Book and a Brew with Ritu – Do What You Love by @Marjorie_Mallon by #NewRelease #BookReview

I’m back with a second edition!

Today, I am thrilled to welcome an old blogging and writing friend who I have met in person. None other than the lovely Marjorie Mallon, one of my blogging sisters! She’s got an awesome poetry collection out TODAY, entitled Do What You Love.

Hello, and welcome to But I Smile Anyway again, Marje! First things first. What would you like to drink?

We have all the usuals, tea, coffee, masala chai, fancy coffee from the Nespresso machine, or green tea if you’d prefer. Lil Princess has been busy baking cookies for us, too!

Ah, I’ve put a bit of weight on recently, Ritu, so I better say green tea, but I’d love a cookie! Thanks, Lil Princess. 🙂

So, firstly, let’s set the scene. You recently left British shores and have moved abroad to Portugal. What a brave move! Tell us about it. How has it changed life for you since you are also a mother? And are you able to be more creative out there now?

Thank you so much, Ritu, for inviting me over to chat about my new book and for taking the time to read and review it. I appreciate it so much. We’re still swamped in the bureaucratic post covid process, Ritu.

Even though things are starting to move! At the moment, I’m spending over half of the year in the UK, mostly in Edinburgh and the rest in Portugal. As I have elderly parents and my daughters are both based in the UK, I see this time as a precious gift to be with them. I miss my daughters, family and friends in the UK.

But… we have had a lot of visitors! In truth, I find it more difficult to focus on writing here as there are so many distractions! I have to be disciplined and find the time! Yesterday (after a late night and a rock concert,) I began writing this interview on the train travelling from Faro back to Tavira.

You haven’t pigeonholed yourself as a writer, have you? YA fantasy fiction, and all sorts of poetry and cross-over poetic fiction books. What is your favourite type of creative writing?

No, I haven’t. I would try anything… I might even attempt to write a crime and/or romance novel one day. My favourite kind of writing is… perhaps poetry and short fiction as I find it the easiest to write. I love writing full-length novels too, but they are much more challenging, frustrating and time-consuming.

I’ve been wondering, how is your 2nd book progressing Ritu… Can’t wait to read it.

Currently, it is sitting with my editors at my publisher! So, not long. June 2023 is the pencilled-in publication date! Oh, they do take forever to write, don’t they, especially when you are working full time, too!

You know I’m a nosy soul. Where do you like to write?  Is it a very different setup for you now you have moved?

Yes! We have downsized from a 5-bed family home with a large garden to a one-bed rented flat with a tiny balcony and no garden. I must be mad! I mainly write in said flat in Tavira – in the kitchen! My hubby bought me a nice table and chairs with a pretty view of the fields and trees nearby  I used to have an office in our old house, but we are only renting at the moment, so I am making do! I am flexible that way… as long as I have a laptop, power and wifi, I am ready to go.

What about you Ritu where do you write?

I have my little reading and writing room. I loathed to call it an office because it then seems like work rather than the pleasure I find creating stories!

We’ve been friends for a LONG time now. And we’ve had the pleasure of meeting each other in person at the ABBA’s. (Remember them? I miss those opportunities to catch up with my blogily!) How do you feel your blogging career has evolved over the years?

Yes, we have been friends for a LONG time, and I value your dear friendship so much, Ritu. I miss those events and your lovely in-person company! I must admit to having downsized my blogging activity. I miss it, but something had to give! I focus mainly on writing reviews now, doing blog tours etc., which I love doing. I’ve started a bookstagram account mainly for this purpose:  https://www.instagram.com/mjm_reviews/

Who knows where my future writing/blogging may take me.

I would love to write more about my travels…as I am a keen photographer. I’ve started drafting a story set in Tavira, so we shall see…it started off as a romantic idea but seems to be veering in another direction. So me!

You must find it so hard to find time Ritu with your work commitments… How do you manage? Oddly I find it even harder now I am retired from my day job. The opposite to what I expected!

I’m not actually sure how I manage, Marje! But, I feel that if you really want to do something, you will find the time for it, so that is how I manage. I don’t watch an awful lot of TV, so my spare time is all reading and writing and adding my regular posts to my blog!

I have been honoured to read most of your work as working copies, or arcs, over the years. What has been your favourite project so far?

You are a star and such a huge supporter of all my work! It’s a pleasure to read and an honour to be trusted with someone’s creativity!

I love your writing too and can’t wait to read more of The Rishtay series!  (Blushing…) Thank you.

