Interview with Lori Titus, Author of Chrysalis Lights

•December 2, 2017 • Leave a Comment

The Author

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Bestselling Author Lori Titus is a Californian with an affinity for speculative fiction. Her work explores mysticism and reality, treading the blurred line between man and monster. She thrives on coffee and daydreams when she isn’t writing or plotting out her next story.

The Book

Bennett Witch Chronicles - Chrysalis Lights by Lori Titus(1)Bennet Witch Chronicles: Crysalis Lights

Unexpected news reaches Bonnie Bennett in the form of one last gift from her grandmother – a lake house in the small town of Chrysalis, South Carolina. Eager to see her new property, she decides to go see the place where Grams once lived. Chrysalis has its own secrets, a heady magic, and with the coming of the northern lights, the veil between dimensions is growing thin.

Bonnie faces secrets from a past she knows little about. Why hadn’t Grams ever spoken about this town or the time that she spent there? An evil from the past has resurfaced, and it’s up to Bonnie to figure out the connection and save the life of a young witch that hangs in the balance.

The Interview

Q. You’ve come a long way as a writer since I first met you in 2014. Tell us what you’ve been up to over the past three years.

A lot of work! I transitioned from working my regular nine to five in 2015 to writing full time and it’s made a huge difference in how much I can get accomplished. I have been trying to really buckle down on the marketing end of things too. I have books in four different boxed sets right now. The process has been really instructive as far as building an audience and reaching new people. It’s also a great way to network and get out if my usual circle of acquaintances.

  1. You ghostwrite as well as write your own titles. What’s that like? Is the process different?

The non-fiction assignments are very much different. I work from interviews and notes from the clients, and there’s a lot of fact checking and research that goes into it. My fiction assignments are pretty much the same as the way I write my own books—only with a much tighter outline and a defined deadline. It’s been a great exercise in helping me push to get my own things done too. When I write my own fiction, what’s on the outline tends to be more like guideposts and suggestions. When working for a client, I stick much closer to the plan, even though some of my clients allow me a lot of freedom to deviate.

  1. How do you feel about being included in 80 Black Women in Horror for 2017?

Honestly I am so honored to be included! This is such a rough industry and any kind of positive nod is both hard earned and unexpected. There are a lot of talented women on that list so I’m proud to have a little space among them.

  1. What are you working on now that you are most excited about?

I have a couple of works in progress that are in early stages. One of them is a horror/dystopian novel with some sci fi leanings. The other is a horror story with demons and other nasties. The plan is to have one of those novels out in 2018, along with some work in other sets and anthologies that will go to press between January and June. I am excited for them both but I also have another secret project I can’t tell you about yet. I have a lot of things to be thrilled about.

  1. So you’re one of the writers in the sixteen book Bennett Witch Chronicles, telling stories about Bonnie Bennett from the Vampire Diaries. How exciting! Did you have to do a lot of research on Chrysalis, South Carolina for Chrysalis Lights? Have you ever been there? Does it exist?

 As I searched through the episodes which dealt with Bonnie and Grams, there wasn’t really much explanation about her family. Every once in a while, you would see an unknown black character show up, and they would always turn out to be another of the Bennett witches. This happened so many times that in one episode, she met a black guy in Mystic Falls that she liked and she told him that she wanted to be sure they aren’t somehow related. I thought it would be really fun to play with that family mythos a little bit since a lot of it is a mystery, even to her.

Chrysalis doesn’t really exist. It’s my reimagining of Columbia, South Carolina. It was my father’s hometown and our family moved there for about three years when I was seven. Having lived in Los Angeles up until then it was a huge change. I remember it as green, lush, and old fashioned, with a town square, city hall and a handful of stores. Wilderness skirted many neighborhoods, including the one where I lived. My friend and I would walk to school past a patch of forest and over a bridge above a creek. I thought it was really creepy and beautiful at the same time. I harnessed those childhood memories for Chrysalis. It’s the backdrop of several of my stories. Since one of the themes of the boxed set was having Bonnie travel to different places, I thought it would be really fun to bring her into my imaginary town.

  1. I’m a huge fan of Vampire Diaries. Had you watched a lot of the shows before you started writing the book?

With the exception of a few episodes here and there, I had already watched the whole series. I was really glad that I stuck with it through the years because I think it would have been much harder to write this story if I hadn’t. For research I went back and watched it again, starting with the last season first. There is a fan Wiki online which was helpful. It includes bios and details about each character, including things like middle names, episode listings, even wardrobe choices.

  1. Is it intimidating to write a character that everyone knows, like Bonnie Bennett, and were you worried about keeping her in character as you wrote the book?

I was actually more worried about that at the beginning of the contract, before I started writing. I was afraid that I would look up and she would somehow start acting and talking like Marradith Ryder. Once I actually started writing that story she was Bonnie, and I had an idea of what her dialogue and reactions would be like. It’s the little things that make any character, so I was very aware of how she moved and dressed.

