Wish I Could Be Part of Your World

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…

*screeeech*

Let’s start over.

chris-rj-for-blog
E. Chris Garrison takes a selfie and RJ crashes it.

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.

dazbooks
Blue and Skye holding RARE FIRST EDITION COLLECTOR’S ITEMS!! (Not really)

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.

sinkingdown_web-smallerSinking Down by Eric Garrison

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.

Haunting Blue by R.J. SullivanHaunting Blue

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.

bluespirit_cover1200x800Blue Spirit by E. Chris Garrison

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.

376743_10151060948417591_639062236_nHaunting Obsession by R.J. Sullivan

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.

Virtual Blue by R.J. SullivanVirtual Blue Final low rez

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…

restless_spirit_coverjpg1200x800Restless Spirit by E. Chris Garrison

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!
___

chrissygarrisonAbout 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.

Her latest series is Trans-Continental, a steampunk adventure with a transgender woman as its protagonist. Chris’s supernatural fantasy stories include the Road Ghosts trilogy and the Tipsy Fairy Tales published by Seventh Star Press. These novels are humorous supernatural fantasies, dealing with ghosts, demonic possession, and sinister fairy folk.

Her novel, Reality Check, is a science fiction adventure released by Hydra Publications. Reality Check reached #1 in Science Fiction on Amazon.com during a promotion in July 2013.

Chris lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, with her wife, step-daughter and cats. She also enjoys gaming, home brewing beer, and finding innovative uses for duct tape.

chrissygarrisontourbadge

 

Author Links:

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EChrisGarrison
Twitter:  @ECGarrison
Website:  https://sillyhatbooks.com/

And because my computer is being stupid and refuses to copy and paste the links, click here to see the full Tipsy Fairy Tales 2016 blog tour schedule.

RJ’s Halloween Social Media Selfie and Costume Party

1379298_685408011469465_1960097454_n
Avid reader Nikki Howard gets into the cosplay spirit!

So I thought we’d try something fun for this month. Everywhere you look, people are taking selfies and posting them on social media, and of course, it’s also coming up on Halloween, so I’m asking my readers now thru November 1 to post a selfie while holding any of my books. (Ebook fans: A tablet with the cover showing works, too) When you post the selfie, post a link to my website, or an Amazon order page, or Barnes and Noble, of some sort of similar book page. Any link that allows your friends to go check out my books.

“Sure, RJ, sounds like fun,” you reply. “But what’s in it for me?” Good point, loyal but sensible reader. (I have such smart readers.) So I will sweeten the pot. So if you do that and also share your selfie on my RJ Sullivan Social Media Selfie Costume Party page on Facebook, I’ll  send you the first scene to the final, not-yet-released third story of my Red Lotus saga, tentatively titles Mutiny on the Red Lotus. (The first scene, I have on good authority, has lots of shooting and ‘splosions.)

But wait, there’s more! It IS Halloween, so if you pose with one of my books in costume, I’ll send you a free copy of Blue Christmas (a holiday short story featuring Rebecca Burton and Blue as featured in Gifts of the Magi) OR Fate of the Red Lotus, the first novelette in the series. Your choice of story and ebook format.

You can dress in whatever costume you like…but if I may make some suggestions, my book series has plenty of dramatic characters to choose from, such as:

Pick me, pick me! Art by Nell Williams.

Punk girl Blue from Haunting Blue, Virtual Blue and Blue Christmas

Art: Bonnie Wasson
Let me shake your hand. Art: Bonnie Wasson

The enigmatic Rebecca Burton from Haunting Obsession, Virtual Blue, and Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy

Pick me...or else! Art by Audra Steia
Pick me…or else! Art by Audra Steia

Evil ghost Gunther with the hooked hand from Haunting Blue

Art by Nell Williams.
Please, darlings, I’m the most elegant choice. Art by Nell Williams.

Sexy evil ghost Maxine Marie from Haunting Obsession

Bow to me, mortal scum! Or dress like me, that's good, too.
Bow to me, mortal scum! Or dress like me, that’s good, too.

The Demoness Baalina from Virtual Blue

Special appreciation will be given to costumes of a certain 80s pop singer or a certain Mermaid.

Got a police costume? A doctor or nurse? Haunting Blue and Virtual Blue have a few characters to connect with. And that fast food uniform may come from the Southern Chick’n Stop, or there’s ex-cheerleader waitress Loretta from Smittie’s Pizzeria. And any high fantasy character can come from the Fantasy Free Form video game of Virtual Blue.

