On the 19th March 2016 I was lucky enough to be invited to a fab event at Scholastic!
I was so excited to attend and chat books, books and more books and with a fab line up for the day what more could I ask for?!
We even had a few extra special guests to!
So I got up bright and early and headed down to London!
It’s always an absolute pleasure attending the Scholastic offices and upon entering the fifth floor to be greeted with the awesome red sign we have all come to love over the years.
So we all settled in and helped ourselves to the lovely food and drink that Scholastic had kindly laid out for us!
The lovely Rachel kicked off the day with a little introduction.
And then it was onto the books!
First up the lovely Olivia introduced us to some wonderful upcoming books!
The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Salisbury
Ever since her brother Lief disappeared, Errin’s life has gone from bad to worse. Not only must she care for her sick mother, she has to scrape together rent money by selling illegal herbal cures. But none of that compares to the threat of the vengeful Sleeping Prince whom the Queen just awoke from his enchanted sleep. When her village is evacuated as part of the war against the Sleeping Prince, Errin is left desperate and homeless. The only person she can turn to is the mysterious Silas, a young man who buys deadly poisons from Errin, but won’t reveal why he needs them. Silas promises to help Errin, but when he vanishes, Errin must journey across a kingdom on the brink of war to seek another way to save her mother and herself. But what she finds splits the world as she knows it apart, and with the Sleeping Prince drawing nearer, Errin must make a heartbreaking choice that could affect the whole kingdom…
The Sleeping Prince is the sequel to The Sin Eaters Daughter. I am lucky enough to have already read this brilliant book and loved it so much! I am craving the third book already!
You can find my review of The Sin Eaters Daughter here
We were lucky enough to have Mel with us for the day who joined for a fab panel towards the end of the day.
The Shadow Queen by C J Redwine
Lorelai, crown princess and fugitive-at-large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. She’ll have to be stronger, faster and master more magical power than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen. When the queen’s huntsman – a dragon-shifting king – tracks down Lorelai, sparks fly between them. Can the king overcome his predator side – and can Irina’s dark magic be defeated?
This book, a Snow White re-telling, sounds amazing! We were lucky enough to have an exclusive video from C J Redwine.
C J chatted to us about the book and how she grew up visiting libraries and reading Grimms fairy tales and after seeing Snow White And The Huntsman she wanted to write her own version where Snow White had her own voice.
C J also told us how much she loves fandom especially English fandom like Harry Potter, Sherlock and Tom Hiddleston…..this made us all chuckle as she produced a huge cardboard cut out….we were all just very jealous really!
You can see part of C J’s video below thanks to the Scholastic UK You Tube Channel.
The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
The fourth and final instalment in the spellbinding series from bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater. All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love’s death. She doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure any more.
I have heard so many good things about this series, but I am yet to pick it up. The amount of excitement in the room about this fourth and final instalment of the series has made me really eager to pick the first book up asap (I was lucky enough to take home books one and two with me from Scholastic).
Defender Of The Realm by Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler
Alfie thought he knew his destiny. He didn’t know the half of it. Fourteen year old heir to the throne, Alfie, didn’t expect to be King so soon. He DEFINITELY did not expect to be …DEFENDER OF THE REALM. A legendary superhero, fighting a secret, centuries-long, battle to protect the nation from monsters and super-villains. An ordinary girl, Hayley Hicks, finds herself fighting alongside Alfie in a desperate struggle to stop a fearsome new enemy, the Black Dragon.
Another book I am lucky enough to have already read and loved!
You can find my review of Defender Of The Realm here
We were lucky enough to have the co-authors, Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler with us for the day and they chatted to us about the book, how they met, other projects they have worked on including Dangermouse and Thunderbirds and writing together.
They made us laugh lots!
There’s also a fab Q&A with Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler on Scholastic’s You Tube channel which I have posted below.
Crush by Eve Ainsworth
Love hurts … but should it hurt this much? Reeling from her mum’s sudden departure, Anna finds the comfort she needs in her blossoming relationship with Will. He’s handsome and loving, everything Anna has always dreamt of. He’s also moody and unpredictable, pushing her away from her friends, her music. He wants her to be his and his alone. He wants her to be perfect. Anna’s world is closing in. But threatening everything is a dark secret that not even Will can control… Eve Ainsworth’s gripping second novel is a pitch-perfect exploration of love at its most powerful, addictive and destructive.
Another book I am lucky enough to have already read!
Crush is Eve’s second book and tells the story of a toxic relationship from both sides brilliantly and is a solid reminder that domestic abuse is never okay in any way shape or form.
We were lucky enough to have Eve with us for the day who joined the panel towards the end of the day.
It was then time for the lovely Lucy to take over an introduce some really exciting upcoming releases!
Lying About Last Summer by Sue Wallman
Skye is looking for an escape from the reality of last summer when her sister died in a tragic accident. Her parents think that a camp for troubled teenagers might help her process her grief. All of the kids at the summer camp have lost someone close, but is bringing them together such a good idea? And can everyone at camp be trusted? When Skye starts receiving text messages from someone pretending to be her dead sister, she knows it’s time to confront the past. But what if the danger is right in front of her?
I am SO super excited for this book! It sounds fab! I was lucky enough to have already met the author Sue Wallman at a previous event the week before and she is super lovely. I was then lucky enough to meet her for a second time as she joined us for the day.
Sue talked to us all about her writing and her road to publication and there was not a dry eye in the house when she told us the story of when she received her publication deal. This was Sue’s first time speaking about the book to a big group of people and she did amazingly well.
You can find my review of Lying About Last Summer here
The Museum Of Heartbreak by Meg Leder
Penelope is a pretty regular sixteen year old girl living in New York City. Except for a few run-ins with her nemesis Cherisse, high school has been fairly drama free …until the day that Keats shows up at school. Handsome, charming, but with an edge, Keats comes in and upends everything. Faced with her first break-up, and her first heartbreak, Penelope decides to put together a collection to tell her story and help her sort out her feelings. Featuring a spectrum of artefacts that chronicle the lives of the curator, her best friends, her first boyfriend and some dinosaurs, the Museum of Heartbreak explores the giddy confusion, inevitable sadness and sheer joy of growing up and falling in love.
