Author Interview and Excerpt Sally Cronin #Author #Interview #Excerpt #Shortstories #Poetry

Welcome to Kyrosmagica! It is wonderful to have you over for a chit chat, Sally.


Lovely to be here Marjorie and thank you for the invitation.


MJ: I’m delighted to be reading Life is Like A Bowl of Cherries, Sally, the title is so beguiling, particularly as I do love fruit, and cherries are a favourite!

MJ: Sally, I’d love to hear more about your nomadic life. I believe you have lived in many countries. Which of these places has a special place in your heart and why?


My father was in the Royal Navy and was posted overseas several times. On occasion we were able to travel with him as a family, including my first trip at age 18 months to Ceylon (Sri Lanka). The first year was documented in photographs and I don’t really remember as I was too young, but certainly by the time I was three I was aware of my surroundings and the people in my life. We lived in a house on the edge of the jungle and we had a cook and an amah or nanny for me. My two sisters were 13 and 14 by this time and when they came back from school I was handed over to them. Anything they did I did too, and I was swimming every day in my rubber ring which I loved and still do today, but without the rubber ring!! On one memorable occasion, I followed my eldest sister up a steep ladder during a diving competition. She completed her dive and surfaced expecting applause to find a stunned silence and groans from the crowd. I had crawled to the end of the diving board, stood up and jumped off. Apparently I surfaced and told my sister ‘again’.


After Sri Lanka we returned to the UK for two years followed by two years in Malta which were amazing, and after another two years in England we moved to South Africa. My memories of our time in Cape Town are very vivid as I was ten years old by this time and well aware of the situation at that time with apartheid for example. As a family we had to attend an induction day so that we knew what we could say and what the rules were for segregation. I found it very difficult as I had friends at school in England from the West Indies and the Middle East and it felt very uncomfortable being unable to be friends with anyone because of their colour.


David and I have lived and worked in several countries over the last forty years and certainly our experiences, and the people we have met, have provided us with amazing memories. As a writer all of my travels have left me with memories that are wonderful to dip into and use for stories.


They say that ‘home is where the heart is’, and for me that is certainly the case, and wherever we might be living, as long as David and I are under the same roof it is a special place.

MJ: Oh, how lovely.

MJ: Writing short stories and poetry takes a special skill. Can you summarise the way you approach writing them – any rituals you have, or methods you use?


The stories start out life a great deal longer than they end up. I tend to write in my head first when walking or exercising, then come back and dash it out on the computer. I spend a lot of time revising and editing down to a point where I feel it reads aloud well. And I always ask myself, would I enjoy if I read the story for the first time.


I tend to stick to the Japanese poetry which is constrained by the number of syllables. I love the various formats and experiment depending on the theme. After the first draft, I usually end up changing the words within a certain syllable count to find the one that expresses the most action or emotion.

With everything I write, I use David as a sounding board and he is brilliant with suggestions that might enhance or improve the piece.

MJ: You feature so many authors on your wonderful blog Smorgasbord. This must be a labour of love as I’m sure it must take up so much of your time. As an indie author you give so much to the community in features, reviews and the like. How do you manage your time? And do you ever feel overwhelmed?


One of the key elements I learned early on in my management career was project planning and this was vital when dealing with major construction, installation or sales and marketing campaigns. I carried this over to when I was running my own business for the next twelve years and then as a blogger.


For me blogging is a full time occupation and a business despite the blog itself not being monetised. I am an indie author with 14 books to sell and nobody else is going to do that for me. With 20,000 new titles added to the shelves on Amazon each week, it is tough to get noticed, particularly in the popular genres.

Twenty years ago I was helping authors get their books noticed in a very different way with book launches, radio interviews, press releases and my own first book got some great publicity nationally. However, it is very different now, and the focus is on local physical marketing and global online promotion.


As an author of six books in 2012, I needed a platform to market my own books and that involved creating an online presence across other areas of social media. I began building Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn systematically over the years. I don’t belong to any other social media because as you say, it is time consuming to maintain, and these three are the most consistent referrers of visitors to the blog after WordPress Reader.


I had a project plan in place to achieve my vision of how I wanted the blog to develop. To market my own books, I felt that the content on the blog needed to appeal to a varied market. I set out to develop a magazine style platform with a number of topics. I began with health which I have been involved in for over fifteen years by that time, and slowly added the other areas I have been involved such as book marketing, music and humour as the followers and my confidence grew.

After three years I felt that there was a strong enough following to offer free book marketing to other authors, which is when the Café and Bookstore came into existence. There are now over 150 author promotions, two book fairs featuring all the authors in the Café, and around 50 individual author spotlights a year. My hope is that I can help in some small way to showcase an author and their work within our writing community, whilst also promoting my own.


As to finding the time to post in the way I do… I always schedule ahead by at least a week and usually two. In the case of a series I schedule all the posts at one time. This creates time for me to maintain social media, spend time on my own writing projects, and read and review books.


The project plan is not completed, and in the blog’s 9 th year I hope to continue to find new ways to get all of us noticed and sell some books.

MJ: You are an inspiration, what a wonderful goal.

MJ: The title of your latest release: Life Is Like A Bowl of Cherries. How did you choose the title and what were you trying to convey?


My life experience has been one of highs and lows as is the case for so many people. The reason I appreciate what I have right now, is because of the tough times in the past. Nobody has a perfect life and that is what makes it so fascinating. I wanted to reflect this in the stories I write, but I try to end each of them with a hopeful outcome.


As to the name of the collection…I bought a punnet of cherries last year and could not believe how they looked the same but some were bitter and some were sweet. When I was looking for a title it came to mind.

MJ: That’s so cute!

MJ: After eight years blogging what advice would you impart to new bloggers starting their blogging journey?


Everybody has a different reason for beginning their blogs and there is no right or wrong way to go about it. I do dislike the term Hobby Blogger which is used for anyone who does not commercialise their blog. Whether it is one blog a week, one a day or more, it takes time to prepare, format and market. Various skills are required and whilst it should be enjoyable, it takes work, not just to create the posts, but to get noticed.


I do suggest that anyone thinking about blogging visit a load of other blogs first to get a feel of what is out there, the format, the response in terms of followers and comments. That is usually a solid indicator that people enjoy the content.


A good place to start with your own blog is with your passions, which might be cooking, music, writing, etc. Start with one blog a week and sprinkle with some reblogs of other people’s posts that you are following and enjoy. They will appreciate the gesture and return the favour.


Follow and comment on other blogs and share on social media by clicking one of the buttons at the end of the post. Just saying ‘I enjoyed that thank you’ with your name is very welcome. One thing I do suggest is that you don’t put the URL of your blog in the comment as that should come up with your name, and most blogs block comments containing URLs.


Follow bloggers you enjoy on Twitter and Facebook and retweet their pinned tweets…and if you are an author this is particularly important. I do have a pdf of Book Marketing for authors, including set up for blog and social media and if anyone would like a copy then they just need to email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com

MJ: Has your writing mojo stayed the same during this unprecedented time of covid?


Like all of us we have had to adjust to several lockdowns and still having to get on with life in the most hopeful way possible. I felt it was very important for my own wellbeing to ensure that the blog continued as normal during the year. More than ever being online and staying in contact was crucial, and authors were still writing books that needed to be marketed. Music and laughter are important in my life, particularly at the moment, so there was no thought of not carrying on as usual.

MJ: You live in Ireland now, what made you settle there? And do you ever see yourself moving?


