NOTE: This blog came about upon Danielle Muething concluding the recording of my latest Audible release, my short story collection Darkness With a Chance of Whimsy. I wanted to update my live blurbs for her and instead ended up writing this couple hundred word blog. Ah, well, it’s what I do.
Back in 2019, starting on my first ever audio book project, Danielle Muething blew me away with her blind audition read. All I knew I wanted at the time was someone who could read my story Haunting Obsession with a convincing “Marilyn Monroe” voice to represent the antagonist ghost of the story. Any narrator who could do that was the best logical choice “voice for hire.”
The work is done! With the release of Virtual Blue, the entirety of my paranormal thriller back titles are again available for purchase from all web-stores, ending a six-month project that was difficult but should be oh-so-worth it. Give me another month and I’ll have my stock replenished with my updated titles, and I will re-open my “order signed books from me” store. (I ALSO wish my store could have been open in time for Christmas, but the timing did not cooperate).
In the meantime, if you want to grab up any of my back titles for gift-giving, you might just have time. So what’s the breakdown of the titles, what’s different from the previous editions, and what’s coming next? Great questions.
Four of my back titles, primarily those related to my ghost story/paranormal series, were, by mutual agreement, returned to me by my former publisher, allowing me to re-release them on my indie Publishing label, DarkWhimsy Books. In this agreement, I also obtained the original edition cover art.
Just in time for Halloween, the Revised Edition of Haunting Obsession by DarkWhimsy Books is now available in all formats and from all outlets (including the fabulous Audible read by Danielle Muething that never went away). The just-launched paperback features a new interior layout, bonus illustration, and lower price point! Here’s the breakdown.
The Revised Edition paperback has a tighter but still easy to read page layout. It’s now 106 pages over the previous 190 pages.
With the shorter page count, I dropped the everyday price from $12 to $8!
The Revised Edition paperback and ebook still feature the original cover and interior artwork by Bonnie Wasson. but now include her third interior illustration of Rebecca Burton previously only available in the limited edition hardback.
But we also premiered two new YouTube videos in support of… all of the above, but which mainly showcase the talents of my fabulous audiobook narrator and her hitherto hidden paperdoll performance talents. Danielle Muething not only created these videos and props herself, but she did so within hours of the event.
So here you go! First, enjoy Danielle performing as Paperdoll Maxine Marie singing “I Wanna Be Loved By You.”
Next, Danielle took both paperdolls, built some sets, and created something new. It’s… well, you’ll see.
I’m super-thrilled to announce that my Amazon top-40 bestselling sexy ghost story Haunting Obsession will have an ACX (Amazon) audiobook version released later this summer. The new format release is in partnership with Seventh Star Press as one of their first titles being adapted to audiobook.
I’m super-excited about this development for a couple of reasons, the first is that I’ve been hoping to adapt Haunting Obsession to audiobook since the initial book release in 2012. I think the novella length and finding the right voice talent to take on the Maxine Marie / Marilyn Monroe voice will elevate the drama to new heights. It will also open the material to an audience that just plain prefers audiobooks over print (Something I am coming to understand in recent years).
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.
SinceHaunting 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.
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.”
New Seventh Star Superstar Carl R. Moore wrote this spiffy new review of Haunting Obsession and asked me a few questions about it. I was pleased and honored at the kind words and the attention Maxine continues to draw after all this time. Check it out. Carl’s article follows:
I’m very excited to announce my new review series, Review-Interview, a combination of a book review and short interview with the book’s author. It is in part a continuation of my blog’s original “Is that an Old Book?” review series. Adding a dialogue with the author brings in an exciting new element. The first featured book is Haunting Obsession, and the interview is with its author R.J. Sullivan. Without further ado, please enjoy the first installment of Review-Interview, brought to you by Carl R. Moore and Seventh Star Press:
A gifted young computer programmer has a passion for collecting movies and memorabilia featuring his hallowed idol—the elegant and alluring Maxine Marie. His colleague and girlfriend, Loretta, tolerates his obsession, but only to a point. When Daryl pays a high price for an old rent check signed by the famous actress, not only does he push his hobby and his girlfriend too far, he also summons an entity that is beautiful and dangerous, electric and evil, arousing and voracious—the ghost made flesh of Maxine Marie herself.
In Haunting Obsession, author R.J. Sullivan crafts a novella about a supernatural love triangle that draws its power primarily from its well-wrought characters. Flawed, somewhat geeky heroes likeable for their brains and sense of humor, protagonists Daryl and Loretta come across as a couple you might know and root for. You can see the attraction between them, Loretta’s affinity for the “mind behind the Star Trek posters”, as it were, and Daryl’s understanding that the woman he loves has the right combination of brains and easy-going tolerant spirit to be long-term material.
With Halloween approaching, Seventh Star Press is offering a scary low price on my sexy ghostly bestseller Haunting Obsession! From now until…?, new readers can download my most popular work and gateway story into my paranormal thriller series for just 99 cents!
Haunting Obsession, a top 100 ghost fiction bestseller during a previous 99 cents promotion, has been called “a page turner to the very last word.” by Renee Graham, Dead Speak Paranormal Radio show host. Bitten By Books praised its world building and character development in their 4/5 star rating. Eva’s Sanctuary proclaimed “The story line is well written and may actually make you believe in ghosts.” One Amazon reader posted “With Halloween coming, this is a book you will not want to miss. ”
If you’ve never yet met Loretta, Daryl, the elegantly seductive ghost and Hollywood icon Maxine Marie, or the mysterious Rebecca Burton, now’s your chance. The Haunting Obsession ebook is downloadable for 99 cents on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobobooks sites. Or, if you’d prefer to get a signed paperback copy directly from the author (for more than 99 cents,but autographs are always free and worth every penny you pay) click here to go to the dedicated page with all the links.
