Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘blogging friends

I’ve been blogging for almost ten years and I love it. It’s a great way to communicate with like-minded people, and I’ve made wonderful friends all over the world through my blog. The blogging community is so supportive, sharing ideas and providing encouragement.

One friend I’ve made is Mary Smith from Dumfries, Scotland. She has written some wonderful books including a guide to her hometown. When I finally get to Scotland, I will be taking this book with me.

She has also written a couple of books based on life in Afghanistan, where she lived and worked for a number of years. This is my review of No More Mulberries.

I bought this book because I love reading stories that take place in the middle east. I was not disappointed. Mary Smith has written a wonderful story about cross-cultures, family, relationships and Afghanistan. The detailed descriptions of the land, people and culture are fascinating. The story is told through the point of view of Miriam, the main character, who is a wife, mother and medical practitioner. It is easy to identify with her as she struggles to maintain a home for her family in a culture so different from her life in Scotland. Miriam also has to deal with ghosts from the past and feelings she has suppressed for too long which are having a negative effect on her marriage. This well-written book takes place in a troubled time just before the Taliban take control. Since the reader knows what will eventually happen, but the characters don’t, it keeps you on your toes and turning the pages. I highly recommend this book.

During a book signing in British Columbia last fall, I had a most pleasant surprise. Mary’s cousin Grace hand-delivered a card from Mary to me! Grace had been in Scotland to visit Mary who knew I would be at a bookstore not too far from where Grace lived, so she sent a card along. How special is that?

What a lovely card, all the way from Scotland
And the perfect poem on the back.

I have asked Mary to be a guest on my blog and answer a few questions.

If you could choose a fictional character to be your best friend, who would you choose and why?

This one stopped me in my tracks, Darlene, and I found it difficult to pick one – so I’m afraid I cheated and chose two. I would have loved to be best friends with Jo March of Little Women. She is such a great character. She, like me, was a tomboy – I climbed trees, went fishing with boys because I didn’t know any girls who wanted to fish. I even played on building sites, climbing over the rafters of half-built houses (which makes me shudder to think about now). I think we’d have egged each other on to do ever more daring things and I think we’d have laughed a lot together. She was strong-willed, determined not to be bound by the conventions of the day. Best of all, she wanted to write. I’d never met a character – a girl at that – in a book who wanted to be a writer and was totally bowled over by this. If Jo could do it – which she did very successfully – then maybe I could, too. I was slightly less impressed with her in Jo’s Boys when she began to only write for family and stopped writing for money, saying “most of us (she was talking about literary women) write too much.” I don’t think my teenage friend Jo would have adopted such an attitude so I’ll go on believing the teenage Jo March and I are best friends.

The cheat of my second one is a bit quirky. I would love to be best friends with Flora. Flora is the main character in a wonderful novel called The Bees by Laline Paul – and Flora is a bee. She is born into the lowest class of the hive but she’s a brave wee thing and survives and thrives, breaking the rules of the hierarchy in what is a compelling thriller about the secret life of the hive. I think we could be great friends, Flora and me.

If you could personally see one natural phenomenon that you have never seen, what would it be and why that one?

I would love to see the Aurora Borealis. Growing up in Scotland I always loved the song, The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen, sung so often in school, at ceilidhs, on the radio, in which the lights are described as the “heavenly dancers”. I’ve seen amazing images of the phenomenon on the internet and would love to see it for real.

If you were to be paid to write a book about any subject you wished, what would it be about?

I want to write a biography of a remarkable woman who was a mechanical engineer in the early 1920s. She had an amazing life: supervising thousands of women (who could build anything from a bicycle to a battleship) at Barrow-in-Furness during the First World War, running a car factory, which employed mainly women, taking part in car racing trials and then establishing a hugely successful steam laundry – they laundered the uniforms of the soldiers who took part in the D-Day Landings. I have done some research but it would be lovely to be paid to do further research and writing the book.

Tell us about your next writing project.

Well, until I’m offered a nice advance to write about my woman engineer, my current project is turning the material on my blog, My Dad’s a Goldfish, into a memoir. My father had dementia, bad enough in itself, but his wife of forty years decided she wanted a peaceful life and left him, just at the time he most needed stability and continuity in his life. I moved in with him and started the blog as a way of recording events – and to keep my writing muscle working – and from feedback it seems all sorts of people would be interested in reading it as a book. It’s not in any way a ‘misery memoir’ – it has a lot of humour – but it does tell it like it is, from finding way to engage my father’s interest in life to dealing with him cheating at dominoes, from dealing with what it’s like to have to wipe your father’s bum to sharing his joy in the countryside.

Mary Smith

A brief bio

Born on the island of Islay but grew up in Dumfries & Galloway from the age of seven. After school had a miserable year working in a bank, went hitchhiking round France and Italy, came back and worked for Oxfam for ten years. Went for a holiday to Pakistan and found a job so the next ten years were spent first in Pakistan then in Afghanistan working for an aid organisation. A freelance journalist, I also write poetry, fiction and non-fiction including local history.

Social media links including Amazon.

Website: www.marysmith.co.uk

Blogs: My Dad’s a Goldfish   https://marysmith57.wordpress.com

Mary Smith’s Place    https://marysmithsplace.wordpress.com

Amazon Page US: http://amzn.to/2ecvjbP

Amazon Page UK: http://amzn.to/2jGw9A9

Twitter: https://twitter.com/marysmithwriter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000934032543

Thanks for answering my questions, Mary. I would love to be friends with Jo March as well. And thanks for being my blogging friend. I’m sure we will meet in person one day soon. Good luck with your writing projects.

Check out Mary’s blog where she is writing a fascinating series of posts about her experiences in Afghanistan. https://marysmithsplace.wordpress.com/

I am thrilled to announce that my story, The Bright Lights of Christmas, won the Stevie Turner Christmas short story award. What a wonderful Christmas gift! Pop over and read the other entries. https://steviet3.wordpress.com/2019/12/24/share-your-christmas-short-story-winner/

Thanks also to Stevie Turner for nominating me for the Blogger Recognition Award:

Here are the Rules:

1. Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

2. Write a post to show your award.

3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.

4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.

5. Select up to fifteen bloggers you want to give this award to.

6. Comment (or pingback) on each blog to let them know that you’ve nominated them and provide a link to the post you’ve created.

How My Blog Started:

When I eventually found a publisher for my Amanda Travels books, she suggested I start a blog as part of my social media presence. That was almost 10 years ago. I wasn’t quite sure what to do, so I checked out the blogs of other writers to get ideas. Since my tag line is, dreamer of dreams, teller of tales, I decided to make dreams the theme of the blog. On June 19th, 2010 I published my first post and this is what I wrote: “This blog is for writers, readers, travelers, dreamers and other interesting people of all ages.  I hope you enjoy my blog and I welcome all comments, suggestions and ideas.” You can read the rest of the short post about a hotair balloon ride here.  I had three likes and three comments. After writing a couple of posts, I found it was fun and I soon gained great followers, many who have become good friends.  

Give Two Pieces of Advice to New Bloggers:

  1. Have fun with it. Don’t get too serious, people can get serious stuff from TV and newspapers. The world needs positive, funny and uplifting things to read online.
  2. Include pictures and write lean. People are busy and there is only so much time to read blogs. If the post is too wordy, they won’t read it. And always engage with those who comment. 

Select up to 15 Bloggers:

It was difficult to pick but I have chosen these bloggers because they are good writers, have interesting blogs and have supported my blog and writing endeavours. Some have already been nominated for this award, but that’s OK. Do check out their blogs if they are new to you.

  1. Sue Vincent https://scvincent.com/
  2. Annika Perry https://annikaperry.com/
  3. Pamela Wight https://roughwighting.net/
  4. Marcia Meara https://marciamearawrites.com/
  5. Mary Smith https://marysmithsplace.wordpress.com/
  6. Jacqui Murray https://worddreams.wordpress.com/
  7. Teri Polen https://teripolen.com/
  8. Joy Lennik https://joylennick.wordpress.com/
  9. Jacquie Biggar https://jacqbiggar.com/
  10. Bette Stevens https://4writersandreaders.com/
  11. D. G. Kaye https://dgkayewriter.com/
  12. Colleen Chesbro https://colleenchesebro.com/
  13. Barb Taub https://barbtaub.com/
  14. Diane Peach https://mythsofthemirror.com/
  15. Marian Beaman https://marianbeaman.com/
  16. Robbie Cheadle https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/
  17. Ritu Bhathal https://butismileanyway.com/

OK, I have 17 but I could have had 30.

You may have read on a previous post that one of the items on my personal “bucket list” was to meet my blogging friends in person. I am excited to say that I have met three recently.

During my last trip to Canada, a blogging friend showed up at my presentation at a Calgary Library. I was delighted to meet Sue Slaght from Travel Tales of Life. She is as delightful in person as she is on her blog.  A prairie girl like I am, she enjoys travel too. Her blog provides excellent articles written with a great sense of humour and filled with interesting details and pictures. She is game to try anything and have it videoed by her patient, eye-rolling husband. Check out her blog. It’s laugh-out-loud funny and the stunning pictures will entice you to visit the many locations she writes about. I am so glad to have met Sue in person.

