Maxine Marie to “Haunt” Hannah House this Saturday

SFG Booksellers hannah houseThis Saturday marks my fifth consecutive appearance at the Paranormal Meet and Greet at the Historical Hannah House on the south side of Indianapolis.

2011

2011

My first appearance was as a new author in 2011 with my then-brand new first novel Haunting Blue.

2012 Paranormal Meet n Greet with "Maxine Marie."

2012 Paranormal Meet n Greet with “Maxine Marie.”

My second appearance was for the book launch of Haunting Obsession, where reader / fan Nikki Howard enthusiastically cosplayed my sexy ghost Maxine Marie on a cosmic lineup of events–the book came out the year of the 50th anniversary of the real Marilyn Monroe’s death, and the event took place 50 years and within a day or two of her death. (And if I told you I had no idea that things would align the way they did when I started planning it, I wouldn’t believe me, either.) It was a lot of fun and we sold a lot of books that day.

Since then, I’ve been a part of the Paranormal Meet and Greet every year it’s taken place (they took a year off in 2014). It’s a fun day, pretty easygoing, at a truly unique and lovely landmark, and the people there are kind and enthusiastic about real-life paranormal investigations. I hear some incredible stories every year.

This year, I’m sharing a booth with other SFG Booksellers, where we’ll have plenty of horror and ghost story books to choose from. And Maxine Marie is going to “haunt” the grounds of the Historical Hannah House. This time she’ll be “channeled” by local model and reader Madison Kae Scroggin, who’ll be mingling with the crowd and posing for pictures while she puts the “boo” in boo-boop-be-doo. (Yeah…I don’t know what that means, either, but you don’t want to miss it).

Model Madison Kae Scroggin is 'scaring up" Maxine Marie at the 2016 Meet and Greet

Model Madison Kae Scroggin is ‘scaring up” Maxine Marie at the 2016 Meet and Greet

You’ll find plenty of copies of my paranormal trilogy and my short story collection. (I’m temporarily out of stock of Commanding the Red Lotus)

376743_10151060948417591_639062236_nHaunting Blue             $15
Haunting Obsession  $12
Virtual Blue                 $15
Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy (short stories) $12

Cash and Credit Card payments accepted. Autographs as always are completely FREE and worth every penny you pay.

The 10th Annual Paranormal Meet and Greet is a FREE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC EVENT Sat, Aug. 13 with extended hours from previous years: 11 am-6 pm in the lawn of the Historic Hannah House at 3801 Madison Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46227. Click this link to go to the Facebook Event Page. I hope to see some of you there!

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InconJunction 2016 Post-event

13615272_1220284734648454_7121294653223187848_nSo ends my fifth InConJunction in the last six years. So what are my thoughts?

Looking back, I sold plenty of books this year, though I may have sold more in past years. I photographed plenty of costumes, though I may have photographed more in past years. I talked to many authors, but I may have talked to more in past years. All that said, this was the easily the most relaxed, best “all around” con I’ve ever been a part of. InConJunction has been sliding into place as the most easygoing “hangout” con weekend on my calendar, and this time it solidified itself as such.

I’ve done a number of these weekends by now and I’ve gotten pretty good at them. If there is one thing you can count on, it’s that something is gonna go wrong. Every time. Sometimes it’s a goof on the part of the organization that throws the event, sometimes it’s confusion among the peers I partner with, sometimes it’s traffic, sometimes it’s just fraying nerves from a long weekend (“What?” you say. “Writers can be moody and emotional? I’m shocked, SHOCKED!”). The point is, there’s always something.

But not this time.

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Back: John F Allen, Bishop Stephens, Me. Front: E. Chris Garrison, Maurice McKiernan

Everything went off exactly as planned and better than I had any reason to hope. We all showed up where we needed to be, when we needed to be there. We had each other’s backs. I can’t recall a cross word between us all weekend. And look, some straight talk–when we spend most of 72 hours together, it’s NORMAL to exchange a cross word or two. It just happens.

But not this time.

