Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Wordsmiths Collective Thursday – 16 Weird & Strange Habits of Writers

May 14, 2020

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The strange habits of some famous authors has always interested me. I cannot lay claim to anything this weird, mores the pity. Maybe I can cultivate something? Are you willing to share your ‘strange’ habit?

1. Demosthenes

The ancient Greek writer shaved half his head. Ensuring that by looking so idiotic, he would stay home and work, instead of facing ridicule in public.

2. Henrik Ibsen

The A Doll’s House playwright hung a huge oil painting of his greatest rival on his study wall. Inspiring him to strive to better his enemies.

3. Franz Kafka – Too Much Cake

Kafka allowed himself to eat a whole pineapple upside down cake when he finished a story. He did not share any of it!

4. Mary Shelley – Pet Snake

Shelley’s pet 23-foot-long boa constrictor was housed in her writing studio. With the snake wrapped around her shoulders she would write until the snake became restless and began to squeeze, then she stopped writing for the day.

5. Agatha Christie – Ate apples in the bath.


6. Isabel Allende – starts every book on the same day January 8.

7. John Steinbeck – needed two dozen sharpened pencils.

8. Patricia Highsmith – ate eggs and bacon for every meal.

9. Virginia Woolf – wrote at a standing desk.

10. Charles Dickens – slept facing north.

11. Dan Brown – hanging upside down inversion therapy for writer’s block.

12. Victor Hugo – wrote without clothes so he could not leave the house to met a deadline.

13. Francine Prose – writes facing a wall to limit distractions.

14. Truman Capote – never started or finish writing on a Friday. 

15. Anthony Burgess – use random words from opening a page in a dictionary to complete a descriptive passage.

16. Lewis Carroll – wrote in purple ink.

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Interview with Vicki Batman…

January 14, 2013

I ask you to welcome Vicki Batman, author of delightful short stories. Hence the link with the word Proliferate – definition: to grow or increase in number rapidly. It seems Vicki has an abundance of stories to thrill her readers.

Vicki Batman

a)  Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

I love all my babies; however, in one I sold to True Romance, the hero is Webber Whitlock whom the heroine calls Witless, but he is definitely not.

b)  Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?

I write contemporary romantic short fiction. However, I’ve written 3 books and sent them out to publishers.

c)  What do you enjoy most about writing?

Two parts: The rough draft where anything and everything goes and revising when I get a critique because it makes me better.

d)  Have you got a favorite place to write?

I write every day at my desk. It is a fun room with color and my covers on the walls. The window overlooks the porch where squirrels run by, lizards creep over the railing, and birdies play in the flowering quince. Really, quite lovely.

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

Sorta both. Because I write romance, there’s a beginning, a black moment, and a happily ever after. What happens in between is the seat of the pants stuff.

f) What inspires your stories?

Usually, I hear a badabing! And the story takes off.

g)  What are you currently reading?

A Breath of Scandal by Elizabeth Essex who is a good friend.

h)  Do you have any odd habits or childhood stories?

My favorite story is about my mom and reading. When I was on summer break, my mom took us to the library every other week. Once, I took a tall stack to the check-out where the librarian said I couldn’t possibly have that many books, that I wouldn’t read them all. Any kind of reprimand paralyzed me. I turned away with a sob. My mom noticed and I explained. She marched me back to the desk and said to let me have them all. That I would read the books, probably twice, and my sisters’ as well. I did.

i)   Do you have any pets?

Yes! I have an eighteen year-old cat, Scootsie, and two year-old malti-poos, Champ and Jones.

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

I belong to several-RWA, the Dallas, Elements, and former WF chapter.

k)  What age did you start writing stories/poems?

I began writing poetry at age nine.

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

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I have had 22 published stories, 14 in True Romance, True Love, and True Confessions. “I Believe” is at Noble Romance; “Store Wars” and “Twinkle Lights” at MuseItUp Publishing; “Man Theory and Other Stories” and “Little Birdie Who…and Other Stories” are indie published. All but the Trues are available at,, the respective publishers, and

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

Dick Francis-simply because I love the way he writes. I actually met him at a book signing and he liked my last name.

n)  If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?

Right here. I like visiting other places a lot.

o)  What’s your favorite movie of all time?

ONE??? I like Rear Window, To Kill a Mockingbird, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Pride and Prejudice, Love Actually, Millions, Stalag 17, and every Thin Man.

p) Where can readers find you and your blog?

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Find me and my blogs at: Or at:





Author Central:

q)  Do you have plans or ideas for your next book?

I have lots on my computer to work on. Am finishing up a holiday story.

r) Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager? I have several: a couple of critique partners; Plotting Princesses, and some writer friends.

Thanks for a great interview, Vicki.

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