Monthly Archives: December 2013

Here’s to Serendipity in 2014…


Serendipity – definition: when desirable things happen by accident; good fortune; luck

Serendipity_sign

Today marks the last day of my year long commitment to post on my blog every day in 2013. It has been a fantastic journey. I have learnt a great number of ‘new’ words, and in the process realized I can create an article, poem or review from just one word. This fact gives me more confidence in my writing abilities.

Some posts have been harder to create than others, especially when I was on vacation and again when my Mother passed. However, I always felt I had to continue and stay the course. Discovering I could create blog posts ahead of time in draft form and ‘store’ ideas for each word was a real help. If an idea popped into my head as I created the post, I would jot it down and save it for later. Other times the gist just flowed onto the page and was complete before I knew it.

This year I have found new friends and followers, enjoyed conversing with each and every one of you and learnt a good deal about you all.

Thank you for following me – it is much appreciated. As for 2014 – I have plans to create themed posts for three days a week. I hope you will continue to follow me and share my journey, while sharing yours with me.

May 2014 bring you health, wealth, love, peace and a gazillion words!Serendity

Publishing Scamming Sites…


Peculate – definition: to steal or take dishonestly (money, esp. public funds or property entrusted to one’s care) : embezzle

embezzlement

Unfortunately, there are numerous sites offering inexperienced authors a publishing ‘deal’, just as long as they pay lots of money. While researching this post I found a great article on this subject. See here: http://www.authormedia.com/3-signs-of-a-publishing-scam/

I often use Writer Beware – http://www.sfwa.org/other-resources/for-authors/writer-beware/ which publishes known scamming sites and companies. Do not be put off by the science fiction association, there is a lot of relevant information for all authors.

My own experience has been good and I count myself fortunate on having found Dream Write Publishing ( http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/)  to publish my novels. This company has published a couple of novels of authors who were unfortunately, the victims of scams. Their money is lost and there is no recourse unless they want to spend even more money pursuing these fly by night companies through the courts, with no guarantee they will be successful. Many of the scamming sites change their name or dissolve to appear elsewhere on a regular basis. They use these loop holes to avoid detection and prosecution.

It is understandable to get wrapped up in the excitement of getting your first work published but please take the time to do thorough research and find independent reviews on the companies you are viewing before committing yourself to paying any money.

Linkshttp://myplace.frontier.com/~mfinke/Beware.htm

http://scholarlyoa.com/publishers/

Formidable Promotion…


Formidable – definition: 1. causing fear, apprehension, or dread; 2. of great strength; forceful; powerful

megaphone

As writers and authors, we are formidable not just because we have the ability to create narratives but also how we ‘market’ those stories. We all have our comfort levels for marketing and promotion, and no matter which route you chose, that is the best option for you.

Social media can be seem like a ‘soft’ option, in that, you are not up close and personal with your readers. However, there are countless sites to chose from and then maintain. We need to research which avenues of promotion will work best not just for our genres but also for sustaining them. If you create accounts on too many, you will find you have no time for creating new narratives. It is a fine balance between promoting and writing.

Your choice is mainly genre based but that does not restrict your scope. If you are writing period historical romance, then sites dealing with this genre are good but also any sites that deal with that particular period, whether in reference to costume, historical setting or events. Linking back to your blog or website gives you a good networking base. Just remember not to hard sell in every comment you leave on other websites. Generate relationships with the hosts, give your view and pose questions.

appsFor the novice author on the verge of publishing their first novel, the options can seem mind-boggling diverse and numerous.  I have linked to some great sites with advice on this very subject:

http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2010/03/27/marketing-your-first-book-graham-storrs/

http://thewritepractice.com/publish-book/

http://www.writersstore.com/15-do-it-yourself-tools-to-promote-your-book/

http://bolstablog.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/promote-your-book/

What avenues do you use?

How did you decide on which sites and options were best for your novel?

Once we feel more comfortable there are author readings, book signings and book selling events to contemplate and attend. These are more nerve racking for many of us but are much more satisfying because we get instant feedback. Yes, it may not be favorable some of the time but writers need a thick skin and we must view all feedback as an opportunity to improve.

I wrote about needing a thick skin here: https://mandyevebarnett.com/2013/02/13/writers-need-a-thick-skin/

How many public events have you attended?

What was your experience ?

