Blood of the Delphi Book Launch!

I went to the Blood of the Delphi book launch at Waterstones in Winchester yesterday!

I’ve been to book launches before when I worked for P&G Wells bookshop, and they’re always super fun and exciting, but this one was extra special.  Why?  Because the author, M.E. Vaughan (Madeleine) is a great friend of mine – and because I actually edited both of her books.


Apologies for my potato-quality phone camera, but these are the brand-new paperback editions of both Harmatia Cycle books: Sons of Thestian (the first book, which has been re-published and looks so pretty) and Blood of the Delphi, the sequel.  Blood of the Delphi isn’t officially on sale for another couple of days, so it was super cool to get our copies early at the launch!

After enjoying drinks and nibbles, we sat down to an exclusive reading from Blood of the Delphi by Madeleine herself.  It was a heck of a dramatic scene, and I saw some anxious faces in the crowd.  (Of course I was perfectly sympathetic, and didn’t cackle because I’ve read the book and know what happens.  Noooo.)


Following the reading was an author Q&A, where Madeleine talked about everything from the self-publishing process to crying over killing her characters (I know the feeling, sob).  Madeleine’s humour was brilliant and infectious, and the whole crowd laughed as she described the time she was acting out a fight scene she wanted to write, and caught sight of herself in the mirror – arms stretched goofily over her head to mimic a dragon – and thought how grateful she was no one could see her.  Of course, her dad walked in two seconds later.

The chairs were cleared away quickly after the Q&A, to make space for everyone to grab their own copies of the books for Madeleine to sign.  I already have the first edition of Sons of Thestian from years back, but of course I had to get the new version.  I edited it, after all!


Again, apologies for my terrible camera – I’ve played with the contrast to make it clearer, but clearly my phone doesn’t like electric lighting!

The book launch was over an hour long, but it went by in a blink.  Spending time with other writerly people is the best feeling, and getting to see Madeleine’s hard work in print was so rewarding.  I left the launch with two beautiful books – both signed of course!


Unfortunately, I can only show you Madeleine’s signature in The Sons of Thestian, since she wrote spoilers for my own steampunk novel in Blood of the Delphi (she told me off for killing characters she liked … woops!)  Never mind, Madeleine.  I’m sure you have plans to get your own back in Harmatia Cycle book three.


Aww.  See this?  This is me dashing away a happy tear.  You’re welcome, Madeleine.  I can’t wait to see the final installment.

BOOK LAUNCH: Blood of the Delphi

Waterstones, Winchester - Poster.jpg

My good friend (and, technically, employer) M.E. Vaughan is holding a book launch for the sequel to Sons of Thestian, which I recommended here.  That recommendation was based on the old edition of Sons of Thestian – it’s since had a beautiful revamp with a new cover, better quality materials and editing by yours truly!  And the sequel, Blood of the Delphi, is equally pretty and also edited by me.

I’m planning to attend, because these are awesome books deserving of loving and attention (yes, I know I’m biased but I’m also right), and also because I haven’t got to hold a physical copy of the new editions yet and I need to touch them.

So if you live in the Hampshire area or nearby and you fancy coming to a fun book launch and watching me stroke the covers of sparkly new books like a crazy person, please come along!


Source: BOOK LAUNCH – Blood of the Delphi

Write a Diverse Fairy Tale and Get it Published!

Hello my fellow writerly types!  This post is for you: a writing project that may catch your fancy, especially if you’re interested in fairy tales. 🙂

Mag Mell Publishing is currently looking for authors to contribute to our Diverse Fairy Tale Project! What is the Diverse Fairy Tale Project? From 2017, Mag Mell Publishing will be putting together our own anthology of our favourite Fairy Tales. The twist—the project is all about diversity. We’re looking for new, fresh versions of these […]

via — Madeleine. E. Vaughan

Congratulations NaNoWriMo Finishers!

It’s 1st December, and to writers that means one thing: NaNoWriMo is finally over!


Top congratulations and 50,000 gold stars to everyone who finished NaNoWriMo this year.  That challenge is crazy difficult and you ought to be proud.  And moreoever, congratulations to anyone who took part but didn’t hit that 50,000 bar — the wonderful thing about NaNoWriMo is that not finishing =/= losing.  However much you wrote, it’s more than you’d have done without NaNo to push you forward.

I’m really sad I didn’t get to join in this year, as I love the friendly-yet-competitive nature of NaNoWriMo, and the atmosphere that comes with meeting a bunch of lunatics willing to attempt a novel in a month.  I had a brief, insane tussle with myself yesterday (‘It’s the 30th!  Come on, see how much of NaNo you can do in 24 hours!’) but ultimately, line-editing my steampunk book comes first.  Alas.

All you NaNoWriMo-ers have a nice relaxing December — before you leap into edits in January!

Book to the Future

A while ago in the library, I noticed a display covered in these tiny blue booklets.  Since I move around a few libraries every week, this was the first I’d seen of the display and had no idea what it was.

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It turns out there’s a super neat event going on, where you pick up one of these passports (for free!), and are then challenged to read ten books.  Remember when your mum dragged to the library at the beginning of the summer holidays so she could sign you up for the Summer Reading Challenge?  This is like that, except now you’re an adult and you have to drag yourself!

Apparently this is a thing that happens every year, which makes me feel all the more guilty for not knowing about it.  This year’s theme is the fantastically punny Book to the Future: for the challenge, you’re asked to read a book set or written in each decade from the 1920s up to the present, and one about the future.  It’s like your local library is a Dolorean and your library card is the throttle that takes you to 88 miles per hour!

Image result for delorean back to the future

(I never really watched Back to the Future as a child, so when I see pictures of Doc and Marty my brain mostly interprets it as real-life Rick and Morty.  “W-we gotta — burp — read ten books, Morty!  T-ten whole books!”)

I’m not sure how many libraries are taking part in Book to the Future, and I have a depressing inkling it’s only really libraries in the south of England.  But there are plenty of details on the Reading Passport website, so do check it out even if you’re not from here.  The passport is nice, but you don’t necessarily need it to take up the challenge and support your local library.  (Please guys, we get so lonely.)

Is anyone else doing this?  Am I a dummy for only finding out about this now?  Why am I asking you all these questions?  Comment and let me know!

Good Luck, Brave NaNoWriMo Writers!

NaNoWriMo — short for National Novel Writing Month — is one hell of a challenge.  The premise is simple, and utterly insane: attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in just one month.

Image result for nanowrimo

I’ve completed NaNoWriMo a couple of times (and also failed once or twice), and each attempt felt like hurtling down a hill on three-wheeled skateboard, careening into subplots, characters, and plot twists, screaming all the way to the bottom.  The challenge is tough.  The pursuit of 1,667 words a day drags you away from other unnecessary things, like homework, or a social life, or a functioning sleep schedule.  But it’s all worth it when you reach that 50,000 mark on 30th November (or earlier, if you’re literally a wizard), in a caffeine-addled haze, and then you celebrate by collapsing on the sofa and sleeping until Christmas.

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I’m saddened to say that I won’t have time to do NaNoWriMo this year.  On the other hand, I feel kind of like I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo all year, as editing my steampunk book swallows up more and more of my life, to the point where I’ve developed a twitch when I hear words like ‘cogs’ and ‘goggles’.

To any brave writers venturing onto your first (or second, or fifth) NaNoWriMo this year: best of luck, and I’m rooting for you!

If you’re interested in signing up for NaNoWriMo, it’s completely free, and the website is just here.

Banned Books Week

I only just found out today that next week is Banned Books Week.

I don’t want to get too heavy because this is not a political blog.  This is a silly book blog, run by a silly woman who loves books so much she once wept in the back of year nine maths because she just secretly finished reading Noughts and Crosses under the table and fine, confiscate the book Mr Camell, I don’t care, my favourite character is dead and maths doesn’t matter anymore.

But banned books?  They are a bad.  A big bad.

Reading books that challenge you is paramount.  Because otherwise you end up living day-to-day as a certain emporer with a certain set of invisible clothes.  To Kill a Mockingbird has been banned for both “being too racist” (it uses the “N” word, think of the children!) and “not being racist enough” (by people who have to launder a lot of pointy white hats, I presume).  I’m an awful person with an awful sense of humour, so I find this hilarious.  But really, it’s also horrifying.

Because I only just found out about Banned Books Week, I didn’t have anything planned to read specifically.  However, I did happen to borrow a copy of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson a while ago, and if that’s never been banned anywhere, I’ll be stunned.  So I’ll try to read that.

Is anyone else reading something for Banned Books Week?  Tell me what you’re reading!