Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

How to turn a Complex Story into a Simple Synopsis

April 18, 2015

Great advice on creating a synopisis

Drew Chial

1. Profile A lot things go into telling a simple story

My least favorite type of writing has always been summarizing. Whether I was pitching a screenplay or a synopsis for a book, I got too concerned about what producers and publishers were looking for. I hated whatever I put on paper. It felt like I was cutting out the tastiest parts to make it palatable, misrepresenting the material by packaging it for mass appeal.

When my screenwriting professor videotaped the pitch for my first script, I ranted for twenty minutes. This was no elevator pitch. The lift for the tallest building in the world doesn’t take that long to get to the top. I had to lower my time to two minutes or less.

Since then I’ve learned the memorization techniques I needed to keep myself on task and how to select the parts of my story that were worth focusing…

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Guest Post by Yohana Petrovic: The Best Free Tools to Improve your Writing

April 13, 2015


Nicholas C. Rossis

Freelance writer and blogger, Yohana Petrovic contacted me with an idea for a post describing four tools that can help you become a better writer. Enjoy!

The best free tools to improve your writing skills!

The art of writing is a combination of language, technical skills and creativity. The language and technical aspects of your writing include elements such as grammar and proofreading. However, grammar is an area from which you can learn every day. The command over grammar is like the electricity powering your computer: you will need that power every day to create polished content.

The creativity aspect of your writing includes the major element, which is your uniqueness – ‘your style of writing’. Hence, there are categories such as fiction writer, resume writer, copywriter, content writer and so on.

If you have just begun your writing career, then give it a minimum of 3-6 months to understand…

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An Interview with Craig Boyack…

April 9, 2015


What inspired you to write your first book?

I started writing in the 1980s, but gave it up for family and fun. Then I got bored one winter, at 48 years of age, plus I had technology that surpassed anything in the 1980s. This one is a trunk novel today. It was a western steampunk story with ice age mammals running around.

My newest book is called Will O’ the Wisp. It’s the story of a teenage girl coming face to face with an ancient family curse.


How did you come up with the title?

Will O’ the Wisp is a natural phenomenon, that has become a cryptid. It is a mysterious floating light. People all over the world made up legends about them, so I did too.

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

My first two novels are trunk novels that nobody will ever see. I have five books available on Amazon.

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

I can firmly answer no. I read to escape, and believe there are others out there like me. My stories are pure entertainment.

How much of the book is realistic?

The story takes place in the 1970s, and I went to great lengths to make sure it was an accurate reflection. (Anyone remember Quisp cereal, Montgomery Wards, International Harvester?) my main character, Patty, is fifteen. She has a love/hate relationship with her mother. She also has to face a few teenage coming of age moments. That part is realistic.

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

They are not. I created the characters and tried to really get into them.


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

I’m sure every author would. I believe there is a time to stop picking at it and set it free. I’m very happy with this story, and the reviewers appear to be too.

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

This story is suitable for young adults. Not all of my tales are, but your own teenagers can enjoy this one too.


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

I’m really happy with the climax in this one. It stitched together some supernatural elements with a coming of age moment and a big dose of fear. It just worked out really well.

What is your favorite theme/genre to write?

I write speculative fiction, and don’t limit myself to one corner. My stories are science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. Will O’ the Wisp is a paranormal story.

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

We never really think about it, but if a topic doesn’t interest me I won’t force a story. There are too many things that do interest me to worry about it.

Wild Concept

What book are you reading now?

As I type this, I’m between books. I have Beginning of a Hero, by Charles Yallowitz up next on my iPad. I may start it by the time this posts. I just finished Maplecroft by Cheri Priest.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Yes, and I’m loathe to name names. If I forget someone, I’ll hurt someone’s feelings. These are all indie authors, and I’m really cheering for them.

Do you see writing as a career?

In some kind of dream world, sure. The realities of the 21st Century are that I have a full time job. An FTJ with paid vacation, insurance, and retirement.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Hopefully, continuing to do the things I love. At 64 I expect to still be working, and putting out books.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

There is a huge learning curve here. I learn and adapt, just like anyone else. It’s part of what appeals to me about writing. Perfection cannot be attained, only improvement.

Have you ever hated something you wrote?

No. I like everything I’ve ever written. I’m a better writer today than I once was, but I still like my characters and stories.

What book do you wish you had written?

Jurassic Park.

What is your best marketing tip?

I wish I had one. Marketing is just so foreign to me. I think the best thing I can do is to write my next book. There is stability in volume, provided the product is good.

