Darlene Foster's Blog

Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

I am please to announce that an anthology I have been involved in has been released. Life Lessons, Guidance for All Ages, complied by Nancy Blodgett Klein contains thirty-four real life stories written by ordinary people, in which a life lesson was learned. I contributed four stories and helped with editing the book.

Life Lessons: Guidance for All Ages

This is an anthology of 34 stories from a variety of authors sharing experiences that happened to them and concluding with what each author learned as a result. Each touching story begins with a quote related to the subject, shares the experience or events, and then concludes with a moral. This collection of stories is especially geared towards younger people who may need some guidance about how to successfully navigate their lives. However, people of all ages would find this book of interest because of the variety of wonderful stories and moral guidance shared. Some stories are happy while others are quite sad. In all cases, these writers share lessons from their own experiences to help others successfully navigate through the ups and downs of life.

Here is one of my contributions:

Try to Find Good in Everyone

By Darlene Foster

“A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet.” – Will Rogers

How do we find our friends? Let’s face it, they were all strangers initially. Friends come in all shapes and sizes. It would be very boring if all of our friends were the same. I’ve made friends through work, special interest groups, places of worship, social functions and travelling. Through friends of friends, through my children and even when dog walking. If you think about your good friends, remember how you first met and how the friendship developed. Did you hit it off immediately or did it take time to get to know each other? Maybe you didn’t even care for each other until you found something in common.

My father always said you can find something in common with everyone you meet, and if you look hard enough, you will find something good in everyone. I have found that to be true in many instances. When I first meet someone I don’t find that pleasant or who rubs me the wrong way, instead of walking away, I consider it a challenge. Anyone can befriend a likeable, easy-going person. But, everyone has a story, and if you get to know a person, you can always find something in common or something likeable.

As a child, I would befriend the person sitting in the corner, all alone. Later, as a teenager, I risked being shut out of the in-crowd by chatting to the mixed-race girl everyone else was being mean to.

My first job was working in a gift shop in a small prairie city where one regular customer always came in grouchy and demanding. No one wanted to wait on her. When she entered the store everyone rolled their eyes. As the youngest and newest member of staff, I was sent out to help her. I always smiled at her, even though she didn’t smile back, and was attentive to her needs. I helped her find the perfect gift for an elderly aunt and the right colour candles and placemats for her dining room table. One day I complimented her on a vintage brooch she was wearing. I caught a glimmer of a smile as she told me it had belonged to her mother. I continued to be nice to her whenever she came into the store and always asked about her family and her health. She spent a lot of money in the store and my boss was pleased. This woman started to ask for me whenever she came into the store. When her first grandson was born, she was excited and eagerly shared his picture with me.

During that time period, the local radio station held a contest for best salesclerk in town. People sent in explanations for why they thought a particular salesperson should win the prize. I didn’t win first prize, but I got some votes and one was from this difficult customer. Someone from the radio station dropped off the letters and hers was glowing. I found out later most of her Jewish family had died in Germany during the Holocaust. She probably had trouble trusting anyone. It was a good lesson for me.

Life lesson: You never know the burdens another person is carrying. Give everyone a chance. The first impression is not always the real person. Like all relationships, friendship takes work, understanding and empathy. Treat everyone with respect, they may become a good friend one day. As Maya Angelou once observed, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

The book is availabe in print and digital versions and can be purchased from most Amazon sites

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Amazon Canada

Thanks for sharing and getting the word out about this book!

A heartfelt post about the importance of words by my friend Sue Vincent. You may need a tissue close by.

France & Vincent

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Words matter to us. Those that are said, those that are not said. The precision of a phrase, the use of one word rather than another can make all the difference to how we feel about something or someone. Often they make even more difference to the way we feel about ourselves. Words can be a source of revelation or cause misunderstanding. They can give deep comfort and beauty and the lack of a word can cause just as great a pain as the wrong ones spoken. A thoughtless phrase thrown out in temper can stay with a child a lifetime, holding it back, just as the right words can inspire confidence. Yet most of the time we take them for granted and barely even notice them on a conscious level.

