Tuesday, 31 December 2013

My 2013 in Review

January

After an almost 2-month hiatus (because I was in a major sulk and wanted to be back in Florida) I got back into writing my then-work-in-progress, the MS which would later become Blackfin Sky. At the time I was calling it Transparencies, though I think I always knew it would have to change. With fresh eyes, I realised I didn't hate it after all, and actually started to fall a little in love with Blackfin...

February...and March

Still drafting. Still falling.

April

Finished! And fully in love with it! I carried out the most whirl-windy editing of my life and then sent it out to two of my critique partners, and got their notes back super-fast. Another round of zippity edits, and I felt confident enough in the MS that I sent it out to my agent. (I would normally spend longer than this on the editing stage, but I think spending SO long on drafting and mulling had an impact here).

I also got a bit bored, now that I didn't have a MS to vex over, so I started a new blog schedule. It had fancy new posts and everything. (Spoiler: it lasted 6 months.)

May

My agent, Molly the Magnificent, helped me polish and rename Blackfin Sky, then took it out on sub.

June

There was interest. Then an offer. There was also possibly screaming and celebrating and dancing around running-man-style in my living room.

To try and keep my effervescent little brain occupied, I started mapping out a new MS

July

I got to announce my first book deal with Firefly Press! Then I got to announce my second book deal with Running Press Kids! And I may have lost my voice because SCREAMING!

I met with the editorial team at Firefly in late July, and they were absolutely lovely. On my way to meet them I trod on my own skirt (yeah, GRACEFUL) and tore a great big hole in my dress which I then had to staple back together using a stapler I'd loaned from a sympathetic waitress. It is possible I was a little flustered when I arrived at the meeting, and did a lot of big hand gestures.

When I was home and calm enough to string words together, I worked on my new WIP. That was not a lot.

August

I was invited to join a stellar group of debut authors at We Are One Four. I felt LOVED. I posted an INTRO.

I also suggested an excellent cover artist to the team at Firefly, not expecting for one moment that I'd get to have SHANE REBENSCHIED do my UK cover for Blackfin Sky. Cue more screaming when I saw the initial drafts of his artwork and fell in love with my own cover.

September

I finished the first draft of my new MS just as I got my very first Edit Letter. So I set my WIP aside and dived back into the crazy world of Blackfin...then turned in my first UK revision to Firefly a few weeks later.

[Edit: Because I am a scatterbrained idiot, I failed to mention this when I first posted...]

Bridget Shepherd, the most wonderful artist, CP and human being, drew this amazing picture of Sky from my novel.



October

A lot of neat stuff happened this month. I got a wonderful character sketch of Skylar from Blackfin Sky, drawn by the equally wonderful Sean P McConnell. I also teamed up with Chynna-Blue Scott, Julie Hutchings and a whole boatload of brilliant writers to take part in The Zombie Project (I even designed a logo for it, heh heh) and got my zombie on in short story form.

I scrapped my routine blogging schedule (real reason: I got bored with it.)

November

Off to World Fantasy Con in Brighton! I met a lot of cool writer folks and saw some great panels and listened to authors reading excerpts of their novels, and generally had a fantastic time. Also, I was thisclose to Neil Gaiman walking down the corridor. THISCLOSE. Naturally, I said not one single word.

I got my second Edit Letter - this one from Running Press Kids, and dived right back into Blackfin for the next 4 weeks.

Blackfin Sky's finished UK cover was announced, and suddenly my book was on Amazon and other sites for preorder in the UK! I cannot describe how weird and wonderful it is to see MY BOOK up there for people to buy.

December

I turned in my first round of edits to Running Press Kids - YAY! I also saw the first drafts of the US cover - HUZZAH!

I took part in the SantaCLASH series of short stories over on The Midnight Type, which meant tuning in to my inner Bridget Jones and writing chick lit for the very first time.

I held a giveaway when I reached 1500 twitter followers, and decided to give away 5 of my most-loved YA books of the year and a Hello Kitty pen. Share the joy and all that.

Right now I'm working on the 4th version of my new MS, and it's getting much darker and twistier. There's an overarching psychopathy to the cast of characters that I'm really excited about, and I'm maybe-possibly-perhaps thinking about pitching it as a series. Eep.

*****

So that's my 2013 in review, and I've got lots of cool stuff coming up that I'll be blogging about over the coming months. I hope you've had a great 2013 too!



Sunday, 29 December 2013

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Top 5 YA Reads of 2013 & Giveaway! - NOW CLOSED

I promised to do a giveaway if I reached 1500 followers before Christmas, and as I hit that number at some point last night, I am making good on my promise! Also, I think the Hello Kitty 10-colour pen I mentioned has caused such a stir on twitter that I'll be lynched if I back out now.

