Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Road Trip Companion and Essentials

June 10, 2021
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I am lucky to have fellow writer/author and best friend, Linda, who loves road trips as much as I do. This friendship has led to numerous road trips over the last twelve years or so, giving us the opportunity to explore my new homeland and Linda’s home. We have several essential items that we pack or insist upon in our accommodation, a companionable routine for the driving and exploring, as well as the writing, editing and reading portions of our trips.

We do not ride the highways but back roads, trails and secondary highways giving us time to stop and watch wildlife, take in the scenery and explore hamlets and ghost towns. We have been inspired on multiple occasions to create but also to decompress and relax. We have encountered numerous animals, witnessed fabulous scenery and found little known corners of Alberta, Saskatoon and British Columbia.

For the driving portion of our trips, we leave early knowing we will be taking the long way to our destination. This has culminated in more hours added to a trip than maybe we should admit to! (Case in point our last ‘day road trip’ took fifteen hours.)

Our in-car essentials are:

My road trip book to write down the road numbers, towns and counties we travel through and Linda’s map book to mark out the roads we travel. A bird identification book, blankets, emergency kit, shovel, trolley, chargers, camera, sunglasses. Also a bag for trash and water bottles.

Our accommodation requirements are:

A desk (or two) and two comfortable chairs, a nice view, and a kettle! (I need my tea). Comfortable beds, ample lighting, space to spread out our things and a good shower.

Our trip essentials are:

Lap tables, laptops, notebooks, pens, current writing projects, reading material, chargers, extension cord and power-bar (there are never enough power points), cell phones, camera, back-up drives.

Comfortable clothes (layering is essential), warm socks, jackets, walking shoes/boots, slippers. These change dependent on the time of year of course. Eye glasses and ear plugs, a bottle of wine & snacks, easy meals and tea bags (Okay I’m English teabags are a must!)

Neither of us needs noise so silence reigns unless we are discussing our day or writing projects.

Over the years our routine has evolved into a well oiled machine. We are comfortable in silence and respect each others creativity and time to just create and enjoy the wonders we encounter.

Having time to let our writing Muse gather and cultivate new ideas, allows us to start, progress, or even finish writing projects.

What road trip essentials do you need?

When was your last road trip/ Where did you go? What did you do?

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Seasonal Changes Affect Your Writing & WIR Advantages

March 25, 2021
mandyevebarnett


As we Albertan’s look forward to ‘proper’ Spring instead of ‘false Spring’, we look forward to embracing the warm weather to write outside and enjoy nature. It is not a pretty sight, with brown grass and slush but it will get better. Although, COVID still has us under restrictions, there are ways to enjoy the outdoors. We can drive to a lake or forest, even explore the Rocky Mountains. If you are like me and my friend, Linda, take the back roads and discover untouched parts of the province. Get away from the noise of the city or town, immerse yourself in the stillness and quiet. Here is where your writing Muse flourishes. It is a time when a new project or idea may come forth.

Indulge in people watching, notice how your mind and body react to the change of season. Learn to use emotional, social, and climatic insights and feelings to the benefit of your craft. It gives us an idea how weather can effect a character’s situation or show the passing of time.

How do the different seasons affect your writing?

In other news my ghost writing gig will start late April/early May so it gives me more time to complete the first book in my detective trilogy. I worked with my designer on the covers for the trilogy so that they are consistent and will ‘link’ together when all three books are laid down beside each other. It is always difficult not to share the cover of a new book, there is excitement and eagerness to show them off. I will have to curb that and keep them secret until launch days, apart from the normal teasers, of course.

When you are working on your book covers, how do you ensure your vision comes to life?

I have been very lucky to have access to several talented artists for my book covers through my writing group, Writers Foundation of Strathcona County and my publisher, Dream Write Publishing.

I have been taking advantage of our local Writer in Residence at my library with Zoom open mic meetings and special presentations. This is a great way to have an unbiased view of your current work, not only through the readings and subsequent feedback but also because you can send a sample of the manuscript to them for review. Each year the WIR’s are from different backgrounds and literary genre’s, but no matter what your genre (or theirs) this tool is well worth taking advantage of this free service then maybe you should.

What are you currently working on?

I have a presentation on blogging this Saturday. An Easter writing retreat to look forward to. And a ghost writing project lined up for late April/early May.

You can register for the writing conference here. There is a broad spectrum of writing skills to learn about. https://www.wfscsherwoodpark.com/annual-writers-conference

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – False Spring in Alberta and Book Review.

