20th July – Release Day: This Is Lockdown #Compilation #Anthology #Writing #Authors #Lockdown #Poems #Flash #Diaries #Contributors

Happy Release Day to all the contributors in This Is Lockdown.

Help yourself to a slice of pineapple, your favourite coloured balloon, and some blueberry pancakes… I made this smiling fellow during lockdown. I had to eat him – with that smile how could I not? My tummy smiled afterwards!

It seems strange to celebrate anything during this horrendous time but… it’s important to look to the future and hope that this worldwide pandemic will ease and a solution will be found in the months ahead.

During lockdown I found it difficult to write my usual genre: YA Fantasy, so I focused instead on interviewing authors on the subject of ‘isolation’ during COVID19. I enjoyed this blog series so much, discovering so much common ground with other authors and bloggers that it seemed a good idea to take this further and to produce a book, a compilation of my diaries, poetry, flash fiction, and writings with ‘The Isolation writers,’ who live  in the UK, Ireland, Scotland, USA, Australia, Zimbabwe and Australia.

It doesn’t matter where we live, our experiences are similiar.

Here are some quotes from contributors to This Is Lockdown:

  1. ‘Isolation itself is not a problem, as an author I tend to live in other worlds anyway.’ Richard Dee. 
  2. ‘Nobody should feel they have to achieve things during this time of corona. It’s ok to just be – to stay safe, spend time with family, read and relax.’ Catherine Fearns.
  3.  What has changed? The answer is: Everything – but it took me a while to notice. Jackie Carreira
  4. We could get through this crisis better if everyone would cut each other some slack and come together. One can only hope… Sharon Marchisello
  5. I feel I’ve become like the ancients, huddled with my little family around the fire in a small circle of light.  Lynn Fraser
  6. I’m taking life at the moment with a huge dollop of perspective. – Fi Phillips
  7. If nothing else, this pandemic will have allowed us to work together in a way we might never have considered doing before. Jeannie Wycherley
  8. What’s changed for me? Nothing and everything and believe me, that’s as confusing as it sounds.  Chantelle Atkins
  9. Still, I’m just thankful that I am okay, we are all healthy, and that, in itself, is the biggest thing. Ritu Bhathal
  10. This situation easily calls forth the entire spectrum and expression of human emotion. Tracie Barton Barrett
  11. Instead, I started painting – no, not the walls, although they could do with it. I created big bright, colourful pieces of art to cheer myself up. Alice May
  12. On my walks, I spend time thinking what the world will be like after coronavirus and how it will differ from the past. Peter Gooby-Taylor
  13. Festivals are important. We meet, talk, drink, solve the world’s problems, learn and relax. Miriam Owen
  14. We greatly miss our author visits to shops, libraries and book clubs. – Ceri and Drew
  15. At time of writing, lockdown here in Italy is easing, but I am still wary of emerging into the sunlight.  Katherine Mezzacappa
  16. 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. Willow Willers
  17. I
    believe
    there is a
    silver lining
    to isolation 
     –  a line from Sally Cronin’s poem.
  18. I am very much missing human engagement – talking in person, hugging a friend, and seeing a compassionate, genuine smile, not hidden behind a mask. D G Kaye
  19. Something is very wrong in this new world, (from poem) Adele Marie Park
  20. The world is quiet, a new strange calm,  (from Poem) Marian wood
  21. unknowing (the city) –  for the rains… (from Poem) Frank Prem
  22. Anxious thoughts lace my outings to The Wasteland. Sherri Matthews.
  23. Welcome to the new normal, I could be smiling right now but you cannot see it behind the mask. Beaton Mabaso
  24. We really felt that our project hit a chord and it showed what a community pulling together could achieve. It seemed to give focus in this strange and new world of lockdown. Jane Horwood and Melissa Santiago-Val. Fundraising for the NHS: #CommunityMasks4NHS
  25. We are living in strange and difficult times indeed my friends, but there comes a time when we must raise our eyes to the future, and reflect and act on what we have learned. Samantha Murdoch.
  26. As the virus bloomed, so did sales, until non essentials were forced to close. But she soon found lockdown’s silver lining in endless days communing with her own bookshelves. – quote from a piece by Anne Goodwin.
  27. Stay Safe in Your Own Personal WildernessM J Mallon

This Is Lockdown is:

An anthology and compilation of diaries, short stories, flash fiction, contributions from the ‘isolation writers,’ plus poetry written during the time of lockdown in the UK. This Is Lockdown is written from a writer’s perspective highlighting the simple pleasures of day-to-day life during such an uncertain and frightening time. It also gives a glimpse of the blogging, writing world. The book showcases several authors and their thoughts on what it is like to experience ‘isolation’ as a writer. I also discuss the handling of the pandemic and my thoughts on what might happen next. 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.

This Is Lockdown kindle buying Link:

Universal link: mybook.to/Thisislockdown

It is also available for free on kindle unlimited.

Amazon UK link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08CD1MCFB?pf_rd_r=NPA6S5SQJ30A6VYX87Q5&pf_rd_p=e632fea2-678f-4848-9a97-bcecda59cb4e

Amazon US link:

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COVID19 Diaries: #Writing #Poetry #Editing #Motivation #Shadorma #Book #Review #Family

Photo by Chimene Gaspar from Pexels

1st May 2020

News to catch up on from the first day of May.

What’s been happening? Much of the same, sadly. But, we have now apparently passed the peak and deaths should now be on the decline.

Let’s hope so.

In the last few days Natasha and I have kept up with our keep fit routine with a Salsa Type dance workout in the garden and a yoga one too. Both were such fun! I’d love to do them again.

Good news yesterday – mum got her mince! She was missing some from her recent food box. This time she was able to make beefburgers.

And cheery news! A new review for Mr Sagittarius from Author Adele Marie 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.

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

I tuned into Heena Rathore Pardesi’s webinar yesterday. She was sharing creative writing tips. Here’s the link to the Facebook Live link:

It inspired me – which is just what I need right now as my eldest daughter has finished beta editing the second book in my Curse of Time series. Even so, I am struggling with motivation. Fortunately, some of Heena’s ideas really spoke to me. Particularly, the one about trying new fonts , using a notebook, or other inspiring ways to motivate yourself. This is particularly true if like me you have a huge, daunting project ahead of you. The second in a series is so hard to write.

Heena’s blog links:

https://crazycatwriter.com/blog/

https://thereadingbud.com/

I thought that perhaps I should find a writing quote to inspire me before I start editing. I opened my little book which is called Inspiration For Writers and opened it at a random page.

This is what greeted me:;

I am only really alive when I am writing – Tennessee Williams.

Wow, that quote couldn’t be more appropriate!

Who did I feature next in my Isolation for Writers Series?

Fiona Philips: https://mjmallon.com/2020/05/01/isolation-for-writers-guest-post-fiona-phillips-coronavirus-covid19-isolation-writers/

In her words Fiona is: ‘an author, playwright and copywriter living in North Wales, just over the border from Chester. For years I worked in an office environment until motherhood and my husband’s career moves tugged me into self-employment, dumped me onto a new creative path, and turned my dream career into a reality. My debut fantasy novel, Haven Wakes, was published by Burning Chair in 2019 and I’m currently working on the follow-up, as yet untitled novel due to be published in 2020.’

2nd May

Today, would have been Deepings Literary Festival Read Dating event. Sadly, it was cancelled due to Coronavirus. Linda Hill kindly shared a blog post about all the authors who would have attended this event, including yours truly.

https://lindasbookbag.com/2020/05/02/not-the-deepings-literary-festival-read-dating-2nd-may-2020/

That was really thoughtful of her.

I shared a poem for Colleen’s poetry challenge.

https://mjmallon.com/2020/05/01/colleens-2020-weekly-tanka-tuesday-poetry-challenge-no-175-themeprompt-shadorma-covid19-coronavirus/

I wrote two Shadorma inspired by our experience during COVID19. They reflect my growing sense of sadness and unease at the magnitude of deaths throughout the world. It’s so sad and frightening. In the UK alone over 26,000 people have died to date. And all the while here in Cambridge the sun has shone practically every single day of Lockdown. A couple days ago, we had some rain and even a short burst of thunder and lightning. And yet, immediately the sun returned.

How strange. Life goes on, sunshine, showers and thunderstorms but such tragedy remains.

Every now and then Gina pops downstairs to ask me to take her photo for her Instagram page. Today, we did a photo shoot with her new ponytail hair piece! It turned out great, will share that soon.

We went for a walk with hubby and Tasha down by the river in the evening. A car speeded past then turned tail and went past us again. Bit strange, we were glad to have a 6 foot bloke with us – hubby! Two trains sped past too. We talked about how we should walk in nature more often. There were such beautiful views. But I didn’t bring my camera, or phone. Sometimes, it is nice just to experience life without any interruptions.

On the way back, bats were following us down the pathway. Tasha and I were screeching, hubby didn’t blink an eyelid. He didn’t mind them. In fact, I swear he likes them!

We survived. Lol.

Hope you are surviving lockdown too.

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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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