Darlene Foster's Blog

Archive for the ‘People’ Category

One of the joys of writing is hearing from readers and seeing pictures of them with my books. I am pleased to have many faithful followers of the Amanda Travels series. Some have been reading about Amanda’s travels since I published the very first book, eight years ago. Here are a few pictures of my books in the hands of young readers.

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This avid reader bought a set of books for herself and for her friend, with her own money!


This young reader has been an Amanda fan from the start.

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And she is still reading the books in Trinidad!


A sweet little Amanda fan.


Another special fan, from Australia!


Special visitors at a book signing.



These students still attend my presentations.


More students who love Amanda.


This clever young woman has already written three books of her own.

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A special fan in Spain


A blogging friend’s gift to her granddaughter


Happy to get another Amanda book for her birthday.


Eager readers attend a book launch.

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New fans at the first book launch, 8 years ago.


She enjoys reading her great-grandmother’s books


A keen fan reading to her great-great-grandmother.

I also love hearing from those who have read my books. Here is a lovely email from a young reader.

Hi, Darlene, my name is Kynnlei and Marion is my auntie. She gave me three of your books and they are some of my favourite books. Please keep writing and she will keep buying. We give you encouragement to do what you are passionate about. 

And this from a young man being homeschooled who read two of my books for his reading assignments.

Dear Darlene:

I am doing a book report on your book titled, “Amanda in Alberta”.  I liked it! My favourite part is the horse ride in chapter 6.   I have been to many of these places, mostly with my dad in the semi truck.  Did you visit all of the places in your book? Can you make a book of “Amanda in Iceland”?  I think that would be awesome! Thank you for writing these amazing books!

Sincerely; Kegan

I understand he got very good marks on his assignments.

This is why I am so passionate about writing for kids!

If you have a picture of you or someone reading one of my books, please send it to me as I love to collect them. 



I am fascinated by graveyards, always have been. The older the better. I visit them wherever I go, including Canada, the US, England, Spain, Holland and ancient sites in the United Arab Emirates and Malta. I love to wander the site and think about the individuals buried there. I don’t find them spooky, but rather peaceful, often sad and full of stories. When I was visiting my granddaughter in southern Alberta last summer we went for a drive in the prairies and discovered a well-kept, old cemetery not too far from her place. There were only about a dozen gravestones but what we found was amazing. This was the final resting place of my great-great-grandmother on my father’s side, Juliana Wegner Frisch.



We found my great-great-grandmother buried here in the Eagle Butte Little Plume Cemetery




German translation – Mother Juliana Frisch, born Wegner, born Jan 27, 1852, died Sept 17, 1927, Age 75 years, 8 months and 21 days

I have written quite a lot on this blog about my mother’s side of the family but we don’t know as much about my father’s side (Frisch) except that they were also German people who immigrated to North America from south Russia. They arrived in the late 1800s and many settled initially in the United States. My brother and my dad’s cousin have done some research and from what they discovered, Johann Frisch and his wife Juliana Wegner were both born in south Russia in an area what was, at the time, called Bessarabia.  They emigrated from Hamburg, Germany on April 20, 1898, arriving in New York on May 6, 1898, on a ship named “S.S.Scotia.”  With them were all seven of their surviving children, including my great-grandparents, John Frisch and Sophie (Schlect), who had already met and married in Russia. Johann and Juliana homesteaded in southern Alberta and later moved into the town of Irvine to set up a livery stable business and later a mail delivery business.

After retiring to the city of Medicine Hat, they split up in 1917.  Julianna lived the remainder of her life with her daughters until she passed away in 1927. Johann moved to the US where he passed away in 1928 on a “poor farm” in Portland, Oregon where he is buried. I can´t help but wonder why they went their separate ways.


It was an awesome feeling to be there, at the place where my roots in Canada began. But even more amazing was the reaction of my seven-year-old great-granddaughter who was totally aware of the significance of the place. She was very serious and solemn and asked good questions. This woman was eight generations from her and resting only ten miles from where she lived!

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Standing beside the grave of her 5 times great-grandmother and feeling emotional

All the graves, although old, were in good repair. Apparently, other members of the family are buried there as well, some without gravestones.





Always sad to see a baby’s grave.

There was a church nearby and I assume the congregation must look after the graveyard.


And in amongst the dry grass, I found little flowers blooming and it made me think of how life is created and carries on no matter what. How a woman with seven children arrived in a new country, thrived and is responsible for so many descendants. I looked at my great-granddaughter and thought of how her legacy lives on.DSCN0193

The only picture of Juliana I could find was in the Frisch Family Tree book, painstakingly compiled by my dad’s cousin, Reuben Frisch. In the book, nine generations are documented and 1153 people listed (including spouses). In the front cover he wrote,  Thanks to these two people, Johann Frisch and Juliana Wegner who came to Canada, with their children, we get to live the good life.


Thank you, Juliana Frisch. May you rest in peace.

You may have read on a previous post that one of the items on my personal “bucket list” was to meet my blogging friends in person. I am excited to say that I have met three recently.

During my last trip to Canada, a blogging friend showed up at my presentation at a Calgary Library. I was delighted to meet Sue Slaght from Travel Tales of Life. She is as delightful in person as she is on her blog.  A prairie girl like I am, she enjoys travel too. Her blog provides excellent articles written with a great sense of humour and filled with interesting details and pictures. She is game to try anything and have it videoed by her patient, eye-rolling husband. Check out her blog. It’s laugh-out-loud funny and the stunning pictures will entice you to visit the many locations she writes about. I am so glad to have met Sue in person.

With blogging buddy Sue Slaght in Calgary, Alberta

Another blogging friend I met recently is Fatima Rosales Naya.  I have been following her blog, Saysell Travels, for a few years now. She writes about her travels with her husband and cute dog, Beano, around France and Spain in their motorhome. They find the coolest places to stop and explore and writes about them. They happened to be near Alicante recently so we arranged a meetup. It was like seeing a best friend at long last and we chatted nonstop for two hours. I’m sure we were sisters in another life. Check out her blog, with fabulous pictures here.

With long-time blogging friend, Fatima in Alicante, Spain

While in Liverpool I had a coffee with Alison Sandilands of Seemytravels.com who lives there. We had met once before when she spent six months in Canada five years ago and made a stop on the west coast. I wrote about it in an earlier blog here. After a coffee, snack, and catch-up, she took me to a historic church and gave me great ideas of things to do while in Liverpool.  She was the one who suggested I stop by that fabulous library. It was so wonderful to see her again, especially as now she has a sweet little girl. Her blog is a mixture of travel and lifestyle articles.

With Alison and her baby in Liverpool, UK. 

There are those who question whether blogging friends are real friends? I for one have always felt they are real friends and meeting some of them in person, makes them even more real. It is so great to have friends scattered all over the world. You can never have too many friends!

Have you had the opportunity to meet a blogging friend? 

I haven’t been spending much time on my blog lately but there is a very good reason. I’ve been entertaining overseas guests and showing them around my part of Spain. The three of us come from the same place originally and have been buddies since we were children. One is related, one isn’t, one now lives in Arizona and one in Alberta. I can´t tell you how wonderful it has been having them here in Spain with me.

So far we have explored medieval castles, cathedrals, museums, a Roman fortress, an amphitheatre, and a sanctuary built into the side of a mountain, shopped the markets, shared tapas and watched a flamenco dancer to name a few of the many fun things we’ve been doing. I’ll write more about these events and sites later but in the meantime here are a few pictures to show what we’ve been up to.

At the Sanctuary of the Virgin of Esperanza

Happy to have my friends here in Spain with me.

With a friendly sailor in Cartagena

Enjoying the amphitheatre in Cartagena

On stage at the amphitheatre ready to give a performance

A Roman Senator lost his head over us!

At the top of the castle in Guadalest

Beautiful Guadalest

We did not fight over the knight in shining armour

Someone bought a new hat at the market and is very happy!

Resting in a cute courtyard in Cordoba.

At the Alcazar in Cordoba with King Alfonso

Look who we found at the top of Santa Barbara Castle in Alicante


The three amigas together again, ready for adventure.

There are many more pictures and stories to share but you will have to wait.

Note – pictures from a collection taken by all three of us.

My brother, the computer genius and talented musician, just created a new website for me and I am excited to share it with you. Let me know what you think about it.


I also have a new profile picture, taken by a good friend and excellent photographer, Karoline Cullen.


