Tuesday, 6 March 2018

February Wrap-up!

We have rolled into March on a wave of snow-melt, so it's time to recap what happened in February.

Writing-wise, I was working on the first round of edits for THE TWINS OF BLACKFIN, the novella which will be out this October in an anthology of novellas called THREE STRIKES. In case this is the first you're hearing about TWINS, it's a prequel to my debut YA novel, BLACKFIN SKY, and focuses on some weird and spooky events which took place immediately after Sky's death (that's not a spoiler, I promise - Sky has already died at the start of BLACKFIN SKY!) It has been so much fun working on another story set in that peculiar town, and I really hope readers will love it.

Because I think music helps set a mood for a story really well, here's a track I'm listening to a lot at the moment, and which I think has a definite TWINS-feel. It's also a really cool video, though not plot-related ;-)

I read another 4 books in February, and these are they:

THE ROANOKE GIRLS by Amy Engel was a weirdly addictive novel about Lane and her cousin Allegra, who spent one summer together as teenagers at the Roanoke homestead, and now - 10 years later - Allegra has gone missing, and Lane returns to Roanoke to find out what happened to her. The subject matter (incest/child abuse) was very dark, but told in such a compelling and evocative way that it doesn't feel like the grim story it really is. I listened to this on audio - read brilliantly by Brittany Pressley - and could hardly put it down. I'm glad I made this my adult-category read for the month.

Neal Shusterman's THUNDERHEAD is the second in the Arc of a Scythe trilogy (I had thought it was a duology when I started this book, and am consequently gutted at having to wait a year for the conclusion). If you enjoy vast dystopian landscapes and fascinating, flawed characters, and you haven't yet picked up SCYTHE, then you definitely should. It's set in a post-mortal age where disease and natural death no longer exist, so to keep the human population from exploding, an organisation called the Scythedom have been established to 'glean' lives according to a quota. But Scythes aren't infallible, and two young trainees, Rowan and Sitra, find themselves in danger when they uncover the deep vein of corruption running through the Scythedom.

I picked up THE GAME OF LOVE AND DEATH by Martha Brockenbrough thanks to a recommendation from Miss Print, whose reading recs I always take seriously! This was a historical romance with an element of fantasy (always a good thing, I think). It follows Flora - a young black woman from Seattle who dreams of flying in the footsteps of Amelia Earheart, and sings in a jazz club by night - and Henry, an orphaned young white man living off the good will of his best friend's affluent family, and dreaming of a future that isn't the one that has been so neatly laid out for him. And of course there are Love and Death, two figures locked in an eternal game, each with their chosen player - waiting to see which will triumph: love or death? This was a beautifully written story, and as I was reading it I could just imagine it all playing out like an old black and white film.

Finally, as promised, I snuck in a quick graphic novel. THE BEAUTY (Vol. One) by Jeremy Haun, Jason A Hurley, and John Rauch is about a sexually-transmitted disease with a difference: it's a disease everyone wants, because it makes the infected person beautiful. That is, of course, until a terrible side-effect begins to kick in... After a few months of neglecting graphic novels, this one was a brilliant one to get me back into the swing. The artwork is stunning, the storyline was smart and fast-paced, and I actually think I'll pick up the next volume in this series, which is a first for me!

Other than writing and reading, I had 2 nights out in Manchester - the first to see Highly Suspect playing at the Academy (they were AMAZING), and the second to watch comedian Dane Baptise with my sister (also brilliant). I had a couple more Welshy adventures, too - exploring Anglesey with my husband, where we visited historic Beaumaris Castle and visited the cemetery on Church Island; and walking at Llyn Brenig, which was bloody freezing. Here are a few pics from our adventures:

A post shared by Kat Ellis (@katelliswrites) on

A post shared by Kat Ellis (@katelliswrites) on

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And then the snow came...

I'm actually keeping up with my unofficial resolution to post every day on Instagram, so if you don't already follow me there and would like to see more of my adventures/reading habits/cats, then... well, follow me.

That's it for now - I'm heading back into my writing cave to work on edits for what I hope will be my next book. Fingers crossed, eh??

Kat out x