Darlene Foster's Blog

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I’m over at Book Club Mom’s blog sharing my news. A great blog with excellent reviews and entertaining YouTube videos about books. Worth following.

Book Club Mom

Darlene Foster

Author name: Darlene Foster

Genre: Middle Grade, Adventure/Travel

Books: Amanda Travels Series

News: Book #9, in the Amanda Travels series is soon to be released. This time we find Amanda Ross in Paris, France.  She’s in awe of the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre and Notre Dame Cathedral. While there, she gets to work as a volunteer and stay in a famous book store, along with her bestie Leah and Leah’s eccentric Aunt Jenny. A dream come true for a book lover like Amanda.

But things are happening that may ruin her trip to this amazing city. While she’s at the Paris Opera House there is a bomb threat. Then the lights go out during their visit to the Louvre. Worst of all, a devastating fire blazes in Notre Dame. Why does a mysterious man, who claims to be a busker…

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The final edits are done! Whew. At times it seems as if we will never get there but it always feels so good once we get to this stage.

Amanda in France: Fire in the Cathedral, the ninth book in the Amanda Travels series, is scheduled to be released on September 13, 2022. However, it is now available on NetGalley if you would like a free digital advanced reading copy and are willing to write a review. http://netgal.ly/eLELmj

Amanda is in love! With Paris – the city of love. She’s in awe of the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre and Notre Dame Cathedral. While there, she gets to work as a volunteer and stay in a famous book store, along with her bestie Leah and Leah’s eccentric Aunt Jenny. A dream come true for a book lover like Amanda.

Except, while she’s at the Paris Opera House there is a bomb threat. Then the lights go out during their visit to the Louvre. Worst of all, a devastating fire blazes in Notre Dame. Why does a mysterious man, who claims to be a busker, writer and artist, show up every time something bad happens?

Join Amanda as she explores the exciting streets of Paris, the fabulous Palace of Versailles and the gardens of the painter Claude Monet, all the time looking for clues as to who would want to destroy such a beautiful, historic cathedral.

Here is what beta readers have had to say about Amanda in France:

“Revisiting Paris with Amanda was a roller-coaster ride through the city I once knew so well. A great adventure story, and I couldn’t put it down!”
Maureen Moss, author of The Tour Guide Life – It Could be Yours, More to Life and There’s a Funnelweb on the Floor!

“Amanda’s latest romp around the world’s favourite city of love will appeal to both the armchair traveller and the mystery fan.” Gina McMurchy-Barber Author of The Jigsaw Puzzle King  (Winner of the 2021 Silver Birch Awards) 

“Children all over the world, impatiently waiting for this latest addition to your Amanda travel series, will not be disappointed!” Marion Iberg

“I found the book compelling in the way a tragic news story has been woven into a mystery for children.  Readers will want to explore more about the famous cathedral after reading this book.” Sheila MacArthur

A short excerpt for you:

As night fell and the sky grew darker, roaring flames rose higher, painting the sky bright red, orange, and yellow. From inside, the sounds of crackling and falling timbers caused Amanda to shiver when she thought of the destruction. As if at a funeral, the crowd watched silently.

 An immense sadness crushed Amanda’s chest.

Notre Dame before the fire

I am excited to hear what readers think of this adventure.

I am part of an excellent series on Sally Cronin’s blog called, I Wish I knew Then What I Know Now. There are many things I wish I had known when I was younger, but I chose to talk about unnecessary worrying. If you haven’t already read it on Sally’s popular blog, check it out and let me know what you think about the subject.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

I am sure like me, there have been times when you have wondered what difference might have been made to your life, if your younger self had been gifted with the experience and knowledge you have accumulated over the years.

I invited several friends from the writing community to share their thoughts on this subject which I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did.

I wish I knew then what I know now! by Darlene Foster

I believe we learn as we go, and specific knowledge appears when we need it. If we knew everything at birth, there would be nothing to live for. But one thing I wish I had learned earlier in life is that worrying is futile.

I come from a long line of worriers; my mother and grandmother were masters of the art of worrying. I’m sure the women who came before them…

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Writer D. L. Finn posted an awesome review of Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady along with reviews of two other amazing books. Check out her blog and learn about her own wonderful books.

Embrace your inner child with a huge hug by reading a great book! D. L. Finn

The attention to detail was amazing, and it was like I had gone on tour with Amanda. Read more here

On April 13th, 2010, my first book, Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask, was published by Central Avenue Publishing. An auspicious day for me and a dream come true! That was twelve years ago, and what a fabulous twelve years it has been.

