Saturday, 17 November 2018

Guest Author Darlene Foster of Alberta

The Scribbler is honoured to have Darlene Foster, an award winning author, as our guest this week. She has agreed to a 4Q interview and offered to share an excerpt from Amanda in New Mexico-Ghosts in the Wind, the sixth book in the Amanda Travels series

Brought up in southern Alberta, Darlene Foster dreamt of writing stories, travelling the world and meeting interesting people. It’s no surprise that she’s now an award-winning author of short stories, travel articles and the exciting Amanda Travels series featuring spunky 12-year-old Amanda Ross who loves to travel to unique places. Readers of all ages enjoy travelling with Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. When she isn't travelling herself, Darlene divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca, Spain with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot. She believes everyone is capable of making their dreams come true.

4Q: For those unfamiliar with your heroine, Amanda Ross, tell us about her.

DF: Amanda Jane Ross is a twelve-year-old girl from Calgary, Alberta. She lives with her mom and dad, both accountants and partners in an accounting firm. They work long hours. Her life is pretty ordinary. An only child, she is bored and lonely. She enjoys cooking, often prepares the meals at home, loves to read and has a great imagination. She wishes for travel and excitement on her twelfth birthday as she blows out all the candles on her cake. The next day she receives tickets in the mail to visit her aunt and uncle who work in the United Arab Emirates. That is when her life changes. In the UAE she makes friends with an English girl, Leah, and has an adventure of a lifetime. Her curious nature and eagerness to help people tends to get her in trouble.

4Q: Please tell us about The Amanda Ross Traveling Series.

DF: In the UAE, Amanda purchases a mysterious perfume flask, tries to help a beautiful princess, befriends a loyal camel and is chased across a dangerous desert by bounty hunters. After this exciting experience, Amanda is eager to travel and see more of the world. She jumps at the chance to meet Leah in Spain, where they attempt to help a young Spanish girl escape the clutches of a mean horse thief. Leah invites Amanda to visit her in England, where they get lost in a maze, hide in an underground tunnel and ride the London Eye while searching for a missing vintage novel. When Leah visits Amanda in Alberta, they enjoy the Calgary Stampede, Head-Smashed-in Buffalo Jump, and an amazing dinosaur museum, while trying to decipher the mysterious writing on a stone and keep it from getting into the wrong hands. Amanda and Leah go on a river cruise down the Danube with their families. Along the way, she meets a homeless young musician who gives her a valuable violin for safe keeping which turns out to be more difficult than she thought. Wherever Amanda travels, she learns about the history and culture, meets interesting people and encounters mystery and intrigue.

4Q: Please share a childhood anecdote or memory with our readers.

DF: I have many fond memories of my maternal grandmother. I was her first grandchild and I know she loved all of us, but she always made me feel special. She lived in the city, about one hour from our farm, and I loved to stay with her whenever I could. On one visit, Grandma took me downtown shopping. We went to Woolworth’s where I found the most amazing colouring book, filled with pictures of children from all over the world wearing the traditional dress of their country. I had just enough spending money to purchase it. I couldn’t wait to colour the lederhosen, kimonos, flamingo dresses, wooden shoes and sombreros. Laden with packages, we took the bus home. When we got to Grandma’s place, I eagerly searched for my book in amongst the bags, but it wasn’t there. I was devastated. The next day my dear grandmother took me back downtown on the bus and bought me the last International Children colouring book on the shelf. I treasured that book and dreamt of visiting all those fascinating places as I coloured the pages.

4Q: Every author has their favorite spot to write, they either listen to music or must have complete quiet, prefer a Mac over a PC. What’s the ideal place and setting for you Darlene?

DF: Like Virginia Woolf, I simply need a room of my own to write. We converted the second bedroom in our small house in Spain into my office where I can close the door and write to my heart’s content on my laptop. I don’t need complete quiet but I can’t have loud noises either. I find once I’m really into my story, I can block out most noises. If it is nice outside, and it usually is in Spain, I will often take a notebook and pen, sit on my terrace and scribble down a chapter or two to be typed up and polished later. I also like writing longhand while I travel - trains, planes, automobiles or boats, it doesn’t matter. I feel inspired while travelling and there are few interruptions. 

Thanks for inviting me to be a guest on your blog, Allan.

An Excerpt from Amanda in New Mexico-Ghosts in the Wind

Amanda Ross is on a school trip to Taos, New Mexico with several of her fellow creative students. Join Amanda, Cleo and their funny friend, Caleb, as they visit an ancient and beautiful landscape where a traditional hacienda, an ancient pueblo, and a haunted and spooky hotel all hold secrets to a wild and violent past. Does Cleo really see ghosts? Can Amanda escape the eerie wind that follows her everywhere? Perhaps the Day of the Dead will reveal the mysteries of Taos in this latest adventure of Amanda's travels.


