Book Review: Emma’s Tapestry @IBlackthorn #historical #fiction #NextChapterPub

At the dawn of World War Two, German-born nurse Emma Taylor sits by the bedside of a Jewish heiress in London as she reminisces over her dear friend, Oscar Wilde.

As the story of Wilde unravels, so does Emma’s past. What really happened to her husband?

She’s taken back to her days in Singapore on the eve of World War One. To her disappointing marriage to a British export agent, her struggle to fit into colonial life and the need to hide her true identity.

Emma is caught up in history, the highs, the lows, the adventures. A deadly mutiny, terrifying rice riots and a confrontation with the Ku Klux Klan bring home, for all migrants, the fragility of belonging.

Emma’s Tapestry is an imaginative retelling of the remarkable life of the author’s great-grandmother.

My review

I loved Emma’s Tapestry, a historical tale with an imaginative aspect, from the beginning!

I was attracted to reading this historical novel as it’s set in London, partially in the Far East in Singapore (where I was born) and also in Japan. The main character, Emma, is from Philadelphia but with German origins.

There are so many aspects to this tale to keep you utterly enthralled from mentions of Oscar Wilde’s letter to Adela, (an elderly Jewish heiress with a fascinating life to tell,) the tapestry itself which is cleverly interwoven into the plot, details of Emma’s Mennonite faith, emotional scenes, fears, dangers and insecurities brought on by war, anti-German feeling, mentions of mediums and spiritualism, the sense of the divide between the rich and the poor in Expat countries – Emma’s reaction and empathy for the locals (she is a trained nurse) and the terrible loss of life following WW1 caused by the Spanish influenza.

I admire authors who write historical fiction (as it must involve so much painstaking research to get the details right.)

Throughout it all the main character Emma shines with a can do I won’t be beaten attitude.

I just loved Emma’s wonderful strength of character!

There’s mention of the trials and tribulations throughout the war years of WW1 and WW2, (and coping with Ernest, her merchant hubby, a dire excuse for a husband, ) and the evergrowing anti-German sentiment and fears for her safety and her children’s wellbeing given her German heritage.

I listened to this sweeping historical novel in Audible and loved every minute.

With its wonderful storyline which sweeps back and forth in diverse time periods and believable, well written and engaging characters.

There is a lovely epilogue explaining Isobel Blackthorn’s family background and the mysterious inspiration for writing this story, (a period in her maternal great grandparents lives, ) which is in itself all so fascinating!

A must read – An easy 5 stars.

To buy:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B091CSDB7V/

Author links:

https://twitter.com/IBlackthorn

https://www.facebook.com/Lovesick.Isobel.Blackthorn/

https://twitter.com/IBlackthorn

https://www.facebook.com/Lovesick.Isobel.Blackthorn/

www.isobelblackthorn.com

https://twitter.com/IBlackthorn

https://www.facebook.com/Lovesick.Isobel.Blackthorn/

www.isobelblackthorn.com

https://twitter.com/IBlackthorn

https://www.facebook.com/Lovesick.Isobel.Blackthorn/

http://www.isobelblackthorn.com

Links:

Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon

Next Chapter Publishing Author Page: https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/mj-mallon

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mjmallonauthor/

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

#ABRSC: Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1829166787333493/

Book Bub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/m-j-mallon


Blog: https://mjmallon.com/

Author Spotlight: Cynthia Morgan @MorganBC728 #NextChapterpub #WritingCommunity

 

I’m pleased to welcome award-winning author; free-lance columnist, blogger, poet and up-and-coming podcaster, Cynthia Morgan to my blog.

Cynthia has a passion for words… Here is what she has to say…

I love words.  I admit it.  They are my full-blown addiction, plain and simple.  Most particularly, I love writing words.  Yes, there is quite a difference between reading them and writing them.  Oh, please don’t get me wrong, I do also enjoy reading them; however, if someone were to give me the choice between never being able to write again or never being allowed to read again, I would, without a single moment’s pause to contemplate the consequences of such an ultimatum, choose to never read again.

 

Words move me.  They fill my spirit.  I wake up creating headlines and spend my day filling page after page (after page). You might ask why, but I would probably respond with a similar question, such as:  Why do artists love to paint, or why do musicians live and breathe to write/perform music?  It’s in our soul.  It’s what makes us who we are and it defines us just as surely as the color of our hair and the clothes we wear.

 

If you’re familiar with my writing, you may already be aware that my particular penchant for words leans very heavily toward the superfluous end of the scale. Charles Dickens and Jane Austin have nothing on me when it comes to the peculiar joy I find in creating paragraph-long sentences that would make even an English major’s head spin. Why?  Again, I’d simply have to say because it’s in my soul.  I take sick pleasure in pumping up a simple sentence into an over-indulge, show-stopping extravaganza of linguistic gymnastics…that is grammatically correct. 

 

Many of you have never seen such an exquisite thing of beauty (or outlandishness, depending on your point of view) so I shall provide the following paragraph as an example.  I wrote this glorious one-sentence paragraph for an article on my blog (Booknvolume…otherwise known as BnV)

 

….at long last I am here to fill your next few moments with the tumbling musings of my mind (fair warning!)

 

Now, since my thoughts are flying in a rather confusing array of directions, at least at the present moment, I thought I would preface this post with the aforementioned disclaimer before I end up lost somewhere in the wilds of Uzbekistan with you sitting there with that particularly enchanting, though perhaps somewhat frustrated (at least for you) and puzzled expression on your face that most people end up having when they sit down and read one of my whirling posts, most particularly on night’s such as this when the words are flowing faster than I can logically keep up with, though often, depending upon the moon’s cycle or how much chocolate and/or caffeine I may have had before sitting down to begin writing, it can be a rather bewildering experience; whereat, being the kindhearted soul that I am, and never wishing to intentionally lead someone into a grammatical quagmire, as I am for all intents and purposes a good soul (though you and I both know that even good souls have halo’s that glow neon red now and again) I generally tend to use this moment of perplexity to point out that I did warn you, my dearest readers, very early on in our relationship (that being the early days of my blog BnV) that I do have the most annoying (or potentially amusing, dependant once again upon the aforementioned phase of the moon or how much chocolate or caffeine You’ve ingested before beginning to read) predilection to run off on wild tangents of verbosity that would make even Charles Dickens’s head ache, but let that go.

Word Count: 259
Sentences: 1
Passive Sentences: 0
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level 52.2 …. YES!!!!!!!!!!! (My work here is done, thank you)

It is moments such as these that give me the oddest, yet greatest pleasure and were during my high school years, amusingly, opportunities for me to stretch my writing skills to such degrees that my English professor (a very good soul indeed who loved words nearly as much as I do) resorted to noting that my fondness for crafting compound-complex sentences on the backs of my test papers during the remaining time I had in class (because I often finished the tests early, being rather good in English class, perhaps not entirely surprisingly) and then diagramming them for the sheer delight of doing so was, in his opinion, a very strong indicator that I had, either, some form of mental derangement not yet diagnosed, or, I was a word-smith in the making. (oooo Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level 53.8! Marvelous! )

You may at this moment tend to agree and I would not argue the fact, but before I leave you with a beautifully muddled expression and echoes of words ringing in your mind like the bells of St. Pauls, please allow me Bestow this final thought, which should, if nothing else, answer the original question.

To Write; To Paint with Words as an Artist Bedecks his canvas with hues and shades and layers of pigmentation; To Sing a Melody upon which the gaze may Linger and over which the Heart may Muse again and again: To Create visual Splendor with grammar and language that is, perhaps, fundamentally underutilized or neglected (and to use Capitalization in the most maddening, although explainable manner), to me, is the most Beguiling form of Intoxication in which I could ever take Pleasure and, for you, Dear Intrepid Reader, to Undertake the Journey; to Brave the Frontier of Superfluous Verbosity and reach the shore with a Smile (though, perchance, also to some extent exhausted), is far more Rewarding an Endeavor than any other I shall ever undertake.

.
~Morgan~

 

Cynthia A. Morgan is an award-winning author and Inspiration Coach. Morgan’s captivating stories and lyrical poetry promote positivity and Being The Change we want to see in the world.  Whether writing fiction or non-fiction, poetry or essays, Morgan’s writing inspires change, encourages harmonious perspectives, and promotes belief in the power of one. She is the founder of Booknvolume.com where over 20K readers across 90+ countries find her inspirational poetry, daily meditations, prompts for positivity, book reviews and more.

 

 

Award-winning YA Fantasy Dark Fey Trilogy explores our perspectives on ‘Good and Evil’ and resonates with the message: The Only Way to Achieve Peace is by Becoming Peace.

 

 

Amazon Best Seller and IAN Book of the Year Winner The Mercy Series follows the Archangel Tzadkiel on his search for a single merciful human being in a medieval dystopian future where justice and mercy are ancient history.  It’s powerful axiom ‘Show Thankfulness through Kindness and Appreciate Blessings through Generosity’ is woven into a powerful, Speculative Fantasy.

 

 

Booknvolume:   https://booknvolume.com & https://wordmongeryandmusings.com  

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Cynthia-A-Morgan/e/B00JYJ0NEG 

Official Author Website:  https://www.cynthiaamorganauthor.com/

It’s been great having Cynthia here. Do check out her great blogs and links to her awesome books.

Thank you so much for being my guest Cynthia.

Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon

Next Chapter Publishing Author Page: https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/mj-mallon

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mjmallonauthor/

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

#ABRSC: Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1829166787333493/

Book Bub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/m-j-mallon


Authors website: https://mjmallon.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whispers in Verse- Morgan’s first book of published poetry has been compared to Shakespeare by Readers Favorite and has received outstanding accolades from reviewers: “Whispers in Verse reads as if written on the wings of angels….If I could give this book a 10, I wouldn’t hesitate.”  and “Whispers in Verse is a treasure of quiet, subtle poems, leading us into a place of contemplation and calmness, evoking lovely images, and leaving the reader with a sense of calm….This author has touched my very soul.”

 

You can Morgan through social media in the following places:

Blogs:  www.booknvolume.com & https://wordmongeryandmusings.com  
Medium:  https://www.cynthia-a-morgan.com

Amazon Author Page: Author.to/CAMorganAuthor

Official Author Website:  https://www.cynthiaamorganauthor.com/

Twitter:  https://www.twitter.com/MorganBC728

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/booknvolume 

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/creativiapub/author-board-cynthia-a-morgan/

GoodReads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14174277.Cynthia_A_Morgan

Publisher’s Author Page: Author Cynthia A. Morgan — Next Chapter

Word Weaving: A Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse: #1 New Release in Japanese Poetry & Haiku – Colleen M. Chesebro @ColleenChesebro

Congratulations to Colleen Chesebro on her new release Word Weaving – its doing so well!!!

Looking forward to reading this soon and so pleased to be a contributing poet with so many amazing community members being a part of it.

Find out more about this from Colleen….

Source: Word Weaving: A Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse: #1 New Release in Japanese Poetry & Haiku – Colleen M. Chesebro

Tree Fairies and Their Short Stories @dlfinnauthor #review #book

Tree Fairies and Their Short Stories by D.L. Finn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Daniel and Colette are holidaying in the redwood forest when they discover some real fairies! This is a sweet, magical tale with an important message to impart about how important it is for us to look after our world, recycle, nurture and not be greedy like poachers (and other uncaring people,) who have no respect for nature, or the damage they can do to the natural world by their carelessness.

There are lovely descriptive passages as well as engaging dialogues of the fairies, wise talking trees, and dragonfly. And an amusing section with a kingfisher!

I particularly loved the parts with the trees (and dragonfly,) as I love redwood trees and dragonflies! Redwoods are such spectacular trees and have a special magical quality.

