Category Archives: YA

Guest Post – Thrills, Chills and Nightmares – Point Horror Box Sets by Mark Stewart


Do you remember the Point Horror Book Series from the 90’s?

The Point Horror Series was a series of young adult point horror books and was launched in 1991 by Scholastic always with the Point Horror banner on the spine and on the top of every point horror book.  There were a number of authors that wrote these books for Scholastic: R L Stine, Diane Hoh, Caroline B Cooney, Sinclair Smith to name but a few.

They were basically what I was reading and enjoying as a young adult and thanks to the author Juno Dawson, who started #PointHorrorBookClub on her website in 2013, I have started to re-read these books that I used to rush to the shops every weekend and buy and sit for the whole weekend reading.

Juno announced in January 2015 that she was no longer able to carry on #pointhorrorbookclub and with her blessing I am going to try and carry it on with version 2!  Juno has done a fantastic job – I hope I can keep up her good work *gulps*

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new please click here


I know lots of people who hold Point Horror close to their hearts and one of the things I love about hosting the #PointHorrorBookClub is getting to chat to other fans from all over the world!

Mark Stewart , who lives in Australia, is also a huge fan of all things Point Horror and has been joining in with us on #PointHorrorBookClub for what seems like ages now.  Mark and I were chatting and he had a brilliant idea for a guest post about the Point Horror Box Sets so I invited him along to chat about them!

It’s such a fascinating post and shows how different the Point Horror Books were marketed in Australia and possibly were even released way before here in England! 

You can find out more about how the Point Horror Books came to be in England in this fab guest post about Publishing Point Horror by Anne Finnis-  here

*hands microphone to Mark*


Thrills, Chills and Nightmares – Point Horror Box Sets

As the popularity of Point Horror (PH) began to grow in the late 1980’s, Scholastic hit on the bright idea of packaging up some of their best-selling titles and selling them in box sets. These various sets were released until the mid 1990’s and, seriously, what horror junkie wouldn’t have loved unwrapping one of these babies on Christmas morning?

 Information on publishing dates, numbers released, titles included is scarce to say the least – in fact, even just finding out what sets exist is tricky! So I’m hoping that by sharing what information I have, that maybe some other information might come to light. Wherever I have made an assumption, I’ll endeavour to justify my reasoning.

 So let’s start at the start…

 The ‘Thrills, Chills and Nightmares’ (TCN) box set appears to be the first one released. There are a few reasons why I believe this to be the case: 1) The books included are from 1985 – 1988, 2) The ‘Point’ logo on the spines is pre ‘blood splatter’ and 3) the cover price of the set is $11.00 USD. The cover price is especially telling as I have no other PH box set with an $11.00 cover price; every other set I have has a higher price.

As pictured, I’ve been lucky enough to find a sealed set for my collection. Given that it is sealed, I feel it’s safe to say that the books included in the first TCN set are:

·         Slumber Party (1985) – Christopher Pike

·         Weekend (1986) – Christopher Pike

·         Twisted (1987) – R. L. Stine

·         The Lifeguard (1988) – Richie Tankersley Cusick

 The presence of ‘The Lifeguard’ dates this set as being from 1988 (at the earliest). I would assume that ‘The Lifeguard’ would be an early edition, potentially a first edition, whereas the others may be subsequent printings – but I’m not about to open my set to check!

 Including such big YA horror hitters as Pike, Stine and RTC I’m assuming led to a sales return from the box set idea that was pleasing to the powers that be at Scholastic. So the TCN box set was re-released, this time with a cover price of $11.80 USD. It’s quite easy to see the difference as the re-release’s cover price is on a white background as well.


Now here’s the catch – although I have two of the re-release box sets, both are unsealed and while both contain the same 4 books, one clearly has a couple of later release versions in it that someone presumably added in at a later stage. This leads to the biggest question mark I have over PH box sets – determining the make-up of the titles. Given that I do have two copies of the TCN re-release (from different places) and they both have the same titles, I’m 99% certain that these are the books originally included. One clue that helps me to be 99% confident is that the total cover price of the 4 books – $2.95 x 4 = $11.80

 The re-released TCN contains 3 different novels from the first:

·         Weekend (1986) – Christopher Pike

·         The Boyfriend (1990) – R. L. Stine

·         The Accident (1991) – Diane Hoh

·         The Snowman (1991) – R. L. Stine.

 As with the original TCN set, the age of the books helps identify a release date. So while the original TCN was released c. 1988, the TCN re-release was released c. 1991. The Accident and The Snowman in my set are both second edition printings, which makes some sense – I would assume that the initial print run would have been sold as standalone novels and then subsequently bundled into the box set.

 One other point of note with the two TCN sets is that the re-release features the cover art of a book (Slumber Party) that is absent from the set. This is pretty rare for PH box sets.

 The fact that the re-release of TCN seems to be c.1991 is made all the more intriguing by another great feature of PH – the sequel. In the case of TCN, two follow up box sets ‘More Thrills, Chills and Nightmares’ (MTCN) and ‘Still More Thrills, Chills and Nightmares’ (SMTCN) were released as the PH machine kicked into high gear.

It would appear that two versions of MTCN were released, however unlike TCN there is no difference in the cover price (both $11.80) and I would assume that both sets were released at the same time c.1989 based on the titles included.

 Version 1:

·         Blind Date (1986) – R. L. Stine

·         The Babysitter (1989) – R. L. Stine

·         Trick or Treat (1989) – Richie Tankersley Cusick

·         Party Line (1989) – A. Bates

 Version 2:

·         The Babysitter (1989) – R. L. Stine

·         Trick or Treat (1989) – Richie Tankersley Cusick

·         Party Line (1989) – A. Bates

·         Prom Dress (1989) – Lael Littke

 The only difference between the sets is ‘Blind Date’ and ‘Prom Dress’. Online research shows a number of different sites listing both versions. I’ve yet to see a sealed set, so I can’t be 100% sure of the titles, however these two combinations are all I’ve ever come across, so I don’t believe there is a third version.

 So our time line now reads:

 1988 – TCN

1989 – MTCN

1990 –

1991 – TCN (re-release)

 “So what about 1990?” I hear you cry – and you have a point. Filling that gap is SMTCN. Also with a cover price of $11.80, its line-up of titles suggests that it is our c. 1990 set. I’m only aware of one version of this set:

·         My Secret Admirer (1989) – Carol Ellis

·         April Fools (1990) – Richie Tankersley Cusick

·         Beach Party (1990) – R. L. Stine

·         Final Exam (1990) – A. Bates

 In summary, the ‘Thrills, Chills and Nightmares’ series of box sets provided PH fans with a great selection of titles across 5 sets spanning 4 years. With the inclusion of some PH classics, I’ve no doubt that the sets were big winners with the fans. The re-release of TCN in 1991 is a bit of an oddity; perhaps they had left over sleeves that they wanted to use up as opposed to designing new ones? Perhaps the presence of other box sets on the shelves led Scholastic to believe that readers who may have missed out on the first set and had since bought the latter sets might want to complete their collection? There is certainly no doubt that the sequel sets preceded the re-release of TCN, so it might just remain a mystery for some time to come!

Well, that’s enough for today – I’ll have another box set story for you shortly 🙂

Please feel free to comment below.

Mark


A huge huge thank you to Mark for featuring on Tales and a huge round of applause for such a fab guest post!

