Tag Archives: Blog Tour

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 – 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.


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 – My Writing Process – First Draft to Final Copy by Ally Kennen

I’m over the moon to have been asked to take part in this fab blog tour for a brilliant new middle grade book, The Everything Machine by Ally Kennen.

The Everything Machine was released on the 2nd February 2017 published by Scholastic and tells the story of three kids let loose with a top-secret magical machine with a mind of it’s own!  It sounds like so much fun!

So for my stop on the tour we are delving into the writing process of the books author Ally Kennan…..

Three kids let loose with a top-secret magical machine with a mind of it’s own . . . What could possibly go wrong?

Olly, Stevie and Bird have just had a very special delivery. It’s a machine that has a name, can speak and is able to print ANYTHING they want it to. How about a never-ending supply of sweets and a cool swimming pool in the shed, for starters?

But is getting everything you’ve ever wished for all it’s cracked up to be?

My Writing Process – First Draft To Final Copy

A book begins with a vague idea, usually something that has been badgering me for years, weeks, days or hours. This idea grows and grows and becomes the thing that keeps me awake.

I always write the first draft in a state of fear and denial. Fear that I don’t know what I’m doing and denial that anything I write now will end up being in the book anyway. This is quite freeing.

It’s not very fashionable for women to talk about how their children affect their work, and one can feel a bit sneered at, but by God! My children affect mine!  I haven’t got much time to write because I have 4 children, aged from twelve years down to one year and they are always more noisy and interesting than any book I am writing.

Therefore, when I get a writing window, I go hell for leather. My earlier YA books, BEAST, BERSERK and BEDLAM, QUARRY were all written when I was pregnant  and/or had 2 or 3 young children at home. These books have all been described as fast-paced, which I always find funny. I have to crack on with the action before I have to make dinner or wipe up the sick! Maybe when my children are all grown-ups I will write glorious, ponderous prose. With faultless grammar and leavened with multi-metaphors and clever word play.

Not now though!

So I crack on with a first draft, letting the whole thing gallop along. The superb author Mimi Thebo told me to ‘let the wild horses run.’ And so I do. I let them run and run and run until they lie exhausted in a ditch, unable to even snort. This first draft is usually quite quick. Though It wasn’t like this for my latest book, THE EVERYTHING MACHINE, because I had a baby in the middle of it and everything, all the horses, stopped for about six months.

After the first draft the real work begins. The first draft kills off the red herrings, the dead ends, the cliches… It is where embryonic characters form. Where deeper, richer ideas grow…

And the second draft cuts cuts cuts cuts loads from the first draft. It is a bloody massacre. Only the good bits remain. Lots and lots more writing is done, and now, I think a little bit more about the rhythm of the sentences. The landscapes and journeys, the time lapses, the development of the characters. The sewing together. This is when  (hopefully) the magic part of writing happens. I have my rough work, now I can deep-think it, and try and make it much, much better.

The third draft is less butchery, more a gentle slapping, and do I Like these people I have created and are they interesting at all? and does the thing really work? And what am I trying to say here? After this draft I usually make someone read it (husband) or I make someone listen (my children)

I get that awful thing, Feedback.

This is always useful. No matter how horrific.

Then I go back and make more alterations and sprinkle some fairy dust and send it to my editor and hope I don’t get sacked.

I am not brave enough to send rough work to an editor.  I don’t want them to see the vulgar depths of my abilities… I like it to be as good as possible. I’d rather send the polished diamond than the rough one.

Then there is the to ing and fro ing with the editor, the sharpening and the cuttings and the pulling the whole thing together. It sounds worthy but I do believe in the team work aspect of book writing.  I need an editor! I need help! always!

After the edits come the copy edits, then reading the proofs, then BAM, there’s the book.

It’s a pretty good feeling.

You can buy a copy of The Everything Machine here or from your local bookshop!

Or why not add it to your Goodreads here

About Ally Kennen

Ally Kennen has been an archaeologist, museum guard and singer-songwriter. Her dark and thrilling teen novels have been nominated for over eleven literary awards. She lives in Somerset with her husband and four children.

You can find out more about Ally on her website – www.allykennen.blogspot.com

Or why not follow her on twitter – @allykennen

Blog Tour

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

Monday 13th February

Fiction Fascination

Bookish Outsider

Tuesday 14th February

Girl Vs Books

Book Lover Jo

Wednesday 15th February

Live Otherwise

A Daydreamer’s Thoughts

Thursday 16th February

MG Strikes Back

Alejandra’s Life

Friday 17th February

Library Girl and Book Boy

Luna’s Little Library

Saturday 18th February

Big Book Little Book

Mum Friendly

Sunday 19th February

Tales of Yesterday

Powered by Reading

A huge thank you to the wonderful Ally Kennen for such a fab post and insight into her writing process!
Also a huge thank you to Faye Rogers for organising and having me as part of this fab blog tour as well as the wonderful people at Scholastic.

