Cover Reveal: The Curse of Time – Book 1 – Bloodstone

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Today, I am delighted to share with you my cover reveal for my debut fantasy YA novel:

The Curse of Time – Book 1 – Bloodstone

I’m delighted with the cover – Wendy Anne Darling at BOOKXEEDO Book Covers has done a marvellous job. Isn’t the cover just beautiful? Thank you Wendy so much.
Cover photography credit: Chronopage and grasshopper – John C Taylor, OBE.

Cover photography credit: author photo – Georgina Mallon.

Cover photography credit (spine) :  Bloodstone – Alex Marlowe.

Synopsis:

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?

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Writer’s journey – How did it all happen?

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This is  my writer’s blog about me and my crazy journey to becoming a half decent author.

Well how did I start writing? It was quite odd really. I used to write as a teenager. At the time I had a ginger tom cat called Chester, Mr. Popularity, everyone loved him. He liked to venture afar and we would often have to rescue him. I remember one occasion in particular, my brother and I ended up trudging through the woods, in Blackhall in Edinburgh, to pick him up from a house in the vicinity. He ended up at the most peculiar places. One time he chose to visit a house with thirteen cats!

Here he is looking very much like a tom cat with attitude!

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Tips for the New Goodreads Giveaways

Excellent advice from Chris McMullen about hosting a Goodreads giveaway.

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GOODREADS GIVEAWAYS

As you may have heard, Goodreads Giveaways have changed.

  • One change is that KDP authors can now give eBooks away.
  • Another change is that it now costs money to create a Goodreads giveaway.

If you’d like to learn more about these recent changes to the Goodreads giveaway program, click here to read my recent article about it.

In my current post, I will offer some tips for making the most of it.

EXPLORING THE GIVEAWAYS

First off, there is the question of how readers will find your giveaway. It’s worth exploring the giveaways as a reader would before you proceed to create a giveaway as an author. This will give you some insight into the process.

Unfortunately, when I visit the homepage at www.goodreads.com, I don’t see any mention of the giveaways there. But that’s okay. Experience shows that thousands of readers already know where to find…

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Prologues – with hindsight

A fascinating post about prologues, from Jessica Norrie. Particularly as there is one in my novel! Apparently some folks don’t like them. I recommend reading this thoughtful article to discover the do’s and don’ts of prologues.

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Browsing my favourite fiction authors, what do Helen Dunmore, Elena Ferrante, Zadie Smith, Margaret Forster and Kazuo Ishiguro (sometimes) do, that Margaret Atwood, Ian McKewan, Rose Tremain and Kazuo Ishiguro (sometimes) don’t?

1411219Clue: It was good enough for Chaucer and (sometimes) Shakespeare, but has a reputation as a turn-off in submissions to agents and publishers. At the Guardian Masterclass I attended, the invited agent said: “Never send me a submission with a prologue!” And here are two more, quoted on the Writer’s Digest:

“I’m not a fan of prologues, preferring to find myself in the midst of a moving plot on page one rather than being kept outside of it, or eased into it.”

“Damn the prologue, full speed ahead!”

In the Facebook group Book Connectors the thread “Do you read the prologue?” has given me a blog theme for the second week running. (Thanks!) It’s turned…

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Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 66: DESTINATION & GUIDE (#SynonymsOnly)

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The party begins,

The prompt words this week are destination, and guide. I chose to use the synonyms haven and guiding spirit.  I created the above Tanka which leads to a short, but oh so relevant excerpt…

 

An excerpt from my YA/Paranormal Fantasy the Curse of Time – Book 1 – Bloodstone.

A hazy image materialised into a multitude of glistening sparks which transformed into a vibrantly glowing object. I heard the pounding hearts from each of us becoming louder and more distinct as we gazed at the object. The sparks coalesced, no longer separate entities they’d joined to form a spirit or a ghostly apparition. The specter sparkled like a million candle lights, speaking to each of us, in a wisp of a voice that drifted like the wind.