But I also wanted to write a post about my favourite YA reads of 2013 so I thought, why not combine the 2 things? 

Why not indeed.

It was so hard to choose which 5 books to put into the giveaway - there were so many awesome ones to choose from - but I wanted to give a good range of genres, so finally whittled it down.

SO. Here are my top 5 YA reads of 2013 - which you can win just by following me on twitter @el_kat and leaving a comment below! - plus a picture of the Hello Kitty pen so you can soak in the awesomeness. I'll choose one winner from the commenters this Saturday, 28th December at 8pm GMT. Open internationally. NOW CLOSED.

SKIN DEEP by Laura Jarratt

Ugly people don't have feelings. They're not like everyone else. They don't notice if you stare at them and turn away. And if they did notice, it wouldn't hurt them. They're not like real people. Or that's what I used to think. Before I learned...After the car crash that leaves her best friend dead, Jenna is permanently scarred. She struggles to rebuild her life, but every stare in the street, every time she looks in the mirror, makes her want to retreat further from the world. Until she meets Ryan. Ryan's a traveller. When he and his mother moor their narrow boat on the outskirts of a village, she tells him this time it will be different. He doesn't believe her; he can't imagine why this place shouldn't be as unwelcoming as the rest. Until he meets Jenna. But as Jenna and Ryan grow closer, repercussions from the crash continue to reverberate through the community. And then a body is found...




THE GHOST BRIDE by Yangsze Choo

"One evening, my father asked me if I would like to become a ghost bride..."

Though ruled by British overlords, the Chinese of colonial Malaya still cling to ancient customs. And in the sleepy port town of Malacca, ghosts and superstitions abound.

Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family's only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, a traditional ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at a terrible price.

After an ominous visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her desire for the Lim's handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Night after night, she is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, vengeful spirits and monstrous bureaucracy—including the mysterious Er Lang, a charming but unpredictable guardian spirit. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family's darkest secrets—and the truth about her own family—before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.


SPLINTERED by A. G. Howard

This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.



ROCKOHOLIC by C. J. Skuse

She's got it bad, and he ain't good -- he's in her garage?

"I'm your biggest fan, I'll follow you until you love me..." 

Gonna have to face it: Jody's addicted to Jackson Gatlin, frontman of The Regulators, and after her best bud Mac scores tickets, she's front and center at his sold-out concert. But when she gets mashed in the moshpit and bodysurfs backstage, she's got more than a mild concussion to deal with. By the next morning, the strung-out rock star is coming down in her garage. Jody -- oops -- kind of kidnapped him. By accident. With a Curly Wurly candy bar. And now he doesn't want to leave. 

It's a rock-star abduction worthy of an MTV reality series...but who got punk'd?!



THE KILLING WOODS by Lucy Christopher

Emily’s dad is accused of murdering a teenage girl. Emily is sure he is innocent, but what happened that night in the woods behind their house where she used to play as a child? Determined to find out, she seeks out Damon Hillary the enigmatic boyfriend of the murdered girl. He also knows these woods. Maybe they could help each other. But he’s got secrets of his own about games that are played in the dark.

A new psychological thriller from the award-winning and bestselling author of STOLEN and FLYAWAY.


(Blurbs and cover images all nicked from Goodreads.)





Don't forget: You can win all these fab books - plus the 10-colour Hello Kitty pen! - by following me on twitter @el_kat and leaving a comment below. Please leave your twitter handle with your comment (so I can let you know if you win.) One winner will be chosen at random on Saturday, 28th December at 8pm GMT. NOW CLOSED.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Cover Reveal: WHERE YOU'LL FIND ME by Erin Fletcher


Today Erin Fletcher and Entangled Teen are revealing the cover for WHERE YOU’LL FIND ME, releasing in early 2014! I had the very great privilege of reading an earlier version of this book, and trust me - it is STUNNING. One of my all-time-favourite contemporaries, that I can't wait to read again in its final edition.

Check out the gorgeous cover, exclusive excerpt, and enter to win an eARC!


When Hanley Helton discovers a boy living in her garage, she knows she should kick him out. But Nate is too charming to be dangerous. He just needs a place to get away, which Hanley understands. Her own escape methods—vodka, black hair dye, and pretending the past didn't happen—are more traditional, but who is she to judge?

Nate doesn't tell her why he's in her garage, and she doesn't tell him what she's running from. Soon, Hanley¹s trading her late-night escapades for all-night conversations and stolen kisses. But when Nate¹s recognized as the missing teen from the news, Hanley isn't sure which is worse: that she's harboring a fugitive, or that she's in love with one.







