Blog Book Tour | “Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy” an #anthology of #Fantasy stories by R.J. Sullivan!

Posted Saturday, 3 October, 2015 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a stop on the “Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy” blog tour from Seventh Star Press. The tour is hosted by Tomorrow Comes Media who does the publicity and blog tours for Seventh Star Press and other Indie and/or Self Published authors. I am a regular blog tour host with Tomorrow Comes Media, however, when I reviewed “Virtual Blue” my path originally crossed with Mr Sullivan’s. We’ve kept in touch and he asked if I would be keen on being involved in his blog tour for “Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy” to which I was happy to respond positively with a ‘yes’! As I have been wanting to expand my readings of his collective works past ‘Virtual Blue’.

I received a complimentary copy of “Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy” direct from the publisher Seventh Star Press in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I wanted to read …Chance of Whimsy:

Part of me half-smirked when I realised how similar in name this title was to “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” as although not the demographic who would normally find herself inclined to see the film (as it’s that brand of anime that tends to grate on my last nerve rather than humours me) – I must contend, the airing I caught on cable left me pensive and laughing. It had more heart than I shrugged off being possible and it had a nice heaping of cheeky humour to keep me entertained.

Titling aside, I’ve been keeping an eye on Mr Sullivan’s writings for awhile now, as I previously explored his darker side of knitting inside an Urban Fantasy quite the dark fate circling around a character within the pages of Virtual Blue! One of his characters I enjoyed getting to meet through that novel was Rebecca Burton, of whom is featured in two of the shorts within this collection: Inner Strength & Backstage Pass.

I positively adore reading anthologies for Science Fiction & Fantasy, in fact, I tend to get quite giddy about finding them! I’ve been focusing on the Indie Press side of the ledger for the past two years, as I’ve happily devoured titles by Seventh Star Press (by which this title is published!), World Weaver Press and Xchyler Publishing. I have an exciting anthology I am going to be reading for this years upcoming Sci Fi November + the Sci-Fi Experience (December-January) where I will be exploring Space Opera; a section of SF I haven’t been reading nearly as much as I should in the recent past! (mentioned on No.7!)

What appealed to me about Sullivan’s current anthology is how it’s a curated collection spanning a decade of characters, life experiences (as you know those are always at the back of a writer’s mind as they write their stories!), and stories evolving out of where Sullivan was in his writerly pursuits per each story included inside. My curiosity for continuing to read his stories hasn’t faltered, as I was waiting for a moment where his stories would re-tempt me to read his new works (or his past works; truly nothing is ever truly ‘old’ if it’s new to the reader!) as I knew the basis of Virtual Blue was going to be a bit trickier to follow as it’s such a soul-gutting story-line for me to consume.

The fact he put ‘whimsy’ and ‘darkness’ together in a title won me over but it’s his dedication to share his journey with his readers which endeared me the most.

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Blog Book Tour | “Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy” an #anthology of #Fantasy stories by R.J. Sullivan!Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy
Subtitle: Ten Years, Ten Stories
by R.J. Sullivan
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Enggar Adirasa
Source: Publisher via Tomorrow Comes Media

Collected for the first time since their initial publications, Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy presents ten tales from the imagination of R.J. Sullivan. Thrills and chills await you, but you may also get blindsided by the absurd. This volume includes a pair of stories featuring Rebecca Burton, the mysterious investigator of R.J.’s acclaimed paranormal thriller series. Among the ten stories, you’ll find:

“The Assurance Salesman” shows five strangers more about themselves than they ever guessed.

You don’t want to venture into Daddy’s basement in “Fade.”

Rebecca Burton tries to talk someone out of a bad idea in “Backstage Pass.”

A bullied police detective finally defeats his rival in “Able-Bodied.”

A desperate father finds the “Inner Strength” to save his young daughter, “Becky” Burton.

A child seeds his aquarium with a most unusual “Starter Kit.”