A Self Imposed Grueling Schedule…


Grueling – definition : strenuous; exhausting; very tiring; arduously severe

2013_Blogathon_word_cloud_II

With only three more posts until the end of my year long ‘post a blog a day’, I have mixed feelings. The regime has become second nature, although at times I did struggle. Now I am wondering how to utilize the ‘free’ time not posting every day will give me.

My first task is to decide on the frequency of my posts for 2014 and then what subjects, themes or topics I will cover on those particular days.

Obviously, I have some ideas bouncing around inside my head but still need to finalize them.

If you have enjoyed a particular post or posts, I would welcome your comments and suggestions (within reason – I will not be posting every day in 2014!) What, I hear you cry (or maybe not!) I have several projects, I want to bring to fruition in 2014 and blogging every day would seriously interfere with those plans.

To give you an idea what those projects are:

To publish two novels as e-books that have been languishing in my laptop files. Life in Slake Patch & The Twesome Loop.

LifeinSlakePatch 002Twesome Loop 002

To publish in e-book form and on a print on demand site, my children’s chapter book, Ockleberries to the Rescue.

To edit, revise and refine my NaNoWriMo novel, Willow Tree Tears.

My biggest project is to boost my freelance business – any offers are more than welcome!

These projects are in addition to my role as secretary of the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County and the planning of our annual conference in March. As well as creating a prompt on the website every Saturday and attending sharing meetings, board meetings, workshops and book events. All of this has to be squeezed into the time I am not working the day job.

Please consider attending our conference if you are within driving distance of Sherwood park, Alberta, Canada or fly in and stay at one of the many hotels in the area. We would love to meet you.

Post card frontWFSC Conference postcard back

Making the Inconceivable Believable…


Inconceivable – definition: not conceivable; unimaginable; unthinkable

Glen

Writers have the ability to make the unimaginable reality in their narratives. There are no barriers, no limits to what a writer can create. Distant worlds, alternative realities and curious creatures are brought to life for the reader.

It may seem rather ‘easy’ to create a whole new world, but in actual fact there are numerous hurdles you have to jump. Fantasy readers, in particular, are extremely meticulous in ensuring consistency in a fantasy work and the ‘laws’ of the land therein.

This Q&A page is a great way to find out if your creation will stand up to their scrutiny.

http://www.sfwa.org/2009/08/fantasy-worldbuilding-questions/

And a great link for tips on world building here:

http://www.malindalo.com/2012/10/five-foundations-of-world-building/

Of course world building is not restricted to fantasy. If you are setting your narrative in a particular time period you must ensure everything your characters use and interact with, are from that era. A 1940’s housewife will not have the luxury of a microwave oven, for example. However, when you have time travel within your story greater detail is required to ensure each era is true to its original. This not only gives the reader clues as to where and when your characters are but also gives your protagonist obstacles to overcome. Unless of course you have a time traveler visiting!

With attention to detail and solid back story, every narrative can be believable no matter how fantastical the characters, creatures or situations. Most of us ‘believe’ in Hobbits, Harry Potter and the like because the narratives are so strong in the basics of world building.

I have used reincarnation (The Twesome Loop), an alternative future (life in Slake Patch) and magical creatures (Ockleberries to the Rescue)  in some of my novels. If you can imagine the inconceivable – you can write it.

What fantastical worlds have you created?

How did you decide on the ‘laws’?

8040621425_23590bca52 (2)

Loving the Pluvious… 26Dec


Pluvious – definition: of or pertaining to rain : rainy

Fig1

It may sound bizarre to a lot of people but one of the things I miss about England is the rain. Yep, the rain! England gets a lot of rain, hence the ‘green and pleasant land’. As an island surrounded with sea water the formation of rain clouds is a constant.

I should be more precise on what it is I miss about rain. It is the smell of freshly drenched earth and foliage and the actual sound of rain drops hitting the ground and any objects in its path. Watching rain rivulets down a window pane when you are warm and dry is a wondrous moment. Splashes of water rippling outward into infinity.

The majority of precipitation in Alberta, Canada is snow so a rainy day is a treat for the British expats living here. We have actually run outside to stand in it. As I said at the beginning – bizarre!

If you have moved a great distance, what do you miss?

