Darlene Foster's Blog

Archive for the ‘People’ Category

A wonderful blogging friend of mine, Debra Eve, has a great blog called Late Bloomer.  I met Debra when we were both guest authors on Gary Doi’s blog, A Hopeful Sign. Recently she posted a moving story about High River, Alberta; a town damaged by the terrible floods last summer.

Debra also has some stories in a recently published book complied by Gary Doi, Inspiring Hope One Story at a Time,  All net proceeds from Inspiring Hope will be donated to the Asturias Academy Library in Xela, Guatemala—a private, non-profit Pre K-12 school dedicated to helping the most vulnerable students in the community.

Inspiring Hope One Story at at Time at LaterBloomer.com

Please hop on over to her blog and read about the town, the book and an update on Momo the amazing cat.

http://www.laterbloomer.com/inspiring-hope

I love my copy of Inspiring Hope and everyone loves Momo!

 

You know how I love to encourage young writers. Today’s fun post is part of a Choose Your Own Story written and hosted by T. Isenhoff and M. Isenhoff on their Storyboys blog. T. is in 3rd grade, and M. is in 6th grade. This story was their winter home-school project. A number of us have agreed to feature part of the story on our blogs. Travel over to the boys’ blog to start at the beginning. Have fun!

Here’s the permalink to the boys’ first post http://wp.me/p2bspO-5A then follow the rest until you get to my post. Happy reading! 

Cursed Mansion

Both boys let out screams like little girls with spiders on their shoulders.

A shot rang out, silencing the noise. A trickle of plaster fell down on their heads from a bullet hole in the ceiling. “Shut it, or the next shot will find your hide.”

The boys clamped their mouths shut. Coach Theodore motioned them into the room with his gun. They went without objection.

“What are you going to do with us?” Ed asked.

The coach kept his gun trained on the boys. “What choice have you left me?” he answered. “You know too much.”

Tony gulped and clutched his football a little tighter. He’d best keep the man talking. “How’d you get away with the jewelry?” he asked.

Coach Theodore laughed. “The cops in this town are idiots. A little planning and I outwit them every time.”

“You’ve done this before?” Ed asked.

“Why should I tell you?” Coach asked.

“No reason,” Ed yelped.

“What are you going to do with all the loot?” Tony asked.

“I have buyers,” he answered. “The internet is a wonderful source for remaining anonymous. This jewelry will bring a fortune. Then I can resign from coaching football.”

The coach shifted his attention to the jewels for a split second. It was all the time Tony needed. He grasped his football and threw it directly at the gun. It hit its mark, knocking the weapon from the man’s hand and sending it skittering across the room and under a wardrobe.

“Run!” Tony screamed.

The boys rushed out of the room and barely touched the stairs on their way down to the door. They hopped on their bikes and pedaled like mad. When they were a few blocks away, Tony pulled out his cell phone and dialed 911.

“Hello? We’ve just been inside the old Cursed Mansion and found the hideout of the jewelry thief. Coach Theodore is the thief!”

“Who is this?” the voice on the other end replied.

“Tony Zamboni.”

“Tony the Phony? I remember you.” It was quiet for a moment on the line. “You know it’s illegal to prank call this emergency number, don’t you?”

“This isn’t a joke!” Tony cried. “Send someone to the mansion and you’ll see for yourself.”

The voice sighed. “We’ll send someone along shortly.”

“If you wait too long, Coach will be gone!” he screamed.

That evening, the boys heard on the news that police had found the hideout of the jewelry thief. They had a suspect in mind, but the crook had gotten away.

“Wouldn’t you know it?” Ed asked. “If the police had believed us a little sooner, we could be famous crime solvers.”

“I just wish my new coach could have seen that throw,” Tony mourned.

The End

 What a great project! Fabulous job boys. Keep writing more intriguing stories like this.

 

I don’t like the idea of getting older. In fact I fight it tooth and nail. On the other hand, I also realize it is a privilege denied to many and am thankful I am able to continue to enjoy this wonderful life. On Friday I turned a year older, like it or not.

I was greeted in the morning with a lovely card and a bouquet of tulips, my favourite flowers, from my DH

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At work, the participants in my workshop, after learning it was my birthday, made me a sweet card. I was touched.

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At the end of the day I was surprised with a delicious birthday cake from my co-workers.

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Photo by Jean François Filion

The next day, DH booked us into The River Rock Casino Resort for an over night stay. This luxury hotel is only a thirty minute drive from our house but it felt like we were in Las Vegas.

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The well designed lobby contains waterfalls, totem poles  and even a friendly bear. We don’t gamble but the casino on site created a lively and exciting atmosphere. A theatre featuring many interesting and well known musicians is also part of the resort. A great place for people watching while sipping a caramel rockachino and nibbling on a white chocolate and cranberry sconce. Sorry, but I was too busy relaxing to take pictures of the food.

