Darlene Foster's Blog

Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

It is four days into 2022 and so far so good. January is named after Janus, the god of beginnings and transitions in Roman mythology. So it is appropriate for me to look ahead and set some goals, maybe try something new. It is hard to plan right now but without goals, I find I am adrift. Goals help me stay grounded and not dwell on things I can’t do anything about. 

So here they are, my goals for 2022

  1. Publish Amanda in France: Fire in the Cathedral
  2. Publish a collection of short stories
  3. Learn how to self-publish
  4. Start writing a new book
  5. Market my books in person and online
  6. Return to Canada and spend time with family and friends in BC and Alberta
  7. Travel to at least one new place
  8. Update my blog
  9. Buy a new computer
  10. Take an on-line course
  11. Read at least 48 books
  12. Keep up to date with technology
  13. Make new friends and stay in touch with old friends
  14. Keep calm and stay positive, no matter what

I have decided on three words for 2022

Learn

Calm

Flexible

And I’ll leave you with a quote I’ve always believed in.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is resilience.jpeg

I wish everyone an interesting year and would love to read about your goals for the coming year.

2021 is over! Many of us will breathe a sigh of relief. For me, it was a year of ups and downs, joys and sorrows, additions and losses. In the end, it balanced out. As I always do, I’ll look at the goals I set at the beginning of 2021 and see how I did. I never met all my goals and to be honest I doubted I would meet many in 2021. I was pleasantly surprised. You can read my post from last year here.

2021 Goals with results

  1. Come up with innovative ideas to market Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady

I worked hard on this. I put more effort into using social media to promote the book as I was unable to do in-person presentations and signings. I created a blog launch for the first time with the help of many of my blogging friends. It was quite successful and fun.

2. Plan a trip to Canada to launch Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady

Once it was safe to do so, I travelled to Canada in September, four months after the launch. Due to COVID restrictions, I was not able to visit schools, libraries and bookstores as I usually do to promote my book. I did have one book signing at a Medicine Hat bookstore which was well attended. Other events I had set up ahead of time were cancelled. It was a tough year to plan anything.

3. Visit family and friends in Canada as soon as it is safe to do so

I feared this might not happen, but in September restrictions were lifted and I was able to return to Canada to see my family and friends. My daughter from BC flew to Alberta so we could all be together. It had been two very long years. Meeting this goal was the best!

4. Finish writing Amanda in France: Fire in the Cathedral

The book is completed and ready to be sent to the editor. We have scheduled the publication date for September 2022, all being well.

5. Read and review at least 40 good books

As the last post indicated, I exceeded my goal by reading 46 books. All very good books too!

6. Visit new places in Spain

Years ago I vowed I would visit at least one new place a year. With COVID, I thought it would be more realistic to plan to visit a new place within Spain. Well, that didn’t happen, but I went to beautiful Arran Island in Scotland for a writers retreat! Sometimes when you don’t meet a goal, a new one shows up.

7. Continue to help other writers

I did a lot of this and will continue to do more. I really feel it is time to give back and pass on what I have learned over the years. I am no expert and am still learning, but if I can help a new writer to move forward, it is a good day.

8. Organize computer files

I did some organizing but not as much as I should have. Only half marks here.

9. Attend conferences and workshops on-line

I didn’t attend any conferences online but did do some workshops online which were valuable. Half marks here too.

10. Do podcast and video interviews and presentations

I participated in some podcasts and video interviews which were a lot of fun to do.

11. Visit schools digitally and in-person if possible

I did online school visits in Ireland, England, New Mexico and New Jersey and loved it!

12. Find markets for my short stories

Didn’t do this.

13. Adopt a buddy for Dot

We adopted little Lia! (and I will never get to sleep in again). But she keeps us on our toes and we love her to bits.

14. Stay safe and stay positive

So far we have not been sick. We have had both vaccination shots and I get my booster on January 4th. I have managed to stay positive.

These were my words for 2021.

Strength

Love

Hope

Watch this space for new words and goals for 2022

“A good goal is like a strenuous exercise — it makes you stretch.”– Mary Kay Ash

I wish you all a wonderful 2022 full of surprises!

I am interviewing Amanda Jane Ross over at Esther Chilton’s blog. You just might discover some things about Amanda you didn’t know.

estherchiltonblog

It’s Friday and time for my Guest Writer Spot. This week, I have something very special for you. The very talented Darlene Fosterhas interviewed her lead character, Amanda Ross, from her books, the Amanda Travels Series.

Interview with Amanda Ross

By

Darlene Foster

DF: Hello, Amanda. Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed as your readers are eager to learn more about you and your travels.

AR: Thank you, Mrs. Foster. I´m so excited to be interviewed. Where should we start?

DF: How about we start with you telling us a little about yourself?

