Category Archives: Genres

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

I enjoyed the fellowship of writing friends at a special supper for a member who moved to Newfoundland but continues to be a ‘virtual’ member. We talked up a storm, enjoyed a delicious meal and then attended the monthly writers meeting. It was a packed house! Sharing words, enjoying the fellowship and receiving great feedback. Our group always amazes me how supportive of each other they are. No matter what style, stage of writing or genre, we learn from each other.

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What benefits have you found from your writing group?

My personal writing has stalled due to the major event on Sunday 11th June requiring a lot of attention. After many months of organizing it has become a day full of artisans, cultural groups, musicians, food delights and so much more.

However, once it is done I can plunge back into The Giving Thief revisions. I did managed to submit The Twesome Loop to my publisher so at least I have achieved one of my many goals.

Books:

Evidence of Life by Barbara Taylor Sisselwell written and has me turning the pages.

Evidence of Life

Writing Tips:

Start a blog. Use it to talk about your own writing process, share your ideas and experiences, or publish your work to a reading audience.
Subscribe to writing blogs on the Internet. Read them, participate, learn, share, and enjoy!

I have found my blog has not only covered multiple topics but has also allowed me to connect with writers from all around the globe.

Right click on a word to use the thesaurus. Do it again on the new word and make the best use of your vocabulary.

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


events

This week I will be attending a special supper with a member of my writing group who resides in Newfoundland. Not only is it exciting to see her, for her visits are few and far between but to really connect with her rather than on social media. A group of us will share stories and gossip (of the writing kind of course!) at a local restaurant  and then attend the normal monthly writing meeting. I know, Sharon is really looking forward to the evening especially the meeting as she so misses the camaraderie of the group.

Writers Foundation Strathcona County

Our meeting will run in its usual format with a review of upcoming events, submissions for the newsletter and our Canada 150 book project and then a writing prompt to inspire the Muse. After this we will share our current writing projects for constructive critique. 

After the workshop I attended last week I did try out an exercise suggested by Jennifer. Read the first five pages of your manuscript and then answer the question, does it give the reader 12-15 points to introduce who, why, when and where of your protagonist. Obviously, some genres do not start with such an ‘info dump ‘ but if your reader can get a sense of who the protagonist is that will help engage them and make them turn the page. It was an interesting exercise with my current five manuscripts and I did change one first paragraph.

Have you tried this technique?

Did it help you identify a revision?

My major event will be on Sunday. It has been months of exhaustive organizing by both boards of the Arts & Culture Council and the Diversity Committee and we hope for good weather and large crowds! Heritage Day of Strathcona County may become an annual event (what am I letting myself in for?) if this initial event does well. With numerous vendors, performers, food providers, music and even a special free shuttle and a magician, we have done all we can.

heritage day

Other events:

 June 8, 2017: The Writing Stick: Sharing Indigenous Stories

“The Writing Stick: Sharing Indigenous Stories” conference takes place June 8 to 10, 2017 at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta. It will foster conversations on editing and publishing Indigenous stories and writers. The conference is intended for Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants from all walks of life including publishers, editors, writers, storytellers, filmmakers, academics.

juxtapostions

Welcome to the WGA Annual Conference 2017: Juxtapositions! This is where writers from all across Alberta come together to socialize, network, learn, and celebrate writers and writing. We’ve asked over a dozen authors to share their talents and experiences in fiction, short story, poetry, and journalism through keynote speeches, author interviews, panel discussions and more. And Saturday night we’ll take it up a notch with our Literary Awards Gala. Join us June 10 and 11 at Lister Centre, U of A campus in Edmonton!

https://writersguild.ca/events/wga-annual-conference-2017-juxtapositions/

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing

I plan on immersing myself in the ghost writing project for the rest of this and most likely next week. It needs to be propelled forward so a final draft can be approved. A graphic designer is working on the images so the placement of these will have to be worked out as well. With possible sizes of print books and price estimates from the publisher we are nearing a conclusion in the next month. An exciting time for both my client and I as we all know when we hold a physical copy of our book for the first time it is magical and awe inspiring.

However, prior to that schedule, I invested in a workshop last night for my writing. A local author, Jennifer Snow is currently writer in residence at a downtown bookstore, Audrey’s and she was holding a workshop, which intrigued me. The evening’s workshop title was – First Five Pages & Avoiding a Saggy Middle in your Novel.

There were several other writers attending and it was interesting to hear their questions and the advice given by Jennifer. Although you may not write in the same genre as the presenter or the other attendees at workshops or conferences, there are basic fundamentals required to entice, engage and hold a reader no matter the narrative.

