Darlene Foster's Blog

Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

I have just returned from a fabulous visit to Holland and was delighted to find I am featured as a guest on Lisette´s Writers´Château. Pop over and read my chat with Lisette, where I reveal secrets about me and my writing. You may wish to leave a message.

CHAT WITH DARLENE FOSTER

What is your latest book?

My latest book is Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone

Amanda_AlbertaIs your recent book part of a series?

Yes, this is the fourth book in the Amanda travel adventure series. The first three books are, Amanda in Arabia – The Perfume Flask, Amanda in Spain – The Girl in The Painting, Amanda in England – The Missing Novel. In this recent book, Amanda entertains her visitor from England by showing her the fascinating sites of her home province of Alberta. The fifth book in the series, Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music, will be published in the fall of 2016.

Can you share some of the feedback you’ve received from readers?

From a teacher librarian – Foster has captured a sense of place in this novel. I liked the action and adventure that keep readers entertained at the same time as it will educate them. Through Leah’s visit, Foster introduces readers to Alberta’s First Nations people. At the same time as they are revealed as an historic culture, she also shows them as modern people living modern lives.

From a young male reader – Amanda is a great middle-grade character. She is a friendly person, and a wonderful role model. Leah is a pretty cool Brit. The plot is fun and engaging as are all of the Amanda books. I love how Ms. Foster puts the reader right in the action and kids get to learn about the exciting places Amanda goes. The action and mystery in the book makes it a fun read for kids!

From an adult reader – This was one of the best Children’s adventure books I’ve read in a while. First of all the plot was tight and flowed. There was enough excitement to even keep me interested and would have been the kind of book I’d have loved as a kid. The plot wasn’t written down to readers and also didn’t feel impossible.

Enjoy the rest of the chat and discover some things you may not know about me

http://lisettebrodey.com/chat-with-darlene-foster/

More about Holland in the next post.

I love blogging for many reasons, but the best part is the wonderful people I have connected with in the blogging world. I am not sure how I met Paige, but I fell in love with her blog site immediately and have been following it for some time now. It is apply called, The Nice Thing About Strangers. Since I have always followed the philosophy of Will Rogers who said, “A stranger is just a friend you haven´t met yet,” the title grabbed my attention. Paige has the amazing ability to notice the smallest details of human interaction during her travels and record them in entertaining vignettes. Do yourself a favour and visit her blog, you will be so glad you did. She has recently collected some of these blog posts and published them in a book called, The Nice Thing About Strangers. In spite of the fact she is busy travelling again, she has agreed to be a guest on my blog.

Paige

Welcome Paige Erickson

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself

I am an American professor with a background in literature, philosophy, and playwriting. I’ve been working for several years on writing creative non-fiction from my travels on a blog called The Nice Thing About Strangers and recently collected about 150 of the stories into a book by the same name. I love reading, roaming, and long walks where I get a bit lost.

2. What made you want to travel?

This question made me pause. I can’t quite put my finger on it. I didn’t travel to Europe for the first time until I was 27, and there was something very freeing but also very intimidating about it. Now I want to travel because it always pushes my boundaries, opens my eyes, gives me gratitude, and connects me with people I meet.

3. What countries have you travelled to? Can you name a favourite and why.

I had the opportunity to live for a few months in Austria, Croatia, Hungary, and Turkey. I’ve been to Bosnia-Herzegovina several times and loved it. I traveled with my brother to Germany, Denmark and Sweden. Then, I first came to Europe for an extended stay, I took a lot of four-to-five day trips to Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Iceland, Serbia, and Montenegro.

Turkey is a favorite for me. I’ve been toiling over the language (then going home and forgetting it all!) for several years. I find the people to be very warm and encouraging. I’ve enjoyed both the big cities and small towns, the grand adventures and the local supermarkets. Iris Murdoch wrote, “If you long and long for someone’s company, you love them.” This sums up how I feel when I am away from Turkey for a long time. I must be in love.

