Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category
I am a huge fan of kids in general. I think they are totally amazing and I am constantly inspired by them. Here are some great examples of how young people make a difference.
I recently wrote about eight-year-old Teagan Read who wrote a book called Kya’s Treasure to raise money to help build a well and clean water system in Uganda. She managed to raise over $1700.00 for this project. Way to go Teagan! Here is the article in the local paper: http://www.delta-optimist.com/community/young-author-helps-kids-in-africa-1.672535
Teagan Read presents her donation to Steve and Linda Kovacs. photo by Gord Goble See more at: http://www.delta-optimist.com/community/young-author-helps-kids-in-africa-1.672535#sthash.KLICKQYu.dpuf
I have also blogged about eleven-year- old Erik Weibel from This Kid Reviews Books His book, The Adventures of Tomato and Pea has recently been published. Erik is a superkid as I mentioned in my blog post about him http://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/introducing-a-superkid/ Recently his friend Renn had to undergo a serious operation and Erik came up with a great idea to raise money to help out Renn and his family. Erik is an avid reader who gets points for reading at his school. So he decided to create a Reading for Renn challenge for the month of October and had people sponser him. His goal was to make 150 points in October. By the end of October, Erik made a whopping 165 points. This young man never ceases to amaze me. Read more about Renn and the Reading for Renn challenge here: http://thiskidreviewsbooks.com/2013/10/07/reading-for-renn/
Picture of Renn from The Brian of a Jedi
In honour of local soldiers who have lost their lives in a war, the Grade 12 students from the local high school, South Delta Senior Secondary, erected 41 crosses in a field at the entrance to our town. It is very moving. A fine tribute by the young people in our community.
You can see why I am so impressed by kids. They are the future and the future will be OK.
May we always remember those who have lost their lives to make this world a better place. Many of them were young people.
From the back cover:
A treasure! That is what Kya decides to search for one hot, sunny afternoon. Nobody has ever attempted such an important mission in her small village in Uganda before. Will she find what she is looking for? Come along on Kya’s adventure and help her find her very special treasure!
This book, written by an eight-year-old Canadian girl, is a refreshing story about a young African girl on an extraordinary quest. It highlights the differences between needs and wants by focusing on various objects that different cultures value. Used as a valuable teaching tool or a bedtime story, children of all ages are sure to enjoy this book.
This young woman is an inspiration for anyone, of any age, who has an idea or a dream!
According to an article in the Delta Optimist, Teagan was inspired after seeing a June story in the Optimist about a team of locals heading to Kamuli, Uganda to help build a well and clean water system at the Good Samaritan Community Nursery and Primary School. Since she enjoys drawing, painting and writing, she created her book, titled Kya’s Treasure, to help “the kids in Africa to have clean water.” She decided to write and illustrate this book to raise funds to help build wells in Kamuli, Uganda and in other areas of Africa. – See more at: http://www.delta-optimist.com/girl-creates-book-to-help-kids-in-africa-1.643554#sthash.eJUn5T0M.dpuf
The book has delightful illustrations and a wonderful message about what a treasure means to various individuals, represented by African animals.
Children will love this book, learn about another part of the world and perhaps be inspired to help those less fortunate themselves. Parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, will have fun reading it to the little ones.
Teagan’s mother told me that initially Teagan wanted to go to Africa with the team to help build the well. When she was told she was too young to go along, this enterprising young woman decided to write a book instead ,to help out. The proceeds from the sale of the book will go the team to help build the well in Kamuli, Uganda. I have no doubt Teagan will get to Africa herself one day.
The book is available at
Albany Books, Tsawwassen
Black Bond Books
I wish Teagan much luck with this delightful book. I am sure it is the first of many more to come.
This weekend I attended an art display featuring the work of Lea Price and her students. I have known Lea for over fifteen years and have always been impressed with her dedication to her art. She is seldom without a paint brush in her hand or an easel under her arm. She is another person whom I admire for not only following her dream, but sharing what she has learned with others. Lea has been a huge supporter and encourager of me and my creative efforts over the years.
This is her bio from her website where you can view more of her art http://www.leapriceartist.com/
Lea grew up in the United States, moving from the east coast to the west coast in mid 60’s. As an only child and being raised in an era of “children should be seen and not heard”, crayons, paper and pencils became her silent companions. Encouraged by both parents and teachers at school, she continued on her goal to become a productive, accomplished artist. Art Center College of Art and Design in Los Angeles attracted her based on its fine reputation and she majored in advertising illustration. After completing 3 years of study, Lea earned a Bachelor of Fine Art and headed north to Vancouver, BC, a place which she had visited during a holiday between semesters. Lea began working as a freelance illustrator and photographer mainly with advertising agencies and some notable personal clients including BC Forest Products and the UBC Botanical Gardens.