My writing group used a single raindrop as the illustration on the book cover on the history of the group. A single drop causes a ripple effect and that is what one writer, one group can do for others. From a solitary drop the encouragement spreads

Solitary

http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/retail/books/solitary-drop

Another book with a raindrop as the theme is this one. I love this little story and it is perfect for a rainy day to read to your children.

raindrop

http://www.amazon.com/Journey-Raindrop-Suzanne-Burkett-ebook/dp/B004F9P84U/ref=la_B0038NJFW0_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1388067915&sr=1-4

No Hope of Being a Recluse Today…


Recluse – definition: a person who lives in seclusion or apart from society, often for religious mediation

Man Writing WEB

The sentence that came with the word of the day was:  The writer was a recluse all his life and never socialized.

I will have to dispute that. As writers we require social interaction to enable us to create believable and intriguing plots and fully rounded characters. People watching is one of my favorite pastimes and I’m sure many writers are the same. Observing gestures, and listening to speech and accents is actually research for our narratives. The following article reinforces my view.

Image from: http://storytime-vikth.blogspot.ca/2012/01/solitary-writer.html

Without my writing groups support, advice and encouragement I would not be the writer I am today. http://wfscsherwoodpark.com/

Of course when I am actually writing I do prefer to be alone but that is not always possible. To achieve the illusion of a recluse, I put in the headphones, turn on the music and ‘disappear’ into the realm of my narrative.

Today is a celebration and time for family so this post is short and sweet.

holly

Whatever your belief, enjoy the love of your family and friends today.

t-Books

Christmas Eve Traditions…


Ubiquitous – definition: present, exiting or being everywhere, esp. at the same time

Xmas Eve

Today is a magical day all over the world. It may mean different things to different people but in the end it is special.

December 24 is the 358th day of the year (359th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are seven days remaining until the end of the year.

Christian Feast Day

Adela and Irmina

Eastern Orthodox liturgics
Christmas Eve (Christianity) and its related observances
Aofangadagskvold, the day when the 13th and the last Yule Lad arrives to towns. (Iceland)

Feast of the Seven Fishes (Italy)
Jul (Denmark, Norway) and (Sweden)
Nochebuena (Spain and Spanish-speaking countries)
The Declaration of Christmas Peace (Old Great Square of Turku, Finland’s official Christmas City)

Independence Day (Libya)

A few links to events on this day in history:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/december/24

http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/on-this-day/December-24/

http://www1.sympatico.ca/cgi-bin/on_this_day?mth=Dec&day=24

What are your traditions for this day?

One thing I miss dreadfully is proper Christmas pudding…it is just delicious!

Xmas Pud

Magical Wonderment…


Omnivorous – definition: 1. eating food of both animal and plant origin; 2. eating all kinds of food indiscriminately

While deciding on what to write about today, I realized that several of the animals in my children’s chapter book, Ockleberries to the Rescue, are actually omnivores. The story centers around two magical, healer sprites, who help the animals within the forest they live. Among these are Bruin the bear, Swift the fox, Spike the hedgehog, Cyril the pine marten, Morry the mole and the twin squirrels,  Rayce andChase. All of these characters are omnivorous, in other words eat meat as well as plant matter of one type or another. As you can see I chose my animal names carefully and love how they reflect the animals characters.

It was fun to create this magical world and incorporate my love of the animal kingdom at the same time. The book is in final editing and I am waiting for the illustrations to be completed. Hopefully it will be available as an e-book and print on demand by early spring. Keep an eye on my author page at http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/authors/mandy-eve-barnett for updates.

I delight in the existence of fairies, sprites, pixies and the like as well, it is a childlike wonder. I own a book on gnomes and another on fairies. Both are beautifully illustrated and written.

Here are the front covers:

gnomes-fairies-books

Do you have a childlike love of something?

The Author is Omnipresent…


Omnipresent -definition: present everywhere at the same time

Flow Chart

When we create a narrative, our first priority is to decide on which point of view we want to use, the narrative perspective or mode. First person, second or third. Each has it’s own guidelines and enables us to manipulate the reader into the mindset of the character or characters  we wish them to sympathize with. As the author we are the omnipresent voice, the one who directs the action and reveals the plot.

Nathan Bransford wrote about the comparison between the third person omniscient versus third person limited here: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2012/11/third-person-omniscient-vs-third-person.html

Another good link, which assists with choosing your narrative style is here: http://www.thewriteturn.com/whats-your-point-of-view-how-to-choose-the-right-narrative-perspective-for-your-fiction/

No matter which mode you use, you decide on the direction of the tale and what to reveal and what to hide throughout the story.

Which mode do you use?

Have you tried all narrative modes?

I had to add once I saw this on my facebook page – 

Bob

Related articles