Darlene Foster's Blog

Archive for the ‘Dreams’ Category

“Marilla, isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”

LM Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

That is how I always feel on New Year’s Day. A new year with no mistakes yet! I am always so excited to make a list of goals, not all of them new, some are brought over from the year before as they didn’t get met. And that’s OK. Some have been on the list for a few years already. Things happen when they are supposed to.

Here is my list for 2023

  1. Read Mom’s five-year diary by reading one page a day. It will be great to learn more about Mom as a teenager.

2. Finish Amanda in Scotland: The Standing Stones, book number ten in the Amanda Travels series.

3. Publish my collection of short stories based on my childhood growing up on the Canadian prairies.

4. Learn how to self-publish

5. Return to Canada and attend a family reunion

6. Create a newsletter.

7. Clean up and sort out my office.

8. Clean up my computer and tablet

9. Read and write more poetry

10. Eat out more often. Since the pandemic, we have gotten out of the habit and I’m getting tired of cooking all the time.

11. Read 48 books. I’m going to try for this reading goal again.

12. Work on reducing my TBR pile on my bookshelves and on my Kindle

13. Maintain my health; reduce my sugar intake

14. Visit Ireland

15. Continue marketing my books and looking for new ways to market

That should keep me busy enough so I don’t get bored.

My words for 2023 are Savour the Moment

Wishing everyone a super 2023: May many of your dreams come true!

2022 is almost over and it’s time to take stock and see how I did with the goals I set at the beginning of the year. To be honest it was not a bad year, certainly better than the two before. I was fairly cautious about setting goals as so many plans had been dashed previously. We are still not comfortable about doing much travelling but are enjoying spending time with our two dogs instead.

I’m a habitual planner, so setting goals and making plans keeps me going.

Not meeting a goal is not a bad thing. It can just be added to the next year’s list. Or maybe it is no longer important and can be struck off permanently! Let’s see how I did with meeting my 2022 goals.

Goals for 2022

  1. Publish Amanda in France: Fire in the Cathedral

Amanda in France: Fire in the Cathedral was published by Central Avenue Publishers and released on September 13th. I am happy to report that this book is doing well and I’ve received many positive reviews.

2. Publish a collection of short stories

I am working on this and have polished the collection of stories but have not published it yet.

3. Learn how to self-publish

Haven’t done this yet.

4. Start writing a new book

I have started writing Amanda in Scotland: The Standing Stones (working title). I even returned to The Isle of Arran to do more research this year.

5. Market my books in person and online

I am pleased with my marketing efforts for 2022. Online marketing has gone very smoothly with great results. I’m eternally grateful to the blogging community who have been so very supportive. I also visited bookstores, libraries and schools in three Canadian provinces doing signings and presentations. I sold out of books in one store!

6. Return to Canada and spend time with family and friends in BC and Alberta

This was a highlight of the year. I saw so many family members and friends during my three-week visit to Canada in September, including both of my children and all of my grand and great-grandchildren.

7. Travel to at least one new place

I did this and the new place was Prince Edward Island, a Province on the east coast of Canada. A place I have wanted to visit since I read Anne of Green Gables when I was ten years old. I even had an opportunity to visit the house that inspired the author, Lucy Maude Montgomery, to write the novel.

8. Update my blog

I’ve done some work on this but still have more to do.

9. Buy a new computer

I did buy a new computer and just love it. The speed is incredible!

10. Take an online course

I’ve taken part in a few online courses, mostly via podcasts and Zoom meetings.

11. Read at least 48 books

According to my Goodreads challenge, I have read 46 books this year. But I also read 2 books that were not on Goodreads, and one of the books I read was War and Peace; that should count for 3 books at least! So I’m calling this a win.

12. Keep up to date with technology

This is something I really believe in and don’t want to fall behind. I have updated my new computer to Windows 11 and have had no problems with it at all. I tend to learn new things as needed.

13. Make new friends and stay in touch with old friends

“A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet” – Will Rogers. I have turned a few strangers into new friends this year but have spent most of my time keeping in touch with my long-time friends. I was happy to have met a couple of blogging friends in person which is always special.

14. Keep calm and stay positive, no matter what

I did a good job of this in 2022 and it certainly reflected in my health and attitude.

I’m happy with the results and am ready to face 2023 with a new set of goals, along with some carried over.

How did you do this past year? Any surprises?

