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Today I´m a guest on a great site 2 Cooks Crafting Books. Stop in, check it out and leave a comment. Also another opportunity to enter the give away if you haven´t already.

2 Cooks Crafting Books

Today, I’m thrilled to be joined by Darlene Foster, author of a series about a traveling twelve-year-old named Amanda.

In book six of the Amanda Travels series, Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind, the book follows Amanda and her class on a school trip from Calgary to New Mexico. Their exploration of different parts around Taos, New Mexico, is interrupted by a ghost. Ms. Foster’s description of the New Mexico geography, architecture, and artifacts is truly amazing! Ms. Foster brings New Mexico to life for readers as she details Amanda’s travels. 

Amanda in New MexicoWelcome, Darlene!

Thank you so much for inviting me to be a guest on your blog, Elizabeth.

You asked me what drew me to Amanda as my main character. The wonderful thing about being a writer is that you can create any character, place and situation you want. You are totally in control. Well almost, sometimes your characters…

View original post 704 more words

As you could see from my previous posts, I had a wonderful time back in Canada visiting family and friends. But the trip was also to promote my books, more specifically my latest release, Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind. I had a lot of fun at the pre-planned events and thought I would share them with you.

I was invited by the Vancouver Public Library to be a workshop leader at their annual one week Writers and Book Camp held at the main branch, downtown Vancouver. This is my favourite library and I was honoured to be able to share some of my writing knowledge with the eager participants. These 9 to 13-year olds were serious writers. I created a workshop called Writing – It’s More Than What You See. We discussed how using all the senses makes writing more effective. I also spoke about how I use photographs to inspire my writing and gave them examples. I showed them one of my pictures and had them write for fifteen minutes, using as many senses as possible. Then they shared their work. I was amazed at what they produced in such a short time. The participants said they enjoyed the workshop and learned a lot. I had so much fun delivering it.

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The Vancouver Public Library, an amazing building built to look like the Colosseum

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A ‘place of books and learning

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All set up and ready for the eager students

I then went on to Calgary where I did a presentation and book signing at the Shawnessy Branch of the Calgary Public Library. The event was well attended and I sold all the books I brought along! The staff were incredibly friendly and helpful. Another great experience.

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Display at a Calgary Library

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Some attentive listeners at the presentation

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Some of the attendees were cousins. So great to see them.

Next stop was Coles Indigo Bookstore in my hometown, Medicine Hat. I saw so many folks I hadn’t seen for a long time, former neighbours, childhood friends, relatives and even my first landlady from fifty years ago. I sold out of books!

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As you can see, I had help.

Back to BC where I held my book launch at Albany Books in Tsawwassen. This bookstore has been so supportive of me and other local authors over the years. The staff are fantastic. Even though it was a sunny Saturday, the last long weekend of the summer, many people came out to chat and buy books.

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With my amazing publisher, Michelle. She is like a fairy godmother and makes all this happen!

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Book launch for Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind

I was invited to do a presentation at a BC Association of Travel Writers MeetUp where I spoke about How to Turn Your Travels into a Series of Travel Adventure Books to a sold-out crowd. Everyone enjoyed the PowerPoint presentation and many great questions were asked. Great to see many travel writer friends and meet new people.

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Since I was leaving after the first week of school, I was only able to visit one school this time. It was my sixth time to do a presentation at Holly Elementary in Surrey. The students there are huge Amanda Travels fans and some of the grade sevens even dropped in as they wanted to hear what Amanda was up to. I enjoy visiting this school with students from diverse cultures. They loved the theme of the latest book and when I showed them the trailer for Amanda in New Mexico,  they stood up and clapped!

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Presenting to a captive audience of about 100 at Holly Elementary School

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As always, they asked many good questions.

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My last event was a book signing at Indigo-Chapters on Granville Street in Vancouver, the largest bookstore in BC. It was a dream come true to hold an event at this bookstore. Many people stopped by my table to chat and buy books. There are many new Amanda fans now. I sold all but two of the books in stock. Happy days.

