Midnight Haiku,my review.

© SueVincent.

My copy of this beautiful book from Sue Vincent late yesterday afternoon. I have read it, I simply couldn’t put it down . I am now re-reading it in-between housework and writing. Here is my review.

A Year In Contemplation Midnight Haiku. This is much more than a book it is a becon of light and wisdom. I read it in one sitting and found it delightful. Every Haiku or set of Haiku has a beautiful accompanying photo.
I am re-reading now, in-between cooking and cleaning and writing. Each turn of the page teaches me a little more. A beautiful book from a beautiful person.

You can buy A Year In Contemplation . Midnight Haiku. Here I definitely recommend it it a rare treat. And it’s top of the pops.

Available in Paperback and for Kindle via Amazon.ukAmazon .com and worldwide.

Great News on Marjorie Mallons New Book : Lockdown Innit: Poems About Absurdity

Marjorie Mallon’s latest book Lockdown Innit.

© Marjorie Mallon.

I am so excited to let you all know that the new poetry collection from Marje is on pre-order from 26th February: Lockdown Innit: Poems About Absurdity by M.J. Mallon

About the collection

Lockdown Innit is a poetry collection of eighteen poems about life’s absurdities and frustrations during lockdown. Wherever you live in this world, this is for you. Expect humour, a dollop of banter and ridiculous rants here and there. Amongst other delights, witness the strange antics of a swan posing by a bin and two statuesque horses appearing like arc deco pieces in a field. Check out the violin player on a tightrope, or the cheeky unmentionables wafting in the lockdown breeze!

Head over to buy the book on pre-order: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US

Also by M.J. Mallon.

All about Marje in her own words.

© Marjorie Mallon

I am an author who has been blogging for many moons: M.J. Mallon. My interests include writing, photography, poetry, and alternative therapies. I write Fantasy YA, and middle grade fiction as well as micropoetry – haiku and tanka. I love to read and have written over 100 Book Reviews

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 have almost flown the nest, but often return with a cheery smile to greet me.

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.

Whats your day job when not in Lockdown

During the day, I work in an international sixth form with students from around the world. I’m the meet and greet lady who welcomes them to their new college and issues them with late slips when they don’t get to their lessons on time!

So Marje what’s your style of writing

I write YA fantasy, paranormal, horror/supernatural short stories, flash fiction and short form poetry. More recently, I have produced and compiled an anthology/compilation set during the early stages of COVID-19 entitled This Is Lockdown. Following on from this, in February 2021 I will be releasing Lockdown Innit, poems about absurdity which will be available in kindle and shortly after release in paperback.  

I’ve been blogging for many moons at my blog home Kyrosmagica, which means Crystal Magic. From time to time I write articles celebrating the spiritual realm, inspiration and my love of nature, crystals and all things magical, mystical, and mysterious.

Well Marje I think you have a much more exotic life than me even now in lockdown!

Preorder Buying Links Lockdown Innit Releases February 26th

Kindle Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08VW81Q53/

Kindle Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08VW81Q53/

 Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56949934-lockdown-innit

Universal link for kindle: https://mybook.to/Lockdowninnit.

Haven’t you written another book about Lockdown Marje.

Yes willow, Lockdown Innit is the second book that I have released during this time period

The first, This Is Lockdown released in kindle in July 2020. This Is Lockdown is a compilation and anthology of my diaries, poetry, flash fiction and 28 wonderful contributions from international authors, bloggers and creatives sharing their thoughts, poetry, and flash fiction during covid19. Many old friends contributed to the anthology and I discovered many new authors, and creatives via compiling this anthology.

AUTHOR SOCIAL MEDIA DETAILS

Authors Website:https://mjmallon.com
Authors Amazon Pagehttps://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon 

#ABRSC – Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/groups/1829166787333493/
Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/m-j-mallon 

Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/mjmallonauthor/

BOOK LINKS 

Kyrosmagica Publishing

YA Fantasy: The Curse of Time Book1 Bloodstone

https://mybook.to/TheCurseofTime

Poetry, Prose and Photography: Mr. Sagittarius

http://mybook.to/MrSagittarius

An anthology: This Is Lockdown  

Kindle: mybook.to/Thisislockdown

Paperback: mybook.to/Thisislockdownpb

Short Stories in Anthologies:

Bestselling horror compilations

Nightmareland compiled by Dan Alatorre

“Scrabble Boy” (Short Story)

Spellbound compiled by Dan Alatorre

“The Twisted Sisters” (Short Story)

Wings & Fire compiled by Dan Alatorre .

Well Marje I really have loved having you here, socially distanced of course. Shall we have a

Before you go.

An interview with Author, Jane Dougherty.

Today I am very excited to have the very talented Jane Dougherty to visit and discuss her latest book. This is a new adventure for Jane as this is a poetry book.

Hello, Willow. Thank you for inviting me to talk about my very first book of poems. 

Hi Jane it’s great to have you here do sit down and have a cup of tea, tell me what made you decide to write a book of poems about the elements

It wasn’t a conscious decision. I write a lot of poems, every day, and although I post many of them, there are still lots left. Some of them I have been keeping because I think they deserve a bit more than to be just one blog post among thousands. A themed chapbook seemed like a good idea. Every time I do some physical sorting, weeding or clearing out, I hurt my back, but sorting poems is a relatively safe activity. When I looked through the scores of poems in the homeless folder, they all seemed to fall into a few main themes, and the first theme I tackled was water. 

