Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Food to Eat While Reading Your Favorite Genre.

May 17, 2022
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Photo by Melike Benli on Pexels.com

Quite often we snack while we read, our choice of snack varies with our personal taste, but it may also reflect the genre we are reading. Here is a list of suggested comparable foods for several genres.

Romance – Red wine & dark chocolate covered strawberries or cherries. Chocolate or vanilla flavored foods are also popular. Hot chocolate for an alternative to alcohol. Smooth, rich or decandent foods are best.

Thriller – This snack is right up there and is a real mixture – popcorn with cinnamon, olive oil and pesto or mixed with M&M. You can imagine popping each morsel into your mouth in quick succession as the tension grows within the narrative.

Fantasy – Linking back to a childhood fantasy – Snow White, this pick is the ‘bad’ apple choice. Apples covered in cinnamon, honey, or caramel. Red velvet cookies. Hummus and pita chips or french fries with ketchup.

Comedy – Animal Crackers. Tea and biscuits/cookies.

Historical Fiction – Tea and crumpets (or scones or crackers). Charcuterie. Coffee

True Crime – Aged cheese & wine.

Horror – Spicy pizza. Whisky.

Science Fiction – Cheesy Shrimp Nachos. Gummy Worms.

Action & Adventure – Sriracha popcorn.

Young Adult – Blueberry Crumb Bars. Apple slices & peanut butter.

Realistic Fiction: Chips. Sweet and sour Gummies.

Classics: Tea and Sugar Cookies. A good Bordeaux and a decadent spread of cheeses

Fanfiction: Nuts. Chocolate bars.

Biography/Autobiography: Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Trail mix.

Contemporary fiction Earl Grey tea and scones.

Wordsmith Collective Thursday – A Question Every Writer is Asked

May 5, 2022
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As writers, we are used to being asked why do we write. Our answers are as diverse as we are as individuals and the many genres we write. There is no catch all answer, our reasons are as many as there are stories. No matter if there are similarities in upbringing, location, class, education or a plethora of other influences, how we perceive our world, and the experiences we encounter on our life’s path, make us unique. Therefore, our stories are unique to us. How we tell them, creative them, construct them is ours alone.

So, I will endeavour to answer that question in my own unique way. And hopefully, it will give you an insight into my creativity.

I write because I enjoy creating imaginary worlds, its characters and their stories. To weave a story around characters that I have conjured up in my mind, gives me not only satisfaction but also allows me to be creative. It is a kind of escape really. I become immersed in another world, where everything is possible through my fingertips. As a naturally creative person, who has tried many forms of creative expression, writing has given me the ultimate power. I am omnipotent. I can place characters in different eras, on other planets, in magical kingdoms – wherever I want. After saying that, a lot of my characters do dictate their story lines and propel me into new unexpected directions on occasion. This is part of the enjoyment and magic of writing. I hope to continue writing for as long as I can see and type and even then, maybe I can utilize modern technology to continue!

To another commonly asked question: what do I really want, my answer is – I want my stories to be my legacy. To be read and enjoyed for future generations and hopefully give a glimpse into my personality when I am gone. Instead of just the ‘dash’ on the gravestone there will be a pile of books to note my contribution to literature. It is a way of paying it forward into the future.

How do you answer these questions?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Author Event – Independent Bookstore Day

May 3, 2022
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I was honoured to be part of Indie Bookstore Day at my local bookstore, The Sherwood Park Bookworm on Saturday. With so many books to choose from and three local authors and a couple of artisan’s attending as well, it was a great day.

I was sequestered on one of the lavish armchairs to display my novels and chat to visitors. It is always a pleasure to talk about my stories and the backstory of their creation. I am always open to reader questions and welcome a comment or email at any time.

These beautiful paper flowers were too beautiful not to purchase by @unwrittenbookbinding.com

What is your local bookstore called?

The Smart One by Jennifer Close A glimpse into a family’s thoughts, their interactions and events that cause friction, reassessment and belonging. Well crafted characters that you will become involved with, finding some similarities within your own family dynamics, others far from your experience

What are you reading?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Love a Local Bookstore – Sherwood Park Bookworm

April 26, 2022
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It is my pleasure to promote this bookstore and interview it’s owner, Leanne. She is very knowledgeable and will find ‘that’ book for you! I will be at the store this coming Saturday 30th April (1:30 – 2:30 pm) for Independent Bookstore Day. Come and say “Hello” to me & Leanne.

