Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Bibliophile Collective Tuesday – How is Your Goodreads Challenge 2020 Going? And in other news…snow!

May 12, 2020
mandyevebarnett


So how is your Goodreads Reading Challenge going so far this year? I am one book behind schedule unfortunately. So I am determined to catch up this week.

My book order came in so I added three more books to my TBR pile. Excited to read them all. It will be interesting to read Tom Hanks – the author! And of course The Heirloom and Maybe in Another Life are reincarnation stories – my favorite. 

Of course it will be hard to leave the world of this beautifully written book. You will have to wait for my review.

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Talking of book reviews have you managed to read every book you have read this year?

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I keep my reviews on Goodreads (sometimes Amazon too) so you are welcome to take a look. https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6477059.Mandy_Eve_Barnett

Editing of my steampunk novel, the Commodore’s Gift did stall for a while but after some great feedback on a particular fight scene, I am back on track. As with most people lock-down tends to be a dreadful de-motivator. The virtual writing group I belong to helps with the motivation for sure.

Excerpt: this is the fight scene – feedback is welcome (constructive critique)

They picked up sticks and began circling each other. Owena watched her brother’s movements and eye direction as Galen had taught her and thrust forward. The stick found its mark on Benjamin’s bicep. He looked surprised. Thrust at her successfully landing a tap on her thigh. His arm swung around for another thrust but Owena anticipated his move. She dodged to the left. Swinging around she managed to get behind Benjamin. He shifted his stance in a quick turn to face her, his stick held high. She blocked its downward movement. She held her stick in both hands above her head. Using his momentum, she twisted their sticks to one side towards the ground. Then quickly drew hers upward to his neck. Benjamin pulled back. He brought his stick up to counter attack. Owena twisted around him, taking hold of the other end of her stick to clasp it to his neck from behind. He gasped and tried to turn but she pulled tighter making him cry out. Sensing his surrender she stood back, poised to attack again. She drew in several quick deep breathes. Benjamin looked at her wide-eyed and slowly shook his head.

Other News

In other news, I did get some lovely plants for my deck, including a chive plant from a friend, several herbs and a couple of tomato plants. This cheered me up a lot. I can now start to think about the front planters. Alberta has experienced a ‘late’ spring!

Update: As I write this on Sunday 10th May it is SNOWING!!!!! WHY!

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I was also treated for Mother’s Day to a lovely self care package. So it will be foot and face masks, a glass of wine and enjoying the aroma of fresh flowers this week.

How was your Mother’s Day? 

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Author Interview – Alison Neuman – Children’s Series – Book Launch

May 10, 2020
mandyevebarnett


Alison Neuman

 

home

 

  1. Please tell us the story behind your new book, Home.

My new book is the bookend of the Friends and Family series about Fluffy the cat and Levi the mouse. This book in the series was more challenging to write than the others because the series was written for my mom, and she passed away two years ago. My mom was my hero, and my best friend. She always provided me with a sense of security and home. As a family, we shared a love of reading, and my mom made sure, whether I was staying in the hospital or at home, that the routine of reading to me before bed was a constant.

As an adult, my mom’s macular degeneration made reading a challenge so I would read out loud to her. Then as her dementia progressed, she found a renewed passion for children’s literature. This series was based on a childhood pet of my mom’s and has a diverse character, which I wish I had to identify with when I was a child. Despite dementia stealing my mom’s words, the smile on her face and her reaching out to grab and hold Don’t Eat Family communicated her love and appreciation.

Mom would’ve wanted me to finish the series despite the fact that during the writing process and now the launch of Home, she would not be here in person. My illustrator, Katherine Restouiex, who also knew my mom, made the human character a cartoon version of her. While writing this last book in the series, memories mom and I shared and the lessons that she taught me were reminders that she will always be with me.

  1. As the third in the series, does it complete the series?

Yes, Home completes the Friends and Family series.

  1. How did you come up with the idea for the series?

My inspiration for this series came from a childhood cat Mom had and the fact that cats and mice don’t usually get along. This series was an exploration into each character’s ability to make their own decisions based on who they want to be and not who they are told to be by society. I wanted my characters to travel through the world with kindness, respect, and a belief in the goodness of people.

  1. Can you tell us about the characters and how you created them?

The character of Fluffy is based on a grey Persian cat that my mom had as a child. The character Levi is based on some of the strong and independent individuals I have met who experience disability. Maybe even a little part of myself is in the character of Levi.

Dont Eat

  1. In Don’t Eat Family what is the message you wanted to convey?

The main messages that I was trying to convey in the book Don’t Eat Family were that, just like Fluffy and her decision to be friends with Levi versus be a mouser as some cats are, you could be who you are and not give in to peer pressure. Also, individuals experiencing a disability may experience challenges but have other abilities and should not be judged by the way they get around in the world.

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  1. In Help from Friends do the characters follow on from the first book?

Yes, the characters in Friends and Family continue along the journey to find their way home, a journey that started in the first book.

  1. Did you start out planning a series, or did the story and characters dictate more stories?

No, I didn’t start outlining a series, but the characters and the story dictated more books because their adventures required more pages than I wanted to squeeze into one book.

