Tales Q&A with Rachel Delahaye


I am super excited to have been asked to feature a post from Rachel Delahaye author of the super funny MG Jim Reaper series published by Piccadilly Press.

Jim Reaper:  Saving Granny Magot is the second book in this fab series and was released on the 14th July 2016 and is illustrated by the brilliant Jamie Littler.

The first in the series, Jim Reaper:  Son Of Grim was released earlier this year.

A huge thank you to Carmen and Rachel for asking me to post this a feature and for sending me a copy of the books to read.

For my post I thought it would be good to find out a little bit more about Jim Reaper so I thought a character Q&A with the boy himself would be perfect…..


You might have heard how the universe began with the Big Bang? Well, the universe as Jim Wimple knows it is about to end. With a Bazoom! Not only are Bazoom! scooters super fast and deadly cool, but fierce (and swoonsome) older girl Fiona has just started riding hers to and from school, and possibly out of Jim’s life forever. Disaster! Jim Wimple needs a Bazoom!, and fast. So he and his best friend Will devise a clever scheme, which involves having to sneak into Dad’s workplace. But when the boys break into the Mallet & Mullet ‘accountancy’ office they find that the walls are lined with ancient portraits, the staff are highly secretive, and Jim’s dad’s office bears the sign ‘G Reaper’…And then all hell really breaks loose. What would YOU do if you thought your dad might be …Death?! Illustrated with cool art by HAMISH artist Jamie Littler.

You can buy a copy of this book here


Another fast and fun adventure about life, death and all the hilarity in between . . .

Jim is getting to grips with his father’s rather unusual job at the Dead End Office and is keeping the truth secret as a promise to Dad. But when Jim sees that Will’s grandma is next on the list of Death Dates, he springs into action. Even though Granny Maggot is smelly, mean-spirited and VERY unfriendly, his best friend Will adores her. Jim has to do something!

If the boys can keep Will’s granny safe until midnight, can they save her life?

You can by a copy of this book here

Hi Jim!  Thank you for joining me today!  I’m so thrilled to have you here today!

Firstly a little about your second adventure Jim Reaper: Saving Granny Maggot…..


Another fast and fun adventure about life, death and all the hilarity in between . . .

Jim is getting to grips with his father’s rather unusual job at the Dead End Office and is keeping the truth secret as a promise to Dad. But when Jim sees that Will’s grandma is next on the list of Death Dates, he springs into action. Even though Granny Maggot is smelly, mean-spirited and VERY unfriendly, his best friend Will adores her. Jim has to do something!

If the boys can keep Will’s granny safe until midnight, can they save her life?

So Jim. How are you?

I’m fine. Just a little bit out of breath, because my sister, Hetty, has been trying to cut my hair again. Believe me, Hetty might call herself a hair-dresser, but she’s more of a hair-messer – with scissors! I’ve been running away from her all morning.

For those of us who don’t know who you are could you tell us a little about yourself?

Well, I’m Jim – hello again. And I guess I’m quite ordinary. There’s nothing much to say. Although I do like Dr Who. He’s cool. But maybe not as cool as Sherlock Holmes. He’s a detective. I’m not saying I’m a detective, but I like finding out stuff. Finding out stuff is what I do. Although it’s probably not best to find out what Mum puts in her muffins. I avoid that at all costs.

Your real name is Jim Wimple so why are you called Jim Reaper?

Sneaky question! I’d like to give you the answer and shout BINGO. But then you wouldn’t have anything to find out, and I don’t want to take that away from you. Tip: if you read my stories you’ll find out pretty quickly.

What does your Dad do for a living?

Most people think he’s a Senior Accountant for Mallet & Mullet Accountants. But he’s not. He watches figures go in and out, though… Oh, I can’t keep it a secret any longer – he’s DEATH!

How did you feel when you found out about your Dad?

I didn’t believe it, even though I worked it all out myself and confronted him. I actually asked him – are you Death. And he said yes. I mean – DEATH? That’s crazy! That’s crazier than Mum’s muffin recipes, crazier than Hetty’s dress sense, crazier than anything Mr Bean would do. It’s even crazier than my best friend, Will, and that’s saying something! But I’ve got used to the idea. Death’s not scary, he’s my Dad.

Can you tell us a little about your best friend Will?

Will is 100% weird. He’s also 100% wonderful. That’s 200% of wacky brilliance right there. His brain isn’t like any I’ve ever met before. Not that I’ve met a brain. But you know what I mean. Will is a great friend, because he cares about stuff. And he always tells the truth.

How did you become friends with Will?

I was sitting in the corner of the playground and break time and suddenly, out of nowhere, this kid comes up and tells me that the largest display of empty crisp packets took place in Germany in 2009. There were 2000 packets. Most people would tell him to go away for being nerdy, but I thought that was kind of cool.

Your second story is about Granny Maggot, Will’s Gran – can you tell us a little about her?

She is BONKERS! And horrible. That’s what you think when you first meet her, but actually, it’s just because her brain has got stuck in ugly thoughts. When she does something new or exciting, she goes back to being a nice old lady again. It’s a bit like a miracle.

Do you think you can save Granny Maggot?

Yes. I think you can do anything when you put your mind to it. Or if you get Will to put his mind to it – because his brain is blessed with meatballs of brilliance. Also, you should never give up.

What do you think about how the illustrator Jamie Littler drew you?  Did he capture the real Jim?

What do you mean? It is me. It’s like a photograph of me, in fact. Apart from the fact that most of the pictures make me look a bit surprised. I want to reassure you that I’m totally in control – all of the time.

Quickfire Questions

Favourite word?


Favourite Colour?

Red. And Blue.

Favourite song to sing at Karaoke?

Can’t Touch This. It reminds me of my Dad.

Favourite book or author?

Henry Sugar, by Roald Dahl.

What do you think the future has in store for Jim Reaper?

I think, whether you’ll get to read about them or not, he’ll will be having plenty more adventures. He’s too curious to sit back and let life (and death) happen. You can bet he’ll be investigating and filling his project book for years to come.

If you could give one piece of advice to anyone reading this interview what would it be?

Don’t underestimate kids. Sometimes it’s good to be born yesterday. Or near enough. Kids’ brains are fresh and full of ideas… they haven’t been worn down by life, and lectures about safety and healthy eating.

Thank you so much for answering all my questions Jim.

That’s okay. It was fun.









You can buy a copy of these books here

About Rachel Delahaye


After studying linguistics near a town called Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, Rachel began a career in print journalism. She has worked in London, Sydney and Melbourne, and now lives in Bath. While she has vowed never to move again (well, not for a little while), her imagination has refused to settle down, and she’s now writing children’s fiction.

Her hilarious Jim Reaper: Son of Grim, is published by Piccadilly Press (Feb 2016), with two sequels following hot on its heels.

Rachel is married with two children and a dog called Rocket.

You can find out more about Rachel on her website – www.racheldelahaye.com

Or why not follow her on twitter – @RachelDelahaye

Quickfire Questions

Favourite word?


Favourite Ice Cream?


Favourite Colour?


Favourite song to sing at Karaoke?

Twist and Shout.

Favourite book or author?

Under The Mountain, by Maurice Gee.

A huge huge thank you to Rachel for playing along and answering all my questions and to Carmen at Picadilly Press for arranging this interview.!

Have you read any of the Jim Reaper series?  What did you think?  Are you excited for the Granny Maggot?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!




Tales Q&A with C J Skuse


I am over the moon to have the lovely C J Skuse on Tales again today to celebrate the release of her new book The Deviants which is released on the 22nd September published by MIRA Ink.

The Deviants is hands down one of my favourite books of 2016 and will be featuring on my list of 2016 faves at the end of the year.

A story about rekindling friendships, secrets, lies and discovery which kept me enthralled and completely broke me.  I am honestly still not over reading this book and I am sure it’s going to stay with me for a very long time to come.

You can find a previous guest post from CJ about hot boys in her books here

A huge thank you to C J for agreeing to appear on my blog today and to Mira Ink for sending me a proof copy of such a wonderful book.

To CJ talks about the 15 year journey writing The Deviants, it’s characters and the heartbreaking inspiration behind it in this brilliant Q&A.



Ella, Max, Corey, Fallon and Zane.

The Fearless Five, inseparable as children growing up in a sleepy English seaside town. But when Max’s older sister is killed, the friendship seems to die with her.


Only Max and Ella are in touch, still best friends and a couple since they were thirteen. But Ella is hiding things – like why she’s afraid to take their relationship to the next level. And when underdog Corey is bullied, the Fearless Five are brought back together again, teaming up to wreak havoc and revenge on those who have wronged them.

But when the secrets they are keeping can no longer be kept quiet, will their fearlessness be enough to save them from themselves?

Hi C J!  Thank you for joining me today!  I’m so thrilled to have you here today!

So lets get started with the first question…..

Can you tell us a little about your fifth YA book, The Deviants?


 The Deviants centres on a small group of teenagers who knew each other as children but have since grown apart. In the time that’s passed, their lives have taken quite miserable turns and when they’re suddenly thrust back together, they join forces to exact revenge on key individuals who’ve been making their lives hell. It’s being billed as a very dark Famous Five for Young Adults.

Can you tell us a little about your journey with writing The Deviants?

 It’s been love/hate the whole way. I started writing it in 2001, thinking it would just be a mickey-take of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five; a group of teenagers would terrorize a small seaside town and then prove themselves by solving the mystery of a serial killer or something. Then I kept getting bored of writing it and I think that was subconscious telling myself I wasn’t ready to write a book like this yet. I picked it up again last year when I was contracted to write another YA in the same vein as Monster and by this point, I knew what kind of story it had to be.

 How did you come up with the title?  Did it change during the writing or publication process?

 Back in the mists of time it was called Whipped, named after the seafront café from where the body was originally spotted. Then it was called Habit for no apparent reason other than I liked saying the word, then that changed to Volcano Town, then Volcano Girl and finally to The Deviants. My cousin called me a deviant one day (I can’t remember why – I probably said something filthy, knowing me) and I really just liked the sound of the word.

Can you tell us a little about The Fearless Five?

 The Fearless Five was a nickname given to the kids – Max, Ella, Corey, Fallon and Zane – by Max’s elder sister Jessica. They went to primary school together, spent the holidays going on adventures, played idyllic childhood games in idyllic childhood places like the beach near and the island out in the bay. There wasn’t any problem they couldn’t solve together. Then one day, all that came to a shuddering halt when Jessica died and the friendship was broken. They had to grow up individually and suddenly there was fear and danger everywhere and none of them knew how to navigate their way around it. Breaking up is the worst thing they ever did.

 You are quite well known for having at least one hot boy in your books – was their anyone in particular in mind when creating Max?

 Max was originally called Shane and all I knew about him was that he walked with a loping stride, smoked and had dark brown hair. Whenever I am struggling with a character, I change their name and suddenly they open up to me. I couldn’t decide whether to call him River, Ashton or Max so I did a Twitter poll and Max won. At the time I was into 5 Seconds of Summer and for me Max is Ashton Irwin, circa 2013. He’s the same build, has the same shaggy hair, the same butter-wouldn’t-melt smile but he carries some dark secrets. And as always with a character, once you can put a face to them, they come alive and develop new attributes, which Max suddenly did.


You can find a previous guest post from CJ about hot boys in her books here

 Why is it important to have protagonists like Ella from The Deviants representing the not so perfect protagonist not only in The Deviants but in your books in general?

 I’m bored of perfect protagonists. I don’t want my characters to be fully likeable because no real person is and I want my books to feel real. We all have our little off-putting qualities and I wanted to reflect that in my books. I’ve had some criticism about the character of Zane – that he’s not a positive role model for gay teenagers but I don’t want him to be a positive role model; I want him to be him. He’s the way he is for a reason – thankfully most people get that. Ella too has been through incredible trauma and I don’t see her as coming through that in the positive, life-affirming way society expects her to. I find it a little insufferable that there’s this right way to present characters in YA fiction – they have to be positive, they have to come through their experiences as better people to teach readers that ‘it gets better’. For some kids, it doesn’t. They’re eaten up by what’s happened to them and they’re full of rage, as they have every right to be. The only person at fault is the perpetrator of the crime against them.

What was your favourite scene to write?

 I like any scene where two characters are having a bit of a heart-to-heart. Fallon and Ella by the pool, Zane and Ella on the island, Max and Ella at the garden centre, Corey and Ella at the hospital etc. All these scenes were fun to write because they’re tearing down barriers and getting down to the nitty gritty of who these kids truly are.

 What was the hardest scene to write?

 The ending. That was very tough to write. It’s the first time I’ve ever killed off a character I really liked and it hurt. I hope readers take some positives from it and understand why it ends the way it does though

 Did you know how the book was going to end before you started writing The Deviants?

 I had no idea actually. The body on the beach prologue has always been a constant but who it was has changed with every draft (and there are thousands of drafts!) Then one day I was watching a programme about one of Shakespeare’s plays (can’t tell you which one cos spoilers) and it came to me in a blinding flash. The same thing happened with my Monster. I had no idea who the ‘monster’ of the story actually was until I’d written the penultimate draft. Then I had to go back and seed it all in. Very annoying but ultimately, I think it’s a better book because of this.

Do you see yourself in any of the characters in The Deviants or have you used any of your own experiences in the story?

 I guess there are pockets of adventure that I had with my friends when I was younger which I’ve used in the book but nothing solid. I know what it’s like to be molested by someone and feel too ashamed to talk about it and I know what it’s like to hold onto bad news and let it eat you because you don’t want to make a sick person sicker (in the case of Ella and her dad). I’ve used my home towns, Weston super Mare and Burnham on Sea as prototypes for Brynstan on Sea in the book. There is a hill which I climb all the time with my dog and I used that for Brynstan Hill. Ella definitely has my anger but although I know where it comes from in her, I don’t know how to explain mine!

If you could cast your characters from The Deviants in a big Hollywood film adaptation who would you choose?

 I never see my books as Hollywood movies really (except Pretty Bad Things cos it’s set in the USA). They’re all set in Britain so I see them as British independent movies with all-Brit casts. Ashton is too old to play Max of course, but I think Tilly Keeper who plays Louise Mitchell in EastEnders has an Ella look about her, and Charlie Wernham was in my head in the later stages of drafting Zane’s character so maybe them. All suggestions welcome though!



 What would you like your reader to take away from reading The Deviants?

 If just one person reads The Deviants and feels able to speak up about their own experiences, or if they can help someone else talk about theirs or inform on a culprit, then the last 15 years of rewrites will have been completely and utterly worth it.

 What do you think makes a good story?

 Character, character and character. If the character isn’t interesting to read, chances are the plot won’t be either. I’ve read thousands of books and uncorrected manuscripts in my time and the bad ones are always bad for the same reasons – namely I didn’t care about the characters so I didn’t care about the story.

Can you give us 5 random facts that we don’t know about CJ Skuse?

  1. I love gummy bears but think gummy worms are an abomination
  2. I am an orphan, but Daddy Warbucks ain’t bailed me out yet.
  3. I’ve fictionally killed two people today (this isn’t linked to me being an orphan, by the way)
  4. My favourite Bronte sister is Anne
  5. I think about the actor Taron Egerton approximately every 6.3 seconds during the average day

 Growing up who inspired you into writing?  Are there any Authors or books that inspired you?

 I wrote to novelist Gillian White when I was 16 and she sent me back two signed books and a letter full of useful advice about getting published. She inspired me a lot in the early days. One of my favourite books of all time is The Madolescents by Chrissie Glazebrook – it taught me about the power of humour in writing fiction. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is my favourite book – I read it in one sitting and it blew me away. The Deviants is my attempt at a ‘Perks.’ I also love Melvyn Burgess and Kevin Brooks – solid, old school YA. I feel that a lot of YA stuff gets watered down these days sadly but Burgess and Brooks always bring the purest and best to the table.









Are there any recent works or authors that you admire or books you wish you had written?

 Amy, Chelsea, Stacie, Dee by Mary Thompson is coming out next year with The Chicken House and it’s a recent book which made me want to be a better, cleverer writer because it constantly surprised me. The first Hunger Games novel taught me about the power of propulsive writing and great chapter hooks. Foxlowe by Eleanor Wasserberg I read recently too. Simple, compelling and so affecting.









Each of your YA books are very different and unique – What have you learnt after writing each one?   

 That I still don’t know what I’m doing really! It gets easier (or rather, quicker) with each novel, but I’ve learnt to expect surprises in the last draft because it never ends the way you think it will. I plan everything but the ending – I just have an idea of it and once I get there, it invariably changes and goes in another direction.

 What are you currently reading?

 I’m reading a lot of books about murderers at present for research on my adult novel Sweetpea (April 2017) and I’m currently looking at Female Serial Killers in Social Context: Criminological Institutionalism and the Case of Mary Ann Cotton by Professors Elizabeth Yardley and David Wilson.


What is your favourite book of 2016 so far?

 I think probably the new Catherynne Valente book I read and did a report for in my capacity as reader. Valente’s signature beautiful writing style and a heavy dose of the Brontes. Gorgeous.

Are there any authors you would like to collaborate with?  Who?

 I’d love to do what Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison did with their novel Lobsters and write a book with a guy. I used to read all of Josie Lloyd and Emlyn Rees’ books and I’d like to do something like that for an older audience. It would be different and a challenge and ultimately I think with each book that’s what I’m after. That’s what keeps me wanting to do this – new challenges to keep things fresh and exciting.

 When starting a new book or idea what does your writing process look like?

It always starts with an A4 hardback notebook and the numbers 1-30 written down one side of a page. Then I sprinkle down some scene ideas, do a bit of a brainstorm on character and what I’m trying to say, then off I go. In the old days it was reams and reams of paper/maps/drawings etc. I don’t have time for the fun bits now, sadly!

 Do you have any strange writing habits?

 If I’m really getting into a scene and just as I’m about to write the pivotal moment, I’ll click out of it and go on Twitter or Facebook or Tumblr, anywhere but the scene. I don’t know if it’s excitement or fear or a heady mixture of both but I just need a moment away from it before I plunge back in. Other than that, I think I’m pretty normal. I sit at a boring old desk in a a boring old office and just get it down on the screen. I also click Save after most sentences, and email it to myself after every session, just in case of disaster.

 Did music have any influence in The Deviants or the characters in The Deviants?  Is there a song or soundtrack that would sum up the book perfectly?