What made you buy a bricks & mortar bookstore?

1. I grew up loving to read, and of course don’t we all want to be our own boss. So when I discovered that the owners of The Bookworm were going to close the store I decided I would buy it and hopefully save it for other bibliophiles to enjoy.

Has the store always been in its current location?

2. The Sherwood Park Bookworm, formally The Bookworm is currently in its fourth location. The store has now been in business for about 34 years and I am the fourth owner. The previous locations were on Athabaskan Ave.  and I moved the store to Wye Rd, three and a half years ago. I love our new spot.

Do you have a special place to read?

3. I love to read, and don’t really have a favourite genre. Owning a bookstore means I need to step out of my comfort zone and read a broader book genre. But, when I want something easy it is usually romantic suspense or cozy mysteries. I don’t really have a favourite spot to read, but I do have two very comfy chairs at the store that get the warm bright sun in the afternoons. And sometimes I can sit for a bit and enjoy some reading time.

Which book began your reading journey as a child?

5. My book journey began so long ago I don’t really remember which book would have started it all. But I do remember devouring Little House on the Prairie. As well as the Trixie Beldon and The Bobbsey Twin series.

What are your plans for the future of the store?

6. I don’t know what the future of the store will be. I am always looking at ways to help it grow. I recently hired a very talented and ambitious lady to help me with all things technology related. So we have created a new website with and E- Commerce store. And she has really stepped up my social media presence.

We are also looking at creating a Bibliophile Boutique! Which will feature locally sourced book lover gifts.

What is your view of print versus digital books?

7. The age old argument of print vs. digital books is an interesting one. Both versions or reading each have a special place or purpose. Traveling with a device definitely has advantages, you can take many more books with you. So it saves space, and weighs far less. But, you are at the mercy of technology. Will it run out of battery, what do I do with it at the beach. Will it work, or leave you stranded without something to read. On the other hand a great print book is always there for you, but you may only be able to pack 3-4 or more, if you put some in your spouses suit case…

Printed books though are here to stay. People like the feel and texture. Some say they like the smell of ink and paper. Publishers have also reported an increase in sale of printed materials. Though I don’t know the exact reasons why, perhaps people thought digital books should cost substantially less. But, are disappointed that many cost the same as a printed book.

Regardless The SHPK Bookworm is thriving, despite the two year pandemic and digital devices.

What makes the Sherwood Park Bookworm unique?

8. The Sherwood Park Bookworm is a local gem. We have an amazing selection of paperback fiction in all of the genres. Many of them older or out of print. But that doesn’t affect the quality. We try very hard to have only the best condition of books available. And best of all if you aren’t a book hoarder, we offer you credit for the books you bring in to exchange for your next enjoyable reads.

We also carry a small assortment of local authors that may, or may not, be available in larger bookstores. We offer book signings as well as book launches. 

Can you tell us about the Independent Bookstore event?

9. Canadian Independent Bookstore Day, is an annual day celebrating readers, writers, illustrators, publishers as well as other industry supporters to celebrate Indie Bookstores. Check out CIBA books.ca for even more details. The SHPK Bookworm has been participating in CIBD for at least the last five years. It is a great day to be an indie bookstore, and I look forward to planning this event every year. And each year gets better and better.

How can book lovers find you?

10. Book lovers can find us on most social media. 

Facebook and Instagram @parkbookworm  The Sherwood Park Bookworm

Website parkbookworm.ca 

Yelp, and of course good old Google.

Is there a message you would like to relay about the store?

11. The Bookworm is a wonderful place to visit, the selection is great, and the company is inviting. Great conversations happen between strangers drawn together by their love of books. We even host a monthly Book Club and everyone is welcome.

Independent Bookstore Day 30th April

Wordsmith Collective Thursday – Multi-Genre or Hybrid Promotion

April 7, 2022
mandyevebarnett


As many of you know, I am a multi-genre author, where the story is the motivator not the genre. However, there are some obstacles to this due to the ‘business’ side of writing. Mainly, how to promote myself as opposed to the genre I have written?