With blogging buddy Sue Slaght in Calgary, Alberta

Another blogging friend I met recently is Fatima Rosales Naya.  I have been following her blog, Saysell Travels, for a few years now. She writes about her travels with her husband and cute dog, Beano, around France and Spain in their motorhome. They find the coolest places to stop and explore and writes about them. They happened to be near Alicante recently so we arranged a meetup. It was like seeing a best friend at long last and we chatted nonstop for two hours. I’m sure we were sisters in another life. Check out her blog, with fabulous pictures here.

With long-time blogging friend, Fatima in Alicante, Spain

While in Liverpool I had a coffee with Alison Sandilands of Seemytravels.com who lives there. We had met once before when she spent six months in Canada five years ago and made a stop on the west coast. I wrote about it in an earlier blog here. After a coffee, snack, and catch-up, she took me to a historic church and gave me great ideas of things to do while in Liverpool.  She was the one who suggested I stop by that fabulous library. It was so wonderful to see her again, especially as now she has a sweet little girl. Her blog is a mixture of travel and lifestyle articles.

With Alison and her baby in Liverpool, UK. 

There are those who question whether blogging friends are real friends? I for one have always felt they are real friends and meeting some of them in person, makes them even more real. It is so great to have friends scattered all over the world. You can never have too many friends!

Have you had the opportunity to meet a blogging friend? 

“A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet.”  Will Rogers

I set up my blog two years ago and I am so glad I did. I love blogging. The best thing about it for me,  is making new friends. Finding things in common with individuals from Newfoundland to New Zealand, West Virginia to Doha and everywhere in between has been an amazing experience. Blogging has shrunk the world for me and enriched my life. The downside is that I want to meet all these wonderful people who take the time to read my blog and make comments, and that is not always possible.

My dream of meeting a blogging buddy came true last weekend when I met Alison from See My Travels.  Alison is from Lincoln, England where she works as a journalist. She is also well travelled and blogs about her adventures. I first read her blog on A Hopeful Sign, where both of us have had articles published. I enjoyed her photographs and articles on England and Scotland very much. We soon decided to follow each other’s blogs, and when I read that she was planning a six-moth visit to Canada and the US, I got very excited. She arrived in Vancouver a couple of weeks ago and we arranged to meet for a coffee in Steveston.

 

Although we are from different countries and different generations, we found we had much in common and chatted away for two hours. It was so lovely to meet Alison in person. She is enjoying her visit to Canada very much and is blogging about it regularly. If you want to see some great pictures of my corner of the world visit http://www.seemytravels.com/2012/05/19/my-first-week-in-vancouver-why-i-love-this-city-already/

Alison left for Victoria, the capital of BC located on Vancouver Island, a few days later. I warned her she would fall in love with that city. Check here to see if she has.

I noticed A Hopeful Sign has recently posted another one of Alison’s articles. It is about the Medieval Bishops Place in Lincoln, her hometown. If you are like me, and love anything medieval, check it out.

Photo by Alison Sandilands

After meeting Alison, I hope to meet other blogging friends someday.

Would you like to meet the folks who follow your blog?

I was touched when a blogging friend from Nova  Scotia recently gave me the Beautiful Blogger Award.

 

Thanks Lynn Davidson over at Polilla Writes for this lovely award. (Polilla, by the way, is Spanish for bookworm)

The rules for this one are to share 7 random things about yourself, and then pass the award on to about 10 – 15 other bloggers.  Let them know about their award.  So here goes:

7 random things about me:

1. I have books in every room in the house. My husband is convinced there will soon be no room left for him.

2. I inadvertently named my daughter after a hockey player. (She has forgiven me)

3. I am the only sister to three younger brothers.

4. I have a great collection of shoes; some come with interesting stories.

5. I visited Jane Austen’s cottage and touched the small round table on which she wrote many of her books. (I swear I felt her presence)

6. I don’t eat meat but I will eat seafood on occasion.

7. Although I don’t have a sister, I have an aunt born the same year as me. We are very close, probably closer than many sisters.

Here are some blogs worthy of the Beautiful Blogger Award. Please check them out:

Judith Baxter at I choose how I will spend the rest of my life 

Donna McBroom-Theriot at My Book of Stories

Maxi Malone at Maxi’s Comments 

Linda Cassidy Lewis at Linda Cassidy Lewis

Laura Best at Laura Best Writer

Alison at See My Travels 

Michelle at Bookworm Blather

Keli Gwyn at Keli Gwyn

Pauline at NewfoundlandTraveller

Sandra McLeod Humphrey  at Kids Can Do It 

Sheila MacArthur at This and That

Check out these Beautiful Bloggers and say Hi from me.

 


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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.