Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘writing

I am happy to be part of Jacqui Murray’s book blast for her most recent prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature, Book 2 in the Dawn of Humanity series.

A boy blinded by fire. A woman raised by wolves. An avowed enemy offers help.

Summary

In this second of the Dawn of Humanity trilogy, the first trilogy in the Man vs. Nature saga, Lucy and her eclectic group escape the treacherous tribe that has been hunting them and find a safe haven in the famous Wonderwerk caves in South Africa. Though they don’t know it, they will be the oldest known occupation of caves by humans. They don’t have clothing, fire, or weapons, but the caves keep them warm and food is plentiful. But they can’t stay, not with the rest of the tribe enslaved by an enemy. To free them requires not only the prodigious skills of Lucy’s unique group–which includes a proto-wolf and a female raised by the pack–but others who have no reason to assist her and instinct tells Lucy she shouldn’t trust.

Set 1.8 million years ago in Africa, Lucy and her tribe struggle against the harsh reality of a world ruled by nature, where predators stalk them and a violent new species of man threatens to destroy their world. Only by changing can they prevail. If you ever wondered how earliest man survived but couldn’t get through the academic discussions, this book is for you. Prepare to see this violent and beautiful world in a way you never imagined.

A perfect book for fans of Jean Auel and the Gears!

Book information:

Title and author: Laws of Nature

Series: Book 2 in the Dawn of Humanity series

Genre: Prehistoric fiction

Editor: The extraordinary Anneli Purchase

Available print or digital) at: Kindle US   Kindle UK   Kindle CA   Kindle AU  Kindle India

Author bio:

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also the author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman , the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection, Winter 2022.

Social Media contacts:

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jacqui-Murray/e/B002E78CQQ/

Blog: https://worddreams.wordpress.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jacquimurraywriter/

LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/jacquimurray

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher

Twitter: http://twitter.com/worddreams

Website: https://jacquimurray.net

Writing a Series vs Stand-alone

By Jacqui Murray

I got into a discussion with Robbie over at Robbie’s Inspirations about the mechanics of writing a series. She writes stand-alone books while I write mostly trilogies. The issue was:

When you write a series in the same setting and featuring the same people, how do you keep the descriptions fresh in each book? In other words, how much attention do you give to describing the people and places in the subsequent books to keep the books stand alone and yet part of a series? 

What a great question. Here’s what I do:

I struggled with that at first and then analyzed how other authors did it in series. Sometimes, they included a quick summary of important facts in subsequent books within the series. Sometimes, they provided tantalizing hooks–maybe to drive readers to the earlier books. Other times, when something wasn’t terribly relevant to the story, they skipped it.

I do a hybrid of all three. Where the story would limp without some background, I add that briefly, usually as narrative but occasionally (as in my current publication, Laws of Nature) as a flashback. One answer doesn’t fit and I respond to the particular needs of the current volume in the series/trilogy. Because I read a lot of series, I take note of how authors address this and mostly, when it fits the author’s voice and the story’s pacing, I like their varied efforts. 

What do you do?

Thanks, Jacqui. Although I write a series, they are not sequential and each book can easily stand alone. I make sure the two main characters, Amanda and Leah, maintain their same personality, appearance and voice. I seldom mention anything from the previous books, except in passing. Those who have read the other books will catch on, but it’s not necessary. I do however hope that once a reader reads one Amanda Travels, they wish to read others.

It will be interesting to hear what other writers do.

Excerpt from Laws of Nature

Chapter 1

Hunting

South Africa

Lucy

Fresh blood streaked Short-tooth’s muzzle, her golden eyes alert to every movement around her as she munched on Gazelle’s meaty carcass. Each movement made the Cat’s tawny fur ripple over the powerful muscles beneath her skin. She raised her head, chewing slowly while studying the grass field in front of her, especially toward the back where it blended into the forest. She couldn’t see Mammoth but smelled it, close to the Uprights, maybe protecting them. Despite being the size of a boulder, this pachyderm could outrun most predators and would think nothing of crushing them beneath its massive feet.

Short-tooth wasn’t interested in the Uprights. Their bodies had little meat and less fat. Gazelle was more satisfying.