I honestly cannot thank Mark enough!  Point Horror was my childhood and I feel so honoured to be able to still chat about it today! 

*claps hands excitedly*

It’s such a fascinating post and shows how different the Point Horror Books were marketed in Australia and possibly were even released way before here in England!

Were these box sets even released over here in England?  And with the likes of Pike appearing in these box sets and Twisted by R L Stine under the then named Point banner why were these excluded from the Point Horror brand in England?  So many questions!  But so many extra books to potentially add into our Point Horror collections!

You can find out more about how the Point Horror Books came to be in England in this fab guest post about Publishing Point Horror by Anne Finnis-  here


Why not join in Point Horror Book Club and the discussion on the 13th of every month?

Don’t forget to use the #pointhorrorbookclub on twitter so I can see your thoughts or tweet me using @chelleytoy

Are the Point Horror books we loved as a teenager still our favourites on the re-read?  Are you new to Point Horror?  Has our opinion changed?  Are they still as good?  Do they stand up to modern day YA Horror?  Or are the a whole load of cray cray?

You can find all #PointHorrorBookClub posts old and new here

Do you remember Point Horror?  Which was your favourite?  Would you like to join in on #pointhorrorbookclub ?

Happy Point Horror-ing!

Guest Post – Sweet Elixir by Laura Lam


I am super excited to have been asked to be part of the blog tour for this amazing book, Masquerade by Laura Lam!

Masquerade is the third and final novel in Laura Lam’s Micah Grey trilogy, following Pantomime and Shadowplay, and was published on the 9th March 2017.


 

 

 

 

 

 

I am super excited to have Laura on the blog today.  Each chapter of Masquerade contains an italicised header which relates to the book in some way. Laura dedicated a lot of time to researching and selecting each excerpt and I’m so honoured to be sharing one of them today, with a bit of explanation from Laura on what each means, where it’s from, etc.

If you buy Pantomime or Masquerade & send your receipt to Laura, you can claim a free 10k short story, “The Mechanical Minotaur,” set in the same world. If you buy all three, you can claim 60k of free fiction as well. More details here.


In a land of lost wonders, the past is stirring once more . . .

Gene’s life resembles a debutante’s dream. Yet she hides a secret that would see her shunned by the nobility. Gene is both male and female. Then she displays unwanted magical abilities – last seen in mysterious beings from an almost-forgotten age. Matters escalate further when her parents plan a devastating betrayal, so she flees home, dressed as a boy.

The city beyond contains glowing glass relics from a lost civilization. They call to her, but she wants freedom not mysteries. So, reinvented as ‘Micah Grey’, Gene joins the circus. As an aerialist, she discovers the joy of flight – but the circus has a dark side. She’s also plagued by visions foretelling danger. A storm is howling in from the past, but will she heed its roar?

Old magics are waking. But will the world survive their return?

Micah Grey almost died when he fled the circus with Drystan – now he and the ex-clown seek to outrun disaster. Drystan persuades his old friend Jasper Maske, a once-renowned magician, to take them in. But when he agrees to teach them his trade, Maske is challenged to the ultimate high-stakes duel by his embittered arch-nemesis.

Micah must perfect his skills of illusion, while navigating a tender new love. An investigator is also hunting the person he once seemed to be – a noble family’s runaway daughter. As the duel draws near, Micah increasingly suffers from visions showing him real magic and future terrors. Events that broke the ancient world are being replayed. But can Micah’s latent powers influence this deadly pattern?

The gifted hide their talents, but dare they step into the light?

Micah’s Chimaera powers are growing, until his dark visions overwhelm him. Drystan is forced to take him to Dr Pozzi, to save his life. But can they really trust the doctor, especially when a close friend is revealed to be his spy?

Meanwhile, violent unrest is sweeping the country, as anti-royalist factions fight to be heard. Then three chimaera are attacked, after revealing their existence with the monarchy’s blessing – and the struggle becomes personal. A small sect decimated the chimaera in ancient times and nearly destroyed the world. Now they’ve re-emerged to spread terror once more. Micah will discover a royal secret, which draws him into the heart of the conflict. And he and his friends must risk everything to finally bring peace to their land.

You can buy these books here

If you buy Pantomime or Masquerade & send your receipt to Laura, you can claim a free 10k short story, “The Mechanical Minotaur,” set in the same world. If you buy all three, you can claim 60k of free fiction as well. More details here.


Sweet Elixir

The thing about addiction is that I know it’s what will kill me. It won’t be a carriage in the road, or a common flu, or even the slow creep of cancer. It’s almost certain that Lerium will be what ends me. And there’s a strange, awful sort of comfort in that.

From the anonymous memoir of a Lerium addict, discovered and published post-mortem

Every chapter in the Micah Grey series has a short found document at the start, ranging from a variety of sources: history books, diaries, songs, poetry, and more. It’s basically a sneaky way to add in more worldbuilding and detail about Ellada & the Archipelago.

Addiction is a reoccurring theme in Masquerade.If anyone has read my tie-in Vestigial Tale “The Card Sharp,” it picks up on a lot of threads that are introduced in that novella. Lerium is the fictional drug within Ellada, which has clear parallels to opium in the 19th century. It was only used in very special religious ceremonies in one of the former colonies, Byssia, but Elladans took it and used it commercially because of colonialism. The colonies have long seceded from Ellada, reclaiming their independence, but the damage has been done. There’s another drug that’s sort of a continuation of Lerium as well, and it complicates a lot of character interactions within the final book. A little vague, but difficult to talk about the third book in a trilogy!

You can buy Masquerade or any of the Micah Grey Series here

If you buy Pantomime or Masquerade & send your receipt to Laura, you can claim a free 10k short story, “The Mechanical Minotaur,” set in the same world. If you buy all three, you can claim 60k of free fiction as well. More details here.


About Laura Lam

Laura Lam was raised near San Francisco, California, by two former Haight-Ashbury hippies. Both of them encouraged her to finger-paint to her heart’s desire, colour outside the lines, and consider the library a second home. This led to an overabundance of daydreams. She relocated to Scotland to be with her husband, whom she met on the internet when he insulted her taste in books. She almost blocked him but is glad she didn’t. At times she misses the sunshine.

You can find out more about Laura on her website – www.lauralam.co.uk

Or why not follow Laura on twitter – @LR_Lam


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Laura for such a brilliant guest post and a fascinating insight into the trilogy!  And to Alice at Pan Macmillan for organising and sending me a copy of this fab book!

Have you read any of the Micah Grey Series?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?  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 – Three Terrible Writing Myths and Three Amazing Writing Tips by Mary G. Thompson


I have recently received this awesome YA Thriller by US author Mary G. Thompson, Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee which was released on the 2nd March 2017 published by Chicken House.

Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee is perfect for fans of Louise O’Neill, Lisa Heathfield and Cat Clarke’s The Lost and the Found.

I’ve heard such good things about this book already and I simply cannot wait to read it!

“Cleverly interspersing the present-day story with flashbacks, Mary G. Thompson masterfully drip-feeds twists and turns into AMY CHELSEA STACIE DEE until it builds to its heart-in-mouth conclusion.”

I am so excited to have a fab guest post from the author herself about writing myths and tips…..


