Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Sharing A Story & a Book Review

January 26, 2021
mandyevebarnett


As I continue my six week writing course, I am sharing my third submission with you. This week is the sense of TOUCH

VERONIQUE’S WORLD

Veronique relished the feel of the pale champagne coloured silk sheets as she woke up and stretched. The smooth fabric gliding over her golden skin, silky, fine and decadent. A reflection of the way Veronique demanded to live. Hers was a life of luxury, of the finer things and endless opulence. Every fabric she wore was chosen for its texture and appearance. Silks, Indian cottons, furs, cashmere, leather and high tread count linens. She reveled in the sensation of these fabrics on her skin, the way they flowed around her slender body and complimented her long tresses of burnished copper hair. Her body was smooth, tanned and hydrated, constantly pampered and devoid of blemishes or marks. Veronique stood up, her feet sinking into the deep wool carpet, like a soft hug. She gazed at her naked body in the wall length mirrors of her boudoir, the polished glass surfaces cool to the touch – she was perfect.

The heavy plush velvet drapes were drawn apart by the slimmest of gaps, allowing a microcosm of particles to dance in a thin ray of sunlight. Veronique pressed a remote on her bedside table, the button giving a small hesitant resistance before it clicked into place. The curtains began their slow mechanical glide apart caressing the sumptuous fabric across the deep piled and soft carpet, moving fibers like a wave. The window revealed the Champs-Élysées Avenue and the Arc de Triomphe. This was her city, her home and she ruled it and its upper echelons like no other. Her limited-edition clothing designs were fought over, surging the prices to unbelievable heights. The reason she could live in such luxury and indulge in an endless life of grandeur.

She clicked the light switch to her vast en suite bathroom, pushing the dimmer lower to give the room a soft glow. She entered the shower, with its multitude of jets, sprays and waterfall feature showerhead allowing her to clean, massage and invigorate her body as her mood decided. This morning, she began with a soft spray to waken her senses, and then gradually increased the pulse and power to knead her back, her legs, her breasts, and her stomach. She applied scented gels and lotions, smoothing and stroking her skin. When she felt cleansed and invigorated, Veronique stepped out of the shower to wrap herself in a large white fluffy towel of long-staple cotton and linen fabric the best available. She dabbed her skin letting the towel absorb the wetness before applying a rich creamy body lotion and slipping into a silk kimono.

A barrage of noise interrupted her calm morning routine, shouting, banging and clattering came through the open window. Veronique walked to the window and peered out, her agitation obvious. On the pavement, she saw men and women, stomping and jeering with placards and signs, their footwear grating and scraping on the concrete. Veronique picked up the telephone beside her and call down to the concierge.

            “What is going on outside, Michael? What is that awful gathering about?”

            “Madame, it is an anti-fur protest. I believe your latest autumn coats have caused concerns.”

            “Well, how ridiculous. Send them away, Michael. I have to go to the design studio in less than an hour.”

            “I have called the Gendarmerie, they assured me they will send men over shortly.”

            “Well, see that they do, I need them gone…and soon.”

An hour later, the protesters and the Gendarmerie were still outside the building. Veronique had no choice but to call her car around to the rear entrance. She was not going to push her way through, sweating, shouting and vile people. The car sat idling as she exited the building, her cashmere wrap caressing her bare shoulders and her high heels pushing her calves upwards. She looked at her pocket watch, a memento of her late husband. A hard, callused hand shoved her back and she fell to the dirty, gritty concrete. A cry of hurt and shock uttered from her throat – a raw, rasping feeling in her throat. Pinpricks of tiny stones pierced her knees and hands. She felt blood ooze and flow. The pocket watch smashed into the ground, shattering and issuing shards of glass and cogs of shiny, cold metal. A man is screaming at her, vile things, obscene things. Her head swims, her eyes unfocused, the hard surface assaulting her skin, breaking her skin. Brash, solid, hard, unyielding surfaces inflicting pain.

