Sunday, 17 August 2014

Ace Review and ARC Giveaway!

Hello peeps. Sorry for the relative silence of late, but I've been holed up in my writing cave hammering out edits on one manuscript and latterly drafting a new one (not a complete one - I'm not a machine.)

I just wanted to share with you this wicked (in the best way!) review of the US edition of Blackfin Sky. If you watch it and live in the US, you'll get a chance to enter a giveaway for one of the last ARC copies of the book, and could even read it before its official release on September 2nd!

Here's the link to Lainey's amazing video:

http://youtu.be/D_Mow0DKU_Q 

The giveaway ends on August 18th, so don't miss out! And even though I'm completely biased, you can trust me when I say you should definitely subscribe to Lainey's channel for more bookish goodness. Oh, and follow her on twitter @readalongLainey too!

I'll be back on form with the blogging soon. In the meantime, I'm lurking on twitter most days if you want to say hi, or you can check out my new-ish facebook page to see some recent photos from events.

For now...

Kat out x

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Heads up! US Giveaway of BLACKFIN SKY

Hello again! Just a quick heads up to my US pals: there's a giveaway happening right now, thanks to my US publisher Running Press Teen, where you can enter to win an early copy and some really cool,  secret extras! Closes soon, so HURRY.

Enter on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/101914-blackfin-sky

This is the very last time an advance copy will be given away before the September release, so good luck!

Kat out x

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Kindle Summer Reads & Special Offer from Firefly Press

Hi guys,

Just wanted to let you know about a couple of promotions going on right now:

Blackfin Sky is only 99p right now on Amazon Kindle UK as part of their Summer Reads promotion. Get it quick, before the price goes back up...

Firefly Press are offering free UK delivery when you order Blackfin Sky direct from their website, so grab yourself a bargain!

...And whatever you're reading right now, enjoy!

Kat out x

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

What happened at YALC


Last weekend, I zoomed down to London for the UK's first ever YA literature con, YALC. It was being held as part of the larger London Film and Comic Con, and the crowds were HUGE and kinda spectacular - my buddy Freddie (above) was only one of scores of people there cosplaying.

I had a fantastic/hilarious/exhausting/fun/sweaty/amazing time there, and judging by the blog posts that have already gone up about it all over the interwebz, I'm not alone.

Here's the skinny.

SATURDAY

Dawn & Me, being well serious, yo.
My author pal Dawn Kurtagich, whose novel THE DEAD HOUSE comes out next year (and sounds bloody amazing!) trawled the con with me for the weekend, and it was so exciting to hear people talking about her novel. It's going to be HUGE, people.

Penny Thomas from Firefly Press was also there, and it was lovely catching up and talking about exciting Blackfin Sky-type things with her. All the Blackfin Sky goodies that were being given out in the publishers' area flew out with a quickness, which was great to hear!


L-R: Marcus Sedgwick, Emma Vieceli,
Ian Edgington, Sarah McIntyre
Dawn and I arrived early Saturday afternoon - just in time to catch the last part of the panel 'Going Graphic: from novel to graphic novel', which was interesting, although I unfortunately missed most of it (what with trains and zooming and such). I have to say that Sarah McIntyre (chairing, far right) looked AMAZING in her cosplay outfit, and was still looking immaculate in it that night at the author party at Earl's Court.




Later on, I caught the Heroes of Horror panel with Charlie Higson (who I still fangirl over from his days on The Fast Show - as well as his zombie novels, of course), Derek Landy, Darren Shan, Will Hill, and chaired by Rosie Fletcher. I loved this panel, although I've only read Charlie Higson's novels, but will definitely be picking up the others! They talked about the differences between YA and adult horror -- the graphic violence/gore aspect, the sex etc. -- and about how horror is a great gateway genre to go from YA to adult reading generally.

L-R: Rosie Fletcher, Charlie Higson, Darren Shan, Will Hill & Derek Landy

That was the last panel of the day, and after that we stuck around for the author party in a secret green-roomy type area of Earl's Court. I got to meet (read: awkwardly fangirl over) quite a few authors, including C J Skuse, Sally Green, Alexia Casale, and the wonderful Queen of Teen himself, James Dawson. 

After the party, Dawn and I went to meet up with some author and blogger pals for drinks. I met the lovely Luna of Luna's Little Library, who was the first blogger ever to review Blackfin Sky - and she is just as lovely as I'd heard! I also got to catch up with all-round fabulistas Tatum Flynn (taking the photo) and Marieke Nijkamp, and a fab gang of folks I met for the first time after chatting with them on twitter.

Oh, and this happened.

Seizing the Iron Throne. As you do.


SUNDAY

The 'I'm too sexy for this book' panel, featuring Cat Clarke, Non Pratt, Beth Reekles, and James Dawson, was absolutely hilarious! Phrases like "alternative hole use" and "when you're writing, sometimes you just have to hammer it out..." kept the packed room in stitches, and I have to say this was my favourite panel of the entire con.

L-R: James Dawson, Cat Clarke, Non Pratt & Beth Reekles

We managed to catch one more before our train took us back up to North Wales, and it was certainly one to watch! The 'Crossover: Not just for kids' panel got a little... er... contentious, but still very interesting.

