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ASK A QUESTION THURSDAY

January 3, 2019
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Hello,

Here is the first question for my new monthly blog topic for writers and authors. Please join in the discussion.

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Should you pick the genre before beginning your story or figure out what genre it is after you have written it?

We can ask, answer and give our opinions in the comments on this post or subsequent Thursdays in January. Let’s make it as interactive as possible.

What is your genre preference?

How do you decide on the genre?

Would picking the genre first make it more difficult to write the story or not?

Do you merge genres to match your story?

Now-a-days there are many merged genres so it is easy to combined a couple (or more) to make your narrative ‘fit’ but is that okay or not?

More discussion on Thursday 10th, 17th, 24th and 31st January. We may go off topic slightly, reveal writing styles, publishing house experiences, agent advice or …

Let each other know about you!

Experience

My experience:

I have always written free flow so never think what the genre might be as I write the narrative. That comes later once the story has completed the first draft and I read it through, making revisions and getting to know the theme of the narrative. Sometimes the characters define the genre and other times it is the story structure and theme.

I have children’s books, YA novellas and several adult novels, so am a multi-genre author. I am led by the story initially, which can be sparked from an overheard conversation, a life event, a prompt/photo or an experience on a road trip.

What about you?

 

 

Author Interview – Mike Deregowski

September 28, 2018
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Mike

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

            Both, by the time I finally get to sit down and write, I have probably been thinking about the scene for a good chunk of the day. I don’t write regularly because I can’t unless I have a clear objective in mind. That being said, I get excited because I know that my idea is a good one, otherwise I wouldn’t have been thinking about it all day.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

            Silence. I need noise to be able to focus. I wrote my first book in a noisy airport, between flights, and I finished my book in 7 months. I worked there, so it was a matter of bringing my Ipad and writing while waiting for the next job. When I went on a writer’s retreat I didn’t get nearly as much done, even though I had nothing else to do but write. Too quiet.

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

            No, it may sound selfish but I would like to be recognized. My last name is fairly unique and I want to use it to my advantage. When my name gets called somewhere public, I want people to know that it is indeed their “favourite author” and not a look alike. Dreams write?

  1. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

            A lot of the members of my writing group in Sherwood Park, Alberta, are friends of mine. The Writers Foundation of Strathcona County has several published authors within it’s organization. Many of which are also with the same local publishing company Dreamwrite Publishing. We share stories and read each other’s books and offer constructive feedback to one another on a regular basis. This helps greatly in developing our writing skills. It also encourages me to explore my craft and expand my horizons. It is because of their feedback on one of my stories that I will be branching out into the children’s book market in the next couple years.

Insane

  1. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

            I have an eight and half book series in the works write now and plans for another series in the future. They may seem to be stand alone, but there are little “Easter eggs” that would suggest otherwise. I have a MSU. (Mike’s Stories Universe) If I reference a character with the same name from another story in my piece of writing, it’s the same character. In fact, in my current series, my main character will meet another main character from a future series at some point. Best bet is to read as much of my works as you can. You never know who will make an appearance or have a secret origin story revealed.

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

            I-pad. More compatible than a laptop by far

  1. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

            As a child grade four to be exact, I was asked a question, “If I could be anyone else for one day, who would I want to be and why?” I answered that I didn’t want to be anyone else but me, because I am comfortable with who I am. The teacher was shocked that a kid could write something like that. I still feel that way today.

Shadowsite

  1. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

            I don’t know if it is under-appreciated or not, but Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn, is amazing. The Humans, by Matt Haig is my most recent obsession though. I enjoyed it so much, I bought most of his other books.

  1. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

            I’d choose a Sloth or a Bat. A Sloth, because I tend to do things slowly when it comes to writing and a Bat because my writing is mostly done at night.

  1. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

            Six. Three children’s books unpublished. One romance thriller, Book one of a Trilogy/Quadrilogy and my third book in my Shadowsite Chronicles series. I am considering compiling my poems I have written and publishing a poetry book, but I am uncertain about that.

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

            I want to have a complete series out and available to the public. Fame and fortune would be nice of course, but simply having a childhood dream come true would be enough for me. The renown is a side effect of the project.

