Category Archives: UKYA

UK Young Adult

Guest Post – Writing Advice by Dan Smith


Today I am thrilled to be hosting this brilliant Dan Smith here on Tales with a fab guest post to celebrate the release of Below Zero!

Below Zero was released on the 4th January 2018 published by the lovelies at Chicken House and is a chilling thriller that will chill you to the core.

Today Dan gives us all some amazing writing advise in this fab guest post!


When Zak’s plane crash-lands on Outpost Zero, a small Antarctic research base in one of the most isolated places on Earth, he discovers a cold, dark nightmare. The power’s out and the people who live there have disappeared. Worse, as he searches for answers, bizarre visions suggest a link to something else – deep beneath the ice – which only he can understand …


Writing Advise

I just typed ‘advice for writers’ into Google. 4,940,000 results. ‘Tips for writers’ gets 16,800,000 results. ‘How to write a novel’ gets 142,000,000 results.

What you’ve got right there is a LOT of advice for writers. But is any of it any good? I don’t know, maybe. Probably. Some of it might be.

When I go into schools I’m sometimes asked if I have any tips for writers. Often it’s a teacher who asks, but sometimes it’s one of the students. Or maybe I’m asked to write an article along the lines of ‘5 tips for budding writers’. You know the kind of thing. Unfortunately, though, I can’t impart any sure-fire-publication-guaranteed nugget of advice, because such a thing doesn’t exist.

I reckon there are two things you can do if you want to be a writer or improve your writing. The first is to read books. I don’t think I’m giving away any of the Majestic Brotherhood of Author’s secrets when I say that reading books will help with writing books. The other thing you can do is write. And write. And write. Because writing is like many other things – it takes a lot of practice, a huge amount of perseverance, a mound of dedication, a dollop of talent, and – if you want to be published – a monumental amount of luck. Multiply the luck by a gajillion if you want to get rich by writing books.

If I could put all those things in a bottle and sell them, I would now be sitting by the pool in my villa in Bali, watching the sea through the palms and wondering what to do tomorrow – stroll along the beach, or go and find a jungle waterfall to swim in.

So my advice would be to not listen to all that advice. Someone once told me that when writing a book for younger readers, the most important thing to do is to find a way to get rid of the parents. In fact, the most important thing to do is to write a story that will engage young readers – though don’t ask me how to do that!

When I started to write Below Zero, I didn’t want to get rid of the parents. I wanted Zak’s parents to be front-and-centre in his story. For many children, their parents are the most significant people in their lives, so it doesn’t seem strange to me that they should feature in a story about something that happens to children. But Zak’s parents are not perfect – just like my parents and your parents. They have flaws. They have quirks. They are human. They can be embarrassing, reassuring, strong, weak, fallible, and, most important of all, they can be wrong. And sometimes, when parents are wrong, they need their children to remind them of it – just like Zak and May do in Below Zero.

Stories reflect life. They are often hyper-realistic versions of life, or even weird, overblown, and crazy versions of real life, but they still reflect life and relationships, and worries and fears and so much more.

There is no right way to tell a story. All we can do is try our best.

BELOW ZERO by Dan Smith out now in paperback (£6.99, Chicken House). Find out more at chickenhousebooks.com and connect with Dan Smith @DanSmithAuthor

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


About Dan Smith

Growing up, Dan Smith led three lives. In one he survived the day-to-day humdrum of boarding school, while in another he travelled the world, finding adventure in the padi fields of Asia and the jungles of Brazil. But the third life he lived in a world of his own, making up stories . . . Which is where some people say he still lives most of the time.

Dan has lived in many places that inspire his writing – including Sierra Leone, Sumatra, northern and central Brazil. He’s even lived in Spain and in the Soviet Union, but he’s now settled in Newcastle with his wife and two young children to keep him on his toes. And, boy, do they keep him on his toes!

Past jobs have varied from dishwasher extraordinaire (or, perhaps, just ordinaire), social security fraud (detecting it, not committing it), to working on giant-sized Christmas decorations, and a fistful of mundane office jobs, but throughout all of those things, he’s always kept writing.

Dan writes for both children and adults.

You can follow Dan Smith on Twitter – @DanSmithAuthor

Or on his Facebook page here


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Dan for a brilliant guest post and to Laura from Chicken House for asking me to host and be part of this fab blog tour.

Have you read Below Zero?  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  If you have not read it yet have we tempted you to go and grab a copy?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – The Art Of Survival In A Dinosaur YA Book by S M Wilson


Today I am roaring with excitement to have the awesome S M Wilson on Tales with a fab guest post to celebrate the release of her debut YA, The Extinction Trials.

The Extinction Trials was released on the 28th December 2017 published by the wonderful Usborne and I’ve heard if you are a fan of dinosaurs then this is the book for you!

So today S M Wilson tells us all about the art of survival in a dinosaur book…..lets jump straight in!

#ExtinctionTrials


Stormchaser wants to escape her starved, grey life. Lincoln wants to save his dying sister. Their only chance is to join an expedition to a deadly country to steal the eggs of vicious dinosaurs. If they succeed, their reward is a new life filled with riches. But in a land full of monsters – both human and reptilian – only the ruthless will survive. Jurassic Park meets The Hunger Games in this epic new series.


