Writing A Fantasy Series – Tips and Pitfalls
Thank you Pete for inviting me to guest post on your blog.
Blurb – Golden Healer
Golden Healer is The 2nd in The YA Paranormal Adventure Series – The Curse of Time.
I didn’t think my life could get any weirder, until the dreaded rollercoaster…
Amelina Scott’s destiny is to be a Krystallos: a magician of light, chosen to learn the ways of crystal magic on her 16th birthday. Located on a river pathway in a mysterious part of Cambridge, the Crystal Cottage is guarded by mythical beings.
Unfortunately, there are those who seek to harm this haven of light. Learning of Ryder – a Shadow Sorcerer with hypnotic powers – Amelina discovers that her own magic is now threatened, and that the Curse of Time might be unleashed again.
As secrets abound and the creatures of the Chronophage come alive, can Amelina become the true magician she needs to be?
A unique, imaginative mystery full of magic-wielding and dark elements, Bloodstone is a riveting adventure for anyone interested in fantasy, mythology or the world of the paranormal. NOTE: this book contains mention of self-harm, mental health issues and alludes to the potential dangers of sexual attraction, which may trigger younger/sensitive readers.
Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60216858-golden-healer
The idea for the Curse of Time series came into being many years ago nurtured by my curiosity about:
* Crystals, (inspired by Juniper Artland’s magnificent crystal grotto designed by Anya Gallaccio which I visited in person,)
* Clocks and the fragile nature of time and aging. (The Corpus Christi Chronophage clock in Cambridge, invented by Dr. John C. Taylor who I had the pleasure of meeting in person.)
* Art… and aging… particularly the notion of art coming alive, as in Oscar Wilde’s The Portrait of Dorian Gray.
The first in the series, my debut novel, Bloodstone, has been well received, receiving a recent award from N. N. Light, a blue tick Amazon influencer. Luckily, her review awarded Bloodstone 5+ stars and she also awarded me finalist in her 2021 International Author Award. A huge boost to my confidence!
Here is her review:
A magical invitation, that doesn’t tear up, urges Amelina to go to Crystal Cottage to seek out the hidden secrets of her family. Amelina Scott knows her family isn’t what you call normal and neither is her house. No one she knows has a girl trapped in the mirrors. When she receives an invitation to visit Crystal Cottage, she doesn’t know what to make of it. Is it a prank? Is it a trick? She decides to ignore it and throws it in the trash. Only it doesn’t stay in the bin. She tries to cut it up but it doesn’t cut. It sings, it dances, it is somehow alive. She finally decides to travel to the Crystal Cottage to see what happens. Along the way, she meets Ryder and discovers magic (both light and dark) is all around. She interacts with magical people, beings, and objects while learning the truth of her family. What happens next will astound you, the reader. Are you ready for an adventure?
Bloodstone is an imaginative fantasy adventure I enjoyed from start to finish. From the first page, I connected with Amelina. She’s a delightful heroine. I could relate to her on so many levels. Everything from her curiosity to her reactions to her emotional state rang true. While it’s tricky these days to write an original fantasy story, M.J. Mallon wrote one of the most original fantasy books I’ve read in a long time. Taking bits from fantasy authors of the past, M.J. Mallon adds her own blend of magical realism and emotional coming of age to make Bloodstone a gem. The plot moves at a good pace with each chapter starting with a puzzle. What a creative way to keep the reader invested. The world-building is intricate and riveting. The characters are engaging and easy to connect with. Overall, Bloodstone is a brilliant story and when I finished, I wanted to read it all over again. If you’re a fantasy reader, you need to read Bloodstone. Highly recommend!
Disclaimer: I received a copy from the author in the hopes I’d review it. My thoughts are all my own.
Her Rating: 5+ stars
Reviewed by: Mrs. N
The manuscript for The Curse of Time series book 1 and book 2 was originally one long draft which I split into two novels. Therefore, the earlier drafts of book 2 were lacking detail, and made the job of writing book 2 much harder. I wouldn’t recommend this! At all. So, make sure you plot a series, even if it is just a rough outline. I didn’t plot, I wrote from my imagination, which meant the story is wildly imaginative but needed a huge amount of determined edits to give it structure.
Actually, I spent hours upon hours editing, and reediting both books. At last, after interminable edits I succeeded! I owe much to my beta readers – to mention a few: Richard Dee, Ritu Bhathal, my daughter Natasha and the editing help of Heena Rathmore Pardeshi who really helped me shape this fabulous story.
So, what did I do?
* I incorporated details about the characters, new storylines and reminders for readers (who’ve read the first book,) and gave insight to new readers who might pick up the series at book 2 and not know the storyline.
* As well, I added a new aspect to the antagonist Ryder fleshing him out some more!
This seems to have worked, as suggested by this first review quote for Golden Healer:
“Ryder is a character who could have an empathic side if he allowed it, but I did like how he developed in the story.” (Review Quote Golden Healer, D. L. Finn.)
And I added new exciting scenes and revelations.
* The Witch’s Shop
* Ryder’s creepy abode, etc….
I kept the main ideas and format structure from Book 1…
* Including a poem to begin each chapter, calling each chapter title a puzzle piece.
* I continued Amelina’s interest in music and mentions of her band.
* And I kept the same cast of characters, though some changed massively in character… read the story to see why!
* I included a Prologue (this time Eruterac the creature, and Leanne the owner of the crystal cottage introduce the story.)
* And an Epilogue… because I hope to write more books… and Leanne and Aphrodite’s shocking discussion might help me to do so.
It truly has been a labour of love, and a complete an utter rollercoaster!
“Not only did the plot take the reader on a rollercoaster, but there was also an actual one in the story.” Review Quote Golden Healer – D. L. Finn
And without a doubt, this is the most complex endeavour I’ve ever undertaken.
“The Curse Of Time by M.J. Mallon is an intricate fantasy novel with unique supernatural and magical elements which serves as a highly entertaining read. I had a great time reading this novel and exploring the magical world of Amelina full of magic crystals and enchanted mirrors.” Heena Rathore Pardeshi, (review quote Bloodstone)
I’ve always intended to write a book 3… I have some fabulous ideas but at this moment I don’t even have a rough draft. I know that the final instalment would feature Dr. John C. Taylor’s dragon chronophage … so please encourage me to write book 3 by reading the series and sharing your thoughts in a review.
It would mean the world to me.
I didn’t think my life could get weirder, but I was wrong…
Fifteen-year-old Amelina Scott lives in Cambridge with her dysfunctional family, a mysterious black cat, and an unusual girl who is imprisoned within the mirrors located in her house.
When an unexpected message arrives inviting her to visit the Crystal Cottage, she sets off on a forbidden path where she encounters Ryder: a charismatic, perplexing stranger.
With the help of a magical paint set and some crystal wizard stones, can Amelina discover the truth about her family?
A unique, imaginative mystery full of magic-wielding and dark elements, Bloodstone is a riveting adventure for anyone interested in fantasy, mythology or the world of the paranormal.
TRIGGER WARNING: this book contains mention of self-harm, mental health issues and alludes to the potential dangers of sexual attraction, which may trigger younger/sensitive readers.
Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58417468-bloodstone
Bloodstone (The Curse of Time Book 1)
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
Series name: The Curse of Time Book 1
Release Date: 22nd June 2021
Page Count: 290 pages
Buy Link (multiple platforms): https://books2read.com/u/bOyrgW
Golden Healer (The Curse of Time Book 2)
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
Series name: The Curse of Time Book 2
Release Date 23 January 2022
Page Count 336 kindle
Buy Link: https://books2read.com/u/mgjY67
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheros!
M J Mallon was born in Lion city Singapore, a passionate Scorpio with the Chinese Zodiac sign of a lucky rabbit. She spent her early childhood in Hong Kong. During her teen years, she returned to her father’s childhood home, Edinburgh where she spent many happy years, entertained and enthralled by her parents’ vivid stories of living and working abroad. Perhaps it was during these formative years that her love of storytelling began bolstered by these two vivid raconteurs. She counts herself lucky to have travelled to many far-flung destinations and this early wanderlust has fuelled her present desire to emigrate abroad. Until that wondrous moment, it’s rumoured that she lives in the UK, in the Venice of Cambridge with her six-foot hunk of a rock god husband. Her two enchanting daughters have flown the nest but often return with a cheery smile.
Her motto is to Do what Your Heart Desires.
And her favourite genre to write is fantasy/magical realism because life should always be sprinkled with a liberal dash of extraordinarily imaginative magic!
Accolades: M J is a finalist in the Fantasy category of N. N. Light’s Book Award for her novel Bloodstone and a finalist in the International author. She has also contributed best-selling short stories to Dan Alatorre’s Box Under The Bed anthologies.
Winner of the Blogger’s bash blogging prize with her flash fiction piece The Queen’s Dress Down Day. https://mjmallon.com/2018/03/21/the-bloggers-bash-blog-post-competition-2018-the-queens-dress-down-day/
Winner of Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Contest with her murderous piece: Mr. Blamey https://carrotranch.com/2017/12/19/winner-of-flash-fiction-contest-7/
MJ’s Poetry, anthologies, and Flash
Mr Sagittarius (Poetry, prose and photography)
This Is Lockdown (Anthology/Compilation)
Lockdown Innit: Poems About Absurdity (Poetry Collection)
Amazon Author Page:
Writing Skills Anthology
100 Ways to Write A Book compiled by Alex Pearl: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09PHHC2YX/
Chasing Driftwood’s A Year of Writing Through Lockdown: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Stay-Home-Writing-Through-Lockdown/dp/B09JF88YHW/
Short Stories in Anthologies:
Bestselling horror compilations
Nightmareland edited by Dan Alatorre
Scrabble Boy (short story)
Spellbound edited by Dan Alatorre
The Twisted Sisters (short story)
Wings & Fire edited by Dan Alatorre
The Great Pottoo (short story)
Authors Website: https://mjmallon.com
Authors Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L
Buy Link Bloodstone (multiple platforms): https://books2read.com/u/bOyrgW
Next Chapter Publishing Author Page: https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/mj-mallon
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon – https://twitter.com/Marjorie_Mallon
Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1829166787333493/
Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjmallonauthor/
Please follow the links, and show Marje some support from our blogging community.