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A friend helping out at the book signing

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Signing books at Indigo-Chapters, another dream come true.

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A fabulous sign in Indigo Chapters

I got to spend time in libraries, bookstores and schools, my favourite places, as well as meet some amazing people. It was a lot of work but well worth it.

Don´t forget to enter the giveaway 

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4e6fad2120/?

 

Today is Thanksgiving in Canada and I have so much to be thankful for. The list is long but included in that list is my amazing blogging friends. Thank you so much to Sally Cronin for all you do for the writing community. Today she has included Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind in her Cafe and Bookstore Author Update along with a fabulous review. Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving today and every day!

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Welcome to the first of the author updates this week and the first author with news is Carol Balawyder with a brand new book released on 6th October. The Longest Nine Months – A Getting to Mr. Right Series.

About The Longest Nine Months

In Getting to Mr. Right, Campbell debunked the Prince Charming myth, only to meet a special man who turned all her assumptions upside down.

Now she’s married to Chand..

But Happily-Ever-After turns out to be another illusion.

Campbell deals with job burnout and struggles to find her place in the world. An unexpected pregnancy and its complications undermine her relationship with Chand and take her to a difficult crossroad. No matter which way she decides to go, nothing will ever be the same!

Buy the book:https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0765RYGLK

and Amazon UK:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Longest-Nine-Months-Getting-Right-ebook/dp/B0765RYGLK

Also by Carol Balawyder

A review for Not by Design book four in the Getting…

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Book six in the Amanda Travels series, Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind has been officially released on Amazon, Kobo and other sites. A recent reviewer stated: This story combines a good young adult adventure story with hints of the paranormal while also providing some well placed educational material lightly in the text and great ideas for other young people to aspire to.

Thank you to everyone who has already purchased a copy of the book. I do hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you like the story, a short review would be most welcome.

To celebrate, we are featuring a fabulous giveaway that includes a copy of the book, a colouring book, the cutest little ghost stuffy, cookie cutters and an Amazon gift certificate. All in time for Halloween!!

PrizePack

You can enter this great giveaway here:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4e6fad2120/?

Please note it’s only available to US & Canadian entries. Any international winners will be granted digital copies of the full Amanda Travels series.

And there´s more! I was honoured to be invited to be a guest on The Maltese Tiger´s Tips From a Pro.  My responses to his excellent questions.

Do you think that creative writers need to pursue a formal education, or can you learn the craft on your own?

Foster: I think creative writers need to continue learning as long as they breathe. But I don’t believe they need a formal education, although it certainly doesn’t hurt. But not having a formal education should never stop one from writing. There are so many ways to learn and improve the craft of writing. Reading everything you can get your hands on will always be the best teacher. I’m a great believer in workshops and seminars, both in person and online. Critique groups also provide a fount of knowledge. Hanging around other writers, not just those who write in your genre, can teach you so much. Every time I attend a writers’ conference, I come away feeling like I just received a degree.

What kind of research do you do when writing a book or story?

Foster: I usually start my research during my travels by being curious, taking a lot of pictures, keeping notes and chatting with people. When I return home and start the story, I do more detailed research on certain topics I plan to include in the book, usually on the internet.

Read the rest of the interview here and leave a comment if you wish.

Don´t forget to enter the giveaway http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4e6fad2120/?

I hope everyone is having a super autumn, whether you are basking in the sun or enjoying the freshly fallen snow, it is always a lovely time of the year. Life is good!

 

 

Stevie Turner has a new feature on her blog site called share your short story. I encourage you to submit a story   https://steviet3.wordpress.com/2017/09/26/new-category-share-your-short-story/     Here’s mine!

Prize Winner

By Darlene Foster

We were close to being a perfect family and we didn’t need anyone else to disrupt things. Mom, good at family planning, spaced the three of us out evenly. Three years apart seemed just right, as far as I was concerned. A sister would have been nice. But in spite of the fact that little brothers could be annoying, I felt happy with the way things turned out.

