Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – How Do You Choose Which Book To Read Next?

November 24, 2020
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I finished Eeny Meeny in record time, it was one of those books you couldn’t put down. Hence my review:

Absolutely riveting! I didn’t see the culprit coming. Well written and structured. A fast paced, who done it. A real page turner.

I have moved onto another detective book, to continue my detective/crime research. It is The Secret Place by Tana French. Her style is completely different to M.J. Arlidge that’s for sure.

As always I still have a good pile of books on my TBR pile as you can see above. I’m unsure which one I will choose when I finish Tana’s novel.

Do you have a system to your TBR pile? Is it alphabetically, by genre or just what catches your eye first? Or do you lay them out, mixed them up and pick one, making it a surprise?

I would love to know your method.

In the meantime, at the time of writing, I am almost at the NaNoWriMo goal of 50,000 words. As I write this morning, I am at a tantalizing word count of 48352, so today I will reach the goal but certainly not the end of the novel. That will take at least another 20,000 words.

Please feel free to ask me about my novels, my writing process, how I create my imaginary worlds and characters. Or anything regarding the books of mine you have read. I am always happy to answer questions.

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – NaNoWriMo Writing Sprints & Doubts

November 5, 2020
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Yes, it is NaNoWriMo month and there is the usual flurry of activity. Pre-planning, devising ideas, questioning if you should do it or not and the encouragement of the writing community. As I said before this year’s NaNo, for me, has me delving into an unknown genre and the start of a trilogy.

I have booked every Monday off work in November to allow myself extra time to write. This doesn’t normally happen but without the option of taking vacations, this year due to COVID19, I thought my best use of my days would be short writing retreats and extra time in November.

My first writing day, Sunday, was a super day. I had the house to myself, apart from the dogs, so indulged in writing for most of the day. Apart from several dog walks, and the occasional snack! My total for the day was 14,558. And at the time, I was super happy with that.

However, the next day doubts began to creep in. Had I given too many clues or sited too many suspects within those 14K words? This halted my writing. Should I re-start or continue? As we all know NaNo writing is just the first draft of a manuscript, so I shook off the doubts and returned to the story. Last night’s total was 16,951.

I may have to dissect this novel in the New Year, but for now I will enjoy the journey my characters are taking me on.

Are your participating in NaNoWriMo? What is your project?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – The Start of a Short Story

October 20, 2020
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One of the exercises I find helpful as well as fun is using picture or word prompts to create a story (sometimes a poem). I recently chose a made up place name as the genus of an idea. The name was Fiddletown. The exercise is to write something in a limited time frame, around 10 minutes.
Some of these prompts have become full blown novels. This particular one is certainly one I made use at a later date. It sparked such a clear image for me.

I hope you like the beginnings of a story.

Hidden in the depths of the mountains, a small town flourishes. It is populated by beings of short stature with six fingers on each hand. Their ancestors escaped persecution from other people decades before. Safe now, they exist as hunters and gatherers existing in a solitary environment. Until, that is a couple of exploring mountaineers happen across the town.

This causes fear and consternation as well as an ethical question. Should they hide, locking everything up and hope the men think the town deserted, or run into the higher forest and wait them out or murder the two men? Whatever they do will alert the outside world…

Would you like to read the story? What do you think they decide?

I enjoyed a writing retreat from Friday to Monday in Crowsnest Pass. We watched the mountains slowly disappear as the snow arrived. Cozy in our cabin, with dogs, books and wine.

With a long weekend I managed to finish one book and read another. Here are my reviews.

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

Fabulously written. Gripping to the end, with you guessing (incorrectly most of time!) who the guilty party was. A web of lies hold four friends captive for decades until a three word text brings them together.
A seriously good read.

City of Dream by Suzanne Burkett

A great story of secrets, hidden memories and love. A very enjoyable read. Suzanne has created a wonderful world in this novel.

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Nature at Thanksgiving & DIY

October 13, 2020
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I trust those who celebrate it enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving. Here in Alberta we enjoyed a chilly and windy long weekend but every day without the ‘white stuff’ is a good day. So no complaining here.

We decided to enjoy nature this weekend and travelled on Saturday to Miquelon Lake Provincial Park. We walked the trail to the beach and kept to ourselves as there were families hosting outside Thanksgiving get togethers! Then , as always, took various back roads to explore.

The first trail off the beaten track was a game bird sanctuary and we found evidence of a busy beaver!

We also visited Kingman the Lutefisk capital of Alberta. Not knowing what lutefisk was we looked it up. A lutefisk is a Swedish delicacy. It is a dried stockfish (normally cod or ling) that has been brined in lye, soaked to remove the resulting caustic solution, and then steamed until it flakes. The end result looks and feels gelatinous. Traditionally, it is served with warm cream or butter sauce and enjoyed with copious amounts of beer. Not sure I will be sampling it though.

I completed a project on Sunday, I have been meaning to do. Updating the bathroom cabinet. I am pleased with the soft green and new handles – gone are the drab wood doors.

Having enjoyed Miquelon Lake so much on Saturday, we returned to walk around the lake. A brisk 45 minute walk but so worth it. We encountered a squirrel who calmly sat watching us and the dogs and never ran off.

Then it was homeward bound and an unusual sight. A beaver lodger with its own satellite dish! I kid you not. I need to write a little story about this. Which channels do you think they watch?

Wordsmiths Collective Thursday – Change in Writing Technique

October 8, 2020
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When I was struggling to find a concept for NaNoWriMo this year, out of the blue an idea came to mind. Now this, in itself, is not unusual because we all know it happens. However, it was not only the genre that surprised me but the fact the idea formulated as a three book series!

The genre is a detective/crime, something I have not tackled before. Although, I have written in various genres, it is normal for the story to come first and then the genre becomes apparent as I write. This is the complete opposite and makes it an exciting prospect. The idea formulated around three main characters and a common adversary across three books.

The other surprise was that I easily began planning each book – another first for me the self proclaimed free flow writer. I am not sure why this change in technique came about but it will certainly play a big part in this new project.

Whether we plan in detail or go with the flow, there is no right or wrong way to write – we all do it differently, which results in the uniqueness of our narratives.

Has your writing technique changed over time?

Do you plan or free flow your stories?

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