That makes a lot of sense Jane, I am all for saving my back too. When did you first start writing and was there a specific reason.

I went to a very special primary school—big shout out for Saint Patrick’s in Birstall—with a visionary head teacher. It was founded by Irish immigrants who wanted their children to succeed through education, and the nun who headed the school through the 1960s and 70s until she left to run a war orphanage in Sarajevo, believed in education, not just the three Rs. We learned about the natural world, about physics and how things work, we had an orchestra, learned calligraphy, meteorology, how to wire plugs and make cheese. And we were encouraged in all kinds of creative activity, all kinds of art, and writing; we all wrote poetry from the age of nine or so. I had an ideal environment for developing a taste for creativity and taking it seriously. Having a father who was a poet and sculptor and mother who was an artist and art teacher certainly helped too.

Your school and teachers sound very progressive and you obviously had a varied education. Would you like another cup of tea.

Tell me Jane who most influences your work.

It probably sounds strange, but there aren’t too many poets whose work I read and reread with boundless admiration. There are individual poems I love, but not many whole bodies of work and none remotely contemporary. Yeats is the poet I love the most and whose words, even when I don’t get all the mystical references, inspire and uplift. Francis Ledwidge too is a favourite and John Masefield, Walter de la Mare. All rather old-fashioned sounding now, in their clarity and lack of self-analysis. The poems point outwards rather than inwards, showing us the world as it is all around us, not how it seems at the back of a troubled head. 

You mention your parents  in the dedication of your book, were they influencal and supportive to your writing.

Both my parents died when I was still in the throes of having babies and bringing up young children. I hadn’t started to write seriously, then, but as I said earlier, they were both artistic and expected that their children would be too. I know they would be proud that I have finally got around to it.

Tell me Jane have childhood memories influenced you much.

I think that a happy childhood has been fundamental to making me what I am. It obviously wasn’t happy every single minute, and there are memories that still make me anxious. Tuesday, for example, will always be music lesson day, when I’d leave school early and walk up the hill to the music teacher’s house with fear oozing from every pore. But it was a country childhood, on farmland at the edge of a small town, and we four children spent most of our time poking about in woodland and along the banks of streams, listening and learning. Although I have enjoyed some of my time living in cities, I have always hankered after trees. Three years ago, we moved from the centre of Bordeaux to the countryside, with a large chunk of land of our own. Too much, really, but sharing a place with trees wildflowers, animal and birdlife, has been a revelation. Who knew there was so much life going on?

Now tell me Jane which do you prefer to write poetry or prose.

I write poetry for pleasure. It’s something that I do in-between doing other things. Often an image will strike me and I jot it down to find that it’s already working itself up into a poem. Poems are short and they can be turned out in hundreds of different ways. I can work with an idea or an image for half an hour and get something that pleases me. A novel is different. If writing a poem is like sketching, or shaping something in clay, a novel is like hacking at a slab of wood or stone. The frame of the story might be tenuous, the characters vague, and all I have to go on might be an opening phrase or an idea from a legend or myth, but it’s there. The hard work is in revealing the story trapped inside and maintaining enough interest in it, because it’s a long job. The two approaches probably complement one another; I write poetic prose and often write stories into poems.

Thanks a lot, Willow, for the opportunity to give some background to what I do and why. 

thicker than water

© mjdougherty

Book details

Link co.uk https://tinyurl.com/y2et7dcr
Link .com https://tinyurl.com/y5ueldrq
Link Australia https://tinyurl.com/yykla7nm

Link Canada https://tinyurl.com/yxu5azlk
Link India https://tinyurl.com/yy6qvle5

https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/

@MJDougherty33 

©mjdougherty

Jane’s Bio, so you know.

Jane Dougherty has wandered a bit from her Irish origins but still feels close to her roots, especially in the bit of green field where she now lives in southwest France. She writes incessantly, and hopes to continue as long as the ideas keep coming, and the scene beyond the window demands that she take notice.

*************

I have read Jane’s book, thicker than water. It is full of beautiful poetry. It’s a joy to dip into but I read it from cover to cover unable to stop. I can highly recommend it. Here is my favourite poem .

No Light

All is death and the ache
in the breast where the heart is
wave-wrought in cold seas
or on grey pavement, it whispers
in the spray of salt and blood,

There will be no moon this night
no petals on the rose

🌹© mjdougherty

Thank you for visiting Jane it really was a pleasure to have chance to chat.

Petals of the Rose ~ A New Book.

Petals of the Rose

Guided Journeys

Sue Vincent

A collection of guided meditations, designed to open aspects of the personality in as gentle and natural way as the petals of the rose open at the touch of the sun. Each inner journey will carry you to a haven within your own psyche from which to explore layers of your own being, learning their meaning and purpose.

From mystical and silent castles, to the song of the unicorn… each journey takes you deeper into your inner being and carries you out beyond the stars.

Read more at France and Vincent

The sincerest form of poetry by Geoff Le Pard.

Today I am delighted to have Author and friend Geoff Le Pard over for afternoon tea and a chat about his latest book. Which is full of delightful poetry!

Geoff, how are you, do sit down I have got everything ready for us. While you get comfy I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed the book. I love the first half very much always a smile and a barb..The sonnets too very much to my liking, especially the two about the Vet, (I assume) Hand me down, and Loyalty, especially the last lines in both. Also the the guiding hand possibly about the textilist? Here have a cuppa just as you like it I think and tell me was I right? How’s that cake?