The spirit addressed me, knowing I possessed the gift to understand the crystals. ‘You have called me forth to open your heart to the truth. You must accept who you are and not be afraid. Embrace your true self. Encourage others to do the same. Then you will be a truly magical person, able to rekindle your family’s happiness. Beware those who want what you possess.’

The spirit turned and pointed at Joselyn. ‘Joselyn, you must move on from your past and accept the challenges of the future. Don’t be fearful. Your confidence will grow the more you follow your dreams.’

The phantom floated above us on invisible currents and pointed at Ilaria. ‘Ilaria, you have no more to fear from the children who taunted you. Your laughter protects you from their wickedness. Heed my words and use your skill wisely.’

Jade was last, and the spirit hovered near her face. ‘Jade, you possess the skill and craft of working with animals. You must cherish and nurture it. Be faithful to your friends, and most of all, beware of those who may lead you astray.’

When the spirit finished speaking, the ghostly form drifted toward the candles and hovered above them. Slowly, the flames were extinguished one after the other, and we found ourselves sitting in total darkness. The phantom had vanished. No one spoke. We were shocked into a stunned silence. Ilaria switched on the light, and with one glance, we all knew things between us would never be the same again. That night signalled the beginning of our own personal voyages toward self-discovery.

© M J Mallon 2017/2018

https://colleenchesebro.com/2018/01/09/colleens-weekly-tanka-tuesday-poetry-challenge-no-66-destination-guide-synonymsonly/

Hope you enjoyed the Tanka and excerpt.

Bye for now,

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49 Days In 1988. Week 1: Dinner With Death

Thank you to Hugh for featuring me in the first of his new series of stories, music and features on his blog.

Hugh's Views & News

London – January 6th, 1988.

Alan was dead. I couldn’t believe it, but it didn’t stop my housemate, Stephen, cooking dinner and inviting me to eat with him and his boyfriend, Kev.

Tears spoilt our appetites,  but we all agreed that Alan would have wanted us to laugh. So we laughed and cried together while chicken in a white wine sauce went cold on our plates.

I only wished I had talked more to Alan. The fact that he tried to take his own life, last August, was a warning to all of us. But he was so difficult to talk to. He’d deny there was anything wrong and try and change the subject as quickly as possible.

I felt sorry for Kev. He’s younger than Stephen and I and hasn’t been on the scene very long. While we were doing the washing up, Stephen mentioned to me that Kevin was terrified of…

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#ABRSC Review of Ninja School Mum

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Obsessive-compulsive school mum, Skye, is a lonely elite spy, who is running from her past whilst trying to protect the future of her child. She tries hard to fit in with the other parents at her son’s new school, but the only person who accepts her unconventional way of life is new mother, Thea.

Thea is feeling harassed by her sister and bored with her life, but she suspects that there is something strange about the new school mum, Skye. Thea has secrets of her own and, although the two become unlikely friends, she hesitates to tell Skye about the father of her own child.

Zack’s new business is growing faster than he could have dreamed but, suddenly, he finds himself the owner of a crumbling estate on the edge of a pretty village, and a single parent to a very demanding child. Could he make a go of things and give his daughter the life she deserved?

When three lives collide, it appears that only one of them is who they seem to be, and you never know who the person next to you in the school playground really is.

My review: 

Thank you to the author Lizzie Chantree for an ARC copy for a honest review. All opinions are my own.

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An enjoyable romance with an unexpected twist towards the end. Light-hearted, amusing and fun. The characters are well rounded, and engaging – my favourites are Skye, Thea and Zack.

In my opinion this quick read would appeal to mums and dads who have been excluded from playground cliques and friendship groups and who would like to have some ninja skills to deal with certain people! So very relatable, humorous and fun.

My recommendation – 4 stars – Particularly recommended for those who enjoy their romance with a sprinkling of humour, and a touch of sauciness but not too much!

