Thursday, October 31, 2013

Meet Rebecca Burton from Virtual Blue

Thanks to Library Girl Reads for hosting this entry in the Virtual Blue tour, a character interview with Paranormal Investigator Rebecca Burton. Burton plays a supporting role in both Haunting Obsession and Virtual Blue. Burton doesn't know she's about to fend off some tough questions by another character that has played, not only a big part in the RJ-Verse, but in Burton's past.

Agent Rebecca Burton of the Special Investigations Unit enters a small interrogation room. She finds only two chairs, and seats herself in the one closest to the door. She checks her cell phone.

Burton: Well, I'll give them a couple more minutes. I told them my time is precious and I can't wait on a no-show.

A voice speaks from the air.

"Oh, I'm here, you just can't see me."

A ghostly, shapely blonde phases in, dressed in a yellow sundress and seated in the chair across from her. Burton's eyes widen in recognition of the deceased sixties movie star bombshell.

Burton: Maxine Marie.

Maxine: Hello, Rebecca. Surprised to see me?

Burton: [Stands] Given what happened after our first encounter, yes.

Maxine: Relax, Rebecca. Our mutual creator made me promise I could interview you, but only if I remained seated. [Maxine raises her hand, flexing her fingers, curving sharp nails into a claw shape] Come closer, Dear. I'd like to tweak your makeup.

Burton: Wonderful. Another bit of RJ's whimsy, I suppose. [Releases a breath] He and I need to have a talk.

Maxine: But you and I are going to talk first, Rebecca!

Burton: [Reseats herself] Very well. I trust you'll ask me questions about Virtual Blue as agreed?

Haunting Obsession Cover (affiliate link)
Maxine: [Holds up copy of Virtual Blue] All in due time. But first....[lowers Virtual Blue, raises Haunting Obsession] RJ let me read the whole story about you and me last year. Since I was there, I thought I knew everything that happened, but I didn't, did I? I thought I had weakened Daryl to the point that he could barely move, and that he found some inner strength at the last second. [Glares] But now I know where his strength really came from, don't I?

Burton: We're going to make this about you? You had to be dealt with. I make no apologies for doing what I had to do. Even you admit you'd gotten out of control.

Virtual Blue Cover (affiliate link)
Maxine: [Lifts Virtual Blue] That brings me to this book. Field agent Rebecca Burton, paranormal investigator. So you're just a humble government official, right?

Burton: My bureau, the Special Investigations Unit, follows up on all supernatural events throughout the country. My territory is Indiana--I grew up there and still live there--but I have no jurisdiction.

Maxine: And that's all you are? A government agent?

Burton: Yes.

Maxine: [scoffs] And I'm resuming my movie career and I'm going to appear in the next Star Wars movie.

Burton: As the ghost of Obi Wan Kenobi, no doubt. Wait a minute. How do you know about Star Wars?

Maxine: Never mind about that. [Giggles. Opens up a page in Virtual Blue] Tell me about the Kelranian Order.

Burton: [Fidgets] The Kelranian Order...they're a sort of...I guess you'd call them occult specialists, sort of intellectual hobbyists that sometimes conduct their own investigations into paranormal matters. They have a number of chapters all over the world, including an active one here in Indiana. I have several members as contacts. Their resources go back centuries, an incredible resource.

Maxine: They're a secret order of white-magic practicing druids and you're an active member.

Burton: Seriously? RJ should let you write the novels. That's quite a plot twist. The Kelranian Order is a close ally of my Unit, nothing more.

Maxine: You're a member of the Kelranian Order. As was your mother and her mother before her, and back who knows how far? You're one of its most powerful practitioners of white magic.

Burton: You exaggerate. They taught me a few parlor tricks through the years, some handy spells in case I get into trouble. Nothing more.

Maxine: Like healing spells and mind reading. Hardly useful in hand to hand combat.

Burton: Not everything I've learned is a weapon, but I'd be happy to demonstrate.

Maxine: [Considers] No, that's quite alright. Back to Virtual Blue, then. So several months after meddling with Daryl's affairs, you stuck your nose into Fiona Shaefer's business, too. Do you make it a habit of sticking your nose where it doesn't belong?

Burton: [sighs] As a matter of fact, I was investigating reports that an extremist cult tied to a dangerous demon had taken way too much interest in a Freeware roleplaying video game. I went to the campus to investigate. I had no idea at the time that the programmer of the game was Eugene Farren, Blue's boyfriend. And you'll be happy to know that fell into a booby trap. Blue and I met when she...tried to

Maxine: [Eyes flashing] How embarrassing for you.

Burton: It wasn't my finest moment.

Maxine: I can imagine, a seasoned paranormal investigator and secret white magic druid of the Kelranian Order had to be saved by a college student. A poetry major.

Burton: Is there a question in there?

Maxine: What was your impression of Blue Shaefer?

Burton: Blue is...extremely talented with solid instincts. She'll make a great paranormal investigator some day. But she's also brash and hot-headed. I...found that out. It's something I have to think about it for awhile. Any other questions?