  1. Any time there’s a powerful or central black female character like Bonnie Bennett, it seems like we’re striking a blow against misogynoir. There have been a lot more black women in horror and supernatural series the last several years – Abbie Mills in Sleepy Hollow, Michonne in The Walking Dead, some of the Angela Bassett and Gabourey Sidibe characters in American Horror Story. Do you think the trend will continue?

I really do hope so! The rise of the female black bad ass has been a great thing to see in pop culture lately. There are so many stories and books out there which center women as the heroines in paranormal settings so I am eager to see more. I think it’s very important for black women and girls to see themselves presented as heroic beings and for other people to see us that way too. I strive to center black women in my own work– good, bad, or in between—as fully rounded individuals with their own minds and the agency to carry through with their own decisions.

As long as the storylines are solid and engaging, I think we will continue to see more of these women across the media.

  1. Where can our readers buy your books?

All of my books are on Amazon. Here’s the link:  https://www.amazon.com/Lori-Titus/e/B00450JMMI

I have several new releases, including some new things for 2018 coming soon. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Call for Submissions for Black Magic Women

•November 29, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Call for Submissions for Black Magic Women

This is a closed call for the women who were listed in 80 Black Women in Horror. However, if you are a black woman who has at least one published horror story, you can be considered if you apply to be on the 2018 Black Women in Horror list. 

We’re looking for 20 short horror stories between 4,000 and 5,000 words in length, by women who were featured in the biographical reference book 80 Black Women in Horror.

Black Magic Women

Theme: Black Magic Women. This is not only about the black women who write the stories. These stories should include black women in some meaningful way. We are actively seeking stories with diverse people as the protagonists. Do not send us stories where the diverse characters are tokens and sidelined to secondary or villainous roles.

Magic in the title refers to Black Girl Magic, so bonus points for referencing that in some way in the story. Stories do not necessarily have to incorporate magic, but bonus points for incorporating some sort of magic practice or object into your storyline.

This will be curated by Sumiko Saulson, author of “80 Black Women in Horror, and published on Mocha Memoirs.

We want your best, polished, and ready to publish work. We want fresh, invigorating, and diverse stories. We are actively seeking stories with diverse people as the protagonists.

Pay: $10 Flat Rate, and print books available at cost to author

Terms: First electronic and print rights (no reprints, please). Held 12 months after publication

Deadline: December 31, 2017

Send your submissions in to Sumiko Saulson at sumikoska@yahoo.com. Please format your manuscript 12 point Times New Roman double spaced. Include your name and story name at the top of the manuscript, centered.

Email Nicole Kurtz at mochamemoirspress@gmail.com if you have contract or publishing questions.

 

Kidnapped! The Rise of Count Slackula by Sumiko Saulson

•November 2, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Source: Kidnapped! The Rise of Count Slackula by Sumiko Saulson

Horror at the San Mateo Public Library … Spooky Call for Submissions

•October 23, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Such a wonderful event! And the Call for Submissions is still open for Crescendo of Darkness, but not for long! Halloween deadline.

Source: Horror at the San Mateo Public Library … Spooky Call for Submissions

#NGHW Winner! Who is the NEXT GREAT HORROR WRITER? Jonathan Fortin!

•October 16, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Wow congrats Jonathan Fortin! So jealous right now…

HorrorAddicts.net

Winner Jonthan Fortin!

JONATHAN FORTIN
Age: 29
From: El Cerrito, CA, USA

Twitter

As a child, Jonathan Fortin was perpetually terrified, so of course he grew up to be a horror writer. Haunted by tales that grow in his head like demonic children, Jonathan believes that a good horror story is first and foremost a good story—just one where particularly awful things happen.
Facebook / Website

Jonathan wins:

Crystal Lake Publishing

Grand Prize: Book Contract

 Dario Ciriello, Editor

Grand Prize: Full edit of winner’s novel up to 50,000 words.

HorrorAddicts.net

Short story contract with HorrorAddicts.net “Horror Bites” series.

Horror Writer gift box. Supplies and inspiration for the Next Great Horror Writer.

Winner line up / Final placement…

1st place: Jonathan Fortin


2nd place:

NACHING KASSA
Age: 41
From: Valley, WA, USA

Twitter


3rd place:

DAPHNE STRASERT
Age: 27
From: Houston, Texas, USA
Facebook


4th place:

JESS LANDRY
Age: 30
From: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

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Dusk’s Warriors by Emerian Rich

•October 12, 2017 • 1 Comment

Child abuse is unfortunately a prevalent plague infecting our world. In Dusk’s Warriors, dwbook3d2.pnga group of vigilante street kids all have abuse in common, but instead of dwelling on the cruelty they endured, they use it as a powerful tool against evil.

