Darlene Foster's Blog

Today is National Internet Friends Day and I am lucky to have many wonderful internet friends! I am pleased to introduce one of them, Teri Polen, as a guest author. I love her answers to my questions, especially which fictional character she would want to spend a day with.

Teri Polen reads and watches horror, sci-fi, and fantasy.  The Walking Dead, Harry Potter, and anything Marvel-related are likely to cause fangirl delirium.  She lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband, sons, and black cat.  Her first novel, Sarah, a YA horror/thriller, was a horror finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.  Subject A36 was voted one of the 50 Best Indie Books of 2020 at ReadFree.  Visit her online at www.teripolen.com

1.Tell us about yourself including something that may surprise us.
Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog, Darlene! I’m a multi-genre
YA author—sci-fi, horror, and fantasy, a mom of two polar opposite sons,
a Marvel, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Walking Dead fan (I’m such a
nerd), and enslaved to Bond, my feline overlord. Considering my usual
entertainment preferences, most people would be surprised to know that
I’ve watched Grey’s Anatomy from the beginning. I’m not a Meredith
Grey fan—it’s Miranda Bailey and the medical cases that keep me tuning
in.

  1. How long have you been seriously writing?
    Around eight years I think? I started writing while waiting for my son at
    soccer practice—long hand because I didn’t have a laptop then—and
    stayed with it until I had a completed manuscript. And it was truly
    horrible. Once I understood I’d created a monstrosity, I read books on
    the craft of writing, took classes, and learned just how difficult it really is
    to write a book.
  2. Where do you get ideas for your stories?
    I’ve gotten ideas from dreams, billboards, asking lots of ‘what if’
    questions, and merging movie ideas, but the spark for my first book
    came from my cat. Weird, but true. We’d moved into a new house with
    no previous owners and Shadow, fur bristled while emitting deep
    throated growls, stared at something on the stairs no one else could see.
    It started me thinking about how a house could be haunted if it was
    never inhabited. I gave him credit in the acknowledgements!
  3. What is your writing process? Are you a planner or a panster?
    I lean more in the panster direction, but I’m constantly struggling to
    claw my way in the direction of the planning side. I tend to be a slow
    writer, and I think things would move along considerably faster if I had
    some sort of outline. I’ve gotten better, but I’m not there yet.
  4. Where and when do you do your best writing?
    I don’t have a designated writing space. I tend to move around the
    house with my laptop to whatever space inspires me that day.
    Afternoons seem to be my most productive time.
  5. What kind of research do you?
    For my second book, The Gemini Connection, I researched twin
    relationships and quantum physics. With my newest release, Subject
    A36, I spent a lot of time reading about genetics and DNA. I took great
    liberties in those areas with both books, but that’s why I write fiction.
  6. If you could spend a day with a fictional character, who would you
    choose and why?

    You nearly stumped me with this one, Darlene. It took me days to
    decide, but I tried to narrow it down by only considering fictional book
    characters. I’ve read plenty that fascinated me, but I might not survive
    the day (I’m a fan of horror, sci-fi, and fantasy novels—lots of dangerous
    stuff going on). I finally decided on Ron Weasley from the Harry Potter
    series. I adored his large, loving family, and I’d have a blast hanging out
    with them for the day. Harry and Hermione would visit, and I’d
    undoubtedly be the victim of Fred’s and George’s pranks. Maybe I’d even
    get my own wand for a day!
  7. Tell us about your next writing project. I’m currently working on the sequel to Subject A36, and I swear this
    book may be the death of me (see above planner vs. panster). 2020
    really slowed the writing pace for me, but I’m getting there.

Thanks so much, Teri. Always good to hear from a fellow panster. I have so much respect for planners but I just can’t seem to do it either. What fun it would be to spend a day with Ron Weasley! Great choice.

You can connect with Teri on her Social Media sites:

Website:  https://teripolen.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TeriPolenAuthor/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/TPolen6

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16114393.Teri_Polen

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/tpolen6/

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/teripolen/

Purchase Link:  https://www.amazon.com/Teri-Polen/e/B01MYOUA6V

Planet Tage is dying, and the best hope of saving it is gone.

Seventeen-year-old identical twins Evan and Simon share an extraordinary bond, a trait that’s both useful and invasive. They use their connection in their work at Scientific Innovations. Evan is a Mindbender, someone who enters the minds of scientists to spark ideas, join thoughts, and battle nightmares. Simon is a science prodigy and Tage’s best chance of survival.

