Thursday, 27 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - W is for Wellesbury

Welcome to Day 23 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's W for Wellesbury.


Wellesbury Noon. Ordinary name, ordinary kid. Well, maybe not that ordinary. He was captain of the school gravball team after all. But he’d be the last one to make a big deal about it. No, he just got on with it like everyone else – doing his studies (everyone was guaranteed a pass in the exams, but doing extra bits of work gave you bonus points that helped you later), sitting and eating his synthesised dinner with his parents while they discussed their day (which was invariably the same), going to practice and goofing off with the guys…

All very well, and he didn’t have any complaints about his life. So why did he have the feeling there was something more, something he was missing?

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - V is for Vapourise

Welcome to Day 22 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's V for Vapourise.


In Harmonia, things were neat and tidy to a fault, which was helped by several key scientific breakthroughs. One of those of which the people were most proud was the vapourising technology that dealt with messy and extraneous bodily products. Tears vanished before they hit the ground. People could blow their noses with the same handkerchief an endless number of times, while it remained spotless. General health and sanitation was vastly improved by the toilet vapourisers, which did a great job at taking care of business. Finally – and best of all – once citizens reached the end of a long and happy life, their remains conveniently vapourised upon expiry, leaving nothing but pleasant memories in the minds of their loved ones. After all, a dead body was terribly unhygienic.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - U is for Under-Region

Welcome to Day 21 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's U for Under-Region.


The Under-Region. A convenient myth to sell a population that had had its borders closed off by a fiercely xenophobic government. Well, “xenophobic” might be an understatement. Denying that any other country even existed probably required a whole new word. Due to what might be called an admin error, there was the faintest chance that someone from Harmonia’s nearest neighbour might find their way to this brave new self-sufficient society, but such a visitor wouldn’t be welcome. To avoid any awkward questions, the powers that be had decreed that that country was a hellish wasteland from another plane of existence, whose resident demons might occasionally try to infiltrate the utopia that had been created. And over the course of centuries, it stuck.

Monday, 24 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - T is for Tindleson

Welcome to Day 20 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. Who can believe there's one week left? The time is flying by. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's T for Tindleson.


Tindleson liked these kids. He hadn’t thought about them for a long time, but he was glad they were more questioning of things than most of their peers. Just because the circumstances of their birth were out of the norm, didn’t mean that was guaranteed.


In fact, they were doing things he’d only dreamed of doing, and for that, he had 100% admiration.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - S is for Swarbrick

Welcome to Day 19 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's S for Swarbrick.


Swarbrick savoured the taste of the mead in his mouth. Perhaps the processes behind its manufacture didn’t bear thinking about, but it certainly did taste good, and he couldn’t fault the Loretanians on their hospitality. Unlike back home, where alcohol had been banned as counterproductive to efficiency. That new boy in charge should do something about that. Despite their dire situation – or, perhaps, because of it – the Loretanians really knew how to enjoy themselves.

Friday, 21 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - R is for Rosebury and Where Words Fail, Music Speaks release blitz

Welcome to Day 18 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's R for Rosebury.


Mayor Rosebury didn’t like disorder in his town. In fact, it was pretty much an unknown occurrence. He liked people going about their business in a predictable fashion, and that’s what he got.

So when a mysterious, bedraggled child materialised in the high street, wearing clothing that was torn, dark in colour and made darker by some grimy substance that also coated his skin, he took the only sensible course of action that was available. He spoke to the boy as kindly as he could, asked him where he was from, and then slung him into the city jail while he figured out his next move. A crowd of onlookers had gathered and rumours were already spreading that the boy was a demon.


Decisive action was needed, but that was for the higher authorities. As mayor, he fulfilled a mainly ceremonial role. Issues like this were way out of his comfort zone.


*

I'm also excited to be taking part in the release blitz for the Where Words Fail, Music
Speaks Anthology, which is out now!




Where Words Fail, Music Speaks is a collection of short stories and poetry by writers from all walks of life.

Each story is based on the titles of 90s Britpop songs, including Come Back To What You Know, Bittersweet Symphony, Animal Nitrate, Disco 2000, and more.

