Darlene Foster's Blog

I´ve been interviewed on Don Massenzio´s blog! Drop by and say Hello.

Don Massenzio's Blog

Today, I’m very excited to feature Darlene Foster as she sits down for this weeks edition of a Perfect 10. Please enjoy.

If you want to check out past interviews, you can find them in the following links:

A.C. Flory, Steve Boseley, Kayla Matt, Mae Clair, Jill Sammut, Deanna Kahler, Dawn Reno Langley, John Howell, Elaine Cougler, Jan Sikes, Nancy Bell, Nick Davis, Kathleen Lopez, Susan Thatcher, Charles Yallowitz, Armand Rosamilia, Tracey Pagana, Anna Dobritt, Karen Oberlaender, Deby Fredericks, Teri Polen

Also, if you are an author and you want to be part of this feature, I still have a few slots open for 2017. You can email me at don@donmassenzio.com


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  • Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing energizes me. I believe tapping into your creative side is so good…

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Sometimes it is the little, unexpected things we find when we travel that make the trip memorable. In Valetta, the capital of Malta, we found a Cat Cafe.

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Shelter and food for homeless cats in Malta

They seem to look after their cats well in Malta. We saw stray cats wandering around but they all looked healthy and well fed.

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This little fellow got caught in the rain

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While wandering the streets of the cities and towns of Malta, we were intrigued by the unique door knockers on the colourful doors.

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We discovered this amusing car on a side street.

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And a decorated garage door.

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We found a tribute to Albert Einstein

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A typical menu in Malta. I was not tempted to try rabbit ravioli!

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We always take time to stop for a coffee and a local dessert.

 

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Ricotta turnover, so yummy!

 

 

It’s good to get off the beaten track and check out the side streets, you never know what you’ll find. 

Check out one of my favourite recipes on Sally´s blog.

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Darlene Foster very kindly sent in this dessert which she and her family enjoy. If you have a recipe that you would like to share then contact me via the link at the end of the post.

I enjoy making desserts from scratch. We don´t often have dessert but when we do, it has to be homemade. I love this one from a recipe book I was given as a gift. It is always a hit with hubby and guests. Everyone loves a bit of chocolate! The pure Valor chocolate is great but any chocolate will do. It is a perfect recipe for those who require gluton or lactose free desserts. The dolop of whipped cream is optional. I often serve it with a couple of strawberries on the side.

AUSTRALIAN APPLE CHOCOLATE CAKE
from Green Feasts by Richard Cawley

4 eggs separated
115 g/4 oz sugar
115g/4oz plain chocolate…

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Do you remember Popeye the Sailorman? As a prairie kid growing up without a TV, I loved the Popeye comics. I waited eagerly for the funny papers, as we called them, to arrive in the weekly newspaper. Then in 1980, a movie was made with Robin Williams and Shelly Duval. I loved it too.

A pleasant surprise during our visit to Malta was discovering the film set of the movie. Unfortunately, Robin Williams is no longer with us but the set to the movie still is. The village of Sweethaven rests on the edge of a peaceful cove in Anchor Bay and is now a popular tourist attraction. When we heard about it, we decided to take a bus to Popeye Village. I’m so glad we did. The delightful visit made me feel like a kid again.

The village of Sweethaven built for the 1980 Popeye movie.

To construct this authentic wooden village in Malta, tree trunk logs arrived from Holland, and wood shingles, used in the construction of the rooftops, were imported all the way from Canada. A 165 international construction crew consumed eight tons of nails and two thousand gallons of paint to finish off this incredible set ready for film production in January 1980.

A precarious outhouse.

There are plenty of activities on the site including a boat ride around the bay. Information about filming the movie, movie clips, music from the film and various props are everywhere. The film, directed by Robert Altman, featured his grandson playing the part of Swee’pea. Characters from the story are happy to pose for pictures, answer questions and entertain the guests.

I even got to meet Popeye and Olive Oyle! I didn’t see Swee’pea though.

A Popeye comic museum on site.

The Popeye the Sailor Man cartoon character was introduced by Elzie Segar in 1929. The comic museum displays various Popeye comic strips over the years and brought back great memories.

Great memories of Popeye Village, Malta

This was an added surprise for us! I was humming Popeye the Sailorman for the rest of the day.

Have you ever been anywhere where you have encountered a pleasant surprise?

Today I am a guest on Teri Polen´s blog. Check out my answers to her great questions.

Books and Such

We’re changing it up today on Indie Author Friday.  Darlene Foster is sharing her exciting collection of children’s travel adventure books.  Join Amanda as she journeys around the world and experiences new cultures and a few mysteries.  Aren’t these covers beautiful?

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…

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We took the bus to Mosta, a market town in the middle of Malta. In the centre of Mosta sits a fabulous domed cathedral built in the mid-1800s. It is an amazing piece of architecture inside and out, featuring the third largest unsupported church dome in Europe. Dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady, it replaced a much smaller church that had been on the site since 1619. The Mosta Rotunda is also the site of a miracle.

The Mosta Rotunda

Inside the church

The dome

During WWII, on April 9, 1942, while over 400 parishioners worshipped inside, a 200 kg German bomb hit the church, pierced the dome and landed in the aisle. It did not hit a single person and it did not explode! It rolled to the base of the pulpit and stopped. The military bomb disposal team removed it, defused it and threw it into the sea. A miracle indeed. A replica of the bomb can be viewed in the sacristy.

It gave me goosebumps to see this. My husband pointed out where the bomb entered the dome as the coloration where it was repaired is slightly different.

