Mandy Eve-Barnett's Official Blog

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Sorry I Dropped the Ball on Blog Posting

September 6, 2019
mandyevebarnett


sorry

Apologies everyone, I did not post yesterday! It has been a super busy week (month so far). The items on my list seem to continue to grow.

Firstly, I have been promoting the launching of the sequel to my fantasy romance, Rython Legacy, I have proofed the finished product and ordered printed copies for Words in the Park on 28th September.

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In addition as secretary of the hosting group, of said event, I have been replying and supplying promotional materials for the vendor applications. And contacting new authors to invite them to attend.

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I went on a super four day writing retreat road trip to Lloydminster and discovered a new part of Canada as well as increased the word count on my steampunk novel by 12,440 words – happy author!

The next few weeks will be just as busy:

  1. Board meeting to finalize planning of the event 10th September
  2. Road trip with my daughter 14th & 15th September
  3. Road trip and attendance at Word on the Street, Lethbridge 21st September (another long weekend as I will add the Friday & Monday for writing and exploring).
  4. Preparation and mock ups for my tables at the event to show case all my books (8 in all)
  5. Words in the Park 28th September
  6. This doesn’t include twice weekly aquasize/walking and ‘normal’ life chores etc LOL

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How’s your month shaping up?

Are you going to a book event? Why not share the details?

Author Interview – Karen Schauber

August 27, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

Group of Seven

What is your book about? 

The Group of Seven Reimagined: Contemporary Stories Inspired by Historic Canadian Paintings is at once artistic and literary. This anthology is a gorgeous testament to the Group of Seven, through the unique lens of twenty-one acclaimed flash fiction writers. – Each flash fiction story, (a brief, condensed, though fully realized narrative, written in under five hundred words), is paired with a lush full-colour reproduction of the painting that inspired it, showcasing both Canada’s historical artistic oeuvre with its contemporary literary artistic talent.

Where did the idea for this book come from?

The impetus for this book began as a writing prompt. I am always looking for interesting, layered prompts: a phrase, paradox, scenario, image, to inspire and formulate a story around. I happened to be walking my dog along Vancouver’s Jericho Beach early one frigid but bright wintery morning and was struck by the awesome beauty of the snow-peaked North Shore mountains looming across that stretch of ocean. I imagined that Lawren Harris would have wanted to paint that stunning vista, and in that glance, had the inspiration for my story. – It was only later, when conducting background research for my piece that I learned that the one-hundred-year anniversary of the Group of Seven was coming up in 2020. – A light bulb went off! The anniversary presented a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the enduring genius of these painters, in story. I contacted fellow flash fiction writers with the idea of putting an anthology together inspired by the landscape paintings of the Group of Seven and the enthusiasm for this project was immediately infectious. I wanted to put together a book that would both increase the profile and expand the reach of these iconic Canadian painters, while at the same time introduce art lovers to the marvels and delight of flash fiction.

Why flash fiction?

Flash fiction is the hottest rising literary trend in Canada. It is my current obsession. I have been on a maelstrom writing flash for the past three years. Each miniature story (flash fiction) is a delicious morsel, the flavours exploding with each bite. For me, flash fiction (always written in under 1000 words, and usually in under 500) is storytelling at its best. It draws the reader into another world engaging her in an immersive, evocative, and emotionally resonant experience, albeit for a brief moment in time; ‘for a flash’. Each miniature story is meant to delight, surprise and challenge the reader. There is often much hidden in between the lines and white spaces inviting the reader to return again to discover more in the layers of the story. And while each flash fiction takes only a few moments to devour, each story takes much longer to ‘perfect’, requiring a practiced skill in crafting, sculpting, editing, and polishing. I love the challenge writing flash poses, and the sense of satisfaction in completing a layered piece with a beginning, middle, and end, in a relatively short period of time. Relatively short compared to that of the traditional short story of 1500-3000 words, novella, or novel (which can take years to realize). The Flash Fiction community of writers and readers across Canada is exploding. Canadian literary magazines, journals, and anthologies now publish several flash fiction pieces in each issue, and flash fiction workshops and classes, both online and in house, can be found everywhere. I find this so exciting!

 

Why the Group of Seven?

When I first saw a Group of Seven painting, a Lawren Harris, I was gobsmacked. A stunning mountain carved like folds of butter, light cascading down upon its peak, pure and ethereal. I was immediately transported, somewhere deep, sublime, and otherworldly. My love affair with the Group of Seven began in that moment. As a university student living in Toronto in the 80’s, I had the opportunity to visit the McMichael Gallery in Kleinburg many times. The McMichael Collection even then, was remarkable and awe-inspiring. Over the years as I have discovered more of the Group’s landscape paintings in galleries, museums, books, and on-line. They have captured my imagination and heart for all these many years, transporting me into the story of the canvas and beyond. – I was inspired and driven to realize this book in celebration of their enduring genius.

