Darlene Foster's Blog

It always seems like such a long time between the day you type The End and when your book is actually released to the public. But when that day arrives, it is always exciting, no matter how many books you have written. Things are different this year so my launch for Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady will be virtual. At least for now. I wish to thank all the wonderful people who have offered to help me with this virtual launch and those who have posted reviews and guest posts leading up to this day. I am one lucky girl to have so many people on my street team!!

Jacqui Murray is starting off the tour. Jacqui so kindly chatted with me on ZOOM and gave me some super ideas on how to do a virtual blog tour. She writes amazing prehistoric sagas and offers great writing and technical advice on her blog. As well as a glowing review, she asked me a couple of questions and included an excerpt from Amanda in Malta. Hop over and enjoy.

Another Great Amanda Travel Book

Posted on  by JACQUI MURRAY

I’m so excited to be part of Darlene Fosters launch of her eleventh Amanda book–Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady. This is a wonderful series that take kids all over the world to not only solve mysteries but visit some of the planet’s exquisite sights.

Before we get to my review of this book (spoiler: This Amanda story is great) and let you read an excerpt that will whet your appetite, I had the opportunity chat with Darlene about this book:

Why did you choose Malta as the setting for this adventure?

When I started to write this series, my goal was to introduce readers to interesting locations that may not be that well known. Malta is one such place. It’s not a country many people get to or know much about. My husband and I visited Valletta, the capital, for half a day while on a cruise. We loved it and decided to return for a week a year later. While we were there, I kept saying, “Amanda would love it here.” So, it was not surprising that I choose Malta for Amanda´s next adventure.

Read more here

https://worddreams.wordpress.com/2021/05/11/another-great-amanda-travel-book/

Here is the schedule for the month long blog launch tour. These are all amazing blogs and well worth checking out.

May 11 Jacquie Murray https://worddreams.wordpress.com/

May 15 Robbie Cheadle https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

May 18 Miriam Hurdle https://theshowersofblessings.com/

May 21 Anne Mehrling https://amehrling.com/

May 24 Kim Barker https://cadburypom.wordpress.com/

May 27 Nancy Blodgett Klein https://spainwriter.home.blog/

May 30 Shirley Healy https://therapybits.com/

June 2 Debra Purdy Kong http://www.debrapurdykong.com/

June 5 Michele Somerville https://michelesomerville.blog/

June 7 Meg King-Sloan https://meggiesadventures.com/

June 11 Lisa Day https://booktime584.wordpress.com/

Thank you everyone for your support and encouragement. I am feeling the love!
One of the colourful doors and unique door knockers of Malta

With all the hype about my latest book, I mustn’t forget Amanda’s other adventures. Here is an awesome review of Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action by one of my favourite teachers! If you read Jennie’s blog posts you will wish you were back in school.

A Teacher's Reflections

I’m the book guru at school.  That’s what they call me.  Finding a good children’s book is one of my greatest pleasures, next to reading aloud to children.  Teachers and parents lean on me for good books.  The storyline of “Amanda in Holland, Missing in Action” was intriguing to me – adventure, history, WWII, Anne Frank… and more.  A few months ago I ordered the book.  I was so excited!

Darlene Foster is the author, and she did not disappoint.  I was enveloped in Holland with Amanda.  I could not put the book down.

Here’s what Amazon says:

Amanda is in Holland to see the tulips with her best friend, Leah. They travel the canals of Amsterdam, visit Anne Frank House, check out windmills, tour a wooden shoe factory, and take many pictures of the amazing flowers of Keukenhof Gardens. She is keen to find out what happened to her…

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I am pleased to be a guest on Pete’s wonderful blog. His posts are varied and always interesting. Check them out.

beetleypete

I am delighted to present a guest post from the lovely blogger and author, Darlene Foster.

Here is her short bio.

Darlene Foster grew up on a ranch in Alberta, Canada, where her love of reading inspired her to see the world and write stories about a young girl who travels to interesting places. Over the years she worked in rewarding jobs such as an employment counsellor, ESL teacher, recruiter, and retail manager, writing whenever she had a few spare minutes. She is now retired and has a house in Spain where she writes full time. When not travelling, meeting interesting people, and collecting ideas for her books, she enjoys spending time with her husband and entertaining rescue dogs, Dot and Lia.

Never Too Late To Become A Writer
by Darlene Foster

A goal without a plan is just a dream.

