Haunting Blue, a look back, a look forward

Art by Bonnie Wasson
Art by Bonnie Wasson

I spent the last part of Memorial Day Weekend and thru Wednesday night re-reading Haunting Blue front to back, checking the publisher proof against all revisions, ensuring that this will be the final, most accurate version of the story. It’s an odd thing for a writer, looking back on an earlier work.

Because our craft is one of constant growth, I can say without apology that if I were to start over from scratch, if I were to pen the first book in the Adventures of Blue Shaefer today, it would be a very different book than what it is now. I’d like to think it would be a better book.

An author’s writing is like a time capsule, at least to the author. As we gain experience, beginner’s mistakes become more obvious, tangents that we might have thought better of stand out more clearly.  I have heard that some authors, at least privately, have a tendency to disown, or try to disassociate themselves from, their first works.

Art by Bonnie Wasson for the new edition of Haunting Blue.
Art by Bonnie Wasson for the new edition of Haunting Blue.

And while I “get it” to some extent, as I reviewed the work, head to toe, I can honestly say I am still very proud of Blue Shaefer’s premiere adventure. Yes, she’s melodramatic, over the top, and, yes, I roll my eyes at certain moments in the novel. When the time came to re-release the book, I had a choice to make–I could have gutted and rewritten the tale, or simply tweaked the text to address the bigger errors but otherwise let it stand as a time capsule of the start of my journey as a published author.

The great Harlan Ellison recently observed about his own early work (and I’m not comparing myself to a genius whose career goes back decades–this just happened to resonate) “I look back over my earlier stories and say, ‘eh, the kid did the best he could with the tools he had at the time.'”

I think this is very true, along with other factors. One that is obvious to me is my “everything plus the kitchen sink” approach. I thought of Haunting Blue as my one shot, maybe the only novel that I might ever put out, and I put my all into it, because who knew when the next book might get published. This is another factor that contributes to the drama of the tale.

Art by Bonnie Wasson for the new edition of Haunting Blue.

Of course, I now know, and am blessed to be assured, that I have plenty of readers and a publisher very anxious for my next story. And my next, and my next. I don’t need to “put it all out there,” which brings far greater focus to my later stories, a benefit to my readers as much as myself.

Another reason to tweak rather than gut: it’s fair to observe that when I drafted my angst-driven high school punk girl, I was much closer to her age than I am now. Who am I to second-guess how much of my narrative is genuine, when I’m much further from the source?

So starting tonight, and into tomorrow, courtesy of Seventh Star Press, Haunting Blue goes back into print, with the major ebook formats, and the softcover hits a couple days later. It is slightly tweaked, with a new cover and interior art by Bonnie Wasson, a new poem by Nicole Rinaldi, (who also wrote the pieces in Virtual Blue). The softcover will look quite spiffy next to Haunting Obsession and Virtual Blue, giving the trilogy a unified series look for the first time.

Haunting Blue is a paranormal thriller, an edgy first novel by a new voice who did the best he could with the tools he had at the time. Having just re-read it, it still moves me and accomplishes what I intended. I still love it, and if you’re experiencing the story for the first time, I hope you will, too.

Go here to watch the links go live.

Haunting Blue Cover Reveal!

BlueI’m thrilled to announce that Seventh Star Press officially unveiled the cover for the officiall re-release of Haunting Blue, plus they announced a release date for the ebook! The softcover will go live a few days later.

Read all the details here!

R.J. Meets Rebecca in new Meta-Fiction

Book blogger and good friend Jess of Jess Resides Here graciously agreed to host a new flash fiction story in which I consider what might happen if I ever come face to face with my character Rebecca Burton! Check it out–you might find a special announcement hidden within.

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I’m pleased to share an original story by author Rj Sullivan who is a mega awesome guy. This was meant to be featured on The Cabin Goddess’s blog but she is taking a well deserved break, I’m sure Rj will be hanging out in the cabin at some point in the future. Stay tuned! I’ve read a couple of Rj’s books and must say I particularly love how his focus is on strong female characters. Rj is very in touch with his feminine side and I say the Little Mermaid Mug is to thank for that. So read and enjoy. Also leave some feedback. I’m sure Rj would love it.

A funny thing happened while killing time in Broad Ripple…

Those that don’t live in Indy won’t care about the details, but suffice it to say, several of my long-time friends live north and east of Indianapolis. I am the only one of that clan to live south and west of downtown. One of my friends still lives in Broad Ripple, a place I used to visit frequently in my teens and twenties and now visit only a couple times a year.

Art by Nell Williams.
Art by Nell Williams.

Yes, that Broad Ripple. Fiona “Blue” Shaefer’s hangout prior to moving to the scary small town of Perionne, as referenced in Haunting Blue. Though an older, well-established suburb with many historical buildings, the presence of Butler University injects the area constantly with liberal youth often at odds with its long-term residents.

I took a trip north to meet up with my friends, and in a rare instance, we decided to group up in Broad Ripple. In a not-so-rare instance, being self-employed, I arrived in town a couple hours prior to my friends who all have to punch a clock. I thought I’d take advantage of the atmosphere to bring along the laptop (I really needed to replace that thing with some sort of pad–someday soon, I hope), find a coffee shop or restaurant, take in the local atmosphere, and see how it affects my muse.

Art Bonnie Wasson
Art Bonnie Wasson

Not many people know that the coffee shop Café Expresso as mentioned in Haunting Blue and Haunting Obsession really existed–past tense. It was a favorite hangout during my college years, a place for the more artistic type to meet during the day and, looking back, feel a bit insufferable about ourselves. Unfortunately, the little shop closed down around 1990 and so its legacy continued only in the pages of my stories, my little homage to a very cool place.

Or so I thought.

I barely had the presence of mind not to drive up onto the sidewalk when I saw the awning over a historical building in downtown Broad Ripple that declared itself to be the Café Expresso. I managed to pull over before embarrassing myself, and sat there for many seconds staring at the little shop and its ironic name. Dare I say…I felt like I’d seen a ghost.

Click here to go to Jess Resides Here and finish the story.

Photo afterglow from Saturday’s Author Fair

With "Virtual Blue" Nikki Howard!
With “Virtual Blue” Nikki Howard!

The drive was smooth and the weather perfect (though I’m glad I remembered my sunscreen) for the Fourth Annual Author’s Fair at That Book Place! But enough about me, if a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s a novella to check out!

Click here to access my Facebook photo album of the event.

Fourth Annual Author’s Fair at That Book Place

That Book Place 4th Annual Author’s Fair
Saturday, March 15, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
335 Clifty Drive; Madison, IN  47250
Click here for the website and
Click here to invite yourself to the Facebook Event (Best source of information)

Virtual Blue Final low rezThis weekend marks my third consecutive appearance at the annual Book Fair at That Book Place in Madison, Indiana. Pretty cool, given this is only the fourth annual event.

At the second annual event, I was honored to be one of perhaps 20 authors. This year, Frank Hall, the owner of That Book Place, is making room for more than 40 authors. Fortunately, he’s expanded his store to double its previous size, which means room for more books and more authors than ever!

Haunting Obsession Lo RezThe Annual Book Fair at That Book Place has turned into quite a mini-gathering of regional authors. This year, I know for sure, that Seventh Star Press will be well represented, with authorly buddies John F. Allen, Eric Garrison, and Michael West joining me, plus Selah Janel and the awesome Stephen Zimmer. I expect to see Ren Garcia, Matt Adams, Tony Acree, and….wow, I just looked at the guests list. Click here to check it out for  yourself.

It’s no exaggeration that That Book Place has thousands of new and used books in an astronomical variety of genres. And Frank makes sure that indy (and Indy) and small press authors are well represented at That Book Place. That’s why we love him, and that’s why we gather up in force at his little shop every year.  John Allen recently called it the “pre-season event” of the convention season, and I think that explains it well.

