Scott M. Sandridge

A Work in Progress

SpecMusicMuse: Interview with Stephen Zimmer

StephenZImmer_AuthorPhotoToday, for the Rayden Valkyrie Blog Tour, I interview Stephen Zimmer and ask him questions about the editor/author relationship. Enjoy!

 

What would you like to tell readers about your Rayden Valkyrie novels?

The Rayden Valkyrie novels have loads of action, and all kinds of characters, creatures and other elements that fantasy and sword and sorcery fans love. But above all, these novels center around a very special character, one that I have found to be inspirational to me in my own life.

HeartofALion_CoverThough she travels another world in a setting that we would find ancient, she is a character that in my eyes is needed in the world of today. In a world that is shrouded in uncertainty, she serves as a beacon of resolve, self-determination, and self-confidence.

How important is having a good editor?

It is critically important, as a good editor saves you from yourself in many instances. When you are a creative individual, and at the center of a project like writing a novel, there are simply things that you may not see. A good editor helps in catching those potential pitfalls. They are your literary guardian angel.

ThunderHorizonCover_1200X800What are vital parts to the author/editor relationship?

It centers around the ability to trust and communicate. The author must see that the editor has their best interests at heart and wants the final manuscript to be in the best form possible. The author needs to be confident that the editor is not working to change their voice, but instead bolster it.

An author and editor have to have the kind of relationship where both feel comfortable discussing things that come up in the editing phase, without worry of anyone getting upset or offended. Authors should not be “thin-skinned” about the things that an editor might point out. In some cases, an element initially seen as problematic may just be a matter of the author explaining what is being set up for later in the case of a series.

Trust and a good environment for communication are essential for navigating the editing phase.

How many revisions do you go through before you feel a novel you write is ready to be sent to the editor?

I don’t have a strict number of revisions, but I do go back through a manuscript several times before turning it over to an editor. I aim to get my copy as clean as possible, and also work hard to try to find any problematic elements possible, and address them, before turning it over. Writers can easily find themselves revising things forever, but once I find that the manuscript is going smoothly and I’m not finding anything problematic on my end, I turn it over.

If your editor could be described as a song, what song would that be?

That’s a great question! I can think of many options to consider, but I’ll take the Joe Cocker version of “With a Little Help from My Friends” (I like his vocals!), because an editor certainly is your friend and they stick by you to help you get by, with more than a little help too!

Where can readers find your novels?

My novels are available in both print and eBook format, and can be found at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and all other retailers (and if you cannot find the print version on the shelf, the novels are available in the Ingram distribution catalog that most every library and bookstore orders through).

RaydenValkyrie_SolGeirsdottir_PhotoCreditSilvioWolfBuschRagnarStormbringer_BrockOHurn_PhotoCredit_SilvioWolfBuschSay, isn’t there also a trailer to a TV series pilot somehwere…?

Yes there is, the first teaser trailer to Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart! And you can find it right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7w_UI_RCg4&feature=youtu.be

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August 21, 2017 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , | Leave a comment

SpecMusicMuse: Interview W/Dan Jolley

 

DanJolleyPhoto[1018]Dan Jolley, Author of the Gray Widow trilogy is back for another interview to talk about his second book in the trilogy, Gray Widow’s Web.

Tells us about Gray Widow’s Web.
Gray Widow’s Web is the second book in the Gray Widow Trilogy, an Urban Sci-Fi story that I actually began working on back in 1996. I wrote a first draft, but ended up shelving it… wrote a second draft ten years later, but shelved it again… and finally, after I realized how to fix a major problem with the book, re-wrote it again and immediately got it picked up by Seventh Star Press. After all that time, being able to continue the story now on a timely basis feels fantastic.

The Gray Widow story centers on Janey Sinclair, a young woman in modern-day Atlanta who, as a teenager, mysteriously gained the ability to teleport from one patch of darkness to another. Janey’s life has been marked by a series of traumas—most recently when her husband was shot during a mugging and left with severe brain damage—and after years of trying to ignore this bizarre aspect of her life, she finally decides to put it to use, and attempt to prevent other people from suffering the kind of cruelty and injustice she has.

