Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries: Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet is a collection of short stories with scattered poetry, reflecting the complexities of life, love and loss.
The stories in the collection dip into the lives of men and women who are faced with an ‘event’ that is challenging and in some cases life changing.
Even something as straightforward as grocery shopping online can be frustrating, and a DNA test produces surprise results, the past reaches out to embrace the present, and a gardening assistant is an unlikely grief counsellor. Romance is not always for the faint-hearted and you are never too old for love. Random acts of kindness have far reaching consequences and some people discover they are on a lucky streak. There are those watching over us who wish us well, and those in our lives who wish us harm.
Well, what can I say about Sally Cronin’s latest collection of short stories and poetry?
It is a brilliant mix of bitter and sweet, a fine collection that I’m sure will appeal to everyone. In fact, I had so many favourite short stories and poems that I’d be hard put to try to pick just a few to highlight. Life is Like A Bowl of Cherries is a snapshot of life embracing all its complexities, with humour, joy and kindness.
Here were some of my personal favourites:
Short Stories:The Weekly Shopping (this will make you chuckle! A special one with dieters in mind!) The Date – (so humourous and sweet, think old lady out for a date but she sure does it in style!) The Wedding Day, The Scratch Card, (So lovely – a short excerpt of this particular story is available below in the author interview link,) Long Lost Love, The Night Shift (A lovely tale of a Care home and a cat,) Gaffer Tape (about fortitude and overcoming domestic abuse,) The Gardening Assistant (Loss of a baby – this will touch the heart of many, especially those who have experienced such sadness, or miscarriage (as I have,) but the ending with the help of a furry friend brings light and hope.)
Some of my favourite poems: The Visitor, Garden Birds, Ritual of Mehndi
I featured Sally with an interview and excerpt recently:
My recommendation. A highly readable and touching book of short stories and poetry. 5 stars.
Welcome to Kyrosmagica! It is wonderful to have you over for a chit chat, Sally.
Lovely to be here Marjorie and thank you for the invitation.
MJ: I’m delighted to be reading Life is Like A Bowl of Cherries, Sally, the title is so beguiling, particularly as I do love fruit, and cherries are a favourite!
MJ:Sally,I’d love to hear more about your nomadic life. I believe you have lived in many countries. Which of these places has a special place in your heart and why?
My father was in the Royal Navy and was posted overseas several times. On occasion we were able to travel with him as a family, including my first trip at age 18 months to Ceylon (Sri Lanka). The first year was documented in photographs and I don’t really remember as I was too young, but certainly by the time I was three I was aware of my surroundings and the people in my life. We lived in a house on the edge of the jungle and we had a cook and an amah or nanny for me. My two sisters were 13 and 14 by this time and when they came back from school I was handed over to them. Anything they did I did too, and I was swimming every day in my rubber ring which I loved and still do today, but without the rubber ring!! On one memorable occasion, I followed my eldest sister up a steep ladder during a diving competition. She completed her dive and surfaced expecting applause to find a stunned silence and groans from the crowd. I had crawled to the end of the diving board, stood up and jumped off. Apparently I surfaced and told my sister ‘again’.
After Sri Lanka we returned to the UK for two years followed by two years in Malta which were amazing, and after another two years in England we moved to South Africa. My memories of our time in Cape Town are very vivid as I was ten years old by this time and well aware of the situation at that time with apartheid for example. As a family we had to attend an induction day so that we knew what we could say and what the rules were for segregation. I found it very difficult as I had friends at school in England from the West Indies and the Middle East and it felt very uncomfortable being unable to be friends with anyone because of their colour.
David and I have lived and worked in several countries over the last forty years and certainly our experiences, and the people we have met, have provided us with amazing memories. As a writer all of my travels have left me with memories that are wonderful to dip into and use for stories.
They say that ‘home is where the heart is’, and for me that is certainly the case, and wherever we might be living, as long as David and I are under the same roof it is a special place.
MJ: Oh, how lovely.
MJ:Writing short stories and poetry takes a special skill. Can you summarise the way you approach writing them – any rituals you have, or methods you use?
The stories start out life a great deal longer than they end up. I tend to write in my head first when walking or exercising, then come back and dash it out on the computer. I spend a lot of time revising and editing down to a point where I feel it reads aloud well. And I always ask myself, would I enjoy if I read the story for the first time.
