Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

With the opportunity to indulge in writing with no distractions on my ‘escape’ to Red Deer for a mini retreat – I am in full revision mode with my editor’s notes on The Twesome Loop. It is remarkable how much you can get done when the normal life distractions are eliminated. With the launch date set for 30th September there is still a lot to accomplish. Such as book cover, blurb, modified bio and book club Q&A.

To refresh my brain from revision I have also continued with my YA story set on another planet – Bubble the Gruggle as well as read, of course.

With my ghost writing project on hold due to my client’s changed circumstances, I am free to accept new clients. Feel free to contact me at: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2032379567

Books:

Merryweather Lodge – Ancient Revenge by Pauline Holyoak.

merryweather

My review: A fantastic venture into Celtic sorcery and reincarnation.
Beautifully written with descriptions of the English countryside transporting you to that lush and green land.
A thoroughly enjoyable narrative with well developed characters, a page turning mystery and a blossoming romance.
Legends make up England and this story encapsulates that historic ancient wonder. 

The Long Walk by Stephen King

The Long Walk

What book have you just reviewed?

Writing Tips:

After editing the work on screen or in print, I like to read the text aloud. Awkward sentences and errors that slipped through earlier edits show up readily when reading out loud.

Learn to take criticism and seek it out at every opportunity. Don’t get upset even if you think the criticism is harsh, don’t be offended even if you think it’s wrong, and always thank those who take the time to offer it.

What tip can you share?

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


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This week began with Canada Day and the extra special Canada 150 celebrations on 1st July. My ‘new’ country is so young compared to my ‘old’ country, England. It is unique to see the excitement and pride my fellow Canadians take in their country.

road trip

I am away with my dear friend, Linda in Red Deer for the next three days, enjoying the scenery, wildlife, and relaxing in writing companionship. It has been sometime since we have been able to ‘escape’ and it is certainly appreciated by us both. 

I will miss our writing group’s monthly meeting on Tuesday but as it seldom happens I think I’m forgiven. Someone else can take the reins on my behalf.

Saturday will be my joint author signing with Eva Blaskovic at Audreys Bookstore in Edmonton. We are hoping to draw a crowd to buy books and ask us questions. Preparations have been made, a draw basket created and advertising blasted.

New and Improved Author Signing-page-0

On Sunday 9th July I will be once again attending an annual event for Strathcona County- Savor Strathcona. It celebrates the best independent food and art in our area. I will be doing double duty as Secretary of the Writers Foundation and President of the Arts & Culture Council, luckily the tables are together! 

Savor Strathcona

What are you up to this week?

Other events:

Hylke Speerstra, Meet & Greet

hylke

Hylke Speerstra will be presenting ‘The Comfort Bird’, his new book in English translation.

Monday at 11:00–14:00 at Dutch Delicious – 13232-118th Ave, Edmonton, Alberta T5L4N4

And Author Reading and Book Signing 4 July at 11:00–14:00 at The King’s University 9125 -50 Street, Edmonton, Alberta T6B 2H3

Toys, Bikes and Books Swap
Hosted by Edmonton Chinatown Chinese Library – 9 July at 13:00–17:00 at 9540 – 102 Ave. Edmonton

china

Recycle Book Sale

book sale

8 July at 11:00–15:00
The Village at Pigeon Lake
6b Village Dr RR#2, Westerose T0C 2V0

A Special Interview with Manaswita Ghosh…


I had the pleasure of connecting with Manaswita back in August 2013 when I was hosting author/writer interviews on this blog. At that time she had a couple of publishing credits and was busy writing new books. Today I am sharing with you her progress as an author but also to introduce her newest book, Solitude Revisited.

solitude revisited 1

About The Book: Solitude Revisited is a collection of short stories. It is a confession, a realization and the musings of a pensive young heart. There are a million stories around us, but few are told. This book is about those invisible souls you encounter everyday, but never care to observe. Sometimes, the eyes need to look further than just what they can fathom, the heart needs to seek an anecdote and the mind needs to frame a memoir for the soul — to survive the vastness reality throws at it. That’s where fiction steps in, presenting an alternative universe for the mind to thrive in, so it may preserve its individuality and brood over its reflections. Thoughts demand to be contemplated and preserved just like history, for they tell infinite stories no sane mind can perceive. Solitude Revisited is all but real; it’s a confidante and a confession, an artist and his muse, a whisper and a madman. Listen to it and you may find yourself, listen to yourself and you may find it.