Unfortunately, their unusual link often bleeds into their private lives. When Evan discovers his brother is keeping a secret from him, he lashes out and ignores requests to talk, and even pleas for help. By the time Evan tunes back in, he finds their connection severed and Simon missing.

He suffers a terrible case of survivor’s guilt. Moreover, he’s desperate. The fate of the world rests on Simon’s return, and Evan is willing to do anything to get him back—even working with his greatest rival, who also happens to be Simon’s boyfriend.

Evan finds allies among enemies and adversaries among friends. When nothing is as it seems and everything is depending on him, he must explore a dangerous aspect to his twin connection he never knew he had.

If he fails, he’ll lose both his brother and his world.

My 5-star review of The Gemini Connection
A great sci-fi/dystopian YA novel. I don’t often read this genre but the idea of twins intrigued me. I was not disappointed. There is plenty of action and some clever world-building, but the character development and the relationships between characters are the stars of this show. The tie between the twins, Evan and Simon, is amazing and the story is written from the POV of both of them. The secondary characters are also interesting and round out the story. Evan is devastated when Simon goes missing, but when he realizes Simon is alive, he will do anything to rescue him and bring him home, even work with his sworn enemy. How this plays out will keep you on the edge of your seat. The author has a vivid imagination and is capable of using it to create an awesome reading experience.

Teri’s other books:

Seventeen-year-old horror fan Cain Shannon thought helping a ghost find her killers would be the supernatural adventure of a lifetime. Now, he just hopes to survive long enough to protect his family and friends from her.

A bet between friends goes horribly wrong, resulting in Sarah’s death. When she returns to seek justice against those responsible, Cain agrees to help her. But when he discovers Sarah has been hijacking his body, he realizes she wants retribution instead of justice.

Terrified of what could have happened when he wasn’t in control, Cain commands Sarah to leave his house – but exorcising her isn’t that easy. She retaliates against her murderers in bloody, horrific ways, each death making her stronger, then sets her sights on Cain. With the help of friends, Cain fights to save himself and his loved ones and searches for a way to stop Sarah before she kills again.

If genetic engineering could guarantee you and your family perfect health and unparalleled beauty, would you pay top dollar for it? Would you kill for it?

Residents of the Colony would. And do.

Only the Insurgents can stop them.

Seventeen-year-old Asher Solomon is a premier operative with the Insurgents. He and his team have rescued countless hostages, saving them from painful deaths in Colony labs as desirable genetic traits are stripped from their bodies.

He’s also suffered more losses than anyone should have to.

Then Asher gets intel that might give his people the upper hand. The Colony is searching for Subject A36. If the Insurgents determine the subject’s identity first, they might be able to turn the tide of the war.

Asher and his team embark on their riskiest mission ever, and the stakes have never been higher. But even if he survives the physical dangers, the devastating secrets he uncovers might destroy him.

Thanks for being an internet friend, Teri!

Although some of you already know about this, I´m so excited to share this news. After some consideration, we adopted another dog, a little sister for Dot! Her name is Lia, she is three years old and a bodeguero, the same breed as our Dot. She is a bundle of energy and a real sweetheart. Dot is starting to get used to having her around. Like all new parents, we have taken tons of pictures.

Lia the day she arrived
Sharing our bed
Sleeping outside in the sun

Lia has her own bed but insists on sleeping in Dot´s
Going for a car ride
Sharing the backseat
Lia enjoying a visitor
Waiting for Dad to take them to the beach
Sharing the new outside bed

Having fun at the beach.

Lia with her new Dad
Dot and mini me

You can be sure there will be more pictures!

Following up on my previous post I am reblogging a post by Geoff LePard that explains the fundraiser contest. I’ve started writing my 99 word story based on the prompt. I hope some of you will join in as well, in whatever way you can.

The Sue Vincent Rodeo Is Live

Posted on Feb 2, 2021 by TanGental

Yes it’s here. it’s a lovely idea and it’s got a prize attached. Read on…

It’s time to saddle up and get in line, because the Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic is happening NOW at the Carrot Ranch! Writers will have the opportunity to support Sue Vincent, a stalwart center of our blogging community, as well as compete for a $100 prize! That’s right – we’re trying to make this the biggest writers’ Rodeo yet and celebrate Sue Vincent’s work and writing in the process. On the Rodeo Classic page, you can find a beautiful photo (from none other than Sue herself) to serve as a prompt. Write a story of 99 words or a poem of 99 syllables – no more, no less – based on the prompt photo on the Rodeo page. Also on the Rodeo page is an entry form where you can put up to two entries for the contest. And don’t worry, entries will be anonymized – everyone’s on an equal playing field at the Carrot Ranch, even if you get some TUFF bulls to ride or horses to break! But don’t lollygag – you only have until February 19th to get on your bull and ride out the chute.

