Tales Spotlight – My Dad The Earth Warrior by Gary Haq

 


My Dad The Earth Warrior was released on the 5th June 2018 published by Gazzimodo and will have you chuckling.  It also has gorgeous illustrations by Mark Beech and designed by Mandy Norman!

So today I am shining the spotlight on the super funny book and it’s author Gary Haq….


One boy.
A geeky dad.
A freak accident!

Dad wakes up from a bump to head claiming to be an Earth Warrior sent to protect Mother Earth – and is soon up against a ruthless energy tycoon.

Hero is forced to go along with Dad’s new persona. And when Gran mysteriously disappears, Hero and Dad embark on a dangerous rescue mission.

Can Hero save Gran and his old dad back befor it’s too late?

My Dad, the Earth Warrior is an extraordinary heart-warming and funny tale of a Dad and son on a thrilling mission to save Mother Earth! It is a story of personal growth, environment and discovering the warrior spirit that lies in all of us.

A funny, heartfelt, quirky middle-grade adventure that will appeal to fans of Frank Contrell-Boyce, Phil Earle and David Walliams. 

You can buy a copy here !


About Gary Haq

Gary Haq is a human ecologist with over twenty years of supporting the development and implementation of environmental policy in in Africa, Asia and Europe. He is a researcher at a prestigious global environmental think tank. He is the author / co-author of five books and has written numerous academic papers and policy reports. When he’s not involved in his own ecoadventures, he likes to write, read, learn languages and explore new cultures. Gary lives in York, England, with his wife and their young daughter.

You can find out more about Gary on his website – www.garyhaq.com

Or why not follow Gary on twitter – @DrGaryHaq

Or Facebook – www.facebook.com/garyhaqauthor


A huge thank you to Hannah Cooper for asking me to host!

Have you read My Dad The Earth Warrior?  What did you think?  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!


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Guest Post – 5 Books About Being Different by Rob Stevens

 


Today I have a fab guest post from the super Rob Stevens!

Lucky Break was released on the 3rd May 2018 published by the fab Andersen Press and is an hilarious comedy of errors that also touches on unlikely friendships, grief and mental health.

Today Rob shares his top five books about being different….


Leon’s twin, Lenny, had the best imagination in the world. He could do a back flip from a standing start and tell rude jokes nonstop for hours. But a year ago Lenny died, and Leon’s family hasn’t been the same since.

When a new boy, Arnold, starts at Leon’s school, he has no idea what to think: Arnold doesn’t understand jokes, sarcasm is lost on him and he can be completely blunt. Leon has never met anyone like Arnold before, and an unlikely friendship blossoms. Before long things start to get seriously bonkers, and the two boys are breaking windows, accidentally holding up a bank and getting arrested after a disagreement with a baguette.

But amidst all this madness, can Awkward Arnold actually help Leon to sort his life out?


5 Books About Being Different

My new book, ‘Lucky Break’ is about an unlikely friendship between Leon and Arnold, who is far from your typical teenager. As their friendship develops, Leon learns that the very characteristics that make Arnold so different are the same ones that make him so special.

Here are my five favourite books celebrating children who are struggling to fit it.

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ – The original in this hilarious series about the angst-ridden teenager who would go on to become Prime Minister

Wonder – a moving story about a boy who is destined to stand out because of the way he looks

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – The brilliantly funny and moving story of an autistic boy investigating the death of his neighbour’s dog

Lion – an incredible story about Saroo’s journey from being a street kid in India to growing up in an adoptive family in Australia

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – because you can’t be much more different than being a boy wizard!

You can buy a copy of Lucky Break here or from your local bookshop!


About Rob Steven

Rob Stevens is a British Airways Captain who does most of his writing in hotel rooms around the world. His first book, ‘The Mapmaker’s Monsters: Beware the Buffalogre!’ was shortlisted for the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize 2009.


A huge thank you to Rob for a fab guest post and to Harriet at Andersen for asking me to host!

Have you read Lucky Break?  What did you think?  What are your favourite part?   Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Guest Post – Tender – The Book That Made Me Cry by Eve Ainsworth

 


Today I am thrilled to be sharing a fantastic guest post from one of my favourite UKYA authors, Eve Ainsworth.

Tender was released on the 1st March 2018 and is Eve’s fourth YA and is another thought provoking read which Eve does so brilliantly.

Today Eve tells us a little about Tender – the book that made her cry….