My very highest praise to everyone on the Inconjunction staff (with special shout-outs to Mike and Lynette Cowper for being the keepers of the vendor registrations, setting up a vendor soda cooler, and checking in with us frequently to make sure all was well–and it was!) Again, just some straight talk without laying any blame–there’s always something amiss at every con. It may be a layout that goes awry. A disorganized con suite. Badges get misplaced. A cross word can cause misunderstandings. Most cons are run by volunteers and as such, it’s perfectly normal that Things Go Wrong, even if, in the end, they’re hardly worth mentioning later.

But not this time.

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With Agent Carter and The Doctor

This time, this con, consisted of extra helpings of Awesome with none of the hassles. I hung out with my SFG buds John F. Allen, Matthew Barron, and E. Chris Garrison, and we broke in newcomer Maurice McKiernan on the times and trials of vending books (Reece–it doesn’t always go this easy!) I had a great time catching up with James O. Barnes, John Kennedy, Tammy Jo Eckhart, James Wylder, and others, and meeting awesome new people like Demetrius Witherspoon, Bishop Stephens, and Kim Jenkins, all associated with the SF “Indy indie film” Submerge, and author Laura Hawks.

So this time?

This time I’m home after an incredible weekend, and I’m already looking forward to next year. Nice job to everyone involved. Click here to see my Facebook photo album of the entire weekend.

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Inconjunction 2016 This Weekend

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This year marks my fifth  consecutive year at one of my favorite science fiction conventions, InConJunction, on the east side of Indianapolis, and I’m super-excited! For one thing, this will be the first time I’m bringing a science fiction book to a science fiction convention!!

Cover Commanding Red LotusYes, that’s right, I’ve been doing just fine all these years selling ghost story and scary stories to a crowd that’s much more in tune with spaceships and laser guns, so now for the first time I’m bringing those, too. I’ll have plenty of copies of Commanding the Red Lotus on hand along with my back titles of ghost stories and my short story collection. I’ll be there with my Speculative Fiction Guild buddies as well, mingling, talking SF, dancing badly, and taking pictures of great costumes. Joining me in our space will be John F. Allen, Matthew Barron, E. Chris Garrison, and convention newcomer Maurice McKeirnan.

My titles and price list follows:

Haunting Blue $15
Haunting Obsession $12
Virtual Blue $15
Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy (Short stories) $12
Commanding the Red Lotus $12

Plus special pricing on multi-title purchases.

Autographs, as always, are FREE and worth every penny you pay.

Come on out to the Marriott on the east side of Indianapolis, 21st and Shaedeland Avenue. While you need a badge to attend much of the programming, the vending room is open to the public.  Hope to see some of you there. Click here to go to the official InConJunction Website!

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Red Lotus Blog Tour Next Week

Tour badge
I’m please to announce that Seventh Star Press has organized a blog tour to run all next week, June 27-July 3, in support of Commanding the Red Lotus. I am busy working on new anecdotes and inside stories to share with my readers in support of the book.

Those who have been around awhile know how this works.  Below is the full listing of blog stops and dates. As each one goes live, I will turn each listing into a live link, creating a list so you can come back here and review the entries for posterity.

The blogs and dates are scheduled as follows:

Mon June 27 Sheila’s Guests and Reviews Guest Post: Anatomy of a Dedication
Tues June 28 Deal Sharing Aunt interview
Wed June 29 Cover2Cover Guest Post: Haunting the Red Lotus
Wed June 29 I Smell Sheep Guest Post: Sayuri Arai and the Little Mermaid
Thurs June 30 Jordan Hirsch Review
Fri July 1 Jorie Loves A Story Guest Post
Sat July 2 MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape Interview
Sun July 3 Swillblog Review
Sun July 3 Jorie Loves A Story Review

Thanks to all the bloggers, old and new, for participating in this event. Here is Seventh Star Press’s announcement to the same tour.

Also note that Seventh Star is holding a Giveaway on Goodreads in which they are … uh… giving away two free copies of Commanding the Red Lotus. The giveaway is going on now and runs through June 30. Click here to enter the giveaway.

And if that doesn’t sound like a busy enough week, I’ll be at Inconjunction SF and Fantasy Convention in Indianapolis with several other local authors the weekend of July 1-3. Watch for a separate blog detailing the upcoming fun.

