I’m so excited to share the new cover for my speculative fiction novel, Life in Slake Patch. Isn’t it beautiful? This is how I see Evan and Kate in the story. I love her expression of strength and determination. You can see how much Evan adores her by his gaze. Thanks to Wren Taylor Cover Design and my publisher, Dream Write Publishing for updating the front cover and revising the back cover too.
I was reminded of a book I read in school last week, as the star of the movie, Kes, a close adaptation of the book, turned 68 years old. In the movie he is a young boy! Yep, that was a shock!
I read the book in school and was devastated with how the boy and his pet were treated. It left an everlasting impression. Although, I knew the ending I did go and watch the movie when it came out. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0064541/
I asked several friends, which book had an impact on them and several books were named. Watership Down, The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank, and Lord of the Flies. These narratives affected us emotionally and that is why they stay with us many years later. It is something every author hopes to do with their stories.
Do you have a book you read in school that had a profound effect on you?
I was humbled and delighted to receive a wonderful review of The Commodore’s Gift last week, so forgive me for indulging as I share it once more.
Review by thereadera
Sometimes you stumble across a book, and, for whatever reason, your expectations are low. Could be an amazing cover, could be a previous book by the same author you were wholly uninterested in, could be a billion different things that individually are insignificant, but cumulatively . . . You turn up you nose. O, gentle friends . . . Do not do unto yourselves the same disservice I almost did unto mine. The Commodore’s Gift by Mandy Eve-Barnett is . . . exquisite. I almost didn’t read it. Indeed, the release date sneaked up on me, tapped me on the shoulder, and waved hello on Monday afternoon, and I joked to friend that I should at least update my status on Goodreads and pretend to be reading it . . . Six hours later, it was ten pm, and I was 40% in. I could not put this one down and finished the entire book in less than two days. Many novels tend to be repetitive and get bogged down in over-explaining everything. This novel, however, was a breath of fresh air. The author of this book did an amazing job of making this book completely addictive. I was enthralled with the Character the entire time. So far, The Commodore’s Gift by Mandy Eve-Barnett has taken me by surprise and kept it interesting the whole way through, to where I desired more and he continued to deliver. The lands are amazing, the characters interesting. They play a great role in shaping the world. There are many positives, but overall I’d say this is a good book held higher than most because Mandy Eve-Barnett is actually a good writer. She is creative and descriptive, and tells a story clearly and with a layer of her own action woven in. But I don’t think it’s half as good as many here make it out to be. End of the day, it’s another tale we haven’t seen elsewhere many times before. Highly Recommended!
1. You have submitted one part of a series – your choice is reasonable clear – write the next book in the series. This can depend on when the manuscript has to be finished obviously but readers want the next one pretty quickly.
2. You are committed to writing a story for an anthology. Ensure you make the deadline.
3. A new idea has ‘popped’ into your head – it is always tempting to write the newest and brightest. However, can it wait? Maybe ask is it reflecting a current topic? Would it be best to get it published sooner rather than later?
4. You have several unfinished manuscripts pending. (This is my current quandary.) How do you choose?
The above options do give us guidance but if you are not committed to a deadline then what options are open to you?
a) Write the titles out and pick one out of a hat.
b) Ask your readers on social media to choose by voting.
c) Gauge the current ‘popular’ genre and write accordingly.
I have opted for b) and received a flurry of votes on Facebook and twitter, which was a pleasant surprise indeed.
The choices were – A western romance or a suspense novel. The suspense won! So I will delve into The Giving Thief for this year and into next.
As I have only a few chapters of re-editing to complete on my steam punk novel before it goes to my publisher, I thought I would let you vote on which book I delve into next. I have two manuscripts that I can choose from. So let’s see which is the most popular.
1. Willow Tree Tears. Western romance. Barrel racing champion, Madison Beauchamp has two suitors, one who knows her lifestyle and works on her father’s ranch with her but who has a hidden agenda, and the other, who lives in another country, a world away from her norm. Who should Madison choose? The one who knows her life all too well or the exotic wealthy Italian?
2. The Giving Thief. Suspense. He ran away from a horrific act, now living in the forest alone. How long can he stay hidden? Can he survive alone? A true hermit or a murderer? Which one appeals the most and let me know why.
TBR Pile Book News
I was happy to receive new books this month. One for my birthday:
If It Bleeds by Stephen King
And the first novel by an old school chum’s daughter
One Step Closer by Sophie Pollard
Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs – excited for the third instalment of this excellent series.
Now the problem is which do I read first? Which one would you pick?
And remember review every books you read on Goodreads or Amazon or Smashwords or anyway you can. Reviews are an authors lifeblood.
This will be a busy week! I attended Word on the Street on 21st September in Lethbridge. It is my fourth visit to that particular location for this event and as always have so much fun meeting readers and new authors. My publisher, Dream Write Publishing attended and I assisted with their table.
There were several authors, I wanted to catch up with from last year: Krysta MacDonald, Jenna Greene, and Bianca Rowena. I was pleasantly surprised to find another author, Natasha Deen, whom I had not seen in quite a while.
We were fortunate that the weather was a balmy +21 (unlike last year when we froze!) as it is a outside canopy event. There was lots to see and many presentations and speakers too.
With that event over I could not sit on my laurels, as I have another event this Saturday 28th September – Words in the Park. So it was home late Monday night, unpack and reorganize. You can imagine my excitement when I found a box of books waiting for me. These are the long awaited sequel to The Rython Kingdom. So many readers wanted a sequel and I spent quite a long time (to my readers frustration) pondering what that story would entail. Now it is here: Rython Legacy – the sequel.
I hope to see you this Saturday – Agora, Community Center, 401, Festival Lane, Sherwood Park, Alberta. 10 am – 4 pm Free admission with local authors galore, music, story telling, treats, games & interactive sessions and prizes too. A family friendly event with something for everyone.
I visited The Hidden Village in 2005, 2007 and decided, after reading the history at the site, that children in North America had to know the story. The man I interviewed was the boy in the Village and he inspired me as well.
How did you come up with the title?
My publisher chose the title and I liked it.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I want them to proclaim “Never Again” – that inhumanity and evil will not be repeated against anyone anymore, especially children!
How much of the book is realistic?
It is all realistic; most of it really happened, and the few fictionalized parts could have happened. It is not fantasy.
Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The characters are based on the boy and his family upon whose stories the novel is based. I met “Walter” when I interviewed him about his life in the Hidden Village.
Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?
Readers can and have found me on Facebook. I am also on Twitter and I have a blog.
Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?
This novel is a stand alone book. I have no present plans for another novel, but I have written two children’s books that could be picture books, but I have to “finesse” them before I submit to publishers.
Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
My favourite is Walter of course. I met him as an adult and after listening to his stories, I could see the little boy he may have been – intelligent, precocious, sensitive and devoted to family. I heard his voice in my head as I wrote the book.
Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?
This is my first book, so this genre is presently my favourite. But if I were to pick a genre, it would be books for children – historical or historical fiction.
Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?
Sometimes I sit down and just write and forget to eat and pretty soon it’s dark. The next day I have to review what I wrote. I plan in my head, but I am more a seat of the pants author I would think. During this process, in my revisions, I would go back to previous chapters and add something I thought about. I was constantly re-reading and changing. But with this book, I did have a plan and it was somewhat sequential because it was based on real life. I don’t know what I would do if I had to write fiction. Not sure I could do fiction; I need some facts.
What is your best marketing tip?
The best marketing items were the bookmarks from the publisher. I have handed out/mailed/presented over 1000 bookmarks since April. They have the title, author and contacts for ordering. For a “tip”, I would say to be consistent and approach bookstores in person to offer your time to do signings/readings. If this is your first book, lead with something that your publisher might have published in the past that would be known to a bookseller. They seem to worry about risking their time on a first-time, unknown author.
Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?
My publisher wanted me to have Facebook and Twitter (both public) and a blog. What I find hindering is keeping up, and not overwhelming or underwhelming readers. I am not a fan of social media and I’ve resisted Instagram mainly because it involves photos and most of the exciting photos from the launches are old now. Not getting feedback from any social media posts is disconcerting; I get likes etc from friends, but nobody new has really seemed to read or respond. I did get messages from students in Belgium and The Netherlands. They were doing book reports on the book and wanted information about the author. They communicated through Facebook.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
Being an abstract random thinker, writing forces me to focus and let the ideas flow, blocking out any other distractions. What age did you start writing stories/poems?
I was probably 9 years old. Poems came later – in university when I was in love; it just promoted poetry all over the place!
Has your genre changed or stayed the same?
The first stories I wrote were based on pictures from magazines. It was fiction back then.
What genre are you currently reading?
Currently I am reading biography – In My Own Words (Ruth Bader Ginsburg)
Do you read for pleasure or research or both?
Pleasure and escapism
Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?
Where is your favorite writing space?
I only have one writing space – my den. If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?
Geraldine Brooks, because she wrote a book about penpals and I’d love to swap stories with her.
If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?
Terschelling, an island in the North Sea, in Holland…or… Vancouver (if I could afford it).
Do you see writing as a career?
I am retired so no career for me.
Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?
I actually forget to eat when I am in the throes of writing.
What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline?
I don’t set deadlines; being retired there are no deadlines. It took me from September 2008 until April 2018 to get the book written, edited, revised and published, in between substitute teaching part-time, traveling, volunteering, reading and daily living.
Born in Winnipeg, raised in a Saskatchewan village, with no running water or TV until she was 12, Janet Wees was a voracious reader. She borrowed books through the mail from the lending library in Regina to quench her curiosity about the world. Radio and Eaton’s Xmas catalogue were sources of entertainment. Being a precocious child, her mother sent her, at age 5, to grade 1 every Friday afternoon. In Grade 8 the principal would ask Janet to “sub” for a Grade 1 teacher who was late for school, occasionally. Thus began a passion for teaching and learning.
Janet attended the Universities of Saskatchewan, Calgary, and Oregon gaining her B.Ed in Special Education, and an M.Ed in Gifted and Talented Education. During her tenure she was involved in professional committees, was a volunteer for the Calgary Youth Science Fair and set up pen pal, environmental, Young Olympians, running, and debate clubs where she was a debate coach and a judge at local and international levels. In her off-times, Janet was a semi-professional photographer for the Calgary Sun, taking photos of Sunshine Boys. It was the 80’s!
In 1959 Janet began writing a pen pal in Holland. It was while on vacation in Holland, with the family, that she discovered The Hidden Villlage and the seed for her book took root.
Now retired, Janet lives in Calgary where her daughter also resides. She is a volunteer greeter at the Calgary Airport, and enjoys reading (favourites are Jhumpa Lahiri, Rona Altrows and Geraldine Brooks) writing letters (400 a year!), travel, snowshoeing, old movies, writing stories, and photography.