Monday, September 25, 2017

Nick Wilford, Black and White

Hi Susan. Thanks for offering to host me as part of my tour. Today I’d like to share some thoughts about the world I’ve created and engage your readers in a debate, if that’s not too heavy for a Monday!

How likely is it that we will end up living in a society like Harmonia?


I don’t often get political, but with Donald Trump in power, I don’t think we can really predict anything and we can’t rule anything out either. The world I’ve built might look very attractive to a lot of people. No dirt or disease, no need to worry about dying at an untimely age or – at a more everyday level – scrubbing your floor or keeping the dust under control.


On the surface, this is a utopia, the opposite of a dystopia. But that’s it – the surface is just about as far as things go. It’s the very definition of an insular society, cut off and without any contact with the outside world. Indeed, its near neighbour is painted by the government as a netherworld-type region populated by demons. In the current world, large swathes seem to be going backwards and becoming more distrustful of other cultures instead of more open. What if someone came along who promised to close the doors completely – the ultimate expression of looking after number one?


There are other ways in which Harmonia might be seen as an extension of the society we’ve got today. With the all-consuming rise of social media, families seem to spend less time just being together and we’ve got the problem of phones at the dinner table. In Harmonia, only one child is allowed per family and each member of the group basically operates as a self-contained unit. It’s a cold society in which people simply go through the motions. Apparently fair on the surface, with passes in school exams being guaranteed, the type of job you get after leaving school is determined by how many extra study hours you log. This is another thing that leaves children to spend long hours on their pads.


Divorce rates are very low, but at the same time there is very little affection between married couples. They are simply units that ensure the propagation of the species. The sex act itself has been genetically phased out – far too messy and too many diseases at play – but of course, this removes a level of closeness.


Where do you think we’re heading as a society? Is a world like Harmonia something that you could foresee in our future?









Title: Black & White

Author: Nick Wilford

Genre: YA dystopian
Series #: 1 of 3

Release date: 18th September 2017

Publisher: Superstar Peanut Publishing

Blurb:


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:
Amazon US / Amazon UK / Smashwords / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iBooks


Add it on Goodreads


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!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Help Out

RWA shared some links last week where you can go and help out the libraries that were victims of the recent hurricanes. Funding libraries is likely not the first thing people or the government will think of as they rebuilt and recover. Yet, I think a lot of people may depend on the library for internet access until they get their homes up and running again. People need help first, but if you love your local library as I do, maybe you can spare them a dime also. Here is the link for the Texas libraries. And you can go here to help the Florida libraries.

While you're in the helping mood, C. Lee McKenzie could use your help voting for her book in the Go here and give the book a boost.
Readers Choice Contest. Her MG novel, Double Negative, could use your vote.

Next Monday, I'm turning my blog over to Nick Wilford next Monday. He'll talk about his book that is being released today. Black and White is the first in a dystopian series. One of my favorite genres of speculative fiction.

I have lots of good books on my shelf and on my Kindle to read, after adding Nick's today, and that's a good thing. Because TV sucks right now. I'll probably watch Scorpion when the new season starts and Once Upon a Time, but I'm not that excited about them. Supernatural had a great season ending in May, so I'll have to give that a try. But I don't even know the dates they return. Blah.

I need to pick up my word count on my current WIP. Only wrote around 2K this week. I'm only halfway through and I'd hoped to have it done this month. Not looking good at all.

I'm taking my daughter to her first story time at the library this week. It's for 0-18 months old. She's not a fan of noisy places or loud things so we'll see how it goes. How do you keep a lot of infants interested in a story? We'll see.

The leaves are turning though it's pretty warm this week. Fall is upon us this Friday. I'll have to teach that granddaughter to rake leaves.

Have you donated to the victims of the recent hurricanes? Do you love your local library? Is dystopian a genre you enjoy? Do you enjoy fall and raking leaves?






Monday, September 11, 2017

What Weekend?

Life is busy enough without getting sick for two days. The worst cold ever took me out of action from Friday evening through Saturday. All those big plans to get some outside work done and some promotional work went the way of a full box of tissues. Sinus headache, chills, well you get the picture. I haven't had a cold like that since I retired from teaching. Teachers have the luck to catch everything going around when their students give it to them. Stay home when you're sick, please.

Another 9/11 has rolled around. Even after 16 years, the day remains vivid in my memory. The week following was very tense in our little piece of the country. Three Mile Island, infamous nuclear plant, is in my home school district. There were dozens of false alarms from perceived threats. I woke a few nights to jets screaming over the house on their way from Fort Indiantown Gap to provide security coverage at the power plant. It was truly the international incident of my lifetime. Let's hope our politicians don't draw us into something worse that that horrible day.

Came across this interesting article at Publisher's Weekly. Amazon is making an attempt to stop those cheaters using KDP and stealing money from authors and readers with their practices. I'm sure those being sued by Amazon are only a few of the many jerks conning the system, but it's a start.

