Monday, December 07, 2015

NEXIS Book Tour

Today is so exciting as I have a visiting author. Please welcome A.L.Davroe, author of Nexis.

Taking time out of her busy schedule, A.L. kindly answered a set of questions for me.

1. Which book character are you most like?
From my own book or any book?  In my own book, I suppose I’m most like Ella.  Not because I really feel like I’m like her but just because I’m not like any of the other characters, really.  As for any other character…I have no idea.  I’ve never really resonated with a book character on that kind of level -- though that doesn’t stop me from loving them – and perhaps one day I will resonate with someone.

2. Which Hollywood stars would you like to play the characters in your book?

Maiara Walsh is my top actress to play Ellani Drexel.  I don’t have Hollywood picks for anyone else, though I have a few models I’d like:  Marlon Teixeira would be my choice for Guster and Benjamin Jarvis would be Quentin.

3. If you weren't a writer, what would you do?
I have no gosh darn clue.  I’m almost thirty years old and still don’t know what I want to be “when I grow up.”  The only thing that ever seemed clear to me was the writer’s path, so I followed it.  Sure, I have a day job, but that’s just a job, it’s not who I am and I’m in no way shape or form married to it.  What makes me is my artist’s path, so I guess if I didn’t write then I’d pursue some other form of creative art.

4. Is there a book you wish you had written?
I’m going to be practical and not answer with the “I wish I had written this amazing book over here” response.  Instead, I’m going to say, “I wish I’d written a best-selling book/series with a massive movie deal, tons of merch, and world renown.”  Something like Harry Potter, Twilight, or The Hunger Games (not that any of those are not fantastic books in their own right).  I’m saying that because I’d love to have enough money to not have to have a day job or worries – to just write all the time -- and *possibly* have it a lot easier to get a deal on anything else I ever write.  I love my own worlds and characters enough to feel like they are wonderful, and I’d never think someone else’s are better than them (I have author-mommy-complex, what can I say?)  But, I do wish I had the ability to spend all my time with them and give them the best ability to shine.

5. When did you first realise you wanted to write?
I first got interested in writing when a friend of mine in high school asked me to co-write a fan-fiction of a mash-up between our favorite anime shows – Digimon and Dragon Ball Z.  That was the first time I’d tried writing a story and I enjoyed it so much.  It got harder and harder to wait my turn to for the manuscript to get handed back to me.  To pass the time I started reading a book by Tamora Pierce.  One day I was waiting outside the school waiting for my mom to come pick me up, I finished the book, closed it, then stared off into space for a minute – wishing I had the story to work on, wishing that I didn’t have to leave the world I had just been reading about.  It occurred to me then that I could keep the story going, do what I had done with the fan-fic…I could even make my own characters in a world like Pierce’s.  So, I took out one of my notebooks and started writing my first book.  That was freshman year of high school and it was just for fun, but it was the birth of a monster, LOL.

6. What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Oh, I love a lot of things!  I like to spend time with friends and family, going out to dinner, shopping, sitting in a coffee shop.  Obviously, I love to read, snuggle my cats, and drink lots of tea.  I love to visit gardens and art galleries, go to museums and fun events like fairs and concerts and conventions.  I cosplay, do a little art and song-writing on the side, and I’m very slowly learning how to belly-dance and fire spin.  I also love a good pizza and Netflix night watching sf/f shows or anime.

7. How do you choose the character names in your books?
I like to say that the characters name themselves, for the most part; meaning the names just come to me out of nowhere.  Ellani had to have the nickname “Ella” because this book was originally a Cinderella retelling; but the full name Ellani Drexel just came out of nowhere.  Quentin and Zane originally had different names and they were later changed.  Quentin’s because the editor wanted a different one and Zane because his personality changed throughout the editing process and his original name didn’t embody who he was anymore.  Everyone else named themselves – Guster, Delia, Bastian, Sadie…

8. Do you respond to reviews, good or bad?
I read most reviews that people write, good or bad.  I like to see what my readers think.  The positive reviews let me know what I’m doing right and the not so good ones help me to grow as an author – I always try to push myself and learn from everything I can.  I’ll occasionally respond or “like” a review, but I try not to make my readers feel like I’m hovering or anything, so I don’t do it too often.

About the book:
In the domed city of Evanescence, appearance is everything. A Natural Born amongst genetically-altered Aristocrats, all Ella ever wanted was to be like everyone else. Augmented, sparkling, and perfect. Then…the crash. Devastated by her father’s death and struggling with her new physical limitations, Ella is terrified to learn she is not just alone, but little more than a prisoner.

Her only escape is to lose herself in Nexis, the hugely popular virtual reality game her father created. In Nexis she meets Guster, a senior player who guides Ella through the strange and compelling new world she now inhabits. He offers Ella guidance, friendship…and something more. Something that allows her to forget about the “real” world, and makes her feel whole again.

