This Is Lockdown #BlogTour @Marjorie_Mallon

I am so excited to invite Marje over to talk about her latest project, which she took on over the Lockdown period; a project I have taken part in too! I’m not going to ramble on, but please, read on for Marje’s wonderful description of This Is Lockdown!

Thank you to my lovely friend Ritu, (who is an awesome contributing author,) for invitinag me to her lovely blog today to talk about: This Is Lockdown.

This project has grown enormously! It started off as a popular series on my blog, in which writers and authors shared their thoughts about isolation during COVID19. At the time, I was writing my COVID19 personal diaries, flash fiction, poetry, and short stories to take my mind off the sad news reports and escalating deaths. It didn’t occur to me that this coping mechanism would become a published book! As the contributions grew, I realised that this lovely project had the potential to become much more… Not only that, but it could connect a diverse bunch of authors who might never have discovered each other if it weren’t for COVID19.

The wonderful contributing authors and creatives are many in number!

Richard Dee, (Sci Fi , Steampunk, Amateur Detective author,) Catherine Fearns, (Amazon Bestselling Author of Police Procedural/Mysteries and Music Journalist,) Lynn Fraser, (Author,) Jackie Carreira, (Writer, musician, designer and aspiring philosopher,) Willow Willers, (Poet and writer,) Sharon Marchisello, (Murder Mystery, Financial non-fiction,) Fi Phillips , (Author, Copy Writer) Jeannie Wycherley, (dark stories, suspense, horror,) Chantelle Atkins, (urban fiction, teen/YA,) Tracie Barton-Barrett, (Speaker/author,) Peter Taylor- Gooby, (Crime, Love Stories, Political Fiction,) Ritu Bhathal, (Chick Lit romance, poet,) Alice May , (Author, Artist and Speaker,) Miriam Owen, (Blogger and Doctural Researcher,) Drew Neary and Ceri Williams (Ghost Horror, Supernatural,) Katherine Mezzacappa, (author name: Katie Hutton,) (Historical Fiction/Romance,) Sally Cronin, (huge supporter of indie community/blogger/author) Debby Gies (D G Kaye), (Memoirist/NonFiction,) Adele Marie Park, (Fantasy, horror, urban fantasy,) Marian Wood, (blogger, poet and writer.) Samantha Murdoch, (Writer, Blogger,) Beaton Mabaso (Blogger, African Storyteller,) Frank Prem  (Poet, Author,) Anne Goodwin (Author, Book Blogger) Sherri Matthews (Writer, Photographer, Blogger,) and Jane Horwood and Melissa Santiago-Val – Community Masks 4 NHS

I arranged the book into two sections. The first half is a compilation of my personal diaries, poems and photography and an anthology of writings about isolation from contribution authors, their poignant poetry and thoughts at this time.

Here is one of the pieces from Sally Cronin:

Double Etheree – Silver Lining

I
believe
there is a
silver lining
to isolation.
A chance to reassess
how we effectively use
one of life’s great commodities
so often wasted and lamented
yet measured so accurately each day.
Time can be fleeting or last a lifetime
and it seems there is little to spare.
But during this brief hiatus
I have come to understand
that clocks do not decide
how I use this gift.
In the future
I will live
and love
more.

© Copyright Sally Cronin 2020

The second half includes my flash fiction, poetry, and a YA romance short piece: The Poet’s Club, plus a more mature piece called Love Affair, ( set post virus.)

Excerpt: Love Affair – Post Virus

Annie glanced at her scrawny husband. A glance was all it took. He couldn’t lift her, no carried wife could she ever be. No threshold over which she could be taken. Adam was different. His different scared her. She couldn’t help but imagine Adam lifting her onto his shoulders and running to the ocean, his bare skin wet with the salty water, his hard, taut muscles flexing. What would happen thereafter? Would he leave her to the fishes, or scoop her up with dreamy kisses? She knew what she would become: a carried Jezebel; perhaps she’d like that more.

© Copyright M J Mallon 2020

Recently, I sent out ARC copies to contributing authors, and the lovely email comments I’ve received back have touched me deeply…

I’d like to mention this particular comment:

“I particularly loved the beginning when you talked about your uneasiness of COVID, despite what was being reported. What I find absolutely remarkable is that although we live on opposite sides of the pond, our experiences were/are so similar.” Tracie Barton-Barrett (contributing author.)

This is the unique aspect of This Is Lockdown. Our global experiences are so similar in many ways. Unfortunately, this is a worldwide pandemic, so whether we live in the UK, Italy, Australia, USA, Canada, Zimbabwe…, we are sadly, all in this together and there is much common ground.

Therein, lies the secret, internationally we must draw together and try to help each other through this. Work towards a common goal – overcoming this virus.

