Sunday, April 26, 2015

A Treasure Tucked in the Middle of Africa

I think setting is a vital part of a book, don't you?

There's something wonderful about being taken into an unknown part of the world and experiencing life through the characters there. And isn't a familiar setting also fun? I love reading a book set in a place where I've lived before. There are so many "aha, yes, I remember that" or "oh, yes, that's so true " moments.

Most of my books are set in my home country, because, well, I feel comfortable doing that as I know the culture, and to be honest, I'm a little lazy and don't always feel like doing the extra research that comes with a new setting. Anyway, I am getting braver in that regard and my latest book is set in Italy. It's taken extra long to write this book, but I have to say, the reward and sense of satisfaction is worth it. Plus it's been great fun - I've been touring Italy from my chair and even tasting all its wonderful foods in my imagination (this is a foodie romance).

Writing a book set in Zambia was a bit of a challenge for me. I spent seven years of my life there but that was ten years ago and things have changed. Zambia's economy has grown and the country is doing really well. While countries around it like Zimbabwe and even South Africa a little ways down are struggling and still haven't come out of the financial depression of the last few years, Zambia seems to be thriving.

Z is for Zambia. Thank you to Storyteller Alley for inspiring this post as part of the A-Z challenge.

So, today I'm going to give you some interesting facts about the country tucked away in the southern centre of Africa. I don't think many people know about the place, so here goes:

1. Zambia boasts the Victoria Falls, a huge waterfall. In fact, it's the largest waterfall in the whole world with the largest sheet of water flow. It's not the highest or the widest waterfall but the combination of its width and height is the largest in the world. And I've been there. The native name for the falls are Mosi-oa-Tunya which means "the smoke that thunders." And boy, is that true. We stayed in a campsite a few kilometres away and you could hear the roar in the distance. We walked on a draw bridge over the canyon and had to wear raincoats. For someone who hates heights that was pure torture. It really is a stunning part of the world. Check out this link:

2. Another interesting place to visit in Zambia is Lake Kariba which used to be Africa's largest man-made lake. It's so large that some people think it's the ocean when they look out at it from the shore. It was a beautiful place to visit - we went there too.

3. From November to April, Zambia experiences severe rainfall which can be compared to the Asian monsoon. It literally rains for days on end. October is the hottest month of the year - hot and dry before the rains appear.

4. The world's largest mushroom grows in Zambia and can reach a yard in diameter. (This little fact I didn't know before.)

5. A fact that may disturb those with sensitive constitutions - Zambia has many bugs and they thrive in its tropical climate. One of the them is the horrible malaria mosquito which causes many illnesses and deaths. The other, which is mostly harmless, but rather icky - the putsi worm. Its tiny, too-small-to-see larvae burrow into your skin from clothing or towels and start to grow inside you. You eventually develop this swollen, red lump that looks a bit like a very large pimple or spider bite. It's itchy and sore. The only way to get rid of it is to block out its oxygen. We use to cover the spot with vaseline and wait about 5-10 minutes. It would poke through your skin searching for air and you can grab it's head with tweezers and take it out. Once out, it looks like a maggot! I know, horrific. But harmless. Well, I can't vouch for it being harmless if it gets left in there but I've never known anyone who chose to leave it inside their skin. I shall move on...

6. Typical Zambian foods - nshima which is cornmeal cooked into a firm lump - it really is delicious. Another one is relish which is usually made from rape - pronounced rep (a type of spinach), tomato and onion or peanuts. The relish is often served with the nshima. And they loved the little dried fishies called kapenta. Ew, they smelled so horrible when being cooked. But each to their own. I don't like to steal photos from other people's blogs, so I'll just put in the link to their blog so you can see what the food looks like:

7. The Zambians are very creative people and their art comes out in their handiwork and even in their dresses. The women use the chitenge which is like a wrap made of colourful fabric. It's made into a skirt, dress or used to carry a baby on their backs. They always kept their babies close. Nowadays, the fabric is made into all sorts of interesting designs.

8. Other things they were great at designing were their wood carvings and paintings. We used to go to a local market every month and the beautiful wares there were so unique. I wish we'd bought some and kept them - specifically the tall giraffes which stand about a metre high. Take a look at this link:

9. Zambia used to be called Northern Rhodesia but then they got their independence from being a British colony in 1964.

10. Copper is one of Zambia's top resources and is mined throughout the Copperbelt Province.

That's all folks.

