Guest Post – Where Do Ideas Come From? By Katy Cannon


I am over the moon to have one of my favourite authors on Tales today with a fab guest post for a brilliant blog tour!

And Then We Ran by Katy Cannon is released on the 6th April 2017 published by Stripes Publishing and is set to be an unforgettable road trip!

I’ve been a huge fan of Katy’s for a few years and I love her writing so much!

So today Katy is sharing a little about ideas and where they sometimes come from in this fab guest post…..


A road-trip story about following your dreams and embracing the unexpected.
Megan knows what she wants out of life and she intends to get it, whatever her parents say.
Elliott has given up on all his plans for the future – but then Megan bursts into his life with a proposal that could change it forever.

Together they embark on a road trip to escape their hometown and chase their dreams. But life is a journey and not even Megan can control where theirs will lead…

Perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, Rainbow Rowell and Non Pratt.


Where Do Ideas Come From?

There’s a pretty standard list of questions you tend to get asked, once people find out that you’re a writer. After a while, a party full of new acquaintances becomes a bit like a game of Writer’s Life Bingo, as you cross off all the questions and comments you’ve heard a million times before.

Things like:

“Oh, so you’re going to be the next JK Rowling then, huh?”

“Boy, you must be loaded,” or it’s more realistic counterpart, “So what do you do for money?”

“I’ve always wanted to write a book, when I have the time.”

And, my personal favourite:

“I’ve got a great idea for a book. How about we collaborate? I’ll give you the idea, you write the book.”

The fallacy at the heart of this question is the belief that getting the idea is the hard part of writing a book.

In fact, ideas are the easy part. I can have a dozen ideas for books in a single day, if the world around me is particularly inspiring.

That’s also the problem with the other top five question: “Where do you get your ideas from?”

Because the truth is, ideas aren’t something I go shopping for. I don’t have a secret online store I can order them from, £5.99 for two and free shipping. I don’t steal them from other people’s brains with a machine my husband made in the garage (not least because I don’t have a garage). I don’t even breed them in captivity, in an inhumane idea farm.

If I’m lucky, ideas come to me. The basic premise for my latest novel, And Then We Ran, emerged complete in my head when I woke up one morning: two teens elope to Gretna Green, even though they’re not in love.

Other ideas are given as gifts – a comment from a friend, an article in the newspaper that starts me thinking ‘what if?’, a tv show that does something I disagree with, and start thinking of alternative stories I’d have preferred. Or even my agent saying, “You like baking. How about a baking book?” (That one became Love, Lies and Lemon Pies.)

Sometimes, ideas float up from my past – a memory, twisted. For instance, I performed in a lot of plays in high school, and later on, working as a production assistant in London, I helped out backstage in a costume department. Those two memories merged into one to become Secrets, Schemes and Sewing Machines.

Some of the best ideas don’t even have a real starting point. They’re the ones where the things you see every day, or hear, or observe, slowly come together in your mind and make something entirely new. And suddenly, from nowhere, you have a new idea.

What you’ll notice in all these cases is that the initial idea is only the very beginning of the book’s journey. It’s where the real work starts. 

That real work – building up the idea, improving it, adding contrast and conflict and characters, finding a way to make it feel new, different to what else is out there; developing the backstories and the plot and the story logic; outlining the scenes, writing them, revising them, revising them again; submitting the book, selling it, editing it, copy editing it, proof reading it, promoting it… and a million other things I’ve probably forgotten – that’s the truth of being a writer. Because while it might start with an idea, unless it’s actually written, then that’s all it will ever be.

Where do I get my ideas? When I hear that question, here’s what I really want to answer:

“Anywhere and everywhere. Same place you can get yours. 

 But you’re starting with the wrong question. Getting ideas isn’t the important part. 

 It’s what you do with them that counts.” 

You can buy a copy of And Then We Ran here or from you local bookshop!

You can find a previous post from Katy on Tales by clicking on the below link….

Much Ado About Shakespeare

Bake Club Christmas Wish Lists

Review – Secrets, Schemes and Sewing Machines


About Katy Cannon

Katy was born in Abu Dhabi, grew up in Wales, went to university in Lancaster, spent a few years splitting her time between London, Hertfordshire, and an assortment of hotels across the world. She now lives in a little market town not far from Cambridge. She has a husband, two children, a goldfish, and far too many notebooks.

Katy likes to write stories about the importance of friends and family, and especially those friends who become family. She considers herself most fortunate to have been blessed with an abundance of all three.

As a teenager, Katy was constantly in trouble for reading when she should have been doing something else. These days, she mostly gets in trouble for dreaming up new stories when she should be writing the ones she’s already working on.

Katy’s debut YA novel, LOVE, LIES & LEMON PIES, has been translated into eight languages. Her next book, AND THEN WE RAN, will be released in April 2017.

Katy is represented by Gemma Cooper of The Bent Agency.  

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

Or why not follow her on twitter – @KatyJoCannon


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Katy for such a wonderful post and to Beth at Stripes Publishing for organising and having me as part of the tour!

Have you read And Then We Ran?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab copies?  Have you read any of Katy’s other books?   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 – How Naondel Was Born by Maria Turtschaninoff


I am super excited to have the wonderful Maria Turtschaninoff on Tales!

Maria is the author of last years phenomenal Maresi and her upcoming release Naondel which are part of the Red Abbey Chronicles and have received lots of praise!

‘An unforgettable feminist epic, shot through with hypnotic dark charm’ The Bookseller

‘Walks the knife edge so thrillingly I read it in one sitting. Embed with myth, wonder, and told with a dazzling, compelling ferocity’ Kiran Millwood Hargrave, author of The Girl of Ink and Stars

‘Incredible… if you like Louise O’Neill’s Only Ever Yours, you’ll love this’ Amber Kirk-Ford, The Mile Long Bookshelf

‘A tale of sisterhood, survival and fighting against the odds that will capture the hearts of both teen and adult feminists alike’ Lucy Powrie, Queen of Contemporary

Today Maria is telling us all about how Naondel came to be in this fab guest post…..


