Thursday, December 30, 2010

One week to go

Here's one of those sneaky copies of Entangled that escaped into the wild a bit early. Notice how it's snuggling up to Harlan Coben for warmth. Bless.


So it's seven days until the official publication date. 

2010 has been the worst year of my life, by some considerable distance. 2011 can't possibly be any worse. After all, I've been eagerly awaiting 2011 since getting the book deal in November 2009. And now it's almost here. The year I've been waiting for. And yet nothing is how I imagined it to be. Instead of bouncing off the walls with excitement, I'm sort of melancholic and wistful. But there's seven days to go and a lot can change in seven days. I shall endeavour to Get Excited.

Any tips?

I hope 2010 has been kind to you, and I hope 2011 is even kinder. See you on the other side!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

ENTANGLED in the wild

It has come to my attention that ENTANGLED has been released into the wild. This is extremely dangerous for all of us. The location of the first few sightings is a certain retailer named WHSmith. You have been warned.

Here's my advice: The safest thing for you to do is head down to your local branch, pick a copy off the shelf (carefully), and take it to the counter. Give the nice chap or lady some money and take the book home (STILL carefully). Maybe try reading it. Or giving it to an unsuspecting friend. But whatever you do, don't just ignore it. That could be lethal.

It is a well-known fact that the only way to protect ourselves from this menace is to get it out of the shops NOW! Please help. If we all work together, I think we can beat this thing. Good luck, brave soldiers.

If anyone would like to send me a pic of ENTANGLED in the wild, I'd be ever so grateful. (Warning: flash photography can cause these pesky books to attack.)

Thank you for listening.

Oh, and do have a happy Christmas, if you celebrate it. You are all wonderful.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Charlieissocoollike

I can't believe I've only just discovered the wondrous Charlie McDonnell (thanks to John Green for the intro). This song is pretty much the coolest thing ever, and Charlie happens to look like one of my characters, which makes me love him even more. Enjoy!





Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Blog tour continued...

Morning, folks. Today I'm over at Once Upon a Bookcase talking to the lovely Jo. Stop by, have a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit.

Here's a little thingummyjig so you can see where I'll be and when.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I forgot to mention...

I have a finished copy of ENTANGLED. I can't believe I forgot to tell you! My excuse is that a lot of real-life stuff has been going on recently (all depressing and/or too dull to tell you about). So, here it is...


Pretty cool, huh? I can report that the book is pleasingly chunky and it has pages and everything. There wasn't as much squeeing as I would have thought, primarily due to the aforementioned dull/depressing stuff. Still, getting a finished a copy is another important landmark on the journey towards publication. Three and a bit weeks until 6th January. How did that happen?!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Interview with Anthony McGowan

Today I'm privileged to be interviewing all-round writing superstar Anthony McGowan who will be leading the WRITING FOR CHILDREN course at the Faber Academy starting in January. The course sounds utterly brilliant - you can check out the details here.




Tell us a little bit about the WRITING FOR CHILDREN course and your involvement with it.


Like many authors, I grew up in love with the Faber name and heritage. I’ve been teaching creative writing at various institutions for a few years now, as well as writing children’s books, which obviously meant I was picked up on the Faber Academy RADAR. They approached me, and I leapt at the chance. The course is aimed at anyone from total beginners, to someone who’s finished or almost finished a children’s book. We’ll be covering the whole range of writing for children and young adults, except for picture books. I suppose the course is a distillation of all that I’ve learned in my years as a children’s writer (and reader). There’ll be plenty of workshopping and exercises, and we have some amazing special guests – Anne Fine, Michael Rosen and Meg Rosoff.

Do you think there are unique challenges in writing for children and young adults?

The basics of good writing are the same for adults and children – it generally boils down to great characters and a compelling plot. The main challenge in for writing for children is to get into the mind of a child, without losing your adult sensibility. And you generally have to work harder to keep children reading, given how many other things there are for them to do. This puts a little more emphasis on plot and action, as well as humour, as ways of keeping your grip on the young readers.

What are some of the common mistakes people make when writing for children?

Not thinking about the audience. The belief that ‘fine’ writing is somehow enough. Spending a page describing the sunset. A failure to appreciate the beauty of a good fart gag.

You write for different age groups. Which is your favourite? Go on, you can tell us. We’re VERY good at keeping secrets.

I love writing for teenagers. It’s where my heart really is. And my head. It’s such a dramatic and intense time in our lives, the possibilities for stories are endless.

What are your feelings about first person versus third person? (Careful here, you’re talking to a first person kind of girl.)

Most of my books are first person narratives. It comes most easily to me, and seems the most natural way of telling a story.

What are your top three YA books of all time?

Red Shift by Alan Garner, The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff and The Lord of the Rings by, well, you know who.

Have you ever walked up to someone in a bookshop and said, ‘I wrote that!’?

Yep, just once, with my first Y/A book, Hellbent. Couldn’t resist it! I still can’t go into a bookshop without turning my books so the cover faces out (I suspect we all do that …).

Please tell us your famous crossbow story, Twitter style (140 characters or fewer).

2 boys hunt rats with a crossbow in a filthy beck. An abandoned gypsy dog. A stray shot. A merciful boot crunches. The bones lie restless.

Best Twitter story EVER. Now, the most important question of all... If you could only have one for the rest of your life, which would you choose: chocolate or cheese?

I could actually live without either. Crisps, however …

Your answer has blown my mind. A life without chocolate OR cheese...?! I think I need to go and lie down for a minute. Thanks for stopping by, Tony!
Tony McGowan will be teaching Writing For Children at The Faber Academy, starting on January 25th 2011. For more information or to book, please visit www.faberacademy.co.uk, or call Ian Ellard on 0207 927 3827.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Fall Out Boy, Maya Angelou and aubergines

The blog tour continues. Today I'm over at The Mile-long Bookshelf, talking to Amber about... you've guessed it... Fall Out Boy, Maya Angelou and aubergines.

In other news, I have discovered that fried gnocchi is like normal gnocchi but ten times better.

Also, today I may well be starting a brand-new top sekrit project. I'm not quite sure what this project actually IS yet, but gimme a couple of hours with my Moleskine and my favourite pen and I should have a clearer idea.

So what do you do when you're in need of inspiration? Do you sit down with a notebook and order your brain to come up with something good? Or do you go for a walk? Listen to some music? Eat some cheese?

