Shaz’s Book Blog: The Write Stuff with… M. J. Mallon

Thank you to Sharon for this feature for This Is Lockdown at Shaz’s Book Blog. It includes a poem from Adele Park and my thoughts on writing my first anthology. 

Source: Shaz’s Book Blog: The Write Stuff with… M. J. Mallon

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Saddle Up Salloon: Blog Blustering #Flash #Fiction #Humour

This is a fun challenge featured on Charli Mills blog via D. Avery – Saddle Up Salloon, blog blustering to describe your blog in 9, 59 and 99 words. https://carrotranch.com/2020/05/25/saddle-up-saloon-blog-blusterin/

Here’s the prompt from D. Avery:

“Yep. Folks, try defining yer blog’s purpose in 99 words; focus that statement even more in 59 words; then hook us with 9 words. Ya might even post these versions at yer own site. Tell us who ya are or what yer about here in the comments, 9 words, no more no less.”

Here goes…

(99)

Six years ago my life changed. I became a blogger – a strange creature, even if I say so myself! Initially, I named my blog home: Kyrosmagica – a magical shore of books, writing, photography and inspiration. Kyros after the Greek word crystal and magica to represent magic.

When interviewing authors I sometimes adopt a new persona, calling myself MJ.

I feature authors, review books, take part in poetry, flash fiction and photography challenges, nothing is off-limits. Sometimes I become sensible Marje when necessity calls.

Kyrosmagica has evolved; It is now my author website with lashes of crystal magic!

(59)

Six years ago I became a blogger. My blog home Kyrosmagica – a magical shore of books, writing, photography and inspiration. Sometimes I am known as MJ, sometimes as the author Marje, or even M J Mallon. I write reviews, interview folk, take part in poetry, flash fiction and photography challenges. Nothing is off limits, blogging is such fun.

(9)

Kyrosmagica blog is me! Books, writing, photography and magic.

Much love, MJ!! xxx

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Isolation for Writers – Guest Post: Ritu Bhathal #Author #Writer #Poet #Blogger #COVID19 #Coronavirus #Isolation #Thoughts #Writing #Reading

I’m so thrilled to have Ritu join me today.

Ritu and I have met on several occasions at Blogging Bashes in London and we ‘clicked’ just as much in person as we do in our lovely ‘online,’ friendship.

So welcome Sis! When Ritu knew I was offering fellow writers a chance to join the online discussion about COVID19 – this crazy world we find ourselves in, she jumped at the chance.

How do writers, creatives, artists and bookish souls cope with isolation? Is their capacity to cope different from the rest of the population? It’s an interesting question and one that fascinates me.

How is Ritu coping with this enforced isolation?

Here is Ritu’s answer:

Coronavirus.
COVID-19.
Unprecendented.
Social Distancing.
Quarantine.
Self-Isolation.
Lockdown.

These are all words we have heard countless times in the last few weeks.
What have they done?
Brought a wave of panic into your life?
Or are you someone who has taken to it rather calmly?
Well, for me, it’s been a bit like this.
When we first heard about this strange virus, schools were still open, yet I had students going off sick with mysterious illnesses for a week to ten days at a time.
Then the government called for school closures, followed by social distancing, and the UK version of Lockdown.
I say UK version because, though all non-essential businesses have been closed, we are still allowed out to exercise once a day, go shopping for food, and schools still need us teachers, but in a different capacity; as carers for the children of Keyworkers.


Once I got over the initial worry and shock of what was happening, I got excited.
This meant more time for me to get creative, when I was home. Book two has been started but had been languishing for a couple of months, as the business of daily life took its toll.
But, just because you have time, doesn’t mean you automatically switch to the creator of four thousand words a day – well, that doesn’t happen to me, anyway.
My creativity has been hit-and-miss to be honest.
I thought all this time would mean I could write, do some courses I signed up for but never got a chance to access, more promotion, lots of reading…


The reality has been quite different.


To start with, I am in school on a rota system, so I could be in for one or two days, but I don’t know more than a week in advance.
And there is the joy of having both kids and Hubby Dearest at home as well, so no time was distraction-free time either.

I sit with my laptop open on one of my home days, WIP loaded up, ready to write up a storm. Nothing comes.
I open a book to read. But I can’t get into it and put it down after a few pages.
Then I remember those courses. So, I manage another couple of modules on a creative writing course.
But no words.
After the first ten days, we were in official Easter holiday mode. Technically no different to the last few days, but I felt, mentally, that I was on a break.
I discovered online writing sprints on several Facebook groups that helped, and in a few days, I did double my wordcount.

The joy to read came back.

But then official term started again.


And I have now got online learning to do for school too, to justify us all being at home, even though we are still planning work for our children to do at home. As well as still needing to go in periodically.


Another killjoy to my writing spree.


