October Frights, day 6, Ribbons, deeper into the Starblood universe
Ribbons is the fourth of a planned five books in the Starblood series, and was published on September 13th 2019 by Vamptasy Publishing (an imprint of CHBB). While the first three books are full of despair and confusion, Ribbons takes a step toward redemption. In a stand off between gods, in a post-apocalyptic world, hope is born. Freya learns to sacrifice her selfish nature and becomes a leader of men.
Tagline - Psychopaths shall inherit the Earth.
Blurb - The rum bar seems a cosy setting to wait out the apocalypse. When the rain stops falling those who are still breathing are forced to reevaluate their lives. Edensun, The Bringer of Chaos, and Freya’s paths are destined to cross, but when they come face to face who will be the hero and who the villain? The Morrigu gather; they are told their fate is to save the world from Chaos, but they worship a goddess of war whose intentions are dubious. Only the witch in the tower block seems to know the truth and she is unwilling to share.
The book follows Donna, Freya, Marian and Edensun as they face the aftermath of the terrible red rain and learn to trust again.
Excerpt - The rum bar seems a cosy setting to wait out the apocalypse. Other than the ruby smears down the ersatz leaded windows and the occasional battered body, stumbling against them from the pavement outside before lurching away again, Marian can almost pretend it is an ordinary day. Of course ordinary is a relative term. Marian’s ordinary days can be compared to many people’s worst nightmares. It amazes her that she’s here at all. Only her connection to higher forces keeps her functioning. After everything that’s happened she still has responsibilities she cannot avoid.
Around her are people she knows and trusts. They were called to this safe haven, like she was, by their leader, the Oracle, and her granddaughter Jessica. A comfortable room with low lighting and warm drinks where they will face whatever comes, together.
Marian Michaels, even in her fifties, is an attractive woman. Her long black hair is pulled back from her shield-shaped face in a messy bun. Her gunmetal-grey eyes soften as she downs the dregs of her fourth rum and Frangelico cocktail in a half-hearted attempt to drown her self-pity. Bill stands up to fetch another, but she lunges gracelessly and grabs his sleeve, pulling him back. Her head spins and her stomach churns. Her heart is a boulder that weighs her down.
It would be too easy to drink herself into oblivion, but she has a responsibility to those who believe in her, who know she is more than a working mother who lost her son and uses sick notes to avoid the office while in mourning. She has shut herself away from these friends for months, but they do not complain. They know her suffering, too many have shared in it, and they understand what it costs her to answer Jessica’s summons. Part of her is relieved, glad she came to face them all. She belongs with these people and the only way she will heal is with the soothing balm of their love.
If she drinks much more she fears she will empty her gut over the table. If it meant Bill would find her less attractive it might be worthwhile. However, holding back her hair as she throws up beside him would not dull his desperate yearning to kiss her lips. If she believed for one moment that it might she would stop clinging to the Salvations in her gut and spill them all. Deep down, in the pit of her treacherous stomach, she knows it will take more than a mountain of vomit to push him away.
Bill has been a constant in her life since they buried Carl. His physique may encourage one to think he is built for war. His stomach muscles are tight and rippled, his bulky, tattooed arms are powerful, but he has the face of an adoring puppy under his short chestnut hair. With one sign from her, Bill would make it his life’s mission to protect Marian from pain.
Marian shakes her head and the room lurches. Against the far wall, under paintings of debauched saints, half hidden by shadows that muted amber lamps cannot dispel, she sees two oracles and two Jessicas. None of their shifting faces carry the slightest accusation, but Marian still feels personally responsible for the carnage unfolding around the city and beyond.
The Oracle says this is not the end. Marian finds that hard to believe in spite of years of devout faith. Her only son is dead and her grandson is out there somewhere, holding open the gates of hell.
Order for reading -
Book 1 – Starblood - Star craves freedom, but her lover, Satori, refuses to let her go. He casts a spell to make her love him again, opening a gateway through which Lilith, mother of demons, enters their lives. Lilith serves no man. Instead she seduces Star, assuring her that there is no shame in love, only completion. Thus begins a strange and terrible love triangle that leads them to Scotland and the Cairngorm mountains.
Book 2 – Psychonaut - Satori has promised Star he will save her and he isn’t about to let her death stand in his way. He battles demons, travels worlds and faces the wrath of human law, but he refuses to give in. Meanwhile Star is in another world, being tortured by a goddess and a demon baby. She doesn’t have time to wait around to be saved.
Book 3 – Black Sun - Murder, magic and obsession tear the heroes from the bliss they deserve. Star and Satori are being hunted; something is playing with their lives. Star found her power in another world, but will that be enough to save them? In a game of revenge, lovers and friends are moved around a cosmic chess board; death and madness are the final penalties for defeat. Who can judge whether the self-destructive human psyche or obsessed demon-child is the more dangerous force?
a graphic novel will be available circa late 2020.
Book 4 – Ribbons – http://smarturl.it/RibbonsStarblood
Book 5 – Pariah – anticipated release date 18th September, 2020.
The Starblood series and diversity in horror - Diversity and representation might be current buzzwords, but they are also important. The Starblood series has strong women at its heart, with themes of sexuality – including bisexuality, and self-identity. The antagonist is a woman who rages at the world and the protagonists are searching for their places in that world.
A note from the author - “Days before my 40th birthday, in 2011, Starblood was released by Stone Circle Publishing. The first book became a trilogy and then, in 2018, Freya returned to my dreams and told me her story wasn’t finished. It was then I started writing Ribbons.
Starblood was written during a difficult period of my life. I had given birth to my second daughter and was struggling to bond with her while keeping some sense of my own identity at the same time. In addition the business I had been running (with my then husband) for over a decade was failing, and my marriage was on the rocks.
Star’s struggle to discover who she is, when all the layers of what others want her to be are stripped away, was very much my struggle. I was in a state of depression and suicidal. I honestly believe that writing the Starblood series helped me answer the questions that haunted me at the time and saved my life (although not my marriage). Ribbons was written post-trauma and I believe the hope that radiates from that book is part of me now.
I was shocked and surprised by the overwhelming positive reception the first three Starblood books received. It is a frequently painful read and more than a little trippy, so that it resonated with others amazes me. What I have realised over the years is that my story is far more common than people would like to admit.
Since writing Starblood I have read work by people like Thomas Ligotti, which has taught me that part of the appeal of Starblood is that many of us never feel as though we fit comfortably in this world. We all flounder about at times trying to find a way to fit in without compromising what makes us who we are. I realise that my instinctive feeling that the world is both cruel and insane is far from uniquely mine.
On the flip side the message, I hope, that people get from the stories is one of self acceptance. So what if we don’t fit in. We are still important. We have value. Our dreams mean something, and as Lilith says in the first book, “There is no shame in love, only completion.” I hope people can see that Lilith is not only talking about romantic love at this point, but also love and acceptance of self and the multi-faceted, unique and marvellous people we have in our lives.”
Psychonaut is a story of redemption. In it the main characters learn their flaws and find ways to rise above them. Star, Satori, Lilith and Donna are all changed in profound and positive ways during the narrative. In this way Psychonaut is an uplifting book, especially after the desperate pain and suffering of Starblood.
Author bio -
Carmilla Voiez is a proudly bisexual and mildly autistic introvert who finds writing much easier than verbal communication. A life long Goth, she is passionate about horror, the alt scene, intersectional feminism, art, nature and animals. When not writing, she gets paid to hang out in a stately home and entertain tourists.
Carmilla grew up on a varied diet of horror. Her earliest influences as a teenage reader were Graham Masterton, Brian Lumley and Clive Barker mixed with the romance of Hammer Horror and the visceral violence of the first wave of video nasties. Fascinated by the Goth aesthetic and enchanted by threnodies of eighties Goth and post-punk music she evolved into the creature of darkness we find today.
Her books are both extraordinarily personal and universally challenging. As Jef Withonef of Houston Press once said - "You do not read her books, you survive them."
Carmilla’s bibliography includes Starblood (Vamptasy Publishing, Dec 2018), Psychonaut, book two of the Starblood series (Vamptasy Publishing, March 2019), Black Sun, book three (Vamptasy Publishing, June 2019), Starblood the graphic novel, Psychonaut the graphic novel, The Ballerina and the Revolutionary, Broken Mirror and Other Morbid Tales. Her short stories have been included in Zombie Punks Fuck Off (Clash Books), Slice Girls (Stitched Smile), Another Beautiful Nightmare (Vamptasy), Sirens Call Magazine and Trembling With Fear.
Her website and blog can be found at www.carmillavoiez.com
Remember to hop on over to check out the other participants’ offerings as well.