May 18, 2015 at 2:46 pm · Filed under Uncategorized
I am thrilled that Guardians is in the Top 100! Get your copy before the sale is over:
Pick up a copy of The Guardians of Man on Amazon.com! It’s on sale on Kindle for $1.99, and prices are dropping, this week only.
About a year ago, Crystal Connor and I teamed up for a project that we thought would produce one novel. What we ended up with was two co-authored books revolving around a small town after a worldwide catastrophe. What starts out as a blackout turns into a much worse situation, with paranormal forces at work and a battle for mankind in the balance. I asked Crystal what it was like to work as part of a team for The End is Now and The Guardians of Man.
1) How did you come up with the idea for the story?
Dude I totally cheated. When you sent the writing prompts, every single one of them fit perfectly with a short story I wrote and published a year earlier call The Parish. It’s the 2nd story in my anthology …And They All Lived Happily Ever After! I wanted to expand that story so I sent you the same disaster from The Parish set in a different town.
Never in my wildest dreams could I have ever imagined that the story would end up as large as it did requiring two books and two author’s to tell it.
2) Of all the characters, who was the most surprising to you?
Oh my gosh I am going to have to pick two! The first would have to be Khrystle. When she introduced herself to me I didn’t like her and I was already planning her death from those early chapters. But after you read them, added to it, then sent it back you made it impossible for me to kill her which made me despise her even more. It’s silly I know but it felt if she pitted us against each other and I resented her for that. But then… Oh but then. Much later in the story you developed her character in such a way that she broke my heart and made me cry. I couldn’t believe it. I still don’t believe it. I think that Khrystle is the character in our books that is basically the Y in the fork in our road to Mt. Empyreal. Going off the copy that we worked on together and what I wrote alone she is the one who pulls our books apart changing them from simply from In the Foothills of Mt. Empyreal and turning them into The End is Now and The Guardians of Man.
The second character that totally blindsided me is Marradith from your Hunting in Closed Spaces series. I was reading that series last summer but once we started I stopped. For some reason I cannot read and write at the same time. There was a scene I wrote and when you sent it back you mentioned HICS and from there she sorta just showed up in my version of the story. I had to go back and research her because I really didn’t know that much about her back story and family history because I started reading the series in the middle. I had to change her to fit into the narrative of my version of events but I’m sure I did her justice and that you’ll be pleased with my interpretation of her.
3) Was there anything about working with a co-author that was easier or harder than you expected?
Actually, it was way easier than I expected. All the horror stories you hear about the perils of co-authoring a book, the ego issues, which author will be the lead narrator, scraping one idea in favor of another never happened. Working with you really has been too good to be true. I mean I still pinch myself that we actually pulled this off. I was a little worried that one of us wouldn’t be 100% happy with the way the books turned out but that solved it own problem fairly early one.
The one thing that was hard, and I need to back up a bit because I’m not sure if everyone knows this but at first we meant to co-write just one book. But when we decided to use the part we wrote together as the foundation for our own individual books that we would write independently without sharing information, that part was really hard for me. We had been talking about it and working together every day for almost four months. To go from that to complete radio silence as not to influence each other, even though that was my idea, it was surprisingly tough.
I was like “ok now what?” It was almost like a break up, I mean we weren’t even talking to each other on Facebook. And then I went through a real break up, you got another job and thru that we kinda found our way back to each other. Once you got settled in and I stopped eating my own weight in ice-cream we were able to talk to each other about our books without revealing any information. Coming up w/bench mark deadlines and reporting weekly word counts really helped get things back on track.
Another thing that was really hard was keeping this project secrete for an entire year. For those who are reading this, we’ve never seen or heard of two authors co-writing two books with the same catastrophe, told in the same town with all the same characters but told two different ways. Because it’s such an original idea we treated it like a trade secret. Being so excited about something that you can’t take about is surely a form of torture.
4) With the new books out, what are you planning to work on next?
I am going to be spending sometime in The Realm of Nine, which is the next series I have simmering in the back burner while at the same time working on another stand alone novel called The Family.
5) What do you find easier–writing about a lot of characters, or just a few?
Okay, see what had happened was… lol. I tend to have a lot of characters in my stories, I don’t know how that happens, it makes things a bit hard because I end up with a lot of people who become hard to ‘control and keep track of’ once the story gets to the point where as an author I am no longer in the driver’s seat.
6) Do you plan to write epic stories, or does it just work out that way?
It just turns out that way, even my short stories have a way of turning out epic, just on a smaller scale.
7) What do you think has changed in your writing the most over the last two years?
I am more comfortable of doing things my own way, of going against the grain. Due to the sheer size and plot complexity of the Spectrum Trilogy made it such a great learning experience, that just having it done plus the positive feedback, has catapulted my self-confidence as a writer straight thru the stratosphere …
8) What kind of stories do you like to watch or read when time allows?
I like horror, science fiction, and dark fantasy. I also love the high impact over the topic action sequences that are a staple in really good Korean action and sometimes drama films.
9) How have your family or friends reacted to your new project?
My mom is super excited, ever since The Darkness my mom has always read the very first print ARC copy. She loves it. At the time of this interview the Mt. Empyreal project was still secret so they don’t know about these books yet. They will find out a month before they go on sale by way of a cover reveal.
