Mr. Sagittarius Blog Tour

Written by Charli Mills

Charli Mills, a born buckaroo, makes literary art accessible at She writes about the veteran spouse experience and women forgotten to history.

February 17, 2020

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.

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  1. Charli Mills

    Marje, I love the colors used for your design — it’s a striking book. I received my Kindle copy and it’s beautifully formatted, too. I’m enjoying the read! Thank you for visiting the ranch on your blog tour and for explaining the role challenge prompts can have.

    • Marje @ Kyrosmagica

      Aww thank you so much Charli. Where would I be without the support of my writing pals? You’re all wonderful. And Rachael will be thrilled about your lovely comment about the formatting. She’s done an amazing job with the cover and formatting.

  2. Jules

    Best to you MJ. It is indeed fun to write to challenges. I’m in the process of writing a story that while it has other prompts it was inspired by one in particular and now has over 100 segments.

    Cheers, Jules

    • Marje @ Kyrosmagica

      That’s awesome Jules. Best of luck to you. 🙂

  3. Lisa A. Listwa

    What a fascinating story of how your book evolved, Marjorie. I’ve used prompts from here and other challenges to springboard larger works – and brought things from outside here to the Ranch. You just never know where these things might lead. Best wishes to you!

    • Marje @ Kyrosmagica

      So true Lisa. Often shorter pieces of flash can inspire longer short stories. That’s the beauty of writing, it can take you in all sorts of mysterious directions!

  4. Ritu

    Wonderful! It’s a great book ????

  5. Hugh's Views and News

    What great news about your new book launch, Marje. Congratulations.

    Like you, if it were not for the blog challenges that many bloggers publish, I’d never have published my own short story collections.

    I wish you lots of success with the book. I’m sure it’ll be a big hit.

  6. Marje @ Kyrosmagica

    Reblogged this on M J Mallon YA/Paranormal Author and commented:
    Thank you so much to Charli Mills for thos wonderful feature for my blog tour for Mr. Sagittarius. #blog #tour #newrelease #poetry #prose #photography

  7. Darlene

    I love learning how this book came about. I have marked it to read on Goodreads. All the best!

    • Marje @ Kyrosmagica

      Thank you so much Hugh. I am so excited for this collection and have plans for more! Just need to pack in the day job! Lol. One day!

    • Marje @ Kyrosmagica

      Hi Darlene, thank you so much. I hope you enjoy mr. Sagittarius as much as I enjoyed writing about him and the poetry, short stories and topography that accompany him!

  8. willowdot21

    Great post, Charlie I really enjoyed it.????????????????

    • Marje @ Kyrosmagica

      Hi Willow. Charli did a fabulous job. 🙂

      • willowdot21

        She really did ????????

    • Charli Mills

      It helps to start with great material. 😉

      • willowdot21

        Yes indeed, but you do it so well ????

  9. Jacquie Biggar

    It’s wonderful to read about your path to publication, Marje. Wishing you the best of luck!

    • Marje @ Kyrosmagica

      Thank you so much Jacquie. I sure am enjoying this creative journey. Never been happier. 🙂

  10. eLPy

    Very cool! I too like your cover, the vibrant colors are quite nice. Good work (to you and your cover artist). Thank you for sharing your journey. 😀

  11. Marje @ Kyrosmagica

    Thank you so much. Rachael did an amazing job with the cover. I’m so pleased how it turned out.

  12. Norah

    I enjoyed reading Marje’s process in compiling this book, Charli. It’s good to see that threads from many different beginnings can be drawn together to make a whole. Marje, I wish you success with your book. It sounds intriguing.

    • Charli Mills

      I’m reminded that we need to have material to work with and it helps to fill the files every week. Later we can come back and find themes or characters and have building material to use. Marje has made good use of her writing. I appreciate her multi-media approach, too.

      • Norah

        You’re right, of course. It would be impossible to write without material. Better to have files to peruse than stare at a blank page.

    • Marje @ Kyrosmagica

      Hi Norah, it’s quite funny how this book came about. I’m so glad that I did because now I realise I have enough material for another book too! Thanks for your kind words and encouragement. <3

      • Norah

        That seems like a wonderful outcome, Marje. Congratulations!

  13. Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.

    Looking great MJ and I saw Ritu’s lovely review to use next week.. Have upcoming on my reading list…looking forward to.. hugsx

    • Marje @ Kyrosmagica

      Wow, thank you Sally. Yes it is really making me smile having two five star reviews already. Hugs to you too. x

  14. Mary Smith

    I love the striking cover – it makes me smile whenever I see it.

  15. Marje @ Kyrosmagica

    Hi Mary, I’m so glad you said that. I agree totally and think that Rachael did an amazing job. <3

  16. Sarah Brentyn

    Congrats on the new book, Marje! ????????


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