Geoff with Buster and Moo

 In fact, while hand me down is about Jenni, point of view of a shadow which came to me while doing a poetry prompt a couple of years ago.Originally it had me rhyming ‘shadow’ with ‘saddo’ which grated horribly so I’m pleased with the revision. I can spend hours getting nowhere, revising poetry, finding the right combination of… yes, another slice would be lovely… syllables, rhymes and stresses. Oddly, the thing I notice that most poets fail to appreciate is stress. They’ll nail a rhyme, ensure the right number of syllables but when you read it, the stress you place on the words makes it feel like a bad gear change. I wonder if they read the poem out loud or in their head. The imagination is too forgiving, I find.

On reflection Geoff I have to agree with you on that.

How much did your father’s poetry influence you? 

First, he spent so much time honing his work that I am constantly forcing myself to one more read through, to mimic him. Second, he loved finding humour in poetry and I think that can be my driving force. Third, we argued constantly, vigorously and with no holes barred. Thus if I write anything with a political or social angle it will almost certainly reflect my views and equally certainly be 180 degrees contrary to his. He didn’t hold back, he wasn’t shy of voicing his opinion and I often sanitise my attempts so as not to offend. That would have annoyed him mightily, so I try and fight the urge to hide. If you’ve a point to make, make it with conviction; if not, don’t make any point. That comes from him. Mostly though, he enjoyed the process, gained huge satisfaction from a job well done. I’ve learnt that, however hard it is – and it is hard – enjoy it. In a way dad only really expressed his true self, his deepest emotions, via poetry as seen in the love poems he wrote to mum and which he refused to let my brother and I see and which mum only shared after his death. I still think he would be mightily cheesed off and equally secretly pleased with her for doing that.

What made you decide to revamp some of best known poems from the BBC’s collection of British Poets?

Don’t worry about the crumbs, Ruby or Dog will pick them up , they are getting on well aren’t they.

Back to Dad, really. He loved Kipling’s poetry and many of his best efforts use the same rhyming scheme that Kipling favoured in some of his finest works. One day – I think I was walking with a couple of friends – I conjured up a couple  of lines of ‘If’ but rewritten to the discussion we were having. Again, memory suggests it was a new take on the couplet ‘if you fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run’. I got a laugh. Later I re-read the poem and some other changes, based on the current Zeitgeist occurred to me and off I went. Once I’d begun, it was a fairly natural progression to try it with others. The sharp eyed readers will see that with my re-imagining of ‘if’ I don’t keep the first line, whereas that became one of the criteria I tried to apply to my re-imaginings. Another cup? Thanks. I’ll have oat milk, as part of a new health kick.

Really, luckily have some oat milk in the fridge, I will just get it . Here you are, just a splash. Would you like another

Tell me why did you pick sonnets for the second half of your book? 

My whole love of writing began the summer after Dad died at a summer-school in Wiltshire. July 2006. A year later, at the self same summer-school I took a poetry appreciation course that looked at British poets from Chaucer G to Cope W. In amongst the many marvels were a variety of sonnets, from Shakespeare through Rossetti to Manley Hopkins. That week I wrote two, or at least the first drafts, of the sonnets that appear here  – the opening work on the frontispiece and what turned into ‘Only skin deep’ a re-imagined Shakespearean sonnet. After that, I spun out several, I entered a number into some on line magazines and had a few published or won or were placed in competitions. I adore the simplicity, the discipline and the history of the sonnet, hence it is my go to form of choice. Hmm, is that lemon drizzle? Oh al right, just a small slice. No, not that small….

Sorry is that better?

Tell me how different do you find the experience of writing poetry as compared to fiction or flash fiction? Do you find poetry a more difficult discipline to writing prose?

Oh my, chalk and cheese. Give me a word, a picture, a phrase, a theme, a genre and I’ll write you a piece of flash, a short story or a novel, often with the bizarrest, most unlikely take imaginable. But do the same with poetry and you may be lucky one in five times. I’ve tried committing to poetry prompts and sometimes that has led to something part way decent. But mostly it just grates. Poetry = emotion and that’s something I’ve taken from dad; without a core of emotion, of self it’s just clunky prose dressed up as something pretentious and clever sounding.

Can I get you a you anything else, Oh Look Ruby and dog are asleep out in the sun. Let’s have a look at my two choices from your book.

A Dog At Leisure

(Leisure, William Henry Davies)
What is this life, if full of care?
Go fetch my lead, don’t comb your hair.
Don’t give in to untimely sloth
I know what fun awaits us both.
Let’s try the park; we know it’s free,
Full of places for me to pee.
Squirrels anxious to play chase,
Friends who’ll let me lick their face.
Secret corners where I can poo
Long lost balls for me to chew.
Picnic scraps and chicken bones,
Stale crusts and broken scones.
These treats and many, many more
Are just beyond the bloody door.
So find your shoes, tie those laces
And I’ll take you now to wondrous places
Full of fun, grass and the freshest air
And while I play, you’ll stand and stare.

And the beautiful sonnet.

