In Other News

I recently downloaded the new Nightwish album, Endless Forms Most Beautiful. I don’t review music, so I won’t attempt to. It takes a true musician to review music properly.

But wow, EFMB is pretty fantastic. The new singer, Floor Jansen, has a wonderful voice, very operatic, and it takes their music back to its roots (back when Tarja was the lead singer). That doesn’t mean I didn’t like Anette Olzen. When she was their singer, their music was less “fantastical” and seemed to focus more on simplistic styles and lyrics, rather than poetry, folklore and fairy tales, but still they played some great songs. Amaranth continues to this day to be one of my favourite Nightwish songs.

I like both styles. I love all music, if I’m honest. Well… most music. I’ve never been a big fan of R&B or pop.

First song on the album, Shudder Before the Beautiful, has a full choir to provide a majestic contrast to Floor’s softer vocals. That doesn’t mean she can’t seriously belt out those powerful vocals with her awesome set of pipes.

I think my favourite song on EFMB is My Walden. It has a very sweet melody, almost like a lullaby. The lyrics always blow me away. I think it’s mostly the heavy Celtic influence, and the Welsh introduction.

Seriously, check it out if you enjoy well-written music or if you love fantasy. The lyrics read like a Yeats poem.

My Walden is swiftly followed by Élan. I think (if I remember correctly), they released a demo of this one before the album, so I heard this a few months ago. It’s beautiful. It was a taste of the epic grandeur of the new album.

Okay, that’s enough gushing about Nightwish. I saw them once in concert when Anette was the singer. It was a-may-zing! Tuomas smiled at me and I haven’t stopped fangirling since.

 

In other news…

Happy birthday to my best friend in all the world, Tatty! It’s only 9 days until Tatty and Katie Take London 2015: Slytherins on Tour!

It’s also only 21 days until my birthday, too! Eep! I get childishly excited about birthdays. I don’t know if it’s maybe just the promise of cake?

Aaaaaand 48 days until the official paperback release of The Old Ways!!! AAAAAAHHHHH! Who’s excited? I’m excited! Are you excited? You look excited! I’m excited AAH 😀

And it’s out of my system. For now.

Also, I have a little surprise for you darling pixies. You extra special ones who follow my blog and like my posts. Next week, instead of a blog post on Wednesday, there’ll be a super-exciting-special post on Tuesday 18th, where I will…

Are you ready?

antici

Are you ready?

pation

Couldn’t resist, sorry ^-^

 

RELEASE THE COVER FOR THE OLD WAYS!!!!

That’s right, you darling pixies get to see the front cover first! Unless you follow me on Facebook, and even then it depends which page you look at first.

(PS follow me on Facebook!)

BUT YAY OMIGOSH THE COVER! 😀

Super exciting, right? I’ve seen the original designs, it’s pretty gorgeous. Also, I’m still working on Age of Magic in the meantime, in between playing Dragon Age: Inquisition for the billionth time (PS, please Bioware, release the new DLC for PS3!!! 😦 ) and marathoning Firefly on Netflix.

Blessed be, my darling pixies!

RK )O(

Advertisements

Bandit Book Bloggers: Chasing Azrael, by Hazel Butler

CHASING AZRAEL

by

Hazel Butler

cover2

Chasing Azrael: Gritty New Paranormal Mystery Series Raises Vital Awareness of Bipolar Disorder.

 

The ‘Deathly Insanity’ series uses gripping urban mystery and heaps of the paranormal to keep its readers on the edge of their seats. However, the series is also serving a vital dual-purpose by openly examining societal attitudes towards Bipolar Disorder and Depression. The first volume, ‘Chasing Azrael’, sees author Hazel Butler serve up the perfect start to what’s poised to be a best-selling series.

 

PURCHASE LINKS for CHASING AZRAEL

Amazon UK Paperback

Amazon UK eBook

Hazel Butler Website

Interview with Hazel Butler

Hazel is a twenty eight year old author, artist and archaeologist from Cheshire, England. She is currently in the final year of her PhD, which focuses on Gender Dynamics in Late Iron Age and Early Medieval Britain. She studied archaeology at The University of Manchester, then Bangor University, and spent two years doing corporate archaeology and research excavations, both in Britain and Austria. She has had papers published in international journals and online.

