I’m taking a break this morning from my book promotion to shout out about a lovely friend of mine, Sally Cronin, the most wonderful supporter of the indie community of authors. She is one in a million!
Sally has a new book out too! And it has such an amazing cover… and title too. Love that! I can recommend Sally’s short stories and poetry having read several of her books before. Do consider adding her new book Variety Is The Spice of Life to your TBR, and reading and reviewing!
About the collection
Variety is the Spice of Life is a collection of poetry and short stories about relationships with others, including pets and animals inhabiting the world around us. The connection with others brings love and friendship, excitement and sometimes surprises, danger, mystery and sometimes the unexpected.
The poetry explores human nature, the fears, desires, expectations and achievements. Nature offers a wonderful opportunity to observe animals both domesticated and wild. Even in a back garden you can observe a wide variety of creatures and the daily challenges to survive a harsh environment.
The short stories introduces you to a healer whose gift comes with danger, a neighbour determined to protect a friend, a woman on the run, an old couple whose love has endured, an elderly retired teacher who faces a life changing accident, a secret that has been carried for over 70 years and a village who must unite as they face devastating news.
I’m a fan of Cronin’s syllabic poetry, flash fiction, and short stories, and this latest collection is an excellent example of why. The first half of the book is filled with 38 beautiful poems in a variety of structured forms. Many of the poems are poignant reflections on love and loss, the wonder of life, and the beauty of nature found in her garden. Each includes a complementary image. One of my favorites:
Rejection (form: a butterfly cinquain)
silence magnifies time and distance between us and your rejection leaves my heart hollow. the promises we made that day are scattered in the wind and dreams have turned to dust.
The second half of the book is comprised of 8 short stories, most of them heartwarming tales of human kindness, forgiveness, and redemption. (With a tale of magical murder thrown in). Three of my favorites were Miss Lloyd’s Robin, The Green Hill, and The Home Help. I highly recommend this afternoon’s read to fans of syllabic poetry and short stories.
Sally Cronin knows how to capture our hearts with her variety, indeed, full of heartfelt short stories of the human condition and moving poetry accompanied by beautiful images. Along with various poems written in both free verse and specific form, Sally includes a selection of poems about ‘Snapshots from my Garden’, where she shares about the various animals and insects who occupy her garden. We will also get a treat learning about her own DNA! Escape into nature with Sally’s poems about birds, butterflies, and other furry neighborhood visitors. A few of my favorites: Above the World, Kinship – ” … there may not always be harmony, but the ties of love cannot be broken … ,” and, Bear Witness, which emphasizes our freedoms.
Pour a cup of coffee and drift into stories of love, reminiscings, and compassion. A few of my favorites: the Green Hill – in loving memory where Bert and Ivy share a snippet of remembered love. Discover – The Secret about Eleanor’s mother Edith, which took her seventy-five years to reveal. Step into Serena’s world as The Healer who heals the sick while keeping a low profile in doing so for safety reasons as she works as a nurse in a free clinic. The Home Help gives a twist on caregiving (no spoilers).There is something for everyone here, and all guaranteed to touch your heart.
Sally Cronin is known for her short stories that pack a punch, grab at our heartstrings, and often end with an unexpected twist at the end. This new collection is a comforting read guaranteed to stir the soul.
This is a beautiful and personal account through poetry, prose and photographs, of the emotional highs and lows of the poet’s life. The poet is accompanied on her walk down memory lane by the three sisters of fate, the Morai: Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos with whom she engages in conversation about the particular moments in time highlighted by the poems.
While the poems are personal, their themes are universal which makes them relatable to the reader and facilitates emotional engagement with the particular set of circumstances detailed in the various syllabic poems. The poems are accompanied by beautiful photographs, many of which are nature orientated. I particularly liked the Botanical Gardens Cambridge UK.
One of my favourite poems in the collection is My Daughters. Perhaps this one appeals so much to me because my own sons are standing on the cusp of adulthood and will soon be flying the nest. This is a short extract:
“Now the drama’s nearly over. I tremble. Expecting the next crisis to come rippling around the lake. The waters swaying. It’s stiller now. They’re wiser.”
This is a book that is best savoured slowly over a glass of wine.
I’ve known Adele a long time and Adele and I have collaborated in anthologies together, and Ritu and Adele both contributed to my lockdown project, This Is Lockdown. Even though I have not met Adele in person, I feel as if I know her. I recommend you connect with both of these wonderful authors.
The mix of poetry, flash fiction and photography is something M J Mallon does very well. She combines them as part of the journey and the adventure she leads us on. She is a very skilled author and this newest release is a joy to traverse.
I loved how her favourite poem from the collection is about my home from home Edinburgh…
Happy thanksgiving to all my friends in the US. No turkey here but perhaps I can offer you a freshly brewed coffee from Seville.
