Tuesday, 25 June 2013


Ah, wow, I feel strangely nervous!  I’ve been looking forward to showing you all the cover for the book for so long, and it’s finally here!

Yes, EVERY BREATH went to print (‘went to bed’ is the publishing parlance, I believe) on Monday, and Eva has released the cover for me to show off.  So here it is!  What do you think?  (I know I’m biased, but I think it’s fantastic!)


Rachel Watts has just moved to Melbourne from the country, but the city is the last place she wants to be.  James Mycroft is her neighbour, an intriguingly troubled seventeen-year-old who is also a genius with a passion for forensics.

Despite her misgivings, Rachel finds herself unable to resist Mycroft when he wants her help investigating a murder.  He’s even harder to resist when he’s up close and personal – and on the hunt for a cold-blooded killer.

When Rachel and Mycroft follow the murderer’s trail, they find themselves in the lion’s den – literally.

A trip to the zoo will never have quite the same meaning again…

I am really thrilled with…well everything really!  But the cover, by Lisa White, is really special.  Check out Flinders St in the background!  And Cath Crowley, who is a writer I love and admire so much, has written a wonderful recommendation for the front – thank you, Cath!

I can’t wait for people to read it J  Or rather, I’m nervous that people will be reading, but also incredibly excited.

If you’d like to pre-order your copy, keep an eye on the Allen & Unwin site, for more info coming down the pipeline soon.

And now I’m so rapt with life and the world, I’m going to hold a giveaway!

I'm going to do it the old-fashioned way, as I haven't got one of the tricky little giveaway doo-whackeys yet.

If you’d like a special hot-off-the-presses copy of EVERY BREATH, then please write a comment on this blog post and I’ll put your name in a hat.  If you write a comment and link this post back to your own blog/website/Twitter feed/Facebook page, then I’ll put you in the hat twice!

At the end of 2 weeks, I’ll draw a winner, and that person will win a special EVERY BREATH prize pack, which includes a copy of the book, and a few other goodies.  I'll publish the name of the winner here, and they can get in touch, and then I'll package up their prize and post it off! (where would we be without snail mail?)

So comment away, and thanks for being here for the unveiling.  Have a great week!

***PS:  Our first GUEST POST from our YA Crime guests will be coming soon, and I think it will be a very surprising visitor…  Stay tuned!

xx Ellie

Sunday, 16 June 2013

YA Crime Report: unsuspecting guests

I have some awesome news!

No, it’s not that the cover of Every Breath is ready to show off – that won’t happen for about another week or so, according to my editor.  But I do have some other good news!

It’s this: Now, you might remember that early last month I did a short article on YA Contemporary about crime becoming the new vogue in YA circles…  What, you didn’t read it?  Oh well, maybe you didn’t get around to it, but I’m gonna keep banging on about it.  Because I honestly reckon that crime is getting more popular in YA, as a new niche for writers and readers (which is all good, as far as I’m concerned – come on, I did write a murder mystery).

Now hang on, here’s the good bit.

Some of the authors I profiled in that article, and also a few other amazing authors and special people I know, have been generous enough to agree to GUEST POST ON THIS BLOG.  Outstanding!

So dress nice, people, we’re having guests.

Over the next few months, I’m going to feature a new guest every alternating post.

Lili Wilkinson (A Pocketful of Eyes, The Zig Zag Effect) will be coming in, as well as Rebecca James (Beautiful Malice, Sweet Damage) and Kim Kane (Cry Blue Murder).

Castlemaine locals will also swing through – both the lovely Simmone Howell (Girl Defective), and Kirsten Krauth (just_a_girl), debut novelist and all-round cool chick, will be dropping over for a coffee and a chat.

And I’ve also asked a couple of real-live forensic specialists to say hi, and give us the ins and outs of professional forensic process, so break out your magnifying glass and your Tyvek.

All these gorgeous guests will be touching on the theme of crime, with particular emphasis on crime writing and Young Adults.  We’re having a CRIME PARTY, guys.  Wow – this is just like playing Cluedo in your living room, or How to Host A Murder!  (But without the crazy costumes.  I mean, you can still read this while you’re in your pyjama onesies and ugg boots, which has to be an added bonus. I know I said ‘dress nice’, but this is the internets)

So see you next time, with our first guest, and have a good week.  And if you’re in Victoria, stay warm xx

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Books!! The Americans!! Chicken Slaughter!! Randomness!!

Here’s some stuff I’ve been doing lately.

* Ate a lot of dark chocolate
Because, lo, it is the stuff of life.

* Not exercised
I started out so well.  Then I lapsed.

Now I’ve been trying hard to get disciplined on this.  See?  It’s working – I’ve disciplined myself not to exercise.  Now if I could only figure out how to discipline it back.