Read as part of #ABRSC read and review group for independent authors.

I will be featuring Lizzie Chantree on my blog in February with more details about Ninja School Mum’s release…

Paperback, 1, 310 pages
Expected publication: January 30th 2018 by Crooked Cat Books

Author’s website: https://lizziechantree.com/

Twitter: @Lizzie_Chantree

My previous author spotlight post: https://mjmallon.com/2017/03/18/author-spotlight-lizzie-chantree/

Happy reading,

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Bye for now,

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Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 65: AMBITION & CHANGE (#SynonymsOnly)

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This week’s prompt words from Colleen – ambition and change really attracted me. My youngest is going through quite a lot of impending changes at the moment. She plans to go to University in September to study Fashion Management,  and I am so excited for her. Also my husband and I are considering plans in the not too distant future to move abroad, not definite yet, but we are talking about it! Change is exciting but it is also scary too. But, you’ll never know how new challenges will develop unless you give them a try. So that is going to be my motto for 2018. Try new things, be adventurous!

To join in with Colleen’s poetry challenge follow the link:

https://colleenchesebro.com/2018/01/02/colleens-weekly-tanka-tuesday-poetry-challenge-no-65-ambition-change-synonymsonly/

So here is my Tanka using the synonyms, aspiration for ambition, and transform for change.

An aspiration,To study, seek adventure, A huge opportunity, Scary too, fashionista's!Transform, my little d

I am including the following short extract from The Curse of Time – Bloodstone – Book 1 in which the main character Amelina considers how someone you’ve just met – Ryder – can seem to change at an alarming rate. And yet, that person captivates you into wanting more of that dark, dangerous charisma!

Every nerve ending in my body flooded with a multitude of emotions until I felt like a quivering mound of nervous, trembling jelly. Taking deep soothing breaths, I reached for my headphones to shut out this horrible, senseless world. I craved ear-piercing rock, a vault of high adrenalin noise. That would be sure to do the trick.
I turned up the sound and relaxed, lying in my bed. My thoughts returned to Ryder. What did I know about him? He had appeared as a stranger and then surprised me by coming to my rescue. He had scared those creepy boys off. I had to admit that I didn’t understand him or them either. His personality had switched. One moment he’d been all smiles and then boom, he’d changed, a scary intensity erupting out of those incredible eyes. I imagined his face staring at me again. He had a mysterious power in him that much I could see, so much so, that even the ground beneath his feet responded to him.
I remembered that Ryder had introduced himself to me but hadn’t bothered to ask my name. I scratched my head in puzzlement. Yet he knew who I was. Somehow, he knew those boys’ names too. It struck me as strange and unsettling. But one thing I knew for sure I experienced a trickle of life flowing in my veins. This sensation had long been missing from my life. It heralded an awakening, and I shivered in delight. I felt excited, confused, and more than a little scared. But I felt alive.
I experienced this magnetic pull of some hidden power that drew me towards him. With little difficulty, I realised he was a secret I would be wise to keep to myself. Mum and Dad would go mad if I mentioned that I’d met him down the river pathway. Hero or Prince, they wouldn’t understand. Besides, the possibility of keeping dark and mysterious secrets appealed to me. They were the best, most wicked kind.

 

Hope you enjoyed the extract. Feel free to comment below I love receiving feedback from you all.

Hope your 2018 started off better than mine did! I’ve been a bit poorly so apologies for the late message to wish you a very Happy, and Healthy New Year! xx

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All-Around Best of Show

Congratulations to Diana Peach for being awarded All Around Best of Show in the #FFRodeo at Charli Mill’s Carrot Ranch Literary Community.

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

From Lead Buckaroo, Charli Mills

The dust has settled, and the bulls are back out to pasture after the first Flash Fiction Rodeo at Carrot Ranch. From idea to event, this was no solo endeavor. It took a community to dream, organize, support, promote and engage.

