Summer Author Reading – My MC Experience…


On Saturday I was MC for the Summer Author reading at our local coffeehouse, Social Grounds Coffeehouse. I had read the month before so was pleased to act as MC this time. It is always a pleasure to support my fellow writers and especially cool to hear them share their stories.

Aug 27th Author Reading

The three authors reading were Linda J Pedley – who thrilled us with excerpts from her ‘Journey’ trilogy, Journey of Brothers, Journey of Desires and  Journey of Truth. Beth Rowe reading from both of her YA adventure/mystery books, Bird of Barjay and Mischief, Mischief and J.E. McKnight from his intriguing sci-fi, The Arrival.

Having such a diverse selection of stories certainly made the evening a fun one and the audience loved the opportunity to ask the authors questions later. It is so important to support your local authors not only at readings but by purchasing and reviewing their books. There is months, if not years of work, in each book you read. Stories that are easy reading are hard writing!

Thank you to Dream Write Publishing (www.dreamwritepublishing.ca) and Social Grounds Coffeehouse for making this series of author readings possible. if you wish to purchase any of these books or indeed the 70+ others on the purchaser site please feel free to browse!

Have you attended any authors readings, whether reading or listening?

What was your experience like?

What did you learn?

Do you know your local authors? If not contact your library.

 

 

Writing Prompt Contest – My Favorite Book…


books

Write about your favorite book.

Enjoy this prompt and leave your response in the comments. 1000 words maximum for prose. Poems can be any length, if you can regale your book review in rhyme!

A quarterly prize will be given for the most voted for response.

A Glimpse Through A Window – A Ghost Story…


A Glimpse Through A Window – A Ghost Story

hardyes-window
It started with a glimpse out of the corner of her eye. A movement passing the opened window but when she turned there was nothing there. Dismissing it as possibly a bird or a butterfly floating in the warmth of summer sunshine, she turned back to her work.
Just one more chapter and then she would treat herself to a walk to ease and stretch her aching muscles. Janice had woken bursting with inspiration at five o’clock, now six hours later a major part of the novel was complete. With a flourish she hit the keypad and straightens up. There in front of her was a beautiful face peering through the window. Instinct makes her jump and involuntary utter a gasp.
“Hello, who are you?”
The lady smiles but does not answer just reaches out her hand to beckon Janice outside. Her dark shape and long ebony locks float as if in water, it is surreal. Fascinated Janice opens the patio door and enters the warmth of the day time sun.
“Come follow – you will find.”
“Find what, where are we going?”
Without waiting the lady turns toward the rose garden, the oldest part of the cottage garden. The floral scent permanents the air as they approach the blooms. The dark lady stops in the centre of the path and points. Janice’s eyes follow her fingers direction – there blooms an ebony rose so dark it gleams.
“Write its story, Janice and release me.”
“Release you – I don’t understand?”
“My spirit resides within the bloom I am relying on your gift of words to free me forever.”
“What shall I write? Tell me what to write.”
“You know my story it is deep within you.”
Janice’s mouth opens to ask another question but the dark lady has disappeared. Was she dreaming? Everything seemed so real, so tangible – the warmth on her skin, the grass beneath her feet. Janice returns to her desk, puzzling thoughts race through her mind. There she finds a dark rose petal lying upon the laptop keys. It was real?
A blank page faces her and her fingers begin to type – a story unfolds.
Esmeralda’s roses were well renowned even as far away as London. Each bloom was perfection itself due wholly to her unwavering commitment to their care. After years of trial and error with combinations of manure, egg shells and herbs, Esmeralda had found her ‘secret’ formula. Each season demanded another ritual before the first buds appeared in April. With careful attendance each bud was nurtured to its full potential. Every flower show saw Esmeralda take first place much to the dismay of her rival, Vanity. The competition between the two women was fierce.
During the sixth annual London show Esmeralda was summoned by the Duke of Suffolk. He commissioned her to produce a truly black rose – something never achieved before. With a deep bow Esmeralda had thanked him for his obvious confidence in her abilities but felt she would not succeed. The Duke took her hands and solemnly stated that if anyone could succeed it was indeed the Rose Queen herself.
Upon her return home Esmeralda began researching the deepest and darkest strains of rose. Using grafting techniques and cross pollination she grew several young plants. As they grew and flourished she waited patiently for the first blooms. She achieved deep burgundy and the darkest crimson but never ebony. Three long years past each new bloom took her a step closer to her goal but never close enough. Then in the fourth year a tiny shoot grafted to the main plant produced a bud unlike any Esmeralda had ever seen. It was the darkest green she had ever seen. She tended to this special bud as with all her charges and waited in anticipation for it to blossom.
Sunday 14th April would be a date Esmeralda would never forget – for that morning she witnessed the darkest most beautiful ebony bloom gleaming in the sunlight. She would send word to the Duke that she has succeeded in making his wish come true. However, Esmeralda died that day at the hands of her arch rival, Vanity. It was a dagger to her heart as she breathed sweet words to her special bloom. Vanity took the plant and professed it was her own creation. She became famous over night and reveled in the adulation.
As for Esmeralda her body was buried beneath her rose garden- a place she had loved above all others. Her spirit lived on in the multitude of blooms until one day it rose up and made its presence known. She was the Rose Queen and the ebony bloom her creation.
The words flowed so quickly Janice could not read them quickly enough. At last her fingers ceased their frantic tapping and she realized who her visitor had been. Janice would make sure the real creator was acknowledged for her Black Rose.