Maxine: Yes. What do you know about the Tesh Ke Ra?

Burton: Well....[fidgets] Not much, really. I hear rumors about a secret project by the Kelranian Order.

Maxine: In fact, it's a secret breeding project being conducted by the Order, one to create a refined druid and master of white magic.

Burton: If you say so.

Maxine: Blue's boyfriend all but accused you of being the Tesh Ke Ra. Your response was decidedly evasive. Care to enlighten us on---

Burton: [Stands]---I think it's time you returned to your grave or wherever it is you're haunting these days, Maxine Marie.

Maxine: But Rebecca, Halloween is tonight! I'm not going anywhere for hours yet.

Burton: Then you can stay here and haunt an empty chair. [Burton's eyes light up dark red as she advances on Maxine.] But this interview is over.

Maxine: Oh, poo. Fine. You can leave then. [Maxine motions toward the door] Happy Halloween, Rebecca.

[Burton exits and slams the door behind her without comment]

About the Author: R. J. Sullivan’s novel Haunting Blue is an edgy paranormal thriller and the first book of the adventures of punk girl Fiona “Blue” Shaefer and her boyfriend Chip Farren. Seventh Star Press released Haunting Obsession, a Rebecca Burton Novella in 2012 and Virtual Blue, the second book in Fiona’s tale, in 2013. Seventh Star will release a new edition of Haunting Blue in early 2014. 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 for readers of all ages.

R.J. resides with his family in Heartland Crossing, Indiana. Check in regularly to learn the latest about the projects of R. J. Sullivan. Connect with R. J. on Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

Book Synopsis: Did you ever wish you could escape to a virtual world? What if you could...but then couldn't get out?

Two years after her deadly clash with a vengeful ghost, Fiona “Blue” Shaefer still can’t shake off the trauma of that night. Moving to New York with her father didn't help. Neither did absorbing herself in her college classes. Not even her poetry provided the solace it once did. She convinces herself that ending her relationship with Eugene “Chip” Farren, her long-distance boyfriend and final tie to the horrors of that night, might bring the closure she needs. Blue travels to Bloomington to break the news to Chip in person, but her timing couldn't be any worse.

The Sisters of Baalina, vengeful cultists who practice a new form of “techno-magic,” have targeted Chip’s multi-player videogame as the perfect environment to cast a dangerous spell to free a demoness from the very pits of hell. In the process, their plan may trap Blue in a prison of the mind with no locks, no bars, and no escape.

Purchase Virtual Blue on

Amazon affiliate links are used in this post and others on Library Girl Reads & Reviews.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Importance of 5

On Monday, we celebrated our oldest daughter's 5th birthday. I admit to having a bit of a mom freak out over this one. Five sounds so much older than four to me. It feels like we've hit another milestone in her life. I associate five with kindergarten even though she won't go until next fall. I'm not ready for her to stop climbing into my lap or even into bed with me when she is up in the night. Thankfully, she isn't quite ready to give up those snuggles either. I am glad I have been able to stay home with her and watch her grow for five years. I am happy that she is independent and confident playing with others at preschool. I am torn between wanting to keep her close and wanting her to explore on her own. I love that she is learning to read and that she enjoys discovering new things. I can't believe the grown up phrases she comes up with and I laugh when I remember the girl who didn't talk at all. It is hard to believe that my baby girl is 5!

Five is important for another reason this month. Remember in September when I shared with you about this empty West Virginia food bank? Monkey Do Project founder +Jacqueline Wilson realized that if each of her Twitter followers gave just $5 that would be nearly enough to fill the food bank for an entire year! Check out her post on Monkeytober13 to see her thoughts on the project and to see the amount donated so far. I think most of us could spare five dollars and I'm simply amazed at how much good that little amount can do.

I'm asking you to help celebrate my daughter's 5th birthday by donating $5 to Monkey Do Project.

Be sure to select MONKEYtober as the project designation so Monkey Do Project can track donations. My little monkey and I greatly appreciate your support!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, October 6, 2013

New Luvs Super Absorbent Diapers #TheClueIsInTheBlue

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks & Luvs diapers. The opinion expressed here is based on our experience with the product.

Let's face it diapers are expensive. Unless you go the cloth diaper route, diapers may be one of the largest baby expenses over time. When SheSpeaks and Luvs offered to send me a package of the new Luvs Super Absorbent diapers with Night Lock (look for that blue label), I was happy to give them a try.

The claims on the back of the package:

  • Helps Lock Wetness Away - Even Overnight
  • Cottony Soft on Baby's Skin
  • Leak Barrier Leg Gathers
  • Refastenable Stretch Tabs
  • Great Fitting Contoured Shape
Here is our experience:

The Luvs diapers fit Victoria well. She is currently on the edge of moving from a size 3 up to size 4 based more on height than weight. I think the Luvs diapers are slightly longer than the brand we are currently using which gives her a bit more time to grow. The diapers fastened well and were easy to adjust if her wiggling prevented me from getting them fastened securely on the first attempt. Victoria seemed to be comfortable and the diapers didn't appear to hamper her climbing in any way.

