Author: Crystal Connor, writing as Connor Titus
Published: May 26th, 2014Word Count: approx. 81,000Genre: Horror, Dark Fantasy, ApocalypticContent Warning: Adult content and violenceRecommended Age: 17+
- The Order of The Sentinels.
- The Order of The Learned.
- The Order of The Writs.
- The Order of The Cloth.
In the foothills of Mt. Empyreal the most powerful forces in the world are drawn into combat.
And the fate of all the world hangs in the balance.
Excerpt from The End is Now by Connor Titus:For hours, she drove in silence, enjoying the beauty of the wintry landscape that seemed somehow amplified in the quiet of a planet without the noise of technology. The rumble of the engine against the backdrop of the stillness lured Khrystle into a state of calmness that she had never before achieved, but when the abomination wrapped its tail around her wrist, she was jerked back to reality by the sounds of her own screaming.
She slid to a screeching stop and jumped from the ATV. After a deep breath, she put the demonic spawn back in the cargo space and picked up her shotgun for comfort.
The reprieve was short-lived.
It was a military plane, a fighter jet, and its silent descent from the sky was nothing short of memorizing. There was an earth-shattering explosion. Moments later, she was blasted off her feet by the hot wind.
Standing, she watched the black smoke climb into the bright sky. How long she stood staring, she couldn’t remember, but after a while, she straddled the vehicle and started the engine.
It had taken her two days to
reach the …
It took Khrystle a moment to realize that the dissemination before her was the result of the fighter jet slamming into an Amtrak.
The sickly sweet, acrid smell that seared her throat was so strong she could actually taste it. When it donned on her that it was the smell of burning flesh, she fell to her knees and soiled the pristine snow as her body violently emptied the meager contents of her stomach.
At that moment, she couldn’t remember a prayer, so she wept instead.
The dog’s growling was barely heard above the girl’s sobbing, but was loud enough to cease her tears.
Rising from the basin with the black smoke and red-orange flame was a man. She stood as she watched him stumble, fall, and struggle to his feet, only to fall again.
Blood poured from beneath his hair to fall across his swollen face like a cascade. The purple bruising around his right eye had caused it to close; his left eye stared at nothing.
The threads of his charred pants billowed in the winter breeze, exposing muscle and
bone from the rip in flesh above his right knee. Second and third degree burns covered
his skin and a book was clutched within his blistering
How was it, she asked herself, that this man would be able towalk away from a train wreck?
When he was mere feet from Khrystle, he collapsed. She ran to him. Kneeling, she unzipped her duffle bag, but was distracted as she reached in for her medical kit.
It was a feather, a large black feather from a crow. She looked up in time to watch the black bird land on the power line. Before she had the time to look away, another bird landed.
And then another, and yet another.
In just minutes hundreds of crows were assembled judiciously above her.
Their silence was alarming.
She dragged her attention from the birds to the man who lay injured. That simple act caused her vision to blacken along the edges.
Her question was answered when she saw the book he clutched. The storm that surged across her mind was as forceful and devastating as a category five hurricane, leaving
debilitating fear and biting goose bumps in its wake.
… And through the dark, he will come to shield the book.
The embossing on the book was written in Aramaic, but she knew what it said anyway.
This is the Book of the First.
About the Author:
Crystal Y. Connor grew up telling spooky little campfire-style stories at slumber parties. Living on a steady literary diet of Stephen King, Robin Cook, Dean R. Koontz and healthy doses of cinema masterpieces such as The Birds, Friday the 13th, Hellraiser, The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone it surprises no one that she ended up writing a horror novel!
Crystal now living in Seattle has been writing poetry and short stories specializing in the Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror since before Jr. high School. The Darkness, her début novel and book I in The Spectrum Trilogy has been selected as a two time Award-Winning Finalist in the 2011International Book Awards in the fiction categories of Cross Genre Fiction and Multicultural Fiction.
Guest Post for In the Foothills of Mt. Empyreal by Connor Titus:
Hi Guys! Thanks so much Sarit for letting me take over your blog. I know this tour is highlighting the books I wrote with Lori Titus but I just wanted to share a sneak peek of one of the books I am working on now called “The Family.” In my horror anthology …And They All Lived Happily Ever After! there’s snippets called “And Now on this Episode of Thicker Than Water” all of those ‘episodes’ leads up to the full length novel which is now under way!Ok here it is:
Seattle, WashingtonThe first thing he sees when he opens the door of his tiny (cozy, Latasha says) two-bedroom apartment is blood. It is in the entryway. It is on the walls. It is on the floors. It is in the kitchen, and it is in the bedroom.
“Latasha?” he calls, barely above a whisper. “Mother?”
He returns home to find his wife, and mother murdered. His mother is on the floor in the kitchen, what’s left of her face is a boot print. His wife is in the bedroom where the very worst has been done.
He’s standing in the doorway of his tiny (cozy) apartment and the police are there, Latasha’s parents are there, the medics are there, LJ is there, and he is all alone. He sees a gurney being wheeled by. From under the white sheet, Latasha’s arm falls free, bidding her husband a final farewell. He begins to scream.
