Darlene Foster's Blog

I am delighted at the response to Amanda’s latest adventure. Here is a wonderful review from Patricia Tilton on her blog Children’s Books Heal. Patricia reviews meaningful books for children and I am so pleased she has included Amanda in New Mexico. Check out her blog for great ideas for the young readers on your list.

Children's Books Heal

Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind

Darlene Foster, Author

Central Avenue Publishing, Fiction, Oct. 1, 2017

Suitable for Ages: 9-12

Themes: Adventure, School trip, New Mexico, Haunted hotel, Ancient pueblo, Ghosts

Synopsis: Amanda Ross is on a school trip to Taos, New Mexico with several of her fellow creative students. She shares a room with Cleo, an anxious classmate who insists she see ghosts. Although Amanda is determined to prove there is no such things, she can’t seem to shake the feeling that something or someone is watching her.

Join Amanda, Cleo and their funny friend, Caleb, as they visit a rugged 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…

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I love my blogging community. Everyone is so supportive and I am delighted when I´m featured on their blogs.

Robbie Cheadle and her son Michael have been reading the Amanda Travels books and recently wrote a wonderful review on Robbie’s blog. This is what she had to say about Amanda in Arabia – the Perfume Flask

The story was sufficiently fast-paced to keep him interested and he wanted to read every night [instead of his usual practice of procrastinating for as long as possible before getting down to his reading]. I enjoyed the book too and thought the language was pitched at the right level for a middle school reader. 

You can read the rest of the review here

https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/2017/09/23/book-reviews-the-amanda-travels-series/

Please check out her blog. Robbie and her son not only write exciting children’s books featuring Sir Chocolate, they create the most amazing things out of fondant. The series of books about Sir Chocolate and his friends are also cookbooks. Each book includes a children’s story written in poetry form about the world of Sir Chocolate and five recipes that children can make with adult supervision. How cool is that?

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Fishing boy cake created by Robbie Cheadle. Love those fondant cows!

My good blogging friend, Sally Cronin is running a feature on her blog called The Ultimate Bucket List and invited us to share two things on our personal bucket list. If you want to know what mine are read on.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/05/smorgasbord-sunday-interview-the-ultimate-bucket-list-meeting-other-writers-by-darlene-foster/

Sally has also asked us to share posts from our archives. I decided to share one of mine from three years ago that features inspiration for my most recent book, Amanda in New Mexico-Ghosts in the Wind.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/08/smorgasbord-reblog-posts-from-your-archives-ghost-hotel-by-darlene-foster/

Sally, a talented writer herself, works tirelessly at promoting other writers. She is like the Fairy Godmother of Writers and we all appreciate everything she does. Check out her blog Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life if you haven’t already. There is something for everyone.

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The Fairy Godmother of writers and bloggers

 

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Check out this and Sally´s other amazing books https://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Thank you to everyone who reads, likes, shares and comments on my posts. It makes my day!!

On this special day, November 11, I want to share with you a poem recited by my seven-year-old great-granddaughter. It is so important that every generation understands the meaning of Remembrance Day and why we wear a poppy. Here is her short video.

Isn´t she a sweety?

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Even our Dot wears a poppy.

Take a couple of minutes to remember and think of those who did all they could to preserve our freedoms.

I found music and love everywhere I turned on my recent visit to Liverpool. I fell in love with the sing-song accent of the friendly Liverpudlians and found this city a delight to explore.  After all, this is the home of my teenage heroes, John, Paul, George and Ringo and they have left their mark big time. Landing at John Lennon airport, with a yellow submarine in front, is just the start.  They are everywhere from The Fab 4 Restaurant, MacArtny´s Bar, The Beatle´s Story Museum, A Hard Day’s Night Hotel, The Magical Mystery bus tour and bronze figures of the famous foursome who defined a generation strolling down the waterfront. I couldn’t help but hum Beatles tunes the entire time I was there. Then there is the ferry that takes you across the Mersey River made famous by Gerry and the Pacemakers in 1964. A statue of the charming Cilla Black stands in front of the original Cavern Club. The city loves its music!

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The Fab Four – forever in our hearts and on our lips!

