Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – How Do You Choose Your Next Book?

April 27, 2021
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As our options for choosing a book to read have become virtual for the most part, during COVID, we have to decide which one works best for us. The easiest option for many is a book selling site, such as Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble or Kindle, to name a few. There is also the option of utilizing your local library, where you can browse online, order and pick up your selections. And visiting your local bookstore too. Whatever method you use the author will sincerely appreciate your leaving a review. So please do.

It is a matter of personal preference where we purchase our books and in what format. Whether it is print or e-book. As I work on a computer all day for my day job and then work on my laptop most evenings, my preference is a print copy. I enjoy the tactile feeling of weight, smell and texture as well as the physical turning of a page. For me it is better to read without a backlight at night, as it stimulates my brain rather than calming it.

Which do you prefer? Print or e-book?

Why do you make this choice? Is it a practical concern or something else?

I am lucky to have a friend, who gives out books after she and her daughter have read them. I recently visited her and she handed over a huge bags of books! Such a delightful surprise and it was like Christmas lifting each one out to read the blurb. However, it then gave me a problem – how should I choose which one to read first, second, third and so on.

After reading all the blurbs, I categorized them. Ones that did not instantly appeal, others that were soft choices and others that engaged my curiosity. Depending on your specific likes and dislikes, favorite genres and subject matter, choosing can be little easier. So from this stack.

I choose my first three reads as below.

I choose these particular books because two have characters in them that write and the third because I love myths, legends and magic.

This is my review of Saying Goodbye is Easy by Kathie Sutherland

A compelling, complex and enlightening narrative, full of truths, struggles and internal emotions. Every reader will find a connection with the struggles, highs and lows of the narrator. A courageous, heartfelt and revealing story, told in short stories and reflections.
This book will change your outlook on your life and your life’s path.

Please leave a comment on how you choose a book and the last book you reviewed so other readers can find them.

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Snacks While Reading List & Author Birthdays

December 8, 2020
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We all have that favorite snack or drink when we are reading. Depending on where we read, the snack changes. If we are in bed, we obviously don’t want crumbles or spills of any kind but in a cozy chair covered in a blanket beside a fireplace, can be tricky too.

Snacks to read with:

Crackers and cookies

Hard pretzels & popcorn – mind those buttery fingers on the pages/screen though.

A cheese plate

Grapes, Dried Fruit & Nuts

Veggies & Dip

Granola Bars

Candy – this is a risky option, too many can be consumed!

Cupcakes – again watch those sticky fingers.

Drinks to read with:

Tea – whether black or green, chai or chamomile – the choice is yours.

Chocolate Milk – hot or cold, topped with sprinkles, marshmallows or cinnamon. Be careful with this choice as chocolate might get smeared on the pages. A straw is recommended.

Fruit Smoothie – there are as many variations to this choice as your imagination can think up.

On this day in history

1609 Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan opened its reading room. It was the second public library in Europe to open.

Writers Born 8 December:

Bill Bryson – American-British author of books on travel.

Bjornstjerne Bjornson – Norwegian writer who received the 1903 Nobel Prize in Literature

James Thurber – American cartoonist, author, humorist, journalist, playwright, and celebrated wit.

John Banville – Irish novelist, short story writer, adapter of dramas and screenwriter.

Louis de Bernieres – English novelist.

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – The Effect of COVID-19 on Authors & Writers

March 17, 2020
mandyevebarnett


covid19

None of us can escape the barrage of information on this devastating virus and it’s effects. Our priorities are to ensure we are practicing social distancing, self isolation (if needed) and to help those in our community that are most vulnerable.

So  instead, I am sharing a small post today to inform you that the planned Book Lovers Weekend, I was to attend on 21st & 22nd March in Jasper, Alberta has been cancelled along with many other events. It will be rescheduled in time and I hope to read at that time.

book lovers schedule

I ask if you can please purchase (or download from your library) a local author’s book and show some love during this time, many will lose the opportunity to read and share.