Catripped a slab of fragrant meat from the hind leg. Snarling-dog—to the far side—slapped the ground. He was hungry but wouldn’t eat Gazelle until Short-tooth finished. Cat purred loudly, close to a snarl, and Snarling-dog withdrew, but not far. Carrion-bird overhead tightened its circle and a tiny shrew the size of Short-tooth’s paw waited patiently, out of Cat’s range, eyes bright, nose twitching. A shred from the carcass was all it needed. 

None of these creatures mattered to Short-tooth. She was the apex predator in her savannah habitat. 

Sticky yellow globs of Mammoth dung slid down Lucy’s back and plopped to the dry thatch. The dung coat was melting under Sun’s intense heat, exactly as Lucy planned. Its purpose was to confuse Short-tooth Cat. The hotter Sun became, the stronger Mammoth’s smell. 

Lucy and her young pairmate, Garv, lay motionless, like Snake sleeping, bodies pressed into the prickly grass, oblivious to the feathery feet that scurried over their backs. She and Garv, too, wanted what Short-tooth didn’t consume. They were more patient than Snarling-dog but that didn’t mean they wouldn’t eat first. The first to arrive got the best of the leftovers.

Lucy rubbed her raw eyes, bleary from watching Cat bite, rip, and chew. If Short-tooth knew of their presence, it was not because she saw them. Lucy and Garv blended into the landscape. Their skin was the color of dirt and dry grass, impossible to find if you weren’t looking. No part of their bodies moved except their narrowed eyes as they scanned the surroundings, evaluating each new arrival to the feast. The dominant scents never changed—Snarling-dog, Short-tooth Cat, something decaying in the nearby forest, her pairmate Garv’s sweaty body, and Gazelle’s ripening offal.

Sun’s relentless heat washed over Lucy in waves. Sweat dripped down her face, over her pronounced brow ridge and into her eyes, but for reasons she didn’t understand, despite his fur pelt, Snarling-dog was dry. He reminded Lucy of Ump, her tribe’s Canis member. Even on the hottest days, Ump didn’t sweat. Instead, he panted more.

Today, Snarling-dog panted hard.

Short-tooth raised her feline head, inspecting her habitat as her jaws crunched through the fresh carrion. She reeked of malevolence which meant scavengers like Lucy and Garv willingly waited their turn.

Sun climbed through the cloudless blue sky. The morning haze had burned off long ago. The dew Lucy hadn’t licked off the leaves, Sun’s heat had. Her throat was dry, lips cracked, but that mattered less than securing scavenge. Her tribe was hungry.

Lately, unexpectedly, when Lucy sat quietly as she did now, a tingle deep inside her chest told her Raza, her former pairmate, was in trouble. The first time she experienced this tingle, what Garv called “instinct”, it churned through her body as a current does in a stream. She thought she was sick until Garv explained this was instinct and it warned of danger, not illness. He told her always to listen, but how was she to do that? Raza had been captured by the tribe’s worst enemy, a formidable Upright called Man-who-preys. She didn’t know where they’d taken him. As often as she brushed the feeling away, it returned, each time stronger than the last.

Cat’s yellow eyes snapped open and her methodical jaws slowed. Something caught her interest, maybe Snarling-dog’s impatience or Carrion-bird’s relentless approach. After a warning hiss, Short-tooth shook her big head and pawed her face. A swarm of black flies lifted, buzzed briefly, and then resettled where they’d started, again gorging on the blood and carrion that stuck to Short-tooth’s face

The flies are thicker than usual.

Short-tooth returned to her meal and Lucy sniffed, wondering what drew Cat’s attention. She didn’t expect to see Man-who-preys here, but took nothing for granted. The tall, big-headed, hairless enemy always carried a long stick which he used to kill prey. Sometimes, he didn’t eat the animal, just watched it die. This unpredictability, that he followed no norms, made him more treacherous than other predators.

She inhaled, but didn’t smell his stench so turned her attention back to the hunt. 

Carrion-bird floated overhead, feet tucked beneath its sleek body. The longer Cat ate, the more of the huge birds arrived. They thought their powerful sweeping wings, sharp claws, and piercing beaks made them the mightiest among the scavengers. What they didn’t realize was that Lucy and Garv possessed an even greater weapon: They could plan. Before Carrion-bird or Snarling-dog got too close, Lucy and Garv would take what they needed and flee.