We all need to invest in our writing, no matter how much we think we know. You can always learn from another writer or author and as it happens I did have an idea pop into my head during the evening, which will assist in the revision of one of my manuscripts. (For those of you who don’t know I am editing four manuscripts over this and next year!) I detail my progress here: https://mandyevebarnett.com/current-project-2/

Books

Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn

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My review:
What a wonderful book – stories of life, death and rebirth. Perfectly linking each of the souls/characters lives. Sometimes they linked up, others not. Suzanne weaved a perfect tale of past lives making great use of the ‘echoes’ of past life bringing them forward to the new existence.

If you are intrigued, interested or fascinated by reincarnation you must read this book.

Evidence of Life by Barbara Taylor Sissel   

Onto this novel – a great opening line and the story propels you forward with enticing glimpses of what might have happened.

Evidence of Life

Writing Tips

Invest in a few valuable resources starting with The Chicago Manual of Style and The Elements of Style.

Grammar: learn the rules and then learn how to break them effectively.

Do you have particular resources you use? Care to share?

What ‘writing rules’ have you broken?

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

My escape on a writing retreat from 18th – 22nd May was absolutely fabulous. Surrounded by fresh spring greenery, bird song, blue skies, fellow writers and delicious food (cooked for us!) what more could a writer need? The photos above give only a glimpse of my time there. I particularly love the A frame cabin – wouldn’t that be a perfect place to have to write in?

Strawberry Creek Lodge may only be an hour or so away from home but it is a different world away from the normal reality of life. This enabled myself and my fellow writers to indulge in the written word, discuss plots, formats and support each other. With an open or closed door policy we could shut ourselves away to write or be open to conversation and walks through the woods and along the creek. The lodge is a magical place where ‘real’ life disappears allowing your creative muse to flourish. 

I did manage to achieve my writing goals at the retreat so that was an added bonus.

  • Final revisions to The Twesome Loop final word count 75,007.
  • Wrote new YA story Bubble the Gruggle word count 8306.
  • Began revisions on The Giving Thief 70,394 word count.

With my writing goals attained I can immerse myself in the ghost writing project and hopefully have the revised draft to my client by the end of May.

Have you been on a writing retreat?

What benefit did you gain?

Did you achieve your writing goals?

Books:

Her Fearful Symmentry by Audrey Niffenegger- I completed this book while on my writing retreat. The ending had a great twist to it and I found the characters to be intriguing all through the narrative. The story contains complicated relationships, past loves, new loves, strange addictions, cemetery walks, and ghosts. 

Symmentry

Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn – I began this book at the retreat. It has a unique format and is good research for my novel, The Twesome Loop.

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Writing Tips

Make it your business to understand grammar and language. Do you know a noun from a verb, a predicate from a preposition? Do you understand tense and verb agreement? You should.

My tip: Find a way to escape ‘normal life’ be it a road trip, a mini break at a hotel, or a weekend getaway – it doesn’t have to be far away to achieve the tranquility to write.

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


events

I just have to share a few photos of the Authors for Indies event I attended on Saturday at the Sherwood Park Bookworm. We had a great time sharing our books, sharing experiences of the writing life with a new writer and talking everything books. Fellow authors Eva Blaskovic, Beth Rowe and Marty Chan joined me for the day. I even got to read from Ockleberries to the Rescue, which was fun!

AFI 2017

 

 

 

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On Monday I have an evening hosted by our local library, Books, Bites & Bubbly.  Looking forward to it.

books bites bubbly

Tuesday will be my writers group, the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County’s monthly sharing meeting. We share our current work for constructive critique, discussions and writing exercises and fellowship.

Writers Foundation Strathcona County

What are you up to this week?

Other locations:

The 1000 Islands Writers Festival runs May 5–7 in Gananoque, ON, featuring Cathy-Marie Buchanan, Iain Reid, Lindy Mechefske, Marni Jackson, and others.

reading by the river

The next-best thing to a new lit fest is a new lit fest that’s coming back for its second year. After an incredible debut in 2016, The Festival of Literary Diversity returns to Brampton, ON, running May 4–7 with another stellar lineup.

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Vancouver Island’s Children’s Book Festival is scheduled for May 6 in Nanaimo, BC, featuring (as usual) some of Canada’s best children’s authors.

Bookfest-2017web

Friday Fun for Writers, Authors & Readers…


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Readers understand this particular joke!

book pile humor

Sure reading a book under a tree is peaceful but imagine how stressful it is for the tree to see a bunch of it’s dead friends in your hand.
– Kyle Lippert

author humor

One advantage reading books has over TV is you can’t read books and do housework at the same time.
– Melanie White

book pain

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

Conference logo 2017

My conference presentation was well received and my audience engaged in the interactive segments with gusto. The theme of the conference was everything Canadian to tie in with the 150 year celebrations. My session ‘Building a Canadian Character’ included choosing a particular province and building a character from its particular landscape, economy, resources etc. With numerous handouts I managed to compile, each attendee went home with helpful resources.