This is a lovely short tale with a considerable amount to say in a short magical narrative.

And there is also a lovely poem – The Little Fairies – at the beginning which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Highly recommended.


View all my reviews

Bloodstone Reviews, The I-Ching and Clocks! – Word Mongery and Musings

Thank you so much to Cynthia Morgan for featuring me at her awesome blog Word Mongery and Musings.

Do pop by to read the blog post in its entirety… I’m talking about reviews, The I-Ching and Clocks!

The variety of responses to Bloodstone have been varied, and thoughtful.. No two people will read a book and have the same opinion. That is the beauty of writing, reading and reviewing. Books are e…

Source: Bloodstone Reviews, The I-Ching and Clocks! – Word Mongery and Musings

September Book Reviews Part 2! @JacqBiggar @Marjorie_Mallon #writingcommunity #whattoread #mustread #indieauthors #bookreviews – Author D.L. Finn

Thank you so much to Denise Finn for this marvellous review of my YA Fantasy Bloodstone along with fab reviews for Jacquie Biggar’s Twilights Encore and The Rebel’s Redemption.

I appreciate it so much. xxx

indieauthors #bookreviews

Bloodstone (The Curse of Time, #1)

by M.J. Mallon

“Bloodstone” is a paranormal YA story that centers on 15-year-old Amelina. Her family life drastically changed after her father disappeared and then returned home a different man. Her once happy household was gone. When she gets an invitation to a mysterious place, she goes down a forbidden path by the river. Here she meets Ryder, who completely mesmerizes her after saving her from a robbery attempt. There were many great secondary characters, including her band members and cat, Shadow, but I think my favorite was Esme or the girl who lived in the mirror. There was a lot of depth in Esme, and the subject of self-harm was dealt with well. I’m a fan of rocks/crystals, so their importance in the story was a plus. The magic and darkness weaved into the plot of finding the truth contrasted with Amelina’s constant conflict. The poetry before each chapter was a nice addition, and I enjoyed the descriptive passages. The ending answered some questions, but not all. I look forward to reading the next book in this series to see what happens next. If you like a paranormal story told from a teen’s perspective who is not only finding herself but discovering her unique abilities, this is for you.

Read at source to see the full post:

Source: September Book Reviews Part 2! @JacqBiggar @Marjorie_Mallon #writingcommunity #whattoread #mustread #indieauthors #bookreviews – Author D.L. Finn

Blog Tour Book Review Fractured Lives @AuthorDudeRuss @BlackthornTours #BookReview #Sci-Fi #Mystery #metaphysical

Description

In the cosmic realm of Eternity, there’s only one private eye to hire when your world gets turned inside out—Angela Hardwicke.

Darla Fyne, a college freshman and galaxy design savant, is suffering from a nervous breakdown—or is she the victim of an urban legend known as the Scarlet Raj?

As Hardwicke follows the intersecting worlds of art galleries, college dorms, and a semi-secret clan that patches up tears in the Universe, her investigation will either uncover a hoax gone wrong or a plot that could shift the balance of power across the entire realm. If only she can fight through her own paranoia to tell the difference.

In Russ Colchamiro’s new Sci-Fi mystery Fractured Lives, Angela Hardwicke is confronted by a PI’s worst nightmare—dark secrets from her past

Book review

It’s the first time I’ve reviewed for Blackthorn Book Tours and I was very impressed with the quality and imaginative breadth of this story. I really enjoyed Fractured Lives and found it different, original and engaging. It is the second in (The Angela Hardwicke Mysteries) but I didn’t find any difficulty following the story. Though, do start at the first in the series – Crackle and Fire (The Angela Hardwicke Mysteries Book 1).

It was interesting to see how the author Ross Colchamiro meshed together a sci fi tale with a private investigative vibe. Awesome!

The story is about Private investigator Angela Hardwicke who begins to uncover the unusual goings on at Wrolen, a special Art and Engineering school for gifted students. At the beginning, I thought this was a missing daughter type story but soon realised there was much more to this sci fi private investigator tale. Darla hasn’t disappeared in the literal sense but it appears as if her soul has. There are fascinating mentions of a shattered glass self portrait, multi galaxy projects, and the mysterious Scarlet Raj. Is she real or a student prank?

And touching secrets are revealed too!

Great characterisation, and confident storytelling.

This book was so me! Loved it, and would definitely recommend this author’s writing, especially if you like metaphysical type stories with excellent characters and story line.

Easy to rate. A compelling 5 stars.

Thank you to the author and to Blackthorn Book Tours for a copy for review. Opinions are my own and unbiased.

  • Amazon link: http://mybook.to/FracturedLives
  • Genre:  Science Fiction / Mystery
  • Print length: 270 pages
  • Age range: This is an adult book but suitable for mature teenagers age 16+
  • Trigger warnings: None

About Fractured Lives

In the cosmic realm of Eternity, there’s only one private eye to hire when your world gets turned inside out—Angela Hardwicke.

Darla Fyne, a college freshman and galaxy design savant, is suffering from a nervous breakdown—or is she the victim of an urban legend known as the Scarlet Raj?

As Hardwicke follows the intersecting worlds of art galleries, college dorms, and a semi-secret clan that patches up tears in the Universe, her investigation will either uncover a hoax gone wrong or a plot that could shift the balance of power across the entire realm. If only she can fight through her own paranoia to tell the difference.

In Russ Colchamiro’s new Sci-Fi mystery Fractured Lives, Angela Hardwicke is confronted by a PI’s worst nightmare—dark secrets from her past

Praise for Fractured Lives

“Colchamiro’s heroine is a blunt, wry gumshoe battling her own demons.” —James McCrone, author of Emergency Powers

“I didn’t think Russ Colchamiro could surpass his previous novel. Fractured Lives proved me wrong. It takes readers into the workings of the universe and shows them the workings of the soul.” —John L. French, author of the Bianca Jones series.

“A tale of mystery, intrigue and suspense… in a unique and fascinating world.” —Hildy Silverman, former editor of Space & Time magazine

About the Author

Russ Colchamiro is author of the Sci-Fi mystery Crackle and Fire the first novel in his ongoing series featuring intergalactic private eye Angela Hardwicke. Russ is also the author of the rollicking time travel/space adventure, Crossline, the SF/F backpacking comedy series Finders Keepers: The Definitive Edition, Genius de Milo, and Astropalooza, is editor of the scifi mystery anthology Love, Murder & Mayhem, and co-author of the noir anthology Murder in Montague Falls.

Russ has also contributed to several other anthologies, including Tales of the Crimson Keep, Pangaea, Altered States of the Union, Agents of the Abyss, Camelot 13, TV Gods 2, They Keep Killing Glenn, Thrilling Adventure Yarns, Camelot 13, Footprints in the Stars, Devilish and Divine, Badass Moms, and Brave New Girls.

Russ is a member of the Mystery Writers Association and Crazy 8 Press, and hosts Russ’s Rockin’ Rollercoaster podcast, where he interviews best-selling and up-and-coming Sci-Fi, fantasy, crime, mystery, and horror authors.  

He lives in New Jersey with his wife, two ninjas, a black lab, Jinx.

http://www.russcolchamiro.com

Autumn With An Author: Marjorie Mallon | Valentina Expressions

Thank you so much to Valentina for this lovely Autumn with an author chat.

1. Your latest publication “Bloodstone – The Curse Of Time” is an imaginative mystery book. What did you develop first the plot or the characters?

Thank you so much for inviting me to interview at your wonderful blog Valentina. My latest publication, Bloodstone The Curse of Time Book 1 is an imaginative YA fantasy mystery with paranormal, light and dark elements inspired by two sculptural artworks:

The Corpus Christi Chronophage invented by extraordinary British inventor Dr. John C Taylor OBE (who I had the pleasure of meeting in person in 2017.)

The extraordinary timepiece is situated on King’s Parade Cambridge opposite King’s College. I discovered Juniper Artland’s The Light Pours Out of Me by Anya Gallaccio while out with friends near my parent’s home in Scotland.

With regard to your question, I developed the characters first of all.  For me, characters are central to the story and I don’t tend to plot. I write organically from my imagination which brings interesting results!

Read the rest of the interview at Valentina’s blog…

Source: Autumn With An Author: Marjorie Mallon | Valentina Expressions

Book Review: When The Time Feels Right by Sarah Lithgow @AuthorLithgow

Lose yourself in this heart-warming chick lit of love, romance, family and friendship

‘The humour and attention to detail made the story come to life and seem real’

‘The story of Katie and Jack is warm with family, friendship and romance’

‘A book that takes you away from it all’

‘For the romantics amongst you, this book is a lovely, heartwarming read’

‘An amusing and romantic story perfect for brightening up a dull afternoon’

When Katie was fourteen, she met her brother’s best friend for the first time. He was good looking, funny and mischievous. What was there to dislike? The trouble was she never stopped liking him and now, in her twenties, her feelings had got stronger. There was no way she was going to tell him though. For a start, her brother wouldn’t like her going out with his best mate. And Jack? Well, he wouldn’t be interested. I mean, why would he, when his girlfriends were so much more glamorous than her?

Jack hadn’t thought of Katie as anything other than his best friend’s sister. At least he hadn’t, until the evening of her parents’ Christmas party. Now, he couldn’t get her out of his mind. But knowing what to do about it was the tricky part. His best mate would hate it if they got together. He was very protective of his sister and from the outset he’d told his friends they couldn’t date her. Not that that would happen anyway. I mean, she’d never shown any interest in him in the whole time that he’d known her so why would she want to go out with him now?

After countless missed opportunities, the time now felt right for them to let each other know. There was one problem, Jack was going to become a father. He didn’t have a reason to doubt this, so he had to move on, make a fresh start. Would the time ever be right for Katie and Jack or had they missed their chance?

When the Time Feels Right by Sarah Lithgow

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This is my first introduction to Sarah Lithgow and I really enjoyed When The Time Feels Right. It’s a light-hearted love story that will make you smile and bring back those angsty thoughts and tummy butterflies! Sweet, with engaging characters, and a nice story line. What’s not to like? I’d recommend if you like romances with a touch of humour, and a family touch (she falls for her brother’s friend!) Bit predictable in parts but one to enjoy when you want a nice, easy and fun romance read to cosy up to. A new author I believe, so hats off to her with this debut novel.



View all my reviews

Highly recommended.

Authors Website:
https://www.sarahlithgow.com/




View all my reviews

Promotion! Bloodstone (The Curse of Time Book 1) #sale #kindle #YA #Fantasy

So grab a bargain while you can – this offer is for a limited time period only – and is only available on Amazon US and Amazon UK.

If you don’t happen to be in the US or UK, don’t despair there are free kindle copies if you are signed up to KU. Or, alternatively sign up to my newsletter for the latest news about free offers.

Blurb

I didn’t think my life could get weirder, but I was wrong…

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.

Genre: YA Fantasy Paranormal Coming of Age Story

NEWSFLASH: Bloodstone is now available at a wide range of international bookstores including Book Depository, Barnes & Noble and Blackwells, in a range of formats including paperback and hardback.

If you’d like to find out more about Bloodstone check out the reviews on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58417468-bloodstone

If you can help by sharing your review on the relevant sites… Amazon, Goodreads, Bookbub, Barnes and Noble, etc, and miscellaneous places like TripFiction, I would be truly ecstatic!

