Thursday, 16 December 2010

Haunted by Technology and Pop Culture

Meet R.J. Sullivan, another of my fellow Damnation Books authors who's kindly consented to guest blog. Great timing, considering I'm on deadline for my book on the Battle of Adowa! If you missed the previous guest post by Jennifer Cloud, do check it out. So without further ado. . .

Hi, I’m pleased to guest blog on Midlist Writer about my first novel, Haunting Blue, released by Damnation Books. My hero, “Blue” Shaefer, is a high school punk girl moved by her mother to a small town, where she and her new boyfriend promptly get into trouble and release a vengeful ghost. Much excitement ensues.

I started drafting in the mid-90s and found myself plagued with headaches with each consecutive draft. Writing about a teenage punk girl who listens to hard rock music and her computer nerd boyfriend created two issues: 1) the swift changes in technology and 2) constantly needing to swap out the new hotness with my aging relics. It makes me laugh to review my mid-90s draft, and I thought it might make you laugh as well.

1. Better than Who?
In the first scene, Blue originally listens to Better than Ezra through the headphones of her Sony Discman. Today she listens to Linkin Park through the earbuds of her iPod.

2. School “tech”
Who would have thought a chalkboard would ever become quaint? Most school rooms now feature dry-erase boards, and mine does, too.

3. Remember when MTV played videos?
Blue’s poem assignment, originally titled MTV Video Script, became American Idol Finalist. Oddly, the content remains unchanged.

4. Hasta La Vista, Stallone!
Chip and Blue decide to catch a movie. “I think the latest Stallone is playing,” said Chip. In the final, they’re off to see the latest Dwayne Johnson.

5. Mighty Morphin Starship Troopers!
Chip and Blue discuss the movie Starship Troopers—having, of course, seen it in the theater! I managed to keep the conversation by saying Blue’s ex-boyfriend had the BluRay at the house. “I think he just loved the co-ed shower scene.”

6. It’s called a web page. I think it’s the way of the future.
In the mid-90s very few people surfed the web. In draft one I devoted no less than four full pages explaining HOW to surf the web. You’ll be glad to know I cut 99% of it a long time ago.

7. Dungeons and Dragons? That’s so yesterday—no, wait!
Just when I thought I’d have to change my D&D scene, the game turned popular again! I like it when that happens.

8. The curse of the cell phone.
The winner of the biggest headache since I started goes to the cell phone. A daunting game-changer, a working cell phone could have given our heroes an easy out during the climax. Fortunately, cell phones are fragile devices…

9. On a related “note”… Remember when everyone met between classes and passed notes in the hall? Of course not, I’m showing my age. Those moments changed to texting and Facebooking.

I suppose in 2021, these “updates” will appear just as quaint as my rough draft, but until then, I hope you enjoy the 2011 release of Haunting Blue, available now through Damnation Books.

R.J. Sullivan


Sioux Roslawski said...

R.J.---Revise yet again! Most classrooms these days have something even better than a dry-erase board...They have a smartboard.

It's amazing how much things change in 10 or 20 years. Thanks for sharing the obstacles you faced when revising.

Su Halfwerk said...

This is a creative post to show the change of time and what we go through to keep our stories fresh. *sigh* it also highlights my age :-(
Well done and congratulations with your new release.
Good luck with the book signing and the sales.

Marva Dasef said...

And things keep changing at the speed of light.

While I have a contemporary teen fantasy, my kids live in a remote island in the Barents Sea. Fortunately, they are not "with it" technologically. I could leave some of my anachronisms just because they lived in a remote area.

I feel your pain, though. I have a mystery due out in July. I have cell phone failures integral to the plot. I hope it won't change too much by then!

Midlist Writer said...


What a great location for a story! I've always been interested in arctic exploration (plan to write a book someday) so I'm curious why you picked the Barents Sea. Did you used to live up there?

RJSullivan said...

Thank you for the responses regarding this post. @Sioux, I can guess what a smartboard is but I'm pretty sure our school system isn't quite that up to date, so I guess I'm safe enough, lol. R.J.

Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

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