Yesterday a friend posted a story on Facebook. I have no idea whether or not it is true. I…

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I am delighted to be included in this anthology of unedited short stories, poems, and articles from around the world written during the 2020 Pandemic.

The Blurb

With Love, Comes Hope offers a unique glimpse into the lives of ordinary people, as they coped, suffered and inspired others; in this unprecedented time, the population of our planet found common cause. Frontline and key workers everywhere ventured out to save lives and protect the vulnerable, supplying and delivering food alongside other essential services, like teaching, transport, rubbish collection; all workers valiantly striving in difficult circumstances. Vast numbers of people self-isolated for weeks or months and adhered to new hand cleaning and face-covering regimes. Most of the world experienced a lengthy period of lockdown and economies were mothballed.

Around the world, governments responded differently with greater or lesser success, and the lives of the population were impacted in many different ways. There was large-scale loss of life, personal devastation, and enduring and serious health compromises. Many lost loved ones, families were cast into tragedy, jobs were lost and businesses failed. But there was also profound inspiration, people doing good, helping neighbours, friends and those, especially, in need of protection. Doctors, nurses, carers and support workers – cleaners, cooks, security people, heroically put their own lives in danger to care for the sick, often at the expense of being with their own families.

There have been pandemics before with even higher casualties, but we have never experienced a pandemic in such a connected society. The human race may not have responded as well as it could but for the first time, there was international communication and, to a very large extent, cooperation.

This book is one such example; it shares the voices of people from many countries. It is a collection of personal accounts, poems, stories and reminiscences from around our beautiful planet and illustrates the innate kindness of people in desperate times and a shared wish for something better for all our futures – a common thread in this volume, With Love, Comes Hope: Stories and Inspiration during the 2020 Pandemic.

100% of the royalties will be donated to an international humanitarian charity called Bridge2, based on the Channel Island of Guernsey.

The contributions came from the following countries: Bangladesh, Australia, Brazil, United Kingdom, Spain, South Africa, Israel, Greece, Canada, Italy, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, China (inc. Hong Kong), India, Romania, Japan, Haiti, Denmark, The Philippines, The Netherlands, Saint Helena, Guernsey, New Zealand, Palestine, Germany, Russia, France.

Here is a radio podcast by one of the organizers of the project https://www.talkradioeurope.com/clients/mmoss250820.mp3

This book can be purchased in print or digital format on most Amazon sites.

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com.au

Amazon.es

This valuable piece of our history should be in everyone´s library.

I´m pleased to be a guest on Wanda Luthman´s blog where I talk about Why I Wrote Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action. Check it out.

Wanda Luthman's Children's Books

Children’s Author, Darlene Foster

Hello, everyone!

Welcome to Wanda Luthman’s Children’s Book Blog.

Today, I want to introduce to you one of my favorite children’s authors. I’ve known her virtually for several years now. Her name is Darlene Foster and she’s written a series of books on a girl named Amanda in the Amanda Travels series.

Darlene, please tell us about you and your inspiration for this book as well as the series…

Why I Wrote Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action

My interest in the country of Holland began when a teacher read us a book called, Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates, by Mary Mapes Dodge, which I loved. The book, written in 1865, by an author who had never been to Holland herself but heard stories about it from her Dutch neighbours.

Over the years I read other books that took place in Holland, many of them…

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I was invited to be a guest on a great blog called Loving The Fifty Something

Read what I have to say about getting older and check out Sam’s interesting blog where she features other over 50s. 

Amazing Over 50’s – Darlene Foster

Amazing over 50’s

I am inviting and featuring ‘Mid-lifers’ who are enjoying life over 50 and who are happy to shout out about great health, fitness, lifestyles, work or their achievements etc, but more importantly who are embracing this time of their lives with pride and open arms.

