Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – How Do You Choose Your Next Writing Project?

July 2, 2020
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With the final editing revisions sent to my publisher, I am thinking about my next story. As with many authors there is a never ending project pile. So how do you to choose the next one?

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There are several scenarios:

1. You have submitted one part of a series – your choice is reasonable clear – write the next book in the series. This can depend on when the manuscript has to be finished obviously but readers want the next one pretty quickly.

2. You are committed to writing a story for an anthology. Ensure you make the deadline.

3. A new idea has ‘popped’ into your head – it is always tempting to write the newest and brightest. However, can it wait? Maybe ask is it reflecting a current topic? Would it be best to get it published sooner rather than later?

4. You have several unfinished manuscripts pending. (This is my current quandary.) How do you choose?

The above options do give us guidance but if you are not committed to a deadline then what options are open to you?

a) Write the titles out and pick one out of a hat.

b) Ask your readers on social media to choose by voting.

c) Gauge the current ‘popular’ genre and write accordingly.

I have opted for b) and received a flurry of votes on Facebook and twitter, which was a pleasant surprise indeed.

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The choices were – A western romance or a suspense novel. The suspense won! So I will delve into The Giving Thief for this year and into next.

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Other News

I have gained a new freelance client for August. So I am looking forward to working with this author on her novel from August onward.

My steampunk novel, The Commodore’s Gift is now with my publisher and set for a September 2020 launch. Unsure at this point what that will actually look like or compose of but we will see.

Take care and stay well.

Celebrating A Decade of Writing

December 12, 2019
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This year I celebrate a decade of writing. It was not something my creative brain discovered until I came to Canada. Throughout my younger life art was my main creative outlet, whether it was painting, collage, pottery, sculpture, textiles, knitting, sewing, and many more. I would spend my lunch hours in the art room at school rather than in the playground, it was my happy place. From creating abstract art in a multiple of mediums to utilizing fabric remnants found at Liberty’s of London for summer tops, I indulged my creativity. 

This changed as I began adult life and my creative outlets ceased as I entered the workforce and socialized with my peers and then had children. I dappled in rug design without success and although I was gifted an easel one Christmas and attended an art class for a short time, I just didn’t have the time or motivation. It was only when I came to Canada and there was an opportunity to find a creative outlet that I made the decision to find one. I stumbled across the writing group, The Writers Foundation of Strathcona County (https://www.wfscsherwoodpark.com/ ) by pure chance on a trip to the local library and decided to attend a meeting. From that point on I found my ‘place’ and began to learn a new skill, one which has given me not just a group of firm and supportive friends but also allowed me to discover my new country, as well as attend numerous events and a connection to many other writers from home and further afield.

I blogged about my first writing experience here: https://mandyevebarnett.com/2010/08/17/discovering-a-passion/

Now I have eight published books and three work in progress manuscripts (and numerous ideas filed) and there is no slow down in sight for my writing passion. It has gripped me and I am so happy I ‘found’ my creative life again.

Not only have I written novels but also participated in National Novel Writing Month a total of ten times, attended numerous writing retreats and workshops, presented at workshops, started a freelance writing business (https://tailoredthemedtosuit.wordpress.com/ ) and became Secretary to my writers group. I am truly immersed in the writing life and am so glad I braved that first writing group meeting.

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Why not share your writing life experience?

Author Interview – Joan Marie Galat

July 9, 2019
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Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?

I find it very satisfying to challenge myself to write in different genres and especially enjoy incorporating storytelling into nonfiction. I’m published in nonfiction, literary nonfiction, fiction, self-help (Give Yourself a Pep Talk, Pelican Publishing), and travel (Day Trips From Edmonton, Whitecap Books). Two of my Scholastic titles are “info-fiction fantasy,” a classification I always found amusing!

Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?

With nonfiction, I start with an outline that sometimes resembles a very detailed table of contents. As I research and discover new irresistible facts, I find ways to work them in. Hooray for sidebars! They allow me to expand on main text or add unexpected tidbits. With fiction, I start with a rough outline of events and see where they take me. This approach can be exhilarating or frightening, depending on how long it takes to find a way to get my characters out of the trouble I’ve conjured.

