Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘writing

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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Attention authors of children´s books! A great place to showcase your work and get the word out. Many thanks to Sally Cronin for putting this together.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the new Children’s Cafe and Bookstore where authors with books suitable for ages up to 12 can share their work and reviews.

It is very difficult to market and books at the current time without physical launches, particularly for children’s books with many in print versions only.

The authors with books suitable up to 12 years old will have separate entries for their children’s books in this new Cafe but will still retain their entries in the main bookstore with a selection of all books they may have.

Getting into the bookstore

If you are already an author in the bookstore then I will automatically share your children’s books in this directory.

If you are not already in the Cafe and Bookstore please email me with the following to sally.cronin@moyhill.com

  1. Link to Amazon for the book( and even  if you have one book please set up an…

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New Resource & Giveaway Alert

Hi everyone! Today I have something fun to share…a special chance to win some help with your writing. Awesome, right?

I love Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi of Writers Helping Writers, and have written about their amazing resource, The Emotion Thesaurus here. If you are familiar with this book, you know how great it is for developing a character and moving the plot along. Well, today these two awesome women are releasing a new book, and I’m pleased to be part of their street team.

I’m handing the blog over to them so they can tell you a bit about their Writer’s Showcase event, new book, and a great freebie to check out. Read on!


Certain details can say a lot about who someone is, like a character’s goals, desires, and backstory wound. But did you know there’s another detail that can tie your character’s arc to the plot, provide intense, multi-layered conflict, AND shorten the “get to know the character” curve for readers?

It’s true. Your character’s occupation is a GOLD MINE of storytelling potential.

How much time do you spend on the job? Does it fulfill you or frustrate you? Can you separate work from home? Is it causing you challenges, creating obstacles, or helping you live your truth?

Just like us, most characters will have a job, and the work they do will impact their life. The ups and downs can serve us well in the story.

Maybe you haven’t thought much about jobs in the past and how they act as a window into your character’s personality, interests, and skills. It’s okay, you aren’t alone. The good news is that The Occupation Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Jobs, Vocations, and Careers is going to do all the heavy lifting for you. You’ll be able to pick the perfect job for them and discover how to weave it into the very fabric of the story.

Here’s one of the jobs profiled in this book: FIREFIGHTER.

GIVEAWAY ALERT: THE WRITER’S SHOWCASE IS WAITING

To celebrate the release of a new book, Becca and Angela are running a giveaway from July 20th to July 23rd. You can win some great prizes, including gift certificates that can be spent on writing services within the Writer’s Showcase. Stop by to enter if you like!

Resource Alert: A List of Additional Jobs Profiles For Your Characters!

Some of the amazing writers in our community have put together additional career profiles for you, based on jobs they have done in the past. What a great way to get accurate information so you can better describe the roles and responsibilities that go with a specific job, right? To access this list, GO HERE.

Happy writing to all!

Available at all your favourite bookstores

The Occupation Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Jobs, Vocations, and Careers

Ann Eriksson, credit Carol Sowerby photographer

I am pleased to present my guest today, fellow BC author, Ann Eriksson who has just released her latest book, Bird’s-Eye View: Keeping Wild Birds in Flight. A perfect book for anyone who loves birds and a great gift for a young person.

Ann Eriksson lives on Thetis Island, BC, in a waterfront house surrounded by ocean and trees and lots of amazing and beautiful wildlife. Ann is the author of five novels and two non-fiction ecological literacy books for children. When she’s not writing, working in biology, or helping protect the environment, she’s out exploring nature, on foot, or by boat. You can read about Ann’s work at www.anneriksson.ca. Ann’s novels and children’s books are available in print and eBook formats through your favourite bookseller.

Bird’s-Eye View: Keeping Wild Birds in Flight

From the dry deserts to the icy poles, wild birds are everywhere. We see them soaring overhead, paddling across water, flitting through trees, pecking at our backyard bird feeders and singing from fence posts. Birds contribute to the health of the planet and are enjoyed by many people around the world. But wild birds are in trouble. Today almost 200 bird species are critically endangered. They are threatened by habitat loss, invasive species, climate change, pesticides, human-made structures and other animals. Why are wild birds important? Why do they need help? And what are young people all over the world doing to take wild birds under their wing?

