Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – An Interview, Upcoming Event and a Writing Retreat

August 10, 2021
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I recently received an email from an author requesting a blog interview, which is normal. However, as I investigated her blog and social media to create the interview questions, I discovered she interviewed me back in 2015! A lot has happened in the intervening years as you can imagine. More books published and an increase in my reach and many more connections.

Kathryn kindly offered to host me on her blog for an update. You can find it here: https://idea-creations.blogspot.com/2021/08/mandy-eve-barnett-her-writing-journey.html

I am still reading When Robins Appear and will share my review once I finish. Most probably, that will be this week as I am going on a writing retreat. Whoop! My favorite thing.

I will be a guest panelist and co-presenter at When Words Collide, a virtual writing conference. I will be sharing my experience about my writing group organization, hosting meetings and events etc. The second presentation is with my publisher, Dream Write Publishing’s owner.

We will be in a private cabin beside a lake, so it is perfect for two writing companions and, of course, little Sammie. There will be lots of walks lakeside. I will be revising my current detective manuscript, reading, and relaxing. There is something about being near water that makes me happy. I would prefer the ocean, but a lake will do.

Where is your happy place?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – How Do You Choose Your Next Book?

April 27, 2021
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As our options for choosing a book to read have become virtual for the most part, during COVID, we have to decide which one works best for us. The easiest option for many is a book selling site, such as Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble or Kindle, to name a few. There is also the option of utilizing your local library, where you can browse online, order and pick up your selections. And visiting your local bookstore too. Whatever method you use the author will sincerely appreciate your leaving a review. So please do.

It is a matter of personal preference where we purchase our books and in what format. Whether it is print or e-book. As I work on a computer all day for my day job and then work on my laptop most evenings, my preference is a print copy. I enjoy the tactile feeling of weight, smell and texture as well as the physical turning of a page. For me it is better to read without a backlight at night, as it stimulates my brain rather than calming it.

Which do you prefer? Print or e-book?

Why do you make this choice? Is it a practical concern or something else?

I am lucky to have a friend, who gives out books after she and her daughter have read them. I recently visited her and she handed over a huge bags of books! Such a delightful surprise and it was like Christmas lifting each one out to read the blurb. However, it then gave me a problem – how should I choose which one to read first, second, third and so on.

After reading all the blurbs, I categorized them. Ones that did not instantly appeal, others that were soft choices and others that engaged my curiosity. Depending on your specific likes and dislikes, favorite genres and subject matter, choosing can be little easier. So from this stack.

I choose my first three reads as below.

I choose these particular books because two have characters in them that write and the third because I love myths, legends and magic.

This is my review of Saying Goodbye is Easy by Kathie Sutherland

A compelling, complex and enlightening narrative, full of truths, struggles and internal emotions. Every reader will find a connection with the struggles, highs and lows of the narrator. A courageous, heartfelt and revealing story, told in short stories and reflections.
This book will change your outlook on your life and your life’s path.

Please leave a comment on how you choose a book and the last book you reviewed so other readers can find them.

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Why Books Covers Vary from Country to Country

April 20, 2021
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A book cover is an intrinsic part of any book. It is the initial draw for a reader to pick up the book before reading the blurb and deciding if the narrative appeals or not. For any of the best seller author’s you may pick the book in the knowledge you know their writing style and genre. However, have you ever wondered why there are differences in the actual book cover depending on where you live in the world.

Take a couple of Stephen King books for instance. (You all know I love him!) I have the UK and USA versions of two of his books below. The images relate to the narratives but are very different in atheistic.

So why the differences?

Publishers buy the text of a book, not the cover as the cover is the property of the initial publisher. So this means international publishers have a choice:

  1. Negotiate a license for the initial cover or,
  2. Make their own cover.

Publishers generally choose the second option, as it gives them the opportunity to make their own creative choices. This is dependent on their market and the position the book. There may also be factors, such as the size of the market. The UK has a smaller marketplace as opposed to the US, which is a larger geographic area. The book cover may need to be more specific in a larger marketplace. Each editor has their own vision for the book and a good sense of their market, so will use a cover that best serves that genre’s (and author’s) readers. In most cases, publishers are only buying rights to the book for a single country or language, so can tailor make the cover to suit.

The other reason for a change in a book cover is to update it to current atheistic and tastes. A book cover published in the 1970’s would look outdated and tired, so a new look can attract younger readers.

For example: The Stand. As you can see the 1978 original is dark & light fighters, then the TV movie tie-in cover and also an array of other covers. It gives you an idea of the development of a cover for the same narrative.

Do you have older versions of books on your shelf? Care to share?

I did actually change one of my covers. The first one, I created myself (and it looks it to be honest!) The second I hired a designer. I love the imagery.

Then when I wrote the sequel, my designer created a complimentary cover.

You can find these and all my other books here: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01MDUAS0V OR https://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=Mandy+Eve-Barnett

Do you have a favorite book cover?

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?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Sharing Another Story

February 2, 2021
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This week’s I’m sharing another story from my Six Weeks, Six Senses writing course. We had to use scent as the main element. Let me know what you think.

A Cruise Romance – SCENT

An unaccustomed briny aroma invaded Josh’s slumber conjuring up dreams of pirates and tall ships in his mind. A large black bearded captain loomed over him, shouting orders. The pirate’s breath blasted Josh’s face making him reel backwards. It was disgusting, a mixture of rotten teeth, belched stomach contents and rum.