“Daryl is obsessed with Maxine Marie (think Marilyn Monroe) and has quite a memorabilia collection. His girlfriend, Loretta, has coped with this up until the night Daryl takes her shopping for her birthday present only to insist on buying himself a framed rent check Maxine had signed before becoming a household name. Storming off in a fury, Loretta makes her own way home, ignoring the advice of the Transit King to go wait for Daryl in his apartment. Unfortunately for Daryl, the rent check has become tied to Maxine’s ghost and, as she discovers the new world available to her as a powerful ghost, she doesn’t want to leave.”
Laurence Olivier as the titular prince and Marilyn as the titular showgirl. (I love using “titlular” in a sentence.) On paper, it seems a terrible mismatch of talent, and it is, just not the way you’d expect.
How I see it: Olivier may be the “greatest actor of his generation,” but he can’t seem to grasp the comedy based on the stage play he starred in for years. Marilyn, on the other hand, turns in an inspired, charming performance, and easily grabs the lion’s share of the laughs. Essentially this is a fluffy comedy about a traveling prince with a night off who secures a showgirl for a late night dinner party–or so she thinks. To no one’s surprise but hers, it’s a party for two, and she spends the weekend spurning his awkward passes, though she never quite makes it out the door for several days. Lots of laughs, a good time.
Accolades and popular consensus: Only a mild hit at the time, this is a movie that has grown in popularity, though I suspect most viewers would put this in the “Meh” category, neither good nor bad.
The film suffers from a segment midway through in which the prince drags the showgirl off to a cathedral where we’re “treated” to the “majesty” of the ceremony, which kills the momentum of the film midway through, and has to build up again. Still, it’s a personal favorite. Side note: the print of the film looks terrible; it’s long overdue for a proper restoration.
“Known for” Marilyn Moments: Olivier and Marilyn were constantly in the gossip columns during the making of the film. Olivier had little patience for Marilyn’s tardiness and lack of focus. Last year’s Academy-nominated bio-pic My Week with Marilyn is set during the making of this film, a powerful no-brainer for a double feature night.
Accolades and Consensus: Bus Stop is considered by film buffs a wonderful triumph for Marilyn, was a huge success at the time and is still much beloved to this day. Just look at how TCM gushes praise for it here.
How I see it: Understand up front I’m going against popular opinion here, but Bus Stop? “Train Wreck” is more like it. And I’ve tried. I’ve really tried. As a huge fan, I give it a spin every few years (and will again on Saturday), just to see if something clicks. Fortunately, it’s as forgettable as it is bad. The story is bad–I think. Something about a bus stop and a diner next door and a showgirl and a cowboy harassing her? I don’t care. The acting is bad. The songs are…you get the idea. Marilyn sings badly…on purpose…for comedy, so the raving comments say. Don’t listen. This is a terrible movie.
“Known for” Marilyn Moments: Her rather terrible rendition of That Old Black Magic, I guess. (Which, oddly enough, I can’t seem to find on YouTube.)
Update 2015–I’ve watched the film a couple more times and my view has softened toward it just a bit, but it’s still pretty terrible. I can enjoy and appreciate Marilyn’s brave performance, but the heart of the problem lies in the misogyny inherent in the premise. Let me be clear about the plot–this is about a brute ignorant cowboy who decides after looking at Marilyn one time that he has to marry her, and will not take no for an answer. He chases her, harasses her, and literally puts her over his shoulder more than once, and the turnaround at the end comes out of nowhere. Yes, she pities him, but I simply can’t believe she falls in love with him as the movie tries to sell us. I can’t imagine how modern audiences see this film. Bottom line, for me, it completely fails as a story, even if I can appreciate Marilyn in it.
Co-stars Yves Montand as a pompous ass trying to win Marilyn’s affections while Tony Randall and Wilfred Hyde White wander around the movie with confused looks.
Accolades and Consensus and How I See It: Starts out promising with a sizzling musical number and then evaporates into a truly terrible 90 minutes. It was a flop when it came out because it was terrible, and nothing has changed.
“Known for” Marilyn Moments: The opening number “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” is HOT. Here’s a link so you won’t have to bother with the rest of the movie.
(Because Marilyn can never be ugly)
Films that are neither good nor bad, merely films that fail to make much of an impression one way or the other.
Co-starring Ethel Merman, which tells you everything you need to know about whether this movie is for you.
Accolades and Consensus: This is ranked as one of her worst films. Many harsh things have been written about Marilyn’s “embarrassing” “Heat Wave” number, about which I disagree.
How I see it: Seriously, film people, y’all love Bus Stop but trash this? The problem with TNBLSB isn’t that it’s bad, it’s just that it’s not particularly good. Essentially a tribute to Irvin Berlin wrapped around the tiniest excuse of a plot, the trials of a touring family and music act in the early 20th century. Who cares? It’s a two hour first class send up to a bunch of Broadway tunes. Period. It plays old school, it is old school, I have a good time with it. Not for everyone, but not painful.