Thursday, 15 January 2015

I promised you news... and I have new-book-shaped news!

I am absolutely over the moon that my new book, BREAKER, has found a home with Running Press Kids, and will be published in Spring next year. Here is the announcement from Publishers Weekly:


I can't wait for you all to meet Kyle and Naomi!

Kat out x

Monday, 12 January 2015

Horror binge!

Howdy.

After finishing my first draft of the new WIP in December, I went on a bit of a horror-reading kick over Christmas and into the new year. I managed to get to quite a few of those books I posted about at Halloween, plus an adult horror that I'm just getting into now. These were the YA ones I read:

 

(Click on the link to the Halloween post above for the summaries/buy links and stuff.)

Although 3 of the 4 had a supernatural element, they were all really different, which was what I was looking for -- a look at the scope of YA horror that's being published right now -- and I definitely like what I'm seeing. 3 of them also happen to be UKYA titles, which wasn't intentional, but pleases me anyway.

I'm kind of a noob when it comes to writing horror (although I do tend to write toward the darker end of the thriller/fantasy spectrum...) and it seemed like now, when I have a decent reading binge window, would be a good time to get caught up on what's out there at the moment.

The adult horror book I'm reading is Joe Hill's HEART SHAPED BOX, and I have to say that I'm really loving it -- which takes away some of the guilt I feel for stepping away from my YA reading pile. It was also a bargain at £1.99 from a discount bookshop, so it would have been churlish to say no. 

This is going to be my last binge-read before I focus completely on revisions for a few weeks, so I will savour every terrifying, gruesome word. It should tide me over until Dawn Kurtagich's THE DEAD HOUSE comes out in August, anyway. (I seriously can't wait for that book!)

For now...

Kat out x



Saturday, 3 January 2015

Last chance to grab a Blackfin bargain!


BLACKFIN SKY is only 99p on ebook at the moment as part of the 12 days of kindle sale, but it ends 5th January, so hurry if you want to grab a last Christmas bargain!

Blackfin Sky ebook on Amazon

Kat out x

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

My 2014 in review

January

I started the year by revealing my US cover for BLACKFIN SKY over on Icey Books, and seeing the trade reviews start to come in. Spoiler: They didn't hate it! It was fairly unanimously agreed that my book is weird, but I was and continue to be A-OK with that.

February

Went over the final proofs for the UK edition of Blackfin Sky. On a non-bookish note, I'd decided by this point to give up my full time day job in IT (sort of) and get a part-time one that would let me spend more time writing. The prospect made me deliriously happy and pants-shitteningly terrified all at once.

March

I turned in final US edits in a timely fashion! And started my new part-time admin job! I also went to xx women's writing festival and did my first ever panel with Lucy Christopher and Catherine Fisher (where I was very starstruck and more than a little bit nervous.)

April

I took part in Cardiff Childrens Literature Festival, doing an evening of readings and Q&A with Lucy Christopher and music from Quiet Marauder.

May

Firefly Press launch at Aberystwyth Arts Centre
On the 14th May, it was the UK release of Blackfin Sky. Firefly Press (my UK publisher) held a launch for all their first titles in Aberystwyth Arts Centre, and I had a special launch event at Prestatyn Library just for my little book, with readings from the local teen reading group and Q&A with librarian Kara Orford.

June

I went to my old high school for a careers day event, and told a room full of teenagers that I tell lies for a living, and sweatpants and fleece hoodies are my work uniform. Not sure whether I successfully sold the author career or not, but nobody pulled the fire alarm, so I'm assuming it didn't suck.

Dawn & Me at YALC
July

YALC - the first ever UK YA literary con - happened down in London, and I went there with Penny from Firefly Press and the always-wonderful Dawn Kurtagich (author of THE DEAD HOUSE, which will be out in 2015 and which you all need to have on your radars!) It was a great success, and I got to meet loads of author and blogger pals in real life.

