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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Feast or Famine Q & A

Dudes and dudettes, you sent me a lot of questions this time around.  I ended up sorting through what I had on Monday night for my top 5 and answering them last night so I could get them up today.  Real quick, there are a lot of spoilers coming, so if you haven't finished this book in the series, I would recommend coming back when you did.  Now on to your questions.


Q1 - Sabrina is one powerful and evil girl.  How do you see her playing out in the last book?


A1 - I don't want to give a lot away, but she maintains her hatred for her mother all the way through.  That hate, because of Roxanne's betrayal to Beelzebub defines her really.  The fun thing is when you see how she treats Jacoby, it'll go a long way in defining her character.


Q2 - This was by far your best writing effort to date.  As an author, what do you do to keep improving your writing?


A2 - With Death Among Us, I tried to do everything myself.  It was my first effort and I didn't want anyone to help me because I didn't want to lose the integrity of the story.  I learned that's not a good thing.  In Old War Stories, I had Jeff and Jeremy help me a lot plus I got a few Beta readers.  Getting Sarah, my English teacher turned editor friend on board was a big boon too.  Then with Feast or Famine, I took everything I learned from my first two attempts and really fine tuned them.  I'm sure there are still issues here and there, but I hope it reads smoothly.


Q3 - You dirty son of a gun, you brought Roxanne back into the fold.  Was that because of peer pressure or was that always the plan?


A3 - Roxanne is my favorite character bar none.  The journey she goes on from the start of the series to the finish is one that has a lot of bumps in it.  I wanted her character to be the one that experienced the most growth, yet also got the most emotional connection from readers.  I know her "death" in Old War Stories pissed a lot of people off, but that's good.  I did my job as a writer by creating a character people love.


Q4 - Will we see more Lucifer?  The scenes with Derrick dealing with him were awesome.


A4 - Minor spoiler here - his role in the story is just about finished.  He does come back in Divide and Conquest briefly, but it's not a huge role.  As you'll see, he's going to have a lot of other problems going on.


Q5 - I'm going to ask it but I don't expect an answer.  Oz and Jacoby, there going to be the focus moving forward right?


A5 - A lot of people wanted to know about the step brothers and their roles.  As you know, Oz is with Derrick and Roxanne while Jacoby grew up with Sabrina.  Their different upbringings will play a huge focus in their individual stories, but as the end of the day, Grimm's Reapers is about Derrick Grimm.  That said, what the future holds after this series, well that can be up for debate.


Thanks for everyone and their curiosity.  Divide and conquest is out now, so feel free to grab the last book in the series and see what the future is going to hold.


-Jack
jack.crosby25@gmail.com

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Grimm Comes Early - to a Kindle Near You!

First off I need to give a shout out and a huge thank you to my friend Sarah and her husband Doug.  Over the past few days the two of them have hung out at my apartment while Sarah and I finished editing and revising Divide and Conquest.  We really wanted to get the book finished earlier for you guys, so a few long nights with beer and pizza and whammy!  As of last night, D & C is ready for upload.


My goal today is to get all the small stuff taken care of - keywords, description, and pricing set so I can upload the final product.  Look for book 4 to be out as sooner as maybe tomorrow afternoon.


That doesn't mean I'm going to cheap out on the chapter 2 preview, no way.  Plus I already have a ton of emails about both Derrick and book 3, Feast or Famine.  So on with the show as the say, and enjoy chapter 2.

