Friday Weekend Escape to the harbour city of Sydney, Australia

This weekend we’re escaping to my hometown of Sydney, Australia. I spent the first thirty years of my life in Sydney, and grew up on the beautiful northern beaches. I love Sydney Harbour and the urban beach lifestyle. Sydney is also the setting for my brand new November release, Her Tycoon Hero, the first book in my Sydney series.

Aerial view of Sydney Harbour.

Aerial view of Sydney Harbour

Sydney is Australia’s largest city and the central business district (CBD) is located by the harbour.

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View of Sydney Harbour Bridge from Circular Quay

The Sydney Harbour Bridge was completed in 1932, joining the northern suburbs to the CBD. The BridgeClimb started in 1998, providing an opportunity for locals and tourists to climb the iconic bridge.

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Sydney Opera House

The famous Sydney Opera House opened in 1973. I was thrilled to have the Sydney Opera House feature on the cover of Her Tycoon Hero (see below).

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Sydney Opera House

The Rocks is the historic part of Sydney. The photo above of the Sydney Opera House was taken from the waterfront at The Rocks.

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The Rocks

The Rocks is located in the CBD between Circular Quay and the southern part of the harbour bridge.

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The Rocks

I hope you’ve enjoyed touring my favourite harbour city. Next week we’re going to catch a Manly Ferry to the seaside suburb of Manly on the northern beaches. Enjoy your weekend!

Her Tycoon Hero cover

Cassie Beaumont believes in second chances.

Set on proving to everyone that she’s no longer a party girl, Cassie is focused on her career as an event planner. But her dad’s top executive, Ryan Mitchell, proves to be a handsome distraction. Especially when someone from Cassie’s wild past tries to get her tangled in the life she’s worked hard to escape.

Ryan is taken with his boss’s beautiful daughter. But having been fooled by a brother who ran in her same circles, he is slow to trust. When Cassie’s newfound faith works its way into his heart, Ryan soon finds he wants to claim both her faith—and Cassie—as his own.

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Hometown Settings plus Her Tycoon Hero book giveaway

Today I’m blogging on the International Christian Fiction Writers (ICFW) blog and giving away a print copy of Her Tycoon Hero (worldwide giveaway). I’m talking about Hometown Settings for fiction books. Hope to see you there!

Her Tycoon Hero Online Book Launch plus Book Giveaway!

I’m excited to announce that Her Tycoon Hero releases on Saturday in ebook format, and on Tuesday, November 4, in print. To celebrate the launch of my fourth novel, and the first book in my new Sydney series, I’m going to be visiting a few blogs and offering print book giveaways (worldwide, to anywhere The Book Depository will deliver).

Her Tycoon Hero cover

Next week on Tuesday, November 4, I’ll be giving away two print copies (worldwide) of Her Tycoon Hero right here on my blog. Please stop by on Tuesday to enter the drawing.


My Book Launch Schedule:

October 24 (USA time): Christian Author Network (CAN) blog

October 27 (USA time): Munce Newsletter Author Spotlight

October 29 (USA time): International Christian Fiction Writers (worldwide print giveaway)

November 1 (USA time): Inspy Romance blog (worldwide print book giveaway)

November 3: Ink Dots blog (worldwide print giveaway)

November 3: Foreign Affaire blog (worldwide print giveaway during November)

November 4 (USA time): Divine Detour blog

November 5: Australasian Christian Writers (worldwide print giveaway)

November 5: Robin Lee Hatcher blog

November 24-26 (USA time): Goodreads Author Q&A on Love Inspired Heartsong Presents Group

Additional book giveaways:

November 1-30: Goodreads giveaway. One print copy of Her Tycoon Hero (US, CA, UK, AU, NZ)

Closes October 29: Soul Inspirationz category romance giveaway, 2 print books, worldwide.

The lovely Ellie Whyte organises a monthly promotion of the Love Inspired range of books on Soul Inspirationz. Her Tycoon Hero is included in her August New Releases promotion and Rafflecopter giveaway.

I hope you’ll join me in celebrating the release of Her Tycoon Hero. And, good luck if you enter the book giveaways!

Heartsong Presents November New Releases

My fourth fiction book release with Harlequin’s Love Inspired Heartsong Presents line, Her Tycoon Hero, releases next week on November 4. Today I’m posting information on all the new Heartsong Presents releases for November.

