Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck -#Book Review My Kyrosmagica Review of Nicholas Rossis’s Runaway Smile by M.J. Mallon

Welcome to the series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post:

This is the third post from author Marjorie Mallon (M.J Mallon) and this week I have selected one of the over 100 book reviews in her archives from 2015. This book is by another author in the Cafe and Bookstore Nicholas Rossis.. for Runaway Smile.

My Kyrosmagica Review of Nicholas Rossis’s Runaway Smile by M.J. Mallon

Goodreads Synopsis:

“I woke up this morning and I had lost my smile and it wasn’t my fault and I looked everywhere and it was gone. Then I met a workman and a king and the best salesman in the world and a clown and no-one wanted to give me theirs. At school, I asked Miss to give me hers, but she gave us a pop quiz instead, and then no-one was smiling and…”

A little boy wakes up in the morning and realizes he has lost his smile. After spending the entire day trying to find it, he learns the truth behind smiles: the only real smiles are the shared ones.

My review:

The title to this children’s book really intrigued me, Runaway Smile. How can a smile runaway? Nicholas did make this little boys smile runaway, but thankfully he returned it to him in the end!

It is a wonderful children’s book, an enthralling and heartwarming journey to search for one little boy’s lost smile. Nicholas introduces us to a whole host of eccentric characters. (What an imagination, Nicholas!!) The boy’s dog wears glasses, smokes a pipe, and drives a car but has lost his sense of smell, there’s a closet monster who eats all of the boy’s clothes, and even a bunch of surf boarding ants!

In his quest to find his smile the little boy talks to a bunch of characters who just can’t help him. There’s a workman walking his goldfish in a bowl on a small cart! Hey, I see this everyday too. Just regular workman kind of activity! A king with a wide smile. A salesman with an even wider one, and a clown with a painted on smile. I particularly liked the character of the salesman whose smile disappears, and ages, when he realises that he can’t sell the boy anything. “The salesman took a mirror from his pocket and stared at his image. All of a sudden he looked very old and tired, and the boy wondered how he could have missed the thinning hair, deep wrinkles, and expanding waistline.” That one’s for my husband he’s worked in Sales all his life and well let’s just say it’s tough. Being a Sales Manager, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!

I’m digressing here a bit. In desperation, the boy turns to his teacher hoping that she will be able to help him. But she doesn’t think that a classroom is the right place to keep a smile! So, by the time he gets home to his mum he is in tears and has given up hope of finding his smile. But of course his mother is the only person that can help him, because the only true smile that exists is a genuine one straight from the heart. The final reflection that greets the boy is not a false one like the salesman’s reflection. “The boys eyes opened wide. He ran to the mirror to check his reflection. She was right! A wide smile had finally appeared on his face!”

The secret to keeping his smile is to share it with those he loved. Absolutely. That’s the secret.

“She tussled his hair. Anything you give with love, multiplies. No-one can take it from you then.”

So the boy promptly goes off to share his smile with his dog. Of course!

The book finishes with a lovely Ode to a runaway smile.

So, definitely recommended, a very sweet book and lovely illustrations too.

My rating:


Nicolas C. Rossis From his About page on WordPress:

I was born in 1970 in Athens, Greece. I love books and write fantasy, children’s books and science fiction. Except for my books, I have had numerous science fiction short stories published in Greek magazines and in an anthology.

I hold a doctorate in digital architecture from the University of Edinburgh, where I lived for a number of years before returning to Athens, where I currently live with my wife, dog and two very silly cats, one of whom is purring on my lap as I type these lines.

Runaway Smile is his first children’s book. Mad Water, the third book in his epic fantasy series, Pearseus, was published in July 2014. He has also published The Power of Six, a collection of short sci-fi stories.

Authors Website:
Free book for those following Nicholas’s Blog:

Illustrator: Dimitris Fousekis

Dimitri Fouseki, is an artist of Greek origin who makes innovative illustrations. Since 2003 he has successfully focused on illustrating mainly children’s books. He already has numerous publications in Greece in this field (nine so far, with a number of further publications pending). Since 2010, Dimitri has been living on the beautiful island of Hydra, where he teaches art and works on his first major exhibition as a painter, when not illustrating.


© M. J. Mallon 2015

Have you read Runaway Smile? Please comment below Marjorie would love to hear from you, it certainly would put a smile on her face…


About Marjorie Mallon

I am a debut author who has been blogging for many moons: 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 Book Reviews

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. I grew up in a mountainous court in the Peak District in Hong Kong.

