Indie Author Friday: Darlene Foster #IndieAuthor #ChildrensBooks @supermegawoman

We’re changing it up today on Indie Author Friday.  Darlene Foster is sharing her exciting collection of children’s travel adventure books.  Join Amanda as she journeys around the world and experiences new cultures and a few mysteries.  Aren’t these covers beautiful?

Twelve year old Amanda Ross finds herself on an elegant riverboat with her bestie, Leah, cruising down the beautiful Danube, passing medieval castles, luscious green valleys and charming villages. When she is entrusted with a valuable violin by a young, homeless musician during a stop in Germany, a mean boy immediately attempts to take it from her.

Back on their cruise, Amanda struggles to keep the precious violin safe for the poor prodigy. Along the way, she encounters a mysterious monk, a Santa Claus look-alike, and the same nasty boy.

Follow Amanda down the Danube, through Germany, Austria and Hungary, as she enjoys the enchanting sounds of music everywhere she goes. She remains on the lookout though, wondering just who she can trust.

What do you wish you’d known before you were published?

I wish I had known that although it is possible to get published, it can take a long time. I think if I had known how long it would take, I would have started the process sooner. I got into the writing game a bit late. However, I believe it is never too late to start writing!

What is something memorable you’ve heard from your readers/fans?

After publishing my first book, Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask, which takes place in the United Arab Emirates, I sold a copy of the book to a woman who had been raised in the UAE. She approached me later and told me how much she loved the book. She then asked how long I had lived in the UAE. I replied I had only been there on a two week holiday visiting a friend. She was surprised and said it made her feel like she was back home when she read the descriptions in the story. That meant so much to me and motivated me to write more.

What do you love most about the writing process?

I love how it all comes together. No matter how frustrated I get, how I think I will never get another good idea or when the editing becomes a slog, it always comes together! It is magical. When I hold my newly published book in my hands I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. Even though I have had six books published, his happens every single time.

What’s your favorite kind of cookie and why?

It’s not really a cookie so I hope it counts. It is a Nanaimo Bar. Cookie on the bottom, custard in the middle and dark chocolate on top. Everything I love and it is so yummy. I can supply the recipe if anyone wants it.

How would your best friend describe you?

I wasn’t sure so I asked her and this is what she said –

First and foremost, I would say that Darlene is charismatic, thus she draws people to her. A real people person who thrives on personal interactions.  She is patient, loyal and kind. Darlene works very hard at keeping in touch with family and friends.  Relationships are the keystones of her existence. She is a good communicator, both orally and in the written word. Thus, her career as a writer. Darlene seeks new adventures which is evident in her level of travel, not to mention her move to Spain after her retirement. Always engaging, never boring, – that is Darlene.

Wow! Now I have a lot to live up to.

If you could be any character in fiction, who would you be?

I would be Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. She is clever, witty and knows her own mind. She has a great relationship with her father, doesn’t suffer fools and cares deeply about her family and friends. And she gets to marry Mr. Darcy in the end!!!

Thank you so much for this interview. Loved answering your questions.

Author Bio

Brought up on a ranch in southern Alberta, Canada, Darlene Foster dreamt of writing, travelling the world and meeting interesting people. She worked hard to make her dreams become reality. It’s no surprise that she’s now an award-winning author of children’s travel adventure books. She divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca, in Spain with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot. She believes everyone is capable of making their dreams come true.

Buy Links

Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone

Amanda in England – The Missing Novel

Amanda in Spain – The Girl in the Painting

Amanda in Arabia – The Perfume Flask

Pig on Trial/Cerdito a juicio

Social Media

Website: Darlene Foster
Amazon author page
WordPress Blog 

Fangirling Over Authors! #books

This past weekend was the Southern Kentucky Book Festival, conveniently located only ten minutes from my house.  I spent all day Friday in writing workshops (it’s also children’s day, so at lunch I snuck over to see some of my fav authors) and on Saturday I attended panels, bought books, and met authors.  

