Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Bibliophile Collective Tuesday – Sharing a Short Story – Biker & Kitten

January 24, 2023
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Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

The solitary rumble of a motorbike engine echoed along the back alley, the bright headlight chasing the jet-black night into the shadows. A sliver of a moon gave no illumination, so darkness enveloped the alley the instant the bike passed. Gravel crunched under the vehicle’s wheels, and exhaust fumes were added to the garbage bin aroma. The night air blew a chill breeze along the alley’s length blowing and spiraling detritus.

Dressed all in black leather accessorized with silver studs and chains, the rider was muscled and bearded. Large hands gripped the handlebars, tattoos across each finger and wrist. The jacket hid many more inked designs all over his body but bore the emblem of the gang’s name. His hacking smokers cough broke the midnight stillness and he spat on the ground. Another night of drinking and perceived nuisance under his belt, he smiled. His bike gang had a reputation and did everything they could to uphold it. Tonight, was no different. A brawl ended in a trashed downtown bar, with bottles smashed, knives drawn, and blood splattered on the floor. His compatriots made a hasty exit riding in a different directions to avoid capture once sirens were heard.

He switched off the motorcycle engine and silence descended in the alley, a low rumble of traffic on the highway across the hill the only sound. There were no lights on in the houses backing onto the alley, but he knew a few eyes were watching him. His neighbours were too scared to approach him, his attire and appearance deterring any interference or conversation. As he pushed the bike into a dilapidated garage a mewing sound to his right made him stop.  It was too dark to see where the source of the sound came from, and from what. Flicking a light switch the garage flooded with light making him squint and blink. One his eyes adjusted he looked round the cluttered garage, full of bike parts, beer cans, posters and scattered tools. Standing still he waited for another sound and didn’t have to wait long. Another stronger mewing sound allowed him to focus on a direction. He crouched down, peering into the shadows and lifting garbage and spare bike parts to one side. Two wide blue eyes peered back at him from under a discarded pizza box.

Holding out one hand, the man coaxed the little creature from it’s hiding place. A bundle of dirty cobweb covered black fur crept toward him. The kitten fit in the palm of the man’s hand, where it could easily be crushed in a second with little effort. Cupping his hand, the man lifted the kitten up toward his face. They contemplated each other for a moment – giant and miniature. The kitten mewed again and tipped its head to one side. The man’s grin revealed broken teeth and a gold filling.

            “Where did you come from, you little runt?”

With no answer, the man closed the garage door, grabbed his keys and walked through a doorway into a patch of brown dirt. A fire pit with old deck chairs surrounding it and more discarded beer cans and bottles littered the area. No grass could survive the scuffles, play fighting and urinating of the gang’s party nights. Unlocking a door, the man carried the kitten into a dim and untidy kitchen. Take out cartons and boxes were on every surface along with more alcohol containers, some full, others empty or half full. The room’s aroma was of stale beer, sweat and something indiscernible. Swiping his arm across the table, the man placed the kitten down and pulled open the fridge door. The interior light pierced the dimness showing dust and dirt on every surface. Pushing items aside the man found a carton containing chicken and pulled it apart before placing it in front of the animal. It sniffed, licked and then ate the offered morsel. Then looked up for more.

            “Hungry then eh? Here have some more.”

Guileless eyes watched the man place more shredded chicken on the table, and once again it was eaten with relish.

            “Now, what do I do with you?”

The kitten brushed up against the man’s hairy knuckles and mewed as he placed a dish of water beside the kitten. He watched as it lapped the liquid, then used its paws to wash its face.

            “Now, that’s darn cute – shit what am I doing?”

Unable to put the small creature back out in the alleyway to fend for itself, the man took it to bed with him, where it curled up against his tattooed neck, began to purr and slowly fell asleep. That night both lives changed – a safe haven for the kitten and a softness entering the man’s brutish heart.

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Book Fame is False

January 19, 2023
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As writers/authors, we want our books to become well known, best sellers, and even made into movies. It is a dream that most of us will never accomplish and that’s okay. I feel that my stories are my legacy into the future, where they will be read by future generations and enjoyed. That is true fame to my way of thinking.

Best seller lists are a false statistic anyway – it is the retail orders volume that put such books on the various lists not their imaginative plots or narratives, but perceived sales. Most celebrities will have ‘best sellers’ because the general public want to read about them – for good or bad. Thus the bookstores will order more to accommodate the promotional machine afforded such tomes.

So my message to you is don’t be disheartened, and certainly don’t think ‘success’ can only be measured with these false statistics or lists created by the media. If you have sales and reviews, receive congratulations, and comments on your stories that is true fame.

If you look at the following list, you will see more modern books have made record sales thus proving the promotional circus works. The book industry is now global and this contributes to these sales figures.

25 Best-Selling Books of All-Time

#1 – Don Quixote (500 million copies sold)
#2 – A Tale of Two Cities (200 million copies sold)
#3 – The Lord of the Rings (150 million copies sold)
#4 – The Little Prince (142 million copies sold)
#5 – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (107 million copies sold)
#6 – And Then There Were None (100 million copies sold)
#7 – The Dream of the Red Chamber (100 million copies sold)
#8 – The Hobbit (100 million copies sold)
#9 – She: A History of Adventure (100 million copies sold)
#10 – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (85 million copies sold)
#11 – The Da Vinci Code (80 million copies sold)
#12 – Think and Grow Rich (70 million copies sold)
#13 – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (65 million copies sold)
#14 – The Catcher in the Rye (65 million copies sold)
#15 – The Alchemist (65 million copies sold)
#16 – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (60 million copies sold)
#17 – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (55 million copies sold)
#18 – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (55 million copies sold)
#19 – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (55 million copies sold)
#20 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (50 million copies sold)
#21 – One Hundred Years of Solitude (50 million copies sold)
#22 – Lolita (50 million copies sold)
#23 – Anne of Green Gables (50 million copies sold)
#24 – Charlotte’s Web (50 million copies sold)
#25 – Black Beauty (50 million copies sold)

Be happy with your ‘success’ no matter what shape it takes. After all, you wrote and published a book (or books) and that is worth celebrating for its own worth. Many people dream of doing it and never do. Chasing a pipe dream makes us disillusioned and that is not good – pat yourself on the back for what you have achieved. It is remarkable.