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, and my two enchanted daughters.

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.

About The Curse of Time

On Amelina Scott’s thirteenth birthday, her father disappears under mysterious circumstances. Saddened by this traumatic event, she pieces together details of a curse that has stricken the heart and soul of her family.

Amelina longs for someone to confide in. Her once carefree mother has become angry and despondent. One day a strange black cat and a young girl, named Esme appear. Immediately, Esme becomes the sister Amelina never had. The only catch is that Esme must remain a prisoner, living within the mirrors of Amelina’s house.

Dreams and a puzzling invitation convince Amelina the answer to her family’s troubles lies within the walls of the illusive Crystal Cottage. Undaunted by her mother’s warnings, Amelina searches for the cottage on an isolated Cambridgeshire pathway where she encounters a charismatic young man, named Ryder. At the right moment, he steps out of the shadows, rescuing her from the unwanted attention of two male troublemakers.

With the help of an enchanted paint set, Amelina meets the eccentric owner of the cottage, Leanne, who instructs her in the art of crystal magic. In time, she earns the right to use three wizard stones. The first awakens her spirit to discover a time of legends, and later, leads her to the Bloodstone, the supreme cleansing crystal which has the power to restore the balance of time. Will Amelina find the power to set her family free?

A YA/middle grade fantasy set in Cambridge, England exploring various themes/aspects: Light, darkness, time, shadows, a curse, magic, deception, crystals, art, poetry, friendships, teen relationships, eating disorders, self-harm, anxiety, depression, family, puzzles, mystery, a black cat, music, a mix of sadness, counterbalanced by a touch of humour.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Forget your vampires and the dystopian future worlds, where you have to do some strange stuff for an undisclosed reason, I prefer a story that starts from a known place. You can get as weird as you like but please, make it a logical progression, not just the lazy ‘we’re in the future; civilisation as we know it is dead, this (insert some random game or test) is what happens these days, for no apparent reason’, sort of premise.

So, we meet Amelina, she’s just your standard teenage girl, I had three daughters; I get the comparison. And she’s a very well written character, as they all are. A little family weirdness, parents who have changed, from her perspective at the start it’s hard to see why. There’s a black cat who appears and a girl trapped in the mirrors in the house. And the obligatory interesting relative.

Then we come to her peers, a wannabee rock band and the strange guy called Ryder, who saves her from a couple of potentially dangerous boys. As the story develops, we see him in different shades, is he a good guy or not?

It turns out that Amelina may have the solution to all the problems that seem to beset her family. It’s all to do with crystals and gaining the knowledge to use them.

The story never falters, set around Cambridge and its landmarks, we follow Amelina’s journey as she seeks to uncover the reason for her father’s disappearance, why is he so different now that he’s back? Surely, this must also hold the key to her mother’s behaviour, explain why she’s so uptight and unwilling to talk about anything.

She must learn to use the power that she discovers she has; while dealing with all the other things that your average teenager has going on. The narrative is well thought out and we can see the development of Amelina as we are pulled by the strength of the writing towards the final pages.

All the characters are all well drawn and fit together perfectly. The things that Amelina finds and uses, from her paints to her drums are well thought out and well described. There’s a bit of fantasy, as well as some beautifully written dream sequences.

The overall world-building creates a wonderful, spiritual atmosphere. There’s a bit of poetry at the start of every chapter, a nice touch which leads us into the action. The story bravely tackles issues of mental health and self-harm, but in such a sensitive way that it can only help improve understanding.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, it resonated on so many levels, I understand a sequel is in progress, that will be on my list.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And on Amazon US:

Find more reviews and follow M.J. Mallon on Goodreads:

Connect to Marjorie

Facebook: Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club

My thanks to Marjorie for allowing me access to her wonderful archives and I hope you will head over and explore more for yourself. Thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Christmas Posts from Your Archives – Merry Christmas and Season’s Greeings from Nicholas Rossis

Nicholas Rossis has delved into his archives and come up with a quiz of a different kind.. There are a number of story boards below that relate to a particular Christmas Story.. There are no prizes but you can show off if you like in the comments to let us know how many you got… and you can give yourself a pat on the back…Over to Nicholas and Season’s Greetings!

