Darlene Foster's Blog

Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

“When I got [my] library card, that was when my life began.”
― Rita Mae Brown

Do you recall the first time you stepped into a library? I do. I felt like I had entered Nirvana. All those books, and I could borrow them for free! I would pick out a stack of books to take home to the farm, read them and the next time we came to town, return them and bring home another stack. I must have borrowed most of the books in the children´s section of the old Medicine Hat Library.

The Old Medicine Hat Library

A new modern Medicine Hat Public Library was built in 1964 which was very exciting. This is the library I took my children to. My grandchildren and great grandchildren now visit this wonderful place. I still get that happy-all-over feeling whenever I enter. I had the pleasure of doing a presentation and book reading there. I felt I had gone full circle.

The current Medicine Hat Library
Dream come true, doing a presentation at my home library.

I was lucky that my love of libraries started early in life. I have since frequented many over the years. Everywhere I have lived, the library is one of the first places I visit. Here are a few that are dear to my heart.

The Vancouver Public library

The Vancouver Public Library, located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, is my all time favourite. This building, designed after the coliseum in Rome, opened in 1995, not long after we moved to the Vancouver area. It is often found on best libraries to visit lists. Every time I walk into this library, I am filled with awe. I always felt it was a place of refuge in a busy metropolis. I was invited to present workshops for the summer book camp at VPL four years ago. A great opportunity I will never forget.

The main branch of the Vancouver Public Library

Calgary also has wonderful libraries and I have spent time in many of them. The newest Central Library opened in 2018 and it is state of the art. The new library was recognized as one of “The Worlds 100 Greatest Places of 2019” by TIME magazine. I was delighted to find copies of my Amanda Travels series on the shelves.

The newest downtown branch of The Calgary Public Library.
Family friendly and interactive
With a North American Bison created out of letters of the alphabet
The most exciting thing for an author is to see her books on display at a library

I try to visit libraries when I travel. They are the heart and soul of the city. When I visited Liverpool, I stopped in at the central library and was very impressed. The reading room was straight out of Harry Potter. In fact two children came running out of the room wearing Hogwarts robes!

A list of popular books on the path to the entrance of the Liverpool Public Library
I could live in this reading room.

The library has a fabulous collection of vintage books including a 1611 copy of the King James Bible.

And a handwritten draft of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows!

The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.– Albert Einstein

I´d love to learn about your experience with libraries and about your favourite one.

Today is the last official day of the blog tour and I wish to thank everyone for your amazing support. I hope you have all found new and interesting blogs to follow and made new friends and followers. Thank you to everyone who offered to be part of the tour and a huge thanks to all of you who read, liked, commented and shared the posts. You are all amazing. Today I am being featured on Lisa Day’s blog, Book Time, where she asks me some great questions. Say hi to Lisa, a fellow Canadian who loves words – editing, writing and reading them. She reviews many great books!

Book Time

I am the last stop of the Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady blog tour.

Sadly, my copy of Amanda in Malta hasn’t yet arrived, however, I have been following along with the other 11 bloggers on this blog tour so I got a sense of both Amanda, the main character, and the questions I wanted to ask its creator – Canadian author Darlene Foster.

Foster said growing up on a ranch in Alberta inspired her love of reading and seeing the world. Now retired, she has house in Spain where she spends time with her husband and rescue dogs, Dot and Lia, while writing full time. She also travels, meeting interesting people and getting inspirations for her series about Amanda, a 12-year-old girl who travels the world, learning about the people and culture while solving a mystery. Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady is the eighth book in…

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The love keeps pouring in for Amanda in Malta. Here is a fabulous review by Patricia Tilton from Children´s Books Heal. Patricia writes well thought out reviews of children´s books and I am so pleased she enjoyed this adventure. I often make book buying decisions for the youngsters in my life by reading her blog. Please check it out.

Children's Books Heal

Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady (The Amanda Travels Series 8)

Darlene Foster, Author

Central Avenue Publishing, May 11, 2011

Suitable for ages: 8-12

Themes: Malta, Travel, Adventure, Mystery, Theft, Friendship

Publisher’s Synopsis:

Amanda receives a postcard from her best friend, Leah, and is surprised to learn that she is in Malta with her Aunt Jenny. Reading between the lines, she senses Leah is in trouble. Desperate to help her, Amanda strikes the lottery when she’s invited to travel to Malta with her classmate Caleb Sorenson 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 in these illegal activities, or could she?

