So over the weekend I opened the two-story lounge where I will be hosting a big party over the next couple of weeks.
No, I didn’t rent a ballroom. There, obvious joke over.
Two of my stories are going live within a few days of each other and I’m super-stoked. The release dates are extremely fluid because Seventh Star is a sort of crunch mode after some unavoidable delays earlier this summer, and both of my books post Very Soon Now. We just don’t know….exactly when. So I said “what the heck” and decided to host an interactive party on Facebook.
Okay, it’s more like a virtual lounge. In fact, that’s what I call it, the R.J. Sullivan Two-Story Release Party Lounge. I’m so clever. Essentially it’s a temporary public group on Facebook where fans, friends and peers can drop in and out and see the latest news, play some trivia, and I’ll raffle for all sorts of prizes, thanks to my author buds.
Plus–its primary purpose–to make it easy for you to track the release of my new science fiction Singles novelette, the Fate of the Red Lotus, due out mid week. And of course, capping off with the long-anticipated follow-up in the Adventures of Blue Shaefer–Virtual Blue! We’ll have excerpts and art reveals before it goes live.
And with the convenience of being in a group, the update posts won’t scroll several pages off your feed in a couple of hours. So even if you can only check in once a day, you won’t miss any updates.
Oh no, you’re thinking, I can’t bear to hear RJ talk about himself for days and days. To which I say–FREE stuff! You love to read, don’t you? (Yes, RJ, why else would we be here, duh!) So I’ve asked several of my talented and generous author buds to help make it worth your while to stick around, including Eric Garrison,John F. Allen, Chantel Noordeloos, Debra Holland, Kat French, and James W. Kirk, and that’s just the folks I reached out to on short notice.
The list is growing. We’ll have lots of ebook giveaways–mainly because ebooks are so easy to handle in something like this, but don’t be surprised if some “actual” things may need to be boxed and mailed before it’s over. Wow, I have a way with words.
So why are you still reading this? The party’s already started and going on without you. Click here already!
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.
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.
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.
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.
So this year, FandomFest in Louisville, KY, has, among other superstar guests, William Shatner, Stan Lee, Gillian Anderson, Colin Baker, Gene Simmons, some Walking Dead people, and others along those same lines.
Not that you care about that. You’re showing up to stalk me. It okay. I feel ya’, and I got ya’ covered.
I’ll be at the Seventh Star Table with…well, Seventh Star Authors, including my TCQ (The Corvus Quartet–Google Corvus Constellation) buddies, John F. Allen, Eric Garrison and Michael West. TCQ is a foursome of authors and friends who belong to the same publisher and all live in the Indianapolis area. We’ve combined our powers to brainstorm ideas, trade resources and in other ways support each other’s efforts for the greater good of the whole. Or something like that.
In any case, Seventh Star will have a strong presence again this year, and the regional author tract will include a full weekend of panels and opportunities to learn how we authors do our authorly thing so you future authors can figure out how you can become a future author also…but sooner. Or something like that. Yes, I get paid to do this, what’s your point?
When I’m not here, I’ll be at the Seventh Star author’s table hanging out with my TCQ peeps, plus other Seventh Star authors, such as D. A. Adams, Steven Shrewsbury, Selah Janel, and I imagine Ali Justice and Stephen Zimmer will be coming by, too. Okay, I might sneak away to get some food, check out the other awesome authors and publishers, and photo-bomb Stan Lee so it looks like he’s holding a copy of Haunting Obsession (if possible).
Bottom line, it’s going to be a great weekend! Don’t miss it!
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.
New 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!
Eric Garrison will release Four ’til Late, the first book of his Ghost Roads Trilogy, with new cover and interior art by Bonnie Wasson!
Michael 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.
Congratulations 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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
Here, 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?
Behind 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.”
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.”
“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.
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.
“Think you have enough?”
“Sure. Thanks, Maxine.”
“Don’t mention it. Talk to you soon, RJ.” And she vanished.
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.
It’s now officially less than two week before the Context SF Con, and I’ve just received my panel schedule, which I’m anxious to share with you all. I’ll be discussing some fascinating topics with some very talented and entertaining people, so there’s sure to be something worthwhile at each and every one.
When I’m not at a panel, I’ll probably be at the Indy Horror Writer’s table in the book vendor space, selling and signing, talking to fans, and hanging out with Sara Larson, Eric Garrison, A.D. Roland (the Haunting Blue cover artist—sssshhhh, don’t tell anyone) and more.
10:00 p.m. @ Arena District
Horror: Books and Movies
With Michael West, David L Day, and David Burkhead.
1:00 p.m. @ Short North
Point of View
With Gary Wedland and Linda Robertson.
6:00 p.m. @ Arena District
With Lucy A. Snyder, Linda Robertson, and Matthew Cook.
8:00 p.m. @ Short North
Ghosts: Are they real or just scary?
With Karin Shah, Mark Evans, and Joseph Martino.
Clutching a bright blue trade paperback book in her hands, the punkish teenage girl steps through the door of the Café Expresso in Broad Ripple and looks around.
