Writer’s Log: I’m still sick

Hello everyone, hope you all had a wonderful Tuesday ❤

Today’s post will be very short 😀 If you’ve been following me on my Instagram then you know that I’m still sick for almost 2 months. I feel exhausted, hehe.  Tomorrow I’m going to my doctor to see what she can do about all of this (again), I do hope that she won’t give me more antibiotics, I’ve already taken too much.

Today my fever went up so I’ve mostly been sleeping and not doing anything else, I definitely wasn’t creative today, but there’s always tomorrow, right? 😉

Hope you all having a good day and that you are all taking care of yourselves, see you in my next post tomorrow.

As always, thank you so much for reading ❤

GalitLet’s chat on:

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Starting Over: Hitting the Reset Button

Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another.
– John Dewey

It’s been a while, sorry for that. January was complete madness and February is a bit slower but still busy. Missed you all so much and this little corner of ours 💕

It’s been almost two months, but I am slowly getting organized an trying to catch up on all my to do’s. The good news is that I was able to have a few days here and there to write and edit (these revisions are killing me, hehe). Anyways… Happy to be back ❤

This post will be a bit longer than usual, so go grab a yummy hot drink, mine is caramel coffee and let’s talk ☕

Because January was such a crazy month, February feels like the start of 2019, I know it sounds a bit out there but for me, it’s the truth. February feels like a fresh start and only now I am able to think clearly about my needs, my goals and my dreams and only in this month I can see the road ahead of me and not get overwhelmed. Because all of these reasons I see February as the new start of 2019, I also see it as a great opportunity to hit that reset button and start fresh with new intentions and see things through the eye of an eagle.

“Hitting the reset button” is hard but for me, it was a necessary step, in order to climb out of this overwhelming haze that I was in. I listened to a few podcasts and everything got better, hehe… No, but it did help me realize that I was overwhelmed and too stressed.

I took a chill day, to just relax, listen to some music and breathe. I’ve inserted meditation to my weekly routines, but I was too stressed to really enjoy and get any benefits from that. So I took out a pen and a paper and wrote above a question.

“How are you feeling at this moment?” I took a deep breath and started mapping out everything that I felt… The good, the bad, everything (big or small). I didn’t want solutions, just to take out what was overwhelming me and put it on a piece of paper. After filling the entire page I saw all the chaos that was in me and the weird thing is that I was starting to feel better, my head started to think clearer.

I realized that no matter how much I wanted to I couldn’t show up for my goals and my own dreams because I was too busy and stretched too thin from helping everyone else and then things started to change. I started to go back to my old self, being more optimistic and even going back to my old “magic vibe” such as tarot and just tapping to the universe’s magic, showing up for small goals, tiny steps that someday will lead to something bigger 😀

I slowly showed up for my yoga practice a few times a week, at home. Started with just a few easy minutes and slowly getting into it with soft stretches, until I felt stronger and ready to push myself harder.

I also slowly started to reorganize and define my workplace, my home and what I truly envisioned it would look like after I achieve what I want and after I showed up for my goals. I got a plant from my mom that my husband named Nott The Plant (Nott from Critical Role) and I hope it will grow and thrive, I finally got the two decks of cards I wanted: The Universe Has You Back and the Animal Spirits  ❤

Nott the plant, Animal Spirit Deck, The Universe Has Your Back, Coffee n' Notes

With this new mindset of just showing up for my small goals helped me feel calmer and more ready to tackle the big goal that is my book revisions. Now, I am trying to show up for my weekly goals with the notion that I can always just take a deep breathe and push that reset button and start again.

I found that just taking the few moments and allowing myself to have that reset mindset helps me a lot with bring back my creativity, my magic and the entire flow of how I move, act and think of myself and with others.

For me what helped is taking some “me” moments or even a day to just be myself, without a deadline, tasks or anything else I need to do, just be. I know it sounds weird but for me, it helped a lot. Taking almost a full day by myself to think, relax and feel the creativity flow around me. Meditate, brainstorm ideas and dump all that is cluttered my mind to a piece of paper and lately I listen to a lot of music on Spotify and create playlists for any mood I feel, all to make me feel more connected to myself (and others) and to my dream and thrive.

With all these small but crucial changes that this small step of resetting our intentions brings to us a calmer mind, happiness, and the focus we want to be able to thrive and tackle the task we want and need to achieve. Know that you can start over (even each day), brings such a calm vibe and joy.

What are your steps and habits to reset your mind, body, and soul when life is too overwhelming?

As always, thank you so much for reading ❤

GalitLet’s chat on:

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Book Review: Amaskan’s Blood (Boahim #1) By Raven Oak

Author: Raven Oak
Pages: 441
Genre: Fantasy
Publication Date: October 15th, 2016
Publisher: Grey Sun Press

Raven Oak, Book Review

Blurb

Her name was Adelei.

