Tag Archives: stories

Mandy’s Year in Books – Goodreads.


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This is a cool graphic from Goodreads – detailing your year’s reading. If you are on Goodreads – take a look at your book reading chart.

https://www.goodreads.com/user/year_in_books/2016/5477628?utm_source=fb

Why not share yours here? Recommend books here too.

Music To Listen to While Writing…


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There are some wicked tracks on this list, many I do listen to, mostly the more ‘classical’ ones as they don’t interfere with my thought processes as much as a ‘popular’ tune would do. There is a tendency to sing along or revert back to the movie scene, jilting me away from my narrative and the ‘mood’ I am creating within it.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/danieldalton/write-music

I have a few favorite composers – Beethoven, Handel, Bach and Strauss to name a few, all of which were introduced to me as a child by my parents. The tracks I listen to are old friends and never disappoint whether I am writing or not. There is something so calming, resounding and comfortable about classical music. It allows my mind to relax and conjure up stories.

What type of music allows your Muse to flow?

Do you change the type of music you listen to in relation to the genre or scene you are writing?

On a side note if you have never watch Cloud Atlas – I suggest you do but realize you will have to watch it several times to get the whole story! Very cleverly done but initially confusing.

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Facebook Group Spotlight – Medieval Romance Novels. The Rython Kingdom…


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Facebook Group – Medieval Romance Novels. https://www.facebook.com/groups/MedievalRomanceNovels/

On today’s post I am reflecting the post I put onto the above group with the added bonus of an excerpt. The novella is actually two stories in one, the story of Guillem’s adventure and the tale he relays to the King’s court.

Bio: Mandy Eve-Barnett resides in Alberta, Canada but is originally from England. She is a multi-genre author and freelance writer and lives and breathes the written word and creativity in all its forms. She is the Secretary of her local writing group, the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County, and President of the Arts and Culture Council of Strathcona County.
Mandy publishes regularly on her blog – http://www.mandyevebarnett.com – where she has built a thriving writing community – sharing tips, news, interviews, and excerpts. She has published three children’s books and her adult novella, set in medieval England, The Rython Kingdom. She has also co-written a guide to memoir writing. Currently working on four manuscripts Mandy is never happier than writing and creating imaginary worlds.
Blog: http://www.mandyevebarnett.com
Twitter https://twitter.com/mandyevebarnett
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Mandyevebarnettcom/
Link to excerpt of The Rython Kingdom https://mandyevebarnett.com/my-adult-books/

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Excerpt: 

The Rython Kingdom –  Chapter One

“He’s coming! He’s coming! Guillem Ruet is here!”

Guillem smiled at the group of children running beside his horse as he rode toward the castle’s drawbridge. Dirty and barefooted, these youngsters would not be lucky enough to hear his newest tale, first hand. That pleasure would be for the inner court alone. It was a strange and most complex tale and all the more mysterious for being made of a dream.

Shouts of his approach preceded him, thrown from one person to the next across the dirt track and woven among the shacks lining it. The summer heat had denuded the earth of moisture; dust swirled around his mount’s hooves, creating a cloak of fine grains behind them, shrouding rider and horse. Ahead, the King’s standards lay limp against their poles high above on the castle turrets; thin strips of coloured cloth obscuring the lion head emblem of the king. More children, and some adults, ran beside him, eager to witness this famed troubadour first hand. The talk among the courtiers and peasants alike had been of his arrival and little else for many weeks.

As Guillem entered under the portcullis, it brought back memories of returning from battle years previously. Conquering heroes were showered with flowers and rewarded with grand feasts and warmed by many a maid. Serving as a knight in his younger days, Guillem had been admired for his prowess in battle, but now he was even more revered as a troubadour. His tales of battles and faraway lands held audiences spell bound as he punctuated them with displays of swordsmanship and the exhibiting of combat scars. So popular was Guillem that a feast or festival without his presence was considered incomplete. Fierce competition between lords kept Guillem’s purse and belly full as he traveled from one borough to the next, shamelessly attending whomever paid the highest fee. His new life fulfilled his wander-lust. Being confined to one place filled him with dread as did faithfulness to just one maid. Why restrict yourself to one when there were so many to pick from – all willing to bed the famous knight and troubadour?

