Monday, 30 September 2013

Encyclopaedia Azaria #1: The Iasometer

Welcome to a new feature of the blog: Encyclopaedia Azaria! Each edition has Eliza and her friends tell you something about the vast and ancient kingdom of Azaria...

Stock credit:
The iasometer in action...(chapter seven, The Binding)

“Ryan?” No response. Frowning, I pressed my knuckle against his breastbone, the way Father did when he assessed someone unconscious. Ryan groaned, but didn’t waken. Sighing, I laid him onto his side, so his back faced me. A dark patch of blood stained his coat on the left side. I frowned. Whatever missile had hit him had fallen out. That would make identifying the toxin more difficult. No simple projectile would have turned him so stuperous so quickly.

I reached for his buttons, unable to stop my wry smile, but as my fingers neared I hesitated. I needed to see the wound, but that meant I’d have to remove his shirt. Just the thought of it made my heart rumble. A momentary glance and the Binding would drown me with its false desire. And I was exhausted. Even if Ryan was so out of it that he’d probably not remember anything, the curse wouldn’t be so lenient with my memory.

Maybe I could compromise…

My hands fumbled with Ryan’s coat, pulling his arms from the sleeves. I began to tremble as I loosened his shirt from his trousers. My gaze lingered on his belt for longer than I was comfortable with, before I turned to lift the fabric to his shoulders.

A bloody pinprick at the edge of his shoulder-blade marked the entry point into the skin, and a bluish-purple substance oozed from it. I wiped it with my finger, and the odd hot-cold sensation made my eyes widen.

He’d been hit with tranquilliser serum.

I exhaled slowly. I was expecting poison, or worse. This was simple enough—I’d dealt with it many times myself. Ryan’s own body would vanquish the toxin, and by morning he would be back to normal, save for this little inconvenience. Lucky for him, I was a healer’s daughter.  But I still had to take this seriously.

First, I unbuckled the iasometer and strapped it around the front of his elbow, so the brass pin sat above the major artery. It clicked and whirred, and the dials began to flicker. Moments later, they settled on their final readings. His pulse was in the amber, but his blood pressure and temperature remained stable.

Relieved, I reached for the hunting knife in Ryan’s belt, making sure I didn’t look too closely. I grabbed the spare shirt and sliced off the collar and a sleeve. The former I folded into a square, while the latter I ripped the seams, making a long band of fabric. Hoisting up the bloody shirt, I tipped some water onto the wound. Ryan hissed at the cold, but didn’t otherwise move. Once I’d washed out most of the serum, I took the skin balm from the medical pack, and rubbed a generous amount over the cut. Then I placed the folded collar on it, before I bound it tight with the opened sleeves.

Once done, I pulled down his shirt, and checked the iasometer again. His pulse had settled into the green, and I wiped my brow. That had taken a lot out of me. I was shivering, too, and not just because of the Binding. We might’ve been out of the snow storm, but we may as well have been in an ice cavern. It wasn’t long before Ryan started trembling, too. I had to keep him warm.

I closed my eyes for a long while, gathering my strength, then unfastened the iasometer and tied it back to my forearm. He didn’t need to see that in the morning. Then I staggered to the packs. Cielo had retreated from the entrance as far as he would dare, sheltered between a pair of stalagmites. He was shaking, too. I groaned. I would have to clean the sweat off him, otherwise he’d freeze.

Night owl, indeed.

Encyclopaedia Azaria #2: The Tale of the Binding

Encyclopaedia Azaria #3: The Gladier-Farrontine Feud

Encyclopaedia Azaria #4: The Binding Spell

Encyclopaedia Azaria #5: The Noble Houses of Azaria

Encyclopaedia Azaria #6: The Goddess Shrines

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Bandit Book Bloggers Tour- The Reluctant Prophet

As part of the Bandit Book Bloggers Tour Group, every month I'll have an awesome book to promote. September brings us Gillian O'Rourke novel The Reluctant Prophet, so go check it out ASAP:

There’s none so blind as she who can see . . .

Esther is blessed, and cursed, with a rare gift: the ability to see the fates of those around her. But when she escapes her peasant upbringing to become a priestess of the Order, she begins to realise how valuable her ability is among the power-hungry nobility, and what they are willing to do to possess it.

Haunted by the dark man of her father's warnings, and unable to see her own destiny, Esther is betrayed by those sworn to protect her. With eyes newly open to the harsh realities of her world, she embarks on a path that diverges from the plan the Gods have laid out. Now she must choose between sacrificing her own heart’s blood, and risking a future that will turn the lands against each other in bloody war.