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The stories in Dark Matters, Nature’s Reaction to Light Pollution (Red Deer Press) began with a list. I compiled an inventory of events in my life relating to astronomy, wildlife, and the environment, then matched them to the points I wanted to make about how light at night impacts different species. Enormous fun, this approach triggered me to remember stories from my childhood, teen, and early adult years that I hadn’t thought about for a long time. I feel any writer can benefit from the activity of matching personal stories to a theme, and this is an exercise I incorporate into creative writing workshops. (As a follow-up to the question above, it’s interesting to note that Dark Matters, being part memoir and part science, doesn’t fit into a traditional genre. Even more fun!)

What is your best marketing tip?

When approaching traditional media sources, make your potential interviewer’s job easy. Find a way to tie your content to current events or trending topics. For example, if proposing an interview about Dot to Dot in the Sky, Stories in the Clouds—Weather Science and Mythology from Around the World, I could point out connections to thunderstorms, frost warnings, or climate change.

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Do you see writing as a career?

Absolutely. When not working on my own books, I offer freelance writing and editing services though my business MoonDot Media [moondotmedia.com]. I edited a magazine for several years and take on freelance projects that have included speechwriting, writing/editing website content, museum panel text, grant applications, magazine articles, advertising, annual reports, educational materials, and a myriad of other projects, as well as manuscript and publishing consultations. I have produced radio programming and other projects for broadcast, and offer writing and creativity workshops. Writing as a career can take many forms and every type of writing helps you to build your skills by teaching you to write for different audiences.

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Do you have plans or ideas for your next book?

While an abundance of ideas are tempting me, I expect to especially continue exploring themes relating to space, astronomy, and ecology. An upcoming title is Absolute Expert: Space (National Geographic Kids).

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 Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?

Chocolate is essential to good writing, especially chili pepper dark chocolate.

Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?

I’m an occasional contributor on the the Sci/Why blog, where Canadian children’s writers discuss science, words, and the eternal question – why? http://sci-why.blogspot.com/

You can also find me on these sites:

Websites: www.joangalat.com and www.moondotmedia.com
Facebook www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Joan-Marie-Galat/125108027581967
Twitter twitter.com/JoanMarieGalat
LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/in/joangalat
Instagram – @jmgalat
YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/joanmgalat
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/896930.Joan_Marie_Galat?from_search=true
JacketFlap https://www.jacketflap.com/profile.asp?member=dot2dot

Bio:

Joan Marie Galat is an international award-winning author whose career began at the age of 12 when she was hired as a newspaper columnist. Now she is the author of more than 20 books, including a Canadian best seller. Joan shares her love of the night sky in her Dot to Dot in the Sky series (Whitecap Books), which partners sky science with the stories early cultures first told to explain their observations. Dark Matters—Nature’s Reaction to Light Pollution (Red Deer Press) offers personal stories, revealing how light at night impacts wildlife, while Solve This! Wild and Wacky Challenges for the Genius Engineer in You (National Geographic Kids) encourages young readers to explore hands-on problem solving.

A professional speechwriter, former radio show host, and frequent presenter, Joan has traveled across Canada and around the globe to deliver presentations promoting science and literacy. She has been featured at a United Nations event in Seoul, Australian observatories, the International Dark-Sky Association conference, and numerous other events. When not writing or talking about writing, Joan can be found enjoying the outdoors.

 

 

Author Interview Sarah Nachin

July 27, 2018
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  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing definitely energizes me. I get so wrapped up in my writing sometimes that I lose track of time.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

My writing Kryptonite is disorganization and procrastination.

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

No. I like my name. It’s kind of different and I want people to get to know me as a writer under that name.

  1. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

Jerry Cowling is a published author who has helped me immensely when it comes to editing my books. Archie Scott is another writer. I can bounce ideas off him and he has a wealth of knowledge on many subjects which broadens my horizons.

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  1. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

Each book I’ve written has been in a different genre, so for the most part they stand alone. However, I am planning a sequel to my first book, so there will be a tie-in between the first book and the sequel.