Touching on mental health, family, friendship and the pressures that teenage carers face, as author Cat Clarke says, TENDER is “a compassionate, compelling and unflinching novel”.

Marty and Daisy spend their lives pretending. Marty pretends his mum’s grip on reality isn’t slipping by the day. Daisy pretends her parents aren’t exhausting themselves while they look after her incurably ill brother. They both pretend they’re fine. But the thing about pretending is, at some point, it has to stop. And then what?


Tender – The Book That Made Me Cry

I’m often asked why I decide to write the book that I do, or why I chose to explore a particular theme. It’s never a ‘light bulb’ moment where I wake up one morning and think ‘That’s it! That is the book I must write next.” But it’s more of an organic, gradual thing that grows slowly in my mind. Usually the seed begins with a character. A character is born in my imagination and through them, through their background and experiences, the themes will develop.

Even while I was writing Damage, I had this other voice fighting for my attention. It was a boy and it was strong. I made some notes. I quickly worked out that this male voice was a bit of a mash up of someone I used to know and a person that I would like to know. He was loud and argumentative, but he was warm too. And he had challenges. I realised that this boy was someone who put other people before himself.

From this, the idea of young carers developed.

I had worked with young carers before and they had inspired me, mainly because of their stoic and selfless attitudes. These were the young people that often struggled without complaint. They could have huge pressures at home, but they didn’t talk about it much. To them, this was their normality and the need to keep their family ‘going’ and not be a further burden was their priority.

Once I knew I was going to write about young carers I met up with one of my ex-students. She had been an excellent pupil, never been in trouble, never really got herself noticed by senior staff. But when we met, she told me more honestly about how day-to-day school life had been a struggle and how she seemed to be ‘managing’, but inside she was often anxious and worried. Her saviour, her positive outlet had been Young Carers’ sessions where she could meet other teenagers in a similar situation to hers – where she could be free from pressure, be silly, have fun. Be young!

Around the same time I was talking to a close friend. We had had children at the same time. But sadly for my friend, her youngest son had been diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy from a young age. Through my friend, I not only learnt to understand the pressures she was under – but also the pressures her entire family were under as they constantly cared and worried about this young boy. Through this, the character of Daisy was born. Daisy is a caring, resilient girl – but she is being torn apart by the worry caused by her brother’s ill health.

Quickly Daisy and Marty became my main characters, both telling their versions of what ‘caring’ can mean and how this impacts on their lives. They meet each other and this has a huge influence on how they move forward.

Tender was a book that made me cry over and over. It covers such emotional subjects that I had to take occasional short breaks. It hits home that what I’m writing is something that people are actually experiencing in real life. It can be hard going, but whatever happens these characters, these people, keep fighting on.

The developing romance between Daisy and Marty was also something new for me – but I was keen to have an uplifting and positive theme in the book too and I ended up loving these two so much – I found it quite hard to let them go.

 Tender is a book about resilience and hope. It’s about loving and fighting for the people you care for, but also that its important to find time to love yourself.

You can buy a copy of Tender here or from your local bookshop!


About Eve Ainsworth

Eve Ainsworth is a writer of Adult and YA fiction. She also loves tea (lots of it), 80’s music and most things relating to David Bowie.

Seven Days, Eve’s Young Adult debut, was published by Scholastic Uk in Feb 2015. Crush followed in 2016. Eve’s latest YA novel, Damage was published in March 2017. All of her novels explore real life, contemporary issues that are relevant to teens.

Eve has also self published The Blog of Maisy Malone, which is an adult comedy novel that has received pleasing reviews on Amazon.

Eve has had short stories published in magazines such as Writers’ Forum and Prima.

You can find out more about Eve on her website –  www.eveainsworth.com

Or follow her on Twitter @EveAinsworth


A huge thank you to Eve for a fab guest post and asking me to host!

Have you read Tender?  What did you think?  What are your favourite part?  Have you read any of Eve’s other books?  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Tales Post – Toppsta Summer Reading Guide

 


I know the summer holidays are almost at an end.  For some of us it has already ended *cries forever*, but there’s always time to jump into the world of books and imagination!

I heard about the brilliant Summer Reading Guide that Toppsta have developed to help encourage more children to read over the summer and wanted to share this with everyone!

#ToppstaSummerReadingGuide

Toppsta, the UK’s largest online community reviewing children’s books, has just launched a FREE Summer Reading Guide packed with book reviews from children aged 5 to 12!