Monday, December 6, 2010

A very lovely weekend indeed

In which I:
1. finished GOING BOVINE. You should read this book. Soon.
2. cooked spaghetti and meatballs.
3. tried oysters for the very first time. (Not in the least bit slimey or chewy... who'd have thunk it?! A revelation!)
4. attended a chocolate tasting AND a sparkling wine tasting.
5. ate hog roast (and came up with a stonkingly good idea for a bar/restaurant).
6. drank cocktails.
7. laughed a lot.
8. pushed a car through the snow.
9. traipsed on a gorgeous, snow-encrusted beach.
10. did no work whatsoever (also a revelation!).

Today the nose is firmly back to the grindstone. Currently inputting edits to the mansucript, which would be a speedier task if I hadn't left myself so many things to think about. But I am finding it strangely satisfying getting rid of unnecessary sentences -of which there are many.

What did you get up to? Anything fun?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The ENTANGLED blog tour. Woo and hoo!

The ENTANGLED blog tour kicks off today, over at The Mountains of Instead. Do pop over and check out the interview about The Lighthouse Children's Literary Consultancy.

All very exciting!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Editz, I haz dun them

Well, I've got to input all the changes to the word doc, and sort out the bits where I've written 'THINK ABOUT THIS' and 'THIS PART NEEDS TO BE GOOD'. So there's a few more days of work still to be done. I'm getting there though. Should hopefully be ready to send to Agent Victoria next week. If I can get rid of all the tedious repetitions, that is. Repetition is my worst writing crime. Here's what happens: I come up with a nice turn of phrase, pat myself on the back for being so clever... and then realize that I've said exactly those words earlier in the book. *sigh*

In other news, my unbelievably lovely friend Mikey B brought me the best present ever from New York:


And it's signed! Best present ever, right? I think I'll read it over Christmas. At the mo, I'm reading GOING BOVINE, by Libba Bray. Has anyone out there read it? I am loving it. I can't remember the last time I read a book and had no clue where it was heading - it's a magical mystery tour of a book.

Here's something lovely for you to look at, in case you haven't already seen it:


Isn't it gorgeous? IMAGINARY GIRLS is due out in June 2011 from Dutton. It's written by my friend Nova Ren Suma, who is made entirely of loveliness.

That's all for today, folks. Hope you're keeping warm, wherever you are. Unless you're in Australia, in which case I hope you're keeping cool.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

ENTANGLED book trailer!

Excitement! It's the ENTANGLED book trailer. Hope you like it. Make sure you turn the sound up nice and loud because the music is pretty damn cool (in my humble opinion).

The trailer was created by me - creative visionary *cough*, Gareth Barker (awesome art director with the patience of a saint) and Massive Dog (musical genius and all-round top fella).



Here's the youtube link.

So... you like? 



Saturday, November 20, 2010

The finest two words in the English language

THE END. I typed those six letters about twenty minutes ago. My heart was thumping and I thought I was going to throw up.

Really mixed feelings about finishing this novel, for reasons I won't go into right now. Suffice to say I doubt I'll ever have to write anything else in such adverse conditions.

For now, I am eating celebratory wasabi peas and thinking about what to write next.

NaFiNoWriMo has been a success. Thanks to all you proper NaNoers out there for spurring me on.

Friday, November 19, 2010

19th November 2009

That was the day I got The Call, or rather a series of calls with a few emails thrown in. Entangled had been out on submission for a month, and there'd been some to-ing and fro-ing and meetings and such like for the past couple of weeks. But Thursday 19th was THE day.

I was at work, which makes these things 100% more awkward. Many furtive phone calls, much sitting at my desk with my head in the clouds. It's hard to remember the details. One thing I do remember is that my hands felt tingly, and it was very hard to type with tingly-hands syndrome.

So, I had a two-book deal with Quercus and it felt bloody brilliant. Everyone kept asking when the first book would be coming out. 'January 2011,' I said. There were two different responses to this, depending on whether I was talking to someone who worked in publishing or not. Non-publishing folk said something like, 'Blimey! That's aaaaages away.' Publishing folk said, 'Blimey! That's pretty soon.' Yes, it's a little-known fact that time moves differently in the publishing world.

Entangled is released in just under seven weeks. Crikey.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The case of the missing flamingo

Yesterday I hit 70,000 words on the novel, which is good news indeed. I was aiming for a total word count of 70,000, but I ain't done yet. Three major scenes to tackle and then I get to type those magic words, THE END. I've somehow managed to stick to my personal goal of 1000 words a day to get this thing finished in November. A bit of discipline was just what the doctor ordered.

Lately I've become a little bit obsessed about something and I thought I might as well share it with you. When it comes to writing, I'm not a planner. I'm what's known as a pantser (lovely moniker). I fly by the seat of my pants, with little or no idea of what's going to happen next. It's an exciting way to write, because essentially you're in exactly the same position as the reader - hopefully on the edge of your seat.

But I find myself worrying about all the possible alternatives - the things I don't write. What if one of those gazillion other options would have been better than the one I chose. For instance, I wrote a scene where a couple of my characters went to a cafe and were served by a Portuguese waitress. The scene is perfectly adequate. But what if they'd entered the cafe, sat down and found themselves being served by a flamingo wearing a bowtie? Now that would have been interesting. The story could have gone down a whole different route. It could have touched on so many important issues, like the ridiculously low wages flamingos are being paid these days. Or maybe not.

OK, maybe that's not the best example. But you know what I mean, right? Are there an infinite number of alternative versions of the novel floating around out there somewhere? Where the characters argue, or run off without paying, or dance the Macarena, or kiss? Who's to say the version I've chosen to put down on paper is the right one - the best one?

Hmm. This is all a bit philosophical for a Tuesday. I'd better go and make a cup of tea.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Last Ever ARC Winner...

... is Clover, who blogs at Fluttering Butterflies. Congrats, Clover! Please get in touch with your address and let me know if you want the ARC signed or not.

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest. I've had word from the publisher that we have now officially run out of shiny pink ARCs. Awwwww. Never mind, they'll soon be replaced with actual, real books with purdy covers and final final final text.

I hope you all have fun plans for the weekend. I'll be writing. NaFiNoWriMo continues. Can you sense my enthusiasm oozing out onto the keyboard? No? Oh.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

NEWS!

Today is the official launch of an exciting new business venture. Editor extraordinaire Sarah Stewart and I have joined forces to form The Lighthouse Children's Literary Consultancy. Feel free to have a mooch around our shiny new webite.

You can find us on Twitter and on Facebook and you can email us at lighthouseliterary@gmail.com

If you want to find out more, or you've got any questions, please get in touch!