Season Greetings | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

#UnplagChallenge | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

I managed to get four right (dreadful)… Both Nicholas and I would love to hear how many you managed to get..

©Nicholas Rossis 2015.

Nicholas has been watching Christmas videos with his baby daughter and has chosen this one for all of you who are young at heart out there.

I have selected Runaway Smile by Nicholas to feature as being a book that would brighten anyone’s Christmas.

About Runaway Smile

Where do smiles come from? And where can you find a new one if you have lost yours?

Winner of the Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award, in the Young Adult Fiction category. Award-Winning Finalist in the “Children’s Fiction” category of the 2015
International Book Awards, Award-Winning Finalist in the 2015 Independent Author Network Book of the Year Awards.

“I woke up this morning and I had lost my smile and it wasn’t my fault and I looked everywhere and it was gone. Then I met a workman and a king and the best salesman in the world and a clown and no-one wanted to give me theirs. At school, I asked Miss to give me hers, but she gave us a pop quiz instead, and then no-one was smiling and...”

A little boy’s smile runs away until its owner learns that an unshared smile is a wasted smile.

One of excellent reviews for the book

A young boy wakes up to find his smile has run away. Where could it have gone? And how will he get it back?

This is such a lovely story which made me both smile and laugh at some of what happens. The story follows the boy who wakes to find he has lost his smile. On his journey to school and back home he meets lots of interesting characters who are smiling and asks them to help him. I won’t give away more of the story as it will spoil it, but there is a lovely heartwarming ending to the tale and it certainly brought a smile to my face as I read it.

The story is fun and actually made me laugh with some of the silliness, such a as book-reading, glasses-wearing dog, a sausage tree and the closet monster which was very funny. I love reading stories that are a bit weird like that and it just added to the humour. There are fun illustrations throughout the book and surrounding the text. These illustrations look like the one on the cover and are the same style, and by the same illustrator, as ones I’ve seem in ‘Musiville’ another lovely kids tale by Rossis and they just add to the overall fun and humour of the story.
There’s an extra bonus bit at the back of the book which was also a fun addition to the story, an Ode to a runaway smile!

The ending of the story is one that I really loved and it’s a predictably happy book but I think so many kids and adults would love to read this. I was feeling quite down the day I read this and it put an instant smile on my face and cheered me up and I didn’t think any book could. I was so cheered up I read it again and enjoyed it even more. A lovely book I really recommend to everyone of every age!

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

A small selection of other books by Nicholas Rossis.. some of which are available in box sets.

Read the reviews and buy all the books:

And Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Nicholas on Goodreads:

About Nicholas Rossis

Nicholas C. Rossis lives to write and does so from his cottage on the edge of a magical forest in Athens, Greece. When not composing epic fantasies or short sci-fi stories, he chats with fans and colleagues, writes blog posts, and enjoys the antics of two silly cats and his baby daughter, all of whom claim his lap as home. His books have won numerous awards, including the Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award.

In addition to his best-selling series, Pearseus, he writes short science fiction/speculative fiction stories, many of which have appeared in various collections and anthologies. These include Infinite Waters, which was voted one of the best 50 Indie books of 2015.

Connect to Nicholas.


Thanks to Nicholas for sharing this quiz with us and don’t forget to add your answers to the comments. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Open House – Author Nicholas C. Rossis

smorgasbord open house twoMy guest this morning is Nicholas C. Rossis, an author and blogger with a wide ranging audience who appreciate his posts on writing and publishing as well as advice on marketing our books. He is the author of the epic fantasy series ‘Pearseus’ and a science fiction short story collection, the ‘Power of Six’, both of which are consistently at #1 on Amazon. He is also a prolific writer of children’s stories and ‘Runaway Smile’, his first book for younger readers and is an Award-Winning Finalist in the 2015 International Book Awards and has won the Gellett Burgess Children’s Book Award.

51hFV5V7McL._UY250_Nicholas lives to write and does so from his cottage on the edge of a magical forest in Athens, Greece. When not composing epic fantasies or short sci-fi stories, he chats with fans and colleagues, writes blog posts, walks his dog, and enjoys the antics of his baby daughter and two silly cats, all of whom claim his lap as home.

What readers are saying about Nick’s fantasies:

“Most avid readers still have books from their childhood which they read over and over again. ‘Runaway Smile’ has joined the list.”

“From the very first sentence I realized I was not reading a book, I was going on an adventure.”