This month I’m happy to introduce Darlene Foster as my seventeenth guest.  Darlene is an author and blogger.

Welcome to Loving The Fifty Something, Darlene

Can I ask you to tell us a little about yourself  

Of course, you can, but you might be sorry. I’ll try to keep it to the Readers Digest version. I spent a lot of time daydreaming and making up stories as a child. I dreamt of becoming a teacher, writing books, travelling the world and meeting interesting people. But as the saying goes, life happens when you’re making other plans.

Read more here https://lovingthefiftysomething.com/2019/07/25/amazing-over-50s-darlene-foster/

I’d be interested to learn your feelings about being over 50 if you are, and how you feel about becoming a 50 plus person if you aren’t.

In November of last year, I was a guest on Sally Cronin’s blog where I was asked to list two things on my personal bucket list. One of them was to attend a writers’ conference in Europe. A writer/blogger friend, Mary Smith, suggested I check out the Winchester Writers’ Festival, which I did. In June I attended this 38-year-old festival held at the University of Winchester with 300 other attendees, providing 50 talks, readings and workshops. I had a great time and thought I should share what I learned while there.

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Entrance to the University of Winchester

I arrived Friday evening in time for dinner where I met other authors over stimulating conversation. Later I attended a talk by James Aitcheson who discussed researching and writing historical fiction which was interesting.

I stayed on campus and found my little room to be comfortable. I felt every bit a student.

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My digs for the weekend. My room was on the second floor.

The next morning, after a good sleep and a hearty breakfast (there were even vege sausages!), we listened to the keynote address with Patrick Gale interviewed by Judith Henegan, Director of the Winchester Writers’ Festival. This prolific writer of 15 novels and counting, spoke about “A Life in Writing”. He offered some great advice and this is some of what I took away from the entertaining and informative discussion.

  1. Write in ink first
  2. Use setting as a character
  3. Place defines a person
  4. End with a glimmer of hope and leave some things unanswered
  5. Remember the reader in the second draft. (are they seeing and feeling what you want them to?)
  6. Children are good to have in a novel as they disrupt, are indiscreet and honest
  7. Readers respond to recognition
  8. Cut out unnecessary stuff, remove anything that reminds people that they are reading
  9. Learn to write by reading
  10. Time is a good editor
  11. Dialogue is good but can slow down the action. It’s OK to use reported speech sometimes
  12. Readers rewrite the book when they read it

I bought his book, “A Place Called Winter” and he signed it for me. He was very interested in the fact that I was raised near the area in Canada where the story takes place.

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For the remainder of the day, I attended a number of workshops. One by children’s author, Patrice Lawernce, on “Whose Voice is it Anyway”. She discussed making your characters sound authentic by listening to how people talk and being perpetually curious, knowing their backstory and culture and getting under the skin of your characters.

Another workshop on “Creating a Picture Book”, was facilitated by Andrew Weale. He explained that you have to think visually as you write, write a lot, then pare it down to a few words as you let the pictures talk. Picture book stories can be generated by asking unusual, quirky questions.

“Twitter For Writers” by Claire Fuller gave me a few more ideas on how to maximize my time on Twitter. “Myth, Mystery and Magic” with Sarah Mussi reminded us that goodness wins in the end with examples through the ages. The hero should have a flaw, even if it is a good flaw like being too kind etc. The excellent dinner came with a guest speaker, Helen Dennis, who gave an animated talk about her route to success as a children’s author.

Sunday was an all-day workshop, “Casting the Spell of Place”, with Lorna Ferguson. I loved this as we were given prompts with time to write and share our work. A few points I took away with me.