Buying link: mybook.to/bstmm

Check out this amazing 5 star review on Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bloodstone-m-j-mallon/1139807581?ean=9784867510322

☆☆☆☆☆5 out of 5 stars.· 12 days ago  

Crystals And Mysteries Galore

Bloodstone is the first book in The Curse of Time series written by M.J. Mallon. This is a young adult fantasy / paranormal, coming-of-age story of Amelina Scott. This book is a rollercoaster of a tale about a young lady working to find her own identity. Along the way she has to start to learn who she can trust and that the world is not at all what she believed it to be growing up.

When I first got the book I was more than hesitant about reading it. I am not into young adult fantasy books so to say. This was not my normal reading genre of tales to whisp me away in to hold my attention and keep me flipping the pages. I am very proud to say that I am pleased to have started and stayed with the book. Mallon is such an extremely talented author and really draws the reader into the book and the life of Amelina. After a while though, the book grabs you by the shoulder collar and just can not put it down!

Amelina is a really good character, as the story progresses her development, is a person who is capable of having a huge effect on those around her, and she learns of the powers she has had bestowed upon her. And then there is her Story companion who is Ryder, and he becomes very dislikeable as the pages turn. He is a negative influence on Amelina. I am very pleased you don’t realize he is a villain at his introductions since he is far from the normal build of the bad guy. It isn’t until the story unfolds you see his much darker side.

The last few chapters of the book actually had me on the edge of my seat and I want to know what will come next for our young heroine. I am very pleased to see that M.J. Mallon is already working on the sequel to this book and I know I will be getting my copy when it does.

This review was made possible by a copy provided to me by NetGalley.

  • Review Contains Spoilers: 
  • No
  • Tags: 
  • Emotional,
  • Coming of Age
  • ✔ Yes
  • I recommend this product.

Thank you for all your support.

Happy reading!

MJ Interviews author @hudson_allan A Drake Alexander Adventure – Vigilantes #author #interview #new #book #release

Hi Allan,

Thrilled to welcome you to my blog to chat about your book launch for Vigilantes. Vigilantes releases today!

MJ: The blurb is very intriguing Allan. Where is the story set and why did you choose to set it in that country/place? Are your novels and short stories set in different countries? And what genres do you write in and why?

ALLAN: First, I would like to thank you, Marjorie for giving me the opportunity to visit your popular blog. The setting for Vigilantes is in Bordeaux, France where my protagonists are attending a funeral for one of their co-workers. Their escapades will take them to different European countries as well as more obscure destinations in Asia. They search for two brothers who have been evading the law for twenty years, by hiding in different countries. I love international stories and I wanted this one to take the readers to different settings as seen through the eyes of my hero.

Yes, I set many of my stories in different settings, different countries. Part of the fun in writing is the research, visiting various cities online, looking at photos, what is the country or city famous for? Can my readers see the cafes and boutiques, hear the language or the birds singing, or the waves beating on the shores? I hope so.

Although my reading preferences lean toward thrillers and mysteries, I love writing historical fiction as well and plain feel-good stories too.

MJ: Aww, so very fascinating and such a breadth in your writing. Thank you for your kind words. I love how you interview so many guests on your blog, Allan. Including me – twice! You are so generous with your time. The writing and creative community is so important isn’t it? You must have met so many amazing guests.

ALLAN: I have indeed, met many wonderful, friendly folks, like you. We are all in the same situation of wanting to share our stories with a new and wider audience. When I originally started my blog – South Branch Scribbler – I did so as a way to share my own writing and books and the idea came to me, I could have guests and share their stories, find out more about them and pass it on. It has been a fantastic experience. I not only discovered really cool people but really cool books. So much fun.

MJ: Yes, my thoughts too. We are all in this together and gain so much by being supportive friends. I see you are from Canada. Yeah! It’s a lovely country, so friendly and welcoming. If I could become an adoptee Canadian I would… My daughters and I visited Montreal in the days of easy travel before the pandemic. I loved it! Which area of Canada are you from? And fill us in on any family/details/hobbies you have…

ALLAN: I must admit, I love Canada and feel most fortunate to be a citizen of this huge beautiful country. Thank you for the nice comments and you’re always welcome. I too, love Montreal, a fascinating city with so many cultures and deep history. But there are so many other great places to visit. I live on the east coast of Canada, in the maritime province of New Brunswick. Our province borders the state of Maine in the west, The province of Quebec in the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. The seaside community I live in is called Cocagne and is mainly a French speaking village of Acadian descendants. The bay is across the road and an inspiration and setting for many of my stories. My family lives close by and I see them all frequently. I’m fortunate that way.

As of late, I have been dedicated to my hobby of writing. I am fortunate to be retired and can devote more time to my stories. Previous hobbies included stained glass and woodworking and as gratifying as they have been, I’ve decided to concentrate on my writing and it remains my central focus.

MJ: Awesome. Your latest book is part of The Drake Alexander series. How many books are in the series and can you tell me how they connect, what inspired them and what they are about?

ALLAN: My newest novel coming is the third in the DA series, titled Vigilantes. The two earlier novels were the first stories I wrote. Drake Alexander is a former soldier of the Canadian Armed Forces. The first novel brings him and his people to look for the man that killed Drake’s best friend’s sister. It took them three years to track him down. During this novel, Drake discovered he and his cohorts have a talent for rounding up bad people. They have the financial resources, the time, the manpower, the know-how and they don’t back down from anyone.

The second novel has Drake and his team rescue a priest that is a boyhood friend of Drake’s when he gets in trouble from an historical relic discovered in his church in Peru. Incan gold and Spanish raiders. This setting was inspired by the horrible plight of the Incan people at the hands of Spanish and foreign looters. It was the first story I wanted to write but when I started, a novel by well known author, Clive Cussler, came out titled Incan Gold. I didn’t want to be accused of plagiarizing Cussler’s idea, so I passed on it and wrote Dark Side of a Promise, which takes place in Bangladesh, another country that amazes me.

Vigilantes picks up from the last tangle with the enemy. As I mentioned earlier, at a funeral, Drake is approached by a man who continues to mourn for his daughter that was killed during a bank robbery twenty years previous and the culprits have never been apprehended. He asks them to help.

MJ: Wow, good luck with Vigilantes, sounds fantastic. As you also write short stories, (and I do too!) which do you prefer writing long narratives, or short stories? I’d love to hear more about your short story collection.

ALLAN: I’ve always enjoyed reading short stories and love writing them. I have no preference when it come to writing a longer or shorter story. Sometimes an idea forms with no length in mind. Occasionally it ends as a short story or novella. Or maybe I get an idea that fits with the shorter version. It would be difficult to say which I like best as I find fulfillment in both. I feel it begins with the idea or inspiration. There have been several times when I sit to write and I intend for it to be a short story but most times, I let the words flow and see where it ends up. It only differs when I decide to write a longer version because of an idea, like the novels we talked about above. But I enjoy both equally.

My latest collection is titled A Box of Memories. Many of the short stories were inspired by memories of an incident in my life or a memory of what may have happened to someone else. One story in particular – Four Boxes of Memories – was inspired by my own boxes of keepsakes, things I can’t throw away, birthday cards, drawings by the boys when they were small, rocks and seashells, postcards, plane tickets, and such that make up our histories. There were four of them and I was thinking that someday I would have to part with them, no matter how dear they were.

MJ: That sounds lovely – I also find it difficult to throw things away! Are you a procrastinator/plotter/panster/cafe/at home writer? What is your favourite place to write?

ALLAN: I have the neatest spot to write in. I converted my previous workshop to a more friendly spot to read and watch movies… and to write. I’m a morning person and I cherish quiet moments. No music in the background, no one leaning over my shoulder. My wife has been terrific, allowing me to write freely and uninterrupted. I write from six in the morning until eleven, usually. And almost every day now. Unlike others, I could never write in a café or in public, too many distractions for me and yet, I admire writers who can do so.

I’m definitely a panster. I run with an idea, no outlining, just enough research to get me going. There have been a few times I knew the ending but not often. I like to see where it all goes. Interesting enough, on my WIP, I was stuck and stared at the computer for some time, unsure of where to go and when I couldn’t decide I started to write about where the protagonist was sitting and then the words followed.

MJ: Oh, me too Pantser to the core! What your writer’s tip and or disaster? Make it funny, serious or both!

ALLAN: So, my one and only tip is to keep writing and sort out the garbage later.

MJ: Sounds like simple but great advice. What do your family think about your writing?

ALLAN: When you mention family, I think of my children and they’re spouses. Their support and encouragement have been tremendous. Always attending my events, sharing my posts, telling their friends but oddly enough, they don’t read my stories. They are happy for my accomplishments but not readers. Oh well.

My other families’, siblings and in-laws for example, read and comment on my writing, usually favorable. They don’t always like the rough sections and tell me so, but in a nice way.

But the support is always there, the encouragement is always appreciated.

MJ: That’s wonderful!

Vigilantes blurb

The master vintner at Chateau Lambert Estates, Jean-Paul Chouinard, stares up the rise at the family cemetery, where the darling of the house was laid to rest yesterday. The grave site is surrounded by four men and a woman. The people whose service Mireille Lambert was in when she died. One of them was her lover. One of them is Drake Alexander.

Chouinard knows what they do. He knows who Alexander is. He hears the whispers. Vigilantes. He grieves knowing the brothers who are responsible for his daughter’s death twenty years ago have not been apprehended. Maybe it’s been too long. Maybe the brothers are already dead. Maybe, if he asked, Alexander and his people could find them.

Buy your copy of Vigilantes on Amazon:

Author Bio

I live by Cocagne Bay in Eastern Canada where the summers are hot and the snow is deep in the winter. I married the greatest gal on earth, Gloria, and have a son Adam, two stepsons Mark and Chris (Mireille)Young. Three grandchildren Matthieu, Natasha and Damien.

I love reading. My mother was a school teacher and taught me to read and write when I was young. I’m presently retired and write as often as possible. My other hobbies include woodworking and stained glass.

I love jazz and am a HUGE fan of JJ Cale.

I have a wonderful life. I hope that you will read my novels – Wall of War and Dark Side of a Promise & a short story collection titled A Box of Memories. I trust you will enjoy them and if so please tell someone.

I can be reached at sbscribbler@yahoo.com Please visit www.southbranchscribbler.com if you like short stories, guest writers, artists and musicians and interviews.

http://allanhudson.blogspot.com/p/vigilantes-coming-soon.html

It’s been such a pleasure to have Allan visit Kyrosmagica blog.

Please comment below to wish Allan much success and congratulations on his new release. It was lovely having him visit, such a Saturday treat. 🙂

MJ’s Book Reviews: His Kidnapper’s Shoes @mjamesfiction #psychological #suspense #book #review

Daniel is my son. He has always been mine. And he always will be.

On some level deep inside, Laura Bateman knows something is wrong. That her relationship with her son is not what it should be. That it is based on lies.

But bad things have happened to Laura. Things that change a person. Forever.

For twenty-six-year-old Daniel, the discovery that his mother is not who he thought comes close to destroying him. As his world turns upside down, he searches for sanity in the madness that has become his life. Daniel is left with nothing but questions. Why did Laura do something so terrible? Can he move past the demons of his childhood?

And the biggest question of all: can he ever forgive Laura?

My review

His Kidnapper’s Shoes by Maggie James

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This is the first book I’ve read by Maggie James and I certainly enjoyed it.

It’s an emotional tale of Laura Bateman who is driven to steal someone else’s young child, the reasons why and the terrible impact on herself, Daniel (who’s now an adult,) and Daniel’s real family are all explored.

Can Daniel forgive the woman who kidnapped him? And what sad secrets is she keeping from him? And what terrible truth hasn’t he told her?

There are startling revelations, and emotional scenes with the story building up slowly but surely to its conclusion.

