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A few weeks have passed since that nightmarish summer, and for JJ Carson the future is uncertain.
Thrown into care and banned from seeing his uncle, the strange mist that follows him around has become his one and only companion. Each day it grows stronger and more powerful, but that only draws the attention of a strange doctor with an even darker plan.
As for Darcie Duffield, life is back to normal, as she returns to school and desperately tries to forget the boy she met at the river, and the mysterious power he possessed.
But when her friend goes missing, and a ghost from the past returns, Darcie realises she’s barely scratched the surface of Fortune’s Well’s hidden secrets, and the sinister truth that lies beneath
Highly entertaining novel from two authors I really admire. What a page turner! Loved it. One word sums it up perfectly: exciting!
This is full of supernatural excitement, teen emotion, (loved the relationship vibes between J J and Darcie,) and magical powers!
There is a fair amount of dialogue in this book but the speech is written enviably well that it manages to carry the story seamessly.
You would not guess this is written by two authors, it flows so naturally.
The plot is well devised carrying on with ease from the 1st book in the series, Fortune’s Well Book 1 Hangman’s Revenge, which I read and enjoyed very much.
There is a curious and explosive episode about the mirror girl that leaves me wondering hey how did that happen! The ending brings exciting elements that will encourage the reader into the next book, Fortune’s Well, Book 3, Days End.
There is an awesome teaser snippet at the end.
Look forward to reading more in this enticing supernatural series! Highly recommended.
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Thank you so much to S. C. Skillman for this wonderful 5 star review of my latest poetry, flash fiction and photography book Do What You Love which is currently on preorder on Amazon.
Releases 25th November.
I have read this author’s work before: young adult novels, poetry and flash fiction, and I love her imaginative handling of the magical, the phantasmagorical and surreal. This short book is no exception to the quality of MJ Mallon’s output. I found her exploration of her past life captivating.
We may consider that the inclusion of often very personal material in a compilation of this sort would make it difficult for the outside reader to find a way in. This is not true at all of MJ Mallon’s poetry and prose: in many places, I related so much to what she writes, especially about a daughter ‘flying the nest’ to a faraway country. I particularly loved the device MJ Mallon uses to draw all this together: she presents it as a conversation with Atropos, one of the three Fates in Greek mythology: the Morai.
Atropos presides over the past. I thought this worked extremely well as a central metaphor. It had me googling the three Fates, and reading all about them: Clotho, who spins the threads of life, guardian of the present; Lachesis, who measures the length of life with her measuring rod, and is guardian of the future: and Atropos, who is the guardian of fate and destiny, and who chooses the manner of death by snipping the threads of an individual’s life.
MJ Mallon has had a fascinating and varied life experience: born in Singapore, she spent her childhood in Hong Kong and her teens in Edinburgh. She now lives in Cambridge. Every culture she has lived in, I believe, has influenced her imagination, her interests and her approach as a writer. In this book, we find a compilation of words and images which draw us in: poignant, sensitive, delicate, playful, as she opens up for us her past and present relationships, the places she has loved and spent time in, and her thoughts and feelings about it all.
Thrilled to support Diana in her blog tour for The Necromancer’s Daughter which I loved!
From Diana: Today I thought I’d share a snippet from Chapter 9 when Aster’s life takes a terrible turn:
In silence but for her heart’s pounding, Aster poured the tea and handed a wobbling cup to each man. As she knelt on the mat at her father’s knee, she stared at her pale hands. Her hair tumbled over her shoulders in a wild white froth. When she was a little thing, her father had called her his snow fairy, but in truth, she was nothing so delicate or whimsical. In contrast to the sunny complexions of Verdane, she was as ashen as death.
The king waited for her compliance, but how could she agree? Desperation marred his reasoning. She knew nothing about ruling, nothing about courtly manners or intrigue, or the tenets that underlay the Red Order’s intolerant faith. The kingdom’s powerful would trample her into the ground and seal her grave.
A healer and dabbler in the dark arts of life and death, Barus is as gnarled as an ancient tree. Forgotten in the chaos of the dying queen’s chamber, he spirits away her stillborn infant, and in a hovel at the meadow’s edge, he breathes life into the wisp of a child. He names her Aster for the lea’s white flowers. Raised as his daughter, she learns to heal death.
Then the day arrives when the widowed king, his own life nearing its end, defies the Red Order’s warning. He summons the necromancer’s daughter, his only heir, and for his boldness, he falls to an assassin’s blade.
While Barus hides from the Order’s soldiers, Aster leads their masters beyond the wall into the Forest of Silvern Cats, a land of dragons and barbarian tribes. She seeks her mother’s people, the powerful rulers of Blackrock, uncertain whether she will find sanctuary or face a gallows’ noose.