This book sounds fab! And that cover super beautiful!
Can’t wait for this one!
Super Awkward by Beth Garrod
Fifteen year old Bella Fisher is an absolute winner…at failing at life. She’s the owner of a mouth that won’t listen to her brain, the most groin-sniffing-y dog ever created, and the ability to majorly embarrass herself in front of every single specimen of boy-dom. So imagine her surprise when she’s abandoned in a caravan park, dressed as a giant cereal box and somehow manages to pull off the most alarmingly un-Bella thing imaginable – having an actual tongue snog with Zac. The world’s fittest boy. When Bella is ripped away from Zac, she logs onto his favourite secret-sharing app to find him. Soon she’s spilling her friends’ most embarrassing secrets on the web…and not as anonymously as she thinks. While juggling her growing list of crushes, an evil ex-boyfriend, a chronically annoying uber-sis, and the leaking of her BFFs’ most cringeworthy moments, Bella finds her life spinning into catastrophe. Will she be able to piece it back together? And more importantly, do it while sorting out the ultimate prom problem?
This sounds like such a fun book that is going to make me laugh out loud!
We were lucky enough to have Beth with us for the day and she talked to us all about her debut book, awkward moments and her publication journey.
Beth made us all laugh lots! You never would have known this was the first time she was talking about the book to a group of people.
You can find a guest post Beth did for my blog with ten facts about Bella Fisher here
Girl Hearts Girl by Lucy Sutcliffe
An inspiring, uplifting and sympathetic story about sexuality and self-acceptance, Lucy Sutcliffe’s debut memoir is a personal and moving coming out story. In 2010, at seventeen, Lucy Sutcliffe began an online friendship with Kaelyn, a young veterinary student from Michigan. Within months, they began a long distance relationship, finally meeting in the summer of 2011. Lucy’s video montage of their first week spent together in Saint Kitts, which she posted to the couple’s YouTube channel, was the first in a series of films documenting their long-distance relationship. Funny, tender and candid, the films attracted them a vast online following. Now, for the first time, Lucy’s writing about the incredible personal journey she’s been on; from never quite wanting the fairy-tale of Prince Charming to realising she was gay at the age of 14, through three years of self-denial to finally coming out to friends and family, to meeting her American girlfriend Kaelyn.
I know I keep saying it, but another book I am super excited about getting my hands on!
This is going to be an amazing love story and is based on real life events.
It was then time for all of the authors to sit all together and be grilled by David Maybury and us!
With prosecco in hand we listened to them talk books and inspiration and got to ask so many questions! It was fab!
We then had a chance to listen to David Maybury and Lucy Rogers chat all about the editing process.
It was really fascinating insight to hear about discovering a manuscript, the journey that the editor and the manuscript / agent / author go on and then the finished product.
We then had a chat from the design team at Scholastic.
I was unable to take pictures at this point at the request of Scholastic, but they showed us the design process for The Sin Eaters Daughter by Melinda Salisbury and the new edition of the Hunger Games.
Again this was completely fascinating. I love feeling like we are getting a little glimpse behind the scenes!
It was then quiz time!
Not any ordinary quiz….a Hunger Games quiz!
I clearly need to re-read this series and polish up my quiz skills in this subject as I admit I was useless!
Our team came last, but we were quite proud of that and had a lot of fun with our answers!
So all that remained was to get books signed, have a chat and collect our goodie bag….and what a fab goodie bag it was!
A huge thank you to Scholastic and everyone involved for a brilliant day! It was fab!
Look out for some exciting twitter giveaways coming up soon!
Have you read any of these books? Are you excited for any of the upcoming books we were shown? 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 !
On the 11th March 2016 I was invited to the launch party of this brilliant book, The Island by the lovely Olivia Levez!
The event took place at Waterstones Birmingham where the Waterstones team along with Olivia, her wonderful Mum and family took over the whole first floor and basically turned it into a island of it’s own!
All the food was island themed and was yummy! It was almost like we were being fed ready to be castaway for months!
After giving Olivia a big hug and some flowers we tucked in!
As everyone started to arrive the room started to fill up and the atmosphere was fantastic! There was a lot of love and proudness in the room for Olivia and we all celebrated with champagne!
(Above photo credit to Waterstones Birmingham with kind permission)
And not forgetting the cake of course!
After lots of mingling, chatting, eating and drinking it was time for us all to sit down and let the wonderful Olivia take the centre stage.
Every seat was filled! The room was packed to the brim!
(Above photo credit to Waterstones Birmingham with kind permission)
Olivia looked a vision of beauty sitting up on the stage ready to give a speech and answer any questions.
Olivia told us all about her life long dream of writing a book and how being a teacher and being quite busy day to day she sat down in the six weeks holiday and wrote the first draft Of The Island in her caravan in west Wales.
Olivia even gave us some survival tips….take tampons! She advised us to google tampon and survival and look at the photos….there’s amazing things you can do with a Lillet!
I got mentioned in Olivia speech which was so touching and completely amazing….I went very red and it brought a tear to my eye.
It was then time for Olivia to read a little bit of The Island to us….
We were all captivated!
Olivia took lots of fab questions from the audience including questions about her writing process, her inspirations and why she chose to write a castaway book. Olivia told us she was very inspired by a story she read about a woman who volunteered years ago to live on a castaway island with a man for a year and was fascinated by it. Olivia also told us that she realised there wasn’t a castaway YA book and had always wanted to write one.
Then we moved onto the part where Olivia got to sign a lot of books….and there was lots of them!
(Above photo credit to Waterstones Birmingham with kind permission)
(Above photo credit to Waterstones Birmingham with kind permission)
(Above photo credit to Waterstones Birmingham with kind permission)
(Above photo credit to Sue Wallman with kind permission)
It was a fantastic night for a fantastic book launch!
