Wednesday, 3 August 2016

July Wrap-Up!

July saw me turn in my final final final revisions for my 3rd book, PURGE, which will be out in September. This book is a really special one for me, so I'm ten times more nervous/excited for people to read it. Mason, the main character in the novel, is the first character who ever sprang to life in my head. PURGE (at least an earlier incarnation of it) was the first novel I ever finished, and it was also the one that helped me sign with my agent, the amazing Molly Ker Hawn. And it's the second book of mine to be published by the brilliant team at Firefly Press, who just won the prestigious Branford Boase award. Exciting, right??

If you've liked either of my other books, or just like sci-fi with a dose of romance, please, please do check it out. I'll just leave the links for Goodreads/online retailers right....here:

Book Depository
Firefly Press
Guardian Bookshop
Waterstones

Goodreads













July was an exciting month in the YA book community, because Dawn Kurtagich's second novel - THE CREEPER MAN - came out in the UK (yay!), and because the UK's only YA lit-focused convention, YALC, was held down in London. I wasn't able to make it this year (boo!) but there were copies of BLACKFIN SKY and samplers of PURGE there in my stead, and I still decided to theme some of my July reading around the authors who were on the YALC programme.

Here's what I read:



So, from the YALC line-up I read BREATHE by Sarah Crossan, which tied in with my never-ending sci-fi binge, and was a great dystopian adventure; THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Stiefvater which... well, I love reading stories that use Welsh mythology/history, but there were some problematic uses of it in this book that didn't sit right with me; and AM I NORMAL YET? by Holly Bourne, which was an absolute joy to read, and I'll be grabbing the next in the Spinster series very soon.

I read the very weird and wonderful BONE GAP by Laura Ruby, which has rightly won all kinds of accolades. I listened to 3 audiobooks while out on my walking adventures - these were OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon and STORM FRONT by Jim Butcher, which I'll admit I got because they were on sale, but I ended up really enjoying both; and THIS SHATTERED WORLD, which is the second in the trilogy by Aimee Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, and a great follow up to THESE BROKEN STARS.

Want to see my fave walking adventure pic from my Instagram? Sure you do.


A photo posted by Kat Ellis (@katelliswrites) on



I also went to see the new Ghostbusters movie, which was bloody wonderful - absolutely everything you'd want in a Ghostbusters movie - funny, plenty of action, and 4 great leads. I highly recommend it if you haven't already seen it. I'm looking forward to seeing the new Star Trek film soon, and Suicide Squad, which looks ace. I've become a bit obsessed with one of the songs from the soundtrack of the latter - check it out here, if you fancy:




So, that was my July! In August, I'll be focusing mainly on reading UKYA books, so I'll have a few more YALC authors in that line-up, too. Writing-wise, I'll be working on (hopefully finishing!) my new YA manuscript, and getting things ready for PURGE's launch.

Now back to the writing cave I shuffle...

Kat out x

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Happy Birthday to The Creeper Man!

If you follow me on Twitter (@el_kat) you will have seen me raving about Dawn Kurtagich's new book, THE CREEPER MAN, which releases today in the UK (it's out in September in the US under the title: AND THE TREES CREPT IN). Honestly, if you're any kind of horror fan, you need to read this book immediately. It terrified me -- in the best possible way!



Want to know more? Check out the book trailer. It's awesome.



You can buy it now from your local/indie vendor, or online from Amazon UK or The Book Depository etc.

In the US? Preorder now: Amazon US

Happy reading!



Kat out x

Monday, 11 July 2016

Reading schedule: July - December

Hello! Remember way back in January when I set myself the goal of reading 75 books this year? Remember that OVERLY AMBITIOUS goal? Well, I just finished my 40th book of the year (yay!) which brings me more or less on target. 

I had a plan for what to read in January - June, and didn't stick to it rigidly, but having the plan helped keep me on track, I think. Now we're into July, and this post I wrote for Author Allsorts on how to tackle your TBR reminded me that I hadn't updated my plan for July - December. So I did. Here it is:

July – As YALC is on later this month, I want to catch up on books I own by some of the authors appearing there (even though I'm no longer going, *sob*). This will include BZRK and FRONT LINES by Michael Grant (I’m a huge fan of his), THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Stiefvater, and a whole stack of books by Cat Clarke. I also had BREATHE by Sarah Crossan and AM I NORMAL YET? by Holly Bourne on the list this month and have read them already - both excellent. 

