This will be my… I don’t know…. several-eth year at InConJunction SF Convention as an author, and nearly thirty years since I attended the con (my first ever) on an early date with the future Mrs. RJ! For all these reasons, and more, the con holds a special place in my heart. If it’s not the biggest, or fanciest, it is the WARMEST con of the year, and I’m not talking about July weather. This convention is run by the sweetest bunch of awesome nerds in the galaxy, and I say that from the bottom of my heart. So without any further ado, let’s get to the details.
Wow, it’s been a busy few months, and it’s been a long time since I’ve checked in. Business writing has been taking off, I ‘m outlining a new book series I’m very excited about, and many other things are taking shape. In the meantime, I’ve had some wonderful events, including Comic Con Indy, which ended up being my most successful weekend as a book vendor to date!
A couple milestones have already hit since the start of 2018. I’ve celebrated 25 years of marriage to Mrs RJ, and our oldest child graduated high school with academic honors and was pre-accepted into the school of her choice, proving I married smart and well. 🙂
But I’m not here to tell you all that. Because before I knew it, here we are with InConJunction 38, one of my very favorite cons, just on the horizon, specifically July 6-8 on the east side of Indianapolis.
Speaking of milestones, July 6 is not only my birthday, but this Friday, July 6 at InConJunction, marks my 50th birthday, so I’ve decided to celebrate the day with a 50 cupcake giveaway at the convention starting at 8 pm! (And likely wrapping up about 10 minutes later or I don’t know my SF geeks).
That’s right, If you are a guest of InConJunction, or if you are not a guest but you are near the hotel, you can find me in the Reagan-Kennedy conference room by the restaurant, where, at 8 pm sharp, I’ll begin giving out cupcakes. You don’t need to be a badge to come in and get a cupcake!
Cupcakes will come in varieties of chocolate, vanilla and swirl. The provider of the cupcakes wishes to remain anonymous, so I can’t tell you they are made by the Mysterious Cupcake Fairies Who Make Deliciously Awesome Cupcakes.
Ah, dang it, that slipped out.
But seriously, the cupcakes are gonna TASTE AWESOME.
Special occasion bookmarks as shown above will also be given away all weekend (thanks to Paul Uhls and BNC Graphics).
Do you know another place where you don’t need a badge at Inconjunction? The vendor’s room, open all weekend long. I’ll be at the SFG Table all weekend long with awesome authors: John F Allen, R.S. Craig, E. Chris Garrison, and Peter Okeafor. And the room will be filled with many many more incredible authors and vendors of toys, games, jewelry art, and other awesome oddities, but since I’ve been putting links to names for over two hours, I need to leave it at that. Take time, shop around.
My books will be sold competitive to Amazon or buying directly from me. Autographs are as always totally free and worth every penny you pay.
So let’s face it, you might as well get a badge and stay the weekend.
Another exciting personal note that affects our table, my friend and awesome author E. Chris Garrison is renewing her vows with her wife Amy on Saturday, so our booth will probably close late afternoon.
Finally, I’m excited for this year for so many reasons listed above, but also because for the first time ever, my entire immediate family will be able to attend. So come on out, it’s going to be a blast. HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!!
This makes my fourth Imaginarium Convention (because that’s how many there have been), a terrific readers and writers con in Louisville, KY, started by Seventh Star Press partly in response to some odd and disappointing trends at other conventions in the area (which this year became all too apparent, but never mind). From the start, it’s been a great con to surround myself with people of immense talent, to mingle, gossip, and just generally pretend I belong there. Catch up with friends, hang out with buddies, and stand in the corner in amazement at being in the same room with still others.
Without breaking it down into those sub-categories, some of the authors I’m particularly excited to see are: John F. Allen, E. Chris Garrison, Matthew Barron, Kat French, Sela Carsen, Selah Janel, Elizabeth Donald, Lucy Snyder, Gary Braunbeck, Mchael Knost, Michael West, Dan Jolley, Dave Creek, Arlan Andrews, Ericka Kahler, Armand Rosamilia, Stephen Zimmer, Demetrius Witherspoon, Bishop Stevens, Jason Sizemore, Janet Hariett, Tony Acree,and many, many, many more. (No, I am not linking these names because I want to have this done before the event itself, but you should Google them all).
I may have name-dropped a bit in that last paragraph. It’s all good.
