Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

#AuthorToolboxBlogHop – Author/Writer Space Essentials

March 18, 2020
mandyevebarnett


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What do you consider essential for your writing zone? It may not be the same as everyone else, so firstly let’s take a look at my desk (the one above).

Firstly, I have a laptop and second screen – this enables me to utilize two screens for editing purposes with beta-reader and publisher suggestions and edits. It is easier than splitting one screen to read two full pages.

Secondly, there are numerous note books and folders/binders of relevant information, event details, contact sheets, and freelance clients contracts. Yes, I am rather obsessed with organization – I put my hands up to that! As you can see I have several desk organizers for said items all labeled, storage is key to having information at your finger tips.

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Next is ‘fuel’ – water and tea! What do you favour for hydration? 

You may have noticed the propensity for purple – yes it is my favorite colour. Purple wall, crystals and water bottle to name a few. It is interesting that when I looked up the meaning of the colour purple there were key words relevant to my writing. Maybe there is a deeper force at work than we know, when it comes to our colour choices.

Color Meaning: Meaning of The Color Purple. … The color purple is often associated with royalty, nobility, luxury, power, and ambition. Purple also represents meanings of wealth, extravagance, creativity, wisdom, dignity, grandeur, devotion, peace, pride, mystery, independence, and magic. 

Light sources are also an important choice – I have the normal ceiling light and natural light from the window but a spotlight disperses shadows so I have a clean and clear view of my screens.

Storage is key and yes I have several spaces just for it. The storage tower holds business cards, promotional items, paper, filing supplies, and more.

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The cupboard has books, more promotional material, such as an event banner, card holders, table coverings and larger promotion items as well as books.
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Yes, I am lucky to have this space but bear in mind I started using the dining room table as my writing space. It took me nearly seven years to get to this. Maybe you don’t need this kind of writing area – anywhere can be a creative zone after all. When I go on writing retreats I use a folding table and write on the hotel bed or desk. (And even at home). As long as there is room for a laptop or notebook we can write anywhere.

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What are your writing zone essentials?

Author Interview – Jaclyn Dawn

December 24, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

Jaclyn Dawn

What inspired your latest novel?

  • The idea for The Inquirer came to me in line at the grocery store where the tabloids and gossip magazines are on display. I wondered what the featured celebrities thought of the headlines. What would my neighbors and I think if our local newspaper was publishing sensationalized articles about our love lives, blunders, and appearances? In The Inquirer, a mysterious tabloid starts airing the dirty laundry of a small town here in Alberta, and Amiah Williams becomes an unsuspecting feature.

How did you come up with the title?                       

The Inquirer struck me as the perfect title. It brings to mind the National Enquirer, which is the type of newspaper I want readers to imagine. And it represents Amiah, the protagonist, who is forced to dig into the twisted truth behind the tabloid and her past.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I hope The Inquirer entertains readers. On a deeper level, it explores different types and levels of stereotyping and gossip. Perhaps some readers will question what happens behind closed doors or think twice about when to speak up and when best to be quiet.

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How much of the book is realistic?

It hasn’t happened, but it could, if that’s what you mean. I was surprised by how often I would come up with what I thought was an outrageous headline for the fictional tabloid and then something similar would happen in real life! Most often, I would then change the headline for fear that people would think it was based on them.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

The Inquirer is fiction, but I feel like the characters are familiar and I have had readers say they have known similar sets of characters in their lives.

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

Readers can connect with me on Twitter (@readjaclyndawn), on Facebook (@authorjaclyndawn), and at jaclyndawn.com.

Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?

I recently started putting on paper an idea for another stand-alone, fiction novel that has been percolating for some time. I don’t have an elevator speech quite ready yet, though.

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

I really like Ray Williams, Amiah’s dad in The Inquirer. He doesn’t fit his stereotype, buy into stereotypes, or give stereotypes all that much thought. I has a quirky sense of humour, and I wish I could feel as comfortable in my own skin as he does his.

Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?

I dabble in many genres as a writer and a reader. NeWest has called The Inquirer genre-bending but primarily markets it as literary fiction; it is located in the general fiction section of the library. I enjoy writing children’s stories, but so far that has been reserved for entertaining my son.   

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

My story ideas have to percolate for a while. If I try to write or discuss them too early, the ideas fall flat. I have a general idea of what will happen before I start writing and will jot down notes I don’t want to forget, but the characters tend to take over and connect the dots from there. 

What is your best marketing tip?

Embrace the digital age, including finding social media that suits you and your readers, connecting with fellow writers online, and participating in blog interviews like this! 

Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance? 

Social media can help you reach a lot of potential readers and connect with fellow writers, but it can also be distracting and disheartening.

OPTIONAL QUESTIONS

What do you enjoy most about writing?

For me, writing is cathartic and entertaining. It is a way to explore topics. I find myself asking the same two questions in most of my writing: Why do people do what they do? And, what if?

What age did you start writing stories/poems?

I have been writing stories for as long as I can remember, and telling them even longer according to my parents. You would probably be rich if you got paid a dollar for every time you’ve gotten a variation of that answer!

Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

I consider myself lucky that this is a difficult question to answer. However, to keep it brief, I will just mention the two I live with: my husband and son. Logan makes sure when I get too grounded that I get my head back in the clouds and write. And Seth’s teachers and coaches knew about The Inquirer before the publisher’s catalogue even came out.

Where is your favorite writing space?

