Mandy Eve-Barnett's Official Blog

Inspiration for Writers & Building A Community ©

A Happy New Year and a Blog Schedule for 2019

December 31, 2018
mandyevebarnett


Happy-New-year-2019s

Firstly, thank you to all my followers, who make this blog so worthwhile and fun to write. Your interactions and likes mean so much to me.

As a writing community we need to support, encourage and connect with each other. Our writing space, be it a home office, a dining table, a cozy chair or even a shed are our inspirational spaces where we create our stories. We become a vehicle for our characters to whisper in our ears and that is our happy place. It is however, a solitary place, for the most part, and knowing we can connect through blogs gives us a gift. We can ‘glimpse’ another writer’s world and connect.

Blog Schedule for 2019:

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Take your Pick Tuesday

Will be author interviews, event news, WIP progress updates, topics relating to my novel’s genre and any other random thoughts. If you would like to be interviewed please contact me.

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Blog Question and Answer Thursday.

I hope you will join me in 2019 as I am going to restructure my blog to enable all of you to ask or answer a monthly topic. The first Thursday of every month, I will start the conversation with a question. You may answer on that post or on the subsequent Thursday’s in the month. Raise more questions on that month’s topic or answer it in relation to your writing style or expertise. I welcome any writer/author to link to their blog if they have a similar topic or theme to the initial question.

Happy writing for 2019 and I look forward to our interactions during the year.

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Writing Prompt Wednesday

December 19, 2018
mandyevebarnett


Use these words in a short story or poem: icy, horse drawn carriage, heat.

I’ve shared mine below.

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Winter Treat 

An arm to steady me as I tread on the icy path

Thick warming coats help keep the cold at bay

The ground glistens in the early morning sun

I so wish I could stay beside the hearth

 

My husband’s hands raise me gently upward

Into the horse drawn carriages interior

A winter ride along country lanes

My breath visible with words uttered

 

With a tartan blanket across our knees

The driver cracks the whip high in the air

The carriage jolts forward as we snuggle

My smile shows he has successfully pleased

 

Rosy cheeks and laughter are the heralds

For our return with the noon day sun

The heat of the fire is most welcome

A clink of glasses to wintertime.

 

Please share yours in the comments.

Author Interview – Mandy Eve-Barnett

December 14, 2018
mandyevebarnett


Yep it’s me today due to an author having to postpone her interview. I thought I should try my own interview to see how it felt!

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  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It certainly energizes me, once I am into a story it embraces me in such a way I forget the world around me. My characters carry me along showing me what comes next.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

Knowing which story to write…with so many ideas bouncing around my head it is difficult to pick one and stick to it. If an idea comes to me during another project I have to jot down notes, a paragraph or two to enable me to go back to the current WIP.

Rumble

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

To date I have not felt the need to be anonymous. I love to share my stories regardless of which genre I am writing.

  1. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I count myself lucky to have many author friends, whether virtual or local. My writing mentor is Linda Pedley, without her encouragement and support I would not be writing or indeed published. My writing group friends are very important to me as their feedback and fellowship are worth its weight in gold.

Rython Amazon

  1. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I write in multiple genres and go where the story takes me so mainly each book is a stand alone, however I was asked by readers of my fantasy novella, The Rython Kingdom to write a sequel and have written the first draft as part of NaNoWriMo this year.

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Most certainly getting my books published with Dream Write Publishing. I was an integral part of the process and my vision for each book has been created.

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  1. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

I was lucky to have parents who encouraged reading from a young age and allowed my imagination to flourish through the portals of magic – books.

  1. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

I may sound like an old record with this one – Ferney by James Long – is the ultimate reincarnation novel for me. I re-read it on a regular basis.

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  1. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

I have an affinity with tigers – solitary when they want but will protect their young with their life.

  1. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Goodness, let’s see a novella sequel, a steampunk novel, a western romance, a suspense/thriller and a possible short story collection.

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  1. What does literary success look like to you?

To have readers respond to me after reading one of my novels to say they enjoyed the story. Of course I would like one made into a movie but knowing my words are out in the world forever gives me a kick.

