Thursday, 5 May 2016

Exclusive: First Chapter of Devil's Blood by Andrew Prentice and Jonathan Weil

How exciting is this?
I get to share the first chapter of Devil's Blood ( Book 2: The Books of Pandemonium) by Andrew Prentice and Jonathan Weil with you! 

Described as
"A mind-blowing adventure series filled with no-holds barred swashbuckling, alchemical time travel and mystery, that fans of Jonathan Stroud, Charlie Higson and Rick Riordan will revel in."

Read the first chapter right now. 

Are you ready for more?
Book 1 and 2 are now available to buy. 

Elizabethan London is in the grip of devil fever, teeming with thievery, sorcery, and black magic. Lovable rogue Jack’s biggest talent is not being noticed in-amongst the fray, but when he turns his dab-hand to pickpocketing a mysterious traveller, he finds himself drawn into a metropolis of danger like none he’s ever encountered before... 

Atmospheric writing, the occult and a reluctant hero combine in this story with real swagger. 

Ever since his run-in with the Elect, Jack the pick-pocket can see devils. 
In fact, he has one in his service: the irrepressible Imp. But devils are tricksy creatures, and when a ploy with a devil of mischief goes wrong, Jack and the Imp, with his companions Beth and Kit, are transported 200 years into the future, to an age of rationality which no longer believes in devils of any kind. 
Big mistake. Georgian Londoners are about to learn the true nature of their city – as Jack and his friends are plunged into a demonic plot which threatens to permanently end their adventures.
About the authors
Andrew Prentice and Jonathan Weil met at school where they edited their school magazine together. Since then they
have collaborated on running a circus and writing dialogue for robots, as well as writing novels. @ajrprentice

Check out the rest of the blog tour below. 

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Secret Serendipity Seven with Nikki Sheehan

Today on the blog, I'm pleased to welcome the rather amazing author, Nikki Sheehan. Nikki's latest novel, Swan Boy, is published this week with One World Publications. Nikki is here to give us seven secrets about her book and her writing. 

  • The main character Johnny was originally a girl. I wrote the first few chapters with a female MC and then something didn’t feel quite right. So I changed her name to Rowan, which can be used for either gender, and carried on until I was sure that he was a he!
  • The whole book was written in the first person until a few months before publication. My editor Sarah Odedina suggested changing it to third and I was really scared and thought that I’d have the perspective swinging around all over the place. But I trusted her, and did it (and no, you can’t just search on “I” and replace with “he”, and yes it took Aaaaages) I was really pleased with the result because it allowed me to really explore the other characters. So pleased actually that my next book is also in third person
  • I don’t know what I”m going to write usually, and I never know what I’ve written until I read it through afterwards. Sometimes I’m quite surprised at what I find, and not always in a good way.
  • I was working on another book, one about a tiny cult in Devon, and had almost finished when the idea for Swan Boy came to me. I tried to ignore it but in the end it got so persistent that I could feel a pressure in my chest, so I gave in and wrote Swan Boy.
  • The first draft took seven weeks. The rewrites took over a year.
  • I lived in Turkey when I was younger and I had a boyfriend with the same white streak in his hair as Johnny. He, as far as I know, had no strange swan encounters
  • I love ballet and did it from age four to sixteen but I wasn’t very good. At every exam I took I got progressively worse marks. But I didn’t care, I loved it anyway, and I reckon that’s the point.
When Johnny moves house and starts a new school he has to deal with a bully who can't leave him alone. But help comes from an unexpected and surprising source and Johnny's growing power soon puts him in a very special place.
A chance encounter with a swan sparks a series of events that result in Johnny playing the lead in a school ballet. His teacher wants him to live the role, and when feathers start sprouting on his chest, Johnny begins to understand his true potential. But will he be strong or brave enough to beat his bullies, take care of his brother, support his mother and find a place for himself among all the chaos that is prevailing in his life

To find out more about Nikki Sheehan:

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Secret Serendipity Seven with Sue Wallman

I am over the moon to have one of my fellow Bookbounder authors on the blog, Sue Wallman, who is the first one of our team to be published. Sue's been kind enough to let us into some secrets about her debut novel, Lying About Last Summer.
  • In earlier drafts of Lying About Last Summer Skye and Luisa were cousins, not sisters. I wrote it that way because I felt I’d read lots about sisters in YA fiction, but not much about cousins. Then I won a whole-manuscript critique with editor Natalie Doherty at a Society of Children’s Writers and Book Illustrators (SCBWI) conference and she said that a way to intensify Skye’s grief would be to make them sisters. I gave it a go and she was right. Here is a photo of me with my own sister, Clare. Those hideous purple outfits were our school uniform. 