How did you decide to pair the Group of Seven with Flash Fiction? 

For me the match is made in heaven! The paintings are immediately perceived as storied, and the flash pieces are beautifully written, as if a painting. Both image and story invite the reader/viewer into another realm; a place of deep resonance and wonderment. Each read of the narrative, when paired with the layers, shadows, and textures of the landscape painting, becomes an immersive experience.

Each Contributor chose a landscape painting that inspired them, from a selection of Group of Seven paintings. Works by Tom Thomson and Emily Carr, both contemporaries of the Group, are also included in the book.

Who are the Writers/Contributors in The Group of Seven Reimagined and how were they selected?

Most of the Contributors are award-winning short story authors, several times over. They come from all regions of Canada, from coast to coast to coast, and three from the US, the UK, and AU, each with a distinct Canadian connection. I felt it was important to invite writers from across Canada who I thought would present a varied, distinct, and unique voice, and, be expert at crafting a miniature work of fiction. While Canada has so many brilliant short story writers, writing flash fiction presents unique challenges, i.e. excellent editing chops and concision, not every short story writer is comfortable with or interested in exploring.

I am a voracious short fiction reader. I read as many short story collections, journal, magazine, and anthology short fiction pieces as I could find, looking for a range of style, genre, and voice. Above all, I was looking for writing at a level of excellence. And of course, I found brilliant storytellers, and was excited by so many extraordinary works of fiction. It was also important that each person I invited to participate be more than enthusiastic about celebrating the Group of Seven and be inspired by their paintings.

I am thrilled with each of the writers selected. Mike Blouin, Carol Bruneau, Paulo da Costa, Alfred DePew, Tamas Dobozy, Valerie Fox, Travis Good, Mark Jarman, JJ Lee, Brett Loney, Lorette C. Luzajic, Yael Eytan Maree, Michael Mirolla, Isabella Mori, Nina Munteanu, Waubgeshig Rice, Robert Runté, Nina Shoroplova, Mireille Silcoff, Mary Thompson. Each one a consummate professional and joy to work with. Each writer has selected a gorgeous Group of Seven painting to inspire their story and each has contributed a marvellous flash fiction piece. The results and pairing are stunning.  In addition to being the editor, I also have a flash fiction piece in the book.

Full Bios (incl photo) for each of the Contributors can be found at: http://SevenFlashFiction.weebly.com  

Where did you get your training? How long have you been writing flash fiction? Have you always written, have you always wanted to write?

I think my path to becoming a writer is rather unique. I was sixty-two before I wrote my first story, ever. And I will be sixty-four before this book is published. I have never written fiction before. Never even tried. My writing up until very recently has been academic and analytically focused. I had done some journal writing intermittently as process-writing, but that’s it. Back in high school I wrote my final English exam interpreting a poem about the Tree of Life, referencing photosynthesis/ chlorophyll / life cycle / and the ecosystem. I was clearly off the mark. Words and imagery, conveying personal experience through metaphor or simile was not my forte, comfort level, or inclination.

Since beginning to write fiction three years ago, I have been published in twenty-five international literary journals, magazines, and anthologies, and have more in the queue.

My training is in Psychology. I am a seasoned Family Therapist. Decades of ‘being fully present’ in the therapy session has made the transition into writing surprisingly seamless for me. As Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Olen Butler describes, ‘writing takes place in the Dreamscape’. Being fully present in this ‘Place of Solitude’ is where writing is best explored and fashioned. I enjoy this space. It is where I am most myself. And it is where I create from.

I discovered flash fiction reading journals and magazines online. There is a dynamic global flash fiction community. I read flash fiction journals regularly and enjoy discovering new writers (new to me) – the talent out there is magic. I quickly found online workshops teaching flash fiction and have participated in many three-day, ten-day, and monthly workshops, and continue to enrol in one every month or two. The workshops are lots of fun, generative, and attended by highly creative, respectful, and generous writers. I’m totally hooked.

What do you enjoy most about editing?

Cultivating a relationship with the writer is a must for the editing process to be successful.

