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Frequently asked Questions:

  1. Why do you spell "lunatik" with a "k"?
  2. Who are the Asylum Raiders?
  3. Where are you from?
  4. What is this town named after a bug?
  5. Back to your site, Who is "Rusty McCormick"?
  6. Three Children, girlfriend - are there sorted details?
  7. Tell us about your writing, what do you read? who are your influences?

Why do you spell "lunatik" with a "k"?

I had always wanted a laptop computer and several years ago I saw the opportunity.  I was in Best Buy and saw a "scratch and dent" sale, a friend pointed out a laptop for $450.00.  While we were looking at it a salesperson saw sucker stenciled upon my forehead and proceeded to tell me about "the deal".  If I signed up for two years of MSN internet service I could get a instant rebate of $250.00!

At this point I needed to sign up with a MSN email address to get out of the store,  so I decided to go with "lunatic" (people always thought I was a little crazy so I went with it).  Lunatic was taken, so I tried escaped lunatic.  No spaces allowed.  Escaped_lunatic.  Taken.  Finally configured it into eskapt_lunatik.  Several years and internet companies down the road, I am known as lunatik.

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Who are the Asylum Raiders?

an escaped lunatic
the lord prince of Alba
the "seventh son"
a humble, loveable, shoeshine boy
Sgt. Bilko
a financially successful barbarian
a heroic geek who "under the skin" is more than he seems
the donor of my "forbidden teeth" collection
Aerdire - yes Aerdire
my "left hand"

The cryptic references above represent a small group of people that have been a special part of my life.  They are my muse.  
My creativity and drive to write is spawned from my experiences and relationships with this wonderfully diverse group ...

( that and a deep seated fear of reality coupled with a need to be the center of attention ... )

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Where are you from?

My children (and over the years several friends) have been told that I am a visiting alien.  I come from a small planet in what terrans call the Orion system.  My planet is called Tri'ayn [tri'an]  -  there's a joke: 
"Those Tri'ayns, always tryin to get into space..."

Yeah, I hate it too.  
Continuing, I was trapped here when my spaceships warranty expired ( I never thought I'd need the extended service plan! ).  I hid the spacecraft underground, beneath a neighborhood softball diamond that I lived across the street from.  An underground tunnel leads from the spaceship hanger to the house I used to live in.  Unfortunately the technologies to repair it have yet to be discovered, so there it sits. 

I do have an emergency transport device (a molecular transducer) which can transport me home, but if used inside of a gravity well it will leave behind a black hole capable of absorbing your entire planet.  So I am waiting until I am rescued or until you develop technologies that will get me into space - outside of Earth's gravity well.  
If one day it seems that your planet is inexplicably being sucked into a small west coast Florida town named after a bug - I am sorry.  I am sure that it was an emergency and I had to go.

actually, I'm from France...        

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What is this town named after a bug?

Palmetto.  Actually they maintain that the city is named for a common bush, but there are more bugs...
I moved here from St. Petersburg  in 1985 when I joined the fire department.  Been living in and around here ever since.

Located in Manatee county on the south end of the Sunshine Skyway bridge, Palmetto is the small town you buzz through on the ways to places like Sarasota, the counties beaches, or even further down to Naples.  Or perhaps you are on your way to Miami or the Keys, and need to use the famous I75 extension "Alligator Alley" through the everglades.  At any rate most anyone I have talked to (outside the county) has never heard of Palmetto - their loss.

Manatee County is divided into north and south counties by the Manatee River.  The explorer Hernando Desoto landed on the southern shore in 1539.  At that time Manatee county was the southern border for the Tocobagan tribe.  As the Spanish pursued their quest for gold the Tocobagan were replaced by the Seminoles (who hid all of the gold to finance a string of Casino several generations later).