  1. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

            My research consists of me reading my age group books that I am writing for. I write fantasy mostly, so my research is limited, unless I need a real world situation, then it takes me as long as I need to find the answer.

  1. How many hours a day/week do you write?

            What is this hours a “day”? hours per week is… a few. My Sloth tends to be a procrastinator when it comes to writing. I plan to change that though. Hopefully the Nanowrimo challenge will light a fire under my back end.

  1. How do you select the names of your characters?

            Sometimes it’s a play on their abilities. Other times it’s people from real life. Mostly though, it is the first name that pops into my head. In the case of Bruce, from my Shadowsite Chronicles series, my sister had a spruce tree that she named “Bruce the Spruce” and it made me laugh. I wanted to use that in my writing, so I did.

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

            Fight scenes. Too many times, as a reader, I find myself disappointed with the climax of a conflict. I try to make my scenes exciting and satisfactory to read. There is nothing worse than having a amazing build up, followed by a lackluster fight scene. I want the readers to feel like the effort of reading was worth it in the end.

  1. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

            I find Fantasy easiest to right. It’s what I read the most. I don’t balance, I write what my muses tell me to write. I believe that there is no bad story, there is just a inappropriate format. If I am having trouble telling a story, I might write it in a play or a poem instead. That’s the way I balance

  1. How long have you been writing?

            Since I was in grade three technically, although I have only in the last five years tried to have a go at it professionally.

  1. What inspires you?  

            Life. My children’s story came to me when I was working at the airport, loading luggage under the plane. You never know when inspiration is going to hit. Anyone who is interested in writing needs to leave themselves open at all times. Step outside your comfort zone, listen to people talk, ask questions. Some of my best ideas came to me when I least expected them too.

  1. How do you find or make time to write?

            I get a friend to tie me to a chair so I can’t move anything but my hands and neck and say, “no matter what you hear, don’t untie me…” Just kidding of course, I write when the mood strikes. I can’t write if I don’t have an idea in mind. Something I plan to work on in the future though.

  1. What projects are you working on at the present?

            I am working on book three of my Shadowsite Chronicles series, writing song lyrics for a couple local artists and helping write stories for a new video game company called Bedlammage. I am hoping that project takes off so I can start writing perminantly, for a living.

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

Finishing my Shadowsite Chronicles series starting my other series after that, hopefully acquiring more lyric writing opportunities, publishing my children’s books and writing for Bedlammage.

  1. Share a link to your author website.

            http://www.mikederegowski.com or find me on facebook at Mike Deregowski – Author Page.

Bio:

A playwright, novelist, poet, game writer and lyricist, Mike enjoys expanding his writing experience and hopefully inspiring others to follow their hobbies and dreams. Once he joined the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County, in Sherwood Park, Alberta, because of his friend Kelsey Hoople, he found support that he needed and started his journey to become a published author.

 

 

 

Author Interview Jim Christina

July 13, 2018
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Jim Christina

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?  

It can, depends on what and where and when I am writing.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

Crown Royal, a good Martini or constant interruptions…

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

No

  1. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

Too many to mention, but, we all feed into each other. Read each other’s work and give constructive criticism when and where needed.

  1. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

Excellent question. Whereas I try to make each book readable on it’s own, I do incorporate characters and elements from prior novels in each book unless it is truly a stand alone story.

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Editors

  1. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

11th grade, Drama class…we did an impromptu ad-lib skit

  1. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

‘Still Waters’

  1. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Horse

  1. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

None anymore

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

Folks reading and enjoying my stories. Getting rich from writing is a pipe-dream, one of which I have never fed into.

  1. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Long hours of research if it is warranted for the story. So, I guess that would depend. I have researched for months, and I have researched for only a couple hours.

  1. How many hours a day/week do you write?

12-15

  1. How do you select the names of your characters?

Yet another good question. I find names popular or prominent in the old west, and then remember that almost everyone on the outlaw trail had a nick-name. Hit and miss, I reckon.

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

The death of Bobby Malloy in ‘The Rights of Men’.

  1. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

Expertise in the field. Know what you write and write what you know.