August – I have tons of books by UK authors still sitting on my shelf to get me through this UKYA month. Top of my list are NOUGHTS& CROSSES by Malorie Blackman, THE LIE TREE by Frances Hardinge (I know, I can’t believe I haven’t read it yet either), ALEX AS WELL by Alyssa Brugman, and IN ANOTHER LIFE by Laura Jarratt.

September – In prep for my sci-fi panel with Lauren James and S. F. Said at YAShot in October where I’ll be talking about my new YA sci-fi, PURGE, I’ll be reading Lauren & S. F.’s books (THE NEXT TOGETHER and PHOENIX in particular), and any other sci-fi books I have left in my TBR pile by then! At the moment this looks like SLATED by Teri Terry, iBOY by Kevin Brooks, and WHAT’S LEFT OF MEby Kat Zhang.

October – The month of Halloween requires some spooky, creepy reading, yes? So this month I will be reading BEWARE THE WILD by Natalie C Parker, SISTERS RED by Jackson Pearce, LEGEND by Marie Lu, BAD BONES by Graham Marks, THE WICKED WE HAVE DONE by Sarah Harian, and THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLD TOWN by Holly Black. And maybe for a dose of weird I’ll read GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE by Andrew Smith.

November – With the nights drawing in and the weather generally pretty miserable, I usually like to binge on contemps and romance at this time of year. I have THE DISTANCE FROM A TO Z by Natalie Blitt, Jeff Zentner’s THE SERPENT KING,GOLDEN BOY by Abigail Tarttelin, LOOKING FOR ALIBRANDI by Melina Marchetta,I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN and THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson, ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES by Jennifer Niven, and TORN by Cat Clarke. I also plan on having Jaye Robin Brown’s GEORGIA PEACHES AND OTHER FORBIDDEN FRUIT by then, as I’ve heard it’s amazing.

December – This is the perfect time to read wintry, snowy books, and for me this will look like AFTER THE SNOW by S. D. Crockett, DASH & LILY’S BOOK OF DARES by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, and THE SMELL OF OTHER PEOPLE’SHOUSES by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock.

If you want to track my progress with my Goodreads Challenge for this year, you can do that here

For now, I'd better get on with the next book!


Kat out x

Friday, 1 July 2016

June Wrap-Up!

Apparently half of 2016 is gone already (and hasn't it been quite the shiz-storm??) and I don't feel half as 'done' with the things I promised myself I would get done by now. I wanted to have finished a new YA manuscript by now, which I haven't. I wanted to be fit enough to climb Mount Snowdon, which I'm not.... But I've never been good at sticking to self-imposed deadlines.

Anyway. Here's what has been going on this month.

Breaker got launched! I had a fab time at Prestatyn Library on 15th June talking about my new serial killer thriller, and you can see some pics from it in a post I wrote here. Don't forget, if you have a copy of BREAKER and would like a signed bookplate to put into it, let me know! You can either send me a tweet (@el_kat) or email katelliswrites@gmail.com.

I visited Dinas Bran with my sister, which is the site of a ruined castle rumoured to have belonged to a Welsh giant, and is now watched over by crow sentries.

A photo posted by Kat Ellis (@katelliswrites) on


A photo posted by Kat Ellis (@katelliswrites) on



I also went out with author Dawn Kurtagich to watch the filming of her new book trailer. THE CREEPER MAN comes out in the UK in July (it's out in September in the US, under the title AND THE TREES CREPT IN). If you enjoyed THE DEAD HOUSE, or just like genuinely creepy horror generally, you need to get this. It's amazing. I have one ARC of the US edition, and will be running a giveaway (US only) when the UK edition comes out later this month. So watch this space, etc.

The trailer should be available on Youtube soon, but for now here's a still pic I took of one of the brilliant cast! (My 7-year-old niece, Daisy. She is adorable in real life, I promise.)


