Darlene Foster's Blog

Lynn Davidson is giving away a copy of my bi-lingual book Pig on Trial/Cerdito a juicio on her blog. Read her review and make a comment. You may be the lucky winner!

Book Review: Cerdito a juicio; comment by author Darlene Foster; & book giveaway!

Imagine medieval times, bizarre accusations, a pig on trial and the efforts to rescue him – as told by a ten-year-old boy. Now you have an interesting story.  Plus it’s in two languages – English and Spanish.

When I asked author Darlene Foster if there was anything she wanted to tell me about the story or the writing of it, here is what she said:

Read the rest here

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Thank you, Lynn, for reviewing my book. Good luck to those who enter the giveaway!!

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I am taking part in #ComedyBookWeek and featuring Steve Vernon’s book Kelpie Dreams

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The blurb
Meet Lady Macbeth—a high school librarian, ex-assassin, and part-time kelpie, whose mother wanted to name her Hemorrhoid at birth. Now she has to take on a Sea Hag—eight legs of Godzilla-ugly poured into a bucket full of meanness—with the help of a one-woman army named Rhonda, a 200-year-old Sea Captain, and a hunky lighthouse keeper who won’t admit that he’s dead as well. KELPIE DREAMS is a funny, action-packed, paranormal romance novel for folks who HATE to read romance novels.

My review

This is a laugh-out-loud, hilarious, wickedly funny book, written with that unique east coast Canadian sense of humour. Steve Vernon has created characters so off-the-wall they are believable. Like how could you not love a Star Trek loving librarian, a tough hit woman, an eight-legged sea hag, a weird little chain-smoking fisherman and a two-hundred-year-old dead hunk who is sometimes a horse?
Lady Cordelia Macbeth is grieving the loss of her eighteen-year-old son, Hamilton, which normally wouldn’t be that funny. She tries to drown herself, and that’s when things go crazy. The writing is great and the action keeps you on your toes as you wonder what bizarre thing will happen next. But the best part is the dialogue. I giggled when Cordelia said, “Yes, boys and girls, today’s near death experience was brought to you by the number eight and the letters WTF!” or “I could not find the proper key for any song if I were a locksmith.”
Amongst all that funny stuff, there are some gems of wisdom like, “I learned a long time ago that it was better to laugh about something that you cannot do anything about, rather than breaking down and crying.” And, “There is nothing more powerful than the power that lies beneath faith, hope and dreams.” Mr. Vernon certainly has a way with words and I was very happy to learn that he is planning more books in the series. If you need a good laugh, and we all do from time to time, pick up a copy of this book here.

Meet Steve Vernon

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Everybody always wants a peek at the man behind the curtain. They all want to see just exactly what makes an author tick.
Which ticks me off just a little bit – but what good is a lifetime if you can’t ride out the peeve and ill-feeling and grin through it all. Hi! I am Steve Vernon and I’d love to scare you. Along the way I’ll entertain you. I guarantee a giggle as well.
If you want to picture me just think of that old dude at the campfire spinning out ghost stories and weird adventures and the grand epic saga of how Thud the Second stepped out of his cave with nothing more than a rock in his fist and slew the sabertooth.
If I listed all of the books I’ve written I’d bore you – and I am allergic to boring so I will not bore you any further. Go and read some of my books. I promise I sound a whole lot better in print than in real life. Heck, I’ll even brush my teeth and comb my hair if you think that will help any.

For more up-to-date info please follow my blog at:
http://stevevernonstoryteller.wordpress.com/

And follow me on Twitter:
@StephenVernon

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Check out more of this amazing author’s books here.

Here is a list of other funny books featured on  #ComedyBookWeek

https://comedybookweek.com/

Remember to keep laughing and reading funny books. It’s good for you.

 

 

Two weeks ago we took a drive to Malaga on the Costa del Sol and drove up into the mountains to the small village of Sedelia. We encountered stunning scenery along the twisting road, a small church and a traffic jam, of goats!

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A typical traffic jam in the Andalusian mountains

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medieval bridge in the mountains

Medieval bridge in the mountains

Tiny church in the middle of nowhere

Tiny church in the middle of nowhere

We stayed in a lovely bed and breakfast with a stunning view and had dinner at a cosy restaurant in town. It was all very picturesque and a nice little get-away.

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A room with a view

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Restaurante Lurena, excellent food

The village of Sedilia

The village of Sedilia

Can´t get enough of these charming mountain villages

Can´t get enough of these charming mountain village streets

There was a reason for the trip though and that was to meet Dot, an eight-month-old Bodeguero. Dot came home with us and is now part of our family.

Dot didn´t make a sound on the five hour car ride to her new home.

Dot didn´t make a sound during the five-hour car ride to her new home.

Dot was quite shy at first as she lived in the mountains with an elderly man so was not used to people, traffic and houses. But she has settled in well and makes friends easily. (both the human kind and the canine kind)

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She loves going for walks and car rides! On the weekend we took her to a car show and she was very well-behaved.