To start the new year, my publisher extraordinaire is running a promotion called Start a New Series where Amanda in Arabia – The Perfume Flask is being featured as an e-book for .99 US, 1.99 CDN and .99p UK on most sites, Amazon, Kobo, Nook, Indigo etc. until January 16. If you know anyone who may enjoy reading Amanda’s first adventure, please let them know.

Other great books are on sale as well. http://centralavenuepublishing.com/

I am surrounded by such wonderful and talented individuals who just make my day!!

Check out my brother’s music here

The new year has started out well for me. How has it been for you?


My good friend, Sheila MacArthur, hosted me while I was in Calgary and drove me to my events and family visits. We had some time to spare between appointments and she treated me to a visit to the Lougheed House, a local historic site and museum.


Since it was the beginning of December the house was all decked out for Christmas, as it would have been in Victorian times. What a treat to be transported back to the time of Lady Isabella Lougheed and Sir James Lougheed. It felt very Downton Abbeyish.


This 14,000 square-foot sandstone prairie mansion, built in 1891 for the Lougheed family, was the political and social hub of fast-growing Calgary until 1938. The Lougheeds were among Calgary’s most influential citizens. They entertained many notable guests in this house including Princess Patricia, Edward, The Prince of Wales, Stanely Baldwin and Price Erik of Denmark. Their grandson, Peter Lougheed, served as the Premier of Alberta from 1971 to 1985.


The house sparkled with 16 decorated Christmas trees, thousands of lights, holly draped bannisters, candle-lit hearths, ornaments, original stained-glass windows and more. A warm, festive atmosphere was created as the temperatures outside dipped to -25 celsius.  Scattered throughout the mansion, furnishings and artifacts from the turn of the 20th century included original objects from the House.






Lovely stained glass windows




I love the birdhouses on this tree.


The dining room was open for lunch. It looked appealing but we had another commitment. Perhaps next time. The spacious gardens are open in the summer for tea or lunch as well.


As you can see, we were very comfortable in the surroundings and were reluctant to go back out into the cold.




A cosy nook to relax with a good book.


I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year full of joy, wonder and adventures!

I barely get over my jet lag and it’s time to get ready for Christmas! I keep thinking about the wonderful time I had with friends and family back in Canada and I feel happy all over again. So I thought I would share some of my memories.

In between promoting my book, I managed to meet up with many friends in three different cities. They fed me well, gave me places to stay,  and were a joy to spend time with. Here are a few pictures.


Homemade pizza waiting for me at a friend’s after a busy schedule in Vancouver. Do I purposefully pick friends who are good cooks?


Workmates from Medicine Hat, many years ago. So glad we have kept in touch.


A group of friends from elementary school days


Good friends from BC


A friend I worked with in Vancouver who made high tea for me!



A dear friend from my first job in Medicine Hat who provided me with a comfy place to stay, fed me well and was great to relax with after a busy day.


My good friend and travel buddy who drove me all over Calgary in the snow, gave me a warm place to stay and also fed me well.

I am truly blessed when it comes to friends.

Precious time was spent with family too.


Spent three fun filled days with my daughter. We got to babysit a puppy too.


Cousins from Vancouver Island who made the trip over to the mainland to have lunch with me.


My aunt and best pal from Arizona, with a cousin from Calgary.

My Aunt, who is my age, came all the way from Arizona to support me and my book tour. How special is that?


My great-aunt and great-uncle in Calgary.


Visiting Santa with  second great-granddaughter


Visiting first great- granddaughter at her school. Almost as tall as me!!


My youngest grandson, not so little anymore!

My oldest grandson, all grown up but still my buddy. Treated me to a sushi meal.

My oldest grandson, all grown up but still my buddy. He treated me to sushi.

I spent a good amount of time with my dear mom. We made her an early birthday/Christmas party as she will turn 88 on Christmas day. She was delighted to have all of her siblings there, even her sister from Arizona.



Mom with all of her remaining siblings


Five generations, mom, me, my son,  grandaughter and great grandaughter

It was a wonderful time as you can see. Full of family, friends, fun and food. This is what makes life worth living!!

I hope you are all ready for the Holiday Season. Make sure you enjoy fun, food, family and friends!

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