I like exercising – I really do.  But there are honestly not enough hours in the day for me to write, work, parent, do school drop-offs/pick-ups and other good-parent things, grocery-shop, garden, clean the bathroom, figure out how to use the Internets properly, cook healthy dinners, fix my computer and so on, AND exercise.

Give me an extra couple of hours in the day, and I’ll give you a fitter, sleeker, more toned-looking me.  Until then – ‘Blah’, as Toad always says.

* Ranted about copyedits
Do you hate the automatic conversion of imperial measurements to metric in contemporary fiction?  Does it bother you that US copyeditors are continuing with the dreadful new habit of using ‘I saw her couple years ago’ instead of the more grammatically-correct ‘I saw her a couple of years ago’?  (People – you are deleting two whole useful words there, ok??)  Are you still getting over the fact that ‘focussed’ is now ‘focused’?  Do you hate hate hate the use of semi-colons in dialogue? (Because I was saying this to my copyeditor, that no one uses semi-colons when they talk,  and she was, like, ‘Well, Ellie, let’s see; I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree’)

If you are pernickety about any of these things – congratulations!  Join me at the next meeting of the Grammar Pedants, of which I am the Current Chair.  We will go bowling with Hilary, my copyeditor, and talk about the use of ‘that that’s’ and other incredibly scintillating things…

* Moved an echidna off the road to our house
Because apparently echidnas like us.  A lot.  They come on pilgrimages to our place.  (Even in winter – I know, that’s so weird!)

Sometimes, due to a lack of road sense and a certain peculiarity that involves enjoying warm bitumen surfaces, these loyal pilgrims die along the way.  I always feel sorry for them, and stop the car and try to sort of…shoo them.

When you’re trying to shoo an echidna off the road, it’s enough to walk behind them a little way and kind of wave in their direction.  Don’t prod them with a stick, or stamp your feet, or make loud ‘shoo’ noises – they will just curl up into a ball.  They can’t help it – it’s an “evolution+spikes=curling” thing.  But it’s kind of hard then to get them off the road, unless you don’t care that much about your hands and you’re happy to roll them or something.
* Stressed about book publicity
Even though the A&U publicist, Lara, is like this bastion of calm in a sea of chaos, and she has assured me that all will be well, and please, don’t worry about it – I’m sorry, but I worry.  It’s kind of an amusing personality quirk.

* Applied for jobs
Because, woe, a family of six cannot live on one person’s part-time income and another person’s as-yet-non-existent royalty cheques alone.

*Ate gluten-free bread
As a test.  And apologies, guys, but – it sucks.  I have a problem with it, and it is mainly that it does not taste like bread.  Sorry, gluten-free, it’s into the chook-bucket for you…

*Spread manure
Because, y’know, I’m an author!  That’s what I do!  No, seriously – it’s important to garden.  It keeps me sane, except for the fact that whenever I see a ring-barked tree on our property I want to KILL ALL RABBITS IN A VIOLENT WAY.  So, yeah, apart from that, gardening is good.

* Tweeted
I am totally getting into this tweeting thing.  Oh yeah.

* Stole my sister-in-law’s firewood
From the enormous mountain of firewood she had cut when she felled a whole lot of trees last spring.  Really, she has too much firewood  – no, I know, this doesn’t make it right!  Deb, I’m sorry!  I will pay it all back, I promise!

*Paid my kids the $124 dollars I owed them in pocket money

*Did not set off the smoke detector during meal preparation – not even once

* Went to Sydney
I told you about that already.

* Accidentally killed my son’s favourite chicken
OMG!!  *flails*

I tweeted about this too, so it was a very public disaster.  But it really wasn’t my fault!  We have many chickens, and they are a variety of colours, but they all look largely the same.  It wasn’t until I had chopped, and then thought, and then realised…

And I actually feel really bad about this, because he was a very nice chook.  At the moment my son is clueless about it, but one day, very soon, he will look into the chook pen and realise that, oh dear, his favourite chook has mysteriously disappeared.  And I will have to spin the story of my life, about the brave rooster who saw a nasty fox, and flew over the fence to give his life for his flock…and I will work that really hard.

And no one is allowed to say anything, okay?

* Started another book
The third book, this is.  So yeah, I’m writing a trilogy, except that makes it sound like an epic fantasy series, and it’s not.  People say the second book is really hard – I don’t agree.  The second one was easy.  I’m finding the third one an absolute ball-breaker.

*Watched a new tv show
Oh, I’m addicted to something new – that’s exciting!  I watched the first ep of The Americans – it totally had me from the first opening sequence, when the Russian spy couple are chasing down the bad spy guy, with Tusk by Fleetwood Mac playing in the background.

So yeah – 80’s Reagan-era sleeper agents, and Jordache jeans, and I found the whole thing so incredibly cool I may now watch the entire season.  Except it kind of craps all over Elementary, which is a bit saddening – but I will still watch Elementary because of the Sherlock.  I am hooked on the Sherlock in every form.

