Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category
I was pleased to be invited as a guest blogger on Darlene Quinn’s site. Darlene Quinn is an award-winning author, writing coach and public speaker. Check out her award-winning books Webs of Fate, Twisted Webs and Webs of Power. This busy, dynamic woman is also the host of the Facebook group, Talking Fiction. A group for anyone and everyone who loves fiction. Reader, writer, dabbler, dreamer… Here is my article:
Many of us began our love affair with books as children. Being read to before bed by a family member, walking into the library for the first time, discovering the ability to read by yourself; are warm and fuzzy memories. We keep worn copies of our favourite childhood books and share them with the new little ones in our lives. Books and children go together like strawberries and ice cream…. read more at http://darlenequinn.net/2013/why-writing-for-children-is-important/
My grandson reading one of my books
I was very excited to see my name appear on the blog of another superb writer, Cassandra Giovanni, C Giovanni Writes where she wrote a flattering review of Amanda in Arabia, proving that my stories are not only for children but for readers of all ages.
This book was an excellent, easy flowing adventure. You meet the very inquisitive Amanda as she begins a journey to the United Arab Emirates and as she learns about this new country, so do you. Here is the rest of the review: http://cgiovanniwrites.wordpress.com/2013/03/09/i-woke-up-and-wanted-to-read-so-i-did/
I have also been mentioned on a blog hop called The Next Big Thing where writers talk about their WIP or soon to be released work. It is fun to see what others are working on. My next big thing was mentioned on a previous post in case you missed it. http://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/the-next-big-thing-blog-hop/
Others in this blog hop are:
Working on my next big thing
I love blogging, hopping and reading about what others think of my work. It makes it all worthwhile, doesn’t it? It also motivates me to keep writing!
I’m being featured today on Leanne Dyck’s blog The Sweater Curse . Talk about a cool name for a blogsite and a book!
Click on the picture to learn more about Leanne’s book.
We all know that writing can be tough and we often feel discouraged. You might think that changes once you are published. I hate to break it to you, but it doesn’t. Writers are by nature, individuals riddled with self-doubt. Sometimes, when you really need it, someone writes a review that can change a bad day, or week, into a ray of sunshine! That’s what happened to me this week.
First, I got a lovely email from Scotland:
I have just finished reading “Amanda in England” – what a fast-paced,gripping yarn! My dad has read it too and he couldn’t put it down (he’s 83, so that just goes to show the wide appeal it has. He said it reminded him of the kind of adventure story he enjoyed reading in his youth).
I now want to read the other Amanda books, and look forward to more in the future. Are you working on one at the moment?
Thanks for the entertainment!
Best wishes, Lorna
Then I found I had been given a 5 Star review on Amazon:
A curious young girl, a pony, and a mysterious painting, February 14, 2013
By Christa Polkinhorn
Amanda Ross from Canada is invited by her British friend Leah and Leah’s parents on a trip through Spain. Amanda loves to travel. She is an enthusiastic, spunky, and curious young girl, always eager to learn and explore. And it is precisely her curiosity and her desire to figure things out that often get her into trouble. A painting in a museum of a beautiful, mysterious young girl, a modern real-life version of the girl, a stolen pony, and a few mean-looking men and the relaxing days at the beach Leah was looking forward to, turn into a turbulent and potentially dangerous detective story for the two friends.
AMANDA IN SPAIN is a book for the young and the young-at-heart. Vivid descriptions of the country and its customs, humorous details, and enough tension that keeps you turning the page, make this a very enjoyable reading. I look forward to Amanda’s next adventure!
And today, to finish up this amazing week, I was sent a picture that warmed my heart:
A very happy birthday girl who received Amanda in England from her Aunt.
All wonderful reminders of why I write. I am now much more motivated to work on Amanda’s next adventure.
What does it take to motivate you in your endeavours?
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 haven’t participated in a blog hop before but was honoured to be chosen to be part of this one. I’d like to thank Sharon from Sharon’s Sunlit Memories for tagging me to participate. This gives us all a chance to view releases from authors we admire, as well as introduce us to some works in progress. Check out Sharon’s wonderful blog that brings back memories of a 60′s childhood. She posts cut-out dolls, picture books and paintings from way back then. She also sprinkles her blog with pictures of her magical property in Ireland. (a place I wish to visit one day)
The ten questions required to answer for the “Next Big Thing” are:
1.What is the working title of your work in progress?
