Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction: Good Vibrations

The flash fiction below is based loosely on a true story! I’ve been asked to beta read twice recently. One of those beta reads was a little different…

Good vibrations can come in the most unusual ways! A friend of mine asked me to beta read for her. She mentioned that her story wasn’t her usual style of writing and she was using a pseudonym. With various writing projects on the go, I didn’t give it much thought. I knew I’d help her, as she’s always supported me.

When I started reading the manuscript, I soon realised what she meant. This was a  sensual read. I ploughed on; completing the beta edits of the romantic erotica in record time!

June 18, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes good vibrations. What is unfolding? Is someone giving off or receiving the feeling? Where is the story situated? Gather some good vibes and go where the prompt leads!

Respond by June 23, 2020https://carrotranch.com/2020/06/19/june-18-flash-fiction-challenge-2/

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Sally Cronin: Lockdown #Poetry #Thoughts #Isolation #Writers

Photo by Jordan Benton from Pexels


Welcome to Sally Cronin, a huge supporter of the indie writing community. Sally has kindly offered to contribute to my latest writing project: This Is Lockdown.

It’s a compilation of my diaries, short stories, flash fiction, poetry and articles, plus poems and pieces of writing from an array of international writers, authors and bloggers – the ‘Isolation Writers,’ featured on my blog.

She shares her tributes to all those who have kept us safe, educated, fed, and cared for during this crisis, her thoughts on reentering ‘normal’ activities, a poem inspired by our current situation, plus her reflections for the future.

Double Etheree – Silver Lining

I
believe
there is a
silver lining
to isolation.
A chance to reassess
how we effectively use
one of life’s great commodities
so often wasted and lamented
yet measured so accurately each day.
Time can be fleeting or last a lifetime
and it seems there is little to spare.
But during this brief hiatus
I have come to understand
that clocks do not decide
how I use this gift.
In the future
I will live
and love
more.

© Copyright Sally Cronin 2020

Thanks very much Marjorie for inviting me over to share my thoughts about the recent three months of lock down and the prospect of moving forward.

Firstly, I really want to pay tribute to the health care workers in hospitals, care homes and those who have continued to visit individuals in the community. We tend to forget when we look at their uniforms that they are also grandparents, mums and dads, sisters, brothers and grandchildren, who have the same concerns we all do about what is going on in the home, not just in their place of work.

Also those working on the front-line in supermarkets and pharmacies that have turned up each day, cheerfully, to make sure we have food on the table and medication delivered.

Parents too have been challenged by assuming the roles of teachers as well as playmates for their children in the last three months, and judging by the photographs and captions on social media, with mixed results. Humour thankfully has been sustained over the last 12 weeks, but I do know that many have struggled with the enforced isolation.

What I would like to focus on in this post, is how three groups of our society are going to cope with the next phase of re-entering the outside world.

I notice that there are already articles on how to minimise the impact on our pets, who have enjoyed having their families at home with them all day, and that includes leaving them for small amounts of time to get them used to be alone again. Humans also need help adjusting to the new world we will find when we reconnect with society.

This includes those who have been classified as vulnerable, primary school children and those who have had their treatments for life threatening diseases put on hold for over three months.

Those classified as vulnerable
I am officially in the at risk group because of my age rather than underlying health issues, but I must say that having shopped in the designated times, I probably will continue to do so as long as they continue… There do not seem to be many early risers at the moment with schools still shut, so I tend to shop in isolated splendour, rolling up and through the checkout without any delay. I do wear a mask and latex gloves and use hand sanitiser as well. Once home I get in the shower and wash my hair and glasses at the same time… shoes stay outside for the day upside down in sunshine or get wiped over with Dettol. I do think it will be a while before I discard these precautions, however safe they announce it might be.

