Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Creative Edge Author Interview – DC Gomez

June 16, 2022
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1. What differences are there between writing urban fantasy and children’s books?

While most of my books have common themes, like redefining families and finding their own tribe, children’s books and urban fantasy are quite different. Charlie’s Fables, my children’s book series, is focused on providing life lesson to little ones. With only 800 words to work with, the pictures in the book are just as important as the words to convey the messages.

My urban fantasy stories are more action-packed and a faster paced. They are full of quirky characters and magic to keep you turning pages. I add social commentaries throughout my books, but it’s not the focus of the stories. The books are entertaining and designed to provide the readers with a delightful adventure to escape from their everyday world.

2. Which genre do you enjoy writing the most?

This is a hard question. I’m a huge fan of all the genres that I write in, so I have a blast writing in them. To not get burned out in any one genre, I have switched genres after each project. That is probably the reason each book just feels exciting to me and full of new possibilities.

3. Where does your inspiration for your stories come from?

It is a huge blessing that inspirations come to me from everywhere. A song, movie, or just a conversation with a friend has inspired the background for a character or a book. My nephews were the inspiration for my children’s series. When my oldest nephew was born, I knew I wanted to create a book that help him see himself as a talented and amazing child. I did not want him to be 35 and wondered what he was good at. With that idea in mind is how I created Charlie, what’s your talent?

4. You state you help with encouraging people to overcome their self-limiting beliefs. Is this through your stories or motivational speeches?

I’m able to help individual overcome their self-limiting beliefs and overcome their fears both through my non-fiction books and my speaking /coaching services. The Dare Collection is a series of self-help devotionals designed to aid readers in working through their own beliefs system and the things holding them back.

As a motivational speaker, I’m usually hired to give presentation or seminars both to adults and youths. This is one of my favorite parts of my business. To connect with individuals and be part of their transformational journey. I understand feeling stuck in your life and knowing there is more out there you can be doing. Providing people with tools on how to achieve their dreams, and encouraging them is critical for their success.  

5. What incident sparked you onto your writing career path?

After years of working in the corporate world, I found myself miserable and hating everything. I always considered myself a storyteller, with a very active imagination. My undergraduate degree is in film and television. After college, I joined the military to learn more about people and to create characters people could connect with. Unfortunately, while I was finishing basic training, 911 happened. My goals and dreams changed completely. I still had the dream of creating stories, but I focused on my career instead. I’m a genuine believer we all should follow our passions and gifts. Because I wasn’t living my creative purpose, nothing I did made me happy. At the suggestions of my spiritual director, I agreed to take a chance and write my first novel. My entire world changed. I was hooked on this form of storytelling, and just kept on writing. 

6. Do you have a work in progress at the moment? Can you tell us something about it?

At the moment, I’m working on developing a new series called The Order’s Assassin. It is a spinoff from my Urban Fantasy series, The Intern Diaries. One of our side characters in the Intern Diaries, Eric, has left Texarkana to join forces with the Order of Witches. They have hired him to find the people who betrayed them and bring them to justices. This is an action-packed series with lots of crazy plots, and even a love interest for Eric. I’m super excited to be working on this series.

7. Can you tell us about your latest book? Where did the idea come from?

My last Urban Fantasy Novel was Judgement Day. This is book 5 in the Intern Diaries series. The series is based on the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, and it’s the story of Isis Black as she becomes Death’s Intern in North America. The book introduces Isis to the wild world of the supernatural, and all the powerful being that lived around her. Death’s Intern is book 1 in the series, and readers start their journey here. Isis is just a normal girl, who is an Army vet and a musician. She doesn’t have any supernatural powers, which is the fun part of the series. This is her journey, learning about the horsemen, saving her friends, and in book 5- the world.  

8. How can readers find you?

Readers can find me in many locations. They can start with my website at http://www.dcgomez-author.com. There they can download the free novella, The Origins of Constantine. I’m also easy to find on social media at:

www.facebook.com/dcgomez.author

www.instagram.com/dc.gomez

www.TikTok.com/@dcgomez_author

Many of my books are also available in Kindle Unlimited, so readers can take advantage of that as well.

9. Do you write every day?

I would love to be the writer that sits down every day to write. Unfortunately, that is not the case. I’m a bit of a binge-writer. I’m either writing nonstop for days/weeks, or I’m not writing at all. This is probably not the most efficient habit, but it works for me. After years of feeling guilty for not writing every day, now I gave myself permission to be me. The system works so far. When it stops working, then it’s time to make a drastic change.  

