Saturday, December 31, 2016

Monday, December 26, 2016

Goodreads Giveaway - Five ARCs up for grabs!

If you'd like to get your hands on one of five advanced copies of WAIT FOR ME, head on over to Goodreads for a chance to win, courtesy of Harper Teen.

And while you're there, I'd love you to FOLLOW me on Goodreads too - there's a button for that on my author page. It's a great way to keep up with what's happening with WAIT FOR ME, and with my future books too. And if you are looking for a good book to read, you can also see all the books I am reading and loving, and happy to recommend. 

The books on my READ list are mostly, but not all, young adult books, and if I've added them to my list with four or five stars, that means they are definitely worth your attention. If I have written a full review (rather than just given them stars), that means they are probably books which are coming out in 2017. So if you see one which appeals to you, then click on its WANT TO READ button, and you'll get a reminder from Goodreads when it hits bookstore shelves.

And if you are not on Goodreads yet, it's just like Facebook for readers. Yes, it has had it's problems, but overall it's a great way to find out what books should be next on your TBR list (your To Be Read list).

(However, I've recently discovered that someone who is my Friend on Goodreads will have any Amazon reviews they post about my books removed. So while I'd love you to follow me, please let me apologize now if I don't accept your Friend request.)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Listen to Chapter One

WAIT FOR ME, my debut novel, is set in 1945 on a farm in Aberlady, East Lothian, about twenty miles to the east of Edinburgh, where I was born and brought up. Even after living in London and Wales for a number of years, and in Texas for almost ten, people still comment that my Scottish accent is as strong as it ever was.

There are a number of distinct regional accents even within Scotland, though most people from outside the country seem to think we all talk the same. People from Edinburgh and the eastern side of the country generally have a softer accent than those from Glasgow and the west. Highlanders and Islanders have a very lilting, sing-song way of speaking while those from around Aberdeen and Dundee can be all but indecipherable to outsiders when they are talking among themselves.

So you have been wondering what accent should be in your mind as you read WAIT FOR ME, I've recorded the first chapter for you to listen to for guidance. 

If you'd like to read along as you listen, the first chapter has also been published today by the wonderful friends at the YA Book Central blog.

There will be more exciting news about a full audiobook in the next few weeks, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoy reading and listening to the opening few pages of my debut novel.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Cover Blurb Reveal - Joy Preble

Day Four of my cover blurbs to mark my thankfulness for my #YAlit debut, WAIT FOR ME, and for all the new friends it has brought me. Today is from Joy Preble, the Children’s Specialist at Houston's wonderful indie Brazos Bookstore, and author of the bestselling Dreaming Anastasia series, The Sweet Dead Life, Finding Paris, and It Wasn’t Always Like This.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Cover blurb reveal - Anne Blankman

Day Three of my cover blurbs to mark my thankfulness for my#YAlit debut, WAIT FOR ME, and for all the new friends it has brought me. Today is from Anne Blankman, author of the frighteningly prescient The Prisoner of Night & Fog series & Traitor Angels.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Cover blurb reveal - Sarah Alexander

Day Two of my cover blurbs to mark my thankfulness for my #YAlitdebut, WAIT FOR ME, and for all the new friends it has brought me. Today is from the lovely Sarah Alexander, author of THE ART OF NOT BREATHING, a gripping and very moving YA novel set on the Black Isle in the north of Scotland, one of my favorite places in the world.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Cover blurb reveal - Kathi Appelt

Requesting cover blurbs from other authors, especially well-known ones, is one of the most terrifying jobs for an author. I was, however, incredibly lucky to receive wonderful endorsements of WAIT FOR ME from four amazing authors. So in thankfulness for their time and kindness, and for the whole of this book deal excitement, I'll be revealing each blurb, one a day, up until Thanksgiving Day itself.

First up, Kathi Appelt, Newbery Honor Winner and National Book Award Finalist, who mentored me through substantial revisions of WAIT FOR ME after I won her in the SCBWI's Joan Lowery Nixon Prize in 2014.

Thank you, Kathi!

By the way, this photo is Coffin Lane in Aberlady, which leads up from Craigielaw to the Church, past the kirkyard on the left, and appears in WAIT FOR ME several times.

