Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…

December 27, 2017



Due to a dreadful constant cough my energy has been at a low ebb so writing has taken a back seat as I try to get better. It is the worse possible timing over the festive season. Hopefully as I gradually get better my writing Muse will return.


Books:  The men are in Spain and the war is affecting them, as it would. Back home things have changed but stayed the same. Relationships are strained and letters are infrequent. Beautiful writing and character development.


Christmas books have been added to my pile – 300 writing prompts and Sleeping Beauties. Now to consider which King book to read first as I still have 11/22/63 to start. I admit Beauties is calling me.

What books did you get for Christmas?

Writing Tips:

Holiday’s tend to reek havoc on our writing schedule but there are ways of grabbing writing time.

Keep track of the number of words you write instead of how long you wrote.

Relax your normal rigorous writing timetable – take time to chill and observe.

Make the most of “un-scheduled” time – waiting for a flight, children’s rehearsals, a break for coffee during shopping.

Wake up earlier (or stay up later) than usual to ensure that you spend some time writing.

How do you find time to writing during the holidays?

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…

December 20, 2017



On Saturday I attended the last of my publishers events for the year. It was a packed venue, with numerous vendors and their fare. There were Christmas themed items of course and a plethora of gift buying possibilities. Although the day (a longer one than usual 9 am – 5 pm) was not too busy we did sell books and I even managed to write an additional 550 words on my YA novella while at this event.

agora craft Saturday 16Dec


It got me thinking about the ‘odd’ places I have written, including soccer games and practice, gymnastic classes, in hotel rooms on road trips, coffee shops and even on a plane.

Where is the most unusual place you have ,managed to write?


The war has started in this narrative and two of the characters are now stationed in England – parts of which are very familiar to me as I used to live near them. It gives me a greater sense of place I feel.


Writing Tips:

Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly. Once you start spelling words in dialogue phonetically and loading the page with apos­trophes, you won’t be able to stop.

If you’re using a computer, always safeguard new text with a ­memory stick.

(My tip set the auto save on your word document – it saves heartache. Believe me.)

Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…

May 22, 2017


This post is pre-scheduled as today I will still be enjoying my writing retreat, where there is no WiFi, TV or ‘outside world’ to intrude. Immersed in story since 18th May – I may never come back! (Well given the choice anyway). My plan for the retreat is to read, edit and revise two manuscripts – The Twesome Loop and Life in Slake Patch and hopefully be able to share them with beta-readers on my return. I may also have added enough story on my newest children’s book – Bubble the Gruggle to send the manuscript to my illustrator, enabling him to begin chapter header images.

When I do come back to reality I have two events this week. One an ‘extra’ meeting of the Arts and Culture Council on Wednesday to finalize the Heritage Day event organization and then Thursday I will be co-hosting the senior’s writing group at Silverbirch.

So please feel free to share your local writing events in the comments.

Other events:

WGA Alberta Literary Awards Shortlist Reading and Celebration (YYC)

May 24th 2017 from 7:00 to 10:00pm
Shelf Life Books, 1302 4th Street SW, Calgary
Please RSVP via Facebook Invite

Join the Writers’ Guild of Alberta to celebrate the 2017 Alberta Literary Shortlisted authors and their nominated works! There will be complimentary wine and food from Aida’s Bistro, time to visit with friends, and a series of lively readings. Free admission. Authors scheduled to read in Calgary include: Lee Kvern, Paige Feureu, Lauralyn Chow, Gisèle Villeneuve, Mary Graham, Rona Altrows, Helen Hajnoczky, Georgia Graham, Laurie McFayden, Ellen Close with Braden Griffiths, Richard Harrison, Shelley Youngblut, and Sydney Sharpe with Don Braid.

EWF2017 PosterFinal

On May 28, The Elora Writers’ Festival takes place in Elora, ON, with authors announced so far including Andrew Westoll, Brad Smith, and Adrienne Kress.

Happy writing everyone


Holly DeWolf Interview…

October 21, 2013

Vivacious – definition: lively; animated; gay

Please welcome Holly, an author and an illustrator. Her images are delightful.


a) What do you enjoy most about writing?

It’s relaxing! It’s also a wonderful way to organize thoughts and push ideas. All this can be used to teach, motivate and share knowledge. Writing really does teach you a lot about yourself and lets you get in tune with where your ideas come from.

b) What age did you start writing stories/poems?

I actually started writing late in my career. I’ve been an illustrator for quite some time but enjoyed mingling text with my work. I decided to take it bit further and put out a book idea in 2008. After being published, I have continued to write articles, blogs and have contributed to several books.

c) Has your genre changed or stayed the same?