I tend to stick to the Japanese poetry which is constrained by the number of syllables. I love the various formats and experiment depending on the theme. After the first draft, I usually end up changing the words within a certain syllable count to find the one that expresses the most action or emotion.
With everything I write, I use David as a sounding board and he is brilliant with suggestions that might enhance or improve the piece.
MJ: You feature so many authors on your wonderful blog Smorgasbord. This must be a labour of love as I’m sure it must take up so much of your time. As an indie author you give so much to the community in features, reviews and the like. How do you manage your time? And do you ever feel overwhelmed?
One of the key elements I learned early on in my management career was project planning and this was vital when dealing with major construction, installation or sales and marketing campaigns. I carried this over to when I was running my own business for the next twelve years and then as a blogger.
For me blogging is a full time occupation and a business despite the blog itself not being monetised. I am an indie author with 14 books to sell and nobody else is going to do that for me. With 20,000 new titles added to the shelves on Amazon each week, it is tough to get noticed, particularly in the popular genres.
Twenty years ago I was helping authors get their books noticed in a very different way with book launches, radio interviews, press releases and my own first book got some great publicity nationally. However, it is very different now, and the focus is on local physical marketing and global online promotion.
As an author of six books in 2012, I needed a platform to market my own books and that involved creating an online presence across other areas of social media. I began building Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn systematically over the years. I don’t belong to any other social media because as you say, it is time consuming to maintain, and these three are the most consistent referrers of visitors to the blog after WordPress Reader.
I had a project plan in place to achieve my vision of how I wanted the blog to develop. To market my own books, I felt that the content on the blog needed to appeal to a varied market. I set out to develop a magazine style platform with a number of topics. I began with health which I have been involved in for over fifteen years by that time, and slowly added the other areas I have been involved such as book marketing, music and humour as the followers and my confidence grew.
After three years I felt that there was a strong enough following to offer free book marketing to other authors, which is when the Café and Bookstore came into existence. There are now over 150 author promotions, two book fairs featuring all the authors in the Café, and around 50 individual author spotlights a year. My hope is that I can help in some small way to showcase an author and their work within our writing community, whilst also promoting my own.
As to finding the time to post in the way I do… I always schedule ahead by at least a week and usually two. In the case of a series I schedule all the posts at one time. This creates time for me to maintain social media, spend time on my own writing projects, and read and review books.
The project plan is not completed, and in the blog’s 9 th year I hope to continue to find new ways to get all of us noticed and sell some books.
MJ: You are an inspiration, what a wonderful goal.
MJ: The title of your latest release: Life Is Like A Bowl of Cherries. How did you choose the title and what were you trying to convey?
My life experience has been one of highs and lows as is the case for so many people. The reason I appreciate what I have right now, is because of the tough times in the past. Nobody has a perfect life and that is what makes it so fascinating. I wanted to reflect this in the stories I write, but I try to end each of them with a hopeful outcome.
As to the name of the collection…I bought a punnet of cherries last year and could not believe how they looked the same but some were bitter and some were sweet. When I was looking for a title it came to mind.
MJ: That’s so cute!
MJ: After eight years blogging what advice would you impart to new bloggers starting their blogging journey?
Everybody has a different reason for beginning their blogs and there is no right or wrong way to go about it. I do dislike the term Hobby Blogger which is used for anyone who does not commercialise their blog. Whether it is one blog a week, one a day or more, it takes time to prepare, format and market. Various skills are required and whilst it should be enjoyable, it takes work, not just to create the posts, but to get noticed.
I do suggest that anyone thinking about blogging visit a load of other blogs first to get a feel of what is out there, the format, the response in terms of followers and comments. That is usually a solid indicator that people enjoy the content.
A good place to start with your own blog is with your passions, which might be cooking, music, writing, etc. Start with one blog a week and sprinkle with some reblogs of other people’s posts that you are following and enjoy. They will appreciate the gesture and return the favour.
Follow and comment on other blogs and share on social media by clicking one of the buttons at the end of the post. Just saying ‘I enjoyed that thank you’ with your name is very welcome. One thing I do suggest is that you don’t put the URL of your blog in the comment as that should come up with your name, and most blogs block comments containing URLs.
