RJ’s Obsession (Recreated)

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Cyndi and RJ partying like it’s 1999–because it was.

RJ’s Obsession
(Or, seriously, what’s with the constant Cyndi Lauper posts?)

This blog was originally written and posted in 2012 on the awesome Kriss Morton blog Cabin Goddess as part of my Haunting Obsession Book Tour. Through the years, sharing the link to that article would be my go-to answer  to anyone who’d ask me about my “Cyndi Lauper Story.” Sadly, Kriss took down Cabin Goddess and has no plans at this time to bring it back. That article is re-posted here (lacking her graphic awesomeness) with her permission. Tweaks have been made to update links and information.

Since Haunting Obsession features a thinly veiled homage to Marilyn Monroe, and is the story of someone who takes his fandom way too far, it’s easy to assume I’m an over-the-top fan of Monroe. And yes, I do fixate on many things Marilyn. But she is not the person I am most obsessed about.

I also love pop music of all eras. But I am a child of the 80s. I was in the tenth grade in 1983, a couple years after M-TV debuted, so the woman who stands above everyone else in my pop music universe is Cyndi Lauper.

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1997, my first backstage visit. Mrs RJ, me, Cyndi, and my local Cyndi buddy Michelle.

Yes, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, She-Bop, Money Changes Everything, and the most awesome ballad of all time Time after Time. [Edit: I considered linking each song, but come on, kids, Google them. I can’t do EVERYTHING for you.] THAT Cyndi Lauper. Her rendition of Unchained Melody performed live in 2003 in a small Chicago dinner theater is the only time this six-foot four inch man ever swooned. Were I not already sitting down, it could have been embarrassing.

I see you. Yes, you. Hovering your pointer on the back-button, ready to bail out of this post. I know what you are thinking. I will say it for you. Cyndi Lauper. What a kook. RJ’s hopelessly stuck in the 80s. Isn’t she just for girls? See, I’m psychic that way.

I remember in 1983 the first time I heard Girls Just Want to Have Fun. My exact thoughts: “Wow, fun song, too bad it will never catch on.”

Hmmm. . . so much for my psychic powers. Continue reading “RJ’s Obsession (Recreated)”

Elegant ghost Maxine Marie responds to “hitting 40”

376743_10151060948417591_639062236_nRJ: Congratulations on hitting 40, Maxine!

[Maxine slaps RJ]

RJ: Hey, what was that for?

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??

2012, with RJ and Nikki Howard as "Maxine Marie".
RJ and Nikki Howard as “Maxine Marie”.

Maxine: You just called me loose. I may be dumb, but I’m not stupid.

RJ: No, I just mean that Haunting Obsession can be read on its own, without the other two books, but it also acts as a bridge story between Haunting Blue and Virtual Blue.

Maxine: Oh, well, why didn’t you just say so?

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?

Art by Nell Williams.
Art by Nell Williams.

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]

Maxine: What?

Lily Monstermeat as Maxine Marie.
Lily Monstermeat as Maxine Marie.

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.

HAPPY LABOR DAY WEEKEND!!!

Maxine Marie introduces Virtual Blue

Lily from the videoCheck out the new promotional trailer in which my movie star ghost Maxine Marie introduces Virtual Blue and explains why it’s really all about her!

Special thanks to Lily Monstermeat for all her hard work and for again channeling Maxine so “elegant”ly!!

View the video here!

Haunting Writing Exercise

Haunting Obsession Lo RezHere, 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?

582152_10151060950622591_1149631412_nBehind 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.”

Art by Nell Williams.
Art by Nell Williams.

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.”

“It’s okay.”

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

“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.

Art by Bonnie Wasson.
Art by Bonnie Wasson.

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.

Lily Monstermeat as Maxine Marie.
Lily Monstermeat as Maxine Marie.

“Think you have enough?”

“Sure. Thanks, Maxine.”

“Don’t mention it. Talk to you soon, RJ.” And she vanished.

Learn more about Maxine Marie and Haunting Obsession at this link.