Blog Tour & Extract: SHE'S BAD NEWS - by Elle Spellman

Happy Monday! Today I'm sharing the blitz and an extract for She's Bad News by Elle Spellman. Hope you enjoy the post :)

What would you do if you woke up with super powers? For Bella Brown, life hasn't gone according to plan. She's almost thirty, still living in her uneventful hometown, and her dreams of becoming an investigative reporter have fallen by the wayside. That is, until she wakes up one morning to find she's been gifted with some amazing new abilities. What’s a girl to do with heightened senses, super speed and the ability to lift a truck one-handed? Bella quickly discovers that her new powers can easily help her land front-page leads at local newspaper The Hartleybourne Gazette. Soon Bella's out every night chasing down local criminals for stories, while keeping her powers a secret from everyone besides flatmate Chloe. But when a burglary-gone-wrong accidentally turns her into the mysterious Hartleybourne Heroine, Bella finds herself on the front page for the wrong reasons. Her secret becomes harder to keep as she tries to track down the source of her powers, and especially when crime reporter Matt Gilmore is intent on unmasking the town's new vigilante... Suddenly, having an extraordinary life is far more dangerous than she ever imagined.

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Elle Spellman is a writer and comic book geek living in Bristol, UK. She's been writing since a very young age, spending her childhood afternoons penning stories about fictional adventures, and illustrating them too. Now, Elle tends to write contemporary fiction with kick-ass heroines and a little bit of magic. She's Bad News is her debut novel, and she's just finished working on her second. Her other interests include running, wine, red lipstick, the paranormal, and all things Batman.

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She's Bad News follows Bella Brown, an aspiring journalist in a small town who thinks that luck is against her – that is, until she wakes up with super powers. 
In this extract from Chapter One, Bella is about to pitch a big story to her boss, Layla, and her colleagues at the Hartleybourne Gazette; the local paper in the town she's been trying to get out of for quite some time... 

As it happens, Fate can be a very, very cruel mistress. “Don't worry about it, love,” said Rob, Mum's partner, a seasoned prison officer who was surprisingly armed with constant jollity.
I liked Rob. So did Mum, very much so; they'd been together for nine years at that point.
“You know what it's like, with the economy now. Job cuts everywhere. And the internet, of course. Anyone with a smartphone can be a journalist nowadays. Got the world at our fingertips, haven't we?” he’d said, flicking on the kettle as I stayed put at the kitchen table, filling out job application number 46,752.
Rob wasn't entirely wrong. There was, after all, the economy. The job market had gone downhill. I applied for roles, I was interviewed, I was usurped by other candidates. I was good, at least I thought I was good, but never good enough. There was no real excuse for my shortcomings and lack of a Pulitzer besides the fact that this was real life, which comes with a nice side platter of struggle and rejection, and I had to deal with it. Publications weren't hiring as many trainees as before. My career was like a primary school egg and spoon race, everyone else sprinting ahead, me flailing behind at the very back, trying hard not to let that boiled egg fall off the spoon as my short legs wobbled through a muddy field.
However, there was one newspaper in search of a new recruit. Hartleybourne's own Gazette. The ad was for an 'Editorial Administrator', which sounded properly glam, even though I knew it wasn't. At the interview, Layla took one look at my CV and let out a sigh. She hadn't even flicked through my book full of cuttings and feature ideas. “Basically you'll be typing up copy,” she said, in a tone which suggested 'don't go getting ideas above your station, newbie.' “You'll be responsible for the health and wellbeing section. And the readers' letters. The last admin walked out a day before deadline so I need someone to start, like, yesterday. If you want it, you can come in on Monday.”
I was broke, and living with my mum. I was sleeping on my creaky old single bed beneath a faded poster of the Spice Girls. I needed a job. Prospects. Something temporary, until I found the next stepping stone to a fab career at the BBC or the Guardian. I have been working at the Hartleybourne Gazette ever since.

In any case, there I was, mentally going through my pitch which Layla was sure to turn down, because she always did, while I sat wiggling in the only posh-looking blouse I owned. I’d hauled it from the Narnia that was my closet at 6am in an attempt to look more professional, a bit Lois Lane-y with my massive specs, but all I'd got for my effort was a case of itchy boobs and underarm sweat. There was a reason I rarely wore the damn thing, and only then did I remember.
I shuffled in my seat some more as Lucie continued her offering.
“If you like, maybe everyone's favourite Madame can predict something specific in the stars this week?”
Aside from writing about homes and cars, Lucie also had an alter-ego: Mystical Madame Ravenscroft, who came up with the daily horoscopes. Lucie (thankfully) looked nothing like the stock image of the black-haired, gown-clad woman caressing a crystal ball below her ample cleavage as displayed above the horoscope column – but it was definitely her, trolling the believers every afternoon.
Even though Layla Raines had a wild notion that she was the second coming of Anna Wintour, the bulk of her responsibility sat with the crap health section (mine), the Readers' Opinions page (also mine), property, motors and fake astrology (Lucie's), travel, communities and culture (Daniel's), and education (Susan’s.). Layla's rag-tag team consisted of us four 'writers' and Carla, admin-slash-PA. There had been rumoured job cuts for months due to the falling sales of the Gazette. Naturally, like all of us, Layla was worried that she'd be next for the cull. She liked to keep us on our toes, acting as though we worked in the dark depths of Gotham City rather than a small town just north of Dorchester that was barely noticeable on a map.
In fact, if you've ever been to Hartleybourne, it was probably because you took a wrong turn on the way to a nice, pleasant seaside haven on the coast and got a bit lost. You probably hurled all manner of curse-words into the steering wheel as you tried to navigate back out again, especially when you reached that big roundabout that confused the hell out of anyone who dared approach it. Unless you live here, no-one voluntarily heads into Hartleybourne. It's bland, its skyline blending into various shades of grey. It has two high-rise blocks of flats, a shopping centre that's seen better days, three nightclubs, a town hall, and plenty of places to buy kebabs.
And of course, like every small town, it contains a small army of roving reporters ready to leap on the 'council didn't collect my bin twice now, it's not on' complaint and capture the obligatory sad-face in all its photographic glory. That's what the Gazette is here for, and has been since 1964.

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