Chasing Azrael – BBB

Chasing Azrael

By

Hazel Butler

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.

When Andee Tilbrook’s husband died, her preoccupation with death turned to obsession. Thanks to her unique ability to commune with the dead, her husband remains all too close, yet never close enough. Mired in grief, she clings to James’s spirit, slowly losing touch with the world, her friends, and any desire to continue living.

But when her friend Josh becomes the target of Natalya, a jealous, capricious and violent Russian beauty, Andee somehow finds the strength to free herself from her misery long enough to help him. They soon discover that Natalya is wanted by the police for her involvement in a series of grisly murders, and Andee is dragged into the inquiry by the same man who investigated her own husband’s death.

Torn between new feelings for Josh and fear that he might be involved in the murders that seem to threaten anyone who comes close, Andee must face the realities of her life, her past, and her very nature—and do it all in time to save her own life.

About the Author

Hazel

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.

Whilst many authors write for fame and profit, Hazel Butler is publishing books to garner attention of a very different sort – attention for Bipolar Disorder. Because many either misunderstand this condition or shun it completely, Butler uses a unique fusion of urban mystery, the paranormal, and a hint of romance, to study exactly how society perceives mental illness and what it is like to live with such conditions, both for patients and their loved ones.

The ‘Deathly Insanity’ series will delight fans of Kelley Armstrong, Charlaine Harris and Laurell K. Hamilton – or just about anyone else enjoying adult-geared fiction with a twist of the unexpected. A Paranormal Mystery series set to delve into the darkest aspect of human (and inhuman) nature, the series’ first volume is ‘Chasing Azrael’.

Excerpt

I knew nothing but the rhythmic slap of my feet on wet tarmac. It was the only thing I could focus on, and my focus was slipping.

I’m still running, I thought fuzzily, I have to keep running.

The back of my skull throbbed. Thick, cloying blood oozed into my hair, mingling with the rain, cherry streams running down goose-pimpled flesh. One bare, frozen foot landed badly. I tripped, knee slamming into the kerb. A car hurtled by, horn howling at my presence in its path, the glaring lights of its eyes forcing my own shut. When I opened them again, I was transfixed by the sight of my arms, waxen and tinged red in the fading glare of tail lights. I watched intently as bloodied rain dripped down them and into the gutter.

“James!” I screamed, but the night swallowed his name.

The injured leg dragged behind as I ran on, a dead weight, more blood now seeping between my numb toes. Rain pounded in my ears, the taste of blood biting at the back of my throat. Again I stumbled as more lights flashed in my eyes, stationary this time. Clustered before me stood a crowd of cars branded with words that should have offered comfort, but instead only confirmed my worst fears: Police, Paramedic. Squinting against the onslaught of headlights, I lurched past them. Voices added their cries to the night, but they were not my own, and they were not his, so I ignored them, the world twisting around me as my head grew ever lighter and the lights grew ever brighter.

“JAMES!”

Chasing Azrael, published by Aädedian Ink, is available now.

For more information, visit Hazel-Butler.com.

Felinity – BBB

Felinity

An Anthology Collected By

Sammy HK Smith

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

Felinity Cover

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.

Kindle

Paperback

Interview With A Contributor

WILL MACMILLAN-JONES is a fifty-something lover of blues, rock and jazz. He presently lives in Wales, a beautiful verdant land of myth with a rich cultural heritage. He does his best to support this heritage by drinking local beers and shouting loud encouragement at the TV whenever Wales is playing international rugby.

He has just fulfilled a lifetime ambition by filling an entire wall of his study with bookcases, and then (over)filling the bookcases. When not drinking beer and watching rugby, he remembers to write the occasional horror book or to add to his comic fantasy series, The Banned Underground. Links to all his work can be found on his website:

www.willmacmillanjones.com

Hi Ross. I don’t think that I’ve been on your blog before. Nice curtains…are they fireproof? Just asking.

Where do you live and write from?

Although I was born in God’s Own Land of Lancashire, I presently live and write in Wales. It’s a lovely, verdant, land full of myth, mystery, excellent beer and sheep. And hills. I walk on the hills a lot with my camera: I haven’t met a dragon yet, but there’s always hope, you know? Although knowing my luck the dragon would sound more like that Cucumberpatch fellow than Joanna Lumley.

Do you have a specific writing routine?

