Pre-order contest winners!

So last night, my pre-order contest closed! Thank you to everyone who entered for The Oathbreaker’s Shadow. Entries were put through the random number generator to select winners.

Winners have been contacted via e-mail, but here they are! Congratulations!

Grand prize (manuscript read or giftcard):

Pamela S

YA book pack:

Matthew B, Heather Z


Spencer RP, Nik R-M, Chiara, Mel R, Rachel W, Kenneth S, Amy L, Jenni N, Lucy S, Charles B


The great big The Oathbreaker’s Shadow pre-order giveaway!!

I am pretty much freaking out because it is only ONE MONTH until The Oathbreaker’s Shadow is unleashed in the UK. Actually, it’s LESS than an a month until it’s released in Canada! Ahhhh!

Inspired by another YA author Shannon Messenger, I’ve decided to host only one giveaway to do with The Oathbreaker’s Shadow release, but my word – it is going to be epic. In fact, it’s so epic that there is going to be THREE tiers of prizes that are open  INTERNATIONALLY, and it’s all to say thank you to those who pre-order Oathbreaker, either the hardback edition or Kindle edition.

You have until June 3rd, 2013 to enter!

Without further ado:

1) First tier: 10 x postcard + knot string bracelet + a sterling silver knot bracelet


Ten lucky winners will get a beautiful The Oathbreaker’s Shadow-inspired .925 sterling silver knot bracelet, plus a postcard, which I will happily personalize, and a handmade string bracelet.

2) Second tier: 2 x Package of awesome #UKYA books


Two lucky people will win a package of 5 #UKYA books, from awesome authors like Emma Pass, James Dawson, Kim Curran, Laura Lam, Will Hill, Tanya Byrne, Abigail Gibbs, Janet Edwards, Zoe Marriott, Phil Earle, Karen Mahoney and Sarwat Chadda, plus a postcard, plus a handmade string bracelet!

3) Third tier: The Grand Prize! Full manuscript evaluation + signed, personalized hardback + postcard + a handmade string bracelet OR a £50 giftcard + a signed, personalized hardback + postcard + a handmade string bracelet.


If you’ve been following my blog, you know that in my day job I work as a commissioning editor for HarperVoyager, HarperCollins’ SF&F imprint. I know that there are a lot of aspiring writers out there, so as a grand prize – open internationally – I’m offering a full manuscript evaluation to one winner (to a maximum of 100,000 words, any genre as long as it’s fiction – I wouldn’t be very helpful with non-fiction anyway!) alongside a signed, personalized hardback.

Equally, I know that the person who is drawn for the grand prize might *not* be a writer, so I’m offering a £50 Amazon gift card as a grand prize instead (or if it works out that a more local gift card works out better, I’ll offer it for the equivalent amount, to be determined with the winner). And the signed hardback. Woohoo!

But wait, there’s more! (sorry, I’ve always wanted to say that… in true Shopping Channel style)


Additionally, pre-order entries from the UK AND COMMONWEALTH (including Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand) will ALL receive a postcard and a bracelet – just for entering!

A bit of background behind these awesome bracelets… My amazing mum has been working tirelessly at hand-knotting these  The Oathbreaker’s Shadow bracelets, in a variety of awesome colours. Don’t worry, I will pay her back in love and a big present, and she promises me they pass the time while she’s watching American Idol, so it’s perfectly fine that I’m exploiting her hard work 😉  In the book, promises are bound with knots, so it’s the perfect tie-in. Unfortunately, because supplies of postcards and bracelets are limited, I can only offer them to readers in countries where The Oathbreaker’s Shadow is being sold… that means I can’t offer it in the US and non-Commonwealth countries yet 😦 Boo!

Now, the other important thing is that I am NOT going to ask you to send in proof of your pre-order with your entry, unless your name is drawn to win one of the prizes. Honour system all the way (a big theme of the book is about promises and trust, after all…) There are pre-order links in the sidebar of the blog, but I’m not going to ask you to pre-order anywhere specific and please support your local bookstore if you are able to 🙂 If your name is drawn, then I will ask the winners to e-mail me proof of purchase within a week of receiving the notification.

