Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Bookstore Romance Day

August 23, 2022
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I was very happy to be asked by my local bookstore, The Sherwood Park Bookworm to be included in this fun event. Copies of all my books can be found in the store, but of course the main five for this specific event were – The Twesome Loop (reincarnation/romance), The Commodore’s Gift (steampunk/romance), Life in Slake Patch (speculative fiction) and the two Rython novellas – The Rython Kingdom & Rython Legacy (medieval set fantasy/romance)

As we all know it is so important to support and buy local. Chain stores use their buying power to cut prices, but it is the personal touch and knowing you are helping an entrepreneur that is so important.

Do you have a favorite local bookstore?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Story Using a Character’s Name Prompt

July 12, 2022
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We were set a prompt at our writer’s meeting, and I thought you may enjoy the story I created from it.

This was the prompt: What’s in a Name? Build a character’s traits based on the meaning of their first or last name. Look up name meanings. Write a scene or story starring your new character.

First name, female: Keara – dark one

The first time the baby opened her eyes, her mother, Krystal, knew she was different. Not just special as all babies are, but unusual and rare. Her daughter’s eyes appeared black, but when she looked up in fear, worrying there was something wrong, the doctor assured her they were actually very, very dark brown, caused by an abundance of melanin. The baby’s eyes were mesmerizing, and many visitors were both troubled and fascinated in equal measure. For days Krystal pondered what she should call her daughter. The names she thought of before the birth now seemed common and usual, not fitting for this remarkable babe.

It wasn’t until four days after the birth that Krystal’s grandmother came to visit. A woman of Irish descent and somewhat of a believer in ancient wisdom. She picked up the baby and stared into her eyes for a long time. The baby held still and silent, even though Krystal knew she was due a feed. It seemed grandmother and granddaughter accessed each other, became known to the other and an understanding reached. When her grandmother lowered the baby into Krystal’s arms, she spoke in a whisper.

            “You will call her, Keare, the dark one. She is of another time in her soul.”

            Krystal instinctively embraced her baby a little tighter. “Gran, what do you mean, what are you saying?”

            “Her previous incarnation was a powerful warrior, leader of men and fearless in battle. She will remember nothing in a few months’ time, but for now she is struggling with her new body, time and place. Be respectful and do not talk down to her. You are so fortunate to have brought her into this world.”

            “How is that possible, Gran?”

            “Such powerful and forceful soul’s do return, some because of unfinished business, others to continue a task. I cannot determine which one is Keare’s path. Time will tell. As I said she will lose her past life memories soon, however her mission will come forth and be revealed as she grows.”

            “What am I to do, Gran? How do I ensure Kaere finds this path?”

            “Her nature will come through, her likes and dislikes, her passions. Guide her and make note of what appeals and interests her. You are her guardian in more ways than one my dear.”

            “I don’t know if I am up to the task, Gran. Can you help me?”

            “Of course, I will help you and the child. Her future may be unknown as yet, but it will become evident as she ages. Do not stress, for now, she is a baby and only requires your love and care.”

Two decades later, Kaere, has grown into a dark haired, dark eyed beauty with a forceful personality, who never suffers fools gladly. Free from the conventions and expectations of her childhood, she finds her true core value. She showed little interest in the usual girly pursuits of childhood, such as dolls and pretty dresses, favoring walks in the forest, comfortable and practical attire and the company of boys. Now, she has a company of young men, who blindly follow her lead, unsure of what propels them to do so, but unable to resist. Not a lovesick infatuation but a certainty she is a leader, someone who takes charge. Her male university colleagues, professors and lecturers are all under her spell, making the female population both jealous and wary of her.

Kaere finds her purpose in her twenty first year. A chance encounter and forceful discussion with a political science lecturer propels her into a meteoric advancement into politics. She is seen as not only strong but fearless in her ambitions with the backing of numerous powerful and rich men following her without question. She is focused, determined and above all completely believes in her path – a path foreseen by her grandmother. She will make a difference in this world as she did in the last.

:et me know what you thought of this story. I always love hearing back from my followers.

Photo by Alvin Ng on Pexels.com

Let me know what you think of this story.

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Reincarnated Characters Whose Who in The Twesome Loop

July 5, 2022
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If you have ever watched the movie Cloud Atlas, you will have struggled to keep up with the reincarnated characters and their separate journeys in each life. For example, Tim Hanks plays these multiple roles: a doctor, a hotel manager, a physicist, a roughneck author, an actor, a cowardly goatherd and a representative of the last vestiges of advanced civilization who reside on an off-world colony. Halle Berry and Jim Broadbent also take on multiple roles adding to the complexity of the stories set in timelines from 1800’s to 2144. It is a movie you need to watch several times to really understand it.

When I decided to write my own reincarnated romance novel, The Twesome Loop, I had to decide on the time periods and how many characters would actually reincarnate. To achieve the similarities of these characters in each of their lives I needed certain personality traits to ‘echo’ in each life. Then it was a matter of writing two time periods, which followed similar paths for each character and their relationships chapter upon chapter.

Once I wrote the whole story, I printed it out, then laid out each chapter across the living room floor. Then took time to arrange them into a sequence with each time period echoing the other. As you can imagine this was a complex task!

Although, there are other characters within the story these are the main ‘reincarnated’ souls and their journeys.

Eighteenth century William Folkes is an older rich, egotistical and depraved man, using his powerful position in society to take what he wants. In the twentieth century, Brett Shaw is a gold digger, womaniser, and morally corrupt.

Folkes arranges to marry a young woman, Gabriella, in exchange for high society favours for her father. She is innocence and helpless to refuse this marriage. Twentieth century Melissa Shaw is a spinster with a good inheritance, she is Brett’s target for a good life for himself.

