On the Road to Publication

Goooooooooood afternoon my lovely little pixies!

Currently trapped in my bedroom as there’s an obscene amount of pollen flying about in the air today. So I’m stuck indoors, behind closed doors, locked windows, sat beside a steadily-heating-up air purifier from 1999. So far I’m thriving on six cups of coffee and one sausage roll. I’m Northern, I can do this.

Few things to update on:

Just sent the blurb, acknowledgements, and dedication off to Inspired Quill. I was gracious enough to thank the people that matter, and curse the people who were mean. And the blurb… Oh, the blurb. YOU EVIL LITTLE THING. I’ve spent almost every waking minute thinking about it. I’ve shown it to a few friends to get some feedback. After wrestling with it for two weeks, I think it’s good enough to get a good proper editing now.

Speaking of Inspired Quill, guess who’s got a smexy shiny new website?

Ohhhh yeah.

Ohhhh yeah.

Go on, click the image. It’ll take you flying through space and time to the beautiful new site 😀 Click it, go on. Go on. I spent longer than I should’ve done trying to figure out how to link it up, go on.

In other news, in August I’m heading down to London. What’s that? To a convention, you ask? No, silly. I’m going to the Warner Bros. Studios with my best friend, for the Harry Potter tour. Just bought myself a Slytherin t-shirt for the day, too. Yes, I’m a Slytherin. No, I’m not a Death Eater. WE ARE NOT ALL EVIL.

Look at that cutesy-wutesy face ^-^

Look at that cutesy-wutesy face ^-^

So, between now and August, when I’m getting the edits back from IQ to do the final once over before it goes to the proofreader, I’ll be working on… (drum roll, please)…

 

THE SEQUEL TO THE OLD WAYS!

fireworksanimation-13

Since The Old Ways ends so ambiguously (you’ll see), I thought it only fitting that certain characters get some closure. However, closure is definitely not what they’re going to get. They’re going to get severely tortured. I won’t lie, it’s gonna hurt, guys. Check out the tagline:

 

Fragile alliances will be forged in flames.
Ancient evils will be resurrected to seek vengeance.
Powerful foes will rise to sow discord.
The Age of Magic has come.

 

Catchy, huh? 🙂 Oh, that’s also the current working title, The Age of Magic. Old favourites come back to play, new faces make an appearance, Albion gets shaken to the core. To be crude, shit hits the fan.

 

Best get writing!

Blessed be, my darling pixies.

RK )O(

Humans Are Weird

I recently learned that someone I know doesn’t like bread. I mean, what? Who doesn’t like bread? It’s like the blandest of foods. How can you not like bread? It’s so versatile. Don’t you eat toast? What about sandwiches? What about bagels? Is it just white bread? Is it the texture or the taste you don’t like? This has really messed me up.

In other news, I’VE SEEN THE INITIAL DRAWING OF THE FRONT COVER FOR THE OLD WAYS AND IT LOOKS AWESOME 😀 I was almost in tears when I first saw it. Which wasn’t good, since I was at work and everyone thought some nasty person had upset me. I’m too emotional for my own good.

Heeeeyyy who’s been watching Game of Thrones? (I HAVEN’T SEEN THE LAST EPISODE OF SEASON 5 NO SPOILERS EVERYONE SHUSH.) I just wanted to bring it up because of this:

#relationshipgoals

#relationshipgoals

It’s been my dream since I was a wee child to ride a dragon. So when I saw this scene, I was so hyped. I mean, my face was actually the shape of the :O emoji. BUT, my only problem is– well… look at that gif again. Really look at it. It’s really bugging me. It bugged me when I first watched it, and it’s bugging me watching it again here.

WHY ISN’T HER HAIR MOVING?

Okay, I know it’s moving a little bit, I’m not completely mental. But for those of you with uber long hair (like myself), you’ll know how less-than-awesome you feel when you get lashed in the face by your own locks. Sometimes, if it’s really windy, and I’m talking to someone, I will actually inhale my own hair. I pull the most gruesome of faces and start hacking up hairballs like a giant cat.

But Daenerys? Oh no. She gets this lovely doe-eyed look and a gentle breeze tickling her face, while she’s currently RIDING AN ENORMOUS BLACK FIRE-BREATHING DRAGON. I mean, come on! Try to look a little less Juliet and a little more Xena.

Also, it kinda looks like she’s wearing jeans under that delicate silk frock. Just sayin’.

I miss Viserys 😦 sure, he was a psychotic megalomaniac Disk One Final Boss, but he was still a cool villain. And it was Harry Lloyd.