I have a very specific routine, yes. I turn on the computer, open the current document – or whichever opus I have decided to try and ignore that day, look at the blank screen or in extremis the last few lines written the day before, raise my hands above the keyboard with the fingers poised…and see what’s on Facebook this morning. Like everyone else I’m too easily distracted.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I must be in touch with my feminine side, as the answer to both questions, is… both. Some works I have carefully plotted in excruciating detail. Others I have just set my eyes on the longer for final page and just gone for it… It’s the same with the writing speed. My second book, The Mystic Accountants, was completed to first draft in a little over a month. There’s a work called The Picture which I hope to complete in a few weeks which has been a year in the writing. For me it’s very much a mood thing: I write what I’m in the mood to write. That sounds horribly indisciplined, but because I write in different genres I’m always in the mood to write something.

What genres do you write, and which is your favourite?

I write fantasy; YA fantasy; comic fantasy; dark fantasy/horror and childrens’s books. This is why mood is so important to my writing: if I’m in a dark place it isn’t easy to write pages of laugh-a-minute gags ( a bored American once calculated that one of my books hit 3.2 jokes per kindle page – now that’s funny, the idea of someone meticulously adding up all the jokes. I never do that myself) and conversely, if I’m rolling around laughing I can’t write something scary.

Tell us about your contribution to Felinity.

The Hunt. The Hunt was easy. I woke up at three am one morning with the whole story there. All I had to do was to write it down, originally at about 1800 words. I had it easy, didn’t I? Can you imagine trying to get all of Zanadu down, in that complicated rhythmic structure in one go? No wonder the poor bloke forgot the ending, is it? Anyway, that was The Hunt. A dream. I just caught it as it passed by.

Felinity is inspired, obviously, by cats. Was it easy for you to find feline inspiration?

Is this where I get the chance to be catty about my ex? No? Oh well, please yourselves then. Any resemblance between the characters and real people is purely co incidental. And imaginary.

I have trouble keeping short stories short, but this is flash fiction – do you find it difficult to write something that’s so short?

No.

7a. A bit more than that?

All right. I actually write quite a bit of Flash. I thoroughly recommend it as a good discipline for writers, many of whom are inclined to run off at the mouth for ever, without thinking of the poor reader left to follow on as best they may. It’s also a great way of breaking a block. If you are stuck on a story, open a new file and stare at the blank screen until something comes out. Very likely it will be rubbish, and you’ll throw it away: but I have several book projects that have started as a piece of flash fiction and then grown. I did win a respected national Flash Fiction Competition in 2013, so it’s always worth trying your hand in the field.

What other projects do you have in the pipeline?

I’m under contract to produce two comic fantasy books in my Banned Underground collection a year until we hit twelve books, so there’s always one or two of those on the go. Plus I’m now aiming to finish one horror book and one children’s book a year as well, so that’s why I’m always writing, and wearing out keyboards.

Give us your important links!

I thought you’d never ask!

Websites:

willmacmillanjones.com Where you can see the full range of stuff I write, and see a bit more about me.

thebannedunderground.com Where my major comic fantasy series hangs out. Gags, excerpts, reviews, trailers, all the usual stuff we authors put on these sites to pretend we are interesting. Plus loads of book links.

willmacmillanjones.wordpress.com The blog, where I talk to other writers and occasionally muse about stuff.

Try these then:

The Satnav of Doom The Banned Underground #5: a serious High Fantasy involving a dwarf Rock N Roll band, some accountants who are also Dark Wizards, dragons, and some mystical beings who have turned their Fairy Hill into an International Merchant Bank. And an anarchic SatNav.

Snort and Wobbles:

Dragons are not real. Everyone tells you that. So what do you do when you are eight years old, and meet a dragon living at the bottom of your garden? You have the adventure of your life!

When Wobbles and her family move into their new home, she is delighted to find that a green dragon is living in secret at the bottom of the garden. But Snort the dragon is not the only one: underground a gang of Goblins have also made their home, and when they capture Wobbles’ big brother Jeremy, it is up to her and Snort to save him: before the Goblins roast him on their barbecue.

Written for those children who are just becoming confident in reading for themselves, and for those parents who (like the author) are addicted to reading bedtime stories to their children and grandchildren, Snort and Wobbles is a thrilling, captivating adventure for 6 – 10 year olds.

Thanks, Will!

The Art Of Forgetting – BBB

The Art Of Forgetting: Rider

By

Joanne Hall

Art Of Forgetting

Gifted and cursed with a unique memory, the foundling son of a notorious traitor, Rhodri joins an elite cavalry unit. There, struggling with his own memories of his father, he begins to discover a sense of belonging. That is, until a face from the past reveals a secret that will change not only Rhodri’s life but the fate of a nation.

About the Author

Joanne Hall lives in Bristol, England with her partner. She enjoys reading, writing, listening to music, gaming, watching movies, eating cake and failing to exercise.