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She makes friends everywhere we go. She loves to go for coffee with us and is a big hit at all the coffee shops.

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We took a drive in the car to a biker bar for tapas. Dot made friends with a boxer. (the canine type)

A Spanish biker bar.

A Spanish biker bar.

Making friends

Making friends

Relaxing on the terrace

Relaxing on the terrace

What do you think? Is she settling in and at home with us? Did we make a good choice?

In case you are wondering, she was already named Dot because of the large black dot on her back. I like to think it is from the delightful children´s book by Peter Reynolds, The Dot . You knew there had to be a literary reference!

 

Today, July 1, is Canada Day, celebrating 149 years since Canada became a country. It is fitting that I welcome Suzanne de Montigny , a Canadian writer, as a guest on my blog.

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Suzanne de Montigny wrote her first unicorn story at the age of twelve.  Several years later, she discovered it in an old box in the basement, thus reigniting her love affair with unicorns. Suzanne taught music in Vancouver for many years where she learned she could spin a good tale that kept kids and teachers begging for more. She took up writing in earnest nine years ago and has never looked back.  She lives in Burnaby, B.C. with the loves of her life – her husband, two boys, and Buddy the dog.

Tell us about yourself and your books.

Well, I’ve just had a new book released entitled A Town Bewitched. Here’s the blurb:

It’s tough for Kira, growing up in the small town of Hope as a child prodigy in classical violin, especially when her dad just died. And to make matters worse, Kate McDonough, the red-haired fiddler appears out of nowhere and bewitches the town with her mysterious Celtic music. Even Uncle Jack succumbs to her charms, forgetting his promise to look after Kira’s family. But when someone begins vandalizing the town leaving dead and gutted birds as a calling card, Kira knows without a doubt who’s behind it.

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I also have a series called Shadow of the Unicorn. In the first one, The Legacy, a herd of unicorns barely survive the coming of an asteroid only to be exploited when the humans arrive. It takes place 12,000 years ago. In the second one, The Deception; sixty years later, the unicorns live hidden in the woods, controlled by a corrupt Great Stallion who invents a false god to control them and how they find the truth of their legacy. And I’m just finishing off the third of the series. It’s called The Revenge and it’s about a gifted unicorn who is born with something really wrong with him. Because he’s bullied, he turns his gift on the herd and no one can stop him.

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When did you decide to become a writer? why?

I never had the intention of becoming a writer. It’s just something that happened to me along the way. I loved writing as a child and wrote my first novella at 12. Then, after my father died, when I was in my forties, I developed a need to write and never looked back.

What inspires your stories?

A Town Bewitched came from our experience attending a fiddling camp when my oldest son was nine. When we came back, we were absolutely on fire for fiddling. And I thought, “Suppose what happened to us happened to an entire town, except there was something really wrong with the fiddler.” I laughed it off at first thinking it was a really dumb idea, but it wouldn’t let me go. Finally, I had to write it. Glad I did because it won first prize in the Dante Rossetti competition for Best Coming of Age Novel.

Shadow of the Unicorn came from the novella I wrote when I was twelve. I intended it as an exercise just to learn how to write. Never did I dream it would actually be published and do as well as it has.

Why did you decide to write for children?

I was an elementary music teacher for twenty years. My favourite grades were grades 5 – 7, so it was only natural I’d write for that age group.

What did you read as a child?

I really loved anything by Lucy Maude Montgomery. And I loved books about dogs and horses.

Another Lucy Maude Montgomery fan!

What have you read lately that impressed you? Why?

Harry Potter. It was just so good I couldn’t stop reading it. I’d be reading it while cooking, while talking to my son’s doctor during an appointment, in bed, everywhere.

If you could have dinner with any author, who would you choose and what would you ask him or her?

JK Rowling, of course. I’m not sure what I’d ask her. I think I would just enjoying chatting with her.

Are you a plotter or a panster?

Definitely a pantser. It causes me no end of trouble because my characters take over and start doing all sorts of things I never wanted them to and I can’t stop them.

Great to meet another panster!

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and how do you deal with it?

Never. I have a bazillion ideas. I just wish I could write faster.

What are you working on now?

I’ve just finished the third of the unicorn series, Shadow of the Unicorn: The Revenge and am about to start a historical romance about a young woman who immigrates to Canada to marry a French-Canadian after WWI.

Sounds great. I love stories about WWI. You are a very diverse writer.

Any advice to other authors?

Write what you feel.

Sound advice! Thanks so much Suzanne for being a guest on my blog. We look forward to more exciting books from you.

