Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Bibliophile Collective Tuesday – A Book Themed Collection

February 7, 2023
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Some time ago, I began collecting book themed ornaments. As a writer, any book related item is fascinating.

It started with the little dark haired girl balancing on a pile of books (bottom shelf), and became somewhat of an obsession for a while. Many ornaments I have found in thrift stores, and a couple were gifts.

I love the variations of these delightful pieces – some are quirky, like the tree-man and sleeping elf, while others match my love of fantasy, such as the two witch figures.

If I see a nice ornament with a book, or books, I do buy it, but think that I might need to invest in a bigger shelving system!

What do you collect?

Why did you start collecting those specific items?

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Podcast Chat with Opal Writer’s Magazine

February 2, 2023
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I enjoyed this podcast chat with Cindy of Opal Writers Magazine. We talked about my recent article in regards to being a panelist at a conference. There are many aspects to not only accepting an invitation to attend, but also what you should and shouldn’t do during the panel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWjQI1ZIGPg&t=14s

You can find me on a panel at Wordbridge on 25th February 3:00 – 3:50 pm in the Theater Gallery of the Lethbridge library

Panel – Writing Crime, Thrillers and Mysteries

I hope you find the podcast and the article usage. And, as always, I am open to questions.

Subscribe to the magazine here: https://opalwritersmagazine.ca/

Bibliophile Collective Tuesday – Big News – Rython Prequel to be Published in 2023

January 31, 2023
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I am excited to announce that the prequel to my fantasy series, Malgraf’s Dawning, will be published by Dream Write Publishing later in 2023. I have already contracted a book cover designer and will work with her to create an apt cover for this dark tale of a witch in the making, from childhood to adulthood.

The fantasy series began with The Rython Kingdom and was followed by the reader requested sequel, Rython Legacy. Set in medieval England these novellas are full of tales of kings, castles, sorcery and mystery.

Both books are available as print or e-book on all purchase sites. In several bookstores (Daisy Chain, Edmonton, The Bookworm, Sherwood Park & Shelf Life Books, Calgary) and also several libraries. (Sherwood Park, Jasper, and Spruce Grove)

Currently the first draft of the prequel is around 16,000 words and Malgraf is obtaining her dark powers and spells daily. Delving into the psyche of the villain in a story has its struggles, but can also be fun, as a writer it allows you to go to dark places with permission. As a Gemini, I find this easier than maybe other writers! Read into that as you will…ha,ha.

Bibliophile Collective Tuesday – Sharing a Short Story – Biker & Kitten

January 24, 2023
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Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

The solitary rumble of a motorbike engine echoed along the back alley, the bright headlight chasing the jet-black night into the shadows. A sliver of a moon gave no illumination, so darkness enveloped the alley the instant the bike passed. Gravel crunched under the vehicle’s wheels, and exhaust fumes were added to the garbage bin aroma. The night air blew a chill breeze along the alley’s length blowing and spiraling detritus.

Dressed all in black leather accessorized with silver studs and chains, the rider was muscled and bearded. Large hands gripped the handlebars, tattoos across each finger and wrist. The jacket hid many more inked designs all over his body but bore the emblem of the gang’s name. His hacking smokers cough broke the midnight stillness and he spat on the ground. Another night of drinking and perceived nuisance under his belt, he smiled. His bike gang had a reputation and did everything they could to uphold it. Tonight, was no different. A brawl ended in a trashed downtown bar, with bottles smashed, knives drawn, and blood splattered on the floor. His compatriots made a hasty exit riding in a different directions to avoid capture once sirens were heard.

He switched off the motorcycle engine and silence descended in the alley, a low rumble of traffic on the highway across the hill the only sound. There were no lights on in the houses backing onto the alley, but he knew a few eyes were watching him. His neighbours were too scared to approach him, his attire and appearance deterring any interference or conversation. As he pushed the bike into a dilapidated garage a mewing sound to his right made him stop.  It was too dark to see where the source of the sound came from, and from what. Flicking a light switch the garage flooded with light making him squint and blink. One his eyes adjusted he looked round the cluttered garage, full of bike parts, beer cans, posters and scattered tools. Standing still he waited for another sound and didn’t have to wait long. Another stronger mewing sound allowed him to focus on a direction. He crouched down, peering into the shadows and lifting garbage and spare bike parts to one side. Two wide blue eyes peered back at him from under a discarded pizza box.

