Darlene Foster's Blog

I am pleased to be featured as a guest on Beetley Pete’s blog where I talk about how I turned my own travel experiences into books for kids.

beetleypete

I am delighted to be able to bring you a guest post from the lovely Darlene Foster, a Canadian blogger and published author.

Here is her own short bio.

Brought up on a ranch in Canada, Darlene dreamt of travelling the world and meeting interesting people. She has always loved to tell stories and was encouraged by her grade three teacher to write them down. She is the author of the exciting adventure series featuring 12-year-old Amanda Ross who loves to travel. Readers of all ages enjoy travelling with Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another in countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Spain, England, Germany, Holland and her own country, Canada. When not travelling herself, Darlene divides her time between the sunny Costa Blanca of Spain and the west coast of Canada.

And this is her unedited guest post.

How Travel Memories Became Books for Kids

By…

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“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
― Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

I joined the Goodreads Challenge last year and set my goal at 30 books. I was pleased to end the year having read 34. Many bloggers have listed the books they read in 2019, so I decided to do the same. I’ve included links to Goodreads where I’ve left a review for most of them. There may be some you´d like to read.

  1. Notes from a Small Dog by Sue Vincent 
  2. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield 
  3. Mennonite Daughter: The Story of a Plain Girl by Marian Longnecker Beaman
  4. The Magic Carpet by Jessica Norrie 
  5. The Pilates Class by Stevie Turner
  6. Philomena by Christene A. Browne
  7. The Road by Cormack MacArthy
  8. Baggage by Wendy Phillips 
  9. The Emissary 2:To Love Somebody by Marcia Meara
  10. Where or When by Anita Shreve
  11. The Coldest December: A Short Story Collection to Remember the Halifax Explosion
  12. Broken Mould by B. J. Darling
  13. Shooting Caterpillars in Spain by Alex Browning
  14. The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan 
  15. The Emissary: A Riverbend Spinoff Novella by Marcia Meara
  16. The Storyteller Speaks by Annika Perry
  17. Coffin for Cash by Nic Morton
  18. All the Better Part of Me by Molly Ringle
  19. Partners in Time by Stevie Turner
  20. Understanding:An Anthology of True and Significant Life Events complied by Stevie Turner
  21. The Rise of Winter by Alex Lyttle
  22. The Moon is Wearing a Tutu by Joy Lennick and Eric Lennick
  23. From Ant to Eagle by Alex Lyttle
  24. Girl of Kosovo by Alice Mead
  25. The Gathering by Anne Enright
  26. Becoming by Michelle Obama
  27. Roam by C. H. Armstrong
  28. The Poet’s Dog by Patricha MacLaughlin
  29. Fire in the Vineyard by Christa Polkinhorne
  30. The Mystery of Shadow Hills by Carrie Cross
  31. The Big Book of If by Evelyn McFarlane
  32. Pure Trash by Bette A- Stevens
  33. Winter Draws On: Short stories by members of Writer´s Ink
  34. Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action by Darlene Foster

In 2019 I read many great books and a good variety. It´s hard to say which was my favorite but the top three would be, Becoming, Baggage and The Bonesetter´s Daughter. It´s just a coincidence they all start with B.

So many books, so little time

My goal for next year is 40. I will not live long enough to complete my TBR pile but I sure want to make a dent in it in 2020. Wish me luck.

Happy reading to all of you!!

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”  Edith Lovejoy Pierce

I love the start of a new year. It´s an opportunity to re-evaluate my life and set goals for the next 12 months. They may not all be met, that’s OK, life gets in the way. But if there are no goals, nothing gets done and you just sit there. At least that´s how it is for me and I’ve got to keep on moving! 

“Even though you are on the right track – you will get run over if you just sit there.” Will Rogers

With that in mind, here are my goals for 2020.

  1. Edit Amanda in Malta:The Sleeping Lady and send it to the publisher
  2. Write Amanda in France
  3. Decide if I should continue writing Amanda stories or venture into something else.
  4. Write more short stories
  5. Write more travel articles
  6. Help others with their writing as many have helped me
  7. Work on my TBR list, read at least 40 books 
  8. Visit Venice
  9. Attend a family reunion in Alberta
  10. Travel to the UK and visit friends
  11. Organize my office
  12. Organize my computer files
  13. Learn more about writing and publishing a picture book
  14. Publish an anthology of short stories

My three words for 2020 are:

support – Support others in whatever way I can, as so many have supported me over the years.

connect – Connect with people, stay in touch, facilitate connections.

motion – Keep moving, physically and mentally.

