This blog recreates a post that originally went up as part of a blog tour in support of the 2016 launch of Commanding the Red Lotus. It was an original marketing short story in script form and appeared on a host site that is no longer live.
[RJ stares at a blank page on his laptop and wonders what to write about for the Cover2Cover entry of his blog tour. He doesn’t notice the gorgeous ghost Maxine Marie appear behind him]
MM: [Leans forward to whisper directly in his ear] Hello, RJ.
RJ: Yikes! [wheels around] Maxine!
MM: [flashes sexy smile] Doing anything fun?
RJ You shouldn’t be here.
MM: [her smile shifts to a pout] Well….that’s not a very nice thing to say. It’s just that you haven’t asked me about my ghostly existence in months. I was afraid you’d quit writing or something. I mean, I still remember all the success I brought you with Haunting Obsession, and now… [she folds her arms across her chest] now you never call!
RJ: Sorry, Maxine. It’s just I’ve been writing spaceship adventure stories in my Red Lotus universe, and I’ve been having a good time…. I guess I haven’t thought about you—
[Maxine’s eyes widen]
RJ: GHOSTS! I MEANT GHOSTS! I haven’t thought about GHOSTS in a long time.
MM: A likely story. And what’s this Red Lotus? Sounds like a lady ninja assassin I should be jealous of.
Last spring, my first-ever audiobook happened. It was a perfect-storm project where the ideal narrator submitted a random audition for a novella she deep-down wanted to land much more than she cared to admit at the time, whose reading blew away the anxious author who fretted that his vision be dramatized by a kindred spirit who “got it” (and knew that boy-howdy did she!). And they were backed by a supportive publisher making their first ventures into audiobook and who knew they had something special.
The other story is a science fiction comedy presented in its play manuscript form; a Christian faith story with a cover that makes this aspect clear, so no potential buyer is blindsided. So without further ado, check out this awesome “Christmas Card with a Spaceship” front cover by Ash Arceneaux! Ash is the cover artist of the original edition of Haunting Blue (long out of print after I yanked the rights back from that disreputable-entity-whose-name-I-do-not- speak-and-not-JUST-because-its-name-is-literally-a-mild-curse-word-though-that-doesn’t-help.). Ash also created the slides for the very ambitious Haunting Blue Book Trailer. Ash is an amazing artist and talent (and truly a good friend). I’m thrilled to have her work represented in my titles once again. Link to the current edition of Haunting Blue.
“The Beacon” follows the three-person crew of the United Galaxy Corps Scoutship Starprobe: brave but hotheaded Captain Remmer, the logical but clueless cyborg engineer Gault, and the frequently panicky pilot Lanson. The ship arrives in orbit around planet Earth to investigate why a bright glowing star-like beacon has lit up the planet’s skyline.
Their ship barely has time to scan the horizon before they’re attacked by a renegade space pirate. Their incompetent captor, Ted the Merciless (because it sounds better than Theodore the Merciless), hoped to steal the treasure that the beacon represents, only to find he’s attacked the Starprobe way too soon. Can this group of misfits find a way to work together long enough to solve the mystery and message of…The Beacon? (Spoiler: It’s baby Jesus).
I’m super-excited to reveal Cover One to the first-ever DarkWhimsy Books release. The book will be presented in a retro-innovative binding I’m calling DoubleFront. The method of laying out the two stories offset 180% means that this collection of two Holiday stories “Blue/Christmas / The Beacon” will have two front covers (print version only). If you have ever seen the classic science fiction paperbacks Ace Doubles, you’ll get it. If not, you’ll just have to check it out in person. It’s cool. So enough about that, here’s the cover!!
Blue and Chip are enjoying a quiet Christmas Eve-ning together when the mysterious paranormal investigator Rebecca Burton knocks on their door… holding a peace offering. Blue and Rebecca had last parted ways furious with each other.
On the other hand, Rebecca had saved Blue’s life. Blue decides to hear her out–and hopes she won’t regret it.
Coming soon: the reveal of Cover Two for “The Beacon: An SF Comedy Play in Two Acts.” The cover is currently being created by RJ’s long-time awesome artist collaborator Ash Arceneaux.
Blue Christmas / The Beacon, a DoubleFront Holiday Book will be the first release of R.J. Sullivan’s indie press label DarkWhimsy Books. The mini-read will be available in plenty of time for Christmas. Watch this space for more announcements!
I’m super-excited to announce my plans to “go hybrid” with new projects under my own imprint label DarkWhimsy Books! The logo, being unveiled here for the first time, was created with the assistance of Section 28 Publishing’s Bryan Donihue, who is also helping with page layout duties and other tasks that go over my head.
The name and logo refer to the title and visuals of my 2015 Seventh Star Press short story collection Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy. Artist Enggar Adirrasa created the original idea from my concept (translation–doodle) of a dark cloud raining down smiley faces. The combination of the grim and the silly has been a niche that I’ve fit in comfortably, and I look forward to expanding those realms as I start this new chapter of my publishing life.
Speaking of Seventh Star, this does not mean I am leaving the publishing house where I started. Nor does it mean the end of my paranormal thriller series nor the Red Lotus adventures. In fact, I believe this transition will offer me greater freedom than ever to bring my patient readers more Blue, Rebecca Burton, and Commander Sayuri than ever before. More on that in a bit.
The first release under the DarkWhimsy Books banner will be a holiday paperback of two short stories, the previously released “Blue Christmas” (featuring the return of Rebecca Burton and Blue) and the annotated script to my original SF comedy Christmas play “The Beacon.” The paperback version will be offered in a special fun “double front” format.
Scheduled for early next year is the release of the first part of Lawgiver’s Crisis, a new epic science fiction adventure series with Book I titled Fall of the Sky Citadel. It’s a concept I’ve had on the back burner for awhile and it’s ready to come out. I’m super-excited to bring this story to you.
For those that don’t quite get the distinction, the difference between Seventh Star and my own imprint is that Seventh Star has covered the bulk of publishing expenses, distribution, marketing, editing, and of course their especially remarkable cover art. In exchange, they collect royalties on my titles in perpetuity.
Titles under the DarkWhimsy Books label will be entirely self-funded (with….perhaps a little assistance through Kickstarter and/or Patreon at some point, but… baby steps). It also means I can play with offering readers flash fiction, short stories, and other material that a publisher could not necessarily invest in. So, just a random example, I might write 10 or 12 Rebecca Burton and Blue short stories or a couple of Red Lotus novellas as exclusive material to my supporters under DarkWhimsy Books, and then bundle them under a new Seventh Star title once I have a book-length release.
Just a… y’know… totally random example.
Along with the help of Section 28, I’ll be re-teaming up with some old friends, including cover artists Nell Williams and Ash Arceneaux, who have agreed to provide the double-front covers for Blue Christmas/The Beacon.
And I’m very excited to say that my old friend and Maxine marketing model Lily Monstermeat will also return as a model (this time I should say cover model) as the title character “Lawgiver” of the Lawgiver’s Crisis series. And maybe… every now and then…I might be able to talk her back into donning that Maxine Marie white wig. 🙂
I look forward to starting this exciting new chapter in my career as an author, bringing my loyal readers along with me. and hopefully picking up a few along the way. Watch this space for more announcements, exciting new projects and stories under the DarkWhimsy Books banner!