She was a master in her field, one of the feared Order of Amaska. Those who were a danger to the Little Dozen Kingdoms wound up dead by her hand. The Order sends her deep into the Kingdom of Alexander, away from her home in Sadai, and into the hands of the Order’s enemy.

The job is nothing short of a suicide mission, one serving no king, no god, and certainly not Justice. With no holy order to protect her, she tumbles dagger-first into the Boahim Senate’s political schemes and finds that magic is very much alive and well in the Little Dozen Kingdoms.

While fighting to unravel the betrayal surrounding the royal family of Alexander, she finds her entire past is a lie, right down to those she called family. They say the truth depends on which side of the sword one stands. But they never said what to do when all the swords are pointing at you.

Amidst her enemies, in a land from the darkest reaches of her past, she must decide if she is to be more than another brainwashed puppet. No matter her choice, she must fight to do what is just and right to save the people of the Little Dozen.

Review
5 Stars

Amaskan’s Blood is an exciting epic fantasy filled with amazing adventures and wonderful characters. Everything is well planned and there’re so much happening in this book.

Adelei is the main character and she is y far my favorite character. She is such a strong character but not the perfect type, she is flawed but amazing at the same time.
The author did an amazing job with the world building and even more so with the characters. Each character brings a new complexity and uniqueness to the story, even the villain was written amazingly that you are always having your doubts about him, how amazing is this author?

The work that the author had put into this detailed world is astonishing. The author put so many details to everything that you can easily see yourself in this world, walking alongside Adelei. The first third of the book was a bit slow to read and hard to get into but I am used to this in Fantasy. However, trust me when I say that the rest of the book is worth the waiting, this novel is full of action, politics and memorable characters.

Also check out again the amazing cover, wow ❤ I love the cover so much, by itself you can feel the story.

Lastly, I will say that the strong plot combined with the strong characters makes a unique and amazing story to read, and if you like Fantasy you will LOVE this book. I am lucky I already have the next book to read immediately (yay) 😀

You can find the book over at:

Goodreads / Amazon

Go buy the book at Book Depository

I am a Book Depository Affiliate! If you buy books using my link, I receive a small referral commission, and I will be immensely grateful 🙂

As always, thank you so much for reading ❤

GalitLet’s chat on:

Patreon / Twitter / Instagram / Facebook / Tumblr

P.S. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for an honest review.

November Goals

Hey all, I hope you’re having a great day and If you are participating in Nanowrimo, I hope you are having a good writing day ❤

Before we dive into this month’s goals I want to do a small review of how I did with my October goals, and I can tell you straight away, that I didn’t do that good.

My October Goals are:

  1. Re-organizing my summer to fall/winter closet. ❌ ((Didn’t even start on that, oops))
  2. Re-organize kitchen cabinets. ❌ ((Didn’t want to do it, hehe))
  3. Finish outlining the series. ✔
  4. Continue editing (2 chapters at least). ✔
  5. Prepare for NaNoWriMo (oh yeah, this year I am all in). ✔
  6. Finish all my commitments before Nanowrimo. ✔
  7. Read 8 books (OMG, yes… 8 books, hehe) 😀 ❌ ((Finished 7 books))

So as you see there were a few things I haven’t finished in October and a few I did finish.

November Goals & TBR

Here are my November goals:

  1. Win Nanowrimo (write 50K).
  2. Paint behind the stove. ✔
  3. Blog 2-3 times a week.
  4. Duolingo daily.
  5. Yoga 3 times a week.
  6. Declutter the closet room.
  7. Read 2 books.

Books I’m reading this month

I set a goal to read at least 10 books until 2019 and because I am doing Nanowrimo, I know I will not have much time to read, so I am planning to read only 2 books this month. One is fiction and the other is not.

You Are A Badass, Coffee n' NotesI’ve read lots of mixed review on Goodreads and youtube, so I wanted to give it ago. I usually don’t read the self-help books, but I want to try and read more of different genres and see if I like it or not 😀

Shadow of the Fox, Coffee n' Notes

This was in my October TBR and I didn’t have time to read it, so I added to my November TBR.

Kingdom of Ash, Coffee n' Notes

Bonus book if by chance I will have a bit of time or mood to read more. I really want to read this book.

What are some of your goals for this month?

As always, thank you so much for reading ❤

GalitLet’s chat on:

Twitter / Instagram / Facebook / Tumblr / Me On NaNoWriMo

Guest Post: Conception – Pulling Ideas out of Thin Air By Nicolette Stephens

I’ve been working on a series of writing exercises, and I’d like to take this opportunity to share the first in the series I’m calling “Quarks”.

Quark (noun: a theoretical subatomic particle.)