***

As you can see this story was written a while ago and confirms my continuing fascination in the ‘other side’.
Mandy Barnett 3 April 2011

Have you written ghost stories?

Care to share one?

My Interview at Joseph D Drumheller…


Link here: https://josephdrumheller.wordpress.com/2016/08/22/five-steps-to-create-a-childrens-book/

The Five Steps to Create a Children’s’ Book  

Rumble's First Scare

  1. The Idea

This may seem like the easiest part of creating a children’s book – right? Not as easy as first appears as it turns out. Your idea has to convert onto the page in a language that your target audience can understand word usage is vital so take note.

  1. What age group are you writing for?
  2. Will you target pre-schoolers or an older age group?
  3. Will the story contain a moral or lesson?

My children’s picture book, Rumble’s First Scare began life as a prompt for Halloween. I did not want to write the usual monster narrative but something more unusual and fun. So I wrote the story from the young monster’s point of view. Younger children love Rumble and monsters are not so scary.

  1. Finding a Publisher

There are numerous avenues to research when it comes to finding a publisher.

  1. You can follow children’s book agents.
  2. Submit your story to contests with a book contract attached.
  3. Attend conferences and find an interested agent/publisher.
  4. Research local or regional publishing houses and submit your story.

I was fortunate to find a publisher locally and this made my publishing experience a more personally tailored one. Dream Write Publishing did an amazing job and I was part of the process all the way through.

  1. Illustrations

The amount of illustrations is dependent on the age of your target group, the younger the age group the more pictures are required and less text.

  1. If you are a talented artist you can illustrate yourself.
  2. Do you know an artist that will collaborate with you on the project?
  3. Does your publisher offer this service?
  4. There are many artists on social media you can approach.

My Rumble character was the culmination of my imagination and crude drawings and a wonderful artist friend, Matthew McClatchie, who made my idea of what Rumble would look like into reality.

  1. Text

Again the amount of text needs to be balanced for the target age group. For example, if the books are for very young children the text needs to be simple and sparse with great pictures, but for independent readers, illustrations can be on the chapter headers only.

  1. Do you want the story in rhyme form?
  2. Choose simple pronounceable names for your characters.
  3. Wrap the text around the pictures or along the bottom of the page.
  4. Keep exposition to a minimum
  1. Extra Pages
  2. The publisher will require your author bio and a photo
  3. You will create a ‘blurb’ – a brief description of the story – for the back of the book.
  4. If you wish you can have a dedication page.
  5. The publisher will allocate an ISBN and the legal disclaimers and permissions for duplication.

Sharing my little book with friends and family was stupendous. The moment any author is handed their first book is overwhelming emotional. It is the closest an adult comes to childish delight. The reality that your words are now published, that many people will read it and your words will outlive you delighting generations to come is a heady feeling.

After your book is published your work is not done. Promotion becomes your master. Be creative and say ‘Yes’ to any and all opportunities that come your way. The more your book is noticed the more sales.

