Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Christmas

The Bess Time cover Nov7

“Have you ever wanted to go back in time? Here is your opportunity.” Bess Turner, a woman of the twenty-first century, would like to invite you to accompany her on a journey to London, England. The season is Christmas. The year is 1847. The adventure begins with a light in a window. Mesmerized, Bess hears street noises behind her. No, that cannot be; she is in her living room, looking at a miniature building on the mantel. True, but …. Meet her colourful Victorian family, stay for a cup of tea, and taste the flaming plum pudding. Hold your breath and squeeze into the dreaded corset. Swirl around the majestic Vauxhall to the Viennese Waltz. Take in the smells and sounds of the horse-drawn carriages along busy Fleet Street. Enjoy the ride; it is The Bess Time.

My review of The Bess Time

Who wouldn’t love to go back in time to visit Charles Dickens’s London at Christmastime? This is what happens to Bess Turner when she stares into the lights of the miniature Victorian street scene on her mantle. A delightful venture into time travel, the author does an excellent job of transitioning from the twenty first century to the nineteenth century with ease. The many unique characters are well developed and you will definitely fall in love with them as they become as familiar as your own friends and neighbours.  Even the charming Mr. Dickens himself makes a cameo appearance. The setting, the accents, the food, the weather, the clothing and the customs of the time come to life on the page. There are many laughs and a few tears as Beth divides her time between a modern North American Christmas and a traditional London Christmas of 1847. I didn’t want the story to end and am happy to hear there is a sequel in the works. You will need to buy two copies of The Bess Time, one for yourself and one for a friend as you won’t want to give this one away. Pour yourself a cup of tea and enjoy!

Interview with the author Yvonne Pont

How long have you been writing?

Since I was in high school, but not seriously till about 2009. Before that, I have written for my various club newsletters, letters to family and friends and minutes for meetings. I took various writing courses and joined a writers’ group. Both of which have helped tremendously to hone my craft. 

What gave you the idea for this book?

The miniature buildings and the built in curiosity and imagination to discover what goes on behind closed doors. Wouldn’t it be fun to go back in time and observe? So I did. 

What made you decide to self-publish?

I tried the traditional way, but it is not easy for an unknown author to have a publisher in today’s market take a chance on them. So I took the bull by the horns, took a deep breath and plunged head first into another world I knew nothing about. Each day brings new challenges and tests the will to continue. A relative once told me if you sit in the safety of your backyard and never venture out, life passes you by. 

I just love the characters. Did you pattern them after people you know?

Yes, a few are, and others have the names, but not the personalities of the namesakes. Observing people while in restaurants, shops, etc. is a good way to add or start on a character. 

How did you manage to get all those accents down pat? It wasn’t long and I knew who was talking without the tags, just from the accent!

I made a profile of each character and added their special dialogue. I wanted the reader to experience what Bess did and that was to listen to their different accents of that time in history. It had to be as real as possible.

I also love the cover art work. Was this your idea? How did you find an illustrator for the cover?

I told the artist exactly what I wanted, and she went from there. I also took pictures of figures and buildings in shadow to get the idea across to her. Fortunately, my good friend and artist, Connie Wicklund, did a great job. Iryna Spica of Spica Design in Victoria gave me samples for the title printing and holly emblem. I picked what I felt went best with the book and artwork.

What authors have inspired you? Who are your all time favourite authors?

Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie and Jane Austen. 

Do you have a writing routine?

I try. However, life keeps getting in the way. Thank goodness, I have not experienced writer’s block, so it is not difficult to get my thoughts on paper on short notice. I always write in long hand and then transpose it to my laptop. My thoughts, my hand, the pen and paper work as one. Transferring it to the laptop is another step to further editing the piece.

Are you a plotter or a panster? (do you plot the story out before hand or write by the seat of your pants as ideas come to you?)

Yes, I have a plot. Yes, ideas come while the hand is on the paper too. Does that make me a plotster? 