  1. Tell us about your writing life – what other books/plays have you written?

I have written the following

Books:

Ice Rose – A young Adult Spy Novel

Searching for Normal: A Memoir

Don’t Eat Family

On Ne Manage Pas La Famille

Help From Friends

Home

Plays:

Searching

The Sunset Syndrome

In Progress:

Book – Hindsight

  1. Do you only write fiction?

No, I also write creative nonfiction.

Alison’s website:

http://www.alisonneuman.ca/?fbclid=IwAR2_bjRPr3grdeLMeyR6Jv1JjZE0bLKB6nq7X0mOralPynATNr43q-M1YGo

Dream Write Publishing

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Wordsmith Collective Thursday – Is Your Writing Life Lethargic Now?

April 23, 2020
mandyevebarnett


tiredHow is the isolation affecting your writing?

When I virtual chat with writing friends most of them say they feel generally lethargic. It is not just their writing life and routine that has changed but also life in general has restricted their creativity. With limited interactions, we do not have access to our normal writing routines. We may have people in the house not normally there, or meetings and events that sparked our imaginations are cancelled. Whatever our normal was, we are being proactive in protecting our loved ones from this horrid disease by staying home.

When I looked up lethargy, I was surprised at how many definitions it has. All of which describe beautifully our current state.

Sluggishness, inertia, inactivity, inaction, slowness, torpor, dullness, listlessness, languor, stagnation, laziness, idleness, indolence, shiftlessness, sloth, phlegm,
apathy, passivity, ennui, weariness, tiredness, lassitude, fatigue, sleepiness, drowsiness, enervation, somnolence, narcosis, hebetude.

So let’s take one of these and use it in a writing exercise. Write a poem or short story about a character affected by it.

Use the comment section to leave your response.

creative-writing-prompts

As writers we can use what prompts us to create. Use this experience in the same way. Make it a positive. Finish that novel, short story, poem. Create a new one using this experience as inspiration. Reorganize your physical or virtual writing files. Research new story ideas. List writing projects you want to achieve. Revisit old story ideas or manuscripts – can they be resurrected?

Think positive – be positive and write!

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Bibliophiles Collective Tuesday – Fighting the Lethargy of Isolation

April 21, 2020
mandyevebarnett


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Many of us are finding the lock downs, social distancing and isolation difficult to cope with. Logically we know it is the best possible way to curb the spread of this horrid disease but humans are social animals. The most basic interactions are forgone as we protect our loved ones, whether family or friends. We miss the hugs, the physical closeness – over tea or coffee, a lunch or dinner date, groups we normally attend, family visits and more.

However, we are in an era of excellent technology that allows us to connect – if not physically – as least visually. All social media sites are open for us to message or video with each other. There are many video conferencing apps for group chats, we can even have watch parties. So it is not so bad.

Imagine this change happening in the 1960’s or 1970’s when a rotary phones or letters were your main options for connection. At least we have instant options now.

We endeavour to ‘busy’ ourselves with a multitude of activities available to us within our homes. There is an increase in books sales (happy author here for one!) gardens are being tended, DIY projects completed, spring cleaning finished, increased book reading, board & card games played, jigsaw puzzles completed. ‘Old’ toys are seized from closets, basements and attics and dusted off and enjoyed.

Maybe look on the positive side – it is more ‘family’ time instead of ‘screen’ time. Embrace the new and be creative.

Take care #stayhome and #stayhealthy

Keep #reading #books! And remember to review each one.

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Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – The Benefits of Reading

March 24, 2020
mandyevebarnett


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You have no doubt seen numerous authors sharing their books all across social media sites and readings from favorite books recorded for children in the last few weeks of social distancing. This sharing is the writing communities way of bringing some comfort to everyone isolated during this time. We have the ability to ‘connect’ remotely, which is a blessing during this time of COVID-19. 

As we all know information is the new currency, and reading is the best source of continuous learning, knowledge and acquiring more of that currency. However, reading has many other benefits, you may not realize.

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It puts your brain to work as it uses various parts to work together, in essence reading is exercise for your brain. It becomes active allowing growth, change and the making of new connections and different patterns. While reading we can roam the expanse of space, time, history, or discover deeper views of ideas, concepts, emotions, and our body of knowledge. Reading increases ‘fluid intelligence” which is the ability to solve problems, understand things and detect meaningful patterns. Other benefits of reading are an increase in attention span, focus and concentration. reading is in fact a multifaceted exercise.

Fictional narratives, allow us to imagine an event, a situation, numerous characters, and  details of an imagined story. It is a total immersion process. It has been proved that reading literary fiction enhances the ability to detect and understand other people’s emotions, a crucial skill in navigating complex social relationships. So the more you read the better you become within your own mind and for those around us. So get reading!

Everyone please take care, stay well and safe. 

If you are looking for a new read please take a look at my books. I have narratives for children, young adult and adult so something for all the family. As always if you have any questions about any of the books please comment below and I will answer.

Enjoy a good story and escape for a while.

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01MDUAS0V

https://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=Mandy+Eve-Barnett

http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca

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https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01MDUAS0V

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