As she soon learns, however, not only is she not alone in having a mysterious “Augmentation,” but she’s also a part of a vast extraterrestrial plot that classifies humans as raw material. The trilogy starts off in superhero-flavored waters, but becomes more and more science-fiction as the enormity of the stakes reveal themselves. (There are also not-insignificant horror elements to it.)

Alien plots aside, though, it’s really all about Janey exorcising her personal demons and figuring out how to heal herself. On one hand, she’s a stupendous badass, and can break most people off at the knees. On the other, she’s very human, very flawed, and very vulnerable in a way I hope a lot of people can relate to.Grey Widow's Web_Final_1200X800[1020]

 

In what ways is writing the second book in a trilogy different from the first?
One of my primary concerns with the second (and soon, third) book is walking the line between explaining too much of what happened before, and making things clear enough so that if you haven’t read the first book, or if it’s been a while since you did, you won’t feel totally lost.

That’s just logistical stuff, though. What I’m most concerned about is allowing the characters to grow. In the first book, Gray Widow’s Walk, Janey’s in a situation where she knows, intellectually, that she needs to move on emotionally. And the way to move on is right there, right in front of her, and she knows it’ll be good for her—but she’s torn in half about it. In the second book, Janey might finally begin to give herself permission to be happy, even as she’s facing greater threats and encountering far greater danger than ever.

Likewise, Tim Kapoor, her love interest from the first book, undergoes a pretty significant change in circumstances in Book 2, one that forcibly alters the whole dynamic he and Janey share.

One thing I’ve learned and learned well is that, in any kind of ongoing story, it’s the characters that keep readers coming back far more than any plot shenanigans. So I want to take good care of my characters. Even if that means being horrible to them.

 

In what ways are they similar?
As I mentioned earlier, I wrote the first draft of what would become Gray Widow’s Walk a bit more than twenty years ago. The story has been kicking around in my head all that time, with varying degrees of focus, so now that I have the opportunity to tell the rest of it, it’s really just a matter of getting in the right mental space. Staying in the right groove, I guess you could say. Making sure the prose style matches, making sure the hearts of the characters remain true to themselves.

Of course, I would like to believe that I’ve improved as a writer over the last couple of decades, which is why I think Gray Widow’s Web is a bit better than Gray Widow’s Walk. With any luck that trend will continue, and the third book—Gray Widow’s War—will surpass the first two.

Gray Widow_s WalkCover1200X900[1019]

Did you plan for it to be a trilogy from the start, or did it evolve that way? And if the latter, at what point did you realize it was going to be a trilogy?
I think I realized I had more to say than just what was in the first book sometime around 2006. I love the cast, I love portraying our contemporary world as it really is, and there were always elements that I had left open-ended. It took ten years, but the answers to the questions posed at the end of the first book popped into my head one day, and I realized the story needed to continue past Gray Widow’s Walk.

I have a serious aversion, though, to stories that are supposed to just go and go and… go. Stories like that usually go and go right into the ground. Whenever possible, I tell stories that have a definite, planned conclusion, simply because I think it’s wise to quit while you’re ahead. Consequently, this trilogy will tell one complete story, beginning, middle, and end. If I decide to stick around in the same world after that, I’ll start up another self-contained trilogy. Sort of the Hellboy model: a series of mini-series.

 

What kind of music helped you in writing Gray Widow’s Web?
Music plays a huge role in my creative process in general, but it’s only in the stage before I set fingers to keyboard. I love getting in the car and driving around aimlessly while listening to loud, fast, aggressive music. It does something really good for my brainwaves. If I need to come up with a new idea, or if I’m stuck on a plot point or character detail, I’ll go drive around and think, and nine times out of ten, by the time I get back the problem’s solved.

