Here’s a little something to help you plan ahead for Monday, Dec. 1, when Haunting Blue goes on sale for one day only. If you already know it and love it, make sure to tell your friends. As most of you know, this is the first book of the series, so “hook”ing new readers with this one is what it’s all about. (Yes, I went there.)
Yep, I made a new video. I learned the limitations of the program and took on something less ambitious. My first project, the book trailer for Gifts of the Magi, took a day and a half. This one took half an hour. Progress! That means there may be more of them.
After months of preparation and weeks of teasing, I can finally share the big news about the NEW ORIGINAL collection of holiday stories co-edited with my good friends John F. Allen, E. Chris Garrison and me.
The anthology is called Gifts of the Magi: A Speculative Holiday Collection and features new tales by our friends and ourselves, most of whom have series’ in progress, and feature a story set in the world of that series. And yes, I have a new story in this collection.
That’s right, Blue Shaefer and Rebecca Burton are returning in a brand-new short story that takes place on Christmas Eve! In it, Rebecca gets word that someone is trying to cause trouble for Blue, so she crashes in on Blue and Chip’s celebration, and they’re off on another paranormal adventure. I think it strikes a great balance between addressing her past and setting her up for an exciting future. The title, of course, could only be Blue Christmas. I hope you all love it as much as I do.
Besides featuring a new story for Christmas, Gifts of the Magi offers a number of other firsts. It’s my first attempt at co-editing an anthology (a stressful endeavor that can test the strongest bonds and make them even more strong afterwards) and my first venture into indie publishing under a new brand, in a co-partnership between John, Chris and me, SFG Publishing. It’s our first attempt at supporting a local charity. In this case, every cent raised goes toward Indy Reads Books and the good work they do.
For those who follow me on Facebook and social media, you know that my R.J. Sullivan page features a sort of mascot with some regularity. It started off as a one-post joke that drew such positive attention that I made it a regular thing.
I am not a morning person, so paired with that, is the fairly standard need to write in the mornings which leads to the also standard need for morning coffee and lots of it. Among our eclectic collection of mugs is one of The Little Mermaid, with images of Ariel from the Disney movie. I believe it was a lark gift, but since I am a fan, I worked into the collection. So as social media allows, I took a photo and posted something along the lines of “real men aren’t afraid to drink from Little Mermaid mugs.” The string of comments that followed told me I was onto something, so I made a comment whenever the mug came up in the rotation.
Soon the mug developed a sort of cult following among my readers, with requests to bring the talisman to conventions, speculation of the magical powers it must have, and more.
Thus is the origin of the Legend of the Magical Mermaid Mug.
It was an honest accident. While I ran an errand outside the house, Mrs. RJ accidentally elbowed the mug, which resulted in a fatal fall. I came home to the bad news, took a photo of the remains, and posted them for the mourning to begin. Comparisons to a certain leg lamp in a certain holiday tale were inevitable and amusing. Posts of shock and horror echoed on the social media sphere for days (well, maybe only in my head).
Even as I was preparing a virtual funeral for the beloved mug. a miracle occurred. Well, okay, hardly a miracle, but kidding aside, a really cool thing happened.
A Facebook follower and fan of the Magical Mug by the name of Michael James Oetting took the time to examine the photos of the mythical Mermaid Mug, and search ebay until he found an exact duplicate (shiny white, without the wear and tear). He purchased the mug and had it shipped to my address.
He can expect some very nice autographed things coming his way in the near future.
In any case, what started out as a wake has turned into a dedication ceremony, as this Friday, we put Magical Mermaid Mug II to full active duty, brewing the potent broth of magical muse-coffee that keeps me composing (or something). To make the most of it (like I haven’t already) we’re throwing a virtual party, and you’re all invited.
So Friday, noon to 6 pm, We’re giving away FREE ebooks all day, awesome titles donated by my talented author peeps. Unlike most contests, you can’t just raffle your way to a win, you need to know your Little Mermaid. We’re playing Little Mermaid Trivia all afternoon. All questions and answers will be pulled from the Disney classic. I rewatched the DVD last night and think I’ve come up with some stumpers, so KNOW YOUR LITTLE MERMAID.
Here’s where I brag about what an awesome time I had, that you didn’t have, because you chose to do something other than go to Imaginarium in Louisville, KY, last weekend. Ready, here we go.
