Coffee and Bookish Chit Chat with MJ – Themes in Writing – Inspirations
Art coming alive! Art coming alive is one of the many fascinating themes explored in the Curse of Time series. The main protagonist Amelina, our young Krystallos heroine, is gifted a magical paint set from her aunt Karissa and when she paints with the crystal infused paint, the creature Eruterac comes knocking at her door like a Halloween nightmare in glorious, scary detail!
What are his intentions? Is this painted apparition real? Is he a friend, or a foe?
The idea of art manifesting as a living albeit dead being came in part from Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray – the painted portrait representing the horror of moral disintegration. So, to find out if Eruterac really is a horror (there is no doubt he isn’t pretty to look at and he is disintegrating – a creature of skin, bones, worms…) read the book!
Portraits of Eruterac, The Creature and Esme are both created by the amazingly talented artist Carolina Russo who I have had the pleasure of collaborating with.
Esme is a favourite character with my readers and with me!
“This is a brilliant book for young adults interested in magic, super‐ natural, paranormal, fantasy and myth. I found it highly readable and the author’s imagination is phenomenal, as is the fluency of her language and the dazzling way she describes the curious events and characters in her story. I loved the idea of Esme, the girl trapped in the mirror” Review Quote Author S C Skillman
Esme is vulnerable, sensitive and trapped in a mirror, cursed by a spell. She is also trapped figuratively by her mental health and self harm issues of her past.
Excerpt: Esme and Amelina chatting…
Some great news! Bloodstone now has wide distribution!
My YA Fantasy Bloodstone is available at Amazon and many leading bookstores worldwide including Book Depository, Blackwells, Barnes and Noble, in all book formats including hardback.
If you can help by voting for the beautiful cover… it is in the Allauthor cover competition.
They say not to judge a book by its cover but I need you to do just that! If you liked the cover of my book, Bloodstone (The Curse Of Time Book 1), please vote for it for the Cover of the Month contest on AllAuthor.com!
Please take a short moment to vote for my book cover here: Click to Vote!
Do you have hidden wishes and desires that have been elusive since your youth? Now there is an inspirational oracle that will take you on an exciting adventure of self-discovery and enlightenment! Explore your unique gifts through 50 stunning oracle cards and a quick-and-easy guidebook with whimsical messages that will help you enhance your life and express your deepest feelings. Create a “Mind Painting” of your ideal self – someone whom you would like to become – and then ascend to unbelievable heights by developing your imagination. Talented people throughout the ages–great thinkers, authors, poets, painters, and composers -have shared wonderful creations with humankind, and you can too by developing the innate talents that slumber deep within your Soul. This is the place of wizards, magic, and fairies! Prepare to be inspired! Includes 50 art cards and full-color guidebook.
I was thrilled to receive a complimentary deck of Judy Mastrangelo’s new release: Inspirational Visions Oracle cards.
I followed the instructions, meditating before I shuffled and drew two cards: Pan and Unicorn (magical beings surround us) and Where Candy Trees Grow (lands of childhood live within us always throughout our life.) The two cards seemed uncannily appropriate as my favourite genre to write is magical realism/fantasy and I am young at heart for my age! A gorgeous set, truly inspirational.
Judy Mastrangelo has painted all her life. She licenses her artwork in several markets, such as murals, art prints, inspirational card desks, and books she has written and illustrated. Her preliminary technique of “Mind Painting,” helps her develop imaginative works of art and teaches others to develop their imaginations. https://judymastrangelo.com/
Here are some photos to show you how lovely the set is:
There are 50 cards in total with a sweet little full-colour guidebook to explain how to use the cards and how to create a mind painting.
My favourite cards are: Pan and Unicorn, Lonely Dragon, Create your Fantasy, Paradise of Children, Peaceful Garden, Puck’s Magic Flower of Sleep, Oberon and Titania.
Each card within the set is lovely and there is something for everyone.
5 stars. I’d highly recommend this set of oracle cards. I received a complimentary copy but all opinions are my own and unbiased.