Cousins Amy and Dee were kidnapped by a stranger as children. Now, sixteen-year-old Amy is back with her parents. Dressed in purple and clutching a plastic doll, she refuses to answer questions. As Amy struggles towards a normal teenage life, her family – and the police – press her for information. Unable to escape her past, Amy realizes she has to confront the truth. How did she survive? How did she escape? And what happened to Dee?

You can read the first chapter here


Three Terrible Writing Myths and Three Amazing Writing Tips!

Myth #1:

You need creativity to strike.

I’m not going to claim that ideas don’t sometimes come in the middle of the night or at other inconvenient times. They definitely do! I get them while I’m at the day job or on the subway or half asleep or in the shower. I almost never get an aha idea while I’m sitting in front of the computer ready to write. But that’s okay, because most of writing is not about ideas, it’s about execution. That means sitting your butt in the chair (or, if you’re trying to be healthy, standing your feet at your standing desk), and writing all the words that bring the idea to life. But what if that idea just isn’t coming? Well, that leads me to …

Myth #2:

Writer’s Block.

That’s right, writer’s block is a myth! I always say that there are two states for a writer, working and not working. What people think of as writer’s block is really just not working. If you sit in front of your computer and think, you will eventually think of something to write, and if you begin to write, you will eventually have a base from which to build. Whenever I say this to people, they object. They always have a reason why writer’s block is a legitimately totally real thing for them. It isn’t! If you think you have writer’s block, you are actually procrastinating. We all do it, but it’s something we all need to overcome. Sometimes writing is just as hard as any other job, and we can’t wait to magically find …

Myth #3:

The zone.

Ok, this may not be a myth for everyone. I have author friends who tell me that they sometimes get lost in a book and don’t realize that four hours have passed. This never happens to me! I have a terrible time concentrating. I stare off into space and fidget and surf the internet and text my friends and everything else. I know that I’m terrible at concentrating, so I don’t expect myself to magically fall into a fugue state. And this leads me to my first tip!

Tip #1:

Work longer, not smarter.

This tip is for people like me who have trouble concentrating. If you are like me but you expect yourself to write your daily word count goal in one hour, you are going to stress yourself out and be frustrated. Since I know myself, I’ve totally given up on efficiency. Instead, I set aside the time to sit in the chair until I know I can accomplish my goal. For me, this means I set aside at least five good hours on every day I have off of my day job. That’s five hours of time that’s totally uninterrupted except for all the ways my own brain finds to interrupt me. A lot of people dislike this tip because they are still trying to break into the business and have day jobs and/or kids that make it tough to find uninterrupted time. Which leads me to …

Tip #2:

Keep a regular schedule.

You can make up for a lack of long blocks of time by writing at the same time every day or for the same blocks of time every week. When I was a lawyer working longer hours, I would write for about an hour every day after work. This wasn’t ideal, but combined with several hours on the weekend, it added up to what became my first book. The important thing for me is to work regularly enough to keep the book in my head so I don’t forget what is going on. It is key to work steadily and never go long periods of time without writing, which leads me to …

Tip #3:

Do not stop!

Some people will tell you that when you finish a manuscript, you should set it aside and let it breathe or something for a few months. I advise against this. I usually end up taking a few days between finishing a draft and starting a revision, but too much time pulls you out of the story and sets you back. You wouldn’t stop going to your day job for months, so you shouldn’t stop writing either. The good news is, you don’t have to be a magical creative genius! All you have to do is keep writing and writing until you have a book!

Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee by Mary G. Thompson is out now priced £6.99

You can buy a copy of Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee here or from your local bookshop!


About Mary G. Thompson

Mary G. Thompson was raised in Oregon, USA. She was a practicing attorney for more than seven years, including almost five years in the US Navy, and is now a law librarian in Washington, DC. She received her BA from Boston University, her JD from the University of Oregon, and her MFA in Writing for Children from The New School. This is her fifth book.

You can find out more about Mary G. Thompson on her website – www.marygthompson.com

Or why not follow Mary of twitter – @marygthompson


A huge thank you to Mary for such a brilliant guest post and some brilliant writing tips!  And to Jazz at Chicken House for organising and sending me a copy of this fab book!

Have you read Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?  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 – Inspiration For The Setting Of See How They Lie by Sue Wallman


I was a huge fan of Sue Wallman’s debut Lying About Last Summer which was released last year and was also featured as part of the #ZoellaBookClub and I have been craving her next book ever since!

See How They Lie was released on the 2nd March 2017 published by Scholastic and when it dropped through my letterbox I started it straight away!

See How They Lie is set in at Hummingbird Creek, an elite wellness retreat where rich teens with psychological problems can get the help and the setting really captures your imagination from the offset.  I was interested in why Sue chose this particular setting for her second book.  Find out more in this fab guest post from the lady herself!

I also have an awesome giveaway!  Details at the bottom of the post!


Mae feels lucky to have grown up at Hummingbird Creek, an elite wellness retreat where rich teens with psychological problems can get the help they need from her father, a prominent psychiatrist. The Creek has world-class cuisine, a state-of-the-art sports centre and the latest spa treatments. Every aspect of daily life is monitored for optimal health, and there are strict rules for everyone. When Mae is caught breaking the rules, the response is severe. She starts to question everything about her highly controlled life. And at the Creek, asking questions can be dangerous.


Inspiration For The Setting Of See How They Lie

I’d been searching for an idea for my next book for what seemed like months and I was starting to panic. The right idea just wouldn’t emerge. I thought back through my life experiences to see if that would spark anything – and then I remembered: when I was six I lived in a psychiatric hospital in York. My dad had started a new job as a psychiatrist there, and my parents hadn’t yet found a house to buy.

The five of us (my sister was eight and my brother was four) moved into an unused part of the hospital. We didn’t have our own entrance – just a thick-fabric screen partitioning off our section of the building (the sort that people change behind in period dramas). We slept on hospital beds which felt perilously high up off the ground until we got used to them. For some reason their height wasn’t adjustable. I spent most of my time cycling round paths in the beautiful rose garden with my sister. Once a week we had a formal Sunday lunch with the matron, and we had to be on our best behaviour because she was pretty scary.

Occasionally we were taken to say hello to the patients. We knew we had to be polite and respectful. They all seemed to be the same age (old) to six-year-old me, and I remember not being sure what to say, and often not understanding what they were saying. My dad knew what to say though, and this made me proud.

Then Mum and Dad bought a house, we moved out of the hospital and we had a new normal.

It wasn’t too much of a stretch for me to think about what it would be like for someone to be brought up for years in an isolated psychiatric facility as a doctor’s daughter. I made the facility super-luxurious, and more of a wellness retreat. And then I added a large amount of creepiness because otherwise it wouldn’t be a psychological thriller!

You can buy a copy of See How They Lie here or from your local bookshop


About Sue Wallman

Sue Wallman is a journalist who lives in London with her husband and three teenage daughters. In 2013 she won the Bailey’s Women’s Prize first chapter award judged by Rachel Joyce and Kate Mosse. LYING ABOUT LAST SUMMER is her debut novel followed by See How They Lie.

To find out more about Sue Wallman you can visit her website – http://suewallman.co.uk

Or why not follow her on twitter using @swallman

You can find my review of Lying About Last Summer here

Or find our which character from Lying About Last Summer you are here


Giveaway

With thanks to the lovely people at Scholastic I have 3 copies of this fab YA Thriller to giveaway on twitter.

You can enter here

Ends 15/03/2017

UK Only

Good Luck!