  1. How long have you been writing?

10 years

  1. What inspires you?  

Just about everything.

  1. How do you find or make time to write?

Along with running a small publishing company and preparing for a weekly radio show, it’s my job.

  1. What projects are you working on at the present?

The building of an artificial leg that works like a normal leg in 1876.

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

Vacation

  1. Share a link to your author website.

www.jimchristina.net

www.tuscanybaybooks.com

www.blackdogpublishing.co

 

Genres of Literature – Bizarro Fiction

July 9, 2018
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bizarro

Bizarro fiction is a contemporary literary genre, which aims to be both strange and entertaining,  containing hefty doses of absurdism, satire, and the grotesque  along with pop-surrealism and genre-fiction staples, thus creating subversive, weird, and entertaining works. The term was adopted in 2005 by the independent publishing companies Eraserhead Press, Raw Dog Screaming Perss and Afterbirth Books.

The first Bizarro Starter Kit described Bizarro as “literature’s equivalent to the cult section at the video store” and a genre that “strives not only to be strange, but fascinating, thought-provoking, and, above all, fun to read.”

In general however, Bizarro has more in common with speculative fiction, such as science-fiction, horror and fantasy than with avant-garde movements (such as Dadaism and surrealism, which readers and critics often associate it with.

It seems to be a small niche genre and one that appeals to a select audience. However, I think it would be a fun exercise to write a story in this genre.

How about you? Have you written this genre? Or read any books in it?

 

 

 

 

Author Interview Nathan Hystad

May 4, 2018
mandyevebarnett


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Nathan

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

I do most of my writing in the morning, but after a shower. I get up just after 5 am and get an early start at the day. It energizes me, and gets my brain and body going. I find that by doing this, I can go to my day job and be extremely productive. If I’m on a push, or am doing NaNoWriMo (writing 50K words in a month) I’ll write right after work as well, before dinner. I am not a late-night writer.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

I don’t get writers block. I have very specific projects, and for the most part they are outlined, at least as bullet points, with the tighter plot in my head. I made writing part of my daily routine last summer, and when you do that, you get trained to need that time. But if I have to choose something, I’ll say golfing. In the summer I love to go golfing once or twice a week, and that can end up taking out some desk time.

The Event

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

My novels are all currently under my real name, but I do have a series coming out late this year that will be using a pen name. It’s a collaborative project, and it works out better that way.

  1. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I’ve been lucky enough to make a really close-knit group of author friends that I talk to on a daily basis. Without them I wouldn’t be the same writer today. I also interact with a wide net of amazing indie science fiction authors. Being able to bounce ideas off them, whether its marketing or cover ideas is priceless. They are all virtual friends, but I’m heading to a 20bookstoVegas event this November where I’m going to meet a bunch of them.

New Threat

  1. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I’ve written two stand alone’s so far. Sleepy Grove is a supernatural thriller about a woman who works at a cemetery and see spirits. It was a great experience but I don’t think it will see the light of day. Red Creek is out May 18th, and is a hometown horror. It may be my best novel to date (according to me) and I had such a great time writing it.

That leads to what I’ve done with my Sci-Fi series, The Survivors. It starts with The Event, and so far it’s a three book series with the first two out, and book three out May 29th.

They say splitting genres isn’t ideal, but I have so many stories to tell, that I will break conventions to get them out there if necessary.

New World

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Covers and editing. A book needs professional editing, and when I was publishing my first Explorations anthology, I found the artist many of the top selling SF authors were using and had him custom make the cover. I’ve used him for nearly all of my Woodbridge books, and all 4 of my own novels. Tom Edwards is amazing!

  1. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

I was a reader from a young age. My mom claims to have taught me to read when I was 3, and I loved to read. I remember winning the book award in grade one, which was basically a construction paper bird travelling around the room on a scale of books read. I still have little stories from grade 3-4 I wrote.

Explorations

  1. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

I read a lot of books, mostly fantasy and science fiction. I also have read a ton of indie stuff, so I could name far too many that are under-appreciated.

  1. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

I’d be a duck. Calm on the surface, but flailing around under the water.

