Category Archives: childrens books

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


My week has a mixture of events including a meeting with my client regarding my ghost writing project, the Volunteer Fair on Wednesday and Authors for Indies on Saturday.

Monday evening will be spent reviewing the book draft I have been working on for my client. We will utilize our local library for this meeting. It is such a wonderful space for working, reading and meetings.

Strathcona-1

Wednesday I will be doing double duty at the Volunteer Fair as secretary of my writers group, Writers Foundation of Strathcona County and as President of the Arts & Culture Council of Strathcona County. I was able to request the tables were side by side so that will help!

volunteer fair 2017

Writers Foundation Strathcona County

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On Saturday I will join other local authors for Indies for Authors at the Sherwood Park Bookworm, a wonderful store full of all genres of books and a book readers dream place. I will be reading from 1-2 pm come down and hear wonderful stories, meet the authors and find your next favorite book.

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What events do you have planned? Care to share?

Other events:

blue met

The Blue Metropolis Festival in Montreal, QC, runs April 24–30 with programming for readers of all ages. http://bluemetropolis.org/

ottawa

The Ottawa International Writers Festival takes place April April 27 to May 2, with details still to come. http://www.writersfestival.org/authors/spring-2017

Do you have a local event to share? Put it in the comments.

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


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Writing:

Well my creative writing took a backseat yet again but I did manage the update my ghost writing project and completed my conference presentation so feel pleased there are both completed.

twesome-loop-002

I am co-hosting the senior residence writing group on Thursday so can escape to the library for a couple of hours before to return to The Twesome Loop. Having found a fantastic cover artist I am thinking of a design for the book cover. It will take some careful thinking to make the cover reflect my characters finding their past selves in an Italian villa, that’s for sure.

I did add more story to my ‘extra’ project – yes I know isn’t four manuscripts enough? Well obviously not because my children’s ‘alien planet’ book has been gaining in word count!

As many of you know I am a multi-genre author and my current WIP’s – are all in various stages of completion. They range from cowgirl romance to thriller to reincarnation romance to speculative fiction, added to that the above kids book. Never a dull moment in my brain, I can tell you.

Do you have multiple manuscripts/ideas formulating or clambering for your attention?

Books:

The Faraday Girls by Monica McInerney

faraday

Loved the characterizations in this book, each sister was so unique, so defined. Here is my Goodreads review:

What a wonderful narrative. Lots of characters interacting, conflicts, sibling rivalry and unexpected twists in the plots.
Monica weaves such a artful tale of four sisters brought up by their father – family traditions, a surprise niece/daughter and global travel.
A book I would re-read for sure.

Now onto a book I have been looking forward to. It has started well.

The Other Life by Ellen Meister

The Other Life

Do you have a recommendation for a alternative life, reincarnation or fantasy?

Do you want to hook up on Goodreads? Follow the link on the side bar to my account.

Writing Tips:

Let go of your inner editor. When you sit down to write a draft, refrain from proofreading until that draft is complete.

Proofread everything at least three times before submitting your work for publication.

Print this one out:

You are a writer so own it and say it out loud: “I am a writer.” Whether it’s a hobby or your profession, if you write, then you have the right to this title.

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


events

This week I have several events to attend, firstly my writers foundation Board meeting on Tuesday evening. Our main discussion will the final details for our writers conference later this month on 22nd. It is our eighth conference and we have made this one Canadian themed in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday!  http://www.wfscsherwoodpark.com/node/3090

Conference logo 2017

My second meeting of the week is the Arts & Culture Council’s AGM on Wednesday evening. As President I have to chair the meeting and give an annual review. This will be my first AGM as President so wish me luck!

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Finally I will be reading on Saturday at a local coffeehouse, I will probably read from Ockleberries to the Rescue if there are children present otherwise from The Rython Kingdom. Just need to decide on the sections I will read. I also wrote several little stories for this event as we are giving out ‘story eggs’ to the audience.

sgc reading 15 April

Please share your local events in the comments. Whether near or far.

The Bosun Chair.jpeg

Audrey’s Books, Jasper Avenue, Edmonton

https://www.facebook.com/events/279415175825554/

Register for our conference if you are in the Edmonton area.

Conference logo 2017

My TV interview on Arts Talk…


Talking about my newest YA book, Clickety Click but also my other books too.

So now I’ve actually watched myself on this TV interview (cringe but I don’t think I was too awful!!!) I can share it – go to 11.04 on the time line. I wanted to thank my gracious hosts for inviting me onto the show. It was a lot of fun.

 

Another Albertan Road Trip…Jasper


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Our road trip this weekend actually started early on Thursday morning, 7 am to be precise. We stopped to grab breakfast and made our way to Jasper in the Rocky mountains. A place we have visited before but still has the ability to inspire awe at the magnificence of the mountains. Their ever changing faces in sunshine, cloud, rain or snow make each visit unique.On the road through Jasper National Park we saw these sheep in the middle of the road licking salt, they were not deterred by large trucks honking horns, driving so close we thought they might hit them or these huge vehicles driving around them.