  1. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

It depends on the genre, for example for my thriller I had to research how a body could dry up. While for my western romance I had to delve into barrel racing. Both of these took some time during the writing of each book.

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  1. How many hours a day/week do you write?

This depends on how many events, writers and board meetings I have as well as if there is a deadline but I try to write for several hours each week. My constant writing is creating three blog posts per week.

  1. How do you select the names of your characters?

I look at the genre, geographical location and era of the narrative and the characteristics of the particular personality.

  1. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

The stories pick the genre, I follow the narrative and the genre becomes clear the deeper we go into the characters personalities.

Creature Hunt

  1. How long have you been writing?

I began writing later in life so only around eight years. I have been making up for lost time ever since!

  1. What inspires you?  

A sentence heard or read, a picture, a writing prompt, a vista or an article on a fascinating subject. Inspiration comes from many avenues and I grasp them with both hands.

  1. How do you find or make time to write?

I am quite structured in regard to my writing blog as I need to post three times a week so will write all three most commonly on Sundays. When it comes to fiction I tend to go in bursts so will hide myself away at my writing desk and let the words flow. If an idea hits me I will write until I feel I have the narrative captured.

  1. What projects are you working on at the present?

I participated in NaNoWriMo this year and my plan was to write two novellas, however although one concluded nicely the other has grown beyond novella length already so will be a novel. Both of these will require editing and revision during 2019, which means my other two novels will get pushed back.

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

As above I have two NaNoWriMo projects to conclude but also have two other novels on the backburner. I am also considering a short story collection at come point.

  1. Share a link to your author website.

www.mandyevebarnett.com

Collaborations:

 

Writing Prompt Wednesday

December 12, 2018
mandyevebarnett


Today’s prompt is a Christmas themed story.

bandstand

Mine is here:

The Bandstand

From the outside the Christmas tree glittered and sparkled with lights, tinsel and ornaments. It’s place in the bay window as always. Miriam gazed at the symbol of Christmas shining like a beacon of family and cheer. Pulling her coat more tightly around her, she walked on stopping at each window to gaze at the many Christmas trees on display along the street.

At the corner she entered the park, the light dimmed the further she walked away from the streetlights. The only beacon of light came from the old bandstand decorated for the season by local authority workers the week before.

She looked forward to attending the carol service the following week – a regular occurrence each year. After looking this way and that, Miriam pushed aside a panel on the side of the bandstand and crawled in.

This was home, a safe place hidden from sight and as comfortable as she could make it. A platform made of old pallets kept her off the cold wet earth, cardboard and an old single mattress on one side and food supplies on the other. She’d been able to hook up a little heater scrounged from a dumpster, to an electrical outlet on the underside of the bandstand to keep warm. To disguise her apartment she’d placed panels on each side so even if the workers crawled under they would not see her. Well, that was her hope.

A can of soup and a stale loaf made a meal and then she lay down to sleep.

Arthur tugged at his dog’s leash.

“Come on, Duke, its getting cold and I need a cup of tea.”

The old dog ignored him and continued to sniff the grass unaffected by his owner’s impatience. As Arthur tapped his foot, he saw a shadow approach the bandstand and disappear under it. Well that’s odd, it’s too late for authority workers and I can’t see a truck. Duke pulled on the leash and Arthur followed him down the path to home. The incident left his mind until two nights later when once again walking Duke; he saw the shadow repeat the disappearance into the bandstand. Now he was curious.

The following evening he walked closer to the bandstand but hid behind a clump of bushes. A figure appeared after sundown and with a glance back and forth crawled under. The person was wrapped up in an old assortment of clothes and could have been man or woman; it was too hard to tell. Was there a homeless person under the bandstand? Well that is sad. Once he returned home he pondered what would be the best thing to do. Report them? Engage them? Leave food and blankets nearby? I’ll sleep on it and make a decision tomorrow.

