Flash Fiction Challenge: Charli Mills Carrot Ranch Literary Community

The last time my eldest daughter left home I wrote a flash fiction piece for Carrot Ranch which I entitled The Riptide Suitcases expressing my emotions at my daughter moving abroad.

The Riptide Suitcases

The riptide hid in two shallow suitcases. Foreign tee-shirts lay crushed against jumpers, jeans pressed unfolded next to sandals and boots. I lifted my daughter’s larger suitcase up; it was heavy but not as heavy as my swirling heart.

No traffic impeded our journey. The ripples began early, too early. We shared coffee but didn’t eat. The departure gate beckoned. The riptide began. It burst out of me. I cried, no I wailed. Guilt crashed against waves of sadness. Sadness wrestled and drowned my heart. Never again will I feel such depths of emotion. My adventurer, daughter had gone.

Here is the link to that piece of emotional flash: https://mjmallon.com/2017/09/18/september-14-flash-fiction-challenge/

That was three years ago. Natasha stayed in South Korea for a year and absolutely loved it. I’m so proud of her for taking that courageous step, to travel to the other side of the world to teach English takes a considerable amount of guts especially when you don’t speak the language and you are so young. She was the youngest EFL teacher in her school, newly graduated from University.

You can see a little about that here: (unlike her mum she never really got into blogging, she only wrote two blog posts! )

https://tashainkorealand.wordpress.com/2017/11/12/this-place-sure-has-soul-my-first-trip-to-seoul-south-korea-part-1/

It’s been such a confidence boost for her. What an experience!

Today, she is travelling again but not so far this time – to Glasgow to study to be a secondary English Teacher. I wish her luck, happiness and success.

I wrote about our trip to Glasgow, ( looking for accommodation,) and a poem here: https://mjmallon.com/2020/03/06/colleens-2020-weekly-tanka-tuesday-poetry-challenge-no-167-poetschoice-haiga/

Why Scotland? Natasha has always loved it. My hubby and I always make Edinburgh our home-from-home, so it’s no wonder that at least one of our children might decide to stay there…

This is my piece of flash:

This Life

Three years ago, we said our goodbyes at the departure gate before that first flight. How I cried. I wept for a day, and the next day I wept without weeping. My darling daughter gone so faraway. She braved how scared she was. Now, she is adventuring again – not so far this time! And yet her friends miss her already. I miss her already. This is life, young adults are always moving, taking those steps to independence. They never leave your thoughts. They’re always a part of you, wherever they are.

Daughters always stay in your heart.

***

It will be my youngest daughter’s turn next – Georgina – and then it truly will be empty nest syndrome! Still, I still have her for now… Yay!

Having spent so much time with both of them during lockdown I know I will find it especially hard.

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Book Review: P.S. I Forgive You: A Broken Legacy by D. G Kaye #Memoir #Family #Mother #Daughter

Goodreads synopsis:

“I hurt for her. She wasn’t much of a mother, but she was still my mother.”

Confronted with resurfacing feelings of guilt, D.G. Kaye is tormented by her decision to remain estranged from her dying emotionally abusive mother after resolving to banish her years ago, an event she has shared in her book Conflicted Hearts. In P.S. I Forgive You, Kaye takes us on a compelling heartfelt journey as she seeks to understand the roots of her mother’s narcissism, let go of past hurts, and find forgiveness for both her mother and herself.

After struggling for decades to break free, Kaye has severed the unhealthy ties that bound her to her dominating mother—but now Kaye battles new confliction, as the guilt she harbors over her decision only increases as the end of her mother’s life draws near. Kaye once again struggles with her conscience and her feelings of being obligated to return to a painful past she thought she left behind.

My review:

This is a very personal account of the author’s experiences of coping and coming to terms with the emotions experienced after the death of a narcissistic mother. D. G Kaye’s mother is herself a product of the terrible parenting she experienced as a child. My own mother struggled with many heartbreaking problems as she grew up. She overcame these and was and continues to be a wonderfully caring mother. I have a deep, unbreakable bond with her which I also have with my daughters.

