Comic Con Post-weekend and Red Lotus Launch

indiana comic conIndiana Comic Con was a great weekend for me, and for us, my partners in vending, John F. Allen, Chris Garrison, and Frank Smith III. We all moved a lot of books. The costumes were thrilling, the conversations stimulating and nonstop, the interest in what we were all about gratifying.

I met Marv Wolfman (a comic book writing legend of the 70s and 80s. For you Muggles, he scripted Amazing Spider-Man and Tomb of Dracula among many other things, but that’s who he was to me). He signed my rare Spider-Man prose paperback. Also, I shook hands with John Rhys-Davies and fist bumped with Brent Spiner, and yes, that was super-awesome.

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Chris, RJ, John, and Frank!

I wanted to get a Wonder Woman comic signed by George Perez, and could not. I blame a lack of coordination between the organizers and the talent that resulted in a line of fans that out-extended that of the Hollywood actors and a support staff that had no idea how to corral them. So with regret, I stepped out of that line and that was disappointing, but not enough to throw off the weekend as a whole. As a result of the crowds, activity, and the overall super-stimulation of the event, I did not return Sunday. it was me, not them.  You can see all my photos here.

While I was gone, Commanding the Red Lotus continued to upload, and the ebook and paperback formats are now mostly up and available. I have also added it to my Buy Signed Books from RJ tab. Sales continue to be steady since the launch, and I’m very happy to be sharing this book, one very close to my heart. You can see the dedicated ordering page here.

Next up on my convention tour is Inconjunction on the east side of Indianapolis.

Red Lotus Launches during Indy Comic Con

RL BannerWhat an exciting few days! Commanding the Red Lotus is going live on various formats as I write this. The e-books are already live on Kindle and the iTunes store. You can see the progress as I share each link as it goes live by clicking here.

The paperback will be available in a matter of days, but if you have big plans to go to Indiana Comic Con this weekend, I’ll have the first paperback copies of Commanding the Red Lotus available anywhere, which can be signed by me, along with all my books. I brought plenty, but “selection is limited.” I mean, you never know, right? And signatures are always, always free and worth every penny you pay.

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I’ll be sharing a booth with my authorly cohorts John F. Allen, Chris Garrison, and Frank Smith III, so there’s plenty to check out. Indiana Comic Con is at the downtown Convention Center and is easily the biggest event I’ve attended as a seller, so I’m super-psyched about this weekend! By all accounts, there will be plenty to see and do. Check out all the details at their website, and I hope to see a few of you there!

Red Lotus to Launch next Week

RL BannerI’m very excited to announce that my first novel-length science fiction novel Commanding the Red Lotus has been finalized and scheduled by Seventh Star Press to go live over various formats next week.

Cover Commanding Red Lotus
Cover art by Enggar

Money Can’t Buy Respect

Sayuri Arai, privileged daughter of a corporate mogul, abandons a promising career to find her own path. She invests in a broken-down asteroid mining ship and steps in as the commander of its crew. Every day presents a new challenge just to keep her ship from falling apart and the bitter crew from killing each other. Can Sayuri unite the feuding factions, or will her rivals turn the entire complement against her? Commanding the Red Lotus offers a classic sense of wonder for today’s science fiction readers.

While exact times on internet publications are not so precise, what usually happens is the ebooks go live first, with Amazon/Kindle taking the lead and the rest following soon after, then over the next couple of days, the paperbacks show up and are available to order. That means we may see links go live as early as Tues April 26 and everything should be up by late in the day Thurs April 28. You can check the dedicated page on my site to watch for each link to “turn on.”
RJ Color Cmmndng Red Lotus Author picWhat is not so uncertain is that the books I ordered for Indiana Comic Con at the downtown Convention Center Fri April 29-Sun May 1 will be there and on site, and I’ll have lots of copies for sale, and it’s certainly the first place you can get your hands on a signed copy of Commanding the Red Lotus. I’ll be sharing a booth with my author pals John F. Allen and Chris Garrison, and Frank Smith III. Frank created my new author photo you see here.

You can expect to see a lot more promotion on the book after the event. I’m very excited to share this book, it’s a labor of love in the genre I love best, and I hope y0u dig it, too.

EVENT: That Book Place Book Fair, Year 6

authors fair 6
This weekend, I launch into convention / book fair season with a fun gathering in Madison, Indiana. The Book Fair hosted by That Book Place is going on its sixth year (I hooked up in year two and haven’t missed it since). Although the store is no more, the event continues at the Madison National Armory (1533 Clifty Drive, Madison, IN 47250) and through the store’s owner, Frank Hall. Click here to join the Facebook event. I will be there Saturday only.

rj at 5th
This photo of RJ at the 5th Annual serves as a reminder to take more photos at the 6th Annual.

The event has grown every year, and this year it is bursting at the seams. Food vending (cash only) will be available onsite for authors and guests. Credit card payment will be accepted for author’s books, and they will be offered at a discount from regular price. The event is free to get in, and with it now indoors in a convention hall, there’s no reason not to check it out.

