Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Extra Author Interview – Steena Holmes

April 21, 2018
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  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you? Writing energizes me unless it’s a really emotional scene and then I’m exhausted. Being a writer, being able to sit down and write each day, it fills my well. My husband knows when I haven’t found time to write…apparently, I tend to get slightly grumpy (lol).
  2. What is your writing Kryptonite? This is a hard question to answer. Let me get back to you…(I’m afraid to admit to it because then it’ll be real, you know?)
  3. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? Absolutely. In fact, I’ve decided to create a pen name for a new series of books I’ll be writing and publishing starting this summer. But it won’t be a secret – I’ll be writing under J.M. Jack.

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  1. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
    I have a community of writers that are near and dear to my heart. There’s a group of four that get together once a month and chat almost daily. Then I have a large online group that I meet up with every conference I can attend. The community of writers is amazing and I’m so glad to have a large group of peers I can call friends.
  2. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book? I prefer to write standalones but I have written a few series. I find them harder to write – probably because when I began them, they weren’t series in my head.
  3. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? Signing up for classes with Margie Lawson. She has changed my writing! As well as purchasing Scrivener and Vellum.
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  4. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel? House by Ted Dekker.
  5. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? A black sheep!
  6. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? Probably around 5 that will never see the light of day.
  7. What does literary success look like to you? Having a vast readership where people can name me as one of their favourite authors.
     

  8. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? I tend to research as I’m writing. It can be in the form of reading articles, calling professionals…whatever is needed.
  9. How many hours a day/week do you write? I write a minimum of 1000 words a day. Some days I can get those words in 2 hrs, some days it takes me 8 hours. I write 5 days a week. I take one day off on the weekend and then plot on the other day.

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13. How do you select the names of your characters? I always ask my readers for names…they are the best resource I have!

14. What was your hardest scene to write? Every book has a hard scene to write. In The Forgotten Ones, it was when someone died. I bawled so hard I ended up with a massive headache.
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15. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them? I write what I love to read and what I’m passionate about. I tend to focus on one book at a time so that it gets my full attention.

16. long have you been writing? Full time, since 2010. But I began back in 2005.

17. What inspires you?  My family, my faith and my readers.

18. How do you find or make time to write? It’s not a matter of finding time to write, it’s deciding that writing is important to me and so I will write. If anything is important it will become a part of your lifestyle.

19. What projects are you working on at the present? I am working on my upcoming novel that will be out with my publisher in 2019.

20. What do your plans for future projects include? I have a new series that I’ll be publishing beginning this summer that I’m really excited about. It’s about a woman who helps to rescue abused women from cults.

21. Share a link to your author website. steenaholmes.com – I have a free book readers can download if they join my newsletter.

 

Commemorating With our AGM…

September 16, 2013
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Commemorate – definition: to serve as a memorial or reminder of some event.

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My writers circle – Writers Foundation of Strathcona County held their AGM & Writer’s Luncheon on Saturday. We were lucky enough to hold it in a meeting room within our Council building, with kitchen facilities included.  Once the President began listing our events for the year, it occurred to me just how busy the foundation and its members are. As you can see there is something every month of the year.

September
  • Culture Days – featured weekend participation with interactive writing activities
October
  • Words in the Park hosted with Library in conjunction with LitFest
November
  • National Novel Writing Month – participants writing 50,000+ words in month of November

 

December
  • Member Christmas Party held at Second Cup, Summerwood
January
  • Committee planning for 2013 Conference begins
February
  • Arts Expo weekend participation
March
  • WFSC participation in Adult Learning at the Library – presentations by members – Writing Memoirs, Orchids, and Self-Publishing
April
  • WFSC participation in Active Living conference – presentation by member – Your Lifetime of Stories
  • 4th annual conference “Chapter 8” celebrated WFSC 8th Anniversary in conjunction with kick off for Strathcona Celebrates
  • Display boards show history, projects, volunteers, and membership.
May
  • Regular meetings and Novel Workshops begin for editing NaNoWriMo and books to be published
June
  • WFSC participation at Senior’s Day breakfast held in Ardrossan
  • Members attend grant presentation at County Clothes Line
July
  • Participation in Savour Strathcona with table display
  • Participation in Arts in the Plaza – one day
August
  • Participation in Arts in the Plaza in conjunction with Strathcona Celebrates – one day
  • Writing the Seasons mini workshop at member residence
September
  • Here we are at our Annual General meeting 8 ½ years later
Meetings
  • Board meeting each month with exception of July  =  11
  • Novel writing workshop – 4 participants met at least monthly from May – August = 7 – 8
  • Writing Friends twice per month = 24
  • Writers Circle and sharing meetings = 24 * sometimes scarce of participants for the 3rd Tuesday
  • Committee Meetings – Words in the Park, Conference

 

Projects
  • Never Been Better celebrated 4 years in April – Bethany as editor in charge
  • Monthly Newsletter
  • Member collaboration to write and produce Your Lifetime of Stories Workbook to go with the presentation. Workbook was written over the summer and is at press – ready for release by Words in the Park event.
  • WFSC asked to administer Strathcona Connect online magazine until October this year due to election.

To make the day even better, the members brought pot luck dishes and there were writing games after the business part of the meeting had been completed.

With such a involved, encouraging and supportive group it is no wonder the WFSC is well known and celebrated. We are not limited to local authors either as our website enables virtual members – some as far away as Poland & Australia – to converse with our chat feature and receive critique with a personal blog and news page. And participate in the Saturday morning prompt and download the monthly newsletter – Muse.  http://wfscsherwoodpark.com/

Inspiration comes from Anywhere…

December 17, 2012
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I had a dental appointment today – boo! Once back home and waiting for the feeling to return to my mouth a short story began to form. I used some writing prompt words from my circle’s newsletter and this is the result. Inspiration truly comes from anywhere at anytime and in any form. I may use Jennifer’s character in another piece of work or her situation but even if I don’t she was fun to create.

November and December Magazine Words.    Clichés, tree, bus, school, detention, roadside

Hasty Trip to the Dentist

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A quick glance at her watch confirmed Jennifer was pushed for time. She said a silent prayer that all the traffic lights would be green along her route to the dentist. She should have left that last phone call to go to answer phone but it was an automatic action to pick up the receiver. It had been a frustrated customer wanting printed details of their account – immediately. Jennifer had rushed to their account screen, clicked print and then tore the sheet out of the printer, quickly placing it on the fax machine to send it. She swore when she realized the customer’s fax number was on her computer screen not the print out. Back to her desk and after quickly making a note back to the fax machine where Sandy was busily piling in a thick pile of paper.

“I was using that, it’s just one page, please can I send mine first?”

“Well, really Jennifer why didn’t you do it before?”

“The fax number wasn’t on the print out, I had to go back to my desk to get it. Please Sandy.”

“Well as you have asked so nicely, go ahead.”

Jennifer sighed with relief but kept her thoughts tightly behind her teeth. Sandy could be such a jobs-worth, her attitude made Jennifer feel like a school kid again summoned to detention. With the fax sent Jennifer grabbed her purse and ran down the stairs and out into the parking lot. With all the rushing she had forgotten to start her vehicle and now she sat in a frozen seat with frost covering the windshield.

“Damn, damn, damn.”

A quick flick of the key had the car start. Jennifer got back out to scrape the screen, well at least a small hole to peer through. Shivering Jennifer cranked up the heater in an attempt to warm up the interior. She pulled out of the lot and waited impatiently at the roadside for a gap in the on-coming traffic. She saw her opportunity and pushed the accelerator to the floor, her tires squealed as the vehicle swerved in front of a bus. The driver showed his anger with a prolonged sounding of his horn.

“Yeh, yeh, yeh, whatever…”

Tension gripped Jennifer’s shoulders as she drove over the speed limit, hoping there were no police cars on route. As she approached the first set of traffic lights they turned amber. Should she chance it? Jennifer looked left and right both sides of the junction were full, no she would stop the way her day was going she was bound to have no luck. Fingers tapping on the wheel in anticipation, she waited for the lights to change. At last they turned green and Jennifer floored the pedal. Wheels spinning Jennifer’s main focus on getting to her appointment changed in the blink of an eye as the back end of her car swung to the right and then overtook the front end. The vehicle spun in a full circle, jumped the curb and hit a tree.

All thoughts of the dentist disappeared as fear gripped Jennifer. The sound of sirens broke her dazed thoughts.

“Now, Miss let’s take it easy.”

“I was on my way to the dentist, the tires didn’t grip.”

“In a bit of a rush were we? Maybe next time less speed and more haste but also driving to the road conditions would help.”

Jennifer ignored the cliché she really wasn’t in the mood.

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Please feel free to comment or share a short piece of inspiration.

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