Friday, November 18, 2016


I've been guest blogging again, this time specifically for writers taking part in NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month. My YA debut, WAIT FOR ME, started life a a NaNo book several years ago, so I know exactly how hard it can be to stay focussed on keep that number count rising throughout November.

As a guest on YA Interrobang, I've been talking about the trials of writing a first draft, likening to to a road trip. To read more, click on picture below...

Thanks to Nicole Brinkly at YA Interrobang from inviting me to take part, and lots of cheers and whistles to you, if you're NaNoWriMo-ing right now!

Monday, October 24, 2016

My first ever VLOG! Writing accents on YA Word Nerds

I've always thought that I hated hearing my own voice and watching myself on video far too much to ever do a video blog - a vlog - but when I was offered the chance to do one about an aspect of my writing by the lovely writers at the YA Word Nerds channel on YouTube, I thought I'd give it a go anyway. It was a scary idea to put myself out on video like this, but if there is one thing that I am learning from this journey towards publication it's that being scared isn't a good enough reason not to grab hold of a great opportunity to promote my book.

So I did record a video and edited it, and it's been posted at YA Word Nerds.

It's all about how I approached writing the accents that are in WAIT FOR ME, given that so much of my writing is deliberately accent-neutral. In fact, did you even realize that I have a Scottish accent when I speak?

And do you know I learned from this exciting experience?

That I STILL hate hearing my own voice and watching myself on video, especially when I then have to edit my endless ramblings down into a tighter 4-5 minute piece, so I''m forced to watch it over and over again.

But I also learned that I might feel a certain pride in facing something I'm nervous about head on, and who knows, perhaps I might give this vlogging thing another go soon.

Huge thanks to E.Latimer, and to her fellow YA Word Nerds - Erin, Rachel, Emma, Kellie, Desiraye and Meghan - for having me on board.

To see more of the fantastic vlogs by the team and their guests, visit the channel at 

And if you are feeling stuck or a little down and you just need a writing pick-me-up, then click here for the very special . . . 

It makes me dance and smile every time!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Banned Books Week 2016 – Reading and Giveaway!

For more than 30 years, Banned Books Week has brought together people from across the book community – authors and publishers, librarians, booksellers, teachers and readers – to celebrate and fight to protect the freedom to read.

This Friday, September 30th at 7pm I will be taking part in a Banned Books celebration at Brazos Bookstore in Houston, where I will be joining a great group of YA authors and librarians to read from some of our favorite books which have been banned or challenged in schools and public libraries over the years. The other readers will include YA/children’s authors Joy Preble, Anna Meriano and Varsha Bajaj, as well as Houston area librarians Megan Robertson, Cory Eckert and Melissa Buron. And you might be surprised by some of the books we've chosen.

We’d love to see you at Brazos Books on Friday, but even if you can’t make it, to mark my first Banned Books Week event, here’s a GIVEAWAY you can enter!


To enter, just leave me a comment below, on my Facebook page, or on Twitter @carolinesblurb. Tell me the title of your favorite Banned Book and why having the freedom to read it was so important to you.

After Friday’s event, I will pick the best reply, and the winner can choose a title from any shown in the picture above (some of my Banned Book favorites). I’ll send you a mug and a brand new copy of the book of your choice, as well as some swag for my forthcoming YA historical debut, WAIT FOR ME (Harper Teen, January 31st 2017).

For more details about Banned Books Week and the importance of the freedom to read, visit the American Library Association website, where you’ll also find lists of the most frequently challenged books.

If you win, you can choose to receive a new copy of one of the following books:
THE GIVER – Lois Lowry
HIS DARK MATERIALS trilogy (any one of the three books) – Philip Pullman
ELEANOR & PARK – Rainbow Rowell
TWILIGHT – Stephanie Meyer

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Guest post: How to shut up your inner editor

Probably the most important lesson I learned from taking part in the wonderful torture that is NaNoWriMo - that's National Novel Writing Month - was to keep going, keep putting down words, and to get the first draft finished so that you canstart having fun with the revisions all the sooner.

You can read more of my thoughts about switching off your inner editor - you know, that voice in your head that keeps telling you what you have just written is awful and should be changed immediately? - here on ReadWriteLove28, a fun blog for readers and writers.

My guest post is part of the blog's Sweet & Swanky event which is running throughout September. Thanks for having me on the blog, Nori!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Giveaway Winners!

