Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Favourite Reads of 2015




In no particular order, these are my 10 favourite YA & MG reads for this year.


1. The Boy Who Drew the Future by Rhian Ivory

Why I loved it: So haunting, with great historical detail woven into the mystery. It sweeps you right along to a powerful ending where the two narratives intersect.




2. The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

Why I loved it: I've never read anything quite as disturbing or unique as this. The characters, the premise, even the format, are so skilfully disjointed that it keeps you guessing and second-guessing everything, right to the last page.








3. The D'Evil Diaries by Tatum Flynn

DuplicityWhy I loved it: Jinx is an absolutely adorable main character, especially for a demon, and the situations he gets into with Tommy on their adventure through Hell are hilarious.







4. Duplicity by N K Traver

Why I loved it: Duplicity has basically everything you'd want in a YA cyber thriller - great characters, intense plot, high stakes etc. But what really made this stand out was the humour and grit, and the main character was kind of a loveable asshole. It was basically my ideal book.








5. The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

Why I loved it: The voice really hooked me, along with a fairly bizarre plot and rather dreamy cast of characters. 









6. Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Why I loved it: The same reasons everyone else on the planet seems to love it - Simon Vs was funny, romantic, and it made my heart happy. 









7. When My Heart Was Wicked by Tricia Stirling

Why I loved it: I would compare it to The Accident Season in a lot of ways - the dreamy tone, the lyrical writing and off-beat characters. It's one of those books you think about for a long time after reading.







8. Seed by Lisa Heathfield

Why I loved it: Truly, truly creepy, with an extra dollop of creepy on the side.











9. The One Thing by Marci Lyn Curtis

Why I loved it: This was such a great blend of contemporary and magical realism, with characters I fell in love with and a swoony romance.









10. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Why I loved it: This was such old school geeky goodness! I listened to it on audiobook, and Wil Wheaton's reading of it was just perfect.






The Lost and the Found

ETA (because I'm an idiot and just realised I hadn't included one of my definite faves...)

11. The Lost and the Found by Cat Clarke

Why I loved it: Like all of Cat Clarke's books, it was heart-wrenching and gut-clenching and fist-bitey from start to finish, and with twists you'll never see coming.


What were your favourites this year?

Kat x

Monday, 28 December 2015

My 2015 in review

January

I started 2015 with some great news: my second book deal! BREAKER was announced as my follow-up to BLACKFIN SKY, with Running Press buying world rights from my marvellous agent, Ms Molly Ker Hawn. There was much excitement, let me tell you. I also joined a great bunch of UK authors blogging over at Author Allsorts.

February

The first ever UKYA Extravaganza event was held in Birmingham, and I was one of the 35 or so YA authors who went along to talk to the readers, bloggers, and aspiring writers who snapped up the tickets. It was such a great success my book sold out in the first few minutes, and I was left signing bookmarks and posters to hand out! I got to meet lots of UK YA authors whose books I love, so I did my share of fangirling while I was there, too.

March

To celebrate World Book Day, I held a couple of international giveaways of BLACKFIN SKY. Apart from that, it was a month where I focused on writing the first draft of a new YA novel, and not much else.

April

Still drafting... still drafting... and I announced my THIRD book deal!!! Yes, that's right, books 2 & 3 will both be out in 2016. The third is called PURGE, and sold to Firefly Press (again, the work of Marvellous Molly).

I also went on my first ever writing retreat to Criccieth in North Wales. It was arranged by the dazzling Dawn Kurtagich, author of THE DEAD HOUSE (which I loved) and THE CREEPER MAN (which I cannot wait to read), and much fun was had. I intended to finish the major edits to that novel I mentioned above, and while I did some, I didn't finish it. In fact, there was just something not quite working with it... so I worked on another project for a little bit, ate ice cream on the beach (it was unseasonably warm in Criccieth) and got to know a great bunch of authors.

May & June

These 2 months were mostly taken up by edits for BREAKER, alternating with revisions for my manuscript-in-progress. Also some sunbathing, which took my skin one shade away from looking like an extra from The Walking Dead for the first time since I was a child. I'm calling that a win.

July

YALC! In London! Where I did an agent-author talk with Marvellous Molly! It was a fantastic weekend full of schmoozing, signing, and star-spotting at London Film & Comic Con.