L-R: Nick Lake, Anthony McGowan, Meg Rosoff, Matt Haig
& David Maybury (who might be a little obsessed with Stan Lee.)

I queued up afterwards to get a signed copy of Matt Haig's ECHO BOY, which I'm just dying to read, and snagged some more signed books and swag to take home.



A few trains later, we were back home in North Wales, thoroughly exhausted. I had a brilliant time at YALC, and really hope there will be another YALC in 2015!

Til next time, London...

Kat out x

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

US giveaway of Blackfin Sky!

My US publisher, Running Press Teen, are holding the first ever US ARC giveaway of Blackfin Sky right now!

If you're in the US and would like to win an ARC of Blackfin Sky, plus - PLUS - a letter from me with some EXCLUSIVE extra content, then head on over to Goodreads by 10th July to enter.


Good luck!

Kat out x

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

In which I take over Firefly... or at least their site

Hellooooo.

Just a quick note to point you in the direction of my guest post today over on Firefly Press's website, in which I talk about the upcoming YALC (Young Adult Literary Convention) in London, where I will be heading in less than 2 weeks!

Hope to see you there.

Kat out x

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

My first month as a published author

Hi guys!

I meant to post this on 14th June so that it would be exactly a month after my book released over here in the UK, but that didn't happen. Oops.

So, what does a published author do once their book is out there?

Before BLACKFIN SKY's release, I'd wondered myself what would happen once it was 'out there' in the world, so I thought it might be interesting to record some of it here.

Promotion
This is a hangover from pre-publication, but it doesn't suddenly grind to a halt once people can actually buy it. I've posted a few more links than usual to reviews and discount online book sites and stuff like that (I assume people who follow me want to know what's happening with my bookish stuff, not just see pictures of my cat... though I offer up plenty of both), and I've done a few interviews and guest posts on other sites, too. You can check those out on the interviews and appearances page.

Events
I've already posted about the first panel I did with Catherine Fisher and Lucy Christopher at XX Women's Writing Festival, and I did another with Lucy and Quiet Marauder at the Cardiff Children's Literature Festival before my official release.

Firefly Press held a launch for all 4 of their first titles on 15th May, so I went along with Dan Anthony and Heather Dyer, whose books also came out last month, and did readings and talked a bit about our books at Aberystwyth Arts Centre. That was so much fun, and had such a mixed crowd!

I had a local release event for Blackfin Sky at Prestatyn Library on 23rd May, and it was amazing to see so many people from the area coming to see lil' old me talk about my lil' old book. I signed a bunch of copies, too!

Up next, I'll be going along to YALC in London on 12th & 13th July, so I'll be blogging about my adventures there afterward. I'll also be taking my fancy pen with me, so if you're going to be there and would like your copy of Blackfin Sky signed, keep an eye out for me! After that, I have a session at Gwyl Arall in Caernarfon on 19th July - I'll post more details here when I have them.

School visits
I had my first one yesterday with the sixth form at my old high school, where I got to talk about what it's really like being a writer. For real. (I didn't wear sweatpants and a hoodie, though, so maybe I showed them a slightly glamorised version of my authorly lifestyle...)

The next one will be on Friday, and then I have another couple in the works over the coming months. I would like to say that I'm not nervous about doing this. I would LIKE to say that...

Signing
I've been to a few bookshops in my local area and signed copies for them to sell with that special 'signed by the author' sticker on the front. I'm not ashamed to admit that I practised my 'official' autograph quite a bit before my book came out. I had not realised how hard it would be to maintain the same autograph book after book (I have weird, squirrelly writing that never looks the same twice) or how hard it is to write coherently when someone is talking to you. I'll have to practice that a bit more, eh??

The work goes on
Specifically, editing my new novel. This one was a bit of a change of pace for me, but it seems to be coming together pretty well (finally!) I'm hoping to be done with it and working on the next one in a couple of weeks. All go!

There will be lots more to do in the run up to Blackfin Sky's US release on 2nd September (and after), but this is everything I've been doing and planning in the last few weeks. More soon!

Kat out x

Monday, 26 May 2014

Mr. Hallett

If you follow me along any of my various internet pathways, you'll know that last Friday (23rd May) I had a launch event for Blackfin Sky at Prestatyn Library. This post is a little bit about that, but actually the story began almost 20 years ago.

I grew up in a North Wales town called Prestatyn. When I was old enough to walk from my house into town by myself, I used to go and spend my hard-earned (or not earned at all, actually) pocket money in my local bookshop, Books Unlimited, owned by one Mr. Hallett.

It was a little shop crammed floor-to-ceiling with books, not built to be a shop at all, but actually a converted house, with little rooms on different levels sectioning the books by category. Naturally, I always made a beeline for the children's and teens' section, up the steps at the back of the shop.

This was a ritual of mine: every Saturday I went in and bought a book, and if I was reading a series, I'd order the next book in the series so it would be waiting for me the following Saturday. Then Mr. Hallett would wrap the book in a paper bag -- the same kind the lady at the sweetshop used to wrap the sweets in -- and I'd take my book home to read. And I wouldn't lift my head from the book until I'd finished reading, which was generally by tea time.

