What’s my Rage? Why? #Guilt, #Grieving and #Loss – #Birthday #Coronavirus and the ‘System’


Rage crying and guilt. It’s a thing. And it’s real for me. Like Elizabeth Kubler-Ross states in her book, On Grief and Grieving, there are five stages of grief and you may not feel them in order, but surely everyone will experience them all. Well, I’m still in big time denial, a.k.a., shock, and that doesn’t mean I don’t believe my husband is alive, literally, only that numbness and other defense mechanisms set in and help to play games with my mind to sort of attempt to ‘take the edge off’ the heaviness by playing the ‘pretending game’. Like when I actually get busy doing something, I pretend George is sleeping in the bedroom. But of course, that only lasts so long.

The five stages of grief are certainly not in same order for me. My denial stage is the shock not worn off. Depression is my inner rage. Bargaining is useless, as it’s much too late for that, so I’ve switched that one up to guilt, because guilt is part of the heaviness I carry within. And as for acceptance, it’s so far off I can’t even visualize it.


Why didn’t I know? Why didn’t I know! I’m beating myself up at why my husband couldn’t be saved before he became terminal.  I’ve always looked after him. Every little symptom I’d report to the doctors. Covid made everything harder and worse. I can’t stop replaying the summer before he died. He’d complain and question why he’s so tired. What did I know? He was aging, he had ‘other’ issues, we were locked down for Covid, no real living, and no more getting to actually see a doctor! Tele-health calls were scant, but my husband had so much bloodwork done in the last year of his life, how did nobody catch anything? Labs should tell a story. Everyone was so busy taking care of his other issues that the possibility of cancer was totally over-looked.

Bloodwork weekly, low sodium levels, chronic indigestion and sleeping in half the day. I worried all the time. I spoke with doctors as much as I could get hold of them. Was nobody as curious as me? Did anyone consider something worse? Why did it take til February of this year to put him through the ringer of all tests til the grim discovery would show? He was so bloody tired!

These questions haunt me and squeeze my heart with grief when I start screaming out the whys. Yes, if my love could have saved him, he would have lived forever. Covid has shut down most of the world and the ironic part about it is that thousands more die because they can’t get a surgery booked or even see their doctors in the live. Labs are helpful – somewhat, but there’s nothing like being looked at by a doctor, to look in the eyes, skin, listen to hearbeats and breathing.

I’ve been told that my questions are all part of the grieving process, despite me feeling they are all valid questions. I’m living with guilt that I didn’t do enough for my husband. I didn’t scream out to doctors, my whys. People were dying from Covid and our doctor’s hands were tied with rules and regulations with lockdowns and cooties. Doctors not seeing patients, hospitals not allowing scheduled surgeries. Who was I to fight the system? This system has killed so many others who couldn’t and can’t see a doctor unless they were taken to emergency and admitted through the system. No. Right now I am far from acceptance. Nothing can bring my husband back, and yet, the guilt engulfs me; like crying over spilled milk, I know it will get me nowhere except into a darker abyss by dwelling on the whys, yet, I can’t stop asking.

Happy Birthday Puppy


Yesterday was my husband’s birthday, only weeks after he passed. I had extra anxiety all weekend. I decided I’d be able to handle the day better if I went to visit his grave. I struggled with it being too soon to go there, but feeling worse if I stayed home and grieved the day all day at home. I went to visit his grave, although I somehow feel closer to him here at home. They hadn’t even finished shoveling more dirt and laying the grass over where he was buried. Remnants of the funeral flowers and ribbons lay scattered over his grave. I threw in a few of my personal stones – rose quartz for love, along with some others, and I placed the stick of the little balloon with the cub on it that says “I love you” in the ground. It was attached to the little puppy love who sleeps with me on his pillow. Puppy love didn’t need to hold on to that balloon anymore because he has me beside him, so I thought Cub balloon would do better keeping him company at his gravesite.


Beloved Puppy


Birthday at the grave


~ ~ ~


Note: I recently wrote a post about the state of craziness here in Toronto with vaccine output. I am happy to report that in the past week, our province has got their act together and currently 50%, almost 1.5 million adults, have had their first Covid shot in my city, despite the detrimental number of cases still occurring daily for weeks now, approximately 3000 new cases daily. And one very special nurse who promised they’d save me an Astra Zeneca shot invited me to come have it on this past Friday. I feel blessed that all my networking has paid off and whenever my city decides to ever open up again, I’ll feel a lot more secure about entering the fray – not to mention, be able fly again as soon as flights open up here, and the UK will put Canada back on the ‘approved’ to visit list.