A huge thank you to Sue for such a brilliant guest post and insight into the inspiration behind the book!  And to Olivia at Scholastic for organising and asking me to host a fab giveaway!

Have you read See How They Lie?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?  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!

Spotlight – Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt


Early in 2016 I was contacted by Harriet from Andersen about a book.  Her email was filled with so much love that I simply said yes to a copy immediately.  That book was this book.  It completely took me by surprise and moved me to tears and it ended up featuring on my fave books of 2016 list.

Orbiting Jupiter was released in hardback on 31st December 2015 and now, on the 2nd March 2017, it’s being released in a gorgeous paperback so I wanted to shine the spotlight on it today!

I also have a little treat in store in celebration!


A heartbreaking story, narrated by twelve-year-old Jack, whose family is caring for fourteen-year-old Joseph. Joseph is misunderstood. He was incarcerated for trying to kill a teacher. Or so the rumours say. But Jack and his family see something others in town don’t want to.
What’s more, Joseph has a daughter he’s never seen. The two boys go on a journey through the bitter Maine winter to help Joseph find his baby – no matter the cost.

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

You can find my full review of Orbiting Jupiter here

Here’s a tiny summary of my thoughts….

Orbiting Jupiter may be a short contemporary YA read, but it certainly hit me with all the feels all at once which have stayed with me for quite some time.  Orbiting Jupiter is a story about love, family and friendship and a message of never giving up on what you believe in no matter what.  I smiled, I shed tears and I felt so much love for these characters.  In fact thinking about it now is making me emotional all over again.  The ending in the book broke me completely.  Orbiting Jupiter is just as simplistic and beautiful as it is sad and heart-breaking.  Friendship, family, unconditional love and hope.  It will make you smile, it will make you angry, it will make you cry, but most of all it will leave you with the feeling that no matter what some things are worth fighting for.


About Gary D. Schmidt

Gary Schmidt is a professor of English at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He received both a Newbery Honor and a Printz Honor for Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy and a Newbery Honor for The Wednesday Wars. He lives with his family on a 150-year-old farm in Alto, Michigan, where he splits wood, plants gardens, writes, and feeds the wild cats that drop by.

You can find out more about Gary D. Schmidt on his website here


Giveaway

With thanks to the lovely people at Andersen Press and in celebration of the paperback release of this gorgeous book I have a signed copy of Orbiting Jupiter to giveaway to one lucky winner!

You can enter for a chance to win through my twitter account here

Ends 13/03/2017

UK Only


A huge thank you to Harriet at Andersen Press for asking me to feature this amazing giveaway and for being so hugely amazing!

Have you read  Orbiting Jupiter?  What did you think?  Has this spotlight and my review convinced you to pick up a copy and read?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment by clicking the reply button at the top of this page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – Author Of The Month – Melinda Salisbury


I am so excited to have announced on the 1st of March that the awesome Queen Melinda Salisbury is our #BritishBooksChallenge17 Author Of The Month for March 17!

You can find out more about the #BritishBooksChallenge17 here

I am a huge HUGE fan of Melinda and her books are full of worlds that will leave you breathless by the end.  Melinda’s The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy is not to be missed!  Melinda Salisbury is a HUGE UKYA talent and I am so excited to shine the spotlight on her and her wonderful books as Author Of The Month!

And remember if you read, review and link up any of Melinda’s books for our #BritishBooksChallenge17  March link up here you will gain an extra entries into the March Prize Pack Draw!

Today I am honoured that this post is also featuring as part of the fab blog tour and I have a special signed giveaway which will be running through my twitter account.


About Melinda Salisbury

When not working on her next novel Melinda Salisbury is busy reading and travelling, both of which are now more addictions than hobbies.  She lives by the sea, somewhere in the south of England.

You can find out more about Melinda Salisbury on her website – www.melindasalisbury.com

Or why not follow Melinda on Twitter – @MESalisbury


The Books And Why We Love Melinda Salisbury

Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, Twylla isn’t exactly a member of the court.

As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla’s fatal touch, avoids her company.

But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla’s been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen.

However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favour of a doomed love?

You can find my review of The Sin Eater’s Daughter here

Return to the darkly beautiful world of The Sin Eater’s Daughter with a sequel that will leave you awed, terrified . . . and desperate for more. Ever since her brother Lief disappeared, Errin’s life has gone from bad to worse. Not only must she care for her sick mother, she has to scrape together rent money by selling illegal herbal cures. But none of that compares to the threat of the vengeful Sleeping Prince whom the Queen just awoke from his enchanted sleep. When her village is evacuated as part of the war against the Sleeping Prince, Errin is left desperate and homeless. The only person she can turn to is the mysterious Silas, a young man who buys deadly poisons from Errin, but won’t reveal why he needs them. Silas promises to help Errin, but when he vanishes, Errin must journey across a kingdom on the brink of war to seek another way to save her mother and herself. But what she finds splits the world as she knows it apart, and with the Sleeping Prince drawing nearer, Errin must make a heartbreaking choice that could affect the whole kingdom…

You can find my review of The Sleeping Prince here

The final battle is coming… As the Sleeping Prince tightens his hold on Lormere and Tregellan, the net closes in on the ragged band of rebels trying desperately to defeat him. Twylla and Errin are separated, isolated, and running out of time. The final battle is coming, and Aurek will stop at nothing to keep the throne forever… Explosive, rich and darkly addictive, this is the stunning conclusion to Mel Salisbury’s internationally best-selling trilogy that began with THE SIN EATER’S DAUGHTER

The Scarecrow Queen is the highly anticipated and captivating finale in the internationally bestselling trilogy that began with The Sin Eater’s Daughter. Published by Scholastic 2 March 2017.

You can buy any of Melinda Salisbury’s books here or from your local bookshop


Giveaway

With thanks to the lovely people at Scholastic I have one Signed copy of The Scarecrow Queen to giveaway via twitter here

Good Luck!


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to the wonderful Melinda Salisbury fan’s that provided me with quotes for this post.  I highly recommend this trilogy with all of my heart and soul from out March Author Of The Month!

Also a huge thank you to Lorraine at Scholastic for having me as part of the blog tour, for fully embracing all things British Books Challenge and for the giveaway prize!

And remember if you read, review and link up any of Mel’s books for our #BritishBooksChallenge17 March link up here you will gain an extra entries into the March Prize Pack Draw!

Are you a Melinda Salisbury Fan?  Do you have a favourite book out of the trilogy?  Are you new to Melinda Salisbury?   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!

Guest Post – 5 Reasons To Read Waking In Time by Angie Stanton


I’m super excited to be sharing a brilliant guest post today about a brand new YA Romance, Waking In Time by Angie Stanton pitched as a Time Travellers Wife for the YA market.

Waking In Time is due to be released on the 9th March 2017 published by Curious Fox and is set to be a page-turning story full of romance, twists and delightful details about uni life then and now and will stay with readers long after the book’s satisfying end.

#WakingInTime

Today I’m sharing the top 5 reasons to read Waking In Time….


Still mourning the loss of her beloved grandmother and shaken by her mysterious, dying request to “find the baby”, Abbi has arrived at uni to start her first year. But on her second day, she wakes up to a different world: 1983. That is just the first stop on Abbi’s journey backwards through time. Will is a charming student from 1927 who travels forwards through time. When Abbi and Will meet in the middle, love adds another complication to their lives. Communicating across time through a buried time capsule, they try to decode the mystery of their travel, find the lost baby and plead with their champion, a kindly physics tutor, to help them find each other again …even though the tutor gets younger each time Abbi meets him.