10. Is there a message you would like to say to your readers?

To all my readers, and future readers, the first thing I would like to say is Thank you! Thank you for going on this magical journey with me and loving these characters as much as I do. I’m super-blessed to create this book and have so many people enjoyed them. Second, follow your dreams, my friends. The greatest gift you can give yourself is to be happy. Take a leap of faith and go for it.

Bio

D. C. Gomez is an award winning USA Today Bestselling Author, podcaster, motivational speaker, and coach. Born in the Dominican Republic, she grew up in Salem, Massachusetts. D. C. studied film and television at New York University. After college she joined the US Army, and proudly served for four years.

D. C. has a Master’s Degree in Science Administration from the Central Michigan University, as well as a Master in Adult Education from Texas A&M- Texarkana University.  She is a certified John Maxwell Team speaker and coach, and a certified meditation instructor from the Chopra Center.

One of D. C. passions is helping those around her overcome their self-limiting beliefs.  She writes both non-fiction as well fiction books, ranging from Urban Fantasy to Children’s Books. To learn more about her books and her passion, you can find her at www.dcgomez-author.com.

Wordsmith Collective Thursday – Feast or Famine of Story Ideas

May 26, 2022
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As writers we are used to juggling many writing projects at the same time or the complete opposite – nothing! (Although, I have to say my mind is crowded with ideas most of the time in MUSE central!)

These opposing states come with their own problems, each unique and as frustrating as each other. Firstly, ‘feast’ has us worrying which project to do first. Which one is the most strident in it’s demand to be written? Is it the right one to pursue? Will another story ‘vanish’ if we ignore it?

Secondly, ‘famine’ when ideas may be circling in our minds, but none of them ‘stick’ or have the ‘legs’ to form a longer narrative. Or there is a void. This is a frustrating feeling, leaving us grasping for elusive or fragments of ideas, or something to write!

So what can we do to organize the jumble or utilize a fragment?

Let’s look at the multiple ideas first. Write down as much as you can for each idea – lay them out on separate pieces of paper or word documents. Organize each idea into genre or categories and then plot, character or scene and any other components of each particular story you do have. Separating the stories in this way allows us to focus on them, if not objectively, as least with a clearer vision. Once you have them in an orderly list you will see which idea has the most content. Now, comes the difficult decision – which one do you pursue? It might not be the one with the most detail, but another that attracts you to it for whatever reason. Take some time to really dissect the new idea. Can you envisage the plot arc, the ending, the characters? If one starts to ‘grow’ within your minds eye, or the majority of the narrative reveals itself to you, then that is typically your direction.

Now comes the void. How do we spark our Muse? There are many reasons for this dearth of ideas, illness, relationship problems, work commitments etc. As a writer we know that the act of writing is not only satisfying, but a real need. Our creativity requires it. This is the time to look at those filed away short stories, or fragments of ideas. We always have inspirational quotes, sentences, even whole paragraphs, that have languished somewhere in journals, notebooks or electronic folders. Take time to read through these, after all we kept them for a reason. Utilize writing prompts – writing anything helps us get back on track. Fifteen minute bursts of writing from a word or picture prompt can refresh our minds, spark our creativity and set us on a new course. Your prompt response might only be short – a poem, a paragraph, even a word association list, or it can develop into something. I recently used an image of a dragon’s egg to spark my Muse. It was going to be a short story but grew and grew into a three thousand word story! You never know where an idea can lead, and that is the beauty of story writing.

How do you handle the sparse and dense periods of your writing life?

What obscure stimulus has sparked an idea for you? 

How do you approach new ideas? Frantic notes? Plot arc? Character descriptions?

Have you experienced a story unwilling to stay quiet?

new idea

“The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out.  Every mind is a building filled with archaic furniture. Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.”     Dee Hock     

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Road Trips, Exploring and Modern Unicorns

May 24, 2022
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This past long weekend Linda, I and our furry companions took off east to Grande Cache. As always water is the draw for me – large lakes are the closest I can get to ocean waves in landlocked Alberta! I have grown to appreciate the magnificence of the mountains and the wildlife that inhabits them. Not only are the Rockies stunning, but it is always good to realize how insignificant you really are.