“Anyone, young or old, who wants to learn more about the birds that live in their neighborhood or on the other side of the planet will love this book.” – Trevor Herriot, naturalist and author of Grass, Sky, Song

“ A passionate and beautifully illustrated appeal to bird lovers of all ages.” – Bridget Stutchbury, author of Silence of the Songbirds and The Bird Detective.

What was the inspiration for Birds-Eye View?
I live on Thetis Island, surrounded daily by a wonderful and lively diversity of songbirds, woodpeckers, birds of prey and marine birds. And as a biologist and director of the Thetis Island Nature Conservancy, I know how impacted these beautiful and fascinating animals have been by human activities. I had already written Dive In! Exploring Our Connection with the Ocean as part of the Orca Footprints ecological literacy series and had enjoyed the experience immensely, so I pitched a book on birds and bird conservation to my editors at Orca Book Publishers. It ended up as an Orca Wild title.


I see that you have written a diverse collection of novels. What made you decide on the type of books you write?
I started out writing novels because that is what I love to read. I love being transported into different lives and worlds, and exposed to ideas, people and places I wouldn’t normally encounter. I took a break from fiction to write children’s non-fiction on invitation from Ruth Linka, my former publisher at Brindle & Glass, now at Orca Book Publishers. Both the novels and the non-fiction have combined my passion for writing with my interest in ecology.

How long have you been seriously writing?
I started writing novels in 2000, when I was a single parent with 2 school-age children, a dog to walk, a big old house and garden to look after and a contract job in biology. I began to wake up in the morning with a story complete with characters, paragraphs and sentences running through my head. I told it to go away, I didn’t have time. But it continued to tug at me until a friend invited me to join a fledgling writing group. I wrote my first novel, Decomposing Maggie, through that group of supportive women. I can’t believe it has been 20 years!

Where do you get your ideas?
I write about topics that interest me personally, which generally fall into the categories of ecological and social issues. In my fiction, I’ve written about grief, about disabilities, mental illness, homelessness, ocean pollution, marine ecology, killer whales, classical music, trees, forest ecology and habitat loss, climate change and even a little romance.


What is your writing process?
I call my process the ‘whenever’ school of writing. When I was first writing and still with young children at home, I wrote whenever I got some free time. I never procrastinated. I would sit down and start typing (although not always the most brilliant words). Now that it’s just me and my husband, also a writer, I tend to procrastinate more. But when I do get into a project, I stay focused, set my own deadlines if I don’t have external ones, and am quite productive.


Where do you do your best writing?
I have a beautiful bright loft above the kitchen, with a small deck and a view of the ‘Cut’, an ocean pass on which our home is located. I joke that I write with one eye focussed on the computer and the other on the nature going by outdoors. When I really want to concentrate, I head out to a small 100 square foot former children’s playhouse that we call the Dylan Thomas cabin. But the location isn’t so important (sometimes it’s the dining room table) as taking the time to write for periods long enough to get ‘in the zone,’ where hours can go by that feel like minutes. A wonderful place to be.

How long does it take you to write a book?
I’ve written 8 books in 20 years, so I guess an average of 2-4 years from research to publication. But it varies greatly. I wrote the first draft of my first novel in 6 months. I have a novel that’s been in progress now for 3 or 4 years. And a couple more partially finished manuscripts crying for my attention.

What kind of research do you do for a children’s book, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
The kinds of children’s books I write, which are based on scientific information, take a lot of research. It’s important to me that the information in them is accurate and current. I read books and articles by scientists, I search the internet for interesting information, watch videos, interview experts and others, sometimes children, with knowledge and experience about the topic, and attend talks and conferences, for up to a year before I start writing. Then the process of turning it all into an engaging and interesting narrative begins. Once the text is written I have others, including scientists, read it and give me feedback. When the draft is ready and edited, my publisher then turns it into a beautiful work of art.

Tell us about what you are working on next.
I’m in the final stages of a non-fiction book for youth about the climate crisis, to be published in the fall of 2021 as part of Orca’s Issues series. After that, I’m planning another novel. Fiction is calling me.