01

What inspired you to write this book?

It had been my dream to write a good book that people could relate to. I had started writing the stories without thinking of closure. Every time I had an idea or I came across an interesting person, I would start writing a story with them in mind. But I never knew how the stories ended simply because I hadn’t witnessed the end. So it was just a bunch of unfinished stories.

Last year, however, I decided to do something about these projects of mine. I took six months and completed them, all the while looking for a publisher with my proposal. It was seer luck that the manuscript was taken in by StoryMirror (based in India) right after I completed writing it.

02

How did you come up with the title?

Most of my ideas stem from the dreams and nightmares that I have, and some of my thoughts come to me as I am in bed at night, thinking about a million things. I felt Solitude Revisited was apt, because although I am inspired by real people for my characters, the actual story is born when I am alone and lost in my thoughts.

manaswita

About The Author: Manaswita Ghosh is a journalist with The Telegraph Calcutta. She is an optimist who believes each day has beauty in store for those who seek it, no matter how bad a day it is. She loves to observe and pen her thoughts as they occur to her; penning stories has been more of an obsession to her than a casual pastime. Penguin Books India, The British Council, First Step Corp., and Talent Flush Creations have published her in the past. Of every amazing experience this world has to offer her, she is crazy about traveling, reading and fine dining.

03

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

Solitude Revisited is all about finding peace in the end, whether in life or death. Peace has been a recurring theme for the book. When I was writing the book, all I could think of was giving closure to every single one of the characters. There’s just one story, Trisha, that doesn’t have closure, but then, it had to be that way.

The underlying message in the book is to find make peace with your heart, mind, others, the situations, or simply, with life. Serenity is the key.

How much of the book is realistic? 

Six out of the ten stories are based on real people, although I have altered the names, places and a few facts here and there. Real stories are always inspired by real people.

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

Afreen, Joy and Arundhati are based on real people in my life. Their lives made me wonder about the futility of my own, and their courage gave me strength. Those were the kind of stories I wanted to tell, and so I did.

Trisha is a nightmare that I had, the one that still makes me shudder. If there’s anything called Hell, it’s definitely the world I saw in that nightmare.

06

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

Arundhati and Zora are my favourites. While Zora represents the will to excel and live her dreams, Arundhati successfully fights her inner demons and makes peace with her past.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I would perhaps add the new stories I wrote after I had submitted the manuscript.

04

What struggles did you have in getting the book published?

Finding a good publisher who will find the book good enough to publish it traditionally. I received a few offers to self-publish the book, but I didn’t like the idea. If the publisher doesn’t believe in the story enough to invest in it, how could me investing in it possibly help? The manuscript was rejected by nine publishers before it finally hit the stores with the tenth. Every rejection only made me more persistent about the next proposal I was sending out.

When designing the cover what image/emotion/feel were you hoping to capture?

The good folks at StoryMirror had been extremely patient with my whims. I rejected more than twenty cover images before my designer sent this to me, and I just loved it! I opened the mail and I just knew this was going on the cover. I loved it how the woman and the sea gave me a sense of bliss, it felt like I was alone on a beach, splashing the waves and lost in my thoughts. It defined Solitude Revisited quite literally.

05

What do you enjoy most about writing?
Writing doesn’t seek for pretense. I can portray my feelings without worrying about anything or anyone. Writing gives me a purpose that is stronger than anything I have felt in my life.

What is your favorite part/chapter of your book/project?
I had to research certain aspects for Sumi with a friend’s help. I like the way I have written the story. Of all the stories, this story required serious effort.

But the best parts of my book, according to me, are the poems I have incorporated as very short tales.

Do you see writing as a career?

Definitely. But I know it’s going to take some time, possibly a few years.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Everyone dreams a future where their dreams come true, and I am no different. I can tell you that I aspire to be counted among the writers I look up to today, someone known for her strong voice and writing skills.

I do not aim to create extraordinary characters that are beyond conceivable. I want to write about ordinary people living extraordinary stories. That would suffice for a lifetime.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 

Finding my voice. It always appears to me that I, somehow, speak the voices of the writers I admire. It has been a challenge to write something that would be my style exclusively. Finding a good plot and planning a story isn’t as much a challenge as finding one’s voice is.

