Today I’m thrilled to have over, friend, author, and blogger, Marjorie Mallon with her debut book, The Curse of Time – Book 1 of the Bloodstone series, a YA Fantasy novel.
Marje writes at her blog Kyrosmagica about writing, inspiration, photography, and magic Haiku. She also the founder of our Facebook group Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Group along with myself and Colleen Chesebro, as fellow admins for that group. It’s a place for bloggers and writers to share all things writing and seek help with issues they may encounter with blogging and/or self publishing. Please feel free to come join us there!
Today, Marjorie is going to share all sorts of goodies with us about her debut book, The Curse of Time. The book is in the YA/MG Fantasy genre and includes a smorgasbord of human elements and issues along with mystical magic.
I am a debut author who has been blogging for three years: https://mjmallon.com. 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 superheros! 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 Rock 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.
On Amelina Scott’s thirteenth birthday, her father disappears under mysterious circumstances. Saddened by this traumatic event, she pieces together details of a curse that has stricken the heart and soul of her family.
Amelina longs for someone to confide in. Her once carefree mother has become angry and despondent. One day a strange black cat and a young girl, named Esme appear. Immediately, Esme becomes the sister Amelina never had. The only catch is that Esme must remain a prisoner, living within the mirrors of Amelina’s house.
Dreams and a puzzling invitation convince Amelina the answer to her family’s troubles lies within the walls of the illusive Crystal Cottage. Undaunted by her mother’s warnings, Amelina searches for the cottage on an isolated Cambridgeshire pathway where she encounters a charismatic young man, named Ryder. At the right moment, he steps out of the shadows, rescuing her from the unwanted attention of two male troublemakers.
With the help of an enchanted paint set, Amelina meets the eccentric owner of the cottage, Leanne, who instructs her in the art of crystal magic. In time, she earns the right to use three wizard stones. The first awakens her spirit to discover a time of legends, and later, leads her to the Bloodstone, the supreme cleansing crystal which has the power to restore the balance of time. Will Amelina find the power to set her family free?
A YA/middle grade fantasy set in Cambridge, England exploring various themes/aspects: Light, darkness, time, shadows, a curse, magic, deception, crystals, art, poetry, friendships, teen relationships, eating disorders, self-harm, anxiety, depression, family, puzzles, mystery, a black cat, music, a mix of sadness, counterbalanced by a touch of humour.
Now, let’s get to know a bit more about Marje and her book.
Please share with us how you came up with the name Kyrosmagica for your blog?
The Kyros derives from the Greek – Kyros (KIRos) meaning power that is legitimate, but limited and compassionate.
In Ancient Greek it means κρύσταλλος (krustallos, “clear ice”), from κρύος (kruos, “frost”)
Magica sounded magical so I combined them together to make my interpretation of the word – Kyrosmagica, a powerful, compassionate, magical crystal!
I love all the beautiful quotes from famous writers you’ve posted on your blog’s about page. Which one resonates with you most and why?
Oh, that’s so difficult to answer but if I had to pick one it would be this:
“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.” Maya Angelou.
I know you believe in magic. What realm of magic fascinates you most?
I’ve always loved legends and wanted to explore the interaction between the realm of magic and myths. So with this in mind I created a main character, Amelina who could spirit walk to a time of legends. I had fun dreaming up a new King Arthur passage and Amelina chatted to Merlin to get grandfatherly advice. I introduced Greek myths into the story via the mysterious Crystal Cottage. I’d better not say too much about that, for fear of spoiling the story! Myths and Legends play a part in Book one The Curse of Time and this concept is further developed in Book two.
So, you love superheroes? Can you please share with us how you came up with your alter ego ‘Mary Jane’?
I wanted an author name but thought my name Marjorie Mallon sounded long-winded and boring. So I considered my options, I could have a pseudonym, but that didn’t appeal, so I decided on my initials and my author name became M J Mallon. My alter ego MJ became my fitting tribute to Spider man’s Mary Jane. Spider Man is my favourite super hero! I love romance so I embrace the thought of being MJ, tiptoeing up to kiss spiderman!
The Bloodstone is key to solving mystery in your book, and you include a character who deals with crystals. Do you work with crystals yourself?
No, sadly I don’t work with crystals but I would love to! I collect crystals and find myself drawn to them. My first crystal purchase was Malachite, a stone of transformation!
Read about that here: https://mjmallon.com/2017/02/18/the-bloggers-bash-competition-c-o-n-n-e-c-t-i-o-n-s/
My lovely friend Samantha Murdoch has a wonderful blog celebrating her love of crystals and cats. Here’s the bloodstone she kindly permitted me to use on the spine of my book. It’s a photo taken by her son Alex Marlowe.
Your book sounds like an eclectic mix of magic, fantasy, mystery, and teenage struggles, what a fascinating combination. Can you please tell us a bit about what inspired you to write this book?
Oh, there are so many inspirations that have shaped my writing…
Crystals – in particular The Crystal Grotto that I visited in Juniper Artland – The Light Pours Out of Me – by Anya Gallaccio. Here’s my photo of it…
I wrote this poem inspired by the grotto a long time ago: https://mjmallon.com/2016/01/14/ronovan-writes-haiku-prompt-challenge-crystal-and-hope/
Clocks/Time – The extraordinary Corpus Chronopage and Grasshopper on King’s Parade Cambridge invented by Dr John C Taylor OBE. I had the incredible fortune to meet with him in person on the 11th of September, 2017. He is an extraordinary man; it is a day I will not forget. His beautiful chronopage clock features on my book cover. I owe him a huge thank you for permission to use his images on my book cover, marketing, and blog.
This lovely man is an inventor, adventurous spirit, philanthropist, pilot, and photographer.
Art/Beauty/Youth/Mirrors – The concept of art coming alive fascinated me particularly after reading Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray. Time is indiscriminate and cruel. We age and loose our youthful beauty, mirrors capture this momentary beauty but they also capture our decline.
Shadows/Light and Yin/Yang. Life is balanced if there is equilibrium but what if our senses trick us and we are unable to determine good from evil?
Black Cats. In the early stages of writing my manuscript a strange black appeared in our garden. He was sleek, panther like, and so beautiful that I swear a witch had cast a spell on him to make me love him! He became my muse – Shadow the black cat in the Curse of Time. When he disappeared I had to find a black cat supermodel to portray him and I did. The lovely Samantha Murdoch had such a wonderful cat, Lily and here she is cuddling Buddha! Isn’t she exquisite?
Please tell us a bit about your book and share an excerpt with us.
The Curse of Time #1 Bloodstone is a YA/MG fantasy set in the UK, in the beautiful university city of Cambridge which I call home. It is Book one in a series, book two is partially written and entitled The Curse of Time #2 Golden Healer. Both books will feature the three central themes: time, shadows and crystals.
Puzzle Piece 1: The Invitation
An unexpected invite,
Such a mystery,
To explore and discover,
A hidden cottage of light.
I found it to be a mystifying situation. An unnatural stillness seemed to linger after many days of storms. Today, the sky reminded me of a painting. It appeared too perfect, too bright, too still, a picture landscape with no beginning or end. Instead, the vault of heaven spread out toward an endless grey forever, as if seeping around the edges of an untamed watercolour bleeding into the rest of the day. Even so, the sight filled my heart with promise, a ray of hope in an otherwise dull morning.
The quietness of my contemplation came to an abrupt end. I heard the sound of an envelope crashing through the mail box. I jumped at the clatter. The letter landed on the floor as the sound of a thousand crystal chandeliers echoed throughout the house. I rushed to retrieve the envelope and turned it this way and that. I couldn’t find an address label and wondered if the note had been hand-delivered. Who could this message be for?
I stood puzzling over this peculiar circumstance when out of nowhere my name: Amelina Scott appeared in bold writing. I watched wide-eyed as the final character of my surname was spelled out in a delicate font. I tore the dispatch open and inside I discovered a card printed on the finest paper with gilt edges and embossed calligraphy. There were few details, just an instruction to visit:
Crystal Cottage, River Walk, Cambridge, and the following added at the bottom as an afterthought: R.S.V.P – Not required. We promise to be welcoming when you arrive. When you’re ready, you’ll discover us…..
I shook my head in disbelief. Nothing good ever happens to the Scott’s so this invitation might look magical, but surely it must be nonsense. Weird messages from unknown sources count as dubious junk mail, the way I look at it.
I grabbed the envelope and attempted to rip it into pieces, but it wouldn’t tear. With a mind of its own the envelope curled its edges in protest. I searched in a drawer until I found scissors and tried to cut the invite. That didn’t work either. My hand ached, but the invitation endured intact as if mocking me.
Frustrated, I tried to cut the invitation again. A sputtered cursing sound filled the room even though I was alone. On my third attempt, I tore into the card with success. (I think it let me.) And once again, I perceived a noise, an angry murmur, and then nothing. Quiet descended in the room, so I threw the torn parts into the bin.
Finally satisfied that the annoying issue with the strange invite would no longer plague me, I brushed my hands together, and picked an apple out of the bowl on the kitchen counter, polished it on my jumper and then took a bite. In no time my hunger had abated, and as I chucked the core towards the bin, I registered a chuckle. I stopped, my feet rooted to the ground as a feeling of certainty filled my soul. I knew what to expect. I have no idea how I did, but I could see the image in my mind, the invitation had reformed. The invitation was playing games with me! I peered in the rubbish, and there I saw the envelope, connected in one perfect, unblemished piece. What the heck?
Thanks so much for visiting with us today Marje, and sharing your work with us. I love all the elements that comprise your book and look forward to reading it. <3
Book cover photography – Dr John C Taylor, OBE. Corpus Chronopage and Grasshopper
Black cat – Shadow modelled by Lily – via Samantha Murdoch, photographed by her son Alex Marlowe.
Connect with Marje:
My blog – for information about new releases, photos of main characters/character interviews, book reviews and inspiration: https://mjmallon.com
My New Facebook Group #ABRSC: Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook
Facebook: Facebook: m j mallon author
Tumblr: Tumblr: mjmallonauthor
I have devoted the past few years to writing over 100 reviews on My Goodreads Review Account, and on my blog to help support traditional and indie writers.