Darlene Foster's Blog

I can’t believe it has been a year since we went on our wonderful Mediterranean cruise. I wrote about it here, here, here and here. I realize I had not written a post on our favourite stop, the historic country of Malta. We only spent a morning at this amazing place but we loved it.

It was early morning as we entered the Grande Harbour where a mix of Middle Eastern and European architecture greeted us. Malta’s location has historically given it great strategic importance as a naval base, and a succession of powers, including the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Moors, Normans, Sicilians, Spanish, Knights of St. John, French and British, have ruled the islands and left their mark. I had read so much about this place and was eager to explore Valletta, the capital city. A short walk from the boat and up an elevator took us into the heart of the fortified city.


The fortified city of Valletta


A sample of the many sculptures found throughout the city


Wouldn’t you love to have a coffee by this unicorn fountain?


Queen Victoria graces the entrance to the impressive library


A fabulous fountain


The 8 point Maltese cross, the symbol of the Knights of St. John,  is everywhere


Romantic windows grace many homes and apartments


Malta is well known for its unique door knockers

I visited St. John’s Co-Cathedral and was gobsmacked, as the British would say. The plain facade looked more like a fortress and gave no indication of the marvels inside. This was the church of the Order of the Knights of St. John and was completed in 1577. The interior was originally very simple but over the years the Grand Masters and Knights donated gifts of artworks and financial contributions to enrich it. One gift was the original painting of the beheading of John the Baptist by Caravaggio which hangs in the Oratory. I couldn’t believe I was standing in front of this amazing work of art. Of course, photographs were not allowed so you will have to take my word for it. I was, however, allowed to take pictures in the opulent Sanctuary.




The cathedral houses a museum with elaborate vestments and incredible Flemish tapestries. The urge to snap a couple of photographs was strong but I resisted. I also resisted touching those centuries old tapestries representing hours and hours of work. I was in awe.

The Grande Harbour is a busy place with a variety of boats.


A typical Maltese fishing boat


A yacht for the rich and famous


Me in Malta


We found a number of cute signs including this one. In case you are wondering, yes we had coffee and cake at one of the many charming outdoor cafes. I can’t remember the question.


As we left Malta, we promised we would be back.


As much fun as we are having here in Spain, we do miss our friends and family back in Canada. So when friends come to visit, it is pretty special. We were delighted when my bestie Jayne, and her hubby, Bob, came to spend a week with us in September. We had so much fun together, as we always do, and did lots of catching up. There was beach time and shopping time, as well as visits to historic sites and a Roman and Carthaginian festival. We hung out with gladiators and ate tapas, paella and much more delicious Spanish food. My hubby was happy to drive us to many interesting places.

Jayne at the market, stopping to smell the flowers

Jayne at the market, stopping to smell the flowers

Jayne and Bob enjoying the Mediterranean.

Jayne and Bob enjoying the Mediterranean.

An evening walk on the beach.

An evening walk on the beach.

Hanging out with gladiators at the Roman Feista

Hanging out with gladiators at the Roman Fiesta


Romans and archers

Romans and archers

by a mural in Cartegana

by a mural in Cartagena

The amazing church in Novelda, designed by a student of Gaudi.

The amazing church at Novelda, designed by a student of Gaudi.


Old friends in Spain

Coffee at the mall after serious shopping

Coffee at the mall after serious shopping

Relaxing by the sea in Torrevieja

Relaxing by the sea in Torrevieja

Ice cream in Torreveija

Ice cream in Torrevieja. That was the small size!

Of course Dot loved Jayne

Of course, Dot loved Jayne

Jayne is an English girl from Nottingham who has lived in Canada for a long time. She was the first friend I made when I moved to Vancouver in 1989. We have done some fun things together over the years. I am so glad she came to visit me in Spain. Jayne and her husband had a great time and loved our new relaxed life.


Jayne is having surgery on October 18. She is such a positive individual, I know she will be fine. But I would like to ask you to please send some positive thoughts and prayers her way.


Jayne in Spain

Isn´t it great to get together with a long time friend!

Read a short excerpt from Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music on The Write Stuff. Please comment and let me know what you think.

Finally! #ExcerptWeek resumes with our last three contributors. Today’s guest is children’s author, Darlene Foster, and I know you’ll enjoy her charming excerpt. Please remember t…

Source: #ExcerptWeek – Darlene Foster @supermegawoman

It’s Thanksgiving in Canada and I have so much to be thankful for. My family, my friends, my health and a wonderful place to live, to name a few. I am also extremely thankful to everyone who has supported my writing endeavours.

