Darlene Foster's Blog

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I am a special guest on Sally´s Cafe and Bookstore today. Pop over and ask me some questions!! See if you can stump me. Happy weekend everyone.

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore

Welcome to the Book Reading at the cafe and today my guest is children’s author Darlene Foster whose books about Amanda have literally taken us around the world. Before we take a look at her books here is a little bit about Darlene.

Darlene Foster is a writer, an employment counsellor, an ESL tutor for children, a wife, mother and grandmother. She loves travel, shoes, cooking, reading, sewing, chocolate, music, the beach and making new friends. Her 13-year-old grandson called her “super-mega-woman-supreme”.

She was brought up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, where she dreamt of traveling the world and meeting interesting people. She currently divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca in Spain, with her husband Paul.

“Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask” was her first published novel. Once bitten by the travel bug, Amanda travels to other interesting places, sticking her nose…

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

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

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

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Fun questions

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

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

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

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

Connect with Linda on her social media sites.

https://lindacassidylewis.com/

Amazon author page 

Twitter

Facebook

Buy the books

Here is my review of High Tea and Flip Flops

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

dscn5960When an author finishes a book, she can breathe a sigh of relief and consider the job done. Wrong! The work actually starts then, with edits, beta readers, more edits, collecting endorsements, more edits, cover design, pre-marketing and more edits. And those are just a few of the things involved. But the day comes, much later, when the book is released and you hold your creation in your hands and it is all worth it!

Today is the day Amanda on the Danube – the Sounds of Music is available for sale. Thank you to everyone who pre-ordered the book. I do hope you enjoy it. I would love to hear what you think of it and if you have time, a short review would be appreciated.

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A huge thank you to all the support I have been given in my writing endeavours by my fabulous followers. It means so much to me.

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In case you have been wondering, Dot has been very supportive as well.

Amanda on the Danube is available at Chapters/Indigo stores and can be ordered from any independent bookstore. It is available on all Amazon sites, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and the Book Depository.

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There is also a giveaway on Goodreads open until October 15.

 

 

I am honoured to be a guest on Don Massenzio´s blog. Check out my answers to his 20 questions and leave a comment if you wish.  Thanks, Don for all you do to support other authors.

Today’s installment of 20 Questions is focused on Canadian author, Darlene Foster. Darlene is going to tell us a bit about herself and her inspiration as well as share a bit of her work with …

Source: 20 Questions with Darlene Foster

Today, July 1, is Canada Day, celebrating 149 years since Canada became a country. It is fitting that I welcome Suzanne de Montigny , a Canadian writer, as a guest on my blog.

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Suzanne de Montigny wrote her first unicorn story at the age of twelve.  Several years later, she discovered it in an old box in the basement, thus reigniting her love affair with unicorns. Suzanne taught music in Vancouver for many years where she learned she could spin a good tale that kept kids and teachers begging for more. She took up writing in earnest nine years ago and has never looked back.  She lives in Burnaby, B.C. with the loves of her life – her husband, two boys, and Buddy the dog.

Tell us about yourself and your books.

Well, I’ve just had a new book released entitled A Town Bewitched. Here’s the blurb:

It’s tough for Kira, growing up in the small town of Hope as a child prodigy in classical violin, especially when her dad just died. And to make matters worse, Kate McDonough, the red-haired fiddler appears out of nowhere and bewitches the town with her mysterious Celtic music. Even Uncle Jack succumbs to her charms, forgetting his promise to look after Kira’s family. But when someone begins vandalizing the town leaving dead and gutted birds as a calling card, Kira knows without a doubt who’s behind it.

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I also have a series called Shadow of the Unicorn. In the first one, The Legacy, a herd of unicorns barely survive the coming of an asteroid only to be exploited when the humans arrive. It takes place 12,000 years ago. In the second one, The Deception; sixty years later, the unicorns live hidden in the woods, controlled by a corrupt Great Stallion who invents a false god to control them and how they find the truth of their legacy. And I’m just finishing off the third of the series. It’s called The Revenge and it’s about a gifted unicorn who is born with something really wrong with him. Because he’s bullied, he turns his gift on the herd and no one can stop him.

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When did you decide to become a writer? why?

I never had the intention of becoming a writer. It’s just something that happened to me along the way. I loved writing as a child and wrote my first novella at 12. Then, after my father died, when I was in my forties, I developed a need to write and never looked back.

What inspires your stories?

A Town Bewitched came from our experience attending a fiddling camp when my oldest son was nine. When we came back, we were absolutely on fire for fiddling. And I thought, “Suppose what happened to us happened to an entire town, except there was something really wrong with the fiddler.” I laughed it off at first thinking it was a really dumb idea, but it wouldn’t let me go. Finally, I had to write it. Glad I did because it won first prize in the Dante Rossetti competition for Best Coming of Age Novel.

Shadow of the Unicorn came from the novella I wrote when I was twelve. I intended it as an exercise just to learn how to write. Never did I dream it would actually be published and do as well as it has.

Why did you decide to write for children?

I was an elementary music teacher for twenty years. My favourite grades were grades 5 – 7, so it was only natural I’d write for that age group.

What did you read as a child?

I really loved anything by Lucy Maude Montgomery. And I loved books about dogs and horses.

Another Lucy Maude Montgomery fan!

What have you read lately that impressed you? Why?

Harry Potter. It was just so good I couldn’t stop reading it. I’d be reading it while cooking, while talking to my son’s doctor during an appointment, in bed, everywhere.

If you could have dinner with any author, who would you choose and what would you ask him or her?

JK Rowling, of course. I’m not sure what I’d ask her. I think I would just enjoying chatting with her.