How has your writing life changed since we last interviewed you in 2013?

I have worked hard on my writing since then. If anything, I am certain you will find some maturity and depth in what I write now.

After the publication of Solitude Revisited, I find myself much more ambitious about my writing projects in a way I have never felt before. The goals seem attainable now, and I am willing to put any effort they might require.

Here is my review of Solitude Revisited :

A book of short stories that immerses the reader in emotions – love, loss, life, death, bliss and despair. Manaswita has written deep, thoughtful and enlightening stories that capture the emotions of each character, and gives a glimpse of a culture and its beliefs. My personal favorites are ‘Kevin’ and ‘Trisha’ and when you read them you will understand why (my interest in a certain subject).

Reading about a character’s inner thought processes is intriguing, surprising and emotive – I thoroughly recommend this book for anyone who has loved or lost, in short lived!

How has your writing life changed since we last interviewed you in 2013?

I have worked hard on my writing since then. If anything, I am certain you will find some maturity and depth in what I write now.

After the publication of Solitude Revisited, I find myself much more ambitious about my writing projects in a way I have never felt before. The goals seem attainable now, and I am willing to put any effort they might require.

How do we find your books, blog and bio?

Amazon: http://www.amazon.in/Solitude-Revisited-Manaswita-Ghosh/dp/938630547X?tag=googinhydr18418-21&tag=googinkenshoo-21&ascsubtag=d9e51568-a850-41bd-8989-b1f663fbf841

Blog: https://manaswitaghoshwrites.wordpress.com/

If you would like to read Manaswita’s previous interview it is here: https://mandyevebarnett.com/2013/08/22/manaswita-ghosh-interview/

 

HAPPY 150th CANADA


canadadaysouthhuron

I’m sharing my story of my first visit to Canada – this will be published in my writing group’s Canada 150 special anthology.book project

My First Taste of Canada by Mandy Eve-Barnett

My first visit to Canada was in the early eighties, a last big vacation before starting up my company, knowing vacations would be impossible for at least a few years while the company grew. I believed, at the time, that it would be a once in a lifetime trip.

                Arriving in Edmonton in late July invaded my senses with big city life. A country girl all my life with only occasional trips to London, UK for art galleries, museums and shows, the buzz of the city around me was hard to acclimatize to – the heat, noise, fumes, people and sirens – all assaulted my senses. Added to this was attending the unforeseen wedding ceremony and reception of a distant cousin. My mind became blurred at names and faces of people I had no real knowledge of before that day. Maybe a few too many glass of cheer didn’t help!

                The next day my Uncle and Aunt took me on a tour of the city sights, I marveled at the height of the buildings – glass and metal reflected the heat and I quickly became uncomfortable. Air conditioning, an unknown phenomenon until then, was soon my best friend. Large department stores all encased in cool aired malls saved me from heat exhaustion. Fashions, ornaments, accents and manners intrigued and delighted me. An evening meal at a nice restaurant satisfied, but a visit to a local club with a younger cousin was more enlightening than first expected. The club looked like many discos of the era and it took me a while to realize the absence of young men. Not knowing my cousin very well I was wary to ask the obvious question. All was revealed once we sat down and the lights dimmed. One after the other male strippers entertained the all female audience. With a room full of excited and tipsy women the doors opened to the young men who had queued outside waiting on nine o’clock. It was certainly an experience!

                My Uncle and Aunt owned a small RV and this was our mode of transport to Vancouver, their home town. Our route would take us through the Rocky Mountains and until I saw those magnificent structures I had no field of reference to their size and magnitude. Used to rolling hills and lush greenery these monoliths in dark steel grey, snow capped and craggy were awe inspiring. Mile upon mile of evergreen firs spread outwards in all directions, rising sharply to the base of the mountains and becoming sparse on the rocky outcrops. Taking it all in was mind blowing; my head turned this way and that at speed trying not to miss a single view, a glimpse of a wild animal or roaring river.