My favourite project… a difficult one to answer as I love them all.

Overall, it has to be my debut novel Bloodstone, in The Curse of Time series, as it was my first writing project, the 1st novel I’d ever written and published. It kickstarted it all, and I am very proud of all the positive and diverse reviews it has received. It now has 84 reviews on Goodreads… and counting, with an overall rating of 4.14.

Also, I met the inventor of the Corpus Christi Clock (one of the inspirations for the series,) Dr John C Taylor, and went out for lunch and a stroll with him, which was a huge highlight of my life.  And Bloodstone is now available in audiobook which I love. We are currently working on the audiobook of book 2, Golden Healer. So excited about this!

I’ve just literally finished reading Do What You Love, your latest poetry collection with an eclectic mix of writing, where you revisit key moments in life and talk them through via the mediums of fictional conversations with the Three Sisters of Fate. Tell us how this idea came about.

I had a conversation with the sisters of fate, and they said to write this! Only joking. Like all of my writing projects, it evolved rather than was planned. It showcases poetry, prose and photographic images about my favourite places to live, emotional memories, happy times, amusing moments, and imagined discussions with the 3 three sisters of fate over a wide period of time. I suppose it is me having a soul-searching chat with myself about how my life is about to change and how perhaps I have to come to terms with that. Moving abroad is much more difficult than I first anticipated. I tend to jump and think later…

Since we’re sitting here with our drinks and cookies, and your book is about reminiscences, can you tell us a bit about a favourite food or snack and the memories it evokes?

My favourite food or snack has to be my mum’s beef rendang (Malaysian curry) or her Chinese duck, or sweet and sour pork – truly scrumptious, and her snacks…meat sate sticks, dim sum, homemade spring rolls.

My mum’s cooking evokes memories of family gatherings, and my hubby’s mouth-watering… he kept on coming to see me and ended up being spellbound by her fabulous cooking. Lol. Not joking. My mum is still a wonderful cook at age 80! She still gets up early every morning to cook. Bless her.

That all sounds delicious!

Now, to finish, can you tell us what to expect next? Will there be more from your YA series or other fiction? Or will you be concentrating on your poetry?

Next up is the final book in my YA fantasy series which will be set in The Land of Shadows. I also have several unfinished projects, some of which are short stories and as I mentioned earlier, the beginning of a story set in Tavira. Perhaps if I do write another poetry collection it will be set in Portugal… time will tell! 

Oh, now exciting!

Thank you so much for visiting, Marje. It’s been a pleasure.

Thank you for inviting me, Ritu.

My pleasure 😊

Peeps, you heard that right, the last in Marje’s YA series is on its way, too!

Now, as I mentioned before, I was lucky enough to read an ARC of Do What You Love, so let me share the blurb and my review.

The Blurb

Do What You Love is a personal poetry collection celebrating how the fates may have a part in all that we do.

With special poems and short reflective moments inspired by family, flowers and nature, love, scrumptious morsels, places I’ve visited, lived and intend to live in, the friendships and hopes I have for the future.

The overarching theme is to live a life well lived… And to do what you love.

float along with me
create clouds of sweetest joy
to do what you love
hold fate’s hand as we venture
near and far on life’s journey

My Review

Do What You Love: Fragility of Your Flame Poems Photography & Flash Fiction by M.J. Mallon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh what a lovely book, filled with poetic gems and beautiful prose!
I enjoy reading MJ Mallon’s poetic fiction, where she ties poetry with prose, and have read several of her previous books written similarly.
Do What You Love is almost autobiographical in the sense that she has taken her memories and written them in poetic form. The fictional, almost fantastical element is where she meets the three sisters of fate through her journey of reminiscences, and they talk about her different memories.
It’s not linear, but no conversation ever is, is it? Memories jump from the more recent to the older ones as they come tumbling into your mind.
I felt a keen connection to the poems about her daughters and the autumn trees. Autumn is one of my favourite seasons.
A lovely book with a personal touch.

AMAZON – DO WHAT YOU LOVE

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0BKLC9DYY/

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/What-You-love-Fragility-Photography-ebook/dp/B0BKLC9DYY/

Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/What-You-love-Fragility-Photography-ebook/dp/B0BKLC9DYY/

And here are some links about Marje and her other books.

I am thrilled to say that two of my poetry collections (Mr Sagittarius and Lockdown Innit) have been requested by prestigious libraries in the UK: The British Library, The Bodleian Library Oxford University, the Cambridge University Library, the National Library of Scotland, National Library of Wales and Trinity College Dublin for Legal Deposit.

