3 years in publishing, 10 lessons I’ve learned

Excellent post from Louise Jensen @ Fabricating Fiction

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March Speculative Fiction Prompt from Diana Peach – The Ride

 

 

For this I have imagined one of my characters, Ryder, from The Curse of Time Book 1 revealing a snippet of a story which I might use in future books. 

The Ride

It began with a rocking horse, a child’s toy.

Ryder discovered this antique treasure in a quirky street window, down ‘the lanes,’ in Brighton. He strolled along, with his rocking horse in hand and joined the queue for the busy student bus back to campus. A couple of ladies stared at his greediness, his decadence, taking up two empty seats on the bus. Undeterred he smirked, patting the rocking horse’s head. The ladies glared.

When he arrived back at his flat his flatmates exchanged knowing glances, cataloguing Ryder and his rocking horse in the oddity section. Only Olivia gave him the benefit of the doubt. He appreciated that and made a mental note to reward her later. A midnight kiss perhaps.

The perhaps became a definite. The midnight kiss became much more. When he left the  embrace of slumbering Olivia the moon lay heavy in the sky, its orb a perfect circle of complete mysteriousness. Ryder hung out his bedroom window staring, pleading with the moon to notice him. He dangled precariously, goading the moon to come closer. The pumpkin moon glowed blood red, a bleeding heart, surrounded by an uncaring sky. The rocking horse began to move slowly absorbing the moon’s vital energy. The moon continued to bleed until it could bleed no more. Instead it became darker and darker until Ryder could see nothing but darkness.

Beyond the darkness Ryder heard the sound of an ice cream van, its tune winding its way towards him. He hung further out of his window wondering about this strange phenomenon, an ice cream van in the middle of an eclipse of the moon.

He hesitated for a moment wondering whether to chance rushing outside into the darkness to catch the van before it disappeared. In the end he only wavered for a moment, his senses overflowing with midnight promises, a feast of darkness consumed by sugary ice-cream. But, no van appeared. Instead he waited, displeased.

Again he heard the jingle of the van teasing him, laughing at his foolish, childlike desires. The music grew louder and louder, a jarring cacophony. He covered his ears about to turn away, now desperate to escape. The van came to a screeching halt just as he took his first departing step. Ryder smiled. The hatch opened, and a man peered out. He had a round face, the roundest face that Ryder had ever seen, vanilla white, pock marked, hair as black as the midnight sky. There were no signs to indicate what kind of ice cream he sold. So Ryder waited for him to speak.

“Well, I haven’t got all night, what do you want?” asked the man scowling, as his creamy white face turned a surly red.

“I’m not sure,” replied Ryder. “What ice creams do you have?”

“Ice creams? What? No ice creams here young man.”

“But you’re riding in an ice cream van, playing an ice-cream jingle.”

“That’s true, but that’s not what I do.”

“What do you do?” asked Ryder, frowning.

“Hop aboard, ride the van and you might find out,” said the man, his face returning to its original brilliant white.

Ryder hesitated. This was strange, but Ryder thrived on strange, so he agreed.

The man opened the back of the van and Ryder climbed in. Inside the van Ryder could see only darkness. Blackness drifted towards him filling his senses with a bleak sense of loss. The man handed him a tiny torch that gave off a brilliant light.

“Come,” the man said.

The van was motionless, yet Ryder could swear that he felt movement. They walked and walked further into the darkness. Suddenly they stopped. A bright light shone from the torch on to a patch of turf. How curious. The van’s opened doors revealed a vast land which stretched its tendril-like fingers, shadows extending everywhere.

Ryder recognised the land. He sighed. “Home,” he said.

“Yes,” said the man. A note of melancholy filled the air.

“Why have you brought me here?”

“It’s nearly Halloween, lad. A time to visit the place of your birth.”

Ryder heard the sound of the fairground, the laughter, candy floss and excitement, but behind it all he knew there was the ride. There was no point in pleading with the man, asking him to take him back. He had to accept his fate, whatever that might be.

“Come,” said the man.

Ryder lifted his heavy feet, a ghostly chill settling in his bones.

 

To be continued…

 

This is in response to Diana’s Speculative Fiction prompt: https://mythsofthemirror.com/2019/03/01/march-speculative-fiction-prompt/

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To find out more about the Curse of Time please visit:

myBook.to/TheCurseofTime

https://mjmallon.com/2018/02/13/media-kit/

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SCBWI Event: From Tots to Teens Why Children’s Literature Is So Important.

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Yesterday I attended a wonderful event at Cambridge Central Library in conjunction with The Society of Childrens’ Writers and Book Illustrators: SCBWI.

