Friday, 31 July 2015


Woohoo, happy Friday muffins! You made it, and the week is so, so nearly over. Here are three pieces of good news to speed you onto the weekend:

1) Today's blogpost is a juicy, spoilerific deleted scene from THE NAME OF THE BLADE which has never been released before and is being hosted exclusively by the lovely Beth at The Reader's Corner. Run over there now and check it out! I promise it's worth it :) *Hint hint*

2) The FRAIL HUMAN HEART Blogtour will be continuing over the weekend, with two more juicy deleted scenes, one on Saturday and one on Sunday - and there are still more posts set for next week! I will carry on posting the links for you here so you need have no fear you'll miss anything.

3) For those of you who are fans of my movie live-snarking, here's some advance warning that I'll be watching and tweeting about X-Men: First Class today - Friday - at 9pm. The film is showing on Film Four, but if you have the DVD you can always pop that in and sync up. Everytime I spontaneously live-tweet a film people say 'I wish I'd known you'd be doing this!' so here I am, responding to popular demand.

In other stuff, I've had one new review on the Frail Human Heart page on Amazon, and a couple of others have popped up on the other books of the trilogy, which I appreciate very much. But the offer of a special secret prize related to the trilogy is still open, so if you're interested in that, now is a good time to nip over there and leave a review - an honest review! - so I can put your name on the list of people who will be in with a chance to win.

And now, a quick snippet for you from one of my two current WIPs.

I'm not actively working on either of these because I'm still waiting for my publisher to hint at me which - if either - they're likely to offer a contract for, and also because I'm expecting my #BaBBook (that's Barefoot on the Wind!) edits back any day now. I think most of you know about my Mulan retelling but I'm also working on another project, which I'm mostly describing as - Downton Abbey meets Outlander, by way of Rebecca. And this second book is the one I'm quoting from today (in completely rough, first draft, unpolished, subject-to-change form of course)!

Here goes:

The opaque, jagged black sea seethed beneath a delicately pink-flushed sky. Long vertical drifts of cloud, soft grey, were limned with the fiery glow of the rising sun. The headland was a mist shrouded blue-grey shape curving at what seemed like an impossible distance across the surging water, as it it were a half imagined faery land that might evaporate or sink down into the waves with the coming of dawn.

But as the orange ball of the sun continued its steady rise up through the ragged clouds, the whole character of the water began slowly to change, gradually smoothing and paling, until it resembled a long roll of gleaming silver silk, tinted with the warm colours of the sky, that I could have stepped out onto and walked across, and feel ripple, warm and flexible, under the bare soles of my feet. The forested cliffs firmed in my sight, swimming into reality, and the mist that hovered around them lit with gold. The unmistakable, jigsaw puzzle shapes of the ruined castle on the hill loomed up like giant sentinels, looking down sternly on the bay.

Something panged inside me, and I felt my mood shifting, brought down by a vague but strong sense of... what? Unease? A sort of wrongness, like waking from a dream that you were someone else, and for a moment still feeling that it must be real, even though your true memories and life were already forcing their way back in your awareness.

The shape of the ruins was wrong.

My eyes instinctively wanted to trace a different shape, a more symmetrical silhouette, placing turrets and ramparts against the streaked, glowing mists that no longer existed there, mentally rebuilding walls where the walls had clearly fallen down long ago. It was as if some part of me had expected to see the old castle as it had been before. Before the place had.... Before... Before I ever came here.

A chill shivered over the vulnerable skin of my neck and I wrapped my arms around myself, hugging my own chest tightly, digging my nails into the thick nubby wool of my jumper. It didn't help. For the first time I was aware of the cold breathing off the dense, lichen-pocked stone of the sea wall where I sat, seeping through the fabric of my jeans. Hopping down, I forced my eyes away from the inexplicably distressing ancient black ruin to look up at the town instead, spilling down the hillside above me. 

It was a pretty sight - everything was pink and gold, and I could already smell the tempting bready scents of someone baking carried on the mild spring breeze. Maybe it was even Belle - her shop couldn't be far away from here.

