Darlene Foster's Blog

Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Today is my birthday and what better way to celebrate than sharing this article featuring Amanda talking about her adventures and sharing a couple of recipes! Check out this amazing blog where you will discover great recipes and interesting articles.

The Recipe Hunter

Meet Amanda from the Amanda Travels series who talks about her travels and shares favorite recipes.

HI! Amanda here.

Thanks for having me as a guest on your blog, Esme. You probably already know that I love traveling to interesting places. My curiosity gets me into trouble sometimes but I always meet interesting people and learn fascinating new things. What you maybe didn’t know is that I enjoy collecting recipes from the places I visit.

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I was delighted to read this great review on Robbie’s Inspiration blog. I enjoyed writing this book and am pleased to see it being enjoyed by children and their parents!

This is what Robbie and her son had to say  177020161222010118(1)

Michael and I read this book together and we both enjoyed it immensely. It is my favourite of the three Amanda books we have read to date and we will definitely be reading more. We both learned a lot about the towns and villages in Germany, Austria and Hungary and the traditional foods, entertainment and some famous places of interest. There is a lot of research that goes into each of these books.
You can read the entire review here along with a review of Dan Alatorre’s book, An Angel on Her Shoulder.


In other Amanda on the Danube news, the fabulous cover, designed by my talented publisher, has been chosen for a cover of the month contest. Please vote for the cover and I think you can vote every day. If you can share with your friends, all the better.



If you liked the cover of my book,
Amanda on the Danube: The Sounds of Music (Amanda Travels), please vote for it for the Cover of the Month contest on AllAuthor.com!

Click to Vote!

As always, your support means a lot to me. Thank you so much!!

I´m pleased to be featured on Don Massenzio´s blog today. Pop over and say Hello.

Author Don Massenzio

Welcome to the 2018 author interview series. Author interviews will be posted every Friday throughout the year.

I am honored to continue this series with author Darlene Foster.

For those of you that have read my interviews in the past, you’ll find a new set of questions in this series. You can catch up with all of my past author interviews (nearly 200) on my Author Directorypage.

If you’re an author interested in being interviewed in this series, I still have limited spots available for 2018. You can email me at don@donmassenzio.com

Now, please enjoy this interview with Darlene Foster:

_MG_0156sm-Edit Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

I try to do a bit of both. I certainly want to be original but not to be so out of touch that nobody will read my books. On the other hand, I am…

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One of the joys of writing is hearing from readers and seeing pictures of them with my books. I am pleased to have many faithful followers of the Amanda Travels series. Some have been reading about Amanda’s travels since I published the very first book, eight years ago. Here are a few pictures of my books in the hands of young readers.

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This avid reader bought a set of books for herself and for her friend, with her own money!


This young reader has been an Amanda fan from the start.

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And she is still reading the books in Trinidad!


A sweet little Amanda fan.


Another special fan, from Australia!


Special visitors at a book signing.



These students still attend my presentations.


More students who love Amanda.


This clever young woman has already written three books of her own.

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A special fan in Spain


A blogging friend’s gift to her granddaughter


Happy to get another Amanda book for her birthday.


Eager readers attend a book launch.

young readers

New fans at the first book launch, 8 years ago.


She enjoys reading her great-grandmother’s books


A keen fan reading to her great-great-grandmother.

I also love hearing from those who have read my books. Here is a lovely email from a young reader.

Hi, Darlene, my name is Kynnlei and Marion is my auntie. She gave me three of your books and they are some of my favourite books. Please keep writing and she will keep buying. We give you encouragement to do what you are passionate about. 

And this from a young man being homeschooled who read two of my books for his reading assignments.

Dear Darlene:

I am doing a book report on your book titled, “Amanda in Alberta”.  I liked it! My favourite part is the horse ride in chapter 6.   I have been to many of these places, mostly with my dad in the semi truck.  Did you visit all of the places in your book? Can you make a book of “Amanda in Iceland”?  I think that would be awesome! Thank you for writing these amazing books!

Sincerely; Kegan

I understand he got very good marks on his assignments.

This is why I am so passionate about writing for kids!

If you have a picture of you or someone reading one of my books, please send it to me as I love to collect them. 



Today I´m featured on Rachel Ritchey´s blog where she asked me some fun questions. You just might learn more about me. Drop on over and say Hi!

Fiction by Rachael Ritchey

Darlene Foster is the author of the fanciful tales of Amanda, a young girl from Canada who finds herself on the most extraordinary adventures. Amidst all Darlene’s writing, she finds herself on her own adventures, and there’s much more to this writer than meets they eye!


Today, I am pleased to welcome Darlene Foster to the blog! She’s been put through the ringer kind enough to come and be drilled for personal information share about herself and her lovely books.