August

I was lucky enough to be invited to do a panel event with Cat Clarke, who is absolutely lovely as well as being an amazing author. She was promoting her latest novel - THE LOST AND THE FOUND - and I talked about BLACKFIN SKY. It was great fun, and I loved exploring the festival and the city of Edinburgh for the first time.

September 

More edits, more drafting, and the cover reveal for BREAKER! I am still in love with it, especially that creepy owl. And the feathery clouds. And the two figures walking across the school roof. FINE, the whole thing.


October

Still revising, editing, drafting, etc. I did some fun Halloween posts, wrote a short story called MOON SEASON for Simon P Clark's 1031 Story Challenge, got dressed up as a witch, and read a few horror novels. I also snuck out to see Nothing But Thieves playing in Manchester, and they were excellent.

I started getting into my exercise/audiobook regime more seriously this month, which saw an increase in my fitness level, and decrease in my writing productivity.

November

This month, I set up a pre-Christmas giveaway of BLACKFIN SKY over on Goodreads, and otherwise holed up in my writing cave to finish BREAKER edits and work on a few other projects. I emerged briefly to celebrate my birthday, then scampered back to the cave with cake around my mouth.

December

I started work on a new project, finished the final FINAL proofing for BREAKER, and generally got quite fat on turkey and sweets. Oh, and my husband gave me a brand new fleece poncho for Christmas. I think it makes me look like a friendlier version of Frank, the rabbit from Donnie Darko. What do you think?


Happy holidays!

Kat x

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Win one of 5 signed copies of BLACKFIN SKY, and get it in time for the holidays!

Why yes, I am subtly hinting that you could give a signed copy of my book to a loved one this December. Maybe that loved one is yourself, that's cool.

To be in with a chance to win one of 5 signed copies of BLACKFIN SKY (US edition), simply enter this here Goodreads giveaway before 5th December:




Goodreads Book Giveaway

Blackfin Sky by Kat Ellis

Blackfin Sky

by Kat Ellis

Giveaway ends December 05, 2015.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway


Good luck!

Kat out x

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Out and about this Halloween

I went to see the band Nothing But Thieves last week, and they were amazing. They've been on my radar since their debut single 'Ban all the music' was released, and I snapped up tickets to go and see them in a tiny venue in Manchester when they came up. It was the first stop on their tour, I believe, and the singer seemed so genuinely pleased to have sold out the venue, it made me like them even more. Seemed like the sort of chap you could have a pleasant drink with, you know? Anyway, here's a really cool song they did for Radio 1's Live Lounge a while back.



Being in a Halloween frame of mind, I went to see Crimson Peak the other day. Visually, it was gorgeous - great sets, amazing costumes - and I enjoyed it, with a few reservations. I won't say anything spoilery, and if you see it and love it, then great.

On the writing side of things, I finished my copyedits sliiiiightly early, so decided to squeeze in a little writing outside of the stuff I'm actually supposed to be working on (next-next book and next-next-next book, yikes...) and whipped up a short story for Simon P Clark's annual 1031 Story Challenge. It's a creepy oldy Welshy witchy thing, and it's called MOON SEASON. You can check that out here, if you like, and follow the hashtag #1031Story on Twitter.

For All Hallows Eve, I and my authorly coven sisters, Dawn Kurtagich (THE DEAD HOUSE) and Tatum Flynn (THE D'EVIL DIARIES) will be ensorcelling our way onto Serendipity Viv's blog with some wicked fun stuff for the 'Ween. Do check it out later this week.

And finally, another band I'm absolutely smitten with at the moment is Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats. I heard them on Jools Holland a few weeks ago, and they're keeping me company (in audio form, at least) as I work on revising the next manuscript. Here's a belting track from their new album.


Kat out x

Friday, 23 October 2015

On audiobooks, exercise, and the myth of 'extra time'

When I left my day job to become a full-time writer back in December, I made a sort of promise that I was going to use all the extra time* I now had to do things like exercise and catch up on my staggeringly huge TBR pile. I didn't really make a lot of headway with either for a few months as I was determinedly slogging through the first draft of a new manuscript, and felt guilty for not devoting every single second to what was now officially my 'work'. 

