Something a little different today… regular readers might remember a few months ago (Mookaite And Model Cats) Lily did some picture work for the book above, as written by my good friend Marje. I am very pleased to welcome her here to CrystalCats and I was extremely excited to be able to read her book, give it a review and share it with everybody here. ( I must state that I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for a fair review, and all opinions within are my own.)
Cue best china and the special biscuits, as after my review there is a wonderful interview with the author herself, including social media links and an excerpt from the book, featuring Shadow the cat. I hope you enjoy it!
So… where shall I begin? The author has a talent for description, delicate bubbles of imagery that burst in the mind and help create the multi-layered mystery. She deals deftly with some very current issues such as family dysfunction and self-harming that her main character, Amelina, must deal with in addition to struggling with her own feelings and impulses as she approaches her 16th birthday.
The story is compelling and we meet some very interesting characters along the way. Amelina is helped by crystals (of course) and sometimes by her cat Shadow (there we go!) A new entry to YA fiction, this book is a charming blend of teenage angst, family, magic and crystal lore.
And here’s Marje herself!
I am a debut author who has been blogging for three years at my lovely blog home Kyrosmagica: My interests include writing, photography, poetry, and alternative therapies. I write Fantasy YA, middle grade fiction and micro poetry – haiku and Tanka. I love to read and have written over 100 reviews: https://mjmallon.com/2015/09/28/a-z-of-my-book-reviews/
My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheroes! 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 proud parents Paula and Ronald. I grew up in a mountainous court in the Peak District in Hong Kong with my elder brother Donald. My parents dragged me away from my exotic childhood and my much loved dog Topsy to the frozen wastelands of Scotland. In bonnie Edinburgh I mastered Scottish country dancing, and a whole new Och Aye lingo.
As a teenager I travelled to many far-flung destinations to visit my abacus wielding wayfarer dad. It’s rumoured that I now live in the Venice of Cambridge, with my six foot hunk of a EsmeRock God husband, and my two enchanted daughters. After such an upbringing my author’s mind has taken total leave of its senses! 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.
Books by M J Mallon:
The Curse of Time – Book 1 – Bloodstone
Fifteen-year-old Amelina Scott lives in Cambridge with her dysfunctional family, a mysterious black cat, and an unusual girl who’s imprisoned within the mirrors located in her house. When an unexpected message arrives inviting her to visit the Crystal Cottage, she sets off on a forbidden pathway where she encounters Ryder, a charismatic, but perplexing stranger.
With the help of a magical paint set, and some crystal wizard stones she discovers the truth about a shocking curse that has destroyed her family’s happiness.
Title: The Curse of Time Book 1 – Bloodstone
Kindle Publication date: 27th August 2017
Genre: YA/Paranormal Fantasy
Buy Book: myBook.toTheCurseofTime
Intended Paperback Release date – April 2018
Genre: YA/Paranormal Fantasy
Book Design: https://wendyannedarling.wordpress.com/
Photography Credit: Dr John C Taylor, OBE: http://www.johnctaylor.com/
Paperback includes additional material – two black and white illustrations by Artist – Carolina Russo. https://yesterdayafter.com/
Edited by: https://colleenchesebro.com
Buy Paperback Book link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Curse-Time-Book-Bloodstone/dp/1999822439/
Unique Selling Point: Unique, Imaginative, ‘Charming, enchanting and richly layered this is purely delightful.’
Feeling lost and alone, a prisoner in my own tortured thoughts, I noticed the company of Shadow. He slipped next to me, and the only sound I heard, was the continuous soft padding of his feet walking towards me. He rubbed against my legs almost as if he knew I needed a hug. With his blue-black silky fur and white patch on his neck, the cat’s vibrant green eyes held my attention. This cat exuded handsomeness, and he knew it. I smiled, glad for his presence.
As I walked back towards home, my thoughts returned to Ryder, and how he’d promised he’d take me out on Saturday. It felt like such a long time had passed since I’d last seen him, but it had only been a few days. I had this impression that time had stretched to its utmost point, and it now waited to return to some semblance of normality. I gulped, unsure, and unsettled.
Nothing stirred at all in the garden, apart from Shadow’s panther-like movements which I watched with a mixture of amusement, and trepidation. The cat sat poised at the bottom of the garden fence, and I sensed he lingered waiting for something to happen. My eyes never left him. Yet, in the blink of an eye, he had vanished from my sight. Confused, I rubbed my eyes and looked again, but no sight of him remained. Shadow had vanished. I paused and glanced over my shoulder. Perhaps my eyes were playing tricks on me? It had all happened so quickly that I couldn’t quite believe what I’d just witnessed.