They always did.

In the edging forest, Cousin Chimp hooted, the pitch and length describing the location of a tree newly bearing fruit. Leaves rustled as his band raced away. Lucy hoped they would leave enough of the succulent produce for her and Garv.

She hunkered deeper into the tall waving stalks, tracking the other scavengers and noting again how far away the trees were in case she needed to flee. A snake slithered over her foot, through the thatch and out of sight. She and Garv had been motionless for so long, Snake probably viewed them as dirt mounds in its path.

Garv tweaked an eyebrow and Lucy motioned, hands a tight circle in front of her chest, well hidden, “Dull colors, no knobs on snake’s tail—no danger.”

Her kind—Man-who-makes-tools—used a sophisticated blend of communication including body language, hand gestures, facial expressions, mimicking, and vocalization. One of their greatest defenses in this brutal world was the ability to become part of their surroundings. Voices were unusual sounds heard nowhere in nature except from Uprights, mostly the big-headed Man-who-preys. Lucy’s kind occasionally whispered and Tree-men, like Boah who was part of Lucy’s tribe, rarely made any sounds beyond huffs, grunts, howls, and moans. Only Man-who-preys jabbered endlessly.

Lucy’s eyelids drooped. This hunt had started yesterday when Lucy and Garv found the fresh cloven prints of a Gazelle herd. Lucy’s kind ate copious amounts of roots, nuts, fruit, juicy stems, and insects, but only meat gave them the energy to survive their dangerous lives. Because they hunted only dead animals, they depended upon predators to make the kill. Gazelle’s fleshy body always attracted Cat and its cousins, like Short-tooth. They would pick off the injured, and Lucy’s tribe would eat what they left.

Because not enough daylight remained yesterday, Lucy and Garv set out today, at Sun’s first light. They followed the herd while the rest of the tribe—the Tree-man Boah, the child Voi, and the Canis Ump—stayed at the homebase’s cave. Before Sun had traveled far, a snarl and a screech told Lucy a predator claimed its prey. When Carrion-bird and its cousins started to circle, she and Garv knew exactly where to go.

Garv nudged Lucy, the movement so subtle the grass didn’t even move. “Short-tooth is leaving.”

Lucy bit her lip and shot a look at Garv. His face radiated excitement.

She studied Short-tooth, tried to see what Garv saw and finally gestured, “I don’t see anything. Why do you think she’s finished?”

He motioned, one finger moving against his palm, “Instinct.” Nothing else.

But that was enough. Garv had taught her to stalk prey, knap tools, hunt, and protect herself. Because of him, she became an accomplished hunter, never missed a print, a bent frond, the fragrance left on leaves or bark, or any other sign. As partners, they always brought meat to the tribe. Most hunters didn’t.

Garv’s instinct had found more prey than Lucy’s tracking skills or senses ever did. She had no doubt Short-tooth would soon leave.

Cat’s big tongue, as long as Lucy’s forearm, licked the bloody scraps from her muzzle, a sign even to Lucy that she had finished. Lucy shifted to her hands and toes, knees hovering above the ground, prepared for what must come next. Garv did the same, his body hard from the life he lived, senses alert to every noise. Carrion-birds cawed and tightened their circle. On the opposite side of the field, Snarling-dog’s pack bared their canines, tails stiff. Drool dripped from their jowls and their gaze bounced between Cat and the Uprights, knowing from experience the scrawny but agile creatures were vigorous competitors.

You are fast, Snarling-dog, but we are smart. We will always get there first!

Lucy tensed as Short-tooth pushed up to her massive paws, canines red with blood, saliva dripping in strands from her jowls. She yawned, her mouth a dark cavity vast enough to swallow Lucy’s entire head, and ambled off. Lucy and Garv exploded to their feet and sprinted toward the carcass. Their powerful legs churned while nimble hands pulled cutters and stones from the sacks strung around their necks. Lucy’s job was to delay Snarling-dog and Carrion-bird while Garv stripped the carrion.

“Argh!” Lucy roared, waving a leafy branch through the air to make herself bigger to Snarling-dog while Garv attacked the carcass. Ignoring the fetid stench of dung and urine, he swung the sharp cutter and sliced through the hide and then muscle and tendon.