To con myself into leaving my writing cave for at least an hour a day, I decided to combine exercise with attacking my TBR, and so started going on long walks while listening to audiobooks. The results of this have been:

1) I feel much fitter. 
2) I am not in the slightest bit thinner, except for my ankles.
3) I have completed my Goodreads Reading Challenge to read 50 books this year (the audiobooks were a big boost to my total.)
4) I have been listening to books outside my usual binge-zone because I like a bargain, and tend to snap up audiobooks when they're on offer even if I might not read the book. 

This being the case, I'm calling my audiobook-walking regime a huge success, and I'm going to keep at it. And here are my 3 absolute favourite audiobooks to date (click the images to go to their Goodreads pages, from whence I nicked the blurbs):

DUPLICITY by N. K. Traver

(Definitely one of my favourite reads this year. Maybe ever. I loved the characters, the plot, the crazy premise - all of it. I fangirled over the author and checked that there was going to be a sequel, and lo! There is. Colour me happy!)

A computer-hacking teen. The girl who wants to save him. And a rogue mirror reflection that might be the death of them both.

In private, seventeen-year-old Brandon hacks bank accounts just for the thrill of it. In public, he looks like any other tattooed bad boy with a fast car and devil-may-care attitude. He should know: he’s worked hard to maintain that façade. With inattentive parents who move constantly from city to city, he’s learned not to get tangled up in things like friends and relationships. So he’ll just keep living like a machine, all gears and wires.

Then two things shatter his carefully-built image: Emma, the kind, stubborn girl who insists on looking beneath the surface – and the small matter of a mirror reflection that starts moving by itself. Not only does Brandon’s reflection have a mind of its own, but it seems to be grooming him for something—washing the dye from his hair, yanking out his piercings, swapping his black shirts for … pastels. Then it tells him: it thinks it can live his life better, and it’s preparing to trade places.

And when it pulls Brandon through the looking-glass, not only will he need all his ill-gotten hacking skills to escape, but he’s going to have to face some hard truths about who he’s become. Otherwise he’ll be stuck in a digital hell until he’s old and gray, and no one will even know he's gone.


READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline

(I'm a massive nerd when it comes to sci-fi, and this ticked every single box for me - including having the awesome Wil Wheaton as the narrator. Computer games, classic and cult science fiction references, and epic robot battle simulations...? I'm in!)

In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the  OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.



SOULLESS by Gail Carriger

(This is one I might never have gotten around to if I hadn't got it on audiobook, and I would  have missed out on a fabulous book! I loved the main character, Alexia, and the tongue-in-cheek humour throughout. I'll definitely be continuing the series.)

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. 

First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire--and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?


____

I'll update with any future audiobook recommendations in a few months. In the meantime, if you have loved an audiobook and want to point me in its direction, please do so in the comments! My ankles will thank you.


Kat out x

extra time does not exist. It is a mythical creature that is consumed before it ever truly comes into being by chores, work, and the occasional unexpected nap.

Monday, 28 September 2015

BREAKER cover reveal!

I've been dying to unleash this little beauty on the world for some time now, so without further ado, check out the cover for my next book, BREAKER!



Coming May 24, 2016 from Running Press Teen

Kyle Henry has a new name, a new school, and a new life—one without the shadow of the Bonebreaker hanging over him. It's been a year since his serial killer father's execution, and it finally looks like things are turning around for Kyle. 
Until he recognizes the girl sitting in the back row in homeroom. 
Naomi Steadman is immediately intrigued by Killdeer Academy's newcomer. She does not know he is the son of the man who murdered her mother. What she does know is she and Kyle have a connection with each other—and a spark that Kyle continues to back away from. 
Soon after Kyle’s arrival, the death count on campus starts to rise. Someone is set on finishing what the Bonebreaker started, and murdering ghosts from the past may be the only thing that can stop the spree.
Told in alternating viewpoints, Kat Ellis’s tale of mystery and horror is full of broken bonds and new beginnings.



What do you think?? 

I hope you love it as much as I do -- HUGE thanks to T L Bonaddio at Running Press for the design.

If you would like to add BREAKER to your Goodreads to-read list, you can do that here

There are also some handy links to online retailers to the right if you're feeling especially awesome and want to preorder it. (Preorders are more precious than unicorns to a starving author, you know.)

Kat out x

Thursday, 10 September 2015

The Edinburgh Scoop... and BTW, have you voted for me in the Edinburgh First Book Awards yet?

Hello!

Emerging from the editing swamp to link to that full write-up of my Edinburgh Book Festival gig which is over on the Firefly Press site, aaaaaand to ask super-sweetly if you would mind voting for BLACKFIN SKY in the Edinburgh First Book Awards?


Voting is open until 16th October, and you can vote from any country. You can of course vote for a book other than BLACKFIN SKY, but really, why would you?


Thanks for voting!

Kat out x

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

The Edinburgh Adventure

Last week, I hit the road with my husband to go up to Scotland for the first time ever. I was lucky enough to be invited to do an event with the lovely & awesome Cat Clarke titled 'The Disappeared' on 18th August as part of Edinburgh Book Festival, and I had so much fun! I've done a write-up of the event, and that should appear over on Firefly Press's site in the next few days, so keep an eye out if you missed it and wish you hadn't.

Me & Cat Clarke discussing 'The Disappeared' at Edinburgh Book Festival

2 days in Edinburgh wasn't nearly enough, though, and I was a little gutted as we left the beautiful city that we hadn't had more time to explore - not only the sprawl of the festival, but Edinburgh itself. That said, I got to meet Cat for drinks; met my wonderful agency-mate Cecilia Vinesse (check out her amazing book deal news here!) and her delightful partner, Rachel Holmes; explored the castle; wandered through the Fringe; and watched my husband's face as he tried haggis for breakfast. (I admit, I couldn't face it. I have an issue eating anything that's been used as a filter.)


By the way, there's still time to vote for me/BLACKFIN SKY in the Edinburgh First Book Award. I would LOVE it if you did!

Next we headed down to the Lake District for a couple of days as a midway stop on our journey home. Windermere was lovely, even though it rained pretty much the entire time we were there. But we went out on the lake, took the car ferry to Hawkshead and mooched around various Beatrix Potter exhibits, and ate some rather splendid food. (No haggis.)


A photo posted by Kat Ellis (@katelliswrites) on

A confession, though: this was my first 'holiday' since becoming a published author, and it was kinda hard being away from my laptop. Sad, right? I also missed this evil little face.



Kat out x

Monday, 10 August 2015

Behind the scenes of THE DEAD HOUSE book trailers

THE DEAD HOUSE - the amazing horror debut by my pal Dawn Kurtagich - is out now in the UK (coming next month for all you US peeps). A couple of months ago, Dawn, Amy (my little sis) and I went out on location to film footage for the teaser trailers being released around the book's release.

The first teaser trailer can be viewed here, and the second is over on Entertainment Weekly's site here. I may be biased, but I think Dawn and Amy have done an amazing job bringing the book to life on screen with these snippets - but fair warning, they are creepy as heck!

If you want even MORE of a sneak peek into the world of THE DEAD HOUSE, check out some shots I got of the filming...

Some of the props: The diary, the novel Carly is reading in Trailer 1, and the make-up
(the hula hoop was also very entertaining in between takes.)

Dawn and Amy filming a scene where Carly writes in her diary
Carly at sunset, when Kaitlyn will soon rise to the surface...

The transformation process begins: Carly becomes Kaitlyn with the aid of some very dark eyeshadow...

Moooooore eyeshadow....

Amy Lloyd as Kaitlyn writing a diary entry (not really in character for this pic...)
Kaitlyn and the girl in the mirror - EEP!

Out on location to film one of the night time chapel scenes

Amy, Dawn and me celebrating the end of filming!

Hope you've enjoyed this look behind the scenes! Find out more about THE DEAD HOUSE here.

Kat out x


Friday, 31 July 2015

Some news about BREAKER, and a few other things

I have now seen the second draft cover for BREAKER, and I have to say, it is a bloody good cover. For reals. I don't think it'll be too long now before I can reveal it to the world, and I am pretty excited about it.

But that isn't the only news -- you can now pre-order BREAKER from The Book Depository! Not gonna lie, it would make me extremely happy if you did. You can do so here. (Thank you thank you thank you!!!)

On a completely different note, you might remember I posted the first book trailer for Dawn Kurtagich's THE DEAD HOUSE a few weeks ago. Well, now there's a brilliant brand-new second trailer for it, again featuring my very talented sister Amy Lloyd, over on Entertainment Weekly. Check it out here, but warning: it's scary as hell.