Thank you for having me Waterstones Birmingham and Olivia!
And most of all congratulations to Olivia on the release of your debut, The Island!
You can find out all about Olivia’s steps to publication in this guest post here
On the 20th February 2016 I excitedly jumped out of bed at 4:30am! I know right! How could this be possible at 4:30pm?!
Well I had a train to catch to London for a very exciting blogger event at Faber & Faber! A chance to hear about all of their up coming releases and hopefully chat and eat cake….and oh yes there was cake!
So before attending Faber and despite the rain it was wonderful to meet up with these lovelies for a good book chat, coffee and laughs…..
It was then time to head over to Faber & Faber located not far from the British Museum it was like walking down the street belonging to Upstairs, Downstairs. I passed beautiful white buildings and houses with big wide front doors until I eventually arrived at Faber.
We were welcomed by the lovely Hannah Love who explained that they were going to be talking about all the books and we had two special author guests, Alwyn Hamilton author of Rebel Of The Sands and Laure Eve author of Fearsome Dreamer, The Illusionists and the upcoming The Graces which she was going to talk to us a little about.
We were even encouraged to eat sweets and cake!
Anyway onto the books….
We heard about so many fab books from the Faber Team and each description was enthused with such enthusiasm and love it was really touching to see. You could really tell how much the Faber team love their books and authors.
“Tell me that and we’ll go. Right now. Save ourselves and leave this place to burn. Tell me that’s how you want your story to go and we’ll write it straight across the sand.”
Dustwalk is Amani’s home. The desert sand is in her bones. But she wants to escape. More than a want. A need.
Then a foreigner with no name turns up to save her life, and with him the chance to run. But to where? The desert plains are full of danger. Sand and blood are swirling, and the Sultan’s enemies are on the rise.
First up we were lucky enough to have the lovely author of Rebel Of The Sands, Alwyn Hamilton tell us more about this wonderful book in person.
It was so interesting to hear about the factual research that Alwyn carried out whilst writing Rebel Of The Sands and the fables and stories that she read as research. Rebel Of The Sands took Alwyn roughly two years to write and like many of us she suffered with writers block and well as times to work out plot points. Alwyn revealed that one of the hardest scenes she wrote was the moving train scene only because it forced the issue of figuring out some plot points to make it work and when it all did it clicked into place nicely.
I got to meet the lovely Alywn at the end of the event and get my personalised book proof signed and she was so lovely 🙂
Alaska, 1970: growing up here is like nowhere else.
Ruth wants to be remembered by her grieving mother. Dora wishes she was invisible to her abusive father. Alyce is staying at home to please her parents. Hank is running away for the sake of his brothers.
Four very different lives are about to become entangled. Because if we don’t save each other, how can we begin to save ourselves?
I have heard such good things and high praise for this book prior to this event and Faber sold it to be even more. We were informed that this book tells the story of four teenagers with different stories and that the book is heart-warming, diverse and uplifting. We were fore warned that chapter 13 may make us cry! So excited for this book!
**Please Note – the above is not the final cover**
Sixteen year old Solomon has agoraphobia. He hasn’t left his house in three years, which is fine by him. At home, he is the master of his own kingdom–even if his kingdom doesn’t extend outside of the house.
Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to go to a top tier psychiatry program. She’ll do anything to get in.
When Lisa finds out about Solomon’s solitary existence, she comes up with a plan sure to net her a scholarship: Befriend Solomon. Treat his condition. And write a paper on her findings. To earn Solomon’s trust, Lisa begins letting him into her life, introducing him to her boyfriend Clark, and telling him her secrets. Soon, Solomon begins to open up and expand his universe. But all three teens have grown uncomfortably close, and when their facades fall down, their friendships threaten to collapse, as well.
I have to say I had not heard of this book before the event, but I am completely in love with it before even reading it. We were played the most wonderful video message from the author John Corey Whaley and it made me smile and also brought a tear to my eye. The video introduced us to the book and the reasoning behind writing the book. John Corey Whaley wanted to find a way to deal with his anxiety and he did this by working through his issues by writing this book. He wanted to show that someone can still be happy even if you are in a situation like the main character Solomon finds himself in. John read from the first chapter of the book and I was mesmerised.
We were all given a copy of this book in our goodie bags and there are 4 different colours with different quotes on the back. I got the blue one as you can see above.
I think this will be a book to watch!
The truth is that jail is a place where you can still hold on to hope – hope you’ll be bailed out, hope you’ll be found innocent, hope you’ll get a second chance.
Four teenagers, never destined to be friends – one rebel, one bully, one geek and one pariah, find themselves on the run from corrupt police officers in a stolen police car. How can you prove your innocence when the people who are supposed to protect you are the ones out to get you?
A beautiful, thrilling story of rebellion, and of friendship triumphing against all odds.
Next up I was so excited to hear about the new Erin Lange book! This book is meant to be quite different from Dead Ends and Butter and is meant to be a thrilling books with the whole book taking place over one night! I can’t wait!
Next up we had a lovely video from Kate A Boorman who spoke about the next book in this fab series, Heartfire. The cover is not pictured above, but you can get a sneaky peak down below 🙂
This series sounds fascinating!
Next up we were honoured to have the lovely Laure Eve giving us a reading and chatting about her upcoming new book The Graces!
There’s no cover yet – but here’s a bit about the book….
Everyone said the Graces were witches. They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair. They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different. All I had to do was show them that person was me.
Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?
This beautifully-written thriller will grip you from its very first page.
It was amazing listening to both Faber and Laure talking about The Graces…a gripping read that will draw you into it’s world and blow your mind! Count me in!
I also enjoyed hearing about how Laure was obsessed with the reality of fantasy and desire and how these can take over your world.
The Graces will be a duology and is partially inspired by the film The Craft…the idea that magic can be something, used for good and evil.