In physics, quarks are contemplated as being the building blocks of hadrons. Now, physics doesn’t really have much to do with creative writing, but quark is a great word to describe all the little bits and pieces that go into creating stories. Whether it’s flash fiction, poetry, novels or plays, telling a tale requires certain elements to complete it. Quarks take these elements and explore them in bite-sized chunks that, when put together, help you to understand and build a story from conception to the end.

In this guest post for Coffee n Notes, you’ll find some exercises for finding inspiration from the world around you and crafting stories even when you don’t feel inspired.

When you decide to tell a story, you’re making a decision to translate abstract thoughts into words that others will resonate with. Sometimes this is a fairly simple process, but often, writers find themselves at a loss.

There are many reasons why this happens, but mostly it’s ascribed to a lack of inspiration, fondly named Writer’s Block. There are a lot of different theories on what causes Writer’s Block, and even more, methods to get you out of it.

One of the most popular is that you may have run out of ideas. So in this quark, we’re going to look at where you can find inspiration, which are really just ideas pulled out of thin air.

Where to find inspiration?

Inspiration isn’t a whimsical fairy that strikes whenever she feels like it. Rather, it’s akin to a puppy, which can either be left to run wild and disappear after an interesting scent ignoring all your attempts to recall it or with training and patience, will become a loyal friend, responding faithfully to your commands.

As with puppies though, training inspiration is not a one-time task. It’s a continual process that continues with regular reinforcement.

When you are inspired to create something, whether it’s a piece of writing, art or a school project; it simply means that you’ve had an idea you want to make concrete. Thoughts and ideas are abstract, but when you use them to create something, you turn them into a concrete form that can be appreciated by others.

Good ideas are considered to be as elusive as inspiration, but in general, the only thing lacking in creating an inspired idea is a process that works the majority of the time. Not everyone will think and respond the same way to the same process – if you don’t believe me, just ask people how they interpret emoticons. While some of the expressions are universal, the way people use and interpret them are often very different.

The same holds true with processes designed to inspire ideas for writers. Writing prompts work fairly often, so they’ve become very popular with writers across the board. A Google search on creative writing ideas will give you a host of different resources you can use.

In this quark though, we look at something closer to home. Your immediate environment.

If you look around you at this moment, you are surrounded by objects, places, words, people and emotions.

Exercise 1 – Bits and bobs

In this exercise, I want you to list five of each of the above from your immediate environment as I’ve done in the example below.

Objects: Pencil box, owl statue, oil paints, handkerchief, yoga mat.

Places: Field across the road, shopping mall, neighbor’s driveway, abandoned railway station, lawyer’s office.

Words: Bottle, loquacious, train, noise, birds.

People: Shoppers, young child, train passengers, pedestrian, homeless man.

Emotions: Happiness, fear, curiosity, anger, grief.

You may find that you end up linking several of the categories without meaning to because your mind will automatically form associations between items. That’s okay, use the table and split them up in their categories, or keep them in the same row if you like the association between them.

Words and objects are very similar categories, but whereas objects are commonplace things found in your immediate surroundings, words can be anything you’ve seen, heard or thought about recently.

Wherever possible, try to apply your current environment to the list. Emotions, for example, may not be what you’re currently feeling, but maybe you’ve felt them in the last few days, or it’s something you imagine someone else would have felt when you saw them in a certain situation.

Your turn: List five of each… object, place, words, people, and emotions.

Exercise 2 – What’s the catch?

Ask who, what, where, why, when and how.

The object of this exercise isn’t to ask logical questions that can be answered with the most common response. Rather, it’s designed to engage the creative side of your brain.

So for example, don’t use “who” with the “people” category for your first round of questions.

Below is an example of a question phrased for one item in each category:

Object: Owl Statue.

Question: Where did the statue come from and why is it chipped on the corner?

Place: Lawyer’s office.

Question: Why is the exterior of the building so run down for what seems to be a profitable business, given that the car that’s always parked there is a top of the line BMW?

People: Pedestrian

Question: Where was he going in such a hurry that he didn’t see the car turning the corner before he stepped out into the road?

Word: Loquacious

Question: Who would use a word like that in an everyday situation and what do they do for a living?

Emotion: Curiosity

Question: What is it about curiosity that it seems to be as contagious as yawning?

Some of these questions may end up never being used – I don’t like the one I created about curiosity for instance, so I may try to think of something else to ask that gets me a response I’m excited about, but I will only do that later, when I’ve exhausted the answers to my first questions.

Your turn: Ask a question about each of the items on your list. You can choose one item from each category, or do it for all of them dependent on how much time you have available.

Exercise 3 – Seeking Answers

The third and final exercise is when you start the process of developing your story. Although the answers to the questions you asked in Exercise 2 are kept simple, they form the basis of your plot – the hook you use to reel in an audience.

