Darlene Foster's Blog

Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Check out my conversation with Colleen Chesebro, where I talk about libraries, my supportive family and upcoming projects.

Colleen Chesebro ~ The Faery Whisperer

Hello everyone! This week I’m thrilled to bring you a new author, at least to me, Darlene Foster. I asked her to pick three or four questions from my huge list HERE. We all aspire to be successful authors and the best way to learn some of the tricks of the trade is to ask questions.

First, please meet my guest, Darlene Foster.

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…

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What a great start to the year! I can now reveal the cover for Amanda in Holland-Missing in Action. I am so excited about this cover as it depicts exactly the colour and excitement of Holland that Amanda experiences. My publisher designs the covers of my books and she always gets what the book is about.

What do you think?

Amanda is in Holland to see the tulips with her best friend, Leah. She is busy travelling the canals of Amsterdam, visiting Anne Frank House, checking out windmills and a wooden shoe factory, and taking pictures of the amazing flowers of Keukenhof Gardens. She is also keen to find out what happened to her great uncle who never returned from WWII and was declared missing in action. What she doesn’t expect to find and fall in love with is Joey, an abandoned puppy. While trying to find a home for him, she meets Jan, a Dutch boy who offers to help, a suspicious gardener, a strange woman on a bicycle, and an overprotective goose named Gerald.

Follow Amanda around the charming country of Holland, filled with colourful tulips, windmills, and more bicycles than she could have imagined. Once again, intrepid traveller Amanda encounters danger and intrigue as she tries to solve more than one mystery in a foreign country.

Amanda in Holland-Missing in Action is scheduled to launch on September 1, 2019, and is available for pre-order on all Amazon sites.

 

 

It’s that time of year again, the beginning! 

Time to write down and share my goals for this year. If I don’t write them down and share them, nothing will get done. It seems this is the only way it works for me.

I´m a bit late with this post but better late than never as my dad would say. So here they are…

  1. Publish and promote Amanda in Holland-Missing in Action
  2. Return to Canada in the fall of 2019 to launch Amanda in Holland, organize readings and signings at bookstores, libraries, and schools.
  3. Finish writing Amanda in Malta-The Sleeping Lady
  4. Start Amanda in France
  5. Do (at least) one thing every day to promote my writing.
  6. Publish an anthology of short stories about growing up in rural Alberta
  7. Try writing a picture book.
  8. Visit a part of Spain I haven’t been to before
  9. Attend a Moors and Christians Festival
  10. Go on a cruise, visiting Venice, Rome or Greece perhaps
  11. Read at least 30 books
  12. Take an online course
  13. Make new friends, online and in person, and stay in touch with longtime friends
  14. Celebrate my birthday in style.

I usually like to pick a word or three for the year. I decided on action, learn, listen for 2019

I´ve read some of your goals already and they are all doable! Wish me luck and share yours if you feel like it.

 

I am very happy to be a guest of Charles Yallowitz at Legends of Windemere where I share some tips on how to find time to write. Charles is a prolific writer himself. Check out his amazing fantasy series.

Legends of Windemere

Finding Time to Write

You have a great idea for a book. You’ve been thinking about it for a long time, probably years. But you’re too busy with a job, kids, aging parents, volunteer work and life in general. So you put off writing the book. But it is always there, nagging you, begging to be written. If only you had time to write!

Sound familiar?

For many, writing a book seems like an insurmountable task. So they never even start. That is where the problem is, they are thinking about writing an entire book.  Like any large, time-consuming project, to make it happen the task needs to be broken down into doable amounts.

A good way to do this is to set goals – long term, med term and short term goals. These goals should be realistic and time limited. And that will be different for everyone.

A long…

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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

 

I am a guest today over at Jacqui Murray’s amazing blog, WordDreams. I answer her question, How do you create readers for life? See what I have to say.

WordDreams...

darlene fosterOne of my summer reading discoveries is Darlene Foster’s six-volume Amanda series. I’m a teacher-author so I’m always eager to find fresh books that my K-8 students will love. When I came across Darlene on her blog, Darlene Foster’s Blog, I have to admit, I was really excited. I’d never found a children’s travelogue series that would appeal to kids the same way fiction does. This series does. In it, kids travel all over the world, to those names that excite every adult–Amanda on the Danube, Amanda in Arabia, Amanda in Alberta, as well as three more fun world locations.

I asked Darlene if she would mind doing an interview for my blog–just one question. That’s all I had:

How do you create readers for life?

Because that’s what these books have the power to do–turn kids into readers. Here’s her answer:

Writing for children…

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I am so pleased to be featured on Jemsbooks Blog. Janice Spina is a prolific author herself with many kids books on her list of publications. Check them out. Even if you think you know all about me and my books, you might learn about a special talent I have!

Jemsbooks

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR DARLENE FOSTER!

Darlene Foster

Darlene Foster

Please help me welcome author Darlene Foster to Jemsbooks Blog Segment of Interview an Author. 

It’s lovely to have you here Darlene. Please step up on the soap box.

Please tell us something about yourself.

I’m probably considered a late bloomer as I didn’t start writing seriously until later in life. But I have always loved to tell stories and made up tales in my head growing up on a ranch in southern Alberta. I recall pretending I was in exciting, foreign countries having an adventure. I had two wishes as a child, one was to travel the world and the other was to be a published writer one day. I have been very lucky as I have held wonderful jobs over the years, raised two amazing children, and been blessed with four grandchildren and two great grandchildren. My dreams have come true…

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