Hand -Me-Down

Still wet from the womb, she flapped a fat hand,
A mindless hello that captured my soul.
Older, unsteady, like a day old foal,
She gripped me so tight, determined to stand.
She didn’t let go till the first day at school;
Then she wept as I forced her fingers apart.
From that betrayal she developed her art;
Round her finger I’d twist: her so willing fool.
One day, so glorious, and, yes, there were tears
I released her hand as I gave her away.
I smiled her free, and felt no dismay
At the thought of that other hand itwrapped round hers.
But it’s only a loan, for when I come to my last
She’ll be holding my hand, as I let go life’s grasp.

********

Now for your Authors Bio and all your book details.

Geoff Le Pard started writing to entertain in 2006. He hasn’t left his keyboard since. When he’s not churning out novels he writes some maudlin self-indulgent poetry, short fiction and blogs at geofflepard.com. He walks the dog for mutual inspiration and most of his best ideas come out of these strolls. He also cooks with passion if not precision.

Geoff’s books

My Father and Other Liars is a thriller set in the near future and takes its heroes, Maurice and Lori-Ann on a helter-skelter chase across continents.

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle is a coming of age story. Set in 1976 the hero Harry Spittle is home from university for the holidays. He has three goals: to keep away from his family, earn money and hopefully have sex. Inevitably his summer turns out to be very different to that anticipated.

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

In this, the second book in the Harry Spittle Sagas, it’s 1981 and Harry is training to be a solicitor. His private life is a bit of a mess and he’s far from convinced the law is for him. Then an old acquaintance from his hotel days appears demanding Harry write his will. When he dies somewhat mysteriously a few days later and leaves Harry in charge of sorting out his affairs, Harry soon realises this will be no ordinary piece of work. After all, his now deceased client inherited a criminal empire and several people are very interested in what is to become of it.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

The third instalment of the Harry Spittle Sagas moves on the 1987. Harry is now a senior lawyer with a well-regarded City of London firm, aspiring to a partnership. However, one evening Harry finds the head of the Private Client department dead over his desk, in a very compromising situation. The senior partner offers to sort things out, to avoid Harry embarrassment but soon matters take a sinister turn and Harry is fighting for his career, his freedom and eventually his life as he wrestles with dilemma on dilemma. Will Harry save the day? Will he save himself? 

   

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Life in a Grain of Sand is a 30 story anthology covering many genres: fantasy, romance, humour, thriller, espionage, conspiracy theories, MG and indeed something for everyone. All the stories were written during Nano 2015 

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Salisbury Square is a dark thriller set in present day London where a homeless woman and a Polish man, escaping the police at home, form an unlikely alliance to save themselves. 

This is available here 

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Buster & Moo is about about two couples and the dog whose ownership passes from one to the other. When the couples meet, via the dog, the previously hidden cracks in their relationships surface and events begin to spiral out of control. If the relationships are to survive there is room for only one hero but who will that be?

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Life in a Flash is a set of super short fiction, flash and micro fiction that should keep you engaged and amused for ages 

Amazon.co.uk 

Amazon.com 

Smashwords

Apprenticed To My Mother describes the period after my father died when I thought I was to play the role of dutiful son, while Mum wanted a new, improved version of her husband – a sort of Desmond 2.0. We both had a lot to learn in those five years, with a lot of laughs and a few tears as we went.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Life in a Conversation is an anthology of short and super short fiction that explores connections through humour, speech and everything besides. If you enjoy the funny, the weird and the heart-rending then you’ll be sure to find something here.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

When Martin suggests to Pete and Chris that they spend a week walking, the Cotswolds Way, ostensibly it’s to help Chris overcome the loss of his wife, Diane. Each of them, though, has their own agenda and, as the week progresses, cracks in their friendship widen with unseen and horrifying consequences.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

The sincerest form of poetry.

Famous poets reimagined, sonnets of all kinds, this poerty selection has something for all tastes, from the funny, to the poignant to the thought-provoking and always written with love and passion.

 

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Geoff Le Pard’s Amazon Author Page

********

I can honestly say I have read all these books and enjoyed them greatly.

Thank for joining me today Geoff it was

To have you and Dog visit.

‘This is Lockdown’ blog tour – Just muddling through life

Marian Wood reviews the poetry and poets who contributed to Marjie’s book This Is Lockdown.

Read at asource

This Is Lockdown #BlogTour @Marjorie_Mallon

Join Marjorie as she talks to Ritu about her latest book This is Lockdown. It is a true piece of living history.

Read at source.

Day Three of the, This Is Lockdown. Blog Tour.

Hi everyone welcome to a socially distanced tea and chat with the very talented and lovely Marjorie Mallon.

 Well make yourself comfortable and enjoy your cuppa and cake while we chat.

Oh, thanks so much for inviting me over Willow, I like nothing better than a cuppa, cake and a natter! What scrumptious cake!

1 Now we already know your reasons for writing this excellent book  but which of your personal entries says the most about your feelings on lockdown.

Oh, thank you, Willow. My personal entries… now that’s an interesting question! I think there will have to be two: one light and one dark. The saddest one, (Stay at Home,) because we all fear the worst case scenario, counterbalanced by the happiest outcome, (Grandad Is Coming Home.) 

Stay At Home – (Family – Trigger Warning) 

Rich lays in bed.

His wife has just put his profile picture up on Facebook with the caption ‘Stay at home.’ His breathing is laboured, his thoughts petrified. What has he brought into his house? His wife, children and new baby, what has he done?