Exclusive Excerpt

Nate looks me over, from my jacket to my favorite pair of jeans, to the shoes that are bonfire-worthy but still cute. My hair, with the help of a straightener, is so silky that my dark bangs fall into my eyes even more than usual. My eye makeup is amped up. Whether all of this is because of the bonfire or because of who I hoped I’d run into before leaving is open for debate. He reaches up and brushes my bangs away from my face. The split-second touch makes me crave more. “You look gorgeous.”

“Thank you.”

“Where are you headed?”

Though staying here in the garage might be a better option, I say, “A bonfire.”

Nate studies me again, but this time it feels like he’s looking for something deeper. “Don’t you ever get tired of sneaking out?”

“Not really,” I say with a shrug.

He tugs on the zipper of my fleece, lowering it slightly and pulling me closer. “What are you running from, Hanley?”

It feels like my secrets are written all over my face, but I say, “Nothing.”

When he smiles, it’s almost sad. “I don’t buy it.”

I lean in, putting both hands on the car behind him, one on either side, trapping him. “You tell me why you’re living in my garage and I’ll tell you what I’m running from.”

He gives a sly smile and doesn’t budge. “Secrets it is.”

“Secrets it is,” I echo. And even though the small space between us is electric and threatening to disappear, I push off the car and step away. “I’ll see you later,” I say as I open the door.

“Hanley,” he says before I can get too far. “Be careful out there, okay?”

I don’t make any promises.


About Erin:

Erin Fletcher is a morning person who does most of her writing before sunrise while drinking excessive quantities of coffee, believes flip-flops qualify as year-round footwear, and would spend every day at the beach if she could. She has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics (which is almost never useful when writing books) and lives in North Carolina.

You can visit Erin on her website and on Twitter.


Giveaway:

1 eARC of WHERE YOU’LL FIND ME - International!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The beginning of Blackfin Sky...


My UK publisher, Firefly Press, have launched their brand new website - and on it you'll find an excerpt from the very beginning of my book!

Check it out here, and take a look around the rest of the site - there's lots coming up from Firefly Press!



Monday, 16 December 2013

Unmissable 2014 Debuts

I started getting really excited recently when I realised how many writer friends have unmissable debuts coming out in 2014 (which is SOOOO SOON!) I decided I'd better make a list to keep track of them. I know, scatty Kat. Still, as I was rocking the listiness, I figured I'd do you all a solid and publish my list of Unmissable 2014 Debuts right here.

These are just the ones by folks I know from twitter and elsewhere in the webosphere, and while I think this is a magnificent list, I recognise my shortcomings in not knowing/remembering everything (shocker!) so if you'd like to add to this list please feel free - that's what the comments box is for. Now, on with the awesomeness...

Young Adult

Where You'll Find Me by Erin Fletcher

Extraction by Stephanie Diaz

Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler

Damsel Distressed by Kelsey Macke

Between by Megan Whitmer

No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin Brown

The Gateway Through Which They Came by Heather Marie

Hexed by Michelle Krys

The Elite by Maggie Hall

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

Banished by Liz de Jager




Middle Grade

Eren by Simon P Clark

There Will Be Bears by Ryan Gebhart

Hook's Revenge by Heidi Schulz

There are also a whole bunch of books coming out in 2015 which I just can't wait to get my grubby hands on either...but that's a list for another day. In the meantime, go ahead and treat yourself to a little festive Goodreadsing and pre-ordering. I've linkified the list for your blurb-reading pleasure.

For now...

Kat out x

Sunday, 8 December 2013

My SantaCLASH Story: A Very Minty Christmas



In case you haven't seen my tweets about this, I recently signed up to take part in SantaCLASH - a short story blog series organised by the wonderful Chynna-Blue Scott, where every day from 1st December a short story is posted over at The Midnight Type. The twist? Each author has to write their festive short story in a genre they've never tackled before.

Here's where you can find the master post, with all the stories listed in order.

And please do take a look at mine - a chick lit offering (I know, right???) called A Very Minty Christmas.

Kat out x

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Blackfin Sky has a cover!

I'm so, so excited to get to share with you the cover for my book (coming out on 15th May 2014 in the UK, dontchaknow)...


The artwork is by the AMAZING Shane Rebenschied, and I couldn't be more in love with it!!

What do you think??

(By the way, in case you didn't know, you can also pre-order it in these places:


If you're in a clickety mood, why not add it to your goodreads list?)


Friday, 22 November 2013

BLACKFIN SKY is available for pre-order!

Thanks to my twitter hivemind, today I found out my book, BLACKFIN SKY, is up on Amazon UK, Waterstones UK and The Book Depository for pre-order! (As it's out a little later in the US, I'll let you know when it's up on the US sites.)

