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Ask a Question Thursday

September 12, 2019
mandyevebarnett


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How do you prepare for a book event? Can you share tips/knowledge/experience?

I happen to have two book events this month, which is exciting. The first one is Word on the Street in Lethbridge 21st September.

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I have attended this event several times before and accompany my publisher, Dream Write Publishing. It is an outside event so there is the added preparation for any weather condition – wet, cold or hot. We have experienced all of them at this event, unsurprisingly as September weather in Alberta can be changeable to say the least. As always given the opportunity we have extended our weekend to four days so we can explore the area – back roads and hamlets missed by the highway A to B drivers.

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The second event is Words in the Park, Sherwood Park, which is my official launch date for the anxiously awaited, Rython Legacy – the sequel to The Rython Kingdom. I have two tables at this event as I now have eight books to display plus promotional items. It was difficult last year so I will have to do mock-up’s of the full display and take photos so I can get it all set up with looking too cluttered. As I write in three genre’s I am thinking the display will be grouped in age sections. I have summaries of each book, which helps buyer’s to peruse the story lines. Each section will have different coloured table cloth – which worked well last year. I’m still planning obviously. I have found multiple tiered stands are a great way to increase the amount of room I have to display.

Below is last’s year’s display.

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I would love to see how you arrange your book event display’s – please share in the comments after clicking on the headline.

Author Interview – Sherile Reilly

September 3, 2019
mandyevebarnett


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What inspired your latest novel?

I’m retired now, but my first career was as an elementary school teacher.

One year I had a boy placed in my class who didn’t like me and unfortunately, the feeling was mutual.

Believing the boy would be much happier with a different teacher, I suggested to administration that they place him in a different class. The Assistant Principal informed me that I’d be good for the boy and left him in my class.

As the year progressed, we grew to like each other very much.

In June, when all the other kids had left for summer holidays, the boy stayed at his desk and he said point blank, “I didn’t like you at the beginning of the year”.

(Don’t you love how kids get right to the point? I love their honesty.)

I thought a moment and decided to be honest with him too. I shared that he wasn’t my favorite student at the beginning of the year, either.

We both accepted the idea that we could change our minds. We had a newfound mutual respect and appreciation.

Over the years, I never forgot that boy. I decided I needed to write a story about a woman who didn’t want a particular child. I wanted to show the love, understanding and self-confidence that grew in both characters as they got to know and love each other.

How did you come up with the title?

The title for the trilogy is Bringing Jamie Home. I got this idea when the ten-year-old boy gets lost in Jamie’s Choice, the first book in the trilogy. The hero tells the heroine that they will find the child and bring him home. There! I had it—the title for the book.

At this time, I didn’t know that the one book would lead into a trilogy.

When I finished book one, I knew that one character appeared to be a “piece of work”, as one reviewer called him. I had to figure out why the character was so cynical. This lead to a mystery that had to be solved in the second and third books. All three books work with the idea of “Bringing Jamie Home”.           

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Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

As I mentioned above, I wanted to show the love, understanding and self-confidence that grew in both characters as they got to know and love each other.

How much of the book is realistic?

When I describe the mountains and the snow storm in Jamie’s Choice, I’ve actually been on slippery roads and in snow storms in the mountains. I know how quickly the weather can change.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

See above

Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?

I don’t have a blog, but I’d love people to visit me at my website: SherileReilly.com

Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?

The Bringing Jamie Home books are a trilogy. After them, I wrote a Victorian Paranormal Romance called The Curse of the Lord of Darkness. It’s a stand-alone book. I’m now working on a series which will also be Victorian Paranormal Romances. My books are currently available in print and as eBooks from  Amazon.com.

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Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

My favorite characters are always in the story I’m working on. I’m deeply involved with the characters—just like when I’m reading a book.

Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?

I write Clean, Contemporary Romance and Victorian, Paranormal Romance.

Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?

I love planning my stories. I get ideas and I jot them down on paper. At this point I’m just gathering ideas. I have lots of pieces of info about the characters and the plot.