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

My next book is another paranormal piece with science fiction spicing. It’s about social media gone horribly wrong.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

I released Will O’ the Wisp yesterday, (as I’m typing this out). I’d rather focus on that. I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written so far. I’d really appreciate it if your readers would check it out.

How do we find your books, blog and bio?

Follow my blog:

Check out my novels here:


On Goodreads:

Will O’ the Wisp can be found at these sites:

Northern American Continent

Rest of the world

Thank you for the invitation, Mandy. It was a pleasure answering your questions. I’ll make sure to surf back through and participate in the comments.

Tony Duxbury Interview…

April 6, 2015

My beautiful picture


Until quite recently I couldn’t afford to buy new books. As I read fast it would be too expensive, so I have had to do with secondhand books or swaps. Because of that I’ve read some really bad stuff and after I’d been encouraged by some others to try writing I thought ‘why not, I’ve read a lot of dross that has been published, why can’t someone publish mine?’ Great idea! In the end I had to publish it myself.

Jojo Smith ebook cover

Books that start with ‘The Adventures of…’ always seemed to me like schoolboy comics and as my novel is a tongue-in-cheek romp I decided to use that title to help convey the idea.

This is the very first book that I wrote. There are five others that are finished, but unpublished.

I have never written with the intension of sending any message or great truth, but I have noticed that all my main characters go through changes and that seems to be a common thread in my work.

In only one of my novels have I tried to stick to the real world and that was because it is a straight novel. In a couple, although they are fantasy, the setting is in the real world and I hope that I have made the characters realistic.

My characters are figments of my imagination, but my main characters are based on the characteristics of people that I have known throughout my life. Ordinary people in general.

I wouldn’t change anything in my book, except to make it longer, but it is probably long enough as it is.

I don’t think that I have anything specific to say to readers (I don’t have any at the moment!) My novels are for entertainment, nothing else.

My favorite part of the book, apart from writing ‘the end’ is the beginning where I set the scene for the rest of it.

Romance is something I don’t think I will attempt. I can do lust, but that’s all.

I have just finished Joe Abercrombie’s Before They Are Hanged.


Yes. I don’t know how ‘new’ they are, but I’ve enjoyed their books. Since I’ve had a kindle I’ve read some great books by Scott Lynch (fantasy), Aric Davis (paranormal), Jonathan Pidduck (humor fantasy), Thomas Hoover (historical fiction), Joe Abercrombie (sword and sorcery) and Chis Gray, who wrote Shadlowland. Since I sent Chris an email about his Arthurian Legend novel we have kept in touch, as we found that we have shared life experiences.

My dream is to become a full time writer and live off it as a career, but it seems to be taking a long time. I started writing over twenty-five years ago!


Hopefully as an established writer with a following and entertaining people all over the world with my stories (fingers crossed)

Apart from my spelling and grammar? Yes, trying to my make the characters sound true to life from the point of view of the reader.

I have never hated anything that I have written. There was one book that I attempted and got about halfway through then abandoned because I was disappointed with my efforts, but that has only happened once.

There are many books that I wish I’d been the author of, but the most prominent is the Lord of the Rings. It was one of the first fantasy novels that I’d ever read and it just knocked my socks off. Since then I have read many books that I would consider just as good, but that one is always the first that springs to mind.

Since is my first venture into marketing my work I’m still learning as I go along and so I don’t have any tips to give anyone.

The next project is my second book. It is finished, but I’m revising and cleaning it up at the moment. It also needs a cover. It is a slow process, as life seems to keep getting in the way. I’m more interested in promoting my first and getting it noticed than thinking about the second.


You can find my book on Amazon Kindle:

There is also a paperback version on Createspace and through  An audio excerpt can be found on:



Writing Desk Update..

April 4, 2015

We all have a writing area of some sort. Although, some are fortunate to have a study or specified room for writing, others, like myself, have adapted part of a room. As I am presently re-reading Stephen King’s marvelous, On Writing, I thought an updated view of my writing space was in order. My initial ‘space’ was the seldom used dining room table. As you can see I have extended my dedicated space somewhat.

This first photo shows neat shelving…which soon increased with a larger unit. As well as carry-all’s for transporting books and promotional items to events and author readings.


Desk 2015

Inspiration wall has to be updated as well with two NaNoWriMo certificates. I just need to buy the frames and hang them up.


One such reading was at The Bookworm in Sherwood Park. I loved the promotional poster.Mett the Author

What changes have you made to your writing space? Care to share?

Blog at