Darlene Foster's Blog

As much as I love to travel and visit my family and friends, I always miss my two doggies Dot and Lia. Fortunately, there are pets at many of the places I visit. Here are a few pictures of the pets I spent time with while in Canada in September.

Brandy, a Golden Labrador/Rhodesian Ridgeback mix. A real sweetheart.

Brandy in her yard playing ball.

Come on, throw the ball.

Grandpuppy Petite on Mudge Island

Grandkitty, Bimbay on Mudge Island

Lexi, the oldest of my Granddaughter’s pets, enjoying a sunny day.

Mandy the Newfoundland dog. A big cuddly teddy bear.

Mandy, the guard dog.

Roni, another of my granddaughter’s pets. Those eyes!

Me and my buddy Roni

And there are many cats as well. This is Earl Grey. The coolest cat ever and I love his name.

We can’t forget the goats. Did I mention my granddaughter loves animals? I didn’t get pictures of all of them either.

Beelzebub, my grandson’s newly acquired pet who seems very happy with his new home.

Lola, my son’s family pug. Another cutie.

Willow, an Australian Shepherd. A special dog for a special girl in Vancouver.

Well, not really a pet, but my great granddaughter’s badger Halloween costume.

How about an awesome cake that looks like a pet?

So you can see I had many pets to keep me company until I came home to these two.

Many of you know that Anne of Green Gables is my favourite children’s book. The opportunity to see the house in Prince Edward Island that inspired the author, Lucy Maude Montgomery, was indeed a dream come true!

Green Gables House, was originally a farmhouse that belonged to the Macneill family, cousins of L.M. Montgomery. The author spent a lot of time there as a child and later used it as the inspiration for the setting of her popular novel, Anne of Green Gables. It is now a heritage museum, done up as it is depicted in the book as the home of her characters, siblings Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, Anne’s adoptive parents in the story. You can imagine my delight as I looked through the house. It was like stepping into the much-loved story.

The sitting room, as described in the book.

Anne Shirley’s room with her favourite dress hanging on the back of the closet door.

Marilla’s room with her shawl and the famous broach. (Sorry you can’t see it in the picture)

The property consists of a lovely garden that backs onto a wooded area, also depicted in the story.

The Haunted Wood where many of Anne’s adventures with Diana played out.

A cart similar to the one Matthew would have used to pick up Anne at the train station and take her to Green Gables to start her new life.

Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”
– L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

On the site is also The Green Gables Visitor Centre with many interesting displays and information about PEI’s famous author.

Lucy Maude Montgomery, as a young writer.

The typewriter LM Montgomery most likely typed her famous novel.

Anne of Green Gables has been translated into 36 different languages. I loved this wall of some of the different covers.

The home of Lucy Maude Montgomery is situated close by. The house she lived in with her grandparents, who raised her, is no longer standing but the foundation is there. In her memories, the author mentions she lived a very happy life there as a girl.

On the old farm site is a cosy bookstore, which is very fitting. I bought a wonderful book there which I treasure.

“Were it not for those Cavendish years, I do not think Anne of Green Gables would ever have been written.” L.M. Montgomery, The Alpine Path.

My review of this book is here https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5069965399

LM Montgomery is buried in the nearby Cavendish Community Cemetery. I was able to visit her grave and pay my respects to an author I have long admired and who inspired me to write.

A visit I will never forget.

If you would like to listen to me read from Amanda in France: Fire in the Cathedral check out Rebecca Bud’s Tea Toast & Trivia blog. https://teatoasttrivia.com/2022/09/08/season-4-episode-38-darlene-foster-reading-amanda-in-france-fire-in-the-cathedral/

While there check out some of her other podcasts. They are all great!

I am pleased to be part of Jacqui Murray’s Book Blast for her third and final book in the Dawn of Humanity series, Natural Selection. Once again Jacqui has penned an exciting story about our prehistoric ancestors. She will also share with us how early humans told time. The research Jacqui does for these books is phenomenal.

Summary
In this conclusion to Lucy’s journey, she and her tribe leave their good home to rescue former-tribe members captured by the enemy. Lucy’s tribe includes a mix of species–a Canis, a Homotherium, and different iterations of early man. In this book, more join and some die, but that is the nature of prehistoric life, where survival depends on a combination of our developing intellect and our inexhaustible will to live. Each species brings unique skills to this task. Based on true events. Set 1.8 million years ago in Africa, Lucy and her tribe struggle against the harsh reality of a world ruled by nature, where predators stalk them and a violent new species of man threatens to destroy their world. Only by changing can they prevail. If you ever wondered how earliest man survived but couldn’t get through the academic discussions, this book is for you. Prepare to see this violent and beautiful world in a way you never imagined.

