Tuesday, 25 July 2017

PURGE giveaway!


**GIVEAWAY ALERT!!!**


The good folks at Firefly Press are giving away 10 copies of my young adult sci-fi thriller, PURGE, right now on Goodreads! Enter here before 8 August (UK only). 



Mason and Noah exist in different worlds, but their lives are about to collide.
Mason has a habit of getting into trouble. He's been kicked out of every place he's ever lived in. Moving to the cult-like community of Alteria is definitely a last resort, even if it's better than braving the wastelands outside. But following their strict rules is a hundred times harder when Mason meets Eden, who has a wicked streak to match his own. 
Caught with contraband, Eden is forced into a programme to purge her bad behaviour. But Mason has seen what happens to people who get purged, and knows he will lose Eden if he can't help her find a way out.
Out in the wastelands, Noah has no memory of what happened before he was abandoned in a war zone. All he wants is to know who he is, and if he can trust the strangers who rescued him from the rubble.
With lies surrounding them on all sides, Mason and Noah must piece together the truth if they want to escape. Failure is not an option when it means being purged from existence.






Monday, 10 July 2017

TIED UP IN YOU by Erin Fletcher - book birthday interview

YESSSSSS!


Today a new book comes out by Erin Fletcher, who is not just one of my favourite authors, but someone I've been friends with online for years, and a genuinely kind and lovely person. 



TIED UP IN YOU is the companion novel to ALL LACED UP, the YA ice skater romance which came out last year from Entangled Teen, and which I absolutely adored. Here's what TIED UP IN YOU is all about:

Everyone says hotshot goalie Luke Jackson is God’s gift to girls, but the only girl he wants is his best friend, Malina Hall. He’s always known how brilliant she is, but now that he’s “accidentally” kissed her, he can’t stop thinking about her...or wanting to kiss her again.
Problem is, things have been a little...awkward since the kiss. Because she likes him, too? Hopefully, but even if she did, their futures—and the ridiculous schedules that come with them—are in the way. And now one of his teammates is showing interest, and the guy has more in common with Malina than Jackson ever will.
As her best friend, Jackson should get out of the way. But if there’s one thing he’s learned from hockey, it’s that you have to go for what you want, even if it means falling flat on your face. And he’s definitely falling for Malina.
Disclaimer: This book contains a hot hockey player who goes after what he wants, a super-hot, super-distracting shirtless workout, and the kind of best friends to lovers romance every girl in the friend zone has dreamed of.

You can order it online: 




Doesn't that sound like something you need to run out and buy RIGHT NOW?? Yes. Yes, it does. 

So while you're waiting for your book to arrive/download, check out this quick interview with the author herself... 

Kat: In TIED UP IN YOU, you bring Malina -- girl who's into STEM -- into your world of ice skater romance. Is STEM something you're into?

Erin: I got my degree in mathematics, so I'm definitely into the "M" part of STEM! Unfortunately I was in school before STEM was a thing (yes, I'm old) so I was never an official part of it. I did have to do a lot of STEM research for this book, which was fun! I learned about astronomy and astrophysics as well as a little about coding.

Kat: As well as Luke Jackson, I love that Lia and Pierce from ALL LACED UP also appear in TIED UP IN YOU. Did you enjoy bringing back those characters? How does writing a companion novel compare to writing a standalone?

Erin: It was so great writing those characters again! I loved being able to show that Pierce and Lia's relationship is (spoiler alert) just as strong as it was at the end of ALL LACED UP! In some ways, writing a companion novel was easy because I already knew the world and some of the characters. But it was also challenging because I had to remember what I wrote in the first book, which I am notoriously terrible at!

Kat: How about an insider scoop: one embarrassing thing Malina and/or Luke would HATE anyone to know about them?

Erin: Luke loves listening to music, especially while working out and passing time traveling with his hockey team, and he definitely has some embarassing songs on his phone... As for Malina, she would hate for anyone to know that she loves scary movies, but still has to cover her eyes at the scary parts.

Kat: Can you say anything about what you're working on next?

Erin: I'm currently revising another contemporary YA manuscript that's most similar to my first book, WHERE YOU'LL FIND ME. It's darker and more intense than my last few books, but I'm loving every second spent working on it. We'll see if it makes it into the world someday!



***


Sounds brilliant! Can't wait for more Erin books!

Monday, 3 July 2017

June Wrap-Up

I wrote back in April about the bursary I was awarded by Literature Wales to allow me to focus on writing full time for 3 months, and those 3 months have now come to an end. I'm pleased to say it was a hugely productive time; I completed one manuscript, and wrote 9,000 words of another that's been simmering in the back of my brain for a while. Fingers crossed one or both will find a publisher! Thanks so much to Literature Wales for giving me their support and the opportunity of the writers' bursary.

Speaking of my writing, it was wonderful to see my books being talked about a bit online recently; in particular I loved this post about 'What keeps us coming back to the circus?' by Sarah at The Copper Boom, which mentions Blackfin Sky, and this excellent review of Purge by Amy Kitcher. <3

June also marked the halfway point for the Goodreads Reading Challenge, for which I set myself a target of reading 80 books in 2017. As of the end of June, I have just passed 40 books read, which -- by some miracle -- means I'm on track to finish on time. That was helped by a pretty solid reading month during which I inhaled these beauties:



Let's begin with the Netgalley reads, of which there were 3 this month.

FLIGHT OF A STARLING by Lisa Heathfield is about two sisters, Rita and Lo, and their lives within a travelling circus. It's all thrown into chaos when Lo falls in love with a boy who isn't from their world, who she can never be with unless she gives up the only life she knows. There's such a magical quality to Lisa Heathfield's writing and the worlds she builds; even when I knew my heart would be run through the wringer by Flight of a Starling, I couldn't help falling in love with Rita and Lo, their rootless lives with the circus, and the boy whose arrival means everything is about to change. It was a magnificent book, very much alive and pulsing with feeling. 

NO FILTER by Orlagh Collins tells the story of Emerald, who is beginning her summer in Dublin, where she doesn't want to be following a family crisis; and Liam, who is clinging to this summer before setting out on a path he can't escape, no matter how much he wants to. The two have such different lives, it was hard to see at first where they would find common ground, but it didn't take long to see how perfect Liam and Em were together, though of course there are HUGE obstacles trying to keep them apart. No Filter was poignant, heart-warming, and a wonderful summer read. I particularly loved the Irish setting, the voices of the two main characters, and the way social media plays a part in the story. 


A bunch of teens blasted into space as part of a reality TV show? There was no way I could not pick up WASTE OF SPACE by Gina Damico after reading the premise! Waste of Space is such a weird, brilliant satire, and takes some pretty dark twists as the secrets behind the show are revealed through found footage, reports, and phone transcripts. It was very smart, funny, and unlike anything I've read before. I read Hellhole by Gina Damico a few weeks ago, and her style is easily recognisable in Waste of Space, even with the genre switch and different format of the novel. I will definitely be reading more of her backlist, and keeping an eye out for whatever comes next.

So those were my Netgalley reads. I also began a brilliant romance trilogy by Lisa Glass, and read the first 2 this month (or listened to the audiobooks, actually, which were really good). 


BLUE begins with Iris, a 16-year-old Cornish surfer who meets up-and-coming surf star Zeke Francis in a yoga class. Throw in a recent heartbreak, an exciting surf contest, and a whole heap of twists and turns, and you have a brilliant summer read that will make you reach for the next book in the series immediately... as I did. AIR sees Iris and Zeke set off to make their mark in the international surf world while trying to figure out how to be together when they're surrounded by the pressures, challenges, and general chaos of their lives. Both books were seriously, seriously great, and I couldn't resist diving straight into the 3rd instalment right away (to be included in next month's wrap-up!)


Keeping with the summery theme, I listened to the audiobook of Morgan Matson's THE UNEXPECTED EVERYTHING, which was a fun romance between Andie, a politician's daughter, and Clark, a teen author who's battling with writer's block. 


Next I veered into darker territory: Dawn Kurtagich's THE DEAD HOUSE is one of the most original, gripping, and creepy books I have ever read, so when NAIDA -- the follow-up novella -- was released in the UK last month, I snapped it up. If you loved The Dead House as I did, you need to grab Naida. It's a thrilling return to that twisted world, and gives a fascinating insight into what really happened that fateful night at Elmbridge...


FINDING SKY by Joss Stirling has been hanging around on my TBR for a good long while. Sky is the new English girl in an American school; Zed is the bad boy who can somehow hear her thoughts. It took me back to a lot of the tropes that made me fall in love with YA in the first place, and although I feel like these date the book a little bit now (it was published in 2010, so fair enough!) it was still a fun read.


Finally, my adult book for the month was THE POWER by Naomi Alderman. This was an absolute corker -- beginning with the idea that women across the world begin developing a strange ability that allows them to emit an incapacitating (and sometimes lethal) electric charge through touch, and taking some very dark and twisting turns to a gut-wrenching conclusion. It's a brilliant book, with characters I cared about and a plot I didn't see coming. 


And that was it for my June reads, and the 6 month TBR I planned for the first half of 2017. So I needed to plan ahead for my next 6 months' reading, which I did here. I'll add to and change this list a bit as I go along. 


