Darlene Foster's Blog

Today I am a guest on Sue Vincent’s blog where I talk about the value of critique groups.

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

book-1014197__480Never underestimate the importance of a good critique group.  Without one, a writer may simply flounder in a sea of words and ideas. A critique group can make the difference between a mediocre story and an excellent piece of writing worthy of publication. Without the support of groups I’ve belonged to over the years, I would not have six books and several short stories published.

If you are wondering if you should join a critique group, here are ten things about critique groups you should know.

  1. Not all critique groups are created equal. You may have to try out a few to find one that works for you. The members need not write in the same genre as you, in fact it helps if there is a variety of writing being critiqued.
  2. Park your ego at the door. Although it is nice to hear what the members like about your…

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Today I am pleased to introduce an author who I have been following for quite some time. She started writing seriously around the same time I did and was one of the first authors I met through blogging. I have read most of her books and thoroughly enjoyed every one. I consider her a hardworking, talented and diverse author. Here is my interview with Linda Cassidy Lewis.

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  1. Tell us a bit about you and your books I live in central California, just about midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco and an hour closer to the Sierras than the Pacific Ocean. This year my high school sweetheart and I will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary—yes, we married very young. We have four grown sons and seven grandchildren. I got a late start on writing seriously, but now I have four novels with a fifth to be released soon. I write women’s fiction, humorous romance, and, occasionally, darker fiction.
  1. What made you decide to be a writer? Reading. I’ve been an avid reader all my life. And I never really outgrew the “make believe” stage. To entertain myself while doing mundane tasks like housework—that is, when I couldn’t have a book in my hand—I would make up my own stories, sometimes carrying on the same characters for years. Often I would write these as short stories, or even start a novel, but I never shared them with anyone. A few years ago, I decided it was time to write and finish a novel, aiming at publication. So I did.
  1. Where do you get your ideas? Occasionally, the ideas are sparked by real life events, sometimes by a dream, but more often I just “hear” a character talking, telling me their story. Usually, I get a mental picture along with the dialogue, like a movie playing in my head. So I start jotting down bits of dialogue and description. Sometimes that’s all I get, and I file it away to consider in the future, but other times, the story keeps flowing and results in a completed work.
  1. Are your characters based on real people? I usually visualize a particular actor as a character, but since I don’t actually know that person, I have to invent my character’s personality. Those personalities are a mixture of traits from people I know or have known. And, consciously or subconsciously, there’s a bit of me in them all.
  1. You have written in a variety of genres. Is it difficult to switch from one to another? Not so much. Before I write a new book in one of my series, I have to reread at least parts of the previous book to “get back into character” so to speak. Writing the humorous romance is hardest for me because I tend to darker thoughts, which I suppose is why I should write humorous romance.
  1. Of your published books, which is your favourite and why? Well, I’ll always have a soft spot for The Brevity of Roses because it was my first novel published. But I can’t write what I don’t love—or I can’t complete a story I’m not in love with, at least. So I’d have to say that each of my books is a fave for some reason.brevfront2017_sm
  1. What are you reading right now? Sophie Kinsella’s My Not So Perfect Life. 
  1. What can we expect from the pen of Linda Cassidy Lewis next? Well, I’ve written two romances back to back, which are “dessert” books for me, and right now, I’m craving some meat and potatoes, so next I’ll be working on another women’s fiction novel in The Bay of Dreams Series. However, I’m going to try writing the next in the High Tea & Flip-Flops Series at the same time.

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  1. Are you a panster or a plotter? I used to say pantser because I don’t write an outline, but then I realized that by working out a book mentally for months, or even years, before I sit down to write it, I’m plotting in a different way. Now, I call myself a plotser.
  1. What advice would you give anyone who wants to write a book? If you have a story calling to you, write it! And give it all you’ve got. Whether you fear it won’t be good enough for publication shouldn’t stop you. A book, or short story or poem, can always be edited and revised, but not until you have a draft to work with.

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Fun questions

Do you prefer cats or dogs?  I like both, but at the moment, I have only a dog, a white, part Schnauzer, called Maggie.

Coffee or tea?  Tea! I can’t stand even the smell of coffee.

Sweet or savoury?  I’m a savory person all the way. I’m always up for pizza.

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Thank you so much, Linda, for answering my questions. I love the word plotster and may use it!  I wish you continued success with your writing endeavours and look forward to reading more of your amazing novels.