Since 2010, she has been working on Chasing Azrael, a Gothic Literary novel and the first in the Deathly Insanity Series, a set of Paranormal Mystery/Urban Fantasy novels with overlapping character and plot-lines. Although these novels have a strong supernatural element they also explore themes of mental health, in particular Bipolar Disorder, which Hazel herself has suffered from since her early teens.

Facebook

Hi Hazel! Sooo, let’s start at the beginning. Tell me a little bit about Chasing Azrael. No spoilers, though!

Chasing Azrael is primarily a ghost story, following main character Andee Tilbrook as she attempts to recover from her husband James’s death. Andee has the ability to see ghosts, and as a result can still see and speak with James on a regular basis. At the start of the novel, two years have passed since his death, but for Andee the grief is still as fresh as the day he died, and she is contemplating suicide. Her personal problems take a slight backseat when Josh, one of her closest friends, is threatened by a very unstable ex-girlfriend. Andee has a gut reaction to this woman that tells her something is very wrong, and soon enough is proven correct, when it transpires she is wanted in connection to a string of murders. Andee gets dragged into the murder investigated by Robert, the same detective who investigated James’s death, and she ends up torn between James, Josh, and Robert, as she tries to puzzle out how she feels and use her abilities to solve the murders.

On a deeper level however, Chasing Azrael is more than simply a paranormal whodoneit. It examines depression, suicide, and mental illness, as well as societal attitudes to bipolar disorder and the effects those attitudes can have on people with the condition.

I like the cover, who designed it?

The cover has actually just changed, so I’m not sure which to talk about. The original cover was a digital painting done by myself. I was never entirely happy with it however, as I found the colour scheme a little dull, and the composition too busy. I have just changed it for a new design – this one a digital photo manipulation, also done by myself – which has a much brighter colour scheme and a far simpler composition. I am very pleased with the new cover, although it is very different.

You’re a very talented artist in your own right. Have you created any artwork to go with Chasing Azrael?

Yes I have, although I haven’t released any of it. I may at some point, but there are no plans to do so as of yet.

When it comes to writing, do you prefer to plan ahead or do you just write and write and write until you pass out?

It depends what I’m writing. Chasing Azrael was very cathartic for me. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2010 and writing became a way for me to order my thoughts and feelings, come to terms with the diagnosis, and try to express in a way others – who had never suffered any form of mental illness – could understand, just what it was like to live a bipolar life, or live with someone who was bipolar. I had no idea where the book was going when I started writing. I just kept writing until suddenly I had the bones of a book. I then built it up from there. Other projects I plan meticulously. I’m currently working on the sequel to Chasing Azrael, the second book in the Deathly Insanity series, Death Becomes Me. That one has a very complicated plot, and has taken a great deal of time and effort to plan properly. The whole series gets complicated at this point, because the books have different bit overlapping characters and plotlines.

How long have you been writing?

Fiction? Since my very early teens, although it wasn’t particularly good back then. I wrote a few short pieces that impressed my English teachers at school and I think that encouraged me to continue, although to be honest I think I would have done whether I was any good or not. I wrote my first full length novel when I was about nineteen and kept working on that for a couple more years. I had started a second one but gave that up when I started Chasing Azrael. There have been numerous short stories, novellas, and novel plans done since then. I’ve also started two other novels, one of which is about half done.

Do you write full time or part time?

Erm… tricky question. I write fiction part time, but my full time job is as a freelance editor, proofreader, copywriter, researcher, and artist, so I generally spend most of my time writing or doing art work.

When you’re not writing, what keeps you busy?

More writing? Seriously the writing never ends. I spend a couple of afternoons/evenings a week with a writing group and that’s my main time off. I run my own business, so I don’t have a lot of free time. When I do, I walk my dog, who is very loyal and sits patiently under my desk as long as I’m working. I also do my own art work, and I play the piano. I have two god-daughters and a young niece and I spend as much time as I can with them. I’m also an avid reader, and a huge fan of a wide range of TV shows and films, so it all keeps me busy. Multi-tasking. I’ve found that’s the key.

