Darlene Foster's Blog

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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

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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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Today I am a guest on Sue Vincent’s blog where I talk about the value of critique groups.

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

book-1014197__480Never underestimate the importance of a good critique group.  Without one, a writer may simply flounder in a sea of words and ideas. A critique group can make the difference between a mediocre story and an excellent piece of writing worthy of publication. Without the support of groups I’ve belonged to over the years, I would not have six books and several short stories published.

If you are wondering if you should join a critique group, here are ten things about critique groups you should know.

  1. Not all critique groups are created equal. You may have to try out a few to find one that works for you. The members need not write in the same genre as you, in fact it helps if there is a variety of writing being critiqued.
  2. Park your ego at the door. Although it is nice to hear what the members like about your…

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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.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today I am a guest on Krysten Lindsay Wagner’s blog. How many times have we said, “If only we knew then what we know now.” Krysten is featuring letters by authors to our younger selves and here is mine.

 Letter to my Younger Self by Darlene Foster 

Dear Darlene
The future is yours, no need to be afraid. Everything will work out, don’t waste time worrying. Things won’t always go as planned but it will be an awesome life. – See more at: http://www.krystenlindsay.com/blog/letter-to-my-younger-self-by-darlene-foster#sthash.xvz655Iv.dpuf

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I found this graphic on Facebook and don´t know who to credit, but it is so true.

Pop over to Krysten´s blog to read my letter to thirteen year old me.

What would you tell your teenage self if you could?

 

Today, I am a guest on Krysten Lindsay Hagar’s   blog.

How Writing This Book Kept Me Sane by Darlene Foster – See more at: http://www.krystenlindsay.com/blog#sthash.wHxhalxq.dpuf

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A question I am often asked is where I get ideas for my books.  In this case, I was fortunate to go on a fabulous river cruise down the Danube with my hubby and some good friends four years ago. We had a fabulous time and everywhere we visited I thought, Amanda would love this place. – See more at: http://www.krystenlindsay.com/blog/how-writing-this-book-kept-me-sane-by-darlene-foster#sthash.oAO6nKXj.dpuf

Krysten writes funny, true to life books for teens. Besides mining her teen years and humiliating moments for her novels, she is also a book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn´t like. Hop over to read my article and check out her blog and leave a comment.

Check out the trailer for Amanda on the Danube featuring some of my pictures from the trip that inspired me.

 

I am pleased to be a guest on Rachael Ritchey’s blog where I talk about writing a series. Enjoy and leave a comment or two.

Fiction by Rachael Ritchey

Happy Thursday! We’ve got a special guest today. Author Darlene Foster has been kind enough to stop in to offer us writers some handy advice on keeping a book series fresh and interesting!

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Brought up on a ranch in southern Alberta, Darlene Foster dreamt of travelling the world and meeting interesting people. Her desire to write started when she was twelve and her short stories have since won a number of awards. She is the author of the exciting adventure series featuring spunky 12-year-old Amanda Ross who loves to travel to unique places. Her books include Amanda in Arabia – The Perfume Flask, Amanda in Spain – The Girl in The Painting, Amanda in England – The Missing Novel and Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone. Readers of all ages enjoy travelling with Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. Darlene and her husband divide their time between…

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