#Bookreview – This is Lockdown by M.J. Mallon – Robbie’s inspiration

Thank you to Robbie Cheadle for this thoughtful review of This Is Lockdown for Rosie’s Book Review Team. I truly appreciate her taking the time to read and review.

Source: #Bookreview – This is Lockdown by M.J. Mallon – Robbie’s inspiration

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Special Collection Flash Fiction Challenge #carrotranch #literary #community

There is a special schedule at Carrot Ranch to support Sue Vincent who has been diagnosed with small cell lung cancer. I’ve written about this in a previous post: https://mjmallon.com/2021/02/01/the-sue-vincent-rodeo-classic-has-begun-carrotranch-literary-community-rodeo-classic/

Here’s a schedule for you so you know what to expect:

  • January 28 Special Collection Challenge to Honor the work of Sue Vincent
  • February 1-19: Sue Vincent Classic Rodeo Contest and Parade of Reblogs (announced Monday, February 1 at CarrotRanch.com/blog)
  • February 3 No Collection
  • February 4 Special Host: D. Avery
  • February 10 Special Host Collection
  • February 11 Sue Vincent Reblog Parade (no challenge)
  • February 17 Special Sue V Collection posted
  • February 18 Regular Flash Fiction Challenges return
  • February 19 Contest ends
  • March 22 Winner and Runners Up Announced

January 28, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about life as a river of consciousness. Think about the possibilities of the prompt. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by February 11, 2021

This is my special flash fiction piece for Sue Vincent.

Life As A River of Consciousness

Do What You Love

What makes us human extends beyond the care we give our young. Perhaps it is our creativity which marks us as distinctive from other species.

Life is akin to a river of consciousness, we may drift along, or choose who we truly desire to be. Whatever we decide, we must live life to the full, expressing ourselves in music, words, performance, or art. Troubling obstacles will come and go, pebbles of uncertainty, meandering moments, thunderstorms and floods of tears, unsure and uncertain times. To accomplish our hearts’ desires we must stay focused, determined and resolute on life’s turbulent river.

To enter the Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic competition: https://carrotranch.com/2021/02/01/the-sue-vincent-rodeo-classic/

Link to the : Special Collection Flash Fiction Challenge

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Carrot Ranch Literary Community #flash #fiction

November 5, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about lost time. You can write a realistic scenario or something speculative. How does lost time impact the character of your story? Bonus points if you include a 1982 brown rubber watch Go where the prompt leads!

Stan picked up an imaginary sand timer, turned it over and watched as the grains of sand ran. He didn’t say a word. His grandchildren were playing on the beach building sandcastles, oblivious to his moment of sadness. On his wrist, he wore a 1982 brown rubber watch. It was now 2020. The watch had long since given up ticking, but he’d never throw it out. It would be terrible to do so. The watch belonged to his beautiful wife and brought back happy memories.

 June died in 1983, was never fancy but always special.

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Carrot Ranch Literary Community #flash #fiction #chores

Thank you to the lovely Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch for all she does for the literary community. <3

The flash fiction prompt this week made me think of my mother-in-law Mary who is holding on to being fiercely independent as long as she possibly can. She is now the ripe old age of ninety four! She always tidies everything up before the carer sets foot in the house and her favourite phrase is: That’s that job done!

Tea and Biscuits With The Carer

“That’s the blueberries washed!” she said with a smile.

I couldn’t help but laugh.  

“Put the kettle on,” she said.

“Don’t you want to leave anything for the carer to do?”

She didn’t answer, instead she said, “Get the pavlova and cream. Mini ones in the cupboard over there.”

I opened the tin and arranged them on a large plate.

“What time’s she coming?”

“Now! Better wipe the table,” she said.

The carer bustled in.

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Flash Fiction Challenge: Carrot Ranch Literary Community #flash #fiction #challenge

I’ve always enjoyed Westerns!! The prompt this week is to write a story about what happens on the dusty trail and Respond by October 6, 2020.

Excitement is building at Carrot Ranch for TUFF – TUFF stands for The Ultimate Flash Fiction which is every Monday — October 5, 12, 19, and 26.

So here is my Oct 1st Flash Fiction take about how love must have been short and sweet in times of life and death.

The Darnedest Cowboy

The darnedest cowboy walked towards me. His cowboy boots churned up the dusty road. My heartbeat so loudly I swore it was going to giddy up, catch a ride on a wild horse and land on his Western shirt. His eyes twinkled as he dawdled a few feet away. He kicked a stone, spat some cheeky grits into the ground and walked right past, lassoing my heart with his.

I stayed still until I heard the deafening gunshot. Damn. Wild West gals sure don’t remember no dead cowboy long.

