Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Smashwords Book Sale & How to Pick a Genre to Read

July 27, 2021
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Until 31st July you can grab many of my books from Smashwords at a sale price.

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/mevebarnett

As you well know I write in multiple genres, so how do you choose which one to read? There are several options on where you can research a book and decide if it will engage you.

Local library

Local Bookstore Staff Picks

Friends and Family Recommendations

Book Fairs

Book Clubs

Goodreads

Purchase sites – compare reviews in the genre sections

As a last resort you can try:

Best Sellers, Prize Winners or Best Books Ever Lists – just remember these can merely succeed on an authors name, or through a massive advertising campaign. I know I was extremely disappointed in one ‘famous author’ book, which was badly edited because it was rushed into production.

Here are a few other things to think about. It maybe that there are certain writing styles that appeal to you or you find more enjoyable to read. These can be due to:

  • Pacing: How quickly does the narrative move? Is it a page-turner or is it a slow burn?
  • Characterization: Do you become engaged with the characters?
  • Story line: What is the orientation of the plot – character-driven, action-oriented, complex, fantastical or inspirational?
  • Frame and Tone: What is the mood of the book – heartwarming, thrilling, quirky, or dark?
  • Style: What is the author’s writing style – descriptive, expository, persuasive, narrative, technical or poetic.

How do you choose a book to read?

Do you have a ‘favorite’ genre? What draws you to it?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – What Inspires Me to Write?

June 29, 2021
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There are a number of ways that stories come to me, one is using writing prompts because they always spark ideas or images in my mind. Some result in a short story or, occasionally a poem, but others have become full blown novels.

I recently responded to the prompt below and the character emerged complete in my mind. I could see him walking along the sidewalk, and the effect he had on the people he passed. He may appear in a future novel – who knows. Some characters stay with me and after a time begin to demand attention. This one is mysterious and I am keen to know his backstory and his future plans.

Heads turned, chatter ceased and whispers began as the tall, dark clothed man strode along the high street. His focused gaze ahead, never glancing at the store fronts, or the recoiling of other pedestrians as he passed by. The summer atmosphere cooled as an ominous air pervaded his very being. The holiday town was used to many visitors but this one was different and dangerous.

Would you like to ‘meet’ this character?

One prompt that resulted in a published book was my novella, The Rython Kingdom, which was actually a series of prompts that combined into the basis of the story. The prompts were – blue beads, a beast and a medieval town. You can read the full story (and its sequel if you want) here:

Another inspiration are dreams. And the reason, I have a small notebook on my bedside table. If I don’t write it down immediately, the dream dissipates never to be remembered again. The opening sequence of The Commodore’s Gift was a snippet of a dream that just needed to be used in a story. At the time, I had no idea that Owena, would become such a integral part of the story and evolve into it’s central character.

Other ways I am inspired are by those chance encounters. A case in point, was a huge plant growing on the side of the road, while I was traveling. It morphed into a creature in my YA novella, Creature Hunt on Planet Toaria.

Do you have questions about my writing inspiration? Please ask on the comments, I will be happy to answer them all.

Creative Edge – Author Interview – Thorsten Nesch

June 24, 2021
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Your novels tend to have unexpected protagonists/settings. Was this a conscious decision or the spark of an idea that evolved? My ideas hit me just as unexpected. It is not like I want to come up with this or that like a contract writer where an idea is developed and catered to a market, I am on the other end of that spectrum. I am not in control of my ideas, and there are plenty, and many I can’t even tackle, most of them I won’t finish in my life time. The once that make it are pressing, have an immediate impact on me and when they linger over weeks I know I have to sit down and deal with them. What brings us to …

Do you plan an outline or free flow write? … this question, and yes I do. For the longest time I had to keep up a job to buy myself time to write (and food and the other trivialities), so I couldn’t just write into the blue and hope the novel turns out well somehow. I had to be sure. I could not waste any time. Early on I developed my outline technique where I work only on 1 letter sized piece of paper, which I could take anywhere (jobs etc.) at all times. Everything is on that 1 page, the entire outline, like “They steal the car”, that’s a beat, at that time I don’t know where they do this for example. Only when I see these beats work and I understand my protagonists, hear them, feel them, know them, and I clearly hear the narrating voice I start the novel. This planning phase takes between 2 and 15 years before I start writing, but then the 1st draft is the novel. 