I am delighted to announce the winners of the three fantastic prizes in my Cover Reveal Giveaway, hosted recently by the wonderful team at Congratulations to all three winners. Your prizes are already in the mail!

The winner of a signed ARC of WAIT FOR ME, along with some of 
my book swag, and a goody-bag of Scottish treats is
Austine Decker, Pennsylvania

  The winner of a trio of the newest YA historical fiction reads
from Harper Collins and WAIT FOR ME swag is
 Nicole Osadacz, New Jersey

The winner of $30 Barnes & Noble gift card 
and WAIT FOR ME swag is 
Gwen Cole, Virginia
 And in case you are interested (and I'm sure you will be!), Gwen’s own YA historical fantasy debut, COLD SUMMERwill be published on May 2nd 2017!

And if you entered the giveaway, but didn't win this time, don't worry, there will be numerous other opportunities to win advance copies, or real copies, of WAIT FOR ME over the next few months. Please like me or follow me on social media, or join my mailing list via the Contact Me button on my website to make sure you receive all the details! 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

New website and 6 months to publication

This Sunday, July 31st, marked six months until the publication of WAIT FOR ME, my debut YA novel. To mark this milestone on the countdown, I am delighted to reveal my new website - - on which you can find more details of my books, events, news and contact details, as well as link to my existing blog.

I hope you'll come visit me on the new site. I'm particularly pleased to be able to include some photos of Aberlady Bay, where WAIT FOR ME is set, taken by my friend Elizabeth Martin and by me on my last visit home.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The ARCs are here! And you've only 4 days left to win one!


There's been huge excitement round here this week at the arrival of the WAIT FOR ME galley proofs, also known as ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies). These are not the final version of the book, but they are very close to it, and they have been created by the team at Harper Teen to send out to 'influencers' in the book industry - booksellers, librarians, reviewers and bloggers. 

But you don't have to be one of these influencers to get hold of one of my ARCS - you can just win one!

You have just FIVE DAYS left to enter 

... hosted by my lovely friends at YA Books Central, so please head on over there and put in your entry. Remember, there are three fantastic prizes to be won, and they are:

  • One winner will receive a signed Advanced Reader Copy of WAIT FOR ME, along with an author-curated goody-bag of some of the best Scottish treats that were definitely not available under wartime rationing! 

  • A second winner will receive a trio of YA historical novels from Harper Collins (see photo above) along with some WAIT FOR ME swag. They are the comical and fantastic retelling of the story of Lady Jane Grey, MY LADY JANE by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows, the alternate World War Two history of FRONT LINES by Michael Grant, and the first book in Rae Carson’s sweeping new Gold Rush trilogy, WALK THE EARTH A STRANGER.  Three perfect reads for fans of historical re-tellings, in whatever speculative or comedic style they appear.

  • A third winner will receive a $30 Barnes & Noble gift card and some WAIT FOR ME swag.

(Sorry, this one is restricted just to the US and Canada, but I will do some international giveaways very soon!)

Friday, July 1, 2016

Want to support your favorite authors?

Well, here's how!

One of my fellow Swanky 17s, Kim Ventrella has created this wonderful infographic to help you, as a reader, support your favorite authors. Of course, we'd love you to buy our books - that's why we wrote them, after all - but there are other ways you can help spread the word to other readers too about the books you love most. 

Liking, following, posting, voting, recommending, fangirling - or fanboying - is an important way you can help other readers to find a book they might enjoy. But more than that, it might help get a book into the hands of a reader who might really need to hear the message held within its pages at a moment in his or her life when a book might feel like the only thing they have to turn to.  

So I'd love you to come find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or by sending me a message through the contact form on this page. Once WAIT FOR ME is published, I will be doing some signings, readings and writing workshops, as well as school visits and book club meetings, so I hope I'll meet you at one of those. And if you are in the Houston area, or if you hear that I will be travelling to your part of the world, let me know and perhaps I might be able to come to visit your school, library or club, because I am really looking forward to meeting you!

And if you'd like to know more about the amazing Kim Ventrella, visit her website or her Goodreads page to find out more about her middle grade novel, THE SKELETON TREE, which will be published by Scholastic in the fall of 2017.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Cover Reveal & Giveaway - WAIT FOR ME

At last, I can proudly share with you the beautiful cover for my debut novel, WAIT FOR ME, which will be published on January 31st by Harper Teen. A huge thanks goes to YA Books Central for helping me to unveil this gorgeous thing this morning, and for hosting the biggest giveaway I'v ever done.