Top 5 Reasons To Read Waking In Time

  1. Time Travel – I mean, who doesn’t wonder what it’s like to live in another time. It’s a subject that’s long fascinated me. I’m quick to watch every movie on the topic, and I have a shelf full of time travel books. People are saying Waking in Time is a Time Traveler’s Wife for YA – which is so flattering as that’s my favourite book!
    1. Love Story – I wanted to create a love story that I would believe in, that readers would fall in love with, and, as a writer, you’re always looking for tension or obstacles which stop your couple getting together, so that, ultimately they can overcome those obstacles and it’s happy ever after.

     

    1. Secrets – There’s so many secrets! When you have one character from present day travelling back in time, and another from the past who only travels forward, there’s so much information they need to keep to themselves in order not to mess with time and put their own futures at risk.

     

    1. Buried treasure –Imagine discovering that a local legend of buried treasure turns out to be true! It was great fun deciding where to hide it and what items to include in the treasure box that would add more twists and turns to the story. Can you picture communicating over time via a buried time capsule!

     

    1. True story – the best stories for me, are always based in fact, and when I did research into my own family history I discovered a relative with gaps in her fascinating history, leaving me wondering what really happened to her. When I exhausted all my research without any answers, I realized the only way to find out the truth would be to travel back in time. And that’s how the idea of Waking in Time was born.

You can buy a copy of Waking In Time here or from your local bookshop!


About Angie Stanton

American author Angie Stanton is a life-long daydreamer who grew up with her hands on a book and her head in the clouds. As an adult she’s learned to put her talent to good use and writes contemporary fiction about life, love, and the adventures that follow. She is the best selling author of eight novels including Rock and a Hard Place, and Love ’em or Leave ’em. Angie has a Journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin. In her spare time, she sneaks off to New York City to enjoy the best entertainment experience on earth, Broadway. She is currently working on a series of Broadwaythemed books, and is also a contributing editor to BroadwayWorld.com. 

You can find out more about Angie on her website – www.angiestanton.com

Or why not follow Angie on twitter – @angie_stanton


Blog Tour

Catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops or by using the hashtag #WakingInTime


A huge thank you to Angie for a fab guest post and to Georgia at Curious Fox for organising and asking me to be part of the tour!

Have you read Waking In Time?  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 review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Writing A Sequel by Sarah Mussi


Today I am so so happy  to be part of the blog tour for Here Be Witches by the lovely Sarah Mussi!

Here Be Witches was released on the 1st March 2017 published by Shrine Bell and is book two in Sarah’s Snowdonia Chronicles series!  I cannot wait to delve into this adventure as soon as possible!

Find out more about the first in the series, Here Be Dragons in this previous guest post here

Today Sarah interviews herself in the form of a brilliant guest post and discusses exactly how to write a sequel…….

*Drum roll*


Here Be Witches is the second book in the Snowdonia Chronicles trilogy by Sarah Mussi. A perilous adventure into the magical and murderous realm of mythical Snowdonia.

All Ellie Morgan wants is to be with her one true love, Henry. But she’s caught in the middle of a BATTLE as old as SNOWDON itself. A battle between GOOD and EVIL.

A WITCHES’ SPELL, cast high on the mountain, has sped up time and made matters MUCH WORSE. The dragons are awake; mythical creatures and evil ghosts have risen. And nearly all of them want Ellie DEAD.

Thank heavens for loyal friend George, (disloyal) bestie Rhi, and mysterious stranger, Davey. Armed with Granny Jones’s potions, Ellie and her companions must set out on a journey to REVERSE THE SPELL, stop the EVIL White Dragon and find Henry.

As an eternal winter tightens its grip on Snowdon, Ellie and her friends have just THREE DAYS to SURVIVE and complete their quest.


Writing A Sequel

I’m totally thrilled to be with Tales of Yesterday on day two of my blog tour for book two in The Snowdonia Chronicles: Here be Witches

THANK YOU SO MUCH Tales of Yesterday!

During my blog tour I will be interviewing myself on HOW TO WRITE A SEQUEL!

So here goes…

Sarah interviews Sarah on how to write a sequel in a thrilling and compelling romantic fantasy!

Sarah

Welcome to the world of WRITING A SEQUEL.

I am using Here be Witches to explain my thinking on how I did it.

Q.

OK.  Great. I shall be asking you lots of questions … now where did we get to?

 Sarah

A.

We got to the narrative equation and writing a synopsis.

 Q.

Ah! I remember you were going to share the synopsis of Here be Witches, can you do that now?

A.

Well, a synopsis can go on for a bit longer than you might want to post here, and a synopsis for a sequel might have to contain vital exposition from book one … so I’ll just put the beginning of the synopsis for Here be Witches in this blog. The beginning is always the most important bit anyway, as it sets the scene, identifies the genre and whets the appetite (hopefully) for more. So here goes …

Here be Witches

Ellie’s heart is broken and there is only one person who can mend it: Henry Pendragon, royal heir and Y Ddraig Goch, Red Dragon of Wales. But Henry can’t help Ellie, for he is badly wounded and entombed under Mount Snowdon, held there by ancient magic along with Sir Oswald, his fiendish uncle, and White Dragon of Wessex.

 Determined to free Henry, Ellie dedicates herself to the task. On the 29th February, an auspicious day in the calendar of dragons, she receives a distressed message from her bestie, Rhiannon, something terrible has happened at Henry’s cavern. Her heart misses a beat. As soon as possible, Ellie sets out for Dinas Emrys where Henry lies imprisoned. 

 On her arrival at the lair, Ellie discovers that her friend, and other members of a witches’ coven have performed a sinister ritual on the cliffs above the subterranean cavern, a ceremony designed to break the magic laid upon the dragons and awake them. 

 In horror Ellie hears how the ceremony went terribly wrong. The earth cracked wide, one of the girls slipped into the chasm and was impaled upon two shimmering crystals. With a sound like thunder, the mountain split open and from inside it arose a terrifying white dragon, alive, awake and very angry …

Q.

Yes, I see how each paragraph is a scene with some paragraphs acting as exposition too, but I can also see that because you have chosen to have Ellie as the narrator again, you have been unable or chosen not to have her see the witches’ ceremony first hand. Why was that?

A.

OK, those are very perceptive questions, and I can’t answer them fully until we have established a few basics. Can I just go back to basics for a minute?

Q.

Sure. Go ahead.

A.

Right before we dive into the content and the problems of point of view and the delivery of ‘off stage’ scenes, I’d like to show you how I answered some fundamental narrative questions when planning Here be Witches. They involve looking at:

What exactly is a narrative?

What exactly is a plot?

What exactly is structure?

 Q.

Why do you need to ask that?

 A.

It really helps with the planning. Here’s why…

In a narrative you need at least three things:

A character, a setting, some events (so in Here be Witches that breakdown runs like this: Ellie lives in Snowdonia and must overcome problems to achieve her goal).

In a plot we need at least three things

A character, a goal, a problem (so Ellie’s goal is to be with her true love Henry, but the magic, which has gone wrong, has banished Henry forever from the world).

For a structure we at least need three things

A beginning, middle, and an end (therefore Ellie must discover why Henry has been banished and then set out to find a way to reverse the magic and restore Henry to her and finally overcome those who wish to stop her).