This wonderful set is available to buy via Amazon:
Eleanor Roy is determined to do her bit for the war effort after being recruited by the War Artist Advisory Committee. When she meets handsome artist Jack Valante, her dreams seem to be finally coming true when Jack promises to help her pursue her ambition of becoming an artist. But after a whirlwind romance, Eleanor is devastated when Jack is posted overseas.
When Eleanor receives some unexpected news she desperately tries to find Jack. But with the young couple torn apart by war, will they be reunited and find happiness at last?
A heartwarming wartime saga perfect for fans of Ellie Dean and Nancy Revell.
Thank you to the author for a copy – opinions are my own.
This novel attracted me with its artistic slant and Eleanor’s desire to become a female war artist. I’ve never read anything about war artists before so this definitely piqued my interest. I particularly loved the scenes which focused on the war orphans and Eleanor struggling at first to bring them out of their shells, but succeeding by encouraging them to focus on things that mattered to them – taking them out of the carnage of war and into a happier place.
There are two main female characters: Eleanor and her granddaughter, Kathryn both of whom are engaging and well-developed. I found the shifts in time from WWII to modern day Britain a little jarring to begin with but I soon got the hang of it!
It is a well-written love story and a mystery too – What happened to Jack? Why did he disappear? I particularly enjoyed Jack’s diaries. These helped me gain a deeper understanding of Jack’s character and his frustration at the futility of war. There were rare moments of beauty. These particular entries shone through allowing for a momentary respite from Jack’s witnessing and recording daily bloodshed.
Overall, a well-researched story with some fantastic descriptive detail which really drew you into the story and made you feel totally invested in the characters and setting. I’d recommend this novel for readers of historical romance and those with an interest in art and art history.
I’d rate this 4.5 stars as the ending was so powerfully moving that it made me cry! I love it when that happens. Such a fantastic ending… <3
It is my great pleasure to welcome artist Carolina Russo to my blog. I consider her to not only be a talented artist but also a dear, sweet friend with whom I have a lot in common. We both share a great love of the beauty of nature, art, crystals, jewellery and music.
Tell us about your artistic journey. Where did it all begin and what defines you as an artist?
First of all, I want to thank Marje for inviting me to this interview and for preparing these great questions. I appreciate this very much. What a nice opportunity to be featured on her Blog. Now about the beginning of my artistic journey… well it all happened the day I was born 😉 I am very thankful for the gift of my artistic talent. I realized that I was very creative as a child. I loved drawing and creating things, and by the time I was a teenager I knew this was my calling. Creating art was what I wanted to do. My father is an Artist and I learned a lot just by watching his creative methods and observing him working on his beautiful oil paintings. I was born in Italy, raised in a beautiful country which is bursting with Italian art, creativity, and history. I studied Art & Design and Jewelry design in Italy. I also have experience in Fashion, Graphic and Illustration Design. I always wanted to be an Independent Artist with the ability to create freely – which is what I am focused on right now. I have just redesigned my Blog yesterdayafter.com and included my own Carolina Russo Shop where I sell all my Art. This allows me to have direct contact with those who reach out to me. I also offer art on a commission basis and I love to collaborate with other inspiring people. If you like you can read more about my creative journey on a guest post I wrote a while ago here: https://yesterdayafter.com/the-designer/creative-journeys/
You create jewellery as well. I know your collections are ‘nature finds.’ What is it about nature, salvaging, recycling, restoration, and transforming things that attracts you? Pure Nature is one of the most beautiful things on our planet and needs to be preserved and not to take it for granted! I love nature and I love animals. I find it to be fascinating when I come across some wild nature finds of any kind, but especially fossil seashells, beautiful unique stones and other interesting little pieces of nature. I like to think when I find fossil seashells that they have been smoothed and shaped by the ocean waves with the helping hand of sand and rocks and that they are here on this planet for millions of years and saw it all! I love to create unique pieces of jewelry with natural gemstones and crystals combined with my nature findings. Sometimes I also like to draw directly on stones or seashells adding my art to their surfaces – to bring these discovered objects back to live a life in a different dimension – where they can still shine, bringing the magical vibes of nature to us.
What is your favourite crystal? And why?
Well this is not a easy question! I love so many crystals. I like to find out about their meanings and the energy of their healing powers! I love Blue Quartz because is a soothing and calming crystal. It brings a relaxing and peaceful vibe to any kind of situation. Rose Quartz is known as the ” Love Stone.” This beautiful crystal emits strong vibrations and energy that clear and purifies, opening the heart to promote love in any situations. And of course I like Sapphire which is my September birthstone. I like that it symbolizes purity and wisdom.
You live in California. Is this the perfect location for your art or do you miss your birthplace – Italy?
Well I love California. It is a beautiful place, but of course I miss Italy as it is the place where I was born and grow up. I have been in Italy most of my life. My parents, brother and family are all there and it doesn’t often happen that we get a chance to see each other. Life events happen and the long distance makes it more difficult. About the location of my art I honestly don’t need a specific place to be able to create, this is one of the beautiful sides of being an independent artist. I can be artistic and create anywhere, and I love that! I mostly sell my creations online via my shop on my website. I actually just redesigned my Blog and included another section which is my Carolina Russo Shop https://yesterdayafter.com/shop/ where I have direct contact with customers anywhere in the world who are interested to my Art. All of my latest collaborations were overseas in Europe. I am so happy about this, because I can work anywhere as long I have my supplies and an Internet connection. I paint at home in my little bunny hole studio. I like to do everything by myself and I print all my Limited Edition Fine Art Prints of my paintings on my own. I want to give a 100% service to those who choose my art. I love to prepare my prints personally by adding final touches when I sign and pack them. I like to work on my pieces from the beginning of creation to the end to make sure that my customers have the most beautiful experience when they purchase from me. My watercolor paintings and Limited Edition Prints are sold around the world – Europe especially England, Scotland, Germany, Norway, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and more. I believe you create music album covers too. I’d love to find out more about this. And your favourite musical artists. This is a great question! Yes I do create music album covers. It has always been a dream of mine to create art for music artists and to collaborate with them. Recently I collaborated with UK music composer Nu-San and created the cover for his soon to be released new Album “Nu Nostalgia” and I am so looking forward to seeing my art on Vinyl and CD.
I love music and of course I have my iconic bands that have accompanied me my whole life. On my Blog I often post about the music I like and follow, or mention new artists that capture my attention. Of course I have my favorites and right now I listen to Independent music artists like the Scottish band The Twilight Sad . They supported The Cure in their latest 2016 Tour and they are blossoming in the music world. There are a few more music artists that I really like: I’d like to mention a band called Frightened Rabbit, sadly they lost their front man Scott Hutchison who recently died. If you follow me you will remember my watercolor painting Tribute of him, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of my Limited Edition prints, is going to Charity and donated to SAMH Scottish Association for Mental Health, to help raise awareness for suicide prevention.
I also had the opportunity to Interview Ewian and James Radcliffe. I came across some of these great artists through my Blog and amazingly we have become friends, and through this friendship I had the opportunity to interview some of them. I have a specific music taste, and maybe what I like doesn’t suit everyone, but I like to share what I find interesting. One of my Projects is a Collection named “ART FOR MUSIC” a series of artworks inspired and dedicated to music artists. In this project and series, I have created artworks and portraits using several media, traditional watercolor paintings, ink drawings, digital art, photo manipulation. This art series is featured on my Blog for the music artists that I have the fortune to collaborate with.
Like me you love to write poetry as well. Your poetry has been published in Spillwords, Visual Verse and Praxis Magazine. Have you a favourite poem that you’ve written that you’d like to share with us?
Thank you for your mention about my poetry, yes I love to write poems, Haiku, 50 words stories and short stories, I also like to illustrate them with my own photography or watercolor paintings. One of the future projects on my bucket list, is to create an illustrated book that includes my art and writings. I started writing poems when I was a teenager. I don’t write every day, I only write when something inspire me, or when words comes whispering to my mind and soul, silently and suddenly. Then I let the words flow from me. I am pretty pleased with my creative writings, I had some great feedback and I am very happy that some of my poetry is now published in nice Anthologies. It feels great to have my name listed amongst author contributors. I love all of my poems – there is a lot of my own emotional experiences and deep feelings in each of them. Thank you for asking to share a favorite poem, I like to share : Emotions https://yesterdayafter.com/2015/11/09/emotions/
It was brilliant collaborating with you. I love the portraits of two of my characters: Esme and The Creature that you created. Do you have a favourite character from the Curse of Time that you’d love to paint in the future?
We had a great experience during the making of your book! I loved to collaborate with you and see two of your characters coming to life. You gave me some pretty good descriptions, precious details and information that helped me to visualize the characters. I loved to paint both of them especially as they represent two completely opposite looks. Esme is sweet and delicate and so is the painting, while The Creature Eruterac is a pretty creepy creature.. I am not sure if my painting is creepy enough as your description of him was…LOL I love both characters designs and in my opinion it is beautiful to have some illustrations in a book. They sure add a special touch, also if they are only two images like you did it helps the reader to visualize the story more, sometimes art can reach out where words cannot. And now to answer your last question, I love Esme but I already painted her, so my next favorite character to paint would be Amelina, I am so looking forward to see what happens next. I want to thank Marje again and everyone that has taken their precious time to read this interview. If you would like to see more of my work and discover more about me and my creative world please visit my Blog at yesterdayafter.com. Carolina xxx
Before Carolina goes I’d like to say how lovely this interview is and I’d love to share with you this gorgeous portrait that I had the good fortune to win via a blog post competition on Carolina’s blog. She chose the perfect portrait to send a fantasy enthusiast – Alice in Wonderland which is lovingly crafted in coffee and watercolour!
Thank you so much to Carolina for sharing her fascinating artistic life with us.
Welcome To Kyrosmagica! So lovely to see you Esme.
MJ: Tell us about your life Esme.
Esme: I’ve had two lives, and both are hard to understand. In my past life I appeared to be free but never experienced freedom. I felt trapped in my body and my mind didn’t feel that it fitted, like a puzzle piece trying to correspond to the wrong shape. My mind rebelled; I self-harmed. Now that I am a prisoner in the mirrors of Amelina’s house, I can’t self-harm. I can’t do anything. I’m a victim of a curse but I’m not the only victim.
MJ: Why did you self-harm?
Esme: Everyone expected me to be perfect. I couldn’t cope. The pressure kept building up and up. It was my way of dealing. My personal punch bag.
MJ: That makes me so sad. I wish I could help you.
Esme: I know you do. You feel my pain and wrote about it in your novel.
MJ: I tried to do it justice; I hope in some small way I succeeded.
Esme: You did. But can we talk about something else? This is making me anxious.
MJ: Of course, is it okay to talk about the curse? Or is that off-limits?
Esme: No, that’s okay.
MJ: Who else was a victim?
Esme: Amelina’s dad.
MJ: What about the rest of the family?
Esme: They’re trapped too but they’re not prisoners. Hey, wait a minute. They are prisoners in a way… sometimes you don’t have to be a prisoner to feel like one.
MJ: It must be a really sad story…
Esme: Yes it is, but it’s also much more. There’s light and laughter, darkness and shadows. Many magical threads tangle this story together, like many loves, and yet there are no real lovers.
MJ: It’s no romance then?
Esme: Read the beginning and you might think it’s a romance but read the end and you’ll know it’s not.
MJ: It sounds puzzling…
Esme: Yeah, it’s meant to be. Each chapter starts with a numbered puzzle piece instead of a chapter heading. Then there’s an awesome Tanka poem teaser.
This is my favourite from Puzzle Piece 12:
Think you know someone,
No, you don’t know anyone,
We’re all cheerleaders,
Carrying our false pompoms,
The mirror captures our truth.
MJ: A teaser… interesting… Are you a poetry fan?
Esme: Hey! All artistic and tortured souls love poetry.
MJ: I love poetry!
Esme: Oh! Ha Ha… That means you’re a deep thinker.
MJ: I am. Talking about deep thinking… If you had a twin, what would you say to her?