About his latest book Honest Fibs: A Collection of Science Fiction Short Stories (Short SSF Stories) (Volume 3)


A mermaid turns out to be the perfect bait. A young man in the Badlands discovers the price of business. And a man desperate to escape his life finds out he’s not the only one. These are just a few of the stories in Honest Fibs, a collection of speculative and science fiction short stories that explore our perception of the world around us. Is there more to the world than we can see? How far can we trust our senses? And in a digital society, can any of us tell what’s real?

One of the early reviews.

Entertaining short stories each with something of a twist By Catherine Mackay on April 5, 2016 Format: Kindle Edition

*Note: I was given a free copy by the author in exchange for a review. If you have read any of Nicholas’ stories in the past, you will know he has a propensity to put a twist into a lot of his short stories, that more often than not you, the reader, are not going to see coming. Honest Fibs is no exception. This collection of stories starts off with two guys indulging in a bit of leisurely fishing. At some point, to fill in the time, they decide to tell each other tall stories or as they like to put it: ‘honest fibs’. The remainder of the book is taken up by alternating stories from each, but don’t get too distracted by them and forget about the guys fishing, because at the end there is a real twist which had me gob-smacked and wondering how the heck I didn’t pick up on it. Each story teases the reader’s imagination with its twists and turns and vivid portrayal of the unexpected – kinda reminds me a little bit of the Twilight Zone. I found Honest Fibs to be just pure enjoyment and a great way to pass the time.


Pearseus is a dark epic fantasy series, with sci-fi overtones, that has repeatedly reached #1 on various genres on Amazon.

300 years and countless lightyears away, Earth’s survivors discover the real cause of humanity’s troubles; the inability to divorce or escape their own human frailty, vanity and capacity to despise the other.

Book One of the series – Rise of the Prince is currently on offer for 99c on Amazon.


“Pearseus does for ancient Greece what Game of Thrones did for Medieval England.

Three hundred years after humans crash land on Pearseus, Styx, the Capital’s cruel ruler, learns of a dark prophecy: Cyrus, a young boy, will one day slay her. She imprisons him, but days before his execution he escapes with the help of the First, the planet’s native inhabitants. On their way to safety, nightmarish monsters attack. Cyrus flees, scared and alone, until a pair of First warriors rescue him and spirit him away to the mysterious Old Woman.

All Cyrus wants is to reunite with his family. But the Old Woman insists Cyrus is the foretold instrument in the First’s ancient war against a shadowy enemy who will stop at nothing to prevent him from fulfilling his destiny. Heart and mind war within Cyrus as he must choose between rejoining his family and preventing humanity’s extinction.


Other books in the series.


In fact you can buy all of the four full-length fantasy novels plus 23 short science fiction stories that will keep you on the edge of your seat in one amazingly great value package for under $10.

boxset cover IW Po6To buy view and buy all of Nicholas’s books and boxed sets please go to his Amazon Author Page:

Nicholas the Blogger.

Nicholas shares his extensive knowledge of marketing and social media via his blog on his website and covers topics such as Book marketing, Deciphering Amazon’s terms and conditioning and How to use social media to your best advantage. 

Here is an example of a recent post on book marketing using travel destinations as an analogy.

Now it is time to hand over to Nicholas to find out which of the questions he has chosen to answer….including the fact that he is descended from the Gods…Now we know where all his knowledge of the ancient world comes from!  Welcome Nicholas.

If you have looked into your family history have your found any surprises that you can talk about?

Oh, absolutely. It would appear that my family has more than its share of tall tales, as they claim to be related to none other than Zeus himself.

A little bit of explaining is, perhaps, in order.

I recently came across a Greek book published in 1976 by Estia, written by Dionisios Romas, and titled Periplous (1570-1870). Among other historical facts, it has a number of notes on genealogy, and you can imagine my surprise when I found my very own ancestors among the names mentioned. You see, my mother’s maiden name is Komianou; a Corfiot corruption of Komnenou. Related to imperial families like the Angelos, Doukas and Paleologos, all of whom ruled the Byzantine empire at some point, the Komnenoi as a rule seemed to enjoy, well, ruling.

They ruled the Byzantine empire from ca. 1081 to ca. 1185; the Empire of Trebizond from 1204 to 1461; the Despotate of Epirus (1204-1479) and even, for a few years, Cyprus (1184-1191).