Life Love Loss


Q & A with D.G. Kaye – Featuring MJ Mallon and #NewRelease – Lockdown Innit

Welcome to my March edition of Q & A time where today I’m featuring another Fey Sister, friend and author, Marjorie Mallon.  I recently published a review for Marje’s lastest release – Lockdown Innit, and today Marje will share her journey to writing her latest book in prose and poetry here in her second book she felt compelled to write about how Lockdown has affected her personal world.


Marjorie Mallon author


About Marje:

My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheros!

On the 17th of November I was born, in Lion City: Singapore, (a passionate Scorpio, with the Chinese Zodiac sign a lucky rabbit.) My early childhood was spent in Hong Kong. During my teen years, my parents returned to my father’s birthplace, Edinburgh, where I spent many happy years. 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.

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!

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.

My eclectic blog shares my three loves: reading, writing, and creativity. I adore reading and have written over 150 reviews on my blog: https://mjmallon.com/2015/09/28/a-z-of-my-book-reviews/




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!


Lovely to have you over today Marje. Let’s get down to some Q & A!




Where do your book ideas grow from?

Normally, my book ideas grow from a massive surge of creative energy that I
experience upon wakening. I grab my notepad by my bed and jot down ideas before they vanish! These notes become my initial story idea. From that point, I develop the concept and see how it develops and perhaps transforms.

D.G. – Have to laugh Marje, I do the same – notebooks everywhere, because we never know when inspiration strikes – and forgotten shortly after, lol.


Do events in your daily life inspire your writing ideas?

When I started writing daily life events didn’t inspire my writing as much as they do now. I’m more aware of current affairs, the world around me, how this pandemic has affected people. So, yes, events in my daily life have taken centre stage for the moment and pushed my fantasy writing aside for a while. I’ve written two books inspired by our struggles during this time, the first This Is Lockdown is a compilation of my personal diaries, poetry and flash fiction plus 28 contributions on the topic of ‘isolation’ from the perspective of authors, bloggers and creatives, including your good self, Debby. These contributed pieces include poetry and flash fiction pieces from different parts of the world. The anthology has an international feel, with thoughts not just from the UK, Ireland, Scotland, but from Italy, Australia, USA and Zimbabwe too. Working on the anthology was a wonderful way to connect with the writing community, to bring us together and lift our spirits in a shared goal at this time.

D.G. – I loved that book too Marje, and thrilled to be part of what will undoubtedly become a piece of history in years to come.


What are your writing goals for this year?

I expect that my latest release, a collection of poems about the absurd experiences
I’ve encountered during the pandemic: Lockdown Innit, Poems About Absurdity,
might be the last Covid19 related book that I release. The muse will decide! There are eighteen poems in the collection on all manner of subjects, some absurd serious, some light-hearted absurd. Themes such as: jogging, disregard for others safety, face masks carelessly thrown away, poems written to family members, genuine fears and some pure humorous like Lockdown Breeze, Swan’s Confusion, Horses Like Statues and This Face.Lockdown Innit Poems About Absurdity releases February 26th.

For the poem: This Face, the image was kindly created by fellow poet and author
Sarah Northwood who is starting to introduce graphic skills to her repertoire:


Pink face


This Face

Here’s my face, I’m in the pink,
A shade lighter here and there,
Black glasses, hint of eyebrows,
Smile of lipstick, small detail of nose,
Black border for my chin and hair.
Sweet perfection, not a hair out of place!
Sweet perfection, without any disgrace!
Could that really be me in there?
I didn’t even brush my hair!
Or wipe the gunk off my specs,
Those eyebrows, freshly tweeked,
My hair bobbed, cut to perfection.
Which angel darling created this?

© M J Mallon

Sarah Northwood’s image also graces my paperback cover, (which I designed
myself,) to be released shortly after the kindle.

Lockdown Innit cover


My writing goals in 2021 are to complete my YA fantasy – The Curse of Time #2
Golden Healer, my poetry and photography collection Do What You Love, and to
work on an autumn inspired book for release around Halloween, with my Spiritual
Sisters: Debby, Colleen, Adele and Sally. I’m so excited about all my projects, 2021 is going to be some year!