Laure was asked about the name The Graces and she told us that she loved the name instantly and it describes exactly how the characters are. Laure also said there’s a lot of things about names in the book. It was also awesome to hear Laure read from chapter one.
When 11-year-old Caitlin discovers a shrimp-like alien creature on the shores of her island home, she takes responsibility for teaching it about the world. Mostly, this just involved stopping little Perijee from eating everything! Caitlin becomes increasingly close to her alien friend, treating him like a brother.
There’s only one problem – Perijee won’t stop growing.
Then the authorities try to hunt him down and through his fear, Perijee disappears and starts causing trouble. Caitlin must leave home and travel across the country to try and convince Perijee to stop destroying everything before it’s too late.
I have been waiting so long to get my hands on this book! A middle grade read about friendship and loneliness! I already know I’m going to love this!
Next up we heard about the new book from Francesca Simon, The Monstrous Child, which sounded very different from Horrid Henry. You can see a sneaky peak of the cover on the above pictures, but here’s what the story is about…
A stunning, operatic, epic drama, like no other. Meet Hel, an ordinary teenager – and goddess of the Underworld. Why is life so unfair? Hel tries to make the best of it, creating gleaming halls in her dark kingdom and welcoming the dead who she is forced to host for eternity. Until eternity itself is threatened.
Sound’s wonderful right?
Next up was a book that I am hugely excited about! The new Emma Carroll book, Strange Star!
They were coming tonight to tell ghost stories. ‘A tale to freeze the blood,’ was the only rule.
It’s a stormy night in 1816 when there’s a knock at the door of Villa Diodati. Lying in the rain is a dead girl, and with her, lots of questions. Like, why did she come? What was she looking for? And who was she running from?
The breathtaking new book from Emma Carroll, critically-acclaimed author of Frost Hollow Hall, The Girl Who Walked On Air, In Darkling Wood and The Snow Sister. Strange Star is a deliciously creepy story inspired by Mary Shelly and Frankenstein, brought to life by a leading talent in children’s literature.
It was such a huge treat to hear about Emma’s new book. You can see a sneak peak of the cover above and I think the blurb sums it up a lot more than me going I can’t wait!
We then heard about the new Natasha Farrant Time For Jas which is part of the Diaries Of Bluebell Gadsby series and again had a sneak peak of the cover!
Bluebell and her siblings are beginning a new school year. Suddenly everyone is freaking out. Twig has taken up violent team sports, poor Jas is being bullied by the ghastly Cupcake Crew and Blue has a big decision to make.
There are fights and crying fits. Halloween parades gone wrong and secret graffiti artists. Confusing friendships and life-changing choices. But there is also laughter and above all, there is love – and that’s what being a family is all about.
And last but by no means least we heard about a new book which is being released in hardback called Podkin One-Ear about a travelling rabbit and was described as wrapping yourself up in a blanket.
A thick white blanket covers the wide slopes of the band of hills some call the Razorback Downs…
Podkin One-Ear is a legend: a fearsome warrior rabbit whose reputation for cunning and triumph in battle has travelled the ages. But how did he become such a mighty fighter? The answer may surprise you… When a travelling bard arrives at Thornwood Warren on Midwinter night, he is warmly welcomed. In return for food and lodging, he settles down to tell of how Podkin One-Ear – and soon the rabbits are enthralled to hear the story of how one lost little rabbit overcame the cruellest enemy imaginable, and became the greatest warrior their land has ever know.
My ears pricked up lots when someone mentioned Watership Down only a little more action packed. I’m intrigued!
It was then time to mingle …. and mingle we did!
I even got to meet the lovely Gracie Actually!
We then were lucky enough to take home an awesome goodie bag!
A huge huge thank you to everyone at Faber for making me feel so welcome and for a fab afternoon full of books, cake and love!
Do any of the books above peak your interest? Which ones? I would love to hear from you! Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !
The wonderful Melinda Salisbury decided to have not one, but two launches to celebrate the release of The Sleeping Prince and held the second launch in Birmingham which I was so over the moon to be able to attend!
The Sleeping Prince is the second book in the Sin Eaters Daughter Trilogy and is AMAZING!
You can check out my review of The Sleeping Prince here
So the setting was set. Deep on the history level of Waterstones the always wonderful bookseller extraordinaire Jamie started the evening off giving Mel a huge big welcome.
Mel entered the room and settled down and I did a little snigger that behind her were books about Richard III (her love) and Henry VII (her enemy).
Although they were not holding her books like the examples below that myself and the hubby had a great amount of fun using Photoshop with!
We were all given the chance to get our frustrations out and were permitted to heckle and boo Mel for certain things that happen in both The Sin Eater’s Daughter and The Sleeping Prince, but we were all far too polite and possibly in too much awe of such a wonderful writer. In case we did decide to boo, Mel had a huge bottle of readers tears aka wine on hand!
So the event started and the lovely Mel looked beautiful in her crown.
The event was brilliant and Jamie had some brilliant questions up her sleeve as always. Mel spoke about The Sin Eater’s Daughter, The Sleeping Prince, myths and fairy tales and her inspirations including Mel’s experiences whilst travelling.
One things that Mel said really stuck in my mind…she said sometimes its good to go a different route home from school or work or get off that bus a stop earlier or later and walk to your destination. The world is full of inspiration and it’s good to explore.
Mel also mentioned how she has written a couple of short stories with the history of some of the back stories in the books like The Sleeping Prince and The Bringer more for herself so she could write the main books, but it was agreed by everyone in the room that we need these books to be published asap!
*bats eyelashes at Scholastic*
Mel also read from The Sleeping Prince….from the prologue! Yes indeed!
It was then the audiences turn to ask questions and there were quite a few questions to be asked. One particular question was about book three. Mel kept quite tight lipped, but we all have a horrible feeling that she is plotting to kill off probably our favourite characters! She had that look on her face.