Right now my favorite band is Disturbed. Immortalized is a fantastic album, followed closely by Asylum, not only for driving around, but also for when I’m doing cardio (which I don’t end up doing as often as I should, sadly).

 

Anything you want to tell your readers about what’s to come?
Gray Widow’s War, the third book in the trilogy, will be out in May of 2018, and if I can pull off what I’m seeing in my head, it’s going to be the biggest, craziest, most nail-biting conclusion I’ve ever written in my entire career.

If you’re looking for something almost, but not quite, completely different in the meantime (to borrow wording from Douglas Adams), I also have a Middle Grade Urban Fantasy series going at the moment called Five Elements. Book 1, The Emerald Tablet, is available now, and Book 2, The Shadow City, comes out at the end of this month. It’s about four best friends in San Francisco who get accidentally bound to the magical elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, and end up conflicting with a century-old sorcerer who wants to merge Earth with a nightmare version of San Francisco called Arcadia. I am told by readers that it scratches the same kind of itch that the Percy Jackson books do.

 

Where can people find you online?
I’m on Twitter, @_DanJolley, and on Facebook, facebook.com/dan.jolley1. Feel free to send me messages. I am waaay better at responding to readers directly than I am at writing blog posts.

July 20, 2017 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ravenous #Review: The Silverblade Prophecy by Scott M. Sandridge

Check out this awesome review of my novel! 🙂

Source: Ravenous #Review: The Silverblade Prophecy by Scott M. Sandridge

July 13, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Silverblade Prophecy, Free on Kindle Until the 9th!

June 8, 2017 Posted by | Writerly Updates | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Silverblade Prophecy, .99 Cents on Kindle for a Limited Time Only

Buy Links:
https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B071CM3PL6
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B071CM3PL6
https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B071CM3PL6
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071CM3PL6
Synopsis:
Throughout the ages, messiahs have come and gone, and all have fallen.


After centuries of exile, Bantaka the Godslayer is active once more. The Seer manipulates the strands of Time and Space to bring together Pankea’s only hope: the most unlikely motley of misfits and cut-throats in the land, and a godling half-breed who’s bloodline heritage holds the key to saving—or dooming—all Existence.


Destined to fulfill an ancient prophecy to “pierce the heart of her ancestor,” Marian Silverblade is hailed as the current messiah of her age. But prophecies often get misinterpreted. And Lord Calahan Darkblade—Marian’s ancestor and Bantaka’s Herald—has plans of his own….


The Silverblade Prophecy is the first book in The Messiahs War Trilogy. When destinies collide in a war unlike anything before seen on Pankea, the choices made by the most unlikely of heroes may determine the outcome

May 2, 2017 Posted by | Writerly Updates | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pre-Order The Silverblade Prophecy Today!

Throughout the ages, messiahs have come and gone, and all have fallen.
After centuries of exile, Bantaka the Godslayer is active once more. The Seer manipulates the strands of Time and Space to bring together Pankea’s only hope: the most unlikely motley of misfits and cut-throats in the land, and a godling half-breed who’s bloodline heritage holds the key to saving—or dooming—all Existence.
Destined to fulfill an ancient prophecy to “pierce the heart of her ancestor,” Marian Silverblade is hailed as the current messiah of her age. But prophecies often get misinterpreted. And Lord Calahan Darkblade—Marian’s ancestor and Bantaka’s Herald—has plans of his own….

The Silverblade Prophecy is the first book in The Messiahs War Trilogy. When destinies collide in a war unlike anything before seen on Pankea, the choices made by the most unlikely of heroes may determine the outcome.

April 21, 2017 Posted by | Writerly Updates | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SpecMusicMuse—Review of The Bone Sword by Walter Rhein

Walter Rhein’s The Bone Sword mixes the grittiness of sword & sorcery with the miraculous wonder common in heroic fantasy, and he does so in a smooth way. While the main protagonist is clearly a good guy, he’s still rough around the edges and willing to do what it takes to win, both in sword fighting and in strategy.