Tell us a little about you including some quirks or funny habits.

I love animals, travel, gardening. I tend to relate an object such as my car, a book as human. Each has its own personality and story to tell. As far as the funny habits, you will have to ask my husband………. 

What is the name of the next book in the Christmas in Time series and when do you expect it to be completed?

“Nick Of Time” I hope to have it finished and published for fall of 2015. 

What advice would you give someone thinking of writing a book?

Go for it! However, learn your craft and join a writers’ group who will critique and give you sage advice. Editing is a must and must be done many times before the work is finished. But above all, don’t forget this is your work. Be true to it! Heed others advice, but if it is not what you want or had in mind for your story, let them write their own book.

Great advice! So happy to meet yet another Jane Austen fan too.  Thank you, Yvonne for sharing a bit about yourself and your book.

You can buy The Bess Time here or here

Visit Yvonne’s website  http://www.yvonnepont.com/ to learn more about her.

The author is giving away a copy of her book to one of the lucky readers of this blog. Just add a comment and your name will be put in the draw. Don’t forget to comment before the deadline, February 14.


DSC02167

I have  many wonderful memories of Christmas growing up. It doesn’t surprise me that many of them have to do with my grandma. She had many grandchildren but always made sure I got something special under the tree. She gave me my first stamp album, books I treasured and even my first Elvis Presley album! Christmas dinners at grandma’s place was special.  Her small house brimmed over with aunts, uncles and cousins. The meal would be delicious with special treats we only got at Christmas time. Grandma provided these treasured memories that always return at this time of the year.  I don’t think I ever told her how much they meant to me.

My 4 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren live in another province so I don’t see them as often as I would like. I’ve only spent a few Christmases with them over the years. Every year I enjoy choosing gifts for all of them, carefully wrapping them and packaging them up to send off in the mail. I like picking out a number of small items instead of one big gift for each. I know kids like lots of gifts to open. There is always a book or two for each child of course (and not always mine!) I admit I have always felt it wasn’t quite enough. I felt guilty not being with them and cooking a big meal for them like my grandma used to do.

Then I got this Facebook message from my second granddaughter, herself a mother of a  3 1/2 year old:

We received the box In the mail! Funny, a few days ago I was looking back on Christmas as a kid, and remembering the grandma Darlene boxes that would come in the mail. And how special and magical it felt to have gotten all those packages for us from you!!! Felt like there was a hundred! Haha! Then boom there’s one on my door step for Devin. Law of Attraction at my door. You made that a very rememberable, special memory for us girls. Something traditional. Thank you. Can’t wait to see what special things you found for Devin. xoxoxo love you!

Later I got a message from her older sister, a mother of a 6 year old.

We got the parcel! I always loved getting those parcels. XO

Then I realized that in my crazy, busy, whirlwind life, I was still making Christmas memories as a grandmother too!

Second granddaughter reading to her daughter and niece

Second granddaughter reading to her daughter and niece

Early Christmas with the grandsons 2011

Early Christmas with the grandsons 2011

 

Grandsons, granddaughter and great granddaughter early Christmas 2012

Grandsons, granddaughter and great granddaughter, early Christmas 2012

First great granddaughter happy with her gift

First great granddaughter happy with her gift

 

The best gifts I have ever received are my grandchildren and great grandchildren. Those of you with grandchildren and those of you without, I hope you are making special Christmas memories for the young ones in your life.

Surely, two of the most satisfying experiences in life must be those of being a grandchild or a grandparent. ~Donald A. Norberg

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.

The Maccabeats – Candlelight – 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?

I just returned from a trip to Alberta where I spent an early Christmas with my family. I had a wonderful time and wish to share it with a video.

Early Christmas With Family

Merry Christmas to all my blog followers. Thank you for your visits to my blogs and your much appreciated comments and support. Enjoy the season and please share your stories and pictures.


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