Unprepared for a world rife with danger, a world divided by those who practice magic and those who hunt them, she must choose whether to trust the one man offering her aid, the one man most likely to betray her—her enemy’s son.
A healer with the talent to unravel death, a child reborn, a father lusting for vengeance, and a son torn between justice, faith, and love. Caught in a chase spanning kingdoms, each must decide the nature of good and evil, the lengths they will go to survive, and what they are willing to lose.
What a beautifully written fantasy book. Stunning prose, engaging characters and a simple but effective plot weave a rich tale of the love of a daughter for her father, and the concerns and morality of awakening the dead.
I loved it from start to finish. There is conflict, uncertainty and excitement, heartfelt scenes, and tender moments in this story.
Aster is a lovely character who the reader can’t help but warm to. The love interest between her and Joreh isn’t overstated, neither does it dominate the plot, instead their relationship gently grows as the story unfolds. I also love her father, Barus.
I was so glad how the story conclusion held such a complete awareness and understanding of love and life in such a sweet fulfilling way. I better say no more for fear of spoiling it for you!
I was also interested to read the inspiration behind the story – a retelling of the story of Kwan-yin from Chinese mythology. And the dragons… they were larger than life! And boy did they like their apples!
A long-time reader, best-selling author D. Wallace Peach started writing later in life when years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books. She was instantly hooked.
In addition to fantasy books, Peach’s publishing career includes participation in various anthologies featuring short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. She’s an avid supporter of the arts in her local community, organizing and publishing annual anthologies of Oregon prose, poetry, and photography.
Peach lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s rainforest with her husband, two owls, a horde of bats, and the occasional family of coyotes.
When Hartley Keg and Blessing go missing, Steve Haven, the young heir to the Haven Robotics Corporation, once again finds himself plunged back into the chaos of Darkacre.
Teaming up with the darkling, he finds himself on the run from the Council and their enforcers, the Hidden, as he seeks to keep safe those he holds most dear.
Things are complicated further when a new player emerges: the Parity, who are far too keen in the Haven Corporation, and the magical device which nearly led to its destruction.
What follows is a race not only against time but through a series of worlds, each more fantastical and dangerous than the last, as Steve and his friends try to keep one step ahead of their pursuers.
Magic Bound is the second adventure in the Haven Chronicles, following on from Haven Wakes, a unique blend of fantasy and sci-fi which has been described by readers as “shades of Artemis Fowl, hints of Harry Potter… and Skulduggery Pleasant”.
My review – ARC copy releases 2nd August
Magic Bound is the 2nd book in the series. I thoroughly enjoyed book 1, Haven Wakes.
The second book continues the adventures of schoolboy Steve. It begins with the revelation that Hartley and Blessing have disappeared. Initially, I found the storyline a little difficult to follow but it certainly becomes more engaging the further I read with shots fired and an armed grenade!
It is a fun filled fantasy adventure I enjoyed. There is quite a lot going on in this second book with many new characters/organisations/operatives to get to grips with… the council, the three sisters at the sanctuary, the revenants, the parity, the grayling, the cyclops to name but a few.
I loved the magic of Hartley’s pixie tailor, the omnometer and the squirrel mail! And the robots. The dashes of perfectly placed humour brings further smiles as it did in book 1.
In book 2 young Steve turns 13! Now a teenager!
Note: Little mention is made of Steve’s parents in either book 1 or 2. Even less so in book 2. The emphasis being on Steve’s adventures, new experiences, and new friends.
Recommended for magic, sci fi and fantasy fans whether young or old!
Rating: 4 out of 5.
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I’m delighted to be joining Donna’s blog tour for Mark Richards new release today with an interview and review too!
Once upon a time I had a business in financial services: nice suits, smart shirts, stripy ties. But always with a small voice inside me. “Let me out,” it said, “I’m a writer.”
I kept the small voice securely under lock and key but then – in 2009 – my brother died of cancer. It was one of those pivotal moments in life. I either let the small voice out and pursued my dream, or I forgot about it for good. So I sold my business, sent my stripy ties to the charity shop and started writing.
Now my time divides between writing for clients – copywriting, ghostwriting – and writing for myself.
In the spring of 2016 I suffered the latest in a long line of mid-life crises and invited my youngest son to come for a walk with me. That led to ‘Father, Son and the Pennine Way’ – the first of three books ostensibly about walking, but really about my ever-changing relationship with my son.
…And now – in September 2020 – I’ve turned my attention to novels. ‘Salt in the Wounds’ in the first book in the Michael Brady series and, when that’s finished, I’ll look to develop two other crime series.
Michael Brady looked at Sandra Garrity’s face. Grey skin. Bloodshot eyes open. Blue lips, her tongue protruding. “Did you watch your husband die, Sandra? Or did he watch you die?”