My husband is Irish and despite leaving for work when he was 18 years old we have visited family regularly and lived here for five years in the mid-1990s. We loved living just outside of Madrid and periodically on the south coast of Spain for my time on radio, but we got to our mid-60s and felt that it would be a good idea to return to Ireland. We are in good health but even if you are relatively fluent in a language you would still find it difficult coping with illness, or possibly being left on your own to cope with it.


It has been nearly five years now and I miss our friends and the sunshine, having swapped 300 days of blue skies for 300 days of rain! But the warmth of the people here certainly makes up for that. Additionally this last year, there has been a sense of feeling less exposed as we live in a rural area on the coast. Without the usual holidaymakers arriving from Dublin this summer, the incidence of the virus has been much less than it has been elsewhere in Ireland and in the UK. Obviously we are sorry for all the small businesses dependent on this annual influx but it is better to be safe than sorry.


We love our house which took four years to renovate, with some work is still needed in the garden, which is weather dependent. There is enough room to move in some help as we get older, as neither of us are care home material…so the answer is we probably are here for the duration! For the time being lol…


Thank you again Marjorie for inviting me over and I hope that I didn’t outstay
my welcome… I do love to chat… Happy 2021 everyone.

Excerpt from The Scratch Card

Elsie Thompson attended the morning service at St. Cuthbert’s and dropped in to the coffee morning in the church Hall to catch up on the gossip in the parish from the last week. She also wanted to share the good news with her friends that she had won twenty pounds on a scratch card the day before, and she had four crisp five pound notes in her purse to prove it.

Mr. Singh the owner of the corner shop where she always bought her tickets, had beamed at her as he handed over the cash and commented it would not take her far sadly. She laughed and spent one of the fivers on another card, in the hopes another win might get her somewhere with a lot more sunshine than Liverpool. To be honest, even enough for a day out in Southport would be lovely for the both of them, and her husband Frank would enjoy a stroll down Lord’s Street, and she would treat him to a posh tea at the Prince of Wales hotel.

Elsie paid for five cups of coffee and a biscuit for herself and her four friends with one of the remaining fivers, and they sat in a corner happily sharing their news and plans for the following week. It was money well spent, and an hour later, Elsie walked home to get the roast lunch prepared, looking forward to their son Tom’s monthly visit with his wife Steph and their two boys.

As she crossed the main road, she saw a young lad sitting on the pavement outside a closed charity shop, he was playing the guitar, and at the moment the only audience seemed to be his dog leaning up against his shoulder. Elsie paused in her mental preparation of the roast pork with crackling, roast potatoes, carrots, cauliflower cheese and peas, followed by apple pie and custard. The boy’s face was pinched, and he shivered in the cold breeze that had picked up in the last couple of hours. His music was actually not half bad, and he had a nice voice, which drew her closer to hear more clearly. He smiled in recognition of her attention and the dog stood up and wagged its tail.

Elsie looked into the open guitar case and saw a few coppers were strategically scattered to entice further contributions. She had appreciated her own little bit of luck, and a few shillings wouldn’t be missed. She took her purse out of her handbag, opened it and realised she only had some pennies. Shaking her head she pulled out one of the remaining two five pound notes and tucked it beneath some of the coppers to stop it flying away. She looked up into the boy’s face when he suddenly stopped singing and saw tears running down his face into his dirty scarf.

MJ: I’ve read this story and it is one of my favourites!

Author bio.

Sally Cronin is the author of fourteen non-fiction and fiction books published over the last twenty years. After a nomadic life living and working around the world, she and her husband now live on the Wexford coast in Ireland. As an indie author she began blogging seven years ago as a way to promote her own books and then created The Cafe and Bookstore to promote other authors and their work. Smorgasbord Blog Magazine is also home to health, food, music, life stories, poetry and humour.

Latest book: Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries, Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet

Sally’s links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08QCQ4VVV

Blog: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com

http://uk.linkedin.com/in/sallycronin1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sgc58

Always so lovely to feature Sally who is such a wonderful supporter of the indie community and a kind friend.

I’m looking forward to reviewing Sally’s new book soon. In the meantime, do pop over to read my 5 star review of Life’s Rich Tapestry:

https://mjmallon.com/2020/08/08/book-review-lifes-rich-tapestry-by-sally-cronin/

Much love, happy reading, and writing!

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#TANKA TUESDAY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 205, #POET’SCHOICE #Tanka #Poem #Excerpt #YA #Fantasy

I’m deep in complicated edits for the second in my YA fantasy series – The Curse of Time #2 Golden Healer, and they are driving me crazy! As it’s Poet’s Choice I’m going to share the opening poem and a short extract, (which still needs a final edit so please bear that in mind.)

The story opens with two dear old friends, Leanne the owner of the magical crystal cottage and Eruterac, the creature, who is the caretaker of the cottage. The below link is to Carolina Russo’s wonderful blog.

Carolina has created two amazing art portraits of my characters which you can see below – Esme the mirror girl and Eruterac the creature at: https://yesterdayafter.com/

© Carolina Russo

The creature is getting impatient! So off we go…

The Creature and Leanne Share Some Tea

Worms, caviar too,

Two unlikely friends share tea,

And Chit – ter – Chat – ter,

That Chiastolite, oh my!

And Amelina’s bloodstone.

Come with me…

Through a gated door leading to a herb and rose garden where two strange companions Leanne, and Eruterac the creature share a rare moment together.

Today, they marvelled at the beauty and fragility of the rose petals which created a dazzling display of white, yellow, pink, and darkest crimson blooms. The delightful fragrance of roses and herbs filled the air, bursting with sweetness. In the backdrop, a quaint old cottage with shuttered windows rested as if waiting for a passing stranger to dare to cross its threshold. Within, skylights alighted on all manner of crystals as they twinkled, longing for a release from their embedded position on the walls. The ground around the cottage stirred, breaking and settling as if the cottage might be drawn back into its hiding place: the earth.

In the surrounding courtyard, there were cages and feeders for birds which hung from the trees. White doves cooed and preened themselves in bird baths.  

The creature Eruterac paid no attention to the antics of these exquisite birds, instead he fidgeted as he tried to rearrange his tall skeletal frame into Leanne’s dainty, wrought iron chairs.

Leanne sat opposite him. Except for the tulle layers of her silken gown, her tiny frame appeared lost in the chair. She tilted her head with an air of grandeur as if she was about to join a garden party frequented by the finest royalty, or perhaps the Gods themselves.

Eruterac had no such attire, except for his knitted rasta cap with sun-cured palm leaves which covered his matted dreadlocks.  

His needs were a thing of the past, for now his concerns were reduced to the worms that crawled across his bony frame. He held one such wrigging creature inches from the gap where his mouth used to be and edged forward dangling it in front of Leanne’s nose.

“Dinner,” he joked as he bobbed his skeletal head.

Leanne shuddered. “No worms, thanks, dearest creature. Caviar for me!” She picked up her finest china teapot and poured the liquid into a cup. It flowed slowly, twinkling with a myriad of brilliant colours. When it filled the cup, it turned the colour Leanne expected. She’d thought of green tea and magical green tea it was.

Eruterac choked and spluttered on clods of earth as he laughed. “That’s foul. Green tea, how can you drink such muck?”

“Easy. I do so with a smile, unlike … poor you! I see worms continue to ooze gunk where your dear mouth used to be,” replied Leanne, reaching forward to pat Eruterac on his skeletal shoulder.

They rested for a moment, her gentle hand on his bones.

 “I’ll try not to drink such delicacies!” replied Eruterac, cracking his bones for a joke.