A photo posted by Kat Ellis (@katelliswrites) on


I caught up on my Goodreads Reading Challenge, managing to tot up 9 books this month across various genres. These are the ones I read:

Preeeeetty covers

Continuing my sci-fi binge, I read 2 UKYAs - WAVEFUNCTION by Bryony Pearce, which was tremendous dimension-jumping fun, and ALIEN RAIN by Ruth Morgan, about a girl on an expedition to a savage future-Earth which I absolutely loved. I rounded off this month's sci-fi with RED RISING from US author Pierce Brown, which was the first in a gripping Roman-inspired trilogy about a slave uprising on Mars.

In fantasy, I really enjoyed SIX OF CROWS, which is my first ever Leigh Bardugo book; DEATH OF AN ASSASSIN - an adult urban fantasy/noir by my author buddy Ian Hiatt, and SHARDS OF HOPE, which is the latest in Nalini Singh's (very much adult) Psy-Changeling series. Damn, I love Nalini Singh. I don't say it enough, probably, because I tend to talk more about YA, but I would read a car maintenance manual if she wrote it.

Finally, the YA contemps: EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING by Nicola Yoon (swooooon), and IF I WAS YOUR GIRL by Meredith Russo, which was in turns adorable, heartwarming, heartbreaking, and hopeful. I had heard soooooo many people raving over these two books, and both definitely lived up to the hype. SHATTERING GLASS was a much darker read by thriller author Gail Giles, and I absolutely inhaled it. Again, she is fast becoming one of my favourite authors.

Writing-wise, I'm working on a story I set aside a while ago, but I'm definitely feeling the inspiration to finish it this time around. Hopefully by the end of July I'll have a finished draft - we'll see!

For now, I shall slink back to my writing cave...

Kat out x

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Pics from the BREAKER launch party

Hello! I'm a little late posting this, but I wanted to share a few photos taken at the launch for BREAKER from earlier this month. It was such a great evening, and all the staff at Prestatyn Library were amazing - they worked so hard to arrange everything, and were such fun to chat to on the night. 

Please note the excellent shoes, bought to coordinate with my book cover.

Signing copies of BREAKER

It was also great to see so many seats filled - almost a full house!



Obligatory celebration photo with husband. "Why does everyone keep calling me Mr. Kat?"











Huge thanks to everyone who came out to the launch, and again to the library staff for organising a brilliant night.

Edit:

If you weren't able to come to the launch, but would like a copy of BREAKER with my scribble in it, feel free to buy one from your local bookshop or online from The Book Depository etc., and I'll be happy to send you a signed bookplate anytime between now and 31 July. And if you read BREAKER and leave a review - on Goodreads, Amazon, etc. - then know you will have my undying gratitude!

Kat out x


Wednesday, 1 June 2016

May Wrap-Up!

May was kind of epic. BREAKER, my second novel (and first one in 2 years!) came out this month, and went into a second printing within a week! Not only that, but it also has a fantastic new book trailer - check it out!




I also went on a writing retreat to Scotland along with 10 other authors, who were all amazing and such fun to spend a week with. As well as lots of writing (of course!) we did a bit of sightseeing around Inverness, and saw Cawdor Castle -- as featured in Macbeth:

Top left: Cawdor Castle; Top right: the castle dining room; Bottom left: Authors Dawn Kurtagich, Ronni Davis Selzer & Simon Clark in the castle grounds; Bottom right: the castle lounge

It was great fun hanging out with everyone there - shout-out to (in descending staircase order) Emma Jackson, Fox Benwell, Marieke Nijkamp, Dawn Kurtagich, Simon Clark, Jenn Faughnan, me!, Cecilia Vinesse, David Purse, Tatum Flynn & Ronni Davis Selzer!

Photo courtesy of Ronni Davis Selzer


Dawn Kurtagich masterminded the whole thing, and look where we stayed - this place is just begging to be a setting for a spooky novel, right?


Reading-wise, I didn't finish as many books this month as I have in previous months, but the ones I read were truly, truly stellar.