Amanda in Alberta-The Writing on the Stone
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
I like to write about Amanda travelling to unique places but when I was doing a reading at my grandson’s school in Alberta, one of the students said, “Why don’t you write about Amanda in Alberta?” I grew up there so I didn’t think it would be that unique. But then I thought, for children who are not familiar with the area, they might find it fascinating.
3. What genre does your book fall under?
Middle reader chapter books, ages 8 – 12 approximately. (although many adults seem to enjoy my books as well!)
4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I am not familiar with current child actors. I always imagine my books as animations when I think of them on-screen.
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Leah comes to Alberta to visit Amanda where they attend the Calgary Stampede, visit a cattle ranch, spend time at a dinosaur museum and meet a sad rodeo clown, while they try to decipher prehistoric writing found on a stone.
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
My books are published by Central Avenue Publishing
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I have written four chapters of Amanda in Alberta. I hope to have the first draft completed by June of next year.
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I haven’t really compared this story to other books. I enjoyed reading about the Bobbsey Twins and their travels when I was growing up.
9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?
This book was inspired by the children who read my books. They always ask me, “Where is Amanda going to next?” My family has lived in Alberta for five generations, and my grandchildren live there now so I have tons of inspiration and ideas.
10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Alberta is rich with history dating back to the age of dinosaurs so there will be something for everyone; dinosaurs, First Nations people, buffalo, cowboys,and a Blue Heeler dog named Bart. There is actually a place called “Writing on The Stone Park”.
Cowboy picture from wikipedia
The five authors that I am tagging for this blog hop are:
Cassandra Giovanni http://cgiovanniwrites.wordpress.com/about/
Lada Ray http://ladaray.wordpress.com/about/
Diane Tibert http://dianetibert.com/home/
Michelle Isenhoff http://michelleisenhoff.wordpress.com/book-trailers/
You can answer the questions about a work in progress or a recently published book if you wish. All you have to do is link your post back to my blog.
Check out these great authors (who happen to be very nice people to get to know as well)
A cool blogger friend of mine, Jennifer at The Secret Keeper offered the LOOK challenge to me and I have accepted it as I thought it was a lot of fun. Check out The Secret Keeper for amazing poetry and video clips as well as a variety of well written topics and discussions. She will make you think.
Here are the rules for the LOOK Challenge:
Search your manuscript for the word “look,” and then copy the surrounding paragraphs into a post.
Give a little background on the scene if you’d like.
Here is mine from my latest book Amanda in England-The Missing Novel
Amanda and Leah have just arrived on the Isle of Wight:
When they arrived on the island later that afternoon, Leah’s dad treated them to a delicious fish and chip dinner. Amanda laughed as she read out the menu, “Mushy peas- yuk. Toad in the hole? Spotted dick? That can’t be real! I think I will stick with fish and chips, thank you.”
After dinner they walked down the cobblestone streets of Cowes, passing a shop with interesting used books in the window.
“Can we please stop and have a look in here?” asked Amanda.
“It’s only books.” Leah kept walking.
“But I love books and these look way cool.”
“Why don’t you girls stop in here, while I visit the shop next door to purchase some fittings for the boat.”
Amanda was in her element. The dusty old store had books piled up right to the ceiling. The shelves looked like they would topple over from the weight of the volumes. The many stacks on the floor leaned to the left and to the right. The place smelled like old, well-worn novels.
Amanda loved books so much and had a nice collection. If there was ever a fire in her house, she would throw her books out first before she jumped out of the window. Fortunately her bedroom was on the ground floor.
Leah browsed in the romance section. Amanda drifted to a vintage section where her eyes lighted upon a copy of Vicky and Alice. Her great-aunt Amelia had a series of these delightful books about two Victorian sisters. She would let Amanda read them when she visited. But, she hadn’t seen this one before, Vicky and Alice at the Seashore. Amanda laughed at the picture of the girls in bathing suits that covered most of their bodies.
The price, written in pencil, was three pounds.
“I found a book I want to buy. It’s a real gem!”
Leah wasn’t as excited about it, but smiled politely. She had a fashion magazine in her hand. “I think I’ll get this.”