Her gaze falls on the willowy young woman already seated and waving a dark green book back at her. Breaking into a grin, Fiona “Blue” Shaefer heads over to the table and shakes hands with Skye MacLeod before taking a seat across from her.
Blue: Hi there, Skye! [Blue points to the Blue Spirit paperback in her hands] Thanks for answering my email.
Skye: How could I refuse? I mean, I get to talk about myself, right? [laughs]
Waitress: What can I get you?
Blue: Medium Mocha, please, extra syrup.
Skye: [nods at her cup on the table] I’m good, thanks.
Blue: [to Skye] So, it’s been so long since I moved away, I wasn’t sure if you still remembered waiting on me all those times at the Starbucks. It’s been almost a year!
Skye: It’s good to see you again, without a counter between us this time. Wow, you’re not a kid anymore, are you?
Blue: N-no… [nods at copy of Haunting Blue in Skye’s hands] I guess you could say I’ve grown up a bit. I’ve been through a lot since the last time I was in ‘The Ripple’. I always think of you at Starbucks, it’s weird to see you here in the Café Expresso.
Skye: Well, I still go to the Broad Ripple Starbucks sometimes, but after they fired me up in Nora, I just kind of prefer independent coffee shops.
Blue: And the coffee you have there…is that…uh…just coffee?
Skye: [rolls her eyes] You know, I’m not always boozing it up, kiddo. Just unleaded coffee today for me! I, uh, kinda had to promise Annabelle I’d cut back. Being a Vampire Noble in the game is awesome, but it doesn’t, like, pay the bills, you know?
Blue: Yeah, I hear you there. So… [looks around the room] If I understood what you wrote, you have a little guardian fairy named Minnie you have to be tipsy to interact with. Is she around now? Or can you tell?
Skye: [shrugs] I see her more without alcohol these days, but she’s also more independent of me, too. I haven’t seen her today. She’s becoming much more her own person. It’s good for her, but kind of sad, since I’d gotten used to always having her around, watching out for me. So, I’m going through two separate types of withdrawal, sort of. Three, really… [sighs] But I have Annabelle and my gamer friends to help me get by.
Blue: Oh, yes, Annabelle. [fans herself with paperback] I read all about you two. Only boy I can attract is the small town computer nerd but you…you land a firefighter. Every girl’s dream. Well…sorta.
Skye: [smiles and sighs] Actually, I adore nerdy guys. Stuart was the biggest nerd. Annabelle… well, she’s a bit like you, kiddo; adorable but a lot tougher than she looks.
[Waitress deposits Blue’s coffee, looks back and forth between Blue and Skye, winks at Blue, and returns to the counter]
Blue: (turning pink) Well, uh, thank you, Skye. And I’m not a prude, but it is a little weird. For months, all you used to talk about was Stuart this and Stuart that. Then he goes off with another woman, so you turn around bring in your own other woman. I’d call that sweet revenge if I thought you did it on purpose.
Skye: Stuart really betrayed me, Blue. He was the love of my life, then he sold me out. Blamed me for the fire in our apartment. Meanwhile, Annabelle saved my life. She was there for me when I’d lost everything. And, well… we can’t help who we fall for, right?
Blue: Don’t I know it? I would never thought I’d fall for a guy who plays Dungeons and Dragons. Speaking of roleplaying, tell me more about the Live Action Roleplaying game you’re into. I never played myself. Never really wanted to, then when I moved to Perionne and of course Chip talked me into it. But that was paper and dice. The live action vampire roleplaying thing seems like a whole other level, with costumes and the improv in character thing. Do players really take staying “in character” as seriously as you say in your book?
Skye: Oh definitely! Some people hate to break character, like, ever. I have a lot of fun with it, it’s good to get to be someone else for a while. And, for most of us, our pretend lives are a lot more glamorous than our actual lives. It’s like living in a story, and some days, you just don’t want the fantasy to end. Which, I know is funny coming from a girl who sees fairies. [laughs]
Blue: So… speaking of Fairies, I guess Indy has its own gnome-like Scottish Fairy who calls himself the “Transit King”? What’s up with that?
Skye: [laughs] I know, right? He’s actually pretty formidable, even if he seems to be a batty little old bum on the surface. He’s older than dirt and claims dominion over the bus system. I wonder if IndyGo knows about him? He’s mostly friendly, though I get the feeling you wouldn’t to tick him off!
Blue: Well, I didn’t see him on the bus on the way up, but then again, I try not to look very closely at the other passengers. It can get you in trouble. Speaking of colorful characters, tell me about this fella Leslie? The huge costume designer guy with the great vampire fashion sense—does he just make people look great for roleplaying vampires or can he work similar miracles for a prom or something?
Skye: [laughs] Oh yes, he’s larger than life! He wouldn’t turn you away, doll, not if I introduced you first. He specializes in costumes, nothing all that durable. But I guess a prom’s all about costumes, isn’t it? So… does this mean prom is close for you? So, I’m guessing you’re going with Chip?
Blue: No, I just meant any kind of party. [trails off] I don’t know, a big costume party would be great about now. Just dress up like someone else and…forget about everything for a few hours. Yeah, that would be nice.