Continuing my sci-fi binge, I read CHASING THE STARS by Malorie Blackman, which is a reimagining of Othello in space (and absolutely gripping!) and THESE BROKEN STARS by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, which I'd been meaning to read for absolutely ages because I heard so many people raving over it. It was also A++.

Stepping into contemp thriller territory as part of my continuing commitment to read more UKYA, I read -- or actually inhaled -- Sarah Pinborough's 13 MINUTES. It's actually kind of scary how recognisable the characters were to me from my own high school days (scary because they're all a wee bit terrifying, if not downright sociopathic).

I saved my fave for last, though, because I got to read an advance copy of SEVEN DAYS OF YOU by Cecilia Vinesse (thank you, Cece!!) while I was away in Scotland. This is the story of Sophia in the week before she is due to move to the US from her home in Japan, and Jamie - the boy who shredded her feelings before he left two years ago -- shows up a week too soon for Sophia to avoid seeing him. Intense and romantic, this is one to fight for at the bookshop when it comes out in March. I still catch myself sighing "Oh, Jamie..." at random intervals.

I'm halfway through 3 other novels right now, so next month's reading rundown should be quite a long one -- especially with the great weather we're having at the moment, which basically requires me to read in the garden.

Hope your May was a blast!

Kat out x

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

It's here! BREAKER is on the loose...

That's right, I forgot to post this yesterday on my actual publication day, because I'm fly like that. But if you were waiting for BREAKER to hit the shops, consider them hit!

Running Press is giving away 8 copies this week on Goodreads (US only) - enter here.

I really hope you'll enjoy my new thriller about murders taking place in a gothic boarding school, and a doomed romance between the son of a serial killer and the daughter of his dad's last victim. If you read it, please consider leaving a review on Goodreads, Amazon, or wherever you like (especially if you liked it!) - early reviews help a lot with getting a book seen by more readers. They're also cool.


If you were wondering where you could buy a copy online, here are some handy links:

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository
Books-A-Million
Indiebound
Powells
Waterstones

And now I return to my dark cave of secrets to work on the next creepy book...

Kat out x

Monday, 2 May 2016

April Wrap-Up!

Hello! April has skipped past like a schoolgirl with pigtails, and I have some fun stuff to tell you about.

On the writing front, BREAKER (which comes out 24th May - EEEEEEP!) has been getting some great reviews from the trade reviewers. So far Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Booklist have all said very cool things about my killery thrillery book. Check 'em out:
"Spine-chilling and splendidly gory, with a genre-perfect stormy night denouement."—Kirkus Reviews
"Packed full of suspense, red herrings, and creepy taxidermy, this is an intriguing murder mystery and a compelling look at the ties that bind."—Booklist
"Fans of YA thrillers will be hooked from the first page. . . . A standout thriller with a splash of romance."—School Library Journal

Also, one of my all-time favourite authors, CJ Skuse (Pretty Bad Things, Rockoholic, Dead Romantic, Monster) read BREAKER and tweeted this, which pretty much made my year:

As far as my new, secret, not-yet-book-shaped writing projects go, I finished revising the manuscript I started at Christmas, and sent it off to readers. Keeping my fingers crossed I haven't wandered off the writing path and forgotten how to string words together without realising. (Maybe? Does this blog post even make sense? Do they ever?) Now I'm trying to distract myself from waiting for the final reader's verdict, which means I've started writing something new. This one has been simmering in my brain space for over a year, so hopefully it has matured enough to spill out onto the page without too much angst (on my part, at least - my characters will undoubtedly suffer much, much angst.)

I also worked on a fun BREAKER-related project with author Dawn Kurtagich (The Dead House, The Creeper Man), which involved sending my younger brother and sister up onto a roof. More on that soon ;-)



A photo posted by Kat Ellis (@katelliswrites) on

April was a pretty good reading month. I managed to finish 9 books, and these are they:


I might also have discovered some nifty image-faffing apps this month. Just maybe.

The MGs I read were the wonderfully witty HELL'S BELLES by Tatum Flynn (book 2 of THE D'EVIL DIARIES), and SCARLET & IVY: THE LOST TWIN, a delightful mystery by Sophie Cleverly.

I also read 2 Contemporary YAs, which were PIECES OF YOU AND ME by the always-amazing Erin Fletcher (whom I interviewed on her recent release), and KINDRED SPIRITS, a novella by Rainbow Rowell.

There was also YA Fantasy which I've been dying to read for ages, and that was REBEL OF THE SANDS by Alwyn Hamilton - I absolutely LOVED it!

Which brought me to my long-awaited Science Fiction binge: THE TAKING and THE REPLACED by Kimberly Derting; FAIR COIN by E C Myers (I got this audiobook because it was narrated by Macleod Andrews, who is probably my favourite audiobook narrator); and THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS (is it SF or horror? Not sure, but I've been meaning to read it for a while.)

I'm going to carry on with bingeing SF this coming month, as well as catching up on UKYA reads (I intended to focus on regional UKYA in April, but that didn't quite pan out...) BUT I was especially lucky to win a copy of Ruth Morgan's ALIEN RAIN in a Goodreads giveaway, so that's zooming right to the top of my TBR!



A photo posted by Kat Ellis (@katelliswrites) on

Finally, I was thrilled to help reveal the cover for my author-buddy Ian Hiatt's debut YA novel, DEATH OF AN ASSASSIN, which comes out in June. Check out the post here

Coming up in May, I will be holding one last BREAKER giveaway in the run-up to publication (AHHH!) which will include an annotated ARC, heart-BREAKER socks, and a brass knuckles pendant and bookmark... More details to follow. 

I'll end by sharing a cool song I've been listening to a fair bit recently:




Kat out x

Friday, 29 April 2016

Cover Reveal! DEATH OF AN ASSASSIN by Ian Hiatt



I'm so excited to be able to share my author buddy Ian Hiatt's cover for his debut novel, DEATH OF AN ASSASSIN! It comes out on 16th June, and it sounds amazing - I can't wait to read it. Here's the blurb:

Technically, Layla hasn't killed anyone. Ask the witnesses. It was a misstep here, a trip-and-fall there—accidents happen.
And Layla is paid very well to ensure that they do.
Her mother once traced their lineage back to ancient times. Go flip through The Odyssey. Some great-great-great grandmother is in there beckoning sailors to rocky deaths. For eons her kind has made it their business to bring hapless men to quick and messy ends. Layla can't help it that Saint Roch City has job listings for someone who can cause blameless death. You go where the work is.
When the most difficult hit of her career goes sideways, Layla finds out that what she's been told about her own history may not be so accurate. And there is no forgiveness in the business of assassinations. When you're paid to kill someone, there better be a dead body. 
Either the mark's—or yours.

***


Pre-order from Amazon (US)
Pre-order from Amazon (UK)

Without further ado, check out the awesome cover...





Isn't it gorgeous?? 


***



Ian Hiatt is the crazy guy who lives on your block. You know the one that all the neighborhood kids point at and whisper about. He’s cleverly hidden himself by marrying an incredibly tolerant woman and finding himself an adorable dog. This is the best disguise for living in New England. The villagers have not yet run him out of his castle.

When he’s not scrawling delusional words about mythical-filled cities or dinosaurs, he’s busy tapping out code for websites and software. If he’s kept away from writing implements, he treks aimlessly through forests hiking trails, across abandoned beaches, and wandering the shelves bookstores. These three things don’t overlap except for that one time, and that was a really weird day.


http://www.ianhiatt.com | Twitter: ihiatt | Facebook: ianhiattauthor

Monday, 18 April 2016

PIECES OF YOU AND ME by Erin Fletcher - Publication Day Interview!

Today is the day Erin Fletcher's second YA novel, PIECES OF YOU AND ME, comes out, and I've been waiting for this day for AGES. Okay, for 2 years, since her debut novel WHERE YOU'LL FIND ME came out. I absolutely loved that book, and know I'm going to fall head over heels for PIECES OF YOU AND ME as well. 


Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains references to drinking, addiction, and just the right amount of angst. You’ll want to save this tortured hero, while at the same time, not want to change a single thing about him!

Five years.

That’s how long I’ve been gone. Since I left my best friend—the girl I loved—behind.