A gloved hand took her upper arm, the leather smooth and stitched. A commanding voice issued orders, as she was guided to the back seat of the vehicle. She felt more leather, soft with use under her as she collapsed on her side. Pain radiated from all over her assaulted body, her mind too confused to make sense of what was happening. The door slammed shut, hands and feet thudding on the sides of the car. Gendarmerie vehicle lights and sirens adding to the cacophony of sound as her car inched forward. Veronique looked down at her legs and palms, where pain radiated. Filaments of skin hung from numerous cuts, gashes oozed, bruises formed, and grime soiled and spoiled her body. Tears traced tracks through her makeup leaving salty deposits. Veronique’s body vibrated with shock an anger. That man would pay for his attack and the damage he caused to her body.

How did the character of Veronique make you feel? Did you like or dislike her?

What are you currently reading?

Book Review:

I just finished Seven Lies by Elizabeth Kay and enjoy her style and method of writing. It is a clever vehicle to have the lies contribute to the momentum of the story. Beautifully crafted narrative that carried you along. Moments of tense, fear and sadness coupled with heights of joy.
Highly recommended.

Currently reading: Misconduct of the Heart by Cordelia Strube

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Organizing My Writing Life

January 21, 2021
mandyevebarnett


As you may know, I have made a goal for 2021 to enter contests, submit articles to magazines and stories to anthologies. This seemed an easy process until I began to look at all the paperwork accumulating. For each submission there is of course, rules, guidelines, email address and accounts to create. On top of that, I have author interviews for this blog to monitor as well as a novel writing workshop with four other authors. Not to mention my freelance writing projects and my current work in progress.

So how should I organize it all?

Each ‘task’ has its own specific process, so I needed to come up with a way to keep track. Firstly, I printed out the relevant contest, magazine and anthology links and highlighted the deadlines for each one. Noted passwords required and any dates submissions were sent.

Now to catalogue them in separate folders. (And yes I use actual physical folders! I’m a hands on type of girl)

Green folder: Anthologies

Purple folder: Contests

Orange folder: Magazines

White Folder: WordPress Interviews

Orange folder : Presentations I will host

White folder: Novel Workshop

Black folder (not shown) Freelance Projects

Then I separated the relevant information for each in date order with the submission dates – first to last. I printed a calendar for the blog interviews so I can mark each one down, so there is no duplication. I have also bought a large desk calendar to mark submission deadlines, writing events, presentation dates, freelance projects, conferences, interviews etc. Having everything there in front of me lessens the panic that I have forgotten something.

How do you keep track of your writing life?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Sharing a Story

January 19, 2021
mandyevebarnett


As I continue my six week writing course, I am sharing my second submission with you. This week is the sense of SOUND.

Lion

 Sally woke to the rumbling, chuffing and clatter of numerous vehicles on the street. She heard the clash of chains, gears grinding and raised voices. It was an odd assortment of noises in this usually quiet part of town. Loathing the idea of leaving her cozy soft blankets this early on a Sunday, Sally turned over hoping the intrusive clamour would soon disappear. ROAR! If she wasn’t mistaken that sounded a lot like a lion’s roar. She’d watched numerous nature programs to know that sound. I must have drifted off. I was dreaming. ROAR. There it was again, and she certainly was not sleeping. Flinging her bedclothes off her body, inhaling at the sudden chill her body experienced, Sally drew aside the curtains. The metal hoops rasped on the metal curtain rod as she did so. The street was full of vehicles, some in gaudy colours, others rusty and billowing and coughing dirty black diesel fumes. The annual fair convoy – how could she have forgotten the date? There were numerous bulky men, all in what Sally’s father used to call belt and braces attire, gesticulating and shouting at each other. Their voices ranged in tone from tenor to baritone to bass and the occasional soprano. Sally watched their movements in awe and intrigue. Their heavy boots thudded on the road, as they raced back and forth collecting a variety of objects. Some gathered sticks, some shovels and one lugged a huge net over his shoulder.