It’s a difficult one to comment on in detail without spoiling the story. But I didn’t quite buy into the girlfriend conundrum revelation at the beginning of the story. Some of the other details regarding Daniel’s life story and proclivities were more interesting to me.

This is for you if you enjoy psychological suspense with a strong emotional aspect, looking at both a female and male viewpoint (cleverly done,) as the story is written in dual point of view. The plot is simple, engaging and effective. The characters are damaged by the tragic circumstances of their lives and this is conveyed well. Laura Bateman’s certainty that her actions were justified creates an interesting and engaging aspect to the story.

Overall, an enjoyable read, which kept me turning the pages.

A recommended read – my rating 4 stars.

Thank you so much to the author for a copy. I freely give my unbiased and considered opinion.




View all my reviews

#TANKATUESDAY WEEKLY #POETRY CHALLENGE @ColleenChesebro NO. 239 #EKPHRASTIC #PHOTOPROMPT #Tanka

Observe blue, fine trains
Bright and low in the night sky 
Dazzling hours
Heaven sparkling its light
Creating magic and joy

I hope you enjoyed my tanka for this week’s Ekphrastic Photoprompt for Colleen Chesebro’s poetry challenge.

I’ve a fair amount of news! I would like to share that my YA fantasy Bloodstone is in The AllAuthor cover competition! I’d love it if you could vote for it. It is doing really well and at the last count was at #23 in the voting ranks. I’m hoping with your help it will go through to the next round.

To vote: https://allauthor.com/cover-of-the-month/12131/

News To Share!

Thrilled with these two new 5 star reviews of Bloodstone. Thank you so much to Helen Pryke and Denise Finn for reading and reviewing!

Helen Pryke https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4176712706/

D L Finn: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4164151591/

A big thank you to Sally Cronin who has featured her review of my poetry book, Lockdown Innit Poems About Absurdity in her Smorgasbord Book Reviews Rewind. Do pop over to her blog to read her review:

Smorgasbord Book Reviews Rewind – #Poetry Lockdown Innit by M.J. Mallon

The Sky’m by @RichardDockett1 #Fantasy #book #review #recommended #read

Goodreads Synopsis:

Behave, or the Syk’m will come and take you away.

That was the threat hanging over my childhood, the terrifying punishment that made us all obedient.
As children, we were told that the Syk’m watched over us. Should we misbehave, they could do unimaginable things.

Because we were young and knew no better, the mere mention of their name was enough to control us. We went to bed, minded our manners, stopped our shouting. Although the Syk’m were mythical creatures, never seen, we all believed in their power over us.
Now that I’m older and wiser, I thought that I had outgrown the unseen terrors of my childhood. I thought that I no longer believed in the power of the Syk’m.
Then the day came when I discovered that the Syk’m were real. The day they found me. Their message was clear. Despite everything I had imagined, they needed my help.
It was the day I discovered that they were not the monsters we had all believed them to be. There were others in the universe.

My Review

Richard Dee just gets better and better!

I’ve had the pleasure of reading many of Richard’s books in different genres and I loved The Syk’m, his latest, first foray into fantasy – not surprising as fantasy is my favourite genre! And what a confident foray it is!

I particularly enjoy narratives that explore the idea of feared creatures not really being quite what they seem and The Syk’m has this off to a tee. The story introduces us to Hors Lawis, and his friends, who are encouraged to follow a Syk’m girl Enuna to help them. In Hor’s homeland Skandir the Syk’m are feared winged creatures, so can he persuade his friends to join him on this potentially dangerous quest?

Here are some excerpts from the book:

“I can’t agree with you,” said Torsen. “Just because the Syk’m were used as a threat, it doesn’t necessarily mean they were bad. Look at the Watch, for example. Children are told of the Watch in the same way, to frighten them. Don’t steal, don’t be rude, don’t fight or the Watch will get you. It’s the same thing; the Syk’m were just another reason to make people behave. It doesn’t inherently make them bad.”


“the Syk’m became known on Skander as a thing to be feared, a source of anxiety in children.”

I loved the winged creatures, the beautiful passages where the author Richard Dee’s words take passionate flight:

“She undid the clasp at her throat, shrugged her shoulders and the robe fell to the ground. Underneath, she was dressed as a warrior. A simple tunic and shorts. Muscled arms and shoulders, a flat stomach. Her torso was adorned with crossed leather straps, a collection of blades hung from a wide belt at her waist. Her long, shapely legs were encased in more polished leather, boots extending to mid-thigh. She had the look of a goddess and I felt my pulse quicken.
But that wasn’t the strangest thing. I watched as huge wings unfolded from her back, gossamer-thin with white ribs, they extended and beat the air.”

It’s an exciting, gripping tale which will keep you entertained throughout. There are fight scenes, mentions of magic, and The Druhaan might have no wings but they like to make war!

And what an amazing ending in the Epilogue, I absolutely loved it. 

Richard Dee has crafted a truly wonderful fantasy which I can highly recommend.

My recommendation. A must read – 5 amazing stars!

The Syk’m launches on 15th October 2021.

Thank you to the author for an ARC. I was lucky to beta read an early copy of The Syk’m and my opinions are my own and unbiased.

Book Review: The Ferryman and The Sea Witch@Dwallacepeach #Fantasy #Review

Blurb

The merrow rule the sea. Slender creatures, fair of face, with silver scales and the graceful tails of angelfish. Caught in a Brid Clarion net, the daughter of the sea witch perishes in the sunlit air. Her fingers dangle above the swells.

The queen of the sea bares her sharp teeth and, in a fury of wind and waves, cleanses the brine of ships and men. But she spares a boy for his single act of kindness. Callum becomes the Ferryman, and until Brid Clarion pays its debt with royal blood, only his sails may cross the Deep.

Two warring nations, separated by the merrow’s trench, trade infant hostages in a commitment to peace. Now, the time has come for the heirs to return home. The Ferryman alone can undertake the exchange.

Yet, animosities are far from assuaged. While Brid Clarion’s islands bask in prosperity, Haf Killick, a floating city of derelict ships, rots and rusts and sinks into the reefs. Its ruler has other designs.

And the sea witch crafts dark bargains with all sides.

Callum is caught in the breach, with a long-held bargain of his own which, once discovered, will shatter this life.

My review

The Ferryman and the Sea Witch by D. Wallace Peach

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


https://mjmallon.com/2021/08/07/book-…


This is a beautifully written fantasy novel – an absolute page turner. I knew I was bound to love it considering that I’ve always felt a deep affinity to the sea and all its creatures!


The variety of characters are all ace including Callum the ferryman, and the cruel sea witch Panwar as is the plot – the only person who can cross the Deep between the countries of Brid Clarion and Haf Killick is the ferryman but at the cost of a human’s life in royal blood to the merrow. High stakes or what? It is a tale of secrets, adventure and intrigue.

And as for that cover that’s an attention seeker to boot!

Highly recommended for readers of fantasy who like engaging, poetic and descriptive writing (which I love,) and rich plots that keeps you invested in the story throughout.

No qualms about rating this one 5 stars. D. Wallace Peach is a fantastic fantasy author and if you haven’t read her books yet you are in for a treat.



View all my reviews

Authors Website: https://mythsofthemirror.com/

Bloodstone (The Curse of Time Book 1) Coffee and Bookish Chit Chat with MJ. Art Coming Alive #YA #Fantasy @NextChapterPB #Art #Inspirations

Coffee and Bookish Chit Chat with MJ – Themes in Writing – Inspirations

Art coming alive!
Art coming alive is one of the many fascinating themes explored in the Curse of Time series. The main protagonist Amelina, our young Krystallos heroine, is gifted a magical paint set from her aunt Karissa and when she paints with the crystal infused paint, the creature Eruterac comes knocking at her door like a Halloween nightmare in glorious, scary detail!

What are his intentions? Is this painted apparition real? Is he a friend, or a foe?

Image via Carolina Russo


Here’s a snippet from the book:

The paintbrushes were silent and so involved in creating they didn’t have the energy to talk. My hand moved of its own accord. Breathing deeply, I calmed down a little. The brush continued to make progress.

Before I knew it, the black splodges of paint I’d painted during my last session had moved together to form a dark, ominous creature dominating the centre of my painting. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was the creature from my dream. The face scowled at me, and I noticed a suggested movement as if the creature contemplated leaping out of the canvas in my direction at any moment.

This terrifying being deserved the term: hideous. No other word would do it justice. Lumps of earth were matted around its skull, convincing me that it wore dreadlocks. Worms fed on the rotting skin that hung from its skeletal frame. Many insects collected in the recesses of the creature’s decaying body.

Bloodstone (The Curse of Time Book 1 )

What do you think? Is the creature a nice guy?


The idea of art manifesting as a living albeit dead being came in part from Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray – the painted portrait representing the horror of moral disintegration. 
So, to find out if Eruterac really is a horror (there is no doubt he isn’t pretty to look at and he is disintegrating – a creature of skin, bones, worms…) read the book! 


Portraits of Eruterac, The Creature and Esme are both created by the amazingly talented artist Carolina Russo who I have had the pleasure of collaborating with.


Esme is a favourite character with my readers and with me!  

“This is a brilliant book for young adults interested in magic, super‐ natural, paranormal, fantasy and myth. I found it highly readable and the author’s imagination is phenomenal, as is the fluency of her language and the dazzling way she describes the curious events and characters in her story. I loved the idea of Esme, the girl trapped in the mirror” Review Quote Author S C Skillman

Esme is vulnerable, sensitive and trapped in a mirror, cursed by a spell. She is also trapped figuratively by her mental health and self harm issues of her past.

Excerpt: Esme and Amelina chatting…

Esme peered through the glass, standing up on tiptoes. Her eyes gleamed with a morbid curiosity as if we were chatting about some sinister TV drama.

I didn’t want to talk about it. So, instead, I played it down, saying, ‘As you know, the Crystal Cottage invited me to visit.’

‘You must go,’ said Esme, stretching to her full height to give weight to her words. ‘It’s a sign—dreams often are.’

‘Maybe. I dreamt I had set foot within the cottage, but it was just a dream, and I still haven’t found it in real life. I so badly want to escape, though. This house imprisons everyone, not just you, Esme.’

‘Yes, I know, but it’s worse being inside this glass, believe me.’ Esme pointed at herself, and I watched as her face fell, inch by inch, a chilling avalanche of sadness.

Bloodstone (The Curse of Time Book 1)

Some great news! Bloodstone now has wide distribution!

My YA Fantasy Bloodstone is available at Amazon and many leading bookstores worldwide including Book Depository, Blackwells, Barnes and Noble, in all book formats including hardback.

Amazon KU and link to buy a copy: Universal book Link: http://mybook.to/bstmm

I would really appreciate some reviews on Amazon. There are many on Goodreads but any Amazon reviewers out there please help!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58417468-bloodstone

For professional reviewers and book enthusiasts Bloodstone is currently available to read on Netgalley and and on Book Sirens for a limited time only, so please request your copy asap.

To download a free copy via Book Sirens click this link: https://booksirens.com/book/H4SI6L4/Q9PZX3A

To request a copy via NetGalley click this link: https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/book/230784

If you can help by voting for the beautiful cover… it is in the Allauthor cover competition.

They say not to judge a book by its cover but I need you to do just that! If you liked the cover of my book, Bloodstone (The Curse Of Time Book 1), please vote for it for the Cover of the Month contest on AllAuthor.com!

Please take a short moment to vote for my book cover here: Click to Vote!

