Weathering Old Souls Cover Reveal by James J. Cudney @jamescudney4 and Didi Oviatt @Didi_Oviatt #historical #fiction #metaphysical #release

I’m pleased to welcome two lovely authors to my blog today James Cudney and Didi Oviatt with their new book collaboration Weathering Old Souls.

Cover Reveal Date:

March 31st, 2021

Book Name:

Weathering Old Souls

Authors:

Didi Oviatt & James J. Cudney

Publisher:

Next Chapter

Publication Date:

May 15th, 2021

Pre-Sale Link:

https://books2read.com/WOS

Goodreads Link:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56709730-weathering-old-souls

Book Site Links:

*** You can find many posts with character intros & a video about the book in the above links

Description:

Abigail has always struggled with strange voices appearing inside her head. From the relentless tyranny a woman faces on an antebellum plantation to the unknown prison camps in America during World War II, our heroine discovers the past in a way that forever changes her future. There are moments from previous periods that serve as guiding posts for the country’s growth, but they also mark the transitions for Abigail’s own personal history. Her best friend, Margaret, partners with Abigail to discover the identity of these voices while focusing on her passion and quest to become a United States senator. Through it all, a serial killer torments the country, romance blossoms between some of the people they meet during the journey, and secrets long thought buried come to light in devastating ways. With the twisting of elements, numerical alignments, and the trauma of spiritual entanglements, no one will be the same… and just a few might not even be around anymore.

Genre:

Contemporary Fiction but with historical interludes, metaphysical elements, past life regression, suspense / mystery

Release Day Giveaway:

Didi and James are giving away 4 prizes as part of this book launch. The giveaway will run from 3/31 thru 5/16. We will close it after Release Day and select 4 winners.

  • $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • $40 Psychic Services
  • 1 eBook of Weathering Old Souls
  • 1 physical book of Weathering Old Souls (US Only)

About the Author – Didi Oviatt 

Didi Oviatt is an intuitive soul. She’s a wife and mother first, with one son and one daughter. Her thirst to write was developed at an early age, and she never looked back. After digging down deep and getting in touch with her literary self, she’s writing mystery/thrillers like Search for Maylee, Justice for Belle, Aggravated Momentum, and Sketch, along with multiple short story collections. She’s collaborated with Kim Knight in an ongoing interactive short story anthology, The Suspenseful Collection. Most recently, she published her first romance novella titled Skinny Dippin’ which was originally released as a part of the highly appraised Anthology, Sinners and Saints. When Didi doesn’t have her nose buried in a book, she can be found enjoying a laid-back outdoorsy lifestyle. Time spent sleeping under the stars, hiking, fishing, and ATVing the back roads of beautiful mountain trails, and sun-bathing in the desert heat play an important part of her day to day lifestyle. 

Where to find Didi: 

https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7207389.Didi_Oviatt 

https://www.facebook.com/didioviatt

https://www.instagram.com/didioviatt/

http://amazon.com/author/didioviatt 

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/didi-oviatt

Listen to Didi Oviatt’s books on Audible:   

https://www.audible.com/author/Didi-Oviatt/B00HVJJTLE

Summary of Didi’s Books: 

Search for Maylee: http://mybook.to/SearchMaylee 

Since Maylee was abducted from her high school the very month of graduation, her aunt Autumn has never lost hope in finding her. 

It’s been three years. Autumn has finally reached inside herself and found the courage to track down an old lead. She travels across the country to find more clues about Maylee’s disappearance. 

But will she be able to pry Maylee’s case back open, and what will she uncover in the process of searching for Maylee? 

It’s a cold, dark world we live in, and Autumn is about to find out just how cruel it can be. But strength and determination are on her side, and she will do whatever it takes to deliver justice. 

Aggravated Momentum: http://mybook.to/Aggravated 

After sisters Markie and Kam get tangled with the wrong people at the wrong time, long-buried family secrets begin to emerge. 

A serial killer is targeting people close to them. As danger inches closer and closer to home, twisted desires become a reality. The deeper they dig, the darker the secrets they find. 

But who is the cold, calculated murderer, and can they find a way to survive? 

Praise: 

★★★★★ – “There is an authenticity to Ms. Oviatt’s writing that is refreshing to experience in a thriller-type novel.” 

★★★★★ – “A murder mystery with plenty of drama, suspense and danger. Fans of mystery and thriller genres will love this book.” 

★★★★★ – “Fast-paced and full of twists I never saw coming. I was hooked immediately.” 

Justice for Belle: http://mybook.to/justiceforbelle 

Ahnia has a very dicey past – one that is scratching under the surface, just dying to get out. 

She’s hit rock bottom, broke and desperate to be on top again. When she finds herself partnering up with man she hardly knows, and who’s utterly untouchable, she’s forced out of her comfort zone in every way. 

Will Ahnia and Mac’s dangerous decision be a success, or will she find herself in the clutches of an unforgiving force, brought about by her childhood sin? 

In this nail-biting thrill ride, no one is as they seem…and no one is truly safe with those they trust. 

Sketch: http://mybook.to/sketch 

When local girl Misty is found dead in an underground bunker, the town is thrown into a whirlwind of panic and speculation. Times are tough, but the spaced-out farmer community pulls together as one, trying to uncover who’s guilty. 

Thrown smack in the middle of the chaos is a group of teens: local troublemakers, but with good hearts. Although they’re innocent, the local law enforcers believe otherwise, and the true killer is lurking far too close for comfort. 

Will the four be able to uncover the truth before one of them pays the price for Misty’s death? 