I think the outside layer of the diaper feels a bit more like plastic than the brand we currently use. I didn't notice a plastic scent when opening the package however. Victoria's skin is quite sensitive and she still occasionally breaks out in an eczema rash. We did not experience any irritation from switching the diapers to Luvs.

Although we didn't have any leaks down the legs, Victoria is an extremely heavy sleeper and we did have wet sheets on a few mornings. This happens with our current brand of diapers as well and I don't think we had any more wet mornings with Luvs than we were already having. The only solution for this appears to be limiting Victoria's liquids after dinner. The new Luvs Super Absorbent diapers (sold exclusively at Wal-Mart) claim to be 15% more absorbent than regular Luvs.

The Verdict:

Luvs Super Absorbent diapers are definitely worth a try! Especially since Luvs offers a money back guarantee if you contact them within 60 days of purchase. Remember the clue is in the blue on the label so you know you are getting Luvs most absorbent diaper.

Note: All opinions presented in book and product reviews are my own. Opinions presented in posts authored by others reflect the view of the author only and not necessarily my view or opinion.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Thunder on the Battlefield - Mercenaries & Ravens - Alex Hughes

I get a little strange when I’m short on sleep. Particularly, on week four of six of the Odyssey intensive writing workshop, working on six hours or less of sleep per night consistently, I get very strange. I start picturing myself as a mercenary in the middle of a long, brutal campaign against overwhelming odds, sword in hand and company around me, mud and battle up to my ears.

The genesis of The Fourth Rule started with just such a fantasy at Odyssey. I had less than a week to produce a complete story, a story which the guest author was slated to read. Lots of pressure, very little sleep, and suddenly my mercenary fantasy reared up and said, write me. So I did, mud and battle and all.

Hara started as a version of me in that moment, but as the best characters do, she slowly took on a life of her own. Hers was a hard world, and she was a hard character, but she cared. She cared too much.

Writing Hara’s story—one that originally had a much darker ending—was a heart- wrenching exercise in a world that was at the end of the line. It’s the story that broke out for me, the first short story I’d written that stood on its own at a longer length and still packed an emotional punch. When I had a chance to pull it out and polish it for Thunder on the Battlefield, I jumped. The new ending has a bit more hope, and Hara’s character has evolved again. But the core of the story, the ravens over the battlefield and the general drunk on power, stayed very much the same.

I love this story, for all its bleakness. I love it because of its bleakness. And I hope you feel the same.

Alex Hughes, the author of the award-winning Mindspace Investigations series from Roc, has lived in the Atlanta area since the age of eight. She is a graduate of the prestigious Odyssey Writing Workshop, and a member of the Science Fiction Writers of America and the International Thriller Writers. Her short fiction has been published in several markets including EveryDay Fiction, Thunder on the Battlefield and White Cat Magazine. She is an avid cook and foodie, a trivia buff, and a science geek, and loves to talk about neuroscience, the Food Network, and writing craft—but not necessarily all at the same time! You can visit her at Twitter at @ahugheswriter or on the web at

Thunder on the Battlefield: Sword - HARK! to the sounds of battle. Mighty men and women who take their destinies with the strength of their arm and the sharpness of their blades. These are tales of warriors, reavers, barbarians, and kings. Lands of wonder populated with monsters, black- hearted sorcerors of Stygian power, and heroes who have blood on their hands and on their steel.


Thunder on the Battlefield: Sorcery - BEHOLD! the clash of war. Steel upon steel and heroes fighting shield to shield. The only true victory is a brave death and the destruction of your enemies. These stories harken back to a barbaric past that never was. A time when heroic men and women cut glory from the cloth of a sorcery-filled world and stole gold from the hands of the gods themselves. This is fiction that takes no prisoners. No quarter asked. No quarter given.


About the Editor: James R. Tuck lives outside Atlanta with his lovely wife and awesome kids. He has been a professional tattoo artist for 18 years and is a talented photographer. He is the author of the DEACON CHALK series (Kensington Books), the author of the CHAMPIONS OF HOLLOW EARTH series (Pro Se Press forthcoming 2014), the editor of the double anthology THUNDER ON THE BATTLEFIELD Volumes 1 and 2 (Seventh Star Press), and his short fiction has appeared and will appear in several anthologies such as: ONE BUCK ZOMBIES (One Buck Horror), THE BIG BAD (Dark Oak Press), HOOKERPUNK (Dark Oak Press forthcoming), ROBOTS UNLEASHED! (Mechanoid Press forthcoming), KAIJU RISING 2 (Ragnarok Press forthcoming), MONSTER EARTH 2 (Mechanoid Press forthcoming), and BADLANDS:TROUBLE IN THE HEARTLAND (Zelmer Pulp forthcoming).

Amazon Affiliate links were used in this post.

Note: All opinions presented in book and product reviews are my own. Opinions presented in posts authored by others reflect the view of the author only and not necessarily my view or opinion.