Chapter 2 – The Treaty



The two of us were whipped into a frenzy.  If Jacoby and Balrog were here, that meant Sabrina was close by too.  Philadelphia was my city and if she was here, I’d find her.  Just as I was about to storm the city, Roxanne grabbed my arm.  “Derrick, what about Oz?  He could be in danger.”
Father of the year goes to me, the guy who forgot his own child in a fit of bloodlust.  “Shit, you’re right.  We’ll have to split up, one of us goes and gets him while the other starts hunting down any leads.”
“She’s my daughter; I’ll track her down.”
There was no talking Roxanne out of this.  Especially after what Sabrina did to her in Iran all those years ago.  “Fine, but take Khloros too.  I’ll feel better if you’re with him.”
I tossed her the keys which she caught with a deft hand.  With determination, she got into the driver’s seat and Khloros’s engine roared to life.  Together the two of them were pretty good.  My fear of something bad happening went down… slightly.
I headed up the street in the direction of Oz’s friend Jesse’s house.  Call me a bad parent again, but I never met Jesse’s parents, just the boy himself.  He was a redheaded kid with leprechaun like eyes, aka, he looked like he was always about to get into trouble.  However, the two of them never did, so I was cool with them hanging out.
Not really paying much attention as I turned the corner, a large blast of brimstone hit me.  I stopped in my tracks – it was still early afternoon and the streets were full of walkers and bystanders.  Where in the blue blazes was that smell coming from?  I looked all around me, trying not to look like a nut job, finding it hard to pinpoint the epicenter of the brimstone.
As my gaze came back around closer, boom there it was.  Sitting on the other side of the glass in a coffee shop was none other than Belial.  An Arch-Demon right here in downtown Philly having a drink of coffee.  What next?
He motioned at me to come in and join him.  I was still quite worried about Oz, but remembering this thing called a cell phone, I shot him a quick text.  ‘Hey, it’s dad.  Let me know you’re okay.’
Stuffing my phone back in my pocket, I opened the door and went to meet a demon.  No one else seemed to notice what was amongst them; the other patrons were happily drinking their brews and listening to hippy music.  I sat down across from Belial and a young girl asked me if I wanted anything.  “Yeah, can I get just a regular coffee with some sugar?”
She took my order and left.  Biting my lip as to not unleash a tirade of profanity, “Strange day isn’t it?”
He straightened the tie under his jacket.  “If you mean this meeting between the two of us, then yes.  If you’re talking about the witch who is toying with you, than no.”  His voice rumbled like a bass drum.
Demons always had a high fashion sense.  Nothing like me and my board shorts and unbuttoned plaid shirt.  “If you have something to say, just get on with it.”
He took a sip of his coffee, his black eyes never leaving me.  “You have been out of touch for a long time Reaper.  There is much information you need to know.”
I looked back at my phone, nothing yet from Oz.  “Listen, I don’t have all day…”
“Patience Death, your son is out of harm’s way.  Lucifer himself is seeing to that while we speak.”
My phone buzzed; I got a message back from Oz that everything was A-Okay.  I swallowed hard.  “What cares does Lucifer have with my boy or me for that matter?”
The Arch-Demon snapped his fingers and everyone all at once left the coffee shop, including the staff.  The last guy on the way out flipped the sign from open to closed.  Locking the door, just the two of us were left.  “A war is coming, one that has not been seen in millennia.” 
He brushed his hand over the table and it lit up.  It was a map of Hell.  “The witch Sabrina has conquered Beelzebub’s and Astaroth’s old territories.  Baal is currently fighting her off as we speak, but it does not look good for him.”
“By war, are we talking Armageddon?  Have the seals been broken?”
He shook his head.  “No, the seals are intact.  This is a war not predicted by any of the prophets.  This is a war against the Celestials.”
Celestials – angels, demons, Horsemen.  “Sabrina is out to wipe us all off the playing field.”
“Yes, that is her goal, from what we can tell.”  By his look, I got the feeling the other shoe was about to drop.  “In the midst of the fighting in Hell, a small platoon broke off and invaded Eden.”
I ran a hand through my hair.  “What happened?”
“The battle took place last night.  From what I understand it was a small skirmish involving the Minotaur King, Balrog, an unknown demon clad in black versus the three Horsemen and a squadron of angels.”  The unknown black demon had to be Jacoby.  “The fighting stopped when Balrog broke off a piece of the Tree of Life and the Horseman Conquest was captured.”
“My brother, captured?!”  Rage washed over me and I flipped over the nearest table.  “FUCK!”
Belial stay calmed and continued to drink his coffee.  “The worst part is they sealed Eden shut.  War and Famine are trapped there until the seal can be reversed.”
“Where did they take Conquest?”
“An angel by the name of Veronica located him early this morning.  He is in an old prison in Russia called the Gulag.  There is quite the force keeping that place under guard.”
“Isn’t the Gulag controlled by angels?”
He tried to smile, but I could tell it was bad news.  “Sabrina has taken it over.  She started a mutiny amongst the prisoners and killed what forces of Heaven tried to resist.”  He gave a halfhearted stir of his coffee.  “Most of those creatures were vile enough that Hell wasn’t even sorry to see them captured.”
I fell back into my seat.  Not really caring too much, “And the piece of the Tree of Life?  What did they need that for?”
For the first time this whole meeting, Belial shifted uncomfortably.  “She wishes to do something only Beelzebub dreamed of – invade Heaven.”
“Isn’t that something you all can get behind?  I mean, that sounds like an Arch-Demon scheme.”
The Arch-Demon seemed to be taking his time on this one.  “Arch-Demons like to talk a rather big game, but we know going after the Almighty would end poorly for us.  This is not a battle to be taken lightly.”
“So if your territories fall, with the minor demons follow her lead?”
“Depending on how she gains control, there is a good possibility she could marshal the troops of Hell into invading Heaven.”
Foolish demons, always wanting to kill things.  “Hopefully this isn’t a problem we need to worry about.  When I free Conquest from the Gulag, we can go from there.”
I got the sense from him that our meeting was coming to an end.  He reached into his pocket and pulled out a scroll.  As soon as he placed it on the table, it rolled out for me to read.  “This is a treaty, signed by all remaining Arch-Demons in blood with Lucifer as witness.  We propose peace between us and the Horsemen in exchange for help.”
Very carefully, I read over the scroll, written in a very ancient dialect of Ozkavosh, or the Demon Language.  There were no catches, hooks, or fine print.  These guys must’ve really been up shit creek without a paddle.  “So in exchange for getting rid of Sabrina, you guys leave me alone for good?”
“It is as you say Death.”  He pointed to an empty space below their signatures.  “If you sign the treaty in blood as well, we will honor the peace agreement immediately, only to be broken if you fail or choose not to finish your bargain.”
I pulled out Leviathan and brought my weapon to life.  Using the edge of the blade, I nicked my finger drawing blood.  In the space below, I put my name with theirs.  “Our interest is mutual in this venture.  This job will be far from easy and without help, it will take some time.”
“We know, that is why we’ve given no end date to the contract.”  Well wasn’t that thoughtful of them?  “However, do not come for us for help.  As our kingdoms are under siege, our forces must remain.”
I wasn’t counting on that anyway.  What did bother me is where Sabrina got her force from.  “How did she gather an army so quickly?”
“It has been fifteen years Death!  I know in terms of our lifespans, that is but a blink of the eye, but to gather an army?  It was more than enough time.”
He paced around the table.  “She started off by enslaving most of the minor demons, the Minotaurs, the Nyxes, and the Yeti just to name a few.”  All powerful beings, that was for sure.  “She claimed her birthright by taking the throne of Beelzebub’s kingdom and inherited his force.  Then with the conquering of Astaroth’s former kingdom, her force expanded yet again.”
I saw where this was going and why Hell’s services were out of the question.  “I got a few friends I can still call on, I think.”  Besides Khloros and Roxanne, there was a certain Pride demon that I fought beside once before I thought of.  “But my first order of business is to break my brother out of the Gulag.”
“Going there will cause you to face your greatest fear, so I caution you to beware.”  He snapped his fingers and the closed sign on the door flipped over to open.  In only a matter of time, humans would be returning to the cafĂ©.
The scroll rolled back up and flew into Belial’s hand.  “But that’s what we expected from you.”  He looked at the watch on his left wrist.  “I’ve been away from my kingdom for long enough and must return to shore up the defense.  Good luck Reaper, in both endeavors.  You will need it.”
-Jack
jack.crosby25@gmail.com