A brilliant robotics engineer creates a “Robot Vampire.”

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Also by this author: Virtual Blue, Author Interview (Red Lotus, Vol.1), Commanding the Red Lotus, Gifts of the Magi

Genres: Anthology Collection of Short Stories and/or Essays, Fantasy Fiction, Genre-bender, Short Story or Novella, Suspense, Urban Fantasy


Published by Seventh Star Press

on 16th of June 2015

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 200

Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Published By: Seventh Star Press (@7thStarPress)
Available Formats: Softcover, E-book

Converse via: #DarknessWithAChanceOfWhimsy & #7thStar

About R.J. Sullivan

R.J. Sullivan with his characters

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 also released Haunting Obsession, a Rebecca Burton Novella, and Virtual Blue, the second part of Fiona’s tale. The short stories in this collection have been featured in such acclaimed anthologies as Dark Faith Invocations by Apex Books and Vampires Don’t Sparkle. His next book due out very soon will be Commanding the Red Lotus, which collects the series of science fiction novelettes in the tradition of Andre Norton and Gene Roddenberry.

R.J. resides with his family in Heartland Crossing, Indiana. He drinks regularly from a Little Mermaid coffee mug and is man enough to admit it.

Loved the Foreward:

As who cannot relate to starting our online adventures with dial-up connections? No, seriously, what I appreciated was seeing a long-time friend of Mr Sullivan’s giving a back-story to the author we ‘meet’ inside the ‘stories’ – I nodded knowingly when I read she had recommended limiting the Horror from one of his stories, as even I remember finding the level of Horror inside Virtual Blue a bit too much for me, as well. We both came to the same conclusions though: the stories have to stand as they are as this is his style and it’s the voice in which his stories are told. I do still stand by my other recommendation.

The coincidence for me is that I’m about to read an anthology of stories to benefit the same organisation Ms Holland was talking about in her dedication – as it’s the collection of stories Gifts of the Magi which perked my attention to become familiar with Indy Reads Books. If I hadn’t become acquainted with Sullivan’s writings via Virtual Blue and E. Chris Garrison’s writings via A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court & Blue Spirit: A Tipsy Fairy Tale I wouldn’t know about the efforts of Indy Reads; thus, I wouldn’t be reading a new anthology which benefits the same organisation! (the title of which is: Indy Writes Books: A Book Lover’s Anthology) Except to say, is it a coincidence? Hmm.

My Review of Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy:

Anthological Note: Sullivan prelims your readings of his shorts by including a short history of the story and how it was created.

| “The Assurance Salesman” |

I have held a fascination with trains for most of my life and my passion for all things Brit is slowly becoming known with each British novelist I review on my blog (as I share a few more stories each time I write the reviews)! Finding myself on a train bound for London as the first short enveloped me into its folds was quite lovely! Except to say, this isn’t your regular commuter train – no, it’s a train whose a bit of a harbinger of a darker secret, of a meeting of the minds where if your not strong enough, the outcome might not be one you can survive.

It’s very classically set-up where your given the option to have foreknowledge of intimate details of your life (good or bad) whilst paying a fee for the pleasure of the truth which may or may not break your spirit after all is known. The passengers are a jolly sort, taking to each other quite nicely before there is an interruption mid-journey; this new passenger is not one they should have allowed into their quarters but one who would directly impact their lives.

Elements of:

Darkness: The undertaking to have a short story read with such an authority of clarity for numbing the awareness of the reader of the fuller scope of how dark this tale is being told is the mark of a wicked good story-teller. There is a moment (a few really) where you start to see the layers of this short arch forward through the foreground, where you realise how dearly sacred it is to keep your choices close to your soul when it boils down to bargaining a deal with an entity whose intentions are not entirely above board. This short reminded me of my readings of the fae in ‘Fae’, especially the very first short, because sometimes malicious intent can blindside you.

