Battles of Hastings

This time around, the decision was made not to release Wyrd Worlds III, the science fiction and fantasy anthology I was a part of the first two times. Instead, several of the authors involved in those anthologies are releasing short stories to coincide with the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings.

These stories are already up for pre-order, so you can make sure to have them in your collection on the day (14 October).

THE BATTLES OF HASTINGS, BY STEPH BENNION

The Battles of Hastings, by Steph BennionWho really won the Battle of Hastings? Eighteen-year-old Jane Kennedy, a twenty-first-century Chicago girl on her first field assignment, had expected a simple mission to gently ease her into the time-bending realities of her new job. Yet here she was, lying semi-conscious amidst the wounded and dying of a particularly gruesome battle, wondering what the hell she had let herself in for. In this novella based on Jane’s memoirs, follow her strange journey through multiple realities as her fellow time travellers each realise they come from a future with a different past. Is there a rogue on the loose out to change history? The Battles Of Hastings is a romp through alternate time lines in England 1066 to mark the 950th anniversary of the invasion that shaped Britain and Europe today.

PRE-ORDER NOW FROM SMASHWORDS

 

THEY MARVEL AT THE STAR – L J HICK

hastings-lj

Thomas is a member of the Fyrd and is recruited into Harold Godwinson’s army to confront Duke William II of Normandy. He is befriended by a blond-haired man called Kauko as they march to war. Thomas has no time for lords, kings or gods of any kind but Kauko seems to have a large amount of time for Thomas. Why is Kauko so interested in the welfare of a farmer’s son, and just what does he intend to do with him? As the relationship develops and the pair of them confront the stupidity and darkness of war, Thomas comes to realise that they did not meet by chance. In fact, Kauko has been preparing for this for a long time.

PRE-ORDER NOW FROM SMASHWORDS

 

NORMAN BLOOD – BARBARA G. TARN

hastings-barbNineteen-year-old Robert Malet followed William the Bastard to England to claim the English throne. The battle near the small town of Hastings is the beginning of the Norman conquest of England, but also of Robert’s second life.
A vampire in 12th century Europe traveling, fighting and meeting his siblings in darkness, changing names through the years when his mortal life is gone.
Follow Robert Malet, Brother Geoffrey, Robert Capuchon and Mercadier through the years. History and fantasy based on medieval chronicles for a Vampires Through the Centuries novella.

PRE-ORDER NOW FROM:

SMASHWORDS

KOBO

AMAZON

 

EADWEARD – A STORY OF 1066 – VICTORIA ZIGLER

hastings-victoriaIt’s October 14th 1066, and King Harold’s Saxon army is about to go in to battle against Duke William’s invading Norman army. Among the ranks of the Saxons are two boys who shouldn’t be there: Eadweard, and his best friend, Cerdic.
Daydreams of becoming great war heroes had the boys convinced to disobey their Fathers and go to war, despite the possibility of punishment if they were caught. Now it’s time for the battle to begin, and Eadweard is starting to wish he’d stayed home after all. But it’s too late to turn back now, and Eadweard finds himself witnessing the events of the battle that would later be called The Battle Of Hastings, and learning how different from his imaginings the reality of war actually is.
*Note: This is a work of fiction, which is based on actual events. It tells the story of the battle between King Harold’s Saxon army and Duke William’s Norman army, which took place a short distance away from the town of Hastings on October 14th 1066, in a place now known simply as Battle. Though this is a children’s story, the recommended reading age for this book is eight years and over, since it is a story that takes place on a battlefield, and therefore contains scenes of violence that are not suitable for younger, or more sensitive, readers.

PRE-ORDER NOW FROM:

SMASHWORDS

BARNES & NOBLE

APPLE iBOOKS

 

Reviews and Amazon Rants

It means a lot to get good reviews. It means quite a lot to get a good rating, though slightly less than a well thought out review. It also means a lot when Amazon decides ‘f*** you, we don’t like you having nice things, so we’ll delete your best reviews’. Though it means a lot in a different way.

They’ve been doing this for a while now on Amazon itself, and since taking over Goodreads, they’ve started doing it there. I’m certainly not the only one noticing the reviews disappearing – and only ever 5-star reviews, it seems. I can’t speak for the deleted reviews of others, but the ones that have disappeared from mine have been from review bloggers, writing detailed, unbiased reviews. Not family members raving about how the books are the best things ever.

Amazon has claimed before that they won’t allow authors to post reviews on books in the same genre as they themselves write. Aside from the fact that this is pathetically stupid and is pretty much censorship, it doesn’t seem to be enforced. My best reviews are written by a sci-fi author, and they’re still there.

Other authors have contacted Amazon to demand to know why this is happening, and Amazon claim ignorance. They say that it’s most likely because of the reviewers removing the reviews, accidentally reviewing the book – I can’t quite get my head around that one – or leaving the site (Goodreads). That doesn’t quite allow for the fact that I asked one reviewer if she knew why her review had disappeared from my book on Amazon, she emailed Amazon to ask why, they said they would put it back, and then never bothered. So what the hell are they playing at?

But that’s enough ranting about the somewhat disgraceful Amazon.