To read my latest author interviews:

Interview about the writing life of M J Mallon with Stacey at Whispering Stories:

https://www.whisperingstories.com/the-writing-life-of-m-j-mallon/

And to Camilla Downs for this wonderful feature on Meeting The Authors:

https://meetingtheauthors.com/2021/07/30/friday-with-friends-embracing-change-m-j-mallon/

https://booksgosocial.com/2021/07/27/interview-with-m-j-mallon-the-author-of-a-fantasy-novel-bloodstone/

Media Kit: https://mjmallon.com/2021/07/17/media-kit-bloodstone-the-curse-of-time-book-1-nextchapterpb-ya-fantasy-release/

Bye for now, happy saturday!

Hope you enjoyed the book chit chat.

Vote for Bloodstone (The Curse of Time Book 1) @allauthor #allauthor #cover #competition

I had no clue that Bloodstone had been picked for the August Allauthor cover competition until late this afternoon.

They say not to judge a book by its cover but I need you to do just that! If you liked the cover of my book, Bloodstone (The Curse Of Time Book 1), please vote for it for the Cover of the Month contest on AllAuthor.com!

Please take a short moment to vote for my book cover here: Click to Vote!

Author: M.J. Mallon

Genre: Fantasy, Teen & Young Adult

Buy Now: Amazon

I really appreciate it! I’m a real sucker for beautiful book covers. And I hope you agree that the new cover of Bloodstone is mighty fine!

Book Review: Ghosts of Lock Tower by @JackMassa2 #YA #Fantasy #Paranormal

Ghosts of Lock Tower by Jack Massa

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This is the third book in the Abby Renshaw series and my first introduction to author Jack Massa.

I’m so glad I discovered this author. Jack Massa’s magical writing is really up my street. I loved the character of Abby (who is on the cusp of eighteen but not your ordinary girl!) and all the subsidiary characters including her loveable grandma. Even Abby’s car Veronica has a character of its own as she names it too!

It’s a quirky tale – think frog monster – so if you like quirky you will like this. There is magic, two different magical societies, sigils, tarot, seances , astral projection, psychic abilities, ‘egregore (thought forms,) etc, with some lovely touches of humour.

To add to the story mix there is also a murder on campus and a Nazi ghost. Abby’s blossoming romance and an ex in the picture – better not say anymore for fear of spoiling it for you.

All in all a well written, engaging book, with a great heroine to cheer for.

There is an interesting author’s note at the end of the book about the locations: ‘Harmony Springs is fictional, although based on some actual places in central Florida.’
‘Lock Tower is based on the real Bok Tower in Lake Wales… ‘

All sounds fascinating I like narratives that are based on real places and people.

I received a copy from the author and happily give my unbiased review – M J Book Reviews


Buying link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0997646160/
http://www.triskelionbooks.com

View all my reviews

Bloodstone (The Curse of Time Book 1) is Featured on Books Go Social #YA #Fantasy

“Don’t give up, keep on developing your craft,
read, write, repeat and find your tribe.”

Read the Interview

“Hope appears in conflicting messages and magical paints as a strange creature of skin and bone summons Amelina to the cottage.
In time, she discovers her magical Krystallos skills and hopes to cure her father of the curse of time and perhaps to release Esme from her mental trauma and imprisonment.”

Get the Book

8 Steps to Side Characters #ARC #Review #Launch @Sacha_Black

MJ’s Review

8 Steps To Side Characters is part of Sacha Black’s many writing craft books – other titles include: 13 steps to Evil, 10 steps to Hero, and the Anatomy Of Prose.

Thank you so much for an ARC copy of 8 steps to side characters which I freely give my review and opinion of.

Sacha Black’s writing style is engaging, humourous, clear and informative. I definitely learnt a lot about writing side characters and also discovered how important these pesky folk are!

I had some laugh out loud moments. Here’s an example:

“If you don’t layer your conflict, and you only have world ending levels of conflict at every opportunity, it’s like electrocuting your readers over and over again.”

Yes, this had me in chortles.

Also, there are many light bulb moments too.

“It’s a misnomer that to create big universal feelings you have to describe giant emotions. It’s actually the small, unique and intangible things about our loved ones that create that effect.”

And…

“One thing all readers share in common is a heartfelt solidarity for a character going through shit times.”

“Just because you craft characters to be one way for the majority of the time, say, kind and tolerant, doesn’t mean they have to be that way or feel that way for the entire story.”

I read this on my kindle and highlighted lots of passages to refer to later.

At the end of each step she summarises all the important ideas that she has mentioned. There are also Questions to consider. Plus she makes it all really clear with real examples from film, and books (with spoiler warnings for well known books.)

Recommendation: Read this! Highly recommended – a must read and one to refer back to. 5 stars.

INSTAGRAM / YOUTUBE TIPS SERIES

She’s been sharing a tip a day from the book in a IGTV / Youtube video series. If you’d like to watch the tips or share the series, you can by visiting her on instagram or YouTube:

Instagram: http://instagram.com/sachablackauthor/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCmGEeUxCRW5ZVxwJ_mEunw 

Live Events

Join Sacha on launch day, 29th July, in her Facebook group for a live Q&A session. If you have any questions about writing, publishing, marketing, her books, unicorns or anything in between, hit her up on sachablack@sachablack.co.uk and let her know, or drop it in the Facebook group/event page here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/rebelauthors/

Event: https://fb.me/e/GVZcAjmm  

 Your Side Characters and You LIVES

As part of the launch week, Sacha will be interviewing nine authors all about their side characters, their favorite side characters from books and films as well as their tips for creating better characters. And She’ll be doing that all LIVE on instagram every night at 8pm from the 30th July to the 8th August.

  • Friday 30th July – Mark Lefebvre from Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing Podcast
  • Saturday 31st July Jeff Adams from Big Gay Fiction podcast
  • Sunday 1st August Katlyn Duncan YouTuber and author
  • Monday 2nd August Daniel Willcocks, my Next Level Authors cohost, book coach and horror authors
  • Tuesday 3rd August Crys Cain, host of Write Away, cohost of TASM and author
  • Wednesday 4th August Kristina Stanley, CEO of Fictionary.co
  • Thursday 5th Helen Scheuerer author of fantasy
  • Friday 6th Miranda Bridges romance author
  • Saturday 7th Elaine Bateman urban fantasy author and staff writer at Indie Author Magazine
  • Sunday 8th August – if I haven’t collapsed, will be a solo show from me!

Buying Links:

Universal purchase link textbook: books2read.com/sidecharacters 

Universal purchase link workbook: books2read.com/sideworkbook 

Impressive! Or what…

MJ’s Book Reviews: Life is like a Mosaic: Random fragments in harmony #poetry #newrelease @sgc58

“Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words.” Arthur Brisbane 1911.

An image offers an opportunity to see endless possibilities depending on the viewer’s perspective. Where some might see beauty and joy, others imagine sadness and loss of hope.

In this collection, images and syllabic poetry are brought together to tell a story based on the author’s perspective. The poetry explores our human experiences such as love, happiness, hope, aging, friendship, new beginnings, dreams and loss.

The world around us is an amazing playground and source of all our essential needs as well as sensory experiences that bring wonder into our lives. What lies beyond the horizon? What surprises will we discover as a garden bursts into bloom? Where do the night creatures live?

At the end of the collection there are some longer poems celebrating memories of the author’s life of travel, teenage exploits and love of food!

My review

Life is like a Mosaic: Random fragments in harmony by Sally Cronin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


What strikes me about Sally Cronin’s books is the quiet unassuming way in which they appear without too much fanfare. Sally is a wonderful supporter of the indie writing community, so I am glad to be able to give her a little fanfare too by writing a review for her latest book Life is Like A Mosiac: Random Fragments in Harmony. Great title, I’m sure you will agree!

I loved the dedication within with all the names of the people within her writing circles, so lovely.

I’m a big fan of poetry in all its forms, so this book of eclectic poems from Sally Cronin really appealed to me. There are a wide variety, some wise, some amusing, some thoughtful, some just darn well cute. They are all beautiful presented with accompanying photographs taken from various sources.

Favourites include: Farewell to Colourful Friends, Spices, Dreams, Happiness, Mother Nature, Immortality, Hope, Loose Lips, First Steps, The Circle of Life, Finding Clarity, Creatures of The Night, A Toast to Life, Beneath The Redwoods, Persecution in The Garden, Advancing Years, The Crocodile, Silver Lining to Isolation, The Wise Woman’s Apprentice.

Some are illustrated with personal photographs taken from the authors Childhood Memories in Ceylon, and on Summer Holidays, and as she gets a bit older she becomes Rebellious in Frome!

This poetry collection is accessible, unpretentious, (which I love,) and enjoyable. It will make you smile, reflect and bring back your own memories of when you were young, mischievous and perhaps a little difficult too!

In my case, it brought back memories of when I lived abroad in Childhood Memories – Sally’s poetry spoke to me taking me back in time.

Highly recommended – 5 stars

Many thanks to the author for an ARC copy for review which I happily give with no bias.

View all my reviews

My previous reviews for Sally Cronin:

Details about Sally Cronin:

Delighted to promote authors for FREE please see for details: Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore

And the new: Smorgasbord Children’s Reading Room

Sally’s books are available on Amazon, the Moyhill site and  Smashwords. 

Amazon: Amazon US

Amazon UK: Amazon UK

More reviews can be found on GoodreadsGoodreads

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2019-2021/

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Update – #Reviews – #Poetry Balroop Singh, #YAFantasy M. J. Mallon, #Romance Jacquie Biggar | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Thank you so much to Sally for this lovely update featuring reviews for Balroop, Jacquie and myself. Do pop over to see Sally’s update  – link below.

Source: Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Update – #Reviews – #Poetry Balroop Singh, #YAFantasy M. J. Mallon, #Romance Jacquie Biggar | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Oh and while I am here, just to let you know you can request a review copy of my YA Fantasy Bloodstone via Book Sirens: https://booksirens.com/book/H4SI6L4/Q9PZX3A

and for those who are on Netgalley: https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/book/230784

MJ’s Book Reviews: Perfect Daughter by @MrsAmandaProuse #BookReview #WomensFiction #Contemporary

Wife. Mother. Daughter. What happens when it all becomes too much?

Jackie loves her family. Sure, her teenage children can be stroppy. Her husband a little lazy. And providing round-the-clock care for her Alzheimer’s-ridden mother is exhausting. She’s sacrificed a lot to provide this safe and loving home, in their cramped but cosy semi with a view of the sea.

All Jackie wants is for her children to have a brighter future than she did. So long as Martha, the eldest, gets into university and follows her dreams, all her sacrifice will be worth something… won’t it? 

My Review

Perfect Daughter (No Greater Strength, #1)Perfect Daughter by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

With a title like that I was bound to be drawn in! I’m a daughter, and have two daughters of my own.

This is an immersive story about Jacks and her family, her husband Pete, her mum Ida and her daughter Martha. It’s also a story about regrets, the choices we make, the fears that we could have taken a different path and perhaps had a more exciting life. Perfect Daughter doesn’t shy away from life’s difficulties and real struggles: looking after an aging parent with Alzheimer and keeping the family on an even keel especially when life has a way of veering off course bringing more grief in its wake.

Perfect Daughter doesn’t hide away from these issues, at times it’s quite difficult reading and at other times it is heart warming and uplifting. It is a generational story focusing on three female family members: Jack’s mother Ida, Jacks and Jack’s daughter situation too.

There is a sense of history repeating itself. Can Jacks discover what really matters beyond material wealth and the freedoms it brings?

Perfect Daughter whizzes back and forward giving us a taste of life when Jacks was younger to the present day difficulties. Should she stay with dependable Pete, (who was there for her through thick and thin,) or should she risk throwing it all away for a promise of rekindled love with someone who could give supposedly give her everything?