Now where are those champagne glasses?


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Go somewhere else!

Morning, folks. Just to let you know that there's a guest blog by me over on the Quercus site. I talk about book covers. Go have a look here, if you fancy it.

I'm very busy writing wurdz, so I must dash. TTFN.

Monday, November 8, 2010

NaFiNoWriMo update

Greetings. NaFiNoWriMo (National Finish Writing Novel Month) is progressing well. But I keep reading about amazing NaNoers who've written 25,000 words in a week. I bow down to their awesomeness. My progress has been much more modest, but at least there has been progress, which is more than I can say for the previous few months.

I'm on course to finish the first draft by the end of the month. In fact, I only have four or five major scenes to write, but they're biggies. I've done something entirely out of character and PLANNED them. Next to my desk is a big sheet of paper with character names and bullet points and headings like 'Things to add in' and 'Things to check' and 'The end'. I even used coloured pens. Fun times indeed. I'd love to post a picture for you, but then you'd know all the sekrits, and we can't be having that, can we?

In other non-news, I've started watching The Walking Dead. Anyone else watching?

Anyone got any NaNo progress to report?

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Last Ever ARC contest... probably (UK only)

Happy Friday! I've decided to give away my last ARC of ENTANGLED. The finished book avec gorgeous cover should be ready soon, so I figured the pink loveliness that is the ARC should go to a good home. I'm not saying it will be easy to part with  - we've been through a lot together.

The ARC is very easy to care for, requires minimal watering (no watering at all, actually). All it asks is that you read it once or more and tell all your friends about it.

To enter the contest:

1. You must live in the UK. (Sorry, international peeps!)
2. You have to be a follower of this here blog.
3. Please complete the following sentence...

I would be the ideal ENTANGLED ARC owner because...

Closing date is Friday 12th November. Good luck!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A dangerous obsession

I remember the good old days. They were happy, carefree and full of candyfloss and toffee apples. *sighs wistfully* Ah, those were the days. I wish I could turn back the clock and appreciate each and every moment for what it was: pure freedom.

Of course, that was B.W.C.O. You know what I'm talking about, don't you? What?! YOU DON'T! Oh my. Before Word Count Obsession, of course.

Those heady days spent writing ENTANGLED, when I only looked at the word count when I'd finished writing for the day - and sometimes not even then. It just wasn't important to me. I didn't even think I'd reach the end of the novel, so word count was irrelevant. Such innocent times.

Alas, those days are long gone. Now my eyes are drawn to that number on the bottom of my word doc every couple of minutes. That number that refuses to rise as rapidly as I want it to. Every hundred words is noted...

Just... got... to.... reach... one thousand...

N.B. Imagine this in the manner of a certain cartoon character who always seemed to be talking to himself while struggling to climb a huge mountain. Here he is:


Lion-O! Thundercats! Hooooooooooooooo!


But I digress (yet still add to my word count, so who cares?!)... The point is that I wish I could free myself from Word Count Obsession. If only there was a cure. NaNoWriMo isn't exactly helping, even though I'm not participating. When you read on twitter that someone has written 1000 words in ten minutes, which happens to be the exact word count it's taken you all day to achieve, it's somewhat grrrrrrr-making to say the least.

Please tell me I'm not alone. Perhaps we could form some kind of support group.



Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Hallers!

I hope you're spending the day doing something suitably spooky. I'll be writing, but I promise I'll be writing something extra creepy. And in a concession to Halloween, I'm reading a horror book:


I'm enjoying it so far, and hoping to get to the scary bit just in time to freak myself out tonight. I used to read a lot of horror, mainly Richard Laymon and Stephen King. I think I might start reading more, so if you've got any recommendations, do let me know.

I might watch The Descent tonight. Have you seen it? If not, WHY NOT?

So what are you up to for Hallers? Carving a pumpkin? Going to a fancy-dress party? Ignoring it completely?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

NaFiNoWriMo

Yes, that's right. Not NaNoWriMo. NaFiNoWriMo is where I'll be at in November. For those who don't know, National Novel Writing Month is when a bunch of crazy dedicated people knuckle down for the month of November and write a WHOLE novel (50,000 words or more) in thirty days. Impressive, no?

This is the first year that I've really, really wanted to join in. And I can't. And that makes me frowny. The reason I can't participate is The Deadline (January), and my self-imposed first draft deadline, which happens to coincide with the end of NaNoWriMo. So I will be immersed in National Finish Novel Writing Month. Not quite so exciting, but hopefully the sense of achievement will still be there. After all, it's not every day you finish writing a novel. Unless you write really, really short novels.

So I'd like to wish everyone who's brave enough to NaNo HUGE amounts of good luck. As for those of you who aren't crazy brave, you should probably come up with a crappy fake challenge like mine so you don't feel too left out for the month of November.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Grown-up reading

I'm reading a grown-up book. (I KNOW! I'm just as shocked as you are.) And what's more, I'm thoroughly enjoying it. In case you're interested it's A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. So far it has made me laugh, made me cry, made me think and made me wonder whether I should read grown-up books more often. I'm finding this one very difficult to put down, despite the fact that it's definitely not a page-turner.

So... should I read more grown-up books, and if so, which ones? Just so you know, I'm not very good with long passages of description or, y'know, boring things.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Blood from a stone

It's no secret that I've been finding writing a little tricky lately. I've been hovering at the 40-something thousand word mark for months and months. At times it's felt like I would never reach the magic 50k. Don't get too excited... I'm not there yet. This morning, book 2 stands at a mighty 49,000 words. This gives me hope that I might one day (maybe even today) reach the big five-o.

Towards the end of last week I got a rush of Deadline Fear. The January deadline has always seemed ridiculously far away. Now it is not. I was hoping to finish book 2 by the end of summer. Needless to say, things didn't work out exactly how I'd planned. My whole world has been turned upside-down. Writing hasn't been very high on my list of priorities. I tried to write, but it felt like I was hauling each word from the very depths of my soul*. It was exhausting and not fun in any way. Writing should be fun, shouldn't it?

So what's changed? Well, I got over myself. Writers write, right? This is my job now. I can't lounge around waiting for inspiration to strike. I have to MAKE it happen, by sitting at my laptop and staring at the screen for hours and hours. Even if I only write a couple of hundred words. It's something, and something is better than nothing.

I'm currently aiming for a first draft by the end of November. That will give me a month to sort it out and make it all shiny for my January deadline. So that's the plan. Feel free to mock me mercilessly if I'm still flailing around on the first draft in mid-December. (But if you mock me, I may cry.)