The space in our house that the previous owners called a dining room is my library, with shelves of books and memorabilia that has more personal than monetary value and the writing desk my husband refinished for me for one of my birthdays. I call this my writing hub because I come and go with my notebooks, scraps of paper used when inspiration hits at inopportune times, and laptop. I find myself writing for snippets of time everywhere I go. If I was limited to a traditional work space, my creativity, efficiency, health (migraines), and – I admit it – mood would all suffer.

Do you see writing as a career?

With a Bachelor of Applied Communications from MacEwan University and a Master of Creative Writing from Manchester Metropolitan University, I have made a career of a combination of writing. I taught at MacEwan and NAIT, work with my Scriptorium team, and am now also fulfilling my childhood dream of seeing a book of my own in the bookstore and library.

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

The Inquirer was originally my MA dissertation, and involved being part of a writing group. Otherwise, I am not part of a formal group but have a growing and much appreciated network of fellow writers.

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

My writing times and locations vary, but I will never turn down popcorn.

Bio:

Jaclyn Dawn grew up in a tabloid-free small town in Alberta. With a communications degree and creative writing masters, she works as a freelance writer and instructor. She now lives somewhere between city and country outside Edmonton with her husband and son. The Inquirer is her debut novel.

Author Interview – Bryan L Beerling

October 29, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

Bryan

What inspired your latest novel?

Much like the story beginning, I was intrigued with one dirt road leading off a highway I travelled often and wondered what was over the hill. I still don’t know what is really there.                                                                                    

How did you come up with the title?                 

I think the title, DIRT ROAD, was self explanatory

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I hope people will see through more than the romance part, that, when needed, people rise to the occasion, such as the son that did not seem to have any gumption finally took over or the mother when away from the family was totally different.

How much of the book is realistic?

I think like all novels, bits and pieces are realistic. The dirt road in question is in Southern Alberta but the farm over the hill is in Central Alberta and the coffee shop is in Northern Montana but in the story they are all within miles of each other.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

No, the actual story is a figment of my imagination, but I feel the characteristics of the individuals are composites of various people I know.

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

I am on Facebook only.

Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?

My next novel or any forthcoming work are all stand alone works. I have two completed novels and working on another. Time will tell if I publish them.

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

I like Gary. He is patterned after my grandson with a little embellishment.

Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?

I like to say I write about life, but romance seems to sneak in as well.

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

Strictly seat of the pants. I love my writing club the nights they give three or four prompts and give us an hour to come up with a short story about one of them.

What is your best marketing tip?

Find someone you can trust to lead you along the way.

Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?

Social Media is a great help. I post my short stories on there and judge form the feedback.

OPTIONAL QUESTIONS

What do you enjoy most about writing?

It takes me into a different world, not necessarily better but different.

What age did you start writing stories/poems?

I think before I was a teenager I would ride my bicycle up on a hill overlooking the entry to my city and study the vehicles and write stories about what I thought they were doing in the city or where they were going when leaving.

Has your genre changed or stayed the same?

I think it has remained the same.

What genre are you currently reading?

That is one of my hindrances as a writer, I read very little.

Do you read for pleasure or research or both?

When I do read it is for pleasure.

Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

I would have to say the members of my writing club give me the boost I need.

Where is your favorite writing space?

Tim Hortons. As I dabble on the laptop I watch the people around me and incorporate characteristics I see.

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

I belong to River Bottom Writing Club in Lethbridge

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

Sorry, no favorite.

If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?

Right where I live. My grandchildren are only a few miles away but also the people of Lethbridge are so diverse it gives me lots of content for my stories.

Do you see writing as a career?

Well, at 70 years old I think my career stage is over. However, I did work for several years as a newspaper journalist but found that type of writing not to my liking.

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

Tim Horton coffee and a Boston Cream donut. At home it is Coke and Werthers Candies.

What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline?

I hate deadlines. I just like to see a finished copy, if there is any such thing as a finished copy.

Bio:

Bryan L. Beerling lives in Lethbridge, AB with his wife. He is a member of the local writer’s group, River Bottom Writers. Dirt Road is his first full-length novel.

 

The Most Common Question a Writer is Asked…

October 24, 2019
mandyevebarnett


Where do you get your ideas from?

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It may seem like an easy to answer question but for most writer’s it is a multi faceted one. I have answered with:

  1. Word or picture prompts
  2. Dreams
  3. Overheard snippets of conversation
  4. People watching
  5. An idea popped into my head randomly
  6. A personal interest 
  7. A topic of conversation

A couple of examples:

My children’s picture book, Rumble’s First Scare was a Halloween prompt, which I turned upside down. It is the monster’s point of view of Halloween and his first scare adventure with his Mum.

The Rython Kingdom began as a series of prompts that gelled together to form a story by pure chance.

It is not so clear cut as these to be honest but it helps a non-writer understand the creativity side of our brains a little easier.

I presented a workshop on how to formulate an idea into a novel at the WFSC writer’s conference in the spring. From that initial spark to compiling a story line/arc, creating a plot arc, introducing characters, and finding the correct conclusion for the genre. It was a fun experience.

Do you have Questions:

I would love to explain the nucleus of my stories if you have a question about any of my books. Here is the list: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01MDUAS0V

Just leave your question in the comments below. Let’s start a conversation and writers please comment on how your current WIP evolved.

 

 

 

 

Writing Prompt for Ask a Question Thursday

August 29, 2019
mandyevebarnett


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Several people enjoyed the button prompt, so today’s question is:

What story comes to mind with this image? Use 69 words or less.

Here is my interpretation:

The streets lay deserted and dirty. The last flickering of an advert splashed against the buildings husk. Nature will encroach to claim back what is rightfully hers, once again. The structures will house animals and insects and plants will flourish as the cement and steel crumble and rust.

Please comment below and share your story.

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