Once you’ve got that in place then you can then decide about narration and point of view and ask yourself, if your lead character/protagonist is really the best person to tell this story and the one most affected by the action in general. If the answer is yes – you can then use additional devices to ‘show’ key ‘off stage’ scenes that are not within the remit of the protagonist’s point of view.

Only then can you really start to climb the narrative mountain and plan out a totally thrilling story:

Q.

OK, but how did you decide Ellie WAS the best character to narrate this story?

 A.

Well despite the fact that she was the narrator in book one Here be Dragons and there might be readers who are already invested in her story, I had to establish that she was still the best character to continue to tell the story and to do this I had to revisit an important  principle – that it’s not what happens in a story, so much as who it happens to that is the most important aspect.  Readers live the story through the characters, so they need a really nice/reliable (usually)/interesting and convincing companion to see/live the events through.

Q.

But what makes an interesting, convincing character?

 A.

Good question! Here’s the way I decide:

Firstly a character needs characteristics

A main character should be heroic, and strong (perhaps)? Good-looking (controversial?) Independent? Kind?  I try to think of characters I admire in fiction I’ve read and ask myself why do I like them? Then add my answers into the mix when creating my characters.

I also like to choose a flaw that my protagonist will need to overcome. Flaws make us human and help readers to identify with the character and understand the decisions they make. (My flaw for Ellie is that she is loving out of her element, and it is bringing harm down on those others who love her and on her home.)

Secondly, a character drives the plot forward

So a goal is important, as this is the engine of the story. I always choose the person who has the strongest/most interesting/most identifiable with goal to narrate my stories (forbidden love is a V strong goal and has driven many a better narrative than mine!). The character’s desire to achieve their goal drives the action forward, and when the character meets conflict they struggle to overcome it.

Note to self pinned on my wall: PROTAGONISTS MUST CONFRONT OVERWHELMING CONFLICT IN THEIR PURSUIT OF SOME VISIBLE GOAL.

This is so key because then the plot structure simply follows the sequence of events that lead the hero toward their goal, which mean all the hard work of plotting is done for me!

Thirdly, a character with a goal has motivation

Motivations make the character keep going when things get tough. Though sometimes it is the fear of what will happen if they fail and the stakes that drive them forward.

Finally, a character needs a background

Name/age and looks/ family/a place to live – all these things can help to make the story just right for the reader – as I choose a protagonist that might be very like the reader in some of these aspects to create reader identification.

After thinking about all of these points I decided that Ellie was still the main character and I was going to tell the story from her point of view.

Q.

So will you tell us then how you dealt with ‘off stage’ scenes and what devices you used to help the reader feel present at the action?

 A.

Yes!

I’ll do that in my next post!

So stand by for tomorrow’s blog with tips and tricks for drip-feeding or even elbowing-in all the dreaded EXPOSITION and POV conundrums with Queen of Teen Fiction! http://www.queenofteenfiction.co.uk/

SEE YOU THERE!

You can buy a copy of Here Be Witches here or from your local bookshop

 


About Sarah Mussi

Sarah Mussi is an award-winning author of children’s and young adults’ fiction. Her first novel, The Door of No Return, won the Glen Dimplex Children’s Book Award and was shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award. Her second novel, The Last of the Warrior Kings, was shortlisted for the Lewisham Book Award, inspired a London Walk, and is used as a textbook in Lewisham schools. Her thriller, Siege, was nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal (2014) and won the BBUKYA award for contemporary YA fiction. Her thriller, Riot, was longlisted for The Amazing Book Award and shortlisted for The Lancashire Schools Award. Her most recent novel, Bomb, was published in 2015 by Hodder Children’s Books. Sarah was born and raised in the Cotswolds, attended Pate’s Grammar School for Girls, and graduated with a BA in Fine Art from Winchester School of Art and an MA from the Royal College of Art. She spent over fifteen years in West Africa as a teacher and now teaches English in Lewisham, where she is also the current Chair of CWISL (Children’s Writers and Illustrators in South London).

Find out more about Sarah on her website – www.sarahmussi.com

Or why not follow Sarah on twitter using – @sarahmussi

You can buy Sarah’s books here


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Sarah for a fab guest post and to Lorna at VP for organising and asking me to be part of this fab blog tour!

Have you read Here Be Witches?  What did you think?  Will you be picking up a copy?  I would love to hear from you!  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 Q&A with Isaac Marion


I am SO excited to have had the chance to put some questions to the wonderful Isaac Marion author of the Warm Bodies Series which started with the first book, Warm Bodies, it’s prequel, The New Hunger and the exciting new sequel The Burning World!

The Burning World was released on the 9th February published by Vintage and Isaac Marion expands the scope of a powerfully simple story: a dead man’s search for life in all its bloody rawness.  If you like Zombie books with a twist this series is for you!

The Guardian called Warm Bodies ‘the zombie novel with a heart’; Audrey Niffenegger said ‘Warm Bodies is an unexpected treat’, and Stephenie Meyer eagerly looked forward to the next book.

Following the books release in 2010, Warm Bodies was made into a movie in 2013 starring Nicholas Hoult as it’s main character R.  A funny twist on a classic love story, Warm Bodies is a  tale about the power of human connection.  The sequel has been high up on my anticipated list ever since!

So join us to find out more and what’s next…..


‘R’ is a zombie. He has no name, no memories, and no pulse, but he has dreams. He is a little different from his fellow Dead.

Amongst the ruins of an abandoned city, R meets a girl. Her name is Julie and she is the opposite of everything he knows – warm and bright and very much alive, she is a blast of colour in a dreary grey landscape. For reasons he can’t understand, R chooses to save Julie instead of eating her, and a tense yet strangely tender relationship begins.

This has never happened before. It breaks the rules and defies logic, but R is no longer content with life in the grave. He wants to breathe again, he wants to live, and Julie wants to help him. But their grim, rotting world won’t be changed without a fight…

Here it is: the prequel to Warm Bodies, released to coincide with the major film adaptation from the producers of Twilight, starring Teresa Palmer and Nicholas Hoult.

Julie Grigio drives with her parents through the crumbling wastelands of America – a nightmarish family road trip in search of a new home.

A few hundred miles away, Nora Greene finds herself the reluctant, terrified guardian of her younger brother when her parents abandon them in the not-quite-empty ruins of Seattle.

In the darkness of a forest, a dead man in a red tie opens his eyes. With no memory of who or what he is, he must unravel the grim mystery of his existence – right after he learns how to think, how to walk, and how to satisfy the monster howling in his belly…

Two warped families and a lonely monster. Unknown to any of them, their paths are set to cross in a startling encounter that will change the course of their lives – or deaths – forever.

R is recovering from death. He’s learning how to read, how to speak, maybe even how to love. He can almost imagine a future with Julie, this girl who restarted his heart – building a new world from the ashes of the old one.

And then helicopters appear on the horizon. A mysterious army is coming to restore order, to bring back the good old days of stability and control and the strong eating the weak. These grinning strangers are more than they seem. The plague has many hosts, and some are far more terrifying than the Dead.

With their home in the grip of madmen, R and Julie plunge into the wastelands of America in search of answers. But there are some answers R doesn’t want to find. A past life, an old shadow, crawling up from the basement.