“Wise fellow. Forgive me for changing the subject but your new hat is very fetching! I’s so brown and earthy with that Chiastolite death crystal, completed by that black cross embellishing  the cap’s centre.”

“Indeed, it’s a dark beauty, like an honourable death,” he said, his skeletal arm reached up to touch the crystal on his hat.

“Take heart, dear Creature, forget about death, and being bound to this cottage. Let us rejoice in the simple pleasures of life which we take for granted…” Leanne pointed at their sublime surroundings.

Eruterac sighed. ”Yes, there are times when amidst such tranquillity and beauty that I forget everything.”

A white dove landed on Leanne’s slender shoulder, she turned and smiled. But the dove thought better of it and alighted on the Creature’s hat. It pecked away at the worms making the creature smile.

“Cheeky doves, always favouring Eruterac’s sunny hat.”

“They know who provides them with a constant dinner of worms. And who’s boss.”

“Huh!  A boss? You? That Chiastolite’s making you big-headed.  Oh, my days! The protectors, you, and my dearest doves are all that I and my dear cottage need… But, I mustn’t forget, I have news to impart – the midsummer fly is up to his tricks.”

“Where’s that stinking fly been to this time?” asked Eruterac, leaning forward, sending worms tumbling towards Leanne’s teacup. Her eyes grew wide as she placed a protective hand over the top but a few swift worms landed in the saucer. She swiped them away.

© M J Mallon

More to come, there is a mention of the bloodstone in the latter part of this opening chapter, find out more when the book is complete. It continues to be my most challenging writing project, so it may be a while. Be patient with me dear readers.

Any feedback would be greatly received.

While I am editing book two here is the link to the first book in the YA fantasy series The Curse of Time #1 Bloodstone, the blurb and some review quotes.

My Book: myBook.to/TheCurseofTime

The Curse of Time – Book 1 – Bloodstone

Blurb:

Fifteen-year-old Amelina Scott lives in Cambridge with her dysfunctional family, a mysterious black cat, and an unusual girl who’s imprisoned within the mirrors located in her house. When an unexpected message arrives inviting her to visit the Crystal Cottage, she sets off on a forbidden pathway where she encounters Ryder, a charismatic, but perplexing stranger.

With the help of a magical paint set, and some crystal wizard stones she discovers the truth about a shocking curse that has destroyed her family’s happiness.

“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)

Do you like the opening chapter?

I’m thrilled to announce I am included amongst some wonderful poets in Colleen Chesebro’s poetry book store with my poetry, prose and photography collection Mr. Sagittarius: https://colleenchesebro.com/poetry-books-for-sale/

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Excerpt: Samantha Murdoch – Forthcoming Anthology – This Is Lockdown

Photo by Ella Lena from Pexels

Today, I have great pleasure to share with you an excerpt from This Is Lockdown, an anthology of writing plus my poetry, flash fiction, and short stories due for release soon.

This is from my good friend Samantha Murdoch…

Strange Days Indeed…!

A tale from Samantha Murdoch

© Copyright Samantha Murdoch

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…

Although not a native of the East Midlands, I find its quirky humour and the people here have grown on me the longer I’ve lived here and there’s always something… well strange going on.

Take the other day for example – as the youngest, fittest and lowest risk category member of my little family I do the shopping and medication run, and I had just returned from delivering essential items to my mother.

“Hurry up for Christ’s sake Samantha, you know I can’t go out and I am gasping for a cigarette and the dogs are driving me mad for treats!” namely cigarettes, dog meat and dog treats, leaving them carefully on her doorstep and waving to the dogs who were grinning madly at me through the window while standing on the windowsill wearing Mother’s net curtains on their heads like very fetching lace mantillas.

I called goodbye and left – “Get off the bloody windowsill you idiots!” – her words of farewell echoing behind me and went pottering off up the hill to return to my own house, pondering weighty issues like should I feed my sour dough starter again – did I need to plant more beetroot and would my partner possibly let me buy a little goat…

My reverie was, well, strangely interrupted by a somewhat overweight and half naked gentleman running towards me, his hands cupped carefully around something at his groin level shouting:

“Can you do anything with this please?”

Understandably, I backed away rapidly, fumbling desperately in my handbag for a weapon (I found a biro) and my look of confusion must have registered with the man because he stopped running and said, a little more reasonably:

“No, look!”

He held his hands out to me, and nestled on his palms was a collared dove, one of our prettiest native birds. I approached and looked down. It seemed uninjured, and gazed back trustingly at us.

“What would you like me to do with it?” I enquired politely, hoping I wasn’t about to be wrestled indoors and commanded to make pigeon pie…

“My cat had hold of it – she’s a bogger * for catching birds and bringing ‘em in and I can’t leave it in my garden coz she’ll only have it again, so I thought you could take it with you,” he finished, looking at me hopefully.

“Ah! Oh – no, I have four cats,” I told him, and we both nodded in mutual understanding of our furry friends’ proclivities.

Suddenly, he brightened as an idea struck.

“That house over there – they’ve got a big hedge! I can put it in there!”

“That’s a good idea,” I replied encouragingly.

Together, we sneaked across the road, keeping out of the sight line of the house and I watched as the man pushed the dove into a suitable hole as far up as he could reach in the hedge.

We stood back and looked. The dove settled quite happily into its hiding place and we smiled at each other, the half naked somewhat overweight man and I, united in our common goal to help save a little life.

I haven’t seen him since, and I hope the little bird recovered too. But in these strange days sometimes that’s all that’s needed – a little kindness.

Stay safe and well, friends.

© Writing and Image – Samantha Murdoch

* The term bogger is the pronunciation used in Nottingham of bugger!

Bio:

Samantha Murdoch enjoys sharing her thoughts on writing and the power of the written word. She entertains and amuses her blogging community with her thoughts and memories, cats, crystals laughter and the magic of everyday life.

A lovely blog with a warm and friendly welcome, and lots of furry friends too!

Links:

https://samanthamurdochblog.wordpress.com

https://www.instagram.com/crystalcats1485/

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James Cudney: Academic Curveball #Excerpt #Free #Kindle #Download 5th to 9th June 2020

The debut book in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, Academic Curveball, is available as a FREE Kindle download from 6/5 thru 6/9. This book won a Best Fiction award and was the #1 downloaded Kindle book in the highest possible category in February 2019 during the initial promotion. There are now 6 books available in the series, so why not start reading them by getting this one for FREE!

Download for FREE via Amazon

Overview / Description:  

When Kellan Ayrwick returns home for his father’s retirement, he finds a body in Diamond Hall’s stairwell. Unfortunately, Kellan has a connection to the victim, and so do several members of his family. 

Soon after, the college’s athletic program receives mysterious donations, a nasty blog denounces his father, and someone attempts to change students’ grades. Something is amiss on campus, but none of the facts add up.

With the help of his eccentric nana, Kellan tries to stay out of the sheriff’s way and solve the mystery. But can they find the killer before he strikes again?

Praise:

★★★★★ – “I read a lot of murder mystery and whodunit books, and this was one of the best I’ve read in a while. The story is full of twists and turns, and the characters are relatable. If you like cozy mysteries, you should definitely give this series a try.”

★★★★★ – “Fantastic writing and witty dialogue. Awesome.”

★★★★★ – “An exciting, cozy mystery.”

★★★★★ – “Full of twists and turns, and an ending you won’t see coming.”