The Art of Survival in a Dinosaur YA book……

otherwise known as picking your favourite dinosaur to eat someone and losing characters along the way….

We’ve all settled down to watch the next episode of Star Trek and noticed the previously unseen Ensign sitting at the front of the Enterprise.  Any Star Trek fan at this point sighs and says “Well, they’re going to die!”  And within five minutes, they generally do.

That’s also the trouble with writing a book that spends a long time on a continent filled with deadly dinosaurs.  There have to be some spare characters to lose along the way.  So how do you decide?

Here’s the thing.  I hadn’t really.  I didn’t start this book knowing who was going to come to a grim end beforehand.  Things tended to happen…spontaneously.  As did the dinosaur killings.  They were mainly motivated by the landscape around them and the fact I wanted a few surprises in the stories.

Storm and Lincoln were always my main characters, but that doesn’t guarantee survival.  I also have a group of three friends, a stranger, and a whole host of other finalists who end up on the dinosaur continent.  And every story needs a bad guy.  A Darth Vader.  Mine is called Reban Don.  But why have one bad guy when you can have two?  Enter Galen.  Bad guy number two.  But as you automatically eliminate one of these from your mind, just remember, where’s the fun in killing the bad guy?  Isn’t it more fun keeping him alive and a constant threat?

You have no idea how much pleasure I took in flicking through a dinosaur encyclopaedia thinking, ‘Okay, who can eat…..’

It would probably surprise you how much we don’t actually know about the dinosaurs we’ve discovered.  Scientists have looked at bones and stomach contents and came to some conclusions.  But do we really know how clever they were?  How they hunted?  How they lived?  There are really so many unanswered questions.  Since I started writing Extinction Trials I’ve found so much speculation and differing opinions online.  T-rexess had feathers.  The discovery in South Korea – is it an Ultrasaurus or a Supersaurus? Did newborn pterosaurs actually walk instead of fly?

For me as an author it means I can have a little leeway when I write.  Here’s a spoiler.  My pterosaurs  might attack humans at one point.  Do we have any evidence of this?  Well no.  Pterosaurs and humans didn’t exist at the same time on Earth, but on my Earth?  Well, anything can happen – and usually does.

So hold on to your hat – or your stomach – when you read Extinction Trials and just remember that no character is safe………………

You can buy a copy of The Extinction Trials here or from your local bookshop!


About S M Wilson

Susan Wilson lives on the west coast of Scotland with her fiancé and two sons. She’s worked in the NHS for 25 years – her day job is as a nurse in public health – her dream job is writing fiction. Her love of YA fiction started as a teenager and has never stopped. The Extinction Trials was written for her two sons to try and infect them with the same love of reading that she has. Watch out – she’s hoping it’s contagious!

​You can find out more on her website – www.susan-wilson.com

Susan also writes romance as Scarlet Wilson. She’s written over 30 books for Harlequin Mills & Boon, Tule Publishing and Entangled Publishing. She’s also been a double Rita Finalist for RWA and been nominated for the RoNA Rose award five times, winning it in 2017. You can also find her here

You can find out more on her website – www.scarlet-wilson.com

You can also follow S M Wilson on twitter – @susanwilsonbook


Blog Tour

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

#ExtinctionTrials


A huge thank you to S M Wilson for such a fab guest post and to Stevie at Usborne for asking me to host and be part of the blog tour.

As you’ll see from the graphic above, the tour ends on Sunday evening on #SundayYA. Susan will be a guest during the chat, and will *DRUM ROLL*, officially reveal the title and the cover for book 2.

Usborne will then be sending out the January Usborne YA newsletter the following week with an exclusive chapter extract from book 2, and another chance to win a signed copy. Firstly, if you’re not signed up to the newsletter – do it! It’s a fun one, and the host competitions all the time.

bit.ly/2otCikx 

Have you read The Extinction Trials?  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  If you have not read it yet have we tempted you to go and grab a copy?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

Guest Post – 5 Ways To Cope With Being Grounded by Katy Birchall


I am a huge Katy Birchall fan!  She is just brilliant and her books always make me laugh out loud and when I say out loud I mean LOUD!

Following on from the fab success of the brilliant IT Girl series Katy is back with Secrets Of A Teenage Heiress published by Egmont today, 11th January 2018!

Happy Book Birthday Katy!

“An hilariously funny and fabulously glamorous series from the author of It Girl. Perfect for10+ years readers, and fans of Geek Girl and Girl Online”

So to celebrate today I have the lady herself with a fab guest post….although someone seems to have amended the text…..


Flick’s family have owned The Royale – one of London’s most prestigious hotels – for generations. But Flick isn’t that interested. She is interested in the newest guest – superstar celebrity Skylar Chase, and Sky’s mega-famous group of friends, including dreamy YouTube star, Ethan Duke. But just as Flick gets the chance to join their glittering squad, she gets grounded following an unfortunate incident involving a prince, a wardrobe and a selfie stick (it could have happened to anyone!). With only her Instagram star pet dachshund, Fritz, for company, will Flick find a way to escape The Royale and join the fame game?


5 Ways To Cope With Being Grounded

(amended by Flick Royale, star of Secrets of a Teenage Heiress)

 1.  Talk to your parents Don’t talk to your parents

Seriously, talking to your parents is just about the WORST thing you can do. I mean, what are they going to say? You really think they’re going to AGREE with you? HA! The last time Mum agreed with me was that time when I was about four years old and I asked her to close the window because I was cold. She agreed it was cold. THAT’S IT.

The only thing to do when grounded is SULK AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. That means no talking, no listening, no nothing. They don’t deserve such reasonable behaviour.

2.  Show that you are responsible by helping with chores Create as much trouble as possible

Being grounded is all about principles and your parents violating yours. Time to rebel!! Look, if they’re going to ground you for something TINY, there is no harm in providing them with a little reminder of how bad you really could be if you wanted.

Like the time Mum grounded me when I stuck a note on boring Mr Grindle’s back saying “I am secretly an ostrich”.

In retaliation for her stomping all over my creativity by grounding me for such HILARIOUS behaviour, I hid all our coasters and put wet glasses down on all the surfaces around the flat for two weeks until my punishment was up.

It drove her NUTS.

I’d say she’ll think twice before grounding me again, that’s for sure.

3.  Accept responsibility for your actions Never say sorry

Trust me, whatever you did to get grounded, it’s probably not your fault. You know why? Because parents are bonkers. And then they expect us to be normal.

If anything, they should be apologising to YOU. Just because.

4.  Make the most of being grounded Do NOT have fun while being grounded

Seriously, no offence, but what kind of nerd wrote this stupid list? Making the most of being grounded is the worst thing you can do. Then parents will think it’s ACCEPTABLE.

Instead, make your parents feel as guilty as possible.

Tried and tested ways of doing this are:

· Crying

· Shouting

· Screaming

· Slamming doors

· Telling them that your dachshund Fritz is the only one you can talk to in this cruel, cruel world

· Telling them that if you weren’t grounded, you might be out there making human friends and finding a path of good in life

· But instead you’re stuck inside forced to tell your feelings to your DOG

· And now you’ll probably be shunned by society

·Because, thanks to your childhood, you can’t talk to fellow humans

· Only dogs

5.  Learn from your mistakes DON’T LET THE MAN KEEP YOU DOWN!!

Learning from your mistakes = defeat.

Don’t let them win.

I’d love to stay and elaborate on this point but apparently Chef found out I hid his chef hat in a giant bag of flour and now Mum and him want to “have a word.”

Fritz and I had better escape while we have the chance.

See ya! x

You can buy a copy of Secrets Of A Teenage Heiress here or from your local bookshop


About Katy Birchall

Katy Birchall is the author of the side-splittingly funny The It Girl: Superstar Geek, The It Girl: Team Awkward and The It Girl: Don’t Tell the Bridesmaid. She also worked at Country Life magazine as their Deputy Features Editor. Katy won the 24/7 Theatre Festival Award for Most Promising New Comedy Writer with her very serious play about a ninja monkey at a dinner party. Her pet labradors are the loves of her life, she is mildly obsessed with Jane Austen and one day she hopes to wake up as an elf in The Lord of the Rings. Katy lives in Brixton, London.

You can find out more about Katy on her website – katybirchallauthor.com

Or why not follow her on twitter – @KatyBirchall


Previously On Tales…

Click on the below links for previous post with Abi Elphinstone her on Tales Of Yesterday!

Spotlight – The It Girl by Katy Birchall

Guest Post – 10 Things I’ve Learnt About Being An Author by Katy Birchall

Tales Review – The It Girl by Katy Birchall

Guest Post – How To Survive Sports Day by Katy Birchall

Guest Post – An EXCLUSIVE Interview With It Girl, Anna Huntley by Katy Birchall


A huge big thank you to Siobhan at Egmont for asking me to host this fab post and for donating our January 2018 British Books Challenge Book Prize which includes Secrets Of A Teenage Heiress.

Have you read Secrets Of A Teenage Heiress?  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  If you have not read it yet have we tempted you to go and grab a copy?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Tales Post – Best Books Read In 2017


It’s time to share my best books read in 2017!

I have really struggled this year not to just read, but to actually finish books!  You can read about it here

Now again this was not because there were no brilliant books to read, it was all down to me.  I feel I have been so busy with work, fitness, family and blogging that my mind and body just wouldn’t take anymore.  Anyway, needless to say that I have failed any challenges I set myself, but I’m trying not to dwell on that too much.

Whilst I only appear to have read 11 books this year this does not include the 20 – 30 plus books that I started and did not complete *rolls eyes at self*.

Anyway, even out of the books I have read I still had an amazing reading year and have picked some of my favourites below (you can see all of the books I have read here )

These will be listed in no particular order.

Before I start I would like to thank everyone for their support yet again in 2017!  The brilliant book community, all the friends I have made, fab authors for writing fab books and being generally awesome, all the publishers who have sent me books and everyone who has supported me through my third full year of book blogging.

Thank You All x

Here we go…..

(remember these are in no particular order…. )


I started the New Year off with such enthusiasm and excitement for all the bookish delights that were awaiting me and the book I decided to start with has ended up being one of my favourite books of 2017!  Caraval by Stephanie Garber captivated me from the very first page.  I don’t normally read a lot of fantasy, but the premise of this book with a circus theme, mysterious feel and set in a magical fantasy world really appealed to me.  I followed Scarlett as she left her tiny isle of Trisda after receiving an invitation from the mysterious Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.  I was mesmerised by the bright and vivid imaginary of Caraval.  I fell in love with characters who made my heartache and turned pages as fast as I could to pull myself further into its magical world.  And yes… I did fall in love with a mysterious, caped man called Legend even though it should have been forbidden and soon realised that I have a problem “thing” for men in capes!  Caraval was a marvel from start to finish and I literally cannot wait for the next book, Legendary, to be released….and yes maybe that is partly because of its namesake *swishes cape* , but mainly because this book was fantastic!

I am a huge slasher horror film lover so this book immediately appealed to me.  The story of a girl who survived a massacre that killed all of her friends and was the Final Girl who managed to escape.  I enjoyed the premise of this book and how being a Final Girl has affected our main character Quincy.  You also got glimpses into the past with flashbacks to the fatal night with the lead up to how the events unravelled right up to the climatic ending which had me on the edge of my seat.  The flashbacks for me had more pull and appealed to the slasher horror lover in me and Sager does not hold back on the shock factor when the events start to unravel.  I can’t wait to see what Sager does next as I will definitely be picking it up!

This book immediately intrigued me as I heard a lot of people talking about it on twitter and as the book is based in a cult it peaked my interest.  I immediately became drawn into the book and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out all about Moonbeam’s story.  And what a story indeed.  The about of compassion I felt for Moonbeam made be root for her all the way.  I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend.

A am a huge fan of Rhian’s already and when I heard about her new book Hope I just couldn’t wait.  From the tag line “Sometimes the end is just the beginning” to the way Rhian deals with subjects like organ donation, PMDD, friendship, family and love.  But most of all this book is about hope event in the darkest and most testing of times when you feel that all is lost.  There is a touching scene in this book that had me in tears which involves a group called Singing Medicine who are based on a real life group that work at Birmingham Children’s Hospital who I had the pleasure to meet when I chaired Rhian’s launch for Hope this year.  They bring so much joy by singing to children who are in need of a smile or indeed some hope and even just to watch them myself bought me some comfort and complete joy.  This is expressed completely in Hope and is just wonderful to read.

This gorgeous book has the makings of an instant classic that will be read to children Christmas after Christmas.  It’s heart warming and full of joy.  One Christmas Wish tells the story of Theo and what happens one Christmas Eve when his Christmas decorations spring to life.  The gorgeous illustrations by Emily Sutton reminded me of Raymond Brigg’s Snowman and bought Katherine’s wonderful, delightful words to life on the page.  This is like the best Christmas present all wrapped into one.  Just wonderful.

I adore Holly Bourne and I absolutely adored this book from start to finish.  I loved everything about it.  I loved Audrey and her project about how love is not as it is portrayed in the movies.  I loved Harry the loveable, funny love interest and I loved the cinema setting especially as I have been spending a lot of time in the cinema myself this year.  There were references to movies some of which I had heard of and some of which I am now going to seek out and discover, but most of all Holly’s writing is an absolute delight and this book made me smile from ear to ear.


So there you have it! My best books read in 2017! I highly recommend all of these books!
2018 looks set to be a fab year and I simply can’t wait to get back on track and read all of the fab books!

I would love to hear what your favourite books read in 2017 were? Are any of them the same as mine? Why not leave a comment or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy

Spotlight – Blackbird by N D Gomes


Today I am excited to be part of the blog tour for this brilliant new YA by N D Gomes, Blackbird.

A Dark contemporary YA following a murder mystery on Orkney that fans of 13 Reasons Why will devour.

Blackbird was released on the 16th November published by the lovely people at HQ and I am super excited to be sharing a fab extract from the book today here on Tales!

So sit back and jump in….


Dark contemporary YA following a murder mystery on Orkney that fans of 13 Reasons Why will devour.

Olivia disappeared the night the blackbird died.

It was New Years Eve the night that dead blackbirds descended, hours before fourteen year old Alex McCarthy’s sister Olivia went missing from a party.

Committed to finding out what happened to her sister, within the previously safe walls of their subarctic Orkney village, Alex knows that dishevelled, sometimes intoxicated Detective Inspector Birkens is her best shot.

Yet as they uncover the secrets behind Olivia’s last night, Alex starts to find things she may be better off never knowing…


Extract

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


About N D Gomes

N.D. Gomes graduated from the University of Stirling with a B.A. in Media Studies, and is currently completing an MLitt in Literature and Creative Writing. She also holds an M.Ed. in Education and worked for several years in the US public education system. Her first novel, Dear Charlie, was published in 2016, followed by Blackbird in 2017. N.D. Gomes currently lives in Scotland.