It was interesting to hear that the synopsis for book three had been sent off to Scholastic for approval and also that the start and the end of this trilogy has been set in stone and planned by Mel from day one and it’s not changed. I’m both amazed and scared about this prospect! I’m sure she has plans to destroy us all emotionally!
Another fab question was about what she is going to write after the trilogy is complete. Mel told us that in down time between writing The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy she has started something and from what she has described it sounds awesome! I’m hoping that it gets published so much!
Once the time for the signing came it was time for Mel to dig out the wax seal! That’s right! Waterstones literally let Mel play with fire. After using gold wax at her first launch in London (and setting Samantha Shannons book on fire) we had complete faith that she was now a pro at this. Using silver wax for this launch we all couldn’t wait for Mel to get signing!
It was also fab to see some friends at the event. It feels like it’s been too long since I last saw some of these beautiful faces. Here’s a few…
It was then time for a well earned glass of wine and of course to give Mel her little launch present that I brought for her. I forgot to take a picture of it but basically it was a tote bag with her two books printed on each side 🙂
It was a really fab night! I had so much fun!
Thanks Waterstones Birmingham for hosting such a fab event and a huge thank you and congratulations to my lovely friend and wonderful author Melinda Salisbury!
One amazing lady!
About Melinda Salisbury
When not working on her next novel, Melinda Salisbury is busy reading and travelling, both of which are now more addictions than hobbies.
Or find out what about an evening last year with Melinda Salisbury here
Have you read The Sleeping Prince or The Sin Eater’s Daughter? What did you think? Has this review made you want to go grab a copy? 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!
*Blows off cobwebs and curses my was broken now fixed laptop*
Back in July 2015 I was lucky enough to have taken part in a blogging workshop at YALC!
This was thanks to the UKYABA where I won an award for Champion Newcomer back in March 2015! It was an unexpected, nerve wracking, lovely added bonus to winning the award and an opportunity and experience that I feel so honoured and thankful to the UKYABA and YALC for.
You can find out more about when I found out about the Blogging Panels at YALC here
You can also find out about the UKYABA awards and why I love UKYA here and also find out what we got up to at the UKYABA awards night here
Blogging 101 (Blogging for Beginners) Workshop
So the panel I was on was called Blogging 101 (Blogging for Beginners) Workshop and I was with the fabulous Andrew ( @PewterWolf13 ) and lovely Laura ( @SisterSpooky ) and chaired by the brilliant Andy Robb !
The scene was set and we all wondered how one earth all these seats would be filled! I mean who would want to come and see us yapping on about blogging?!
I mean look how terrified we were!
But people did come! I know! How did that happen?! It was so wonderful to see all these people enthusiastic about blogging and books if I wasn’t so nervous I think I would have shed tears of happiness (okay so this may have happened afterwards)!
My lovely husband filmed the workshop! There was quite a bit of back ground noise so the quality of the video is not the best, but it gives any one who could not attend a chance to see what was discussed. I have not edited the video so it is the full 45 minutes long.
I present to you the Blogging 101 (Blogging for Beginners) Workshop!
At the end of the workshop I gave out some goodie bags which I put together specifically for the workshop. I popped books, bookish swag, copies of reviews and a mini review guide (which I will pop up on my blog soon) into the bags.
A huge thank you to Jessie at Stripes Publishing and Jazz at Chicken House for providing me with some swag to pop in the bags and an even bigger huge thank you to the lovely Maggie at Egmont for offering and providing me with two of my favourite books of 2015, Seed and The It Girl to pop into the bags also. I am so so thankful for all of your kindness and generosity xx
Also huge thank you to my husband and son, Corey who helped carry 80 books and swag across London and helped me pop the bags together in the Green Room at YALC as well as lovely Lucy Saxons lovely Mom who helped us pop the items in the bags!
I stayed to watch this panel and take some pictures! It was a brilliant workshop full of advise and again it was wonderful to see so many people come to the workshop all interested in blogging and books!
Again my lovely husband filmed the workshop (I took over for a bit at the start)! There was quite a bit of back ground noise so the quality of the video is not the best, but it gives any one who could not attend a chance to see what was discussed. I have not edited the video so it is the full 45 minutes long.
I present to you the Taking your Blog to the Next Level Workshop
At the end of this workshop I had arranged with the other blogging workshop panellists to put together a little thank you to Andy Robb for all his hard work for the UKYABA and for providing us with support during the lead up to the workshops and always! He is a top man and one that I am very proud to have got know through my time blogging.
Love for the Blogging Workshops
It’s also been AMAZING to see the people who attended the workshops reaction and response on twitter! I’m sure I speak for us all when I say that this has been truly amazing and we are so so thankful to everyone for their support and kind words.
The UKYABA Blogging For Beginners Workshop was also featured on the Booktrust Website – check us out here !
I wrote about the Blogging Workshops and UKYABA prior to YALC here
Check out this fab article in the Guardian about taking your blog to the next level by @lucythereader – here
I also loved this blog post by panelist Viv about taking your blog to the next level that she wrote prior to the workshops here
Fab blogging workshop panelist @sisterspooky wrote a lovely post about her workshop experience here
We are here to help in anyway that we can so please do feel free to contact us at anytime 🙂
Before I go….
Before I go I just wanted to thank every one who came to either of the blogging workshops! It was amazing to see everyone there!
A huge thank you to Andy Robb, UKYABA and YALC for making this happen, supporting bloggers everywhere and giving me the some confidence in public speaking back!
Thank you to the publishers who helped me put together the goodie bags in a short amount of time and to Maggie at Egmont who attend the blogging for begginers workshop and live tweeted!
Thank you to my lovely husband for filming the workshops, Lisa over at @City_Of_Ya for taking lots of photos on my phone and also providing me with photos she had taken too.
Thanks to my workshop buddies Andrew and Laura who made the workshop so much fun and made me laugh so much and to Jim, Lucy and Viv for an inspiring, fun second panel.
Most of all thank you to the UKYA blogging community! I feel honoured everyday to have met and know such wonderful people. Sometimes I have to pinch myself! The bloggers, publicists, authors and friends I have made! You are all wonderful and I am so so proud and thankful to be a part of it!