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Traveling to Europe, which became the inspiration for my third book.

  1. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

Having my parents help me write reports when I was in grade school and having them show me how to use my imagination to make the reports more interesting.

  1. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

“A Prayer for Owen Meany.” It’s not well-known, but it really moved me.

  1. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

An eagle because they soar high in the sky and symbolize freedom

  1. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Three

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

Having people appreciate and enjoy my work

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  1. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I haven’t really done any research for any of my books. My first two were based on interviews with people I met. My third book was based on my experiences traveling in Europe. 

  1. How many hours a day/week do you write?

On the average two-three hours a day.

  1. How do you select the names of your characters?

Only one of my books is fiction. I selected fairly common names that were similar to the names of the actual people I based the characters on. 

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

Since all my books are either non-fiction or fiction based on actual experiences, I really haven’t had any difficult scenes to write because I didn’t have to really imagine the circumstances. They were actual events.

  1. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

I feel very comfortable writing non-fiction, but I am spreading my wings, so to speak, and branching out into fiction. I like the change of pace that fiction offers – the fact that I can use my imagination, so it’s not difficult to balance the different genres. 

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  1. How long have you been writing?

Since I was about 10 years old

  1. What inspires you?

People and events inspire me, especially people who have overcome odds and accomplished something. Events that have shaped our world also inspire me.   

  1. How do you find or make time to write?

I get up early in the morning and write while I’m fresh and don’t have any distractions.

  1. What projects are you working on at the present?

I’m working on a self-help book and also an historical novel.

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

Finishing my self-help book and my novel and writing a cookbook. 

  1. Share a link to your author website.

I don’t have a website, but my Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/Sarah-J-Nachin-Author-273249936028795/

Also here is the link to my books on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=sarah+nachin

Bio:

Sarah J. Nachin is an author, freelance writer, speaker and blogger. Her most recent book is the “The Odyssey of Clyde the Camel” She has also published two non-fiction works. “Ordinary Heroes, Anecdotes of Veterans”relates stories of men and women who served in the military during five decades of conflict – World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm. “The Long Journey,” co-authored with Felicia McCranie, is an inspiring story of a woman who grew up in the Philippines, immigrated to the United States and overcame almost insurmountable obstacles. Sarah J. Nachin also writes for two weekly newspapers and a chamber of commerce magazines produced by Heron Publishing. She has two blogs. Sarah also works as an editor and proof reader, specializing in working with writers whose native language is not English. She is a public speaker, as well.

Author Interview – Richard Paolinelli

April 6, 2018
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  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Both at times, as strange as that may sound. When the words are flowing I seem to gain energy as I go along. But there are times, usually when I am pushing to make a hard deadline, when I feel like I’m dragging about five tons of brick around on my shoulders and it is difficult to write the next sentence.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

The Internet. It is just too easy to hop on to check my email “really quick” and get distracted by something and three hours later suddenly remember I was supposed to be writing. The house hound also tries his best to distract, usually when I am really on a roll.

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

Briefly. But I was writing for newspapers for so long that it just seemed natural to continue to do so when I transitioned to fiction writing. Plus, I really dislike posting in online forums under fake screen names as I feel that leads to bad behavior by folks who feel they can get away with anything without any accountability. So I have always made it a point to put my real name behind everything I write, online or off.

  1. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I know so many of them that if I tried to list them all here we’d break the internet. Not to mention I’d probably forget some of them and then have to spend the rest of the year apologizing. But in their own ways they have all helped me become a better writer. Sometimes it is from just reading their work and seeing how they develop a character or lay out a scene. Sometimes it comes from the way they market their books or deal with unfair criticism.

 

 

  1. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

Almost all of them are stand alone, although I have readers asking me when the sequel to Escaping Infinity is coming out. I do have one trilogy though, the Jack Del Rio political thriller series. Writing in so many different genres as I do I very much doubt there a way for me ever to be able to connect them. All I really hope for is that they are all enjoyable stories that readers continue to want to read.

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

The $20 that I spent on three Himekami CDs many years ago (pre-MP3 era). Listening to the beautifully enchanting synthesized music produced by this group from Japan seems to put me into the perfect state of mind to write.