Mandy and Rumble at SC Summerwood

To promote Rumble I created a soft toy of Rumble, which was so much fun. Once I showed my writing group they all announced I should make miniatures for each book, I declined!  Rumble accompanies me to readings and events and is always popular. As I had a good deal of promotion to manage without sewing into the wee hours, I did commissioned Rumble hats, and ordered T-shirts, which are a lot easier to handle.

Bio:

Mandy@

Always creative, I came to writing later in life. A chance visit to a writing group, Writers Foundation of Strathcona County, propelled me into the written word in a way I could never have imagined. I delve into all genres expanding my writing muscles and with several books published; I am certainly making up for ‘lost’ time. As a free flow writer, my stories lead me rather than the other way round, delighting me with plot twists and turns. Writing is my passion, the source of new found fellowship and most of all fun.

shelf

Contact:

I can be reached through my blog at www.mandyevebarnett.com, on my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Mandyevebarnettcom/ and through Twitter @mandyevebarnett

Annual Colouring Contest:

I arrange an annual colouring competition prior to Halloween for Rumble fans. The picture is in .pdf format and downloaded from my publisher’s website – http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca. Once all entries are in I choose the winners. Prizes include Rumble hats, T-shirts, monster orientated toys and games.

My newest book will be launched this fall – Clickety Click   is a YA monster story. Why do I have a propensity for monsters, I have no idea!

Click crop cover

 

Writing Prompt Contest – Toadstool Path…


13718510_10153776417918297_2551591778139316667_n

Taking your inspiration from this image, write the story of where the toadstools lead.

Enjoy this prompt and leave your response in the comments. 1000 words maximum for a short story. Poems can be any length.

A quarterly prize will be given for the most voted for response.

Communicate With The Dead -ReBlog…


feathers

Today I am reblogging an article by Judith Fein. She was kind enough to give me permission to do so.

My mother died two months ago. Before her passing, I asked her on three separate occasions to send me a sign in the form of white feathers. The first time she sneered. The second time she rolled her eyes. And the third time she didn’t answer. So I forgot about it.

Communicating with the dead has actually been a secret part of my life for many years. It began when my father died when I was in my senior year of college. I used to go to the cemetery to visit him, and one day, quite unexpectedly, he spoke to me. “Don’t give up your writing either,” he said.

“Either what?” I thought. Why did he talk about writing? I was going to be a college professor. As it turned out, he was right. I didn’t give up my writing and I became a writer.

It happened again when a teacher presented me with an owl feather in a large box at the end of a kundalini yoga class. I wasn’t quite sure how to respond to the gift. I lifted it up, and I saw dead people jumping up and down, wanting to speak.

Then it happened with my dear New Zealand friend when I met her in France. She was looking for the cemetery where her grandfather was buried. All she knew was that he died in the battle of the Somme. We chose one of the many military cemeteries in the area and drove there. When we arrived, feathers lined up in front of us, leading the way to an arch, which was flanked by two books bearing the names of the interred. Her grandfather’s name was among them.

Find the rest here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/life-is-trip/201608/yes-you-can-communicate-the-dead

Have you ‘spoken’ to a loved one that has passed?

Have you experienced ‘messages’ from those who have crossed over?

 

 

First Lines to Hook Your Reader…


As writers we want to grip our readers from that all important first line. It is not an easy task and can consume our thoughts for days, weeks or even months.

Today I want to share some of my first lines:

TheRythonKingdom

The Rython Kingdom. A romantic adventure set in medieval England.

“He’s coming! He’s coming! Guillem Ruet is here!”

Guillem smiled at the group of children running beside his horse as he rode toward the castle’s drawbridge. Dirty and barefooted, these youngsters would not be lucky enough to hear his newest tale, first hand. That pleasure would be for the inner court alone. It was a strange and most complex tale and all the more mysterious for being made of a dream.

I have introduced the protagonist, where he is and the source of the story’s basis.

OckleberriesToTheRescue

Ockleberries to the Rescue. A children’s chapter book telling the story of magical woodland sprites and their forest animal friends.

Curled into a ball with his bushy red tail across his snout, Swift twitched in his sleep. He helped Tansy the previous evening by dashing to the aid of a rabbit. Now his mind replayed his hurried course through the forest to the sprites home.

Again I have the main characters, their home and their a hint of their adventures.

Working on first lines takes effort and we change them time and again. This is true of my latest novel, Life in Slake Patch. It has been revisited many times in the 10 years since I began writing. It was my first NaNoWriMo and the most I had written up t that point. This year I promised myself I would complete it.