March 23, 2021
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Apologies for my tardiness today.

As I am an acclimatized Albertan (for the most part!) I was enjoying the warm spring weather last week. Being able to walk with Sammie without piles of warm clothes on was such a treat. However, when I opened the front door for our early Monday morning walk – there it was a light dusting of snow. This is what Albertan’s call ‘false spring’ and it can be a see-saw of weather conditions. Warmth and cold, back and forth for several weeks. So out come the boots and heavy coat only to be too hot later in the day when the temperature goes up. The landscape is brown spotted with white and we anxiously await the blush of green in due course. It will come we just have to be patient.

I finished reading Road Tripping, which was a fun book and full of wonderfully eccentric character’s and places. My review:

A great trip around Alberta! Lots of place I have visited on my own road trips too. Great humor, local history and food! A fun read.

I will start Miss Benson’s Beetle tonight.

Miss Benson's Beetle

What are you currently reading?

Bibliophiles Collective Tuesday – A Radio Interview, Editing and a Trip Out!

May 5, 2020
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Radio Interview – RadioYou

Radio.jpg

I was thrilled to be part of a local radio’s evening broadcast recently. I talked about my books and also my local writing group. Without this group I would not be writing at all.

 Mandy’s Interview April 2 2020.mp3

I am continuing with the weekly virtual writing group on Sunday’s and it does help keep me on task. This past Sunday I created and scheduled two author interviews for my writing blog and one for my freelancer blog. Also a list of questions for another author interview and monthly Author Tool Box blog post.

I also have two fellow author’s manuscripts I am editing, apart from my own steampunk manuscript – The Commodore’s Gift.

Teaser:

I have created a new physical description for the Commodore and am in the process of making the heroine, Owena, a stronger personality. After a few suggestions I will be altering a segment near the end of the book.  

I am happy to answer any questions you have about my stories, books or writing life. Just comment below.

In other news, my friend and I did ‘leave the building’ on Saturday for a very pleasant afternoon drive. It was a glorious day and driving the back roads refreshed the body and soul. Here are a few photos I took. Unfortunately, the two moose we saw were too far away to get a good photo.

 

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An alternative world not too far from now. The story grips you from the beginning. There are many twists and turns to keep you turning the pages.

My current read:

18143977

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18143977-all-the-light-we-cannot-see

I am happy to connect with you on Goodreads – we can share our current read and our reviews over there.

My author profile is also there if you wish to follow me.

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6477059.Mandy_Eve_Barnett

An English Woman in a Canadian Winter

October 10, 2019
mandyevebarnett


car in winter

When we first came to Canada it was a trial run over Christmas – not the time you would think is best to get an idea of the country. However, we were thinking of moving to Alberta, where the winter’s are harsh and temperatures drop to ridiculous lows -40 at times. Yes you read that right!

So why come in winter? Because we thought if we came in the most harrowing season and liked it then the rest of the year would be a breeze. Little did we know. The decision was made and we immigrated – there were many obstacles to overcome, too many to go through here that’s for sure – but we arrived in September 2007.

My first morning the sun was shining, the leaves were golden and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. If you have ever been to England we always have clouds. Then the next day it was the same, and the next. It was unusual to me but also pleasing. By the beginning of October we saw our first snow and it was a novelty. Big piles of snow (at that time) were rare in England so we took advantage of all the winter themed activities available. It was fun but as the years passed and the snow came early and stayed, the novelty soon wore off. Vacationing in a winter wonderland is very different to living in one – that was our lesson learned.

There are so few green trees during the greyness of winter and that is what I miss the most. The green lushness year round of England. Albertan seasons are not like ‘home’ – spring is almost an overnight experience – a faint green flush one morning and then the grey sticks of winter suddenly become vibrant emerald and lime green. Summer creeps in and heats up the land in some cases +40 (yes it is a land of extremes). Then fall (autumn to my English friends) comes turning gold and red but only staying for a brief while before the leaves drop.

The snow arrives normally before Halloween and leaves sometime in April or even May – it is a winter gripped land for a long time and we have to live with it. There are many devices that make the winter’s easier – winter tires (tyres), auto-start for the vehicles, so you can warm it up before getting in, in-door shopping malls, winter sports and events, fire pits and Jacuzzi’s.

It has been an adjustment for us all and over time we have found ways of coping but we all wish for one more day without snow! We know it is coming and cherish the time without.

twink

 

 

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