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Where it began all those years ago

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Cilla Black in front of the Cavern, where she worked as a coat check girl before being discovered

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ferry ‘cross the Mersey cause this land’s the place I love and here I’ll stay, Gerry Marsden, now 76,  still lives in Liverpool

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Fabulous views of Liverpool from the ferry

Liverpool is a port city and home to the Cunard and White Star Lines. The ill-fated Titanic and Lusitania were Liverpool ships. Excellent displays of both can be seen at the Maritime Museum. Liverpool is the port where over nine million people have left from to immigrate to Canada and the United States over the years. In fact, my great-grandparents, who boarded a ship in Hamburg, Germany, made a stop at Liverpool, no doubt to pick up more passengers, before crossing the Atlantic.

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A sculpture commemorating the many families who left through the port of Liverpool to immigrate to the Americas and start a new life

The once busy docks have been cleaned up and now house trendy restaurants, interesting shops, the Tate Art Gallery and a number of excellent museums.

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The Albert Docks

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The famous Liver Building with the Liver birds on top, the official mascots of Liverpool

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One of many superlambananas placed around Liverpool during the city’s European Capital of Culture celebrations in 2008.

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We had our lunch of fish finger butties in this old bus. What fun!!

Many excellent museums, art galleries, amazing architecture and great shopping make this city an ideal destination for someone like me. Apparently, it rains a lot there but we had some wonderful sunny days to explore.

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St. Luke’s Church, bombed in 1941 was never restored. It is now a place for relaxation and remembrance. The scent of burnt wood still permeates.

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The Liverpool Cathedral, Britain’s largest cathedral and the largest Anglican Cathedral in Europe, can be seen from almost everywhere in Liverpool.

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Inside the stunning Lady Chapel

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One of many stained glass windows

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I discovered one of the best graveyards ever behind the church with the original mortuary above

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A welcoming library with the names of well-known books listed on the walkway!

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Inside the library, a Harry Potter-like reading room. I was in heaven.

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A typical Liverpool scene. The Cunard building is in the background.

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A juxtaposition of the old and new. The excellent Museum of Liverpool on the left.

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The mythical liver bird keeping watch over the port

I am so glad I got to visit this amazing city! Have you been to Liverpool or know anyone who may have immigrated from the Port of Liverpool?

Stevie Turner is running a month-long short-story contest on her blog. You may want to enter. Writing short stories is a good way to get inspired to write. Here is the link https://steviet3.wordpress.com/2017/11/01/novembers-share-your-short-story-competition/

Since we are getting close to November 11th, I thought this would be an appropriate entry.

Home Fires
By Darlene Foster

Carol tried not to think of him. It hurt too much. She never thought loneliness could be so painful. The farm chores kept her busy. She promised him she would look after the farm in his absence and keep it thriving. In a trance, she went through the day-to-day motions of feeding the kids, the livestock and herself.

The children stopped asking where their daddy was and when he was coming home. There had been no letter for months. The neighbours helped when they could, but they had lost two sons and reminded her of unpleasant things.
What did she know about farming? She was a city girl before she met John. Her parents begged her to move back to the city with them, but she had made a promise. She convinced herself if she stayed and kept the farm going, he would return.

The baby cried. Carol held her close, inhaling the sweet smell of baby powder. Poor little thing, she doesn’t even know her daddy. How could he leave me with three young children? He said he had to do his duty. Wasn´t his duty to me, the children and the farm?

Carol shook the thoughts from her head. She didn´t wish to be angry. Of course, he had to go. She was proud of him.

He looked so handsome in his uniform the day he left. She wanted to hold him one more time. Hold him and never let go. But with his buddies all around, he wouldn´t have liked that. She kissed him quickly, smiled and made her promise, “Don’t worry. I´ll look after the farm until you come home.”

The baby slept. Carol laid her in her cot. Did she look like her father? She wasn’t sure. She couldn´t quite remember what he looked like anymore. All the pictures of him were put away in a drawer, even their wedding picture. An unbearable pain pierced her heart every time she looked at them.

Some things she would never forget, like the way her body responded to his and how she felt safe and secure in his arms at night. With him there, nothing could hurt her. With him gone, everything hurt.

“Mom, Mom! Come quick. There’s a fire in the barn,” John Junior shouted as he ran into the house.