It has changed. I initially started writing about creativity, creative business and freelance advice. From there, it has led to me wanting to write children’s books. I illustrated my first children’s book that came out in the Spring so I think this would be a natural transition.

d) What genre are you currently reading?

Right now I am focusing on children’s publishing and young adult books. I still maintain my blogs and perhaps I will write a follow up to my first book.

e) Do you read for pleasure or research or both?

I definitely do both. When it gets busy, I try to read as many articles as I can. I set them in a file to read over the weekend. As far as books, I have been reading books on writing, creativity and of course children’s books to my youngest daughter. Books are a big part of my household.

f) Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

My kids hands down. They are 24/7 idea generators with more creativity and energy rolled up together that is very inspiring. Working at home is all they have ever known so they are used to me working around them. It can be a delicate balance.

g) Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

So far it’s a bat. It’s a work in progress but I do love the little guy and the positive ideas I am creating around his character.

h) Where is your favorite writing space?

I like a quiet comfy space but I do like the right music to go along with it. It’s a comfy Ikea chair that works well for me. If it’s winter and I’m cold I’ll write in bed with my bedside table.

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

My ideas for stories are random. After that, I plan them out. I like to do the my ideas in point form or just snippets of thought. Lately I have been using my voice memo on my smartphone so I do not lose any ideas when I’m busy or out of the studio. Probably looks like I’m talking to myself at the bus stop but I really don’t want those ideas to slip away.

j) What inspires your ideas/stories?

My kids are great for this. Luckily, since I’m an illustrator too there is no end to the ideas. I had to start a notebook to catch it all. Most ideas come from things I read, music lyrics and from writing.

k) Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?

Not yet. I plan on joining The Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers (CANSCAIP) to start with and then go from there with local writing groups.

l) Do you have a book published? If so, what is it called & where can readers purchase 


I wrote the book Breaking Into Freelance Illustration: the guide for artists, designers and illustrators published by How Books. You can find it here:

Break Into

I have also contributed to the 2009 Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market , 2012 Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market , Your Planet Needs You written by Jon Symes and Creatively Self-Employed Written by Kristen Fischer. Also, I’ve contributed articles to How Design & Zero2illo.

m) If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?


Margaret Atwood for sure! Her book, Cat’s Eye made a had a huge impression on me. This compassionate retrospective about a women’s life felt familiar especially because it’s about an artist.

n) Where can readers find you and your blog?

My blogs:

Illustration Notes:

Diary Of An Illustrator:

My Little Corner Of The World:

My website:

o) Do you have plans or ideas for your next book?

Yes I do. It’s been a work in progress for the past year. I have 2 children’s book I am working on plus a follow up book about illustration/creativity. I’m also working on a young adult book.

The title of the children’s book I illustrated is What’s Going On At The Time Tonight? published by Nimbus Publishing written by Gerald Mercer.


What's Going

Nimbus Publishing:–P6631.aspx





Joint Interview – Juliette Oliver and Anita Bagdi…

September 4, 2013

Nimble – definition: 1. quick and light in movement; moving with ease; agile 2. quick to understand, think, devise

Today’s word is perfect for Juliette Oliver and Anita Bagdi as their book is yoga inspired! Firstly, here is Juliette’s interview.


What do you enjoy most about writing?

The freedom to express my creativity through rhyme; whether it be profundity or nonsense, I find my thoughts find some fluidity in rhyme.

What age did you start writing stories/poems?

I enjoyed writing as a teenager and I would definitely say my strongest subject was Literacy. However, I didn’t really begin to write poetry until I was about 26. I remember being very inspired whilst out walking with my children, to write about the seasons. Shortly after, I became a teacher which presented me with many opportunities to write poetry as examples for lessons and also longer pieces as assembly scripts.

Has your genre changed or stayed the same?

I feel I write in two styles: predominantly playful and humorous poetry; also, more profound pieces, which are a little more enigmatic.

What genre are you currently reading?


Do you read for pleasure or research or both?

Both. I find time restricts the amount I read for pleasure and I am incessantly inquisitive so I read lots of science!

Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

Anita Bagdi – My illustrator and partner in Little Yogi Adventures – we inspire each other and the same level of intense enthusiasm just wouldn’t be there without our synergy.

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

We haven’t so much created characters – we have created stories with the same characters (The Little Yogis) but different themes. Our next theme is The Deep Blue Sea, our current book is The Jungle Story. We wanted to keep the characters generic as The Little Yogis actually represents all the Little people I teach each week – so it could be any of them!

Where is your favorite writing space?