Arriving just after 12.30 pm we set up our table to promote and sell books published by Dream Write Publishing. With so many books already published we could only bring a selection and hoped our choices were relevant for the venue and time of year. Our first sale came only minutes after we had completed our display. A good start to the day! Which concluded with several books being purchased for the Jasper Community Habitat for the Arts gift shop.

habitat-for-the-arts-nov-2016

Once everything was packed up at 5 pm, we went for supper and to check into our hotel. An added bonus was an upgrade to a beautifully appointed and cozy room.

The next morning after breakfast we set up in a most unusual venue, a laundromat and cafe. A first for us. The SnowDome cafe’s friendly staff and customers made our time there enjoyable, connecting, answering questions and a potential client.

snowdome-jasper-nov-18-2016

A celebratory supper at the hotel’s restaurant followed and an added bonus a herd of elk laying on the lawn of the hotel as we walked back to our room. Unfortunately, my cellphone is not good when it comes to taking photos at night. Can you see the bull, his antlers were spectacular and two of the doe’s had tracking collars on them.

The rest of our weekend was ours to do with as we wished. Saturday morning was a leisurely start, takeaway breakfast and a drive to Patricia and Pyramid Lakes. A walk onto the island at Pyramid where the dusting of overnight snow glistened and the water lapped gently. There was ice forming in thin layers on the shore edges and the air was still. Silence prevailed and we stood reveling in the peace of the mountain air as large snowflakes began to fall. It was Christmas card perfect.

Back into Jasper and a browse around a clothing store and then purchases for supper. Then seven hours of writing – a writer’s joy! I edited, revised and added 1000 words to my WIP, The Twesome Loop. With a brief excursion to refresh body and mind mid-afternoon. Once supper was consumed back to writing for a few more hours.

Sunday morning was begun with a leisurely brunch, then a trip to Athabasca Falls. The roar of water, the ice blue of the flow and the cavern walls decorated with huge icicles made this visit a wonderful experience.

It was difficult to leave but leave we did. Back to Jasper for a local crafts fair and then on the road home. We encountered several herds of elk & mountain sheep.

Our trip was successful on so many levels – books sold, connections made, extensive writing completed and nature enjoyed. Can’t wait for the next one!

Writing Prompt Contest –


Something a little different for this week’s prompt using a fairy tale of your choice, write your own spin on it.

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Enjoy this prompt and leave your response in the comments. 1000 words maximum for a short story. Poems can be any length.

A quarterly prize will be given for the most voted for response.

classic-fairy-tales

 

 

Words in the Park 2016 – An Author Event…


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Once again I attended this fantastic event. Part of Alberta Culture days, organized by my writing group, Writers Foundation of Strathcona County and with co-hosts, Arts and Culture Council of Strathcona County. With over thirty authors and a dozen artisans filling the venue as well as an aboriginal fancy dancer, hoop workshop, memoir presentation, African drumming tutorial, live music, children’s activities and author readings, the event offered fun activities for all the family.

I planned my table to display my children’s books at the front with Rumble’s First Scare and soft toy Rumble of course, with hats, T-shirts, bookmarks and pins. Ockleberries to the Rescue had the animal ornaments and the ‘door’ display. Then there was Clickety Click – the day of the launch! I made the exploding planet to attract readers and had special scaly toques made in two shades of purple. The purple table covering also focused the eye as did my purple inspired outfit. To the side I displayed The Rython Kingdom, my fantasy romance, as it is an adult book, with its glowing orb and handmade bookmarks.

This year I created an activity table, which you can see behind me in the photo, with ‘monster’ and Rumble pictures and also animal quizzes. A couple of kids won prizes for their entries, unfortunately I only got a photo of one! She loved her monster slippers.

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It was a successful day and I sold many books and a few toques too. See this lad with his Rumble toque.

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I find the themed displays and merchandise attracts the children’s attention and then I have a chance to explain the books to the children and their parents. I was fortunate to have one Clickety Click book bought by our Mayor who will donate it to a local school.

Another lady purchased two copies of Ockleberries solely on the review she had read in our local paper. She even cut it out and brought it with her.

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I enjoyed participating in the author readings and shared part of Ockleberries to the Rescue – Stump the Woodpecker to be exact.

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To be part of such an event, sharing my words with readers and forging new friendships with other authors further confirms my love for the written word and this select membership that is ‘writer’.

How do you attract people to your author table?