Bibliophile Collective Tuesday- Celebrating Author & Book Birthdays

January 10, 2023
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Author Birthday’s – first week in January

1st January E.M. Forster, 2nd January Isaac Asimov, 3rd January J.R.R. Tolkien, 4th January Isaac Newton, 5th January W.D. Snodgrass (Just love his name – it’s a character all of it’s own!), 6th January C.D. Wright, 7th January Gerald Durrell, 8th January Terry Brooks, 9th January Philippa Gregory and 10th January Dorianne Laux.

Of course, there are other famous author birthday’s to consider, I am only showing a few. Some are posthumous, while others are celebrated through social media greetings and memes. Another ‘birthday’ celebration writers hold are for the launching date of a book, and some authors recognize these milestones annually. For a non-writer this may seem odd, but when our stories go out into the world it is akin to a birth. We have nurtured and loved the creation of a narrative for months, sometimes years prior to the actual launching date, and so it is thus deserving of a celebration.

Do you have a favorite author whose birthday you celebrate?

Bibliophile Collective Tuesday – A New Year – A New Reading Challenge

January 3, 2023
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It is always exciting to begin a New Year and a new book! I have an impressive book pile to begin 2023, and will, as always, leave a review on Goodreads for each one.

I would love to know what you are reading this month and why you chose it. Also please review each book you read, as these reviews are the life blood for authors. It validates all their hard work in creating a time, place and characters from their imaginations. Your review can be one sentence long, it doesn’t have to be a synopsis of the narrative.

My first book for 2023 is Villa Serena by Domenica De Rosa. As many of my followers know I love Italy, and this will in some small way ease my hankering to fly to Italy in 2023 and escape the Alberta winter.

I have set my Goodreads 2023 challenge. Why not do the same?

You can, of course, find many reading challenges online – here is a selection!

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/books-to-read-in-2023/

https://www.the52book.club/2023-reading-challenge/


#TBR Challenge 2023

2023 Beachcomber Mystery Reading Challenge

2023 Books in Translation Reading Challenge

2023 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

2023 Children’s Book Reading Challenge…for Adults!

2023 Classics Reading Challenge

2023 Diversify Your Reading Challenge

2023 Diversity Reading Challenge

2023 Diversity Reading Challenge

2023 Finishing the Series Reading Challenge

2023 Library Love Challenge

2023 Literary Escapes Challenge

2023 Monthly Key Word Reading Challenge

2023 Monthly Motif Reading Challenge

2023 Nonfiction Reader Challenge

2023 NoveList Reading Challenge

2023 Romance Book Reading Challenge with She Reads Romance Books

2023 Romance Reading Challenge

2023 Southern Literature Reading Challenge

Around the World in 80 Books

Around the World Reading Challenge 2023

Beyond The Bookends’ 2023 Reading Challenge

Booklist Queen’s 2023 Reading Challenge

BookRiot’s 2023 Read Harder Challenge

Calendar of Crime Challenge

Color Coded Reading Challenge

COYER (Clear Out Your E-Reader) Challenge

Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

Creativity Reading Challenge 2023

Cruisin’ thru the Cozies Reading Challenge 2023

Epistolary Reading Challenge 2023

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2023

Humor Reading Challenge 2023

Memoir Reading Challenge 2023

Mental Health Reading Challenge 2023

Read Around The World Challenge

Read It Again, Sam Challenge

Read With Allison’s 2023 Reading Challenge

Read Your Bookshelf Challenge

Reading by the Numbers Challenge

Roll to Read Challenge

Romanceopoly Reading Challenge

TBR Pile Challenge

The 52 Book Club’s 2023 Reading Challenge

The Book Girls’ Guide Decades Reading Challenge

The Book Girls’ Guide Lifetime of Reading Challenge

The Book Girls’ Guide Read Around the USA – 2023 States Reading Challenge

The Book Girls’ Guide Read Around the World: Book Voyage Reading Challenge

The Nerdy Bookworm 50 Books A Year Reading Challenge 2023

The Purrfect Reading Challenge 2023

Thrifty Thursday Challenge 2023

Uncorked 2023 Reading Challenge

Virtual Mount TBR Challenge

What An Animal Reading Challenge 2023

Mandy Eve-Barnett – Blog Schedule 2023

December 29, 2022
mandyevebarnett


My posting days will continue as Tuesday and Thursday of each week as follows:

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday

Stories behind my published books and also from works in progress.

Update on events I will be attending – whether in-person or virtual in 2023

Glimpses at my current writing project.

Sharing short stories or poem’s I have written from prompts or workshops.

Character Interviews

My book reviews

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday

Writing Tips

Writing contests

Literary Birthdays

Author Interviews and Press Releases for Creative Edge Publicity

Also I am happy to host an author interview for anyone interested in doing so.

I welcome your suggestions for inclusion of a topic or a theme, so please comment below.

I will also continue with my monthly newsletter, so please sign up when prompted – Sneek Peeks & Glimpses. Thank you in anticipation.

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