In this long-anticipated new chapter of the Warm Bodies series, Isaac Marion expands the scope of a powerfully simple story: a dead man’s search for life in all its bloody rawness.


Hi Isaac!

 Welcome to Tales Of Yesterday.  I’m so so happy to have you here!  Let’s kick off with the first question shall we?

Can you tell us a little about The Burning World?

 Warm Bodies ends at the beginning of R’s new life. He’s taken the first step toward humanity, but he still has a long way to go. It’s one thing to be alive, but how do you navigate human relationships? How do you find your place in a society that doesn’t have a place for you? And can you really be a person without a past, or do you have to find some way to reconcile the person you were with the person you want to become? So R is dealing with all those problems, but there’s an even bigger question on the horizon which is how does the rest of the world react to a sudden shift in the status quo? What forces will try to fill the power vacuum? R’s personal problems quickly get sucked into a much bigger conflict.

 It’s been 7 years since Warm Bodies was first released – What made you go back to the character of R and The Warm Bodies Series?

 Well, at the time I that actually made that decision, it had only been about TWO years, so it was still pretty fresh. I’ve been working on The Burning World and the final book The Living, for nearly five years! I was always interested in where R’s story would go from the point where I ended Warm Bodies; I had a broad outline in my head, but it took some time for the vision to really take shape. There were a few epiphany moments when I realized where the story would go and what it would ultimately be about and once that spark was ignited, I couldn’t get it out of my head. From a career perspective, the timing and strategy of it all was terrible, but I had to do what I had to do and give it as much time as it needed.

 Did you find it easy to jump back into the world you created in Warm Bodies?

 I never really left it. The two years between were mostly filled with movie buzz and writing the prequel novella, The New Hunger. I dabbled in a few minor side projects, short stories and movie scripts, but Warm Bodies continued to be my central focus even during that lull.

 For those who don’t know who R is – can you tell us a little bit more about him?

 “R” is the first letter of his name; that’s all he remembers. He’s a former zombie who managed to will himself out of that dark state of being and bring himself “back to life,” which became a catalyst for the rest of the undead population. He’s an awkward guy in life or death. He thinks too much and has trouble expressing himself. He’s pretty relatable.

 Can you tell us a little about some of the other characters in The Burning World?

 Well, there’s Julie of course, the girl who helped pull R out of his fog. She’s kind of his opposite in many ways: enthusiastic, outspoken, quick-tempered, and passionate about everything. But she’s not all quirky fun. She has a very traumatic past—as do most people growing up in the apocalypse—and it brings out a dark side in her sometimes. She holds herself together with hope optimism and when anyone threatens that, she can become very dangerous.

 Julie’s friend Nora also plays a big role in The Burning World and the final book, The Living, as her history with M and lost family members—as described in The New Hunger—comes back to haunt her. Her little brother Addis becomes a unique figure in the story, a kind of ambassador between humanity and a mysterious intelligence that is observing the events of the story and pushing humanity forward…um…yeah, it’s complicated.

What was your favourite scene to write in The Burning Word?

 I would have to say the final sequence of scenes summing up the end of R’s first life was the most affecting for me. I’m always very moved by depictions of death in fiction—not violent, sudden deaths but deaths where the character has time to understand that his life is ending, all the feelings that go with that, the regret and acceptance, or in R’s case, a refusal…that’s intense stuff. And especially in this case, where R is realizing that he owes a debt to the world for the terrible things he’s done, that little glimmer of hope, the will to keep fighting against overwhelming circumstances…that really hit me hard. I think I actually cried a little while writing that scene.

 What was the hardest scene to write?

 I’d like to say it was one of the big emotional scenes, but those are actually a joy for me to write, even when they’re sad. It’s the more complex, narratively technical scenes that I struggle with, so one of the hardest was probably the ending. Setting the stage for the next leg of their journey, getting all the pieces to line up so that we understand what’s been resolved and what still remains to be done…scenes like that are always hard, just the pacing and mental logistics of it all. There’s a lot going on in this story and keeping all the threads bundled tight was challenging.

 If you could sum up The Burning World in 5 words what would you choose?

 Epic journey outward and inward.

 Can you give us 5 random facts about yourself that we should know about Isaac Marion?

 

I also make music and have recorded a couple albums but it’s been a long time and I don’t know how well they’ve aged. You can download them both for free on my Bandcamp.

I am sinister (left-handed) do not trust me.

The house my family lived in when I was 14 (a modified motorcycle garage) was condemned and burned down by the city. That was the year I started writing.

I have enjoyed the company of all the following animal friends: dog, cat, rat, mouse, gerbil, guinea pig, grasshopper, rabbit, turtle, frog, snake, iguana, horse, goat, fish, snail, slug, salamander, and unknown lamprey-like creature discovered in the mud of the Skagit River.

I have lived in RVs for a surprisingly large portion of my life.

 Do you have a favourite ever Zombie?  The zombie to beat all zombies?

 I’m not sure I know what that means—like a zombie champion to beat other zombies in a fight? Hard to picture that, so I’ll assume you mean a personal favourite from fiction. It’s still a hard question because there aren’t many zombie individuals to choose from, but I might have to say Bub from Day of the Dead, because he was the first zombie in fiction to show a personality and emotions. He even likes music! Very much an ancestor of R.

 Ultimate zombie movie?

 I’m no good at picking favourites, so I may just have to default to the original classic, Night of the Living Dead. I appreciate the stark simplicity of it, the purity of its ideas. And the performances hold up surprisingly well.

I actually just finished writing a short story from the perspective of the dying daughter that will appear in an upcoming anthology edited by George Romero, called Nights of the Living Dead. Plug plug plug.

Do you have any strange writing habits?

 One unusual tactic I’ve been testing out lately is taking my characters to a real life therapist in order to understand them more deeply. I basically do a therapy session in-character. It helps make them more real to me and sometimes produces unexpected insights into their behaviour. Even though I write fantastical stories, I want the people and emotions to be grounded in psychological realism. Sometimes I have to seek professional help!

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

 Honestly I don’t really remember what inspired me. I first started writing seriously at age 14 and at that time a lot of my narrative influence came from fantasy novels like Tolkien and Robert Jordan but also unexpected sources like story-driven Japanese role playing games—Final Fantasy, etc. As I grew up this shifted toward more grounded fantasy in the vein of Stephen King and Kurt Vonnegut, then later the more literary stuff like Dave Eggers, Cormac McCarthy, Douglas Coupland, Audrey Niffenegger, etc. Charlie Kauffman writes movies, not books, but he’s a huge influence. If I had to pick specific inspirations for Warm Bodies itself, I might say it’s “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind meets The Road.”

 Could you tell us a little bit about what you’re writing next?

 Well first, I’m finishing the Warm Bodies Series. The final book, The Living, is written and just needs to be edited, so that’s my current project. I’m hoping to finish it in the next few months and possibly release it later this year, so you won’t have a terribly long wait to find out how it all ends. After that? I’m still trying to figure out what my post-Warm Bodies life is going to be. I have four big novel ideas floating around in my head and I just need to decide which one is calling to me the loudest. I can tell you none of them involve zombies or any other established genre staple. Very eager to write something that doesn’t come with all that cultural baggage. Fresh start, open range, freedom.

Thanks so much for answering all my questions Isaac!

You can buy a copy of The Burning World or any of the Warm Bodies Series here or from your local bookshop!