D.G. – I love your determination to plow through this pandemic and not lose your writing mojo like many of us writers have endured. And thrilled to be part of the upcoming ‘Sisters’ book too. ❤


What is the most intrinsic part of being a writer?

That’s an interesting question, one I am pondering about… Perhaps, its akin to being reborn again. For me, my experience has been like that to a degree. My younger self was lacking confidence, unsure who I was supposed to be. Since becoming a writer, I triggered that imaginative spark in my creative brain, embraced fulfillment and became a little crazy – in a good way! Maybe, writers experience the world on a muchdeeper and more profound level and once we do we can’t return to the person we used to be.

D.G. – Experiences do change us Marje. And no, we will not be going back to the world we knew. Let’s hope we’ll all make it a better world.


Do you watch TV? If so what is your favorite show and why?

I tend to be fairly juvenile in my choice of TV! My eldest daughter and I have been
watching episode after episode of the American comedy-drama television series,
Gilmore Girls which I love. The mother daughter vibe is fabulous as is the
wickedness of the grandmother. I’m always so jealous of Lorelei’s (the mum’s) lovely fashion sense. She is the coolest mum out there! She’s kind of wacky, (which I relate to,) speaks so fast (like she’s got an abundance of thoughts whizzing in her brain,) and loves her daughter Rory (I’m so close to my daughters and family too.) The characters are all so wonderfully relatable and the series is addictive.

D.G. – I am so not surprised you connect with that show Marje. I’ve only ever watched a few episodes – long ago when it was on primetime. But no surprise coming from a YA writer. 🙂


Connect with Marje: Links and Social Media

Authors Website::  https://mjmallon.com

Visit my Author Amazon Page for all my books:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L

MJ Mallon books


Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon

#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  

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



bitmo live laugh love



Sunday Book Review – This is Lockdown: Covid19 Diaries – #Anthology by MJ Mallon

This week’s Sunday Book Review is for Marjorie Mallon’s new heartening release – This is Lockdown: Covid19 Diaries #anthology. Marje has written this book based on her thoughts, emotions and experiences being documented throughout this pandemic. She also invited several authors to join her anthology by submitting their thoughts and experiences in short story, flashfiction and poetry form. I was honored to be invited and be part of this testament to our times.





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.

The full list of authors are: 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 author,) Fi Phillips ,(Author, Copy Editor,) 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, Doctoral Researcher,) Drew Neary and Ceri Williams (Ghost Horror, Supernatural,) Katherine Mezzacappa, (Historical Fiction/Romance,) Sally Cronin, (Huge supporter of indie community/Blogger/Author) 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,) Jane Horwood and Melissa Santiago-Val – Community Masks for The NHS .


My 5 Star Review:

MJ Mallon begins this heartening book with a stunning foreword to mark the times that are sure to become part of a testament of our times in history on the 2020 global pandemic Covid19 that has rocked our collective world.

The book is broken down into three parts – Daily diary entries from the author, writer’s testaments, and thoughts in flashfiction/nonfiction stories, and poetry. Each contributing author evoking their experiences and thoughts.

Mallon has covered and documented life in lockdown, tracking events as they happen and the human condition scrutinized for its affects with shared incidents, displaying fears, finances, health concerns, and what a potentially killer disease portends. Her diaries touch on emotion as MJ expresses her own fears and concerns and observations at the days and weeks progress in lockdown.

Common threads I noticed from all writers: Loss of writing muse and creativity, restructuring of family life and function, adjusting to lockdown, and for many – overwhelming online ‘everything’ now, cutting into a writer’s work time and creativity.

This book is for everyone, for we all share the same common Covid fears and adjustments in this very world we all live in. A recommended read for reflection and to reinforce, we are not alone.



bitmo live laugh love


Q & A with D.G. Kaye Featuring Marjorie Mallon – This is Lockdown #Anthology

Welcome to a special edition of Q & A this week as I feature Marjorie Mallon, my Fey sister and friend with her hot new release – This is Lockdown: Covid19 Diaries. Marje and I also run the ABRSC blogger group on Facbook, and the Spiritual Sisters page, links at the bottom of this post.