Word had reached him a month prior notifying him the king himself requested Guillem’s presence at court. It was an honor to be bestowed with such a command and Guillem did not hesitate to comply. Not dallying at Lord Suffolk’s seat; as was his usual habit. Normally, he would take advantage of the many benefits afforded him but, this time, he packed his saddlebags the very same night and set off toward the king’s domain at daybreak. Several requests for his presence had made it to his ears as he traveled but each was declined in favor of an audience at the king’s court. Once it was common knowledge the king had requested Guillem to speak, Guillem knew he would be able to use it to increase his fee.

Ahead of him now was the sovereign’s castle keep with sentries standing at both sides of a stairway leading up to massive oak doors. The excited crowd jostled for position to get closer to Guillem and perchance to touch him or his fine mount. A herald sounded his trumpet as Guillem dismounted. The shouts died away as all eyes centered on the keep’s massive doors. They slowly opened. All knees bent and heads bowed as the regal figure of King Henry was revealed, resplendent in deep purple robe and golden crown. With measured steps, King Henry descended the stone stairs.

“Welcome, Guillem Ruet, your reputation precedes you. My courtiers and subjects have talked of little else but your arrival for these many weeks. Come and drink ale with me. You must be weary from your journey.”

Guillem bowed deeply again then handed his horse’s reins to a saddle hand, who was fidgeting beside him. As the boy led his mount away, Guillem could hear the lad’s excited whisper to the surrounding crowd.

“Look, look, I have his horse to care for.”

Careful to remain a step behind, Guillem followed his King into the castle’s dark interior. The huge stone blocks prevented the heat of the outside world from entering. Guillem shivered involuntarily. I should have taken my cloak out of the saddlebag before releasing my horse into the care of the boy. Then another thought struck him and he turned to see his horse being led away on the far side of the courtyard – he had not secured the small box. He had promised a mysterious old man he would not let it leave his possession and now it was in the hands of a young stable lad.

“The fire will warm your bones, Guillem. Is something amiss? You seem anxious?”

“Thank you, Sire. I relinquished my cloak without thinking but I also forgot to retrieve a certain object.”

“Do not worry, Guillem. I will have your saddlebags brought to your room presently. If there is anything missing I shall deal with the culprit myself. But for now….” The King raised a hand to summon a serf, “Stephen, a robe for our guest.”

A young man appeared from the shadow of a stone column and presented Guillem with a thick woolen robe. Its heavy warmth felt pleasing. Serfs opened an inner door as the King approached and allowed the two men to enter the great hall. Long oak tables flanked the centre aisle below a raised platform where the King’s ornately carved table and throne stood. Following his sovereign’s lead, Guillem walked toward the roaring fire at the far side of the huge room. Its radiant heat was welcome in the cool interior of the castle.

“Sit with me, Guillem, you will soon warm. Bring ale, Stephen.”

“As you command, your majesty.”

The serf had moved so silently that Guillem jumped when he responded to his master’s command.

“Guillem, why do you start so?”

“Sorry, Sire – I was unaware of your serf’s presence; gave me a bit of a shock when he spoke.”

“Not so surprising, Guillem, we call him Silent Stephen. He seems to glide instead of walk, although to watch him you cannot see any difference from any other man’s stride.”

“Strange indeed, my Lord, is he born of a witch?”

“Actually no, Guillem, his mother was a maid to my mother. He has grown up within these walls and knows no other life than to live and serve here.”

***

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The Rython Kingdom is available as a print book at http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/retail/books/rython-kingdom

Also available as an ebook from all Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes and Noble.

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Writing Prompt Contest – Safe Waters..?