The Suspenseful Collection (Vol. 1): 

For Mature Readers Only: 
A suspenseful novel with a twist. Eight short stories, by two suspense authors, from diverse backgrounds. From opposite sides of the Atlantic these stories have been created. One author started the tale and the other ended it. No discussion, no pre-planning, but yet their stories are seamless. With just creativity and the use of writing prompts, to craft one tale, with two different writers. This anthology of suspenseful, fast paced and engaging tales covers multiple genres. From heart felt romance, crime, fantasy, and steamy historical fiction. There is a story for everyone! 
 

Blurred Lines (The Suspenseful Collection Vol. 2): 

For Mature Readers Only: 
As the second installment of suspenseful short stories by two suspense authors, from diverse backgrounds, Blurred Lines offers a thrill ride with nine stories in genres across the board. From opposite sides of the Atlantic these stories have been created. One author started the tale and the other ended it. No discussion, no pre-planning, but yet their stories are seamless. With the use of writing prompts Kim and Didi have created tales that will tug at your heart strings, drop your jaws, and leave you clinging to the edge of your seat. From gory horror, romance, crime fiction, family drama, and fantasy, there is a story for everyone! 
  

New Age Lamians: http://mybook.to/newagelamians 

Jackson has barely reached manhood when lightning heralds the end of the world as we know it. The lightning has awakened the Lamians: descendants of the mythological creature Lamia. 

In his world, The Company delivers supplies into his village, and harnesses technology that others lack. Soon, Jackson is taken by The Company; he is to be an ultimate warrior, alongside few others, as their blood is rare and compatible with the technology needed to transform them. 

According to The Company, the Lamians are monsters who need to be defeated at all costs. But is Jackson really the one who can save the world? 

Praise: 

★★★★★ – “A twisty, intoxicating read.” 

★★★★★ – “Genuinely imaginative.” 

★★★★★ – “Compellingly entertaining” 

Skinny Dippin’: http://mybook.to/skinnydippin

When Carla agrees to house sit a condo by the beach for a summer, she’s met with a juicy surprise. Though reluctant, and determined to stay away, Carla is drawn to a young man a few doors down. Blake is handsome, temperamental, and just as determined to win her over as she is to stay away. Will Carla succumb to his possessive, domineering traits and become his for the summer? Or will she let better judgement along with their age difference drive a wedge between the undeniable connection? Three months under the summer sun is about to heat up the parts of Carla that she once believed to be lost, tossed to the wind and gone forever. After an accidentally naked night in the water, everything changes, and Carla is forced to face his persistence head on.

About the Author – James J. Cudney 

Background 

James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College, an historic but small liberal arts school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with a degree in English literature and minors in Education, Business and Spanish. After college, I accepted a technical writing position for a telecommunications company during Y2K and spent the last ~20 years building a career in technology & business operations in the retail, sports, media, hospitality, and entertainment industries. Throughout those years, I wrote short stories, poems, and various beginnings to the “Great American Novel,” but I was so focused on my career that writing became a hobby. In 2016, I committed to focusing my energies toward reinvigorating a second career in reading, writing, and publishing. 

Author 

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, mind, and body. At some points, it was just a few poems or short stories; at others, it was full length novels and stories. My current focus is family drama fiction, cozy mystery novels, and suspense thrillers. I conjure characters and plots that I feel must be unwound. I think of situations people find themselves in and feel compelled to tell the story. It’s usually a convoluted plot with many surprise twists and turns. I feel it necessary to take that ride all over the course. My character is easily pictured in my head. I know what he is going to encounter or what she will feel. But I need to use the right words to make it clear. 

Reader & Reviewer 

Reading has also never left my side. Whether it was children’s books, young adult novels, college textbooks, biographies, or my ultimate love, fiction, it’s ever present in my day. I read two books per week and I’m on a quest to update every book I’ve ever read on Goodreads, write up a review, and post it on all my sites and platforms.  

Blogger & Thinker 

I have combined my passions into a single platform where I share reviews, write a blog and publish tons of content: TRUTH. I started my 365 Daily Challenge, where I post about a word that has some meaning to me and converse with everyone about life. There is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice, and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dogs have had weekly segments called “Ryder’s Rants” or “Baxter’s Barks,” where they complain about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real. And that’s why they are me. 

Genealogist & Researcher 

I love history and research, finding myself often reaching back into the past to understand why someone made the choice he or she did and what were the subsequent consequences. I enjoy studying the activities and culture from hundreds of years ago to trace the roots and find the puzzle of my own history. I wish I could watch my ancestors from a secret place to learn how they interacted with others; and maybe I’ll comprehend why I do things the way I do. 

Websites & Blog 

Website: https://jamesjcudney.com/ 

Blog: https://thisismytruthnow.com 

Amazon: http://bit.ly/JJCIVBooks 

Next Chapter: https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/james-j-cudney 

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/james-j-cudney 

Social Media 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamescudney4 

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

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

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

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jamescudney4/ 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamescudney4/ 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jamescudney4 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamescudney4 

Genres, Formats & Languages 

I write in the family drama, suspense, and mystery genres. My first two books were Watching Glass Shatter (2017) and Father Figure (2018). Both are contemporary fiction and focus on the dynamics between parents and children and between siblings. I wrote a sequel, Hiding Cracked Glass, for my debut novel, and they are known as the Perceptions of Glass series. I also have a light mystery series called the Braxton Campus Mysteries with seven books available. 

All my books come in multiple formats (Kindle, paperback, hardcover, large print paperback, pocket size paperback, and audiobook) and some are also translated into foreign languages such as Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and German.  

