Cover Reveal: Word Craft ~ Prose & Poetry | Word Craft ~ Prose & Poetry

Congratulations to Colleen Chesebro on the cover reveal for her forthcoming book.

Source: Cover Reveal: Word Craft ~ Prose & Poetry | Word Craft ~ Prose & Poetry

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New Release: Spellbound #Horror #Anthology #Preorder

I’m thrilled to announce that I’m a contributing author in Dan Alatorre‘s Box Under The Bed horror Anthology no. 4: Spellbound which is currently on pre-order and releases 14th October 2020. There are many of my lovely friends contributing to this anthology too, including Robbie Cheadle, Ellen Best, Adele Marie Park, and Geoff Le Pard.

So pre-order your kindle copy now! While it is on special offer price: £0.78 Amazon UK and $1.02, Amazon US.

$4.99 regular eBook price, $9.99 regular paperback price.

From the creators of the #1 bestseller The Box Under The Bed horror anthology and its #1 bestselling sequels Nightmareland and Dark Visions, comes Spellbound
– a horror anthology with 20 stories from 15 authors.

A young girl and her mother seek out a mysterious sorceress to guide the child in developing her powers, but the beautiful blonde witch has ideas of her own – and desires a powerful book that only the child can give her.
Tremble along as the stories in the magical book are revealed. “Some are true, some are false, and some are spells disguised as stories to hide our kind from those who would do us harm.”

* A young man is given a family heirloom at his mother’s funeral, but her protection can’t save him from himself.
* A sailing ship takes a journey to the new world and discovers horrors along the way.
* A young girl seeks a connection with her parents but learns she isn’t magical enough.
* And many more!

Compiled by USA Today bestselling author Dan Alatorre, this anthology of horror once again unites the minds and stories of more than a dozen amazing authors.

Spellbound will take you into the shadowy world of the eerie and macabre, with heart stopping stories.


Perfect for Halloween or any time, these stories will make you think twice before borrowing a book, giving away jewelry, looking into a mirror, or going out on a moonlit night.

CONSIDER YOURSELF WARNED.

NOTE: American and British spelling inside. Of the 23 stories contained in this anthology, none are part of any larger work.

My story is called Twisted Sisters.

Here’s the blurb to my short story:

During a meeting of The Twisted Sisters coven Luna, an ambitious member, proposes a determined plan: to give the public excitement after the grim life imposed by COVID19. With her Twisted Fairytales shop, she hopes to gain power and influence. The elder witch and the moon are fearful of her idea. At work, she dons her little red riding hood outfit. Hidden in her basket she keeps two shiny objects ready to work their evil…

This is going to be the scariest anthology yet!

Don’t forget to check out the other books in the Box Under The Bed Set, all available via Amazon,

And I’m also a contributing author to Nightmareland as well…

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Kyrosmagica Book Reviews: The Magician’s Curse by Linda G. Hill #Paranormal #Romance

Goodreads Synopsis

Even true love can be cursed …
When Herman Anderson leaves home to make a better life for herself, she doesn’t expect to meet a tall, dark stranger with whom she’ll fall hopelessly in love.
Charming and mysterious, Stephen Dagmar is a stage magician seeking an assistant. The moment he sets eyes on Herman, he knows she’s the one. He brings her home to his Victorian mansion where they embark upon an extravagant romance. Yet a shadow hangs over their love. Will the curse on his family end Stephen and Herman’s happily ever after, before it really begins?
Amidst lace and leather, innocence and debauchery, The Magician’s Curse begins the Gothic tale of The Great Dagmaru. Magic and romance await.
*Winner of the 2017 Paranormal Romance Guild’s Reviewer’s Choice Award for Gothic/Mythology/Folk Tales 

My review

This is one of those books that you read and some of the niggles don’t stop you from reading it more! It’s definitely a page turner.

So what are the niggles? The characters annoyed me! They aren’t likable, but perhaps they aren’t meant to be? The magician is a Casanova type with magical powers whose actions are excusable by a curse that forces him to procreate with another until he finds true love. I suppose with such a curse it is bound to be in his genes to be so full of himself! All the women vie for his attention. But he seems pretty heartless in his treatment of his servant (no spoilers – you’d have to read the book to see what I mean.)

The young woman with the unusual name – Herman who falls in love with him is naive, inexperienced and doesn’t spare a thought for his poor servant either.

So, out of all the characters I related to the servant’s plight the most! Though, I thought her to be a bit loopy too!

The Magician’s Curse plays to various tropes: a masterful, dominant lover, unrequited love, first love, a virgin losing her virginity, love at first sight.

The sensual scenes are extremely well written – 5 stars!! Hats off to Linda G. Hill for them. They are sizzling. I can see why people would like them. I like them!