  1. Cut out unnecessary details of description to avoid making it sound like a travelogue
  2. Don’t make lists
  3. Think of the reader and what effect you want to create
  4. Setting can create mood and atmosphere and help with plotting
  5. Location often takes the character out of their comfort zone
  6. It should transport the reader out of their ordinary world (armchair travelling)
  7. It should create a perception of the culture
  8. Description needs to be broken up with dialogue and action
  9. Be careful of information dumping, it will pull the reader out of the story
  10. If it doesn’t work, try a different setting!

Another point that came up which was very helpful for me and my stories is that a character can’t always have someone help them. They need to solve their own problems, sometimes in an unfamiliar location.

We were given a list of quotes. I love this one. Place is paramount. Annie Proulx

I also had two one to one appointments with authors who looked at the first chapter of Amanda in Holland and gave me great feedback.

With limited luggage space, I only bought two books, (amazing for me!) and an Elizabeth Bennet tree ornament to remember my time.

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Elizabeth Bennett Christmas tree ornament

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Charming bench on the grounds of the university

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One of the many great buildings on site, the Business School

Staying in a historic city, meeting other writers and learning more about the art of writing made this a perfect break for me and just what I needed to continue with my writing. Thank you so much, Mary Smith, for this suggestion. Check out her interesting blog and wonderful books.

https://www.amazon.com/kindle-/entity/author/B001KCD4P0

 

Jennie over at A Teacher’s Reflections posted this today and I just had to share it.

Check out Thank You, Superheroes and Jennie’s blog where she shares her teaching experience and the wonderful way she introduces her young students to books, reading, music, art and life. You will be impressed.

Today is National Superhero Day and this is what Jennie has to say about superheroes.

A Superhero is brave and caring, perseveres, takes risks, helps others, and saves the day.  A Superhero makes a difference.

Teachers fit the description perfectly.

I recently spent a fabulous day at an international school close to my home in Spain. I visited five classrooms of Grade 5 and 6 students, where I did a PowerPoint presentation about my writing and read from my Amanda Travels books. The students came from all over the world and enjoyed hearing about the places Amanda has travelled to. They were attentive, enthusiastic and asked well thought out questions. They were a delight to spend time with.

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Presenting to students at El Limonar International School

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A book-loving grade 6 class 

I was very impressed by the efficiency and dedication of the teachers. They are certainly ensuring that future generations are well educated and prepared for life. I consider them all superheroes.

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Display for Book Week at El Limonar International School

Miss Roll

With my Grade 3 Superhero, Miss Roll

A good teacher can make a huge difference in a child’s life.

Did you know a teacher that you consider a superhero?

I am honoured to have my story about my inspiring great-grandmothers featured on Bernadette’s blog. Some of you may have read it before but if you haven’t, please pop over and have a read and leave a comment if you wish.

Haddon Musings

“We can have feminist icons, but the real heroines are just quietly doing what is needed.”  Osyth

The following post was written by Darlene Foster who writes at Darlenefoster.wordpress.com.  It is the tale of her two great-grandmothers who made a fulfilling life for themselves and their families while enduring great hardships.  What struck me about this story, of these two real heroines, was that Darlene said that because of the legacy of these women it has given her the confidence and courage to know that she can thrive under any circumstance.

A Tale of Two Katharinas, a Legacy of Strong Women

“People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors.” Edmund Burke

I was fortunate to know both of my maternal great-grandmothers. They passed away when I was in my early teens but I remember them well. They were formidable women with hearts of gold. One…

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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!

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

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And she is still reading the books in Trinidad!

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A sweet little Amanda fan.

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Another special fan, from Australia!

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Special visitors at a book signing.

 

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These students still attend my presentations.

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More students who love Amanda.

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

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A special fan in Spain

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A blogging friend’s gift to her granddaughter

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Happy to get another Amanda book for her birthday.

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Eager readers attend a book launch.

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

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She enjoys reading her great-grandmother’s books

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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. 

 

 

This is me some days!! Thanks for this Lynn.


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© Darlene Foster and darlenefoster.wordpress.com, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Darlene Foster and darlenefoster.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.