On the 5th of March I had the absolute pleasure of attending an event at Waterstones Birmingham High Street…it was a book talk and signing with Melinda Salisbury author of The Sin Eaters Daughter!
You can find my review of The Sin Eater’s Daughter here
Now I have met Mel a few times before and she is awesome (check out one time at the Scholastic Blogger Brunch here )! I feel we have become friends through twitter and meeting up at a few previous events and as this was her first book shop event I wanted to come and show my support for this wonderful, lovely lady!
Waterstones did a fab job of laying out lots of copies of The Sin Eaters Daughter for us to buy….so much so that even though I already have a copy I bought another one!
Mel turned up at the event early and immediately started to interact with everyone that had turned up to see her, not wanting to make a grand entrance, but just mingle and relax…this was awesome and so refreshing and gave the evening a very personal feel which was lovely.
During this time myself and Mel swapped presents…Mel gave me a fab The Sin Eaters Daughter necklace and I gave her a mug with a picture of The Sin Eaters Daughter on and….well basically a picture of Mel holding her book! I got the impression Mel was more chuffed at having her face on the mug than her actual book! 🙂
Now the seating at Waterstones was laid out traditionally, as normal, in rows all facing the big comfy leather chairs that the author normally sits in to face the audience. That was until Mel changed EVERYTHING! Making the event even more personal and with a comfy feel we all moved the chairs into a semi circle around the authors chair. It was a brilliant idea and far more intimate…just perfect!
And so the event began! Mel read her favourite extract from the middle of the book! I had never heard her read before and it was so relaxing and soothing the way Mel told the story…I defiantly am booking Mel to read me bedtime stories…recommended for a good nights sleep 🙂
We then got to hear some fab stories including a little about Mel’s life pre writing the book. Even with some of Mel’s family members in the audience she opened up and was brutally honest it was endearing! I loved the fact that upon asking the audience who had not read The Sin Eaters Daughter yet to ensure no spoilers were given away during the talk her own brother put his hand up and confessed he hadn’t read it yet! I think Mel was plotting revenge for this act of treason later!
Jamie from Waterstones did a fantastic job with the questions she posed to Mel! We got to hear about how Mel likes to write….in her pyjamas in bed, who she would cast in a movie of The Sin Eaters Daughter with one character from the book Merek being the gorgeous Aneurin Barnard and about travelling and how people should get out there and travel as much as they can. Mel also spoke briefly about how she is writing book 2 and how she has control over her world in The Sin Eaters Daughter with a cryptic message…I’m sorry! *cries at what this could possibly mean*
All in all fantastic questions!
We then got to hear Mel read from the start of the book…*plays lullaby music and listens to soothing story telling voice*
Then onto the audience Q&A! It was met a little by silence to begin with so I thought I would break the ice and ask Mel if there were any songs that influenced the book or that she could relate to The Sin Eaters Daughter.
This was her answer. Perfect!
A few more questions were then asked and Mel answered them all.
Now I thought I was being a good friend by buying another copy of Mel’s wonderful book…so to get this dedication whilst having the book signed….well just how rude….
Okay okay….maybe I deserved it just a teeny weeny iccle bit….okay maybe a lot! You see during the Q&A a question to beat all questions popped into my head! Some of you may be aware that Mel is a huge fan of King Richard III and Sirius Black from Harry Potter…..so I thought I would be a bit Slytherin of me …. actually I should probably think before I speak and not just say the first thing that pops into my head!
(Note to all other authors….I only asked this as I know Mel and I knew she would find it funny and take it on the chin…please don’t fear my questions lol)
The question I asked was this…
Who would you snog, marry, avoid out of – Richard III, Siruis Black and Aneurin Barnard!
Mel recoiled in horror!
Of course I didn’t make her answer it…I was only joking…I mean I couldn’t be that cruel! He He He
Then it was time for the signing and again Mel being Mel did things a little differently and it was fab! Instead of sitting at the normal signing table Mel pulled up a comfy chair and took time to chat to us all individually whilst signing our books! And when I say chat I mean chat. There was no pressure or rushing to get to the next person. Mel chatted to everyone for as long as they wanted! So lovely!
It was also lovely to have time to chat to other bloggers or people I have met on twitter recently….thanks for all being awesome!
All in all it was a fantastic evening and Mel did such a fab job considering it was her first bookshop event! She was relaxed, fun, confident and friendly. Everything and more that you could ask one of your favourite authors to be!
This is the Mel I have come to know and love!
A fantastic lady through and through!
Thanks for being you Mel! Your awesome!
Oh and for those of you wondering….I did get revenge for my comment in my book signed by Mel.
May I present to you my son, Corey….waving a flag….a Henry VII flag *evil laugh*
If you don’t already follow Mel on twitter please do – she is hilarious – @ahintofmystery
Also you can find out more about Mel on her website – here
Check out Mel talking about this event and what she got up to in the month of March – here
Find out more about The Sin Eaters Daughter or why not buy The Sin Eaters Daughter here
You can find my review of The Sin Eater’s Daughter here
Or the second in the trilogy, The Sleeping Prince here
Or find out what we got up to at The Sleeping Prince launch in Birmingham here
Did you attend this event or have you met Mel at any other events before? Have you read The Sin Eaters Daughter? What did you think? I would love to hear from you! Please feel free to leave a comment by using the reply button at the top of this post or why not tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!
Happy reading….and thinking up possible snog, marry, avoid questions for Mel! 🙂
In a room full of wine, nibbles, authors, publicists, bloggers, friends and family!
The first ever UKYA Blogger Awards 2015!
The dream child of super fabulous organiser of the awards, author and all round cool guy Andy Robb laid on a huge celebration to beat all celebrations! A celebration of bloggers! The 1st in its kind and here’s hoping for many more!
