Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Stepping Back

Hello, friends! I'm taking a break from blogging for a bit in order to try to get the ideas popping around my head into some kind of coherent story.

Take care and best wishes, all!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Corruption by Nick Wilford

I'm happy to be hosting Nick Wilford today as part of his Corruption blog tour. Corruption is the second book in his YA dystopian series. Welcome, Nick!!

Hi Julie! Thanks for hosting me today. I'd like to share the opening of Corruption with your readers.


Wellesbury took his lunch out of the food production unit and followed Ezmerelda through the newly installed double doors to the grass area outside the canteen. Grass. A concept that had been alien to him until a few months ago. So many things were new, it was making his head spin. But in a good way. Everyone seemed more relaxed. He and Ez sat down on opposite sides at one of the tables that had been placed in the picnic area.
“Taste good?” he asked as his girlfriend took a bite of the steamed trout on her plate. He’d chosen a vegetable lasagne. Okay, so the food was still synthetic, but they were working on that and at least there was a choice of menu options now. 

“Mmm,” she said. “Yeah. I wonder what the real thing will be like.”

Newly recruited teams were at that moment exploring coastal areas, to see if any fish still lived there. Early reports had been encouraging.

“It’s weird to think there could be actual animals here,” said Wellesbury, slicing into his lasagne. “Like the ones we saw in Fusterbury, but a bit cleaner, hopefully.”

She laughed. “Yeah, we need just the right amount of dirt to be healthy. I really hope George gets his expedition together soon. People are still dying over there.”

“I hope so, too. I mean, we don’t even know how many family members Mal’s got left. They need to set up the communication system.”

Ezmerelda skewered a potato with her fork. “I suppose we’ve just got to trust he knows what he’s doing. I know there’s a lot of things to do here, but we’re not the ones in dire need.”

“He’s getting there. The immunity potion is a big thing. No point him and his team dying of the same disease they’re trying to save people from.”

She sighed. “I know, I know.”

The sun peeked out from behind a cloud, and she closed her eyes, a smile lighting up her face with pleasure. Wellesbury wasn’t going to get tired of seeing that smile any time soon. And real weather was so much more interesting, now they’d got rid of that atmospheric cloud that only permitted a watered-down outline of the sun to peek through.

“Well, let’s go and see what Mal’s up to before we go back.” Wellesbury rose from his seat and put his empty plate in the outside vaporiser. That was one piece of technology that was certainly worth keeping. Not everything the Reformers had done was bad.

Wellesbury’s long-lost twin brother, Mallinger, who had come to their country looking for help but instead had only narrowly avoided an agonising and lonely death in a jail cell, had enrolled in Magnificence High School. Ability groups had been organised for the first time, and while he was obviously at the opposite end from Welles and Ez due to his lack of any previous learning, he’d picked up reading and writing remarkably quickly. His practice sheets were bordering on legible.

Mal was sitting at a table at the opposite end of the grass area, chatting and laughing with his classmates. He’d settled in well, picking up his own set of friends. A far cry from his arrival, when he’d been callously labelled a demon by a closed-minded mob. Welles was glad people had become more accepting since the curtain had fallen on the government’s activities.

“Hey Mal, what’s up?” said Welles, playfully punching him on the shoulder.

“Oh, hey bro,” said Mal. “Just chilling with the guys.” About ten of them were squeezed round the small table, and the rest continued with their boisterous conversations. Welles saw a lot of himself in Mal; what he might have been like if he had been raised in a less constrictive environment, and had more love from his parents. They were twins, after all, but separated from the moment they were born.

“What you doing after school?”

“Got a big football practice with my team here.”

Football was the game that Mal had brought over from Fusterbury, and it had proved wildly popular. It was simpler and less elitist than gravball, the version that had been invented by the Reformers. Welles used to be the star of the school gravball team, but had lost interest since his friendships with his former teammates had gone awry. He’d washed his hands of them. Somehow, they seemed to prefer the old, regimented way of life. He enjoyed a kickabout with Mal now and then, but these days that was as far as his sporting activities went.

“I’ll see you at home after, then.”

“Not got a hot date?” asked Mal, grinning at Ez, who rolled her eyes and tutted affectionately.

“Oh, you know. Don’t want to get sick of each other,” said Welles, looking at Ez and winking.

She shook her head and said, “Right, that’s enough of you silly boys’ antics. Time to get back to class.”

“Yes, ma’am!” said Mal, raising his hand to his temple in a mock salute.

“See you later,” said Welles, waving at Mal and going after Ez.

At first, his parents had resisted having Mallinger live with them, even after the truth of Fusterbury had been exposed. It was just such a culture shock having more than one child in the house, they said. But as Dr Tindleson had explained, Mal was their child too, and if it hadn’t been for Wellesbury, they would never have known he even existed, let alone have had the chance of a relationship with him. And, thought Welles, Mal had softened them a little bit. There was still something about him that seemed so innocent, and he was so trusting and eager to please, in spite of everything he’d been through. Amazing, really.