                As Sally continued to view the scene below her bedroom window, she looked at each vehicle in more detail. She wondered why the men had chosen those particular objects. She surmised that if one of the trucks had broken down, they would need proper tools, not what could only be described as weapons. Then she saw it, the center of the commotion and the possible reason for said weapons, a partially covered cage – an immense cage at that – near the beginning of the convoy. The rear door was ajar. Realization crept into Sally’s mind. Whatever had been in the cage wasn’t anymore. What could be prowling the gardens – my garden?

                A whimpering sound uttered from Sally’s throat. Her thoughts tumbled over each other. Were the front and back doors locked? Were any windows open? Could a large animal break through the glass patio doors? These thoughts startled her into action. Pulling clothes from the back of the bedroom chair, she rushed to the bathroom. She fumbled with the bar of pink soap as she washed her hands; it slipped from her fingers first thudding on the ceramic basin and then thumping onto the tiled floor. In her haste, sally left it on the floor leaving a trail of residue. After hurriedly dressing, she stomped down the stairs in a vain attempt to scare any creature that might have entered her home. Midway down, she stopped and listened. She strained so much to hear any movement, her ears began to ring and buzz. Whatever the animal is it isn’t in here, thank God.

                Sally walked to the kitchen, peering left and right into the lounge and dining room, as she made her way along the hallway. Her missed matched socks made a swooshing sound on the carpet. Exhaled breaths uttered from her mouth, as she entered an empty kitchen. A low squelch issued from her sweating hands, as she gripped the sink and stood on tiptoe to survey the back garden. Her scream filled the room, stunned her ears and mind. There large as life stood a lion in her fishpond. Lapping up water and shaking its massive mane. Another sound filled the kitchen as Sally fainted – wallop as she hit the linoleum.

I hope you like the story.

What are you currently reading? Have you left a review?

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – 8 Tips for Submitting to Writing Contests

January 14, 2021
mandyevebarnett


There are a multitude of writing competitions available, whether locally or internationally. When submitting to a competition there are a few common ground rules to adhere to.

Tip #1: Be clear on your goals before entering any contest. Why do you want to enter in the first place?

Tip #2: Follow the rules and submission guidelines – each contest is different. This includes keeping to the submission deadline. ( A day earlier is best)

Tip #3: Proofread – this is absolutely vital. Make sure you read and re-read your entry before submitting.

Tip #4: Enter writing that is appropriate for the contests’ stated theme or topic. Familiarize yourself with the press or journal hosting the contest. Take note of their style and content.

Tip #5: Enter numerous contests to improve your chances of winning.

Tip #6: Don’t ignore lesser well-known contests, it could mean winning it gains you exposure and connections for your writing career. And of course, there is always the prize money! Not only does submitting to a range of contests maximize the likelihood that you may win, but it is a great way to improve and expand your writing skills.

Tip #7: Exploit your genre, your niche when researching the range of contests, there are always specialized creative writing contests out there that suit your style. Make the most of the opportunity to showcase your writing.

Tip #8: Create a story with an emotional impact, and topic. Make it memorable, new, fresh and focus on clarity. Choose a brilliant first line and action. Give your character a goal, a choice and ensure there is a change of personality, status or situation. And above all nail the ending.

Do you have any tips for entering contests? Care to share?

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Writing Goals for 2021

January 7, 2021
mandyevebarnett


At the beginning of every year, we decide on what goals we want to achieve. Sometimes we are successful, sometimes not, but it is the thrill of a new year that engages us in this ritual. I make a goal board to help my focus and motivation. It is not just for my writing goals but other personal ones too. As you can see from the image, I have four sections to my board this year – writing, family & friends, finances and health and relaxation.

Interestingly, this board is the most complex one I have ever made. Maybe because there is a stronger motivation this year due to the restrictions we have all encountered. And that is my word for 2021 as well – MOTIVATION.

Do you have a word for 2021?

I have already submitted to several writing contests and began a six week writing course too, so I am on my way. I am also determined to have the first book of my detective novel trilogy, edited and revised by the end of the year, so it can be published. To this end, members of my writing group will be swapping chapters of our current work in progress for suggestions, editing and review over several months. This is such a useful tool, as each person will ‘read’ the story, allowing me (and them) a preview of our novels.

What writing goals do you have for 2021?

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