Jasmine, however, ends up stealing the show and actually is the character whose shoulders the fate of an entire kingdom resides on. Her character growth, more than any other character’s, was what kept me reading. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel the same about her brother, Noah. He felt more “tacked on,” and I had a difficult time feeling any sympathy for him, even during the torture scene. I felt he needed a little bit more personality to him.

The villains, with the exception of one, were primarily archetypes; however, I still found them interesting. I’ve never had problems with authors using archetypes, especially when said archetypes work within the context of the story being told. And Rhein uses the archetypes well in his attempt to display the problems inherent in a feudalistic civilization, where a small handful of people often have far too much power over the rest.

Overall, The Bone Sword is a fun, compelling read with just the right kind of pace for such a tale.

 

Best to read while listening to: the soundtrack to Excalibur along with a few instrumentals by Epica.

January 17, 2015 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pankea, Anthologies, and Indy Reads: the Mix that Created “Freezy the Snow Demon”

THUMBNAIL_IMAGEPankea is a world decades in the making, and parts of it still evolve and expand to this day. The world began back when I was thirteen. Back then it was just Quaz City plus a few surrounding cities and towns in a nation called the Land of Quaz, and the cast of characters began, like most such worlds, with the usual archetypes. But in time the world expanded and began to take on a life and personality all its own: its own history, its own cultures, its own unique monsters (such as the vintervolgs, gorlaks, and the Bloodstone Skeletons). And even the “stock” races evolved over time. The magic system had to get retconned once I introduced the Barrier, the Mystic Field, and the possibility of spells going awry or “backlashing.”

At around the age of 15, I had this bright idea that maybe, just maybe, I could write short stories and novels set within that world, and perhaps actually sell them. By 25 I gave up on that notion and started creating other worlds to write in, often developing such worlds at the spur of the moment. While I like all my stories, the worlds that were not Pankea never felt as familiar, as intimate, as my first fantasy world. For one, none of those worlds had a poster-sized map of themselves hanging on my wall (which a cat, who shall remain nameless, later tore down and pissed on, so I had to throw it away). Ironically, my first published short story, “Treecutter,” was set in Pankea at a time before the Great Catastophe forced the Archaians, Hamadans, Vangaardians, and the other non-natives to migrate to the continent-sized island. Later published stories were all set in the current Pankea timeline (around the 1014th year since the birth of Arcus Dragonslayer, or “A.D.”).

When the idea for the Gifts of the Magi anthology was brought to my attention, I was excited. An anthology themed around series? WOOT! And a charity anthology at that? Double WOOT! But the majority of the writers were writing stories based on their novel series, and I’ve yet to have a novel published. Would the editors be okay with a story set in the same world as my other separate but related short stories?

The answer was yes.

So now all I had to do was come up with a Christmas-themed story in a world with no Christmas. But Pankea does have a Winter Solstice celebration. Indeed, Pankea has a lot of holidays, especially in Quaz.

I woke up one morning with the idea of an evil, demon-possessed snowman rampaging through the streets. But the streets of what city? And who would the protagonists be? Eventually I decided the location would be in Raka, the “capital” (and only dwelling) in Wizardreach—a semi-autonomous outpost under the protection of the Land of Quaz, much like Necro and Elvawood Manor. In this way I could provide cameo appearances of three characters who often get mentioned but have never yet appeared in my short stories and trilogy-in-progress: Chancellor Rakeem, Archwizard and Lord of Wizardreach; High Enchantress Larana, Lady of Wizardreach; and General Thalas son of Thorus, Descendent of Arcus (whose great grandfather was the protagonist in my story “Shilak’s Gift”).

Naturally, the protags would be Arnelda Verina and Roland Fornebank, who have an established history with the above characters back when they all adventured together. Also, any story with those two in it is guaranteed to end up with hilarious hijinks and general fun-filled chaos. And I wanted this story to be fun.

That is how “Freezy the Snow Demon” developed for the anthology, Gifts of the Magi, to benefit Indy Reads, making this the first story I’ve written for a charity benefit to a worthy cause. I hope you enjoy my story and all the other awesome stories in it.