There are different methods you can use to answer the questions, and it’s a good idea to switch between them regularly when doing these exercises. Sometimes you’ll find one that works really well, and it will become a habit to use that for everything, which may result in writing which follows a predictable pattern for readers. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – there’s not really a right or wrong in any form of art, writing included – but challenging yourself brings you out of your comfort zone and often inspires you. So don’t be afraid to try new things.

Below, I’ve used the question about the lawyer and a technique called word association to answer it:

Technique: Word Association. We’ve all played games where someone says a word, and you say the first word that pops into your head in response. This is similar, where each word builds on the last to slowly develop a story. When you run out of words, use the words you’ve come up with to piece together the full sentence.

Answer: Lawyer – criminal – defence – failed – arrested – innocent – broke. The lawyer is a criminal defence lawyer who failed to get his client acquitted. The client was actually innocent but went to jail for a crime he didn’t commit. The lawyer is broke which is why his business is falling apart.

Expensive car – gift – client – wife of client – actual criminal – secret. The car is a gift from his client – the wife of the man who was wrongfully convicted. The wife is the true criminal and is sleeping with the lawyer who was a good friend of the couple’s before their affair. He knows her secret and is beginning to reconsider his actions.

Your turn: Choose a technique and answer the questions you asked about your items in Exercise 2.    

This brings us to the end of Quark 1 – Conception. I hope you’ve found it useful and would love to hear all about your experiences working through the exercises.

Why don’t you share an example of your own in the comments below?

Nicolette Stephens Bio

Nicolette Stephens

Dreams and storytelling have always been a part of my life, and as a writer, I know the pitfalls involved in trying to publish. This led to the creation of Chasing Dreams Publishing, where I aim to help other writers share their stories.

There is nothing more exciting than seeing a story unfold on the page, and even more so when it gets published! After years working in the corporate world, I decided it was time to strike out and fulfill my dreams of writing full time.

On a daily basis, I’m inspired by people who chase their dreams (whether or not they’re related to writing), and this inspiration translates to my stories, workshops and writing groups.

Jozi Flash is a product of this inspiration.

About the book

Guest Post, Coffee n' Notes

It’s not quite the Gummi Bears, but it certainly bounces around a lot.

Jozi Flash 2017 combines the talents of ten brilliant authors with one gifted artist, to bring you a collection of 80 flash fiction stories across eight different genres.

From a children’s story about the folly of summoning dragons, to the horrors held in deliciously treacherous ice cream, the authors take you on journeys that weave fantasy and folklore together alongside practical detectives and everyday tragedy.

With stunning artwork prompts by Nico Venter, these South African authors have created an anthology that will leave you breathless.

Goodreads / My Book Review / Chasing Dreams Publishing

As always, thank you so much for reading ❤

GalitLet’s chat on:

Twitter / Instagram / Facebook / Tumblr

Last Minute NanoWrimo Prep

Hey all, I hope you are all having a good day and if you are participating in NaNoWriMo then here are some quick and easy steps you can do to ensure you will have a better start to your NaNoWriMo experience 😀

If you want to see me last year’s Last Minute Nanowrimo Prep, check it out as I am sure you will find a tip or two help you relax and feel prepared.

This year I am looking at things in a different way and I hope this will help you too 🙂

Last minute organization

If you haven’t done you outline like I’ve suggested in my Nanowrimo prep, you can use this last day to do a fast outline and have a quick know of what you gonna write about. Research only the key things you’ll need in order to keep on writing. you can always go back and do more research.

Put everything you need to do this month in your calendar/planner/bullet journal, that way you will have a better understanding when you can write.

Organize your space where are mostly going to write and if it’s your bed, try to make it nice and tidy every day so that you will have an amazing feeling sitting there and write.

Don’t start at midnight

There are a lot of Nanowrimo addicts that will start as soon as the clock hits 12, don’t! Go to sleep and when you wake up you are fresh and ready to start your writing.

Twitter

Twitter is your friend here (I know… it sounds weird), during Nanowrimo, you will find a lot of people on twitter doing words sprints and this is your time to follow a few of these sprints and a few nice people to connect with. As I wrote in my 4 Nanowrimo Tips last year, using the sprints will help you write faster and more words.

Google Drive

As Twitter, google drive is your best friend, lol. If you put your work on google drive you are automatically synced to everywhere and so you can write from everywhere, even from your phone.

The “Nanowrimo” app

There is a Nanowrimo companion you can find in the app store. You can see in the widgets your daily word count and your overall word count, this keeps you motivated and always thinking about your novel 😀

Be zen about it, hehe

Try journaling while before the madness starts to clear your mind of all the things that are bothering you throughout your day, I will highly recommend to do it even while you are doing Nanowrimo (it helps a lot).