 Yep, definitely. Music is always an important co-writer for me. I think the Imagine Dragons song Demons sums the book up perfectly, as does Army by Ellie Golding. I also find myself listening to Hello by Adele recently and thinking about the ending of the book. It gives me goose bumps. Here’s the full Spotify playlist …


The Deviants is your last YA book for now.  Can you tell us a little about your first adult thriller Sweetpea which is due for release in 2017?

 Yes, it’s being pitched as Bridget Jones’s Diary meets Dexter which is probably the most accurate summation of a book ever! I watched that BBC 3 show Fleabag recently too and there’s definite shades of that in it. My character is your everyday girl-next-door type of woman, trying to hold down a job, a relationship and friendships while simultaneously having an incredible lust for murder. It’s first and foremost a comedy but with dark themes and lots of killings.

 Are there any further exciting plans for CJ Skuse that we don’t know yet?

 Yes, I’m going to eat an entire bag of Maoam Stripes now and god help anyone who tries to stop me…


You can buy a copy of The Deviants here

You can find a previous guest post from CJ about hot boys in her books here

About C J Skuse


C.J. SKUSE is the author of the Young Adult novels PRETTY BAD THINGS, ROCKOHOLIC and DEAD ROMANTIC (Chicken House) , MONSTER and THE DEVIANTS (Mira Ink).













She was born in 1980 in Weston-super-Mare, England. She has First Class degrees in Creative Writing and Writing for Children and, aside from writing novels, works as a freelance children’s fiction consultant and lectures in Writing for Children at Bath Spa University. C.J. is currently working on her second novel for Mira Ink.

C.J. loves Masterchef, Gummy Bears and murder sites. She hates carnivals, hard-boiled eggs and coughing. The movies Titanic, My Best Friend’s Wedding and Ruby Sparks were all probably based on her ideas; she just didn’t get to write them down in time. Before she dies, she would like to go to Japan, try clay-pigeon shooting and have Ryan Gosling present her with the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

You can find C.J. Skuse on Facebook or on Twitter –  @CeejaytheAuthor 

You can buy CJ’s books here

A huge huge thank you to CJ for a brilliant Q&A and answering all of my questions!

Have you read The Deviants or any of CJ’s books?  What did you think? I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading


Tales Post – Extract From Rose In The Blitz by Rebecca Stevens


I was super excited to be asked by Laura at Chicken House to feature an extract and giveaway from a brilliant new historical fiction book centering around the war called Rose In The Blitz!

Rose In The Blitz was released on 4th August 2016 published by Chicken House and is set to be a fab historical children’s fiction read!

So sit back and relax and be swept away by Rebecca’s beautiful writing!

Don’t forget to check out the fab giveaway at the bottom of the post!


It’s the night before Rose’s mum re-marries. Rose can’t sleep for worrying and nor can her muddled Great-Aunt Cosy, her namesake. Rose sees the old lady leaving the house and runs after her to the London underground. Their empty train stops in 1940, in a war-torn London broken by the Blitz. Here, Rose witnesses great romance and impending sacrifice. Tragedy will surely follow – unless she can change what happens next …













You can buy a copy of Rose In The Blitz here

About Rebecca Stevens


Rebecca Stevens has always been highly creative. She has worked as an actor, a stand-up comedian and a scriptwriter for children’s television, writing for shows such as Mr Bean and Postman Pat. Valentine Joe is her first solo book, and her second novel for Chicken House, Rose in the Blitz, will be published in August 2016.

You can find out more about Rebecca on her website – rebeccastevenswriter.com

Or why not follow her on twitter – @rstevenswriter


I have 1 x copy of Rose In The Blitz to giveaway with thanks to Chicken House!

One copy means only one winner.

UK Only

Ends 28/09/2016

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Another huge thank you to Laura at Chicken House for asking me to feature this extract and for a fab giveaway!

Have you read Rose In The Blitz?  What did you think?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!


Spotlight – Shadow Reaper by Amos Cassidy


I was so excited to be asked via Faye Rogers to be part of a release day blitz for a new self published urban fantasy book released called Shadow Reaper by Amos Cassidy.

Shadow Reaper was released on the 13th September, published by kindle press on ebook and is set to be a great fantasy read!

So today in celebration I am going to shine the spotlight on the book and it’s wonderful author!

I also have a fab extract from the book too!

There is also going to be a fab read along of this book between the 3rd and the 16th of October!



Only the bravest go over the Horizon…

Twenty years ago the barriers between worlds came down and our reality was swallowed up by the Shadowlands. Now we scavenge to survive, until one day there’s nothing left to reap. Starvation is around the corner, but I’m not the roll over and wait-to-die kinda girl. Nope, I’m going further than anyone has ever been and returned to tell the tale. I’m going into the Beyond, and I’m not coming back without a solution.

Dark urban fantasy with a post-apocalyptic twist.

You can buy a copy of this book here

Or why not add it to your Goodreads wish list here



It was a day like all the others, dark as pitch and cold as ice, most definitely not a day to die. So when I came face to face with the Knightmare, I froze, all my training taking a flying leap out the proverbial window. You didn’t get Knightmares on this side of the Horizon. In fact, it’d been over a year since anyone had seen one at all.

The Knightmare stared at me with its slanted, glowing eyes, steam pluming from its perpetually flared nostrils, its equine body poised to attack and then it opened its mouth and screamed.

I remembered how to run.

I ran on instinct, moving through the underground tunnels from memory alone. I could hear it behind me, its hooves thundering against the cracked concrete, its rumbling breath pressing against my ears.

It shouldn’t be here, couldn’t be here, and yet it was.

I realised that if I ran back to Shelter, then I’d be leading it straight home, so I took a left instead of a right at the next intersection. I ran, losing myself in the burning of my lungs and the screaming of my muscles. It was only a matter of time before it got me, only a matter of minutes, because I was losing momentum. I couldn’t keep up this pace much longer.

My eyes stung, my throat grew tight. Man, I was pissed! Nineteen years I’d survived this hellhole, nineteen, and I was going to get taken out by a Knightmare? No way was I going out like that! Besides, if I croaked, then that thing would be left roaming the tunnels. My people would be in danger. I had no idea how it’d managed to get across the Horizon without being spotted by the Eye. I’d have to report this to Blake, get him to look into the security. The small bitey critters that scuttled across were one thing, those were inevitable. Those we could handle, but this was bad, real bad.

Up ahead, the fallen and rusted body of a huge contraption from the time before came into view. I gave a final burst of speed and leapt up onto its metallic body. The Knightmare reared back. One thing about Knightmares, they’re not big on climbing. I blew tendrils of hair out of my eyes, yanked out my scrunchie and then scraped my hair back up into a tight ponytail.

It paced, back and forth, its eyes glistening in the dark. I crouched, tips of my fingers grazing cool metal, and watched it—waiting.

That’s it, just get bored and piss off, you ugly—

“Mansfield?” A shrill whistle. “Where are you, boy?”

What the hell? There was someone down here.

The sound of slow, leisurely footsteps echoed through the darkness.

The Knightmare turned his head to look back up the tunnel.

Shit! Who could be so stupid as to be out here alone?

You are, you twat!


“Oi! Don’t come any closer,” I yelled. “There’s a Knightmare here. Run!”

The footsteps faltered.

He was probably from the slums, maybe using the tunnels to scavenge like I was. Fuck, I remembered those days, but it was dangerous, too dangerous for someone untrained. I waited, straining to hear the sounds of retreat, yet there was nothing but silence.

Had I imagined the voice?

The Knightmare turned away from me.

No, definitely not my imagination. Those things could smell a human a mile off. Stupid bloody man, boy, whoever it was.

“Bloody run, you idiot! There’s no point hiding! It can bleedin’ smell ya!”

A low chuckle filtered through the air, accompanied by the sound of footsteps.

They were growing closer.

Well, there was no helping some people.

A shape became visible. A man, tall, broad, and slim, wreathed in darkness. My eyes, accustomed to the gloom of the tunnels, could make out only the whites of his eyes surrounding cerulean blue.

“Well, there you are, Mansfield.” The Knightmare whinnied and trotted over to the man, offering his huge head to be petted.

What the crap?

The man tilted his head to look up at me. “Dangerous being out here all alone, little human.” He said the last word as if it were a dirty one.

Mansfield emitted a pleading rumble.

“Mansfield’s hungry.” The man cocked his head and stared at me for a very long time, so long, in fact, that I began to wonder if he’d turned to stone or fallen asleep on his feet with his eyes open. “I don’t think she’ll make a very palatable meal, boy. All skin and bones, that one. Come, we’ll find you something more . . . substantial.”

A chill crawled up my spine. Only one of them could control a Knightmare. A Shadowlander.

He flashed me his even white teeth. “You’re safe for now, human. Crawl off to your hideout and forget this ever happened.”

And just like that, they were gone.

I exhaled sharply and stared at the spot where they had just stood. Something had stood. Something.

What the hell was I doing on top of this rusty contraption?

Climbing down gingerly, I wiped my dirty palms on my trousers and headed home.


I crawled through the hidden passageway that led back into Shelter. I reached the grate that opened up into Corridor 4 and waited, listening. There wasn’t usually anyone about at this time, but you never knew. After long minutes of absolute silence, I knocked aside the grate and slid into the corridor, landing lightly on my feet.