Amanda stepped outside. She looked around for Caleb, but he was nowhere to be seen. The wind got colder and stronger. She zipped up her jacket and pulled the hood over her head, glad she’d listened to Ms. Bowler’s advice.
She took pictures of the San Geronimo church and then continued on to a ruin tucked behind houses. Crumbling gravestones and weathered wooden crosses were scattered around the remainder of a damaged brick bell tower. Among the weeds lay broken gravestones and crosses that had fallen over. Amanda felt a sudden sadness wash over her.
She pulled out her map and guide. It explained that the ruin was the original San Geronimo church, destroyed by the soldiers in retaliation for Governor Bent’s murder. Only the battered bell tower remained standing. The graves belonged to the many who lost their lives in the fight.
The sun went behind a cloud. Tall grass leaped around the crosses as the wind whistled a mournful tune.
Amanda shuddered. A harsh breeze pushed her forward. Looking up at the sky, Amanda felt the wind push her again and she tripped over a rock. She stumbled hard into the low adobe brick wall surrounding the cemetery. Another shove sent her right over the fence. Her head hit a fallen brick. She saw stars before everything went black.

Thank you for being our guest Darlene. For you readers that are curious to know more about Darlene and her novels, please follow the links below.

Amazon buy link

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Guest Artisit Andy Gill of Moncton, NB.

I met Andy many years ago when we both worked for a jewellery manufacturing company. He was doing the jewellery designs which were quite amazing. Now he works on portraits of superheroes, famous people and animals. His work is scattered all over North America and as far as Europe with buyers wanting to own his life-like drawings. He has agreed to participate in a 4Q Interview and allow us to show his work.

(All sketches shown here are the intellectual property of the artist, used with permission. They are not allowed to be copied, shared or used without the artist's permission)

4Q: When did you start drawing Andy?

AG: I started very young, around age 3 or 4.

4Q: How do you decide which drawing you are going to do when you stare at the blank page? Do you accept commissions?

AG: I do the eyes first. Mostly I have to feel the subject, then see it in my head. Yes I accept commissions.

4Q: Please share a childhood memory or anecdote.

AG: Drawing war tanks on 8.5×11 paper. Green Sherman tanks and Blue Tiger tanks...hours and hours of drawing WW2 battle tanks.

4Q: Tell us about your favorite spot to work and the type of material you use for your drawings.

AG: My antique illustration table, Prismacolor Premier color pencil, on Stonehenge print stock.

Thank you for being our guest this week Andy.

For those of you wanting more information on Andy, check out this link.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

In Memory of Lockard Young - Author & Friend

Lockard - Lockie to his friends and family - was a terrific storyteller.  He was also a frequent guest on the Scribbler and one of his posts reached an all time high of 1005 visits -  he was a popular guest.

Unfortunately, Lockie left us on December 26th, 2016. He's dearly missed, not only be friends and family at home but by the dozens of friends he made online through his writing efforts. He always had a smile and it would be difficult to find anyone friendlier, always eager to help.

This week I would like to celebrate Lockie and share the previous posts with you.

This is the most visited post from September 11, 2016 and I invite you to take a look HERE!

Lockie wrote many amusing short stories. One of them was plagiarized and reached an audience of over 10,000 shares. A testament to his writing skills but he was never paid for it. An author's nightmare.

Lockie's first visit was a 4Q Interview back in 2014. Check it out by going HERE!

His short story - The Lone Shepard appears HERE!

A sample of his poetry here and stories inspired by his visit to Africa with his wife Trish. HERE!

His short story - Are You Sure? HERE!

I hope this post is a tribute to an author I admired. Lockie is gone but his words live does the memories.

Thank you Lockie. RIP my friend.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Visual Artist & Photographer Sylvie Mazerolle

A Dream Come True!

Stunning photos! A happy smile. Sylvie is always a pleasure to have as a guest on the Scribbler. One of Moncton's outstanding photographers, she returns for a 4Q Interview. 

Fresh from a successful showing of her newest collection of photos at the Trinity Galleries in Saint John, New Brunswick, she shares the highlights of her exhibition.

This Sylvie's third visit to the Scribbler. In June/2017 she tells us about the beginning of her photo journey. Go here!  The second visit was with her partner Jason Hamilton - Author. Go here!                                     

Take a few minutes and sign up for her newsletter by going here.

4Q : You have a new collection that just came out this fall. Tell us more about “Mermaids Tears”.

SM: I was doing research for a project I had in mind about getting older and the aging process. I was researching stuff like the passage of time and things that age well such as fine wine & cheese when I stumbled upon this poem titled: “I Want to Age Like Sea Glass” by Bernadette Noll and instantly every line in the poem inspired an image in my minds eye. I knew I had to pursue it. I was on the hunt for locations, model and wardrobe. When I first started I was having a hard time finding models over 40 that were willing to get in front of the lens, but once I had them read the poem and explained that it was meant to empower well cultivated women, the word got out and women were getting in touch with me wanting to be a part of it
The project soon took a life of its own and became much bigger and more important than I could have ever imagined. It took me all summer to produce and I’m very proud of it.