 

My Interview at Joseph D Drumheller – The Five Steps to Create a Children’s’ Book…


Link here: https://josephdrumheller.wordpress.com/2016/08/22/five-steps-to-create-a-childrens-book/

The Five Steps to Create a Children’s’ Book  

Rumble's First Scare

  1. The Idea

This may seem like the easiest part of creating a children’s book – right? Not as easy as first appears as it turns out. Your idea has to convert onto the page in a language that your target audience can understand word usage is vital so take note.

  1. What age group are you writing for?
  2. Will you target pre-schoolers or an older age group?
  3. Will the story contain a moral or lesson?

My children’s picture book, Rumble’s First Scare began life as a prompt for Halloween. I did not want to write the usual monster narrative but something more unusual and fun. So I wrote the story from the young monster’s point of view. Younger children love Rumble and monsters are not so scary.

  1. Finding a Publisher

There are numerous avenues to research when it comes to finding a publisher.

  1. You can follow children’s book agents.
  2. Submit your story to contests with a book contract attached.
  3. Attend conferences and find an interested agent/publisher.
  4. Research local or regional publishing houses and submit your story.

I was fortunate to find a publisher locally and this made my publishing experience a more personally tailored one. Dream Write Publishing did an amazing job and I was part of the process all the way through.

  1. Illustrations

The amount of illustrations is dependent on the age of your target group, the younger the age group the more pictures are required and less text.

  1. If you are a talented artist you can illustrate yourself.
  2. Do you know an artist that will collaborate with you on the project?
  3. Does your publisher offer this service?
  4. There are many artists on social media you can approach.

My Rumble character was the culmination of my imagination and crude drawings and a wonderful artist friend, Matthew McClatchie, who made my idea of what Rumble would look like into reality.

  1. Text

Again the amount of text needs to be balanced for the target age group. For example, if the books are for very young children the text needs to be simple and sparse with great pictures, but for independent readers, illustrations can be on the chapter headers only.

  1. Do you want the story in rhyme form?
  2. Choose simple pronounceable names for your characters.
  3. Wrap the text around the pictures or along the bottom of the page.
  4. Keep exposition to a minimum
  1. Extra Pages
  2. The publisher will require your author bio and a photo
  3. You will create a ‘blurb’ – a brief description of the story – for the back of the book.
  4. If you wish you can have a dedication page.
  5. The publisher will allocate an ISBN and the legal disclaimers and permissions for duplication.

Sharing my little book with friends and family was stupendous. The moment any author is handed their first book is overwhelming emotional. It is the closest an adult comes to childish delight. The reality that your words are now published, that many people will read it and your words will outlive you delighting generations to come is a heady feeling.

After your book is published your work is not done. Promotion becomes your master. Be creative and say ‘Yes’ to any and all opportunities that come your way. The more your book is noticed the more sales.

Mandy and Rumble at SC Summerwood

To promote Rumble I created a soft toy of Rumble, which was so much fun. Once I showed my writing group they all announced I should make miniatures for each book, I declined!  Rumble accompanies me to readings and events and is always popular. As I had a good deal of promotion to manage without sewing into the wee hours, I did commissioned Rumble hats, and ordered T-shirts, which are a lot easier to handle.

Bio:

Mandy@

Always creative, I came to writing later in life. A chance visit to a writing group, Writers Foundation of Strathcona County, propelled me into the written word in a way I could never have imagined. I delve into all genres expanding my writing muscles and with several books published; I am certainly making up for ‘lost’ time. As a free flow writer, my stories lead me rather than the other way round, delighting me with plot twists and turns. Writing is my passion, the source of new found fellowship and most of all fun.

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Contact:

I can be reached through my blog at www.mandyevebarnett.com, on my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Mandyevebarnettcom/ and through Twitter @mandyevebarnett

Annual Colouring Contest:

I arrange an annual colouring competition prior to Halloween for Rumble fans. The picture is in .pdf format and downloaded from my publisher’s website – http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca. Once all entries are in I choose the winners. Prizes include Rumble hats, T-shirts, monster orientated toys and games.

My newest book will be launched this fall – Clickety Click   is a YA monster story. Why do I have a propensity for monsters, I have no idea!

Click crop cover

 

First Lines to Hook Your Reader…


As writers we want to grip our readers from that all important first line. It is not an easy task and can consume our thoughts for days, weeks or even months.

Today I want to share some of my first lines:

TheRythonKingdom

The Rython Kingdom. A romantic adventure set in medieval England.

“He’s coming! He’s coming! Guillem Ruet is here!”

Guillem smiled at the group of children running beside his horse as he rode toward the castle’s drawbridge. Dirty and barefooted, these youngsters would not be lucky enough to hear his newest tale, first hand. That pleasure would be for the inner court alone. It was a strange and most complex tale and all the more mysterious for being made of a dream.

I have introduced the protagonist, where he is and the source of the story’s basis.

