Darlene Foster's Blog

I am pleased to be featured on fellow Canadian author, Diane Tibert´s blog as a guest. Check out what inspired me to write Amanda in Holland.

Diana Tibert

Darlene FosterIntroducing children’s author Darlene Foster. She has several books in the Amanda series: Amanda in New Mexico, Amanda in Danube, Amanda in Alberta, Amanda in England, Amanda in Spain and Amanda in Arabia. Her Most recent book, Amanda in Holland – Missing in Acton, was released in September 2019. In this interview, she shares a little about it.

1) What is the title of your recent book? Is it a series, what genre is it and is it suitable for all ages?

My most recent book is Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action, book number seven in the Amanda Travels series featuring a young girl who has an exciting adventure wherever she travels. Although this a series, each book can be read as a stand-alone and does not have to be read in any order. The books are written for children between the ages of 7 to…

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Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

We have so much to be thankful for. What was I doing at this time last year? I was launching Amanda in Holland and visiting friends and family. I am so thankful I was able to do that. For now, I am thankful I have the pictures to look back on. Stay safe everyone. xo

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

Darlene Foster's Blog

I was missing in action for the last month as I went to Canada to promote the latest Amanda Travels book as well as visit friends and family. It was a very successful trip, although a bit tiring. Here’s a sample of what I was up to.

I visited four schools in Alberta and BC, consisting of a variety of class sizes and students. All delightful with many questions and comments. My favourite part of being a published author is visiting schools and reading to the children. When I walked into one class, a young boy shouted, “She´s here! She´s here! I can´t believe she´s here!” For a moment I felt like a rock star. 




I launched my latest book, Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action, at Albany Books in Tsawwassen, BC, a community I lived in for fifteen years. I love this friendly, locally-owned, independant bookstore that has…

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Today I am excited to feature Mr. Geoff Le Pard, an author of prose, poetry and memoir, a blogger, an excellent gardner and an all around good guy who loves his dog. Mr. Le Pard has a great way with words. He has recently released a new book, The Sincerest Form of Poetry, and has kindly agreed to answer a few questions.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, perhaps the Reader’s Digest version.

Ah, the difficult personal bit first, eh? I’m a former lawyer, happy to have put down the quill pen but happy too to use the absurdities of a pompous and self-regarding profession for inspiration in my writing. It also pays the bills still so I’m not knocking it. Much. Nowadays, I try and believe it when I call myself a writer but, odd for someone who once wore his pretentious facade like a coat of armour, I still struggle with imposter syndrome and tend to whisper it, in case it triggers a little too much sniggering. My writing career overlapped with my legal one and probably – no definitely – accelerated its end. The writing piece started in 2006 like a clunky gear change and has accelerated until I reached third where I currently cruise happily. To wring every last drop out of this motoring analogy, I’m now happily enjoying a pretty full tank of ideas, an open road of time to write and a satnav that lets me choose the direction my writing takes. Happily, the flat tyre of writer’s block hasn’t struck and I avoid the fender-bender of agent rejections by sticking to the back roads of indie publishing… blimey, I milked that, didn’t I? I’ve twelve published works: six novels, three anthologies, one memoir of me and my mother and now a book of poetry. They are, of course, the Rolls Royces of literature… honestly, I will stop that now and all available on Amazon.I’ve been married for thirty-cough years to a woman whose erudition, sense of humour and lack of a sense of smell have kept us together all that time. We have two adult children, one married, one trying to get spliced if only that witch, Rona Pandemic would back off a little and a small menagerie of pets, led by Dog, an eleven year old mixture of fishy breath, randomised barking tests and infinite love, plus two Methuselah old cats (twenty-two and going strong even if their fleeces are now more corduroy than cashmere) and a tortoise whose passion for my trainers says more about her than me. 

