As part of Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday challenge we were asked to take a quiz to discover our spirit animal. Mine turned out to be a butterfly which is quite striking given that yesterday I was walking by a pathway I often take in Tavira, Portugal.
There, I was struck by the sight of a beautiful butterfly with vibrant markings on its bright wings. It made me stop in my tracks! That’s no surprise as my life is going through much change at the moment – seems so appropriate!
What It Means To Be The Butterfly(From Quiz)
The butterfly is one of the most emblematic totem animals symbolizing personal transformation. If you see the butterfly as your totem or spirit animal, pay attention to the areas in your life or personality that are in need of profound change or transformation. Perhaps, this animal totem guides you to be sensitive to your personal cycles of expansion and growth, as well as the beauty of life’s continuous unfolding. An important message carried by the spirit of the butterfly is about the ability to go through important changes with grace and lightness.
The Shadorma consists of a six-line stanza (or sestet). Each stanza is written as 3-5-3-3-7-5 for a total of 26 syllables with no set rhyme scheme. When writing a Shadorma, I would concentrate on a specific subject.
Pause, to say hello
Bring me joy
Welcoming my steps forward
I feel your love here
Butterfly cinquain is a nine-line syllabic titled form with the pattern 2-4-6-8-2-8-6-4-2.
Flutter to me
You land so light and free
Was it circumstance that we met?
To follow is to discover
My enriched path to take
The cinquainis a five-line, non-rhyming poem featuring a syllable structure of 2-4-6-8-2. Cinquain poems need a title. Choose words that create drama that builds into the fourth line. The turn occurs on line five, the most important line. This is where you change your focus away from the drama in some interesting way.
Many thanks to Author Mark Piggott for this wonderful review of book 2 in my ya fantasy. Here is the text from the review on his website:
Just a quick update, I am back home and recovering from my back surgery. Luckily, I had a fun fantasy book to pass the time with. I received a copy of author M.J. Mallon’s Golden Healer: The Curse of Time Book 2, and it was a great read. I didn’t read the first book in this series, but it didn’t matter as Book 2 kept me abreast of the story.
It was surprising to find that each chapter was titled as a “Puzzle” piece. As I got into the story, I understood why as everything fell into place with each chapter. Shadows, demons, and spirits fill this strange world as the main conflict between the forces of good and evil (something I always love to see in my fantasy stories) are met in a variety of situations. The author’s world-building is breathtaking, but that’s not always a good thing. Occasionally, I lost track of where I was in the story with the beautiful visuals. However, the steady pace of the story kept me on track. I also love the mixture of poetry, music, and story as it flowed together seamlessly.
From the disappearance of her Bloodstone to her first dream travel, Amelina is a heroine you can get behind. Her story is told from her POV, as well as from her family and friends around her. There is humor mixed in with elements of danger throughout the story, making a good mix for the reader. There are plenty of twists and turns that keep you guessing and the ending is definitely not your normal “Happily Ever After” one comes to expect from a fantasy story. Still, reading Book Two of the series makes me want to go back to the first book, Bloodstone.
I also appreciate the author’s sensitivity to suicide and self-harm, even addressing it with self-help at the end of her book. That shows her dedication and responsibility as an author by addressing this delicate issue.
I give this book FIVE STARS and highly recommend M.J. Mallon to any young fantasy reader.
This is my new feature, my photo travel diary, some of which will be in Portugal. We have a few trips planned, first off a short weekend away in Portimão, May 2023. 😎
As you can see Portimão has the most wonderful beach! Beautiful sand and rock formations. Absolutely stunning. And from here you can take lots of spectacular boat trips which we have done in the past and loved.
In the evening, we discovered a fantastic restaurant – ended up being our favourite. Lots of Portuguese cuisine, fish, plus good old lamb chops! All very tasty. The restaurant is aptly named Vinhos & Comidas, wine and food. Caught hubbies eye as he likes his vinhos!
A walk along the strip – of bars and evening entertainment took us to Santa Catarina castle fortress constructed in 1641. The fortress was built to protect from Spanish pirates and moors. From here, there are a lots of steps down to the marina. It’s worth taking a stroll to have a look. It’s low season at the moment, so the marina was quiet, most of the action and more frequented places to eat were around the strip.
It was more challenging going back up all the steps, especially after a few vinhos! But we made it.
ROCKS AND CREATURES
The rock formations on the beach are stunning, the one below reminded me of a cat! Plus there was a dinosaur head, or a sharp nosed man, a whale, and a screaming man… that’s writers for you we see inspiration everywhere!
Here’s hubby posing below by the rocks…
And a change of clothes
COFFEE AND ENTERTAINMENT
Fancy a Portuguese galao coffee… and a sea view? Don’t mind if I do…
It’s a great place for a weekend away. And a good spot for young people to enjoy the nightlife. Having said that, hubby and I did have a couple of late nights. The last of which began with his…”Shall we have one more drink?”
Oh, we should have known! This is reminiscent of our last trip to Lagos where a similar thing happened.
