Guest Post: Darlene Foster

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 all, we have tons of ideas. We spend years talking about it, fantasize about signing our books, and envision people saying, “I read your book and loved it.” But there is always an excuse. We are too busy working, raising kids, keeping a house, volunteering, looking after grandchildren or ageing parents; the list goes on. Then one day there is a bit more time and we say, “Now I’m too old to write a book. If only I had started years ago. It’s too late.” I have heard this many times.

I was one of those people. I had so many excuses for not sitting down and writing a book. I took writing courses and attended seminars, wrote a few short stories and submitted to the occasional contest, but the idea of writing a book was too daunting and I often felt I had left it too late.

Then I went on a fabulous holiday to the United Arab Emirates and decided I needed to write about it. It worked best for me to write my story from the point of view of a twelve-year-old and target it to middle-grade readers. Although I was already in my fifth decade, I was still busy working a full-time job, tutoring part-time, volunteering and sitting on a few boards. How was I going to fit in the time to write a book?

I came up with a clever plan. The plan was to write the book in three years; a realistic time frame for me. How was I going to do this? I planned to write one chapter a month by writing two hours a day, five days a week. By breaking it down into doable steps, it was not so difficult. I simply eliminated watching television for two hours every evening after work. Soon my friends and family understood that I could not be disturbed for those two hours. If I missed one day, I would write for two hours on the weekend.

My plan worked. At the end of three years, I had Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask completed and ready for submission. It took another 5 years to find a publisher, but I persevered. In those five years, between researching publishers and writing query letters, I continued to write and completed, Amanda in Spain-The Girl in the Painting. After all, I was used to writing at least one hour a day.

I now have eight books in the Amanda Travels series published and have organized numerous book signings where people of all ages have approached me saying, “I love your books. I hope you write more.” My dream has come true!

I still write for at least two hours every day and can now write a book in one year. My next book, Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady will be released on May 11th, 2021. I am working on the ninth novel as we speak and have many more ideas. There is no stopping me now!

The lesson I learned is that it is never too late and you can never be too busy, to make your dream of writing, or any dream, come true – if you make a plan and stick to it. As a much wiser person than I once said, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C. S. Lewis

Darlene´s books can be found on most booksellers´ sites including Amazon.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=darlene+foster&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

She can be contacted on various social media sites.

website http://www.darlenefoster.ca
blog https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/
facebook https://www.facebook.com/DarleneFosterWriter
twitter https://twitter.com/supermegawoman

Please use the links to connect with Darlene and to find out more about her books.

Blogger’s Books: Darlene Foster

It is my pleasure to feature a book from Canadian writer and blogger, Darlene.

This is the latest in her very popular ‘Amanda’ series. This time, our heroine is in Holland.

Here is Darlene’s bio.

Darlene Foster is a Canadian author who has written the popular Amanda Travels series, featuring a spunky twelve-year-old who loves to travel to unique places where she encounters mystery and adventure while learning about another culture. Readers of all ages enjoy travelling with Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another in various countries. Darlene has won prizes for her short stories and a number of them have been published in anthologies. She has also written a bi-lingual book for English/Spanish readers.

Darlene grew up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, where her love of reading inspired her to travel the world and write stories. Over the years she held wonderful jobs such as an employment counsellor, ESL teacher, recruiter, and retail manager, and wrote whenever she had a few spare minutes. She is now retired and has a home in Spain where she writes full time. When not travelling, meeting interesting people, and collecting ideas for her books, she likes to spend time with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot.

Her books include: Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask, Amanda in Spain: The Girl in The Painting, Amanda in England: The Missing Novel, Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone, Amanda on The Danube: The Sounds of Music, Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind, and Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action. Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady will be released in the spring of 2021.

And the book’s synopsis.

Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action (Amanda Travels #7)
by Darlene Foster

Alongside her best friend Leah, Amanda is in Holland to see all the sights: tulips, canals, Anne Frank House, windmills, and even a wooden shoe factory. She is also keen to find out what happened to her great uncle, who never returned from World War II. What she doesn’t expect is to find and fall in love with an abandoned puppy named Joey. While trying to find a home for him, she meets Jan, a Dutch boy who offers to help, a suspicious gardener, a strange woman on a bicycle, and an overprotective goose named Gerald. Follow intrepid traveler Amanda around Holland as she encounters danger and intrigue while trying to solve another mystery in a foreign country.

If you would like to find out more about Darlene’s books, and buy some, please use one of the links that follow.