Five seconds.

That's how long it takes to realize I am completely, utterly, screwed. Because now that I’m back, my childhood crush has turned into so much more.

Rylee has changed. We both have. And now I’m drawn to her in a completely different way. To her smile. Her touch. To reliving old memories and making new ones. To the happiness she’s always given me that I haven’t felt since I left.


But her friends are hell-bent on keeping us apart. My dad is one drink away from destroying both of our lives, and maybe I am, too. It’s only a matter of time before I have to leave again, and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. I never get a choice.

The one choice I can make? Stay away from Rylee. Because if I don’t, I’ll break her heart—and mine—all over again. 

Buy from Amazon US / Amazon UK 


Erin, as well as being an awesome author, is one of the loveliest people I've met via Twitter, and kindly answered a few questions...


Kat: Rylee and Chase get a second chance at happiness when they meet again as teens after spending years apart, but both their lives have changed a lot in that time. What was the inspiration behind their story?

Erin: Most of my inspiration comes when I start wondering things. For my first book, I wondered what would happen if a girl discovered a guy living in her garage. For this one, I thought about how much people change from middle school to late in high school. I wondered if two childhood sweethearts, separated due to circumstances beyond their control, would be able to rekindle the closeness they once shared, despite their differences. You’re wondering that now, too, right? You’ll have to read to find out!

K: If you were casting a film of PIECES OF YOU AND ME, who would play the lead characters?

E: Oh man, such a good question. First I’d go with Matthew Daddario (plays Alec from Shadowhunters) for Chase, because he seems like he could play the slightly self-destructive/tortured hero character. (Plus, hello? Gorgeous.) For Rylee I’d go with Lindsay Pearce (plays Rebecca from Recovery Road). There’s this line in the book where Rylee tells Chase, “Stop worrying and kiss me,” and I can just see Lindsay Pearce saying that line! She also plays a wide variety of emotions, which is needed for Rylee.



K: I know you’re an author who is keen on music, so which song sums up PIECES OF YOU AND ME for you?

E: Okay, I’m going to have to be cliché and go with “Hello” by Adele. So many of those lines parallel PIECES OF YOU AND ME. Two people who were close but now have differences and a million miles between them. The way Rylee tried to reach out to Chase after he left without success. “Hello” is definitely the Rylee and Chase story. (I apologize if this song is stuck in your head now…it’s definitely stuck in mine!)



K: As a massive fan of WHERE YOU'LL FIND ME, your 2014 debut, I cannot wait to get to know more of your characters! Was it very different writing PIECES OF YOU AND ME? How does writing a second novel compare to the first?

E: Aw, thank you so much! I appreciate that! Yes, writing PIECES OF YOU AND ME was very different. There are surface-level differences (dual POV instead of singular, different tense, etc.) but also some bigger differences. First, when I started writing WHERE YOU’LL FIND ME, I had no idea how the book was going to end! I had no idea why Nate was living in Hanley’s garage (and was very frustrated when he wouldn’t give me his explanation, lol). Eventually I figured it out, but for PoYaM, I had everything plotted from the beginning. Much easier! Writing a second book is more stressful because there are things like deadlines to worry about, but also less stressful because you somewhat know what to expect.

K: You have another new release coming out later this year – what can you tell us about it? Any sneaky insider info you can share?

E: Sure! It’s another contemporary YA romance, this time about a figure skater named Lia and a star hockey player named Pierce. At first, Lia is not Pierce’s biggest fan. Far from it. But then she “meets” Pierce again in an online, anonymous environment, and starts to learn he has a completely different side than his public persona. But by then, things are so complicated that it might be too late for Lia’s online world to line up with the real one…

Thank you so much for having me on your blog! I appreciate it! 

K: Thank you, Erin! And happy publication day! 

Erin is a young adult author from North Carolina. She is a morning person who does most of her writing before sunrise, while drinking excessive quantities of coffee. She believes flip-flops qualify as year-round footwear, and would spend every day at the beach if she could. She has a bachelor's degree in mathematics, which is almost never useful when writing books.

Check out Erin's blog 
Take a peek at Erin's website