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Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

As many of you know I love prompts, as they inspire and refresh the Muse. At my last writing meeting our prompt was: you find a box underneath your seat on a train. This was my response.

Box of Resource

My ankle struck a sharp edge and I let out a cry. Rubbing my bruised skin I noticed the brass hinge of a box wedged underneath the train carriage seat. After a couple of tugs to free the object, it was revealed as an old wooden box with elaborate brass hinges and decoration on all sides as well as the top. It was a woodland scene with an inset of silver representing the moon through an arch of gnarly trees. I tried the clasp but it was locked. I looked under the seat again hoping to find a key but only found a discarded piece of chewing gum and several wrappers sticky with candy.

I place the box on the tabletop and turned it this way and that admiring the workmanship. When I lifted it and shook it there was a gentle knocking sound. Something heavy was inside, but what? The guard came walking towards me and asked for my ticket, I produced it and he clipped a hole into it.

“That’s a beautiful box; a lot of work went into that I’m sure.”

“Yes it is lovely isn’t it?”

Once he left I wondered why I hadn’t revealed that the box was not actually mine. Pushing the box to one side I organized my space, backpack beside me, a novel on the table with a bottle of juice and a sandwich. Traveling at night is much more relaxed and not so crowded.

I read for a while and must have dozed off because a gentle shaking of my shoulder woke me.

“You have the box.”

I looked at the man confused at his words as my sleepy mind tried to become fully awake.

“I’m sorry, what?”

“The box of resource, there in front of you, I was not expecting a messenger.”

The man’s words did not make sense but he smiled kindly at me. He lifted the box and put it into a large canvas bag. As he turned away I asked

“What is the box of resource? I found it underneath this seat. I’m not a messenger.”

“Ah, I see that explains your confusion. It contains an ancient scroll that must be returned to the Vatican. It holds the…well I must not delay you.”

He looked up alarmed, turned and exited the train at a run along the platform. I so wanted to follow him but by the time I had packed my backpack he was nowhere in sight. My only clue -he was going to the Vatican. Well Rome is the city I will be living in for the next four years so maybe I will find him again and he will tell me what the box contains.

Why not write a short story using this prompt and share in the comments?

Books: I am enjoying this narrative as it is set in two time periods, like my novel, The Twesome Loop. The characters are well rounded and the ‘discoveries’ are intriguing.

A Desperate Fortune

Writing Tips:

Break writing rules with intention.

As Pablo Picasso so wisely said, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break the rules like an artist.”

There are times to stick to the rules, and there’s those times to think beyond them … in any kind of writing.

What ‘rules’ have you broken?

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

I did manage to increase the word count on my new YA novella to just over 18,000 and will further increase it tonight as I have a couple of hours in the library prior to a Board meeting. The story took a surprising turn so I am following it, wondering where it will end. I am toying with the idea of a new title – Bubble the Gruggle – is good but maybe too childish for a YA. We will see.

With two events coming in the next couple of weeks I need to be prepared for displays and readings. Choosing excerpts of a book can be problematic but I have found that if you gauge them to your known audience at the event it is slightly easier.

How do you choose an excerpt to read?

One event – Word on the Street is in Lethbridge which will entail a road trip – always a favorite past time and will allow more writing time, never a bad thing.

WOTS2017

Books:

Mind of the Phoenix

My review:
I had to finish this book last night so into the midnight hour I went…
Jamie has created a world of intrigue, mystery and suspense in this novel. The relationship between Moira and Keenan had me guessing and hoping.
A world of empaths and blockers, and strict social distinctions is beautifully weaved within and around the story. Great world building by Jamie.
This is a novel I highly recommend and can’t wait to read to next installment.

A Desperate Fortune

I’m already entranced by this novel’s story set in two time periods.

Writing Tips:

lyon

 Always get an outside edit.

Whether it’s a novel or a blog post, sometimes we get trapped in our own ideas, and the grand vision clouds our ability to see the actual words on the page.

So work your vision and polish it up as much as you can … but then, get feedback from someone else whose editorial judgment you respect.

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

With a few hours in my local library last night I delved into my current YA story. Set on another planet four friends go on an adventure chasing an intruder and discovering a secret plot in the process. I added 1238 words, which is quite good for a couple of hours uninterrupted writing time. The ‘secret plot’ just came to me as I was writing the narrative. I just love when my Muse takes over and steers me in new directions.

Have you experienced this ‘twist’ on your writing? What changes did it bring about to the final narrative?