Four Heartsong Presents books are released each month under the Love Inspired brand: two contemporary inspirational romances and two historical inspirational romances. The Love Inspired range of books include contemporary romance (Love Inspired), historical romance (Love Inspired Historical) and romantic suspense (Love Inspired Suspense).

North American readers can purchase books from the Harlequin Reader Service. International readers outside the USA and Canada can purchase the print books online from Amazon and The Book Depository (free international shipping). If you’re looking for inspirational (Christian) romances to read, please check out the Heartsong Presents and Love Inspired books.

Her Tycoon Hero cover

Cassie Beaumont Believes in Second Chances 

Set on proving to everyone that she’s no longer a party girl, Cassie is focused on her career as an event planner. But her dad’s top executive, Ryan Mitchell, proves to be a handsome distraction. Especially when someone from Cassie’s wild past tries to get her tangled in the life she’s worked hard to escape.

Ryan is taken with his boss’s beautiful daughter. But having been fooled by a brother who ran in her same circles, he is slow to trust. When Cassie’s newfound faith works its way into his heart, Ryan soon finds he wants to claim both her faith and Cassie as his own.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Read a FREE sample at

Recipe for Love

Is Jeremy Mitchell Cooking Up Romance? 

Overworked chef Jeremy has ordered up the perfect vacation: a fly-fishing getaway and some much-needed alone time. But when he arrives in the Colorado mountain town, he’s immediately captivated by the lovely proprietor of the bed-and-breakfast, not to mention her young son.

Alison Taylor still mourns her first husband even as she fights to keep their shared dream of a B and B alive. But there’s no denying that she and her big-city guest have all the right ingredients for something special. Will this star-crossed pair realize that second chances can happen…if only they’ll let them?

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A Doctor's Heart

Betsy Colter’s Heart is On the Line 

Betrayed by her soldier fiancé, Betsy takes a job as a Harvey Girl waitress and vows to steer clear of military romance. But soon she’s falling for her army pen pal, Dr. Spencer Gregory. When a wounded Spencer returns home and rebuffs her friendship and love, Betsy’s deepest fears come true.

Though he’s a decorated soldier, Spencer sees himself as a burden—one he won’t saddle Betsy with. But keeping her at arm’s length is no longer an option when Betsy’s former fiancé shows up eager to win her back. If their romance is to survive the war, Spencer must set aside his pride and win her heart.

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The Innkeepers Wife

Richard Arman Isn’t Looking for a Wife 

The innkeeper’s gentle laundress-turned-cook, Grace Martin, is more than his employee—she’s his friend. So when the lovely widow needs a place to stay, Richard is happy to help. But the confirmed bachelor surprises even himself when he proposes marriage.

Grace has never considered marrying any man, even one as steadfast as Richard. But the chemistry that sparks between them belies a straightforward business arrangement. Could a mere marriage of convenience lead the way to a love match…for life?

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Friday Weekend Escape to Lake Superior in Minnesota, USA with Brenda S. Anderson

Today we’re escaping for the weekend with my author friend, Brenda S. Anderson, to the North Shore on Lake Superior, Minnesota, USA. Brenda is giving us a tour of Lake Superior in her beautiful home state of Minnesota. Enjoy!


I’m blessed to live in Minnesota, a state with four seasons and 10,000+ lakes, so I don’t have to travel far when I need an escape. Just a short 2-1/2 hours north of my home in a northern Minneapolis suburb is some of the grandest, yet serene beauty in our world, especially during the fall when leaves turn multitudes of colors.

Our first stop is always the Canal Park area of Duluth. It’s a narrow peninsula that’s home to old warehouses and boutique shops, which alone make it a place of interest, but it’s the shoreline of Lake Superior that really draws the eye. Smart car-sized, ragged boulders are strewn along the shore. And jutting out from the shore is a concrete canal that ushers large freighters into the Duluth harbor. People love watching the Aerial Lift Bridge rise when a ship wants passage.

Panorama of Lift Bridge and Rocky Shoreline (600 x 105)

At the end of each side of the canal are lighthouses that look out to the great lake.

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From Duluth we drive up along the North Shore taking Interstate 35 to its end where it becomes Minnesota 61. You veer off of 61 for several miles, taking the North Shore Scenic Drive which stays close to Lake Superior, offering breathtaking vistas as you drive.

