Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Embracing My Writing Circle…

June 16, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Espouse – definition: to make one’s own : adopt or embrace, as a cause

Within my writing circle, it is no secret I am obsessed with writing. Coming to this art later in life has opened up an opportunity not only to experience a wonderful way to express my creativity but also to form new friendships. Part of my bio on the web site states: I count myself blessed to have found this group and I intend to stay until my bones turn to dust! My writing journey has taken me, in a very short time, on a path I never thought possible.

Writeres Foundation of Strathcona CountyThe Writers Foundation of Strathcona County is a marvel in its own right. Here is a brief description:

The WFSC is limited only by the level of its volunteer commitment: as we grow so will opportunities for our groups, our members, and the community. We continue to hone our craft, encourage new members, promote cultural and creative diversity – we have many avenues yet to explore. The following list includes some of our group accomplishments and events we promote annually:

  • WFSC partners with the Strathcona County Library to co-host the popular Words in the Park Book Fair and Sale held in the late fall in the Centre in the Park
  • WFSC participates and encourages writing interaction at the annual Arts Expo (February) and Alberta Culture Days (September) hosted by the Arts & Culture Council of Strathcona County
  • WFSC published its first anthology compilation of member work in 2010 – Writing Prompt Journey ~ The Road to Your Creativity offers a selection of writing prompts to encourage writers
  • WFSC published From a Solitary Drop – The History of the Strathcona County Writers Circle (2001 – 2011) in celebration of the Writers Circle 10 year success
  • WFSC was asked to manage and publish the popular Never Been Better page that appears in the Sherwood Park News the first Friday of each month – the two page spread celebrates 4 years in 2013 and it’s all because of the popularity of the page and use by its target audience ~ our vibrant 55+ community
  • WFSC participated in the inaugural summer for Arts in the Plaza – an outside venue for artists of all mediums to share and interact with community members

Over the years, the WFSC developed partnerships with other community organizations and respects the place we hold within our community. The Strathcona County Library, the Arts and Culture Council of Strathcona County, the Strathcona County Museum & Archives, and Strathcona County Recreation Parks and Culture all support and promote a vibrant arts & culture community… a community of which we are proud to be a part.

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In short, I have embraced the foundation and its mandate as well as its members, whether they are local or virtual. Each member brings a new aspect to the group and I have found a ‘home’.

I’m Important..?

April 18, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Wistful – definition: a feeling of or showing a timid desire or longing

Firstly apologies for the late post, I was struggling with this one.

1134437241_ktopGemini

I am a true Gemini. How do I know this? I can be quiet and reserved when I feel the people around me are ‘better’ or I’m just feeling  plain old out of my depth for whatever reason. Conversely I can also be hands on, confident and vocal. Yesterday I was the quiet one until I found a kindred artistic soul among the throng of councilors and dignitaries.

Where was I? At the 2013 State of the County Address in Strathcona County as an invited guest. Fancy I know. The reason? I assisted with creating the Council’s new Vision Statement, which was revealed in all its glory yesterday. I had to keep it a secret for months! This is a real bonus to my freelance portfolio.

The kindred soul? Was actually the Director of Crime Stoppers and after we discussed my obsession with writing I was able to give her some encouragement and ideas for pursuing her painting in a more ‘hands on’ manner.  I suggested she got involved with an association or group and have relief from a job that has some terrifying and brutal events to handle.

We all wish we could do what we love the most all the time – a longing that some make happen. It is my plan to write full time so I will research options and read about those people who made the hard choices to pursue their dreams. I certainly do not think it will be easy but the satisfaction of making my dream come true will be worth it.

At the County Address we were treated to a wonderful lunch and Mayor Linda Osinchuk spoke for quite some time on the uniqueness of Strathcona County. The future holds a lot of promise for the third largest municipality in Canada. To be honest I feel very lucky to live here and am quietly confident I will ‘grow’ along with the new and exciting changes that are planned. Every aspect of life is catered for in Strathcona from work to retail to recreational and many more.