Have you read The Everything Machine?  What did you think?  What does your writing process look like?   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 – The Research Behind Chasing Shadows by T A Williams

I am super happy to have been asked to feature a brilliant guest post from the wonderful T A Williams as part of this fab blog tour organised by PR Extraordinaire Faye Rogers.

Chasing Shadows was released on the 16th January on e book and is set to be a brilliant adult fiction romance novel with a blind protagonist at it’s heart.

I was really interested to hear about the research behind the novel…..

Amy had it all – money, brains and beauty. And then the accident happened.

The Present Day: Left blind and without her family, Amy feels she needs to get away. On a trip along the Camino, she is accompanied by the mysterious and troubled Luke. Having been set up to help Amy by a mutual friend, Luke finds he is also running from his past…

1314: A Templar Knight, Luc, is also running. He meets the wife of a former comrade, now blinded in a terrifying attack: Aimee. Taking her under his wing, they must journey together through a dangerous world.

As they travel through the stunning scenery of Northern Spain, this couple, so very like Luke and Amy, emerge from the shadows of time carrying a treasure of inestimable value.

The Research Behind Chasing Shadows

I certainly didn’t make it easy for myself when I decided to write a book….

1. Along a route of almost a thousand kilometres, crossing two mountain ranges and through countries speaking different languages.

2. With a blind person as my main protagonist.

3. Referencing events that happened seven hundred years ago.

The first part was probably the most straightforward. Along with a bunch of friends, I set off on my bike with two hefty panniers packed with clothes, camera and notebook, and cycled all the way along the pilgrims’ way to Compostela. Just like the characters in Chasing Shadows, this involved crossing first the Pyrenees and then the equally daunting Montes de Leon. We encountered headwinds in France, fierce heat in central Spain and damp, chilly weather in northwest Spain. My legs and lungs emerged stronger as a result and I came home with a notebook full of local colour, impressions and memories as well as a hundred photos of places along the way.

I speak pretty good French, but my Spanish is fairly rudimentary and my Basque non-existent and I was a little nervous before the trip about how well I would be able to communicate. I needn’t have worried. The Camino, as it’s known, is a real Tower of Babel with people from all over the world. I met walkers and cyclists from as far away as South America and Japan, as well as a load of Europeans, but the lingua franca everywhere was English. Not for the first time I thanked my lucky stars I have grown up with English as my native tongue.

So, as far as the nuts and bolts of a trip along the Camino were concerned, I managed to achieve pretty much all I needed that way. The next hurdle I had to cross was the whole blindness thing. I’m short-sighted and I wear glasses, but I have no experience of blindness apart from a close friend of the family when I was a kid. I knew I needed to research this more fully and I got some fantastic support from a local sight loss charity, Devon In Sight, and in particular their IT boffin, Darren, along with his lovely guide dog, Jet. From Darren I learned that my assumption that when you go blind your other senses improve to try to compensate for the loss is not correct. As he pointed out to me, his ears and nose remain the same size they were before he went blind five years ago, so it’s not that he hears and smells more acutely. Maybe, without the overwhelming sense of sight, he is able to concentrate more, but if the meat in the oven starts burning, he assured me Jet the dog is the only one with an olfactory advantage.

And, finally, the historical side of things. From that point of view, I am fortunate in that I developed a deep and lasting interest in the medieval period at least thirty years ago and I have read loads, and I mean loads, of books about that era. But, in writing a book, I didn’t just need to know the historical happenings at that time. I needed to find out what people ate, drank and wore way back then. However natural it may now appear to us to stop for a coffee, a bar of chocolate or even a portion of French fries, that just didn’t happen then. A banana or a Mars bar for energy were sorely lacking then, as was a nice warm, breathable waterproof jacket. A chunk of cheese, some dry sausage and a heavy oiled wool cloak were what the pilgrims used way back then.

I can’t claim that my research has been exhaustive, but I’ve really done my best to draw you a true and accurate picture of what it’s like now, and what it was like seven hundred years ago along the Camino. I hope you enjoy the picture I paint.

You can buy a copy of Chasing Shadows here

Or why not add to your Goodreads here

About T A Williams

My name is Trevor Williams. I write under the androgynous name T A Williams because 65% of books are read by women. In my first book, “Dirty Minds” one of the (female) characters suggests the imbalance is due to the fact that men spend too much time getting drunk and watching football. I couldn’t possibly comment. Ask my wife…

My background, before taking up writing full time, was in teaching and I was principal of a big English language school for many years. This involved me in travelling all over the world and my love of foreign parts is easy to find in my books. I speak a few languages and my Italian wife and I still speak Italian together.