  • A swimming pool is important in the book. I’m really into swimming but I only learned how to be a good swimmer in my twenties when my cousin Kate, over from New Zealand, taught me how to do front crawl. Up until then I’d been doing breast stroke with one leg doing a weird twist. 
  • People-watching was a family hobby when I was little. I love listening to snatches of conversations. When I’m on the bus or in a cafĂ©, I confess I sometimes disguise my earwigging by wearing earphones with the sound turned off. I’m particularly fascinated by teenage slang, which I hear a lot at home as I have three teenagers, but obviously I had to be careful not to use much of it in my book because it would date too quickly or might not be understood. 
  • In Lying About Last Summer there’s a karaoke evening. I used to want to be a musical theatre actress – until I realised I was too shy and wasn’t that great at singing. However, I know all the words to the songs from The Sound of Music – and here I am at my Sound of Music 40th birthday party!
  • There’s also a quiz evening in the book. I’m not a fan of quizzes. (*Shudders*) 
  • My main character in Lying About Last Summer used to live in a house called Yew Tree House. I chose the name because my grandfather and step-granny used to live in a road called Yew Tree Close. When I was little I thought their house was the height of luxury because it was so warm. We lived in an old draughty house with no central heating and I used to get dressed under the duvet. 
  • The first draft of Lying About Last Summer was called One Summer’s Day. My agent, Becky Bagnell, came up with the new title which reflected the darker nature of the book, and the double-meaning for lying worked perfectly.
The story centres around a girl called Skye, who is sent to a camp for troubled teenagers after her sister dies in an accident. However, once she is at the camp she starts receiving text messages from someone pretending to be her dead sister.
Information about the Book
Title: Lying about Last Summer
Author: Sue Wallman
Release Date: 5th May 2016
Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Format: Paperback

Monday, 2 May 2016

#ReviewMonday with KM Lockwood: The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine

Sophie hung on tightly to the leather strap as the omnibus rattled forwards. Another Monday morning and, all about her, London was whirring into life: damp and steamy with last night’s rain and this morning’s smoke. As she stood wedged between a couple of clerks wearing bowler hats and carrying newspapers, she gazed out of the window at the grey street, wondering whether that faint fragrance of spring she’d caught on the wind had been just her imagination. She found herself thinking about the garden of Orchard House: the daffodils that must be blooming there now, the damp earth and the smell of rain in the grass.

‘Piccadilly Circus!’ yelled the conductor as the omnibus clattered to a halt, and Sophie pushed her thoughts away. She straightened her hat, grasped her umbrella in a neatly gloved hand, and slipped between the clerks and past an elderly lady wearing a pince-nez, who said ‘Dear me!’ as if quite scandalised at the sight of a young lady alone, recklessly jumping on and off omnibuses. Sophie paid no attention and hopped down on to the pavement. There was simply no sense in listening. After all, she wasn’t that sort of young lady any more.
Published in June 2015
Cover and interior illustrations by Julia Sarda
336 pages in paperback (read on Kindle via NetGalley)
From the publisher’s website
You are cordially invited to attend the Grand Opening of Sinclair’s department store!
Enter a world of bonbons, hats, perfumes and MYSTERIES around every corner. WONDER at the daring theft of the priceless CLOCKWORK SPARROW! TREMBLE as the most DASTARDLY criminals in London enact their wicked plans! GASP as our bold heroines, Miss Sophie Taylor and Miss Lilian Rose, CRACK CODES, DEVOUR ICED BUNS and vow to bring the villains to justice…
Set in the Edwardian era, The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow happily blends together glamour, adventure and detection. Think of the setting of Mr Selfridge, the frocks of Downton Abbey series one and a good dollop of Enid Blyton. 
It’s an immersive read with over 300 pages to go at and lots of historic detail. I loved the period-style advertisements and other documents with charming artwork by Julia Sarda. There are mysteries to solve and friendships to get involved in. As you might expect, not everyone is quite who or what they seem – and it’s fun for the smart reader to puzzle out what’s happening.
The portrayal of the class system and the opulence of an early 20th century department store are well done. Although there are odd tricky bits of historical vocabulary, the prose is easy enough for those who read independently. It could well suit a younger yet fluent reader who likes, say E. Nesbit, as there’s nothing too distressing in it.
The point of view moves from one character to another but as they are quite distinct, it’s not too taxing to follow. Some intriguing questions about Sophie’s background remain unanswered by the end so I was none-too-surprised to find there is a sequel. Those who have enjoyed the daring exploits of this diverse little gang will be pleased to know there is at least a third story planned.

I would recommend it in particular for those who enjoyed The Penelope Tredwell Mysteries by Christopher Edge. Readers of Robin Steven’s Murder Most Unladylike series may well enjoy a dip into a different time period too.