Can you explain how the process of writing with a fellow author works? Is it a chapter each or a combination of thought and writing? I did this more than once, but always we agreed one of us writes a quick first version and the other expands on that. This way the voice of the novel is not flopping back and forth – except there are 2 distinct views or narrators, then this would make sense.

What differences are there from writing a novel to a film script to a song? A song or a poem is the entire opposite to a novel to me. These happen in an instance, a spontaneous outburst in under an hour, unplanned, unmanaged, quasi anarchic in character. A film script (as well as a radio play or a theatre play) is planned like the novel, but the writing is a fraction of it. I love film scripts, I wish more people would read them and they’d become an own literary genre.

Does your music affect your writing or the other way around? All the different media I am working in influence each other, ideas bleed from one form into another (example my song “Joyride Sky” was inspired by my novel “For a Spin”, I invented a band that pops up in a number of my novels, and for the dystopian novel “2112” (working title) I am currently working on I recorded an entire album you can listen to on Bandcamp, the band is called JENNY HAS TRAFFIC. It is fun and adds to the characters.

You have been prolific in the number of publications. Are the ideas still coming as quickly? Do you have a folder of ideas pending? Oh yes, ideas come constantly, I have to dodge them, write them down and put them in the folder. That folder is full with ideas, no way I can write all of them.

What challenges do you face with language? English is my 2nd language. The biggest challenge for me as a writer is not so much the spelling, grammar, vocabulary (you can work on that), but the fact I did not grow up in the English culture, I miss out on most childhood references, sport and political events, etc. I have to live with that, there is no way I can catch up with that.

When you write songs what influences you? My mood. My mood dictates the feeling of a song. Many lyrics come from darker places, I am not a musical comedian although I wrote many funny novels and had the pleasure to experience their impact first hand during my readings in schools between Denmark and Italy.

What propelled you to start you podcast? I was the kid (14 years old) that stayed up late to listen to radio shows at midnight. I always loved the medium, for music and word. I worked for radio in Germany, and as a volunteer I had an own 4 hour show at CJSW at the University of Calgary called PolterZeitGeist where I mixed words and music. Since technology evolved digitally I was able to get the equipment and do it myself.

Can you tell us about your latest project? I received this year the Literary Arts Individual Project Grant by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts to write the dystopian novel “2112”, and I document this process on my homepage in words, photos, audio and video until February 2022.

Where can readers find you? http://www.thorstennesch.com

Is there a message you would like to share with your readers? Don’t judge a book by its cover, please read the first page. Even with my novels, because the narrating voice changes.

Bio:

Thorsten Nesch is a German author who lives in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. 2008 Nesch’s first novel Joyride Ost was nominated for Oldenburger Kinder- und Jugendbuchpreis and the Landshuter Jugendbuchpreis. 2012 the book won the Hans-im-Glück Award

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Summer Approaching

June 15, 2021
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A lot of us look forward to summer – it’s heat, long days and lazy days in the garden/yard. Of BBQ’s, beaches and the open road. This , of course, depends on the continent you live on and the weather cycles. I am not a heat person and like to stay at 22°C degrees with a breeze to keep the mosquitoes at bay. They absolutely love my English blood, here in Canada.

I wrote this poem a while ago about impending summer.

summer loading

Summer, you are long awaited

Through snow, sleet and rain, your heat and blasting glory

Pull us through.

Memories of sea and sand, camp fires and BBQ gatherings

Pull us through.

Green lushness, long days and outside chores planned

Pull us through

Then you are here – Summer – our darling

Flowers are planted, friends and family gather and lawns cut

Joy abounds

Garden furniture released from storage and nature’s sounds surround

Joy abounds

Vacations, road trips and splashing in the pool

Joy abounds

Long awaited, now enjoyed.

We love you Summer.

***

This summer there will be road trips to look forward to based on a new contest for Go East. Linda and I have already collected stickers from two routes and will explore new places over the summer months. Our first trip was ambitious driving two routes in one long day (15 hours to be precise!), so now we have planned stop overs for the remaining routes. Making it much more leisurely and giving us the ability to explore more.