Here are the links:



If you're in a clickety mood, why not add it to your goodreads list

Aaaaand I have an author page on Amazon. Check it: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00GUKZRYS

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Blue's Winter Post

Winter Asylum

Chynna-Blue Scott (a.k.a. Blue - see what I did there with the title?) invited me (in the face, it seems) to write a winter-themed post answering winter-themed questions, so...I'm going to put my own swerve on it. I'm sure Blue will give the swerving 2 thumbs up, complete with blood-red thumbnails.

I'm a November brat, and grew up hating that all my school friends seemed to have summer birthdays where they could have parties outdoors and go rope-swinging through trees and paintballing and shiz like that, but I've grown to love my November birthday. (I don't understand people who hate their birthday because it means getting older. If you didn't have a birthday, you'd still get older, and you wouldn't get a shizload of presents to make up for it.)

Last year, for my 30th birthday, my husband and I went to Florida. Everyone assumed it was because I had issues about the big 3-0, but my only issue was wanting to ride rollercoasters and float around on the Lazy River in the raging heat. And it was GLORIOUS - not only did I get to spend my birthday at Disney World, but when I flew back to the UK at the end of November all the 'it's too soon for Christmas' haters had been silenced by December's imminent arrival. I essentially went from mid-summer to the depths of winter on an 8-hour flight, cutting out that darkening crawl that usually gives me the ughs about Christmas long before Santa has shuffled his buttocks along the gentle slope of my roof.

Despite the lack of Mickey & Co. or even the faintest promise of a log flume, this winter has a lot in store for me that I'm looking forward to. Dark, cold days are perfect for writing, and I'll be making full use of them this year as I have edits and edits and edits to do, then some more edits. And soon my short story Underground will be published in an anthology called PRIMED, which will be my first Real publishing credit and obviously WOOHOO. And, despite the fact that some would call me cynical, I do love the festive season when it's all twinkly and new, and now that I have my zippy camera, I'll be capturing all that twinkliness on my winter adventures in forests and castles and cemeteries and such.

Playing in the snow last winter
[Aside: Because I wanted to have a place where I could post all my favourite adventure photos all together, I now have a tumblr just for that. If you like my pictures, let me know - I'm happy for them to be used on blog posts etc. if you let me know when & where.]

So they're the things I love and am looking forward to about winter. If you'd like to share your own wintry likes, please to share in ze comments.

Snow Kat x

Monday, 4 November 2013

World Fantasy Con 2013: the wrap-up!



A lot of amazing things happened last weekend. I headed down to Brighton for World Fantasy Con on Friday, missed the whole day (thank you, M25 traffic) and arrived windswept and bedraggled at the Hilton Hotel where the con was being held just in time for evening drinks with the wonderful Girl Friday - a.k.a. author Tatum Flynn:

...and the amazing Marieke Nijkamp, who I met for the first time after tweeting and exchanging manuscripts with her over the past couple of years. She's as lovely in person as she is online.

Saturday was my full day at the con, and it started with registration - and a whole heap of free books! THIS is how to do swag, in case you were wondering:



The first panel I went to was focused on YA, and featured Susan Cooper, Garth Nix, Neil Gaiman, Will Hill and Holly Black. I know - that's like writing royalty, right?? Here's a photo I sneakily took of the panel. Yes, I'm hating on the random stander-upper pretty hard.


Next up, I saw Neil Gaiman talking with Susan Cooper, who received a lifetime achievement award at the con. I also got a slightly better picture!


I went to 4 author readings in the afternoon - the first was Holly Black, reading from The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. Her reading was amazing, and I am definitely going to be getting a copy to read the rest!

Next up were Amy McCulloch and Laura Lam, in a surprise-ninja-joint reading session. Amy read from Oathbreaker's Shadow, and Laura read from Pantomime. Finally, I heard Heather Graham reading from her latest novel, Let the Dead Sleep, and was so thrilled when she actually gave me the copy she was reading from!


It was fantastic getting an insight into author readings as I've never been to one before.

After that, I went and took a look around the art displays with Girl Friday (and got a couple of free drinks - yay!), then I snagged a few more freebies on my way out - including an awesome mug to commemorate my WFC adventure (in case you didn't know, I'm a Mug Event Commemorator) and cruised the book stalls.

With the day's panels and events over, I went out for a fantastic meal with my awesome agent, Molly Ker Hawn, and my husband. We ate shark. Yes, we're hardcore.

When it was time to leave Brighton on Sunday, I couldn't help wishing I'd booked to stay longer so I could explore Brighton itself.

Then again, now I have another reason to go back!



Sunday, 3 November 2013

Tumbling and Conning

So, I got back from World Fantasy Con in Brighton this afternoon. I had a wonderful time, met wonderful people, and got lots of wonderful stuff...but there will be a special post tomorrow (when I'm slightly more brain-functiony and less tired) all about that.