You can follow N D Gomes on twitter – @nd_gomes


Giveaway

With thanks to the lovely people at HQ I have 1 x copy of Blackbird to giveaway to 1 lucky winner!

I’m hosting this over on my twitter page so do head over and check it out here!

UK Only

Ends 29th November

Good Luck!


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to HQ and N D Gomes for having me on this fab blog tour and for the super intriguing extract!

Have you read Blackbird?  Did you enjoy?  What did you love about it?  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!

Guest Post – I’ll Be There For You… Why Teenage Friendships Are Important In YA by Anne Cassidy


Today I am honoured to have the brilliant Anne Cassidy on Tales with a fab guest post to celebrate one of my most anticipated end of 2017 releases, No Shame.

I recently featured No Shame as a book I was hugely excited about over on W H Smth blog here

No Shame was released on the 19th October 2017 published by Hot Key and is a companion novel to Cassidy’s previous novel No Virgin and explores the gruelling process one young woman must go through to bring her rapist to justice which I have heard Anne was moved to write after reading about the real-life cases of Ched Evans, Brock Turner and the Bradford grooming ring. No Shame is sure to be a thought provoking read.

Today Anne talks to us about why teenage friendships are important in YA in this fab guest post….


The powerful companion to NO VIRGIN.From the author of the critically acclaimed, LOOKING FOR JJ, shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize in 2004 and the Carnegie Medal in 2005.Stacey Woods has been raped and now she has to go through a different ordeal – the court trial. But nothing in life it seems is black and white and life is not always fair or just. Suddenly it seems that she may not be believed and that the man who attacked her may be found not guilty . . . if so Stacey will need to find a way to rebuild her life again . . .A tautly told and important book, perfect for readers of Asking for It by Louise O’Neill.


I’ll Be There For You… Why Teenage Friendships Are Important In YA

I focus on friendship in almost every book I write. As a teenager, friendship was everything to me. I was an only child and my need for companionship was greater than those kids who had brothers and sisters. Consequently, I was hungry for a best friend and the close friendships I had helped me get through some difficult times. When they ended, I was devastated. My novel No Virgin follows the main character Stacey Woods as her world collapses when she thinks her best friend, Patrice, is lying to her. These feelings of isolation make her feel vulnerable and easy prey to a boy who is sweet and nice to her. Sadly, this nice sweet boy eventually leads to Stacey being attacked. In the sequel No Shame, it’s Patrice, among others, who support her through the trial.

For young children, having a friend is the first step outside the safety of the family. When they go outside that warm base, they are at the mercy of other people’s whims, likes and dislikes. It’s a challenge and can be brilliant if they find the right friend; but it doesn’t always end happily.

During teenage years, it is absolutely crucial to have good friends. Relationships with the family are changing: the need for privacy and room to develop are important and teenagers lean on other kids who are going through the same thing. In No Virgin, after Stacey has been raped, she doesn’t go to the police and she doesn’t go to her parents. She waits until she can tell Patrice. Patrice is a dominant person in Stacey’s life and Stacey adores her. She is Stacey’s support and lifeline. I admire the work of rape prevention charities like Safeline, whose research shows that this is reflected in real life. Victims of abuse often don’t go to parents or teachers, or even the police. The friend is the first person many victims speak to, making them an essential part of that person’s life and case.

This has its own problems. In the case of Stacey, she leans on Patrice too much. She has to face a court case on her own and make decisions that don’t include Patrice. She gets advice, but in the end it has to be her who takes that step forward. It’s only when Stacey hardens up and steps away from Patrice that she is able to stand on her own two feet. Friendships change and grow over time, just like people. I felt it was important in these books to write a friendship that evolves and goes through its own struggles. But at its core is loving and supportive- something everyone needs.

Teenage friendship is important in these difficult years. But being able to stand on your own two feet is crucial. Just as the warm family base gives the confidence to reach outside and find friends so the comfort of close friends allows the teenager to stride out into the adult world and be themselves.

Anne Cassidy is the author of No Shame (Hot Key Books, 19th October)

You can buy a copy of No Shame here or from your local bookshop


About Anne Cassidy

Anne Cassidy was born in London in 1952. She was an awkward teenager who spent the Swinging Sixties stuck in a convent school trying, dismally, to learn Latin. She was always falling in love and having her heart broken. She worked in a bank for five years until she finally grew up. She then went to college before becoming a teacher for many years. In 2000 Anne became a full-time writer, specialising in crime stories and thrillers for teenagers. In 2004 LOOKING FOR JJ was published to great acclaim, going on to be shortlisted for the 2004 Whitbread Prize and the 2005 Carnegie Medal. MOTH GIRLS, published in 2016, was nominated for the 2017 CILIP Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for the 2017 Sheffield Children’s Book Award.

You can find out more about Anne on her website – www.annecassidy.com

Or follow Anne on Twitter: @annecassidy6


A huge thank you to Anne for such a fab post and to Rachel from Midas  for asking me to host!

Have you read any of No Shame or No Virgin?  Did you enjoy?  What did you love about it?  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!

Guest Post – Top Tips For Aspiring Horror Writers by Danny Weston


It’s almost Halloween and what better way to celebrate than with a spooky blog tour for a brilliant creepy book!

Scarecrow by Danny Weston was released on the 5th October 2017 pubished by Andersen Press and is set to keep you wide awake with fear as the dark nights are drawing in!

“A terrifying, historical horror story from the winner of the 2016 Scottish Children’s Book Award.”

“The perfect Halloween read for fans of Darren Shan, Joseph Delaney & Stephen Cole.”

Today I have the man himself sharing some fab tips for aspiring horror writers in this fab guest post….


Jack and his dad are runaways. Jack’s father recently turned whistleblower, revealing the truth about the illicit dealings of some powerful people. Realising that he and Jack might be in danger, Dad drives them to a remote shooting lodge in the Scottish Highlands, where they intend to lay low.

In the cornfield beside the lodge stands a scarecrow. When Jack witnesses something incredible, he begins to realise that it is no ordinary scarecrow – it is alive, hungry and fuelled by rage. And when Dad’s enemies begin to converge on the lodge, the scarecrow might just turn out to be Jack’s best hope of survival.


Top Tips For Aspiring Horror Writers

Hi. Danny Weston here. My new book Scarecrow is now available.

The good people who run this blog have asked me to put together my top tips for aspiring horror writers. Here they are:

1.

Don’t ‘show’ too much. Remember that people are more frightened by what they don’t see than by what they do see.

2.

Make sure the eerie happenings are seen through the eyes of your characters. ‘Show Don’t Tell.’ The three most important words for any writer of fiction. When a writer tells us about something happening, it loses so much. When we see it exactly as the characters in the book see it, then it comes alive.

3.

Description is key. When something happens, you must paint a picture with words. Describe a thing in detail so your reader can picture it in their heads.

4.

Keep up the pace. Don’t linger too long on one particular scene. I think of books as ‘head movies. Always be ready to cut away and move on to the next scene.

5.

If you write a ghost story, never use the G Word. The word I’m referring to here is ‘ghost!’ Once you name it as that, it’s no longer a threat. Same goes for the V Word and the Z Word. Just say what you see and let the reader decide what that is.

6.

Never give your characters an easy ride! They must be conflicted from the start. Give them problems to solve and hardships to overcome.

7.

Never be afraid to rewrite a scene. Every time you do, it will get better.

8.

And don’t forget to have fun with what you’re writing. If you’re not enjoying what you’re writing it will show. Readers can be very unforgiving. Keep them hooked right to the very end!

You can buy a copy of Scarecrow here or from your local book shop!


About Danny Weston

Danny Weston is an author for children and young adults. He lives in Edinburgh with his wife. In 2016, he won the Scottish Children’s Book Award for The Piper, and in 2017 his novel The Haunting of Jessop Rise won the Hillingdon Libraries’ Primary Book of the Year Award. When he’s not writing, Danny can be found visiting schools to talk about what it’s like to be an author. In October 2017, Danny will be embarking on a Halloween school tour to celebrate to release of Scarecrow.


Blog Tour

Catch up for follow the rest of this spooky blog tour at the following stops or check out the hashtag #scarecrowbook


A huge thank you to Danny for a fab guest post and to Harriett at Andersen Press for asking me to host.

Have you read any of Scarecrow?  Did you enjoy?  What did you love about it?  Do you have any horror writing tips?  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!

Guest Post – Top Ten YA Books by Cara Thurlbourn


I am over the moon to be part of the Fire Lines by Cara Thurlbourn, a fab new YA Fantasy, blog tour today with a fab guest post from the lady herself!

Fire Lines was released on the 26th September published by Bewick Press and looks absolutely fab!

So for my stop on the blog tour Cara is sharing her top 10 YA Books…..



When your blood line awakens, how do you choose between family and freedom?

Émi’s father used to weave beautiful tales of life beyond the wall, but she never knew if they were true. Now, her father is gone and Émi has been banished to the Red Quarter, where she toils to support herself and her mother – obeying the rules, hiding secrets and suffering the cruelties of the council’s ruthless Cadets.

But when Émi turns seventeen, sparks fly – literally. Her blood line surges into life and she realises she has a talent for magick… a talent that could get her killed.

Émi makes her escape, beyond the wall and away from everything she’s ever known. In a world of watchers, elephant riders and sorcery, she must discover the truth about who she really is. But can the new Émi live up to her destiny?


Top 10 YA Books

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

One of my most recent reads, recommended by my sister and devoured in a day. Totally unputdownable with a huge twist that I didn’t see coming (and I’m usually great at spotting twists!)

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 

I’m a sucker for an interesting narrator and The Book Thief certainly has that! I also love that against the very serious backdrop of The Second World War, Zusak celebrates books, words and freedom of expression.

I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith

I was given a copy of this book as a gift when I was perhaps thirteen or fourteen and that infamous first line “I write this sitting in the kitchen sink”, probably sums up all of my dreamy notions of being a writer.

Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard 

Another relatively recent read of mine, I love the way Sara Barnard tackles the themes of friendship and mental health. It was also really refreshing to read something where the main focus was on the intricacies female friendship and not a romance.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Just adorable. Eleanor reminded me so much of me that it was almost painful at times. Probably my favourite read of the year.

Rebel of The Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

A fierce heroine and a blend of the wild west and fantasy, what’s not to love?! It also gives me severe cover envy with its sparkliness.

My Sister Lives On The Mantlepiece by Annabel Pitcher 

It’s quite a few years since I read this book but it still sticks with me as one of those ones that grabs you and doesn’t let go. I love the narrative and the way Annabel Pitcher cocoons her story in themes that are, sadly, very relevant today.

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

I listened to this on audio on my commute to work and often had to delay getting out of the car because it was just too good! So atmospheric and full of mystery and intrigue.

The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

I love everything about this book, from the story itself to the physicality of it. The cover is stunning, the artwork on the pages is to die for and I can’t wait to get started on her latest The Island at the End of Everything.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Still mid-read but I can tell this will be one of my stand out books of the year. Another recommendation/lend from my sister and she’s rarely wrong with her tastes!

You can buy a copy of Fire Lines here 

Or add to your Goodreads list here


About Cara Thurlbourn

Cara Thurlbourn writes children’s and young adult fiction. ‘Fire Lines’ is her first novel and it’s a story she’s been planning since she was fifteen years old.

Cara has a degree in English from the University of Nottingham and an MA in Publishing from Oxford Brookes University.

She lives in a tiny village in Suffolk and has worked in academic and educational publishing for nearly ten years. Cara blogs about her author journey and in November 2016 she crowdfunded her first children’s book. 10% of its profits are donated to animal rehoming charities.

Cara plans to write at least two more books in the Fire Lines series, as well as a young adult mystery series, and has lots more children’s stories waiting in the wings.

You can sign up for Cara’s newsletter, for giveaways, updates and latest releases, here: www.firelines.co.uk

You can also follow Cara on twitter – @carathurlbourn


Blog Tour

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

 


A huge big thank you to Faye Rogers for asking me to host this fab piece and to Cara for writing it.

Have you read Fire Lines?  Did you enjoy?  What did you love about it?  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!

Guest Post – Teenage Nightmares by Mark Illis


Today I have a guest post from the wonderful Mark Illis with a fab guest post!

The Impossible, illustrated by Bimpe Alliu, was released on the 27th July published by Quercus and is “a comic-book inspired adventure with a graphic novel twist” that is not to be missed!

Today Mark chats about writing for teenagers and writing his first teenage novel, The Impossible in this fab guest post….


When Hector Coleman and his mates genetically mutate overnight, his life changes in impossible ways.

A comic-book inspired adventure with a graphic novel twist for fans of Joe Cowley, Joe Sugg and Charlie Higson.

Hector Coleman. Just your average angst-ridden teenager, living a normal rubbish life in a normal rubbish town with, let’s face it, a rubbish name. Until his mates start genetically mutating … and everything changes. Apart from his name. And his girl trouble. And his embarrassingly low number of Twitter followers. All those things, unfortunately, stay the same. For now …


Teenage Nightmares

Why does a 54 year old man want to write for teenagers? Because his inner teenager is alive and well, slouching on a bean-bag behind a closed door, smelling of stale sweat, in a bad mood about something, with his head in a book. He used to read The Famous Five, then The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Lord of the Rings, then he moved on to The Wizard of Earthsea, Lord of the Flies, To Kill A Mocking Bird and The Catcher in the Rye. That’s a pretty good reading list and I’d recommend it to anyone. It nourished my imagination, played a big part in turning me into whoever (whatever) I am today, but everything’s changed since then. The range of YA fiction has exploded over the last ten years or so, at roughly the rate of a zombie apocalypse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my children is on her way out of teenager-dom, the other is on his way in, so I’ve read a lot of it in recent years, and I’ve discovered a fantastic new world, one which gives me a thrill of excitement and also a sharp slap of recognition. Somewhere along the way, my inner teenager stirred, lifted his head out of his book, blinked and said ‘Wait, what?’ (Because that’s what teenagers say these days.)

So of course, YA and teen fiction was a pool I wanted to dive into. I wanted to write for my children, I wanted to write for my slouchy, smelly teenage self, and I wanted to explore the preoccupations that have never left me. As an adult I read graphic novels, watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer  and Marvel movies, and read novels like Station 11 and The Underground Railroad, both of which play interesting games with reality. All those influences feed into my writing for teenagers.

Since I crawled out of that bean-bag about 35 years ago, I’ve written four novels and a book of connected short stories, all broadly in the genre of literary fiction. That means that I had most of the tools I needed to write YA, because writing for teenagers requires exactly the same attention to character and language as writing for adults, but I also felt liberated, felt able to introduce a fantasy, science-fiction element. Mutations, aliens!

Writing my first teenage novel, The Impossible, was similar to writing a novel for adults, because it was a precarious journey into invented lives, an attempt to find the unique texture of those lives, to summon up something authentic, to imagine an experience that was never actually experienced. But writing The Impossible also surprised me in two ways.