After several hours we took a rest stop in what seemed to me an isolated cabin restaurant overlooking a lake. The food was good, the ability to walk and stretch even more welcome. Just as we were leaving a thundering sound filled the air and the owner of the establishment urged us outside. Fearing something awful was about to happen I stayed close to my Uncle. We stood in awe as an avalanche crashed its way down the mountainside on the far side of the lake. The sound echoed around us, the ground beneath our feet shivered, and our chests felt the shock wave of air as it rushed past. In that moment I understood the absolute power of nature, trees snapped like twigs, huge boulders rolled and were consumed and the landslide of snow and ice crashed into the lake water making a tidal wave. Nothing could stop that power, that motion.

                When the last of the avalanche snow slid downwards, we returned into the restaurant by kind invitation of the owner to celebrate with a glass of champagne. He admitted in the fifteen years he had owned the restaurant it was the first avalanche he had seen. We were there no more than an hour and a half and witnessed such a spectacular event. I will always remember the sight and sound of that avalanche it has stayed with me for decades.

                Our onward journey was not without more adventure however. The temperature dropped quite significantly as we drove further into the Rocky Mountain range and I huddled under a blanket, peering out at the scenery that changed dramatically as the sky became overcast. Snowflakes began to fall much to my surprise but not to my Uncle and Aunt, who assured me it was common in the higher altitudes. The snow fell heavier and the mountains disappeared under a white curtain. Our reduced speed and burgeoned windshield wipers made me anxious but my Aunt comforted me saying my Uncle had driven in such conditions before. Then there was a sputter, a sudden decrease in speed and then all was quiet. The engine died and I saw my relative’s shoulders tense. Now what? Unfurling a map my Uncle plotted his route and estimated our location.

“There is a hotel around the next bend, if I’m correct on our position. We will make it that far.”

   Easing the RV along slowly he inched our way toward the hoped for hotel. At the bend we saw a grey shape materialize and formed into a hotel. Spluttering to the front of the building the RV stalled as if to say my work is done. There were only a couple of vehicles outside the hotel so my Uncle went in to investigate. On his return he advised us the hotel staff were working on a grand opening after a refurbishment and that they were not actually open yet. However, understanding our predicament they made up a couple of rooms for us and one young man helped fix the RV the following morning, allowing us to continue to Vancouver. A place I really loved mainly due to the ocean view and salty air so like home for me.

Canada is now my home and I have come to know a small part of it through incredible road trips with my dear friend, Linda. I will never ‘see’ all of Canada – the continent is just too vast but my experiences and friendships have given me some knowledge of Canada and it’s inhabitants.

Happy Birthday Canada

 

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Friday Fun for Writers, Authors & Readers…


friday_fun

reader humor

#reader #humor

reading

#writers will get this one

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Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested – Sir Francis Bacon

Where is human nature so weak as in a bookstore?

Share your book humor.

Friday Fun for Writers, Authors & Readers…


friday_fun

dictionaries

Q: What is a flea’s favorite book ?

A: The itch-hikers guide to the galaxy!

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writing

Feel free to share your literary, book, reading or author jokes.

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

This week I have been editing submissions for my writing group’s Canada 150 book project. All the stories are Canadian themed in one way or another and it has been most enjoyable reading them. I even managed to write one more submission of my own, regarding my first visit to Canada back in 1981. Yep that long ago! At the time I had no idea I would be living here.

My editor and publisher has read my manuscript submission, The Twesome Loop and commented: Yup, it was pretty steamy 😮 – at least a good reaction. I am still working on the cover with my illustrator and final pages.

My freelance client has several important events to attend so has not, as yet, come back to me with the answers I require to continue. I’m hoping it will not take too long as we are edging closer to the deadline date.

I am escaping for several days next week, which will give me plenty of time to immerse myself in two manuscripts – Bubble the Gruggle now over 9000 words. I have sent this text to my other illustrator to give him an idea of the story so far. And I can return to The Giving Thief to enhance the narrative.

canadadaysouthhuron

What are your writing plans for the weekend?

If you are Canadian it is a long weekend for Canada Day 1st July, an extra special celebration for the Canada 150 – so even more time to write.

Books:

Merryweather Lodge by Pauline Holyoak.

I’m enjoying this story as it is set near my old home in England. I spent many a childhood visit at Stonehenge chasing my siblings up, over and the stones. Alas no more, it is all fenced off.

merryweather

TBR pile: It will be difficult choosing which one to read first. Both were birthday gifts.

