Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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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.

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Back to the Work Office, Reading & Book Reviews and Four-legged Distractions

June 16, 2020
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architecture business clean computer

Photo by Ken Tomita on Pexels.com

Two weeks ago saw me return to the work office, it was rather anxiety giving but once I had moved my desk to increase distance, cleaned it with disinfectant and posted signs all over the place – I calmed down a little. It is symptomatic of how many people must feel returning to their workplace. We have been in a safe bubble remotely working from home. Then to be plunged back into an environment, which prior to COVID19 was normal and we didn’t give it a second thought about. Now there are people from other households with differing levels of ‘safety’ protocols. I am taking extra care and will continue to do so. The second wave will come…unfortunately.

It is an adjustment for everyone and we will need time to settle into routine again. In the meantime, I am continuing to read some great novels and edit other author’s work. For some reason my own steampunk manuscript has lacked attention. I need to get back to it. There is the new distraction, of course – Sammie the Schnoodle – and a sharp increase in my step count. Currently I am walking between 10K – 12K a day. So health benefits – yay!

Here she is after her first grooming appointment – a different dog entirely.

Sammie groomed

 

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life

Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Read

Really enjoyed the parallel lives of Hannah. It is similar to Sliding Doors but not if you get my drift. Great alternatives lives and how one choice can change everything.
Loved the characters, particularly Henry!
If you could see the results of your choices – would you want to know?

Currently reading: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31449217-the-heirloom

Heirloom

What are you currently reading? Have you left a review?

Do you have a book recommendation?

Why not friend me on my Goodreads page? https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6477059.Mandy_Eve_Barnett 

Bibliophile Collective Tuesday – Reading & Book Reviews

June 2, 2020
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uncommon

I finished Tom Hanks – Uncommon Type and really enjoyed it. My review: Such a great read. Short stories, some with recurring characters. Each one a glimpse into a life. Well written and fun. An easy book to pick up anytime. Well done Tom!

Now I am reading: Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

If you know me you will understand my purchase. It is not quite reincarnation but a ‘Sliding Doors’ type story. The central character, Hannah lives parallel lives after an accident. It is an easy read.

life

How is your 2020 Book Pledge to review coming along? Have you managed to review every book you’ve read so far in 2002?
Are you also participating in the Goodreads Reading Challenge? I am on track currently with mine. I also completed reading a new manuscript from a fellow author which was a speculative/sci-fi story of nearly 300 pages. Unfortunately, it doesn’t count against the challenge.
What are you currently reading?
What is the last book you reviewed?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – What is Your Favorite Book(s)?

April 7, 2020
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With ‘time’ on our hands many of us have been reading – which is great. However, have you returned to a favourite book (or even books?)

I have several that I have returned to over the years but one seems to be above the others. It is Ferney by James Long. When I think of the story the characters come back like old friends, which is why many of us love a book. If a character spills into your normal life then the author has done their job.

In such narratives we want the characters and their lives to continue, we imagine what happens next and where they are now. It is the same with these characters as it is with long lost friends.

FERNEY

If you are interested in reincarnation (as I am) then this novel is for you but it is also a lovely love story too.

Summary:

When Mike and Gally move to a new cottage in Somerset, it’s to make a new start. But the relationship comes under strain when Gally forms an increasingly close attachment to an old countryman, Ferney, who seems to know everything about her.

What is it that draws them together? Reluctantly at first, then with more urgency as he feels time slipping away, Ferney compels Gally to understand their connection – and to face an inexplicable truth about their shared past.

***

In fact James did write a sequel some 13  years later and although the characters are following on it did not grip me like the first one. However, please don’t be put off by my thoughts. It is still a great story.

It is interesting that the first book was published in 1998 and James didn’t write the sequel until 2011…! That’s some wait for a sequel.

The Lives She Left Behind

The other book which I reread some 35 years later (yes I know showing my age) was The Stand. I picked it up at the airport prior to flying to Canada for the first time (a long time ago) because it was a nice thick book. We’ve all been there prior to a long haul flight – right? Anyway, once I started reading I was completely hooked. This was my introduction to Stephen King and his storytelling. When I read the special complete & uncut edition all those years later, it was still gripping and sucked me into the narrative.

stand

Just a quick sidebar – I had watched the movie Carrie years before but had no idea it was by Stephen at that time.

Why not share your favourite with everyone?

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