Mindy McGinnis was a first time attendee, and I’m such a fan of her books – trust me, not a bad one in the bunch.  On her website last year, she critiqued my query (so helpful), and I was anxious to meet her in person.  When I met her on Friday, her newest release, Given to the Sea, hadn’t arrived yet, so I headed to her table first thing on Saturday morning and totally lucked out, getting the next to last copy on her table.

This was also Brigid Kemmerer’s first year attending.  My youngest son and I read her Elemental series together, which she was thrilled to hear, also being a mother of all sons.  She’s holding her new release, Letters to the Lost.

D.G. Driver was bombarded by over 1,000 young readers attending children’s day on Friday (R.L. Stine was the headliner).  She has a wonderful YA series dealing with social and environmental issues (Juniper Sawfeather), with the third in the series scheduled for release in the next couple of months.  Look for my upcoming interview with her – I’ll keep you posted.

C.J. Redwine is a frequent visitor to the book fest and I’ve attended two of her writer’s retreats.  The third one is scheduled in September (just in time for my birthday) and I can’t wait!  With helpful workshops, beautiful scenery (Tennessee mountains), excellent food, and writerly friends, what more could you ask for?  I bought a signed copy of C.J.’s newest release in the Ravenspire series, The Wish Granter.

The day after book fest for me is like the letdown the day after Christmas *sigh*.  Now I have to wait until April for the next one.



Within the Garden of Twilight: The House of Crimson and Clover IX by Sarah M. Cradit #TuesdayBookBlog @TheWriterSarah

Temporary peace descends on the Deschanels in New Orleans. Loved ones have returned. A calm appears in the chaos. Life is, seemingly, back to normal.

Those who had been away look to establish their new routine. They trade intrigue for dinner parties. Survival skills for day jobs. Settling into a quiet life comes with a sense of long-awaited relief, and they want, desperately, to embrace it with open arms. To sit in silence in their gardens at twilight and dream a dream they dare not: One of health, happiness, and above, all family.

Yet under the surface lurks the shadows of their past, and the promises of tomorrow. A whisper in their ear, reminding them, “Soon.” –

With only one more book in this series, the end is in sight, and while I’m sad to see it conclude, I’m anxious to see how the journey will end for these characters that have become almost real to me.

One of the things I enjoyed so much about this book was the number of characters included.  Some of the novels have focused on just a handful, but with Garden of Twilight, the reader learns exactly where everyone stands and how all of their individual situations are intertwined in the overall scheme of things.  In short – be ready for a humdinger of a showdown in the last book.

I was surprised a few times – especially with one character.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say his actions were out of character – just sudden and unexpected.  With another (my personal fav), I hated to see him hit rock bottom, but sometimes that needs to happen before you can become who you’re meant to be, and I’m excited to see his transformation.

Overall, I’m bittersweet about this series winding down, but I’m also looking forward to seeing this author expand into other worlds.  As always, if you’re new to this series, start from the beginning

I received a digital copy of this book from the author.

Downsizing the TBR Pile #amreading

This was one of my favorite weekends of the year – the SOKY Book Fest and Writer’s Conference.  Do I really need to tell you I bought more books?  But only 3!  I had a fantastic time and I’ll post pics later this week.  Still trying to figure out the whole Instagram thing, but I’m committed to posting there also.

Some friends and I are starting up a book club again – the first meeting is this coming weekend.  Always difficult to find a date that works for everyone’s schedule, and not everyone can be there on Saturday.  One friend is a teacher and will be attending her 26th (I think) prom – chaperoning, of course.  I should probably get started reading the book.

I finished a couple of books.  This one wasn’t included in my previous TBR post, but I read Whispering Corridors by Ambrose Ibsen for the book discussion at Lilyn’s blog, Scifi and Scary.  It was a miss for me (that’s an awesome cover), but I had a great time discussing it with others and look forward to the next selection in June.

