Darlene Foster's Blog

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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…

View original 1,323 more words

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!

“I believe that everyone else my age is an adult whereas I am merely in disguise.” Margaret Atwood

I had a birthday last week which made me think, did I learn anything over the year?

Upon reflection, it was quite the year. I helped my mom  settle into a retirement home, cleaned out her apartment and then sold it. That alone was stressful and upsetting as it meant a huge change for my mom. Fortunately she is handling the change gracefully. My perfect job came to an end and I had to look for another one. We all know how stressful that can be. I worked for a wonderful organization with amazing people and I was doing exactly what I love to do. I managed to get another job in the same industry. But it was a new program for all of us with many changes, the learning curve was steep and the stress was tremendous.  I went on a once in a lifetime European holiday, only to break my ankle on day two. When I got home I needed an operation to pin it all together again. This slowed me down a lot, which I didn’t like at all.

Many good things happened over the year though. My third book was published! I still can’t believe I have three published books. I made some fabulous friends at my new job. I went on a cruise down the Danube with good friends and saw some fascinating sights. I spent valuable time with friends and family throughout the year.

What did I learn from all this?

  • That change can be hard but something good always comes of it.
  • Slowing down can be good for you.
  • People are kind and willing to help, even strangers.
  • I am fortunate to have the most supportive friends and family.
  • I have the best husband ever!

I have been treated royally this past week. Flowers and dinner with hubby. A birthday party and cake at work.


My daughter took a ferry from Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay where I met her  for lunch on Saturday. We had a great time as always. She gave me “Sky” the Eagle Bear Totem puppet. He is part of the Storytellers puppet collection and was designed by Coast Salish artist Doug LaFortune from Victoria BC.  On the tag it reads “Standing tall, sharing stories of our people of how we are connected through vision and strength.” A perfect gift from a thoughtful daughter.

"Sky" the eagle bear totem puppet.

“Sky” the eagle bear totem puppet.

I had tea with a good friend and her six-year-old on Sunday. I received countless messages from friends all over the world. which made me feel so special.

I have been given many lovely gifts including a Sheaffer fountain pen, a note-book, a British tea caddy and many more wonderful things.


I think the quote on this birthday card says it all


I learned that I am one lucky girl.


Those of you who know me well, know how much I love shoes.  I have a nice collection of shoes and some great shoe stories.  I tend to buy at least one pair of shoes wherever I travel to and if I travel to Spain it is more like 3 pairs. I am also not very tall so I always wear heels to add some height.

I damaged my left ankle when I was in Spain this fall when I missed the bottom step at the apartment we were staying in.  When I returned home two weeks later, I had it x-rayed and discovered I had broken it on both sides. This required an operation to bolt it back together with 7 screws. I was in a plaster cast for 2 weeks and then an air cast (boot) for the past 8 weeks. I returned to work after the plaster cast was removed and  managed to do my book signings and presentations as planned.  The only thing is, I have only been able to wear a right shoe.  My husband thought it was very funny when I had only right shoes lined up ready to wear.  So he took a picture.

When we visited Fort Lauderdale a year ago, I found the perfect shoe in my size. Unfortunately the sales clerk couldn’t find the mate to the shoe. I even went back the next day to see if they found the other shoe but they hadn’t. I was heartbroken as I really wanted to buy that pair of shoes.  Since it was the right shoe on display, I wish I had purchased it as I would be able to wear it now!  (but who knew?)


New sensible shoes

The orthopedic surgeon has informed me I can start wearing shoes on both feet again, but not heels, which is all I own.  So I had to invest in some sensible shoes. They are Ok but they don’t make me look or feel any taller.

I am happy to report that I am on the mend and hope to be back to normal by the new year.  In the meantime I have a few pairs of shoes  in which the right shoe is much more worn than the left. I could have worse problems, I know.

Do you have any funny shoe stories to share?

I came back from my holiday to not one, but two blog awards!

I would like to thank Pat Wood at http://patwoodblogging.wordpress.com/ for the Lovely Blog Award. This is the second time I have been recieved this award and I am so pleased.  Check out Pat’s blog.  If you love all things English, like I do, you will enjoy this blog. Pat is a skilled writer with a great imagination and terrific sense of humour.

Rules of One Lovely Blog.

Thank the person who nominated you. I just did that.

Display the logo on your blog. Already there

List Seven Random Things about Yourself

Nominate seven blogs for the award and let them know they have been nominated.

Seven Random Things about Me

1. I have never met a vegetable I didn’t like, except cucumbers.

2. I am a Jane Austen groupie. I used to belong to the Jane Austen Society of North America and attended the huge conventions. I often go to Halloween parties dresssed as Jane Austen.

3. I live in Canada but watch mostly British TV.

4. I have a large collection of  books, shoes and friends.

5. My daughter is a potter and my son is a musician. Creativity is important in our family.

6. Everytime I cross off something on my to do list, I add three more things.

7. I don’t have a sister, but I have an aunt two months older than me.  She is even better tha a sister!

I would also like to thank Meg from Meg Traveling http://megtraveling.com/ for nominating me for the Super Sweet award. Check out her travel blog.  She posts wonderful travel articles with pictures that will make you want to jump on a plane right now and go there!

Here are the rules for the Super Sweet Award:

1. Give credit to the person who chose to nominate you.

2. Answer the “Super Sweet” questions.

3. Nominate a “Baker’s Dozen (13) blogs.

Super Sweet questions:

1. Cookies or Cake?

Cake: preferably chocolate 

2. Chocolate or Vanilla?

Chocolate for sure.

3. What is your favorite sweet treat?

Custard tarts

4. When do you crave sweet things the most?

Whenever I’m awake and sometimes when I am sleeping.

5. If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be?

Sweety Pie

I am cheating a bit here but I am giving both of these awards to the following blogs.  Please check  them out.

Writer and Dreamer at Work http://thepatientdreamer.com/

Lorna’s Tea Room Delights http://lornastearoomdelights.com/

Writing Sisters http://writingsistersblog.wordpress.com/

See My Travels at http://www.seemytravels.com/

Otts World http://www.ottsworld.com/

4 Kids, 20 suitcases and a Beagle http://shamozal.blogspot.ca/

Diane Tibert http://dianetibert.com/home/

Beth Stillborn http://www.bethstilborn.com/

These are all wonderful blogs that provide humour, great writing, tips and inspiration. Please check them out. As for the nominees, you can pass them on only if you wish.

click to purchase

click to purchase

Click to purchase

Join me on Twitter

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,792 other followers



click to read review

Super Sweet Award


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,792 other followers