Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Interview with Kat Ellis

As evidenced by my Goodreads to-read list, there are gobs of incredible authors queued up to publish soon: the talented, the comical, the interesting, all of whom teetering on the edge of their release dates. 

And guys, I'm interviewing them. 

Okay, so maybe not ALL of them. But here, on my humble little blog, I'm interviewing as many as I can get my grabby little hands onAnd the first up is the crazy-talented Kat Ellis, author of BLACKFIN SKY

Can I just say that there is nobody like Kat Ellis? 

Unique?  Yep.
Genuine?  Yep.
Hilarious?  Double yep.

Anyway, recently I was afforded the opportunity to pick her brain a little, and here's what she had to say:

Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

I studied English with Creative Writing at university, which I then sort of forgot about until it occurred to me one day to write a book. By then I was working a pretty dull office job (kind of hoping my boss doesn’t read this) and I kept my writing life a secret from everyone at work until I had a book deal. Now they look at me like I’m weird. They’re just lucky I don’t wear my author uniform to the office. (Sweatpants and fleece hoodies are a bit of a no-no.)

My debut novel, Blackfin Sky, comes out in May in the UK from Firefly Press and in September from Running Press Kids in the US. It’s really dark and twisted and all kinds of fun.

What drew you into the young adult genre?

When I sat down and started pecking out the first words of my first manuscript (which is now hibernating at the back of my airing cupboard) I had no idea I was writing a young adult novel. I had no idea young adult novels were a Thing. But that was because I had a fairly backwards reading experience; as a teen, I read adult mystery novels. As an adult, I now read mostly teen novels - like a literary Benjamin Button.

Once I realised what I’d written, I started reading YA novels like crazy. I couldn’t get enough of them. I started with novels like Twilight and Stolen and Shiver, gulping them down at a rate that sent me snivelling to the optician with bloodshot eyes.

It was an attractive period of my life.

But I knew then what I wanted to write, and I can’t really imagine leaving the young adult category now that I’ve found my groove in it.

Where is your favorite place to write?

I have my very own writing cave, which used to be our junk room. Now that I’ve reclaimed it, it has been taken over by a huge sofa and a piano and one wall is entirely filled with bookshelves.

One day, I’m going to have a writing room exactly like Hannibal Lecter’s office from the TV show, complete with a mezzanine library. Because it’s not weird to envy a cannibal’s workspace. Not at all.

What inspired you to write BLACKFIN SKY?

The story I wrote before Blackfin Sky was pretty hardcore sci-fi, and after I’d finished it I wanted to try something completely different. So I set out to write a straight-up contemporary mystery.

I knew exactly how it would start: a girl called Skylar falls from a pier and drowns. But then three months later she shows up at school like it’s any normal day, and she can’t figure out why everyone’s looking at her like she’s got two heads.

So I wrote it out, but then I got to that point and… had no idea what happened next. I almost scrapped the story, because I couldn’t come up with an explanation for it that wouldn’t leave readers rolling their eyes.

By then it was August, and every summer a travelling circus comes to the town where I live. I went with my sister and niece, as always, and sat in the grandstands mulling over what to do about my dead-end story. It was there that I figured out what had happened to Skylar, and the rest is history. Or Blackfin Sky, actually.

What other projects do you have coming up?

Right now I’m writing a different kind of young adult thriller, although it’s just as dark and twisted as Blackfin Sky. I can’t say too much about it just yet, but I will say I’ve done a lot of research into psychopaths that I’ll be using in this story.

Thanks so much, Marci, for inviting me onto your blog!

The pleasure was all mine, Kat! :)


BLACKFIN SKY is due to release in the UK in May 2014 (Firefly Press), and in the US in fall 2014 (Running Press Kids). Check it out:

When Sky falls from Blackfin Pier and drowns on her sixteenth birthday, the whole town goes into mourning – until she shows up three months later like nothing happened.

Unravelling the mystery of those missing months takes Sky to the burned-out circus in the woods, where whispers of murder and kidnapping begin to reveal the town’s secrets. But Sky’s not the only one digging up the past – the old mime from the circus knows what happened to her, and he has more than one reason for keeping quiet about it.

Sounds awesome, right?!  Can't. Wait.