So if you would like to win an advance copy of WAIT FOR ME, or some other amazing books, look for details of my giveaway down below!

... But first, a little about the cover ...

You might remember that WAIT FOR ME is set in the spring of 1945 – the last few weeks of World War Two – when Paul, a young German prisoner of war comes to work on a Scottish farm, where Lorna, the farmer’s teenage daughter, holds the fort while her older brothers are away at the war. I love the way that the Harper Collins team, and in particular, the cover’s designer, Aurora Parlagreco, caught the nostalgic romance of the story in this cover, taking you to a warm spring day walking through a field of long grass, though one that is tainted by the ever-present threat of war.

When my lovely Harper Teen editor, Alice Jerman, first sent me a draft of the cover early this year, I must admit, I had a tear or two. I really had no idea what to expect, so its atmospheric power really caught me by surprise. It was virtually perfect from the start, and with only a couple of tiny tweaks, it was done, and approved. And now it’s public!

So, if you are ready...

... Steady...

... Ta dah!

I really hope that you can hear this beautiful and evocative cover calling you to Scotland, in the same way it calls me home.

But wait, there's more...

Yes, there's a Giveaway!

To mark this next step on the path to  publication for WAIT FOR ME, my friends at YA Books Central are hosting a fantastic giveaway for me, including an advanced copy of WAIT FOR ME!  To win one of the three prizes, all you need to do is visit the cover reveal page.

The prizes are: 
  • One winner will receive a signed Advanced Reader Copy of WAIT FOR ME, along with an author-curated goody-bag of some of the best Scottish treats that were definitely not available under wartime rationing! 
  • A second winner will receive a trio of YA historical novels from Harper Collins along with some WAIT FOR ME swag.
  • A third winner will receive a $30 Barnes & Noble gift card and some WAIT FOR ME swag.

(Sorry, this one is restricted just to the US and Canada, but I will do some international giveaways very soon!)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

WAIT FOR ME cover to be revealed this Monday!

This Monday, June 20th, YA Books Central will help me reveal the cover of my debut novel, WAIT FOR ME. The cover reveal is the next major milestone in the life of this book and it really begins the countdown to publication day on January 31st 2017, and and to celebrate, there will a fantastic giveaway competition you can enter.  

The design team at Harper Collins has done an amazing job in capturing in one image the atmosphere of the story, which is set in Scotland in the last few months of World War Two, and I can’t wait to show it to you. I hope you'll like it as much as I do.

From Monday, if you are in the USA and Canada, you will also be able to pre-order your copy of WAIT FOR ME from indie booksellers like Houston's Brazos Bookstore as well as from Barnes & Noble, Amazon and the other major booksellers.

In the meantime, I thought I would share, very belatedly, another visual treat. The beautiful aesthetic palette below was created by another YA debut author – also a Swanky 17 and my agency sister at New Leaf Literary – the lovely Emily Bain Murphy whose novel, THE DISAPPEARANCES will be published by Mifflin Harcourt for Young Readers in June 2017. She created this collage for WAIT FOR ME as part of our Instagram challenge in May, and I was so thrilled. Thank you, Emily!

See you at YA Books Central on Monday for the cover reveal!

Cover aesthetic for WAIT FOR ME, created by Emily Bain Murphy,
as part of our Swanky 17 Instagram Challenge in May

Monday, June 13, 2016

Barnes & Noble B-fest - a festival of YA fun and games!

Teen readers and writers across the US have had such a fun weekend, thanks to Barnes & Noble and its B-FEST celebration of YA books. Some of the biggest NYT bestselling authors appeared in stores along with many other published authors. They even welcomed soon-to-be-published authors like me and the other Swanky 17s to join in too, and we were all so proud to be part of it.

Dax Varley reads from her latest book,
I appeared at two B&N stores in Houston. On Saturday, at Barnes & Noble in River Oaks, I led a session alongside the much-published gothic & horror author, Dax Varley. The teens all took part in a YA Spelling Bee in which they had to spell words from Harry Potter and Doctor Who, with the best spellers winning tote bags and t-shirts. And we played Story Ball – whoever catches the ball when it’s thrown has to provide the next line in the tale - during which we wrote a collaborative story, which ended up showing more than a little of Dax’s gothic influence. I promised the group that I would ‘publish’ our story on this blog. Here's the full text of BAPTISM IN BLOOD, which was very ably scribed by B&N’s Michelle Nelson. Why not let us have your feedback in the comments below?