“Brilliant. Brady is fast becoming the Yorkshire Rebus.”
Billy and Sandra were childhood sweethearts. Writing their names on a lovelock. Fastening it to the end of Whitby pier. Throwing the key into the sea. A lifetime together. A happy retirement in a peaceful hamlet on the North Yorkshire Moors. Until the day they were brutally murdered. “Whoever did this – he didn’t do it quickly. And he enjoyed it…”
Billy was a fisherman, making a living in the cold, cruel North Sea. One night his boat went down. Two crewmen drowned. Billy survived. Are the families looking for revenge? It’s the obvious conclusion. But why have they waited so long? Why have they killed Billy and Sandra? And why kill them in such a barbaric way? “This isn’t a murder, Mike. It’s an execution. A medieval execution.”
Choke Back the Tears is the fourth book in the Michael Brady series. Kershaw’s away, Brady’s in charge. The bucks stops on his desk. But at least Frankie Thomson is back to help him. For now… There are no clues. No motives. It’s a perfect crime scene. All Brady has is his experience and his intuition. And his small team is gettng smaller by the day… Meanwhile he’s battling problems in his personal life. His daughter Ash wants to know the truth about her mother’s death. Brady can’t put off telling her any longer. He’s having doubts about everything. Even the memory of his dead wife.
Choke Back the Tears is the most personal Brady book yet. He has to find the killer. He has to keep his team together. And he owes his daughter an explanation. Michael Brady needs a friend. But he doesn’t have one…
The Michael Brady books are perfect for fans of J D Kirk, Jason Dalgleish, David Gatward, T G Reid – and anyone who likes characters you’ll come to think of as friends.
“Mark Richards has created such a likeable character in Mike Brady that you want to become his friend, go for a drink with him or give him a hug when he obviously needs one. I’ve read all three Brady books within a week and am waiting for the fourth with bated breath.”
Interview with Mark…
Why write a novel? The brutal truth is that I wrote a novel because I ran out of excuses. Travelling back in time I was a dull bugger in a suit, with a business in financial services. I also had this small voice which tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Let me out, you want to be a writer.” In 2009 my brother died of cancer. It was one of those pivotal moments in life. I realised that I either let the small voice out and did what I really wanted to do, or I forgot about it for good. So I sold my business, sent my stripy ties to the charity shop and started writing – starting a new business as a freelance copywriter. Then the small voice started up again. “Let me out, you want to write a novel.” Fortunately I was too busy – no time. Then lockdown struck in March 2020: I immediately lost two clients in the day job and ran out of excuses. Suddenly I did have the time. I skulked away to the spare room and started Salt in the Wounds… Why mystery/thriller/crime? If I was going to move into commercial fiction I wanted a big market and clearly mystery/thriller/crime comes second after romance. My intention with Mike Brady was to land the books fairly and squarely in the middle of the target – to write books that were at least equal to those that were selling well. I read a couple of books by popular authors and thought I could do that. But the books are really about Michael Brady’s internal journey as much as they’re about the crimes. There’s a great quote – supposedly attributed to Joseph Wambaugh – along the lines of, ‘the best crime fiction isn’t about cops working on cases, it’s about cases working on cops.’ That’s how it is with Brady, and you’ll see the impact of the cases over the course of the series. Would you consider any other genre? I’ve got about 10,000 words of a post-apocalyptic book written. When I lost my clients and ran out of excuses it was really a toss-up between Mike Brady and Rafe Mueller (another damaged soul…) I have got other books out there: I’ve written three books about long distance walks I’ve done with Alex, my youngest son. Again though, they’re not about the walks as much as the relationship between Alex and me. Pop ‘Mark Richards, Father, Son and…’ into Amazon and you’ll find them. But brand is important for an author, so I don’t feature those books on my website: for the foreseeable future, I’ll focus on mystery/thriller/crime.
Why did you choose Whitby for the books? As a few people know I live in Scarborough, 20 miles down the coast from Whitby. I chose Whitby because it has such a good ‘sense of place.’ Captain Cook, Dracula, traditional English fishing port, history, Heartbeat, the Moors, fish and chips.