  1. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I have Sleepy Grove sitting there, and me and my writing partner are working on a 3 book series to release this fall. Book one is done, and I’m currently writing book 2.

Explorations 2

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

I’ve never wanted to write that masterpiece high school students read in a hundred years. I want to write books people can enjoy, and move on to the next one. My first book only came out two months ago, and I still have a best-seller tag on Amazon, so I’ve already surpassed any life-time goals on that front.

  1. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Depends on the project. I use google maps a lot, and to be honest, I try to write what I know. You’ll see a lot of New York in my writing, and that’s because I’ve been there on vacation four times, and love the place. I find that life experience is the best research for writing you can find.

Red Creek

  1. How many hours a day/week do you write?

I write almost every day of the week, and would say I spend at least 20 hours on book stuff a week. (Plus the time thinking about it…)

  1. How do you select the names of your characters?

Some of the names are nuggets for people I know, and some are random. I try to fit a name with the vibe of the character or location. Not a lot of science to it for me.

The LAST cITY

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

I’ve written some heavy scenes. The Event has a particularly emotional one. The main character’s wife died a few years before the book, and I have a few flashbacks of them together at the start of the book, which are relevant to the plot of the series. Here’s an excerpt:

Janine was in bed sleeping soundly when I stepped into the room. The hot soup cup was burning my hands, and I just stood there with the pain. I felt like I needed the distraction, like the burning would make my other pain go away somehow. Even though we were in our own house, the smell of the hospital still stuck in my nostrils, and I wasn’t sure if the chemical scent would ever be gone.

It was time, and Janine demanded to come home for the end. How could I deny that beautiful woman’s wishes when she was so small and frail, her life slipping away in hours and minutes instead of decades and years like someone her age should have left?

I put the soup down, sat at the foot of the bed, and just watched her breathe. The sounds lulled me, and I felt my own eyes getting droopy. I lay down and curled up beside my wife like I always did when we went to bed. Even if it was too warm, I needed to feel her body next to mine to fall asleep. I’d become dependent on her in so many ways, and I had no idea what I was going to do when she was gone. As I closed my eyes, I thought about dying and wondered if we would be together in some sort of afterlife if I ended my own life when she was gone. My last thoughts were of a bottle of whiskey and a vial of pills before sleep took over my exhausted body.

I woke to her touch. A soft kiss on my lips; her hair cascading down on my face. I cried and felt shame in my pain. She was the one dying and I was the one crying about it like a baby constantly. The worst part was, it seemed like she was okay with having a husband who couldn’t stop blubbering.

“Janny, I love you so much. I’m so sorry this happened,” I blurted between sobs.

She looked me in the eyes, and for the first time in weeks, I saw her own eyes well up. A single tear fell slowly and splashed on my cheek. It mingled with my own, and somehow, I felt better for it.

  1. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

I love science fiction, and always have. It was natural for me to write there. I also have a long-time love of horror, and needed to write in that genre too. My main focus will be in Sci-fi now that I’ve found success there, but hope to still do some passion projects.

  1. How long have you been writing?

I used to dabble, but really only for the last 4 years. I started to write, and the floodgates opened up inside me. There was no turning back.

cRIME

  1. What inspires you?  

A lot of things. The outdoors, trees, green grass, the smell of autumn, the energy of a big city…so many things inspire my thought process, and I take them all and use it in my writing.

  1. How do you find or make time to write?

Routine. I get up early to do it. No excuses.

  1. What projects are you working on at the present?

I’m working on my final final final proof read of Red Creek, and about to send New World (Survivors book 3) to my formatter.

Baby

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

I’m going to be releasing a 3 book pen name series this fall, as well as book 4 of The Survivors. From there, I have many plans for 2019!

  1. Share a link to your author website.

You can follow along at www.nathanhystad.com I haven’t been around it to blog much lately, but you can follow my newsletter from there, and see what I’m up to. I also run www.scifiexplorations.com with some friends where we promote the best indie authors and their deals and new releases. Follow along there for some amazing promotions.

Bio:

Nathan Hystad is an author from outside of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He lives there with his wife, dog and piles of books. He runs Woodbridge Press, and is the series editor and creator of the Explorations series of anthologies. 

 

 

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