4. What made you decide to create your blog, The Nice Thing About Strangers?

I am a professor and my students were always interested in the fact that I traveled alone. Many were worried about my safety and wanted to hear if I had any horror stories to share. Originally, I wanted a place to share the good news from my travels, since almost all of my encounters abroad have been positive, full of helpful strangers, or moving to me in some way. Also, I wanted to give myself some writing deadlines to produce stories and share them with others. I’ve loved to write most of my life, but it can be intimidating to share one’s work. I thought if I could get into the habit of writing on a schedule, this could give me some confidence. Also, I opted to write very short, non-fiction stories because I had a lot of notes about my experiences, but if I wrote long pieces I would procrastinate and/or quit. By keeping it brief, I could discipline myself to let go a bit.

5. Tell us about your book

The book is a collection of about 150 stories from the blog. I have friends and relatives who were interested in my stories, but who weren’t really into blogs. My aunt encouraged me to publish my work, and it’s been nice to hear from readers of the blog and new readers as well. Since each story is about a page long, people seem to like to read a few stories at a time with breakfast or over coffee. I hope it will help them to be on the look out for opportunities to connect with the people around them throughout their day.

6. What do you like to read? Can you name some of your favourite books and/or authors.

I think I learn the most about myself when I read fiction. Since I was a child, I could really get caught up in stories and feel the rest of my day was a matter of walking around in those stories. I love the Hungarian author Antal Szerb’s Journey by Moonlight. My best friend is reading it in Hungarian and, of course, I read it in translation, so we are anxious to see if we’ve loved the same passages. I love Iris Murdoch and Flannery O’Connor. I read Orhan Pamuk when I am “homesick” for Turkey. On this trip, I packed Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair, which I am reading for the third time and I love it more and more on each read. I get caught up in lines that really stick with me, so I keep a “book book” with lines that I love. This way I can re-read those passages or lines and meditate on the story once more.

7. What inspires you?

Small moments that I get to observe inspire me and make me grateful to be able to wander as I do. Sometimes I will pause and imagine what my grandparents would think of my life. Surely, they couldn’t have imagined that I could go rent an apartment in Istanbul for a month and chit chat with the elderly ladies at the market. I also try to remember my childhood self, who was unafraid to make up stories, plays, and plans, but quite afraid. I want to be faithful to “young Paige” as I keep writing and remain optimistic.

8. What is next on the horizon for you?

I am hopeful that I can finish an often-abandoned novel this year. It is a sort of thank you note to the people who became my friends during my travels. As often happens when you want to thank someone, it can be hard to find just the right words. This is where I am stuck now.

Paige

Thank you so much Paige for sharing your thoughts. It was great getting to know more about you. My favourite line is, “I want to be faithful to “young Paige” as I keep writing and remain optimistic.” We all need to be faithful to our young selves.

FB-Post_1Cover

Check out the book http://www.amazon.com/The-Nice-Thing-About-Strangers/dp/0692590781

The blog http://thenicethingaboutstrangers.com/

The Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/thenicethingaboutstrangers/?rc=p

 

 

I have been invited to be a guest on Cheryl Carpinello’s blog where I talk about why I write for middle grade readers and share some news about my next Amanda adventure. Cheryl writes amazing historic novels for middle graders. Check out her blog and leave a comment if you feel inclined.  http://carpinelloswritingpages.blogspot.com.es/2016/03/meet-mg-author-darlene-foster.html

Meet MG Author Darlene Foster

Carpinello’s Writing Pages welcomes MG author Darlene Foster.
Read more here

 

I woke up to a pleasant surprise one day this week. A fabulous review of Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone was posted on Evie Carter´s blog site.  I felt like a child of mine had been complimented. It made my day!!

This is what she had to say.