There’s also a reading diary to fill in over the summer holidays and a book review template too!

You can read more about the Guide and download it here: http://bit.ly/ToppstaSRG

Whether it’s picture books, unicorns or glittery slime. Or maybe a funny book or a spot of new fiction it’s a must-have resource for children to enjoy at home and at school!


A huge thanks to Liz at Toppsta for introducing me to this and asking me to host this piece.

You can follow Toppsta on Twitter – @Toppsta

Please note that this post was not sponsored by Toppsta

Have you been reading over the summer?  What has been your favourite read?  What are you looking forward to reading?  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Guest Post – See Life In The Secret Deep (Sea What I did there?) by Lindsay Galvin

 


I am HUGELY honoured to have the wonderful Lindsay Galvin here on Tales today with a brilliant blog post to celebrate the release of her debut novel, The Secret Deep.

The Secret Deep was released on the 2nd August published by the amazing Chicken House and is beautiful and gripping and will keep you enthralled throughout.

I’ve known Lindsay mainly via twitter for a few years now and when I heard that she was getting her debut published I was so over the moon for her so to have her featured on my blog today is very special indeed.

Find out more about sea creatures in this fantastic guest post….


About The Book

When Aster wakes alone on a tropical island, she has no idea what has happened, why she is there, or where to find her younger sister, Poppy. Meanwhile Sam, who once met the sisters on a plane, makes links between the mystery of their disappearance and suspicious happenings in his own life. In a stunning dual narrative, the truth unravels with devastating effect – and the answer lies in the secret underwater world surrounding the desert island, populated by the beautiful and the impossible …


See Life In The Secret Deep (Sea What I did there?)

I have always been fascinated by animals in the wild and am the biggest David Attenborough fan. Even more so since I spent so much time diving in the waters around Thailand when I lived there ten years ago. Researching sea life for The Secret Deep was a joy… and a form of legitimate procrastination. Introducing some of my sub aqua stars and what they mean to story:

Manta Ray 

I can’t wait for you to meet the giant oceanic manta rays in THE SECRET DEEP. I’ve never come across a story that featured these gentle giants and would love to know if you have. These blanket shaped beauties can grow up to 7 metres across with a weight of 1350 kg but their size isn’t the only thing that makes them perfect for the story.

Manta (and mobula) rays have the largest brains of all 32,000 species (approximately) of fish known to date. They display intelligent behaviour.

One test of intelligence is to find out if an animal can gaze into a mirror and know it’s themselves they see. Gorillas, leopards, dogs, and cats, for example believe that their reflection is just another animal looking back. Nonhuman animals that have been observed to pass the mirror test include bonobos, chimps, dolphins, elephants, and some birds. And manta rays.

In all my scuba dives I have never seen a manta and diving with them is on my bucket list. They are so different to us, yet have huge brains and who knows what they are thinking? In THE SECRET DEEP they represent a link between wildness and humanity and how it is possible for there to be harmony between living things no matter how different they are. A lesson that certain characters in the story certainly need to learn…

Seahorse

Seahorses have a reputation as cutest animals in the ocean and I am lucky enough to have seen them in the wild, so can confirm this. They are famous for mating for life and the male seahorse carries the babies. But what I love the most is that new baby seahorses, each about the size of a little finger nail, find other baby seahorses and float together in small groups, clinging to each other using their tails.

So adorable it hurts; I had to include them in THE SECRET DEEP.

When main character Aster rescues a seahorse that floats free of its family, what she actually needs to learn is how to rescue herself.  Look though…there’s four seahorses in this photo and they are…ridiculous.

Puffer fish

When divers first discovered beautiful patterns on the seabed; intricate concentric circles raised in the sand that look like mandala designs, no-one could figure out what had made them. Turns out it was a tiny puffer fish, building a nest of sand to attract a mate. And I got to thinking that if this fish could do that, than anything is possible if you swim deep enough. When I first saw these amazing creatures on BBC footage I knew they had a place in my story.

Look closely and you’ll see the dinky builder right in the centre of his sand palace.

Shark

I would love to write a story one day where sharks are friends. Because they are beautiful, endangered and unfairly maligned. But THE SECRET DEEP is not exactly that story. They are magnificent creatures but fearsome predators and can’t be blamed if certain characters in books rudely wander into their territory smelling distinctly like dinner…

Jellyfish

I spent some glorious hours (I’m a sea-geek, okay?) finding out about these beasts. Box jellyfish are gorgeously terrifying with their four eyes, ability to follow their prey and deadly sting. I mean, why create characters you adore if you aren’t going to confront them with a lethal jellyfish swarm?

I could go on. What are your favourite sea-creatures and why? I would love to geek out with you.


THE SECRET DEEP is out now in paperback (£6.99, Chicken House)

You can buy a copy here or from your local bookshop


About Lindsay Galvin

Lindsay was lucky enough to be raised in a house of stories, music, and love of the sea. She left part of her heart underwater after living and working in Thailand where she spent hundreds of blissful hours scuba diving. Forced now to surface for breath, she lives in sight of the chillier Sussex sea with her husband and two sons. When she is not writing, she can be found reading, swimming or practicing yoga. She has a degree in English Language and Literature, is fascinated by psychology and the natural world, and teaches Science. Lindsay hadn’t written creatively since childhood until the idea for her debut novel The Secret Deep splashed into her mind, and now she’s hooked.

Connect with Lindsay on Twitter: @lindsaygalvin

Find out more at lindsaygalvin.com and chickenhousebooks.com


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Lindsay for such a fab blog post and to Laura at Chicken House for asking me to be part of this fab blog tour!

Have you read The Secret Deep?  What did you think?  What are your favourite part?  What are your favourite sea creatures?  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Spotlight – Baker Street Academy by Sam Hearn

 


Grab your super sleuth hats as I am hugely excited to be spotlighting the amazing Baker Street Academy by Sam Hearn in todays post!

Baker Street Academy was released on the 2nd August 2018 published by Scholastic and includes journal entries, letters, newspaper clippings and a detective dossier. It captures the fun and frustrations of school, and promotes friendship and teamwork.

So today I am spotlighting the book and I also have a fab giveaway…..


About The Book

Welcome to Baker Street Academy, where there’s always a mystery to be solved! Told through Watson’s diary, a top-secret detective dossier and energetic comic-strip illustrations, this introduction to Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic characters will have every young super-sleuth hooked! Luckily Sherlock Holmes is on the case, with his friends John Watson and Martha Hudson. No crime is too big, no villain too cunning – especially if it’s James Moriarty. This time, Sherlock and the gang are up against a centuries old curse…

The books include journal entries, letters, newspaper clippings and a detective dossier. It captures the fun and frustrations of school, and promotes friendship and teamwork.

This introduction to Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic characters will have every young super-sleuth hooked!

You can buy a copy of Baker Street Academy here or from your local bookshop!


About Sam Hearn

Sam Hearn has illustrated numerous books for children, including the Harvey Drew, Abominators and the Awesome Animals series. This is the first fiction series that he has written and illustrated


Giveaway

With thanks to the lovelies at Scholastic I have 5 copies of Baker Street Academy to giveaway to 5 lucky winners!

You can enter via my twitter here!

Bonus points for any super sleuth photos!

UK Only

Ends 16th August 2018

Good Luck!


A huge thank you to Emily at Scholastic for asking me to host and for the fab giveaway!

Have you read Baker Street Academy?  What did you think?  What are your favourite part?  Are you a budding detective?  Share your best detective pictures!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Why Did I Choose To Write An Elizabethan Fantasy by L J MacWhirter

 


Today I am super happy to have a fab post from L J MacWhirter to celebrate the release of her Elizabethan fantasy Black Snow Falling.

Black Snow Falling was released on the 1st August 2018 published by Scotland Street Press and is a story of hope overcoming evil.

I was super intrigued by the premise of this book and wanted to know why Liz chose an Elizabethan fantasy to write….


About The Book

In 1592, a girl with spirit is a threat. Ruth has secrets. An old book of heresy belonging to her long-absent father. A dream that haunts her. And love that she and Silas hide from the world.

Black Snow Falling is an Elizabethan fantasy for young adults and up by L.J. MacWhirter. It’s about a spirited and privileged girl, Ruth, who has so much to lose as monstrous sexism traps her. When she is robbed of all she holds true, her friends slide into terrible danger. Hope is as faint as a moonbow. Dare Ruth trust the shadowy one who could destroy them all?

This is a story about hope overcoming evil, written with satisfying moral complexity. It draws on the author’s fascination with the inner workings of minds and mechanical machines. It’s about staying fixed or spinning out.