Happy New Year one and all!!

“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?

On April 13th, 2010, my first book, Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask, was published by Central Avenue Publishing. An auspicious day for me and a dream come true! That was twelve years ago, and what a fabulous twelve years it has been.

On my visit to the UAE where I fell in love with the desert.

The story is loosely based on a trip I took to the United Arab Emirates to visit a friend. I was so amazed at this part of the world, I felt compelled to write about it. After a few failed attempts, a twelve-year-old girl entered my mind and wanted to tell the story from her point of view. I named her Amanda and, well, the rest is history.

The book has had three different covers over the years.

Cover #1
Cover #2
Cover #3

Although Amanda in Arabia is twelve years old, I am happy to say it is still being read. Recently, I was delighted to read a review by James Cudney.

Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask is the first middle-grade book in Darlene Foster’s Amanda Travels series, and I very much enjoyed reading it. Amanda yearns to travel the world, and first up is the United Arab Emirates, but call it UAE or the Emirates as one of her new local friends wisely cautions her upon arrival. One of Amanda’s birthday wishes, this smart young girl finds herself visiting an aunt and uncle who live in the far-away country. Whether she’s magically or realistically transported is a question you’ll have to find out for yourself!

Readers will learn all about camels, the Persian Gulf, a princess who was almost forced to marry an older man, and many more culturally significant items of relevance. Both an educational and charming tale, the book offers a variety of themes and good old-fashioned fairy tale fun. Amanda makes several more international trips in future books (there are 8 to date in the series) and I’m keen to find out what she’s going to explore. You’ll enjoy her witty intelligence, and I’m sure if the shenanigans in this book are a sense of things to come, it will be a delightful collection of books that will appeal to a wide variety of personalities. Great job! – James J Cudney

James is a prolific reader and a great writer himself. Check out his blog where he writes honest reviews of a variety of books. He especially enjoys books in a series. https://thisismytruthnow.com/category/general-blog/

His own entertaining books can be found on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/James-J-Cudney/e/B076B6PB3M/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

A huge thank you to everyone who, over the years, has assisted and encouraged me, bought my books, told others about them and written reviews. You have made these past twelve years an incredible part of my life!

Amanda in Arabia is available on all Amazon sites as well as at other booksellers.

It is four days into 2022 and so far so good. January is named after Janus, the god of beginnings and transitions in Roman mythology. So it is appropriate for me to look ahead and set some goals, maybe try something new. It is hard to plan right now but without goals, I find I am adrift. Goals help me stay grounded and not dwell on things I can’t do anything about. 

So here they are, my goals for 2022

  1. Publish Amanda in France: Fire in the Cathedral
  2. Publish a collection of short stories
  3. Learn how to self-publish
  4. Start writing a new book
  5. Market my books in person and online
  6. Return to Canada and spend time with family and friends in BC and Alberta
  7. Travel to at least one new place
  8. Update my blog
  9. Buy a new computer
  10. Take an on-line course
  11. Read at least 48 books
  12. Keep up to date with technology
  13. Make new friends and stay in touch with old friends
  14. Keep calm and stay positive, no matter what

I have decided on three words for 2022

Learn

Calm

Flexible

And I’ll leave you with a quote I’ve always believed in.

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I wish everyone an interesting year and would love to read about your goals for the coming year.

2021 is over! Many of us will breathe a sigh of relief. For me, it was a year of ups and downs, joys and sorrows, additions and losses. In the end, it balanced out. As I always do, I’ll look at the goals I set at the beginning of 2021 and see how I did. I never met all my goals and to be honest I doubted I would meet many in 2021. I was pleasantly surprised. You can read my post from last year here.

2021 Goals with results

  1. Come up with innovative ideas to market Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady

I worked hard on this. I put more effort into using social media to promote the book as I was unable to do in-person presentations and signings. I created a blog launch for the first time with the help of many of my blogging friends. It was quite successful and fun.

2. Plan a trip to Canada to launch Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady

Once it was safe to do so, I travelled to Canada in September, four months after the launch. Due to COVID restrictions, I was not able to visit schools, libraries and bookstores as I usually do to promote my book. I did have one book signing at a Medicine Hat bookstore which was well attended. Other events I had set up ahead of time were cancelled. It was a tough year to plan anything.