Follow bloggers you enjoy on Twitter and Facebook and retweet their pinned tweets…and if you are an author this is particularly important. I do have a pdf of Book Marketing for authors, including set up for blog and social media and if anyone would like a copy then they just need to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
MJ: Has your writing mojo stayed the same during this unprecedented time of covid?
Like all of us we have had to adjust to several lockdowns and still having to get on with life in the most hopeful way possible. I felt it was very important for my own wellbeing to ensure that the blog continued as normal during the year. More than ever being online and staying in contact was crucial, and authors were still writing books that needed to be marketed. Music and laughter are important in my life, particularly at the moment, so there was no thought of not carrying on as usual.
MJ:You live in Ireland now, what made you settle there? And do you ever see yourself moving?
My husband is Irish and despite leaving for work when he was 18 years old we have visited family regularly and lived here for five years in the mid-1990s. We loved living just outside of Madrid and periodically on the south coast of Spain for my time on radio, but we got to our mid-60s and felt that it would be a good idea to return to Ireland. We are in good health but even if you are relatively fluent in a language you would still find it difficult coping with illness, or possibly being left on your own to cope with it.
It has been nearly five years now and I miss our friends and the sunshine, having swapped 300 days of blue skies for 300 days of rain! But the warmth of the people here certainly makes up for that. Additionally this last year, there has been a sense of feeling less exposed as we live in a rural area on the coast. Without the usual holidaymakers arriving from Dublin this summer, the incidence of the virus has been much less than it has been elsewhere in Ireland and in the UK. Obviously we are sorry for all the small businesses dependent on this annual influx but it is better to be safe than sorry.
We love our house which took four years to renovate, with some work is still needed in the garden, which is weather dependent. There is enough room to move in some help as we get older, as neither of us are care home material…so the answer is we probably are here for the duration! For the time being lol…
Thank you again Marjorie for inviting me over and I hope that I didn’t outstay my welcome… I do love to chat… Happy 2021 everyone.
Excerpt from The Scratch Card
Elsie Thompson attended the morning service at St. Cuthbert’s and dropped in to the coffee morning in the church Hall to catch up on the gossip in the parish from the last week. She also wanted to share the good news with her friends that she had won twenty pounds on a scratch card the day before, and she had four crisp five pound notes in her purse to prove it.
Mr. Singh the owner of the corner shop where she always bought her tickets, had beamed at her as he handed over the cash and commented it would not take her far sadly. She laughed and spent one of the fivers on another card, in the hopes another win might get her somewhere with a lot more sunshine than Liverpool. To be honest, even enough for a day out in Southport would be lovely for the both of them, and her husband Frank would enjoy a stroll down Lord’s Street, and she would treat him to a posh tea at the Prince of Wales hotel.
Elsie paid for five cups of coffee and a biscuit for herself and her four friends with one of the remaining fivers, and they sat in a corner happily sharing their news and plans for the following week. It was money well spent, and an hour later, Elsie walked home to get the roast lunch prepared, looking forward to their son Tom’s monthly visit with his wife Steph and their two boys.
As she crossed the main road, she saw a young lad sitting on the pavement outside a closed charity shop, he was playing the guitar, and at the moment the only audience seemed to be his dog leaning up against his shoulder. Elsie paused in her mental preparation of the roast pork with crackling, roast potatoes, carrots, cauliflower cheese and peas, followed by apple pie and custard. The boy’s face was pinched, and he shivered in the cold breeze that had picked up in the last couple of hours. His music was actually not half bad, and he had a nice voice, which drew her closer to hear more clearly. He smiled in recognition of her attention and the dog stood up and wagged its tail.
Elsie looked into the open guitar case and saw a few coppers were strategically scattered to entice further contributions. She had appreciated her own little bit of luck, and a few shillings wouldn’t be missed. She took her purse out of her handbag, opened it and realised she only had some pennies. Shaking her head she pulled out one of the remaining two five pound notes and tucked it beneath some of the coppers to stop it flying away. She looked up into the boy’s face when he suddenly stopped singing and saw tears running down his face into his dirty scarf.
MJ: I’ve read this story and it is one of my favourites!
Sally Cronin is the author of fourteen non-fiction and fiction books published over the last twenty years. After a nomadic life living and working around the world, she and her husband now live on the Wexford coast in Ireland. As an indie author she began blogging seven years ago as a way to promote her own books and then created The Cafe and Bookstore to promote other authors and their work. Smorgasbord Blog Magazine is also home to health, food, music, life stories, poetry and humour.
