Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Interview with A.J. Rowe…

August 31, 2013

Bushwhack – definition: to make one’s way through the woods by cutting the undergrowth.

Interview A.J. Rowe – my youngest author by far! He is certainly blazing his own writing trail. Welcome the winner of the Clawson Arts & Authors competition.

AJ for Blog PicWhat do you enjoy most about writing?

I enjoy being able to create my own world with no limitations or rules and set my mind free to imagine.

What age did you start writing stories/poems?

I started writing in Kindergarten.  I told my teacher at the time that I wanted to be a “book maker”.

Has your genre changed or stayed the same?

For the most part, it has remained the same.  I enjoy writing medieval fiction.

What genre are you currently reading?

Currently I am most interested in fantasy/fiction (there’s a theme here!).

Do you read for pleasure or research or both?

Mostly for pleasure but some is research to help me with my writing.

Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

My parents, for sure!

AJ & parentsOf the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

I created a character named Emily a while ago for one of my other stories.  I would have to say that she has been my favorite so far.  She is funny, smart and rather crazy at times.

Where is your favorite writing space?

I do most of my writing downstairs on the sofa with my iPad.

Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants writer?

I usually plan the plot and the first chapter or two and just let it flow after that.

What inspires your ideas/stories?

I’m not really sure.  I just get an idea in my head and I want to write.  Once I get started I want to keep going until I finish – just ask my parents.

Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?

No, I don’t belong to any kind of a writing group right now – maybe someday.

Do you have a book published? If so, what is it called & where can readers purchase it?

Yes, I currently have a book entitled “Falsely Accused”. It is available on Amazon as a download for Kindle.  I also have had a few paperback copies made as well for family and friends and for people without an e-Reader.


If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?

Christopher Paolini.  I love his books and he was a young author like me when he got started. It would be great to be able to talk to him and get some ideas.

Where can readers find you and your blog?

Unfortunately, nowhere yet.  I hope to have a website up and running in the near future to promote my works, get ideas for new books and get feedback from my readers.  Stay tuned….

Do you have plans or ideas for your next book?

I have several ideas in my head right now.  I would like to have a poll on my website to see what readers would like to see for my next effort before I get started.

It Pays to be Vigilant when Editing…

August 30, 2013

Vigilant – definition: watchful to detect danger; awake and alert


Have you noticed that your mind fills in ‘missing’ words or ‘skips’ extra words when you are editing? What is this phenomenon called? Alas, even though I searched quite extensively, I could not find anything that specifically named this ‘brain trick’. It is certainly not dyslexia or aphasia. Maybe it is our brains expectation of what the sentence is saying due to years of reading? An automatic and subconscious ‘correction’ so to speak.

This is a phenomenon I have come to notice since beginning my writing journey. I have become much more conscious of editing errors in my work, when reading novels and editing other peoples work. There is no guarantee we will find every single error even when we strive to. With the help of multiple beta readers and fellow writers reading through our manuscripts, there is the hope these errors will be minimal.

What tricks do you use to find errors?

These two authors have generously shared their experience – take a look at their editing advice.

I found this helpful link as well:

This weekend I will be immersed in editing my current WIP – Ockleberries to the Rescue as  was as plotting my NaNoWriMo romance novel. Three writing friends and I will be enjoying the long weekend in Canmore – a mini writing retreat. It will be my first visit to the town so i’m looking forward to a bit of sightseeing to refresh the muse and inspire.


Author Interview Janet McDermott-Brown…

August 29, 2013

Altruistic – definition: unselfishly concerned for or devoted to the welfare of others.

Welcome Janet McDermott-Brown, a children’s author. Today’s word fits in well with her favorite character, Midnight. Read on to find him.

Janet McDermotta)     What do you enjoy most about writing?

I enjoy creating another world and immersing myself in it. I also love the colours that are woven by words and description within a story. Somewhere to escape to, somewhere that is exactly as you wish it to be.

b)    What age did you start writing stories/poems?
I believe I started to hold an interest in story/poetry writing whilst at senior school. I am also a songwriter and I began to write lyrics first and had a notebook that I carried around from about 14 years old.

c)     Has your genre changed or stayed the same?
My first attempt at a novel was a vampire story, but I didn’t get to finish it. Then I tried a children’s story for the first time, based in London during the Great Fire of London, but didn’t finish that either (yet)! Finally, I fell upon a story I could see through to the end. My children’s fantasy/adventure book ‘The Picture House’.

d)    What genre are you currently reading?
I actually read a lot of children’s novels, fantasy adventures and supernatural based stories are among my favourites. If reading adult books, I like historical novels, supernatural and some horror with vampires and werewolves.

e)     Do you read for pleasure or research or both?
I read for pleasure, research and inspiration. I have always loved books, from being a very young child. I also collect books, as well as reading them.

f)     Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?
My friends and family are all very encouraging. My Mum is probably the longest and best person to have helped me, especially all the reading/editing she has done for me.

g)     Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
My favourite character is Midnight from ‘The Picture House’. He is a black cat, who can talk. He lives in the Picture House and becomes a very useful friend to one of the main characters, Lilly. He is a very cheeky, knowledgeable and charming cat. He is based entirely on my own cat Jesse – if only he could talk!

Midnighth)    Where is your favorite writing space?
I actually like to write in my bedroom. It’s the quietest room in the house. My sanctuary. I write long hand first in my notebook then type it up into my computer in the study.

i)      Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants writer?
I do use a spidergram, I find them useful for ideas. I then write a guide to all the chapters before I start. The story will quite often change and evolve, but the main thread of the story will remain true to my plan.

j)      What inspires your ideas/stories?
Inspiration can come from anywhere. If my mind is open it can come from spoken words, places, feelings, people, objects, books, films. Anywhere at all, something just has to catch my imagination.

k)    Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?
I have done some creative writing courses, but do not belong to a writers group. It is a bit more difficult when writing children’s stories to find a group to join.

l)      Do you have a book published? If so, what is it called & where can readers purchase it?

The Picture House
I have published ‘The Picture House’ on Amazon Kindle
‘A pale-faced dark haired boy, known as Moth had an extraordinary talent. And on one particular day that talent might just save his life…’ Moth is trapped in his own nightmare world of monsters and zombies. His three closest friends are in a race against time to find his memory shards that are scattered throughout his incredible imagination. Follow their adventures as they endeavour to save Moth from the grubby grips of Gritt and his malevolent master, Sinister.

m)   If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?
Frances Hodgson Burnett. She wrote my favourite book of all time, ‘The Secret Garden’. I love that story and would want to ask her how she thought up the story and what inspired her.

n)    Where can readers find you and your blog?
I have an author page on facebook, which will have all my news and info.

  • o)    Do you have plans or ideas for your next book?
    Yes, I have an idea for my next novel. The novel is in the very early stages of development, entitled The Paper Giant (© Janet McDermott-Brown). It will be another fantasy adventure book, which I hope to write over the next few months, with an aim to publish it next Spring.

What’s that Stench..?

August 28, 2013

Stench – definition: an offensive smell or odor

What came to your mind with today’s word? I suppose it depends on which continent you live on. Now I live in Canada I have come across skunks and found that even in death they are really smelly! Driving or walking along a road or path you are aware of a skunk long before you see it. Normally it is in retreat and you only glimpse that tell-tale black and white tail held high.


However, when I resided in England our smelly critters were much smaller. These little living jewels come in many colors. With a daughter,who loved any creepy crawly from the time she could crawl, I have come to appreciate the tiny creatures often overlooked. If handled roughly they will squirt a noxious smelling liquid which is so horrid birds will drop them immediately. I love the patterns and colors.

‘Stink bugs’…



























What ‘smelly’ critters are common to your home?

Just for fun here is a list of the top seven –

Abashed at First…

August 27, 2013

Abashed – definition: ashamed or embarrassed


Does this describe your experience when you first shared your words? I have a clear memory of reading my very first piece to my writers circle just over four years ago. My hands were clammy and shaking and I was the color of beetroot, as a flush of nervousness took over. Prior to reading this piece I had attended a couple of meetings and just listened to everyone else. The more I thought about reading the more anxious I became but knew I would not grow as a writer if I kept my writing a secret.

To that end I used an online writing prompt – write a five minute piece using – fire, clock, certainty. This was the result.

Fire light flickered on the walls and ceiling as Joan sat with a glass of her favorite red wine. Watching the flames lick the logs and send little sprays of ash and sparks upward, she tried to calm her mind. It was a certainty that Thomas would be angry with her once he knew of her accident. The clock ticked as its hands made their gradual path towards 9 o’clock and the inevitable argument.

Joan had tried to cover up the dented fender with a casually placed cloth but Thomas would immediately know something was wrong as she had parked in his place in the garage. Such a creature of habit, her husband he had rules and very particular likes and dislikes. His routine had to be strictly adhered to or there was hell to pay. She knew he would go over the top with his recriminations and probably ban her from driving for months.
The clock struck nine and she heard the garage door open as Thomas drove up to it. Straining her ears she heard his car drive forward and then shriek to a halt. His place was taken up by her car now he would be mad. A slam of the driver’s door told her he was walking through to the kitchen and she could feel his presence enter the lounge.
She squeezed the trigger slowly as the instructor had told her and Thomas’ face flew apart. No more shouting, no more rules, no more living in fear. Watching Thomas’ foot twitch as the life left him gave her a rare feeling of joy. No more tormentor.
Once I had struggled through reading it, I kept my head down waiting for a response – I’m glad to say everyone was shocked by the ending but also congratulated me on a great piece. From that moment on I was catapulted into the writing life.
Care to share an embarrassing moment with us? It can be writing related or not. Did the outcome have a positive affect?
If we are to promote ourselves and our words, reading them to an audience is something we all have to face at one point or another. Being able to practice with friends makes the transition slightly easier, I feel.
What was your first public reading like?
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