Whimsy: The bluish tone of light emitting from the carrier and deliver of the rose is a bit of a quirky addition to a choice between owning your own truth and being given knowledge that you may or may not be ready to handle. Quirkily, I felt the ‘shadows’ who were ‘there yet not there’ were the whimsical additions to the scene, because they would tuck in and out of sight!

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| “Fade” |

Typically college students who fall in love are walking an uneven path towards longevity in their relationship due to picking an ill-time to date. In the case of Anna and Spencer, it’s the height of Anna’s emotional tirade which would unravell their choices towards a future together. Written with an eye for realistic story-telling on behalf of the mistakes you make in regards to your health and how they can have a rippling effect on your relationships is what anchours this short in reality.

Elements of:

Darkness:

A short about the consequences of using something prior to knowing what it can honestly do (new technology) has a way of biting you in the tail when you use said technology whilst having an all-out fight with your boyfriend. Strong emotions and a head that is clouded in judgement is never a good start to a conversation – yet, Anna allows herself to be consumed with her darker thoughts and thus, the darkness of the story is being in full regret of the words you speak just to spite someone and cause them irreversible pain.

Whimsy:

For me, the ‘whimsy’ is a bit dark humoured but I found it quite humourous how Anna’s father was so caught up in his inventing, he was compromising the end results of his experiments by not accepting there are some inventions not meant to be made or in his case, in dire need of being destroyed! He was blinded by the process of developing his gadget and of the lucrative end result. Towards the end, the whimsy comes back into play on what ‘Fade’ is truly referencing – whimsy is as good of a word to credit what happens than anything else because it’s ‘not expected’!

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| “Do Better” |

A bit of a precautionary tale inside this story, as although there is a hint of danger, it’s why the two are sealed away from their lives for this interval of time that makes it far more humourous than serious – unless of course you re-read the ending!

Elements of:

Darkness:

If you decide to run off with your boyfriend or girlfriend and the first place you can think of for a romantic interlude is a graveyard – perhaps your instincts are a bit off-center? Seriously, the young lovers in this story are so consumed by themselves and their own needs to be with each other, they are not able to recognise danger even when it’s staring them in the face. This in of itself is a dark homage to the impractical inability to see how what your doing could become your doom.

Whimsy:

Finding characters who are in-tune with their surroundings to denote a presence amongst them yet not willing enough to believe in what they are sensing is the whimsical bit of this story for me! Even keeping with the precautionary tale angle, how they get out of their short-sighted rendezvous will tickle your funny-bone, but as said – there is a life lesson inside this short too!

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| “Inner Strength” |

Despite my reservations in regards to vulgarity, I knew the Burton shorts might contain strong language (and this one did) however, my curiosity was piqued and I had to read it! It’s not often you will find a story written from the perspective of the father when it comes to separations and divorce; invariably it’s generally writ from the mother’s point of view or those of the children. What I appreciated in seeing Rebecca Burton from this time period in her life (she’s a young girl, still in her girlhood), is how she was unaware of her destiny and how dedicated her parents were (each in their own way) to protect her.

There are strong visuals of Fantasy and of Horror within this short, as a demon kidnapped Rebecca in order for her to bring a prophecy to life which were redeem the afflicted lives of demons. There is a flashback sequence and a foreboding of what is coming next for Burton, but done in such a way as to give credence to her parents before her story runs solo.

Elements of:

Darkness:

Whenever you find a demon has the upper hand in a kidnapping, I would say, the ‘darkness’ has a match set and point on your chances of coming out of the situation alive and unscathed. In Rebecca’s father’s case, it is coming true to face with the hidden legacy of Rebecca’s mother and how both his wife and his daughter are caught up in an ancient battle of will and power. It’s a curious thing to find yourself taken out of your reality as you are living it and then, finding everything not quite as you left it yet still the same. It’s more eluding to darkness, as it’s in the background of this tale, but it’s how darkness can overtake the power control that gives it a proper hardening of suspense.

