Darlene Foster's Blog

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Today I´m a guest on a great site 2 Cooks Crafting Books. Stop in, check it out and leave a comment. Also another opportunity to enter the give away if you haven´t already.

2 Cooks Crafting Books

Today, I’m thrilled to be joined by Darlene Foster, author of a series about a traveling twelve-year-old named Amanda.

In book six of the Amanda Travels series, Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind, the book follows Amanda and her class on a school trip from Calgary to New Mexico. Their exploration of different parts around Taos, New Mexico, is interrupted by a ghost. Ms. Foster’s description of the New Mexico geography, architecture, and artifacts is truly amazing! Ms. Foster brings New Mexico to life for readers as she details Amanda’s travels. 

Amanda in New MexicoWelcome, Darlene!

Thank you so much for inviting me to be a guest on your blog, Elizabeth.

You asked me what drew me to Amanda as my main character. The wonderful thing about being a writer is that you can create any character, place and situation you want. You are totally in control. Well almost, sometimes your characters…

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Book six in the Amanda Travels series, Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind has been officially released on Amazon, Kobo and other sites. A recent reviewer stated: This story combines a good young adult adventure story with hints of the paranormal while also providing some well placed educational material lightly in the text and great ideas for other young people to aspire to.

Thank you to everyone who has already purchased a copy of the book. I do hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you like the story, a short review would be most welcome.

To celebrate, we are featuring a fabulous giveaway that includes a copy of the book, a colouring book, the cutest little ghost stuffy, cookie cutters and an Amazon gift certificate. All in time for Halloween!!

PrizePack

You can enter this great giveaway here:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4e6fad2120/?

Please note it’s only available to US & Canadian entries. Any international winners will be granted digital copies of the full Amanda Travels series.

And there´s more! I was honoured to be invited to be a guest on The Maltese Tiger´s Tips From a Pro.  My responses to his excellent questions.

Do you think that creative writers need to pursue a formal education, or can you learn the craft on your own?

Foster: I think creative writers need to continue learning as long as they breathe. But I don’t believe they need a formal education, although it certainly doesn’t hurt. But not having a formal education should never stop one from writing. There are so many ways to learn and improve the craft of writing. Reading everything you can get your hands on will always be the best teacher. I’m a great believer in workshops and seminars, both in person and online. Critique groups also provide a fount of knowledge. Hanging around other writers, not just those who write in your genre, can teach you so much. Every time I attend a writers’ conference, I come away feeling like I just received a degree.

What kind of research do you do when writing a book or story?

Foster: I usually start my research during my travels by being curious, taking a lot of pictures, keeping notes and chatting with people. When I return home and start the story, I do more detailed research on certain topics I plan to include in the book, usually on the internet.

Read the rest of the interview here and leave a comment if you wish.

Don´t forget to enter the giveaway http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4e6fad2120/?

I hope everyone is having a super autumn, whether you are basking in the sun or enjoying the freshly fallen snow, it is always a lovely time of the year. Life is good!

 

 

Stevie Turner has a new feature on her blog site called share your short story. I encourage you to submit a story   https://steviet3.wordpress.com/2017/09/26/new-category-share-your-short-story/     Here’s mine!

Prize Winner

By Darlene Foster

We were close to being a perfect family and we didn’t need anyone else to disrupt things. Mom, good at family planning, spaced the three of us out evenly. Three years apart seemed just right, as far as I was concerned. A sister would have been nice. But in spite of the fact that little brothers could be annoying, I felt happy with the way things turned out.

I was not happy when I heard another baby was about to join our family. At almost sixteen, I didn’t relish the idea of looking after a little kid and missing out on parties and fun stuff. Why did mom have to have another baby? Couldn’t she be more responsible and think of the rest of us? Besides, wasn’t she too old to be lugging around a small child? Angry at this turn of events, I decided not to speak to her ever again.

Mom explained that she hadn’t planned this and it disrupted her life too. “Things don’t always turn out the way we want but we have to accept them and make the best of the situation,” she said.

I didn’t care how Mom felt and refused to look up from my book as she spoke. My life was about to be ruined.

Mom looked awfully tired at times, and although I was not speaking to her, I tried to do as many of her chores as I could. I had a packed schedule with school, choir practice, drama club and Canadian Girls in Training. There’d be no time for the extra work a new baby in the house would entail. What if the child cried and I couldn’t do my homework or study for exams? Could we even afford another mouth to feed?