Latest book: Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries, Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet
Life’s Rich Tapestry is a collection of verse, microfiction and short stories that explore many aspects of our human nature and the wonders of the natural world. Reflections on our earliest beginnings and what is yet to come, with characters as diverse as a French speaking elephant and a cyborg warrior.
Finding the right number of syllables for a Haiku, Tanka, Etheree or Cinquain focuses the mind; as does 99 word microfiction, bringing a different level of intensity to storytelling. You will find stories about the past, the present and the future told in 17 syllables to 2,000 words, all celebrating life.
This book is also recognition of the value to a writer, of being part of a generous and inspiring blogging community, where writing challenges encourage us to explore new styles and genres.
What a lovely book from a lady who does so much for the indie author community. I’ve been following Sally’s blog for many years. The title: Life’s Rich Tapestry sums this beautiful book up perfectly. I enjoyed this immensely. It is like a treasure trove with a range of delights for everyone: poetry, micro fiction and longer pieces of writing too.
Sally Cronin is a talented story teller and I have so many favourite pieces in the collection!
Here they are:
Speculative Fiction section:A moment of alignment, Onions, The Enhancement Project.
There is a very cute dog section titled: The underdogs! Lol. And of course…The Superiority of Cats.
CAT FAVS: For the love of Lily. (my tied favourite in the collection – loved this.)
DOG FAVS: An Ugly Mutt, The Junkyard Dog (my tied favourite in the collection – loved this.)
FAVS: Strawberry Jam, Storm Windows, Splashing Good Time, Rock Star, Recycling Centre, My Mouse (so funny!) Following Elephants, The Charm Bracelet, Broken.
Random Thoughts:In touch with the earth
Celebrating Pets: My best friend, A Dog’s Life.
Fav poems in Remembrance:Wedding Anniversary Septhember 11th, The Poppies
Fav poems in The Natural World: The Beach, The Cave, A Magpie’s Prize, The Magnolia
FAV Poems in Fairies and Other Folk: Fairy Gold, Fairies at play.
FAV poems in the All Things Human section: Romance, Youth,
FAV Poems about the Seasons of the Year: Glorious April, March Hares,Hallowwen – This Night, Rust and Gold, November Trees, December.
I mention my favourites only so you can see the variety of stories, poems and microfiction in this collection. The cat and dog sections are superb so this collection will really appeal to those who love their cats and dogs!
My recommendation: 5 stars. An excellent collection. Highly recommended.
Lorraine writes bestselling crime: The DI Sterling series. There’s no crime in This Is Lockdown but Lorraine features a wide variety of authors in her Friday Fiction Features. She also has a critique and mentoring service plus information for writers on her blog.
19th July – Recap Promo of all the great promos- M J Mallon
20th July – Launch Day Promo M J Mallon – Lockdown Quotes. 21st July – Sharon Wilden of Shaz’s book blog – promo 22nd July – Ritu Kaur BP 23rd July – Richard Dee 24th July – D G Kaye ( Q and A) 25th July – Marian Wood
25th of July is the last day of the tour as I am going on holiday thereafter and taking a break from social media! As this has been a huge project and I reckon I will be exhausted by then.
The fabulous authors, bloggers and creatives who have contributed to This Is Lockdown. I’d like to give a shout out to them all.
This Is Lockdown is a anthology/compilation of diaries, short stories, flash fiction and poetry set during COVID19 from 23rd March until 1st June 2020. The anthology also features the ‘isolation writers’ who featured on my blog discussing their thoughts on isolation during this time.
The question which I posed at the time was:
How do writers, creatives, artists and bookish souls cope with isolation? Is their capacity to cope different from the rest of the population? It’s an interesting question and one that fascinates me.
Several of the contributing authors and bloggers also contributed poems, or thoughts about this time.
The wonderful contributing authors and creatives are many in number!
Thank you so much to each one of them for being a part of this project.
Please do visit their websites to discover the huge variety of writing and creative talent amongst them ranging from talented short story and poetry writers to horror, fantasy, supernatural thriller, romance and memoir writing. And more!!! Plus the wonderful fundraising Community Masks 4 NHS initiative from Jane Horwood and Melissa Santiago-Val.