Connect with Linda on her social media sites.

https://lindacassidylewis.com/

Amazon author page 

Twitter

Facebook

Buy the books

Here is my review of High Tea and Flip Flops

“A delightful read with many laugh-out-loud moments. A contemporary Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, complete with misunderstandings and miscommunications. Chelsea and Jeremy are worlds apart and speak two different languages – Britsh English and American English. When they meet, sparks fly but can this cross-cultural relationship work? Can Chelsea, a modern American surfer girl trying to get her life on track and Jeremy, an upper-class Britsh lawyer attempting to establish himself as a writer find anything in common? I have enjoyed all of this author’s work and this fun romantic comedy proves her versatility as an author. I look forward to the next book featuring these very real and entertaining characters.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

I spent some fabulous days with my talented daughter when I was back in Canada last fall. I´ve written about her and her pottery here and here. She is doing well and has recently had her pottery on display at numerous galleries in Vancouver. Here is one piece that was on display and sold. Isn’t it adorable? You can see more of her one of a kind pottery on her website which she updates regularly. She also ships all over the world.

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She asked me to deliver some pottery ordered by a friend in Calgary since I was going there. She mentioned my Christmas gift would be waiting for me when I got there. I transported the package from Vancouver to Medicine Hat and then on to Calgary with the same care I would give a newborn. I´m happy to report it arrived safely and the owner of the pottery was very pleased with her purchase. This is what was in the box.

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A goddess incense burner and covered mug.

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Note the goddess handle on the mug.

Her friend then handed me my package. In it was a Creative Goddess, made by my daughter’s friend.

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Along with it came a scroll with these words-

Creative Goddess was lovingly created specially for you. She has an uplifting energy, that encourages creativity and a calm mind. She is associated with the Crown Chakra, representing pure thought and connection with infinite consciousness. Deep Spiritual Understanding. She is connected to mother goddess, fertility and womb. Representing the way the universe would evolve and constantly change. bringing an awareness of being a part of a whole. She also helps one on their spiritual journey, direction and progress. She is adorned with a Clear Quartz Crystal. This special stone is the supreme gift of Mother Earth. Clear Quartz also amplifies whatever energy or intent is programmed into it. This may accelerate the fulfillment of one’s prayer, intensify healing, spiritual growth and manifestation of a goal.

What a special Christmas gift! I love my Creative Goddess and am happy she is here with me in Spain.

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The Creative Goddess with pieces of Marcelle’s pottery

 

It just so happens that my daughter’s childhood friend, Gillian, is the daughter of my good friend. I have known Gill since she was six and have watched her grow into a special woman and an exceptional mother. Here are some samples of her awesome felt work.

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Check out Gill’s website for more about her and the amazing work she does.

Follow both artists on Instagram

gillianwhite11 Magick Weaver • Soul Worker • Healer • Priestess • Fiber Artist • Ritualist • Intuitive www.gillian-white.com

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madmudslinger  Ceramic creations from a quiet place in the forest. Shop the online gallery www.madmudslinger.com

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I am proud of these young women who follow their passion, embrace a peaceful life and create from the heart. I consider myself lucky to have these creative goddesses in my life. 

Today I am a guest on Krysten Lindsay Wagner’s blog. How many times have we said, “If only we knew then what we know now.” Krysten is featuring letters by authors to our younger selves and here is mine.

 Letter to my Younger Self by Darlene Foster 

Dear Darlene
The future is yours, no need to be afraid. Everything will work out, don’t waste time worrying. Things won’t always go as planned but it will be an awesome life. – See more at: http://www.krystenlindsay.com/blog/letter-to-my-younger-self-by-darlene-foster#sthash.xvz655Iv.dpuf

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I found this graphic on Facebook and don´t know who to credit, but it is so true.

Pop over to Krysten´s blog to read my letter to thirteen year old me.

What would you tell your teenage self if you could?

 

Forty years ago, this farm girl took her first ever trip on an airplane to York, England, where I married my dear hubby. We recently celebrated our ruby anniversary by returning to York. We had a marvellous time retracing our steps in his hometown, enjoying the history, walking the cobblestone streets, relaxing in the many teashops and visiting relatives we hadn’t seen for some time. We’ve been back a few times since January 1977 but it had been awhile since our last visit. I fell in love with the city all over again.

The Dean Court Hotel

The Dean Court Hotel

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The York Minster

We stayed at the Dean Court Hotel overlooking York  Minster, in the very centre of the city. The Hotel was originally built in 1865 to house the Clergy of the Minster and is situated on the corner of the main Roman road that ran through the city. Waking up to the lovely bells of the cathedral was such a treat.

