Tag Archives: Bloomsbury

Guest Post – Top Five Halloween Reads by Chris Priestley


Halloween may be over for another year *cries* but fear not I have a spooky post Halloween treat for you today!

I am super excited to be part of the blog tour to celebrate the release of Curse Of The Werewolf Boy by Chris Priestley.

Curse Of The Werewolf boy was released on the 5th October published by Bloomsbury and is a fantastic MG read to really sink your teeth into!

Today Chris shares his top 5 Halloween reads in this fab guest post….


Mildew and Sponge don’t think much of Maudlin Towers, the blackened, gloom­laden, gargoyle-infested monstrosity that is their school. But when somebody steals the School Spoon and the teachers threaten to cancel the Christmas holidays until the culprit is found, our heroes must spring into action and solve the crime!

But what starts out as a classic bit of detectivating quickly becomes weirder than they could have imagined. Who is the ghost in the attic? What’s their history teacher doing with a time machine? And why do a crazy bunch of Vikings seem to think Mildew is a werewolf?

Hugely funny, deliciously creepy and action-packed by turns, this brand new series from Chris Priestley is perfect for 8+ readers who like their mysteries with a bit of bite. Fans of Lemony Snicket and Chris Riddell will love Curse of the Werewolf Boy.


Top Ten Halloween Reads

I could list dozens of books that would make good reading for Halloween. I spent much of my teens and twenties reading uncanny and unsettling stories of one kind or another – which is why I ended up writing the Tales of Terror series and many other works designed to disturb.

I realise Halloween has now become bound up with a more violent side of horror, but I’m here to champion old school chills. These are some of the stories and writers that inspired me to write chillers myself.

The Ash Tree – MR James

I could have chosen any M R James story, I suppose, but The Ash Tree came to mind for various reasons. It has a witch in it, for one thing – and that seems appropriate for Halloween – but it is also very creepy. If you don’t like spiders you may want to give it a miss, but then again, you will undoubtedly find it troubling (and after all, it is meant to unsettle). If you have a tree with branches tapping against your windows, you may want to get the tree surgeon in before you read this.

The Woman in Black – Susan Hill

Not the Woman in Black again, I hear you yell. It’s always in people’s top creepy reads. Yes it is. But there’s a very good reason for that. It’s really hard to write a creepy novel – a properly creepy novel. Susan Hill is our greatest living exponent of it. The Woman in Black is pitch perfect. It pulls us into the story by gently making us care about Arthur Kripps as he journey’s to the bleak Jamesian east coast town of Crythin Gifford.

The location is fantastic and in the Woman in Black we have one of the iconic ghosts of horror fiction. If you think you know it because you’ve seen the film, think again. The book is far, far superior. This is the kind of story that needs to be read to work its magic. Rent yourself a lonely cottage by the sea and scare yourself silly.

The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson

I saw the 1960s film adaptation – The Haunting – before I read the novel. The film is great but the book is something else. Following on from Edgar Allan Poe’s attempt to make the house itself a character in the Fall of the House of Usher, Shirley Jackson makes Hill House a ‘living’ and malevolent force in the story. It is a really strange and claustrophobic book, best read in as close to one sitting as possible, I think.

The Shining – Stephen King

I was very snooty about Stephen King when I was young, despite having friends who were fans. The first book I read of his was Misery and I was a little underwhelmed. But Carrie and The Shining are great. Once again, The Shining plays with that idea of the house itself being the monster. The Overlook Hotel in the Rockies is another great location – so important in a good ghost story. The narrative shifts mainly between Danny, the boy with telepathic abilities – ‘the shining’ – and his deeply flawed father, Jack, an aspiring writer who has taken a job as caretaker. He and his wife will be snowed in over winter and cut off from the outside world. A really affecting – and scary – story that has compelling characters at its heart.

Ringing the Changes – Robert Aickman

I discovered Robert Aickman relatively recently. Or rather I registered his name only relatively recently. I actually have a few of his stories in various collections. Faber have recently reissued all his stories in several handsome looking books. I am still working my way through them. They are too rich to consume in great chunks, so I read them one at a time and savour them. Most of the ones I have read are deeply strange and genuinely nightmarish – like having an access all areas pass to a very disturbed mind.

Ringing the Changes has quite a Jamesian set-up on the face of it. A couple arrive at an East Anglian coastal town and the bells of all the churches start ringing – and ringing and ringing and ringing. But it’s like James after a bad night. The characters are edgy and unpleasant and the story is, like so much of Aickman, genuinely unhinged.

