Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

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 Collective Thursday – Can We Avoid the Shiny & New Writing Idea?

August 11, 2022
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With the first draft of the second book in my crime fiction trilogy off to beta readers, I can rest easy for a minute. Of course, the plan is to begin the third and final book during National Novel Writing Month but… as we all know something shiny and new can always draw us away from the ‘should do’s’ and entice us in other directions.

In common with many writers, I have a stack of manuscripts in various stages of completion. A western romance, a suspense novel, and a YA romance. These manuscripts have been dwelling in digital folders for some time, and I keep reminding myself that they should be revised and edited and then set out into the world. Alas, a new shiny project always seems to take precedence and steers me away.

However, the one shining brightly at the moment is none of these. Rather, it is a prequel to my Rython saga. It will tell the story of how the vengeful witch, Malgraf became such a malignant force. I have mental images of locations, the young Malgraf and her childhood experiences manifesting into story and it is so enticing. I am even thinking which colour I should use for the book cover! As you can see I have a gorgeous blue and green for the other editions, but need a darker feel for the story of the witch, for obvious reasons. A cover always tells its own story and sets the mood for the reader.

So, how do we avoid a new idea? Well, there are several predisposing conditions.

  1. A publishing deadline.
  2. Reader expectation.
  3. To continue the flow of a series.
  4. Keeping the characters front and center to ensure continuity.

These can help drag you away from a new and shiny idea – but not always. It all comes down to your self control and if you are under a contract. For me, I will explore my new story, jotting down scenes etc. and possibly use part of NaNoWriMo to write it. It will be a novella, in line with the other two editions, so will leave me ‘space’ in November to start the final book in the trilogy. That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it!

How do you avoid a new story idea? Or do you succumb to the excitement?

Bibliophile Collective Tuesday – A Duck Story and Book Reviews

March 29, 2022
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This is the picture prompt that inspired this little story.

Sabrina coxed Juniper, her pet duck, into her special backpack on Saturday morning. The white duck ruffled her feathers in anticipation of an adventure, being accustomed to these trips from a duckling. The plan was to meet Sabrina’s friend, Alison and meet another duck fancier. The back pack allowed Juniper a view of the world with a clear plastic panel with strategic air holes so the little duck’s nostrils could pick up the various aromas as they walked. The path from Alison’s house was a steep downhill trek, boarded by a low stone wall and many shrubs and trees. Juniper quacked as the backpack moved side to side in time with Sabrina’s steps. Soon the sounds of traffic and the bustle of the small town overtook the birdsong. The two friends looked across the road before stepping out and making their way to the special waterfowl event.

Book reviews:

Murder at the 42nd Street Library by Con Lehane

I really enjoyed the building tension, the red herrings and the characters within this narrative. Skillfully plotted and written with great twists to get the reader guessing.

The Doll’s House by A.J. Arlidge

Once again M.J. delivers a tension packed, fast paced, twisting tale that elicits page turning. His skill with short chapters packed with characters and their journey is exceptional.
I highly recommend these stories of DI Helen Grace.

Currently reading:

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

What are you reading?

The Rython Kingdom review : Link:  

Rython Legacy review: Link

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday -A Radio Show Interview, Author of the Day and Model Making

February 1, 2022
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I was thrilled to be interviewed by a New York radio station for their The Author’s Lounge show with Author Hezzy and co-host Goddess Love. It was a fun filled chat about writing, inspiration, books and themes. My interview starts at 54.52 on the timeline.

Link:

Are there questions you would have asked and I didn’t answer? Please put them in the comment box and I will reply directly to you.

In other news I am continuing with my bookstore model kit, but it is a slow process cutting, folding and gluing tiny book sets! This is going to be a long haul!

I was also Author of the Day – Global Girls Online Book Club here: on 27th January, which was a lot of fun. The winner of my contest is in Australia so the Rython novella’s will be traveling across the world.

Interview with A.J. Rowe…

August 31, 2013
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Bushwhack – definition: to make one’s way through the woods by cutting the undergrowth.

Interview A.J. Rowe – my youngest author by far! He is certainly blazing his own writing trail. Welcome the winner of the Clawson Arts & Authors competition. http://clawson.patch.com/groups/announcements/p/14-year-old-aj-rowe-writing-contest-winner-of-clawson-arts-and-authors-festival_fa4139da

AJ for Blog PicWhat do you enjoy most about writing?

I enjoy being able to create my own world with no limitations or rules and set my mind free to imagine.

What age did you start writing stories/poems?

I started writing in Kindergarten.  I told my teacher at the time that I wanted to be a “book maker”.

Has your genre changed or stayed the same?

For the most part, it has remained the same.  I enjoy writing medieval fiction.

What genre are you currently reading?

Currently I am most interested in fantasy/fiction (there’s a theme here!).

Do you read for pleasure or research or both?

Mostly for pleasure but some is research to help me with my writing.

Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

My parents, for sure!

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

I created a character named Emily a while ago for one of my other stories.  I would have to say that she has been my favorite so far.  She is funny, smart and rather crazy at times.

Where is your favorite writing space?

I do most of my writing downstairs on the sofa with my iPad.

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

I usually plan the plot and the first chapter or two and just let it flow after that.

What inspires your ideas/stories?

I’m not really sure.  I just get an idea in my head and I want to write.  Once I get started I want to keep going until I finish – just ask my parents.

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

No, I don’t belong to any kind of a writing group right now – maybe someday.

Do you have a book published? If so, what is it called & where can readers purchase it?

Yes, I currently have a book entitled “Falsely Accused”. It is available on Amazon as a download for Kindle.  I also have had a few paperback copies made as well for family and friends and for people without an e-Reader.

http://www.amazon.ca/Falsely-Accused-ebook/dp/B00ECKQNCS/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1377219844&sr=8-10&keywords=Falsely+accused

Falsely

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

Christopher Paolini.  I love his books and he was a young author like me when he got started. It would be great to be able to talk to him and get some ideas.

Where can readers find you and your blog?

Unfortunately, nowhere yet.  I hope to have a website up and running in the near future to promote my works, get ideas for new books and get feedback from my readers.  Stay tuned….

Do you have plans or ideas for your next book?

I have several ideas in my head right now.  I would like to have a poll on my website to see what readers would like to see for my next effort before I get started.

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