Tag Archives: Mayne Island

Beta Reader


I write primarily for kids between 9 and 12,  and my books are mysteries and adventure stories.  I never read or write Sci Fi.  But I’m reading a friend’s first novel to look for things that don’t work.

Why am I doing this?  I’m helping out a friend and fellow-writer, someone who has done the same for me, in fact.  I’m doing it out of friendship and gratitude.

What are my qualifications?   I write.  I can spot grammar and spelling mistakes.  I can tell when the flow in the novel is bumpy.  I can sense when a character does or says something that is “out of character.”  And I know when there is too much telling and not enough showing, which brings me to my next question.

How am I unqualified?  I don’t know how much explaining of technology is acceptable in a Sci Fi novel.  I don’t know how much explanation of the fictional society’s peculiarities is enough.  I don’t know if I can skip over the technical details that I can’t understand.

Please give me feedback if you’re a Sci Fi writer or reader, or if you’ve ever been a Beta Reader for someone’s Sci Fi book, on any other genre of novel, with which you’re unfamiliar.

I look forward to your comments.

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From Draft to Draft


Today I finished the 4th draft of my fourth Magda book. Feels wonderful. I’ve added 4,00 words since the 3rd draft. The plot pieces have moved around and the logic is falling into place.

Is it still a mystery? I don’t know. Is it a love story? Not really, though love is there throughout the story. Is it a book for kids 9 to 12? Maybe. It’s about kids, but perhaps the subject makes the book too painful for kids to want to read.

It’s the book I wanted to write, is all I know.

When I write the next draft, number 5, I’ll concentrate on imagery, mood, suspense, the language that makes up the story’s tone.  This is the part that I love the most.

After the next draft, I hope to be ready to show it to a good editor.  I know that I’ll be doing more rewriting after that.  And so it goes.

Any suggestions?

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Author or Writer – re-posted


I’m re-posting this because it’s an on-going question, one that my colleagues keep asking and which has not been answered to my satisfaction.  In truth, I don’t care what you call me.  What I do is write.

Recently, I’ve been wondering if as someone who has and is writing original novels, some of which I’ve published, as paperbacks and as e-books, I’m a writer or an author.  I’ve also had poems, articles and short stories published in magazines and books.

I’ve been reading other people’s blogs where the question, “Am I an author, a writer, both, or neither?” is being discussed.

The arguments appear to fall into two camps: one camp bases the nomenclature on content and the other bases it on publishing.  Camp 1 says, if you write, you’re a writer.  If the writing is your  own idea, originating with you, then you’re its author.  If the writing is about someone else or about their ideas, you’re a writer.  Camp 2 says if you write, you’re a writer.  If your writing is published, you’re an author.

But Camp 2 can be broken down into Camp 2A, which says that you must publish a book, not a story or poem, to be called an author, and Camp 2B which states that the publisher must be a recognized publishing house; you can’t self-publish or be an indie publisher, otherwise you’re a writer but not an author.

The Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary makes it difficult to distinguish between author and writer.  It defines an author as “the writer of a literary work (as a book)” and a writer as “one that writes.

So far, I’m not clear about e-books and which camp you’re in if you consider an e-book a published book.

I would love to hear your opinion.

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Debra Purdy Kong’s Review of Mayne Island Skeletons


Debra Kong‘s review

Jul 02, 13

Image

Young teen, Magda, has her hands full these days. Not only does she have a part-time job looking after a neighbor’s chickens, but she wants to investigate the truth behind an allegedly haunted house. There are rumors that the deceased owner was a nasty man whose wife and five children disappeared one day. Had they left him, or were they murdered?

Magda’s sleuthing skills are also needed in a very real problem when her friend Brent is accused of stealing First Nations artifacts from someone’s home. Brent’s been in trouble before and his mother has decided that he’s unmanageable, so Brent runs away to avoid jail or a foster home. The police and Magda’s mother pressure her to turn Brent in if she sees him, but Magda refuses. She intends to prove he’s innocent.

Mayne Island Skeletons is a mystery for readers aged ten to thirteen, or for reluctant readers. Mayne Island is one of the smaller southern Gulf Islands between Vancouver Island and BC’s mainland, and a terrific setting. There is a real community feel to this story and a pace that reflects the lifestyle of the 1,000+ residents.

Magda has common traits to any great sleuth: curiosity, intelligence, and bravery, but she also has a lot of compassion. Although this book deals with modern day issues such as neglectful mother, First Nations artifacts, and to a lesser degree, the melting ice caps and endangerment to polar bears (through letters from a friend in the Arctic), this book reminds me of a Nancy Drew novel. It’s partly because of the story’s pace but also because Magda’s so polite and well mannered; something not often see in novels today. On the other hand, you’d never see a neglectful mom or a First Nations issue in a Nancy Drew novel, so I’d call this book a lovely blend of old and new.