When I created the individual folders I pinned a small cloth doll to each and then asked everyone to choose – this meant they went for colour or pattern unaware I had put a photo inside for another exercise. Sneaky maybe but it worked well. Then later I asked everyone to describe with as much detail as possible the person in those photos. After they read their description they shown the photo to everyone else. It was a lesson in description. 

The week was not as busy although planning for the major event in June did take up quite some time. My other project is ghost writing a book, which is progressing nicely.

I am now on countdown to the Spring Writers Retreat, which starts on 18th May through to 22nd May. Here I will immerse myself in my writing without distraction. The location is perfect with a small river, woodland and trails to refresh a tired Muse. It is a huge log cabin with an expert chef, whose meals are just so appetizing everyone wants to take her home.

strawberry-creek-lodge

Books:

The Other Life by Ellen Meister – I am enjoying the story’s theme and the tension risen by choosing one life over another.

The Other Life

My friend Karen gave me this book, as she believed the mystery would intrigue me. Looking forward to reading it.  Her Fearful Symmentry by Audrey Niffenegger 

Symmentry

Writing Tips:

Do it. Write.  Write every single day.
Read as much and as often as you can. Remember, every writer is a reader first.

 

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.

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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…


writing-hub

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.

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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

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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.

Author Interview – P.S.Winn…


Please welcome Pamela – I asked her to participate mainly due to her book entitled Obligations, to tie into my near death topic, however as a prolific author it was soon clear I needed to highlight her other books too. Enjoy.

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What inspired you to write your first book?

I think I began writing more to just preserve my ideas in book form. My husband was told he may not live much longer back in 2012. That was scary and we moved back to my hometown so I could be by my family. I almost threw out my poems and short stories due to the quick nature of the move. I decided then I needed to keep those writings and began then to actually write a novel. My husband has since stabilized, not improved, but is hanging in there and we are taking each day as it comes and cherishing the moments.

How did you come up with the title?

The first book is “Foretold” and is based on the last days found in the Bible and in the works of Edgar Cayce and Nostradamus. I never thought the world would just end, but I always felt it would never be the same and people may have to go back to the basics. The Bible has a quote about turning weapons to plow shares. I feel that means we won’t have the things we have now and we may all instead have small gardens and farms to support our families. Now, getting ready to write book #42 I still find that what I learned in the Bible, by reading Cayce, Nostradamus and others can be found in whatever I write.
Is this your first book? How many books have you written (published or unpublished)?

I have just finished book #41 entitled “Tidbits and Treasures” it is a collection of poetry.
I am having health issues of my own and having problems with my spine which in turn effects my hands, so I am slowing down in writing, but have finished the 41 in 4 years, with 42 being started and 3 more in my head.

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

In almost all my books I like to combine a bit of spirituality in with the other genres. I think I have two that show this best “Obligations” and “Of Jeebies and Journeys”. I also a couple of collections of short stories that definitely do. “Visitations” and “Wings to Whispers”

How much of the book is realistic?

obligations

In “Obligations” a near death experience takes a young man to the other side and then he is sent back because evil followed him. The young man, Josh, is given the gifts of seeing spirits and auras to help him. I haven’t had a near death experience, but know people who have and tried to base the book on what they saw and felt. I think the curtain between our world and heaven is very thin and think if people open their minds they may see that loved ones who have passed away are trying to reach us, protect us and let us know they are not too far away. In “Jeebies and Journeys” Jed journeys from this world to the next in hopes of returning something precious that was stolen from his wife Ellie by the Jeebies. I hope I captured Heaven and the possibilities we’ll find in that novel.

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

I think all writing has to be based on what we know and have lived through. I also think characters have many things in common with people we know or even ourselves. Don’t tell my friends though, I am keeping identities secret.

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

I really love Josh in the book “Obligations” and Nikki in the book “Tunnels”. The latter combines a bit of supernatural with spiritual as wormhole like Tunnels take Nikki to other worlds and alternate realities.

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If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I wouldn’t change any books. I’ve had people say some books are too short, although I have “Tunnels” which is over 600 pages. I know I have been asked several times to write sequels to the books, especially “Obligations” and “Pacific Passage”, which is a novel where people live through a wreck of a cruise ship that heads through a vortex to an island where mysteries of ages are discovered..

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thanks, without readers vivid imaginations the books wouldn’t be finished. I think each reader brings their own ideas and images to the books they read and make them better. As an avid reader, I know when I read a book I see it just a little differently than the next person. I am positive that is why the book is always better than the movie. We bring our own mind with a personal movie screen along with us and as we read the story unfolds to each of us differently.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Just putting the words down on paper, I do this longhand. I think the best part is when I am not actually writing, but doing something else and an idea pops in my head, usually my characters taking to me, and they take the story in a route I never thought of.