My first goal of 2020 was to write this list and it´s done! I would love to hear about your goals and/or words for this year, the start of a new decade.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

I better get writing!

 

As the sun sets on another year, it’s time for me to see how I did with the goals set out at the beginning of the year. All years have highs and lows, but upon reflection it wasn’t a bad year. 

2019 Goals

  1. Publish and promote Amanda in Holland-Missing in Action.                       I am happy to say that Amanda in Holland was released on September 2, 2019. I did a lot of on-line promotion before and after publication. 
  2. Return to Canada in the fall of 2019 to launch Amanda in Holland, organize readings and signings at bookstores, libraries, and schools.          I did return to Canada in October and visited many bookstores, schools and libraries. It was a successful tour.
  3. Finish writing Amanda in Malta-The Sleeping Lady.                          Amanda in Malta is finished, it just needs to be edited and beta read before sending it to the publisher. It should be published Spring 2021.
  4. Start Amanda in France.                                                                              Some rough notes have been made for this book but I haven’t started writing the story yet. 
  5. Do (at least) one thing every day to promote my writing.                           I do this automatically now. 
  6. Publish an anthology of short stories about growing up in rural Alberta.                                                                                                             This has been on the list for a couple of years and I still haven’t done it!
  7. Try writing a picture book.                                                                                 I have made some notes for a picture book but feel I need to learn more about this genre before I attempt it.
  8. Visit a part of Spain I haven’t been to before.                                                 I visited Tarragona, Reus, Lorca, Aledo and Montserrate for the first time. All fascinating places in Spain. 
  9. Attend a Moors and Christians Festival.                                                          I didn’t do this, but I did attend an amazing Easter parade in Lorca and a Candle Night Festival in Aledo. 
  10. Go on a cruise, visiting Venice, Rome or Greece perhaps.                     This didn’t happen.
  11. Read at least 30 books.                                                                                  This was my Goodreads Challenge and I did it. In fact I read 31 books!
  12. Take an online course.                                                                                         I didn’t do this but did learn some new things by reading informative blogs.
  13. Make new friends, online and in person, and stay in touch with longtime friends.                                                                                                   I have made some new friends, a few in person and many online. I have made a concerted effort to keep in touch with old friends as they are gold. Seeing many of them on my return trip to Canada was the best.
  14. Celebrate my birthday in style.                                                                           I had friends over for a sunny March afternoon tea on my terrace. Hubby purchased a special cake for me. A good time was had by all. 

I usually like to pick a word or three for the year. I decided on action, learn, listen for 2019. I believe I did listen better, which in turn enabled me to learn more and take appropriate action. I seldom look back at these words but having written them down, they seem to become imprinted in the back of my mind and affect how I live my life. Funny how that works.

I have just realized we have come to the end of the second decade of the 21st Century. Incredible. It would be worth reflecting on the past ten years. Perhaps in another post.

I wish all of you a fabulous New Year’s Eve, whether you go out and celebrate or have a quiet evening at home with a loved one or a good book. See you in 2020 with a new list of goals.

I am thrilled to announce that my story, The Bright Lights of Christmas, won the Stevie Turner Christmas short story award. What a wonderful Christmas gift! Pop over and read the other entries. https://steviet3.wordpress.com/2019/12/24/share-your-christmas-short-story-winner/

Thanks also to Stevie Turner for nominating me for the Blogger Recognition Award:

Here are the Rules:

1. Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

2. Write a post to show your award.

3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.

4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.

5. Select up to fifteen bloggers you want to give this award to.

6. Comment (or pingback) on each blog to let them know that you’ve nominated them and provide a link to the post you’ve created.