You can buy a copy of Curse Of The Werewolf Boy here or from your local bookshop

Or why not add it to your Goodreads list here


About Chris Priestley


Ever since he was a teenager, Chris has loved unsettling and creepy stories. He has fond memories of buying comics like Strange Tales and House of Mystery, watching classic BBC TV adaptations of M.R. James’ ghost stories every Christmas and reading assorted weirdness by everyone from Edgar Allan Poe to Ray Bradbury. He hopes his books will haunt his readers in the way those writers have haunted him.

You can find out more about Chris on his website – www.chrispriestleybooks.com

Or why not follow Chris on Twitter – @crispriestley

Or Facebook and Instagram


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Chris for such a fab post and to Faye Rogers for asking me to be part of this fab blog tour!

Have you read Curse Of The Werewolf Boy?  Did you enjoy?  What did you love about it?  What are your favourite Halloween reads?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – A Day In The Life Of Ruth Lauren by Ruth Lauren


Today I am thrilled to be part of the brilliant Prisoner Of Ice And Snow Blog Tour!

Prisoner Of Ice And Snow by Ruth Lauren was released on the 7th September 2017 published by Bloomsbury and is a brilliant MG Fantasy that will keep you gripped page after page!

Today the lovely Ruth Lauren gives us a little insight into her day in this fab guest post….



Valor is under arrest for the attempted murder of the crown prince. Her parents are outcasts from the royal court, her sister is banished for theft of a national treasure, and now Valor has been sentenced to life imprisonment at Demidova, a prison built from stone and ice.

But that’s exactly where she wants to be. For her sister was sent there too, and Valor embarks on an epic plan to break her out from the inside.

No one has escaped from Demidova in over three hundred years, and if Valor is to succeed she will need all of her strength, courage and love. If the plan fails, she faces a chilling fate worse than any prison …

An unforgettable story of sisterhood, valour and rebellion, Prisoner of Ice and Snow will fire you up and melt your heart all at once. Perfect for fans of Katherine Rundell, Piers Torday and Cathryn Constable.


A Day In The Life Of Ruth Lauren

Being an author isn’t the first job I’ve had, but it is by far my favourite. In what other job do you get requests to choose the font for a letter that one of your characters wrote to another character? Or to send along a little voice recording of word and name pronunciations for the audio book narrator? This never happened when I worked in an office, I can tell you. I might write a pitch for an idea, or talk with my agent about next steps, or get something exciting like a book cover or news on a foreign sale in my inbox.

But of course, most days I don’t get an email asking for these things. Most days my inbox is just asking me to rate that blind I ordered or make a dental appointment. And most of the time, after I’ve dropped my kids off at school (that I get to do this every day is another perk of the job), I go home to sit in front of my laptop. Sometimes it really is just sitting, because a lot of my time is spent either daydreaming—when an idea for a new book isn’t nailed down yet—or solving problems, plotting out the trajectory of stories, thinking up twists and how/when to reveal them.

Other times, when I’m drafting a book, I spend most of the day actually writing (and not on the internet at all. Not that.) That could be an outline or some more detailed notes on a specific chapter, but mostly I try to add 1k words a day to whatever story I’m working on. Sometimes I’ll have to set that aside if my editor send a book back to me and I need to do another round of edits, or line edits, or copy edits, or . . . you get the picture, editing is a big part of my life!

And if I’m lucky, some days after I’ve finished my writing work, I get a lovely review from a young person who read PRISONER OF ICE AND SNOW and liked it, and then I don’t mind that my inbox told me to make a dental appointment.

You can buy a copy of Prisoner Of Ice And Snow here or from your local bookshop

Or why not add it to your Goodreads shelf here


About Ruth Lauren


Ruth Lauren lives in the West Midlands in England with her family and a lot of cats. She likes chocolate, walking in the woods, cheese, orchids, going to the movies, and reading as many books as she can. She’s been a teacher and worked in lots of different offices, but she likes writing best. Prisoner of Ice and Snow is her debut novel.

You can find out more about Lauren on her website – www.ruthlauren.com

Or why not follow Lauren on Twitter – @ruth__lauren

And Instagram here


Blog Tour

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


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

Have you read Prisoner Of Ice And Snow?  Did you enjoy?  What did you love about it?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – The Art Of Naming Characters by Mark Powers


Today I am super excited to be part of the fab blog tour for a brilliant new super fun middle grade book, Spy Toys:  Out Of Control by Mark Powers and illustrated by the super talented Tim Wesson!

Spy Toy: Out Of Control was released on the 10th August 2017 published by the lovely people at Bloomsbury and is the second book in the Spy Toys series!

Today Mark Powers chats about The Art Of Naming Characters in this fab guest post….