As I continued to read further into this memoir I kept on comparing our circumstances. How sad and damaging such an uncaring, selfish parent is to her children. How can a mother behave in such a way? P.S. I Forgive You is an important read for all of us. This memoir is about letting go, releasing the emotional turmoil which began in childhood.

It is a compelling read. It courageously deals with the extremes of family relationships. Relationships are complex and difficult, even in what I would deem to be ‘normal’ families. There are many who struggle to understand or relate to their son or daughter, sister, brother, wife or husband.

But this memoir takes those problems to a whole new level that no one should have to experience. After such a damaging upbringing, D. G. Kaye has suffered but has learnt to forgive. She lives a happy, fulfilled life. That is a wonderful testament to her strength of character and her can do attitude.

My recommendation: Read this. 5 stars. I’d highly recommend this memoir to us all whatever our circumstances. Also read the first book in the series: Conflicted Hearts.

Authors Website: http://www.dgkayewriter.com

Authors Twitter: pokercubster

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Sally Cronin’s Review of This Is Lockdown #anthology #compilation

Thank you so much to Sally Cronin for taking the time to read and review This Is Lockdown which releases 20th July. The kindle is currently on preorder via Amazon.

Read the thoughtful and detailed review via the following link:

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2020/07/18/smorgasbord-book-reviews-anthology-this-is-lockdown-covid-19-diaries-flash-fiction-poetry-m-j-mallon-and-other-authors/

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COVID Diaries 4th May – 6th May #Family #Diaries #COVID19 #Coronavirus #Writing #Blogging #Fashion #Guest #Features

Time to catch up on my COVID Diaries… I’ve been very busy of late finishing edits on my second book in my series The Curse of Time Book 2 Golden Healer. They are now finished and I am pleased to say I have now passed my manuscript on to Heena Rathmore Pardeshi https://crazycatwriter.com/ for a critique and proofread service.

So, let’s go back in time…

4th May

I slept badly the night before so I’m feeling tired. My eldest daughter Tasha and I still did our workout session but it was a gentle one. We both thought it would suit a granny! Which is just as well…We finished it off by doing some yoga.

I tidied my office and did some editing of the second book in my Curse of Time series. Later, my hubby and I went to the supermarket. My friend Hanna was in the queue too, so we stopped to chat to each other – following the social distancing rules – of course. You can’t exactly talk quietly due to the distance imposed, so I shouted across the queue about the fire…

What fire?

IVC is the local secondary school that my kids went to. Apparently, a skip lit and the fire spread to the roof of the performing arts block. Strange, sounds like arson to me. A friend of my daughter heard two large explosions, they thought it was an earthquake, or something. Everyone is so on edge at the moment that any loud bangs, or noises would be enough to trigger an attack of the nerves.

I wonder how the fire happened?

Getting back to the shopping trip with hubby. Whilst inside…

We argued down the aisles, in a feisty banter kind of way and I saw one of the local mum’s smirking at us.

Our shopping trip was so distracting. Both hubby and I bought four packs of onions, so we’ve got lots of onions to eat!

Next time I’m going on my own! Hubby’s idea of shopping consists of ample supplies of alcohol, and no treats apart from one bar of chocolate! How to survive lockdown with no crisps, nuts… Mind you, judging by our horrendous food bill perhaps we should start a starvation diet.