This book has been a labor of love for Marje who has written this book with a collaboration of several author’s entries, including mine, and her documented diaries of her experiences living through the Covid19, along with heartfelt testaments from others, poetry and short stories told in Flash/Nonfiction forms in this beautiful anthology that will serve to document the times in our lives. I just finished reading this book and I will have a review up for this Sunday Book Review.


MJ Mallon


MJ Mallon


About Marje:

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:

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



Universal Link:  mybook.to/Thisislockdown



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.

The full list of authors are: 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 author,) Fi Phillips ,(Author, Copy Editor,) 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, Doctoral Researcher,) Drew Neary and Ceri Williams (Ghost Horror, Supernatural,) Katherine Mezzacappa, (Historical Fiction/Romance,) Sally Cronin, (Huge supporter of indie community/Blogger/Author) 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,) Jane Horwood and Melissa Santiago-Val – Community Masks for The NHS .


So let us get into some Q & A with Marje and learn more about her inspiration for this book and more about her writing.


Thank you so much to my lovely friend Debby, a contributing author, for inviting me over to talk about This Is Lockdown.




Do events in your daily life inspire your writing ideas?

Yes, absolutely, Debby. This Is Lockdown was inspired by Coronavirus and the situation we are in. Events in my daily life inspire my writing ideas. Normally, I am a visual writer inspired by the unusual, or the beautiful. In this case, my writing muse came from a deeper, more internal place. I looked within, but also observed what I could on my frequent walks in our Cambridgeshire village in the UK. I’m lucky to have a river nearby and a beautiful country park with lakes, swans, geese and ducks. The pace of life slowed down, and I noticed curious stone frogs and the like, which I probably wouldn’t have noticed before.

D.G. – Our senses are heightened when we stop and take a pause, so no doubts Marje. I’m sure every single person on this planet has been affected in different ways. This is a beautiful book for documenting history. ❤


What’s your opinion on self-publishing?

I’m becoming more and more fond of it! I appreciate the freedom it gives. I can publish what I like, when I like. I can choose my title, cover, (even create it myself if I wish,) and format it in the way that I want. All those decisions are mine. For me, self-publishing is also a great confidence booster. You develop the tools to become a writer/publisher/marketing expert. There are so many new skills: formatting, creating a cover (I created the cover for This Is Lockdown myself,) designing promotional graphics (I use Canva ,) for blog tour headers, review memes. With self publishing, I am the boss! I love that.

D.G. – I agree with all you said. And wow, you did a fab job with the cover!


Books by MJ Mallon


Is there something you wish you were better at with the self-publishing process?

It is a never ending learning process. I’ve always wanted to be a perpetual student! I am getting there. I’ve learnt so much during Lockdown. I’ve been lucky to have the time during my furlough from work to dedicate to writing, and to blogging. Normally, I work long hours in an international school in Cambridge, leaving me little time to do anything. There are many new skills I’d love to add to my tool box –

 I’d love to learn how to design a paperback cover.

 And, I’d love to become more skilled at increasing readership to my blog
newsletters. I just started my newsletters during Lockdown. It has been on my to
do list for forever! I feared this more than anything. So, when I created my first
newsletter, it made me feel like cracking open the champagne. To date, it was the
hardest blog admin I’ve ever done.

 Oh, and I’d love to do more videos. This is the first one I’ve done, (my
daughter created it for me, for our local village, Online Fayre.) It isn’t perfect (we
were on a tight time frame,) but it’s our first attempt and I’m proud of that. She
did a wonderful job.

D.G. – Fabulous Marje! There is just so much that comes with the self-pub business. If we learned all the dynamics, we’d never have time to write!



How has writing changed your life?

Massively, I am not the same person I was. I have changed so much. I’d describe myself as a much more contented person. It is as if I have been waiting for this moment all my life! Sometimes, I wonder why have I wasted so many years being that ‘other’ person. But then I let it go. Life is too short for regrets. It is enough that I have found myself NOW.

D.G. – You’ve got that right girl!


Do you agree with the general consensus that writers are loners?

Ah, yes and no Debby. I enjoy my own company, but I wouldn’t say I’m a loner. I am quite sociable; I love going out with friends and family for meals and entertainment. I miss engaging with a wide circle of friends: old friends that I’ve had since the children were young, old school friends, blogging pals, writer friends, (in person at blogger bash, and SCBWI events,) you name it! And yet I’d say that writers are happy to be alone – that’s the difference. We have our writing, our books, our muse… Isolation for writers and creatives isn’t easy, but we cope better than most.