Meditate to calm your inner self. I know how it sounds, lol, but calming yourself down will keep you focused on what you want and even let you figure things out when you’re in a bit of a rut, so keep doing even a 2 minutes meditation every night before sleep, will help you a lot during all this craziness 😀

Stock up

find some yummy healthy and not so healthy, hehe food to stock up when the time will come and lots of coffee/tea, that way you will always have some good crunchy food to each while fighting to write a scene or just in a mini-blackout.

Take a deep breath and embrace the madness and have fun, after all that’s why we are doing it the passion for writing ❤

Are you participating in Nanowrimo this year?

 

As always, thank you so much for reading and don’t forget to add me as a NaNo buddy ❤

GalitLet’s chat on:

Twitter / Instagram / Facebook / Tumblr / Me On NaNoWriMo

Author Interview With Thomas Josef

Welcome to Coffee n’ Notes. Today, I’d like to welcome Thomas Josef, author of Incoming! Secrets of a contract warrior in Afghanistan, for an author Interview.

About the author

Author Interview, Coffee n' Notes Thomas Josef is a native of Wisconsin and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. In his mid-twenties, he hiked the 2000+ mile epic Appalachian Train from Georgia to Maine and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tunisia, North Africa. He studied Spanish in Mexico, Guatemala, and Ecuador. With his passion for travel and adventure, he took a military contractor position with a Fortune 500 engineering and construction company to serve the Warfighters of Afghanistan. This is his story of that time and his first book.

Hello, Thomas. Thank you for being here today at Coffee n’ Notes 🙂

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. [This can be a quick blurb of the kinds of books you write, etc.]

 I was born and raised in Wisconsin and I’m a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. I took a little time off between my sophomore and junior year of college to hike the epic 2000+ mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.

From 1989 to 1991, I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tunisia, North Africa as a community service worker helping local farmers manage greenhouses. We were ordered out of the region by decree of the State Department because of the initial Iraq-Kuwait conflict that escalated to the Gulf War.

With my Peace Corps assignment cut short and the US being at the brink of war, I decided to travel to Mexico and Central America where tensions were much more subdued. I learned Spanish in Mexico and Guatemala. When I returned to the states, I endured my career with the State of Texas and continued to reside in Austin.

After nearly ten years of service to the state, I was looking for a change in my career and one that would offer a good compensation package and travel opportunities. I decided to take a military contractor position with a Fortune 500 engineering and construction company to help serve the Warfighters of Afghanistan. During that time I started to write about daily accounts that became the premise of my book.

 Describe your book in 1-2 sentences.

My book is a memoir of true-life unique experiences under extraordinary circumstance. I talk about the everyday life as a military contractor in Afghanistan: the interesting people, libidinous love affairs, and fun events that helped me keep my sanity, perspective, and peace of mind while working in a war zone.

Do you have any writing rituals or habits?

I tend to write on the fly when the mood strikes and I want to share an interesting story or experience.

What is your writing process like?

I write when stories need to be told and I have the time to tell them. When I put the pen to paper – so to speak – I relive the moment with a detailed, step-by-step description of what’s taking place or about to take place. Sometimes I add comment, speculation or a bit of my dry sense of humor.

Where did you get your book idea from?

It’s a memoir and I wanted to share some of my thoughts and feelings of war that are not shared in newspapers or magazines, how I was able to find peace and happiness in a place that reminds us of dark and gloom almost every day, and that it’s more about the journey, not the destination.

What is your favorite place to write?

Because I am task-oriented, I like to write at a desk or table where I can stay focused.

Just for fun … pick your favorite color, animal, and food.

My favorite color is blue. My favorite animal would have to be a dog. And my favorite food is nicely seasoned and grilled ribeye steak with a glass of Argentine Malbec wine!

What is the best advice you’ve been given?

If you want to do something, do it. Don’t wait for anyone to do it with you because you’ll probably still be waiting.

Do you have any advice for an aspiring author?

As a friend and fellow author told me, “Everyone has a story to share; share yours”. I pay that forward to the next aspiring author!

You can find his book Incoming! Secrets of a contract warrior in Afghanistan By Thomas Josef 

Incoming! Secrets of a contract warrior in Afghanistan, Coffee n' Notes

On Amazon / On Goodreads

Thank you so much to Thomas for being here at Coffee n’ Note, I loved having him here and I hope you enjoyed his interview, as much as I did 😀

 As always, thank you so much for reading ❤

GalitLet’s chat on:

Patreon / Twitter / Instagram / Facebook / Tumblr

October Goals & TBR

Hey everyone, I hope you are all having a great start to October ❤

We are already two weeks deep in October and even though I didn’t accomplish much, I still accomplished a few things that were very important to me, however, there are still a few things I want to finish or start, so I thought why not share my October goals with you 😉 and see how I will finish this month.