My diaries in This Is Lockdown are expressed from a writer’s perspective, but they are also from a family perspective. They honestly share the manner in which this virus affected my family of four: myself, hubby and our two grown daughters. To date, we have been lucky, and for that I am incredibly grateful. There are anxious moments, sad stories, but there is also a sense of overcoming, hope, and kindness.

Talking of kindness and positivity, I’m thrilled that Jane Horwood and Melissa Santiago-Val have contributed a piece about their fundraising venture #CommunityMasks4NHS and free masks for charities and not-for-profit organisations.

To date, they have raised a staggering £30,000.

And the masks are cool! Here I am wearing a sea themed one. Yes, I am missing the seaside!

During this time, I have been the mother hen trying to keep the peace and making the best out of this horrendously scary experience.

Both myself and my eldest daughter have been on furlough from work (a scheme in the UK to pay 80% of the salaries of employees to keep them from redundancy.) My hubby has been working from home and my youngest daughter has been studying and working in her part-time job in a supermarket.

We have spent more quality time together in this lockdown than we have for an exceptionally long time. This has been challenging at times, but it has also been rewarding. Empty nest syndrome is beckoning. From the end of August my eldest daughter will leave to study at Strathclyde University in Glasgow – Secondary Teacher training. My youngest is returning to Manchester to complete her last year at University.

It will just be hubby and I!

Change is coming, COVID19 is still here. So we must carry on. We will hand sanitise, stay as safe as we can, learn to adjust to this ‘new normal.’

Except my ‘new normal’ is different. I am now a keen yoga enthusiast, (Yoga With Adriene,) I bake more, I’ve learnt so many ‘new’ blogging and publishing skills. During lockdown I’ve added a newsletter to my blog, I’ve learnt how to use Kindle Create… and my youngest daughter created a brief promo video for my YA Fantasy The Curse of Time.

ttps://drive.google.com/file/d/1tt08n0wZ_OOo0U6DhpBIzVvbxgFlncb2/view?usp=sharing

I will forever remember this time in all its shades of light and darkness and hope you all stay safe and well.

I’m so excited for This Is Lockdown, I have a good feeling about this, I hope it will showcase all the brilliant authors in the anthology. I’m looking forward to reading more from them and sharing in their successes.

This Is Lockdown releases on 20th July, it is on preorder until then.

Buying Link:

Amazon UK link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08CD1MCFB?pf_rd_r=NPA6S5SQJ30A6VYX87Q5&pf_rd_p=e632fea2-678f-4848-9a97-bcecda59cb4e

Amazon US link:

Author Bio

I was born on the 17th of November in Lion City: Singapore, (a passionate Scorpio, with the Chinese Zodiac sign a lucky rabbit,) second child and only daughter to my parents Paula and Ronald, only sister to my elder brother Donald. I spent my early childhood in a mountainous court dwelling in the Peak District in Hong Kong.
It’s rumoured that I now live in the Venice of Cambridge, with my six-foot hunk of a Rock God husband. My two enchanted daughters often return with a cheery smile.

Sometimes when the mood takes me, I adopt an alter ego, M J – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheroes!
When I’m not writing, I eat exotic delicacies while belly dancing, or surf to the far reaches of the moon. To chill out, I practice Tai Chi and Yoga. If the mood takes me, I snorkel with mermaids, or sign up for idyllic holidays with the Chinese Unicorn, whose magnificent voice sings like a thousand wind chimes.

My favourite genres to write are: YA fantasy, magical realism, and various forms of poetry. I blog about books, writing, photography and inspiration at: https://mjmallon.com

I enjoy writing articles celebrating the spiritual realm, my love of nature and all things magical, mystical, and mysterious. One of my greatest pleasures is reading. I’ve written over 150 reviews at my lovely blog home: https://mjmallon.com/2015/09/28/a-z-of-my-book-reviews/
I’m a member of a professional writing body. SCBWI, the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators.

Links:

Authors Website:https://mjmallon.com
Authors Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjmallonauthor/
#ABRSC: Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/m-j-mallon

Collaborative Grouphttps://www.facebook.com/pg/5SpiritualSisters/

An anthology and compilation of diaries, short stories, flash fiction, contributions from the ‘isolation writers,’ plus poetry written during the time of lockdown in the UK. This Is Lockdown is written from a writer’s perspective highlighting the simple pleasures of day-to-day life during such an uncertain and frightening time. It also gives a glimpse of the blogging, writing world. The book showcases several authors and their thoughts on what it is like to experience ‘isolation’ as a writer. I also discuss the handling of the pandemic and my thoughts on what might happen next. In the final part of the book I include my latest short story idea: a YA romance and various short pieces of poetry, and flash fiction inspired by the pandemic.