But Nexis isn’t quite the game everyone thinks it is.

About the Author:
A.L. (Amanda) Davroe writes both YA and adult speculative fiction. She prefers revisionist tales in paranormal, romance, Steampunk, and fantasy. She is the author of Salvation Station (adult psych horror), The City Steam Collection (adult psych horror), For Your Heart (YA Paranormal Romance) and her YA Sci-Fi novel, Nexis, is coming out with Entangled Publishing  December 1, 2015!

By day, Amanda lives in Connecticut with her two feline hench-creatures and makes cheese.  She’s a terrible blusher, has a weak spot for cuddly animals, loves Laffy Taffy and Cadbury MiniEggs, and she’s a huge advocate of alternative healing methods.  Amanda also wears purple shoes and corsets…Though not always in the same ensemble.  She’s a Capricorn, a Hufflepuff, a bit gothic, and a few nuggets short of a Happy Meal.

Nexis (Tricksters, #1) by A.L. Davroe

Release Date: Dec. 1, 2015

Genre: YA Sci-Fi / YA Science Fiction

Published by: Entangled Teen

Author Website:

Author Blog:

Author Twitter:  @ALDavroe

The Giveaway:
Fire HD 7, 7" HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB + Nexis Swag Pack (US/Canada)

$50 Amazon Gift Card (INT)

$50 Amazon Gift Card (US/Canada)

Nexis Swag Pack (US/Canada)

Opportunity to Name / Build the Look of a Character in the next book in the Trickster series with any of the Mods and Alts you can imagine! (INT)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Arrhhh! Fabulous weekend at the SCBWI Conference 2015

British Isles
Where to start???

This being my fourth (or is it fifth?) conference, I decided I would be part of the volunteer team and give something back to the amazing organisers who regularly make the conference such a spectacular event. They do it for free too. All that work on our behalf, for free.

Volunteering is great and you get a badge!!!! After checking in with the unflappable Suzie, I found myself on registration duties; ticking attendees off the list, giving out name tags and conference booklets.

Then it was down to business and the conference began in earnest. After the opening remarks by Regional Advisor, Natascha Biebow, the conference was kicked off big time by author/illustrator team extraordinaire, Sarah McIntyre and Philip Reeve. It was so good to get an insight into how these two talented people work together.

A quick coffee break then we were into the industry panel session. I had opted for one entitled: Hooking in New Readers. Some great tips and I was pleased to see so much emphasis placed on author talks in schools seeing as I spend so much time trying to get that right.

I had to dash off at 11:30 for a quick 1-2-1 (The Iron City) with an editor. The feedback from her was not too bad although the synopsis I provided was a complete disaster, (darling). Still, I got lots of great pointers on improving it and that's what it's all about.

Lovely lunch at 12:00 with time to visit the onsite bookshop to buy some books.

Another of Jonny's titles
Then it was on to the next session with illustrator keynote, Jonny Duddle who took us through how he came to be an author/illustrator. He had some great tales of how he actually worked on a pirate ship and was a children's entertainer. He read The Pirate Cruncher which was so good I had to buy a copy. (And I admit to hounding Jonny at the evening party until my book was signed.)

After a quick break, we all piled into the auditorium for the announcement of the Crystal Kite Award
which was followed by The Hook where five delegates pitched to a panel of agents. Scary!
Congratulations to both winners.

Time for a rest then as we all had to get ready for the pirate themed evening paaaarrrrty. This was a time to mingle and meet new/old friends plus a chance to sidle up to an agent and pitch a book or two. Incorporated into this was a mass book launch for all scoobies who had a book published this year. A great opportunity for everyone to share in their success and offer our congratulations.

And that was just Saturday...

First thing Sunday we all had a quick network meeting giving us all the opportunity to catch up with our regional scoobie friends. This was followed by the Outstanding Contribution Awards for all the wonderful volunteers who make SCBWI British Isles run so brilliantly.

We then had a great treat as David Fickling took to the stage...and started dancing. Encouraged, the whole auditorium was up and boogied to a Pulp Fiction dance excerpt. It certainly woke everyone up. He gave a great talk about being an independent publisher, what it entails and more importantly, how it compares to the much larger publishing houses.

After that, we were straight into our break-out sessions. Mine was Publishing 101 with agents Penny Holroyde and Julia Churchill. This was incredibly useful as it covered what agents do, what authors should do, submission guidelines, the importance of pitching, what publishers do, what agents look for. A huge amount of information was given out and gratefully received.

The final session came after lunch and this was with Candy Gourlay looking at story structure, This was another hands-on session and we all came away with a really useful way of focussing on how stories should be structured. I realised then that mine needed a complete restructure - argh! (or should that be 'aaarrrhhh!')