On my visit to the UAE where I fell in love with the desert.

The story is loosely based on a trip I took to the United Arab Emirates to visit a friend. I was so amazed at this part of the world, I felt compelled to write about it. After a few failed attempts, a twelve-year-old girl entered my mind and wanted to tell the story from her point of view. I named her Amanda and, well, the rest is history.

The book has had three different covers over the years.

Cover #1
Cover #2
Cover #3

Although Amanda in Arabia is twelve years old, I am happy to say it is still being read. Recently, I was delighted to read a review by James Cudney.

Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask is the first middle-grade book in Darlene Foster’s Amanda Travels series, and I very much enjoyed reading it. Amanda yearns to travel the world, and first up is the United Arab Emirates, but call it UAE or the Emirates as one of her new local friends wisely cautions her upon arrival. One of Amanda’s birthday wishes, this smart young girl finds herself visiting an aunt and uncle who live in the far-away country. Whether she’s magically or realistically transported is a question you’ll have to find out for yourself!

Readers will learn all about camels, the Persian Gulf, a princess who was almost forced to marry an older man, and many more culturally significant items of relevance. Both an educational and charming tale, the book offers a variety of themes and good old-fashioned fairy tale fun. Amanda makes several more international trips in future books (there are 8 to date in the series) and I’m keen to find out what she’s going to explore. You’ll enjoy her witty intelligence, and I’m sure if the shenanigans in this book are a sense of things to come, it will be a delightful collection of books that will appeal to a wide variety of personalities. Great job! – James J Cudney

James is a prolific reader and a great writer himself. Check out his blog where he writes honest reviews of a variety of books. He especially enjoys books in a series. https://thisismytruthnow.com/category/general-blog/

His own entertaining books can be found on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/James-J-Cudney/e/B076B6PB3M/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

A huge thank you to everyone who, over the years, has assisted and encouraged me, bought my books, told others about them and written reviews. You have made these past twelve years an incredible part of my life!

Amanda in Arabia is available on all Amazon sites as well as at other booksellers.

I woke up to this amazing review of Amanda in Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind. This brightened a dull rainy day. Thanks to Diane Tibert, a talented author from Eastern Canada.

Amanda in New Mexico is an ideal book for children who are ready to read chapter books. It’s not too long or too complex that a mid-elementary student won’t be able to read it. My daughter would have been able to read this book by mid-way grade 2. Certainly, grade 3 students will be able to read it.

This is one of many books Canadian author Darlene Foster has written in the Amanda series. Foster has sent Amanda to several places on the globe, including England and Holland. In fact, there’s a sneak peek of Amanda in Holland – Missing in Action in the back of the paperback I read.

Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind has just enough spookiness to intrigue children but not scare them or give them nightmares. Foster leaves the ending open in the way she doesn’t confirm or deny the existence of ghosts, which I think is an excellent way to do it because . . . sometimes I believe in ghosts and sometimes I don’t.

Read the rest of the review here

Writing under the name Diane McGyver, you can check out her books here

My review for A December Knight by Diane McGyver

A Christmas romance with a twist. I enjoyed this contemporary knight in shining armour tale. Lily is a hardworking single mom who doesn’t believe in Christmas, love or dreams coming true. But, things take a turn when a handsome but bumbling man enters her store. The characters are believable. Since I’ve worked in retail over Christmas, those scenes rang true. Throw in a nasty co-worker, a sweet ten-year-old daughter, a goth teenager and a demanding ex-wife, what could possibly go wrong. A well-written story with some surprises and a satisfying ending, well worth a read any time of the year.

Happy to be a guest on Sally Cronin´s Smorgasbord Bookshelf where I share an extract of Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

In this series you are invited to share an extract of 500 words from your most recent book published within the last 12 months. Details at the end of the post.

The aim of the series

  1. To showcase your latest book and sell some more copies.
  2. Gain more reviews for the book.
  3. Promote a selection of your other books that are available.

Today I am sharing an extract from the YA adventure by Darlene Foster. Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady (An Amanda Travels Adventure Book 8) – I have read the book and can highly recommend.

About the book

Amanda receives a postcard from her best friend, Leah, and is surprised to learn that she is in Malta with her aunt. Reading between the lines, she senses Leah is in trouble. Desperate to help her, Amanda travels to Malta with her classmate Caleb and his parents.

Amanda is intrigued…

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I am over at Book Club Mom´s blog today sharing a review of an awesome book I read.