So what's YOUR plan? You do have a plan, don't you?


*Note to self: try not to write a grief-soaked book when you're, y'know, soaking in grief.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Interview with Entangled covergirl and photographer Josefine Jonsson

Remember my super-gorgeous book cover? No? Well, here's a little reminder:


*sighs* So pretty. Lots of people have asked me about it. Mainly they want to know... WHO IS SHE?! Well, I can reveal that she is none other than photographer Josefine Jonsson. Yes, she's the photographer AND the model. Pretty damn cool, huh? Obviously I had to track Josefine down and ask her some questions...

So... what's it like having your photo on a book cover? And not just a photo you've taken, a photo OF you too!
It feels really good! I knew there had been talking about using my photo for a cover but I didn’t see it finished until a person asked if it was me on your book. So I was quite excited when I saw it! As it is a photo that you clearly see it is me, it feels a little bit weird, but at the same time very awesome!



How do you go about taking such an incredible photograph of yourself anyway?
Whenever I feel like photographing it is nice to just take photos of myself, I don’t need to mind if the model or the make up artist doesn’t have time. Here I am in charge myself and if the photos turn out bad I can just throw them away! It is also very fun to portray different characters in my photos and the key is probably to experiment and try new things for your self-portraits.


The cover has had amazing feedback - some people have even gasped! What's the best reaction you've ever had from someone looking at one of your pictures?
I am very glad to hear that! The best reactions had probably been when I had my exhibition, because the people there wanted to talk about my work in another way than over the web. I can’t think of one specific comment, but it was nice to hear people say that they enjoyed my work to me personally.


I've had a browse through your portfolio and I find your pictures very inspiring. They make me want to write stories about them. What inspires you as a photographer?
Thank you! I usually say that I speak with my photography, instead of using words. I am quite fascinated with dreams and memories, so I try to create some with my photography. I find inspiration on art communities as well as everyday life. I am very interested in art, and have always been. I used to draw before I began photographing, and I think that I wanted to get out my feelings and thoughts in another way. Then I found photography which has helped me a lot with this. So I guess what inspires me the most are creating dreams and to create something that is valuable to myself as well as others.


What is your favourite of all the pictures you've taken so far, and why?
Choosing just one photo is quite hard, but I must say that even if I don’t work in a studio very much, my favourite photo is actually taken using this artificial light. Otherwise I always use natural light, but somehow this image sure has grown on me. I have wanted to photograph Ida for a long time now and finally had the chance this Summer. I like this image the most because it reminds me how much I have developed since I started. It is my new way of thinking of photography, but still I can see some of the old things in it that has inspired me within these 4 years. The image doesn’t really have a title, it just goes under the name “Ida”.



That is an incredible picture. Here are a few of my favourites...








Finally, the most important question of all. If you could only have one for the rest of your life, which would you choose: chocolate or cheese?
This was probably the easiest question, chocolate, without even hesitating!


Thank you so much for answering my questions, even if you did choose chocolate over cheese (WRONG!).

If you'd like to check out more of Josefine's work, have a mosey on down to her blog and website:
http://bloddroppe.wordpress.com
http://josefinejonsson.com


All photographs copyright Josefine Jonsson.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Exciting book news I forgot to tell you last week

Um... can't believe I forgot to mention this. I blame the fact it all happened the day I got back from New York, when I was still in a shopping-induced stupor.

Anyhoo, German rights for ENTANGLED have been sold at auction to Luebbe Verlag. This is very happy making for two reasons: Luebbe is an amazing publisher AND my book is going to be published in another language! Yes, I know that's bleedin' obvious, but it's so freaking cool. Deutsch! Memories of German lessons come flooding back. My favourite ever German phrase is: Ich mochte ein weichgekochtes ei. It means 'I would like a soft-boiled egg'. If I ever go to Germany, I will endeavour to say this at least three times a day.

Thanks to the especially brilliant and tireless Caroline Hill-Trevor - rights-selling legend.

What's your favourite foreign-language phrase? I'd like some to add to my collection. Danke.

Monday, October 11, 2010

NYC books etc

I got back from New York last week. Suffice to say that my suitcase was considerably heavier on the return journey than it was on the way out. The trouble is that New York is full of stuff, and I like to buy stuff. Specifically, books and clothes. Oh, and toothpicks in the shape of swords (seriously, they're great for serving hors d'oeuvres).

If you can believe it, I was actually more restrained on this trip. Last time, I went a little bit nuts. But back then I had a full-time job with a salary and everything. Things are different now. So I didn't buy every little thing that took my fancy. I thought: do I really need this in my life? No? Oh. But would everything be better and shinier if it was in my life? Yes? Awesome.

So, here are the books I bought:

The Lighter Side of Life and Death, C.K. Kelly Martin
I Know it's Over, C. K. Kelly Martin
Twenty Boy Summer, Sarah Ockler
Beautiful, Amy Reed (already read this on - it's bloody good)
Dairy Queen, Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Nothing Like You, Lauren Strasnick
Her and Me and You, Lauren Strasnick
Shark Girl, Kelly Bingham
Sea, Heidi R. Kling
Hush, Eishes Chayil
In the Path of Falling Objects (excellent - mega-creepy, best book I've ever read about brotherhood)
The Tension of Opposites, Kristina McBride
Mentor - a memoir, Tom Grimes (not YA! Not fiction! But it IS about two writers...)

Thanks to everyone for their stellar recommendations.

Other things I did in New York included eating Korean food with my amazing friend Nova, whose YA novel Imaginary Girls will be published by Dutton in June next year. (I have a feeling this is going to be a very special book.) I also met up with some other fabulous friends, drank sangria, ate good and bad Mexican food, went to see The Social Network and pounded the pavements of Manhattan listening to my iPod.

It's wonderful being back. No, really. Ahem...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

We have a winner!

Thank you to everyone who entered my 'I wouldn't mind getting entangled with... ' contest. I had a brilliant time googling all your answers. Not a bad way to spend a morning, I'm sure you'll agree. Anyhoo, we have a winner...

Maria @ The Serpentine Library. She chose Bradley Cooper. I have to confess that Maria might not have won had I not very recently seen The Hangover AND The A-Team. Bradley Cooper + Aviators = major hotness. Maria, please email me with your address and I'll get your signed ARC and Raised by Wolves in the post to you.

A couple of pics of Mr Cooper for you...



But wait! There's more! There were so many genius entries that I couldn't resist choosing a runner-up. And that runner-up is...