The three of them hung out in Welles’s room often, and this might also be a beneficial factor for his parents; with the scientists slowly working on people’s biological make-up to effect a return to a previous, primitive state, Mal could act as a sort of chaperone.

Title: Corruption
Author: Nick Wilford
Genre: YA dystopian Series: Black & White Series #: 2 of 3
Release date: 11th February 2019
Publisher: Superstar Peanut Publishing
Wellesbury Noon and Ezmerelda Dontible have found themselves in a position where they can make their native land somewhere that lives up to its name: Harmonia. However, they’re setting their sights further afield for their number one task: eradicating the disease that has plagued the neighbouring country of Loretania for generations and allowed the privileged Harmonians to live in a sterile environment.

After dispatching a team of scientists to Loretania, armed with cratefuls of an antidote and vaccine and headed up by their friend, Dr George Tindleson, Welles, Ez, and Welles’s brother Mal – who grew up in that benighted nation – start to worry when they hear nothing back, despite what they had agreed. Commandeering a fishing boat to follow the science team over the sea, they soon find that, while the disease may be on the way out, a new kind of infection has set in – the corruption they thought they had stamped out in Harmonia.

Can they get to the root of the problem and eliminate it before even more damage is done to an innocent people?

*** Warning – this book contains themes that some sensitive readers may find upsetting. ***

Purchase Links:
Meet the author:
Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those early morning times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction, with a little freelance editing and formatting thrown in. When not working he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. He has four short stories published in Writer’s Muse magazine. Nick is also the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew. Visit him at his blog or connect with him on Twitter, GoodreadsFacebook, or Amazon.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

January IWSG: New Year and New Magic

Hello, friends! It's hard to believe it's time for the first 2019 meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group. 2019! How did we get here already? My blog is officially 8 years old now, which is also hard for me to believe. It's been an amazing 8 years thanks in no small part to all the wonderful people who make up this group, which was founded by our Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. To view list members and this month's co-hosts, visit the IWSG page here.

It's safe to say 2018 was not a productive year for me writing-wise, and as December came to a close I was grumpy and mired in the type of defeatist thinking that has plagued me for as long as I can remember. I was certain that 2019 would be the same, as well as 2020, 2021, 2022, and so on. In short, I had decided that I would surely never write again and I was a moron for ever thinking I could do it in the first place.

But then I was going for a run back in my favorite park and out of nowhere I had some new ideas come and sit on my shoulder and whisper in my ear. They were ideas for the story I've been working on forever and ideas for stories I'd never thought of before. I started feeling warm and fuzzy and tingly with adrenaline. I couldn't wait to get home to write down the ideas and start exploring them.

By total coincidence, I started reading the latest selection for the IWSG book club, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, that evening. I was amazed to discover that the title of her book refers to her own experience with having ideas and inspiration arrive unbidden. She likens it to the excitement felt when first falling in love, and views it as a form of magic. Big Magic.

While reading I thought of my experience back in the park and the excitement that coursed through me and decided I agreed with her. It was magic! And it was magic I haven't felt for far too long, as any writing I have done recently has felt more like a chore than like something I love to do.

So now I'm planning to ride this magic wave into 2019 and work on these ideas that have taken up residence in my head. I'm thrilled to feel excited again!

Happy New Year! I hope 2019 is a year filled with lots of magic and joy for all of us.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

December IWSG: My Writing Space

Hello, friends! Today is the day for the December meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group. The group was founded by our Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. To view list members and this month's co-hosts, visit the IWSG page here.

This month's IWSG question is:

                 What are five objects we'd find in your writing space?

I am cheating a little here because I don't really have five objects in my space, unless you count things like lamps. My writing space is my living room couch and the only writing-related object I have there is my laptop, when I'm writing on it. 

Even though it's a bit boring, I love my writing space because I share it with these two handsome guys. 

If you've followed this blog for any length of time you probably already know my dog Clancy and my cat Nate. These two are both eleven years old and they have been along for the ride on every step of my writing journey since they came to live with me. 

One is the boss:

The other is the annoyed colleague who really just wants to sleep:

The Ohio State throw that Clancy is trying to use as his pillow there is a third constant in my space. 

So that's my writing space - my couch, my laptop, my throw, and my two furbabies. So I guess I do have five things to list, even though Clancy and Nate aren't things. Like I said, I'm cheating a little. 

I hope to spend a good part of December on my couch writing and I'm counting on boss Nate to get after me if I start slacking off. I didn't finish NaNo, or even come close, but I did make progress on my story so I'm hoping to continue with that this month and finish off the year on a productive front. 

I am looking forward to catching up with everyone after taking last month off. Happy December! 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

November IWSG: Third Time's the Charm?

Hello, all! Today is the day for the monthly meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group. The group was founded by our Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. To view list members and this month's co-hosts, visit the IWSG page here.

I'm actually going to sit this month out because I decided at the last minute to sign up for NaNoWriMo and I'm busy working on that. I thought I would try one more time to finish a draft of my Window Box in Paris story. I tried last November during NaNo and ended up with about 500 words written, then I tried again during CampNaNo in the spring and ended up with even less. 