I’ve written all sorts: thrillers, historical novels, short stories and now I’m enjoying myself hugely writing humour and romance. My most recent books are the What happens… series. What happens in Tuscany reached #1 in the Amazon.uk Romantic Comedy chart and What Happens on the Beach, the last in the series, came out in July. Chasing Shadows is still romance, but with the added spice of a liberal helping of medieval history, one of my pet hobbies. I do a lot of cycling and I rode all the way to Santiago de Compostela on a bike a few years back. This provided both the inspiration and the background research for Chasing Shadows.

I’m originally from Exeter, and I’ve lived all over Europe, but now I live in a little village in sleepy Devon, tucked away down here in south west England. I love the place.

You can find out more about T A Williams on his website – www.tawilliamsbooks.com

Or why not follow him on twitter – @TAWilliamsbooks

Or on Facebook here

Blog Tour

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

A huge thank you to T A Williams for a fab guest post.  Also a huge thank you to Faye for asking me to be part of the blog tour and for organising this post and for being very patient with me.

Have you read Chasing Shadows?  Are you intrigued?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading

Guest Post – DIRECTION – Working Together, Collaborating London-Oxford by Perdita & Honor Cargill

I am so beyond honoured to be celebrating the release of Waiting For Callback:  Take Two by the super lovely, hilarious and best mother/daughter writers around, Perdita & Honor Cargill.

Waiting For Callback:  Take Two is the hilarious follow up to last years debut Waiting For Callback which was one of my favourite reads of 2016

Take Two is released today, 26th January 2017 published by Simon & Schuster Children’s UK and I simply cannot wait to find out what Elektra gets up to next!

I know one thing for sure…..I will be smiling and laughing lots!

I’m over the moon to have been asked to be part of the fab blog tour and today Perdita and Honour chat about direction in this fab and super funny guest post….

Elektra has finally landed a part in a film. It’s the dream. Well … until she works out that Straker is a movie so dystopian that within weeks most of the cast and all of the crew wish that the world had actually ended (preferably in scene one). And while it’s obviously great news that she’s moved from the friend-zone with Archie to become his almost-girlfriend, it would be better if he hadn’t immediately relocated to Transylvania to play a vampire hunter surrounded by ‘maidens of peerless beauty’… Full of humour and warmth, this new series is perfect for fans of Geek Girl and The It Girl.

DIRECTION – Working Together, Collaborating London-Oxford

Day Four of our Take Two blog tour and today we’re chatting about Direction (although we should have called it Co-Directing). Just to set the scene this time I (P) am talking and typing this while Hon is talking very fast and eating (classic multi-tasking).

H: Have I said enough in the last year to explode the No. 1 Misconception that because we’re family we work side-by -side sitting at the kitchen table, steaming mugs of tea and freshly baked cake in front of our matching notepads, birdsong in the background?

P: I don’t think that anyone who knows us will still be under any illusions. And we’re getting further and further apart. This time last year we were working in different rooms then you (Hon) discovered the joy of working in cafes and I stayed in the attic.  Then you went to Uni and now in term time at least you’re in Oxford and I’m in London. God, I hope it’s not some dark metaphor…

H: Not that ‘dark’… Oh God, except for That Train Journey – the one where we sat side by side working on edits all the way from London to Newcastle and had nearly dissolved the partnership by York. That was dark.

P: *shudders* But we do loads of the actual writing during your holidays.

H: I work very hard in London cafes! But (at arm’s length) we’re surprisingly harmonious collaborators. Ok, there’s some pretty brutal editing along the way but I can’t think of any bits that in the end we disagreed on.

P: No, it works well. Although there were a couple of…misunderstandings that underlined that I must never be allowed to write contemporary teen on my own.

H: Ha! Like your tendency to put add full stops to the end of texts and the great bucket hat fiasco?  We probably plotted better together because we were on a tighter schedule for Take Two so we had to be more focused.

P: I’m quite proud that we got Take Two done to deadline. It was hard work. You did so much of the writing this time that I wanted to change the name order on the cover because I felt guilty! (We couldn’t).

H: I still didn’t do any of the copy editing stuff. I’d be useless at that. And I think Take Two was easier to write than Waiting for Callback because we know all the characters so well. I am genuinely fond of them – even Flissy.

P: Have you got a new fave character or does your heart still belong to Archie?

H: My heart will always belong to Archie… whether he’s in character as a vampire-slaying-hero or not …

(Random cute baby vampire bat)

But I’d quite like to go clubbing with Hot Carlo…

P: I’m quite glad that we’re talking about fictional characters.  I’ve got a soft spot for Amber. She is truly dreadful (“very shiny, possibly made in a lab in Beverley Hills. Scary handbag dog named after a vegetable.” Ch. 7) and yet mastering yogic breathing is definitely one of my 2017 resolutions.

H: Good luck with that.

Thank you Chelley for hosting us! Come and join us tomorrow on Vivienne’s blog, Serendipity Reviews where we will be chatting about Special Effects (our glossy cover and lovely inside Extras!)