Thank you to the author for kindly gifting a hardback copy. My review is freely given and without bias.

Highly recommended.

View all my reviews

Authors Website: https://www.amandaprowse.com/

The Writing Life of: M. J. Mallon – Whispering Stories

Thank you so much to Stacey for this wonderful feature on her blog.

This week I am thrilled to be interviewing author M. J. Mallon, who will be sharing with us details of her writing life, telling us all about her new book ‘Bloodstone‘, which was released on 23rd June 2021 and answering a few fun questions too.

Source: The Writing Life of: M. J. Mallon – Whispering Stories

Of Bloodstone: The Curse Of Time Book 1 Review – Becoming The Muse

Thank you so much to Beaton for this wonderful review of Bloodstone and pictures of the Grasshopper! Love it!

Source: Of Bloodstone: The Curse Of Time Book 1 Review – Becoming The Muse

And for his wonderful blog tour post which you can read here: https://becomingthemuse.net/2021/07/21/book-blog-tour-bloodstone-mjmallon/

Media Kit: Bloodstone (The Curse of Time Book 1) @NextChapterPB #YA #Fantasy #Release

BLURB

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.

TRIGGER WARNING: 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.

To read an excerpt: https://www.nextchapter.pub/books/bloodstone

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

To download a free copy via Book Sirens click this link: https://booksirens.com/book/H4SI6L4/Q9PZX3A

Recent Publicity/Features:

Many thanks to the following authors and bloggers for their kind features, reviews and book alerts.

James Cudney Book Alert and Review: https://thisismytruthnow.com/2021/07/11/book-alert-bloodstone-curse-of-time-1-by-m-j-mallon/

Richard Dee Review: https://richarddeescifi.co.uk/new-edition-the-curse-of-time-book-1-bloodstone/

S C Skillman: Blog Tour Excerpt: https://scskillman.com/2021/07/06/blog-tour-bloodstone-the-curse-of-time-book-1-by-mj-mallon/

Sally Cronin New Book On The Shelves: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2021/07/07/smorgasbord-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-ya-magic-mystery-bloodstone-the-curse-of-time-book-1-by-m-j-mallon/

Darlene Foster Blog Tour https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/2021/07/10/blog-tour-for-bloodstone-the-curse-of-time-book-1/

Ritu Bhathal Blog Tour: https://butismileanyway.com/2021/07/10/bloodstone-the-curse-of-time-book-1-by-marjorie_mallon-blogtour/

Allan Hudson Branching Out: http://allanhudson.blogspot.com/2021/06/branching-out-with-returning-author.html

Feature on Alex Pearl’s blog: https://booksbyalexpearl.weebly.com/m-j-mallon.html

To read the reviews on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58417468-bloodstone

This delightful book will appeal to teens and young adults who love stories filled with magical crystals, dark family curses, and mysteries waiting to be solved around every corner. Each chapter leads you on a journey of discovery where Amelina earns the right to use three wizard stones to reset the balance of time and finally break the curse that holds her family captive. A captivating tale! Author Colleen Chesebro – (Editorial Review of 1st Edition – The Curse of Time Book 1 Bloodstone.)

This is a totally different genre for me, but this year I have been reading books by so many exciting new authors that I wanted to give this book a try. This novel would be great for teenagers, or young adults and it follows the magical story of teenager Amelina as she steps into a world of crystals, magic and wonderment. There are some likeable and not so likeable characters and both are really well written. The book weaves a story of the main character learning new skills and you see her personal growth throughout the story. Nothing is what is seems and you want to find out how Amelia will use her enchanted gifts and learn who she can trust. A book packed full of intrigue, believable characters and poetic verse. Author Lizzie Chantree

This is a brilliant book for young adults interested in magic, supernatural, paranormal, fantasy and myth. I found it highly readable and the author’s imagination is phenomenal, as is the fluency of her language and the dazzling way she describes the curious events and characters in her story. I loved the idea of Esme, the girl trapped in the mirror. Author S C Skillman

An intricate fantasy novel with unique supernatural and magical elements which serves as a highly entertaining read. I had a great time reading this novel and exploring the magical world of Amelina full of magic crystals and enchanted mirrors. Author, Editor and Book Reviewer Heena Rathore P.

At its core, this is an emotional tale about a young girl figuring out her identity, learning who to trust, and discovering there is more to the world than the tangible things she’s experienced in the first one-and-a-half decades of her life. Magic Mirrors? Mysterious appearances? Letters that cannot be destroyed? Puzzling trust? What’s a girl to do when she’s followed by two strange boys in the park, only to realize something darker is beginning to happen? Mallon explores the fears in a young girl who wants to break out of her life but doesn’t know where to turn. She’s unsure about trusting friends and family. Ryder, who saves the day, might actually not be the best thing for her… safety… sanity… security. Can she fight the feelings burgeoning around her? Author James Cudney 

This magical young adult story is brimming with fresh imaginative ideas avoiding tropes often associated with fantasy. I was impressed with the unique vivid visual descriptions which brought both the settings and characters to life and the wonderful standard of writing throughout the story. A magical mystery unfolds for the main character Amelina, who makes discoveries during the plot, so we can enjoy seeing her grow in confidence and skill. The story involves complex content which was difficult to follow initially but becomes more understandable as the story develops. The introduction of the antagonist, Ryder, really helps us to root for Amelina. He is well written, and I enjoyed that he wasn’t given the typical look of a baddie but rather slowly and disconcertingly reveals his darker side, inserting himself between Amelina and her friends. I can see this being the start of a fabulous young adult series and hope there are more books to come! Sarah Northwood Poet and Author

Amelina is written so well. There is a part of her that all of us will recognise and emphasise with. At that awkward age where nothing fits and at the same time you feel as if you can conquer the world. Darkness creeps in slowly in the form of Ryder who at first seems the answer to all Amelina desires, or is he? Author Adele Marie Park

The overall world-building creates a wonderful, spiritual atmosphere. There’s a bit of poetry at the start of every chapter, a nice touch which leads us into the action. The story bravely tackles issues of mental health and self-harm, but in such a sensitive way that it can only help improve understanding.  Author Richard Dee

Amelina is a teenage girl whose world has been turned upside down by a curse within a world where magic is hidden and most don’t seem to know of its existence. In fact, it seems she’s a descendant of a line of magic-wielding enchanters who have a special relationship with crystals. But with this curse, her father is time-ravaged, a girl is trapped in her mirror, and her family is falling apart. There are a lot of unanswered questions come the end of the book, so be on the lookout for more in the series. There are mentions of delicate issues such as cutting and anorexia, both handled with care, and a séance, but I’d recommend this book for older teens and people who love magical stories that involve power within crystals, curses, and unexplainable happenings. Author Rachael Ritchey

This is a wonderful YA fantasy read. It’s very different from others I’ve read and I say this in the most positive manner. One way or is unique is through the use of original short poetry at the beginning of each chapter providing a clue to the chapter content. It is very well done. I do love originality. The whole work has a magical feel about it which draws the reader in with a yearning to learn more about all of the characters and their plight. My favourite characters are, Esme… The girl trapped in the mirror, and Shadow, the black cat. These two characters alone were enough to keep me rooted. Meanwhile, on the serious side of things, there are so many issues going on in this work in addition to that of dealing with a dysfunctional family. One’s familiarity will be tested and emotions may arise. That aside, when you add magic, a black cat, and a guitar and music into the mix… What is there not to love about this work? Author/Reviewer Kevin Cooper – (Previous edition of Book – The Curse of Time Book 1 Bloodstone. )

Amelina is an indomitable heroine who will not rest until she solves the mystery and sets the world to rights. The device of magic crystals as a source of magic is novel and works well. There are loose ends that are clearly available to be addressed in future episodes of this series. As a precursor story that is relatively complete in itself, … as an introduction to the storyline and invitation to read on. MJ Mallon is not afraid to broach the risks that young girls on the cusp are subject to in these unruly times. Both physical violence and dangerous sexual attraction are broached in this tale.  Poet Frank Prem.

Beautifully written and poetic fantasy novel that perfectly sustains mystery and drama throughout the pages. The characters are very vivid and the world is rich in detail and atmosphere. Marjorie is excellent at painting imaginative and believable scenes with words and magic. A fantastic debut! Looking forward to her next book. Author/Illustrator Alina Surnaite

Here are a couple of beautiful images from the wonderfully talented Carolina Russo created for me of my characters – Esme – The Mirror Girl… and Eruterac – The Creature.

Images courtesy of Carolina Russo: https://yesterdayafter.com/

AUTHOR BIO

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 worked with some amazing authors and bloggers compiling an anthology/compilation set during the early stages of COVID-19 entitled This Is Lockdown and she has written 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.

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!

So excited about Bloodstone and happy to say that I am making great progress on the sequel which I hope to submit to Next Chapter Publishing soon.

Please comment below with your thoughts on the 2nd edition of this first book in the Curse of Time series.

MJ Interviews @AlexBPearl #author #interviews

Hi Alex welcome to my blog. It’s great to be able to return the favour, and to thank you for the lovely feature interview you did for me recently on your blog.

Alex Pearl is an extremely shortsighted copywriter, author, ghost writer, travel writer & artist.

MJ: I love the premise of your YA novel Sleeping with the Blackbirds – a darkly humorous modern fairy tale story – which tackles many important topics: bullies, homelessness, single mums and abusive parents. How did you get the idea for the story?

ALEX: That’s a tricky one. The story came to me gradually, and the circumstances in which it was written was fairly bizarre. I was working for an ad agency at the time that was going through a global merger, and work dried up while this was all going on. So I had time to think about my first book. Strangely enough, the title came to me before the story became fully formed. And the rough outline of the story involving the schoolboy Roy Nuttersley leading a miserable life with awful parents and school bullies looming large in his life, and of course, the birds who try to assist him – these were ideas that I had in my head before I started writing the thing. I think the idea of a young boy and birds may have come to me because my son at that time used to imitate seagulls, and he was quite brilliant at it. And it’s no coincidence that we have a 400 year-old-oak tree that towers over our own garden, just as one does in Roy Nuttersley’s. But the details of the story evolved as I wrote it. That said, the ending to the story, which many people didn’t see coming and seem to have enjoyed, came to me before I’d started writing it. So it was a case of knowing how it started and how it ended but not knowing much else until I started to write.

MJ: I believe your debut was published in 2011. Are you surprised at how your writing path has changed/developed since then?

ALEX: Not really. I’m a bit of a chameleon, probably because of my background in advertising and the fact that copywriters are always briefed to adopt a certain tone of voice that is suitable for the audience they are addressing. So for instance, you’d write in a certain formal style when talking about an investment trust to readers of The Telegraph, and a very different lighter tone of voice when talking about Smarties to children and mums. And my approach to writing books is the same. I’d like to have a go at any genre.

MJ: On your Amazon profile, I was amused to read that you are perhaps the only human being on this planet to have been inadvertently locked in a record shop on Christmas Eve. How did this happen? And did you manage to have your Christmas dinner?

ALEX: To this day, I’m not entirely sure how it happened. All I can remember is stepping into the shop in broad daylight. I think it must have been about 4.00 in the afternoon. So it wasn’t even normal closing time. I don’t remember hearing people locking up or anything like that. But that’s what they obviously did. And strangely enough, all the lights were left on. So when I finally found the record I was wanting to buy and discovered nobody behind the till my first reaction was one of mild annoyance. Then when coughing loudly and profusely still produced no results, I went behind the till myself and into a back room that was empty. At this point I gave up all hope of spending my pocket money and marched over to the front door and on yanking it hard to get out, nearly pulled my arm off. It was locked. Only then did I realise the full horror of the situation. But thankfully, I’d spotted a telephone in the back room (this was well before mobile phones had been invented), and I called my father who duly called the police, who in turn tracked down a caretaker who lived in Mile End and took over an hour to finally show up with keys to unlock me from my temporary prison. So in answer to your question, yes, thankfully I did get my Christmas dinner. But it must have been a miserable Christmas for the staff who I learned later, were fired.