This week’s prompt seemed particularly apt as I just bought myself a treat with my birthday money. It was my birthday on the 17th November… I tend to keep this much to myself nowadays. We went away to Seville for a few days holiday and I absolutely loved it. What a wonderful city.
I didn’t buy the new scarf there. Hubby isn’t a big fan of shopping… But I did manage to get him to spend a little bit of time shopping – he bought me some lovely new clothes for my birthday.
Now… the new scarf, is from Tavira in Portugal and it is very colourful! But, this prompt asked for a story to be told in poetry about a grey scarf so I thought why not! Give it a go…
Anyway, the poem isn’t true to life as I have no intention of casting my new scarf aside but a little artistic licence is allowed…
On a whim I bought a colourful scarf Like Joseph’s technicolor dreamcoat It brings me nightmares and trouble! My siblings are so jealous So, I cast it aside I buy a grey scarf No one sees me I sleep well It brings Joy
Me and my grey scarf have such adventures Settling around my neck with ease We paint the world in brilliance Nothing is ever drab now There is colour in dark Fountains of rainbows And no more sighs Light in shade Sunshine Songs
Tomorrow is the launch day for my new poetry, flash fiction and photograph collection. Excited for that! If you’d like to wish me a belated happy birthday I’d love it if you bought a copy of my new book.
Thank you so much to Colleen for this lovely Coffee Klatch post and review celebrating the launch of my new poetry, short fiction release Do What You Love.
Colleen’s Review Recommendation:
Do What You Love is a fantastical journey between the author and the three sisters of fate told in poetry and prose. Many of the reminiscences are autobiographical, sharing memories and photographs accompanied by poetry and short prose pieces.
In this gentle journey from her past, present, and future, Mallon weaves together the poetic threads of her life influenced by the three sisters of fate: Atropos, Clotho, and Lachesis. She shares with them many conversations about meeting her husband, what it was like living in Scotland, and later her life in Cambridge, featuring stories about her children and her own sentimental stories of growing up.
It’s Mallon’s nature photos and poetry that always send me to far-off lands filled with the beauty of Autumn. Watch for one of my favorites, the flash fiction piece called, “A New Harvest.”
A lovely read that leaves you reminiscing about your own past, present, and future.
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.
Thank you so much to Debby Gies for this wonderful 5 star review of my latest release, Do What You Love.
MJ Mallon has written a heartfelt book with memories, prose, and poetry, incorporated with stories of life, love, family, and nature. In some of her stories, she is in conversation with the fates: Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos, the three Moirai representing the cycle of life – birth, life and death, past, present and future. We will read shared conversations about meeting her husband, her homeland of Scotland, stories about children that grow up and leave the nest, and nostalgic stories of growing up with her parents. There are many beautiful images MJ intersperes amid her stories.
Stories from the heart is what I would classify this book – poignant moments that left indelible imprints on the author and will touch the reader, a reminiscing through life and new adventures. This book is a wonderful slice of life celebrated and spoken by the author through beautiful written words.
Favorite Quote: Long lasting marriages must be friends…”
The Kouta 小唄 (little or short song) is a popular Japanese verse form of the Muromachi Period, 14th thru 16th century. The lyrical song was resurrected as a geisha song in the late 1800s and is still popular today.
The form has several variations, though always short in only 4 lines, a 5th line is sometimes added.
These are inspired by a day I spent with old friends and we blew bubbles in the sun!
The poem below on this theme appears in my soon to be released poetry, photography and flash fiction book, Do What you LoveFragility of Your Flame.
OLD FRIENDS PLAY WITH BUBBLES
Do What You Love Fragility of Your Flame Poems, Photography & Flash Fiction is a personal poetry collection celebrating how the fates may have a part in all that we do.
With special poems and short reflective moments inspired by family, flowers and nature, love, scrumptious morsels, places I’ve visited, lived and intend to live in, the friendships and hopes I have for the future.
The overarching theme is to live a life well lived… And to do what you love.
Release Date: 25th November 2022, able to preorder via the following links.
I am thrilled to say that two of my poetry collections, (Mr. Sagittarius and Lockdown Innit,) have been requested by prestigious libraries in the UK: The British Library, The Bodleian Library Oxford University, the Cambridge University Library, National Library of Scotland, National Library of Wales and Trinity College Dublin for Legal Deposit.
The cover of the paperback and kindle have been designed by Colleen Chesebro who has a new service for authors which I can highly recommend. Colleen also designed the interior and cover of The Hedge Witch And The Musical Poet.
Poetry also features in my highly acclaimed YA Fantasy series. Each chapter begins with a short poem. The Curse of Time Book 1 Bloodstone and Book 2 Golden Healer are published by Next Chapter Publishing.