K. M. Lockwood lives by the sea in Sussex - see the pics on Instagram. She fills jars with sea-glass, writes on a very old desk and reads way past her bedtime. Her tiny bed and breakfast is stuffed full of books - and even the breakfasts are named after writers. You'd be welcome to chat stories with @lockwoodwriter on Twitter

Friday, 29 April 2016

Writing Words - Writing From Personal Experience

My new WIP has been playing heavily on my mind this week. Mainly because I'm not sure I'm doing the right thing by writing it.  It's YA and deals with subjects that I've had personal experience with through my own daughters as well as their friends. Over the last two years, I've collected their stories alongside their tears, embarrassment and pain and amalgamated them into one. The experiences we felt personally as a family have left a mark,  and even though we have moved on and they didn't cause any lasting damage, they still feel flammable inside my head. The closeness we have to these situations makes me feel like, as my mother would say, I'm "airing our dirty laundry in public" by writing about them. 

  The words flow quickly because so much of it is based on truths. I can't stop writing it. It feels therapeutic to get it all down but it's also churning up a lot anger inside of me. Especially when I look back and realise the school didn't really do anything constructive to deal with the situations that arose. We were lucky events didn't spiral out of control in the same way they are occurring in my story.

I know fiction works better when it is based on real experience, but where should we draw the line?  Am I right, to bring the things that have happened and use them for my own personal benefit?

I come from a generation where your private life was exactly that. No one needed to know if you were suffering from a mental breakdown or if a partner had strayed.  But that lifestyle has long gone, as we now live in the social media era, where living online and sharing is second nature. We're no longer afraid to keep things to ourselves.  We can admit what we have been through. But I still  struggle with such openness and honesty. 
When it comes to my home life, I'm quite a private person. I know I shout a lot on Twitter, but you very rarely hear me talking about my family. So this feels a little dishonest, but necessary, because I feel that this story is one that needs to be told. 

I'm probably making this sound more dramatic than it is, but at times it felt really bad. I never imagined that teenagers could be so cruel. I never imagined they could come into my house, playfully calling me their second mum, enjoy our hospitality, treating it like their second home and then be so evil that I end up calling the police. And that's just the girls. Don't even get me started on the boys. 

 It's difficult to watch kids being suffocated by social media as it holds them in it's grubby hands twenty four seven. But I've watched it happen. I stood and listened to the arguments and abuse. I've wiped away the countless tears. I've warned the bad ones not to cross us; which puts me in a good place to write about it. 

So I'm wondering how far do I go? How far is far enough without any repercussions of what I write ever coming back to my girls? 
Words - 2316 this week.
Words so far on new MS - 12,538 (which have been written since the beginning of April). 

Editing - Book Mapping  and Book Bullet Journal finally happening for Chapter Book. I even set up a Book Bullet Journal for new MS too. Go me!

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Most Anticipated Books of May / April's Book of the Month.

Well April passed in a blink of an eye and I didn't read half the books I wanted too. Thank goodness books don't have a sell by date! So what goodies do the publishers have in store for you in April? Here are the five I have either read or hope to be reading this month and I think you might like them too. 
1) The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood
One of two books this month, that everyone has been talking about constantly. Harriet was one of my debuts to watch out for this year. She has gone from strength to strength since then. I can't wait to read this book!

Last summer, Gottie's life fell apart. Her beloved grandfather Grey died and Jason left her - the boy to whom she lost her virginity (and her heart) - and he wouldn't even hold her hand at the funeral! This summer, still reeling from twin heartbreaks, Gottie is lost and alone and burying herself in equations. Until, after five years absence, Thomas comes home: former boy next door. Former best friend. Former everything. And as life turns upside down again she starts to experience strange blips in time - back to last summer, back to what she should have seen then . . .
During one long, hazy summer, Gottie navigates grief, world-stopping kisses and rips in the space-time continuum, as she tries to reconcile her first heartbreak with her last.
2) Lying About Last Summer by Sue Wallman
OK. I'm allowed to be a bit biased here, because yes, I do know Sue. But everyone who has read this book so far, has loved it. I've read previous things that Sue has written so I know how amazing she is. 


The story centres around a girl called Skye, who is sent to a camp for troubled teenagers after her sister dies in an accident. However, once she is at the camp she starts receiving text messages from someone pretending to be her dead sister.
3) Mystery and Mayhem Anthology
This is the second book that everyone has been talking about for ages. This stunning set of twelves short mysteries by some of the U.K's best authors will soon be gracing our shelves. 
Twelve mysteries.
Twelve authors.
One challenge: can YOU solve the crimes before the heroes of the stories?
These are twelve brand-new short stories from twelve of the best children's crime writers writing today.
These creepy, hilarious, brain-boggling, heart-pounding mysteries feature daring, brilliant young detectives, and this anthology is a must for fans of crime fiction and detection, especially the Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries, The Roman Mysteries and The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow.
4) Swan Boy by Nikki Sheehan
Now I've already this and loved it, so I'm positive that you will too. An unusual and unique storyline with a touch of magical realism. 