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First Red Lotus Story Now FREE

FATE OF THE RED LOTUS COVER

Cover by John F. Allen

It took a little time to make it happen, but now with the release of Commanding the Red Lotus, my first novel-length spaceship adventure collection, Seventh Star Press and I decided to make e-book Novelette 1 PERMA-FREE. Special thanks to SSP EIC and friend Stephen Zimmer for helping to make this happen.

So now you can download “Fate of the Red Lotus,” the origin tale of the series and the first 45 pages of Commanding the Red Lotus, into most e-readers. Basically, you can now read the first entire story for nothin’. (Nook is still 99 cents because of a Nook thing we have no control of).

We’ve reformatted the book with an amazing upgraded cover by John F. Allen (seen here) and an easy to click-through ad at the end to download Commanding the Red Lotus to finish the collection for only $2.99!

So what are you waiting for? Click here to go to the “Fate of the Red Lotus” order page.
Or, if you want to skip it and get straight to reading the whole collection, click here to go to the Commanding the Red Lotus order page.

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D.L. Russell Discusses Illuminati at my Door

It’s my pleasure to host a special blog interview on the eve of a new release by one of my favorite storytellers, editors, and publisher entrepreneurs, Mr. D.L. Russell. Almost a decade ago, he started the e-zine Strange, Weird and Wonderful when the idea of delivering magazines via an electronic file download was still new and not in wide use. D.L. used SWW to explore that potential and built SWW’s reputation as a place to find new, talented voices in dark fiction and as an outlet that discarded word count in favor of giving storytellers the room they needed to tell their story. I am proud to be counted among the new voices that first appeared within its electronic pages.

D.L. has since shut down SWW and branched out into themed anthologies under the publishing label Black Books Publishing. It’s first release, 21st century Black Erotica, sets the tone for how D.L. intends to push boundaries and offer his press as an outlet to examine all realms of subject matter.

His latest anthology shows a return to dark fiction with Illuminati at My Door, an exploration of secret societies and those who dare to find them and draw their attention.

FINALCOVERFORGOOGLEPLAYHi, D.L. On the surface, secret societies have been a part of speculative fiction for a long time. Can you tell us why you felt that now is a good time to return to this particular idea? Perhaps it, maybe, seems particularly appropriate to the time we live in?

The main reason is because I don’t feel these stories have been told from an accurate perspective of the common man. This anthology has nothing remotely related to the “last honest man,” constantly looking over his shoulder as he attempts to tell the truth before it’s too late. There are no Fox Mulders in this anthology. In fact, it’s just the opposites, with the main requirement of each story being believe-ability and a straightforwardness usually bypassed in such stories.

In some ways, editing a short story magazine and editing an anthology would be very similar experiences. What makes anthologies a different experience for you? Do you have a different mindset when you consider the submissions? What priorities do you have to consider that differ from magazine fiction?

dl official

D.L. Russell

When we were doing Strange, Weird, and Wonderful, each issue needed to have enough variety to please readers of several of the Spec Fiction Sub-genres. We never had a problem getting the scary stuff, but there were times when it’s all we had to go with and I had to make calls to writers I’d worked with on earlier issues to see if they had any Fantasy or Science Fiction pieces.

With anthologies, it’s the basic or detailed theme of each story that ties the book together. With Illuminati at my Door, the basic theme was if an individual was approached by a member of a secret society, how would they handle it? Especially in today’s world, where secret societies and conspiracy theories are everywhere; almost every major and minor event is branded with its conspiracy element.

Talk about your stable of authors. I know you maintain contact with your SWW contributors. On a new anthology like Illuminati at My Door, how many new names appear in the collection and how many are talents you knew from before who stepped up for you? Did any of the “old guard” surprise you in new ways, or did you discover a new talent that appears in your pages for the first time?

One of my goals as an editor and writer is to maintain good relationships with people I’ve worked with, including other editors, writers, and even artists. We’re all at different stages of our careers, but I think by maintaining those positive relationships, we’re able to cross those career barriers.

There are a couple SWW alums that came on board the Illuminati at my Door project; one was Mary Patterson Thornburg, who is a retired Ball State University English Professor, not only supplied the Foreword, but also has been Copy Editor for every title Black Books Publishing Inc. has done to date.  I’d have to say my relationship with Mary is the best example I could give a young editor to keep your professional relationships positive at all cost.

