Darlene Foster's Blog

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Another wonderful review for Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady. Amanda and I are very pleased everyone is enjoying the book.

Wordy Witterings

I read about this novel on a book blog and was intrigued – it sounded just like the kind of thing that my 9-year-old daughter would enjoy reading. I’m pleased to say that since I’ve read ‘Amanda in Malta’, I’ve told her all about it and she can’t wait to not only read this novel, but the whole series. She wants to start with those featuring countries that she’s been to herself, and now has a very full Amazon wish list!

In ‘Amanda in Malta’, the lead character goes on holiday to Malta and gets involved in the mystery of a 4000 year old figurine that goes missing from a museum. The unique feature of this book, it that in reading it children will learn so much about the country that it features. The characters visit a range of Malta’s places of interest, both those on the common tourist trail…

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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!

I am delighted with this review of Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone from Teri Polen. I love it when someone is enthusiastic about my home province.

Books and Such

Amanda is delighted to show Leah aaround Alberta during her visit from England. They take in the Calgary Stampede, go on a cattle drive, visit Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, spend time with the dinosaurs at the Royal Tyrrell Museum and explore the crazy Hoodoos.When Amanda finds a stone with a unique mark on it, she doesn’t think it’s important until everyone seems to want it – including a very ornery cowboy. Is this stone worth ruining Leah’s holiday and placing them both in danger? Spend time with Amanda as she explores her own country while attempting to decipher the mysterious writing on the stone and keep it from those determined to take it from her.

This is my first time ‘meeting’ Amanda and while there are several books in the series, I chose this one because I traveled to Calgary earlier this year and visited some of the places mentioned in…

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Grateful to Sally Cronin for featuring an excerpt from Amanda on the Danube: The Sounds of Music as well as a fabulous review. I wrote this book in the middle of a move to another country. Writing the story kept me grounded and sane as we settled in and learned to live within a new culture. You can see why this book has a special place in my heart. Enjoy.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the new Cafe and Bookstore  New Series 2020 – Share an Extract with an opportunity to show one of your earlier books some love and attention by sharing an extract.. Check out the above link for all the details.

Author Darlene Foster  shares an extract from the adventure for Amanda on the Danube: The Sounds of Music. Amanda finds herself on the Danube helping a homeless young musician.

371883440About Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music

Twelve-year-old Amanda Ross finds herself on an elegant riverboat with her bestie, Leah, cruising down the beautiful Danube, passing medieval castles, luscious green valleys and charming villages. When she is entrusted with a valuable violin by a young, homeless musician during a stop in Nuremburg, another boy immediately tries to take it from her. Amanda tries to keep the precious violin safe for the poor prodigy, and along…

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I have a birthday coming up soon. Didn´t I just have one? They sure seem to come around quickly these days. To celebrate I am offering the e-version of Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action for 99 cents USD, or equivalent, from March 4 to March 11, 2020.

It’s a quick read and will transport you to Holland without you having to get on an airplane, bus, train, or boat.

Here is a 5 star review by Debra Purdy Kong

Amanda in Holland is a story about a thoughtful, adventurous Canadian girl with a strong moral compass and a quest to do what’s right. Those traits are certainly highlighted during Amanda’s trip to Amsterdam to visit her friend, Leah. Mishaps and mysteries test their friendship when Amanda goes to great lengths to locate the abandoned puppy she found, but then lost to a thief.

The vivid narrative provides readers with a vibrant atmosphere filled with color and movement that makes me want to visit the city all over again. Descriptions of landmarks and local cuisine fully immersed me in the story.

The book’s not only entertaining but educational for younger readers as the ramifications of World War II on Dutch citizens are introduced in the book. The author creates a personal element for Amanda when she learns that her great uncle was a soldier who went missing in Holland during the war.

At age twelve, Amanda has reached an interesting age. Part of her seems mature for her age, yet part of her is still childlike, and sometimes the two states of mind are at odds. Although she always has good intentions, her methodology lands her into scrapes. There’s no doubt that readers of all ages will enjoy reading this book and the other six in the series.

Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action is available on most sites including:

Amazon

B&N


Kobo

Google Play

Look for these scenes in the book.

Lovely Dutch girls in traditional dress
Rembrandt’s Night Watch in 3D
Gorgeous spring flowers

If you read the book and enjoy it, let me know.

Copyright © 2020 darlenefoster.wordpress.com – All rights reserved

There are many things that make me happy, but as a writer, good reviews and happy readers just make my day. A super review for Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action was recently posted on Robbie Cheadle´s blog.

https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/2020/02/15/amanda-in-holland-missing-in-action-by-darlene-foster/

Darlene Foster has a lovely series of travel combined with mystery books for middle school readers. Amanda in Holland is the fourth book in this series I have read and it certainly did not disappoint me.

The book is action-packed and filled with interesting titbits of information about life in Holland, WWII and perseverance and determination in unraveling a mystery.