In 1821 Florida became an American possession.  By 1842, two brothers (Hector and Joseph Braden) whom legend claimed were raised by wolves, settled in the area and founded the town of Braden.  Intent upon forging an empire, they built an army destined to lay waste to all it encountered.  Fortunately, just prior to the beginning of that campaign, an uncharacteristic swarm of mosquitoes besieged Braden and the armies were exsanguinated.  
It is commonly held to be true that the influx of a new species of cockroach, carried to the area on slave vessels from Africa, destroyed the natural predators of the mosquito allowing their population to explode. 

Across the river, in 1866 a man named Samuel Sparks Lamb platted the village and founded Palmetto.  Initially thought to be named after his native state of South Carolina (the "Palmetto State"), the truth became clear in 1928 when a time capsule of sorts was unearthed during a construction project.  Inside the cornerstone of the Tregoweth Brown Building was found a small metal box and a scroll of papers that appeared to be the memoirs of Mr. Lamb.  It detailed the Braden's plot, how the whole thing was foiled by mosquitoes, and contained a letter to the governor and state legislature asking them to name the "mosquito" as Florida's state bird.

the small metal box contained a frog...

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Back to your site, Who is "Rusty McCormick"?

Rusty McCormick is a pen-name.  I know that in this day and age the use of a pen name is a controversial subject (if it isn't, then lets make it one!), but I have personal reasons for choosing it.
My real name is Frank Russell Tona.  My mother was kind of pressured into naming me Frank, but she was able to get her first choice in as my middle name.  The family eventually started calling me "Rusty", so she got her way.   -except for a short stint when I was in middle school and realized that the only "things" I knew of that were called "Rusty" were girls and dogs...  I had a fit and made everyone call me "Frank"  -puberty, sheesh!  Now at family get-togethers half call me "Rusty" and half call me "Frank!"

I was 28 years old when I found out that I was supposed to be a "McCormick" (I went from being French-Italian to being Irish in one revealing conversation...).  The McCormick part of my pen-name is to tribute that discovered heritage.  As to the details of all of this.... Mom I love you,  and on that day my perception of you changed dramatically: You are the strongest woman I will ever know... and I am proud to be your son.

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Three children, girlfriend - are there sorted details?

No.  I was married to a marvelous person for 15 years producing three wonderful children.  We are no longer together and that is our affair.  I mention it here because to know me you need to know this.  You don't live with and love a person for that long without her becoming part of who you are.

We share custody of three beautiful children and they inspire me constantly.  They have a wonder and way about them that refreshes my spirit every time I am with them.
My oldest son, the dreamer, is constantly reminding me of the wonders just beyond boundaries we place upon our lives.  His imagination non-stop and gloriously unfettered - I wish I still had a tenth of what he has.

My daughter, the princess. She is probably the most intuitive person I know.  In any given situation she will invariably point out the solution, to the point where you realize that it was staring you in the face all along.  Of course this ability is tempered by the flights and fancies of a seven year old, but time after time her grasp of a situation is amazing.

My youngest son, Bamm-Bamm;  at three years old he is more physical than any of the other children.   Constantly racing everywhere...   "gonna beat ya Daddy!"  he is a rough and tumble little guy who brushes off injuries like a cartoon character.  On top of this he gets a spastic burst of energy at 0800pm - like clockwork!  Very soon there after it's nighty-nite time and he's off to bed - sleeps like a rock.

My girlfriend tells me she's loved me for twenty plus years ... we dated way back in school and went our separate ways.  A couple of years ago a mutual friend found her on one of those class reunion web sites...  a rekindled friendship has recently become more ... a second chance - when I wasn't even looking for one!


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Tell us about your writing, what do you read? who are your influences?

I tend to write as I see it in my mind; usually from an omniscient point-of -view.  I find, however that the things I enjoy reading are more character oriented - and told from their p.o.v.  The writing I do for the Asylum Raiders is giving me lots of opportunity to practice with just that.

What do I read?  I enjoy good stories (we all do ...), by authors with a good sense of humor and irony.  I read several genres; mystery, fantasy, horror, western, and Sci-fi.  I took four years of Latin and have translated and read the Iliad and the Odyssey. 

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Copyright 2005  [Asylum Raiders]. All rights reserved.
Revised: June 27, 2008 .