4Q: Was this your first Gallery exhibit?
SM: Yes this was my first official gallery exhibit. Beth at Trinity Galleries in Saint John, New Brunswick fell in love with the series the minute she saw it. It’s a very powerful emotional series. We’ve all been tossed around and thrown off kilter by life crashing waves at one point or another. On opening night people would walk up to the exhibit and one would resonate with them in one way or another to the point of tears. It was such a powerful emotional night in the best way possible. I really hoping to bring this exhibit to a bigger audience.

4Q: Where do you get inspiration when you need it most?

SM: A few things helps me find ideas and inspiration. Music has to be my first. Especially when I am in post production. I have a specific play list that helps me get into a creative flow. It’s like meditation for me. I forget about everything else except the image that it right in front of me and the emotions the music bring forth. I can get lost for hours.
I also get a lot of idea’s while cleaning my house. Clutter free home is a clutter free mind. But once I start creating, it all falls to the way side. My house can be a disaster once I’m in creative mode. *LOL* 

4Q: If anyone is interested in purchasing your art, where can they find it?
SM: My current series of “Mermaids Tears” can be found at Trinity Galleries in Saint John exclusively at the moment.
For any other works you can contact me directly via my web site or Facebook messenger.

Thank you for being our guest this week Sylvie. Wishing you continued success.

Both Sylvie and I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

The Miramichi Reader with James Fisher

Our guest this week is James Fisher of Miramichi, New Brunswick. 

Those of us that know James, know how much he loves to read. He also enjoys sharing his thoughts about the books he reads (both fiction and non-fiction) and is the owner of the splendid review website – The Miramichi Reader.

Visit his website here.

He is kind enough to participate in a 4Q Interview.

I was born in Kingston Ontario. After finishing high school there and loafing around at various jobs, I met the woman who is now my wife (of 31 years) who encouraged me to get a career. So I did. I am a Medical Radiation Technologist as well as an MRI Technologist. After living and working in Toronto for about twenty years we chose to move to the east coast to Miramichi where I work at the Miramichi Regional Hospital.

4Q: How did the Miramichi Reader begin James.

JF: It began at the lunch table at work one day, almost four years ago now. A fellow technologist and one of our radiologists were at the table and since we are all "friends" on Goodreads, it was suggested that I start a book review blog since they enjoyed reading the short reviews I would post at Goodreads. This was all the encouragement I needed since I had recently closed down my Microsoft Windows support blog I ran for many years. Windows had become more and more user-friendly over the years and I had no interest in the ins and outs of an operting system any longer. I always enjoyed reading book reviews and I thought that would be a great job: reading and writing about books! I have tried to focus on Atlantic Canadian authors and publishers, but I have strayed into Quebec (there's some great English-language translations of contemporary Quebec French novels coming out now) and Ontario.

4Q: On your website you’ve created The Very Best Book Awards. How did this come about and tell us briefly about this years winners.

JF: Initially, I created them as a tongue-in-cheek take-off on certain national book awards, which - while important to the industry - rarely, if ever acknowledge books from small press publishers or even self-published authors. There's no big-budget publicity department to get their books out into the wild, so to speak. I felt I could do my part for these authors and publishers by instituting my own little award.
This year's winners were fortunate: I actually had a little gift for them! A small Miramichi business that makes soap and candles generously supplied the award in the form of a small book with a bar of "Miramichi Sunrise" inside.
As for this year's winners, I had to narrow it down to three categories: Best Fiction, Best Non-Fiction and Best New Book (Fiction or Non-fiction). There were also "Notable Achievement" winners, one in each category.
The three main winners were: Catherine Graham for her novel (her first): Quarry, Melanie Grondin for Best First Book for her book on the life of stained glass artist Guido Nincheri, and Lorri Nielsen Glenn for her memoir Following the River (Best Non-Fiction).

4Q: Please share a childhood anecdote or memory.

JF: I suppose my best book-related memories are of my parents' instilling the love of reading in me. They would always be going to the library to get a book to read, but they only ever read in bed. Dad was for westerns, Mom for mysteries. I've always read, from Kindergarten on. In the public school I attended, they would take us to the library once a month, on a Friday, to hear the librarian read a story. The library, although just a small branch one, was a magical place.

4Q: How does The Miramichi Reader decide which books to review? Can you be contacted by authors to have their book reviewed?

JF: Sometimes I pick the books, other times the publishers will send books they want me to review. I have sought out small publishers and contacted them. They are always eager to have their books reviewed, I have found. The same with authors who contact me (via my Contact page). While I may not accept fiction books from time to time (due to a large TBR stack) I do encourage authors to at least contact me, even if I cannot get to their books in a timely manner. 

4Q: Any last thoughts you want to share?

JF: I am so thankful for the all the wonderful authors, publicists and publishers I have met over The Miramichi Reader's brief existence. They have been generous with their books, their time and their social media support. It makes it all worthwhile to hear an author or a small press publisher tell you how much they appreciate my reviews. It has also been encouraging to have some of my reviews quoted in print form, too.

As well as the website URL above, you can find James at these links;

Thank you James for being our guest this week.

The Miramichi Reader’s review of Wall of War -