Add the book to your TBR: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/63114445-do-what-you-love

The cover of the paperback and kindle have been designed by Colleen Chesebro who has a new service for authors which I can highly recommend. Colleen also designed the interior and cover of The Hedge Witch And The Musical Poet.

https://unicorncatspubservices.wordpress.com/my-services

Blog: https://mjmallon.com

All links via: https://linktr.ee/mjmallonauthor


Portfolio:
https://unicorncatspubservices.wordpress.com/portfolio

https://wordcraftpoetry.com/unicorn-cats-publishing-services/

Other poetry/flash fiction collections:

Kyrosmagica Publishing

The Hedge Witch And The Musical Poet

https://books2read.com/u/mv1OeV

Mr. Sagittarius Poetry and Prose

http://mybook.to/MrSagittarius

Anthology – This Is Lockdown (poetry, diaries and flash fiction – kindle)

http://mybook.to/Thisislockdown

Poetry during Lockdown – Lockdown Innit

 http://mybook.to/Lockdowninnit

Poetry also features in my highly acclaimed YA Fantasy series.  Each chapter begins with a short poem. The Curse of Time Book 1 Bloodstone and Book 2 Golden Healer are published by Next Chapter Publishing.

https://www.nextchapter.pub/books/bloodstone

https://www.nextchapter.pub/books/golden-healer

https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/mj-mallon

About the Author

M J Mallon was born in Lion city Singapore, a passionate Scorpio with the Chinese Zodiac sign of a lucky rabbit. She spent her early childhood in Hong Kong. During her teen years, she returned to her father’s childhood home, Edinburgh where she spent many happy years, entertained and enthralled by her parents’ vivid stories of living and working abroad. Perhaps it was during these formative years that her love of storytelling began to be bolstered by these vivid raconteurs. She counts herself lucky to have travelled to many far-flung destinations, and this early wanderlust has fuelled her present desire to emigrate abroad. Until that wondrous moment, it’s rumoured that she lives sometimes in the UK and often times in Portugal. Her two enchanting daughters have flown the nest but often return with a cheery smile to greet her.

Her motto is to always do what you love, stay true to your heart’s desires, and inspire others to do so too.

Golden Healer by @Marjorie_Mallon #BlogTour

I am always excited to be able to feature a dear friend on my blog, and today is the turn of the lovely and most talented Marjorie Mallon!

Now, I have to tell you, I have waited a good few years for this sequel to Marje’s first book, Bloodstone, and thought I read an early first draft of the new book, I was extremely privileged to read the finished product, which continues the story of Amelina in her quest to break The Curse Of Time!

Golden Healer is The 2nd in The YA Paranormal Adventure Series – The Curse of Time.

I didn’t think my life could get any weirder, until the dreaded rollercoaster…

Amelina Scott’s destiny is to be a Krystallos: a magician of light, chosen to learn the ways of crystal magic on her 16th birthday. Located on a river pathway in a mysterious part of Cambridge, the Crystal Cottage is guarded by mythical beings.

Unfortunately, there are those who seek to harm this haven of light. Learning of Ryder – a Shadow Sorcerer with hypnotic powers – Amelina discovers that her own magic is now threatened, and that the Curse of Time might be unleashed again.

As secrets abound and the creatures of the Chronophage come alive, can Amelina become the true magician she needs to be?

A unique, imaginative mystery full of magic-wielding and dark elements, Bloodstone is a riveting adventure for anyone interested in fantasy, mythology or the world of the paranormal. NOTE: this book contains mention of self-harm, mental health issues and alludes to the potential dangers of sexual attraction, which may trigger younger/sensitive readers.

Buy Here!

The Series is inspired by:

The Corpus Christi Chronophage clock on King’s Parade, Cambridge. Find out more here:

http:// http://www.johnctaylor.com/the-chronophage/

https://mjmallon.com/2017/09/17/poetry-inspiredby-the-dragon-chronopage-colleens-weekly-poetrychallenge-no-50-haiku-tanka-haibun-voice-watch/

And Juniper Artland – artist Anya Gallaccio’s sculpture The Light pours out of Me. https://www.jupiterartland.org/art/anya-gallaccio-the-light-pours-out-of-me/

And the 2nd book Golden Healer mentions a popular old haunt of Cambridge  which has since closed down – Clowns Cafe.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheros!