Author-Branding-Book-Marketing-Plan-Author-Platform

I have read many ‘book promotion and marketing’ articles, all of which target specific audiences for genre. You can easily target one genre, such as romance, thriller, and mystery but how do you cross genre lines in promotion?

One answer is to link your name to an organic and dynamic brand that’s based on you and arouses a positive, emotional experience for your targeted readership – regardless of genre. So in essence you will need to develop a strategy to create a hybrid solution of your own.

Another option is to write a book that will appeal to the fans of your new genre and not the fans you already have. The plot, cover, and blurb should all be consistent with the genre you want to write in. This can be accomplished by adding your own flourishes to the genre.

You have the ability to create your own style, and unique voice by combining recurrent themes, character types, settings, and ideas that make up the familiar elements characteristic to your writing. You can tie a common thread between all the genres you choose to write. After delving into this I have found that love in all its forms are represented in my narratives, whether parental, friendship or lover.

It is much less about genre, and more about what readers have come to expect in your books/writing. It’s in the way you do it – as well as how it’s perceived and interpreted by your audience.
Let’s take a look at how writing in more than one genre is a benefit:
• It requires different strengths and allows you to push your limits and abilities–learn, test, experiment, polish.
• It lets you explore your wider interests without limitation.
• It allows new writers especially to explore various genres before determining the right “fit” for their style, voice and passions.
• It is often not a conscious decision–many writers are compelled to follow the Muse.

So what are the Pros and Cons?
Pros:
1. Writing what you want
It is wonderfully fulfilling to explore new ideas and create something new that challenges you in unique and exciting ways.
2. Wider audience
Writing a new genre may attract new readers, who wouldn’t have found your work otherwise. And hopefully they will check out your previous works thus cultivating a broader, wider readership.
3. Versatility
Being versatile will sharpen your skills as a writer and may attract a publisher in that genre or other new opportunities. Your ability to handle a variety of genres is always a plus.
4. Broader community
While writing in new genres and categories, you will get to know other writers in that genre and extend your writing community in the process.

Cons:
1. Losing readers
This is obviously the biggest con of switching genres. Your current readership may not pick up your new book at all as they consider you a writer in a particular genre and may be more discerning about picking up a title of yours in the future.
2. More juggling
Writing in multiple genres requires more juggling with your marketing and promotion as you need to change from one single cohesive marketing plan into two or more. And if you’re working on multiple projects at once, you’ll have to handle multiple publishing deadlines, contracts, etc.
3. Multiple brands
The worst case scenario is having to start a completely new brand for the ‘other’ genre. You may need to write under a pen-name and devote time to building that platform. It could be you start from scratch in your branding, or utilize your platform in a broader form. To do this you need to find the common ‘theme’. (Not an easy task I might add!)
4. Writing confusion
The other challenge is juggling multiple genres from a writing perspective and requires a lot of hard work and skill to accomplish successfully. Each genre has its own conventions you need to establish and refine using vastly different voices traits and tones, while meeting readers’ expectations.

More recently, many alternative genres have been created, which combine genres into a sub-genres. For example, romance readers would never go to the horror section first, but if the description was something like – romantic suspense – then maybe they would pick up your book. This has enabled authors to promote their books in one or more genres.
I have investigated what my ‘brand’ or ‘theme’ is in my writing and after quite some time realized it is a basic theme of love – be it romantic, parental, friendship or some other kind – so in essence I can use that title within the more traditional genre headings.
It is a matter of looking at your story and defining the main theme, even if it is an underlining thread throughout the narrative. My novel, Life in Slake Patch is an alternative world order but basically has a young man trying to change the ‘laws’ so he can be with the woman he loves. It can be described as speculative fiction but romantic speculative fiction is better.

My novel, The Twesome Loop is also romance but has an added reincarnation element as well as set in England and Italy, so is it romance alone or do I possibly create a sub-genre: suspense romance? As I am writing, I realized another sub-genre would fit my fantasy, The Rython Kingdom, which is set in medieval England, has a romance and a master plot by a vengeful witch so maybe it is fantasy or historical romance?

Do you write multiple genres?

How do you promote them? Separately or within a broader brand under your name?

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