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What age did you start writing stories/poems?

I’d have to say at least by the first grade, or as soon as I learned to write. I loved to write poems and short stories, I just didn’t try to write a novel until October of 2012.

What is your favorite part/chapter of your book/project?

I think I love it all, but when the work is done and I try to add in a special note to family, friends and readers that I hope is more personal and can express the gratitude I feel for all the support in this crazy world I find myself in.

What is your favorite theme/genre to write?

I love supernatural. I think some may think supernatural is science fiction, but for me I like to think that supernatural is closer to what is possible.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

I don’t write a whole lot of romance, although it is definitely in the books and I don’t write erotica. I think romance is good when we let our own imaginations fill in the gaps.

What book are you reading now?

Hard to say, I usually read between 4 and 6 books a day. I am a top ten reader on Goodreads and have done over two thousand reviews on Amazon since 2013.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

About a million. I’d have to say my favorite authors who have multitudes of books and genres would be John Dizon, Char Iverson and Angie Blake. I love Berkeley Rourke and John Putnam, especially for westerns. For books that touch the heart I love Phyllis McManus and Stephanie Parker McKean. For suspense Mark Tilbury is great and spiritual writer Doug Simpson is a must have. I know I have missed hundreds of people whose books I love and hope they will forgive me.

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Do you see writing as a career?

That is what I do now. I used to work in customer services, but herniated discs, spine degeneration and my husband’s health problems make being an author with my own hours a much better choice. I am just thankful that I am able to do that. Being an author, unless you are a Stephen King or a J.K. Rowling doesn’t keep the lights on.

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

I nibble when I write and when I don’t! My favorite is chocolate, but I love a good bowl of buttered popcorn too. I also live on coffee, both with and without chocolate added.

Do you have any odd habits or childhood stories?

I don’t know if my habits are odd, but most of my stories are written in my mind in that place we go between being awake and asleep. Luckily for me, I remember the stories in the morning when I wake up. I think from childhood, the amazing thing and what I appreciate most are my parents giving me the love of reading, which led to the writing. My parents are gone now, but they still visit me once in a while and those moments are added into the short story collections “Visitations” and “Wings to Whispers.”

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Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I have no idea, if I am lucky, I hope to have a few more books out and also be helping other authors to do the say. I try to help get other writers noticed by putting their books on my face book page and on twitter where I have almost 17000 followers.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Slowing down, sometimes if I know how I want a book to end, it is hard to force myself to slow down and get the whole story in before that ending.

What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline?

I have no deadlines, my reward is always that first review and I have to say my readers have been amazing. So many touch my heart with the reviews and many explain my book better than I can.

Have you ever hated something you wrote?

Not yet. I have found a couple of times I was almost ready to throw something out and start over when the story changed, usually with my characters input, and the story turned out better than I could have imagined.

What book do you wish you had written?

The Bible or something like that. A guide for people to follow that would bring them happiness and also a type of guideline for morals, love and understanding. I think our world needs that. I wrote a short story collection called “Life Bridges” with three stories of people who used love and understanding to overcome hatred, bullying and prejudice. That is what is important in this life. I am not a religious person who regularly attends church, but I am spiritual and believe we can make a difference with one good gesture if we all try.

What is your best marketing tip?

I think it is running a book on a 99 cent sale. I promote in Facebook groups and on Twitter. When I sell a book on sale instead of just giving it a way I get more reviews. Although as a reader I grab a lot of freebies and always leave a review. The only time don’t is if it would be under a three star. I can’t do that to an author and try to find them and personally send a message why.

What genre is your next project? What is it about?

The new book is about the paranormal, but it is also a mystery with some twists and turns as a spirit tries to share a tragedy in her past with people in the present.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

“Tidbits and Treasures” should be released in November and is a collection of my life through poems. I wanted to put a lot of the poems I have written through the years in book form. Mostly to preserve that writing, but also I hope to touch readers with what are treasures to me. The poems are on love, life and all that involves, including tragedies with the happy moments.

How do we find your books, blog and bio?

The books are on Amazon @ https://www.amazon.com/P.-S.-Winn/e/B00E6XAR82/

on Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/p.s.-winn

My Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/pswinnbooks/

On Twitter I am @ https://twitter.com/pswinnauthor

You can also find me on Goodreads where I am an author and an avid reader!

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6580862.P_S_Winn
Thanks so much for letting me spout my thoughts here and I hope that I have given you some good information and I hope you will join me on Facebook or Twitter, especially if you are a fellow author. I would love to share what others write on my pages.
Even though I have written 40 books, getting ready for 41, in 4 years I am still honored and amazed when asked if I would like to do an interview and am grateful for your asking me.