OckleberriesToTheRescue

Ockleberries to the Rescue. A children’s chapter book telling the story of magical woodland sprites and their forest animal friends.

Curled into a ball with his bushy red tail across his snout, Swift twitched in his sleep. He helped Tansy the previous evening by dashing to the aid of a rabbit. Now his mind replayed his hurried course through the forest to the sprites home.

Again I have the main characters, their home and their a hint of their adventures.

Working on first lines takes effort and we change them time and again. This is true of my latest novel, Life in Slake Patch. It has been revisited many times in the 10 years since I began writing. It was my first NaNoWriMo and the most I had written up t that point. This year I promised myself I would complete it.

Life in Slake

Life in Slake Patch. A speculative fiction novel of a matriarchy world and one young man’s journey that changes everything.

Jacob’s persuasion for me to look at an extraordinary book had gotten the better of my curiosity. He led the way down the steps into the old library basement. The building, whose very structure of stone blocks was in stark contrast to our log buildings, stood as a relic of a world before the Grand War.

We understand this is not the present age and two people are gripped in a a secret together.

Click crop cover

My next book will be launched on 1st October at a local event called Words in the Park.
Clickety Click. A YA adventure mystery of a young girl who discovers a huge secret, which has astonishing changes for her and those around her.

Its eyes widened as it grew closer and closer to her face. Alice was paralyzed with fear, clutching her bedcovers with white knuckled fingers. The creature’s mauve skin glistened with slime and drops fell onto its spindly pointed claws. Alice opened and closed her mouth willing her voice to sound in the dark bedroom. The claws clicked together as the monster’s jaw opened. Click. Click. Clickety-click.

I have introduced Alice, my protagonist and the cause of her terror.

I read a multiple of genres but some of my favorite first lines are:

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

It was dark where she was crouched but the little girl did as she’d been told. The lady said to wait, it wasn’t safe yet, they had to be quiet as larder mice.

Ferney by James Long.

As he looked for the bones of his long-dead wife, old Ferney came close to death. Caught in the traffic jam that resulted, Gally Martin’s life changed.

The Map of Time by Felix de Palma

Andrew Harrington would have gladly died several times over if that meant not having to choose just one pistol among his father’s vast collection in the living room cabinet. Decisions had never been Andrew’s strong point.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Seebold

My name is Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.

Room by Emma Donoghue

Today I’m five, I was four last night going to sleep in Wardrobe, but when I wake up in Bed in the dark I’m changed to five, abracadabra.

I could fill this post with Stephen King first lines, as you all know he is my hero.

It by Stephen King

“The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years—if it ever did end—began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain.”
Cell by Stephen King

“The event that came to be known as The Pulse began at 3:03 p.m., eastern standard time, on the afternoon of October 1.”

 

What are your favorite first lines?

Do you re-write your first lines over and over?

Summer Author Reading – 9 Tips to Prepare and Read…


 

Last Saturday I attended a local author reading, it was at a new venue – a local coffeehouse, Social Grounds Coffeehouse. The cafe owner is welcoming all local artisan’s to display or perform giving the community a new place to enjoy the arts.

Although this is not my first public reading, there are always steps to take in preparation.

  1. Firstly, you must determine what you are going to read. If you have several books, will you read from a new one or something you feel will grip the audience.
  2. Will the audience be young or adult? Tailor your readings accordingly OR take two pieces to read just in case. (Which is what I did for this reading)
  3. If there is a time limit to the reading, practice the passages out loud. It doesn’t work well to just read it. Practice inflection and if you are good at them, dialectics.
  4. Make sure to mark the start and finish of the piece you are reading, this will ensure you stay within the time limit.
  5. Remember to take promotional items with you including business cards, bookmarks and of course books. A small amount of petty cash too so you have change.
  6. Props are a good idea for children’s books. I have a soft toy I made for my Rumble book. I did take a couple of ornaments with me just in case children were present and I did read from Ockleberries to the Rescue as well as from The Rython Kingdom.
  7. Depending on the venue, there maybe a microphone, if not it is an idea to either purchase one or borrow one. Some venues have a lot of background noise so you want your audience to be able to hear you.
  8. Remember to smile, look up while reading and engage your audience.
  9. Be ready with answers to questions about your book and your writing.

The event on Saturday was an all adult audience which resulted in quite a long Q&A session.

What tips can you share about author readings?

Not the most flattering photo of Karen Probert and I – just wondering what we we discussing when the camera caught us! There will be another photo to add – hopefully!

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Karen is a short story expert – her books and mine can be found at http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca – Karen’s: Fragments of Lives & Colouring Our Lives. Mine: Rumble’s First Scare & Ockleberries to the Rescue and also The Rython Kingdom.

New photo from SGC staff – I had to share – loved the captive audience even though you can’t see them all.

SGC reading