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