  1. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

When I sat down one day at the age of 4 and heard a man say that he hoped for a world where his children would be judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. It took a few more years for me to fully understand the concept, but those words made perfect sense to 4-year-old me. It wasn’t what a person looked like that mattered, it is what they said and did that was all that counted. I’ve always strived to keep that lesson in my heart in the half-century that has passed since I first heard them and am reminded of that day every time I read those words again.

 

 

  1. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

Time Traveller’s Never Die by Jack McDevitt. I loved the way Jack (I get to call him that because we’ve worked together on a Sherlock Holmes anthology and corresponded a few times since) dealt with the paradox of time travelling and it was this book, and discovering Jack’s path to becoming a writer at a later age, that inspired me to try to give fiction writing another try at the age of 46. 

  1. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Polar Bear. Because they are patiently relentless in their pursuit of their goal. For them it is their next meal but for me it is getting the current novel finished so I can begin working on the next one.

  1. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

About 30 in various states of started but not finished to just outline-only.

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

When I have finished a book and it is available to be purchased on Amazon or in a bookstore. That means another story of mine – another world or universe of my creation – is available to be read and, hopefully, enjoyed.

 

 

  1. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

With my two non-fiction books I spent years going through newspaper microfilms, online searching and interviews before I sat down and started writing them. It probably worked out to two years each from starting research to writing completed and the book released.

With my fiction works I’d say I research for about a week before I start writing. Even then I find I will pause writing at points to do additional research when something does not sound right or if I make a change in the original outline along the way.

  1. How many hours a day/week do you write?

At least 30 hours a week and sometimes as many as 60 depending on other things going on in my life.

  1. How do you select the names of your characters?

I have a couple of ways. Usually the names seem to come to me and I go with them if they “feel” right. But I discovered a website that generates first and last names based on several factors of race, ethnicity, gender and genre. I’ll scroll through a few randomly generated names until I find a combination I like.

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

In Reservations which was the first Jack Del Rio novel. I had decided to kill off one of the major characters and when I got to the chapter when the death was to occur I found it harder to write with each passing word. I kept going back and forth on whether or not to kill the character or not. It took me 14 hours to write that chapter and I recall finishing it, saving it and then walking away from my desk in tears when I finished writing the death scene that ended the chapter. It felt like I had murdered a loved one. But the response I have received from readers has convinced me that I made the correct decision.

 

 

  1. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

My early books were sports non-fiction, which were easy to do coming off 20 years as a sportswriter, and then my initial fiction works were political mystery-thrillers. But my first love as a young reader was science fiction and that is the genre I will be doing most of my writing in for the foreseeable future.

  1. How long have you been writing?

Since 1983 when I started as a freelance writer. Aside from being the lead writer for two issues of a comic book series in 1986, I started as a full-time novelist in 2011 after I retired as a newspaper writer/editor in 2010.

  1. What inspires you? 

 My family. I want to leave a legacy in my writings that my children and grandchildren and their grandchildren can be proud of long after I am gone.

  1. How do you find or make time to write?

I am fortunate in that this is my full-time job so I have a nice routine that allows me to write on a regular schedule. Having worked for 20 years in newspapers where I was expected to write 2-3,000 words a day has made it something of a habit now, one that seems as natural to me as breathing.

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  1. What projects are you working on at the present?

Many. I am helping finish the final book written by my friend Gibson Michaels, who passed away last year before he could finish it. It would have been his fourth book and we want to make sure his readers get to read it. I am co-writing a western novel with Jim Christina, with whom I co-host an online show about writers and the craft of writing – The Writer’s Block on LA Talk Radio. I’m editing one of the 11 books in the Planetary Anthology series (and have stories in several of the others) and I am helping start up a new organization for professional creators in science fiction and fantasy, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Creators Guild ( www.sffcguild.com)  .

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

I have three science-fiction/fantasy projects lined up I want to finish by the end of 2018 – When the Gods Fell, Cursed Firstborn and Seadragon.

  1. Share a link to your author website.

https://scifiscribe.com/

 

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