Welcome Guest Blogger, Darlene Foster

Amanda in Holland.jpgMy guest today is author Darlene Foster, the creator of the popular Amanda Travels series featuring Amanda Ross, a twelve-year-old Canadian girl who loves to travel to interesting places. The seventh book in the series, Amanda in Holland – Missing in Action, has just been released by Central Avenue Publishing and is available through most bookstores.

In this book, intrepid traveller, Amanda Ross, is in Holland to see the tulips with her best friend, Leah. They travel the canals of Amsterdam, visit Anne Frank House, check out windmills, tour a wooden shoe factory, and take pictures of the amazing flowers of Keukenhof Gardens.  But, things are missing in Holland – rare tulip bulbs, a gardener, a home for an abandoned puppy and Amanda’s great-uncle who didn’t return from the war. Is Amanda capable of finding these missing things without putting herself in danger?

Darlene Foster photo.jpgDarlene bases her novels on her own travels. Ever since she was a little girl living a ranch in southern Alberta, she dreamt of travelling the world, meeting interesting people and writing stories. It’s no surprise that she’s now an award-winning author of the exciting Amanda Travels series featuring spunky twelve-year-old Amanda Ross, who loves to travel to unique places. Readers of all ages enjoy travelling with Amanda as she encounters the unknown and unravels one mystery after another. When not travelling herself, Darlene divides her time between Canada and Spain with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot. She is proof that dreams can come true.

A recent five-star review for Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action

This book was quite a bit of fun. Foster combines a middle-grade fiction plot with a colourful tour of Holland, including its famous sites, snippets of history, and its wonderful flowers and food. I had the great fortune of visiting my grandparents in Holland when I was Amanda’s age, and her experiences in the book mirror my memories in great detail. It was a blast to traipse along beside Amanda and enjoy the country once again.

The main plot focuses on the recovery of a lost puppy, but secondary plots weave through the story, and all come together nicely at the end. There’s a bit of mystery and some danger to keep the tension up. There are also some very moving scenes when Amanda visits Anne Frank’s home and a war memorial dedicated to the Canadians who helped liberate Holland during WWII. A lovely book for young readers and absolutely perfect for readers who plan to travel the world.

  1. W. Peach https://dwallacepeachbooks.com/

amandapostcardsallfront.jpgThe Amanda Travels series introduces readers to new cultures and countries by weaving mystery and adventure into the stories. They are perfect for tweens or reluctant older readers and appeal to teachers and librarians looking for new material for their classroom. Adults enjoy the adventures as well.

Darlene will be in the Vancouver area reading from and signing her books at these locations:

Albany Books, 123 – 1315 56th Street, Tsawwassen on Saturday, October 19th from 1:00 – 3:00 PM

Chapters, Pine Tree Village, 2991 Lougheed Hwy, Coquitlam on Sunday, October 20th from 1:00 to 4:00 PM

Social media links

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/DarleneFoster/e/B003XGQPHA/

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Meet Guest Author, Jacqui Murray

Blog Post Image of The Quest For Home

One of the best things about being on WordPress is in meeting other authors. One of these great people is author Jacqui Murray, who has recently released her second prehistoric fiction novel, The Quest For Home, in the Crossroad series, part of the Man vs. Nature saga.

A short summary of the book:

Chased by a ruthless and powerful enemy, Xhosa flees with her People, leaving behind her African homeland, leading her People on a grueling journey through unknown and perilous lands. As they struggle to overcome treachery, lies, danger, tragedy, hidden secrets, and Nature herself, Xhosa must face the reality that her most dangerous enemy isn’t the one she expected. It may be one she trusts with her life. 

The story is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated Eurasia. He was a violent species, fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened his survival except for one: future man, the one destined to obliterate any who came before.

Based on a true story, this is the unforgettable saga of hardship and determination, conflict and passion as early man makes his way across Eurasia, fleeing those who would kill him. He must be bigger-than-life, prepared time and again to do the impossible because nothing less than the future of mankind is at stake.

Jacqui’s on a blog tour and today she’s going to answer one key question about her work, which is: Convince me they can communicate as well as it sounds like they do with just gestures, hands, and facial movements. 