10) How would you spend a day if you were not allowed to write or work for 24 hours?
By sleeping and watching movies!
©2014 Lori Titus
About a year ago Crystal Connor and I talked about our own writing projects and possibly working together. She asked me for some writing prompts and I sent her a few words: candlelight, book, snow.
What she sent me back was the beginning of an awesome story, one in which inhabitants of a small town were trapped inside their homes because of toxic snowfall.
Trading our story back and forth, I wrote bits, she did, we discussed the story, and things got rolling. We only set out to write one book, and somehow ended up writing two co-authored books, each with our own take on the events of a town in the mountains called Fate’s Keep. As of the date that I am writing this, neither Crystal or I have read each other’s copies. Silence is killer! We’re dying to read each other’s book, and we hope that you will be too!
Jaidis Shaw will be doing the cover reveal for our books on April 18th. Follow the link for more information for the blog tour Crystal and I will start shortly: http://junipergrovebooksolutions.com/cover-reveal-connor-titus/
This is a story that originally appeared in William Pauley III’s collection of horror stories, Toe Tags.
This version of the Nayjeed was taken down and completely restructured, a new story about the same monster.
If your flesh and breath were borrowed, what would you do to make something your own?
Enjoy the story:
What a long time away!
Since it has been a while since I posted, I’ll tell you that I have several things in the works, but since some of the projects include other busy bees, I can’t tell you too much about them yet.
But… I do always have what I call side projects, and this may be quickly turning into one. And not the usual fare, either. It’s an untitled story so far, and I hope you’ll enjoy it.
Leaves circled the yard in mini hurricanes of red and yellow. Despite her coat, Cassidy shivered, pushing her hands as far as they’d go into the shallow pockets of her worn coat.
The trailer sat near the edge of town. A beaten white pickup sat behind it, and almost obscured bt the treeline, an old Toyota with a cracked windshield, missing the front two tires.
The truck – an old service vehicle that could have been any make was still usable. Cassidy had good memories of it, as she’d used the pickup to get her first license. The Toyota was a complete loss. It hadn’t been used for anything but storage for years.
Cassidy told herself that she needed a plan, some sort of idea about what she should take and what she would leave. It had been four years since she’d been inside the trailer, and she wasn’t sure what might be in there that she would want. But she wasn’t comfortable with the idea of having everything scrapped, either.
The one time she’d entered her Mother’s home, and was old enough to remember it, she was unpleasantly surprised with the way she was living.
Twenty years old, and this place still reduced Cassidy to the sixteen year old girl she had been at that visit.
The smell of cedar, the woods, the wind were comforting. It was the closed, cylindrical space of the trailer that frightened her. Too much like a prison cell.
Or a tomb.
Cassidy’s fear of small spaces was not something that she remembered from childhood. Her father said that the first panic attacks and bouts of claustrophobia came about in her teen years, sometime after that day in the trailer with her Mother.
“We tried to get you to tell us what happened,” Father said, “but you never would.”
Worse than facing her father was dealing with her stepmother, Nancy, with her crow-like eyes and pinched mouth. “What really happened to you out there, Cass?”
“Whatever it was that happened, is between me and my Mother,” Cassidy said. If she could remember what, maybe she would sound more convincing.
Nancy had raised Cassidy as far back as she could remember.
Cassidy always knew that her biological mother, her father’s ex-wife, existed, but she might have well been a myth for all that she knew of the woman. Nancy was up with her in the morning, cooking breakfast, nursing her when she was sick, attending parent-teacher conferences. She bandaged scraped knees, told stories, gave out hugs without prompting and called her endearments in Spanish. Cassidy knew the meanings behind the lilting words long before they were explained beause of the look in Nancy’s eyes when she spoke them. Nancy read her stories at night, and she would listen breathlessly to Where the Wild Things Are and Harry Potter.
Cassidy felt loved.
It wasn’t until later, after years of asking questions that she never got complete answers to, that she began to wonder about where her mother was and why it was forbidden to talk about her, that Cassidy began to doubt Nancy’s place in her life, or that she had a right to be in it at all.
What she did get from her parents was as condensed as a child’s version of a classic book, so far away from the real events, void of the sex, blood and pain that made the story anything resembling the original version. It wasn’t until she was able to do her own research that the pieces came together, and Cassidy finally demanded to meet her real mother.
Cassidy wasn’t even the name she was born with.
Finding out that part of her history, sitting in front of a computer in the local library made her feel lost in a way that she couldn’t name.
Cassidy was the maiden name of her Father’s mother. She was born Pamela Ann in a small town in central California, a stopping spot between the end of one interstate and an unfinished highway, that she had never heard of before.
At the time of her birth, Cassidy’s parents had been married five years. But not long after, things began to fall apart. There was a record of domestic disputes.
That wasn’t a surprise. Cassidy suspected that her parent’s marriage had met an unhappy, messy end.
What surprised her was the mention of Nancy Palmero, her stepmother, in a news story about an attempted assault.
©2013 Lori Titus
This article caught my attention, and it’s a good conversation starter. How much is just the fantasy of wanting to see attractive heroines in fiction, and where does it cross the line into being degrading? And from a man’s perspective: