Thank you so much to D. L. Finn for this wonderful review post supporting so many indie authors : Vashti Vega, Charles W Jones, D. L. Cross (Staci Troilo,) and including yours truly and Mr. Sagittarius is so thrilled!
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Here’s hoping for a brighter, covid free year. And what a year it has been for so many. Personally, I have had many worries about my elderly parents and my MIL who I haven’t seen for months…
My daughter Natasha and I had an interesting philosophical discussion this morning about whether 2020 is a wasted year? And whether we should all refuse to age this year. Her birthday is on Christmas day and she is turning 25 and would much rather remain 24. Of course, that idea does have its appeal! I’m all for staying young but in many ways, 2020 is not a wasted year as it has taught us many invaluable lessons.
A tragic lesson, sadly. One that has made us all reevaluate our lives and to consider what really matters… Family, friends, loved ones, walks in nature, the simple moments that make us smile, these are the aspects of life that we must treasure.
It has been a year in which the world has suffered.
But the human race is resilient. We do what we can to cheer our spirits up…
During this time, I have relied heavily on my writing community to keep me occupied, and distracted. So, with that in mind, I created my first anthology/compilation entitled This Is Lockdown.
It originally came out in a kindle version with my personal diaries – 20th July 2020.
I’ve just finished creating the paperback of This Is Lockdown... which is available to buy and review on Amazon. So, if you can, please do consider reading and leaving a review of the paperback which includes contributions from 28 wonderful international authors, and creatives.
PLEASE NOTE – The paperback does not include my personal COVID diaries originally published on the kindle. These are currently only available to read on the kindle version of This Is Lockdown.
An anthology and compilation of short stories, flash fiction, contributions from the ‘isolation writers,’ plus poetry written during the time of lockdown in the UK.
“A Piece of Living History!”
This anthology and compilation is for everyone, wherever you live in the world. We are all experiencing the impact of COVID19 and lockdown. As writers, bloggers and creatives we express our thoughts and opinions in writing: in heartfelt poetry, pieces on isolation and the impact of COVID19 and the ‘new normal.’ There are twenty eight talented contributors, including the creative NHS Mask Making Fundraising Team of Jane Horwood and Melissa Santiago Val. The contributors come from as far afield as Australia, Canada, USA and Zimbabwe, or closer to my current home in England – in Ireland, Scotland and Italy.
It is as Willow Willers, a contributor said, ‘A piece of living history.’
This extraordinary and unexpected time period will be shared with future generations one day. Compiling and editing this anthology has given me a purpose over the period of Lockdown and for that I am grateful. The book showcases several authors and their thoughts on what it is like to experience ‘isolation’ as a writer.
In the final part of the book I include my latest short story idea: a YA romance and various short pieces of poetry, and flash fiction inspired by the pandemic.
The list of contributors, bloggers and authors are:
Before I go, in case you might have missed these recent book reviews.
I received this lovely review for my poetry, prose and photography book Mr. Sagittarius from fellow fantasy author Diana Peach:
I didn’t know what to expect when I opened this book, and must have been in just the right mood, because it was charming and poignant and very sweet. The book offers a glimpse of three elderly siblings -William, Harold, and Annette – one already passed on at the books opening. The intermittent visits with these characters, a paragraph or two here and there, form the thread that holds the book’s narrative together. The memories and grief are touching, and it isn’t long before Annette is on her own.
Between the story’s visits with the siblings are loosely related sections of prose and syllabic poetry. Some pieces touch on the seasons. Others are fantastical tales about bubble monsters and snow snakes. Most of them are about nature and flowers which are tied to the garden bench where the siblings enjoyed their days. I especially enjoyed a chain cinquain titled That Twinkle in her Eye is Magic. This book is less than an hour’s read, and I recommend it to readers who enjoy a fanciful and touching foray into poetry and short prose selections.
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…
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 ….
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:
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.
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:
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.”
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…
Perhaps this is the time in which writers should be writing their hearts out.