In the late eighties, Lea had the opportunity to further her studies and undertook three years at the Emily Carr College of Art and Design, completing a Diploma of Fine Art with a concentration in ceramics, three dimensional work and mixed media. It also gave her the confidence to begin to let go of the commercial art field and move more towards fine art, sculpting and painting. Lea also began working and curating in galleries in Vancouver, Delta and White Rock, amercing herself totally in the art world and observing the styles and techniques of other artists.
Today she is painting full time in-between teaching children and adults in both group and private lessons. She also volunteers with the South Delta Artists Guild, helping to strengthen the art community.
A few more pictures from the current exhibition at the Tsawwassen Longhouse Gallery which runs until September 29.
Lea is an avid gardener and an animal lover. Be sure to check out the “Friends” gallery on her website to see her whimsical animal portraits.
Her students are lucky to be able to learn from her and I consider myself fortunate to call this talented woman my friend.
I have been blogging for over three years and the best thing I have discovered about blogging is the fabulous friends you make. One of my favourite blogging buddies is Erik Weibel. Erik is eleven years old and has a blog called thiskidreviewsbooks . He writes excellent reviews that are honest and entertaining. He has reviewed all three of my books, here, here and here. He is an amazing young man who has a wonderful way with words. Not only does he blog regularly, reads a lot, writes a monthly article in the local paper, has a black belt in TaeKwon-Do, he has also written and published a book. No wonder I call him Superkid!
His book is Tomato and Pea Book ONe: A Bad Idea
“For years the evil villain Wintergreen had tried to destroy super crime-stopper, Tomato and his sidekick, Pea, and take over planet Oarg. In a plan gone wrong, Wintergreen traps himself along with his arch-nemesis in a runaway rocket ship that crashes on a strange planet called “EAR-TH”. Now these perennial enemies must learn to work together to survive the dangers on this strange world. Hungry birds, enormous snakes and the giant inhabitants of EAR-TH stand between this brawling bunch of aliens and finding a way home.”
He is currently conducting a blog tour and if you want to read more about Erik’s first published novel, check out a review on the blog site of another blogging friend of mine, Beth Stillborn, where you can enter to win a copy of The Adventures of Tomato and Pea
This is what Mrs. Stillborn has to say about the book:
Why I like this book: It has adventure, it has wordplay, it has humor, and it has plot twist after plot twist. Erik is very good at making the reader relax, thinking everything is going to be all right, then at the next page turn, throwing an even greater obstacle in the way of the characters. To read more and to enter to win a copy of this fun book:
The book is for sale on Amazon (kindle and paperback) and CreateSpace (paperback) at the following links:
I wish this Superkid much success with his first published book. I know we will be hearing a lot more about him in the future. He is an inspIration to anyone regardless of age. I am pleased to be able to call him my friend!
I recently blogged about a wonderful visit I made to Tomsett Elementary School in Richmond, BC. You can read about it here.
A few weeks later I was invited back to the school by the teacher to view the storyboards the students had made for Amanda in Arabia – The Perfume Flask that lined the hallways. I was blown away by the creativity of these grade 4 -5 students. Here are some pictures of the work put into this project. There were 26 of them and they were all very good. I am just showing you a sample.
They all included heartwarming and encouraging letters
I particularly love the camel pictures
And this one depicting a mosque
I am astounded by the thought and creativity put into these storyboards and touched by the letters. These students have inspired me to keep writing!
What inspires you to keep writing, or to do anything creative?
March came in like a lion this year; cold, rainy, windy and just plain ugly. While everyone around me complained, I reminded them that this was good, as it was a sure thing we would be blessed with nice weather at the end of March. Sure enough, we have had an amazing week of lovely warm sunny weather here on the west coast of Canada. This Easter weekend I have been for a walk on the beach three days in a row. So glad the theory works, every time.
Having four days off is wonderful, but to have four sunny days off on the “wet coast” is almost unheard of. It has been lovely. Everyone left work on Thursday in a happy mood. A satisfied client brought us orchids and a colleague provided Easter treats.
Besides going for walks on the beach, I have been meeting friends for tea and having coffee with hubby at various special places around town. Also enjoying the multitude of blooming daffodils and cherry trees in our neighborhood.
I have always loved the Easter season and the spirit of hope it evokes. Spring flowers are my favourite.
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, however you celebrated it.
May your days be filled with much sunshine, flowers and hope.
I took Friday off of work to attend an all day eWomen Network workshop called How to be a Best Selling Author & Treat your Book as a Business. It was well worth the time spent. The workshop was facilitated by two amazing speakers, Teresa de Grosbois and Charmaine Hammond, both published authors and international speakers. The energy in the room was vibrant with many opportunities to meet new people and network. A group I belong to, CWILL BC (Children’s’ Writers and Illustrators of BC) had a display table and I was able to showcase my books and hand out book marks.
My head was spinning with all the valuable information I collected. Here are a few things I learned that I would like to share:
- You can’t make yourself famous.