I moved the grate back into place, then pushed in the rusty screws to make them look like they were snug in their holes.

Straightening my shirt and brushing off my trousers, I made my way back to my quarters.

If I thought I’d gotten off scot-free for my little escapade, then I was sadly mistaken.

Clay sat on my bed, his face dark with anger.


“What the hell, Ash? What. The. Hell?”

Crap! Time to do some damage control.

I plastered a contrite expression on my face, ready to do the pleading thing, but he held up his hand.

“Don’t even go there. You’re not sorry. I know it, you know it, and the whole fucking world knows it. What I want to know is why. You got what you wanted. You’re a Reaper, so why take these unnecessary risks?”

I felt the first spark of anger. “Why? Because someone has to! The bimonthly reaps aren’t cutting it. Everyone knows it. Someone has to take the risk. Remember the penicillin, the iodine, the—”

“Yes! I remember. You found some important stuff, but—”

“And I didn’t go over the Horizon to do it. I’m not bleedin’ suicidal. I was careful. Nothing saw me and I didn’t see any of . . . them.” Some memory skittered under the surface of my mind but was gone too quick to catch.

Clay rubbed his face with his hand, his shoulders rising and falling in a heartfelt sigh, and I felt the guilt heavy on my chest. I was his burden. His little sister, the one he’d sworn to protect. I didn’t make it easy.

Older than me by five minutes, Clay had seamlessly stepped into our parents’ shoes after they died five years ago. We’d been barely fourteen at the time. Clay had taken their deaths as an inevitability. He’d said good-bye, buried them, and then turned his attention to taking care of me. Sod that! I’d been pissed off and incensed by the unfairness of it because, as far as I was concerned, they’d chosen to die. Food and shelter had been less than a mile away; all they’d had to do was claim it. All they’d had to do was volunteer for the academy, become Reapers, and we would have been clothed and fed and sheltered. But they’d been afraid, weak, and they’d died. Yes, I’d been angry. So angry that I’d done the one thing that they’d never wanted either Clay or me to do. I’d signed up to be a Reaper.

Reaper status meant food. It meant lodging. It meant safety. It had come too late for my parents, but I was determined not to lose Clay to their skewed convictions. Clay couldn’t bring himself to break the vow we’d made to them, though; thank goodness Shelter needed able-bodied men to train in the tech side of things. Clay always had an affinity for building shit, so here we were five years later—Clay a head Technician and me a seasoned Reaper. The tech we had here was primitive, but he managed to keep the lights on and the heat running, and that’s all we could ask for.



“Go to bed.” He stood and moved toward the door.

He was disappointed in me. I hated it. I couldn’t leave things like this between us. As he brushed past, I turned into him, wrapping my arms around his waist. He tensed and then relaxed. His arms wrapped around me and he squeezed me tight.

“Please, Ash, just follow protocol, ’kay?”

I nodded against his chest, and yes, I really meant to keep my promise. I always do . . . until next time.

He released me and ruffled my hair.

“Say ’night to Blake.” I smiled up at him coquettishly.

He blushed. “Will do.”

It was sweet the way those two were still so gaga over each other. They’d been dating for just over a year now, and they acted like a married couple. Clay had even moved into Blake’s quarters, and yet he still blushed when I mentioned Blake’s name.


He pecked me on the forehead and then left me to it.

A yawn ripped through me, and I stretched and threw myself onto my rumpled bed. My quarters were small and boxy, but they were mine. Pictures from old magazines I’d found on my scavenging trips decorated the walls: cars and paradise settings, gardens and sunsets, and lovers holding hands. These were memories that I’d never have. They lulled me to sleep, and sometimes I’d find myself on a beach somewhere, waves lapping at my toes, or maybe in a beautiful garden, the scent of roses sweet and strong in my nose. I didn’t know if what I dreamt held any similarity to how it used to be. How could I? I’ve never smelled a rose or walked on the beach, but the dreams kept my spirits alive, and sometimes he joined me—the man who didn’t speak.

The first time it happened, I was frightened. I mean, some strange bloke walks into my dream and just hangs out? It was creepy, but I soon started to feel okay with it. In fact, he’d become a kind of friend now . . . I think.

My eyelids were starting to get heavy, so I closed them, exhaling long and deep, and let sleep take me.


About Amos Cassidy


Amos Cassidy is the pen name for Richard Amos and Debbie Cassidy. Amos is a 31 year old Diva and Cassidy a 39 year old mother of three; well, four if you include the husband. A common love of all things Joss Whedon, Urban Fantasy, and a tug of war over Jensen Ackles, brought them together, and one cold February afternoon, over nibbles and coffee, their partnership was born. 

You can find Cassidy hard at work in her fortress of solitude which has eaten up the majority of her garden, and Amos…well he’s still trying to get the invisibility gizmo he got off a friendly alien in exchange for a pair of earphones to work. Funnily enough he hasn’t been seen around much lately…

Frequent doses of Sugary snacks, coupled with regular injections of caffeine aid in their production of a unique brand of cross genre tales. They are always writing, but are happy to take a break to chat to their wonderful readers, so drop them a line at amoscassidy@yahoo.co.uk, or just pop over to see what they’re working on at amoscassidyauthor.com and they’ll bust out the biscuit tin.

Website: www.amoscassidyauthor.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/amoscassidy

Read Along


Another huge thank you to Faye Rogers and Amos Cassidy!  Shadow Reaper sounds fab!

Happy Reading!


Tales Quiz – Which Character From the Nine Lives Trilogy by E R Murray Are You?

51gvrmqhtal-_sx324_bo1204203200_To celebrate the release of the second book in the Nine Lives Trilogy by the lovely E R Murray,  The Book Of Shadows, which was released on the 9th September 2016 published by Mercier Press I am so excited to welcome the brilliant E R Murray to Tales Of Yesterday again!

The Nine Lives Trilogy are a fab children’s book series aimed and 8 – 12 years old and beyond.

Today myself and the author of the brilliant series E R Murray have put together a fab quiz where we are asking…

Which Character From the Nine Lives Trilogy Are You?


After the death of her beloved grandfather on her twelfth birthday, Ebony Smart’s world is turned upside down. Orphaned for a second time, she is sent to Dublin to live with her weird Aunt Ruby, with only her pet rat, Winston, for company. With every window nailed shut and a mysterious locked room, 23 Mercury Lane is brimming with secrets. Warned against entering by a voice in the shadows, Ebony is fearful for her future, but has no idea how much her life is about to change. Aunt Ruby informs Ebony that she is part of the Order of Nine Lives – a special tribe of people who reincarnate. She claims Ebony has one week to break a terrible curse or else die – and if she fails, the future of the Order of Nine Lives, and her family, is at risk. With so much at stake, Ebony discovers it’s difficult to trust – especially when there’s somebody else trying to race her to the finish. Does she have what it takes to succeed when nothing is what it seems?

You can buy a copy of this book here


In this exciting follow-up to the Dublin UNESCO City of Literature Citywide Read 2016, ‘The Book of Learning’, heroine Ebony Smart is settling into her role as guardian for the Order of Nine Lives. All seems quiet until she receives a peculiar silver box from an anonymous sender and is tasked with returning it to a mystery owner. Ebony discovers that Zach and Judge Ambrose have allied with a powerful ancient demon, and are more determined than ever to steal her soul and control the fate of the world. To defend the Order and defeat the demon, Ebony and her pet rat, Winston, must unravel the mystery of the silver box, free the trapped souls in the Reflectory and mount a daring rescue. Can she find the strength and courage needed to defeat the enemy, prove herself the rightful guardian and save all of their lives?

You can buy a copy of this book here

Which character are you most like? 

Take the quiz to find out and share your results with us on twitter or leave a comment.

If you cannot see the quiz below click here and scroll down

About E R Murray


E.R. Murray writes novels for children and young adults as well as short fiction. Caramel Hearts (Alma Books) is her first book for young adults. Her middle grade debut The Book of Learning – Nine Lives Trilogy 1 (Mercier Press) was chosen as the 2016 Dublin UNESCO City of Literature Citywide Read for Children, and The Book of Shadows – Nine Lives Trilogy 2 will be published in September 2016. Elizabeth lives in West Cork, where she fishes, grows her own vegetables and enjoys plenty of adventures with her dog, Franklyn.

You can find out more about Elizabeth on her website, or chat to her on twitter @ERMurray, facebook or Instagram.

You can find a prevous guest post from E R Murray about her YA novel Caramel Hearts here

A huge thank you to E R Murray for playing along and helping to create this quiz!

Have you read any of the Nine Lives Troligy?  What did you think?  Have you taken the quiz?  Which character are you?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!


Guest Post – Writing Making Arrangements by Ferris Robinson


I was so excited to be asked via Faye Rogers to be part of the blog tour for a new Adult self published contemporary book released called Making Arrangements by Ferris Robinson.

I previously took part in the release day blitz for this book here

So today I have a fab guest post from the author herself all about writing her debut!


Against all odds, cancer survivor Lang Ellis is celebrating the one-year anniversary of her “death sentence” when her beloved husband drops dead on the tennis court.

Devoted to him, she reels from the loss, focusing on her precious granddaughter but struggling with her bossy only child, Teddy, and his aloof girlfriend, Sarah.

With her historical family estate in jeopardy, Lang realizes her husband wasn’t as perfect as she thought.

The secret he carried to his grave can ruin her life.

If she lets it.

Writing Making Arrangements

“Making Arrangements” ended up being very different than it started out. The idea for my debut novel came from my sister. The mother of an old friend was dying in Tennessee, and my sister’s friend was in the thick of a work crisis in the film industry in California. The friend was beside herself, but my sister told her not to worry, that she would go sit by her mother’s side until she could get there.

This in itself was very touching to me. My sister and her friend were thousands of miles apart, and hadn’t kept up all that regularly. But the fact that they had been very close friends in high school, and had grown up together in a way, created a lasting bond. So my sister dropped everything and set up camp in the hospital where Mrs. Forte, who was active and had actually been on her way to the airport to fly to California when she fell ill, was suddenly and unexpectedly at death’s door. The theme of this friendship, which is more familial than not, and how it forms, is central to “Making Arrangements.”

My sister was not the only person in that hospital room. Mrs. Forte’s friend, octogenarian Mrs. Hailey, was also there. Lifelong friend of Mrs. Forte, Mrs. Hailey was by her friend’s side in her last days, as was another friend of Mrs. Forte’s daughter. These three women forged their own bond as they told stories about sneaking out of the house as teenagers, and crushing on boys and smoking cigarettes in the same high school’s restrooms – all the same stories but a generation apart.

In the days these three women were together, their lives were woven together with an intensity and depth that intrigued me. After Mrs. Forte died, these women continued their relationship, meeting for dinner and continuing their stories over wine. From the outside, the friendship between these three women seemed unlikely – they were decades apart in age and worlds apart in roles – but their bond was unmistakable.

Based on this event, the first draft of “Making Arrangements” had three protagonists and three different points of view. And it didn’t work. But I loved these characters and everything they had been through.

The hardest part of being a writer is killing the darlings. I hated to cut Camilla. The heavy-set dark-haired woman had survived her share of pain, and had done so without bitterness, but with humor and grace. Those two things, humor and grace in the face of horrific pain, are remarkable to me. And I witness it continually first hand. I know women who have survived the deaths of children – an unthinkable tragedy – and somehow they pull themselves up and carry on. And they don’t go through the motions of life grimly. They have a spark about them. A naughty wit. A joi de vivre, even though their hearts have been injured terribly.

This determination to carry on in a wreck of a life is remarkable to be. How do they decide not to curl up in a ball and wither away? Certainly they have reason. My main character, Lang Eldridge, begins her saga indeed curled up in a ball under the covers. And she heads back to her dark room repeatedly. But she is pulled back to the land of the living. And a friend is one of the things that pulls her back. This fictional friend is not one Lang would have necessarily chosen, but AJ Cole took it upon herself to help poor Lang. A grammar-butchering fashion plate with an ulterior motive, AJ Cole regularly reveals too much information to reticent Lang, but the friendship that evolved is, in effect, like family.

The final version of “Making Arrangements” is from Lang’s perspective, and more characters evolved than were in the first draft. A little mute stray dog is important to the story. I think dogs are old souls, and are the best of humanity in a sense. Dogs are loyal without a doubt, and see the best in their masters, no matter how badly we mess up our lives. They seem to sense when we are broken, and there is something about a dog posting itself by our sides and gazing steadily into our eyes that allow healing to begin. I feel strongly enough about this phenomenon to believe all my future novels will feature a dog as a primary character. And yes, I happen to have rescued a little mute stray dog that is very similar to the little dog in my novel – or did my little dog rescue me?

Another important character I added is Teddy, Lang’s son. He has an agenda, and is in a bad spot in his life. Developing his family’s historic property would solve everything, and despite his mother’s wishes, he tries to railroad her into selling it. He clearly loves his mother, but is stunted emotionally and unable to man up when she needs him.

Lang’s granddaughter, Katie D, is a bright spot who was not in the original version. My sister is a grandmother of four, and although I do not have grandchildren of my own, I see the joy and love and light they bring her.

And Sarah, Katie D’s mother, is another character inspired by my sister. My sister has a way of embracing and celebrating all that is good in a person (not unlike the way dogs see the best in us) and ignoring the rest. Regarding the women who have come into her family, she ignores any unbecoming quirks and shortcomings, and lifts them up and envelops them as her own. Lang is conflicted regarding Sarah, but as difficult as embracing her is, both physically and emotionally, she struggles to do so.

Although the characters and point of view changed, the theme of “Making Arrangements” remain the same. An unlikely friendship can be life changing, and as a rule, forgiveness is necessary to quality of life. And family is not necessarily defined by blood.


You can buy a copy of Making Arrangements here

Or why not add it to your Goodreads list here

About Ferris Robinson


Ferris Robinson lives in a beautiful part of East Tennessee with her husband and two dogs. The mother of three grown sons, she delights in the fact that her dogs obey her – more or less.

A former columnist for the Chattanooga Free Press, she is the editor of the Lookout Mountain Mirror and the Signal Mountain Mirror. Her work has been published numerous times in The Christian Science Monitor and the “Chicken Soup for the Soul’ series. She is a columnist at chattanoogan.com.

The author of several cookbooks, including “Never Trust a Hungry Cook,” which she wrote in college and the “Gorgeless Gourmet’s Cookbook,” Ferris was featured on the cover of Women’s World magazine. Promoting her super-easy but healthy recipes, she made numerous television appearances and sold 10,000 copies of the Gorgeless Gourmet’s Cookbook, pre-Internet. Paid subscribers from every state in the U.S. received her newsletter featuring “practically fat-free recipes for super-busy people.”

Her book “Dogs and Love – Sixteen Stories of Fidelity” has 94 reviews on Amazon, and her other books include “Authentic Log Homes.” “Making Arrangements” is her first novel.

You can find out more about Ferris on her website: www.ferrisrobinson.com

Or why not follow her on Twitter: @fkrobinson

Blog Tour

You can follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!




Monday 19th September

Tales of Yesterday

 Tuesday 20th September

Starred Review

Irish Daisy Loves Romance

Wednesday 21st September

What Danielle Did Next

 Thursday 22nd September

A Daydreamer’s Thoughts

Friday 23rd September

Becca’s Book Affair

Saturday 24th September

Man of Words

Triple A Author Association

Sunday 25th September

Romantic Fanatic

Big Book Little Book




Another huge thank you to Faye Rogers and Ferris for such a fab guest post!  Making Arrangements sounds fab!

Happy Reading!


Tales Q&A with Eugene Lambert


I am super excited to be a part of the #LostandFound Blog Tour and today I have been paired up with the brilliant Eugene Lambert!

Eugene Lambert is the debut author of The Sign Of One which was released on the 7th April 2016 published by Electric Monkey and is a brilliant YA Sci-fi read!

For our stop of the tour I have had the chance to put some questions to Eugene all about his books, writing, evil twins and Sci-fi!

But first a little about the Lost and Found Tour……

About The Lost and Found Tour


5 YA SCBWI debut authors get together for a UK tour.


Olivia Levez (The Island), Patrice Lawrence (Orangeboy), Kathryn Evans (More of Me), Sue Wallman (Lying About Last Summer), Eugene Lambert (The Sign of One)




Birmingham Waterstones for the launch event chaired by me, Chelley Toy!


Saturday, 1st October, 2-4pm

Join us for a discussion of identity, loss, and the darkness inside; of self-discovery, friendship, and hope for a better tomorrow as part of the #LostandFound Book Tour.

Unflinching, clever and honest, our five authors explore what it means to grow up when the cards seem to be constantly stacked against you.

Don’t miss your chance to meet these amazing authors, ask questions, and get your books signed.

Book your tickets here:


More Tour Dates

 Catch us at any of the following tour locations



Sat 1st Oct, 2pm

Birmingham Waterstones

Thurs 6th Oct, 6pm

London Islington Waterstones

Sat 26th Nov

Guildford Waterstones

Thurs 1st Dec

Liverpool Waterstones

Sunday 22nd January

Hampshire Libraries, Petersfield

Sat 4th March

Glasgow Waterstones


On a dump-world called Wrath, idents are hated and feared.

Only one twin is human,

 the other a monster with ‘twisted’ blood. 

Kyle’s a tough loner, scraping a living from the harsh Barrenlands.

Sky’s an ident rebel, set on avenging her dead sister.

Thrown together, they must set aside their differences and fight for each other.

Survival won’t be easy,

as Wrath’s secrets run deep and dark and nasty.

Hi Eugene!  It’s so wonderful having you here today answering all of my questions!

Can you tell us a little about your debut that was released earlier this year, The Sign Of One?


Hi Michelle! The Sign of One is a Sci-Fi thriller for young adults (of all ages J) set on a dump-world called Wrath, where ‘idents’ are hated and feared. Why? Because only one twin is human, the other a superhuman monster with ‘twisted’ blood. The main protagonists are Kyle, a tough loner scraping a living out in the harsh Barrenlands, and Sky, a daring windjammer pilot and ident rebel. Thrown together after Kyle stumbles across a cruel truth, they must put aside their differences to survive. But the odds are stacked against them … for Wrath’s secrets run deeper and nastier than either can possibly imagine! It was published in April 2016 on Egmont UK’s Electric Monkey imprint.

What inspired you to create the world of Wrath and the concept of identical twins being feared?

My DNA and a t-shirt. I’m an identical twin myself. My much younger brother (by a whole 15 minutes) is called Martin. For a laugh, I bought us both a t-shirt with the slogan ‘I can’t remember if I’m the good twin or the evil one.’  Especially when we were children, we’d often be jokingly asked which one of us was the ‘evil’ one? I got to thinking … what if there really was a world where identical twins were actually considered evil? And why might that be? The rest, as they say, is history!


PS – Martin’s the evil one, by the way. Obviously.

How did you come up with the title?  Did it change during the publication process?

Quite early in writing the first draft, I imagined Wrath-dwellers making some sort of sign to ward off the evil they saw in ‘idents.’ Inspired by the English and Welsh archers at Agincourt sticking up two fingers to the French, I imagined my characters making a gesture that celebrated their ‘one-ness,’ and chanting a ‘one is good, two is evil’ mantra. I called this gesture the Sign of One. Shortly afterwards, the penny dropped that it might make an enigmatic title. And I still think it does, but – amusingly – it has caused a few trilogy issues. We can’t exactly refer to the sequel as The Sign of One #2 L So, if anybody can think of a cracking trilogy name then I’m all ears (as is my editor, the lovely Stella Paskins). Seriously.

Can you tell us a little about the main characters in The Sign Of One, Kyle and Sky?

Kyle’s a bit of a loner growing up out in the remote Barrenlands with just his mother, Rona, for company. He’s handy, good at fixing stuff and pretty self-reliant. Sometime he wonders who his father was, and why Rona never likes to stay any place for very long. As for idents, he knows they’re evil, but he feels sorry for them more than anything.

Sky’s a ‘scab,’ Wrath-slang for the human or ‘pureblood’ ident. Her life has been hell: seized from her despairing parents at four, she’s grown up in an ident concentration camp; lost most of the use of her left leg in an accident, and watched her ‘twist’ sister die. But Sky’s tough, fierce and a survivor. Fighting for the ident resistance now, she’s a daring and skilful windjammer pilot. Bottom line – nobody messes with Sky, not if they know what’s good for them!

Why Sci-fi?

I’ve always been an SF fan, ever since I can remember. For the younger me, Star Wars, Alien, Mad Max, Terminator and Bladerunner were all massive. For example, I remember Martin and I walking to the bus-stop on our way to our A-levels humming the theme tune to Star Wars. I always preferred that downbeat and battered version of the future, the so-called ‘Used Future’ trope, which is the gritty end of the Sliding Scale of Shiny versus Gritty J. This felt way more real than (say) Star Trek, with shiny spaceships and clingy uniforms. Firefly was a more recent inspiration, but in the same deliciously shabby vein. I also love the whole steampunk vibe. So, should Mr. Whedon read this and come calling, that’s how I would like The Sign of One filmed. Okay? Please. 

What was your favourite scene to write?

Hmmm … tough question without dropping a spoiler. But one favourite was when Kyle and Sky bail out from the windjammer they’ve stowed away on. I’ve done a few parachute jumps, so I know just how scary it is to throw yourself out of a perfectly serviceable aircraft. I enjoyed dropping them into a swamp full of creepy crawlies too. Us authors can be very mean …

Do you see yourself in any of the characters in The Sign Of One or have you used any of your own experiences in the story?

Guilty as charged. I think there’s a fair bit of me in Kyle. He’s a reluctant hero (I’d be a VERY reluctant hero!) More than anything, I wanted him to come across as believable, not some one-dimensional kick-ass Hollywood stereotype. So Kyle feels fear and anxiety, and he makes mistakes. We all do. Sky’s perhaps a bit more fierce and extreme, but that reflects her background. As for my experiences, I’m a keen glider pilot, and the windjammer flying scenes borrow from that.

If you could cast your characters from The Sign Of One in a big Hollywood film adaptation who would you choose?

Ooh, yes please, but a tough one because Hollywood always casts actors that are unreasonably good looking! But how about a younger Daisy Ridley as Sky, a resurrected Anton Yelchin from Terminator Salvation as Kyle, and Luke Evans from the Hobbit movies as their mercenary ally, Murdo Dern. And Sigourney Weaver because … well, just because.











What would you like your reader to take from The Sign Of One?

The Sign of One is primarily an adventure story, so first of all I hope the reader gets a kick out of that. However, it’s also about identity, the evils of and prejudice and discrimination, what it is that makes us ‘human’ and where courage comes from.

What do you think makes a good story?

Personally, I like stories that start out enigmatic so I’m not sure what’s going on. I like wondering, and I like surprises. I also love the ah-hah moments, when I finally figure things out. Characters I can relate to are important. Fundamentally though, even if its SF or Fantasy, the best stories have to make sense and the characters’ motivations have to be believable. A good story leaves you yearning for more. A good example, Man In The High Castle by Philip K. Dick. Genius, pure and simple.


As a debut author what is the biggest challenge you have faced?

Swatting the self-doubt and keeping going.

The Sign Of One is the start of a trilogy – can you tell us a little about the sequel?

Volume  two, Into The No-Zone, will be published in April 2017 and here’s an early draft blurb:

So much for being a rebel hero,

Kyle’s on the run again.

Only this time everyone is after him,

even his own kind.

And the only place left to hide?

The lair of the Reaper.

We would love to know a little bit more about you!  Can you give us 5 random facts we don’t know about Eugene Lambert?

  1. Nerd alert: I log every book or short story that I read.
  2. I have double-jointed thumbs. So does Martin!
  3. My grandfather, also Eugene, was imprisoned by the British during the Irish Civil War. A small misunderstanding involving explosives and a bridge!
  4. I can’t stand eggs, unless they’re in cakes J.
  5. I’m a big fan of motorcycle racing and Valentino Rossi.

Growing up who inspired you into writing?  Are there any Authors or books that inspired you?

Ever since I can remember I was the classic bookworm, and I enjoyed writing stories in English class in school (although I’m sure they were awful). I only really started writing when I was living and working in the States in the late 80s, but I can’t really remember a specific book as inspiration. I think it was a case of ‘I love books, so let’s have a go at writing one!’

Are there any recent works or authors that you admire or books you wish you had written?

Honestly, too many to list in terms of works I admire (but see next question for some standouts). And it’s not so much ‘books I wish I’d written’ as ‘I wish I could write like X does’ where X is Alan Garner, Neil Gaiman, Margo Lanagan, Patrick Ness, etc.









Any Sci-Fi book recs that you would highly recommend?

Hmmm, let me think. Well, for younger readers, I don’t think you can do better than Philip Reeve’s Mortal Engines series. Mobile cities chasing smaller prey cities across a wasted post-apocalyptic landscape … what a vision! Then there’s the modern classics of the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and  Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness, both of which showed me what was possible in contemporary YA fiction. Going back a few years, I am Legend by Richard Matheson,  Neuromancer by William Gibson and pretty much anything by the visionary that was Philip K. Dick, are all definitely worth a read.



What are you currently reading?

*Blushes* Actually, I’ve just finished reading ‘No Easy Day,’ a first-hand account of the SEAL Team 6 mission to take out Osama Bin Laden. Fascinating stuff about the modern military machine and better written than I’d expected, thanks to the co-author. Now, I’m about halfway through – and thoroughly enjoying – Olivia Levez’s YA debut novel, The Island. It’s a sort-of modern take on the Robinson Crusoe story and a superb story. The standard of YA books today is astonishing.


What is your favourite book of 2016 so far?

Wait, let me check my log … that’d be The Hobbit, which I re-read a month ago as a treat. If you mean a book published in 2016, it would be all the books by my fellow #LostandFounders, which are all so different yet so brilliantly written!


Are there any authors you would like to collaborate with?  Who?

Sincerely, my brother Martin. He self-published a novel (available on Amazon) and it’s good. it would be great to write a book  together, because I know how imaginative he is from when we used to make up stories together as kids.  In terms of big-cheese-established-writers, it’d have to be Neil Gaiman!

When starting a new book or idea what does your writing process look like?

Hah. It looks like my doing a lot of sighing, staring out of windows and going for long walks. A lot of notes, more sighing, perhaps even a few curses thrown in. Paper being scrunched up and thrown away. And then, after a final (and completely essential) flurry of prevarication, the writing begins …

Do you have any strange writing habits?

Define strange 🙂 No, I don’t think so. When I start, I start at the beginning and write linearly. I’m not a massive planner, so I plan as much as I can and then dive in, relying upon everything to sort itself out during the writing. I edit as I go along.

I asked some lovely authors their thoughts about does music influence their books or their characters.  Did music have any influence the story of  The Sign Of One?

Nope. Can’t think of any musical influence. Wrath’s not a musical kind of place. As Kyle says one time, music’s nice, but you can’t eat it.  But if you want to know what growing up as a twin is like, then listen to Disembodied Voices by the Finn Brothers (ex Crowded House). Seriously, it’s so spot on it almost makes me cry every time I listen to it.

Are there any exciting plans for the rest of 2016 or 2017

Well, I’ve just received my first edits for Into the No-Zone, so that’s exciting. I’ve also made a start on the final instalment, working title The Long Forever. Other than writing, I’m off on holiday to visit Japan later this year, fulfilling a long-held ambition of mine. A cliché I know, but I can’t wait!

Can you tell us a little about you and the #LostandFound Tour?  How did the tour come about?

Our #LostandFound tour was Olivia Levez’s idea originally. I have to admit that I just got super-lucky and was invited to join the crew, which is such a privilege. Since then we’ve tried to work as a team to make the tour happen. It’s not long now until our first Waterstones gig, and we can’t wait!

And finally how is your character in The Sign Of One “found”?

Tricky to answer without spoilers, but suffice it to say that Kyle goes on a quest to find out what he his, and who he is. It’s a physical journey, but also an emotional one. He’s just a kid, not some Hollywood superhero. To find salvation, he must first ‘find’ the courage to quit running, turn and fight …

51j1rjbtptl-_sx324_bo1204203200_You can buy The Sign Of One here or from your local bookshop!

About Eugene Lambert


Eugene Lambert grew up in Wolverhampton, a fate worse than cliché. A refugee from the worlds of academia, science and engineering, he graduated from Bath Spa University with an MA in Writing For Young People in late 2013. When not scribbling in his cabin, he flies gliders and goes for long walks in the Cotswolds. Rumours of his being an identical twin are … true. Eugene’s debut SF novel, The Sign of One, was shortlisted for the 2014 Bath Novel Award. The list of writers who have influenced and inspired him is a long one, but Alan Garner and Patrick Ness would both be near the top of it!

Website: http://www.eugenelambert.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/eugene_lambert

 Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Eugene for being fab and answering all of my questions!

Also a huge thank you to all the Lost and Founders for having me on the tour and asking me to host the Birmingham event!

See you there!








Tales Q&A with Kerr Thomson


I am super excited to be a part of the UKYACX Extravaganza Blog Tour again and today I have been paired up with the brilliant Kerr Thomson winner of the Times Children’s Fiction Prize 2014!

This time around the UKYACX Extravaganza is taking place in Newcastle on the 17th September 2016 and is featuring all of these amazing authors and illustrators!


Today I have been lucky enough to have put some questions to Kerr and he was kind enough to answer them all…..


Three children are spending their summer on a wild Scottish island. Fraser is desperate for adventure; Hayley is fed up she’s even there; while Dunny spends his days staring out to sea. He hasn’t said a word in years. But everything changes with the discovery of two bodies on the beach: a whale and a man. Fraser and Hayley see a mystery-adventure to be solved, but Dunny is inconsolable. And in the end, it will take someone who listens to the sea to put it right.

You can read an extract from the book here

Hi Kerr.  It’s so wonderful to have you here today!

Can you tell us a little about your debut that was released last year, The Sound of Whales?

The Sound of Whales is an adventure story set on the Scottish island of Nin. Fraser and Dunny are island brothers, the younger one Dunny doesn’t speak. On to their island comes Hayley, an American girl who at first despises everything to do with the place, especially Fraser. Together they discover dead bodies and castaways in caves and whales and the special gift that only Dunny possesses.

You won the Times Children’s Fiction Prize 2014?  How was that?

That was amazing! I entered with no expectation of winning and it was the first place I ever sent The Sound of Whales. There is no large pile of rejection letters from agents and publishers and I am very aware of how lucky I am. That is the wonder of the competition – unknown writers like myself are given the most fantastic opportunity to be published. And it can happen to anyone!

Can you tell us a little about the main characters in The Sound of Whales, Fraser, Hayley & Dunny?

Fraser is an island boy looking for adventure and not realising he is living it every day.  Dunny is his younger brother who is autistic and mysterious and remarkable in many ways. Hayley is an American girl dragged by her mom to the island and determined to hate every minute of the experience. None of them can resist the adventures that come their way and the friendships that develop.

How important was the setting to you?  Why did you choose the setting of a Wild Scottish Island?

The island is almost a character in itself. Certainly the landscape plays a very important role in the story. There is something inherently dramatic and enigmatic about that place where the ocean meets the shore. And of course, the best and worst thing about an island is, you can’t get off!

What was your favourite scene to write?

The second last chapter began life as the last chapter and I always had that scene in my head. It is an ending of sorts though I don’t want to spoil it for anyone yet to read the book (You know who you are!). Writing it, having brought the story all the way there, was such a satisfying feeling. It ended as I had hoped it would end. That may seem a strange thing to say as its writer, but sometimes the words take on a life of their own and head in a different direction from anticipated and so I was glad the story finished as I hoped it would!

Do you see yourself in any of the characters in The Sound of Whales or have you used any of your own experiences in the story?

They do say every author writes themselves into their first book so I suppose there is a wee bit of me in every character….although maybe not the orcas – don’t have that killer instinct!


As for using my own experiences in the story, well I’ve never swam with whales or sailed a boat or discovered a dead body but I have been frightened and I have been excited and I have been lonely and I have been angry and I have been brave and I have been flabbergasted and I have experienced all these important feelings that the young people in the book experience. So I guess that counts.

If you could cast your characters from The Sound of Whales in a big Hollywood film adaptation who would you choose?

If I told you that then readers would have that image in their head and I would rather people created their own visual image of the characters as they read. So no mention of Ewan McGregor and Idris Elba…ah, darn!

What would you like your reader to take from The Sound of Whales?

I would like young people to believe in the possibility of adventure. I fear that no-one goes exploring anymore. Young people of today have this fantastic resource to enrich their lives which is sadly completely neglected. It’s called ‘outside’!

What do you think makes a good story?

It’s a simple formula – believable characters doing exciting things in an interesting place. Works every time.

We would love to know a little bit more about you!  Can you give us 5 random facts we don’t know about Kerr Thomson?

No-one who answers this question ever gives random facts. They carefully craft five pieces of highly exaggerated if not downright fanciful snippets that make the person seem incredibly interesting, slightly mysterious but also modest and charming! I’m dull. I’ll pass.

Which of your characters would you most like to spend the day with?

Well Ben would take me for a boat trip to find whales and then we would have to fight our way through a storm to get back to harbour so that sounds like a day to remember.

Growing up who inspired you into writing?  Are there any Authors or books that inspired you?

Reading is the thing that inspired me to write. Every writer of books starts off as a reader of books. The earliest books that I loved were the Hardy Boys and Willard Price’s Adventure books. American kids foiling spy rings and wrestling crocodiles and flying biplanes. I doubt the books have aged well but at the time I devoured them and craved adventures of my own. Eventually I started writing the adventures instead of just imagining them.


Are there any recent works or authors that you admire or books you wish you had written?

Every time I read a good book I wish I had written it. Wizards, vampires, survival in dystopian worlds…..every sub-genre that arises you say to yourself, why didn’t I think of that?!

What are you currently reading?

Strangely I am reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. My eight year old son, Samuel, has just discovered the joys of Hogwarts and now wants intricate conversations about the minutiae of wizardry. I can’t remember any of it so I am starting again.


What is your favourite book of 2016 so far?

It is not a new book. A reviewer likened The Sound of Whales to something written by Eva Ibbotson and I hadn’t read any of her books so I thought I would. I really enjoyed Journey to the River Sea.


Are there any authors you would like to collaborate with?  Who?

I have never tried it but I am not sure how a collaboration would work. I’m a bit of a lone wolf when it comes to writing.

When starting a new book or idea what does your writing process look like?

I sketch out a rough plan of a story but all pretty vague and then I just start writing. I usually have a detailed ending worked out, the ending is the most important bit of a book, but I don’t like to be too fixed in the story. New ideas will inevitably come as the plot develops.

Do you have any strange writing habits?

I really don’t. I sit in front of my laptop and press the keys. I would love to have a Dahlesque shed but I just sit in the dining room with the door shut. I do get some of my best ideas when I am out running.

Recently I asked some lovely authors their thoughts about does music influence their books or their characters.  Did music have any influence the story of The Sound of Whales?

I like to have a movie soundtrack or smooth classics on Classic FM playing in the background but not too intrusive. Mood music I suppose. How much influence it has on my writing is probably minimal.

Are there any exciting plans for the rest of 2016 or 2017 I saw you’re writing your second novel The Rise of Wolves?  Can you tell us a little about it?

The Rise of Wolves is set on the same island of Nin but a different group of young people having an adventure of their own. No whales this time but there are wolves. Wolves on a Scottish island? Unlikely, I hear you cry. Ah, but now you’re intrigued!

Also in 2017 the American version of The Sound of Whales is published. Change of title, however. I believe it is now going to be called Washed Ashore. It’s a little strange to have a different title but apparently it is not unusual. I am not going to be precious about it.

And finally…are you excited about the UKYACX Extravaganza?

Anything that is an Extravaganza must be exciting! It will be so cool to hang out with all these authors and meet all the readers and book lovers who attend. Slightly intimidating as well. I keep thinking I am going to be found out!


You can buy a copy of The Sound Of Whales here

About Kerr Thomson


Kerr Thomson is a teacher of geography at Cathkin High School in Glasgow, and is the father of a six-year-old son and three-year-old daughter.

After studying geography at universities in Glasgow and Arkansas he worked at various jobs in various places including hospitals, sports centres and country parks, but eventually could resist no longer and entered the teaching profession, which is something of a family business. He has taught in several schools in Manchester and the west of Scotland.