I will share the Vision once it is officially placed on the Council website. Watch this space!

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Interview with Joe McKnight…

March 1, 2013
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Please welcome Joe, a time travel expert making his stories beguiling. When you read his latest novel, Time’s Hostage, you will understand why I used today’s word – Bravado – definition: a display of reckless or pretended bravery. *Hint * character’s in the book!

Joe McKnightOf the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite and why? I’d say my favorite character to date is the one I am currently creating. She is an alien from a planet that is completely uneducated about the world around them. She is strong and will go against the society if she feels that they are wrong, even if she knows it could turn her world upside down.

  • Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one? I enjoy writing paranormal/supernatural stories and a lot of my stories have a time travel element but I also play around with other genres.
  • It depends on my mood and what inspires me.
  • Have you got a favorite place to write? I don’t have a particular favorite place to write. Most often it’s just been in my office but now that I have a new laptop, I may discover a favorite place.
  • Do you plan your stories or are you a seat of the pants type of writer? I daydream a lot and that’s where I work out a lot of the details in my stories.
  • What inspires your stories? Different things will inspire my writing. I have been inspired by conversations, a piece of music, or a dream. Inspiration can come at me from just about anywhere.
  • What are you currently reading? I don’t do a lot of reading. Currently, I am reading a Bathroom Reader.
  • Do you have any odd habits or childhood stories? I’m not sure if I have what you would call odd habits and I have many different childhood stories; too many to include here.
  • Do you have any pets? I have one cat named Bandit.
  • Do you belong to a writers group? If so, which one? I belong to the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County.

Writeres Foundation of Strathcona County

  • What age did you start writing stories/poems? I have enjoyed writing since an early age. Creative Writing was always my favorite subject in school. I began writing my first novel, Time’s Hostage, when I was in Junior High School.

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  • Do you have a book published? If so, what is it called and where can people buy it? I do have one book published; it’s called Time’s Hostage and can be found and purchased on Smashwords.com and Amazon.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/264043

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AUG724Q#_

  • If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why? I think I’d like to meet H.G. Wells. I have only read one of his books, The Time Machine, and though it’s not one of my favorites, he’s a writer from the distant past and deals with similar themes that I like to explore and I think it would be fun to meet and talk with him.
  • If you could live anywhere, where would it be? I can’t say that I’d want to live anywhere other than the province that I live in now. I was born here and despite the cold winters, I like it here.
  • What is your favorite movie of all time? Back to the Future
English: The DeLorean Time Machine in "Ba...

English: The DeLorean Time Machine in “Back to the Future” Deutsch: Die Zeitmaschine, ein Delorean. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Where can readers find you and your blog? I do not currently have a blog.
  • Do you have plans/ideas for your next book? I always have ideas for upcoming projects. The ideas seem to come at me faster than I can write them out.
  • Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager? My mom and dad have always been great supporters of mine. They try to make it to my readings as much as they can.

Newest article for Strathcona Connect…

October 13, 2012
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Family

As the old saying goes ‘nothing stays the same’ – children grow up and leave home, relationships alter or falter, younger children may have issues with peer groups or school and the elderly have to adjust to new circumstances and lessened abilities. Life can throw us curve balls at any time and how we cope depends on our personality and family situation. Each event affects us in many ways, emotionally, physically or financially and it is our ability to deal with the transformation these events bring that can make us stronger with help. Our capability to adjust has many variants – it might be our age or how we relate to others or how well we know ourselves. No matter what life throws at us we can seek help – there is no stigma in using professionals to help clarify, support or assist us in coping or adjusting. We do not have to struggle alone and it is certainly not a sign of weakness to reach out.