Now, since I know a lot of you will be taking the trip specifically to see me (or let’s just pretend that’s the case, okay? We authors have gigantic but fragile egos), here is my panel schedule:
Sat, 5 PM in the Cumberland Room: Exploring Today’s Universe of Science Fiction
With Dave Creek (Moderator), Bethany DJ Kesler, Eri Nelson, Gerald L. Coleman, Sarena Ulibarri, and Dr. Arlan Andrews.
Sat, 6 PM in the Goldenrod Room: Paranormal Literature
With Lori Roberts (Moderator) Barb Jones, Jacob Floyd, Monica Corwin, and Lorena Reith Jr.
Sun, 11 AM in the Derby Room: Finding the Right Critique Groups
With Carma Haley Shoemaker (Moderator) Kristi Bradley, Juanita D. Houston, Marian Allen, and Geoffrey Mandragora.
And did I mention, the vendor room is completely free to visitors all weekend long! That’s right, there’s no charge to show up and shop a room chock full of talented Speculative Fiction authors and their books. I’ll be there in the Seventh Star section not too far from John and Chris most of the time. So come find us and say hi. I’ll be fully stocked with my catalog of titles, and as always, autographs are FREE and worth every penny you pay.
Imaginarium is an awesome author and reader con that continues to grow every year. From Indy, it’s an easy day trip. If you’ve never been, you need to check it out. I hope to see some of you there!
Effective immediately, all my titles are available at a new local brick-and-mortar store!
You can now purchase all books RJ at The Eclective, a consignment gift shop on Indy’s south side dedicated to handmade,vintage, artsy, and …well…. eclectic gifts, products and art by local vend0rs of all sorts. My work is featured as part of a bookshelf display alongside my local author co-op peeps at the Speculative Fiction Guild, a shelf we are creatively calling the SFG Store.
The Eclective is located at 2915 S. Meridian St.Indianapolis, IN 46225. You can check out their website and Facebook page by clicking the links. But none of this will help you experience the Eclective. To truly appreciate its unique vibe, you need to visit the store for yourself. The Eclective is divided into booths and rooms, loosely organized into kids and teens, health and beauty products, handcrafted and re-purposed items, and The Geekery. SFG’s books are part of The Geekery (he said, surprising no one). There are original paintings, handmade soap (including Mother Nature’s Bath and Body by my good friend Sharilee Gray who clued me in about the store) and a stage for exhibits, demonstrations and special events (more on that later).
The SFG Store features all of my titles, priced to sell and competitive to Amazon. You’ll find my paranormal trilogy:
I have pre-autographed each book at the SFG Store, and as always, signatures are totally FREE and worth every penny you pay. Stock will vary week to week, but the store is close enough that I should be able to keep all titles in stock most of the time. And if you’ve already read my books, the SFG Store also features books by my talented friends and peeps J0hn F Allen, Matthew Barron, E. Chris Garrison, and Maurice McKiernan. And there’s plenty of vendors to shop besides us (not that we want to discourage you from spending all your time at the SFG shelf).
And to launch things properly, SFG is holding a grand opening kickoff event Friday, March 24 @ 6 PM. SFG is partnering with the Eclective resident artist Sarah Rae Cote for a fun evening of readings and paintings …the authors do the readings, and you do the painting! Whether you’re directly inspired by our images-in-words or your imagination takes you somewhere else, it’s just you, the canvas, the brushes and a couple of h0urs to paint whatever pops into wonderfully warped brain, and we can’t wait to see what that might be.
Guests can listen to readings and shop until the store closes, and we’ll all be around to personalize those signatures; participation in the painting activity costs $25 for supplies, which includes the canvas and access to brushes and paints. You get to keep your creation when you are done. The store closes at 7 PM but will remain open for painters only. Click here to sign up via the event page, or just stop in the night of the show. This is the first of many special nights in the planning stages. Hope to see you there!
This Sat, Nov 5, Karen’s Book Barn in LaGrange, KY, (click the link for address, etc) is hosting a multi-author book signing, conveniently scheduled to help readers get a head start on their holiday shopping. We’ll all be there on site from 11 am-4 pm. Besides yours truly, many of my favorite author peeps will there, with our full array of titles that cover a spectrum of genres, including romance, ghost stories, superheroes, urban fantasy, steampunk, adventure, children’s, YA, science fiction, fairy tale, horror, fantasy, and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few. Suffice it to say, you have a great chance of finding exactly what you’re looking for and getting it signed and personalized to that special someone (even if that special someone is you…that’s okay, we won’t tell).
