Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – How the Natural World Influences My Life and My Narratives

June 22, 2021
mandyevebarnett


My daughter asked me to find certain photographs for her recently. As I went though hundreds of photos (not the digital kind either!) in this large tea chest, that belonged my Mother, it was quite apparent that the numerous family day trips and vacations all had one common thread – nature and wildlife. We went to zoo’s, safari parks, wildlife parks, and even family walks ended up at farms or in fields and forests. This interest has been passed down from parent to child and grandchild. It is a family interest to this day.

My narratives reflect this fascination, even if a location is ‘off world’ there are always references to the natural inhabitants of that world. In Ockleberries to the Rescue, although there are magical woodland sprites caring for forest animals, it is based on Earth. Each chapter allows a child to learn about a specific animal or bird on Earth. These sketch’s by J.E. McKnight illustrate some of the chapter headers.

In Clickety Click there is a hidden world within our own and in Creature Hunt on Planet Toaria there are fantastical plants and animals of my imagination. The initial spark for the story behind Creature Hunt was a chance encounter with this enormous mullein plant on one of my road trips. As can see it was taller than me! You will have to read the book to find out what character it plays.

In The Twesome Loop, an Italian olive grove is a fundamental part of the story. Olive trees can grow for hundreds of years and their gnarly trunks give them character. The story is set between England and Italy, two places I love very much, having lived in one and visited the other.

I used my new found knowledge of my new home, Canada, for the setting of my novel, Life in Slake Patch, which has a prairie location. And The Commodore’s Gift has my protagonists living in a forest cavern, while I take my readers back to medieval England in The Rython Kingdom and Rython Legacy.

As you can see the settings for my stories are as much a character as the protagonists are. It allows my dear readers to imagine the surroundings and the flora and fauna. I personally love discovering the natural world, while letting nature relax and inspire me. There is always something new to learn and see from a bug to a bison, from a flower to a tree.

You can find my books here: https://www.amazon.ca/Mandy-Eve-Barnett/e/B01MDUAS0V/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1

What have you discovered in the natural world? How does nature affect you?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Summer Approaching

June 15, 2021
mandyevebarnett


A lot of us look forward to summer – it’s heat, long days and lazy days in the garden/yard. Of BBQ’s, beaches and the open road. This , of course, depends on the continent you live on and the weather cycles. I am not a heat person and like to stay at 22°C degrees with a breeze to keep the mosquitoes at bay. They absolutely love my English blood, here in Canada.

I wrote this poem a while ago about impending summer.

summer loading

Summer, you are long awaited

Through snow, sleet and rain, your heat and blasting glory

Pull us through.

Memories of sea and sand, camp fires and BBQ gatherings

Pull us through.

Green lushness, long days and outside chores planned

Pull us through

Then you are here – Summer – our darling

Flowers are planted, friends and family gather and lawns cut

Joy abounds

Garden furniture released from storage and nature’s sounds surround

Joy abounds

Vacations, road trips and splashing in the pool

Joy abounds

Long awaited, now enjoyed.

We love you Summer.

***

This summer there will be road trips to look forward to based on a new contest for Go East. Linda and I have already collected stickers from two routes and will explore new places over the summer months. Our first trip was ambitious driving two routes in one long day (15 hours to be precise!), so now we have planned stop overs for the remaining routes. Making it much more leisurely and giving us the ability to explore more.

The other trip we are taking includes one of the areas included in the adventure game, but for another reason. We are hosting and presenting for When Words Collide. This is an annual event and is virtual this year. We have booked an isolated cabin on private land beside a lake. The perfect writing and relaxation retreat, as well as a great dog walking venue.

I have received the last editing workshop comments and will be diving into the next round of revisions of book one in the Delphic Murders, An Elusive Trail, in the coming weeks. I am excited for this project and hope that you will enjoy the stories once they are published.

My last review is for Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver
A beautifully told story centering around a particular house during two different time periods. Barbara has expertly woven the two story lines and the inhabitants lives together. The core of the novel centers on the real life of a intriguing woman, Mary Treat. Someone history should take notice of and celebrate.

In the meantime you are welcome to browse (and buy) any of my other books here: https://www.amazon.ca/Mandy-Eve-Barnett/e/B01MDUAS0V/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1 or any of these e-book sites.

As always if you have any questions about my stories, writing life or events please feel free to contact me.

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Road Trip Companion and Essentials

June 10, 2021
mandyevebarnett


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?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Parallels between Queen Boudicca and Owena Wintermute of The Commodore’s Gift

June 1, 2021
mandyevebarnett


Queen Boudicca of Britain

In British history, we learn about Queen Boudicca, who ruled the Celtic clan, the Iceni tribe and united a number of other British tribes to revolt against the Roman occupying forces in 60 – 61 AD. She famously succeeded in defeating the Romans in three great battles but alas the war was won by the Romans. However, this does not deter from the fact that Queen Boudicca was a courageous queen, who fought for freedom from her oppressors.

Her rousing speech united the tribes and even today stirs the blood.

“We British are used to women commanders in war; I am descended from mighty men! But I am not fighting for my kingdom and wealth now. I am fighting as an ordinary person for my lost freedom, my bruised body, and my outraged daughters…. Consider how many of you are fighting — and why! Then you will win this battle, or perish. That is what I, a woman, plan to do!— let the men live in slavery if they will.”

Ancient Celtic women served as both warriors and rulers, and girls would be trained to fight with swords and other weapons, just like their male counterparts. As an adolescent, Boudicca would have been sent away to another aristocratic family to be trained in the history and customs of the tribe, as well as learning how to fight in battle. Celtic women were distinct in the ancient world for the liberty and rights they enjoyed and the position they held in society. Compared to their counterparts in Greek, Roman, and other ancient societies, they were allowed much more freedom of activity and protection under the law.

Owena Wintermute of The Commodore’s Gift

Owena has a unconventional upbringing within Victorian society. Motherless, she is brought up by her father and only sibling, an older brother, Benjamin. Feminine conventions are a mystery to both men and they welcome Owena’s tom-boy personality and actions. This leads to instruction in horseback riding astride the saddle instead of side-saddle and freedom to read whatever literature she wanted. Her attire is adapted to accommodate her other activities, such as instruction in swordplay, with the removal of corsets. Owena becomes proficient in this discipline. She also joined her brother as he played with toy soldiers and not only learnt battle formations and strategic planning but won against him.

Owena is certainly not a meek and mild woman but a warrior and worthy ally to the men of the rebel force. She joins them in their fight against the Buldrick Empire and ultimately gains their respect.

Read Owena’s story here: https://www.amazon.ca/Commodores-Gift-Mandy-Eve-Barnett/dp/1988723760

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Character Interview – Evan from Life in Slake Patch

May 25, 2021
mandyevebarnett


This is a character interview with Evan from my speculative fiction novel, Life in Slake Patch.

1. Tell me a little about yourself (where you live, who you are, what you look like.) My name is Evan and I live in the male compound, Slake Patch, on the prairie plain. I am a Second, as my eldest brother is the First. As such I am bound to compound duties only, rather than tending to the livestock on the plain. I am twenty-two years old, muscular, blonde with blue eyes and my fellow Slake inhabitants look up to me as a champion wrestler within the patch.

2. What do you like to do in your spare time? I love wrestling and spending time with my best friend, Greg. He and I came to the compound together at the age of six, as is the custom to live with our fathers and other men. We attended lessons together and were paired for chores for some time. Is there something more you would like to do? I would love to escape the compound to ride across the plain, but currently it is not allowed. Our only trip outside the patch is to the central food store in a horse drawn cart.

3. Do you have a favorite color and why? We do not have much color in our lives apart from the designated one for our bunkhouses to identify each working group. I am not particular about colours to be honest, although I love Kate’s long auburn hair.

4. What is your favorite food? Why is it your favorite? A thick piece of steak between two large slices of fresh cornbread is perfect. The softness of the bread soaks up the steak juices. The meat helps build my muscles and strength.

5. What would you say is your biggest quirk? I’m unsure what to say about this, if you ask around you might find the other men find it odd I spend a lot of time with an elder named Jacob. He is my mentor, friend, discoverer of information and more of a father figure than my own.

6. What is it about the antagonist in the novel that irks you the most, and why? Aiden and his Tribe use violence as a way of trying to change our way of life, the order and laws of our society. There is always a more diplomatic means to resolve conflicts. He and his follows also berate young women, which I find abhorrent. Women are to be obeyed and cherished.

7. What or who means the most to you in your life? What, if anything, would you do to keep him/her/it in your life? I am deeply in love with my tryst, Kate, and would lay down my life for her. If it was in my power I would change the once a week visiting rule to spend more time with her.

8. What one thing would you like readers to know about you that may not be spelled out in the book in which you inhabit? That I am open to new ideas as long as they do not harm others. I believe the matriarchy is right to rule the way they do.

9. If you could tell your writer (creator) anything about yourself that might turn the direction of the plot, what would it be? In truth, I altered the plot several times during the creating of my narrative. Some twists to the original were by my suggestions.

10. Do you feel you accomplished what you wanted? Yes, I do. I managed to find solutions to changes that improved our way of life.

Do you have a question you would like to ask Evan? Put it in the comments.

You can read Evan’s story here: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B07JG1GPP4/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i5

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