Friday, January 28, 2011

The grief edition

This is FALL FOR ANYTHING, by Courtney Summers.

It is a truly incredible book.

It is brutal and raw and sad and honest.

It is the best depiction of grief that I have ever read. I lost count of the number of passages I marked, thinking, 'Yes! That's it. That's EXACTLY what it's like.'

Courtney Summers is a genius.

And here's another genius for you. His name is Jamie Smart, He writes and draws comics and books and web stuff. He lost his dad last year and drew a comic about it. Have a look here. If you can read it without crying, I'll be amazed.

So that's all from me today, folks. Hope today is kind to you.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Launch party madness

I'm back home again after a manic trip to London for the ENTANGLED launch party. Thanks to everyone who came and made it so special. And apologies for the fact that most of my conversations on the night went something like this:

Lovely party guest: Hi! Congratulations! How are you feeling?

Me: Thanks! Aaargh! This is SO weird.

I couldn't help it. It WAS weird. And awesome too, of course.

The evening kicked off with champagne with my agency gang and my editor. This managed to steady my nerves somewhat before we headed to Daunt Books. I opened the door to the bookshop and was faced with A LOT of people. All looking at me. And then they started clapping. Surreal doesn't even begin to describe the experience.

Lots of lovely people turned up: friends, family, authors, tweeters, bloggers, publishing folk. I think the huge turnout might have had something to do with the copious amounts of wine AND cupcakes on offer. Oh, and Josefine Jönsson turned up. That's right. The ENTANGLED photographer and cover girl. Very cool indeed.

I signed lots of books and my messages got more and more ridiculous as the evening went on. We decamped to the pub and drank more wine (in moderation, of course...).

All in all, a pretty incredible evening. Fabulous people being fabulous in a fabulous venue. What more could you ask for? Thanks to the Quercus kids for organizing it all so brilliantly, and to Daunt for hosting.

Here are a few pics:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Massive Dog visits my blog

I'm delighted to welcome the ridiculously talented Massive Dog (a.k.a. my good friend Dan) to the blog today. In case you didn't know, he's the mastermind behind the soundtrack to the ENTANGLED trailer. You can download the track for free here. And watch the trailer in all its glory here.

This is Massive Dog. Isn't he a handsome fellow?

Welcome to my blog, Mr Dog. So, first things first... How did you come up with the BRILLIANT name Massive Dog?

I have to be honest and confess that I stole it from a certain friend. She thought it'd be a fantastic name for a punk band, but I think it works just as well for me.

She sounds like a very clever, insightful, wonderful sort of friend. How did you go about tackling the ENTANGLED soundtrack?

It was important for me to come up with something that suited the mood and narrative. I tried to create something that mirrored the intrigue at the start of the book and matched the pace and energy of the story.

When I came up with the idea I was just playing around on my electric guitar and came up with the chord progression and groove behind the track. I played around with that for a while until I came up with a little melody that worked really nicely over the top and this essentially became the second half of the soundtrack. I then tried out the tune on the piano and everything just fell into place and I was able to imagine exactly how I wanted the whole piece to sound.

The recording and production of the track was a real adventure as it was the first time that I'd tried to record anything properly rather than just a rough demo. I'd just built my little studio and was getting used to a whole new bunch of equipment so it was very much a test case for me. For a one minute track, it certainly took a lot of effort!

The soundtrack reminds me of a super-awesome TV theme tune... My favourites are Tru Calling and Angel... what are yours?

I love E.R. and Dexter, but Friday Night Lights wins by a mile. I get very annoyed if Mrs Dog tries to speak to me during the credits and will often skip back to hear it all over again. It's such an emotional and uplifting piece of music and I just wish that I could create something that was half as brilliant.

If someone LOVES the soundtrack, are there any bands you'd recommend they check out?

My music tastes and influences are a little eclectic, but based on the sound of the Entangled soundtrack I'd recommend Remy Zero, Jack's Mannequin and a smattering of Nine Inch Nails... and my band See You Next Wednesday of course!

What are your three favourite YA books and why?

Unwind by Neal Shusterman - The premise of this book is fascinating and shocking, but it's delivered in such a straight-talking tone that it's instantly believable. I love a futuristic dystopian story and this is as thought-provoking and engaging as they come.

Watership Down by Richard Adams - I think too many people regard this as just a simple children's book, but at its core it's darker and more sophisticated than that. It's not all about fluffy little bunnies but their struggle for survival and the nature of society, plus General Woundwort is one of the scariest characters you're ever likely to encounter.

The Long Walk by Richard Bachman (Stephen King) - The idea behind this book is simply amazing as 100 teenage boys learn that being the last man standing is all that matters. What makes this book for me are the characters and their interactions and relationships as they face up to their own mortality.

What one book would you like to write a theme tune/soundtrack for? And what kind of sound would you go for?

The Hunger Games - these books require something anthemic built around a string section so huge that it could fill the arena with sound.

What's next for Massive Dog?

I'd love to do some more trailers but for now I'll just churn out whatever I fancy! I've recently finished my band's EP and I'm currently halfway through recording a pop-punk love song I wrote back in '02. Once that's done I've got a few unfinished song ideas that I'd like to work on with a slightly heavier feel but I may start on something else entirely if the mood takes me!

Chocolate or cheese?

That's easy, I'm definitely in Team Cheese!

Team Cheese triumphs again! Thanks for stopping by, Mr Dog!

