Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘2020

I’m sure I’m not the only one who is happy to see this year over. Here´s what the crew of Starship Enterprise felt about 2020.

For someone who loves to set goals and make plans, this has been a tough year. So many plans were ruined and goals not met. But we are safe and healthy and as we speak, our family is OK as well. That is really all that matters at the end of the day.

So, as painful as it is, here is my report on the goals I set a year ago, never imagining a global pandemic!

2020 Goals

  1. Edit Amanda in Malta:The Sleeping Lady, and send it to the publisher

Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady has been edited, beta-read and with the publisher. It is scheduled for release in May 2021 and is available for preorder. I am so excited about this book as it takes place in a unique country, with tons of history, action and fun. Fans will be pleased to know that Caleb is back too.

2. Write Amanda in France

I am halfway through writing Amanda in France: Fire in the Cathedral. It is coming along slowly. Like many writers, I had trouble concentrating at the start of the lockdown. Amanda falls in love with Paris, Versailles and Giverny and gets to stay at a bookstore!

3. Decide if I should continue writing Amanda stories or venture into something else.

I haven’t made that decision yet. I’ll see how the next two books do.

4. Write more short stories

I did write new short stories and revisited and polished some old ones. Short stories were easier to focus on this year. My short story, Lockdown With Anne, was included in an anthology about the pandemic called, With Love, Comes Hope.

5. Write more travel articles

I didn’t write many travel articles. The fact that we couldn’t travel, didn’t inspire me to write travel articles.

6. Help others with their writing as many have helped me

This is something I did a lot of. I had the time, it could be done online and it made me feel useful. I did some editing as well which I enjoyed.

7. Work on my TBR list, read at least 40 books 

Another thing I had time to do and it took my mind off the situation. I read 40 books, many I had wanted to read for a long long time. They are listed on my Goodreads Reading Challenge page

8. Visit Venice

We had planned to celebrate our anniversary and my birthday in Venice. All booked but sadly, cancelled due to a global pandemic.

9. Attend a family reunion in Alberta

Cancelled as well. I was very dissapointed as I love to see my aunts, uncles and many wonderful cousins.

10. Travel to the UK and visit friends

Also booked, plans set to meet up with a number of friends, but cancelled.

11. Organize my office

I did some organizing but more needs to be done.

12. Organize my computer files

Again, not as much as I should have. It´s not like I didn´t have the time!

13. Learn more about writing and publishing a picture book.

Lost interest in this for some reason.

14. Publish an anthology of short stories

I´m working on this.

What I did do was a lot of cooking and baking, walking the dog and connecting with friends and family through social media.

My three words for 2020 were:

support – Support others in whatever way I can, as so many have supported me over the years.

connect – Connect with people, stay in touch, facilitate connections.

motion – Keep moving, physically and mentally.

Little did I know how important these three words would become.

By supporting others, I was able to take my mind off of my concerns. Since I have learned a few things over the years of writing and publishing my books, it has been great to be able to share that knowledge. I enjoyed interviewing and featuring other authors on my blog and helping promote their books.

I connected with so many people, some I haven´t been in touch with for quite a while. These connections kept me sane. Connecting through social media has been a godsend. I Zoom with my writers’ groups here in Spain and in Canada, and video message and Skype with family members and friends near and far. Connecting through blogging has been my social life and I so appreciate those connections. So a huge thank you to all my blogging buddies!

Walking the dog three to four times a day has kept me moving and kept the baking off my hips. Walking has been good for my mental well being as well.

Although many of my goals were not met, it has still been an OK year.

I stole this from a writer/blogging friend, Janet Givens. I love it.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year!

Stay safe and well so that eventually we can all travel and meet up again soon.

Here is my story included in the anthology With Love Comes Hope which I wrote about here

Lockdown With Anne by Darlene Foster

It’s day ten of the lockdown and I hate it. At first, I thought it would be great not to have to get up early and go to school. But Mom’s not very good at home-schooling. She loses patience with me and she doesn’t know anything about math. I miss my friends. Sure, we connect on Instagram, but it’s not the same. I missed two birthday parties already. By the time I get to wear my new top, it probably won’t fit anymore. My pajamas are wearing out. I’m tired of Mom’s cooking and wish we could at least get a take-away. This lockdown sucks big time.

I’m bored with TV and I’ve watched all the DVDs we have. I didn’t think I would miss school. Maybe I’ll check out a book my teacher gave me to read the last day of school. She said I would like it.

~~~

Wow! Midnight and I’m still reading. This book is so good. It’s about a girl, Anne, who’s thirteen years old, like me.  She has to hide in a small apartment during World War II in Holland, along with her family. They are actually German so you’d think they’d be OK but they are also Jewish. If the Nazi soldiers find them, they will be sent to a concentration camp and most likely killed like so many other Jewish people.

It isn’t just Anne, her parents and older sister living in this hidden annex, which nobody knows about. They’re sharing the place with another couple, their son and an old man. Anne makes friends with the couple’s son, Peter. But, here’s the thing, they can’t make any noise during the day because there are people working downstairs in the office and warehouse. They can’t even flush the toilet. And, they have to keep all the windows closed and the curtains drawn.

How awful. No fresh air or sunshine. I would go totally crazy.

When Anne turned thirteen, just before they had to go into hiding, she got a diary for her birthday. So, to keep herself busy while in isolation, she writes in it everyday. She actually wants to be a writer one day. She writes things like “I hope I shall be able to confide in you completely, as I have never been able to do in anyone before, and I hope that you will be a great support and comfort to me. “ She names her diary Kitty because she has no girlfriends to talk to.

I am so loving this book. There are even pictures of the rooms and the bookcase that hides the stairway to the secret space. It’s called The Diary of a Young Girl and is a true story written by Anne Frank.