Lucy flung a stone at the lead Snarling-dog. It hit his temple, hard, and he dropped with a squeal. His pack slowed to reassess the upright creature and Lucy threw another stone, this one at the new leader’s eye. He yipped and stumbled, shook his head, and pawed at the blood that oozed from the wound and dribbled down his muzzle.

“Lucy!” Garv tossed an almost pristine haunch to her and then swung his chopper at Gazelle’s ribs. Carrion-bird, well into its death dive, talons extended, screeched its imminent attack.

“Let’s go!” Lucy called, the unexpected sound of her voice meant to startle the scavengers.

She hurled a rock at the lead Carrion-bird. It squawked and withdrew, which slowed the rest of the flock. Lucy grabbed an almost-meatless leg bone. It would be filled with nutritious bloody marrow. Meat secured over her shoulders, she and Garv fled. No one chased them. Why abandon certain meat for an uncertain meal? Lucy raced past a termite mound, noted its location, rounded a boulder bed, and lost sight of the fracas.

Not the scent, though. The tantalizing aroma sailed through the air, announcing to every scavenger around the availability of meat.

The title and the cover of this book caught my attention immediately. I love books set in another country, especially if the story contains part of the history of that country. A Ghost and His Gold by prolific author, Roberta Eaton Cheadle takes place in her home country of South Africa during the Second Anglo Boer War between 1899 and 1902. But this isn’t just a historical novel, it also takes place in modern times with a paranormal twist. How the two time periods connect makes this a thrilling story.

Here is the blurb.

After Tom and Michelle Cleveland move into their recently built, modern townhouse, their housewarming party is disrupted when a drunken game with an Ouija board goes wrong and summonses a sinister poltergeist, Estelle, who died in 1904.

Estelle makes her presence known in a series of terrifying events, culminating in her attacking Tom in his sleep with a knife. But, Estelle isn’t alone. Who are the shadows lurking in the background – one in an old-fashioned slouch hat and the other, a soldier, carrying a rifle?

After discovering their house has been built on the site of one of the original farms in Irene, Michelle becomes convinced that the answer to her horrifying visions lie in the past. She must unravel the stories of the three phantoms’ lives, and the circumstances surrounding their untimely deaths during the Second Anglo Boer War, in order to understand how they are tied together and why they are trapped in the world of ghosts between life and death. As the reasons behind Estelle’s malevolent behaviour towards Tom unfold, Michelle’s marriage comes under severe pressure and both their lives are threatened.

I enjoyed this book for many reasons. This is my review on Amazon and Goodreads

A well-written blend of historical and paranormal fiction by Darlene Foster

I have had this book on my TBR list ever since I heard about it. Then, as luck would have it, I won a print copy in a giveaway! I was overjoyed and not disappointed. I tend to be a slow reader, especially if there is a lot of detail and characters, as this story has, but I could not put it down.

It is a well-written blend of historical and paranormal fiction. I love history but am not as keen on paranormal. But in this case, it works well. The author has skillfully used the ghosts of the past to tell their story, which give history a personal and more honest viewpoint. The attention to detail shows the huge amount of research Ms Cheadle has done to ensure the story rings true. In any war, there are always two or more sides and I like how all sides of the Second Boer War are represented in this story. The good, the bad and the ugly, from the point of view of both the men and women involved.

This is not simply a war story, it is about family dynamics, friendships, hardships and heartbreak, and ultimately forgiveness and redemption. A lot is packed into this novel and it is well worth a read.

As an extra treat, here is the author reading an excerpt from the book on Tea Toast and Trivia She also discusses an overview of her writing process for this novel which includes both the British and the Boers point of view.

https://teatoasttrivia.com/2021/06/21/season-3-episode-25-roberta-eaton-cheadle-reading-a-ghost-and-his-gold/?fbclid=IwAR3N9fO22DDB07TWRpAvXkOSPRwWzUmvOq2O4XCi7nxLPV514DgHO0NWxl8

You can purchase a copy of this excellent book on Amazon in paperback or for Kindle

Follow Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Website: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: https://wordpress.com/view/robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19631306.Roberta_Eaton_Cheadle

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobertaEaton17

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robertawrites/?modal=admin_todo_tour

Today is the last official day of the blog tour and I wish to thank everyone for your amazing support. I hope you have all found new and interesting blogs to follow and made new friends and followers. Thank you to everyone who offered to be part of the tour and a huge thanks to all of you who read, liked, commented and shared the posts. You are all amazing. Today I am being featured on Lisa Day’s blog, Book Time, where she asks me some great questions. Say hi to Lisa, a fellow Canadian who loves words – editing, writing and reading them. She reviews many great books!