- You need to connect with influential people and have them talk about your book.
- You need to get in relationship with influential people but be appropriate.
- Be aware of the ‘premature ask’.
- Blog your book before publication to grow a following.
- Be part of a community of reciprocity.
- Be authentic from a place of love and it will come back to you.
- Give yourself permission to start sloppily, you have to learn as you go.
- Have a theme, do a series, be an expert in your field.
- You need endorsements in order to stand out.
- Find people to collaborate with.
- Systemize everything to keep yourself organized and save time.
- Never speak for free but sometimes it’s OK to speak for no fee.
- Look for in-kind sponsorship and recognize your sponsors constantly.
- Speaking engagements are the best way to get your book out there.
- Contact libraries, schools, women’s conferences, community service clubs, book clubs, alumni etc.
- Create events that rock!
- A website and a blog are a must and you should be on some social media sites.
- Create an author page on Amazon, connect it to your blog, twitter, Facebook etc.
- Publishers look to see if you have a platform already.
Teresa de Grosbois offers workshops through Wildfire Workshops, ignite your dreams. I have summarized her three points on how to create a word of mouth epidemic using the analogy of a wildfire:
- Spark: What is the problem you want to solve for the world?
- Fuel: How passionate are you to be authentic?
- Wind: The relationships that will help you are the wind to grow your fire. Be the wind in someone else’s fire.
I left with some great new ideas but also feeling good that I am already doing some of these things. I do feel I am part of a community of reciprocity through my blog. I have so much support from my blog followers and I so appreciate it. If there is anything I can ever do for any of you, please let me know.
I will leave you with this poster I found on Facebook. I’m sorry but I don’t remember who posted it originally.
Do you feel that you are part of a community of reciprocity?
I was invited to guest blog on Donna Martin’s On The Write Track site. Every Wednesday her theme is Writerly Wisdom. Today I wrote about not giving up on your dream to be a published writer. I hope you enjoy it.
Never Too Late To Become A Writer
A goal without a plan is just a dream.
Many of us dream of being a writer. After all we have tons of ideas. We spend years talking about it, fantasize signing our books, and envision people saying, “I read your book and loved it.” But there is always an excuse. We are too busy working, raising kids, keeping a house, volunteering, looking after grandchildren or aging parents; the list goes on. Then one day there is a bit more time and we say, “Now I’m too old to write a book. If only I had started years ago. It’s too late.” I have heard this many times.
I was one of those people. I had so many excuses for not sitting down and writing a book. I took writing courses and attended seminars, wrote a few short stories and submitted to the occasional contest, but the idea of writing a book was too daunting and I often felt I left it too late.
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C. S. Lewis
I have been having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit this year. My broken ankle has stopped me from doing the many activities I do at this time of year. My energy is low, a feeling I am unfamiliar with. Then the terrible news from Friday made me wish there would be no Christmas at all this year. My friend Niamh Clune wrote a meaningful poem in memory of those lives lost and posted it on her blog To all those whose hearts are bleeding… It says it all.
I felt like I was just going through the motions, that wonderful Christmas feeling just wasn’t there. And I am a total Christmasy person. My dear husband decorated my car with reindeer antlers and a Rudolf nose much to my delight. My coworker came in early on her day off and decorated our shared office to cheer me. These things helped but I still wasn’t in the spirit I usually am at this time of year.
Then this morning I opened up a blog post from another blogging friend, Jennifer Kiley wishing everyone Happy Chanukah, with this delightful video by the Maccabeats telling the story of Hanukkah.
And guess what? That wonderful Christmas feeling of love, joy and peace filled my heart. The Maccabeats saved my Christmas. Hope you enjoy them as well.
What does it take to get you in the holiday spirit?
In my last post I shared some interesting (or not) facts about me. I happened to mention that I was a Jane Austen groupie and dressed up as Jane Austen for Halloween sometimes. Here I am dressed as one of my favourite people.
I also recently had an article published in travelsthruhistory about a time when I visited Jane Austen’s house in Chawton. Another one of my dreams come true.
VISITING JANE AUSTEN ON A MOTORBIKE
By Darlene Foster
Our delightful visit to England included Yorkshire and North Wales. Viewing the countryside with its stone hedges and ancient castles was made even more enjoyable as we hurtled down narrow roads on a motorcycle.
We had one thing left to do before flying back to Canada; deliver the motorbike to its new owner in London. We travelled down from York, stopped for lunch at a pub in Cambridge overlooking the Thames and watched the rowers practice. As we rode towards London, I was puzzled when we didn’t turn off the M1 taking us into Guildford, but turned east. Soon I recognized signs for Alton, Strawberry Hill, Steventon and Chawton. We were on our way to visit my hero, Jane Austen! My dear husband had planned this as a surprise for me.
Here is a question often asked at job interviews: If you could have lunch with anyone, alive or not, who would that be? I would answer Jane Austen of course. What would your answer be?