Purchase Links for Academic Curveball

Kindle: http://mybook.to/ACurveball

Paperback: http://mybook.to/academiccurveballbrapb

Large Print: http://mybook.to/academiccurveballbralp

German Translation: http://mybook.to/acbde

Portuguese Translation: http://mybook.to/bolacurvapb

US Audiobook: https://www.audible.com/pd/B07X6JWYP1/?source_code=AUDFPWS0223189MWT-BK-ACX0-162879&ref=acx_bty_BK_ACX0_162879_rh_us

UK Audiobook:

Overview / Description:  

When Kellan Ayrwick returns home for his father’s retirement, he finds a body in Diamond Hall’s stairwell. Unfortunately, Kellan has a connection to the victim, and so do several members of his family. 

Soon after, the college’s athletic program receives mysterious donations, a nasty blog denounces his father, and someone attempts to change students’ grades. Something is amiss on campus, but none of the facts add up.

With the help of his eccentric nana, Kellan tries to stay out of the sheriff’s way and solve the mystery. But can they find the killer before he strikes again?

Praise:

★★★★★ – “I read a lot of murder mystery and whodunit books, and this was one of the best I’ve read in a while. The story is full of twists and turns, and the characters are relatable. If you like cozy mysteries, you should definitely give this series a try.”

★★★★★ – “Fantastic writing and witty dialogue. Awesome.”

★★★★★ – “An exciting, cozy mystery.”

★★★★★ – “Full of twists and turns, and an ending you won’t see coming.”

Purchase Links for Academic Curveball

Kindle: http://mybook.to/ACurveball

Paperback: http://mybook.to/academiccurveballbrapb

Large Print: http://mybook.to/academiccurveballbralp

German Translation: http://mybook.to/acbde

Portuguese Translation: http://mybook.to/bolacurvapb

US Audiobook: https://www.audible.com/pd/B07X6JWYP1/?source_code=AUDFPWS0223189MWT-BK-ACX0-162879&ref=acx_bty_BK_ACX0_162879_rh_us

UK Audiobook:

Read an Excerpt – Chapter 1

I’ve never been comfortable flying. My suspicious nature assumed the magic suspending airplanes in the sky would cease to exist at some master planner’s whim. Listening to the whirr of a jet propeller change speeds—or experiencing the mysterious pockets of rough air jolt you up and down—equaled imminent death in an aluminum contraption destined for trouble. I spent the entire flight with my jaw clenched, hands clutching the armrests, and eyes glued to the seatback in front of me impatiently hoping the diligent crypt keeper didn’t claim another victim. Despite my uncanny knack for grasping anything mechanical and Nana D always calling me brilliant, I was entirely too doubtful of this mode of transportation. My gut promised I’d be safer plummeting over Niagara Falls naked and in a barrel.

After landing at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport on this miserable mid-February afternoon, I rented a Jeep to trek another ninety miles south into Pennsylvania. Several inches of densely packed snow and veiled black ice covered the only highway leading into or out of my secluded childhood hometown. Braxton, one of four charming villages fully surrounded by the Wharton Mountains and the Saddlebrooke National Forest, was nearly impenetrable from outside forces.

As I changed lanes to avoid a slippery patch, my sister’s number lit up the cell phone screen. I paused Maroon 5 on my Spotify playlist, clicked accept, and moaned, “Remind me why I’m here again?”

“Guilt? Love? Boredom?” Eleanor said followed by a loud chuckle.

“Stupidity?” Craving something of substance to squelch the angry noises radiating from my stomach, I grabbed a chocolate chip cookie from a bag on the passenger seat. The extra tall salted caramel mocha—free, courtesy of a pretty red-haired barista who’d shamelessly flirted with me—wouldn’t suffice on its own. “Please save me from this torture!”

“Not gonna happen, Kellan. You should’ve heard Mom when I suggested you might not make it. ‘He’s always coming up with excuses not to return home more often. This family needs him here!‘ But don’t worry, I calmed her down,” shouted Eleanor over several dishes and glasses clanging in the background.

“Did she already forget I was here at Christmas?” Another cookie found its way into my mouth. I must confess, I’m powerless to desserts—also known as my kryptonite—hence, why I’ve always thought they should be a major food group. “Two trips home within six weeks is one too many by my count.”

“How did you let our darling siblings find acceptable excuses to skip the biggest social event of the season?” Eleanor said.

“Me? I gave up trying to compete with them years ago. It’s easy to get away with things when they’re not disappointing our parents like the rest of us.”

“Hey! Don’t take me down because you can’t escape the awkward middle-child syndrome.” Eleanor put me on hold to deal with a customer complaint.

My younger sister turned thirty last month and is unhappy about it given she still hadn’t met the right man. She also insisted she’s not morphing into our mother despite every hour of every day steamrolling those figments of her imagination into oblivion. Truth be told, Eleanor was the spitting image of Violet Ayrwick, and in one of those ways where everyone saw it but the two of them. Twinsies, as Nana D always said with the cutest lilt to her voice. Eleanor will definitely be at our father’s retirement party as there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in you-know-where of me going to that boondoggle by myself. The man of the hour had been the president of Braxton College for the last eight years, but upon turning sixty-five, Wesley Ayrwick stepped down from the coveted role.

Eleanor jumped back on the line. “Was Emma okay with you visiting by yourself this time?”

“Yeah, she’s staying with Francesca’s parents. I couldn’t take her out of school again, but we’ll Facetime every day I’m gone.”

“You’re an amazing father. I don’t know how you do it all on your own,” Eleanor replied. “So, who’s the woman you plan to meet while gracing us with your presence this weekend?”

“Abby Monroe. She completed a whole bunch of research for my boss, Derek,” I said, cursing the slimy, party-going executive producer of our award-winning television show, Dark Reality. Upon informing Derek I needed to return home for a family obligation, he generously suggested adding extra days to relax before everything exploded at the network, then assigned me to interview his latest source. “Ever heard the name?”

“Sounds familiar, but I can’t place it right now,” Eleanor said in between yelling orders to the cook and urging him to hurry up. “What’s your next storyline?”

Dark Reality, an exposé-style show adding splashy drama to real-life crimes, aired weekly episodes full of cliffhangers along the lines of reality television and daytime soap operas. The first season highlighted serial killers, Jack the Ripper and The Human Vampire, causing it to top the charts as a series debut. “I’ve got season two’s massive show bible to read this weekend… ghost-hunting and witch-burning in seventeenth-century American culture. I really need to get a new job. Or kill my boss.”

“Prison stripes wouldn’t look good on you,” Eleanor said.

“Don’t forget, I’m too handsome.”

“I’m not gonna touch that one. Let Nana D weigh in before I crush you for saying something so pathetic. Maybe Abby will be normal?”

“With my luck, she’ll be another bitter, scorned victim rightfully intent on justice for whatever colossal trauma Derek’s caused,” I replied with a sigh. “I vote she’s another loose cannon.”

“When are you gonna interrogate her?” asked Eleanor.

I’d meant to schedule a lunch to get the basic lowdown on Abby, but I barely made the flight cutoff at the gate in all the last-minute rigmarole. “Hopefully tomorrow if she isn’t too far away. All Derek said is she lives in central Pennsylvania. He has no concept of space or distance.”

“It’s getting busy here, I gotta go. Can’t make dinner tonight, but I’ll see you tomorrow. Don’t commit any murders until we chat again. Hugs and kisses.”