Book Time

I am the last stop of the Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady blog tour.

Sadly, my copy of Amanda in Malta hasn’t yet arrived, however, I have been following along with the other 11 bloggers on this blog tour so I got a sense of both Amanda, the main character, and the questions I wanted to ask its creator – Canadian author Darlene Foster.

Foster said growing up on a ranch in Alberta inspired her love of reading and seeing the world. Now retired, she has house in Spain where she spends time with her husband and rescue dogs, Dot and Lia, while writing full time. She also travels, meeting interesting people and getting inspirations for her series about Amanda, a 12-year-old girl who travels the world, learning about the people and culture while solving a mystery. Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady is the eighth book in…

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The virtual book tour is going well. Today we are visiting Carol Anne from Ireland! I answered a couple of questions and provided an excerpt from the story about the eye of Osiris seen on the fishermen’s boats in Malta. Enjoy!

Therapy Bits

I’m happy to be part of Canadian author Darlene Foster’s launch of her latest book, Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady. She has answered a couple of questions and provided a short excerpt of the book.

Why did you choose Malta as the setting for this adventure?

When I started to write this series, my goal was to introduce readers to interesting locations that may not be that well known. Malta is one such place. Its not a country many people get to or know much about. My husband and I visited Valletta, the capital, for half a day while on a cruise. We loved it and decided to return for a week a year later. While we were there, I kept saying, Amanda would love it here. So, it was not surprising that I choose Malta for Amanda´s next adventure

How do you do your research for each book?

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Today on the blog tour I am featured on Nancy Klein’s blog American Writer in Spain, where I talk about choosing names for characters. Nancy blogs about life lessons and life in general. She has also recently launched a great book for Young Adults, Torn Between Worlds: an illegal immigrant’s journey to find herself.

US Author Nancy Klein in Spain

Darlene Foster’s latest book in her Amanda series for young readers


How do you choose names for your characters and do you think names are important?

I believe names are important. When I was expecting my daughter, I asked my son what we should name the new baby. He said, “Don´t we have to see what the baby looks like first?”

Like naming a baby, it is important to put some thought into picking a name for a character as he or she has to live with it for a long time. I don’t care for names that are difficult to pronounce or spell. I used Amanda as the name of my main character as that was the name of my granddaughter who was twelve at the time I began writing the first book. It was only going to be a working name but it suited the character so I…

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I am pleased to be a guest on Pete’s wonderful blog. His posts are varied and always interesting. Check them out.

beetleypete

I am delighted to present a guest post from the lovely blogger and author, Darlene Foster.

Here is her short bio.

Darlene Foster grew up on a ranch in Alberta, Canada, where her love of reading inspired her to see the world and write stories about a young girl who travels to interesting places. Over the years she worked in rewarding jobs such as an employment counsellor, ESL teacher, recruiter, and retail manager, writing whenever she had a few spare minutes. She is now retired and has a house in Spain where she writes full time. When not travelling, meeting interesting people, and collecting ideas for her books, she enjoys spending time with her husband and entertaining rescue dogs, Dot and Lia.

Never Too Late To Become A Writer
by Darlene Foster

A goal without a plan is just a dream.

Many of us dream of being a writer. After…

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Following up on my previous post I am reblogging a post by Geoff LePard that explains the fundraiser contest. I’ve started writing my 99 word story based on the prompt. I hope some of you will join in as well, in whatever way you can.

