We’ve hit the two-thirds mark of the Virtual Blue Blog Tour, a great time to post some link updates. Highlights include:
an ongoing Rafflecopter contest for a FREE copy of Virtual Blue and two Seventh Star books of your choice at Jess Resides Her; an analysis of Virtual Blue at Jorie Loves a Story; An overview of reading my series at Come Selahway With Me; Sheila Deeth and Armand Rosamilla host two blogs on Blue Shaefer; I’m interviewed by a fictional character on the John Allen site; Two fictional characters interview each other with entertaining results at Library Girl Reads and Reviews, and Rebecca Burton’s secret journal entry gets intercepted at Spellbindings! Click each link to see its entry.
Tomorrow Comes Media has arranged for an intense week of blog posts in support of my new release Virtual Blue, with contests and reviews, plus several guest blogs from me: new interviews, in-depth thoughts about writing, insight into the creative process and lots of observations about my characters and stories.
We have an exciting week ahead, so how appropriate that the tour straddles Halloween! Check back frequently for new links as they go live. Fans of Blue and Rebecca Burton will find much to love here this week, and we should snag plenty of new readers as well. Check out the full schedule here and don’t be shy about telling everyone you know!
We’ll also hold an all-day raffle at our canopy for a “Spooky Book Bag” of our work–$1 per ticket gets you one chance to win a set of books valued at over $60 without signatures–and the authors will sign and personalize each book on request.
This way, you can personalize a book for every horror reader on your gift list–or have all the books signed to you and keep them–we won’t tell.
To enter, find the Horror Authors Canopy. Raffle tickets are $1 each. Enter as often as you like. For each ticket you buy, we need your name and phone number (preferably a cell phone number you will be carrying with you at 5:30 that day, the time of the drawing) on the half you leave in the raffle.
Everyone who participates in the writer workshops earns one free ticket for the raffle. Children must have the ticket filled out by a parent.
100% of all proceeds go to MAP.
We’ll draw the winner following the 4 p.m. workshop, so some time after 5 p.m.
All tickets will be discarded responsibly. Tickets are to contact the winner. The rest will be destroyed.
Books will be “flat signed” unless the winner requests personalization. This will allow the authors to personalize books intended as gifts.
Parents take note: The books in the raffle and at the vendor tent contain adult content. We’ll do our best to sell responsibly, but we’re not going to card, nor will we judge what you let your kid read.
The Spooky Book Bag in detail. Links take you to the Amazon page:
So over the weekend I opened the two-story lounge where I will be hosting a big party over the next couple of weeks.
No, I didn’t rent a ballroom. There, obvious joke over.
Two of my stories are going live within a few days of each other and I’m super-stoked. The release dates are extremely fluid because Seventh Star is a sort of crunch mode after some unavoidable delays earlier this summer, and both of my books post Very Soon Now. We just don’t know….exactly when. So I said “what the heck” and decided to host an interactive party on Facebook.
Okay, it’s more like a virtual lounge. In fact, that’s what I call it, the R.J. Sullivan Two-Story Release Party Lounge. I’m so clever. Essentially it’s a temporary public group on Facebook where fans, friends and peers can drop in and out and see the latest news, play some trivia, and I’ll raffle for all sorts of prizes, thanks to my author buds.
Plus–its primary purpose–to make it easy for you to track the release of my new science fiction Singles novelette, the Fate of the Red Lotus, due out mid week. And of course, capping off with the long-anticipated follow-up in the Adventures of Blue Shaefer–Virtual Blue! We’ll have excerpts and art reveals before it goes live.
And with the convenience of being in a group, the update posts won’t scroll several pages off your feed in a couple of hours. So even if you can only check in once a day, you won’t miss any updates.
Oh no, you’re thinking, I can’t bear to hear RJ talk about himself for days and days. To which I say–FREE stuff! You love to read, don’t you? (Yes, RJ, why else would we be here, duh!) So I’ve asked several of my talented and generous author buds to help make it worth your while to stick around, including Eric Garrison,John F. Allen, Chantel Noordeloos, Debra Holland, Kat French, and James W. Kirk, and that’s just the folks I reached out to on short notice.