“Only if you don’t poison any patrons.” I disconnected the phone, begging the gods to transport me back to Los Angeles. I couldn’t take the stress anymore and devoured the last two remaining cookies. Given my obsession with desserts, the gym had never not been an option for me. Some form of exercise happened daily unless I was sick or on vacation—which this trip certainly didn’t count as. There would be no beaches, cabanas, or mojitos. Therefore, I wasn’t going to enjoy the immediate future.

I navigated the winding highway drive with the heater set to die-from-sauna max and the wiper blades on maniacal passive-aggressive mode to keep the windshield clear of heavy sleet and snow. It was the dead of winter, and my entire body shivered—not a good thing when my feet needed to be ready to brake for deer or elk. Yes, they were common in these parts. No, I hadn’t hit any. Yet.

No time like the present to call Abby and suggest a meeting. When she answered, I wasn’t surprised at her naivety regarding my boss’s underhanded approach.

“Derek never said anything about meeting anyone else. You got a last name, Kellan?” Abby whined after I’d already explained who I was in the first minute of the call.

“Ayrwick. I’m Kellan Ayrwick, an assistant director on the second season of Dark Reality. I thought we could review the research you prepared for Derek and discuss your experience working in the television industry.”

There were a few seconds of silence on the phone. “Ayrwick, you said? As in… well… aren’t there a few of them working over at Braxton?”

I was momentarily stunned as to how a groupie girl would even know anything about Braxton, but then I speculated she currently attended the college or previously went to school with one of my siblings. “Let’s have lunch tomorrow to discuss it. Would one o’clock be okay?”

“Not really. I wasn’t prepared to chat this weekend. I thought I’d be flying out to meet Derek in the next few days. The timing is off.”

“Can’t we meet for a brief introduction?” Derek sure knew how to pick the dramatic ones. I could picture her twirling her hair and blinking her eyes despite not knowing what she looked like.

“I’m in the middle of an exclusive exposé about a crime happening here in Wharton County. Might be something to pitch to Derek for… well, it’s too early to say anything.” Her voice suddenly went cold and limp. She’d probably forgotten how to use the phone or accidentally muted me.

“Is this what you mentioned to him about topics for a future season of Dark Reality? I’m more interested in true crimes and investigative reporting. Maybe I could help with this scoop.” Once I realized she was in the same county as me, I tried all angles to snare a meeting.

“Are you Wesley Ayrwick’s son? I heard he’s got a whole slew of kids.”

My mouth dropped two inches. Nana D would’ve counted the flies as they swarmed in given how long it remained open. Who was this girl who knew something about my family? “I don’t see how that’s relevant, but yes, he’s my father. Do you attend Braxton, Abby?”

“Attend Braxton? No, you’ve got a few things to learn if we’re going to work together.” She laughed hysterically, reaching full-on snort level.

“Great, so we can meet tomorrow?” The woman’s tone annoyed me, but perhaps I’d misjudged her based on Derek’s normal taste in women. “Even thirty minutes to build a working relationship. Are you familiar with the Pick-Me-Up Diner?” Eleanor ran the joint, so I’d have an excuse to step away if Abby was too much to handle. My sister could arrange for one of the waiters to dump a bowl of soup on Abby, then lock her in the bathroom while I escaped. There’s nothing more I disliked than foolish, clueless, or vapid people. I’d had enough of them dating my way through a sorority’s sisterhood years ago. If I ran into one more LA valley girl, I’d consider letting Francesca’s family, the Castiglianos, take control of the situation. Scratch that, I never said those words out loud.

“No, sorry. I’m gonna be tied up for a few hours investigating all the nonsense going on around here. But I’ll see you on campus tomorrow night.”

I shook my head in frustration and confusion. I clearly heard her stifling an obnoxious laugh again. If she weren’t a student, why would she be on campus? “What do you mean tomorrow night?”

“The party celebrating your father’s retirement. Nothing’s ever as it seems, huh? You can properly introduce yourself and set up a time to talk. I hope that’ll work.”

Derek was going to owe me big-time for this ordeal. If he didn’t watch himself, I’d give her his real cell phone number and not the fake one he gave to people the first time they met.

“How exactly do you know my—” The next thing I heard was a click as she hung up the call.

I continued on the main road directly into the heart of Braxton tooting the horn as I passed Danby Landing, Nana D’s organic orchard and farm. I was especially close with Nana D, also known as my grandmother, Seraphina, who’d turn seventy-five later this year. She kept threatening to bend our town’s councilman, Marcus Stanton, over her lap, slap his bottom silly, and teach the ninny how things ought to be done in a modern world. It’s my second job to keep her in check after the incident where she was supposedly locked up in jail overnight. With no official records, she could continue to deny it, but I knew better given I was the one who had to convince Sheriff Montague to release Nana D. I hoped never again to go toe-to-toe with our county’s ever-so-charming head law enforcer, even if it’s necessary to save Nana D from prison. I felt certain that was a one-time card I could play.

The sun disappeared as I pulled up to my parents’ house, parked the Jeep, and walked toward the trunk to get my bags. Given the temperature had slipped to the single digits, and the icy snow wildly pelted my body, I tried my best to hurry to the front door. Unfortunately, fate opted for revenge over some past indiscretion and came back with the vengeance of a thousand plagues. Before long, I skated across a sheet of ice like an awkward ballerina wearing clown shoes and fell flat on my back.

I snapped a selfie while laughing on the frosty ground, to let Nana D know I’d arrived in Braxton. She loved getting pictures and seeing me make a fool of myself. I couldn’t decipher her reply given my glasses had fogged over, and my vision was worse than that of a secret lovechild of Mr. Magoo’s. I searched for a piece of a flannel shirt untouched by the falling sleet or the embarrassing crash to the ground and wiped them dry. A glance at the picture I’d sent caused the loudest and most absurd guffaw to erupt from my throat. My usually clean-cut dark-blond hair was littered with leaves, and the four days of stubble on my cheeks and chin was blanketed in mounds of white snow. I dusted myself off and rushed under the protection of a covered porch to read her text.

Nana DIs that a dirty wet mop on your head? You’re dressed like a hooligan. Put on a coat, it’s cold out.

MeThanks, Captain Obvious. I fell on the walkway. You think I’m normally this much of a disaster?

Nana DAnd you’re supposed to be the brilliant one? Have you given up on life, or did it give up on you?

MeKeep it up, and I won’t visit this weekend. You’re supposed to be a sweet and loving grandma.

Nana DIf that’s what you want, go down to the old folks’ home and rent yourself a little biddy. Maybe you two can share some smashed peas, green Jell-O, and a tasty glass of Ovaltine. I’ll even pay.

After ignoring Nana D’s sass, I ran a pair of chilled hands through my hair to look somewhat presentable and entered the foyer. Though the original shell of the house was clearly a wood-framed cabin, my parents had added many rooms over the years, including a west and east wing bookending the massive structure. The foyer ceilings were vaulted at least twelve feet high and covered in endless cedar planks with knots in all the right places. A pretty hunter-green paint coated three of the walls where the entranceway opened into a gigantic living room. It was anchored by a flagstone fireplace and adorned with hand-crafted antique furniture my parents had traveled all over the state to procure. My father was passionate about keeping the authenticity of a traditional log cabin while my mom required all the modern conveniences. If only the Property Brothers could see the results of their combined styles. Eleanor and I referred to it as the Royal Chic-Shack.

I dropped my bags to the floor calling out, “Anyone home?” My body jumped as the door to my father’s study creaked open, and his head popped out. Perhaps I had the paranormal and occult on my mind knowing Dark Reality’s next season was unfortunately in my foreseeable future.

