The Second Eren Tale Is Here - Win a Copy of Eren

Exciting things have been happening.

Nightmare - the second of the twelve Eren Tales short stories - is now published. If you want to read it, and see the artwork my friend Brandon Rechten came up with, just click here, or visit erentales.com

While you're there, have a look at the Eren Tales blog, where we're running a competition to win an advanced copy of Eren. Anyone can enter, and it's running for the next two weeks, so go - go! - now's your chance to see what I'm been harping on about for the last year and a half!

And ... that's it. Enjoy the tale, and keep watching for the next ones. Six are coming out before Eren's hardback publication in September, with the other six leading up to paperback publication. If you like words and stories and dark tales and mystery, they should be right up your street.



Eren Is a Real Book

Perhaps one of the most exciting things that will ever happen to me happened last week - on Friday, to be exact. I got home early, ready to pack and take a trip to Martha's Vineyard, an island up by Nantucket. A package was waiting for me - a package I'd been waiting for for a couple of weeks.

You may well be able to guess what was in it:

Yes - Eren! My Eren - my book. Real and in my hand and with pages and words and everything. It was a fantastic moment, and one I won't forget for a long time. It's something I've wanted for so long, and now that it's here - now I can show people a book with my name and Eren's story - it all feels a bit odd indeed.

I even have some reviews coming in. There's this one from The Sprout, and a great one from Kat Ellis - and hopefully, more to come. 

Oh - the second Eren Tale - Nightmare - will be up in just a few days. Watch this space, friends. 



Review: Blackfin Sky by Kat Ellis

Coming soon...One of the unexpected bonuses (bonii?) of being a writer is the increasing number of books on my shelves that are written by people I actually know. It's satisfying, and very strange, to see the names of authors, or have books lying around, and know that if I really wanted to, I could call them up and discuss the plot.

Maybe I should start doing that. 4 a.m. phone calls where I shout angry questions about character development would, no doubt, make me very popular among colleagues.

Anyway - with that in mind, I want to make more of an effort to review and spread the word about new books by folk I like. I reviewed M. P. Kozlowsky's The Dyerville Tales not too long ago (and it's actually published, now. Go, buy it. You won't regret it). Today, I'm talking about Kat Ellis' Blackfin Sky.

First, a bit about the book:

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. 

If I didn't know Kat, I probably wouldn't have read this book. It's not the sort of thing I would have gone for. I'm not a huge YA guy. I'm not a huge mystery guy

I'm also an idiot for overlooking books like this. If Blackfin Sky's anything to go by, I have a lot of catching up to do. It's a fantastic read - gripping from the first page (where Silas, a disdainful haunted weather vane - yes, you read that right - catches sight of a dead girl who's not dead) to the last (which I'm not going to spoil for you). I finished the book yesterday and, I have to admit, took a longer lunch than I'm technically allowed. I was too wrapped up in the climax - and it's a good one, guys. There are so many different threads to this story, and so many questions, but Kat manages to bring them all together at the end like some sort of mad puppeteer. It left me wanting more, but not feeling frustrated. That has to be the mark of a good book, right? I want sequels and prequels. I want to know more about Silas, and Bo, and what's up with Jared, and I want to know now.

Maybe I will make that 4 a.m. call...

Two things especially surprised me about this book. Firstly, I started caring a lot about certain characters. Whether it was Kat's writing (never flowery, always well paced) or the sheer inventiveness of the story, I don't know, but one scene in particular (involving an open grave and a mob of boys who are keen to see it refilled) had me balling my fists and imagining, there and then, the terrible vengeance I would enact upon those who did wrong. I got a bit worked up, I'll admit, and had to take a break. That's a good story. And then something happened later that made me feel bad for thinking those things. I only have so many emotions a day, Kat. You can't do things like that.

Secondly, Blackfin Sky is funny as hell. The banter between the characters, and Sky's description of her mother especially, are bang on. There's sarcasm, jokes, and awkward teenage moments we can all relate to. The fact it's happening alongside danger and confusion only makes it better. Yes, there's romance too, but it's natural and never forced. Sean seems like good guy. I'd let him date my sister, if he wanted.

You can probably tell I quite liked this book.

Kat's running a release day giveaway over on her site at the moment. You should go enter. If you don't win, you should buy this book. It's a great debut - and it's coming out in the U.S. in September, too.

Congratulations, Kat! Now hurry up and write your next book.


New Posts, a Bookshop, and Blackfin Sky

I owe the world a brief update. 

After the First Tale was published - and while the Second Tale is being worked on - the blog over on Eren Tales has been updated a bit. I can't wait for the new story to go up later this month. Hopefully, you'll read it. Even more hopefully, you'll like it. I know Brandon has some great ideas for the photo to accompany it.

I have another piece up on Writers & Artists! It's called The Vital Importance of the Adventurous Life and is pretty much all my thoughts on living and experiencing life and channeling that into your writing. Give it a read and let me know what you think.
Finally, yesterday saw the launch of My Independent Bookshop, a new joint project between Hive and Penguin Random House. It's basically a way of showcasing your favourite books in your own online 'shop', with the added twist that a portion of the profits made from any purchases goes to an independent bookshop of your choice. I spent a happy few minutes setting up my own, Simon's Transmovable Bookorium, and selected Foyles, in Bristol, to benefit from any sales. Mostly it's a great way to be nosy and see which books other people have chosen - Terry Pratchett's on there, for example - and, hopefully, start building a new community that feeds back into real-world shops.

We'll see, I guess.

That, for now, is it. I'm reading an ARC of Kat Ellis' BLACKFIN SKY at the moment and can tell you, in an exclusive and top-secret spoiler, that it is very good. It's available for pre-order now. Kat's site is here: http://www.katelliswrites.com/ (She also has a spiffy book trailer up - click here to watch)