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£1,131
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Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sun, June 5 2016 12:00 PM UTC +00:00
£1,131
pledged of £18,000pledged of £18,000 goal
34
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sun, June 5 2016 12:00 PM UTC +00:00

About

A project with a difference, Death Becomes Me is one small part of a much larger whole. The Deathly Insanity Series began as a form of therapy during the worst time in the author's life. Diagnosed with Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder after fifteen years of struggling with an unknown condition, Hazel quickly realised that having a label for her troubles wasn't the answer to them. Hazel embarked on a personal journey of discovery and, through her writing and art, gradually came to understand all that had befallen her.

Choosing to share those insights, Hazel published  Book 1 in the series, Chasing Azrael, in 2014. She has chosen to represent the full spectrum of humanity – good and bad, politically correct and not – in her words and art. The result is a series of stories that are not only a delight to read, but actively contribute to the fight against the stigma surrounding mental illness and various other issues.

"Exquisite...refreshing" - Joel Cornah, Sci-Fi & Fantasy Network

"Dark, twisted and intense...brilliantly insane..." - Roxy's Reviews

"Brave" - Amy's Review Obsession

"Eternally twisted and full of plots" - Paranormal Books

"[This] will change the reader's ideas about death and dying" - Maria Beltram, Reader's Favourite

"Highly entertaining...gripping" - Cover2Cover

"A unique premise" - Book Junkie Reviews

Exclusive Excerpt* - Chapter One 

I was never a child. Not that I recall. Life, to my recollection, found me without warning as a twelve year old girl, already a woman, abashed on a rain-streaked beach. I was an untameable ball of wildfire. Damaged, broken, angry in a way that’s unfathomable to anyone who hasn’t experience the utter annihilation of their world. The flame of my fury was inextinguishable. Petty, selfish, and oh, so futile.

But I was a child, even though I was not, and my wants were painfully simple: Make it stop.

I made it stop. And I ran.

Manchester. Gunchester. The Rainy City. God’s City. I knew it well, or so I thought. I lost myself. So completely that for a while, that first night, I thought I was somewhere else. Somewhere…other

Darkness hid me. I was a smudge of black against greater blackness, distinguishable only by a shock of pink hair and a pale, phantom face, scuttling through driving rain, hunched into my trench coat. It was a thing I would become inordinately grateful for as the weeks went on, a long leather coat, grabbed in haste. It was the only thing I took with me, aside from the boots on my feet and the contents of my pockets; cash enough for a train ticket, a half-smoked pack of Marlborough Lights, two lighters, and my rainbow-coloured folding Stiletto. That was a thing of beauty. I was never without it, even then, at the tender age of fifteen. 

I ditched my mobile at the train station and vanished, evanescing into the ether without a backward glance. Nowhere to go and next to nothing to call my own. My only thought on leaving was protection from the rain. 

It should have been washing off the warm slick of blood that was beginning to cool and crackle across my skin. It seeped into my jeans, my vest. Even my knickers were soaked in it. Never did get it to wash out. It was dry by the time Sookie found me, huddled in the dark, crying, cussing, and trying desperately to light what turned out to be my last smoke. 

It was pouring rain. 

They don’t call it The Rainy City for nothing. 

I hate the feckin’ rain. 

And it was dark. Astonishingly dark. I was skulking around the comforting, hulking form of Aflecks, when the dark suddenly grew darker. The buildings surrounding me grew taller and unfamiliar, as foreign to me as the cobbles that had sprung up beneath my feet. 

I saw stars. Impossible stars. The city was too bright, they should have been out of sight. And they were wrong. The constellations twirled and twisted in strange shapes that danced and leapt out at me from the night sky. Here, a prowling, barrel-chested wolf; there, the regal form of a lion who appeared, to my tear-swollen eyes, to be staring right at me. The stars forming the graceful curve of his back, the daring flick of his tail, the full bush of his mane, somehow seemed brighter than the rest. Whiter. A pure white, blinding.

I turned away from him, and the wolf that ran at his heels, only to find myself staring into the horned face of a demon that made me shudder, far more than the freezing rain. 

Maybe I’d fallen in the street, cracked my head open. Maybe I was dreaming. Maybe I’d left a spliff or two, forgotten in my pack of fags, and got myself stoned without realising. Or maybe the gods were finally taking pity on me, rewarding me for the good deed I’d done that day with a beautiful vision. There was no doubt these spectres were beautiful. Even the horned and fearsome demon had a seductive charm. 

Yet if the deed I’d done was good, why was I crying? 

Why had I run? 

Screams filled the air, dragging me to my feet. I ran to the end of the strange, Victorianesque alley I’d been sheltering in, high-pitched shrieking echoing all around me. Swinging around I ran back the other way, the blade of my stiletto flicking out in my hand. Somewhere, someone screamed. Someone hurt. I wanted to make the culprit bleed. 

Blood. 

I was still covered in blood. 

So was my knife. 

The thought brought me crashing to my knees and forced more tears from my eyes. 

Weak, weak, so fucking weak. 

It was no use. That night, unlike the myriad that came before, I cried. A floodgate opened and for one shining moment, as I sat beneath the watchful gaze of that shockingly white lion and his unfamiliar compadres, I let out everything that I’d known I should feel, and mourn, and cry for, but had been unable to unleash. The part of me that was capable of doing such things had died one evening when I was twelve years old and never came back. 

Three years of numb detachment. Three years of feeling nothing but rage. 

I had become rage. 

It was a palpable thing. Elemental. Like rock and flame and wind. Like the damnable rain. Rage was the fifth element, and I was its avatar. 

But that night, in that strange place, where impossible stars shone impossibly in the sky and my city had changed around me, the rage suddenly abandoned me and I had nothing but tears. The screams on the air were all in my mind, the blood on my skin was finally dry, I was lost and alone and so far from home. I sat in the gutter and tried to light a fag in the rain, tears streaming down my face, hands shaking from the cold, and I knew only one thing: 

I could never go home. 

Home was as dead as my childhood.

*Excerpt is a draft and subject to change.

The Photography

'Grief of a Rose' and 'Necromancer'
'Grief of a Rose' and 'Necromancer'

To accompany the novel series, Hazel is shooting a series of fine art fantasy photographs. The first of these, to accompany Chasing Azrael, were shot in Edinburgh at the end of 2015. The next set in the series will be shot in July, with Gothic and Alternative model Maria Amanda Schaub, who will be flying in from Denmark to participate in the series. Due to the travel required Hazel and Maria will not only be doing the shoot to accompany Death Becomes Me, but also two additional sets for later novels in the series, Bespell My Heart, and the currently untitled third installment of Evelyn's journey.

Maria Amanda Schaub - Image Copyright Juliette Lichman, Somnolent Images
Maria Amanda Schaub - Image Copyright Juliette Lichman, Somnolent Images

The photo shoot for Chasing Azrael was relatively minimalist in terms of props, with the focus on the costume and location. Moving forward with the series, props and sets are going to become increasingly elaborate, with each piece designed and hand made by Hazel. Items include a huge handmade leather-bound A1 size Grimoire, giant dragon eggs, and an oversized stone-effect werewolf throne.

Prototype Dragon Egg - A small version of the much larger ones to come!
Prototype Dragon Egg - A small version of the much larger ones to come!

The Rewards

ALL EBOOKS WILL BE DELIVERED TO BACKERS ON RELEASE DAY - OCTOBER 31ST 2016. ALL OTHER REWARDS WILL BE POSTED IN NOVEMBER AND ARE GUARANTEED TO ARRIVE IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS 2016! 

ALL BACKERS WILL BE ADDITIONALLY REWARDED WITH AN ACKNOWLEDGEMENT IN DEATH BECOMES ME AND ON HAZEL'S WEBSITE.

Breakdown of Costs

Timeline

About The Author & The Deathly Insanity Series

Hazel Butler is an author and artist from Cheshire in England. For the last six years she has been working on the Deathly Insanity Series, a set of Dark Urban Fantasy novels. This deeply personal project has enabled Hazel to indulge her inner fantasist, write new tales in a genre she loves, and fully explore her own experiences in life, particularly where mental illness are concerned. Her novels are written to delight and entertain, but also to enlighten. Each novel aims to allow readers insight into the various perspectives and fractured realities mental illness brings.

