Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Share an Extract from your Latest Book – #Children’s – Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action by Darlene Foster


Welcome to the series where authors in the Cafe and Bookstore an extract from their most recent book. If you are in the Cafe, and would like to participate you can find all the details here: Share an Extract

Today’s author is Darlene Foster sharing an extract from her most recent book in the Amanda travel series – Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action.

About Amanda in Holland

Amanda is in Holland to see the tulips with her best friend, Leah; as well as travelling the canals of Amsterdam, visiting Anne Frank House, checking out windmills and a wooden shoe factory, and taking pictures of the flowers of Keukenhof Gardens. She is keen to find out what happened to her great uncle who never returned from WWII and was declared missing in action. What she doesn’t expect to find and fall in love with is Joey, an abandoned puppy. While trying to find a home for him, she meets Jan, a Dutch boy who offers to help, a suspicious gardener, a strange woman on a bicycle, and an overprotective goose named Gerald. Follow Amanda around the charming country of Holland, filled with colourful tulips, windmills, and more bicycles than she could have imagined. Once again, intrepid traveller Amanda encounters danger and intrigue as she tries to solve more than one mystery in a foreign country.

An extract from Amanda in Holland.

Amanda enjoyed the scenery as they drove along the highway. “It is so flat and very green.”

Jan explained how Holland is actually below sea level in many places and dykes were built to keep the water out. “No doubt you have heard the story of the little boy and the dyke?”

“No, I haven’t.” Amanda shook her head. “Please, tell us the story.”

“Well,” Jan began, “a long time ago a small boy was on his way to school when he noticed a leak in the dyke. He saw the seawater trickle through the opening and knew that even a small hole could eventually become bigger. If too much water flowed through, the village could be flooded. So, he poked his finger in the hole to stop the water, even though it meant he would be late for school and get into trouble. He stood there with his finger in the hole for a long time until eventually someone saw him and got help. The hole was repaired and the boy became a hero for saving his village.”

“That is such a cool story. Is it true?” asked Amanda.

“It is more like a legend. The story is told to children to show them that even a small child can prevent a disaster if they use their wits. Actually an American author, Mary Mapes Dodge, first wrote about it a hundred and fifty years ago in her book, Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates.”

“That´s so interesting, don’t you think Leah?”

“Ya, sure.” Leah turned the page of her fashion magazine. “I heard that story when I was a little girl. What do you think of this outfit?” She turned around and held up the page.

Amanda smiled. “That’s very nice. It would look good on you.”

Everyone kept quiet as they passed more farm buildings and neatly tilled fields.

“Turn left,” said the GPS woman.

Mr. Anderson turned the corner and slammed on the brakes. A large, angry goose stood in the middle of the road with its wings flapping and neck stretched forward as it honked.

Amanda laughed. “What a silly goose!”

“That’s my grandfather’s goose. He likes to think he is protecting the property,” said Jan.

“You mean he’s like a guard goose.” Amanda grinned.

Jan got out of the car and spoke to the goose in Dutch. The irate bird finally left the road and waddled into the field, his eye still on them.

Leah’s dad rolled down the window. “Thanks, mate. I wasn’t sure how we would get past him. Get back in and we’ll take you to where you need to be.”

Jan climbed back into the car. “You can drop me off over there.” He pointed to a farmyard in the distance.

As they neared the farm, Amanda noticed the rustic house had a sloping roof that looked like a large slouched hat pulled over its eyes. “Is this where your grandparents live?”

“Yes, they have always lived here, and so has my great-grandmother. It is her family home,” answered Jan.

The place looked inviting and cozy.

Someone pulled aside a lace curtain and peered out the window. Grey eyes met Amanda’s.

The curtain dropped.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Apr 18, 2020 Hayley rated it Five Stars

Amanda in Holland was such a fun read! I’ll admit I was a bit bias in picking this title — my family is Dutch, so the title caught my eye instantly. I learned more about the culture there than I’ve ever learned from my family (sorry, Dad!). But my favorite part is the way Foster seamlessly ties history, culture, and mystery all in one. This book also makes the location its own character, which I love. Overall, the story had a very Nancy Drew feel to it.I didn’t realize that this book is part of a series, but now that I know, I’ll definitely be reading the others in the series.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A selection of books by Darlene Foster

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Darlene: Goodreads

About Darlene Foster

Growing up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, Darlene Foster dreamt of writing, travelling the world, and meeting interesting people. She also believed in making her dreams come true. It’s no surprise she’s now the award-winning author of Amanda Travels, a children’s adventure series featuring a spunky twelve-year-old who loves to travel to unique places. Readers of all ages enjoy following Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. When not travelling herself, Darlene divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca, Spain with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot.

Connect to Darlene

Website: Darlene Foster
Blog: Darlene Foster WordPress
Facebook: Darlene Foster Facebook
Twitter: @supermegawoman

Thanks for dropping in and if you are an author in the Cafe and Bookstore and would like to promote your most recent books then please check out the post: Share an Extract

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives #Family and #Friends – The Gift of a Wonderful Mother by Darlene Foster


Welcome to the new posts from your archives with a theme of family and friends. Very important as our support system at the moment as many of us are isolated and out of physical touch. If you would like details on how to participate here is the link: Posts from Your Archives April 2020 Family and Friends

Author Darlene Foster shares memories of her mother, a tribute on Mother’s Day 2015, which despite being celebrated on different dates around the world, is a very important day of celebration.

The Gift of a Wonderful Mother by Darlene Foster

Mother´s day is a special day in many parts of the world although is not celebrated on the same day. Today it is Mother´s Day in Canada and the US and it was Mother´s Day in Spain last Sunday. In the UK, Mothering Sunday, sometimes known as Mother’s Day, is held on the fourth Sunday of Lent, exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday. This year it was on March 15. Mother´s day in France is usually the last Sunday in May.

Mother´s Day has always been a special day for me as I was blessed with the gift of a wonderful mother. I am grateful for her everyday and especially on this day.

mom and baby me

Mom and baby me

She taught me so much. Not just how to cook tasty economical meals, sew my own clothes and keep a clean house, but how to be kind to everyone and to value friends and family. She worked hard on the farm when we were growing up; milking the cows, feeding the chickens, collecting eggs, growing a large garden, canning fruits and vegetables for the winter, cooking for large harvesting crews and branding parties, and so much more. She was an amazing cook and won prizes for her baking. Her German fruit kuchen was the best! There was always extra food for welcomed drop in guests. She never left the house without looking well put together when she went to town for church, meetings or shopping. Because she is such a perfect role modal, I think I turned out to be a pretty decent mom myself. At least my kids tell me I am.

She always made us feel loved and still does. Her love wasn´t limited to her own children but to her many nieces and nephews as well. Our house was often full of visiting relatives. She never forgot a birthday and sent hand written notes to those she didn´t see often. Now her love is extended to her grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren. That love is returned tenfold.

Mom and a great great granddaughterMom and a great great granddaughter

I found a note she sent to me at age seven, when she had my second brother. You can feel the love.

DSCN1385

In 2009, I took my daughter and mother to meet my aunt in Sedona, Arizona for a holiday. We made dream catchers. Look how proud she is of hers.

Mom in Sedona with her sister, granddaughter and me

Mom with me and my brothers November 2013, her 85th Birthday pary

Mom with her kids, November 2013, her 85th Birthday party

DSCN1282 (2)

With Mom, April 2015

Whatever date you celebrate this holiday, Happy Mother´s Day to everyone who is a mother, step mother, special aunt or good friend to a younger person. It is an important job!

©Darlene Foster 2015.

About Darlene Foster

Growing up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, Darlene Foster dreamt of writing, travelling the world, and meeting interesting people. She also believed in making her dreams come true. It’s no surprise she’s now the award-winning author of Amanda Travels, a children’s adventure series featuring a spunky twelve-year-old who loves to travel to unique places. Readers of all ages enjoy following Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. When not travelling herself, Darlene divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca, Spain with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot.

A selection of books by Darlene Foster

One of the recent reviews for Amanda in Holland

Robbie Cheadle 5.0 out of 5 stars Action packed and filled with interesting titbits of information  Reviewed in the United States on February 6, 2020

Amanda in Holland is the latest addition to the exciting Amanda series of books written by Canadian author, Darlene Foster. Each book in the Amanda series is set in a different country and details some of the amazing cultural and historical sites as well as dishes, drinks and clothes that are specific to that country. This aspect of the series makes it unusual and appealing to young and older readers.

Amanda, who lives in Canada, travels to Holland to meet up with her best friend, Leah Anderson and her father, who live in England. Mr Anderson is in Holland for business purposes and the two teenage girls are free to enjoy themselves seeing all the wonderful historical and cultural sites Holland has to offer. The story starts with a bang when Amanda is nearly ridden over by a woman on a bicycle on her first morning in Amsterdam. The woman’s behaviour is a bit odd and this event is followed by Amanda and Leah discovering a young puppy which has been abandoned in a box next to a rubbish bin around the corner from a cheese shop they are visiting.

Mr Anderson agrees for the girls to keep the dog until it can be taken to an animal shelter and this decision sets in motion a series of occurrences that draw Amanda and Leah into an exciting adventure involving selling animals from puppy farms and stealing rare tulip bulbs. While the two girls investigate the mysterious circumstances of the abandonment of the puppy and the strange behaviour of various individuals who keep turning up, like the woman who nearly ran Amanda over, they also visit a number of interesting places such as the hide out of Anne Frank of The Diary of Anne Frank fame, the Keukenhof Botanical Gardens and a Canadian war-memorial cemetery. Amanda has the picture of her great uncle Harold who disappeared in Holland during the war and whose grave she is hoping she might find. The two girls meet a number of interesting people and get to spend time with a number of Dutch people who introduce them to some delicious Dutch treats.

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 the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Darlene: Goodreads

Connect to Darlene

Website: Darlene Foster
Blog: Darlene Foster WordPress
Facebook: Darlene Foster Facebook
Twitter: @supermegawoman

My thanks to Darlene for sharing this post with us and as always your feedback is very welcome. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2020 – #Shortstory – Ghosts in the Attic by Darlene Foster.


Welcome to the new series of Posts from Your Archives in 2020 and if you would like to participate with two of your posts from 2019, you will find all the details in this post: New series of Posts from Your Archives 2020

This is the second post from Darlene Foster and was her short story  entry into Stevie Turner’s Short Story Competition for February 2019. I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did.

Image Pixabay.com

Ghosts in the Attic by Darlene Foster

The attic above the barn sits empty. Some say it is haunted. Others say it is cursed.

The room is possessed with many stories.

When Jim and Alice bought the farm, they decided the attic would be a perfect place for the farm help to live. So they purchased some paint and fixed it up. Then they placed an ad in the local paper seeking someone who enjoyed working with horses.

Mature, buxom Gladys responded first. They showed her the spotless attic room smelling of fresh paint and polished linoleum. Gladys took the job and moved in the next day – with her seven cats. Alice warned Gladys to keep the cats confined to the barn. This was after they jumped up on the picnic table and ate the cream cheese dip she had put out for her croquet party guests. Gladys worked hard and knew her way around horses but had her own ideas about how to do things. After several disagreements with Jim, she packed her meager belongings and left, cats in tow. She left a note tacked to the barn door with a forwarding address to send her last pay cheque.

Gladys seemed unfamiliar with the concept of a litter box. Alice scrubbed the once pristine room thoroughly. Disgusted, she left the doors and windows open for days to get rid of the acrid smell of cat pee. Alice believed she could still smell it years later.

The next ad included, ‘No pets allowed’. Joy, a university student with a love of horses, became the second resident. Young and eager, she did a good job. A light shone from the attic late into the night while she studied. Occasionally a young man spent the night. Jim and Alice didn’t mind. Better than cats. One day Joy told them she was sorry but had decided to move into town with her boyfriend, to be closer to the university.

The attic didn’t take much cleaning. Although the wax on the floor caused Alice to shudder at the thought of candles burning in such a flammable structure.

Against his wife’s advice, Jim hired a writer with a bushy beard. Alice didn’t trust men with bushy beards, or writers. The man slept until noon every day and did only the basics of the job. Days went by without fresh food and water for the animals. He was soon asked to leave. The attic smelled like a biker bar. Crumpled pieces of paper mixed with stale crumbs and tin foil TV dinner containers littered the floor. They took two truckloads of empty wine and liquor bottles to the recycling depot.

Alice didn’t say anything but had that smug ‘I told you so’ look on her face.

Two women in cowboy hats, big belt buckles, and fancy boots drove into the yard one summer afternoon. Jo and Jean had been in the rodeo circuit for a time and knew a thing about horses. They told great stories sitting around the picnic table with Jim and Alice, sharing a cup of tea. One day, Jo approached the house in tears. Jean had left in the middle of the night. Jo sobbed uncontrollably and said she didn’t know how she could go on without Jean. Alice made her a cup of chamomile tea and tried to calm her down. She had never seen anyone so upset. Two days later Alice called the paramedics when she found Jo in the attic, passed out in a pool of her own blood. Alice and Jim hired someone to clean up the attic.

A couple in their forties showed up in a pickup truck with the job posting in hand. The wife, a meek little thing who made no eye contact, let her husband do the talking. He convinced Jim he was capable. Jim gave him the job.
Alice had a funny feeling. “She looks like a battered wife.”
“You watch too much Oprah.” Jim shook his head and walked away.
Things went well. The chores got done and the couple kept to themselves. Jim decided they were the best yet. Perhaps Alice should admit she was wrong.

One peaceful, sunny day while Alice washed dishes, she looked out the kitchen window and detected someone hiding behind the big apple tree. Sure enough, it was a man – with a gun. Alice tensed. Another man behind the car shed placed a megaphone to his mouth. “This is the police. Come out with your hands raised and no one will get hurt.”

The husband emerged from behind the barn and ran toward his truck. The police officers moved faster and seconds later he was in handcuffs. Alice never imagined she would witness an arrest in her own back yard. She needed more than a cup of tea to calm her down.

The plain-clothed police officers explained they received an anonymous call to the farm. The husband, known to them, had two previous charges of assault. After they took him away, Alice made her way up to the attic. The wife held her head and rocked back and forth, moaning. Her swollen right eye was turning an ominous purple. Alice offered to call an ambulance but the woman insisted she would be all right until her sister came to pick her up. Alice couldn’t stop shaking for days. Jim refused to talk about it.

Alice took over the hiring process.

Characters of all sorts paraded in and out of that attic over the years. Eventually, Jim and Alice got fed up and moved back to the city. Except for a few items left behind, the attic has stood empty ever since.

A chipped bookcase, holding dusty paperbacks waiting to be read, leans against one wall. A beaten up trunk remains in a dark corner; one item too many to be allowed on the next journey. A moth-eaten blanket, an assortment of old newspapers and a cowboy belt rest inside. A rusty, wrought iron headboard covered in spider webs, holds secrets of amorous nights and lonely days. Extreme happiness and deep sorrow ooze through the faded walls. A poster of Edward Munch’s ‘The Scream’ hangs lopsided on one wall surveying the scene with wide-eyed wonder, and silently shrieks.

On windy, rainy nights, some say they hear sobbing. Others say they hear hideous laughter. Children say the attic in the barn is haunted. But don’t children always say that?

Image from Pixabay.com

©Darlene Foster 2019

About Darlene Foster

Growing up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, Darlene Foster dreamt of writing, travelling the world, and meeting interesting people. She also believed in making her dreams come true. It’s no surprise she’s now the award-winning author of Amanda Travels, a children’s adventure series featuring a spunky twelve-year-old who loves to travel to unique places. Readers of all ages enjoy following Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. When not travelling herself, Darlene divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca, Spain with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot.

A selection of books by Darlene Foster

One of the recent reviews for Amanda in Holland on Goodreads

Nov 16, 2019 Alex Baugh rated it Four Stars.

This is the third Amanda Travels I’ve read, and in it, Amanda, 12, is heading to the Netherlands to join her British friend Leah Anderson and her father, who is there on business. Of course, the girls are there to see the sights, learn about Holland’s history and culture, but Amanda has another purpose to be there. She would like to solve the mystery of what happened to her great uncle Harold, who went to the Netherlands with the Canadian army during World War II and never return home.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Darlene: Goodreads

Connect to Darlene

Website: Darlene Foster
Blog: Darlene Foster WordPress
Facebook: Darlene Foster Facebook
Twitter: @supermegawoman

My thanks to Darlene for sharing this story with us today and to you for dropping in… as always your feedback is very welcome.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2020 – #Canada An Eagle Family by Darlene Foster


Welcome to the new series of Posts from Your Archives in 2020 and if you would like to participate with two of your posts from 2019, you will find all the details in this post: New series of Posts from Your Archives 2020

This is the first of two posts from travel writer and author Darlene Foster and the first shares the wonderful talent of her daughter and an eagle family willing to be photographed during their nest rebuilding phase and first baby.

An Eagle Family by Darlene Foster

My talented daughter lives on the beautiful west coast of Canada where she makes pottery and communes with nature.

Here are a couple of examples of her pottery.

More of her pottery can be viewed on her website Mad Mud Slinger

She recently had an opportunity recently to observe first hand an Eagle family. She sent me pictures of this amazing nest where the Eagle parents are raising their adorable Eaglet. This is what she had to say about the youngster –

It’s so cute, ever since he’s been big enough he peaks his head over the side while waiting for his parents to come back with food. Interesting that only one hatched this year.”

She also included some information about the nest.

The nest has been there for years, maybe decades, but 2 years ago a series of storms crashed it to the ground. The site was abandoned until last year when the Eagle couple decided to rebuild. Building is a lot of work, it went into the season so they waited until this year to hatch another family. It’s very exciting. A celebration!”

An Eagle nest weighs one ton and a VW Beetle can fit inside it. The adult wingspan is 8 feet so they need some room with all the comings and goings.”

She is fortunate to be able to witness this marvel of nature. I’m so happy she shared it with me.

Have you ever had a chance to view wild animals in nature?

© Darlene Foster

About Darlene Foster

Growing up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, Darlene Foster dreamt of writing, travelling the world, and meeting interesting people. She also believed in making her dreams come true. It’s no surprise she’s now the award-winning author of Amanda Travels, a children’s adventure series featuring a spunky twelve-year-old who loves to travel to unique places. Readers of all ages enjoy following Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. When not travelling herself, Darlene divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca, Spain with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot.

A selection of books by Darlene Foster

One of the recent reviews for Amanda in Holland on Goodreads

Nov 16, 2019 Alex Baugh rated it Four Stars.

This is the third Amanda Travels I’ve read, and in it, Amanda, 12, is heading to the Netherlands to join her British friend Leah Anderson and her father, who is there on business. Of course, the girls are there to see the sights, learn about Holland’s history and culture, but Amanda has another purpose to be there. She would like to solve the mystery of what happened to her great uncle Harold, who went to the Netherlands with the Canadian army during World War II and never return home.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Darlene: Goodreads

Connect to Darlene

Website: Darlene Foster
Blog: Darlene Foster WordPress
Facebook: Darlene Foster Facebook
Twitter: @supermegawoman

My thanks to Darlene for sharing this post today and fascinating to learn more about the eagles… another post next week… Thank you for dropping by…Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Sunday Author Interview – Darlene Foster and an excerpt from Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action


Welcome to the Sunday Interview series, exclusive to the authors in the Cafe and Bookstore.. details of how you can participate and join the other authors in the cafe can be found at the end of the interview.

My guest this week is regular guest to the blog, author Darlene Foster who has recently released another book in her successful Amanda Travel Series. Later in the post she shares an excerpt from Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action

Welcome back Darlene and congratulations on the latest book.. and to start perhaps you could tell us where you drew the inspiration for the character of Amanda?

I draw inspiration for my characters from the young people in my life and somewhat from the child inside me. Amanda simply evolved as I wrote and in some ways is the twelve-year-old I would have liked to be. I created her almost twenty years ago when I needed a character that could demonstrate the excitement I felt when travelling to the United Arab Emirates. I now have a nine-year-old great-granddaughter, who is so much like my character, Amanda, it’s scary. She even talks like her. She recently got on an airplane by herself and flew from Alberta to the west coast of Canada to visit her aunt. Talk about brave and gutsy, just like Amanda Ross. The character Leah, Amanda’s BFF, features in many of the books, including Amanda in Holland, is a combination of many of my friends. I enjoy spending time with tweens and am constantly inspired by them.

How did you conduct your research for Amanda in Holland?

I have always wanted to visit Holland, ever since I read Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates, by Mable Mapes Dodge when I was ten. So when I travelled to this delightful country three years ago, I decided Amanda should go there as well. I took tons of pictures and made copious notes while there. Two of my aunts married Dutch fellows who had been children in Holland during WWII before immigrating to Canada in the 1950s.I recalled some of their stories and was able to ask my cousins questions. One cousin told me about banket, the delicious Dutch puff pastry filled with almond paste I mention in the book. Of course, I use the internet for detailed research as well. I happily donate to Wikipedia every year as it is a valuable resource.

Has writing your books given you personally a different perspective or changed the way you live your life?

That is an interesting question, but I do believe it has. I have become much more observant than I used to be. I pay more attention to details, take more notes and talk to people, especially when travelling. They say writers never take a holiday and it is true, I am always thinking about my books, articles and blog posts. Being more aware makes for a much more rewarding trip. I also make friends by chatting with people, young, old and in between, in the name of research. You can never have too many friends! I believe writing books has added another dimension to my life and has kept it from getting boring.

Do you belong to a writing group and if so what benefits do you feel it offers an author?

I have belonged to several writing groups over the past twenty years and they have been the best thing for me. Currently, I belong to four, three here in Spain and one in Canada that I connect with via Skype. Without writer’s groups, I would not have published eight books so far. I belong to different groups for different reasons but they all provide assistance, suggestions, another set of eyes and ears and most of all, encouragement. Other writers will pick up things you may miss. A good writer’s group is gold to a writer, whether starting out or seasoned. You may recall the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Similarly, “It takes a village to grow a book.”

Please tell us about your next project and when we can expect to see the book.

Like most writers, I have a few projects on the go. Amanda in Holland – Missing in Action, released September 3 and I am so excited about it. I am off to Canada to do a book tour in October. I have almost finished Amanda in Malta – The Sleeping Lady, book eight. Those who fell in love with Caleb in Amanda in New Mexico-Ghosts in the Wind, will be pleased to see he is back in this book. Wait until you read about his unique phobia! Amanda may or may not be off to France next. What could possibly go wrong there?

Thank you so much, Sally, for this opportunity to be your guest.

Absolute pleasure having you over Darlene and for introducing us to the background to the Amanda series and the latest book. Sounds like your fans will have plenty to look forward to.

About Amanda in Holland

Amanda is in Holland to see the tulips with her best friend, Leah; as well as travelling the canals of Amsterdam, visiting Anne Frank House, checking out windmills and a wooden shoe factory, and taking pictures of the flowers of Keukenhof Gardens. She is keen to find out what happened to her great uncle who never returned from WWII and was declared missing in action. What she doesn’t expect to find and fall in love with is Joey, an abandoned puppy.

While trying to find a home for him, she meets Jan, a Dutch boy who offers to help, a suspicious gardener, a strange woman on a bicycle, and an overprotective goose named Gerald. Follow Amanda around the charming country of Holland, filled with colourful tulips, windmills, and more bicycles than she could have imagined. Once again, intrepid traveller Amanda encounters danger and intrigue as she tries to solve more than one mystery in a foreign country.

An excerpt from the book

After putting their things in the room, the girls took Joey out for a walk in the huge garden surrounding the house. He went crazy running around the bushes and wooden carvings, dodging the vibrant flowers and rolling on the lush grass.

“I guess he’s happy to be out of the car. This is a perfect place for a dog, so much room.”

Amanda sighed. “You know, it’s not fair. I always wanted a dog, but my parents said we don’t have time for one. I’d have looked after it. They won’t believe me when I tell them. I guess some of my mom’s friends told her they got a dog for their kids and then the parents ended up doing the work.”

“You would be a good dog person.” Leah smiled as she sat down on a bench carved from a massive log.

Amanda joined her. “Hey, how is Rupert, your Maine Coon cat?”

“He’s a crazy wazzock but I love him to bits.”

Amanda chuckled. “Hey, do you still have a boyfriend?”

“No.” Leah shook her head. “Two blokes fancy me, but I’m not sure which one I like. One is funny and smart and has a good imagination. He draws fab pictures and does tae kwon do.”

Amanda’s eyes lit up. “He sounds perfect.”

“Yes, but the other guy is really nice. He’s good at sports and easy to talk to. He’s kind and loves animals. In fact, he has a dog he’s devoted to. But he’s too much into football and doesn’t always do his homework.”

“I like the sound of the first one.”

Leah sighed. “Yes, but the second one is better looking.”

“Looks aren’t everything, you know.”

Leah kicked at a stone. “Maybe, but I want cute children.”

Amanda looked around. “Joey, come back here.” She lost sight of the dog. “What are you doing? Do I hear you digging?”

Joey bounded out from behind a bush with something in his mouth.

“Where did you get that?” Amanda pulled a dirt-encrusted shoe from his jaws. “Oh no! I wonder who this belongs to.”

They took the shoe inside. Ingrid’s face went white when she saw it.

She whispered, “Where did you find this?”

“Joey dug it up behind a bush in the garden. We can show you where.”

Ingrid gulped. “It might have belonged to a gardener we employed who has gone missing.”

She took the dirty old shoe with her fingertips and dropped it into a garbage can beside her.

“He was a bit strange, that one. Imagine burying your old shoe in the garden.” She rubbed Joey’s head. “What else will you find in my garden, you little binky?”

“What’s a binky?” asked Amanda.

“A bink is a big, strong man. He is still little so I call him binky.” Ingrid pulled something out of her pocket. “This biscuit will taste better than an old shoe.”

Joey snapped up the small cookie and licked his lips.

“Would you girls like some Stroopwafels and a cup of hot chocolate?”

“Oh yes, that would be great, thanks.” Amanda’s stomach rumbled.

Ingrid motioned to the girls to sit at a small, round table in the breakfast room. Amanda ran her fingertips over the tulips embroidered on the linen tablecloth. Ingrid soon appeared with two cups of hot chocolate, a round cookie on top of each one. “We place the Stroopwafel on top of the hot drink to soften the syrup inside. Stroopwafel literally means ‘syrup waffle.’ Enjoy.”

Amanda picked up the thin, two-layered, waffle-like cookie and took a bite. “Yum, these are good. I love the caramel syrup inside. Thanks.” She glanced at Ingrid. “By the way, what was the gardener’s name?”

Ingrid sighed and looked down. “He said his name was Tom, but I am not sure it was his real name.” She looked around. “You must excuse me, as new guests are about to arrive.”

After Ingrid left the breakfast room, Amanda leaned over and whispered to Leah, “I think she’s hiding something.”

“Don’t be daft. What would she be hiding? And why would she care about us?” Leah rolled her eyes. “You and that wicked imagination!”

“She obviously didn’t want to talk about Tom, the gardener. Did you see her face when she saw the old boot? Maybe Tom was her boyfriend or something.” Amanda’s eyes widened.

Just then, Leah’s father appeared. “Let’s find something to eat. I’m famished.”

All through dinner, Amanda couldn’t stop thinking about the buried shoe and the missing gardener.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Foster’s latest in the Amanda series follows the heroine, Amanda Ross, as she makes a trip to Holland to visit friends and try to unravel what happened to an Uncle who never returned from WWII–declared missing in action. If you follow the Amanda series, you know that Amanda cannot travel without getting into trouble, causing mischief, or solving mysteries despite her young age. In this story, Amanda rescues a throw-away puppy named Joey, tracks down a missing gardener, and helps to solve the theft of rare tulip bulbs. She does all this while exploring the culture and excitement that is found nowhere but Holland. Besides the Anne Frank house and the famous Holland canals, Amanda enjoys:

“…banket, a puff pastry filled with an almond paste.”

“…Hotchpotch Stamppot, a traditional Dutch dish of mashed potatoes mixed with carrots and onions,”

“…Bloemenmarkt. It is the world’s only floating flower market.”

The story is told in a conversational voice that will draw all readers in and deftly mixes the cultural details with how Amanda engages in and solves the mystery.

This would be a great gift for a child to celebrate the end of summer or a favorite teacher to add to their classroom library (or the school librarian, of course). It’s an uncommon book in that it takes children through the clever bits and pieces of Holland not found in any other nation without feeling like a travelogue.

This book and the entire series is highly recommended for elementary age and Middle School children and parents.

More reviews can be found on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44025652-amanda-in-holland

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Amanda-Holland-Missing-Action-Travels-ebook/dp/B07L9LVK4J/

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Amanda-Holland-Missing-Action-Travels-ebook/dp/B07L9LVK4J

A selection of other  books by Darlene Foster

Read the reviews and buy all of Darlene’s books: https://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA

Read more reviews and follow Darlene on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3156908.Darlene_Foster

 

About Darlene Foster

Darlene Foster is a writer, an employment counsellor, an ESL tutor for children, a wife, mother and grandmother. She loves travel, shoes, cooking, reading, sewing, chocolate, music, the beach and making new friends. Her 13-year-old grandson called her “super-mega-woman-supreme”.

She was brought up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, where she dreamt of traveling the world and meeting interesting people. She currently divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca in Spain, with her husband Paul.

“Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask” was her first published novel. Once bitten by the travel bug, Amanda travels to other interesting places, sticking her nose in other people’s problems and getting herself in trouble. Read “Amanda in Spain – The Girl in the Painting”, “Amanda in England – The Missing Novel”, “Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone”, and “Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music” and “Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind”  to find out the adventures Amanda has as she travels the world.

Connect to Darlene via her website and social media.

Website: www.darlenefoster.ca
Blog: https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DarleneFosterWriter
Twitter: https://twitter.com/supermegawoman

Thank you for dropping in today and I know Darlene would love to respond to your comments. thanks Sally

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives -#PotLuck – #Travel -Ten Reasons to visit Medicine Hat, Canada by Darlene Foster


Welcome to the series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

Children’s author and travel writer Darlene Foster is a regular visitor to the blog and has shared some amazing posts.  She gave me permission to explore her archives in search of more treasure. In her final post in this particular series, I am sharing a post on her birthplace.

Ten Reasons to visit Medicine Hat, Canada by Darlene Foster

Many people are intrigued by the name of my birthplace and tend to want to know more about it. So I thought I would share an article I recently had published in Travel Thru History, a wonderful ezine featuring great travel articles. There are many reasons to visit this interesting prairie city that will always be apart of me no matter where I go. Here are ten of them.

CityofMH

Medicine Hat, Alberta, is not often high on anyone’s must-visit list, if it’s there at all. But it should be. There are many reasons to visit this oasis in the Canadian prairies, here are ten of them.

The Name

Who wouldn’t want to visit a place with such a unique name? There are many stories about how the city acquired its unique name derived from the original First Nation’s name Saamis, which means The Medicine Man’s Hat. All the legends involve a feather headdress. One story tells of a battle between the Blackfoot and Cree in which a retreating Cree Medicine Man lost his headdress in the South Saskatchewan River at the place where Medicine Hat became a town. The city uses a feather headdress as its symbol. The locals simply call their town, “The Hat” and residents are often called, “Hatters”.

SAAMISTepee

The World’s Largest Tepee

It’s hard to miss this towering structure as you enter Medicine Hat on the Trans-Canada Highway from either direction. Originally constructed for the Calgary 1988 Winter Olympics, the Saamis Tepee is a tribute to Canada’s native heritage. The colours of the structure are symbolic, white for purity, red for the rising and setting sun and blue for the flowing river. It is the World’s Tallest Tepee standing over 20 stories high, weighing 200 tonnes

Read more about Medicine Hat Travel Through History

Jim Marshall mural

One of the many sculptured brick murals by Jim Marshall.

To learn more about Jim Marshall and his sculptured brick murals watch this interesting video which includes fabulous views of the city: https://www.pbs.org/video/northwest-profiles-james-marshall-brick-artist/

Giantchess set

The giant chess set by the library. Grandchildren is another reason for me to visit.

Here is a video of the landscape and sights to see in Medicine Hat: by DKay

Do you come from an interesting place? Please share with me in the comments.

 

About Darlene Foster

Darlene Foster is a writer, an employment counsellor, an ESL tutor for children, a wife, mother and grandmother. She loves travel, shoes, cooking, reading, sewing, chocolate, music, the beach and making new friends. Her 13-year-old grandson called her “super-mega-woman-supreme”.

She was brought up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, where she dreamt of traveling the world and meeting interesting people. She currently divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca in Spain, with her husband Paul.

“Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask” was her first published novel. Once bitten by the travel bug, Amanda travels to other interesting places, sticking her nose in other people’s problems and getting herself in trouble. Read “Amanda in Spain – The Girl in the Painting”, “Amanda in England – The Missing Novel”, “Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone”, and “Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music” and “Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind”  to find out the adventures Amanda has as she travels the world.

A selection of  books by Darlene Foster

One of the recent reviews for Amanda in New Mexico

Amanda and her sixth-grade class are on an educational field trip from their hometown of Calgary, Canada to visit, explore and document their experiences in New Mexico, USA. As the class tours Taos, New Mexico and the surrounding area, their trip is interrupted by ghosts present and past. In “Amanda in New Mexico—Ghost in the Wind,” Foster has written a contemporary fiction story through which middle grade students will not only learn about the region’s geography, architecture, and artifacts—they’ll learn invaluable life lessons along the way. Students and teachers are sure to want to follow Amanda through further adventures in this well-written series.

Read the reviews and buy all of Darlene’s books: https://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA

Read more reviews and follow Darlene on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3156908.Darlene_Foster

Available for Pre-Order September 2019..https://www.amazon.com/Amanda-Holland-Missing-Action-Travels-ebook/dp/B07L9LVK4J/

Connect to Darlene via her website and social media.

Website: www.darlenefoster.ca
Blog: https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DarleneFosterWriter
Twitter: https://twitter.com/supermegawoman

My thanks to Darlene for allowing me to browse her archives and share them with you..

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck – #Shortstory – The Special Date by Darlene Foster


Welcome to the series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

Children’s author and travel writer Darlene Foster is a regular visitor to the blog and has shared some amazing posts.  She gave me permission to explore her archives in search of more treasure. This week a short story as part of the Stevie Turner – Share your short story series 2018

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The Special Date by Darlene Foster.

Decision made, she laid out her clothes and applied two coats of a subtle shade of melon nail polish to each fingernail and toenail with meticulous detail. Retiring early, the mirror reflected a well-rested woman the following morning. This pleased her. It was important that she look her best for this date.

A girl needs to get her beauty sleep you know, she could hear her mother say.

What would Mother think about this date? Did it matter? Mother passed away many years ago. Why did she still feel the need for her mother’s approval? Was it because she didn’t get it as a young girl, trying so hard to please?

She returned to the mirror and stopped thinking about such things while she dabbed ivory concealer under her eyes and on various spots on her face.

Get rid of those dark circles and spider veins, and ten years will be erased, she assured herself. Like an artist putting the finishing touches to a masterpiece, she applied the rest of her makeup. She needed to look perfect.

Would he appreciate the effort? she wondered while slipping on her new black underwear; bikini panties and a lace push up bra. She glanced at the full-length mirror. Not many women her age could wear this stuff and look good. She kept her body toned by working out regularly and she watched her diet for the most part. She looked closer, noticed a few bulges here and there, and planned to forgo dessert in the future. Although, she was sure he wouldn’t mind.

She stepped into the slinky little black dress with ease, pulled up the zipper in the back and took another look in the mirror. The cleavage looked inviting. Perhaps it was a bit much though. She didn’t want to send out the wrong message. She reached for her favourite silk scarf and tied it loosely around her neck. The black, grey and melon swirls complemented her nail polish. Pleased with the result, she smiled at the reflection in the mirror.

A giddy feeling came over her, making her feel like a school girl. Perhaps she should have a drink, or better still, something light to eat. There was no point being nervous. It will be all right, she reassured herself. She nibbled on a piece of Brie on a slice of a baguette topped with a chunk of cantaloupe while sipping a small glass of chardonnay.

“A loaf of bread, a jug of wine and thou,” she murmured to herself.

She looked in the mirror once more to fix her hair and felt a burning sensation in her chest. Her breath started to come in short gasps. The recognizable signs of panic began to take over.

I can’t go through with this. What will people think, what will they say?

She wanted to stay home, go back to bed and forget everything. Those old enemies, tears, were about to revisit her.

“Stop it!” she shouted out loud at the confused image in the mirror.

When are you going to stop worrying about what other people think, you stupid woman?

She managed to pull herself together in time to save her makeup from running. What was she thinking? She certainly didn’t have time to redo it. All she had to do was look lovely, say the right things and keep cool for a couple of hours, and it would soon be over. She reminded herself that she was doing this for him and he was special.

After running a brush through her nutmeg coloured hair, she applied a light coat of hairspray to the bob. She liked the colour of her hair and refreshed the roots every four weeks. She could not understand women who let their hair go grey and grinned when she thought of women not much older than herself with shades of pink and blue-grey hair. They would bury her with nutmeg coloured hair.

She lined her lips with a pencil to make them look fuller and filled them in with lipstick, a melon shade to match the nail polish and scarf. Taking the new, long black jacket off the hanger, she slipped it on over her short dress. It was well tailored and fit her toned body perfectly. He was sure to be impressed.

Something simple but elegant would be the best choice for jewellery. She rummaged through her jewellery box and found a small pair of black pearl earrings that would do the trick. She tried a couple of pins on the lapel of the jacket but nothing looked right, not the butterfly or the cat or the rose. Time was running out. She slammed the lid of the jewellery box as she decided not to wear a pin.

The limousine arrived to pick her up. A quick spray of her favourite perfume before she slipped on her black patent pumps and she was ready. Making her way downstairs, she felt faint and grasped the railing for support. Would she be able to do this? She had never done anything like this before. She took one last look in the hallway mirror, smiled faintly and took a deep breath. She could do this. He was worth it.

Heads turned as an attractive woman walked into the funeral service to say goodbye to the only man she had ever loved; her husband of the past forty years.

©Darlene Foster 2018

About Darlene Foster

Darlene Foster is a writer, an employment counsellor, an ESL tutor for children, a wife, mother and grandmother. She loves travel, shoes, cooking, reading, sewing, chocolate, music, the beach and making new friends. Her 13-year-old grandson called her “super-mega-woman-supreme”.

She was brought up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, where she dreamt of traveling the world and meeting interesting people. She currently divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca in Spain, with her husband Paul.

“Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask” was her first published novel. Once bitten by the travel bug, Amanda travels to other interesting places, sticking her nose in other people’s problems and getting herself in trouble. Read “Amanda in Spain – The Girl in the Painting”, “Amanda in England – The Missing Novel”, “Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone”, and “Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music” and “Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind”  to find out the adventures Amanda has as she travels the world.

A selection of  books by Darlene Foster

One of the recent reviews for Amanda in New Mexico

Amanda and her sixth-grade class are on an educational field trip from their hometown of Calgary, Canada to visit, explore and document their experiences in New Mexico, USA. As the class tours Taos, New Mexico and the surrounding area, their trip is interrupted by ghosts present and past. In “Amanda in New Mexico—Ghost in the Wind,” Foster has written a contemporary fiction story through which middle grade students will not only learn about the region’s geography, architecture, and artifacts—they’ll learn invaluable life lessons along the way. Students and teachers are sure to want to follow Amanda through further adventures in this well-written series.

Read the reviews and buy all of Darlene’s books: https://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA

Read more reviews and follow Darlene on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3156908.Darlene_Foster

Available for Pre-Order September 2019..https://www.amazon.com/Amanda-Holland-Missing-Action-Travels-ebook/dp/B07L9LVK4J/

Connect to Darlene via her website and social media.

Website: www.darlenefoster.ca
Blog: https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DarleneFosterWriter
Twitter: https://twitter.com/supermegawoman

My thanks to Darlene for allowing me to browse her archives and share them with you..

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck – #CWILL BC Group Rewards by Darlene Foster


Welcome to the series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

Children’s author and travel writer Darlene Foster is a regular visitor to the blog and has shared some amazing posts.  She gave me permission to explore her archives in search of more treasure. The first post that I selected was from 2013….I have checked all the links and you can find current activities for the organisation by clicking through.

Group Rewards by Darlene Foster.

I have been a member of a wonderful organization, CWILL BC (Children’s Writers and Illustrators of BC) for the past three years. This organization provides information and support to local children’s authors and assists in promoting our books. I have found my membership to be most beneficial. The monthly meetings are well-organized and informative. I have learned so much through the mentorship program and the master classes. Throughout the year special events are planned as well. In June, CWILL BC celebrated a 25 year anniversary with an event The Walking Dead. Many of us attended dressed as a favourite character. It was fun to mingle with Anne of Green Gables, Mary Poppins, The Paper Bag Princess, Red Riding Hood and the Wolfe, and so many more. I came as Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice.

Elizabeth Bennet and Anne of Green Gables

Elizabeth Bennet and Anne of Green Gables

Dorothy and the Scarecrow at the Walking Read

Dorothy and the Scarecrow at The Walking Read

Magical creatures

Magical creatures were everywhere

More great pictures can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cwillbcphotos/sets/72157633430613663/

This event was also a fund-raiser for the Family Support and Resource Center at  BC Children’s Hospital and included a silent auction. I was excited to learn I was the highest bidder for “Tea with an Author”. This included afternoon tea with an author, a child of my choice and myself. The following month, author P.J. Sarah Collins, her ten-year old daughter, and a good friend’s six-year-old daughter met me at Truffles in Van Dusen Gardens for tea.

What a lovely time we had. The young women dressed in their finest, were extremely well behaved and asked us questions about our books.

Tea with an author

Tea with an author

We all enjoyed the wonderful tea time treats, overlooking the beautiful gardens. What a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

photo1

Being able to meet and mix with other authors is motivating. I have made some wonderful new friends through CWILL BC

Do you belong to a special group that has been beneficial to you in some way?

©Darlene Foster.

About Darlene Foster

Darlene Foster is a writer, an employment counsellor, an ESL tutor for children, a wife, mother and grandmother. She loves travel, shoes, cooking, reading, sewing, chocolate, music, the beach and making new friends. Her 13-year-old grandson called her “super-mega-woman-supreme”.

She was brought up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, where she dreamt of traveling the world and meeting interesting people. She currently divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca in Spain, with her husband Paul.

“Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask” was her first published novel. Once bitten by the travel bug, Amanda travels to other interesting places, sticking her nose in other people’s problems and getting herself in trouble. Read “Amanda in Spain – The Girl in the Painting”, “Amanda in England – The Missing Novel”, “Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone”, and “Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music” and “Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind”  to find out the adventures Amanda has as she travels the world.

Amanda In New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind.

About the book

Amanda Ross is on a school trip to Taos, New Mexico with several of her fellow creative students. Join Amanda, Cleo and their funny friend, Caleb, as they visit an ancient and beautiful landscape where a traditional hacienda, an ancient pueblo, and a haunted and spooky hotel all hold secrets to a wild and violent past. Does Cleo really see ghosts? Can Amanda escape the eerie wind that follows her everywhere? Perhaps the Day of the Dead will reveal the mysteries of Taos in this latest adventure of Amanda’s travels.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Amanda and her sixth-grade class are on an educational field trip from their hometown of Calgary, Canada to visit, explore and document their experiences in New Mexico, USA. As the class tours Taos, New Mexico and the surrounding area, their trip is interrupted by ghosts present and past. In “Amanda in New Mexico—Ghost in the Wind,” Foster has written a contemporary fiction story through which middle grade students will not only learn about the region’s geography, architecture, and artifacts—they’ll learn invaluable life lessons along the way. Students and teachers are sure to want to follow Amanda through further adventures in this well-written series.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Amanda-New-Mexico-Ghosts-Travels-ebook/dp/B01MT8LXAR/

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Amanda-New-Mexico-Ghosts-Travels-ebook/dp/B01MT8LXAR/

A selection of other books by Darlene Foster

Read the reviews and buy all of Darlene’s books: https://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA

Read more reviews and follow Darlene on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3156908.Darlene_Foster

Available for Pre-Order September 2019..https://www.amazon.com/Amanda-Holland-Missing-Action-Travels-ebook/dp/B07L9LVK4J/

Connect to Darlene via her website and social media.

Website: www.darlenefoster.ca
Blog: https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DarleneFosterWriter
Twitter: https://twitter.com/supermegawoman

An terrific organisation and a great idea to raise money… some ideas here for any of you who are working with other authors for charity.  Thanks to Darlene for allowing me to access her archive. Another post next week.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Family – What Was Lost in the Fire by Darlene Foster


Welcome to another post from the archives of children’s/YA author Darlene Foster. This week Darlene shares the sad loss of a family farm due to wildfires in 2017. Buildings that had weathered many a storm, and sadly the fires also brought tragedy to the community.

What Was Lost in the Fire by Darlene Foster

I was sad to hear of the recent devasting prairies fires near Hilda where I was raised in southern Alberta. Many farms and ranches were affected as wildfires, spurred by high winds, raced through acres of land destroying property, machines, stored grain, feed and livestock. In efforts to contain the fires, volunteer firefighters worked tirelessly. One young volunteer, a father of three, lost his life when the water tank truck he was driving overturned. I learned he was the son of a former schoolmate of mine. My heart goes out to his wife and children. Fires are so awful.

14021504_534288150105223_2421111044506226457_n

A photo I used as a prompt for my writing workshop in Vancouver.

Our family was not spared, although not to such a great degree. The house my great-grandfather, Henry Hoffman, built in 1915 soon after immigrating to Canada was destroyed when the fires swept through the homestead. Although the house stood vacant for years it contained many memories. My own mom, Henry and Katherina’s granddaughter, was born in this house almost 89 years ago. By the time I was born, my great-grandparents had retired to the city and it was their son, my great uncle John, who lived in the house with his wife and family. Since we lived nearby and they were our favourite relatives, I spent many happy times sharing meals and playing with my second cousins at this place.

14068096_534288226771882_4562974123811985499_n

A recent picture of the Hoffman house taken by Debbie Hoffman Nagel, granddaughter of Henry and Katherina Hoffman.

Over the years, whenever in the area, we would visit the homestead and reminisce. I particularly loved the old barn, built from rocks and clay by my great-grandfather, as it had so much character. Sad to say it was also destroyed by the recent wildfire.

001-007

The barn built by Great Grandpa Hoffman

This was not the first time fire has visited this farm. Back in 1910 when they first arrived at their homestead, a wooden shack was built for Henry and Katherina, their four small children and Henry’s parents to live in. While they were all out digging a well one day, a suspicious fire consumed their shack. Not to be deterred, they replaced it with two sod shacks until the large two-story wooden building was built to accommodate the growing family. Nine additional children were born in this house. Sadly, as often happened in those days, only five survived infancy. The nine surviving children produced hundreds of descendants who remember this farm with fondness.

afterthefire (1)

What was left after the prairie fire, October 2017

The buildings are gone, but the memories will live forever through pictures and stories from the many descendants of these enterprising people.
R00101

A picture taken in 1927 of Great Grandpa Henry Hoffman standing outside the house and barn he built.

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Henry and Katherina with their children and some of their grandchildren, taken in 1942.

Note: The pictures are a collection of mine and my cousin’s.

©Darlene Foster.

About Darlene Foster

Darlene Foster is a writer, an employment counsellor, an ESL tutor for children, a wife, mother and grandmother. She loves travel, shoes, cooking, reading, sewing, chocolate, music, the beach and making new friends. Her 13-year-old grandson called her “super-mega-woman-supreme”.

She was brought up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, where she dreamt of traveling the world and meeting interesting people. She currently divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca in Spain, with her husband Paul.

“Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask” was her first published novel. Once bitten by the travel bug, Amanda travels to other interesting places, sticking her nose in other people’s problems and getting herself in trouble. Read “Amanda in Spain – The Girl in the Painting”, “Amanda in England – The Missing Novel”, “Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone”, and “Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music” and “Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind”  to find out the adventures Amanda has as she travels the world.

Amanda In New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind.

About the book

Amanda Ross is on a school trip to Taos, New Mexico with several of her fellow creative students. Join Amanda, Cleo and their funny friend, Caleb, as they visit an ancient and beautiful landscape where a traditional hacienda, an ancient pueblo, and a haunted and spooky hotel all hold secrets to a wild and violent past. Does Cleo really see ghosts? Can Amanda escape the eerie wind that follows her everywhere? Perhaps the Day of the Dead will reveal the mysteries of Taos in this latest adventure of Amanda’s travels.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Amanda and her sixth-grade class are on an educational field trip from their hometown of Calgary, Canada to visit, explore and document their experiences in New Mexico, USA. As the class tours Taos, New Mexico and the surrounding area, their trip is interrupted by ghosts present and past. In “Amanda in New Mexico—Ghost in the Wind,” Foster has written a contemporary fiction story through which middle grade students will not only learn about the region’s geography, architecture, and artifacts—they’ll learn invaluable life lessons along the way. Students and teachers are sure to want to follow Amanda through further adventures in this well-written series.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Amanda-New-Mexico-Ghosts-Travels-ebook/dp/B01MT8LXAR/

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Amanda-New-Mexico-Ghosts-Travels-ebook/dp/B01MT8LXAR/

A selection of other books by Darlene Foster

Read the reviews and buy all of Darlene’s books: https://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA

Read more reviews and follow Darlene on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3156908.Darlene_Foster

Connect to Darlene via her website and social media.

Website: www.darlenefoster.ca
Blog: https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DarleneFosterWriter
Twitter: https://twitter.com/supermegawoman

Posts from your Archives – All about the family.

  1. Personal memories of childhood or teens that are still fresh in your mind.
  2. Family history, stories of your parents, grandparents and further back if you can.
  3. Fur family past and present.
  4. Favourite recipes.
  5. Memorable holidays.
  6. Places you have lived.
  7. Memorable homes you have lived in.
  8. Grandchildren tales.
  9. Any family related post – education, health, teen years, elderly care, lifestyle.
  10. Please remember that there are some younger readers who visit.

I think you get the idea.

The aim of this series is to showcase your blog and any creative work that you do from books, art, photography and crafts. You pick between one and four links to posts that you have written for your own blog from the day you started up to December 2018, and you simply send the link to those blogs to sally.cronin@moyhill.com

You have to do nothing more as I will capture the post and images from your blog and I will then post with full copyright to you.. with your creative work and your links to buy and to connect. I might sometimes need a little more information but I am quite resourceful in finding out everything I need.

So far in the Posts from Your Archives from September 2017, there have been over 700 posts from 200 + bloggers that have reached a different audience and encouraged more readers for their own blogs and current posts.

Previous participants are more than welcome

My thanks to Darlene for sharing another one of her stories about her extended family and I know she would love to hear from you… Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives- #Family – The Other Side of the Family by Darlene Foster


Welcome to the second post from the archives of children’s author Darlene Foster on the subject of family

The Other Side of the Family

I shared information about my mother´s mother´s family (Hoffman) so I think it only fair I share something of my mother´s father´s side of the family (Mehrer). Both families were German immigrant farmers from South Russia and came to Canada at the beginning of the 20th century to help populate and develop the prairie provinces.
Great-grandparents Andreas and Katerina Mehrer and family

Great-grandparents Andreas and Katharina Mehrer and their children

While in Calgary last month I stopped in to visit my grandfather’s only living sister, Meta, and her husband Lex. They still live in their own home and put out a garden every year. At 91, Great Aunt Meta is in great shape and shared a wonderful story about her parents, my great grandparents, when they first settled on the homestead in southern Alberta.

As told to me by Meta (Mehrer) Davis

April 1912
Father was out turning sod, when he had some trouble with the horses. He called to Mother, who came across the road, leaving the little ones in the house, thinking she would only be a few minutes. It took a long time before she returned – to an empty house. Panic-stricken she rushed out, calling the little ones but all that greeted her was silence. After searching the yard she returned to the house wondering what she could say to their father.

In the Kitchen, on one of the walls there were six large hooks on which to hang heavy garments. On one of these hooks hung the long, black wool coat that Dad had brought from Europe. A long bench sat underneath. As she entered the kitchen she noticed a slight movement of the coat. She pulled it to one side and there sat four little people, sleeping and perspiring. John holding the baby and a little girl on each side of him.
He explained to his mother that she was gone so long that he decided to keep them safe in case someone came to take them away.

Note: It was not uncommon for children to be abducted in Europe in the 1800s and John had heard these stories. Their ages at the time Baby (Frieda) one year old, Martha 2 ½ years, Beth 4 years and John 5 ½ years.

It was my dear grandfather, John, who protected his siblings all those years ago. He is the gentleman sitting on the far left in the family picture. Aunt Meta is standing beside him. He married my grandmother, had six children, thirty-two grandchildren and many great grandchildren. I remember him as a kind and caring man, always making sure his family was safe.

I also had the opportunity to visit my grandfather´s only surviving brother, Great Uncle Paul. (He is the little boy between the great grandparents in the family picture above). He is 86 years old, the same age as Mom. He also lives in the same care home as my mom so she gets to see him often. He, along with his brother, Great Uncle Andrew, farmed the original homestead, until fairly recently. He also had many interesting stories to tell me.
Mom and her Uncle PaulMom and her Uncle Paul

Great Uncle Paul with a team of horses

Great Uncle Paul with a team of horses

The barn on the homestead painted by Great Aunt Hilda

The barn on the homestead painted by Great Aunt Hilda

I wrote about the 100 year celebration of the Mehrer family HERE if you wish to learn more about this side of the family.

It was so wonderful to spend time with my grandfather´s siblings and hear stories about him and the family. I just wish I had spent more time with him when he was with us, as Grandpa loved to share stories.

Do you have any old timers in the family that enjoy sharing stories of the past? 

©Darlene Foster.

About Darlene Foster

Darlene Foster is a writer, an employment counsellor, an ESL tutor for children, a wife, mother and grandmother. She loves travel, shoes, cooking, reading, sewing, chocolate, music, the beach and making new friends. Her 13-year-old grandson called her “super-mega-woman-supreme”.

She was brought up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, where she dreamt of traveling the world and meeting interesting people. She currently divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca in Spain, with her husband Paul.

“Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask” was her first published novel. Once bitten by the travel bug, Amanda travels to other interesting places, sticking her nose in other people’s problems and getting herself in trouble. Read “Amanda in Spain – The Girl in the Painting”, “Amanda in England – The Missing Novel”, “Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone”, and “Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music” and “Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind”  to find out the adventures Amanda has as she travels the world.

Amanda In New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind.

About the book

Amanda Ross is on a school trip to Taos, New Mexico with several of her fellow creative students. Join Amanda, Cleo and their funny friend, Caleb, as they visit an ancient and beautiful landscape where a traditional hacienda, an ancient pueblo, and a haunted and spooky hotel all hold secrets to a wild and violent past. Does Cleo really see ghosts? Can Amanda escape the eerie wind that follows her everywhere? Perhaps the Day of the Dead will reveal the mysteries of Taos in this latest adventure of Amanda’s travels.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Amanda and her sixth-grade class are on an educational field trip from their hometown of Calgary, Canada to visit, explore and document their experiences in New Mexico, USA. As the class tours Taos, New Mexico and the surrounding area, their trip is interrupted by ghosts present and past. In “Amanda in New Mexico—Ghost in the Wind,” Foster has written a contemporary fiction story through which middle grade students will not only learn about the region’s geography, architecture, and artifacts—they’ll learn invaluable life lessons along the way. Students and teachers are sure to want to follow Amanda through further adventures in this well-written series.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Amanda-New-Mexico-Ghosts-Travels-ebook/dp/B01MT8LXAR/

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Amanda-New-Mexico-Ghosts-Travels-ebook/dp/B01MT8LXAR/

A selection of other books by Darlene Foster

Read the reviews and buy all of Darlene’s books: https://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA

Read more reviews and follow Darlene on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3156908.Darlene_Foster

Connect to Darlene via her website and social media.

Website: www.darlenefoster.ca
Blog: https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DarleneFosterWriter
Twitter: https://twitter.com/supermegawoman

Posts from your Archives – All about the family.

  1. Personal memories of childhood or teens that are still fresh in your mind.
  2. Family history, stories of your parents, grandparents and further back if you can.
  3. Fur family past and present.
  4. Favourite recipes.
  5. Memorable holidays.
  6. Places you have lived.
  7. Memorable homes you have lived in.
  8. Grandchildren tales.
  9. Any family related post – education, health, teen years, elderly care, lifestyle.
  10. Please remember that there are some younger readers who visit.

I think you get the idea.

The aim of this series is to showcase your blog and any creative work that you do from books, art, photography and crafts. You pick between one and four links to posts that you have written for your own blog from the day you started up to December 2018, and you simply send the link to those blogs to sally.cronin@moyhill.com

You have to do nothing more as I will capture the post and images from your blog and I will then post with full copyright to you.. with your creative work and your links to buy and to connect. I might sometimes need a little more information but I am quite resourceful in finding out everything I need.

So far in the Posts from Your Archives from September 2017, there have been over 700 posts from 200 + bloggers that have reached a different audience and encouraged more readers for their own blogs and current posts.

The only issue is the number of photographs and if there are more than five photographs in the post I will do a reblog rather than a separate post. (Media space)

Previous participants are more than welcome

Thanks to Darlene for sharing another wonderful story of her extended family.. what a legacy…