The list is growing. We’ll have lots of ebook giveaways–mainly because ebooks are so easy to handle in something like this, but don’t be surprised if some “actual” things may need to be boxed and mailed before it’s over. Wow, I have a way with words.
So why are you still reading this? The party’s already started and going on without you. Click here already!
What: The 7th Annual Paranormal Meet n Greet When: Saturday, August 10, Noon- 4 PM Where: The Historic Haunted Hannah House, 3801 Madison Ave. Indianapolis, IN 46227 How Much: This event is 100% FREE! FREE for vendors and FREE for patrons! No registration required! Just show up!
Did we mention it’s free?
The 7th Annual Paranormal Meet n Greet is like an art festival across the lawn of a haunted house. Scratch that, it IS an art festival across the lawn of a haunted house. The event is set up primarily for local and regional ghost investigation groups to meet, network, exchange information, trade stories and otherwise hang out. Click here to join the Facebook event.
There will also be vendors of all sorts, and this will be the third annual appearance by the Indiana Horror Writers, with our huge selection of ghostly and ghastly tales to tempt you. I’ve been privileged to attend all three years of the IHW’s involvement with this, first as a new author promoting my first-ever novel, and now returning on the eve of my third book.
Last year it was the debut event of Haunting Obsession. And although I won’t be debuting anything new this year, I’ll [plenty of copies on-hand at the Indiana Horror Writer’s table, where we’ll have a LOT of new releases on tap between us.
Michael West will have a wide selection, including the just re-released Wide Game and the popular anthology Vampires Don’t Sparkle.
Eric Garrison is bringing the new edition of Four ’til Late, the first of his road ghosts trilogy.
John F. Allen makes his first appearance to this event as a published author with his urban fantasy The God Killers.
Crystal Leflar is bringing her own stories of horror and the supernatural as well as a variety of selections from Nighscape Press.
Kathy Watness is bringing a wide selection of anthologies that cover a range of the strange and fantastic.
Whether you prefer your scares ghostly or ghastly, you’ll find much to love at the Indiana Horror Writers tent. Hope to see you there!
The Hannah House is located at 3801 Madison Ave. Indianapolis, IN 46227. It can easily be reached from 465 by exiting on the US31 North exit, also known as East Street. The third light down is National Ave – go right. The very next light is Madison Ave. The house sits on the corner of this intersection.
Here, re-posted for your consideration, is a writing exercise I composed this morning in one of my writer’s groups. A bit of metafiction whimsey and proof that while Haunting Obsession has been out for several months, Maxine isn’t done haunting me yet. (Yes, at the mentioned moment, two men stood just outside our open conference room door and proceeded to have a conversation.)
I stared at the laptop screen; the blank white surface stared back, screaming intimidation.
I glanced at the clock, mulling over the exercise, thinking, Wow, Steve, that’s a bit of a tall order. An evocative scene, using all five senses, simple words, and you want us to read it at the end of the hour? Really?
Behind me, I felt her lean against my shoulders, her breathy whisper in my ear sending a responsive shiver down my spine. “So, what’cha doing R.J.?”
I turned and looked behind me. There was Maxine Marie, the glamorous Hollywood ghost, the late great shapely gorgeous blonde, grinning for me and only me.
Still, I didn’t appreciate the timing. “Maxine, what are you doing here…now?”
Her bottom lip protruded, and she looked down at her feet. “Oh, look at Mister Serious Author, turning all grumpy-puss. As if I have any control over when I enter your mind.”
She turned and sat on the table, seated on her shapely bottom between myself and the new woman. Her body phased right through the chair, as ghosts tend to do.
It was fine, I could still see through her to the end of the room. A hint of vanilla lavender perfume drifted toward me. (Vanilla lavender? Sure, why not.)