In the opulent palace of Ohaddin, women have one purpose – to obey.

Some were brought here as girls, captured and enslaved; some as servant; some as wives. All of them must do what the Master tells them, for he wields a deadly and secret power.

But the women have powers too. One is a healer. One can control dreams. One is a warrior. One can see everything that is coming.

In their golden prison, the women wait. They plan. They write down their stories. They dream of a refuge, a safe place where girls can be free.

And, finally, when the moon glows red, they will have their revenge.


How Naondel Was Born

Naondel is the book I wasn’t going to write.

After Maresi I had plans on writing a gaslight fantasy, set in 19th century alternative history Finland. I even pitched the idea to one of my publishers and got a great response. I started collecting a research library and read up on the time period. But the story itself refused to take flight.

Instead two short mentions of the First Sisters in Maresi kept pulling at me. Who were these seven women who came to Menos in the distant past and made a new life on the island? Where were they from? Why were they together? And what made them flee their old life and everything they knew and loved, never to return?

I started cheating on the gaslight fantasy with the First Sisters, and after a few weeks I had to admit to myself that this was now the story I was writing. I ended up working on Naondel longer than on any other novel, two and a half years. It is my sixth novel and it was published nine years after my debut. It’s my darkest novel to date, and my most grown-up (I myself would no longer call this YA). It spans something like 40 years, has seven or eight first-person narrators and is in every way my most ambitious work. It was probably the hardest to edit, too, and I cursed my stupid ambition many times during the editing process. Seven first person narrators, what sane writer does this to herself?!

That gaslight fantasy is still waiting to be written. Because after Naondel, Maresi once more demanded that I listen to the next story she had to tell: The story of what happens to her after the novel Maresi ends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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


About Maria Turtschaninoff

Maria Turtschaninoff is a Swedish-speaking Finn who has been writing fairy tales from the age of five. However, there was often a twist: the poor farmer boy and the princess he had just saved from the evil witch did not end up marrying, because they “didn’t feel like it”. Her biggest grief as a child was that no wardrobe led to Narnia.

 After a detour as a journalist for a few years Turtschaninoff debuted in 2007 with a middle-grade portal fantasy and has since published four more novels, all YA fantasy. Pushkin Press has acquired world English rights to Maresi and the subsequent two novels in the Red Abbey Chronicles.

You can find out more about Maria on her website – www.mariaturtschaninoff.com

Or why not follow Maria on twitter – @turtschaninoff


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Maria for such a fab post!  And to Vicki for organising and asking me to be part of the blog tour!

Have you read any of the any of the Red Abbey Chronicles?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab copies?   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!

Tales Post – British Books Challenge 2017 – April


Welcome to the British Books Challenge 2017 – April!

#BritishBooksChallenge17

It’s now spring and the clocks have sprung forward!  Now we have all caught up on or lost hour I’m sure we all have lots of exciting reading ahead!

And again I’ve been blown away by all of your amazing reviews linked up for the March British Books Challenge! You all did SO amazing!  I’m so glad to see you are all enjoying the challenge so much!  I heart you all very much!

94 reviews of books by British Authors were linked up in March!

That makes a grand total of 334 reviews of books by British Authors in total since we started in January!

*hi fives*

And thank you so much for embracing our author and debut of the month for March as well as all of the other amazing books you all read!

Thank you all!

Lets hop, skip and jump to April!


About The British Books Challenge

The British Books Challenge is a reading challenge that will be running here on Tales Of Yesterday between 1st January 2017 to 31st December 2017 and the main focus of the challenge is reading and reviewing books by British authors.

I have created a #BritishBooksChallenge17 summary page here which will also keep track of my own progress in the challenge too.

If you have not signed up yet there’s still plenty of time – find out more about the challenge here

Please note you can sign up to the challenge at any time throughout the year but only sign up entries made on or before the 31st December 2016 will be entered to win the sign up prize.

This is the first time I am hosting this particular challenge and I have lots of things planned for us all!

I have been in touch with lots of publishers who have kindly donated lots of lovely prize packs for us throughout the year for the challenge!

Right lets get the ball for April rolling starting with the winner of the March Prize Pack!


With thanks to the lovely people at HQ March’s prize pack contained the following three books…..

All valid reviews and links by British Authors that were linked up on the March linky here were eligible to be entered to win the March prize pack. With people who read any books by our Author Of The Month, Melinda Salisbury and/or our Debut’s of the month, Open by Gemma Cairney, earning extra entries.

But there can only be one winner!

And the winner is…….

Bibliobeth

With her review of … A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale

Congratulations!

Please email me your address so that I can arrange for your prize to be sent out to you!

**EXCITING NEWS ALERT**

The lovely winner of the February Prize Pack, Mel, and subsequent winner Andrea have kindly said I can pick a runner up for two of the books they already has out of the February Prize pack – please check the February post to see if it was you!

I hope everyone also enjoyed all the extra giveaways I ran on my blog or via twitter over March too 🙂


April’s prize pack has been kindly donated by the lovely people at Egmont / Electric Monkey and contains the following five books…..

The first book in a stunning new fantasy adventure trilogy, perfect for readers aged 9+ and fans of Philip Pullman, Piers Torday, Abi Elphinstone, Katherine Rundell and Frances Hardinge.

In the sky, the fire spirits dance and ripple. Grandma says they showed our Tribe that I’d be a captain, before I was even born.

Ever since Ma died, Mouse has looked after her little brother, Sparrow, dreaming of her destiny as captain of the Huntress. But now Da’s missing, Sparrow is in danger, and a deathly cold is creeping across Trianukka . . .

Sea-churning, beast-chattering, dream-dancing, whale-riding, terrodyl-flying, world-saving adventure. 