However, one of the issues identified, is covid-19 phobia amongst many elderly people who have become used to having their groceries delivered, and total absence of outside physical contact with family and friends. We have been informed regularly, that with the lifting of restrictions there could be a second wave of the virus, and that it is highly likely that there will be another lockdown when the winter flu season starts later in the year. It does not exactly inspire confidence when it comes to leaving the house and mixing with strangers again as we used to.

This is reinforced with the continued advice for those over 70 or with a long-term underlying conditions, to remain indoors with medication and food deliveries where possible, indoor exercise or in the garden and minimise time spent outside the home and contact with others.

Services such as day care centres which provide such an important physical interaction with others, and also an opportunity to leave the house, have been shut during the lock down. Unfortunately these will remain closed until social distancing protocols have been put in place. But, many elderly will still be too afraid to take advantage of them. Those with families living close by will I am sure, find it much easier to make steps towards the new form of normal. But, for those who are living alone, it will be far more difficult.

Age UK is still doing great work with personal visits to the home, and outreach programme online and by phone, food shopping and other activities. There is a comprehensive website covering Covid-19 and how they can help should you feel that it might be of help for yourself or for a family member.

Here is the link: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/

Primary School Children
Teenagers in the main are used to living their lives online, and whilst they will have felt the restrictions on their movement in the last three months, they will have kept up their previous relationships and pastimes such as gaming as normal. But younger children, who don’t have access to the Internet in the same way, are at risk of missing out on a crucial time of socialisation with others. When they do return to school or start for the first time in September, there will be physical distancing methods in place that are going to severely restrict how they communicate and play with each other. Sitting alone in a square metre in the playground during breaks and in the dining room is not going to help them integrate into a class community.

Teachers are going to be challenged within all age groups, to not just educate, but be the guardians of personal space. And with teenagers that is going to be tough and almost impossible to enforce outside of the classroom. With the younger children there is likely to be a long-term effect on how they interact with others unless their re-integration is carefully managed.

Those with life-threatening health conditions
The health service is stretched under normal circumstances, but with the lifting of restrictions on elective surgeries and essential treatments for diseases such as cancers, there are going to be even longer delays for patients. It must have been an extremely stressful time for hundreds of thousands of people, and desperate for parents with children who needed urgent treatment.

They are talking about an 18 months waiting list for elective surgeries but hopefully those requiring life-saving treatment will be at the head of the queue. And perhaps all the private health beds that were paid for, but never used, could be taken advantage of now to speed the process up.

An opportunity for us all.
Even though I have worked in the nutritional field for over twenty years, I realised that I needed to take a close look at my own lifestyle and diet and make some changes. I don’t need prescribed medication, but it is easy to slip into bad habits, particular in lock down. The key risk factors that have been identified for a poor outcome from catching Covid-19 are related to obesity, including high blood pressure and Type II diabetes. These conditions are all reversible with changes to diet and lifestyle, and whilst it can be challenging, it may lower our risk of becoming infected as we re-join the community.


Thanks again Marjorie for having me over and sharing my thoughts and poem…

Thank you Sally, it has been a pleasure, sharing your considered thoughts and lovely poem.


Amazon Author Page US: https://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2
Amazon Author Page UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6
Blog: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/about-smorgasbord-blog-magazine-and-sally-
cronin/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sgc58
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sally.cronin
LinkedIn: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/sallycronin1

Thank you so much for being my guest Sally and for contributing an article and poem to This Is Lockdown.

Some news: My Blog Now Has A Mailing List!! Wannabe Subscribers!!!

I’ve finally taken the plunge after six years… yes it has taken me this long to add a subscribers email pop up. You can also subscribe by clicking on the image above, (that will take you to a landing page to subscribe.)

Why?

I had a feeling it would be tricky to do and I was right.

In fact, it is probably the worst blogging job I’ve ever had to do… EEK…

But, the good old happiness engineers helped me. So, I hope it works…

I’d love it if you would test the subscribe to my blog via the pop up! Yes, there is a pop up on my blog which you can add your email address to. I promise not to spam you with lots of unnecessary emails. Just the odd hello, some freebies and news from time-to-time.