Many of us dream of being a writer. After…

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Only ten more days until the release of Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady. Sally Cronin over at Smorgasbord Book Reviews has posted a wonderful pre-release review. Check it out and look around her blog. She has some amazing features, writes wonderful books and and is very supportive of other authors and bloggers.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Delighted to step back in time to my own childhood and read the latest adventure by Darlene Foster. Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady (An Amanda Travels Adventure Book 8)

This is an advance review and the book is still on pr-order until May 11th as a special price.

About the book

Amanda receives a postcard from her best friend, Leah, and is surprised to learn that she is in Malta with her aunt. Reading between the lines, she senses Leah is in trouble. Desperate to help her, Amanda travels to Malta with her classmate Caleb and his parents.

Amanda is intrigued by this exotic island in the middle of the Mediterranean, full of colourful history, sun-drenched limestone fortresses, stunning beaches and fascinating birds. But…who is killing the protected birds? Who stole a priceless artifact from the museum? And why is Leah acting so strange? She couldn’t possibly be involved…

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Ever since I was a little girl, my dream was to be a teacher. I loved learning, loved going to school and was lucky to have had some wonderful teachers. When adults would ask the inevitable question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I would stand tall, even though I was very short for my age, and proudly state, “A teacher.”

But, as is often the case, life happens while you are making other plans and I didn’t become a teacher. I had great jobs in retail management, recruitment and employment counselling. But I still longed to teach. So, after my children were grown up and I was already a grandmother, I enrolled in a Teaching English as a Second Language, distance learning program with the University of Saskatchewan. This was a two year program. Since I was working full time, I did my lessons in the evenings after work. I graduated with a Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language shortly after my fiftieth birthday. It was a proud day.

At last, a teaching certificate.

My first job after graduation was teaching six orphaned Tibetan teenage girls who planned to work in health care eventually. Since many of the volunteer doctors they would be working alongside would be from English speaking countries, they required English communication skills. They had come to Canada for six months for that reason, sponsored by medical professionals. They already had some basic English language skills.

The students were delightful and soaked up the learning like sponges. We had so much fun. I learned as much about their culture as they did about North American life. They especially loved learning the idioms. As I left the school to catch the bus home one afternoon, they shouted, “Break your legs.”

We laughed and we cried together. A lesson about camping became a lesson in birth control. I taught them how to make hamburgers and they taught me how to make momos. It was an incredible experience.

I invited them to my house for a typical Canadian barbeque. I also invited my daughter and everyone got along so well. The girls sang and did a Tibetan dance for us. They said, “Now you have seven daughters.”

After six months, they graduated from my class with much improved English skills. We held a ceremony for them at the school the day before they were to return to Tibet. There were many tears shed that day. They had already left the building when one of the girls, Lasha, came running back in to give me one more hug. I still shed tears thinking about it.

This was another dream come true for me. I had other wonderful jobs teaching English to non English speakers and met some amazing people from all over the world, but these girls will always be my special students. It was the most rewarding job I have ever had and I will never forget my Tibetan girls.

Have you had a job that was extra special?

Another wonderful review for Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady. Amanda and I are very pleased everyone is enjoying the book.

Wordy Witterings

I read about this novel on a book blog and was intrigued – it sounded just like the kind of thing that my 9-year-old daughter would enjoy reading. I’m pleased to say that since I’ve read ‘Amanda in Malta’, I’ve told her all about it and she can’t wait to not only read this novel, but the whole series. She wants to start with those featuring countries that she’s been to herself, and now has a very full Amazon wish list!

In ‘Amanda in Malta’, the lead character goes on holiday to Malta and gets involved in the mystery of a 4000 year old figurine that goes missing from a museum. The unique feature of this book, it that in reading it children will learn so much about the country that it features. The characters visit a range of Malta’s places of interest, both those on the common tourist trail…

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My eighth book in the Amanda Travels series, Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady, is set to be launched on May 11th and I am as excited and nervous as if it was my first book. A writer puts so much time, energy and emotion into a book, it really is like birthing a baby. And there is always the self doubt and nagging questions. What if no one likes this one? What if I´ve lost the ability to create a good story? What if no one buys it? What if the reviews are bad or nonexistent?

I am delighted to see that the early reviews, from the book being on NetGalley, have been positive.

Here are snippets of the reviews on Goodreads so far that have made my heart dance.

