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Canada Day 1st July 2019

July 2, 2019
mandyevebarnett


canada-day

I enjoy celebrating Canada Day as it is my new homeland. We are lucky to have a deck overlooking part of the parade route so can sit in comfort and watch it drive past. Canada is a young country, becoming the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867. This is in direct contrast to my former homeland, Britain which was founded a lot earlier.

United Kingdom = England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Kingdom of England was founded in 927 AD and The Kingdom of Wales was founded in 1283. They joined together in 1536 so Britain was founded in 1536. The Kingdom of Scotland was founded in 843 AD.

I do miss the history and pageantry as well as the ancient sites, historical houses and castles but have been fortunate to have traveled quite a lot of the province’s of Alberta and British Columbia by way of road trips. When I first came to Canada, I had no real sense of the vastness of the continent until someone showed me this view of the whole of Britain easily fitting into Alberta. This is just one province of ten!

Capture

I have seen wildlife and plants I would never have observed, spectacular scenery and many objects purportedly to be the largest! Here are some of them.

I also ‘discovered’ a passion for writing in Canada, which may never have been part of my life elsewhere. It was a happy accident walking into that first sharing meeting of the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County in 2009. Not only do I have something that interests and absorbs me but it has also given me some incredible friendships. I am making up for ‘lost’ time publishing (to date) seven books, with several in the pipeline but it is the process of creating that engages me and having the opportunity to share my stories.

Here’s to many more years discovering this country, writing stories and enjoying family and friends.

 

 

Ask A Question Thursday

June 27, 2019
mandyevebarnett


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As writers we are also avid readers, not only for pleasure but for research for our story line, be it historical, geographical or even the specifics of a particular genre.

What books do you keep for sentimental reasons? Is it a childhood story book, your first writing craft textbook or something else.

I’m not talking about our burgeoning bookcase horde but particular books that you love for the memories they evoke.

I have several older books (although some were lost when I immigrated to Canada unfortunately). Grey Rabbit as you can see from the impression dates was first published in 1948. The Hiawatha book was a prize for a national art competition, my first grand prize. And the last book is about my birth place.

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Why not share your oldest and most loved books in the comments?

 

 

 

Author Interview – Shirani Rajapakse

June 25, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

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What inspired your latest book?

My latest book is a collection of short stories inspired by the time I spent in India. It’s about women and the issues faced by women living in contemporary India.                         

How did you come up with the title?              

The title of the book, I Exist. Therefore I Am is also the title of one of the short stories in the collection. Each of my other previous books also uses one of the stories/poems as the title. I’ve done this as I wanted to have a title that exemplified what was in the whole collection.

(ebook) I Exist. Therefore I Am - Shirani Rajapakse

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

The message is that women need to be treated as equals and with dignity and the respect that is their due.

How much of the book is realistic?

Although fictionalized the stories are about real people and real lives. I’ve used examples of incidents that I came across to create my stories. The characters aren’t real but the issues these women face and the treatment they receive at the hands of society and of other women are very real.

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

They are based on people I read or heard about from others or from newspapers. I’ve come across women who have either gone through similar experiences that my characters undergo or have known women who have.

Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?

https://shiranirajapakse.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/shiranirajapakseauthor

https://twitter.com/shiraniraj

https://www.pinterest.com/shiraniraj/

https://www.instagram.com/shiranirajapakse/

https://lk.linkedin.com/in/shiranirajapakse

https://www.goodreads.com/shiranirajapakse

My Book links are,

https://www.books2read.com/shiranirajapakse

https://www.books2read.com/iexist

https://www.books2read.com/breakingnews

https://www.amazon.com/author/shiranirajapakse

Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?

Yes. I’m planning on publishing a poetry collection this year. It is about the effects of conflict on people and how they live through it. As a people,  we in Sri Lanka have gone through 30 years of bloody conflict that left no real winners. People from all sides lost. The poems look at what happened and speak in many voices. They discuss a variety of issues and viewpoints. I wrote it because I wanted to create a collection of voices for those in the future to understand, as well as anyone else to realize the futility of war. It’s like a documentation of what happened in verse form.

Chant of a Million Women - Shirani Rajapakse

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

I don’t have particular favorites because I think all the characters are special and they serve a purpose in helping me tell my story.

Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?

I write both poetry and short stories. My poetry is free verse and the short stories are mostly literary fiction. I’ve also written a few stories that are fantasy or magic realism as well as a couple of children’s stories. Apart from the children’s stories the others are published in literary journals and anthologies but I don’t have enough to have a complete collection. I think it would be nice to have a complete collection of fantasy stories and also of children’s stories, but for this I need to write.

Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?

I’m mostly a seat of the pants writer, but I do plan a little. When I get an idea to write something I make a rough draft in my head. I let the sequence of the story or poem play in my mind like a movie and when I feel it is possible to sustain the story I start writing it down. But I don’t plan how the story evolves. That happens while writing.

What is your best marketing tip?

Marketing is the hardest aspect of writing and publishing. Moreover poetry and short stories are not easy to sell as there is a limited market compared to some of the popular genres. I prefer to get exposure for the book through reviews, interviews and word of mouth. 

Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance? 

I think it’s a huge benefit because it connects us to writers and readers around the world not merely to promote our writing but also to discuss writing get help and advice and find like- minded people. I decided to self-publish because I found many writers doing this and I felt encouraged. I also learnt everything about self-publishing through other writers who were on the same journey as I am and it’s amazing how many people I’ve come to know through social media.

OPTIONAL QUESTIONS 

What do you enjoy most about writing?

I don’t know if there’s any particular aspect about writing that I like more than others. I just like to write. It’s like being able to direct my thoughts onto a blank canvas and create something beautiful out of the jumble of ideas and words that are there. Writing poetry or fiction is hugely liberating as I can express what I want or write about something that may not be possible to do as a fact.  It’s like painting, but with words.

Breaking News - Shirani Rajapakse

What age did you start writing stories/poems?

I wrote my first poems and short stories when I was in university as an undergraduate student. These were experimental works and I never planned on publishing them.  There was a short period after my post grad study in India where I was doing nothing and I wrote some stories and poem that were better than the ones I wrote earlier. But it was really much later that I started to write seriously and this is where the bulk of my work is from.

Has your genre changed or stayed the same?

It has stayed the same for the most part, but I’ve dabbled in other genre, like fantasy. I’ve also written a couple of short stories for children but these aren’t published.

What genre are you currently reading?

Right now I’m reading contemporary romance. Sometimes reading outside the genre I write can be more relaxing.

Do you read for pleasure or research or both?

Both. Right now I’m reading for pleasure.

Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

My lecturer from undergrad study Dr. Lakshmi de Silva was someone who encouraged me to write even when I didn’t know I wanted to write. Through the years she has been a huge supporter of my writing and I tend to discuss my work with her. She is also the only person who first sees my writing before I send it to anyone else.

Where is your favorite writing space?

In front of my computer. It’s a mess with papers and books all over the table but that’s where I write.

Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?

I belong to several writing groups on Facebook where we help each other with advice about writing and publishing.

If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?

Alice Munro and Carolyn Forche. I like the way they write and it would be nice to just talk to them about writing.

If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?

Right here where I am as this is the place I’m most comfortable. But if I could travel to anywhere in the world then the list would be endless. I think travel opens up your mind and give you opportunities to learn and experience diversity in all forms and this is good not just for writing but in general too. I’d like to visit several places, like Russia, China and some parts of the US like Colorado or Alaska and spend some time there, maybe a few weeks just taking in everything. But I wouldn’t want to move anywhere.

Do you see writing as a career?

Yes. It already is.

Bio

Shirani Rajapakse is an internationally published, award winning poet and short story writer. She won the Cha “Betrayal” Poetry Contest 2013 and was a finalist in the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards 2013. Her collection of short stories Breaking News (Vijitha Yapa 2011) was shortlisted for the Gratiaen Award. Her critically acclaimed poetry collection Chant of a Million Women (2017) won the 2018 Kindle Book Awards. It was chosen as an “Official Selection” in the 2018 New Apple Summer eBook Awards for Excellence in Independent Publishing and received an Honorable Mention in the 2018 Readers’ Favorite Awards. Her second collection of short stories, I Exist. Therefore I Am (2018) is about women in modern India. Rajapakse’s work appears in many literary journals and anthologies worldwide. Rajapakse read for a BA in English Literature from the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka and has a MA in International Relations from JNU, India.

shiranirajapakse.wordpress.com

 

Reflection on my 7 day Writing Retreat Road Trip

June 20, 2019
mandyevebarnett


I’m changing it up a bit today to reflect on my week long writing road trip. We traveled 2400 kms in 7 days and enjoyed wildlife, magnificent scenery as well as writing and reading time.

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My plan was to cover these projects while on this retreat.

  1. Continue with my steampunk novel, The Commodore’s Gift.
  2. Add to a short story for an anthology submission.
  3. A social media review.
  4. Finish one book and start another.
  5. Edit fellow authors last chapters of novel writing group.

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The result?

  1. I did add to the steampunk novel
  2. Managed more for the anthology submission
  3. Social media review was reviewed when I got back home
  4. Didn’t manage to finish the book but very close to finishing now
  5. Finished editing the fellow author’s manuscript

So I did quite well considering.

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Do you plan how you will complete projects?

Do you list them in priority or tackle them when the mood takes you?

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Please click on the post & comment below.

Happy writing.

Author Interview – Susie Moloney

June 18, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

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What inspired your latest novel?

I haven’t written a novel in quite some time, but I’ll tell you about my favourite novel, The Dwelling. It was my third book, and was published around 2006 by Simon & Schuster in the US, and by Random House Canada here in Canada. It was also published in the UK and Germany. It’s a classic haunted house novel, and I actually wrote it just after moving into my own little house, the first house I owned all on my own. The process of house hunting got me to thinking about all the lives that pass through a single house, and how pieces of those lives are likely left behind. I was also going through a divorce at the time, and the whole thing was very challenging–haunting, you could say. These things combined and before I knew it, I was telling the story of a house through the eyes of four very different people.              

dwelling                           

How did you come up with the title?

I didn’t! You know, I have never titled a book. Someone always changes my title at the level above me, ha ha. The Dwelling, for instance, was called The Dwellan by me. Dwellen is an old English word that means “to refuse to leave,” which I thought was appropriate. Simon & Schuster felt that it would be too oblique for readers and so altered it to be called The Dwelling. I was sad about that title change … “dwellan” seemed so appropriate.                                                                           

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

We’re all haunted by something.  

How much of the book is realistic?

All the human emotion in the book is real. The whole thing is real, if you believe in ghosts!  

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

That’s a mix. I think the writer always leaves something of themselves on the page at the end of the day, and certainly the middle story about the Mother and Son has shades of my own struggles during my divorce. The character of Ritchie is a writer. The Realtor, Glenn Darnley has just been widowed–she “lost” her husband–and certainly a divorce leaves you grieving. The character of the wife, Becca, in the first story is a very ambitious woman trying to be successful in a man’s world, and her troubled husband Dan is an artist. All of these people have shades of me in their characterizations. However, all of those characters are their own people, too, made up out of all the people I have ever interacted with, throughout my whole life.

Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?

I’m fairly active on social media! I’m Susie Moloney on Facebook, @Susiemoloney on Twitter, and @susie.moloney on Instagram … please friend, follow, and like!

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Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?

All my books have been “one-offs” as they say. As far as a new book goes … never say never. I have moved almost entirely on to film and television these days, however. In fact my very first full-length feature has recently been shot, Bright Hill Road. You can look for that sometime in the next year or so, and of course if you do follow me on social media, I give shamelessly regularly updates!

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

I’ve always had–and always will have–a special place in my heart for Glenn Darnley, the widow realtor in that novel, The Dwelling. She was born at a time when there was a deep sadness in me, and she took that on like a champ. Writing her story helped me to get passed that sadness. Go, Glenn!

Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?

I’m a horror writer through and through! Although I do occasionally write straight short fiction, and for many years I wrote a humour column. I also write funny essays. A laugh and a shriek are not far apart!

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Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?

I’m a planner. But I do allow a story to take me somewhere else if it seems like it needs to. I’m flexible, but I always know the ending of my story.

What is your best marketing tip?

Stay in touch with people! Social media is great for that.

Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?

It’s a great tool. You can reach so many people! But it’s a lot of work to build a platform, and if you’re going to use social media as a promotional tool, you have to do that work, whether you want to or not!

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OPTIONAL QUESTIONS

What do you enjoy most about writing?

There is something absolutely magical about being able to absorb yourself entirely in the life of another human being–real or made up. To design their world, their thoughts, their relationships, is total trip! You’re literally making up a life and making it true! The idea that a well-told story can absorb someone else is a gift, too, this realization that someone who isn’t me can pick up my story or book and devote hours of their time to reading it because they are absorbed is probably the greatest honour I’ve ever had.

Bio:

Susie Moloney is the author of Bastion Falls, A Dry Spell, The Dwelling, The Thirteen, and Things Withered, stories, a collection of short fiction. Published all over the world, in multiple languages, she continues to write, although these days, she writes horror film and television. Watch for the upcoming Bright Hill Road!

 

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