Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Bibliophile Collective Tuesday – Half Bad – A Review of a YA Story

November 29, 2022
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Summary: It tells the story of a discriminated-against teenage witch who must find his father or suffer a terrible death. The themes include the nuances of “good”; social alienation and discrimination; betrayal and personal integrity.

I was recommended this Netflix series and became quickly immersed in the plight of the main character and his new found friends. Unaware of the YA trilogy, I watched with bated breath as the challenges and dangers increased. Although, I subsequently found out the story in the books is different, the skillful script writing cannot be doubted. The normal good against evil is slightly skewed as both sides have reason to hate the other for savage attacks.

In a world of Fain’s (non-witches), Blood Witches and Fairborn Witches we find Nathan, a half fain-half blood witch, who is monitored by the Fairborn Council almost from birth. He is spared death due to a prophecy, which both sides are anxiously awaiting. He is forced into harsh training by the Fairborn Council, in the hope he will conquer their most elusive and feared enemy.

I enjoyed the world building, the differences perceived by each side as the excuse for their actions, (neither side is all good, or all bad) and the ceremonies a young witch goes through on their seventeenth birthday when their power is engaged.

It is not often a ‘new’ story comes to the screen and this one is fascinating and immersing.

Author Interview – Verna McKinnon

November 10, 2022
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It is my pleasure to welcome back a fellow author to my blog. Verna has been here before, but today we celebrate her newest novel, The Bastard Sorceress.

Since your last interview, how has your writing life changed?
I’ve learned to go with the flow. I’ve survived and found new publishers for my fantasy novels when my
previous publishers stopped publishing. It’s happened to me more than once too! But I’ve been lucky to
find new publishers willing to take me on. It’s a tough business, and small presses suffer the most.
Other than that, I’m still a mad writer who drinks pots of tea and keeps a package of emergency cookies
on hand when I create my tales. I’m focused in details of story, world, and characters. I put together
book bibles for each novel that are very detailed about every aspect of story, world, and people in in. I
still have plans on becoming the next princess of heroic fantasy. Just give me time.


What have you learned about your craft of writing?
I learned I have a knack for three things-creating good dialogue, great characters, and giving my
characters good names. It’s a gift I’m grateful for.


Would you ever write in another genre?
I love fantasy, but would love to dive into science fiction, especially some space opera.


What inspired you to write about Sabine Fable in your latest novel?
A new character I’ve never done before. I love my heroines, and they always lead my tales. With Sabine
Fable, I wanted to explore a character who suffered a rough home life and poverty, but was determined
to rise above what society dictated. I added real human elements in this tale of magic, and created flesh
and blood characters with more depth.


What characteristics does she have that make her a force to be reckoned with?

A tough upbringing can make a tough character. Her heart is good, but she is fierce and protective of
those she loves. She does not trust easily. She champions the underdog because she is one of them. Her
family once had magic, but mage fever took that away. She was a bastard, and judged for her low birth.
Magic is currency in her world, and mages rule. Even humble charm caste has respect. She had none.
Sabine is hungry for more than magic. She wants justice and to be treated with respect. She wants
people to see her. And yet she would never betray a friend or family member for what she desires.


Which author would you most like to meet and why?

There are so many! Many of my favorites have passed (Ray Bradbury, Tanith Lee, Robert E. Howard,
Patricia McKillip). Neil Gaiman is one of many on my list. I did have the joy of meeting Tanya Huff (so
awesome), Kevin J., Anderson, and the great Larry Niven at conventions. I would love to meet Jennifer
Roberson someday. At least she is my Facebook friend. As are you, Mandy.


With several series of books, are you planning more?
Yes, but with publishers rising and falling around me over the years, I plan to be more careful. Even if I
plan a series, I will do each novel as a stand-alone. I am working on the second novel to Bardess of
Rhulon, called War Poet. But I am writing my novels from that perspective.

Has a movie or TV show inspired any of your stories?
Some of the actors in favorite shows or movies I may be inspired by. Some of my characters are drawn
from well-known actors.


What aspect of writing do you like the most?

The power to create my own worlds and stories. Yes, I am a goddess who rules her worlds.

Where can readers find your books?
Amazon has all my novels, available in both print and Kindle. My books are also on Barnes& Noble
online. And my new publisher (for Bardess of Rhulon & The Bastard Sorceress) TANSTAAFL Press.

Bio:

Verna McKinnon is a fantasy author of adventurous heroines. She is the author of the novels, The Bastard Sorceress, The Bardess of Rhulon, Gate of Souls & Tree of Bones. Fantasy is her genre of choice, though she has some science fiction in the works. Check in with her at her website. You can also read some of her previously published short stories at her website http:// vernamckinnon.com. Stay in touch by subscribing to email list at http://vernamckinnon.com/newsletter.html for her quarterly newsletter for news & updates. Follow Verna on Instagram @ vernamckinnon.author & Facebook for the latest on her writing life as a fantasy author, animal lover, and how she stays sane despite the odds. Chocolate helps.

Bibliophile Tuesday Collective – Meeting Readers at Events

November 8, 2022
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I had a great deal of fun last Saturday at an author fair hosted by Spruce Grove library. Not only did I meet new writers and authors, but lots of readers. It is the best part of in-person events to actually talk to people interested in my stories.

It was a successful day book sales-wise and the library also purchased one book. I will donate a couple more too, as the more libraries have my books on their shelves the better. If you request one of my books, at your local library they will get it in for you.

There were young contest winners at the event as well, which is always encouraging as we need new voices to create stories and poems for future generations. Our brain is the same as any other muscle it needs to be exercised and what better way than to create something from our imagination.

I am continuing with book three of The Delphic Murders trilogy – Killers Match within the National Novel Writing Month challenge and as I write this have a total just over eleven thousand words. The characters are leading me down an exciting path.

My next event is this coming Saturday at Daisy Chain Book Co, Edmonton. Five authors, including me will be available for a meet and greet and will be happy to sign our books for you or Christmas gifts for your family and friends.

Bibliophile Collective Tuesday – Reading Challenge Update

October 18, 2022
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How is your Goodreads Reading Challenge going? I’m, alas, two books behind! So will need to push a few books under my belt in the next week or so to catch up. As we all know life can get in the way of our reading – unfortunately, and I’ve been busy decorating and re-organizing.

I’m not sure why ‘Pop’ is on the list twice it must be a glitch!

I have almost finished Fairy Tale by Stephen King, and we all know what kind of tome he writes! I’m really enjoying it. As always I will post my review on Goodreads and then share it.

What are you currently reading?

Remember to always review a book on one of the many platforms – authors will love you for it!

Bibliophile Collective Tuesday – YA Fiction – Clickety Click

October 11, 2022
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In honour of spooky month, I am sharing a little about my YA fiction novella, Clickety Click. The protagonist is a young orphaned girl called Alice. Her guardians live in a remote cottage and are mysterious in nature. They assure Alice everything is fine, but certain areas of their large property have been off limits. Not until she begins to have a recurring nightmare of a purple monster, does the truth come out. It is so fantastical, Alice has trouble accepting what she is and where she came from.

This is the opening paragraph.

It’s eyes widened as it grew closer and closer to her face. Alice was paralyzed with fear, clutching her bed covers 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.

You can find Clickety Click online on the usual purchase sites – Barnes & Noble, Kindle, Amazon, Smashwords and in Shelf Life Bookstore, Calgary. You can also request it at any library!

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