What book/books are you reading at the moment?

I’m actually in the midst of my annual re-read of all my Robin Hobb books. I love Robin Hobb, she’s by far my favourite author (so much so that the Fantasy and Science Fiction imprint of my publishing house, Astrid Press, is named after her). Every year I re-read her books. I’m doing it a little earlier than usual this year, it’s usually an early winter thing, but I’m going to London on the 19th August to meet her and George R.R. Martin, and she has just released a new novel, so I’m doing it early. I’m delaying reading the new novel until I’ve finished and it’s agony – I treasure her books so much, having a new one I’ve never read before is the biggest treat imaginable.

And lastly, most importantly, do you prefer dragons or pancakes?

To eat? Or which do I prefer? I prefer dragons, but I would not like to eat one, so if the question was food related definitely pancakes.

 

The Force is strong with this one. We’ll keep her for a while.

 

Blessed be, my little pixies

RK )O(

Bandit Book Bloggers: Felinity, an Anthology by Kristell Ink

FELINITY, AN ANTHOLOGY

by

KRISTELL INK

felinity

 

Felinity, noun, plural fel-in-ities. 1. The quality of being cat-like. 2. A divine being, a cat.

Grimbold Books is proud to present our first Kristell Inkling, a collection of feline inspired flash fiction stories written by authors from all around the world.
This collection celebrates what we regard as the most important factor when writing: write foremost for pleasure. The stories showcased in this book are full of laughter, grit, odd contraptions and a lot of fur, with a loud purring nod to our beloved genres of science fiction and fantasy.
From A.F.E Smith’s unique twist on Schrödinger’s cat, to Joel Cornah’s world-jumping old queen, from Clare Neilson’s steampunk creation to Tina Closser’s dragon fighting dreaming kitty, these alternate feline worlds are bound to delight sci fi/fantasy readers and cat lovers alike.

PURCHASE LINKS for FELINITY, AN ANTHOLOGY

Amazon UK Ebook

Amazon UK Paperback

Kristell Ink Facebook

Grimbold Books Facebook

 

INTERVIEW WITH JOEL CORNAH

JOEL CORNAH hailing from a small isolated village in Lancashire, is the author responsible for The Sea-Stone Sword. He was awarded a degree in Creative Writing from Liverpool John Moors University and spent seven years writing a comical newspaper for The Barrow Downs Tolkien discussion forum. Accompanying this paper was a comic strip series called The Phantom and Alien, a bizarre story of bus drivers, dead people, and a slime child bent on inconveniencing everyone around him.

Facebook

Hi Joel! Nice to chat to you. So, first things first, tell me a little bit about your short story. A spoiler-free version, if you please.

A cat as old as time itself, who can jump from world to world, faces the ultimate decision of her life. She’s been to ancient Egypt, to the edge of the universe, and has done things that most humans couldn’t even dream of. But her great choice could put an end to all of that.

It’s a pretty cool cover, who came up with that?

Hazel Butler, a wonderful artist who I happened to meet the other week at a book signing. She’s cool. She’s also drawing the map to my novel, The Sea-Stone Sword. I keep saying ‘more trees!’ and I think she wants to put me on a tree-free diet! Spoil sport!

*chuckles* I read that you’re a Tolkien fan. Does his work inspire you when you’re writing?

If you’re writing fantasy it’s hard to avoid JRRT. I’ve grown up with an online community of Tolkien fans and discussing and rereading his work a million times has definitely rubbed off on me. From obscure discussions about the linage of the Feanorians, to wether Balrogs have wings, it all builds your understanding of how to make an imaginary world that bit more deep and intriguing. Well, I hope so, anyway.

I’m guessing you’re a fan of cats. Do you own any?

Not now, but I used to. His name was Sammie and he was very fond of sitting on laptops.