Pulling back to the barest of form and arriving at clarity is what motivates me in editing. I love the process. Finding increasing precision in word choice is my kind of fun. I delight in the concision, word craft, play, and intentional word choice used to create imagery that resonates and evokes an emotional response in the reader. My tool is a thesaurus. I clean up a piece to reveal its essence, letting it take center stage and shine. Presenting a re-configured or revised passage to a writer who chooses to accept it, is the ultimate satisfaction for an editor.

What’s next?

I have a lot of ideas, although only two have reached the planning stage. 1. A flash fiction anthology similarly structured to The Group of Seven Reimagined, ekphrastic writing, – flash fiction inspired by visual art. This time showcasing the surrealist and magic realism artists Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo and Kati Horna. and 2. A collection of flash fiction, all my own pieces.

I am exploring how to approach this next project differently. It has been enormously expensive to put this book together. The cost of permissions and licenses from Art Galleries, Museums and Estates to use hi-res reproductions of the paintings in the book has been almost prohibitive. This expense comes out of the author’s / editor’s pocket; the publisher does not absorb this cost. Having a sponsor/corporate interest would help move this next project forward. It is something I’m looking into.

Where can we read your work?

All my flash fiction can be found online at http://rebelshorts.weebly.com with links to each journal/magazine where the piece is published.

Detailed info about The Group of Seven Reimagined, its inception, contributors, and resources about the Group of Seven and Flash Fiction all can be found at http://GroupofSevenFlashFiction.weebly.com  

Advanced info and resources about how to write Flash Fiction can be found at http://VancouverFlashFiction.weebly.com

The Group of Seven will launch in Vancouver in October, and in Toronto in May – details on Vancouver and Toronto launch coming soon – if you would like to receive an invitation to attend either Launch party, send an email to groupofsevenflashfiction@gmail.com with ‘Vancouver Launch Invitation’ or ‘Toronto Launch Invitation’ in the subject line. We are going to celebrate!

ISBN 978-1-77203-288-8  Heritage House $24.95

Purchases in Canada

https://www.amazon.ca/Group-Seven-Reimagined-Contemporary-Paintings/dp/1772032883

International Purchases (from outside Canada)

https://www.heritagehouse.ca/book/the-group-of-seven-reimagined/

Karen Schauber - credit Koichi Saito - (44) photo

Bio:

Karen Schauber is a Flash Fiction writer obsessed with the form. She has been on a maelstrom writing since she was first introduced to this brief condensed short story form three years ago. Her work has since appeared in 25 international literary magazines and anthologies, including Brilliant Flash Fiction, Bending GenresCarpeArteEkphrastic Review, and Fiction Southeast. The Group of Seven Reimagined: Contemporary Stories Inspired by Historic Canadian Paintings, celebrating the Canadian modernist landscape painters, is her first editorial/curatorial flash venture. Schauber runs ‘Vancouver Flash Fiction’, a flash fiction Resource Hub and Critique Circle, and in her spare time, is a seasoned Family Therapist. A native of Montreal, she has called Vancouver home for the past three decades. 

http://KarenSchauber.weebly.com

http://GroupofSevenFlashFiction.weebly.com

http://VancouverFlashFiction.weebly.com

http://www.facebook.com/VancouverFlashFiction/

fb @Karen Schauber

twitter @karenschauber

Thank you so much for this opportunity, Mandy!

 

 

 

Ask a Question Thursday

August 1, 2019
mandyevebarnett


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For those of you with school age children/grandchildren – are you celebrating having the house to yourself after the summer holiday/vacation? Do you plunge right back into your current manuscript or have some downtime to refresh?

back to school

Last week’s question: Do you incorporate politics and/or religion into your stories? What is the reason?

Mandy Eve-Barnett

 

I have used a matriarchal society in my novel, Life in Slake Patch as the background to a young man’s life in that regime. It was interesting to write about the influences and attitudes of a different society. In contrast my novel, The Twesome Loop, which covers two time periods, shows the patriarchal suppression in the 1800’s.

 

Join the conversation and leave your comment below.

If you have a suggestion for a question please let me know.

Author Interview – Andrew Glen

July 30, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

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What inspired your latest novel?

My latest novel, “After The Sun Rises”, was written as a sequel to my first novel “War Dads”. Without giving too much away, “War Dads” ends with a tragic event and “After The Sun Rises” picks up from there.

How did you come up with the title?

The title came from two sources. The first is a tribute to Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises” (Hemingway is my favourite author) and the idea that even in tragedy some good can happen. We need to get up and meet every new day.

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Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

The message I was trying to convey is that sometimes good can come out of bad. Sounds hokey, but I just tried to imagine what I would like to see happen if I was involved in the same situation as the characters.

How much of the book is realistic?

Not much of “After The Sun Rises” is real. However, in “War Dads,” the trip Jill and her family took to find her dad is based on a family trip my family and I took to Florida when I was in high school.
In “Beating the Odds” (the book I wrote on beating Stage IV bladder cancer), that entire book, is sadly real.

In “The Grotto and Other Short Stories” (a book of short stories I wrote) most of the events in the stories are based on real life events.

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Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Yes, there is a little bit of both events that took place in my life and my characters are all based on people I know; family and friends.

Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?

I have an author page on Amazon: amazon.com/author/andrewglen and a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Andrew-Glen-Author-1916016901959620/

Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?

I have three books hopefully coming out next. Another kids book, a book of poetry and prose, and perhaps a sequel to “After The Sun Rises.”

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite and why?

I have three.  In “Eli and the Fisherman” (one of my kid’s books) Eli is based on my son and the book is based on Hemingway’s “Old Man and the Sea”. In “Sebastian’s Fish (another of my kid’s books) Sebastian is based on my other son and the story is based on us going to buy his first fish.  And in “After The Sun Rises, Charlotte is my favourite character, because she is what I would like the world to be; good people doing the right thing.

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Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?

I have dabbled in several genres and have enjoyed them all, but kid’s books are my favourite. Most of my energy will be concentrated on them going forward.

Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?

Bit of both. My first novel was totally seat of the pants style. The second novel was more planned out.

The kid’s books and the short stories were planned out and the memoir was just an honest portrayal of what I went through.

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What is your best marketing tip?

I honestly wish I was better at marketing but if I have learned anything in life it is the fact that patience and perseverance pays off. Well hopefully for some. In my opinion there is no such thing as overnight success. Success comes from never giving up. One other thing I have learned also is, if you have your books on Amazon, you need to get as many people, family, friends etc. to buy off there. It is the only way to use their algorithms to your advantage. Selling books in person is nice but unless those people write reviews or share your books on their social media sites, in the long run it doesn’t really do you any good.

Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?

As I said social media can be a great tool, but getting family and friends to share your work is sometimes very difficult. (Example: if all the people who liked my author page bought just one book, I would be a best seller on Amazon. Same goes for the books I have sold personally, if all those people had bought my book on Amazon, I would be a best seller according to their algorithms.

OPTIONAL QUESTIONS 

What do you enjoy most about writing?

I love the fact that writing allows me the chance to express the things that I truly believe in. It may be fiction, but there is a lot of what I think and feel in my writing.

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What age did you start writing stories/poems?

I have been writing since I was in high school but I only started to take it serious after I was diagnosed in 2008.

Has your genre changed or stayed the same?

I have always dabbled in poetry and fiction. The kid’s books I started writing after diagnosis. In case I didn’t make it, I wanted my kids to have something to remember me by. I guess they will now.

What genre are you currently reading?

Both fiction and non-fiction. I’m what you might call a political junkie, so I read a lot of stuff on politics fact and fiction.

Do you read for pleasure or research or both?

Both. I also find that reading really helps with my writing.

Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

My mum and dad encouraged me to read from a very early age.

Where is your favorite writing space?

I have a place in my house where I put all the finishing touches on my work; it used to be my mum’s office space, (we live in m parent’s old house). But I always carry a notebook with me to jot stuff down. I never know when the muse may come so I like to be prepared.

Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?

I belong to several groups on FB.

If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?

I would love to meet Ernest Hemingway; he was/is my idol. I just loved the simplicity of his writing and how every story would take you on a different adventure. He instilled in me a passion for travel as well. Because of him I have been to Paris and Cuba because I wanted to see them first hand. Hopefully Spain will be next, or to see Mt. Kilimanjaro.

If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?

Cuba. I have been there twice and love the people and the climate. That or Italy, again because of the people and the climate.

Do you see writing as a career?

I would love it if it were, but realistically, no.

Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?

Chips are my favourite snack food. (Salt and Vinegar)

What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline?

I don’t reward myself with anything in particular. Completing a book and seeing it published is enough of a reward. I have always wanted to be a published author, and now I can say I am. Not too many people can say that. For that I am truly grateful.

In closing I would like to thank everyone who has bought a book and supported me thus far.

Bless you all.

Bio:

I have been writing for the better part of thirty years. In that time I have written a memoir, several children’s book, a collection of short stories, a book of fiction, numerous poems, works of prose and free verse.

In 2008 I was diagnosed with bladder cancer and I underwent two years of treatment including chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. In January of 2010 I had my bladder removed and thankfully I have been cancer free since then.