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Our suite was spacious enough for a party and overlooked the marina. A package of yummy chocolate macaroons was delivered to the room in honour of my birthday. The overnight stay included a relaxation massage. While I enjoyed my much needed massage at the Absolute spa, DH made use of the fitness centre over looking the pool area.

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The number of restaurants to choose from for our dinner, made it hard to decide. I had a Mojito and a fabulous spiced pear salad with goat cheese and grilled prawns at The Curve which was perfect. DH was happy with his butter chicken and on tap beer. The best thing was a compliment on my hair cut by the young waiter!

After a fabulous sleep on the oh so comfy bed, we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at the buffet with many tasty choices before heading back home. We didn’t travel far but what a nice get-away to celebrate another year of living.

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Text messages from both of the kids, a phone call from Mom and another from my younger brother. Cards from all over the world and 140 messages on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn; I was sure feeling the love.

I guess getting older is not so bad after all.

I’m ready for Christmas and so is my car.

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My tree is dressed in the most stylish shoes.

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And I’m ready to snuggle up by the fireplace and wait for Santa.

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Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas from the west coast of Canada!!

I would like to introduce Joei Carlton, an amazing woman I met through the BC Association of Travel Writers. I know you will find what she has to say fascinating.

1.This blog is about following your dreams. Can you tell us about a dream or two you had as a young girl. Has this dream(s) come true for you?

 I have never been a believer in “The Bucket List.”  As soon as I wanted something I would work towards that goal.  As a child I dreamed of running away to exotic lands. When I finished high school and worked to earn money I left home. At 18 the only two places my parents allowed me to move to were either Florida (where I had an aunt and uncle) or California (where my sister Mona – five years older than I lived).  I moved to California. Can you imagine living in Hollywood during the 60’s. What fun.

 Another dream was working in law enforcement.  I spent 3 years working as a private investigator in various jobs from undercover work, store detective, divorce or child custody cases, and then Wackenhut where I was put on the airlines as an undercover agent. From 1968 to 1970 I was on the LA Police Department.

 When I returned to Canada I went from office worker to sales (my favorite) to owning my own very successful Wool and Needlecraft shop.  I definitely lived my own dream. I loved being in charge of my own life.

 2. What were some of your favourite books as a child?

 I came by my love of adventure in the all the books I read as a child. I read every Nancy Drew Mystery and Hardy Boys book I could get my hands on.  My love of horror books came from reading every horror comic book even if they gave me the most horrible nightmares.

 3. When did you start writing and what motivated you to write.

 My writing career was born out of the saddest part of my life. It had been my husband dream to go traveling. Willing to follow the love of my life anywhere he chose, we sold our home, sold my business while Paul quit his job and embarked on a life of adventure. We spent 2-1/2 years in a motorhome traveling through Great Britain, most of Europe, parts of northern Africa and continuing our adventure in the U.S and Canada.  On the 26th of June, 1992 Paul had a heart attack in a German campground and died before ever leaving the campground. I was devastated but decided almost immediately to visit all the places we had planned together.

 The year after he died I spent my summer working on 3 archaeological digs in England and a year later I spent 5 months overseas – a month in England selling my motorhome, 3 months in turkey traveling from Side in the south to Istanbul in the north and inland as far as Cappadoccia…..loving every minute of it.

 When I returned home it was to a pile of mail – and on top was a magazine called Modern Maturity – from AARP. The back of the magazine asked “Have you been someplace where the sun is always shining and the phone never rings.”  I set up my Smith Corona typewriter and pounded out a 3 page story that I sent off to the magazine.  Needless to say I heard nothing back and eventually showed the story to my neighbor.  She gushed over it – told me that the local newspaper called The Pelican Press would love it – so I repacked it and sent it.  The rest is history. My first story became a 2-page spread with 3 pictures in an award winning newspaper published 2 days before my 51st birthday on February 9, 1995. They even spelled my name right. 

 4. Your books are hilarious, have you always had such a great sense of humour?

 I have to say “yes.”  I have learned that “sense of humor” runs in families and almost everyone in my family cracks me up.  I have also maintained that you can’t live the way I do – 22 years as a solo RVer and 13 years as a full-time RVer – without seeing the funny side of life.

With titles like,  Morocco – Without a Pit to Hiss In and Stuck in Greece , your books will cheer any one up.

 5. You are a woman of many talents, besides keeping everyone amused with your books, you make exquisite bookmarks, spiders and tree of life pendants. What prompted you to start creating these items?

 I feel that my beading is a “guilty” pleasure.  My mother spent many hard years of her life working in a factory in Montreal beading hats for pennies. I do it mostly for pleasure and it occupies a different part of my creative brain. I love the feel and the shapes and the various sizes and especially the colors –  it satisfies every part of my creative mind. Not a day goes by that I don’t feel grateful that my eyes are in good shape and my hands are very steady. 

