Monday, 30 September 2013

Bandit Book Bloggers: Out Of The Dark.

Something a little different. A visually stunning book of contemporary gothic art, edited by Hazel Butler.


Containing over two hundred images, and contributions from thirty-two artists from around the world, Out of the Dark is a veritable cornucopia of Gothic delight. Fifteen chapters, each packed with vibrant images, and pithy descriptions,  showcase some of Gothic Art’s favourite themes, from Death to Lovers, Hauntings to Winter, and Lolitas to Lost Boys.
Many images are accompanied by commentaries from the artists, detailing their inspirations and methods, and why certain pieces mean so much to them.
The central feature of the book is a sixteen page spread on favourite Alternative model, Maria Amanda Schaub, including a biography, a selection of her favourite art pieces, and why she loves them so much.

My Deadly Lolita, by Hazel Butler

Hazel Butler is an archaeologist, author and artist, currently in the final year of her PhD. She enjoys a wide range of art and fiction, but especially loves the Gothic, Steampunk and Fantasy genres.

Death, Come Near Me, by Silviya Yordanova

Silviya Yordanova is a self-taught digital artist from Bulgaria. Her works are always a mixture of concept, emotion and a drop of darkness. Photo manipulation has become a very important part of her and since she began doing it she’s been trying to evolve her skills as much as she can. At first it all started as a hobby but in time it became much more. She found that through it, many opportunities opened. Her passion lies in creating art, trying to make the world a better and beautiful place by expressing herself through it. She’s had the pleasure to work with many authors, photographers, publishing houses and even had the amazing opportunity to work with and have her work featured in quite a few international magazines.

Lost In Thought, by Debra Mason

Debra Mason is a digital artist working out of Toronto, Canada. She’s been doing art for as long as she could hold a crayon, but it was when she discovered Photoshop several years ago that her creativity really took off.
You can buy the book on Amazon


Thursday, 26 September 2013

Non Compliance: The Transition
I used to matter… but now I’m just a girl in a ghetto, a statistic of the Non-Compliance Sector.

Three months have passed since Shea Kelly and the rest of Boss’s crew eliminated Danny Rose from the non-compliance sector, but their troubles are far from over. A new, more dangerous opponent has emerged, causing those once considered enemies to strike a tenuous truce. Secrets about the vaccine, the chip, and the past threaten Shea’s budding romantic relationship and even the very existence of the crew.
Non Compliance: The Transition is the second novel from Tina Closser writing under the pen-name of Paige Daniels. Both her debut novel, Non Compliance: The sector and her second are published by Kristell Ink
Non-Compliance: The Transition

Book 2 takes the reader back to the Non-Compliant Sector and the characters we’ve come to love. Old enemies become allies, and their troubles never seem to be far away. If you enjoyed Paige Daniels’ debut novel Non-Compliance: The Sector, then you’ll love this.

Released 30th September 2013, in paperback and ebook and available where all good books are sold.
Purchase info:
Paperback  ISBN  978-1-909845-21-3
USA $12.99                         UK £7.99
Kindle        ISBN  978-1-909845-22-0
USA $4.99                           UK £2.99
ePub           ISBN 978-1-909845-23-7
USA $4.99                           UK £2.99

Reviews for ‘Non-Compliance: The Sector’ (First book in the series)

After a slightly slow start, I really got hooked in by the dystopian/post-apocalyptic (to me) landscapes and denizens of the world here. The highest praise I have, though, is this: the characters and story reach a point of depth and intrigue by the end that I am very much looking forward to the next installment in this series. Well worth a purchase and read, this book is. – Scot Kaeff

I really enjoyed this book. It was well written and character development was excellent. While this is set a future world, it was very believable and did not require the huge "leap of faith" often required of sci-fi/fantasy. The technology was plausible and honestly probably not far off from our future. In reading the other reviews, I did not realize this was a "first time" author's book. I could not tell at all and I read quite a bit while commuting. Overall I would highly recommend this book and I will be purchasing the next in the series when it comes out. -- Anonymous

Love the setting of this book, in a modern day alternate world, with completely plausible technology and bureaucratic manipulation. The main characters find themselves in the one sector refusing to bow to policy and, as a result, increasingly cutoff from the world they knew. In a sector ignored by the law and ruled by organised crime, they do anything to get by.
I found the main characters compelling and interesting. Shea is a strong, intelligent female, with a completely vulnerable side. She is a very well rounded character. The enforcers and allies she meets are interesting characters that I wanted to find out more about. Even the hated villains developed well. It was a wonderful read.
I am looking forward to the second book in the series. – Eilidh Roberts