Prayers to those suffering all kinds of hardships and losses because of Harvey and Irma. I have a niece in Florida.  I'm waiting to hear how she and her home are doing.

I feel the need to talk about something fun. Cleaned up my flowerbeds a little bit for fall. Can't believe I'll be raking leaves soon. My granddaughter turned six months and has been sitting up and crawling for a full month and last week decided she could stand up too when the right opportunity presents itself. Obviously, a superior genetic background. And our weather has been lovely. Warm but not humid during the day and cool nights.

This past weekend was big for the Penn State football fans at our house. Two of my sons earned their degrees there, and I received my Masters from PSU. The school really is a good academic school and has lots of outstanding athletic programs. It's too bad it's reputation has been darkened by the Sandusky scandal. Those poor children who suffered are still suffering as adults because so many resent the black mark on Joe Paterno's legacy. Priorities are messed up for some people.

Can't say how much I miss having a new GoT episode the last two Sundays. Salvation has gotten better and better each week. I hope it gets renewed for next year. I'm thinking of doing a re-watch of Luther, a BBC cop show, which means it's more cerebral with less shooting to solve crimes. It's good if you're looking for something to watch. It's on Netflix.

Are the hurricanes impacting your part of the world? Do you remember vivid details of 9/11? Have you put your books on KDP? Have your earnings taken a hit like so many authors complain because of the cheaters? Do you watch any BBC shows?




Wednesday, September 6, 2017

IWSG: September Already

Summer flew by and not it's the first Wednesday of the month and time for Insecure Writer's Support Group. This amazing group was started by Alex J. Cavanaugh for writers to help each with advice, sharing good news and bad, but mostly for helping each other even if just to listen. You can find the complete list here.

I'm skipping the suggested question today to share my Labor Day experience. I've heard this suggest by other writers but never tried it completely. So on Monday, I unplugged. No checking email, no Twitter, no writing or even thinking about it. I read for hours. Took a walk. Did some cooking. Watched some TV with my husband and sons. Drank coffee all day long. I didn't even go in my writing office. And I woke up Tuesday refreshed and ready to dive back in. I highly recommend it. So my IWSG post is to suggest everyone try it for at least a day. Next month, I'm going to do if for an entire weekend. For me.

Random going on stuff
New computer is working pretty good. I'm still not use to the keyboard but I'm getting better. My house is really clean because I have to keep it so for my granddaughter who is crawling around like a new puppy and chewing on everything like one too. One of my sons quit his job with AT&T and I'm glad. They are not good to their employees. He starts his new job next Monday and is supplementing his income by being an Uber driving. Lots of good story material there.

I'm seeing lots of TV ads for new fall TV shows and nothing is rousing my curiosity. There's not even any show I'm really looking forward to returning. Sad. Killjoys ended on an intriguing note and I like that we know it has two more seasons to go. Looking forward the Salvation tonight.

Have you ever unplugged completely? Ever ride with Uber? Are you looking forward to any new fall TV.




Monday, August 28, 2017

The Old is New Again

So, I got my new computer and finally set it all up. I'm still getting used the keyboard and I hate the different style of mouse thingy. I'll get used to it. It's worth it to have a battery that lasts forever (in comparison) and no interruptions in internet from a wonky something or other. Yes, I'm a computer expert and know all the terms. The switch over gave me an opportunity to clear some things off my computer. Why did I have all those things sitting around on my desktop?

Hope you all got to see the eclipse last week. With your safety glasses, of course. It was really cool though I would put it in the same category of cool as Aurora borealis. I've only seen those once and it was unforgettable.

Without even a chance to get over the Game of Thrones finale, I have a dentist appointment this morning. So, I'll be getting around to blogs later today to return visits. I stop in on many blogs who have excellent content about writing, new releases, recipes, and sometimes are just amusing. I want to share them on Twitter or Facebook, but there are no share buttons to make it easy. If you have a blog, I  hope you'll make sure you have that simple add-on so your visitors can spread the word of your existence.

Watching my daughter full time has put me back on the writing schedule I used while I was still teaching. And I like it. I'm doing my writing at night again after having the entire day for my mind to figure out the next scene. I'm feeling younger and more efficient again and not only because I'm chasing an infant around who has learned to crawl before she's even 6 months old.

Also helping my writing is the complete lack of interesting TV. Thrones is over for the season and my other summer fun, Salvation, is almost done. I think the next thing I'm looking forward to is the second season of Stranger Things. The Defenders on Netflix was okay even though I'm not a fan of Iron Fist, the series or the actor. I am looking forward to The Punisher later this year.

I will not be posting next Monday on Labor Day. We'll probably be doing the family cookout and games thing.