Book Club Mom

Hi Everyone! Today I’d like to welcome Darlene Foster, today’s contributor to What’s That Book. Thank you, Darlene!

Title: The Shadow of the Wind

Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafron

Genre: Magical Realism/Historical Mystery

What’s it about? One cold morning in 1945, a man brings his 10-year-old son Daniel to a labyrinthine library of forgotten titles, hidden in the old city of Barcelona. Allowed to choose one book, Daniel pulls out The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax. But as Daniel grows up, several people seem inordinately interested in this book. What begins as a case of literary curiosity turns into a race to discover the truth about the life and death of Julian Carax, and to save those he left behind. A book lover´s book, and a tale of obsession, the story brings alive the magic and mystery of Barcelona, its…

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Today I am pleased to be part of the virtual book launch for author MJ Mallon’s book, Golden Healer. I have been waiting for this, the second book in her YA series- The Curse of Time, and it proves to be as intriguing as her first book, Bloodstone.

Dedication:

Dedicated to the one and only rollercoaster that I ever rode. It was in Portugal, and I was on holiday with my young family. I’ll never forget that day, I overcame my fears and rode a rollercoaster with the encouragement of my much-loved family, my husband, David, and daughters Natasha and Georgina. So, it’s time to ride another rollercoaster… I hope you will come along with me for this crazy ride! Let’s meet our fears together…

Blurb – Golden Healer

Golden Healer is The 2nd in The YA Paranormal Adventure Series – The Curse of Time.

I didn’t think my life could get any weirder, until the dreaded rollercoaster…

Amelina Scott’s destiny is to be a Krystallos: a magician of light, chosen to learn the ways of crystal magic on her 16th birthday. Located on a river pathway in a mysterious part of Cambridge, the Crystal Cottage is guarded by mythical beings.

Unfortunately, there are those who seek to harm this haven of light. Learning of Ryder – a Shadow Sorcerer with hypnotic powers – Amelina discovers that her own magic is now threatened and that the Curse of Time might be unleashed again.

As secrets abound and the creatures of the Chronophage come alive, can Amelina become the true magician she needs to be?

A unique, imaginative mystery full of magic-wielding and dark elements, Bloodstone is a riveting adventure for anyone interested in fantasy, mythology or the world of the paranormal.

NOTE: This book contains mention of self-harm, mental health issues and alludes to the potential dangers of sexual attraction, which may trigger younger/sensitive readers.

My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheroes!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

M J Mallon was born in Lion city Singapore, a passionate Scorpio with the Chinese Zodiac sign of a lucky rabbit. She spent her early childhood in Hong Kong. During her teen years, she returned to her father’s childhood home, Edinburgh where she spent many happy years, entertained and enthralled by her parents’ vivid stories of living and working abroad. Perhaps it was during these formative years that her love of storytelling began bolstered by these two vivid raconteurs. She counts herself lucky to have travelled to many far-flung destinations and this early wanderlust has fuelled her present desire to emigrate abroad. Until that wondrous moment, it’s rumoured that she lives in the UK, in the Venice of Cambridge with her six-foot hunk of a rock god husband. Her two enchanting daughters have flown the nest but often return with a cheery smile.

Her motto is to Do what Your Heart Desires.

And her favourite genre to write is fantasy/magical realism because life should always be sprinkled with a liberal dash of extraordinarily imaginative magic!

Accolades: M J is a finalist in the Fantasy category of N. N. Light’s Book Award for her novel Bloodstone and a finalist in the International author award. She has also contributed best-selling short stories to Dan Alatorre’s Box Under The Bed anthologies.

Authors Links:

Authors Website: https://mjmallon.com
Authors Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L

Buy Link Bloodstone (multiple platforms): https://books2read.com/u/bOyrgW

Next Chapter Publishing Author Page:https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/mj-mallon
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon – https://twitter.com/Marjorie_Mallon 

Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/groups/1829166787333493/


Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/m-j-mallon 

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjmallonauthor/

Bookstagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjm_reviews/

My review of Bloodstone

For someone who doesn’t usually read fantasy, this YA novel caught my interest. The teenage characters in the book are very real with typical issues such as lack of confidence, jealousy, confusion, parental disagreements, and volatile friendships. Amelina comes from a dysfunctional family with a paranormal twist. If she can figure out the curse, perhaps her family could be happy once more. In her quest, she meets a self-harming girl locked in a mirror, a heartthrob boy with a mean side, a cottage full of amazing crystals and an old woman with sage advice. I like that the story is based on a real clock, the Corpus Chronophage clock, in Cambridge, England. (Chronophage means time-eater). There is some time travel in the story, which I love. There’s a lot happening in this very descriptive book and not everything is explained. But that is because it is the first book in a series. I look forward to reading more about Amelina and her quirky friends. 5-star review on Goodreads by Darlene Foster

I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Other books by MJ Mallon

I am pleased to introduce, Mark Durman, as a guest author today. Mark lives here on the Costa Blanca and we met at a local book fair. He writes exciting Thriller, Suspense, Crime and Mystery stories.

