Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Bibliophile Collective Tuesday – How is Your Goodreads Challenge 2020 Going? And in other news…snow!

May 12, 2020
mandyevebarnett


So how is your Goodreads Reading Challenge going so far this year? I am one book behind schedule unfortunately. So I am determined to catch up this week.

My book order came in so I added three more books to my TBR pile. Excited to read them all. It will be interesting to read Tom Hanks – the author! And of course The Heirloom and Maybe in Another Life are reincarnation stories – my favorite. 

Of course it will be hard to leave the world of this beautifully written book. You will have to wait for my review.

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Talking of book reviews have you managed to read every book you have read this year?

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I keep my reviews on Goodreads (sometimes Amazon too) so you are welcome to take a look. https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6477059.Mandy_Eve_Barnett

Editing of my steampunk novel, the Commodore’s Gift did stall for a while but after some great feedback on a particular fight scene, I am back on track. As with most people lock-down tends to be a dreadful de-motivator. The virtual writing group I belong to helps with the motivation for sure.

Excerpt: this is the fight scene – feedback is welcome (constructive critique)

They picked up sticks and began circling each other. Owena watched her brother’s movements and eye direction as Galen had taught her and thrust forward. The stick found its mark on Benjamin’s bicep. He looked surprised. Thrust at her successfully landing a tap on her thigh. His arm swung around for another thrust but Owena anticipated his move. She dodged to the left. Swinging around she managed to get behind Benjamin. He shifted his stance in a quick turn to face her, his stick held high. She blocked its downward movement. She held her stick in both hands above her head. Using his momentum, she twisted their sticks to one side towards the ground. Then quickly drew hers upward to his neck. Benjamin pulled back. He brought his stick up to counter attack. Owena twisted around him, taking hold of the other end of her stick to clasp it to his neck from behind. He gasped and tried to turn but she pulled tighter making him cry out. Sensing his surrender she stood back, poised to attack again. She drew in several quick deep breathes. Benjamin looked at her wide-eyed and slowly shook his head.

Other News

In other news, I did get some lovely plants for my deck, including a chive plant from a friend, several herbs and a couple of tomato plants. This cheered me up a lot. I can now start to think about the front planters. Alberta has experienced a ‘late’ spring!

Update: As I write this on Sunday 10th May it is SNOWING!!!!! WHY!

plants

I was also treated for Mother’s Day to a lovely self care package. So it will be foot and face masks, a glass of wine and enjoying the aroma of fresh flowers this week.

How was your Mother’s Day? 

care

 

Digging Stuff Up or Archaeology for Those in the Know…

February 10, 2014
mandyevebarnett


Archaeology is defined as the scientific study of historic or prehistoric peoples and their cultures by analysis of their artifacts, inscriptions, monuments, and other remains.

Fascination with the lives of humans that came before us has been around for decades. Preservation of artifacts and intensive research into the daily life and habits of these ancestors has increasingly revealed lives we could never imagine. From simple stone tools to impressive structures, such as aqueducts and pyramids, to technological inventions, homo sapiens have evolved at an incredible rate.  As you can see from this graph, although it only spans until Shakespeare’s time. We have taken even larger leaps since then.

Cultural history

Technological advances have exploded as you can clearly see here.

technology_through_years

Actually digging on an archaeological site is fun as the anticipation of finding something keeps you picking away at the soil, even in poor weather or baking heat. I have experienced a couple of digs and attended archaeology classes as well as explored numerous historical sites and houses in England. These visits are cataloged in many scrap books. I incorporated my knowledge of archaeology into my novel, The Twesome Loop, where a gruesome find in the villa grounds is investigated.

Excerpt from The Twesome Loop 

Her parents’ friend, James Buckley, was in charge of the new dig at the Thornwood villa, he had been only too pleased to welcome Caroline and his old colleagues to visit. Caroline had investigated so much on the Thornwood estate but to actually visit it, was a dream come true. Through her own research she already knew a great deal about Lord Thornwood. He had bought the land near Agagni and commissioned the restoration of the Italian villa on the site. It was built on the highest point, giving extensive views across the valley. As part treasure hunter and part historian, the English Lord spent decades digging his land and finding numerous Roman artifacts, which he unashamedly sold to the highest bidder to finance his other obsession, gambling.

As the years passed, the locals thought him mad as he was always in dirty clothes digging up the land, followed closely by a manservant with a wheelbarrow and water jugs. When Lord Thornwood died, his family sold off the villa and its land in job lots to pay off his large debts. Caroline had also researched the man who would be their host, Edward Beecham. She discovered he had inherited the villa and its extensive gardens. With investment he had commissioned a total refit of the villa, which transformed it into a large family home with separate accommodation for guests. It comprised of eight bedrooms all with en suite and traditional balconies. The web site showed the decor was sympathetic to the age of the building and all the fittings were reproduction to the era when the villa was first built. The photographs Caroline had found online gave stunning views across the valley. She was excited about exploring the home and grounds of her ‘champion’. Lord Thornwood had lived his passion for artifacts, and although he sold the wonderful treasures, they gradually found their way into museums all over the world.

What fascinates you about history?

Haughty Characters…

October 29, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Haughty – definition: disdainfully proud; snobbish; scornfully arrogant

Today I’m sharing an excerpt from my novel, The Twesome Loop. Miss. Coombes may be old but she certainly has Brett’s measure.

Brett glanced through the door, berating himself for not shutting it. He needed to ensure he was not observed writing down the daughter’s particulars. Confident no-one was in the corridor outside he quickly wrote the name and address down and put the slip of paper in his top pocket. Breathing a sigh of relief he then noticed the file was not for Mr. Collin at all, but for the senior partner, Mr. Forbes.

“I’ll just be a minute, Dawn, I have a file for Mr. Forbes. If Mr. Collin arrives, please tell him his files are catalogued and ready for him.”

“Yes, Mr. Shaw. When you return will you need dictation?”

“Not now, I have more important matters to attend to.”

He certainly didn’t have time for a quickie, bimbo’s like Dawn were a penny a dozen. He had more crucial things to do, like finding out as much as he could about Miss Lynch without raising suspicion. Brett walked down the corridor towards the senior partner’s office; it was difficult keeping his excitement in check until he turned to see Miss Coombes shriveled form hunched over her desk. She always gave Brett the shivers looking at her wizened gargoyle like form; she must have been ninety if a day. All his conniving to get rid of her had failed as old man Forbes was completely adverse to change so he kept this relic guarding his door. But Brett now thought this may well be the day he not only managed to further his career but also got his hands on a substantial amount of money.

“Miss Coombes is Mr. Forbes in his office?”

“Of course he is, Mr. Shaw, where else would he be at this time of day?”

Brett nodded and rolled his eyes as he turned to gently tap on the oak door. A muffled voice commanded him enter. Forbes sat behind a dark oak desk, which gleamed with years of polishing. The aroma of Cuban cigar smoke hung in the air.

“Ah, Mr. Forbes, Sir, I found this file mixed with Mr. Collin’s documentation.”

“Thank you….Shaw isn’t it? Let me see. Ah yes, the Lynch file. Give it to Miss Coombes she can catalog it.”

“Certainly, Sir, pardon me for being so bold, but is the family known to you?”

“Actually, yes, they were very old family friends. It was a sad departure only weeks apart but it often happens that way with old married couples, you know. Why do you ask?”

“Just curious, Sir, the name seemed familiar.”

“You may have come across the name in the newspaper. The Lynch’s were very involved in their community.”

“That must be it, Sir; well I won’t take up any more of your time.”

Now Brett had a place to start his investigations. The local newspaper records would be full of information he could use. He would drive to the Lynch house tonight and watch for a while. He might even get to see the daughter. If she wasn’t too abhorrent he could be on easy street in no time.

Do you have a haughty character?

Twesome Loop 002

Life in Slake Patch…excerpt…

April 8, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Belligerent – definition: 1. waging war; 2, eager to or showing eagerness to fight.

I am sharing an excerpt from my Life In Slake Patch speculative fiction novel. (Still awaiting representation.) This scene lends itself well to today’s word.

LifeinSlakePatch 002

As the cluster of riders approached we saw there were nineteen or so horsemen. We would have no trouble fighting them off as our party was made up of thirty men. Then another shout was heard; there were more horsemen coming from the east, another ten or more. We would have to co ordinate our efforts if the attack was to come from two flanks. The four out riders dispatched earlier were almost indistinguishable from the surrounding landscape to the south and I hoped with luck they would reach the Garricade compound in a couple of hours with some hard riding. In the mean time we had no choice but to hold fast.

As the riders moved toward us it was plain that all were young men and just before they reached our barricade a rallying cry rung out.

“Brothers fight for supremacy.”

Gripping my dagger even tighter in readiness, I shouted orders to my men.

“Stand firm behind the wagons, let them come to us.”

The clash of metal against metal and wood against wood filled the valley air. Cries of pain rung out as wounds were inflicted and cries abruptly silenced. A shadow blocked the sunlight above me; I looked over to see a horse’s belly level with my head. Swiftly I turned to look up and face the rider. He was no older than myself swinging a baton toward Peter’s head. I let out a cry and dug my dagger deeply into the rider’s thigh and pulled with all my might. The rider’s scream of pain seared through the air as he fell from his mount. I held him fast with a foot against his chest and my dagger’s tip pushed into his neck.

It was then I noticed the deafening silence around me. Looking up, all faces were turned toward me as if everyone had become frozen. One by one the Tribe riders weapons began to drop to the ground, my men took advantage of the opportunity and grabbed their opponents. As the Tribe members were secured my victim groaned.

“Don’t fail me brothers’ fight.”

But he could see all heads hanging down in defeat turning away from his stare.

In truth I was shocked it had not occurred to me or any one of us before that there might have been a leader to the Tribe. We had thought it was a few disgruntled young men wandering the plains, surviving by stealing. This man must have recruited his followers. I looked down at my captive.

“What’s your name?”

“I am, Aiden, leader of the Tribe and proud of it, you down trodden oaf.”

At the insult I could feel my muscles tense and pressed the dagger deeper into his neck. He cried out again and I released the pressure.

“Secure this man with the others. Medic Jones, please tend to the more seriously injured first.”

Thank you for reading and as always comments are always welcome.

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