Monthly Archives: June 2016

#TommyvsCancer Blog Tour

Tommy V Cancer

In today’s world there aren’t many of us who can say that we haven’t been affected by Cancer in one way or another. But, did you know that many people who are directly affected experience financial hardship as a result of their diagnosis?

This blog tour is to raise awareness and hopefully inspire donations to one such individual. The author Tommy Donbavand. Huge thanks go to the wonderful book bloggers that bought this tour together.

Tommy has been blogging about his experiences with honesty and humour and you can find the link to his blog, and links to donate, below:

 

Website: www.tommyvcancer.com

Patreon Link: http://www.tommyvcancer.com/support/

Paypal Link: https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_flow&SESSION=Nl-IE_9Fhy7jbNI-H8DqkoBnmUwmOAA9TnlRAPyO8oZz6VpeywfwY3hWxai&dispatch=5885d80a13c0db1f8e263663d3faee8dcce3e160f5b9538489e17951d2c62172

 

The Man Himself

Tommy

Tommy is the author of the popular 13-book Scream Street series for 7 to 10 year olds, published by Walker Books in the UK and Candlewick Press in the US. His other books include Zombie!, Wolf and Uniform (winner of the Hackney Short Novel Award) for Barrington Stoke, Boredom Busters and Quick Fixes For Kids’ Parties (How To Books), and Making A Drama Out Of A Crisis (Network Continuum).

 

In theatre, Tommy’s plays have been performed to thousands of children on national tours to venues such as The Hackney Empire, Leeds City Varieties, and Nottingham Playhouse. These productions include Hey Diddle Diddle, Rumplestiltskin, Jack & Jill In The Forgotten Nursery, and Humpty Dumpty And The Incredibly Daring Rescue Of The Alien Princess From Deep Space. He is also responsible for five episodes of the CBBC TV series, Planet Cook (Platinum Films).

 

As an actor, Tommy played the Clearlake MC in the West End musical Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story for over eight years, in addition to roles in the movies Zombie Love Stories (where he battled hordes of Scottish undead) and Going Off Big Time (where he was beaten up on a bouncy castle). A veteran of pantomime, he has portrayed just about every comic character from Abanazer to an Ugly Sister.

Tommy lives in Lancashire with his wife and two sons. He is a HUGE fan of all things Doctor Who, plays blues harmonica, and makes a mean balloon poodle. He sees sleep as a waste of good writing time.

 

Website: http://www.tommydonbavand.com/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/tommydonbavand

 

For each stop on the tour we could pick any book of Tommy’s to review, and there were plenty to choose from – check out his list of publications on Goodreads. There were two that caught my eye so I got them both on kindle.

Fang of the Vampire (Scream Street 1)

FotV

Yes, I went for the the first volume of his 14 book middle grade series Scream Street – I do love my supernatural tales of vampires and ghouls.

This book was lots of fun and I will be checking out the others – though due to the illustrations I think getting hold of print copies might be the best way forward.

Scream Street is a place that supernatural creatures are sent to avoid them being a problem to humans, so when Luke turns into a Werewolf, him and his human parents are sent there, with no way out. Not so fun for Mr and Mrs Watson who can barely stop trembling when in a room with their vampire neighbours. Scream Street is also controlled by the nasty landlord Otto Sneer who takes pleasure in confiscating people’s things…including the electricity.

Luke makes friends with a vampire, Resus Negative and a mummy, Cleo Farr and together they start a search for a way out of Scream Street. This trio is great together and get into a number of scrapes in this first book. There is a whole host of characters that kids and adults alike will enjoy – like the farting goblins and the very laid back zombie Doug.

Great for bedtime stories.

 

Ward 13 (Teen Reads)

Ward 13

I was intrigued by the synopsis of this one where a teen, Mark Jackson, ends up in hospital with a broken leg, after a skateboarding accident. Whilst there he notices that patients who don’t seem to have any relatives visiting, don’t seem to come back from surgery. As a boy in a group home Mark fits that description and his surgery is scheduled for the next day…

This story was only 49 pages, which I didn’t realise when I bought it but that is because it is aimed at teens who are still developing their reading skill. A bit like the new Quick Reads series. Plots relevant to that age group but with slightly less challenging language. There was a nice bit of suspense and I liked the two young characters. It also made me feel queasy – in a good way?! Tommy has written a few creepy books in this series.