Jemma knows who did the murder. She knows because he told her. And she can’t tell anyone. 

Fourteen-year-old Jemma has severe cerebral palsy. Unable to communicate or move, she relies on her family and carer for everything. She has a sharp brain and inquisitive nature, and knows all sorts of things about everyone. But when she is confronted with this terrible secret, she is utterly powerless to do anything. Though that might be about to change…

A page-turning thriller seen through the eyes of a unique narrator, this is a truly original, heart-rending  and compulsive book for young adult readers. Perfect for fans of Wonder, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time and Looking for JJ.  

What price for peace on Wrath? The blood-curdling sequel to science-fiction epic The Sign of One.

Hiding out in a Gemini stronghold, Kyle is finding out that being a hero is a bit of a let-down. The rebels may have struck a blow against the Slayer army, but victory is far from won and Wrath is as hostile as ever. Kyle finds himself caught between his ident brother Colm, who he saved from certain death, and his friend Sky, who is desperate to follow up a trail that may or may not lead to her lost sister.

When the Slayers offer a peace deal with a sting in its tail, the rebels are split into factions – with Kyle at its centre. There’s no choice but to run – and this time the path leads deep into Reaper territory, into the No-Zone.

A hilariously funny and deliciously romantic ‘clean teen’ book for teens. Perfect for fans of Geek Girl and Girl Online.

Everybody wants to be a famous It Girl. Don’t they?

Anna Huntley’s aims in life:

1) To recreate famous film scenes with Dog (pet Labrador) such as the lift from The Lion King during that Circle of Life song.

2) To not accidentally set Deputy Queen Bee, Josie Graham’s, hair on fire. Again.

3) To keep first and only school friends by not doing anything in usual manner of socially inept dork and outcast.

4) To work out whether 1) and 2) constitute being socially inept – or outcastish.

5) To hide in the cupboard FOR LIFE after her dad gets engaged to one of the most famous actresses EVER, the paparazzi move in and everyone in school (The World) is on the brink of discovering why no one wants to be friends with Anna . . .

A fantastic, laugh-out-loud read for girls aged 11+ who love Louise Rennison and Zoella.

The much anticipated follow-up title from the multi-award winning author of The Bunker Diary, recipient of the 2014 Carnegie Medal for an outstanding book for young adults.

Elliot is terrified of almost everything.

From the moment he was born, his life has been governed by acute fear. The only thing that keeps his terrors in check are the pills that he takes every day.

It’s Christmas Eve, there’s a snowstorm and Elliot’s medication is almost gone. His mum nips out to collect his prescription. She’ll only be 10 minutes – but shen she doesn’t come back, Elliot must face his fears and try to find her. She should only be 400 metres away. It might as well be 400 miles…

Born Scared joins the ranks of Jennifer Niven’s All the Bright Places, Ned Vizzini’s It’s Kind of A Funny Story, and Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why as an example of teen fiction offering a frank and intelligent portrait of mental illness.

A huge thank you to Egmont / Electric Monkey for donating this super brilliant Prize Pack for April!

I also have a couple of special post from these authors going up throughout April too!

One winner will be picked at random from the list of valid reviews submitted each month and will be announced in the following month’s review link up post. The winner will then have 1 week to contact me to claim their prize or a new winner will be chosen. Obviously the more reviews you enter the greater your chance of winning and don’t forget you gain extra entries for any reviews by Debut or Author of the Month for April! It doesn’t matter if you only review one book (or even skip a month or two in the challenge!) you’ll still be entered for each review you do write.

Please Remember…..

Only participants with a valid sign up page that has been linked here are eligible for entry to the monthly prize packs mentioned on this monthly link up page – you can still sign up here

When you add your link to the Mr. Linky below please make sure you link directly to your review, not just to your blog/vlog (invalid links will be deleted)

Books must have been read and reviewed in 2017 to count towards the challenge so those books you read last year but reviewed in 2017 don’t count!  Only books reviewed in April on your blog will count towards the challenge (you could have read them in earlier in the year though – I’m feeling kind 🙂 )

Also, please make sure that the reviews you link are for books written by British Authors – they can be born in Britain (living here or abroad) or they can be adopted British Authors (who were born elsewhere and now live here) but if they don’t fit into one of those categories then they don’t count. (as above invalid links will be deleted and won’t get you an entry into the prize pack). Please note that Britain includes England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, I’m afraid authors from Southern Ireland don’t count.

Also see the Author Of The Month and Debut Of The Month section for ways to gain extra entries each month!

And lastly feel free to share your reviews on social media using the #BritishBooksChallenge17 hashtag – it’s not compulsory but it would be fun to share any great British Books you have loved with others!

Lets get chatting and celebrating all of the brilliant British books and authors that we have and all of the wonderful British books that we are reading!

Always remember – never tweet an author into a negative review and be constructive.

For more information about the #BritishBooksChallenge17 click here

If you are a publisher who publishes books by British authors or British author who would be interesting in promoting their titles through the British Books Challenge giveaways please contact me by email.


And the #BritishBooksChallenge17 Author Of The Month for April is…….

C J Skuse!

With 5 brilliant YA books under her belt C J is releasing her first Adult book, Sweet Pea this month and I’m so proud that she is our April Author Of The Month!

Not heard of CJ and her books?  I have you covered!

Look out for a Spotlight post in the next few days about CJ and her brilliant books!

Don’t Forget…..

If you read, review and link up any books by the author of the month (in the same month that they are author of the month only) then that one review will get you an extra entry into the monthly prize pack draw.  So a double entry for one review!

If the author has multiple books and you read them all you will gain a double entry for each review of each book.

I also have a special treat lined up too!

Look out for a post with the lady herself going live at some point in April with a giveaway!

You can find previous posts from CJ on my blog or by clicking on the links below …

Hot Boys In My Books!