There truly is something for everyone amongst this international group of writers and creatives who are based in the UK, Ireland, Canada, Italy, America and Zimbabwe.
This is a tough time for writers as it is for everyone. The arts and creative industry is under threat as are businesses worldwide.
The kindle of This Is Lockdown was released on 20th July.
The paperback of This Is Lockdown was released on 2nd December. It is a shorter version, (with no diaries, all photographic images in black and white. )
The latest posts regarding the book itself, or COVID19 are:
Part one includes my personal diaries and poetry during lockdown, the ‘isolation writers’ discussing the impact of this extraordinarily stressful time on their lives, poems and writings from authors, bloggers and a piece from Jane Horwood and Melissa Santiago-Val about their fabulous fundraising mask venture for the NHS.
Look at these:
Part two continues with my writings during lockdown: poetry, short stories, (including my YA short story The Poet’s Club, and flash fiction plus a more mature Love Affair, (short piece set post virus.)
It has been quite a learning curve for me – my first compilation/anthology!
The formatting was a challenge. There are lots and lots of photographs in this collection. The majority are observational photos I’ve taken during allowed walks of all manner of things including concrete frogs hidden below bridges…. and my thoughts about why this fellow is there… So mysterious…
There are also lovely kitty photos from my good friend Samantha Murdoch… Now that’s a face! Poor Charlie, kitty, what is the matter?
As well as fetching author photos… and masked up photos from myself, Beaton, and the Masks4NHS venture.
Anyway, it is a true account of my observations, and the thoughts of authors, bloggers and creatives from the UK, US, Canada, Italy and Zimbabwe.
Wherever we are, we are all feeling it. This time unites us in a way that we could never have imagined.
An autumnal stroll through the woods, colourful leaves crunching underfoot, the air fresh on the face, laughter and lightness portraying a happy mother and daughter scene. But something isn’t right…
A young boy who thought he knew his parents finds out that he doesn’t know them at all.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to die and then to look down upon yourself?
These are just a few of the scenes and scenarios found in A Walk In The Woods and other short stories. There are stories to make you smile, tales to bring a tear and stories to shock as well as delight.
Following the success of The Siege and other award winning stories, penned under the name Esther Newton, Freelance writer, copyeditor and Writers Bureau tutor, Esther Chilton brings you her second short story collection. You’ll find plenty of prize-winning stories throughout, as well as some new tales to enjoy.
An excellent collection of short stories from Esther Chilton and a beautiful cover created by her talented daughter Charlotte too.
My thoughts – all the stories have much to offer but these are my highlights:
Ranging from sad and poignant pieces: Walk in The Woods, Jake, and The Letter to humorous tales of strangeness in the Book Lovers that will appeal to bookish souls.
Amusing endings in The Secret Diary of Marvin Martin aged 14 and a half, and a great twist in The Lover plus heart-warming stories about a new baby’s arrival in The Brat.
The Godfather features a truly amazing cat, which is always appealing to me!
William is a touching war time story and Operation Flora is a Christmas tale with a difference.
Home sets the scene in a care home with regrets and ghostly tales delight in Gus.
A confident variety of stories which kept me entertained throughout.
And what is his connection to twin brothers, Harold and William?
When Harold dies he leaves a simple memorial request
Will his sister Annette honour it?
Or, will the magic of the garden ensure that she does.
A magical story expressed via poetry and prose with photographic images.
Mr. Sagittarius is a collection of poetry, prose and photographic images inspired by the botanical gardens in Cambridge. Photography is in the genes! Both my uncle and grandfather were photographers. My grandfather A.G. Ingram was originally with the photography company Ingram, Gordon & Co in Haddington up until the mid thirties. Then he ventured on his own to form the Scottish Pictorial Press in Edinburgh supplying photos to the press. When war broke out Scottish Pictorial Press became defunct. After the war he started AG Ingram Ltd, Commercial Photographers, at 3 successive locations in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Mr. Sagittarius features a variety of photographs including ones of: trees, a robin and a dragonfly! As well as this there are several stories, and some Halloween poems.
It is dedicated to two amazing ladies: Colleen Chesebro (for her weekly poetry challenges and Charli Mills (flash fiction challenges.) Both ladies have been a source of inspiration and encouragement.
