Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Wordsmith Collective Thursday – Xmas Book Events

December 1, 2022
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At this time of year there is a multitude of events which could fill our calendars. The chance to meet readers in person and to sell books for Christmas gifts is a pleasure. Explaining how our stories developed, what we know about the characters and their journey and how we hope the story transports our readers is a special opportunity.

Even if sales are slow, you have reached readers you would not otherwise have met and that is worth your time. On the flip side you may have the opposite ‘problem’ and run out of books to sell. This is where a business card with your links on it are a bonus. Hand them out and let people know your books are available at other places, such as bookstores, libraries and online. You might not get that immediate sale, but there is potential for sales another time.

With so many events on the same weekends, it is difficult to know which one(s) to attend. It is a lottery of sorts. Even if an event doesn’t have super traffic, it is still an opportunity to connect with other authors and artisans. The bonus being you pick up some individually crafted items, rather than from a box store or retail.

I was so happy to find a ladder planter for my deck and a beautiful Xmas decoration at the last event I attended.

How do you pick which event to attend?

Bibliophile Tuesday Collective – Reading Challenge Update

November 22, 2022
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Even though I am in the throws of the November writing challenge – National Novel Writing Month and as I write have surpassed the 37,000 mark, I do still read. This is for the Goodreads reading Challenge! Seems like there challenges all the way around at the moment, revolving around the written word.

This is my new total for book reading for 2022. I know some people have vastly larger numbers, and some less. It is not the number we are chasing, but the joy of reading stories. As you know I have an eclectic taste and read a variety of genres. You will see that of the five books in the illustration only one is a big name – my hero, of course, Stephen King. I will read his latest book before anything else once it is available. The other book are all from authors who live in Alberta. These are my contemporaries and I am always keen to read their work, but also support them by purchasing their books.

I will be adding to this list with my current read. An author whom I connected with through Facebook. I have interviewed her on this blog a couple of times too.

What have you read this month? What book are you most excited to read next?

Do you have local authors you support?

Wordsmith Collective Thursday – Panster & Planster NaNoWriMo Challenger

November 17, 2022
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I am a panster for the majority of my writing, and am unapologetic because of it. There is always so much time once the story has been set free on the page, for editing and revision.

However, as my current NaNoWriMo project is the third book in The Delphic Murders – Killer’s Match, and is the culmination of the series, I find myself re-reading the other two manuscripts to ensure ‘loose ends’ are tied up, descriptions of vital elements are the same and cross referencing is correct. In other words, this means I am in the realm of a planster too.

The idea for this crime trilogy came fully formed several years ago. Of course, when the idea stuck I did not fully understand the complexity of such a writing project. It has been a steep learning curve, with research into writing a three book plot arc and the individual plotting of each book, it’s characters and locations. The books are set in Red Deer, Calgary and Edmonton respectively – The Elusive Trail, The Tainted Search and Killers Match.

At the time of writing my November total is 27, 811 so half way there with a small lead. I will be utilizing a couple of vacation days to press forward with the manuscript to ensure I make the goal before the 30th November.

Let me know how your challenge is going, which genre your are writing, and the title.

Happy writing.

Bibliophile Collective Tuesday – A New Free Library and a Bookstore Evening

November 15, 2022
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On Friday I discovered another free library. This one is dedicated to a school principal, which is a wonderful idea. Unfortunately, there was no protective door, even though there are hinges for one, so I’m hoping the books are taken inside soon. I gifted copies of Life in Slake Patch and The Rython Kingdom for it’s readers.

Four author friends and I went to Daisy Chain Book Co in Edmonton on Saturday night. Our gracious host and bookstore owner, Brandi, was very accommodating and had set out display tables and chairs. As you can imagine having access to a whole bookstore was too tempting. We may write books, but we are also voracious readers! Purchases were made.