You can buy a copy of Waiting For Callback: Take Two here or from you local bookshop

About Perdita & Honor Cargill

Perdita Cargill

I co-write the WAITING FOR CALLBACK series with Honor Cargill. She’s my daughter and it’s something of a miracle that no only do we write together but we have a lot of fun doing it. She’s in her first year at Oxford University reading Classical Archaeology and Ancient History (niche…). I used to be the least numerate tax barrister ever to practise in the English courts. It was a relief to everyone when I hung up my wig and gown and took to writing funny teen novels…

Honor Cargill

I’m 18 and I’m in my first year at Oxford Uni reading Classical Archaeology and Ancient History (bit rogue) and I co-write the WAITING FOR CALLBACK series of funny teen novels with Perdita Cargill (who is, conveniently, my mum…). I’ve done some acting and although I’m nothing like Elektra (our main character) I feel her pain because her most humiliating moments are strangely similar to mine…

You can find out more by visiting the website – www.waitingforcallback.com

Or why not follow Perdita on Twitter – @perditact

Or Honor on Instagram – honorcargill

Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of the awesome blog tour at the following stops.

A huge thank you to Perdita and Honor for a fab guest post and making me laugh always.  Also a huge thank you to Jade for asking me to be part of the blog tour and for organising.

Have you read Waiting For Callback:  Take Two?  Are you intrigued? Did you read the first book in the series too?  What parts made you laugh out loud?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading

Guest Post – Character Inspiration in Gilded Cage by Vic James

I am super excited to be part of the epic blog tour for the brilliant Gilded Cage by Vic James!

Gilded Cage is the first book in the Dark Gifts trilogy and is due for release on the 26th January 2017 published by the fantastic Pan Macmillan and is set to be an unforgettable read!

As well as all of this Vic James is also #BritishBooksChallenge17 debut of the month for January 2017!

Check out the #BritishBooksChallenge17 Spotlight on Vic and Gilded Cage and find out why people are loving it – here

You can find out more about the #BritishBooksChallenge17 here

And that’s not all!

With thanks to Pan Macmillan I am also hosting a special giveaway on twitter to win 1 of 5 copies of Gilded Cage here!

I’m intrigued by Gilded Cage and I wanted to find out a little more about the inspiration behind its characters……

About Gilded Cage

A thrilling Orwellian vision of Britain, with a rebellious Hunger Games heart, Gilded Cage is the astonishing debut novel from Vic James, and the first title in her electrifying The Dark Gifts Trilogy.

A modern Britain
An age-old cruelty

Britain’s magically skilled aristocracy compels all commoners to serve them for ten years – and now it’s the Hadleys’ turn. Abi Hadley is assigned to England’s most ruthless noble family. The secrets she uncovers could win her freedom – or break her heart. Her brother Luke is enslaved in a brutal factory town, where new friends’ ideals might cost him everything.

Then while the elite vie for power, a young aristocrat plots to remake the world with his dark gifts. As Britain moves from anger to defiance, all three must take sides. And the consequences of their choices will change everything, forever.

You can buy a copy of Gilded Cage here or from you local bookshop

Character Inspiration in Gilded Cage

Ahh, the inspiration for the characters in GILDED CAGE. This is such an interesting question, because while it’s easy to talk about inspiration for the world-building, or the ideas behind the story, the characters seem to come from nowhere.

What I mean by that is that I have never sat down and thought: ‘I need a villain who will betray his best friend’, or ‘Everyone likes strong female characters, so let’s have one of those.’ In fact, as most people who write will tell you, that is one of the Very Worst Ways to try and write a book. It means you regard your characters as plot tools, or as types, rather than as real, rounded people.

So if you’re not creating a character from a kind of checklist (pick any one of: brave/spirited/reckless, innocent/cynical/cunning etc.), then where do they come from?

The truth is that they seem to exist independently of you, and yet you know everything about them.

So in an early draft of book 2, I needed some random details about Silyen Jardine – the enigmatic and unprecedentedly powerful youngest son of the elite Jardine family. And the answers were there. What sort of treat would he nibble on? Pistachio macaroons. His favourite smell? New polish on his beloved riding boots. For GILDED CAGE, I needed to know how he takes his coffee. Black, and scalding hot.

Unless you know your character this intimately, you’ll struggle to know the big stuff: What do they really want? Would they ever betray the one they love? How far would they go to achieve their goals?

That’s because characters must drive story. An author is like a laboratory scientist observing rat behaviour in a maze. You build the maze (world). You have a good idea how your rats will navigate it (plot). You usually know where they’ll end up (dramatic conclusion!). In the case of the Dark Gifts trilogy, which completes in June 2018 with BRIGHT RUIN, I sat down to write knowing the beginning and the end of the entire sequence.