There are many ways to participate in the rodeo. Every Rodeo has multiple events, and the Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic is no different. In addition to participating in the contest and donating to the cause, we have multiple events you can participate in!

  • The Sue Vincent Reblog Barrel Race – Check out Sue’s website or the website she shares with Stuart France. Find a poem, essay, or photo that speaks to you, and re-blog it. Feel free to include links to the contest and make sure to include a comment on the re-blog!
  • The Great Book Parade – Buy and read one of Sue’s books. If you’re feeling adventurous, leave a review or publish it on your blog!
  • The Comment Riding Contest – The prize for this one is a fuzzy good feeling and the sharing of community. Like and/or comment on Sue’s posts, whether new or old.
  • Snack Stands – Share the contest on other social media such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or others! You can definitely follow Sue Vincent on Twitter.
  • The Prize Ceremony – Winners will be announced on March 21st, 2021. It could be you, but even if not, come see what Sue’s prompt invoked.

See you on the Carrot Ranch circuit, cowfolk!

Sue Vincent is one of those special bloggers and writers that inspire people all over the world. Readers have long been captivated by her posts about mythology, ancient ruins and medieval churches, and her daily #midnighthaiku. Many have participated in and grown as a result of her #writephoto prompts. She is a person of considerable talents, and in addition to posting her prompts, Sue has tirelessly supported bloggers by hosting guest bloggers and sharing blog posts. She has 19,000 and counting followers.

I’ve not met Sue in person but feel I know her through her wonderful blog posts and consider her a friend. She has taken me the width and breadth of Great Britain, to places I would have never got to myself, providing amazing historic details and wonderful photographs. To appreciate just how talented and wise Sue is, pop over to her blog. I particularly love her outlook on life. Here is a link to a recent post that I found to be extremely insightful: https://franceandvincent.com/2021/01/31/rooted-in-earth/ Her sweet dog Ani has his own cute blog! https://thesmalldogs.blog/

Recently, Sue has been faced with a new and difficult challenge: lung cancer. You can follow her blog to find out more directly from her. The Covid pandemic has served not only to pose a specific threat to a person with a severe respiratory illness, but it has caused the loss of human connection through self-imposed quarantine. Those that follow Sue know that she has been a carer for her son, who gained several disabilities due to a vicious attack, and cancer has made it impossible for her to continue in that role. Because she’s been a carer for so long and not made as much money as she could have otherwise, the core group of the Rodeo Organization Team has decided to hold this fundraiser.

It’s time for Sue to receive something back from the community she’s been a cornerstone of for a decade. Let’s bring the Rodeo into Sue’s house through her computer, and let’s come together with hearts full of joy. Join us for the Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic at the Carrot Ranch – a contest, parade, and celebration all in one!

I am pleased to be one of many bloggers sharing The Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic.

There are many ways to participate. One is to visit the prompt image, “Hidden”, at the Carrot Ranch. The prompt image and entry form will go live on Monday, February 1st, 2021. Enter a flash or a poem by Friday, February 19th, 2021, and you could win either $100 or a copy of one of Sue’s books. The form will allow you to give a small donation for Sue and her family, and a link can be found on the contest page. The winning entries will be announced at the Carrot Ranch on March 22nd, 2021.

If you’re not ready to rodeo, there’s always the “Parade”. Reblog one of Sue’s posts from any of her sites (Daily Echo or France and Vincent) with a comment about why you found it special. Follow her blogs. Read one of her books, then leave reviews where you can. Several people are already gearing up for the parade – so feel free to check out other people’s blogs for suggestions.

Also, go ahead and reblog, tweet, Facebook, or somehow otherwise share the contest! 99 word literary art is a fantastic way to celebrate a blogging hero and a very deserving person.

The Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic begins tomorrow, February 1st. There is a request for donations that will go directly to Sue and her family, and Charli Mills has graciously set up a PayPal functionality on the Carrot Ranch post that will give the cash directly to Sue.