Kristy, who chose Jeremy London. Very specifically, Kristy chose Jeremy London in his Party of Five days - not Jeremy London post-drugs hell. I scoured the internet for a decent photo, but couldn't find one that did him justice in his prime, so I'm afraid you'll have to go without. Kristy, please get in touch so I can send you a signed ARC too!

Thanks again to everyone who entered the contest. You're all stars.

Monday, September 27, 2010

New York, here I come!

I am going to New York on Wednesday. This is very good news. It means I get to eat amazing food, catch up with fabulous friends, go to the Met, buy some clothes and generally relax. I'm not saying I've been stressed recently BUT... OK, I've been stressed recently. New York is my happy place. Sometimes I wish my happy place was closer to home so I could go there more often, but then it might lose some of its shine.

I need your help. I fully intend on spending at least eight hours in the Strand bookstore. I fully intend on buying books. Maybe not as many as last time. So, any recommendations for me? Any new USian releases I absolutely MUST get my hands on? Any old favourites you think I should look up?

Ta muchly.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Contest double whammy!

Today I received cover proofs for ENTANGLED, and they are blimmin' gorgeous. GORGEOUS, I tell you. To celebrate, I'm holding a contest.

The prize: a signed ARC of ENTANGLED AND a finished copy of RAISED BY WOLVES by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (thanks to lovely Quercus for this one). It's a double whammy of contesty joy!

To enter, you have to:

1. Live anywhere in the world. No aliens allowed. Intergalactic contest coming soon, I promise.

2. Follow this blog.

3. Complete the following sentence:

I wouldn't mind getting entangled with... (Please add the Hottie McHotterson of your choice.)

The winner will be chosen by an expert panel of judges (headed by me, with co-judges um... me and er... me).

Closing date is WEDNESDAY 6th OCTOBER.

Good luck y'all.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Maureen Johnson is a bloody genius

God, I love the internet. I really do.  And not just for pictures of Taylor Kitch.


Oops! Where did that come from? No, I love the internet because occasionally you stumble across someone saying something important. Something you believe in. And you sit there nodding to yourself, thinking, 'Man, I wish I'd said that.' Yesterday I read Maureen Johnson's blog about the supposed crisis in boys' reading, and the fact that everyone seems to think we need more male authors for children. Please have a read here.

Here's my favourite bit:

It was like the penis was literally the magical eleventh finger that allowed you to write, and if I could just GROW ONE SOMEHOW, or imagine it into being, I would gain the abilities I so desired.

Tee hee. Anyway, I'd love to know what you think on the matter. Because I think MAUREEN JOHNSON IS  A BLOODY GENIUS!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Speak loudly

I wasn't planning to post today, since I have actual paying work to do (yay!). But I had to draw your attention to this. Many of you will already know about it, as it was all over the twitterverse and blogosphere yesterday, but some of you may not.

 A crazy book-banning types named Wesley Scroggins (yes, really) has written an article in which he talks about SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson. Now, I love LHA. LOVE HER. I wrote about that love here. SPEAK is one of my top ten YA books of all time. And this Scroggins chap calls it 'filth'. He thinks that high school students should not be exposed to such books. He even goes to far as to equate rape with pornograpy, which is so twisted I can't even begin to get my head around it. Please read Laurie's blog post about it all here.

People like this man really, really scare me. He's a professor, for crying out loud. A supposedly educated man! I've no idea what he kind of books he'd like to see young people read, but I'm pretty sure I don't want to find out. We can't let this book-banning madness win. We just can't.

So, please go and find out more on the blogosphere. There are some pretty inspiring posts out there. Try this one for starters. If you haven't already, please read SPEAK. And if you happen to be a school librarian, please please please make sure there is a copy of SPEAK on your shelves. A student of yours might need to read it - if only to know that they're not alone.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Three months

A lot has happened in the last three months.

I got my first look at the cover for Entangled.

I received a batch of shiny, pink ARCs. My book in book form, at long last.

A couple of authors I really admire read and liked my book.

I got promoted at work.

I handed in my notice at work.

I met John Green, and had a grand day out with a bunch of lovely bloggers.

I started planning my new not-so-top-secret business venture.

My best friend had a baby.

My nephew started school, looking ridiculously cute in his uniform.

I left London.

My ARCs were sent out into the wild, and I got my first bit of feedback from one of the lovely bloggers. She liked my book.

Three months. My mother died three months ago today. I miss her.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

ARCs in the wild

This week has been a tricky one for all sorts of reasons. I won't go into them here, as I like to keep things light and breezy if I can. (This 'light and breezy' policy may not last... We'll see.) Some good things have happened though: those lovely pink ARCs have been sent out to bloggers. Maybe some of them are even being read at this very moment (although knowing the state of most bloggers' TBR piles, I'm not so sure). The thought of people reading the ARC is exciting and terrifying in equal measures. I'm trying my best to focus on the excitement.

The other good thing was that my fabulous friend who produces music under the pseudonym MASSIVE DOG (coolest pseudonym ever, right?) has sent me the final version of the music for the ENTANGLED trailer. And by God, it's good. I really, really love it. Now I just have to somehow create a trailer to do it justice. (N.B. I have no idea how to make a trailer.)

This afternoon I'm heading into Edinburgh to find a cafe in which to write. I'm in desperate need of inspiration.

I hope you are all feeling rested and happy and inspired this weekend.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Contest winner and other stuff

Greetings from Scotland! I'm finally here. It's been... stressful. But last night I had dinner overlooking Edinburgh castle, which was pretty magical and nerve-soothing.

So, the winner of the Mockingjay contest is Anna. Congrats! Please DM me your address, so I can get your prize in the post (if I can find said prize when the rest of my belongings arrive on Friday... if not, I'll have to send an old pair of socks instead). So here's what Anna would want Haymitch to send into the Hunger Games for her final meal:

I would opt for a giant pie, one side steak and ale, the other mash and gravy. My reasoning, you ask? It is thus:

1. I reckon that the hardy crust might protect aforementioned pie from the elements as I roam the arena, should I not be able to finish it in one sitting (an unlikely event)
2. I love pie
To drink – something hugely sugary and highly caffeinated (for the energy). Coke, perhaps.
For dessert: Something chocolaty. No reason. I just like it.
Did I mention it's my birthday on Thursday? (Not that I'm trying to encourage bias, you understand…)

N.B. I was NOT swayed by the imminent birthday. It was the two-sided pie idea that clinched it.