Meet The Authors! (click on the name to see their online book catalog)
John F. Allen brings his unique voice to his Ivoryverse books populated with superhero, urban fantasy and Spy-fi fiction tales. Among my favorite titles: The GodKillers and his Knight Ranger series.
Katina French writes stellar science fiction, fantasy and a unique mashup of steampunk fairy tales that I love.
Chris Garrison‘s books come in many favorite flavors, including dimension-hopping SF, Trans-Continental Steampunk pulp-style adventures, and her popular Tipsy Fairy Tales series.
Maurice McKiernan will offer his first horror short story collection Manuscripts of the Macabre in hardback and softcover editions (yes, I still need to read it, can’t you tell?)
Mysti Parker offers an array of romance titles and children’s books and another author whose writing I need to get better acquainted with.
I’m a proud author with Seventh Star Press, and Imaginarium is, in great part, the brainchild of SSP Editor-In-Chief Stephen Zimmer. And so, I was there for Imaginarium’s first and second year and saw the convention grow from a great idea to an expanding community where readers and writers meet, joke, party, and exchange ideas in a nurturing environment all weekend long. Imaginarium 2016, year three, looks to be the best year yet, and you can be sure I’m not missing out on this one.
Imaginarium is the weekend of Oct 7-9 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Louisville, KY (near the airport). It’s about a two hour drive from Indianapolis, perfect for a day trip or for staying the weekend. The programming requires a membership badge, but the vending room is free and open to the public. Genres include but are not limited to science fiction, fantasy, horror, romance, and graphic novels.
If seeing me isn’t enough reason to go (and that’s fine, just don’t tell me to my face, we writers have tender egos), there’s a film festival, masquerade ball, panels, and workshops for readers and writers of all levels and interests.
The larger world shared by E. Chris Garrison and R.J. Sullivan (they even co-wrote this blog post)
E. Chris Garrison and R.J. Sullivan: two great tastes that taste great…
Let’s start over.
Chris and R.J. met at an author’s retreat in 2011. At the time, Chris had released her first editions of the Road Ghosts Trilogy and Blue Spirit, and RJ had released the first edition of Haunting Blue. Through discussion and the group readings that happen during author retreats, they found that they tend to think in similar ways on such topics as character archetypes and styles, which made them fast friends.
Chris’ skills as a brewmaster may have also had something to do with this.
Their first venture into “crossing their universes” was a character to character fictional interview blog that proved a lot of fun. Eventually, they decided that using each other’s characters and settings in a shared universe made sense dramatically in certain instances. Over time, they found that telling tales that affected a larger world also made for a fun marketing ploy to coax sales. They drafted a simple agreement between themselves to work it out, and they have been trading characters and building upon a shared universe ever since.
Having set the stage, let’s look at how Restless Spirit, Chris’ latest release and the reason you’re here, is part of that world.
This second book in Garrison’s Road Ghosts Trilogy (written under a previous byline) marks the debut of Skye MacLeod, a cheerfully drunken gamer girl involved in a vampire live-action roleplaying game. The main cast encounters her as they attempt to save a poor little lost tween ghoul from a greedy opportunist who’s in league with a demon. Skye literally stumbles into trouble as she is possessed by the demon and forced to do its bidding. While this possession is temporary, Skye’s life and destiny are changed forever.
When the Trilogy ended, Garrison wanted to do something different. Skye was the first character she thought of to star in a spin-off series.
Set in 2010, the first novel by R.J. introduces flamboyant punk girl “Blue” Shaefer, her computer savvy boyfriend “Chip” Farren, and Chip’s best friend Phil Jenson. Against the backdrop of a creepy Indiana small town with a legendary secret, Blue and Chip meet, fall in love, and try to solve that legendary secret. Their efforts end up releasing a ghost and dark hi-jinx ensue.
The aforementioned spin-off of Garrison’s Road Ghosts Trilogy, this first book in the Tipsy Fairy Tales features Skye telling the story from her own point of view. She tells us a tale of her misadventures as a transplanted gamer girl whose life is permeated with the supernatural fairy world only she can see. Having grown up in Chicago, Skye never needed to learn to drive, so she takes the IndyGo buses or bums rides to get everywhere she needs to go. On one such bus, on an especially bad day, Skye meets a short, scruffy, gnome-like person who calls himself the Transit King. Skye sees past his sketchy appearance and recognizes him as a fairy lord. He proceeds to offer his assistance (in return for a promised favor) that further tangles Skye in high stakes supernatural politics.