I was not happy when I heard another baby was about to join our family. At almost sixteen, I didn’t relish the idea of looking after a little kid and missing out on parties and fun stuff. Why did mom have to have another baby? Couldn’t she be more responsible and think of the rest of us? Besides, wasn’t she too old to be lugging around a small child? Angry at this turn of events, I decided not to speak to her ever again.

Mom explained that she hadn’t planned this and it disrupted her life too. “Things don’t always turn out the way we want but we have to accept them and make the best of the situation,” she said.

I didn’t care how Mom felt and refused to look up from my book as she spoke. My life was about to be ruined.

Mom looked awfully tired at times, and although I was not speaking to her, I tried to do as many of her chores as I could. I had a packed schedule with school, choir practice, drama club and Canadian Girls in Training. There’d be no time for the extra work a new baby in the house would entail. What if the child cried and I couldn’t do my homework or study for exams? Could we even afford another mouth to feed?

February arrived, soon time for the annual Valentines Day dance at school – and I had nothing to wear! Mom had a piece of burgundy baby-wide corduroy in her sewing chest and we bought a Chanel style suit pattern the last time we were in town. She promised to have the suit made for the dance. After doing all the farm chores and cooking meals, she was always too tired to start the project. I would die if I had to wear something old to the dance. We had no money for a store-bought dress.

Besides being a good seamstress, Mom was a great cook and baked mouth-watering desserts. She often entered her recipes in contests, attended the bake-offs and won prizes. That year she entered her Apple Cottage Cheese Pie recipe in the Medicine Hat News Recipe Contest. She passed her love of baking and cooking on to me and we enjoyed trying different recipes together. Once I entered a recipe contest and won a Five Roses Cook Book for honourable mention.

Mom also taught me to sew long before I took Home Economics in high school. I had already made a few things for myself: a shift dress, a couple of pop tops and a pair of shorts. By the time I took Home Economics, the obligatory pot holder and apron were a piece of cake for me. I ended up assisting the others with their sewing projects which was much appreciated by the overworked teacher.

The new baby was due mid-February. Mom finally cut the suit out of the corduroy and assured me it would be completed for the Valentine’s Dance. During the night of February 9, Dad woke us up to say he was taking Mom to the hospital as the baby was coming – and would I look after my brothers.

I mumbled, “Sure,” while I snuggled deeper under the warm quilt.

My third brother was born on February 10. Dad reported mother and baby doing well. The news didn’t have much effect on me except that mom would not be home until after the dance, and she had barely started on the suit.

I moved the sewing machine out of my parent’s bedroom into mine, studied the fabric pieces and sewing instructions, and with much care, made the A-line skirt. I admired the finished product in the mirror. It fit just right and actually looked store bought. I had never made anything as difficult as a jacket. I followed the instructions to a T and took my time. After a couple of frustrating hours fitting the sleeves so they were smooth, the jacket was finished – the night before the dance. Even the buttonholes looked good.

I felt like Jackie Kennedy in that suit. I received many compliments and didn’t sit out one dance. My town friends, in store-bought dresses, asked me if I could make them a suit just like it. It was my shining hour.

There was still the issue of a new person soon to inhabit our already crowded home, and I was not looking forward to it. They better not think I would babysit or help out in any way because I just wouldn’t. I had too much too much to do already. This baby wasn’t my concern.

I began to put things away in Mom’s sewing chest and considered sewing myself something else after the success of the suit. Mom had lots of pieces of material that she never got around to sewing. In my search through the fabric, I came across a large piece of canary yellow flannelette and a package of baby patterns.

An idea started to form. The sewing machine was still in my bedroom and it would be a couple more days until mom came home. I spent the entire weekend sewing a baby bunting bag for my new little brother. It turned out so cute. I looked forward to seeing him in it.