So, other stuff? Not much to report, I'm afraid. Oh, I'm writing - in between the mountains of boring admin, unpacking, tweeting and coaxing the cats out from behind the sofa. So far today, I've written... um... about two hundred words. Impressive, huh?

I'll do better tomorrow, I promise.







Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mockingjay contest (UK only - sorry!)

In honour of the Impending Move to Scotchland, I've decided to give away a shiny copy of Mockingjay to one of you good people. Here it is, in all its orangey glory:


So, what do you have to do to be in with a chance of winning?

1. Be a follower of this blog.
2. Live in the UK. (I promise not to be biased in favour of Scottish entrants.)
3. Answer the following question...

If you were a tribute in the Hunger Games, what meal would you want Haymitch to send you in one of those little parachutes? And why? Remember, this could be your last meal, so you'd better make it a good 'un.

The winner will be chosen by me on a whim. (Don't go thinking you can win just by saying the word 'cheese'. That's not going to cut it... probably.) The closing date is Wednesday 8th September.

Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favour.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Fainting and amazing authors

I wanted to share a couple of quotes from a couple of amazing (SERIOUSLY amazing) authors who have read Entangled.

The first is from Simmone Howell, author of Everything Beautiful and Notes from the Teenage Underground:

"I was glued to the page. Smiling one minute and getting all choky the next. Grace's voice was so clear, tough and tender - I didn't know if I wanted to shake her or hug her (in the end I settled on hugs).

Next up is Courtney Summers, author of Some Girls Are and Cracked Up To Be:

"ENTANGLED is an intense and thrilling story of love and betrayal that goes places you don't expect and Grace is a narrator you won't forget. Once I started it, I couldn't put it down."

I am beyond thrilled that Simmone and Courtney enjoyed my book. They both happen to be writers I hugely admire, which makes it extra-specially thrilling. If you haven't read their books, I suggest you do so.


In other Entangled news, I found out this week that someone FAINTED while reading it. And not just cos she had low blood-sugar levels or summat like that... She fainted because of the actual words on the page! Um... Wow. When I first heard this, I was horrified. I mean, no one expects/wants their book to cause anyone bodily harm, do they? But then I thought about it some more... And I hate to admit this, but I got a bit of a kick out of it. Does that make me a little bit evil? Actually, don't answer that.

Friday, August 27, 2010

New life: Day 1

Yesterday I began my new life as A Person Without a Day Job. The day began earlier than expected, given that I was planning on lying in till at least nine. I woke up around seven, but forced myself to stay in bed and read Mockingjay. Who needs sleep when you've got Katniss, Peeta and Gale?

I spent the rest of the day reading, watching cookery programmes, and attempting to get the cats accustomed to the cage luxury accomodation I've borrowed for the nine-hour journey next weekend. Strangely enough, they are highly suspicious of said accommodation. I think we're in for some fun and games.

I'm trying my best to focus on the good things ahead, instead of the fear that threatens to overwhelm me every five minutes or so.

Good things:
1. Spending time with my dad, brother and nephews.
2. Running on the beach.
3. Writing.
4. Starting the Top Sekrit Business.
5. Getting my Scottish accent topped up.
6. Not having to commute on the tube. No more face-jammed-in-someone-else's-armpit (unless it's by choice!).

Bad things:
I am choosing not to think about the bad things. I'm all about the positive. (If you know me in real life, this might make you laugh.)

Anyone got any tips on positive thinking?!

Friday, August 20, 2010

My very first interview

Just a short post today, you lucky people. I was interviewed on the Quercus blog, and you can have a look here if you like. I even managed to mention cheese (yes, I'm very proud of myself).


In other news:


1. Someone on TV the other day said 'The sky's your oyster', which made me laugh. A lot.
2. This morning on the tube I sat opposite one man with extraordinary ears, and another with the longest toenails I have ever seen.
3. Today I will be WRITING.


What will you be doing?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The finish line

A wee while ago (OK, a long while ago), the lovely Becky asked me to write a post about finishing a novel. That's the tricky bit, you see. Starting is easy peasy. Well, it was for me. That's the exciting bit, when the possibilities are endless and you're going to create a MASTERPIECE. So you write, and you write some more, and you do horrible things to your characters and rub your hands together with glee. If you're anything like me, you add in random plot twists as and when the mood takes you. The words are stacking up, and before you know it, you have half a novel. YAY! Go you! This is a huge achievement.

And then it hits you. 'Whaaaaat? I actually have to tie up all those plot twists? Can't someone else do it for me? It's haaaaaaard.' This is exactly how I felt when I was writing Entangled. And it was bloody hard to overcome. You see, I'm all about creating problems - not so much with the solving. I very nearly gave up. But I didn't. And neither should you. Just keep on keeping on. One word at a time. You'll reach the end eventually. And it doesn't matter if you look back and think your novel is bobbins with a capital 'B'. You can rewrite the whole thing if you like. But at least you'll have something to work with - a beginning, a middle and an end.

It's true that I'm not particularly qualified to talk about how to finish a novel. I've only finished one thus far. But one is more than none. And hopefully I'll finish another one in the next few months. Hopefully.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

John Green Day of Awesomeness

Yesterday was John Green Day. You should have been there. Oh wait, some of you were. In addition to getting to see the AMAZING John Green, I got to hang out with...

Kaz Mahoney (author of The Iron Witch, out Feb next year), Liz of My Favourite Books, Ana of The Book Smugglers, Jenny ('the FAMOUS Jenny' said Mr Green himself!) of Wondrous Reads, Carla of The Crooked Shelf, Sophie of So Many Books, So Little Time, Becky aka The Bookette and Caroline of Portrait of a Woman.

If you haven't come across the awesomeness of John Green before, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? As a starting point, go buy Looking for Alaska right this second. It's bloody brilliant. Then watch this...



Highlights of yesterday included:

1. John talking insightfully about that moment when you realize that other people are human beings too and that you are not actually the centre of the universe. This is something I think about A LOT, so it was nice to hear someone talk about it in such a blimmin' articulate fashion.

2. John asking me the title of my book and me momentarily forgetting it.

3. Carla managing to NOT barf on John.

4. Jenny's utter horror at the fact that I'd bent back the corner of a page in Looking for Alaska.

5. Going to Foyles. FOYLES!

6. Being persuaded to buy books outside my usual favoured genres by Carla, Kaz AND Sophie. I'm so easily led astray. Sigh.

It was a Good Day.

DFTBA.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Entangled: the back cover blurby bit

I've noticed there are a few different versions of synopses for Entangled floating around t'interweb. So here's the official, final (probably) back cover copy. Hot off the press from Quercus about five seconds ago...