The Sue Vincent Rodeo Is Live

Posted on Feb 2, 2021 by TanGental

Yes it’s here. it’s a lovely idea and it’s got a prize attached. Read on…

It’s time to saddle up and get in line, because the Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic is happening NOW at the Carrot Ranch! Writers will have the opportunity to support Sue Vincent, a stalwart center of our blogging community, as well as compete for a $100 prize! That’s right – we’re trying to make this the biggest writers’ Rodeo yet and celebrate Sue Vincent’s work and writing in the process. On the Rodeo Classic page, you can find a beautiful photo (from none other than Sue herself) to serve as a prompt. Write a story of 99 words or a poem of 99 syllables – no more, no less – based on the prompt photo on the Rodeo page. Also on the Rodeo page is an entry form where you can put up to two entries for the contest. And don’t worry, entries will be anonymized – everyone’s on an equal playing field at the Carrot Ranch, even if you get some TUFF bulls to ride or horses to break! But don’t lollygag – you only have until February 19th to get on your bull and ride out the chute.

There are many ways to participate in the rodeo. Every Rodeo has multiple events, and the Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic is no different. In addition to participating in the contest and donating to the cause, we have multiple events you can participate in!

  • The Sue Vincent Reblog Barrel Race – Check out Sue’s website or the website she shares with Stuart France. Find a poem, essay, or photo that speaks to you, and re-blog it. Feel free to include links to the contest and make sure to include a comment on the re-blog!
  • The Great Book Parade – Buy and read one of Sue’s books. If you’re feeling adventurous, leave a review or publish it on your blog!
  • The Comment Riding Contest – The prize for this one is a fuzzy good feeling and the sharing of community. Like and/or comment on Sue’s posts, whether new or old.
  • Snack Stands – Share the contest on other social media such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or others! You can definitely follow Sue Vincent on Twitter.
  • The Prize Ceremony – Winners will be announced on March 21st, 2021. It could be you, but even if not, come see what Sue’s prompt invoked.

See you on the Carrot Ranch circuit, cowfolk!

Sue Vincent is one of those special bloggers and writers that inspire people all over the world. Readers have long been captivated by her posts about mythology, ancient ruins and medieval churches, and her daily #midnighthaiku. Many have participated in and grown as a result of her #writephoto prompts. She is a person of considerable talents, and in addition to posting her prompts, Sue has tirelessly supported bloggers by hosting guest bloggers and sharing blog posts. She has 19,000 and counting followers.

I’ve not met Sue in person but feel I know her through her wonderful blog posts and consider her a friend. She has taken me the width and breadth of Great Britain, to places I would have never got to myself, providing amazing historic details and wonderful photographs. To appreciate just how talented and wise Sue is, pop over to her blog. I particularly love her outlook on life. Here is a link to a recent post that I found to be extremely insightful: https://franceandvincent.com/2021/01/31/rooted-in-earth/ Her sweet dog Ani has his own cute blog! https://thesmalldogs.blog/

Recently, Sue has been faced with a new and difficult challenge: lung cancer. You can follow her blog to find out more directly from her. The Covid pandemic has served not only to pose a specific threat to a person with a severe respiratory illness, but it has caused the loss of human connection through self-imposed quarantine. Those that follow Sue know that she has been a carer for her son, who gained several disabilities due to a vicious attack, and cancer has made it impossible for her to continue in that role. Because she’s been a carer for so long and not made as much money as she could have otherwise, the core group of the Rodeo Organization Team has decided to hold this fundraiser.

It’s time for Sue to receive something back from the community she’s been a cornerstone of for a decade. Let’s bring the Rodeo into Sue’s house through her computer, and let’s come together with hearts full of joy. Join us for the Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic at the Carrot Ranch – a contest, parade, and celebration all in one!

I am pleased to be one of many bloggers sharing The Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic.

There are many ways to participate. One is to visit the prompt image, “Hidden”, at the Carrot Ranch. The prompt image and entry form will go live on Monday, February 1st, 2021. Enter a flash or a poem by Friday, February 19th, 2021, and you could win either $100 or a copy of one of Sue’s books. The form will allow you to give a small donation for Sue and her family, and a link can be found on the contest page. The winning entries will be announced at the Carrot Ranch on March 22nd, 2021.

If you’re not ready to rodeo, there’s always the “Parade”. Reblog one of Sue’s posts from any of her sites (Daily Echo or France and Vincent) with a comment about why you found it special. Follow her blogs. Read one of her books, then leave reviews where you can. Several people are already gearing up for the parade – so feel free to check out other people’s blogs for suggestions.

