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.

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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.

Book Recommendation: Sweet Serenade and Orphaned Hearts in SPLASH!

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Sweet Serenade by Valerie Comer, author of the Farm Fresh Romance series

Sweet Serenade

Book Description: Canadian river guide and canoe builder Reed Daniels stands by as his lifelong friends pair off. After all, he’s waited this long for the right woman… what’s a little longer? But when newcomer Carly shows up at the gang’s bonfire, he’s mesmerized. Could she be the answer to his prayers?

Water-sport enthusiast Carly Thorbergsen is starting over in Riverbend. Hired as a canoeing and hiking guide, she’s ready to focus on work and leave the personal stuff behind. That is until the competition, Reed Daniels, offers her a ride in his cedar-strip canoe. No resisting that!

But no matter how much they have in common, Carly can’t erase her past, and Reed is bound to discover the truth. When a date finds Carly and Reed running rapids on the outside of the canoe, they come face to face with the real reasons their new relationship might capsize.

Narelle’s thoughts: Sweet Serenade is a fun contemporary Christian romance set in a small fictitious Canadian town. Carly’s cousin warns her about getting involved with Reed, who is the handsome, single guy in their church group. Carly can’t help being drawn to Reed, despite the added complication of being employed by Reed’s competitor.

Carly is struggling with guilt from her past and she’s adjusting to life in a small town community. I loved Reed’s integrity and his desire to live out his faith in all areas of his life. The minor characters added a realism to the story that I really liked. The river scenery is gorgeous and I want to go canoeing in a small town just like Riverbend!

Read an interview with Valerie here.

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Orphaned Hearts by Marion Ueckermann, author of the Heart of Africa series

Orphaned Hearts

Book Description: 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.

Narelle’s thoughts: Orphaned Hearts is a heartfelt contemporary Christian romance set in exotic Zambia on the banks of the Zambezi River. Despite her father’s disapproval, Abigail travels from England to Africa and teaches in an orphanage. She leaves behind an ex-fiance and her luxurious life as Lady Abigail. Simon is a devoted father to Chloe and spends his time caring for orphaned elephants. He is intrigued by the fiesty and beautiful Abigail when she first arrives in Zambia.

A sweet romance develops between Simon and Abigail, and I loved how Chloe bonds with Abigail. Simon is challenged to let go of his grief and rediscover his faith during the story. Abigail has secrets that threaten to destroy her idyllic new life in the small African village. The orphaned elephants are just adorable, and an elephant ride during an African safari is on my travel bucket list!

Read an interview with Marion here.

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His Perfect Catch by Narelle Atkins, author of the Snowgum Creek series

HPC final

Book Description: Sydney girl Mia Radcliffe borrows her cousin’s beach house in Sapphire Bay, Australia, to escape the scandal surrounding her ex-fiancé. Her new neighbor is her secret crush from years ago… and she’s still captivated by the handsome builder who was a youth group leader at her church.

Living next door to Mia wasn’t part of Pete McCall’s plan when he started renovating his beach house. The blonde beauty inspires thoughts of settling down, despite her high maintenance ways and big-city dreams.

Love kindles during their time together and Mia’s heart is set on returning to Sydney with Pete. When new opportunities arise, Pete and Mia must decide if their love is for keeps.

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Grab a tall glass of lemonade or iced tea and dip your toes into a cool pool of water on a hot summer’s day while you enjoy the never-before-released Christian romance novellas in SPLASH!

NINE Refreshing Romances Filled with Faith!

Available from Amazon Kindle for 99 cents

http://www.amazon.com/Splash-Refreshing-Romances-Filled-Faith-ebook/dp/B00X4UEK0E/

Splash reviews blog hop

Click here to view the list of SPLASH! review posts.

SPLASH! Interview with Marion Ueckermann, author of Orphaned Hearts

Orphaned Hearts

Book Description:

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.

Me enjoying a Zambezi River sunset cruise

Me enjoying a Zambezi River sunset cruise

Narelle: Welcome, Marion. Can you please tell us more about the setting for Orphaned Hearts.

Marion: Orphaned Hearts is set in a place close to my heart—Zambia—land of my birth. When asked to write a story set in Africa with a water theme for this boxed set, I knew there was no other place for this story than the Victoria Falls and the mighty Zambezi River. Of course, having been there and seen it all helped cement my choice of African location.

Although the Vic Falls is mentioned in the story, focus is on this great river itself.

Narelle: I love your exotic African setting. How does your novella fit with the SPLASH! water theme?

Marion: South African Simon Hartley has lived close to this incredible river for over a decade where he’s doing his part for conservation with his elephant orphanage.

Having ridden on and fed one of these magnificent creatures, plus seen an eleven-week old ellie up close when we visited Zambia many years ago, I had to bring elephants into this story. What do they have to do with water, you ask? Elephants love and need mud, and so there’s a fun scene with the pachyderms and orphans down at the mudhole (that’s water, too…sort of).

This little baby below has such an amazing story about its conception, but I’d have to share that in a separate blog.

This baby loves mud

This baby loves mud

Feeding Danny, the elephant I rode on

Feeding Danny, the elephant I rode on

When his wife dies in childbirth, Simon buries her on his property beneath a giant sycamore tree on the banks of the Zambezi.

Over five years pass. Raising his daughter and orphan elephants consumes Simon’s life. When he offers help to a stranded Abigail Chadwick, fresh off the plane from England and in Africa for a year to teach the orphans of the Good Shepherd Orphanage, he finds himself reluctantly drawn to her. Their feelings for each other grow with a romantic sunset dinner cruise down the Zambezi on Valentine’s Day.

Narelle: The elephants are adorable and I love how they feature in your story. Is your novella connected to a series?

Marion: Initially it wasn’t. I was writing a story set in Africa for this boxed set, that’s all. Valerie Comer, who has championed Splash!, said I should consider turning this into a series. Series? Even though my first two published books, Helsinki Sunrise and Oslo Overtures (coming August 2015) are part of Pelican Book Group’s Passport to Romance series, and my Helsinki Sunrise hero and heroine make a brief appearance in Oslo Overtures, I’d never considered writing books connected to each other in some way, whether by character, location or theme. It didn’t take long to convince myself this was a great idea, and so my Heart of Africa series was born.

I plan to write and Indie publish two Heart of Africa stories a year. Book 2 will continue where Book 1 finished, but the hero will be one of the minor characters in Orphaned Hearts, and the heroine, someone who earned a one-liner in the same story. There’ll definitely be scenes at Mosi-oa-Tunya—the Smoke that Thunders, better known as the Victoria Falls. Maybe I’ll throw in a lunar rainbow or two for good measure.

I’m really excited about setting stories on my continent—who doesn’t love the idea of an African safari. But because Africa has so much more to offer than just its unique wildlife, there’ll also be, amongst other things, exciting desert experiences or time spent relaxing in the beauty of the Cape winelands. I hope readers will be excited to come along with me to the heart of Africa and fall in love.

Narelle: Marion, I can’t wait read more stories in you Heart of Africa series. Thanks for visiting today and sharing more about Orphaned Hearts with our blog readers.

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, and her debut novella, Helsinki Sunrise (White Rose Publishing, a Pelican Book Group imprint, Passport to Romance series). Her second Passport to Romance novella, Oslo Overtures, releases 2015. Marion lives in Pretoria East, South Africa in an empty nest with her husband and their crazy black Scottie, Wally.

You can find her at www.marionueckermann.com or her Amazon author page.

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NINE Refreshing Romances Filled with Faith!

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