In many ways, this first encounter not only drives the rest of the Tipsy Fairy Tales and provides Skye with a mentor, but introduces the Transit King as an unlikely favorite character from this book among readers and author peers. Chris was surprised and honored when later asked by R.J. if he could “borrow” the mysterious character for his own books.
In this sexy ghost story, frustrated geek girl Loretta Stevens boards a bus while fuming over how rudely she’s been treated by her boyfriend. She and Daryl had come to the local mall to shop for a birthday present and possible engagement ring for her, only to watch as Daryl instead buys a piece of overpriced Hollywood memorabilia connected to the long-dead gorgeous 50’s icon Maxine Marie. Disgusted, Loretta leaves him standing in the store, and she must now rely on public transportation to get back to her car.
On the bus, as she reflects on their relationship, a strange, creepy fellow with a thick accent advises her to wait for Daryl at his apartment. “Normally, I just…get travelers to their destinations…I’m just the Transit King, after all. …Follow yer instincts, not yer pride.” Yes, this is the same Transit King who plays such an important role in Garrison’s Tipsy Fairy Tales, making his “debut” in the R.J. verse.
Loretta ignores this good advice, to her regret. She learns that her boyfriend has been ensnared by the ghost of Maxine Marie herself. Maxine, now a sort of super-specter, is strengthened by the energy generated by her millions of fans, especially Daryl. The ghost is feeding off him, and he’s fading fast. Desperate, Loretta seeks aid from Rebecca Burton, an investigator of paranormal phenomenon who wields mysterious powers. Loretta learns that Rebecca’s role as a government agent is a cover that allows her to move about freely as she prepares to play a major role in an upcoming battle with the forces of evil.
The year is 2013, and Chip Farren and Phil Jenson are now students at I.U., roommates living off campus and ambitious game programmers. They’ve released a beta of Fantasy Free-Form, their multi-player heroic fantasy computer game. Blue travels to Bloomington over Thanksgiving weekend to sort out her complicated feelings with Chip about their relationship.
The three of them are unaware that the game has been targeted by a cult of demon worshipers who think they can use the game’s virtual environment as a focal-point to summon a demon, creating a portal from their dimensional prison in hell to the video realm and then from there into the real world. Fortunately, Rebecca Burton is already aware of the situation, and she’s employed a talented young woman to assist her–Skye McLeod. Before the night is over, Blue will nearly lose her life and her sanity, and Skye will have to find the inner strength to confront Rebecca and force her to do the right thing. Phil and Skye will also begin an unusual friendship that continues in…
In the following summer of 2014, Skye finds herself still underemployed and dependent on her girlfriend, Annabelle. Phil Jenson has taken the step of promoting Fantasy Free-Form at Big Con, an enormous gamer convention in Indianapolis, and has hired Skye on to use her charm to draw con-goers to try out the game. She’s delighted at her apparent good luck when Rebecca Burton calls her. Rebecca has heard rumors of supernatural activity at the convention, and she wants to hire Skye to watch out and report on anything suspicious. Trouble soon finds her, in the form of one of her gamer friends somehow amassing a zombie army, some meddling trolls, and an ancient horror lurking underneath the center of Indianapolis. She goes to visit her old mentor, The Transit King, who has become far more powerful after the events of Blue Spirit, and he gives her some cryptic direction and magical aid–with his usual price tag. Unfortunately, Skye gets pulled into the supernatural events more than any of her employers care for, and when one problem crashes into another, she feels forced to set them against each other, unleashing a type of hell into downtown Indianapolis in the process. She loses the support of Rebecca and the Transit King, and puts other relationships at risk, but Phil sticks with her to the very end, helping her make slightly more sober choices to undo what she’s done.
The story doesn’t end there. Garrison reports that Phil, Blue, and Rebecca return for the climactic third book in the Tipsy Fairy Tales series, Mean Spirit! So stay tuned for future Garrison/Sullivan character crossover fun!
About the author: E. Chris Garrison writes fantasy and science fiction novels and short stories. She used to publish as Eric Garrison, but has since upgraded.
This Saturday marks my fifth consecutive appearance at the Paranormal Meet and Greet at the Historical Hannah House on the south side of Indianapolis.
My first appearance was as a new author in 2011 with my then-brand new first novel Haunting Blue.
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).
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)
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!
So 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.
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.