It’s been much too long since Marjorie’s last visit and we are extremely pleased to have her back. On her previous visit, Marjorie talked to us about her novel Curse of Time. If you missed it, please go HERE.
A considerable amount of time has passed and Marjorie is announcing a new deal for the Curse of Time novels 1 & 2. An exciting time for an author and we are happy to share the news with our readers.
Marjorie has kindly accepted our invitation to participate in a Branching Out interview and is sharing an excerpt of The Old Man of Snow and The Snow Snake from Mr. Sagittarius Poetry and Prose.
Let’s chat with Marjorie.
Update: - June 25th - Thrilled to announce that my YA Fantasy Bloodstone, The Curse of Time #1 has released. Blog post to celebrate the release below - please do pop over to celebrate! https://mjmallon.com/.../bloodstone-the-curse-of-time.../
Buying link: http://mybook.to/bstmm
Allan: It’s a pleasure to have you back, Marjorie. Before we talk about the new novels, please tell our readers about yourself, where you live and your family.
Marjorie: Hi Allan, it’s so lovely to be back chatting with you. I live with my husband David in Cambridge, UK, a city I love so much. Though, my heart also belongs in Edinburgh, Scotland where I grew up and often return to. Further afield, it is my hope one day to live in Portugal but with the pandemic…. etc, etc, we shall see. Hubby and I are now empty nesters, our two lovely daughters have both flown away, our youngest Georgina to Manchester. She has just finished her Fashion/Business degree and has just started a new job. Our eldest Natasha is pursuing a career in teaching secondary English in Scotland. During the day, I work in an international sixth form in Cambridge as a Receptionist/Administrator where I meet and greet many people and see the progress, trials and tribulations of our lovely students.
Allan: An all-new publishing contract for the Curse of Time novels. How exciting! Please tell us more.
Marjorie: Yes, it’s been amazing! I sent off my manuscript to Next Chapter Publishing and low and behold they replied back with we’d like to publish Book 1 and Book 2 of the series - Curse of Time! So, to say I’m excited is an understatement. Next Chapter Publishing is a small independent publishing house who publishes in all the usual formats: kindle, print, hardback and audiobook. I believe they also have links to companies who translate manuscripts too.
They are currently editing the interior manuscript for Book One which will be republished. More news about that soon…
Cover reveal !
Allan: Please share a childhood memory or anecdote.
Marjorie: I lived in Hong Kong as a child and I remember going out on a trip with my dad. I squeezed his hand and gave him the biggest smile as we passed by a toy shop! Of course, his heart melted and he couldn’t say no. We have always had a close bond and I suppose being the only daughter meant I was good at getting my way! Family is so important to me. My mum and dad have always supported and believed in me. Now that I am older and wiser, the anecdote about going shopping makes me smile! My parents are so proud of my writing and ecstatic about my latest news!
Allan: A lot has happened since your last visit and today. Besides the Curse of Time news, what else have you accomplished since your last visit?
Marjorie: I’ve worked extremely hard, especially over the lockdown periods in the UK. I was furloughed for a long time, which allowed me the time to collate my first anthology. This Is Lockdown which is a collection of my diaries, (in the kindle version,) flash fiction, poetry and contributions from international authors, poets and creatives. Compiling my first anthology was a wonderful way to stay busy and productive during this scary and worrying time. It was fantastic to engage with old friends who contributed to this project and to discover new writing friends too.
Thereafter, I wrote Lockdown Innit poems About Absurdity, a short collection of poems about the absurdity, frustration and surreal quirkiness of this strange time. I hope this little book captures that strangeness well.
Prior to that, I released Mr. Sagittarius Poetry and Prose which is a collection of poetry, short stories and photography inspired by nature, the seasons, and the circle of life. Two fascinating gents became the inspirational characters in this framed story. I saw them one morning in a coffee shop in Cambridge. Unwittingly, they became siblings William and Harold and I added their sister Annette. I’m thrilled how this little book came about and I love how it also showcases my love of photography.
Also, during this time I became a regular contributor to Dan Alatorre’s horror anthologies. These taught me a considerable amount about short story writing. I’d recommend joining in anthologies as they are a great way to make connections and to develop your writing craft.
Allan: You are well known amongst our writing friends as a person that shares and cares. We all need a lift and you do it so well. Tell us about your blog and blogging experience.