In the meantime as the hotel and vacation time was already booked, my friend Linda and I will use the four days as a mini writing retreat in Jasper. For writers extra time to write is a blessing, although in this case we would rather have had the opportunity to share our stories. I will utilize the weekend to edit a friend’s manuscript and my own steampunk novel and enjoy the peace and tranquility of nature in Jasper’s National Park. It is a place we regularly visit and every time it is different with animal sightings, weather changes and the expanse of mountainous terrain. 

jasper national

Let me know what you are reading and the last book review you made – remember your pledge.

I am still reading this incredible story, some is hard to read considering the conditions the plantation workers endured but the characters are well balanced and believable.

black

Take care and remember you can escape into a narrative at any time.

 

 

 

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Learning a New Writing Skill – Screenwriting

March 12, 2020
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online-screenwriting-banner-6

I attended an event on 7th March by GIFT (Girls in Film & Television) in conjunction with the EPL Library WIR Susie Moloney. This is an avenue of writing I want to explore, learn and master. After all every fiction author wants to see their story on the big screen.

gift

The workshop focused on secrets of the golden rules of screenwriting, and the short film format. The presentation gave us information on how to write full and dynamic characters, how to structure a story, and how to format a script like a pro. Our host was Jana O’Connor, who instructs within Alberta schools for GIFT, 5 day workshops to teach young girls/women the world for film.

The intricacies of the production of a movie (or play) are a world away from the writing of a novel. There are 5 Golden Rules:

  1. Theme
  2. Character
  3. Plot
  4. Dialogue
  5. Rule of Three

It may seem similar to the construct of a novel, however, the differences are in the format of the script. Although, it details such things as location and character name, it also includes parenthesis (a word, clause, or sentence inserted as an explanation or afterthought into a passage that is grammatically complete without it, in writing usually marked off by curved brackets, dashes, or commas.) These are clues to what day of day the scene takes place, any significant objects, if the actor needs to use a specific emphasis on how they say the line, such as sarcastically or frightened etc.

For example: 

Intro:    Interior of a log cabin, night time

Name:  Character’s name in capitals – Malcolm

Parenthetical:  fearful

Dialogue:  

Each page represents 60 seconds of film so the scene and dialogue has to be concise – remember the viewer is seeing a lot of the things as a novelist we have to explain and include. 

Take a scene from your novel and rewrite it as a movie scene – how much did you delete?

Resources given at the workshop were:

GIFT  (Girls in Film & Television)

WIFTA (Women in Film & Television, Alberta)

No Film School https://nofilmschool.com/

YEG Film on Facebook

Celtx Script Writing  https://www.celtx.com/index.html

And there are a lot of screen writing podcasts and videos on the web!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Creative Workshop Story

November 7, 2019
mandyevebarnett


 

I attended a creative workshop a couple of Saturday’s ago held by my writer’s group, The Writers Foundation of Strathcona County. The topics were POV and plot lines. We had several warm up exercises and an explanation of the various POV types and the variety of plot structure methods. Then with a timed exercise of twenty minutes, we had to write a short story using those techniques but with a title and a genre picked from a bowl. My title was Clue of the Painted Hand in a children’s book style. Although the last couple of paragraphs were added later, I think I did pretty well to have characters, plot, and a beginning, middle and finally an end!

Capture

Clue of the Painted Hand

Daisy pulled at her mother’s hand as they entered the library. It was her favorite place. Books let her escape to other worlds and made her feel less lonely. An only child, Daisy looked like a mini replica of her mother – blonde, brown eyes and slim -the only difference was the flower shaped birthmark on her right cheek. The reason she was called Daisy.

As usual there were lots of people in the library browsing book shelves and she saw a small huddle of younger children were listening to story time. Daisy felt too old for the short picture book stories and felt proud her reading age was ten years old, more than her real age of seven. She surpassed most of her school class mates in reading.

She looked over to see her mother talking to a friend so made her way to the book shelves in her favorite section – mystery adventure. Daisy loved jigsaw puzzle when she was younger, solving the patterns to create a whole picture. Now it was the same with stories. She would figure out the answer to the clues in the narrative before the end, most of the time.

Sitting cross-legged on the floor, Daisy ran her fingers across the book spines reading the titles. If one interested her, she took it out and read the explanation on the back. One by one she piled up books beside her. She could take out ten books and always finished them before the next Saturday. One book pulled another off the shelf and Daisy dropped them on the floor. As she lay down to grab one from under the shelf her fingers encountered another book shoved under the wooden base. After several tries she prised a dusty old book from under the shelf. It was an old book, its cover tattered and dusty. Daisy used her sleeve to wipe the dust off the cover. The title was immediately interesting – Clue of the Painted Hand. Oh this looks good, she thought. Turning the book over and opening it, she realized there was no library stamp of barcode. How long has it been there? Looking side to side, Daisy felt a real thrill – a book I can keep! A shiver of excitement and guilt went through her young body. No-one would know, she could put it in her coat pocket without anyone seeing. Her curiosity could wait no longer; opening the first page a map covered the first two pages. As she traced her finger over the markings and named streets, she recognized one – Hampton Avenue, where she lived. How could a book hidden under a shelf have a map of her town?

“Daisy, are you ready to go?”

Her mother’s voice startled Daisy and she quickly put the book in her pocket before picking up her selected library books. With the books scanned, they returned to the car. Daisy kept her excitement to herself but raced upstairs as soon as they arrived home. Now I can read the clues and find whatever treasure there is. It only took an hour to read the book. It told the story of an old Jack in the Box made by a master toymaker, who lived in the town many years before. His shop sign was a painted hand. This particular Jack in the Box had a musical mechanism and a doll instead of a jack, which popped up. Daisy read the clue, traced the map’s tracks and realized the location of the box was in the play ground behind her house.

She walked through the back garden, through the gate and counted steps just like the map said – one, two, three – until she reached twenty-five steps. Standing beside an overgrown old fountain, she pulled ivy and weeds away. The instructions said there was a secret detail to push in sequence. Daisy brushed away dirt and old leaves to find the stone carved like a bunch of daisies. She pressed the first petal it did not move, then another. Gradually, she discovered the petals that did move and marked them with a thumbprint. Now how do I press them in the right order? She sat down cross-legged and looked at the stone decoration. It was a posy of daisies, the stems long and disappearing into the weeds. Maybe I should pull these weeds out as well. Her thought propelled her into action. The flower stems were encased in a stone vase decoration with faint lettering on it. After rubbing the grime off with her sleeve, the words were clearer. A riddle! How exciting.

I’m at the peak

Then to the right

Follow me to the base

And reach to the left

A final center will release

Daisy read the riddle three times then pressed the loose petals, top, right, left, bottom and center. A grating sound alerted her to something moving. The vase shape pushed forward to reveal a void. Sitting in it was a dusty square box. With nervous excitement, Daisy pulled it out of its hiding place and wiped it clean. She knew her mother would be upset with all the dirt on her clothes but the treasure was worth it. Gently, she wound the handle on the side of the box until the lid burst open to reveal a beautiful blonde doll, head to one side holding a book and smiling. Music started to play and the doll’s head moved side to side just like if she was reading. This is so beautiful, she looks a little like me. Blowing gently she rid the doll and its book of a layer of dust. That’s when she saw the title of the book – Daisy the Adventurer. It is me! How can that be? Another mystery for me to solve but maybe I will need mother’s help. With great care, Daisy pushed the stone vase back into place, pulled the ivy and weeds back over the fountain and walked home cradling her treasure.

I hope you liked it. 

Which plot method do you think I used? Story map, Story Flow Chart or Story Mountain?

 

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