I’m trying to be practical still have work, but I need my play too, which involves reading and writing.
So, I have taken time to re-plan and structure my WIP, and while doing that, I have got my juices flowing, again, I think.
My aim is to do school-based work in the mornings and use after lunch time to look at my creative projects, be it writing, courses or research for the WIP.
The evening is filled with family time, walks, cooking, reading, watching films and TV, and if I feel inspired, a little more writing time.
I’m under no illusions. At one point I thought I would end this period with a mainly finished first draft, but I don’t think that will happen.
I’ve had up days, days where I have felt productive in all areas of my quiet life, then there have been days where I have barely wanted to leave my bed.

Those days are the days that suck my creative well dry. The days I watch the news and the world gives me nothing to be hopeful about. The days I had that call or message to say a loved one was ill, or had passed away (twice, so far).
Still, I’m just thankful that I am okay, we are all healthy, and that, in itself, is the biggest thing.
I’ll keep trying to write, but I won’t beat myself up if nothing comes. These are crazy times. Messing with our heads.
If I can’t write my own words, I’ll read others. I’ll teach myself new things to make my words, when they do come, better.

But I won’t stop trying to write.


(Oh, and I discovered TikTok! Heaven help us all!)

Author Bio
Ritu Bhathal was born in Birmingham in the mid-1970s to migrant parents, hailing from Kenya but with Indian origin. This colourful background has been a constant source of inspiration to her. From childhood, she always enjoyed reading. This love of books is credited to her mother. The joy of reading spurred her on to become creative in her writing, from fiction to poetry. Winning little writing competitions at school and locally encouraged her to continue writing.

As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and teacher, she has drawn on inspiration from many avenues to create the poems that she writes. A qualified teacher, having studied at Kingston University, she now deals with classes of children as a sideline to her writing!

Ritu also writes a blog, www.butismileanyway.com, a mixture of life and creativity, thoughts and opinions, which was awarded first place in the Best Overall Blog Category at the 2017 Annual Bloggers Bash Awards, and Best Book Blog in 2019.Ritu is happily married and living in Kent, with her Hubby Dearest, and two children, not forgetting the fur baby Sonu Singh.

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/ritubhathal
And by clicking the following link, you get to my author profile on Amazon: Author.to/RituBhathal
Buying Link: myBook.to/PoeticRITUals


Buying Link: http://getbook.at/MarriageUnarranged

And my review of Ritu’s book: https://mjmallon.com/2020/02/09/book-review-marriage-unarranged-ritu-bhathal-arc-review/

And my review of Poetic Rituals: https://mjmallon.com/2017/10/26/my-review-of-poetic-rituals-by-ritu-bhathal/

Social Media Profiles
Blog Website: http://www.butismileanyway.com
Author Website: http://www.ritubhathal.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RituBhathal
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ritubhathalwrites/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/butismileanyway/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RituBhathal/
Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/bhathalpadhaal/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/56854412-ritu-bhathal
Mix: https://mix.com/butismileanyway
Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/ritusmiles
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ritu-bhathal-48941648/
Bloglovin: https://www.bloglovin.com/@ritubhathalpadhaal

Ritu has been a great blogging/author friend. Like me Ritu believes in Team Work. It’s great when writers and creative souls come together to try to help each other.

We both support each other with book launches and the like because that is what friends are for.

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COVID Diaries: 26th April – 30th April #Coronavirus #Thoughts #Fears #Anxiety #Writing #Blogging #Family #Life

26th April 2020

Today, I decided to approach Spillwords to see if they would publish one of my poems. I decided upon the dragonfly as it is one of my favourite poems/photos from my poetry, prose and photography collection Mr. Sagittarius. I didn’t realise that Spillwords don’t take images with writing – so I spent a good while making the following graphic on Canva which I’ll have to use elsewhere

Today, I featured Willow with a Coronavirus poem and a James Blunt song. Very nice.

https://mjmallon.com/2020/04/26/isolation-for-writers-guest-post-willow-willers-cov1d19-isolation-writers-poetry/

The Coronavirus series continues to be popular.

Hubby has been building garden chairs and I have been washing windows… Our weather during Lockdown has been really good but apparently according to Gina it is about to deteriorate.

The girls and I did an exercise online class in the afternoon around 2pm but it was too hot and on top of that the area we were exercising in seems to have suddenly become infested with ants. At one point Gina shouted, “I’ve got ants in my hair!”  Which made me feel very itchy. Natasha was also scratching and I was slipping everywhere as there are only two exercise mats – I used an old blanket which wasn’t much use.

So not exactly the best exercise session that we’ve done. It was comical though!

27th April 2020

I featured Sharon Marchisello on my writers in isolation series on my blog today. https://mjmallon.com/2020/04/27/isolation-for-writers-guest-post-sharon-marchisello-coronavirus-covid19-writers-isolation/

I didn’t take part in Lizzie Chantree’s writers sprint this morning, (I normally do,) as it clashed with the timing of Natasha’s PT session with me! And somehow I didn’t feel in the mood today. Monday’s seem to be the same whether you’re working. or not. And today I feel a bit low.

Here’s the link to Lizzie’s Book Group for writers sprints, tips, and lots more: https://www.facebook.com/groups/647115202160536/

I did an exercise session with Natasha in the morning. It was a really tough one I thought I was going to pass out. But I completed it.

We went for a walk in the country park in the afternoon. Kept seeing robins everywhere – a good luck omen perhaps?  The ducks were playful too. One came straight at us as if it was showing off and then whizzed across the lake, its mate came to join him but he was having none of that, he zoomed away.

We chatted to my mum on the phone she  seems down at the moment as does Gina. This protracted length of time cooped up together is getting to all of us.

I saw a black crow picking food from a bird table on the way home – they always give me the creeps – so black and menacing looking, before and during Coronavirus I keep seeing them. This is the third one I’ve seen. So strange. I hope it is not a bad omen. It’s a day of conflicting emotions, both good and bad.

I also saw my friend Mary Enna and Godric with their beautiful husky dog out for a walk. It has the most amazing blue eyes. We stopped for a while – them on one side of the road – and us on the other. We talked about bread making, she suggested I make sourdough loaf which doesn’t need yeast. Like the sound of that – may try it this coming weekend.

In the evening we had a family tiff in the kitchen. Kitchens seem to be the prime area for disputes to arise. The kitchen is the undisputed danger zone. Hubby always pokes his nose in the cooking even if he isn’t eating with us. (Sometimes he likes to cook his own food.) This interference in the food prep caused a stroppy atmosphere and then hubby went outside for a time, sat in a chair by the patio and pulled his hood over his face to hide from us all.  Gina saw her opportunity – she took his photo! When he looked up he said “I hope no one took my photo!

Of course not… If you believe that, you believe anything!

I wish I could escape and go to see my parents in Edinburgh… This is beginning to get to me. I am missing them so much. The conversation I had with mum today wasn’t right. She’d talked to my eldest daughter Tasha first, they’d chatted and chatted. No problem. But as soon as I spoke to her everything changed. Her voice sounded disjointed like she wasn’t forming her words properly. Mumbling. I pressed the phone closer to my ear, my shoulders tightening.  “Mum, you sound  strange. Are you okay?!” She spoke up a bit, “I’m lying on the bed and the phone’s a bit far away.” I acknowledge the ridiculousness of my fear, mum’s phone is simply too far away from her as she speaks. Her voice becomes clearer; the mumbling words are gone. “Is that better?” she asks. “Yes, I can hear you now,” I reply. The familiar feeling of panic pressing on my ribcage disappears for a moment. I realise I’ve been holding my breath. I need to take another calming breath to steady myself. And then she admits she’s terrified of catching this horrible illness. I can hear her fear and that frightens me. I imagine her on her bed, clutching the duvet towards her, her eyes welling with tears moistening the fabric. I want to hug her and be there for her. I should be there for her. She says, “I don’t want to end up alone and on one of those bloody ventilators, and neither does your dad.”

Her words are powerful, I can hear them so clearly. What can I say? It breaks my heart that she is saying this to me.

I don’t respond but my inner voice yells: I hate you virus. I feel the unspoken words filling a vast space which tightens in my gut.

We continue to talk about symptoms, as if we can protect ourselves, if we are knowledgeable enough. The latest indicator is shivering, she tells me. I already know this, I am well informed. We’ve both had the shivers recently but who knows whether it’s fear that’s making us shiver? My daughter asks for her phone back, perhaps her minutes are running out, she appears oblivious to my dread of hanging up.  Her youthfulness makes her less astute. At last, Mum and I talk about Skyping at the weekend, an obvious preliminary to saying Goodbye.

 Once I’m home I replay the conversation over in my mind and realise I missed something. We called mum in the afternoon and she never naps during the day. Is she ill? Is she alright? Was she shivering now?

This is COVID19 worry; It is relentless. I doubt I will ever forget how it feels.

It brings guilt too. Why didn’t I Skype her yesterday? It has a voice, this virus it’s accusatory.

There will be more to come in the diaries soon. I’m a bit behind with them.

Hope you are all keeping well and safe.

A new review for Mr. Sagittarius:

Adele Park 5.0 out of 5 stars A poetic journey through life Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 April 2020 Verified Purchase Shaped with poems and beautiful pictures this book is a must-read and keep. This novel is the kind you will go back to again and again to dip into and read your favourites. A fantastic book, the author has delivered with engaging characters and beautiful prose. Well done.

And a fairly new review for The Curse of Time:


Eloise Sousa‘s review Apr 13, 2020
really liked it
YA Dark Fantasy that will keep you riveted

A fascinating twist of events shakes Amelina’s world, awakening her to the power of crystals and her family’s legacy.
An enjoyable read with well-written characters who keep you on your toes as they drive the action forward.