October = Fall to me and soon winter will come as well (omg how I want winter to come). You can already feel the air cooling down a bit and the days are getting shorter, which for a lot of people I know is not a great thing but for me it’s amazing. It is a sign that winter is closer than ever and maybe, just maybe this heat will soon be over (fingers crossed). Fall for me is cozy blankets, yummy hot drinks, and lots of reading.

I accomplished a small daily routine that helps me get up early in most of the days and even in the evening, I have a routine that let’s be more organized and productive. How amazing is that?

If you want to know more of my new morning and evening routine, let me know in the comments or through my social media and I will post a morning and evening routine for you all to see and maybe it will help you if you are struggling. (wouldn’t mind any tips as well if you want to share) 😀

But for now, let’s start this post with my monthly goals.

My October Goals are:

  1. Re-organizing my summer to fall/winter closet.
  2. Re-organize kitchen cabinets.
  3. Finish outlining the series.
  4. Continue editing (2 chapters at least).
  5. Prepare for NaNoWriMo (oh yeah, this year I am all in).
  6. Finish all my commitments before Nanowrimo.
  7. Read 8 books (OMG, yes… 8 books, hehe) 😀

Books I’m reading this month

I haven’t read much lately, I was in a huge reading slump due to all the stress and this month I want to do 3 reading marathons to kick start my new reading 🙂

The week (14.10-20.10), I want to marathon read Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children Series By Ransom Riggs for the fourth book A Map of Days that just came out (I can’t wait to read it).

Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children Series, Coffee n' Notes

Next week (21.10-27.10) I want to marathon read The Boahim Series By Raven Oak. The first book was amazing ❤

The Boahim Series, Coffee n' Notes

For the last week of October (28.10-30.10) and for Halloween, I want to read 2 more books (why am doing this to myself, lol?)

Toil and Trouble, Coffee n' Notes Shadow of the Fox, Coffee n' Notes

These are my very ambitious goals and huge TBR, but I know if I will push myself I will be able to achieve most of them, and maybe even all 🙂

What are you reading? Any goals you wish to accomplish this month?

As always, thank you so much for reading ❤

GalitLet’s chat on:

Patreon / Twitter / Instagram / Facebook / Tumblr / Nanowrimo

Guest Post: Unexpected, Exciting Developments By M. J. Mallon

I am thrilled to say that I have outlined the major events in Book Two in the series – The Curse of Time. So, if you haven’t read The Curse of Time Book One Bloodstone now’s the time to do so!

During this process, I stumbled upon a plot development idea that shocked me. I’d started writing the bare bones of the ending of book two and then POW it hit me. I can’t divulge what my idea is for fear of spoiling it for you, but I can say that it will take the story on an unexpected pathway into a potential book three.

This Kapow aspect of writing excites, empowers and intrigues me.

During the creative process of writing The Curse of Time Book One Bloodstone, I didn’t plot much at all. I wrote from a reservoir of my imagination. I had to restructure a lot, but this meant that TCOT is a highly imaginative concept.

My reviewers have been saying lots of wonderful things about TCOT.

Here are just a couple of review quote snippets:

‘This is a brilliant book for young adults interested in magic, supernatural, paranormal, fantasy and myth. I found it highly readable and the author’s imagination is phenomenal, as is the fluency of her language and the dazzling way she describes the curious events and characters in her story. I loved the idea of Esme, the girl trapped in the mirror.’

S C Skillman, author

‘The curse of time is a beautifully written book. I really enjoyed M.J. Mallon’s style of writing and the beautiful characters she created. Even though aimed at the YA audience I enjoyed it and found myself totally engrossed.

The story is almost dreamlike, very addictive and quirky. I loved all the references to crystals and the magical element. I was keen to find out the mystery linked to Amelina’s Dad’s disappearance and eventual reappearance. This is such a mixing pot of delights, you have gorgeous poetry scattered throughout, a girl stuck in a mirror and a magically enchanted paint set and this is the tip of the iceberg!’ Lisa, Book Addiction UK.

One of my subsidiary characters became far more important. In fact, she became one of my favourite characters.

Let me introduce you to Esme.

Portrait of Esme – Copyright artist Carolina Russo – https://yesterdayafter.com/

Imaginative Developments: Mental Health and Entrapment

  • I had an idea to write about a girl trapped in a mirror and Esme became that girl. I realized she needed to be more interesting and defined. I struggled with this for some time. Then, during the writing process, I had a Eureka moment – I decided to link the mirror girl Esme’s imprisonment to mental health.

Mental Health is a form of entrapment. A person who is suffering from mental health problems isn’t free. They are unable to live life to the full as fear anxiety, depression and mental health issues hold them back. Esme is that person. She is a prisoner in the mirrors of Amelina’s house and she is also imprisoned by her mental health issues. Esme is a victim of a curse but prior to her imprisonment, she had also been stuck in a vicious circle of self-harm.