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Your story (or poem) starter:

It was supposed to be a retreat but then the water began to rise…

Enjoy this prompt and leave your response in the comments. 1000 words maximum for a short story. Poems can be any length.

A quarterly prize will be given for the most voted for response.

A Look Back – My First Attempt at Writing…


I was looking back on my writing progress this weekend and came across a blog post I wrote in February 2011. Prior to that piece of writing, I had not tried out my ‘writing muscles’ in any form.fire

When I first joined my writing circle I was too shy and unsure of my ‘talent’ to read, but did enjoy listening to other members work. Eventually I summoned up the courage to read a piece. It was short and the result of a 5 minute writing exercise. The shocked faces around me as I finished reading will stay with me forever. It is still a conversation piece even now! So I thought I would share it – the three words I was challenged to use were Fire, Clock & Certainty.

Fire light flickered on the walls and ceiling as Joan sat with a glass of her favorite red wine. Watching the flames lick the logs and send little sprays of ash and sparks upward, she tried to calm her mind. It was a certainty that Thomas would be angry with her once he knew of her accident. The clock ticked as its hands made their gradual path towards 9 o’clock and the inevitable argument.
Joan had tried to cover up the dented fender with a casually placed cloth but Thomas would immediately know something was wrong as she had parked in his place in the garage. Such a creature of habit, her husband he had rules and very particular likes and dislikes. His routine had to be strictly adhered to or there was hell to pay. She knew he would go over the top with his recriminations and probably ban her from driving for months.
The clock struck nine and she heard the garage door open as Thomas drove up to it. Straining her ears she heard his car drive forward and then shriek to a halt. His place was taken up by her car now he would be mad. A slam of the driver’s door told her he was walking through to the kitchen and she could feel his presence enter the lounge.
She squeezed the trigger slowly as the instructor had told her and Thomas’ face flew apart. No more shouting, no more rules, no more living in fear. Watching Thomas’ foot twitch as the life left him gave her a rare feeling of joy. No more tormentor.

What was the first piece you read aloud to an audience?

Since this foray into writing, I have experienced an incredible journey. My writing group members have become firm friends, given me encouragement, advice and support. Without my passion and the fellowship I have enjoyed with them, I would not now be personally published, not just once but four times. (And twice in other collaborations).There are many projects for the future and ideas crowd my mind on a daily basis. It is my happy place, where I feel alive and my are words appreciated. I admit I am obsessed with this particular craft form and long may it continue.

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Great British Novels – Which Ones Have You Read..?


The British novel has influenced the medium around the world for centuries. Here is a list of the top one hundred.

How many have you read?

Was it required reading at school or pleasure later in life?

Can you choose a favorite or two?

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100. The Code of the Woosters (PG Wodehouse, 1938)
99. There but for the (Ali Smith, 2011)
98. Under the Volcano (Malcolm Lowry,1947)
97. The Chronicles of Narnia (CS Lewis, 1949-1954)
96. Memoirs of a Survivor (Doris Lessing, 1974)
95. The Buddha of Suburbia (Hanif Kureishi, 1990)
94. The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (James Hogg, 1824)
93. Lord of the Flies (William Golding, 1954)
92. Cold Comfort Farm (Stella Gibbons, 1932)
91. The Forsyte Saga (John Galsworthy, 1922)
90. The Woman in White (Wilkie Collins, 1859)
89. The Horse’s Mouth (Joyce Cary, 1944)
88. The Death of the Heart (Elizabeth Bowen, 1938)
87. The Old Wives’ Tale (Arnold Bennett,1908)
86. A Legacy (Sybille Bedford, 1956)
85. Regeneration Trilogy (Pat Barker, 1991-1995)
84. Scoop (Evelyn Waugh, 1938)
83. Barchester Towers (Anthony Trollope, 1857)
82. The Patrick Melrose Novels (Edward St Aubyn, 1992-2012)
81. The Jewel in the Crown (Paul Scott, 1966)
80. Excellent Women (Barbara Pym, 1952)
79. His Dark Materials (Philip Pullman, 1995-2000)
78. A House for Mr Biswas (VS Naipaul, 1961)
77. Of Human Bondage (W Somerset Maugham, 1915)
76. Small Island (Andrea Levy, 2004)
75. Women in Love (DH Lawrence, 1920)
74. The Mayor of Casterbridge (Thomas Hardy, 1886)
73. The Blue Flower (Penelope Fitzgerald, 1995)
72. The Heart of the Matter (Graham Greene, 1948)
71. Old Filth (Jane Gardam, 2004)
70. Daniel Deronda (George Eliot, 1876)
69. Nostromo (Joseph Conrad, 1904)

