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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. 

I am a special guest on Sally´s Cafe and Bookstore today. Pop over and ask me some questions!! See if you can stump me. Happy weekend everyone.

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore

Welcome to the Book Reading at the cafe and today my guest is children’s author Darlene Foster whose books about Amanda have literally taken us around the world. Before we take a look at her books here is a little bit about Darlene.

Darlene Foster is a writer, an employment counsellor, an ESL tutor for children, a wife, mother and grandmother. She loves travel, shoes, cooking, reading, sewing, chocolate, music, the beach and making new friends. Her 13-year-old grandson called her “super-mega-woman-supreme”.

She was brought up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, where she dreamt of traveling the world and meeting interesting people. She currently divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca in Spain, with her husband Paul.

“Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask” was her first published novel. Once bitten by the travel bug, Amanda travels to other interesting places, sticking her nose…

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During my visit to York, I went on a ghost walk. A city with such a long and rich history is bound to have ghosts lurking about. In fact, York is known as the most haunted city in England. Our excellent guide took us to places where ghosts sightings and paranormal activity have been reported. We began the tour at the York Minster on a chilly misty evening.

One of many Ghost Walks available in York.

The York Minster looking spooky at night.

Our knowledgeable and entertaining guide.

I expected to an apparition to appear at any moment.

 

Some say the face of a young girl appears at the small window in this house. This ghostly child starved to death after her entire family died from the plague as no one was willing to go into the house to get her. Sad times.

Working in the cellar of the Treasure’s House in 1953, plumber Harry Martindale was terrified when a group of Roman soldiers walked past him. He noted that the figures disappeared into the floor at knee height. Later investigation revealed a roman road half a metre under the basement.

York is the birthplace of Guy Fawkes and is also where he is buried. Unfortunately, his head was buried in one place and his body in another. Apparently, he wanders the Shambles at night looking for his head. I didn’t encounter him, although I did find an inn named after him.

The ghost of Guy Fawkes is supposed to wander the Shambles at night looking for his severed head.

Mysterious splashes have been heard late at night at the site of the ancient Roman baths.

During a daytime walk around town, we found these guys hanging about.

The sign says, Here lies Fat Ken, our original shop skeleton who fell to bits because people loved him too much. Please be kind.

So why all the interest in ghosts, skeletons and creepy things? Probably because I´ve been busy doing final edits on Amanda’s next adventure, Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind. You guessed it, there will be ghosts in this story. What do you think of the fabulous cover my publisher created?

I´ve been on a number of ghost walks. They can be good fun and the guides are usually very entertaining.

Have you ever been on a ghost walk? Do you enjoy hearing or reading about ghostly encounters?

 

Today I am pleased to introduce an author who I have been following for quite some time. She started writing seriously around the same time I did and was one of the first authors I met through blogging. I have read most of her books and thoroughly enjoyed every one. I consider her a hardworking, talented and diverse author. Here is my interview with Linda Cassidy Lewis.

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  1. Tell us a bit about you and your books I live in central California, just about midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco and an hour closer to the Sierras than the Pacific Ocean. This year my high school sweetheart and I will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary—yes, we married very young. We have four grown sons and seven grandchildren. I got a late start on writing seriously, but now I have four novels with a fifth to be released soon. I write women’s fiction, humorous romance, and, occasionally, darker fiction.
  1. What made you decide to be a writer? Reading. I’ve been an avid reader all my life. And I never really outgrew the “make believe” stage. To entertain myself while doing mundane tasks like housework—that is, when I couldn’t have a book in my hand—I would make up my own stories, sometimes carrying on the same characters for years. Often I would write these as short stories, or even start a novel, but I never shared them with anyone. A few years ago, I decided it was time to write and finish a novel, aiming at publication. So I did.
  1. Where do you get your ideas? Occasionally, the ideas are sparked by real life events, sometimes by a dream, but more often I just “hear” a character talking, telling me their story. Usually, I get a mental picture along with the dialogue, like a movie playing in my head. So I start jotting down bits of dialogue and description. Sometimes that’s all I get, and I file it away to consider in the future, but other times, the story keeps flowing and results in a completed work.
  1. Are your characters based on real people? I usually visualize a particular actor as a character, but since I don’t actually know that person, I have to invent my character’s personality. Those personalities are a mixture of traits from people I know or have known. And, consciously or subconsciously, there’s a bit of me in them all.
  1. You have written in a variety of genres. Is it difficult to switch from one to another? Not so much. Before I write a new book in one of my series, I have to reread at least parts of the previous book to “get back into character” so to speak. Writing the humorous romance is hardest for me because I tend to darker thoughts, which I suppose is why I should write humorous romance.
  1. Of your published books, which is your favourite and why? Well, I’ll always have a soft spot for The Brevity of Roses because it was my first novel published. But I can’t write what I don’t love—or I can’t complete a story I’m not in love with, at least. So I’d have to say that each of my books is a fave for some reason.brevfront2017_sm
  1. What are you reading right now? Sophie Kinsella’s My Not So Perfect Life. 
  1. What can we expect from the pen of Linda Cassidy Lewis next? Well, I’ve written two romances back to back, which are “dessert” books for me, and right now, I’m craving some meat and potatoes, so next I’ll be working on another women’s fiction novel in The Bay of Dreams Series. However, I’m going to try writing the next in the High Tea & Flip-Flops Series at the same time.

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  1. Are you a panster or a plotter? I used to say pantser because I don’t write an outline, but then I realized that by working out a book mentally for months, or even years, before I sit down to write it, I’m plotting in a different way. Now, I call myself a plotser.
  1. What advice would you give anyone who wants to write a book? If you have a story calling to you, write it! And give it all you’ve got. Whether you fear it won’t be good enough for publication shouldn’t stop you. A book, or short story or poem, can always be edited and revised, but not until you have a draft to work with.