Did Sammie inspire your story in any way?

Sammie was a one-eyed cat who was very, very old. We found him already living at our house when we first moved in. In the shed besides the house, anyway. He was sat there next to a brush with the name ‘Sam’ written on it, and that’s how he got his name. We nicknamed him Marcel, too, because he would jump up at the glass patio doors and paw along it like a mime artist trapped in a box.

We lost Sammie back in 2006, and ever since I’ve wanted to remember him in some way. I hope this story does his memory justice.

When it comes to writing, do you prefer to plan ahead or do you just write and write and write until you pass out? We won’t judge, don’t worry.

I tend to work in character arcs. I know roughly the kind of personal journey each character needs to go on and I build around a central theme. There are major events I try and steer them towards, but they don’t always get there. And that’s okay, if a character isn’t ready for that big confrontation, the trip into a volcano, or a meeting with a wizard, then they go to where they need to be at that time.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been telling stories since I was very young. I’ve had siblings all my life and we entertained ourselves with games and tales. Most of these revolved around a troupe of toy dinosaurs, penguins, dragons and bears who all had very odd adventures. I enjoyed writing stories in school, but was diagnosed with dyslexia at around 6 or 7 and felt distinctly discouraged from pursuing writing as a vocation.

It wasn’t until I was leaving collage that I realised that it was still very much what I wanted to do. So I wrote and wrote as if to make up for lost time. It’s been about eight years or so since I first wrote a complete book – a dreadful monstrosity called ‘The Dinosaur Prince’ which ended up being nearly 200,000 words long.

I think I’ve calmed down since then.

Phew, quite the feat for an eight-year-old! So do you write full time or part time?

Part time, I’m afraid. I have a day job that takes me away from it.

And when you’re not writing, what keeps you busy?

I manage a café in the village where I live, Parbold. But, aside from that I am also kept busy by all the Doctor Who memorabilia I have acquired over the years. (Aha! A Whovian!) I think I have a problem. But sometimes a new Peter Davison action figure comes out and he’s got a new hat and I just have to have it!

What book/books are you reading at the moment?

I’m reading God’s War by Kameron Hurley. It’s science fiction and is pretty kick ass. Also reading The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter at last! It’s been on my to-do list for a while.

And lastly, most importantly, do you prefer unicorns or waffles?

I am an animal lover, but I hear unicorns can be dangerous. So, I might go with the waffles. As long as they are potato waffles. I love those things. Good source of protein.

He’s clever, this one. We’ll let him stick around for a while.

 

Blessed be, my lovely pixies

RK )O(

Bandit Book Bloggers: THE BINDING, SAM DOGRA

THE BINDING (Chronicles of Azaria #1)

by

SAM DOGRA

The Binding

What do you do when you can’t trust your heart?

 All seventeen year-old Eliza Bryant wants is to avoid a Binding— the ancient spell that forces couples into a lifelong bond. It cursed her sister, and for the last two years it’s tried to claim her, too. Her monthly hiding ritual worked brilliantly, until the night she ran into Ryan, a mysterious bounty-hunter. Now Bound to him, Eliza must spend every moment at his side, else she’ll transform into an Unbound; a lifeless husk without mind or soul.

Unfortunately, Ryan’s not looking to settle, and Eliza is dragged into his crazy life on the run. Still, she’s not going to take this lying down. Between grappling with the false feelings conjured by the spell and fleeing an unseen enemy, she plans to find a way to break her Binding; a feat nobody’s achieved in two thousand years. The key to her freedom lies closer than she thinks, and it’s deeply connected to Ryan’s past.

Read an excerpt

REVIEWS

What an interesting concept, just seeing someone by chance and then provided the timing is right, you find yourself bound to them forever. Sounds a bit like a “love at first sight” only the two people have no choice in the matter due to a “Binding Curse.” Eliza hoping to outwit the curse escaped into the forest only to be thwarted by a wild bear so was it fate or circumstance? I liked Eliza though I sometimes felt that honesty would have been the best policy. I did understand why she was reluctant to own up to the binding as she barely knew Ryan.

