Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – A Packed Long Weekend of Writing, Reading & Talking

February 16, 2021
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This past weekend was a long weekend for Family Day in Alberta. Although, it wasn’t much of a family time as we are still under COVID restrictions, so there was no visits or family meals to enjoy, unfortunately. However, I did have quite a busy Friday and Saturday attending the Wordbridge virtual writers conference. I was a panelist for a discussion and Q&A for romance on Friday and also publishing on Saturday. So it was writer talk for the duration! Always a pleasure and a great way to connect with our authors.

I finished Misconduct of the Heart by Cordelia Strube

REVIEW: A complex style of writing – fast paced, crowded and emotive. Strong references to internal pain and outside forces changing and pressuring it’s characters. There were a lot of triggers in this book, so please be aware of that.

I am now reading a much lighter and fun narrative. Roadtripping: On the Move with the Buffalo Gals by Conni Massing., who I have had the pleasure to meet.

What are you currently reading? Care to share?

As the Albertan weather was cold (-39 with the wind chill!) I spent most of my time indoors, apart from braving it with Sammie, of course. My place of choice to spend the weekend was the living room, which has a huge window to watch the world go by and the resident wildlife – hares and birds. And a lovely fireplace to complete the warm feeling.

I will be swapping a bag of books with a friend later today, so my TBR will grow! It is always fun to compare views on books.

Are you part of a book club? Would you like me to join you virtually? Please use the contact form if you are interested.

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Sharing a Story & 2021 Reading Challenge

January 5, 2021
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I am engaged in a six week writing course and thought, I could share my submissions with you. The first week is the sense of SIGHT. This was my story using the image.

The Jungle Wall

Lush greenery clings to a rocky reddish brown mock cliff face. A sheen of a waterfall cascades onto a flat hard surface, in a splashing burst. Sunlight shimmers in the veil of water, creating a band of rainbow colours. To the side are smooth, burnt sienna stones and pebbles, piled atop each other. Lighter green foliage creeps among them mimicking rivets of a stream. Large fern like leaves in glossy dark greens surround  the liquid of the waterfall and quench their thirst.  The throng of office workers pass by without a care or indeed interest. The mock jungle wall has become commonplace, a background feature. Too familiar to see anymore.

That is until, Sandy enters the building for an appointment. She initially enjoys the cool air so pleasant after the hot humid summer day outside. As she’d entered the building, she noticed the glass façade created stripes of light on the grey sidewalk, in stark contrast to her comfortable red soft leather shoes. She pulled at her indigo jeans, wishing she had taken time to hem them properly instead of folding the fabric at her ankles, where it now bunched and folded.

Sandy heard the water falling before seeing the green and brown jungle wall. A smile grew on her face at the joy and thrill that came over her as she looked at it. She was drawn to the lush greenery, the sparkling water and how the sunlight, funneled from an overhead skylight, danced on the surfaces. She walked to the edge of the installation and the noise of traffic, voices and footsteps fell away. It was as though she had traveled to an exotic location – a tropical forest. The falling water drew her eyes from  top to bottom and around again – pulling her forward ever closer. Unconsciously, she leaned over the glass panels, reaching out to touch the delightfulness of the scene. She was within the installation in her mind’s eye – the russet browns and verdant greens grew in richness and intensity. She looked at every leaf, every rock and plant – committing to memory the sights.

Suddenly, her dream was broken, a hand gripping and pulling her backwards. Her purse tumbled from her shoulder to the ground, its contents spilling across the tiled floor. A woman’s voice muffled in Sandy’s ears, a stranger’s face full of concern.

“You nearly fell over, my dear. You need to take care. Here let me help you with your belongings.”

Sandy struggled from her daze and thanked the woman, as they gathered her possessions. With all the items gathered Sandy thank you woman and watched her walk away, unsure how she could have been so absorbed in the jungle of her imagination. Glancing at her watch she gasped to see she was almost late for her appointment. Without another look, she hurried away.

In the depths of the rock wall, eyes shone out. The treasure was just inside the glass panels. As the building emptied later on that evening, a small creature crept to retrieve the pink and black vial. It put it with all the other treasures and grinned. Another susceptible human drawn in. 

Let me know what you think of this story.

I have once again entered the Goodreads Reading Challenge – I am committing to read a minimum of 15 books in 2021. I hope I can make this goal, as I missed my goal by two books last year, mainly because I was busy completing my steampunk novel, The Commodore’s Gift and promoting it once it was published and participating in NaNoWriMo. This year I will edit and revise my manuscript for the first book in my crime/detective trilogy, so decreased my reading goal slightly. Have you signed up?

My current read is If It Bleeds by Stephen King. It will not take much longer!

What are you reading? What was your favorite book of 2020?

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.

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – 10 Tips To Overcome Being Disheartened With Your Writing

November 18, 2020
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We have all felt disheartened as writers. It can manifest itself in a variety of forms. Lack of impetus, illness, stress, unrealistic comparisons, self expectations or stumbling over a particular section in a writing project. Some call it writers block. In truth it is just life.

Firstly, don’t beat yourself up, you are not alone. Every writer, whether novice or any of the top 100 authors, have doubts about what they are writing. We question ourselves – is it good enough, over and over. This can only spiral us downward into self-doubt. There are ways to give yourself a pick you up. I hope these help.

1. Focus on enjoying telling your stories. Do it to the best of your ability.

2. Remember you are building an inventory of your writing but also learning your craft.

Photo by Anthony Shkraba on Pexels.com

3. Lessen your expectations, don’t be so hard on yourself. Yes, we all want a certain quality to our work, but with patience it will come. There is no quick fix.

4. Don’t compare another writer’s finished work against your in process drafts. You have no idea how many changes they made.

5. Remember you get to rule over your own creative process. You choose, shape, mold, and create whatever you want.

6, Your words will, in time, sway minds, move hearts, and touch the lives of dozens of people you will never meet in person.

7. Your words, your stories are your legacy.

8. Do not take rejection personally. Think of it as a learning tool.

9. Take a long-term view of your writing career – no-one is ever an overnight success.

10. Participate in supportive writer groups. Share your work with encouraging friends.

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

What have you found works for you when you are feeling disheartened?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Book Review & Book Titles

November 16, 2020
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In my research for my new detective series, I read a novel by M.J. Arlidge entitled Eeny Meeny. The premises of the narrative becomes all too clear and links to the title all too well as you read. You can find my review on my Goodreads page but just in case, here it is: Absolutely riveting! I didn’t see the culprit coming. Well written and structured. A fast paced, who done it. A real page turner.

I will endeavor to ensure my own narrative has the same tension and surprise culprit. M.J. Arlidge uses the same detective for his novels, using various scenarios for each narrative. My detective series has a different structure, covering three detectives and three different cities but the same antagonist.

I have been asked to explain the reason I chose the title of my series as The Delphic Murders. I wanted a word that meant obscure, as my antagonist is just that. So I delved into my knowledge of Greek literature and found Delphic. It means deliberately obscure or ambiguous.

What books have you recently read? What was your review on them?

Winter Arrived

As you can see winter arrived here in Alberta. So I have decamped from my writing desk into the living room, where there is a huge window. This gives me welcome daylight but also a cozy writing space beside the fireplace.

The first book in my series, The Delphic Murders is well under way, with over 36,000 words. As with any first draft, I am just writing where the characters take me. Early next year, I will begin revisions and editing and making notes for book two.

I am so pleased my steampunk novel has proven so popular, with online and in person purchases. Thank you all for continuing you enjoy the stories I create. All my books are here: https://amazon.com/-/e/B01MDUAS0V

Please leave a review it would mean the world to me.

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