Tell us about yourself and your books and what inspired you to start writing?

My first career was as a British Army officer. During those years I served on combat operations in the Cameroons, the Congo, Borneo and Yemen. During the “cold war” period I  spent several years in Germany, in NATO headquarters in Brussels and in The Netherlands. After leaving the army, I was a director of Brinks, the US-owned international security company. These diverse experiences gave me much of the inspiration and motivation to write. My books draw heavily on these personal experiences.

Do you have a writing routine?

I have no particular writing routine. Sometimes my writing is confined to mundane business correspondence and letter writing to personal friends and relatives. When I get an idea for a book, I tend to spend a period on research, getting fully immersed in the subject and then writing the book in one concentrated period. There then follows the lengthy (and rather tedious!) period of proofreading, correcting and dealing with the production process with my publisher.

What sort of books do you read? Can you list a few of your favourites?

To relax, I enjoy reading fiction by such authors as Robert Harris, John Grisham and Lee Child but my main interest has always been on world affairs, politics and economics.

What writing project are you currently working on?

Much of my present reading and research is about philosophy, religions of the world and atheism. This is an enormous subject from which I’m focussing on elements for my next, fifth, book which I’m currently writing. This has the working title of “I think, hope and want to believe, yet still I don’t know.” There is such a mass of literature on this subject, that I find I’m constantly pausing the draft while I research further relevant texts. This is the most complex yet enthralling work I have so far undertaken!

When you are not writing, what do you like to do?

Danièle and I are both keen walkers. Here in Spain we have belonged to a local international walking group for several years and meet with them once a week. We are blessed by having wonderful local areas to explore such as the Sierra Creviente and Carroscoy features. The excellent Spanish climate enables us to walk throughout the whole year. We are also fortunate to own an apartment in Paris where we spend about two months per year. There, we enjoy the theatres, cinemas and other cultural and social venues not available in this part of Spain. Later this year, subject to COVID restrictions, we plan to visit our two sons who both live and work in Asia; one in Bangkok, the other in Bali.

Mark’s latest book:

Adsum: Mission and Passion

Peter Chambers is eighteen when he is summoned to serve two years’ compulsory military service in 1959. He deliberates whether to defer or serve his country. After some tough infantry training, he is commissioned as a young officer and sent to join the Nigerian Army far away from England where he grew up. Peter is thrown in at the deep end and becomes immersed in combat operations in the Cameroons and the Congo where he must lead his platoon in many dangerous situations. He is also embroiled in politically sensitive and deeply personal issues including murder, mutiny, war crimes and passionate love. Adsum is based on the true story of a young man facing the harsh lessons of life.

A recent 5-star review of Adsum: Mission and Passion

Adsum means “I am present” in Latin. This book by author Mark Durman is based on his experience as a conscripted soldier in the British army from 1959 to 1961. He could have avoided the two years of military service by attending university, but he chose to serve his country instead. This interesting book gives you a sense of what it is like to be in an army training camp. You also get an inside look into countries in conflict in Africa and get to learn about his missions there. In some cases, people were killed, both friends and foes. The author himself killed several people in his tour of duty. What happened in the Congo when Durman was there as part of a UN peace-keeping force was particularly disturbing, although I thought he sounded heroic after reading about his description of the events that took place at a Catholic Mission hospital in the Congo.

I liked the author’s descriptive and sometimes humorous writing style. He was not afraid to use the F word when called for and that made reading about his experiences in the military more interesting. Although he seems to have been a capable and honourable military leader, it must have been quite frustrating for him to be frequently buffeted by political forces beyond his control, especially during his tours in the Cameroons and the Congo. For example, here is a typical quote from the author towards the end of the book, “Looks like I’m being dragged into some political quagmire just for doing my fucking duty.” Such is the life of many a soldier.

Reviewed by Nancy Blodgett Klein, author of Torn Between Worlds: An immigrant’s journey to find herself

Other books by Mark Durman

Mark’s books can be found on all Amazon sites.


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© Darlene Foster and darlenefoster.wordpress.com, 2022. 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.