Saddle up, everyone! It’s time for a Carrot Ranch Rodeo like none ever held before. The Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic begins on Monday, February 1st, and it’ll be a TUFF prompt to fit within 99 words. 
I hope to see you at the Ranch, buckaroos!

Visit Sue’s Links: 

Giddy up folks to the rodeo and show support for our dear friend!

Over the course of 18 days I posted ten of my favourite travel photos and invited you to guess where the picture was taken and/or comment on it. I was amazed at how many of you were interested in my pictures. Thanks so much for the comments and guesses. Day 10 was a picture of the Drumheller hoodoos in Alberta, Canada. A number of you guessed it and some even remembered this location from my book, Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone.

I enjoyed this challenge as it gave me an opportunity to review my photos and remember fondly all the places I have been to over the years. Of course, there are many more and it was difficult to choose. I miss travel right now, but I´m grateful that I have seen as much of the world I have.

In case you missed some of the answers, here is a recap:

Day 1 Tofino, BC, Canada

Day 2 Casa Batllo, Barcelona, Spain

Day 3 Clifford´s Tower, York, England

Day 4 Entrance to the Grand Harbour, Valletta, Malta

Day 5 The flowers of Kuekenhof Gardens, Holland

Day 6 Taos Pueblo, New Mexico

Day 7 A sunflower field in Provence, France

Day 8 Pompeii, Italy

Day 9 The glockenspiel in Nuremberg, Germany

Day 10 The hoodoos at Drumheller, Alberta, Canada

Thank you Geoff Lepard for nominating me for this Travel Challenge and thanks all of you for playing along. Congratulations to Andrew Petcher, who guessed the location of every picture. Check out his interesting blog, Have Bag, Will Travel where he describes his many travels with wit and honesty. If I didn´t nominate you and you would like to do this, jump right in. It´s good fun and an opportunity to travel while staying at home!

It´s the last day of the challenge. It´s been fun for me to go through my photos and post some of my favourites. So many great memories and I´m so grateful to have been able to visit these awesome places. Thanks so much for following along with me.

The photo from Day 9 is from Nuremberg, Germany which Andrew, Donna and Pam guessed. Others guessed Germany which is great! It is a picture of the glockenspiel displayed on the Church of Our Lady in the Hauptmarkt, (town square.) I wrote about it in Amanda on the Danube.

Here is the excerpt from Amanda on the Danube: The Sounds of Music

The vendor pointed to the church and said, “The glockenspiel! Watch!”

Bing! Bong! Bing! Bong!

The huge blue and gold mechanical clock with a sun painted in the middle, chimed twelve times. A large figurine, wearing a gold robe and a crown, sat in an alcove below the clock. Seven smaller medieval figures in red robes, trimmed in fur, came out of a side door. They slowly circled around the larger figure, bowing and then leaving through a door on the other side. Throughout the performance, the sound of bells played a pleasant tune.

“That was totally awesome!” remarked Amanda. “It’s like a giant music box. It says under the figure, 1509. That is so incredibly old. I’m so glad we got to see it.”

“The figure, in the middle, is the Holy Roman Emperor Karl IV. The seven electors come out to pay homage to him every day at noon,” explained the hat seller with a strong German accent.

I was nominated by my blogging friend Geoff LePard at TanGental to post one favourite travel picture a day for ten days without explanation, then to nominate someone else to participate. That’s 10 days, 10 travel pictures, and 10 nominations. It doesn´t have to be 10 consecutive days. Thanks, Geoff and thanks to everyone for playing alongIn these times, vicarious travel is a great escape.

Today I nominate Rebecca at Fake Flamenco. Rebecca is a bi-lingual author who writes interesting articles about her travels in South America and Spain.

If I nominate you and you don’t want to participate, please do not feel obliged, but if you do, please link back to me so that I can see your post. I would love to see what you choose to post.

This is my picture for day 10. If you want to guess where this is, leave your answer in the comments or just comment on the picture.

I am delighted with the response to my travel challenge series. Thanks for all the comments and guesses.