#BritishBooksChallenge17

If you are a publisher who publishes books by British authors or British author who would be interesting in promoting their titles through the British Books Challenge author of the month then please contact me by email.


Again here are so many good debuts coming out this month that it was really hard to decide which to pick, but I thought we would do things a little different this month and have a debut illustrator of the month…..

So the #BritishBooksChallenge17 Debut Illustrator Of The Month for April is…….

The Pavee and the Buffer Girl by Siobhan Dowd Illustrated by Emma Shoard

Siobhan Dowd is obviously not a debut author but the illustrations but our debut Illustrator of the month Emma Shoard are simply gorgeous and full of emotion and I am super excited to read this book!

Not heard of The Pavee and the Buffer Girl by Siobhan Dowd Illustrated by Emma Shoard? I have you covered!

Look out for a Spotlight post in the next few days about this book!

You can find a previous post from Emma Shoard on my blog or by clicking on the link below …

The Pavee and the Buffer Girl Mini Animation – Cave

Don’t Forget…..

If you read, review and link up a review of The Pavee and the Buffer Girl by Siobhan Dowd Illustrated by Emma Shoard (in the same month that they are author of the month only) then that one review will get you an extra entry into the monthly prize pack draw.  So a double entry for one review!

I also have some special treats lined up too!

#BritishBooksChallenge17

If you are a publisher who publishes books by British authors or British author who would be interesting in promoting their debut through the British Books Challenge debut of the month then please contact me by email.


As well as the above I have lots of other exciting posts and giveaways going up throughout the month too which I will share using the hashtag so do look out for those too!

#BritishBooksChallenge17

As well as following the hashtag #BritishBooksChallenge17 I would also suggest following my blog using your preferred feed subscription (by email by filling in the subscription box at the top of my blog , BlogLovin’ etc) in order to keep up with the latest news and posts regarding this challenge throughout 2017!

Here’s to a wonderful April!

Now for the important part, make sure you link all of your reviews using the Mr. Linky form below. In the Your Name field please include your blog name, the title of the book and the author. Make sure the link takes me directly to your review or your entry won’t count and will be deleted from the list.

Name – Please add your name and blog / YouTube channel e.g Chelley Toy – Tales Of Yesterday

URL – Please add a direct link to your review post here




Tales Q&A with Stefan Mohamed


Today I am over the moon to be part of the fab blog tour for Stanly’s Ghost by Stefan Mohamed.

Stanly’s Ghost is the third book in the fantastic Bitter Sixteen Trilogy and was published on the 15th March 2017 by Salt Publishing.

If you like Sci-Fi, Superheros and evil villans you need these books in your life!

For my stop on this fab tour I have had the honour to put some questions to the author himself Stefan Mohamed about the trilogy, superheros and writing!


Winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize for new writers A Times Children’s Book of the Week A Guardian Top Teen Read of 2015 “Happy birthday, Stanly. We hope you like your present…” Cynical, solitary Stanly Bird is a fairly typical teenager – unless you count the fact that his best friend is a talking beagle named Daryl, and that he gained the powers of flight and telekinesis when he turned sixteen. Unfortunately, his rural Welsh home town is not exactly crying out for its very own superhero. London is calling – but what Stanly finds there is a good deal weirder and more terrifying than anything he could have imagined. Perhaps he should have stayed in Wales …

Stanly is frustrated. Having set himself up as London’s protector, he’s finding that the everyday practicalities of superheroism are challenging at best, and downright tedious at worst. So it’s almost a relief when an attempt is made on his life and Stanly finds himself rushing headlong into a twisted adventure, with enemies new and old coming out of the woodwork. However, even with his friends and his ever-increasing power behind him, he may have bitten off more than he can chew this time. The monsters are coming …and nothing will ever be the same!

Cynical, solitary Stanly Bird used to be a fairly typical teenager – unless you count the fact that his best friend was a talking beagle named Daryl. Then came the superpowers. And the superpowered allies. And the mysterious enemies. And the terrifying monsters. And the stunning revelations. And the apocalypse. Now he’s not sure what he is. Or where he is. Or how exactly one is supposed to proceed after saving the world.

All he knows is that his story isn’t finished.

Not quite yet …


Hi Stefan!  Thanks for joining me today on Tales!  I am super excited to have you here and to read the third book in the Bitter Sixteen Trilogy Stanly’s Ghost!

Can you tell us a little bit about your main character Stanly Bird?

 Stanly is a slightly socially dysfunctional, hot-headed, sarcastic pop culture junkie from a small rural Welsh town. He also happens to have the powers of flight and telekinesis. He is trying his very best to be a superhero but things keep getting in the way – things like his own foibles, and basic practicality. He was sixteen in the first book of the trilogy, and as of the beginning of the final instalment, Stanly’s Ghost, he is eighteen (or thereabouts).

 What inspired you to write The Bitter Sixteen Trilogy?

I wrote the very first draft of the first book when I was sixteen, and at that point I was just writing away, trying to finish something – I was pretty guileless, never having written anything longer than about a thousand words, so I didn’t really know what I was doing! I was just attempting to tell a story. In terms of other media, inspirations would include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Donnie Darko and the work of Neil Gaiman and Philip Pullman.

Can you tell us a little bit about Stanly’s Ghost, the third book in the trilogy?

Hard to say anything specific while still avoiding spoilers – let’s just say that the shit continues to hit the fan for Stanly. But while flying towards the fan, the shit is also becoming exponentially weirder and more stressful. And he’s not necessarily getting better at dealing with it.

 Can you tell us about Stanly’s best friend Daryl?

 Daryl is a talking beagle with a sharp tongue and a love for films (his favourite is Casablanca – he always cries at the end, like any self-respecting living creature with a heart). He is incredibly loyal and very quick-witted, and you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of him because he punches (and bites) well above his weight.

 Have you used any of your own experiences to tell Stanly’s story?