A perfect book for fans of Jean Auel and the Gears!

Book information:
Title and author: Natural Selection by Jacqui Murray
Series: Book 3 in the Dawn of Humanity series
Genre: Prehistoric fiction
Editor: Anneli Purchase
Available print or digital) at: http://a-fwd.com/asin=B0B9KPM5BW

Author bio:
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also the author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to the United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics.

Social Media contacts:

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jacqui-Murray/e/B002E78CQQ/
Blog: https://worddreams.wordpress.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jacquimurraywriter/
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher
Twitter: http://twitter.com/worddreams
Website: https://jacquimurray.net

How Did Early Man Tell Time?

Like today’s most primitive communities and survivalists, both living without the technology that ticked off hours and minutes, earliest man had no concept of quantifiable time. He didn’t need it when the most important metric was how much daylight remained to finish hunting and gathering and find a safe place to sleep. He told tribe members when he would return–or they
should–well, I’ll tell you how that happened later in this article. When the sun slept, our primeval ancestors slept, leaving whatever chores remained for the next day and the sun’s return.

In Natural Selection, that usually sufficed, but if a character needed more than that, say to indicate more definitively when s/he would return:

– s/he could point to a place in the sky along the sun’s forward path, the inference being when sun reached that position, s/he would be back.
– s/he could place a finger–or a hand–overhead, next to the sun, inferring that when the sun moved the width of a finger or a hand, s/he would return.
– at night, the Moon’s progression across the night sky could be used to indicate how long before the sun reappeared.

For longer periods of time, beyond a stretch of daylight, early man used the Moon’s face. It changed nightly and with regularity. The disappearance and reappearance of the Moon, the size of the orb, made it a reliable marker of how long something took or the period before something happened, like herds returning or hunters arriving from a long trip.

How long is a hand or finger? So how much time is inferred by a finger or a hand placed next to the sun? A finger is roughly
fifteen minutes and four fingers—a hand—an hour. Test it yourself. Place a finger next to the sun. The sun will take approximately fifteen minutes to reach the far side of your finger. If there is one hand between the sun and the earth, it means there is one hour until the sun sinks below the horizon. 

Early man knew that the sun moved at the same speed across the sky which meant a hand or both hands always meant the passage of the same amount of time. What he didn’t know was why. Here’s the reasoning he wouldn’t learn for thousands of years, but will be clear to you:
Take your height, for early man about 5 feet.
Multiply it by 1.5 = 7.5
Find the square root = 2.7
That means 2.7 miles to the horizon, or about two hours of walking on their bandy legs.

Do you have any tips for telling time without a watch or phone?

What readers are saying about Natural Selection

“In the third book of the series, Lucy is again beset with challenges.
Besides Lucy struggling to keep her tribe safe, and free the tribe members that were stolen by an enemy tribe—plenty to grab and hold a reader’s attention—there were substories hurtling through the book with characters I grew to care about. A Canis tracking another Canis to be her mate. A Homotherium kit looking for a pack. And Lucy’s former pack members that have been enslaved and are looking for a way to survive and escape their bonds.

Once again, Ms. Murray has woven prehistory into a lovely, understandable story. One of her signature themes is the blending of different cultures into one tribe. Proving that in spite of our differences we can get along.
On a personal note, I loved that Boah said goodbye. (You’ll know what I’m referring to when you read it.) And last but not least my favorite quote: “If Night Sun knew, it wasn’t telling.”

NATURAL SELECTION is a must-read for all Murray fans, of which I am one, prehistory buffs AND for folks that just like a well-told tale.” Sandra Cox

“The final book of the Dawn of Humanity series ends on a positive note though I suspect that Lucy’s story of survival in the prehistoric world will continue to be riddled with danger and challenges. As the title suggests, not all the branches of primitive mankind will survive and those who do will depend on their ability to develop new skills and think strategically.

The plot is straightforward with two main threads. The first is Lucy and her group’s continuing search for a sustainable home base. The second is their plan to rescue past members of her tribe from Man-who-preys before they become so weak from hunger that they’re killed. Lucy is the main character, but not the only point of view, and other characters are frequently brought to the forefront. These include her two-legged group members as well as those with four.