In my exhausted, post-con state, I decided to set up a Tumblr account where I can put all my photos - the ones I normally blast out on twitter after my adventures. Take a look at my Tumblr, leave a comment or question or whatever and help me figure out how the heck it works! I'm looking forward to sharing more photos with you guys there. There's a tab at the top of this page that'll also take you right to it.

I'm debating changing the header of this blog to the image I've used as my Tumblr header (a photo I took in the forest last week) - what do you think? Yay or nay?

Kat xoxo

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Favourite Movie Monsters - Guest post by Jani Grey

Jani Grey is an awesome writer, a South African, and enthusiastic wearer of zebra blouses. She is also one of my CPs, and thinks so similarly to me that we call each other 'halfbrain'. Jani and I decided to swap blogs for Halloween - just to confuse y'all - but you should absolutely check out Jani's blog for more of her awesomeness, as well as her twitter. Without further faffing...

*****

Kat suggested I write a post about my favourite movie monsters. This is a difficult one for me because I like monsters in general. All of them. It’s worth mentioning that I don’t watch scary movies for the plot. Give me a good fright, something that’ll make my heart race, and I’m sold. So I decided to focus on the ones that stood the best chance of scaring me, from movies and television, and why.

1. There is honestly no monster scarier than man. What scares me the most when it comes to human monsters is that they can be anybody. It can be the colleague sitting behind me as I type this. It can be my neighbour. The guy running my closest grocery store. It can be my sister. Do we really know what these people do when we don’t see them? And when they do whatever evil, horrendous, unspeakable things they are driven to do, they know exactly what’s happening most of the time. A character like Dexter is fictional, but when you look at the show itself, he did a damn fine job at living an apparently normal life. When people got suspicious, he took care of it without implicating himself to a certain extent. That takes some thinking power, and that’s damn scary. I’m not deluding myself on this subject. There are people like that out there, we just don’t know who or where they are. I’m binge watching Criminal Minds at the moment and the stuff I’m seeing is fear-inducing and fascinating at the same time. I’ll never be able to wrap my head around people being able to do things like that to other human beings, and I don’t think I want to. But it makes for fascinating writing, reading, and TV. What people are capable of is scary and seeing what you can only imagine come to life on screen... It’s frightening.

When I think of human movie monster I immediately think about The Strangers. The movie freaks me out for the same reasons as mentioned above. After I finished watching that movie for the first time, my very first thought was that it could totally happen. My grandparents were farmers and we visited a lot. How’s that for messing with your head when you’re home alone and all the lights are off? It’s wonderful, that’s what. I haven’t watched The Purge yet but just from the trailer I know it’ll bring the scares. I recently had the pleasure of watching Cabin in the Woods and loved the display of how inhuman humans can be as a group of friends were steered toward their death.

A few other human monsters that can get somewhat creepy. KIDS. Good grief, kids are so damn creepy sometimes(If you’re reading this and have children, I’m sure they’re fine. Really). A good example is Orphan. Deformed killers covering their faces. I’m looking at you, Texas Chainsaw. Scientists and their clinical, unfeeling approach to what they’re doing, my example American Horror Story(season 2 was terrible, don’t watch it).

2. The second kind of monster I like is the kind you can’t do anything about or against. Stephen King’s The Mist is a good example. How killer was that ending!?! *minor spoiler alert* Yes, we see the military moving in at the end of the movie, but we don’t actually see what they do or what happens to them. I haven’t read the book so if the end isn’t as open as the movie’s, please drop me a comment. Like a good reader/watcher of stories, I like seeing characters struggle against all odds. If they can’t do anything about what’s happening, that’s even better. Add some angst and you’ll spend a heart-pounding hour or two clutching you pillow, unable to look away. Because now you get to watch an entire scary movie where people die but they’re still fighting for survival, something we know they won’t be getting.

3. Anything you find in a Silent Hill movie or game. Seriously. I’m not scared of it, but it’s fascinating to watch, and there are moments where I just can’t help being so engrossed that I jump when somebody’s sudden happens.

When it comes to scary, I like insurmountable odds because it shows us what people are capable of. It shows us character and reactions. The will to live. How can you not love that? This genre is so underrated and swept aside for lacking in certain areas. I say those who criticize scary haven’t looked hard enough at what it really is and what it can give you.


So put your not-creepy-at-all kids to bed and watch something that’ll keep you up for the rest of the night. You can always spend the extra hours plotting a novel or attempting something scary of your own.

*****

Got any questions for the incomparable Jani Grey? Comment at will! 

And Happy Halloween!

Monday, 28 October 2013

In Anticipation of World Fantasy Con 2013

World Fantasy Con is being held in Brighton (UK) this year, and I have wangled myself a membership to attend for a couple of days (I can't go for the whole thing, unfortunately, so will just assume the organisers are aware of this and are saving all the best stuff for when I'm there.) If you're curious, you can check out the WFC programme here.