Ryan was actually a good guy and he seemed genuine though he was on the run himself and had secrets of his own that he was keeping from her. Desperate to hide the truth from her family, she flees her home with Ryan making up a sordid past for herself. A love triangle of sorts ensues when her childhood friend Adam finds out about the binding as he yearns for something more and sets out to find her.

When all the secrets have been revealed, will Eliza be able to distinguish how she really feels. If there is a chance that the curse can be reversed, who would Eliza pick if she was free to choose? Her childhood friend Adam that she shares a history with or Ryan who claims to love her now despite his binding to another. I can’t wait to read the next book to find out more about this triangle and will true love eventually prevail? – Nereid, Amazon

 

4.5 Stars. This exciting tale for New Adult/Older YA crosses genres making it difficult to categorise in any one area. Set in another world it has elements of sci-fi, fantasy and a just touch of steampunk. The characters are magnetic and quickly draw you into this exciting world where curses and magic become real. This passionate tale becomes unstoppable leaving you devastated that the second instalment is yet to be published – not a cliff-hanger, just totally addictive writing. – Tracie, Goodreads

 

Awesome! Can’t wait for the next one!!! – Molly Bonville, Goodreads

The Binding, by Sam Dogra, is an excellent read, with superb settings and characterisation. I really cared what happened to the main protagonist and the first person point of view, really helped me to become immersed in the story. Only one minor criticism. The, use of the word “to” instead of “at”. For example: “Ryan looked to the moon”, or “I looked to my lap”. This jarred me a little, but apart from this nitpick, this is an almost perfect story and one readers of all ages will enjoy. Highly recommended. –Kate Jack, Amazon

PURCHASE LINKS for THE BINDING

UK ebook

US ebook

UK paperback

US paperback

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sam Dogra

 Sam Dogra is a junior doctor working in the UK, and is currently training to become a General Practitioner. Between reviewing drug charts and X-rays, taking blood, saving lives and getting grilled by consultants, she also writes fantasy fiction and is a fantasy artist. She has co-written ‘Fated: A Timeless Series Companion Novel’ with author Lisa Wiedmeier, and has also published her first novel The Binding, and its sequel, The Parting, with a third book in progress.

She’s widely traveled, and has enjoyed her visits to France, Germany, Norway, Greece, Egypt, Israel, Rhodes, Turkey, Cyprus, Lesvos, India, Dubai, Australia, Canada and Idaho, Washington, New York, Seattle and Alaska, USA. Her other main interest is fantasy art.

In what little spare time she has, Sam also enjoys reading, baking, shopping, watching movies and anime, astrology, video games, collecting cuddly toy animals, and photography.

LINKS

Website/blog

Facebook

Twitter

Artwork

Blessed be

RK )O(

Short & Sweet

I have a cold today, so I’ll spend it lying in bed and feeling sorry for myself. I’ve been sitting at my laptop for approximately an hour, and I’ve accomplished 15 words. PERSONAL BEST! -_-

So, this is a prelude to a bigger blog post in a few days time, when I get myself back to normal. I’m part of a cool gang on Facebook called the Bandit Book Bloggers. Look at our photo. We’re so sexy. Dig it.

Bandit Book Bloggers

So, in a few days time, I’ll be doing a promotion for The Binding, a fantastic fantasy novel by Sam Dogra. Keep your eyes peeled, there’ll be links and excerpts and pretty things! 🙂

I’m going to go steam my head to try and clear it. Also, since I’m such a hippy, if you’re ever in my situation, try these herbs to get rid of your cold:

Astragalus: helps get rid of the virus and boost the immune system (in which I am lacking)
Golden Seal: to get rid of all that icky mucus
Thyme: clears infection and speed up recovery
Elderberry: a lovely antioxidant
St. John’s Wort: good for colds, flu and herpes, of all things
Lemon balm: this is good for stopping the cold or flu from spreading any further through your body. And it smells nice.

Or you could be sensible and use Beechams or Day Nurse. Each to their own, I guess.

Blessed be, my little pixies

RK )O(