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Blog Tour Uncategorized

BLOG TOUR: Freaks by Lisa M. Forester

Today I’m very lucky to have the lovely Lisa on the blog to talk about her novel, Freaks, which is out now! I’ve known Lisa for a while now and she’s one of the greatest people ever, so you should definitely check out Freaks! I hope you enjoy the post! 

Can I just begin by saying a MASSIVE thank you to the very lovely Lucy for having me on her blog today. I’m a huge fan of Lucy’s blog so I feel very honoured to be here!
Lucy has been such a big supporter of mine and I have been in touch with her since the days when FREAKS was still very much a work in progress. So to see it here… a full book… on her blog…. Is VERY exciting!

 I’m still at the ‘pinch me, is this real?’ stage when it comes to having a book that people can actually buy. ‘FREAKS’ has just existed in my head for so long that it feels strange but quite exhilarating to expose the characters and the locations to other people. Creating the characters was one of the two things about writing that I enjoyed the most. Finding a location was the other. It’s so much fun to create a character; what are you going to call them? What are they going to look like? Are they nice characters or evil, twisted souls? Are they going to feature heavily in the story or will they have a fleeting part? Each character is different and you get to make them do anything you want them to do. You are the puppet master.

Finding a location has a slightly different feel. It’s still very fun, but there are a few other pressures. Whereas with character creation you can do exactly as you please – you can’t always do this with a location. As a writer – you have a couple of options. You can either make up a location entirely, or research a pre-existing one.

 If you choose to make up a location entirely then you have full and complete control over everywhere that your character steps. You can have them walking on clouds in the sky if you want them to… the world is your oyster. But can your imagination handle it? Can your imagination handle creating an entire world? It’s a lot of pressure to make a fake world seem believable.

 Whereas if you choose a pre-existing location, you’re creativity can be stilted – but a lot of the hard work is done for you. Sometimes people get annoyed when you tamper too much with a pre-existing location. There is a certain expectation that you will stay completely true to the map – and often writers can get feedback saying things like ‘on chapter four you mention the post box on Richmond Street. Can I please advise you that there is not a post box on Richmond Street’. Sigh.

Despite this possibility, this was the option that I chose. My characters needed a place to congregate. A place to meet. A place where all of the action happened and I decided that I didn’t want this to be a place that I’d invented. I wanted it to be a real life place with a real life feeling to it. I set to work and, thanks to the wonders of google street view, I stumbled upon Lincoln, Alabama. It was (and is!) perfect for my story. I have loved wandering around the town and finding the perfect streets and houses to use. I’ve loved using their real estate websites and their local newspaper websites to get a feel for the town. Don’t get me wrong – I have tweaked things slightly. There may be shops in my story that don’t exist in real life, but I’m sure the residents won’t mind too much. Lincoln is still very much at the heart of the story, and I hope that they embrace it and enjoy reading about their town.

 Now that FREAKS has been released – the people of Lincoln have been amazing. The school are planning a library display all about the book and I have sent a signed copy over to them. I get messages on twitter and facebook from the students asking about Freaks, which this is the kind of support that you can never get from creating a fictional town. A fictional town has fictional residents, whereas the residents of Lincoln, Alabama are very real (and very awesome!)

 Once I had my characters and my location – I was set. And I have pretty much typed non-stop in order to get to where I am right now. I have a finished book! A finished book that people can actually buy! Eeek! It has been a very long process but thanks to the support of amazing bloggers like Lucy (and the amazing residents of Lincoln) I am here. An author. With a real life book that people can buy.

 Pinch me!

About Freaks: 

FREAKS: Nobody’s perfect… or are they?
Abigail always knew that she was different, but what she didn’t know was just how different. 
That was until her 16th birthday, when her parent’s revealed a devastating secret that confirmed her worst fears and changed her life forever.
Abigail is an Allelobrid: one of five children born as a result of their parents illegal science experiment in genetic engineering. The aim: to create a perfect human.
Yet perfection comes at a price.
Forced into a life on the run, Abigail finds love, danger and an organisation that will stop at nothing to get what they want.
When lives are at risk and freedom is threatened – could being perfect be enough to survive?


FREAKS is available to buy on Amazon and Smashwords.

 Twitter: @lisamforester

Blog Tour Guest Post UKYA Uncategorized

UKYA BLOG TOUR: Guest post from Alexia Casale, author of The Bone Dragon


I’m very pleased to welcome the lovely Alexia Casale to the blog today. Alexia wrote The Bone Dragon which I adored and she has written a guest post for me to share today. Enjoy!