Our list of authors is: Kyra Lennon, Clare Dugmore, Annalisa Crawford, Ker Dukey, Wesley Copeland, Robb Turburville, D H Sidebottom, Audrina Lane, M.B. Feeney, Karen Frances, S.J Warner, Scout Dawson, Kimberly Morgan, Maddie Wade, Rebeccalou Heronpontin, Andrea Coventry

All proceeds from the sales of this anthology will go to Clusterbusters.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - Q is for Quirnum

Welcome to Day 17 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's Q for Quirnum.


Mr Quirnum didn’t like this new lot much. A pair of young upstarts in the middle of things who didn’t know the first thing about running a country. Say what you like about the old guard, at least they got things done. He couldn’t get this new-fangled heating panel to work – it was freezing during the day and too hot at night – and he didn’t feel comfortable with all these outsiders coming into the country. People should stay where they belonged. His wife adopted a “put up and shut up” approach and got annoyed with his constant grumbling, so he’d decided; he was going to go to this “Meeting of Minds” tomorrow and have it out with the people running the show.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - P is for Perfect Avenue

Welcome to Day 16 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's P for Perfect Avenue.


Perfect Avenue. It lived up to its name to… well, to perfection. But then everything was perfect in Whitopolis. However, if there were scales of perfection, then this street would be that little bit more perfect than everywhere else. This was where the high-end shops were, where people came if they wanted their clothing, bedding, furnishings to be that little bit better. But still white. Everything was white, and nothing could be whiter than anything else. Still, people could tell if you’d been to Perfect Avenue. In a country where total equality and uniformity were meant to have been created, the citizens had still managed to find subtle ways of asserting their superiority. Human nature couldn’t be reprogrammed that easily.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - O is for Olivia

Welcome to Day 15 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's O for Olivia.


Olivia cried herself to sleep every night. Six months Alistair had been gone, and still no word. She didn’t understand why the need for secrecy meant there could be no contact between a loving husband and wife. And the girls… well, they were remarkably resilient in the way that only kids could be. They were probably doing much better than she was. But something of the spark in their eyes was gone, and any mention of Daddy was sure to end in floods of tears.

But right now, there was something else to focus on. An email marked “urgent” had ordered her and all three girls to attend for an appointment at the new government-run clinic the very next day. She would have to pull them out of school. What would require such hastily arranged treatment?


Actually, she didn’t want to think about that.

Monday, 17 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - N is for Nettlesby

Welcome to Day 14 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's N for Nettlesby.


Nettlesby was way out of his comfort zone. Why had he even signed up for this trip? These people were savages. Out hunting for wild animals – until recently, he’d never even seen an animal in the flesh before. He huddled in the tent with his knees up close to his chest, trying to make himself as small as possible. And it was so damn cold.


They’d heard a whistling, followed by a distinct howl of pain. Did they eat human flesh, too? Who could say? Lunkin had laughed and gone out to introduce himself. Confirmation that the man was mad.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - M is for Mallinger

Welcome to Day 13 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's M for Mallinger.


Mallinger hadn’t been content to just sit around and wait to die, as had been the case for so many of his friends and family. There had to be an answer out there, someone who could help. So he’d given himself a week. He had that long, he thought; if he had no luck, he’d return home. He left without a goodbye. They’d only have tried to stop him.

A bar in a more built-up area of the city had called to him. He’d never seen one before. Sitting on one of the roughly carved wooden seats, the old man had bought him a cupful of the eye-watering brew that was distilled out back and told him about the portal.

“Just stand in the right spot, imagine a gleamingly white city, no disease, and you’ll be there.”

“I thought that place was just a fairy story,” said Mal.

He’d given it a shot, not thinking it would work. Worst idea ever. It turned out the likes of him weren’t welcome in Whitopolis, and now he faced dying in jail, with no prospect of seeing his family again.

Friday, 14 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - L is for Lunkin

Welcome to Day 12 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's L for Lunkin.


After showing a natural aptitude in school experiments, Lunkin had quickly been recruited into the government’s elite group of scientists and had spent the past twenty years working his way to the top. Well, almost to the top. Only one thing stood in his way: Professor George Tindleson.

Lunkin didn’t have much time for the Chief Scientist’s affable ways. Frankly, the man was a buffoon, as much a relic as the antiquated books and paintings he kept in his office. Everyone else seemed to love him, but could he command them in a crisis? Lunkin would do a much better job, he was sure. He just had to find the right opportunity to fulfil his destiny.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - K is for Kitson

Welcome to Day 11 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's K for Kitson.