August

Nothing happened. Well, it did, but it mostly involved me lying in my back garden reading and enjoying the strangely excellent weather. I suppose I wrote and edited a bit, but it was mostly the garden thing.

September

My book came out in the US! I think my dad was probably the first person to buy an actual physical copy over there as he was on holiday in Florida. My mam and stepdad threw a US-themed party on release day, and we ate burgers and drank Bud, all authentic-like.

I also started tinkering with a couple of new stories...

October

I wrote quite a bit this month, in between trying to balance promoting Blackfin Sky with not being totally obnoxious on social media. My book was chosen as a Junior Library Guild Fall Pick (YAY!) and I celebrated Halloween with a spooky giveaway. I also did a Dear Teen Me feature, which was really fun, and my dad was strangely horrified by it. Yay.

November

I nanoed a bit. It was also my 32nd birthday, and I was given a metric shizload of books, but as I was in draft-mode I didn't allow myself to read any of them. (I have a weird thing where I can't write a first draft and maintain a healthy reading life. Ugh.)

December

Yay! We're here, at the end of 2014! I finally finished a respectable first draft of my new MS, and went on an epic reading binge - WHEEEE! I was also given this rather spiffing hat by Father Christmas (my mam), so.



And that was my 2014. I hope you had a fantastic year, and here's to a doubly-marvellous 2015!

*clinks champagne flute* CHEERS.

Kat x

Sunday, 21 December 2014

A Festive Round Up

Me, age 3
Last time I was ever mistaken for an angel.


Hello, and happy holidays! This isn't my 'What happened in 2014' post, although I might do one in the next couple of weeks, but I have been whirling around in a wordnado for a while now, so decided to lay it all out here (this urge is no doubt a throwback to my youth when I felt I needed to explain why I hadn't done all my homework or finished my chores. I still don't do either of those things.)

Ok, so Nano - what the heck happened there?? Well, I got to about 40k by mid-November, and was feeling awfully pleased with myself, so I kind of ran out of steam. I also thought I was within a few thousand words of finishing the draft (WRONG) so I figured I'd slack off and finish it at my own pace.

My own pace meant I actually wrote those delicious words 'THE END' yesterday evening. I know, I know - almost an extra month to finish the last few chapters of a rough-ass draft is not exactly rocketing, but it's done. Now the manuscript gets to fester in a dark room for a few weeks while I catch up on some reading.

And I have LOTS of reading to do! I'm really looking forward to getting through some horror novels (I never did make it through my Halloween reading list...) as well as some fun romances and sci-fis that'll make my brain implode. Always fun, that. But I'm starting with MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME - a collection of festive short stories by some of the biggest names in YA authordom. I'm looking forward to starting that one today.

In January I'll peel my ugly draft from its fungal recess and begin revising and editing and generally performing miracles on it until it becomes a readable little gremlin of a book. That's the plan, anyway - once all the belly-stuffing and present-opening are done.

2015 is going to be bringing some big changes and fun things which I'll write about in the new year, so until then...

XO and mistletoe!

Kat

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Special Offer from Firefly Press

My UK publisher has a great offer on Blackfin Sky right now...

  


Buy before 21st December, and you can get Blackfin Sky for just £6.99 including giftwrap and postage! Order here.

You should also check out Firefly Press's other books while you're there, because they have some fantastic titles and a bunch of other special offers in the run up to Christmas.

Kat  x

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Week Two in the Nanohouse, and author Kat is barely clinging to sanity...

You may have heard me mention the fleece poncho (on several occasions, actually) but it has become my weapon of choice, if you will, for surviving the wilds of Nanowrimo. I've been wearing it for the last three days, and let me tell you, fleece is not the best at staying fresh. Don't you wish you were within smell-range of me now? DON'T YOU???

This photo is from last year, btw. I don't have my Christmas
decorations up yet because that would be INSANE.
Yeah. Anyway, Nanowrimo is going well, and as of now, I've written over 17,000 words this month. Not too shabby, if I say so myself. I'm aiming to write at least 2k every day this week, which should get me well ahead of the target.

Other cool things going on this week:

1. I won a signed copy of Amanda Maciel's awesome-looking TEASE, in which a girl is prosecuted for bullying which may or may not have led to another girl's suicide. You can check it out on Goodreads here. Sounds gripping, and I'm looking forward to reading this bad boy a lot.


2. Today (Tuesday) is my birthday! HOORAY! And my good friend Jani Grey (who is awesome and lovely) sent me these cool things in the mail:

 

Neal Shusterman's UNWIND is one of my all-time fave books,
so I'm well chuffed to finally have the last book in the series!

I love birthdays. They are ACE.

For now...

Kat out x

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Nanowrimo like a mofo, and actually being social like a human

It seems like I was lying in the garden swearing at crickets just a couple of weeks ago, and now I'm dressed head to toe -- literally -- in fleece.

(Wasn't that a nice, super-British intro?)

Anyway. Happy November. A few things to talk about, starting with the most writerly, and ending with the least.

1. For the first time ever, I'm taking part in Nanowrimo. This is National Novel Writing Month to the uninitiated, and it means I, along with the entire internet, it seems, have committed to write 50,000 words of a novel during the month of November.

Now, I'll start by being upfront about 2 things: 1) I don't know if I'll do it. I'm on track at the time of writing this, but... *shrugs* I'm not exactly speedy at first drafts. 2) I'm splitting the 50k between 2 manuscripts, because I don't think I have 50,000 words left in the one I'm mostly working on. So, according to the rules of the game, I can't actually WIN Nanowrimo, even if I complete my 50k. So at best I'll be an also-ran, but still -- it'll be a big achievement if I finish it. That said, I have some time off work, so I can stay up really late and write during the witching hours when pretty much all of my words are made. The words, they mostly come at night... mostly.



...Yeah. Anyway, wish me luck.

2) I should probably have started with this one because it's a thank you, but THANK YOU to everyone who entered my Halloween giveaway. The winners have been randomly selected, and the signed copies of Blackfin Sky were mailed earlier this week. They're basically flying through the air on teeny tiny broomsticks right now.

3) I got 2 particularly amazing reviews of Blackfin Sky this week - one on Geek Syndicate, and a reader review on The Guardian's website. There was much Snoopy-dancing, trust me. I also got to do a Dear Teen Me feature, which was pretty cool, and has some pictures of me as a teenager in case you're curious about what kind of dork I was.

4) I actually left the house to do more than grocery shopping! I recently saw Chevelle play in Manchester (AWESOME)...

Chevelle. I know, it could be anyone, but my phone camera sucks ass.
...and went to An Evening with Noel Fielding (INSANE and AWESOME) in Llandudno.
Noel Fielding. Also the head of the guy in front of me.
So that's what I've been up to. Now heading back into my writing cave to carve out some more nano-words.

Peace out, yo.

K x

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Halloween Giveaway - Win one of 3 signed copies of Blackfin Sky!


Meet this sinister fellow in Blackfin Sky

The Ween is almost upon us! You'll be needing a new spooky read to add to your TBR pile, right? With a creepy circus, a haunted weathervane, and a girl who mysteriously returns from the dead, why not enter to win my spooky debut...?

When Sky falls from Blackfin Pier and drowns on her sixteenth birthday, the whole town goes into mourning – until she shows up three months later like nothing happened.

Unravelling the mystery of those missing months takes Sky to the burned-out circus in the woods, where whispers of murder and kidnapping begin to reveal the town’s secrets. But Sky’s not the only one digging up the past – the old mime from the circus knows what happened to her, and he has more than one reason for keeping quiet about it. 

I have 3 SIGNED copies to give away, and it's international. Enter using the rafflecopter below.


Please note: Winners in UK/Commonwealth will automatically win the UK edition, and USA/Canada/anywhere else in the world will get the US edition - unless you specify otherwise. Just let me know ASAP after the winners are announced.