With perfect weather and essentially a one highway route, the drive from Indy to Louisville could not have gone better. John F. Allen and I made the drive in a tad over two hours. The hotel was easy access off the highway exit.
Speaking of easy access, I need to praise the layout of the Crowne Plaza Hotel. As someone restricted to walking short distances, the public accessible doors next to the showroom were terrific, and the elevator access to the rooms was great. Very compact and convenient all around. These things are a concern for me, and the floor plan was definitely created with convenience in mind.
Registration was fast and smooth. We were given immediate access to our tables to set up. Con buddy Eric Garrison (AKA E. Chris Garrison) joined us and we were set up before con start with time to mingle.
At any convention, something has to go wrong, and at least this time it happened early with0ut serious consequences. I was never clear if what happened was a planned fire drill, a prank, or perhaps a lit cigarette, but whatever happened, the fire alarm went off, and the room full of vendors found themselves herded out the back doors into the parking lot for the next several minutes. I tucked up by the loading dock doors and waited it out.
I displayed my paranormal trilogy, plus my Lost Soles and Akira Lacquers‘ Virtual Blue nail polish. Everything received some love and attention, but the Lost Soles–the hand-stitched stuffed ghosts created by Mrs RJ and our three nerds in the making–were the big winner for my sales. How awesome is that?
Food, like other services, was easy and convenient. The hotel served an exceptionally large and yummy burger, dressed for a night out. Next to it was a nice grab-n-go kiosk. Friday night a group of us gathered at the local favorite Troll Under the Bridge Pub, and we even found a McDonald’s and Taco Bell for a convenient bite.
I had two other special moments I need to mention: I was also reunited with Ms. Ash Roland, an author buddy who goes back early in my publishing journey. Ash was instrumental in securing my first publishing deal, created the first cover, the book trailer, and who I shadowed at Context in 2010 to learn the whole vending process. She’s a talented horror writer, artist, and friend, and it was terrific to see her again after a four year gap.
Also, through a happy coincidence, my brother and his wife traveled from Indy to Louisville to accompany my niece to visit a nearby college. They just happened to make reservations at the Crowne Plaza, and we had dinner together Saturday night.
I met a LOT LOT LOT of new people….so many, that if I attempted to name them, I would embarrass myself, so let’s just leave it at, you know who you are.
I did my best to impart whatever wisdom I could at my panels, and I know I learned a lot at the workshop.
What followed after was the masquerade dance, a room party, more at the dance, more at the room party, Otters were mentioned in inappropriate conversation, things got late, things got fuzzy. During the dance, Jordan Bell requested Cyndi Lauper (Goonies R Good Enough, whoop-whoop) on my behalf and several people chanted “Oh Awjay.”
Bottom Line: Imaginarium was a blast!! For a first year event, organization and efficiency far above expectations–perhaps the most well-run con I’ve been to. Kudos to Stephen Zimmer and Susan Roddey for that. Imaginarium was well worth the trip. It was an amazing networking and educational experience. They threw a great party. Sales were low, but that’s normal with any first year event. Make your plans now. This is the place to be next year.
Each batch is hand-mixed and completely non-toxic, created and offered exclusively by Akira Lacquer.
Virtual Blue Nail Polish: kickass color for punkgeeks and geekpunks everywhere, and the answer to the burning question: what does R.J. Sullivan offer that Stephen King doesn’t? Come by and grab your bottle this weekend!
Tomorrow: I’m posting all the details on how to stalk R.J. during Imaginarium weekend!
NOTE: due to preparations for last week’s all encompassing Blog Tour, this post-con report is two weeks late.
Rarely have I been so excited about a convention, and I know I’ve never put in as much pre-planning into an event as I did for Inconjunction weekend this past July 4-6.
I teamed up with my author buddies John F. Allen, Matthew Barron and Eric Garrison. (Also thanks to David Jobe for helping man the booth for parts of Saturday). We put the extra effort and expense into splitting costs for a vendor booth, displayed an array of book titles, doo-dads, and nail polish (yes, nail polish!) and went for it in a big way.