Life in Slake

Life in Slake Patch. A speculative fiction novel of a matriarchy world and one young man’s journey that changes everything.

Jacob’s persuasion for me to look at an extraordinary book had gotten the better of my curiosity. He led the way down the steps into the old library basement. The building, whose very structure of stone blocks was in stark contrast to our log buildings, stood as a relic of a world before the Grand War.

We understand this is not the present age and two people are gripped in a a secret together.

Click crop cover

My next book will be launched on 1st October at a local event called Words in the Park.
Clickety Click. A YA adventure mystery of a young girl who discovers a huge secret, which has astonishing changes for her and those around her.

Its eyes widened as it grew closer and closer to her face. Alice was paralyzed with fear, clutching her bedcovers with white knuckled fingers. The creature’s mauve skin glistened with slime and drops fell onto its spindly pointed claws. Alice opened and closed her mouth willing her voice to sound in the dark bedroom. The claws clicked together as the monster’s jaw opened. Click. Click. Clickety-click.

I have introduced Alice, my protagonist and the cause of her terror.

I read a multiple of genres but some of my favorite first lines are:

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

It was dark where she was crouched but the little girl did as she’d been told. The lady said to wait, it wasn’t safe yet, they had to be quiet as larder mice.

Ferney by James Long.

As he looked for the bones of his long-dead wife, old Ferney came close to death. Caught in the traffic jam that resulted, Gally Martin’s life changed.

The Map of Time by Felix de Palma

Andrew Harrington would have gladly died several times over if that meant not having to choose just one pistol among his father’s vast collection in the living room cabinet. Decisions had never been Andrew’s strong point.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Seebold

My name is Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.

Room by Emma Donoghue

Today I’m five, I was four last night going to sleep in Wardrobe, but when I wake up in Bed in the dark I’m changed to five, abracadabra.

I could fill this post with Stephen King first lines, as you all know he is my hero.

It by Stephen King

“The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years—if it ever did end—began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain.”
Cell by Stephen King

“The event that came to be known as The Pulse began at 3:03 p.m., eastern standard time, on the afternoon of October 1.”

 

What are your favorite first lines?

Do you re-write your first lines over and over?

Writing Prompt Contest – Red Door…


Red_Front_Door1

Write about who lives behind the red door.

Enjoy this prompt and leave your response in the comments. 1000 words maximum for a short story. Poems can be any length.

A quarterly prize will be given for the most voted for response.

A Return – Short Story of Passing…


I wrote this short story some years ago inspired by this image.

bench in tree

A Return  

Through flickering eyelashes I see a sky filled with cotton ball clouds. There is no breeze, no feeling of hot or cold just a peacefulness within me. I stand and look around at a familiar landscape. A village green lies before me, lush and green and surrounded by thatched cottages. This is my home. Heading toward my cottage on the far side of the green, a red object catches my eye. What is that? I haven’t seen it before. It is a large rectangle with a multitude of small windows on three sides and a big black box on the remaining side. What is this strange object? I don’t remember it being here before.

A roar behind me – I turn swiftly and am confronted with a large noisy vehicle of some kind, but where are the horses? It passes by at great speed and vanishes as quickly as it appeared. I must go home and find Frederick he will be able to explain these strange new things.

As I cross the green, I glance at the pond. It is full of overgrown bull rushes. The pond has never been so untidy, what is going on? Ahead I see my home and relief washes over me. That is my safe haven from these uneasy feelings growing within me. To my left is our favorite bench it is……encased in the tree. How can that be?

“Come back to me Edith.”

“Frederick?”

“Yes my love. I am here. You mustn’t dwell on our past.  We are together now. No need to go back and visit me.”

“Visit you? What are you saying?”

“We are together now for eternity. Your spirit doesn’t need to go back anymore.”

“I don’t understand. What happened?”

“You would come and visit me in my dreams after you had died. I loved you for that. But now I am here with you. “

“Died? We’re dead?”

“Yes my love. I had to wait for so long. You were so young. But now we are together forever.”

***

We all have ideas on reincarnation or life after death. I feel we meet our loved ones once again, including beloved pets. I imagine my parents walking coastal and woodland paths with all our dogs and paddling in the cool salty waves at the beach, together and happy. It is a comfort for me ‘knowing’ they are there enjoying their love forever more.

