Darlene Foster's Blog

Archive for the ‘People’ Category

I am included in this group of writers who discuss what we have been doing during this time of isolation. Thanks, Susan Toy, for putting this together.

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

This is the second part of a series in which Authors who I’ve promoted in the Authors-Readers International series tell Readers what they’ve been doing during these past few months of self-isolating … See the introduction to Part 1 for a further explanation. (All links on the authors’ names will take you to their A-RI promotion.)

Fred Stenson

Pincher Creek, Alberta, is my home since last summer, as I believe you know. The advantage is that Pincher in Iso is quite a bit like Pincher not in Iso. Have to watch my step only at the post office and Co-op. And strictly avoid Walmart. Two hour walks are frequent—to offset my beer consumption.

Working on a film with Tom Radford. Great fun.

Marcello Di Cintio

I’ve been reasonably busy during the pandemic. My book about the secret lives of taxi drivers has been delayed due to all of this chaos…

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Happy Easter wherever you are and however you celebrate. It will be a different Easter for most of us as we will be staying in and connecting by social media. Today I’m being featured on Sally Cronin’s site as she holds an Easter parade. See if you recognize teenage me. Some wonderful songs featured as well. Enjoy the post and eat all the chocolate you want. We deserve it!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Easter Parade with music, guests and some Easter food… and an opportunity for you to introduce yourself in the comment section along with your blog URL and one for Amazon for your books. I hope you will enjoy the next couple of days and for a brief moment it lightens the separation we are all experiencing from our normal lives, away from family and friends.

The theme for the parade is ‘Flashback’ and my guests have all sent in a photograph from the 1960s through to the 1980s, along with a music request. There will be singing along and dancing, and I hope you will join in.

Please help yourself to a free coffee as you pass by.

My first guest today is author and poet Annette Rochelle Aben with her unmistakeable smile and blonde hair, with a photo taken at the start of…

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I’ve been blogging for almost ten years and I love it. It’s a great way to communicate with like-minded people, and I’ve made wonderful friends all over the world through my blog. The blogging community is so supportive, sharing ideas and providing encouragement.

One friend I’ve made is Mary Smith from Dumfries, Scotland. She has written some wonderful books including a guide to her hometown. When I finally get to Scotland, I will be taking this book with me.

She has also written a couple of books based on life in Afghanistan, where she lived and worked for a number of years. This is my review of No More Mulberries.

I bought this book because I love reading stories that take place in the middle east. I was not disappointed. Mary Smith has written a wonderful story about cross-cultures, family, relationships and Afghanistan. The detailed descriptions of the land, people and culture are fascinating. The story is told through the point of view of Miriam, the main character, who is a wife, mother and medical practitioner. It is easy to identify with her as she struggles to maintain a home for her family in a culture so different from her life in Scotland. Miriam also has to deal with ghosts from the past and feelings she has suppressed for too long which are having a negative effect on her marriage. This well-written book takes place in a troubled time just before the Taliban take control. Since the reader knows what will eventually happen, but the characters don’t, it keeps you on your toes and turning the pages. I highly recommend this book.

During a book signing in British Columbia last fall, I had a most pleasant surprise. Mary’s cousin Grace hand-delivered a card from Mary to me! Grace had been in Scotland to visit Mary who knew I would be at a bookstore not too far from where Grace lived, so she sent a card along. How special is that?

What a lovely card, all the way from Scotland
And the perfect poem on the back.

I have asked Mary to be a guest on my blog and answer a few questions.

If you could choose a fictional character to be your best friend, who would you choose and why?

This one stopped me in my tracks, Darlene, and I found it difficult to pick one – so I’m afraid I cheated and chose two. I would have loved to be best friends with Jo March of Little Women. She is such a great character. She, like me, was a tomboy – I climbed trees, went fishing with boys because I didn’t know any girls who wanted to fish. I even played on building sites, climbing over the rafters of half-built houses (which makes me shudder to think about now). I think we’d have egged each other on to do ever more daring things and I think we’d have laughed a lot together. She was strong-willed, determined not to be bound by the conventions of the day. Best of all, she wanted to write. I’d never met a character – a girl at that – in a book who wanted to be a writer and was totally bowled over by this. If Jo could do it – which she did very successfully – then maybe I could, too. I was slightly less impressed with her in Jo’s Boys when she began to only write for family and stopped writing for money, saying “most of us (she was talking about literary women) write too much.” I don’t think my teenage friend Jo would have adopted such an attitude so I’ll go on believing the teenage Jo March and I are best friends.

The cheat of my second one is a bit quirky. I would love to be best friends with Flora. Flora is the main character in a wonderful novel called The Bees by Laline Paul – and Flora is a bee. She is born into the lowest class of the hive but she’s a brave wee thing and survives and thrives, breaking the rules of the hierarchy in what is a compelling thriller about the secret life of the hive. I think we could be great friends, Flora and me.

If you could personally see one natural phenomenon that you have never seen, what would it be and why that one?

I would love to see the Aurora Borealis. Growing up in Scotland I always loved the song, The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen, sung so often in school, at ceilidhs, on the radio, in which the lights are described as the “heavenly dancers”. I’ve seen amazing images of the phenomenon on the internet and would love to see it for real.

