I’m super-excited to announce the relaunch of the short-lived but popular Two Towers Talk Show, a YouTube program co-hosted by “Tower 1” colleague John F. Allen and me, Tower 2 R.J. Sullivan. In it, we talk about the array of geeky movies, TV, books, and more, with favorite nostalgia moments and interviews with creatives in the industry.
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.
My blog tour in support of Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy launches Monday! Check out Seventh Star’s announcement here. As I’ve done the last few times because it works so well, this blog post will serve as the master list, and I’ll add live links to the each post as soon as I know they’ve gone up.
It’s going to be an exciting week and I hope you come back frequently to check it out. I want to thank the 11 book bloggers who volunteered to be a part of the fun.
The complete blog tour is as listed:
Wed Sept 30
Bee’s Knees Reviews Review (4 / 5)
Thurs Oct 1
FUOnlyKnew Review (5 / 5)
Fri Oct 9 (late post due to technical difficulties)
RJ Q and A hosted by Kylie Jude
Check in regularly to see the list fill in, and leave a comment below as the tour progresses and to let me know what you think.
[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??
Maxine: You just called me loose. I may be dumb, but I’m not stupid.
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?
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]
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!!!
For the past several months, reviews for Haunting Obsession have sat steady at 36 reviews.
Readers, I need your help. I have been informed in no uncertain terms that promotion opportunities open up for book titles that have earned at least 40 reviews. Not 36 reviews. Not 39 reviews. 40. (Of course, anything more than 40 is also good). At 40 reviews, certain automated systems in the site handle the book in ways to its advantage. Plus, at 40+/, the book qualifies for more opportunities with partnerships connected with my publisher. Straight up, I can do a whole lot more promoting once Haunting Obsession collects 40 reviews on Amazon.com.
So I am declaring this Haunting Obsession 4 to 40 week! I know more than 36 of you have read the book and have an opinion. If you have, and you do, and you haven’t posted it on Amazon.com yet, go to this link, scroll down to reviews, and add yours. It doesn’t have to be a long, detailed review. It doesn’t even have to be a good review (though I suppose if you hated it, you’re not inclined to help promote it…but never mind)
“Yes,” you say, “I could do all that, but what’s in it for me?” By which I guess you mean, what’s in it for you…on top of reading my chilling, thrilling tale of ghostly lust. Well, I’ll tell you what, I’ll throw in four ebook giveaways of the followup Rebecca Burton e-short story Backstage Pass–one ebook giveaway for each review slotted 37-40. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org identifying your review to redeem the free estory. (If you have Backstage Pass, I’ll substitute my space opera e-novella Fate of the Red Lotus instead. If you have THAT…well, we’ll talk.)
If the book has been sitting in your e-reader–good news, it’s novella length, you still have a good chance of redeeming a prize, so get reading.
If you haven’t gotten the book, it’s a quick read, so your chances are STILL good. Download Haunting Obsession here.
So post your review on amazon.com here. After you have confirmed your review has posted, email me at email@example.com and identify your review. Only reviews posted on the Haunting Obsession page on Amazon.com are valid for the giveaway, though other reviews are appreciated.
This giveaway is only good through the posting of the 40th review, based on the order Amazon sorts the reviews. You must email me to receive the giveaway by August 23, even if yours is one of the four reviews.
For Reviews 41 on, I say thank you very much, you have my gratitude, and I hope you enjoyed my thrilling, chilling tale of ghostly lust.
Marilyn Movies: The Good, the Bad, and the Meh, the last of three parts.
Finishing up with the rest of the almost-good and the almost-bad, also known as the “Meh.”
Popular Consensus: Marilyn shows off her comedic chops in this madcap comedy about three women trying to get their hooks into various rich guys.
How I see it: Whatever. And when I say “whatever” to a film co-starring Lauren Bacall, you know something’s wrong. This movie almost fell under “bad” but I’m in a good mood today. Maybe it was edgy at one time, but it’s eye-rolling today. How to you make a knockout blonde like Marilyn look “nerdy” and intelligent? Put a pair of large goofy glasses on her face, of course. Ho. Ho. Ho. Look at the image to the left. Is that hysterical to you? Right. That’s my point. Add to that, some near-sighted jokes that make Mr.MaGoo look sophisticated, and it all adds up to a movie you can take or leave, and you’re probably better off leaving.
