Category Archives: Book review

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

As many of you know I love prompts, as they inspire and refresh the Muse. At my last writing meeting our prompt was: you find a box underneath your seat on a train. This was my response.

Box of Resource

My ankle struck a sharp edge and I let out a cry. Rubbing my bruised skin I noticed the brass hinge of a box wedged underneath the train carriage seat. After a couple of tugs to free the object, it was revealed as an old wooden box with elaborate brass hinges and decoration on all sides as well as the top. It was a woodland scene with an inset of silver representing the moon through an arch of gnarly trees. I tried the clasp but it was locked. I looked under the seat again hoping to find a key but only found a discarded piece of chewing gum and several wrappers sticky with candy.

I place the box on the tabletop and turned it this way and that admiring the workmanship. When I lifted it and shook it there was a gentle knocking sound. Something heavy was inside, but what? The guard came walking towards me and asked for my ticket, I produced it and he clipped a hole into it.

“That’s a beautiful box; a lot of work went into that I’m sure.”

“Yes it is lovely isn’t it?”

Once he left I wondered why I hadn’t revealed that the box was not actually mine. Pushing the box to one side I organized my space, backpack beside me, a novel on the table with a bottle of juice and a sandwich. Traveling at night is much more relaxed and not so crowded.

I read for a while and must have dozed off because a gentle shaking of my shoulder woke me.

“You have the box.”

I looked at the man confused at his words as my sleepy mind tried to become fully awake.

“I’m sorry, what?”

“The box of resource, there in front of you, I was not expecting a messenger.”

The man’s words did not make sense but he smiled kindly at me. He lifted the box and put it into a large canvas bag. As he turned away I asked

“What is the box of resource? I found it underneath this seat. I’m not a messenger.”

“Ah, I see that explains your confusion. It contains an ancient scroll that must be returned to the Vatican. It holds the…well I must not delay you.”

He looked up alarmed, turned and exited the train at a run along the platform. I so wanted to follow him but by the time I had packed my backpack he was nowhere in sight. My only clue -he was going to the Vatican. Well Rome is the city I will be living in for the next four years so maybe I will find him again and he will tell me what the box contains.

Why not write a short story using this prompt and share in the comments?

Books: I am enjoying this narrative as it is set in two time periods, like my novel, The Twesome Loop. The characters are well rounded and the ‘discoveries’ are intriguing.

A Desperate Fortune

Writing Tips:

Break writing rules with intention.

As Pablo Picasso so wisely said, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break the rules like an artist.”

There are times to stick to the rules, and there’s those times to think beyond them … in any kind of writing.

What ‘rules’ have you broken?

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

I did manage to increase the word count on my new YA novella to just over 18,000 and will further increase it tonight as I have a couple of hours in the library prior to a Board meeting. The story took a surprising turn so I am following it, wondering where it will end. I am toying with the idea of a new title – Bubble the Gruggle – is good but maybe too childish for a YA. We will see.

With two events coming in the next couple of weeks I need to be prepared for displays and readings. Choosing excerpts of a book can be problematic but I have found that if you gauge them to your known audience at the event it is slightly easier.

How do you choose an excerpt to read?

One event – Word on the Street is in Lethbridge which will entail a road trip – always a favorite past time and will allow more writing time, never a bad thing.

WOTS2017

Books:

Mind of the Phoenix

My review:
I had to finish this book last night so into the midnight hour I went…
Jamie has created a world of intrigue, mystery and suspense in this novel. The relationship between Moira and Keenan had me guessing and hoping.
A world of empaths and blockers, and strict social distinctions is beautifully weaved within and around the story. Great world building by Jamie.
This is a novel I highly recommend and can’t wait to read to next installment.

A Desperate Fortune

I’m already entranced by this novel’s story set in two time periods.

Writing Tips:

lyon

 Always get an outside edit.

Whether it’s a novel or a blog post, sometimes we get trapped in our own ideas, and the grand vision clouds our ability to see the actual words on the page.

So work your vision and polish it up as much as you can … but then, get feedback from someone else whose editorial judgment you respect.

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

As this past weekend was a long weekend here in Alberta I made good use of the time to mock-up my display for Words in the Park. As I now have five books to promote I had to decide on how best to give each one a ‘showcase spot’ without making my tables too crowded. The first table is for my two children’s books, Rumble’s First Scare and Ockleberries to the Rescue and my YA novella, Clickety Click. I do have ‘props’ for these books so reduced the displays a little. I have other promotional items as well but will keep them to a minimum. This is the kid’s table.