But plot serves character, not the other way around. So you have to be prepared for a few of your rats to take a different route. Some characters demand more of the story than you originally intended for them – I found, for example, that I loved writing playboy heir Gavar Jardine. When you know a character better than they know themselves, it can create compelling twists and turns, as they discover sides of themselves they weren’t aware of.

And how do you get to know your characters like this? It’s exactly how you’d get to know anyone in real life. Talk to them. Go for walks with them. Think about them. Work at figuring them out. All that time you spend in your teens obsessing over what’s going on in the head of your crush/best friend/ /siblings/parents? That’s the most valuable preparation you’ll ever have for writing characters that you, and hopefully your readers, will love.

Gilded Cage by Vic James is the first installment of the Dark Gifts Trilogy. It is published in paperback 26 January 2017 by Pan Macmillan £7.99

You can buy a copy of Gilded Cage here or from you local bookshop

About Vic James

Vic James is a current affairs TV director who loves stories in all their forms, and Gilded Cage is her debut novel. She as twice judged the Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize, has made films for BBC1, BBC2, and Channel 4 News, and is a huge Wattpadd.com success story. Under its previous title, Slavedays, her book was read online over a third of a million times in first draft. And it went on to win Wattpad’s ‘Talk of the Town’ award in 2015 – on a site showcasing 200 million stories. Vic James lives and works in London.

You can find out more about Vic James on her website – www.vicjames.co.uk

Or why not follow her on twitter – @DrVictoriaJames


Don’t forget with thanks to Pan Macmillan I am also hosting a special giveaway on twitter to win 1 of 5 copies of Gilded Cage 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 Vic James and also Alice at Pan Macmillan for organising this post, embracing the #BritishBooksChallenge17, providing a copies of Gilded Cage to giveaway and having me as part of this fab tour!

Have you read Gilded Cage?  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 – Beaky Malone Character Profiles by Barry Hutchison

My son and I are a huge fan of Beaky Malone!  We even did a #Read-Toy-Gether of the first book, Beaky Malone:  Worlds Greatest Liar here.  So when we both heard that there was a new book coming out we jumped around with joy!

Beaky Malone:  Worst Ever School Trip is released on the 12th January published by the brilliant Stripes Publishing and my son ran off to his room and devoured this book and plenty of laughs were heard along the way!  A hilarious new series from best-selling author, Barry Hutchison, perfect for fans of Tom Gates, Wimpy Kid and Barry Loser.

It’s been 92 hours since Beaky last told a lie and I simply cannot wait to see what this second book has in store for Beaky!  And with brilliant illustrations by the wonderful Katie Abey, Beaky and his friends are bought to life!

So today as part of the fab blog tour we thought it would be good to tell you a little about the characters in Beaky Malone….

About The Books

Dylan Malone, aka Beaky, has a habit for telling porkies – every time he opens his mouth, out pops a whopper… But then his long-suffering sister shoves him into the truth-telling machine at Madame Shirley’s Marvellous Emporium of Peculiarities. Now Beaky can’t tell a lie – not even a teeny-weeny one – and a truth-telling Beaky is even worse…

“I like to smell my own farts…” Gah! Someone shut me up!

It’s been 92 hours since Beaky last told a lie. So far he’s survived two full days of school with only three light beatings, two telling-offs and one wedgie … but the annual school trip is going to take Beaky’s survival skills to a whole other level – especially as a mix up in the school office means that Beaky and his class are on a trip to Learning Land, an educational theme park aimed at eight-year-olds. And home to cheery-but-creepy Clumso the Clued-up Clown whose job is to dish out fascinating facts to one and all.

But there is worse to come when Beaky’s partnered with Wayne, a.k.a the school bully, who has a morbid fear of clowns. With Beaky unable to tell a lie and Wayne intent on beating him up, things aren’t looking good. And that’s before they find themselves on the run from a manic clown who’ll seemingly stop at nothing to track them down…

You can buy the Beaky Malone books here or from your local bookshop

Beaky Malone Character Profiles

One of the best bits about being an author (besides getting to sit around drinking tea and eating biscuits in your pants all day) is that you get to hang around with some really strange people. And I don’t just mean other authors and school librarians, I mean the really strange people who live inside your head.

Sidenote: This has just reminded me that when I was fourteen or so, my mum told me that as a young lad of five, I’d approached her in the kitchen one day and said, “Mum, you know all those voices you hear in your head all the time…?” and she instantly knew I was going to grow up to be an author. Or a serial killer. It was fifty-fifty.

But I digress. Hanging out with people you make up is one of the things that makes being an author bearable (also the biscuits, mentioned above). Rather than go slowly mad from isolation and loneliness, we are instead surrounded at all times by a rich tapestry of different folks. Yes, some of them might be smelly bullies, grumpy teachers, or dangerously unhinged clowns, but hey, at least it’s not boring.

Here are some of the lovely (and not so lovely) people I got to hang about with while writing Beaky Malone: Worst Ever School Trip.