Esme: I have a twin, inside me. It’s like there are two people in my brain. One’s happy, one’s sad, a yin and yang twin…
MJ: I wish I could make you whole and happy. Perhaps I might write your freedom…
Esme: Could you? Pleeease. But make sure that you write my freedom beyond the prison of my mind. Don’t send me to the land where shadows live.
MJ:Sigh. I wish I could promise that, but I haven’t finished book two yet and I have no idea what will happen in book three!
Esme: You authors have a wicked sense of power…
MJ: Yes, it is true dear Esme. You are without a doubt the most challenging character in my book and that is why I love you so…
Esme: Ahhhhh, thank you!
I hope you will love Esme as much as I do. She might make you sad but there is a young person like her out there somewhere. Self-harm is a growing problem in our young people. Let’s not bury our heads in the sand and pretend it doesn’t exist. Speak out about mental health issues, fight to take away the stigma. Help someone you know who is suffering, it’s the little things that mean so much.
Please feel free to comment and share.
The illustrations of the Creature and Esme will appear in black and white in the paperback book due to be launched April 2018.
Since I have been writing and blogging there have been so many cases of serendipity, discovering like-minded souls who share similar interests. My lovely friend Colleen Chesebro, fellow writer, chief sister, (blog originator,) at The Sisters of the Fey, loves crystals, fairies and all things magical. Colleen helped me enormously with my manuscript The Curse of Time. She went way beyond a beta read and I am so indebted to her for her kindness, helping me achieve my dream to publish my first book.
Carolina Russo who blogs at Yesterday After (my illustrator,) also has a crystal connection! She makes crystal jewellery and has created two wonderful pieces of art to illustrate my book, which I will be sharing in a special feature on my next blog post on my main blog – https://mjmallon.com so keep an eye out for that!
And the lovely Samantha Murdoch, who loves cats and crystals kindly emailed me lots of photos of her beautiful black cat Lily to promote my cat character Shadow, as well as an image of the Bloodstone which graces the spine of the paperback.
My friend Wendy Anne Darling had a magical challenge too, to transform Dr John C Taylor’s brilliant images of the Corpus Christi Clock into a magnificent book cover. She did a fantastic job. Do pop over to Wendy’s blog, and check out her book design service.
Oh, and did I mention that Dr John C Taylor, OBE, inventor of the Corpus Christi Chronopage clock is a keen geologist, loves crystals and of course clocks too…
Such is the power of serendipity! Would you believe it?
I truly believe that The Curse of Time and all these wonderful connections were meant to be.
Have you ever had a similar experience, when everything came together in such a magical and mysterious way?
HELP LOVELY PEEPS REVIEWS NEEDED. I really need some!!!! PLEEEEASSSEE. If you’ve read The Curse of Time #1 Bloodstone and liked/loved it could you write a short review. It doesn’t need to be gazillions of words just a few would do and post to relevant sites: amazon, goodreads. I’d be most grateful.
BOOK REVIEWERS: IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN RECEIVING A FREE e-pub, mobi or pdf copy in exchange for a review please leave a comment below, or email me email@example.com. The Curse of Time would appeal to readers/reviewers who enjoy YA/MG fantasy fiction. The story is set in Cambridge, UK.
There are many themes in the book but the main ones are:
Time, (Inspired by The magnificent Corpus Chronopage Clock, Kings Parade, Cambridge.)
Here I am with the esteemed inventor Dr John C Taylor, OBE by the chronopage and grasshopper.
At last! It’s my launch party today for my kindle e-book and I can’t believe it – I am beyond thrilled.
Come in and let me share with you some news.
I’ve been keeping a very special piece of art tucked away to reveal to you today!
It’s a wonderful portrait that Carolina Russo of Yesterday After created for me of my character Esme.
What are your impressions of Esme? The tears in her eyes convey her sadness but the golden hair of the mysterious girl facing her (no spoilers!) is bright and vibrant, suggesting hope. Carolina has done an amazing job, I can’t thank her enough for all her hard work in creating this stunning artwork for me. Collaborations makes me so happy. That is why I love writing and blogging so much. I would never have ‘met’ Carolina otherwise. It’s so wonderful to be able to collaborate with talented and creative individuals like Carolina who live so far away.
Isn’t that beyond awesome? I am speechless. Dr John C. Taylor has been so generous, allowing me to use images of his incredible creation The Corpus Christi Chronopage on my social media and my book cover.
Samantha loves crystals and so do I! Her son Alex Marlowe took this stunning photo of a Bloodstone crystal that features on the spine of my paperback (the paperback is still to be released.)
I can’t thank my good friend Colleen Chesebro enough for all her kindness. She started off beta reading and then took me under her fairy wings to do a full scale edit. Thanks also to my beta readers – blogging friend Graeme Cumming – first draft beta reader and my eldest daughter Natasha Mallon for all her help too.
Below are the links to the kindle e-book – The Curse of Time – #1 Bloodstone.
If you’d like to leave a review, I’d be thrilled if you would.
Today, I am delighted to share with you my cover reveal for my debut fantasy YA novel:
The Curse of Time – Book 1 – Bloodstone
I’m delighted with the cover – Wendy Anne Darling at BOOKXEEDO Book Covers has done a marvellous job. Isn’t the cover just beautiful? Thank you Wendy so much. Cover photography credit: Chronopage and grasshopper – John C Taylor, OBE.
On Amelina Scott’s thirteenth birthday, her father disappears under mysterious circumstances. Saddened by this traumatic event, she pieces together details of a curse that has stricken the heart and soul of her family.
Amelina longs for someone to confide in. Her once carefree mother has become angry and despondent. One day a strange black cat and a young girl, named Esme appear. Immediately, Esme becomes the sister Amelina never had. The only catch is that Esme must remain a prisoner, living within the mirrors of Amelina’s house. Dreams and a puzzling invitation convince Amelina the answer to her family’s troubles lies within the walls of the illusive Crystal Cottage. Undaunted by her mother’s warnings, Amelina searches for the cottage on an isolated Cambridgeshire pathway where she encounters a charismatic young man, named Ryder. At the right moment, he steps out of the shadows, rescuing her from the unwanted attention of two male troublemakers. With the help of an enchanted paint set, Amelina meets the eccentric owner of the cottage, Leanne, who instructs her in the art of crystal magic. In time, she earns the right to use three wizard stones. The first awakens her spirit to discover a time of legends, and later, leads her to the Bloodstone, the supreme cleansing crystal which has the power to restore the balance of time. Will Amelina find the power to set her family free?
I couldn’t have asked for better prompt words – music and art.
Both feature as a wonderful source of inspiration in my writing. In our family, there’s always music playing – my husband is a keen guitarist and loves to strum away whenever he can. He serenades me at night in our garden…. Our next door neighbours get cranky about this! We are lucky to have a room dedicated to music with many guitars and an electronic piano too.
Creativity, Photography and Art inspire my writing to such a degree that I have decided to collaborate with one or perhaps two artists/friends to showcase the character/s, and crystal cottage that feature in my book The Curse of Time – Book 1 – Bloodstone which I intend to release late this summer. More about that to come…
One of my artist friends Catherine S. Walker had her first open studies event last weekend. My friend Timea and I had a lovely time visiting her and viewing all of her awesome art. I’d love for Catherine to create a stunning art piece of the crystal cottage that features in my book…
Take a look at Catherine’s awesome artist page on Facebook: Artist Page: Catherine S. Walker, scroll down her facebook page to see her Acrylic and Watercolour paintings and line drawings: trees, rocks, flowers and landscapes. And detailed buildings too…
So, my Tanka this week… is especially for Catherine, wishing her much success. We spent the day enjoying her art, sitting in her garden, and blowing bubbles!
My good friend Timea looked so wonderfully elegant in these photos…
Bye for now, time for a celebratory cocktail… No bubbles, just a parasol!
Fellow Administrators of our Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club #ABRSC on Facebook, myself, my good friends Colleen Chesebro and Debby Gies. Click on Colleen’s and Debby’s photos to be directed to their awesome blogs. These ladies rock!