2. What or who inspired you to write in the first place?

In July 2006, my wife was told by our children they wouldn’t be joining her, as they had done for several years, at a summer school run at Marlborough College, one of Britain’s poshest public schools (Princess Kate Thingy went there). This had taken place during the first week of the school holidays and while the three of them had gone off, I stayed and crunched a bit more legal nonsense. She wondered if, this time, i might like to join her. We’d just started ballroom and Latin dance classes and they did a week’s intensive course during the morning, leaving her to do something arty and me… well, look at the brochure… to do something in the afternoon. I still don’t know what drew me to the ‘Write a ten minute radio play in a week’. The woman who ran it was a touch eccentric but she taught the basics, got us writing and performing and I loved it. I was buzzing – my first experience of finding out the joys of immersing yourself with others addicted to writing. But the week soon ended and the children returned from wherever they’d been invited so we could all go to a house in Devon we’d hired. While they splashed about in the hot tub and my wife played about with her textiles, I pulled out my laptop, took one of the ideas I’d had while on the writing course and began to write. I wrote in the evenings, at weekends. I got up early and wrote before cycling to work. I wrote in airports while off on business trips and in hotels while struggling with jet lag. Inside three months I’d written a novel of 130,000 words! It was utter crap. But it was my utter crap. After that, I went on courses – meeting other nascent authors at Arvon and at the LSE before I did a creative writing MA at Sheffield. The book I wrote for the course was my first published work, Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, a comedic coming of age story set in 1976, that has autobiographical notes in its genesis. That was 2014. I started blogging then, too. And what about that first book? I rewrote it countless times and eventually the story that I wanted to tell pop out. I published it earlier this year, a dark thriller Walking Into Trouble. 

3. Do you prefer writing poetry or prose, and why?

Neither, or both. They are very different. One – prose – is an intellectual process, that’s like any creative skill, trying to explore ideas in a subject of which I will never be the master, always the pupil but always enjoying the process of learning on the way. The other – poetry – is capturing an emotion, an idea, a sense of the moment. It might be very personal – the love of another, loss, longing; it might be a personal passion – sport, Dog, politics, climate change; it might be humour, the need to see the absurd in live’s clumsy tapestry. I want to do both but one comes naturally and I can always tap into it, the other emerges unbidden often when I least expect it.

4. Has your father´s poetry influenced yours in any way?

For sure. He was debilitated by his perfectionism and I’ve determined to be good, or as good as I can, but not perfect. He used poetry to convey his loves and I have followed suit. He wasn’t afraid to use obscure, sometimes grandiose language to create the imagery he wanted and I’ve ignored voices, esp of poets of much regard on courses I’ve undertaken who try and drive me into the utilitarianism of coming phraseology. For someone who resisted many calls to write, he loved reading his work if he felt it worked for his audience, but he was rubbish at it; I’ve made myself passable as a performance poet and enjoy the process of communicating my poetry as a spoken format and not just written. Mostly however he was driven to keep writing and I’ve followed that lead. I’ve often wondered what he’d have thought of mine. Probably ‘not bad, boy’ would be high praise, but only if he genuinely felt I deserved it. He would have been a harsh but entirely fair critic.

5. If you could choose a fictional character to spend a day with, who would you choose and why?

Pooh or Paddington; they are my sort of philosophers and I could do with some of their calm, offbeat wisdom in this jigsaw-puzzle of a world – as well as enjoying some communal honey or marmalade treats

6. Tell us about your next writing project.

How long have you got? I’ve finished a novel that is a sort of modern sci-fi/magical realism romance, titled ‘The Art of Spirit Capture’. It’s been edited and read and currently is, like all my novels, in purdah, namely a three month hibernation. Every time I write or edit a novel, I leave it for three months before I go back to it. After the next read through, I will have it professionally edited and then it can be published. I might ask for beta readers, if anyone is interested, but it won’t be for a few months. While that bubbles away, I’m deeply immersed in a comic fantasy involving a trainee exorcist, Pearl Barley who has appeared in short fiction on my blog. Set in a parallel world to today – so a lot of features are familiar – Pearl works for a secular exorcism agency, Spirits Release at a critical time for the business. Not only is the Government looking into regulating exorcists but there is a surge of spirits that refuse to pass to their chosen hereafters and the possessions are beginning to overwhelm the likes of Pearl’s company. The question is, is this surge merely a cyclical boom or a manufactured explosion with sinister undertones. Only Pearl with the help of Sharon, a deceased hairstylist who has taken up residence in Pearl’s hair and her personal personality enhancer in the shape of a mirror that allows Pearl’s reflection to help her out can find out the truth, while battling sprites and possessed gnomes and sort of falling for a red-headed weather manipulator who may or may not be what she seems. This is book one, provisionally titled Pearl Barley and the Surge of The Spirits, of maybe two or three and I plan on writing the second immediately I finish the first. That book, also provisionally titled Pearl Barley and the Georgian Goblin will take Pearl to the next stage of a conspiracy that is revealed in book one. Enough said, for now. Behind that, and almost certainly to be published before Pearl will be the next anthology of short fiction. For the last three years I’ve brought together short stories and flash fiction that I’ve written for my blog into anthologies. The first one Life, In a Grain of Sand came out in 2017, then there was Life in a Flash and Life in a Conversation. This one, Life Sentences is with my editor and should appear in time for the Christmas rush!! And behind all of them, I have a three quarters finished thriller based on my experiences at the London Olympics which, someday, I’d like to get back to… whew…

Geoff´s latest book of poetry. Don´t you just love the cover?

Famous poets reimagined, sonnets of all kinds, this poetry selection has something for all tastes, from the funny, to the poignant to the thought-provoking and always written with love and passion.

All of life in one easy couplet

To write poetry I need inspiration. Often that comes from my appreciation of the craftsmanship of other, better poets, whose skills I aspire to emulate. For this anthology, I have chosen two such sources: in part one, the search for Britain’s favourite poem led to the publication of the top 100 and I have used a number of these to craft my own take on those beautiful and inspirational works; in part two, my love of the sonnet form, fostered by reading Shakespeare’s gems has provided a selection covering many topics and themes. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed creating them.

You can purchase this book here:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Geoff in his garden of sunflowers

Geoff Le Pard started writing to entertain in 2006. He hasn’t left his keyboard since. When he’s not churning out novels he writes some maudlin self-indulgent poetry, short fiction and blogs at geofflepard.com. He walks the dog for mutual inspiration and most of his best ideas come out of these strolls. He also cooks with passion if not precision.

Geoff is a prolific writer and here is a selection of some of his books:

My Father and Other Liars is a thriller set in the near future and takes its heroes, Maurice and Lori-Ann on a helter-skelter chase across continents.

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle is a coming of age story. Set in 1976 the hero Harry Spittle is home from university for the holidays. He has three goals: to keep away from his family, earn money and hopefully have sex. Inevitably his summer turns out to be very different to that anticipated.

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

In this, the second book in the Harry Spittle Sagas, it’s 1981 and Harry is training to be a solicitor. His private life is a bit of a mess and he’s far from convinced the law is for him. Then an old acquaintance from his hotel days appears demanding Harry write his will. When he dies somewhat mysteriously a few days later and leaves Harry in charge of sorting out his affairs, Harry soon realises this will be no ordinary piece of work. After all, his now deceased client inherited a criminal empire and several people are very interested in what is to become of it.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

The third instalment of the Harry Spittle Sagas moves on the 1987. Harry is now a senior lawyer with a well-regarded City of London firm, aspiring to a partnership. However, one evening Harry finds the head of the Private Client department dead over his desk, in a very compromising situation. The senior partner offers to sort things out, to avoid Harry embarrassment but soon matters take a sinister turn and Harry is fighting for his career, his freedom and eventually his life as he wrestles with dilemma on dilemma. Will Harry save the day? Will he save himself?

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Life in a Grain of Sand is a 30 story anthology covering many genres: fantasy, romance, humour, thriller, espionage, conspiracy theories, MG and indeed something for everyone. All the stories were written during Nano 2015

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Salisbury Square is a dark thriller set in present day London where a homeless woman and a Polish man, escaping the police at home, form an unlikely alliance to save themselves.

