Last spring, my first-ever audiobook happened. It was a perfect-storm project where the ideal narrator submitted a random audition for a novella she deep-down wanted to land much more than she cared to admit at the time, whose reading blew away the anxious author who fretted that his vision be dramatized by a kindred spirit who “got it” (and knew that boy-howdy did she!). And they were backed by a supportive publisher making their first ventures into audiobook and who knew they had something special.
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.
This makes my fourth Imaginarium Convention (because that’s how many there have been), a terrific readers and writers con in Louisville, KY, started by Seventh Star Press partly in response to some odd and disappointing trends at other conventions in the area (which this year became all too apparent, but never mind). From the start, it’s been a great con to surround myself with people of immense talent, to mingle, gossip, and just generally pretend I belong there. Catch up with friends, hang out with buddies, and stand in the corner in amazement at being in the same room with still others.
Without breaking it down into those sub-categories, some of the authors I’m particularly excited to see are: John F. Allen, E. Chris Garrison, Matthew Barron, Kat French, Sela Carsen, Selah Janel, Elizabeth Donald, Lucy Snyder, Gary Braunbeck, Mchael Knost, Michael West, Dan Jolley, Dave Creek, Arlan Andrews, Ericka Kahler, Armand Rosamilia, Stephen Zimmer, Demetrius Witherspoon, Bishop Stevens, Jason Sizemore, Janet Hariett, Tony Acree,and many, many, many more. (No, I am not linking these names because I want to have this done before the event itself, but you should Google them all).
I may have name-dropped a bit in that last paragraph. It’s all good.
Now, since I know a lot of you will be taking the trip specifically to see me (or let’s just pretend that’s the case, okay? We authors have gigantic but fragile egos), here is my panel schedule:
Sat, 5 PM in the Cumberland Room: Exploring Today’s Universe of Science Fiction
With Dave Creek (Moderator), Bethany DJ Kesler, Eri Nelson, Gerald L. Coleman, Sarena Ulibarri, and Dr. Arlan Andrews.
Sat, 6 PM in the Goldenrod Room: Paranormal Literature
With Lori Roberts (Moderator) Barb Jones, Jacob Floyd, Monica Corwin, and Lorena Reith Jr.
Sun, 11 AM in the Derby Room: Finding the Right Critique Groups
With Carma Haley Shoemaker (Moderator) Kristi Bradley, Juanita D. Houston, Marian Allen, and Geoffrey Mandragora.
And did I mention, the vendor room is completely free to visitors all weekend long! That’s right, there’s no charge to show up and shop a room chock full of talented Speculative Fiction authors and their books. I’ll be there in the Seventh Star section not too far from John and Chris most of the time. So come find us and say hi. I’ll be fully stocked with my catalog of titles, and as always, autographs are FREE and worth every penny you pay.
Imaginarium is an awesome author and reader con that continues to grow every year. From Indy, it’s an easy day trip. If you’ve never been, you need to check it out. I hope to see some of you there!
‘Tis the season for ghosts and goblins and all things scary, and if you’re a reader, you’re looking for a seasonal read to get your spooky on!
I’d like to humbly suggest my paranormal series.
My first novel, Haunting Blue, is a dark homage to the Hardy Boys style of mystery, with Frank and Joe replaced by punk girl Blue and her small town computer nerd boyfriend Chip. Together they try to solve the mystery of a robbery gone awry and discover once and for all what happened to the infamous criminal Gunther Stalt and find his bag of bank money. Chip and Blue find the treasure…and the vengeful ghost still guarding it after all these years.
Haunting Obsession is my bestselling sexy ghost story about Maxine Marie, a dead Hollywood starlet, and Daryl, the fixated fan who accidentally conjures her. But just because he brought her back doesn’t mean he can control her. Before too long, Maxine’s powers grow to alarming levels as she feeds on the energy of her fans, including Daryl. It’s up to Daryl’s girlfriend Loretta–who’s feeling a bit put out by these events–to find help in the form of the mysterious paranormal investigator Rebecca Burton.
Virtual Blue, the exciting sequel to Haunting Blue, finds our heroes fighting demons and their servants in a video game reality where death is temporary but the pain is all-too-real. Even with the help of Rebecca Burton, it’s going to take all of Blue’s wits and strength to survive this.
You can order all titles in ebook or paperback from major internet outlets–click the link on each title in this article to go to each dedicated order page.
If you want something extra special for Halloween, you can order titles directly from me for about the same price, signed and personalized with a Halloween message and mailed to your door. Payppal and credit card orders accepted. Here’s how you do that.
Thanks in advance for choosing my paranormal tales as part of your Halloween reading escape!
This Saturday marks my fifth consecutive appearance at the Paranormal Meet and Greet at the Historical Hannah House on the south side of Indianapolis.
My first appearance was as a new author in 2011 with my then-brand new first novel Haunting Blue.
My second appearance was for the book launch of Haunting Obsession, where reader / fan Nikki Howard enthusiastically cosplayed my sexy ghost Maxine Marie on a cosmic lineup of events–the book came out the year of the 50th anniversary of the real Marilyn Monroe’s death, and the event took place 50 years and within a day or two of her death. (And if I told you I had no idea that things would align the way they did when I started planning it, I wouldn’t believe me, either.) It was a lot of fun and we sold a lot of books that day.
Since then, I’ve been a part of the Paranormal Meet and Greet every year it’s taken place (they took a year off in 2014). It’s a fun day, pretty easygoing, at a truly unique and lovely landmark, and the people there are kind and enthusiastic about real-life paranormal investigations. I hear some incredible stories every year.