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I love the old Tudor buildings scattered throughout the downtown. We had lunch in one of them called Gert and Henry’s.

 

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The Shambles, once the street of butcher shops

 

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Gargoyles are everywhere

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Clifford’s Tower

Clifford’s tower is the largest remaining part of York Castle, once the centre of government for the north of England. Although there has been a tower on the site since William the Conquerer the present 13th-century stone tower was probably used as a treasury and later as a prison.

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Tons of book shops to explore

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The original Roman walls, still intact. They built things to last in those days.

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I walked the Roman walls as I did the very first time I visited this city.  Eboracum was the name the Romans called the city, the capital of England 2000 years ago.

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York was later a Viking town called Jorvik and I encountered a number of Vikings while there.

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You never know who you will meet in the towers. Richard III was eager to tell his side of the story.

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The Teddy Bear Tea Shop. How cute is that?

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I went on a ghost walk and encountered a few remains of the dead.dscn7395

We enjoyed a proper tea at Betty’s Cafe Teashop, the same place we bought our wedding cake all those years ago.

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Wedding 1977 in York, England. The wedding cake was a Dougal the Dog cake.

It has been a great 40 years. Can’t believe he put up with me all these years! Looking forward to more adventures.

York is steeped in history and there is so much more I’d like to share but will leave it for another post.

 

Today, I am a guest on Krysten Lindsay Hagar’s   blog.

How Writing This Book Kept Me Sane by Darlene Foster – See more at: http://www.krystenlindsay.com/blog#sthash.wHxhalxq.dpuf

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A question I am often asked is where I get ideas for my books.  In this case, I was fortunate to go on a fabulous river cruise down the Danube with my hubby and some good friends four years ago. We had a fabulous time and everywhere we visited I thought, Amanda would love this place. – See more at: http://www.krystenlindsay.com/blog/how-writing-this-book-kept-me-sane-by-darlene-foster#sthash.oAO6nKXj.dpuf

Krysten writes funny, true to life books for teens. Besides mining her teen years and humiliating moments for her novels, she is also a book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn´t like. Hop over to read my article and check out her blog and leave a comment.

Check out the trailer for Amanda on the Danube featuring some of my pictures from the trip that inspired me.

 

When I went back to Canada at the end of last year, I was pleased to be able to spend time at my favourite places – schools, libraries and bookstores, where I read from my latest book and spoke about my writing. It was a busy time but also a lot of fun. Here are a few pictures of my events and presentations.

I held the launch of Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music at Albany Books in Tsawwassen, BC. Ruth and the staff at this cosy, well-stocked bookstore have been so supportive of my books over the years. I was pleased to be back and to see so many of Amanda´s fans attend.

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My daughter at the book launch as well as a dear friend.

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Book launch at Albany Books, November 19 2016

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With Suzanne de Montigny, another author, who I featured here on my blog

I visited a number of schools in the Vancouver area where I showed a PowerPoint presentation I created, read from the book and answered questions about the book, me and my writing. The children were so attentive and asked amazing questions. One girl asked if she could take notes!

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At Charles Dickens Elementary

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The children liked the visuals I created from my own photographs in the PowerPoint presentation.

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Answering questions at Holly Elementary in Surrey, BC

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I thought this was such a funny poster in the library.

I also visited Webster Niblock School in Medicine Hat, Alberta, my hometown.  I read to the grade one and two classes in the library and then to the grade three to six classes in the gym. It was the largest group I have ever spoken to.

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The students loved the pictures of my dog Dot.

 

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Lots of questions from the crowd.

 

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The special thing about this visit was that it is the school my great granddaughter, Emma attends.

In Calgary, I spent a morning with the students at Red Deer Lake School in their magical library.

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Because I was travelling, I couldn´t bring my props with me. Fortunately, friends lent me appropriate things for my displays, including a nutcracker, which is featured in the book.

 

 

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I just love these school libraries.

 

The most special event for me was a presentation at The Medicine Hat Library. Although the original library  I visited as a child is no longer there, it was still a very nostalgic time for me. I took my children to this library and now my grandchildren and great grandchildren frequent it. Many friends, family and fans attended, some travelling long distances, which warmed my heart.

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Six-year-old great granddaughter attending my presentation at the local library. Who would have thought this would ever happen??

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Friends and family travelled far to attend my presentation.

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It was a dream come true for me! Yes, you can go home again. Everyone made me feel so special. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

And thank you for travelling with me on my book tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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