Here's a bit more about Kat:

Kat Ellis is a young adult writer from North Wales. You'll usually find Kat up to no good on Twitter, taking photographs in cemeteries, or watching scary films with her husband and feral cat. BLACKFIN SKY is her first novel, and it is due for release in 2014


Comment on this blog and you'll have the chance to win BLACKFIN SKY swag in the form of two BLACKFIN-themed bookmarks and transfer tattoos (see asterisks).

* winner will be picked at random.
**author flattery can often sway abovementioned randomness. 


Just kidding. 


Lastly, check out Kat's links: 

Kat's Twitter

Kat's blog

BLACKFIN SKY on Goodreads

BLACKFIN SKY on Amazon (UK) 


 Cheers, guys! ;)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

I'll take a slice of SWEET UNREST, please.

Guys. This January is the BEST. Like, a gigantic sheet cake made of victory. Why, you ask? Well, there are so many amazing cover reveals going on! And today I get to help show off Lisa Maxwell's gorgeous cover for her YA southern gothic, SWEET UNREST, due to pub October 2014 (Flux).

If you don't already know Lisa, you're missing out. Because, really. She's hilarious. Not chuckle-funny, but like "laugh till squeaky dolphin noises come out of your mouth" funny. 
For those of you who don't know her, here's a little bit about her:

Lisa Maxwell is the author of Sweet Unrest   (Flux, October 2014). When she's not writing books, she teaches English at a local college. She lives near DC with her very patient husband and two not-so patient boys.  She's a proud member of both One Four Kid Lit and Fall Fourteeners

And SWEET UNREST? It sounds amazing. Check out the blurb: 

Lucy Aimes has always been practical. But try as she might, she can’t come up with a logical explanation for the recurring dreams that have always haunted her. Dark dreams. Dreams of a long-ago place filled with people she shouldn’t know…but does.

When her family moves to a New Orleans plantation, Lucy’s dreams become more intense, and her search for answers draws her reluctantly into the old city’s world of Voodoo and mysticism. There, Lucy finds Alex, a mysterious boy who behaves as if they’ve known each other forever. Lucy knows Alex is hiding something, and her rational side doesn’t want to be drawn to him. But she is.

As she tries to uncover Alex’s secrets, a killer strikes close to home, and Lucy finds herself ensnared in a century-old vendetta. With the lives of everyone she loves in danger, Lucy will have to unravel the mystery of her dreams before it all comes to a deadly finish.

Now, for the cover... 


It's the sort of cover that 1) jerks your mind to a screeching halt, which then 2) prompts the left-hand side of your brain to turn to the right-hand side and shout, I've got to read that book!   

At any rate, in case you missed all the cues, I LOVE THIS COVER!! Eerie, perfect for storyline. Know what else I love? GIVEAWAYS! Especially when they include New Orleans-inspired necklaces like this gunmetal locket with silver Fleur de Lis charm and red Swarovski crystal:

Hafsah Laziaf, of Icey Books fame, has graciously offered to host the giveaway on her blog. So check it out. You can also win a signed copy of SWEET UNREST!

Lastly, don't forget to check out Lisa's links! You won't be sorry:

Lisa's Website
Lisa's Twitter
Lisa's Facebook
SWEET UNREST on Goodreads


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Batten down the hatches, baby: it's a CREED cover reveal

Okay, so something creepy recently landed in my inbox, people, and I've had a hard time keeping it secret.  Because it's, you know, creepy.  

Furthermore, I'm a wussy.


I've been fortunate enough to be one of the first to land eyeballs on the gorgeous cover for CREED, the YA psychological thriller penned by my friends, Lindsay Currie and Trisha Leaver.  (!!!!!!!)

*cheesy victory dance*

Guys, this book will commandeer the shelves when it releases in fall, 2014. Yeah, it's that good. And even though you have to wait till 2014 to read it, you can swoon over the cover now:


Creepy, right? And ominous? Okay, so it's probably a thousand different adjectives beyond creepy and ominous. Which leads me to the premise:

Dee Langley is seventeen and mere months away from total freedom and a life where state social workers, counselors, and foster parents don’t dictate her every move. She has spent years trying to eke out a normal existence, hiding from her past and walking the tenuous line between denial and self-preservation. A weekend away with her boyfriend, Luke, and his brother, Mike, seems like the perfect opportunity to forget and start over. Little does Dee know that she's just trading one hell for another.

