Kelly Hall day!

I am delighted to be hosting the fabulous Kelly Hall as part of her book tour for the release of ‘The Secret of Strange Waters’. Kelly is here today to talk about her top ten young adult paranormal books:

Hi I’m Kelly Hall, author of The Light Keeper Series. When I’m not writing I’m busy reading. I love going on a journey in the pages of someone else’s mind, and this is a list of my top ten favorite YA paranormal book series and why I love them!

  1. The Mortal Instruments- Cassandra Clare – This series is my absolute favorite of all time and I read it at least once a year, including the infernal devices because, well, it’s that good. I am also super happy that ABC family is going to release the TV show, Shadowhunters, in 2016! I can’t wait!
  2. The Morganville Vampires- Rachel Caine- I just love Shane Collins so much and I adore this series. This is one that I read over again as well! It needs a TV Series too. I do hope the web series continues on Geek and Sundry.
  3. The Infernal Devices- Cassandra Clare- This series is so much fun and I love learning more about my favorite characters from The Mortal Instruments. I can’t get enough Shadowhunters.
  4. Bloodlines- Richelle Mead- I know that technically I should be naming this series AFTER Vampire Academy, but I kind of liked it more and I will admit that is probably because it has more Adrian. All books need more Adrian.
  5. Vampire Academy- Richelle Mead- This series was so good I have read it a few times too. I even loaned out a copy of the last book and then never got it back, so I had to go out and buy it again because I refuse to not have the complete set. I also learned a valuable lesson about loaning my babies out!
  6. Vampire Diaries- L.J. Smith- I honestly love many of L.J.’s early books, but this one is my favorite and mostly because of Damon and Bonnie! How cute are they? If you haven’t read the books and only watched the show I encourage you to read them. It’s a whole different experience.
  7. Sweep- Cate Tiernan- This series was so good that— as I would finish one book, I’d go to the book store and buy the next. I read them so fast that after the third trip in my husband said to just start buying them two at a time. It helped a little. Instead of going every day, we went every other day. I devoured this fifteen book series!
  8. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children- Ransom Riggs – Aside from the awesome photos, this book is full of interesting characters that come together for a great tale.
  9. Evernight- Claudia Gray- I really enjoyed this series and its take on vampires. I love Balthazar and the fact that Gray used the name Balthazar. He’s a great character and I loved his book too.
  10. The Forest of Hands and Teeth- Carrie Ryan- I found this book at my local library at a time where I had hit a reading slump. I just didn’t feel like reading and so I didn’t want to buy a book series and then not read it, so I found this and told myself I was going to try to read, thinking I would just read a bit and put it down, but I couldn’t. I read it all night then went back for the others the next day. It’s really a creepy fun story and it takes you through all of your emotions. Plus, all the books in this series have really awesome names. I’ve now added it to my personal library.

On top of that, take a look at these gorgeous character profiles from ‘The Secret of Strange Waters’. (I LOVE Talon!)






Success in the Spa Spa Awards!

I’m feeling very proud of myself today as my fantasy novel ‘A Chronicle of Chaos’ came 3rd in the Fantasy category of the SpaSpa 2014 book awards!

2014 Self-Published and Small Press Awards

This is the first time I had ever been entered into a competition such as this and for a first effort, I don’t think third is a bad result! Hopefully next year I can push for a first 🙂

Wondering What The Shield On My Book Cover Means? Find Out!

Many people have asked me about the meaning of the shield and symbols on the front of A Chronicle of Chaos, so I thought I’d take some time out to explain the significance of the artwork.

Front cover

Each of the symbols on the shield represents a different faction in the war which rages across the land in the Light and Shadow Chronicles series. Some of the symbols are linked to the Children of Light, some the Brotherhood of Shadow and some entirely different groups of people (or creatures!) altogether.

Symbol - Avalanche

Avalanche – a small elite unit of warriors fighting for the Children of Light. Some of the best soldiers in the whole series fight under this banner.
Characters you may have met: Raven Lennox, Deacon Thialdor, Ryan Thialdor, Tiger Lennox

Symbol - Children

Children of Light – One of the armies in the eternal war, led by immortal matriarch and warrior, Callista Nienna.
Characters you may have met: Callista Nienna, Hayden Lennox, Scorpio Bast

Symbol - Nightfall

Nightfall – another elite unit of soldiers, this time from the generation below Avalanche. They formed their unit out of jealousy that they couldn’t get into Avalanche! They are impetuous, rash and often uncompromising.
Characters you may have met:  Chaos Lennox, Dana Thialdor (originally named Deianira Thialdor), Mercury Lennox

Symbol - Demons

Demons – residents of Hell who have been summoned to fight for the Brotherhood of Shadow.
Characters you may have met: Anathema, Phantom, Malla (originally named Maleficia), Anubis

Symbol - Valhalla

Valhalla Elite – an elite unit of warriors in the Brotherhood of Shadow which formed to counterbalance the threat from Avalanche.
Characters you may have met:  (There is not much mention of these guys in A Chronicle of Chaos – the only character briefly seen is Vincent Wilda’s son, Silas)

Symbol - Brotherhood

The Brotherhood of Shadow -the army opposing the Children of Light in the eternal war, led by immortal warrior Vincent Wilda.
Characters you may have met:  Vincent Wilda, The Bavelize (ish – he is working with them currently)

Symbol - DUSK

D.U.S.K – The Democratic Union of Separatist Knights – a group of people who broke away from the two warring sides to form their own nation.

Characters you may have met: They haven’t appeared in the books yet, but will do soon!

Symbol - Angels

Angels – a group of Heavenly beings that come to the Human Realm when the world is threatened by demons.
Characters you may have met: Icarus, Samael

In A Chronicle of Chaos the two most prominent factions are Nightfall and demons. As such, those two sections are highlighted. In future books, different sections will be highlighted depending on the characters featured.

‘Soren’ on trial in a UK school

One of my current projects is a children’s version of my upcoming novel ‘The Shield of Soren’. This book is one of the tales in the Light and Shadow Chronicles series and the protagonist is a mischievous 10-year-old boy – Soren Nitaya. Due to this, I decided to have a separate edition of the story aimed at children aged 9-12. This book is entitled simply ‘Soren’ and is written under the name ‘Danielle Cain.’

As a primary school teacher, I am lucky enough to have a wonderfully creative and engaged class of children right under my nose! I am currently trialling the book with my class and we are three quarters through. The children do not know that I wrote the book as I wanted their honest feedback and didn’t want them to suck up to teacher!

Well, the feedback from the kids so far has been AMAZING! They absolutely LOVE the story and are thoroughly engaged with the characters. Some comments so far include:

I love the way that Danielle Cain describes things. It makes you feel like you are there in the book.

The book is so good because when the characters are sad, I feel sad too, and when they are happy, it makes me feel happy.

It is the funniest and saddest book I’ve ever read at the same time!

I asked them to rank the class books we have read over the past two years and, aside from one or two die-hard Collins fans, this was the unanimous result:

  1. Soren
  2. Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins
  3. Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo
  4. The BFG by Roald Dahl

So, as you can imagine, there is a huge grin on my face right now! I’ve even had some of the children writing letters to the author to ask questions and tell her how much they are enjoying it! I cannot wait for the day when we finish the book and I tell them the truth.

I have been editing as I go along, making changes here and there, listening to their comments, adding more of the characters they love, cutting short the parts that drag, and all of this is down to the children and their comments. When the book is finally ready, I plan to give each child a free copy so they can see the dedication in the front to all of them.  I feel so lucky to have this amazing opportunity to test-run a book. It is perfect market research right at my fingertips!

On top of all of this, my headteacher and another local head (who is very influential in the area) are very enthusiastic about my writing and thrilled about the prospect of having a children’s author working in their school. I have completed all sorts of lessons and activities based around the book, and so I have decided to put all of my plans and resources together and release a teacher’s guide and lesson pack to go with the book. I can then sell this to schools and teachers!

I am really hoping this will be a huge opportunity for me and who knows, maybe I’ll even get one of the big kids’ publishers interested. It’s all taking off!

Here are some examples of the children’s work based around Soren: