Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask

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.

How great to see this fabulous review of Amanda’s first adventure by Carol Balawyder. Carol and her sweet dog, Bau have a wonderful blog.

Carol Balawyder

I have been following Darlene Foster’s blogfor sometime now and had often told myself that I would want to read one of her books.

Lately, I’d been emersed in a lot of adult literary fiction and so this past weekend, I was looking for something to read which wouldn’t be too demanding on my exhausted brain cells. A book that a middle school child could handle.

So far, Darlene has eight Amanda adventure books, each one set in different countries: Spain, Holland, England, Arabia and Malta or in different states or provinces: Alberta, New Mexico or The Danube.

I had debated whether I wanted to read one of the adventures set in a place I had already visited but finally settled on the exotic, the foreign, somewhere I will likely never visit: The United Arab Emirates or as the locals refer to it as either the UAE or simply…

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My publisher reminded me that it has been ten years since we published my first book, Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask. Ten years!!

It made me think back to my first book launch at Albany Books in Tsawwassen, BC. I was so excited and so scared. What if no one came? What if no one bought my book? What if no one liked it? How many times had I gone to a book launch or book signing and dreamt of one day having my own? Thanks to Central Avenue Publishing my life-long dream came true.

My first book launch!
I brought Ali Baba along and he was a big hit.
And lots of people came
And bought many books.

I was over the moon with happiness. I had to pinch myself, to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.

And the following year I had another book launch for Amanda in Spain: The Girl in the Painting.

Even more people came, the bookstore was packed and I sold more books.

So I wrote another book, Amanda in England: The Missing Novel, and launched it at Albany Books. No one could even tell I had a broken ankle.

I launched the next book, Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone, wearing the appropriate hat.

My biggest supporter!
Amanda fans

Then I moved to Spain and wrote Amanda on the Danube: The Sounds of Music, but returned to Albany Books for the launch.

I was so pleased that my daughter could attend this launch

Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind followed with another fun launch.

And then there was my recent launch of Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action. Well attended in spite of a rainy Vancouver day.

Friends and long time supporters
With my amazing publisher, Michelle Halket, who made all of this possible.
Nothing like seeing your books on the shelves of a bookstore
I’ve held all seven book launches at Albany Books, a wonderful independent bookstore with knowledgeable and super friendly staff.

Thank you to everyone who has attended my book launches over the past ten years, for buying my books and for spreading the word about them.

Thank you to Albany Books for hosting my book launches. Even though in lockdown, they are open for phone-in and online orders, with local curbside delivery and mail delivery otherwise. Please support your local bookstores at this time. https://www.albanybooks.com/

Thank you to Michelle Halket of Central Avenue Publishing for believing in me and my Amanda Travels series.

And thank you for coming along with me down memory lane. I wonder what the next ten years will bring. Stay strong, stay safe and stay home!

There are many things that make me happy, but as a writer, good reviews and happy readers just make my day. A super review for Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action was recently posted on Robbie Cheadle´s blog.

https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/2020/02/15/amanda-in-holland-missing-in-action-by-darlene-foster/

Darlene Foster has a lovely series of travel combined with mystery books for middle school readers. Amanda in Holland is the fourth book in this series I have read and it certainly did not disappoint me.

The book is action-packed and filled with interesting titbits of information about life in Holland, WWII and perseverance and determination in unraveling a mystery.

Amanda is a clever and kind girl who will appeal to middle school and young teenagers who will admire her pluck.

Read more about what she has to say here

Jacquie Biggar posted a great review of Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone on her blog https://jacqbiggar.com/2020/02/24/bookreview-amanda-in-alberta-by-darlene-foster-childrensmystery-supermegawoman/

Amanda in Alberta is a fun, page-turning mystery with interesting tidbits of indigenous history along with Alberta landmarks thrown in.

While geared toward the pre-teen age group, this book has something for every reader to enjoy.

I give Amanda in Alberta four lovely kisses- Traveling with Amanda is an adventure!

Read the rest of the review along with a couple of perfect pictures here

And a long time blogging friend and amazing photographer, Ruth Hendricks, https://rutheh.com/ sent me a great picture of her granddaughter, Maura, receiving Amanda in Spain: The Girl in the Painting in the mail. She looks pretty happy.

These are the things that make the hard work of writing books worthwhile.

It’s been ten years since my first book, Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask was published. I never imagined I would have a series of seven books out there. A huge thank you to everyone who has read my books, written reviews, told friends, family, and teachers about my books, given them as gifts and sent me emails and pictures. It has been the huge support of so many that has made this dream of mine come true. I can’t thank you enough.

You can read more about my books on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA

or on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3156908.Darlene_Foster

Copyright © 2020 darlenefoster.wordpress.com – All rights reserved

Today I talk about location in a story and how to describe it.

KRISTINA STANLEY

As we continue our journey through Mystery Mondays writing advice, Darlene Foster is here to talk to us about location. Just check out the titles of the four books below, and you’ll see why she chose this topic.

Location, Location, Location

by Darlene Foster

AmandaBooks

Jane Austen gave us English country villages, Charles Dickens took us along the streets of Victorian London, and Lucy Maude Montgomery made us fall in love with Prince Edward Island. The location of many well-known works of fiction are an important element to each story. Think of one of your favourite novels and I am sure a vision of a place comes to mind.