Are you a plotter or a panster?

Definitely a pantser. It causes me no end of trouble because my characters take over and start doing all sorts of things I never wanted them to and I can’t stop them.

Great to meet another panster!

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and how do you deal with it?

Never. I have a bazillion ideas. I just wish I could write faster.

What are you working on now?

I’ve just finished the third of the unicorn series, Shadow of the Unicorn: The Revenge and am about to start a historical romance about a young woman who immigrates to Canada to marry a French-Canadian after WWI.

Sounds great. I love stories about WWI. You are a very diverse writer.

Any advice to other authors?

Write what you feel.

Sound advice! Thanks so much Suzanne for being a guest on my blog. We look forward to more exciting books from you.

You can find Suzanne’s books here

Amazon

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Chapters Indigo

Barnes & Noble

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Happy Canada Day! Celebrate by buying a book written by a Canadian author.canadaday3

I am pleased to introduce you to my special guest today, award winning children’s author, Gina McMurchy-Barber. Gina is the recipient of the Governor General’s Award for Teaching Excellence in Canadian History and the author of the Peggy Henderson’s adventure series, bringing history to life. Enjoy reading about her author’s journey and how she combined her love of archaeology and story telling to create an amazing series of books enjoyed by all ages.

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1. Tell us a bit about yourself
I was born in Ontario and moved to BC when I was 9 years old. I am the
youngest child of four and led an active life on our little farm with
horses, ducks, geese, chickens and lots of barn cats. I married in my
early 20s and have two sons. My first degree I majored in archaeology
–which eventually gave rise to my four part archaeology adventure series.
I became a teacher when my boys were small and have now been teaching in
the Montessori Schools for over 20 years.

2. When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
While I was studying archaeology I also started my writing career by doing
short stories for my community paper. I enjoyed doing that so much I later
studied journalism and became a newspaper reporter. I wasn’t too
interested in covering late night city council meetings or the garbage
workers strike so I turned my attention to creative non-fiction. I worked
as a freelance writer for local magazines until my first child was born.
That’s when I entered the amazing world of children’s books. I was very
tentative when I started—not at all sure I had what it takes to write
fiction. Now I’m working on my seventh book.

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3. What motivates you to write?
Love of stories came from my Dad, who told us bedtime stories even after
we were grown. Then I started telling my own children stories. That’s what
led me to want to start writing them down.

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4. How do you make time to write?
It’s hard these days as I work 80% —but I manage to get writing done
during the holidays. It’s a difficult thing to dedicate yourself to
staying put each day for a certain amount of time—especially when it’s a
beautiful day and the family is urging you to join them.

5. What is your writing style, a plotter or a pantster?
I always start out with a plan, but it rarely works out the way I thought
it would. But it feels comforting to begin with a some kind of a road
map—and I always feel free to take detours.

6. Where do you get ideas for your books?
So far they’re all from some seed of experience in my own life—but on the
other hand I’ve also had to branch out and learn lots of new things. For
instance, I have an archaeology background, but knew nothing about
underwater archaeology or scuba diving. So when I wrote Bone Deep —an
underwater excavation of a two hundred year old fur trading ship—I had a
steep learning curve.

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7. What books did you read as a child?
Lots of books about animals. I loved Wind in the Willows. But we also got
the National Geographic and that was probably my greatest inspiration—it
led me to study orang-utans in Borneo and to study archaeology.

8. If you could have lunch with any writer, past or present, who would you
pick?
Since I’ve already had a nice lunch with Darlene Foster, I guess I’d pick
Lois Lowry. I’m a big fan of her books—The Giver being one of my
favourites.

9. For fun, if you could be any kitchen utensil, what would it be and why?
I’d be a ladle so I can take big scoops of life at once.

10. Tell us about your most recent book. Do you have a work in progress
and can you give us a hint as to what it will be about?
My fourth archaeology adventure book came out in November, 2015 and is
called A Bone to Pick. It’s about the arrival of the Viking to the shores
of North America at L’anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland a thousand years
ago. I’m also working on a new book called “What Other People Think” and
explores why we try so hard to look good in the eyes of others—especially
strangers.

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11. Any advice to other authors or aspiring authors.
It’s so valuable to have a writing community. If you can form an small
group of friends to critique each others work in a supportive way it can
be the best thing to motivate you and keep you on track.

Great advice. Thank you so much for being a guest on my blog Gina. Your books are fascinating!

I can’t believe you have included me in the same sentence as Lois Lowry!

You can find out more about Gina and her books on her website www.ginabooks.com

and on Amazon 

One of my favourite things about summer is the chance to do more reading; at the beach, in the backyard, at a coffee shop or on a holiday.  A number of friends have asked me for a reading list this summer. So I thought, why not share some books I enjoyed reading recently with my blogging buddies. Here is a list from me to you (in no particular order):

The Dove Keepers by Alice Hoffman

Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards

The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad

The Winter Vault by Anne Michaels

Madmae Bovary’s Daughter by Linda Urbach

Martha Quest by Doris Lessing

The Brevity of Roses by Linda Cassidy Lewis

Half Blood Blues by  Esi Edugyan

Shadows in the Stone by Diane Lynn McGyver

The Hambledown Dream by Dean Mayes

Making Bombs For Hitler by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch

Hunger Journeys by Maggie De Vries

Note:  the last two are written for children but are excellent stories about World War II from the eyes of a child.

What am I reading right now?

Secret Daughter by Shili Somaya Gowda and loving it!

Sometimes I read at the beach, and sometimes I read on our patio.

What have you been reading this summer and where?

 

 

 

 


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