I had the opportunity to hear from not one, not two, but three authors: Rosemary Hayes, Gillian McClure, and Pippa Goodhart who are all based in East Anglia and published by http://www.troikabooks.com/

Rosemary Hayes happens to be the same age as my mum and writes for young adults (11+) my preferred writing age range!

Who says we are ever too old to read, or to write YA! Never…

All of these age groups offer differing opportunities and challenges, from picture books to teens,  authors have the power to capture and keep a reader’s attention.

How inspiring is that?

Gillian McClure

Gillian McClure kicked off the panel discussion by talking about her journey into writing and illustrating picture books. Her advice for picture book writers is simple: focus on seeing the world from the 2 – 6-year-old child’s point of view. Imagine what it is like to be a small person in a big world. Be aware of the things in their immediate vantage point, such as a dog on a pavement.

Begin by using a blank dummy with post-it-notes so that during the creative process you can move the words around and find their best placement.

Pay attention to pace and tone, e.g. starting and stopping to create a sense of flow.  Or using two characters, one to speed up the pace and the other to slow it down. Or perhaps introduce one character to pose a question and the other to deliver an answer.

Think visually if you can and make sure that the words flow well on the page so when adults read aloud to children the experience is delightfully seamless.

For a shorter story format use minimal text and the present tense. Sometimes it is useful to use the past tense for scary scenes to bring the young reader out of the sense of immediate danger.

The ending should suggest that any underlying fears are resolved and there should be a sense of hope conveyed.

https://gillianmcclure.com/

Pippa Goodhardt

Pippa Goodhardt joined the discussion next, with her experiences of writing for MG – (7 to 9-year-olds.)

Her introduction focused on the importance of encouraging a reading habit in young children, validated by her own experience as a poor reader and writer as a child. Opportunities and the right environment can change a poor reader into an enthusiastic one, or may even encourage a poor reader to become an author as it did in Pippa’s experience.

This age group has huge potential, this is when readers are made and begin to choose their own books. There is a growing sense of independence characterised by sleepovers and the like. Characters aren’t expected to be saintly, and should be given the opportunity to explore, and have independent adventures. More serious topics can be explored, (in an imaginative and perhaps fantastical way,) but with an awareness of what is appropriate to the age of the child.

http://www.pippagoodhart.co.uk/

Rosemary Hayes 

Rosemary Hayes continued the discussion with her thoughts on encouraging empathy in children and fostering reading in the teenage age group.

Twelve to fourteen-year-olds question the world around them and are sensitive and impressionable. Consider various aspects when writing for this age group e.g. Do they interact well with their peers?

Authors should be encouraged to explore more challenging, edgy content as long as this is thoughtfully done. Focus on what you care about. Be passionate, grab the readers’ attention fast or they will lose interest. Be careful about the use of language – slang and the like can become out-dated very quickly..

Don’t write down to your readers, treat them with respect, write about what inspires and intrigues you and this should in turn intrigue and inspire them.

http://rosemaryhayes.co.uk/

This event was organised by SCBWI – The Society of Children Writers and Book Illustrators: https://www.scbwi.org/

To find out more please follow the link, or leave a comment below.

I would be happy to answer any questions you have about this wonderfully supportive group.

 

Bye for now,

A magical blog of books, writing and inspiration

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Buy Book: myBook.to/TheCurseofTime

Unique Selling Point: Unique, Imaginative, ‘Charming, enchanting and richly layered this is purely delightful.’

Social Media Links

Authors Websitehttps://mjmallon.com
Collaborative Bloghttps://sistersofthefey.wordpress.com
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time
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#NEWS – Summoning My Superpowers – Writing/Editing The Curse of Time Book Two – Golden Healer.

Hi all,

Some of my more regular blog visitors might have noticed that I haven’t been posting, commentating, engaging in social media, etc, as much recently. This pains me a lot. Sigh. But, sadly this will continue indefinitely while I am writing/editing the second book in the series The Curse of Time. I can’t write, blog, and work  in a demanding full-time job – it is just not possible.

I know that I profess to have magical powers but I am feeling the pinch. My superpowers aren’t holding up well. I am in desperate need of a magic wand to give me energy. Quite by chance I found this in the Botanic Gardens in Cambridge. It’s a bit small but I like the snake-like look to it. The top pic shows its eye well and the bottom one its mouth!

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Abracadabara!!!

So bear with me. Don’t desert me!

I am very excited about the progress of the second book in the series. All I can divulge for now is: expect a cruel rollercoaster ride, a crazy grasshopper who natters incessantly and some seriously odd shadow demons.

Ha ha… my mind works in some crazy ways…

There will be the same cast of characters from book one:  Amelina, Ryder, Esme, The Mirror Girl, The Creature Eruterac, Kyle, Amelina’s friends: Jade, Ilaria and Joselyn plus Shadow the cat, Toby the dog, The Spirit, and of course Amelina’s mum and dad and her dear aunt Karissa…

Yes quite a cast!

Recently I was tagged by Vashti Vega on twitter @VashtiQV who I’d cast as the leads in my book… I chose Tyler Posey, Dakota Fanning, Amanda Seyfried, and Colton Haynes.

 

5 Star Review News

I now have several reviews for The Curse of Time Book One Bloodstone on Goodreads and Amazon. My last two reviews were both five stars which made me do a double happy dance. This has really encouraged me to press on with this series.

Thank you to Galit for this awesome 5 star review: https://coffeennotes.wordpress.com/2018/08/12/book-review-the-curse-of-time-bloodstone1-by-m-j-mallon/
And to Karen for her fantastic 5 star review too: https://mytrainofthoughtson.wordpress.com/2018/07/29/the-curse-of-time-bloodstone-1-by-m-j-mallon-bookreview/

Here’s the link to my goodreads account with all my reviews: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35850797-the-curse-of-time

 

I’ve been featured recently on:

https://lindasbookbag.com/2018/08/14/staying-in-with-m-j-mallon/

https://richarddeescifi.co.uk/the-indie-showcase-presents-marjorie-mallon/

Thank you so much to Linda and Richard for featuring me. Really appreciate it. 🙂 x

What are my other plans?

I will be focussing on writing my reviews on books I am reading – which I love to do! It makes me very happy to read and to share my thoughts with other readers/reviewers. I have several review requests which I have to catch up on and I will be reblogging book-related posts and anything which might be of interest to my readers.

Oh and recently I’ve been on a bit of a winning streak.

I’ve won:

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You can find out more about Awen Thornbur on Lizzie Chantree’s blog here: https://lizziechantree.com/2018/08/23/introducing-awen-thornbur/

And I won:

And I’m the giveaway winner of Carolina’s mystery prize. More news about that to follow. Here is the giveaway winner announcement post: https://yesterdayafter.com/2018/08/22/and-the-giveaway-winner-is/

Yeah, I love that when that happens…

Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club News

Don’t forget to visit our amazing Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook. This FB club is growing and becoming a thriving community of writers, authors, creatives and book reviewers. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1829166787333493/

Do come and join us. I’ve been sharing our hashtag: #ABRSC on twitter so if you see it doing its rounds I would be thrilled if you could retweet and spread the word.

 

So happy weekend dearest readers. Time to get back to summoning my inner powers…

Where has that wretched wand snaked off to?

Bye

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Buying Link: http://mybook.to/TheCurseofTime

Social Media:
Authors Media Kit: https://mjmallon.com/2018/02/13/media-kit/
Collaborative blog: https://sistersofthefey.wordpress.com
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time
Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1829166787333493/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mjmallonauthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjmallonauthor/
Tumblr: http://mjmallonauthor.tumblr.com/

 

 

 

 

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The 7th Annual Halloweensie Writing Contest 

 

Here’s my entry for the 7th Annual Halloweensie Writing Contest.

 

The Candy Corn Monster

 

The Candy corn Monster,
Lives alone.

They say he gobbles candy.

They say he doesn’t share.

They say his tummy’s big,

I say his yellow, orange and white eyes are bigger.

He lives alone amongst shadows,
But I’m not scared.
I’ll knock on his door with a rat, tat, tat.
He’ll growl, and growl,
So I’ll give him a kiss!

And shine a beam of light in his eyes!
He’ll drop all of his candy quick,
I’ll grab it fast!

See candy corn is for sharing,
No ifs, no buts, he will see,
We’re all little monsters, him and me!

© M J Mallon 2017.

Hope you enjoyed my entry. If you’d like to join in the competition here is the link to do so: https://susannahill.com/2017/10/16/bic-folks-announcing-the-7th-annual-halloweensie-writing-contest-guidelines/

 

Bye for now,

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Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon @curseof_time
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My Review of 13 Steps To Evil – How to Craft Superbad Villians by Sacha Black

 

 

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Your hero is not the most important character in your book. Your villain is.
 
Are you fed up of drowning in two-dimensional villains? Frustrated with creating clichés? And failing to get your reader to root for your villain?
  
In 13 Steps to Evil, you’ll discover: 
 
How to develop a villain’s mindset
A step-by-step guide to creating your villain from the ground up
Why getting to the core of a villain’s personality is essential to make them credible
What pitfalls and clichés to avoid as well as the tropes your story needs
  
Finally, there is a comprehensive writing guide to help you create superbad villains. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned writer, this book will help power up your bad guy and give them that extra edge.

These lessons will help you master and control your villainous minions, navigate and gain the perfect balance of good and evil, as well as strengthening your villain to give your story the tension and punch it needs.
 