So, I discovered a way to connect during COVID19. This Is Lockdown was my way of coping. I reached out to the writing and creative community. I’m so glad that I did! This project has been such an enormous boost to my morale at a time when I needed it most. Coronavirus continues to be the most frightening time of my life. I hope it helps others to connect in this way. This Is Lockdown is a true account of diaries, poems, writings, short pieces and thoughts on isolation. It is a touch of positivity amongst all the sadness. Also, it highlights a wonderful initiative by Jane Horwood and Melissa Santiago-Val. They share their story of the fundraising masks for the NHS. To date, they have raised £30,000 for the National Health Service.

Here I am wearing one of their colourful masks:

MJ Mallon wears a mask

D.G. – I concur. I too am both and extrovert and introvert. I need my social outings, but also my quiet time to work.


The fabulous authors/bloggers and creatives together, the contributors are:

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-ValCommunity Masks 4 NHS.


First Review:

Adele Park

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 20 July 2020

This is lockdown is a collection of diary entries, poems and photos from a collection of authors under the umbrella of M J Mallon. This is a definitive look at what the real people did during the lockdown, which is still in place in certain parts of the country. The writings and musings offer a real look at how people felt, what they did or couldn’t do and all delivered from different voices. From the day to day struggles, worries, and laughter to poems which will make you laugh, think and cry. This is a wonderful book I thoroughly enjoyed and I will keep going back to read again and again.



Behind The Mask by Sherri Matthews

Based in the UK
© Sherri Matthews


Covid-19 struck and with it lockdown. I didn’t jump into baking bread, online classes and endless quizzes on Zoom. Instead, my brain went into meltdown. Then, Survival Mode.

Stock-piling at the supermarket stripped shelves bare. For the first time in my life – in my generation – I worried about finding basic essentials for my family. Lockdown plunged me into my new role as Hunter/Gatherer. I shifted into action.

My immediate quest turned to hand sanitiser. None. Liquid soap then. None. Right. Bar soap? None. Didn’t people wash before coronavirus? Shelf after empty shelf mocked me with their special-offer price tags to non-existent products and a slow-rising panic clenched my chest. A rapid mental inventory of the soap I had at home told me we could manage. I keep a spare. Dishwashing liquid works, my middle son texted. Of course, yes. We have that. Never mind no fresh meat, bread or eggs. At least we could safely wash Covid from our hands.

My sons. My adult children. Three of them. My youngest lives at home with me and my husband. Lockdown separates us from our two older sons who live far away. We cancelled March, hoped for May. Then July. Maybe. More like August. We don’t know.

Anxious thoughts lace my outings to The Wasteland. But this isn’t an episode of the Walking Dead and there are no zombies here. Reality means I must keep safe. My husband too. He works from home now. I am carer to my youngest who has Asperger’s Syndrome. Now, too, for my eighty-something mother who needs shielding. Who will look after them if I succumb?

Food shopping is my mission. An expedition for which I need gear. Survival gear. A mask, primarily. It is black. The material heats my breath and fogs my sunglasses. Wisps of too-overlong lockdown hair itch my eyes. Don’t touch your face! I mantra as I manoeuvre through the aisles and try to focus on my shopping list, blinking hard to clear the blur and people-dodging when they come too close too many times.

My mask and sunglasses double-up as a dark disguise – they hide the stress and, yes, the anger I know is tight upon my face. It keeps at bay those spewing germs from the woman who sneezes and the man who coughs openly as they walk by. It stops the words I want to say but know I will regret. To them and those who huddle in the aisle chatting, laughing, not a foot apart. I need to get by. Excuse me, please. To them I want to say, don’t you know this is a pandemic?

Three months into lockdown, food supplies are plenty. Sanitising hand gel and soap is back!

Families and friends can gather, no more than six. But tell that to the crammed in beach-goers and not a mask in sight in the hottest May on record leaving tons of weight in litter, gridlocked roads and major incidences in their wake. How can we win like this?

An invisible enemy designed to bring us down circulates with relish. Will we humans prevail in our efforts to destroy it? Many will never know normal again. Loss and grief does that. We are forever changed.

My normal means hugging my boys again, my family gathered together on that wonderful day, safe and well. In this I have hope. Always, we must hope. And until that day, it doesn’t hurt to wear a black mask.