On a typical visit, we’ll drive to Split Rock Lighthouse, roughly 48 miles from Duluth. This lighthouse was completed in 1910 after a 1905 hurricane-like storm on Lake Superior claimed many ships and lives. Today this lighthouse is one of the most photographed lighthouses in the United States with its impressive rise above the oft-turbulent waters. And while it’s no longer used to warn ships of rocky danger, this lighthouse is a very popular tourist destination.

Split Rock Lighthouse (473 x 600)

Heading back toward Duluth from Split Rock Lighthouse, we stop at Gooseberry Falls State Park. This park is home to a series of spectacular falls carrying Gooseberry River waters out to Lake Superior. It’s easy to spend an entire day traversing the trails, viewing the falls from various angles, then making your way to Superior. At the time the picture below was taken, we’d had a fairly dry summer, so the falls weren’t roaring as much as they usually do. Still, it’s a fantastic site!

Gooseberry Falls 2 (600 x 450)

Then heading home, it wouldn’t be a trek to the North Shore without stopping at the most quaint candy shop ever, the Great! Lakes Candy Kitchen. This shop is located on the North Shore Scenic Drive in the little town of Knife River. The store’s just a half a block off the lake. You won’t find any processed, shipped candy here. It’s all made on site, the old-fashioned way, and it’s all mouth-watering, eyes-roll-back-in-your-head delicious.

Candy Store (600 x 436)

So, if you’re ever in Minnesota, take the short jaunt up along the North Shore. And if you want to make more than a single day of it, you can drive all the way to the Canadian border, and take in even more spectacular beauty!

Brenda S Anderson 2 (600 x 446)

Brenda S. Anderson writes gritty and authentic life-affirming fiction. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and is currently President of the ACFW Minnesota chapter, MN-NICE. When not reading or writing, she enjoys music, theater, roller coasters, and baseball, and she loves watching movies with her family. She resides in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area with her husband of 26 years, their three children, and one sassy cat.

Her debut novel, CHAIN OF MERCY, came out in April of 2014, and PIECES OF GRANITE, a prequel, will release in November of 2014.

Connect with Brenda







Chain of Mercy

They forgave him for the accident that killed their son, but he will never forgive himself.

Manhattan businessman Richard Brooks was at the top of the world, drunk with success, wealth, and women. Until one disastrous evening, when his world came crashing down.

Richard flees to Minneapolis where he repairs ancient boilers instead of solving corporate problems, and he’s determined to live the solitary life he now deserves.

But Executive Sheila Peterson has other plans for the handsome custodian. Richard appears to be the perfect match for the no-strings-attached romance she’s after, but she soon discovers that he’s hiding more than the designer suits in his closet.





Book Recommendation: Veiled at Midnight by Christine Lindsay

Book Description

The British empire draws to an end…
but the turmoil has only just begun.

The Partition of India has sent millions to the roads, instigated riots as uncontrolled as wildfire…and caught up in its wake Captain Cam Fraser, his sister Miriam, and the beautiful Indian Dassah. Cam has never been able to put Dassah from his mind, ever since they played together at the mission as children. But a British officer and the aide to the last viceroy cannot marry a poor Indian woman, can he? For a while, Dassah believes that Cam loves her. But as the impossibility of a future with him becomes clear, what choice does she have but to run? He may hold her heart—but she cannot let him break it again. Miriam rails against the separation of the land of her birth, and as British forces prepare to leave India, she struggles. She finds purpose in teaching, in helping…but is Lieutenant Colonel Jack Sunderland her soul mate or a distraction from what God has called her to do?

Narelle: I had the privilege of reading an advanced reader copy of Veiled at Midnight for endorsement. I loved Veiled at Midnight and the two earlier books in the Twilight of the British Raj series, Shadowed in Silk and Captured by Moonlight. 

A beautiful and heartbreaking story of love and hope during the turbulent political and religious upheaval of post-WWII India. Highly recommended!

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Friday Weekend Escape to South-Eastern Finland with Marion Ueckermann


by Marion Ueckermann

Narelle, it’s so good to be back on your blog again and I’m excited to whisk your readers away for the weekend (and on my subsequent two blogs) to the southern part of Finland, not that far from the Russian border.