Living so close to it I thought I knew the town quite well. You don’t know a town at all until you start planning to murder someone there… Where did the idea for Michael Brady come from? We have three children – boy, girl, boy. When Eleanor was 14/15 it’s fair to say she went through a fairly rebellious phase. We’re great pals now and she’s my football-buddy, but at the time father/daughter relationships were slightly strained, and there were certainly boyfriends I wasn’t told about. I used to lie awake at night and ask myself a very simple question: ‘how the hell will I cope if anything happens to my wife?’ Simply put, that’s where the idea for Michael Brady came from and at the start of Salt in the Wounds that’s exactly where he is. His wife has been killed in a hit-and-run and he’s driving across the North York Moors with Ash (Ashley), his teenage daughter. He’s determined to start a new life, be a good dad to Ash and has absolutely no intention of going back into the police. And then his best friend is murdered… So Brady’s relationship with Ash is very much my imagined relationship with Elle (Eleanor). The sarcastic replies she gives him are exactly the sort of replies Elle gave me and – like I was when she was in her early teenage years – Brady has a permanent struggle between being protective and allowing her enough freedom. Interestingly one reader in the US took me to task, saying he wouldn’t allow his daughter to speak to him in the way Ash talks to Brady, “but I guess that’s the difference between the US and the UK.” I thought he missed the point – like many teenage girls Ash feels physically awkward around her dad, so when they have these ‘banter conversations’ she’s really giving her dad a sort of verbal hug. By the time you get to Book 4 Brady is tentatively starting his first relationship after his wife – and obviously Ash is going to have some views on the potential new girlfriend. And be on hand with dating advice… ‘All characters are fictitious…’ But what about Archie? Nail. Head. Archie isn’t fictitious. Archie is Pepper, our Springer Spaniel, brought back to life. We got Pep in January 2006. She was just the most brilliant family pet, and my walking buddy on the cliff top. We finally said goodbye to her in November 2019 – and I still drop my toast on the floor and expect her to be there. So Mike Brady’s dog, Archie, is Pepper brought back to life. Archie’s love of sausages and his desperate need to roll in a dead fish? That’s Pepper. If you want to know more about Pep I brought all the short stories I wrote about her and family life together in a book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08BCGLZTW How much research do you do? Compared to other writers? Honestly, I don’t know. I suspect ‘above average’ is the answer. I do all my own research and that includes the physical side of it. I’ve hung off the end of Whitby Pier (Alex held on to me), gone trespassing on a railway line, trekked across the Moors…
For ‘Choke Back the Tears’ I was contemplating jumping into the North Sea fully clothed (you’ll see why) but as I was recovering from Covid at the time I had a long conversation with a girl who goes wild swimming instead. One of the best things about research is how incredibly helpful people are. For Salt in the Wounds I had two or three long conversations with an officer in a woman’s prison, plus a paramedic. The River Runs Deep was witness protection and drowning. For The Echo of Bones I had long, long e-mail conversations with a forensic pathologist in Tennessee. And for the latest book about five trips to Whitby and a detailed conversation with a midwife. Coming up? Brady still owes Dave a fishing trip. I’ll have to go out on a boat and try and catch a ten-pound cod. I’m not looking forward to it – I don’t like boats – but it has to be done. And an idea I had this morning means I might have to sleep rough for a night. And while I didn’t use it in a book, my research has also taught me what to plant if you’ve buried a body in your allotment. Roses at first, then brassicas – cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli… How much of you is there in Brady? Brady’s 42 and his sister tells him he ‘looks a bit like Chris Hemsworth,’ so there aretwo boxes I don’t tick straightaway… I’m in a lot of the small details of Mike Brady. How he likes his bacon sandwiches, how he has his tea, eating fish and chips by the harbour. But Brady’s physically brave – I’m not. Then again I’ve done stand-up comedy in Barnsley… Brady’s relationship with Ash is unquestionably based on my relationship with my daughter. The replies she gives him – ‘This is a cool town, Dad. Two garden centres and a garage. Oh, and a Chinese takeaway. And a car park. I’ll certainly be coming here with my friends’ – are exactly the replies Ellie would have given me. Ditto, Archie. We had a Springer for 13 years, before we lost her in November 2019. Archie is simply Pepper re-born, and when Archie rolls in a dead fish, that’s Pep. Rumour has it you’ve done stand-up comedy. How useful is that when you’re writing a novel? I have. I woke up with a midlife crisis one Saturday morning and told my wife I wanted to try stand-up. I did it for a year and was reasonably good – good enough to get paid and good enough to realise how good the top performers were. I did a gig in York where I was the warm-up for Russell Howard as he was just breaking through, and he was on another level. But stand-up is brilliant training for writing. When you’re writing stand-up material is has to be tight and sharp – I could give you a great example, but it involves a lot of swearing. The same is true of novels. ‘Get it right, keep it tight, cut out the £$%&e’ as the old newspaper editors used to say. You’re self-published at the moment. Would you like to be traditionally published?