I have some new releases coming!!! Next up is This Is Lockdown, my diaries during COVID19, short stories, flash fiction and poetry and the featured ‘isolation writers,’ authors and bloggers sharing their poetry and pieces.

Thank you in hopeful anticipation.

I’ve created these three social media thingy me jigys via Canva

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

 

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

Isolation for Writers – Guest post: Lynn Fraser #COV1D19 #Isolation #Writers #Anxiety #Concentration #Introspection

Welcome to Lynn Fraser, my next guest on my new feature – Isolation for Writers.

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.

How is Lynn Fraser coping with this enforced isolation?

Huddled in a circle of light I’m Lynn, writer, reader, mum, drinker of tea.

In many ways, my life in lockdown is not so different in its physical aspects to normal life. I work at home, health issues mean I don’t go out often, and me and mine are not the most sociable types. The main difference is in my head. I am more anxious and introspective.

I feel I’ve become like the ancients, huddled with my little family around the fire in a small circle of light. Awareness of the beasts, that paw and roar in the surrounding darkness, is causing heightened anxiety. When Himself goes to do the weekly supermarket shop, I fret while he’s away as though he’s gone off with his spear into the red of tooth and claw wilderness. Life seems fragile. Chaos rules.

The anxiety has affected my concentration. I’m struggling to read, fiction, in particular. I can’t seem to relax sufficiently to allow myself to be lost in story. Instead, I constantly scroll through news and social media for real life stories that, frankly, only heighten my anxiety. My heart races and I wave my flaming stick at the monsters in the dark.

For the first couple of weeks, I was finding it hard to write as well. This has hifted, but the introspection – looking inwards at my fire – has changed what I’m writing.

Firstly, I’m back to random journal writing – random describes the timing and content. I’m taking my pen for a walk and writing, not to record what’s in my head, but to find out what’s in my head. I’m not writing every day, it’s not a scheduled thing, like Morning Pages. I carry around my notebook and pen and write when I feel I need to.

My handwriting is appalling, so I’m not expecting future historians to be turning to me for an account of life in a time of corona. Secondly, I’m finding writing my official work in progress like wading through waist-high treacle. And, worse, it’s sucking me down. This week I reached the point where, without Lassie arriving with help in the form of a horseman in possession of a handy rope to pull me out (I’m thinking Paul Newman in ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’, but I digress – I do that a lot just now), I was pretty sure I was going under. The book I’m supposed to be writing is a sequel to my ‘laugh-out-loud’ story about school gates politics and a mum who will do anything for her kids. The wit is dark (think Fay Weldon) but the emphasis is on humour – and I seem to have lost my sense of humour. (I blame the nightly press conferences from Number 10 and the newspaper headlines and the people dying and the people stockpiling loo roll in garden sheds and the fact that I haven’t had a glass of wine since this whole thing started in case it compromises my immune system and home schooling and Himself’s taste in music and having to wash down my shopping with Zoflora – yeah that’s still on the shelves because why would you want anti-viral cleaner when you can get antibacterial – but, yes, you’ve got it, I digress.) I’m struggling to raise a snark, let alone a full on laugh-out-loud. I’ve lost my comedy mojo.

So, finally (I may digress but I have not totally lost my way), I’m writing something different, differently. I have a story that has been sneaking around the back corridors of my head for a while. It’s about a woman who finds herself and home in the place from which she ran away. It’s about true self and re-learning to trust and believe; it’s introspective. And there are witches. I’m releasing my hold on real,out there life and letting my imagination take control.


Things I miss:
My friends and the accompanying chat, wine/tea (and occasional bad singing)
Tea in a cafe
The sea (trip to the coast in May cancelled)
Having the house to myself
Taking life/flour for granted.
Things I’m grateful for:
My menfolk (and cats) with whom I huddle in the light
The people out there working to keep us safe and take care of us
Social media to keep me connected
My garden and my writing shed
To still be here
The words.