 A lot of it is based on my struggles with my own superpowers, mastering their infinite complexity, fitting in with non-superpowered types, trying to set up a superhero business in a flat-lining economy. And Stanly’s early days in Wales are very much based on my childhood and teenage years – his town is basically the town where I grew up, just with the names changed! I also spent a lot of my teenage years up in my room watching films, or sitting at the back of the school bus hating everyone around me. You know, fun teen stuff.

 In five words – what should people expect if they picked up this trilogy?

 Humour… action… darkness… talking beagle.

 Who is the best superhero ever?

 I think it has to be Superman. Apart from having the best skillset, his attitude to superheroism is the best. No angst, no moral greyness. Just a decent guy trying to do good.

You have won the Dylan Thomas Prize for new writers, and been made a Times Children’s Book of the Week and a Guardian Top Teen Read of 2015 since releasing this trilogy – was this something you ever expected to happen?

 Absolutely not! It’s still kind of mind-blowing that people enjoy reading the books, let alone feel compelled to give them awards and titles and stuff like that. It’s an amazing feeling. Totally bizarre.

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

 Hmm.

I really like carrots, like a lot.

I once played Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, except it came after writing about Stanly playing Romeo in Bitter Sixteen.

I can’t iron, I just can’t get my head around it, it’s very frustrating.

Colin Murray off the radio once told me to f**k off.

And when I was at sixth form – which was part of my secondary school – I ran for Head Boy using ‘Vote For Stefan If You Like Cats’ as my campaign slogan. That was basically the whole campaign, that slogan, and I didn’t win, but I was made Deputy Head Boy, which was actually better because it came with a small amount of power and zero responsibility.

 Any sci-fi / superhero book (or TV/film) recs that you would highly recommend?

 My favourite recent SF books were All The Birds In The Sky by Charlie Jane Anders – wonderful, inventive, lyrical story about a friendship between a witch and a scientist, and the wackiness that ensues – and The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – brilliant low-key sort of blue-collar space opera with definite Firefly vibes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Film-wise, this year has been pretty good so far – Logan was fantastic and I really liked Kong Skull Island, good smashy monster fun.

TV-wise, Legion for superheroes and Westworld for SF.

Is this last we have seen from Stanly Bird?

 For the moment, yes. I could happily write more about him but I think I need to leave him alone for a bit, try my hand at some characters who aren’t adolescent superheroes. However, I’m hoping that a few shorter spin-off stories set in his world will appear at some point in the not too distant future.

 What are you working on next?  Any exciting new projects you can tell us about?

 I have a couple of other novel projects on the go, a standalone piece that’s more adult orientated, and the beginning of another YA series. No solid news on either, but I’m cautiously optimistic (I think – depends on what day it is!).

Thanks so much for joining us today and answering all my questions Stefan!

You can buy a copy of this fab trilogy here or from your local book shop!


About Stefan Mohamed

Stefan Mohamed is an author, performing poet and sometime journalist. He graduated from Kingston University in 2010 with a first class degree in creative writing and film studies, and later that year won the inaugural Sony Reader Award, a category of the Dylan Thomas Prize, for his novel Bitter Sixteen. Bitter Sixteen is out now from Salt Publishing. Stefan is also the author of a novella, STUFF, part of Salt’s Modern Dreams series. He lives in Bristol.

You can find out more about Stefan on his website – www.stefmo.co.uk

Or why not follow him on twitter – @stefmowords


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Stefan for answering all of my questions!  And to Salt Publishing for organising and asking me to be part of the blog tour!

Have you read any of the Bitter Sixteen Trilogy?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab copies?  Who are your favourite superheros?   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 – Research For The Bamboo Trilogy by Ann Bennett


I’m super excited to be part of the fab blog tour celebrating the release of Bamboo Road, the last book in a fab adult fiction trilogy!

Bamboo Road was released on the 1st March 2017 published by Monsoon Books.  The first book, Bamboo Heart was released in 2014 followed by Bamboo Island in 2015 and can be read in any order.  The books are a Southeast Asian WWII Trilogy.

For my stop of this fab tour, the author, Ann Bennett tells us a little more about the research that went into the books.


Thailand, 1943: Thomas Ellis, captured by the Japanese at the fall of Singapore, is a prisoner-of-war on the Death Railway. In stifling heat he endures endless days of clearing jungle, breaking stone and lugging wood. He must stay alive, although he is struck down by disease and tortured by Japanese guards, and he must stay strong, although he is starving and exhausted. For Tom has made himself a promise: to return home. Not to the grey streets of London, where he once lived, but to Penang, where he found paradise and love. London, 1986: Laura Ellis, a successful City lawyer, turns her back on her yuppie existence and travels to Southeast Asia. In Thailand and Malaysia she retraces her father’s past and discovers the truths he has refused to tell her. And in the place where her father once suffered and survived, she will finally find out how he got his Bamboo Heart. In a blend of stirring fiction and heart-wrenching history, Ann Bennett narrates the story of a soldier’s strength and survival in the bleakest of times and a daughter’s journey of discovery about her father and herself.

Bamboo Heart is volume one in a Southeast Asian WWII trilogy that includes Bamboo Island and Bamboo Road.

Juliet Crosby has lived a reclusive life on her Malayan rubber plantation since the Second World War robbed her of everyone she loved. However, the sudden appearance of a young woman from Indonesia disrupts her lonely existence and stirs up unsettling memories. Juliet is forced to recollect her prewar marriage, her wartime ordeals in Japanese-occupied Singapore and the loss of those she once held dear.

 Bamboo Island is part of a Southeast Asian WWII trilogy of historical fiction that can be read in any order and includes Bamboo Heart and Bamboo Road.

Thailand 1942: Sirinya and her family are members of the Thai underground, who risk their lives to resist the World War Two Japanese occupation and to and help British prisoners of war building the Thai-Burma railway. The events of those years have repercussions for decades to come. The book tells Sirinya s wartime story and how in the 1970s she returns to Kanchanaburi after a long absence abroad, to settle old scores from the war years.