“It’s just me. Welcome back,” replied my father, waiting for me to approach the study. “Your mother’s still at Braxton closing on the final admissions list for the prospective class.”

“How’s the jolly retiree doing?” I asked, walking down the hall toward him.

“I’m not retired, yet,” my father said with a sneer. “I finished writing my speech for the party tomorrow evening. Interested in an early preview?”

Saying no would make me a bad son. Eleanor and I had promised one another at Christmas we’d try harder. I really want to be a bad son today. “Sure, it must be exciting. You’ve had a bountiful career, Dad. It’s undoubtedly the perfect example of oratory excellence.” He always loved when I stretched my vocabulary skills to align with his own. I shuddered thinking about the spelling bees of long ago.

Academic Curveball – Book Links

Kindle: http://mybook.to/ACurveball

Paperback: http://mybook.to/academiccurveballbrapb

Large Print: http://mybook.to/academiccurveballbralp

German Translation: http://mybook.to/acbde

Portuguese Translation: http://mybook.to/bolacurvapb

US Audiobook: https://www.audible.com/pd/B07X6JWYP1/?source_code=AUDFPWS0223189MWT-BK-ACX0-162879&ref=acx_bty_BK_ACX0_162879_rh_us

UK Audiobook:

About The Author

Background

James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College, an historic but small liberal arts school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with a degree in English literature and minors in Education, Business and Spanish. After college, I accepted a technical writing position for a telecommunications company during Y2K and spent the last ~20 years building a career in technology & business operations in the retail, sports, media and entertainment industries. Throughout those years, I wrote some short stories, poems and various beginnings to the “Great American Novel,” but I was so focused on my career in technology and business that writing became a hobby. In 2016, I refocused some of my energies toward reinvigorating a second career in reading, writing and publishing.

Author

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind and my body. At some points, it was just a few poems or short stories; at others, it was full length novels and stories. My current focus is family drama fiction, cozy mystery novels and suspense thrillers. I think of characters and plots that I feel must be unwound. I think of situations people find themselves in and feel compelled to tell the story. It’s usually a convoluted plot with many surprise twists and turns. I feel it necessary to take that ride all over the course. My character is easily pictured in my head. I know what he is going to encounter or what she will feel. But I need to use the right words to make it clear.

Reader & Reviewer

Reading has also never left my side. Whether it was children’s books, young adult novels, college textbooks, biographies or my ultimate love, fiction, it’s ever present in my day. I read 2 books per week and I’m on a quest to update every book I’ve ever read on Goodreads, write up a review and post it on all my sites and platforms.

Blogger & Thinker

I have combined my passions into a single platform where I share reviews, write a blog and publish tons of content: TRUTH. I started my 365 Daily Challenge, where I post about a word that has some meaning to me and converse with everyone about life. There is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dogs have had weekly segments called “Ryder’s Rants” or “Baxter’s Barks” where they complain about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real. And that’s why they are me.

Genealogist & Researcher

I love history and research, finding myself often reaching back into the past to understand why someone made the choice he or she did and what were the subsequent consequences. I enjoy studying the activities and culture from hundreds of years ago to trace the roots and find the puzzle of my own history. I wish I could watch my ancestors from a secret place to learn how they interacted with others; and maybe I’ll comprehend why I do things the way I do.

Websites & Blog

Website: https://jamesjcudney.com/

Blog: https://thisismytruthnow.com

Amazon: http://bit.ly/JJCIVBooks

Next Chapter Pub: https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/james-j-cudney

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/james-j-cudney

Social Media

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamescudney4

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesJCudneyIVAuthor/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BraxtonCampusMysteries/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThisIsMyTruthNow/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jamescudney4/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamescudney4/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jamescudney4

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamescudney4

Genres, Formats & Languages

I write in the family drama and mystery genres. My first two books are Watching Glass Shatter (2017) and Father Figure (2018). Both are contemporary fiction and focus on the dynamics between parents and children and between siblings. I’m currently writing the sequel to Watching Glass Shatter. I also have a light mystery series called the Braxton Campus Mysteries with six books available.

All my books come in multiple formats (Kindle, physical print, large print paperback, and audiobook) and some are also translated into foreign languages such as Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and German.

Goodreads Book Links

Watching Glass Shatter (October 2017)

Father Figure (April 2018)

Braxton Campus Mysteries

  1. Academic Curveball – #1 (October 2018)
  2. Broken Heart Attack – #2 (November 2018)
  3. Flower Power Trip – #3 (March 2019)
  4. Mistaken Identity Crisis – #4 (June 2019)
  5. Haunted House Ghost – #5 (October 2019)
  6. Frozen Stiff Drink – #6 (March 2020)

I featured Jay earlier this month and we had great fun chatting. Do check out the post here: https://mjmallon.com/2020/05/16/author-spotlight-james-j-cudney/

I read Academic Curveball and can recommend for all readers who enjoy family mysteries. I’m looking forward to reading more from James Cudney.

My link is here: https://mjmallon.com/2020/03/08/book-review-academic-curveball-by-james-j-cudney-murder-mystery/

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Colleen’s 2019 Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 137 #SynonymsOnly

Word prompts: Kind and shift. For kind, I used breed and shift: transform.

 

The idea for this Tanka came from a passage in my WIP: The Curse of Time Book 2 Golden Healer when Esme (the mirror girl,) tells Amelina (my main protagonist,) about her experience with the shadow men.

Could it be a dream or is it real?

I am currently working through my edits after my beta reading comments with a view to publishing this in the autumn.

 

Here’s a short extract:

A black furrow of shadows lined his forehead. He beseeched me with his eyes, but when he saw my resolve a maniacal laugh erupted from his demented mouth. This laugh galloped from his lips in the form of a diaphanous spirit which became a pack of wild neighing horses – all black, glossy stallions. They galloped towards me. They didn’t stop, they kept on coming. Their hoofs trampled upon me pounding all of those black shadows away. They should have crushed me but I didn’t die. Instead, their hoofs stamped and stamped, breaking bones, crushing my organs and tissues until the bleeding stopped. The pain was unbelievable. I longed for death. But the horses whinnied, as if laughing. Their laughter ran through my body, fixing my broken bones, easing my pain, making me whole again. They tossed me up in the air, and I landed on top of the lead stallion’s back. He leapt into the blackness, carrying me off with him.

 

Black Diaphanous Horses 

Such a breed they are

Like no other you will see

Transformed from shadows

Wicked horses galloping

Are they real or devil’s dream?

 

 

If you’d like to join in the challenge here’s the link:

Colleen’s 2019 Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 137 #SynonymsOnly

 

 

Buy Book: myBook.to/TheCurseofTime

Social Media Links

Authors Websitehttps://mjmallon.com
Collaborative Bloghttps://sistersofthefey.wordpress.com
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time
#ABRSC: Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mjmallonauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjmallonauthor/

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Chiastolite – Writing Excerpt The Curse of Time Book 2 – Golden Healer #YA #Fantasy #Crystals #Magic

 

Today, I am thrilled to share with you details of a crystal that I have recently discovered.

Chiastolite

Chiastolite is such a fascinating crystal! I have chosen to feature it in the second book in the Curse of Time YA Fantasy series. This current work in progress stands in the region of 70,000 words. I am very excited about how it is progressing.

Chiastolite exhibits may be brown or green with a black cross pattern. The meaning of its name comes from the Greek word “chiastos” meaning cruciform or crosswise.

It has many wonderful properties: stone of balance, harmony, creativity. It is spiritually grounding, an excellent tool for meditation, psychic protection, problem solving, understanding aging, death, and is considered to be a stone of prosperity.