Do you have such a ‘belief’?

 

Author Interview – Joe McKnight…


Joe McKnight

Please welcome Joe to my blog. He is a great writer, a talented artist as well as author and the President of the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I have always had a love for storytelling. Even when I was young. When I was fourteen I saw a game called Time Soldiers and I basically took it from there. Many rewrites later the final draft looks nothing like the original; even the title – Time’s Hostage – is different.

Time's_Hostage

How did you come up with the title?

I needed a title that wasn’t already owned by a video game so during my last revision, I looked into my story to find a title that worked with the story. I knew I wanted to incorporate time into the title so that’s where I started. Then, because one of the characters is kidnapped and taken through time, I came up with Time’s Hostage.

Is this your first book? How many books have you written (published or un published)

Time’s Hostage was my first; it was published in 2013. Since then I have published two more with a fourth one coming out in fall of 2016. I am currently writing a fifth book and planning a sixth one to be started in November 2016.

Is there a message in your novel that you want your readers to grasp?

Occasionally I throw in a message but mostly I just want the reader to have fun and enjoy the world I have created.

How much of the book is realistic?

I try to immerse my characters into the real world whether that be a world where they travel through time, exist on another planet or live in a world of enhanced humans. I try to create relatable characters no matter what environment put them in.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I don’t base my characters on real people usually but sometimes a steal memories from real life and insert them into my stories.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I am answering this one for Fly On The Wall as it is my newest one as of Summer 2016. I’m not so sure I would change anything. This book was different than anything I had written previously and that’s how I try to write all my books. Keep them different from each other; try new things. It was a lot of fun for me to write.

Fly on the Wall

Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers?

Just that I hope everyone who reads my books gets as much, if not more, enjoyment from my stories as I did writing them.

What is your favorite part/chapter of your book/project?

I don’t know that I have a specific favorite part or chapter in my novels. What I really do enjoy is creating completely new worlds. In my novel The Arrival and my newest book, Powerless, due in fall, I got to create worlds far apart from our own – a distant planet and an alternate universe respectively.

What is your favorite theme/genre to write?

Sci-fi has to be my favorite genre. Four of my books are of a science fiction nature. Two of which happen to be time travel, which would be my favorite theme. Although I do try and change it up. Right now I am writing a suspense novel.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

I’m sure there probably is a subject I wouldn’t write about but I haven’t been approached to write anything so I haven’t had the opportunity to weigh out whether or not I felt comfortable in writing it. I basically get inspired to write certain stories that both interest and excite me.

What book are you reading now?

I am reading Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader.

Do you see writing as a career?

I would love to have a career as a writer and to do this full time.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

By then I hope to be working full-time for a local publishing company, still writing, and possibly making the Comic Con circuit.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Research is always challenging. I have dealt with scenes involving medical, law enforcement, science professionals, and time travel. The trick is to make each scene believable and authentic.

Have you ever hated anything you have written?

Of course. If I really hate something I have written and editing cannot fix the issue, I would consider revising or just scrap it altogether.

Which book do you wish you had written?

This might come across as a pure money grubbing answer but I wish I had written the Harry Potter series. I title like that would make my wish as a full-time writer come true.

What is your best marketing tip?

Actually, I’m still working on my marketing. But from what I can tell, social media is a great way to go. Get your name out there. The more people who know who you are and what you’re writing, the better your chances are.

What genre is your next project? What is it about?

My current WIP is a suspense novel. It’s about a woman who has been keeping secrets from her husband, which could end up turning her life upside down when her husband vanishes.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

My newest book, Powerless – due out in fall of 2016 – is about an alternate world where everyone has enhanced abilities but someone is using a serum to rob people of their abilities; sending them to exile on Institutional Island. One man who has had his abilities taken away from him before he had the chance to gain them finds a way to stay on the mainland to protect the city from this threat.

How do we find your books, blog and bio?

You can find my books and bio on the Dream Write Publishing site – www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/j-e-mcknight. I don’t have a blog but you can also see me at various events around Strathcona County. As well, I will be at the Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo in September 2016. Booth 1101 – come and meet me.Joe at WITP 2014

Find Joe’s art here:

https://www.facebook.com/Art-by-Joe-23409481552/

wagon by Joe