A full-time author since 2003, Joanne’s “New Kingdom” fantasy trilogy was published by Epress Online, and was a finalist in both the PLUTO and EPPIE awards . Her short stories have appeared in many publications, both print and online, including Afterburn SF, Quantum Muse, and The Harrow.

She has had short stories published in several anthologies, including “Pirates of the Cumberland Basin” in Future Bristol, and “Corpse Flight” in Dark Spires. Her short story collection, “The Feline Queen” was published in March 2011 by Wolfsinger Publications.

For the last four years, Joanne has been the Chair of BristolCon, Bristol’s thriving science fiction and fantasy convention. She also runs the Bristol Fantasy and SF Society Facebook group, and occasionally works in an editing position for Dark Ocean Studios, a small comics company based in San Jose, as well as taking on freelance editing projects.

She is the co-editor with Roz Clarke of “Colinthology”, a tribute anthology to their friend Colin Harvey, which also includes her short story “Lukewarm in Lynhelm.” “Colinthology” was published as an ebook in October 2012 by Wizards Tower, and a print edition may be forthcoming.

Links

Buy from Amazon UK and Amazon US

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Interview with the Artist

This time, instead of interviewing the author, I have interviewed the cover artist, Evelinn Enoksen. You may recognise that name from the Out of the Dark post, as she is one of the contributing artists for that.

How did you come up with the cover art for The Art of Forgetting?

Joanne was very good at explaining what she wanted as well as showing me some photos. I also got to read a little of the book, hehe, gotta love them job perks 😉

How does creating book cover artwork differ from straight-forward art pieces? Is it easier or harder?

Sometimes having themes and restrictions are a good thing, I’ve got so much stuff going on in my head I easily confuse myself or get lost. But creating without limits is usually easier, though mostly because only I know what it’s going to be when it’s finished.

Do you create the fonts used in the title yourself?

Ken Dawson made the font; he’s a fantastic artist and a lot more skilled at digital art than me. He’s made the font for my own book too, and it’s simply awesome.

A lot of book covers use at least a combination of photo manipulation and original artwork. Did you do this for The Art of Forgetting? Or do you prefer to create from scratch?

Most of “The Art of Forgetting” cover is sketched, and then manipulated in Photoshop. The water on the back cover is from a photo, but otherwise it’s out of my head. I started looking for the drawings now, but ‘organized’ and ‘order’ are just words to me, their meaning has been lost somewhere in my office… Don’t go in there; you might not come out again…

Is it fair to say that you are drawn, artistically, to gothic/gothic fantasy artwork? What is it that draws you to that?

I grew up with sci-fi fantasy loving parents, and also have lots of artistic family members. I’m not exactly sure why I paint, draw and write what I do, perhaps it’s because it’s the ultimate vacation. A vacation as far away from this world as possible, but also without completely losing my footing.

I can just about draw a convincing polar bear in blizzard scene. Is your artistic talent completely natural, or did it take a lot of hard work to develop it?

I have an unfinished art-school background, but most of what I do now comes from never giving up. If I’m crap at something that I really want to do, I practice until I can do it, but I have a lot of fun along the way too, of course, otherwise I probably couldn’t be bothered. Also my family background plays a role in my artistic developments. They used to critique me a lot, but they’ve stayed suspiciously silent the past ten years… I guess that’s a good thing 😉

You are working on a graphic novel at the moment. I can probably guess the answer, but if you absolutely had to choose, would you choose artistic ability or story-based creativity?

Wow, that was a difficult question; it’s like asking me which sense I’d rather choose, say between sight, or hearing. As a writer I can create colorful, magical, dreamy worlds, but the reader provides a lot of that themselves. Writing is like filling a canvas with a half-finished masterpiece where the reader will have to color it in. While painting is mostly a completed visual; but it can still stir up emotions and daydreaming in the watcher. I will choose not to choose, and be thankful that I have so many ways to express myself.

Evelinn’s Website

Evelinn on DeviantArt

Healer’s Touch – BBB

Healer’s Touch

By

Deb E Howell

‘For Llew to heal, something must die’

Healer's Touch Cover

Healer’s Touch

BLURB:

Llew, a young pickpocket who lives as a boy on the streets of a wild-west mining town, finds her real problems begin when she survives the gallows. Forced to run, she persuades a group of fighters escorting a young girl to her wedding to let her travel with them across the badlands. On the journey Llew faces hostile tribesmen, desperate bandits and, the enmity of her own companions should they find out who and what she is: a girl, a fugitive, and a feared Healer. One of the fighters, Jonas, possesses superhuman prowess as a warrior, and carries the knife able to ‘kill the unkillable’; the knife that can kill Llew. Despite being of races at war for centuries, they are drawn to one another.

During the journey, they encounter Braph the magician, Jonas’ half-brother and potential nemesis. He pursues them as they journey across the sea to the continent of Phyos and at the moment Llew finally feels safe, he abducts her. He begins to take what is most precious to him: her blood.

Healer’s Touch is a mesmerising mix of fantasy, steampunk and Wild West adventure – and even a dash of romance!

EXCERPT:

“Llew!”

He gathered her to him. So alive moments earlier, now limp. All he could see was blood. It covered her hands, soaked her shirt and pooled on the ground. He clasped her chin, turning her to him. The touch sent a tingle through his fingers even as more blood gushed from her open throat and he jerked his hand away, letting her head fall back. His eye was drawn by movement in the grass. One of Llew’s hands had fallen to the ground and the grass around it was dying in an ever increasing circle.

Jonas swallowed down his revulsion and dumped her unceremoniously on the ground, jumping to his feet. In a daze, he reclaimed his knives from the corpses, taking them to the water’s edge to clean with vigorous sweeps of his fingers down the blades. He berated himself for even toying with the idea of getting involved with her. What did he really know about her? He knew her name. And now he knew all he needed to know.

He wiped the half-clean blades on his thigh, sheathed them in his vest and drew the big knife at his hip. He cradled it in his hands, watching the moonlight fly off as he tilted it back and forth. There was one purpose to this knife’s existence: to kill the unkillable. And there was no safer time to make an attempt on the life of an Aenuk than when they were already half dead.

Jonas turned from the water. The meadow was now like a hayfield. Each blade of grass, each leaf of clover, each dandelion had given its all to provide but a tiny fraction of the energy – jin, as it was known in Turhmos – needed to bring a person back from near-death.

She lay unconscious, but her breathing was steady now. He had limited time to act. He crouched beside her, knife hovering over her back right where her heart should be, assuming Aenuks had a heart. But this was Llewella. She wasn’t like the Aenuks he had faced on the Turhmos killing fields. She wasn’t trained to fight, to continue to fight, and to take the enemy with her when she faced final death. She was merely a girl doing what she had to do to survive.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Deb E Howell

Deb E was born in New Zealand’s North Island, but her parents corrected that within months, moving south to Dunedin and staying there. Childhood nights were spent falling asleep to cover versions of Cliff Richard and the Shadows and other Rock ’n Roll classics played by her father’s band, and days were spent dancing to 45 LPs. Many of her first writing experiences were copying down song lyrics. She graduated to scientific reports when she studied a fungus in the Zoology department of the University of Otago, trading all traces of popularity for usefulness… then traded both for fiction.

Deb lives in Dunedin, New Zealand with her family and a menagerie of pets.

LINKS:

Purchase Links:

Smashwords (ISBN – 978-1-909845-08-4): £2.99/$4.99

Kindle UK / Kindle US (ASIN – 978-1-909845-07-7): £2.99/$4.99

Paperback (ISBN – 978-1-909845-06-0): £9.99/$18.99

Please note that both the ePub format (the Smashwords link) and the paperback are available from other outlets too. Just do a web search for the ISBNs to find them.

Deb E Howell:

Website/Blog

Facebook

Twitter

It…Ends!

Like the end of the world, come December. But with less violence, looting and I told you so’s.

The final stop on the tour is Tea and Text.

I admit, I was a little concerned about today’s review, as it was the only one that I hadn’t seen ahead of time. Ann also kept quiet in emails about whether or not she was enjoying the book. I know the run of four and five stars must end at some point, and I wondered if it might be today.

It isn’t. I nervously found my way to the review, and the smile hasn’t yet left my face. Four hot cups of tea is a lot better than a glass of prune juice. I don’t like prunes. I don’t like prunes at all. Although the dried ones aren’t too bad.

I’m sure I’ll be back in a short while to rant about Star Wars 1313.

It…Continues!

Today is day three of the mini-tour, and I’m at Sammy HK Smith’s blog for another interview and a review from guest blogger, David Muir.

He gives Shadow of the Wraith 9 stars out of 10!

Tomorrow, I’ll be at Zigzag Timeline for another interview. M’s review of the book is already up there and on Goodreads.

It…Begins!

A bit like Batman did, but with less violence and skin-tight rubber.

The first day of my blog mini-tour is here, and it has started with a 5 star review and interview on Dragon’s Lair Books.

It continues tomorrow with another review and interview on Bookishly Devoted.

Don’t forget, Shadow of the Wraith has been reduced to £1.49 and $2.99 until Friday, 8 June.