About Isaac Marion

Isaac Marion grew up in the mossy depths of the Pacific Northwest, where he worked as a heating installer, a security guard, and a visitation supervisor for foster children before publishing his debut novel in 2010. Warm Bodies became a New York Times bestseller and inspired a major film adaptation. It has been translated into twenty-five languages. Isaac lives in Seattle with his cat, Watson, writing fiction and music and taking pictures of everything.

You can find out more about Isaac on his website – isaacmarion.com

Or why not follow Isaac on twitter – @isaacinspace


A huge thank you to Isaac for answering so many of my questions and to Helen at Penguin Random House for organising.

Have you read any of the Warm Bodies Series?  What did you think?  Are you excited for this sequel The Burning World??  What do you like about it? 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 – Heart Racing Alternatives For Valentines Day by Sharon Gosling


I am super excited to be part of the fab blog tour for a new addition to the brilliant Red Eye Series, Fir by Sharon Gosling!

The Red Eye series published by Stripes are a series of individual YA Horror stories to chill the blood and scare you to the core.  Books published in the series include Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell and Sleepless by Lou Morgan.

Fir was released on the 9th February 2017 and I simply cannot wait to read it!  I brilliant addition to the Red Eye Series.

And as it’s Valentines Day today…..

HAPPY VALENTINES!

We thought it would be great to share some heart racing alternatives to Valentines in the scary guest post…..

*evil laugh*


Moving from Stockholm to an isolated pine plantation in northern Sweden is bad enough, but when the snows come early and all links between the Strombergs and the outside world are cut off, it gets worse. With only a grudging housekeeper and increasingly withdrawn parents for company, there is nothing to do but to explore the old plantation house. Anything to stay out of the endless pine trees pressing in on them. But soon it becomes clear that the danger within the old plantation house is even greater than what lies outside…

A chilling YA horror, perfect for fans of Dawn Kurtagich, Juno Dawson and Stephen King.

Heart Racing Alternatives For Valentines Day

Why rely on a date to make your evening on Valentine’s Day? Far better to get your heart racing with a good scare! Here’s Sharon’s top tips for an alternative Valentines.

Books

The Bunker Diary – Kevin Brooks

There was an outcry when Brooks’ tale of a group of people locked in a bunker by an anonymous madman won the Carnegie Medal in 2014. It certainly shook me up – I had nightmares for weeks after reading it. It’s an uncompromisingly bleak story, all the more horrifying for the absence of any supernatural entity to take the blame. This is man’s inhumanity to man, writ large and horribly believable.

Florence and Giles – John Harding

This has the feel of the Henry James classic ghost story The Turn of the Screw, though there are no ghosts here – there’s only the growing, helpless sense that what we’re reading might be a rather twisted view of what’s actually happening. Set in New England in 1891, the book is told from Florence’s point of view, the older of two children who have been left in the care of a rich and mainly absent uncle. Convinced that the people charged with looking after her and her little brother are unfit and possibly malevolent, Florence takes it upon herself to make sure Giles is safe. Brooding, creepy and shocking.

Frozen Charlotte – Alex Bell

I love the believable mythology Bell has woven into this tale, which lends a real sense of anticipation to the action and takes the idea of possessed dolls to a whole new level. The action hits the ground running from the first page with some ill-advised meddling with an Ouija board app and winds up the tension from there. There’s a sequel coming soon, too, which I can’t wait to read!

From a Buick 8 – Stephen King

I love Stephen King and although this might not be an obvious choice for a horror from his bibliography, this is one of the first of his I read and it’s stayed with me ever since. The idea that something as mundane and apparently harmless as a car can harbour such terror and other-worldliness opens up a universe of possibilities.

The Lottery – Shirley Jackson

This short story from 1948 has become a classic of the horror genre and yet the terror in it comes not from blood and gore but from the complicit silence that reigns at its conclusion. Oh, what one human is willing to do to another.

Films

The Babadook

It’s about the evil residing in a children’s book – what’s not to like? It’s also really beautiful to look at and the child actor in it (Noah Wiseman) is unsettlingly talented.

The Mist

Based on a Stephen King novella, although the film alters the ending to make it even bleaker. Gorgeously shot by Frank Darabont, it’s worth watching in the claustrophobic monotone that the director describes as his preferred version.

The Descent

Darkness, enclosed spaces and people-eating monsters – I managed to watch this film once at the cinema but have abandoned all subsequent viewings as it freaks me out too much! Note: if you want to experience the full horror, make sure you watch the UK version – the US version features a different, more upbeat, ending.

 The Others

A classic ghost story with a great cinematic twist – the scene with the little girl in the veil really creeped me out.

The Hole

The 2001 film, not the 2009 one with the same name. My love of unreliable narrators is making itself felt with this one – it’s the story of a group of teenagers who get someone to lock them into an underground bunker to avoid school. Thora Birch is brilliantly ambiguous as the under dog (or is she?) and my scalp prickles as I remember the conversation in which it’s pointed out what will happen to them if the one person who knows they’re down there gets hit by a truck.

TV

The Fades

From 2011, this BBC mini-series is what Iain De Caestecker did before he went Stateside to join Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Paul keeps seeing visions of the apocalypse and the spirits of the dead. It’s creepy, with some great acting and a real sense of dread.

Stranger Things

I loved this, not only for all the pitch-perfect 80s observations of the genre and great soundtrack, but also for the genuinely scary nature of the monster and the ashy hopelessness of the alternate plane.

The Walking Dead

Zombies have been everywhere for a long time, but they’ve never been done better on television than in this adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s comic series – and the human characters show themselves to be as capable of acts of horror as the mindless undead.

The X Files

The first episode I ever saw was season one’s ‘Darkness Falls’, in which Mulder drags Scully out to a remote, ancient forest. There they find that illegal logging has released a miniscule bug, dormant for centuries, that really likes eating human flesh. I was thoroughly scared and definitely had a few nightmares as a result. Cut to however many years later, and my new book FIR involves an ancient forest and the forces willing to do anything to protect it. I guess it really stuck with me….

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


About Sharon Gosling

Sharon started off as an entertainment journalist, writing magazine articles and books about science fiction television shows. She’s also written, produced and directed audio dramas. In 2011, she wrote The Diamond Thief, (originally published as an ebook under the title Remy Brunel and the Ocean of Light). Published in traditional format by Curious Fox as their launch title in 2013, The Diamond Thief went on to win the Redbridge Children’s Award in 2014. The sequel, The Ruby Airship, was published in April 2014, and the final book in the trilogy, The Sapphire Cutlass, in April 2016. Sharon also still writes books about television and film – most recently she has co-written tie-ins for the Planet of the Apes and Batman vs Superman films as well as the television series companion The Art and Making Of Penny Dreadful, all for Titan Books.

Sharon and her husband live in a very remote village in northern Cumbria, surrounded by fells, sheep, and a host of lovely neighbours who will one day make very good characters in their own book. When she’s not writing, she bakes a lot of cake and bread, attempts to grow things in an allotment, and catches the baby rabbits unhelpfully brought in by the cat.

You can follow Sharon on twitter – @sharongosling


Blog Tour

Catch up of follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to the lovely Sharon Gosling for such a fab heart racing post!
Also a huge thank you to Charlie at Stripes for organising and having me as part of this fab blog tour.

Have you read Fir?  What did you think?  Are you a YA Horror fan?   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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