Coffee and cake followed as I said goodbye to friends, old and new. I left excited, inspired and eager to work on my manuscript, hoping to bring my writing to the best I possibly can.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Great Writing Workshop at Downham Library

I'm pleased to say that the writing workshop at the local library went rather well. Children actally turned up - 10 of them in fact. I'd have visions of no one coming and me sitting there like an idiot all on my lonesome.
I'd worked out an activity based on using WANTED posters to create character profiles. I read a page or so from Hero Required (Book 3 of the Aggie Lichen triology) where a poster of a wanted criminal is found. Then we had a 'real or no real' look at wanted posters I had found on the internet. I threw some funny ones in just to break the ice.


I shared a wanted poster for my dog Buster, which made them laugh. We chatted about keeping bullet points short and concise so that just the important information was shown. Then it was time to get down to creating some of their own. The results were great and quite a few chose younger brothers or sisters for their posters.
   The final part of the session was to take a bullet point or two and expand it into a sentence to start forming the character profile. At this point there was complete silence as the children worked. They all shared what they had done with each other at the end and there was time for a quick Q & A with me. I sent them home happy with a goody bag and had lots of lovely feedback from both parents and children. The librarian even asked if I'd go back to do another workshop. All in all, a good day.


Friday, November 13, 2015

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Great Uncle Arthur's role in my new book - Circus of the Damned

I am continuing with my MG novel, Circus of the Damned. despite the fact that I have a half edited YA novel sitting on the computer. I decided to take a break from the editing of the Iron City as it's NaNoWriMo month and I wanted to try to get as much done on the MG novel.

    I did some further research on one of the characters, Arthur Margery, who was actually my great uncle. I found that he was one of 13 children and a twin. He is listed on the 1901 census as a 'Professional Society Entertainer', which was great to see as I knew he was a magician. 

Arthur Margery

I also found out that in later life, he had a bookshop in Bromley, UK which stocked over 6000 books on magic. When Arthur died in 1945, they were sold by his brother Henry to Foyles, London for just £100.

Lots more to discover, I hope!


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Teaser - The Anoulk from Marvin's Curse

An updated teaser from Marvin's Curse. I decided to have this one in colour as usually I tone the images down to black and white. In this case, the colour definitely has more impact. Seriously thinking of using this image for an updated cover of Marvin's Curse. Negotiations with the owner need to take place first though. What do you think?

Monday, October 12, 2015

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Boot has a night out

So tonight, I took the poorly leg to meet friends at Bill's in Norwich. The burgers there are amazing. I also had a rather unusual cocktail called a Raspberry and Rosehip Collins which was rather yummy - and a Bill's cider.

Boot was not happy as had to spend most of the evening under the table, Here is a picture of boot sulking.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Have boot will travel

Today I took the poorly leg to Oxburgh Hall, a lovely 15th century house in Norfolk owned by the National Trust. There were a few Tudor stalls there and there was an oppotunity to try on costumes (boot refused point blank).

The house is a lot like Hampton Court albeit on a much smaller scale and it has a huge moat with crocodiles, sharks and piranha fish so no swimming is allowed.

Here's us posing with the house in the background. You can probably just make out the moat.

We had a lovely lunch then stopped to play chess, but boot got in the way and kept 'accidentally' knocking the pawns over. This is how it looked before we started playing.

 And afterwards...



 Finally, on the way out we had a look at the plants and flowers which were 'bootiful' (*sighs*). They have a great variety of apple trees there plus a climbing pear tree which you weren't aloowed to climb !?!
Still, a lovely afternoon.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Meeting author Meg Rosoff again.

Yesterday, the poorly leg and I took the train to Cambridge to attend the annual Philippa Pearce Lecture at Homerton College with my SCBWI group. This great event is actually free and followed by a wine reception afterwards (also free!) The committee rely entirely on donations to provide such events and on the goodwill of Homerton College. Amazing and so well attended.

This year the speaker was the lovely Meg Rosoff, author of How I Live Now among others. It was a wonderful lecture, truly inspiring and in many ways reassuring to the way I write. I was also a big girly fan and asked her to sign a book for me. I was delighted that she remembered me from our previous meeting at a SCBWI conference in Winchester where I had my photo taken with her.  No photo this time, but here's the earlier one. We really are best friends you know. :)

We all got together for a lovely meal afterwards (not Meg!) which was lovely and gave us a chance to catch up on our authory exploits. A great evening. 

Special thanks to Alice Turner for chauffeuring me from the train station to the venues and back on account of my poorly leg. :)

#YA #YAlit #Kidlitchat

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Editing first draft with a poorly leg.

I have finally finished the first draft of the Iron City which is brilliant - finishing the book, that is. I am not claiming that the book is brilliant as that would be a little big headed. In its present state it is an okay book, but it needs a lot of work on it. Argh!