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New Review for Mayne Island Skeletons


 

Mayne Island Skeletons on June 25, 2013
star star star star

“Amber Harvey’s latest book is a gripping mystery that is perfect for the 9 to 12 age range, and even as an adult I was able to get into her descriptive writing style and the paranormal tale she has spun for all’s enjoyment.”

Smashwords book review by Sierra Cline

Thank you to all the readers of my books who write a review! I feel so grateful when you take the time to tell me how you liked it.

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Why I Write for Young Readers


I was one myself.  Yup.  I know how it is to be 11 or 12, with all the freedom and restrictions, joy and pain it involves.  So when I write, I feel like that young person, and for a while  I become her.  I wake up to the smell of toast my mom is making, feel the pebbles through my runners, hear my bike’s tires on the road, taste the warm, ripe blackberries, see spooky shapes in the trees at night. 

Writing is the most exciting thing I do.  I’m never so alive, for such an extended period of time, as when I’m in my young protagonist’s body and mind, living her life.  That’s why I write.

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Kids Who Do Not Like to Read


Mystery books are good for kids who do not like to read. Look for adventure books where the action is driven by talk not text. Books with descriptive text bore children. Find books that are two hundred pages or less. This is so the mystery book does not intimate the child, tween and teen reader.”

These are the words of Taisha Turner at Children’s Book Site  I came upon this site today as I was surfing the net.  I hadn’t seen it before, and was happy to find out that the books I write for 8-to-13-year-olds match the description she holds as a model.

I’m in the midst of writing the fourth in my Magda of Mayne Mystery Series. Happily, these books match her guidelines in three important ways:

Check – Like the other three in this stand-alone series, this adventure novel is “driven by talk not text.”

Check – Description plays a minor but special role: that of setting the mood.

Check  – All of these books fall into the appropriate range in length, of 200 or fewer pages.

As in all good mysteries, however, atmosphere in Magda’s Mayne Island Mystery, Mayne Island Aliens, and Mayne Island Skeletons plays an important part in what gives pleasure to the reader.

So, if you know of any kids who “do not like to read” they should enjoy these.

I’d love to hear from you regarding these guidelines.

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Author or Writer


ImageRecently, I’ve been wondering if as someone who has and is writing original novels, some of which I’ve published, as paperbacks and as e-books, I’m a writer or an author.  I’ve also had poems, articles and short stories published in magazines and books.

I’ve been reading other people’s blogs where the question, “Am I an author, a writer, both, or neither?” is being discussed.

The arguments appear to fall into two camps: one camp bases the nomenclature on content and the other bases it on publishing.  Camp 1 says, if you write, you’re a writer.  If the writing is your  own idea, originating with you, then you’re its author.  If the writing is about someone else or about their ideas, you’re a writer.  Camp 2 says if you write, you’re a writer.  If your writing is published, you’re an author.

But Camp 2 can be broken down into Camp 2A, which says that you must publish a book, not a story or poem, to be called an author, and Camp 2B which states that the publisher must be a recognized publishing house; you can’t self-publish or be an indie publisher, otherwise you’re a writer but not an author.

The Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary makes it difficult to distinguish between author and writer.  It defines an author as “the writer of a literary work (as a book)” and a writer as “one that writes.

So far, I’m not clear about e-books and which camp you’re in if you consider an e-book a published book.

I would love to hear your opinion.

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Spring Break is coming soon! Reading My Books at Our Library


Mark your calendars.  March 20, at 4:00 PM, the Mayne Island Library will be open to everyone who wants to hear about Magda and Brent’s adventures on Mayne Island.  I’ll be mining my three novels for stories to interest and entertain, and I’ll also be reading from my fourth novel for the 9 – 13 crowd, the as-yet unheard stories of their further adventures!  (This fourth novel is in its early stages.)

If you want to ask me any questions about writing, I’ll be happy to answer them the best I can.

See you at the Mayne Island Library on Wednesday, March 20, for some fun with books.

PS  The Library is providing light refreshments, as well.

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Saying good-bye – the burial of the placentas


Mother carry me,

          Your child I will always be,

          Mother carry me,

          Down to the Sea

In a sacred grove overlooking the ocean, with cedars overhead, and sheep grazing on the hillside, a circle of children, young parents and elders, celebrated with the four children whose placentas were reunited with Mother Earth.

          We are the weavers, we are the woven ones,

          We are the dreamers, we are the dream.

Everyone helped dig the four holes, north, south, east, and west.

Rose petals, acorns, cedar, and birch bark were sprinkled as the placentas were lowered into the ground, to return to the earth.

Placentas are buried in the circle of the sun

          Circle of the sun on their burying day.

          Babies are born in the circle of the sun,

          Circle of the sun on their birthing day.

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