Let me share with you the unedited prologue/first chapter of The Curse of Time Book Two – Golden Healer. I hope you enjoy! Any feedback would be gratefully received.

Prologue

Eruterac wore a round knitted rasta cap embellished with bright sun-cured palm leaves. At the centre, he’d attached a shining Chiastolite – otherwise known as the death crystal.

The Chiastolite shared the brown colour of the earth he inhabited apart from a distinct black cross in the middle. Other than that and several cakes of mud he was naked, if you can call such a creature naked.

His filthy, matted dreadlocks tumbled forwards as he picked off a wriggling worm which dared to crawl across his bony frame. He held it inches from where his mouth used to be and dangled it in front of Leanne’s nose.

‘Dinner,’ he joked, as he bobbed his skeletal head.

‘No thanks, dearest creature,’ replied Leanne, as she tucked a strand of her silver pink hair behind her ear. ‘I prefer caviar. But I do like your new hat – that Chiastolite is very fetching!’

Leanne picked up her teapot and poured the liquid into a cup. It flowed slowly, twinkling with the brilliant colour of a thousand crystals. When it filled the cup, it turned the colour Leanne expected. She’d thought of green tea and magical green tea it was.

Eruterac reacted by choking and spluttering on clods of earth as he laughed. ‘That’s foul. Green tea, how can you drink such muck? Stinking Caviar. Sturgeon’s excrement.’

‘Huh, you can talk! You’re the one infested with worms.’

‘Worms… yes… I don’t blame you for hating worms. Worms are a wriggling nuisance but heavens to cemeteries they are nowhere near as bad as rats. Disrespectful Vermin!’

‘Poor you! Take heart, look, it must cheer you up to see such beauty every day,’ Leanne turned and pointed at the rose and myrtle garden and the cottage beyond with its walls of brilliant crystals.

‘My heart beats no more but I adore the tranquillity and beauty of this magical garden and cottage.’

A white dove landed on Leanne’s shoulder, she turned and smiled. But the dove thought better of it and alighted on the Creature’s hat. It pecked away at the worms making the creature smile.

‘Cheeky doves, always favouring you and your sunny hat when you’re around.’

‘They know who provides them with a constant dinner of worms. And who’s… boss.’

‘Huh! Yes to dinner, but a boss? You? That Chiastolite’s making you big-headed. Oh, my days. The mythological protectors and my dearest doves are all I – and my dear cottage need. And… to return to our earlier conversation, the mythological fly is up to his tricks.’

‘Where’s that stinking fly from hell been to this time?’ asked Eruterac, leaning forward, sending a bunch of worms tumbling towards Leanne’s teacup. Her eyes grew wide as she placed a protective hand over the top but a few swift worms landed in the saucer. She swiped them away.

‘Oh, anguish me. Worms in my saucer! How my flesh crawls. Ugh. I feel giddy,’ she placed a trembling hand on her forehead.

‘Leanne, forget the innocent worms. We were talking of the fly?’

‘Yes, we were. Now let me see. The fly has been to Amelina’s,’ she paused for a moment, her eyes wide. ‘He flew in the window but I am at a loss to figure out what happened next. My naughty crystal ball refuses to grant me a vision. I do know this – I placed my trust in Amelina – but I fear I was hasty.’

Leanne sighed.

‘Your heartfelt sigh makes me glad I’m dead. I no longer experience human stress and with time to waste, I’m a master at pontificating about nothing. But, I have a gurgling sensation in my once gut which tells me that the Grasshopper and the fly are in cahoots. Either way, I could suggest this or that, but it would all be for nought. Amelina is young, she will learn to master the magical crystal gifts you have entrusted to her. Time is on her side. I have every faith in her.’

He lifted his hat in a calculated salute to Leanne. A family of rats who had been resting on his dreadlocks ran free, knocking over Leanne’s cup.

‘Ugh. I wish you wouldn’t do that Eruterac,’ said Leanne. ‘You pretend to honour me but the last time you did that, you broke my precious teacup!’

‘Me! Mercy!’ replied Eruterac, laughing so hard that his eye sockets crunched together producing a horrendous grinding sound.

‘Stop that! You know you have no eyeballs – you devil! The rats devoured both your eyes long ago. Enough, our conversation is at an end,’ she paused for a moment before proclaiming, ‘The Bloodstone will find a way.’

‘Of Krystallos blood and Amelina I am certain,’ replied Eruterac, bowing.

© M J Mallon

I hope you enjoyed finding out more about Chiastolite and reading a WIP excerpt from The Curse of Time #2 Golden Healer.

What an extraordinary stone!

Do you own a Chiastolite? Let me know… Do pop over to the Sisters of The Fey blog tonight where I will be chatting some more about Chiastolite.

Bye for now!

http___signatures.mylivesignature.com_54494_373_07053E7D9657CC81851243011100E58F
Social Media Links

Buy Book: myBook.to/TheCurseofTime

Authors Website: https://mjmallon.com
Collaborative Blog: https://sistersofthefey.wordpress.com
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time
#ABRSC: Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mjmallonauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjmallonauthor/

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COLLEEN’S 2019 WEEKLY #TANKA TUESDAY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 119 “MYSTERY & ATTRACT,” #SYNONYMSONLY

Here’s a short, unedited passage from the second book in the series The Curse of Time – Golden Healer which I’m currently working on. It fits in well with Colleen’s two synonyms this week – mystery and attract.

For mystery I’m using enigma and for attract I’d decided upon beguiling. Enjoy!

 

Too Tasty To Ignore!

 

A pleasing parcel,

Wrapped in black jeans, tight tee-shirt,

Enigma to solve,

Beguiling but dangerous,

Was I a fool to trust him?

 

How could I explain this? Had Ryder fooled me? The strange, charismatic young man who appeared to come to my rescue on the river pathway when I’d first met him. Could he be responsible for the Bloodstone’s disappearance? I doubted that he would taint his hands with such an act. Instead, I wondered whether he might have used an accomplice. His recent behaviour painted a new picture of him — one that showed his true identity — a nasty, vindictive portrait.

Had I been foolish to trust him? What kind of person was he? And what secrets lay hidden in his heart?

I pondered how I would react if he came through the front door. For a moment, I imagined him entering. He’d be dressed in his signature black tee-shirt peeled tight across his ripped chest. His buttoned jeans would scream touch me. His black hair and eyebrows would be immaculately trimmed highlighting his eyes that would make you pause and gasp in surprise. Perhaps, I’d stare at his sensual blue eye while his black eye would blaze back at me like a dark alleyway full of dangerous excitement.

His expression would alter as soon as he approached. He’d raise an eyebrow as if he registered a sudden change in the environment.

He’d say something innocuous like. ‘Have your mum and dad been decorating? It’s very bright. The sad old place looks like it has had a new lease of life. Even the mirrors look different. Like they’re missing something.’

 

© M J Mallon

 

After all that you might need a piece of cake…  to wash down the sour taste of what Ryder may become… Ahh villains are so fun to write!

Here’s an extra bit of poetry just for fun. A lovely cake from Harriet’s tea rooms in Cambridge. It was almost too good to eat. It reminded me of  Ryder, he is so mesmerisingly handsome that he makes your mouth water. Enjoy!

img_20190112_144639_368

Shall I start eating?

This cheeky dessert mouthful,

Or just admire it?

Fork poised in the air trembling.

Such decisions, decisions!

 

Hope you enjoyed. I certainly did.