Monday, February 1, 2016

Divide and Conquest Update

The finish line is so close that I can taste it.  My editor friend Sarah and I are working out as many bugs as we can find to deliver (hopefully) top notch entertainment to you the readers.  We've added some stuff, axed other parts, and updated grammar and all.  Now Sarah wants me to tell you that's she not a professional editor (in fact, she's a high school English teacher), but by God she's going to catch as many of my goof-ups as possible.


Over the weekend, I was bombarded with emails asking for a release date.  One guy was polite - 'C'mon Jack, give us the low down! We've been waiting a few months to see how this all ends!'  One wasn't so polite - 'Damnit, you're dragging your feet getting the last book done.'  I certainly appreciate the enthusiasm you guys have, so it's at this time I feel confident giving a release date.  Based on finishing up a few things, getting the book formatted and all, Divide and Conquest will be to the Amazon Bookstore on 2-16-16.  As always it'll be available for both purchase and Kindle Unlimited borrowing.


In the lead up, I'm going to release chapter 2 this week, probably Wednesday or Thursday, and I'll also be doing a few special Q and A sessions.  If you want to get in on that (one topic will be the Feast or Famine one and the other will be The Life of Derrick), send questions to jack.crosby25@gmail.com.


Well my other job calls, so that's it for now.  Tune back later this week for chapter 2 and send me those questions.


-Jack