Author Darlene Foster has such a great way to tell a story and impart information about a location at the same time that I found myself thinking “Hey- I want to go to Malta!”. Beth

Armchair travel has never been so exciting! I love the author’s ability to bring the settings alive, from the Blue Grotto to a beautiful cathedral in Valletta, all while keeping the suspense high. Jacquie – Click on her blog for more of the review https://jacqbiggar.com/2021/04/05/bookreview-amanda-in-malta-by-darlene-foster-travel-mystery-supermegawoman/

This is a lovely middle grade novel that whisks you away to the island of Malta. I’ve never been but have heard a lot of rave stories about Malta and Amanda in Malta made me want to visit! MJ – Click on her blog for more of the review https://mjmallon.com/2021/04/05/book-review-amanda-in-malta-by-darlene-foster-supermegawoman-netgalley-book-review/

Darlene Foster’s Amanda is what I wish I’d had the courage to be as a tween: adventurous and well-traveled, making friends easily wherever she goes. Molly

The Blue Lagoon in Malta

Since I am unable to hop on a plane and do a book launch and tour in Canada, as I usually do, I have decided to do a blog launch/virtual tour. This is the first time I´ve done this. What I need are bloggers who would be willing to be part of the tour. If you are interested, let me know by email, darlene.foster@telus.net and I´ll send you the information. I´ll make it as easy as possible and hopefully we will all have fun. The goal is to get the word out about my book to as many readers as possible and to drive some traffic to your blog at the same time.

The YouTube trailer.

Thank you to everyone who has left a review. I really appreciate it.

The book is still available on NetGalley.

I am pleased to feature Mike Biles from A Bit About Britain (ABAB). Since we can’t travel right now, and who knows will we will be able to again, it’s good to read travel blogs. ABAB features great articles about fascinating places in Britian, a small island with an immense history and fabulous places to visit.

  1. Tell us a bit about yourself.

Firstly, thank you so much for inviting me onto Darlene Foster’s Blog, Darlene. I will try to behave.

A bit about myself? Well, I was born, at a very young age, atop a remote, windswept, tower one dark night in a thunderstorm.  The lights flickered at the appropriate moment. A surprisingly uneventful childhood was then spent in the deep South of England, followed by a slightly more exciting spell at university in the Midlands (history and a post-grad teaching certificate) with more than two fairly serious decades thereafter in and around London.  I am now exiled in the frozen north, surrounded by moss and flat vowels.  It’s a cliché to say that I always enjoyed writing, though for many years, whilst running my own business, this was mostly limited to tedious documents like project plans, specifications and contracts.  Along the way, I conspicuously failed to become world tiddly-winks champion; but I have maintained a life-long love of Britain, history, idle scribbling, beer and conversation.  I also enjoy a good movie and would be lost without music.

  • You have such an interesting blog. How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start your blog?

Thank you! A Bit About Britain was conceived some time ago and trundled along quite happily for a year or three as a kind of hobby, but the current website https://bitaboutbritain.com/ was launched in 2016. In some ways, the inspiration had always been there, because a love of heritage attractions and good stories had been drip-fed into me.  But, staying at various places around the country for work, I often found myself falling into conversation with people about local places of interest and began thinking about creating some kind of independent online database for visitors.  Much of the information out there at the time seemed rather partisan, often with pompous articles at one extreme, sometimes vacuous ones at the other and occasionally written by people who didn’t have a clue what they were talking about.  I had no idea to start a blog, but perceived a gap for an unbiased, accurate, resource that didn’t always take itself too seriously, and arrogantly thought I may be able to fill it – somehow.  Of course, it’s not that easy, it is a hopelessly ambitious aspiration – and I’m also lousy at the technical stuff; but we try.

  • Tell us about your books and how they came about.

Ah, well. The first one, A Bit About Britain’s History, pretty much had to be written in some form before the website was launched.  If you’re banging on about places to visit, particularly castles, stately homes and what-not, a little context is helpful. So I created a potted history of Britain and the book ripened from there.  It is not a tough read; I like to think of it as accessible history, from prehistoric to modern times, neatly pitched somewhere between arcane academia and dumb drivel.  It could probably do with more illustrations, but it does contain three maps and offers a respectable introduction to Britain’s story if you don’t know the subject, a refresher if you weren’t paying attention at school – and the context that visitors need.  Some very kind people (let’s hope the cheques don’t bounce) have even said it should be in school libraries, to give an idea how the topics studied as part of a curriculum fit into the bigger picture.

