A Job Description For The Writer’s Pet #amwriting

Calling all ambitious animals a note from Lucy Mitchell.

*****

#WritingCommunity

Sometimes, the best part about writing is that my dog is always snoring nearby, offering sleepy moral support as I sit at my desk, agonizing over my latest fictional romance.

Read at source

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.

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.

One-Liner Wednesday.

I need to give affection and love, because without that, I wither. I need to give that love to someone. Without that, I’m rudderless.

Les Dawson

Les Dawson was a lovely family man of gentle humour.

This is part of LindaGHill’s One-Liner Wednesday.

Badge by Laura

Speaking with Writers: Ritu Bhathal

Ritu is visiting with isshewhoshesayssheis. It makes a fun interview.

Read at source.

Day 4 of the “WHILE THE BOMBS FELL” Blog Tour w/author @bakeandwrite #RRBC @4WillsPub

Pop over to Nonnie’s place and read about carrots being good for your eyes. Read at Source

fictionalised biography

Writer and Blogger, Mary Smith

A great interview with Mary Smith with Darlene Foster. Read at Source

Mary Smith

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