You can find Suzanne’s books here

Amazon

Kobo

Chapters Indigo

Barnes & Noble

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Happy Canada Day! Celebrate by buying a book written by a Canadian author.canadaday3

A stop at the charming town of Ootmarsum in the Netherlands proved to be a delight for the senses. A combination of history and art, intriguing sculptures are scattered about the narrow cobblestone streets and in front of centuries-old churches and quaint pubs. In almost every street, there are galleries and art studios, featuring paintings, pottery and glasswork of local artists. An explosion of colour greets you upon entering these galleries. In most cases, the welcoming artist is there to chat with you and show his or her work.

 

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Unique art in the streets

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The Town Hall

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The Reform Church

The town’s most well-known citizen is the artist Ton Schulten who has his own modern museum showing a complete overview of his works. Born a son of a local baker in Ootmarsum, he is now an internationally known artist. His use of vibrant colour, shape and light creates enchanting and emotional works of art. The picturesque town of Ootmarsum is the perfect setting for his Gallery Chez-Moi located inside an inviting historic building. One can’t help but feel mesmerised by his amazing works of art. Mr. Schulten can often be seen sipping a coffee at a local cafe or pub. You can view some of his art here to get an idea.

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The recently built Ton Schulten Museum

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The Chronomium, a museum with everything concerning measuring time; sundials, clocks and much more.

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Wandering the streets you never know what you may come across.

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an old well

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An elegant Maasai

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and this weird fellow

Another fascinating find while visiting The Netherlands.

Remember, Amanda in Arabia – The Perfume Flask is free until July 31.

https://www.bookbub.com/books/amanda-in-arabia-by-darlene-foster?ebook_deal

Happy summer!!

I have a lot to celebrate. Can you believe I have been blogging for six years! It has been an amazing journey where I have met so many great people and learned so much. So many of my dreams have come true in these six years. Bring out the champagne!!

I am excited to share the cover and blurb for the next Amanda adventure, available October 1, 2016. I think it is fabulous! Hope you like it too. I had fun revisiting the sites along the Danube as I wrote this book.

Amandaonthe Danube

Twelve-year-old Amanda Ross finds herself on an elegant riverboat with her bestie, Leah, cruising down the beautiful Danube, passing medieval castles, luscious green valleys and charming villages. When she is entrusted with a valuable violin by a young, homeless musician during a stop in Germany, a mean boy immediately attempts to take it from her. Back on their cruise, Amanda struggles to keep the precious violin safe for the poor prodigy. Along the way, she encounters a mysterious monk, a Santa Claus look-alike, and the same nasty boy. Follow Amanda down the Danube, through Germany, Austria and Hungary, as she enjoys the enchanting sounds of music everywhere she goes. She remains on the lookout, wondering just who she can trust.

Wait, there’s more!! It has also been six years since my first book was published. To celebrate, Amanda in Arabia – The Perfume Flask, ebook version, will be available free from June 17 to 30th on most sites. Here is a chance to meet Amanda, if you haven’t yet. Please tell your friends! And if you feel inclined to write a short review, that would be most appreciated. Thank you so much for those who already have.

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

Kobo

Barnes & Noble Nookbook

Amanda-in-Arabia

 

Thanks so much for all the support you have given me and Amanda over the past 6 years. I could not have done it without you. Mucho Besos

 

 

We loved Amsterdam but were also delighted with the Dutch countryside. We travelled from the south, which was very flat and green, to the north which was more wooded and hilly, but still very green. The storybook-like farms were so neat and tidy. Here are a few pictures of what we saw.

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This farm had a guard goose who was very particular who he let in.

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De Sfeerstal, our charming Bed and Breakfast near Nieuwveen, had a lovely garden to relax in.

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With a welcoming entrance and spare wooden shoes if you needed a pair.

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And dried flowers hanging from the ceiling in the breakfast room.

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We stopped to photograph old barns

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and the roosters who were everywhere.

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Aren´t these slanted roofs cool!

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Old water wheels have always intrigued me.

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And of course the windmills! A windmill is called a molen and most villages have one. This Stroommolen De Hoop (Hope Mill), in Hellendorn, dates back to 1854 and still operates as a flour mill. You can purchase the flour produced there in the lower floor shop.

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Sheep grazing in the fields didn´t bother to look as we drove by.

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We passed many interesting houses

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And a manor house called House Singraven with an interesting history. Unfortunately, it was closed the day we were there so we could not go inside, but the kind woman in the gift shop sent me information about the house. She told me the meaning of Singraven is “big (sin) waterway dug by hand (graven)” as it is by a canal. There has been a building on the site since 1381. It has been a farmhouse, a family home, a convent of the Franciscan nuns, a hunting lodge for aristocracy, and a home for a wealthy industrialist and parliamentarian. It has gone through a number of renovations and restorations over the years and after the death of the last owner in 1966, the house, with its 17th and 18th century interior, has been maintained by a special foundation.

Thanks for travelling around the Netherlands with me!

 

Amanda in Alberta

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Amanda in Spain

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Amanda in England

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Amanda in Alberta

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Pig on Trial

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