The Reluctant Prophet is the story of one woman who holds the fate of the world in her hands, when all she wishes for is a glimpse of her own happiness.


Before settling down in the Emerald Isle with her husband and three dogs, Gillian O’Rourke lived in Melbourne, Australia. She received her first fantasy book from an English teacher at the age of fourteen and has loved the genre ever since.  Although she writes fantasy, she occasionally dabbles in the paranormal.  Gillian currently works in the healthcare sector, helping adults with disabilities live as independently as possible.

LINKS paperback paperback

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Monday, 2 September 2013

Bandit Book Bloggers Tour- Shadow of the Wraith

As part of the Bandit Book Bloggers Tour Group, every month I'll have an awesome book to promote. September brings us Ross Harrison's novel Shadow of the Wraith, so go check it out ASAP:

It sounds like a simple assignment: track down the mysterious Star Wraith and put an end to its rampage. But when Travis Archer and his team of inept soldiers find themselves the most wanted people in the galaxy - hounded by assassins, terrorists and their own military - they realise the Wraith is just a symptom of a much larger problem... Finding war raging between one army intent on destroying an entire species, and another that will destroy the galaxy, Travis must put aside his fears and his past to uncover the truth behind it all. To become the hero he's always imagined.

Shadow of the Wraith is the first book in the NEXUS series.

About the Author:

Ross Harrison has been writing since childhood without thought of publication. When the idea was planted by his grandmother to do so, it grew rapidly, and after a bumpy ten years or so, here sits the fruit. Ross lives on the UK/Eire border in Ireland, hoping the rain will help his hair grow back.


Purchase Links:


Moving silently and keeping his eyes peeled, Travis took cover behind the nearest overturned table. With no apparent provocation, one of the pirates opened fire into the second-storey balcony, which ran all the way around the bar. Startled by the sudden shots, the others opened fire too.
          Travis could pick out nothing up there in the shadows, and hadn’t even heard anything before the shooting started – had Draak forced too much herb into these men? Were they hallucinating? Perhaps they killed their fellow crewmembers themselves.
          Eventually, they ceased firing and stood listening for some time, their eyes wide with fear. All Travis could hear was silence and a dull ringing after the gunfire.
          After a while, they began to relax. They lowered their weapons, relieved smiles forming on their lips. Clearly, they thought they’d killed their attackers. Travis watched enough holofilms – in fact, possibly too many – to know this was inevitably the point at which their enemy would strike.
          Sure enough, as they turned to their fallen leader, two long black knives flew out of the shadows and plunged into two necks. As the pirates slumped to the floor, Travis crept forward towards the next overturned table to get a better view of the balcony. Thanks to his curiosity, he neglected to watch his footing, and before he’d gone more than a couple of steps, a shot glass burst under his boot.
          Synn spun round, roaring in terror and defiance, and opened fire on him. Travis made a dive for the cover of the thick metal bar. The pirate’s shots broke the mirror on the wall, and the bottles, showering him in alcohol and glass, both solid and molten.
          To the relief of Travis’ eardrums, Synn had already depleted much of the three-hundred-shot power cell. As soon as he heard the click of the empty weapon, he raised himself just enough to put his arm across the bar top and fire a single bullet into Synn’s forehead. The Izarian fell limply to the ground as blood started to trickle down his face.
          It would be unwise to assume the invisible assailants would be friendly towards Travis. ‘The enemy of my enemy’ was a phrase that got many killed.
          Unwilling to give them any breathing space, Travis vaulted over the bar like a magnificent, tubby gazelle, reaching to his new utility belt. As his boots hit the floor again, he pulled out a small, jelly-coated sphere and threw it with all his might at the ceiling. The orb thumped against the plastic ceiling tiles, the shock activating the device. The jelly became adhesive, keeping it glued to the ceiling. At the same time, the centre of the sphere came alive, radiating bright light into every shadow in the bar.
          In the brief ten seconds of light, Travis scrutinised every inch of the balcony, where a band usually played for patrons. There was no sign of any living creature in the bar. Perhaps the attackers really were invisible.
          The device flickered and died, dropping to the floor. Darkness poured eagerly back into the corners and recesses.
          The bar was silent, almost calm. Around the balcony, the remnants of the wooden banister smouldered.
          What now?
          Travis had put himself in the open, certain his clever trick would reveal his rival and give him the advantage. Now, he was simply in the open.