Regret flows through his veins, entwining with the progress of the deadly virus. He acknowledges his failings, softly whispering for forgiveness to a God he never knew he had.

His thoughts rage, condemning himself for his stupidity. He’s an idiot who carried on as normal, mixing in groups, laughing at the virus, putting up funny jokes on his Facebook profile page. Now the virus has him, it is gripping his chest, punching his lungs for his stupidity and carelessness. It is laughing at him.

Next door he hears his baby daughter crying. A tear spills from his eyes. He can’t get up to feed her, he can’t hold her in his arms. His wife’s footsteps come rushing, her voice soft and gentle as she tries to calm their baby down while he is certain that her terrified heart beats to a tune he cannot touch.

The baby is quietened. He guesses she’s been fed, nappy changed, tucked back under the covers. Safe. Or is she? He can’t see his family as they are in the living room next door to his isolated bedroom, but he knows his wife has opened her Facebook page to read more grim accounts of death. His photo has been shared again with the caption begging their friends and family to, “Please Stay at Home.”

The word please shouts but will people listen?

Fighting through fever, he tries to focus, to listen for his son. Where is he? He struggles to hear. He fears that he might notice a new sound, a cough, perhaps, a dry, wheezing sound. 

Nothing. Not a sound.

Instead, he coughs, his temperature racing.

Then he hears his son’s voice, scared. “What’s wrong, mummy. Why are you crying?” 

“It’s okay, Jonny,” his wife soothes. “Look, I’m keeping busy, cleaning your Lego, then you can play.”

“Where’s Daddy?” asks his son.

“He’s in bed, Jonny.”

“But, I want to play with him,” Jonny whines.

“He’s sick Jonny, we have to let Daddy rest.”

He can’t see his wife, his sweetheart, his son, or his newborn baby and this breaks his heart. But he knows how rigorously his wife will clean their son’s toys. How she will pop each piece of Lego in the sterilisation liquid before drying them meticulously.

A mother’s love is unstoppable.

But he can hear his wife. “Go play,” she says, sighing.

His son shouts, “Yay,” as if it is a normal day. “Can I go to the park?”

“No,” his wife yells. Then her voice pierces the air with even more urgency. It is a knife to his heart. “Don’t put things in your mouth.” 

His son is crying. “Sorry, mummy.”

“Oh, darling, I didn’t mean to shout at you.”

His son sniffs, and his wife consoles.

Rich continues to listen, but he hears nothing. It is silent for a time. He imagines his son building a fortress to keep the virus out. His wife watching him, marvelling at their young son, wondering who he will become. A scientist who will cure deadly viruses. Or a doctor who will save patients.

By now Rich is struggling to breathe, but he can’t shout for help. He can’t risk infecting his loved ones. He has to be a grown up. This isn’t the flu. This isn’t the sniffles. He knows that now, but perhaps it is too late. If they stay away, perhaps they will be safe. 

The virus will decide.

© Copyright M J Mallon

***

But, to counterbalance it, there always has to be hope:

Granddad Is coming home! 

(Flash Fiction – Uplifting)

Grandma couldn’t believe it; her husband had survived. 

At eighty-seven he was in the at risk group. Someone was looking after him and it wasn’t just the NHS! She looked at his photo in the news, walking arm-in-arm with an NHS worker. He was wearing a face mask, and yet he looked like he could take on the world. The nurse’s face glowed with joy, happy to share some good news about his recovery from COVID19 pneumonia. The image was shared all over the world, gobbled up by viewers desperate for some cheerful news. 

For a moment Grandma pondered the strangeness of life. What was God’s plan in all of this? She had no idea but her heart filled with happiness at the thought of her dear husband coming home. 

© Copyright M J Mallon

2 What lessons will you take away with you and learn from when we finally find our way out of these Covid19 days.

To live life to the full, treasuring each moment. Life is a precious gift and one we should be respectful of.Relationships with my family of four: hubby, and two grown-up daughters, Natasha and Georgina have deepened. We’ve spent so much time together. This is one positive to come out of COVID19. Especially, as Natasha and Georgina will be flying the nest at the same time this Autumn. Hubby and I will be empty nesters! I shall miss them so much. Lockdown has also been an opportunity for me to continue on my mindful journey. Before this all happened I studied mindfulness, which helped me a lot. I’ve learnt to appreciate the quiet, the beauty of nature, observations and thoughts which come and go, and, to love our planet. The skies shone during lockdown, as if the world appreciated our peacefulness – no airplane trails, less cars on the roads…It’s a delicate balance and one we should be mindful of. 

Would you like another

3 Do you think that lockdown has bought your family closer together.

Ah, yes, I definitely think it has. We’ve always been close, but now we are closer. Also, I think my daughters have grown up and regressed too! It’s a strange thing, on the one hand they have shared more grown up discussion and on the other they have become childlike again. I think it often happens – if you spend a lot of time with your parents you become little people again! I adopt a little person persona when I visit my mum and dad and I’m no a youngster! 

4 Did you have any Covid panics .

Yes, my hubby was ill right at the beginning. It may have been COVID but we aren’t certain. He’d been in Austria skiing near the Italian border. Everything was shutting down and all his friends became ill with flu-like symptoms. With no testing in the UK, we couldn’t be certain, but I think it is likely. I had an off-and-on series of not feeling well, shivers and the like, but no other symptoms. So who knows? There have been other COVID panics, my mum and dad as they are older and both have health issues. I’ve been in a state of constant worry about them. Also, I worry about my youngest daughter as she is asthmatic, but she keeps on reassuring me that she only gets stomach bugs! The diaries section of the book candidly shares all my thoughts, fears and hopes.