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Apprenticed To My Mother describes the period after my father died when I thought I was to play the role of dutiful son, while Mum wanted a new, improved version of her husband – a sort of Desmond 2.0. We both had a lot to learn in those five years, with a lot of laughs and a few tears as we went.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

More of Geoff´s work can be found on his Amazon Author Page

Geoff Le Pard’s Amazon Author Page

Follow Geoff on his entertaining blog:  https://geofflepard.com

and on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/geoff.lepard

You´ll be glad you did!

As promised, here is the next installment of our crazy move to Spain. I wrote this based on a writing prompt provided by my writers’ group.

Those That Don’t Believe in Magic Never Find It                                              

It looked like it would take a hefty dose of magic to make our dream of moving to Spain come true. Things went from bad to worse and I began to think that it was a terrible idea. However, since it poured rain for the entire last week of October, we were more than ever determined to live where the sun shone most days.

Everything in the apartment was gone, including the bed, so we stayed overnight at a hotel on October 31, our last night in Canada. Hubby had a terrible cold, oh joy! I walked to the mall in the rain to pick up cold tablets and take-out food to eat in the room. My runners filled up with water, and even though I was wearing a raincoat with a hood, I was totally drenched by the time I got back. I threw the runners and the clothes I was wearing in the garbage. I imagined the cleaning staff would think we had been involved in some sort of crime or undercover op.

The next morning, after a goodbye coffee with an old friend, we headed to the airport more than three hours before the flight. We were eager to check-in and get rid of our six large suitcases. No one was even at the British Airways check-in yet. As we made our way to Starbucks, I teased hubby about always being ridiculously early.

My phone pinged. A text message from BA indicating the flight was delayed 24 hours. Whoa! I must have read that wrong. I looked again, then showed it to Paul. Yup, that’s what it said. We returned to the check-in where a line was starting to form as staff opened up. When we got to the booth, it was confirmed. There had been a bomb scare at Heathrow, cancelling all flights.  Ours would leave tomorrow at the same time. It was suggested we go home and come back the next day. We explained we didn’t have a home to go to. (In fact, we did, but it was empty.)

British Airways was great. They provided a room in the Fairmont at the airport, a 5 star plus hotel, gave us a voucher for dinner at their fabulous restaurant and one for breakfast as well. Of course, we still had our six extra-large suitcases and four carry-ons, but the room was large and we could store them there. This delay had a domino effect. The hotel reservation in Madrid had to be changed, as well as the train tickets to Alicante and the car rental upon arrival. Fortunately, we were able to make the changes on our computers from the hotel room. To calm my frayed nerves, I had a lovely soak in the huge tub.

 The next day after an excellent breakfast we said, “Let’s try this again.”

The flight to London went as well as a nine-hour flight could. Sadly, poor hubby´s cold had taken a turn for the worse in spite of me filling him with medication. After a few hours in Heathrow, we caught the flight to Madrid. All we wanted to do was sleep, but that was not to be as the plane was full of soccer fans going to a Madrid/Liverpool match. There was much drinking and partying going on, and many trips back and forth to the lavatory. On another occasion, it would have been funny. Once we landed in Madrid, the shuttle bus picked us up and delivered us to our hotel room where we collapsed into bed. We were in Spain at last!

The magic was working, or was it?

The next morning after breakfast, our pre-ordered cab arrived. The driver informed us he could not take both of us and six large suitcases. We had to order another cab, one for me and three suitcases, and one for Paul and the other three. Double the cost! Oh well, we’d been through worse. We just needed to get to the train station so we could get to Alicante, pick up our car and drive to Orihuela Costa to begin our new life.

Atocha train station in Madrid
Inside Atocha, beautiful but no luggage trolleys

At Atocha station, we looked for luggage trolleys as the station is three floors below the front entrance. There were none to be found. Hubby stayed on top with the bags while I went down the three flights of escalators to see if I could find a couple of trolleys. No luck. WTH! There was no way we could take all six bags and four carry-ons down in one trip. Leaving some behind would be taking a huge risk that they would be stolen. Paul went to look, as I had obviously not looked in the right places, but came back empty-handed. As the time for our train to depart got closer, panic set in. I went downstairs one more time. When I could not find even one trolley, I burst into tears. Why was this happening?