Also, go ahead and reblog, tweet, Facebook, or somehow otherwise share the contest! 99 word literary art is a fantastic way to celebrate a blogging hero and a very deserving person.

The Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic begins tomorrow, February 1st. There is a request for donations that will go directly to Sue and her family, and Charli Mills has graciously set up a PayPal functionality on the Carrot Ranch post that will give the cash directly to Sue.

Saddle up, everyone! It’s time for a Carrot Ranch Rodeo like none ever held before. The Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic begins on Monday, February 1st, and it’ll be a TUFF prompt to fit within 99 words. 
I hope to see you at the Ranch, buckaroos!

Visit Sue’s Links: 

Giddy up folks to the rodeo and show support for our dear friend!

It´s launch day for Molly Ringle´s latest book Lava Red Feather Blue. Don´t you just love the cover!!

The Blurb:

Awakening the handsome prince is supposed to end the fairy tale, not begin it. But the Highvalley witches have rarely done things the way they’re supposed to. On the north Pacific island of Eidolonia, hidden from the world by enchantments, Prince Larkin has lain in a magical sleep since 1799 as one side of a truce between humans and fae. That is, until Merrick Highvalley, a modern-day witch, discovers an old box of magic charms and cryptic notes hidden inside a garden statue.

Experimenting with the charms, Merrick finds himself inside the bower where Larkin lies, and accidentally awakens him. Worse still, releasing Larkin from the spell also releases Ula Kana, a faery bent on eradicating humans from the island. With the truce collapsing and hostilities escalating throughout the country, Merrick and Larkin form an unlikely alliance and become even unlikelier heroes as they flee into the perilous fae realm on a quest to stop Ula Kana and restore harmony to their island

What people are saying about the book:

“Come for the Sleeping Beauty allusion, but stay for the incredible world-building! Fans of fantasy, especially anything fae-related, will find this a very rich, satisfying read.” –Brett Hartinger, Author of Geography Club and Three Truths and a Lie

“Lush and imaginative–an epic fantasy for a new generation, full of love, vengeance, redemption, and forgiveness.” –Pam Stucky, Author of The Universes Inside the Lighthouse 

About the Author

Molly Ringle was one of the quiet, weird kids in school, and is now one of the quiet, weird writers of the world. Though she made up occasional imaginary realms in her Oregon backyard while growing up, Eidolonia is her first full-fledged fictional country. Her previous novels are predominantly set in the Pacific Northwest and feature fae, goblins, ghosts, and Greek gods alongside regular humans. She lives in Seattle with her family, corgi, guinea pigs, fragrance collection, and a lot of moss.

Buy links:

Paperbacks via Indiebound: https://www.indiebound.org/search/book?keys=author%3ARingle%2C%20Molly

Ebooks via Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?query=molly%20ringle&fcsearchfield=Author

Print and Nook via B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/%22Molly%20Ringle%22?Ntk=P_key_Contributor_List&Ns=P_Sales_Rank&Ntx=mode+matchall

Print and Kindle via Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Molly-Ringle/e/B003OSSOF8?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1609448504&sr=8-1

I´m pleased to have Molly here as a guest on this special launch day as I have been a fan of hers for a number of years. Learn more about this intriguing author.

  1. Tell the readers about yourself, including something quirky.

I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest almost my whole life: born in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and grew up there, and moved to Seattle as an adult. The only major exceptions, not counting vacations, were three years of grad school in Davis, California, and three months of working abroad in the UK in 1996, spent mostly in Edinburgh, Scotland. And speaking of Scotland, I suppose one quirky thing is that I genuinely do like haggis! (I’ve found that if you like meatloaf, you can handle haggis. It’s not as scary as it sounds.)

  • You are a very diverse writer, how do you manage moving from one genre to another?

I’m glad it seems diverse from the outside! To me it feels like I usually write variations on a few themes: there’s always a love story; there’s NEARLY always a gentle, hopeful, even humorous tone; and there may or may not be paranormal elements, but even if the story is real-world, there’s still something of a fairy-tale feel in that remarkable events take place. When looking to start a new project, I usually decide what I most feel like writing at that time in my life—fantasy or real-world, epic scale or more intimate scale—and then proceed to figure out the characters and their goals and obstacles.

  • Where do you get ideas for your stories? What inspired Lava Red Feather Blue?

