Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Ghost Hunting at Bodelwyddan Castle

Last weekend I scraped myself out of my onesie to go on a ghost hunting adventure with my sister, Alex. As we walked up the road to the castle, it was lit only by the moon. Proper spooky, like.

This is Alex, for reference. The prompt for this photo was "Look ghostly".

It was better than my "Look ghostly" pose, to be fair.

Anyway. Inside the castle we assembled (there were about 30 of us in all) for a guided tour of the rooms where we would later hold vigils and use ghost hunting equipment to try and rustle up some spooks. During a talk about the history of the place, we reached a part about 2 young girls who fell through the ice while skating on the pond in the 1920s, and one man in the group suddenly collapsed in quite dramatic fashion (I feel it's okay to say this now as I checked and he was absolutely fine afterwards). An auspicious start, as I'm sure you'll agree.

We then broke into smaller groups and took up stations in different rooms in the castle. Our group started in the dining room, where the walls are decorated with portraits of historical politicians (I'm not sure why) as well as an imposing but lovely portrait of Lady Amelia, who once visited the castle and is reported to have been sighted there in ghostly form. (We didn't see her.) There was also a beautiful grand piano and a dining table laid out as though the castle's former residents might be about to sit down to Christmas dinner.

Once we were in situ, all the lights went out, and the guide, Lucy, called out for spirits to come and talk to us. [I should probably point out here that I'm a Scully as far as paranormal phenomena is concerned - highly sceptical, but willing to admit to being wrong if I'm ever presented with actual, measurable evidence.] It was initially very 'quiet', as I expected, with only a quivering curtain (I think it was just moving because of the heat rising from the radiator) until we all heard the sound of footsteps running quickly down the stairs. And as I mentioned, all the lights were off at this point, and none of the other groups were stationed near the stairs, so that, I will admit, got me to raise an eyebrow. Anyone running down those stairs in the dark -- even if they knew the house really, really well -- would break their neck. So, I'll count that as one spooky encounter.

After that, 4 or 5 members of the group used a glass to try and communicate with a spirit. I watched them for a while as they somehow identified the spirit as Thomas Humphrey (Humphrey was the surname of one of the families who had owned the castle) who said he would appear to us near the aforementioned piano. So off I went to record.

A video posted by Kat Ellis (@katelliswrites) on

No Thomas, unfortunately, but you can just about make out the portrait of Lady Amelia and the piano, and hear the screech of the glass whizzing around the table in the background. Creepy, no?

Later we visited the schoolroom up in the eaves (no sightings there) and the cellar where the guides told us a ghost known as The Cellar Man often appears. Then up into the toy room where the 2 drowned girls are said to frequent, and as well as using the glass again to try and communicate, we did something called a 'human pendulum'. This involved standing in a circle with our hands linked, while one member of the group stood in the middle and allowed herself to be pushed forward or backward by the spirits. To be honest, this was the part I had the most narrow-eyed reaction to, as the person at the centre seemed extremely keen to hear from the departed. Very keen.

To finish off the night (it was closing in on 3am by this point) a couple of members of the group used a spirit board to contact a spirit, and received a message that one of them was going to die slowly, concluding with the ominous message "RUN".

The night was great fun and very atmospheric, but again I can't say it really swayed me from the path of scepticism. It was great inspiration for writing spooky stories, though, and most of all it was nice to hang out with my sister.

Kat out x

Monday, 5 December 2016

November Wrap-Up!

Happy almost-Christmas. (But seriously, how is it nearly Christmas???)

I generally like November, what with it being the month of my birth and all, but this year there were a few *cough* other factors spreading a thick coating of awfulness over everything, so it was not exactly the best November ever. You know what I'm talking about.

BUT there were some good things to take away from last month; for my birthday, I went to the Roman city of Chester to do some shopping with my mother (she is lovely -- everyone agrees) and had extremely good tapas for lunch. I love Chester, especially at this time of year, because it looks like you've stepped through a mirror into some alternate reality where the most photogenic periods of UK history have all been mashed together. Look:

A photo posted by Kat Ellis (@katelliswrites) on

A photo posted by Kat Ellis (@katelliswrites) on

I also had a small adventure to St. Winefride's Well, which is a 16th Century shrine built on the site where Winefride was attacked and beheaded by Caradog in the 7th Century. According to the legend, Winefride came back to life after her uncle, St. Beuno, prayed for his niece, and a spring erupted from the ground and restored her. Pretty nifty if you ask me.