Mr. Sagittarius is a magical celebration of the natural world, a circle of life story with an emphasis on the changing seasons of the year.
Featured at Treasuring Poetry, hosted and reviewed by Robbie Cheadle
THE GOLDEN WEEPING WILLOW (story and poem plus photo of a dragonfly)
GOLDEN WILLOW TREE (poem and photo)
ROBIN: ETHEREE (poem and photo)
LIFE LESSONS FROM BUDDHA (poem)
LIFE LESSONS FROM CATS (poem and photo image via Samantha Murdoch)
MR. FROWNING TREE (poem and photo)
RAINBOW CHILD (story and image of Tourmaline crystal via Samantha Murdoch)
FRIENDS FOR TEA (poem)
THE CANDY CORN MONSTER (Halloween poem)
CANDYFLOSS CRITTER (Halloween poem)
MR GHOST WITH EASE (Halloween poem)
DREAMING AT HALLOWEEN (Halloween poem)
ODE TO LOVE –ETERNAL (Ghost/love poem)
LOVE TAKEN BY DEATH: DIAMANTE (poem)
GHOST: SEPTOLET (Ghost poem)
A FACE ON BARK: ETHEREE (poem)
LOLLIPOP SUNSHINE TREE (poem and photo)
FOR MR. SNOWMAN (poem)
SERENA’S CHRISTMAS BUBBLE MONSTER (humorous story and photo)
BUBBLY SNOWMAN KISSES (poem)
THAT TWINKLE IN HER EYES IS MAGIC (poem)
THE OLD MAN OF SNOW AND THE SNOW SNAKE (story)
MY HEART IS A CAVE (poem)
MR. SAGITTARIUS (story)
MR. SAGITTARIUS DIED THIS DAY IN THIS SNOW DROP GARDEN (poem/prose/photo of snow drops.)
Wonderful new 5 star review for Mr. Sagittarius poetry and prose from author D. L. Finn
“Mr. Sagittarius” is a wonderful collection of poetry, prose, and pictures weaved into a magical story. The book focuses on three older siblings. The male twins have developed a special relationship, making their sister feeling left out. When one twin passes, that leaves the brother and sister to grieve. The stories have powerful images that move the narrative along and sometimes veer off into the unknown for a quick visit. We are led through picturesque scenery and whimsical moments, which include an unusual bubble bath, a rainbow hat, and an ice cave. The poetry was beautiful and powerful, and the photos captured nature brilliantly. A quick read that I found relaxing and endearing. A perfect escape in unsettled times that I recommend.
by M.J. Mallon (Goodreads Author) Robbie Cheadle‘s 5 star review May 09, 2021 Mr Sagittarius is a beautiful collection of poems and short stories, set in the lovely gardens of Cambridge and linked by the visits and experiences of a family of twin brothers and their younger sister.
The story starts with William visiting the weeping willow tree in the garden, a place that was special to his twin brother, Harold, who has recently passed away. William sees Harold’s spirit in a dragonfly that he chats to and finds solace in their one-sided communication.
This is a few lines from a poem about the dragonfly: “Ancient, sweet fellow Sacred magic bestower, Change tumbling on fragile wings.”
When William returns home, he has an altercation with his sister, Annette. During their spat Annette reveals that she has always felt left out and overlooked by her twin brothers. This revelation leads to William and Annette becoming closer and visiting the garden together. Not long after, William passes on and Annette is left alone. She visits the garden and communicates with the spirits of both her brothers over the course of the rest of her long life.
The visits of the siblings to the garden are captured in lovely verse. This is an example I really enjoyed: “I dream in colour But now everything is dark Where has the light gone? Oh, cruel leafy canopy, No green meadow, just blue thoughts.”
My favourite of the short stories was The Old Man of Snow and The Snow Snake. This is a story about making good choices in life and rejecting greed. I enjoyed the tale and the descriptive writing.
Mr Sagittarius is a gorgeous book full of delightfully depictive poems and short stories and decorated with striking photographs. This is a book that lovers of poetry, mystery, and wonder will love.
Also, many thanks to Sally Cronin for a wonderful feature review shout out recently too for Mr. Sagittarius.
