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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Old War Stories Q & A (with an updated Divide and Conquest cover art)

So you guys really liked my question and answer segment on Death Among Us.  When I got home last night from a pretty awesome trip to Tampa, I noticed all the questions in my inbox.  So I'll postpone my blog taking in the local Tampa fun places to go so I can get to these.


First, MAJOR SPOILERS will be revealed in this post.  If you haven't read Old War Stories, I suggest coming back afterwards to join in the conversation.  Second, I've received a few Feast or Famine questions and I'll hit those up next week.  So with that out of the way, let the questions begin.


Q1 - The second story has a much more serious tone to it than the first.  Why did you go in that direction?


A1 - I wanted to give Derrick a little more depth to his character.  He's Death after all and yeah he's a goofy pervert, but he's also got a very serious job to do.  Sometimes that job is hard and isn't something to take lightly.  All and all, I was happy with a bit more character building, which will lead nicely into Feast or Famine.


Q2 - Vlad the Impaler was such a cool side story to throw in.  Is there any way you might write a book about that adventure?


A2 - I won't write a book about it, but I definitely might write a short story and post it somewhere for free.  That's a really good idea.  I think later this year I'm going to do that, maybe like a Halloween special?


Q3 - Sabrina the witch is bad ass.  Is it true you named her after a fan?


A3 - I sure did.  Sabrina won a contest I held last year and she was really pleased with the character I dreamed up.  If you liked her in Old War Stories, you'll love her going forward.


Q4 - Derrick's not supposed to dump Roxanne for Astrid!  Roxanne kicks so much ass!


A4 - Even though this technically isn't a question, a lot of people were a bit confused.  Again, this volume was about revealing Derrick's character and his lack of commitment comes into play.  For him, the grass is always greener elsewhere.  He saw Astrid and in her something new.  Trust me, this choice will come back to haunt him later.


Q5 - Going forward, will we get to know each Horseman a little better?


A5 - If you couldn't tell, the titles reveal which Horseman will be instrumental to the story.  Death obviously stole the show in round 1 and War was very important in round 2.


Q6 - HOW THE HELL COULD YOU KILL ROXANNE OFF YOU DUMB BASTARD?!?!


A6 - I got a variation of this one in quite a few emails.  Listen, for celestial beings, dying isn't as permanent as it is for humans.  Much like every comic book character not named Uncle Ben, these guys find a way to come back.  In Roxanne's case, Michael took pity of her soul and called in a favor.  What does that mean going forward?  Good question.  The Death Among Us universe works in mysterious ways and just about everybody is fair game...


I hope I got to your question in some way, shape, or form.  I'm so surprised by the passion you guys have for the story and that's so cool.  I appreciate all the questions, well wishes, and curiosity.  Keep them coming as we keep moving forward with the story.


Before I go, real quick, I updated the cover for book 4.  I'm much happier with it and I think you'll all like it too:





-Jack
You can email me at jack.crosby25@gmail.com

Monday, January 18, 2016

On the Road Again

When you take a job in sunny Florida, you expect a bit of nice weather.  I've ben freezing in Chicago and my pal Jeremy lives in Orlando, so you can imagine all the obnoxious posts.  But late last week, when I emailed him that I was coming to Tampa, he's like you picked the wrong time to come.  I got in on Saturday and that night we had a tornado warning.  Sunday wasn't too bad, but today I woke up to the 40's.  Seriously?


Long story short, my dreams of partying on the beach for a few days were dashed.  I did hear the original Outback Steakhouse is down here, so I might try to find that.  The locals also talk about Ybor City, which apparently has excellent beers and cigars to choose from.


I leave on Wednesday, so come back on Thursday and I'll detail all the fun things I find.  I don't plan to go over to Orlando unfortunately (it's about 80 miles away I think and I am using public transit), so if you want info on the tourist traps, look elsewhere.


Real quick book update - I got some writing done on the plane.  The story is really picking up and soon we're going to be going on a reunion tour of sorts.  Depending on my progress, I'll maybe have another sample chapter up in a week or two.


That's all for now,


Jack Crosby
(thanks for all the awesome email - keep them coming! jack.crosby25@gmail.com)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Q and A - Death Among Us

So recently Death Among Us has picked up a lot of steam, reaching into the Top 100 Dark Fiction category on Amazon.  I'm really happy that new readers are finding my book and for the most part, enjoying my writing antics.  Over the past two days, I've received quite a few emails about my stories, with most questions centering on things Derrick does in Death Among Us.  Well, I'll do my best to answer these and more.


Q - As a reviewer pointed out, why didn't Derrick know who Maggie was already if she was a world famous historian?  I mean, they're having sex and he doesn't realize who he's in bed with?


A - Stay with me for a second.  You go into a bar and see this gorgeous lady, a few years older than you and she's staring you down.  You get some drinks, you make small talk, and then boom, you're back at her place doing the deed.  At what point in time do you know or care what she does for a living?  That was Derrick's frame of mind at the time in Chapter 1.  This was a hot lady and he just wanted to have sex with her.


Q - Follow up to that, why didn't Derrick just get the info he needed off the internet?


A - He's Death, one of the old ones.  As I've tried to make clear, he's not exactly tech savvy, nor does he believe information he can't verify.  It is totally within his character to want to find the source of the information and make sure it's legit.


Q - Death is this all powerful being that's been around since the beginning of time.  Why does he constantly want to have sex?


A - In this universe, spirits take shape in different ways.  Death happened to come out as an early 20's guy and with it, all the impulses that they have.  Sure he has a job to do and he's rather good at it, but he's also acting within the nature of who he is.


Q - You're writing style is a bit scattered.  What's up with that?


A - I'm not a classically trained writer and I don't pretend to be.  I get that my style's not for everyone and it might come off as clunky.  What I do try to do is improve everyday and get a lot of opinions from those around me.  What I write entertains me and I hope it entertains you.


Q - I love the interaction between all the celestial beings in the book.  Will we get more of that, perhaps visits to Heaven or Hell?


A - I don't want to give everything away, but ask me that again once you finish the 3 books available.  I'm in the midst of writing book 4 and you never know what might happen.


I hope this helps you when it comes to making a decision to buy my books.  I don't write serious material and I can't see that ever changing.  What I do write is silly, ridiculous, and hopefully fun to read.


One last thing before I go - I'll try to keep the blog updated more often as we are getting closer to the release of book 4.  Writing has been going well and the story is really taking shape.  Plus, you have more questions?  Don't hesitate to ask.


-Jack
jack.crosby25@gmail.com

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Chapter 1 of Divide and Conquest (rough draft)

So I'm far enough into the story where I feel good about sharing chapter 1 with all of you.  Keep in mind, this is still the rough draft so there will be typos and grammar errors.  If you can over look that, I think you'll enjoy the start to the final book in Derrick's story.


