Book Review: The Hustle by Elizabeth Roderick

The Hustle Elizabeth Roderick

Although I grated against this book ever so slightly for its YA nature, it is never the less a gritty, dark, and very well written outing. I was initially drawn to read it out of curiosity – a teen runaway who winds up addicted to drugs, working in a strip club, and evading her sexually abusive father, all the while looking for love with the woman of her dreams and unraveling a thriller/murder mystery?

It sounded eerily familiar and right down my street. Death Becomes Me could be described in exactly the same nutshell, yet the two are very different books. I found it difficult to set aside my own novel and thoughts of how I should be writing that and concentrate on the merits of this book and what I liked about it. As a result, I think this review is probably a disservice to the novel and I would like to make it clear I had trouble reviewing it for this reason.

Regardless, I was very pleased to find such a well-written novel with such believable, teenage characters. They drink, fuck, swear, do drugs, lie steal and basically do whatever it takes to get by – just like real teenagers. For that reason, and the impeccable writing, I applaud Elizabeth Roderick.  I found the murder mystery elements of the novel to be weaker than the rest – it was predictable to me, and didn’t really hold my interest. If anything it got in the way and distracted me from what I really wanted, which was to find out what happened to the characters. Even so this is a solid outing and well worth the read.

The Hustle Elizabeth RoderickThe Hustle by Elizabeth Roderick
Published by: Limitless Publishing
Publication date: May 31st 2016
Genres: LGBTQ+, New Adult, Romance, Thriller

Synopsis:

Liria is nineteen, homeless, and addicted to heroin…

She’s also determined to not end up dead—like her mother. But every time she tries to get clean, on her feet, and back on the employment train, everything falls apart. This time is different. This time, she knows there are only two choices—addiction or death. Once she gets clean, though, her life ends up even rockier than before.

Desperate for help, Liria goes to the one person she can count on for a safe place to stay and regular meals—her father, Cyryl Czetski. However, she soon learns Cyryl isn’t her real father, and he wants a very different kind of relationship. Liria ultimately rejects his advances and ends up on the streets yet again, this time working in an illegal strip club.

Finally taking control of her life, Liria lands a job in a Vegas nightclub, where she meets Arty—the woman of her dreams.

Arty is beautiful, funny, and rich. But when other nightclub employees turn up dead—including Liria’s best friend, Lee—Liria suspects the business might be a front for something far more sinister.

When Arty reveals Liria’s life is also in danger, she promises to keep her safe. But Arty’s acting strangely, and seems to know too much about the mysterious deaths. Is she really trying to save her, or is she holding her hostage, using her as a pawn in a game Liria doesn’t understand?

Liria thought she was used to always second guessing everyone’s intentions. That’s how life is. But if the drugs don’t ruin her, The Hustle will…

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29541154-the-hustle

Purchase:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hustle-Other-Place-Book-ebook/dp/B01FSYKZ84

AUTHOR BIO:

The Hustle Elizabeth RoderickELIZABETH RODERICK grew up as a barefoot ruffian on a fruit orchard near Yakima, in the eastern part of Washington State. After weathering the grunge revolution and devolution in Olympia, Washington, Portland, Oregon and Seattle, she recently moved to a small cluster of houses amidst the vineyards of California’s Central Coast.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and worked for many years as a paralegal and translator. She is a musician and songwriter, and has played in many bands, rocking some instruments she doesn’t even know the real names for, but mostly guitar, bass and keyboards.

Elizabeth writes novels for young adults and adults; short stories; and memoir which is way more interesting than it should be. Her stories are about love, death, gang warfare, and madness; her characters tend to be of the type that society generally shuns: addicts, convicts, and the mentally ill. She believes if people get to know these characters in stories and in real life, they’ll find them more likeable than they originally thought.

She applies Hunter S. Thompson’s Gonzo method to fiction writing. It often gets a little heavier than what she had in mind, but she chalks it up to forced consciousness expansion.

Author links:
http://www.talesfrompurgatory.com/

https://www.facebook.com/elizabethroderickauthor

https://twitter.com/lidsrodney

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14759014.Elizabeth_Roderick

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes…

Bipolar Bear Feature Image (2)

May is drawing to a close and it’s been an insanely busy month. I’ve been taking stock and reflecting a lot over the last month. The one year anniversary of my Scene Daily challenge passed, leaving me considering all I’ve achieved in the last year through this simple challenge (read all about it here). The inescapable conclusion I reached as a result of this was that when I focus on my writing above everything else, magic invariably follows.