The second book, A Bit about Britain’s High Days and Holidays, has a similar pedigree. The website features articles about Christmas, Easter and other occasions. The book explores a baker’s dozen of these notable annual celebrations, or commemorations, their origins and the traditions associated with them. For good measure, it includes a couple of recipes, an A-Z of Christmas and a list of Britain’s Big Days – the events that normally form part of our calendar, some mainstream, some obscure, through Spring to Winter. It’s the kind of book I hope people might like to have on their bookshelves; I know I would.

Available on all Amazon sites
https://www.amazon.com/Mike-Biles/e/B07W928W23/
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mike-Biles/e/B07W928W23/

In your opinion, what is the most fascinating place in the UK and what makes it so?

That is a very good question, but almost impossible to answer.  I can get fascinated among a pile of stones, imagining children playing thereabouts thousands of years ago.  I find multi-layered places, where the stories almost pile one on top of the other, absorbing. At Wallsend (literally, at the end of Hadrian’s Wall), for example, is the site of the Roman fort of Segedunum. After the Romans, the area reverted to agriculture; later, coal mining arrived; then shipbuilding – and a whole community around that. They built some of the biggest ships in the world there.  Now that community has vanished too and we’re left with the outline of the Roman fort.  Or Fotheringhay – tumble-down deserted birthplace of Richard III and the site of Mary, Queen of Scots’ execution.  Places where big history-changing events took place and your imagination can run riot, such as Hastings and Bosworth, are fascinating and it takes no effort to get captivated by the atmosphere of sites like prehistoric Avebury and the Anglo-Saxon burials at Sutton Hoo – both of those places fit my ‘multi-layered’ description, actually. Come to think of it, I also got extremely excited on the trail of The Beatles in Liverpool; like a kid in a chocolate factory. So – tough question.

But I guess, if forced to choose just one fascinating place in the UK, it would – reluctantly – be London.  ‘Reluctant’, because everybody goes to London, there is so much to see beyond its boundaries that visitors miss and London is so untypical of the rest of the UK.  However, there really is so much in and about our capital; and not only the obvious must-see attractions and museums, excellent though many of them are. The place has a two-thousand-year history with intriguing tales and obscure facts lurking everywhere you go, round every corner, behind the street names, plaques on walls, statues, memorials, churches, pubs, wonderful parks, squares and traditions. If you’re of a curious mind, it’s a hard place to be bored in, that’s for sure.

  • Is there some place you have not yet visited that you would love to see?

Er – how long have you got?!  I will never finish exploring Britain; there simply isn’t time.  I need to visit the west more: the lovely border country between England and Wales, Wales itself (did you know it has a designated path all the way round its coast?) and the West Country. I have been to them all – just not enough. One thing I have never done, but have long-wanted to do, is island-hop off the west coast of Scotland – and I’d also love to visit Orkney and Shetland too. Rumour has it that some of my ancestors came from Caithness, so it would be great to go there as well; perhaps drive the North Coast 500 route, the circuit around Scotland’s North Highlands; fabulous! Think dodgy single-track roads, wild scenery, stunning beaches, remote castles, legends and malt whisky. This is all subject to Head Office approval, of course; much depends on the incredibly tolerant, long-suffering, Mrs Britain.

  • Do you feel that reading about travel destinations will help us get through this time of pandemic, when we can no longer travel freely?

Yes, I think so.  Frankly, pretty much any reading is helpful, and a gift – as is the Internet, for all its faults and dangers. The pandemic forced western society to change its priorities and it’s certainly been an opportunity for many to take stock and learn, to ease the path through odd, and awful, times, without going anywhere.  So, there is the chance for those that can to look around, get some background, soak up the stories behind places, and plan.  But we do need to be phlegmatic and remember that the world waits beyond the boundaries of our personal lockdowns, that it’s been there for a very long time indeed and it’s not going anywhere.  It doesn’t help to get all emotional about what you cannot do, how terrible you believe the restrictions are, and so on.  It is not only pointless, but some people don’t have that luxury.  And don’t get me started on the flat-earth conspiracy theorists!

  • What is your next writing project?

There are big plans for the website, but I’m painfully slow.  Book-wise, it is hoped to bring out at least one further volume of ‘A Bit about Britain’s something or other’ before I shuffle off this mortal coil. My follower will be the second (or maybe the third) to know!