Stuff I'm looking forward to...


  • Meeting writers and online friends for the first time - YAY!
  • Catching up with my awesome agent, Molly Ker Hawn. 
  • All the panels. And the readings. And the signings. (True fact: I've never been to a signing before.)
  • Sightseeing a little bit around Brighton. (I'm taking my camera, of course, so will be snapping away for posterity.)


Sidenote: Because I generally schlub around in sweatpants, I've had to go out and buy real, proper grown-up clothes which make me look like a human and not a slug. To anyone I meet this week at WFC: you're welcome.

I'll write a wrap-up post after WFC about my adventures - until then...

*Runs off to read all the fantasy novels*

Friday, 11 October 2013

The kind of creepy, weird-ass things I do

I like to mark occasions. Not in a gross "I still have the baby tooth I stole from my first boyfriend in play group" kind of way, or a romantic "see my shoebox full of dead leaves from the first walk I took with my husband" kind of way (which is also, incidentally, creepy).

Mostly I take pictures of the momentous things, like the rest of you normal folks. Birthdays. That time I signed my first ever book contract. The smashed-up state of the last car I crashed (there have been 2, and neither was my fault. Honestly.)

But this has started filtering into a slightly hoard-y thing whereby I immortalise the event in mug form. So far I have mugs to mark the reading of 2 of my friends' books (one published, one not published yet) who happened to have this excellent merch available to buy. And just recently I went and bought myself this:


Why?

Because chances are, a couple of years from now The Zombie Project will have ended and I'll be working on un-zombie-related things, and I'll go to make myself my 12th coffee of the day and will grab this mug and think, "Oh yeah! That was a really fun project..." and I'll go back and read through all the awesome stories in the series again. (You can do that here, by the way. I know, I'm very good to you with the links.)

So my coffee addiction will live on, and so will all the fun stuff I commemorate with a mug.

Cheers.

Monday, 7 October 2013

The Zombie Project: HICKORY DICKORY DEAD



My zombie short story is now live as #15 in The Zombie Project over on Chynna-Blue Scott's blog. Check out my twisted installment of the series!

>>> HICKORY DICKORY DEAD by Kat Ellis

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Something Good from Sean McConnell

A few months ago, I placed a bid (or 2, or 3...) on an original piece of art by Sean McConnell in the Funds for Feaky auction, which was organised by the wonderful Jessa Russo to raise money to help resident twitter badass Tamara Mataya (a.k.a. Feaky Snucker) after her town was hit by terrible floods.

I absolutely loved Sean's sample drawings, and couldn't miss the opportunity to have Sean draw my book's main character, Skylar, while helping out a pal through the auction.

SO. I bid like a ninja mofo, and managed to secure the drawing. *Steeples fingers evilly* This pleased me greatly.

Sean very kindly agreed to send his drawing over to the UK, and I was so thrilled when it arrived in the mail today. Check out the beautiful drawing of Sky!

 

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Scrapping the schedule

Good evening, blog readers. (It's evening for me, anyway.)

This is a very brief post, just letting you know that I've decided to scrap my monthly blog schedule (because I was getting a bit booooored knowing what was coming each week) and basically freestyle it from here on in. Fact is, I'm now just a few months away from BLACKFIN SKY's publication date, so there's a LOT going on that's probably (hopefully) going to be more interesting to you guys.

AND I'll be posting on We Are One Four about the pre-pub journey as well, so feel free to follow the adventures of the WAOF cohort.

Kat out x

Monday, 23 September 2013

Write On: FAN ART

My CP Bridget Shepherd is wicked talented - not just with writing, but at creating beautiful pieces of art, too. (I know. I am also very jealous.) But she has also created a few pictures based on characters from my stories - which is pretty much the most amazing thing ever! If I had tear ducts like a real person, I'd cry every time I saw one of her pictures.

Since Bridget is my friend and CP, she has already read BLACKFIN SKY, my story which is going to be a BOOK. Not only that, but she created this gorgeous picture of my main character, Skylar.


For me, I don't think there is anything more amazingly surreal than having something I created inspire a fabulous artist like Bridget to create an image like this (which is something I could NEVER do).

Thank you so much, Bridget, for creating my first ever fan art!

Bridget did an awesome guest post for me earlier this year on drawing and writing inspiration - you should check that out if you haven't already. And of course, there are her blog and twitter to stalk!


Wednesday, 18 September 2013

The Playlist: APOCALYPSE

THE PLAYLIST
The shiz has hit the fan. A great whirling shiz-cloud has descended upon the earth, and maybe as the dust settles it's turned out OK, maybe it hasn't. Maybe the last living creatures on earth are your MC and his dog, or maybe the plague has been cured with skittles. Whatever your apocalypse, here's a playlist for while you write it.