This year, I’m sharing a booth with other SFG Booksellers, where we’ll have plenty of horror and ghost story books to choose from. And Maxine Marie is going to “haunt” the grounds of the Historical Hannah House. This time she’ll be “channeled” by local model and reader Madison Kae Scroggin, who’ll be mingling with the crowd and posing for pictures while she puts the “boo” in boo-boop-be-doo. (Yeah…I don’t know what that means, either, but you don’t want to miss it).
You’ll find plenty of copies of my paranormal trilogy and my short story collection. (I’m temporarily out of stock of Commanding the Red Lotus)
Cash and Credit Card payments accepted. Autographs as always are completely FREE and worth every penny you pay.
The 10th Annual Paranormal Meet and Greet is a FREE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC EVENT Sat, Aug. 13 with extended hours from previous years: 11 am-6 pm in the lawn of the Historic Hannah House at 3801 Madison Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46227. Click this link to go to the Facebook Event Page. I hope to see some of you there!
Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy opens with “The Assurance Salesman,” a story composed as a creative writing assignment that later went on to win the IUPUI Rebecca Pitts School of Liberal Arts creative writing award and ended up in the school’s literary magazine. (“genesis” spelled with a small g because Liberal Arts Students) College was a prolific time for me, as I imagine it is for many young writers, but this is one of only two stories that survived to have a second life years later and make it into this collection. It was even picked as one of the “Best of” in a one-shot 25 year retrospective of the publication. Neat.
The story was rewritten in 2004 (major overhaul would be more accurate), sold to Midnight Graffiti, and tweaked yet again for DWACOW. The major plot points, however, have remained the same. Here’s a short excerpt.
The setup: Five passengers on a midnight train to London are interrupted by a mysterious cloaked “stranger” who inserts himself into their philosophical discussion on love and affection. He reaches into his cloak to withdraw… ?
Gary sees the transparent center of the rose cloud with swirling blue smoke.
The stranger shrugs. “This little beauty—diamond, pendant, crystal, charm, I don’t really know what—is rather special. It took away all my doubts about love.” His eyes harden. “It’s also why I’m currently without companionship.”
They all wait.
The stranger delights in the moment, letting it linger before continuing. “You see, this rose is magical. I don’t know how it works, I only know that it does. I found it on a train rather similar to this one, under a seat, and I was ready to give it to the stationmaster when I accidentally discovered its powers.”
“A charlatan.” Stewart speaks, shaking his head. “You’re a con artist. I should’ve known better.”
“Oh, no. No gimmick here. Although I’m sure you’ll think so at first. You see, somehow, the crystal center can tap into the mind’s eye of another person. I don’t pretend to understand magic. Imagine, though, an object that can read your mind, find out who you love, and present you with an image of yourself … from that person’s frame of mind.”
He extends the glowing blue rose, tantalizingly, in front of Janet’s widened eyes. As it inches nearer, she bites her lip.
There is a loud chuckle from Stewart’s corner. “Of course. And how much do you ask for this miracle?”
“Fifty pounds for one gaze.”
Gary’s excitement dampens at the offer. “That’s ridiculous. For a silly parlor trick?” But his voice cracks, exposing his lack of conviction.
“I’m sure it makes you feel better to keep insisting that, and I can even see where you’re coming from. Which is why—” The stranger spaces his words carefully, aiming them directly at the transfixed woman. “—Janet can have a free look. Once you’ve taken her word for it, I’ll take your fifty pounds, each in turn.”
“Really?” Gary says, feebly, “and what makes you think it’s really worth fifty pounds?”
“Fifty pounds to know the unknowable? To make faith fact? Isn’t that worth fifty pounds to you?”
Janet’s hands are already clasped around the folded petals, which direct the light to make her face shine an eerie blue. She looks at the stranger uncertainly.
“What do I do?”
The stranger releases the rose into her hands. As she leans away from him, the stranger blends into the darkness. “Close one eye, and focus directly into the center. Don’t worry about light, it works even in total darkness. The image will be perfect.”
Janet holds the rose close. The stem burns against her trembling fingers; she needs both hands to steady the crystal. She can see the center, not simply clouded, but filled with smoky, animated, swirling, mist. An actual light of unknown nature within the rose causes the blue glow.
She hardly has time to reflect on this when the mist clears, and she finds herself staring at an image … of herself.
**** She is seated in the train, as she was moments earlier, leaning against her husband’s shoulder. Only Kevin is not in the picture, at least not his face. Her breath leaves her body as she realizes that she is seeing through Kevin’s eyes, looking down on his new bride. She can see her own face from his viewpoint. She remembers the daily routine of seeing her own face in a mirror, angry at the puffiness of her cheeks, at the way her hair would never settle quite right. In the rose, the flaws remain, but are filtered to the point of insignificance. She sees herself, all the features the same, but there is an image, a golden glow over her face and body that is almost angelic. A finger caresses her cheek, and the skin—her skin—feels the softest, smoothest, most beautiful silk she has ever touched. Images superimpose themselves rapidly over her body. She can see herself in her nightgown on their wedding night, a sense of pleasure mixed perfectly with tenderness. Purity and passion somehow become one and the same, and she is the source. She tries to force the flaws she sees in herself, the hair, the weight, the temper tantrums. They don’t exist in this image. She sees herself, but now she is his perfect woman, sexy, funny, beautiful, giving, Everything. ****
The rose drops from her hands into the stranger’s. She buries herself in Kevin’s arms, the joy in her sobs tearing from her.
“iloveyouiloveyouohgodhowiloveyou …” Her arms squeeze her husband’s shoulders as she cries. There’s no shame left, nothing to hold back, not now and not ever again.
A gathering of Indiana authors with: Vampires, ghosts, pirates, superheroes, fantasy warriors, wizards, and more!
Saturday, November 3,
Mooresville Public Library
220 West Harrison Street
Mooresville, Indiana 46158
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.