As you have guessed from my pyjamas (because I'm sure you can tell from the tone of this post that I'm wearing pyjamas as I write it), I'm still in the editing cave, but am on track to finish this round of edits today -- hooray! Then tomorrow I'll be cutting down my neighbour's tree, just to keep things interesting. Know that I'll be singing this in my head as I do it, whether I want to or not:



Kat out x

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

YALC Wrap-up!

That was QUITE a hectic weekend! When I say 'hectic', I of course mean fabulous, but with tired, achy feet. YALC 2015 was a roaring success, with loads of amazing panels and workshops and free sweets in the green room (shh, that's probably meant to be a secret!) and author signings a-plenty.

As I'm meant to be thigh-deep wading through the editing swamp, I'll limit my ravings to a few bullet points of My Favourite Things from the Con:


  • Getting lost immediately when I arrived in London, looking up and spotting author Tatum Flynn sipping prosecco on a balcony (as you do).
  • Watching Dawn Kurtagich talk horror at the first panel of the con, and being glamorous AF with her senorita fan and platform sneaks.
  • Joining my amazing agent Molly Ker Hawn to talk in the Agents' Arena about how agents and authors work together, and getting lots of smart, interesting questions from the folks who attended. 
  • Checking out Firefly Press's fabulous stand, and signing quite a few copies of BLACKFIN SKY!
  • Meeting fellow Molly-clients Simon P. Clark (EREN) and Alwyn Hamilton (REBEL OF THE SANDS).
  • Seeing all the cosplayers (though I was devastated not to spot Hayley Atwell or Sigourney Weaver, sob!)
  • Catching up with friends old and new, and meeting lots of twitter pals and bloggers and writers for the first time. Y'all know who you are. *MWAH*

Here are some snaps from the weekend...

Molly Ker Hawn & me talking agenty-authory stuff:


THE DEAD HOUSE, before it sold out; Dawn Kurtagich, making herself at home onstage; Casual Sith. 



    

Me with Janet Thomas from Firefly Press, and BLACKFIN SKY on the wall of books & on the Firefly Press stand!
 


 
With Moira Fowley-Doyle, and with Frances Hardinge, getting books signed.

 

Dawn, me & Hayley Long (whom I've waited to meet for AGES and she is AWESOME.)



L-R below: Me, Tatum Flynn, Marieke Nijkamp, Sarah Benwell, Lucinda Murray, Luna (of the Little Library), E M Castellan, Dawn Kurtagich. Photo belongs to Tatum Flynn, but I nicked it off twitter.





Monday, 6 July 2015

YALC and celebrations and cake

Hello! I figured it was time to emerge from my (sweaty) editing cave to give an update on the ol' blog.

A couple of weeks ago, Firefly Press celebrated their first birthday -- a whole year of publishing great YA and children's books! They invited all their authors and other fab peoples from the world of books to mark the occasion down in Cardiff. I went and met/caught up with a ton of wonderful people, and ate some pretty excellent Chinese food. Also, cake.

The Firefly Press crew
Next week, I'm heading down to London for YALC (Young Adult Lit Con, 17-19 July) which is being held within London Film and Comic Con. I will be doing an agent-author talk at 2:30pm on the Saturday with my agent, Molly Ker Hawn, followed by a signing of BLACKFIN SKY at 4:15pm. I'm also really looking forward to attending loads of the talks and workshops, especially the horror event on the Friday, which my pal Dawn Kurtagich is taking part in. There will be photos!

I have also seen the first draft of the cover for my next book, and it is WONDERFUL. I mean, I love it. For realsies. And I can't wait for it to be finalised so I can show the world how pretty it is.

I've started listening to audiobooks while I'm out and about (this is about the only way I can try to gain any ground with my teetering TBR), and have gone through 3 in the last couple of weeks which I absolutely loved. If you're looking for great audiobooks to listen to, I highly recommend READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline (read by the amazing Wil Wheaton!), EVE & ADAM by Michael Grant & Katherine Applegate, and BRUISER by Neal Shusterman. Next on my list is THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray.

As for my non-writing life, I've been taking some time away from the cave to go on a few adventures. Here are some pics taken from my Instagram account (feel free to follow me there, if you are so inclined!):


A photo posted by Kat Ellis (@katelliswrites) on


A photo posted by Kat Ellis (@katelliswrites) on

A photo posted by Kat Ellis (@katelliswrites) on

Kat out x

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Edinburgh Book Festival

Exciting things are afoot! Or will be in August...