To all of you who wrangle words at the Ranch, to those of you who quietly read from the other side of your screen to all who dared to make this contest their “first rodeo,” thank you!

Our Flash Fiction Rodeo consisted of eight unique events that differed in length, prompt and form. Each leader devised their own contest and rules for participation. We worked together as a team to shape the Rodeo, and each leader worked with a partnership of judges. We allowed leaders and judges to enter any contest they were not judging. We also allowed writers to participate as challengers if…

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The Diverse Verse 3 poetry anthology is now open for submissions

There is still time to enter your poem in the Diverse Verse 3 poetry collection. Closing date: 31st December.

Poems and more from Richard Archer

My last successful poetry anthology, Diverse Verse 2.

Diverse Verse 3 the poetry book from Walsall with an international reach is ready to accept submissions.

Here’s how you can get involved and see your poem in print

All you need to do to be involved is to email me a poem to the email address below and it will be considered for the book based on the following rules. Please note entry is free.

  1. All poems must be the authors own work, please don’t submit something that isn’t yours.
  2. Poems are welcome from anyone, anywhere in the world.
  3. Please submit no more than one poem.
  4. A submitted poem must be in arial font in a format free word document. If you are unable to do such then just paste your poem into the body of your email.
  5. Poems on any subject and theme are welcome, however sexually explicit poetry and…

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Winner of Flash Fiction Contest #8

All the winners of the Carrot Ranch Rodeo including myself with my piece of murderous flash Mr Blamey.

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

TUFF Winner at Carrot Ranch @Charli_MillsTo many writers, 99 words may hardly seem enough to tell a story. And yet, week after week I witness writers achieve compelling, emotive and imaginitive stories in 99 words. Some are complete story arcs, some are snapshots of a moment, and some are character-driven. Much can be accomplished in flash fiction.

Contest #8 in the Flash Fiction Rodeo asked writers to show the bones of their story development, cut it to the strongest point, and build it back up into a complete story using TUFF: The Ultimate Flash Fiction. TUFF mimics what it takes to write a novel. It’s a process that begins with a 5-minute free write, reduces the draft to 99 words, 59 words, 9 words and then concludes with a 599-word flash fiction.

As a contest, TUFF asks entrants to be vulnerable. First drafts (free writes) are not often what any writer wants to share, especially…

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#SundayBlogShare A Christmas Thought – Hoping for Ordinary Kindness and Love This Year

 

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Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and all the best for a Happy New year.

I’d like to spare a thought this Christmas for all those who are lonely, or devastated by terrible news. Not everyone is surrounded by family and friends at Christmas. Perhaps someone you know will be at home eating baked beans alone. I know someone who is. His partner works shifts as a hospice carer, she will be working Christmas day, so he will be alone. Fortunately, they are having their celebration the day after on Boxing Day with a big family get together.

My heart goes out to my daughter’s friend this Christmas. Her mum is terminally ill with cancer and will not live much longer. I feel for her and her brother who are overwhelmed with much responsibility and sadness at such a young age. To add to their plight their parents are separated and they are young adults living alone.

Reflecting upon these overwhelming emotions are perhaps one of the reasons why I became a writer – to express those emotions that are not always easy to understand or to live with. Life can be cruel, but it can also be wonderful.  So, I am going to spare a kind thought for her family this Christmas, and hope she finds the strength to deal with the ordeal that will surely follow. From what my daughter has told me she is a resourceful, admirable young woman, and I am sure her mother would be so proud of all she is doing.

2017 hasn’t been the best of years, has it?

There has been much senseless violence, sadness and loss of life, but I discovered a wonderful tweet from one of my writing hero’s: Stephen King which lifted my spirits …

Let’s hope that 2018 is a better year and that ordinary kindness and love will prevail.

Do enjoy the festivities, smile a lot, drink and be merry for life is short, but make it sweet.

I will be taking a bit of blogging break for a few days but I’ll be back in the New Year.

Much love, xxxx

 

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