Love ain’t for dead buckaroos!

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Flash Fiction Challenge : Snacks #flash #fiction #snacks #humour

The challenge this week from Charli Mills is to write about a snack. This piece of flash fiction is based on a true story. I made an apple pie… and this is more, or less what happened…

A Culinary Faux Pas

Vanessa cut the homemade apple pie into dainty, perfect slices.

Rich smiled as he popped one in his mouth. “Did you make the pastry yourself?”

“Yes.”

“It’s crumbly. And different. A magic ingredient?”

“Cinnamon and lemon rind.”

“Oh, from unwaxed lemons?”

Vanessa swallowed. “I, Oh dear!”

Rich picked up the melted candle on the table. “So, we’re eating cordon bleu Apple Pie Snacks flavoured with cinnamon and hot wax?”

“It seems so… Aren’t they delicious! ”

© M J Mallon

Oops, a bit of a culinary faux pas…

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Flash Fiction: Carrot Ranch Literary Community #Flash #Fiction #Challenge

Live Author Talk

Those bloody motorbikes can’t they stop! 1 A.M. no chance I’ll get any sleep. Tomorrow’s the live show. Never done this before. What will it be like? I’ll soon know. Introverted writers, tonight at 9 p.m. I’ll talk live. Bound to be a problem with the connection. We’ll get there… I did it! I listen, damn, I can’t see my weird mannerisms, but I can hear them. Perhaps I should have had some water instead of that glass of wine, stupid faux pas, one or two!


On Saturday evening I participated in my first Facebook live interview with horror and fantasy indie author A. F. Stewart’s Between The Pages Book Chat. I’m sharing it here so that others can see that even if you are daunted, (terrified) by the idea of speaking live, you can still give it a go. Looking back at the recording there are things I wish I’d said and some I wish I hadn’t said, or repeated as much! It’s funny how we waffle… or I do anyway. Still, if you don’t try, you don’t learn and improve. It’s not perfect but the main thing is I tried. I’m giving myself brownie points for that!

And wondering if I seriously need a haircut! Looking like a lock down woman…

I’ve also been participating in Carrot Ranch Community 5 at the Mic, which is a grand opportunity to share your writing to an audience, in a safe space. You can start by being an audience and then move on to reading your work.

More about that here:

At the Carrot Ranch blog you can also listen to Ellen Best, Anne Goodwin, Paula Moyer, and Bill Engleson: https://carrotranch.com/2020/09/06/saddle-up-saloon-one-shy-of-a-six-pac-at-the-mic/

So, how you feel about participating in live recordings. Have you tried? Does it make you want to hide?

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Saddle Up Saloon; One Shy of a Six Pac at the Mic « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Charli Mills encourages writers to participate as readers or audience in 5 at the Mic, (video recordings of live readings of our creative writings.) I’m there, (with my humorous tale – the bubble monster,) along with Bill Engleson, Paula Moyer, Anne Goodwin and Ellen Best all sharing our writing gems by reading aloud!

Source: Saddle Up Saloon; One Shy of a Six Pac at the Mic « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

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Flash Fiction Challenge: Charli Mills @ Carrot Ranch #trees #flash #fiction #neighbourhood #mother-in-law #elderly

My flash is based on a true story. I visited my mother-in-law in Edinburgh, Scotland. She hadn’t been too well but made a miraculous recovery. At ninety-four she is an incredible woman! This tree and our conversation inspired me to write this piece of flash.

It was kind of eerie at the time… knowing what I know now. The wind was blowing lightly but I added a gust of ghostly wind to the flash fiction piece!

The Tree of Life
I encouraged my mother-in-law to venture out for a walk. She hadn’t been out since a fall laid her low before lockdown. We sat by the wise old tree. I had no idea that just a few days ago this area had been the site of a funeral gathering. The family decorated the branches with colourful ribbons, dream catchers, pretty baubles and teddy bears. As we talked, a tremendous gust of wind blew the ribbons, twirling them in a whirl of colour as the baubles and teddies danced.

I heard leaves rustling; it was his last goodbye.

I didn’t know the man who died, or what he died of. His funeral happened at a time when people couldn’t gather in the usual way. So, touching and sad. His friends and family came together to say their last goodbye amongst nature, by that tree, in the area in which he had lived. Passersby who may, or may not have known him saw the reminder of the vibrancy of his life in the colour of the adorned tree.

I picked some purple flowers for my mother-in-law which she carries in the photo. Purple is her favourite colour. She always mentions our walk each time I speak to her. Somehow, that walk to the tree have given her confidence back. I believe she has now walked to the shop again. I’m glad I encouraged her to walk with me even though I was so worried that she might fall. Sometimes you have to be brave to make a special memory.

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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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