How My Blog Started:

When I eventually found a publisher for my Amanda Travels books, she suggested I start a blog as part of my social media presence. That was almost 10 years ago. I wasn’t quite sure what to do, so I checked out the blogs of other writers to get ideas. Since my tag line is, dreamer of dreams, teller of tales, I decided to make dreams the theme of the blog. On June 19th, 2010 I published my first post and this is what I wrote: “This blog is for writers, readers, travelers, dreamers and other interesting people of all ages.  I hope you enjoy my blog and I welcome all comments, suggestions and ideas.” You can read the rest of the short post about a hotair balloon ride here.  I had three likes and three comments. After writing a couple of posts, I found it was fun and I soon gained great followers, many who have become good friends.  

Give Two Pieces of Advice to New Bloggers:

  1. Have fun with it. Don’t get too serious, people can get serious stuff from TV and newspapers. The world needs positive, funny and uplifting things to read online.
  2. Include pictures and write lean. People are busy and there is only so much time to read blogs. If the post is too wordy, they won’t read it. And always engage with those who comment. 

Select up to 15 Bloggers:

It was difficult to pick but I have chosen these bloggers because they are good writers, have interesting blogs and have supported my blog and writing endeavours. Some have already been nominated for this award, but that’s OK. Do check out their blogs if they are new to you.

  1. Sue Vincent https://scvincent.com/
  2. Annika Perry https://annikaperry.com/
  3. Pamela Wight https://roughwighting.net/
  4. Marcia Meara https://marciamearawrites.com/
  5. Mary Smith https://marysmithsplace.wordpress.com/
  6. Jacqui Murray https://worddreams.wordpress.com/
  7. Teri Polen https://teripolen.com/
  8. Joy Lennik https://joylennick.wordpress.com/
  9. Jacquie Biggar https://jacqbiggar.com/
  10. Bette Stevens https://4writersandreaders.com/
  11. D. G. Kaye https://dgkayewriter.com/
  12. Colleen Chesbro https://colleenchesebro.com/
  13. Barb Taub https://barbtaub.com/
  14. Diane Peach https://mythsofthemirror.com/
  15. Marian Beaman https://marianbeaman.com/
  16. Robbie Cheadle https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/
  17. Ritu Bhathal https://butismileanyway.com/

OK, I have 17 but I could have had 30.

This will be my last post until after Christmas so I would like to wish everyone a fabulous holiday season, whether you spend it with family and friends or if you spend it with yourself, some cookies and a good book! I will be spending Christmas in sunny Spain with hubby and Dot but thinking of my family and friends in Canada and all over the world.

I was delighted to be a guest on fellow Canadian author, D.G. Kaye´s blog, where I answer questios like:

Do some of your own character traits or personal experiences spill into your book’s characters?

Q and A with D.G. Kaye, Featuring Children’s Author Darlene Foster
December 20, 2019
Welcome to the last of 2019 author interviews. And I’m happy to send off the season with my featured author guest Darlene Foster. Darlene has recently released another book in her Amanda travels series – Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action. And Darlene is already working on the next book in the series! Let’s find out what she’s up to!

Read the rest here

https://dgkayewriter.com/q-and-a-with-d-g-kaye-featuring-childrens-author-darlene-foster/

However you spend this wonderful tme of the year, may it be full of Joy and Peace! Here is a great version of one of my favourite Christmas songs.

Dot´s letter to Santa Claus is featured on Sue Vincent´s blog today, where she admits she hasn’t always been good. Dot and Sue´s dog, Ani have become blogging friends. Dot is helping Ani out so she doesn’t have to wear the awful reindeer antlers this year. Check it out. Merry Christmas from Dot and everyone at her house. Woof woof!

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Dear Santa,

I’ve been wondering what my two-legs would like for Christmas. I mean, there are loads of things that would be nice for her, but she says there’s not much she needs.

But, today I heard her muttering. And I’ve found something!

She needs fish.

Not just any fish, mind… special ones.

And not to eat (though I am partial to a bit of salmon or tuna…)

You see, we’ve got this fish tank and she looks after it all the time, but one of the fish is a bully. Well, two of them really, but one of them just dashes at everyone when it is feeding time. This one bullies its mate…and she is really not happy about that! I mean the two-legs, but I don’t think the mate is either.

The poor little female fishy is getting battered. And that’s no joke. So, she’s done her research…

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