And don’t forget the large cast of supporting characters who are…well…people! Yes, you can claim a cosplay award by “dressing as” these plainclothes supporting characters: Clinty the Bully, Mr. Farren, Chip and Phil (though you should look a bit nerdy), high school teacher Mr. Tyers, Leona Shaefer, Blue’s Dad, …

You get the idea, use your imagination, post those costumes, and let’s have some fun! Hurry….come November 1, we all have to act normal again.

Now click here to join the party!

Haunting Obsession New Low Everyday Price 99 Cents!

Haunting Obsession Lo RezWith Halloween approaching, Seventh Star Press is offering a scary low price on my sexy ghostly bestseller Haunting Obsession! From now until…?,  new readers can download my most popular work and gateway story into my paranormal thriller series for just 99 cents!

Haunting Obsession, a top 100 ghost fiction bestseller during a previous 99 cents promotion, has been called “a page turner to the very last word.”  by Renee Graham, Dead Speak Paranormal Radio show host. Bitten By Books praised its world building and character development in their 4/5 star rating. Eva’s Sanctuary proclaimed “The story line is well written and may actually make you believe in ghosts.” One Amazon reader posted “With Halloween coming, this is a book you will not want to miss. ”

If you’ve never yet met Loretta, Daryl, the elegantly seductive ghost and Hollywood icon Maxine Marie, or the mysterious Rebecca Burton, now’s your chance. The Haunting Obsession ebook is downloadable for 99 cents on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobobooks sites. Or, if  you’d prefer to get a signed paperback copy directly from the author (for more than 99 cents,but autographs are always free and worth every penny you pay) click here to go to the dedicated page with all the links.

New Blog Interview with Fiona McVie

DWACOW low rezToday, Book Blogger Fiona McVie’s added me to long series of author interviews. I posted almost 2k words about Haunting Blue, Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy, childhood influences, advice to writers, and much more.

Here’s the first few paragraphs:

R.J. Sullivan

Age Forty-*mumble*

Where are you from: Heartland Crossing, Indiana

A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc  

I have an education and a family life.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

My latest release is called Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy (DWACOW), compiling ten years of previously published short stories, including two stories directly tied to my Paranormal Thriller series. I am also releasing the collected paperback of my Red Lotus space opera series, just in time for Christmas.

Check out the full interview by clicking this link.

InconJunction 2015 Ahead!

This upcoming weekend marks my fourth year as a local author with InConJunction, a general SF/F con with a long and distinguished history in Indianapolis, and not for nothin’, the first con SF I ever attended waaay back in 199*mumble*.

Chris Garrison and Matthew Barron
Chris Garrison and Matthew Barron
John F. Allen and Chris Garrison
John F. Allen and Chris Garrison

Go here to get all the relevant hotel and location information from the con’s dedicated website.

This will also be the second year I’ll be a vendor as part of the author co-op group Speculative Fiction Guild. My books will be alongside many of my local peers, including author besties John F. Allen and Chris Garrison, plus Matthew Barron, Katina French, Davide Jobe, and Nathan Terhune.

My panel schedule this year is light but mighty:

All of my panels are in Indianapolis Ballroom C
Friday @ 9 PM @ Writing Dialog with Matthew Barron
Saturday @9 AM Small Press Publishing and Writer’s Expectations
Saturday @ 5 PM Building Your Brand: Promoting Your Work on Social Media

Inconjiunction is always a good time. I’m looking forward to seeing many old friends and making many new ones. Inconjunction will also be the first place ever that you can get a signed copy of my brand-new release Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy.

When it comes to endorsements, go big or go home,
When it comes to endorsements, go big or go home,

All of my books will be priced to sell,and the more you buy, the more you save.

Haunting Blue $15
Haunting Obsession $10
Virtual Blue $15
The Paranormal Trilogy (all 3 novels) $35

Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy $10
All four books $40
Signatures: FREE and worth every penny you pay.

“Lost Sole?” Ghosties $5

Looking forward to seeing many of you there!

More photos from Inconjunction 2014,

Book Launch Set!

DWACOW low rezI’m pleased to announce the ebook for Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy is set to launch Tuesday, June 16, with the paperback going live a couple of days later.  Watch for up to the minute updates on Facebook and an update of links on the book’s dedicated page though0ut the day.

I will also begin a series of 500 word story preview blogs to begin as soon as all formats of the book have gone live. The series will highlight and preview one short story from the collection per day for seven consecutive days.