Oh, and I had a couple of guests in my Isolation for Writers Series:

First up was Jeannie Wycherley:

https://mjmallon.com/2020/05/03/isolation-for-writers-guest-author-jeannie-wycherley-guest-author-isolation-collaboration-thoughts-family-cov19/

And then Chantelle Atkins: https://mjmallon.com/2020/05/04/isolation-for-writers-chantelle-atkins-isolation-writers-covid19-ya-author/

5th May

It’s been a funny day. Aren’t they all? I finally cleared out my office. I am such a hoarder! I found things stuffed behind things that I didn’t even know were there. Nevertheless, it was interesting. We discovered three large bags of old photos and an airmail letter from my dad when he’d been working abroad in Swaziland. My eldest daughter Natasha has never seen an airmail letter before! What a lovely find. His writing was atrocious though. What a job I had reading it. Basically, it was to congratulate me on the birth of baby Georgina! And to send his love and well wishes to hubby’s dad who was ill at that time. Sadly, hubby’s dad passed away shortly after that letter was sent and Grandpa James never got a chance to see his new grand-daughter in person, which is especially sad as he always wanted lots of grand-children.

Also, I came across an old newspaper cutting of Tasha when she was three years old with her Grandma (my mum, who must have been about my age at that time,) at a hospice event.

How young my mum looked. Time flies by too fast.

I also found some old photos of hubby and I when we were young! That was funny, me draped all over him looking loved up… There was one of me wearing a leopard skin crop top and tight matching leggings. We were going to a fancy dress party. Memories, yes, it was a day of memories.

Other than that we did our gym session in the garden around 11am. Me, and the girls, and then we had lunch afterwards.

Hubby decided to climb up a ladder to sand the outside windows for painting. This made me very nervous as he’s so high up. He decided to wear his bike helmet for protection but at that height if he fell…

At one point, I went upstairs to pass him the sander and I saw this wasp on the window ledge. I was too frightened to tell him it was there in case he fell off the ladder. Later, I realised the wasp was dead!

Then Gina had an almighty melt down brought on by us all making so much noise whilst she’s completing her university assignments. Hubby was making this annoying sound with his sander, or yelling at me to get him something he needed. What a job I had calming her down. She said she wanted to go back to Manchester. No chance of that – no one can go anywhere. So, I suggested we sit in the car for a while. She brought her laptop and we looked at it together, with tears in her eyes. Bless her. Then hubby came out, looking at us as if we were bonkers. He asked why we were sitting in the car! I explained about the noise and he said he’d finish for the day. Thank goodness it’s quiet now. Phew, it’s just as well I used to be a therapist. Sometimes, I need to be to calm this lot down…

Who knows what tomorrow will bring. I hope it is a bit calmer…

6th May.

I had a terrible night’s sleep. Stress of yesterday? Perhaps it was also exacerbated by hubby teasing, saying that he was leaving the long ladder by our bedroom window for a thief, or Romeo to come in. I woke at 3.30am. I thought I heard someone climbing up the ladder. No doubt it was just my imagination! One of the hazards of being a writer is you always imagine the craziest things. I couldn’t get back to sleep so I crept out of bed and started blogging – as you do!

By the time hubby was up, I’d had enough, so I went back to bed and managed a couple of hours sleep before Tasha came looking for me. I didn’t join in with a keep fit, or yoga workout today, or take part in Writing Sprints. Shame. Instead, I edited some of the Curse of Time, beta read and finished a poetry collection for Sarah Northwood, Poetry for The Heart and Soul which I loved. Here is the link to her beta reading group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/877149636124566/

As well, I started working on a blog post about my daughter Georgina’s fashion/social media profile.

Which you can see here: https://mjmallon.com/2020/05/09/photography-shoot-daughter-fashion-business-student-modelling-clothes-hair-accessories-makeup-lashes/

Georgina seemed a lot more cheery today. She was all dressed up, make up on and had made excellent progress on her assignment. She even mentioned that it wasn’t as hard as she originally thought! Kids, hey… They give you such grief and then say everything is okay…

Oh, and Tasha and I sneaked out for a ride in the car. What an adventure! We didn’t go too far but it was nice to see neighbouring villages.

What have you been doing during this difficult time. Please share in the comments.