Take it away, Darlene!

Seventeen things you (probably) didn’t know about author ­­­­­Darlene Foster…

DSC04603My first job, at 17, was a salesclerk in a local gift shop. I worked for a wonderful German woman who imported things from all over the world, which fueled my desire to travel. I loved helping people choose the perfect gift for someone, or something special for themselves. I learned so much from my…

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My guest today is Debra Purdy Kong, a fellow Vancouver author who writes entertaining mysteries. She talks about where she gets her ideas and gives some great advice to anyone thinking of writing.

Debra Purdy Kong’s volunteer experiences, criminology diploma, and various jobs inspired her to write mysteries set in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her employment as a campus security patrol and communications officer provide the background for her two Evan Dunstan mystery novellas, as well as her Casey Holland transit security novels.

Debra has published short stories in a variety of genres as well as personal essays, and articles for publications such as Chicken Soup for the Bride’s Soul, B.C. Parent Magazine, and The Vancouver Sun. In November 2017, she released her 5th Casey Holland mystery thriller, KNOCK KNOCK, and her 2nd Evan Dunstan humorous mystery novella, A TOXIC CRAFT.

How long have you been seriously writing? I’ve been writing for over thirty-five years and published my first short story back in 1982, for which I was paid $95. I hadn’t been writing long, and thought “well, this isn’t so hard”. Another three years passed before I published a single story and that was for free. It was quite a while before I was paid for my stories again. After that first piece was published, though, I’ve written nearly every day of my life.

Where do you get your ideas? While working on short fiction during the first decade of my career, ideas came from real-life experiences. For example, one day I was at a wading pool in the park and saw a baby nearly drown. Another time, I overheard a woman dissing her grandkids for being weird. Later, ideas for mysteries such as A Toxic Craft were inspired by my work experiences in security. I usually worked on Sundays which were really quiet. Patrolling empty buildings turned out to be a great experience, as it allowed my imagination to run wild.

What is your writing process? My writing process has changed a lot over the years, depending on circumstances. These days, I have a part-time day job Monday-to-Friday, so I’ll write for about an hour before work, again during my break, and again in the late afternoon before dinner. By early evening, I’ll switch to social networking or writing-related tasks because I’m too tired for major editing. I seem to concentrate best for up to forty-five minutes at a time. After that time, the focus fades away.

How long does it take you to write a book? The first draft of a book takes several months to complete. It’s tougher to determine how long it takes before the book is ready for publication because I never work on one book at a time. After a first draft is written, I’ll put it away for a few weeks or even months before starting the second draft revisions. Right now, I have three novels and two novellas in various stages of editing. On a daily basis, I work on two books at a time. One novel in the morning, the other in the afternoon. I don’t publish a book every year, although, in late 2017, two of my books were released which was unusual.

Who are some of your favourite authors and why? One of my favourite authors is the late great Sue Grafton who recently passed away. I so admired her writing style and her commitment to one series. I also admire her principles. Having worked originally as a screenplay editor, she refused to ever let anyone turn her books into movies.
I also admire the late British author John Mortimer of the Rumpole series. I loved the characters and Mortimer’s sense of humour. The same is true of the late Douglas Adams, author of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, which is still one of the funniest books I’ve ever read.
Some of my other favourites are Tony Hillerman, Maya Angelou, Alice Munro, Deborah Harkness, Diana Gabaldon, and Ray Bradbury. There are so many more, but the list would go on forever!

What advice would you give an aspiring author? I have five pieces of advice for an aspiring author. One is to read as much as you can in every genre. Read the best books that you can find as they’ll teach you a lot about voice and style. It’s hugely inspiring to read a beautifully crafted paragraph. You can learn so much from a well-crafted book.
If you’re afraid to start or are stuck on a page and can’t seem to move forward, jumpstart things by writing in a journal. The very act of writing, regardless of topic, will put you in touch with your creative side. If you can’t think of anything to write, try a writing prompt. There are plenty of sites that offer writing prompts.
Once you’ve started, or even if you need inspiration to write, join a good writers’ group. There is nothing like learning from those who are working through stories, novels, and memoirs. Great discussions can ensue and just as importantly, you’ll learn that mistakes, self-doubt, and rejection are a natural part of the process.
If there are no writers’ groups in your area or ones that appeal to you, take a writing course or a workshop. There are good ones online, but many cities offer courses through local community and recreation programs, and of course, libraries are a valuable resource for courses and information.
My final piece of advice is this. Writing is not a quick trip to fame and fortune. The truth is that it simply doesn’t happen for most authors. Writing success (and success is how you define it, not anyone else) is a long journey without shortcuts. Many writers are goal oriented, which is fine—I have plenty of them—but if you aren’t enjoying the journey along the way toward achieving those goals, then do something else. Life is too short to resent what you’re doing because fame and fortune haven’t shown up. Be realistic about your expectations. The best part about a writing career for me is the writing itself. That hasn’t changed in all these years.