Thanks so much, Mike, for this informative and entertaining interview. If you want to do some armchair travel or start planning that next trip for when we can travel:

check out Mike’s Blog https://bitaboutbritain.com/

his books https://www.amazon.com/Mike-Biles/e/B07W928W23/

follow him on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19553725.Mike_Biles

Bette Frisch: December 25th, 1928 to March 17th, 2021

My heart is broken as I recently lost my dear sweet mom. I know she is at peace and with my dad and brother, but I will miss seeing her smiling face forever. Due to Covid, I was not able to say goodbye or be with the family at the small graveside service in Canada, which was very upsetting. However, I have many good memories that bring me much comfort. As my daughter said, she showed us what unconditional love looked like.

Mom was a Christmas baby, born December 25th, 1928 at Hilda, Alberta, the oldest of six children. She first attended school at Echodale where her Aunt Beth was the teacher. She enjoyed school and was a good student. She met the love of her life, Herb Frisch, at a local dance and married him on October 2, 1947. They were married for 59 years, until his passing in 2007. Family was everything to Mom. She devoted her life to looking after everyone, even those not part of our family. She was an excellent cook, baker, seamstress, knitter and gardener. Everyone loved her kuchen and perogies. Her traditional German food was delicious, but she was not afraid to try new recipes. Her Christmas dinners and branding party spreads are legendary. Her home was always open to guests, and she could whip up a fabulous meal for unexpected visitors with little effort. No one left her house hungry. Mom worked hard on the farm, milking cows, feeding pigs and chickens, making her own butter, bread, jams and preserves, and tending a large vegetable garden. Every night before bed, she wrote in her journal, documenting the days activities. Her strong faith sustained her throughout her life especially during times of great sorrow. She was an active member of the United Church of Canada, where she taught Sunday school, was a CGIT (Canadian Girls in Training) leader and belonged to the UCW (United Church Women) for many years.

Mom loved Tim Horton’s ice caps, nice clothes, dancing with dad, playing scrabble with Aunt Barbara and reading my books. But most of all, she loved all of us. She had four children, three grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren, as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins and people she made to feel like part of the family.

Here is what one cousin had to say about her after hearing of her passing:

Bette – Small but mighty…she moved with quick, efficient steps in the kitchen, a tea towel over one shoulder while scraping the cake batter from mixing bowl to baking pan – another coffee cake ready to bake! Herb and Bette’s home was home for so many of us! She welcomed all of us! Always fun and laughter, warmth and love. That short 35 minute drive out for just the day or a three-night sleep over! Or those gatherings in Elkwater for a day-long picnic. Or visits to our house after getting grocery – the ice cream was always brought in to the freezer so they could stay for supper! Oh silly memories, but they mean so much! 

Another cousin had this to say:

Our family visited the Frisch’s farm many times when I was a child and my brother and I would stay a few days each summer. Bette and Herb were always welcoming and hospitable. Being able to experience a mixed farming operation and seeing how Bette and Herb embraced this lifestyle of hard work was a positive influence. Bette was always friendly and always answered her younger cousins’ questions about the farm.

And from two nieces:

I have such amazing memories of Auntie Bette. She was a true gem and never missed a birthday. Even when we got funny gifts! We were blessed to have such a beautiful person in our lives.

Aunty Bette is definitely an important part of my life – childhood memories on the farm shelling washtubs full of peas, riding horses, wonderful meals and evening cards or games with snacks before bedtime!

And from one of her former CGIT members:

Betty was a wonderful lady and mentor for me in my youth. 

A sweet and kind woman who will be missed by many. May you fly with the angels, Mom. 

Here is a video I created with a collection of pictures from mom´s life.

There are three things that last forever: faith, hope, and love, and the greatest if the three is love. 1 Corinthians 13, 13

A fabulous early review of Amanda’s latest adventure that has made my day! Thanks By Hook Or By Book.

By Hook Or By Book

B14C7669-C775-418C-A092-ED65C99705E9Thanks to NetGalley and Central Avenue Publishing for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: May 11th, 2021

128 Pages

Synopsis: Amanda receives a postcard from her best friend Leah, and is surprised to learn that she is in Malta with her aunt. Reading between the lines, she senses Leah is in trouble. Desperate to help her, Amanda travels to Malta with her classmate Caleb and his parents.

Amanda is intrigued with this exotic island in the middle of the Mediterranean, full of colorful history, sun-drenched limestone fortresses, stunning beaches and fascinating birds. But…who is killing the protected birds? Who stole a priceless artifact from the museum? And why is Leah acting so strange? She couldn’t possibly be involved in these illegal activities, or could she?

Join Amanda and her friends as the visit ancient temples, an exciting falconry, and the enchanting Popeye Village, as they…

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