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Book Review: Words of Alchemy by Camilla Downs #FreeVerse #Poetry #Nature #Family #Relationships #Love

Goodreads Synopsis:

The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love …

In Words of Alchemy, Camilla Downs invites you to walk with her to share her love of Nature and Life through a free-verse poetry memoir.

During her daily strolls she is mindfully present as she delves into life in the raw and experiences her heart’s observations.

Camilla embraces what happens when she opens her heart and invites the written words to flow.

The Alchemy of Love and Healing is what happens. 

My review

What a joy it is to read this gem of a poetry book. Full of beautiful free-verse, a memoir about friends, family, relationships and the love of the nature. This is for you if you enjoy the natural world, (as I do,) if you appreciate poetry that delves into the heart and doesn’t hold back. In many ways it is an intimate and brave expression of the author – Camilla Down’s – thoughts and feelings.

I highly recommend.

5 stars.

I had the pleasure of an engaging author interview with Camilla on my blog:

https://mjmallon.com/2020/04/12/author-interview-camilla-downs-poet-writer-wordsofalchemy-nature-inspirational-family/

Praise for Words of Alchemy

Words of Alchemy, a heartfelt new collection by Camilla Downs, lives up to its namesake in numerous ways. Downs spans the broad range of nature, healing, love, and parenting, while making sure we have a little fun along the way. And the bridge she creates from the mindfulness of how we see the world at large to the poetry of everyday life is certainly worth a stroll or two across its borders.” – Thomas Lloyd Qualls, Award-winning author of Painted Oxen

“This poetry collection offers contemplative words, soothing thoughts and peace to the reader.”

– Sue Bentley, Bestselling author of Second Skin

“Camilla Downs shares truth, vulnerability and wisdom in her Words of Alchemy collection, inviting readers to be inspired, contemplate and dive into her world of self-awareness and growth.” –

 G. Brian Benson– Award-winning author, actor and spoken word artist

“These poems take you on a calm and loving walk through the verses of the author’s thoughts. Alchemy is a perfect word for the title as Camilla Downs understands nature; connecting with its magical, medicinal qualities and beauty which she conveys throughout her poetry.”

– Ailsa Craig, Author of The Sand Between My Toes

Words of Alchemy is a chronicle of hope. These poems are an encouragement, especially when we are feeling at our lowest, to keep seeking the light that is our way forward, and focus on the real. This collection is a walk through the positive nature of life. Camilla Downs is to be commended.”

– Frank Prem, Author of free-verse memoir Small Town Kid

About Camilla: Camilla Downs is a bestselling author, indie publisher, mentor, and mom. Nature and life experiences are a constant source of inspiration for her writing. She enjoys living a minimalist lifestyle, practicing meditation and mindfulness, reading, going for walks, and capturing nature’s essence with photographs. Camilla is the founder of MeetingtheAuthors.com and lives in Northern Nevada, USA with her two kids.

Author Links:

Website: http://camilladowns.com/

Family Website: http:/theteamtlc.com/

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CamillaDownsAuthor/

twitter: https://twitter.com/camilladowns

instagram: https://www.instagram.com/CamillaDowns/

pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/camilladowns/

Amazon Author Central:

amazon.com/author/camilladowns

Meeting the Authors:

http://meetingtheauthors.com/

Where to Buy:

Words of Alchemy: If you’re in the U.S. and would like a personalized, signed book – free shipping! (I will ship internationally, if the reader would like to pay the international shipping fee): https://camilladowns.com/books/words-of-alchemy/

Amazon – Words of Alchemy: mybook.to/WordsofAlchemy

Amazon Author Central:  amazon.com/author/camilladowns


All of our bookshttp://camilladowns.com/books/

Have you read Words of Alchemy? do comment below if you have I’d love to chat about Camilla’s poetry book…

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

26th April 2020

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

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

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

The Coronavirus series continues to be popular.

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

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

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

27th April 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope you are all keeping well and safe.

A new review for Mr. Sagittarius:

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

And a fairly new review for The Curse of Time:


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

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

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

My Book: myBook.to/TheCurseofTime

 

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Isolation For Writers: Guest Author – Jeannie Wycherley #Guest #Author #Isolation #Collaboration #Thoughts #Family #COV19

Photo by Bruno Scramgnon from Pexels

It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to my next guest author Jeannie Wycherley – in my Isolation series in the time of COV19 – I discovered Jeannie via my Facebook post on Book Connectors asking if group members would be interested in writing a post about Isolation during Coronavirus.

Jeannie was one of several who were interested in joining in. She has a fascinating tale to tell.

Welcome Jeannie…

How are coping with this enforced isolation?

Collaboration in the time of Coronavirus Jeannie Wycherley

I was travelling in Sri Lanka when I first heard the word ‘coronavirus’. That probably makes it sound like I’m some sort of global jetsetter, and to be honest, I wish I was. But in truth, my husband and I run a small seaside gift shop in a small town in the south west of England and this was our first holiday in five years. We both have to supplement our income from the shop in other ways. He does so from exam marking (we’re both ex-lecturers) and I do so from my writing.

I don’t think I was concerned at first. I wasn’t paying much attention to the news in any case. But then we stayed in a gorgeous hotel near Dambulla over Chinese New Year and it seemed really odd to see all the Chinese tourists wearing face masks. Fast forward two weeks and I flew home with a scratchy throat. Just 48 hours later I had a respiratory illness that knocked me for six.

By then Coronavirus was becoming more newsworthy. I still don’t know what I had, but I knew enough about the virus that I self-isolated, ‘just in case’, for nearly three weeks. Unable to shake it off, I chose not to visit my parents at all, until suddenly, people over seventy were being asked to self-isolate and I’d lost my chance.

We kept our shop open through the first two weeks of March but increasingly became aware we were fighting a losing battle. Nobody wanted to shop, the streets were deserted, and we felt increasingly uneasy—wary of people ‘touching’ things or coming too close. On the 18 th March we closed our doors. The government announced the lockdown the next day.

I had a really bad few days from the 19 th March. Extreme anxiety, feeling weepy, experiencing nightmares, struggling to breathe at times. I tried to write—in fact I needed to write because I had a pre-order set up on my next Wonky Inn book—but I struggled to focus for longer than a few minutes. With the shop closed, I suddenly had the equivalent to three extra days to write in and be more productive. Instead of that, I found myself constantly checking social media and the news websites, driving myself crazy.

What made it worse, for me, was fear for my elderly parents. My Mum, 74, has been brilliant and remained indoors, crafting and doing puzzles, but my Dad, 75, is a different story. An ex Royal Marine, and prison education manager, he’s been around the block and he gets restless. He has lots of interests though, and one of those is writing although he’s never been published.

It came about that I had picked up a pre-made book cover, a fun science fiction. I spotted it in a sale; it made me chuckle and I parted with some cash. I don’t write sci-fi. I don’t even read a lot of modern sci-fi although I’ve read lots of ‘classics’ in the genre. But I absolutely love sci-fi movies so I’m aware of the tropes. My Dad loves all sci-fi. He grew up with it. When I was a kid and we went on holiday, he would invariably be reading sci-fi books on the beach.

I write horror and paranormal cozies. It occurred to me that a cozy sci-fi would be a lot of fun and there would be some crossover with my fans and I might pick up some new ones. The thing was, I was still struggling to focus enough to finish Wonky Inn Book 9: A Gaggle of Ghastly Grandmamas as well as editing an epic Victorian gothic ghost story, The Municipality of Lost Souls, so where did I think I was going to get time to write anything else?

Link for A Gaggle of Ghastly Grandmamas: http://mybook.to/WW9

At that stage I asked my Dad if he fancied collaborating and I sent him the cover. He loved it and bounced back with an idea. I suggested he create a plot and he came up with just over half (he admits he’s useless at endings). Now, I cannot ‘pants’ to save my life, so I took his plot and painstakingly broke it down into scenes, fleshed it out and finished it off. Between us we tweaked it and divvied out who was writing what and off we went.