Do join in Colleen’s poetry challenge.

Here’s the link:

https://colleenchesebro.com/2019/01/15/colleens-2019-weekly-tanka-tuesday-poetry-challenge-no-119-mystery-attract-synonymsonly/

Bye for now,

bitmoji-20180711090345

 

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m j mallon _ ya author

Buy Book: myBook.to/TheCurseofTime

I’m a contributing author in the Plaisted Publishing House Ghostly Writes Anthology 2018 with my story Ghostly Goodbye.

Available on Amazon, Apple, Nook, Kobo, Scribd, 24S, Playster, Indigo, Angus & Robertson, Mondadori Store:

 Universal Buying Link

Social Media Links

Authors Websitehttps://mjmallon.com
Collaborative Bloghttps://sistersofthefey.wordpress.com
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time
#ABRSC: Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook
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Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 65: AMBITION & CHANGE (#SynonymsOnly)

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This week’s prompt words from Colleen – ambition and change really attracted me. My youngest is going through quite a lot of impending changes at the moment. She plans to go to University in September to study Fashion Management,  and I am so excited for her. Also my husband and I are considering plans in the not too distant future to move abroad, not definite yet, but we are talking about it! Change is exciting but it is also scary too. But, you’ll never know how new challenges will develop unless you give them a try. So that is going to be my motto for 2018. Try new things, be adventurous!

To join in with Colleen’s poetry challenge follow the link:

https://colleenchesebro.com/2018/01/02/colleens-weekly-tanka-tuesday-poetry-challenge-no-65-ambition-change-synonymsonly/

So here is my Tanka using the synonyms, aspiration for ambition, and transform for change.

An aspiration,To study, seek adventure, A huge opportunity, Scary too, fashionista's!Transform, my little d

I am including the following short extract from The Curse of Time – Bloodstone – Book 1 in which the main character Amelina considers how someone you’ve just met – Ryder – can seem to change at an alarming rate. And yet, that person captivates you into wanting more of that dark, dangerous charisma!

Every nerve ending in my body flooded with a multitude of emotions until I felt like a quivering mound of nervous, trembling jelly. Taking deep soothing breaths, I reached for my headphones to shut out this horrible, senseless world. I craved ear-piercing rock, a vault of high adrenalin noise. That would be sure to do the trick.
I turned up the sound and relaxed, lying in my bed. My thoughts returned to Ryder. What did I know about him? He had appeared as a stranger and then surprised me by coming to my rescue. He had scared those creepy boys off. I had to admit that I didn’t understand him or them either. His personality had switched. One moment he’d been all smiles and then boom, he’d changed, a scary intensity erupting out of those incredible eyes. I imagined his face staring at me again. He had a mysterious power in him that much I could see, so much so, that even the ground beneath his feet responded to him.
I remembered that Ryder had introduced himself to me but hadn’t bothered to ask my name. I scratched my head in puzzlement. Yet he knew who I was. Somehow, he knew those boys’ names too. It struck me as strange and unsettling. But one thing I knew for sure I experienced a trickle of life flowing in my veins. This sensation had long been missing from my life. It heralded an awakening, and I shivered in delight. I felt excited, confused, and more than a little scared. But I felt alive.
I experienced this magnetic pull of some hidden power that drew me towards him. With little difficulty, I realised he was a secret I would be wise to keep to myself. Mum and Dad would go mad if I mentioned that I’d met him down the river pathway. Hero or Prince, they wouldn’t understand. Besides, the possibility of keeping dark and mysterious secrets appealed to me. They were the best, most wicked kind.

 

Hope you enjoyed the extract. Feel free to comment below I love receiving feedback from you all.

Hope your 2018 started off better than mine did! I’ve been a bit poorly so apologies for the late message to wish you a very Happy, and Healthy New Year! xx

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Colleen’s Weekly #Poetry Tuesday Challenge: EERIE & COSTUME

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This week the prompt words are eerie and costume but there’s a catch, Colleen has asked us to use synonyms.

To join in Colleen’s challenge follow the link:    https://colleenchesebro.com/2017/10/24/colleens-weekly-poetry-tuesday-challenge-eerie-costume/

Here is a relevant passage from my novel The Curse of Time – Book 1 – Bloodstone to set the tone for the poetry.

I sensed a change in the dream when a strange creature appeared. His body and features fused together with rotten flesh, matted mud, skin, and protruding bones. The creature did not speak. His silent presence terrified me, and I shivered.
The beast stood motionless and pointed a bony finger at the ground. Fear clenched at my heart. A flood of messages bombarded my brain. Warning signals went off suggesting a multitude of horrible intentions that the creature may have in store for me.
A tremor shook my body, and my teeth chattered. My ears rang with the sound of the earth cracking below my feet. It meant that I had left it too late to run. My eyes fell downwards as the world tilted on its axis, and the realisation came to me that the only way out was via a slide which suddenly appeared at my feet.
With one glance, I could tell the slide had a definite beginning but no visible end. I placed a tentative step onto the slide. The minute I touched it I knew no time for fear. I swallowed hard and plunged into the darkness, sliding into oblivion. Every emotion I possessed had compressed into mere seconds – a momentary adrenalin rush. Sensations continued like the aftermath of the wildest rollercoaster ride. Fuelled by fear, it sent my senses reeling, the ultimate blood pounding, stomach churning thrill.
I slipped down the slide and landed onto a stone floor, yet it cushioned my landing, like a silky feather down quilt. No longer afraid of the shadows, I felt welcomed, at home. With wide-eyed astonishment, I took in the magnificent interior of the Crystal Cottage. Gems, in a myriad of welcoming shades, purple Amethyst, white Quartz, red Jade, blue Topaz, covered the walls. A riot of colours reflected in the facets of the crystals which welcomed me with their brightness. This magnificent display promised more, luminous lights twinkled and burst forth from each separate gem in a firework-like extravaganza. I gasped. My breath caught in my throat, and I glanced down at my hands. They were sparkling as if they had touched an enormous glitter ball. A crystalline light bounced off the walls of the cottage, finding a resting place on my face. The brilliant light caressed me.
My heart filled with wonder at this miraculous event and I wished the exquisiteness of the moment would last forever. I willed this spectacle to carry on, and on, but the glowing display tapered off. The colours became darker, and glimmers of the crystals’ bright lights darkened to a menacing black, then lightened to a grey, washed-out colour, before turning a muddy brown.
In horror, I could feel the skin on my face puckering like an orange peel stripped of all moisture. My body shivered, and I shook. I stirred in my sleep, suspended in the haze of the dream. I struggled to remain, not wanting to leave the beauty and comfort of the Crystal Cottage. So, I remained, floating in the abyss, fearful but longing to find out more.

© M J Mallon 2017. All Rights Reserved

 

The Creature

The Creature 

His ensemble reeks,

Of graves, and forgotten things,

An unearthly vibe,

Matted hair, and worms for flesh,

Beside such crystal splendour.

 

Oh how I love the creature! Love all my characters! Hope you enjoyed the passage and the tanka. If you’d like to read more or buy a copy of The Curse of Time – book 1 – Bloodstone here’s the link:

 

 

I am currently working hard on the paperback and hope that it will be ready for launch by the end of November/beginning of December.

Wish me luck!

Bye for now,

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Fellow Administrators of our Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club #ABRSC on Facebook, myself, my good friends Colleen Chesebro and Debby Gies. Click on Colleen’s and Debby’s photos to be directed to their awesome blogs. These ladies rock!

 

 

 

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