The other trip we are taking includes one of the areas included in the adventure game, but for another reason. We are hosting and presenting for When Words Collide. This is an annual event and is virtual this year. We have booked an isolated cabin on private land beside a lake. The perfect writing and relaxation retreat, as well as a great dog walking venue.

I have received the last editing workshop comments and will be diving into the next round of revisions of book one in the Delphic Murders, An Elusive Trail, in the coming weeks. I am excited for this project and hope that you will enjoy the stories once they are published.

My last review is for Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver
A beautifully told story centering around a particular house during two different time periods. Barbara has expertly woven the two story lines and the inhabitants lives together. The core of the novel centers on the real life of a intriguing woman, Mary Treat. Someone history should take notice of and celebrate.

In the meantime you are welcome to browse (and buy) any of my other books here: https://www.amazon.ca/Mandy-Eve-Barnett/e/B01MDUAS0V/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1 or any of these e-book sites.

As always if you have any questions about my stories, writing life or events please feel free to contact me.

Joint Author Interview 22April David Ellis & Cendrine Marrouat

April 22, 2021
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Today I welcome a joint interview with Daivd and Cendrine, authors who collaborate to publish a variety of books and a magazine. Welcome to you both.

David Ellis

1.     What drew you to poetry?

I grew up trying to write spoof lyrics for a lot of different songs, inspiration would come out of all sorts of places. When it turned out that my lyrical structures became too big and unwieldy for songs themselves to contain, I started turning to writing poetry because I was drawn into the musicality of playing with words and phrases. I was fascinated by how you could treat words as if they were musical instruments. I began reading lots of poetry written by my peers and in doing so, I gained the ability to write on an emotional level that connected with many different people. This is what forged my love of poetry, being able to communicate with like-minded souls and give them hope, inspiration, passion, courage and kindness in their lives.

2.     You embrace a variety of topics in your poetry. Can you explain your process in choosing a theme?

Theme for me is pretty easy, in that I am most interested in writing things that are inspirational, romantic, funny or all three combined! I’ve always thought that when it comes to choosing a theme or topic, it should be something that you are passionate about. You should actively try to combine multiple elements to give you enough drive and material to visualize a project. For example, you may choose to write about snow but that on its own is not very inspiring. However, if you were to then combine other elements of an emotional nature (a first romance in the snow, playing in the snow as a child/with your own children, etc) then this will give you the means to flesh out your piece. From then on, you can continue to add whatever details you need to give enough colour to your piece of writing to interest others into reading it.

3.     How does writing flash fiction differ from poetry for your writing process?

With Flash Fiction I am usually thinking of a specific scene taking place in my mind. Whilst this can also be true for poetry, stories tend to unfold themselves when I have some characters chatting to each other. Usually my flash fiction pieces consist of dialogue between quirky characters and action unfolding. I would say that a poem can embrace many different angles but a piece of story writing is focused, concise, every word needs to count when it comes to describing the scene/event. With a poem, you can be more vague when it comes to the overall meaning of the lines and still have a deep message that can be conveyed. Whereas with a piece of story writing, it is important to convey to the reader where they are and what is happening (even if the twists, turns and outcomes are a mystery), so that they can quietly imagine being there themselves enjoying the experience.

4.     Who are your writer heroes?

I have tons in different genres! My favourite genre is Fantasy, so I will say that my top two literary heroes are Terry Practchett and Neil Gaiman. Stephen King for horror. For poetry, Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson & Maya Angelou are also but a very small selection. I could literally spend all day and night naming people in the literary, TV and film world who constantly inspire me on a daily basis!

5.     How did you come up with the title –  “TooFullToWrite – I’ve started so I’ll finish”?

The short answer is that I always thought about the notion how writers and artists start things but struggle to finish them. Maybe they lose their creativity or drive, or some other shiny thing comes along to distract them. My philosophy was born out of wanting to finish things that I start because I am not a fan of loose ends and it is satisfying to complete things (no matter how long they take!) for our own peace of mind.