I'm starting to suspect I have a thing for sharp cheekbones.

I’m starting to suspect I have a thing for sharp cheekbones…

There was something else I wanted to talk about as well, but for the life of me I can’t quite remember what it was… oh, I guess it wasn’t that important. I’m sure I’ll remember at ten to midnight tonight when I’m just about to fall asleep. Oh well.

Blessed be, my darling pixies,

RK )O(

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.

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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(

RK’s Top Ten Favourite Films

top_10

I’ve decided to not participate in NaNoWriMo this year. I’ve seen what it does to people. It’s like the One Ring. It tempts you. Glints, winks, at you. You think you can resist it. Then, before you know it, you’re a skinny, drooling, insane mess, clutching papers and coffee mugs, twitching and giggling to yourself in the corner.

Maybe I’ve been talking to the wrong people.

Anyway, since I’m not partaking in this delightful… event, I’ve decided to instead dedicate a post to my Top Ten Favourite Films of ALL TIME. Runners up will be at the bottom. I’ll talk a little bit about each one, too. Because, y’know, I don’t have ten chapters I should be editing instead.

10) The Avengers

Released: 2012
Starring: Tony Stark. And some other people. And Tom Hiddleston, obviously.

Arguably the most popular film of all time, The Avengers for years was thought to be an unmakeable film. Enter Joss Whedon, King of the Nerds. Everything about this film screams “awesome”. The casting is perfect, the writing is perfect, the effects are perfect. It’s just fantastic, let’s face it. And if you don’t like it, you’re wrong. I know that’s your opinion, but it’s wrong.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I’m not a fan of DC, and I loathe Superman as a “hero”, so I find it especially satisfying when SIX heroes do less damage to a city in trying to defend it than Superman causes ALONE. Come on, Supes. Get it together.

9) Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Released: 1991
Starring: Kevin Costner and Professor Snape Alan Rickman.

Despite Costner’s accent, this film is beautiful. It’s a (fairly) faithful adaptation of all those Robin Hood tales I read growing up. Even satire film Men in Tights pokes loving fun at this one the most, because they know it’s the most popular, and most people will have seen it. And laughed at Costner’s accent. Alright, enough about the accent. But really, he couldn’t have toned down that drawl just a tad?

8) The Winter Witch (US title, The Snow Queen)

Released: 2002
Starring: Bridget Fonda and Chelsea Hobbs

I’m not sure how many of you will have seen this particular film. It usually floats around on TV at Christmas time. It’s not particularly well known and wasn’t received very well because of its bad effects and sometimes stilted writing, but it always makes me feel nostalgic and cuddly inside. It’s based on the Hans Christian-Anderson tale The Snow Queen (also the basis of Disney’s Frozen), and it’s very loyal to the source material.

7) Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

Released: 1991
Starring: Paige O’Hara, Robby Benson, and Angela Lansbury

What can be said about this film? It’s practically a modern classic. I can’t say much about it, because it’s perfect in every way. If you haven’t seen it, you had no childhood. If you hate it, you have no soul.

6) Labyrinth

Released: 1986
Starring: Jennifer Connolly and David Bowie

Sorry, Mother. I know you really, really, really hate Bowie, but this film is a Jim Henson classic. Yes, it’s very… 80’s. Costumes and music are a little cringe-worthy, effects make CGI artists cry, and Pre-Academy-Award Jennifer Connolly has a long way to go. Still, it’s a classic, and I love it.

5) Dragonheart

Released: 1996
Starring: Dennis Quaid, David Thewlis, and Sean Connery’s voice

Fantastic, original storyline. Excellent effects for the day. A novelisation. What more could a dragon-lover want? Except maybe a better haircut for Einon. Seriously. Get it trimmed. You look like a mushroom. Oh, and the accent, again. C’mon, Quaid, I know Costner did it, but the film is set in Britain. You even say it in the film! Get your accent together.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The novelisation is, incidentally, a fantastic read, and one of my favourite books.

4) Stardust

Released: 2007
Starring: Claire Danes and Charlie Cox. And a lot of other people.

One of the most romantic, heart-warming stories that has ever graced the screen. Neil Gaiman, the author of the novel, is one of my favourite authors. I heard he’s got a cameo on Captain Shakespeare’s ship. Which I find weird, since Captain Shakespeare was barely in the novel at all. Ah, I’m nitpicking. It’s a beautiful film, makes me cry every time, and it has this:

How can you not die laughing?

How can you not die laughing?