November 3, 2014 Posted by | Writerly Updates | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Special Trilogy Virtual Tour

Special Trilogy Virtual Tour
Authors:
Jackie Gamber and H. David Blalock
Featured Books:
Jackie Gamber’s Leland Dragon Series
H. David Blalock’s Angelkiller Triad

TrilogyTourBadge

JackieGamberBWAbout Jackie Gamber: As an award winning author, Jackie writes stories ranging from ultra-short to novel-length, varieties of which have appeared in anthologies such as Tales of Fantasy and Dragons Composed, as well as numerous periodical publications, including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, The Binnacle, Mindflights Magazine, Necrotic Tissue, and Shroud. She is the author of the fantasy novel Redheart and Sela, and writing an alternate history time travel novel. She blogs professionally for English Tea Store.com, where she reviews classic science fiction and fantasy novels and pairs them with the ideal tea-sipping companion.

Jackie is a member of the professional organizations Science Fiction Writers of America and Horror Writers Association. She was named honorable mention in L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Award, and received a 2008 Darrell Award for best short story by a Mid-South author. She is the winner of the 2009 Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award for Imaginative Fiction for her story The Freak Museum, a post-apocalyptic tale that looks closely at perceptions and outward appearances and how they affect the way we see ourselves. Jackie Gamber was co-founder and Executive Editor of Meadowhawk Press, a speculative fiction publisher based in Memphis. One of their novels, Terminal Mind by David Walton, won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award in 2009. Jackie also edited the award winning benefit anthology, Touched By Wonder. She has been a guest lecturer at Memphis Options High Schools, and is a speaker at writers’ conferences from Michigan to Florida. Jackie is also the visionary behind the MidSouthCon Writers’ Conference, helping writers connect since 2008.

 

GamberBookOne_RedheartCoverJackie Gamber’s Redheart Book Synopsis: Enter the lands of Leland Province, where dragon and human societies have long dwelled side by side. Superstitions rise sharply, as a severe drought strips the land of its bounty, providing fertile ground for the darker ambitions of Fordon Blackclaw, Dragon Council Leader, who seeks to subdue humans or wipe them off the face of the land.
As the shadow of danger creeps across Leland Province, a young dragon named Kallon Redheart, who has turned his back on dragons and humans alike, comes into an unexpected friendship. Riza Diantus is a young woman whose dreams can no longer be contained by the narrow confines of her village, and when she finds herself in peril, Kallon is the only one with the power to save her. Yet to do so means he must confront his past, and embrace a future he stopped believing in.
A tale of friendship, courage, and ultimate destiny, Redheart invites readers to a wondrous journey through the Leland Dragon Series.

 

HDavidBlalockBWAbout H. David Blalock: Born in San Antonio, Texas, David spent the majority of his formative years in Jacksonville, Florida. At the age of 16, his family moved to the Panama Canal Zone where David finished school and entered employment with the Department of Defense as a Powerhouse Electrician.
Hiring into the FAA, he returned with his wife and two daughters to the States and settled briefly in Gulfport, MS. A few years later, he moved to Memphis, TN, as an Air Traffic Controller for the Memphis ARTCC. There he remained until his retirement.
David’s writing has appeared in numerous anthologies, magazines, webzines, and writer’s sites. His work continues to appear on a regular basis through multiple publishing houses.

 

BlalockBookOne_AngelkillerCoverH, David Blalock’s Angelkiller Book Synopsis: Why do bad things happen to good people? Simple. In the ancient war between the Angels of Light and Darkness, the Dark won. Now it is the job of an undercover force simply known as The Army to rectify that.

Using every tool available, The Army has worked to liberate our world from The Enemy for thousands of years, slowly and painfully lifting Mankind out of the dark. On the front of the great Conflict are the Angelkillers, veterans of the fight with centuries of experience.

