Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Finding a New Folklore Character

January 18, 2022
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I am currently reading The Golem and the Jinni – a wonderful book I would recommend if you like fantasy fiction. I have not come across a golem before so did a little research.

I am sure most of us will think of Gollum, the Lord of the Rings character. However, a golem is a different kind of creature all together.

Firstly, the spelling is different, but also the creature itself comes from Jewish folklore. It is an animated anthropomorphic being created entirely from inanimate matter (usually clay or mud). In the Psalms and medieval writings, the word golem was used as a term for an amorphous, unformed material.

As I have always been fascinated in folklore, fairy tales and mystical creatures, I was surprised I had not come across this particular creature before. So it has been added to my collection of great creatures and myths.

I have a couple of books I treasure, which include wonderful creatures. One is Gnomes and the other Fairies.

There are many creatures that can be helpful or harmful to gnomes & fairies, one is a Snotgurgle. Even the name conjures up an image! Yes, he is a nasty beastie.

Do you have a folklore character you would like to share?

Have you discovered a previously unknown fantasy character in a book?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – What Makes a Good Book?

January 11, 2022
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Photo by Leah Kelley on Pexels.com

As a reader, I look for a story that grips me from the beginning. It maybe the opening line, a well defined character, or an inciting scene. To become quickly immersed into a narrative, means the author has done a good job. We also tend to have certain authors we read as we know their skill in storytelling and the genre they write.

Choosing a book to read is a personal preference and a gift card is a good way to delight the reader in your family. Unless of course you know them very well and their reading likes and dislikes.

There are many ways a book can be defined as a good book.

  1. A strong opening. A sentence or paragraph that compels you to continue reading.
  2. Well defined and relatable characters.
  3. A well written constructed plot.
  4. Believable dialogue.
  5. The writer’s style absorbs you into the story.
  6. Good use of description to let you ‘see’ the location/characters.
  7. Great tension in the story line.
  8. An original tale.
  9. A sense of expectation of what happens next.
  10. A satisfactory conclusion.

How do you determine your choice of a book?

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Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – A New Year’s Reading Challenge

January 4, 2022
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I use the Goodreads annual reading challenge to track the books I read and review each year. Sometimes I hit the target, other times I exceed it. This year I began with a novella, To Rome, With Love by D.P. Rosano, which was a Christmas gift. I am now onto my next read The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker.

I have set my challenge for 20 books this year.

Do you set a target for your books?

What are you currently reading?

What was your favorite book of 2021?

I enjoyed If It Bleeds and Billy Summers both by Stephen King – as you all know I love his story telling expertise. These books were very different in genre, but both equally compelling. The other book that rates on my long list is The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick. It was a delightful tale of self discovery and mystery.

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Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Choosing A Book to Read

December 7, 2021
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As readers the greatest gift we can receive are books or gift cards to buy books! It was by chance that I received two bookstore gift cards and as a veracious reader was, of course delighted. Then comes the problem – which books do I buy? With so many to choose from with multiple shelves packed with all manner of titles, authors, and genres, we have a couple of options. We can choose a favorite author, a specific genre or try something new.

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As you know by now, I love stories with a reincarnation theme. I wrote my novel The Twesome Loop I like it so much! The bookstore helper, I encountered, was able to guide me to two books when I described the type of story I was looking for reincarnation. She recommended The Midnight Library and The Golem and the Jinni. I am currently reading the former and love the characters and the central idea of the story. It allows the author to explore many options for her character. I’ll stop there so I don’t spoilt it for you, if you choose to read it.

As I like to support local, I also went to a wonderful bookstore called The Sherwood Park Bookworm. I know the owner and she helped me find a couple of books with another topic I wanted to delve into: bookstore tales. There is something special about delving into our secret (sometimes not so secret wish) to own a bookstore. As we read these narratives we imagine ourselves within that environment. To be surrounded with books all day – what a treat that would be. Two more books were added to my cache. As you can see from the image below. These are all wonderful additions to my TBR pile.

What does your current TBR pile look like? What are the titles? How did you choose the books?

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Crime Fiction and A Sneak Peek

November 9, 2021
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As many of you know I am plunging into National Novel Writing Month* this month to begin the second book in my detective trilogy, The Delphic Murders. This second book is entitled The Tainted Search. My process is not that complicated -bum in seat – so to speak, and to avoid external distractions as much as possible. This, of course, isn’t always the case, take this past weekend for example. I had a board meeting to attend and a radio interview recording to participate in on Saturday and then Sunday was family time. And as I am working full time that has a major effect on my writing time.

*National Novel Writing Month – write 50,000 words in the month of November* As I write this blog post on Sunday morning my total is 11,748 words, which is on track, thankfully.

The crime fiction genre is a new genre for me to write and I have been enjoying the research process, as well as planning a three book series. There are many sub-genres to this type of fiction as you can see from this list.

  • Detective fiction
  • Cozy Mystery
  • Whodunit
  • Historical whodunit
  • Locked room whodunit
  • Locked room mystery
  • Police procedural
  • Forensic
  • Legal thriller
  • Spy novel
  • Caper story
  • Psychological thriller
  • Parody or spoof

The commonality of these sub-genres is a lot of suspense, hidden clues, a charismatic detective and an elusive criminal. I have added a ‘side-kick’ to my main protagonists, which is a fairly common duo seen in most detective TV shows and movies. The first book has a secondary romance, this second a professional conflict and the third? Well, that remains to be seen, I haven’t started writing it yet!

As a special treat, I am sharing the draft prologue from the first book. An Elusive Trail. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Prologue    

September 2005

Three vehicles converge at an abandoned farm, the sun-bleached buildings collapsing and twisting into the earth. Melted snow and slush is piled up against the dilapidated structures glistening in the only illumination for miles – headlights and a full moon. Three men exit their vehicles and stand facing each other. A red glow from a single cigarette gives one man a fragmented face, his eyes watching expectedly. The smoke joins the puffs of cold night air emitting from his companions mouths. A middle aged man with a slight paunch straining against his thick coat faces his colleagues as the smoker, Allan asks.

“What’s so important you drag us out at this time of night in the cold, Craig?”

“We have a problem, Allan, Travis and his name is Detective Daniel Markum.”

Allan stamps out his cigarette before asking.

“How much of a problem is he?”

“I’d say the biggest. He’s been reviewing some of our old cases.”

“Shit! How did you find out?”

“I’d set up an alert on our contrived cases and nine have popped up in the last three weeks. We have to eliminate this threat and real soon.”

“I can set up something with Raul. Can you make sure Markum is on scene first, Travis?”

“Shouldn’t be a problem, Craig, I can patch through to a false call. It’s not like I haven’t done it before, right?”

“You meet him there soon after and Allan and I will set up the ambush. It’ll be easy to make it look like an ‘in the line of duty’ incident. I have several unmarked, untraceable handguns stashed away.”

“How soon can this be set up, Travis?”

“Is next Tuesday soon enough, Craig?”

“Sure. Then we need to consider lateral transfers. We can’t all stay in Edmonton. Raul has been asking for assistance in Red Deer and Calgary to expand his drug operations. This might be the time to do it.”

The three detectives shook hands, returned to their vehicles, and drove away from the remote meeting place. Their plan set in motion, their victim unaware of his fate.

Do you read crime fiction? What do you like about the genre? Who are your favorite authors in the genre?

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