3. Visit family and friends in Canada as soon as it is safe to do so

I feared this might not happen, but in September restrictions were lifted and I was able to return to Canada to see my family and friends. My daughter from BC flew to Alberta so we could all be together. It had been two very long years. Meeting this goal was the best!

4. Finish writing Amanda in France: Fire in the Cathedral

The book is completed and ready to be sent to the editor. We have scheduled the publication date for September 2022, all being well.

5. Read and review at least 40 good books

As the last post indicated, I exceeded my goal by reading 46 books. All very good books too!

6. Visit new places in Spain

Years ago I vowed I would visit at least one new place a year. With COVID, I thought it would be more realistic to plan to visit a new place within Spain. Well, that didn’t happen, but I went to beautiful Arran Island in Scotland for a writers retreat! Sometimes when you don’t meet a goal, a new one shows up.

7. Continue to help other writers

I did a lot of this and will continue to do more. I really feel it is time to give back and pass on what I have learned over the years. I am no expert and am still learning, but if I can help a new writer to move forward, it is a good day.

8. Organize computer files

I did some organizing but not as much as I should have. Only half marks here.

9. Attend conferences and workshops on-line

I didn’t attend any conferences online but did do some workshops online which were valuable. Half marks here too.

10. Do podcast and video interviews and presentations

I participated in some podcasts and video interviews which were a lot of fun to do.

11. Visit schools digitally and in-person if possible

I did online school visits in Ireland, England, New Mexico and New Jersey and loved it!

12. Find markets for my short stories

Didn’t do this.

13. Adopt a buddy for Dot

We adopted little Lia! (and I will never get to sleep in again). But she keeps us on our toes and we love her to bits.

14. Stay safe and stay positive

So far we have not been sick. We have had both vaccination shots and I get my booster on January 4th. I have managed to stay positive.

These were my words for 2021.

Strength

Love

Hope

Watch this space for new words and goals for 2022

“A good goal is like a strenuous exercise — it makes you stretch.”– Mary Kay Ash

I wish you all a wonderful 2022 full of surprises!

You will enjoy this podcast with the amazing Rebecca Budd, where a potter tells us how she followed her dream to become an international selling ceramist and how she built her own wood burning kiln, one brick at a time. She mentions her mom as well. I am bursting with pride.

Welcome to Tea Toast & Trivia.

Thank you for listening in.

I am your host Rebecca Budd, and I am looking forward to sharing this moment with you.

Marcelle Glock, Ceramist

Today, I am heading over to Mudge Island, located within the scenic Gulf Islands, between Vancouver Island and Gabriola Island.   I am delighted and thrilled to meet up with Marcelle Glock, Ceramist to discuss the wood fired ceramic tradition.

Marcelle is a remarkable artist. Her pottery and sculptures sit in private collections around the world. Her artwork encompasses stoneware, raku, and local wild terra-cotta.  Marcelle forms clay into extraordinary artworks – from functional to sculptural, wearable and oracle.  She imbues each piece with a primal reverence toward the natural world. 

I invite you to put the kettle on and add to this exciting conversation on Tea Toast & Trivia.

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…

View original post 609 more words

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?

For many years I have set goals for the coming year. They help to keep me focused and be productive. This year I was reluctant to set any goals because it is hard to make plans when things are still so uncertain. But then I decided the best thing is to just carry on as usual. Goals are not written in stone. They can always be adjusted or carried over to the next year. So before I went to bed on January 1st, I wrote down some goals. I also believe goals need to be shared in order to be effective. Here they are!

Goals for 2021

  1. Come up with innovative ideas to market Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady
  2. Plan a trip to Canada to launch Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady
  3. Visit family and friends in Canada as soon as it is safe to do so
  4. Finish writing Amanda in Spain: Fire in the Cathedral
  5. Read and review at least 40 good books
  6. Visit new places in Spain
  7. Continue to help other writers
  8. Organize computer files
  9. Attend conferences and workshops on line
  10. Do podcast and video interviews and presentations
  11. Visit schools digitally and in-person if possible
  12. Find markets for my short stories
  13. Adopt a buddy for Dot
  14. Stay safe and stay positive

In recent years, I have been encouraged by other bloggers to pick three words for the year. I really like this idea and usually pick the first three words that come to mind.

These are my words for 2021.

Strength

Love

Hope

My wish for everyone for 2021 is to be strong, share the love and never give up hope! And drink good tea and read good books.


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