Goodreads Book Links 

Perceptions of Glass 

Father Figure (April 2018) 

Braxton Campus Mysteries 

Summary of Books 

Father Figure (Contemporary Fiction / Family Drama) 

Between the fast-paced New York City, a rural Mississippi town and a charming Pennsylvania college campus filled with secrets, two young girls learn the consequences of growing up too quickly. Amalia Graeme, abused by her mother for most of her life, longs to escape her desolate hometown and fall in love. Contemplating her loss of innocence and conflicting feelings between her boyfriend and the dangerous attraction she’s developed for an older man, Amalia faces life-altering tragedies. Brianna Porter, a sassy, angst-ridden teenager raised in New York City, yearns to find her life’s true purpose, conquer her fear of abandonment, and interpret an intimidating desire for her best friend, Shanelle. Desperate to find the father whom her mother refuses to reveal, Brianna accidentally finds out a shocking truth about her missing parent. Set in alternating chapters two decades apart, the parallels between their lives and the unavoidable collision that is bound to happen are revealed. FATHER FIGURE is a stand-alone emotional story filled with mystery, romance, and suspense. 

PERCEPTIONS OF GLASS SERIES 

Watching Glass Shatter (Contemporary Fiction / Family Drama) 

The wealthy Glass family lost its patriarch, Benjamin Glass, sooner than expected. Benjamin’s widow, Olivia, and her 5 sons each react to his death in their own way while preparing for the reading of his will. Olivia receives a very unexpected confession from her late husband about one of their sons that could shatter the whole family. Prior to revealing the secret to her children, Olivia must figure out which boy Ben refers to in the confession he left her in his will. While the family attorney searches for the mysterious Rowena Hector whom Ben says holds the answers, Olivia asks her sons to each spend a week with her as she isn’t ready to let go of the past. When Olivia visits her sons, she quickly learns that each one has been keeping his own secret from her. Olivia never expected her remaining years would be so complex and life-altering, but she will not rest until her family is reunited after Ben’s untimely death. We all need family. We all want to fit in. We’re all a mix of quirky personalities. Will Olivia be able to fix them, or will the whole family implode? What will she do when she discovers the son behind Ben’s secret? Check out this ensemble cast where each family member’s perspective is center stage, discovering along the way who might feel the biggest impact from all the secrets. Through various scenes and memories across a six-month period, you’ll get to know everyone, learning how and why they made certain decisions. Welcome to being an honorary member of the Glass family where the flair for over-the-top drama pushes everyone to their limits. 

Hiding Cracked Glass (Contemporary Fiction / Family Drama) 

An ominous blackmail letter appears at an inopportune moment. The recipient’s name is accidentally blurred out upon arrival. Which member of the Glass family is the ruthless missive meant for? In the powerful sequel to Watching Glass Shatter, Olivia is the first to read the nasty threat and assumes it’s meant for her. When the mysterious letter falls into the wrong hands and is read aloud, it throws the entire Glass family into an inescapable trajectory of self-question. Across the span of eight hours, Olivia and her sons contemplate whether to confess their hidden secrets or find a way to bury them forever. Some failed to learn an important lesson last time. Will they determine how to save themselves before it’s too late? Each chapter’s focus alternates between the various family members and introduces several new and familiar faces with a vested interest in the outcome. As each hour ticks by, the remaining siblings and their mother gradually reveal what’s happened to them in the preceding months, and when the blackmailer makes an appearance at Olivia’s birthday party, the truth brilliantly comes to light. Although everyone seemed to embrace the healing process at the end of Watching Glass Shatter, there were hidden cracks in the Glass family that couldn’t be mended. Their lives are about to shatter into pieces once again, but this time, the stakes are even higher. Someone wants to teach them a permanent lesson and refuses to stop until success is achieved. 

BRAXTON CAMPUS MYSTERY SERIES 

Academic Curveball: Death at the Sports Complex (#1) 

When Kellan Ayrwick, a thirty-two-year-old single father, is forced to return home for his father’s retirement from Braxton College, he finds the dead body of a professor in Diamond Hall’s stairwell. Unfortunately, Kellan has a connection to the victim, and so do several members of his family. Could one of them be guilty of murder? Then he finds a second body after discovering mysterious donations to the college’s athletic program, a nasty blog denouncing his father, and a criminal attempting to change student grades so the star baseball pitcher isn’t expelled. Someone is playing games on campus, but none of the facts add up. With the help of his eccentric and trouble-making nana weeding through the clues, Kellan tries to stay out of the sheriff’s way. Fate has other plans. Kellan is close to discovering the killer’s identity just as someone he loves is put in grave danger of becoming victim number three. And if that’s not enough to wreak havoc on his family, everything comes crashing to a halt when his own past comes spiraling back to change his life forever. In this debut novel in the Braxton Campus Mystery Series, readers discover a cozy, secluded Pennsylvania village full of quirky, sarcastic, and nosy residents. Among the daily workings of Braxton College and the charming Ayrwick family, Kellan weighs his investigative talents against an opportunity to achieve a much sought-after dream. When this first book ends, the drama is set for the next adventure in Kellan’s future… and it’s one you won’t want to miss. 

Broken Heart Attack: Death at the Theater (#2) 

When an extra ticket becomes available to attend the dress rehearsal of Braxton’s King Lear production, Kellan tags along with Nana D and her buddies, sisters-in-law Eustacia and Gwendolyn Paddington, to show support for the rest of the Paddington family. When one of them appears to have a heart attack in the middle of the second act, Nana D raises her suspicions and asks Kellan to investigate who killed her friend. Amidst family members suddenly in debt and a secret rendezvous between an unlikely pair, Kellan learns the Paddingtons might not be as clean-cut as everyone thinks. But did one of them commit murder for an inheritance? Kellan is back in his second adventure since returning home to Pennsylvania. With his personal life in upheaval and his new boss, Myriam, making life difficult, will he be able to find a killer, or will he get caught up in his own version of stage fright? 