During treatment I found writing to be very therapeutic and I kept notes throughout my treatment. These notes then became my story.

In 2014 I self-published my memoir “Beating the Odds”, A Chronicle of a Cancer Survivor’s Battle with Cancer, Inadequate Healthcare and Social Injustice.

Unlike most cancer survivor success stories, my book, in my opinion, differs because it provides the reader with a poignant look into the trials and tribulations that all cancer patients have to deal with above and beyond their treatment.

Since then I have gone on to publish:

“War Dads” a fictional story about the unfortunate killing of a war vet who was living on the street and suffering from PTSD.
“After The Sun Rises” a sequel to “War Dads”. After Jill and the family are met with a tragic event they must learn to cope with the help of an unsuspecting aide; the woman who caused the accident.

“The Grotto and Other Stories” a collection of short stories based on real life events.

“Eli and the Fisherman” children’s book that tells the story of a young boy and an old fisherman.

“Sebastian’s Fish” children’s book that is a delightful and beautifully illustrated story about a boy who goes to buy his first fish.

All of these books are available on Amazon worldwide, as paper backs or E books, at: amazon.com/author/andrewglen

Author Interview – Jenna Greene

July 16, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

jenna-greene_orig

What inspired your latest novel?                                        

While I didn’t realize it at the time, the illness and subsequent death of my mother. There are many hints about connection to the afterlife in the novel.

How did you come up with the title?                 

It has a dual meaning. First of all, it describes a class of people in a dystopian society, but it also represents the journey of the main character, Lexil, as she overcomes challenges and becomes a new person.

Reborn

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

That your personality is not static, nor is your life. You can change and grow at any time and stage of your life.

How much of the book is realistic?

The essence of each character is. Their emotions are no different than any other person, but they are in extraordinary circumstances.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I think the character of Ceera, who is only five years old in the novel, represents myself when I was younger, as well as the innocence I see in all the children I work with. (I’m a teacher).

Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?

While I do not have a blog, I am very active on social media. My website is www.jennagreene.ca and I can be found on Twitter (@jgreenewrites) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/jennabutrenchukgreene)

Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?

I always have a thousand projects in the works! I’m doing my best to finish the sequel to Reborn as fast as my fans desire. I am also collaborating with illustrators for some children’s picture books

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

That’s not fair! I have to pick a favourite? That’s like picking a favourite book. Nope! Not doing it!

Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?

I love YA! Read it! Write it! And fantasy has a special place in my heart, of course. But I’m trying to dabble into new genres.

Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?

Some parts are planned, usually the beginning and the ending. The rest is filling in the middle, which is more fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants.

What is your best marketing tip?

Dive in! Be ready to stay active and try new things. Marketing starts long before the novel is released (or sometimes even written) and continues long after.

Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?

I think it’s very useful. It just takes a lot of time.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Every part except editing!

What age did you start writing stories/poems?

Grade two. So… I must have been six or seven years old.

PRESS RELEASE

A FATE WORSE THAN DEATH?
NEW SERIES BY ACCLAIMED YOUNG ADULT FANTASY AUTHOR
LETHBRIDGE, ALBERTA: Influenced by the illness and subsequent death of her mother, young adult author Jenna Greene pens the first in a new series, Reborn. In this coming of age fantasy, Lexil discovers through the marks on her skin that she is a Reborn–someone who has lived before. Because of this, and the intricate mythology of her world, she is sold at auction and forced to become a slave, abruptly throwing her life and everything she’s known into a chaotic spiral. At a time when Lexil is already struggling with the adversities of being a teenager, still reeling from the loss of parents, the effects of being portrayed as different take their toll. Lexil is out to understand and discover even more about who she is, and who she will become.
Intermixed with a unique and complex mythology, drawing from her own life experiences, and her ability to write truly authentic characters, Mrs. Greene tugs at our hearts when Lexil must save a young child, form a new ally with a charming boy named Finn, but most importantly, fight to survive.
Jenna is known for her talent of creating characters the audience can relate to whether they are young adults or adults, and this time, Lexil is no different. Her compelling writing style continues to captivate readers, asking tough questions and revealing the answers all while creating tension, true emotions, and imaginative world-building.
With five published novels to date, including her outstanding Imagine series, Jenna has a passion for writing that shines. Recently, in a spotlight feature in Pandora’s Box Gazette, Jenna stated:
“I don’t know how young I was when I identified as a writer. It was probably when I first started school and a teacher told my parents I had talent. Since then, I’ve always known writing was something I would pursue. There are stories in my head that I have the desire and ability to tell

 

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