Thursday, 27 June 2013


Happy Thursday, my best beloveds! The Night Itself will be officially released in EXACTLY one week now and I'm getting very excited. If anyone sees the book in the wild anywhere at all, any time at all - right now, a week from now - pictures would make my life. Pictures of you guys holding the book wherever you have found, even if that's on your doorstep when the Amazon parcel arrives, would be even more amazing. I'll post them right here, with your permission. Do, please, keep your camera-phones handy :)

(ETA: Turns out that The Night Itself is available TODAY, right this minute, at a substantial discount, on both Kindle and iTunes, although I can't link to iTunes. So if you're a Kindle owner or an iPad/iPhone owner and you were going to buy it that way... go nuts).

Onto the post. I'm here today, as promised, to launch InCreWriJul - a month of unbridled creativity and joy, and possibly also groaning, head-clutching and paper-ball scrunching, but that is ALL PART OF THE FUN!

Dear Readers, in the month of July I really want us to write together.

It doesn't matter if you feel like writing poetry or short stories. Novels or synopses. Blog posts or entries on Tumblr. Just so long as you write something - anything creative - you're welcome to take part in InCreWriJul! If you want to use this as a way to help you start a novel, or finish the novel you have on deadline, that's brilliant. If you want to use it to start creative writing for the first time ever? Also fantastic!

Pick a target for yourself. Something realistic and achieveable for you, something that you can hit with a bit of effort. Nothing feels as depressing as failing right away because you pushed yourself too hard. But once you've picked that target, stick to it. Because nothing feels as good as pushing through, working hard, and reaching your goal. And when I said realistic? I meant it! If you don't think you can realistically manage to write more than five lines every day? THAT IS 100% A-OK for InCreWriJul too! On the other hand? Don't be too easy on yourself either. There's more satisfaction in going the extra mile than in never putting on your running shoes because you're afraid of blisters.

The really important thing about this is that we're going to do it together. It's supposed to be exciting, and fun, and motivating, and part of that is being around to help and support each other. Every Tuesday in July I'm going to do a check in post. I will be completely honest with you about how many words I wrote in the preceding week, if I struggled or had a great time, and how I'm feeling about my own InCreWriJul book. I might even do breakdowns as to how many words/pages I managed each day, if you're interested in that much detail.

I hope you guys will be equally honest in the comments. If you caught a cold, felt awful, and wrote two words the whole week, we'll offer encouragement and reassurance. If you blew past your target and wrote pages and pages more than you expected, you'll get high-fives and cheers.

At the end of the month, we'll all do a review and round-up of what we've accomplished. And any commentors who checked in on every single InCreWriJul Tuesday (that's five, from July 2rd, to July 30th) will be eligible to go into a giveaway draw and receive a luverly prize. I think you can probably guess, given what month we're doing this and what ELSE is happening in July (hint: Big Secret Project will have it's book birthday and finally officially hit the shelves!) what at least part of the prize will be. You want to be eligible, trust me! And this giveaway will be open to everyone, from the brilliantly coloured beatles dwelling on the hot, eastenmost rocks of Timbuktu to the tiny dwarf Artic rabbits hopping around on the snow of the polar icecap. All are welcome.

I honestly and truly loved InCreWriMa last year Dear Readers, and I hope this year will be just as motivating for me and you, and just as productive! But don't get too excited now; take some time to think about whether this seems like fun to you, and what a REALISTIC target would be. Don't rush in and commit yourself too fast. I don't want anyone to put undue pressure on themselves or to take part if it's not right for them just now. I don't want to see any comments pledging certain amounts of words per day, or anything like that, in the comments today. It's not July yet! The first check-in post will be Tuesday next week. That's when I'll tell you my target, talk a bit about what I'm working on (not that it'll be a big shock) and ask for your details too.

Yay? Yay?! YAY!

Monday, 24 June 2013


Hello, hello, hello my duckies! Welcome to Tuesday and a veritable banquet (buffet style) of lovely things.

So, as the blog title kind of spoils... I finished the edits on DARKNESS HIDDEN!


I'd given myself a deadline to try and send the edited manuscript out to both Super Agent and Wonder Editor before the end of the day on Friday, which was really tough because I was also looking after my father that day. But I worked like a crazed little beaver chipping away at a log, and managed to press 'Send' on the email before four o'clock. Only to get Out of Office autoreplies from both editor and agent. *Sigh*

This is an inevitable result of self-imposed deadlines, my muffins. It happens every time. Make a note for your future careers. EVERY. TIME.

However, I feel very positive about this latest set of revisions. The book actually has a new ending now - well, the same one, but vastly extended because the original version was really abrupt. I was so emotional when I wrote the ending initially that I honestly couldn't see what to do but to just end it there. Anything else was going to feel like anti-climax to me at that point. But luckily, that is what revisions are for, and because I know people have complained in the past that my endings are abrupt, I was really determined to keep thinking about it until something occurred to me - which it did, while I was on a train journey the other week. Good old trains. They're great for my creativity, even if they do regularly get cancelled on me, buried under landslides, delayed because of snow drifts... Anyway! During these revisions I cut over 10,000 words, but the manuscript eventually ended up about 7,000 words longer overall, which I like because usually when I start adding length during a revision, that's a sign I'm on the right track.