And there you have it! Make sure you get your copy!

Thank you so much to Marje for taking the time to actually compile everything together, and to make it into a book that we can read, to remember this crazy time!

Mr Sagittarius Blog Tour

I am very pleased to welcome a long standing friend and fantastic author to my blog today – Marjorie Mallon!

Marje has a brand new release out now: Mr Sagittarius; a collection of poetry and prose.

Let me hand over to Marje, to tell you a little about the book, and you are lucky enough to even get an excerpt at the end of this post, too!

Mr. Sagittarius is a collection of poetry, prose and photographic images inspired by the botanical gardens in Cambridge. It features a variety of my photos including: trees, a robin and a dragonfly! As well as this there are several stories, and even some Halloween poems!

I doubt I would have created Mr. Sagittarius if it wasn’t for these two amazing ladies: Colleen Chesebro (for her weekly poetry challenges and Charli Mills – Carrot Ranch (flash fiction challenges.) Both ladies have been a huge source of inspiration and encouragement.

Mr. Sagittarius is a magical celebration of the natural world, a story about the circle of life, with an emphasis on the changing seasons of the year and sibling relationships.

Huge thanks to my amazing cover designer and formatter: Rachael Ritchey who has done an amazing job creating the ebook, paperback cover and graphics.

And here is an excerpt, from on eof the character, Annette’s point of view.

MY HEART IS A CAVE
My heart is a cave.
Hidden dark and mysterious,
Stalactites and icy caverns,
Rock pools and hiding places.


No one visits anymore. I’m alone.
The ice is melting, and the stars seem so far away.
I long for light, life and laughter to discover me again.

I wait.


While I wait ice drips in darling drops,

Drip, dripping.
The moon is high,
An orb of brilliant light, it grins at me.


I remember my past, days ago,
Children, a husband, lovers – even.
So, I wait for someone to come,
For a torch to shine.


It comforts me that the moon is full.

Abundant.

Soon I will be reunited with you.
I imagine you smiling down on the cave.

Annette opens the attic door searching for a keepsake box. It is in the furthest corner behind many old ornaments, suitcases and forgotten things. Her hands tremble as she picks it up. She takes it down into the living room and opens the lid a smidgen but closes it abruptly. Her hands tremble with anticipation. She stops, realising that this is not the right place to open the box. Instead, she finds a carrier bag and pops the box into the bottom of the roomy bag. Her destination isn’t far away. She is glad it is a weekday morning; it will be quiet in the botanical garden’s glasshouses. The lady in the entry booth is busy with other visitors and barely looks up as she
enters; Annette is glad not to stop to talk. Driven by a need to open the letter she rushes ahead, only slowing her pace when she arrives at the glasshouse entrance.
Now, she takes her time pausing with intention, taking in the many flowers that Harold would have loved. In the furthest tropical glasshouse, she searches for a seat but there are none, only the warm radiators to lean against. Her eyes search to see if anyone is coming and when she is sure it is quiet, she reaches in her bag and pulls
out the box and then the letter. The correspondence is pale blue, folded by her guilt, its size diminished until it’s only a tiny rectangle of heartfelt wishes. Its once crisp, frayed edges make her gasp.

Buy it here!

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B084DQV3HW/

Amazon USA: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084DQV3HW/

Author Bio

I write YA Fantasy/Paranormal novels, Horror/Ghost short stories and multi-genre flash fiction as well as micro poetry – haiku and Tanka. I share book reviews, poetry, flash fiction, photography and inspirational details of my writing journey at my lovely blog home: https://mjmallon.com/

I’m a member of two professional writing groups: The Society of Children’s Writers and Book Illustrators  and Cambridge Writers

As well as this I run a supportive group with fellow Administrator D G Kaye on Facebook: Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club

I work as a Receptionist/Event organiser for an international sixth form and live in Cambridge, England.

Marjorie Mallon – Poetic Inspiration #TheCurseOfTime #BlogTour #Author

Hello there Peeps!

Today I am host to a wonderful blogger who I count as a friend too, especially after having endured the London Underground with her after the Bloggers Bash this year!

Marjorie Mallon!

The purpose of this post is actually that I am supporting her on a Blog Tour for her first book release! Yay!

I asked Marjorie what inspired her writing, and to answer, Marje (that’s what us friends call her!) has penned a poem!