Jonah Mason is an Angelkiller, and his cell is targeted as part of plot to unseat a very powerful Minion of The Enemy. Mason and his troop are drawn into a battle that stretches from real-time to virtual reality and back. The Conflict is about to expand into cyberspace, and if Mason is unable to stop it, The Enemy will have gained dominion over yet another realm

Author Links:
Jackie Gamber
Website: www.jackiegamber.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jackie-Gamber-Story-Artist/334783969938507
Twitter: @jackiegamber

H. David Blalock
Website: http://thrankeep.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Writer.HDavidBlalock
Twitter: @Hdavidblalock

Tour Schedule and Activities
9/8 SpecMusicMuse Review
9/8 The Rage Circus Vs. The Soulless Void Multi-Blogger Interview Part 1
9/8 Horror Tree Guest Post (Blalock)
9/8 Elizabeth Delana Rosa ~Book Lover & Creator of Worlds~ Guest Post (Gamber)
9/9 Jorie Loves a Story Guest Post (About Gamber)
9/9 I Smell Sheep Interactive Thread with Jackie and Dave
9/9 Armand Rosamilia, Horror Author Guest Post (Blalock)
9/10 The Southern Belle from Hell Art of the Angelkiller Triad (Blalock)
9/10 Bee’s Knees Review Guest Post (Gamber)
9/10 Blog of Sheila Deeth Guest Post (Gamber)
9/10 The Official Writing Blog of Deedee Davies Multi-Blogger Interview Part 2
9/10 Seers, Seraphs, Immortals & More Jackie Gamber Interviews H. David Blalock
9/11 Seers, Seraphs, Immortals & More H. David Blalock Interviews Jackie Gamber
9/11 Workaday Reads Guest Post (Gamber)
9/12 Vampires, Witches, & Me, Oh My! Guest Post (Gamber)
9/12 Trip Through My Mind Multi-Blogger Interview Part 3
9/12 Beauty In Ruins Guest Post (Blalock)
9/13 Jess Resides Here Review
9/14 Willow’s Author Love Guest Post (Blalock)
9/14 Fantastical Musings Multi-Blogger Interview Part 4
9/14 Jorie Loves a Story Guest Post (Gamber)

Tour Page URL: http://www.tomorrowcomesmedia.com/trilogy-tour-featuring-jackie-gamber-and-h-david-blalock/

Tour Badge Html: http://www.tomorrowcomesmedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/TrilogyTourBadge.jpg

Amazon Links for Redheart, the First Book of Jackie Gamber’s Leland Dragon Series:
Kindle Version: http://www.amazon.com/Redheart-Leland-Dragon-Jackie-Gamber-ebook/dp/B004VFNJIA
Print Version: http://www.amazon.com/Redheart-Leland-Dragon-Jackie-Gamber/dp/0983108676

Amazon Links for Angelkiller, the First Book of H. David Blalock’s Angelkiller Triad:
Kindle Version: http://www.amazon.com/Angelkiller-Triad-Book-1-ebook/dp/B006CR84AI
Print Version: http://www.amazon.com/Angelkiller-H-David-Blalock/dp/0983740232

September 7, 2014 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SpecMusicMuse—Interview with RJ Sullivan

HauntingBlue_CoverI had the honor of getting to interview RJ Sullivan, the best ghost story writer of all time. (Okay, I had to say that. The ghosts that follow him around threatened to haunt me if I didn’t).  Enjoy!

Introduce yourself to the readers.

I’m best known for my paranormal thrillers, currently a trilogy–two of those are ghost stories and all three are loosely connected. Between the three books, I introduce my two series characters, punk girl Fiona “Blue” Shaefer and Rebecca Burton, paranormal investigator, woman of mystery/, and not-so-secret druid. My first novel came out in 2010 (more on that below). Seventh Star put out books two and three.