As a child, her engineer father introduced her to science and the vast machines of the industrial revolution. On a trip to Florence many years later, she saw a mechanical Armillary Sphere, made for the Medicis in the 1500s, which embodied the long-held belief that the earth was at the centre of the heavens. Early science, in opposition to this dominant view, was cast as heresy. Together with the misogynist sexism of the time, it became the setting for this thriller. 


Why Did I Choose To Write An Elizabethan Fantasy?

Thanks to the lovely Chelle of Tales of Yesterday for hosting my guest blog!

So the question Chelle posed was, why did I choose to write an Elizabethan fantasy? The simple but most puzzling answer is that IT chose me. Let me explain in three chunks.

  1. It started with the fantasy idea. And that idea came to find me right here.

Glen Etive. It’s right beside the better-known Glencoe in the Highlands of Scotland. I was I was there volunteering for Venture Scotland, a charity that helps young people who’ve had the toughest starts in life.

 As we jumped streams and hiked through the heather, one young man was sharing his plans for the future – he’d love to be a gardener. It struck me that he’d suffered things that most of us may never have to cope with, and yet he still had hope for the future. It was visceral and tangible. As I listened, I found myself wanting nothing more to happen that could snatch his hope away… a chilling What If? struck me.

 What if dreams were actual physical entities that could be snatched away?

 What if there were evil forces at work, stealing these hopes and dreams? They would be dream thieves. In life’s darkest moments, isn’t that how it feels?

 2. The Elizabethan part came after the fantasy idea. I grew up in Cheshire, where you can’t escape all the Tudor halls. So I was already well aware of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. I’ve always admired this woman for holding on to her throne despite endless marriage proposals and assassination attempts!

I decided to locate my story at the same time as this important queen. In fact, Ruth, my main character, has actually met her (maybe that was an unconscious fantasy of my own!). So many interesting things were taking place in the 16th century that it makes a fantastic context for dreams being stolen. What’s more, less needed to happen for my characters to lose hope.

So, bluntly, it would be easier for readers to relate to Ruth, because what happens to her happens to all of us. Haven’t we all been heartbroken or betrayed? When we let someone else down, it feels awful – what do we do?

  1. I was round at my mum’s, giving her my first signed copy of the book on Publication Day (yay!), and I took this quick pic. Black Snow Falling is resting on this Tudor box that my family bought sometime, somewhere. I’ve always really loved it. It used to hold games in it when we were little, so I was always opening and closing it and thinking about how ancient it was.

Perhaps the story about my Elizabethan Ruth and those evil forces just popped out of here?

Stories are magical, aren’t they?

Black Snow Falling is available now everywhere online and in good bookshops. Please vote for it in the EIBF First Book Award.


About L J MacWhirter

L.J. MacWhirter was born just outside London, grew up in the North of England and today lives in Edinburgh with her husband and family. The stories started as soon as she could write. Black Snow Falling is her debut novel.

L.J. MacWhirter will be speaking about ‘Feisty Fantasy’ with Alice Broadway at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on Saturday 11 August at 18.30.

Why not follow L J MacWhirther on twitter – @LizMacwhirter


A huge thank you to Mariarita at Scotland Street Press for asking me to host and to Liz for such a fantastic piece for the blog.

Have you read Black Snow Falling?  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!


Guest Post – My Top Five Excuses Not To Write by Penny Joelson

 


Today I am over the moon to have the wonder Penny Joelson on Tales with a fab guest post to celebrate the release of her new YA Girl In The Window.

Girl In The Window is due to be released on the 9th August 2018 published by Electric Monkey and is set to be an eye opening compulsive page turner that will have you hooked.

I often wonder how writers motivate themselves as it’s often easy to procrastinate (*cough at myself who instead of writing today scrolled through twitter*) so today Penny shares her top 5 excuses not to write…..


About The Book!

See the world from another unique perspective in the thrilling new novel from the author of I Have No Secrets (a World Book Day title for 2018).

Nothing ever happens on Kasia’s street. And Kasia would know, because her illness makes her spend days stuck at home, watching the world from her bedroom window. So when she sees what looks like a kidnapping, she’s not sure whether she can believe her own eyes . . .

There was a girl in the window opposite – did she see something too? But when Kasia goes to find her she is told the most shocking thing of all.

There is no girl.


My Top Five Excuses Not To Writ

  1.  I only started using Twitter, Facebook and Instagram when I was writing ‘I Have No Secrets’. Now I, like many others, am guilty of spending far too long on these things. It is a wonderful feeling when you look at Twitter and see that someone has commented excitedly about how much they love your book. It is hard not to keep looking for ‘mentions’ or ‘retweets’.

2.  I get lots of lovely emails – especially from schools about visits as well as important emails from my editors, publicity team and my agent. I get many less important emails too – but it is hard not to keep checking in case something interesting comes.

3.  Goodreads, Amazon, Blogs. I was warned against looking at these things too much but again I am drawn to them and sometimes find the pull too tempting.

4.  I am very disorganised. Often the one piece of paper where I wrote some notes or the particular notebook I was using have disappeared under a pile and I just can’t get on with writing until I have found it.

5.  I love my family very much, but they require attention – things like meals (I can’t think why!) often at moments when I am most inspired to write. They also require taking and fetching from swimming lessons, Brownies etc. They even want clean clothes!

You can buy a copy of Girl In The Window here or from your local bookshop!


About Penny Joelson

Penny Joelson’s debut novel, I Have No Secrets, was a World Book Day 2018 title and won the Worcestershire Teen Book Award. Penny has loved reading and writing stories since she was a child and began working with disabled people when she was a teenager, which gave her inspiration for her first novel I Have No Secrets.  Penny teaches creative writing and lives in Hertfordshire with her family.

Find Penny on Twitter: @pennyjoelson


A huge thank you to Siobhan at Electric Monkey for asking me to be part of this fab blog tour and to Penny for such a fab guest post!

Have you read Girl In The Window?  What did you think?  What did you love about it?  What are your excuses not to write or blog?  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!

Tales Post – Thank you YALC, Thank you Everyone

I’ve spent most of this weekend chilling out following YALC and it’s been blissful.  I’m not sure about anyone else, but it always takes me a good while to recover after a pretty full on YALC.  I’m always so exhausted afterwards so I am hoping this coming week I will have a little spring back in my step and less bags under my eyes.

I love YALC so much.  I love the books, the atmosphere, chatting to like minded people from the community and meeting up with authors that are new and familiar to me, bloggers and publishers and of course hanging out with amazing friends and people.  It always just makes me smile so much.

Before YALC this year I was feeling in a bit of limbo with my blog, my reading and even my writing.  I’ve had a lot going on recently and I’ve found it hard to find the time to fit things in. I’ve been so exhausted that I’ve lacked the motivation to do anything remotely creative.  (Although I did manage to binge watch a lot of Netflix!). I even wondered if it was worth carrying on blogging!

Cue YALC!

I didn’t realise how much I needed something to make me open up my eyes again and as silly as it sounds give me that little boost that I realised I needed in one sense, but maybe not in others.  I was SO excited for YALC, but I didn’t realise how much I actually needed YALC to snap me out of my spell of whatever was going on in my brain.

And boy did YALC do that!

I had such a wonderful time!

Some highlights for me personally were –

  • Staying in the same hotel as a couple of my friends which meant that we could meet up for breakfast every morning and then walk to YALC together and generally just chat along the way.
  • Chatting to so many other bloggers, some new to me and some I’ve met before, but seeing everyone’s happiness and enthusiasm was completely infectious.

  • Spending a lot of my time in panels or getting books signed this year rather than the workshops and whilst I had a rough plan on my highlighted YALC schedule of what I wanted to do everyday I found that I ended up just going with the flow and this was just what I needed.  It was amazing to hear and see so many wonderful authors and I left everyday feeling inspired by every single one of them.

  • Meeting lots of fab authors, but the highlight for me was sitting front row for the Tom and Giovanna Fletcher talk.  I even got to ask them a question and then got my book signed!  I have been a huge fan of them both for quite some time, but I’ve never met them so this was a dream come true!

  • All of the book stands!  OMG how fab were they!  I could have walked away with far more books than I did.  YALC is seriously dangerous for the wallet!  As well as all of the books though it was fab to talk to some of the publishers, people that I’ve met before and people that I’ve only chatted to over email.  It’s always nice to put a face to a name.