Of course, finishing the revisions on DH and getting that ending right, finally - we hope - filled me with enthusiasm for starting work on book #3 of the trilogy (I nearly gave the game away by typing the title there! Phew). I've tried to begin the third book several times but I kept getting stuck because I couldn't get a clear picture in my head of where Mio, the main character, would be emotionally after the events that finish DH. The new ending really helped me get there, and I wrote some rough notes on Saturday which translated into eleven pages of new stuff this morning. Hurrah!

Now onto other lovely things! First, an exciting announcement. I'm going to be in anthology. Here's the announcement in Publisher's Weekly. For those who don't want to click away, a screencap:

My very first! I'm really psyched to have been asked. There's a lot of exciting authors in there! Although the deal has been made, I'm waiting to get more details from the editor - Ann Angel - about what sort of content will be allowed before I can know for certain what short story I will write. However, at this point I'm leaning very heavily toward one that I know many of you will like: it concerns a character from Shadows on the Moon that a lot of people have asked to know more about :)

Next! Last week Luna of Luna's Little Library wrote the most lovely review of The Night Itself and gave it a Sunshine Star rating. Which was already extremely wonderful - but then she made this fanart:

Jack and Hikaru! So adorable, I did a little dance. My babies! My messed up, emotionally-constipated babies!

Finally, here's a mini-interview that I did with the lovely author Kate Ormand (one of my fellow Author Allsorts) for her SNEAK PEAK feature. There's some inside information on the book AND a brand-new snippet for you. What more could you want?

That's all for today, so I'll see you on Thursday, when I will be talking about (drumroll please) InCreWriJul!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013


Happy Thursday, Dear Readers! Today marks just FOURTEEN DAYS until the release date of The Night Itself and, as promised, I shall be making the long-teased announcement of the title of the second book in The Name of the Blade trilogy.

But first! Some blatant waffle. I know that most of you are going to literally scroll straight through the next several paragraphs as if they don't exist, but I'm going to go ahead and write them anyway because it just doesn't feel like a proper post otherwise. And maybe some of you will come back and enjoy this afterwards. Just to let you know I'm serious, I'll let you in on a spoiler right now: the initials of the book are D. H. That ought to hold you for a bit.

So, when the idea for Big Secret Project aka The Katana Trilogy aka The Name of the Blade first blew into my head like a giant, flaming comet of inspiration and I thought 'Wow, this is amazing but it's like... three book's worth, oh cr*p, how do you write three books?', I instantly started worrying about titles. Just in case I haven't mentioned it before: I agonise about titles. I have to have the right title. I'm not the grown-up, logical kind of writer who can just get on with it while their manuscript is saved as UNTITLEDUF#ONE or UNCONTRACTEDBOOK or something. No. Somehow I can never quite get into my stride with a book until I know what it's going to be called. It's like that gives me a hook to hang all the themes and imagery on so I can figure out how I'm going to weave them into the plot, setting and characterisation. Which may sound a bit odd but... bear with me, because this isn't the point.

Given that I'm a giant ball of stress over titling any standalone novel, and given that Big Secret Project was already showing every sign of turning into one of those 'book of my heart' type dealies (otherwise known as a sparkly-unicorn-rainbow-angel-cupcake-baby project) and given that I now knew I had to come up with not one but THREE amazing titles, you can just imagine how many long walks I dragged Finn on while muttering under my breath, trying to figure it out. I thought this process was going to suck.

But lo! About a week after the image of tentacles of unspeakable darkness slowly unfolding against a shining night skyline of glass and steel slam-dunked me in the skull, the answer to my title questions slam-dunked me nearly as hard. Like magic. It came to me as a haiku that summed up the major theme of the story that I wanted to tell, and which I also realised would make a marvellous plot point near the end of the very last book. Each line of the haiku contained one perfect phrase that perfectly encapsulated the events of one book in the trilogy. It felt (and still feels, to this day) like the Muse got so annoyed with my internal flailings that she just wrote the haiku down for me on a scrap of paper, wrapped the paper around half a brick, and lobbed the brick directly into my brain.

You already know that the first line of the haiku contained the phrase 'The night itself' because that is the title of the first book. However, today is not the day when I shall reveal the whole haiku or its place in the story. Today is not the day when I shall reveal the title of book #3 (which is my favourite of all three, by a narrow margin). But today IS the day when I will finally tell you the title of the book I'm editing right now, the immediate follow-up to The Night Itself (which is out in just fourteen days!).

Back to those initials: D. H.

What do they stand for, my pretties?

Delightful Herrings?

Downwind, Horace?

Don't! Hallitosis!?

Dumbledore's Hatstand?


The title of Book #2 of The Name of the Blade is...







*Crashes of Lightning* *Distant Screams* *Ominous Rattlings*

There. What do you think about this, guys? Let me know in the comments :)

Tuesday, 18 June 2013


Hello, my dearest ducky darlings! Welcome back to the blog after my week-and-a-bit's-hiatus. Today I have for you a veritable FEAST of linkity and updates, so hold onto your hats.