And then there were panels. My first was with Eric Garrison and con co-guest of honor Kat Falls in a lively discussion on Book Trailers. Throughout the weekend, I participated on no less than three panels on genre TV and movies (and met a very enthusiastic Mike Suess!), and was part of the candlelight horror reading, where I premiere a new work in progress weird western to great response. I also heard a very impressive reading by a Mr. Jeff Seymour. I plan to keep an eye on this guy, and you should, too!
On top of that, the four of us along with our booth neighbor Crystal Leflar teamed together under the banner Speculative Fiction Guild to run two open mini-workshops designed to offer some structural writing advice for the beginner. Both of these were well attended and received enthusiastically.
We were not without a few bumps in the road (literally and figuratively). John arrived two days post-food poisoning and needed part of Friday to recover, but he quickly got back on track, and brought his knowledge of all things comic books in time for the panel. Saturday night proved a comedy errors. In trying to re-create a local dining experience from a year ago with Kathy Watness and Loconeal‘s James Barnes, we found that, not only didthe Chinese restaurant we target closed for the holiday, but so did our second choice, and ended up at choice number three, an El Jaripeo near Washington Square (very good however!). On returning to the hotel, police cars zipped along 21st and Shadeland, past our vehicle, going full speed, while John valiantly navigated construction and each need to pull over, during which at least a dozen cars passed us! (We found out later they were going toward the tragic east side shooting.)
As convention crowds went, I’d call it a mid-sized group, but an enthusiastic group, eager to talk, and when all was said and done, also eager to support our efforts by visiting our booth and taking home some books!
I can honestly say I’ve never had such an exhausting weekend, but the results were well worth it. Inconjunction was a blast. I’m starting the countdown to next year!
The blog tour n support of the re-release of Haunting Blue by Seventh Star Press has kicked into full swing and continues all week. During that time, Haunting Blue will be discussed somewhere in the “blogosphere” several times a day. But how’s a casually obsessed RJ fan supposed to keep track?
Fortunately, I make it a goal to take good care of the casually obsessed RJ fans, so I’ve provided this single link page, which I’ll update, so all you need to do is keep checking here once a day to see the latest.
Monday, July 14 Jess Resides Here A new interview with my good friend Jessica Lay. Beauty in Ruins Setting, urban legends and self-identity as examined in Haunting Blue. FUOnlyKnew A whimsical top ten “bucket list and new 4-star review!
All in all, it’s 17 blogs in six days! During that time, I’ll discuss Haunting Blue, the paranormal, and the life of a writer, from every possible angle, and also fill a few unusual requests from my hosts (No, Jess, I am not dressing as a Mermaid this tour…maybe next time).
Join me for the fun! Thanks to Seventh Star for hosting, and check in regularly next week on Facebook, Twitter, and this site to catch all the latest updates as they go live. It’s going to be a blast!
So one day recently a certain author of critically acclaimed paranormal thrillers bought a multi-pack of socks that should have fit….but didn’t! Bummer! Perfectly good socks, unworn, doomed to go to waste. But, Mrs. R.J and the “Nerds In The Making” all chipped in to hand-stitch and draw on each and every “Lost Sole,” made of new, unworn sock cotton. So come check out the Lost Soles, or you can adopt a hand-crafted Sole for $5 each.
Friday and Saturday only. while soles last. Look for the “dryer” display at the SFG Vendor Booth.
Three years ago, a new author took on the challenge of putting together his first book trailer. He had ambition if no experience and he perhaps took on more than was reasonable or necessary, but he also had a lot of help from his friends. I’d like to take this space to again thank Ash Arceneaux, who created the original art and edited the final video, high school drama teacher Scott Siler, who created the audio track and provided the voices of Gunther and Chip, and Sami Susterich, a former student of Scott’s who volunteered to voice Blue for me.
Yes, voice-work. Did I mention I had a lot of ambition? While the results were not perfect, they were also none-too-shabby, and these people put a lot of time and effort into the clip we created.
When the book went out of print a few months ago, we also removed the book trailer. With the re-release, I could have chosen to start over, but….that was a LOT of work the first time and most of the trailer was still pretty rocking. So I turned to my friend, author buddy and someone also none-too-shabby with digital editing, Eric Garrison, who attacked my wish list of edits and did what was needed to let me reuse most of the old clip. So here it is, polished and back in service, and also showing off the fabulous new work by Bonnie Wasson, the book trailer to Haunting Blue!