Or rather off he went! Like a rocket. This is a man who struggled to write 300 words per day. Now I can’t stop him. I juggle my editing of Lost Souls and Wonky 9, with writing my scenes and editing what he’s written so that I can oversee a consistent voice throughout the story. It’s hard to keep up with him! The side effect is that I’ve had to focus because I’m doing so much. It will pay off in the long run.

And do you know? We’re producing a great little sci-fi story set on Dartmoor here in Devon, with a nod to H G Wells and those wonderful old 1950s serials like Quatermass and the Pit, but with a little humour and some quirky characters. We use Google Docs so that we can both see what the other is doing, and we catch up every few days so I can check that’s he’s happy and iron out any plot holes that have come up. It’s a fun project that we will both be proud of. When we’re both happy with it, I’ll send it to my editor. At some stage later this year, I am confident we can launch our collaboration and be justifiably proud of it.

If nothing else, this pandemic will have allowed us to work together in a way we might never have considered doing before. I’ll always be grateful for that, and for my parents remaining indoors and staying safe.

Link to my amazon page: http://author.to/jeanniewycherley

Website: http://jeanniewycherley.co.uk

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Thecushionlady

Bio

Jeannie Wycherley is a genre-hopping introvert and word witch living somewhere between the forest and the sea in East Devon, UK. She is the author of Crone (2017), Beyond the Veil (2018), the Spellbound Hound books (2020), and the Amazon bestselling Wonky Inn series. She draws literary inspiration from the landscape … and cake.

Well, that was a fascinating post from Jeannie. I love how she is collaborating with her dad. There are positives that we can take out of this awful experience and it gives me great joy to share them.

Coping with anxiety and stress.

Hopes for the future during these strange times.

If you are interested in taking part in this new feature on my blog please email me on: marjma2014@gmail.com, or comment below.

Please share any photos you would like, thoughts, reflections, and of course your book links, book descriptions/photos, author bios and the like. All welcome.

Together we are stronger. Stay safe and well.

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COVID19 Diaries 22nd April – 25th April #news #author #features #writing #family #tapas #fun

Photo by Sarah Trummer from Pexels

22nd April, 2020

Isolation for Writers

I continue to share my Isolation for Writers posts on my blog. It’s great to feel as if I am doing something to help writers during this crisis. My recent guests have been: Catherine Fearns, who has published three Amazon best-selling crime thrillers with Crooked Cat Books/Darkstroke, and she also writes as a music journalist. https://mjmallon.com/2020/04/22/isolation-for-writers-guest-post-catherine-fearns-crookedcat-crime-thriller-author-isolation-covid19/

What Have I been up to?

I wrote a new poem for my author friend Colleen Chesebro’s poetry challenge. It’s a haiku. You can read it here: https://mjmallon.com/2020/04/23/colleens-2020-weekly-tanka-tuesday-poetry-challenge-no-174-photoprompt-haiga-haiku-tree-nature/

By early afternoon I knew my hubby would be chaffing at the bit if I didn’t do some chores around the house. Window cleaner, that’s my new job role! It pays no cash but keeping my spouse happy counts towards extra brownie points. Of course, I’d much rather be writing… Eldest daughter, Tasha assisted and she’d much rather be reading. Hubby bought a special gizmo to help with the job. A no streak device – I never trust gizmos.

Well, the gizmo worked for a while until it started flashing red – a re-charge. Apparently, the re-charge takes two hours. What to do now… sit in the garden perhaps.

I know what to do… You guessed it… hide from hubby…

23rd Apri, 2020

We did a yoga video in the morning… it was great.

I had this idea to get mum and dad a treat. A delivery of food so they wouldn’t have to go out and brave the shops. What a joke! I ordered from a company … but there was no mince…

How can you make burgers with no mince?