Carol sprang to action. She ran to the pump, picked up a bucket and filled it with water. She handed it to her son and said, “Quick! Pour this on the fire and come back for another.” She filled a second bucket.

She couldn´t let the barn burn down. It had to be standing when he came home. She had promised to look after things. Carol ran into the smoke-filled barn and dumped water on the smouldering hay. The smoke filled her lungs and made her eyes sting.

Grabbing a horse blanket, she beat the flames while the children brought buckets of water to douse the hay and wood floor. The flames died, but she kept beating and beating.

“Mommy! Mommy! You can stop now. The fire is gone.” Her daughter tugged at her sleeve.

She leaned back against the barn wall and slid to the floor, exhausted. Holding her head in her blackened hands, Carol sobbed, for the first time since she said goodbye to her husband.

Thanks for reading. The Amanda in New Mexico giveaway is now over. Congratulations to Melinda who won the package!

 

To celebrate Halloween, I am a guest on Teri Polen´s Bad Moon Rising Blog Event. Please do check it out, read an excerpt from Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind and leave a comment if you wish. Happy Halloween everyone!!

Books and Such

I’m always excited when a children’s book is featured during Bad Moon Rising – it’s important that the little guys not be left out.  I’m thrilled to have Darlene Foster back with the newest addition to her Amanda Travels series, released earlier this month.  She’s also hosting a giveaway on her blog – make sure to enter!

Thank you, Teri, for the opportunity to participate in Bad Moon Rising. It has been a month of fascinating posts.

Amanda Ross is on a school trip to Taos, New Mexico with several of her fellow creative students. She shares a room with Cleo, an anxious classmate who insists she sees ghosts. Although Amanda is determined to prove there is no such thing, she can’t seem to shake the feeling that something or someone is watching her.

Join Amanda, Cleo and their funny friend, Caleb as they visit a rugged and beautiful landscape…

View original post 700 more words

I was sad to hear of the recent devasting prairies fires near Hilda where I was raised in southern Alberta. Many farms and ranches were affected as wildfires, spurred by high winds, raced through acres of land destroying property, machines, stored grain, feed and livestock. In efforts to contain the fires, volunteer firefighters worked tirelessly. One young volunteer, a father of three, lost his life when the water tank truck he was driving overturned. I learned he was the son of a former schoolmate of mine. My heart goes out to his wife and children. Fires are so awful.

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A photo I used as a prompt for my writing workshop in Vancouver.

Our family was not spared, although not to such a great degree.  The house my great-grandfather, Henry Hoffman, built in 1915 soon after immigrating to Canada was destroyed when the fires swept through the homestead. Although the house stood vacant for years it contained many memories. My own mom, Henry and Katherina’s granddaughter, was born in this house almost 89 years ago. By the time I was born, my great-grandparents had retired to the city and it was their son, my great uncle John, who lived in the house with his wife and family. Since we lived nearby and they were our favourite relatives, I spent many happy times sharing meals and playing with my second cousins at this place.

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A recent picture of the Hoffman house taken by Debbie Hoffman Nagel, granddaughter of Henry and Katherina Hoffman.

Over the years, whenever in the area, we would visit the homestead and reminisce. I particularly loved the old barn, built from rocks and clay by my great-grandfather, as it had so much character. Sad to say it was also destroyed by the recent wildfire.

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The barn built by Great Grandpa Hoffman

This was not the first time fire has visited this farm. Back in 1910 when they first arrived at their homestead, a wooden shack was built for Henry and Katherina, their four small children and Henry’s parents to live in. While they were all out digging a well one day, a suspicious fire consumed their shack. Not to be deterred, they replaced it with two sod shacks until the large two-story wooden building was built to accommodate the growing family. Nine additional children were born in this house. Sadly, as often happened in those days, only five survived infancy. The nine surviving children produced hundreds of descendants who remember this farm with fondness.

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What was left after the prairie fire, October 2017

The buildings are gone, but the memories will live forever through pictures and stories from the many descendants of these enterprising people.

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A picture taken in 1927 of  Great Grandpa Henry Hoffman standing outside the house and barn he built.

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Henry and Katherina with their children and some of their grandchildren, taken in 1942.

Note: The pictures are a collection of mine and my cousin’s.

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