This little revelation has led to a shake up in both my personal and professional life. After a review of my business, The Bookshine Bandit, showed the majority of my business – and certainly my consistent business – was coming from writing rather than editing or proofreading, I realised it was time to refocus. I dearly love The Bookshine Bandit, and will be continuing with it in the background, but I am now working on developing a new business devoted entirely to copywriting. This move just makes sense to me and the place I’m in right now. My first official post as an editor on Sci-Fi Fantasy Network (READ IT HERE!) went out last week, and I will be continuing to bring out a weekly post over there. Between that, my work on The Huffington Post and The Bipolar Bear, and client work, I already spend most of my time writing – I’m just making it official!

The other long-running project I have going on (aside from my fiction) is my PhD thesis.  I’ve been struggling to make any headway finishing this due to illness and the need to spend so much time working. Having seen the incredible progress made by writing a single scene each day, it seemed sensible to do the same for my PhD and spend the time I’ve been using to write each day for my thesis. This is inevitably going to mean scaling back the amount of fiction I write, but hopefully not stopping entirely.

The new business isn’t the only thing that’s going to change. I have a BRAND NEW and totally gorgeous website in the works for The Seemingly Irrelevant, so very soon, you will be reading these posts from a stunning new site! More on that later.

The final change is in the newsletter, which will be switching to a monthly schedule. I’ve been struggling to keep up with a weekly schedule for it on top of all my other work, and to be honest, I don’t think you really need to hear from me every week! So, instead I’ll be sending out a monthly roundup.

Don’t forget my brand new, and totally FREE guide to all things Vampel is now available for download! Grab your copy here…

Books With Bite: Vampires

As Scene Daily: The Results! One Year Of Writing One Scene A Day

Books With Bite: Vampires

Exactly one year ago I found myself in a bit of a slump. I took stock, looked at where I was at, and decided it wasn’t where I wanted to be. I was spending all my time writing, it’s true, but that writing was entirely work-related.

This time last year it was months since I’d done any serious work on my fiction and my career as an author was seriously suffering for it. Serious action was needed.

My solution was to adopt a strategy that utilised the ‘little and often’ approach rather than the ‘lets spend a whole month doing nothing but write’ approach that has been my habit in the past. Whether it was due to an obsession with a particular story that compelled me to write day in, day out, for months on end (how Chasing Azrael came about), or participation in National Novel Writing Month, which saw me trying to write a whole novel in a single month (how Twisted Sister and several others ended up being half finished), my approach to writing has always been the same as my approach to life in general.

All or nothing.

It became clear that spending months on end with no time to write was not going to work. I need to write. For the sake of my own sanity, if nothing else, I need that time to get the worlds and characters and insanity in my head down on paper (or rather, Scrivener). And so a year ago today I set myself a challenge: Write one scene a day. Every day.

I have tweaked this slightly over the last year. There have been days when I’ve really not been feeling it, days when I’ve been ill, and a few days when I decided I really needed a day to totally unplug from everything. I also had to expand the parameters of the challenge fairly quickly when I realised that if I was writing every day I would very soon have shit that needed editing, and trying to both write and edit each day was pushing it. So, I would write or edit one scene a day. Every day. Additional things soon got added to this list: story planning, research, reading books on the craft (of writing not, you know, witchcraft…those fall under research!), blogging, and of course the unending task of building my author profile and author platform.

This is what I’ve achieved in the last year, simply by devoting one small(ish) chunk of time a day to writing:

Death Becomes Me

By far the greatest achievement of the last twelve months is the completion of my novel, Death Becomes Me, the follow up to Chasing Azrael. This book has been a joy to write yet simultaneously heartbreaking. It has also been profoundly difficult, due in part to the complexity of the plot, and in part to the personal demons the subject matter inevitably unleashes. It’s a book I needed to write, a story I needed to tell, but more than that I believe it is a story a lot of people will LOVE.

As I pen this blog the book is awaiting editing and publication, and the Kickstarter I’m running to fund the project is chugging along nicely! Chapter one is available to read for free so be sure to check that out here!


Bleizgeist

Bleizgeist by Hazel ButlerComing in at a very close second is the very first product of the Scene Daily challenge, a little novella by the name of Bleizgeist that was released at the end of last year. This was the first thing I wrote for the challenge, as I was finding it very difficult to crack Death Becomes Me at the time and though that writing something totally different would help relax the writing muscles – I was right! In addition to helping me ease back into writing regularly, this little project gave me several characters and a world I’ve come to love. For those of you who have been asking, there is a full length novel in the works!

The Uber Author PlannerThe Uber Author Planner

Another book to roll out at the end of last year, The Uber Author Planner is my first non-fiction title, released through my freelance business, The Bookshine Bandit. Knowing how difficult it is to get yourself organised when you’re an author, writer, or blogger of any kind, I created the planner to help writers just like me get productive and see some real results!