When the goosepimples stubbornly stayed, prickling on my skin, a couple of tugs on my hairband sent my hair tumbling down in wild, kinky curls around my shoulders. I shook my head and fluffed it with my fingers. The familiar warm tickle against my nape banished the anxious, alien feelings as much as the reassuring sight of the brightly painted houses hugging the curve of the bay and the buttery warm smell of freshly baked croissants.

Those croissants did smell awfully good, though...

Thursday, 30 July 2015


Ooooh, it's Thursday - the weekend is nearly here, my darlings! Just hang in there. And if it helps, I'm here today to bring the next installment of the FRAIL HUMAN HEART Blogtour, which is making a visit to Teens on Moon Lane, a new book blog that I love.

I'll be doing one of their 5-4-3-2-1 guest posts later on in the year - either August or September - so I'll be sending you back over then, but for now, check out today's snippet because it's the last... tomorrow, I'm pretty sure, we start on the juicy spoilerific deleted scenes (*le gasp!).

In other news, today I'm taking Finn the Devil Hound to the groomers, and let me tell you - parents taking their kids to have vaccinations is nothing to it.

Kids don't usually start making pathetic whining and crying noises the second you get them into the car or scrabble with their wee paws on the floor to try to escape. Or basically ignore you for twenty-four hours afterward because they feel so hurt and betrayed that you would leave them in that strange place (even though they've been going to that 'strange place' once every two months for two years).

Left to itself, Finn's hair - much like that of the cocker spaniels from whom he is descended - would literally grow until it brushed the floor. It's silky and gorgeous, but not at all practical for a dog who loves to splash through muggy, twiggy coppices and leap into green, weed-filled ponds. Once it reaches a certain length it not only drives me crazy but him - he'll start getting itchy and scratching and chewing at himself, and has even made himself quite sore on previous occasions.

What's more, grass seeds, those tiny weapons of mass destruction, will work themselves into the long
fur on his fluffy webbed feet and then actually into the flesh of his feet themselves (they're designed so that the movement of the animal they've latched onto will cause them to spiral, effectively 'drilling' into the fur and skin, because that way the animal concerned will carry the seeds far away from the parent plant).

When grass seeds burrow into your dog's feet it causes them terrible discomfort. They'll often do even worse damage to themselves trying to chew the painful splinter out and then you're off to the vet's for surgery. I can check Finn's feet twice a day for grass seeds, but once his fur reaches a certain length it just becomes impossible to be sure he's seed free, and if I never have to see him whimpering with pain, with blood spurting from between his toes as he seemingly tries to bite one of his own paws off again, it'll be too soon.

I used to do his grooming myself, with the help of a heavy old shaver that belonged to my brother and my father to hold, lift, and turn Finn, and help me get him in and out of the bath. I couldn't do it alone after I had the prolapsed disc in my spine. But now that dad's gone there's no one to help me. So every six to eight weeks, during the spring and summer months, like clockwork, we head to the groomers... and I become Bad Mummy The Betrayer to my dog for a day.

Honestly, wish me good luck. I'll need it to deal with the emotional blackmail alone...

Wednesday, 29 July 2015


Hello, of beautimous ones! Today the blogtour leaps happily onto the site of one of my very oldest blogger pals (that is to say I've known her for ages, not that she is old at all, btw) Sarah, at Feeling Fictional. Hi Sarah! Head on over there and check it out!

And just for fun, here's my Spotify Discover Weekly Playlist, so you can listen to the songs I've been listening to so far this week:

See you tomorrow, Dear Readers! xx

Tuesday, 28 July 2015


Happy Tuesday, my lovelies! Day #2 of the FRAIL HUMAN HEART Blogtour is upon us and is hosted by Katie at KitKatscanRead!

Head over there to check it out - and if you haven't already, check out my new and improved website at too, and let me know if there's anything you miss from the old site or anything new that you'd like me to include there.

I'm also still appealing for more reviews - good, bad, or in-between - for FRAIL HUMAN HEART on Amazon. I appreciate the ones I have so much, but it's still looking pretty lonely with only three reviews compared to the twenty-four that THE NIGHT ITSELF has. Don't think that you need to write great scads of stuff if you don't want to. Just a line or two with your impressions of the book and whatever star rating seems right to you is perfect (although I admit that I do read and enjoy longer reviews, that's between me and my nosy conscience).

See you tomorrow, cake-pops!