When an unexpected storm and a lack of gas force their car off the road, Dee, Luke, and Mike find themselves with no other choice but to wander into the nearby town of Purity Springs for help. But it’s not good Samaritans they find, but rather complete and utter silence, every store and every house abandoned. Forced to seek shelter in one of the deserted homes, they uncover a disturbing book with explicit instructions on how to correctly rear a child, complete with a hand written record of its use. It’s not until the next morning, however, that they discover the alarming truth – the town isn’t abandoned; it is populated by a deadly cult, and the leader, Elijah Hawkins, has plans for the three of them. The group’s only hope for survival lies in the hands of Elijah’s son, Joseph. But is Joseph really their ticket to freedom or is his game just as deadly as his father’s?

Three went in, and three will come out, but not a single one will ever be a shadow of who they once were.

*shivers again*

Here's a little bit about the talented authors of CREED:

Lindsay Currie lives in Chicago, Illinois with one incredibly patient hubby, three amazing kids and one adorable, but irreverent Bullmastiff named Sam. She graduated from Knox College in the heart of the Midwest and has been writing for as long as she can remember. She is a freelance editor for young adult, new adult and middle grade fiction, and is a proud member of SCBWI, The Horror Writers Association, The YA Scream Queens, The Book YArd, and OneFourKidLit, a community of authors with debuts upcoming in 2014. 

Trisha Leaver resides on Cape Cod with her husband, three children and one rather excitable black lab. She spent most of her childhood living inside her own mind, creating characters and stories that only a child's imagination could dream up. She now spends her days breathing life into those characters, writing realistic fiction for young adults. Today, Trisha is a free-lance editor and a proud member of the SCBWI, YA Scream Queens, The Horror Writers Association, TheBookYards, and OneFourKidLit, a community of authors with debuts upcoming in 2014. 

And if you are feeling linky:

Pre-order CREED on Amazon
CREED on Goodreads
Trisha's Website
Trisha's Facebook
Trisha's Twitter
Trisha's Blog
Lindsay's Website
Lindsay's Facebook
Lindsay's Twitter

Cheers, comrades. 
And, as always, carpe read 'em.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Yowsa: the book trailer for Chanel Cleeton's I SEE LONDON.

Guys. It's wintertime, it's 32 degrees, and it's sweltering. You know, like, swel-ter-ing with three syllables, due to the fact that my agency sister, the adorable Chanel Cleeton, is unleashing a book trailer today for her NA contemporary romance, I SEE LONDON, which is pubbing February 3, 2014 via Harlequin (Digital First).

So I'm fanning myself.

Because the love interests in this're in the trailer video.


At any rate, as if you needed any more reason to check out the I SEE LONDON trailer, the storyline sounds amazing:

Maggie Carpenter is ready for a change— and to leave her ordinary life in South Carolina behind. But when she accepts a scholarship to the International School in London, a university attended by the privileged offspring of diplomats and world leaders, Maggie might get more than she bargained for.

When Maggie meets Hugh, a twentysomething British guy, she finds herself living the life she always wanted. Suddenly she’s riding around the city in a Ferrari, wearing borrowed designer clothes and going to the hottest clubs. The only problem? Another guy, the one she can’t seem to keep her hands off of.

Half French, half Lebanese, and ridiculously wealthy, Samir Khouri has made it clear he doesn’t do relationships. He’s the opposite of everything Maggie thought she wanted…and he’s everything she can’t resist. Torn between her dream guy and the boy haunting her dreams, Maggie has to fight for her own happy ending. In a city like London, you never know where you stand, and everything can change in the blink of an eye.

Now that I've fully gotten your attention...


The  I SEE LONDON trailer

One word: Holycrap.  Okay, that's technically two words but in this case, it should be one.

Here's a little more about Chanel:

Originally a Florida girl, at seventeen Chanel moved to London to attend an international university.  In the four years that followed, she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, learned how to dance, traveled through Europe, and made lifelong friendships.  Chanel fell in love with London and planned to stay there forever.  But fate intervened on a Caribbean cruise, when an American fighter pilot with smooth dance moves, swept her off her feet. 

