Many thanks to Smitha for this lovely detailed, thoughtful review of my poetry memoir Do What You Love. Delighted!
Do What You Love’ by MJ Mallon is a quick read of 58 pages. It’s a sweet reminder to live life, look back to see how far you’ve come, appreciate all that’s got you this far and look forward to the future.
To read the full review, thoughts and excerpts please follow the link to Smitha’s blog.
I am absolutely thrilled with blue tick influencer, and professional reviewer – N. N. Night’s review of my latest book.
N. N. Lights Review:
A creative approach to poetry and prose I thoroughly enjoyed. MJ Mallon uses her imagination to reflect on life using conversations with the three Fates as a vehicle. I’m familiar with the multiple myths about the Fates (three sisters who guide mortals using the past, present, and future) but never have I read such a tender depiction.
The poems are beautiful and easy to understand. Each poem conveys a moment, an emotion, an experience, which relate to life. Themes detailing a life filled with beauty and love are evident and allow the reader time to ponder.
The prose illustrating conversations with the three Fates is, by far, my favorite part. The writing is imaginative, creative, and flows without effort. The dialogue speaks to the heart of the matter, the reason for everything (both good and bad): live a life well lived.
The writing itself is emotive and has a meditative quality to it. MJ Mallon chooses words like an artist chooses paint colors before creating a masterpiece. Each word by itself doesn’t mean much but when put together transforms the reader. It’s an artform and one I admire.
If you’re looking to make a change in your life or want to escape for a short time for reflection, pick up this book. A delightful, inspiring collection of poems and prose.
A small and perfectly formed collection about finding your way in life.
Do What You Love is simply lovely. Marjorie Mallon bases her collection on an iterative image of and conversation with the Fates as well as the concept of doing what a person loves and she affords the reader a personal insight into her life and family as she does so. I really recommend reading her author introduction in advance of the rest of the book because it sets the scene so beautifully.
Given that this is a very personal book, I was concerned that it would be too specific to the author. Not a bit of it. There’s a wide range in Do What You Love that encompasses poetry, prose and photography so that there really is something for every reader. I particularly enjoyed the variety of writing style. The first entry, Fragility Of Your Flame, feels very traditional in style, reminiscent of traditional fables and this is continued throughout the collection, giving balance to the shorter entries as the author imagines conversations with the Fates that enable her to reflect on her life and family.
There’s such a range of emotion in Do What You Love. Parents will experience the pain of letting go of their children even whilst they might be immensely proud of them. Marjorie Mallon illustrates love, joy, sadness, pride, the impact of nature on an individual and so much more. Her sense of place and history comes through with just a tweak of her pen and she so celebrates a childlike sense of awe and joy that she helps readers connect (or indeed reconnect) with their own happiness. I especially enjoyed the entries about trees because the author reignited my love of nature.
Do What You Love is a highly personal collection to Marjorie Mallon, but at the same time as giving readers a glimpse into who she is and where she has come from, she gently guides readers to contemplate their own lives, to live more positively and to appreciate each moment. This is such a wonderful message. and a much needed one in today’s world.
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.
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.
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.’
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.
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!
Red Jade is one of many intriguing crystals in my debut novel. Of course, the crystals in my novel are extraordinary gems, magical crystals conjured up by my imagination! They represent the light, or potential happiness of the protagonists within, whereas shadows represent darkness, deception and sadness. The Curse of Time is a novel of light and dark, so be prepared for both if you decide to pick up a copy. I do not shy away from difficult topics as reviewers on Goodreads have highlighted in their comments:
‘The story bravely tackles issues of mental health and self-harm, but in such a sensitive way that it can only help improve understanding.’ Book Review – Author Richard Dee.
‘There is a multi-layered mystery to be unravelled, spiced with supernatural hints and mixed with some very current issues such as family dysfunction and self-harming.’ Book Review – Blogger Samantha Murdoch.
Here is a short excerpt highlighting the light in the form of the red jade crystal.
‘There are so many delightful ones. How do I decide which one to choose?’ I turned in a circle trying to take in the dazzling gems as they spun before me.
‘Many of the stones have healing properties, but you must follow your instinct and find one you know is right for you. The defenders of the Cottage will guide you.’
Again, I wanted to ask about the defenders of the cottage but left the words unsaid, and they remained stuck in my throat. A jumble of incoherent sentences tumbled around in my thoughts.
Unsure of how to proceed, I followed Leanne’s advice, running my fingers up and down the crystal wall, caressing the gems. I felt a warmth generating from the crystals as my hand brushed over them. I stifled a giggle when they tickled my fingertips. Eventually, a crystal responded to my touch by easing itself from the wall to find a new home in my palm.