But I was in the mood to write again so I thought I would give it another go. With luck, the third time really will be the charm. 

I hope you all have a wonderful month ahead. And to those in the US like me I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving. 

See you in December1 😊

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China by Sherry Ellis!

It’s a pleasure to be participating in author Sherry Ellis’ BUBBA AND SQUIRT’S BIG DIG TO CHINA Blog Tour through MC Book Tours today. Welcome, Sherry!

I'm sharing an excerpt of the story, and Sherry is offering a tour-wide international giveaway featuring five autographed copies of her book. More information on the giveaway is listed below.

by Sherry Ellis
◊ Genre: Juvenile Fiction
◊ Publisher: Dancing Lemur Press
◊ Print & eBooks
◊ Paperback: 94 pages
◊ Grades 3-5

Squirt doesn't believe Bubba can dig a hole to China. But when the hole swallows them, the kids find themselves in Xi'an, China, surrounded by Terracotta Warriors.
          It gets worse when the ghost of the first emperor of China appears. He tells them they can't go home until they find his missing pi. The kids don't know where to begin until they meet a girl and her grandmother who promise to help find the pendant.
          Soon they realize they are being followed. And they are no closer to finding the missing pi. Will Bubba and Squirt ever make it back home?



It’s me–Bubba. My turn! I was glad to get out of the hole, but what I saw did not look one bit like home. What I saw was an army of men. Thousands of them! They were all standing there, lined up, ready for battle. Armor covered their shoulders and chests. Their faces looked fierce and determined. And do you know what else? They were made of stone.
Squirt came out behind me. “Whoa!”
“What is this place?” I asked.
Squirt stared. “I have no idea. But what I do know is that you got us into a big mess!”
“Sorry.” I put my hands in my pockets and looked down. I knew this was bad. The hole and tunnel were scary. Scarier than the Banshee roller coaster at Kings Island. It reminded me of my accident at the pond, when my sled crashed through the ice. Memories of the day I died.
I didn’t want those scary thoughts in my head, so I took a deep breath and walked up to one of the soldiers. He was big. As big as Daddy! I stood on my tippy toes to get a closer look. Then I scratched my head, because that guy looked kind of familiar. I did a little thinking. That’s when I figured it out. He looked just like the guy who works at Kung Pau Dragon.
I walked over to the next soldier. He looked like the other guy who works there. But this place wasn’t Kung Pau Dragon. That could mean only one thing. We were in China! A big smile spread across my face. The shovel had worked. I was right where I’d wanted to go. 
“Hey,” I said. “They’re Chinese! We’re in China!”
Squirt scrunched her eyebrows. “Bubba, that’s impossible!”
“But look.” I grabbed her hand and dragged her over to the big statue and pointed at its face.
She studied it real hard. Then she shook her head. “It couldn’t be.”
“Yeah, it could,” I said.
Her green eyes flashed. “No! You don’t understand. These look like Terracotta Warriors.”
“Terra-what?” What was Miss Smarty Pants talking about?

Sherry Ellis is an award-winning author and professional musician who plays and teaches the violin, viola, and piano.

When she is not writing or engaged in musical activities, she can be found doing household chores, hiking, or exploring the world. Sherry, her husband, and their two children live in Atlanta, Georgia. 

For more on Sherry and her writing, you can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, her blog, her website and her Amazon Author Page.

This tour-wide giveaway is for five (5) autographed copies of BUBBA AND SQUIRT’S BIG DIG TO CHINA. The giveaway is open internationally.

To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. If the widget doesn’t show up, just click HERE and you’ll be directed to the widget.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to follow Sherry on her month-long tour HERE. You never know what you might find out.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

October IWSG & Trying New Things

Hello and Happy October! It's officially my favorite time of the year as I love the period from October through December. So many things to love! Cool temperatures, sweater weather, football, holidays - I could go on and on.

Today is the day for the monthly meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group. The group was founded by our Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. To view list members and this month's co-hosts, visit the IWSG page here.

I'm trying something new with my writing this month and I'm definitely insecure about it, but I also feel like it's the best move for me to make right now.

I've always been a "pantser" when writing and have only made the most basic of outlines. This has worked for me in the past and I loved writing this way. But it's not working now as I'm continuing to struggle with getting my Paris story together. I've been playing with this story for more than two years now and have made so little progress I decided something has to give. This story has significantly more characters and time periods than I have ever attempted to write before and it's become a jumbled mess in my head.

My friend Madeline at The Shellshank Redemption recommended the book Story Genius to me several months ago and I kept meaning to give it a try but never did. I was intimidated by the idea and kept thinking my tried and true "pants" method would eventually kick in and work. Then when I was once again feeling frustrated with my writing I saw another author recommending this same book on Twitter. It seemed like the universe was trying to tell me something!

So I got the book and am now committed to giving it a try, even though I am still intimidated by the idea of totally changing my writing process.

Have you ever changed your writing method to suit a new project? Are there any craft books you recommend?

Happy October, all!