7th Annual Paranormal Meet n Greet August 10!

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.

2011
2011

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.

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2012, with RJ and "Maxine Marie" from Haunting Obsession.
2012, with RJ and “Maxine Marie” from Haunting Obsession.

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.

Looking ahead! Or, where the frack is Virtual Blue, RJ?

So after an exciting launch of Haunting Obsession almost exactly a year ago, things have slowed down, with lots of talk of things to come, but little to show for it–so far.

Not that I’ve come to a stop, not by any stretch. My short story Starter Kit was released through Apex Book Company, part of the Dark Faith Invocations anthology which includes a Stoker-winning story by Lucy A. Snyder. A Big Book of Strange, Weird and Wonderful Volume II also hit in December, which included “Inner Strength” (a Rebecca Burton short story) and the Seventh Star Press American Cancer Association fundraising anthology Vampires Don’t Sparkle included Robot Vampire, which has become a reader favorite since its release in March.

But that’s not a lot, and the wait has been long, but I hope well worth it. In early 2013, with deadline approaching and a long way to go, I took a few month writing sabbatical (not entirely, but mostly) to finish Virtual Blue, the second book in the Adventures of Blue Shaefer. Add to that, some unavoidable delays that are the reality of small press publishing, we were pushed back probably another month. And so, without yet committing to a release date, I can announce with confidence that Virtual Blue is coming out next month.

The story picks up with Chip and Blue two years after the events of Haunting Blue, carrying on an uneasy long distance relationship as they attend colleges in different parts of the country. For reasons obvious at the end of Haunting Blue, things are not going well for them. Things are so bad, that Blue arranges to fly back to Indiana to break up with Chip over Thanksgiving break. She thinks she’s in for a miserable weekend, and she’ right–but she doesn’t know the half of it.

“Hell Just Went Digital.” That’s the tagline and hints of things to come. The many people who loved Rebecca Burton, my paranormal investigator from Haunting Obsession, will be happy to know she will play a big part in the next installment, and I include a few other surprises and characters from other Seventh Star authors.

At 90,000 words, Virtual Blue is my most ambitious project (certainly my longest). There’s ghosts. Also demons. And psychopaths. And warriors. And sorcerers. And swordfights. There’s a bathroom sink, but in retrospect, I should have made it a kitchen sink.

If you enjoyed Haunting Blue and the relationship between Blue Shaefer and Chip, you will find much to love here. That said, by design and based on pre-reader feedback, you don’t need to have read the first book to enjoy the second (more on that below).

Virtual Blue will not be out in time for the Paranormal Meet n Greet. It’s a choice between rushing production or taking the time to make it right. Seventh Star has been supportive times a million. Hyperbole aside, I took extra time with this. I wanted to make this the best effort I could. It’s what my readers deserve, and what you’ll always get. It just might not always be as fast as I’d like it.

So all that said….after I turned in Virtual Blue, I had some time on my hands, as well as a desire to stretch my genre muscles and to explore strange new worlds, so to speak. So I started messing around with a sci-fi spaceship idea I’d had for awhile, and before I knew it, I’d drafted The Fate of the Red Lotus, the first of a series of space opera novelettes.  I grew up reading the spaceship fiction of Andre Norton, Elizabeth Moon, and of course, watching certain tales on TV created by Gene Roddenberry, and finally put my own slant on the classic genre. The first Red Lotus story will hit later this fall, as a Seventh Star Single, and if you love it as much as my pre-readers, we might see a new series before too long.

But wait, there’s more! As the year wraps up, Seventh Star is scheduling a re-printed, authorized version of Haunting Blue, the first book in the Adventures of Blue Shaefer, featuring a new  cover and interior art by Series Illustrator  Bonnie Wasson, giving my three novels a unified series look for the first time ever.

And I may have a few more tricks up my sleeve. Thanks for sticking with me. The wait is going to be soooo worth it. I can’t wait to share this. Watch this website and Facebook for more details. You can also follow the Author R.J. Sullivan Fan Club Facebook Page, my FB author business page,  and my Twitter account to ensure you won’t miss a thing.

Seventh Star Press Authors of Indianapolis to hold signing at Bookmama’s

John F. Allen, Eric Garrison, R.J. Sullivan and Michael West are selling and signing at Bookmama’s in Irvington, Indiana, 9 Johnson Avenue (click that link for location and other details) this Saturday, July 13, from 2-3 p.m. The authors are all affiliated with Seventh Star Press and the Indiana Horror Writers.

Three authors are offering brand-new releases exclusive to this event first! When I say brand-new, I mean you can’t even purchase these books though normal retail or internet outlets for a few more days. I mean the first print run in still the mail to the authors and will get here just in time. Bookmama’s will be the very first place in the galaxy you can buy these books!!

Let’s break down the new stuff.

the-god-killers-cover SSPNew voice John F. Allen will be offering the first book of the Ivory Blaque trilogy through Seventh Star, The God Killers, here BEFORE HIS OFFICIAL BOOK LAUNCH NEXT WEEK, featuring cover and interior art by Enggar Adirasa!

 

four til late SSPEric Garrison will release Four ’til Late, the first book of his Ghost Roads Trilogy, with new cover and interior art by Bonnie Wasson!

 

 

Wide-Game_7star_finalMichael West is bringing the highly anticipated re-issue of The Wide Game, with new cover and interior art by Matthew Perry!

There will be author readings. And snacks. And temporary tattoos. A good time is guaranteed. Hope to see you there.

A complete listing of books available:

The God Killers by John F. Allen; Blue Spirit*, Four ’til Late, and Reality Check** by Eric Garrison; Haunting Blue*** (Limited copies!) and Haunting Obsession by R.J. Sullivan; Cinema of Shadows, Poseidon’s Children, Spook House, The Wide Game, and Vampires Don’t Sparkle! (Limited copies!) by Michael West.

Books are $15 per title except Haunting Blue, $20.00. All titles are Seventh Star Press releases unless otherwise indicated.

* Homebrew Net
** Hydra Publications
*** Damnation Books

Interview: Eric Garrison Gives R.J. a Reality Check

ericgarrison-tbpCongratulations to my friend Eric Garrison on his two book publishing deals, one with Hydra Publications for his recently released science fiction dimension hopping thriller, Reality Check. The other for a multi-book deal with Seventh Star Press.

 

Shorty after Eric and I met, we discovered pretty fast that our writing shares much in common. We decided to embrace the similarities and write in a “shared world.”

 

So ignore all that, because Reality Check is something else entirely.

 

Reality Check is Eric’s genre-bending, dimension-hopping science fiction thriller, the first of a planned trilogy. You can meet Eric along with many other awesome authors *koff-koff me too koff-koff* at the That Book Place Book Fair, Saturday, March 16, the first place on the planet where Eric will appear, armed with the paperback of Reality Check.

 

Reality-Check-Cover-thumb“When a quantum supercomputer’s ‘reality simulator’ program causes temporary insanity in its beta-testers, Lee Green rolls up his sleeves and dives into a virtual world to debug the problem. Only he discovers that place is more real than anyone imagined.

He finds alternate versions of his friends in that mad science reality, their lives and relationships very different from those in the ‘real’ world. Quantum entanglements become romantic entanglements as he meets his love again in each new dimension.

Lee must save these other lives, decide which destiny is truly his, and what he’s willing to sacrifice to get there.”

 

For those that can’t make it, click here and here to see the book’s Amazon links.

 

 

There’s something both classical and yet new to this story. When it comes to science fiction, are you drawn more toward the classics or to the more modern stories? Which authors inspire you, particularly with this work?

 

I suppose if I had to pick just one of those, I guess I lean toward the classics. Even the modern authors I read, Stephen Baxter, John Varley, Dan Simmons… these guys write about spaceships and exploration and how humans change and still remain human.

 

Looking at my bookcases for science fiction authors, I see a lot of Asimov, Niven, Simmons, and Gibson. But if I think about the forces that formed Reality Check, I’d have to give credit to Robert Heinlein, Neal Stephenson, and John Varley. Whatever else you may say about Heinlein, he was the master of social science fiction… that “what if” being applied to how people adapt to technology and alien situations. Neal Stephenson, on the other hand, is the master of science fiction at breakneck, breathless pacing. I always strive to keep the momentum in my novels going.  John Varley follows in Heinlein’s footsteps in his treatment of individuals and relationships in science fiction, but he’s also amazing at cranking things “up to eleven” in intensity, taking the story through twists and turns that make you afraid to put his books down.

 

From the Reality Check book trailer. Art by Nell Williams.
From the Reality Check book trailer. Art by Nell Williams.

I’m going to give a nod toward Jack Chalker too, since absolutely no one writes body swapping stories like he does. There, I said it, I love Jack Chalker’s novels. We all have to have guilty pleasures, right?

 

 

What work would you most directly compare this story to?

 

That’s a tough one. It’s part Matrix, part Quantum Leap and part Star Trek TOS: Mirror, Mirror. I take a techie geek from our world and put him in alternate worlds, where he finds his own life still intertwined with his friends’ in different ways, despite the changing backdrop and genre.

 

 

When you first discussed the concept of this story, what struck me was how difficult, potentially, keeping track of your plot points might be. Yet everything falls into place quite nicely. Discuss the approach you took to keeping the plot from getting away from you.

 

Without giving too much away, I think the symmetry of the story was what held it together. Sure, three characters across three-and-a-half worlds did get confusing. Those three became nine individuals, but despite local differences, each triplet has great similarity to his or her alternate counterparts. It could have gotten all sorts of crazy, dealing with three main worlds, each with its local crisis, and all those characters’ motivations, but in the end, I told the story in first person for a reason: This is Lee’s story. Seeing it all through his eyes, we follow just his thread through the warp and weave of the novel. Writing it that way, I could concentrate on his wants and feelings and actions, even as everything changed around him, including his own body.

 

 

Let me throw a couple of thoughts at you that occurred to me as I read your book, and get your response. Reality Check follows a protagonist, unsure of himself, unhappy with his life, who finds within himself hidden potential as his exterior environment radically shifts. Reality Check may be seen as a study on how our environment directly affects us as a determining factor on how much of our potential we can find within ourselves.

 

From the Reality Check book trailer. Art by Nell Williams.
From the Reality Check book trailer. Art by Nell Williams.

I think this is a valid way to look at a theme in the story. Lee’s in the doldrums in his own life, but when he’s thrown into alternate versions of his life, he meets the challenges he finds there, doing more to fix those lives than than his own. Change is difficult, but it’s being put outside of our comfort zone that makes us grow and shine. Lee could have continued happily enough in his rut, but so could Bilbo have sat at home in his hole. And like Bilbo, Lee makes that first choice to step outside of himself to become so much more than he would have otherwise.

 

 

Try this one: A core theme in Reality Check seems to be that some people are destined to be together and will always find each other, no matter their life circumstance or position in life. With each reality shift, Lee continues to have a close relationship with his two best friends, even though the realities have little to nothing to do with each other geographically or, in many ways, the professions and organizations the three of them are associated with. (Dancing around spoilers). Do you embrace this destined viewpoint between individuals as a personal philosophy?

 

I think the idea of a soulmate is overused. I absolutely do not believe the “romantic” notion that there’s one true person for each of us in this world. I don’t see that concept as romantic, I see it as depressing. Only one person out of billions that really gets you? What if you pick wrong and meet your real soulmate later?

 

I prefer the idea of kindred spirits, in the sense that some people, you just know right off the bat, like you’ve met them before. Like we’re all just characters in some massively multiplayer online game, and we’ve played other games with the same folks another time. I do think we’re drawn to certain people, and I like to think that would be true no matter what universe.

 

Just to be contrary, I’ll relate that Reality Check doesn’t actually imply this. One of the Dionnes comes out and says that the only way the reality hopping works for Lee is because he’s swapping with people in other universes enough like him to be essentially who he is, despite all other factors. She goes on to say that the reason he’s surrounded by his closest friends, even in other universes, is because he can’t be who he is without those people as a part of his life.

 

But it’s really just a chicken-and-egg sort of thing.  Can they travel between dimensions only because they are together, or would they be together in any universe? They’re simply not the same people without each other, so it doesn’t matter which is the real reason. We are who we are, in part, by who we choose as friends.

 

 

This is your fifth completed novel and your first venture into science fiction. Discuss your journey as a writer. Is this a novel you could have written at any point in that journey or did you have to build up to it? Why did you feel that now was the right time?

 

I wrote Reality Check for two main reasons.  One, I had this idea, in some raw form, rattling around in my head for many years beforehand. It’s been sitting in my “Story Ideas” file in Google Docs all this time. It was going to be a short story, originally, but I couldn’t think of a plot to go with the concept that would fit that format. Two, I’d written four urban fantasy novels already, one trilogy and one spin-off, and I felt I wanted to stretch myself by writing all new characters and a different genre.

 

From the Reality Check book trailer. Art by Nell Williams.
From the Reality Check book trailer. Art by Nell Williams.

I really don’t think I could have written this as my first novel. It was a huge challenge. I quit writing it out of frustration halfway through the first draft. I did, I quit, I shouted I was done with it. I felt overwhelmed, and I wasn’t sure how I wanted to end it. But some good friends told me the idea was too compelling to abandon, that I had to finish it. With that external motivation, I sat my butt down and redid the outline, in greater detail, and finished a rough draft. Which I got feedback on; I was right, the ending wasn’t very satisfying. So I made it a sort of false ending and kicked the plot back into gear toward a new goal, which ended up rewriting and expanding it quite a bit. Even that ending wasn’t quite satisfying, so I tweaked it until I was satisfied and added an Epilogue so the ending didn’t come to such an abrupt halt.

 

There’s no way I would have had the discipline and drive to retool, rewrite and polish this book before the time I wrote it. It took having the other four books under my belt to have the confidence to finish what I started, with a little help from my friends, and the patience that came with the experience I gained over time.

 

 

Because “it’s complicated,” can you discuss what’s coming up from Eric Garrison?

 

It really is complicated! Toward the end of last year, I had a choice of working on a sequel to my urban fantasy spin-off, Blue Spirit (which I’ve already started), or following up on the adventures of Lee, Dionne and Cecil with a Reality Check sequel. Mean Spirit or Sanity Check. But a few things happened. First, Reality Check got picked up by Hydra Publications, which meant spending quality time with an editor (shout out to Martha Swanson!) to further refine that work. Then, I pitched my self-published Road Ghosts trilogy to Seventh Star Press, and they’ve decided to pick it up and publish it, along with Blue Spirit, as part of a six book deal.

 

So, my first novel, Four ’til Late, will be my next novel to come out in late spring or early summer of 2013. It will be followed by Sinking Down, the second book in the trilogy in mid to late summer. Blue Spirit will come out right on that book’s heels, for complicated reasons… mainly so that it doesn’t have to stay out of print as long, but partly because its protagonist, Skye, is introduced in Sinking Down and doesn’t have a role in the third book in the Road Ghosts trilogy.

 

So that means I will be working on a sequel to Blue Spirit in order to have it come out by the end of the year or early next year. But I think it won’t be Mean Spirit; I’ve decided more has to happen between those two books, so my working title for Skye’s next adventure is Restless Spirit.

Visit Eric Garrison’s website here.

Check out the Reality Check book trailer here.

Check out artist Nell Williams here.

 

Hoosier Horror for the Holidays

The Mooresville Public Library

and the

Indiana Horror Writers

Present

Hoosier Horror for the Holidays

A gathering of Indiana authors with: Vampires, ghosts, pirates, superheroes, fantasy warriors, wizards, and more!

Saturday, November 3,
1-3 PM

Mooresville Public Library
220 West Harrison Street
Mooresville, Indiana 46158
317.831.7323, mooresvillelib.org

Featuring:

Matt Adams: Indianapolis, Author of superhero prose, lives and works in Indianapolis. Long ago, I planned to patrol the streets as Batman, but ultimately decided writing was safer. www.mattadamswriter.com I, Crimsonstreak.

Maurice Broaddus: Indianapolis, co-editor of the Dark Faith anthologies (Apex Books) and author of the urban fantasy trilogy, Knights of Breton Court (Angry Robot Books). www.MauriceBroaddus.com King’s Justice, King Maker, King’s War, Dark Faith, Dark Faith: Invocations, and more.

Nicole Cushing: Southern Indiana, prolific author of horrific short stories. www.nicolecushing.wordpress.com Werewolves and Shape Shifters: Encounters with the Beast Within (anthology); and the forthcoming novella Children of No One.

Eric Garrison: Indianapolis, dark supernatural fantasies: ghosts, demonic possession and sinister fairy folk. www.ericgarrison.wordpress.com Road Ghosts (3-in-1), Blue Spirit.

Roberta Hoffer: Indianapolis, three words: Romantic Vampire Series. www.asilentheart.com Silent Heart, Silent Madness.

R.J. Sullivan: Camby, author of edgy ghost stories and paranormal thrillers. www.rjsullivanfiction.com Haunting Blue, Haunting Obsession, Contributor to Dark Faith: Invocations

Kathy Watness: North Salem, serial contributor to fantasy anthologies, such as the Blue Kingdom series, “Terribly Twisted Tales,” and The Crimson Pact, V.1.

Michael West: Indianapolis, prolific author of traditional horror and scares. www.bymichaelwest.com Cinema of Shadows, Wide Game, Poseidon’s Children, Skull Full of Kisses, and the just-released Spook House.