The routine went on for a few years, and though Mr. Hallett and I didn't really chat, he would occasionally recommend books for me to read. I think he could tell when I'd finished a series, and I had that lost, slightly forlorn look I know I still wear when I've had to part with beloved characters.

As I got older, I started to work on weekends (for beer money), so stopped going into Books Unlimited. The shop finally closed when Mr. Hallett retired sometime during my late teens, and I didn't see him again... until last Friday.

I have no idea whether Mr. Hallett recognised me from the flyer advertising Blackfin Sky's launch, or if it was purely an interest in books which brought him there, but when I looked up and saw him waiting to have his copy of my book signed, I felt like something had come full circle. I told him all this, about how I used to buy books from him every Saturday and how he and his shop played a huge part in developing my early love of reading. I don't know whether he remembered me or not, as I was talking far too much for him to get a word in edgewise.

Finally, I asked if I could double-check the spelling of 'Hallett' before I wrote my message in the front of his copy. He smiled, and said, "Please make it out to Victor."

So I did. I thanked him for encouraging my early love of books, and said that I hoped he would enjoy reading Blackfin Sky. Because without the inspiration I drew from the books he sold me all those years ago, I probably wouldn't have written it.


I'm still not sure I've spelled 'Hallett' correctly, so if not, I hope I am forgiven.

Kat out x


Monday, 19 May 2014

Review: EREN by Simon P Clark


YA novels are my niche, both in terms of reading and writing, but I was still chomping at the bit to get an advance copy of Simon P Clark's debut MG novel, EREN.

You see, Simon is an online friend from twitter, and he's also represented by marvellous agent Molly Ker Hawn of The Bent Agency. So I already knew that Simon was very funny and charming, and that he was bound to be very talented. When you know this about someone, you want to read their book.

This is what it’s about.


‘Tell the story to its end,’ says Eren with a grin. His yellow eyes are glowing like embers in the night. 

People are keeping secrets from Oli - about where his father is, and why he hasn't come to join them at his uncle's house in the country.

But Oli has secrets too.

He knows what lives in the attic. Eren - part monster, part dream, part myth. Eren who always seems so interested, who always wants to hear more about Oli's life. Eren, who needs to hear stories to live, and will take them from Oli, no matter the cost.


As much as I would tell anyone “I don’t really read MG”, I forgot about that within a few sentences of reading EREN. The story begins (or does it?) with Oli and his mother travelling from London to stay with relatives, and the author’s conjuring of British summer holidays, the awkward trips to visit unfamiliar relations, and the discovery of Important Things like a portal (sliding fence panel) between two gardens, transported me back to when I was Oli’s age. I could absolutely relate to his sense of being kept in the dark by the adults around him, but the mysterious draw of the attic invites him into the dark rather than keeping him there.

Oli is a smart, thoughtful character, and he worries about things like rumours about his politician father, his mother looking exhausted, tentative friendships which might last a day or a summer or longer, but who knows? And I could see how a shadowy creature who lived in the attic and fed on stories could be a relief from all those other things.

EREN goes to some dark places, but there’s a lot of light in there as well. His friends Em and Takeru are brilliant and fun, and when the three are together there’s an irrepressible sense of adventure that had me grinning. I liked the careful affection-building between Oli and his uncle and aunt, and the way Oli saw through his mother’s snappy moods and protected her as much as she believed she protected him from the truth.


I’ve read that EREN will appeal to fans of David Almond and Patrick Ness, and would absolutely agree. This is skilful storytelling; the kind that feels destined to become a classic.

You can add EREN to your Goodreads TBR, and preorder here from Amazon UK. It is due out on 18th September from Constable & Robinson. In the meantime, keep an eye on Simon's website, where EREN TALES -- companion stories to EREN, with wonderful illustrations -- can be found!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Firefly's first 4 titles launched in Aberystwyth

So, it's the end of Blackfin Sky's official UK release week! (Yep. I claimed the entire week.)

I thought I'd update you with a few pics from the Firefly launch event that took place in Aberystwyth Arts Centre on 15th May. I was there, along with Dan Anthony - author of Steve's Dreams - and Heather Dyer - author of The Flying Bedroom, and of course Penny Thomas and Janet Thomas from Firefly Press, and a whole ROOMFUL of brilliant people who came to listen to us talk about our books.


We each said a little bit about the kind of stories we write, then read for a few minutes before people got their copies signed.



It was also great fun getting to meet Sarah Taylor (why didn't I think to grab a photo?!?!), who won the first Firefly writing contest this year with her story Arthur & Me, which is soon to be published by Firefly Press.

As is the tradition at Aberystwyth Arts Centre, I was asked to sign a pillar in the bookshop and quote the first line from Blackfin Sky. Here it is!


Thereafter, many drinks were had...

If you're in the North Wales-ish area and fancy coming to Blackfin Sky's local launch event, you can come along to Prestatyn Library at 7pm this Friday, 23rd May. Hope to see you there!

Kat out x