Constantine the Great

That much I knew, though. What I had failed to realise is that their claim to the throne was based on their relation to Constantine the Great, 57th Emperor of the Roman Empire and venerated as a saint by the Church. So, I’m suddenly related to the Great man himself.

Now, let’s see how far back I can trace this. Constantine’s full name was Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus. The first name here, Flavius, is a reference to the Flavian dynasty, a Roman Imperial Dynasty which ruled the Roman Empire between AD 69 and AD 96.


Titus Flavius

As the Gens Flavia was not related to the Julio-Claudian dynasty, their main claim to the throne was the fact that their soldiers had defeated the other three contenders’ armies, following Nero’s suicide. So, they had to come up with a better story to support their imperial aspirations. They found it in Aeneas, claiming the progenitor of Romans was, in fact, their ancestor. Obviously, that’s a bit like saying that since we all come from Adam, I’m related to Einstein, but that’s a tale for another time.

Anyway, for those unfamiliar with Greco-Roman mythology, Aeneas was a Trojan hero, son of the prince Anchises and goddess Venus(Aphrodite), Zeus’ daughter. His father was the second cousin of King Priam of Troy, mentioned in Homer’s Iliad, and Aeneas receives full treatment in Roman mythology as the legendary founder of what would become Ancient Rome, most extensively in Virgil’s Aeneid.

bacchus-4Dionysus (Bacchus). Obviously, the resemblance is uncanny.

So, there you have it. Through my rather impressive reasoning, I’m actually related to none other than the daddy of all gods himself, Zeus. Sadly, the only divine quality I have been able to locate so far, is my ability to effortlessly expand the afore-mentioned waistline. If only I had a little less Dionysus/Bacchus and a little more Apollo in me…

Tell us about your blog and your main features. With a link to what you consider best sums you up as a blogger.

I blog about anything that tickles my fancy from the world of books. A lot of my posts concern book marketing. This is because I’ve found out the hard way just how much work promoting one’s book is, and I wanted to share with others what I find out, in order to save them some of the trouble.

My favorite post on the subject is My Book Marketing Secret, where I explain, well, my book marketing secret (hint: it involves building a brand that readers can trust).

Other than that, I enjoy odd and unusual books like a 400-year-old book made entirely of feathers – – and sharing fascinating titbits about the origins of words and expressions, like the names of groupings of animals or some creative Elizabethan-era insults.

What do think will be the next big development in the publishing industry?

In the near future, I expect Print-On-Demand (POD) facilities to expand into bookstores. That way, you’ll be able to walk into any bookstore and order a book, which will be printed out and handed over to you within minutes. This is already happening; the first European POD bookstore opened in Paris in March, using Xerox technology.

However, the technology is still in its infancy, in the sense that the books produced look more like company reports than literature. To make them look and feel like a ‘real’ book, you have to do a few extra steps by hand—for example, to treat the cover so that it won’t deform with humidity.

Also, one can only order copyright-free books right now.

Still, there are powerful market forces that will make such a move inevitable, for example the high cost of stocking up on books that no one may ever buy, or the fact that today’s best-seller may be obsolete within a week.

Do you have a favourite quote? What does it means to you as an individual?

Judging by how much effort you put in helping others, I suspect that my favorite quote is one of yours, too. It is, “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want,” by Zig Ziglar. My whole philosophy is built around that, and that’s why my blog is so heavily focused on helping and entertaining others. Much like yours, then!

(Thanks for the compliment Nicholas..and I agree wholeheartedly with the quote in business and also in our personal lives)

Tell us about your work in progress, plans for your blog in the next year any special events that are coming up that are very special to you.

I usually work on 3-4 books at the same time. Right now, I’m working on Pearseus: Endgame—the fifth, and last, book in the series; on Emotional Beats—a non-fiction writers’ help book explaining how to use beats; on my fourth, as yet unnamed, short stories collection; and on Valiant Smile—my third children’s book.

Connect to Nicholas on Social media

Twitter –
Google+ – and

Thanks very much to Nicholas for such a thoughtful response to the questions and I personally look forward to promoting his new books when they are available.

As I will have mentioned a few times in the last week.. I am offline as we wait for our Internet to be connected in our new house.  However, Nicholas will be in and out to respond to your comments and I will be checking in from time to time.

We would obviously be very grateful if you could share on your own networks and pass the word along about Nicholas as an author, blogger and great supporter of those he comes into contact with.  Thanks Sally