Are you making plans for Labor Day weekend? See the eclipse? Did you watch The Defenders? Do you have share buttons on your blog?


Monday, August 21, 2017

This Day

I'm not going to link to any of the zillion articles about the solar eclipse since they are everywhere and have been for a while now. I hope you're protecting your eyes if you in the shadow of the moon today. It's a very cool thing to have happen. We'll only get to see a partial eclipse where I live, but it will still be neat.

I'm spending more and more time watching my granddaughter as the school year approaches and her parents get back to work. She's a bit of sunshine every day. She inherited her father's unfortunate cowlick on the very front and center of her head, but she also inherited his disposition. Meaning she is endlessly pleasant and smiling.

Being out and about with that dear child reminds me how easy it is to be kind. So many strangers smile and often speak to her. She adores all of them. When do we learn to not think the best of others? She doesn't care about their race, their religion, or their sexual preferences. Old, young or in between. Thin, beautiful, or not. Elliana Hope doesn't care. She loves people, and so should we all. I find myself with more patience with others just by being in the sunshiny presence of hers.

We've had so much rain, it's terrible. The wet area of my lawn is officially a swamp at a time of year when it is usually completely dry. I conceded defeat to the weeds among my flowers last week. Our area is about 10 inches above average rainfall this year.

I'm over a third of the way done with my next book. Would love to finish the first draft by the end of September. I bought a new computer, but I'm still using the old one until I get everything set up. I liked my old computer but the battery was shot. I was lucky if it lasted 20 minutes, and they no longer make the batteries for it though I could try a used one. And wow, computer batteries are really expensive.

The further along Game of Thrones goes this season, the more disappointed I am in the number of episodes. The writers claimed there wasn't enough story to make ten episodes like other seasons, but they're rushing through story so fast, I find it hard to believe they couldn't have found lots of juicy details to fill the time. I'm really enjoying the summer show, Salvation, more and more as it goes. I hope it gets a second season though I guess they could fail to stop the asteroid and all die this season.

Preseason football is underway. I seldom watch sports on TV, but I do enjoy football. And I love watching my son coach high school football. I will also get a lot of writing done while my husband commandeers the TV to watch hours and hours of the game. Don't just him, but my husband is a Raiders fan. And Penn State, of course.

Is your part of the word getting a rainy overload? Are you wishing for a little human kindness among the world's people? Have you ever priced a computer battery? Looking forward to football season? Who is your favorite team? Are you going to watch the eclipse?






Monday, August 7, 2017

The Normal

Our local chapter had an interesting meeting this past Saturday. As I mentioned before, my group, CPRW, won an award for being the top small chapter of RWA for 2017. After the business portion of the meeting, the handful of members who attended RWA's yearly conference gave a recap of the insights into the industry they gathered at the massive gathering of writers, editors, and agents. One of the interesting thing they shared was how smoothly our chapter runs compared to so many others. Each of our members had tales from other groups of how their chapters suffered from infighting and drama. Some groups are considering disbanding because of the dysfunction of their chapter. There is not one hint of that in our group. We won the 'less than 50 members' group award. And we all support and cheer for each other. There's no jealousy or ego-driven rifts in our little family. I would never have imagined other groups weren't like ours.

Tomorrow I'm taking my granddaughter to library for the first time. We're getting her library card and in three weeks we can sign her up for her first reading group. She'll be six months old so it's time. Not that we haven't already bought her dozens of books. Mostly, she wants to eat them at this time, but I'm sure she'd get over that.

"To me there is no picture so beautiful as smiling, bright-eyed, happy children; no music so sweet as their clear and ringing laughter."  P.T. Barnum

My publisher put together a Best of  Susan Kelley album for me. I mean an anthology of three of the first books in my space opera romance series. I'm excited to see how this does as it's something new for both of us. I'm really excited that I have enough series to make an anthology with only my work in. Though since this contains 3 full length novels, it's more like an omnibus.

Went with my daughter yesterday to use a great coupon we had for The Gap. Way too many people. Have I mentioned how glad I am that I don't have to do back-to-school shopping. I do miss searching for some cool office supplies. But I really don't need them. I buy a planner once per year and occasionally need more pens or pencils.

I've heard about Game of Thrones being the most pirated show in history but how about the leaks and hacking they have to battle all the time? I watched Les Miserables so I understand stealing because you're starving, but what is with the thieves in this world. I don't understand the mindset that it's okay to take something that belongs to someone else.

I'm looking for a new home for my other fantasy series that I received my rights back for after the small press closed. They had published the first book out of three but only for a few months. So I've narrowed down a few publishers who will look at a book that's been published before. There aren't many of them. Suggestions are appreciated if you know of any.

Are you doing any back-to-school shopping or only bemoaning the crowds like I am? Are you a fan of anthologies? Have you ever been part of a writing group that didn't get along? How old were you the first time you visited a library?