5 What was the item you found difficult to get in the shops and did it frustrate you.

Toilet paper, pasta, thermometers and hand gel. Toilet paper was the most frustrating item. I hated seeing how it affected other people too, particularly the elderly. 

6 I think this book is piece of living history do you agree. 

Ah, what a lovely thing to say Willow. I’m so touched. It’s my hope that it will be. One day, when I’m an old granny, (hopefully I will be but not too soon,) I will pass This Is Lockdown to future generations and say – this is what happened during lockdown in the UK in 2020! 

7 What will you miss about being locked down.

Time to write, time to create books, time to breathe in a world which rushes all the time and time to be with my family. 

Thank you Willow for the marvellous questions.

Thank you to all the contributing authors including your good self who have made this collection and anthology very special to me. 

Richard Dee, (Sci Fi , Steampunk, Amateur Detective author,) Catherine Fearns, (Amazon Bestselling Author of Police Procedural/Mysteries and Music Journalist,) Lynn Fraser, (Author,) Jackie Carreira, (Writer, musician, designer and aspiring philosopher,) Willow Willers, (Poet and writer,) Sharon Marchisello, (Murder Mystery, Financial non-fiction,) Fi Phillips , (Author, Copy Writer) Jeannie Wycherley, (dark stories, suspense, horror,) Chantelle Atkins, (urban fiction, teen/YA,) Tracie Barton-Barrett, (Speaker/author,) Peter Taylor- Gooby, (Crime, Love Stories, Political Fiction,) Ritu Bhathal, (Chick Lit romance, poet,) Alice May , (Author, Artist and Speaker,) Miriam Owen, (Blogger and Doctoral Researcher,) Drew Neary and Ceri Williams (Ghost Horror, Supernatural,) Katherine Mezzacappa, (Author name: Katie Hutton,) (Historical Fiction/Romance,) Sally Cronin, (huge supporter of indie community/blogger/author) Debby Gies (D G Kaye), (Memoirist/NonFiction,) Adele Marie Park, (Fantasy, horror, urban fantasy,) Marian Wood, (blogger, poet and writer.) Samantha Murdoch, (Writer, Blogger,) Beaton Mabaso (Blogger, African Storyteller,) Frank Prem (Poet, Author,) Anne Goodwin (Author, Book Blogger) Sherri Matthews (Writer, Photographer, Blogger,) and Jane Horwood and Melissa Santiago-Val – Community Masks 4 NHS.

This Is Lockdown

The Blurb.

An anthology and compilation of diaries, short stories, flash fiction, contributions from the ‘isolation writers,’ plus poetry written during the time of lockdown in the UK. This Is Lockdown is written from a writer’s perspective highlighting the simple pleasures of day-to-day life during such an uncertain and frightening time. It also gives a glimpse of the blogging, writing world. The book showcases several authors and their thoughts on what it is like to experience ‘isolation’ as a writer. I also discuss the handling of the pandemic and my thoughts on what might happen next. In the final part of the book I include my latest short story idea: a YA romance and various short pieces of poetry, and flash fiction inspired by the pandemic.

This Is Lockdown buying Link:

Universal link: mybook.to/Thisislockdown

Amazon UK link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08CD1MCFB?pf_rd_r=NPA6S5SQJ30A6VYX87Q5&pf_rd_p=e632fea2-678f-4848-9a97-bcecda59cb4e

Amazon US link:

https://www.amazon.com/This-Lockdown-COVID19-Diaries-Fiction-ebook/dp/B08CD1MCFB

Bio

I was born on the 17th of November in Lion City: Singapore, (a passionate Scorpio, with the Chinese Zodiac sign a lucky rabbit,) second child and only daughter to my parents Paula and Ronald, only sister to my elder brother Donald. I spent my early childhood in a mountainous court dwelling in the Peak District in Hong Kong.


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 with a cheery smile.

Sometimes when the mood takes me, I adopt an alter ego, M J – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheroes!


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 practice Tai Chi and Yoga. 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.

My favourite genres to write are: YA fantasy, magical realism, and various forms of poetry. I blog about books, writing, photography and inspiration at: https://mjmallon.com. 

I enjoy writing articles celebrating the spiritual realm, my love of nature and all things magical, mystical, and mysterious. One of my greatest pleasures is reading. I’ve written over 150 reviews at my lovely blog home: https://mjmallon.com/2015/09/28/a-z-of-my-book-reviews/


I’m a member of a professional writing body. SCBWI, the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators.

Links: 

Authors Website:https://mjmallon.com
Authors Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjmallonauthor/
#ABRSC: Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/m-j-mallon 

Collaborative Group: https://www.facebook.com/pg/5SpiritualSisters/

Blog Tour: Dates
14th July Chantelle Atkins (Q and A) .
15th July Beaton Mabaso
16th July Willow Willers (Q and A)
17th July – Double Promo for This Is Lockdown and Adele Marie Park‘s new release Wisp II – Sea Dragons at M J Mallon’s blog.

18th July Sally Cronin – Promo/Review!!!

Launch week:

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

Thank you for joining me Marjorie and I wish you every success with this Marvelous book.