When Johnny moves house and starts a new school he has to deal with a bully who can't leave him alone. But help comes from an unexpected and surprising source and Johnny's growing power soon puts him in a very special place.
A chance encounter with a swan sparks a series of events that result in Johnny playing the lead in a school ballet. His teacher wants him to live the role, and when feathers start sprouting on his chest, Johnny begins to understand his true potential. But will he be strong or brave enough to beat his bullies, take care of his brother, support his mother and find a place for himself among all the chaos that is prevailing in his life.
5) The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
I love a good book full of magic and this sounds like just my kind of book. The reviews so far have been brilliant, so I look forward to reading it soon. 
Forbidden to leave her island, Isabella Riosse dreams of the faraway lands her father once mapped.
When her closest friend disappears into the island’s Forgotten Territories, she volunteers to guide the search. As a cartographer’s daughter, she’s equipped with elaborate ink maps and knowledge of the stars, and is eager to navigate the island’s forgotten heart.
But the world beyond the walls is a monster-filled wasteland – and beneath the dry rivers and smoking mountains, a legendary fire demon is stirring from its sleep. Soon, following her map, her heart and an ancient myth, Isabella discovers the true end of her journey: to save the island itself. 
So they are the five books I think will be most popular this month and are ones I've enjoyed or look forward to reading over the next few weeks.

April's Book of the Month
OMG! This book is EPIC! I loved seeing New York back in the 1700's. I loved how feisty Ella was during a time when it wasn't seen as acceptable. I loved the relationship between Nicholas and Ella!!! It was just beautiful. I have a full review coming up next week. 

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

The Write Way with Tanya Landman

Today I'm over the moon to be finally welcoming Carnegie award winning author, Tanya Landman onto the blog.  Tanya has come on to answer questions about her writing and her latest novel, Hell and High Water, which comes out in paperback next Wednesday.
How do you feel now Hell and High Water is in paperback?
Great!  Every time a book comes out I feel an unbounded maternal pride. I would quite like to staple it to my forehead right now.

Can you give me a one sentence pitch, to let my readers get a taste of what the book is about?
 Aaargh!  I hate doing those. I suppose if you nailed my feet to the floor and forced me I’d have to say it’s a historical murder mystery -  sort of Punch and Judy meets Poldark

Was it harder to write than Buffalo Soldier?
I spent so long writing Buffalo Soldier that actually it was very hard to drag myself out of the American West and back to British shores.  But its very much set where I live in North Devon, so I took a lot of long walks on the beach and cliffs to get myself in the mood.

So are you a planner or pantser?
Pantser.  Much to everyone’s annoyance. I don’t like having to stick to a very detailed plan – sometimes the characters want to take off in a different direction and it’s important to give them their heads and see where they go.  Sometimes they run into dead ends or disappear into blind alleys, but that’s all part of the process.

How do you find the time to write?
It’s difficult!  I do a lot of school visits and really love doing them, but performing and writing use very different parts of the brain.  I have to block out stretches of time when I can concentrate solely on writing.

Where is your ideal place to write?
I yearn for a shed.  But I’m still writing in the place where I started – a corner of the kitchen.  I complain about it endlessly, but it does seem to work for me!

Do you have a daily word target?
I aim to get 1000 words minimum done each writing day.  If it’s going well I can get a lot more done.  If it’s going badly squeezing out 1000 can feel like pulling your own teeth.

Who are your favourite #UKYA authors? 
There are so many!  I could fill pages waxing lyrical about other writers.  It’s a really exciting time in YA. I’m only going to mention one by name though – Mal Peet, who was (and is) an inspiration and a very good friend.

Any tips on coping with rejection? 
It’s really tough and it doesn’t get any easier!  A writer’s ego is a very fragile creature.  The only thing to do is to keep going.  Never give up.  And while one book is doing the rounds of agents and/or publishers, get stuck into something else.  The new characters will keep you occupied and distracted and that really does help.

Do you know any SCBWI unpublished authors that we should look out for?
If you’re with SCBWI you’re doing the right thing. I’ve got my eye on all of you.
Hell and High Water is published in paperback on the 5th of May by Walker Books. 
You can pre-order it here with Book Depository. 
A heart-stopping tale of a young man's attempt to clear his father's name. When his father is arrested and transported to the Colonies, Caleb is left alone. After a desperate journey in search of an aunt he's never met he receives a strange, cold welcome. Then a body washes up on the nearby beach and Caleb is caught up in a terrifying net of lies and intrigue. Soon he and his new family are in mortal danger. This powerful story holds the reader in suspense as it charts the growth of a frightened boy into a brave young man. 

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