Baptism in Blood

The eyes in the painting follow him down the corridor as the footsteps echo off the wall. And when he looks back he sees her again, the girl from the dream!

Her hair is as crimson as the blood on the walls and her eyes are as blue as the sea. She wears ragged jeans and a t-shirt. She opens her mouth with a blood curdling scream. “You killed him!”

Slowly walking back, his hands start to shake and a memory flashes in his mind. He knows now where he knows her from – the haunted art museum in Aberdeen. He glances around nervously as if looking for an escape, and stammers, “I. . .  I. . . I. . . don’t know what you are talking about.”

He looks up to meet her stare, but she is gone, like a tear in the rain. He starts to run, sprinting away as the floor crumbles beneath him.

The painting falls as he stumbles into the canvas, and the world changes into shifting colors - midnight blue, blazing yellow – and he realizes there is no way back. Suddenly a gust of wind drops him to the ground with a thud. But he realizes the ground is now a floor of an artist’s studio. On the wall around him are paintings just like those in the haunted art gallery.

There is an artist in the corner painting and it is the girl from the dream. She is painting him. As she finishes, she slashes a red-fueled paintbrush in a huge X across his body in the painting.
When he looks down at himself, he sees blood dripping down from an X slashed across his own chest.

She turns to him and screams, “He was the only one left!”

Suddenly every painting is slashed with a red X. She turns her head to stare at him and whispers, “Death.”  Then her voice drops even lower and she says, “One must not kill an artist, for if you do, his last painting will be forever branded upon your chest.”

Chilling stuff, eh?

I show off one of the prize books on offer -
On Sunday, I was at Barnes & Noble Vanderbilt Square for a Teen Writer’s Workshop and we had so much fun. We came up with some 6-word stories, we took words from three brand new YA debuts and used them to create new stories. 

We described another person, using non-visual descriptions and we played “What if…?” – things like: What would have happened if the Sorting Hat had put Harry into Slytherin, not Gryffindor? What would life have been like for us right now if America had not won the War of Independence? 

All the teens (and pre-teens!) who took part were so enthusiastic about reading and about writing, it was an honor to work with each one of them as part of this fantastic weekend. 

I was also delighted to be able to bring along with me three 2016 debut authors, at least in the form of their books as raffle prizes. All kindly sent me signatures to put inside their books, so thank you:

Prizewinners at B&N River Oaks
Prizewinners at B&N Vanderbilt
Heidi Heilig

Sarah Alexander

Jeff Zentner

and also at River Oaks
Dax Varley - BLEED

I’m sure I speak for all the authors and teens who took part in B-FEST when I say a big thank you to Barnes & Noble for creating this opportunity for authors and readers to come together. And I’d also like to say a personal thank you to our local Houston organizers, Michelle Nelson at B&N River Oaks, and Noella Rismay at B&N Vanderbilt, who were so welcoming and supportive of this brand new author.

I do hope to see you all for B-FEST 2017!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Come join in the B-FEST fun!

I am so excited to be taking part this weekend in Barnes & Noble's B-FEST Teen Book Festival - a nationwide celebration of teen readers and writers - and these will be my first official public appearances as a (soon to be) published author!  Come along and hear me read from my forthcoming debut novel, WAIT FOR ME, and take part in some fun activities too. I will be at:

Fun and Games - YA Spelling Bee and Story Ball - AND PRIZES!! 
2030 West Gray Street, Houston, TX 77019 (713 552 8571) 

Writer's workshop - writing games, prompts and exercises - AND PRIZES!!
3003 West Holcombe Blvd, Houston, TX 713 349 0050 

Did I mention already that there will be PRIZES? If you take part in either of the events with me, you have the chance to win signed copies of the hottest new books by other debut authors, including Heidi Heilig and Jeff Zentner, and you might even win the first Advanced Reader Copy of my own novel, WAIT FOR ME, which will be published on January 31st, 2017.

And if you can't make it to see me in these two Houston stores, there will be other amazing YA authors in every other B&N store across the country, so have a look at the Barnes & Noble website for more information.

See you this weekend!