Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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If You Don’t Ask, You Don’t Get – Find Authentic Research Sources…

September 29, 2014

articlesResearch is a vital component of many of our narrative’s and we endeavor to ensure the technicalities are exact. This is especially true when we are writing about something we have no personal knowledge of. The internet, can give us some information but we should not rely on it 100% – there have been cases of mis-information.

Say we require a character to be fighter pilot, as it is unlikely we can find or have personal experiences of this, we could try search engines but it may be limited. We must then delve into the history books and hopefully find people, who are willing to assist us in gathering as much information as possible to make the character come alive on paper.

My current word in progress, Willow Tree Tears, has a barrel racer as a central character. As I have only attended one small rodeo and, although I have ridden horses, I’ve never competed on one, I required first hand experience. Luckily, the internet is a great resource for finding people and organizations and so I was able to read descriptions and view photographs of rodeo’s to give me an idea of how the venue would look and sound. I also intend to attend a rodeo before the manuscript is finalized so I can make further authentic revisions.

barrel silhouttee

However, in the meantime I really wanted a champion barrel racer to read the relevant sections of my story to approve the authenticity of them. So I sent out several requests via facebook and through personal websites to several barrel racers – graciously two replied and are reviewing the segments for me. I will thank them both by naming them in the finished novel and giving each of them a copy to review. (May be I will actually see them compete!)

We need to go that extra mile to ensure our readers – with or without knowledge of the subject matter – are confident we have written a true reflection of the particular subject in our novels. We can’t have a cell phone in 1650 or hovering cars in 2000, so it is true with the careers our characters have – no matter what century they are set in.


What have you researched for a novel?
Why did you pick that particular career/venue/organization?

Take Advantage of Unexpected Opportunities…

September 26, 2014

After my wonderful long weekend and attendance at Word on the Street in Lethbridge, I was delighted to find out that a short snippet of showing my soft toy of the Rumble character from my children’s picture book, Rumble’s First Scare was shown on the local Global News. It may only be a few moments but I am over enjoyed. If the little girl had not been enamored of Rumble, the cameraman may have walked past. You can see Rumble (little furry guy) sitting watching his visitor at 1.32 on the timeline. He is bottom left of the picture.

WOTS Sept 2014

I have requested a copy of the whole segment recorded and only hope I am allowed to have it. Prior to the clip the little girl was cuddling Rumble…so sweet. Fingers crossed they say Yes.

Today was also an unexpected opportunity. I arrived at work as usual at 7.30 am to find the telephone and computer system were nonfunctional. As this is quite a common occurrence, I made a cup of tea and waited for it to reboot…and waited…and waited. To pass the time I wrote and revised my current story and as usual became quite engrossed. Several hours passed and eventually, my manager left to work at home and I waited and waited. By 2 o’clock several of the staff from downstairs had already left. So I asked if I could also leave. My request was granted and I made my way home in the rain to write this blog post.

So here I am home early on a Friday creating my blog post and preparing for the event tomorrow. Coloring sheets have been printed for Rumble’s coloring contest and Rumble has had minor surgery to fix his ‘floppy’ neck.

Contest download :

Tomorrow will be an early start – we set up at 8.30 am for Alberta Culture Days.

I will be wearing a couple of hats – one for my writing group Writers Foundation of Strathcona County and the other as an author for Dream Write Publishing.

With many interactive displays to try out and lots to see we will have a busy day. Come and see for yourself. The event is free.

Arts Days


If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door. Milton Berle

Success is where preparation and opportunity meet. Bobby Unser

If a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade. Tom Peters.



Write about a time you took advantage of a situation.

The Devil is in the Details: On Descriptive Writing

September 24, 2014

reblogThe devil is in the details – how do you balance too much & too little to ensure your readers continue to read but enjoy the journey?

The Daily Post

We often hear that we should “show, not tell” — that we should paint a detailed picture for our reader that lets them see what’s happening, rather than simply narrating.

Easier said than done! All details are not created equal: some detail throws a barrier between the reader and your story, and some detail is (ironically) not detailed enough. How do you tell whether a detail helps or hurts? Here are four things to keep in mind when you’re writing descriptively, and some writers who illustrate them perfectly.

Good detail is relevant.

Including every detail is the written equivalent of your friend who can never get to the point of a story because he can’t remember if it happened on Tuesday or Wednesday, or if it was 1 PM or 2 PM, or if the car was red or blue. Good detail is relevant to the point of your post.

