Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Choosing Writing Space Decor

September 29, 2022
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Not my room!

I have been given the opportunity to create a new writing/creative space for myself. This is exciting as well as daunting. There are many factors to consider apart from the placement of the desk.

Lighting – natural and artificial

The room has one window, which is central to one wall, so I want to maximize the natural light coming onto the desk. Added to this there is one ceiling light, which will cause shadows, so I will add a good strong lamp for desk work. Having a nice view is a double edged sword for writers – it is relaxing and refreshes the mind, but can also be a distraction. Therefore, I will place my L-shaped desk in such a way to allow focused work and nature watching.

Paint colours

I have to consider what ‘mood’ I want to convey with the paint colour on the walls. Do I go for a single or double coloured walls, or have a focus wall? When researching colours, I found that green boosts creativity, promotes harmony and is a good choice for brainstorming spaces. So that may be my choice, although there are a multitude of greens to consider! I The carpet is a light sandy earth tone so it will balance the room. I would like to have some sort of wall mural to make the room feel like a natural oasis and might invest in a large mural of a tree or hanging foliage to make the space feel like it is in nature. This will be especially nice when I endure the Albertan winter! I found some really nice ones.

Decor – natural and artificial

I love plants, so will choose air purifying and variegated leaf plants for this space. These include spider plants, English ivy, and pothos, all of which I have already, so it will be a matter of propagating and new pots.

There is also the texture to contemplate – soft and plush and hard and shiny to give the room balance. My floor lamp is silver metal, my desk a light beige, my office chair is a dark blue, and maybe I will invest in a plush rug for my feet. Then there are the other furniture items to think about – another bookshelf, a large armchair, a a crafting table for other creative endeavors…the list goes on!

All of these are just ideas at the moment, things change, ideas come to mind. It is the process that is the joy.

How did you choose to decorate your writing space?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Book Festival, Meeting Readers and Buying Books

September 20, 2022
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I attended Words on the Street this Saturday in Lethbridge with my publisher, Dream Write Publishing. This was an annual event I enjoyed until COVID postponed it. So, this first in-person return to the book festival since 2019 was a joy. I reconnected with local authors and met new readers to my novels. To discuss my stories is always a fun conversation, as those who know my work, understand my ability to ‘flip’ ideas on their heads and give surprisingly twists and turns in my narratives.

As a reader I also took advantage of an independent bookstore’s weekend sale. The Purple Platypus in Castor, is jam packed with books and picking one or two is impossible. I left with a bag of books! More for my ever expanding TBR pile. (You know the problem all too well, I’m sure.)

Added to these were novels from three Lethbridge authors – Jenna Greene, Bianca Rowena, and Mandy Michelle.

So after I finish Fairy Tale by Stephen King I will have a difficult decision to make – which book do I choose first. Do any of these speak to you? Which one would you choose?

Bibliophile Collective Tuesday – Real Places in Books

September 6, 2022
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I have just finished a wonderful novel, While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax. It is a super read and I recommend it. (My review is on Goodreads).

After I finished reading, it occurred to me that as I lived near, and often visited Highclere Castle (Downton) when I lived in England, there must be numerous novels sited in actual places, rather than fictional ones. I have used my road trips the length and breath of England, Wales, Scotland and a portion of Canada to create locations in my books.

Knowing a place you are reading about is exciting as you can picture it exactly, and spot any errors, truth be told, as well. Of course, in the TV series of Downton the locations are many and not related to the fictional area at all in many cases. Here is a list of locations, many are far apart from each other! Link: That is the magic of TV & movies.

I used my many visits to castles, historic houses and ancient sites in my medieval novellas, The Rython Kingdom and Rython Legacy. Experiencing a place makes the narrative even more compelling and real to write about, and I hope that comes across in the stories.

For my speculative fiction novel, Life in Slake Patch, I used the enormity of a Canadian prairie as the setting for the male compound. Mountains are seen in the far distance, just like we see when driving west on the Yellowhead, but the concrete jungle is no longer in existence in my story.

What books have you read where you have known the location? Did it ring true? DId you find errors, or notice author’s license to fictionalize it?

Wordsmith’s Collective Tuesday – Novel to Movie – An Author’s Dream

September 1, 2022
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Back in November, 2013, I wrote the first draft of a western romance, Willow Tree Tears. Subsequently, it was edited and revised, but to date has not made it into the world. One character is an Italian businessman touring rodeo’s selling his high end leather cowboy boots. Like a bolt of lightening, it hit me that my latest obsession -Michele Morrone would make the perfect actor for this part, if the story was made into a movie. The first scene has my heroine glimpsing a white shirt among the leather and plaid attire of the rodeo crowd.

Lucio

Michele Morrone

Of course, I then had to investigate who would play the other characters. This is a fun exercise for many writers and authors, not only because we would love all our novels to become movies, but also it can help us ‘picture’ our characters as we write. These are my options for the other characters.

Colton – ranch manager and high school friend of Madison’s. Secretly in love with Madison.

Alexander Ludwig

Chord Overstreet

Scott Eastwood

Madison – champion barrel racer.

Madelaine Petsch

Holland Roden

Bella Thorne

Which actors do you think would be best for Madison and Colton?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Little Free Libraries

August 30, 2022
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I spent some time driving around my local area yesterday, placing books in little free libraries. The styles and colours are all very individual and the range of books just as varied. The locations are somewhat difficult to find among the streets, crescents and drives, but I managed a few! It will be interesting to see if I am contacted about the books I left and my other novels. As a local author it is this connection I find so gratifying.

I looked up some facts about free libraries. From its humble beginnings, with first one being built in 2009 by the late Todd Bol in Hudson, Wisconsin, as a tribute to his late mother, a book lover and school teacher. There are now over 100,000 registered in 91 countries and on every continent except Antarctica. To date more than 120 million books have been shared worldwide. We should celebrate that fact alone – after all stories are part of human history and the future. Access to books should be for everyone, no matter where they live.

Do you have a local free library? Do you frequent it or own it?

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