Now, a happily ever after later, Chanel is living her next adventure in South Korea.  An avid reader and hopeless romantic, she is happiest curled up with a book.  She has a weakness for handbags, puppy cuddles, and her fighter pilot husband.  Chanel writes New Adult contemporary romances and Young Adult thrillers.  Her New Adult debut, I SEE LONDON, will be released by Harlequin (HQN) on February 3, 2014, followed by a sequel, LONDON FALLING, later in the year.

Chanel's author links:

I SEE LONDON on Amazon:
I SEE LONDON on Barnes & Noble:

Carpe read 'em, people.
Carpe.  Read 'em.  ;)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Horsey smiles and cool stuff like Dark Paradise


So many of my friends are having cover reveals and/or pubbing right now, and we're all just ridiculously excited:

*Just so you know, I'm the squished-up one in the middle.

Moving on...

I'm SO psyched to help the incredibly sweet Angie Sandro celebrate her cover reveal today for her NA debut, DARK PARADISE, due to pub July 1, 2014 by Grand Central Publishing/Forever Yours. 

The premise?  It's just so cool:


Mala LaCroix has spent her whole life trying to escape her destiny. As the last in a long line of “witch women,” she rejects the notion of spirits and hoodoo and instead does her best to blend in. But when she finds a dead body floating in the bayou behind her house, Mala taps into powers she never knew she had. She’s haunted by visions of the dead girl, demanding justice and vengeance.


Landry Prince has always had a crush on Mala, but when Mala discovers his sister, murdered and marked in some sort of Satanic ritual, he starts to wonder if all the rumors about the LaCroix family are true. Yet after Mala uses her connection to the spirit world to identify his sister’s killer, he starts to form his own bond to her . . . a very physical one. As they move closer to each other and closer to the truth, Mala and Landry must risk everything—their families, their love, and even their lives.

And here's a little bit about Angie (who's basically the Grand Poobah of the Global Traveling):

Angie Sandro was born at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. Within six weeks, she began the first of eleven relocations throughout the United States, Spain, and Guam before the age of eighteen.

Friends were left behind. The only constants in her life were her family and the books she shipped wherever she went. Traveling the world inspired her imagination and allowed her to create her own imaginary friends. Visits to her father's family in Louisiana inspired this story.

Angie now lives in Northern California with her husband, two children, and an overweight Labrador.

So now there's that little matter of THE COVER!  Feast your eyes, people:

Swanky?  Check.
Creepy?  Check.
Interesting?  Check.

If you'd like to learn more about Angie, check her out!  She's sprinkled all over the Internet:

Monday, January 6, 2014


It's January 6th! Whoop! I've been so excited for this day to come because my MLLA agent-mate, the charming Jess Keating, is having a cover release today for her middle-grade debut, HOW TO OUTRUN A CROCODILE WHEN YOUR SHOES ARE UNTIED.  And you must see it.  

Seriously.  It's adorable.

But first, here's a book summary:

What would middle school be like if you lived in a zoo?

Ana didn't ask to be named after an anaconda. She didn't ask for zoologist parents who look like safari guides. And she definitely didn't ask for a twin brother whose life goal seems to be terrorizing her with his pet reptiles. Now, to make matters worse, her parents have decided to move the whole family INTO the zoo! All of which gives the Sneerers (the clan of carnivorous female predators in her class) more ammunition to make her life miserable-and squash any hope of class tennis stud, Zack, falling in love with her. Ana tries to channel her inner chameleon and fade into the background, but things are changing too quickly for her to keep up.

Sound interesting?  So is Jess!  Here's a little more about her:

As a middle grade author and zoologist, Jess Keating has been sprayed by skunks, bitten by crocodiles, and been a victim to the dreaded paper cut. Her debut How To Outrun A Crocodile When Your Shoes Are Untied is coming in Summer 2014 from Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, with a sequel to follow. She has a Masters degree in Animal Science and a growing collection of books that are threatening to take over her house. She lives in Ontario, Canada, where she loves hiking, playing ukulele, and writing books for adventurous and funny kids.

And now...

For the cover...

Put on your sunglasses because it's bright...

And a smile because it's fun...

Adorable, right??  Makes the animal-hugger in me want to cuddle up with a crocodile.  Okay, a stuffed crocodile, maybe, but still.

If you are feeling linky, you can find Jess all over the place!

*HOW TO OUTRUN A CROCODILE on Goodreads:  How to Outrun a Crocodile
*Jess on Twitter: Jess Keating on Twitter
*Jess's website: