Darlene Foster's Blog

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I’m so excited about the release of my newest book in the Amanda travel adventure series. What do you think of the cover?

Originally posted on Central Avenue Publishing:

Summer is almost here and we have a lot of recent releases and ones coming up to keep you reading.

Today, we are very happy to present the cover for Darlene Foster’s fourth book: Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone. This book finds twelve year old Amanda in her home province of Alberta and showing her English best friend, Leah, all the sights.

Due to be released on July 11, 2014, we know both young and young-at-heart readers will enjoy another one of Amanda’s adventures.

 Amanda is delighted to show Leah around Alberta during her visit from England. They take in the Calgary Stampede, go on a cattle drive, visit Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, spend time with the dinosaurs at the Royal Tyrrell Museum and explore the crazy Hoodoos.
When Amanda finds a stone with a unique mark on it, she doesn’t think it’s important until everyone seems…

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Read what I have to say about documenting travel experiences on Karen Sanderson’s blog.

Originally posted on Karen R. Sanderson's Blog:

DSC00977 I have traveled quite a bit, but have not always made a habit of writing about my experiences. Many of my travels have no documentation, just memories.

Though one trip to Maine I kept a diary and took pictures. I also kept the maps and guide books. I did the same while on a trip to Germany.

My mom traveled to Wales and England, and she kept a diary and took pictures (yes, I have the diary and the pics!). I hope to make that same trip one day.

Research with travel books

When I go to yard sales, I look for travel books and books about geography and different states and different countries. I may not be able to visit all these wonderful places, but I can sure read about them.

Small notebook

While traveling, keep a diary. Or if you have a laptop, knock out your day-to-day experiences…

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I’ve been away so thought I would share Carl’s humorous post with you. Don’t laugh too hard and remember to bring your husbands to the rummage sale (those of you who have one, If you don’t, I’m sure you can borrow one!) Which is your favourite?

Originally posted on I Know I Made You Smile:

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The minute we arrived at the English Inn, we felt like we were in England, without spending 9 hours on a transatlantic flight. The splendid manor house, the spacious well kept grounds, including a replica of an Elizabethan street and the cosy, charming rooms made this place a perfect get-away.

The English Inn, Victoria, BC

The English Inn, Victoria, BC

Inviting front entrance

Inviting front entrance

Elizabethan street

The Elizabethan street takes you to another place and time

The manor house comes with an interesting history. It was built in 1906 for a Yorkshire-born realtor and developer who brought over artisans from England and Scotland to work on the project.  Walking around the building, we noticed many fine details. Imagine the amazing parties that were held here over the years. Oh the stories these walls could tell.



The knowledgeable staff were very friendly, knowledgeable and accommodating. After a restful sleep in a most comfortable bed, we woke up to the aroma of fresh baked croissants wafting through the building. The complimentary breakfast, served in a bright room overlooking the patio and gardens, included these melt-in-your-mouth croissants. 

View from our bedroom on the third floor early in the morning

View from our 3rd floor bedroom early in the morning

bathroom door

Unique bathroom door

Stairway to our room

Stairway to our room

We enjoyed a number of walks  around the tranquil 5 acre property, discovering something new and unique at every turn. We visited in March so the gardens were just waking up from winter but were still very lovely. I can only imagine how fabulous they are in the summer.

Charming gazebo, perfect for weddiings

Charming gazebo, perfect for weddings

Quaint birdbaths are scattered around the gardens

Quaint birdbaths scattered throughout the gardens

A fountain straight from an English  novel.

A fountain straight from an English novel.

An interesting sign found in the Elizabethan street

An interesting sign found in a shop window on the Elizabethan street

There is plenty of places to wander, sit and read (or write) a book, paint a picture or just day dream in this fairytale-like environment. Should you wish to visit down town Victoria or the inner harbour, both are just minutes away. The lobby is bright and cheerful with a pleasant lounge to enjoy a drink and a fireplace where we shared a pot of tea before retiring.

I highly recommend this place, especially if you need a break from the modern, busy lifestyle many of us lead. It was perfect for a girlfriend get-away and would  be an ideal location for a wedding, family reunion or special event.

A perfect girlfriend get-away

A perfect place for a girlfriend get-away


Visit the website http://www.englishinn.ca/

English Inn is located at 429 Lampson Street 
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada V9A5Y9
Central Reservations: 1.866.388.4353
Direct Line or to reach a guest: 1.250.388.4353
Fax: 1.250.382.8311
Email: res@englishinn.ca


I’m featured over at Clara Bowman-Jahn’s blog. Pop over and say Hello! You may learn something new about me, you never know.

Originally posted on Clarbojahn's Blog:

Hi Friends!

Today we have a special treat of an interview with the AMANDA series by Darlene Foster, from our very own blogging community. And I should also say from our own kidlit community that we all love being part of. So it is with extreme pleasure that I present, Darlene Foster!

Hi Darlene!

The Current Amanda Series

The Current Amanda Series

Thanks so much for answering these questions for the interview. I never get tired of reading an authors journey from idea to publication. And you have so intrigued me with your AMANDA series. It is an awesome accomplishment. Congratulations to you.

CBJ: 1– What brought you to the land of writing, Darlene?

I’ve always enjoyed writing. English was my favorite subject in school. I’ve been creating stories for a long time.  I was raised on a ranch in southern Alberta, Canada, which was a great life but a bit lonely for a…

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In case you were wondering how Erik did with his Reading for Renn project I posted about earlier this week, here are the results. Pretty impressive!

Reading for Renn Total!!! and Lititz Book Festival Fun! :D.

I am a huge fan of kids in general. I think they are totally amazing and I am constantly inspired by them.  Here are some great examples of how young people  make a difference.

I recently wrote about eight-year-old Teagan  Read who wrote a book called Kya’s Treasure to raise money to help build a well and clean water system in Uganda. She managed to raise over $1700.00 for this project. Way to go Teagan! Here is the article in the local paper: http://www.delta-optimist.com/community/young-author-helps-kids-in-africa-1.672535 


Teagan Read presents her donation to Steve and Linda Kovacs. photo by Gord Goble See more at:  http://www.delta-optimist.com/community/young-author-helps-kids-in-africa-1.672535#sthash.KLICKQYu.dpuf

I have also blogged about eleven-year- old Erik Weibel from This Kid Reviews Books  His book, The Adventures of Tomato and Pea has recently been published. Erik is a superkid as I mentioned in my blog post about him http://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/introducing-a-superkid/  Recently his friend Renn had to undergo a serious operation and Erik came up with a great idea to raise money to help out Renn and his family. Erik is an avid reader who gets points for reading at his school. So he decided to create a Reading for Renn challenge for the month of October and had people sponser him. His goal was to make 150 points in October. By the end of October, Erik made a whopping 165 points. This young man never ceases to amaze me. Read more about Renn and the Reading for Renn challenge here: http://thiskidreviewsbooks.com/2013/10/07/reading-for-renn/ "Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is."  - Master Yoda

Picture of Renn from The Brian of a Jedi

In honour of local soldiers who have lost their lives in a war, the Grade 12 students from the local high school, South Delta Senior Secondary, erected 41 crosses in a field at the entrance to our town. It is very moving. A fine tribute by the young people in our community.

You can see why I am so impressed by kids. They are the future and the future will be OK.

May we always remember those who have lost their lives to make this world a better place. Many of them were young people.


What I love the most about blogging, is the wonderful people I meet in the blogging   world. Today I am featuring the author Lada Ray, an extraordinary individual with many talents who stops at nothing to pursue her dreams.

Thanks so much for being a guest on my blog Lada. I am always curious to learn more about other authors.

L: It’s my great pleasure to be your guest today, Darlene! Thank you for your gracious invitation!


You have a very interesting background. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

L: I was born in Russia, when it was still called the Soviet Union. Since the age of twenty, I’ve lived abroad. I studied linguistics (got M.A. in comparative linguistics) and traveled to a number of countries on most continents. For a while, I worked in Havana, Cuba as a translator. After coming to the USA, I worked as financial consultant at AIG and Smith Barney/Citigroup, after which I decided to travel to Asia to study Feng Shui and various metaphysical disciplines. I received my International Feng Shui Master certification from the famed feng shui author, Lilian Too.
 Presently, I write full-time at my Upstate NY residence. So far, I’ve written several books including mystery/thrillers Gold Train (Accidental Spy Russia Adventure), Stepford USA (Accidental Spy Small Town Adventure), Green Desert (Accidental Spy Iraq Prequel), metaphysical fantasy novelette Catharsis, Legend of the Lemurians (Earth Keepers Chronicles 1) and my new release, The Earth Shifter, a visionary fantasy/thriller, which is an epic novel. I will soon be releasing Earth Keepers Chronicles 2 and 3: Lemurian Crystal and Atlantis. I’m also working on The Earth Shifter sequel: Key of Destiny.

What or who inspired you to write?

L: I think I’ve always wanted to write. When I was a child, I often put together stories in my head. But my life developed in a different direction, or rather directions, until one day I realized that I had acquired much knowledge, wisdom, and unique experiences throughout my life’s many adventures, and decided to share them with the world.

When you were a child, who were your favourite authors?

L: This is easy. My father was a huge history and international adventure buff. We had a large library of classical literature, including complete Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott, Alexander Dumas (how much I adored those Musketeers!), Shakespeare, Fenimore Cooper, and many others. I also read Russian sci-fi, especially Brothers Strugatsky, and Polish author Stanislav Lem, as well as the Russian classics: Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky. Later, I couldn’t get enough of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. My fave author as a teen was (still is) Mikhail Bulgakov, author of incredible fantasies and other books based on real events: The Master and Margarita, Ivan Vasilyevich Changes Occupation (hilarious time travel comedy of errors, featuring Ivan the Terrible), Dog’s Heart, White Guard (about the 1918 Russian Civil War). I think Bulgakov was a major influence on my writing.

Who are some of your favourite authors as an adult?

L: Oscar Wilde, Rumi and Mikhail Bulgakov. Of contemporary authors, I actually enjoyed J.K. Rawling’s Harry Potter. There are more, but these are the ones that came to mind immediately.

What has been the defining moment in your writing career?

L: I would say that publishing The Earth Shifter qualifies as one. I’ve published several books before this one, but it all started for me with the idea of The Earth Shifter several years ago. It took me a while to figure out how to tell this complex, fascinating and inspired story. In the interim, I wrote several other books, including mystery/thrillers Gold Train and Stepford USA. But in the end, it all came back to The Earth Shifter. Seeing it finally on digital shelves, and now also in print, is a huge milestone, and I’m very happy!

Your books are an interesting mix of mystery, intrigue, history, action, fantasy, philosophy, culture and spiritualism. Where do you get your ideas?

L: As I said earlier, I have accumulated many ideas and experiences throughout my life. These experiences are longing to be shared with the world. I have many more ideas and projects – if only there was more time in a day!

I love that your books take place in different parts of the world. Have you been to all the places you write about?

L: Yes, I’ve been to most places I write about. If I haven’t been to one, I still know enough, either from talking to others or from my own research and knowledge of similar places.

Where is one place you have not been to that you would love to visit?

L: Tibet and Machu Pichu.

When you are not writing, or thinking about writing, what do you like to do?

L: I love hiking, walking and traveling. I also love working on my blog, playing with my kitty, doing photography, meditating, and doing various metaphysical experiments and studies.

Now for a few fun, personal questions, which do you prefer:

 Cats or dogs? Love all animals. I have a very cute kitty, but I equally love dogs.
Coffee or tea? Love the scent of coffee, but can’t drink it – maybe on special occasions. I’m primarily a tea drinker, with a large collection of Oriental green teas in my cabinet.
Lakes or oceans? Oceans and seas. I grew up on the Black Sea and some of my best memories are associated with it.
Cake or pie? Cake.

Now that we have that out-of-the-way, what advice would you give someone who is starting their writing career?

L: I like this quote: “A successful writer is the one who doesn’t give up.” Keep writing and keep sharpening your writing saw.

Anything else you would like to add?

L: Check out my new, top-rated fantasy/thriller THE EARTH SHIFTER! The ebook is available now, and the paperback is coming to Amazon in a few days. Gold Train second edition paperback is coming to Amazon in a few days as well. And Stepford USA paperback will be available at the same time.

For more about my books and other projects, visit my blog: LadaRay.wordpress.com.

Also, I wanted to add that I just started a new project called YA Revolution.


This is a grassroots movement for books with message and meaning. To find out more about it and to join go to the official YA Revolution Page on my blog. All readers and writers are invited!

In conclusion, thank you very much, Darlene, for this fabulous interview! I enjoyed it tremendously!

Book links:

ES COVER ebook

The Earth Shifter: Amazon B&N

Read my review of The Earth Shifter on Goodreads

GT COVER ebook

Gold Train : Amazon B&N

Stepford COVER ebook

Stepford USA: Amazon B&N

These and other books are also available at Sony, Apple, Kobo and Smashwords.

Check out this amazing author:

Author blog: LadaRay.wordpress.com
Geopolitcs/predictions blog: Futuristrendcast.wordpress.com

Twitter: @LadaTweets
Youtube: Lada Ray Channel
Facebook: Like LadaRayBooks

A great review from one of my favourite reviewers.

Amanda in England: The Missing Novel by Darlene Foster.


In honour of all my Irish friends, and those who would like to be Irish, I thought I would write this post. I just happened to have finished reading a delightful book, lent to me by a good friend at work, called  McGillicuddy McGotham by Leonard  Wibberley  According to a review on Goodreadsit is a delightful tale of the first leprechaun to visit the United States. A quick, quaint read about a time when the world was a truly foreign place and local lore and legends were not universally understood.

I enjoyed this book immensely. It was written in the 1950′s but the wit of the author and ideas presented are timeless. A great book to read at the end of a long tough day. It will definitely make you laugh out loud. (notice I wrote that out in full!)

Niamh Clune has written a poignant story Children of Lir on her blog that is well worth reading 


There are some great Irish quotes on The Secret Keeper’s site http://thesecretkeeper.net/2013/03/17/celebration-of-the-green-

This is one of them.

Shamrock Background

I hope you are all enjoying this special day whether you are Irish or not!

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