The Huffington Post

One major mile stone for me last year, which came directly from placing my attention on writing posts and articles for other sites and outlets, was getting published on The Huffinton Post. I now have a regular blog spot on there, with new articles coming out every few weeks.

Sci-Fi Fantasy Network

The most recent coup for lil’ old me was being named an Editor on Sci-Fi Fantasy Network, and placed in charge of the Vampires and General Darkness section of the site! My first post in the new position, looking at Vampire novels over the last 150 years, will be published on the 25th May. Keep an eye out for that, and weekly posts to the site from me thereafter!

WOW! Women On Writing

Although not a regular thing (yet!) I was very pleased to have another piece published on The Muffin – the online blog for WOW! Women On Writing. You can check that out here!

Career Shifters

Another piece that came out recently was a profile on me published on Career Shifters. A website dedicated to helping people find fulfillment in their work and careers the site often features articles of people who have changed from one career to something totally different. In my case, they were looking at my shift from Archaeologist and University Lecturer to full-time Writer and Publisher.

100+ Blog Posts

In the last 12 months I’ve penned enough blog posts to get me into triple figures, and then some. I was intending to give you the exact number, but to be honest I lost count somewhere between 117 and 121 and I really couldn’t be bothered recounting! If you’re sat there thinking, “Wait a minute, there’s NO WAY this blog has had that many posts on it!” you’d be right. These are posts spread out across this blog, The Bipolar Bear, The Bookshine Bandit, The Huffington Post, and several other guest posts I’ve had published on sites like The Muffin and Wild Goose. It also includes a myriad that have yet to be published, or are currently on submission to other sites.

Short Stories & Books With Bite Free Guides

Books With Bite Vampires Vampire NovelsIn addition to all of this I’ve penned three short stories over the last twelve months, one of which is currently on submission to a competition. The other two are awaiting editing and proofreading. I’ve also started a brand new series of TOTALLY FREE guides, entitled Books With Bite. The first of these is on Vampire novels and includes 62 awesome Vampire series and standalone novels. You can get that FOR FREE now here! Upcoming guides in the series include further guides to novels featuring Werewolves, Demons, Witches and LOTS MORE!

Photography & Crafting

Dragon Egg For Bespell My Heart Photo Shoot DIY Dragon Egg How To Make A Dragon EggAs well as writing I’ve had a delightful time getting back into photography over the last few months, beginning with the cover shoot for Chasing Azrael in November, and continuing with a self-portrait shoot (images to come) that I shot a few weeks ago in Wales. I’m loving being back behind a camera, but I’m also loving playing around making the props for the shoots, like this rather awesome Dragon Egg! I’m in need of some serious practice, as I’ve not been able to take any pictures since I lost my old camera in the fire (2011). Luckily for me, Dexter has no issue posing for pictures and giving me plenty to shoot!Dexter On The Sands

KICKSTARTER: My Video Went Viral! 18K Views & Counting!

MY KICKSTARTER WITH MARIA AMANDA WENT VIRAL!

It’s a big week! Big, big week! Monday saw the launch of my brand new KICKSTARTER campaign to fund the editing, proofreading, publication and marketing of my new novel, Death Becomes Me, as well as the next THREE shoots in the accompanying Fine Art Photography series, featuring international Gothic modeling sensation MARIA AMANDA SCHAUB (below).

Support Maria Amanda On KICKSTARTER - Maria Amanda Schaub, Image By Juliette Lichman, Somnolent Images
Maria Amanda Schaub, Image By Juliette Lichman, Somnolent Images

A lot of you have been asking me when the sequal to Chasing Azrael was coming out and, here’s your answer: October 31st 2016!

BUT THIS WILL ONLY HAPPEN IF MY KICKSTARTER IS

FULLY FUNDED BY JUNE 5TH!

So, if you want to read the new novel, please show your support and pledge to the Kickstarter campaign now!

I posted the video for the campaign just over 24 hours ago and IT HAS ALREADY GONE VIRAL WITH OVER 18,000 VIEWS!

Support the Campaign NOW!

Some questions you may have:

What is Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is a super-awesome crowd-funding website that allows creative like me to raising funding for projects they would not otherwise be able to do. I’ve supported several campaigns on Kickstarter in the past, most book-related. including Kirsty Mitchell’s Wonderland Photography book, and several other projects by Indie Authors and publishers. It works like this:

  • The creator of a project sets up a campaign and sets a specific amount of money as their goal. In my case, the project is the publication of Death Becomes Me in paperback and eBook, and the completion of three fine art fantasy photography shoots with Maria Amanda Schaub. The goal for the campaign is £18,000.
  • Supporters pledge money to the campaign in exchange for REALLY COOL STUFF. In my case, you can pledge money to ensure the book gets published, in exchange for a copy of the book – how cool is that?
  • If the campaign is FULLY FUNDED money is collected from everyone who pledged, the creator completes their project and delivers the rewards promised to the backers by a date specified in the campaign. In my case, I’m promising to deliver all rewards in time for Christmas 2016, with eBooks going out on 31st October, and the remaining rewards being packaged and posted in November.
  • If the campaign ISN’T FULLY FUNDED no money is taken from anyone and the creator must find another way to fund their project.