The photo from Day 8 was from Pompeii, Italy which many of you guessed. When I was in elementary school, I read a book about the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that buried the city of Pompeii under volcanic ash. Since then I always wanted to visit the site of the disaster that has been uncovered almost intact. I was not disappointed as I wandered amongst the ruins and envisioned the people living there two thousand years ago. Here is a blog post I wrote about my visit, along with more pictures. (not easy to get pictures without other tourists in them but I managed)

https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/2016/02/06/walking-with-the-dead-through-the-ruins-of-pompeii/

I was nominated by my blogging friend Geoff LePard at TanGental to post one favourite travel picture a day for ten days without explanation, then to nominate someone else to participate. That’s 10 days, 10 travel pictures, and 10 nominations. It doesn´t have to be 10 consecutive days. Thanks, Geoff and thanks to everyone for playing alongIn these times, vicarious travel is a great escape.

Today I nominate Three Sisters Abroad. This interesting blog follows three Australian sisters as they enjoy travelling together.

If I nominate you and you don’t want to participate, please do not feel obliged, but if you do, please link back to me so that I can see your post. I would love to see what you choose to post.

This is my picture for day 9. If you want to guess where this is, leave your answer in the comments or just comment on the picture.

I was nominated by my blogging friend Geoff LePard at TanGental to post one favourite travel picture a day for ten days without explanation, then to nominate someone else to participate. That’s 10 days, 10 travel pictures, and 10 nominations. It doesn´t have to be 10 consecutive days. Thanks, Geoff and thanks to everyone for playing along. In these times, vicarious travel is a great escape.

The photo from Day 7 was from Provence, France which Andrew from Have Bag, Will Travel guessed immediately. Sunflower fields can be found in many places but I will always associate them with Provence. My friend and I were searching for a destination when the GPS took us on a small road right through this amazing sunflower patch. We had to stop and take a few pictures. One of my best memories of that trip. Here are a few more memories of Provence including a wonderful cooking class.

https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/2016/07/29/five-days-in-provence/

https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/2016/08/08/learning-to-cook-the-cuisine-de-provence/

Today I nominate Cindy Knoke.  On her blog, she features the most amazing animal photos from around the world. You really must check it out.

If I nominate you and you don’t want to participate, please do not feel obliged, but if you do, please link back to me so that I can see your post. I would love to see what you choose to post.

This is my picture for day 8. If you want to guess where this is, leave your answer in the comments or just comment on the picture.

I was nominated by my blogging friend Geoff LePard at TanGental to post one favourite travel picture a day for ten days without explanation, then to nominate someone else to participate. That’s 10 days, 10 travel pictures, and 10 nominations. It doesn´t have to be 10 consecutive days. Thanks, Geoff!

The photo from Day 6 was of Taos Pueblo in New Mexico which Andrew easily guessed. I really hope I can stump him one day. Many of you guessed New Mexico, so well done. I visited Taos, New Mexico a few years ago with my dear aunt, who is a great travelling buddy. Taos Pueblo was amazing. It is considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited community in the USA and is a UNESCO World Heritage site, people have been living there for over 1000 years! I write more about it on the following blog post and it is featured in Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind

https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/2014/05/23/taos-pueblo/

Today I nominate Susie Lindau at Susie Lindau’s Wild Ride On her blog she shares inspiration, travel tips, and entertaining posts about her adventures and misadventures in Boulder, Colorado.

If I nominate you and you don’t want to participate, please do not feel obliged, but if you do, please link back to me so that I can see your post. In these times vicarious travel is a great escape, I would love to see what you choose to post.

This is my picture for day 7. If you want to guess where this is, leave your answer in the comments or just comment on the picture.

I was nominated by my blogging friend Geoff LePard at TanGental to post one favourite travel picture a day for ten days without explanation, then to nominate someone else to participate. That’s 10 days, 10 travel pictures, and 10 nominations. It doesn´t have to be 10 consecutive days. Thanks, Geoff!

The photo from Day 5 is from the Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands which Andrew guessed right away. Many of you guessed Holland/The Netherlands, a country renowned for its beautiful flowers. I had wanted to visit Holland for a long time and was delighted to be invited by a friend living there to visit. She surprised me with a trip to these amazing gardens. Here is a post with tons more pictures of the flowers. These amazing gardens are featured in Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action.

https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/2016/05/03/tiptoeing-through-the-tulips-at-keukenhof/

Today I nominate Karen from Backroad Journal On her blog she shares mouth watering recipes, interesting places and enjoyable pastimes that she finds no matter where in the world she happens to be.

If I nominate you and you don’t want to participate, please do not feel obliged, but if you do, please link back to me so that I can see your post. In these times vicarious travel is a great escape, I would love to see what you choose to post.

This is my picture for day 6. If you want to guess where this is, leave your answer in the comments or just comment on the picture.

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