I totally Devoured this book. Started reading this morning and could barely put it down. Now I'm suffering from 'I can hardly wait for the next book in the series. Great work, very few typos or grammatical errors; a refreshing change for an avid e-book reader! Thank you so much for a definitely engaging read, hoping to read more about Shea, Quinn, Wynne and Boss! -- Anonymous

 NOTE: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
In an America of the future people are provided with almost everything and all they have to do is allow the government to insert a chip into their neck with all their information. People who refuse this are called Non-Compliances and shut off in a ghetto called a sector.
Shea Kelly along with her friend Wynne Myers live here. Shea works as a bartender, bouncer and Jill of all trades. Wynne is a stripper. At least this is what they want people to believe, they also are hackers for hire who will break into the system and turn items people have requested into things that they really want or need. Things are going good until a new mobster moves in and tries to take over from Boss, the mobster who runs this sector and thus the story begins.
Ms Daniels, in this her first book (which is hard to believe) has written about a world of the future. Her development of her characters and locations and life are vivid enough that you can see them in your mind. The character and situations are believable and you start to care about them. I have read that there is another book coming with these characters. I hope this is correct as I will be waiting in line for it to see what happens next.
I enjoyed this book enough that although I received a copy I also bought an e-copy for my reader as I am sure I will want to re-read it to see if I missed anything the first time through. – Richard Hayes


Tina Closser grew up in various towns around Northern Kentucky reading and watching as much science fiction and fantasy as humanly possible. When it was time for college it was clear that she watched one too many episodes of Star Trek, because she chose Physics as her major with the intent of being an Astrophysicist. After graduating from Northern Kentucky University with her Bachelors of Science in Physics, she knew that academia was not the path for her so she chose to get an Electrical Engineering degree at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Armed with two science degrees she went to work for the Navy in Indiana.

Throughout high school and college she had millions of ideas for stories running through her head, but never had the courage to write any of them down. Thanks to the reality TV craze she turned off her television and worked up the courage to write down a story that had been worming its way into her brain for years. She wrote “Non-Compliance: The Sector” under the pen name of Paige Daniels over the course of several years. In November 2012 it was published by Kristell Ink. It is a fast paced science fiction, cyber punk tale with elements of humor and romance with a strong heroine. It explores different themes such as family, government control, and how one seemingly insignificant person can make a difference. 

Despite being surrounded by a bunch of Hoosiers, she has lived happily in Indiana for the past fourteen years. She has had held several different engineering positions in the past, but currently she is a Science Technology Engineering and Math Coordinator in which she acts as a liaison to schools and gets kids excited about careers in science and technology.

She is also very active in her local chapter of Society of Women Engineers, doing many outreach programs to inspire girls to consider the field of engineering as a career. Part of the proceeds from her book, “Non Compliance: The Sector”, which features a woman engineer as the protagonist, will go to fund a partial scholarship for a young woman to go to engineering school.

In her spare time she coaches a robotics team and attends various robotics competitions. She also fiddles around with her viola and likes to pretend she knows how to be a farmer on her small hobby farm with her two kids and husband.
She can be found at:

An Excerpt from Chapter 1 of Non Compliance: The Transition-


I can barely see the road ahead of me and a chill runs down my spine. The cool air isn’t what is giving me chills; it’s the cargo in the trunk.

“You okay, Kelly?”

“I’m fine. I just want to get this over with.”

“You know, you didn’t have to come. Conner, Lindsey and I could’ve taken care of this.”

“What? And let you guys drive my car? I don’t think so.”

Conner’s head peeks up from the backseat. “I’m hurt. Don’t you think we’re capable of driving your old car?”

“She isn’t old. Call her that again and I’ll break your arms.”

Quinn stifles a laugh and the car turns quiet again. We wind through the cramped streets in town. It’s rainy and the warm summer months are starting to give way to a crisp fall. There are very few people out on the streets tonight.

Good. The fewer potential witnesses, the better.

Our destination is in sight. I park the car as close as possible to the river, and we all get out. Although I’m wearing a rain jacket, the cold rain slices through me. The only light is from the Compliant Sector across the river and the few active displays spewing forth propaganda; the lights on our side have been out for hours due to the energy sanctions. We make our way to the trunk.