Flower Power Trip: Death at the Masquerade Ball (#3) 

Braxton College is throwing the Heroes & Villains Costume Extravaganza to raise money for renovations to the antiquated Memorial Library. While attending, Kellan stumbles upon a close family friend standing over a dead body that’s dressed as Dr. Evil. Did one of Maggie’s sisters kill an annoying guest at the Roarke and Daughters Inn or does the victim have a more intimate connection to someone else on campus? As Kellan helps the school’s president, Ursula, bury a scandalous secret from her past and unearth the identity of her stalker, he unexpectedly encounters a missing member of his own family who’s reappeared after a lengthy absence. When all the peculiar events around town trace back to the Stoddards, a new family who recently moved to Wharton County, the explosive discovery only offers more confusion. Between the special flower exhibit that’s made an unplanned stop on campus and strange postcards arriving each week from all around the world, Kellan can’t decide which mystery in his life should take priority. Unfortunately, the biggest one of all has yet to arrive at his doorstep. When it does, Kellan won’t know what hit him. 

Mistaken Identity Crisis: Death on the Cable Car (#4) 

A clever thief with a sinister calling card has invaded Braxton campus. A string of jewelry thefts continues to puzzle the sheriff given they’re remarkably similar to an unsolved eight-year-old case from shortly before Gabriel vanished one stormy night. When a missing ruby is discovered near an electrified dead body during the campus cable car redesign project, Kellan must investigate the real killer to protect his brother. Amidst sorority hazing practices and the victim’s connections to several prominent Wharton County citizens, a malicious motive becomes more obvious and trickier to prove. As if the latest murder isn’t enough to keep him busy, Kellan partners with April to end the Castigliano and Vargas crime family feud. What really happened to Francesca while all those postcards showed up in Braxton? The mafia world is more calculating than Kellan realized, and if he wants to move forward, he must make a few ruthless sacrifices. Election Day is over, and the new mayor takes office. Nana D celebrates her 75th birthday with an adventure. A double wedding occurs at Crilly Lake on Independence Day. And Kellan receives a few more surprises as the summer heat settles in Wharton County. 

Haunted House Ghost: Death at the Fall Festival (#5) 

It’s Halloween, and excitement is brewing in Braxton to carve jack-o’-lanterns, go on haunted hayrides, and race through the spooky corn maze at the Fall Festival. Despite the former occupant’s warnings, Kellan renovates and moves into a mysterious old house. When a ruthless ghost promises retribution, our fearless professor turns to the eccentric town historian and an eerie psychic to communicate with the apparition. Meanwhile, construction workers discover a fifty-year-old skeleton after breaking ground on the new Memorial Library wing. While Kellan and April dance around the chemistry sparking between them, a suspicious accident occurs at the Fall Festival. Soon, Kellan discovers the true history and dastardly connections of the Grey family. But can he capture the elusive killer – and placate the revenge-seeking ghost. 

Frozen Stiff Drink: Death at Danby Landing (#6) 

A winter blizzard barrels toward Wharton County with a vengeance. Madam Zenya predicted the raging storm would change the course of Kellan’s life, but the famed seer never could’ve prepared him for all the collateral damage. Nana D disappears after visiting a patient at Willow Trees, leaving behind a trail of confusion. When the patient turns up dead, and second body is discovered beneath the snowbanks, Kellan must face his worst fears. What tragedy has befallen his beloved grandmother? Kellan’s brother Hampton learns essential life lessons the hard way after his father-in-law accuses him of embezzlement. While trying to prove his innocence, Hampton digs himself a deeper hole that might lead to prison. Sheriff Montague wants to save him, but she receives the shock of her life as the past hurtles forward and complicates her future. Between locating Nana D and solving the scandalous murder of another prominent Braxton citizen, Kellan and April’s worlds explode with more turmoil than they can handle. Too bad neither one of them knows what to do about the psychic’s latest premonition. The suspicious deaths happening around town aren’t ending anytime soon. 

Legally Blind Luck: Death via Curse (#7) 

Surprising new family members. A hidden talisman. Deadly curses. Horrific murder. Months after tragically losing a loved one, Kellan learns his relative’s death wasn’t an accident. Someone discovered Queen Tessa’s cursed talisman, and a rogue government agent will stop at nothing to retrieve the heirloom. Too bad it changed hands during an anonymous auction and found its way on campus. Moments before Braxton’s controversial art exhibition opens, Kellan stumbles upon another murder victim. It appears he might be next on the avenger’s list too. Will Kellan protect Tessa’s true heir and prevent a killer’s nefarious plan from ending the curse? Given all the suspects have ties to prominent Braxton citizens, he’s uncertain whom to trust. Together, Kellan and Sheriff April are determined to solve the mystery via legal means or purely through blind luck. 

Amazon Book Links 

Watching Glass Shatter 

http://mybook.to/WGS 

Hiding Cracked Glass 

Father Figure 

http://mybook.to/FatherFigure 

Academic Curveball 

http://mybook.to/ACurveball 

Broken Heart Attack 

http://mybook.to/BrokenHA 

Flower Power Trip 

http://mybook.to/FlowerPowerTrip 

Mistaken Identity Crisis 

http://mybook.to/mistakenidentity 

Haunted House Ghost 

http://mybook.to/hauntedhouseghost 

Frozen Stiff Drink 

http://mybook.to/fsd 

Legally Blind Luck

Wishing them both all the best with their new release.