I couldn’t wait to attend the awards, not because I was up for an award, but to finally meet authors, publicists and other bloggers who I have been talking to for a while and had never met! I have to say I wasn’t disappointed!
So on the tube I got from my hotel dragging my husband and my son along for the ride to! My son was only interested in one thing….to support his Mom I hear you cry….well nope…..it was meeting The Dreamsnatcher author Abi Elphinstone! Bless Him!
The night was filled with laughter, hugs and chatting and upon arriving it was great to mingle with everyone……I spent most of the night going…..Oh hello I recognise you from twitter *hugs* or OMG ITS ACTUALLY YOU *hugs* quite a few times! 🙂
Then the awards presentation started! The awesome Andy Robb did a fab job of announcing the awards, the nominees and the presenters of the awards and everyone cheered for each other! So much love and support in one room! It was amazing!
I think even if you were not there the love could be felt all over twitter on the hashtag #ukyaba – everyone supporting everyone! One big loving community!
Okay *gulps* ….something awesome and I can honestly say unexpected may have happened!
I won the award in my category! Champion Newcomer 2015!
How the you know what did that happen?!
With my legs turning to jelly at the mention of Tales Of Yesterday the lovely Jessie from Stripes Publishing read out my blogs name as the winner!
I was in complete shock and started shaking immediately upon walking up to get my award. I even forgot to put my wine glass down! Classy eh?!
With dry mouth I was asked to make a speech! A speech? On the spot! With the randomness that comes out of my mouth! and with my broad brummie accent! Oh dear! This could have had disastrous consequences especially as wine was involved! But I kept it together (phew) and said a lot of sensible for me thank you’s !
As well as this wonderful trophy, that still makes my tummy flip every time I look at it, I won a fab £50 Waterstones Voucher from Stripes Publishing and an unbelievable prize of exclusive content on all of their books for a year! Wow! Speechless is the only word I can think of to describe my feelings on this as well as pure excitement!
After the award presentations were over we got to drink, mingle, congratulate people, hug and be merry! It was awesome!
(In July 2015 I was kindly asked due to winning this award to be a speaker on a Blogging For Beginners Workshop….at YALC! – find out what it’s all about here)
Also the #ukyaba hashtag trended on twitter for 3 hours!!! Wow!
And I wouldn’t be able to sleep properly if I didn’t put a photo montage together!
Don’t forget to check out the awards from a 10 year old view a bit further down too!
As I said in my speech on the night…thank you so much to everyone for their support since I started blogging in November 2014! Only 5 months ago! You are all bloomin fantastic each and every one of you. Bloggers, publicists, authors! You know who you all are! I cannot believe that my name was up on a list with bloggers I admire and am in awe of let alone winning a trophy! *wipes tears from eyes*
Thank you to the awesome blogging community for welcoming me with open arms and making me feel all warm inside – yes all of you! I have got to know a lot of you through twitter and have had the absolute honour in meeting some of you and you are all the most kindest, genuine, enthusiastic people I have ever met and I am honoured to know you all!
Thank you to all of the authors for writing such fab awesome books that I get to write my feelings and emotions that they stir up inside me down on my blog! Thank you all for being so supportive, awesome and approachable to talk to! #UKYAFOREVER!
Thank you to all the publicists for sending me awesome books to review! My postman’s back will never be the same….I think he hates me! 🙂
Thank you to my husband Kevin, who nowadays watches TV on his own and puts up with tripping over above book post when we come home from work. Thank you to my son Corey for loving books as much as I do and being a fab ten year old! And to my family and friends for the support and reading my blog posts! 🙂
A huge thank you to Stripes Publishing for my amazing prizes also! It literally has blown my tiny mind! Thank You!
I felt very emotional the next day after the event and was very said to leave London….that’s how special the night and the awards were to me….I will forever remember it!
Well done and thank you to Andy Robb for organising and the wonderful hosts Waterstones High Street Kensington! You put on one heck of a celebration!
Also a big thank you to all publicists involved for sponsoring the awards, presenters and for Curious Fox Books for sponsoring the drinks for the evening events…hic hic hic
*chinks glass at everyone*
My highlights of the night!
There were so many highlights but some of them made me chuckle my little socks off and smile a lot – here are a few 🙂
Serendipity Viv’s first words on winning her award for Champion of Content – “Oh Crap!”
Andy Robb’s pronunciation of Hachette! 🙂
My son, Corey’s little face looking at me when I won my award – it melted my heart!
But most of all the main highlight was the amount of love in the room for ALL bloggers! It was truly heart warming!
The UKYA Blogger Awards from the view of a 10 Year Old!
As you may be aware my 10 year old son attended the awards with me! Now rather unexpectedly he decided to record his first ever video for Tales Of Yesterday and record nearly all of the presentation and some of the evening! *gulps*
I have put the footage together as best as I can and I will now hand over to Corey…..please bear in mind that this was unexpected and the footage is rather shaky in places with some heads cut off too….but for his first ever video I thought he did fantastic!
I think he captured the night brilliantly and hopefully will remind everyone who was there what a fab night it was and anyone who wasn’t there…it will show you how much love for bloggers there was!
On Saturday the 28th February at Waterstones Birmingham High Street a celebration of all things UKYA took place and it was AMAZING! The event sold out in hours of the tickets being on sale and everyone was excited about the event!
On the 4th floor of the fabulous Waterstones building 33 awesome authors (originally a whooping 35 authors, but due to personal reasons 2 authors could not attend) gradually entered the room! That’s right! 33 creative minds all unique and diverse in their own way! All in one room and all organised by the wonderful Emma Pass and Kerry Drewery. Wow!
What an amazing accomplishment!
What was clear from the offset is that this was a celebration! We are British and our authors are amazing and awesome and full of diversity so to celebrate Emma and Kerry organised one memorable afternoon that I, as well as everyone who attended I’m sure, will remember for a very long time to come!
To find our more about why and how Emma and Kerry set up the event click here
The afternoon was full of fun, laughter, readings, stories, signings and CAKE! Yes there was cake! And lots of it too! Nom Nom Nom
What more could we ask for?