A photo posted by Kat Ellis (@katelliswrites) on

Adventuring aside, you're probably expecting me to announce that I have finally finished the draft of this manuscript, right? Like I promised? Because I blogged about it, so am accountable...? Yeah, you remember. And no, I haven't finished. But I am CLOSE, and I got fantastic feedback from a new CP which has reinvigorated me to get this mofo finished and out of the door. Soon, I swear. Very soon. (Please imagine a shifty-eyes gif has been inserted here. It saves me having to Google one.)

One thing I did (which probably goes some way to explain why I'm not finished with this bloody manuscript) is read a steaming ton of books. 10 of 'em. These are they.

Most are contemporaries, as planned, but you might also notice a sci-fi and 2 horror-ish reads in there, which crept over from my October reading. So let's start with those.

HOLLOWLAND by Amanda Hocking was an audiobook bargain, and my first ever Hocking book. It's a zombie thriller set in a post-apocalyptic world where survivors of the outbreak huddle together under military protection, and Remy and her brother might hold the secret to stopping the zombie virus. It was an entertaining quest story with plenty of dark moments and action, and (my favourite part) a pet lion called Ripley.

BEWARE THE WILD by Natalie C Parker has been on my TBR for aaaaages, just waiting for the perfect moment to be read. This creepy and evocative southern gothic about a girl whose brother wanders into the swamp and is promptly forgotten by everyone who knew him is probably one of my favourite reads of the year. I'm now hankering after the sequel like a starving swamp monster.

ON THE EDGE OF GONE by Corinne Duyvis follows Denise -- a resourceful, smart, autistic teen facing near-certain death as a meteor is about to hit Earth. I loved Denise, and the story of how she navigates her apocalyptic circumstances to keep herself and her family alive kept me totally gripped.

Now on to the contemporaries...

That said, I'm not sure BECAUSE YOU'LL NEVER MEET ME by Leah Thomas is exactly contemporary, because it has some elements of fantasy/sci-fi to it (kind of? I'm honestly not sure which genre it slots into). Two boys in unique situations -- one was born without eyes and uses echolocation to 'see' the world in brilliant and fascinating detail, and the other is allergic to electricity and forced to live in a cabin in the wilderness) -- begin an unlikely but totally riveting friendship through letters, and each one reveals a little more about what really connects them. This was a brilliant book, and I now have an advance copy of the sequel to read before it releases next month -- I can't wait! I got both for review from Netgalley.

TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED BEFORE by Jenny Han is about Lara Jean and the unsent letters she wrote to exorcise her feelings for 5 unwitting boys... and the letters are, of course, unexpectedly mailed to their various recipients. I went into this month hoping for some cute, fluffy reads to lift my wintry spirits, and that's exactly what I got with this one.

FANGIRL was another audiobook bargain, and as I expected after reading some of Rainbow Rowell's other work, I really enjoyed it. First love, starting college, finding your place in the world, fandom, complicated family dynamics -- it's all expertly handled and just makes for a thoroughly good read.

I was lucky enough to get an early copy of Stephanie Kate Strohm's latest: IT'S NOT ME, IT'S YOU from my wonderful agent, Molly, and I loved it. Snappy and fun, with an unusual format and great characters, this is about a serial monogamist who finds herself being dumped for the first time. Backtracking through her previous boyfriends, Avery Dennis tries to figure out what has gone so terribly wrong in her love life that she is without a date for senior prom.

ALEX AS WELL by Alyssa Brugman was on my radar after appearing on awards shortlists when it came out, so I was looking forward to this story about an intersex trans girl struggling to deal with her parents' awful response to her 'coming out' as a girl and trying to fit in at a new school where her classmates don't know that Alex has ever presented as any gender other than female. It was an engaging story with great voice, but it did leave me with a few questions around how Alex's past 'self' (Alex when she presented as male?) was portrayed as an imaginary twin who ogles her in changing room mirrors. Seemed a little sketchy to me, maybe? Hmm.