3) Willow

Released: 1988
Starring: Warwick Davies, Val Kilmer, and some fairies

I think this is the first film I remember watching. Yes, I probably watched some Disney ones first, but I remember this one the most vividly. It screams 80’s all over it. Had this been made in 2014, it would already have two-dozen sequels lined up, because it was so original and well-made. Also, oddly enough, has a novelisation that expands on Elora Danan’s background, what happened to Sorsha’s father, and why Bavmorda Madmartigan is such a badass.

2) The Princess Bride

Released: 1987
Starring: Cary Elwes and Robin Wright

*takes deep breath* THIS IS THE MOST FANTASTIC FANTASY FILM THAT FELL OUT OF THE 80’S.
That is all.
No, really. It has everything. True Love. Giants. Fencing. Torture. Miracles. Billy Crystal (yes, you read that right). Rodents of Unusual Size.
See it. SEE IT.

 

And my absolute favourite film of all time ever is….

*INSERT DRUM ROLL HERE*

1) Merlin

Released: 1998
Starring: Miranda Richardson and Sam Neill

Technically not a “film”, it’s a TV mini-series. Still, although I could recite this back to front, I would watch this again. This movie is the reason The Old Ways exists. It fed my love of fantasy. It sparked my interest in the old legends of Britain. Many people criticize its bad effects, and yes they are very bad, but everything else makes up for it. Miranda Richardson as Queen Mab and the Lady of the Lake, Sam Neill as the titular Merlin, Isabella Rossellini as Merlin’s True Love, Nimue… if you’re going to watch anything on TV ever again, watch this.

Oh, and if you’re thinking of watching the 2006 sequel, Merlin’s Apprentice… don’t.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Also has a novelisation, in three seperate books. Merlin: The Old Magic, Merlin: The King’s Wizard, and Merlin: The End of Magic. They’re my favourite. I cuddle them when no one is looking.

EDIT: Er, I don’t actually do that.

Merlin_(movie)_1

Alright, that’s enough gushing about Merlin. Here are the runners up, in no particular order:

The Spiderwick Chronicles
The Brothers Grimm
Inkheart
Frozen
Tinker Bell and the Pirate Fairy (don’t judge me. It has Tom Hiddleston in it. Singing. *swoon*)
Corpse Bride
Ladyhawke
Legend
The Mask of Zorro
Elf

 

Blessed Be )O(

RK

I’m allliiiive!

I liiiiiiiive

 

Okay, so I’ve been a bit quiet lately.  In my defence, I’ve been on holiday. And I’ve been editing until my fingers bled. Slight exaggeration there.

I also overdosed on Scottish butter tablet. Mmm it’s like a sugar cube but edible. I ate a whole box in one go. Recipe is here, by the way!

Returned to day-job after two week holiday to find my desk in a complete shambles. A total pigsty. It was a mess. Crisp packets, Coke cans, sweetie wrappers… vile creatures, leaving my desk like that.

 

How are we all finding Capaldi-Doctor? I like him. He’s like a grumpy grandad. Moffat, on the other hand… *sigh* what can be said?

Apart from–

WHAT WAS ON THE BED, MOFFAT? WHAT WAS ON THE BED?!

 

My nightmares for the next two years. That's what was on the bed.

My nightmares for the next two years. That’s what was on the bed.

 

My friend tried to console me. “It was just a kid playing a joke,” she said, “there wasn’t a monster, really.” Didn’t stop me from being terrified though, did it?

I can’t stop looking at it. Why did I think it would be a good idea to put that screenshot there? It’s looking at me. Make it stop. Quick! Distraction!

Ahhh, much better. Tom Hiddleston and a puppy...

Ahhh, much better. Tom Hiddleston and a puppy…

In other news, the release date for my novel has been decided! Well, sort of. We’re hoping for a release before October 2015. Which means I’d better shift my cute little butt and get editing! Only… *mentally counts* twenty-six more chapters to go! 😀

And then, of course, there’s Dragon Age: Inquisition. The release date has been announced as 7th October 2014. Excuse me a moment.

OHMYGODSICAN’TBREATHTHISISSOEXCITINGOHGODSIT’SLESSTHANAMONTHAWAYOHMYGOOOOOODDDDDDDDDDSSSSSS!!!!!!!!

Thank you. It escapes every so often. Worse when I’m in public. Oh! And Sleepy Hollow starts on Monday. And Grimm comes back on 24th October. Aaaand I’ve started watching Supernatural from the beginning.

I’m such a fantasy freak -_- AH I DON’T CARE! 😀

I’d better go before I babble myself into complete insanity… *snort* I’m way too late for that. I’ve been here a while. With those rooms made of mattresses and those comfy-looking hug-jackets.