Toy Story meets James Bond in the second book in this incredible action-packed series!

Fresh from the success of their first mission, our heroes the Spy Toys – Dan the Snugaliffic Cuddlestar bear, Arabella the Loadsasmiles Sunshine Doll and Flax the custom-made police robot rabbit – are ready for their next task. This time, the secret code that controls every Snaztacular Ultrafun toy has been stolen and all over the world toys are revolting and turning against the children who own them.

Can Arabella disguise herself as a super-sweet little doll in order to find out more from the daughter of Snaztacular’s top scientist? Can Dan and Flax chase down Jade the Jigsaw, the puzzling prime suspect for the robbery? And can they save the day before the mind-controlled toys forget what it means to play nice?


The Art Of Naming Characters

Few things are more delicious in literature than a good character name. Inigo Montoya. Herbert Pocket. Titus Groan. Bellatrix Lestrange. Veruca Salt. Dorian Gray. The mind savours them like a mouthful of chocolate cake.

In creating the evil elephant/human hybrid character Rusty Flumptrunk for my first SPY TOYS adventure, I took a leaf out of the book of my favourite writer Douglas Adams, one of the champion character-namers of all time. He came up with the name Slartibartfast by taking a string of extremely rude words and changing each very slightly until he had something that sounded rude, but wasn’t. If you ever find yourself on a long and boring train journey or you’re waiting to get served in your nearest branch of Curry’s and have a couple of hours to kill, you may like to ponder exactly which naughty words went into the construction of Rusty Flumptrunk.

Sometimes the unexpected use of a simple name can be humorously effective. In my new book SPY TOYS: OUT OF CONTROL, I needed a name for a unicorn. One immediately thinks of the poetic, mystical names that the great fantasy writers have dreamt up for their magical beasts: Lewis’s lordly lion Aslan, Tolkien’s slumbering dragon Smaug and Pratchett’s vast, world-bearing turtle Great A’Tuin. Which is why I decided to call my unicorn John. John the unicorn.

My current favourite coiner of fabulous names is British fantasy author Michael Moorcock, in particular the baroque handles he gives to the decadent eccentrics who populate the future Earth in his series The Dancers at the End of Time. Jherek Carnelian. The Iron Orchid. Sweet Orb Mace. Lord Jagged of Canaria. Mistress Christia. The Duke of Queens. Argonheart Po. Gaf the Horse in Tears…the list goes on. Pure pleasure.

So what’s the secret of a good character name? Lordy. Who knows? You definitely know one when you see one, or if you’re lucky, when one bubbles up from your unconscious. But there’s no guaranteed formula for creating them. All you can do is painstakingly slam different phonemes together at random in the hope of precipitating a kind of literary alchemy.

One thing I am certain of, however, is that no matter how stretched their imagination or short their deadline, no author would ever consider giving a character a name as silly as ‘Donald Trump’.

Meet John the unicorn, Dr Potty, Gemma Snowdrop, Professor Doomprickle and other oddly named characters in the second book in Mark Powers’s SPY TOYS series, SPY TOYS: OUT OF CONTROL!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can buy a copy of Spy Toys:  Out Of Control here or from your local bookshop

Or why not add it to your Goodreads here


About Mark Powers

Author Mark Powers has been making up ridiculous stories since primary school and is slightly shocked to find that people now pay him to do it. As a child he always daydreamed that his teddy bear went off on top secret missions when he was at school, so a team of toys recruited as spies seemed a great idea for a story. He grew up in north Wales and now lives in Manchester. His favourite animals are the binturong, the aye-aye and the dodo. www.spytoysbooks.com

You can find out more about Mark on his websitewww.spytoybooks.com

Or why not follow Mark on Twitter – @mpowerswriter


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Mark for such a fab guest post and to Faye Rogers and Bloomsbury for having me as part of this fab blog tour!

Have you read Spy Toys: Out Of Control?  What did you think?  Who was your favourite character?  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 – Keep Calm And Look At The Stars by Jenny McLachlan


I’m super happy to have one of my absolute fave YA authors, Jenny McLachlan, on Tales today to celebrate the release of her brilliant new shiny dazzling book, Stargazing For Beginners!

Stargazing For Beginners was released on the 6th April published by Bloomsbury and is simply a must read!

And that’s not all!

I am over the moon to be chatting to the lady herself along with Katy Birchall and Perdita and Honor Cargill at Waterstones Birmingham on the 3rd May at 6:30pm!

Friendship For Beginners

Join us for an exciting evening with Jenny McLachlan, Katy Birchall and Honor and Perdita Cargill in conversation with award-winning blogger Chelley Toy.