Writer beware! Not…

View original post 1,017 more words

Word on the Street, Lethbridge Review…

September 22, 2014

web logo banner

As writers and authors in the business of selling and gaining interest for our work, we attend many events. Some are local but others have a wider audience and scope. This is true of Word on the Street, which is hosted in various cities across Canada. The event gives authors the opportunity to expand their reach to new readers and I was only too happy to accept an invitation from my publisher, Dream Write Publishing, when the offer was made to attend the event in Lethbridge. It meant travelling over five hours to the venue but there was the added bonus of meeting another writing group that we communicate with, The River Bottom Writers, so a four day weekend was planned.

road trip 3

We took the scenic route from Edmonton to Lethbridge to enjoy the mountains and arrived early evening on Friday. After settling in, Linda and I took advantage of a mutual writing obsession and wrote for several hours.

Saturday morning we met up with members of the writing group for one of their routine meetings. It is always a pleasure to share your writing journey with others and discuss theirs. There followed another few hours of writing back at the hotel, working on projects and submitting articles. We broke for a late lunch and explored the river valley and trails in glorious sunshine.


Sunday morning we were up for an early breakfast and I rehearsed my reading of a chapter from Ockleberries to the Rescue. I was scheduled to read in the Kids Corner tent at 11.40 am. We arrived just after 8 am so we could park near the venue and unload the boxes and display items easily. The volunteers were busily setting up tables, signs and chairs.

tents are up

Once we had signed in and received our exhibitor tags, we unloaded the books and began organizing our table display. With so many books published under Dream Write Publishing, it was a work of art to have all of them easily seen! Once we were happy with how the table looked we could sit back and watch fellow vendors arrive (we had 2 hours to wait until the official opening!) I took a walk around the venue and found the tent I would be reading in and ‘tested’ it out for size. At the entrance to the library it was a perfect site for library and venue visitors alike.

DWP table 8 footWOTS Sept 14 set up

We had a steady stream of interested visitors to our table either to buy books or discuss publishing with Linda. At my allotted time, I took the microphone in the kid’s tent and enthralled my young audience with the first chapter of Ockleberries to the Rescue – Swift the Fox. (Pre-orders at

Ready for the crowds

With any publication it is important to continue to promote them, even if you have subsequent publications requiring exposure. I read from Ockleberries but I also took my plush toy, Rumble with me from Rumble’s First Scare; not just because he enjoys all the attention he gets at these events but for my annual Rumble coloring contest. I handed out 30 entry sheets and Rumble was a great focus of attention for many – children and adults alike.

WOTS Sept 2014

WOTS set up Sept 2014

Rumble displaying his winner’s prizes – a custom made hat or a T-shirt for the coloring competition.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable trip and one I’m more than happy to do again.

Happy writing everyone and share your words no matter – near or far.

Update: Rumble made the Global news – 1.32 on timeline -

Stories That Stay With You…

September 19, 2014

I read with interest this article regarding Lord of the Flies by William Golding’s hand written manuscript. This story has stayed with me for decades not just because of the subject matter but how the author developed the characters with such exquisite detail. It is a testament to Golding’s skill that the book is famous and referred to in numerous classrooms.

This is the article:


 Did you read it for school or later?

Has the story stayed with you?

What other books have left a lasting impression on you?

For me there is Stig of the Dump, Hiawatha, Wind in the Willows, and Jack & Jill and the Friendly Badger (this lead to a night visit to a badger sett when I was a child – an incredible experience) HiawathaStig_Dump


jack & JillWhat is your favorite?

Do you still have the original book?  I do have Hiawatha – it was first prize for a drawing competition in primary school…no I’m telling how long ago that was!






My hope is my delightful story of two woodland sprites and their animal friends in Ockleberries to the Rescue ( will give children the same sort of pleasure and lasting memories.


Book cover


“They used to call me Piggy!'” – William Golding, Lord of the Flies, Ch. 1

“He began to dance and his laughter became a bloodthirsty snarling.”
– William Golding, Lord of the Flies, Ch. 4

“‘Maybe there is a beast….maybe it’s only us.'”
– William Golding, Lord of the Flies, Ch. 5


Today’s prompt: Write a description of your favorite childhood story adn why you love it.



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