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68. A Clockwork Orange (Anthony Burgess, 1962)
67. Crash (JG  Ballard 1973)
66. Sense and Sensibility (Jane Austen, 1811)
65. Orlando (Virginia Woolf, 1928)
64. The Way We Live Now (Anthony Trollope, 1875)
63. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Muriel Spark, 1961)
62. Animal Farm (George Orwell, 1945)
61. The Sea, The Sea (Iris Murdoch, 1978)
60. Sons and Lovers (DH Lawrence, 1913)
59. The Line of Beauty (Alan Hollinghurst, 2004)
58. Loving (Henry Green, 1945)
57. Parade’s End (Ford Madox Ford, 1924-1928)
56. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (Jeanette Winterson, 1985)
55. Gulliver’s Travels (Jonathan Swift, 1726)
54. NW (Zadie Smith, 2012)

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53. Wide Sargasso Sea (Jean Rhys, 1966)
52. New Grub Street (George Gissing, 1891)
51. Tess of the d’Urbervilles (Thomas Hardy, 1891)
50. A Passage to India (EM Forster, 1924)
49. Possession (AS Byatt, 1990)
48. Lucky Jim (Kingsley Amis, 1954)
47. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (Laurence Sterne, 1759)
46. Midnight’s Children (Salman Rushdie, 1981)
45. The Little Stranger  (Sarah Waters, 2009)
44. Wolf Hall (Hilary Mantel, 2009)
43. The Swimming Pool Library (Alan Hollinghurst, 1988)
42. Brighton Rock (Graham Greene, 1938)
41. Dombey and Son (Charles Dickens, 1848)

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40. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll, 1865)
39.  The Sense of an Ending (Julian Barnes, 2011)
38. The Passion (Jeanette Winterson, 1987)
37. Decline and Fall (Evelyn Waugh, 1928)
36. A Dance to the Music of Time (Anthony Powell, 1951-1975)
35. Remainder (Tom McCarthy, 2005)
34. Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro, 2005)
33. The Wind in the Willows (Kenneth Grahame, 1908)
32. A Room with a View (EM Forster, 1908)
31. The End of the Affair (Graham Greene, 1951)
30. Moll Flanders (Daniel Defoe, 1722)
29. Brick Lane (Monica Ali, 2003)
28. Villette (Charlotte Brontë, 1853)
27. Robinson Crusoe (Daniel Defoe, 1719)
26. The Lord of the Rings (JRR Tolkien, 1954)
25. White Teeth (Zadie Smith, 2000)

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24. The Golden Notebook (Doris Lessing, 1962)
23. Jude the Obscure (Thomas Hardy, 1895)
22. The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling (Henry Fielding, 1749)
21. Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad, 1899)
20. Persuasion (Jane Austen, 1817)
19. Emma (Jane Austen, 1815)
18. Remains of the Day (Kazuo Ishiguro, 1989)
17. Howards End (EM Forster, 1910)
16. The Waves (Virginia Woolf, 1931)
15. Atonement (Ian McEwan, 2001)
14. Clarissa (Samuel Richardson,1748)
13. The Good Soldier (Ford Madox Ford, 1915)
12. Nineteen Eighty-Four (George Orwell, 1949)
11. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen, 1813)
10. Vanity Fair (William Makepeace Thackeray, 1848)
9. Frankenstein (Mary Shelley, 1818)
8. David Copperfield (Charles Dickens, 1850)
7. Wuthering Heights (Emily Brontë, 1847)
6. Bleak House (Charles Dickens, 1853)
5. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë, 1847)
4. Great Expectations (Charles Dickens, 1861)
3. Mrs. Dalloway (Virginia Woolf, 1925)
2. To the Lighthouse (Virginia Woolf, 1927)
1. Middlemarch (George Eliot, 1874)

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Life After Death – Books for You to Discover..