I am attending Saturday 10 am-6 pm only. Festivities continue through Sunday. John F. Allen and I will be roaming the space as The Two Towers Talk Show doing short interviews with authors as time permits.

I’ll be at my table or mingling with the crowds all day while selling and signing copies of my books: Haunting Blue, Haunting Obsession, Virtual Blue and Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy.

So join us for the fun! You can see my photo albums from previous years by clicking here and here .

Agent Carter Writer Brandon Easton interview now live!

brandon-easton-promo-picJust a quick note to announce the very exciting news that the interview that John F. Allen and I did as the Two Towers Talk Show with Agent Carter Staff Writer Brandon Easton has gone live on YouTube. In it, we learn Brandon’s struggles as an up-and-coming writer, what it’s like to be part of a modern TV show staff, and lots laughs mixed with life lessons.

Click here to start watching immediately.

Red Lotus Novel Coming into Focus

RL series bannerIt’s time for an R.J. Friday Update, meaning, I have an update and it happens to be Friday.

Commanding the Red Lotus, my first official novel-length collection into spaceship sci-fi, has a tentative target release window. Seventh Star Press is closing in on the week of April 22 to launch the ebook and paperback. It might shift a bit sooner, but it lines me up to premiere the title at Indiana Comic Con the weekend of April 30th as the first event where I’ll have copies on hand!

At the same time as the release of the novel, Seventh Star Press will re-launch a revised edition of the first novelette of the collection, Fate of the Red Lotus, as a perma-free ebook download. That means you can check out the first 12K words of Commanding the Red Lotus at no risk whatsoever. Then you can purchase the novel to continue the story after you already know you love it.

I’m super-excited about getting this book out to my readers. In the meantime, after considering the choices among my basket of ideas, I’ve picked my next project and am rolling up my sleeves to settle back into drafting mode. I’ll say more about that in the months to come.

Two TowersAnd while I’m writing, I’m also partnering with my TV and movie loving buddy John F Allen to launch the first few episodes of our YouTube program The Two Towers Talk Show. Watch for a post linking you to the first show, coming in a week or so. I’m also prepping for the start of convention season and one of my favorite annual events, the That Book Place 6th Annual Authors Fair in Madison, IN for Saturday, April 2nd.

Details on all this excitement coming soon.

New Author Photo Reveal

With my science fiction novel Commanding the Red Lotus due out in a couple of months, I wanted to take an author photo that reflected my love of the genre as well as the content of the book. I tend to take themed author photos anyway, something Seventh Star Press peer Michael West and I have in common.

In any case, I had an opportunity to pose in front of a green screen while local A/V guru Frank Smith III was filming John F Allen and I for the opening credits of our upcoming Two Towers Talk Show. I asked him to take a few still shots and drop a background behind me, and wham, bam, a near-instant author photo was created.

It speaks to my love of SF, and also has a not-entirely-intended callback to The Adventures of Superman, and what the heck, that ain’t a bad thing.RJ Color Cmmndng Red Lotus Author pic

The official black and white version to be used in the novel:RJ B&W Cmmndng Red Lotus Athr Pic.jpg

I must say, I do rock in this, and my super-power of gut-suck was used to great effect.  So another component has fallen into place. The manuscript is with an editor, and soon Seventh Star Press will officially reveal the awesome artwork created by Enggar, and the book will be out in time for convention season. I can’t wait to share it with you all…well, actually, I guess I can. But I’m very excited for that day to come. Stay tuned, there’s lots of excitement ahead!

Early cover reveal for RJ Fans Subscribed to Email Updates

Next Tuesday, I’m offering my email update newsletter subscribers an early sneak peek at the front cover of my next release, Commanding the Red Lotus. Frankly, it’s a pretty stunning cover, and if you dig spaceship artwork that captures a sense of wonder, you’ll love this.

DWACOW low rezThe cover was created by Seventh Star Press staff artist Enggar, the man behind last year’s Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy cover. Though he humored my odd request for that one (and knocked it out of the park) science fiction space opera images are in his wheelhouse, and he created a great one for me. Which is why I want to share it early. Just…only with my special people.

“That’s a bummer, RJ,” you might be saying. “I’m not on your RJ Fans Email Updates list. And what’s in it for me?”

Fear not, frustrated one. All is not lost. In fact, you can join my newsletter updates list right now just by clicking on this link and filling out the form partway down the page. Not only will you see this awesome cover well ahead of the Muggles, you get a permanent $2 discount off any autographed books you order from me. And best of all, regular (but not too regular) updates on all things RJ. What’s not to love?

So to see a piece of awesome art well ahead of everyone else, and get RJ Updates delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for my Email Updates list before Tues, Feb. 12. You’ll be glad you did.

Rj to co-host Two Towers with John F. Allen

Two TowersI’m excited to announce a new venture coming to a YouTube channel near you. As early as next month, you will be able to check out a new video blog program of TV and movie reviews, author interviews, comic book commentary, and lots of other fun stuff. The program is called The Two Towers Talk Show, co-hosted by John F. Allen and me.