Kitson liked working at the Centre. Really, there was very little work involved; a bit of admin, making weekly reports to the governor, checking that all the doors to the rooms were sound. They were definitely rooms, not cells. This wasn’t a prison, it was a correctional institution. As long as the doors were soundproof and he didn’t have to come face-to-face with the inhabitants, it was okay to tell himself that.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - J is for Jaffery

Welcome to Day 10 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's J for Jaffery.


Jaffery was incredibly excited about the trip. How many people ever got the chance to leave Harmonia? At 23, he was the youngest of the group – and in the new spirit of openness, he’d been bragging about the adventure to his friends. Tindleson was a charismatic leader and Jaffery would have followed him anywhere.

There was just one thing he didn’t like about the whole prospect – Lunkin. The deputy said all the right things, but there was something off about him that Jaffery couldn’t place. Everything he said was accompanied by a knowing smile, or more like a sneer. Like he knew something you didn’t.

Still, it was probably nothing. Jaffery told himself to concentrate on the bigger picture – doing something great for the benefit of humanity.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - I is for Inglefrith

Welcome to Day 9 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's I for Inglefrith.


Inglefrith was at his wits’ end. He’d been searching for Mallinger for a week – so had his other children, the neighbours… Fusterbury was a big place, and although some searchers had ventured out into the wild country, none had dared go too far out of fear of the wolves that prowled there.


Sitting at his modest dinner of spit-roasted rat, he tried to keep his spirits up for the sake of the other kids, but inside every nerve ending tingled with dread. Mal was in the terminal stages of the disease. There was nothing to be done for him, but you needed to be with your family at a time like that. If he’d gone looking for help elsewhere, he wasn’t going to find it. Mal needed to be back here now – but what if it was already too late?

Monday, 10 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - H is for Hedgeson

Welcome to Day 8 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's H for Hedgeson.


Hedgeson loved playing gravball. The feeling of freedom he got from being able to run across the walls and ceiling of the pitch – each of which had its own gravity field installed – was like nothing else. He was aware that the rest of his life – going to school, even mealtimes thanks to the preset times on the food dispenser – was regimented, and that was the way he liked it. Everything in its proper place. His friends and teammates felt the same, embracing the status quo. That was, except for Wellesbury, their captain. He couldn’t exactly put his finger on it, but this gifted player always gave the impression of being somewhere else in his mind. On the pitch, he was totally in the zone, but off it… some of the things he said gave Hedgeson pause. He’d snap out of it, hopefully. Everyone knew that questioning things wasn’t a good idea.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - G is for Gennikin

Welcome to Day 7 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's G for Gennikin.


Gennikin was woken by the alarm on his personal pad at 5am, as always. He liked to get an early start on the day, even when his services were not required. No sense wasting hours away on sleep – it was a purely functional activity. Dreams were for less practical people. If he had them, he never remembered them.

After a quick breakfast and shower, and while ensuring that his hair was parted with military precision and held in place, he reflected on his wonderful role as Advisor to the Supreme Grand Ruler of Harmonia. Making decisions that others would be too afraid to make. “Ruthless”, they’d called him at school – but his uncompromising qualities had been noted and he’d soon found himself invited to join the upper echelons of society, adjudicating on matters that most people had no idea about.

It was better that they didn’t. They wouldn’t have been able to handle it.

Friday, 7 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - F is for Fusterbury

Welcome to Day 6 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's F for Fusterbury.


Imagine a city full of filth and disease. There’s precious little plant life as most of the streets are taken up by a quagmire of mud, while the houses are tumbledown shacks held together by spit and goodwill. People greet each other with smiles and nods, but the next minute will be gripped by a fit of hacking coughs that sees them bent double in agony. Children draw lines in the mud and construct elaborate games. Needless to say, people look out for each other, knowing that they haven’t got long. It’s a young population, with an average age of 25, a testament to this debilitating plague. There’s no governing structure, no system in place – but a lot of love.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - E is for Ez

Welcome to Day 5 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's E for Ez.


Ez always knew she was different. This society, its people – it was all so perfect. Everyone was happy, everyone had a job, everyone lived in a spotlessly clean home. That was all they’d known, of course, and she was the same, but somehow she felt different. What lay beneath the surface? Why was no one to know about what came before the Reformers?

She did well to keep up an appearance of normality, of course, knowing those who stood out could attract attention. She liked her friends – they were a good bunch – but their conversations were vacuous. Nothing good would come of asking piercing questions of them. Her dad, though, that was different – she sometimes tried to catch him off guard with questions about his work, but he’d given nothing away so far. She knew she had to be careful.