Quinn holds a gun out for me. “Here you go, stand watch. If anyone and I mean ANYONE sees us, you shoot them. Got it?”

My heart races. I’m starting to regret my decision to accompany Quinn and Conner on this mission. I give Quinn a blank stare.

Conner answers for me: “I got it, Chief. She can wait in the car.”

“No, it was her decision to come. She knew what she was getting into. You need to help me with the cargo in the trunk. We need a lookout.”

I grab the gun from Quinn’s hands. “I’m fine. I got it.”

As Conner and Quinn open the trunk, I grab a glimpse of the two bodies inside. I turn my back and head for my post to avoid seeing too much. I’m not so naïve that I don’t know what Quinn and the boys do when they are out, but it’s different seeing it firsthand. I agreed to go this time, because I felt it was time to pull my weight.

The streets are quiet, allowing us to carry out our mission. It’s imperative that no one catch us. Normally, what goes on amongst us Non-Commers is ignored by Magistrate. He’s okay with us killing each other off; the fewer of us he has to deal with the better. However, this is no normal dump. The bodies in the trunk are two of Magistrate’s marshals. We found them in front of our compound this morning, no doubt a present from our friend Ramsey. If Magistrate were to find the bodies anywhere near us, then we would all be gathered, chipped, and sent to the other side to be their fucking mind slaves. No trial. No jury of our peers.

I sit hunkered on the park bench hoping that any passersby will take me for a homeless person. I take out a small device and push in a couple of numbers. It should put out a strong enough signal to jam any surveillance devices in the area.

Quinn’s words are running through my mind. “Shoot ANYONE that sees us.”

Oh God, can I do this? What have I gotten myself into?

Shooting one of Ramsey’s men is one thing, but an innocent bystander? I’m not sure I can do that. My stomach tightens into knots. I hop up from the bench and pace back and forth. Still, no sign of anyone. The rain starts to pound and wind whips up my coat. The cold is making the old wounds in my hand ache.

God, what can be taking them so long?

“Kelly! Let’s go.”

Quinn and Conner are standing by the car. I take one more look around, grab the jamming device, and run for the car. Once inside, my heart feels lighter. I roll on to the main street to head back home.

Conner pokes his head up to the front. “Your first body disposal. I’m so proud.”

“Yeah, first and last.”

Quinn peers at me. “Who said it was your last?”

“Me. I’m never doing it again. My nerves can’t handle that shit. I’m happier being the behind the scenes nerd, thank you very much.”

“You’re my partner, and that comes with certain responsibilities.”

I squirm in my seat knowing Quinn is right. This won’t be the last time, especially with Ramsey in town. It’s been three months since Ramsey took over Danny’s crew. He’s been laying low since we took Danny down, but his little gift in front of the compound has made it apparent that he’s ready to play now.

The movement of the windshield wipers and the sound of the rain put me in a hypnotic trance, and I start to forget about the events that have just transpired. But bright, flashing blue and red lights fill the car, and they bring the stress back with friends.

Everyone in the car lets out a collective “Fuck!”

I pull over to the side of the road. Quinn grabs his gun and puts it discretely under his seat.

“Let me get this, Quinn. Don’t go shooting just yet.”

“Fine, but you need to get him off our trail. Fast.”

“Gee. Really? I thought I would invite him over for tea and cookies.”

“I’m serious. Stop being such a smart ass. Don’t you realize what’s on the line here?”

“No, I don’t. Why don’t you tell me? Because apparently you think I’m so stupid…”

Our bickering is cut short by a tapping on the window. I roll down the window and I’m greeted by one of Magistrate’s marshals, and two of his boys behind him. They’re all young punks; the young ones are the worst.

I smile my best cheesy smile. “Can I help you, sir?”

“What are you three doing out here this time of night?”

“Just taking the car around the block for a spin.”

“Mmm-hmm. Get out of the car all of you, and put your hands on the hood.”

As we get out of the car we are greeted by the snarky grins of the marshals. We put our hands on the hood. The rain is soaking us to the bone. I start to shake from the cold. Each of the marshals chooses one of us to pat down. The one searching me spends a little too much time on my boobs and butt for my comfort.

The lead marshal says, “Shea Kelly, Quinn Knightly, and Conner Dunne, all out on the town to take a little ride. Why am I suspicious?”