You can visit Massive Dog's website here.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Slacking, writing and dying fairies

Sorry I've been a bit slack on the blogging front this past week, but I have a good excuse. OK, it's not that good. I've been busy doing ENTANGLED-related stuff and even busier working on book 3. Book 3 is turning out to be... interesting. I've no idea where it's going, but I'm just running with it and trying not to look over my shoulder.

Oh, I've also been busy sending emails to my publisher. Emails with the links to the various (and worryingly numerous) sites that are offering my book for illegal download. My feelings on the matter are pretty simple, and very similar to those of the bloody brilliant Lilith St. Crow, who blogged about it here. Warning: there are loads of F-bombs in that post, but I think each one has earned its place. So, please, if you like books and you want writers to keep writing books for you to enjoy, don't download illegally. Also, every time you download a book illegally, a fairy dies a horribly excruciating death.

I'm off down to London for the ENTANGLED launch party in a couple of days. Lots of my favourite people in the same room, wine AND cupcakes?! Bring it on.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Voracious readers

Yay! It's Monday. I'm returning to the real world after the madness of last week. Thank you so much to everyone who made my pub. day extra-nice by being so, well, nice.

It's come to my attention that there are a good number of people out there who can and often do read books in one sitting. How do I know this? Some of them have told me they read ENTANGLED in one go. This blows my mind. A Twitter friend asked me if I took that as a huge compliment or whether I was annoyed that the book could be gobbled up like that after I've slaved over it for years. I definitely take it as a compliment, since I have never ever managed to read a book in one sitting (not counting teeny-tiny short books, of course). I get distracted too easily. There's always something else I feel I should be doing. Unless I'm reading in bed at night. Then I can read for a good two or three hours without distraction. But the idea of sitting down in a chair and reading one book from cover to cover? A.MAZ.ING.

So please tell me your secrets, oh voracious readers! How do you do it? Got any top tips for me? Snack/drink recommendations? And which books have you read in one sitting, and why?

Readers-who-are-immune-to-distraction, I salute you!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Today's the day

Now. Remember how I said there was something very very very important happening today? Well... I lied. Something not at all important but kinda cool is happening today. My little book ENTANGLED is officially published. I haven't seen it in a shop yet, but that's probably because I haven't looked. I will endeavour to do so soon.
The lovely Nayu is hosting an online launch party today, since she can't come to the real-life one in a couple of weeks. Please pop in and say hello here.

I'd just like to say thank you to everyone who has expressed even a tiny bit of interest in my book, and an especially big thank you to anyone who's read it! You all rock my socks off. Incidentally, I'm wearing odd socks today - orange and pink.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

One day to go

Look what arrived yesterday...

Please note the teeny tiny cats, taking more interest in the box than the magnificent mountain of books. Scoundrels.

Today, I'm over at My Favourite Books, chatting to Awesome Liz about Editing, Elvis and E... Parmigiano Reggiano.

P.S. Something very very VERY important is happening TOMORROW.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Two days to go

Writing news: I'm still writing. I am a writing machine. A pretty slow writing machine, but a machine nonetheless. This new story is messing with my head in the best possible way.

Breakfast news: I may have put slightly too much milk in this cup of tea.

Sartorial news: This hoodie is looking rather disgusting. I'm glad you can't see me.

Blog tour news: I'm over at I was a teenage book geek talking to Lauren about the books I read as a teenager (Christopher Pike FTW!).

P.S. Something very very important is happening the day after tomorrow.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Three days to go

Thanks for all your advice yesterday, lovelies. I'm pleased to report that I started the new idea and... so far so good. I'm writing from (gasp!) a boy's point of view. I think there will be a girl's POV in there somewhere, just to balance it out. I'm enjoying it so much I can't even tell you! There's that feeling of 'This is what I'm supposed to be doing. I really should do more of it.' I must thank the good people of Twitter for helping me out with character names last night. Tweeps rock.

Today, I'm over at Sarah's Book Reviews, talking about my gorgeous cats. They really are ridiculously cute, you know. (Having said that, I've just had Scout's bum right in my face, which was... delightful.)

P.S. Something very important is happening in three days' time.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Four days to go

Hello, lovely readers. You're looking particularly foxy today, if I may say so. Did you do something new with your hair?

Today, on the never-ending-but-not-really-it-ends-on-Thursday blog tour, I'm chatting to The Bookette about New Year's resolutions and cave-aged Gruyere.

I'm also trying to make a Big Decision: what to write next. I was all set to start on one shiny new idea when ANOTHER ONE popped into my head while I was listening to the news. And now I don't know what to do! Anyone out there good at making decisions? Any advice for me?

P.S. Something important is happening in four days' time...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Oh look, it's 2011.

Happy New Year and all that shiz. I trust you're not too hungover? Good.

Just to let you know that I'm over at Wondrous Reads today, talking to Jenny about music. In case you didn't know, Jenny is a music guru. In fact, I reckon she should start some sort of music consultancy service. If you do head over to check out this interview, you have to promise you won't laugh at the inclusion of Avril Lavigne. Do you PROMISE? OK, you may click on the link now.

In other news, I cooked beef last night and it turned out to be so overcooked I nearly cried.

In other other news, I am going to visit my nephew this afternoon to see if the indoor boomerang I got him for Christmas actually works.

In other other other news, I want to play Mario Kart, but I seem to have lost a vital connecty thingummyjig that goes in the back of the TV, so I can't. Sigh.