This time, in Portimão, we ended dancing at a pub, The Irish Rover, until the early hours with three lasses from Manchester who kept getting us up to dance to a very good rock tribute band.
Manchester girls really know how to party!
Oh, to be young again! We needed a day to recover…
We had a quiet last evening… kept on bumping into the Manchester lasses but didn’t dare go back to the rock pub… Instead, we lived dangerously and came across this fellow down at the beach.
Farewell Portimão, some evening photos taken over two nights to say goodbye!
One last thing to note, the area we stayed in is built up with lots of high rise hotels/Apartments compared to the quieter area of Tavira where we stay part of the year.
This is our view from the Portimão apartment, Flor Da Rocha, which was well equipped and comfortable and had everything you’d need for a stay including a pool and a gym. Not an overly quiet option but this is a party town!
It is good to explore different parts of Portugal!
Many thanks to Smitha for this lovely detailed, thoughtful review of my poetry memoir Do What You Love. Delighted!
Do What You Love’ by MJ Mallon is a quick read of 58 pages. It’s a sweet reminder to live life, look back to see how far you’ve come, appreciate all that’s got you this far and look forward to the future.
To read the full review, thoughts and excerpts please follow the link to Smitha’s blog.
“Reach beyond heavens veil; do not let death prevail. Instead, open the door through God’s grace; let this not be his final resting place!”
Fawleen and Drogon fought what people called “The Endless War,” as it went on for more than 300 years. The humans of Fawleen and the Dragonkin of Drogon clashed over borderlands, water rights, trade disputes, and the biased views of leaders on both sides of the conflict. Four generations fought and died in the war. That all changed when one sect of Drogon-the Oracles of Delphis Kai-joined Fawleen against their people and worked to end the war. The Oracles were healers and pacifists, the opposite of the Acolytes of Hecat Tei and their dark chaos magic that ruled Drogon. In the end, it was the deciding factor that brought peace to the troubled land.
Malcom Seger, a human Magi-Gunner, and his wife Alyssa, a dragonkin of the Oracles of Delphis Kai, moved to the parish of Fairhaven to begin a new life together. But just when they were getting settled in, Malcom succumbs to deadly “dragon dust” and lies near death. Grief stricken, Alyssa uses her magic to save her true love through the spell of restoration, powerful magic combining two souls into one.
Across the river of souls, the boundless cosmic lifestream that connects all worlds, a young man lay dying underneath a crumpled automobile. He hears a voice, crying out for help, begging not to be left alone. Desperate to make something of his life, he offers himself to God to cross the river of souls to be there for her.
Now begins their new life together in a world filled with distrust, bigotry, and hatred between races. Can two people from different worlds find love and peace to show what truly lies beyond THE RIVER OF SOULS.
My 5 star review
The river of souls by Mark Piggott.
This is a new author to me introduced via my membership of the Fantasy Sci Fi Alliance. Many thanks to the author and the alliance for a review copy.
Thoughts… this is such a lovely tale, full of heart. Really made me smile while reading it. Definitely a recommended read.
An unusual couple, Malcolm a war scarred magi gunner, and Alyssa, a dragonkin – maker of medicines elixirs and herbs, are in love.
Malcolm has been reborn with ‘resurrection magic,’ and takes some time recollecting his memories.
To begin with, I had a little trouble imagining a union between a dragon and a human man! But the excellent storytelling and characterisation did a great job in convincing me!
“He was such an optimist, looking for the best in people, while Alyssa was a consummate pessimist, never knowing who to trust. They balanced each other in their relationship. That’s what made them so perfect together.”
There is a backdrop of The Drogon Empire’s war, aptly named the endless war, hatred, bigotry and violence against the dragonkin, and mention of seeking redemption for past wrongs.
It has a steampunk/magic feel with references to the Etherzine Land Cycle, Magi-rifle, Spell Caster, and Dragon Slayer sword and Dragon Dust.
The text is enhanced by beautiful poetic pieces by Ashley Valitutto, (as a poet myself this really attracted me, as did the dragon aspect!)
Fans of sword and sorcery, fantasy, poetry, steampunk, and forbidden love will enjoy this sweet, heart-warming tale.
Thank you so much to fabulous fellow YA author Chantelle Atkins for inviting me to contribute to these wonderful character interviews on her blog. Follow the link below to Chantelle’s blog to read the full interview at source.
Welcome to a new feature on The Glorious Outsiders where I’ll be interviewing unique characters from other people’s books! You’ll find a character interview at the start of each month and today, I’m chatting to Amelina Scott from the YA series, The Curse of Time. I’ve read and enjoyed Bloodstone and will be starting Golden Healer very soon. So, let’s find out what Amelina has to say!
1. How old are you?
I am sixteen now. My story includes flashbacks to my thirteenth birthday when my dad disappeared. Since then, nothing has been the same.
2. where do you come from?
Believe it or not, I originate from this long line of Krystallos (crystal) magicians. It came as a shock to me when I discovered that.
3. where do you live? Describe it to us
I live in Cambridge in the UK, in a normal suburb. Don’t let that fool you! Our house has a hexagonal hallway, with a magical attic study, overseen by a key that talks and there is a much needed lookout point on the upper floor. If you visit, check out the clocks and the mirrors, too. You will find some mysterious surprises! Our house and the surrounding land is creepy and oppressive. I swear the house is a living entity; it makes a lot of grumbling, whispering noises! As our circumstances changed – with Bloodstone magic – the house reflected this by becoming altogether quieter.
Nearby, a short walk takes you to the river and the train tracks, where there is a pathway representing light and darkness. At the beginning, my mother warned me off going there, but how could I resist when there is a magical crystal cottage hidden there?
The case that MEANS THE MOST to him, Might also be the one that BREAKS him.
Devastated by the death of his best friend, Detective Inspector Andrew ‘Ziggy’ Thornes is out for justice. At any cost.
During the day he and his team are trying to unravel a murky web of money laundering and organised crime. At night, he conducts his own murder investigation, and he’s about to uncover the twisted link between the two cases.
As tension mounts, and struggling to decide who he can still trust, Ziggy needs to make decisions that mean breaking the sacred oath he took by continually pushing the boundaries of acceptable behaviour for a serving DI.
But as he digs ever deeper, can Ziggy prevent a devastating finale that will leave him questioning everything he’s ever believed in?
Join Ziggy on his latest case that early readers are calling an exhilarating and unmissable read. Perfect for fans of Michael Connelly, Alex Smith, Helen Fields, Mark Edwards, Clare Mackintosh, C L Taylor.
This started off with me thinking…. seems like your regular cop story, a bit formulaic. Detective’s best pal gets killed. He is told to stay off the case. And then, wow, I fell in love with the characters and became really invested in the story.
I loved how Lolly and Ziggy get their names.
There is some really interesting back story in the middle parts of the book, which makes you relate to and feel sad for the victim. This section also helps you understand, and empathise with Ziggy too.
As the story unfolds it becomes more and more exciting! Ziggy is determined to bring justice, to discover who has killed his best friend Lolly and all the while his job, and the safety of his family is at stake…
The more I read, the more I wanted to turn the page, (metaphorically speaking as I was reading an ARC copy!)
Highly recommended for those who like a fast-paced well written crime thriller, a financial thriller with a human touch. This is part 3 in a series – I have read this novel only – it can be read as a standalone but I’d recommend reading all three books.
I could say more but I better not in case I spoil it for you. Do read this! I would be happy to read this author’s work again.
My rating 5 stars.
Many thanks to the author and to Donna for including me in this tour and for the advanced reader’s copy.
Catherine Yaffe is the author of crime thrillers that readers and reviewers frequently describe as compulsively readable. A graduate of Curtis Brown Creative academy, Catherine wrote her first crime thriller, The Lie She Told in 2020 whilst the UK was in Lockdown. On its release it debuted in the top 10 hot new releases on Amazon and to date has accrued hundreds of five-star reviews.
The Web They Wove is the second in the Tangled Web series and was released in 2021. Again, it was received with widespread acclaim, only marginally missing out on the coveted number 1 slot on Amazon Kindle.
Cat is fascinated with how people’s minds work, and why they make the decisions they do – particularly criminals! In each of her books she aims to make the reader suspect everyone, trust no one and question everything, including those closest to them.
Cat lives in Yorkshire with her husband and two cats (with the occasional visit from her grandpuppy Milo.)
Praise for books in the Tangled Web Series
“Wow!! What a start to a series. The Lie She Told is a complex thriller that really makes you think. How well do you really know the people around you? Whew! I’m still thinking about it.
Catherine Yaffe has crafted characters who are so realistic, you’ll think you’re reading a true story. I love how the characters aren’t quite trustworthy and I always felt like I was about to be surprised.
I very much enjoyed this one and would recommend giving it a shot. Worth the read!! Quite the page turner!”
“An Engrossing, Gripping and Edgy, Suspenseful Thriller!”
“This little gem of a thriller was a thoroughly enjoyable read. It was fast, a journey of dark action that leaves you craving for more. I loved how it took you through a series of events, clearly showing you the characters true colours but never leaving you without questions.
Kate and Joe were likable, neighbourly and felt real. Ryan was basically heartless human being, I never trusted him from the start. The author has written a drama full of flashbacks, a past full of secrets and deadly deception. How many lives will be at risk when the past finally catches up to Kate.
I devoured this read, the writing style was easy, the events so fast paced. It was the perfect read for the bedtime baby feeds. I loved the use of the flashbacks but most of all loved the energy and feel of the book.
I can’t wait to check out more by this author”
Before making the commitment to become a full time writer, Catherine worked in Digital Marketing and published her first non-fiction book Digital Marketing Made Easy in 2019 which reached the dizzy heights of number 2 in the Amazon charts.