AR: Yes, thanks. I can do that. (Clears her throat) My name is Amanda Jane Ross and I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I am in grade six and attend Guy Weadick Elementary. It’s named after a cowboy who started the Calgary Stampede, you know. I live with my mom and dad, Evelyn and Don…

View original post 1,117 more words

I ‘ve read some amazing books this year. But the most incredible reading experience I’ve had was joining a read-along which enabled me to complete The Brothers Karamazov. The Book Club Mom has shared my review.

Book Club Mom

Title: The Brothers Karamazov

Author:  Fyodor Dostoevsky

Genre: Classic/Literature

What’s it about? I have wanted to read this novel for years but found it intimidating. I recently joined a read-along where we read one chapter a day of this amazing book. That was one chapter a day for 96 days! I am so glad I did as it was the best way to savour this incredible story. It is essentially a story of three, possibly four, very different brothers from a dysfunctional family, and how their actions affect each other and the people around them. One brother is a ladies’ man and a spendthrift, another an intellectual and the youngest, kind and religious.

The story covers everything, love, hate, family, religion, history, philosophy, mystery and much more. Every chapter makes you think, some make you laugh and others make you sad. The themes are timeless and as…

View original post 322 more words

Delighted to be a guest on Beetley Pete’s wonderful blog. I share a special memory of the arrival of a younger brother.

Baby Timmy with his aunties.

beetleypete

I am very happy to present a guest post from the lovely Darlene Foster. Blogger, and published author of the popular ‘Amanda’ series of books, Darlene is from Canada, and lives in Spain.

Babies and Blizzards
By Darlene Foster

I remember when my brother, Timothy, was born. It had been a typical cold and snowy prairie winter with blizzards creating impassable road conditions. Mom expected the third member of our family to arrive in early February. Dad was concerned that the inclement weather might stop him from getting her to the hospital sixty miles away, when the time came. So he took mom and my younger brother, Lorne to stay with our grandparents in the city well before her due date. Since I had school, I stayed with my great-aunt and great-uncle in the small town near our farm.

I was excited about this as I loved Aunt Elsie and…

View original post 520 more words

While I was away, Marcia Meara featured me on her blog where I disclose ten things you may not know about me. There may be some surprises there. Check it out. There will be more about my trip home soon.

The Write Stuff

I hope you guys are enjoying this series as much as I am, because I don’t foresee it going away any time soon, especially with all the great guests we’ve had so far. And today is another list from a really super blogger and writer, Darlene Foster. I know you’ll enjoy it, so let’s get started. Take it away, Darlene!

(NOTE: Just heard from Darlene, who is traveling and can’t respond right now. She said she’s enjoyed reading all your comments and will be responding herself as soon as she’s home. That gal DOES do some serious traveling, as mentioned in her Ten Things List. 😁)

Ten Things You May Not Know About Me
by Darlene Foster

  1. I’m very short, barely graze 5 feet. What I lack in height, I make up for in enthusiasm and determination.
  2. I have worn glasses since I was in grade three. I feel…

View original post 258 more words

Please check out this amazing post about adulting, as well as an interview with me, a sort of adult. You can also listen to this article as a podcast! https://anchor.fm/depe9/episodes/Adulting–Why-Darlene-Foster-Writes-For-Children-e175nif

Happiness Between Tails by da-AL

What was the day you became an adult?

Young Adult (aka YA) is a major category when it comes to selling fiction, especially because people of all ages enjoy reading it. If I could swing it, I’d aim for that, rather than the harder sell of literary fiction, which the genre of the novels I’m working on.

Last week, I had the pleasure of seeing a couple of young people leave home to start college. In one case, friends were driving their son to begin university classes in San Jose, 400 miles north of Los Angeles. My husband and I flew to meet up with the parents and then the four of us enjoyed a leisurely drive back south.

Khashayar takes our photo as José and Alina look over his right shoulder. Our southbound cruise along Pacific Coast Highway included Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Granted, it was a weekday, but it was still eerily quiet for peak summer season. Note the aerial ride is vacant, aside from a mannequin. Us, Dangerous Minds, Sudden Impact, Harold and Maude, and The Lost Boys, are some of the movies filmed there. Khashayar takes our photo as José and Alina look over his right shoulder. Our southbound cruise along Pacific Coast Highway included Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Granted, it was a weekday…

View original post 1,861 more words

I finally got away for a few days! I was fortunate to visit the Isle of Arran, in Scotland. The island is a magical place with lovely beaches, manor houses, castles, old churches, standing stones, charming coffee shops, art galleries and lots of sheep. There is a story around every corner. I went to meet writer friends, do some writing and chill. I did all of that and more. I expected rain and got sunshine. Here are a few pictures to give you an idea of how wonderful Arran Island is.

