Monday, 25 August 2014

Power Play - my entry for the Work In Progress Blog Tour

Firstly, huge thanks to Georgia Rose for nominating me to take part in the Work In Progress Blog Tour, which is a great way for writers to showcase their latest writing projects - but without giving too much away!

Georgia's 'WIP' is Before the Dawn, book two in The Grayson Trilogy and the sequel to A Single Step. You can read all about Before the Dawn here and you can grab a copy of the first novel in the trilogy here.

You can also follow Georgia on Twitter at @GeorgiaRoseBooks

The rules: Provide the link back to the post by the person who nominated you.  Write a little about your current WIP and give the first sentence of the first three chapters, then nominate four other writers* to do the same. I've only got two people nominated below, but if you've got a book on the go and would like tagging, do let me know!

This is the first time I've written about Power Play, the sequel to Party Games, and I am SO excited about it. So, deep breath and here I go...

Power Play continues the theme of corrupting power which is at the heart of Party Games as the internal power struggle in my fictional Conservative Party escalates.

As the Conservative leader Rodney Richmond lies in a coma following the events at the end of Party Games, his deputy and now acting leader Colin Scott vows to silence his critics and force not just loyalty, but unquestioning deference and order on a party which has lost its identity.

Richmond's supporters battle to halt Scott's desire for leadership but seem powerless as his popularity soars. Married to a woman 26 years his junior and dubbed 'the Fuhrer' by Labour MPs, his core supporters - including a morally conflicted colleague facing personal crisis and an obsessed, ruthless advisor - will do anything to get their man - and themselves - to the top and keep him there. 

The 'Devil's disciples' encourage Scott's endless hubris, but there is a threat from within, one so determined for Scott to succeed they will resort to murder before they see him fail. Soon competition for the Fuhrer's favour turns into a civil war among his most senior lieutenants and, while the true leader of the so-called 'resistance' remains unconscious, their female rising star emerges to challenge Scott's apparently unbreakable and brutal authority.

First three chapters:

Chapter One:
It was happening again.

Chapter Two:
‘The House has been back a week, it’s bloody long enough, and we all agree I’ve waited a decent amount of time."

Chapter Three:
Blueberry or chocolate chip.

I don't have a cover just yet, but my lovely cover designer will hopefully be working on it very soon and it will be displayed in all its glory here first! I'm hoping Power Play will hit the virtual shelves in late October, but we all know how these things are subject to change!

I now nominate:

DARCIA HELLE, author of various books including 'Secrets' and 'Into The Night'. I know she hasn't got a title yet, but I'm hoping she can give you some hints about her forthcoming novel! @DarciaHelle

MARCIA CARRINGTON who will I am sure be delighted to tell you about Mark's Passionate Heart @MarCarring

*I’ve only nominated two, so I think this rule is flexible!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Why my friend will be Pedaling to Paris for the Royal British Legion

I have a guest on my blog today - not a writer (although I suspect there will be a story to be told after 8th September!), but my friend and former colleague Will Wearmouth. He gave up the fags and got on his bike to train for the biggest physical challenge of his life, cycling from London to Paris on 4th September to raise funds for the British Legion, so I invited him to tell his moving and inspirational story. If you'd like to sponsor him, the link is at the bottom.

So, over to Will!

"Three weeks from now I will be somewhere in northern France with a sore bottom as the 300 cyclists who make up the Royal British Legion peloton makes their way from London to Paris. Previous charity efforts have seen me climb four mountains in two days and drive from London to Split via the Alps dressed as Maid Marion in a 1989 Volvo Estate. But the 280 miles I’m about to ride is without doubt the most physically demanding thing I have taken on. My training rides since January now mean that I’m familiar with every tree, twig and squirrel in Richmond Park. 

I want to tell you a little bit about why I’m doing this ride and why I am so thrilled that people have responded so generously. The Legion does such important work and I have been pleased to collect for it every year since 1999 when the chaplain at school asked me to run that year’s Poppy Appeal. Those two years at Barney might have been the end of it, but as a politics student at university I had plenty of time on my hands and got involved with Legion’s Headingley branch. It was led by the now 90 year old ex-WAAF sergeant Margaret Knighton, the most remarkable woman I have ever met. She soon became my friend and my hero. 

Like many, Margaret served in the war and also suffered huge personal loss. In 1939 she was a 16 year old school girl. By VE Day in 1945 she was a 21 year old widow. She joined up, worked as a plotter in RAF Ops rooms, night after night, rubbing out the identity numbers of aircraft that didn’t return, many of them full of her friends. She married her childhood sweetheart. He too was shot down over Germany early in the war, and who after years as a prisoner of war, was machined gunned from the air while on a death march a few weeks before it ended. You might think that Margaret had done her bit, but that was just the beginning. She has spent the 70 odd years serving the Legion, her comrades and several generations of those served in our Armed Forces after her. Year, after year, she visits hospitals and homes to provide company to the lonely and the sick, and raises funds for the Legion’s work. She regards as her honour and privilege the keeping of a solemn vigil of Remembrance for the fallen. 

So what started this slightly odd friendship between an 18 year old student and a local pensioner? I was selling poppies in Headingley and this little old lady came up and thanked me profusely saying it was good to see the young ones taking an interest. Thinking I might like a drink (she clearly had me worked out in seconds), she invited me down to the Legion Club for a gin and tonic. She started telling her story of what she and her friends, then my age, had been through.  It was immediately obvious that the thank you was the wrong way round. My generation owe hers a debt of gratitude far beyond anything they would ever acknowledge or words can adequately express. Margaret is my inspiration for this ride just as she stands testament to the human spirit and the decency of her generation and the bonds of loyalty and affection that tie together all who have served in the British Armed Forces."

To sponsor Will, please visit