There is always an angel. And one appeared by the name of Mercedes. She asked me what was wrong. I explained everything to her and she offered to help. We went upstairs to Paul. With an extra set of hands, we were able to get all the luggage down to the train and board on time. Never ever underestimate the kindness of strangers.

At Alicante train station, I watched the pile of luggage while hubby walked the two blocks to pick up the rental car. He was gone a long time. I started to get worried. He finally arrived, very agitated. Poor guy, his cold was still terrible. Although he had contacted the car rental company about us being a day late, head office did not let the Alicante office know. So they didn’t have a car for us. Paul, who is always a gentleman and seldom swears, swore and demanded they come up with a car for us. Which they did. The Fiat almost held all the luggage. I held one bag on my lap and another was stored under my feet.

We looked at each other and said at the same time, “Whose stupid idea was it to move to Spain??”

One hour later we arrived in La Zenia, where we collapsed into the arms of my in-laws. That was almost six years ago and we are loving our life in Spain. Of course, it hasn’t always gone smoothly, but what does?

We made it! Two days after landing in Spain.

It’s true, as Walt Disney said, “Those who don’t believe in magic, never find it.

It is coming up to six years since we packed up and moved to Spain. Recently at a writing group, we were given the prompt of – Screw it, let’s do it! I decided this would be a good time to write about the trials and tribulations we had as we prepared for this huge move. The group enjoyed my story, so I decided to share it with my blog followers.

Screw It Let’s Do It!

Retirement loomed. My husband and I often talked about retiring to a warmer climate. Many of our friends had bought property in the southern United States, Mexico, Central and South America. But hubby wasn’t keen on living in any of those places. His parents retired to Spain from the UK a number of years earlier, and we had visited them there a few times. We both liked Spain.

This will do.

It was a long way from Canada, but it had the appeal of being in Europe and close to other countries we wanted to explore. I loved the history, the beaches and the weather. It was affordable for people living on a pension., too. Paul imagined riding his Ducati on twisty mountain roads all year round, and I entertained thoughts of writing books and travel articles while sitting in the sun.

We booked a trip, and while in Spain, we found places along the Costa Blanca that could work for us within our price range. Once returning home, we did further research. Retiring to Spain became more of a consideration. When I told my children our potential plans, they said, ‘Do what makes you happy, mom.’ I mentioned to my daughter that I would give her my trusty Honda Civic. Her eyes perked up and she asked, ‘When are you going’?

With the blessings of the family, we began the process of clearing out the apartment and putting it up for sale. Having downsized from a 2500 square foot house to a 1350 square foot apartment fourteen years earlier, we didn’t think it would take much work. We didn’t realize how much we had acquired in that time!

Both of us still working, every weekend was spent clearing out closets, file cabinets and storage spaces, as well as painting and decorating to make the place look fresh and clean. We met with three different real estate agents, and decided to list with the one we felt would represent our place well based on her enthusiasm. There were many showings but no offers. As we had some wiggle room, we dropped the price a bit.

Over the summer, I gave away, donated and sold seventy percent of our belongings. Time was spent with family and friends as it might be awhile until we saw them again once we made the move across the ocean. There was one offer on the apartment. Way too low, we turned it down. There was still time. I knew the right people would come along and love our garden apartment in its great location as much as we did.

Retirement party!

I retired at the end of September and we booked tickets to Madrid leaving the first of November. I made one last trip to Alberta to ensure my mom was settled into her care home and to spend valuable time with my grand and great grandkids. An offer on the apartment came through while I was there. Although low, after some negotiating, we came to an agreement. They were to sign the papers the last week of October. For all intents and purposes, it was a done deal. Things were looking good. We went out for drinks with friends to celebrate.

I sold the rest of the furniture and organized a moving company to pack and pick up the personal belongings we would take with us.

On the last Monday of October, I woke up to a very upsetting message from my son. A good friend of ours had passed away in her sleep at the age of 53. I was devastated. I had just seen her two weeks earlier, a picture of health.