Next, I think about the order of the scenes. I like to see the story laid out in front of me, so I put the ideas on cards or post-it-notes and arrange them on a two by five foot board. From here, I’m able to see what the general layout of my story will be. Of course there are many changes to this outline, but I really like knowing where the story is going and if the characters are changing and growing.

 

 

What is your best marketing tip?

I don’t know about a marketing tip, but I think authors always have to keep learning the craft–listen to podcasts, read blogs and educate yourself. Join a writing group if there is one in your area. Write the best book that you can and then get it edited by a professional.

Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?

Social media is a very big topic and I’m learning what might work best for me.

 

What do you enjoy most about writing?

I love planning and putting in lots of conflict. Creating characters is exciting. In my Victorian stories I’m always learning more about that time in history. My Victorian stories are set in the United States and it’s interesting to learn about the social restrictions on women in that era.

What genre are you currently reading?

I read across a wide variety of genres. I recently finished a detective novel. Before that I read a Victorian mystery/romance.  I can’t keep up with all the books I’d like to read.

Do you read for pleasure or research or both?

I read for both.

Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

I’ve had tremendous support from my husband who drives me to locations so I get a feeling for the setting.

When she was alive, I also had tremendous support from my mother. She’d have been so pleased with the publication of the Bringing Jamie Home Trilogy.

My sister patiently listens to all my new ideas and offers suggestions.

My friends have helped me so much with my technology problems, blurbs, plots and many other facets of the whole writing process. I also belong to two writing groups that offer excellent workshops.

Best of all, my writer friends are fun and great to hang around with!

Where is your favorite writing space?

Lots of people think they’d like to write on a balcony with a beautiful view of the ocean and the sound of the waves. Rather than encouraging me to write, I’d find this a huge distraction. I’d want to be walking along the beach or visiting the local tourist sights.

I’m quite happy being in a room in the basement, surrounded by books and other writing materials that I need.

Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?

I belong to the Alberta Romance Writers’ Association and also the Calgary Chapter of the Romance Writers of America.  The groups are called ARWA and CaRWA. Both are terrific for teaching people about writing and industry. Of course, there’s a fantastic group of fellow writers.

If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?

I love living right where I am. I love the four seasons and the wonderful changes that each brings.

Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?

When I’m writing, I don’t nibble. If I brought food into the computer room, I’d constantly keep eating and get nothing done. However, I do nibble while I watch TV!

Bio:

Author, artist, and retired teacher, Sherile Reilly has jet boated in New Zealand, climbed the Temple of a Thousand Columns at Chichen Itza, ballooned over the table lands of Northern Australia, and poised for a photographer among the columns of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece.

As a teacher, she read to children and as a world traveler, she collected stories and soon began to create her own, first for her students, and then for adults.

Not tied to any one genre, Sherile writes Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction and Paranormal Romance. Most recently, she published a trilogy, Bringing Jamie Home, and The Curse of the Lord of Darkness.

Author Interview – Danielle Metcalfe-Chenai

August 20, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

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What inspired your latest book?

Alis the Aviator was initially inspired by my son. Andre was two years old and a very wiggly, spirited kid who loved airplanes – but couldn’t sit through long books. I’d just published my second popular aviation history for adults, and had so many fun facts swirling around in my head. I sat on the back porch of my house one day when he was napping and most of the first draft poured out onto the page in the bouncy, rhyming style I love from growing up with Dr. Seuss.

How did you come up with the title?

Alis is based on the real-life Dr. Alis Kennedy, likely the first Indigenous woman in Canada to get her private and commercial pilot’s licenses. I found out about Dr. Alis after I’d completed the ABCs of the book, and then was able to layer in her inspirational story in the bio. Dr. Alis has flown planes, but also is a veteran with a doctorate in psychology, who now dedicates her life to amazing volunteer causes around the world.           

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Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?