The reminder of my evening was spent with a select few at the writing meeting, where we shared our responses to a prompt, discussed publishing smaller stories and the upcoming events. The main two being an author reading on 26th August and Words in the Park on 30th September.

What are your writing plans for this weekend?

Books:

I am enjoying this story cast over a couple of time periods and the countryside of England and Italy. The characters interactions and their possible connections are tantalizingly vague ensuring I turn the page.

The Mermaid Garden

What are you reading at the moment? Care to share your thoughts of review?

I think my next book will be this one – written by a local Edmonton author.

Mind of the Phoenix

Writing tips:

Pay attention to punctuation, especially to the correct use of commas and periods. These two punctuation marks regulate the flow of your thoughts, and they can make your text confusing even if the words are clear.

Don’t sit down in the middle of the woods. If you’re lost in the plot or blocked, retrace your steps to where you went wrong. Then take the other road. And/or change the person. Change the tense. Change the opening page. Margaret Atwood

Description is hard. Remember that all description is an opinion about the world. Find a place to stand. Anne Enright

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

My weekend was rather unsettled so reading and writing did not become my focus. However, I did edit the 12,000 or so words in Bubble the Gruggle. And finished The Long Walk. To make up for this I have two opportunities this week to escape to the local library to write. One prior to a writing workshop (see below) and the other prior to hosting a seniors writing group. These library sessions are always successful, so I am looking forward to them. On one visit an author friend will be joining me for a while as she is purchasing three of my books!

The workshop I attended last night was so much fun! Wine & Whine.

wine

As you can imagine there are a plethora of subjects and ideas raised from the starting point of alcohol. How it affects a characters life, behavior, social interaction etc. We also looked at how you can write about a drunk person without saying it – movement, attitude, gestures and more. A good exercise in writing techniques.

Books:

The Long Walk

My review:

An excellent insight into the minds of young men under emotional, physical and spiritual duress. As always Richard Bachman/Stephen King delivers strong characters and world building, leaving the reader with empathy for the personalities inhabiting his narrative.

The Mermaid GardenSettled into this narrative quickly, which is always a good sign.

Writing Tips:

While spell-checking programs serve as a good tool, they should not be relied upon to detect all mistakes. Regardless of the length of the article, always read and review what you have written.

Instead of adding tags (he said/she said) to every bit of dialogue, learn to identify the speaker by showing him/her in action. Example: “Pass that sweet-smelling turkey this way.” With knife in one hand and fork in the other, Sam looked eager to pounce.

Facebook Group Spotlight – Medieval Romance Novels. The Rython Kingdom…


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Facebook Group – Medieval Romance Novels. https://www.facebook.com/groups/MedievalRomanceNovels/

On today’s post I am reflecting the post I put onto the above group with the added bonus of an excerpt. The novella is actually two stories in one, the story of Guillem’s adventure and the tale he relays to the King’s court.

Bio: Mandy Eve-Barnett resides in Alberta, Canada but is originally from England. She is a multi-genre author and freelance writer and lives and breathes the written word and creativity in all its forms. She is the Secretary of her local writing group, the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County, and President of the Arts and Culture Council of Strathcona County.
Mandy publishes regularly on her blog – http://www.mandyevebarnett.com – where she has built a thriving writing community – sharing tips, news, interviews, and excerpts. She has published three children’s books and her adult novella, set in medieval England, The Rython Kingdom. She has also co-written a guide to memoir writing. Currently working on four manuscripts Mandy is never happier than writing and creating imaginary worlds.
Blog: http://www.mandyevebarnett.com
Twitter https://twitter.com/mandyevebarnett
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Mandyevebarnettcom/
Link to excerpt of The Rython Kingdom https://mandyevebarnett.com/my-adult-books/

Rython Altiusmwelsh-castle

Excerpt: 

The Rython Kingdom –  Chapter One

“He’s coming! He’s coming! Guillem Ruet is here!”

Guillem smiled at the group of children running beside his horse as he rode toward the castle’s drawbridge. Dirty and barefooted, these youngsters would not be lucky enough to hear his newest tale, first hand. That pleasure would be for the inner court alone. It was a strange and most complex tale and all the more mysterious for being made of a dream.

Shouts of his approach preceded him, thrown from one person to the next across the dirt track and woven among the shacks lining it. The summer heat had denuded the earth of moisture; dust swirled around his mount’s hooves, creating a cloak of fine grains behind them, shrouding rider and horse. Ahead, the King’s standards lay limp against their poles high above on the castle turrets; thin strips of coloured cloth obscuring the lion head emblem of the king. More children, and some adults, ran beside him, eager to witness this famed troubadour first hand. The talk among the courtiers and peasants alike had been of his arrival and little else for many weeks.

As Guillem entered under the portcullis, it brought back memories of returning from battle years previously. Conquering heroes were showered with flowers and rewarded with grand feasts and warmed by many a maid. Serving as a knight in his younger days, Guillem had been admired for his prowess in battle, but now he was even more revered as a troubadour. His tales of battles and faraway lands held audiences spell bound as he punctuated them with displays of swordsmanship and the exhibiting of combat scars. So popular was Guillem that a feast or festival without his presence was considered incomplete. Fierce competition between lords kept Guillem’s purse and belly full as he traveled from one borough to the next, shamelessly attending whomever paid the highest fee. His new life fulfilled his wander-lust. Being confined to one place filled him with dread as did faithfulness to just one maid. Why restrict yourself to one when there were so many to pick from – all willing to bed the famous knight and troubadour?

Word had reached him a month prior notifying him the king himself requested Guillem’s presence at court. It was an honor to be bestowed with such a command and Guillem did not hesitate to comply. Not dallying at Lord Suffolk’s seat; as was his usual habit. Normally, he would take advantage of the many benefits afforded him but, this time, he packed his saddlebags the very same night and set off toward the king’s domain at daybreak. Several requests for his presence had made it to his ears as he traveled but each was declined in favor of an audience at the king’s court. Once it was common knowledge the king had requested Guillem to speak, Guillem knew he would be able to use it to increase his fee.

Ahead of him now was the sovereign’s castle keep with sentries standing at both sides of a stairway leading up to massive oak doors. The excited crowd jostled for position to get closer to Guillem and perchance to touch him or his fine mount. A herald sounded his trumpet as Guillem dismounted. The shouts died away as all eyes centered on the keep’s massive doors. They slowly opened. All knees bent and heads bowed as the regal figure of King Henry was revealed, resplendent in deep purple robe and golden crown. With measured steps, King Henry descended the stone stairs.

“Welcome, Guillem Ruet, your reputation precedes you. My courtiers and subjects have talked of little else but your arrival for these many weeks. Come and drink ale with me. You must be weary from your journey.”

Guillem bowed deeply again then handed his horse’s reins to a saddle hand, who was fidgeting beside him. As the boy led his mount away, Guillem could hear the lad’s excited whisper to the surrounding crowd.

“Look, look, I have his horse to care for.”

Careful to remain a step behind, Guillem followed his King into the castle’s dark interior. The huge stone blocks prevented the heat of the outside world from entering. Guillem shivered involuntarily. I should have taken my cloak out of the saddlebag before releasing my horse into the care of the boy. Then another thought struck him and he turned to see his horse being led away on the far side of the courtyard – he had not secured the small box. He had promised a mysterious old man he would not let it leave his possession and now it was in the hands of a young stable lad.

“The fire will warm your bones, Guillem. Is something amiss? You seem anxious?”

“Thank you, Sire. I relinquished my cloak without thinking but I also forgot to retrieve a certain object.”

“Do not worry, Guillem. I will have your saddlebags brought to your room presently. If there is anything missing I shall deal with the culprit myself. But for now….” The King raised a hand to summon a serf, “Stephen, a robe for our guest.”

A young man appeared from the shadow of a stone column and presented Guillem with a thick woolen robe. Its heavy warmth felt pleasing. Serfs opened an inner door as the King approached and allowed the two men to enter the great hall. Long oak tables flanked the centre aisle below a raised platform where the King’s ornately carved table and throne stood. Following his sovereign’s lead, Guillem walked toward the roaring fire at the far side of the huge room. Its radiant heat was welcome in the cool interior of the castle.

“Sit with me, Guillem, you will soon warm. Bring ale, Stephen.”

“As you command, your majesty.”

The serf had moved so silently that Guillem jumped when he responded to his master’s command.

“Guillem, why do you start so?”

“Sorry, Sire – I was unaware of your serf’s presence; gave me a bit of a shock when he spoke.”

“Not so surprising, Guillem, we call him Silent Stephen. He seems to glide instead of walk, although to watch him you cannot see any difference from any other man’s stride.”

“Strange indeed, my Lord, is he born of a witch?”

“Actually no, Guillem, his mother was a maid to my mother. He has grown up within these walls and knows no other life than to live and serve here.”

***

blue-beads

The Rython Kingdom is available as a print book at http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/retail/books/rython-kingdom

Also available as an ebook from all Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes and Noble.

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