 

Blessed be,

)O( RK

What even IS centaur anatomy?

Centaurs

SRS FACE

Seriously, this question has bugged the life out of me for ages. I don’t mean a few weeks, no. I mean at least a year. I’m yet to find a suitable answer.

Okay, so centaurs are horse bodies with man bodies grafted on (getting technical now, people). I get this. But the horse bit has organs.  It’s the main body of the horse. It has organs; stomach, lungs, heart, liver, etc. You know organs, you can fill in the blanks.

But the man bit is the body of a man. Or woman, I guess. I’ve seen Narnia, female centaurs exist. But the human bit also has organs. Heart, lungs, stomach, etc.

My question, do they have double the amount of organs? That seems very poor planning. So, they’ve got a heart up top, and underneath as well? Are they Time Lords? They got two sets of lungs? That’s a whole lot of breathing going on. What, do they pant with every breath? Two stomachs? Why? Do they eat double the amount? Do they have to eat grass and hay to satisfy the horse stomach? While also eating meat to satisfy the human stomach? Do they get back problems because of the way their spines just… sort of… curl?

I don't trust this. It has no kidneys.

I don’t trust this. It has no kidneys.

What even IS centaur anatomy?! You’ve no idea how much this bugs me. I seriously hope someone, someday, answers this for me, because short of that, I’m gonna have to kidnap a centaur and ask him or her. Or dissect one. Which is a rude thing to do to a guest when you’ve just offered them shortbread.

Other things bug me too: what’s a unicorn horn made of? Is it keratin, like a rhino horn? Or is made of pure magic, like that one episode of Charmed suggests? What makes the spark at the back of a dragon’s throat that ignites its breath? Does a phoenix ever get bored? Why does my copy of Smoke and Mirrors keep disappearing off my bookshelf? Is Neil Gaiman stealing it back every two weeks? And what is Tom Hiddleston really made of?

Puppy smiles and fangirl screams, is the answer to that last one.

The answer to that last one is actually puppy smiles, rainbow sparkles, and fangirl screams.

And why is it, even though I’ve combed through Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them at least 24 times (seriously, I can practically recite the entry for the Lethifold), can I not find any reference to three-headed dogs? Because, really JK, the only theory I can come up with is that Fluffy is actually Cerberus, and he’s just on loan from Hades. Takin’ a holiday from guarding the entrance to Hell, just gonna go hang out with Dumbledore and his crew.

This is not cool. These questions irritate me.

 

In between banging my head against the wall, hoping to answer these deep and profound questions, I’ve been working with E.J. Runyon, a genuinely lovely lady from across the pond, who has been helping me edit The Old Ways. I want to say how it’s going, but there are spoilers, and… hhhnnnggggg, so many spoilers. Let’s just say, it’s a fantastic experience and I’m learning so much ^-^ oh, and my first chapter is a beautiful experience. It’s so shiny. Yes, I am a Firefly fan. Browncoats forever!

 

Blessed be,

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.

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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(

Sadness, Victory, and Fantasy

Sadness:

The Fae Nation website has come to an end 😦 Tangle is hanging up her wings and bidding us a a fond faerywell farewell. That was a typo, I swear.

Luckily, the magic continues on Woodland Wild, and the Fae Nation archive is staying active for a little while yet. I love Fae Nation, one of my poems was published there. Good old Tatty Hex, she was a good woman. Still is, really. We haven’t spoken in a while.

Victory:

Briefly, 20 retailers have boycotted the selling of angora products. More bunnies are safe! Sign the petition here. WARNING: if you hate seeing animal cruelty, close your eyes and scroll right to the bottom to pass the pictures and the video of the poor bunnies. It’s a horrible, soul-wrenching sight.

Fantasy:

Onto happier times, several great tv shows are starting up again in the next few months. If you want to keep track of when things start again, here’s the list of the most popular ones that I get asked about. Apparently people think I’m some sort of Mystic Meg that holds answers to all things nerdy. If I’ve missed anything, let me know, and I’ll find out.

Once Upon A Time – 09/03/14
Game of Thrones – 06/04/14
The Walking Dead – 09/02/14
Once Upon A Time in Wonderland – 06/03/14

Sherlock – Hinted but not promised Christmas 2014
Doctor Who – Autumn 2014
Falling Skies – Summer 2014
True Blood – Suspected June 2014
Under the Dome – Suspected June 2014

PS, I don’t watch all of these, but I’ve got friends who do. Enjoy and mark your calendars.

Blessed be

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(