   Working on the first draft edits is where I act as the reader and just read it through making sure it flows and that I haven't left chunks out. Because of the way I write, this is so necessary as I jump around all the time when I'm writing (not literally, especially with a poorly leg) so I could work on an end piece then dart back to a more middling part. It all depends how excited I am at the time.

   There are also lots of questions I need to make sure I know the answers to. Here's a few examples of questions I had to research:
  • How far can a healthy person walk in one day?
  • Where would you hit someone in the face to knock them out?
  • How much weight could a typical teenager carry?
  • What's the inside of your elbow called?

See, and you thought being a writer was all about the glamorous things in life! I'll let you know when other questions pop up in further edits. :)

Here's a photo of my poorly foot until then.

 Ooops! Wrong photo.

#AmWriting, #AmEditing, #YALit, #YA

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Iron City - Teaser time


 Extending a taloned claw, the red dragon hooked the pendant from Rae's hand. It stared hard into her eyes then lifted its wings, heading upwards once again before flying off into the distance followed by the others.
   Rae collapsed to the ground, her stilled heart crashed into action, banging against her chest. Her breath came fast, making her gasp for air.
'What the freakin'...' screamed Eric, pushing his hands through his hair. He jumped to his feet and started pacing. His hands rested at the back of his head where he clasped them together, staring upwards. 'A Slayer who doesn't actually slay. I've seen it all now.'
   George dashed to Rae's side, kneeling down then pulling her up into a sitting position. He shook her shoulders furiously. 'Why didn't you strike? Why didn't you use Ascalon like we showed you?' When she didn't respond, he shook her again. 'It'll come back. They always do.' He dropped his hands to his knees, shaking his head despondently.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Super day at Toftwood Junior School

I had another great author visit in Dereham, Norfolk. This time I was with Year 3 at Toftwood Junior School. Lots of the pupils dressed as superheroes for the day which added to the fun.
Year 3 leader, Anita Warren, organised a fabulous day for me which included an author talk and three workshops.
This picture is taken in their new library which is due to be officially opened later this month.

There was a really lovely write-up on their website.

Year 3 Are Visited By Author, Debra J Edwards

The children’s author Debra J Edwards came to visit Year 3 to give a talk to the children all about what inspired her to become a writer and how she used ideas and events from her life as inspiration for her books and the main character in them, Aggie Lichen; Pilp Collector. She then went on to take some exciting and fast paced creative writing workshops with the classes, where groups of children invented their own super hero character and then gave them super powers and gadgets to use in defeating their enemies. The children used the ideas they had created in their work shop to write  a story all about their superhero.
Here are some comments by the children about Debbie’s visit:

·         I enjoyed Debbie’s whole visit!                                                   Cadell

·         I liked creating our superhero - ‘Super Flameo’, designing his costume and working together on inventing his super powers.        Siena, Justin and Aksayan

·         I liked it when Debbie did her talk in assembly and was acting out the children she had taught in the past who inspired her to come up with the idea for her first book.                                                                                   Tahlia

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Welcome to a new reader

As a writer you always hope that your reader likes the book you've written. The problem is that you don't always get to hear about it if they do let alone see it. What a fabulous surprise to see these lovely photos of Callum Whyman reading the book his mum bought for him today at the school fair. It's the first of my trilogy, Aggie Lichen; Pilp Collector. He's already asking for book two and three! Fingers crossed he's just as interested halfway through. :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Visit to George White Junior School

Image result for george white junior school

Last Thursday and Friday I had another great school visit. On this occasion I spent two days at George White Junior School in Norwich. During my time there I delivered workshops to Years 3, 4, 5 and an author talk to the whole of Key Stage Two. Fabulous talking and listening in groups resulted in some amazing characters being created.

Photos from author visit to Edith Cavell Academy

Just received an email from one of the schools I visited last week to say that some of the photos they took are now on their website. Have a look at me in (sort of) action.!galleries/c1byd

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Great author visit to Edith Cavell Academy, Norwich

Image result for edith cavell academyI had such a fabulous time visiting the Edith Cavell Academy yesterday. With an author talk for starters, I soon had Years 3,4,5,6 giggling at my silly antics. They seemed to especially like my story of being a reluctant KS1 teacher in Year 2 when I first thought of writing about stroppy teenage tooth fairies.

 Image result for edith cavell academyFollowing on from my third book, Hero Required, developing superheroes in workshops was next. I really loved the idea of one particular group who created, Superhero Happy, whose sole job in life was to make everyone in the world happy. I gave them a bag of 'character props' and one of the items was a keyring. On the back of it was printed Thanks for visiting. Using their brilliant imaginations, the group said that Superhero Happy captured unhappy people in the keyring. When they were happy he let them out and what they saw when they left was... Thank you for visiting.  A fabulous day. Thank you!