I answer back, “I have no idea, sir. We were just in town for a Bible study. We’re heading back home to knit scarves for the homeless.”

He taps me on the back of my head with his club to shut me up.

“Knightly, you better watch that smart mouth on your woman. It’s going to land her in trouble.”

Quinn gives me a stern look while I rub my head.

“Turn around all of you. I have something I want you to see.”

We all turn around and he makes several taps to the Compliant Active Management System situated on his arm. A 3D holographic image of two marshals projects from his CAMS.

“You guys see these marshals around?”

We all shake our heads no.

“They went missing last night. No one has seen them around. You know, once we find who’s responsible for their disappearance, they will be sent to the other side. So if you know anything, you better start talking now.”

We all stand silently looking at the cop. Two of the marshals deliver blows to Quinn and Conner with their nightsticks. I lunge to help, but the lead man restrains me.

“Hey boys, looks like we have a lively one here,” he says as he looks down at me.

The other two laugh as they deliver more blows to Quinn and Conner.

The lead Marshal throws me to the ground and says, “Okay boys, we can come back to them later, we have some real work to do now.”

One of the boys grins and unsheathes a knife from his belt. “Time to search the car.”


Sunday, 15 September 2013

Bandit Book Bloggers:

I am taking part in the Space Games blog tour. Here's what it's about.

The cameras are on and the gloves are off in this battle of the sexes in space.

Say hello to Robin and Joe—contestants in 2034’s “Space Games,” a high-stakes reality TV show from Hollywood producer Sheldon J. Zimmer set aboard next-generation space station, ISS 2. The winner takes home a multimillion-dollar jackpot and a chance at stardom, while the loser faces the ultimate in public humiliation. Only former NASA astronaut Vince, acting as the station’s commander and the games’ sole referee, can separate sexy spitfire and martial artist, Robin Miller, from her brutal opponent, “Big Joe” O’Donnell, as the pair compete inside the cramped zero-g environs. Watched by millions of people back on Earth, the reality show rapidly degenerates into a deadly spectacle.

Space Games is a compelling story and a biting satire about reality television: those who make and participate in it – and those who watch it.

Space Games is published by Kristell Ink.

The author Dean Lombardo:

Dean Lombardo works as a writer in the information technology industry, turning what is often techno-babble into messaging that can be understood by a general business audience. At age 11, he was psychologically scarred by the movie “Alien” and has been watching, reading and writing frightening science fiction and horror ever since. “Space Games” will be Dean’s second published novel. Dean lives in northern Virginia with his family and the world’s most beautiful yellow Labrador Retriever, Trixie.





Reviews for Space Games:


New York Journal of Books

Like any good reality show, Space Games leaves us wondering what the contestants would do next and how they could possibly top the last bone-breaking outburst of brutality. The ending goes to a pretty dark place—the worst nightmare for any TV producer, except Zimmer. Reading Space Games is kind of like watching a cage fight. Yeah, it’s violent. Yeah, someone could wind up unconscious or in the hospital. But what a rush!



Author of “Never,” Artema Press

Pick up "Space Games" and you will become addicted. "Space Games" is the title of a one-on-one competition, a reality television program set within the confines of a space station in Earth orbit. In it, a man and woman battle for a multi-million dollar prize in a best-of-seven tournament. A series of no-holds-barred matches that not only test the limits of physical prowess, but also the sportsmanship, even the very humanity, of the contestants. An amoral sociopath, twisted by her violent past, versus a misogynist with nothing but contempt for her gender. The chemistry is potent and the bad blood of the combatants is exacerbated, encouraged by the greed of the show's producer and the impotence of his staff. The effect on the viewing audience is only second to the horror that results from the collapse of civilized barriers in the minds and deeds of the players. You won't be able to look away. You'll never be able to think of reality television in the same way.



Author of ‘Artificial Absolutes’, Red Adept Publishing.

A sleekly modern rendition of pulp sci-fi, Space Games is fast-paced, straightforward read that leaves you wanting to know what happens next. This book is easy to fly through, full of excitement and action. The realistic dialogue, tight writing, and quick action all make for great entertainment. The characters and action in Space Games, which is written almost cinematically, pop from the page. It’s easy to "see" what’s going on and "hear" the characters' distinctive voices. The pacing is spot-on, creating an exciting reading experience that snowballs into a tense pageturner as an ill-conceived reality show goes to hell. Space Games isn't for the faint of heart, and Lombardo, who is also known as a horror writer, isn’t afraid to take risks. I think that's one of the book's strengths: it fiercely barrels through the events in a merciless, unapologetic fashion.