An hour later, I received a call from the realtor. The people who bought the apartment were to sign the papers for the sale the next day. Except, they decided to withdraw from the agreement, forfeiting their deposit.

What else could go wrong! I felt the walls crashing in all around me.

The furniture was all gone except for the bed. The dishes, pots and pans, and everything else were packed, ready to be picked up by the movers the following day. My daughter was coming for my car on Wednesday. Hubby had already sold his car and shipped his Ducati. It was already on the way to Spain!

Even if we stayed until we sold the place, we had nothing but an empty apartment. I was sick to my stomach. We sat on the bed, and in between my incessant sobbing, we explored our options.

Finally we decided. Screw it, let’s do it.

So with very little money and continuing mortgage payments, we flew out to Spain on November 1st, 2014 as planned. Well actually, we ended up flying out on November 2nd, but that’s another story, for another day.

Many readers have been asking where Amanda will have her next adventure. Here are a few hints, see if you can guess.

  1. It is an archipelago in the Mediterranean.
  2. It has a long and colourful history.
  3. It has connections to St. Paul.
  4. It makes you think of Knights, Crosses and Falcons
  5. Popeye was filmed there.

Here are a couple of pictures that might give you another clue.

Did you guess where it is?

Drum roll…

I am so excited to share the fabulous cover designed by my amazing publisher, Michelle Halket of Central Avenue Publishing.

Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady

Amanda receives a postcard from her best friend, Leah, and is surprised to learn that she is in Malta with her aunt. Reading between the lines, she senses Leah is in trouble. Desperate to help her, Amanda travels to Malta with her classmate Caleb and his parents.

Amanda is intrigued by this exotic island in the middle of the Mediterranean, full of colourful history, sun-drenched limestone fortresses, stunning beaches and fascinating birds. But…who is killing the protected birds? Who stole a priceless artifact from the museum? And why is Leah acting so strange? She couldn’t possibly be involved in these illegal activities, or could she?

Join Amanda and her friends as they visit ancient temples, an exciting falconry and the enchanting Popeye Village, as they try to get to the bottom of the mystery of the Sleeping Lady.

Book 8 in the exciting Amanda Travels series will be released in May 2021 and is available for preorder on all Amazon and Indigo sites

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

Indigo

Did you know that Amanda is a Latin female name meaning “deserving to be loved,” “worthy of love,” or “loved very much by everyone.”? (From wikipedia)

Very fitting, don’t you think?

© Copyright Darlene Foster 2020

I am delighted to have as my guest today John Howell, a fellow blogger, author, dog lover, and friend. He is here today to tell you about his latest book which I think you will just love. Take it away, John.

 

Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Darlene, and thank you for helping me launch this book. I know you are busy with your projects and Dot so thank you for taking the time to help. Speaking of the book, let me describe it. Eternal Road is the story of two people finding their way through the selection process leading to the place where one will spend eternity. Yes, it is true. They both have passed away. James Wainwright just died in an auto accident. Samantha Tourneau died seventeen years before. Sam is James’s guide to help him decide where to spend eternity. This is not your usual thriller or paranormal romance. It is a piece of fiction that is a combination of inspiration, adventure, time travel, sci-fi, a touch of erotica, and a dash of spiritual. In short, it is a lot of things, but hopefully, a story that will make you happy to have read it.

It is now available on Amazon in paper and Kindle. The Kindle edition is introductory priced at 99¢ until October 15th

Here are the universal links for both editions

Kindle

Paper

The blurb

James Wainwright picks up a hitchhiker and discovers two things 1. The woman he picks up is his childhood sweetheart, only Seventeen years older. 2. He is no longer of this world.

James began a road trip alone in his 1956 Oldsmobile. He stops for a hitchhiker only to discover she is his childhood sweetheart, Sam, who disappeared seventeen years before. James learns from Sam falling asleep miles back caused him to perish in a one-car accident. He also comes to understand that Sam was taken and murdered all those years ago, and now she has come back to help him find his eternal home.

