Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Reading Challenges, Book Reviews and Giveaway Wins

July 20, 2021
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I join the annual Goodreads Reading Challenge each year, sometimes I succeed, but other times I miss by a book, or maybe two. This depends on how busy my life gets. I’m sure you can agree. As a writer, reading is an integral part of my education. Reading new genres, authors and styles gives me, not only ideas, but the ability to dissect the plot, characterizations etc. This can be done with movies too. This year, I am on track with my reading, probably because there have been no events to plan or attend apart from virtual ones. I would love to see your challenge statics if you want to share them. Here’s mine:

I was fortunate to win all three books in the series in a giveaway.

Review: A delightfully imaginative story that envelopes the reader into a magical world of imps, elves, forest and aquatic creatures. There is good tension throughout and the reader is propelled to read the next chapter.

My current read is one I received from another giveaway contest. When Robins Appear by Densie Webb.

What are you currently reading? Why did you choose that specific book? Have you won a book giveaway – which book(s)?

A friend of mine is a talented artist and she gifted me this delightful image. I can imagine a character from Ockleberries to the Rescue living there. https://www.amazon.ca/Ockleberries-Rescue…/dp/1988723663 Who do you think lives there from the stories?

Creative Edge Author Interview -V K Tritschle

July 15, 2021
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1.     What drew you to the romance genre?

I think I am a romantic at heart, but also I love the idea of relationships because I truly believe that these are the essence of humanity. How people react to each other is like dancing, and the twirling of the steps can be hypnotic. I want to create worlds and lives that reflect these beautiful steps.

2.     Which comes first – character or plot?

Sometimes its just the concept or idea, sometimes I can envisage a face or the feeling of a character. For me, the process doesn’t always start logically, but it pulls out and unravels like threads of silk. From there I weave it into a fine thread and make it into a story.

3.     Are you a plotter or a panster?

Pantser – 100%! I have tried to plot, but I find it more difficult than just letting the words reveal themselves to me. Obviously with a trilogy I have a base concept of where the story is heading, but even them, the plot can change as the story develops.

4.     How does the terrain, history and unique characters of Australia affect your writing?

There is a lush and yet arid beauty in Australia. As if when it was created, multiple worlds fought over the same space and so you have long stretches of sparsely filled desert like sands and plants, followed by fields of wheat, green fields and forests, and then long golden coasts. Its such a pleasure to discover new places and spaces that feel untouched by anyone else.

5.     Can you tell us about the Eyre Writers Festival?

The festival was formed a few years ago as a way of engaging local writers and authors with the greater community. Not only do they offer some amazing guest authors and workshops, but they support local writers to engage in various forms of writing through their sessions. For me, its been an absolute joy to be surrounded by such talent and meet some best selling authors and learn their secrets.

6.     Did you find anything surprising when writing the magical stories?

Always! The beauty of magic is that there are no limitations or hindrances. If you can imagine it, then magic can make it happen. How wonderful!

7.     How was writing the paranormal romance different from your other narratives?

There is definitely a greater freedom in paranormal romance, because what you write can include elements of the ‘unreal’. You can have magic and other world abilities, that realistically are not possible in a general romance. So I have greatly enjoyed paranormal romance, and have many ideas and plans for more characters and worlds in this genre going forward.

8.     How do you come up with your novel titles?

I would like to say there is a methodical process to it, but there isn’t. Sometimes I focus on the plot line to generate ideas, but largely I rely on general concepts. For more than one book, I already have the name of the book I just haven’t uncovered all the plot yet!

9.     Where do you love to write?

Anywhere and everywhere. Coffee shops can create fabulous characters as you absorb the hum of the visitors around you, but a library brings forward fabulous ideas and worlds. So I try and move around and write in lots of different places, because I think they all bring their own benefits. If I had to pick just one, it would be a special writers retreat location that I go to with other author friends as often as time allows. I think the collective imagination takes hold and brings forward beautiful writing.

10.  Can you tell us about your newest novel?

My next novel is The Heart of Nowhere, which is due out in October. Its the second book of a trilogy and brings the next part of the story forward. A Town Called Nowhere was the starting point, which introduced my two key were-panther characters – Dru, a famous race car driver escaping his notoriety and Nicci, a lone were-panther running from her past. They form a new pack in Nowhere, an abandoned town in remote Australia. But they soon find that they cant outrun their history or their destiny. For the second book, there are lots of action scenes which I hope will keep the readers on the edge of their seats!