 

Do let me know in the comments which book(s) of Tommy’s catch your eye and make sure you check out the rest of the blog tour (some of the stops are hosting a giveaway) and do come and join in Vivienne and Chelley’s twitter chat on Thursday 30th June 2016 8-9pm using the hashtag #TommyvsCancer

Tommy Tour 4

 

Starbright Series by Hilary Thompson – Release Day Party

You know that feeling you get when you start a series and then you realise you can’t wait for the rest of the books, and then they aren’t available yet??? Frustrating, right? Not so with The Starbright Series by Hilary Thompon. The entire series – 3 novels and 3 novellas are all released today – June 14th 2016. Oftomes Publishing is really spoiling you.

Book One

Justice Buried

Synopsis

The people need Justice, but she’s not listening.

One hundred years before, the Great Sickness reduced the world to three dystopian cities. Now the community of Asphodel is trapped underground, waiting for the prophesied maiden of Justice to rescue them.

Sixteen-year-old Astrea is supposed to be this savior – too bad for them she isn’t a believer. Astrea fights her fate until discovering a power she never knew she had, and a handsome ally she never expected. With her life in danger, Astrea must choose between saving her city or herself.

This thrilling young adult adventure is the first in the richly-imagined Starbright series, which is laced with mystery, mythology, romance, and magic. Justice Buried will have you questioning fate versus free will along with Astrea’s strong female lead, and wondering who can be trusted when everyone is keeping secrets.

Goodreads     Amazon UK     Amazon US

Book Two

Balance Broken

Goodreads     Amazon UK     Amazon US

Book Three

Destiny Risen

Goodreads     Amazon UK     Amazon US

Novellas

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 22.42.07

Series Goodreads Link

About the Author

Hilary Thompson

Hilary Thompson was born to parents who made a habit of taking roads less traveled. But she was also a first child, and an independent, willful child, so she has made a habit of taking a few roads on her own.

After trying on hats made for artists, architects, restaurant and retail workers, landscape designers, legal secretaries, and professional students, she retreated back to her first loves of education and writing.

Hilary now teaches high school full time, writes whenever and wherever she can, and reads as much as her eyes can handle. She also tries not to spoil her own independent, willful children or neglect her wonderful soul-mate of a husband too much. She tends to ignore laundry baskets and dirty dishes.

Twitter     Website   Facebook 

Excerpts

JBQ6 Savior of Asphodel

The asphalted road and thunderstorm with lightning

Fire ring

DRQ3 Power Could Be Mine Short

Giveaway

Ebook copy of each book in the Starbright Series

Enter via Rafflecopter

Open Internationally

Starbright banner

2016 Debut Authors Bash – Kiran Millwood Hargrave – Author Interview

Debut Banner copy

TCD

Synopsis

Forbidden to leave her island, Isabella Riosse dreams of the faraway lands her father once mapped.

When her closest friend disappears into the island’s Forgotten Territories, she volunteers to guide the search. As a cartographer’s daughter, she’s equipped with elaborate ink maps and knowledge of the stars, and is eager to navigate the island’s forgotten heart.

But the world beyond the walls is a monster-filled wasteland – and beneath the dry rivers and smoking mountains, a legendary fire demon is stirring from its sleep. Soon, following her map, her heart and an ancient myth, Isabella discovers the true end of her journey: to save the island itself.

From this young debut author comes a beautifully written and lyrical story of friendship, discovery, myths and magic – perfect for fans of Philip Pullman, Frances Hardinge or Katherine Rundell.

Image and Synopsis from Goodreads

Released in Hardback in the US on Nov 1st 2016.

 

Author

KMH

Kiran Millwood Hargrave is a poet, playwright and novelist. Last year she graduated from Oxford University’s Creative Writing MA with Distinction.

Kiran was born in London in 1990, and now lives in Oxford with her mad artist boyfriend and mad writer friends.

Website

Twitter

Author Interview

A huge thanks to Kiran for such a wonderful and open interview.

I’m very lucky to have already have read The Cartographer’s Daughter, however, in the UK it’s called The Girl of Ink and Stars. Can you tell us about the process of titling the book initially and in different countries?

The original name was The Cartographer’s Daughter – I chose it as a homage to Philip Pullman’s The Firework-Maker’s Daughter which was one of my favourite books growing up. Chicken House (my UK publisher) decided the title should reflect the fact that Isabella is very much defined by her own terms, and so we settled on a title that places focus on that. When I sent a UK copy to Pullman he wrote back saying how he loved the title and hoped the US had left it alone (unlike his) – I didn’t mention that it was actually the UK who had changed it! I love both titles though, and it’s been fun seeing how the book is marketed and packaged so differently. I wish I’d chosen shorter titles – it makes tweeting nigh-on impossible.