Well okay… books of course and my my my there were sooooo many books to buy from all of these wonderful, amazing, diverse, authors that I actually heard my bank account cry…or maybe that was just my husband who knew I wouldn’t be able to resist!
I think I can honestly say that most people attending this event, myself included, left with shoulder ache or bags upon bags of books and swag which included bookmarks and postcards also.
I actually broke my husbands precious bag that I “borrowed” as “it would be a sturdy bag for books” I said and just as I got home “snap!” went the bag. “Well at least it didn’t happen whilst I was at the event” I said, cheesy grin on my face whilst my husband mourned his poor bag! RIP BAG! Thank you for not breaking on me at the UKYA Extravaganza! Phew!
The day flowed really well and was kind of informal in a way which was ace. We were able to mingle with authors, bloggers, friends and family, have our books signed, pictures taken, have a good natter and eat cake! For me this gave the day a very personal relaxed feel and made it super fun as all the authors were so approachable, fun and easy to talk to. I got to meet so many new people and authors and also people and authors I already knew and just mingle and eat lots of cake!
There were also reading panels every 20 minutes or so enabling us to sit down and enjoy if we wanted or carry on mingling. The reading panels were fun as authors were given a few minutes to read a passage from their books or tell a story. One great story that I sat and listened to was from Alexander Gordon Smith who made the audience howl with laughter with a story about a horrifying game in P.E at school which he told with such comical tone it was hilarious! It was also fun seeing the authors under pressure with the count down timer counting their minutes down till their time was up.
The end of the day bought us some fab speeches from Emma and Kerry, where they were presented with presents of thanks from the other authors. I was touched completely by being mentioned in their speech I almost did a Gwyneth Paltrow at the Oscars and started crying 🙂
It was an absolutely amazing day as you will see below!
When Emma Pass and Kerry Drewery asked me to do a write up of the UKYA Extravaganza following the event I was completely over the moon! Immediately my mind began racing about things I could possibly do for the write up or feature on the write up and with Emma & Kerry’s approval I started mapping out exciting ideas. So here’s some of those ideas bought to life!
35 Authors & 35 Bloggers
The full UKYA Extravaganza line up was revealed on #ukyachat which is run by Lucy over at Queen of Contemporary. Upon hearing about the blog tour from Kerry Drewery and Emma Pass which was the idea of Sofia who runs The Reading Fan Girl I wanted to create a place where people could catch up on the tour, read about the authors, find the authors links and see what the authors actually look like.
The Big Blog Tour post was born! 35 authors and links to websites and the 35 fab bloggers websites and guest posts all in one place including a link to an awesome reading list!
Check out some pictures from the day mainly taken by my lovely husband, Kevin in a super UKYA Extravaganza Picture Montage! With Music!
Myself and Kevin also collated some videos throughout the day to share with you all especially if you were unable to attend. Check it out!
I managed to find some willing victims….I mean authors to sneak into a corner and film them answering some quick fire random questions to help us get to know them a little better! What I didn’t bank on was that some of the answers would be completely random with hilarious reactions. Check out the video below!
A huuugggeee thank you to the authors I managed to grab and take part in this!
I hope this gives everyone an insight into the day and how fab it was!
I also posted a question on twitter asking what new authors people had discovered following the UKYA Extravaganza event – here are some of the responses 🙂
For me I discovered Kendra Leighton and Kate Ormand and Bryony Pearce as new to me authors….well basically I will be making sure I own a book written by every single author from the event asap as they were ALL awesome!
I also asked about what people enjoyed the most about the UKYA Extravaganza – here are some of the responses I had 🙂
As you can see UKYA, it’s authors and the community are so important and special! What Emma and Kerry and all of the authors and every one who attended including Waterstones Birmingham who hosted have created a warm, welcoming fun way of sharing our love of books, their authors, each other and has proved that the UKYA community opens it’s arms to everyone, whoever you are and gives us all one big tight squeeze of love!
Well done Emma and Kerry for an extraordinary event – you should be so so proud of yourselves!
Well done and thank you to all the authors who attended, thank you to the lovely staff at Waterstones Birmingham for doing such a fantastic job in hosting and most of all thank you to everyone who attended! We have all made this a huge success…..and with that in mind I can now reveal I have an awesome exclusive!
**EXCLUSIVE ALERT! EXCLUSIVE ALERT!**
There will be another UKYA Extravaganza! *jumps up and down in excitement!!!!*
I will pass you onto Kerry and Emma for the reveal!
Yes that’s right! Nottingham will be the next host for the UKYA Extravaganza in October 2015 at Waterstones Nottingham with date and time to be confirmed asap! Wow! UKYA can only get stronger and bigger from here on in!
For more buzz and love about the UKYA Extravaganza check out the hash tag on twitter – #UKYAextravaganza on follow the official account – @UKYAX
I also have quotes from the organisers of UKYA Extravaganza the lovely Emma Pass and Kerry Drewery about the event –
“What’s really made organising the UKYA Extravaganza worthwhile for me is all the people saying how much fun it was, and how great it was to be able to chat to authors and discover new books they might not otherwise have known about. It’s so great to have been able to bring authors and readers together like this.”
“I have been absolutely overwhelmed by the response to the UKYA Extravaganza. I think what’s stuck in my head the most is the wonderful sense of community and belonging, the friendliness of everyone involved and the huge support and love for all things UKYA from teens, authors, readers, bloggers and grown-ups too”.
Also there have been some fab blog posts about the event with some super photos and details – here’s the links to some of them 🙂
And the UKYA Extravaganza now has its very own website – www.ukyax.com! Check it out for all the latest news!
Did you go to the UKYA Extravaganza? What was your highlight? What books did you buy? What new authors did you discover? Are you excited for more events? I would love to hear from you! Please feel free to leave a comment or why not tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy ?
Happy reading and eating cake as all this talk of cake as made me hungry! 🙂