Our authors will not only be discussing their inspiring books but also friendship, life and their own personal laugh-out-loud moments that remind us all that we’re only human after all!

Jenny McLachlan writes the best kind of real life fiction, with big themes and irresistible characters. If you haven’t yet discovered her, you are in for a treat. Get ready to fall in love with Meg, Elsa, Annie and the rest of the biscuit club in Stargazing for Beginners.

IT Girl, Katy Birchall, is the author of the incredible series of the same name focusing on lighthearted teen heroine, Anna and the awkward and funny moments that make up her life. Katy is mildly obsessed with Jane Austen and World War II spy biographies. She currently lives in Brixton with her much cooler and funnier housemate.

Mother and daughter writing team, Honor and Perdita Cargill are the authors of the hilarious Waiting for Callback series. Honor, who is currently studying at Oxford, has dipped her toe into the world of acting as a child, giving them some unforgettable experiences to draw on for their novels together which follow 15-year-old Elektra James as she attempts to make it as an actress.

I am so excited!  Come and join us!

To book your FREE ticket:
Call: 0121 633 4353, click here or
Tweet: @bhamwaterstones
Email: events.birmingham@waterstones.com
Pop in store and speak to a bookseller.

So today in double celebration Jenny is chatting about looking at the stars in this gorgeous guest post….


Science geek Meg is left to look after her little sister for ten days after her free-spirited mum leaves suddenly to follow up yet another of her Big Important Causes. But while Meg may understand how the universe was formed, baby Elsa is a complete mystery to her.

And Mum’s disappearance has come at the worst time: Meg is desperate to win a competition to get the chance to visit NASA headquarters, but to do this she has to beat close rival Ed. Can Meg pull off this double life of caring for Elsa and following her own dreams? She’ll need a miracle of cosmic proportions .

Fans fell in love with the warmth, wit, romance and fierce friendships in Flirty Dancing, Love Bomb, Sunkissed and Star Struck, and Stargazing for Beginners has all that and galaxies more. This is the best kind of real-life fiction – with big themes and irresistible characters, it goes straight to your heart.


Keep Calm and Look at the Stars

When I knew that I wanted to write a book about a girl who loved astronomy, I started to look up. Before I wrote ‘Stargazing for Beginners’, I had taken the cosmos pretty much for granted. Like most writers, I gobbled up the detail of what was going on around me like a kleptomaniac, but I drew the line at what was beyond the sky. The stars, the moon and the sun were beautiful, but to me they were complex and unknown. Best to stay focussed on what I understood: teenagers, schools, families and matters of the heart.

But as Meg, the narrator of Stargazing for Beginners, understands the cosmos far better than she understands worldly things, I had no choice but to look up and get stuck in. How do you undo 39 years of astronomical ignorance in a short space of time? I watched documentaries, read books, trawled the internet, visited the physics department at a university and went to stargazing events at Herstmonceux Observatory.

And gradually, I started to recognise stars and constellations, and the vast distances between stars took on some meaning. One night at Herstmonceux, I saw the Orion Nebula, a massive stellar nursery. I saw it through binoculars, but it’s actually possible to observe it with the naked eye which is pretty incredible when you consider that it’s 1,344 ± 20 light years away (that’s 8.8 trillion miles to you and me).

Around this time, I started to notice that stargazing was incredibly relaxing. The more I learnt about the vastness of the universe, both in terms of its size and age, the calmer I felt. I discovered that sitting in a deckchair in my back garden, wrapped in a duvet, staring through binoculars was the perfect antidote to modern life. Yes, I might need to edit a book, start another one, do the washing, make the packed lunches, worry about my children, clean the rats out, etc, etc….But when you’re staring into space, these worries seem rather insignificant.

Stargazing stops me from feeling like I’m the centre of the universe and reminds me that I’m just a tiny part of the universe. A speck. A blip. If you’ve never done it before, I’d urge you to give it a go. Even with small binoculars you can see as much in the night sky as Galileo saw looking through a telescope – craters on the moon, Venus, the moons of Jupiter – and with the naked eye it’s possible to see the Andromeda Galaxy which is around two and a half million light years away. Just go outside, look up, and give it time. It takes around twenty to thirty minutes for our eyes to adjust to the darkness and for the wonders of the universe to be revealed.

Then sit back and enjoy the wonderful sensation of feeling insignificant.

You can buy a copy of Stargazing For Beginners here or from your local bookshop!


About Jenny McLachlan

I have always loved reading and I studied English at university just so that I could read a bit more.  Next I found my way into secondary teaching and discovered that I loved it too: I got to read more books, show off and hang out with very funny teenagers.  What a great job!

Teaching English also encouraged me to write.  Soon I had planned and started lots of different stories, but they were all abandoned and shoved to the back of a drawer.  Then, one day, the plot for Flirty Dancing came together; Bea’s story was so alive it was like a film running in my head and I knew it was a story I would finish.

Over the next few years, various exciting events distracted me from Flirty Dancing: I got married, travelled the world, was chased by an angry elephant (and a pack of dogs) and I had two babies.  While I was sitting on trains, swimming in the Outback and raising two crazy girls, I kept thinking about Bea, and her friends, Betty, Kat and Pearl, until I realised I had planned three more books.

In 2013, after attending the Winchester Writers’ Festival, I plucked up the courage to send Flirty Dancing to Julia Churchill, a brilliant children’s fiction agent at A.M. Heath.  With dazzling speed I was then signed by Bloomsbury to write the four books in the series.

You can find out more about Jenny on her website – www.jennymclachlan.com

Or why not follow Jenny on twitter – @JennyMcLachlan1


A huge thank you to Jenny for such a wonderful post that’s made us all want to go stargazing and to Emma at Bloomsbury for organising and asking me to host!

Don’t forget to join us at Waterstones Birmingham on the 3rd May 18:30pm for a brilliant panel with these fab authors!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can find out more info or grab your tickets here

Have you read Stargazing For Beginners?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?  Have you read any of Jenny’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!

Guest Post – Top Five Books with a Beach Setting By Emery Lord


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Today I am super excited to have the lovely Emery Lord on Tales with a fab guest post to celebrate the release of When We Collided.

When We Collided was released on the 7th April 2016 published by Bloomsbury and is set to be a fantastic read and from what I have heard emotional read.  I am lucky enough to have been sent a copy from Bloomsbury and I cannot wait to read it!

You can read an extract from When We Collided here

Today Emery chats about her Top Five Books with a Beach Setting 

*hands over to Emery*


when we collided

Seventeen year old Jonah Daniels has lived in Verona Cove, California, his whole life, and only one thing has ever changed: his father used to be alive, and now he’s not. Now Jonah must numbly take care of his family as they reel from their tragedy. Cue next change: Vivi Alexander, new girl in town.

Vivi is in love with life. A gorgeous and unfiltered hurricane of thoughts and feelings. She seems like she’s from another planet as she transforms Jonah’s family and changes his life. But there are always consequences when worlds collide .

A fierce and beautiful love story with a difference, When We Collided will thrill fans of All the Bright Places and I’ll Give You the Sun.

You can read an extract from When We Collided here


Top Five Books with a Beach Setting 

I’ll Give You the Sun – Jandy Nelson

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I read this novel shortly after I’d finished writing When We Collided, and I’d recently visited Mendocino, CA as research. The vibrant coastal town in I’ll Give You the Sun felt just like that, a place ripe for art and moodiness.

Keeping the Moon- Sarah Dessen

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And all of the books set in Colby, her fictional beach town. You can feel the sand stuck to your feet and taste the fried food, truly. My hair feels salt-flecked and my face sun-warmed just thinking about it.

Where the Stars Still Shine – Trish Doller

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There is a sexy deep-sea diver; my work here is done. (Okay, okay, also it is so atmospheric and the prose is just gorgeous.)

Nantucket Blue (& Red) – Leila Howland

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My aunt has a house on Cape Cod that I love, and these books captured so much of the small town but big tourist East Coast life. Absolutely perfect beach read.

Moonglass by Jessi Kirby

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No one writes oceanscape love stories like Jessi Kirby, who is herself a mermaid and resides on the shore of the ocean.

BONUS

Second Chance Summer- Morgan Matson

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Okay, this is a lakeside book. But I’m counting as an ocean book because you will weep salty tears. And you will love it.

when we collidedYou can buy a copy of When We Collided here or why not visit your local independent book shop.


About Emery Lord

Emery Lord

Emery Lord is a 20-something Midwestern girl who writes stories about high school and best friends and weird families and the crushes fluttery and so painfully awkward you could implode.

She lives in Cincinnati in a 100 year-old pink row house with a scientist, a one-eyed beagle, and a dog named Winston Churchill.

You can find out more about Emery on her website – www.emerylord.com

Or why not follow her on twitter using – @emerylord


Blog Tour

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

BlogTour


A huge thank you to Emery for a fab blog post and to Emma at Bloomsbury for organising and sending me a copy of the book!

Have you read When We Collided or any of Emery’s other books?  Has this post tempted you to go and grab a copy?  What is your favourite book with a beach setting?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading

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