Mesmerised by the experience, I realised that above all else, the feeling of the stone on the wall had guided me to choose it. I sensed that the gem belonged; it spoke silent words of encouragement as if it claimed me. I relished the feeling of power that emanated from the crystal as it radiated a warming light that caressed my skin, hugging me like a dear old friend.
‘Wonderful choice my dear. The Red Jade is a lucky crystal. It is the most passionate and stimulating of the Jade stones. It will urge you to go beyond your comfort zone, to be courageous.’ Leanne beamed a bright smile and stared deep into my eyes as if she would find an answer to some unanswered question there. With an abundance of confidence in her voice, she continued. ‘There are those amongst us, corrupt souls who will try to follow you into the cottage. So, you must take care. The cottage will rise up to greet you but you must not encourage others to enter, or terrible things might befall them, so beware.’ With those words of warning ringing in my ears, Leanne turned back to tending her birds, dismissing me without a final goodbye.
I knew this was my cue to depart, so I moved toward the door. Placing a foot outside, I felt the beginnings of an earth tremor beneath my feet. I jumped as far as I could, dreading that I might fall to my death in the crack that appeared. There was no way I could have leapt so far and yet somehow, I had. The magic that bound me to the cottage lifted me high in the air and ensured my safety. In a blink of my eye, the cottage drew back, claimed by the depths far below. Nothing remained of the old ramshackle building apart from a few loose pebbles scattered on the ground where the cottage had stood only moments before.
Unique Selling Point: Unique, Imaginative, ‘Charming, enchanting and richly layered this is purely delightful.’
“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)
Brick fitted in the space well. It was narrow, like a cupboard to slot in, a place to be noticed. Brooke Trout sauntered past him. When she saw Brick her eyes opened wide. He smirked at her bemused expression. She didn’t notice but he followed her up the escalator. When she exited out of the toilet he was there angling for her.
‘Beggars can’t be choosers,’ she wasn’t much of a catch but she had a sense of humour. He valued that.
Brick smiled, ‘Babe join me? We can disappear together…
This flash is based on a true life experience. I was walking to work yesterday morning thinking about creating more diverse characters in my books and I spotted this intriguing young man of colour to my left standing rigid in a narrow gap in the wall of the shopping centre (see that gap, its tiny!) His eyes twinkled with mirth at my wide-eyed reaction.. I went up to the toilet and when I came out he was seated as if waiting for me. He grinned. It was a bit startling! It was like seeing a character I’d been thinking about come to life! I walked out of the shopping centre and turned round. But he was nowhere to be seen. Brick had disappeared!
And yes there is a male name Brick!
I’m not sure what I will do with Brick but it has made me think more about creating #diversecharacters which can only be a good thing. One of my characters in my WIP – the second book in my YA Fantasy series The Curse of Time Book 2 Golden Healer is a Rastafarian. I shall be doing some research…
To join in with Charli Mill’s flash fiction challenge follow the link:
The prompt words this week are Renew and Fresh. I chose to use improve for renew and shocking for fresh.
The idea for this particular Cinquain came from a recent critique session at Cambridge writers. I’d submitted the first draft of my prologue for Book Two. Not everyone is a fan of prologues so the comments were kind of… make it shorter…. so short it would be tiny. Dare I make it a four, five line prologue? Anyone got any advice on tiny prologues?
Sometimes you just have to pinch yourself. Colleen’s prompt words this week express my morning breakthrough in such a wonderful way. I’ve been writing my prologue for Book Two of The Curse of Time and I had a BREAKTHROUGH. The words flowed so effortlessly I wanted to do a happy dance. As I was beetling away writing the prologue I suddenly had an unexpected flash of inspiration. I’m going to start each new chapter – (Puzzle Piece,) with a Cinquian! Bring it on.
Wait a minute, I have no clue how to write a Cinquian. Never fear… Colleen is the Queen Bee of mentoring! She is a fabulous source of inspiration and her blog is full of useful information, so without further ado, I popped over to read up on how to write a Cinquain. I discovered there is a reverse Cinquian too. Boy, this is getting exciting! More happy dance! What a morning…
Here is a tiny excerpt (unseen until now!) about Cinquians from the first (unedited,) draft of the prologue of The Curse of Time – Book Two – Golden Healer:
I’m so stressed. My go to when I’m stressed is writing. Poetry. It’s my number one anxiety solution, a bunch of words in a tight format make me feel better. But somehow I don’t feel in the mood for Tanka. There have been too many weird changes for that. I need a new more challenging form of poetic expression. I’ve heard about Cinquian. It’s very formulaic, first line is the title, second line add two adjectives that describe the title, third line stick in three verbs that express action, fourth line are four words that shout out feeling or describe more and the fifth line takes it back to the beginning. Closure. That appeals. The fifth line is a synonym of the first line. Sounds good. If anything will take my mind off my present anxiety this will do it. I feel it in my gut. Cinquain. I like it. It sounds like a cash register. Not that I’m materialistic but I feel a Cinquian coming on. Bring it on!