The ideas can come from anywhere—dreams, random thoughts, retellings of myths, mashups of various elements that interest me. I write the brief thoughts down in a story idea file if they seem good enough to someday become a book. One such note was the idea of creating a new country, a large island somewhere off the west coast of North America. I also liked the idea of it having royals (because to an American that can be a bizarre yet intriguing feature). And when I needed to pick a new story to write in early 2017, I settled on that one, and furthermore, decided I wanted to do more with the idea of humans living alongside fae, which I played with in The Goblins of Bellwater. So Lava Red Feather Blue eventually became all of that: humans and fae living on an island country in the Pacific. Plus a hint of a Sleeping Beauty retelling.

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

Hmm, that’s a question whose answer could change for me from day to day! But today the one who comes to mind is EIinor Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility. I love the whole Dashwood family and would be happy to visit with all of them, but Elinor seems the most steadfast and (to use the book’s title) sensible of the lot. Plus maybe being her best friend would mean I’d always have a place to stay in England, which I would find quite appealing as a perk.

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

Fireflies. I have never seen them in person! We don’t have them in the western states, and I haven’t happened to be anywhere that does have them. (I did visit NYC in late May and early June one year, but the fireflies were stubborn and did not light up for me in Central Park.) I love bioluminescence, so I want to experience them some magical night. Until then, I’ll have to settle for the lovely sea sparkle that we get in Puget Sound on the occasional warm summer night.

  • Tell us about your next writing project.

I’m returning to Eidolonia, the island from Lava Red Feather Blue, but with a new set of characters. As such, it isn’t really a sequel, but I expect it will overlap in time with Lava Red Feather Blue and will reflect some of the same major events. Mostly, though, it will be about characters in a different town than those visited in the first book, and it will focus on the frictions between fae and humans there, and the ways love and magic complicate their lives. I have a lot to figure out yet, but that’s likely to be the vague outline of it!

Follow Molly on the following social media sites
Blog: http://mollyringle.livejournal.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MollyRingle/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2905269.Molly_Ringle
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writermollyringle/
Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/mollyringle/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mollyringle
Website: http://www.mollyringle.com/

A selection of Molly´s books.

My review of the Goblins of Bellwater

I am a huge fan of Molly Ringle’s novels. The Goblins of Bellwater didn’t disappoint and proved the versatility of this talented writer. Set in the picturesque Pacific Northwest, there is plenty of magic, romance, and action to engage any reader. Ms Ringle’s vivid descriptions take the reader into the unbelievable world of goblins – believably! Her portrayal of the contemporary human characters living in a small town and their relationships are very realistic. Can a mechanic, who is also an artist, a dedicated environmentalist, a talented chef and a barista/aspiring artist be able to withstand the power of a goblin’s spell and return to their normal lives? This page-turner will keep you guessing as they race against time and the elements to release an age-old evil spell, that is affecting all of their lives. And not in a good way.

Check out Molly’s books for a real treat.

For many years I have set goals for the coming year. They help to keep me focused and be productive. This year I was reluctant to set any goals because it is hard to make plans when things are still so uncertain. But then I decided the best thing is to just carry on as usual. Goals are not written in stone. They can always be adjusted or carried over to the next year. So before I went to bed on January 1st, I wrote down some goals. I also believe goals need to be shared in order to be effective. Here they are!

Goals for 2021

  1. Come up with innovative ideas to market Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady
  2. Plan a trip to Canada to launch Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady
  3. Visit family and friends in Canada as soon as it is safe to do so
  4. Finish writing Amanda in Spain: Fire in the Cathedral
  5. Read and review at least 40 good books
  6. Visit new places in Spain
  7. Continue to help other writers
  8. Organize computer files
  9. Attend conferences and workshops on line
  10. Do podcast and video interviews and presentations
  11. Visit schools digitally and in-person if possible
  12. Find markets for my short stories
  13. Adopt a buddy for Dot
  14. Stay safe and stay positive

In recent years, I have been encouraged by other bloggers to pick three words for the year. I really like this idea and usually pick the first three words that come to mind.

These are my words for 2021.

Strength

Love

Hope

My wish for everyone for 2021 is to be strong, share the love and never give up hope! And drink good tea and read good books.


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Pig on Trial

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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.