Available for free on kindle unlimited and to buy in kindle and paperback: http://mybook.to/MrSagittarius

My Book: myBook.to/TheCurseofTime

 

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Isolation for Writers – Guest post: Willow Willers #COV1D19 #Isolation #Writers #Poetry

Hi Willow. Welcome!

I’m so happy that Willow can join me today. She is an old blogging friend, who I have met in person at several blogging bashes. An old friend in the logging world is referred to as a Blogging Sister!

So welcome Sis! When I mentioned my Writer’s In Isolation series I knew Willow would come up with something really fantastic and she has.

How do writers, creatives, artists and bookish souls cope with isolation? Is their capacity to cope different from the rest of the population? It’s an interesting question and one that fascinates me.

How is Willow coping with this enforced isolation?

Here is Willow’s answer:

I really don’t know if writers, creatives, artists and bookish souls cope any better or worse than the rest of the population.  In fact, I don’t think I am coping all that well. I seem to be busier now than ever I was before Covid19 reared its ugly head. I really find it hard to find time –  to sit down and work on my blog – and the family even though they are not living at home, they take up most of my time. If it has taught me anything, it has taught me that my blogging time must be managed, as it helps me, so it must have its place.

Marje: Indeed it should Willow. I am so glad that blogging has helped you and continues to help you cope with your current situation. It’s tough and I know you have had your share of problems. The poem which I’d like to feature today originally appeared on your blog in February and it is eerily true to life at the moment.

Willow: “I had no idea then how close to the truth it was, though I do hope the outcome is better than the one I predicted.”

Here’s Willow’s Poem:

The planet was struggling it’s true

From space it was no longer blue

It was suffering from millennia of wars and abuse

People pleaded for change, no use.

Most people tried to help Earth

They knew the planets worth.

Then came the plague

No respecter of king or knave

It cut through the ranks and top brass

No preference for age or class

It sent weak, old or young to the grave.

It emptied the streets and Malls,

Pubs, clubs and church halls.

It stopped the planes and the trains

The fat cats lost their profits and gains.

Huge nations brought to their knees

As scientists search for the keys

To the elusive cure to rid all of the bain.

Just when it could not get worse

Hate joined fear with a curse.

The people turn on each other

Neighbour, husband, wife, sister, brother.

Empty shops, no fuel they could not stand

Then all civilian movement was banned

The crops and animals died on the land.

Drones flew over head, all was scanned.

Mother Nature watched with a tear

Chaos in weeks, rebellion, extinction within a year.

*****

© Willow Willers

https://willowdot21.wordpress.com/2020/02/25/the-plague/

Bio – Willow Willers

I am the mum of three boys  all now grown and flown to live their own lives. Luckily they do keep in touch and visit often. I now have  two beautiful grandsons.

When I started this blog I had not long come home from hospital after an accident in which I broke my back, for the second time. I was in hospital for a month and had three operations.

It has taken me a long time to recover, I am still recovering but every day my body is getting stronger. It has taken a huge toll on me mentally I had to retire early on health grounds, I had to come to terms with finding out people I thought were friends were not. I had to make a new life for myself. Things I could do easily have become difficult. 

Writing poetry and prose has helped me a great deal.  I have made so many wonderful friends through blogging I think it has definitely saved my life. 

Marje: You have been through so much Willow. Bless you. You’re such a resilient, and amazing person.

Willow continues to amaze me – here are just some of her wonderful blog posts to give you a tiny flavour of who she is:

For the series What Day is It Anyway?This is part of LindaGHill’s #WDIIA :

https://willowdot21.wordpress.com/2020/04/23/what-day-is-it-anyway-monday-20th-through-to-thursday-23rd-april-2020/

Photo prompts and various other blog link ups:

https://willowdot21.wordpress.com/2020/04/20/thursday-photo-prompt-otherworldly-writephoto/

Song Lyric Sunday, Familiar Places.

https://willowdot21.wordpress.com/2020/04/20/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-april-18-2020/

Willow loves to share fabulous song videos on her blog. Here’s James Blunt… singing his beautiful heart out.

Thank you so much for being my beautiful guest Willow.

What a great poem, and a fantastic music video too. Thank you for sharing these with us.

Willow has been a great friend to me – beta reading, reviewing, encouraging, and sharing my blog tour posts like crazy! She’s a truly supportive person and has a wonderful blog.

So this is a Thank You to her for all the wonderful things she does.

Photo by Řaj Vaishnaw from Pexels

Do pop over to say hello.

Stay safe and well everyone.

Collaborative Grouphttps://www.facebook.com/pg/5SpiritualSisters/

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Coronavirus Diaries #COVID19 #Blogging #Anniversary #Six #Years #Book #Reviews

Hi all, yesterday was my six year blogging anniversary – I am a bit of a slow coach celebrating but better late than never. So it’s happy six years to me!

And it has been. Happy. The last month maybe less so, but there are positives: spending more time with family, relaxing more, (apart from when I’m feeling anxious,) and having more time for writing which is a big plus.

Here’s my latest news of the family, writing, blogging kind… plus a poem about a golden dragon at the end. He is worth the wait as I promise he will take you places…

18th April.

Daughters and I were doing our nails again when I found a very soggy biscuit in my crisps! Ugh. Disgusting.The crisp manufacturer admitted that his was probably a build up of flavouring rather than a biscuit! Perhaps they might give me some free crisps… We’ll see.

Started doing blog posts about Coronavirus and isolation for creatives, Richard Dee is my first guest. I post about this on Book Connectors and receive more interest than I anticipated. In fact, I am somewhat overwhelmed and have to request that I get back to a few people ….

19th April

My 300 word submission to Writers Unite Blog is accepted for publication on next Saturday. Yeah! Spoke to mum and dad on Skype and a little worried to see that my dad is coughing. Apparently, their neighbours have given them a settee which is in their garage. Hope they maintained social distance when they accepted it into their property.

20th April 21, 2020

Mum sent my daughter Tasha a text asking about apps for their local community group. Tasha couldn’t work out what app she meant. Mum mentioned it as if it was the only app in the world! She’s not very up to date with social media so I thought it best to call her which I did. I explained apps, the basics of how they worked and promised to get back to her with more details via Skype. Also, I sense she is getting bored and frustrated being at home, so I suggested that she sews some masks! She has loads of material including elastic. That will keep her occupied. I even said she might want to make some for us. To this end, I sent her a couple of links on how to make them. Who knows she might make loads!

This tells you how to make a face mask without sewing if you want one quick: 

https://blog.japanesecreations.com/no-sew-face-mask-with-handkerchief-and-hair-tie/


And a more detailed instruction suggesting use of thick material such as cotton pillow cases or t shirts (doubled up for extra thickness.):  

https://sarahmaker.com/how-to-sew-a-surgical-face-mask-for-hospitals-free-pattern/

Dad is still coughing so I’m worried about him and have asked Mum to check his temperature. He often coughs during the Spring/Summer and all year round for that matter so it is hard to tell whether it is one thing or another. Like me he has Allergic Rhinitis all year round.

Chez moi we did a gym workout in the garden – just my eldest daughter Tasha and I. My youngest daughter Gina is still asleep as she always tends to be until Midday. Boy, Tasha worked me hard but we had some giggles about my dodgy knees which always helps. I forgot to put my head scarf on, so my hair was dangling everywhere,and my glasses were falling off my face in downward dog.

Lol.

In the afternoon we did a bit of Spring cleaning. Cleaning isn’t my favourite pastime but needs must. Unfortunately, I chipped my lovely nail polish which made me cross! To make up for it I made a huge pot of Chilli Con Carne in the evening – comfort food. Everyone enjoyed it and every last drop was gobbled down.

I’m a bit worried about my youngest daughter, she’s been feeling anxious – this enforced stay at home is getting to her and to her boyfriend too. I have to keep an eye on her. Bless her. Her boyfriend lives far away. Apparently, she was telling me that some of her friends’ parents allow them to see their boyfriends. Risky tactic. I can just imagine letting them pitch a tent in the garden to spend ‘private’ time together! Oh my… Not in my house… Staying alive comes before love and kisses right now.

I’ve noticed I have this continuous headache whilst I am in the house, as soon as I go out the door it vanishes, miraculously – obviously a stress headache. When will this end?

I try not to dwell on the death toll, and the Government’s management of the crisis but I am worried. Particularly about the lack of PPE for nurses and doctors. This  is unforgiveable. They are our troops at the frontline; they should be protected. Without them, what would we do?

Today I wrote a book review of The Enhanced League by C. S. Boyack:

Recommended reading especially if you are missing the baseball season: https://mjmallon.com/2020/04/18/isolation-for-writers-creatives-artists-and-book-bloggers-richard-dee-guest-author-isolation-coronavirus-thoughts-family-life-cov19/

And I received a new 5 star review for Mr. Sagittarius from Author/Poet Camilla Downs:

“I absolutely adore this book and will be sharing it with my 18 year old daughter. I enjoyed the different styles of poetry and prose mixed together with photography. It flowed beautifully. An uplifting, magical, sweet gem of a book.”

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3291542791/

And I discovered this review for Mr. Sagittarius on Amazon, thank you author Priscilla Bettis:

And also a few days ago I had this from Willow:

Customer Review

willow willers5.0 out of 5 stars A magical story told in poetry pose and photographyReviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 April 2020What a magical Webb is woven here by author Marjorie Mallon. A tale of two brothers and a sister, botanical gardens, magical creatures and a bench under a Golden Willow Tree. This delightful mix can be either read in one go or enjoyed as momentary fix. I truly cannot recommend Mr Sagittarius enough there is something for everyone inside it’s pages. I shall say no more apart from urge you to read this book and be totally charmed by it.