On many of our journeys we have been gifted with many sightings of animals, large and small, but one particular animal stayed elusive. It is the modern day unicorn – the caribou. Although, we have driven through the migratory areas of these beautiful deer, we have never seen one until this trip. An adult female grazing by the highway, who dashed into the trees before I could get a photo. However, the joy of seeing one of these endangered animals was the thrill of the weekend. (not my photo)

As a lifelong lover of the natural world, it is always devastating to learn about the impact of human existence on the wonders of the world around us. To help the caribou there is a conservation project and also a Caribou Patrol. Signs are posted for drivers to take care on the migratory routes and any sightings must be reported. It is so great to know these magnificent animals are protected.

We did drive to other locations during the weekend of writing and reading. Victor Lake, Sulphur Gates and the Labyrinth Park.

Wild open spaces are always an inspiration and a respite from every day life. It is fuel for my writing and this weekend was no exception. I managed 4000 words and a good edit of the second book of The Delphic Murders.

Of course Sammie loved exploring too!

But was also happy to sleep while I wrote or was reading.

Creative Edge Author Interview – Julie Gianelloni

May 12, 2022
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What affect has your extensive travel made to your writing?

. A large part of my adult life has been spent overseas, and that of course informs my writing. Both my books have international settings, and I feel comfortable writing about international affairs.

·      When did you begin your hiking adventures?

I am not a hiker normally, and I didn’t really train to hike the Camino de Santiago. Still, I had no problem doing the long-distance walking; I just didn’t love it. I set off from St. Jean Pied-de-Port in France on May 3, 2016.

·      What made you want to write your book Savoring the Camino de Santiago: It’s the Pilgrimage, Not the Hike?

In my early 20s, I read James Mitchener’s book Iberia. In it, his last chapter is on the Camino de Santiago. So, in about 1972, I put traveling the Camino de Santiago on my “someday” travel list. I just didn’t know that “someday” would take 45 years.

·      Do you have a message within the hiking narrative for your readers?

Yes, I do have a message, and it makes me a heretic as far as many Camino purists are concerned. A culture has grown up around the Camino that if one doesn’t walk every step one is not a “true” pilgrim. I totally disagree with that philosophy, as the subtitle of my book announces. I think the pilgrimage aspects of the book are much more important than how the journey is accomplished. My mother and handicapped sister made a pilgrimage to Lourdes in 1956, and my sister walked essentially no steps, yet that was a true pilgrimage. Some people get spiritual thoughts while walking; I don’t. I have those thoughts in cathedrals and while gazing in amazement at incredible architecture and art.

·      Has the access to nature impacted your life?

Very much so. I grew up in the country and was active in 4-H through my teen years. I rode horses and showed livestock (cattle, sheep, horses) competitively. As an adult, I have been largely divorced from that closeness to animals and nature due to my job. Being on the Camino gave me time to slow down, look at the wild flowers along the way, see the birds twittering in the trees. I loved that part of walking the Camino.

·      How did writing the hiking book differ from your process for your short story collections and the children’s book?

I don’t think my book is a hiking book. It is a pilgrimage book and a book about the history, art, and architecture of the Camino. It is most suited to those who are thinking of journeying on the Camino since it offers suggestions and tips, including a list of questions to help readers determine if walking the Camino is really what they want to do. It also is suited for those who will never walk the Camino but who want to be “armchair travelers” as they read my memoir passages about my experiences along the Camino.

·      Is adoption a subject close to your heart and the reason you wrote your children’s book?

Yes, it is. When I adopted my son back in 1992, I looked for a book I could read to him about being adopted. I couldn’t find anything suitable. During the pandemic, I couldn’t travel and so couldn’t work on my planned next book. More or less on a whim I looked on Amazon to find out what was available for children on adoption. Amazingly to me, there are very few books on the subject for children, and most of those books are limited in what they cover. For example, the books only focus  on the adopting mother and the adopted child, whereas in reality many, many more people are involved in an adoption. So, I decided to write a book that adopting families could use to talk to their child about being adopted.

·      Do you consider yourself a nomad rather than a homebody?

I consider myself not a nomad, but a citizen of the world. To quote St. Augustine, “The world is a book, and those who do  not travel read only one  page.” Having said that, I am an introvert, and I am quite content to be alone and read a book—I just like to read that book while seated at a café in Lisbon or Santiago de Compostela.