HIGHLY ILLOGICAL BEHAVIOUR by John Corey Whaley follows three teens whose friendship is based on a lie: Sol, the agoraphobic gay boy who hasn't left his house in 3 years; Lisa, the overachiever who decides to befriend and 'fix' Sol so she can use the experience in her college application; and Clark, Lisa's boyfriend, who gets caught in a tangle of love and lies between Lisa and Sol. I found this funny and addictive and sometimes heartbreaking, and the audiobook narrators were awesome.

Finally, there was THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS by e. lockhart. This was a smart, wry look at boys' club mentality and old money privilege in a private school, and Frankie's ambition to wrest control of the secret Basset Hound society from the boys who she feels aren't exploiting its full potential. Some call this a feminist book, and I'm not sure it's that for me, but I did enjoy it.

So that's what I read, taking me well past my goal of 75 reads for the year with a month to spare. No, I won't be reading that many in December.

Back to the writing cave I go...

Kat out x

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

October Wrap-Up!

Happy post-Halloween!

October was a cracking month. I had 2 events - the Firefly YA event down in Cardiff, and YAShot in Uxbridge - both of which I wrote about (with pics) over the past couple of weeks. I also took part in the Fall YA Scavenger Hunt with over 90 YA authors from around the world, and it was lots of fun. 

And of course it was Halloween, which normally just involves some spooky reading while I wait to leap out at unsuspecting trick-or-treaters, but this year I was invited to my friend Dawn's house for a bit of a party. Fancy dress was required, of course, so I smeared on my best skeleton face and went as Death, as you do. That's me on the right, holding the cat. Please note how freaky my eyes look - they always do that in photos, much like a... well, a cat.

I managed to squeeze in a few small adventures between events and writing: one to Chirk Castle, and one which was a bit of a ramble and took me to an abandoned asylum and a pretty riverbank. These are my favourite pics from the two:

A photo posted by Kat Ellis (@katelliswrites) on

Reading-wise, I had 4 books to read by the authors I was on panels with at the Firefly event and YAShot, one sci-fi I read to finish off my SF binge for the year (aside from one book I'm currently listening to on audio, which will be in next month's wrap-up), one friend's new release, and 2 spooky Halloween reads. Not too shabby, eh? These were the books I finished this month.

Let's start with the pre-event reads, shall we?

First, I read WHITE PETALS by Maria Grace, which is a contemporary YA with just a hint of magic from Firefly Press (my UK publisher, who've been winning lots of awards lately). Let me start by saying that this book is absolutely hilarious, but also a very touching story about a girl who ends up in a children's home after her father dies and her mother suffers a mental breakdown. I really, really recommend this book if you like moving stories which have an uplifting mood and message.

For the sci-fi panel at YAShot, I read THE NEXT TOGETHER and THE LAST BEGINNING by Lauren James, which are 2 really fun time travel romance stories with plenty of laughs and time-bending adventures. I flew through this duology, and can absolutely see why so many readers love them. Next up was PHOENIX by SF Said, which is a riveting and vast story about a boy with the power of a star inside him, searching the galaxy for his long-lost father.

Finishing off my sci-fi binge, I grabbed SLATED by Teri Terry from my TBR (it's been there awhile, I'm ashamed to say) - this was a fast-paced and gripping thriller about teens having their memories wiped after committing crimes. I was interested to see if there was much crossover with my new book, PURGE, as I saw some similarity in the themes, but I'm pleased (relieved) to say they tread very different turf. So basically you should read both, is what I'm saying.

ALL LACED UP by Erin Fletcher is a book I've really been looking forward to as I'm a huge fan of Erin's books, and this one blew my socks off! (Blew my skates off?) Set in the world of professional skating (ice hockey and figure skating in this case) ALU kicks off a new romance series that looks to be choc-full of adorable characters, swooniness, and really fun stories. I cannot wait for the next instalment!

Finally, I managed to squeeze in 2 Halloween reads. The first was MONSTER by CJ Skuse (one of my fave authors, who made my year by giving me a wonderful blurb for BREAKER when it came out) which is a really fun, spooky, actiony thriller about a boarding school with its own urban legend about a killer beast hunting in the school grounds, and a group of girls who are snowed in at school over the Christmas break. Then I finally read THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN by Holly Black, which has been sitting on my TBR shelf for yonks, and was pretty wonderful - a dark, gothic story about a girl trapped inside a decadent sort of prison for vampires and vamp-infected humans. It made me think of a YA Anne Rice novel, and I really enjoyed it.

And it was great to see some of my books included in Halloween reading list posts like this one by The Scribblers and this one by Kendra Leighton. Seeing them makes my shrivelled heart swell with joy.

Incidentally, I'm only 6 books from hitting my Goodreads Challenge goal of 75 books read in 2016, so I should complete that this month. Aside from reading, though, I will mainly be focused on finishing the novel I'm working on. It is almost finished, and I think it is looking ok, but I just need to really nail this sucker down before I get distracted by newer, shinier book ideas. So I won't be doing NaNoWriMo again this year, but I will be trying to beat the clock and get this novel looking ship-shape and pretty by the end of the month. (There, it's in writing, so I'm accountable.)

I haven't posted what I've been listening to in a while, so here are my latest music obsessions. No doubt these will end up on playlists for some future novel... Hope you enjoy.

Kat out x

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

What happened at YAShot

Hello! Happy almost-Halloween!

I spent Saturday (and part of Sunday) dairn sairf as I was taking part in a panel on 'Space Odyssey: The Resurgence of YA Sci-Fi' as part of the YAShot event down in Uxbridge. And it was a fabulous event! I only got there in time to catch one panel before my own, but the atmosphere was buzzing, and I got to meet and catch up with tons of awesome folks from the authoring and blogging community.

Here are a couple of snaps tweeted during our panel - all credit to the lovely Lorraine Gregory and Katherine Webber:

It was great to meet and talk to Lauren James (our most excellent panel chair) and SF Said, especially after enjoying their books so much. We talked about whether sci-fi was really a genre, or more of a setting; how we researched different elements of our books; what inspired us to write sci-fi in the first place; and poo. Oh yes, that was my fault (I was explaining how purge technology works in my book PURGE, and... well... Mason doesn't go to the toilet for several days while he's figuring out how it works. Enough said.)

Lauren and SF were also kind enough to sign their books for me:

This has become a tradition whenever I have an event with authors I'm meeting for the first time. I'm building up a tidy little collection of signed books now! I was also given a lovely author lanyard with my name in beads, and a nifty little tote with some goodies inside:

Huge thanks to Alexia Casale and the YAShot team who organised this fab event, and to all the people who came to our sci-fi panel and asked such great questions. Sorry about the poo.

Kat x

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Firefly YA panel at Waterstones Cardiff


Last Saturday I joined 4 other Firefly YA authors - Rhian Ivory (THE BOY WHO DREW THE FUTURE), Maria Grace (WHITE PETALS), Sarah Govett (THE TERRITORY Series), and Ruth Morgan (ALIEN RAIN) - for a fab panel discussion of our books and all things YA. The panel was chaired by brilliant vlogger Sarah Churchill (you should definitely subscribe to her Youtube channel and follow her on Twitter), and I had such a great time!

L-R: Sarah Churchill, me, Sarah Govett, Rhian Ivory
L-R: me, Sarah Govett, Rhian Ivory, Maria Grace

L-R: Maria Grace & Ruth Morgan
If you live in or around Cardiff but weren't able to make it to the event, there are loads of signed books in the Waterstones shop for you to grab. Here I am signing copies of PURGE.

Afterwards we went out for a few drinks and a catch-up, as you do.

L-R: Megan Farr (Publicist with Firefly Press), Penny Thomas (Publisher with Firefly Press), Rhian Ivory, me
Me and Maria Grace and a mojito (just out of shot)
If you missed me in Cardiff and want to hear me talk about PURGE and other things, I'll be at YAShot in Uxbridge on 22nd October (tickets here) on a panel with SF Said and Lauren James - hope to see you there!

Kat out x

Monday, 10 October 2016

ALL LACED UP by Erin Fletcher - Book Birthday Interview!

Today is a happy, happy day! It always is when a new book comes out from one of my very favourite authors, Erin Fletcher. ALL LACED UP is released today from Entangled, so you should definitely grab yourself a copy.

In the meantime, I had a few burning questions for Erin about her fab new romance, and she was kind enough to answer - check out the interview below.

Everyone loves hockey superstar Pierce Miller. Everyone except Lia Bailey.

When the two are forced to teach a skating class to save the rink, Lia’s not sure she’ll survive the pressure of Nationals and Pierce’s ego. Not only can’t he remember her name, he signed her bottle of water like she was one of his groupies. Ugh.

But if there’s one thing Lia knows better than figure skating, it’s hockey. Hoping to take his ego down a notch—or seven—she logs into his team website under an anonymous name to give him pointers on his less-than-stellar playing.

Turns out, Pierce isn’t arrogant at all. And they have a lot in common. Too bad he’s falling for the anonymous girl online. No matter how much fun they’re starting to have in real life, she’s afraid he’s going to choose fake-Lia over the real one…

Disclaimer: This book contains a swoony hockey player (and his equally swoony friends!), one-too-many social media accounts, kisses that’ll melt ice, and a secret identity that might not be so secret after all…

Add All Laced Up on Goodreads

Book Birthday Interview

Kat: I'm a huge fan of your writing and cannot wait to get stuck into this one! For those who are new to your books, can you finish this sentence? "ALL LACED UP will appeal to readers who love...."

Erin: ...The Cutting Edge! That movie seems to come up anytime a romance between a figure skater and a hockey player is involved, but for good reason. It's a classic!

Kat: As a person who is balance-challenged even on dry land, I love reading about those who have mastered the ice. What inspired you to write an ice skater romance?

Erin: I was inspired by my own experiences as a figure skater. Though I never reached the elite level that Lia reaches, I did skate from about middle school through college. I was even on my university's synchronized skating team! (Yes, it's a thing. Yes, it's like synchronized swimming, except the water is frozen.) It was so much fun reliving those experiences while writing Lia's story!

Kat: Who could you picture playing Lia and Pierce in the movie version of ALL LACED UP?

Erin: That's a tough question because the actor and actress need skating skills! Actually, I picture figure skaters and hockey players playing the parts instead. Maybe a young version of Sara Hughes for Lia and a young Sidney Crosby for Pierce.

Kat: As an author who I know is super keen on music, do you make playlists for your books? Care to share a couple of songs that you feel connect to ALL LACED UP?

Erin: Even though I love music, I don't typically make playlists for my books. I do have a few songs that connect to Lia and Pierce, though!

One of Lia's programs is set to this song. Her favorite part is the contrast at the end when her final spin speeds up as the piano notes slow to a close.

Since ALL LACED UP is set in the metro-Detroit area, this feels like a song Pierce and his teammates would play to get pumped up before a game.

In order to pass the time on long bus rides, Pierce and his teammates make ridiculous videos of themselves singing along to pop songs. I can picture the team singing along to this in awesomely terrible falsetto.

Kat: I couldn't help noticing that ALL LACED UP is listed as 'Breakaway #1' on Goodreads.... Does this mean there will be more ice rink romance skating our way?? (See what I did there?) What can you tell us about it?

Erin: Ha! Love it. And good eye...that is exactly what it means! Keep an eye out for Pierce's teammate Luke Jackson. Jackson is getting his own book and romance! Of course, there will be plenty of appearances from Pierce and Lia in Breakaway #2!

Kat: Thanks Erin! Can't wait for Jackson's story :-)

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

Follow Erin on Twitter
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Erin's blog
Take a peek at Erin's website

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

YA Scavenger Hunt - Fall 2016!

THE HUNT IS NOW OVER! Two thumbs up to all who entered, but it's too late now if you didn't...

Welcome, YA Scavenger Hunters! I'm Kat Ellis, your hostess for this leg of the hunt, and proud member of the RED TEAM.

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! 

In this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue to move forward in the hunt. Add up the clues on each blog, 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: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online until noon pacific time on 9th October! 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.


Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've hidden my favourite number. Collect the favourite numbers of all the authors on the red 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 October, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered. 


Somewhere on the hunt you will find some cool bonus content connected to my new book, PURGE -  but not here! You will need to keep looking through the other red team blogs to find it.


Today I'm hosting Cylin Busby, author of THE STRANGER GAME, which releases this month from HarperCollins.

When Nico's older sister, Sarah, mysteriously disappears, her family is devastated. After four years, everyone assumes Sarah is dead. Then, suddenly, she's back--but she's not the same Sarah she was before. In fact, Nico isn't sure this girl is Sarah at all...

Now read an excerpt of the book!

I knew my sister was dead. I felt it in my body, as if my bones could tell me the truth. They were, after all, her bones too. The same parents had created us, we carried the same DNA, the stuff that makes us who we are. I even looked like her; a little twin, a few years younger. And both of us were images of mom, or how she was in her high school yearbook, with long blond hair and hazel eyes.
When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t just see my own face but hers too, the one from the MISSING poster we had put up all over Mapleview four years ago -- the one on the news, in newspapers across the country. Now that my braces were off I could even smile like her, the way she had in our last family photo. The smile of a girl who was head cheerleader. Who had an older boyfriend. Who had secrets.
            I wanted so much to believe she was alive, to cling to hope like Mom. I tried. I let myself imagine that Sarah might walk through the door any day. At night, that hope failed me. In my nightmares, I saw all the terrible things that happen to girls like Sarah. When I woke, the vivid images still in my mind, my heart racing, I would lie in bed and watch the lights from the occasional car move over my ceiling and walls and think about the people in those cars. Where were they going? Where had they been, out so late? What were their lives like, lives without the giant gaping hole that is left when someone in your family goes missing?
I tried picture Sarah now, how she might look: older, her hair longer or shorter, her skin tanned golden like it had been the last time I saw her. As the days ticked by, the volume of her absence increased. Weeks turned into months and then into years. I knew the truth, even if I could never speak of it to anyone. I knew the darkened bedroom next to mine would always be empty, the door always shut, because this time Sarah wasn’t coming back.  


Cylin Busby is a best selling, award winning author of fiction and nonfiction books for young readers, numerous magazine articles and short stories. She lives in Los Angeles with her family.

Find out more about Cylin on her website and wikipedia page, and follow her on Twitter @cylinbusby.


Have you noticed there are 6 teams in the YA Scavenger Hunt this time? 6 is a great number, don't you think...?

Now continue to the next stop on the YA Scavenger hunt...

Monday, 3 October 2016

September Wrap-Up!

Welcome to Autumn.

September was, as expected, an exciting month. PURGE - my 3rd novel - was published by Firefly Press. This book is like the song of my nerdy little heart, and it's incredible to see it finally out there in the world. If you read it, please leave a review (especially on Amazon) - they mean others are more likely to see/buy the book, and then I won't starve.

I have a couple of events coming up in October where I'll get to talk about sci-fi and books generally, so my reading in September was mostly geared towards that. Here's what I read:

Let's start with the non-sci-fi: first I read THE LIE TREE by Frances Hardinge, which was a carry-over book from August, and well worth the wait! It's about a clergyman's daughter who discovers her father's research into anthropology has led him to a plant which feeds on lies, and a scandal which marks his death as a probable suicide. I'm not a huge fan of historical novels generally, but this book was so very intriguing and atmospheric I was gutted when it ended.

Then there was MARTYN PIG by Kevin Brooks, about a boy trying to figure out what to do when his father dies unexpectedly, and digging himself into a deeper and deeper hole; the only other book of his I've read so far is THE BUNKER DIARY, and this was also excellent, and a swift, voicy read.

Sci-fi-wise, I finished the Starbound trilogy by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner with THEIR FRACTURED LIGHT, which I thoroughly enjoyed and was a great conclusion to the saga. Things finally came to a head between the aliens known as the Whispers and the head of La Roux Industries, with all the main characters from the series playing a part in the action. And because I listened to the audio version (as I do with a lot of books), I want to add that I've decided that one of the narrators of THEIR FRACTURED LIGHT - Macleod Andrews - is officially my favourite YA audiobook narrator. His characters are so distinct and engaging, I get absolutely wrapped up in any audiobook he reads. So, there you go.

I also read Virginia Bergin's THE RAIN and THE STORM duology, which had great voice and a gripping story about Ruby - an English girl fighting to survive in a world where the rain has become toxic. I found it totally compulsive, and I loved Ruby.

Next up was ECHO BOY by Matt Haig, which has been on my TBR for over a year, and I was glad to finally read it. It had some really interesting ideas about the nature of humanity and how advances in technology don't necessarily equal a step forward in our evolution.

Finally I read ILLUMINAE by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, just in time to hanker after the sequel, which comes out soon (next month, I think?) A spacey thriller, with plenty of banter and a believable romance that twisted my heart at times, I got swept up in this book right from the start. Unsurprisingly (because it has one of the same authors) it had a very similar vibe and format to the Starbound trilogy, which is no bad thing as I loved those books. I'll be grabbing GEMINA very, very soon.

I have yet to read SF Said's PHOENIX and Lauren James' THE LAST BEGINNING, but I now have copies of both so will be blazing through them before our panel at YAShot on 22nd October!

Adventure-wise, I got out and about a bit in September. I also started posting short videos of some of the places I visit on Instagram - do follow me there, and check out the #katellisadventures tag if you just want to see the videos. But my pictures are cool too, so... y'know. Follow me.

Anyway, here are a couple of pics from my adventures.

A photo posted by Kat Ellis (@katelliswrites) on

A photo posted by Kat Ellis (@katelliswrites) on

Apart from that, I was busy writing (I know - it doesn't seem like it, does it?) But I'm now really close to finishing what I hope will be my next book, so we'll see how that goes in October.

I hope you had a great September! I'll be posting again for the YA Scavenger Hunt on Tuesday, so keep an eye out for that if you want to be in with a chance of winning a ton of books, including PURGE.

Kat out x

Friday, 30 September 2016

New events coming up!

Hello! Tis the last day of September, which means summer is pretty much a distant memory now (I'm still not ready for it to be over...) but it also means that there are lots of Octobery events coming up where you can see me!

First of all, there's the Firefly Day event at Cardiff Waterstones on 8th October. It's absolutely free, and there are events for younger readers happening there earlier in the day if you want to catch those too.

Next, I'll be talking about PURGE and all things sci-fi on a panel with Lauren James and SF Said at YAShot, Uxbridge, on 22nd October. You'll need tickets for that, which you can grab here: TICKETAROOS.

Finally, I'll be taking part in the YA Scavenger Hunt again this autumn/fall, so if you'd like to be in with a chance of winning a copy of PURGE and loooooooads of other YA novels, check out how to enter the hunt here: YASH. I'm on the RED TEAM this time, which pleases me.

That's it for now! I'll be posting my September wrap up over the next few days, as well as some pre-Halloween fun stuff...

Kat out x

Thursday, 8 September 2016

PURGE is here!

Here it is - my beautiful little sci-fi thriller is officially out in the world! I really hope you love Mason and Noah's story as much as I do - and if you do, please do leave a review on Amazon etc. They help a HUGE amount (thank you thank you thank you!)

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.

Where you can buy PURGE:

Book Depository

For now...


Kat x

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

August Wrap-Up!

Sooooo, I almost forgot (did forget) to write my August wrap-up - probably because it flew by so quickly. As I'd hoped, it was a great month to catch up on reading; a good one as far as my writing went, and I squeezed in a few decent adventures as well.

And a lot of what kept me busy in August was to do with getting the word out about my new book, PURGE, which comes out tomorrow! I know, right? That's SOON. If you haven't heard a peep about it and want to see what it's about, you can check it out on Goodreads, or from any of these online vendors (or your local library/bookshop from tomorrow, heh heh.)

Book Depository

I got my very own finished copies a few days ago, and they are gooooooorgeous!

A photo posted by Kat Ellis (@katelliswrites) on

Adventure-wise, I had my annual visit to the circus with my sister, niece, and nephew, which of course brought on all kinds of Blackfin Sky nostalgia. 

A photo posted by Kat Ellis (@katelliswrites) on

It's so strange (in a good way) to think that 4 years ago, I was sitting in the stands and mulling over what to do with my then-work-in-progress which had the beginnings of a mystery, but no end. The circus gave me what I needed to finish Sky's story, and every year I get to go back to the place where it all came together. *Happy sigh* Not sure where I'd go to nostalge about Breaker, which is all about the killins'.

I also visited a Roman bath house dating back to around 120AD, which was pretty cool.