                “Get ye up the foremast, boy and be lively about it!”

                Afraid of a flogging, Josh ran barefoot on the wooden planked deck, scurrying past burly, unsmiling men. Their rancid sweat emanating from their toiling bodies. Each man busied themselves with their tasks, keeping their heads down low to avoid the captain’s stare or displeasure. The salty air and bracing wind assaulted his face and lungs. At the bottom of the mast, he looked up at the rope rigging and the impossibly high climb to the crow’s nest. The wet ropes had a pungent smell of kerosene. Josh could feel his fear clawing at his stomach. I can’t do it, I just can’t. A huge swell broached the ship’s side tossing men, rigging and barrels across the deck. Briny water and debris crashed onto the wooden planks, adding to the unpleasant smell all around him. Josh stumbled hitting his head. The shock woke him from his dream. Disorientated, thinking the rocking movement underneath him was a figment of his imagination, Josh opened his eyes. Blinking several times, he saw a round porthole and blue sky and splashing water. Am I still dreaming?

                A knock on his cabin’s door and his mother’s voice alleviated his bewilderment. We are on a boat, but not a pirate ship. A fresh linen smell replaced the buccaneer odors.

                “It’s time to go to the dining room for breakfast, Josh. Are you awake?”

                “Yes. Mom, I’ll meet you there.”

                Once he was dressed, Josh slipped on his new dark blue canvas shoes. He smelt the rubber of the sole, the canvas fabric and the waterproofing spray his mother has insisted on applying. He’d picked them especially for the cruise.

                The large dining room was filled with wonderful aromas of bacon, toast, coffee, and fruit. A long serving counter held hot plates at one end and chilled bowls at the other. The hot plates sizzled with fatty fragrance. A long line of people stood choosing their preferences to eat. Josh found his mother standing to one side waiting for him.

                “There you are. Let’s get in line so we can pick our breakfast, find a seat and eat together.”

                Their choices made, Josh and his mother sat near the rear of the room, near the exit. Josh spread golden butter generously on his toast, then opened a strawberry jam jar. The tangy sweetness of the fruit unmistakable at the lid popped open. Next he poured maple syrup over his pancakes, the odour a mix of caramel and toffee. He cut into the pancake pile and added a strip of bacon to his bite. Delicious! The waiter refilled their coffee cups giving rise to a nutty, smoky aroma.

                “I’m going to find a nice spot with a deckchair to read. What will you do this morning, Josh?”

                “I was going to explore a bit, Mom, as it’s the first time I’ve been on a cruise ship.”

                “Well, have fun. We can meet back here at one o’clock for lunch.”

                “Sounds like a plan. I’ll see you later.”

                Josh pushed open the heavy metal door; a whiff of grease wrinkled his nose for an instant before the rush of briny air invaded his nostrils. The ship rocked back and forth like a cradle. Josh braced his legs and walked along the deck rails for support. Ahead was the lido deck, filled with the sound of excited voices and splashing. Its faint chlorine smell merging with the stronger brine aroma. He took steps upward and was surprised by a tumbling ball of string heading towards him. He caught it and began winding the loose thread back around the ball. At the top of the stairs, he was met by a beautiful face, a hand grasped to her mouth.

                “Oh goodness, I’m so sorry. It just slipped from my hand.”

                “No worries. Glad I was there to catch it. It could have rolled straight over the edge into the ocean.”

                “That was what I was afraid of. Thank you for rescuing it.”

                Josh shrugged and handed the twine to the girl. Her green eyes transfixed him and she smelt so good. It was a heady mixture of citrus and cinnamon.

                “Why do you need string for on a cruise, anyway?”

                “Oh, well you may think it odd but I use it for macramé. I make wall hangings and wall art out of it.”

                “I don’t think that’s odd, sounds kind of cool actually.”

                “Would you like to see some of the things I’ve made? Only if you have time, I’ve probably stopped you going to do something as it is.”

                “No, I’d like to see. I was just taking a look around. This is my first cruise. I’m Josh, by the way.”

                “Heh, I’m Heather. Come this way. I’m all set up on the viewing deck. Might as well have a great view while I craft eh?”

                Josh was impressed with the array of coloured cotton cord; Heather had lain out on two loungers. He could smell a delicate cotton and musky scent as she lifted up an intricate piece.

                “That is so cool. Can you show me how you make them?”

                Josh and Heather soon became an item and spent many hours together, either exploring the ship and it’s attractions the any port of calls or sitting making macramé. He knew he would get a ribbing from his mates back home but once they saw Heather they’d stop. She was a knock out and smelt so good.

I am also continuing to read Misconduct of the Heart by Cordelia Strube. The writing style is fast paced, full of details, dialogue, internal thought and not a book to relax with. It keeps you on your toes who the protagonist is talking about/to or where/what she is doing.

This week I attended the creative writing workshop hosted by the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County and we covered the romance genre. This genre is popular and has many categories and sub-genres, including historical, paranormal, erotic, contemporary, spiritual, suspense and YA. Our writing exercise gave each participant a sub-genre and a title. I got paranormal – Bad Boy Earl’s Desert Mistress. I will share the result in my newsletter. It was fun.

Which romance genre do you like to read?

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