·      What are you writing now?

I have two projects underway. One is a second book about the Camino, and the other is a family memoir. My family, for a lot of reasons, is not a typical American family, and I think readers would enjoy learning about our history.

·      Where can readers find you and your books?

My books are available on Amazon. Savoring the Camino de Santiago is available in four formats: hardback, paperback, ebook, and audiobook. The Baby with Three Families, Two Countries, and One Promise is also available from Amazon in hardback, paperback, and ebook. Readers can also order my books from my website, Bayou City Press.com, or from their local bookstores. As for me, readers can contact me through either of my websites, BayouCityPress.com or JulieConnorAuthor.com

Bio

Julie Gianelloni Connor is an award-winning author and retired senior Foreign Service Officer. Her first book, Savoring the Camino de Santiago: It’s the Pilgrimage, not the Hike, garnered no. 1 status on Amazon in both the category for new books on hiking and walking and the category for Spain and Portugal. It subsequently went on to win a silver medal in the eLit national competition as well as being selected as a finalist by Self-Publishing Review (SPR). She released her second title, a children’s book, in 2021. It has just won first place in
the children’s book category at the North Texas Book Festival. The Baby with Three Families, Two Countries, and One Promise tells an international adoption story. Her short stories have appeared in four anthologies. Julie is the owner and publisher of Bayou City Press (BCP) in Houston, Texas, which focuses on travel writing, Houston, history, and international affairs. Julie writes a weekly newsletter for BCP updating subscribers about activities. She founded BCP after spending 33 years as a diplomat in the U.S. Foreign Service, first with the U.S. Information Agency and later with the U.S. Department of State. She had nine overseas assignments in seven different countries: Israel (twice), Paraguay, Guatemala, Indonesia, Colombia (twice), Malaysia, and Chile. In Washington, DC, Julie worked on a variety of matters, ranging from nuclear non-proliferation to narcotics control
to women’s issues. She has one son, James, and two cats, Halloween and Charles Augustus V. Her books can be ordered from her publishing website (BayouCityPress.com), from her author website (JulieConnorAuthor.com), or from Amazon.com.

Website Bayou City Press: https://bayoucitypress.com

Newsletter Bayou City Press: https://bayoucitypress.com/recent-bcp-newsletters/

Website Julie Connor: https://JulieConnorAuthor.com

Facebook: https://facebook.com/JulieConnorAuthor

Facebook: https://facebook.com/BCPHouston

Instagram: https://instagram.com/JulieConnorAuthor

Instagram: https://instagram.com/bayoucitypress

LinkedIn: https://Linkedin.com/in/JulieConnor

Twitter: https://Twitter.com/@JulConnorAuth

Twitter: https://Twitter.com/@Bayou_CityPress

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Two Mother’s Days!

May 10, 2022
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Photo by George Dolgikh @ Giftpundits.com on Pexels.com

I’m in the unusual position of having the potential to celebrate two Mother’s Day’s. In England the day is celebrated in March, however in Canada it is celebrated in May.

I wondered why this was the case, so did some research to find out why there are two dates. The Mother’s day in the America’s is a 20th century invention by a woman called Anna Jarvis. Her mother organized women’s groups to promote friendship and health, and was also a human rights activist during the Civil War of 1861. Anna wanted to celebrate her mother in a memorial service and did so on 12th May 1907. This was her late mother’s birthday. Within five years virtually every state was observing the day.

In England, Mothering Sunday was not originally to celebrate mother’s per se, but began as an explicitly religious event of the 16th Century, with no connection to mothers at all. The word “mothering” referred to the “mother church”, which is to say the main church or cathedral of the region. Thus the date falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent three weeks before Easter Sunday.

I was treated to supper and received this lovely calla lily.

The rest of my weekend was spent walking Sammie, editing book two of The Delphic Murders and reading.

What did you get up to?

What are you reading?

My current read is The Swan House by Elizabeth Musser. Blurb: Mary Swan Middleton has always taken for granted the advantages of her family’s wealth. But a tragedy that touches all of Atlanta sends her reeling in grief. When the family maid challenges her to reach out to the less fortunate as a way to ease her own pain, Mary Swan meets Carl-and everything changes. For although Carl is her opposite in nearly every way, he has something her privileged life could not give her. And when she seeks his help to uncover a mystery, she learns far more than she ever could have imagined.

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