© Sherri Matthews


Shopping Hell (2)- Flash fiction

A woman is standing in front of me in the supermarket queue. She’s young, barely twenty, wearing a bright red jacket, a face mask, her hair is dark, her eyes accusatory. Turning her head, her body twists, she glares at me, her body language screams you are too close, as if I am invading her territory. Her glossy red jacket screams help! I’m staying away from her, following the social distancing rules, but still it is not enough. She fears me, her eyes peer at me above her mask and I know this is true. I hope and pray she will stay well. She is a similar age to my daughters, but fear has made her an anxious stranger.

© M J Mallon


I have also written my thoughts and contributed this Etheree poem:


Cabin Fever


Anxiety exacerbates within.

The pandemic reigns on human life.

We grieve the lost art of living.

While idling in neutral,

We remain suspended,

Awaiting normal,

A new concept.

Lessons taught.





It was a thrill to have you over today Marje. Wishing you lots of success with the book, and may we all stay safe and be able to start a new life soon!


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Authors Website: https://mjmallon.com

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Twitter@Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time

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bitmo live laugh love


Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly #Poetry Challenge – Poet’s Choice – #Haibun -Numbing the Numbers

It’s Poet’s Choice for this week’s challenge at Colleen Chesebro’s Word Craft Poetry ‘Tanka Tuesday Challenge’. I’ve written a Haibun with a Senyru.


Colleen's Weekly Poetry Challenge






It’s the first of the month and you know what that means! Poets, choose your own syllabic poetry form, theme, words, images, etc. It’s up to you!





Numbing the Numbers



Fifty, one hundred and fifty, one thousand, ten thousand, one hundred thousand – give or take, and tens of thousands more.

Easy to discard emotions when we speak in numbers and not in humans.

When numbers grow exponentially we  tend to lose perspective, and shock value of the severity of escalating numbers.

How long does it take to count to 100,000? Not just random numbers, each digit representing a human life.

Just how many ‘ones’ would it take to count into the hundred thousands?

If we were to know every one of the thousands who’ve perished because of a pandemic, our hearts couldn’t survive the grief. So, it’s easier to speak in numbers than to imagine thousands of ghostly faces.

But it’s not.

Don’t become immune to numbers.


Keep your face covered

Have respect for fellow man

Stay safely distanced.




Visit Colleen’s blog for original post and to hop on the challenge!


#WATWB – Superheroes Are Welcoming New Roles to Help Others – Goodnet

Welcome to this month’s edition of #WATWB – We are the World Blogfest, where we take a step away from the negativity going on in the world, and focus in on some of the good deeds people are doing as every day heroes to lift others.


Today I’m sharing just a few of the superheroes in our communities who are stepping up to plate in these uncertain times of Coronavirus. Some of these heroes who’ve lost their jobs or have been laid off in certain industries are finding alternative ways to help out – British Airways pilot, Peter Login is now delivery truck driver for Tescol, F1 Ferrari team boss, Maurizio Arrivabene, is now transporting sick Italians to the hospital as an ambulance driver, Canadian realtor, Jordan Zabloski is now baking hundreds of muffins for the homeless, a film maker in Georgia has turned to making PPE. Check out these heartening acts in more detail below.


Superheroes Are Welcoming New Roles to Help Others


Remarkable people around the world are stepping up, giving back and supporting each other.


Have you ever wondered what life would be like in a completely new profession or role? Would you consider trading your everyday routine for a different experience and even a new uniform? Although the world as we know it has virtually changed overnight, new opportunities (both paid and voluntary) have risen in light of the pandemic. Everyday heroes have emerged and embraced the ways in which they can use their skills and newfound time to help others.

One such hero who has made a career switch is Peter Login from Horsham, England. While we can usually find Peter in a plane, navigating the skies for the British Airways airline, he has assumed his new role as a Tesco supermarket delivery truck driver, bringing food to those who need it most. . . please continue reading at Goodnet.org

#WATWB runs monthly on the last Friday of each month. Hosts for this month are: Susan ScottLizbeth HartzShilpa GargMary Giese and Damyanti Biswas.