First, I discovered that I like my teenage characters more than most of my adult ones. I like the challenge of trying to find teenage voices without seeming cringey or weird. I like their enthusiasm and their ennui, their humour and their seriousness (often at the same time), that unguarded, jagged quality which makes them vulnerable. The life buzzing and flickering like electricity in their dialogue.

And secondly, I discovered that writing for teenagers feels at least as personal as writing an adult, literary novel. The Impossible is about teenagers coping with change colliding with their lives. To return to that first question – why am I, a 54 year old bloke, writing about that? Because change collided with my life when I was a teenager. The sort of change that you have to integrate into your life and find a way to use, because the only alternative is to be crushed by it. That’s what I wanted to explore, extrapolate from and – kind of – celebrate.

The garish, weird monsters are metaphors. It’s what makes them effective and familiar and even, in a sense, plausible.

You can buy a copy of The Impossible here or from your local bookshop


About Mark Illis

Mark was born in London in 1963. He bought comics, watched Star Trek, went to see The Clash and loved reading and writing. He had some short stories published at university, and went on to do an MA in Creative Writing at UEA, where Malcolm Bradbury and Angela Carter were his tutors. That was a good year.

In his twenties Mark had three novels published by Bloomsbury, A CHINESE SUMMER, THE ALCHEMIST and THE FEATHER REPORT. He was also teaching English GCSE part-time, doing research for a charity called Shape, and then working as a Literature Development Worker, ‘raising the profile of literature in Berkshire.’ Exciting times. In 1992 Mark moved to West Yorkshire to be a Centre Director for the Arvon Foundation, after which he started writing for TV and radio. He has written three radio plays and has written for EastEnders, The Bill and Peak Practice. He wrote for Emmerdale for over a decade. He also wrote the award-winning screenplay for Before Dawn, a relationship drama with zombies.

Mark has taught writing in schools, libraries, universities, Reading Prison and Broadmoor Secure Hospital, and has run workshops in Hong Kong and Norway. He has taught more than 30 Arvon courses, has given readings at festivals from Brighton to Edinburgh, Cheltenham to King’s Lynn, and has reviewed for The Times Literary Supplement, The Spectator and Radio 4’s Kaleidoscope. He has recently been working for the charity First Story and for the Royal Literary Fund. He’s married with two children and a kitten and is still living in West Yorkshire.

His fourth book, TENDER, was published in 2009, and his fifth, THE LAST WORD, (shortlisted for The Portico Prize) in 2011, both by Salt.

In July 2017, his first Young Adult novel, THE IMPOSSIBLE, winner of a Northern Writers’ Award in 2015, will be published by Quercus. When teenagers in Gilpin start suffering from strange mutations, someone needs to find out what’s going on. Enter Hector, who’s suffering maybe the strangest mutation of all.

You can find out more about Mark on his website – www.markillis.co.uk

Or why not follow Mark on twitter – @markillis1


A huge big thank you to Emily at Quercus for asking me to host this fab piece and to Mark for writing it.

Have you read The Impossible?  Did you enjoy?  What did you love about it?  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!

Spotlight – Things A Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls


Today, 7th September 2017, is the publication day of the wonderful Things A Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls and I am over the moon to be kicking of the blog tour for this amazing book with the opening chapter of the book!

Things A Bright Girl Can Do tells the story of three girls, Evelyn, May and Nell, caught up in the Suffragette movement and has had rave reviews already!

So sit back, relax and read this extract from the opening chapter…


Through rallies and marches, in polite drawing rooms and freezing prison cells and the poverty-stricken slums of the East End, three courageous young women join the fight for the vote.

Evelyn is seventeen, and though she is rich and clever, she may never be allowed to follow her older brother to university. Enraged that she is expected to marry her childhood sweetheart rather than be educated, she joins the Suffragettes, and vows to pay the ultimate price for women’s freedom.

May is fifteen, and already sworn to the cause, though she and her fellow Suffragists refuse violence. When she meets Nell, a girl who’s grown up in hardship, she sees a kindred spirit. Together and in love, the two girls start to dream of a world where all kinds of women have their place.

But the fight for freedom will challenge Evelyn, May and Nell more than they ever could believe. As war looms, just how much are they willing to sacrifice?


Extract

You can buy a copy of Things A Bright Girl Can Do here or from your local bookshop!

You can find a previous Q&A with Sally on Tales here


About Sally Nicholls

I was born in Stockton-on-Tees, just after midnight, in a thunderstorm. My father died when I was two, and my brother Ian and I were brought up my mother. I always wanted to write – when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I used to say “I’m going to be a writer” – very definite.

I live in a small house in Oxford with my husband and little boy.

You can find out more about Sally on her website – www.sallynicholls.com

You can follow Sally on twitter – @Sally_Nicholls    


Blog Tour

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

#ThingsABrightGirlCanDo


A huge big thank you to Harriet at Andersen for asking me to be part of and kick off this fab blog tour and to Sally for such a fab book! 

Have you read Things A Bright Girl Can Do?  Did you enjoy?  What do you love about historical fiction?  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!

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