If you can still accept distraction, my novel is called ‘The Busy Mum’s Guide To Getting Away With It’, it’s digitally published by Orion and you can find it on Amazon, currently at the bargain price of 99p. https://amzn.to/2Y4B7ZB

You can find me on Twitter as @LynnAFraser and on Instagram (expect cat pictures) as @lynnfraserwriter.

It’s been lovely getting to know you Lynn. Thank you so much for being my guest on this new series. Witch stories… that really got my attention, as did The Busy Mum’s Guide To Getting Away With It! What a title…

Wishing you happy writing days, health and happiness.

Isolation For Writers, Creatives Artists and Book Bloggers: Richard Dee #Guest #Author #Isolation #Coronavirus #Thoughts #Family #Life #COV19

Welcome to Richard Dee, my first guest on my new feature – isolation for writers, creatives, artists and book bloggers. 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.

How is author, baker, ex-seafarer Richard Dee coping with this enforced isolation?

Here is his answer…

Some thoughts on what I’m beginning to

think of as the new normal.

I’m Richard Dee, I write Science Fiction and Steampunk adventures, as well as chronicling the exploits of Andorra Pett, reluctant amateur detective. Thank you so much, Marjorie, for inviting me to guest on your website today.

At last, I’ve found that some of the skills I learned are coming in useful.

Isolation itself is not a problem, as an author I tend to live in other worlds anyway.

When I’m writing, the ones in my head are as vivid to me as the one out of the window. There are several I go to on a regular basis, home to amateur detectives, space adventurers and quasi-Victorian society. Not only that, but there is also always the chance that I might find a new one to explore.

It used to be a bit of a nuisance, a bone of contention with other family members. Now I find that it helps.

Not only that, as an ex-mariner, I was always used to isolation, chugging across the Atlantic at eight knots to save fuel on a big ship with a small crew teaches you a few things about yourself.

There are things to worry about, all my daughters work in the NHS, on the front line, one in ITU, with a consultant physician for a husband, one is a midwife dealing with emergency admissions and the other is still training. They, along with everyone else who is putting themselves at risk to keep us fed and provided with light, power, empty bins and food to eat deserve our thanks and respect.

Things like getting food, getting exercise, keeping in touch with family and friends: things we all took for granted just a few weeks ago are now more important.

I watch the T.V. and wonder if we will ever live that kind of life, with all the socialising and outdoor action, again.

I’m glad that I have hobbies, things to do on a rainy day. Reading, cooking and gardening.

I thought that I would have so much more time to do things. But any task expands to fill the time allotted to it, so there is no more time than there was.

 Not that we were always out and about; there were jobs that had been put off because I thought they would take too long. Once I got started, I found that they were quickly done.

Meanwhile, I continue to write and publish. In fact, I’ve just had my Andorra Pett cosy crime series re-imaged, with all new covers by the tremendously talented Gill Trewick. They’re all available in both eBook (to buy and on Kindle Unlimited) and paperback at the following links:

http://mybook.to/Andorra

http://mybook.to/AndorraPettonMars

http://mybook.to/Andorra_and_her_Sister

PICTURE 4    

http://mybook.to/AreWeThereYet

I’d love to see you over at my website, richarddeescifi.co.uk. Head over there to see what I get up to, click the FREE STUFF tab or the My Novels and Short Stories tab to get all the details about my work and pick up a free short story. Why not join my newsletter and get a free short story, The Orbital Livestock Company, unavailable anywhere else.

I’m on Facebook at RichardDeeAuthor  and Twitter at Richard Dee Sci-Fi

My Amazon author page is here.  

My Goodreads page is here.

Stay safe everyone

Thank you so much to Richard for being my first guest on this new feature on my blog.