Chapter 1 – Driving Lessons



“Damnit Oz!  Pay attention to the road!”
My kid just looked at me like I was toilet slime.  “Dude, I got this.”  Then he addressed the car.  “You won’t let me die, will ya Khloros?”
My horse’s voice came through the stereo system in the car.  “Of course not Master Oz.  As for your imbecile of a father, I should have years ago.”
I should probably back up here and answer a few questions.  Last time we spoke, Oz here was just a wee little guy who had just lost his mom and I ran away with.  Now the little asshole’s sixteen and is getting ready to get his driver’s license.  God bless the examiner the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation gives him.
Yep, we’re back in south Philly too, at the old detective agency Roxanna and I started.  We had hopped around the globe a bit before settling down back here two years ago.  Roxanne said it would be good for Oz to have some stability in his already unusual life.
The poor kid was the son of the Horseman Death and a Lust demon.  And yes, I told him what happened to his real mom, Jecella.  I thought he was going to be pissed at me about it, but he took it in stride.  Turns out he’s one tough kid, which is good because of the life he’s going to have. 
What really helped is when he said he thought of Roxanne as his mom.  Not having any children of her own, I’m pretty sure she cried for two straight hours.
The past sixteen years have taken their toll on me though.  For the first time in my very long life, I feel old.  The running and hiding from the inevitable has done a number on Derrick Grimm.  It’s hard to sleep at night and it’s even harder to trust the world.  I haven’t seen any of my brothers since that fateful night years ago and contact from Upstairs has been minimal.  Only Rachel, the angel, checks in on us.
What scares me is that Sabrina, the Hell witch spawn of Roxanne and Beelzebub (don’t ask – celestial family reunions are a total clusterfuck) is still out there.  Plus she has my other son, Jacoby.  I tried so hard to find him, but they’re like ghosts in the wind.  Whatever small leads I find here or there just lead to dead ends.  Plus, I didn’t know just how strong Sabrina’s gotten.  She might be on par with Lucifer for all I knew.
The car swerved again, breaking me out of my thoughts.  “Whoa!  What the hell are you doing Oz?”
“Sorry, I got a text from this hot chick at school.”
I looked on at him incredulously.  “You can’t text and drive you dumb fuck!  Sweet mercy, do you have shit for brains?”
He just rolled his eyes at my outburst.  “You’re one to talk.  Whenever mom texts you, you take it.”  Then with added zing, “Hypocrite.”
“I’m an adult!  If I want to risk my life, I will!”
“To be fair Grimm,” great the horse had to chime in, “you are both immortals.  A car accident would only really mess me up, neither of you.”
Yep, Oz was gifted with my special ‘talent’ of immortality.  I mean he was half a Horseman and half a Lust demon, it only made sense.  “See Oz, you should think of your Uncle Khloros before you go texting said girl next time.”
He dropped the phone in the cup holder and hit the gas, sending me head back into the headrest with vigor.  Let me tell you, I was so happy when he pulled up front of our little slice of heaven in the city so I could get out.  I practically ran from the car and kissed the ground.  “I can’t believe Roxanne talked me into this shit.”
Oz tossed me the keys as he walked by towards the door.  “Don’t be so melodramatic.”
I put them in my pocket and followed him in.  We were greeted by our former Lust demon and angel, Roxanne.  She’d taken well to life back in the city and was dressing the part too.  When I asked her why she always dressed like she was going to the club, her response was, “To feel good, you must look good.  Something you desperately need to do.”
She gave Oz a big hug and kiss before sending him on his way.  Once he ran upstairs to his little apartment above us, “So, how did he do?”
“He’s a terrible driver!  I don’t even know where he picked up half of those habits!”
Her black heel tapped the ground.  “I know exactly where he picked them up – you.”  The way she said it with that impish grin was actually quite cute.  “Whether you like it or not, you’re his father and his role model.  You could do a better job at both if we’re being honest.”
“Always with the honesty huh?”
“That is why you still love me after all these years.”
It wasn’t the love story you’d hear about in one of those sappy movies women love, but Roxanne and I made it work.  Even after a few (hey, I’m being nice to myself here) transgressions and all, fate brought us back together.  “Be that as it may, sometimes a nice white lie would be cool.”
“And a diamond tennis bracelet would also be cool, but alas we don’t always get what we want.”
Loud stomping shook the house.  Oz was on his way back down.  “Yo, parental units, can I go over to Jesse’s house to hang out for a bit?”
It was a Saturday afternoon and what kid wanted to be stuck in the house with his supernatural parents?  “Yeah, just don’t be out late okay?”  He gave me a salute and ran out the door. 
Roxanne was looking at me like I had three heads.  “You sound like such an old man.”
Having looked in the mirror before I took Oz out for his lesson, I knew I still looked like an awesome early twenties guy.  “The only thing old on me is my soul baby.”
Just as I was getting ready to seduce this hot little piece of ass, my phone rang.  No one really calls me, they know the best way to get in touch with me is through Roxanne.  I pulled it out of my pocket and saw it said unknown caller.  Roxanne and I shared an odd look before I answered.  “Hello?”
“Derrick Grimm, your life is forfeit.”
The speaker, who was trying to sound intimidating, failed as soon as his voice cracked.  “Is this some sort of prank?”
I heard a harsh cough, as if to try this again.  “This is a deadly serious matter; you won’t live to see another of your son’s birthdays.”  The guy’s voice on the other end squeaked again on the word birthdays.
I couldn’t help it, I just started laughing.  “If this is one of Oz’s friends, you’re doing a piss poor job of scaring me.  You should try this again when you’re not going through puberty.”
Roxanne was smiling and mouthed, “I’m going to the bedroom.  Be naked when you finish.”
With that to look forward to, my attention went back to the phone call.  Muffled voices seemed to be arguing on the other end.  I waited patiently as this was becoming a fun game.  When the voice returned, it was trying so hard to sound deep and manly.  “You don’t know the forces you’re mocking!  I’ve been to the depths of Tartarus and back!”
My smile faded.  None of Oz’s friends knew about our family secrets and wouldn’t have known anything about Tartarus.  “Who is this?”
A second voice, one that sounded hauntingly familiar took control on the other end.  “You will get the answers soon Horseman.  In the meantime, take this as a courtesy and prepare yourself for combat.”
I reached into my pocket and felt Leviathan, my scythe.  I hadn’t used it in sixteen years.  “Picking a fight with Death isn’t the smartest thing the two of you buffoons could be doing.”
“Balrog, King of the Minotaurs, does not fear you!”  Then the phone cut off.
I dropped it right where I was standing.  Roxanne must’ve heard and walked back into the main room in nothing more than her silk robe.  Her breasts were practically hanging out, begging to be fondled, but now wasn’t the time.  “My dear, what’s wrong?”
Focusing from the phone lying on the ground to the half-naked woman standing in front of me, “I think that was Jacoby.”  I still couldn’t believe it, was that really my son?  “What have they done to him?”
She gasped and ran forward, holding on to me.  “How can you be so sure?”
“Balrog was with him, the Minotaur King.”  Her mouth dropped open, just as shocked as I was.  “This can only mean one thing.”
Her voice filled with venom and hatred, “Yeah, that my bitch of a daughter has come to die.”