John and have a mutual love for all things geeky, and though our opinions are often in sync, they diverge just enough to lead to interesting conversations. Which we can hold. For hours. And hours. But never mind.

What can you expect from the Two Towers Talk Show?

Movie and TV Discussion
Comic Book reviews (mainly from John)
Classic / old movie reviews (mainly from R.J.)
Author interviews
Guest hosts

All done from Indianapolis and with a strong emphasis on Indie and Small Press authors, and on Indy region special events.

Over the holidays, John and I had the same idea at pretty much the same time. It was John who approached me about doing the show, to which I said “I was gonna call you and discuss doing something like that.”

So while I’ve been putting the finishing touches on my latest novel, John has bolted forward to create a foundation, creating a logo and setting up dedicated outlets. Click to join us on Facebook, Twitter,  the YouTube Channel, and the blog, and check back regularly for updates.

TWO TOWERS LOGO 5I’m looking to have my own small feature dedicated to old / classic movies, horror, SF, and other interests, presenting a sort of cranky old man perspective on why these movies still matter. And my first topic will likely be a beef I have with certain young bloggers who have taken to dissing Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece 2001 A Space Odyssey and Robert Wise’s Star Trek The Motion Picture because they’re “slow and boring.” (Spoiler: no, they’re not).

John and I have had many discussions about the various directions the show may go, but things like this are best grown organically, and that’s how this will unfold. So watch for more updates from the usual outlets, and join us as John and I launch into this new venture.

RJ Update for January 2016

animated-inflatable-shivering-snowman-3Hello, and welcome back! I hope everyone had a great holiday and is staying warm through the dreariest time of the year for us Hoosiers. Indiana winter weather always poses challenges; it affects schedules and vehicles in negative ways and always brings a bit of a letdown after the optimism of the holidays. This winter is no exception.

Typically, the holidays and the first couple weeks of January are the time I stop writing and try to recharge in anticipation of returning to my regular schedule when the view out my window is a tad less gloomy. That didn’t happen this year. I took on a new short story project over the holidays, which I completed last week. I also wrapped on the draft of the third Red Lotus story. Let’s look at those one at a time.

First, last fall, Pocket Books and Paramount announced a Star Trek Strange New Worlds Contest, requesting original Star Trek fiction to be considered for an upcoming anthology in 2016 to celebrate the program’s 50th anniversary. I swore off fan fiction some time back in high school, but, Star Trek (and by Star Trek I mean Captain Kirk and The Original Crew) is not only one of my favorite TV shows, but probably one of my favorite anythings, and it certainly served as the gateway to a larger appreciation of SF. My love for Star Trek continues undiminished to this day.

On the one hand, I fully understand that my chances of earning one of the twelve coveted slots are only slightly better than my chances of successfully riding a unicycle down the street without losing my balance. Over a sheet of ice. During a wind storm. But on the other hand, the chance to contribute an “authorized” tale of the Starship Enterprise proved too great an attraction to ignore. If I didn’t do it, I realized, I’d always wonder what might have happened.

UhuraAnd so, two days before the January 15 deadline, I turned in “The Fittest,” a first contact tale in which Lt. Uhura gets into a heap of trouble during a planetary scouting mission.

And if it doesn’t get picked for the contest…well…it just might show up as a free download somewhere, someday.

Prior to the Star Trek contest throwing off my plans to take it easy (or as easy as I ever can during the hectic holidays) I managed to bring my third Red Lotus SF tale to a conclusion and get the draft out to a few pre-readers for their evaluation. That process is going forward, and should wrap up in a couple of weeks.

The result of that will be my first novel-length entry into the spaceship SF genre, Commanding the Red Lotus, to be released by Seventh Star Press. The book will include all three Red Lotus tales gathered into one volume and released as a softcover paperback for the first time: Fate of the Red Lotus (a previously released novelette available in ebook only) Red Lotus: Innocence Lost (a previously released novelette available in ebook only) and Mutiny on the Red Lotus (a 30K word novella which will be new to this collection).

RL series bannerIn the meantime, Seventh Star is pushing forward with the production. I have just signed off on the cover to the release, and it’s pretty amazing. Enggar, the same SSP artist who created the cover for Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy, has a knack for space opera, and he channeled that talent to create an incredible cover for Commanding the Red Lotus. Watch for a follow-up post in a few days where I’ll unveil the art in all its glory. We are still aiming for an April release.

12219607_803380699784113_3892389422267407084_nSpeaking of April, keep the Indiana Comic Con in mind, as that’s a new event for me, where I hope to have all of my titles on sale, including Commanding the Red Lotus. Indiana Comic Con is at the Indiana Convention Center the weekend of April 30-May 1. It’s going to be the biggest event I’ve participated in as a vendor, a pretty star-studded event–and I’ll be there, too. Details to come.

I think that’s it for now. Just wanted to let you all know I’m still here and things are pushing along behind the scenes, and 2016 is shaping up to be one of the most exciting yet!