Amazon Canada https://www.amazon.ca/Amanda-Holland-Missing-Darlene-Foster/dp/1771681713/
Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Amanda-Holland-Missing-Action-Travels-ebook/dp/B07L9LVK4J
Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/Amanda-Holland-Missing-Action-Travels/dp/1771681713/
Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/amanda-in-holland-darlene-foster/1130013153
Waterstones https://www.waterstones.com/book/amanda-in-holland/darlene-foster/9781771681711
Chapters/Indigo https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/amanda-in-holland-missing-in/9781771681711

Guest Post: Darlene Foster

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 Darlene Foster

As a young girl living in rural Alberta, Canada, I always wanted to do two things, travel and write. My first time on an airplane was at age twenty-five when I flew to England to marry my British fellow. I couldn’t contain my excitement. I didn’t mind that London was fogged in and we had to land in Scotland first. It didn’t bother me that we missed our connection and had to sleep in Heathrow airport for a few hours until we could get a flight to Manchester. The only train to York stopped at every little town and hamlet along the way and we were almost a day late for the roast beef dinner his family made for us. For me it was all part of the amazing adventure, and I loved every minute. I never stopped travelling after that.

Years later I was invited to visit a friend who was working in the United Arab Emirates. An opportunity I would never get again, I didn’t hesitate to go. The moment I stepped off the plane, I was enthralled. I loved everything about the place; the people, the food, the culture, the geography, the history. I visited an archaeological dig, witnessed a camel race, spent a day in the desert at a Bedouin camp, rode a camel, took a drive into the mountains, walked in a wadi and shopped at a souk. I felt like I had stepped into a storybook. My friend commented that I acted as excited as a twelve-year-old.

I returned home and felt the urge to write about this remarkable experience. I started to write from an adult’s perspective but it wasn’t working for me. The story lacked the excitement I felt while encountering such unique experiences. One sleepless night I looked through my photographs which brought back vivid memories. I started to write, but this time from the point of view of a twelve-year-old. It felt right. I wrote about what I saw and felt, and I threw in an adventure. That night, Amanda in Arabia – The Perfume Flask was born.

After completing the book, I decided Amanda needed to do more travelling. My in-laws had retired to Spain from England and we had been to visit them there a number of times. Spain is another country I found fascinating. It wasn’t too difficult to incorporate my travels and experiences in Spain into Amanda in Spain – the Girl in the Painting. I had fun including the Gaudi buildings of Barcelona, The Prada Museum in Madrid and the hanging houses of Cuenca.

We returned to England a number of times since my inaugural flight to visit relatives, spending time in a different part of that historic country with every visit. It was natural that the third book would take place in England. But what to write about when there is so much to see and do? I narrowed it down to sites in London such as Hampton Court, The Tower of London, Harrods and the London Eye. I also had Amanda visit The Isle of Wight and Windsor Castle, two of my favourite places. Amanda in England – The Missing Novel is one of my most popular books.

Amanda has since travelled down the Danube on a river cruise, gone on a school trip to New Mexico and visited the delightful country of Holland, as well as entertained her British friend in her home province of Alberta. All these stories are based on my own travel experiences. I get great enjoyment out of reliving my trips through the eyes of Amanda. Of course, she has way more adventures than I did.

Although these books are written in a style that children can easily read and understand, to my delight I find many adults enjoy them as well. One adult reader commented, “Amanda in Spain is a book for the young and the young-at-heart. Vivid descriptions of the country and its customs, humorous details, and enough tension that keeps you turning the page, make this a very enjoyable reading. I look forward to Amanda’s next adventure!”

Another adult reader had this to say about Amanda in New Mexico: “Even though I am way beyond the age bracket market this series is intended to, the child in me truly enjoyed Amanda and her classmates’ adventures on their school trip to New Mexico, discovering enchanting villages and people along the way and getting into all kinds of scraps that may or may not involve spirits and otherworldly phenomena. I especially enjoyed learning about a part of the world I have never been to, in particular, the town of Taos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its History, as well as the Day of the Dead celebrations and Doña Sebastiana, the female saint of death.”

I have many more ideas for future Amanda travels books and am currently working on Amanda in Malta. Readers keep asking, “Where is Amanda going next?” My only rule is it has to be somewhere I’ve visited myself. This means I’ll have to keep travelling so Amanda can visit more places and I can write more books!

Here are some useful links where you can find out more, connect with Darlene, and even buy her books!
Please visit Darlene, and give her some encouragement. She is a very helpful and engaged blogger, as well as being a huge asset to our community.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DarleneFosterWriter/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/supermegawoman

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/darlene6490/

Website: http://www.darlenefoster.ca/

Blog: https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/

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

Amazon author page https://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA