Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

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?

Canada Day 1st July 2019

July 2, 2019
mandyevebarnett


canada-day

I enjoy celebrating Canada Day as it is my new homeland. We are lucky to have a deck overlooking part of the parade route so can sit in comfort and watch it drive past. Canada is a young country, becoming the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867. This is in direct contrast to my former homeland, Britain which was founded a lot earlier.

United Kingdom = England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Kingdom of England was founded in 927 AD and The Kingdom of Wales was founded in 1283. They joined together in 1536 so Britain was founded in 1536. The Kingdom of Scotland was founded in 843 AD.

I do miss the history and pageantry as well as the ancient sites, historical houses and castles but have been fortunate to have traveled quite a lot of the province’s of Alberta and British Columbia by way of road trips. When I first came to Canada, I had no real sense of the vastness of the continent until someone showed me this view of the whole of Britain easily fitting into Alberta. This is just one province of ten!

Capture

I have seen wildlife and plants I would never have observed, spectacular scenery and many objects purportedly to be the largest! Here are some of them.

I also ‘discovered’ a passion for writing in Canada, which may never have been part of my life elsewhere. It was a happy accident walking into that first sharing meeting of the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County in 2009. Not only do I have something that interests and absorbs me but it has also given me some incredible friendships. I am making up for ‘lost’ time publishing (to date) seven books, with several in the pipeline but it is the process of creating that engages me and having the opportunity to share my stories.

Here’s to many more years discovering this country, writing stories and enjoying family and friends.

 

 

Humans Don’t Acclimatize, They Destroy…

November 25, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Acclimatize – definition: to adapt oneself to one’s surroundings, environment, or climate

Most of us are familiar with how animal species have adapted to their environments. As a David Attenborough fan, I have watched numerous programs where he has shown these in glorious color. I will not go into the hundreds of adaptations here but this link is a great source of information, if you are interested. http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/adaptations

-evolution-of-humans

It is the adaptations of the human species, which concerns me. Earlier civilizations lived with their surroundings and maintained the natural balance. As humans developed and formed larger and larger groups, this changed and we began manipulating our surroundings to suit us. Areas of the planet previously uninhabited due to the climate or conditions were invaded and structures built to accommodate. Resources were, and still are, ravaged. Vast areas of the planet are now under concrete and this ‘invasion’ is still going on.

Humans adapt their environment in any way they can. From the sewing of furs, inventing shoes, discovering how to shear sheep to make wool for weaving clothing, taming fire, domesticating animals, and inventing agriculture, there has been an explosion of adaptations. Also housing became more and more sophisticated from caves to mud huts to brick buildings and wooden structures with insulation. Another discovery was herbs and how they could be used either for culinary or medicinal uses, and which were poisonous. Tools have developed and improved from split rocks with sharp edges to battery powered tools for every aspect of building. Yes, we are a ‘clever’ animal but at what cost?

Unfortunately, this behavior is continuing even though there is scientific proof that human impact on the planet and its inhabitants is destroying the only ‘home’ we have. Obviously, we can not unlearn our inventions and expectations for ourselves – everyone wants a nice home to live in and easy access to food and clothing.

What is the answer? That is the billion dollar question!

What’s that Stench..?

August 28, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Stench – definition: an offensive smell or odor

What came to your mind with today’s word? I suppose it depends on which continent you live on. Now I live in Canada I have come across skunks and found that even in death they are really smelly! Driving or walking along a road or path you are aware of a skunk long before you see it. Normally it is in retreat and you only glimpse that tell-tale black and white tail held high.

Skunk

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skunk

However, when I resided in England our smelly critters were much smaller. These little living jewels come in many colors. With a daughter,who loved any creepy crawly from the time she could crawl, I have come to appreciate the tiny creatures often overlooked. If handled roughly they will squirt a noxious smelling liquid which is so horrid birds will drop them immediately. I love the patterns and colors.

 

 
http://www.britishbugs.org.uk/gallery_het.html

‘Stink bugs’…

a_haemorrhoidale_1a_haemorrhoidale_5a_haemorrhoidale_4a_haemorrhoidale_8a_haemorrhoidale_2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What ‘smelly’ critters are common to your home?

Just for fun here is a list of the top seven – http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/ecology/the-seven-smelliest-creatures-in-the-world/904

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