Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Bibliophile Collective Tuesday – A Book Themed Collection

February 7, 2023
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Some time ago, I began collecting book themed ornaments. As a writer, any book related item is fascinating.

It started with the little dark haired girl balancing on a pile of books (bottom shelf), and became somewhat of an obsession for a while. Many ornaments I have found in thrift stores, and a couple were gifts.

I love the variations of these delightful pieces – some are quirky, like the tree-man and sleeping elf, while others match my love of fantasy, such as the two witch figures.

If I see a nice ornament with a book, or books, I do buy it, but think that I might need to invest in a bigger shelving system!

What do you collect?

Why did you start collecting those specific items?

Creative Edge – Press Release – The Backside of Hades – Ann Charles & Sam Lucky

January 26, 2023
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“This here place? Worse than the backside of Hades.”
~ Hank Varney

First let me say, this here trip to Slagton weren’t my idea. This place is chock full of bad company done helped itself to a double dose of bad medicine.

Slagton needs cleanin’, accordin’ to Miss Clem, and I know the crew to do it. I’m one of ’em. Hank Varney’s the name. Miss Clem and me, along with the two Sidewinders from Santa Fe—we’ll get the sharp-toothed vermin cleared out.

Now, some people say I’m lucky, but I don’t know if’n it’ll do me any good, what with the army of trouble me an’ the crew are facin’. If’n we don’t live through it, well, there goes Deadwood. Maybe even the whole of the Black Hills.

We’ll all be down the privy hole then, lookin’ up at the Backside of Hades.

Amazon.com: The Backside of Hades (Deadwood Undertaker Series Book 4) eBook : Lucky, Sam, Charles, Ann: Books

The Backside of Hades (Deadwood Undertaker Series Book 4) eBook : Lucky, Sam, Charles, Ann: Amazon.ca: Kindle Store

PRAISE FOR THE DEADWOOD SERIES:

A Fantastic new series you will Love’ by Enchanted

I wasn’t sure what to expect from a visit to the past world of the Deadwood Violet Parker lives in. I am amazed at how real it feels!. Will definitely read more!!!,” by LisaReadsALot

Other Books in The Series:

There was a lot to love about the book. The characters are deep and interesting. The authors do a great job of giving the story an authentic wild west feel. The pacing was good and kept me turning the page_ Markus Matthews

I guess I’m hooked on Ann Charles books, especially her Deadwood series. They’re quick reads, about 300 pgs but with murder mystery, romance, paranormal situations and comedy, interesting eccentric characters… they’ve got it all _ Polly Picklez

Like Paranormal, Western, Mysteries or a mix containing all of them, you’ll like this book. Western comes first with 2 guys riding into old Deadwood circa early mining days. Supernatural strikes next with a nasty critter. Mystery unfolds as the expected person is missing. You will like this book as read alone, but you will love it if you read the series in order! Start with “Life at the Coffin Joint”, written by 2 of my favorite authors _ Morgue Rabbit

Sweet, touching and funny all the way through. I loved every moment! _ Black Hills Belle

About The Duo!

Ann Charles is a USA Today Best-Selling author who writes spicy, award-winning mysteries full of

Junction Mystery Series, Dig Site Mystery Series, Deadwood Undertaker Series (with her husband, Sam Lucky), and AC Silly Circus Mystery Series. Her Deadwood Mystery Series has won multiple national awards, including the Daphne du Maurier for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. Ann has a B.A. in English with an emphasis on creative writing from the University of Washington and is a member of Sisters in Crime and Western Writers of America.

Ann Charles’s Website: http://www.anncharles.com

Sam Lucky likes to build things—from Jeep engines to Old West buildings to fun stories. When he is not writing, feeding his kids, attempting to seduce his wife, or attending the goldurn cats, he is planning food-based book signing/road trips with his wife and working on one of his many home-improvement projects.

Sam Lucky’s  Website: http://www.samlucky.com

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’s Collective Tuesday – Book Reviews from a Sick Bed

January 17, 2023
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Photo by Lina Kivaka on Pexels.com

I’m suffering from a nasty chest infection, so the only thing I could comfortably do was read and drink tea and water. Screens were just too bright and in all too much information to try and process. Gently embraced into a story was just what I needed to relax and try to recover. I got through these two books in record time and enjoyed them both very much.

Villa Serena by Domenica De Rosa
A wonderful tale of reality versus dreams. Italy is a country of mystery, tradition & misconceptions. I loved following Emily’s journey from outsider to acceptance. Life is never as it seems and this book goes into one family’s world. Highly recommended.

The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell

A captivating mystery told from various POV’s made this narrative a complex and enjoyable read. The characters were well rounded and defined. I loved the twists and turns of the story the choices made- good and bad.

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