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I bought coloured card to stick summaries of each book to reflecting the book cover colours, I think it gives them a more professional look? For Ockleberries I am using a handmade ‘door’ I found in an artisan store and have animal figurines reflecting some of the creatures in the narrative. For Clickety Click I found a couple of ‘claws’ in the Halloween section and stuck them to a card above the book. And lastly, for Rumble’s First Scare the soft toy I made of Rumble. He is always very popular with the kids and adults alike!

Promotional items include Rumble pins, toques, T-shirts and bookmarks, Ockleberries has animal quizzes for the kids and Click has specially made toques and ‘monster’ colouring pages.

click hatWOTS set up Sept 2014

For the adult books I found a really nice tablecloth, which is gold in colour. This reflects the golden beast in The Rython Kingdom and the golden light of Italy for The Twesome Loop. The Rython has bookmarks and a glowing orb, which is in the narrative. For The Twesome Loop as it is my book launch I purchased a table easel and have made a larger summary page for it. I will make bookmarks as well. My next task is to make up a draw basket, which will include a signed copy. As the narrative is set in England and Italy I will have to select items carefully. I will probably use a couple of balloons to attract people to my table as well.

The display still needs work but this is the mock-up. I have to wait for the physical books of The Twesome Loop but should have them soon.

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Books:  I have been rather busy so have not finished this novel although should do this week. I’m really enjoying the characters and the author keeps me guessing who is the perpetrator.

Mind of the Phoenix

My friend, Marilyn gave me a lovely book, which is next on my TBR pile.

A Desperate Fortune

What are you reading?

Do you have a particular genre you enjoy?

Writing Tips:

Keep it simple.

It’s easy for your message to get buried in the language. So speaking of revisions, one of the best tools in your review toolbox is always the question, “Can this sentence be simplified?”

If it can be simpler, make it simpler.

Use adjectives and adverbs sparingly.

Regardless of what you’re writing, verbs are your power words. Make them do your heavy lifting, and keep the lightweight descriptors like adjectives and adverbs scarce.

Do you have a  writing tip to share?

 

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

Although I did escape with my friend, Linda for a mini break over the weekend, I did not get around to writing for me. We spent time organizing for our Words in the Park event and the launch of our writing group’s Canada 150 book project. Working together is easy and productive, we work well as a team.

Words in the Park – Saturday 30th September 10:00 am – 4:00 pm- Spark Gallery, Sherwood Park. 

Web site banner WitP 2017_0

We did, however enjoy an afternoon of history at the Fort Normandeau, where we were taught some Cree words around a fire pit. Then a wander through the fort itself and conversed with the chickens! Then onto the Kerry Wood Nature Center and a 1 km walk to the viewing/duck hide. Ducks, mostly bottoms up and two greater yellow-legs. A tour of the center – bookstore, gallery and nature discovery. 

 

 It was good to recharge the batteries, so to speak and I returned home refreshed.

 

Books:  My review: 

Santa writes with eloquent descriptions giving the reader a perfect tapestry of place and character. Her characters are well structured, engaging and keep the reader intrigued until the end. Woven between England and Italy this novel gives a taste of life in these two places and the struggle of their inhabitants. I highly recommend this book, it was a joy to read.

The Mermaid Garden

Already enjoying the intricacies of this story! And have just found out there is a sequel launching.

mind-of-the-phoenix

Writing Tips:

I wrote about how stress can have a profound effect on your writing here: https://mandyevebarnett.com/2015/11/16/stress-blocks-creativity/

https://goinswriter.com/how-to-overcome-writers-block/

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/7-ways-to-overcome-writers-block

What do you do to overcome the ‘block’?

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

I took a leap of faith this week and submitted a manuscript to a major movie company, requesting manuscripts. It is the first time I have succumbed to this kind of call – so fingers crossed something comes of it!

Have you sent a manuscript for a movie script call? How did it turn out?

I have been asked by an author friend to review her upcoming novel – release date 1st Sept – looking forward to the narrative. It is always such a glimpse into a writer’s mind when you read their work.

My YA story is coming along and the ‘new’ direction that ‘popped’ into my head feels right for the narrative. It will give the young readers a glimpse at what they can do for the environment in a fun way – even though it is set on another planet!

Has an idea emerged for a plot line when you have been writing?

Books:  The intrigue is still captivating me in this story as the characters lives blend in unexpected ways.

The Mermaid Garden

Looking forward to this novel, especially when I have just found out there is a sequel.

Mind of the Phoenix

Writing Tips:

I wrote this post some time ago but it is still relevant. Finding your writers voice isn’t always as easy as it sounds.

https://mandyevebarnett.com/2015/12/07/keeping-your-uniqueness-in-your-writing/

http://www.novel-writing-help.com/writing-voice.html

http://www.well-storied.com/blog/find-writing-voice