What I liked
_____________
This was one of the best Children’s adventure books I’ve read in a while. Although geared toward younger readers, maybe seven to nine and up, it was well written and had delightful characters.
First of all the plot was tight and flowed. There was enough excitement to even keep me interested and would have been the kind of book I’d have loved as a kid.

read more of the review here: http://eviecarter.novelblogs.com/book-review-amanda-in-alberta/

I do hope this review will cause a few copies of Amanda in Alberta to show up under some Christmas trees this year!

Evie also interviewed me http://eviecarter.novelblogs.com/author-interview-with-darlene-foster/ if you wish to learn more about me and my writing.

I hope everyone is enjoying this wonderful season, staying safe and not getting overwhelmed by it.

Thanks for reading my blog!

It is my pleasure to welcome Sally Cronin as my special guest. Sally has a daily blog covering a variety of subjects close to her heart including writing, health and music, which is apply called Smorgasbord – Variety is the Spice of Life. Sally is a generous person who shares blog posts and promotes other writers. Please check out her site and say Hello. Her Christmas grotto has some wonderful gift ideas.

DSC_0869 a

Without further ado, here is the lovely and talented Sally Cronin!

Thank you Darlene for offering me the opportunity to talk about my new book and also some background on my life and those that have influenced me.

1. You have had a very interesting life Sally. Can you tell my readers a bit about yourself.

My father was in the Royal Navy and we travelled with him whenever it was possible to do so. This meant a disruptive but fascinating childhood living in Ceylon which of course is now Sri Lanka, Malta and South Africa. By the time I was fourteen I had been to seven different schools and enjoyed some amazing experiences.

After school I trained as a dental nurse but then moved through a number of industries including hospitality, retail, advertising, telecommunications and radio and television broadcasting. I have always been interested in health and nutrition so trained as a nutritional therapist nearly twenty years ago and I have worked with clients in Ireland and the UK. My own weight issues led to my first book which in turn led to forming Moyhill publishing in 2004. Since then I have not stopped writing and hope that will continue until I drop. It is one of the few jobs that you do not have an age or physical limit.

Since David and I married in 1980 we have lived in the United States, Ireland, Belgium, UK and of course currently in Spain. That has added a wonderful richness to our life and as a writer I treasure all of it.

2. Tell us about your latest book.

My latest book is Tales from the Garden. Fairy stories for all ages from five to ninety-five with the usual fairy princesses, monsters, magic and romance. As it has 80 illustrations I hope it will appeal to children and those that like to read a good bedtime story.

Tales From the Garden small- Cover

3. What inspired you to write this book?

We will be leaving our home for the last 16 years here in Spain once the house is sold. The garden is large and has several small areas that are mostly hidden from view. We inherited several large stone statues that we uncovered when cutting back hedges and bushes. Most are very heavy and there is no way that we can take them with us unfortunately and I decided to write stories around them. I now have a book that contains happy memories that I can take with me wherever I go.

From Sally´s garden

From Sally´s garden

4. You have written other books, perhaps you could tell us something about them.

My first book in 2001, Size Matters, was my story of how I became morbidly obese at over 330lbs and my journey as I studied the human body and nutrition and designed a programme to lose 150lbs. This led to a family health manual, Just Food for Health which was also the name of my diet advisory service that I opened in Ireland and then in the UK. I have always written short stories and this resulted in Flights of Fancy and other fiction including two novels, Just an Odd Job Girl and Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story. I have gone back to health in two other books including a health manual for men and an anti-aging book, Turning Back the Clock.

5. What sort of books do you read?

I love to escape into the books I am reading and tend towards thrillers, epic novels that span centuries and adventure. I also enjoy reading non-fiction; usually science and health.

6. What are some of your all time favourite books?

I love all of Wilbur Smith’s books but in particular the sagas of the Courtney family that take you through the challenges of settlers as they explored deep into Africa. Jean M. Auel has written an amazing series Earth’s Children with six stunning books set around 25,000 years ago. The series follows the life of a girl called Ayla from childhood through to motherhood and is captivating. I had my DNA tested in one of the genetic ancestry programmes when they first began and discovered that I was related to a woman whose bones were found in a cave in Southern France 20,000 years ago. This began a fascination with that era and those that inhabited the dangerous environment.