I grew up in Indiana. A lifelong Trekker, SF fan, particularly of the literary sort (Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, and the usual etceteras). Star Wars, comic books (strong preference for Marvel/Spider-man, though I am also an avid Wonder Woman reader). Oddly enough, horror and paranormal fiction third and fourth after the rest. I grew up imagining myself an author of a decidedly sci-fi slant. You just never know. I guess this is where I plug my Red Lotus ebook novellas, where I let my space opera inclinations run wild. It’s the story of the trials and tribulations of the crew of an antiquated asteroid mining ship. The third story in the series comes out this fall. You can learn about all of this at http://www.rjsullivanfiction.com

 

What is Haunting Blue about?

Haunting Blue was my first novel, which was first published in 2010 and which went out of print earlier this year (on purpose when the contract rights expired). This new edition by Seventh Star puts the trilogy out by the same publishing home for the firstInterior1_FINAL_WEB time. It features new art by Bonnie Wasson, the artist for Haunting Obsession and Virtual Blue (the direct sequel to Haunting Blue) so the series now has a unified look, and some tweaks and corrections. “Blue” is a high school punk girl from Indianapolis who is “forcibly relocated” when her mother’s law firm moves to a quaint small town. She’s an angry child, who resists having anything to do with her new environment, so of course, before too long, she gets entangled in the center of things. She and her boyfriend unwittingly end up freeing a ghost relevant to the town’s history, and setting things right again may prove very tricky.

 

How did you come up with the character, “Blue” Shaefer?

Haunting Blue started as an homage to the old Hardy Boys series. Around age 10 I read some of the “old blue hardbacks” which always had an adventurous premise but overall were light reads that rarely delivered on their promise. I wanted to write a similar tale that took a dark twist that raised the stakes.

So I started off with two boy heroes and it just wasn’t clicking. Computer nerd “Chip” was pretty much already developed. In a few early ideas he had an angsty artsy best friend, but they weren’t interesting enough to make me want to work on it. Then I thought about making the best friend a girl and introducing sexual tension. I took the angst personality and threw it forward to full punk, gave her the nickname “Blue” for her spiky hair. By asking the logical questions, the answers built a profile. Why a punk girl? (She grew up in a college suburb.) Why would she be best friends with a nerd? (She’s an outsider and he was the first person to offer a sympathetic ear). Pretty soon “Blue” took over the idea and it became more about her, with Chip taking a supporting role. But for me, it was also far more interesting and something I wanted to spend time to develop.

 

What do you think it is that makes ghost stories so cool to read about, and to write about?

Beyond the obvious answer that ghost stories explore the age old question of life after death, they also offer an opportunity for closure and conclusion that real life “hauntings” rarely give us. Think of the typical stories we hear of haunted houses or or real encounters. It’s usually an incident, a repeated action, sightings and appearances, but that’s all. Or just check out any episode of any Ghost Hunter reality shows. Does anyone ever really get to the bottom of things? Do the heroes every really exercise the ghost, put it to rest, help it find peace? Yet in the majority of fictionalized ghost stories, that’s exactly what happens.
What’s your favorite type of music?

Interor2_FINAL_WEBPop music of various eras. Currently I dig Pink, Florence & the Machine, Paramore, and I have a love-hate relationship with Katy Perry. I grew up listening to Elvis, Peter Paul & Mary, The Mamas and the Papas on my parents’ reel to reel tape deck. My brother was a KISS fan, along with other metal bands, so that grew on me, plus Led Zepplin, The Beatle, Heart, the more hard rocking 70s. And of course, I have a huge love for the M-TV era 80s music. I’m infamous on Facebook for my Cyndi Lauper fanboy posts, born from a true fannish appreciation of the person and her music. That in and of itself is a blog post, which I have written about in full here.

[link to http://cabingoddess.com/2012/09/14/rjs-obsession-seventh-star-press-haunting-obsession-tour/ ]

 

Has music played any role in your writing process or inspired a scene or story?

An early short story, “Fade,” published in the Indiana Science Fiction Anthology 2011, was directly inspired by an obscure song of the same title by a band called Blue Angel, notable not for any hits but because Ms. Lauper was their lead singer before she went solo. The song is about a girl trying to use telekinesis to make her boyfriend disappear, and I sure as heck wasn’t going to let a prompt like that slip away. I also drew upon my experience going from concert to concert and backstage meetings, which I will do on occasion, to inspire parts of the time travel Rebecca Burton e-book short story “Backstage Pass,” available through Seventh Star Press.

I like to compose to music, and have a handful of favorite drafting discs: Til Tuesday, Everything’s Different Now; Cyndi Lauper, Sisters of Avalon; Journey, Infinity. Also, various Star Trek and Star Wars soundtracks.

 

Last but not least, who’s the best ghost sleuth? Scooby Doo or the Ghost Whisperer?

Rut Ro, Raggy! You got me, I don’t know this Ghost Whisperer person.

 

Virtual Tour
Author: RJ Sullivan
Featured Book: Haunting Blue

HauntingBlueTourBadge

RJSullivanPhotoAbout RJ Sullivan: Haunting Blue is the first book of the adventures of punk girl Fiona “Blue” Shaefer. This is the 2014 revised edition by Seventh Star Press. Seventh Star also released Haunting Obsession, a Rebecca Burton Novella, and Virtual Blue, the second book in Fiona’s tale. R.J.’s short stories have been featured in such acclaimed collections as Dark Faith: Invocations by Apex Books and Vampires Don’t Sparkle. His newest project is the Red Lotus series of science fiction novelettes.

R.J. resides in Heartland Crossing, Indiana. He drinks coffee from a Little Mermaid mug and is man enough to admit it. http://www.rjsullivanfiction.com

HauntingBlue_CoverHaunting Blue Book Synopsis: Punk, blue-haired “Blue” Shaefer, is at odds with her workaholic single mother. Raised as a city girl in a suburb of Indianapolis, Blue must abandon the life she knows when her unfeeling mother moves them to a dreadful small town. Blue befriends the only student willing to talk to her: computer nerd “Chip” Farren.

Chip knows the connection between the rickety pirate boat ride at the local amusement park and the missing money from an infamous bank heist the townspeople still talk about. When Blue helps him recover the treasure, they awaken a vengeful ghost who’ll stop at nothing–not even murder–to prevent them from exposing the truth behind his evil deeds.
Haunting Blue is Book One of the Adventures of Blue Shaefer

Author Links:
Website: http://rjsullivanfiction.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/R.J.SullivanAuthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5199299.R_J_Sullivan
Twitter: https://twitter.com/rjsullivanauthr

Tour Schedule and Activities
7/14     Jess Resides Here       Interview
7/14      Beauty in Ruins             Guest Post
7/14      fuonlyknew ~ Laura’s ramblins and reviews   Top Tens List
7/15       Deal Sharing Aunt         Top Ten’s List
7/15      John F. Allen Writer        Character Post
7/15       Armand Rosamilia, Horror Author            Guest Post
7/16       The Rage Circus Vs. The Soulless Void         Review
7/16       SpecMusicMuse              Interview
7/16       Workaday Reads             Post on Artwork of Haunting Blue
7/16       I Smell Sheep                  Character Post
7/17       Bee’s Knees Review           Review
7/17       Library Girl Reads & Reviews   Guest Post
7/17      Come Selahway With Me                Guest Post
7/18      A Haunted Head               Author Interview
7/19      Nerd With A View                   Top Tens Post
7/19      Coffintree Hill                     Guest Post
7/20      Willow’s Author Love        Review

Tour Page URL: http://www.tomorrowcomesmedia.com/r-j-sullivans-haunting-blue-virtual-tour/

Tour Badge Html: http://www.tomorrowcomesmedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/HauntingBlueTourBadge.jpg

Amazon Links for Haunting Blue:
Kindle Version:
http://www.amazon.com/Haunting-Blue-Adventures-Shaefer-Book-ebook/dp/B00KNC2Q34

Print Version:
http://www.amazon.com/Haunting-Blue-R-J-Sullivan/dp/1941706053

July 16, 2014 Posted by | SpecMusicMuse | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments