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Tom Harris

Writer of edgy Middle Grade & Young Adult Fiction

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THE AMBER MOON PART ONE: OF SHADOWS & DRAGONS – coming soon!

The Third and penultimate book in my Wings, Wands & Weird Worlds series will be available on Kindle and in Paperback soon. I’ll keep you posted on the release dates and the all important cover reveal in the coming weeks, but to whet your appetite here is the back cover blurb…

Over four deadly trials on the island of Mataquin, North and Rosie must steal four amber mosaics which are also the final pieces in Tan’s deadly endgame to awaken the legendary and mythical power of the Amber Room.
With the threat of The End Book still hanging over them and those they love; Rosie and North must battle other thieves and fairies to stay alive and win through the trials. Battling Dragons and Shadows is hard enough, but when an arranged marriage forced upon them by the rites of ancient fairy lore comes to light, it threatens to tear apart their partnership forever.
North and Rosie must prevail and buy time enough for the spies of the Ange Gardien to breach the powerful enchantments that shield the land of Rosie’s birthplace, the land of the three moons, and deliver the vital chain message, that could change their fate and that of the known universe.
Welcome to The Thief Trials…

Brain Feeding: A Monster Calls

An utterly compelling read, its tone reminiscent of a classic fable in parts, A Monster Calls is one of those rare books that you wished you’d never read, so you could read it all over again.

It tells the story of a young boy battling far bigger fears than the most gruesome and terrifying of all monsters – the reality of his Mum, losing her battle with cancer…

Its roots are fixed in the mechanics of a troubled young mind, where imagination and fantasy become barriers to the harshest of all realities. Yet Ness doesn’t dwell on the loss as many of these tales often do. It’s not a story that grinds you down and makes you wish you’d never wallowed in it – it’s quite the opposite.

It’s a beautiful concept delivered with simplicity, respect and elegance.

The origins of the story were the brainchild of talented YA Author Siobhan Dowd, who before her tragic passing wrote some fantastic fiction of her own – The London Eye Mystery in particular, which is back on my reading list – but Ness takes up the baton here and produces something truly special in completion.

The atmospheric illustrations of Jim Kay add so much for me too, as a huge graphic novel fan, I would definitely check out this illustrated version if you haven’t already.

Read it on your own, read it with your kids, take it down the park and read it to anyone who’ll listen. You can’t fail to be inspired by something as stunning as this.

This is exactly what I mean by Brain Feeding

Truly outstanding

*A Monster Calls is available from Blackwell’s Bookshop in Portsmouth & via Amazon

The Great Amber Giveaway: Part II

Huge thanks for all my readers in their support of The Amber Room giveaway before Christmas, which saw the book climb into the Top 5 of its genre in the Free Download charts.

So as a thank you for that, I wanted to offer everyone a chance to read the second book in the series. So for the next 5 days, beginning on Tuesday the 27th of December and running until New Year’s Eve on Saturday the 31st, you can now pick up The Amber Antidote on Kindle absolutely FREE, exclusively on Amazon.co.uk & Amazon.com.

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR FREE COPY OF THE AMBER ANTIDOTE ON KINDLE UK

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR FREE COPY OF THE AMBER ANTIDOTE ON KINDLE U.S

I think everyone needs an antidote to the year that is for 5 days more, 2016, so please spread the word and enjoy the book.

The follow-up to Antidote, The Amber Moon: Shadows & Dragons, is due for release early in 2017, so I’ll be back with news on that along with the cover release soon.

Thanks again for all your support

Tom

Brain Feeding: The Hunger Games

Everyone and their dog now knows about Suzanne Collins’ amazing dystopian creation, but back in the deepest, darkest recesses of 2009/10, The Hunger Games was little more than a whisper on the lips of bookish bairns.

Picture the scene, I was in the midst of my MA in Creative Writing at Portsmouth University when our tutor Sam Hawksmoor, a fine author with a bloodhound-like nose for excellent YA fiction, put me on the trail of this book, offering more than a hint that this might be something fantastic.

It sounded right up my street and quite simply it took my breath away.

The Hunger Games made me feel alive. I experienced every emotion known to my own self whilst chomping away upon every delicious page. I took Katkniss and Peeta to my heart and by half way through I wanted nothing more than to be an usher at their wedding.

This book turned me into a blood thirsty maniac, an emotional wreck, a hapless romantic and a political activist all in a matter of days. I’m not actually sure I’m any of the above in reality!

At the time, I declared…

The Hunger Games! This is the best book I’ve ever read…ever, ever, ever…You have to read it! What do you mean I’ve got a mad look in my eye?

‘Tom Harris, 2010’

And this is what this post is recommending for feeding your brain and inspiring your creative and escapist soul.

Not Catching Fire.

Not Mockingjay.

Not even the option of a ‘Hunger Games 4 movie marathon…’

My recommendation is simply to read this definitive masterpiece in all its incredible glory.

Take a winter’s day, a comfy chair, soft lighting and a cup of what ails ya, sit back and devour this book. I’m envious just thinking about it…

*The Hunger Games is available to buy from Blackwell’s Bookshop in Portsmouth, Amazon & some other notable stockists too…

#RISE EP3: The Disease of the Dead

The skies have been black all summer. Only the rain is the same.

Since the dead have been back, I’ve been feeling tired.

I do less than before although Dad says it’s difficult to do less than nothing.

It’s like the dead have bought back a disease. And it’s catching.

I’m sure I have the disease of the dead.

That is why I write. Why I must spread what I know as far and wide as I am able.

That is why I never stop.

If I did, my brain would stop working. I know it would. I would just sit around like the others. No telly. No books. No games.

Dad. He just sits there and grumbles and then he’ll get hungry or thirsty.

Only then does he get up and go out.

He comes back with tins from the corner shop most of the time.

But one day the shop will close. A lot of them already have.

shop

Children run the big supermarket round the block and the local chippy.

They even run the local newspaper and the radio station…

Adults have…stopped…working.

Shops, offices, doctors, dentists, restaurants, pubs, all deserted.

I should be at school, but all the schools are closed.

Dad leaves the door wide open now. Everyone does. No-one locks anything.

He also wanders into things…He’s just fallen over a chair in the dining room.

His face is scratched and cut and Mum is sniffing around him because the wound is fresh.

It gives me the creeps when she does that.

It’s why I carry my knife.

green-zombie-woman

Ever vigilant in this new world among the dead.

It’s how we all must be.

It’s why I must go.

But…it’s also why I must return, to share what I know, to find a way through…

It’s not too late for us…we can rise.

We can defeat The Party of the Dead together.

END TRANSMISSION…

#RISE

#MARIGOLDS

 

#RISE Ep 2: The Necromancer

My name. I didn’t tell you my name.

It’s Anderson. You don’t need anymore than that. Just Anderson.

After the Marigolds and the vote. The election results were announced.

Big Ben chimed and Mum returned as promised.

I never really knew Mum. Too young. Adults always say it, but I get it now. I mean, I still don’t know her, but at least she is here, back with us.

She walks past my door, but she doesn’t say hello. She grunts a lot and smells funny, but she is still my Mum.

We don’t seem to exist to her though or any of them. So we don’t talk to the dead…but the necromancer does.

It’s what necromancers do.

When he speaks they appear alive. It is because of this that we need Crowley.

Dad says if we ever vote against the Party of the Dead then things will change. The dead will turn on us. We could all get eaten!

The necromancer keeps us invisible. The necromancer keeps us alive.

So life is strange.

Everyone got what they wished for. They were not careful.

Everyone got their dead back. But not as they thought.

Sure, they walk around and moan, but not like before…nothing like before.

Crowley is on the telly…right now!

He says there are more dead coming.

The Prime Minister looks tired.

The Necromancer looms above her, arms raised, taking the acclaim of the public. Their banners of support are bland, none witty or worth sharing. Their messages devoid of emotion, in fact, the banners are there upon Crowley’s orders…

So are The Hackers.

They’re running another trace.

I’m compromised…but I will return.

When it’s safe.

When we can speak again…

END TRANSMISSION…

#RISE

#MARIGOLDS

#RISE: Ep 1: The Marigold Proclamation

#RISE

EPISODE 1: THE MARIGOLD PROCLAMATION

marigolds-a

Friday on the 14th day of October in the year 2016…

I don’t have long. Don’t have time to tell it all now.

You see, they’re watching. Always watching.

It started with Marigolds in the window.

It started a year ago when #Marigolds went viral.

‘The flowers will connect you with the dead.’

Those were the first words of the government necromancer, Crowley.

Unlike other political parties, The Party of the Dead did not knock on doors.

Can we count on your vote? was simply a question they did not need to ask.

‘Put Marigold’s in your window.’

That was it.

It was new. It was a gimmick and it worked. It was a landslide.

I suppose it’s our fault…Well, not mine exactly.

I’m too young to vote, but the adults got it wrong – again!

They thought it was fun. Like voting for Jedi’s.

But they didn’t think everyone else would do it.

The Marigold Proclamation changed everything.

The promise of being reunited with loved ones that had passed on beyond the veil of life.

Crowley showed us: Live on the BBC.

Celebrities in the graveyard looked on as their dead returned from the earth.

Some fainted. Some cried. Some got a new TV series out of it…but everyone was watching.

I was watching. Dad was watching.

We looked at each other and then at the empty armchair between us.

We both said it. At the same time. ‘Mum!’

We wanted her back.

The Marigold’s went in the window. The vote cast…

Stop.

Need to stop now.

No time.

They are watching. Always watching.

But I have more to tell.

More to say.

But not now…not now.

Though I will tell you this much, my friend…

The dead are coming.

END TRANSMISSION…

 

#RISE  

#MARIGOLDS

#RISE – My new Blog Series

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE NEW SERIES:

A couple of years ago I wrote a short piece for a Day of the Dead event which I performed at The Square Tower as part of the Portsmouth Bookfest programme. It was a fantasy-horror piece about a government necromancer and a band of teenage apostles who must save humanity from extinction. It was called #RISE.

It went down okay and I’ve always thought there was potential with the concept but it never really found a home or fitted in anywhere. A bit like a three-legged puppy doing twister, it was something that I knew wasn’t going anywhere fast, but I couldn’t stop going back to it, to check if it was alright.

Then, this happened…

I was out walking the streets late at night in Old Portsmouth, when I came across a mysterious woman wearing a cloak. She followed me for some time down dark alleys and through derelict building sites, her breathing ragged and heavy at my back.

alleyway-old-pompey

Finally, heart pounding and mouth drier than a shop bought Victoria sponge, I turned to face her. The old crone coughed and reached out to me. ‘You dropped this on the bus,’ she cackled. When she opened her hand I was surprised to see my dentures sitting in her palm. ‘Dank do,’ I replied, gummily and she went about her business.

Anyway, it was when I got back later that night that I decided to try out #Rise, as a Blog Series. Was the strange meeting with the old crone the reason behind this decision to blog again or was it just guilt, boredom or being constantly nagged by friends that if I don’t blog then literary agents and publishers will think I’m a lazy tosser?

I guess we’ll never really know…

#RISE – Coming Soon

October 2016

Who will you vote for?

#Rise #Marigolds

   

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