Why are you doing this campaign?

I’ve been self-publishing books since 2013 and until now have funded every penny for every book from my own pocket. It has been an honour and a privilege to do this, and to help many authors and artists who were not otherwise published see their work in print. I’ve also put out a lot of my own work, and I’m damn proud of all of it.

Unfortunately publishing is an expensive business. Editing and proofreading a full length fantasy novel is expensive in itself. Publishing costs, advertising and marketing are further expenses. Until now I have had no marketing budget at all, and all sales have come from networking, blogging, and writing. In order to take the sales of the existing books up a level, and give Death Becomes Me a chance at making decent sales, I need a budget for marketing and advertising. In addition to these costs I am completing a photography series to accompany the Death Insanity novels, and while I’m doing these on a shoe string budget and making all the props and sets myself, they still involve certain costs. I am not in a position to fund this, or any future projects, completely out of my own pocket so I am turning to you, the readers, and asking that you buy your copies of the book in advance, with a small additional donation, in order to ensure the book is published.

Once I have secured an advertising budget, future funding should be less of an issue as sales will start to cover costs for subsequent books and photo shoots like this one:

Fine art fantasy photography, grief of a rose, Eldritch Rubies

Support the Campaign NOW!

What is your campaign goal?

The goal for the campaign is £18,000.

This feels like a huge amount to me, and certainly sounds like an awful lot when I say it out loud, but bear in mind that the majority of that will not actually come to me. The Kickstarter needs to raise enough money to fund the project. ON TOP OF THAT it needs to raise enough money to cover the cost of all the rewards for those who pledge, AND the fees charged by Kickstarter (which are fairly hefty). Well over half of that £18,000 is to pay for the fees, rewards, and the packaging and postage costs of sending them all over the world to my lovely supporters! If you want to see the exact breakdown of the costs check out the chart on the campaign page!

What do I have to do?

You don’t HAVE to do anything, however I would be eternally grateful if you would show your support of me, my writing, and my efforts at raising awareness of mental health issues through fiction and photography, by supporting the campaign. You can do this in any one of three ways:

  1. Share And Shout! Post links to the campaign on you Facebook profile, pages, and in any groups you may be a member of and encourage people to check it out and support it. You will find share buttons on the campaign page for Facebook and Twitter, the more days you come back to the page and hit these buttons the better! Share it anywhere and everywhere you can and SHOUT ABOUT IT! Let people know it’s an awesome, super-cool project!
  2. Choose A Reward And Pledge To The Campaign – There are loads of rewards up for grabs, including eBook, Paperback, and KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE SIGNED HARDBACK editions of both Chasing Azrael and Death Becomes Me. Also available are keychains, bookmarks, high quality FINE ART GICLEE prints of the cover art for Chasing Azrael and Death Becomes Me, as well as two mega bundles including even more goodies and a chance to be written into one of the next two books as a character! Just pick your reward, and pledge to pay the stated amount IF AND WHEN THE CAMPAIGN IS FULLY FUNDED – you won’t be charged a penny until the campaign ends, and even then you will ONLY be charged for your pledge if the campaign reaches its goal.
  3. Pledge £1 Or An Amount Of Your Choosing In Exchange For A Tweeted Thank You! – Pledge to the campaign in exchange for a heart-felt thanks,  Tweeted by me personally. This option doesn’t come with a reward, you would be pledging out of the goodness of your heart. It is however a great way to show your support if you don’t want anything on offer, or are unable to afford any of the rewards. Choose to donate a single £1, or any amount of your choosing!

Support the Campaign NOW!

When will the campaign end?

The campaign will run for 28 days, until the 5th June 2016. This means we need to raise a full £18,000 by then! At the time of writing this, the campaign was already 2% of the way to reaching that goal, so come on guys, lets make it happen!

What else do I need to know?

If you want more novels from me THIS IS THE WAY TO GET THEM! If this is funded I will be happily writing for many years to come and the people who back this campaign will get first dibs on all of it! If you want more stunning images like those produced for Chasing Azrael, if you want to see what happens when I team up with Maria Amanda and really unleash my creative side on these photo shoots then GET PLEDGING!

One final thing!

PLEASE DON’T WAIT UNTIL THE END OF THE CAMPAIGN TO PLEDGE! 

THE SOONEST YOUR PLEDGE MONEY WILL BE TAKEN IS THE 5TH JUNE, AND THEN ONLY IF THE CAMPAIGN IS FULLY FUNDED. 

IF YOU WANT TO GET INVOLVED PLEASE DO SO RIGHT NOW!

THE MORE PEOPLE WHO PLEDGE, THE MORE MOMENTUM THE CAMPAIGN WILL GATHER, AND THE MORE BACKERS IT WILL GAIN. 

Support the Campaign NOW!

Fine art fantasy photography, Necromancer, Eldritch Rubies

5 Epic Vampire Novels You’ve Never Read But Will Totally Love

Books With Bite: Vampires

Admit it, you love vampire novels…

The trouble is, in today’s crowded book market, saturated by toothless vampires and soppy romance it’s damn difficult to find a vampel (vampire-novel) that contains any REAL vampires.

You know, the kind that BITE.

To help you find even more vampire novels you will love, I’ve put together a definitive list of EPIC Vampels that remain true to the roots of this classic horror creature, are a fantastic read, and are probably completely new to you.

#1 The Golden, Lucius Shepard

A little-known and sorely under-rated read, The Golden concerns a gloriously Gothic location, Castle Banat, resplendent in the architectural madness of a genius, and total monster. The castle is so elaborate the weather behaves differently in its vicinity. It’s a classic house of horrors, made worse by the fact it houses the vampire clans. And they’re about to perform one of their most sacred rituals: The Golden. Human sacrifice, seriously disturbing vampires and classic Gothic horror – you really can’t ask for more from a vampel!

#2 Bite, Richard Laymon

Fast-paced, horrific action with a wonderful cast of characters genuinely surprising twists. Bite is a rare breed of book, flipping the genre on its head: instead of shoving vampires in your face from the beginning it keeps you guessing – is the vampire real, or a figment of a self-destructive mind?

#3 Queen of Kings, Maria Dahvana Headley

This is a vampel with a historical twist. I’m not normally one for historical fiction as it’s seldom accurate, but in the alternate history, where Cleopatra never died but instead is transformed into a vampire and goes on the battle Roman armies and Egyptian gods, I’m happy to overlook historical errors. The nature of the book is fantastical and different enough that it doesn’t NEED to be accurate, and it comes damn close anyway! A refreshing twist on the vampire myth.

#4 Carmilla, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Before Dracula there was Carmilla. Before a vampire ever declared, “You are mine” to Sookie Stackhouse, Carmilla was saying it to a young girl named Laura. And long before a sparkly freak named Edward decided to watch Bella sleep, Carmilla was sneaking into Laura’s bedroom… One of the original books with bite this is a classic horror with a real Gothic twist. Mysterious, creepy, with lesbian undertones (and overtures), and decadent language, this is a little book packed with intrigue, moonlight, palatial ruins, dead villages, and of course, blood.

#5 Fledgling, Octavia E. Butler

A rare outing in the vampire genre in that it is a Science Fiction novel, Fledgling is the intriguing tale of a girl who awakes in the wilderness with no memory and decidedly inhuman desires. The ‘child’ narrator is soon revealed to be a 53 year old woman who has lost the memory of most of her life and is now a vampire. Unraveling her past and how she ended up in this predicament makes for an unusual, unique, and extremely good read. Original and very well written.

Your Guide To 62 Epic Vampire Series & Standalone Vampire Novels

Books With Bite: Vampire NovelsIf that’s not enough vampire novels for you, check out my BRAND NEW and TOTALLY FREE guide to sixty two vampire series and standalone vampire novels with real BITE – the new Books With Bite series will bring you comprehensive guides of books with real grit and teeth in the Supernatural genre, featuring all your favourite beasties, and first up, it’s Vampires!

Click Here To Download Books With Bite: Vampires NOW

A Totally Free Guide To 62 Awesome Vampire Novels

Want To Be Part Of A BRAND NEW STORY?

Be the first to read my BRAND NEW VAMPIRE NOVEL Death Becomes Me – support the Kickstarter campaign that’s funding it!

CHECK IT OUT HERE!

Fantasy Photography Props: How To Make The Oil Lantern For Bella Morte

Get creative & stay inspired! take the bandit's story board challenge!

There were a couple of fantasy photography props that needed making for Bella Morte, my recent Fine Art Fantasy Photo Shoot. If you want a behind the scenes look you can check that out here. The final images are still being edited but will follow soon.

Bella Morte marks the first in a series of self-portraits I’m working on, using fantasy elements to depict aspects of Bipolar Disorder.

fantasy photography props - oil lantern for Bella MorteThe oil lantern is actually the simplest fantasy photography prop I’ve made so far, there was very little to it other than painting an existing lantern. I bought a cheap Hurricane Paraffin Lantern on Amazon. I wanted a larger one, but in the end got a 12″ which was still a good size. After a bit of research I determined that the majority of cheap lanterns for sale arrived in a nasty looking cheap silver, even when the product photos indicated nicer colours. Given the prices this isn’t surprising. There are lanterns out there that are genuine antiques, or styled to look like antiques, but these vastly exceeded the shoe string budget I had for this shoot.

fantasy photography props - oil lantern for Bella MorteArmed with my new nasty silver lantern and two cans of spray paint I set about making this a real fantasy photography prop rather than something that looked remarkably like I bought it in Ikea. I had already painted the horns for this shoot in black with gold accents. Rather than weathering the lantern to make it look old, which was my original plan, I decided to match it to the horns. I gave it a strong base coat of black before dusting it (if you can call aerosolised paint dust) with gold. I didn’t want a lot of gold on it, just a light coating on a few choice areas and a very slight sheen elsewhere.

The finished lantern wasn’t quite what I had in mind originally, but considering I had a budget of £10 for the whole shoot, I’d say it turned out pretty darn perfect!

I’ll be posting a look at how I made the horns later in the week, and the final images should be up soon too. For daily memes and updates on all my projects as the happen, follow me on Insagram @bipolarbearwrites!

Follow Me On Instagram The Bipolar Bear Writes

Bipolar Disorder Self Portrature: Behind The Scenes On Bella Morte

Bipolar Disorder Self-Portraiture Fine Art Fantasy Photography BEHIND THE SCENES Bella Morte

One of the first things I wanted to do when I was finally able to buy myself a new camera was make a start on a project I’ve had in mind for quite some time. As most of you know I do a lot of work on Bipolar Disorder and working towards raising awareness of mental health issues. Mental illness is extremely difficult to understand, not only for those who have it, but for their friends, family, and the other people in their lives.

Ignorance and stigma are constant enemies when you have a mental health illness.

I do a lot of writing around mental health and themes and messages concerning mental health awareness often find their way into my fiction. I’m an avid journaller, and write for my own peace of mind daily.

But not everyone likes to read. Not everyone enjoys fiction, and even if they do not everyone enjoys my fiction.

So how could I explain to people the nature of Bipolar Disorder without using words?

The answer, of course, was to use images.

For a long while I’ve been planning a series of self-portraits that use a similar blending of fantasy and reality as my fiction to depict Bipolar and mental illness in a visual form.

Last week I was finally able to make a start of that series, beginning with two image sets shot in Wales, on my favourite beach on the island of Anglesey. I’m still editing the images produced, but for now I wanted to share with you a behind the scenes look at the shoot, including the props and clothes worn, and a short video I filmed on the day.

A full post detailing the image will follow when I release the image itself, for now though, enjoy!

BIPOLAR DISORDER SELF PORTRAITURE Long Black Velvet And Net Vampire Dress The Gothic Shop I was fortunate enough to have the support of The Gothic Shop for this project, who very kindly provided the STUNNING dress used for both sets of images.

For these shots I needed a dress that was pure Gothic decadence, something that really reflected an elaborate and deep descent into the dark.

BIPOLAR DISORDER SELF PORTRAITURE Long Black Velvet And Net Vampire Dress The Gothic ShopThis was complicated somewhat by my current size. I’m a UK size 26 at the moment, and finding the kind of dress I needed in a size that would fit properly wasn’t easy. Fortunately, The Gothic Shop have a much wider range of genuinely plus sized (i.e. not clothes in a size 14-16 that are called ‘Plus) than the majority of places, and we were able to settle on one of several possibilities.

BIPOLAR DISORDER SELF PORTRAITURE Bella Morte, Curiology Necklace The Gothic ShopIn addition to the dress, The Gothic Shop were also kind enough to provide the titular necklace I wore for the shoot ‘Bella Morte’ is Italian and literally means ‘beautiful death’. The original title for the first of these shoots was ‘A Beautiful Death’, so the necklace was utterly perfect for the shot.

In addition to the clothing there were two props I needed, both for the first shots. I made these myself (details on how I did this to come in later posts), and they consisted of a pair of demonic horns, and a lantern.BIPOLAR DISORDER SELF PORTRAITURE DIY HornsBIPOLAR DISORDER SELF PORTRAITURE DIY LanternI’ll be back later in the week with details on how these were made, as well as the final images themselves. For now though, head on over to Instagram and follow my new account for daily memes, updates, and progress shots on all my projects!

BIPOLAR DISORDER SELF PORTRAITURE Follow Me On Instagram The Bipolar Bear Writes

Book Spotlight: The Warrior Prophet by Lisa Voisin

The Warrior Prophet List Voisin

Today’s book spotlight is The Warrior Prophet, by Lisa Voisin. Scroll down for the synopsis, an exclusive excerpt, and a chance to enter the giveaway and win a $25 Amazon Gift Voucher!

The Warrior ProphetThe Warrior Prophet

by Lisa Voisin
Published by: Inkspell Publishing
Publication date: April 13th 2016
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Synopsis:

Mia Crawford is a prophet.

She can see angels. She also sees demons. Everywhere.

The angels are preparing for war to get her fallen angel boyfriend, Michael, back. A war that could take years.

Haunted by visions of Michael’s soul being tortured, Mia can’t rest until she knows he’s safe.

To save him, she must make an impossible journey through Hell with the one person she prayed she’d never see again.

Excerpt – Hell

Hands clawed at me as we passed through the blackness. The reek of sulfur and rot made a hot rush of bile rise to my throat. Arielle had said my soul would act as though I had a body, but I had to remind myself again that my actual body was lying in a bed fifty feet below.

We pushed through a thick blanket of black smog and then met a stretchy, membranous substance. Once we pressed our way through, we stepped out onto a huge, empty field. The ground was covered in charred ash. The air itself had to be a thousand degrees, and, if I’d had a body, it would have been incinerated. With stealthy, silent movements, he led me across the field, each step hovering above the ground.

“Welcome to Hell.” His smirk made me want to slap him. “Well, one of the lesser territories.”

Lesser territories? How many are there?”

“Hundreds, if not more. This one’s a soul wasteland.”

“You think Michael’s here? In a soul wasteland?”

“No, but it’s easy enough to get here. It’s not heavily guarded because there’s nothing to protect.” Cinders rained from a dull charcoal sky choked with clouds, landing in his hair. He brushed them away. “When a soul is all used up, the only thing left is an ashen residue. That’s what’s beneath us. It’s why we’re hovering.”

I covered my nose with my hands to keep out the foul stench. “Oh God.”

“Don’t say that word around here.” He scanned the area and lowered his voice. “You’ll attract attention. Draw your sword.”

“Why?” I reached between my shoulder blades to find my sword hilt. “Won’t it attract attention, too?”

“It’s better to have it handy if you need it. But don’t extend it until I say so, or we’ll draw a crowd.”

I didn’t know what I’d expected Hell to be like, but this barren field wasn’t it. Above us, the clouds undulated in the sky, their tattered, ragged forms joining and separating like a flock of birds. They weren’t clouds at all but flyers. A squadron of them.

“They know we’re here.”

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29332802-the-warrior-prophet?from_new_nav=true&ac=1&from_search=true

Purchase:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Warrior-Prophet-Watcher-Volume/dp/1939590833
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-warrior-prophet-lisa-voisin/1123449947?ean=9781939590831
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-warrior-prophet-2

Purchase book 1 (only 99c during the blitz!): http://amzn.to/1T6Euac

Purchase book 2: http://amzn.to/1zSWf3i

The Warrior Prophet List Voisin

AUTHOR BIO:

The Warrior Prophet Lisa VoisinA Canadian-born author, Lisa Voisin spent her childhood daydreaming and making up stories, but it was her love of reading and writing in her teens that drew her to Young Adult fiction.

Lisa is a technical writer, a meditation teacher, and the leader of the Lynn Valley Literary Society’s Young Writer’s Club, a writing group for teens. A self-proclaimed coffee lover, she can usually be found writing in a local café. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her meditating or hiking in the mountains.

Though she’s lived in several cities across Canada, she currently lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her fiancé and their two cats.

More about Lisa can be found on her web site: http://www.lisavoisin.com.

Author links:

http://lisavoisin.com/

https://www.facebook.com/lisavoisinauthor

https://twitter.com/lvoisin

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5837868.Lisa_Voisin

Book Spotlight: Catching Summer by L.P. Dover

Book Spotlight: Catching Summer by L.P. Dover

Catching Summer by L.P. DoverCatching Summer

by L.P. Dover
(Second Chances #6)
Published by: Loveswept
Publication date: April 5th 2016
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

Synopsis:

Former nurse Summer Jacobs has seen her fair share of suffering, but she never expected tragedy to hit so close to home. After watching her husband die in the MMA ring, Summer spends the next two years fighting her way through the darkness. The last thing she needs is another hardheaded athlete turning her life upside down. But that’s exactly what happens when she meets a gridiron star who’s as skilled at stealing hearts as he is at snagging passes.