I've often wondered what reality TV would be like in the future. Will everyone eventually get bored of it and quit watching when they run out of ideas? According to this story, that won't happen. Space Games is a reality show to beat all reality shows. Set in the year 2034 aboard a space station, two contestants choose from a list of events to compete in. It's the battle-of-the-sexes with very few rules. Joe and Robin fight their way to a multimillion-dollar prize while being watched by millions of viewers on Earth.

I thought this was a great concept for a story and was pleased that it was entertaining, and well written. The characters are well developed and the author goes to great lengths to make it seem real, and allows your imagination to fill in the blanks. Like when Robin sneaks into Joe's bathroom and closes the door so the cameras can't see what she does. Great fun! I highly recommend it!
Buy Links:


Wednesday, 4 September 2013


Cold air misted above the surface of the water. Translucent shapes clinging to the black pool. Frost hardened grass crunched under the boots of the traveller as he approached the glass-calm lake. White wraiths stirred and hovered over the dark waiting for him. Calling to him, beckoning him, needing him. He could taste the cold on his tongue, feel the ice in his blood. He turned away then, unwilling to face the ghosts of his ancestors.
Ever wonder where myths come from? There’s a road near where I live, and the maddest thing happens there quite regularly. A column of mist forms over the road in just this one spot, it’s the weirdest looking thing. Just a small section of road for about ten yards is shrouded in mist. Now, what’s not immediately noticeable is that a stream runs under the road, and every now and then when hot air and cold air interact they make magic. But how would this have looked to the ancients? Is it possible a ghost could be inhabiting the stream? Or a bridge spanning the water could be a portal to another world? Or what about a burning red sunset? I googled this to see why it occurs, because I could, I won’t bore you with the details, but I know for sure if I was sitting on the side of a mountain two thousand years ago herding my sheep, that red sunset would be a portent of doom.
And that’s before we get into hallucinogenic consumption. How many myths were created by people ingesting mushrooms and other substances? I remember this funny story from school. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but it was told to me and the rest of the class by a teacher. An area close to me was famous for sightings of ghosts, (I know, I live in a crazy place). Dozens of people all saw the same apparitions on the road, and legends grew out of it. Well it turned out some ingredient in the local bread had them all tripping out, and they were all having hallucinations. Like I said I don’t know if that is true. I hope so it makes a funny story. That is unless you were one of the unfortunates seeing a headless horseman on his way home from work every evening.
And dragons! There is actual proof that they lived. At least to an ancient digging up a dinosaur fossil there is, imagine how they tried to reason that. Which brings me around nicely to, well, me. I write fantasy books. A lot of my inspiration comes from mythology, Celtic mythology in particular, being Irish and all. I have a character in my book, she is the war god of the northern clans, I loosely based her on a figure from Celtic mythology, The Morrigan, a dark god if ever there was one. The old tales were deliciously dark. Take The Children of Lír for example. Lír’s wife bore him four children, three boys and a girl. Alas for poor Lír and the children, his wife died, so he married her sister. The sister didn’t fancy having the four children around so she turned them into swans and cursed them to live for periods of 300 years on different lakes. When eventually a monk breaks the curse and turns them back into humans, they are nine hundred year old men and woman, and they die. No kiss from a prince and live happily ever after here.
So much fantasy written today is heavily influenced by ancient mythology, Lord of the Rings for example is laden with references to Norse and Celtic myth. There would have been no Gimli or Legolas without Viking lore, no dwarves, no elves, no ring. And what better place to find a source for our stories. It is our heritage, the dreams and fears of our ancestors come to life. In a lot of ways we are the new myth makers. Modern technology has dispelled the magic, myth and rumour. It is in our hands, in the worlds we create. It is up to the fantasy writers to bring the magic to life. To create spaces where readers can immerse themselves, and believe in the unbelievable. We are the custodians of the magic now.
We need magic, just as we need larger than life heroes. Who wants everything explained away by science? I want to believe in a time of legend when heroes came to life.
Long may the magic live.
A little while ago I was invited to write a guest blog for my good friend Jane Alexander, blogger extraordinaire, and fantastic writer. So now I'm sharing it with you. You can find Jane's book Walker here