Do check out my reviews of Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Cafe:

https://mjmallon.com/2019/03/30/bookreview-andorra-pett-and-the-oort-cloud-cafe-mystery-scifi/

And The Lost Princess:

https://mjmallon.com/2019/06/29/the-lost-princess-richard-dee-arc-bookreview-indieauthor-betaread/

Authors/creatives/artists/book bloggers who might be interested in sharing their thoughts on quarantine life, please do get in touch.

Topics such as:

Writing, reading, creativity, productivity/isolation during this time.

Home life, thoughts and fears.

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.

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

Coronavirus #COV19 #Writing #WritersBlock #BeKind #Imagine #Create #BookMarketing

Photo by Dominika Roseclay from Pexels

Perhaps this is the time in which writers should be writing their hearts out.

Unless you work in the NHS, or are a key worker, most of us have more time on our hands. The material is there all around us. But, where to begin? How do we push past the fear and anxiety to begin? A good way is to try something new. Write in a different genre perhaps, or scribble down some humourous passages, (to help lift us out of a melancholic mind set.)

But if you are overwhelmed and unable to write don’t beat yourself up. That is okay too. Do what is best for you and for your mental health.

My News

Recently, I was thrilled to receive some new reviews which I’d love to share with you.

For the first book in the YA fantasy series Curse of Time Book 1 Bloodstone from author Darlene Foster:

Customer Review https://www.amazon.ca/gp/customer-reviews/RI1P10FUDTRXL/

Real teenage angst with a paranormal twist.

Reviewed in Canada on April 10, 2020

Format: Kindle Edition      Verified Purchase

For someone who doesn’t usually read fantasy, this YA novel caught my interest. The teenage characters in the book are very real with typical issues such as lack of confidence, jealousy, confusion, parental disagreements, and volatile friendships. Amelina comes from a dysfunctional family with a paranormal twist. If she can figure out the curse, perhaps her family could be happy once more. In her quest, she meets a self-harming girl locked in a mirror, a heartthrob boy with a mean side, a cottage full of amazing crystals and an old woman with sage  advice. I like that the story is based on a real clock, the Corpus Chronophage clock, in Cambridge, England. (Chronophage means time-eater). There is some time travel in the story, which I love. There’s a lot happening in this very descriptive book and not everything is explained. But that is because it is the first book in a series. I look forward to reading more about Amelina and her quirky friends.

And from Willow for my poetry, prose and photography collection Mr. Sagittarius:

willow willers 5.0 out of 5 stars A magical story told in poetry prose and photography Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 April 2020 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.

What Am I Writing?

I have a confession to make. If I had to write the third book in my YA series The Curse of Time I would struggle. I’m living in such a scary reality that I just can’t think, or imagine a full length fantasy novel setting at the moment. Instead, I am writing about the big R word – reality. I’m writing the COV19 diaries on my blog. I’m not sure when I will publish the companion stories, flash fiction and poetry but I am glad that this is keeping me occupied. My experiences are serving as my plot: what is happening with COV19 – our day to day living, the moments that make me stop and wonder, pause and reflect, smile, or cry. Those moments are in abundance.

Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels

No one can cope with the continuous news on tap, the grim, factual accounts of the death toll, or the depth of human suffering we hear about. We are living this strange reality, day in and day out. Instead, I am writing true life experiences giving fictional characters a true and authentic voice. Of course, some of these stories, diaries, flash fiction and poetry pieces will be sad, but the majority will be uplifting, humorous, and hopeful, because that is what we need now and in the future.

We need hope, humour, and honour. To be kind to one another, to look out for each other. To thank those who are selfless: our NHS, and our key workers.This is their time; They are our heroes.

How is this virus impacting our creativity? What kind of stories will it bring?

What are your feelings about writing during the Coronavirus? Are you struggling to write? Or to read?

Please do visit the blogs below:

 From Hugh Roberts:

From Anne Allen:

https://annerallen.com/2020/04/write-collective-grief/

https://annerallen.com/2020/04/social-media-executor/

Book Marketing tips:

Tim Grahl: https://booklaunch.com/book-marketing-covid19/

Before I go I’d like to suggest a short, uplifting read perfect for these times – my latest release is a positive solution to #boredom. A great, wee read! Enjoy.

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.

Some good news! My full colour paperback is now available in Amazon. Here’s my universal link for Mr. Sagitarrius which is available in paperback, kindle and free on kindle unlimited: Buying Link: http://mybook.to/MrSagittarius

Meet the Author: Mr. Sagittarius by M J Mallon – Meet The Authors

I’m being featured on Camilla Down’s blog MTA do pop over to read her beautifully presented post about my books, my life and me!

http://meetingtheauthors.com/2020/03/28/meet-the-author-mr-sagittarius-by-m-j-mallon/

Happy New Year – 2020 News: #Writing #Sequel #Poetry #Prose

Happy New Year!!!

After many moons I ‘m finally making progress on the second in my YA Fantasy series The Curse of Time Book 2 Golden Healer.

It has been a long haul BUT I can begin to see encouraging flickers of light at the end of a very long, arduous tunnel.

Writing a sequel is so hard! No, scratch that, it’s TORTURE.

Why?

  1. My memory isn’t as good as it used to be.  I realised that I’d forgotten some of the minutiae of book one. Sequential aspects, patterns of speech and the like.
  2. Writing a novel isn’t for the faint-hearted. It’s around 80,000 and that’s a lot of words.
  3. Structuring the bloody thing… ugh… when will I ever learn to plot?
  4. Working full-time whilst trying to wrangle it into shape. Masochist.
  5. My imagined final copy is never the final version. Betas read it and you realise you must do more work. The slog is real. It seems interminable. And then SCBWI (Society of Children’s Writers and Book Illustrators) conference goers read parts of it too and have more suggestions for you too.
  6. Then there’s the dreaded B word: Boredom. Yes, it gets to the point were you are so fed up looking at your once treasured words.
  7. Followed by the dreaded D word: Doubt. Who wants to read the bloody thing anyway? It’s such a crock of… miserable… you get the picture.
  8. And the dreaded E word: Experience. I will no longer be a debut. This will be my second novel. Perhaps people will expect more from me? EEK.

Help…

That’s when point 9 comes trotting along before no. 10 to restore my sanity.

9. Stop beating myself with my notebook, pen, keyboard whatever. Take a break. BREAK? What do writers do                 when they long for a break? Rest… NOOF COURSE NOT. In my case, I decided to write a poetry and prose               book.

I told you I’m a masochist!

10. So, now I have a poetry collection to finish and edit too. Double TORTURE. Only joking, this poetry collection              seems easy in comparison to the novel. OR IS IT?

It’s called Mr. Sagitarrius – Poetry, and Prose. It includes various short form poetry, short fiction and my photography images of the natural world: trees, a robin, a dragonfly, plus a couple of images via a young photographer Alex Murdoch – son of Sam Murdoch – who has a lovely blog about cats and crystals: https://samanthamurdochblog.wordpress.com/

Hope you like the title. Please let me know your thoughts…

Titles are interesting, aren’t they? I nearly called it The Magic Golden Willow Tree – Poetry and Prose but decided that was too wordy.

I don’t have a cover yet so….  Image via pixabay – Monfocus.

Here’s the blurb… or what might become the blurb….

Two twin brothers Harold and William love the magic of the natural world.

When Harold dies he leaves a simple memorial request.

Will his brother William and his sister Annette honour it?

Or, will the garden work its magic to ensure that they do.

 

A magical story expressed via an original compilation of poetry and prose

with photographic images.

 

Now, it is possible that this usurper poetry book might come out before The Curse of Time Book 2.

Oh. A race is on, which one will win?

In the meantime, if you haven’t read the first in the series, now’s the time… HURRY! And if you do I’d love some more reviews. I’m creeping up to 20 on Amazon UK. Can you get me from 18 to 20? 

Buy Book: myBook.to/TheCurseofTime

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)