The pair visit a number of times and places and are witness to a number of historical events. The rules dictate that they do no harm to the time continuum. Trying to be careful, they inadvertently come to the attention of Lucifer, who would love to have their souls as his subjects. They also find a threat to human survival and desperately need to put in place the fix necessary to save humankind.

The question becomes, will James find his eternal home in grace or lose the battle with Satan for his immortal soul and the future of human life with it? If you like time-travel, adventure, mystery, justice, and the supernatural, this story is for you.

An Excerpt

“The date on the paper is October 26th,1881.”
Sam grabs the news sheet. “The date of the gunfight at the O. K. Corral? We have to find out what time it is now.”
“Why does that matter?”
She gives the paperback to James. “The gunfight happened at 3:00 PM. We might have missed it.”
James shakes his head. “Don’t you think a newspaperman like John Clum would have dashed to the scene instead of sitting in his office if we’d missed it? The sun looks fairly high. What about my watch?”
“Go ahead and look at it.”
James glances at the watch and then back at Sam. “Oh, man. It’s smashed.”
“Yup. The accident.”
James puts his hands to his face. “Why didn’t I notice that before?”
“It didn’t matter before.”
“So, let’s say we are on time—where should we go to view the gunfight?”
Sam chews on her bottom lip. “Might be best to go to the photographic studio right next to the vacant lot where the fight took place. We could stand on the porch and look around the building. I’m curious as to why you actually want to see the battle?”
“This is history. I would love to see the most famous gunfight in the world. Who wouldn’t?”
Sam puts her hand on James’s shoulder. “People get killed.”
He touches her hand. “So, we shouldn’t see it?”
Sam draws her hand away. “I’m just saying that real life and legend are two different things. When people get killed, they bleed, and it isn’t pretty.”
James stands with his palms open. “But the historical part?”
Sam shrugs, “I just want to warn you.”
Sam and James walk down the street and eventually come to the place where the shootout will take place. Sam points to the porch of the photography building. “We can see everything from there.”
James points at the porch. “Of course, we’d have to look around the corner, which means we won’t stay out of sight. What if a stray bullet hits us?”
Sam chuckles. “You’re dead already. So what if a stray bullet hits you?”

The trailer

John’s bio

John is an award-winning author who, after an extensive business career, began writing full time in 2012. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. He has written five other books that are on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. The paperback versions are also available in the Indie Lector store

John lives in Lakeway, Texas, with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

Contact John

Blog Fiction Favorites, http://johnwhowell.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241

Twitter –https://www.twitter.com/HowellWave

Goodreads –https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751796.John_W_Howell

Amazon Author’s page –https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

John’s other books

My GRL,

His Revenge

Our Justice

Circumstances of Childhood

The Contract: between heaven and earth

It was great having you here, John. I wish you all the best with your latest book. Dot says hi to Twiggy and Lucy!

Today I am a guest over at Anne Stormont’s wonderful blog, Put it in Writing. Anne is an excellent author and a great supporter of other writers. If you wonder what a “typical day” looks like for me, read on.

Today it’s the turn of author Darlene Foster to give us a glimpse into the unpredictable and variety-filled days that make up her life as a writer. Darlene writes enthralling children’s adventure fiction. She also writes short stories and a wonderful blog with lots of posts and photos about her travels.

Darlene Foster’s Writing Life in a Day

I will start by saying there is no such thing as a typical day in my life anymore. I worked for 48 years and my life was very structured. During the latter part of my working life, I decided to follow my dream of becoming a writer and made a vow to write for two hours a day, no matter what. And I did, usually in the evening after dinner while others watched TV. As a result, I wrote and published four books and several short stories.

Now I’m retired and live for the most part in sunny Spain. I seem to have rebelled against structure in my day, so I write whenever I find some time. I no longer write every day either, although I write most days. In the past five years since I retired, I have written four more books.

Read more about my not so typical day here.

To win readers over we need to write characters so authentic they feel like real people. How do we do this? By brainstorming a character’s backstory, personality, needs, desires, and their day-to-day world. Lucky for us, one aspect of their daily life is a goldmine of characterization: the type of work they do.  