MJ: Since you were an advertising copywriter, if I were to ask you to write your own slogan, what would it say?

ALEX: Aha! The advertising slogan question. I actually hate slogans. The best ads don’t actually have them. But that’s a subject for another day. I’d settle for something funny. There’s a lovely piece of graffiti that I’d love to have written: ‘Smile they said. Things could be worse. So he did. And they were.’ It doesn’t say anything about me exactly, but its delicious, deadpan irony is the kind of thing I love. So it does tell you something about me indirectly I guess. I suppose I haven’t really answered your question. Hey ho, or ‘La-di-da’ as Dianne Keaton says in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall.

MJ: You mention that you are a slow writer, I relate! Is that because you get distracted? What is the slowest aspect of the writing process for you, or perhaps the most difficult part.

ALEX: I get distracted, I procrastinate, I put things off. I’m just generally a bit shambolic and disorganised. And then when I write I tend to take time; writing and rewriting. I’ve read that Douglas Adams used to go backwards and forwards like this and used to end up with mountains of screwed up paper in his bin, which I find reassuring. The hardest and slowest part for me is the planning stage. For my first book ‘Sleeping with the Blackbirds’ planning took up almost as much time as writing. For my second ‘The Chair Man’ planning and research took me for ever – far longer than it took to write the thing. This said, ‘Blackbirds’ didn’t require any research at all. With ‘The Chair Man’ I had to look into the ways terrorists communicated in 2005. It’s not an easy subject to research as you can imagine. But I did find an obscure book written by academics in America that delved into this. I also had to find out about GCHQ and MI5, which again are difficult subjects to research for obvious reasons. Then, of course, I had to get the politics right. So all in all it was something of a challenge.

MJ: I love your book covers. Do you get much input into choosing them? And are you swayed by enticing covers yourself? What are your favourite cover/s and book/s.

ALEX: I’m glad you mentioned that. I’m very fortunate to have a good friend who is a serious, professional advertising photographer. He photographed and designed both my covers. I love his work, so it’s a bit of a no-brainer using John because you know whatever he produces is going to be fantastic. For ‘Sleeping with the Blackbirds’ he took an atmospheric shot on Hampstead Heath and used an excellent typographer to design a special typeface for the title.

And for ‘The Chair Man’ he created this strong silhouette in the studio and again used a special typeface to create the title. Interestingly, John used a similar silhouette technique for the film poster he shot for Guy Ritchie’s ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.’

MJ: Awesome! I love the black and white style that you use on your blog to platform so many authors. How did that come about? What made you choose that style?

ALEX: Thank you, Marjorie. I wanted to keep the style of the website simple, consistent and stylish. So I deliberately kept the typeface reasonably large sans serif in grey, which always looks classy, and decided that all portraits should be in black and white. Besides creating a distinctive house look, it also gives the books the prominence they need, as they are always reproduced in full colour. Many people have commented on the look of the site, and some love the fact that it’s so very readable. There’s nothing worse than having to squint at tiny type on the screen that you have to blow up.

SLEEPING WITH THE BLACKBIRDS

Eleven-year-old schoolboy, Roy Nuttersley has been dealt a pretty raw deal. While hideous parents show him precious little in the way of love and affection, school bullies make his life a misery. So Roy takes comfort in looking after the birds in his garden, and in return the birds hatch a series of ambitious schemes to protect their new friend. As with the best-laid plans, however, these get blown completely off course – and as a result the lives of both Roy and his arch tormentor, Harry Hodges are turned upside down – but in a surprisingly good way.

“Wonderful images and thought-provoking scenes.” Bramwell Tovey, composer & broadcaster

“The strength of the author’s voice held me captivated long after turning the last page. With the wit of JK Rowling, Alex Pearl has definitely earned his place in the young adult fiction hall of fame.” Lisa McCombs, Readers’ Favorite

“A delightful fairy story that deals sensitively and compellingly with modern-day issues like homelessness, single mums and abusive parents.” George Layton, actor, screenwriter and bestselling author.

THE CHAIR MAN

Michael Hollinghurst is a successful corporate lawyer living a comfortable, suburban life in leafy North West London. But on 7 July 2005, his life is transformed when he steps on a London underground train targeted by Islamist suicide bombers. While most passengers in his carriage are killed, Michael survives the explosion but is confined to a wheelchair as a result.   Coming to terms with his predicament and controlling his own feelings of guilt as a survivor conspire to push him in a direction that is out of character and a tad reckless. In a quest to seek retribution, he resorts to embracing the internet and posing as a radical Islamist in order to snare potential perpetrators. Much to his surprise, his shambolic scheme yields results and is brought to the attention of both GCHQ and a terrorist cell. But before long, dark forces begin to gather and close in on him. There is seemingly no way out for Michael Hollinghurst. He has become, quite literally, a sitting target.”The nearest I ever got to a “terrorist incident” was in East London, when I heard the IRA bomb go off in Docklands in 1996. I cannot predict my reaction were I to be caught up personally in such events, but I hope I would not go the same way as Michael Hollinghurst, the central figure in this entertaining and elaborately plotted novel. It is a gripping thriller that repays careful and close reading (and I will certainly read it again).” Graham Smith

MJ: If you could share your experiences and thoughts whilst writing The Chair Man?
ALEX: Once I had worked out the story in some detail and written a synopsis, and had taken copious notes from research sources both online and from books, I felt able to start writing. And the writing process is far more enjoyable and liberating than the planning and research, which I don’t especially enjoy. But it’s the ammunition I need – a kind of road map if you like. Without it I just don’t know where I’m going and I simply don’t have the confidence to write. I envy people who are pantsters and can just sit down and write. I just can’t do it. I tried it once and after 15,000 words I dried up. I still have the unfinished manuscript somewhere. My daughter nagged me for ages to finish it, so I wrote ‘Sleeping with the Blackbirds’ instead.
MJ: I believe The Chair Man is your thriller debut. Have you any plans to write any more thrillers and if so what topic/backdrop do you plan to use?
ALEX: I knew you’d ask me that. I really want to write a sequel to ‘The Chair Man’ but am struggling to come up with a storyline that I’m happy with. I know how the first half of the novel kicks off, but it’s the last two thirds that have so far eluded me. Perhaps I’ll resolve it. We’ll see.
MJ: How did you become an author? And do you think it has changed you?
ALEX: It just happened. I suppose I’ve always toyed with the idea of writing fiction, but never really had the confidence that I could do it. But once you have an idea in your head, writing it isn’t actually that difficult. Has it changed me? No. Not one bit.
MJ: Have you a favourite character in The Chair Man? Or a particular character that you had great difficulty developing, or who altered in a way you did not expect.
ALEX: That’s a really good question. And the answer is yes. Surprisingly, I ended up liking one of the terrorists Qssim who is a very complex character. I originally intended him to be pretty nasty, which he is initially. But as the book develops his character develops, too and he becomes a much more sympathetic character that you can relate to. It’s interesting that some readers find him more likeable than the protagonist who is a victim of a terrorist attack. 

MJ: What are your writing plans for the future? ALEX: If I can plan a sequel to ‘The Chair Man’ I will definitely write it. Time will tell. I’m also planning to get back into painting, which I haven’t done for many years. I used to paint large abstract paintings on glass and exhibit them. I’m hoping to produce enough new pieces for an exhibition in the next year or two. You can view some of my work here: http://glasspaintingsbyalexpearl.weebly.com

Wow, I’m impressed! And so jealous, I wish I could paint.

MJ. Is there one marketing tip you would like to share?
ALEX: I’m no expert at marketing. But I have found that offering a free ebook and using services like The Fussy Librarian to promote it can be quite effective. I have seen around 800 copies downloaded in one day. But services do vary. Ereader News Today managed to shift 1,000 copies on one occasion and only 300 on another. I was rather pleased with myself when I placed a free ad on Nextdoor.co.uk for residents of NW3 which is the postcode where my thriller is set. Doing so led to 100 downloads in a day and three reviews. And that cost me nothing.

Author Bio

Alex’s first novel ‘Sleeping with the Blackbirds’, a darkly humorous urban fantasy, written for children and young adults, was initially published by PenPress in 2011. It has since become a Kindle bestseller in the US. In 2014, his fictionalised account of the first British serviceman to be executed for cowardice during the First World War was published by Mardibooks in its anthology, ‘The Clock Struck War’. A selection of his blog posts is also available in paperback under the title ‘Random Ramblings of a Short-sighted Blogger.’ In 2019, his psychological thriller, ‘The Chair Man’ that is set in London in 2005 following the terrorist attack on its public transport system, was published as an ebook by Fizgig Press. The paperback followed in 2020.
Alex lives in NW London with his wife and two children who are far smarter than their old man.
He is quite possibly the only human being on this planet to have been inadvertently locked in a record shop on Christmas Eve.

This is Alex’s Linktree link:

https://linktr.ee/AlexPearl

Alex Pearl Linktree QR code:

You can visit his website at http://booksbyalexpearl.weebly.com

Love the sound of Alex’s books.

Do comment below would love to hear whether you’ve read Alex’s books.

Book Alert: Bloodstone (Curse of Time #1) by M. J. Mallon – This Is My Truth Now @jamescudney4

Thank you so much to James Cudney for this wonderful book alert for my release of Bloodstone. Do pop over to see the blog post at source.

Source: Book Alert: Bloodstone (Curse of Time #1) by M. J. Mallon – This Is My Truth Now

To download a free copy via Book Sirens click this link: https://booksirens.com/book/H4SI6L4/Q9PZX3A

Book Review: Bi The Way A Journey Over The Rainbow @northwood_sarah #loveislove #LGBTQ #bisexual #trans #pronouns #parenting #comingout

A lovely heartfelt book explaining the author’s experiences with thoughts from her pregnancy, the early years to the difficulties of the teen years, culminating in her child’s coming out.

I particularly loved the poems: Rainbow Bridges, Perfectly Different and the illustrations the author had created within Bi The Way.

It was touching to learn how Sarah Northwood’s child chose to come out to her and how this felt.

The author gives advice how to support your young person and explains the terms: bisexuality, non-binary, use of pronouns, genderfluid, transgender, gender dysphoria and the ways to make children feel welcome and accepted regarded of their gender, or sexuality.

The main aim of the book is to promote understanding, tolerance and to lessen psychological damage by non-acceptance from parents/friends/community. A worthy aim, which I am happy to support too.

There is a useful resources section at the back with links followed by notable LGBT dates to celebrate.

A lovely book full of warmth, love and understanding.

My rating: 5 stars

New Edition. The Curse of Time – Book 1 – Bloodstone #Review #YA #Fantasy @RichardDockett1

Source: New Edition. The Curse of Time – Book 1 – Bloodstone

Thank you so much to Richard Dee for promoting the new edition of my YA Fantasy Bloodstone in the Curse of Time series.

Pop over to his blog to read his 5 star review via the link above.

It’s time for another book review. This week, my choice is a recently re-released Y.A. Fiction adventure.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – #YA #Magic #Mystery – Bloodstone (The Curse Of Time Book 1) by M.J. Mallon | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Thank you so much to Sally Cronin for this wonderful promotional New Book On The Shelves post for the rebranded new edition of Bloodstone, The Curse of Time Book 1. My magical YA fantasy inspired by two amazing sculptural artworks: the Corpus Christi Chronophage clock  in Cambridge England and the magnificent crystal grotto created by Anya Gallaccio’s The Light That Pours Out of Me in Juniper Artland in Scotland.