Picking which book to write

Most people have hundreds if not thousands of daydreams every day. Some you enjoy once and never return to. Some keep coming back again and again. I suspect that this is how most books start: with a daydream that just won’t let go. One that you return to so often that it gradually expands and develops into a whole world.

I’ve got lots of recurring daydreams. Some are single-scenes, while other have long and complicated storylines. Some are no more than individual incidents or images. Some are to do with more abstract ideas and still others are about relationships.

Often when a daydream recurs to the point that it becomes a potential book idea, I’ll find that the characters have shifted a little, the nature of what they’re after has become more defined and the story has grown far more convincing. These are the daydreams that I spend the most time on, trying to work out what core element or elements make the daydream worth all that time and effort. As I start to understand why I love the daydream, I start discarding minor elements that don’t support the core of the story.

When one of these daydreams finally feels complete, it’s either time to reject it as a potential book… or to start working to get it down on paper. In terms of which to do, the first thing I consider is whether the story and the people in it will appeal to anyone but me. Some daydreams are ways of working out things in our own lives, and not all of those are going to be meaningful or interesting to any other person on the planet.

If an idea isn’t too much about my own life and my own needs, then I start to ask myself if the story is big enough, exciting enough… not just for readers to like it but for me to spend hundreds if not thousands of hours on it.16116963

And finally I ask myself ‘is it ready’? I often get lost when I start writing too early: when I haven’t given the idea long enough to ‘marinate’ in my head. Can I really explain in a few sentences what the heart of the book is? Can I clearly and succinctly describe how the plot works? Do I understand why all the things in the book happen? Is some of it all a bit foggy and vague or do I know how every part connects to every other part? Am I attached to scenes without knowing why? If I can’t answer any of those questions in a satisfactory way, the idea probably needs longer in my head before I start putting words down on paper because otherwise I may end up with a lot of material I care about but shouldn’t use if I want to write the best book possible.

Anyway, this is the point where an idea becomes a serious prospect as a book. Before I know for sure, I have to polish the idea up, shape the corners, work out what happens in the gaps between bits of the story… As I work on these things, it starts to become clear if the idea will actually work on paper.

At the moment I’m having fun with idea development and considering all sorts of projects – many of which I will probably end up writing eventually as they’ve already stood the test of time floating around my imagination. But the question right now is ‘What is Book 3 going to be?’ And I sort of know, though I haven’t made a final, firm decision.

It’s the idea that’s felt ready for a while: the one I’m confident about because I can spell out why I’m writing it, how it works, what the high points are, where the fun is… There are still gaps and issues but I already *know* that none of them are insurmountable: there is enough already in place to write a book I believe will be worth reading. Above all, it’s the book that’s been waiting to be written: the one that has had its hand in the air for a while.

The feeling that this idea has been ‘waiting’ is something I can actually put my finger on because it’s measurable in the way I daydream: this daydream is the one that’s there before all the others whenever I let my mind roam. The rest are ‘on and off’ dreams: I keep abandoning them when I get to a tricky point I haven’t worked out yet. And that tells me they’re not ready, partly because they’re not developed enough but mostly because I’m not committed enough to figuring out those tricky bits… yet. When that starts to change – when I stick at a new idea long enough to work out the problems – I’ll know that idea is inching to the front of the queue.

So if you’re not sure which idea you should turn into a book, start looking at your daydreams. If there isn’t one dream that features more than all the others, one you get being pulled back to, maybe the ideas you have aren’t ready yet. That said, sometimes you have to *make* ideas ready by sitting down and hammering out the tricky bits of your plot, fixing up the plot-holes and working out how to make it all believable. This means sticking with an idea, pursuing it, hounding it until you corner it and can force it to make itself clear… or you realise that, instead of gaining on it, it’s escaping from you. But you won’t know if it’s one you need to let get away until you’ve chased it with a reasonable degree of commitment.

At the end of the day, you have to passionate about a book to have a good shot at writing it well. You’ll hate it so violently and so often before you’re done that unless there’s a lot of love underneath you won’t end up finishing. So never write a book purely because you think it will hit a trend or because you think ‘it’s the right book for X stage in my career’: write the book you care about.

Think about it like a romantic relationship. You can have great chemistry but if you never bother to get to know each other, the relationship will fizzle out… So it is with a great idea that stays vague and formless: good for the odd date/daydream but not for a marriage/book. Alternatively, you might feel that an idea is a good prospect, if boring: if you press ahead, you may end up with part of a book or even a whole book, but the chances that it’ll be really good aren’t great. OR… chemistry can be accompanied by an interest in getting to know each other, little by little, more and more until you know enough to take a leap… provided the chemistry is still there of course.