The same questions whirl round and round in my head:

What does he want from me?
How could I have let this happen?
AM I GOING TO DIE?


17-year-old Grace wakes up in a white room, with table, pens and paper - and no clue how she got here.


As Grace pours her tangled life onto the page, she is forced to remember everything she's tried to forget. There's falling hopelessly in love with the gorgeous Nat, and the unravelling of her relationship with her best friend Sal. But there's something missing. As hard as she's trying to remember, is there something she just can't see?


Grace must face the most important question of all. Why is she here?


A story of dangerous secrets, intense friendship and electrifying attraction.

 
Oooh! Loving that last line!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Case of the Writer Who Does Not Write

I have a confession to make. I haven't written a word in two months. Now, if you've been following this blog for a while, you'll know that I've had a pretty decent reason not to write. I just... haven't felt like it. Plus, my WIP is all kinds of depressing and upsetting, so that doesn't exactly help.


BUT I am going to start writing again this week. This is my promise to you. That means I can't go back on it, right? If I do, I'll have to write a lame blog post full of excuses, and I don't want to have to do that. I'm 40,000 in, and planning to write about 70,000. I know how the story is going to end, and I've even got an idea of some of the scenes I need to write between now and then e.g. 'poignant dad scene' and 'big fight between X and Y'. (N.B. My characters aren't actually called X and Y. They have normal names like normal people.)


So, 30,000 words to go. EASY! I'll start... um... tomorrow. Maybe.

Monday, August 9, 2010

ENTANGLED ARC... The UK tour!

I'm very pleased to announce that the lovely Lynsey over at UK Book Tours is hosting the ENTANGLED UK ARC tour. If you'd like to join in the fun, please head over here.


I'm hoping to host another ARC contest or two over the coming months, so please watch this space. (Please don't watch this space ALL the time though. Your social life might suffer as a result, and I will not be held accountable for this.)


I'm reading the ARC at the moment, and I must say it feels mightily weird to be reading your own book on a crowded train.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Do you judge a book by its cover?

No idea why the topic of book covers is on my mind today. Oh wait, it's cos I HAVE A BLIMMIN' AWESOME ONE. I am in love with my book cover. And it seems like lots of other people like it too, which is A Very Good Thing.

I still can't quite get over how beautiful it is. And it's going to be wrapped around my book. I feel incredibly lucky, because I am mega-picky about covers (as I've mentioned on here before). I'm not sure I thought it was possible that the designer would come up with something I was 100% happy with. I was sure there would be something I'd want to change. But nope. Not. One. Thing.

So... how important is a book's cover to you? Would you ever buy a book based solely on the cover? Do you still buy a book even if you don't like its cover? Which is your favourite YA cover of all time?

Please share!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Sunday, August 1, 2010

We have a winner!

OK, this was a really hard decision. I wish I had ARCs for each and every one of you, I really do. But I don't. Sigh.

Sooooooo the winner is... CarlyB:

I need to read Entangled right this second because...I'm passing the time until Entangled's release date by watching endless episodes of Toddlers and Tiaras to dull the pain of having not read it yet. I've now become so obsessed with child pageants that I actually just wept when one of the kids retired from pageantry. It's bad, Cat, it's bad - particularly bad that I just used the word 'pageantry' without batting an eyelid. Only you can save me.x

I hope you'll all agree that I couldn't possibly leave Carly to this tragic fate. It's just too... tragic. This is clearly a girl in need of an intervention, and if the Entangled ARC can do some good in the world by making one less person watch the horror that is child pageants, then my work will be done.

Congrats, Carly! DM me your address, and let me know if you want the book signed. Oh, and you have to PROMISE never to watch Toddlers & Tiaras ever again. We have a deal, right?

Notable mentions must also go to the following entries:

I need to read Entangled right this second because if not I will scream so loud every single glass shoe in the universe will smash and then what will the princesses do? They'll just have to go right back home on a pumpkin and sweep floors with only singing birds for company. Do you want that on your head? The DESTRUCTION of every "would be" princess in the world? I dont think you do, so this is the only sensible option. (Carla)

I need to read Entangled right this second because it will be more inspiring to me than a pep talk by Coach Taylor.
Also, Tim Riggins wants me to read it, you wouldn't want to let him down, would you?! (Kristy)

I am loving the pink ARC and everyone knows I am slightly obsessed when it comes to that colour (what am I saying, "the" colour, the rest are coffee stains), but the real real real reason why I want to read Entangled (aside from you being awesome and me wanting to read what the awesome you writes) is because you are the most incredible defender of the cause of cheese in the UK at the moment (if not the world!) and this makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. *blinks* What do you mean, my answer has nothing to do with the book? :) (Caroline)

Thanks so much to everyone who entered the contest. Hopefully I'll be able to hold another one in the not-too-distant future.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Win an ARC of ENTANGLED!


Look what turned up in my office yesterday - much to my surprise! A lovely, shiny pink ARC of my book. It's a book - with pages and words and EVERYTHING! And I wrote it. Yes, I'm perfectly aware I sound like an idiot, thank you very much. But this is a Big Deal for me.

I'd like to share the joy by giving you the opportunity to win one of these bad boys.

The rules:

1. You must be a follower of this blog.
2. You must be a person who lives somewhere in the world. Yes, that's right, this contest is open INTERNATIONALLY. I'm willing to brave the hideousness that is the post office for you guys.
3. You must... Nah, that's it. Bored of rules now.

To be in with a chance of winning, please complete the following sentence:

I need to read Entangled right this second because...

The winner will be whoever makes me laugh the most/tugs on my heartstrings/says something just plain crazy. I'll announce the winner on Sunday, so you only have three short days to enter. 


Good luck!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A change is as good as a rest... right?

Big week here. Got promoted on Monday. Handed in my notice on Tuesday (purely coincidental timing, I assure you). So, the day job is no more. Well, I've got a month left, but come the end of August, the day job will bite the dust. Exciting stuff, huh?

So here are my plans:

1. Move to Scotland. Bye bye, London.
2. Write. A lot. I'm way behind on book 2, but I can't let myself think about that right now.
3. Set up new Top Sekrit Business. (I'll reveal all soon, I promise)
4. Hopefully pick up a part-time job in a bookshop or a deli. I've always fancied working in a deli... all that parma ham... olives as far as the eye can see... CHEESE!

It's all rather scary and leap-of-faithy, but let's hope it's the right thing to do. And if it isn't, then so be it. At least I'll have given it a go.