Thank you to all those who take the time to read and review. I so appreciate you, x

It’s my six year anniversary! Six years blogging can you imagine? Where did that time go? To celebrate I did some work on my next poetry and photography collection, collating all the poetry, images and placing them in order. I discovered three poems I wrote about dragons six years ago! I loved all three of these and they will be going in my new book.

Here’s a sneak peak of one of them that took me on an adventure…

Golden Dragon

Oh,

Mighty Dragon  

your fiery dare,

 Gleams in a challenge,

No childish mask,

Highlights your eyes.

Golden elixir promises,

Hang in the air.

Lining up

to slide off the curve

Of your celebrated tongue.

A challenge!

Adventuress, take a ride.

Will I,

or forever still,

 Remain in this moment.

Too fearful

To slip on temptation’s back.

To sail the secretive seas,

Witness the wonder of sunsets,

Smell the sweet aroma 

of Waterfalls,

Discover Dry Deserts

And Tempting Temples.

Cavernous Canyons,

Concealed Caves,

Resplendent Rainbows,

Rippling Rivers,

Incandescent Islands,

Languid Lakes,

Majestic Mountains.

Too many splendours.

Dazzle me,

I step back from

Tempestuous skies.

 Foolish, I.

Must I question

When I can do.

Trust my ever growing,

Heart’s desire

Please

Sweet

Mighty

Golden

Dragon

Take me,

With

You!

Phew, that dragon was a long one!

Love dragons.

Hope you are all staying safe and well.

Available for free on kindle unlimited and to buy in kindle and paperback: http://mybook.to/MrSagittarius

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The Bloggers Bash 2019 – Highlights and Photos #bloggersbash @BloggersBash

I can count on one hand how many bashes I have attended – five in total. Each have been different but one aspect is undeniable – I have put on a little weight since the first one.

I blame Ritu’s wonderful cakes!

Do check out Ritu’s new author blog:

https://ritubhathal.com

It was lovely reconnecting with old friends and making new ones too.

Unfortunately, as with all bashes there is always that moment when you realise that you haven’t had a chance to speak to everyone. So apologies to those I missed and to those I only chatted to briefly.

I took very few photos. Getting lazy…

But here are some, below myself, with Willow and Ritu.

Congratulations to Ritu for winning best book blog and to Sam Smith at Loving The Fifty Something Blog for winning the writing competition this year. I really enjoyed chatting to Sam and wish her every success and happiness with her writing and inspirational lifestyle.

Highlights

I particularly enjoyed listening to guest author Gemma Todd talking about her writing journey.

From working class girl with no books in the house, or readers in her family, to librarian and Headline author! That shows determination, tenacity and a love of the written word! Gemma flitted across the stage in an exuberant but down-to-earth way making me smile. She shared some touching anecdotes about her father and her genuine authenticity shone through.

I’ve followed Gemma on Twitter and will be finding out more about her book series which sounds fab. You can find out more about Gemma on her author website is via this link: https://gxtodd.com

Other highlights of the day were the flatlay session with Suzanne Elliot. Great tips from Suzanne followed by Sacha helping me with my creation.

Sacha Black’s invaluable advice was simple: less is more – don’t clutter your #flatlay photography. Add items to identify your unique style.

In Sacha’s case she includes a skull in her #flatlay. In my case, I could consider adding an item in red (like the colouring on my book cover.)

This is my work in progress flatlay… red item to be added at a later date. Perhaps a red bloodstone!

And The Panellists

Discussion was very interesting too. We heard from three knowledgeable bloggers/writers.

Great summation of the bash by my lovely friend Ritu: https://butismileanyway.com/2019/06/17/chai-and-a-chat-37-chaiandachat-bloggersbash-special-bloggersbash/

The perspective of a new blogger who hadn’t been before –  Marian:

https://justmuddlingthroughlife.co.uk/2019/06/16/annual-bloggers-bash-2019/

More about the Bloggers Bash and Flatlay workshop from Eloise:

https://eloisedesousa.wordpress.com/2019/06/15/bloggers-bash-flatlay-workshop/

https://eloisedesousa.wordpress.com/2019/06/15/bloggers-bash-2019/

From the Bloggers Bash Website:

https://annualbloggersbash.com/2019/06/15/winners-of-the-2019-annual-bloggers-bash-awards-and-blog-post-competition-bloggersbash/

And Willow’s wonderful account full of photos: https://willowdot21.wordpress.com/2019/06/16/the-annual-bloggers-bash-june-15-2019/

Sherri’s fab post on the bash: https://sherrimatthewsblog.com/2019/06/18/five-years-and-another-fab-bloggers-bash-2019/

Bye for now.

If you haven’t been to the bash yet I hope you might consider coming!

Buy Book: myBook.to/TheCurseofTime

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A Huge Welcome To Artist Carolina Russo #Art #Music #Nature #Creativity

 

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.