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Fun questions

Do you prefer cats or dogs?  I like both, but at the moment, I have only a dog, a white, part Schnauzer, called Maggie.

Coffee or tea?  Tea! I can’t stand even the smell of coffee.

Sweet or savoury?  I’m a savory person all the way. I’m always up for pizza.

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Thank you so much, Linda, for answering my questions. I love the word plotster and may use it!  I wish you continued success with your writing endeavours and look forward to reading more of your amazing novels.

Connect with Linda on her social media sites.

https://lindacassidylewis.com/

Amazon author page 

Twitter

Facebook

Buy the books

Here is my review of High Tea and Flip Flops

“A delightful read with many laugh-out-loud moments. A contemporary Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, complete with misunderstandings and miscommunications. Chelsea and Jeremy are worlds apart and speak two different languages – Britsh English and American English. When they meet, sparks fly but can this cross-cultural relationship work? Can Chelsea, a modern American surfer girl trying to get her life on track and Jeremy, an upper-class Britsh lawyer attempting to establish himself as a writer find anything in common? I have enjoyed all of this author’s work and this fun romantic comedy proves her versatility as an author. I look forward to the next book featuring these very real and entertaining characters.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I went back to Canada at the end of last year, I was pleased to be able to spend time at my favourite places – schools, libraries and bookstores, where I read from my latest book and spoke about my writing. It was a busy time but also a lot of fun. Here are a few pictures of my events and presentations.

I held the launch of Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music at Albany Books in Tsawwassen, BC. Ruth and the staff at this cosy, well-stocked bookstore have been so supportive of my books over the years. I was pleased to be back and to see so many of Amanda´s fans attend.

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My daughter at the book launch as well as a dear friend.

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Book launch at Albany Books, November 19 2016

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With Suzanne de Montigny, another author, who I featured here on my blog

I visited a number of schools in the Vancouver area where I showed a PowerPoint presentation I created, read from the book and answered questions about the book, me and my writing. The children were so attentive and asked amazing questions. One girl asked if she could take notes!

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At Charles Dickens Elementary

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The children liked the visuals I created from my own photographs in the PowerPoint presentation.

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Answering questions at Holly Elementary in Surrey, BC

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I thought this was such a funny poster in the library.

I also visited Webster Niblock School in Medicine Hat, Alberta, my hometown.  I read to the grade one and two classes in the library and then to the grade three to six classes in the gym. It was the largest group I have ever spoken to.

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The students loved the pictures of my dog Dot.

 

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Lots of questions from the crowd.

 

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The special thing about this visit was that it is the school my great granddaughter, Emma attends.

In Calgary, I spent a morning with the students at Red Deer Lake School in their magical library.

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Because I was travelling, I couldn´t bring my props with me. Fortunately, friends lent me appropriate things for my displays, including a nutcracker, which is featured in the book.

 

 

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I just love these school libraries.

 

The most special event for me was a presentation at The Medicine Hat Library. Although the original library  I visited as a child is no longer there, it was still a very nostalgic time for me. I took my children to this library and now my grandchildren and great grandchildren frequent it. Many friends, family and fans attended, some travelling long distances, which warmed my heart.

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Six-year-old great granddaughter attending my presentation at the local library. Who would have thought this would ever happen??

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Friends and family travelled far to attend my presentation.

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It was a dream come true for me! Yes, you can go home again. Everyone made me feel so special. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

And thank you for travelling with me on my book tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My brother, the computer genius and talented musician, just created a new website for me and I am excited to share it with you. Let me know what you think about it.

www.darlenefoster.ca

I also have a new profile picture, taken by a good friend and excellent photographer, Karoline Cullen.

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To start the new year, my publisher extraordinaire is running a promotion called Start a New Series where Amanda in Arabia – The Perfume Flask is being featured as an e-book for .99 US, 1.99 CDN and .99p UK on most sites, Amazon, Kobo, Nook, Indigo etc. until January 16. If you know anyone who may enjoy reading Amanda’s first adventure, please let them know.

Other great books are on sale as well. http://centralavenuepublishing.com/

I am surrounded by such wonderful and talented individuals who just make my day!!

Check out my brother’s music here

The new year has started out well for me. How has it been for you?

 

I am back to my home in Spain after a fabulous time in Canada, promoting my latest book and visiting family and friends. I’ll write more about the trip soon. I came home to some pleasant surprises, including two very wonderful reviews for Amanda on the Danube by a couple of reviewers I admire.

The review by Patricia Tilton at Children’s Books Heal means a lot to me as I have much respect for the quality books Patricia chooses to review. Please check out her blog as you won’t be disappointed. I have often bought books for the young folks in my life based on her reviews.

Amanda on the Danube: The Sounds of Music by Darlene Foster

Darlene Foster has penned a lively adventure story for young readers who enjoy traveling and solving a good mystery. Fans of the Amanda Travels series won’t be disappointed with this fast-paced book which will keep them engaged and quickly turning pages to discover what happens next. Read more here

The second review is by a young man I admire. Erik at this kid reviews books has been reviewing books since he was nine and has reviewed all of the Amanda books. Getting a good review from a young person is always a treat! He is a bit older than the target audience now, but still enjoys Amanda and her adventures.  Erik is always honest and extremely professional in his reviews. He has also given me great gift ideas.

Review! Amanda on the Danube by Darlene Foster

I really like this series. Ms. Foster has a neat way of writing that involves the adventure and intrigue of a mystery, but while also including information about real-life places. Read more here

Thank you, Patricia and Erik! Drop over to their blogs and leave a comment if you have a minute during this busy time. You may get some gift ideas. 

 


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