It has been ten days since Amanda on the Danube has been released and things have been going great! I was pleased to see an article about the book in The Delta Optimist.

A new adventure for Amanda

Children’s author, inspired by her own travels, adds fifth entry to novel series


OCTOBER 7, 2016 12:00 AM


Children’s author Darlene Foster has added another entry to her travel adventure series.

Amanda on the Danube: The Sounds of Music follows the 12-year-old main character on an adventure with her best friend Leah aboard an elegant riverboat along Europe’s second-longest river.

“It is a fast-paced, fun and intriguing story with some European history tucked in,” says Foster, who has a book launch event scheduled for next month at Albany Books in Tsawwassen.

The title marks the fifth entry into this series and Foster says she thinks it’s the best one yet.

Read more here

Amanda on the Danube is also the book of the week on Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book of the Week – Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music by Darlene Foster

Today my chosen book is another adventure for Amanda, an ordinary Canadian teenager, who has travelled the world from Arabia to Alberta via Spain and England. Author Darlene Foster now crafts a new adventure as Amanda finds herself on the Danube helping a homeless young musician.


Read more here and add a comment if you wish. Sally’s blog site is chock full of interesting and  inspiring information. She is an amazing person and  does so much to promote us struggling authors. You may want to follow her blog, you won’t be sorry.

I am so thankful I met Sally through the wonderful world of blogging.

What are you thankful for?

The steady beat of drums, the swift march of soldiers, animal-skin clad barbarians, painted faces, colourful shields, standard bearers, gladiator sandals, dancing maidens, priests, soothsayers and elegant senators. We find ourselves in the midst of the Romans and Carthaginians Festival, just forty minutes from where we live. This spectacle is held every year to celebrate the vibrant history of the strategic port city of Cartagena.





Cartagena has more than 2000 years of history. The Romans and Carthaginians Festival is a remembrance of the second Punic War, beginning with the foundation of Qart Hadast, the name given to Cartagena by the Phoenicians in 228 BC, and ending with its capture by the Romans in 209 BC.

Throughout the last ten days of September, battles are re-enacted, ancient ceremonies held and troops in full battle dress march through the streets of Cartagena.  The Carthaginian and Roman armies arrive by sea in a dramatic display and then march through town to an encampment set up on the football field. We were very fortunate to witness part of this event during an evening I will never forget. The costumes and attention to historic detail are amazing as you will see from a few of the many pictures I took.







It was as if all the citizens were in costume for the event. And like everything in Spain, the entire family was involved.




Imagine my excitement when monks appeared leading large bulls through the narrow streets.



This ancient High Priest gave me a big smile after I took his picture


A serious soothsayer


Cheerful dancing maidens happy to pose for me.


A Nobel Senator and his good wife


One of many standards born through the streets of Cartagena.


There was so much more. I hope you enjoyed a sample of this spectacular festival where history comes to life. If you ever have an opportunity to be near Cartagena, Spain around the end of September, you must take this in.


The ultimate gladiator sandals. Now where can I buy a pair?

Today I am the guest blogger on Kristina Stanley’s Mystery Monday, where I talk about my inspiration for Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music. Hop on over to her blog and comment if you wish.

This week, it is my pleasure to have Darlene Foster for the second time on Mystery Mondays. In her first post she wrote about Location, Location, Location. And you’ll see location is very imp…

Source: Mystery Mondays: Darlene Foster on Writing Inspiration


dscn5960When an author finishes a book, she can breathe a sigh of relief and consider the job done. Wrong! The work actually starts then, with edits, beta readers, more edits, collecting endorsements, more edits, cover design, pre-marketing and more edits. And those are just a few of the things involved. But the day comes, much later, when the book is released and you hold your creation in your hands and it is all worth it!

Today is the day Amanda on the Danube – the Sounds of Music is available for sale. Thank you to everyone who pre-ordered the book. I do hope you enjoy it. I would love to hear what you think of it and if you have time, a short review would be appreciated.


A huge thank you to all the support I have been given in my writing endeavours by my fabulous followers. It means so much to me.


In case you have been wondering, Dot has been very supportive as well.

Amanda on the Danube is available at Chapters/Indigo stores and can be ordered from any independent bookstore. It is available on all Amazon sites, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and the Book Depository.





Barnes and Noble

The Book Depository

There is also a giveaway on Goodreads open until October 15.



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