The Impending Possession of Scarlet Wakebridge-Rose by S.L. Saboviec is a well-written, compelling book with some surprising twists.  I didn’t find Scarlet to be particularly likable, but still an enjoyable read.

Currently reading:








Up next:

TBR:  109

Read:  2

Bought:  3

Total:  110 (heavy sigh)

Indie Author Friday – Meg Lelvis #IndieAuthor #mystery #suspense

Welcome Meg Lelvis and her debut novel, Bailey’s Law!  Meg possesses a rare talent – singing barbershop harmony – and she has excellent taste in cookies.

Meet Jack Bailey, hard-boiled PTSD-damaged detective, who reveals more than the killer during his crime investigation in Richmond, Texas, where homicides are rare.

To escape the ghosts of his past, Jack Bailey moved from Chicago to Richmond six years ago and joined the PD. After Todd Kaplan’s body is found, the cops wonder who would murder such a nice young guy? Jack soon discovers the Todd wasn’t so nice. This leads to a disturbing motive with suspects too close to home.

Meanwhile, Jack’s PTSD symptoms, caused by buried family secrets, force him to seek help in order to attain mental stability. Psychological links surface with characters harboring issues of grief, anorexia, love, date violation, and more.

Was this small town murder an act of justice or revenge? Only a parent who has lost a child can hold the answer in their hearts. Jack understands. Only too well.

What are your favorite books in your genre?

An older classic, Rebecca is one of my favorite books. Although it falls into the     classic/literary/gothic categories, it tells a superb psychological mystery story. I love the characters, setting, plot, and theme, all elements of the novel excellently drawn.

What is something memorable you’ve heard from your readers/fans?

Of the memorable things I’ve heard from readers, one sticks out. Someone wrote that my book, Bailey’s Law, has endearingly flawed characters. Those few words sum up my goal in creating characters, and I’m happy that someone verbalized it.

What character in your book are you least likely to get along with?

I’d find it difficult to get along with the character of Tilford, a detective on Jack Bailey’s team. He’s a thorn in Jack’s side; an aging cop who’s putting in his time until he can retire. He resents Jack, who’s younger, and supervises the team. Tilford tries to get by with as little work as possible, but does show a good side on one occasion.

What’s your favorite kind of cookie and why?

Thanks for an easy question, Teri! Gooey chocolate chip cookies, preferably warm, straight from the oven. I don’t bake any more except at Christmas and for my book club, so I need to rely on bakery cookies.

Any unusual talents or hobbies?

Maybe an unusual hobby or talent could be singing barbershop harmony. Years ago I sang in a barbershop chorus in Indiana, which included quartet groups. After moving to a couple different cities, I formed my own barbershop quartets where we sang for people in nursing homes and later for school-related activities. One year we received our school district’s “You Make a Difference” award for contributing to the school and community. Although I have no solo-singing talent, I enjoy singing in a group and harmonizing.

What’s the last thing you watched on TV/Netflix?

I am hooked on UK and Scandinavian TV movies and series. I recently enjoyed Dr. Blake Mysteries on Netflix, an Australian series set in the late 50’s featuring a flawed doctor who returns to his small town to take the place of his father. Lucien Blake is also the police surgeon, who helps solve crimes while bending the rules. I highly recommend the series.

Author Bio

Meg Lelvis’s fiction and poetry have won awards from Houston Writers Guild and Houston Writers House. Her short story was published in HWG mystery anthology. Bailey’s Law is her first novel. Meg grew up in northern Minnesota and is a former English and psychology teacher. She resides in Houston, Texas.

Buy Links

Black Rose Writing

Social Media





Release Day: Veil of Walls by Patricia Panahi #NewRelease @PatriciaPanahi

Welcome Patricia Panahi – today is release day for her debut novel, Veil of Walls!