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Into Spirit… | Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo

So saddened to hear of Sue’s passing. A special lady, talented, generous and kind. Her poetry and writing spoke volumes. Sending heartfelt condolences to her family and a hug for her lovely dog Ani who she loved so much.

Source: Into Spirit… | Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo

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Special Feature: Chantelle Atkins – @Chanatkins Chasing Driftwood Writing Group #author #writing #group

I’m pleased to welcome Chantelle Atkins to my blog to chat about her writing group Chasing Driftwood. Recently, I submitted a poem to her writing competition and won joint first prize, winning a 1 to 1! It’s been really helpful getting 1 to 1 feedback on a short story idea I am developing. More about that soon.

In the meantime, here is the Q and A with Chantelle.

I’m curious about the origin of the name of your writing group: Chasing Driftwood? Why did you decide to set this group up?


I decided to set it up because at the time I had been writing and self-publishing for a while and had learnt so much in the process that I wanted to be able to help other writers with their own journeys. Also, I had never been able to find a writing group locally that fit in with having a family, so I set up the adult group first to fill that need and it went from there. I used to be a childminder and really missed working with kids, so putting on creative writing workshops for children was the next natural step and this eventually grew into after-school writing clubs, adult workshops, online courses and more! I think it comes from a passion for writing. I want to help other people start writing and keep writing. I had a long period of time where I lost writing entirely because life was so busy, so I know what it’s like to not have the time or the energy to devote to it. But I want to show people that you can make time and that it is definitely worth it! The name came from two old indie songs that were in my head one day when I was trying to choose a name for it. Chasing Rainbows by Shed 7 and Driftwood by Travis. I’d been stuck for a name for ages as so many have already been taken that use the word writing or write for example, so I went with Chasing Driftwood Writing Group and thought it sounded unique.

I’d love to find out more about your writing journey. Please elaborate…How long have you been writing for? And when did you start the group?


I’ve been writing my whole life. I still have lots of the stories I wrote as a child. I was totally obsessed with reading and writing. It’s all I ever wanted to do. I always found it so incredibly exciting and magical. Through my teens it saved me and my stories grew into novels. I also wrote a diary back then religiously every day. I then had a ten-year period where I did not write at all. This coincided with finishing University and having my first child. I then had another very soon after and decided to become a childminder so that I could earn money while looking after my own children. Then I had the third one…and I was exhausted, happy, but exhausted! There just wasn’t time for writing and I thought I had left it behind me and missed the boat. When my then third child started school, I had a sudden panic that life was slipping me by and I hadn’t fulfilled my childhood dreams. So I quit childminding, started dog-walking and got back into writing. Once it started, it just refused to stop and that was ten years ago now! When the fourth child came along, I hung onto my writing with all my might and these days I am very strict about making time for it. I will never let it go again. I published my first novel The Mess Of Me in 2013 and set up Chasing Driftwood in 2015. We then became a CIC in 2017 and in 2020 I gained a business partner!


In your opinion, what demons and obstacles are there to overcome in order to progress and be successful in writing?


Oh my gosh, so many, and that’s the saddest thing, because so many people start writing and give up, or want to write but never dare to do it…Time is the biggest hurdle for most people I work with. Lots of people come and go within the adult writing group for example, and life gets in the way for them. Busy jobs, young children; there just isn’t enough time and energy for writing. I’m always offering advice and tips on making the time and sticking with the discipline needed. The next biggest one is self-doubt, I think. People have a story in their heads but don’t think they can do it justice. I think all writers suffer from self-doubt to some degree. It comes and goes and you are constantly battling with it and trying to drown out the self-criticism. The other hurdle I think is other people. Sometimes because they are the reason you are busy and tired, and don’t think you deserve to devote time to writing…and sometimes because people look down on it, tell you it’s a waste of time, not a real job and so on. I know this happens to a lot of writers and I had to put up with that myself when young. I want to encourage people to do it anyway!


Tell us a little about the Chasing Driftwood group and the writers who are part of the group and the services you offer to adults and children.


The adult writing group is quite small at the moment as several of the long-
termers cannot or do not want to do it via Zoom, which I perfectly understand. We used to meet in a community hall where we had a cosy room all to ourselves every other Monday evening. The group varies in size between three to five people, or seven to ten. People do come and go, as life gets busier and they get less time to write, but there are a few who have been with us for several years now. Some have gone on to finish novels they are now trying to find publication for and some have written novels and gone on to secure publishing deals. They are a real mix of people, genders and ages, and I don’t think they will mind me saying that we are probably all classic introverts! The group is running monthly at the moment via Zoom, using more of a workshop style format to get them writing, as many of them have really suffered with the pandemic and not being able to write. As well as the adult group, we offer adult workshops. These used to be in venues such as halls and libraries, but are currently via Zoom. For children, again we had after-school clubs but cannot go into schools right now because of Covid, so these are all on Zoom. We also have three clubs for home-educated children, and online courses for children

Has it been more difficult and challenging to manage the group throughout the pandemic?