Those looking for autographed copies will find me at these events throughout the rest of the year.  As always, signatures are free and worth every penny you pay.
_____

Collected for the first time since their initial publications, Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy presents ten tales from the imagination of R.J. Sullivan. Thrills and chills await you, but you may also get blindsided by the absurd. This volume includes a pair of stories featuring Rebecca Burton, the mysterious investigator of R.J.’s acclaimed paranormal thriller series. Among the ten stories, you’ll find:

DWACOOW author low rez b&W“The Assurance Salesman” shows five strangers more about themselves than they ever guessed.
You don’t want to venture into Daddy’s basement in “Fade.”
Rebecca Burton tries to talk someone out of a bad idea in “Backstage Pass.”
A bullied police detective finally defeats his rival in “Able-Bodied.”
A desperate father finds the “Inner Strength” to save his young daughter, “Becky” Burton.
A child seeds his aquarium with a most unusual “Starter Kit.”
A brilliant robotics engineer creates a “Robot Vampire.”

Also includes: “I remember Clearly … “, “Do Better,” and “Grammetiquette 2030.”

“Science fiction, fantasy, paranormal thrillers, space opera– R.J’s talents are remarkable and diverse.” ~ New York Times And USA Today Bestselling Author Debra Holland, from the introduction.

“From a universe in a fish bowl to robotic vampire pop stars, R.J. Sullivan takes you to fantastical places that will chill your marrow and make your imagination soar.” ~ Michael West, bestselling author of Spook House and Cinema of Shadows.

“A short collection but with great depth and variety, Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy is a coffee-with-bourbon collection: a pleasurable slow burn. R.J. Sullivan is a patient wordsmith, never rushing, always building suspense and tension. None of these stories are alike, except in having realistic characters and ample plots. Sullivan breaks stylistic “conventions” well, plays with form, and, yet, still feels like a throwback author, one who loves the authors he grew up reading. A highly-rewarding batch of stories!” ~ Brady Allen, author of Back Roads & Frontal Lobes

Online event: Seventh Star Press Spotlight on Fiona Shaefer

Art by Bonnie Wasson
Art by Bonnie Wasson

I’m thrilled to announce that Tuesday, March 3, Seventh Star Press is pointing its Series Spotlight on my paranormal thrillers, with an introduction to the series and a 24 hour 99 cent sale in multiple ebook version of Haunting Blue, the first book (Normally $3.99). Click here to be forwarded to the spotlight announcement.

Thanks for your support, and please help spread the word.

My Cyber Monday Trailer

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.)

So check it out and remember to head to Amazon on Cyber Monday!

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.

The Brotherhood of D.A. Adams

cover1I have already spoken to a great extent about what a terrific time I had at Imaginarium catching up with old friends and to meeting new ones. Some success stories are public and have been circulated around. Others are a bit more private. I have decided to share bits of this private story.

D.A. (Alex) Adams is a talented author of epic fantasy. He had been accepted at my publisher as one of the Seventh Star stable of authors before me. When we first met at Fandomfest in 2012, his was the only series of books out  by the awesome Bonnie Wasson and he coveted having to share her with me. And who can blame him.

Alicia Justice and Alex Adams Fandomfest 2012.
RJ, Alicia Justice and Alex Adams/, Fandomfest 2012.

Alex and I sat next to each other for several hours that weekend, and had lots of time getting to know each other. I watched a loving father engage with his child while on vendor duty (not an easy thing). We talked about writing and being part of a small press family. He shared his opinion–often bluntly–about being a teacher in a collegiate environment that was morphing into a system toxic for both students and teachers. He spoke of  tremors in his hands, a lifelong affliction which seemed then to be under control. He had a mane of blond hair, matching beard and mustache, and a twinkle of optimism in the eyes.

In the years since, I have read his blog posts with interest, in which he speaks with the same blunt honesty about the devastating impact of divorce, the growing negative impact of social media, and the toxic college environment from which he eventually separated himself. He also spoke of a health condition that remains as mysterious as it is debilitating, which brings me to a few days ago.

Alex and RJ at Imaginarium 2014.
Alex and RJ at Imaginarium 2014.

I say somewhat shamefaced that when Alex approached me, I had to look twice and finally reference his name badge to figure out who was addressing me. The blond mane was gone, the twinkle diminished, though I still see some fight in those eyes.  We had several conversations that weekend, chatted about how his health has affected his everyday life, but also about old time rock n roll, the joy of writing, the unity of the writing community, and more. He said he’d just had some tests which would determine next steps with his condition. I was glad I had a chance to get caught up with this great guy.