If you’d like to join in with sharing something good going on in the world, please join us on Facebook



The #Corona Diaries- Observations on my Recent Outing


I hadn’t been out for 2 weeks – the last time I bought groceries. I try to make my grocery runs last 10 days to 2 weeks before I have to go out again. And when I do, I plan a route to cover groceries, pharmacy and health food store. But our prescriptions are up in the burbs where we used to live, and I wasn’t feeling inspired enough to drive all the way up there, and knowing I have to go up there in the next few days anyway, I decided just to pop into my local independent pharmacy to pick up a a few things that couldn’t wait and I happened to luck into his freshly stocked boxes of masks and disposable gloves. He even had a small amount of N95 masks for sale. I felt like it was Christmas!


And there’s a good tip for everyone who may not be able to find items in big box and brand retail stores because everyone is looking for the same things. It’s a good idea to try your smaller local independent stores, both pharmacies and food stores, places you may not suspect would have masks or rice or pasta sauces. You never know what you’ll come across.




While in the pharmacy, a woman turned to me and asked how do I keep my hair so vibrant without grey roots in this time, I laughed and told her I dye my own hair for 35 years, comes in handy LOL. Hey, just because I’m in seclusion doesn’t mean I have to let everything go. I may live in pajamas and/or sweat pants, and my hair may be in desperate need of a cut (even more so desperate since I attempted to crop my own top), but the crowning glory is always vibrant and my skincare beauty routine remains in full-force. These are considered essential non-negotiables for me. Exercise comes next – okay, I may slack sometimes but never on skincare.



Next, I headed for the supermarket. I’d last gone to 2 weeks prior and noticed quite a few changes since the last visit there. As I pulled my car in to park, I noticed ‘the line’. Oye, was this the line I’d heard others complain about but had been lucky enough to not yet have encountered?

I did a mental count of how many would be ahead, now lined up 6ft apart standing outside as only so many people allowed in the store at a time for distancing. At first I thought I should just get back in the car and come another day. Then I thought, as I put the car in reverse to pull out, who knows how many will be next time, better get her done.

There were 25 people ahead of me standing on our designated tape marks on the sidewalk, and it was a tad chilly for me in a spring coat, thinking it was 60 degrees out like my prior shopping day, but more like 40, oye! Only half hour wait went by til I entered. I read on my phone and was happy to find I could type on my phone with a latex gloved finger. It was nice and spacious inside and I even found toilet paper (which I bought as a top up), The shelves were all full, although I noticed I still couldn’t find raw chicken wings – anywhere, and a few items such as pasta sauces, some other canned goods, had limits.

I have to say I was impressed with the whole set up to protect both workers and shoppers. Plexi- glass now separated the cashiers from the customers. Some wore masks, all wore gloves. No using our own bags, back to the plastic they’d already taken away and now no charge for those plastic bags – go figure. Checking out was one line with taped marks for 6ft apart, but only 2 people ahead with only 2 cashiers opened and only so many shoppers at a time, it went fairly smoothly.



Four hundred dollars later I checked out.

I was exhausted from that venture of pushing and schlepping my over-stuffed buggy and 6 more bags tucked on my arm as I plowed through the underground to the elevator, down the longggg hallway to home, then unpacking it all. Oh ya, I definitely wasn’t making two trips. That would have entailed waiting for an elevator, maybe a few times, as signs are posted only one person (or family) on at a time for safe distance. Those waits can be long. I’m pretty sure what I pushed and carried today is right up there with some of my airport wheelchair stories with my husband and 4 carry-on bags, lol. I’m just about ready to move park benches I tell ya!


Have a Corona observation you’d like to share?

stay home





The #Corona Diaries – Observations – Online Madness, Quarantine and Masks

What’s transpired since our first two weeks of self-quarantine since returning from Mexico? Oh, that’s easy – still quarantined!


Now that most of us seem to be living in this new dystopian world order in respite from the usual hustle and bustle of daily life, many are being asked how they fill their days, and how they’re getting by while Mother Nature? God? Goddess? or whomever the highest power over us has reigned us in and forced us to live a different way for the time being. How are we coping with confinement? Are we fighting crowds for staples? Are delivery services working out for most people? Is hoarding settling down or getting worse? Today I’ll share my observations of what’s going on in my own world.