Bamboo Road is volume three in a Southeast Asian WWII trilogy that includes Bamboo Heart and Bamboo Island (the books may be read in any order).


Research For The Bamboo Trilogy

I began researching the Second World War in South East Asia and the Thai-Burma railway well before the idea of writing books about it took root. The stories grew organically out of the research I did to find out about my father’s wartime experience. He died when I was seven, weakened by his three and a half years as a POW and I began to get interested in his experience when I was in my early twenties. My mother had two pre-printed postcards that Dad had sent home during his years as a POW which showed that he was interned in Thailand No.1 camp. I went to the Imperial War Museum and discovered that the camp was in Kanchanaburi but there were no consistent records there about prisoners of the Japanese.

My desire to find out more, first took me to Kanchanaburi in 1988 with my mother. There was only one museum there at the time; called the JEATH museum run by a Thai monk. It is a fascinating and unique place, but again holds no information about individual prisoners.

A few years later, I returned to the Imperial War Museum and found they held many first-hand accounts written by soldiers enslaved on the death railway. These are the most harrowing of reads and showed me more about what my father must have suffered, but nothing about where he had been or what had happened to him personally. By the time I returned to Kanchanaburi in 2005 with my husband and sons, I thought I knew as much as I was ever going to know.

In 2010 I came across the Far East Prisoners of War Community (FEPOW) on the internet. Through that community I discovered that in 1944 Dad had been transported from Singapore aboard the hell-ship Hofuku Maru which was torpedoed off Luzon in the Philippines by US aircraft. Out of around 1300 men aboard he was one of 221 survivors. He was put on another ship, the Hokusen Maru which ended up in Taiwan. Dad stayed on in Taiwan and was liberated from Shirikawa camp. The FEPOW community encouraged me to visit the National Archives in Kew to look for Dad’s liberation questionnaire and Japanese record card. To my amazement, both were there. It was an amazing moment when I first saw those records; written in his flowing handwriting in pencil, they answered so many questions I would have liked to ask. He had listed all the camps he had been in on the railway, and had written in detail about some of the horrors he had witnessed.

The information in Dad’s Liberation Questionnaire sowed the seeds for the plot of Bamboo Heart. To write the book though I did a great deal more research into the Malaya campaign and the plight of prisoners. I read several factual history books, including Surviving the Sword, The Fall of Singapore, etc. I also read as widely as I could about the war in South East Asia, although I found there wasn’t much fiction out there. I think […] must have been writing the Narrow Road to the Deep North at around the same time! I also did a great deal of internet research too including watching numerous documentaries on Youtube. Looking back at old diaries and photographs from my own trips were the inspiration for Laura’s journey in Bamboo Heart.

My research for Bamboo Heart taught me so much more about the war in the Far East than I had expected. I had not previously known how civilians suffered; about starvation and massacres, about bravery and sacrifice. It inspired me to explore those events from other angles and through other peoples’ stories. Bamboo Island is written from the point of view of an ordinary British woman who’d settled in Malaya but was caught up in the fall of Singapore. I was particularly moved by the sinking of the Vyner Brooke and the subsequent massacre of Australian nurses, which was the starting point for Juliet’s story. I read as much as I could about the civilian experience of living through the Japanese occupation. In particular Sheila Allen’s moving diary ‘Girl in Changi,’ made a great impression on me as did novels such as the Singapore Grip, and Amber Road (another Monsoon title).

Bamboo Road was inspired by the story of Boon Pong, a Thai merchant who took great risks to help prisoners of war building the death railway. I wanted to explore how the war and the Japanese occupation affected ordinary Thai people living in the area where the Death Railway was built. The great influx of Japanese soldiers and prisoners and the brutality and suffering must have had a devastating effect on their previously peaceful lives. I found out as much as I could about what it was like to live in the prosperous, peaceful community of Kanchanaburi before the railway came. I also researched Boon Pong’s own story, and visited his shophouse in Kanchanaburi whilst I was finalizing the draft. There isn’t a great deal written about him, but all the accounts, in ‘The Real Colonel of Tamarkan’ by Julie Summers, ‘Surviving the Sword’ and Beyond the Bamboo Screen, describe him as a very brave man with great humanity. I also read as much as I could about Thai culture and Buddhism, to understand my characters and what had influenced their outlook on life. I must have been to Thailand fifteen times since my first visit in 1985, so I have absorbed a great deal about the country and its culture during those visits which has found its way into the book. I should add that I have been trying to learn Thai for about five years now. It’s a difficult language to crack because of the different tones, the alphabet and the complex grammatical rules, but I’m sure that through that exercise I’ve absorbed a great deal about the country and its people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can buy a copy of these books here

Or why not add to your Goodreads here


About Ann Bennett

Ann Bennett was born and raised in a small village in Northamptonshire, UK. She read Law at Cambridge and qualified and practised as a solicitor. During a career break, to have children, she started to write. Her father had been a prisoner of war on the Thailand– Burma Railway and the idea for a Southeast Asian WWII trilogy came from researching his wartime experiences. The research took her back to Asia, a place she loves and has returned to many times. She lives in Surrey with her husband and three sons and works in London as a lawyer.

You can find out more about Ann on her website – www.bambooheart.co.uk

Or Ann’s blog here

Or why not follow Ann on twitter – @annbennett71

Or Facebook here


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Ann for such a brilliant guest post!  And to Faye Rogers for organising and asking me to be part of the blog tour!

Have you read any of the Bamboo Trilogy?  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 – Writing Harper by Cerrie Burnell


I am so excited to have the wonderful Cerrie Burnell on Tales to celebrate the release of another brilliant book in the Harper series, Harper and the Night Circus!

Harper and the Night Circus is a middle grade adventure and was released on the 2nd March 2017 published by Scholastic UK and is gorgeously illustrated by the super talented Laura Ellen Anderson.