One look at the demographics of Sherwood Park gives us a real insight into our fellow residents – married couples hold 60% and single persons 27% of the population, leaving 9% for divorced and 5% for widowed.  Within these figures the age groups are fairly evenly spread – 0 – 4yrs 20%, 15 – 24 yrs 14%, 25 – 34 yrs 11%, 35 – 44 yrs 16%, 45 – 54 yrs 17%, 55 – 64 yrs 13% and 64 plus yrs 10%.  (www.zoocasa.com) Within these groups there is the potential for a diverse range of difficulties, which can be influenced by the ethnicities of the population. The top ethnicities are 42% British, 17% Canadian, 14% Ukrainian and 11% French (www.zoocasa.com) This makes Sherwood a real melting pot of diversity giving its inhabitants a uniqueness all its own, which makes for a interesting range of problems to overcome.

There are a multitude of resources we can access through the Internet, our own practitioner or the local library as well as community services. Whatever your situation and cultural background there is a local community service that can help with any circumstances we find ourselves facing. That one local resource is Family & Community Services (http://www.strathcona.ca/departments/family-community-services.aspx) This Strathcona County service covers a variety of social programs for a wide range of family problems from teens to the elderly and everything in-between, giving answers and support to best effect. You may be surprised how diverse the service is once you browse their web site and there is always a friendly voice on the other end of the phone.

In times of strife the ‘virtual’ options for social connections are not enough – face to face conversations and understanding means so much more and in the end leads to better resolution. So don’t feel isolated, there is help available within a stone’s throw.


Strathcona Connect article

My newest article for Strathcona Connect. It is relevant to us all at some stage.

Parenthood certainly keeps us busy. There is never enough time for us and for the most part we accept that fact. But what happens when the nest is empty, how do we fill that void? More importantly, should we wait until the nest is completely empty before planning life without children?

As our children become older we are required less and less, finding ourselves with time on our hands. Don’t waste it looking at the phone, just in case a call comes through or clean their room as a surprise! Use the time to find the ‘new’ you or even the ‘old’ you, who was left behind when children came along. Did you have a hobby or craft you really enjoyed? Are there supplies stacked away in a cupboard waiting to see the light of day? Have you always wanted to try something but never had the time? Re-discover yourself, your passion, the inner you that has been buried for so long. It’s alright to pursue something for yourself not only because it keeps us vibrant and interested but it also shows others, including our children, that we are our own person after all, with a life!

So how do we start? Firstly, don’t jump straight into something or do anything drastic. Selling the house and setting off to backpack your way around the world might need more than a moment’s thought. There will be feelings of loss and emptiness, which is normal, so take time to gather yourself. This may take a few weeks or a few months, each person is different. Whichever it is, take heart in knowing you will always be Mom or Dad but needed in different ways. With the house so quiet, you may feel like you are rattling around in it with a stranger, just remember you are both grieving. Be understanding and actively listen to each other. Have you got similar ideas on what you want to do or are you polar opposites? Either way can work, if there is communication and understanding. Maybe golf three times a week excites you or making quilts for third nation countries is your thing. Whatever your choices, plan around each other’s schedules so you have time to share your new passion, it will surprise you how lively and energetic your partner becomes. This is a fresh liberating stage in your lives, embrace it.

Now where to start? Contemplate your options and interests and decide on one or two to try. Yes, I said try because we change and what was all encompassing several decades ago might not be so inspiring now. Use community resources to find groups or organizations and go along to a few meetings. Get a ‘taste’ of how the group interacts and if the pastime/hobby/craft still appeals, if not move along to the next one. The Strathcona County library has numerous resources and notice boards and you can find event listings on the Strathcona County website or use your search engine to find local groups. Challenge yourself. Make a self-centered goal list…take the time to find what engages you and remember change doesn’t happen in an instant. Enjoy the journey the goal is just the icing on the cake.

Are you panicking yet? There are no hard and fast rules about what you should do and in what timeframe. Maybe start off slow. Have a movie night, read a novel a week, eat take out, meet friends for coffee on Sunday morning, it’s up to you how you enjoy your time. Don’t beat yourself up if the class or group didn’t turn out the way you expected, there are always other options. Just remember it’s your ‘new’ life and tailor it the way you want to live it.

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