Gothic & Dark Fantasy Author Hazel Butler
Gothic & Dark Fantasy Author Hazel Butler

'Mental illness is not easy to understand but it is important to understand and that’s one of the reasons why I write. Buried within the magic and monsters of my novels are metaphors for my own struggles with trauma and mental illness, and the struggles of many others like me.' 

'Chasing Azrael', 'Bleizgeist' and 'Willow, Weep No More' (Containing Hazel's Short Story, 'Grave')
'Chasing Azrael', 'Bleizgeist' and 'Willow, Weep No More' (Containing Hazel's Short Story, 'Grave')

Despite being shortlisted for a breakthrough novel competition, as well as interest in Chasing Azrael from several small publishers and a London agent, Hazel made the decision to self-publish the series in order to ensure her stories remained true to their roots and her dreams for the series. The author has previously credited writing with saving her life, and strongly believes it can do the same for others. In order to do this she felt it necessary to remain in control of the project rather than risking it changing under the influence of a publisher. 

Risks and challenges

Every stage of this project has been meticulously planned. The novel has already been written, and is now awaiting editing and proofreading. The editor has already been booked for July/August, and the spot secured with a deposit. It is expected that proofreading will be completed in early September, and the novel uploaded to the printers in mid September. This leaves a grace period of 4-6 weeks between the time the proof is ordered and release day. The eBook will be available to backers on release day, 31st October 2016, with paperbacks following soon after. At present there are no other foreseeable risks and Hazel is confident every contingency has been planned for, and that everything will go off without a hitch!

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    2 KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE LIMITED EDITION PREMIUM BOOKMARKS

    These Kickstarter exclusive bookmarks are made from lush velvety ribbon in colours that compliment each cover. Each bookmark includes two charms, a bead, and a mini book, one featuring MARIA AMANDA SCHAUB and the cover art for DEATH BECOMES ME, the other featuring MISS STORM and the cover art for CHASING AZRAEL.

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    PAPERBACK OF DEATH BECOMES ME

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    5 high quality 8x10" Fine Art Giclee Prints, printed on the finest Hahnemühle Fine Art Pearl 285gsm paper.

    Hardback Copy of OUT OF THE DARK - A collection of contemporary Gothic art. Packed with over two hundred stunning images, by 32 artists from around the world, Out of the Dark is a veritable cornucopia of Gothic delight. From traditional medium, to the very latest in digital design, as well as hand-made dolls and photography, there is something for everyone in this spectacular volume of contemporary art. INCLUDES A 12 PAGE FROM GOTHIC AND ALTERNATIVE MODEL MARIA AMANDA SCHAUB!

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    MEGA BUNDLE:

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    HANDMADE LEATHER BOUND GRIMOIRE - JUST LIKE EVELYN'S

    LIMITED EDITION KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE DEATH BECOMES ME KEY CHAIN - An exclusive key chain featuring MARIA AMANDA SCHAUB on Death Becomes Me's cover image, with a silver charm and beads.

    2 KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE LIMITED EDITION PREMIUM BOOKMARKS

    These Kickstarter exclusive bookmarks are made from lush velvety ribbon in colours that compliment each cover. Each bookmark includes two charms, a bead, and a mini book, one featuring MARIA AMANDA SCHAUB and the cover art for DEATH BECOMES ME, the other featuring MISS STORM and the cover art for CHASING AZRAEL.

    I will only be having 70 of each of these bookmarks made so snap them up quickly!

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    Have yourself, or a character of your devising, featured as a supporting character in one of the next two novels.

    The next two novels in the series are Twisted Sister and Butterflies Eat Dead People. You can have yourself, or a character you have designed, featured in one of these novels.

    THERE ARE ONLY TWO SPOTS AVAILABLE FOR THIS REWARD, ONE FOR TWISTED SISTER, ONE FOR BUTTERFLIES EAT DEAD PEOPLE. WHEN THEY'RE GONE, THEY'RE GONE!

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Funding period

- (28 days)