night. Some treated him like he was invisible – making out, arguing, discussing sex and drugs, and lying to lovers on the phone about their whereabouts as if no one else were in the car. Others wished him to partake in their partying or craved his counsel on the most intimate details of their lives. Still others were just looking to pick a fight. Rarer were the tired and the timid: those returning to family after working long hours with hopes of a brighter tomorrow, those fleeing abuse, and those just fleeing a thunderstorm.
This summer experiment took White down roads he never imagined he would travel. Soon he found himself embracing danger, longing for the thrill of voyeuristic glimpses into private lives made public, and facing the depths of his shadow personality.
Come along for the bumpy ride as this sharp-tongued observer shares the always wild, sometimes dark, often humorous, and surprisingly touching side of Chicago nightlife in the smart-phone generation.
About Michael Moreci:
Michael Moreci is the creator of numerous original comics series and has written and collaborated on multiple established properties. His most recent original works, Roche Limit (Image Comics) and Burning Fields (BOOM! Studios), were both recognized by many publications as being among the best comics of 2015. Roche Limit was called the “sci-fi comic you need to read” by Nerdist and io9, and Paste Magazine named it one of the “50 best sci-fi comics” of all time.
In 2018, Moreci's debut novel, Black Star Renegades, will be released with St. Martin's Press. Drawing inspiration from the space operatics of Star Wars and the swagger of Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Star Renegades is a galaxy-hopping adventure that blasts its way from seedy spacer bars to sacred temples guarded by strange creatures--all with a cast of misfit characters charged with saving the world.
Moreci is also the author of Curse (BOOM! Studios), a modern-day werewolf story, which is in film development with Blumhouse Productions. His crime-noir series, ReincarNATE, has been optioned for television by Patrice Théroux and Buck Productions with David Hayter (writer of the first two X-Men films, as well as the Watchmen adaptation) attached as showrunner. His Image Comics series Hoax Hunters is currently in development for television with Craig Tittley (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) attached as the showrunner.
A recent graduate of the DC Comics Writer's Program, Moreci has published the Suicide Squad, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and Superman stories. He also wrote the in-canon comic series that bridges the gap between Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. His other licensed property credits include Conan the Barbarian, The Shadow, Army of Darkness, and Robocop.
Moreci is currently writing the novel Spy Swap for Lawrence Gordon Productions, to be published by Tor Books. A film adaptation, written by Jacob Crane and Jonathan Stewart, is currently in development.
Additionally, Moreci also writes for LucasFilm, contributing to StarWars.com, and he is a regular contributor to Tor.com. A Star Wars obsessive, Moreci has released a Star Wars comics anthology the past two years; in total, they've been downloaded over 30,000 times. Moreci has been profiled by USA Today, Nerdist, Comics Alliance/AOL, Comic Book Resources, and the Hollywood Reporter. He lives in Chicago with his wife, two children, and his dog (who looks like Chewbacca on four legs).
About Black Star Renegades:
In the tradition of Star Wars, a galaxy-hopping space adventure about a galactic kingdom bent on control and the young misfit who must find the power within before it’s too late.
Cade Sura holds the future of the galaxy in his hands: the ultimate weapon that will bring total peace. He didn’t ask for it, he doesn’t want it, and there’s no worse choice to wield it in all of space, but if he doesn’t, everyone’s totally screwed. The evil Praxis kingdom is on the cusp of having every star system under its control, and if that happens, there’ll be no contesting their cruel reign. Especially if its fanatical overlord, Ga Halle, manages to capture Cade and snag the all-powerful weapon for herself.
Cade can’t hide from Praxis, and he can’t run from the destiny that’s been shoved into his hands. So he only has one option:
He has to fight.
Cade’s not going to let destiny send him on a suicide run, though. With some help from his friends—rebels and scoundrels alike—Cade’s going to use this weapon to chart a new destiny for the galaxy, and for himself.
He just has to do so before everyone around him discovers that he’s a complete and total fraud.
Blending the space operatics of Star Wars and the swagger of Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Star Renegades is a galaxy-hopping adventure that blasts its way from seedy spacer bars to sacred temples guarded by deadly creatures—all with a cast of misfit characters who have nowhere to go and nothing to lose.