Carolina Cougars wide receiver Evan Townsend usually has no problem winning fans, so he’s intrigued when Summer shoots down his go-to plays for winning a woman’s attention. Never one to back down from a challenge, Evan turns up the heat, setting off sparks that neither can deny. But as his slow seduction begins to chase away Summer’s pain, he gets the feeling that someone is desperate to keep them apart. Now Evan will do anything to protect her—because he never misses a chance to make a perfect catch.

Book Spotlight: Catching Summer by L.P. Dover

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25893439-catching-summer

Book trailerhttps://youtu.be/WDySvH9pAE4

Purchase:

Amazon – http://amzn.to/20nrSun
Barnes & Noble – http://bit.ly/1QuvPcR
iBooks – http://apple.co/1SeWw9R
Kobo – http://bit.ly/1PhzrS4
Google Play – http://bit.ly/1PYWy3H

Catching Summer by L.P. DoverAUTHOR BIO:

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author, L.P. Dover, is a southern belle residing in North Carolina along with her husband and two beautiful girls. Before she even began her literary journey she worked in Periodontics enjoying the wonderment of dental surgeries.

Not only does she love to write, but she loves to play tennis, go on mountain hikes, white water rafting, and you can’t forget the passion for singing. Her two number one fans expect a concert each and every night before bedtime and those songs usually consist of Christmas carols.

Aside from being a wife and mother, L.P. Dover has written over seventeen novels including her Forever Fae series, the Second Chances series, the Gloves Off series, and her standalone novel, Love, Lies, and Deception. Her favorite genre to read is romantic suspense and she also loves writing it. However, if she had to choose a setting to live in it would have to be with her faeries in the Land of the Fae.

L.P. Dover is represented by Marisa Corvisiero of Corvisiero Literary Agency.
You can find L.P. Dover here:
www.lpdover.com
Email: authorlpdover@gmail.com
Twitter: @LPDover
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lpdover

Book Spotlight: Steamsworn PLUS Q&A With Author

Steamsworn

Steamsworn
Eric R. Asher
(The Steamborn Series #3)
Publication date: April 5th 2016
Genres: Steampunk, Young Adult

The world dies in war only to be reborn. It is the way of things, and always will be.

Forged in the Deadlands crucible, and armed with the knowledge of their true enemy, Jacob, Alice, and their allies bring the fight back to Ancora. They’ll liberate their homeland, or die trying.

The wounds cut deep in their darkest hour, but in the end, vengeance will light their path.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Previous books in the series:
26227014 26227015

About the Author

Eric is a former bookseller, guitarist, and comic seller currently living in Saint Louis, Missouri. A lifelong enthusiast of books, music, toys, and games, he discovered a love for the written word after being dragged to the library by his parents at a young age. When he is not writing, you can usually find him reading, gaming, or buried beneath a small avalanche of Transformers.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

GIVEAWAY!
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Q&A

What books have most influenced your life?

There have been a great many, but I always come back to Black Sun Rising by C.S. Friedman. It’s a masterful blend of SF/F that is incredibly dark and full of hope all at once. Northworld by David Drake is another I love to reread. I have a cycle of favorites that I love though, including Patricia Briggs, J.K. Rowling, Tad Williams, Melanie Rawn, and more.

How do you develop your plots and characters?

The characters develop more and more as I write the story. It’s not uncommon for me to go back and adjust the characters in the earlier scenes after I finish the story. Inspiration for the plots can come from just about anything; movies, video games, an interesting shadow cast by a leaf, anything.

Tell us about your protagonist. What was the inspiration?

Jacob and Alice are both so important to this story in my head. They’re both reminiscent of the kinds of characters I loved to read when I was younger. Jacob has a brash attitude that gets him into trouble, and a quick wit to usually get him out of it. Alice provides some much needed common sense. That’s not to say Alice doesn’t get into the thick of things, because she very much does.

What about the Butcher?

Ah yes, the villain. I love villains. I love unexpected villains that you never see coming, but I also love the villain that lurks in the shadows. He’s not front and center, but he’s always behind the scenes manipulating things in usually terrible ways.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

The airship battle is one of my favorite scenes in Steamsworn. The characters take a huge gamble going up against a fleet that has them seriously, comically, outgunned. It fits the group dynamic of being reckless and selfless all at once.

Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?

I learned a lot about mechanics. I especially learned how much I didn’t know about steam engines. It’s one of those things I had a rough understanding of, but actually getting some of the models in-hand and seeing some larger engines operating and broken down helped tremendously.

Is there a message in your novel that you hope readers will grasp?

There are a few messages woven throughout the trilogy, but I’d rather readers find their own messages.

What’s next?

I have two anthologies I’m currently involved in, and I’ll be writing the sixth Vesik book after that. I’m really excited to get back to Vesik after all the events in Destroyer Rising.