I actually wrote a humorous origin story about the namesake of my website, so if your readers are interested they can read it here:-

https://toofulltowrite.com/2013/02/12/daily-prompt-all-about-me-the-mostly-true-origin-story-of-toofulltowrite/

6.     You have created workbooks for authors. Can you tell us about them and why you created them?

Cendrine & I created our workbooks series at Auroras & Blossoms because we wanted to inspire artists to create more material, to become more professional and to thrive at what they do best. We focus on a variety of different topics, including writing prompts, inspirational tips/techniques, new poetry and writing forms, social media etiquette, social media marketing, marketing your artwork better and many more. We want to keep expanding and evolving what we offer to be on the cutting edge of what inspires artists to show up and produce the best material of their lives! 🙂

For more information, check out the link here:- https://abpoetryjournal.com/journals-workbooks/

7.     How, why and when did you formulate the partnership with Cendrine Marrouat?

Cendrine goes into deeper detail in her interview segment below. We crossed paths years ago when I was interviewing fellow authors and artists. We have an excellent creative partnership that we have built a strong platform on. We complement each other with our skills sets and are both a creative force to be reckoned with. She is an excellent business partner and extremely talented too!

8.     You have a wide range of skills, including podcaster, lyricist, humorist – do you feel these are all components of your writer life? How do each of these disciplines aid your writing?

I have never wanted to tie my creativity down to just one single thing. As I learn how to do one creative discipline, I become interested in others by way of association and because of my passion in existing disciplines, this enthusiasm carries over to new things that I try out in the artistic world. I do not feel like they are actually defined by a writer’s life, although to be fair, a writer’s life has led me to all of them and so much more. It’s very true what they say about how being a writer means that you can literally be anything you want to be in life! Being involved in many different artistic outlets gives you a much broader palette to paint from. It is not for everyone, since some people prefer to focus on one thing and get really good at it. I have to focus on many things in my life, otherwise I will get bored doing the same thing over and over – variety is the spice of life!

9.     Does living in England enhance your writing – if so how?

This is an interesting question. I definitely have a British sense of humour and it comes out in my jokes, quips, puns and writing style because that is an integral part of who I am. I feel like it gives me a unique perspective on the world, one that is endearing, comical and entertaining to read. I embrace these aspects of my own personal character in that I have manners, am well behaved and professional (plus a bit old fashioned) but at the same time I do have an extroverted side, like to be playful and let my hair down regularly as well!

10.  Please share your social media sites.

Website: https://toofulltowrite.com

Blog: https://toofulltowrite.com/blog

Books: https://toofulltowrite.com/my-books

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TooFullToWrite

Instagram: https://instagram.com/TooFullToWrite

11.  What would you like to say to your readers?

I want to thank every single one of you for your support and interest in what I do. I hope to inspire you, make you laugh or move you deeply in some kind of profound way that connects with you on an emotional level. We live in tough times right now and I would encourage you to spread as much kindness, help and support that you can. Work hard and bear with your struggles, there will always be better things on the horizon, if you weather the storms.

Cendrine Marrouat

1.     How long have you been writing?

Like many people, I wrote sappy stuff when I was a teenager. However, I only got serious about writing in 2005. So, I’m just counting the last 16 years. 😉

2.     What drew you to combining poetry and photography as artistic expression?

Because both art forms work extremely well together.

Most of us are scared of poetry. In school, we are taught to analyze every word and line of the poems we read to uncover some kind of arcane meaning. The adults we then become cannot pick up a poetry book without over-thinking about the way we should respond to it.

As a former teacher to adults, I know that a majority of people prefer visual cues to written ones. Pairing imagery and poems helps redirect the focus towards enjoyment.

The images I use to complement my poems (all mine) have triggered very positive reactions from people. They realize that poetry can also be very relaxing and fun to read!  

3.     You are the co-founder of Auroras & Blossoms – how did this partnership begin?

A few years ago, I was looking for interview opportunities to promote a new book. I found David Ellis and we instantly connected. I was impressed with his professionalism and personability.

After the interview, we decided to stay in touch. At the beginning of 2019, one of our chats led to sharing our frustrations about the process of submitting work to magazines and journals. We did not like how many of them factored in “who you know” and your number of publishing credits into their acceptance process.

So, on a whim, I suggested we start working on something that would run counter to that status quo. We decided that we would do things differently and give a chance to everyone. And our focus would be on something we did not see enough: positivity, inspiration and family-friendliness.

Within a few days, we had laid the foundations of Auroras & Blossoms. It took us a few months to set everything up properly, and we launched officially in October 2019.