Other Harper adventures include….


 

 

 

 

 

 

So today I welcome Cerrie to the blog with a brilliant guest post all about Writing Harper.


Total fantasy bliss! Magical birds, dark forests and fairytale cities: there’s no better book to get lost in. Harper is on a mission! Rumours tell of the mysterious Ice Raven who lives among the ebony trees, singing a magical song that can melt hardened hearts. Now the Wild Conductor wants to capture this mythical bird and create the greatest orchestra ever known. So Harper and her friends set off to find the bird. Their journey takes them from the mysterious Night Forest to the City of Singing Clocks. But soon Harper realises she faces a dilemma. Should a wild, free creature like the Ice Raven ever be tied down?


Writing Harper

My Favourite Five Fun facts about Harper are

1.

When Harper arrived on the rooftop of the Tall Apartment Block, she came only with the Scarlet Umbrella and a note pinned to it by the feather of a dove.

2.

Midnight her cat arrived the very same night at the stroke of 12- the name seemed perfect! To this day no one knows where exactly Midnight came from.

3.

Until she was eight, Harper had no idea the Scarlet Umbrella could fly, as it was inside a bird in her Great Aunt Sassy’s bathroom.

4.

Nate is the first person Harper shares the umbrella’s magic with, he doesn’t doubt her for a moment and they become firm friends.

5.

Even though the Wild Conductor did a terrible thing in taking her cat, Harper forgives him as she can see he’s just a man trying to follow his dreams.

Harper and the Night Forest by Cerrie Burnell, illustrated by Laura Ellen Anderson is published by Scholastic.
Available where all books are sold.

You can buy a copy of this book here

Or why not add it to your Goodreads here


About Cerrie Burnell

Cerrie Burnell is a much-loved presenter on Cbeebies. She was named in the Observer’s top ten children’s presenters and also featured in the Guardian’s 2011 list of 100 most inspirational women where she received praise for tackling disability head on. Cerrie divides her time between London and Manchester. Her bestselling picture books Snowflakes and Mermaid, illustrated by Laura Ellen Anderson, have won critical acclaim. Magical adventure Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella was her first novel for young readers.

You can follow Cerrie on twitter – @cerrieburnell

About Laura Ellen Anderson

When she’s not trying to take over the world or fighting sock-stealing monsters, Laura Ellen Anderson is a professional children’s book author & illustrator, with an increasing addiction to coffee. She spends every waking hour creating & drawing and would quite like to live on the Moon when humans finally make it possible. 

You can find out more about Laura on her website – lauraellenanderson.tumblr.com

Or why not follow Laura on twitter – @Lillustrator


Blog Tour

Why not follow or catch up on the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Cerrie for such a brilliant guest post and a bit more about Harper!  And to Faye Rogers for organising and asking me to be part of the blog tour!

Have you read Harper and the Night Forest?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?  Have you read any of the other Harper books?  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 – Five Women That Inspire Me by Caroline Baxter


I’m super excited to have a fab guest post from Caroline Baxter to celebrate the release of Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane.

Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane was released on the 8th March 2017 published by Big Sunshine Books and is a brilliant picture book beautifully illustrated by Izabela Ciesinska.

Today for my stop on this fab blog tour I have a fab guest post from Caroline who is telling us about five women who have inspired her.


Join Pilot Jane, a fun and fearless airline captain, as she travels the world with her best friend Rose, a high-speed passenger jet. Together Jane and Rose have exciting adventures and form a perfect team, delivering their passengers safely to destinations as far afield as Alaska and Australia. But when disaster strikes and Rose falls ill, Jane is paired with ‘lean, mean flying machine’ Mighty Mitch. Can she still get the Queen to her party on time? Featuring a clever and courageous heroine, this action-packed rhyming story celebrates ‘Girl Power’ and shows what you can achieve if you work together. Fasten your seatbelt and get ready for take-off!


Five Women that Inspire Me

My new children’s picture book, Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane week on International Women’s Day (8 March 2017). The story follows the adventures of Pilot Jane, a fun and fearless airline captain, as she travels the world with her best friend Rose, a high-speed passenger jet. But when disaster strikes and Rose falls ill, Jane is paired with “lean, mean flying machine” Mighty Mitch. Can they navigate the oncoming storm and get the Queen to her party on time?

In creating the character of Pilot Jane, I set out to build a picture of a highly skilled pilot who was both clever and courageous. So many children’s picture books feature a boy as the hero, I wanted to show a girl who was at the top of her game – who had ambitions and a sense of adventure! Not only is Jane an airline captain, she also surfs, practises tai chi and speaks Chinese. In fact, if picture books weren’t so short, her capabilities would have been boundless! Together Jane and Rose form a perfect ‘girl power’ team and this led me to thinking about some of the inspirational women we admire, read about and come across every day.

Picking just five is, of course, almost impossible, but the women below have all moved me personally for different reasons. Some are world-renowned for their impact and talents, others are lesser-known, but I hope you’ll agree that they are all inspirational in some way:  

Aung San Suu Kyi

For many people, politician, activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi is one of the most inspirational figures of the 21st century. She has dedicated much of her life to bringing democracy to Myanmar and endured years of hardship, hunger and imprisonment for her country. Finally, in November 2015, she led the National League for Democracy (NLD) to a majority win in Myanmar’s first openly contested election. When I was a member of staff at Oxford University in 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi – a former student – received an honorary doctorate and her speech that day was one of the most moving I have ever heard. Despite having spent more than two decades of her life under house arrest, she showed grace and dignity, rather than bitterness and resentment, commenting that the past “never goes away . . . But you can select what is best from the past to help you go forward to the future”. Aung San Suu Kyi shows us that, with enough courage, we can all be agents for change in the world and improve others’ lives for the better.

