Friday Weekend Escape to Zambia

By Marion Ueckermann

I’ve taken a weekend escape to Zambia—twice.

Many years ago, my husband and I were privileged to accompany my bosses on a business / leisure trip to the land of my birth. I got the opportunity to go again the following year with the company’s accountants. As the conference coordinator, it was my job to be there and ensure all went off smoothly. I know, some people have it really tough, don’t they?

On the first visit, the group stayed at the prestigious Royal Livingstone Hotel on the Zambian side of the mighty Zambezi River. On the second trip, we stayed on the Zimbabwean side, though we did cross the river into Zambia for our sunset river cruise and dinner. It was wonderful to have seen the Victoria Falls from both sides—the views and experience remarkably different. The Zambian side is filled with rain forests and numerous walking bridges to cross over gorges. The Zimbabwean side is mostly flat and open, the only bridge to be seen, the railroad bridge—home to bungee jumping daredevils.

Victoria Falls - Zambian side

Victoria Falls - Zimbabwean side

Victoria Falls from the Zimbabwean side

On the first trip, I arranged a water arrival for the delegates. It was exciting. We boarded water taxis berthed beside the African Queen where we’d have dinner and a sunset cruise later that afternoon. The taxis raced down this enormous river and over gentle rapids until in the distance we could see the mist rising from Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders). The Victoria Falls. We were almost at our hotel.

Water arrival - Zambia

The Royal Livingstone was an amazing place to stay—we even had our own butler. On our last night there, the Prince of Oman and his entire entourage of around seventy checked into the hotel. We didn’t get to see him, although we did spot his bodyguards in the gardens while a bunch of Arabian-looking children played close by. And we saw his private Boeing at the airport when we left.

Another exciting guest was the monkey that woke me that first morning. As I opened my eyes, there he was, sitting on the bedside table, helping himself to the nougat that had been left on my pillow the night before. Suffice it to say, a pillow fight ensued. I won!

Only when we stepped onto the balcony of our room, did we see all the havoc this little blighter and his family had caused—below the lawns were littered with papers from the chocolates I’d placed in our delegates’ gift packs. Hubby and I weren’t the only ones to make the fatal mistake of sleeping with the door open.

Later they snuck into my bag at the swimming pool, stealing a pocket pack of tissues, and testing them high in a tree to see if they were edible. They even made a mad dash at the tables of guests taking high tea, pinching the expensive snacks right off their plates.

Not all of the uninvited guests were that wild and unruly. Late that afternoon, Zebra lazily dotted the lawns of the hotel, but we were told not to get too close as they could give a nasty bite.

Monkeys and Zebra - Zambia

Besides visiting the magnificent Victoria Falls, the sunset cruise on the Zambesi River, and riding and feeding the elephants, were the highlights of my visits to Zambia. That’s why I included both these experiences into my newly released novella, Orphaned Hearts.

Sunset Cruise - Zambia

Sunset Cruise

Elephant ride- Zambia

Elephant ride & feeding

If you enjoyed this little weekend escape to Zambia, why not pick up a copy of Orphaned Hearts and spend a few more hours soaking in the beauty of Zambia.

Purchase Links:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

iTunes 

Kobo

 Inktera

Will his past, or her future, keep their hearts orphaned?

Orphaned Hearts

When his wife dies in childbirth, Zambian conservationist Simon Hartley pours his life into raising his daughter and his orphan elephants. He has no time, or desire, to fall in love again. Or so he thinks.

Wanting to escape English society and postpone an arranged marriage, Lady Abigail Chadwick heads to Africa for a year to teach the children of the Good Shepherd Orphanage. Upon her arrival she is left stranded at Livingstone airport…until a reluctant Simon comes to her rescue.

Now only fears born of his loss, and secrets of the life she’s tried to leave behind, can stonewall their romance, budding in the heart of Africa.

I look forward to interacting with readers at any of the following places:

WEBSITE       http://marionueckermann.com/

FACEBOOK  https://www.facebook.com/Marion.C.Ueckermann

AMAZON      http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00KBYLU7C

GOOGLE+     https://plus.google.com/+MarionUeckermannAuthor/

TWITTER       https://twitter.com/ueckie

PINTEREST   https://www.pinterest.com/ueckie/

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, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miraculous Messages from Heaven.