The plot idea for this story is good, and with further development I think this could be a 5 star read. The love affair between the magician Steven Dagmaru and his assistant Herman (who he meets on the train,) is sudden – even with his magical powers. Maybe I am a cynic! Lol. Personally, I would have liked to have seen more magic development within the story. This would have helped to make Steven’s power over the ladies more believable.

So, to sum up, this is definitely for you if you like to read a sizzling sensual romance and don’t mind some scenes of a sexual nature (so, not for younger readers,) with a light flourish of magic/paranormal as a backdrop.

I wasn’t sure where The Magician’s Curse fits in terms of the age group of readers who might enjoy it. Perhaps New Adult? Or anyone who likes a bit of sizzle…

A difficult one to rate. I wavered between 3.5 and 4 stars. I’d say overall 4 stars, the sizzle… took it up there!

There is more… a book two… The Magician’s Blood. Details about both books here: https://lindaghill.com/my-books/

Have you read The Magician’s Curse? Do comment below if you have.

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A new horror anthology

Thrilled to be a participating author in the next Box Under The Bed Anthology compiled by Dan Alatorre: Spellbound. Editor and Contributing author Robbie Chantree has written a fantastic post about the anthologies, plus there’s a video of her reading one of her stories in the previous anthology: Nightmareland.

Please do share widely!! Many thanks. 🙂

Click the link below to visit Robbie’s page.

Source: A new horror anthology

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Flash Fiction Challenge: Charli Mills Carrot Ranch Literary Community

The last time my eldest daughter left home I wrote a flash fiction piece for Carrot Ranch which I entitled The Riptide Suitcases expressing my emotions at my daughter moving abroad.

The Riptide Suitcases

The riptide hid in two shallow suitcases. Foreign tee-shirts lay crushed against jumpers, jeans pressed unfolded next to sandals and boots. I lifted my daughter’s larger suitcase up; it was heavy but not as heavy as my swirling heart.

No traffic impeded our journey. The ripples began early, too early. We shared coffee but didn’t eat. The departure gate beckoned. The riptide began. It burst out of me. I cried, no I wailed. Guilt crashed against waves of sadness. Sadness wrestled and drowned my heart. Never again will I feel such depths of emotion. My adventurer, daughter had gone.

Here is the link to that piece of emotional flash: https://mjmallon.com/2017/09/18/september-14-flash-fiction-challenge/

That was three years ago. Natasha stayed in South Korea for a year and absolutely loved it. I’m so proud of her for taking that courageous step, to travel to the other side of the world to teach English takes a considerable amount of guts especially when you don’t speak the language and you are so young. She was the youngest EFL teacher in her school, newly graduated from University.

You can see a little about that here: (unlike her mum she never really got into blogging, she only wrote two blog posts! )

https://tashainkorealand.wordpress.com/2017/11/12/this-place-sure-has-soul-my-first-trip-to-seoul-south-korea-part-1/

It’s been such a confidence boost for her. What an experience!

Today, she is travelling again but not so far this time – to Glasgow to study to be a secondary English Teacher. I wish her luck, happiness and success.

I wrote about our trip to Glasgow, ( looking for accommodation,) and a poem here: https://mjmallon.com/2020/03/06/colleens-2020-weekly-tanka-tuesday-poetry-challenge-no-167-poetschoice-haiga/

Why Scotland? Natasha has always loved it. My hubby and I always make Edinburgh our home-from-home, so it’s no wonder that at least one of our children might decide to stay there…

This is my piece of flash:

This Life

Three years ago, we said our goodbyes at the departure gate before that first flight. How I cried. I wept for a day, and the next day I wept without weeping. My darling daughter gone so faraway. She braved how scared she was. Now, she is adventuring again – not so far this time! And yet her friends miss her already. I miss her already. This is life, young adults are always moving, taking those steps to independence. They never leave your thoughts. They’re always a part of you, wherever they are.

Daughters always stay in your heart.

***

It will be my youngest daughter’s turn next – Georgina – and then it truly will be empty nest syndrome! Still, I still have her for now… Yay!

Having spent so much time with both of them during lockdown I know I will find it especially hard.

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Colleen’s #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge no. 191 #Photoprompt

Aishwarya, aka, Kitty from Kitty’s Verses, was Colleen’s selection from last month’s challenge. She has provided the photo for this month’s challenge.

I’ve chosen to write a Stacked/Double Inverted Etheree

Twenty lines with a syllable count per line of 10/9/8/7/6/5/4/3/2/1, 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10 syllables per line, which looks like an hourglass when centered on the page.

The track meanders to nowhere special

I imagine places, people, dogs.

The train driver speeding through lunch

I hope he forgives me. If…

I step out, one last step.

Feet, a friend to air

Sigh. The track cries

Stay strong. Fight.