As always, add your own songs in the comments and I'll stick them on the list.


Friday, 13 September 2013

EVADE by Jessa Russo - Cover Reveal!

I am utterly thrilled to be one of Jessa's cohort of online friends who get to reveal this stunning cover to the book-loving world. EVADE is the sequel to EVER, the second in the trilogy, and will be released on 1st October.

BEHOLD. 




In this thrilling sequel, Ever Van Ruysdael's race to beat the odds—and the clock—begins with the introduction of an integral part of her past. As secrets are revealed, and truths uncovered, she learns her imminent death is the least of her problems: Ariadne did more than just put an expiration date on her life; she marked Ever's soul by upping its value for greedy collectors looking to buy their freedom.

Condemned by the countdown on her life, and hunted by hired Seekers, Ever’s journey leads her to question everything she’s known and everyone she’s trusted, while growing closer to the one person from her past she was determined to avoid—and the one guy she never could—Toby James.

With her ex-boyfriend by her side, and the countdown clock rapidly ticking away, Ever tries thwarting fate’s plans. But as her nineteenth birthday approaches, and desperate Seekers follow her every move, she may be too late.

A marked soul is hard to come by … and even harder to escape.


EVADE'S LINKS:

JESSA RUSSO'S LINKS:

GRAB A COPY OF EVER: Book One of The EVER Trilogy!

COVER CREDIT: 
Cover Photo: Face On By Tamara Website | Facebook | Twitter 
Cover Design: Blue Sky Designs / Michelle Johnson Illustrations Website

Flash Friday: FLASH SNAPS

FLASH FRIDAY
I decided to take a slightly different approach to Flash Friday this month, a) because I haven't felt inspired to write a new flash piece, and b) because I've been gallivanting around the North Wales countryside this week taking photos...so my 'flash' is a little more literal! I wrote a post a few weeks ago about using images as inspiration for writing, so I thought I'd showcase a few photographs I've taken this week which I already plan to use for the writing projects I have coming up in the near future.

If you've taken a look at the blurb for my book, BLACKFIN SKY, you'll know that the pier in Blackfin is a pretty major feature of the novel. This is a bigger version of what I wrote about, but as it's 20 minutes from my house, it probably sowed the seed!


I'm going to be working on an outline for a new MS this week, and this image is one which has inspired the plot a little bit...SECRET CAVE FTW.


Aaaaaannnd, my next-but-one MS, which is going to be a historical fantasy, might just have a scene set in this room...


A bit Downton, isn't it??

Anyway, they're some photos I've snapped on my travels this week. Hope you liked them!


Do you use images to inspire your writing projects? 


Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Winner of the September "I, Reader" Giveaway

And the winner of a copy of SKIN DEEP by Laura Jarratt is...


VikLit!


Congratulations, VikLit! Your book will be in the mail to you soon.

Thanks to everyone who entered. There will be another awesome book giveaway next month!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

I, Reader: SKIN DEEP by Laura Jarratt

I, READER
I asked for recommendations on twitter for a contemporary YA with a really intense romantic relationship, and this book was recommended to me by the wonderful Molly Ker Hawn. And it was exactly what I wanted: intense and heartbreaking, all at once.


Don't forget, you too can win a copy of SKIN DEEP - just leave a comment on this post for a chance to win! **NOW CLOSED**

Here is the back cover blurb:


'I wanted to say this morning, only you ran off...Sorry if I was rude.' The boy from the boat grinned, looking straight at me. 'You surprised me, that's all. The scar' - he touched his face - 'took me by surprise. I didn't mean to be rude.' I gaped at him. Nobody ever, ever mentioned the scars.

After the car crash that leaves her best friend dead, Jenna struggles to rebuild her life. But every stare in the street, every glance in the mirror, makes her want to hide away. And then Ryan turns up - a tall, good-looking traveller unlike anyone Jenna's ever met before.

Can he help to put her world back together, or will he just break her heart?





Why did this book stand out?

I've mentioned in previous posts (or was it tweets?) that I'm broadening my reading horizons, particularly when it comes to contemporary YA, which has always been a bit of a blind spot for me. And SKIN DEEP is such an easy read, the characters totally engrossing (I'll talk about that more in a second), the setting and what happens so believable that I actually got lost in the story at some point in the first chapter and didn't emerge until I finished the last page.

The story is told in dual 1st person POV, which I will confess is a favourite of mine (I like getting into people's heads, and this seems the most expedient way to get there). Jenna has had a truly terrible thing happen to her, and that has had a huge impact on her life. But while it has obviously affected her, changed the person that she is, it hasn't made her self-absorbed or depressed or anything which would - for me - be a barrier to liking her. And Ryan was a fantastic character, too - he has his own issues to deal with, judged for being a traveller by the people he meets and isolated by his mother's illness. But he's funny, and charming, and a little bit rogueish, while at the same time having the courage to do what he knows is right and fighting for the things he believes in.

I finished reading SKIN DEEP a few days ago, and it has left me a little heartsick that I can't read it all over again without knowing what's going to happen. That said - and without spoilerifying - I thought the ending was exactly right for the story. I pretty much inhaled this book, it was so good!

SKIN DEEP is definitely in my top 3 reads so far this year!

**Leave a comment by 8pm GMT on 10th September for your chance to win a copy of SKIN DEEP. One commenter will be chosen at random. Open internationally.****NOW CLOSED - thanks to all who entered!**

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Happy Release Day! EVER by Jessa Russo

To celebrate EVER's rebirth, and Jessa Russo’s first step into the indie self-publishing world, she is giving you the first chapter of EVER for FREE! Yup! FREE! You can read along, decide if you want more, then click on one of the buy links below to grab a copy for yourself! *Paperbacks available soon!


Check out the FREE first chapter HERE


We're also having some fun on Twitter (details below), and Jessa has also compiled TWO prize packs of super awesome stuff! There will be one (1) lucky winner in the US, and one (1) lucky winner Internationally! Want to know what we’re giving away? 




***GIVEAWAY FUN!***

The winner(s) will receive the following items:


US ONLY Prize Pack (ONE winner):
Set of 4: custom Frankie4Ever / Toby4Ever Coasters (2 of each) + Signed EVER bookmarks +
Signed paperback copy of EVER by Jessa Russo (YA)
Complete set* of The Darkness Falls Trilogy e-books from Krystal Wade (YA)
*Includes WILDE'S FIRE, WILDE'S ARMY and WILDE'S MEADOW
Signed paperback copy of EYRE HOUSE by Cait Greer (NA, adult content)
Paperback copy of THE CHARGE by Sharon Bayliss (YA)
Paperback copy of SEALED WITH A CURSE by Cecy Robson (A, mature content)

INTERNATIONAL Prize Pack (ONE winner):

E-book of EVER by Jessa Russo (YA)
Complete set* of The Darkness Falls Trilogy e-books from Krystal Wade (YA)
*Includes WILDE'S FIRE, WILDE'S ARMY and WILDE'S MEADOW
E-book of THE CHARGE by Sharon Bayliss (YA)
E-book of BROKEN FOREST by Eliza Tilton (YA)
E-book of THE VALENTINE CHALLENGE by Marisa Cleveland (A, mature content)
E-book of THE GATHERING DARKNESS by Lisa Collicutt (YA)
E-book of 1,000 SLEEPLESS NIGHTS by Connie Michael

ENTER HERE:
a Rafflecopter giveaway | a Rafflecopter giveaway



***TWITTER FUN!***


We're also going to be tweeting a bit today, to celebrate not just EVER's re-release (hashtag: #EVERTrilogy), but also playing up a major theme of the book--Ever's love for her deceased best friend. We'll be tweeting the theme with the hashtag #IfICouldBringBack and then sharing who we would bring back and why, or what we'd do with them, etc.

So, sticking with EVER as my example, the main female character of the series may tweet something like this:

#IfICouldBringBack Frankie, I'd finally tell him the truth. That I've loved him since we were in diapers. #EVERTrilogy 

Who would you want to bring back? An old flame? A relative? Maybe a famous author or dignitary? Think about it and join in the fun on Sunday, 9/1/13! We'll see you on Twitter!




***BOOK DETAILS!***


EVER

The EVER Trilogy, Book One 

By Jessa Russo
September 1, 2013

Seventeen-year-old Ever’s love life has been on hold for the past two years. She’s secretly in love with her best friend Frankie, and he’s completely oblivious. Of course, it doesn't help that he’s dead, and waking up to his ghost every day has made moving on nearly impossible. 

Frustrated and desperate for something real, Ever finds herself falling for her hot new neighbor Toby. His relaxed confidence is irresistible, and not just Ever knows it. But falling for Toby comes with a price that throws Ever’s life into a whirlwind of chaos and drama. More than hearts are on the line, and more than Ever will suffer.


Some girls lose their hearts to love. 

Some girls lose their minds.
Ever Van Ruysdael could lose her soul.



Jessa Russo's Links:



Stay tuned for the second book in the trilogy, EVADE, set to release on October 1st, 2013! 

You can now add EVADE on Goodreads!


Remember to follow EVER's 9/1/13 re-release day FUN on Twitter with these hashtags: 


#EVERTrilogy

and 

#IfICouldBringBack