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.
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??
Maxine: You just called me loose. I may be dumb, but I’m not stupid.
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?
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]
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.
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!
Inconjunction was the first con I ever attended over 20 years ago as Mrs. RJ’s date. The authors were my heroes and I always wanted to be where they were. Now I’m dpoing just that for my third time. Unreal.
So it turns out, the awesome people who throw Inconjunction (the Circle of Janus) moved their monthly meetings to a few miles down the road from where I live. I opened my big mouth and said “sure, the SFG will do as many panels as you want.” So they got us hopping this year!
Here’s your Stalker’s Guide to finding me.
Friday, July 4th
4 pm–Main Programming Room: Book Trailers–what are they good for? With: Eric Garrison and Author Co-Guest of Honor Kat Falls.
7 pm–Grand Ballroom 7 and 8: What are your favorites in genre television, and why? With: Mike Suess
8 pm–Grand Ballroom 7 and 8: Analyzing the History of the Comic Book Movie With: John F. Allen and Mike Suess.
Saturday, July 5
11 am–Indianapolis Ballroom D: SFG Writer’s Workshop: Point of View: Why it’s Better to Have One With: the SFG: John, Eric, Matt, and Crystal, plus Rosemary Laurey
1 pm–Room name coming: Discussion on genre television, title forthcoming: With John F. Allen
4 pm–Grand Ballroom 7 & 8: Making the Jump to a Series With: John F. Allen and Mike Shepherd.
7 pm–Harrison Room: SFG Writer’s Roundtable: Making the most of local settings in genre fiction With: The SFG: John, Eric, Matt, and Crystal.
10 pm–Grand Ballroom 7-8: Candlelight Horror Reading With: John F. Allen, Crystal Leflar and Jeff Seymour.
The print proof of Haunting Blue arrived in the mail today and it looks amazing. After a quick look-over to confirm the accuracy (or fix a bitty thing or two, if needed) the paper copy should be ready to go very soon. In the meantime, I got a little silly and took a few photos of the series you can see here.