Ornate vestments from the past.

Statue of Our Lady

The statue of the Assumption of Our Lady, 1868

The church contains a lot of artwork and important icons. The Feast of the Assumption of Saint Mary is celebrated in August where some of the statues are taken out and paraded around town.

The font containing holy water.

Visiting this church proved to be a moving experience for me, providing proof that miracles do happen. Hubby later treated me to lunch overlooking the magnificent Mosta Rotunda. It was definitely worth a visit, one I won’t forget.

Today I am featuring Maureen Moss, author of More To Life. Maureen has written an entertaining travel adventure for adults, a grown up version of Amanda’s travels in a way. Here is more about Maureen and her wonderful book.

More To Life, by Maureen Moss

Divorce. Career kaput. A house move. Three of life’s scariest situations all hit Rachael as she’s entering her forties. This is definitely not the future she signed up for. What’s a girl to do? Run away, of course. Flinging off convention, she plans a wild, exciting and challenging adventure, heading to the East in the hope of finding some meaning in her life. To leave her three teenage children behind is unthinkable. However, any decisions regarding their place in the picture are not hers alone to make: her ex has a few words to say about her plans. Could he scupper her dream? Come along for the ride with Rachael and her family as they stumble through weird encounters, meeting quirky, and often downright peculiar, characters on their travels. More to Life is a light-hearted look at family relationships when tested in unfamiliar environments.

Thanks for joining us, Maureen. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I grew up in Guernsey, Channel Islands. After graduating with honours in French from Reading University, I set up Personnel Appointments, a recruitment agency, married and had three children. I later went on to teach modern languages at local schools. After getting divorced, I sold the family home and embarked on a family adventure that reinforced my wanderlust, and after a few years I was lucky enough to get a job as an adventure travel tour leader, a job that took me all over the world.

I now live in Spain, from where I host my website www.tourguidecourse.com, offering a course leading to a qualification for other would-be tour leaders.

More to Life is my first novel. It’s available from www.amazon.com, www.amazon.ca, www.amazon.co.uk and www.amazon.es, also from the publisher Acclaimed Books’ website. I also contribute to Independent Traveller Mag Facebook page

What made you decide to be a writer?
As I’m a lousy photographer I wanted to record my travels for my own enjoyment in the future. Then I got hooked on the writing process, joined a writers’ group and started ‘having a go’ at fiction.

How many books have you written?
Two: one with a friend who did the design, and More to Life. The collaborative one was a collection of my travel writing about the life of a tour guide. The Tour Guide Life It could be Yours
I’ve also written many travel articles, some of which have won prizes.

Where do you get your ideas?
From real life and my imagination

Are your characters based on real people?
Very often, yes. Occasionally just invented

Who are your favourite authors?
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Barbara Kingsolver, Jodi Picoult, Donna Tartt, Margaret Attwood, Tim Winton. And I can’t let this opportunity go by without mentioning one of my favourite books: Keri Hulme’s The Bone People

If you could be a character in any book you have read.. Who would it be and why?
I’d love to act the part of Shakespeare’s Cleopatra, especially when Anthony dies:
CLEOPATRA Noblest of men, woo’t die?

Hast thou no care of me? shall I abide

In this dull world, which in thy absence is

No better than a sty? O, see, my women,
[MARK ANTONY dies]

The crown o’ the earth doth melt. My lord! 75

O, wither’d is the garland of the war,

The soldier’s pole is fall’n: young boys and girls

Are level now with men; the odds is gone,

And there is nothing left remarkable

Beneath the visiting moon.

What are you reading right now?
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

Are you currently working on another book? Can you tell us about it?
Yes, I’m working on the sequel to More to Life! The second book starts with Rachael and Sophie travelling around Australia. I don’t yet know where the story goes from there…apart from the physical locations.

Do you consider yourself a panster or a plotter?

I’m what is apparently called a ‘planster’: a little of both, and I didn’t know what I was until you asked!

What do you enjoy the most about writing and what don’t you like about writing?
I love crafting language to recreate locations and situations. I like creating characters. I quite like planning but enjoy deviating from plans at will. I don’t like rewriting, and when I deviate from the plan that’s what I end up having to do!

What advice would you give anyone who wants to write a book?
Stick with it; don’t lose confidence; join a supportive group; have plenty of wine and chocolate to hand!

Fun questions
Do you prefer cats or dogs?
Dogs, definitely: mine are my pals
Tea or coffee?
Rooibos and Honeybush tea
Sweet or savoury?
Savoury: I’ve never liked sugar, even as a child. Put a bowl of salted peanuts in front of me, however…….

Follow Maureen on social media

 Facebook

Twitter

Tour Guide Course

 

 

My review of More to Life

This was a great read! I thoroughly enjoyed following Rachel, along with her two young adult children, as she travels the world. The vivid descriptions of the places they visit are cleverly woven between the actions and emotions of a family travelling together. Throughout the trip, Rachel is plagued with self-doubt. She questions herself every step of the way. Is she a good mother? Is she doing the right thing? This is a story, not just about travelling, but of self-discovery as well as family bonding. Other interesting characters are thrown into the mix and things get even more exciting with many laugh-out-loud moments. Can Rachel forgive herself for leaving her youngest child back home with her ex-husband and putting her son and daughter in potential danger? I was sorry to see the story end and would love to see a sequel.

Thanks so much Maureen for being a guest on my blog. I am so happy to hear there is a sequel in the works. I can’t wait!! Being Cleopatra would be fascinating, except for the snake part at the end. 

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Pig on Trial

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