You can connect with Ann here:

Website: www.anneriksson.ca
Facebook: Ann Eriksson Books
Twitter: @Ann_Eriksson
Instagram: annleriksson


Her Novels
Decomposing Maggie (2003, Turnstone Press) Note: Out of print
In the Hand of Anubis (2009, Brindle and Glass)
Falling From Grace (2010, Brindle and Glass)
High Clear Bell of Morning (2014, Douglas & McIntyre)
The Performance (2016, Douglas & McIntyre)

Her Children’s Non-Fiction
Dive In! Exploring Our Connection With The Ocean (2018, Orca Book Publishers)
Bird’s-Eye View (2020, Orca Book Publishers)

Please do check out these wonderful books and share this post with your readers.

Thanks, Ann for being a guest on my blog and sharing your love of the environment and its inhabitants.




I am pleased to have as a guest on my blog, Debra Purdy Kong, who has just launched her 6th mystery novel. Debra has been a guest on my blog, here where she talked about how she gets her ideas and gives some great advice to anyone thinking of writing. Today she talks about her inspiration for the latest Casey Holland mystery, The Blade Man.


So, This Bus Driver Approached Me…
By Debra Purdy Kong

After my third Casey Holland mystery, Beneath the Bleak New Moon, was published, a local bus driver contacted me through Twitter to ask about my books. My series is set in and around Vancouver, British Columbia, which is where the driver and I live.

My protagonist, Casey, is a 33-year-old transit security officer who’s employed by a private bus company. She rides the buses, usually after a customer complaint, to deal with smaller types of issues that either evolve into or merge with larger crimes. By book two she becomes legal guardian to a teenager and has begun a romance with a bus driver named Lou, which makes her personal and professional life complicated and tumultuous at times.

My real-life driver offered to answer any questions I might have about the job. I jumped at the invitation and over several months, we met at Starbucks, where I learned that this driver had been assaulted by passengers on three separate occasions.

At that time, drivers had no protective shields. Their only line of defense was to press an alarm button which would notify the police and allow the dispatchers audio access to what was happening. Some of the buses had cameras but others didn’t. Depending on the situation, a supervisor might also be dispatched in a vehicle. The thing is, a lot can happen before help arrives.

Each time, the driver’s recovery took longer. After the third assault, PTSD eventually forced a change in careers. With two kids to support, it wasn’t an easy decision, but this person felt that drivers just weren’t sufficiently equipped or physically prepared to deal with attacks. On some levels, I could relate to this. Having worked in retail for five years and later as a security guard, I’d also faced hostile encounters, but none where I was actually struck.

Despite the attacks my driver experienced, this person had a surprising amount of sympathy for some of those angry, desperate folks. They weren’t drunk jerks, but people with serious mental health issues who’d been abandoned by the system. That revelation led to the inspiration for my latest Casey mystery, The Blade Man.

We live in a stressful world. Even before the pandemic arrived, medical experts expressed concern about the rise in mental health issues and the lack of resources to adequately cope with people who needed help. This is why I felt compelled to address the issue in The Blade Man.

While the villains are caught at the end, the larger mental health issue is not resolved. Even in fiction, the topic is too complex to neatly wrap up. Crime novels often shine a light on societal problems which, as a reader, I’ve always found compelling. I hope that my real-life driver feels safer now and that a happy ending evolved from all the pain and trauma.

Debra’s Bio:

Debra Purdy Kong’s volunteer experiences, criminology diploma, and various jobs, inspired her to write mysteries set in BC’s Lower Mainland. Her employment as a campus security patrol and communications officer provide the background for her Casey Holland transit security novels.

Debra has published short stories in a variety of genres as well as personal essays, and articles for publications such as Chicken Soup for the Bride’s Soul, B.C. Parent Magazine, and The Vancouver Sun. She is a facilitator for the Creative Writing Program through Port Moody Recreation and a long-time member of Crime Writers of Canada. More information about Debra and her books can be found at www.debrapurdykong.com or contact her at debra_kong@telus.net

Book Blurb for The Blade Man:

Who is the Blade Man and why has this mysterious loner been attacking Mainland Public Transport bus drivers? And who is trying to burn MPT down? The company’s president suspects an inside job and orders security officer Casey Holland to launch an internal investigation or face termination.