“So,” said Maxine into the air, her nails tap-tap-tapping a quick rhythm on the tabletop. “You’re supposed to write to the five senses. What can we write about?”
I glared down, her nails, still ticking out their rapid tempo, the rhythm rapidly ratcheting on my last nerve. “Would you stop doing that please?”
She looked down, flashed an abashed grin, and folded her hands in her lap. “Sorry.”
“So how many have we covered?” she asked. I started looking over my draft. “Not sure. I wish those two guys out in the hallway would stop talking so we would concentrate on the assignment.”
Maxine nodded. “No kidding. Hey!” She offered a mischievous grin. “Want me to go out and scare them?”
I considered. I knew I should be filled with alarm, the very idea jolting my body so I could describe all sorts of abnormal sensations for this writing exercise, but my heart just wasn’t in it.
Truthfully, the thought of her walking through the wall, appearing between them while donning thick black glasses, hissing a librarian-like “shhhhh……” and then vanishing into thin air gave me the giggles.
But…I shook my head. “No, better not.”
“Oh, poo. You’re no fun.”
I reached for my blue travel coffee mug and took a sip, the tepid liquid, two hours past its prime, left a bitter aftertaste.
Maxine nodded. “Nicely done, sneaking in the sense of taste.”
I smiled at the compliment. “Thanks!”
I drummed my fingers lightly across the black keys in a repetitive motion, trying to think where else to take this scene.
“Hey, Mister,” she chastised. “Now who’s being annoying?”
I stopped. “Sorry.”
Maxine’s gaze lifted, settling on the clock, which showed quarter ’til.
“Think you have enough?”
“Sure. Thanks, Maxine.”
“Don’t mention it. Talk to you soon, RJ.” And she vanished.
It’s now officially less than two week before the Context SF Con, and I’ve just received my panel schedule, which I’m anxious to share with you all. I’ll be discussing some fascinating topics with some very talented and entertaining people, so there’s sure to be something worthwhile at each and every one.
When I’m not at a panel, I’ll probably be at the Indy Horror Writer’s table in the book vendor space, selling and signing, talking to fans, and hanging out with Sara Larson, Eric Garrison, A.D. Roland (the Haunting Blue cover artist—sssshhhh, don’t tell anyone) and more.
10:00 p.m. @ Arena District
Horror: Books and Movies
With Michael West, David L Day, and David Burkhead.
1:00 p.m. @ Short North
Point of View
With Gary Wedland and Linda Robertson.
6:00 p.m. @ Arena District
With Lucy A. Snyder, Linda Robertson, and Matthew Cook.
8:00 p.m. @ Short North
Ghosts: Are they real or just scary?
With Karin Shah, Mark Evans, and Joseph Martino.
Clutching a bright blue trade paperback book in her hands, the punkish teenage girl steps through the door of the Café Expresso in Broad Ripple and looks around.
Her gaze falls on the willowy young woman already seated and waving a dark green book back at her. Breaking into a grin, Fiona “Blue” Shaefer heads over to the table and shakes hands with Skye MacLeod before taking a seat across from her.
Blue: Hi there, Skye! [Blue points to the Blue Spirit paperback in her hands] Thanks for answering my email.
Skye: How could I refuse? I mean, I get to talk about myself, right? [laughs]
Waitress: What can I get you?
Blue: Medium Mocha, please, extra syrup.
Skye: [nods at her cup on the table] I’m good, thanks.
Blue: [to Skye] So, it’s been so long since I moved away, I wasn’t sure if you still remembered waiting on me all those times at the Starbucks. It’s been almost a year!
Skye: It’s good to see you again, without a counter between us this time. Wow, you’re not a kid anymore, are you?
Blue: N-no… [nods at copy of Haunting Blue in Skye’s hands] I guess you could say I’ve grown up a bit. I’ve been through a lot since the last time I was in ‘The Ripple’. I always think of you at Starbucks, it’s weird to see you here in the Café Expresso.
Skye: Well, I still go to the Broad Ripple Starbucks sometimes, but after they fired me up in Nora, I just kind of prefer independent coffee shops.