The beach or my sofa with a good cup of coffee!

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

Our stories require planning of yoga sequences and planning of a message we would like to convey. Once we have that, then I can compose a poem/rhyme to match the yoga sequence (each posture has a name – the rhyme is written around them). All sounds straight forward but actually they continuously overlap as I swap/change and tweak both wording and physical movement.

What inspires your ideas/stories?

Watching my Little Yogis do and LOVE yoga. They also create little stories and rhymes to do yoga to, and they are very good at it! I watch what they enjoy and listen to what makes them laugh/feel calm/ feel energized and happy, and then I try to use yoga stories to enhance all of these qualities,

Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?

Not as yet!

Do you have a book published? If so, what is it called & where can readers purchase it?


Little Yogi Adventures – The Jungle Story.

It can be purchased through our website:



Lulu – The online market place.

 If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?

Well, in an ideal world …..Dr Suess! He is my inspiration as he manages to convey important and profound life messages through humour and rhyme. The ultimate poem being ‘Oh The Places You’ll Go’. My second choice would be Alan Ahlberg as he is also incredibly deft with world play and making the most mundane scenarios humorous.

Where can readers find you and your blog?

 Do you have plans or ideas for your next book?

Yes, the next one is written and the yoga has been composed. We just need to get painting! Keep a look out for The Deep Blue.

And here is Anita’s interview:


What do you enjoy most about illustrating?

I  enjoy to let my pencil to spread the ideas onto paper. Sometimes it comes out totally differently as I imagined in my head, as if that pencil had control over my hand! Sometimes it appears much better than I imagined! Sometimes I have it exactly how I pictured. Honestly, that drawing pencil can be a magical tool when it links to a mind!

After drafting ideas, I have a go with colours –  mainly water colour. That again,gives a different feel to the picture. Maybe some ink or pen to outline bits at the end. Just follow feelings, no learnt structure or routine. My husband catches  me smiling while I `m drawing and painting pictures. It’s my kind of meditation.

What age did you start drawing and painting?

I always dreamed to be an children’s book illustrator, since I was 6 years old. But I have never `learnt any school stuff` about drawing/painting and that actually gave me complete freedom to find my own style. I just love drawing since I can hold a pencil.

Little girl

Has your style changed or stayed the same?

As your mind and experiences are changing in your life so are your characters changing. You explore more media, techniques, create new characters, feelings, you learn all the time. Yet, topics can  and will change with time, your style somehow will always stays recognizable.


Do you have any favorite illustrators who can inspire you?

Oliver Jeffers,Emily Gravett, Lynne Chapmann, Corey Godbey, some Hungarian illustrators like Mari Takacs, Katalin Szegedi  just to mention a few great ones and I also follow inspiring blogs.

Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

My husband – he`s always there for me, if it`s about creating some free time for some art work next to my teaching job or helping to find inspiration or just simply making a good coffee for me…he is a big kid with lots of unusual, fun ideas and real imagination. He is really my `other half`.

Also, my friends, their children, the coffee times with them, and the children in my class at school.

No mentor, I learn as I go.

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

I like `working` with the Cloud Girls. They already have their stories, all waiting for me to create the pictures to them. I love the colours and the gentle flow of lines on these pictures. Somehow they make you feel, that you also want to be there with that very same cloud.

Cloud (1)

Where is your favorite space to do your art work?

At home, at my desk, preferably during daylight with some music. It’s very important for me to tidy everything up first, so I have a clean, organized starting point and I can be ready to create  and rule my very own mess! 🙂

Do you belong to a illustrator/art group? If so which one?

Not really, however I follow some inspiring groups like Illustration Friday, Creative Tuesday and try to participate as much as possible. It`s great to share your art with others and also to give and get some feedback on your work.


Do you have a book published? If so, what is it called & where can readers purchase it?

Our first book just came out this summer. It’s an interactive rhyming yoga story for children, Little Yogi Adventures – The Jungle Story. You can order it from our website or straight from

You also can find some useful guidelines of how to use the book on our Facebook page.


If you could meet one favourite author, who would it be and why?

Oliver Jeffers – love his stories, the life lessons in his stories,  his gentle humor in his art.  I’m a big fan of his.

Where can readers find you and your blog?

Do you have plans or ideas for your next book?

We are already working on the next Little Yogi Adventure: the Deep Blue Sea.

There is another children’s book almost ready and waiting to be published, called Bananas. It`s a charming story of two children who try to find out more about the different kind of  bananas.


And I have my own characters, the Cloud Girls, whose stories I really would like to paint – this will be a fun project later.

Cloud 2

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