Miriam saw a box to one side of her secret entrance and stopped in her tracks. Was it discarded, some local workers possession or something else? She looked around but did not see Arthur crouched behind the bushes. Cautiously she approached the box and raised the lid with one foot. Inside were cans and a thick blanket. Conflicting thoughts entered her head. Someone knows where I live, I’ll have to move, a kind benefactor has left me a gift, do I take it or leave it? A slip of paper fluttered and caught on the breeze, she grabbed it before it blew away. A hand written note read:

Hello,

Please do not be alarmed, I will keep your secret but wanted to help you. I have put some supplies in the box. I know it is getting colder and food is probably hard to come by. I happened to notice you while walking my dog one evening. If you need anything my name is Arthur and I live at number 36 Amber Avenue just across from this park.

Miriam read the note twice, it was a long time since someone had been so kind to her. She made up her mind to thank him but to say this gift was enough.

The next evening she took her note and walked Amber Avenue searching the house numbers. To her surprise and delight, number 36 was the house of her favourite tree nestled in the bay window. Tiptoeing carefully, she pushed her note through the letterbox and turned away. A bark halted her tracks. Fearful the dog’s warning would alert Arthur to come to the door, Miriam hid around the corner of the house.

The front door did indeed open and a wet nose and wagging tail found her with ease, followed by an elderly gentleman.

“Well hello, you must be the mysterious bandstand occupant.”

“I’m so sorry, I didn’t want to disturb you, I was leaving a note of thanks. I don’t want to be a bother.”

“No bother at all, it would be lovely to have company, apart from Duke for a change. Why not come in for a cup of tea?”

“Oh, I don’t know, I’m rather dirty to enter a house.”

“Nonsense, just take off your boots, old Duke here comes in with more mud and dirt than anyone I know.”

Miriam took off her boots, curling her toes to try and hide the holes in her socks. Arthur led her into the front room, a fire flickered in the fireplace and that tree stood in pride of place.

“Oh, its so much more beautiful than through the window.”

Arthur smiled. “I always take pride in decorating my tree, the family only come on Boxing Day for the afternoon but its not Christmas without a tree, I always say.”

“I walk past all the houses and look at all the trees and this is my favourite.”

“Well, that’s is kind of you to say. May I ask your name?”

“It’s Miriam.”

“Well, I will make the tea, why not take off your coat and sit by the fire?”

Miriam eased the coat off her shoulders and lay it on the floor. The warmth of the fire was wonderful. Arthur walked in with a tray with a teapot, cups and biscuits.

“Now we can get warm inside and out. Take as many biscuits as you like.”

With the strong tea and several biscuits inside her and the warmth of the fire, Miriam could feel herself getting sleepy.

“Thank you so much for the tea and biscuits and the lovely blanket and food. I should go before I fall asleep.”

“Well, it is up to you but you are more than welcome to stay if you would like.”

A tear rolled down Miriam’s cheek.

“Oh dear, I’m sorry did I upset you?”

“No, no not at all. It has been such a long time since someone has been kind to me, that’s all.”

“Well that settles it. Have a nap and then you can enjoy a bath while I make supper. I should have plenty of clothes in my closet you can choose from, we are close to the same size I think.”

“I don’t know what to say but thank you so very much, this is the best Christmas ever.”

“Tis the season, as they say and it brings me joy to help you.”

Bathed, dressed in clean clothes and feeling peaceful, Miriam re-joined Arthur later to find he had cooked a feast of a meal for them both.

“Are you expecting more people? There is a lot here.”

“No just us two but you are welcome to take the leftovers.”

“You are so kind, thank you.”

“And if I may, I would like to ask you if you would visit me from time to time, I get so lonely you see.”

“I would love to visit again.”

Their glasses clinked as they smiled at each other. Their loneliness forgotten.

 

I would love to read your story or poem.

 

 

 

Writing Prompt Wednesday

December 5, 2018
mandyevebarnett


It’s been raining for days – this is your prompt starter for a poem or short story. Have fun with it.

rain

I wrote this poem.

The Sky Is Low

Clouds rolling overhead

Dark and foreboding

Static in the air

Heralding the storm.

Clouds boiling

Lowering the sky

A flash of lightening

Then thunder booming

Heavy raindrops fall

Hit and splash

Blurred images

Through windowpanes

Dust turns to mud

Feathers and fur sodden

Leaves bent in submission

Drips turn to streams

The scent of rain

Refreshes the acrid heat

Dripping, splashing, cleansing

Welcome relief

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