“Known for” Marilyn Moments: None that I’m aware of.
Jane Russell and Marilyn as two odd couple show girl best friends who keep getting into silly trouble.
Popular Consensus: A sex-comedy musical with Marilyn at her best.
How I see it: Okay, this one *almost* ended up in the good column. To be fair, there’s much to like here. The comedy is snappy, Jane Russell is also quite easy on the eyes, and there are at least two landmark musical numbers. The great moments are draped around a plot that barely exists, making the movie as a whole pretty generic, and as a result, one that doesn’t get a lot of replay in my collection. But that’s just me, you may feel otherwise. Even as I get ready to post this, I wonder if I’m judging too harshly. You decide and send me a nasty-gram. I may even admit I deserve it.
“Known For” Marilyn Moments: The hot-pink dress dance number to “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” Madonna paid homage to in “Material Girl”. (Also note the human chandelier in the number that would make Lady Gaga jealous).
Popular Consensus: Marilyn delivers a riveting performance as a femme fatale.
How I see it: Here’s another one that almost ended up in the “good” category. This film doesn’t work for me, and I think it’s because the plot is a 1940s film noir. You have Joseph Cotton (!) as the troubled husband, Marilyn as the no-good wife plotting to do him wrong, the Naïve Young Couple as innocent as driven snow, the “other man” waiting in the wings to do in the husband. There are no characters here, only archetypes. Once you know the types, the movie proceeds exactly as you expect, including the “plot twist” you see coming a mile away.
Add to that, film noir should be that–dark. Black and white, lots of shadows. We need Humphrey Bogart in here somewhere. Instead, this plays in lavish Technicolor. It’s a disconnect.
But that’s just me. Again, there’s a lot to like here, just not enough for me to recommend it.
“Known for” Marilyn Moments: Posing under the covers with the shadow of vertical blinds across her face. She gives great strut in one party scene–seriously, the movie is “known” for these things.
Cowboy and son and Marilyn on a raft escaping Indians.
Popular Consensus: A troubled production and missed opportunities resulted in an overall disappointment, then and now.
How I see it: I concur. The movie wants to be liked, and lays on the sweetness a bit thick. Rancher Robert Mitchum and his son end up taking Marilyn, playing yet-another showgirl, across the river to escape rampaging Indians after Marilyn’s no-good boyfriend causes trouble for everyone. Suffers from too many western clichés. One particular eye-roller is when Marilyn breaks out into song in the middle of the woods with a hidden band accompanying her. The blue screen rafting scenes that make up the last 20 minutes of the film do not hold up. It all plays out predictably and overall underwhelmingly.
“Known for” Marilyn Moments: None that I am aware of.
Marilyn turns psycho-babysitter in a low budget black and white thriller. Seriously.
Popular Consensus: For the most part, overlooked.
How I see it: A black and white thriller early in Marilyn’s career in which she plays a babysitter hired to watch a young girl in a swank hotel room while the parents attend a party downstairs. It’s clear early on that Marilyn’s character has mental problems and suffers from some post traumatic stress, and that the night may lead to some Very Bad Things. Though the credits say otherwise, this movie plays very “B picture”, and that’s not a bad thing, given the mood.
It’s a surprising film, and another movie I almost moved to the “good” category. I give Marilyn credit for tackling this role, and even more surprising since she landed it fairly early in her career. She has some chilling moments, but putting my fanboy perspective aside, the role gets away from her. She just doesn’t have the acting chops to hold this one together, though as a curiosity piece, I find myself watching it fairly often.
On the other hand, she also has a tiny part in Clash by Night, a fairly wretched film noir wanna-be with some of the most painful dialog ever delivered by any actress (in this case, Barbara Stanwyck). (And directed by Metropolis fame Fritz Lang! WTH?) The best that can be said here is it’s not Marilyn’s fault.
So there you have it., Feel free to comment and tell me if my ratings were good, bad, or meh.