Amanda is a clever and kind girl who will appeal to middle school and young teenagers who will admire her pluck.

Read more about what she has to say here

Jacquie Biggar posted a great review of Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone on her blog https://jacqbiggar.com/2020/02/24/bookreview-amanda-in-alberta-by-darlene-foster-childrensmystery-supermegawoman/

Amanda in Alberta is a fun, page-turning mystery with interesting tidbits of indigenous history along with Alberta landmarks thrown in.

While geared toward the pre-teen age group, this book has something for every reader to enjoy.

I give Amanda in Alberta four lovely kisses- Traveling with Amanda is an adventure!

Read the rest of the review along with a couple of perfect pictures here

And a long time blogging friend and amazing photographer, Ruth Hendricks, https://rutheh.com/ sent me a great picture of her granddaughter, Maura, receiving Amanda in Spain: The Girl in the Painting in the mail. She looks pretty happy.

These are the things that make the hard work of writing books worthwhile.

It’s been ten years since my first book, Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask was published. I never imagined I would have a series of seven books out there. A huge thank you to everyone who has read my books, written reviews, told friends, family, and teachers about my books, given them as gifts and sent me emails and pictures. It has been the huge support of so many that has made this dream of mine come true. I can’t thank you enough.

You can read more about my books on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA

or on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3156908.Darlene_Foster

Copyright © 2020 darlenefoster.wordpress.com – All rights reserved

A great review for Amanda in Holland over at Patricia Tilton’s blog today. Patricia reviews wonderful books and I often get ideas for book gifts from her blog. Check it out.

Also if you liked the cover of my book, Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action (Amanda Travels), please vote for it for the Cover of the Month contest on AllAuthor.com! Thanks!

Click to Vote!

Children's Books Heal

Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action (7) (Amanda Travels)

Darlene Foster, Author

Central Avenue Publishing, Fiction, Sep. 3, 2019

Suitable for Ages: 9-12

Themes: Adventure, Travel, Holland, Mystery, Friendship

Synopsis:

Amanda Ross is in Holland with her best friend Leah Anderson to visit the sites, while Leah’s father is doing business there. Top of her list is to visit and photograph all of the tulip fields. Amanda and Leah travel the canals of Amsterdam, visit the Anne Frank House, take pictures at Keukenhof Gardens, see windmills, and visit a wooden shoe factory.

Amanda is eager to find out what happened to her great uncle who never returned from WWII and was declared missing in action. What she doesn’t expect to find and fall in love with is Joey, an abandoned puppy. While trying to find a home for him, she meets Jan, a Dutch boy who offers…

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I am so excited! Today is the long-awaited release of the seventh book in the Amanda Travels series. I can hardly believe it has been almost nine years since the birth of my first book, Amanda in Arabia – The Perfume Flask. Since then, Amanda has visited many places. Join me in celebrating book #7!

In Amanda in Holland – Missing in Action, she explores the Netherlands with Leah and falls in love with the country, and an abandoned puppy she names, Joey. While trying to find a home for him, she learns about a missing gardener, tulips that have disappeared and an uncle who didn’t return from the war. Can she find these missing things without putting herself in danger?

Jacqui Murray from Word Dreams has written a fabulous review for Amanda in Holland on her blog. This is part of what she has to say –

The story is told in a conversational voice that will draw all readers in and deftly mixes the cultural details with how Amanda engages in and solves the mystery.

If you haven’t already, you can read the entire review on her blog https://worddreams.wordpress.com/2019/08/09/book-review-amanda-in-holland/

Thank you, Jacqui and everyone who has written reviews, they mean so much to a writer. Thanks to everyone who pre-ordered the book. I hope it has arrived safely. And a huge thanks to everyone who is planning to pick up a copy for themselves or for a gift.

Amanda and I are very excited to hear what everyone of all ages thinks of this adventure.

I read some amazing books this summer and I thought I should share some of them with you, along with my reviews. It’s always great to get ideas for new books to read, even if you have a huge TBR list like me. Here are three I just loved.

The Artisan Heart

by Dean Mayes  Hayden Luschcombe is a brilliant paediatrician living in Adelaide with his wife Bernadette, an ambitious event planner. His life consists of soul-wrenching days at the hospital and tedious evenings attending the lavish parties organized by Bernadette. When an act of betrayal coincides with a traumatic confrontation, Hayden flees Adelaide, his life in ruins. His destination is Walhalla, nestled in Australia’s southern mountains, where he finds his childhood home falling apart. With nothing to return to, he stays, and begins to pick up the pieces of his life by fixing up the house his parents left behind. A chance encounter with a precocious and deaf young girl introduces Hayden to Isabelle Sampi, a struggling artisan baker. While single-handedly raising her daughter, and trying to resurrect a bakery, Isabelle has no time for matters of the heart. Yet the presence of the handsome doctor challenges her resolve. Likewise, Hayden, protective of his own fractured heart, finds something in Isabelle that awakens dormant feelings of his own. As their attraction grows, and the past threatens their chance at happiness, both Hayden and Isabelle will have to confront long-buried truths if they are ever to embrace a future. My review I am already a fan of Dean Mayes and am impressed with his ability to write in diverse genres while at the same time maintaining consistent quality. This book is a wonderful read, filled with incredible characters that jump off the page. I love how the characters play off each other so well. My favourite being Genevieve, a seven-year-old deaf child with spunk. I just wanted to hug her so many times. And then there is the wonderful setting of Walhalla, a cozy Australian mountain village, which is actually the main character for me. While reading this book, I felt myself walking the streets, smelling the freshly baked bread, smiling at the residents, listening to the birds and admiring the gardens. This is a place people come to get away from it all and discover who they are meant to be. A feel-good book with some tense moments, full of emotion and real people. I highly recommend this book. One I would read again.

A Place Called Winter

by Patrick Gale In the golden 1900s, Harry Cane, a shy, eligible gentleman of leisure is drawn from a life of quiet routine into courting and marrying Winnie, eldest daughter of the fatherless Wells clan, who are not quite as respectable as they would appear. They settle by the sea and have a daughter and conventional marriage does not seem such a tumultuous change after all. When a chance encounter awakens scandalous desires never acknowledged until now, however, Harry is forced to forsake the land and people he loves for a harsh new life as a homesteader on the newly colonized Canadian prairies. There, in a place called Winter, he will come to find a deep love within an alternative family, a love imperiled by war, madness and an evil man of undeniable magnetism.

My review

I purchased this book after hearing the author speak at the Winchester Writer’s Festival. His books all sounded interesting but I was drawn to this one as it takes place in the early 20th century in the Canadian prairies. This is where I’m from and my great-grandparents were among the many immigrants who settled this part of Canada. I was not disappointed. The land, the people and the impossibly tough life were described so well, I felt like I was back there working alongside these individuals. It was all there, the unforgiving terrain, the threshing crews, chokecherries, bachelors’ balls, country churches and dashed hopes. The story centres around Harry Cane, a British gentleman who had never worked a day in his life. After being disgraced, he leaves England to stake out a homestead in Winter, Saskatchewan. Little does he know what awaits him. The story is so well written, you can feel the isolation and the cold. “As for the cold, he had never experienced anything like it, a dry, iron clamp upon the land, like death itself, full of unexpected beauty, like the hard crystals that formed on the inside of the windows. The cold did something to the quality of sounds around the farm, deadening all background noise so that the smallest scratching or whisper was emphasised.” Harry’s story is filled with incredible characters, pain and heartbreak. But it is also filled with love. A beautifully written book, well worth a read.

Apprenticed To My Mother: A Memoir Of Barbara Le Pard 2005 to 2010

When my father died in 2005, I assumed my mother would need more support and someone to help with decisions she previously shared with her husband. What I didn’t realise was the role she had in mind for me: a sort of Desmond 2.0. Over the five years until her death, I played the role of apprentice, learning more about her and her relationship with my father than I had gleaned in my previous 50 years. We laughed, we cried and, occasionally we disagreed, and throughout she manipulated me as, I learnt, she had my father. Neither of us minded much; we were both her so willing fools, for she was an extraordinary woman and we both knew we were in the presence of someone very special.

My review

A wonderful heartwarming book that will leave you laughing and crying, sometimes on the same page. Mr. Le Pard has a great way with words and gives us a delightful glimpse into the lives of his parents. Sprinkled in between amusing episodes of his life as the youngest of two sons, are poems brilliantly composed by his father, most written for his wife, the love of his life. The stories paint a picture of past times in a lovely part of England, where issues are resolved with a cup of tea and a piece of homemade cake. Barbara Le Pard is a delightful character, strong-willed, tough and with a huge heart. This book is well written, entertaining and most important, it is written with love. All of these books are available on Amazon, Kobo or through any good bookstore.  I will tell you about a few more in another post. If you have read a great book or two lately, please share in the comments.

In case you haven’t read this fabulous review of Amanda in Spain by an eight-year-old, here it is on Marcia Meara’s blog! Check out Marcia’s books too. They are amazing.

The Write Stuff

Lovely to have Darlene back again this afternoon, this time to share a very special review she received directly from a very young reader, who had no adult help with the writing. I know you’ll enjoy this one and will be happy to pass it along to all your contacts! Thanks!

REVIEW:
By Catrin (8 Years Old)

I really enjoyed this book. I like books which have a mystery plot to them, and this book really caught my attention – I read it all in one go! The story kept me guessing until the end. In some parts, the reader is held in suspense while in other times you can almost guess what’s going to happen so I had to read on to find out if I’d got it right or not. My favourite character was Dona because she is a Spanish performer and I like performing as well. I…

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