Monday, 27 July 2015


Hello and happy Monday, Dear Readers! Today, as promised, we kick off the FRAIL HUMAN HEART BLOGTOUR - and our first lovely blogger is PewterWolf. What juicy extra content is on his blog? Who knows? Click through quickly and check it out!

In other news this fine Monday, over the weekend I finally updated my website - by which I mean, rebuilt the thing from scratch and moved it to a new hosting service. I love the new look and the new organisation and it's now ten times easier to update, so hopefully this version will endure for a long time. As a plus, it's prettified with all my own photographs instead of stock images, which I love.

It's the same website address: Check that out too when you have the chance, and let me know if there's anything from the old site you miss that I could transfer across or anything else you'd like to see.

I'll be back tomorrow with another link for the next day of the Blogtour, so don't miss out, my little cupcakes!

ETA - to make it easier to follow the tour, here's a compilation of all the links so far, in order:

Day #1, Pewterwolf - Snippet from the book
Day #2, KitKatscanRead - Snippet from the book
Day #3, Feeling Fictional - Snippet from the book
Day #4, Teens on Moon Lane - Snippet from the book
Day #5, The Reader's Corner, Jack & Hikaru 'Deleted Scene' - major spoilers!
Day #6,  Luna's Little Library, Hikaru Deleted Scene - not really spoilery
Day #7, SisterSpooky, Mio & Shinobu Deleted Scene - major spoilers
Day #8, Serendipity Reviews, Detailed interview with Viv
Day #9, Winged Reviews, In Depth Inspiration Post

Thursday, 23 July 2015


Hello, Dear Readers! Welcome to Thursday - the weekend is almost upon us! Today I have a random sampling of things to share, beginning with:
1) The FRAIL HUMAN HEART Blogtour is about to begin! See the glorious banner to the right? Now this is super exciting not only for the usual reasons, but because I've actually written a bunch of extra content specifically for the blog tour - three 'deleted scenes' from the trilogy which are presented to you *exclusively* on these blogger's sites.

These extra scenes are juicy and spoilerific - I can't even really say what any of them involve (because that would be giving the game away) except to say that two of them star Hikaru and one is from the perspective of a character we've seen but never actually met before - so if you're a fan of the books then you NEED to tune in.

To help ensure you don't miss anything, I'll be posting a link to the requisite site here on the blog each day, and you can just click through to see what the day's offering will be. There are also tantalizing snippets from FRAIL HUMAN HEART (in case you haven't read it yet), a Q&A, and a long thinky piece on my inspiration for the series, looking back at how the idea came to be in the first place. Hurrah!
2) Remaining with the FRAIL HUMAN HEART theme, the book has been out for three weeks now and Amazon has two lovely reviews for it, both of which I'm terribly grateful for. But the first book - THE NIGHT ITSELF - has twenty-three reviews and even DARKNESS HIDDEN has eight. FHH is looking a bit lonely and unloved; and that's the kind of thing that keeps writers like me up at night.

So this is my appeal to you: if you've read the book, whether you loved it, liked it, or have salty comments to make, please could you take a few moments out of your day to pop onto Amazon and leave a review? I would appreciate it so much.

And there is something in it for you, too - if this appeal here yields some extra reviews, I'll randomly pick one of the Amazon reviewers and send them a package containing Delightful Mystery Stuff related to the trilogy. That winner could be you. But whether you review or not, I still love you and am eternally grateful to you, my Dear Readers!
3) SUPER EXCITING NEWS that I am not allowed to tell you sorry! Ahem.

I've been sworn to secrecy at this point by Wonder Editor, but something thrilling is set to happen, and it's related to the released of my Beauty and the Beast retelling - aka #BaBBook - which I can now tell you is set to come out in June next year. Remember that this is a companion novel to Shadows on the Moon, and is also set in the Moonlit Lands.

One thing I can reveal is that #BaBBook's real title is BAREFOOT ON THE WIND (this might still be subject to change, but I hope it won't because I love that title). More details when I get permission to share them - but be excited my lovelies! I am!
4) My friend C.J. Daugherty, author of the legendary (and bestselling!) NIGHT SCHOOL books has just become the first UKYA author with an official pop song dedicated to her books!