Marion loves writing Contemporary Inspirational Romances set in novel places and has three Passport to Romance novellas published and contracted through White Rose Publishing, a Pelican Book Group imprint: her debut novella, Helsinki Sunrise; Oslo Overtures (August 2015); and Glasgow Grace (2016).

She lives in Pretoria East, South Africa in an empty nest with her husband and their crazy black Scottie, Wally.

Friday Weekend Escape to Adelaide, Australia: The City of Churches

This week I’ve celebrated my wedding anniversary. It only seemed fitting that I continue the wedding theme and we return to Adelaide in South Australia, also known as the city of churches.

2014_April_Adelaide_trip_Koorong 012

River Torrens in Adelaide, South Australia

Our first stop is St. Peters Anglican Cathedral in the heart of Adelaide. I love visiting old churches and cathedrals. There’s something about the quiet and peace in the ornate sanctuaries that brings a reflective smile to my lips.

2014_April_Adelaide_trip_Koorong 039

The architecture is magnificent and the sheer size of the building is hard to capture in a single photo.

2014_April_Adelaide_trip_Koorong 034

2014_April_Adelaide_trip_Koorong 036

Our next stop is The Cathedral Church of St Francis Xavier, also in the Adelaide city precinct.

2014_April_Adelaide_trip_Koorong 063

Another majestic building that’s hard to capture in one photo.

2014_April_Adelaide_trip_Koorong 064

 I hope you’ve enjoyed our visit to the cathedrals. Next Friday we’re going to take a stroll along the River Torrens. Have a great weekend!

Friday Weekend Escape to Adelaide, Australia: The Historic Adelaide Oval

It’s our first Friday Weekend Escape for 2015, and this weekend we’re escaping to the picturesque city of Adelaide in South Australia.

2014_April_Adelaide_trip_Koorong 005

Our first stop is the historic Adelaide Oval, located on the River Torrens in the city.

IMG_2627

My husband and I spent the day with my reader friend, Jenny, and she played tour guide by showing us around her home city.

2014_April_Adelaide_trip_Koorong 021

Adelaide Oval is the home of cricket in the summer and AFL during the winter months.

 2014_April_Adelaide_trip_Koorong 022

It’s summer in Australia and the Adelaide Oval is on my travel wish list to visit during the cricket season. The photos  above were taken last year during the AFL football season.

20140703-221837.jpg

Hubby and I are looking up at the Sir Donald Bradman Pavillion. Don Bradman was a legendary Aussie cricketer and we visited The Bradman Collection at the Adelaide Oval. Originally from New South Wales (NSW), Don Bradman played the latter part of his cricketing career for South Australia. We’ve also visited the International Cricket Hall of Fame (previously known as the Bradman Museum) in Bowral, NSW, in Don Bradman’s home town.

2014_April_Adelaide_trip_Koorong 026

 I hope you’ve enjoyed our visit to the Adelaide Oval. Next Friday we’re going to see a couple of cathedrals and discover why Adelaide is known as being a ‘city of churches’. Have a great weekend!

Friday Weekend Escape to Hungary – Beautiful Budapest (Winter)

 by Marion Ueckermann

How good it’s been to be in Budapest again these past five days and to show my husband, Noel, the sights of this beautiful city. A city of lights, of statues, of amazing architecture, of incredible interiors, of history, of culture, of tempting aromas, and of fun. Truly a fascinating city offering far more than I had ever imagined. Go right now and put a visit to Budapest on your bucket list—you won’t be sorry.

City of Lights: Christmas lights line the city streets, aging buildings, and trams, while spotlights illuminate amazing architecture, bridges, and statues.

1 City of Lights

City of Statues: Heroes, Heroines, Saints, and Kings are forever entombed in a brazen hue.

2 City of Statues

2b City of Statues

City of Amazing Architecture: Castles, Chapels, Basilicas, Hotels, Houses of Parliament, Synagogues, Museums, Stations … they all feature exquisite craftsmanship.

3 Amazing Architecture

City of Incredible InteriorsAlmost every building you enter, whether it be a coffee shop, hotel or basilica has a unique interior. Of special fascination are the roofs. You would have seen some of those from the Basilica photos in last week’s blog. The interior below is from a wonderful coffee shop called Lotz Bookcafe where we each had a speciality hot chocolate…which was literally like drinking melted chocolate.

4 Interiors

City of History: Budapest is a city filled with history but what intrigued me most was the amount of Jewish history. Not surprising though as, prior to the holocaust, Hungary had the largest population of Jews outside of Israel. A huge percentage of these were murdered during the holocaust. Many memorials to the victims have been erected. We saw the mass graves at the Great Synagogue. The thing that touched me most though was the Shoe Statues along the Danube River. During the holocaust, Jews were lined up beside the river, told to take their shoes off, and then shot. Their bodies would be swallowed up by the river below.

5 - Statues 1

5 - Statues 2

City of Culture: Opera is huge in Budapest and very affordable (depending where you sit, of course). The Nutcracker was showing this past week but unfortunately tickets were sold out. We were fortunate though when we visited the Basilica to have an orchestra playing live there.

6 Culture

City of Tempting Aromas: Budapest is alive with aromas. Two of my best were the Chimney Cakes sprinkled with your choice of vanilla, chocolate, almond, cinnamon, walnut, and hot mulled wine in a variety of fruity flavors. Another tempting aroma was chestnuts roasting on an open fire.

7 Tempting Aromas

City of Fun: Christmas markets, an ice rink in the park, Ferris wheel, Segway city tours, Horse drawn carriage rides, Danube River cruises…just a few of the fun things to see and do.

8 Fun Christmas markets

8a Fun Ferris Wheel

A Fascinating City: Budapest is simply fascinating. We went to the Invisible Exhibition where we saw…nothing. For one hour we went about blind as we lived the life of a blind person. We felt our way in pitch darkness through a virtual apartment, then out into the “street” to the market to get fruit. After that we walked through a forest to a woodcutter’s cottage, then to a museum and finally a pub where we ate chocolate and drank a coldrink (if we had coins with which to pay). And of course, our guide was…a blind person. It was a real eye-opener into the world of the visually impaired.

Another fascinating concept we were introduced to was the ruin bars. We visited the most famous one, Szimpla. All over the city, ruined buildings have been “renovated” to be used as bars. As you can see, the ruined look is very much part of the theme of this enormous multi-level, multi-roomed city bar where nothing goes to waste. Bicycle tyres are used for tables, and carrots are sold and served by the bunches instead of peanuts.

Ruin Bars 3

Ruin Bars1

Today, as you read this blog, I’ll be making my way from Helsinki to Lapland, home of Santa Claus. There’s still so much Noel and I want to still see and experience in beautiful Budapest. The fascinating sweet shop I wrote of in my blog last week, the chocolate shop, the drinking chocolate bar, the Peanut Bar (which is actually called “For Sale”), the Turkish Baths, Buda Castle, the Great Market … Thankfully we’ll be back shortly after New Year and we can finish what we started last week—discovering as much as we can of this amazing city.

HelsinkiSunrise_w11668_300 (2)

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, Christianbook.com, 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.

Friday Weekend Escape to Hungary – Beautiful Budapest (Summer)

By Marion Ueckermann

1 Budapest -Heroes Square

For weeks I’ve been singing the Budapest song by George Ezra. My heart’s in Budapest…na, na, a doobie doo. The first two lines were all I knew for quite some time (and I’ve discovered incorrectly too). The closer today has come, the more I’ve learnt of the song. Heart is actually house, and doobie doo is actually I’d lose it all.

I’m so excited! Tonight I wing my way up the continent of Africa, and after a brief stop-over in Doha, Qatar, it’ll be only a few more hours until my husband and I land in Budapest. But the Budapest that waits will be very different from the one we visited for a few hours in the summer of 2012. No doubt, the snow covered city (please let there be snow…apparently they’re experiencing a warm winter) will be equally as fascinating, and even more beautiful.

After we had experienced our summer cottage vacation in Finland some thirty months ago, we flew to Budapest where we caught a bus to Romania and spent a week helping to build houses for the Romanian gypsies. But that’s a story for another blog. On the way back to Finland for our long-haul flight home to South Africa, we had a layover of several hours in Budapest. While my hubby stayed at the airport to look after our luggage (he had a sore leg and didn’t want to go sight-seeing), my son, Kyle, his wife, Tiia, and I caught the bus and train into the city center along with two of their missionary friends, Samuel and Sara. I’m so glad we did—not only was it such a beautiful city to see, but it was that visit that drew Kyle and Tiia to set up their office for Re-birth in Budapest.

It is said that Budapest and Prague are two of the most beautiful cities in Europe because they were not damaged by the wars.