Such synchronicity!

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.

Nu_San Album Cover ©CarolinaRusso_WBT1 (1)

This is the link to my Blog post about this great collaboration – I don’t know the exact release date yet but it would be sometime soon. https://yesterdayafter.com/2018/04/18/art-for-music-preview-album-cover-a-collaboration-with-nu-san/

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. Scott Hutchison Tribute Portrait_s (1)

As an Indie artist myself I love to support other indie artists and bands, like German band RIGNA FOLK and their front man Viktor Nordir – we collaborated together with a  video. I have created a combination of their music with my art you can see the video “Stillness” here: https://yesterdayafter.com/2017/11/17/art-inspiring-magic-stillness-video/   

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! 

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Thank you so much to Carolina for sharing her fascinating artistic life with us.

Bye for now,

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Authors Website: https://mjmallon.com

Collaborative blog: https://sistersofthefey.wordpress.com

Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time

Founder of #ABRSC – Authors/Bloggers Support Group:

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/

M J Mallon _ YA Author

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#Blue Sky Tag Challenge – #Blogchallenge – Tag, You’re it!

 

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I’ve been invited to hop on to the Blue Sky Tag Challenge by  Debby Gies

The rules of the challenge are:

11 tags, 11 answers, 11 questions

Use the Blue Sky banner  (that Rachael Ritchey designed).

It is sort of polite to mention the person who tagged you (even if you are busy and have not time for fun)

You need to answer the 11 questions set by your tagger (even though you wonder where they dredged them up from)

You will need to make up 11 original and interesting or funny questions for those you tag.

You need to tag 11 people

You can read Debby’s post and the answers to her questions here: https://dgkayewriter.com/blue-sky-tag-challenge-blogchallenge-tag-it/

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And now for Debby’s Questions:

  1.  What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer?

Ah, I’d dream of being someone else! I’ve always felt trapped in the typical day job scenario,  in need of an outlet for my creativity. If I hadn’t become a writer I might have dabbled in photography. My grandfather and uncle were both photographers and ran a photography business before the Second World War. Creativity is in the genes! Or I’d have worked in education in some capacity. I believe very strongly that education is the foundation of a balanced and open society. I love to study – if only I could be a perpetual student! Now that would be fun.

      2. Share one thing you’d like to do on your bucket list.

Travel more. I’d love to explore all the wonderful and exotic places in the world. In our family’s genes there’s this deep desire to wander to far off lands. My dad worked abroad for many years in the Far East, Middle East, and Africa and now my eldest daughter is following in his footsteps. She’s been away for a year teaching English As A Foreign Language in South Korea. It’s my turn next. I’d love to live abroad and maybe one day I will.

      3. Your favorite holiday destination.

Oh, so many places do I have to pick just one? I love Portugal, Greece, the Balearic Isles, the Caribbean, Rome, Malaysia, Singapore, etc, etc. Take me there. Oh, this question reminds me how much I need a holiday abroad.

      4. Name the best movie you’ve seen in a long time.

Oh dear this makes me sad. I haven’t been to the movies for such a long time. I intend to go but never get round to doing so. I will try to rectify this soon.

      5. If you could have one do-over, what would it be?

By do-over I expect you mean make-over? Recently I’ve been getting my nails done and I have to admit that I’m in danger of getting hooked. I love to have pretty nails. It’s important that I look presentable for my day job as I work as a receptionist for a private sixth form in Cambridge.

      6. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I am tempted to say either Portugal or France. Still thinking about this…

      7. Your favorite all time book?

Pinocchio. His nose gets me every time. Now that’s a lie, I appreciate Pinocchio and his tricky nose situation but I love so many books it is very difficult to pick just one. My favourite genre is fantasy but I also enjoy thrillers, crime, romance, memoirs, and the occasional horror.

      8. Tell us one quirky thing about you.

WHAT!!! Oh dear – confession time. I do this daft thing when no one is watching. It’s kind of like a kid would do. You know making little explosive noises. My brother does it too. It’s in the genes. Yes, I’m a bit crazy. Oh my!

      9. Write a one sentence quote for world peace.

Don’t be one of those people who is close-minded, be a warm-hearted person who lives and loves regardless of skin colour, race, and sexuality.

     10. Share one great thing blogging has done for you.

It’s made me more confident and adventurous. Prior to blogging I would have never met up with a bunch of strangers at a blogging event and now I do. I get such a buzz from attending the annual Blogger’s Bash in London.

     11. Name your favorite color and tell us why and what it represents to you.

It would have to be green. Green for go. Green for fresh cut grass. Green for shoots of possibilities. Green, green, green…

Tag! You’re it:

Ritu: https://butismileanyway.com/

Colleen Chesebro: https://colleenchesebro.com/ 

Annika Perry: https://annikaperry.com/ 

Samantha Murdoch:  https://samanthamurdochblog.wordpress.com/

Vashti Vega:  http://vashtiqvega.wordpress.com/

Craig: https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/  

Annette: https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/ 

Gary: https://fictionisfood.com/

Willow:  https://willowdot21.wordpress.com/ 

Wendy: https://wendyannedarling.com/

Rachael: https://rachaelritchey.com/

Here are your questions:

1. If you could travel to Mars would you go?

2. Do you like rock music or quiet ballads?

3. Are you a tidy freak or a messy pup?

4. Tell us about the most strange/extraordinary person you know.

5. Do you believe in love at first sight?

6. Which animal represents you the best?

7. Are you a theatre and/or film buff?

8. If you had to do a party trick would you love this or hate it?

9. What superpower would you love to have?

10. What’s your favourite food, and/or drink?

11. As a child were you naughty or nice? And which are you now…

If you don’t choose to join in, you are forgiven. and being that there are only 11 to be tagged, I welcome any and all of you to join in! 

Source: #Blue Sky Tag – Time for a little fun and distraction…#TGIF | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

 

Many thanks to Debby for tagging me.

Hope you enjoyed the Blue Sky Tag.

 

Cheerio for now, Blue Sky…

 

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For information about my privacy and GDPR compliance please visit: https://mjmallon.com/2018/05/20/privacy-and-gdpr-compliance/

 

Buy Paperback Book link: http://mybook.to/TheCurseofTime
Unique Selling Point: Unique, Imaginative, ‘Charming, enchanting and richly layered this is purely delightful.’
“This delightful book will appeal to teens and young adults who love stories filled with magical crystals, dark family curses, and mysteries waiting to be solved around every corner. Each chapter leads you on a journey of discovery where Amelina earns the right to use three wizard stones to reset the balance of time and finally break the curse that holds her family hostage. A captivating tale!” – Colleen M. Chesebro (Editor)

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 Authors/Bloggers Support Group:

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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 Bloggers Bash 2018 #winning #blogs #shortstory #news #photographs #bloggersbash #humour #funny #confession #blogging

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I’m absolutely thrilled to say that I won first prize in The Bloggers Bash Blog Post writing competition 2018 with my winning short story – The Queen’s Dress Down Day! https://mjmallon.com/2018/03/21/the-bloggers-bash-blog-post-competition-2018-the-queens-dress-down-day/

Yeah!!!

It was such an unexpected but lovely surprise. To say I was gobsmacked is an understatement! I’m sure I blubbered a whole lot of nonsense when I went up on stage to accept my award… talk about unprepared! OOPS!

The bash is such a fun and informative event. I have been lucky to be able to attend every single bash (all four in total.) It’s a way to connect beyond the virtual world with like-minded authors and book bloggers.

If you haven’t been to one before, I urge you to do so – you won’t regret it.

This year I noticed a new trend. Many book bloggers won awards. Book bloggers work so hard to promote a love of reading and to promote authors who might otherwise not be so successful. So keep up the hard work.

Here’s  a link to the list of all the winners for this year’s bash: http://sachablack.co.uk/2018/05/19/the-winners-of-the-2018-annual-bloggers-bash-awards-are-bloggersbash/

I took a few photos… Here are three lovely lasses – EstherRitu and Willow. Ritu did an awesome job with her speech. I truly believe she is wonder woman! Her energy and enthusiasm for blogging needs to be patented.

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A special treat went to Little Miss Bad – Sacha Black – Organiser of the Bloggers Bash…

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It was lovely sharing a chuckle with Barb Taub and Sherri Matthews.

But, I’m a bit alarmed by an odd sprinkle of fairy dust floating into Sherri’s specs…

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Then came the panellist questions, one came from Lucy At Blonde Write More’s readership who asked a very dodgy question – Do you write your blog posts in the nude? Graeme Cumming’s expression, and the laughter from the panellists says it all. But, Geoff is looking very thoughtful… His body language and that blue beard Smurf look speak volumes…

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After teasing his beard again and again Geoff Le Pard admitted that he’d indulged in writing blog posts in the bath! In the nude, (well you can’t have a bath fully clothed can you?) Of course you can’t.

I wonder whether there were bubbles? Blue ones perhaps, to cover up the necessary!!!

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Moving on from Geoff’s confession Suzie Speaks strange expression below suggests an ability to see Sacha’s weird martial art movement behind her…

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What a day to remember! In typical Marje fashion I had a bit of an accident when I got home. I fell on the stairs. Total Miss Clumsy! Pleased to report that no harm done just a touch of bruising…

Getting back to Geoff’s confession about his habit of blog posting in the bath. Do you think this could be a new blogging trend? Or, is this a unique characteristic that only a blue-bearded Geoff could master?

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Buy Book: myBook.to/TheCurseofTime

Social Media:

Authors Website: https://mjmallon.com

Collaborative blog: https://sistersofthefey.wordpress.com

Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time

Facebook Authors/Bloggers Support Group:

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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