Behind the Scenes Photo Shoot for Chasing Azrael!

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November was an alarmingly hectic month for me.

Shockingly, this had absolutely NOTHING to do with the fact it was National Novel Writing Month! I got 6K written in the first two day before work took over and I didn’t have time for anything else. I only managed that much by writing until 4am both nights. My intention was the finish Death Becomes Me for NaNo and begin the editing process this month, while (finally) completing my thesis.

The best laid plans and all that…

If you’re wondering why the blog has been so quiet of late, you’re not alone. I’ve had people from all quarters asking where I’ve been, and as a special treat to compensate for my absence, I now bring to you a Behind the Scenes Photo Shoot Preview, and a rather epic giveaway! Full details of the giveaway can be found here, but you can enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you’ll bear with me while I explain the run up to the shoot, there is an account including photos and a behind the scenes video below…

I had blocked off the whole of November to dedicate to NaNo and my own projects, but as I said, work got in the way. So much so that I’ve quite simply not had time to blog. I was expecting to have a nice relaxing (in so far as NaNo is ever relaxing) November. What actually happened, beginning in September and in a very small nutshell, went something like this:

  1. Madly worked on one client’s book to ensure it was ready for a November release.
  2. Insanely rushed to finish another client’s book so that it was ready for an even earlier November release.
  3. Realised that I’d not finished either of MY books that are slated for a November and December release, respectively, and had a minor meltdown while struggling to finish The Uber Author Planner in time for its release last Tuesday.
  4. Released The Uber Author Planner to relatively little fanfare.
  5. Slept for about 12 hours.
  6. Went to Edinburgh for the first shoot in my Fine Art Fantasy Photography Series, which is going to accompany my Deathly Insanity novels.
  7. Finished cover deign for yet another client.
  8. Finally got around to formatting Bleizgeist and getting it ready for print.
  9. Caught up on the million administrative tasks that fell by the wayside while completing tasks 1-8.

Shockingly the last three things on that list were all done TODAY. It’s currently 3.33 am and I’m trying very hard not to be disturbed by the coincidental nature of that number and the disturbing presence of three threes on my screen…

BUT ANYWAY!

EDINBURGH…

This SPECIAL Behind the Scenes Photo Shoot Preview will give you a brief look at the events of last weekend, starting on the 26th November with my arrival in Edinburgh and introduction to Wallace, and ending with my return after a very long (and decidedly cold!) three days in Scotland.

Who is Wallace?

This. This is Wallace!

Wallace the Hedgehog Behind the Scenes Photo Shoot Preview

Isn’t he just the cutest damn thing you’ve ever seen in your life?

Wallace is a pet hedgehog belonging to Juliette Lichman, of Somnolent Images, the FABULOUS photographer I am working with on this photo series. I have been friends with Juliette for several years now online, but had never actually met her until this weekend. I was supposed to meet her a year or so ago, when she came to Chester to pick this little fella up from the breeder, but I was very distressed that my car was broken at that point (it was before I got rid of Cleopatra and bought Kalinda, and I didn’t have functioning brakes!), and so I couldn’t meet her.

So, I was utterly delighted to meet both Juliette and Wallace for the first time. There is also a cat in residence, named Thistle, however Thistle does not like people, or cameras, and thus I have no photo to show you (Thistle has only just come to live with them, so you can understand the caution).

The day was cold and alarmingly wet, but made considerably better when I (eventually) found my way to the apartment I was sharing with the model, Miss Storm. Another new face I’d never met before, Miss Storm was a late addition to the shoot after the original model we had lined up to play Andee Tilbrook was unable to make it due to her own work commitments. So I had only been speaking with Storm for a couple of weeks via Facebook before meeting her, but was extremely grateful to her for stepping in on such short notice and just going with it, even though she had only a vague idea of what to expect beforehand, having not been involved in all the conversations Juliette and I had while planning it.

We’ve been planning it all year, so you can imagine, she missed a lot!

She was kind enough to cook me dinner upon my arrival, and I spent the evening bonding with her over the awesome nature of Gothic clothing, corsets, cloaks, and rose petals.

Think I’m joking?

I’m not, we spent at least an hour separating all of these out – all 2000 of them!!

This is what 2000 rose petals look like!

Friday we had the day free to roam around and explore Edinburgh, which I believe is – aside from three days I spent in Anglesey earlier this year – the first day I’ve had COMPLETELY OFF FROM WORK in almost a year.

Not joking!

I spent the day wandering around Edinburgh, visiting the Christmas markets, checking out the castle, the palace, the chapel that supposedly inspired The Da Vinci Code (amazing place, beautiful carvings!), and various other sites. Alas the weather was once again freezing, and had turned to torrential rain. This buggered up any hope of taking photos while outside, and I didn’t actually go in the castle or palace. I did go in the chapel, however they had a strict no photography policy, so you’ll forgive me for not having any of that!

Friday also revealed to me an alarming correlation between men in kilts and the purchase of goods I was previously unaware I either wanted or needed. It happened no less than four times, on separate occasions…every time a man in a kilt attempted to sell me something, I bought it – or something else they had to sell.

I want to believe this is mere coincidence, but I’m not convinced.

So, one shawl, one scarf (both tartan, naturally), one Christmas present for a friend, and one mug of historic Scotland later, I tracked down some ingredients for dinner, went back to the apartment and made Chilli Con Carne for myself, Storm, and her boyfriend, James. I spent the rest of the evening playing The Simpsons monopoly with Storm, while trying not to be freaked out by one of the other HUGE coincidences of the weekend.

You see, Storm is portraying Andee, whose husband, is called….yep, JAMES!

*Makes strange noise in imitation of The Twilight Zone music…*

Next day we got a ridiculously early start in an attempt to a) beat the rain, and b) get everything done in one day, rather than the two we had originally planned, as the weather for Sunday looked to be appalling (we were right about that, it was non-stop rain all day and would have been impossible to shoot in!).

And here is where the┬áBehind the Scenes Photo Shoot Preview really begins, with your first look at Warriston Cemetery, the location for this shoot…

Warriston Cemetery Behind the Scenes Photo Shoot Preview

This was the main piece of architecture we utilised, although there was an awful lot more there, and I only got to see a small part of it, as we were so busy, and the rain was imminent! I did manage to stay behind the camera for the majority of the day, however Storm (sneaky little minx that she is!) managed to snap this selfie of the three of us, which I had to share, as it’s so nice to have it!

We Are The Weirdos, Mister Warriston Cemetery Behind the Scenes Photo Shoot Preview
We are the weirdos, mister…

On the left you can see Storm, in full makeup (she’s the one who came up with the caption, by the way!), centre is Juliette, and on the right, looking FRIGHTFUL, is me! A combination of the weather, lack of sleep, and very little time that morning, coupled with the stress of the last few months wreaked havoc on my hair and skin. So, apologies for looking like the walking dead (a point that was driven home to me quite pointedly when compared to the lovely Storm, and the equally beautiful Juliette!). Fortunately I was able to set aside my crippling self-consciousness and enjoy the day. And what a day it was! I will talk you through the finer details of the costumes and shots as we release each one. For now I’m going to leave you with some┬ábehind the scenes shots that I took myself, very quickly, while running around trying desperately to keep Storm warn and/or cover her with rose petals…

Test Shots Warriston Cemetery Behind the Scenes Photo Shoot Preview
Test Shots
Juliette Lichman, Somnolent Images and Miss Storm Warriston Cemetery, Edinburgh Behind the Scenes Photo Shoot
Juliette works her magic…
Miss Storm, modelling for Chasing Azrael, Behind the Scenes Photo Shoot Preview, Warriston Cemetery, Edinburgh
A closer look at the first costume, including Punk Rave dress and Burlesque corset (courtesy of The Gothic Shop), Vampire Coutessa Catacomb Couture Collar, and an utterly awesome pheasant skull ring (both courtesy of Hysteria Machine). If you’re wondering, no, the orange trousers and fair isle socks were NOT a part of the costume, but it was bloody freezing so we let her keep them on as long as possible!
Miss Storm, modelling for Chasing Azrael, Behind the Scenes Photo Shoot Preview, Warriston Cemetery, Edinburgh
Outfit number two, features only the Punk Rave dress, without corset or collar, but with the addition of a LUSH velvet cloak and a crow skull choker to match her ring. Here’s where the rose petals came in, and if you’re wondering, she’s sitting on my coat in an attempt to keep her reasonably warm and dry – fortunately the cloak is so extensive it covers it and you can’t see it at all!
Miss Storm, modelling for Chasing Azrael, Behind the Scenes Photo Shoot Preview, Warriston Cemetery, Edinburgh
Checking the shots…

And just because it’s adorable…

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