As a few people know I had a little bit of a flirt with a publisher around Christmas/New Year. They offered me a contract but I turned it down because of changes they wanted to make to the books. In the short-term that was probably a poor decision, at least from a commercial point of view, but what they wanted to do was simply wrong and would have made the books worse. Long-term let’s see what happens. For now I’m concentrating on the next book in the Brady series which I’ll have written, edited and published for Christmas. No way could you do that with a traditional publisher. Netflix knock on the door: who plays Brady on TV? You know what? I don’t mind. I consciously don’t do detailed descriptions of my characters because I want to give the readers the freedom to imagine the characters as they see fit. If I can give them an impression, that’ll do fine. When Brady first meets the man who’ll be his boss, Kershaw, he’s described as ‘silver-haired, silver-tongued.’ Seriously, do you need any more? Who hasn’t had a boss like that? So no, I’m happy to leave it to the readers. Several of them see Frankie as Suranne Jones. I think she’s too old for Frankie, but I’m happy to leave it to Netflix. I’ll only get cross if they mis-cast Archie… What’s your favourite thing about writing? Let me say one thing straightaway: writing is an incredibly selfish pastime. You have to say to your wife/husband/partner, ‘Yes, I’m very willing to build you a cold frame/paint the kitchen/go out for a drink… But not now, because I have to finish this chapter.’ There are also plenty of times when I’m ‘there but not there.’ My wife will say something to me and I simply won’t reply. I’m in an alley in Whitby murdering someone… That said, I love writing. Why do I write? The same reason as I breathe. I’m not someone who believes in inspiration but occasionally you’ll write a sentence/para and it’s exactly right. Possibly even funny. There are not many better feelings. And two things I didn’t even consider when I started writing novels. The research (see above) and the interaction with readers, which I love. And your least favourite? Other than the comment above about selfishness, writing is time intensive. There are no economies of scale. Two thousand words takes twice as long as a thousand, and it has to be done – especially if you have a deadline and Jeff Bezos is threatening to flog you in the market square if you don’t meet it. On a lovely day that’s tough. The other kids are outside playing on the grass: you’re in the classroom writing your English essay. Your favourite fictional character? Probably Lisbeth Salander in Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. She’s in such a good place at the end of that book that I won’t read the next two.
Thomas Cromwell in the Hilary Mantel books if he’s allowed to qualify as a fictional character. And obviously Hannibal Lecter. “More than my job’s worth, mate.” “Fair enough, I’ll eat your liver.” Plotter or pantser? Gardener or architect? One of the things that stopped me writing a book for a long time was my conviction that I couldn’t plot a novel. I knew I could write reasonably well, but I thought I was limited to articles/blogs in the 600 to 3,000 word range. Essentially what I wrote for clients in the day job as a freelance copywriter. Then lockdown struck, I immediately lost two clients and my standard excuse – I don’t have time to write a novel – went out of the window. So I invented Michael Brady, killed his wife, stuck him in a car with Ash and let him get on with it. Right now I’d describe myself – whichever term you go for – as half way between the two. I know where the story is going and I know some of the key signposts along the way – but I do think you have to let the characters talk to you. Possibly the best example of that is Ruby in ‘The Echo of Bones.’ I had no real idea of Ruby until I started writing about her. But then she opened her mouth, started talking and was fully formed in front of me. The moment she spat in the tea Brady had given her I knew I had a really great character. You’ve got three children. Have any of them inherited the writing gene? ‘Yes’ is the simple answer. Dan has just finished his PhD at Leeds University which involved a fair amount of writing. Alex wrote a western during lockdown – which I need to edit for him. But girls always come out on top don’t they? Elle used to go upstairs to write her English essays and come down again 15 minutes later. She’s always been able to write at speed and I introduced her to an American hybrid publisher who specialised in post-apocalyptic books. She wrote four series for him and made enough for the deposit on a house. #ProudDadAlert What do you do when you’re not writing? A few people know the awful truth. I am North Yorkshire’s only known supporter of Wolverhampton Wanderers. I watch illegal streams of their games and shout a lot. What do you write on? Wax tablet? State of the art Mac? I’ve got an HP laptop. I think it was about three hundred quid. It’s on a stand on my desk and I use a full size keyboard which connects to the laptop via magic. All I really do on my laptop is use Word and Excel, so I don’t need anything powerful. Oh, and the illegal streams, of course. But keep that to yourself…
Thank you to Mark Richards for being my guest today. I really enjoyed finding out more about him and his writing. And… I couldn’t resist reading and reviewing!
It’s rare that I read crime and I am now wondering why!
Many thanks to the author for an advanced review copy and to Donna Morfett for including me in the tour.
I absolutely loved this. I’m late to discover Mark but so glad that I managed to dive in and read book 4. First thing that struck me whilst reading Choke Back The Tears #4 is the short, snappy chapters, which carry your attention brilliantly. And the great characterisation, Brady is so well written, as are all the supporting characters and potential murderers/suspects. The murder scene is gory and much detail is given for the reader to deliberate the who and the what and the why. The setting of the scene in Whitby works well, you can just about smell and taste the fish, chips and bacon sarnies. And I just knew that Archie was fashioned on the author’s dog, guessed it before I read Mark Richard’s interview on my blog. I enjoyed the personal elements woven into the tale about Brady’s daughter which gave the story a pleasing human touch which I appreciated. But… perhaps the aspect I enjoyed the most was the story’s insight into how tough it must be for coppers and law enforcers to cope with the heinous impact of crimes such as these on their stomachs, (as in keep from puking,) and their daily lives.
It’s an easy one to rate… a page turning 5 stars.
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Come share in my excitement! To celebrate the forthcoming release of my new poetry book The Hedge Witch & The Musical Poet, more about that soon… I am offering Mr. Sagittarius Poetry & Prose to you for free (for a limited time,) on kindle: 2nd – 3rd July.
It’s one not to miss! A 5 star read! Available on Amazon Kindle and also free on Amazon Kindle Unlimited and now in paperback: Buying Link: http://mybook.to/MrSagittarius
Who Is Mr. Sagittarius?
And what is his connection to twin brothers, Harold and William?
When Harold dies he leaves a simple memorial request
Will his sister Annette honour it?
Or, will the magic of the garden ensure that she does.
A magical story expressed via poetry and prose with photographic images.
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.
Mr. Sagittarius features a variety of photographs including ones of: trees, a robin and a dragonfly! As well as this there are several stories, and some Halloween poems.
It is dedicated to two amazing ladies: Colleen Chesebro (for her weekly poetry challenges and Charli Mills (flash fiction challenges.) Both ladies have been a source of inspiration and encouragement.
Mr. Sagittarius is a magical celebration of the natural world, a circle of life story with an emphasis on the changing seasons of the year.
Featured at Treasuring Poetry, hosted and reviewed by Robbie Cheadle
THE GOLDEN WEEPING WILLOW (story and poem plus photo of a dragonfly)
GOLDEN WILLOW TREE (poem and photo)
ROBIN: ETHEREE (poem and photo)
LIFE LESSONS FROM BUDDHA (poem)
LIFE LESSONS FROM CATS (poem and photo image via Samantha Murdoch)
MR. FROWNING TREE (poem and photo)
RAINBOW CHILD (story and image of Tourmaline crystal via Samantha Murdoch)
FRIENDS FOR TEA (poem)
THE CANDY CORN MONSTER (Halloween poem)
CANDYFLOSS CRITTER (Halloween poem)
MR GHOST WITH EASE (Halloween poem)
DREAMING AT HALLOWEEN (Halloween poem)
ODE TO LOVE –ETERNAL (Ghost/love poem)
LOVE TAKEN BY DEATH: DIAMANTE (poem)
GHOST: SEPTOLET (Ghost poem)
A FACE ON BARK: ETHEREE (poem)
LOLLIPOP SUNSHINE TREE (poem and photo)
FOR MR. SNOWMAN (poem)
SERENA’S CHRISTMAS BUBBLE MONSTER (humorous story and photo)
BUBBLY SNOWMAN KISSES (poem)
THAT TWINKLE IN HER EYES IS MAGIC (poem)
THE OLD MAN OF SNOW AND THE SNOW SNAKE (story)
MY HEART IS A CAVE (poem)
MR. SAGITTARIUS (story)
MR. SAGITTARIUS DIED THIS DAY IN THIS SNOW DROP GARDEN (poem/prose/photo of snow drops.)
Wonderful 5 star review for Mr. Sagittarius poetry and prose from author D. L. Finn
“Mr. Sagittarius” is a wonderful collection of poetry, prose, and pictures weaved into a magical story. The book focuses on three older siblings. The male twins have developed a special relationship, making their sister feeling left out. When one twin passes, that leaves the brother and sister to grieve. The stories have powerful images that move the narrative along and sometimes veer off into the unknown for a quick visit. We are led through picturesque scenery and whimsical moments, which include an unusual bubble bath, a rainbow hat, and an ice cave. The poetry was beautiful and powerful, and the photos captured nature brilliantly. A quick read that I found relaxing and endearing. A perfect escape in unsettled times that I recommend.
by M.J. Mallon (Goodreads Author) Robbie Cheadle‘s 5 star review May 09, 2021 Mr Sagittarius is a beautiful collection of poems and short stories, set in the lovely gardens of Cambridge and linked by the visits and experiences of a family of twin brothers and their younger sister.
The story starts with William visiting the weeping willow tree in the garden, a place that was special to his twin brother, Harold, who has recently passed away. William sees Harold’s spirit in a dragonfly that he chats to and finds solace in their one-sided communication.
This is a few lines from a poem about the dragonfly: “Ancient, sweet fellow Sacred magic bestower, Change tumbling on fragile wings.”
When William returns home, he has an altercation with his sister, Annette. During their spat Annette reveals that she has always felt left out and overlooked by her twin brothers. This revelation leads to William and Annette becoming closer and visiting the garden together. Not long after, William passes on and Annette is left alone. She visits the garden and communicates with the spirits of both her brothers over the course of the rest of her long life.
The visits of the siblings to the garden are captured in lovely verse. This is an example I really enjoyed: “I dream in colour But now everything is dark Where has the light gone? Oh, cruel leafy canopy, No green meadow, just blue thoughts.”
My favourite of the short stories was The Old Man of Snow and The Snow Snake. This is a story about making good choices in life and rejecting greed. I enjoyed the tale and the descriptive writing.
Mr Sagittarius is a gorgeous book full of delightfully depictive poems and short stories and decorated with striking photographs. This is a book that lovers of poetry, mystery, and wonder will love.
Also, many thanks to Sally Cronin for a wonderful feature review shout out recently too for Mr. Sagittarius.
“A magical book filled with prose, poetry and photographs all linking back to twin brothers, William and Harold. A fascination with the botanical gardens, and regular visits to the bench under the Golden weeping willow, spark poetic memorise and introduce magical creatures. I have to say, I loved the Bubble Monster! The author, MJ, Mallon, has weaved a mystical tale using her poetry and story-telling, to produce a lovely short read that can be dipped into whenever you want.”
“Mr. Sagittarius is the tale of two very different brothers and their only sister, told in poetry and prose inspired by the natural beauty of the botanical gardens in Cambridge, Edinburgh, and Montreal. The accompanying photographs compliment the story adding to the beauty of the author’s words.
We begin with William, who is mourning the loss of his brother Harold. However, he isn’t the only one feeling the pain of bereavement. Annette, the sister, also laments Harold’s passing. This loss forces the two remaining members of the family to come to grips with their grief in a most extraordinary way.
This is a charming poetic journey inspired by the author’s chance meeting with a dragonfly and a robin, sure to delight all readers. Yet, there is more than one magical tale spilling from this collection. By the time you reach the finale, Mr. Sagittarius reveals the wisdom of a life richly lived.”
“Set against the beautiful back drop of the botanical gardens in Cambridge, prose and verse tell the story of people who find solace and joy in the weeping willow tree and dragonflies and in the wonders of the orchids in the hot house. Twin brothers have a favourite bench where they watch the world go by, and their sister Annette reflects on her life after their loss… Other characters make their appearances sharing the magic of the natural world, including young Aurora who collects rainbows and semi-precious stones.
The author takes us through the seasons with poems reflecting the festivals such as Halloween and Christmas, with ghosts and snowmen and a Christmas Bubble Monster. Finally we meet Mr. Sagittarius who shares the loves of his long life….
This is a delightful read with wonderful photographs to enhance the words, and you will find yourself returning to certain passages to read again and enjoy. I am sure you will find your own favourites and I was hard pushed to select just one, but the Etheree: A Face on Bark struck a chord with me.” Author Sally Cronin.
“This is a short book of poetry and prose about aging siblings and the wisdom of Nature. Mallon’s prose reads like fairy tales, and her poetry reads like magic. The stories and poems are loosely linked, episodic snapshots of the sibling’s lives. It’s an upbeat, happy read.” A Happy Read – Priscilla Bettis, author.
“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.” Willow Willers.
“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.”
This was a charming and whimsical read. The author, Mallon, takes us into a magical world in her prose in a tale about 2 siblings, Annette and William, both aging and dealing in their own ways with the grief and some resentments of their departed brother Harold, twin to William. They open up to each other on a bench under the Golden Weeping Willow tree where nature reveals messages.
Mallon did a wonderful job projecting the imagery as the story interconnects with intermittent poetry taking place in the magical botanical gardens, and beautiful photographs added to complement the story.
This is a short upbeat read with great descriptions and an engaging story.
5.0 out of 5 stars A poetic journey through life. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 April 2020 Verified PurchaseShaped 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. Adele Marie Park.
Kyrosmagica Publishing is an ethical publisher based in Cambridge, UK who specialises in fiction, fantasy, magical realism and poetry. My publishing aims are to support the writing community and to encourage and foster a love of reading and the written word.
A young dancer’s naive dream of working in the Far East turns into a nightmare.
She finds herself in a plethora of situations which she is ill-equipped to deal with. Dancing her way across South Korea with two friends, she is propositioned by the Mafia, turned away by the British Embassy, caught in a student riot, and taken to Korean brothels.
At times both shocking and humorous, this is the story of a timid young girl finding her voice and learning to stand up for herself in a male-orientated world of alcohol, sex and seedy nightclubs.
My eldest daughter spent a year in South Korea Teaching English As a Foreign Language so I was curious to pick up this memoir of the author’s experiences. I am glad that I did. It was so funny! Lighthearted and fun. There’s a lot to recommend Fishnets with the antics of the dancers, their differing personalities, all three: Michele, Louise and Sharon are so different.
Follow their crazy madcap adventures: the motorbike episode, strip bars, dancing disco spots, unsalubrious dives, food, (and the desire to eat!) kim chi, hooker hill, and details of the national drink – soju (which is lethal.)
The poor dancers experiences are absolutely horrendous with death threats, misognistic behaviour, danger, rats (furry and not.) The hysterical male performer and his furry g string will remain in my mind forever as will Sharon’s insatiable appetite for men, Mr. Lee’s ‘no work,’ the Korean’s love letter to Michelle and the threat of starvatian to boot!
And poor Louise and Sharon’s extra curvy figures being referred to in derogatory terms as the: ‘Travelling elephant Show.’
One afternoon, Andrew Adler’s average 12-year old life changes forever. He is thrust into a world of excitement and fantasy when his loyal dog Ralph begins to talk and he learns that his dad is in danger. Who are the sinister race of creatures that kidnapped Andrew’s dad? Why do they grow the curious herb, Black Fire? And how can Andrew and Ralph stop the disastrous – and sometimes funny – effect Black Fire is having on the human population? With the clever Ralph as his companion, Andrew discovers the vast and mysterious underground world of Vellistrian, the powerful and ancient race of the Pisal and the most indestructible of fighting opponents. Only then does he recognize true courage within himself.
This was a fun middle grade adventure read for a younger audience. I enjoyed it and particularly liked the growth in the main character Andrew and the close relationship with his talking dog Ralph. Who is super funny and cute. There is something very engaging about books with talking animals in them.
There are many amusing elements in this lovely book to keep younger readers entertained. And older readers would enjoy too. I certainly did.
Imagine a herb having those effects! What could it do? Find out more by reading!
I believe this is the first in the series with more adventures to come. It kind of reminded me of cartoon type adventures. I could imagine this animated for TV.
A recommendation from me. My rating 5 stars.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kim Rigby was born in the island state of Tasmania, Australia but has also lived in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne (her current home). She has enjoyed creating whimsical fairytales since the age of 10. The Black Fire Chronicles – Origins is her first book and the first in a series of many!
“Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words.” Arthur Brisbane 1911.
An image offers an opportunity to see endless possibilities depending on the viewer’s perspective. Where some might see beauty and joy, others imagine sadness and loss of hope.
In this collection, images and syllabic poetry are brought together to tell a story based on the author’s perspective. The poetry explores our human experiences such as love, happiness, hope, aging, friendship, new beginnings, dreams and loss.
The world around us is an amazing playground and source of all our essential needs as well as sensory experiences that bring wonder into our lives. What lies beyond the horizon? What surprises will we discover as a garden bursts into bloom? Where do the night creatures live?
At the end of the collection there are some longer poems celebrating memories of the author’s life of travel, teenage exploits and love of food!
What strikes me about Sally Cronin’s books is the quiet unassuming way in which they appear without too much fanfare. Sally is a wonderful supporter of the indie writing community, so I am glad to be able to give her a little fanfare too by writing a review for her latest book Life is Like A Mosiac: Random Fragments in Harmony. Great title, I’m sure you will agree!
I loved the dedication within with all the names of the people within her writing circles, so lovely.
I’m a big fan of poetry in all its forms, so this book of eclectic poems from Sally Cronin really appealed to me. There are a wide variety, some wise, some amusing, some thoughtful, some just darn well cute. They are all beautiful presented with accompanying photographs taken from various sources.
Favourites include: Farewell to Colourful Friends, Spices, Dreams, Happiness, Mother Nature, Immortality, Hope, Loose Lips, First Steps, The Circle of Life, Finding Clarity, Creatures of The Night, A Toast to Life, Beneath The Redwoods, Persecution in The Garden, Advancing Years, The Crocodile, Silver Lining to Isolation, The Wise Woman’s Apprentice.
Some are illustrated with personal photographs taken from the authors Childhood Memories in Ceylon, and on Summer Holidays, and as she gets a bit older she becomes Rebellious in Frome!
This poetry collection is accessible, unpretentious, (which I love,) and enjoyable. It will make you smile, reflect and bring back your own memories of when you were young, mischievous and perhaps a little difficult too!
In my case, it brought back memories of when I lived abroad in Childhood Memories – Sally’s poetry spoke to me taking me back in time.
Highly recommended – 5 stars
Many thanks to the author for an ARC copy for review which I happily give with no bias.