I hope that little kids – especially girls – read the book and feel like aviation is a dream they can pursue. The illustrator, Kalpna Patel, did such an amazing job getting the people in her cut-paper art to reflect the incredible diversity we have in Canada and the US. The number of girls and people of colour in aviation is tiny, unfortunately – and I recently learned that only about 1% of all picture books feature Indigenous characters. I hope kids of all backgrounds see themselves reflected in this book!

How much of the book is realistic?

This book is 100% fact-based. It’s a nonfiction picture book that incorporates my years of aviation history research, but presents it in a colourful and quirky way to hopefully capture the imaginations of tykes and their grownups.

Do you have plans for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?

I have a few manuscripts in the works. The one I see following on from Alis the Aviator is a picture book biography of the pioneering Gwich’in pilot, Freddie Carmichael. We’ve known each other for ten years and it was incredible spending a week with him in Inuvik this past March working on the book. I can’t wait to share his story with the world!

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Do you favor one type of genre?

I write across genres and audiences, which can be tricky from a branding perspective! So far I’ve published nonfiction for adults and kids, but I’ve got two novels in the works (a WW2 book and an upmarket contemporary novel). I’ve also been researching and writing a book about the Charles Camsell Indian Hospital that is part memoir and part history.

Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?

I’m a plantser – half and half. It really depends on the project. With my picture books, it’s like writing poetry or songs. I do a ton of research and thinking and then the first draft pours out of me in one or two sittings (with multiple rewrites and tweaks). With my adult popular histories it was easier to plan out ahead of time because I had most of the research done and they were chronological. But even then there were surprises! My novels and creative nonfiction are somewhere in the middle because they are largely based on research and real-life events.

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What is your best marketing tip?

It’s also my best writing and life tip! Make friends. Join communities. Be a good literary citizen. Remember that high tides raise all ships. 

Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?

A little of column A and a little of column B. Or a lot of each, actually. Social media has been a great way to connect with people around the world – especially as I move around so much. I learn so much through those channels as well. At the same time, it can have a toxic quality to it full of judgment, comparison and shaming. I find if I think about it too much it can have a silencing effect, because I worry too much about what other people will think of me. And, like the news, it can be devastating and overwhelming, so I have to be careful how much I take in.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

It’s hard to pick just one! While it’s true that sometimes it can make me cry with how challenging it can be, with how exposed I feel, there are those times when I’m in the flow and it’s like all is well. I’m in alignment. My words come out and I feel that maybe I will be understood and seen.

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What age did you start writing stories/poems?

My parents saved the clippings from when I was a kid – so there’s (often embarrassing) proof that I was scribbling little stories and poems from a young age. I created a little zine in my neighbourhood with friends when I was in elementary school and then was co-editor of a school newspaper in middle school. I think I published my first letter to the editor in the Ottawa Citizen in Grade 8 – then I was totally hooked on bylines!

Has your genre changed or stayed the same?

I have jumped all over the place – poetry, fiction, nonfiction, kidlit and freelance writing for magazines and newspapers. They all feed into each other in interesting ways, I’ve noticed, and taught me different lessons. Freelancing was excellent discipline for hitting deadlines and pitching ideas, and not taking edits personally.

Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?

I belong to several writing organizations: the Writers Union of Canada, Creative Nonfiction Collective, and the Society for Children’s Writers and Illustrators. I was a member of the Writers Guild of Alberta for five years and it was excellent – I still miss it! I’ve created two critique groups since moving to Houston. One is online-only and focuses mostly on creative nonfiction. Members span from Canada to California to Texas. The other one is in-person here in Houston. I realized it’s not natural for me to write in a cave all the time!

Do you see writing as a career?

Actually, I see it as more of a compulsion. A job you can quit. This is forever. My son (who is now 7 years old) asked me the other day, “Mama, will you ever stop writing?” And I told him, “As long as the stories and ideas keep coming, I’ll keep writing.”

Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?

If readers would like to connect with me, they can find me at my website (www.daniellemc.com), and on social media: @Danielle_Author on Twitter, @dmchenail on Instagram, and Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail on Facebook. I also have a blog dedicated to my Camsell Hospital research, www.ghostsofcamsell.ca.