Jim Webster’s Blog Tour.Day 2 A Goal Break.

To Jim Webster for the second day of his latest Blog Tour.

First the Story

A gaol break
I never bumped into Orwan Bullip every decade. But Orwan and I went back along way. If we’d come from a better background you’d have said we went to school together. In reality we had been schooled together, but we’d learned our harsh lessons as children on the streets of Port Naain. Even then he ran
with a group of tough lads who looked to him for leadership. I remember them all, Little Toddy, Dillup, Mad Dog, Niblo, Batt, decent enough lads and worth knowing if you felt you needed friends in a hurry.
But there was a parting of the ways, I drifted into the fringes of
respectability and they lingered longer on the boundaries of organised crime. But then Orwan, recoiling from the thought of just becoming another street bully with a few thugs, led them south into Partann. They trailed
along as baggage guards for a respectable company, but when the company returned home, they stayed.
I’d remained in touch, albeit inadvertently. If they wanted a message getting through to a parent, then they’d write to me and I would go and read
the letter to the aged relative. Occasionally the letters would contain coins, jewellery, or some other small valuable that a dutiful son was sending to his doting mother. Sometimes they appeared in the city, and I would spend an evening drinking with them, listening to their tales and
telling them about the doings of people they left behind.
But these visits were never long ones. There was always somebody in authority who would have a list of difficult and embarrassing questions that they felt ought to be answered. In all candour I have often felt that whatever is buried in Partann is best left buried. Still it must be admitted that the judiciary rarely take my opinions into account.
Thus I wasn’t entirely surprised when Orwan Bullip came back to see his sister and her children. He was only expecting to stay a week but four days into his stay he was arrested and then charged with the murder of Neeping Willow. Now I’d heard the tales of Neeping Willow and frankly his death
ought to have been a cause of public rejoicing. Certainly a responsible society should have organised a silver collection for those who had rid the
world of him. Admittedly Orwan had not killed Neeping Willow from some sense of civic duty (although if I had been called as a witness I would surely gave raised the possibility for the jury to consider). Neeping had crossed,
double-crossed, and then betrayed Orwan and Orwan rather lost his temper. A frank and open exchange of views ended up with Neeping sprawled dead on the
floor of some rustic inn, his sword clasped in his stiffening hand and his wounds in his chest.
Now normally this would be the end of it. But it so happened that Orwan had crossed Lord Kastair of Slipshade Keep. The Kastair’s had been ejected from the keep by brigands greater than they were, and they had retired to Port
Naain to plot and dabble in the politics of both Partann and Port Naain.
Since then, Lord Kastair had been running a few schemes in Uttermost Partann. Orwan, loyal to his employer at the time, had thwarted them. Lord Kastair saw his chance of vengeance. He laid charges against Orwan and had
him arraigned in a Port Naain court. The arraignment turned into a trial and evidence was produced from eyewitnesses that Orwan had struck Neeping down
from behind as the other man stooped to give a titbit to a kitten.
Much of the evidence consisted of sworn written dispositions collected from people present. These dispositions formed virtually the entire case for the
prosecution. Given some of these dispositions had been sworn by people even I knew to have been dead for twenty years or more when Neeping died, I think
everybody felt the case would be thrown out. But; I sought to remind In case you forgot
Some judges are blind
Some jailers are not