  • Meeting up with my personal publishing hero Anne Finnis and spending time with her, Kim Curran and my friend Amy.  For those of you who don’t know I am a huge fan of Point Horror and Anne was responsible for publishing them back in the 90’s.  We met up at YALC  a few years ago now and every time I see her I turn into a fan girl (sounds silly I know, but as I said to Anne…Point Horror was my childhood and if she hadn’t published them I may not be the person I am today!).  It was just lovely to take some time out to chat about books and writing amongst other things and the whole conversation was hugely inspiring.

  • An evening out with my friends Amy, Olivia and Laura and our families.  What a laugh we had over burgers and milkshakes.  We have to make this a YALC tradition!

And with thanks to wonderful family and friends I even pushed myself out of my comfort zone….

  • I normally just stay up on the YALC floor and don’t venture down to LFCC, but this year my son was determined to get me down there and with my pop vinyl obsession how could I not go down?  For those of you who don’t know, I am partially sighted and therefore I find it very stressful and hard in crowded spaces to navigate around without constantly bumping into people.  But I did it!  And I loved it!
  • With thanks to my friend Amy for pushing me a little I pitched my story idea to an agent with a view to gaining some feedback on the idea.  It was a nerve-wracking but a great experience and it was great to hear feedback which has given my some fresh ideas to put into my writing
  • I had my picture taken with a celebrity, Arthur Darvill.  That meant me pushing myself out of my comfort zone again.  I was super nervous and terrified of the queuing process down in LFCC, but I did it and as you can tell from my super happy smiling face it was amazing!

These things I would never have done before, but I always say to my son when he is going some where new to always try one thing out of his comfort zone each time, so I thought I would take my own advice!

I guess what I’m trying to say is thank you to everyone who I spoke to, hugged, laughed with and hung out with.  I have left YALC feeling motivated and inspired by every single one of you.

If ever I feel like giving up I will simply read back this blog post, think of all of the amazing and wonderful things above and the memories we created and maybe think to myself that I shouldn’t give up.  Think about how inspired every single one of you has made me feel, always so welcoming and warm and energetic.  That alone is enough.  That alone makes me beam with happiness whilst I am writing this.

Thank you

x

P.S – Jason Mamoa…that is all!

Spotlight – Show Stealer by Hayley Barker

 


Today is my stop on this fab blog tour to celebrate the release of Show Stealer by Hayley Barker!

Show Stealer is the sequel to last years Show Stopper and was released on the 2nd August published by the lovelies at Scholastic.

To celebrate I thought I would shine the spotlight on this brilliant books and I also have an awesome giveaway with huge thanks to Scholastic!


About The Books!

A dazzling, high-octane read filled with death-defying acrobatics, circus crowds with an appetite for disaster, and two forbidden teenage lovers trying to escape the shackles of their very different lives. Set in a near-future England where the poorest people in the land must watch their children be taken by a travelling circus – to perform at the mercy of hungry lions, sabotaged high wires and a demonic ringmaster. The ruling class visit the circus as an escape from their structured, high-achieving lives – pure entertainment with a bloodthirsty edge. Ben, the teenage son of a draconian government minister, visits the circus for the first time and falls instantly in love with Hoshiko, a young performer. They come from harshly different worlds – but must join together to escape the circus and put an end to its brutal sport.

The deadliest show on earth is ready for an encore…

Hoshiko and Ben have been on the run since they burned Silvio Sabatini’s circus down to the ground at the explosive finale of SHOW STOPPER. But Ben’s mother will stop at nothing to track him down and get her revenge: backing him into a corner where he is forced to sacrifice himself to save Hoshiko. The deadliest show on earth has been resurrected and if Ben thought he’d seen into its dark corners as an outsider, the true extent of the horrors that lurk beneath the Big Top are about to be revealed as he becomes the circus’ new star attraction…

You can buy a copy of these books here or from your local bookshop!


About Hayley Barker


Hayley Barker taught secondary school English for nearly eighteen years before becoming an author. She is a huge YA fiction fan and says being published is the most exciting thing to ever happen to her.

She lives in Essex with her husband two sons and a yappy dog.

For more information, please visit Hayley’s website: www.hayleybarker.co.uk


Giveaway!

The lovely people at Scholastic have given me a copy of Show Stealer to giveaway to one lucky winner!

You can enter this vis twitter here

Good Luck!


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Emily at Scholastic for asking me to be part of this fab blog tour and for sending me a copy of the book to read and one to giveaway!

Have you read Show Stopper or Show Stealer?  What did you think?  What are your favourite parts?  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!

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