It’s an absolute delight to welcome author, M J Mallon to Carrot Ranch on her blog tour for her latest book, Mr. Sagittarius. Here at the ranch, our community’s mission is to make literary art accessible. What you decide to do with that art is up to each one of you. It’s always exciting to see a familiar writer achieve an important goal, such as publishing a book. And I’m always interested to know how writers take their raw materials and refine them into something like a collection.
Mr. Sagittarius combines multi-media art — stories, poems, and photography. Much of it was inspired within the greater writing community. M J had to consider what pieces she selected, how she arranged it, and follow a process to completion. So, that’s what I wanted to ask her: How did you take material generated through online challenges and compile them into a collection? Her answer follows.
The Origins of Mr. Sagittarius by M J Mallon
To begin with, I reconsidered a short story I’d been working on and edited it for this collection. The original story about twin brothers Harold and William was too long and disjointed so I cut the word count down. Flash fiction challenges help with this! Many thanks to Charli and her Carrot Ranch, you rock! From that point on, I added the first of my poems which I’d written for Colleen Chesebro’s poetry challenge about a dragonfly. Guess what? The story called for a dragonfly. Luckily, I also had a poem about a willow tree which fitted in too.
It was so fortuitous, as if by… Magic!
Thereafter, I interweaved the other poetry and short pieces from various challenges into the story template of the siblings: Harold, William and Annette. I arranged the various interlocking themes throughout the story namely: the circle of life, seasons, nature, challenges of getting older, and the fun and games of being young: Halloween, love, and romance.
Then, I realised that some stories, poetry and flash fiction didn’t fit. So, rather than despairing and discarding them I decided that they’ll be perfect for my next collection—a more personal one—about family, inspiration, writing successes and the places I love such as my old home town Edinburgh.
So, after this process, Mr. Sagittarius, Poetry, Prose and Photography and the beginnings of a second collection appeared as if by chance! That’s so typical of me I’m not a plotter…
It just goes to show how much material you can amass over several years of taking part in blogging challenges. I’ve participated in flash fiction (at Carrot Ranch,) poetry, short story and photography challenges. Many thanks to all those bloggers out there who take the time to encourage us to write, create and photograph regularly: Colleen Chesebro, Rachael Ritchey (Blog Battle: short stories), Diana Peach (Short Stories), yourself Charli and Hugh Roberts (Photography) to name a few.
You do an amazing job!
Don’t worry if at times you can’t join in regularly, even dipping in from time to time works too! That’s me…
I’d recommend challenges to all aspiring authors and creatives, it just goes to show how helpful and inspiring they can be!
About Mr. Sagittarius
Who Is Mr. Sagittarius?
And what is his connection to twin brothers, Harold and William?
When Harold dies, he leaves a simple memorial request
Will his sister Annette honour it?
Or, will the magic of the garden ensure that she does.
A magical story expressed via poetry and prose with photographic images
Mr. Sagittarius is a collection of poetry, prose and photographic images inspired by the botanical gardens in Cambridge. It features a variety of my photos including: trees, a robin and a dragonfly! As well as this there are several stories, and even some Halloween poems!
Mr. Sagittarius is a magical celebration of the natural world, a story about the circle of life, with an emphasis on the changing seasons of the year and sibling relationships.
Cover, ebook, and graphics design by Rachael Ritchey.
Mr. Sagittarius is available at:
You can find Mr. Sagittarius on Goodreads. It helps out authors with further sales if you mark their books in your To Read shelf.
About M J Mallon
M J writes YA Fantasy/Paranormal novels, Horror/Ghost short stories and multi-genre flash fiction as well as micro poetry – haiku and Tanka. She shares book reviews, poetry, flash fiction, photography and inspirational details of her writing journey at her lovely blog home: M J Mallon.
M J is a member of two professional writing groups: The Society of Children’s Writers and Book Illustrators and Cambridge Writers, and she runs a supportive group with fellow Administrator, D G Kaye, on Facebook: Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club.
M J works as a Receptionist/Event organiser for an international sixth form and lives in Cambridge, England.
Other Books by M J Mallon:
YA Fantasy: The Curse of Time Book 1 Bloodstone
Coming in 2020
YA Fantasy: The Curse of Time Book 2 Golden Healer.
Short Stories in Anthologies:
Bestselling horror compilation, Nightmareland, edited by Dan Alatorre (“Scrabble Boy” by M J Mallon
Ghostly Rites Anthology 2019 (“Dexter’s Creepy Caverns” by M J Mallon)
Ghostly Writes Anthology 2018 (“Ghostly Goodbye” by M J Mallon)
You can follow M J Mallon at her author page on Amazon.