Crush it!

Live.

***

It

Isn’t

Who I am.

Brought to these tears

Lost. Anxious. Depressed.

Peering up there’s heaven

And down, the track is groaning

Pleading, don’t kiss death. Lucy, live.

I halt! I see them. And who I am.

Family, friends, my dog barking, come home.

© M J Mallon

This poem is inspired by a book I reviewed recently by Jackie Carreira: The Seventh Train. I’d recommend reading it. Here is the link to my review: https://mjmallon.com/2020/08/15/book-review-the-seventh-train-by-jackie-carriera-book-review/

The book touches upon the impact of suicides on train drivers. Hence, the mention in this poem.

A sad topic but an important one to address, particularly during these difficult times.

Remember, if you are ever feeling lost, low or depressed there is always a better day waiting for you in the future. Today might be hard but keep your family and friends close to your heart and always talk through your problems with a friend, family member or counsellor. A problem shared is always halved.

Sending love, hugs and hopes for happy days.

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How To Write A Short Story – a video tutorial – Dan Alatorre

This is an excellent video tutorial from Dan Alatorre. He reads from his introductory story in the forthcoming anthology Spellbound and discusses the story processes that he employs to create mystery, ambiance, vitality and atmosphere.

What do you include when you write a short story? What does it mean to show and not tell? How much setting is appropriate, or description? These and other writing tips are here in this 53 minute vi…

Source: How To Write A Short Story – a video tutorial – Dan Alatorre

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Book Review: The Seventh Train by Jackie Carriera #book #review

Synopsis:

What if you can’t stand where you are because there’s nothing there? What if you don’t want to end up anywhere else in case that’s empty too? When life has lost its road map, sometimes the only way to get back on track is to get back on the rails.

The Seventh Train is a ride – a ‘road movie’ on the railways. It’s a journey that Elizabeth invented; the only original thought she has ever had in her previously uneventful life. Unbeknown to her, she is not travelling alone. If only she’d pretended that the spare seat was taken.

With a wonderfully eclectic cast of characters, The Seventh Train takes its passengers on a journey from the tragic to the strange, arriving finally at hope. By turns heart-breaking, thought-provoking and hilarious, this tale is a life-affirming exploration of the human spirit via the British railway timetable!

“Ingenious, great fun, and wholly original” – Fay Weldon CBE, on The Seventh Train.

My review:

This is the second book I’ve read from Jackie Carreira, both of which are gifted copies from the author. I am thrilled to give an unbiased review of both. Her first Sleeping Through War was equally as good, if not better. I’ve rated both 5 stars as I’m really impressed by this writer.

My review for Sleeping Through War: https://mjmallon.com/2020/07/27/book-review-sleeping-through-war-by-jackie-carreira-literary-fiction-historical-womens/

The Seventh Train is a great concept from Jackie Carreira and a thoroughly engaging read. Loved it. If you appreciate a great tale about unexpected happenings in train journeys, this is for you. I’ve always enjoyed travelling by train – meeting people, listening to conversations, imagining what these strangers might do when they arrive at their destinations. This is the fodder for writers!

Jackie Carreira’s The Seventh Train takes that idea a stretch of the imagination further. This is a lovely tale that begins with a middle-aged lady, Elizabeth. She is waiting in a Cambridge train station cafe and doesn’t want anyone to sit with her, or talk to her. Of course, she doesn’t get her wish, quite the opposite! What happens next overturns everything you might imagine. A group of unconnected, different people of varying ages end up journeying together becoming unlikely companions. They have one extraordinary thing in common. Read the book to find out what that is!

This is a thought-provoking book, one which also touches upon regret, sadness, a life not lived to the full. It also expresses many concerns about the working life of train drivers. What do they have to cope with in their job? We experience many different emotions when our train journey is delayed by a fatality on the line: sadness at the loss of life and what has brought that person to that desperate decision. There is also a sense of inconvenience as well, we are delayed in our journey. We don’t know the person; we didn’t see them jump. What impact do jumpers committing suicide have upon the train driver, who can see them?

Things to note: This story was originally a play. The author is also an award-winning playwright with QuirkHouse Theatre Company.

Highly recommended. 5 stars.

I received a paperback copy from the author. My opinions are my own and not biased.

Authors Website: https://jackiecarreira.co.uk/

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Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews #Anthology M.J. Mallon, #Thriller Carol Balawyder, #Mystery James J. Cudney | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Thanks to Sally for this wonderful mention for This Is Lockdown: a 5 star review from Sarah Northwood.

And wonderful reviews for James Cudney and Carol Balawyder. Awesome. I’m in great company!

Source: Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews #Anthology M.J. Mallon, #Thriller Carol Balawyder, #Mystery James J. Cudney | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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