If you’re anything like me, keeping track of world statistics is a new past time for me. Not that I’m a doctor or scientist, but like some, I watch the numbers escalate a few times a day by checking in on the world statistic counts of country statistics – total cases, new reported cases, deaths, etc. Daily I wait in hopes to see the curves flatten out across the world, and sadly, other than China, who seems to be on the downslope of its numbers, I think we are weeks, if not months away from containing this epidemic. When I look at some of these frightening numbers with deep sadness, I am grateful that so far Canada is doing a great job on keeping the numbers down in comparison to most of the world. Social distancing is imperative and critical.

Some of the good things I’ve noticed is a lot more kindness and compassion from people despite the empty toilet paper shelves and rationing of canned goods. And after all the cancellations of our previously booked doctor appointments, I can’t help but wonder about the long-term effect this backlog of our medical system will play out once we resume back to life in the new normal. Also, 3 times I spent over 2 hours putting together an online grocery order, only to find after all was completed that ‘sorry, there are no available time slots for delivery’, so I gave up on that.

Hub and I self-quarantined without being directed to upon our arrival home from Mexico, now almost 3 weeks ago. Because of my husband’s age and compromised health, I made it a point to stay far away from him as much as possible, just in case I may have caught something and scared to pass onto him. His daughter brought us groceries the day after we returned, and we didn’t venture out anywhere until forced to when I had to take my husband for blood work at the lab, ordered by his Gastro-enterologist, to check his levels and make sure he didn’t need blood until they could reschedule his procedure, which had been moved onto the list of ‘elective’ surgeries and postponed indefinitely to prepare hospitals for Corona patients first. But Dr. B is amazing and we formulated a backup plan should an emergency procedure be required.

Since we were out – gloved up and masked, we took the opportunity to pick up more groceries. Surprisingly, the long lineups we’d heard about from many were not. The usual shelves – sanitizers, toilet paper, pasta sauces were pretty much bare, but we managed to get what we needed. And most shoppers did in fact have their faces masked – some wearing surgical masks, while others in their makeshift coverings.

Speaking of masks, I’d like to say something about them. When this virus began going global, there were lots of announcements how we didn’t need to wear masks. That is sheer nonsense, and most definitely procured information through the media as to not create a panic among people who have no access to them. Of course we need masks when going out to brave the outside world. The problem of them being in short supply around the world doesn’t mean we should go out without covering our face. There were all kinds of reports to substantiate the claims we don’t need to wear them, like, they only last so long, they don’t stop all the germs. bla bla bla. Well it seems to me the medical profession couldn’t be without them to avoid getting sick themselves from patients. If we go out into the elements of the unknown where other people are, and don’t know if the cashier or the person who got a little too close to us at the grocery store is a carrier, or even out sick when they shouldn’t be, we should protect ourselves as best we can.

No, I’m not hoarding masks. If I had a box, I’d certainly donate them to a senior home or something of its ilk. But I had about half a dozen left from old stock that are like gold for us when we must go out as my first priority is my husband, and of course myself so I don’t transmit anything back to him. There are also plenty of inventive methods of covering up. I saw many in stores with scarves or bandanas tied around their faces. I see this as better than nothing. And as long as we take them off and throw them in the washing machine along with everything else we’ve worn while out, then wash our hands and shower, we can wear them again. Something is always better than nothing. The thing about masks is that they shield us from people we come near who may not even know they have the virus, if we haven’t been tested, we may not know we’re spreading germs, it prevents us from touching our face when out in public after we’ve touched anything, and essential for caregivers to try and prevent passing germs around immuno-compromised family.

If I could sew on a machine, I’d be making masks from old bedsheets or table linens to give to those in need, just as a few of my friends are doing now. And for an added protection behind the home-made mask, I’d add a coffee filter inside it for extra protection. These are just a few ideas I came up with. Don’t have any disposable gloves hanging around? Grab a few plastic produce bags as soon as you walk into the grocery story and stick them on your hands. Whatever works!

Now, how to show some love when you can’t demonstrate it physically. Many people are using social media – Facetime, Skype, Whatsapp, even old fashioned phone calls, and the like to keep in touch with loved ones. It’s a little more of a personal touch than the usual texting people do as common practice. As I try to steer clear of my husband, I’ve invented our own kind of sign language to show some love. As we are usually huggers in days of past, I now go into his room to check on him and cross my hands over my chest in a gesture that looks like I’m hugging myself, only the hugs are for him. We both laugh when we do it to each other as even though we don’t physically touch, we still know the love remains.

Have an observation or implementation you’d like to add?