“A magical book filled with prose, poetry and photographs all linking back to twin brothers, William and Harold. A fascination with the botanical gardens, and regular visits to the bench under the Golden weeping willow, spark poetic memorise and introduce magical creatures. I have to say, I loved the Bubble Monster! The author, MJ, Mallon, has weaved a mystical tale using her poetry and story-telling, to produce a lovely short read that can be dipped into whenever you want.”
“Mr. Sagittarius is the tale of two very different brothers and their only sister, told in poetry and prose inspired by the natural beauty of the botanical gardens in Cambridge, Edinburgh, and Montreal. The accompanying photographs compliment the story adding to the beauty of the author’s words.
We begin with William, who is mourning the loss of his brother Harold. However, he isn’t the only one feeling the pain of bereavement. Annette, the sister, also laments Harold’s passing. This loss forces the two remaining members of the family to come to grips with their grief in a most extraordinary way.
This is a charming poetic journey inspired by the author’s chance meeting with a dragonfly and a robin, sure to delight all readers. Yet, there is more than one magical tale spilling from this collection. By the time you reach the finale, Mr. Sagittarius reveals the wisdom of a life richly lived.”
“Set against the beautiful back drop of the botanical gardens in Cambridge, prose and verse tell the story of people who find solace and joy in the weeping willow tree and dragonflies and in the wonders of the orchids in the hot house. Twin brothers have a favourite bench where they watch the world go by, and their sister Annette reflects on her life after their loss… Other characters make their appearances sharing the magic of the natural world, including young Aurora who collects rainbows and semi-precious stones.
The author takes us through the seasons with poems reflecting the festivals such as Halloween and Christmas, with ghosts and snowmen and a Christmas Bubble Monster. Finally we meet Mr. Sagittarius who shares the loves of his long life….
This is a delightful read with wonderful photographs to enhance the words, and you will find yourself returning to certain passages to read again and enjoy. I am sure you will find your own favourites and I was hard pushed to select just one, but the Etheree: A Face on Bark struck a chord with me.” Author Sally Cronin.
“This is a short book of poetry and prose about aging siblings and the wisdom of Nature. Mallon’s prose reads like fairy tales, and her poetry reads like magic. The stories and poems are loosely linked, episodic snapshots of the sibling’s lives. It’s an upbeat, happy read.” A Happy Read – Priscilla Bettis, author.
“What a magical Web 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.” Willow Willers.
“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.”
This was a charming and whimsical read. The author, Mallon, takes us into a magical world in her prose in a tale about 2 siblings, Annette and William, both aging and dealing in their own ways with the grief and some resentments of their departed brother Harold, twin to William. They open up to each other on a bench under the Golden Weeping Willow tree where nature reveals messages.
Mallon did a wonderful job projecting the imagery as the story interconnects with intermittent poetry taking place in the magical botanical gardens, and beautiful photographs added to complement the story.
This is a short upbeat read with great descriptions and an engaging story.
5.0 out of 5 stars A poetic journey through life. Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 April 2020 Verified PurchaseShaped 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. Adele Marie Park.
I am an author who has been blogging for many moons at my lovely blog home Kyrosmagica: https://mjmallon.com.
My interests include writing, photography, poetry, and alternative therapies. I write YA Fantasy/Paranormal novels, ghost/horror short stories and middle grade fiction as well as micropoetry – haiku and tanka.
My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheros! I was born on the 17th of November in Lion City: Singapore, (a passionate Scorpio, with the Chinese Zodiac sign a lucky rabbit. I grew up in a mountainous court in the Peak District in Hong Kong.
As a teenager I travelled to many far-flung destinations. It’s rumoured that I now live in the Venice of Cambridge, with my six foot hunk of a Rock God husband. My two enchanted daughters often return to visit me with a cheery smile.
When I’m not writing, I eat exotic delicacies while belly dancing, or surf to the far reaches of the moon. To chill out, I practise Tai Chi. If the mood takes me I snorkel with mermaids, or sign up for idyllic holidays with the Chinese Unicorn, whose magnificent voice sings like a thousand wind chimes.
I write YA Fantasy/Paranormal novels, Horror/Ghost short stories and multi-genre flash fiction as well as micro poetry – haiku and Tanka. I share book reviews, poetry, flash fiction, photography and inspirational details of my writing journey at my lovely blog home – Kyrosmagica: https://mjmallon.com/