Esme became the character I longed for – a character with huge potential for truth, hope, and discussion. I now have so many ways to portray her and…

The reader will be able to see her journey throughout the series.

Will Esme recover from her self-harm?

Will she escape the imprisonment of the curse?

Will I be able to help Esme feel good about herself?

Esme’s character will allow an open and frank discussion on the crucially important topic of mental health/self-harm/depression/anxiety which matters so much to me.

Esme also features in book two, with an emphasis on recovery and hope along with all the original cast of book one.

Imaginative Developments: Crystals

  • Wow, I just love them. I have a lovely collection at home. So it’s no surprise that there’s a magical crystal cottage in The Curse of Time. But, this haven of beauty, light, and magic isn’t open to everyone. No way! It’s strictly by invitation only. My main protagonist, fifteen-year-old Amelina Scott is allowed to visit but will Ryder creep in? Wait and see… There will be some amazing developments with regard to the cottage in Book Two. Expect twin doors…

Imaginative Developments: Tattoos and Art

  • Tattoos. This is hysterical. What can you do with tattoos in a fantasy novel? Perhaps you can cover your villain with them. Hey, maybe you can bring those tattoos alive, and link those black tattoos to shadows. Perhaps you can take this further and make them smoking hot! Interesting… Now, how cool is that?

Just imagine what fun I can have with tattoos in future books… Oh my!

(I have a thing about bringing art alive and this is also portrayed in the Creature of The Cottage.)

Portrait of The Creature – copyright artist Carolina Russo – https://yesterdayafter.com/

Imaginative Developments: Clocks and Rollercoasters

There are three wonderful Chronopage clock creations invented by Dr. John C Taylor, OBE http://www.johnctaylor.com/who I had the pleasure of meeting in September 2017.

The magnificent grasshopper lives in King’s Parade in Cambridge, and features in Book One. The midsummer Chronopage showcases a mythological fly and the dragon Chronopage is, of course, a dragon. Look at that pearl on the dragon’s tongue! I can’t wait to write about the mythological fly and the dragon in the next two books in the series.

In the meantime, I have plans for the grasshopper to come alive and get up to a bunch of mischief in Book Two.

Aren’t they stunning?

http://johnctaylor.com

And … there will be an epic rollercoaster in Book Two and some riddles…

If you like fantasy, adore Dr. Who (like I do,) I hope you will give The Curse of Time a try.

Don’t forget to check out Marjorie’s Interview and Book review 😀

As always, thank you so much for reading ❤

GalitLet’s chat on:

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Author Interview: With M. J. Mallon

Welcome to Coffee n’ Notes. Today, I’d like to welcome M. J. Mallon, author of The Curse Of Time (Bloodstone,#1), for an author Interview.

About the author

Author M. J. Mallon, Coffee n' Notes

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, and middle grade fiction as well as micropoetry – haiku and tanka.

 

 

I love to read and have written over 100 reviews: https://mjmallon.com/2015/09/28/a-z-o…

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.

Hello, Marjorie. Thank you for being here today at Coffee n’ Notes 🙂

 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself

I live in Cambridge, England with my husband, and youngest daughter Georgina. My eldest, Natasha is following in her grandfather’s footsteps, (my amazing dad had a serious case of wanderlust,) by working abroad. She is TEFL in South Korea and I miss her very much. Proud mum moment! Family is very important. Perhaps that’s why I wrote a family-centered YA novel. I love spending time with my two daughters, whether we are chatting, or gossiping! I’ve been with my hubby (who I like to call my black sheep,) since I was eighteen. I can say there has never been a dull moment, not when your husband is a Scot who plays guitar and listens to rock music every night. Welcome to the biggest teenager ever! My extended family: mum, dad, and elder brother plus my in-laws live in bonnie Edinburgh. I love visiting the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival in August. I adore the buzz and excitement of the book festival, the visiting theatre groups, dance performances, art exhibitions, street performers and comedy shows. You name it; I am there.

I am a member of several writing/reviewing/author collaborative groups: SCBWI, Cambridge Writers, RRBC, Sisters of the Fey. Founder of Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook.

A self-proclaimed hedonist and sponge for fun.

Describe your book in 1-2 sentences

This imaginative YA fantasy, coming of age novel will appeal to teens, young adults and those who hear the ticking clock but fight to stay young. If you adore stories filled with magical crystals, dark family curses, and curious mysteries this novel is for you.

Do you have any writing rituals or habits?

Not really. But, I do sometimes wake up early in the morning with an idea and this overwhelming (almost manic,) desire to commit my words to the page. This is strange as I am not a morning person!

Where did you get your book idea from?