My husband, Noel, and I were privileged to take kesämökki (vacation at summer home) after my son, Kyle’s wedding in Finland in 2012. While Kyle, and his bride, Tiia, were on honeymoon, we spent ten days with new friends at their summer cottage beside a lake. Joining us were eleven of the bride and groom’s friends from missionary training who had come from all over the world—South Africa, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, France, England, Canada and the USA—to Finland for the wedding.

Noel loves to go fishing and had a great time on the lake catching Pike. Once he knew that the smaller fish were a Finnish delicacy, he had an excuse for catching them. Mimi from France insisted on ‘olding the Pike (she couldn’t pronounce her H’s which we thought was really cute), while fellow South African, Christo, thought the little fish were really fun.

Summer cottage fishing

Being about a twenty or thirty kilometer drive to the nearest town, Savonlinna, the summer cottage felt like it was situated in the middle of nowhere. We came to discover Savonlinna to be a quaint and interesting town, having visited the hotel for internet, shops, the castle, church (run by a British pastor and his Finnish wife), and the hospital (yes, we got to try out Finnish medical care when one of the girls fell and badly sprained her ankle.)

We have so many fond memories:

  • the summer cottage the youth stayed in and where we had all our meals down by the lake
  • the sauna hidden in the trees that we all crammed into before running our heated bodies down the hill and into the cold lake
  • the deck where we fished, read books, had quiet times, and breakfasted together
  • and the cottage Noel and I stayed in, about a hundred meter walk through the forest or a five minute row on the lake to get to it (and on which I modelled the cottage in my novelette, Helsinki Sunrise).

Summer Cottage collage

The drive into Savonlinna was on long tree-lined roads (just like everywhere else in Finland).

Finnish Roads1

On one such road, we found this crazy bus stop. It tickled us no end, and Noel just had to try it out. I can imagine that some old man or lady who got tired of standing while waiting for the bus and so placed the chair there for their comfort.

Savonlinna bus stops

Another part of Finnish life and culture are the Kirpputori, or Kirpes for short. We’d know them as second-hand shops. We spent hours hopping from one to the next, finding the most amazing bargains. They carry mostly clothing, but also household knick-knacks, too. I bought myself a long woolen coat, made in England, for 5 Euro. I doubt it had been worn more than half a dozen times, if that, and I’d estimate it would be worth around 200 Euro. Don’t you just love it when you find a bargain? It certainly is going to be very useful when we go to Finland and Hungary in December.


These were the midnight sunsets that bade us goodnight during our Finnish summer cottage vacation. I do miss them and hope I get to experience them again one day.


On November 21st I’ll take your readers to explore the town of Savonlinna, the Ovanlinna castle and the annual Opera festival. It was all so fascinating.

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He needed the island to himself. So did she.

Three weeks alone at a friend’s summer cottage on a Finnish lake to fast and pray. That was Adam Carter’s plan. But sometimes plans go awry.

On an impromptu trip to her family’s secluded summer cottage, the last thing Eveliina Mikkola expected to find was a missionary from the other side of the world—in her sauna.

Determined to stay, Eveliina will do whatever it takes—from shortcrust pastry to shorts—to send the man of God packing. This island’s too small for them both.

Adam Carter, however, is not about to leave.

Will he be able to resist her temptations?

Can she withstand his prayers?


Helsinki Sunrise is available to purchase from Pelican Book Group,, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble

Watch the Helsinki Sunrise book trailer on YouTube.

Watch the Passport to Romance book trailer on YouTube.

Marion Ueckermann1 - SMALLER

Marion Ueckermann’s passion for writing was sparked in 2001 when she moved to Ireland with her husband and two sons. Since then she has published devotional articles and stories in Winners, The One Year Devotional of Joy and Laughter (Tyndale House Publishers), Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miraculous Messages from Heaven, and her debut novelette, Helsinki Sunrise (White Rose Publishing, a Pelican Book Group imprint, Passport to Romance series). Her second Passport to Romance, Oslo Overtures, will be published in 2015.

Marion blogs for International Christian Fiction Writers and Beauty for Ashes. She belongs to Christian Writers of South Africa and American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives in Pretoria East, South Africa in an empty nest with her husband and their crazy black Scottie, Wally.

Connect with Marion Ueckermann:

Website / Amazon / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest

Blogs: A Pebble in my Pocket / Foreign Affaire

Permission to use images obtained.