Yes, definitely. During the first lockdown a year ago, I didn’t do anything. I was so shocked and scared and so concerned with helping my children through it, I just couldn’t get my head around the writing groups carrying on. I knew there was Zoom and Skype and all sorts, but I just couldn’t do it. I stayed in contact as much as possible via email and I set challenges and prompts on the Facebook page but that was all I could manage. I felt really sad and scared that I would lose my business by not moving it online, but at the same time, I just didn’t seem to have the emotional energy needed to keep it going. That all changed once the kids started going back to school. I finally had the time to organise myself, set up Zoom and try it out and it all took off quite well. Now I am really pleased we have so much online and we will always offer online workshops, courses and clubs now, even when we can return to physical ones. When we had the latest lockdown and school closures again, I managed to work through it this time, juggling my clubs etc with home-schooling! It was tough, but we managed.

I’ve read The Mess of Me which I’ve been meaning to read for some time. I knew I would like it! From your writing style, I get a sense that you are a character driven writer. This is also apparent in the chosen name of your blog The Glorious Outsiders. What a great name for a blog! How did you decide upon the names of your books/blog? Would you agree that you are a character driven writer? And why?


Thank you! The name for the blog came from my characters. When I first set up a blog, I had not published anything and just used it to share snippets on. I then picked up a few tips from another writer about rebranding the blog, making it speak for you, letting people know who you are and what you do. I thought about my characters and realised that all of them are outsiders in some way, and none of them really care that they are. The Glorious Outsiders seemed perfectly apt for them and for me. The names of my books have come from various places. Some come to me really quickly, even before I’ve written the books, for example, The Tree Of Rebels and Elliot Pie’s Guide To Human Nature. The Boy With The Thorn In His side came when I was half way through writing the first book and I realised that for me at least, the lyrics of that song by The Smiths really made sense for the story. This Is Nowhere comes from a Neil Young song called Everyone Knows This Is Nowhere. The story offered the title up as one of the characters played Neil Young records, so of course I had to play Neil Young while I was writing it and when I listened to the lyrics of that song, I knew I had a perfect title. And yes, I would agree that I am very much a character driven writer. It’s always characters that come to me first, and they start talking about their lives and worlds and problems and then eventually a plot comes from that! I love creating characters, it’s so much fun, and with reading too, I am much more drawn to character driven stories.

Link to my review of The Mess of Me: https://mjmallon.com/2021/03/25/book-review-the-mess-of-me-by-chantelle-atkins-chanatkins-book-review-ya/

I believe you’re working on a new project, a supernatural YA series with  co-author  Sim Sansford. What’s the process of writing a novel together.How does this work and would you recommend it?

Yes, I never, ever thought I would write with another author! I’ve read books by others who have tried this and was in complete awe as to how they achieved it. I’m quite a control freak about my own writing, my style and choices and characters, so I didn’t think I would ever be able to co-write something. Sim became my business partner in November 2020 and brought to the company exactly what I needed: an injection of youth, enthusiasm and ideas! It’s brilliant to have someone to bounce ideas off and to share the workload. We got on really well with it, so when he suggested writing something together my instant reaction was, why not? I had no idea how it would work or where it would go. Sim had a loose idea and we decided to write it in first person from alternating character points of view. He created a character called Darcie Duffield and I created JJ Carson. We knew it would be a supernatural/super abilities style story and again, this was something I had never imagined I would write, but it has gone so well. We finished book one in about six weeks I think and rolled straight into book two, which we have just finished! We have started to edit book one and have ideas to start book three. It worked by one of us writing a chapter, sending it to the other, then they responded with theirs and so on. We message lots throughout the day with ideas and questions and somehow it has just worked out! It’s been really exciting and fun and I would definitely recommend if you can find the right author to work alongside.

What does the future hold for Chasing Driftwood?

Hopefully, we will continue to grow. At the moment, I feel like we are putting lots of things in place that will benefit the CIC later on. So there is a lot of unpaid work going on right now as we work towards future goals. We have set up copy-editing and proofreading services to compliment the writer’s groups, workshops and courses. We intend to keep adding new online courses to the site for adults and children. We are putting together our first collection and it will be the first thing we publish under Chasing Driftwood. It’s a pandemic themed collection we hope to have ready by the start of the summer.  It will be testing the water really as we would love to evolve the CIC into an indie press at some point. Again, we might cut our teeth on this idea by publishing our co-written series with Chasing Driftwood, but it is early days, so we will see! We have other projects in the line for when covid finally frees us all…A nature-based project for young writers and a community writing project among others.

Authors Links:

https://chasingdriftwoodwritinggroup.org/

https://about.me/chantelle.atkins

https://chantelleatkins.com/

I think you will agree that has been such a fascinating chat with Chantelle.

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#TANKA TUESDAY WEEKLY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 218 @ColleenChesebro #EKPHRASTIC #PHOTOPROMPT #Haiku

Image Credit: D.L. Finn

This week we have a photo prompt from Denise. And a truly inspiring one it is. A lady in blue hugging a tree. Here is my take expressed in a series of haiku.

Her blue snow soaked gown

Holds a silent hug to bark

Trees weep heart’s full tears

***

Vital friend severed

Bark ‘s finger accuses sky

The winter mist spreads

***

Dryad masked in blue

Once full, her kind heart splinters

The tree holds her face

I hope you enjoyed the series of haiku.

Before you go I’d love it if you could pop over to Sally Cronin’s blog. She is sharing the latest review for my poetry collection: Lockdown Innit Poems About Absurdity. https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2021/03/27/smorgasbord-book-reviews-poetry-lockdown-innit-by-m-j-mallon/

If you are an avid poetry reader and would like a copy to review (no obligation, of course,) let me know. Happy to send you a copy!

Please consider adding to your Goodreads and check out some of my other books.

Thank you peeps!

