Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

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

January 24, 2023
mandyevebarnett


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
mandyevebarnett


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.

Mandy Eve-Barnett – Blog Schedule 2023

December 29, 2022
mandyevebarnett


My posting days will continue as Tuesday and Thursday of each week as follows:

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday

Stories behind my published books and also from works in progress.

Update on events I will be attending – whether in-person or virtual in 2023

Glimpses at my current writing project.

Sharing short stories or poem’s I have written from prompts or workshops.

Character Interviews

My book reviews

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday

Writing Tips

Writing contests

Literary Birthdays

Author Interviews and Press Releases for Creative Edge Publicity

Also I am happy to host an author interview for anyone interested in doing so.

I welcome your suggestions for inclusion of a topic or a theme, so please comment below.

I will also continue with my monthly newsletter, so please sign up when prompted – Sneek Peeks & Glimpses. Thank you in anticipation.

Author Interview – Kathie Sutherland

December 22, 2022
mandyevebarnett


As a poet and a writer, which format do you enjoy writing the most?

Poetry has always been my favourite format. Playing with words in a creative way helps me choose words to express abstract ideas. Because words have nuances and “halos” its important to make clear connections between the words and the feelings behind them. For me, the process of writing, whether poetry or prose involves feelings. For this reason, my Roget’s Thesaurus is a very useful reference book.

If others can relate to what I’m saying or are inspired by my words, I know the meaning has come through. Its comforting to know that someone else feels as I do. Poetry reveals parts of me that might otherwise remain hidden and that gives me courage to reveal my inner self and I can then be true to my values and integrity. When I feel connected to others and to nature, poetry reveals beauty. For me, its essential to be amazed.

Why is metaphor important to you?

Some people are literal minded and think in black and white whereas others colour their worlds with metaphor. This tool of the imagination affects how I see and respond to the world and how I interact with others. Metaphor can bring clarity in communication between people with opposite viewpoints because it expresses a relationship between things and ideas. For example, when my husband and I have difficulty finding common ground, we are able to access mutual understanding in a way that we cannot otherwise. Metaphor offers a big picture perspective. Colourful language creates mental imagery that boosts insight into feelings. Because perspective is so important to me, looking through the lens of metaphor provides a powerful source of soul wisdom for sharing my world.

Was the transition from poetry to fiction writing difficult?

The transition was not difficult but was freeing. A few years ago, when I attended a life writing class to find material for poetry, I wasn’t very confident in my ability to write prose. When I began telling stories about my family history and my childhood, the switch to prose opened a new world to me. I realized I had a unique story and I could share it with others.

How do you choose which format to write in, once an idea forms?

Prose lends itself to the concrete and poetry to the nebulous. I use poetic language in my prose as it creates imagery and is often a way to express difficult situations or emotions, whether my own or someone else’s experience. For me, the two formats are intertwined. I love the threads connecting all aspects of my being: physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. One of the big differences between writing poetry on demand using a prompt and writing prose from a prompt is that poetry come from inspiration. Prose doesn’t necessarily do that and when it comes from my imagination, is becomes fiction.

What inspired you to write a memoir fiction novel?

One of the effects of the constant moving experienced by children who do not have long lasting connection to people and community influenced my access to memory. I took the events that I did remember and built stories around them to make sense of them and find meaning in my life. I had written lot of short pieces and the best format seemed to be a novel-in-short-stories in which I created individual stories based on real experience. Each of the stories could stand alone, but the reading of them in sequence enhanced the whole story as a novel would.

Where did the ideas come from for your children’s books?

My 96-year-old mother is a great storyteller and she relishes family tales about her children. “Not My Daddy” was created from one of her stories about watching for my father as soldiers in identical uniforms got off a bus. “Naughty Alice” is also a story from my childhood. The delightful child in this story is my own Inner Child who wanted to help her Grammie tailor a new coat. The third book “Grandma’s Big, Big Backyard” was created to record the experience of my own grandchildren playing in the backyard.

How important is connection with other writers for you?

Being part of a community of writers allows me to share my writing experience and ideas with others. I enjoy encouraging other writers with positive feedback and constructive criticism. Because writing is a solitary activity, having a community of others who understand the challenges of the writing life is essential. Everyone who writes has something to share with the world and we all need connection to be our best.

Do you have a writing space – describe it.

We recently purchased a ground floor condo with two bedrooms and a study and I was excited to make the study my own. My first priority was to purchase a new desk, repurposed a credenza for storage and utilized an antique china cabinet to display my books and special keepsakes. I love the light that pours in through the frosted glass French doors. I’ve put up all my favourite pictures and made the space my own.

What message do you wish to convey to your readers?

The stories we tell ourselves shape our lives and what we believe about the world. As poet Edith Sodergran once said, “…poetry is a way to me.” All of my writing has been the way to me. I’ve spent my whole writing life searching for this person who is me and I want my readers to know that writing is a wonderful way to discover who you really are.  

Where can readers find you and your work?

Please look for books by Kathie Sutherland on Amazon.ca or visit my Facebook page Kathie Sutherland Author. All of my books are available from me directly. Contact me at kathiesutherland@shaw.ca or sutherlandkatherinem@gmail.com. My publisher Dream Write Publishing from Sherwood Park, Alberta also sells my books. https://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/ Many of my books are part of the local author library collections at Strathcona County and Fort Saskatchewan Public Libraries.

Bio:

Kathie Sutherland is a mature, observant student of life who is retired and lives in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta with her husband of 42 years. She has two fiercely independent adult daughters, and two adult grandchildren. A Canadian by birth, she celebrates differences in culture, outlook and lifestyle, and appreciates the benefits of living in other parts of Canada and beyond. Her love affair with language is lifelong, and her unique narrative voice infuses all her writing with authenticity.

Over the past 30 years Kathie Sutherland has written poetry, personal essay, fairy tale, a true events autobiographical novel and three children’s books. Her love of words and their “halos” fanned the flame of her desire to understand the profound and lasting effects of her childhood in a constantly moving Canadian military family through personal journaling, continued learning and reflection. She believes that loss and loneliness can be transformed into love and connection by writing short life stories rich in life wisdom. Recently, she has given voice to her playful side in her based-on-real-events children’s books.

Kathie Sutherland is involved in two local writing groups and fully enjoys encouraging others in their writing projects. She also leads a reminiscence group at a local seniors lodge, helps others write legacy letters at the end of life, as well as being active in a local church community. She enjoys aquafit, pastel painting and travel to interesting places.

Bibliophile’s & Wordsmith’s What Do You Want On This Blog in 2023?

December 20, 2022
mandyevebarnett


Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As we come to the close of the year – 2022 – I would like to know what you would like to see on this blog in 2023. I can keep the same regularly themed twice weekly posts, or do something completely different. I am always looking to engage readers and writers alike in my blog community.

Shall I continue with Bibliophile Collective Tuesday’s and Wordsmith Collective Thursday’s or change it up?

What do you want to see, read, interact about?

Is there something I have not covered or included you wish I did?

I am open to suggestions.

It’s up to you!

Blog at WordPress.com.