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In my many years of interest and research into this phenomenon, I have found many books that give enlightening information on life after death and reincarnation. Some are pure statistical lists, others belief based and others scientific. No matter the avenue of knowledge, you can find some exceptional stories in them all.

I have attached a link to Goodreads list of near death books for your perusal. Enjoy.https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/near-death-experience

Have you researched this topic before?

Did my blog posts entice you to know more?

One book I found many years ago, detailed a professor who agreed with several colleagues that the first one of them to pass would contact the others by any means possible. It was a year or so later after his death, that each colleague experienced ‘channeled writing’. They discovered that they had all written a paragraph detailing this professors experience on the other side. Once the narrative was collected and pieced together, it told of his death, details of his funeral and other details he could only know if he ‘saw’ them.

Unfortunately I misplaced this book years ago and have never been able to find it again. However, the story has never left me.

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Does Past-Life Regression Work..? Re-blog


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As you have read before – https://mandyevebarnett.com/2016/07/13/regression-past-lives-visited/ – I underwent a regression session many years ago. I would like to experience this again in the future as my curiosity wants to know, who I was in the other four lives that I did not explore.

This interview with a doctor who uses regression to assist patients is intriguing and gives a new light on the ‘popularity’ of regression. It can be a useful tool to banish emotional fears and bring understanding to behaviors that were previously unexplained.

http://www.oprah.com/health/Does-Past-Life-Regression-Work

Of course there will always be skeptics and I was certainly skeptical when one of my ‘lives’ turned out to be a squaw. However, it explained my fascination with that aboriginal life from any early age, it was ‘memory’ of that life.

There maybe ‘traces’ of a past life, which you have never explored or explained. Examples are a fascination with a particular era, a fear of something or even a birthmark that is evidence of an old wound or is ‘just like’ the one on an ancestor. Meditation can release past memories in some people, giving them an insight into current behaviors and in some cases resolves irrational ‘fears’.

Would you go for a regression session?

Have you already been? Would you share your experience?

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Communicate With The Dead -ReBlog…


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Today I am reblogging an article by Judith Fein. She was kind enough to give me permission to do so.

My mother died two months ago. Before her passing, I asked her on three separate occasions to send me a sign in the form of white feathers. The first time she sneered. The second time she rolled her eyes. And the third time she didn’t answer. So I forgot about it.

Communicating with the dead has actually been a secret part of my life for many years. It began when my father died when I was in my senior year of college. I used to go to the cemetery to visit him, and one day, quite unexpectedly, he spoke to me. “Don’t give up your writing either,” he said.

“Either what?” I thought. Why did he talk about writing? I was going to be a college professor. As it turned out, he was right. I didn’t give up my writing and I became a writer.

It happened again when a teacher presented me with an owl feather in a large box at the end of a kundalini yoga class. I wasn’t quite sure how to respond to the gift. I lifted it up, and I saw dead people jumping up and down, wanting to speak.

Then it happened with my dear New Zealand friend when I met her in France. She was looking for the cemetery where her grandfather was buried. All she knew was that he died in the battle of the Somme. We chose one of the many military cemeteries in the area and drove there. When we arrived, feathers lined up in front of us, leading the way to an arch, which was flanked by two books bearing the names of the interred. Her grandfather’s name was among them.

Find the rest here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/life-is-trip/201608/yes-you-can-communicate-the-dead

Have you ‘spoken’ to a loved one that has passed?

Have you experienced ‘messages’ from those who have crossed over?