Whimsy:

It’s how the portal between the worlds was both used and defined; it’s definitely an option on the whimsical side but also, in the personality of the demon. You’re thinking the demon would be portrayed in this one particular way (menacing, loathsome of humans, determined to inflict harm, etc) and then, you see a conscience struggle happening inside of a conversation that in of itself is a bit maddening as only a few seconds ago Rebecca and her Dad were inside their car!

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| “Starter Kit” |

I think most of us when we were growing up wanted to have a pet or two, sometimes we even tried to have a pet that might not have been the best match for us, but we were bourne adventurous! Aquariums for me never held reptiles or other curious scaly creatures, as they were the home for my cheeky friendly little ham-ham. Any hamster who lives to be nearly six years old will leave an impression on you, especially how he passes on from this life into the next. For me, his presence was part of the background of my childhood during those years – as I had him as I was merging out of middle grade and into high school. I did adopt a pet iguana but that’s a story for another time!

What I wanted to say, is that to think about the proportional density of creating life and then, being able to take it away again when things go wrong is heady stuff to contemplate, but Sullivan has done an excellent job of ebbing us out of a familiar childhood hobby and taken it tenfold into the future.

Elements of:

Darkness:

Whether they were right to do this or not, the aquariums of the future apparently have a creation and destruction button – where with one simple push you can either create life or cause their existence to end. It’s a lot of weight of responsibility to put on young shoulders, but the way in which this story unfolds as a natural rite of passage, you tend to forget the darker bits of this tale.

Whimsy:

The life forms behind the glass and occupying the universe inside a young boy’s room are smaller than small – their outside the visual realm of our naked eye! I consider that whimsical because a fancy magnifying glass has to be used via the technology of the time in order to track their progress and their retractions if they are making choices to go to war rather than seeking peace. 

Why I am now wicked happy to be a reader of Sullivan’s works:

I was quite surprised finding Sullivan has a softer and more intuitive side to his writings, as I came into his collective works through the Dark Fantasy and Horror side of the ledger! Immediately as I was settling into what became my favourite short (‘The Assurance Salesman’) I recognised he has a lot of heart and depth of purpose towards how he paints a story with emotional conviction and centering on the intricate complexity of exploring the depth of the human soul. He enriches his audience with thought-provoking stories which stir a knowing sense the writer has fully embraced the moment of his inspiration to tell them and given a wicked read to his readers (who like me) might not have found their ‘niche’ within his writings until now!

 Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

This blog tour was courtesy of:

Seventh Star Press

via

Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy blog tour via Tomorrow Comes Media.

as I am a proud tour hostess for:

Tomorrow Comes Media Tour HostFun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comBe sure to scope out my next Bookish Events!

Happily I was able to host three new books and blog tours for Seventh Star Press:

Blue Spirit: A Tipsy Fairy Tale by E. Chris Garrison (review)

Silver Tongue by AshleyRose Sullivan (review)

Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy by R.J. Sullivan (this review!)

I will be composing Guest Author Features this Autumn, too!

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Reader Interactive Question:

Why do you find yourself drawn into short stories of Fantasy? What are you hoping you’ll find in the shorts as you pick up an anthology? Do you prefer anthologies where one author is featured (like in this one!) OR do you have a preference for anthologies where you get to read multiple authors at once?

{SOURCES: Author photograph of R.J. Sullivan, Author Biography, Book Synopsis, Book Cover for “Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy”, blog tour badge, Seventh Star Press badge and TCM Tour Host badge were provided by Tomorrow Comes Media and were used by permission. Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Comment Box Banner made by Jorie in Canva. Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2015.

I’m a social reader | I tweet as I read

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Saturday, 3 October, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Coming-Of Age, Cosy Horror, Crime Fiction, Earthen Magic, Fantasy Fiction, Indie Author, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Parapsychological Gifts, Tomorrow Comes Media, Urban Fantasy, Vulgarity in Literature




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