Saturday, June 15, 2019

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Be Wary of Strangers, Part 12

It has been brought to my attention that the “/” in the title “Loki/Thor” typically means a ship. I was unaware of this when I first started writing, so I apologize to any who may have been confused by this. I’m not a Thorki shipper, and this fanfic has none of that. I had been using the “/” to indicate that I’d be doing parts from both Loki’s and Thor’s POV.
On the plus side, I learned this shortly after I decided I wanted to make a banner for this mini-series. So I’ll be working on going back and changing the title/adding the banner/whatnot, and fixing any POV mistakes (I’ve noticed myself slipping into past tense a few times). The new title for this series is “Be Wary of Strangers.”
Also, the font I used for previous posts is not available on the version of Scrivener I’m using, so that’s going to change as well. :P

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Part Twelve

Sharp, icy air drives the breath from his lungs, clings to him like a blanket. Thor struggles into a sitting position. He’s on a mountain range, surrounded by rocks and blocky trees laden in frost. Not snow; frost. Stars glint faintly overhead, covered in a thin haze. He sees no moon.
He laughs. “Did you trap us on Jotunheim, brother?”
A sharp wind, whisking away his laughter, is the only answer.
“Where am I?” He mutters to a pile of rocks vaguely reminiscent of a biped, trying to recall. “I remember doing this before. Waking, finding it hard to remember. Loki. He’s normally here. But whereis here? Not Asgard. Not after Hela” Memories begin flitting back into his mind, as difficult to grasp as an adolescent bilgesnipe. “Oh. Odin’s beard, I died.”
He stares numbly into the sky.  “Father? HeimHeimdal? Can you hear me?”
“Who’s Heimdal?”
Thor bolts to his feet. Someone stands behind him. Someone female. “I’m sorry, but I don’t quite recall
And then he did. Loki’s hirelings. The deaths. Feeding.
His eye widens. Before he can thunder out an apology—he hated not being in control of himself—the girl laughs. “Don’t apologize; it might get annoying if you keep doing it.”
Despite wearing nothing except Midgardian pajamas, she doesn’t seem cold. She skips through the snow to his side and hugs his arm. “I don’t want to get annoyed with you.”
She giggles oddly. Thor chuckles nervously. “Yes. Well.”
He’d been fighting someone. The realization came as suddenly as his memories. He glances down at his torn shirt, at the dried blood on his hands. But that’s old; crusting off, and not indicative of the fight he felt aching in his bones. “Would you happen to know who I fought?”
“Your brother.” She frowns. “You said you saved me.”
“Ah.” As he struggles to recall, Thor’s eye flicks every which way. Then he finds it. As surely as if the thing were standing in front of him, he finds it.
“Get inside. Please,” he says to the girl. She obeys without a word, heading inside the cave hidden among the rocks.
Thors fists clench. He begins striding down the mountain. To the empty air he shouts, “I know you’re there!”
The darkness in his mind coalesces. His senses sharpen to an unbearable degree.
From behind, a wry-sounding female voice says, “I can help, you know.”
Thor whirls on the newcomer. An outrageously tall woman, with dark green eyes and the bearing of a Valkyrie stands before him. He shakes his head. “I could swear that isn’t how you looked during our last encounter.”
She shrugs. “Accept my help, and things will go smoother.” She takes one step, another. The snow makes no sound beneath her feet. Her feet make no imprint upon it.
Thor backs away. “No! You drive me to madness—”
“As does your brother.”
“—and force me to do that which I have no wish to do!”
The woman tilts her head back, lips parted in a dry laugh. “Ah, you flatter me. But I have no power which you do not grant.”
“Then begone, foul creature of darkness!”
“But if you let me help, you’ll have time to mourn.” Her tone turns placating. “Don’t you want that?”
Wary, Thor’s eye narrows. “Mourn?”
“Yes. Everything. The loss of your home. Your friends.”
Pain tears through Thor’s skull. He screams, falls to his knees.
My people
Thor grits his teeth. The view of trees and rock blur before him. His vision tunnels until all he can see is a village. A village of giants, and beings made of fire.
Murderers. Demons.
Without realizing it, his voice and the voice of the woman speak in harmony. “And what better way to mourn than to destroy races responsible for death and destruction?”
With a yowl, Thor leaps. Lightning crackles through him. Like a demon himself, he flies through the air, heading towards the village.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Flower of the Underworld: Review and Excerpt

Click to check out Hazel's Character Purgatory!

Welcome to day three of the blog tour for "The Flower of the Underworld"! Today, I'm showcasing a review and an excerpt. But first, an announcement for other events going on today/tonight:

Hazel will be hosting a live Q&A on her Instagram account on Thursday night (April 25th) from 8-9PM EST so get your questions ready for her! She will also be taking questions from Twitter for those who don’t have an Instagram account during the same time. Feel free to ask questions about Flower of the Underworld, or just writing and books in general, Hazel isn’t afraid to go off topic. If you’ll be asking questions on Twitter please make sure to @artfulscribbler with the hashtag #FlowerQ&A.









Click to get the Kindle version!
Now, onto the book itself:

Title: Flower of the Underworld
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Mythology Retelling

Synopsis: What happens when the Lord of the Dead accidently falls in love with the Goddess of Spring? 

Well, when there are brothers with crazy political agendas and overprotective mothers involved, a simple romance may not be as simple as it looks. Hades wants nothing more than to woo Persephone, but his fellow Olympians have other ideas. Zeus and Poseidon seem set on starting World War Three, Persephone’s mother wants her daughter to marry Ares, the insufferable God of War to make sure the earth doesn’t get destroyed in the process, and Hades is being pressured by his brothers to join in a fight he never wanted a part of. He’s definitely going to need some help with this one. Calling on his friends Hermes, Artemis, and Apollo, they do the only thing they can: kidnap Persephone themselves and team up to try and stop Zeus before his plans succeed. 


This modern retelling of Hades and Persephone is part romance, part political intrigue and guaranteed to be a version you’ve never heard before.

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EXCERPT

“Hello, brother,” I said.
He actually started, whipping around. The look on his face darkened and his upper lip lifted in a sneer. “Hades.”
“So,” I said, striding forward until it was only the desk that separated us. “You lied to me.”
“Can you blame me?” Zeus scoffed. “You with your righteous attitude, your pity toward the pitiful human maggots. Not that you agreed to help anyway.”
“So you were going to recruit my subjects and, what? Just assume that they would follow you and do your bidding?”
Zeus narrowed his eyes at me. “I have ways of making people cooperate. You know that.”
I snorted. “Yeah, I know how you work, Zeus. And I can’t say any of this is surprising to me. But I still stand where I did before. I’m not going to help you kill humans, but I can promise you that I will do everything I can to stop you.”
Zeus moved around the desk and chuckled. “Oh, little brother. How na├»ve you really are. You have spent so long locked away in the dark reaches of the Underworld, you just don’t know what it’s like up here anymore.”
“I know enough,” I said. “I know enough not to lump all the humans with the bad apples. I am the one who separates them after they die, after all. Those who deserve punishment get it, and those who lived good lives are given rest. Perhaps you need a little faith—and a little patience.” I saw his anger as I quoted his words to Ares earlier.
“I would be cautious, Hades, before I decide you are too much trouble,” Zeus said in a cold voice, his eyes steely grey. “There is room yet with the Titans in the deepest reaches of the Underworld and I doubt they would be happy with the god who has been their jailor, keeping them locked away for so long.”
I smiled, anything but intimidated. “Get rid of me if you dare. But what do you think will happen if I’m no longer in charge down there? If you want to deal with the dead walking the earth, then be my guest, but I’m thinking that might put a damper on your plans.”
Zeus’s fist clenched in pent up anger, and his jaw ticked.
“And remember,” I added. “Every soul that dies comes to me. Whatever you do, I’ll know about it. You can’t hide it from me.” I turned toward the door. “And I would be careful with your ‘alternate methods’ if I were you. You don’t want this to turn into another Typhus incident. I don’t think you want that many monsters, do you?”
Zeus’ face twitched and I knew I had struck a nerve.

I slipped out of the room just as I heard something crash against the door behind me, accompanied by Zeus’s cry of rage. Never was one to keep his cool for long, my brother.



REVIEW

Oh my word, what a wonderful blend of familial relations (both the good and the bad), epic mythos, and sass.

The thing I loved most about this was the characters. All of them have their quirks, and everyone has a modern twist. For example: Artemis is a Dungeon Master! I don't know why I find this so funny/interesting, but I do and I love her. Also, Hades' workload is more like that of a desk job than anything (papers to sign, people to shuffle around, etc.).

There were lots of funny moments, with wry/sarcastic characters (mostly Hades, but Apollo can contest in the sarcasm/bluff department), lovable characters (Persephone is so darn sweet, and Hermes is a wonderful--if sometimes overbearing--best friend) and straight up embarrassing situations (non spoilery example: bumping into two womanizing friends while out on a sort-of-kind-of-date. And them trying to be "helpful").

For those wondering how the world compares to the Percy Jackson series: aside from the presence of the Greek gods, it really doesn't. The world setup is different, with the existence of gods/goddesses being out in the open, for one. Also, Hades isn't as sarcastic a narrator as Percy. Hades is more wry than anything, able to notice the juxtaposition of foibles and strengths of character and situation.

Magic (if you want to call it that?) seems to be innate to the gods, and each has abilities according to whatever their job is. Hermes can travel super fast, Persephone nurtures plants, Hades can shadow travel, etc.
In accordance with the modern setting of the story, they're presented more like super-powers than anything.

I'd love to get into all the little things and favorite scenes that made this book work so well, but there'd be too many spoilers!

Suffice it to say, if you like old legends with a modern twist, you'll enjoy this story.

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Don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway, and be sure to add this to your to-read shelf!





Purchase Links:

Amazon Paperback: under review



Author links:



About the Author: Hazel B. West is the author of several novels including historical titles like On a Foreign FieldBy Blood or By BondWolfsblood, a book about werewolves in Roman Britain and the Modern Tales of Na Fianna series, which feature modern Irish warriors with swords and fast sports cars and lots of faeries.

As to what she prefers to consume (aside from bacon and coffee) she can often be found with her nose in dusty tomes about mythology and folklore, serial killers, and other dark and gruesome things. She has an almost unhealthy penchant for stories about siblings, particularly brothers, and you can probably win her over by alerting her to any books or shows that feature this. She is a true book dragon and has a lovely hoard of books (and Pop Figures). When she's not writing, she's probably still being antisocial, reading books, drawing, or binge-watching the same shows over and over because there's nothing else quite like Supernatural and Merlin. She also likes to listen to music because, who doesn't? Hazel's particularly fond of modern folk and classic rock, which is usually what makes up the majority of her book playlists.


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Flower of the Underworld: Character Interview

 Click to check out Hazel's Character Purgatory!

Welcome to day one of the blog tour for "The Flower of the Underworld!" There's lots of fun stuff planned, including a live Q&A with the author later this week!



Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing a handful of characters from this book: Hades, Persephone, Dionysus, and the siblings Artemis and Apollo!
This interview will be spoiler-free, and give you a glimpse at the types of characters you'll be involving yourself with should you pick up this book. :D

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We'll start with Persephone, goddess of Spring and daughter of Demeter. Would your powers be able to grow foliage in a desert area? Or is that more of Demeter’s shtick?

Persephone: Creating things is more my mother’s thing. However, if there was already foliage growing in the desert then I would probably be able to make it flourish more.

I've always wondered: do trees mind being climbed?

Persephone: Not at all! As long as you are respectful and treat them kindly. They do not like to be married to people trying to prove a point, however. I also have to say that trees do not at all mind being turned into books. They find it quite an honor.

What’s something that makes you gush (babies, new plants, Hallmark movies, etc.)?


Persephone: Well, of course I love plants, and seedlings are just so adorable! But I also will say that I really love puppies and kittens!

What’s Hades’ most annoying habit?

Persephone: Oh, well, I wouldn’t say he has a truly annoying habit, but sometimes I do think he gets too involved in his work. He’ll go for hours and not notice the time. I’m not sure it’s entirely healthy.
  
Now, to the Lord of the Dead: Hades, brother to Zeus and Poseidon! What’s Persephone’s most annoying habit? (Does she even have any?)

Hades: Annoying habits? I can’t really name any. Obviously I haven’t known her very long, but…I kind of feel like she’s perfect. Is that too sappy?

No, not at...well, a little. But a wonderful kind of sappy. Is there anything you wish you knew more about?

Hades: Well, I think being the Lord of the Dead makes you a very world-weary person. There’s not a lot I don’t know about. There’s a lot I wish I didn’t know about. I suppose sometimes I wish I had a better grasp of politics so I could pull one over on my brothers and the other Olympians, but I think that’s more because I simply hate politics than my lack of study in the topic.

What’s the weirdest piece of information given to you by the recently deceased?

Hades: I hear a lot of weird information. Shades don’t have much in the way of coherent speech a lot of times, but on occasion I can get something out of them. One fellow tried to convince me that a theme park was on its way to taking over the world. I don’t really buy it, especially since they will have to compete with my brother Zeus.

A theme park? Well, I guess I could see Disney parks doing that, if we want to get all conspiratorial, or if the machines somehow got taken over by rogue AI like in a sci-fi show. Continuing with the oddity of humanity, how often do the dead tell you that they’re “not supposed to be here”?

Hades: Oh, all the time. Humans typically don’t take death very well.

Is there anything you hope never changes?