On Sunday I gave the house a good cleaning since Mom was coming home the next day. First, she had to go the Medicine Hat News office to collect her prize for the Apple Cottage Cheese Pie recipe and get her picture taken. Dad took the dress she requested when he went to pick her up from the hospital. He also took the bunting bag.
Dad, Mom, and baby arrived home soon after we got home from school. Mom beamed as she handed me a cute little person in a canary yellow, flannelette bunting bag. “Thanks for making this for your little brother.”

I held the precious bundle and fell in love. We had lots of room in our house and our hearts for this little guy. He would be fun to look after.
The following weekend Mom’s picture appeared in the Medicine Hat News. With a big smile, Mom held her prize-winning pie in front of her. No one could tell she had just had a baby and could not do up the zipper in the back of her dress.

Mom may have won an electric frying pan for her prize-winning recipe but I got the best prize – my wonderful little brother!

Featured in the anthology, In the Moment – Inspiring Hope 

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Dad and my three brothers.

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Lunch with my youngest brother and my awesome website designer.

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” -Marcel Proust

I was fortunate to see many of my awesome friends when I was in Canada. Some gave me a place to stay, some drove me around and everyone fed me so well. They have all been such huge supporters in whatever I do. Here are a few of them.

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It was great that these good friends from Trinidad were in Canada at the same time.

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A picnic with friends at English Bay before a Bard on the Beach performance

 

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A special Bard Buddy who organized the day.

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Always fun to be part of the cast with another special Bard Buddy

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A longtime Calgary friend and travel buddy who drove me around, gave me a place to stay and fed me well.

 

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A wonderful supportive Vancouver friend who gave me rides and attended events.

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A special relative/friend!

 

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A dear friend who provides me with a great place to stay and feeds me well.

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A lovely mother and daughter team who gave me a comfy room to stay during my first week in Vancouver, fed me well and gave me tons of support.

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Travel writer/photographer friend who took my profile picture and designed my bookmarks. Treated me to a lovely lunch overlooking a golf course.

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A supportive writer friend who treated me to a lovely picnic and a Monet exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

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A former coworker and her daughter who came to a book signing

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My longtime friend who provides me with a comfy place to stay in Medicine Hat, a garden to relax in and delicious meals

As you can see I was well looked after. It was so wonderful to be able to spend time with these friends and many others. I am truly blessed.

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”
― Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

 

After visiting six cities in BC and Alberta, travelling by car, train, metro, bus, large and small aircraft and ferry, I am back in Spain and back to blogging. It feels like such a long time since I wrote my last post. The trip was successful on so many levels. I was able to see many family members and friends. The time spent with my mom was precious and seeing my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren was wonderful. I was treated to many amazing meals, picnics, a Monet Exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery, a remarkable production of Much Ado About Nothing at Bard on the Beach and a performance by my son’s new band who dedicated the first song to me! I launched Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind and sold out of books at a couple of the venues. Visiting schools, libraries, and bookstores is always a pleasure for me. A week as a workshop leader at the Vancouver Public Library´s Writers and Book Camp was a real treat as was presenting at the BC Association of Travel Writers.

It was a busy schedule and I am now catching up on sleep and chores but I wanted to share a few pictures with you. I’ll start with the most important, my family.

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Mom with me and my great-granddaughter, Emma.

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An Amanda Travel’s fan

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With my handsome musician son and his daughter

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Sharing Mexican food with grandson No. 1.

 

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His first car!

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Sharing Indian food with grandson No. 2

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Grandson at his youth group’s garden produce stand.

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Great granddaughter, Devin

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Another Amanda Travels fan with a matching Day of the Dead bowl.

They are all growing up and becoming amazing young folks. I enjoyed every minute I spent with them. Then it was off to Vancouver Island.

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Beautiful potter daughter showing off the skirt I brought her from Cordoba. I think she likes it!

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Best buds

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Cousins at the beach

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Typical fabulous family meal, with daughter and cousins. I am so lucky!!

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My new grand-puppy Petite Du Champs. Love him to bits.

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Enjoyable lunch in Calgary with the younger brother who is also my clever website designer.

More to come. I missed blogging and was pleased to see my posts continued to be read and commented on while I was away. You folks rock!!


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