I am continuing with the November writing challenge and as of November 12th my total was 22,531words. The third book in the crime series is, of course, the culmination of the trilogy series. It is exciting to create the investigation, the missteps and ultimately the resolution.

Author Interview – Verna McKinnon

November 10, 2022
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It is my pleasure to welcome back a fellow author to my blog. Verna has been here before, but today we celebrate her newest novel, The Bastard Sorceress.

Since your last interview, how has your writing life changed?
I’ve learned to go with the flow. I’ve survived and found new publishers for my fantasy novels when my
previous publishers stopped publishing. It’s happened to me more than once too! But I’ve been lucky to
find new publishers willing to take me on. It’s a tough business, and small presses suffer the most.
Other than that, I’m still a mad writer who drinks pots of tea and keeps a package of emergency cookies
on hand when I create my tales. I’m focused in details of story, world, and characters. I put together
book bibles for each novel that are very detailed about every aspect of story, world, and people in in. I
still have plans on becoming the next princess of heroic fantasy. Just give me time.


What have you learned about your craft of writing?
I learned I have a knack for three things-creating good dialogue, great characters, and giving my
characters good names. It’s a gift I’m grateful for.


Would you ever write in another genre?
I love fantasy, but would love to dive into science fiction, especially some space opera.


What inspired you to write about Sabine Fable in your latest novel?
A new character I’ve never done before. I love my heroines, and they always lead my tales. With Sabine
Fable, I wanted to explore a character who suffered a rough home life and poverty, but was determined
to rise above what society dictated. I added real human elements in this tale of magic, and created flesh
and blood characters with more depth.


What characteristics does she have that make her a force to be reckoned with?

A tough upbringing can make a tough character. Her heart is good, but she is fierce and protective of
those she loves. She does not trust easily. She champions the underdog because she is one of them. Her
family once had magic, but mage fever took that away. She was a bastard, and judged for her low birth.
Magic is currency in her world, and mages rule. Even humble charm caste has respect. She had none.
Sabine is hungry for more than magic. She wants justice and to be treated with respect. She wants
people to see her. And yet she would never betray a friend or family member for what she desires.


Which author would you most like to meet and why?

There are so many! Many of my favorites have passed (Ray Bradbury, Tanith Lee, Robert E. Howard,
Patricia McKillip). Neil Gaiman is one of many on my list. I did have the joy of meeting Tanya Huff (so
awesome), Kevin J., Anderson, and the great Larry Niven at conventions. I would love to meet Jennifer
Roberson someday. At least she is my Facebook friend. As are you, Mandy.


With several series of books, are you planning more?
Yes, but with publishers rising and falling around me over the years, I plan to be more careful. Even if I
plan a series, I will do each novel as a stand-alone. I am working on the second novel to Bardess of
Rhulon, called War Poet. But I am writing my novels from that perspective.

Has a movie or TV show inspired any of your stories?
Some of the actors in favorite shows or movies I may be inspired by. Some of my characters are drawn
from well-known actors.


What aspect of writing do you like the most?

The power to create my own worlds and stories. Yes, I am a goddess who rules her worlds.

Where can readers find your books?
Amazon has all my novels, available in both print and Kindle. My books are also on Barnes& Noble
online. And my new publisher (for Bardess of Rhulon & The Bastard Sorceress) TANSTAAFL Press.

Bio:

Verna McKinnon is a fantasy author of adventurous heroines. She is the author of the novels, The Bastard Sorceress, The Bardess of Rhulon, Gate of Souls & Tree of Bones. Fantasy is her genre of choice, though she has some science fiction in the works. Check in with her at her website. You can also read some of her previously published short stories at her website http:// vernamckinnon.com. Stay in touch by subscribing to email list at http://vernamckinnon.com/newsletter.html for her quarterly newsletter for news & updates. Follow Verna on Instagram @ vernamckinnon.author & Facebook for the latest on her writing life as a fantasy author, animal lover, and how she stays sane despite the odds. Chocolate helps.

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