Thanks to Sally for adding the 5 star review from Sarah Northwood.

Source: Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – #YA #Magic #Mystery – Bloodstone (The Curse Of Time Book 1) by M.J. Mallon | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Blog Tour: ‘Bloodstone (The Curse of Time book 1) by MJ Mallon – @scskillman #YA #Fantasy #Blog #Tour #Review #Excerpt

I’m having an impromptu blog tour for the release of the new edition of Bloodstone, The Curse of Time Book 1.

Many thanks to Sheila for this lovely post, review and excerpt. Do pop over to her blog to read all about it.

Source: Blog Tour: ‘Bloodstone (The Curse of Time book 1) by MJ Mallon – SC Skillman Author

The Mad Life of A Writer – Bloodstone (The Curse of Time Book 1) #newrelease republishing #YA #fantasy #holiday #woes #covid #stresses

An author’s life can get somewhat manic at times. Recently, I travelled up to Edinburgh to see my family. I was so looking forward to a break, a chance to unwind, spend time with mum, dad, my brother, friends and my MIL.

Here I am with mum and dad in the beautiful botanical gardens in Edinburgh.

Whilst on holiday the inevitable happened, I had this feeling it would. My publisher Next Chapter asked me to check all the files for publishing! And to do this within five days.

This wouldn’t have been too bad if there was one file but there were 9 in total including clear print, (which I have no clue what this is for?) epub, mobi, large print, hardback, and a range of different sizes too.

All very impressive, beautifully formatted and edited but a little voice cried out but… I’m meant to be on holiday… this will take me forever!

Forget it sucker. Writers don’t ever get holidays.

Next up, what next? My eldest daughter Natasha has been ill for a couple of days and it turns out she and her friends have covid. What? So, crank up my worry notch ten thousand paces. I couldn’t see her for 10 days – most of my holiday. She was alone in her flat in Glasgow and was running out of food. Crank up the worry notch even more. Luckily, the kind guys on reception took her online order up to her flat and left it for her by her door.

Apparently the first four days of her covid experience involved nasty coughing, temperature, vomiting and other nasties. Thank goodness she is well now.

After the fellows at Track and Trace gave her the all clear I popped over to Glasgow to see her and stayed in her student flat. That was an eye opener – I didn’t sleep for two nights. There was a fantastic reggae party going on somewhere – I wish I’d been invited – I loved reggae as a youngster! And the sea gulls were joining in too, squawking merrily. The upstairs flat were doing some kind of odd manoeuvres in the middle of the night. Natasha slept through it all – obviously used to it – exhausted post covid with ear plugs in.

Nevertheless, Natasha and I still managed to have a couple of days fun in Glasgow.

We went to Hanoi Bike Shop, a tasty Vietnamese restaurant where we tried the surprise menu with extra spice! We didn’t know what was coming but it was great and fun to try new things.

We went for a walk afterwards…

Natasha’s moving to Edinburgh (she’s starting her teaching job in August – whoop, whoop so proud to have a Secondary English teacher in the family, and delighted that my youngest daughter Georgina has been awarded her degree a 2.1 in Fashion with Business Management.)

I offered to help take some of Natasha’s endless coats and books through. My suitcase handle decided not to work all the way from her flat to the station. We missed the train by a few minutes, (no way was she able to run as she was still a bit weak after covid,) so we waited for the next one. As soon as we sat down the suitcase handle decided to pop up! I asked some advice from the train staff about the validity of my ticket and he called me pal – this is Glaswegian style for mate, like hen (which is a common colloquialism in parts of Scotland,) this brought back memories of my student days in Glasgow!

Now, here’s the thing, we are told to keep apart, mask up, etc, etc. But the train was packed! There were two young girls on board who thought showing off their perfectly applied make up counted as more imperative than wearing a mask. And there was a guy too – unmasked, but no make up – I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt perhaps he had an exemption?

So, long story short I’m back home now. Back at work. What else can happen? Oh, a small matter of losing 22 reviews on Amazon…

Republishing my debut has had its problems. Sneaky metadata and a title change has caused Amazon to treat this new edition like an all new spanking new book but without the benefit of a new book’s promotion.

And this message from BookBub: The new edition of Bloodstone (The Curse Of Time Book 1) has now been added to your profile. I want to share that previously published works are not eligible for New Releases for Less or New Release Alerts. I’m sorry about this.

Laughing hysterically! Not to worry, I’ve got this.

I like a challenge.

So, please… I’d love some help with reviews…. and you can call me whatever you want…. hen, chick, pal, whatever.

Bloodstone is available for free on kindle unlimited… and on Amazon outlets. Here’s the link:

MyBook link: http://mybook.to/bstmm
Amazon Preview Link: https://amzn.eu/iwyO8p3

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

US Link:

Thank you to all those who are helping out with the review shenanigans. The reviews are starting to come in… And to future reviewers thank you too. Where would we be without you?

Any reviewers who would like a copy please get in touch at marjma2014@gmail.com

The impromptu blog tour will be starting in a few days time. More about that soon. If you would like to join in with hosting me on the tour let me know in the comments.

Thank you so much for these recent promotions and author interviews:

In conversation with Alex Pearl: https://booksbyalexpearl.weebly.com/m-j-mallon.html

Julie at a Little Book Problem https://alittlebookproblem.co.uk/2021/06/30/desert-island-books-with-marjorie-mallon/

It’s just as well I have a sense of humour… and am determined to make this work.

Desert Island Books with… Marjorie Mallon – A Little Book Problem

Thank you so much to Julie @ A Little Book Problem for this lovely Desert Island Books blog post featuring my favourite books that I would take with me and one other item…

Source: Desert Island Books with… Marjorie Mallon – A Little Book Problem

Bloodstone: The Curse of Time Book 1 – Release!!! #YA #Fantasy #New #Release @NextChapterPB

Well, I’m absolutely delighted! Thank you to everyone who has supported me in this journey. A big thank you to all those who have believed in me, read my books, beta read for me, reviewed and encouraged me, I would not be where I am without your support.

ANNOUNCING!!

My YA Fantasy Bloodstone is now available to purchase on Amazon in kindle, (free – kindle unlimited,) and in paperback and large print edition – Thank you Next Chapter Publishing.
MyBook link:
http://mybook.to/bstmm
Amazon Preview Link: https://amzn.eu/iwyO8p3

BLURB

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. 

EXCERPT – PROLOGUE

Most people would call our existence strange, but this is more than that; this deserves a headline. We’re not spectacular enough to feature on the national or international news, but we warranted a column in the local newspaper headed by seven not so lucky words: Missing Father Returns After Weird Aging Phenomenon. I’m glad that our short-lived fame died and the paparazzi, (what a joke,) got bored with us. Now we can get back to the day to day living if you can call it that. We live in a typical suburb of Cambridge in an untypical house. It’s no bungalow, the floors just go on and on, and so do the rumours about us. When I say we, I mean our strange extended family comprising mature, tantrum-prone Mum, Dad (alias: old man before his time), teenage me, the most stable of us all (I think), and self-harming Esme, who isn’t my sister but might as well be. I could write a whole book devoted to her alone. Oh, and I forgot to mention our permanent house guest, Shadow, a black cat of inde‐ terminate age and parentage who arrived one day and never left. The rest of the inhabitants of our household (except perhaps for me and Shadow, although his status is open to debate) are dysfunctional, weirded-out characters.

I have to cope with a lot (and that’s an understatement), so I resort to painting, rock-and-roll, collecting crystals, and writing songs and poetry. I enjoy writing haiku, a Japanese form of poetry with three lines and some syllables to count. It soothes me. I write Tanka too; adding two longer lines at the end, which soothes me more. Each poetic puzzle I jot down serves as a clue for less afflicted folk to decipher what the hell I am talking about. So, what am I talking about? The trouble is I don’t know; I’m still muddling through. Although I expect it’s a cry for help (a yell), combined with me dissecting the details about Mum’s life, Dad’s existence and his disappearance, Esme’s imprisonment, and Shad‐ ow’s ability to appear and reappear at a moment’s notice. And that’s saying nothing about living in a house that feels like a living being! Yes, I joke to stay sane. That’s a lot to process (sorry), and it’s only a fraction, a haiku tidbit, so let’s keep it simple but poetic and start with a view.

Large print edition: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B097SLWH49/

Click the free preview above to find out more.

And don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads to read list:

It’s been a lot of hard work and no peace for the wicked!

I am busy editing the second book for release next and looking into a blog tour company to create some buzz for Bloodstone’s official release.

In the meantime, if you can help by sharing, getting the word out and reviewing, (I know many of you lovelies have already read the original edition and your reviews will hopefully be re-added soon via the powers that be at Amazon! I believe Next Chapter is in touch with them…

I will be celebrating today with my lovely daughter who has had covid but is now better and passed her quarantine.

Thank heavens, what stressful times. I hope you and your loved ones are saying safe and well.

.TTFN… (Ta Ta For Now!)

Book Review: Sugar and Snails @Annecdotist @InspiredQuill

Goodreads Synopsis

Shortlisted for the 2016 Polari First Book Prize.

At fifteen, she made a life-changing decision. Thirty years on, it’s time to make another.

When Diana escaped her misfit childhood, she thought she’d chosen the easier path. But the past lingers on, etched beneath her skin, and life won’t be worth living if her secret gets out.

As an adult, she’s kept other people at a distance… until Simon sweeps in on a cloud of promise and possibility. But his work is taking him to Cairo, the city that transformed her life. She’ll lose Simon if she doesn’t join him. She’ll lose herself if she does.

Sugar and Snails charts Diana’s unusual journey, revealing the scars from her fight to be true to herself. A triumphant mid-life coming-of-age story about bridging the gap between who we are and who we feel we ought to be.

My review

This is the first book I’ve read from Anne Goodwin. Sugar and Snails is her debut novel and what an impressive story it is. Anne draws upon her psychiatric knowledge to write a narrative which is absorbing, poignant and intriguing.

To begin with we are introduced to Diana a 40 something Professor living a life of solitude with her much loved cat Marmaduke (who almost takes on the role of a life partner – she can’t bare to part with him.) Diana begins looking for love and hopes to find it with Simon.

But Simon doesn’t know her secret…

As the story progresses we learn that there is so much more to this novel – discovering Diana’s past and her decision at the tender age of 15 to change gender. So this is both a coming-of-age story as well as an exploration of mid-life and gender issues. There are shifting time periods and settings in different cultures: (Cairo, Egypt and North Derbyshire, and Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, in England,) which interweave the story in a confident way.

The characters of Diana’s mother and in particular her father are also carefully and brilliantly crafted.

My recommendation: Highly recommended. You will love this story if you enjoy thoughtful stories about gender, family relationships, psychiatric/mental health/self-harm issues, secrets and regrets and the search for love and acceptance.

Thank you so much to the author for a complimentary copy which I was pleased to receive. I happily give my unbiased opinion.

My rating: 5 stars.

Author Bio:

Anne Goodwin writes entertaining fiction about identity, mental health and social justice. She is the author of three novels and short story collection published by small independent press, Inspired Quill. Her debut novel, Sugar and Snails, was shortlisted for the 2016 Polari First Book Prize. Her new novel, Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home, is inspired by her previous incarnation as a clinical psychologist in a long-stay psychiatric hospital.

Authors Blog: annegoodwin.weebly.com