Writing Tips:

Try not to edit while you’re creating your first draft. Creating and editing are two separate processes using different sides of the brain, and if you try doing both at once you’ll lose. Make a deal with your internal editor that it will get the chance to rip your piece to shreds; it will just need to wait some time.

I am sharing an old blog post on editing, which I hope you will find useful: https://mandyevebarnett.com/2013/01/06/a-necessary-chore-editing/

Upcoming & Past Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


events

Our author reading on Saturday was amazing – eight readers and a great audience. Social Grounds Coffeehouse did us proud with allowing us once again to utilize their beautiful premises.

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On Sunday I attended a friend’s book launch – Carla Howatt has written an emotional and powerful book about her experience after her son’s suicide. 

http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/retail/books/bearing-witness

Last week I also attended a grant presentation for my writers group, Writers Foundation of Strathcona County. This grant will assist us in publishing our Canada 150 book, which tells stories of Canada, whether it is memories, wildlife, landscape, seasons or any other ‘Canadian’ theme. County Clothesline are always so generous with their grants to local non-profits and organizations. http://wfscsherwoodpark.com/wfsc-canada-150-book-project

This week is less eventful (pardon the pun) so writing is my goal.

Other upcoming events:

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30 June at 19:00 to 2 July at 17:00
The Bennett Center, 9703-94 Street, Edmonton, Alberta T6C 3W1

https://www.facebook.com/BennettCentreYEG/”https://www.facebook.com/events

  • wordplay

 

The children’s festival WordPlay takes place in conjunction with the grand opening of Sheree Fitch’s dreamy new venture, Mabel Murple’s Book Shoppe and Dreamery, on July 3 in River John, NS, with Alan Syliboy, Marie-Louise Gay, and plenty of celebration.

 

Why not add you local events here – promotion is never a bad thing!

Friday Fun for Writers, Authors & Readers…


friday_fun

book pile humor

joke

So here you can groan…

What building has the most stories?
The library.

Q. What reference book should you use when you forget your shovel?
A. The dig-tionary.

#book #love

Books to the ceiling,

#book #love
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them!
How I need them!
I’ll have a long beard by the time I read them.
– Arnold Lobel

Wise words to live by (well at least read by)

learned

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

I managed to do a final edit for a friend’s manuscript. It is a new genre for J.E. McKnight but he has written an exceptional thriller. The antagonist’s real identity was a real surprise and even after knowing who it was the narrative held other shocking twists and turns. I’m sure lots of people will be thrilled by Joe’s newest novel.

An author I interviewed over three years ago contacted me recently asking for a review of her book and a special blog interview. I’m always open to helping other authors so will be curling up with her book over the weekend. Look out for the interview soon – Manaswita Ghosh is a wonderful young writer based in India.

Earlier in the week I wrote nearly a thousand words for my new YA story, Bubble the Gruggle only to ‘lose’ them on a Mac system. To say I was unhappy is an understatement but what can you do but chalk it up to experience? I did not rush to write again but left the story until the weekend. While sitting on my deck in the sunshine with a cooling breeze, I returned to the narrative and wrote even more words exceeding the ones lost. They say rewrites are usually better than the first try anyway.

My writing spot at the weekend – my front deck.

I also managed to do a review of a freelance project I have been working on – ghostwriting a book – this week. I’m gradually catching myself up.

Work continues with ‘extra’ pages for publishing for The Twesome Loop and ideas for illustrations for Bubble the Gruggle.

Books: Evidence of Life by Barbara Taylor Sissel

Evidence of Life

My review: A woman’s hope through disaster and her an emotional and psychological turmoil are expertly conveyed in this novel. It had me turning pages even when my eyes wanted to close! Great writing and insight into how a woman would cope with the greatest loss but also go on for the sake of her remaining family. The twists in the story kept me guessing as to the truth of the situation regarding her husband and how her friends and family protected her. Really worth a read.

An author friend wrote this book and I thought it time I got around to reading it.

Merryweather Lodge by Pauline Holyoak.

merryweather

Writing Tips:

Instead of adding tags (he said/she said) to every bit of dialogue, learn to identify the speaker by showing him/her in action. Example: “Pass that sweet-smelling turkey this way.” With knife in one hand and fork in the other, Sam looked eager to pounce.

You don’t always need an outline. Give discovery writing a try. (This is me all the time – free flow writing!)

Focus on building tension, then give it a snap.