6. What would you say has been a defining moment in your life?

 Interesting question:  What is my defining moment? I never thought of any part of my life in defining moments. I try anything that looks interesting and fun.  I’m not a daredevil at all so I would immediately dismiss anything where I might get hurt physically or mentally but, as I approach my 70th birthday I’m starting to make different decisions about my travels and my writing and my career…….I’ll announce more when I know more…..but changes are acomin’. 

7. You are a woman who travels solo, what advice would you give a woman who is contemplating travelling on her own?

 What advice would I give a woman just starting out – your instincts will tell you when things are not right – leave when you don’t feel safe and never drive after dark. Find other travelers like yourself and don’t take yourself too seriously. A lot of fun to be found out here.

 8. What are you reading right now?

 For reading pleasure purposes I still love mysteries or family sagas or real-life adventure but what I’m reading now involves marketing my new e-books.  I spent all summer long converting all but one of my adventure-travel books to e-books. Everyone’s Dream Everyone’s Nightmare is being updated and re-edited and will become a memoir rather than a travel-adventure and will be converted to an e-book in 2014 or 2015. It’s my favorite and I want to keep it going.

 9. What advice would you give a young person with their entire life before them?

 Don’t concentrate so hard on what’s going on around you that you miss something coming at you out of the corner of your eye.  Passions change and always do something that you’re passionate about. 

 10. Any parting words?

I think I’ve said it all. Thanks for listening.

  Joei Carlton

http://joeicarlton.com/

Smashwords

Books

Sorry, WordPress won’t let me add pictures for some reason. Check out Joei’s website to see what she looks like.

In case you were wondering how Erik did with his Reading for Renn project I posted about earlier this week, here are the results. Pretty impressive!

Reading for Renn Total!!! and Lititz Book Festival Fun! :D.

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

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/ "Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is."  - Master Yoda

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.

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I discovered this whimsical mermaid on Gabriola Island. She was welcoming visitors to Starfish Soaps, a  place where you can find luxurious soaps or bath products made only of natural products. I bought a lovely bar of  lemongrass with activated charcoal and carrot. It smells so good. Soaps come with a starfish motive or even in the shape of a mermaid.

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This welcoming mermaid made me think of a blogging friend, Patti, over at A New Day Dawns . She seems to find mermaids everywhere in her community. You might want to visit her site and check them out. Here is s sample.

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Photograph by Patti at A New Day Dawns

Patti’s posts are always entertaining. She also shares many photos of birds and other wild life that visit her property. http://pattisjarrett.wordpress.com/

We had a fun Halloween at our office last week.  Since we are Employment Counsellors working at an Employment Service Centre, we dressed in various modes of work. Here I am as a precarious pirate along with some of my clever colleagues.  For the new immigrants who use our centre, it was their first Hallowen experience and they loved it.

 

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Life can often be serious business, especially when looking for work. It is good to have fun from time to time.

What do you do to lighten things up at work or at home?

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When I went on the Gabriola Island Studio Tour last month with my daughter, I came across a wonderful teapot at the home of photographer Victor Anthony and his wife, author Joelle Anthony. They gave me permission to photograph it.  A perfect teapot for writers and readers!

Joelle then brought out a teapot that had been in her family for many years. Isn’t it elegant?

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We were invited out to friends for a Thanksgiving dinner, and I was delighted when the hostess served tea in this adorable teapot.

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I love unique teapots and have a small collection myself. A blogging buddy of mine, Beth Ann Chiles, has the most incredible collection of teapots you have ever seen. She has a feature on her blog called Teapot Tuesday and I can never wait to see what she will feature next. You must check it out. She also features Comments for a Cause. Everytime someone makes a comment on her blog, she donates fifty cents to her cause of the month. So please leave a comment when you visit. Read about this moth’s wonderful cause here:  http://bethannchiles.com/2013/11/01/who-doesnt-love-children/

Do you enjoy unique teapots? Perhaps you have a favourite you would like to share.

I was invited to present a workshop at the Junior Author’s Writing Conference  this past weekend. The conference was  well-organized by the amazing Laura Thomas (Read my blog about her here) Over 70 aspiring authors from ages 9 to 18 attended,  all eager to learn more about writing. I had a wonderful time presenting a description workshop called “Writing More Than You See”

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This was the blurb on the agenda:

Writing More Than You See with Darlene Foster, Author

This workshop is about setting and how pictures can be used to write a scene. The importance of using more than the sense of sight to describe setting will be explored. Participants will practice descriptive writing by observing a picture of a place and describing it using more than one sense.  This will be a fun, interactive workshop with an opportunity to share writing with other participants and learn from each other.

It was indeed fun. The participants seemed to enjoy the hands-on writing practice and got right into it. Some shared what they wrote and I was amazed at what they created in such a short time. They are serious writers of the future.

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It was so wonderful to be in a room full of young people working toward their dream of becoming writers. The creative energy was contagious. I wish them all the best in their writing endeavours. Thank you Laura for organizing this event and for inviting me to be part of it.


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