M J Mallon was born in Lion city Singapore, a passionate Scorpio with the Chinese Zodiac sign of a lucky rabbit. She spent her early childhood in Hong Kong. During her teen years, she returned to her father’s childhood home, Edinburgh where she spent many happy years, entertained and enthralled by her parents’ vivid stories of living and working abroad. Perhaps it was during these formative years that her love of storytelling began bolstered by these two vivid raconteurs. She counts herself lucky to have travelled to many far-flung destinations and this early wanderlust has fuelled her present desire to emigrate abroad. Until that wondrous moment, it’s rumoured that she lives in the UK, in the Venice of Cambridge with her six-foot hunk of a rock god husband. Her two enchanting daughters have flown the nest but often return with a cheery smile.

Her motto is to Do what Your Heart Desires.

And her favourite genre to write is fantasy/magical realism because life should always be sprinkled with a liberal dash of extraordinarily imaginative magic!

Accolades: M J is a finalist in the Fantasy category of N. N. Light’s Book Award for her novel Bloodstone and a finalist in the International author. She has also contributed best-selling short stories to Dan Alatorre’s Box Under The Bed anthologies.

Winner of the Blogger’s bash blogging prize with her flash fiction piece The Queen’s Dress Down Day. https://mjmallon.com/2018/03/21/the-bloggers-bash-blog-post-competition-2018-the-queens-dress-down-day/

Winner of Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Contest with her murderous piece: Mr. Blamey https://carrotranch.com/2017/12/19/winner-of-flash-fiction-contest-7/

Bloodstone: The Curse Of Time Book 1 by @Marjorie_Mallon  #BlogTour

I am delighted to invite my dear friend, and blog sis, Marjorie Mallon, to my blog today to let you all know about the re-release of her first novel, Bloodstone: The Curse Of Time Book 1. It has recently been picked up by a publisher, been given a makeover of sorts, and is back out there, in the book wild, and I, for one, am thrilled for Marje, because she has worked so hard for this! I read it the first time round, and I’ve also had a sneak peak at a very early draft of Book 2. Lots of fun in store for readers!

Let me pass you over to Marje!

Thank you so much Ritu for being part of my impromptu blog tour for my re-release of Bloodstone, The Curse of Time Book 1. 

Next Chapter Publishing – YA fantasy The Curse of Time series:

Bloodstone-Main-File

Bloodstone – The Curse of Time Book 1 

Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal

Fifteen-year-old Amelina Scott lives in Cambridge with her dysfunctional family, a mysterious black cat, and an unusual girl who is imprisoned within the mirrors located in her house.

When an unexpected message arrives inviting her to visit the Crystal Cottage, she sets off on a forbidden path where she encounters Ryder: a charismatic, perplexing stranger.

With the help of a magical paint set and some crystal wizard stones, can Amelina discover the truth about her family?

A unique, imaginative mystery full of magic-wielding and dark elements, Bloodstone is a riveting adventure for anyone interested in fantasy, mythology or the world of the paranormal.

UK Book Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bloodstone-Curse-Time-Book-1-ebook/dp/B097QZBKNY/

US Book Link: https://www.amazon.com/Bloodstone-M-J-Mallon-ebook/dp/B097QZBKNY/

Universal book Link:http://mybook.to/bstmm

Amazon Preview Link: https://amzn.eu/iwyO8p3

And the 2nd in the series coming soon

Golden Healer – The Curse of Time Book 2

EXCERPT – BLOODSTONE (The Curse of Time Book 1) 

A tremor shook my body, and my teeth chattered. My ears rang with the sound of the earth cracking below my feet. It meant that I had left it too late to run. My eyes fell downwards as the world tilted on its axis, and the realisation came to me that the only way out was via a slide that suddenly appeared at my feet. 

With one glance, I could tell the slide had a definite beginning but no visible end. I placed a tentative step onto the slide. The minute I touched it, I knew there was no time for fear. I swallowed hard and plunged into the darkness, sliding into oblivion. Every emotion I possessed had compressed into mere secondsa momentary adrenalin rush. Sensations continued like the aftermath of the wildest rollercoaster ride. Fuelled by fear, it sent my senses reeling, the ultimate blood-pounding, stomach-churning thrill.