Thursday, 16 October 2014

Scary reads on my Halloween TBR

I don't often post about what I'm reading, but as it's almost Halloween and I have a few scary/spooky books lined up in my reading pile, I thought I'd share a few here. Not sure how many I'll get through before the Ween is upon us, but I'll give it my best shot...



1. Sleepless by Lou Morgan

This is one of the first titles in the new Red Eye series (watch the series trailer here), and it looks awesome. 

Young, rich and good-looking, Izzy and her friends lead seemingly perfect lives. But exams are looming – and at a school like Clerkenwell, failure is not an option. Luckily, Tigs has a solution. A small pill that will make revision a breeze and help them get the results they need. Desperate to succeed, the group begin taking the study drug. It doesn’t take long before they realize there are far worse things than failing a few exams.

It's also a BARGAIN on e-book at the moment at just 59p! The paperback comes out in January, in case you're a nerd like me and have to buy both.





2. The Cellar by Natasha Preston

For months Summer is trapped in a cellar with the man who took her—and three other girls: Rose, Poppy, and Violet. His perfect, pure flowers. His family. But flowers can't survive long cut off from the sun, and time is running out...

I grabbed this one for 3 reasons: 

1) Loved the chilling blurb. 

2) Loved the spooky cover. 

3) Another e-book bargain at only £1.23







3. Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant

I'm a huge fan of Michael Grant's, and just finished the last in the epic GONE series, so I am pretty much salivating over this book. This was the cover I got, but I honestly can't decide which I prefer - this, or the red one with the gory amputated hand. Ah, decisions, decisions...



The Messenger sees the darkness in young hearts, and the damage it inflicts upon the world. If they go unpunished, he offers the wicked a game. Win, and they can go free. Lose, and they will live out their greatest fear.
But what does any of this have to do with Mara? She is about to find out...



4. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. It's an eternal party, shown on TV 24 hours a day - gorgeous, glamorous, deadly! Because, once you pass through Coldtown's gates, you can never leave...

I bought this after being lucky enough to hear Holly Black read from it at last year's World Fantasy Con, but have been saving it to read when I needed something good 'n' chilling. If not Halloween, then when, right??



5. Say Her Name by James Dawson

Again, I've been wanting to read this one for a while, and just look at that gorgeous cover! Also, James Dawson very kindly sent me a signed bookplate to go inside my copy. Feel free to have the jealousy.

Roberta 'Bobbie' Rowe is not the kind of person who believes in ghosts. A Halloween dare at her ridiculously spooky boarding school is no big deal, especially when her best friend Naya and cute local boy Caine agree to join in too. They are ordered to summon the legendary ghost of Bloody Mary: say her name five times in front of a candlelit mirror, and she shall appear... But, surprise surprise, nothing happens. Or does it?

Next morning, Bobbie finds a message on her bathroom mirror - five days - but what does it mean? And who left it there? Things get increasingly weird and more terrifying for Bobbie and Naya, until it becomes all too clear that Bloody Mary was indeed called from the afterlife that night, and she is definitely not a friendly ghost. Bobbie, Naya and Caine are now in a race against time before their five days are up and Mary comes for them, as she has come for countless others before...

Grab your copy here. Probably best not to read it out loud surrounded by candles while looking in the mirror, eh?

6. Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell

Dunvegan School for Girls has been closed for many years. Converted into a family home, the teachers and students are long gone. But they left something behind… Sophie arrives at the old schoolhouse to spend the summer with her cousins. Brooding Cameron with his scarred hand, strange Lillias with a fear of bones and Piper, who seems just a bit too good to be true. And then there’s her other cousin. The girl with a room full of antique dolls. The girl that shouldn’t be there. The girl that died.

This is another Red Eye title, and the e-book is again just 59p. INSANITY BARGAIN.





*****

Got any brilliant scary reads on your Halloween TBR? If you have any must-read recommendations, let me know in the comments.


Kat out x