Aargh. Now that I've just seen that written down in list form, I've got the FEAR. Last time I was this scared was when I moved down to London six and a half years ago, hoping to make my fortune (!) in the world of children's publishing. And that worked out OK. Fingers crossed this will too.

Have you done anything that really scares you? How did it work out? (Please please please tell me it worked out PERFECTLY.)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Amazon awesomeness

Entangled is now available to pre-order on Amazon. You can check it out here. There's no cover up there yet, but that only serves to heighten the excitement, right? RIGHT?

I was going to order a copy myself, but I can't work out whether that would be weird or not.

So, 6th January is the day. Slap-bang in the most depressing week of the year. Something tells me that week might be ever so slightly less depressing for me in 2011. And hopefully for you too.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

And the bestest YA book trailer is...

The Wolves of Mercy Falls: A Stop Motion Trailer for Linger, by Maggie Stiefvater. This trailer was chosen by lovely Lara, who wins copies of Rich and Mad (William Nicholson) and Numbers (Rachel Ward). Congrats to you, Lara! And thanks to everyone for taking part - there were some REALLY good suggestions. But why did the Linger trailer come out on top?

1. The music - written and performed by Maggie herself, I believe. Beautiful and atmospheric and simply gorgeous.
2. It's a simple idea, brilliantly executed.
3. THE SHEER AMOUNT OF TIME AND EFFORT IT MUST HAVE TAKEN! And not by some specialist trailer-making company, but by the author herself. Maggie, I salute you!

So, here's the trailer in all its glory.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Trailer contest... last chance

Hey folks, I thought you might like one last chance to enter the recommend-a-book-trailer-contest. The link is here. I'll announce the winner on Sunday, so you have four whole days to scour the interwebs for the best YA trailer in existence.

Thanks for your books-to-make-you-smile recommendations. My, you are a well-read lot.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Books to make you smile

First of all, thank you so much for the warm welcome back into the world of blogging. I really, really appreciate it.

Another short post from me today - sorry. I need your help again.

Which book makes you smile? Which book brings you joy? And why? Do you prefer shiny happy books, or gritty, depressing ones? Or a bit of both, depending on your mood?

Thank you.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Hello

Hello, lovely people. First of all, thank you so much for your kind words and patience. Things have been tough, are still tough, and will continue to be tough for a long time. There's nothing else I can really say.

This is me tentatively dipping my toe back into the sea of blogging. I'm just going to see how it goes, but please forgive me if my posts are somewhat sporadic in the coming weeks.

Not really sure what to talk about, so maybe you can help me out? What are you reading/writing at the moment?

I've just finished reading a John Grisham novel (don't even ask). And I am writing... nothing.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Where is Cat?

Hello, lovely readers. I just wanted to let you know that I may not be around for a while. My mother passed away on holiday this week. Totally unexpected and a huge shock to us all.

I was supposed to announce the winner of the trailer contest today, but I hope you'll understand if I postpone that for a few weeks. Please bear with me, I will be back.

x

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Five reasons to read SOME GIRLS ARE, by Courtney Summers

1. The writing is perfect. Lines like this make me very happy:
 'It's the kind of look that makes me feel every inch of my skin in a way that makes me want to claw it all off.'

2. It has an 'Unstable Emo Writer Boy' in it. And we all know they're the very best type of boy. He writes in a Moleskine too. Don't you just love him already? You should.

3. SGA is about the meanest of mean girls. They're PROPERLY mean. Anyone who's ever been to school will be able to relate to this in one way or another. It makes you think about the way you acted in school, and how your actions might have affected other people in ways you never dreamed of.

4. You never know what's going to happen next. You THINK you know. But you are WRONG.

5. There's a page with only a single word on it that is so ridiculously right that I wanted to kiss it. (But I didn't. That would have been weird, right?)

Whaaaat?! I've reached my five-reason limit ALREADY? No fair. I could go on and on. But rules is rules. Just read it, 'kay?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Contest contest contest!

Morning! Today is Contest Day here on This Counts as Writing, Right?

First, the prize...

The winner will receive TWO books (count them: one, TWO!):

Rich and Mad, by William Nicholson
Numbers, by Rachel Ward (US hardback with mega-creepy cover)

This contest is open to anyone who a) is a follower of this blog and b) lives in the UK. Apologies to non-UKers... I promise to hold an international contest sooooooon.

All you have to do to win is:

Recommend a YA book trailer in the comments section below. Tell us why you like it so much. It has to be THE coolest trailer you've ever seen. If someone else has already chosen the trailer you wanted to go for, please choose another! The winner will be chosen by me in a purely subjective, non-scientific manner. And I'll post the trailer on here.

I'll announce the winner on Sunday 20th June, so you have plenty of time to track down trailers of awesomeness.

So, good luck, and happy trailer-hunting!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

YA me up!

OK folks, I need your help. After making a rather bold statement about Patrick Ness on here the other day (about how he makes me feel things other writers don't), I felt sure there must be other writers out there who can make me FEEL as deeply as he does.

So please help me out. Have you read any YA recently that made you feel... joyful/shocked/disgusted/sad to the very core of you/so sympathetic to a character that you can hardly bear to keep reading lest anything even worse befall them?

Your YA recommendations were so good last time, I know you won't let me down. Thank you kindly!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday Miscellany

1. Tis Bank Holiday Monday on this fair isle, which makes me all kinds of happy.

2. RSI is still ouchy, which means I haven't been able to keep up with my blog-reading. This makes me UNhappy. If you've come across any blog posts I really REALLY shouldn't miss, please let me know.

3. I read Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O'Brien and discovered (much to my surprise) that he also wrote Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (awesome book I read in primary school). I also discovered tht Z was completed by O'Brien's wife and daughter after his death. Not sure how I'd feel about my family completing a book of mine. May have to start keeping detailed notes, just in case. But what if they get it WRONG?! I'll be most upset, albeit dead. Anyhoo, if you haven't read Z for Zachariah, check it out - Mr O'Brien et al did a very fine job indeed.

4. I did my first ever writing-in-a-cafe session this weekend. I wasn't convinced it would be for me, but I am a total convert. I LOVED it. There was ginger beer and fairy cakes and decent music and people to watch and a window to look out of. And, oh, nearly forgot, the flippin' Children's Laureate, Anthony Browne. Now that has to be some kind of sign, right?

5. I'm reading The Ask and the Answer  by Patrick Ness. I have no words to describe how good it is. No words. Suffice to say, he makes me feel things that other writers just... don't.