Here are some places we saw (unfortunately I don’t know the names of many of the places, but perhaps I’ll get to know some of them on this trip).

The statues on the buildings were fascinating…magnificent works of art.

2 Budapest - Statues

3 Budapest - Statues

I loved the intricate lamp posts, curved streets and paved alleyways.

4 Budapest - Lamps and alleys

This is the beautiful University that my daughter-in-law attended.

5 Budapest - University

A fruit shop, flower shop and pharmacy (yes, that’s what that strange word means).

6 Budapest - Shops

From the moment you spot its spires in the distance, St. Stephen’s Basilica has you spellbound.

7 Budapest - St Stephens Basilica - outside

The artwork of this cathedral is breathtaking—from the large mosaic paved area that greets you outside, to the carvings, sculptures, paintings and pipe organ inside.

8 Budapest - St Stephens Basilica - artwork

One cannot help but stand and stare in awe once inside St. Stephen’s Basilica. The craftsmanship of the architecture and all the trimmings surrounding that is almost inconceivable. It’s simply, beautiful.

9 Budapest - St Stephens Basilica - inside

In one part of the outer area, colorful stained glass windows let light into the room that houses them.

10 Budapest - Stained glass windows

They’re so exquisite that one almost doesn’t notice the strange phenomenon in the room their beauty brightens.

11 Budpaest - Stephen's hand

Inside this glass reliquary lies the right hand of Stephen, the first King of Hungary, in whose honor the basilica is named.

In closing, what would this blog post be if I didn’t post a picture of the famous Danube River. Da-da-da-da-da, la-la la-la… What is it about this city that makes me want to sing all the time?

12 Budapest - Danube River

I trust that you’ve enjoyed taking an escape with me to beautiful Budapest. I am so looking forward to visiting the following places that my son and daughter-in-law have discovered during the time they’ve been living in Budapest: the colorful sweet shop; this death-by-chocolate coffee shop—Noir ChocoBar; the outdoor ice-rink in the city park; and the love lock park at Erzsébet square. Here couples inscribe a lock with their names. The lock is chained alongside a myriad of other locks and then the couples walk hand in hand across the Danube and toss the key into the river.

13 Budapest - Things to do

I plan to visit one of the 80 geothermal springs (medicinal baths) in Budapest this coming week so hopefully I’ll have some photos of those to show in next week’s blog – Winter Budapest.

14 Budapest - Heroes Square K&T

But more than all the awesomeness the beautiful city of Budapest has to offer, I’m looking forward to seeing this beloved sight tomorrow – my son and his wife (who are also my cover models for Helsinki Sunrise).

HelsinkiSunrise_w11668_300 (2)

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, Christianbook.com, 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.

Friday Weekend Escape to Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia

This weekend we’re returning to my beautiful hometown of Sydney, Australia. Last week we caught the Manly Ferry to the pretty seaside suburb of Manly, the setting for my new contemporary inspirational romance. Her Tycoon Hero is the first book in in my Sydney series. Today we’re visiting Taronga Zoo, the perfect location for a fun romantic date.

2013-04 April Sydney trip with Garth, ferry, Taronga Zoo 005

View of Sydney Harbour from Circular Quay

The ferry is a lovely way to travel from the city to Taronga Zoo, located on the waterfront in the northern Sydney suburb of Mosman.

2013-04 April Sydney trip with Garth, ferry, Taronga Zoo 016

Circular Quay

We travel past the Sydney Opera House as the ferry departs from Circular Quay.

2013-04 April Sydney trip with Garth, ferry, Taronga Zoo 025

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

It’s very relaxing to sit back on the ferry, enjoying the sunshine and beautiful scenery.

Sydney Harbour

Sydney Harbour and city skyline

The lower entrance to Taronga Zoo is opposite the wharf. The zoo is on the side of a hill and provides stunning views of Sydney Harbour and the city skyline.

Taronga Zoo entrance from the wharf

Taronga Zoo entrance from the wharf

I love wandering around the 28 hectare zoo and seeing the wide range of animals. The walking is great exercise, too. Or, you can jump on the miniature train and Sky Safari to avoid negotiating the steep terrain by foot.

2013-04 April Sydney trip with Garth, ferry, Taronga Zoo 040

Elephants

Giraffe

Giraffe

The African Safari section of the zoo is a definite favourite. I’ve always loved visiting the koalas and watching them play in the gum trees.