There is always a leap and it’s important to feel a real drive to take it, otherwise you’re unlikely to make it to the other side of the hundreds, if not thousands, of hours needed to write a novel. So check your chemistry and your understanding of your book idea before you commit to it, but remember that both need work to develop in the first place.

In other words, go forth and daydream. A lot.

About The Bone Dragon:  Evie’s shattered ribs have been a secret for the last four years. Now she has found the strength to tell her adoptive parents, and the physical traces of her past are fixed – the only remaining signs a scar on her side and a fragment of bone taken home from the hospital, which her uncle Ben helps her to carve into a dragon as a sign of her strength.
Soon this ivory talisman begins to come to life at night, offering wisdom and encouragement in roaming dreams of smoke and moonlight that come to feel ever more real.
As Evie grows stronger there remains one problem her new parents can’t fix for her: a revenge that must be taken. And it seems that the Dragon is the one to take it.
This subtly unsettling novel is told from the viewpoint of a fourteen-year-old girl damaged by a past she can’t talk about, in a hypnotic narrative that, while giving increasing insight, also becomes increasingly unreliable.
A blend of psychological thriller and fairytale, The Bone Dragon explores the fragile boundaries between real life and fantasy, and the darkest corners of the human mind.

Blog Tour Uncategorized

United We Spy Blog Tour ~ It’s All About Bex

I’m very excited to be on the United We Spy blog tour today! My review will be up on Thursday, but for now I have a post all about one of my favourite characters in the Gallagher Girls series, Bex Baxter.


Cammie Morgan has lost her father and her memory, but in the heart-pounding conclusion to the best-selling Gallagher Girls series, she finds her greatest mission yet. Cammie and her friends finally know why the terrorist organization called the Circle of Cavan has been hunting her. Now the spy girls and Zach must track down the Circle’s elite members to stop them before they implement a master plan that will change Cammie—and her country—forever.


Why do I like Bex? I think that’s a very good question. I’m going to try and answer this question as best I can today in this post.

Bex is certainly a very memorable character. She was one of the first characters that popped into my head when I was asked to write this post and my favourite secondary character from the series.

Bex really adds humour to the books, with witty lines and her so-cool attitude that makes me want to either be her, or be friends with her. And she’s English, which makes her all the more relatable. We could even talk about the weather!

Bex is also extremely loyal to her friends. It’s a quality that I greatly admire because it’s not always that you find someone who would do anything for you. If anybody is in trouble, you will find Bex rushing to their side. Where can I buy a Bex?

My favourite Bex quotes:

“The only way Bex would miss this would be if she were unconscious. And tied up. And in a concrete bunker. In Siberia.”

“Most little girls in England grow up wanting to marry
a prince. Bex grew up wanting to kick James Bond’s butt and assume his double-0 ranking.”

“‘Well…” [Liz] said, stumbling over the obvious, “Bex has always been kind of  rules-optional.”

“Bex was a natural born spy.”

“Bex was the bravest person I knew. I’m not exaggerating when I say that. It is the honest truth. And I knew a lot of seriously brave people.”

“Bex had spent six hours on a private jet, but her cappuccino-coloured skin was glowing, and she looked as if she’d walked out of a skincare commercial.”

You’ll notice that a lot of these quotes are written in third person and I think this demonstrates the point that Bex is dearly loved. Her parents care about her, the Gallagher Girls do and readers love Bex, as shown in this post here. If you haven’t read these books yet, you need to so that you can find out for yourself just how much of a bright character Bex is.

Have you read the Gallagher Girls books? What did you like most about Bex?

Blog Tour UKYA Uncategorized

The Super Secret Project REVEAL!

If you follow me on Twitter, then you may have heard me mention the super secret project that I’m planning. I’ve kept things under tight wraps, until now when I’m going to reveal what it’s all about!

I’ve been working this week to get as many authors as possible on board and now that I’ve reached the number of people that make the super secret project able to happen, I can finally start getting other people on board.

So… Drum roll please!

The super secret project is going to be a  blog tour full of guest posts, giveaways and interviews from UKYA authors, lasting the whole month of November. In that month, I’ll be staging Twitter chats and lots of fun little events within it. There are some very awesome authors signed up and I’ve spent this week dancing around my house every time I get an email.

I have over thirty authors signed up, with blogger emails being sent out anytime soon. I still haven’t had replies to all the emails, so I’m hoping I’ll get even more people on board.

Here is the tour banner, and I’ll be creating more for sidebars when I have all of the dates sorted out. Your sidebars will all be very pretty when I’ve finished with you!


I can’t wait to share more details with you soon, because this is a project I’m so enthusiastic about. Getting more people to read UKYA is something I’m very passionate about and I know all of the authors on the tour have amazing books.

Tell me your thoughts below! Are you looking forward to November?