Think about it: a job can reveal personality, skills, beliefs, fears, desires, and more, which is why Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi created The Occupation Thesaurus, a writing guide that profiles 124 possible careers and the story-worthy information that goes with each. To help with this project, I’m sharing my experience as an Employment/Career Counsellor below, in case this career is a perfect fit for your character!

You can find the full list of Contributed Occupation Profiles and check out The Occupation Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Jobs, Vocations, and Careers at Writers Helping Writers.

OCCUPATION: Employment/Career Counsellor
OVERVIEW

An Employment/Career Counsellor provides coaching to individuals searching for suitable and sustainable employment by assessing what jobs would be the right fit based on aptitudes, interests, education and capability. The job involves helping clients overcome barriers to employment, assist in creating effective resumes and cover letters, practise interview skills and develop a targeted job search.

The position often includes designing and facilitating job search and life skills workshops, as well as conducting assessments. Clients include people from all walks of life, abilities and cultural backgrounds. An Employment/Career Counsellor might work for a government funded agency, in an educational institution or be self-employed.

NECESSARY TRAINING

Although there are no strict education requirements for becoming a career counsellor, many employers prefer you hold a Bachelor´s Degree.

An Employment Counsellor Certificate is a definite asset as is a Job Club Facilitator Certificate.

I have a CERTESL (Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language) from the University of Saskatchewan which was very helpful as I worked with job searching immigrants from many different countries.

USEFUL SKILLS, TALENTS, OR ABILITIES

CREATIVITY, DETAIL-ORIENTED,  EMPATHY, EQUANIMITY, EXCEPTIONAL MEMORY, GAINING THE TRUST OF OTHERS, GOOD LISTENING SKILLS,  INTUITION, LEADERSHIP, MAKING PEOPLE LAUGH, MULTITASKING, NETWORKING, ORGANIZATION, OUT-OF-THE-BOX THINKING, PUBLIC SPEAKING, READING PEOPLE,  RESEARCH, RESPECTFUL, SENSITIVITY, STRATEGIC THINKING, STRONG COMMUNICATION SKILLS, TEACHING, TIME MANAGEMENT, WRITING

SOURCES OF FRICTION

Some unemployed people can be unstable and blame the counsellor for them not getting a job

Participants in workshops may come from cultures that clash and cause friction in the classroom

Clients may share unsettling information with their counsellor like suicidal thoughts or illegal activities

Some people don’t like being told their resume isn’t good or that they should dress better for an interview

Government funding can stop, causing the counsellor to have to look for work themselves

A client may become infatuated with his/her counsellor and stalk them

Career councillors can get too caught up in the client’s problems

A client may suffer from mental illness or have a history of violence

WRITERS SHOULD KNOW…

Employment/Career Counsellors risk becoming too close to their clients and have difficulty keeping their work and personal life separate.

It is a challenging career but also very rewarding, especially when an individual finds a great job due to the coaching, which turns their life around.

Due to the many ups and downs, people in this field can suffer from stress and stress-related illnesses.

Have any questions about this job? I’d be happy to answer. Just leave a comment below!

I enjoy following Jennie Fitzkee, a preschool teacher in New England. I have featured her here on my blog. She believes in the power of reading out loud to children of all ages, including reading chapter books to preschoolers. Jennie recently posted about the books she read this summer, which included great picture books as well as some chapter books. And guess what, she included Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone! I was delighted that she enjoyed the story and wrote a good review. I’m included with some pretty awesome authors too.

This is part of what she wrote:

Amanda and Leah see the Calgary Stampede (a rodeo), go on a cattle drive, visit Buffalo Jump, and the dinosaur museum.  These adventures are intertwined with a mystery- Amanda finds a stone, which people seem to want, one cowboy in particular.  Amanda is curious about the markings on the stone and is determined to learn more.  She is the modern day Nancy Drew, and her sleuthing proves to be both dangerous and exciting at times.

Please read the rest of her post.

https://jenniefitzkee.com/2020/08/30/my-summer-of-books-part-3/

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© 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.