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On October 1, we’ll release the fifth book in the Amanda Travels series by Vancouver author, Darlene Foster: Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music. In this fun travel adventure series, 12-year-old Canadian girl, Amanda Ross and her best friend, Leah, find themselves in different countries always in the middle of a mysterious adventure.

They’re a perfect read for kids 8-12 as they learn about new cultures and countries, all while having some fun.

Previously the book covers had a kind of collage look to them, but we’ve redesigned all of them to make them a little more current.

To remind you, here are the old covers:

Hopefully you like the new look. Throughout October, we’ll have lots of giveaways and other events happening. Stay tuned!

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I am honoured to be a guest on Don Massenzio´s blog. Check out my answers to his 20 questions and leave a comment if you wish.  Thanks, Don for all you do to support other authors.

Today’s installment of 20 Questions is focused on Canadian author, Darlene Foster. Darlene is going to tell us a bit about herself and her inspiration as well as share a bit of her work with …

Source: 20 Questions with Darlene Foster

9781771681025My publisher and I have created a fresh new cover for my next book, Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music. I am excited to share the finished product with my readers. We will be updating the covers of all the books in the Amanda Travels series soon.

Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music will be released October 1, 2016, and is available for pre-order here on Amazon.

What other authors are saying about this Amanda Travels adventure:

A charming and fast-paced story that will delight its young audience as Amanda and Leah travel along the historic Danube River to deliver a very unique and mysterious violin.”

~ Suzanne de Montigny, Award-winning author, Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy

Young readers will have great fun travelling alongside Amanda Ross as she cruises down the Danube by riverboat, revelling in the picturesque landscape and captivating cities along the way. This novel is chock-full of social and cultural history that will leave adventurers longing to explore this part of Europe for themselves. Thanks to a mysterious boy who entrusts Amanda with a timeworn violin, this fast-paced mystery will keep readers guessing until the very last chapter.”

~ Jan L. Coates, Children’s Author, Governor General’s Literary Awards

“A mysterious travel adventure with a brave, inquisitive, compassionate heroine. This is a fast-paced, fun read! Amanda will take you on a wonderful, visual, descriptive adventure.”
PJ Sarah Collins, author, Sam & Nate and Elena Collins
Here is a short excerpt:

The cab dropped them off beside a long, low boat with The Sound of Music written in large letters on the side. The ‘f’ was replaced with a treble clef.

Once on board, they entered an elegant lobby furnished with blue velvet chairs and couches. “This is sooo adorable,” Amanda said. “You love that Sound Of Music movie, Mom, and there are pictures of the von Trapp family all over the walls.”

Her mom’s face lit up when she saw the familiar scenes.

Suddenly, everything went black and Amanda couldn’t see a thing.

“Hiya, Canadian girl.”

Amanda recognized that English accent. She peeled off the hands covering her glasses and turned around. “Leah!” She gave her tall, blonde friend a huge hug.

“We only just got here ourselves. Mum and Dad are putting the luggage in our room. Your room is just across from us.” Leah flashed a wide grin at Amanda’s parents. “I’m so glad you could make this trip. We are all going to have loads of fun. Come, Amanda, let’s explore the boat.”

“See you later.” Amanda barely looked at her parents as she tripped down the narrow hallway behind Leah.

First stop was a large room completely surrounded by windows. Round tables with crisp white tablecloths, set for a meal – without a fork or knife out of place – indicated it was the dining room. Sparkling chandeliers hung from the ceiling.

“Wow! Every table has a view. This will be a fab place to eat.” Amanda looked around. “I hope we can all eat together.”

“Mum has already made sure of that. We got here early so we got to pick which table we wanted for the entire trip.” Leah pointed to a table at the very front of the boat. “Ours is that table for six, the one with the best view.”

Amanda noticed an undone shoelace on her runner and bent down to tie it. Her purse slipped off her shoulder and fell to the floor. As she picked it up, she spotted small red dots sprinkled on the beige and blue carpet.

“What’s this? Do you think someone spilled ketchup?”

Leah bent down to look closer. “Yes, it could be tomato sauce.”

More red spots appeared further along. “Something must have dripped from a plate when they were clearing the tables,” remarked Leah.

“I think it might be… blood.” Amanda followed the spots to a set of stairs.

Leah shook her head. “There goes your overactive imagination again.”

What do you think of the new look?

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.

 

 

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

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

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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

 

 


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Pig on Trial

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