M.J. Mallon’s books on Goodreads
Ghostly Writes Anthology 2018 Ghostly Writes Anthology 2018
reviews: 7
ratings: 46 (avg rating 3.91)

The Curse Of Time The Curse Of Time (Bloodstone,#1)
reviews: 27
ratings: 34 (avg rating 4.26)

This Is Lockdown This Is Lockdown
reviews: 14
ratings: 19 (avg rating 4.95)

Mr. Sagittarius Mr. Sagittarius
reviews: 13
ratings: 16 (avg rating 4.94)

Lockdown Innit: Poems About Absurdity Lockdown Innit: Poems About Absurdity
reviews: 9
ratings: 12 (avg rating 4.67)

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Smorgasbord Book Reviews– #Poetry Lockdown Innit by M.J. Mallon | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Source: Smorgasbord Book Reviews– #Poetry Lockdown Innit by M.J. Mallon | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

A big thank you to the lovely Sally Cronin for taking the time to read and review my latest poetry collection Lockdown Innit Poems About Absurdity. It means so much and I can’t thank her enough. Do pop over to her blog to read the review.

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Book Review: The Mess of Me by Chantelle Atkins @Chanatkins #Book #Review #YA

Goodreads Synopsis:

Everyone has one summer they will never forget. Lou Carling is 16 and obsessed with getting thinner. Joe is her best friend, and last night they found something they shouldn’t have in Joe’s older brothers wardrobe. Travis and Leon are shady figures, leading shadier lives, and during one summer Lou and Joe find themselves pulled into the drama, the confusion and the violence. Will Joe go to any lengths to impress his older brothers? Will Lou’s obsession with losing weight spiral out of control? Is Marianne, her self-harming friend, really her friend, or an enemy in disguise? And will Lou and Joe ever be more than just best friends? 

My review

This is the first book I’ve read from Chantelle Atkins and I loved it. I’m amazed that this is her debut novel, it was that good.

It is an emotional, character driven tale about a sixteen-year-old girl coping with the difficulties of being a teenager and living within a broken family (her mother is separated from Lou’s father and is in a new relationship.)

Lou doesn’t want to be that overlooked, overweight girl anymore. The passages about her not wanting to eat are powerful and frightening to read.

The Mess of Me is also a tale of friendship, of love, mothers, daughters, parents and sons. There are many hard hitting topics throughout including escalating family violence, alcohol and drug use, drug trafficking, self harm, and cries for help but these subjects are handled with great sensitivity. The dialogues are sprinkled with wonderful teenage banter to add touches of humour to lighten the narrative.

Brilliantly done. 


My two favourite characters were Lou and her best friend Joe who she’s known forever… since she was a baby! Marianne, and Joe’s older brothers Travis and Leon were also well written as were all the adults in the book. Perhaps the only character I felt less connection to was Sara, Lou’s older sister.

Life can be confusing and awkward for teenagers but this also applies to adults too! I loved how The Mess of Me conveyed our vulnerability, our frailness, how making mistakes and bad choices can have a huge impact on our lives and the lives of those we love. Sometimes parents get it spectacularly wrong and The Mess of Me does a fantastic job of portraying that flip side too.

There are many wonderful scenes with Lou and her mum chatting, drawing closer together, beginning to understand each other. I was so touched by these, having two daughters myself, remembering those teenage angst flare ups made me cry. As a parent all you want is for your children to be happy, safe and well and when that is threatened the fear and helplessness is immense. I don’t want to go in too much detail for fear of spoiling the book for you but The Mess of Me portrayed that fear and hopelessness so well.

 
After finishing The Mess of Me I was left with a sense of hope rising up from this dark tale. I enjoyed it on so many levels.


I will definitely read more from this author. One of my favourite books of 2021. 


Highly recommended – 5 stars. 

I will be interviewing Chantelle about Chasing Driftwood – her creative writing group soon.

In the meantime… check out Chantelle’s writing…

Connect with Chantelle at:-

https://chasingdriftwoodwritinggroup.org/
Author at https://chantelleatkins.com/

photo

Review by Marjorie Mallon
YA/Paranormal Author/Poet/Reviewer at Kyrosmagica Writing and Blogging

https://mjmallon.com 

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March 18: Flash Fiction Challenge

Today, I arrived at the supermarket at 9am forgetting that it doesn’t open until 10am on a Sunday. I decided to go for a walk in our local country park. After a short walk, I sat down and started writing down the idea for this flash fiction piece. Whilst there, I was intrigued to see two old gents chatting in the park bench just a short distance away from me. I couldn’t resist doing a bit of writer eavesdropping. They were so lovely – one was my dad’s age – and he mentioned it’s his birthday next Saturday! They were talking about the passing of time, their youth, and the like. I enjoyed their company so much, lol, Little did they know!!! I hope I see them again! Anyway, I digress. Perhaps, they will feature in a future flash fiction piece that I will write.

For now, this is the flash I came up with:

March 18, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that takes place a year later. It can be any year. Explore the past year or another significant passing of time to a character. Go where the prompt leads!

The sun shone, bathing my face with a pink glow as I sat in the garden of our new villa.

Portugal. I’ve always loved this beautiful country. Now we’re here for keeps.

My husband played a cheery tune on his guitar. The stress of COVID diminished with each strum and every note. Tears streamed from his eyes. Tears streamed from my eyes. I reached out and touched his hand. No one else could make this happen. No one would brave enough to take such a chance during a pandemic. Only him.

We didn’t speak, our tears told the story.

Here’s the link to Charli’s post: https://carrotranch.com/2021/03/19/march-18-flash-fiction-challenge-2/

Hope you enjoyed the flash. I still hope to live in Portugal one day… let’s see whether it happens! If anyone can make it happen my hubby can! Lol.