~~~

I finished the book and I’m so sad. In the end, after two years of hiding and being very careful and quiet, someone tells the soldiers about them. They are found and taken away. Anne doesn’t survive. In fact, her dad is the only one who lives. After the war, he comes back to the building, finds her diary and has it published. So her dream of becoming a writer did come true, but she doesn’t live to see this happen.

~~~

It’s day fourteen of our lockdown and Dad says it will be another two weeks at least, probably more. Many people are getting sick and dying. I don’t want to die. I want to grow up and get married and have kids. I want to go to Holland and visit Anne Frank’s house.

I’m doing my homework online and not arguing with my mom as much. Yesterday we made chocolate brownies together and then we all completed a huge jigsaw puzzle. It was fun.

And, we can make noise. I can sing as loud as I want and even go in my front yard and make dance videos. At eight o’clock every evening, we all go on our terraces or balconies and clap in appreciation of the healthcare workers, police, ambulance, firefighters and grocery store staff for keeping us safe and well.

I don’t have to be afraid I’ll be taken away because of my religion. This lockdown sucks but it is so much better than what Anne Frank had to deal with.

I will get through this.

With Love Comes Hope, filled with a variety of fiction and nonfiction stories, would make a great Christmas gift.

This book can be purchased in print or digital format on most Amazon sites.

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com.au

Amazon.es

https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/2020/08/30/with-love-comes-hope-stories-and-inspiration-during-the-2020-pandemic/

Text and Image copyright © 2020 Darlene Foster  – All Rights Reserved

Dot is a guest on Ani’s blog today where she talks about the pandemic from a dogs point of view. Enjoy.

The Small Dog

Dear Santa,

I have my friend from Spain over today. We haven’t actually met, but then, she lives a long way away and although the two-legses usually get to gallivant all over the place, they don’t seem to like it if we wander off on our own…

But, this year, even the two-legses have been kept on a short leash, so we’ve had them at home a lot more, which is good for us, even if they’ve not been too happy about it.

They do seem to be getting a bit peaky though. I’m sure mine is starting with kennel cough from not getting out enough. And she is definitely in need of more exercise… I think maybe we should all just ask you for an end to all this staying at home malarkey…

Mind you, I have to wonder about you, Santa. You get out and about plenty… a…

View original post 1,263 more words

I am delighted to be included in this anthology of unedited short stories, poems, and articles from around the world written during the 2020 Pandemic.

The Blurb

With Love, Comes Hope offers a unique glimpse into the lives of ordinary people, as they coped, suffered and inspired others; in this unprecedented time, the population of our planet found common cause. Frontline and key workers everywhere ventured out to save lives and protect the vulnerable, supplying and delivering food alongside other essential services, like teaching, transport, rubbish collection; all workers valiantly striving in difficult circumstances. Vast numbers of people self-isolated for weeks or months and adhered to new hand cleaning and face-covering regimes. Most of the world experienced a lengthy period of lockdown and economies were mothballed.

Around the world, governments responded differently with greater or lesser success, and the lives of the population were impacted in many different ways. There was large-scale loss of life, personal devastation, and enduring and serious health compromises. Many lost loved ones, families were cast into tragedy, jobs were lost and businesses failed. But there was also profound inspiration, people doing good, helping neighbours, friends and those, especially, in need of protection. Doctors, nurses, carers and support workers – cleaners, cooks, security people, heroically put their own lives in danger to care for the sick, often at the expense of being with their own families.

There have been pandemics before with even higher casualties, but we have never experienced a pandemic in such a connected society. The human race may not have responded as well as it could but for the first time, there was international communication and, to a very large extent, cooperation.

This book is one such example; it shares the voices of people from many countries. It is a collection of personal accounts, poems, stories and reminiscences from around our beautiful planet and illustrates the innate kindness of people in desperate times and a shared wish for something better for all our futures – a common thread in this volume, With Love, Comes Hope: Stories and Inspiration during the 2020 Pandemic.

100% of the royalties will be donated to an international humanitarian charity called Bridge2, based on the Channel Island of Guernsey.

The contributions came from the following countries: Bangladesh, Australia, Brazil, United Kingdom, Spain, South Africa, Israel, Greece, Canada, Italy, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, China (inc. Hong Kong), India, Romania, Japan, Haiti, Denmark, The Philippines, The Netherlands, Saint Helena, Guernsey, New Zealand, Palestine, Germany, Russia, France.

Here is a radio podcast by one of the organizers of the project https://www.talkradioeurope.com/clients/mmoss250820.mp3

This book can be purchased in print or digital format on most Amazon sites.

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com.au

Amazon.es

This valuable piece of our history should be in everyone´s library.


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