Orwan was condemned to death, and the question was raised, where was he to be held until he could be led out to execution. The Watch pointed out that they had nothing suitable. (They got a bit sniffy about this, pointing out that an arraignment is not a trial, but precedes by the trial by a period longer than it takes to pick up the pencil you dropped. They explained that this allows others involved in the justice system time to get organised.) Normally the Watch got round the problem of housing contemned criminals by having the guilty party led straight from the court to the place of execution. This has the advantage of reducing the risk of such failures of justice, such as the guilty party being released on appeal. Still here Lord Kastair could step in and assist the authorities. On the excuse that he had the power of low, middle and high justice in Slipshade (a town he had not held for some years) he had built a couple of cells in his cellar. Orwan was incarcerated there.
Little Toddy, Dillup, Mad Dog, and Niblo, (Batt had died in a skirmish some years previously) were determined to stop this and had apparently spent some days trying to work out how to break Orwan out. Their preferred method
involved blowing the front door in with blasting wax and charging into the house with drawn swords, cutting down anybody who got in their way. They would then leave on fast horses. I was contacted because they wanted
somebody they could trust to hold the horses whilst this desperate
undertaking occurred.
I confess that I was somewhat taken aback. It wasn’t that I objected to helping. After all I have known them for a lot of years and I agreed with
them that Orwan did not deserve to die for the killing of Neeping. But frankly I had no confidence in their plan. I had no doubt that they could blow the door in. I had confidence in their ability to fight their way in to rescue Orwan. It was the leaving that worried me. To cross the river to go south into Partann you have to take the Roskadil ferry. Pick the wrong time and you’ll have to queue for it. Whilst the argument could be made that your pursuers might be some distance behind you in the queue I’m not sure it held
up to close examination. Escaping to the north or east was out, they would soon be found and recaptured. Instead I suggested that I get Orwan out for them.
They were a little disappointed, indeed in discussion it did come out that they had rather been looking forward to six horsemen with drawn swords riding full pelt down Ropewalk. I confess that I was rather touched that they included me in their number for that escapade, and I also confess, a
little shamefaced, that it did have its attractions. Still I felt I had a
better way. I approached the Widow Handwill and asked if she could throw an evening
entertainment in the next few days. I also asked if she could both invite Madam Kastair to attend as a guest of honour, but also to hire Darstep Balstep to perform. Darstep was the leader of the clan which ejected the Kastairs unceremoniously from Slipshade. Indeed he was Lord of Slipshade
Keep until he in turn was ejected. He had made his way to Port Naain and was now a poet (and a good one). One of Madam Kastair’s pleasures was mocking Darstep for how far he had fallen, whilst he, in all candour, gave as good as he got. Both enjoyed it hugely, I suppose it reminded them of the good old days back in Partann. I could not imagine Madam Kastair declining the invitation.
The Widow gave instructions for the event to be held and then asked me exactly saw what I had in mind. I explained and she made a few useful suggestions of her own.
On the appropriate evening, I opened the proceedings, introduced Darstep and then stepped back out of the limelight. Indeed I quietly made my way
downstairs to the kitchen. There I found my four fellow conspirators sitting drinking tea and chatting with the kitchen staff. As inevitably happens at
these events, they discovered that some of the ladies had, many years previously, been in service with the mothers of these four ruffians.
Taking Mad Dog with me, I left the other three to their conversations. Mad Dog and I rode to the Kastair residence where Mad Dog hammered on the door
demanding admittance. When a uniformed flunky opened the door to ask what we, wanted my companion merely barged past him whilst I followed, helping the flunky back onto his feet, brushing him down and apologising.
In the middle of the hallway, in a voice that had echoed across
battlefields, Mad Dog shouted for Lord Kastair, informing him that we had his wife hostage. This was followed by a somewhat heated exchange where threats of terrible vengeance were exchanged, but half an hour later, Lord Kastair had bowed to the inevitable and we led Orwan Bullip to freedom. We then rode (at a sedate pace) back to the house of the Widow Handwill, collected the other three and made our way to the ferry. We arrived, the other five purchased their tickets and walked their horses on board. I waved them off, returned to the affair at the Widow’s and arrived just as the party was breaking up. I bid Lady Kastair good evening as she stepped into her sedan chair and then went inside to help tidy up.
Obviously questions were asked, but even the law was impressed with the Widow Handwill’s statement that had it not been for my defusing of the situation, somebody could have been hurt.
Lady Kastair on the other hand was somewhat bemused by all the fuss, feeling that if you have been held hostage, you really ought to notice.

*****

And now a brief note from Jim Webster. It’s really just to inform you that
I’ve just published two more collections of stories.

The first, available on kindle, is ‘Tallis Steelyard, preparing the ground,
and other stories.’
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0872GGLF9

More of the wit, wisdom and jumbled musings of Tallis Steelyard. Meet a
vengeful Lady Bountiful, an artist who smokes only the finest hallucinogenic
lichens, and wonder at the audacity of the rogue who attempts to drown a
poet! Indeed after reading this book you may never look at young boys and
their dogs, onions, lumberjacks or usurers in quite the same way again.
A book that plumbs the depths of degradation, from murder to folk dancing,
from the theft of pastry cooks to the playing of a bladder pipe in public.

The second, available on Kindle or as a paperback, is ‘Maljie. Just one
thing after another.’


https://www.amazon.co.uk/Maljie-Just-thing-after-another/dp/B0875JSJVM/
Once more Tallis Steelyard chronicles the life of Maljie, a lady of his
acquaintance. Discover the wonders of the Hermeneutic Catherine Wheel,
marvel at the use of eye-watering quantities of hot spices. We have bell
ringers, pop-up book shops, exploding sedan chairs, jobbing builders,
literary criticism, horse theft and a revolutionary mob. We also discover
what happens when a maiden, riding a white palfrey led by a dwarf, appears
on the scene.

A few words about the author Jim Webster

Jim Webster

Jim Webster is probably fifty something, his tastes in music are eclectic, and his dress sense is rarely discussed in polite society. In spite of this he has a wife and three daughters.
He has managed to make a living from a mixture of agriculture, consultancy, and freelance writing. Previously he has restricted himself to writing about agricultural and rural issues but including enough Ancient Military history to maintain his own sanity. But seemingly he has felt it necessary to branch out into writing SF and fantasy novels.
He lives in South Cumbria.

He has even been cozened into writing a blog, available for perusal by the discerning (or indeed by the less than discerning) at Jim’s WordPress Blog

and the timetable so you can find him.

Friday 1st May: Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo

Saturday 2nd May: Willow Willers

Sunday 3rd May: Robbie Cheadle

Monday 4th May: Writers Co-op

Tuesday 5th May: Stevie Turner

Wednesday 6th May: Jane Jago

Thursday 7th May: Annette Rochelle Aben

Friday 8th May: Chris Graham

Saturday 9th May: Pete Johnson

Sunday 10th May: MT McGuire

Monday 11th May: Ritu Bhathal

Tuesday 12th May: Anita Dawes and Jaye Marie

Wednesday 13th May: Ken Gierke

Thursday 14th May: Suzanne Joshi

Thank you Jim be safe.

And… The Interview is BACK ON! (Plus #BookSale!)

Head on over to Ritu’s blog and check it out.

Read at Source

And, don’t forget that the book is on sale this weekend, at a bargain price of 99p/99c on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk!

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