Malala Yousafzai

Internationally-renowned education activist Malala Yousafzai would undoubtedly make it on to many people’s list of ‘inspiring women’. While only a teenager, Malala drew the world’s attention to the issue of girls’ education, in particular the millions of girls being denied a formal education in Pakistan and other parts of the world for social, political and economic reasons. Despite being shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in 2012 for speaking out about the importance of education, her human rights advocacy for women and for education has continued and grown into an international movement. At the age of 17, she became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Malala is inspiring for so many reasons: her incredible courage in standing up to the Taliban; the wisdom and compassion she shows despite her youth, and her ongoing determination to fight for the right for all children to go to school. Like Aung San Suu Kyi, she is an example of how one person can have an extraordinary impact on the world by standing up for what they believe in.

J K Rowling

Well, I’d like to include a writer on my ‘inspiring women’ list and JK Rowling is certainly inspirational. As we all know, she wrote the first Harry Potter book as a struggling single mother, but has gone on to become the UK’s bestselling living author. However, in addition to her many professional achievements, Rowling is also inspiring for two reasons. Firstly, her impact extends not only across the world of books, but also across the charitable sector. Rowling supports numerous charities and organisations, but is particularly involved in anti-poverty campaigning and children’s welfare. She is a notable philanthropist who has used her professional success to benefit many others. Secondly, like many other inspiring women (and men), she is an advocate of living courageously and following your own path. Rowling has often talked about the importance of trying – and not being scared to fail. As she said in her speech to graduating students at Harvard: “You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default”. This seems an important and motivating message from a woman who has achieved so much.

The Iron Nun

Last year, my husband took part in an Ironman Race. This endurance contest comprised a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run, all over the course of (in his case) a tortuous 15 hours. As someone who hasn’t done too much formal exercise since school, I was full of admiration. But when I read about another Ironman participant, the so-called ‘Iron Nun’, my admiration turned to awe. At 86 years old, Sister Madonna Buder has completed more than 40 Ironman races over a 30-year period. Having completed her first Ironman race at the tender age of 55, she became the oldest woman to ever complete an Ironman triathlon at 75. At 82 years old, she set a world record as the oldest Ironman triathlon competitor. For me, Sister Madonna is truly inspiring because of her positive attitude, fighting spirit and her determination to defy conventional notions of ageing. It might be time to get out my running shoes yet . . .

Roz Savage MBE, Ocean Rower

A few years ago Roz Savage, record-breaking ocean rower, author and motivational speaker, spoke at an event that I organised. Her words had a lasting impact on me – and, I’m sure, on everyone else in the room. Roz’s story is one of incredible personal transformation. After leaving university and working as a management consultant for 11 years, Roz decided to leave her job and home and change her life – totally! She reinvented herself as an adventurer and became the first woman to row solo across three oceans: the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Indian Ocean. Passionate about the environment and protecting our planet, she also used social media to share her story and eco message with tens of thousands of people. Now, having spent a total of 520 days alone at sea, rowing for 12 gruelling hours a day, she has become an authority on how to tackle challenges in difficult circumstances and what motivates us through the darkest of times. Roz’s journey from office worker to ocean rower is a perfect example of how anyone can change their life (and the lives of others) if they have enough courage, determination and resilience.

I hope you enjoyed this small selection of inspiring women – they are certainly all girls and women Pilot Jane would admire too! And thank you so much for having me on Tales of Yesterday.

You can buy this book here

Or why not add it to your Goodreads here


About Caroline Baxter

Caroline Baxter lives in Oxford with her husband and two young children. From an early age she always had her nose in a book – and now does so for a living! Caroline grew up in South Wales and, after graduating with a BA in English Literature from Cardiff University, held a variety of management roles at UK universities including, most recently, at the University of Oxford. The Bear Cub Bakers, her first book, was written while on maternity leave with her daughter. Her second book, Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane, was published recently on International Women’s Day (8 March 2017). Caroline loves travelling, yoga, baking (and eating) cake, dogs, days out and snuggling up with a good story.


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 Caroline for such a brilliant guest post and insight into the inspiration behind the book!  And to Faye Rogers for organising and asking me to be part of the blog tour!

Have you read Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane?  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 – 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!

Spotlight – Dead Embers by Matt Brolly


Today I am super excited to be spotlighting a fab new Adult Crime Thriller by Matt Brolly, Dead Embers which is the third book in the DCI Michael Lambert series.

Dead Embers was released on the 6th March 2017 published by Canelo and is available in ebook!

“Gripping, chilling to its core and full of twists, the powerful new DCI Michael Lambert from Matt Brolly is perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Helen H. Durrant and Michael Hambling.” 

So for my stop on this fab blog tour I am spotlighting this fab author and book!


An explosive fire. A double murder. And that’s just the start…

When DCI Michael Lambert is called out to an apparent house fire, he knows it can’t be routine. Instead he finds the remains of a burnt house, a traumatised child and two corpses – one of whom is a senior police officer. Lambert’s got other problems. Anti-corruption are onto his boss. His relationships is on the rocks. He can’t get over his ex-wife and he keeps blacking out. But when a detective has been murdered the stakes are too high to get distracted. All is not as it seems. As the investigation continues Lambert realises he is getting drawn into something altogether bigger and more terrifying than he could ever have imagined… Trust no one.

You can buy a copy of this book here

Or why not add it to your Goodreads here


About Matt Brolly

Following his law degree where he developed an interest in criminal law, Matt completed his Masters in Creative Writing at Glasgow University. He reads widely across all genres, and is currently working on the third in his Michael Lambert thriller series. Matt lives in London with his wife and their two young children.

You can find out more about Matt Brolly on his website – www.mattbrolly.co.uk

Or why not follow Matt on Twitter – @MatthewBrolly

Or Facebook 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 Faye Rogers for having me as part of this fab blog tour!

Have you read Dead Embers?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?   Have you read any of the other DCI Michael Lambert books? 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!

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