February arrived, soon time for the annual Valentines Day dance at school – and I had nothing to wear! Mom had a piece of burgundy baby-wide corduroy in her sewing chest and we bought a Chanel style suit pattern the last time we were in town. She promised to have the suit made for the dance. After doing all the farm chores and cooking meals, she was always too tired to start the project. I would die if I had to wear something old to the dance. We had no money for a store-bought dress.

Besides being a good seamstress, Mom was a great cook and baked mouth-watering desserts. She often entered her recipes in contests, attended the bake-offs and won prizes. That year she entered her Apple Cottage Cheese Pie recipe in the Medicine Hat News Recipe Contest. She passed her love of baking and cooking on to me and we enjoyed trying different recipes together. Once I entered a recipe contest and won a Five Roses Cook Book for honourable mention.

Mom also taught me to sew long before I took Home Economics in high school. I had already made a few things for myself: a shift dress, a couple of pop tops and a pair of shorts. By the time I took Home Economics, the obligatory pot holder and apron were a piece of cake for me. I ended up assisting the others with their sewing projects which was much appreciated by the overworked teacher.

The new baby was due mid-February. Mom finally cut the suit out of the corduroy and assured me it would be completed for the Valentine’s Dance. During the night of February 9, Dad woke us up to say he was taking Mom to the hospital as the baby was coming – and would I look after my brothers.

I mumbled, “Sure,” while I snuggled deeper under the warm quilt.

My third brother was born on February 10. Dad reported mother and baby doing well. The news didn’t have much effect on me except that mom would not be home until after the dance, and she had barely started on the suit.

I moved the sewing machine out of my parent’s bedroom into mine, studied the fabric pieces and sewing instructions, and with much care, made the A-line skirt. I admired the finished product in the mirror. It fit just right and actually looked store bought. I had never made anything as difficult as a jacket. I followed the instructions to a T and took my time. After a couple of frustrating hours fitting the sleeves so they were smooth, the jacket was finished – the night before the dance. Even the buttonholes looked good.

I felt like Jackie Kennedy in that suit. I received many compliments and didn’t sit out one dance. My town friends, in store-bought dresses, asked me if I could make them a suit just like it. It was my shining hour.

There was still the issue of a new person soon to inhabit our already crowded home, and I was not looking forward to it. They better not think I would babysit or help out in any way because I just wouldn’t. I had too much too much to do already. This baby wasn’t my concern.

I began to put things away in Mom’s sewing chest and considered sewing myself something else after the success of the suit. Mom had lots of pieces of material that she never got around to sewing. In my search through the fabric, I came across a large piece of canary yellow flannelette and a package of baby patterns.

An idea started to form. The sewing machine was still in my bedroom and it would be a couple more days until mom came home. I spent the entire weekend sewing a baby bunting bag for my new little brother. It turned out so cute. I looked forward to seeing him in it.

On Sunday I gave the house a good cleaning since Mom was coming home the next day. First, she had to go the Medicine Hat News office to collect her prize for the Apple Cottage Cheese Pie recipe and get her picture taken. Dad took the dress she requested when he went to pick her up from the hospital. He also took the bunting bag.
Dad, Mom, and baby arrived home soon after we got home from school. Mom beamed as she handed me a cute little person in a canary yellow, flannelette bunting bag. “Thanks for making this for your little brother.”

I held the precious bundle and fell in love. We had lots of room in our house and our hearts for this little guy. He would be fun to look after.
The following weekend Mom’s picture appeared in the Medicine Hat News. With a big smile, Mom held her prize-winning pie in front of her. No one could tell she had just had a baby and could not do up the zipper in the back of her dress.

Mom may have won an electric frying pan for her prize-winning recipe but I got the best prize – my wonderful little brother!

Featured in the anthology, In the Moment – Inspiring Hope 

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Dad and my three brothers.

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Lunch with my youngest brother and my awesome website designer.

Laura Best and I have been blogging buddies since we both had stories in the same anthology back in 2010. She is a fabulous writer of books set in Nova Scotia. I am pleased to be featured on her blog. Check it out!

Laura Best

Today, it is my pleasure to welcome author Darlene Foster to my blog. Several years back, Darlene and I were published in the Country Roads anthology together. Ever since that time we’ve been following each other on social media. Darlene is a wonderful supporter to other authors and an all round terrific author and person and I’m thrilled to have her as a guest on my blog.

Brought up on a ranch in southern Alberta, Darlene Foster dreamt of writing, travelling the world and meeting interesting people. It’s no surprise that she’s now an award-winning author of the exciting Amanda Travels series featuring spunky 12 year-old Amanda Ross who loves to travel to unique places. Readers of all ages enjoy travelling with Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. Darlene divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca, in Spain with her husband and…

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I was invited to be a guest on Jan Moore’s site Work on Your Own Terms

Jan’s site is dedicated to helping women enjoy meaningful work that fits their lifestyle and providing mentorship on midlife reinvention. Check it out, you will find it interesting.

Photo by Donna Cluff

Daydream Believer: You Can Be One Too

by  | Jul 17, 2017

I met Darlene shortly before she and her husband moved to Spain from Canada. I asked her to share a follow-up on her life Abroad and how it came about.

Guest Post by Darlene Foster

I can´t remember when I didn´t have the urge to travel and experience new worlds. My dear grandmother bought me a colouring book featuring children from around the world in traditional dress. I loved that book and wished, with each page I coloured, I could visit these places one day. Studies have proven daydreaming is good for young people because it plants seeds that often become reality. Of course, those dreams don´t come true without hard work and determination.

Read more here

http://workonyourownterms.com/daydream-believer-you-can-be-one-too/

Do you believe in daydreams?

 

Today I am a guest on Teri Polen´s blog. Check out my answers to her great questions.

Books and Such

We’re changing it up today on Indie Author Friday.  Darlene Foster is sharing her exciting collection of children’s travel adventure books.  Join Amanda as she journeys around the world and experiences new cultures and a few mysteries.  Aren’t these covers beautiful?

Twelve year old Amanda Ross finds herself on an elegant riverboat with her bestie, Leah, cruising down the beautiful Danube, passing medieval castles, luscious green valleys and charming villages. When she is entrusted with a valuable violin by a young, homeless musician during a stop in Germany, a mean boy immediately attempts to take it from her.

Back on their cruise, Amanda struggles to keep the precious violin safe for the poor prodigy. Along the way, she encounters a mysterious monk, a Santa Claus look-alike, and the same nasty boy.

Follow Amanda down the Danube, through Germany, Austria and Hungary, as she enjoys the enchanting sounds of music everywhere…

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During my visit to York, I went on a ghost walk. A city with such a long and rich history is bound to have ghosts lurking about. In fact, York is known as the most haunted city in England. Our excellent guide took us to places where ghosts sightings and paranormal activity have been reported. We began the tour at the York Minster on a chilly misty evening.

One of many Ghost Walks available in York.

The York Minster looking spooky at night.

Our knowledgeable and entertaining guide.

I expected to an apparition to appear at any moment.

 

Some say the face of a young girl appears at the small window in this house. This ghostly child starved to death after her entire family died from the plague as no one was willing to go into the house to get her. Sad times.

Working in the cellar of the Treasure’s House in 1953, plumber Harry Martindale was terrified when a group of Roman soldiers walked past him. He noted that the figures disappeared into the floor at knee height. Later investigation revealed a roman road half a metre under the basement.

York is the birthplace of Guy Fawkes and is also where he is buried. Unfortunately, his head was buried in one place and his body in another. Apparently, he wanders the Shambles at night looking for his head. I didn’t encounter him, although I did find an inn named after him.

The ghost of Guy Fawkes is supposed to wander the Shambles at night looking for his severed head.

Mysterious splashes have been heard late at night at the site of the ancient Roman baths.

During a daytime walk around town, we found these guys hanging about.

The sign says, Here lies Fat Ken, our original shop skeleton who fell to bits because people loved him too much. Please be kind.

So why all the interest in ghosts, skeletons and creepy things? Probably because I´ve been busy doing final edits on Amanda’s next adventure, Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind. You guessed it, there will be ghosts in this story. What do you think of the fabulous cover my publisher created?

I´ve been on a number of ghost walks. They can be good fun and the guides are usually very entertaining.

Have you ever been on a ghost walk? Do you enjoy hearing or reading about ghostly encounters?

 


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