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. ***

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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.