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Today the blog tour takes us to Meggie’s Adventures,travel, thank you notes and other stories from Meg King-Sloan. Meg blogs about things she loves. When Meg was younger she had lots of interesting adventures. These included collecting postcards and other souvenirs, watching butterflies, and going to the beach with her family. Some things never change though – she still loves candy (especially chocolate), ice cream and flowers! Sounds like Meg was a bit like Amanda when she was young.

Amanda in Malta by Darlene Foster – Virtual Tour

Darlene Foster is introducing her new book with a virtual blog tour! This is the latest exciting adventure from her Amanda Travels series. If you’d like to see what other bloggers involved in the tour have written you can check out this post from Darlene’s blog.

Darlene explains the purpose of including food in her stories:

Traditional food is important to every culture. I like to have Amanda try the local food when she travels. Children need to know that people eat different food in other parts of the world and they should at least try it. It bothers me when travellers insist on eating food only familiar to them. Amanda likes to cook and try out recipes so she collects ideas as she travels and makes them for her parents. Read more and an excerpt here

https://meggiesadventures.com/2021/06/07/amanda-in-malta-by-darlene-foster-virtual-tour/

Drop in and say Hi to Meg.

Thank you to everyone who has been following along!

Continuing with the virtual book tour, Amanda in Malta is being featured on Michele Marcellino Somerville’s blog called the Beach Girl Chronicles. Michelle is from Pennsylvania, USA and blogs about the beach, her life, her dogs and her past. She is a fairly new blogger so pop on over, read an excerpt from Amanda in Malta and show her some blogging love. Thanks to everyone for following along with this tour.

msomervillesite

Doing something a little different today, by participating in a Virtual Book Tour to help promote author Darlene Foster’s newest book, Amanda in Malta. I hope you will check it out!

The Blurb:

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 in these illegal activities, or could she?

Join Amanda and her friends as they visit ancient temples, an…

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Next stop on the tour is from Canada! A fellow Canadian author, Debra Purdy Kong asks a couple of questions and shares an interesting except that introduces the Sleeping Lady from Amanda in Malta. Debra is a British Columbia author who’s been writing for over 30 years. Her volunteer experiences, criminology diploma, and various jobs, inspired her to write mysteries set in BC’s Lower Mainland. Employment as a campus security patrol and communications officer provide the background for her fascinating Casey Holland mystery novels. Stop in and say Hi!

Mystery Deb

It’s a great pleasure to welcome back fellow Canadian author, Darlene Foster, who’s just released her 8th installment in the Amanda Travel Series, Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady. I had the privilege of meeting Darlene in person at a book signing before COVID. We’re hoping to meet again as travel restrictions lift so I can buy a signed copy! For those of you who aren’t familiar with this amazing series, here’s a quick Q & A:

Can you tell us more about Amanda?

Amanda is a twelve-year-old girl from Calgary, Alberta. She is the only child of Evelyn and Don Ross, both accountants. She loves to read, is interested in history and enjoys cooking. Her parents work long hours so she likes trying different recipes for them, especially ones from places she has visited. She is inquisitive and kind and always wants to help people. This gets…

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The virtual book tour is going well. Today we are visiting Carol Anne from Ireland! I answered a couple of questions and provided an excerpt from the story about the eye of Osiris seen on the fishermen’s boats in Malta. Enjoy!

Therapy Bits

I’m happy to be part of Canadian author Darlene Foster’s launch of her latest book, Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady. She has answered a couple of questions and provided a short excerpt of the 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. Its 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

How do you do your research for each book?

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Today on the blog tour I am featured on Nancy Klein’s blog American Writer in Spain, where I talk about choosing names for characters. Nancy blogs about life lessons and life in general. She has also recently launched a great book for Young Adults, Torn Between Worlds: an illegal immigrant’s journey to find herself.

US Author Nancy Klein in Spain

Darlene Foster’s latest book in her Amanda series for young readers


How do you choose names for your characters and do you think names are important?

I believe names are important. When I was expecting my daughter, I asked my son what we should name the new baby. He said, “Don´t we have to see what the baby looks like first?”

Like naming a baby, it is important to put some thought into picking a name for a character as he or she has to live with it for a long time. I don’t care for names that are difficult to pronounce or spell. I used Amanda as the name of my main character as that was the name of my granddaughter who was twelve at the time I began writing the first book. It was only going to be a working name but it suited the character so I…

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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

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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© 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.