Blue: And the coffee you have there…is that…uh…just coffee?
Skye: [rolls her eyes] You know, I’m not always boozing it up, kiddo. Just unleaded coffee today for me! I, uh, kinda had to promise Annabelle I’d cut back. Being a Vampire Noble in the game is awesome, but it doesn’t, like, pay the bills, you know?
Blue: Yeah, I hear you there. So… [looks around the room] If I understood what you wrote, you have a little guardian fairy named Minnie you have to be tipsy to interact with. Is she around now? Or can you tell?
Skye: [shrugs] I see her more without alcohol these days, but she’s also more independent of me, too. I haven’t seen her today. She’s becoming much more her own person. It’s good for her, but kind of sad, since I’d gotten used to always having her around, watching out for me. So, I’m going through two separate types of withdrawal, sort of. Three, really… [sighs] But I have Annabelle and my gamer friends to help me get by.
Blue: Oh, yes, Annabelle. [fans herself with paperback] I read all about you two. Only boy I can attract is the small town computer nerd but you…you land a firefighter. Every girl’s dream. Well…sorta.
Skye: [smiles and sighs] Actually, I adore nerdy guys. Stuart was the biggest nerd. Annabelle… well, she’s a bit like you, kiddo; adorable but a lot tougher than she looks.
[Waitress deposits Blue’s coffee, looks back and forth between Blue and Skye, winks at Blue, and returns to the counter]
Blue: (turning pink) Well, uh, thank you, Skye. And I’m not a prude, but it is a little weird. For months, all you used to talk about was Stuart this and Stuart that. Then he goes off with another woman, so you turn around bring in your own other woman. I’d call that sweet revenge if I thought you did it on purpose.
Skye: Stuart really betrayed me, Blue. He was the love of my life, then he sold me out. Blamed me for the fire in our apartment. Meanwhile, Annabelle saved my life. She was there for me when I’d lost everything. And, well… we can’t help who we fall for, right?
Blue: Don’t I know it? I would never thought I’d fall for a guy who plays Dungeons and Dragons. Speaking of roleplaying, tell me more about the Live Action Roleplaying game you’re into. I never played myself. Never really wanted to, then when I moved to Perionne and of course Chip talked me into it. But that was paper and dice. The live action vampire roleplaying thing seems like a whole other level, with costumes and the improv in character thing. Do players really take staying “in character” as seriously as you say in your book?
Skye: Oh definitely! Some people hate to break character, like, ever. I have a lot of fun with it, it’s good to get to be someone else for a while. And, for most of us, our pretend lives are a lot more glamorous than our actual lives. It’s like living in a story, and some days, you just don’t want the fantasy to end. Which, I know is funny coming from a girl who sees fairies. [laughs]
Blue: So… speaking of Fairies, I guess Indy has its own gnome-like Scottish Fairy who calls himself the “Transit King”? What’s up with that?
Skye: [laughs] I know, right? He’s actually pretty formidable, even if he seems to be a batty little old bum on the surface. He’s older than dirt and claims dominion over the bus system. I wonder if IndyGo knows about him? He’s mostly friendly, though I get the feeling you wouldn’t to tick him off!
Blue: Well, I didn’t see him on the bus on the way up, but then again, I try not to look very closely at the other passengers. It can get you in trouble. Speaking of colorful characters, tell me about this fella Leslie? The huge costume designer guy with the great vampire fashion sense—does he just make people look great for roleplaying vampires or can he work similar miracles for a prom or something?
Skye: [laughs] Oh yes, he’s larger than life! He wouldn’t turn you away, doll, not if I introduced you first. He specializes in costumes, nothing all that durable. But I guess a prom’s all about costumes, isn’t it? So… does this mean prom is close for you? So, I’m guessing you’re going with Chip?
Blue: No, I just meant any kind of party. [trails off] I don’t know, a big costume party would be great about now. Just dress up like someone else and…forget about everything for a few hours. Yeah, that would be nice.