William’s younger brother, Arthur and Gabriella fall in love and are thwarted by William until they conceive a plan. Twentieth century Gerald Conway-Smythe is a successful business man with a obsessive interest in reincarnation. A chance encounter with Melissa sparks a past life link.

Eighteenth century Vessy is a ‘special’ servant to William and sates his depraved behaviour, although she has a plan of her own. Twentieth century Nancy Beecham uses her rich parents to live comfortably, while pretending to search for the perfect career, but indulges her appetites as a cam girl.

As you can see the characters past and present have similarities, it is these that allows you, dear readers, to identify whose who. I hope you will enjoy the story and leave a review once you have read The Twesome Loop.

If the book is ever made into a movie it is these four characters who will be highlighted.

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Strange Places Research Takes an Author

April 14, 2022
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There are several memes that state an author’s browsing history should be ignored and/or immediately deleted. We can find ourselves researching the strangest subjects, all of which are perfectly innocence. (One would hope anyway!) I think the most alarming subject for anyone to find on my history would be wanting to know under what conditions a body can dry out and become mummified. Yep, I researched that! This relates to a novel yet to be finalized, The Giving Thief and I will not be giving any hints as to why.

When I wrote The Rython Kingdom and Rython Legacy, I required medical procedures and medicines from the English medieval period. There were several ‘cures’ I think would have given the poor patient an impossible decision whether to suffer the illness or the cure! Most of the ‘research’ for these novellas was personal experience of medieval castles during visits to such sites in England, and history lessons when I lived there.

Another backburner manuscript is Willow Tree Tears, which resulted in my gaining knowledge of barrel racing. I had never been to a rodeo at the time of initially writing the book, so did some internet research. However, I was fortunate to connect with a couple of barrel racing champions, who were very helpful in their advice. It has made the narrative a lot better.

The Twesome Loop is a reincarnation romance incorporating my interest in that specific subject. My interest began during my nursing days, when a couple of incidents led me down the path to find literature on the topic.

In Life in Slake Patch, I needed to find a natural element that could hinder pregnancy, either temporarily or permanently. Surprisingly, I found one,

When I was writing The Commodore’s Gift, I needed to immerse myself in the steampunk genre, and found a plethora of mechanical devices. I also needed to know the most crucial areas to incapacitate a person with a blade!

As author’s we can get immersed in the research, but it is also a great learning tool that we, in turn pass onto our readers. We need to be careful to know our subject because an expert will pick up on any irregularities or misinformation. As the saying goes, we learn something new every day.

What is the ‘strangest’ thing you have researched?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – The Story of My Book Cover’s and Their Illustrators

April 12, 2022
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With a multiple of genres in my repertoire, I have utilized several book cover illustrators to achieve the best cover for each book. All of them have a unique style and process for creating the images. As an author the book cover is a vital tool to attract our readers. It needs to reflect in a quick and simple way the genre of the story and entice our readers to take a look.

Which cover(s) do you like?

Rumble’s First Scare

This cute little monster was the result of a mental image of mine. I asked Matthew McClatchie to bring him to life. This was achieved with my writing down a description of Rumble, as best I could and of the images for each page within the picture book. It took multiple emails back and forth until Rumble emerged. This is the excitement of working with a great illustrator, a mind meld as it were.

Ockleberries to the Rescue

I commissioned J.E. McKnight, a fellow author and artist to help me with this project as I required ‘real’ sketches of animals and Joe’s pencil and ink drawings were perfect for the chapter headers. We used nature photography for the majority of the images, as a basis for the images and a couple were a collaboration of my poor attempts at sketches and Joe’s interpretation of the subject.

Clickety Click

Again, most of the images were in my mind’s eye but the protagonist was a ‘real’ girl, so I asked Linda J. Pedley of Wildhorse Creative Arts & Photography to help with the chapter header images. I described what each scene should incorporate and then Linda drew them in pencil and ink. Again, it is the worth of a great illustrator to draw what an author’s mind envisions.

Creature Hunt on Planet Toaria

I had such fun with this project as it was open to my imagination to create an alien world and who better to use than Matthew McClatchie’s unique technique? From my previous experience with Matty, I knew he would interpret my ‘mental images’ and badly constructed collages to make them come to life. 

The Rython Kingdom

I found the illustrator for this novella via a Facebook friend. At the time, Winter Bayne utilized an online program for images and models. While working together we created the book cover from several different images I felt were important to the cover. Alas Winter no longer offers her services, so I am glad I got to work with her.

Rython Legacy

Unable to use Winter Bayne on this sequel, I was at a loss as who to turn to in order to achieve a similar cover. Luckily, through a Facebook contact I was able to connect with Wren Taylor Cover Design, who knew Winter. She utilizes the same sort of program and we collaborated well on the image to tie it to the first book with an orb shape.

The Twesome Loop

This image was again a collaboration with Winter Bayne, where I wanted several images merged. An olive tree, an old stone well and the lovers. She was able to find models dressed in period costume for the original couple in this reincarnation based romance.

Life in Slake Patch

I was vacationing in England when the original book cover was finalized for this novel, so emails were numerous. Linda J Pedley of Wildhorse Creative Arts & Photography managed to create a scene using multiple images I sent. Subsequently the cover was changed to the current one by Wren Taylor Cover Design to align with my other adult novel covers.

The Commodore’s Gift

Knowing the process and our mutual understanding I once again used Wren Taylor Cover Design to create the cover. It is the culmination of numerous images merged into my vision. There are many items within the cover that required closer inspection. Can you find them? A clockwork bird, a clock, a propulsion device, deep sea divers helmet/octopus, and a heart.

My current detective series has covers already designed by Wren Taylor Cover Design, but they will only be revealed once the trilogy is finalized and published. Yes, I know I’m teasing.

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