7. Who has influenced you the most in your life?

That is difficult because there are so many people and events that have impacted on the way that I feel, live and write. From my first teacher, Mrs Miller who slipped me more advanced books to read to my husband David who believes that everyone should have the freedom to be the best they can. I have had some great role models and mentors in my various careers and personal life and I am grateful for every one of them.

8. What is your idea of a successful life?

My perception of success has changed over the years. When I was younger of course, there were a few things that needed to be ticked off the list including money, status, nice house, car etc. I was quite prepared to work for them and over the years most were achieved. However, by that time I realised that in fact there were other much more important goals in life including health, great relationships, good friends and a constant access to new ideas and experiences. I feel incredibly successful and it has nothing to do with material wealth but down to simple pleasures that we can all enjoy if we choose to.

9. Anything else you would like to tell the readers.

First and foremost I am a reader and I would be devastated if I did not have access to books in any format. I am so grateful for anyone who picks up one of my books and enjoys reading the story. I hope that readers understand how vital and appreciated they are. Without them what would be the point of writing? Also avid readers are potentially the top writers of tomorrow and I encourage everyone to get their stories written on a blog, novel, short story or poetry collection. It is an excellent way to get your voice heard.

10. Where can we find your books?

I have my own bookstore which is accessed through any of the individual book sites. The latest book Tales from the Garden can be found on http://moyhill.com/tales/ and because it is my own store the Ebook is discounted by 50%.

My books are available on Amazon and the quickest route is through my author page.
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/author/sallycroninbooks

Thank you very much Darlene for featuring my here today… I always love an opportunity to talk about myself and my books.
Social Media Links
Blog: smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com
http://uk.linkedin.com/in/sallycronin1
https://twitter.com/sgc58
https://www.facebook.com/sally.cronin
https://www.facebook.com/sallygeorginacronin
https://plus.google.com/+SallyCronin/about

Thank you, Sally for making an appearance on my blog site. All the best for your exciting new book.

My story, Terror in the Tower, is in this Friday FANTASTIC Flash. Thanks aliisaacstoryteller for including me.

aliisaacstoryteller

Friday FANTASTIC Flash Writing Challenge. www.aliisaacstoryteller.com Friday FANTASTIC Flash Writing Challenge.
http://www.aliisaacstoryteller.com

Last week I challenged you to write about a building. Here is the prompt…

Tell me about a building which is important to you; are its walls ancient and crumbling, or modern shining glass and cold steel? Does it mean home to you, or prison? What happened here? Why do you care?

First off, I’d like to welcome a newcomer to Friday FANTASTIC Flash, Darlene Foster, who submitted this stunning story…

Terror in the Tower

Angela glances at the tower ruins that overlook the city from high on a grassy mound and pulls her sweater tighter around her. She experiences the same chill every time she walks past the site.

When she was seven, her mother took her up to the old stone keep. From a small window, she saw a girl looking out at her through iron bars. Fire blazed behind…

View original post 1,312 more words

I am featured today on the wonderful blogsite Mother Daughter Book Reviews where I discuss how my photographs inspire my writing.

How Photographs Can Inspire Ideas

by Darlene Foster

As a writer of children’s books, I am often asked where I get ideas for my stories. I’m inspired by my travels for the most part and eager to share what I have seen and learned with my young readers. I start with a place, somewhere interesting, and include an adventure or a mystery for my main character, Amanda, to solve. Although I have the main idea, I often get stuck while putting the story together.

Read more of the article here

AmandaBooks


Amanda in Alberta

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Amanda in Spain

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Amanda in England

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Amanda in Alberta

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Pig on Trial

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