Although I read a very insightful analysis of the first ep of The Americans on livejournal, which said that Phillip, the male main character, is dominating the story, and that Elizabeth, the female main character, is kind of background wallpaper, even though this is supposed to be a show about a marriage (okay, Russian spies and stuff, but you know, basically it’s about a marriage).  Which I agreed with, actually, although I’m interested to see if this is just a consequence of the lead actor being really bloody good, and perhaps we’ll start to see a change in Elizabeth’s character as the series progresses, so she starts to become more identifiable.  Because right now, Phillip is the one who really cares, who is the most emotionally vulnerable in the marriage, and Elizabeth has kind of replaced love with dogma, so I’d like to see a bit of that start to shatter.

And don’t get me started on character backstories in tv shows, because I will just go on and on.

*Read ‘The Fault In our Stars’ by John Green
Which, if you haven’t read it – why are you reading this?  Go, go now!  Go and get this incredible book!

It made me bawl my eyes out, though, so fair warning.

So that’s it.  All these things I did, and many other things besides, which owing to space and time considerations it would be tedious to list all of them.

I hope you did some fun stuff in May.  I plan to do more fun stuff now June is here – see you round.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Fangirling, or why there’s no such thing as too many exclamation marks

You know by now that I am a total fangirl, right?

I mean, I developed extremely nervous hands when I got introduced to Libba Bray at the Emerging Writer’s Festival.  And also, Garth Nix was standing right there, so I could go home and say ‘OMG, I saw Garth Nix!’ to my kids, and they were all ‘Wow, OMG!’ right back.

And I met Lili Wilkinson once! (She is awesome, btw)  And Karen Healey! (Who totally talked to me!)  And I still sometimes tweet replies to Maureen Johnson’s tweets, and live in hope that one day she will tweet back, at which point I will fall over or something, and then start squeeing ‘ OMG, Maureen Johnson!!’ to everyone nearby, and they will look at me weirdly (especially my husband, who doesn’t really know who Maureen Johnson is), but I will not care because OMG, Maureen Johnson!!!

Because to me, this all started with being a fangirl.  Mainly of authors like Susan Cooper and Elynne Mitchell and Roald Dahl and Susie Hinton and Margaret Mahy, and then onto authors like Margaret Atwood and Cormac McCarthy, and somehow at the same time authors like John Marsden and Melina Marchetta and Margo Lanagan (I met her once too!  She signed my copy of Red Spikes!) and so on, until I reach this point I’m at now, where I actually get to meet some of the people who have created some of my favourite books, like Simmone Howell and Leanne Hall and Cath Crowley.

For me, the thrill never goes away.  And I find it pretty inspiring, to know that those real live people out there exist, who keep giving their whole selves to the writing of the words that lift me up and spin me round and make me see the world in a different way.

That’s the promise I try to keep: that I’ll do my utmost to throw myself into the things I write, that I’ll try to give my best (or at least as close to the best that I’m capable of at this moment) to the words.  Basically, that I’ll be the best fangirl I can be, for the worlds I create.

Anyway, I said I was going to Sydney - yeah, well, I went :)  I met my agent, Catherine Drayton, for the first time, and - with her incredible powers of assurance - she filled me with the feeling that Every Breath will be fine, that it will go out into the world and have a happy life.  So thank you, Catherine, it's good to have that feeling in the last few months before your book is released.

I also met the lovely people who work at Allen & Unwin Sydney, who took me out to coffee, and bought me lunch, and listened to me bang on about the book, and my kids, and checked out the photos of Guildford and our house and stuff that I had on my phone.  And I met the cover designer, Lisa, and talked characters and book covers, and then slogged on in the rain to visit bookstores all over Sydney, in the short time I had left.

Now I'm back on the ranch, and it's a freezing Victorian winter (Sydney, you were so warm!), and I'm deep in the writing of the third book, while the winds howl outside.  My littlest son sometimes stops by to sip my tea while I'm working, and I am planning the launches for Every Breath.

Yes - launches.  I said there would be two, and now there are two, one for Melbourne friends and one for Castlemaine friends (although friends from both are welcome to go to both...I'm sure you know that).  They are both in September (the 12th and the 20th) and as we get closer I'll probably send out invites and bake cakes and buy bottles of wine, and all that stuff you do for parties...  I'll let you know more details as the Time Draws Near.

I'm also going to do some special posts soon, with details about giveaways, and competitions, and also some guests, and - this is very exciting - I will be able to show everyone the cover of Every Breath soon, very soon.  Don't worry, you won't miss it - I'll probably make up a giant blow-up poster and stand on the street corner, pointing and grinning like an idiot.

Until then, have a good week.