Name: Beaky (Actually, that’s not quite true. His real name is Dylan, but his big nose earned him the nickname “Beaky.”)

Bio: Once the world’s greatest liar, everything changed for Beaky when he stepped inside the only known truth-telling machine in existence. From that moment, he was unable to utter a single lie, and can now only listen in horror as his own mouth repeatedly betrays him by telling the truth over and over again.

Biggest secret: Now that he has to tell the truth all the time, Beaky doesn’t have many secrets left. Everyone knows, for example, that he fancies the dinner lady, enjoys the smell of his own farts, and regularly wears the same pants for a fortnight.

Name: Jodie

Bio: Beaky’s big sister was so fed up of his constant lying and manipulation that she willingly paid the princely sum of one whole pound to have him shoved in the truth-telling machine. Little did poor Jodie suspect, however, that a little brother who A) tells the truth all the time, and B) has memorised the contents of her diary, does not a good combination make. Now living in a state of almost constant embarrassment, Jodie is determined to help Beaky get his lying mojo back.

Biggest secret: Again, Beaky has revealed most of them, including her Top 5 list of boys she fancies, and the picture she drew in her diary where she combined her favourite parts of them all into one terrifying Frankenstein’s monster-style super boyfriend.

Name: Wayne

Bio: On the surface, headmaster’s son, Wayne, is a hard-working, thoughtful young lad, loved by all the teachers. His classmates, however, know he’s really a sneaky, violent bully, and do their best to avoid him at all costs. When Beaky blurts out one of Wayne’s biggest secrets on the way to the school trip, Wayne goes out of his way to make sure the boys get partnered up, so he can take his terrible revenge.

Biggest secret: Once wet himself at the sight of Clumso the Clued-Up Clown

Name: Theo

Bio: Beaky’s best mate, Theo, is one of the few people who believes Beaky’s story about not being able to tell a lie, and does his best to cover for him whenever he can. This usually means Theo ending up in trouble or humiliated, but he doesn’t seem to mind. Relaxed and laid-back to the point of being horizontal, Theo is fiercely loyal, and pretty much the best friend anyone could ever have.

Biggest secret: Once accidentally drank a whole bottle of breast milk. And quite liked it.

Name: Madame Shirley

Bio: The mysterious Madame Shirley is the owner of the even more mysterious Madame Shirley’s Marvellous Emporium of Peculiarities, the shop in which Beaky and Jodie found the truth-telling machine. An eccentric older woman (or, more accurately, crazy old lady) with hair like a startled scarecrow and an unhealthy obsession with pickled onion crisps, no-one knows where Madame Shirley came from – or, more importantly, where she went.

Biggest secret: How she made her shop disappear. And she’s keeping that one to herself.

Name: Clumso the Clued-Up Clown

Bio: The terrible mascot of the awful Learning Land ‘fun’ park, Clumso is a vaguely unsettling clown who loves to share general knowledge with park visitors, often via the medium of rap. However, when a terrified Wayne shoves him to the ground in panic, Clumso discovers something else he loves, too. Revenge!

Biggest secret: As he has to work up to twelve hours a day without any breaks, Clumso’s comically oversized trousers always contain 3 Mars Bars, 2 cans of Tizer, and an adult-sized nappy.

Name: Destructo

Bio: Beaky and Jodie’s pet dog is an enormous Great Dane with an even bigger appetite. Destructo will destroy and/or consume pretty much anything, given half a chance, hence his name. Past things he has eaten include Beaky’s homework, Beaky’s schoolbag and, on one memorable occasion, the family’s TV.

Biggest secret: Where Dad’s watches are buried.

Those are a few of the characters I got to spend time with while writing the second Beaky Malone book. If you’d like to get to know them yourself, please go right ahead and pick up a copy of Beaky Malone: Worst Ever School Trip. Honest, I won’t mind.

You can buy the Beaky Malone books here or from your local bookshop

You can find a #Read-Toy-Gether review of the first Beaky Malone: Worlds Greatest Liar here

Or find our How To Be Funny with this previous guest post from Barry Hutchison here

About Barry Hutchison

Barry Hutchison is an award-winning children’s author and screenwriter. His first book – INVISIBLE FIENDS: MR MUMBLES – was published in 2010 to critical acclaim. The book went on to win the Royal Mail Award for Scottish Children’s Books in 2011, by which point two more books in the horror series had been published.

In 2012 HarperCollins Children’s Books published Barry’s comedy fantasy novel, THE 13TH HORSEMAN, which was even more well-received than MR MUMBLES, with fans including the multi-award-winning best-selling author, Neil Gaiman. Shortly after Horseman won the Scottish Children’s Book Award, a sequel – The Book of Doom – was published.

Since 2008 Barry has written over fifty books for children, including several based on the hit Cartoon Network show, BEN 10. When not writing he is usually visiting schools and libraries to run events and story-writing workshops for kids and adults alike.