Here's a link to my book which is set in Zambia in the first half: The Dance of the Firefly

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Nana Prah - Character Interview and Review

Today, I have Nana Prah, my writer friend, talking about her book, Destiny Mine, the second in her Midwife to Destiny series books by Decadent Publishing's Ubuntu Line. She's given her character interview and I'm putting my review of her book at the end. She's also offering a great giveaway so enter the rafflecopter below!

Destiny Mine by +Nana Prah
Destiny series book 2
Published by +Decadent Publishing
Genre: contemporary, medical, multicultural romance

Add to Goodreads:


Extraordinary midwife, Esi Darfour, is looking to get married.  She’s a master matchmaker but has no luck when it comes to her love life and has yet to find a man worthy of her. Until she has to deal with gorgeous Dr. Adam Quarshie outside of work.

Adam is a player who refuses to get married—ever.
His interest lies more in getting her into bed than in having any kind of committed relationship. Esi’s matchmaker instincts warn her to run in the other direction as quickly as possible, but her heart insists she stay…get closer…and see if what they feel for each other can change his mind.


Enjoy the following excerpt for Destiny Mine:

Her gaze travelled down his muscular body.
Unlike many of the other doctors who tended to gain a belly as they grew older and settled into the comforts of married life, Adam Quarshie could overshadow any man in his late twenties. His stomach had remained flat and his muscles strained against his yellow button-down shirt when he moved.

She took her time raking her gaze up his body and to his face. Her gasp of embarrassment stuck in her throat as her eyes met his.

Why did he have to have such an adorable grin?
God could’ve at least rotted his teeth to save the hearts of women all over Ghana.

“See something you like, Esi?”

She cleared her throat. “Yes, I do. Your shoes are nice. Where can I get a pair for my brother?”

He chuckled. “My shoes. Hmm. I got them on Oxford Street in Osu.”


He moved towards her, and she refused to step back as he crowded her. He smelled amazing, like he was fresh from a shower. She struggled not to move closer or inhale deeper.

“Or I could take you.” His voice came out soft yet had a distinct rumble.

Did the man not know how to be anything but seductive?

If she checked her pulse, she knew it would be way above the normal range. She snorted as she stepped around him and went to the patient’s bedside. “I’m going home. You did a great job.” She tilted her head to view the child’s face cradled in the new mother’s arms then smiled at the newborn’s mother. “You were able to gather the strength to push the baby out. You are a strong woman, Ama.”

The woman ducked her head. “Thank you.”

Esi turned to Adam, not bothering to hide her annoyance. “Are there any other patients you want to see?”

“I’ll come back to do ward rounds later. How about going to Osu?”

“I’d rather…rather….” Fatigue had blocked her brain. Later on in the day, long after it was too late, she’d think of any number of things she could have said to put him in his place.

He raised an eyebrow. Their perfect arch sat over slanted dark brown eyes. “You’d rather what?”

“Eat a live snail.”

He scrunched his face. “Disgusting. No Osu for you, then. Next time, I’ll ask to take you somewhere that won’t make you prefer eating something raw and slimy over hanging out with me.”

“No such place exists, Quarshie.” They walked, rather, she stalked while he strutted, down the hallway towards the nurse’s station.

“I’m sure there is somewhere, and one day I’m going to take you there.”

She didn’t bother to look at him. “In your dreams.”

He winked. “Always in my dreams.”

Her heart skipped a beat as Sade’s classic song “Smooth Operator” came to mind. She regarded him through narrowed eyes as he headed towards the door. His heartbreaking ways didn’t appeal to her at all. Everyone knew relationships weren’t his thing. She’d never even consider going out on a date with him. She knew too many casualties of his charm. The type of guy who would go to all sorts of lengths to get a woman on his radar. Once he caught and used her, he moved to the next one…or two. After having once dated a womanizer, she wouldn’t subject herself to that kind of man again.

No way. Not her. Never



Nana Prah is a multi-published author of contemporary, multicultural romance. Her books are sweet with a touch of spice. When she’s not writing she’s reading, indulging in chocolate, and enjoying life with friends and family.

Contact Details:
Twitter: @NanaPrah
Facebook: Nana Prah, Author
Goodreads: Nana Prah
Google + :  NanaPrah 

Character interview of Dr. Adam Quarshie from Destiny Mine

The author interviews her yummy hero in the book.

Can I call you Adam or would you prefer the official Dr. Quarshie?
Adam will do. I’m not all that formal unless I’m at work.

Thanks. How are you today?
Chale, I’m beat. I had to do there emergency surgeries last night. One a Caesarean Section. All of the patients are alive and well thanks to me. Just kidding. Of course I have to acknowledge the wonderful hospital staff.