Murray’s research continues to add depth and realism to the read, and I found it as fascinating as I did in the first book. Our ancestors had it tough, and their lives were intricately entwined with the world around them. I appreciated that Murray didn’t spare our modern sensibilities. Grooming bugs from each other’s skin, eating rotten meat, and “fear poop” aren’t very glamorous, but they added to the authenticity of the story. Her word choices—to describe the harsh environment, its rhythms and wild creatures, and the nature and skill of each member of her diverse group—bring life on Earth 1.8 million years ago into vivid relief.

For readers who enjoy a meticulously researched primitive world and the remarkable challenges faced by our evolutionary ancestors, I highly recommend this series. It’s fascinating.”
D.W. Peach

“We Prince Edward Islanders are a loyal race. In our secret soul, we believe that there is no place like the little Province that gave us birth.” – Lucy Maude Montgomery, The Alpine Path

On my recent trip to Canada, I fulfilled another long-time dream – to visit the province of Prince Edward Island. Ever since reading Lucy Maude Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, I have longed to visit this island on the east coast of Canada. It was as charming and picturesque as I envisioned, with a rugged coastline, rich red earth, pastoral landscapes, alluring fishing villages and friendly down-to-earth folks.

Prince Edward Island was named after the son of King George III, Edward Duke of Kent, the commander of the British forces in North America.  It is the smallest and most densely populated of Canada’s 10 provinces with a population of one hundred and sixty-four thousand. It covers 5,683.91 square kilometres (2,194.57 square miles).

As the plane descended, I had a clear view of Confederation Bridge. Built in 1997, the 8-mile (12.9-km) long bridge is the world’s longest bridge over waters that freeze over in winter and connects the island to the neighbouring province of New Brunswick.

The 1,800 kilometres (1,100 miles) of shoreline, features fantastic red sandstone cliffs and red sand beaches.

And of course, lighthouses!

Cape Bear Lighthouse and Marconi Station, built in 1881, is still operational. On April 14,1912 it received the first distress signal in Canada from the sinking Titanic.

I love lighthouses!!

A common site on the island is lobster traps piled up. PEI is well known for its delicious lobsters.

I was intrigued by the lobster trap and lobster buoy Christmas trees.

And the huge apple trees laden with fruit.

We came upon an errant Blue Heron who posed politely for us.

I loved the charming houses; this one belonged to a friend.

And the colourful sheds

Interesting sculptures depicting marine life.

The Garden of the Gulf Museum, the oldest museum on the island, is housed in the former post office in the town of Montague and is full of interesting things from the past.

The island’s capital, Charlottetown, was named after the wife of King George III, Queen Charlotte. It is known as the Birthplace of Confederation after the historic 1864 Charlottetown Conference which led to the Confederation of Canada in 1867.

Rich in history and culture, it’s a perfect place to wander the streets lined with Victorian buildings still intact, and take in the ambience of a former time. There are many places to enjoy a delicious seafood meal as well.

There are amazing old churches in downtown Charlottetown including St. Dunstan’s Basilica, built in 1916, and designated as a National Historic Site of Canada.

Parliamentarians debating the state of the world in front of a cathedral. It could be 1867 instead of 2022.

I loved my trip to this remarkable maritime province. Next time I’ll tell you about my visit to Green Gables House.

Have you been to Prince Edward Island?

In case you haven’t seen this, I’m a guest on Teri Polen’s terrific Bad Moon Rising series. Check out the spookiest ghost story I’ve heard. Read some of the other guest’s interviews as well. Happy Halloween!!

Books and Such

I’m a big fan of this author’s Amanda series. I haven’t traveled to all the places Amanda has, but after reading the book I feel like I have. They’re so well-researched they could double as travel guides. I follow this author on social media and get to see adorable pics of her fur babies, but if you haven’t met them yet, today is your chance. Welcome Darlene Foster!

Would you rather visit a haunted house or a haunted graveyard?

A haunted graveyard. (Aren’t they all haunted? I mean, they are full of dead people, right?) I love graveyards and spend a lot of time in them. They are outside and easy to escape if things get tense. You can get locked inside a haunted house. Yikes!

What is the spookiest ghost story you’ve ever heard?

The story about a young couple who are making out in a car when they…

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Canada in the fall is gorgeous with such a variety of landscapes. I started my recent trip on the east coast, in Prince Edward Island, travelled to British Columbia on the west coast, and ended my journey in Alberta, one of the prairie provinces. I want to share with you some of the fabulous scenery I encountered.