Tell us about what you are working on now. I’m currently working on the sixth installment in my Casey Holland mystery series. This book has been in the works for six or seven years, but other projects needed to be completed first. I’m working on draft #5 right now, and I hope to have it ready for publication next year.

The other novel I’m working on my first urban fantasy that focuses on Wicca, witches, and healing. At the moment, I’m struggling through draft #2, which is slow-going as it requires a lot of work. I’m over 200 pages into the second draft, which is over the halfway point. This is a whole new genre with new possibilities and connections creeping into the story every day. At this point, I’m not even sure what other types of changes this revision will bring, but I’m looking forward to seeing what emerges over the coming months.

Thank you so much for being my guest today, Debra. I look forward to more books coming from you as it seems you have an endless supply of ideas! 

Links to the 5th Casey Holland mystery, KNOCK KNOCK:
Apple (itunes): http://tinyurl.com/y96xscpv
Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/y6wejnls
Amazon: myBook.to/KnockKnock

The latest attack in a string of violent Vancouver home invasions kills senior Elsie Englehart. Security officer Casey Holland is devastated. She is supposed to be watching over elderly bus riders in an affluent, high-risk area, but she’s let Elsie down. Determined to keep others safe, Casey escorts an elderly man home, but an armed intruder attacks them both. Hospitalized and angry, Casey struggles to regain control of her life, despite interference from family and colleagues—and the postponement of her long-awaited wedding. Yet another home invasion compels Casey to take action, but at what cost to her health and her relationships? In Knock Knock, Debra Purdy Kong’s fifth installment of the Casey Holland series, the risks have never been higher and the consequences more deadly.

Links to the 2nd Evan Dunstan novella, A TOXIC CRAFT:
Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/ycsvuaj5
Amazon: http://getbook.at/AToxicCraft

My review of A Toxic Craft

A fun read set at a craft fair. Evan Dunstan, a security guard, has his hands full. His feisty grandmother is in charge of the craft fair and things aren’t going well. His best bud, Scully, is head over heels in love and his coworker is not being very helpful. Who is sabotaging the fair and why did one vendor pass out in the washroom? Full of interesting characters and lots of action, this book will keep you on your toes. Wait till you hear what some of these seniors get up to. Can Evan find the culprit before it’s too late? Darlene Foster

More information about Debra and her books at www.debrapurdykong.com

Debra’s blog  https://debrapurdykong.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DebraPurdyKong 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/debra.purdykong

When my daughter was a little girl she just loved Frosty the Snowman and had me read the book to her over and over. She also had a record of it and played it so many times I thought it would break. Her imaginary friend was called Frosty and he went everywhere with her. I had to be sure Frosty was in the car before I closed the door. Later, when she was a grown-up, I found a Frosty the Snowman stuffy and gave it to her as a gift. She still has it.

So I was very happy to read and review this book.  Snobbity Snowman by Maria Bardyukova and Quiet Riley Jr. is a delightful picture book for anyone who loves snowmen.

The blurb:
Snobbity Snowman has everything a snowman could possibly want: a shiny hat, freshly-picked noses and enough pride to last a lifetime. In fact, he is so selfish and shortsighted that he fails to see the instance his life starts falling apart.

What disasters must take place to open his charcoal eyes? To help him see that pride and possessions cannot bring true happiness? Will he defrost his ego and embrace the warmth of companionship?

Only Snobbity can tell.

Depicting winter in rich and whimsical tones, Snobbity Snowman’s quirky characters and unexpected twists promise to leave a lasting impression on all its snobbulous readers.

My review

A cute picture book featuring a snowman who is a snob. Snobbity even has an upturned carrot nose. But when things go wrong, he doesn´t know how to cope. A clever story about the value of relationships over possessions. The drawings are delightful and very kid-friendly. At the end of the book are fun activities. A great book to read to the little ones. After all, who doesn´t love snowmen, at any time of the year!

Why I liked it

I really liked this fun picture book as children can relate to it. It also has a good message about thinking you are better than others but not in a preachy way.  Some interesting new words are introduced. Other cool characters are cleverly presented and it has a surprise ending. Every time a child reads this book and looks at the pictures, they will notice something new.  This is one that will be read over and over.

Where to buy it




I hope your holiday is going well and you have had time to relax and read!!


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Pig on Trial

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