He recently wrote thirty-six episodes of the CITV comedy series, BOTTOM KNOCKER STREET, starring comedian Phill Jupitus.

Barry lives in the Highlands of Scotland with his wife, Fiona, and their two children, Kyle and Mia. His biggest fear is that someone will one day discover how much fun his job is and immediately put a stop to it. His second biggest fear is squirrels.

You can find out more about Barry and his books on his website – www.barryhutchison.com

Or why not follow Barry on twitter – @barryhutchison

Blog Tour

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

A huge thank you to Barry for a fantastic super funny guest post, Katie Abey for the fantastic illustrations and to Charlie at Stripes Publishing for organising this and having me as part of the tour.

Have you read Beaky Malone Worst Ever School Trip?  What did you think?  Who was your favourite character?  I would love to here 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 laughing!

Guest Post – “My First Memory Is Of My Brother” by Katherine Webber

I am SO excited to be kicking of the epic blog tour for the brilliant Wing Jones!

Wing Jones is the much anticipated debut novel from Katherine Webber, publishing today, 5th January 2017 in the UK.

Happy Debut Book Birthday Katherine!

Throughout January, over 40 bloggers will be participating in the #WJphototour – a photo blog tour documenting Katherine’s path to publishing her debut novel. From childhood memories that inspired her writing to her time living in Atlanta and Asia that influenced the book to authors she’s met over the years right up to receiving her first finished copy of the book, follow along to see Katherine’s author life unfold! Keep an eye on the hashtag to see the latest photos!


As well as all of this Katherine Webber is also #BritishBooksChallenge17 debut of the month for January 2017!

Check out the #BritishBooksChallenge17 Spotlight on Katherine and Wing Jones and find out why people are loving Wing Jones – here

You can find out more about the #BritishBooksChallenge17 here

And that’s not all!

With thanks to Walker Books I am also hosting a special giveaway on twitter to win 1 x Signed Finished Copy of Wing Jones here!

So without further ado here is the very first photo for the tour…..

About Wing Jones

For fans of David Levithan, Jandy Nelson and Rainbow Rowell: a sweeping story about love and family from an exceptional new voice in YA. With a grandmother from China and another from Ghana, fifteen-year-old Wing Jones is often caught between worlds. But when tragedy strikes, Wing discovers a talent for running she never knew she had. Wing’s speed could bring her family everything it needs. It could also stop Wing getting the one thing she wants.

You can buy a copy of Wing Jones here or from you local bookshop

“My First Memory Is Of My Brother”

I’m so excited that my debut book WING JONES is finally coming out!

A huge thank you to everyone who has talked about it, tweeted about it, read it, reviewed it…and extra-special thanks to all the amazing bloggers for their incredible support! I’m so grateful.

I hope you check out all their blogs to see the photos of my path to publication and what inspired me over the years!

Chelley is kicking off the tour with the first picture, and she also is doing a giveaway of a signed, finished copy of the book – here !

Now, without further ado, here is the first picture of the #WJPhotoTour.

Let’s start at the beginning…

The first line of Wing Jones is “My first memory is of my brother.” Wing is the youngest in her family, and I’m the oldest, but my first solid memory is also of my brother. I was four, at the hospital waiting to see my brand new baby brother. Sibling relationships are a huge part of the story of WING JONES, and a lot of this stems from my own close relationships with my brother.

You can buy a copy of Wing Jones here or from you local bookshop

About Katherine Webber

Katherine Webber was born in Southern California but has lived in Atlanta, Hawaii, Hong Kong and now in London. For several years she worked at the reading charity BookTrust, where she worked on projects such as The Letterbox Club which delivers parcels of books to children in care, and YALC, the Young Adult Literature Convention.

You can find her on Twitter @kwebberwrites

Find out more about Katherine on her website – www.kwebberwrites.com


Don’t forget with thanks to Walker Books you could win 1 x Signed Finished Copy of Wing Jones here!

A huge thank you to Katherine and also Rosi and Kirsten at Walker books for organising this post, embracing the #BritishBooksChallenge17, providing a copy of Wing Jones to giveaway and having me as part of this fab tour!

Look out for another Wing Jones related blog post during the month of January!

Have you read Wing Jones?  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 – My Top Five Romantic Moments In Literature by Rachelle Paige


I am super excited to have been asked to be part of the blog tour for this fabulous new self published adult romance book Tidal Patterns (Golden Shores #1) by Rachelle Paige.

Tidal Patterns was released on the 12th April 2016 published in ebook and is set to be a romantic read.

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

For my stop on the blog tour I have a brilliant guest post from Rachelle about her Top Five Romantic Moments In Literature …..


Elizabeth Shaw is the preeminent, and only, wedding planner at the historic beach resort on Jekyll Island. She’s sure she’ll land the newly created role overseeing all major events. Then she’ll get a raise and won’t be forced to leave. 