Holding out one hand, the man coaxed the little creature from it’s hiding place. A bundle of dirty cobweb covered black fur crept toward him. The kitten fit in the palm of the man’s hand, where it could easily be crushed in a second with little effort. Cupping his hand, the man lifted the kitten up toward his face. They contemplated each other for a moment – giant and miniature. The kitten mewed again and tipped its head to one side. The man’s grin revealed broken teeth and a gold filling.

            “Where did you come from, you little runt?”

With no answer, the man closed the garage door, grabbed his keys and walked through a doorway into a patch of brown dirt. A fire pit with old deck chairs surrounding it and more discarded beer cans and bottles littered the area. No grass could survive the scuffles, play fighting and urinating of the gang’s party nights. Unlocking a door, the man carried the kitten into a dim and untidy kitchen. Take out cartons and boxes were on every surface along with more alcohol containers, some full, others empty or half full. The room’s aroma was of stale beer, sweat and something indiscernible. Swiping his arm across the table, the man placed the kitten down and pulled open the fridge door. The interior light pierced the dimness showing dust and dirt on every surface. Pushing items aside the man found a carton containing chicken and pulled it apart before placing it in front of the animal. It sniffed, licked and then ate the offered morsel. Then looked up for more.

            “Hungry then eh? Here have some more.”

Guileless eyes watched the man place more shredded chicken on the table, and once again it was eaten with relish.

            “Now, what do I do with you?”

The kitten brushed up against the man’s hairy knuckles and mewed as he placed a dish of water beside the kitten. He watched as it lapped the liquid, then used its paws to wash its face.

            “Now, that’s darn cute – shit what am I doing?”

Unable to put the small creature back out in the alleyway to fend for itself, the man took it to bed with him, where it curled up against his tattooed neck, began to purr and slowly fell asleep. That night both lives changed – a safe haven for the kitten and a softness entering the man’s brutish heart.

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Book Fame is False

January 19, 2023
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As writers/authors, we want our books to become well known, best sellers, and even made into movies. It is a dream that most of us will never accomplish and that’s okay. I feel that my stories are my legacy into the future, where they will be read by future generations and enjoyed. That is true fame to my way of thinking.

Best seller lists are a false statistic anyway – it is the retail orders volume that put such books on the various lists not their imaginative plots or narratives, but perceived sales. Most celebrities will have ‘best sellers’ because the general public want to read about them – for good or bad. Thus the bookstores will order more to accommodate the promotional machine afforded such tomes.

So my message to you is don’t be disheartened, and certainly don’t think ‘success’ can only be measured with these false statistics or lists created by the media. If you have sales and reviews, receive congratulations, and comments on your stories that is true fame.

If you look at the following list, you will see more modern books have made record sales thus proving the promotional circus works. The book industry is now global and this contributes to these sales figures.

25 Best-Selling Books of All-Time

#1 – Don Quixote (500 million copies sold)
#2 – A Tale of Two Cities (200 million copies sold)
#3 – The Lord of the Rings (150 million copies sold)
#4 – The Little Prince (142 million copies sold)
#5 – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (107 million copies sold)
#6 – And Then There Were None (100 million copies sold)
#7 – The Dream of the Red Chamber (100 million copies sold)
#8 – The Hobbit (100 million copies sold)
#9 – She: A History of Adventure (100 million copies sold)
#10 – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (85 million copies sold)
#11 – The Da Vinci Code (80 million copies sold)
#12 – Think and Grow Rich (70 million copies sold)
#13 – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (65 million copies sold)
#14 – The Catcher in the Rye (65 million copies sold)
#15 – The Alchemist (65 million copies sold)
#16 – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (60 million copies sold)
#17 – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (55 million copies sold)
#18 – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (55 million copies sold)
#19 – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (55 million copies sold)
#20 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (50 million copies sold)
#21 – One Hundred Years of Solitude (50 million copies sold)
#22 – Lolita (50 million copies sold)
#23 – Anne of Green Gables (50 million copies sold)
#24 – Charlotte’s Web (50 million copies sold)
#25 – Black Beauty (50 million copies sold)

Be happy with your ‘success’ no matter what shape it takes. After all, you wrote and published a book (or books) and that is worth celebrating for its own worth. Many people dream of doing it and never do. Chasing a pipe dream makes us disillusioned and that is not good – pat yourself on the back for what you have achieved. It is remarkable.

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