So after an exciting launch of Haunting Obsession almost exactly a year ago, things have slowed down, with lots of talk of things to come, but little to show for it–so far.
Not that I’ve come to a stop, not by any stretch. My short story Starter Kit was released through Apex Book Company, part of the Dark Faith Invocations anthology which includes a Stoker-winning story by Lucy A. Snyder. A Big Book of Strange, Weird and Wonderful Volume II also hit in December, which included “Inner Strength” (a Rebecca Burton short story) and the Seventh Star Press American Cancer Association fundraising anthology Vampires Don’t Sparkle included Robot Vampire, which has become a reader favorite since its release in March.
But that’s not a lot, and the wait has been long, but I hope well worth it. In early 2013, with deadline approaching and a long way to go, I took a few month writing sabbatical (not entirely, but mostly) to finish Virtual Blue, the second book in the Adventures of Blue Shaefer. Add to that, some unavoidable delays that are the reality of small press publishing, we were pushed back probably another month. And so, without yet committing to a release date, I can announce with confidence that Virtual Blue is coming out next month.
The story picks up with Chip and Blue two years after the events of Haunting Blue, carrying on an uneasy long distance relationship as they attend colleges in different parts of the country. For reasons obvious at the end of Haunting Blue, things are not going well for them. Things are so bad, that Blue arranges to fly back to Indiana to break up with Chip over Thanksgiving break. She thinks she’s in for a miserable weekend, and she’ right–but she doesn’t know the half of it.
“Hell Just Went Digital.” That’s the tagline and hints of things to come. The many people who loved Rebecca Burton, my paranormal investigator from Haunting Obsession, will be happy to know she will play a big part in the next installment, and I include a few other surprises and characters from other Seventh Star authors.
At 90,000 words, Virtual Blue is my most ambitious project (certainly my longest). There’s ghosts. Also demons. And psychopaths. And warriors. And sorcerers. And swordfights. There’s a bathroom sink, but in retrospect, I should have made it a kitchen sink.
If you enjoyed Haunting Blue and the relationship between Blue Shaefer and Chip, you will find much to love here. That said, by design and based on pre-reader feedback, you don’t need to have read the first book to enjoy the second (more on that below).
Virtual Blue will not be out in time for the Paranormal Meet n Greet. It’s a choice between rushing production or taking the time to make it right. Seventh Star has been supportive times a million. Hyperbole aside, I took extra time with this. I wanted to make this the best effort I could. It’s what my readers deserve, and what you’ll always get. It just might not always be as fast as I’d like it.
So all that said….after I turned in Virtual Blue, I had some time on my hands, as well as a desire to stretch my genre muscles and to explore strange new worlds, so to speak. So I started messing around with a sci-fi spaceship idea I’d had for awhile, and before I knew it, I’d drafted The Fate of the Red Lotus, the first of a series of space opera novelettes. I grew up reading the spaceship fiction of Andre Norton, Elizabeth Moon, and of course, watching certain tales on TV created by Gene Roddenberry, and finally put my own slant on the classic genre. The first Red Lotus story will hit later this fall, as a Seventh Star Single, and if you love it as much as my pre-readers, we might see a new series before too long.
But wait, there’s more! As the year wraps up, Seventh Star is scheduling a re-printed, authorized version of Haunting Blue, the first book in the Adventures of Blue Shaefer, featuring a new cover and interior art by Series Illustrator Bonnie Wasson, giving my three novels a unified series look for the first time ever.
And I may have a few more tricks up my sleeve. Thanks for sticking with me. The wait is going to be soooo worth it. I can’t wait to share this. Watch this website and Facebook for more details. You can also follow the Author R.J. Sullivan Fan Club Facebook Page, my FB author business page, and my Twitter account to ensure you won’t miss a thing.
I vote for Robot Vampire. I’ve said it before. It’s your best. Show us what else the demon and his new girlfriend can do. I think this story shows your true voice. Maybe you don’t agree. Let me know.
Thanks, Steve. Since its publication, I have received a lot of positive feedback about Robot Vampire from readers (part of the Vampires Don’t Sparkle anthology, see under Short Stories) I never say never, but right now I can’t think of a natural next chapter in the story. That said, I had no plans for a sequel to Haunting Blue, and here we are two years later on the eve of its release.