Marjorie: Ah, that is so kind of you Allan. I blog at https://mjmallon.com. My blog’s name is Kyrosmagica which means crystal magic. I share fellow authors’ reviews, blog tours, and news of my books and new releases. I try to be inspiring and magical!
I truly believe we achieve more and are rewarded if we help others. I’ve received so much help from the blogging community, it is only right that I give back what I can. So, with this in mind, I write reviews and share new releases and the like. I’ve met many wonderful bloggers in person at the previous bloggers bash events in London: Ritu Bhathal, Willow Willers, Mary Smith, the late Sue Vincent, Sherri Matthews, Graeme Cumming, Sacha Black, Esther Clinton, Hugh Roberts, and many more! Plus, many online friends who have been unbelievably kind and supportive: Colleen Chesebro, D G Kaye, Sally Cronin, Adele Marie Park, Robbie Cheadle, Didi Oviatt, James Cudney, Richard Dee, Heena Rathore P, Darlene Foster, D L Finn, Lizzie Chantree, Charli Mills, Sarah Northwood, Helen Pryke Domi, my reviewers, beta readers, your good self… The list just goes on and on. Blogging enriches your life in ways you can only imagine. It’s changed me so much; I have become much more adventurous! I recently participated in my first FaceBook Live hosted by Helen Pryke Domi in her wonderful group Meet The Authors. Prior to this, I had the opportunity to read my work via Charlie Mills 5 at the Mic. Now, I feel more confident to do more!
Allan: Favorite books? Favorite authors?
Marjorie: Oh, for YA fantasy Jay Kristoff - Nevernight Chronicles, and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. Historical Fiction - The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak. And where would I be without magic? The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.
Allan: Is there are any Marjorie Mallon characteristics in any of your characters? Where does the inspiration for character development come from, for you?
Marjorie: No, I don’t think my personal characteristics play a big part. For me, character inspiration comes from observing and sometimes listening (eavesdropping!) I tend to modify aspects of character of those I’ve met or seen. For instance, I created a character from this curious person I kept seeing in a shopping centre. He was standing in a tiny space right by the shopping centre entrance, as if he was hiding. Then I saw him sitting upstairs adopting a strange pose. He became the inspiration for a horror character in my short story Scrabble Boy in Nightmareland. The poor guy had no idea! That is the power of writing - it allows you to get up to all sorts of mischief!
Allan: Tell us something we don’t know about you, either personally or as an author.
Marjorie: I hate cleaning! Any chance I get, I will try to avoid it. I detest the mundane; I like to live as if every day is a day for fun. So, chores tend to go to the bottom of my to do pile. I’m always amazed by people who love to clean, iron, dust and the like. I’m like, What?
Allan: Anything else you’d like to share with us?
Marjorie: I’m working on an exciting idea for a New Adult supernatural short story. I’ve written around 6,000 words. So, it’s quite a long short story. It’s different. There are vampires, demons, otherworldly creatures. At a later stage, I hope to develop it further. I’m thinking perhaps a crime aspect too. I’m excited about writing in two new genres and curious to see where it may lead me.
Also, later in the year I hope to publish my next poetry collection Do What You Love - Fragility of Your Flame - an inspirational collection of my poetry and photography under my self-published imprint Kyrosmagica Publishing.
An Excerpt from Mr. Sagittarius Poetry and Prose - a short story excerpt - The Old Man of Snow and The Snow Snake and the Poem: My Heart is A Cave.
(Copyright is held by the author. Used with permission)
Quote from a 5 star Goodreads review by Balroop Singh: ‘The Old Man of Snow and the Snow Snake’ may appear to be a fabulous fantasy but is a magnificent comment on the avarice of man, eager to plunder nature.
The Old Man of Snow and The Snow Snake
Today, the moon is full and high in the sky and a group of nineteen men travel with brave hearts to the mouth of the Snow Snake Cave.
The wind is biting cold. Each man carries a pack of provisions on his back and thoughts of his loved ones in his heart. They know that this journey might be one to their deaths and yet they trudge on.
At last after many exhausted steps they arrive at the forbidding entrance of the cave. It is no ordinary grotto. For centuries men have fashioned the cave out of layer upon layer of snow. The mouth of which is an ice sculpture of a snake’s jaw gaping, its eyes furious and wide. The old man above is exquisite, his hair and snow beard fall in intricate icicles. He is leaning to one side, his hand of snow pushing down on the snake as if to coax it to move.