4.     What are the benefits of a collaboration with another artist?

In this day and age of fierce competition for visibility, partnerships are pretty much the only chance for artists to be successful.

Collaborations give you the opportunity to tap into other artists’ platforms, build relationships with like-minded folks, and pool resources together to achieve greater things than you ever could on your own.

The key to a great partnership is to find someone who is on the same wavelength as you and shares your values. David and I get along really well because we are both very hard-working, committed to our craft, and professional. We respect each other’s time. Finally, we understand what it takes to build solid projects.

5.     Where do you prefer to write and why?

I always write in my office, with very occasional sessions in my backyard. My office is my private space, nobody bothers me there. So I can fully concentrate.

6.     Can you tell us about why you created Reminigram, Sixku, Flashku and the PoArtMo Collective?

I wanted to challenge myself and increase my creativity. 

The reminigram is a type of digital image that seeks to capture scenes that could have existed in the past. It’s my way to pay homage to early photography (daguerreotypes, tintypes, collodion processes, etc.).

To see some of my reminigrams, visit https://www.cendrinemedia.com/Portfolio-Series/Reminigrams.

Based on the Haiku, my favorite poetry form, the Sixku is a six-word poem inspired by a photograph. It’s a fun poetry form that any person will enjoy reading and writing.

For more info: https://creativeramblings.com/sixku/.

The Flashku is my latest creation; it borrows from the Sixku, Haiku, and Kindku, another poetry form David and I created (along with the Pareiku). I came up with the idea because I love flash fiction but suck at writing descriptions. The goal of a flashku is to write a whole story in 50-100 words inspired by an image, using 7 words taken from another piece. I like to call that poetic prose! 

For more info: https://creativeramblings.com/flashku/.

The PoArtMo Collective was one of my long-time dreams. I wanted to bring a group of artists together to create and release inspirational, positive and uplifting art and artistic projects; the goal being to show that good art goes beyond technical aspects to tell memorable stories.

When it launched in 2019, the collective was called FPoint Collective and focused exclusively on photography. But co-founder Isabel Nolasco and I quickly realized that we needed to be more inclusive. Isabel left us last year to focus on other things and there are now three of us. We have recently released our second project, a book titled Seizing the Bygone Light: A Tribute to Early Photography.

For more information, visit https://abpoetryjournal.com/poartmo-collective/.

Our book: https://abpoetryjournal.com/seizing-bygone-light/.

7.     What is your writing process like?

Quite strange. I always have to start with a title, otherwise, I’ll be stuck. I’m a very slow writer. And I have zero routine.

8.     How have your life experiences affected your work?

Like other artists, I share my life experiences through my writing and photography. That’s why my art is a constant state of flux.

9.     What would you like to share with readers?

Just enjoy poetry on your own terms. Don’t over-analyze. Just embrace the words and let them unleash their meanings over time.

10.  Can you share your social media and blog links?

Website: https://www.cendrinemedia.com

Blog: https://creativeramblings.com

Books: https://creativeramblings.com/books

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cendrinephotography

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cendrineartist

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/cendrinemarrouat

Auroras & Blossoms

Website: https://abpoetryjournal.com

Latest submission calls: https://abpoetryjournal.com/submit/

Books: https://abpoetryjournal.com/store

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BlossomsPoetry

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/abpoetryjournal

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkAh-EnwcJbd865SEXJQsEw

Bios:-

French-born Canadian Cendrine Marrouat lives in Winnipeg. She is a photographer, poet, multi-genre author, and the co-founder of several artistic projects. She is also the creator of the Sixku, the Reminigram, and the Flashku.

Cendrine started her career in 2003. She has worked in many fields, including education (language instruction), social media coaching and training, content creation and curation, translation, photography, poetry, theatre, art criticism, blogging, and journalism.

David Ellis lives in Tunbridge Wells, Kent in the UK. He is an award-winning poet, author of poetry, humourous fiction and music lyrics.

David’s debut poetry collection (Life, Sex & Death) won an International Award in the Readers’ Favorite Book Awards 2016 for Inspirational Poetry Books.

David is extremely fond of tea, classic and contemporary poetry, cats, and dogs but not snakes. Indiana Jones is his spirit animal.

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