First of all! It is now less than a month until the UK release of The Night Itself, and Lovely Lass' secret project (and all her plotting and planning) has finally come to fruition in the book trailer! Which isn't actually a traditional book trailer at all - it's a reading of an extract of the book, in which many, many charming blogger pals took part (and Lovely Lass too!) Here it is:

Mushy kisses and snuggles for everyone who donated their time and their performances to this. What do you think, guys? Does it whet your appetite? Likes and comments on the YouTube page are very much appreciated.

If that's not enough to get you exited, perhaps THIS will be!

Yes. Yes, that is the very first, hot off the presses, FINISHED COPY of The Night Itself. Thank you for asking. Guys, guys, you guys, I cannot express how beautimous this is in real life. It is exquisite. The pink absolutely GLOWS. My camera makes it look sort of purple-ish here, but this is true hot-pink and it's gorgeous. It's so gorgeous that Wonder Editor and Delightful Designer knocked this up for the Walker Books Inkslingers blog:

These people are hilarous. Best. Publisher. Ever.
The cover is SUEDE feel, all soft and buttery. I must confess to borderline inappropriate stroking. There are so many wonderful details. Like the praise for page: 
Never had one of these before! Look at all the pretty authors!
The spine! The spine! *Swoons*
Title page! Look at all the books I've written. Holy cr*p!
Chapter One - with added badass katana
The stunning back cover, with quote from L.A. Weatherly!
Which brings me to the next point: within this finished copy of The Night Itself, the name of book #2 of the trilogy is revealed. I think I've mentioned before that book #2 and #3 already have titles - the titles were actually one of the first things that I knew about all three books. I've just been keeping them secret because it's more fun for me that way. But since the title of the second book will soon be out there, I've decided to reveal it myself... on Thursday. I feel that the reveal deserves a post all of it's own (especially since I'm completely immersed in edits for this very book at the moment and it all feels like life-or-death to me). So stay tuned for that.

Other stuff!

If you'd like to check out some early reviews and read an exclusive extract of The Night Itself for yourself, you can find both on LoveReading4Kids. You do have to register with them to get access to the extract (which I know is annoying) but the Walker Books entry for TNI, where there would normally be an extract that you could access without registering, seems to be broken at the moment, so this is the best I can do. Plus, the teen reviews are glorious.

Next, here is a link to a really different interview that I did for The Madeleine Project. The questions are based on psychology and make for a fascinating result.

Finally, a result that popped up in my Google Alerts showed me an amazing unofficial redesign of the Shadows on the Moon cover by a very talented artist. I only wish that I could have this cover for real. Purple! Lightning! Knives! Shoji-screen silhouettes

Read you on Thursday, awesome nerds.

Monday, 3 June 2013


Hello, Dear and adorable Readers! No, your eyes do not deceive you - I *am* posting a day early today. This is because I'm going to be travelling for a chunk of this week, and also because I'm about to put the blog on hiatus for a little while. Don't panic - I'm only talking the rest of this week and then next week. I'll be back on the 18th of June. I'm hoping to make some really good headway on a new set of edits for The Name of the Blade book #2 during that period, so send me good thoughts.

In the meantime! Here's an article on my love of geeks which I wrote for the delightful SisterSpooky's Geek Week. Check it out - I'm giving hinty hints about The Night Itself which you may enjoy. I also wrote a post on Jack, the lesbian character in The Night Itself, for The Gay YA blog, in which I talk about you guys and how you helped me to decide how Jack should be written. That'll be up sometime today, so if you don't see it right now just check back later.

And now onto the most important part of this blog! It's time to pick the winner for the very last Mega Exclusive The Night Itself Giveaway, who will recieve all of this:

These will be sent directly by Lovely Lass from Walker Books London offices. And in addition, I will be sending the winner a signed copy of any one of my published books (they get to pick), a hardback copy of Amy McCulloch's The Oathbreaker's Shadow and a paperback copy of Emma Pass' ACID, plus a fistful of other swag. I said MEGA giveaway, and mega I meant.

So! Who out of all the plucky entrants will win today's feast of awesome? Let's ask Random Number Org, shall we?

Entry number 7 wins the day! And that just happens to be...






Congratulations, Luna! Drop me a line at z d marriott (AT) g mail (DOT) com and let me know the postal address where you would like your haul delivered, and also which book you'd like me to sign for you. 

To everyone else who entered this giveaway - and each of the others - helping to spread the buzz and be part of my excitement about this book, thank you. I've appreciated everything that you've done so much, especially the gorgeous fanart, which sincerely moved and humbled me. Not everyone could win, and I'm sorry that some of you are probably feeling a bit let down right now. But don't worry. There will be more giveaways (there are always more giveaways on this blog) and there will be more chances to win. And The Night Itself will be out in just one month now, so you'll be able to get your hands on it, one way or another, mind-blowingly soon :)

In the meantime, take care of yourselves, read good books, listen to good music, and be happy. I'll see you the week after next!


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