Anahita Sadeghi, a typical, happy-go-lucky American ten-year-old, was not too keen on traveling to the other side of the world to meet her father’s family. But her month-long vacation turns into a nightmare when her Persian relatives refuse to let her return to the States.  She is forced to deal with the dizzying maze of social customs, resist her grandmother’s efforts to mold her into the proper Persian girl, dodge her aunt’s schemes of marriage, and fight to make her own life choices until she can find a way to return home.  Longing for her friends and her freedom, only the enigma of her missing aunt, Scheherezade, gives Ana a glimmer of hope of one day escaping Iran for good.  Will Ana’s family marry her off and forever bind her to this country, or will she break free of Iran’s walls and find her way back to America?

What’s your writing background?

I’ve had the passion to write stories since I was a little girl and actually studied English in college, but lacked the confidence to pursue it as a career.  I began getting serious about writing in the 1990’s and published The Well Woman Cookbook, God Outside the Box – a spiritual journey, and a couple of short stories.  I have worked on my first novel, Veil of Walls, for over a decade and I’m ecstatic to finally see it become a book.

What gave you the idea for Veil of Walls?

Although I was born in the states, I lived in Iran for 16 years prior to the Islamic Revolution and was intimately familiar with the culture.  Noticing all the misconceptions about Iran in the West prompted me to write a story that depicts the country, the culture, and its people in a more realistic way, yet be entertaining to read at the same time.  So I wrote the story in the time period I was familiar with – 60’s and early 70’s – and while all the characters are fictional, I drew on my own bewilderment when I first went to Iran and tried to navigate the intricacies of that very ancient and complex culture.

Which characters were the most and least difficult to write and why?

The two aunts were difficult as they were diametrically opposed in personality – one traditional and bitter about life, the other a bohemian intent on living life on her terms.

But the main character, Anahita, was the most difficult.  This was her story and written in first person. She is faced with so much loss and so many changes in her young life that to put her deep emotional pain and her attempts to cope in words so readers could feel the depth of her anguish and the exhilaration of her success took a great deal of soul searching on my part.  I had to allow myself to feel what she was feeling in order to express it.

Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.

I am bilingual/bicultural, although my American side tends to be dominant.

I have recently retired from teaching English at the University of Hawaii.

I love to travel and have visited 15 countries so far.

I have been happily married to the love of my life for 22 years.

I have a passion for good books, Persian food, and cuddly cats.

Author Bio

Born in Massachusetts, Patricia Panahi moved to Iran at the age of nine. She later returned to the States and completed her graduate work at San Diego State University.  Panahi has taught English in Iran, California, and Hawaii, owned and operated The Light Spot Bookstore and Coffee House in San Diego, and directed English language programs for international students for the University of Hawaii. VEIL OF WALLS is her first novel.

Social Media
Twitter:  @PatriciaPanahi

Buy Links
Black Rose Writing

Available in ebook format in approximately two weeks.


Look What I Won! @stacitroilo @virgilante #books #amreading

If you read my latest Downsizing the TBR Pile post (here), you know that because of the Story Empire Roadshow, I’m probably changing the title of that feature to How Many Books Can I Buy Before My TBR Crushes Me – only shorter.  I’m open to suggestions.  But not only did I acquire some fantastic reads, I also won some goodies!

I won this notepad from Staci Troilo’s newest collection, Medici Protectorate series.  Although I haven’t started those books yet, I’ve read the first book in her Cathedral Lake series and have the other two in the TBR.  If you’re a fan of romance/paranormal/suspense, check out Medici Protectorate.  Swing by Staci’s blog and say hi – and maybe add to your own TBR while you’re there.

If you’re a frequent flyer over at Craig Boyack’s blog, a certain robot lady depicted on this mug needs no introduction.  If you’ve yet to become acquainted with Lisa Burton, head over to Craig’s blog and meet her.  Lisa will be interviewing Finn, one of my characters from Sarah, on her radio show in the near future.  The Experimental Notebook of C.S. Boyack is a short story collection perfect for fans of sci-fi, fantasy, and paranormal.  If you enjoyed Stranger Things on Netflix, Will O’ the Wisp is right up your alley.


Much gratitude to Staci and Craig for my new goodies!