11.  Where can readers find you?

You can find me at www.vktritschler.com which also has links to my numerous social media platforms.

12.  Do you have a message for your readers?

I just want to thank my readership for their active and avid support. They are what keep me writing!

Bio:

VK Tritschler is a native New Zealander/Canadian, who is now residing in Port Lincoln, South Australia. She had been a member of Eyre Writers (an established author and writers group) since 2010 and has been an active writer since youth. The Secret Life of Sarah Meads (Chic-Lit) was her first published book and utilized her background as a mother, woman, and degree in Psychology. Her novels include Magic and Mischief – Vital Impetus (Paranormal Anthology), The Risky Business of Romance (Romantic Suspense), and Trade Secrets (Rom-Com) and A Town Called Nowhere was released in April 2021.

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

June 1, 2021
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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 – Picking Books for Unusual Reasons

April 13, 2021
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Sometimes we are attracted to books for unusual reasons. I recently read Miss Benson’s Beetle, which is a delightfully eccentric account of a woman who leaves everything in search of a gold beetle in the wilds of New Caledonia. I have read this author’s work before and enjoy her style and character development. However, there was another draw to the book due to the title. My daughter, from a very early age has been fascinated with all animals including insects. So a story centered around a beetle was too good to lose in my mind. Through my daughter’s eyes I came to know a whole new world of creepy crawlies beneath our feet.

The book ends with another character and I am hoping the author continues with a sequel.

What unusual subject , interest or hobby has drawn you to a book? Do let me know in the comments.

I am continuing to read a fictional memoir, which centers around the life of a child living in a military family. As the author calls it, life as a military brat.

I had the opportunity to ‘swap’ author interviews with a New Zealand author and this was my interview with her. You will be able to read Elise Brooke ‘s interview on 6th May here on my blog.

https://www.mynzdreamblog.com/post/interview-with-mandy-eve-barnett-author

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Excerpt from The Twesome Loop & Book Review

April 6, 2021
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This is an excerpt from Chapter Forty-One A Secret Place – 2002

As the evening grew darker Gina took Caroline’s hand and led her further down the valley towards a grove of olive trees. Gina told Caroline she had a secret place where she spent many peaceful hours. It was there she found a deep pit covered with wooden planks hidden in the undergrowth. Caroline was intrigued so came prepared with a rope.

  “See here, Caroline, here is the pit as I told you. The wooden lid is held down with a large boulder. Why would someone do such a thing? It could only be a water well, don’t you think?”

  “I’m not really sure but whatever the reason, I am curious to see.”

  “It may not be safe shouldn’t we ask the archeological dig people to look?”

  “If I find some precious artifact or relic I will certainly get James over here. Now don’t worry I will be careful.”

  With one end of the rope tied to a sturdy olive tree Caroline’s excitement grows. She holds a lantern over the void, before lowering herself down slowly. Gina watches as Caroline gradually disappears into the inky blackness.

    The lantern hanging off her belt Caroline’s descent was slow but gradual and her eyes could pick out roots and rocks jutting out of the pit walls. Eventually she felt her feet touch ground and called up to Gina.

  “I’m at the bottom now.”

  “Be careful, is there no water? You don’t know what’s down there.”

Peering through the gloom Caroline suddenly gave out a cry making Gina jump and call down to her.

  “Are you all right?”

 “Yes, I’m fine but I’ve found a skeleton!”

Both girls exclaimed at once “Who could it be?”

“I have no idea but I’m guessing this well has been dry for quite some time.”

Caroline knew she would have to get the Professor down the well with proper equipment; it could be a wonderful discovery. For now she needed to make sure she didn’t disturb anything and made her way back up.

Let me know – were you intrigued? You can buy the book here: https://www.amazon.ca/Twesome-Loop-Mandy-Eve-Barnett/dp/1988723078

Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce
Absolutely loved this book! Great characters, story, tension, discovery and the power of finding your true self. The descriptions transported you to the locations. I thoroughly recommend it. 

My next read is Saying Goodbye is Easy – A Life in Short Stories by Kathie Sutherland.

What are you currently reading? What was your last review?

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