 

Author Interview – Andrew Glen

July 30, 2019
mandyevebarnett


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What inspired your latest novel?

My latest novel, “After The Sun Rises”, was written as a sequel to my first novel “War Dads”. Without giving too much away, “War Dads” ends with a tragic event and “After The Sun Rises” picks up from there.

How did you come up with the title?

The title came from two sources. The first is a tribute to Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises” (Hemingway is my favourite author) and the idea that even in tragedy some good can happen. We need to get up and meet every new day.

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Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

The message I was trying to convey is that sometimes good can come out of bad. Sounds hokey, but I just tried to imagine what I would like to see happen if I was involved in the same situation as the characters.

How much of the book is realistic?

Not much of “After The Sun Rises” is real. However, in “War Dads,” the trip Jill and her family took to find her dad is based on a family trip my family and I took to Florida when I was in high school.
In “Beating the Odds” (the book I wrote on beating Stage IV bladder cancer), that entire book, is sadly real.

In “The Grotto and Other Short Stories” (a book of short stories I wrote) most of the events in the stories are based on real life events.

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Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Yes, there is a little bit of both events that took place in my life and my characters are all based on people I know; family and friends.

Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?

I have an author page on Amazon: amazon.com/author/andrewglen and a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Andrew-Glen-Author-1916016901959620/

Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?

I have three books hopefully coming out next. Another kids book, a book of poetry and prose, and perhaps a sequel to “After The Sun Rises.”

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite and why?

I have three.  In “Eli and the Fisherman” (one of my kid’s books) Eli is based on my son and the book is based on Hemingway’s “Old Man and the Sea”. In “Sebastian’s Fish (another of my kid’s books) Sebastian is based on my other son and the story is based on us going to buy his first fish.  And in “After The Sun Rises, Charlotte is my favourite character, because she is what I would like the world to be; good people doing the right thing.

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Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?

I have dabbled in several genres and have enjoyed them all, but kid’s books are my favourite. Most of my energy will be concentrated on them going forward.

Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?

Bit of both. My first novel was totally seat of the pants style. The second novel was more planned out.

The kid’s books and the short stories were planned out and the memoir was just an honest portrayal of what I went through.

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What is your best marketing tip?

I honestly wish I was better at marketing but if I have learned anything in life it is the fact that patience and perseverance pays off. Well hopefully for some. In my opinion there is no such thing as overnight success. Success comes from never giving up. One other thing I have learned also is, if you have your books on Amazon, you need to get as many people, family, friends etc. to buy off there. It is the only way to use their algorithms to your advantage. Selling books in person is nice but unless those people write reviews or share your books on their social media sites, in the long run it doesn’t really do you any good.

Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?

As I said social media can be a great tool, but getting family and friends to share your work is sometimes very difficult. (Example: if all the people who liked my author page bought just one book, I would be a best seller on Amazon. Same goes for the books I have sold personally, if all those people had bought my book on Amazon, I would be a best seller according to their algorithms.

OPTIONAL QUESTIONS 

What do you enjoy most about writing?

I love the fact that writing allows me the chance to express the things that I truly believe in. It may be fiction, but there is a lot of what I think and feel in my writing.

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What age did you start writing stories/poems?

I have been writing since I was in high school but I only started to take it serious after I was diagnosed in 2008.

Has your genre changed or stayed the same?

I have always dabbled in poetry and fiction. The kid’s books I started writing after diagnosis. In case I didn’t make it, I wanted my kids to have something to remember me by. I guess they will now.

What genre are you currently reading?

Both fiction and non-fiction. I’m what you might call a political junkie, so I read a lot of stuff on politics fact and fiction.

Do you read for pleasure or research or both?

Both. I also find that reading really helps with my writing.

Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

My mum and dad encouraged me to read from a very early age.

Where is your favorite writing space?