Unless you work in the NHS, or are a key worker, most of us have more time on our hands. The material is there all around us. But, where to begin? How do we push past the fear and anxiety to begin? A good way is to try something new. Write in a different genre perhaps, or scribble down some humourous passages, (to help lift us out of a melancholic mind set.)
But if you are overwhelmed and unable to write don’t beat yourself up. That is okay too. Do what is best for you and for your mental health.
Recently, I was thrilled to receive some new reviews which I’d love to share with you.
For the first book in the YA fantasy series Curse of Time Book 1 Bloodstone from author Darlene Foster:
For someone who doesn’t usually read fantasy, this YA novel caught my interest. The teenage characters in the book are very real with typical issues such as lack of confidence, jealousy, confusion, parental disagreements, and volatile friendships. Amelina comes from a dysfunctional family with a paranormal twist. If she can figure out the curse, perhaps her family could be happy once more. In her quest, she meets a self-harming girl locked in a mirror, a heartthrob boy with a mean side, a cottage full of amazing crystals and an old woman with sage advice. I like that the story is based on a real clock, the Corpus Chronophage clock, in Cambridge, England. (Chronophage means time-eater). There is some time travel in the story, which I love. There’s a lot happening in this very descriptive book and not everything is explained. But that is because it is the first book in a series. I look forward to reading more about Amelina and her quirky friends.
And from Willow for my poetry, prose and photography collection Mr. Sagittarius:
willow willers 5.0 out of 5 stars A magical story told in poetry prose and photography Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 April 2020 What a magical Web 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.
What Am I Writing?
I have a confession to make. If I had to write the third book in my YA series The Curse of Time I would struggle. I’m living in such a scary reality that I just can’t think, or imagine a full length fantasy novel setting at the moment. Instead, I am writing about the big R word – reality. I’m writing the COV19 diaries on my blog. I’m not sure when I will publish the companion stories, flash fiction and poetry but I am glad that this is keeping me occupied. My experiences are serving as my plot: what is happening with COV19 – our day to day living, the moments that make me stop and wonder, pause and reflect, smile, or cry. Those moments are in abundance.
No one can cope with the continuous news on tap, the grim, factual accounts of the death toll, or the depth of human suffering we hear about. We are living this strange reality, day in and day out. Instead, I am writing true life experiences giving fictional characters a true and authentic voice. Of course, some of these stories, diaries, flash fiction and poetry pieces will be sad, but the majority will be uplifting, humorous, and hopeful, because that is what we need now and in the future.
We need hope, humour, and honour. To be kind to one another, to look out for each other. To thank those who are selfless: our NHS, and our key workers.This is their time; They are our heroes.
How is this virus impacting our creativity? What kind of stories will it bring?
What are your feelings about writing during the Coronavirus? Are you struggling to write? Or to read?
Before I go I’d like to suggest a short, uplifting read perfect for these times – my latest release is a positive solution to #boredom. A great, wee read! Enjoy.
Mr. Sagittarius is a collection of poetry, prose and photographic images inspired by the botanical gardens in Cambridge. Photography is in the genes! Both my uncle and grandfather were photographers. My grandfather A.G. Ingram was originally with the photography company Ingram, Gordon & Co in Haddington up until the mid thirties. Then he ventured on his own to form the Scottish Pictorial Press in Edinburgh supplying photos to the press. When war broke out Scottish Pictorial Press became defunct. After the war he started AG Ingram Ltd, Commercial Photographers, at 3 successive locations in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Some good news! My full colour paperback is now available in Amazon. Here’s my universal link for Mr. Sagitarrius which is available in paperback, kindle and free on kindle unlimited: Buying Link: http://mybook.to/MrSagittarius
This is a magical journey through a year in the life of a poet, presented in the format of haiku. Be entertained,and enlightened as you enjoy the worlds of reality and imagination are combined artfully. Dreamers will love this book. Writers will enjoy this book. Readers will enjoy this book. Even those who think they could never appreciate poetry, will enjoy this book. Come and be enchanted by the verbal imagery of A Haiku Perspective 2018.
Thank you to the author for a copy received in exchange for an honest review.
This is an enchanting book of poetry. So many wonderful haiku! I love short form poetry and Annette Rochelle Aben’s book covers a multitude of poetic topics in a warm and inviting way.
The first poem Strings is a poignant haiku love story. I read this particular poem several times and seemed to take more from it on each reading. I read it down and then from the bottom up! The family dynamic in this poem changes when a new baby is welcomed and Annette Rochelle Aben captures this to perfection in this thought-provoking poem. The message within will no doubt resonate with many. Love can be the most exquisite emotion. But, there are many loves. Can the love of a child be so consuming that your partner, wife, or husband feels neglected? I loved how this was expressed in a musical way.
Thereafter, the haiku flow in short bursts of inspiring magic. There are no images to break up the poems. This is pure poetry. And it works.
This is such an amusing, warm-hearted compilation of poetry.
My recommendation: Definitely read! You will be uplifted, you’ll smile and perhaps you might cry. Poetry takes our hearts on a journey. This poetry collection succeeds in transporting you to this special place and this feeling lingers long after you have finished reading.
Have you read Annette Rochelle’s poetry? Do let me know if you have. I love comments. 🙂 x
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Thank you so much to Brigid Gallagher for nominating me in the Book Lover’s Tag. It’s a long while since I’ve participated in a tag. I’ve been so busy doing my own book promotion that this is a welcome change.
Do you have a specific place for writing? I write at my desk in my office at home. One blissful year I went away to Brighton for a few days and wrote in my hotel room, in cafes and in the library. That was wonderful.
Book mark or random pieces of paper? Mainly a book mark but I have been known to use anything that comes to hand!
Can you stop anywhere or must it be at the end of a chapter? Always at the end of a chapter unless I’m reading on the bus (and I do this often on the way to work,) and then I’ll make a mental note of where I stopped!
Do you eat or drink whilst reading? No, I don’t unless I’m in a cafe. Otherwise, I tend to focus 100% on the book.
Music or TV whilst reading? Do people do this? Shock, horror, no I never listen to music or watch TV. I’d find that too distracting. My husband reads in the bath which I find equally odd. How can you turn the pages with soap bubbles everywhere?
One book at a time or several? Oh, I rarely read more than one at a time but occasionally I might read a paperback and a kindle. I don’t like to do this but time pressures sometimes mean that I do.
Do you prefer to read at home or elsewhere? I’ll read at home, on the bus, travelling by train, in the library, in cafes, anywhere!
Read out loud or silently? Silently, but I have been known to cry whilst reading a book in public places!
Do you read ahead or skip pages? I never skip pages, ever.
Break the spine or keep it like new? I keep it like new.
Do you write in your book? Ouch, never!
What books are you reading now? I have been reading MalalaYousafzai’s biography, the Pakistani schoolgirl who stood up to the Taliban and defended her right to an education. It’s an amazing book, about halfway through. I recommend everyone reads this, very inspiring, educational and moving too.
Other than that I read anything I can get my hands on. I found another little gem recently in the same independent bookshop in Ely, Topping Books – Only Dull People Are Brilliant at Breakfast.
It’s a tiny black penguin classic with ‘Wildes’s celebrated witticisms on the dangers of sincerity, duplicitous biographers, the stupidity of the English – and his own genius.’
Some of my favourite witticisms from the book:
‘We spend our days, each one of us, in looking for the secret of life. Well, the secret of life is in art.’
‘One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.’
‘Thinking is the most unhealthy thing in the world, and people die of it just as they die of any other disease, Fortunately, in England at any rate, thought is not catching’
‘Pleasure is the only thing one should live for. Nothing ages like happiness.’
‘Life is much too important a thing ever to talk seriously about it.’
‘The old believe everything: the middle-aged suspect everything; the young know everything.’
‘To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.’
‘Time is waste of money.’
‘I love acting. It is so much more real than life.’
‘The tragedy of old age is not that one is old. but that one is young.’
‘Murder is always a mistake. One should never do anything that one cannot talk about after dinner.’
“Life cheats us with shadows. We ask it for pleasure. It gives it to us, with bitterness and disappointment in its train. ‘