On 18th August, I will be doing an event titled 'The Disappeared' with author Cat Clarke at Edinburgh International Book Festival, where we will be talking about making children disappear (just in our books...probably). Tickets and info are available here.




ALSO, my book - BLACKFIN SKY - is up for the First Book Award! Exciting, no? And if you like my book (or like me - I mean, I'm very happy with either) you can vote for me here.

In other news, I have gone straight from editing one book to editing another, and am feeling rather productive. Stealing a bit of time to sit out in the sunshine while I work hasn't hurt, either. My skin has even turned a subtle shade of off-grey, which is thrilling.

Hope you are as excited for summer as I am!

Kat out x

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Smoke signals from Kat's editing cave

These words are being relayed to you from deep within my editing cave, where I am taking a teensy break from editing my next book to share a few bits of good news...

1. BLACKFIN SKY is now officially one year old! It was released in the UK on 14th May last year, and this anniversary of my author-ness feels like a milestone. Not only that, but Firefly Press (UK publisher for BLACKFIN SKY and my 3rd novel, PURGE, which will be out next year) are celebrating a year in publishing this month, and I'm so impressed with the catalogue of amazing books they've produced in such a short space of time. They have 2 more YA novels out this month -- THE TERRITORY by Sarah Govett, which I'm reading (and very much enjoying!) right now, and LOST ON MARS by Paul Magrs, which looks amazing, and is lined up next on my to-read shelf. Firefly also send out a monthly newsletter full of fun stuff, and you can sign up to receive that here if you're into bookish news and author appearances and contests and stuff.

Here's to another year, and many more, of Firefly Press success! *clinks champagne glass* Cheers.

2. You will have seen/heard me shouting my love for the forthcoming THE DEAD HOUSE by Dawn Kurtagich, and this week she released the first teaser-trailer for the book, which comes out in August in the UK. Here it is:


There will be a few more trailers released over the coming months leading up to publication, and I'm excited about this not just because of how brilliant the book is (and it is), but because my sister - Amy Lloyd - is the model in the trailers. Cool, yes? Yes.

3. Finally, I will definitely be going to YALC (Young Adult Lit Con) in London in July. If you're going and want me to sign your copy of BLACKFIN SKY, just tweet me or otherwise indicate your desire for my scrawl, and I'll be happy to oblige. I think Firefly Press will be there selling their YA titles, so chances are you can grab a copy there.

So that's what has been happening outside my cave, but now I must get back to work. I'll update with more news as I have it!

Kat out x

*Rolls boulder back into place over cave entrance*

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Going on retreat, editing, and some handy links

First (and second) part: I went on retreat earlier this month with 5 brilliant authors - Dawn Kurtagich (who masterminded the whole thing), Tatum Flynn, Victoria Schwab, Isabel Sterling, and David Purse. My goal, as stated in front of the others on the first night in our wicked apartment filled with armour and stuffed animals, was to finish a round of edits on my current manuscript. I got a fair bit done, but not a full round; although I did have a lot of ice cream, played jenga, and drove my car onto a beach, so if you take all things into consideration, it was a productive week. More importantly, it was a lot of fun.

Dawn very cleverly put together a video of our adventures, which you can check out here if you're so inclined.



The handy links part: I've taken part in a couple of interviews and guest blogs recently, and you can use these clicky things to check them out:

Where the Ideas Flow (a sneak peek into my writing space) on Serendipity Reviews

Welsh Week Interview on Librarian Lavender

My Top 10 UKYA Books on the UKYA site (I've tried to include some under-the-radar reads in this list, so it isn't just the same old faves trotted out for the zillionth time)

Also coming up in a couple of days is a guest post on Miss Print's site for 'Poetically Speaking' - a blog series to celebrate Poetry Month - in which I talk about Ted Hughes' The Thought Fox. In the meantime, there are already loads of fantastic poetry-themed posts there just waiting for you to have a gander... CLICK TO SEE THE AWESOMENESS

OK, I think that's all I have for you at the moment. Better get back to kicking this manuscript around the room like a thug.

Kat out x

Monday, 13 April 2015

In which I have NEW BOOK NEWS!

Yes, you read that right - a new book! I am delighted to be working with Firefly Press on another book, this time a YA sci fi called PURGE, due for publication Autumn 2016.