They gave their money to a man reading at a desk in the middle of the room. He was as dishevelled as the rest of the store, with unkempt grey hair and round glasses that sat at the end of his nose. A large, snoring tabby cat took over the only part of the desk that was not piled high with books and papers.
“Don’t mind Rupert,” said the gentleman. “He just likes to be around books. He’ll do you no harm.”
“A good purchase,” he said as he rang in the Vicky and Alice book. “These are hard to come by these days.” He almost smiled at Amanda.
Tag 5 other writers who are working on, or who have completed a manuscript.
The authors I have tagged are:
Hope you have fun with this!
Here is what I did on Halloween
I woke up this morning to a wonderful surprise. Diane from New Zealand, on her blog Writer and Dreamer at Work , posted an interview with me and a very flattering review of Amanda in England-The Missing Novel. I was attracted initially to Diane’s blog because she is a writer and a dreamer, like me. She writes very good children’s book reviews. In fact her review of Herbert the Brave Sea Dog prompted me to purchase the book for my grandson.
I would like very much to introduce to you a lovely friend and fellow writer/dreamer Darlene Foster, an author of the Chapter book series, Amanda in Arabia, Amanda in Spain, and the new, Amanda in England.
Darlene is a published children’s author, an employment coach/facilitator, an ESL tutor, a wife, mother and grandmother. Like me, she loves travel, shoes, cooking, reading, sewing, chocolate, music, the beach and making new friends. Her grandson calls her “super-mega-as woman-supreme”. She was brought up on a ranch in Southern Alberta, where she dreamt of traveling the world and meeting new people. She lives on the West Coast of BC with her husband Paul and two black cats, Pumpkin and Monkey.
Darlene has been visiting my blog for some time and I was delighted to find she is a fellow dreamer as well as a lover of travel. As writers I think we all are dreamers of sorts and I especially loved her travel stories, which have brought back wonderful memories for me.
So I was especially delighted that she agreed to being bombarded with questions by me here today…
Darlene I see from your website, your books are inspired by your travels, when and for how long did you visit England?
To hear the answer and read the rest of the interview visit Diane’s blog:
One of Diane’s favourite quotes is:
“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”
Thanks so much Diane for the interview, the review and your friendship.
Some days are just worth waking up to and today has been astounding!
Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask was given a stellar review by a wonderful mother and daughter team I had the pleasure of meeting at one of my book signings. This dynamic duo, Renee and Danielle, have a blog where they review books they have read together. Parents who encourage their children to read and then discuss the reading with them are providing a great education to the future generation. This is what they had to say about Amanda’s adventure:
Book Review: Amanda in Arabia – The Perfume Flask by Darlene Foster
Title: Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask
Author: Darlene Foster
Year published: 2010
Number of pages: 108
Recommended age: 8+
Reviewed by: Renee and Danielle (Mother and Daughter)
Daughter’s bottom line: I really, really, really liked this book – it was fun to read. I would recommend it to girls 7 years and older.
Mother’s bottom line: I really, really enjoyed this book. I ripped through it in one sitting because it had me captivated from start to finish. I would highly recommend this book and the other Amanda books to girls in particular ages 8+.
To read the entire review http://motherdaughterbookreviews.com/book-review-amanda-in-arabia-the-perfume-flask-by-darlene-foster/
If that wasn’t enough to make my day, I was also interviewed by my amazing publisher, Michelle at Central Avenue Publishing
On Being a Small Press Author – Darlene Foster
Today, I’m proud to present Darlene Foster, a Canadian author who has written three young reader books all belonging to the Amanda series. Darlene’s books have been very well received both locally and internationally. Her newest book, Amanda in England: The Missing Novel has just been released. She is actually one of the few Canadian authors we have and she just happens to live about a 15 minute drive away from me. I met her in person, at a local writer’s group and I’m very glad I did.
1. The first book I can remember reading is:
Goldilocks and The Three Bears
2. The first book I ever wrote was: Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask
Read more of this interview and perhaps learn more about me: http://centralavenuepub.wordpress.com/2012/08/24/on-being-a-small-press-author-darlene-foster/
Thank you! Thank you! Renee, Danielle and Michelle for giving me a fabulous Friday.