Aside from writing and reading stuff, I also celebrated my 10th wedding anniversary in June, which was a bit special. Ian and I began dating the summer before I started university in Manchester. I think most people thought it was doomed -- I was leaving North Wales, and he worked full time for his family business, so we were heading straight into a long-distance relationship. But somehow it worked. We moved in together when I was 19 and at uni (he sort of sneaked into my halls of residence...) and have now been together for 16 years. I don't get into personal stuff much online, but as a YA author I think it's kind of nice that I can honestly say sometimes a teen romance really does work out for the long haul.







I'll sign off with that, and with a song I've been listening to a lot this month. 




Kat out x

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Reading Schedule: July - December 2017

This is my reading schedule for the second half of 2017; my goal for the year is to read 80 books (at time of writing, I've read 39 so far this year.)

Where there's a theme to my reading, I've made a note of that. I have also marked any titles which are new releases that month, or which I have received for review from Netgalley (and these all release the following month). Per my pledge at the beginning of the year, I'll aim to read at least one adult book per month, and the rest are YA.



July

A couple of pre-YALC titles here...

SLEEPER by Mackenzie Cadenhead (Netgalley)
TIED UP IN YOU by Erin Fletcher (New release)
RIDE by Lisa Glass
FAHRENHEIT 451 by Ray Bradbury (Adult)
TORN by Cat Clarke
ORANGEBOY by Patrice Lawrence
THE CURIOUS TALE OF THE LADY CARABOO by Catherine Johnson
NOAH CAN'T EVEN by Simon James Green (New release)

August

Mostly summery reads this month...

HAUNT ME by Liz Kessler (Netgalley)
ODD & TRUE by Cat Winters (Netgalley)
THINGS A BRIGHT GIRL CAN DO by Sally Nicholls (Netgalley)
DAUGHTER OF THE BURNING CITY by Amanda Foody (Netgalley)
GEORGIA PEACHES AND OTHER FORBIDDEN FRUIT by Jaye Robin Brown
UNDER ROSE-TAINTED SKIES by Louise Gornall
ALLEGIANCE OF HONOUR by Nalini Singh (Adult)
THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR by Nicola Yoon


September

THE HANGING GIRL by Eileen Cook (Netgalley)
MONSTER by Michael Grant (Netgalley)
LOCKWOOD & Co.: THE EMPTY GRAVE by Jonathan Stroud (New release - last in series)
HOPE by Rhian Ivory (New release)
ARCHANGEL'S VIPER by Nalini Singh (New release - Adult)
IN ANOTHER LIFE by Laura Jarratt


October

Spooky/scary reads, of course!

NOT YET DARK by Simon P. Clark (New release)
THE WICKED WE HAVE DONE by Sarah Harian (Adult)
FLESH AND BLOOD by Simon Cheshire
BAD BONES by Graham Marks
THE CALL by Peadar O'Guilin
THE WITCH OF SALT & STORM by Kendall Kulper


November

It's my birthday this month, so I'll mostly read whatever takes my fancy from the TBR shelf (or whatever I'm given!)

STILL LIFE WITH TORNADO by A S King
DARKFEVER by Karen Marie Moning (Adult)



December

Will I have anything festive to add to this month's list? Who can say...

SILVER SILENCE by Nalini Singh (New release - Adult)



You'll see it is sparser toward the end of the year -- I'll update this list as I get more to add to it.




Monday, 26 June 2017

BREAKER - a Goodreads giveaway

Hello!

A very quick post to say there's a Goodreads giveaway happening right now (ends 29 June) where you can enter to win one of 3 copies of my YA serial killer thriller, BREAKER.


Enter HERE.

Good luck!

Kat out x

Monday, 19 June 2017

#AuthorsForGrenfell

An auction is being held to raise money for those affected by the devastating Grenfell Tower fire in London. Several authors and publishing industry professionals have donated items to the auction, which includes a PURGE swag pack and a query & first 50 page manuscript critique by me. To bid on any of the items, check out the auction site.

Please bid for an item if you can, and share the link to the auction so we can raise as much money as possible. All proceeds will go to the British Red Cross to provide support where it is most needed. The auction ends Tuesday 27 June.

Thank you supporting this effort in whatever way you can!

ETA:

The Authors for Grenfell auction fundraiser is now closed, and I have just seen it announced that the current total raised has reached £165k. It was humbling to see the generosity of bidders in the auction, and I'm so glad I could play even a tiny part in helping to raise funds for the tenants of Grenfell Tower. I'm also immensely proud of my agent, Molly Ker Hawn, who was one of the organisers of the fundraiser -- she has the kindest heart, and always turns that kindness into positive action.

Kat x

Friday, 2 June 2017

May Wrap-up!

It's halfway through the year. Who ever thought we'd make it this far?? *Laughs weakly*

May was a good one in writing terms: it brought me to midway through my Literature Wales Writer's Bursary-funded 3 months, during which time I've finished one MS and written a decent chunk of another -- about 10k so far -- which is looking like it's going to be a quirky romantic suspense. We'll see how that pans out (my books tend to veer off into dark places). But I submitted my midterm report for the bursary, so now I have one more month to go, and I'm determined to make it as productive as humanly possible. I'd like to have at least half a first draft of this new MS by then. Hold me to it, folks.

I also went on a writing retreat last month to a farmhouse deep in the countryside around Welshpool with 3 fab writer ladies: Dawn Kurtagich, the wonderful horror author who organises these things, Tatum Flynn, who writes hilarious MG novels and creates amazing art, and Jenn Faughnan, who writes fantasy and is a digital marketing whizz. And Auri the dog, of course.



(L-R: me, Tatum Flynn, Dawn Kurtagich, Auri, and Jenn Faughnan)


Many words were written on the retreat, but we did also squeeze in a trip to the magnificent Powys Castle. Dawn got the staff to tell us ghost stories connected to the place, and they even showed us a secret staircase.

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But what did I read last month? Take a look.


I'll begin with the 2 books I got via the good fellows at NetGalley. First up, ONE OF US IS LYING by Karen McManus begins with 5 seemingly unconnected teens going into detention - but only 4 of them will leave the room alive. Which one of them is a killer? This is such a great YA thriller - a dark mystery with interesting characters who play on common high school tropes and become more and more intriguing as the plot unfolds. There were plenty of twists along the way, and a fast-paced, taut finale that was totally satisfying. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for McManus's next book.

Next was WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI by Sandhya Menon, which I've heard lots of reviewers raving about online, so was really looking forward to reading. It's a cute romance, with 2 differently geeky protagonists in a coder summer camp setting. There was a lot to like about it - the arranged marriage set up; Dimple, who is more interested in coding than having a boyfriend; Rishi, with his hidden artistic talents, and their really lovely family dynamics on both sides. And I have to also mention the cover, which is absolutely gorgeous - easily one of my favourites of 2017 so far. I'm not sure quite why it's pitched as a rom com - it was definitely a romance for me - but it's one to pick up if you're looking for a fun summer read.


Thanks to NetGalley for those! Also thanks to Hotkey Books, who sent me an early copy of Hayley Long's latest book - THE NEAREST FARAWAY PLACE. I've read a couple of Hayley's older books, and I love her writing - and this new book just blew me away. It tells the story of 2 brothers - Dylan and Griff - dealing with the aftermath of a terrible tragedy, each having to carve a new path, and reflecting on the many roads travelled across the world on their way to Aberystwyth in Wales, and their new home & family. I absolutely adored it, and even did a little cry at a couple of parts. Definite thumbs up.


The next 2 YAs were both audiobooks I listened to while out on my walking adventures. HELLHOLE by Gina Damico (read by Macleod Andrews) is a horror comedy about a boy who accidentally summons a devil, then decides he might as well make a deal to try to save his sick mother's life -- ignoring the fact that devilish agreements generally come with a sting in the tail. It was a really fun story, excellently read by Mr Andrews (I'm an audiofan of his), and I'm very much looking forward to reading Damico's next book, WASTE OF SPACE, which comes out in July. 


CELL 7 by Kerry Drewery (read by Rosie Jones) is a brilliant dystopian thriller about a girl on death row for killing a beloved celebrity, awaiting the public vote which will decide whether she lives or dies. Having waited awhile to get stuck into CELL 7, I'm now very glad I only have to wait a couple of weeks to grab the sequel. It was an absolute belter! It has flavours of Noughts & Crosses and The Hunger Games, a brilliantly real central cast, and a gripping story. I listened to the audio version, and highly recommend it - especially if you're looking for great UKYA audiobooks. 


In keeping with my promise to read at least one adult book per month, I actually caught up with that target by reading 2 in May. The first was an audiobook -- SLEEPING GIANTS by Sylvain Neuvel (read by Andy Secombe, Eric Meyers, and Laurel Lefkow) which was a really compelling sci-fi about a group of scientists trying to figure out the origin and purpose of an enormous metal figure found buried in locations scattered across the globe. 


Last of this month's reads was ARCHANGEL'S HEART by Nalini Singh. This is the latest in my favourite series by my favourite author, and continues Elena and Raphael's story as the archangelic Cadre face a new threat in the wake of rogue archangel Lijuan's disappearance. Honestly, I love this series with a fierceness, and I'm so glad Singh writes as quickly as she does, so I only have to wait a few months for the next instalment. 


I'll wrap up with a couple of my favourite adventure pics taken in May.



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You probably wouldn't guess how I had to parkour my way through dense woods to get this shot.



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Some Normans I found hanging out near Rhuddlan Castle. 



Now I'll leave you with a couple of tunes I've been listening to as I write. They're good writing fuel, I tell you.





Enjoy!

Kat out x

Monday, 1 May 2017

April Wrap-Up!

Ahoy-hoy.

April was pretty good in writing terms; I finished a new draft of my latest WIP and am waiting for feedback on that (and definitely not having anxiety dreams about said feedback... not at all). While I wait, I'm working on another new WIP that's been simmering away in my brainspace awhile. This one leans more towards magical realism, and is set where I grew up, so it's fun working on that. 

It also wasn't too shabby a month for reading (though I'm still one book behind on my Goodreads challenge, grrrr.) I read 8 books this month, including one adult book. These were they:



I'll begin with the 4 provided for review by the good people at Netgalley. First up: ONE ITALIAN SUMMER by Keris Stainton, which is out in May. This was my first time reading one of Keris's books, and it was an absolute joy. It's about three sisters going on an annual family holiday to Italy -- except this will be the first time since their dad died, and the sisters and their mother are all dealing with their grief in different ways. Add to that a sweet, believable romance, the gorgeous setting, and plenty of funny bits, and you have pretty much the perfect summer read. I will absolutely be getting my hands on more of Keris's books.

Next from Netgalley is NOWHERE NEAR YOU by Leah Thomas (published in Feb). I loved BECAUSE YOU'LL NEVER MEET ME (the first in the duology), so naturally I jumped at the chance to read the follow-up. And there were a lot of the elements I liked from the first book in NOWHERE NEAR YOU - namely the distinct and captivating writing, and the wonderful and charming Ollie and Moritz, with their unlikely yet uplifting friendship. There were also a lot of new and interesting characters introduced, both on Ollie's adventure to seek out other Blunderkids, and at Moritz's new school, and I really enjoyed getting to know them as well. That said, I went into this having enjoyed the meandering style of storytelling in BYNM, but expecting the pace and action to pick up in this book... and I didn't get that. I found myself wanting MORE. More plot, more urgency, more of the action this seems to have been building toward (maybe that is coming in Book 3 - is there one? I haven't been able to find confirmation). As it was, NNY didn't quite deliver for me. 

Book 3 was HEARTLESS by Marissa Meyer, which came out a few weeks ago in the UK. Again, this was my first book by this author, although I've heard rave reviews about this and her other series, The Lunar Chronicles. This book tells the origins of the Queen of Hearts from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, following Lady Cath Pinkerton as she goes about trying to extricate herself from a courtship with the king so she can set up her own bakery, all while avoiding random attacks by the terrifying Jabberwock, and falling for the mysterious new court jester, Jest. Except Cath doesn't really try all that hard to extricate herself from the courtship. Or get her business underway. GAH. I loved the world -- of course! -- and the set-up of the origin story, but I found Cath frustrating for most of the book. A lot of the conflict would have been avoided if she had just spoken up at any point, and she only seemed to grow a spine during the last few pages. I really wanted to love this book, and there were parts that I did... but Cath kept getting in the way. Damn you, Cath.

Last on my Netgalley review list is a book I also won in a Goodreads giveaway (yay!) and it was quite a strange little egg. ENCOUNTERS by Jason Wallace is out this month, and tells the story of 6 young people who have all been affected by a UFO sighting near a school in Zimbabwe in the 1990s. I went in expecting this to be a kooky alien book, but it went much deeper than that, instead opening windows into the complicated, often dark, lives of these kids. It was unsettling, and a little hard to get into at first (it opens with a narrative of a boy who is very unlikeable in his sexist, racist, homophobic views -- although this isn't representative of the book as a whole) but it's definitely a novel that makes you consider the assumptions we make about shared experiences and trustworthy narratives. An interesting one, for sure. 

Next up is a book I have been looking forward to for months: THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas. THUG (the title comes from the acronym THUGLIFE, a Tupac quote) was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, and tells the story of Starr, a black teenager who witnesses her friend being shot by the police, and the fallout as experienced in her mostly black, working class neighbourhood, and the mostly white, elite school she attends. It is in turns heartbreaking, hilarious, and hopeful -- a phenomenal novel everyone should read. I was also lucky enough to meet the author during her UK tour, and hearing her speak about her inspiration for the book was incredible. I can't wait for her next book, and the movie of THUG which is currently in production. 



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(When I met Angie Thomas!!!) 



I'm not entirely sure what to make of AMERICAN STREET by Ibi Zoboi, even a few weeks after finishing it. The book description says it's about Haitian teen Fabiola, who comes to the US with her mother -- except her mother is detained at customs, so Fabiola's journey continues with her aunt and cousins in Detroit. Beautifully written, and with characters who seem totally real, I was definitely absorbed by the story... I just wasn't sure quite what I was supposed to take from it, and there didn't seem to be much focus/resolution to some parts of the story.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I'm a huge fan of Neal Shusterman, and his UNWIND series was one that inspired me to become a writer myself. So I was really excited to listen to the audiobook of SCYTHE, his latest YA series-opener, and I absolutely loved it. Citra and Rowan are Scythes-in-training -- those who will glean the lives of select individuals so that population numbers in this post-mortal society can be kept in check. It was dark and gruesome and totally riveting -- I can't wait for the next in the series, which comes out later this year. 

Last on my list this month was a funny adult sci-fi: WE ARE LEGION (WE ARE BOB) by Dennis E Taylor, which is about a modern-day IT company owner who is cryogenically frozen, and awakens a century later as an AI in a very different world. I listened to the audio of this one, too, which I think made it even more enjoyable. It was irreverent and unusual, and although I got a little muddled at times with all the different Bobs, it was overall a fun, easy listen. 

That's it for my April reads -- PHEW.

What else did I get up to? Well, I visited Chester Cathedral with my sister, and caught this couple kissing in the shade of a magnolia tree in the inner courtyard...



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I also spent a day working at Gladstone's Library in Hawarden with this little gem -- horror author Dawn Kurtagich.



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I went on some walking adventures, as the weather was at times rather clement. 




...And I caught 2 hedgehogs growling and fighting in my back garden, as you do.



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Aside from that, it was writing, writing, and a bit more writing. While all this was going on, I also binged this track from Highly Suspect.





And that was about it for April. May is set to be a good month, with a writing retreat in mid-Wales, lots more writing, and hopefully lots more sunshine. 


For now...

Kat out x

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

YASH Spring 2017

THE HUNT IS NOW OVER! BUT DON'T WORRY - #YASH WILL BE BACK IN THE AUTUMN.

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organised by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favourite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize--one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: the Spring YA Scavenger Hunt begins at 12pm (Pacific Time) on Tuesday, April 4th, and ends at 12pm (Pacific Time) on Sunday, April 9th.

If you'd like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page. There are FIVE contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the GOLD TEAM, where you can win books by me and other fab authors in my team, but there is also a red team, a blue team, a pink team, and a purple team, each giving away an awesome selection of books!


Also, I'm having an exclusive extra giveaway for anyone wanting to win a signed copy of any one of my books - scroll riiiiiiight to the bottom to enter that. Now, on to the hunt!


SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE

Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've sneakily hidden my favourite number somewhere in gold. At the bottom of this post is a link to the next author in my team. Collect the favourite numbers of all the authors on the gold team, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!). 

Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by 9th April, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.


SCAVENGER HUNT POST


Today I am hosting LH Nicole, author of LEGENDARY, who as well as being an author is a seasoned Pastry Chef at the most magical place on earth, and a lifelong fairytale (Disney and Grimm) lover. LH believes in love at first sight, is addicted to 80's & 90's cartoons and anything that can capture her ADD-way-too-overactive imagination. Joan Lowery Nixon and L.J. Smith were the first authors she became addicted to, and they inspired her to steal away whenever she could to read and write.

Find out more about LH Nicole on her website, facebook page, and twitter.



About LEGENDARY:

Aliana Fagan spent her childhood traveling the world, dreaming of legendary heroes and mythical lands. But after the sudden death of her parents, she hides behind the safety of her camera and her art until a vivid recurring dream compels her to dig into her father's research about Avalon and Camelot. 

When she is hurled into a magical realm by forces she thought were only the stuff of fairy tales, she finds herself thrown into an adventure she could never have imagined. Nearly everything she thought she knew about Arthurian legend was wrong. The independent eighteen-year-old is shocked to find that the people of Avalon think that she is the Destined One, the only person who can summon King Arthur back to life from his hidden chamber. Most surprising of all is that it's up to her to lead the Knights of the Round Table on an epic quest-an adventure that will transport them across the seven magic realms to reclaim all that has been lost so they can defeat the evil Mordrid for good. But first, she must bring the ancient warriors into her world and reunite them with their lost brothers. 

Chaperoning the legendary knights-with-a-chivalry-complex as they navigate the modern world is a constant challenge, and she certainly never thought she'd be caught between her intense feelings for the noble Sir Galahad and her growing friendship with the King. To fulfill the prophecy, Aliana will have to discover the meaning of friendship, bravery, loyalty, true love, and forgiveness. But can she do it all in time to save the realms from Mordrid's impending Armageddon?


Buy the book from Amazon US



EXCLUSIVE CONTENT


LH is sharing 2 fabulous extras - a Spotify playlist to go along with LEGENDARY (I'd have to say track 6 is my favourite), and an exclusive deleted scene.






Deleted scene from LEGENDARY:

Set up: This was a scene we cut from the first book and takes place just before the fundraiser dance Arthur, Aliana, Galahad, Owen, Lancelot and Percy attend after returning to the modern world from Avalon. This scene is from Owen’s POV and focuses on his conflicting thoughts and emotions about learning he’s a reincarnated Knight of the Round Table and that the cousin he’d only met a few weeks earlier is the key to breaking the curse he and the others are under.

Owen frowned when the little grey marble colored Dragon name Daggerhorne joined him and the others on the roof without Galahad. Something was going on between Aliana and the big knight and Owen wasn’t sure he liked it, especially since he was alone with her in the flat. Aliana may not talk about it but between what Wade had told him, and all he had learned about her in the last few weeks, it was clear she’s had a rough go with dating guys.
Owen turned from the Dragon and watched Lancelot and Arthur draw their swords and salute each other before getting into attack positions. Why do I still feel as if I’m turning into a nutter for believing all this? King Arthur is real and I am one of his reincarnated knights? And my cousin is supposed to be the one to save us all from a curse I didn’t even realize I am under?
All last night he had dreamed of Camelot, or at least what he imagined it would have looked like. When he mentioned it to Lancelot earlier, the stoic knight had just said it was probably part of his memories returning. When Owen had talked to Percy about it the southerner had admitted he had a lot of those dreams to when he first met Lancelot. But the number of dreams had waned only a month or so after. He had no doubt Percy was upset by that fact, the cowboy was for more anxious to know more than Owen was ready to admit he was. If he didn’t trust his gut so much, and the whisper in his heart and mind that sounded so much like his late mother’s voice, he would have been ready to commit himself and Aliana.
Arthur launched his attack against a stoic Lancelot as the clang of steel against steel rang out and sparks flew as the blades collided. Lancelot powered back but Arthur dodged his thrust and struck again in one fluid motion. Owen had always been fascinated by swords, probably knew more than a reasonable person should, but he’d never learned how to handle a blade. Seeing such skill from two warriors who had been the best was a rarity and a sight to be admired.
Owen smiled ruefully when Arthur knocked Lance’s sword from his hand and kicked his feet out from under him. That right there was what made different from these guys. He wasn’t a fighter, never had been. Owen was better at fighting with words not physical actions.
“Well done, sire.” Lancelot admitted accepting Arthur’s offered hand as he pulled himself to his feet.
“Owen?” Arthur asked. “How are your fighting skills?”
He ran a hand through his hair looking at the ground. “They’re not up to par, but I’ll give it a go.” 
Owen and Percy squared off, taking Arthur and Lancelot’s swords. The weight was strange but not totally unfamiliar. Owen cleared his throat and squared his shoulders, he didn’t like being watched so carefully, but he would be damned if he’d show it. Despite his lack of skills, and the ache of his muscles after only the first blow he managed to last a three whole minutes against Percy before the larger man knocked him on his backside.
“Nicely done, Owen, Percy. Go again,” Arthur ordered with a nod of approval.
“I should’ve paid closer attention to Wade’s lessons.” Owen grumbled getting to his feet. Wade was right, words aren’t always enough to protect yourself. Just as he and Percy got back into position the door opened as Galahad joined them, a small smile in his face.
Why was he smiling? Owen wondered not liking that it probably had to do with Aliana. She called him overbearing but Owen wasn’t the kind of guy to just sit back when a virtual stranger made a pass at a person he cared about. Especially his newfound cousin. 




GAH. So much fun, right?

CONTINUE THE HUNT

To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author



And if you haven't had enough fun, here's the bonus extra giveaway I promised...

Enter to win a signed copy of any ONE of my books - Purge, Breaker, or Blackfin Sky (click to see their descriptions) - by filling in the Rafflecopter below (Intl. OK). Good luck!








Monday, 3 April 2017

March Wrap-up!

I'm a fan of March. It starts with St. David's Day, which -- being Welsh -- is obviously a day that's close to my heart. It's also when we celebrate Mother's Day in the UK, and when the clocks go forward and we start seeing a little more daylight. Flowers, sunshine, the smell of cut grass -- it all makes me feel brighter. (This isn't something I used to think when I was younger and afflicted by the snottiest hayfever known to humanity.)

All told, I had a pretty good March. On the writing front, I made headway with my work-in-progress and got great feedback from my critique partners. I also -- and this is the big thing -- found out I've been awarded a bursary by Literature Wales. They are funding me to be able to write full-time for 3 months, and I am absolutely chuffed to bits!


Reading-wise, I picked up the pace a bit last month, managing to squeeze in 7 reads. I think having my reading schedule helped a lot, though I didn't get around to reading my allocated 1 adult novel for the month, and I'm still 3 books behind my Goodreads target. Eep. I'll try to catch up in April. 

Anyway, here's what I read:



Let's start with my 3 Netgalley review reads. THE STATE OF GRACE by Rachael Lucas comes out on 6th April, and is a wonderful #ownvoices story about Grace, an autistic teen, figuring out her place in the world. It's uplifting and funny, with a great full cast of characters. Recommended with two thumbs up.

LETTERS TO THE LOST by Brigid Kemmerer was also a belter, and is out in April. It's about Juliet -- a grieving girl set on following in her mother's ambitious footsteps, and Declan -- a troubled boy trying to find his place in a world that keeps trying to squeeze him out. Both struggling with guilt, they find each other through the anonymity of letters left on a grave. I loved the friendships and complicated families, and the kindness found in unexpected places. It was an intense yet hopeful look at two teens fighting their way through grief, and a romance I was 100% on board with. 

I've been looking forward to Becky Albertalli's THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED for ages (having been a huge fan of her debut, SIMON VS THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA), and it was definitely worth the wait! Loved, loved, loved - even the cringeworthy grandma. This is the perfect read for summer, especially if you need a little boost to feel good about yourself. And the world. And boys who wear white sneakers and Middle-earth T-shirts. Also, Simon makes a cameo! Just read it and join me in making heart eyes, ok? It comes out 11th April. 

That's it for my Netgalley reads. I also had an ARC of CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber (given to me by my brilliant agent, Molly) which I was a little late reading. It has kind of an Alice in Wonderland/SPLINTERED feel to it -- both magical and sinister, with nothing quite what it first appears to be. The world-building was awesome, and I can definitely see why there's been so much hype for this book.

My final 3 reads for March were all audiobooks, and all absolutely brilliant. I listened to the first book in The Winner's Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski in February, and had to get the next 2 instalments right away. Following Kestrel and Arin's trials and feelings through the politics, war, and their blossoming relationship was just... GAH. Amazing. If you've read THE WINNER'S CURSE, I won't need to recommend THE WINNER'S CRIME and THE WINNER'S KISS to you, but if you need a prod in that direction, consider yourself prodded. 

Last on my list was one of my faves for this month -- EXO by Fonda Lee. I loved her debut, ZEROBOXER, which I listened to earlier this year, but EXO was even better. It's about a teen Exo named Donovan Reyes -- a peacekeeping soldier on a future Earth that has been conquered by an alien species, and how Donovan finds himself caught between the aliens he has sworn to serve and protect, and the human rebels seeking to overthrow the invaders. It's a really gripping, smart look at colonialism in a SF setting, with characters you root for and plenty more action and drama to look forward to in the sequel. I'll definitely be grabbing that when it comes out. Worth mentioning, too, that the audio is read by Macleod Andrews, my favourite audiobook narrator. 

Incidentally, EXO is one of the books in this Spring's YA Scavenger Hunt (starting tomorrow!) and Fonda Lee is on the gold team -- as am I! I'm giving away a copy of PURGE to the winner of the gold team portion of the hunt, and you can find out how to enter by coming right back here tomorrow (4 April). The hunt continues until Sunday, and there are 4 other teams, each with 20 books to be won. 



Fun stuff, I know. As for other things I got up to in March... I wrote a post about writing good villains over on the Author Allsorts site, and went on a few springtime adventures in my neck of the woods. These were some of my favourite Insta-pics. 

A post shared by Kat Ellis (@katelliswrites) on

A post shared by Kat Ellis (@katelliswrites) on

Oh, and I also got some new headshots done. Here's one of 'em.



And now I shall retreat to my bursary-funded writing cave to make good word choices. I'll leave you with this excellent song I'm obsessed with right now -- the video is amazing.



Don't forget to come back tomorrow for the YA Scavenger Hunt, and I'll have more writing/bookish news next month.

For now...

Kat out x