She very modestly dropped this into the conversation the other day and I was gobsmacked when I investigated and got a load of this amazing song by Betsa Collins, who is only seventeen! Good work Betsa - and congratulations CJ! The final NIGHT SCHOOL book is out now, by the way, in case you were in the mood to marathon some excellent UKYA...

How rockstar is THAT?!?!

And that's all from me for now, muffins - but I'll be back on Monday next week to kick off the blog tour. Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, 15 July 2015


Hello, hello, hello, Dear Readers! I hope you've had a great week since you read me last. Thank you so much to everyone who reached out to me after my appeal in that previous post; I appreciate every single person who got in contact. I know that it probably wasn't easy for many of you to email a stranger out of the blue, and even though I've told you this individually in private, I think you also deserve to have your generosity, courageousness, and beautiful creative spirit acknowledged collectively and publicly here too. You're all amazing.

I'm not replying to comments on that post anymore because frankly the discussion there ballooned out of control in a way that the Blogger comment function is simply not designed to handle. Please consider emailing me if you'd like to get involved as well. I have now completed a detailed synopsis for Codename: DtH incorporating the spirit of as much of the advice I was given as possible, and sent that off to Super Agent. I'm waiting for her to get back to me about it, and then we'll hopefully pitch it to my publisher.

In the meantime I've been writing deleted scenes for the Frail Human Heart blog tour that's going to start at the end of the month (more on that when the details are finalised) but this was interrupted for a little while by a spate of what I've mentally dubbed The Mermaid Madness online, when I noticed a certain post on US author Maggie Stiefvater's Tumblr, made my own version, and then fabulous fellow UKYA author Keris Stainton took it to Twitter.

To say it caught on would be a bit of an understatement. For a couple of days there everything was mermaids and nothing hurt. The delirium seems mostly to have passed off now, but I thought it would be nice to share the results anyway. So first of all here's Mermaid Me:

The only thing that actually resembles me here is the hair - bit that is 100% accurate
Then Alexandra from The Swan Kingdom:

Zira from Daughter of the Flames (this is after she's crowned queen and has let her hair grow out a bit):

And Suzume - or rather, Yue - from Shadows on the Moon:

But the biggest demand on Twitter was for Mermaid versions of the Name of the Blade crew. So here's Jack:


And Mio and Shinobu:

Annoying that only the male mermaid had a weapons option, yes - but let's pretend it's Mio's day off or something!
Plus Mio by herself:
Yes, Mermaid Mio has more than one outfit. I couldn't give her a sword - there were no swords - so she got glowy magic instead
And as I type this, I realise I never did a mermaid version of Rachel, which doesn't seem fair? So I'd better go and get on that, hadn't I? Purely, of course, or fairness' sake...

*Skips away, cackling*

Wednesday, 1 July 2015


Happy Thursday! And Happy Book Birthday! Yes, the fateful hour is upon us at last - the final book of the Name of the Blade Trilogy: FRAIL HUMAN HEART is OUT NOW in a variety of ebook formats and in print. Any photos of the book in the wild in shops or libraries (or in its new home on your shelf or ereader) would be much appreciated, my babies!

I've talked so much about this trilogy and why it's special to me over the past few years that I feel like today we don't need anymore of that. So instead, a selection of nice things that make me feel celebratory.

First, a link to FRAIL HUMAN HEART's book birthday interview with lovely author Katy Moran over on Author Allsorts in which I once again fail to keep my big mouth shut on various topics.

Some of the gorgeous #TNISelfies taken by Dear Readers over the past couple of weeks (still two books left!):


(If your photo is not here, btw, it's because I apparently saved some of them in a different place, a totally safe and sensible place, so safe and sensible that I... can't find them right now. Sorry!)

And some very kind tweets that readers have sent me over the last few days:

As normal, I'll be stalking my Amazon and Goodreads pages over the next few days hoping to see reviews - positive or negative! - go up, so if you have the book and have the time to give it a star rating or a fling a few words at the review form, I'll make sure to remember you in my prayers to the Writing Gods.

Thank for you sticking with me on my journey through writing this trilogy (and yes, I know its cheesy to say 'journey' hecklers in the back, but it's my blog and I'll be as cheesy as I want!). Read you later, my lovelies.
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