If you’ve already pre-ordered, that’s AMAZING and please enter anyway because OF COURSE that counts too!

Without further ado, here is the form… but if for some reason it doesn’t load, please CLICK HERE.

Phew. I think that’s all. Any questions, please fire away in the comments. And THANK YOU for entering!!

One month… AHHH!

Congratulations to the lucky winner – and a post on settings

First of all, congratulations to Annabelle H (_annabelleh_) for being the lucky winner of the Wither/Fever Lauren DeStefano giveaway! If you would e-mail me your postal address (mcculloch[dot]amy[at]gmail[dot]com), I’ll get the books out to you straight away.

Over on the Lucky 13s blog, there’s been a lot of chatter about settings and world-buildings, from California (the setting of The Wig in the Window by Kristin Kittscher) to London (and beyond) in 1894 (the many fascinating settings of The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd). This is by far one of my favourite aspects of both writing and reading novels. A good setting can add so much to a story, almost becoming a character in and of itself.

The same works for movies and TV shows too. These are some of my favourite TV show settings:

It was a show full of sexy castaways, but there’s no denying that the island was the main star of Lost. Even when Lost lost its plot (and a few of those castaways), the mysteries of the island kept people hooked. And who wouldn’t want to be stuck on a deserted island like that? (without the creepy smoke monsters, of course!)

The Wire
Good Morning Baltimore, every day’s like an open door! Oops, wrong show… Still, what would The Wire be without Baltimore? The accents, the streets, the political tension – yes, it’s far from a complete picture of the city, but it certainly makes for great television viewing.

Sex and the City

The show was basically a love letter to New York City. Could characters like Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte really exist anywhere else? Each one of them is New York through and through. I think Sex and the City 2: Abu Dhabi (itself a gorgeous and exotic city) proves that in this case, New York is the only way, baby.


Game of Thrones
Yeah, I’m not going to be able to get away with writing this post without mentioning the best setting on television at the moment: Westeros. As a fantasy writer, George has been able to borrow from all cultures all over the world to create the lush, bleak, desolate, stormy lands that make up Westeros. And HBO are taking full advantage: this year, the show filmed in locations as varied as Croatia and Iceland (among others!) to get the perfect setting.

Giveaway! Wither & Fever by Lauren DeStefano

To celebrate the launch of my Facebook author page, and also because I’m agonisingly close to that 400 follower mark on Twitter, I’ve decided to host my first ever blog giveaway! It will be the first, I’m sure, of many to come.

It also happens to be the launch week of Fever by Lauren DeStefano here in the UK, so I’m giving away a copy to a lucky blog reader! Alongside will be the new UK pb of Witherthe first book in Lauren’s amazing The Chemical Garden trilogy.

Since I clearly have a vested interest in these amazing novels, I won’t be reviewing them. However, with each book I give away I’m going to write a little something about what that book means to me – either how I came upon it, or a story around its publication.

A story of Wither

On my first day as assistant editor for Voyager, I was handed a stack of manuscripts to read to get me up to speed with the list. Overwhelmed by this treasure trove of fiction, I scanned the first few pages of each to choose which one to start with. When I came to Wither (which was then just a lot of sheets of A4 held together with an elastic band and went by another title), I knew I had to read the whole thing then and there. Can I just tell you that if you are an aspiring author wanting to know how to write a first chapter that grabs – no, demands – an editor’s (or a reader’s) attention, then you can do no better than the opening of Wither. Lauren’s prose is absolutely stunning, and the opening ends with a real bang! The rest of the book doesn’t disappoint, and it remains one of the most outstanding examples of dystopian YA literature that I’ve read to date.

To enter, simply ‘like’ me on Facebook by clicking the like button on the left-hand side of the page, or by visiting the page and clicking ‘like’:

Amy McCulloch on Facebook

Or add me on twitter:


And you’re entered! If you’re already my friend on FB or Twitter and still want to be in to win, just RT or leave a comment to this blog post. The contest is open internationally and will end at midnight GMT on February 24, 2012.

Good luck!