The Old Man of Snow startles the men, he stirs, his snow encrusted eyes open wide as he bellows,
‘Dare you approach us? I think not little men. I will crush you like ants and feed you to my friend the Snow Snake.’
The men stop so suddenly that they almost fall over with exhaustion. Several of them stagger backwards frightened by the sheer size and forbidding nature of the Old Man of Snow. But, one amongst them stays still, resolute and strong.
He squares his shoulders, takes a deep breath and replies. ’I wish to meet with the Old Man of Snow and the legendary Snow Snake to discuss what you’ve done with the countless others who have ventured here. That is all that I and this brave group of men want–our old friends back. We are not greedy men. We don’t desire wealth, or gold, we only want happiness.’
‘Happiness?’ the Old Man lifts his hand and pulls at his beard. The Snow Snake winds his tail back and forth causing a volley of tiny snowballs to fall.
‘They are lying Old Man,’ said the Snow Snake, hissing. ‘They mean to trick us. Don’t allow them passage. If you do, I will swish my furious tail even more and it will crush them under an avalanche of snow.’
‘Silence, Snow Snake! I am sick of your reptilian attitude. Let them speak. I have never heard a human ask for so little before and I am curious if they speak the truth.’
The humble man bowed before the Old Man of Snow and then kneeled on the cold earth. ‘I swear by the almighty that I tell the truth. I, and my men are simple farmers, we tend the earth, eat our crops, and milk our herd. We don’t need riches and fame.’
‘You are a wise man. Unfortunately, your friends who came before you were foolish and greedy. They tried to steal from the Snow Snake, and that made us very angry.’
‘They were wrong to do so and I apologise on their behalf. Please forgive me for asking but what happened to their foolish souls?’
‘Within the cave there are a multitude of tiny snow snakes who wriggle free when they smell greed. These tiny snakes are lethal, one bite of their venom stilled these greedy men’s hearts and froze them for all eternity. Here, come. I grant you entry to see the power we possess so you will not dare to steal from us. The ice sculptures of your friends are exquisite.’
The men muttered. Some made as if to turn back but the leader spoke again.
‘Men come with me, we must pay our respects to our old friends.’
One replied, ‘Are you mad? They may do the same to us. How can you trust the Old Man of Snow, the Snow Snake and his allies the tiny venomous snakes?’
‘I only know what is right and good,’ replied the humble man.
‘So, will it be,’ said several of his followers, but many turned away, retracing their steps back from where they had come.
They granted the few that remained a passage into the mouth of the Snow Snake’s cave. But the snake hissed and rattled his snow tail in a show of extreme displeasure.
The Old Man of snow stamped his snowy boots, and the snake stopped.
Once inside the cave, the humble man and his band of followers saw nothing but ice and snow. They heard no sign of life, no trickle of water, but still they walked on.
As they turned a corner, the cave widened, and they entered a room which was ablaze with a colourful array of magical stones. For a moment it tempted even the humble man to pop one of these magnificent stones in his pocket but then he remembered the Old Man’s warning.
Quote from a 5 star Review from Balroop Singh: ‘My Heart is a Cave’ is beautiful and poignant; as it brings out the loneliness of a sibling who is yearning to be reunited with her loved ones.
My heart is a cave.
Hidden dark and mysterious,
Stalactites and icy caverns,
Rock pools and hiding places.
No one visits anymore. I’m alone.
The ice is melting, and the stars seem so far away.
I long for light, life and laughter to discover me again.
While I wait ice drips in darling drops,
The moon is high,
An orb of brilliant light, it grins at me.
I remember my past, days ago,
Children, a husband, lovers - even.
So, I wait for someone to come,
For a torch to shine.
It comforts me that the moon is full.
Soon I will be reunited with you.
I imagine you smiling down on the cave.
Thank you, Marjorie, for being our guest this week. Wishing you continued success with your stories.
Thank you Allan, I appreciate your kindness so much and I’m delighted to be a guest on your blog again.
For all you dear visitors wanting to discover more about Marjorie and her writing, please follow these links:
Amazon Buying Links:
Mr. Sagittarius: http://mybook.to/MrSagittarius
Lockdown Innit: http: mybook.to/Lockdowninnit
This Is Lockdown: http://mybook.to/Thisislockdown
Authors Website: https://mjmallon.com
Authors Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L
Authors/bloggers Rainbow Support Club #ABRSC: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1829166787333493/