1379298_685408011469465_1960097454_nThis year I’ll be bringing the always popular Haunting Obsession, and new since last year , my latest novel, Virtual Blue. Although it is out of print, I will have very limited copies of the Haunting Blue paperback on hand. All paperbacks are sold through That Book Place, and as always, Frank is offering a discount on all Fair merchandise.

Autographs are free and worth every penny you pay.

If the weather is as warm as predicted, there’s a very good chance that Blue, the main character in my series, will make an appearance! She doesn’t like the cold, but it looks like the weather will hold out.

So come on out! I hope to see you there.

Haunting Blue Returning to Haunt Readers Again

Some people may have noticed in the last few weeks that Haunting Blue has been dropping off the major outlets.  That’s because publication rights to the book reverted back to me, and in the months since, the novel has been dropping off from all outlets.

To put it simply, Haunting Blue is out of print.

While it saddens me to see my first novel enter the “old edition graveyard,” rest assured, this isn’t the end of Haunting Blue, but rather, a new beginning. As we speak, Seventh Star Press is putting the final touches on a new, improved release of Haunting Blue! And while it’s too soon to announce a date, it won’t be a long wait.

So what’s new?

  • Well, for starters, my Seventh Star series artist, the amazing Bonnie Wasson, is creating a new cover for this edition, along with fabulous interior art. Watch for reveals in the coming weeks!
  • I took advantage of the re-publication to tweak some passages and fix a couple of boo-boos. And just for fun, I added a poem by Blue (actually penned by reader and good friend Nicole Rinaldi, who also wrote the poems in Virtual Blue) to delve a bit more deeply into the character’s psyche.
  • And what I love the most: For the first time, the loose “trilogy” of Haunting Blue, Haunting Obsession, and Virtual Blue will have a unified series look.

Though it’s my first novel, I’m still very proud of this story, and I’m as excited to share it now as I was back in 2010. We’re doing everything we can to make this a “deluxe edition.” I’m excited to see Haunting Blue re-launch with a Seventh Star Sendoff. Stay tuned!

New Virtual Blue Book Trailer now live!

Art by Bonnie Wasson
Art by Bonnie Wasson

Today Seventh Star launched the official book trailer to Virtual Blue, a collaborative effort with local fan and cosplayer Nikki Howard, who opened up and tapped her inner troubled punk girl. Thanks, Nikki, you are awesome! Special thanks to Eric Garrison for editing the pieces together for me so fast and efficiently.

So enough from me, check it out here!

The Blog Tour So Far…

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.

October 28     Jess Resides Here                               Contest

October 28     Jorie Loves a Story                            Review

October 28     Come Selahway With Me                 Guest Post

October 29     Sheila Deeth Blog                              Character Interview w/ Blue

October 30     Armand Rosamilia                             Guest Post

October 30     A Haunted Head                                Special Post Tba

October 31     John F. Allen                                       Ivory Blaque Interview of RJ!

October 31     Spellbindings                                     Character Post with Rebecca Burton

October 31     Library Girl Reads and Reviews        Character Interview of Rebecca Burton

Blog tour day one!

Here are the live links for the first day of my blog tour!

Jess Resides Here has a contest: http://frellathon.com/2013/10/28/virtual-blue-rj-sullivan-book-tour-mega-giveaway/

Jories Loves a Story reviews Virtual Blue: http://jorielovesastory.com/2013/10/28/blog-book-tour-virtual-blue-by-rj-sullivan/

Come Selahway with Me has a great guest post: http://selahjanel.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/tcm-presents-virtual-blue-by-rj-sullivan/

You can see the master schedule here!

Yesterday my blog hit new high numbers,three times more than I’ve ever seen. A very cool surprise. Thanks, everyone.

Thanks to everyone sharing and participating.

 

Full Virtual Blue Blog Tour schedule now posted

RJ VB banner

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!