Then a couple of days later, his next blog post went up. The test had revealed nothing–that there was no plan of treatment, and that he honestly didn’t know what to do.

Alex had no sooner posted this on his blog when something really cool happened.

Dave Mattingly of Blackwyrm Publishing (one of several small press publishers in the region who regard their competition as CINO–Competition in Name Only (I just made that up, feel free to steal it)) (and the sentence nominated for the most complicated series of parenthetical asides in a blog post ever–your welcome)–set up a fundraising page that lets the public help.  Why? Because the publishing community just rocks that way, and Dave is one of the hardest rockers out there.

Before I go any further, I would be remiss not to mention what Alex himself is quick to point out. Alex writes very cool epic fantasy adventure, and you can support him in a very direct way by buying his books. Check them out here.

If, however, epic fantasy isn’t your cup of tea, or you’ve already bought his books and want to do more, or you don’t even like reading but want to do something good for a hell of a guy, then please click this link to the gofundme page and become a part of the Brotherhood of D.A. Adams.

As of this writing, the Brotherhoopd has raised $930.00 of a proposed $1,000.00 in only four days. That in and of itself says much of the generosity of this community. I expect very soon, maybe by the time you read this, the “goal” will be raised.  However, anyone who knows anything about the medical field knows that $1,000.00 doesn’t get you very far. So let’s keep going, blow that number away.

Please donate and boost the signal. Thanks for listening.

Elegant ghost Maxine Marie responds to “hitting 40”

376743_10151060948417591_639062236_nRJ: Congratulations on hitting 40, Maxine!

[Maxine slaps RJ]

RJ: Hey, what was that for?

Maxine: I’ll have you know, Mister, that I haven’t been a day over 33 in nearly 50 years!

RJ: ….That would only make sense to you, Maxine.

Maxine: Why, thanks. I think.

RJ: I just mean that yesterday, Haunting Obsession received its 40th review on Amazon, and even though it was my second book, it’s easily the most it’s the most popular book in my loose trilogy in terms of both sales and reviews. So I thought—

[Maxine slaps RJ’s other cheek]

RJ: Ow! Seriously? What is wrong with you??

2012, with RJ and Nikki Howard as "Maxine Marie".
RJ and Nikki Howard as “Maxine Marie”.

Maxine: You just called me loose. I may be dumb, but I’m not stupid.

RJ: No, I just mean that Haunting Obsession can be read on its own, without the other two books, but it also acts as a bridge story between Haunting Blue and Virtual Blue.

Maxine: Oh, well, why didn’t you just say so?

RJ: I thought you’d want a chance to thank our loyal readers for all their support in getting us this far.

Maxine: Thank them? Shouldn’t you be thanking me? Do you want me to tell your “loyal readers” what you pay me to be your ongoing mascot every time you can’t think of a clever idea for a blog?

Art by Nell Williams.
Art by Nell Williams.

RJ: Hey now! I’m just saying, we owe our audience a huge thank you because we’d never had done it without them.

Maxine: Or maybe your loyal readers know an awesome cover when they see it. I mean, look at me. I am a dish, aren’t I? And Bonnie Wasson captured my good side.

RJ: Well, yes, it is a great cover, but—

Maxine: I mean, let’s face it, prop it up at your table and it sells itself. What fan of steamy ghost fiction can possibly resist?

RJ: Fine, then let me talk. I wrote this to extend my heart-felt thanks to each and every reader and for all the terrific comments I’ve heard about Haunting Obsession since its release.  And I want to thank my publisher Seventh Star for it’s incredible support of me on this journey, and all my peers and friends who have helped me in more ways than I can say. I promise the best is yet to come. Most especially to Bonnie Wasson, Nell Williams, Nikki Howard, and Lily Monstermeat for offering their great interpretations of the character for me to use.

[RJ looks at Maxine]

Maxine: What?

Lily Monstermeat as Maxine Marie.
Lily Monstermeat as Maxine Marie.

RJ: Don’t you have anything to say?

Maxine: Sure. Thank you, RJ’s readers, for demonstrating your elegant good taste and serving as my willing minions in my plans to take over the world…one book at a time.

RJ: Okay, never mind, just join me in taking a bow.

Maxine: [wink] Ah-ha, I knew you were up to something, Mister.

Thank you, readers, for helping me reach this milestone. As a good friend likes to say: The Best is Yet To Come.

HAPPY LABOR DAY WEEKEND!!!