Every kid in the Drog has been there. They’ve hid in closets away from angry fists. They’ve prayed for justice as their parents starved them, or beat them, or drugged them. Rescued by their brethren, they fight against others who would harm innocents. They adopt the name of their torture device and use it as a badge of honor.

Excerpt from Dusk’s Warriors:

“They call me Nails.”
Reidar didn’t have to ask why, he could see Nail’s thoughts. As Nails said his name, he remembered the torture he’d endured as a child. Someone, a foggy, obscured figure in his memory, had driven nails into his skin. The boy stiffened at the thought of his torture.
“Why do you take the name of your torture device?” Reidar asked.
Angered by Reidar reading his mind, Nails grit his teeth before speaking.
“We reclaim the tools of those who’ve harmed us. My name reminds me of why I fight.”
“All those in your group have suffered such torture?”
“We’re all survivors,” the boy said and at once a flood of images entered the boy’s mind, so fast, Reidar barely grasped them. Cig, Iron, Blade, Wick, we wear our names with pride because we survived the torment. “We fight for the innocents who have not yet been taken and the ones who died by their hands.”
“Whose hands?”
“Those that work for HIM. The ones who come to earth to maim and kill.”
Reidar could see the allegiance to the cause in Nail’s head. He could hear it in his voice. Should he tell the boy Heaven and Hell were not like he suspected? They weren’t as Reidar had believed either. Heaven contained four new gods who barely knew what they were doing, but what good would discounting the boy’s faith do?

Dusk’s Warriors by Emerian Rich

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Heaven has opened up and welcomed the vampires of Night’s Knights into a new reality. As they struggle to find their place in their new world, trouble brews on Earth.

Demon servant, Ridge, is causing havoc by gathering up all the souls on Earth that have been touched by immortality. When he injures one of the Night’s Knights crew, he launches a war between the vampires of Heaven, the Big Bad in Hell, and a mortal street gang of vigilante misfits.

Will Julien, Markham, and Reidar be able to defeat the evil that’s returned, or will they once again need Jespa’s help?

Praise for Dusk’s Warriors:

“All hail, the queen of Night’s Knights has returned! Emerian Rich’s unique take on vampires delights my black little heart.” ~Dan Shaurette, Lilith’s Love

“A world of horror with realistic characters in a fast paced thriller you won’t be able to put down.”
~David Watson, The All Night Library

Praise for Night’s Knights:
“Fresh, original, and thoroughly entertaining.” ~Mark Eller, Traitor

“Emerian brought the Vampire Novel back from the dead.” ~C. E. Dorsett, Shine Like Thunder

Available now at Amazon.com in print and eBook

https://www.amazon.com/Dusks-Warriors-Nights-Knights-Vampire/dp/1544628803

emz1smallEmerian Rich is an artist, horror host, and author of the vampire series, Night’s Knights. She is the hostess of the internationally acclaimed podcast, HorrorAddicts.net. Under the name Emmy Z. Madrigal, she writes the musical romance series, Sweet Dreams and she’s the Editorial Director for the Bay Area magazine, SEARCH. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son.

 

Larvae (flash fiction)

•October 4, 2017 • Leave a Comment
Bee_ceratina_monster,_f,_ukraine,_angle_2014-08-09-12.21.55_ZS_PMax_(14885194710)_(2)

Image source: USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab from Beltsville, Maryland, USA

A sliver of sunlight pierced the stagnant air of the subbasement, illuminating claw marks in the mossy walls. Under the stream of light I observed bloodstains at the base of my torn nailbed. I winced. The iron-rich smell would attract the creature.

Its piteous mewling arose from the depths. I nervously kicked soil into the tunnel at my feet. I had to escape before it returned. Clutching the soil, my fingers dug deep within. Quickly, I ascended. I was six feet up when I felt a tug at my feet. Looking down in horror, I witnessed the creature’s bloated, white body creeping up my pants leg.

“Get off me, foul thing!” I screamed, kicking the hideous larvae. It was three feet long. Its maw oozed putrescent yellow fluids reeking of fetid lard. That evil oral emanation hit toe of my sneaker, melting canvas and eating away at flesh. I screamed in pain, kicking loose the shoe, sending the maggot dropping below with it.

The small crevice at the top of the well was just feet away. Heart racing, I redoubled my efforts to scale the wall. A nail broke with a gut-wrenching crack. I felt blood rush out from under the cloth, hot and sticky. I began to calculate how much pressure it would take to knock the wooden cap off the well.

A new sound emerged. Loud buzzing that grew rapidly closer. I felt wiry hairs touch the back of my neck. Against my will, I turned to look. A monstrous fly stared at me with its compound eye. Its voice, high-pitched and querulous, vibrated against my maddened eardrum.

“I bet you didn’t know we evolved,” it arrogantly hissed before its mandibles slid into the unyielding flesh of my eyelid, tearing asunder the fragile orb underneath.

(originally part of the #NGHW Next Great Horror Writer contest at HorrorAddicts)