I received one such review just the other day, from The Review Hart. I requested the review months ago – just after I published Acts of Violence, in fact. She scheduled me for August, and I forgot about it. With terms like ‘haunting’, ‘spectacular’, ‘gripping’, and ‘fantastic’ dotted throughout, the review turned out to be very much worth the wait. And it’s a 4-star review which means A) people are more likely to pay attention to it than a 5-star, and B) it’s less likely to be deleted by Amazon.

In fact, reading the review kind of made me want to read the book!

In other news, we have a more definite date for the next anthology, Wyrd Worlds II: September 20-21. Mine will be the first story in the book, and is a sequel to Kira.

Days of Winter Guardians

I have left it so long since the last blog post that the whole layout of this New Post screen has changed. But anyway, it’s time to update the world on my goings on and allow you to unbate your breath.

The main, important things are that I have now finished my second short story featuring Kira. It is tentatively entitled ‘Kira Part 2’. Or ‘Horizon’. It will be first published in the sequel to last year’s anthology: ‘Wyrd Worlds II’. The exact date isn’t known just yet, but it will likely be as soon as this September! So I should probably get started on the cover.

The second important thing is that I’ve been writing a number of blog articles for Uproar Comics, hence why I’m even more quiet than usual here. I’ve been writing about a range of subjects, from the usual films, TV and games, to extraterrestrial life and the Mariana Trench. If you’re interested, which…why would you NOT be, they can all be found here.

And now for the all-important film update! I’ve watched several films in the past couple of months, some of them crap and some of them good.

Captain America 2: Winter Solder is good. Very good. Damn good. I think it’s tied for second place in my list of best Marvel films with Guardians of the Galaxy. The Avengers is better, I think. The only downside is that I guessed the big twist before the film was even released.

Guardians of the Galaxy is also good. Very good. I should probably say damn good, too, because it’s tied with Captain Freedom. It’s not the typical Marvel film, yet ties in with the Marvel universe well. I expected it to be pretty bad purely, simply, because of Chris Pratt. He seemed from the trailers to be an incredibly irritating…prat. But, in fact, he was pretty decent. Personally, I think Nathan Fillion would actually have been better in the role, but it doesn’t matter. It was damn good. And very funny.

X-Men: Days of Future Past was…actually a bit of a let down. Probably mostly because of how much people raved about it, and claimed it was the best Marvel film yet. It isn’t. There are several better ones in my opinion, including at least two previous X-Men films. But it was pretty good. Wolverine was in it, so that was good. But it didn’t feel like a superhero film at all. It was mostly talking, and shouting, and running around. The scenes in the future seem to be there more because they realised how boring the main film was in terms of action, so stuck them in there to keep people interested. And Quicksilver was pointless. But, good acting and a decent enough story. I’m not entirely sure what to think of it, so it’s just as well I’m not giving it a star rating.

Machete Kills. Surprisingly entertaining and amusing.

Amazing Spider-Man 2 was terrible. The worst Marvel film yet, perhaps. Not quite as bad as I’ve heard people say, but terrible. Electro, or whatever his name was, was a complete joke of a villain. Foxx played him well, but the character himself was just ridiculous. I can’t even be bothered to explain why. Plus, spoilers. The conclusion of the relationship with Gwen Stacy wasn’t quite what I expected, but it was ruined by the stupid ending.

So, that’s that. Look out for Kira in Wyrd Worlds II next month. Probably.

Conundrum

Conundrum Cover

Conundrum is a Steampulp Fantasy graphic novel filled with mystery and suspense that will make you question: Who is God? Coming from the Derry, Northern Ireland, -based Uproar Comics, creators of the award-winning Zombies Hi. I have the benefit of being able to sit and listen to said creators talk about the graphic novel and get (over)excited about where it’s going and what’s going to happen, etc., so I can say for sure this is going to be particularly good (and I don’t generally read comics or graphic novels!).

Synopsis

Wonders and Curiosities are the height of entertainment and fashion before the turn of the 20th century where a great man, Professor Wilde, debuts Wildes’ Wondrous World’s Fair to the public with great acclaim. With new technological, cultural, and natural discoveries available to everyone, the world’s advancement exceeded expectations in all forms. With the greatest minds working on new and greater concepts, the world has become a fascinating place. With high-powered steam and the young electricity, no one ever thought we would need anything else. Over the next few decades there were no wars and all nations were working together for the prosperity of all. Then, after only weeks, an experimental atomic power station exploded with a thundering fire. No one could have survived it- and yet one man walked from the blazing fires unharmed. Some of the people believed him to be a god on Earth, an Übermensch, and he becomes widely revered when he exhibits strange supernatural abilities. No one could have anticipated this- except an elusive killer dubbed Zener, a mysterious stranger hell-bent on murdering anyone who stands in his way. But why?

A preview of issue 1 is live on the website, and there’s already a trailer:

Conundrum is coming this very Autumn! So…buy it. And pre-order it. But not in that order.

To keep up to date with Uproarious goings on, follow them on Facebook, Twitter and, of course, their website.

Conundrum Banner

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 Binding – BBB

The Binding (Chronicles of Azaria #1)

By

Sam Dogra

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

The Binding

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.

Reviews:

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

Links:

E-book UK and US

Paperback UK and US

Sam’s…

Website/blog

Facebook

Twitter

Artwork

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.