If you like dark humour, learning through examples and want to create the best villains you can, then you’ll love Sacha Black’s guide to crafting superbad villains. Read 13 steps to evil today and start creating kick ass villains. 

My review:

Confession time. No, it’s nothing to do with my prison record, or my descent into villainy. It’s simply this – I’m pretty lazy about reading books about writing  – but Sacha Black’s 13 Steps To Evil has completely changed my mind! What a fantastic kick ass little book! I wish I’d read a copy years ago.

It’s a detailed resource, which informs and entertains in an illuminating, and humorous way. There are so many excellent examples that I am giddy with the potential for villains. The mental health section is handled with great sensitivity (one of my characters self-harms, so I read this with considerable interest,) and I was also fascinated by the detail on narcissistic personality disorder too.

Sacha’s extensive knowledge of villains prompts me to ask….. Is Sacha a secret villain? Or has she been hanging out with dodgy characters?  The mind boggles. No, none of these apply… at least I don’t think so! Sacha Black has done her research, and it shows. She studied Psychology to 1st Class Degree level and thereafter completed Masters in Research Methods in Cognitive Neuropsychology.  She has also spent an exorbitant amount of time watching villainous films, (from a tender age,) and has read tonnes of books, and absorbed popular culture like a sponge.   Where does this woman get her energy? I am in awe, totally star-stuck… or should I say villain struck!

My recommendation: 5 stars. Get a copy now and write a review. Share the love!

Check out the current Blog Tour hosts….

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DISCLAIMER: “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.”  

My opinions are my own and any reviews on this site have not been swayed or altered in any way by monetary compensation, or by the offer of a free book in exchange for a review. 

 

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Buy Links: http://books2read.com/13stepstoevil

Let’s hit the books!!

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My social media hang outs:

Twitter: @marjorie_mallon
My New Facebook club : Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club

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The Curse of Time: Pre-Publication News

http://johnctaylor.com
http://johnctaylor.com

I am having a bit of a break through in terms of my publishing plans:

First I’ve changed the name of my manuscript from The Krystallos Cottage to The Curse of Time. This has had quite an impact on the general direction of the novel, with more emphasis on the dark side of the story. But the theme of light/darkness, and good/evil, still prevails. I have done some extra research into self harm, anxiety, and schizophrenia as one of my characters self harms.

There are still lots of light-hearted aspects in the crystals, storyline, dialogue, etc. So I do hope that this will have something for everyone.

I have had two beta readers working hard to make my manuscript the best it can be.  Graeme Cumming author of Ravens Gathering read through the first draft and my bookworm daughter/budding writer Natasha Mallon, has been reading through the final draft, both have done an amazing job and I can’t thank them enough. So the final beta read is now done and I am in the final stages of editing.

At last, it’s nearly there. There will be lots of work to do…. edits of chapters, removal of one chapter, some extra work on dialogue, a few paragraphs here and there that are unnecessary, and I have been working on three short but hopefully powerful chapters to develop the dark aspect of the story.

At the moment it looks as if it is likely that the finished novel will be aimed at the YA market.

In the meantime I’m busy writing my author bio and my blurb…

As well as this I’ve won an month’s advertising in Jenny At Neverland’s blog in November and I’ve decided that would be the ideal time to get everything ready for publishing. Fingers crossed! So, perhaps I may get this book out in time for Christmas….

More news, I’ve  contacted the inventor of the Corpus Chronopage, Dr John Taylor  OBE, to ask for permission to use an image of this celebrated local clock and tourist attraction on my book cover.  My manuscript has been approved by his publicist Tina Fotherby at Famous Publicity. This is great news – now I know that my book cover is going to be pretty striking.

So now I’m getting some ideas together regarding cover photography and Wendy Anne Darling is going to knock it all together for me:  https://wendyannedarling.wordpress.com/bookxeedo-book-covers

How exciting!

I am considering the possibility of a domain name for this blog too. I’m fond of Kyrosmagica but wonder whether my author name should appear in my domain. If anyone has any advice do let me know.

 

Here are some more photos of The Corpus Chronograph courtesy of John C Taylor OBE.

The first is of Dr John C Taylor and his magnificent invention.

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This one is the Grasshopper with his shadow… pretty cool! Especially as one of the themes in my book is shadows…

The Corpus Christi Chronophage (1)

 

The Corpus Chronophage at dusk

The Corpus Chronophage at dusk

The scary grasshopper in all his close-up glory!  EEK!

Corpus Christi Chronophage Detail

Copyright Dr John C Taylor OBE
Copyright Dr John C Taylor OBE

Do let me know what you think of the Corpus Chronopage images. I am absolutely thrilled with them… So one of these with the right dpi (not all pass the level of dpi required for a book cover,) will be gracing my front and back cover. Decisions, decisions!

 

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Bye for now.

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