If only there was someone who felt the same way as her. They had to be out there somewhere, but how would she know?

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - D is for Dontible

Welcome to Day 4 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's D for Dontible.

Update: Hope everyone's enjoying the Challenge so far! I'm having a blast. A few commenters have pointed out that my posts so far are a bit on the grim side. Don't worry, they won't all be like that! It's not my intention to depress anyone. I should also mention that I've had some circumstances come up that mean I may not be able to get to so many blogs over the next few days, although I'll try my best. It's exciting stuff, though, so it's all good!


Randolph Dontible was discussing his daughter, Ezmerelda, with his wife, Marabel.

“I wish she would just buckle down a bit more,” he said. “She worries me.”

“She’s headstrong,” said Marabel, sipping her synthetic wine. “Nothing wrong with that. And she’ll go far – look at all these extra credits she’s getting for her school work. She’s practically a genius.”

“I know. I’m… proud,” he relented, “but these sorts of questions can get you in trouble. She’s always asking about my work.”

Was,” his wife corrected. “She gave up when you never answered.”

“Because it’s confidential! Even with family members. And now I’m worried she’s going to try digging around. We need to keep a much tighter rein on that girl.”

Marabel sighed. While it was fantastic that Ez was so bright, a large part of her wished her daughter’s thoughts were on make-up and boys rather than government business – the way all her friends’ seemed to be. There’d be a lot less to worry about.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - C is for Centre

Welcome to Day 3 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's C for Centre.


The Centre. A collection of low-lying buildings – gleamingly white, of course, like everything else in Harmonia – into and out of which moves a constant stream of guards and administrative personnel, busy, quiet, efficient. The place gives the impression of perfect order.


What you never see or hear are the inmates. Each trapped in a tiny room, with no need for human contact as meals are provided three times a day via a hole in the wall. They could be screaming their heads off, but the rooms are soundproofed. There’s no need to worry, though. No one can get hurt in Harmonia, so nothing too bad’s going to happen to them.

Monday, 3 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - B is for Beth + Learn a Word in 100 Words launch

Welcome to Day 2 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. This month I'm sharing my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's B for Beth.


Beth felt like she’d had to grow up a lot in the past six months. Since Daddy had been away, she’d turned ten, had earned an achievement award at school, written stories about what they would do if they were all together again – all things she wanted to share with him.

But she couldn’t.

Mummy was vacant a lot of the time, dealing with it in her own way, which was to remain silent and clean the house like a robot – which meant Beth often had to be the one to wipe away the tears of her younger sisters, Lily and Molly, and tell them everything would be alright in the end.

She had no idea if that was true.

*

Today, I'd also like to give a shout out to Patricia Lynne who is launching what sounds like a very entertaining book.



Learn A Word in 100 Words
A collection of flash fiction inspired by unusual words. Each tiny tale is crafted around a word that is unique or no longer in use. Read them while waiting in line or before bed. They range from sweet and lighthearted to dark and disturbing. Look out for the supernatural, but don’t turn your back on the average human. A killer might be lurking underneath. Expand your vocabulary, and get some inspiration of your own.
Smashwords - https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/708449

About the Author:
Patricia Josephine never set out to become a writer, and in fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. She was more of an art and band geek. Some stories are meant to be told, and now she can't stop writing. She writes Young Adult under the name Patricia Lynne.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow.

Links:

Saturday, 1 April 2017

A-Z Challenge 2017 - A is for Alistair

It's here! Day 1 of the A-Z Challenge 2017. I hope you'll join me for the month as I share my "Black & White Snippets" - snapshots of some of the characters, places and concepts that populate my forthcoming YA dystopian trilogy, Black & White. There won't be a lot of details or spoilers - just short scenes and vignettes that give you a hint of the world I've created. Today, it's A for Alistair.


Alistair couldn’t believe it. How could this be happening to him? In one way, he was glad this screening program had been introduced; he might never have known otherwise, but the idea of being sent far away from his wife and girls and having no contact with them was almost too much to contemplate.

He didn’t even know when he would be back. A year? Five? Ten? The idea of missing just one day of his precious angels growing up was heart-wrenching.


But if he didn’t go, he would be dead within a few years and then he wouldn’t be around for the rest of their lives.