He is being held down by a police officer, LJ, and Latasha’s father and the three of them are doing a poor job. Someone is asking why, why, why, over and over…that man sounds like a lunatic…that man is him.
Floating, floating…but he’s sitting on the floor outside his tiny (cozy) apartment. The medic gave him a shot of something, eyes heavy, detached he’s no longer there.
He sees J.J. the four-year old kid from down the hall. His father, a black man, works at the plant on LJ’s father shift. His mother, a white woman, works mornings. J.J. has blondish brown hair, green eyes, and caramel coated skin. My kid could have looked like that, he thinks. Tears, more tears.
J.J. sits down beside him and holds his hand. “I saw who hurt your Mommy.”
He’s not floating anymore, and he’s never been more focused. “Can you show him to me?”
J.J. nods that he can. “They were at the party.”The company’s Christmas party.
“Come on son, you’ll be staying with us now.” Mr. Jenkins picked up Dillon by the arm but he couldn’t stand so Mr. Jenkins carried him -- for the second time in three years.
Beaumont, WashingtonAs the casket was cradling Vivian’s first born child was being lowered into the ground her eyes rose like steam to gaze at the members of her family that had been gathered together in the wake of this tragedy.
Matt, and Robby. Persephone’s children.Matt was despondent, but Robby …
He was distraught and was being held up by his big brother and his heart-wrenching sobs were impossible to ignore.
The nervous glances were that were being thrown toward Kate were dragged down to her budging womb. Her first pregnancy had been a tough one. They almost lost her. She and Persephone had been close. Due to the fearful concern for his wife and the children that she carried, the mayor was unable to mourn for his sister. Vivian noted with sadness how conflicted her son was.
Vivian was surprised that she had even the strength to stand. She couldn’t keep anything down since she had identified her sisters body. Dehydration was a hellofa foe on its own, and add overwhelming grief…
Well the Jennifer wasn’t the one who actually ID’d Persephone’s body, Rupert’s illegitimate spawn Richard had. After doing so the medical examiner placed a call to the mayor to notify him of their sister’s death, he wanted to spare the girls. He didn’t want their last memory of Persephone to be so gruesome. He tried to stop her. It would have been easier to stop an F5 tornado.
Vivian was warmed from within with the heat of hellfire as she watched the low breed attending to her daughter. Her face was a mask of disgust and contempt as she tried to understand why her children chose to have a relationship with such trash.
Kimberly, Jennifer’s daughter, backed away with a frown as if the perceived state of garish graceless was fatally contagious.
Jenny-Bean, Dorian and Doreen watched with genuine concern but stayed huddled around their mother, more than aware that there had been no love lost between their father and Lady Beaumont.
Victoria helped Richard supported Jennifer and led her to the edge of the perfectly shaped trench in the earth. Richard bore the brunt of the weight as his sister let the loose soft soil slip between her fingers to fall into the burial pit.
Vivian watched her late husband’s trashy spawn pay his last respects with narrowed, suspicious, plotting eyes.Persephone was dead.
And she meant to have her daughter’s death avenged.
Title: The Guardians of Man
Black Feathers Fell in the Foothills of Mt. Empyreal
Author: Lori Titus, writing as Connor TitusPublished: May 26th, 2014Word Count: 68,000Genre: Horror, Dark Fantasy, ApocalypticContent Warning: Adult content and violenceRecommended Age: 17+
Synopsis:In the mountain community of Fate’s Keep, the battle for mankind had begun.
After a geometric storm plunges the world into darkness, destroying electronic communication, light, and power, residents living in the shadow of Mt. Empyreal struggle for survival. Terrified of what is yet to come, they hide in their homes, waiting for the first, overdue snowfall of the year to come.
Along with the snow comes an ancient evil, free after centuries of imprisonment. The birth of a child and the worldwide power outage are only the start of events that have been prophesied.
With time running out, and supernatural enemies surrounding them, will The Guardians of Man be able to save the Earth?
Excerpt for The Guardians of Man:
And through the dark, he will come to shield the book.
Jessica heard the words as if they came to her from some faraway place, but she was very sure of what was being said. Despite the fact that the words were not English, some primal instinct made the words as clear as her mother tongue.
In the dream, she was outside in the snow. From a mountain top she looked down and saw the town below. Part was lost in smoke and ashes. She could make out movement in the streets. Black crows rose in the air, unfettered by the acid snow that fell upon them.
About the Author:
Lori Titus is the author of Lazarus (September 2010) and Green Water Lullaby: A Collection of Short Stories (March 2011), and Hailey’s Shadow (June 2011).
Lori is also the Managing Editor of Flashes in the Dark, a website that features flash fiction, serials, and author interviews.
Lori splits her time between blogging, and working on several writing and editing projects.
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:One lucky winner will win signed print copy of BOTH books, T-shirt of each book, Signed print copy of The Darkness: Book 1 of the Spectrum Trilogy by Crystal Connor, Signed print copy of Hunting in Closed Spaces: Vol 1 of the Marradith Ryder Series by Lori Titus (INT)
Giveaway is International.