Taken as I was landing on PEI. The rich farmland is depicted with its famous red soil.
Even the beaches of PEI are red.
There are many wonderful rugged beaches on Prince Edward Island.
Typical countryside scene on Prince Edward Island
An amazing natural arch
The view from the deck of my favourite place to have lunch in Ladner, BC
On the way to Gabriola Island by ferry. Nanaimo, BC is in the background.
Overlooking the islands from Gabriola Island
Rowing to Mudge Island
A peaceful walk on Mudge Island, BC
The view from my daughter’s house on Mudge Island
Wouldn’t you love to live on Halibut Hill in the forest?
On Vancouver Island near Comox
Goose Spit Regional Park on Vancouver Island
Amazing sunrise in White Rock, BC, seen from my bedroom window!
A typical fall prairie scene in southern Alberta has its own beauty.
There is nothing like a prairie sunset.
Trees turning colour in Calgary, Alberta
One of many beautiful gardens in Calgary, Alberta

I was only in three of the ten provinces of Canada, but you can get an idea of the diversity in the landscape from one coast to another.

Another awesome review of Amanda in France: Fire in the Cathedral by Patricia Tilton, a long-time Amanda fan. This review means a lot to me as Patricia reviews meaningful books, many topical, depicting diversity as well as modern issues that confront children today. Check out her blog for gift ideas for the young readers on your list.

Foster knows her audience and doesn’t talk down to her young readers. The dialogue is as realistic as are the characters. Patricia Tilton

Children's Books Heal

Amanda in France: Fire in the Cathedral

Darlene Foster, Author

Central Avenue Publishing, Sep. 13, 2022

Suitable for ages: 9-12

Themes: France, Travel, Adventure, Mystery, Fire, Cathedral, Friendship

Publisher’s Synopsis:

Amanda explores the exciting streets of Paris, the fabulous Palace of Versailles and the gardens of the painter Claude Monet, while being drawn into the mystery surrounding the destructive fire of Notre Dame cathedral.

Amanda is in love! With Paris – the city of love. She’s in awe of the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, and Notre Dame Cathedral. While there, she gets to work as a volunteer and stay in a famous book store, along with her bestie, Leah, and Leah’s eccentric Aunt Jenny. A dream come true for a book lover like Amanda.

Except, while she’s at the Paris Opera House there is a bomb threat. Then the lights go out during…

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I am pleased to be featured on Judith Barrow’s blog where I share a memory of a different time and place. Judith is an accomplished writer of family sagas and runs this wonderful “places in our memories” series on her blog.

Judith Barrow

There are places that remain in our memories, the details may become slightly blurred, nostalgia may colour our thoughts, but they don’t fade. And how those places made us feel at the time is the one thing that remains.

Today I’m welcoming Darlene Foster, a friend I’ve known online for quite a while, and had the great pleasure in meeting and getting to know her in real life at Barb Taub’s writing retreat on Arran, a few weeks ago.

Darlene is here to tell us about the time her baby brother was born during the blizzards at her near Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada.

I remember when my brother, Timothy, was born. It had been a typical cold and snowy prairie winter. Blizzards created impassable road conditions. Mom expected the third member of our family to arrive in early February. Dad was concerned that when the time came, the…

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I just returned from a working holiday in Canada. In between spending time with family and friends, I launched Amanda in France: Fire in the Cathedral. It was so wonderful to be able to do this in person again. I love visiting bookstores, libraries and schools, and introducing my latest book. The people you meet at these events are amazing. Of course they are, they’re readers, my favourite kind of people.

I did author events in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, on the east coast of Canada, in Vancouver, BC on the west coast and in Medicine Hat and Calgary, Alberta. Everywhere I went, I met new and long-time Amanda fans of all ages. It was a lot of fun. Here are a few pictures.

Book launch at Albany Books in Tsawwassen
The bookstore supplied macarons!

When I got home I received this lovely message from someone who bought a copy of Amanda in France for her mom. “My Momma just phoned to say how much she’s loving Amanda and the Cathedral!!! She’ll be ordering more from Albany Books.”

Popped into Blue Heron Books in Comox, BC to introduce myself and my books. They are now carrying the Amanda Travels books.

We had a great turnout at Unlimited Characters Bookstore in Medicine Hat.

Reading to the children
A school presentation – my favourite thing to do. The students were wonderful.
A happy Amanda fan.
Presentation and reading at the Okotoks Library
And sometimes in people’s backyards

While I was at Indigo/Chapters in Charlottetown PEI, a woman stopped by and bought 4 books. She was a long-time friend of a cousin from Calgary, Alberta. These are the amazing things that happen on book tours.

Thank you to everyone who attended the book presentations and signings. You make my job fun!

Next time, less of me and more fabulous scenery.

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© Darlene Foster and darlenefoster.wordpress.com, 2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Darlene Foster and darlenefoster.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.