Thursday, September 28, 2017

A Visit from Nick Wilford!

Hello, all! I hope September has been a good month for everyone. I can't say it has been productive for me as my writing has been nearly nonexistent but I guess I still have a few days left to change that. And, there's always October. 😊

I'm excited to be hosting Nick Wilford today as part of his blog tour for his new book Black & White. Welcome and congratulations, Nick!

Hi Julie! Thanks for letting me take over your blog as part of my tour today. I’ve got an excerpt from my book Black & White to share with your readers, showing the first time my young protagonists, Wellesbury and Ezmerelda, visit the neighbouring country of Loretania, which they have only just learnt existed.
She stretched out her arms. “Why don’t we stay here? Let’s face it, it’s a lot more fun. Kids can do what they want – there doesn’t seem to be any school, but maybe we could teach them a few things. And there’s something about the feel of the dirt on your skin.” She scratched at her arms, which were filthy from the children touching her, and looked at her blackened fingernails. “It feels good, and... honest. I feel like I’m actually alive for the first time ever. What do you say? Don’t know about you, but there’s no one I’m really going to miss. Not even my parents.” She wrinkled her nose. “Actually, especially not them.”
     He looked at her wide-eyed face, a spark of anger flaring in his chest. “What about the kids dying on an hourly basis? Look around you, and really open your eyes! A boy came to our world looking for help. I’m going to do the best I can, or die trying. I’m not giving up on him just to avoid getting punished, or worse. You want to leave things the way they are? You’re no better than those bastards back home... no better than your dad!”
     He shook his head and schlupped off through the mud towards Rottifer’s house. “Welles, wait!” he heard from behind him.
     It’s not supposed to be like this. Why doesn’t she feel the same as me? Thought she was the clever one.
     He reached the house of the man who had shown them the utmost hospitality and shouted through the door, “It’s Wellesbury here. Can I come in?”
     “Of course!” came the reply. He walked through the door just as Ezmerelda caught up, and she followed him in. He didn’t look round.
     Rottifer was reclining on his scratchy bed again, but sat up and smiled through his thick beard when the foreigners entered. “Been making friends?”
     “Yes, everyone’s really nice. But it’s time for us to be heading back now.”
     Rottifer’s face fell. “Oh, I was hoping you could stay and share the evening meal with us. It’s customary in this house – even if someone visits from the next street, we share our food with them. I was saving you two the biggest rat. And before dinner, I was going to take you around and show you a bit of the town.”
     Wellesbury was silent for a moment – it was, after all, against his nature to be rude – but then Ezmerelda piped up, “That sounds delightful. And it might give us some more evidence we can use against the government. And I’ve got to admit, I’m really curious about trying... well, I suppose you would call it real food.”
     “You haven’t eaten food before?”
     “Technically, no. It comes out of a machine, and it’s synthesised. Fake,” she added upon seeing Rottifer’s mystified expression.
     “That sounds fascinating, although I’ve no idea what a machine is. Here, we catch our food – or find it dead – and roast it over the fire.” He indicated a construction consisting of a long, pointed bit of wood resting on two supports, with a handle at one end.
     “I’d love to see that!” she said, her eyes lighting up. “We’d love to stay. Wouldn’t we?” she said, elbowing Wellesbury in the ribs.
     Although he was torn, the instinct of being deferential and polite to adults pulled at him the most strongly. Especially as this was far and away the nicest adult he’d ever met. He felt relaxed in his company, which was more than he could say about his parents. “Of course we’ll stay,” he said.
     “Excellent!” said Rottifer, rubbing his hands together. “If you’re ready, come with me and I’ll show you the sights. Starting with the Monument of the Dead.”
     The two visitors looked at one another and raised their eyebrows simultaneously, their argument forgotten for the moment.
Title: Black & White
Author: Nick Wilford
Genre: YA dystopian Series #: 1 of 3
Release date: 18th September 2017
Publisher: Superstar Peanut Publishing
What is the price paid for the creation of a perfect society?

In Whitopolis, a gleamingly white city of the future where illness has been eradicated, shock waves run through the populace when a bedraggled, dirt-stricken boy materialises in the main street. Led by government propaganda, most citizens shun him as a demon, except for Wellesbury Noon – a high school student the same age as the boy.

Upon befriending the boy, Wellesbury feels a connection that he can’t explain – as well as discovering that his new friend comes from a land that is stricken by disease and only has two weeks to live. Why do he and a girl named Ezmerelda Dontible appear to be the only ones who want to help?

As they dig deeper, everything they know is turned on its head – and a race to save one boy becomes a struggle to redeem humanity.

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.
Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of my collection A Change of Mind and Other Stories or a $10 giftcard! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

IWSG: Goodbye Summer

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

I know I'm in a small minority, but I'm always so happy to see summer come to a close. I think I have some kind of reverse seasonal affective disorder, as I tend to become depressed and sluggish every year when summer rolls around. I wanted this year to be different, and had a good start in June, but by July my regular pattern had emerged.

In spite of that, there were some bright spots to the summer so I thought I'd focus on the positives.
  1. I finished my 5k running program! In fact, running was the one thing I felt great about all summer. I can't believe it, but I now look forward to my runs and I feel out of sorts when I miss one. I'm focusing on increasing my distance and endurance now. I've made it to four miles and am working on getting to five. 
  2. I participated in the August Write... Edit... Publish... bloghop and had a great experience with my story The Last Reunion. I had hit a brick wall while working on revisions for my new Alaska story and was feeling frustrated, so it was energizing and fun to write something totally different. I am now looking forward to the October hop and thinking about ideas for the Dark Places theme. 
  3. Game of Thrones! My favorite show. EVER. 
  4. Reading. I read some great books this summer, including one that instantly became one of my all-time favorites. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is an extraordinary read. 
A window box in Paris
Best of all, in the past week or so I've been inspired to start working on a new/old book idea - a short story collection called A Window Box in Paris. I first started thinking about this collection after visiting Paris in 2016, but my ideas were all vague and unorganized. I don't know what happened, but last week when I had trouble falling asleep I started thinking about the ideas again and they all started to crystallize and come together. I'm now making notes and working on characters, and I'm super excited to get started on the project. 

I'm struggling with the usual insecurities that come with working on something new and worrying that the ideas will amount to nothing, but I'm determined to push through those doubts and worries. My goal is to have a first draft completed by the end of the year. 

What are your goals or plans for the rest of 2017?