Real estate agents declare the three most important things to selling a property are – location, location, location. The same applies to writing a story. It doesn´t have to be a real place. In fantasy, writers create worlds of their own. But…

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Here is my picture for Day 3 of the 5 day challenge.

The Five Day Challenge is: Post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge.

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 Darlene in the Desert

This is a picture of me in the desert of the United Arab Emirates. I visited a friend, a few years ago, who was working there at the time. I had such an amazing experience. When I returned home, I knew I had to write about it.  Six months later, I started a story about a twelve year old girl who travels to the UAE and has an adventure. This story eventually became Amanda in Arabia – The Perfume Flask, my first published novel. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In my case it turned out to be fifteen thousand words. Like me, Amanda has done more travelling since.

Now I would like to nominate Fatima Saysell at Welcome to My World  to do the 5 day challenge. Fatima was born and raised in Spain, lives in England and travels to France for holidays whenever she can. Hop on over to her blog where she shares great pictures and writes about her wonderful camping trips to France.

I am having fun with this challenge, hope you are enjoying the short daily posts.

It is so exciting being the author of the month at Cassandra Giovanni’s blog. Today she featured the very first book in The Amanda adventure series, Amanda in Arabia – The Perfume Flask. If you are not familiar with the book, read Cassandra’s great review (in which she gets what I was meaning to do) and an excerpt. Leave a comment if you wish. It is not too late to enter the give away of Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone. Remember, you can enter more than once.

Book Review & Excerpt – Darlene Foster.

If you are looking for an easy and inexpensive way to have a book trailer created check out this site:

http://yourbookcoverdesigner.blogspot.ca/

Ami Blackwelder is a talented author, book cover designer and book trailer creator. She created a trailer for Amanda in Arabia – The Perfume Flask and I am very happy with it.  The process is quick and painless.

You can watch it here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuoLW0vtjOs&feature=em-share_video_user

She can create a video for any kind of book: picture books, middle readers, young adult, romance, fantasy – you name it!

I like to hear about these resources myself, so I thought I would share this one with you.

Have a super week ahead! 

This week I did something I absolutely love to do. I gave a presentation to the grade 4 and 5 class at Tomsett Elementary School. The students read Amanda in Arabia – The Perfume Flask as part of their reading program this term.  The children were wonderful and asked great questions. They were genuinely interested in the story, the setting and my writing process.

 

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I brought some items from The United Arab Emirates including the actual perfume flask featured in the story.  I also brought some of the pictures I took while visiting the UAE. I explained how looking at the pictures gave me ideas for the story when I started to write.  The students were invited to come up to the table and look at the items and pictures. They especially enjoyed the pictures of the goats in the trees and the stone huts.

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After my presentation, the teacher made a draw for three Amanda in Spain-The Girl in the Painting books as a reward for good behaviour. The winners were very excited to have a copy of the next Amanda adventure. The students then presented a wonderful card they made just for me.

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Inside the card was a picture of each student with a comment about the book.

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This is a card I will treasure forever.

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I was delighted to see that the students created colourful prayer mats as an art project.  There was also a description of what a prayer mat is and how it is used.  This was my intention when I wrote the book; to encourage children to learn about other cultures.

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I’ve been invited by the teacher to return and see the storyboards the students have since created based on  Amanda in Arabia that line the hallway.

This is what writing is all about for me.

I was pleased to be invited as a guest blogger on Darlene Quinn’s site.  Darlene Quinn is an award-winning author, writing coach and public speaker.  Check out her award-winning books Webs of Fate, Twisted Webs  and Webs of Power.  This busy, dynamic woman is also the host of the Facebook group, Talking Fiction. A  group for anyone and everyone who loves fiction. Reader, writer, dabbler, dreamer…  Here is my article:

Why Writing for Children is Important – Guest Blog By Darlene Foster

Many of us began our love affair with books as children. Being read to before bed by a family member, walking into the library for the first time, discovering the ability to read by yourself; are warm and fuzzy memories. We keep worn copies of our favourite childhood books and share them with the new little ones in our lives.  Books and children go together like strawberries and ice cream….   read more at   http://darlenequinn.net/2013/why-writing-for-children-is-important/

Jesse reading my book

My grandson reading one of my books

I was very excited to see my name appear on the blog of another superb writer, Cassandra Giovanni,  C Giovanni Writes where she wrote a flattering review of Amanda in Arabia, proving that my stories are not only for children but for readers of all ages.

This book was an excellent, easy flowing adventure. You meet the very inquisitive Amanda as she begins a journey to the United Arab Emirates and as she learns about this new country, so do you.  Here is the rest of the review: http://cgiovanniwrites.wordpress.com/2013/03/09/i-woke-up-and-wanted-to-read-so-i-did/

 I have also been mentioned on a blog hop called The Next Big Thing where writers talk about their WIP or soon to be released work. It is fun to see what others are working on.  My next big thing was mentioned on a previous post in case you missed it.  https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/the-next-big-thing-blog-hop/

Others in this blog hop are:

Elizabeth Egerton Wilder

Linda Cassidy Lewis

John Cammalleri

Annie Acorn

Christa Polkinhorn

I love blogging, hopping and reading about what others think of my work. It makes it all worthwhile, doesn’t it? It also motivates me to keep writing!

 


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