Hades: Being immortal, I’ve seen a lot of changes, but I do really hope that the Underworld will always be a place I can go to relax and stay out of the issues everyone else seems to have.

Thank you, Hades! Onto Dionysus, god of wine and parties. Which of the Big Three is your favorite? (I’m fairly certain you won’t suffer repercussions for answering, as Hades is the only one here and I’m 99% sure you’re not picking him. I’m also 99% sure he wouldn’t be offended if you didn’t.)

Dionysus: Well, to be fair, I would rather be around most anyone else. But I suppose if I had to choose, Poseidon does throw the best parties.

What holiday is your favorite?

Dionysus: Mardi Gras of course, darling! A fantastic celebration that we Olympians sadly had nothing to do with!

Are there any odd human fads that you don’t understand?

Dionysus: Oh, humans are always coming up with the most amusing things! I rather love embracing all of them. Social Media is a fantastic invention, isn’t it? One cannot post too many selfies. I suppose I still don’t truly understand “vaping” though.

Yeah, neither do I. Have you ever done something amazing that no one was around to see?

Dionysus: Ooh too many times, unfortunately. Either that or everyone around was too drunk to remember. But such is life, I suppose.

Now, last but not least, the twins Artemis (goddess of the Hunt) and Apollo (rock god)! This is the first story I've come across where Artemis plays roleplay games. Specifically, Dungeons&Dragons. So, tell me about your D&D character/play style!

Artemis: Well, I’m the dungeon master, of course, but when I do play as a character, I’m usually a huntress just like in real life.

Apollo: Except she likes to woo the lads. Which she cannot do in real life.

Artemis: Shut up. Typically, we like to change up the play style depending on the day and who we’re playing with. I prefer long campaigns, but not everyone has the patience for that.

Has Apollo played D&D (if not, why)?

Apollo: Of course! I play a very brave mage who is very powerful and gets all the ladies.

Artemis: *eye-roll*

What's the most ridiculous argument you two have gotten into recently?

Artemis: When are we not getting into ridiculous arguments? I think the most recent may have had something to do with guitar strings.

Apollo: Which you still have not apologized for.

Artemis: Because it wasn’t me.

Is there any instrument you can’t play?

Apollo: I assume this is for me because my dear sister can’t play anything to save her life. And the answer is no. I’m naturally gifted.

Artemis: *snorts* That’s one word for it.

What’s one thing that people usually assume you have in common/like/hate the same, but you actually don’t?

Artemis: I think one of the main misconceptions is that everyone seems to think I’m good at music, and Apollo is good at hunting. Neither of which are true.

What is your favorite weapon (say damage done, or aesthetics) vs. weapon of choice (either in real life, or D&D)?

Artemis: Real life I will always go with my bow, but a good dagger is also handy. In D&D, always double swords.

Apollo: My bow or my charming good looks. 

Ahaha, I figured.
Many thanks to characters and author both for this interview! 
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Check out the rest of the tour schedule below, and be sure to enter the rafflecopter giveaway for a signed copy of "The Flower of the Underworld"!

Tour Schedule
Feature and Excerpt at Not Unworthy

(Day Three-April 25th)

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Monday, April 1, 2019

Reblog- Dreams and Dragons: Camp NaNoWriMo Encouragement

Dreams and Dragons: Camp NaNoWriMo Encouragement: Hello, friends! In case you haven't noticed, the month of March is almost over, and April is almost here. And that means . . . you know ...




Thursday, March 14, 2019

Fairest Son by Hannah Williams: Giveaway



Hannah Williams is having a giveaway for her book, Fairest Son! Click the link to head to her blog, and the post about the giveaway.
She has a bunch of other cool posts and book reviews on her blog; it's worth a read-through.

A bit about the book:

Click to head to Amazon!

Blurb from Amazon:

The Fair and Foul courts of the fey folk have long yearned for one to bring them together in peace, but hopes are dashed when the fairest prince and the prophecy concerning him are laid to ruin. Burdened with shame and sorrow, the prince flees to the cold mountains far above the forests and lochs with nothing but animals and goblins for company.
When a human huntress stumbles upon him in her search for a legendary predator, their fates are intertwined. But she hides deadly secrets, and if he dares to trust her, he may risk the doom of both courts to an ancient evil...
A Novella Retelling of Snow White









I've been wanting to get a copy of this for a while (I want a physical copy, it's so pretty and I've been dying to read some of her writing since I first heard about Moonscript), but I haven't had to put in any physical book orders recently. :(

So this is a Rafflecopter giveaway, and open for a few more days. Click the link and enter the giveaway! (Or you know, don't, so I have a better chance at winning... ;P)