In a flash, Shadow reappeared out of thin air. I drew back and blinked my eyes in amazement. I remembered that he’d done this before. The cat’s personality never ceased to amaze me. There was something quite startling about that feline, which added another piece to the mystery of my everyday life. At that moment, I wished Shadow could talk and tell me why he did such strange things.
I bent down and rewarded his reappearance with a pat of his silky fur. ‘Hey, there you are, you peculiar, disappearing, crazy cat.’ Shadow meowed and sauntered off, his tail raised in the air in the shape of a question mark. I laughed at his composure. I could swear that the cheeky fellow winked at me as he left.
My heart swelled with the love I felt for Shadow. ‘Thank goodness, I have you. You don’t let me down. Sometimes you disappear, but you always come back. My faithful Shadow.’ The cat stopped, turned, and retraced his steps towards me. He arched his back in a graceful curve as he twisted around my legs once more. This time he answered me with a purr in a richer, deeper, note that escaped from his whiskered face like a melody. It wasn’t hard to figure out that Shadow had understood what I had said.
The pre-release blog tour begins in April with my #ABRSC club pals, followed by a release tour with Neverland Blog Tours. (Jenny Marston is also a #ABRSC member!) http://neverlandblogtours.weebly.com/
Authors Website: https://mjmallon.com
Collaborative blog: https://sistersofthefey.wordpress.com
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time
My Facebook: Authors/Bloggers Support Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1829166787333493/
Carolina Russo has created two wonderful portraits of my characters which feature in my paperback which is due for release in April. Below you can see the full colour version of the images, please note the paperback images are in black and white.
Esme and The Creature
The above images are Copyright ©Carolina Russo: https://yesterdayafter.com
Fun facts about Marje:
- I wish I could be wonder woman or MJ from Spiderman.
- I adore crystals, alternative therapies, the unusual and the strange. I’m a qualified Aromatherapist, Reflexologist, (I no longer work as a therapist instead I devote my spare time to reading, writing, blogging and reviewing.)
- Some say that I am a white witch…my blogging friends confer and have included me in the Sisters of The Fey, a writerly collaboration.
- My husband can’t remember asking me to marry him and neither can I. He suspects I cast a spell on him!
- I have travelled to many foreign destinations, including: Papua New Guinea, Fiji, the Caribbean, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Rome, Venice, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium and Portugal. I would love the funds to travel some more!
- I currently work as a receptionist in a massive building, home to twenty companies. In quiet moments I observe peoples’ mannerisms, listen to snippets of gossip and dream up new story ideas.
- I love food! Asian food and anything spicy, yum…My mother is Malaysian and my father is Scottish so I grew up with a very varied diet.
- My motto is to do what you love! Stay true to your heart’s desires, remain young at heart, and inspire others to do so, even if the odds are stacked against you like black-hearted shadows.
- I studied Communication Studies at University, (marketing, media studies, public relations, etc.) My degree is coming in mighty handy now.
- I love cats but don’t own one (my husband and daughter are allergic,) so I adopted a virtual black cat called Lily who looks like my black cat character Shadow in my book: https://mjmallon.com/2017/05/17/shadow-welcomes-lily-the-cat-to-kyrosmagica/
- I have so many writing projects and so little time! I am a writing butterfly so this pains me greatly!
- I am an original! I have been to every single Bloggers Bash until now. http://sachablack.co.uk/annual-bloggers-bash/
- I have met the inventor of The Corpus Christi Chronopage clock – Dr John C Taylor, OBE who kindly gave me permission to use his images in my book. http://www.johnctaylor.com/the-chronophage/
- I interview my fictional characters on my blog. Currently you can meet: Shadow: https://mjmallon.com/2017/05/11/my-interview-with-shadow-a-black-cat-character-with-a-past/: https://mjmallon.com/2017/08/20/mj-interviews-amelina-the-curse-of-time-bloodstone-sundayblogshare/Ryder: https://mjmallon.com/2017/07/02/mj-interviews-ryder-the-curse-of-time-bloodstone/ The Creature: https://mjmallon.com/2018/02/20/mj-interviews-the-creature/ Esme The Mirror Girl: https://mjmallon.com/2018/02/23/mj-interviews-esme-the-mirror-girl/
Finalist in Authorsdb Book Cover Contest
Winner of Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge no. 7 with my murderous flash – Mr Blamey: https://carrotranch.com/2017/12/19/winner-of-flash-fiction-contest-7/