Ritu at But I Smile Anyway,
Asked me ‘What inspires you?’
I scratched my head and replied…..
‘Everything!”
‘Everything?’ She repeated.
‘Yes.’
‘What’s everything?’ She asked.
So I said,
‘The sun, the moon and the stars,
Sunsets, Crystals, Cats, Shadows,
Art, Puzzles, Mysteries,
Books, Music, Film, Sculptures,
People, Photography and chit chat.’
‘What kind of chit chat,’ she enquired?
‘The kind that keeps me listening!”
‘Are your ears big?’ she said.
I laughed, grinned and nodded.
She stared at me wide eyed,
So I confessed, ‘My ears eavesdrop.’
‘Blame your lugs,’ she replied.
‘Yes, my lugs are criminals,’ I agreed.
‘Where do your rapscallion ears eavesdrop?’
‘On the bus, on the train, anywhere.’
‘Even at the bloggers bash?’ she cried, in shock.
‘No! Never there! Bloggers code,’ I replied. 
Ha ha, she giggled. ‘Mum’s the word!’
Lol, I tweeted.
‘So that’s it? Inspiration’s end?’ she asked, unsure.
‘No, never!’ I cried, aghast.
‘This is only a beginning and a middle.
Inspiration never stops,
It just grows and bloody grows!’
Retweet, hashtag, Retweet, hashtag.
‘Inspiration bloody grows!’

Isn’t that just a perfect poem? It’s true! Inspiration really does sprout from everywhere!

And now, for the main event…

Marjorie has penned her first book!

The Curse Of Time

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The Blurb

On Amelina Scott’s thirteenth birthday, her father disappears under mysterious circumstances. Saddened by this traumatic event, she pieces together details of a curse that has stricken the heart and soul of her family.

Amelina longs for someone to confide in. Her once carefree mother has become angry and despondent. One day a strange black cat and a young girl, named Esme appear. Immediately, Esme becomes the sister Amelina never had. The only catch is that Esme must remain a prisoner, living within the mirrors of Amelina’s house.

Dreams and a puzzling invitation convince Amelina the answer to her family’s troubles lies within the walls of the illusive Crystal Cottage. Undaunted by her mother’s warnings, Amelina searches for the cottage on an isolated Cambridgeshire pathway where she encounters a charismatic young man, named Ryder. At the right moment, he steps out of the shadows, rescuing her from the unwanted attention of two male troublemakers.

With the help of an enchanted paint set, Amelina meets the eccentric owner of the cottage, Leanne, who instructs her in the art of crystal magic. In time, she earns the right to use three wizard stones. The first awakens her spirit to discover a time of legends, and later, leads her to the Bloodstone, the supreme cleansing crystal which has the power to restore the balance of time. Will Amelina find the power to set her family free?

A YA/middle grade fantasy set in Cambridge, England exploring various themes/aspects: Light, darkness, time, shadows, a curse, magic, deception, crystals, art, poetry, friendships, teen relationships, eating disorders, self-harm, anxiety, depression, family, puzzles, mystery, a black cat, music, a mix of sadness, counterbalanced by a touch of humour.

Now, tell me, doesn’t that sound like an amazing book to get a hold of?

Well, luckily for you I have the link for you to pre-order! (I already ordered mine!)

http://amzn.to/2tRPqmn or click here!

The Curse Of Time is available on August 26th… as in tomorrow!!!!!

And I know you would like to know a little more about our lovely featured author, so here you are!

IMG_0565 (3)

Marjorie or M.J. Mallon!

I am a debut author who has been blogging for three years – https://mjmallon.com. My interests include writing, photography, poetry, and alternative therapies. I write Fantasy YA, and middle-grade fiction as well as micropoetry – haiku and tanka. I love to read and have written over 100 reviews: https://mjmallon.com/2015/09/28/a-z-of-my-book-reviews/

My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheros! I was born on the 17th of November in Lion City: Singapore, (a passionate Scorpio, with the Chinese Zodiac sign a lucky rabbit,) second child and only daughter to my proud parents Paula and Ronald.

I grew up in a mountainous court in the Peak District in Hong Kong with my elder brother Donald. My parents dragged me away from my exotic childhood and my much loved dog Topsy to the frozen wastelands of Scotland. In bonnie Edinburgh I mastered Scottish country dancing, and a whole new Och Aye lingo.

As a teenager I travelled to many far-flung destinations to visit my abacus wielding wayfarer dad. It’s rumoured that I now live in the Venice of Cambridge, with my six foot hunk of a Rock God husband, and my two enchanted daughters.

After such an upbringing my author’s mind has taken total leave of its senses!

When I’m not writing, I eat exotic delicacies while belly dancing, or surf to the far reaches of the moon. To chill out, I practise Tai Chi. If the mood takes me I snorkel with mermaids, or sign up for idyllic holidays with the Chinese Unicorn, whose magnificent voice sings like a thousand wind chimes.

What’s not to like Peeps? And the best thing? This is Book One! So that means there is sure to be more fabulousness to come! So, go, get ordering!!!! Watch out for a review on here soon enough!

My interactive peeps!

Peeps are reading in…

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