So to my Cinquain. I’ve used synonyms – Quantum Leap and sign.
That last line was a struggle. I had one of those ‘can I really do this moments.’ But I like a challenge so I didn’t give up. Then I found the word. Auspicious. Oh, I do like auspicious! I hope it brings me luck. 🙂
Any feedback for this novice Cinquian writer would be gratefully received.
Date for your Diary! My paperback is due for release mid April. The pre-release blog tour begins in April with my #ABRSC club pals, followed by a release tour with Neverland Blog Tours. (Jenny Marston is also a #ABRSC member!) http://neverlandblogtours.weebly.com/
It is my great pleasure to welcome John Howell to my blog. John’s book Circumstances of Childhood is available to purchase today, October 1st which happens to be my brother’s birthday! So, with that in mind I decided to post this today.
Shipping on October 1st. Priced at $0.99 for the introduction.
This is a different story for John. It is in the Family Life genre and tells the story of brotherly love, riches to rags, redemption and a little paranormal thrown in. Normally John writes thrillers but this time he has stepped into a different place. This book was written with love for the story and the hope it will be an enjoyable read.
Here is the blurb:
When a former pro football star and broadcaster, now a Wall Street maven is accused of insider trading, will he be able to prove his innocence and expose those who are guilty?
Greg and his boyhood pal dreamed of big success in professional football and then later in business. Greg was the only one to live the dream. Now the founder of an investment fund Greg is faced with a routine audit finding by the SEC. The audit points to irregularities and all the tracks lead to Greg. The justice department hits him with an indictment of 23 counts of fraud, money laundering, and insider trading. His firm goes bust, and Greg is on his own.
His best friend knows he is innocent but has been ordered under penalty of eternal damnation not to help.
If you enjoy stories of inspiration, riches to rags, redemption, brotherly love, and a little of the paranormal, Circumstance of Childhood will keep you riveted.
Here is an excerpt.
I look down at my drink and wonder what will happen tomorrow. My daughter Constance wants to come and visit. She lives in New York, and before all hell broke loose, we didn’t see each other often. I missed her so much, and it seemed as if I had to beg her even to talk on the phone. Now, it’s like she wants to be here every weekend. It’s only an hour’s flight by the shuttle or three by train, so she can come when she wants. I just can’t figure out why she got so clingy. I have my troubles, but it doesn’t have anything to do with her. No use in asking her husband either. Though a nice enough guy, I always wonder if he has someplace important to go when I visit. He never sits still and stays busy on the phone or at the computer. He makes a good living, but it seems a person could take an hour to sit and talk. I’d looked forward to some kind of relationship when he and Constance got married. It’ll never happen with him.
When I take another pull at my drink, I notice the burn feels less. It happens every time. First sip initiation, I call it. It’s like the first puff of a cigarette, hits hard then, after, nothing. I decide to let Constance pretty much have the agenda tomorrow. She and I have not had a chance to talk about anything deep for a while. It could just be that she blames me for her mother running off with that guy with the house on the Hudson. He has a title, and the old gal couldn’t resist, but I think the daughter always felt I should have done something. Her mother’s sleeping with another guy and what the hell can I do about that?
I’ll just go with the flow. If she wants to go out, we will. If she wants to stay in, we can do that too. I better think about getting some food in the house. Of course, we can always order take out. I need to move on to my drink and let this go. Tomorrow will be what it is. I remember the day she was born. I looked down at her in my arms and promised I would do anything for her. I love her more than life itself, and I hope we can somehow get to the root of whatever’s wrong. She sounded strange on the phone this morning, and I feel helpless to do anything about it. I hope she opens up when she gets here.
For some reason, I feel tired. Perhaps I’ll go ahead and finish my drink. Maybe I’ll just go home and forget the burger. First, though, I’ll just shut my eyes for a minute. My hands feel good when I put my head down.
“Hey, Greg,” Jerry says. I barely hear him. “What’s the matter? You taking a nap? Greg?” I can feel him shake me, but I have no interest in waking up. His voice gets further away, and I think he says, “Oh, my God, Sophie, call 911, quick.” Now the room goes silent.
John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016. The latest Circumstances of Childhood a family life story is available as of October 1st, 2017. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.
John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.