I slipped down the slide and landed on a stone floor, yet it cushioned my landing like a silky feather down quilt. No longer afraid of the shadows, I felt welcomed, at home. With wide-eyed astonishment, I took in the magnificent interior of the Crystal Cottage. Gems in a myriad of welcoming shades—purple Amethyst, white Quartz, red Jade, blue Topaz—covered the walls. A riot of colours reflected in the facets of the crystals, which welcomed me with their brightness. This magnificent display promised more, luminous lights twinkled and burst forth from each separate gem in a firework-like extravaganza. I gasped. My breath caught in my throat, and I glanced down at my hands. They were sparkling as if they had touched an enormous glitter ball. A crystalline light bounced off the walls of the cottage, finding a resting place on my face. The brilliant light caressed me. 

My heart filled with wonder at this miraculous event and I wished the exquisiteness of the moment would last forever. I willed this spectacle to carry on and on, but the glowing display tapered off. The colours became darker, and glimmers of the crystals’ bright lights darkened to a menacing black, then lightened to a grey, washed-out colour before turning a muddy brown. 

In horror, I could feel the skin on my face puckering like an orange peel stripped of all moisture. My body shivered, and I shook. I stirred in my sleep, suspended in the haze of the dream. I struggled to remain, not wanting to leave the beauty and comfort of the Crystal Cottage. So I remained, floating in the abyss, fearful but longing to find out more. 

In my dreamy state, I lifted my head and looked up. All I could see was the strange creature a short distance above me, standing as if he waited, but for what I could not tell. He held a laddertwo long ropes connected by short crosspieces made of skin and boneswhich he dangled down. I grimaced, but with no other choice open, I reached out and latched onto the gruesome ladder device. The creature hoisted me out, and we stood side by side, motionless for a second. We exchanged no words. Once again, I felt the ground beneath my feet shudder and crack wide open into a large gash of exploding brown earth. I stepped back, afraid of the black void looming in front of me. I shrieked as I observed the creature as he plummeted into the depths of the earth, the whole time reaching his arms out towards me as he fell. 

© M J Mallon

Me 300 DPI
Author Photo Corpus Christi Clock King's Parade

AUTHOR BIO

My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheros!

M J Mallon was born in Lion city Singapore, a passionate Scorpio with the Chinese Zodiac sign of a lucky rabbit. She spent her early childhood in Hong Kong. During her teen years, she returned to her father’s childhood home, Edinburgh where she spent many happy years, entertained and enthralled by her parents’ vivid stories of living and working abroad. Perhaps it was during these formative years that her love of writing began inspired by their vivid storytelling. She counts herself lucky to have travelled to many far-flung destinations and this early wanderlust has fuelled her present desire to emigrate abroad. Until that wondrous moment, it’s rumoured that she lives in the UK, in the Venice of Cambridge with her six-foot hunk of a rock god husband. Her two enchanting daughters have flown the nest but often return with a cheery, heart-warming smile to greet her.

MJ’s writing credits also include a multi-genre approach: paranormal, best-selling horror, supernatural short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. She has worked with some amazing authors and bloggers compiling an anthology/compilation set during the early stages of COVID-19 entitled This Is Lockdown and later she wrote a spin off poetry collection, Lockdown Innit

She’s been blogging for many moons at her blog home Kyrosmagica, (which means Crystal Magic,) where she celebrates the spiritual realm,her love of nature, crystals and all things magical, mystical, and mysterious. 

Her eclectic blog shares her love of reading, reviewing books, writing, and photography: https://mjmallon.com/

Articles:

https://originallife.com/difficult-times/
https://originallife.com/lollipop-leaves/

https://sachablack.co.uk/2018/04/08/prologues/

All my books incl. Bloodstone

MJ’s motto is…

To always do what you Love, stay true to your heart’s desires, and inspire others to do so too, even if it appears that the odds are stacked against you like black hearted shadows. 

Her favourite genre to write is 

Fantasy/magical realism because life would be dull unless it is sprinkled with a liberal dash of extraordinarily imaginative magic!

AUTHOR SOCIAL MEDIA DETAILS

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

#ABRSC – Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1829166787333493/
Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/m-j-mallon 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjmallonauthor/

Spiritual Sisters: https://www.facebook.com/5SpiritualSisters

Kyrosmagica Publishing (MJ’s Imprint)

Pandemic Poetry: Lockdown Innit 

https://mybook.to/Lockdowninnit

Poetry, Prose and Photography: Mr. Sagittarius

http://mybook.to/MrSagittarius

An anthology: This Is Lockdown  

Kindle: mybook.to/Thisislockdown

Shorter version – Paperback: mybook.to/Thisislockdownpb

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.

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