This means I'll have 2 books out next year (PURGE, and BREAKER, which will be out in the Spring), and I'm hugely excited to see this story heading out into the world. It's really special to me, and I happen to think it's funny and weird and geeky and romancey and all good things, so I hope readers will like it too! Here's an extract from the press release issued today by Firefly Press:

Penny Thomas, Publisher at Wales-based children’s and YA publisher Firefly Press has acquired World English rights to PURGE, the second young adult thriller for Firefly by author Kat Ellis, from Molly Ker Hawn at the Bent Agency.

Following Kat’s acclaimed debut fantasy thriller BLACKFIN SKY, the new novel is a powerful and romantic excursion into futuristic fantasy. PURGE will be published in autumn 2016, following publication of Kat’s second YA novel BREAKER in the US next spring by Running Press Teen.  
Told in parallel narratives, PURGE features 17-year-old Mason, who has secrets hes desperately trying to keep, like his penchant for the drug known as Pi, and the implant that allows him to hide his deafness. When he's kicked out of yet another community, Mason has no option but to seek shelter with people who believe purging is good for the soul — only in Mason's case, ‘purging’ means having his personality altered through a terrifying virtual reality programme. 
Penny Thomas, Firefly Press Publisher, says: This is a great title for Firefly. Kat is an emerging YA writer of real skill, and a talent for creating scary and compelling new fictional worlds and characters. BLACKFIN SKY was a Junior Library Guild selection in the US and a fantastic read, and I’m certain PURGE will be a big hit with fans and readers new to Kat’s work.’

Here's a link to the announcement on The Bookseller.

What do you think?? If you'd like to add it to your Goodreads TBR, you can do so here.

Kat out x

*skips off into the sunset*

Monday, 9 March 2015

Feeling lucky, punk? Blackfin Sky giveaways and more!

There are 2 giveaways going on right now - both international - where you can win a SIGNED copy of the US edition of Blackfin Sky. These are the links to both, should you wish to enter...

Interview & giveaway on Carmel & Kyla: Troglodytes Approve

Goodreads giveaway (5 copies, WHOOP WHOOP)

(Just as an aside, I'm going to point out that because I live in the UK and the majority of US copies are naturally in the US, VERY FEW have been signed to date. Like, 2 or 3 maybe, ever. So a signed US edition is as rare as hen's teeth. OK, as you were.)

I mentioned a while back that I've joined the awesome folks blogging over at Author Allsorts, and this week saw my first post on the site, where I talked about 5 Things I Wish I'd Known Before Getting Published. I got a lot of nice feedback about it, so I'm chalking it up as a good first outing with the Author Allsorts crew.

Oh, and one last thing before I disappear back into the ether...

Emma Pass and Kerry Drewery, organisers of the fabulous UKYA Extravaganza event I got to be a part of last week, are organising further UKYAX events in future, and have set up a website and facebook page where details will be posted. If you're interested in going to an event, or just want to keep an eye on all the shenanigans, you should check out those links.

Kat out x

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

The UKYAX Aftershow

Hello peeps! If you didn't manage to get to Birmingham for Saturday's UKYA Extravaganza -- or even if you did -- you can catch a write-up of the event by me and Rhian Ivory (The Boy Who Drew the Future, Firefly Press - September 2015) right HERE.

My book, Blackfin Sky, sold out within a matter of minutes, so if you were there and didn't manage to buy a copy to get signed, I'm working on a way to make signed copies available online. I'll put details up here once I have it figured out.

Wonderful blogger Michelle Toy has done a definitive post about the UKYAX event and future plans, and has gathered links to other posts about it right HERE.

Aaaaand, if you just want to see a few random snaps my husband took on the day, you can find those HERE:

Everyone pile in!

Anna McKerrow, author of Crow Moon, recording a vlog

Kate Ormand, author of Dark Days, chatting with me


Christina Banach, author of Minty

Claire Furniss, author of The Year of the Rat

Organisers Emma Pass, author of ACID and The Fearless,
and Kerry Drewery, author of A Dream of Lights, and A Brighter Fear

Eve Ainsworth, author of 7 Days



Talking...

Kendra Leighton, author of Glimpse

Rhian Ivory, author of The Boy Who Drew the Future
The final panel, with me, Rachel Ward, Janet Edwards, Lou Morgan, and Claire Furniss