The other is Matt Adams, who’s an Indy native and appeared in SWW with a story I fell in love with called “Old-Fashioned Police Work.” When I contacted him about the theme of Illuminati at my Door, he liked the concept and wrote “What the Network Wants” relatively quickly.

As for new talent, Ronder Scott, Melanie Williams, Rosie Maureen, and Natasha Cage all had limited publishing experience but their stories show no signs of inexperience. The hardest part about working with a newer writer is getting beyond any hang-ups they may have as far as an editor requesting changes to their work, but every one of these women kept an open mind until we had stories they could live with as writers, and I could accept as a publisher putting together an anthology.

In all honesty, I feel this is the best group of writers I have every worked with on an anthology. I’m very proud of the job everyone did and the professionalism they all showed throughout every stage of the project.

 

DL and RJ

D.L. and R.J. around 2009

What prompted the changeover from the magazine to standalone anthologies? Was it a personal decision or was it something brought on by a shift in the industry?

It was simply a financial decision. Strange, Weird, and Wonderful was a free ezine, our payments to writers and artists weren’t being covered by the minimal advertising we were generating so Sharon Black and I made the decision to start SWW Publishing. Two years later I wanted to do a few projects that didn’t quite fit under the SWW umbrella, and Sharon had a few things she wanted to work on, so we parted ways, and shortly after that, Black Books Publishing Inc. was born.

The more I think about it, it was publications like SWW that helped put our industry in the financial pit it can’t seem to get out of. Readers have come to expect their stories for free and their novels for 99 cents. We created that monster, and now small publishers and self-publishers don’t know how to fix it. I’ve seen publishers give away thousands of copies in a given advertising campaign and never recoup those sales through actual purchases.

We are the only form of entertainment battling this issue and I think publishers should band together and agree to certain standards when it comes to pricing, and giveaways. If we could guarantee a high quality standard for our work, I think readers would embrace it.

What is the long term vision for Black Books Publishing? The website indicates a couple of exciting imprints coming in the near future.

Long term, I would like to amass a library of books that are well written and entertaining. I’m being picky on purpose, with the titles I publish and there’s a reason you haven’t seen a novel from us yet. The saying, about 1st impressions is true. I don’t know if we’ll ever be a prolific publishing company, but I do know each book published will be the best we could accomplish at that time.

This is defiantly a marathon for us, not a sprint.

When you recall what you had in mind for Illuminati at My Door and considering the finished book, how close did you come to hitting your expectations for the collection?

I think its spot on! I wanted strong writing, good stories, and no “last honest man, looking over his shoulder while trying to get to the truth,” kind of stories. Again, I think this is the best anthology I have ever put together.

Yes, I hope the next one is even better, but this is my best work as an editor and selector of stories to date.

Give us some short one-sentence teasers to some of the stories contained within Illuminati at My Door.

I would rather just tell you each story is based on an actual secret society rumor. Most have been around for years, others have not, but each is based on something that’s already floating around out there. Readers who follow those rumors will easily recognize where the ideas came from and those who don’t follow them will simply be entertained.

You can order Illuminati at my Door now from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google Play, or Directly from the Publisher. Coming soon to iTunes.

Learn all about Black Books Publishing at this link.

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Free Star Trek by RJ

The fittest coverLast winter I wrote a Star Trek Original Series short story in response to an open call / contest for an authorized Star Trek anthology. The story was written with that universe in mind, and, in my opinion, pretty much needs to stay Star Trek to be told. Although the story was rejected, I still want to share it–as Star Trek. And so, I’m exercising  the only legal option available to me and offering it as a free read for anyone who wants to check it out. I’ve posted the content on Fanfiction dot com. Giving my work away is contrary to what I want to be doing at this stage of my writing career, but it’s a story I worked hard on and one that I’m proud of. So check it out when you have about an hour to spare.

“The Fittest” features Lt. Uhura in a first contact scenario with a primitive civilization where her decisions may determine the fate of an entire world. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Click here to read the story on fanfiction dot net
or
Click here to read a printable PDF of the story in manuscript form

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