He enjoys cycling and runs an occasional half-marathon. In every place and at every time he has always written stories.

You can follow Kerr on twitter – @kerrthomson

Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!

And don’t forget to buy tickets for this fab event!


You can find out more about the UKYACX Extravaganza in Newcastle on the website here

Or follow them on twitter using @UKYACX

Or find out what we got up to at the Birmingham UKYA Extravaganza here

UKYACX Logo with Newcastle Details

A huge thank you to Kerr for being fab and answering all of my questions!

Also a huge thank you to Kerry Drewery and Emma Pass for organising the UKYACX Extravaganza and having me on the blog tour!

See you there!


Guest Post – Top Five Things About My Protagonist by Rachelle Paige


I am super excited to have been asked to be part of the blog tour for this fabulous new self published adult romance book Anchored In The Bay by Rachelle Paige.

Anchored In The Bay was released on the 1st May 2015 published in ebook and is set to be a romantic read.

A huge thank you to Faye Rogers and Rachelle Paige for having me on this wonderful tour.

For my stop on the blog tour I have a brilliant guest post from Rachelle about her protagonist, Emily…..


When Emily balked at running away with her childhood sweetheart, Ed, eight years ago, she had no idea he’d disappear from her life. In the years since, she’s managed to push past her pain to open her own business and find love again. Her life feels good, until Ed shows up on her doorstep. 

Ed vowed he’d never come back for her. But no matter how many miles, or blondes, he’d put between them, he couldn’t shake her hold on his heart. He’d pictured himself stepping back into her life, but hadn’t counted on her despair over his business or that she’d be pregnant. 

Now Ed is fighting both for and against her to win her heart once and for all. But can they find their way back to each other, through years of hurt and with an unexpected baby on the way?

Top Five Things About My Protagonist

This story has both a male and a female protagonist. But in my mind, it’s really Emily’s book.

  1. Emily is a very strong character who has grown accustomed to only relying on herself.


  1. But she doesn’t necessarily like that. She wants to be able to count on other people.


  1. She’s a hard worker and doesn’t know how to not be in control.


  1. In this story, that’s exactly what she has to grapple with; how to course correct and adjust after her life seemingly spins out of her grasp.


  1. She’s very loyal.


Bonus number

6. She has no sense of style and would probably wear jeans and baggy shirts every day if not for her best friend Jess.)


You can buy a copy of this book here

Or why not add the book to your Goodreads wish list here

About Rachelle Paige


Rachelle Paige lives in the Midwest, spending her days taking care of her family and her nights plotting her next story. Setting her books in some of her favorite locales provides the perfect excuse for plenty of research trips.

Catch up with her on twitter @rpaigebooks and her website for the latest news www.rachellepaige.com

Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


Monday 12th September

 Little Hels B

Tuesday 13th September

 Fiction Fascination

Wednesday 14th September

 Tales of Yesterday

Thursday 15th September

 Lilly’s Book World

Friday 16th September

 Ali the Dragon Slayer

Saturday 17th September

 The Starred Review

Sunday 18th September

 Romantic Fanatic










A huge huge thank you to Rachelle and to Faye Rogers for organising and having me on this fab blog tour!

Have you read Anchored In The Bay?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!


Spotlight – Roald Dahl’s 100 Year Anniversary – Audible’s Essential Picks

Roald Dahl birthday quiz - how well do you know your Dahl? Quentin Blake

Today, the 13th September 2016, marks 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl, one of the world’s most cherished storytellers.

To celebrate his centennial, Audible’s editors have handpicked a selection of the best Roald Dahl audiobooks narrated by actors, performers, celebrities and even the man himself and the lovely people at Midas PR have asked me to host a little round up!

It makes for splendiferous listening for adults and children alike!

Roald Dahl’s 100 Year Anniversary – Audible’s Essential Picks

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Four More Stories


Author: Roald Dahl

Narrator: Roald Dahl

You can buy this audio book here

Roald Dahl’s wickedly funny novels have turned him into the world’s number one storyteller. In this collection five splendiferous stories are brought to life by the author himself.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (abridged): Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory is opening at last!

James and the Giant Peach (abridged): A little magic can take you a long way.

Fantastic Mr. Fox (unabridged): Nobody outfoxes Fantastic Mr. Fox!

The Enormous Crocodile (unabridged): This greedy crocodile loves to guzzle up little boys and girls.

The Magic Finger (unabridged): Horrible neighbours learn their lesson from a little girl with powerful magic!



Author: Roald Dahl

Narrator: David Walliams

You can buy this audio book here

Read by actor, writer, and Britain’s Got Talent judge David Walliams, this audiobook features original music and sound design by Pinewood film studios.

The BFG is a nice and jumbly giant. In fact, he is the only big friendly giant in Giant Country. All the other giants are big bonecrunching brutes, and now the BFG and his friend Sophie must stop them guzzling up little human beans, with some help from Her Majester, the Queen.

David Walliams is a multi-award winning British comedian, actor, and writer, best known for the comedy series Little Britain; but his acting work includes plays, dramas, and films. He is also the author of five hugely successful children’s books, including two illustrated by Quentin Blake, Roald Dahl’s favourite illustrator.

The Enormous Crocodile


Author: Roald Dahl

Narrator: Stephen Fry

You can buy this audio book here

Read by actor, humourist and storyteller Stephen Fry, this audiobook features original music and 3D sound design by Pinewood film studios.

The Enormous Crocodile is a greedy grumptious brute who loves to guzzle up little girls and boys. But the other animals have a scheme to get the better of this foul fiend, once and for all!

Stephen Fry is an award-winning comedian, actor, presenter, director and writer. Television work includes A Bit of Fry and Laurie, Jeeves and Wooster, Blackadder, and hosting QI. On film, he played Oscar Wilde, and appeared in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and The Hobbit. His voice work includes narrating the Harry Potter books.



Author: Roald Dahl

Narrators: Derek Jacobi, Gillian Anderson, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Mark Heap, Richard E Grant

You can buy this audio book here

Two husbands secretly agree to a night of passion with each other’s wives; a slighted old man takes an elaborate and chilling revenge on his tormentor; a sculpture comes between a scheming wife and her put-upon husband…

Lust highlights a domestic familiarity always on the edge of something much, much darker. Collected together for the first time, stories include ‘Madame Rosette’, ‘Neck’, ‘Georgy Porgy’, ‘The Visitor’, ‘The Last Act’, ‘The Great Switcheroo’, ‘Bitch’, ‘Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life’, ‘The Ratcatcher’ and ‘Nunc Dimittis’.



Author: Roald Dahl

Narrators: Adrian Scarborough, Andrew Scott, Jessica Hynes, Juliet Stevenson, Mark Heap, Richard E Grant, Stephanie Beacham

You can buy this audio book here

From Roald Dahl, the master of the sting in the tail, a newly collected audiobook of his darkest stories, read by Will Self, Adrian Scarborough, Stephanie Beacham, Andrew Scott, Richard E Grant, Tamsin Greig, Mark Heap, Juliet Stevenson and Jessica Hynes.

Even when we mean to be kind, we can sometimes be cruel. We all have streaks of nastiness inside us. In these ten tales of cruelty, master storyteller Roald Dahl explores how and why it is we make others suffer.

Collected together for the first time, stories include ‘The Great Automatic Grammatizator’, ‘Royal Jelly’, ‘Mrs Bixby and the Colonel’s Coat’, ‘The Swan’, ‘Poison’, ‘Skin’, ‘The Princess and the Poacher’, ‘Genesis and Catastrophe’ and ‘Mr Feasey’.

Kiss Kiss


Author: Roald Dahl

Narrators: Tamsin Greig, Juliet Stevenson, Stephanie Beacham, Adrian Scarborough, Derek Jacobi, Stephen Mangan

What could go wrong when a wife pawns the mink coat that her lover gave her as a parting gift? What happens when a priceless piece of furniture is the subject of a deceitful bargain? Can a wronged woman take revenge on her dead husband? In these dark, disturbing stories Roald Dahl explores the sinister side of human nature: the cunning, sly, selfish part of each of us that leads us into the territory of the unexpected and unsettling. Stylish, macabre and haunting, these tales will leave you with a delicious feeling of unease.

Collected together for the first time, stories include ‘The Landlady’, ‘William and Mary’, ‘The Way up to Heaven’, ‘Parson’s Pleasure’, ‘Mrs Bixby and the Colonel’s Coat’, ‘Royal Jelly’, ‘Grorgy Porgy’, ‘Genesis and Catastrophe’, ‘Edward the Conquerer’, ‘Pig’, ‘The Champion of the World’.

Visit audible.co.uk to download any of these titles!



You can find more Roald Dahl audio books here

For more about Roald Dahl day click here

About Roald Dahl


Roald Dahl was a British novelist, short story writer, poet, screenwriter, and fighter pilot. His books have sold over 200 million copies worldwide 


A huge thank you to Leanne at Midas PR for asking me to feature this post.

**Please note that I was not sponsored by Audible to do this post – I was asked by Midas PR if I would like to feature in celebration.  I was not provided with any audio books in exchange for this post**

What is your favourite Roald Dahl book?  Have you listened to any of the books on audio book?  Which one is your favourite?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!


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