The fabulous view every morning
The two hundred year old manor house I stayed in.
With many perfect places to write
Early morning beach walk
Castle Lochranza. Note the heather on the hills.
So many sheep. I love them!
So cuddly. I just wanted to hug them.
Old farm house on the moor
Machrie stone circle, the site of an ancient burial
You can’t be in Scotland and not search out some standing stones.
I was astounded when I came across these ancient standing stones
You know I had to touch them. Alas, I did not find myself in another century being rescued by a dashing Scot in a kilt.
Holy Isle in the background. An ancient spiritual heritage as far back as the 6th century. It is now a Buddist retreat.
There was cake, lots of cake!
And a very special dog. ❤

It was a wonderful getaway, just what I needed. I returned home inspired.

Now I’m getting ready to go back to Canada, to see my family after two long years.

Note: Most of the pictures are mine but a couple may or may not have been taken by a writer friend who knows I like sheep.

Delighted to see my short story featured on Sally Cronin´s blog. And super excited to see a fabulous review of Amanda in Malta by Georgia Rose. A good day all around. Thanks, Sally and Georgia.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

When I worked on radio in the south of Spain I presented and recorded four series of Authors in the Sun showcasing local writers and their short stories. I ran a series here on the blog in 2017 which was much enjoyed and showed off the skills of some amazing writers.

I would love to share your short stories here too this summer and details of how you can participate is at the end of the post.

Solar Eclipse
By
Darlene Foster

Christina rolled out of bed, looked out the window and decided this day would be her last. She saw no point in going on. Her life had become abysmal.

No one called except telemarketers and people taking surveys. As if her opinion counted.

No one ever stopped in for a visit either. Many of her friends were dead; the others had gradually disappeared from her life.

A dish…

View original post 1,338 more words

I am so excited to share this amazing 5-star review by Annika Perry. It made my heart dance to read this review and to see that the reader gets it! Annika, a published author of a series of short stories The Storyteller Speaks: Powerful Stories to Win Your Heart and a lovely picture book, Oskar’s Quest has a great blog you should check out.

Annika’s 5-Star review on Goodreads:

With a unique blend of adventure, friendship, history and travel Darlene Foster has hit upon a winning and inspirational combination for her children’s books Amanda Travels.

The series is aimed at middle grade (aged 9-12) children, although from reading her latest book I feel it would also be suited for adept readers of a younger age as well as reluctant readers.

Darlene Foster’s latest in the series, Book 8, takes the reader to Malta after Amanda receives a letter from her best friend Leah. To receive a letter alone sends concern to Amanda in the modern digital age of emails. Leah hints that something is wrong, but gives no detail and wants Amanda to join her.

Amanda would love to leave the cold wintry weather of Canada behind her for the warmth and sun of the Mediterranean island but would it even be possible?

As with all children’s books, a resolution is quickly found and Amanda joins her class mate and his parents on their holiday on the beautiful island.

Immediately the author captures the heavenly warmth of the landscape, limestone buildings and the history perfectly. In snippets, the reader is enveloped in the amazing historical elements of the island, some of which become central to the story whilst others act as a stunning backdrop to the action.

Any reservation I had that the historical might slow down the pace of the story proved unfounded as the plot is quickly propelled along. Although there are dramatic events such a brief kidnapping, ominous warnings, chases and unexplained killings of protected birds these are all pitched gently and safely for the younger reader.

Initially, Amanda cannot even find Leah and when she finds her it turns out that Leah’s aunt has become mixed up with crooks. Two criminals want Leah’s aunt, who is an archaeologist, to steal the 4000-year-old Sleeping Lady statue from the museum otherwise there will be consequences. Could Leah even be involved?

Luckily Amanda and Leah are not alone on their mission. Max is a helpful and able go-between and Caleb, the son of the family friend, provides many comic moments throughout the book, particularly with his strange phobia of fish and love of all things Popeye.

When finally they visit the famous Popeye Village he is ecstatic and his courage shines through as he has to rescue Leah!

I like how all the main characters are slightly flawed with their fears and how through working together they find courage, helping each other. The warmth and kindness is a beacon of hope!

Amanda in Malta is a hugely enjoyable book, the writing flows with ease and the plot had me eagerly turning the pages. The book took me back to my addictive reading of the Nancy Drew mysteries as young and I can see how readers will long to read and collect the whole series of Amanda Travels.

Although I have unfortunately not read any previous books within the series this is no way hampered my enjoyment or understanding of The Sleeping Lady. The author slips in enough backstory to ensure this book is an exciting and stand-alone book.

These reviews make all the hard work of writing and publishing a book worthwhile. Thanks Annika.


Click to purchase

Click to purchase

click to purchase

click to purchase

click to purchase

click to purchase

Click to purchase

click to purchase

click to purchase

Pig on Trial

click to purchase

Join me on Twitter

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 9,022 other followers

Archives

Categories

Goodreads

click to read review

COPYRIGHT

© 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.