Convinced that she’s being set up to fail, Casey feels the pressure. With her and Lou’s wedding only weeks away, Casey desperately needs answers, but anger at work and on the streets thwart her efforts. Nor do the police welcome her help.

More employees are attacked, and the president forces Casey to take deeper risks. But how much is too much? How far must she go before facing off with him and MPT’s enemies? Find out in this explosive sixth installment of Casey Holland transit mysteries.

Links For the Blade Man:

Amazon: mybook.to/TheBladeMan
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/the-blade-man
Apple books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1495092401

Find Debra at:

Website www.debrapurdykong.com
WordPress blog: https://debrapurdykong.wordpress.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DebraPurdyKong
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Casey-Holland-Transit-Security-Mysteries/139005706175139

Here is my review of the first book in the series, The Opposite of Dark.

https://www.amazon.ca/gp/customer-reviews/RYL0T07XW90SM/

These books are great and don’t need to be read in order. Check them out!

I am a guest on Richard Dees Indie Showcase today, where I talk about writing a series. Hop over and check it out. https://richarddeescifi.co.uk/the-indie-showcase-presents-darlene-foster/

Today was supposed to be the release of Laura Best’s adult novel, Good Mothers Don’t. But due to current affairs, like many things, the release has been delayed until June. But I would still like to tell you about it as it is such a great book. Mark it as “want to read” on Goodreads. It can be preordered on most bookstore sites as well.

It’s 1960, and Elizabeth has a good life. A husband who takes care of her, two healthy children, a farm in the Forties Settlement. But Elizabeth is slowly coming apart, her reality splintering. She knows she will harm her children, wants to harm her children, wants to be stopped from harming her children. She doesn’t sleep, becomes incoherent. Elizabeth is taken away.

We rejoin her in 1975, “well” once again, living in a group home and desperately trying to fill in the enormous gaps electric shock therapy has left in her memory. She remembers five words from her past and knows they are significant, but their meaning is slippery and she can’t grasp more. She knows that Jewel and Jacob are her children, though she can’t picture their faces, and more than anything, she longs to find them and explain that she never meant to leave for so long.

Shifting through time and points of view, acclaimed author Laura Best’s first novel for adults allows us to see the ripple effects of mental illness and its treatment in the mid-twentieth century. Good Mothers Don’t is a moving exploration of illness, memory, and how we fight for who we love.

This is my review of Good MOthers Don’t

What would you do if you were a mother and felt you were losing your mind? This incredible book introduces us to Elizabeth, a wife and mom in the early 1960s who is grappling with her sanity. Then something happens to push her over the edge, resulting in a family that is torn apart. This well written, gripping story is told by Elizabeth and those affected by her. I have enjoyed everything Laura Best has written in the past, but she has outdone herself with this story. She has created characters so believable you begin to think you have met them somewhere before, perhaps a neighbor or a family member. I felt the pain, the hope and most of all, the love. I closed the book and wanted to start reading it all over again. This story will stay with me for a long time. Thank you Vagrant Press for the ARC.

Review on Goodreads by Darlene Foster

Laura was kind enough to answer a few questions for me.

Where did you get the idea to write, Good Mothers Don’t?

In the very beginning, Good Mothers Don’t started out as a short story about a young girl who is abandoned by her mother.  I wanted to discover why the mother left her children behind and so I wrote another story, told by the mother this time. What I eventually ended up with was a collection of stories that my editor suggested was really a novel. So I went about filling in all the missing pieces, which sounds rather simplistic when, in reality, it took a long time for me to fit all the pieces of the story together. The story revealed itself to me as I wrote so there were things that came as a surprise to me.

When and where do you prefer to write?

I write, quite often, in the evening since I work during the day, but even when I’m at work I spend a lot of time thinking about my characters. I wrote my last three books in my office but I recently replaced my ailing laptop and so I’ve often been writing in my comfy chair in the living room lately while stealing glances at the TV.

Is there a drink or some food that keeps you company while you write?

When writing, I like to have a cup of herbal tea nearby. I like trying new teas and I’m quite enjoying chamomile and lemon at the moment.

Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?

Some of my characters are a conglomerate of people I’ve known but once I find a particular character’s voice they let me know who they are. It is usually upon reflection that I notice any similarities to my characters and the people I know.

If you could choose one fictional character to be your best friend, who would you choose and why?  (I’m sure there are many but just pick one)

I would probably choose Anne Shirley. She is such a spirited character and I’m sure we’d have some wonderful adventures together.

Tell us about your next writing project/projects.

At the moment I’m working on a young adult novel with a male protagonist which is a bit different for me, but I also have a couple of adult novels that I’m really anxious to get back into writing. I usually have several stories happening at once and tend to jump back and forth.

A brief bio

Laura Best has had over forty short stories published in literary magazines and anthologies. Her first novel, Bitter, Sweet was short listed for the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People and made the Best Books for Kids and Teens 2011 list. Her book, Flying with a Broken Wing, was named one of the Bank Street College of Education’s Best Books of 2015. Her book, Cammie Takes Flight was nominated for the Silver Birch award and was a CCBC starred selection. Good Mothers Don’t is her first novel for adults.

Social Media Links

Blog : lauraabest.wordpress.com

Twitter: @laura_a_best

Facebook: @laurabestauthor

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5135897.Laura_Best

Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/laurabest

I would keep an eye out for this book as it is sure to be a bestseller!!

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

Darlene Foster latest interview by AllAuthor Brought up on a ranch in southern Alberta, Darlene Foster dreamt of writing at the age of eight. When she was twelve, one of her stories was published in the local newspaper. It took her three years to write the first book. Darlene Foster’s books have an interesting and fast-paced story and include a huge amount of fascinating information. She loves writing for children. Read full interview…

I was delighted to be asked by AllAuthor for an Author Interview with Mady Joshi. I enjoy being part of AllAuthor as it is a great place to showcase your books. They provide great promo materials and gifs that are easy to create, even for someone not that technical.

Thank you for this interview, Mady! I enjoyed answering your great questions.

I hope you enjoyed my interview on AllAuthor and learned about a favourite childhood memory of mine as well as other things about me and my books.

Here are a couple of promo photos and gifs I have created with AllAuthor.

My favourite

I am pleased to be featured as a guest on Beetley Pete’s blog where I talk about how I turned my own travel experiences into books for kids.

beetleypete

I am delighted to be able to bring you a guest post from the lovely Darlene Foster, a Canadian blogger and published author.

Here is her own short bio.

Brought up on a ranch in Canada, Darlene dreamt of travelling the world and meeting interesting people. She has always loved to tell stories and was encouraged by her grade three teacher to write them down. She is the author of the exciting adventure series featuring 12-year-old Amanda Ross who loves to travel. Readers of all ages enjoy travelling with Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another in countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Spain, England, Germany, Holland and her own country, Canada. When not travelling herself, Darlene divides her time between the sunny Costa Blanca of Spain and the west coast of Canada.

And this is her unedited guest post.

How Travel Memories Became Books for Kids

By…

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“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”  Edith Lovejoy Pierce

I love the start of a new year. It´s an opportunity to re-evaluate my life and set goals for the next 12 months. They may not all be met, that’s OK, life gets in the way. But if there are no goals, nothing gets done and you just sit there. At least that´s how it is for me and I’ve got to keep on moving! 

“Even though you are on the right track – you will get run over if you just sit there.” Will Rogers

With that in mind, here are my goals for 2020.

  1. Edit Amanda in Malta:The Sleeping Lady and send it to the publisher
  2. Write Amanda in France
  3. Decide if I should continue writing Amanda stories or venture into something else.
  4. Write more short stories
  5. Write more travel articles
  6. Help others with their writing as many have helped me
  7. Work on my TBR list, read at least 40 books 
  8. Visit Venice
  9. Attend a family reunion in Alberta
  10. Travel to the UK and visit friends
  11. Organize my office
  12. Organize my computer files
  13. Learn more about writing and publishing a picture book
  14. Publish an anthology of short stories

My three words for 2020 are:

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.

My first goal of 2020 was to write this list and it´s done! I would love to hear about your goals and/or words for this year, the start of a new decade.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

I better get writing!

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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.