If you were to be paid to write a book about any subject you wished, what would it be about?

I want to write a biography of a remarkable woman who was a mechanical engineer in the early 1920s. She had an amazing life: supervising thousands of women (who could build anything from a bicycle to a battleship) at Barrow-in-Furness during the First World War, running a car factory, which employed mainly women, taking part in car racing trials and then establishing a hugely successful steam laundry – they laundered the uniforms of the soldiers who took part in the D-Day Landings. I have done some research but it would be lovely to be paid to do further research and writing the book.

Tell us about your next writing project.

Well, until I’m offered a nice advance to write about my woman engineer, my current project is turning the material on my blog, My Dad’s a Goldfish, into a memoir. My father had dementia, bad enough in itself, but his wife of forty years decided she wanted a peaceful life and left him, just at the time he most needed stability and continuity in his life. I moved in with him and started the blog as a way of recording events – and to keep my writing muscle working – and from feedback it seems all sorts of people would be interested in reading it as a book. It’s not in any way a ‘misery memoir’ – it has a lot of humour – but it does tell it like it is, from finding way to engage my father’s interest in life to dealing with him cheating at dominoes, from dealing with what it’s like to have to wipe your father’s bum to sharing his joy in the countryside.

Mary Smith

A brief bio

Born on the island of Islay but grew up in Dumfries & Galloway from the age of seven. After school had a miserable year working in a bank, went hitchhiking round France and Italy, came back and worked for Oxfam for ten years. Went for a holiday to Pakistan and found a job so the next ten years were spent first in Pakistan then in Afghanistan working for an aid organisation. A freelance journalist, I also write poetry, fiction and non-fiction including local history.

Social media links including Amazon.

Website: www.marysmith.co.uk

Blogs: My Dad’s a Goldfish   https://marysmith57.wordpress.com

Mary Smith’s Place    https://marysmithsplace.wordpress.com

Amazon Page US: http://amzn.to/2ecvjbP

Amazon Page UK: http://amzn.to/2jGw9A9

Twitter: https://twitter.com/marysmithwriter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000934032543

Thanks for answering my questions, Mary. I would love to be friends with Jo March as well. And thanks for being my blogging friend. I’m sure we will meet in person one day soon. Good luck with your writing projects.

Check out Mary’s blog where she is writing a fascinating series of posts about her experiences in Afghanistan. https://marysmithsplace.wordpress.com/

Sally Cronin is an amazing woman who is a tremendous supporter of other writers and bloggers. So I was so happy to see her here being interviewed by another writer friend of mine, Joy Lennick. Enjoy learning about her very interesting life.

Joy Lennick

Sally CroninThank you very much Joy for inviting me over for an interview… it is a great pleasure.

Where you born and what was your first memory?

I was born in Wickham, a village in Hampshire, not far from Portsmouth. My parents lived in a house that my mother grew up in from about the age of 8 years old. Her step-father was the village butcher, with a shop in the main square. We went to Ceylon, as it was called in those days, when I was 18 months old for two years, and my first memories were of noisy monkeys. Small macaques lived all around us in the forest, and they would come into the house at any opportunity to thieve food, my father’s cigarettes and my mother’s jewellry. I also have vivid memories of the scents and sunshine, and I remember swimming at a very early age in my…

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Jennie over at A Teacher’s Reflections posted this today and I just had to share it.

Check out Thank You, Superheroes and Jennie’s blog where she shares her teaching experience and the wonderful way she introduces her young students to books, reading, music, art and life. You will be impressed.

Today is National Superhero Day and this is what Jennie has to say about superheroes.

A Superhero is brave and caring, perseveres, takes risks, helps others, and saves the day.  A Superhero makes a difference.

Teachers fit the description perfectly.

I recently spent a fabulous day at an international school close to my home in Spain. I visited five classrooms of Grade 5 and 6 students, where I did a PowerPoint presentation about my writing and read from my Amanda Travels books. The students came from all over the world and enjoyed hearing about the places Amanda has travelled to. They were attentive, enthusiastic and asked well thought out questions. They were a delight to spend time with.

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Presenting to students at El Limonar International School

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A book-loving grade 6 class 

I was very impressed by the efficiency and dedication of the teachers. They are certainly ensuring that future generations are well educated and prepared for life. I consider them all superheroes.

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Display for Book Week at El Limonar International School

Miss Roll

With my Grade 3 Superhero, Miss Roll

A good teacher can make a huge difference in a child’s life.

Did you know a teacher that you consider a superhero?

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!

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

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And she is still reading the books in Trinidad!

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A sweet little Amanda fan.

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Another special fan, from Australia!

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Special visitors at a book signing.

 

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These students still attend my presentations.

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More students who love Amanda.

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

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A special fan in Spain

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A blogging friend’s gift to her granddaughter

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Happy to get another Amanda book for her birthday.

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Eager readers attend a book launch.

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

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She enjoys reading her great-grandmother’s books

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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.

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

 

 

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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.

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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.

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Always sad to see a baby’s grave.

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

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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.

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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.

www.darlenefoster.ca

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

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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?

 


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© Darlene Foster and darlenefoster.wordpress.com, 2020. 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.