A photo posted by Kat Ellis (@katelliswrites) on

Okay, so August was actually an excellent reading month. Here are the 8 books I read:

2 were post-YALC binges - Michael Grant's excellent nanotech thriller BZRK and Malorie Blackman's gripping and heartbreaking NOUGHTS AND CROSSES

Another 3 were audiobook bargains, and all pretty decent: IN BETWEEN by Jenny B. Jones (the first Christian YA I've ever read, weirdly enough, and very funny and cute), OFF TO BE THE WIZARD by Scott Meyer, which was also funny if you ignore the fact that it's an absolute bro-fest, and Michelle Muto's THE HAUNTING SEASON, which was like a creepier, sort-of-NA version of ASYLUM by Madeleine Roux.

Then, because it was UKYA month (celebrated only by me, I think...) I made sure to read plenty of UKYAs. So as well as NOUGHTS & CROSSES, I also read - and swooned over - VENDETTA by Catherine Doyle, the ghostly MINTY by Christina Banach, and FIRE COLOUR ONE by Jenny Valentine, which I still can't describe but absolutely loved. It's a short book, but the characters are amazing and if you've hummed and hawed over it like I did for a while, please pick it up - it's excellent, I promise. 

So that's it for my August wrap-up.... I'll be posting again tomorrow to celebrate Purge being a real book that's out in the world!

For now, 

Kat out x

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

July Wrap-Up!

July saw me turn in my final final final revisions for my 3rd book, PURGE, which will be out in September. This book is a really special one for me, so I'm ten times more nervous/excited for people to read it. Mason, the main character in the novel, is the first character who ever sprang to life in my head. PURGE (at least an earlier incarnation of it) was the first novel I ever finished, and it was also the one that helped me sign with my agent, the amazing Molly Ker Hawn. And it's the second book of mine to be published by the brilliant team at Firefly Press, who just won the prestigious Branford Boase award. Exciting, right??

If you've liked either of my other books, or just like sci-fi with a dose of romance, please, please do check it out. I'll just leave the links for Goodreads/online retailers right....here:

Book Depository
Firefly Press
Guardian Bookshop


July was an exciting month in the YA book community, because Dawn Kurtagich's second novel - THE CREEPER MAN - came out in the UK (yay!), and because the UK's only YA lit-focused convention, YALC, was held down in London. I wasn't able to make it this year (boo!) but there were copies of BLACKFIN SKY and samplers of PURGE there in my stead, and I still decided to theme some of my July reading around the authors who were on the YALC programme.

Here's what I read:

So, from the YALC line-up I read BREATHE by Sarah Crossan, which tied in with my never-ending sci-fi binge, and was a great dystopian adventure; THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Stiefvater which... well, I love reading stories that use Welsh mythology/history, but there were some problematic uses of it in this book that didn't sit right with me; and AM I NORMAL YET? by Holly Bourne, which was an absolute joy to read, and I'll be grabbing the next in the Spinster series very soon.

I read the very weird and wonderful BONE GAP by Laura Ruby, which has rightly won all kinds of accolades. I listened to 3 audiobooks while out on my walking adventures - these were OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon and STORM FRONT by Jim Butcher, which I'll admit I got because they were on sale, but I ended up really enjoying both; and THIS SHATTERED WORLD, which is the second in the trilogy by Aimee Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, and a great follow up to THESE BROKEN STARS.

Want to see my fave walking adventure pic from my Instagram? Sure you do.

A photo posted by Kat Ellis (@katelliswrites) on

I also went to see the new Ghostbusters movie, which was bloody wonderful - absolutely everything you'd want in a Ghostbusters movie - funny, plenty of action, and 4 great leads. I highly recommend it if you haven't already seen it. I'm looking forward to seeing the new Star Trek film soon, and Suicide Squad, which looks ace. I've become a bit obsessed with one of the songs from the soundtrack of the latter - check it out here, if you fancy:

So, that was my July! In August, I'll be focusing mainly on reading UKYA books, so I'll have a few more YALC authors in that line-up, too. Writing-wise, I'll be working on (hopefully finishing!) my new YA manuscript, and getting things ready for PURGE's launch.

Now back to the writing cave I shuffle...

Kat out x