 

How do you feel the title of a book can influence readers?

Hugely. It’s a bit like a first line in that it sets the tone for the book. I started out writing poetry, and titles have to work hard for you – I don’t think novels should be any different. My favourite titles are either really short, like Skellig or long, like The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.

 

In real life female friends fight and Isabella and Lupe are no different. Have you ever had a fight with a friend that has affected your life in such a major way?

Yes. In Year Nine at secondary school my best friend decided she didn’t want to be friends anymore. She’d heard a chinese whisper rumour about something I’d confided in someone, and on a Tuesday before gym class (can you tell it traumatised me?!) she took me aside and said she didn’t want to be friends with a liar. It set a whole chain of events in motion, from the rest of that friendship group taking her side, to my whole class effectively stopping talking to me. It was the most alone I’d ever felt. I self harmed and acted out and generally lost my way a little. It still makes me feel a bit sick to think of.

 

Then I got fed up of crying in the toilets at lunch time and started hanging out with another class in my year. In that class was Izzy, who is still my best friend and who my main character Isabella is named after. She’s also going to be my maid of honour when I get married next year! I did make up with the first girl and friendship group eventually. Things got easier, but in the case of that particular person we’ve not talked for ages. People move on.

 

Also, which gift given to you by a friend do you particularly treasure?

Recently, my friend Jessie made me a black-out poem from the first page of an old copy of The Water Babies for my birthday. It’s a beautiful object and I love that she took the time to do that. I always treasure books, and my friend Sarvat got me a copy of The Girl Who Circumnavigated… by Catherynne M. Valente which was a game-changer for me.

 

Maps are obviously an important part of the story. What inspired that?

Growing up, we had this huge, heavy, hardback atlas that my brother and I would heave out and open on a random page. Then we’d make up stories set in the places we landed. So maps have always been a way into stories for me. I also find it fascinating how the first cartographers managed to envisage the world like that – as one of my characters says, ‘to leave space for where [they’re] about to be’.

 

My parents, especially my dad, have an almost childlike wonder and enthusiasm for how things work. My dad is a geologist and he still stops the car by the side of the road to pick up a rock and tell us what it is and how old. I’m not that enthusiastic, but I am interested in how and why things are the way they are, and maps are an important part of how humans have visualised our place in the world.

 

Also, how are your map reading skills and tell us about a time you got lost.

In a recent interview I said my map reading was terrible, but since realised that is an unfair reflection on myself. Whenever I go away with friends they put me in charge because I’m pretty good. That said, one of the scariest moments of my life was getting lost in a forest in La Gomera with my family. It’s this beautiful, wild national park and there aren’t many signs. We’d been walking for hours, had run out of water and not seen a soul. We eventually got rescued by German tourists who had a satellite phone. It was one of the seeds for the story, imagining a girl on an island before Google Maps!

 

I read that you ‘Never meant to write a book’. Now that you have please tell us there are more to come.

Yes, of course – now I can’t imagine doing anything else. I’m editing my second story, and writing a third and fourth. I have no intention of stopping. Writing’s a compulsion now, I feel irritable and useless if I haven’t written for a while.

 

I also read that you wrote ten drafts – what tips can you give about the editing process? What have you learnt working with editors that you will take into your future independent editing practice?

You have to be open to the idea that other people sometimes see your manuscript more clearly than you, without compromising on what you think it should be. As long as edits are in line with your final picture, try them and see. I made major changes to GOI&S and they are often the things people are most complimentary about.

 

This was the first story I ever tried to tell. I have no manuscript languishing in a drawer, and I’d only written poetry before it – all my mistakes were made (and hopefully corrected!) within the landscape of this book’s world. I threw everything I had at it. It was an exercise in self-indulgence. It used to be double the length. My major influences for the first draft were The Firework-Maker’s Daughter, The Border Trilogy by Cormac McCarthy, and One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and boy – that confusion showed. I made error after error and I’m so grateful to my agent and editors for seeing through all that. My next books know what they want to be.

 

Giveaway

GoIaS

 

One copy of The Girl of Ink and Stars and Five Bookmarks

Click here for rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

Checkout the rest of the Bash schedule here and follow all the fun using #16DABash.

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