2013-04 April Sydney trip with Garth, ferry, Taronga Zoo 064

Koala Sanctuary

Koala

Koalas

I hope you’ve enjoyed touring Sydney Harbour and Taronga Zoo. 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.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Read a FREE sample at Amazon.com

Friday Weekend Escape to Manly in Sydney, Australia

This weekend we’re returning to my hometown of Sydney, Australia. Last week we cruised around the harbour city, including The Rocks, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. Today we’re catching the Manly Ferry to the beautiful seaside suburb of Manly, the setting for my brand new November contemporary inspirational romance. Her Tycoon Hero is the first book in in my Sydney series. Ryan lives on the eastern hill in Manly, in an apartment overlooking the harbour. Cassie lives in the neighbouring harbourside suburb of Fairlight, a short walk around the foreshores from Manly Wharf.

2013-04 April Sydney trip with Garth, ferry, Taronga Zoo 017

Circular Quay and Sydney Opera House

Manly is a popular tourist destination and a half hour ferry ride from Circular Quay in the city.

2013-04 April Sydney trip with Garth, ferry, Taronga Zoo 013

Manly ferry at Circular Quay

Below is the harbour beach and swimming area between Manly Wharf and Manly Sea Life Sanctuary.

2013-06 June Sydney trip with Poppa, Bondi, city, The Rocks 039

Harbour beach at Manly Cove

The waterfront suburb of Fairlight is in the distance. You can do a three hour, ten kilometre scenic walk around the harbour foreshore from Manly to the historic Spit Bridge in Middle Harbour.

2013-06 June Sydney trip with Poppa, Bondi, city, The Rocks 046

Manly Wharf

This is the picturesque view of Sydney Harbour from the western side of Manly Wharf. There are many restaurants at the wharf that take advantage of the stunning water views.

2013-06 June Sydney trip with Poppa, Bondi, city, The Rocks 045

Manly Wharf

Manly Wharf was originally built in 1855 and a commuter ferry service commenced in 1857. The wharf has been rebuilt and renovated a number of times over the years. This paved area was a busy bus interchange when I was growing up.

2013-06 June Sydney trip with Poppa, Bondi, city, The Rocks 041

Manly Wharf

This is the view from Manly Wharf looking out toward The Corso, between the two buildings in the distance. The Corso connects the harbour beach with the ocean beach.

2013-06 June Sydney trip with Poppa, Bondi, city, The Rocks 042

West Promenade, Manly

This is the view of the promenade from Manly Wharf, lined with towering Norfolk Pines. Cassie works in the city and walks along this promenade from Fairlight to Manly Wharf.

I hope you’ve enjoyed touring the beautiful harbourside suburb of Manly. Next week we’re going to visit Taronga Zoo, a famous landmark on Sydney Harbour.

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 Amazon.com

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.

2013-04 April Sydney trip with Garth, ferry, Taronga Zoo 020

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.

2013-06 June Sydney trip with Poppa, Bondi, city, The Rocks 028

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).

2013-06 June Sydney trip with Poppa, Bondi, city, The Rocks 038

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.

2013-06 June Sydney trip with Poppa, Bondi, city, The Rocks 032

The Rocks

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

2013-06 June Sydney trip with Poppa, Bondi, city, The Rocks 031

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.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Read a FREE sample at Amazon.com

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.

Anchor & Lighthouses (600 x 450).jpg

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

Website: http://brendaandersonbooks.com/

Blog: http://inkspirationalmessages.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BrendaSAndersonAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrendaSAnders_n

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/brendabanderson/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8144547.Brenda_S_Anderson

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.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Chain-Mercy-Coming-Home-Volume/dp/0985723572/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1412718525&sr=8-1

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/chain-of-mercy-brenda-s-anderson/1119198623?ean=9780985723576&cm_mmc=AFFILIATES-_-Linkshare-_-je6NUbpObpQ-_-10:1&r=1

BAM: http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Chain-Mercy/Brenda-S-Anderson/9780985723576?id=5976155671749

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id871577884?mt=11

Friday Weekend Escape to South-Eastern Finland with Marion Ueckermann

SUMMER COTTAGE VACATION

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.

Kirpes1

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.

HelsinkiSunrise_w11668_300 (2)

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, Christianbook.com, 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.