My initial book idea came from: The Light Pours Out Of Me at Juniper Artland Wilkieston, Scotland – A stunning crystal grotto designed by Anya Gallaccio: https://mjmallon.com/2014/06/15/jupiter-artland-the-light-pours-out-of-me/

Then I incorporated the magnificent Corpus Christi Chronopage Clock, which features on my book cover into my novel and the story became darker and more curse driven.This extraordinary time device invented by Dr John C Taylor OBE is situated on King’s Parade in Cambridge.

Author M. J. Mallon's cat, Coffee n' Notes

I had to have a muse and one came to visit me one fine day: a strange black cat who I called Shadow. Photo courtesy of Lily, Samantha Murdoch’s cat: https://samanthamurdochblog.wordpress.com

Art had to feature in the novel too. Art’s beautiful possibilities are too exquisite to ignore.

Mirrors sprung to mind and my resident mirror girl—Esme–brought a new, unexpected element to the narrative—one I feel passionate about: mental health and self-harm. Poor Esme can’t escape her mental health issues physically or metaphorically and this turmoil is represented by her imprisonment in the mirrors of Amelina’s house.

And last but not least. Where would this story be without a scary creature? Who is Eruterac? What does he want? And was Amelina wise to paint him bringing him to life?

Art, Coffee n' Notes Art, Coffee n' Notes

Esme portrait and portrait of Eruterac, The Creature designed by talented artist Carolina Russo: https://yesterdayafter.com/

What is your favorite place to write?

A few years ago I enjoyed a writing break in Brighton. That was very memorable and so much fun. I wrote in cafes, eavesdropping on conversations and met lots of interesting people. I’d love to do it again one day. Brighton is such a friendly, vibrant, seaside town—the perfect place for a writer’s break.

Just for fun 😀 Pick your favorite color, animal, and food.

Favourite colour: Green. I’m drawn to the colour green. The first crystal I ever bought was a green malachite, a stone of transformation.

Favourite Animal: My first cat—a ginger tom cat called Chester. I adored him and so did everyone. He was such a friendly, adventurous cat. Chester featured in the first post I wrote on my blog and is still rocking the web with his beauty: https://mjmallon.com/2014/04/27/writers-journey-how-did-it-all-happen/

Favourite Food: A huge plate of spicy Noodles. I adore Asian food—my mum is Malaysian and the best cook ever.

What is your writing process like?

I plan little. Sometimes ideas come when I least expect them to. I’m working on Book Two in the Curse of Time Series and I realised that the ending I had envisioned wasn’t the ending at all. I added a little extra. It’s those unexpected inspirational moments that make writing so magical. Discovering a new direction that one of your characters can take is so liberating and exciting!

What is the latest book you’ve read that inspired you?

I’m reading Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff. I adore his writing. I devour each page saying to myself if only I could write like Jay! I am in danger of becoming a fangirl stalker! Ha Ha! He once chatted to me on twitter and I nearly fainted!

What is the greatest challenge you have faced in your career as an author?

I’m a debut author so there have been oodles of challenges. At the moment I’d say writing the second book is a huge hurdle and I’ve always been terrible at sports days! There are so many things to consider. It’s important to refer back to the first book to check details and to ensure that I am developing the full potential of the story. My ultimate aim is to make the second book in the series even better than the first book.

What is the best advice you’ve been giving?

Stay true to who you are. Believe in yourself, but remember to help and encourage others to fulfill their potential too. Never put anyone down.

Before we say goodbye… Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Write for the love as few authors make masses of money! Read in all genres, and pay particular attention to how your favourite authors write dialogue, character, and plot. Write whenever and wherever you can. Try different forms of writing such as flash fiction, short stories, and poetry. Never give up even if you feel that the journey is impossible. Accept helpful positive criticism with good grace but reject negative, unhelpful criticism with confidence.

Buy Paperback Book link: http://mybook.to/TheCurseofTime

Unique Selling Point: Unique, Imaginative, ‘Charming, enchanting and richly layered this is purely delightful.’

“This delightful book will appeal to teens and young adults who love stories filled with magical crystals, dark family curses, and mysteries waiting to be solved around every corner. Each chapter leads you on a journey of discovery where Amelina earns the right to use three wizard stones to reset the balance of time and finally break the curse that holds her family hostage. A captivating tale!” – Colleen M. Chesebro (Editor)

You can find Marjorie here at:

Authors Website: https://mjmallon.com

Collaborative blog: https://sistersofthefey.wordpress.com

Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time

Founder of #ABRSC – Authors/Bloggers Support Group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1829166787333493/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mjmallonauthor/

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

Tumblr: http://mjmallonauthor.tumblr.com/

Thank you so much to Marjorie for being here at Coffee n’ Note, I loved having her here and I hope you enjoyed her interview, as much as I did 😀

 As always, thank you so much for reading ❤

GalitLet’s chat on:

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