I have a place in my house where I put all the finishing touches on my work; it used to be my mum’s office space, (we live in m parent’s old house). But I always carry a notebook with me to jot stuff down. I never know when the muse may come so I like to be prepared.

Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?

I belong to several groups on FB.

If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?

I would love to meet Ernest Hemingway; he was/is my idol. I just loved the simplicity of his writing and how every story would take you on a different adventure. He instilled in me a passion for travel as well. Because of him I have been to Paris and Cuba because I wanted to see them first hand. Hopefully Spain will be next, or to see Mt. Kilimanjaro.

If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?

Cuba. I have been there twice and love the people and the climate. That or Italy, again because of the people and the climate.

Do you see writing as a career?

I would love it if it were, but realistically, no.

Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?

Chips are my favourite snack food. (Salt and Vinegar)

What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline?

I don’t reward myself with anything in particular. Completing a book and seeing it published is enough of a reward. I have always wanted to be a published author, and now I can say I am. Not too many people can say that. For that I am truly grateful.

In closing I would like to thank everyone who has bought a book and supported me thus far.

Bless you all.

Bio:

I have been writing for the better part of thirty years. In that time I have written a memoir, several children’s book, a collection of short stories, a book of fiction, numerous poems, works of prose and free verse.

In 2008 I was diagnosed with bladder cancer and I underwent two years of treatment including chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. In January of 2010 I had my bladder removed and thankfully I have been cancer free since then.

During treatment I found writing to be very therapeutic and I kept notes throughout my treatment. These notes then became my story.

In 2014 I self-published my memoir “Beating the Odds”, A Chronicle of a Cancer Survivor’s Battle with Cancer, Inadequate Healthcare and Social Injustice.

Unlike most cancer survivor success stories, my book, in my opinion, differs because it provides the reader with a poignant look into the trials and tribulations that all cancer patients have to deal with above and beyond their treatment.

Since then I have gone on to publish:

“War Dads” a fictional story about the unfortunate killing of a war vet who was living on the street and suffering from PTSD.
“After The Sun Rises” a sequel to “War Dads”. After Jill and the family are met with a tragic event they must learn to cope with the help of an unsuspecting aide; the woman who caused the accident.

“The Grotto and Other Stories” a collection of short stories based on real life events.

“Eli and the Fisherman” children’s book that tells the story of a young boy and an old fisherman.

“Sebastian’s Fish” children’s book that is a delightful and beautifully illustrated story about a boy who goes to buy his first fish.

All of these books are available on Amazon worldwide, as paper backs or E books, at: amazon.com/author/andrewglen

Canada Day 1st July 2019

July 2, 2019
mandyevebarnett


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I enjoy celebrating Canada Day as it is my new homeland. We are lucky to have a deck overlooking part of the parade route so can sit in comfort and watch it drive past. Canada is a young country, becoming the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867. This is in direct contrast to my former homeland, Britain which was founded a lot earlier.

United Kingdom = England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Kingdom of England was founded in 927 AD and The Kingdom of Wales was founded in 1283. They joined together in 1536 so Britain was founded in 1536. The Kingdom of Scotland was founded in 843 AD.

I do miss the history and pageantry as well as the ancient sites, historical houses and castles but have been fortunate to have traveled quite a lot of the province’s of Alberta and British Columbia by way of road trips. When I first came to Canada, I had no real sense of the vastness of the continent until someone showed me this view of the whole of Britain easily fitting into Alberta. This is just one province of ten!

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I have seen wildlife and plants I would never have observed, spectacular scenery and many objects purportedly to be the largest! Here are some of them.

I also ‘discovered’ a passion for writing in Canada, which may never have been part of my life elsewhere. It was a happy accident walking into that first sharing meeting of the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County in 2009. Not only do I have something that interests and absorbs me but it has also given me some incredible friendships. I am making up for ‘lost’ time publishing (to date) seven books, with several in the pipeline but it is the process of creating that engages me and having the opportunity to share my stories.

Here’s to many more years discovering this country, writing stories and enjoying family and friends.

 

 

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