Mark Edwards doesn’t need any more stress. He’s ready to slow down and enjoy the tiny seaside town he calls home. His boss pushes him to apply for the new management position and he agrees. After a decade in catering, he’s sure he can do the events job without any trouble.

Neither counted on the other getting in the way.

My Top Five Romantic Moments In Literature

My top five romantic moments in literature all happen in moments of high tension and stress in their respective novels. Without conflict, the romance can’t shine. In real-life, we don’t really want to contrast a moment of elation with despair. I love reading these scenes.



The moment Edward explains to Eleanor that his brother married Edward’s former fiancée in Sense and Sensibility



Mr. Darcy’s second proposal in Pride and Prejudice



When Mr. Rochester proposes to Jane in Jane Eyre



Father Ralph confronting Meghan after she rides off from Mary’s New Year’s celebration in The Thornbirds



The kiss in the rain in The Notebook


You can buy a copy of this book here

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

Tidal Patterns (Golden Shores #1) and Coastal Erosion (Golden Shores #2) will be 99p for the duration of the tour.

Surface Currents (Golden Shores #3) is releasing on 6th December 2016.

About Rachelle Paige


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

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

Blog Tour

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




Monday 5th December

 Fiction Fascination

Tuesday 6th December

 Carry On Beautiful

Wednesday 7th December

 A Daydreamer’s Thoughts

Thursday 8th December

 Whispering Stories

Friday 9th December

 Love in a Time of Feminism

Saturday 10th December

 Sparkly Word

Blooming Fiction

Sunday 11th December

 Big Book Little Book

Tales of Yesterday




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

You can catch a previous guest post with Rachelle Paige about Anchored In The Bay here

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

Happy Reading!


Spotlight – A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas by Darcie Boleyn


It’s that time of year again where I search for all the fab Christmas reads to read throughout December in the lead up to Christmas.

When I was asked to be on the blog tour for this Christmas adult fiction contemporary romance I instantly fell in love with it’s gorgeous cover and have added it to my Christmas TBR.

A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas was released on the 7th November 2016 published in e book by Canelo and is set to put anyone in the Christmas spirit.

So today for my stop on the tour I thought I would spotlight this book and it’s wonderful author….

*does a snow angel*


Lucie Quigley hates Christmas. It’s the time of year when everything goes wrong in her life. So this year, when she’s asked to be a bridesmaid at her friend Petra’s Manhattan wedding, she jumps at the invitation to escape the festivities.

Dale Treharne has been best friends with Lucie for as long as he can remember. He’s used to looking out for his oldest friend and when she asks him to be her plus one, he can’t seem to find a reason to refuse. Instead, he sees it as a way to help Lucie get through what is, for her, the most miserable time of the year.

In New York, as the snow starts to fall, Lucie and Dale start to realise that their feelings run deeper than just friendship. But can they overcome their pasts, and make it a very merry Manhattan Christmas? 

You can buy a copy of this book here

Or why not add it to your Goodreads wish list here

About Darcie Boleyn


Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never fails to cry at books and movies, whether the ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night. Her childhood dream was to become a Jedi but she hasn’t yet found suitable transport to take her to a galaxy far, far away. She also has reservations about how she’d look in a gold bikini, as she rather enjoys red wine, cheese and loves anything with ginger or cherries in it – especially chocolate. Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop.

You can find out more about Darcie on her website – www.darcieboleyn.wordpress.com

Or why not follow her on twitter – @darcieboleyn

Or on Facebook here or Instagram here

Blog Tour


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


Monday 7th November

Ali the Dragon Slayer

Lozza’s Book Corner

 Tuesday 8th November

Rachel’s Random Reads

Celeste Loves Books

 Wednesday 9th November

Snuggling on the Sofa

Chris Philippou

 Thursday 10th November

Serendipity Reviews

Fiction Fascination

 Friday 11th November

Sparkly Word

Book Lover Worm Blog

 Saturday 12th November

Big Book Little Book

Love in a Time of Feminism

 Sunday 13th November

Laura Bambrey Books

Fabulous Book Fiend


manhattan-christmas-side-banner-5Monday 14th November

Tales of Yesterday

Whispering Stories

 Tuesday 15th November

The Writing Garnet

Rae Reads

 Wednesday 16th November

Hello Chick Lit

Grass Monster

 Thursday 17th November

My Chestnut Reading Tree

Blooming Fiction

 Friday 18th November

Jess Hearts Books

A Daydreamer’s Thoughts

 Saturday 19th November

YA Yeah Yeah

Han’s Book Reviews

 Sunday 20th November

Aimee Cooper’s Book Blog

Have Books, Will Read

A huge thank you to Faye Rogers for asking me to be part of this fab blog tour!

Have you read A Very Merry Manhattan Christmas?  What did you think?  What would you do in Manhattan at Christmas?  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...