Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Finding a New Folklore Character

January 18, 2022
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I am currently reading The Golem and the Jinni – a wonderful book I would recommend if you like fantasy fiction. I have not come across a golem before so did a little research.

I am sure most of us will think of Gollum, the Lord of the Rings character. However, a golem is a different kind of creature all together.

Firstly, the spelling is different, but also the creature itself comes from Jewish folklore. It is an animated anthropomorphic being created entirely from inanimate matter (usually clay or mud). In the Psalms and medieval writings, the word golem was used as a term for an amorphous, unformed material.

As I have always been fascinated in folklore, fairy tales and mystical creatures, I was surprised I had not come across this particular creature before. So it has been added to my collection of great creatures and myths.

I have a couple of books I treasure, which include wonderful creatures. One is Gnomes and the other Fairies.

There are many creatures that can be helpful or harmful to gnomes & fairies, one is a Snotgurgle. Even the name conjures up an image! Yes, he is a nasty beastie.

Do you have a folklore character you would like to share?

Have you discovered a previously unknown fantasy character in a book?

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Holiday Time Writing Tips

December 16, 2021
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We all know that the holiday’s tend to reek havoc on our writing schedule, but there are ways of grabbing writing time. There are always lulls in activities, whether it’s traveling time, the lethargic atmosphere after a meal, or solitary early mornings. You can find somewhere to ‘hide’ away, even if its only for half an hour or so. Here are a few tips to try.

Relax your normal rigorous writing timetable – take time to chill and observe.

Keep track of the number of words you write instead of how long you wrote.

Make the most of “un-scheduled” time – waiting for a flight or sitting in a vehicle en route to a function, at children’s rehearsals, a break for coffee during shopping.

Wake up earlier (or stay up later) than usual to ensure that you spend some time writing.

Decide on a specific amount of time to write and block that time.

Use the time to track your progress on a current project.

Feel comfortable to reflect on your writing plans or current project.

Experiment with prompts, a new genre or a short story.

You’re going to be around a lot of people so pay attention to the interactions and conversations use it as research.

A new location can inspire an new idea or inclusion in a current work.

Always carry a notebook and pen.

Refuse to feel guilty when you remove yourself to write.

Remember it is okay to rest and enjoy the celebrations.

How do you find time to writing during the holidays?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Fall is Rumble Time – The Kid’s Book That Is.

September 28, 2021
mandyevebarnett


With the change to autumn/fall, I begin to think about my little monster, Rumble, and thoughts of Halloween. With the current restrictions, I am unable to hold the annual Rumble’s First Scare colouring contest, which is such a shame. The entries are always so good. As you may (or may not) know this little monster, Rumble, is in his element on All Hallow’s Eve. After all he’s spent all spring and summer in his underground home.

I wanted to create a story about a monster that would not scare children, but in fact, make them love him. The illustrations by Matty McClatchie help with that goal. As you can see he is quite adorable and appeals to children as he is also slimy and has little pets in a bag. When I first published the picture book, I made (with the help of a sewing friend) a plush toy of Rumble for display purposes on my event/sales tables. He was very popular and many children asked if they could take him home. I always told them he was like Tigger – the only one! Several years later, I found online, a company that makes plush toys of your children’s drawings and thought Rumble would be perfect. As you can see the result was very good. Mine on the left, professional on the right. If you are interested this is the link:

You can purchase the book or e-book of Rumble’s First Scare here: It is a perfect gift for younger readers for Halloween or anytime of the year. It can probably dispel monster nightmares too.

As you can imagine I read Stephen King’s latest publication, Billy Summers, in record time. It is not horror, but a tale of a man trying to escape his profession as an assassin and encountering a wealth of people – good and bad – along the way. An unexpected relationship is thrown into the mix and adds to the overall tension and twists and turns in the narrative.

I am now reading: The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel

What are you currently reading? Can you share your thoughts in it?

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Utilizing The Seasons Transition in our Writing

September 23, 2021
mandyevebarnett


As we welcome autumn/fall with its brilliant colour metamorphosis across the landscape, we begin to think of cooler weather and a new space to write. We transition from writing on the deck, in a beach house, or a lakeside cabin to a cozier study or quiet room with a view or flickering fireplace. The seasons affect our mood and in turn our writing. These seasonal changes can also add to our content.

If we are on the cusp of a new project, we can use the crisp mornings and evenings to walk in nature and percolate ideas. We can watch the flames dance in a fire-pit or the leaves dancing on the wind or crunching beneath our feet. Why not take day trips to a wine festival, a corn maze, a pumpkin farm, immerse yourself in the season and its special harvest of smells and sights.

Let your imagination experience this new season and bring your idea to life. Ask yourself what your new project’s genre might be.

  • Is it an autumnal romance?
  • A spooky horror?
  • A ghost story?
  • A contemporary ‘change’ of scene narrative?

If you are in the midst of a project use nature as an example and lose any extraneous content, edit with the thought that the project will be renewed, fresh and improved. It is a reorganization, much like changing your clothing to suit the cooler weather. The autumn/fall scenery can inspire more descriptive language – colour, scents, mood and more.

With the change to autumn/fall, we can utilize the season to promote a book that reflects it. For me, I begin to think about my little monster, Rumble, and his Halloween adventure. I will be looking at a specific promotion for this children’s picture book.

Link:

Do you have a novel that is set in autumn/fall?

Did you write the idea in the autumn/fall season?

What inspired you the most?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Book Title Changes and Kid’s Writing

August 31, 2021
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We have looked at how book covers change from country to country, but how many titles have changed? Do you know?

I have altered a couple of my own titles as the story evolved and a better title came to mind. Initially, when I was writing my YA novella, Creature Hunt on Planet Toaria, the main character, a robotic protector was my focus. The working title was Bubble the Grubble as the initial story concept was for a younger audience. As the narrative formed it was obvious that the story would appeal to an older readership. So I changed the title to reflect that.

The other title, I changed was The Commodore’s Gift. Initially, this story was a writing exercise prompt on a writing retreat, using a random title. I was assigned ‘The Toymaker’ and wrote about Marcus, an exceptional toy-maker, and his capture by the Commodore. The completed story was 7900 words. Although, Marcus is still part of the completed novel, his role is significantly reduced.

Did you know the former titles for these famous novels?

First Impressions Became Pride and Prejudice. All’s Well That Ends Well Became War and Peace. The Un-Dead Became Dracula. The High-Bouncing Lover Became The Great Gatsby.Tomorrow Is Another Day Became Gone with the Wind. The Last Man in Europe Became 1984. The Return of the Shadow Became The Fellowship of the Ring. Strangers from Within Became Lord of the Flies. Second Coming Became ’Salem’s Lot.

Can you add to this list?

I attended an in-person event on Friday, the first since the pandemic began with members of my writing group. It was a local fun day for culture and sport. The main focus was to present the winner’s of our annual children’s writing contest with a book, which included their stories. As you can imagine it was a fun watching these young writers see their writing in a published book. We also promoted the monthly children’s writing workshop, so they can continue writing and improving their skills. Currently, the event is held virtually, so it is not limited to who can attend. Details are on the calendar. https://www.wfscsherwoodpark.com/ The workshops are held the second Thursday of every month. 6.30 pm MST

Do you know a young writer that would be interested?

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