Later on when Mum started cooking she realised the garlic was missing too… But, she also mentioned it was tasty. Hope mum’s delivery next week has some mince… Hello! Hint Hint…

24th April, 2020

Isolation For Writers

Today, I featured Jackie Carriera on my blog: https://mjmallon.com/2020/04/24/isolation-for-writers-guest-post-jackie-carreira-writers-authors-isolation-covid19-coping-advice-inspiring/

Jackie is an award winning author, playwright, world citizen and huge movie fan She is also a very generous lady as she kindly sent me two of her books: The Seventh Train and Sleeping Through War, looking forward to reading these.

What Have I Been Up To?

In the morning I joined in author Lizzie Chantree’s writing sprint at 10.30am (to edit my YA romance.) Lizzie’s supportive Facebook group can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/647115202160536/

In the afternoon I braved the supermarket. I had tapas and cocktail ingredients to buy! Lockdown has it’s positives!

25th April, 2020

The highlight of the day came as my hubby David was washing his car with a jet power washer gadget which I’ve never seen before… When did he buy that? An unexpected visitor – what excitement – arrived at our door. It was Gina’s friend Elise who had popped round with a present to thank Gina for the present she’d had for her birthday! How eccentric to give your friend a present when it’s your birthday. Lockdown does that to people. Sweet. The two of them chatted for a while (at a safe distance,) and then Gina came in carrying her present looking much cheerier for having seen her friend for a while. The gift bag contained a lovely goodie bag full of treats. Lucky girl!

Earlier in the day I emailed my mum who’s getting fed up. She is very active for a 78 year old lady. Apparently, she has been doing Spring cleaning and painting but has now had enough of it. I don’t blame her!

I’m a bit worried about the painting… I hope she hasn’t been climbing up ladders!

The other funny thing about today is I forgot what day it is.

I submitted a 300 word piece to be featured in Writers Write – CoVID-19 Reflections on Quarantine on Saturday 25th and I completely forgot all about it.

Lockdown does that to you, you forget what day of the week it is.

 I’m pleased to say it was accepted for publication, along with several other excellent entries: https://writersuniteweb.wordpress.com/2020/04/25/reflections-on-a-pandemic/

In the evening, we had the tapas meal which was more tricky than I expected as our bottom oven wasn’t working.

It took forever to make all the little bits and pieces. The predominate ingredient seemed to be CHEESE – cheese balls coated in breadcrumbs, melted cheese Camembert (which my daughter Gina spelt Cannon Bear on the shopping list!) I thought that was kinda cute – she has always struggled with spelling being somewhat dyslexic – and Nachos with cheddar cheese. We also gobbled down home made wedges, sweet peppers filled with rice, chorizo and tomatoes, cold meats, sausages, cucumber strips and olives. All mighty tasty. The only slight disaster was the Camembert which imploded in the oven. It must have been those Cammon Bears getting up to mischief! Still we saved what we could, it wasn’t too bad.

I didn’t care too much for the Aperol cocktail concoction that the girls insisted upon but they loved it. We dressed up and took some photos by a flowering plant in our garden. It was a great evening which seems odd considering all that is going on in the world. It seems our only way to cope is to try to fill our days as best we can.

During lockdown it’s the little things that mean so much. Family time is precious.

Before I go, perhaps I might suggest a little Lockdown reading:

My poetry, prose and photography book – Mr. Sagittarius

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

I just discovered a new review, thank you Adele <3

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

My YA Fantasy – The Curse of Time Book 1 Bloodstone.

My Book: myBook.to/TheCurseofTime

Images of Esme The Mirror Girl and The Creature via Carolina Russo: https://yesterdayafter.com/

You can see the images in full on Carolina’s blog: Characters Illustration – A Collaboration with Author MJ Mallon – 1st Stop Blog Tour! #ABRSC

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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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