I get this a lot. Let me give you two examples. First, have you ever been around someone who doesn’t speak your language and still, the two of you communicate by pointing, hand gestures, body movements, and facial expressions? Second, think of sign language. Very sophisticated ideas are communicated with just hands and facial expressions. That’s how Xhosa and her kind did it. 

Find Jacqui and her Books at Any of These Sites:

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

Jacqui MurrayJacqui’s bio:

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman , the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for  NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, In the Footsteps of Giants, Winter 2020, the final chapter in the Crossroads Trilogy.

Excerpt from Chapter One, The Quest For Home

Northern shore of what we now call the Mediterranean Sea 

Pain came first, pulsing through her body like cactus spines. When she moved her head, it exploded. Flat on her back and lying as still as possible, Xhosa blindly clawed for her neck sack with the healing plants. Her shoulder screamed and she froze, gasping.

How can anything hurt that much?

She cracked one eye, slowly. The bright sun filled the sky, almost straight over her head.

And how did I sleep so long?

Fractured memories hit her—the raging storm, death, and helplessness, unconnected pieces that made no sense. Overshadowing it was a visceral sense of tragedy that made her shake so violently she hugged her chest despite the searing pain. After it passed, she pushed up on her arms and shook her head to shed the twigs and grit that clung to her long hair. Fire burned through her shoulders, up her neck and down her arms, but less than before. She ignored it.

A shadow blocked Sun’s glare replaced by dark worried eyes that relaxed when hers caught his.

“Nightshade.” Relief washed over her and she tried to smile. Somehow, with him here, everything would work out.

Her Lead Warrior leaned forward. Dripping water pooled at her side, smelling of salt, rotten vegetation, mud, and blood.

“You are alright, Leader Xhosa,” he motioned, hands erratic. Her People communicated with a rich collection of grunts, sounds, gestures, facial expressions, and arm movements, all augmented with whistles, hoots, howls, and chirps.

“Yes,” but her answer came out low and scratchy, the beat inside her chest noisy as it tried to burst through her skin. Tears filled her eyes, not from pain but happiness that Nightshade was here, exactly where she needed him. His face, the one that brought fear to those who might attack the People and devastation to those who did, projected fear.

She cocked her head and motioned, “You?”

Deep bruises marred swaths of Nightshade’s handsome physique, as though he had been pummeled by rocks.  An angry gash pulsed at the top of his leg. His strong upper arm wept from a fresh wound, its raw redness extending up his stout neck, over his stubbled cheek, and into his thick hair. Cuts and tears shredded his hands.

“I am fine,” and he fell silent. Why would he say more? He protected the People, not whined about injuries.

When she fumbled again for her neck sack, he reached in and handed her the plant she needed, a root tipped with white bulbs. She chewed as Nightshade scanned the surroundings, never pausing anywhere long, always coming back to her.

The sun shone brightly in a cloudless sky. Sweltering heat hammered down, sucking up the last of the rain that had collected in puddles on the shore. Xhosa’s protective animal skin was torn into shreds but what bothered her was she couldn’t remember how she got here.

“Nightshade, what happened?”

 

Meet Guest Author, Alison Bruce

2013-Bruce-BW-200I’m delighted to host author Alison Bruce today. I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Alison when I was on the Crime Writers of Canada Board a few years back. Alison writes history, mystery and suspense. Her books combine “clever mysteries, well-researched backgrounds and a touch of romance.” Her protagonists are marked by their strength of character, sense of humor and the ability to adapt to new situations. Four of her novels have been finalists for genre awards.

Check out this fascinating piece on Ghost Stories:

When I was six years old, I woke to find my grandmother standing at the bottom of my bed. She wore her habitual expression of worry blended with faint disapproval. Her eyes narrowed and I waited to find out what I had done this time to annoy her. Then she nodded and disappeared.

In the morning, my mother came to tell me that Grandma Allard had died. She had a heart attack in the evening and my father had been called to the hospital shortly after my bedtime. I could stay off school if I wanted, which of course I did. It wasn’t that I was shocked or particularly grieved to learn my grandmother was dead, but a day off school was not something you turned down. I wasn’t even worried that I had apparently seen a ghost.

This is the opening of Ghost Writer. Except for changing the name Bruce to Allard, it is autobiographical. Although I haven’t seen nearly as many ghosts as my character Jen Kirby, this story was inspired by the ghosts I have experienced.

I’m willing to accept that I was dreaming that night. If that’s the case, my dream was prophetic because, in the case of Grandma Bruce, her death came as a shock to everyone else. She had a sudden heart attack. I didn’t know anything about it until after the fact. I didn’t even know my parents had left the house. No doubt my Nana Nash was asked to watch us while they were gone. But I slept through it.

I used to have horrible nightmares when I was a child. None of them were about ghosts. The idea of ghosts has never been particularly scary for me. That may be the reason I underestimated how much I could scare other kids with ghosts stories. There’s another bit in Ghost Writer where Jen talks about getting into trouble because of her stories. That is also autobiographical.

Did I sense my friend Allan at his funeral? Did my mother-in-law, who died before I met her son, really check me out to make sure I was taking good care of her only child? Maybe it was all in my head. As Dumbledore said, “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

In any case, it’s all grist for the mill.

She has to deal with two kinds of spooks: spies and ghosts.But which one is trying to kill her?

Jen Kirby has seen ghosts since she was a teen, but she can’t talk to them or help them cross over. And, after a violent death in the family, she doesn’t want to see them anymore.

In her role as ghostwriter, Jen joins a Canadian Arctic expedition to document and help solve a forty-year-old mystery involving an American submarine station lost during the Cold War. The trouble is, there are people—living and dead—who don’t want the story told, and they’ll do anything to stop her.

Now Jen is haunted by ghosts she can’t avoid or handle alone. That means confiding in the one man she doesn’t want to dismiss her as “crazy.” But can he help? Or is he part of the problem?

Bruce-GhostWriter-400Buy Link for Ghost Writer: http://getbook.at/GhostWriterAB

ADVANCE REVIEWS

A compelling mystery with a unique setting and skillfully handled supernatural twist.

Kelley Armstrong, #1 New York Times Bestselling  Author

A maritime mystery full of twists and turns, heart-pounding suspense, and ghosts!

Ghost Writer plunges you into the icy depths of the Arctic Ocean with breath-stealing twists and turns, maritime adventures, page-turning suspense … and ghosts. A great read!

Ann Charles, USA Today Bestselling Author of the Deadwood Mystery Series

Alison Bruce weaves a masterful mystery set in the Arctic that will have you reaching for a hot cup of coffee and a blanket as you feel the cold water splash up off the pages and into your face. With equal parts of paranormal and practicality, Ghost Writer will keep you up all night as you work your way through this addictive page-turner.

Sheryl Nantus, award winning author of HARD RUN

GHOST WRITER is a must-read for fans of Barbara Michaels, AKA Elizabeth Peters. In GHOST WRITER, Alison Bruce provides it all—sly humour, a feisty yet vulnerable heroine, hunky romantic interests, believable characters, a carefully researched and unusual setting, and page-turning suspense.

Janet Bolin, author of the Threadville Mysteries

Links

Website: www.alisonbruce.ca

Blog: alisonebruce.blogspot.ca

Twitter: @alisonebruce

Facebook: www.facebook.com/alisonbruce.books

Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/alisonbruce

 Professional Affiliations

Crime Writers of Canada – www.crimewriterscanada.com

Meet Guest Blogger, Donna Galanti

GalantiDonnaI’m delighted to present my first guest blogger on WordPress, Donna Galanti! She’s the author of the paranormal suspense Element Trilogy and the children’s fantasy adventure Joshua and The Lightning Road series. Donna is a contributing editor for International Thriller Writers the Big Thrill magazine and blogs with other middle grade authors at Project Middle Grade Mayhem. She’s lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. Donna enjoys teaching at conferences on the writing craft and marketing and also presenting as a guest author at elementary and middle schools. Visit her at www.elementtrilogy.com and www.donnagalanti.com. She also loves building writer community. See how at www.yourawesomeauthorlife.com

Check out what she has to say about The Monster Inside Us: 

In some movies and books, the monsters are obvious. But are the monsters inside us?

In my paranormal suspense, A Human Element, X-10 is obviously monstrous. He kills. He seeks blood and revenge. He has no remorse. Yet as we come to discover it’s a combination of his genes and environment, can we blame him?

And sometimes we create the very monsters we fear who are really to be pitied, like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. We can identify with him as we have all felt like an outcast, rejected and unloved at times. Is Frankenstein truly the monster or is it the human who created him?

I believe the true monsters in my book lie beneath the surface of characters that are not so obviously monstrous.

The abusive foster father.
The scientist who tortures his experiment.
The doctor who sells a baby.
The men who kidnap and torture a sailor.

Do they get what they deserve in the end? You’ll have to read to find out…

I created new scenes of the monster, X-10, for the re-release of A Human Element that blur the boundaries of good and evil further for him. We see him now once loved and desired, and in return he shines kindness on the only soul that ever touched him with tenderness. While genes and environment have made X-10 what he is, should he be feared or pitied? Or both? In an interview here with X-10 awhile back, you may fear him more than pity.

New scene with X-10. A true monster or not?:

As X-10 ran under the full moon, leaping over rocks and roots, darting around boulders he could see her in his mind.

Laura. You are mine.

Then he saw her with her man. Water coursed all around them. Her hair hung wet about her shoulders. X-10 closed off his mind’s eye to the scene. It made him feel strange. And in that strange feeling he couldn’t define, X-10 hated her even more.

Rage surged through him and his blood pulsed fast, throbbing under his white skin in blue rivers. Why did she get to have her man when he couldn’t have his woman? Why was she worthy and he wasn’t? But Sabrina’s touches had made him feel worthy. Even if they were paid. And she had smelled and looked so good.

The night flashed through him again and he moaned with agony over the loss of the girl who left a hole in his heart. The girl who called him Charlie and loved him for just one night.

After Sabrina’s fear of him had left her, she’d sat down on his bed then. “Why don’t we just lie here for now? We can talk, you know. Like real…people.”

He stood over her, considering. What would he talk about with a human girl?

She lay down on her side and he did too, facing her. Her blonde hair curved along her breasts like silky strands of sparkly cotton candy. He’d seen a picture of it once being swirled on a stick at a fair. He wondered what it would taste like. What she would taste like.

She touched his face then pulled her fingers away. “When you look at all your parts, you’re not so bad.”

“A monster.”

“No. I’ve been with monsters.”

“Like me?”

She shook her head. “Monsters on the inside.”

Even in the garish light she was the loveliest thing he had ever seen. He wanted to touch her, but was afraid of his urges. To hurt and maim and kill. Good guys don’t do those things. And she had called him by his name. As if he was a good guy.

No! No good guy!

He was evil to the core.

And hate spurred him on now. Hate would help him survive. He forced himself to run faster through the night. Why did Laura get to live a normal life? He vowed to make her end not normal. And in that end, she would wish she had never been born.

A lonesome dog bayed in the hills above X-10 as if approving his plan. Streaks of moonlight and shadows fell across his face like whip lashes over and over, creating a living painting from darkness and light. He would show Laura darkness like she never experienced, and pain. There would be so much pain. He howled back at the creature that rode alone through the woods as he did. Perhaps they would meet along their journeys.

He hoped so. He was getting hungry again.

Who are some of your favorite monsters? And did they get what they deserved in the end or were they to be pitied and redeemed?

P.S. I’m also giving away a $25 Amazon gift card below! 

Element Triliogy twitter2About A Human Element:
One by one, Laura Armstrong’s friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next. Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite–her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ death the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a mad man, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together. But the killer’s desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben’s emotional relationship and Laura’s pure spirit to the test. With the killer closing in, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his and she has two choices–redeem him or kill him.

Praise for A Human Element:
“A Human Element is an elegant and haunting first novel. Unrelenting, devious but full of heart.  Highly recommended.” – Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling author

Praise for A Hidden Element:
“Fascinating…a haunting story about just how far parents will go to protect, or destroy, their children in the name of love.”—Rebecca Cantrell, New York Times best-selling author

Purchase A Human Element here: On sale for just $0.99 10/27 – 11/2! http://mybook.to/AHumanElement

Purchase A Hidden Element here: On sale for FREE 10/27 – 10/31!
http://myBook.to/AHiddenElement

Enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card HERE:

Connect with Donna:
Twitter  https://twitter.com/DonnaGalanti
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DonnaGalantiAuthor/
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5767306.Donna_Galanti