Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…

September 6, 2017
mandyevebarnett


writing-hub

Writing:

As this past weekend was a long weekend here in Alberta I made good use of the time to mock-up my display for Words in the Park. As I now have five books to promote I had to decide on how best to give each one a ‘showcase spot’ without making my tables too crowded. The first table is for my two children’s books, Rumble’s First Scare and Ockleberries to the Rescue and my YA novella, Clickety Click. I do have ‘props’ for these books so reduced the displays a little. I have other promotional items as well but will keep them to a minimum. This is the kid’s table.

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I bought coloured card to stick summaries of each book to reflecting the book cover colours, I think it gives them a more professional look? For Ockleberries I am using a handmade ‘door’ I found in an artisan store and have animal figurines reflecting some of the creatures in the narrative. For Clickety Click I found a couple of ‘claws’ in the Halloween section and stuck them to a card above the book. And lastly, for Rumble’s First Scare the soft toy I made of Rumble. He is always very popular with the kids and adults alike!

Promotional items include Rumble pins, toques, T-shirts and bookmarks, Ockleberries has animal quizzes for the kids and Click has specially made toques and ‘monster’ colouring pages.

click hatWOTS set up Sept 2014

For the adult books I found a really nice tablecloth, which is gold in colour. This reflects the golden beast in The Rython Kingdom and the golden light of Italy for The Twesome Loop. The Rython has bookmarks and a glowing orb, which is in the narrative. For The Twesome Loop as it is my book launch I purchased a table easel and have made a larger summary page for it. I will make bookmarks as well. My next task is to make up a draw basket, which will include a signed copy. As the narrative is set in England and Italy I will have to select items carefully. I will probably use a couple of balloons to attract people to my table as well.

The display still needs work but this is the mock-up. I have to wait for the physical books of The Twesome Loop but should have them soon.

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Books:  I have been rather busy so have not finished this novel although should do this week. I’m really enjoying the characters and the author keeps me guessing who is the perpetrator.

Mind of the Phoenix

My friend, Marilyn gave me a lovely book, which is next on my TBR pile.

A Desperate Fortune

What are you reading?

Do you have a particular genre you enjoy?

Writing Tips:

Keep it simple.

It’s easy for your message to get buried in the language. So speaking of revisions, one of the best tools in your review toolbox is always the question, “Can this sentence be simplified?”

If it can be simpler, make it simpler.

Use adjectives and adverbs sparingly.

Regardless of what you’re writing, verbs are your power words. Make them do your heavy lifting, and keep the lightweight descriptors like adjectives and adverbs scarce.

Do you have a  writing tip to share?

 

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…

August 30, 2017
mandyevebarnett


writing-hub

Writing:

I succeeded in increasing the word count on my new YA story – Bubble the Gruggle to 17,715. It is a fun story set on another planet. The message within the tale is to care for your environment no matter which planet you live on.

I’m impatiently waiting on the go-ahead from my publisher to begin my cover reveal and teasers for The Twesome Loop. The official launch is set for 30th September at Words in the Park. Although I have two tables for this event I’m having to plan how to set them up to showcase the new novel but also give my other books, fair representation as well. This newest novel is number five in my published works!

Rumble’s First Scare, The Rython Kingdom, Ockleberries to the Rescue, Clickety Click.

It is amazing that I have this number of books when I only began writing when I immigrated to Canada and joined my writing group in 2009. (8 years 14 weeks to be precise). I am making up for lost time.

I have been asked where I get my titles and character names. Well mostly it is a word that pops into my head or a combination of a title/word/name I have heard or seen. Some, like Rumble, just seemed right for the character and the mischief he performed and for my magical woodland sprites, Crispin and Tansy were reflections of their personalities. (Ockleberries to the Rescue). Clickety Click was easy as it is the sound Alice hears in the story. Rython was a made up word for the griffon within the tale Guillem relays to the King’s court. As for the ‘Twesome Loop’ I wanted something mystical/intriguing as the loop is the means by which a link is made.

I try not to have a ‘common’ novel title to avoid confusion for my readers when buying my books. The internet gives us an easy way to check we are not duplicating a title.

How long have you been writing?

When was your first book published?

How many books do you have published to date?

How do you choose your titles and character names?

Books:  Beautifully engaging characters and a mystery that propels me to continue reading.

Mind of the Phoenix

Next on my TBR pile are:

A Desperate Fortune by Susanne Kearsely and 11/22/63 by Stephen King

What are you reading at the moment?

How many books are on your TBR pile?

Writing Tips:

Don’t judge the first draft.

No matter what you’re writing, the first draft should be about getting the ideas on the page—never let your inner editor hold you down at this stage. That’s what revisions are for.

How do you approach your first draft?

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…

August 23, 2017
mandyevebarnett


writing-hub

Writing:

Although I did escape with my friend, Linda for a mini break over the weekend, I did not get around to writing for me. We spent time organizing for our Words in the Park event and the launch of our writing group’s Canada 150 book project. Working together is easy and productive, we work well as a team.

Words in the Park – Saturday 30th September 10:00 am – 4:00 pm- Spark Gallery, Sherwood Park. 

Web site banner WitP 2017_0

We did, however enjoy an afternoon of history at the Fort Normandeau, where we were taught some Cree words around a fire pit. Then a wander through the fort itself and conversed with the chickens! Then onto the Kerry Wood Nature Center and a 1 km walk to the viewing/duck hide. Ducks, mostly bottoms up and two greater yellow-legs. A tour of the center – bookstore, gallery and nature discovery. 

 

 It was good to recharge the batteries, so to speak and I returned home refreshed.

 

Books:  My review: 

Santa writes with eloquent descriptions giving the reader a perfect tapestry of place and character. Her characters are well structured, engaging and keep the reader intrigued until the end. Woven between England and Italy this novel gives a taste of life in these two places and the struggle of their inhabitants. I highly recommend this book, it was a joy to read.

The Mermaid Garden

Already enjoying the intricacies of this story! And have just found out there is a sequel launching.

mind-of-the-phoenix

Writing Tips:

I wrote about how stress can have a profound effect on your writing here: https://mandyevebarnett.com/2015/11/16/stress-blocks-creativity/

https://goinswriter.com/how-to-overcome-writers-block/

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/7-ways-to-overcome-writers-block

What do you do to overcome the ‘block’?

Writing Prompt Contest – Window View…

May 28, 2016
mandyevebarnett


window view Shaw

Today’s photo is actually from the upper floor window of my old school – Shaw House in England. It is an Elizabethan manor and the Roundheads took a shot at King Charles I through this window. The hole in the wooden paneling has been preserved. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaw_House,_Berkshire

Give your imagination free reign and write a poem or short story (1000 words maximum) to reflect those facts or something entirely different.

Have fun.

After voting prizes will be awarded quarterly to the most voted response. Remember to post your response in the comments.

 

Alternative Living -Moving to Another Country…

March 16, 2016
mandyevebarnett


Expat

As an expat myself, I know the trials and tribulations of moving to another country. I moved from the lush green of England, where I could easily travel to the sea in a mere forty minutes. Days of dull and grey weather were the norm and we were used to the rain! However, my family, the centuries old history, and the glorious countryside are what I miss the most.

I now live landlocked in Alberta, Canada, where the winters are long and extremely cold but the summers are hot and we have sunshine a large amount of the time year round. It was so unusual to wake up to sunshine seven days running that my body was in shock. Now when we experience a dull cloudy day, we refer to it as “English’ weather! To get to the ocean requires a flight or several days driving.Canada has enabled me to pursue a passion for writing; given my children an advantage in life and the people have warmly embraced us.

expat3

Let’s look at the Pros and Cons:

Pros

A new country means new experiences for you and your family, such as different cultures, customs, laws, and often languages. You will taste unknown foods and get to experience day to day life that may be a polar opposite of what you are used to. Meeting new people from other backgrounds will broaden your horizons and give you an insight into their culture.

Language may initially be a barrier, although it is best to learn the language before moving. It will make the transition easier and lessen misunderstandings. It can also enable you to find work quicker and benefits your resume/CV when relocating.

Financial benefits can be an incentive to move as many countries have a lower cost of living enabling you to stretch your finances. Although initially there maybe a financial burden due to the extra costs of moving, monthly bills and required purchases, such as vehicles.

A common reason to move is to have a fresh start giving the feeling of freedom and possibilities. You can also form new friendships and interests, which benefit you socially and emotionally.

Cons

Actually uprooting yourself from all that is familiar and comfortable is a stressful endeavor. It is best to research, investigate and meticulously plan everything prior to moving. This will lessen the culture shock to some extent while you find housing, and work.

There is an element of risk that must be considered. A job may fall through or you have not had confirmation of a position. You will probably have to sell all your belongings or spend a considerable sum on transporting them. Your accommodation may not be as expected. Again with careful planning these risks can be minimized.

The largest toll on you will be the emotional one. Living far away from family is the hardest burden to bear. You will miss the simplest of moments, like popping round to a family members house for a quick chat or taking part in seasonal celebrations. There is technology available although it is not the same as being there.

It will take some time to get accustomed to the new country and you need to be patient with yourself. Accepting the ‘new’ and embracing it will help.

I will give you a couple of instances of things I encountered and had not realized prior to moving to Alberta. One the price shown on the item you purchase is not the price you pay! There is 5% GST (tax) added at the check out. Also unlike the English 2-3 week’s vacation per year for each employee, here you do not automatically get vacation until you have worked one year with a company. When you change jobs you start again!

Expat-Living

What has been your experience of moving to a new country?

Did you stay or did you return?

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