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

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Book Review: Laughter Lines Life From The Tail End by Sue Vincent @SCVincent #book #review

Goodreads Synopsis:

Take a life with a small dog in tow, add a dash of red hair dye, a selection of crumbling biscuits and a passion for recitable verse… The result is a recipe for laughter. Sue Vincent shares her world in verse.

My review:

Laughter lines – Life from the Tail End is a beautiful book of poetry celebrating the bond between man (or in this case woman!) and dog. The poems make you laugh, smile and are so relatable. That’s simply because they are about everyday life, sharing memories, experiences and humorous doggy anecdotes!

Poetic thoughts on:

Trouble sleeping, – being that I suffered badly from insomnia when I was younger I relate to this so much – (The Demon List.)

Cute doggy ones such as bathing Sue’s dog Ani, (Hair of the Dog,) and Sue’s poem about sharing her food with Ani and therefore not having to diet! (The Canine Diet,)

I loved the poem Grandad Doughnuts which involved being excluded from the kitchen by Grandma and therefore having to resort to cunning and imaginative measures to make another kind of doughnut with Grandad! This was probably my favourite poem in the collection. Loved it.

Hearts and Flowers explored how love should be more than a shop bought card

There were poems about being an indie author/creative living from hand to mouth –The Archetypal Indie, and An Author’s Lament, all very relatable!

Sue Vincent’s hair dye disasters Red For Danger and Saturday Morning Blues made me smile. Been there done that! And her desire to live the free life came shining through in Rewriting The Wrinkles.

I thoroughly enjoyed all the poems and would highly recommend.

My rating 5 stars.

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

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

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

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

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Have you had your shot? COVID19 Astra Zenica #doctorsremix #Hamilton #vaccine #AstraZenica #Oxford

For fans of the musical Hamilton (including my daughter Tasha who is an avid Hamilton fan)…

Vax’n 8, a group of seven doctors from Vacaville CA, performed a rendition of “My Shot” from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton” in footage posted to YouTube on March 10, with the aim of encouraging people to get the coronavirus vaccine. BY VAX IN 8 DOCS VIA STORYFUL.

https://www.theolympian.com/news/coronavirus/article249981859.html/

Have you had your shot? Hubby and I had ours a week ago now. We had the Astra Zenica Oxford Vaccine. Do feel free to share your vaccine stories in the comments.

This is an interesting article about the vaccine to read: https://www.bbc.com/news/health-56375307/

It explains why elderly people (in general,) seem to have less reaction to the vaccine. That explains why my 92 year old dad didn’t have any reaction at all. I was beginning to think he has superpowers! I had a bit of a sore head, sore swollen arm and aches and a weird back pain. Anyone had that? Hubby had it worse… man flu… but to be fair he might have had covid before, so that might explain his more full on reaction.

Either way, get your vaccine folks. It’s better to get flu like symptoms for a day or two than to get COVID. Protect yourself and your friends, colleagues and family. Let’s all do what we can to get rid of COVID.

In the meantime, here are some of my latest books/anthologies about the pandemic. which are garnering excellent reviews. Hint, Hint wouldn’t mind some more reviews…

Take a gander here:

BLURB

Lockdown Innit is a poetry collection of eighteen poems about life’s absurdities and frustrations during lockdown. Wherever you live in this world, this is for you. Expect humour, a dollop of banter and ridiculous rants here and there. Amongst other delights, witness the strange antics of a swan posing by a bin and two statuesque horses appearing like arc deco pieces in a field. Check out the violin player on a tightrope, or the cheeky unmentionables wafting in the lockdown breeze!

Bestselling author Lizzie Chantree’s thoughts: ‘An intricate mix of observations from the author about how the pandemic has brought change. Some welcome, some not so much. A thought provoking read.’

Author and Poet Sarah Northwood: ‘Lockdown innit is a wonderful collection of predominantly free verse poetry on all kinds of themes experienced during the author’s third lockdown. I am sure many of the pieces will resonate with readers who have also experienced humanities frustrating behaviours during this pandemic.

The discarded masks rolling down the roads and the impact of this on wildlife in the future when landfills are filled, and oceans invariably get full of them is certainly something that has crossed my mind. (Simply cutting off the side strings from the masks before throwing disposable ones away could make a big difference so they don’t get tangled on wildlife!) I’ve also had my fair share of dealing with drivers filled with road rage, presumably from the stress!

The varied mood and tone of the pieces is equally matched with the lovely presentation and wonderful splashes of humour. Emotive and descriptive language is employed to engage our senses and of course my favourite piece is probably ‘This Face.’ Making this a highly enjoyable collection and one I have no doubt in recommending!’

Read the reviews and add to your Goodreads: 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56949934-lockdown-innit

Universal link for kindle: https://mybook.to/Lockdowninnit

Lockdown Innit is the second book that I have released during this time period

The first, This Is Lockdown released in kindle in July 2020. This Is Lockdown is a compilation and anthology of my diaries, poetry, flash fiction and 28 wonderful contributions from international authors, bloggers and creatives sharing their thoughts, poetry, and flash fiction during covid19. Many old friends contributed to the anthology and I discovered many new authors, and creatives via compiling this anthology.

This Is Lockdown is available in a shorter paperback version with poetry, flash fiction and contributions  (the diaries are only in the kindle version.)

Read the excellent reviews and add the book to your to read list on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54431566-this-is-lockdown

Kindle: mybook.to/Thisislockdown

Paperback: mybook.to/Thisislockdownpb

Take care, stay safe and well and get your vaccine!!!

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

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

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