Sounds like a busy night. Why did you call me Charlie?
*Chuckle* Sorry about that. It slipped out. It’s pronounced Chaa-ley. A form of Pidgin English we use in Ghana. In place of the term buddy or pal, we say Chale.

I think I like it. Tell me how you met Esi.
We’ve worked at the same hospital for years so I’ve seen her around. It wasn’t until my best friend Jason got involved with her cousin, Ora, that I got to know her.

What’s that grin all about?
I remember the first time I first spoke to Ora, I asked her to introduce me to Esi. She refused, saying that Esi was too smart to fall for a player like me.

Wow. That sounds harsh.
I took no offense. What can I say? I like women.

Then how did this whole thing with Esi come about?
I did an obstetrics rotation. As you know she’s a midwife. Don’t tell her, but she’s one of the best I’ve ever encountered. She didn’t want anything to do with me, even though I knew she was attracted. I mean look at me, who wouldn’t be? But she fought it all the way. To be honest all I wanted was to sleep with her, and then things got all twisted on me.

The hunter got trapped?

I know you’re tired so I don’t want to keep you too long. Anything you’d like to say to my fans?
I’d like everyone to read my story. It’s the best romance that’s ever existed. How could it not be? I’m the hero. *wink* Seriously, though. I hope you enjoy what I had to go through to end up with Esi. It was worth it. She’s a ball buster on a good day, worse when she’s dealing with me.
Thank you for taking time out  to be  here.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

My Review

Destiny Mine is the second book in a series but I'm sure it could be read as a standalone. I've read the first book which I really enjoyed although I have to say I enjoyed this one even more. I loved the characters. Esi is bouncy, full of life but a strong determined woman who doesn't want to have her heart broken by player, Adam Quarshie (oh, I love that name!). Anyway, Quarshie really is a player. And he's a nice guy but he has this horrible fault - he doesn't want to commit to one woman the rest of his life. But somehow, the author manages to make me sympathise with him. I mostly don't go for the bad guys in books unless they have lots to redeem them and Quarshie does. And he's just so sexy, how could the reader not fall for him? This book is very sensual and there's plenty of sexual tension. There is also a depth in their physical relationship which makes it so much more respectful. I really enjoyed this love story. I enjoyed entering into the Ghana culture. I love the way they talk! It was fun learning more about the country and entering the world of midwives. This one didn't disappoint in that regard. All in all, a great read.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

It's Fall

For any of my friends or readers who live in the southern hemisphere, I'm sure you're aware that's it's fall already.

For the last ten years, I've lived in a part of Africa that experiences the four seasons. Africa is a largely tropical continent so it's not a common occurrence to go through them. Even when I lived in Durban, the warm Indian Ocean made it more like summer three-quarters of the year and a mild winter for a few months in the middle. Here, at the foothills of the mountains, although our summers are still long and very hot, we do have real fall and winter. The trees shed their leaves and many of them turn beautiful shades of orange, red and brown. The mornings are crisp, and toward the end of fall, we experience frost and need to bring out our warmer clothes. This year, it seems that summer is lingering long.

Last year during our spring and the northern hemisphere's fall, I joined a group of sweet romance authors to publish an anthology called Autumn's Kiss. I'm sure if you've been following my blog you will remember me talking about it. Anyway, to make the southern hemisphere readers happy, it's going on sale until the end of May for $0.99. And for those in the northern hemisphere who feel like reading it anyway, enjoy.

Here's an excerpt from my short story set right in my home town:

Seth spotted her from a distance, and she stood out from the crowd. For him, anyway. She epitomized the typical country girl with her soft mannerisms—the way she smiled sweetly at customers, bent down to talk to a child and supported an elderly lady with her walker. She took time to chat openly with each customer, never losing patience or looking harried. He made a beeline to her stall, pushing through the rows and rows of people in the dusty winter festival. Bodies of people he’d never met pressed against him, but he didn’t care.
The Newcastle Winter Festival came every fall when the trees turned fiery colors and fires burnt the grasslands of Northern KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. He’d only lived there two years, but knew how much the town revolved around the occasion. He still couldn’t figure out why the festival was coined “The Winter Festival.” The weather had turned cooler, but the frosty mornings hadn’t set in yet. No, fall was in full force, turning the tree-lined Drakensberg road into a kaleidoscope while the days still blew warm.
“I make them myself,” the pretty lady said, handing a bar of soap in a gauzy, glittery bag toward a customer.
The older woman sniffed the cream bar dotted with green flecks. “Mmmh, smells like lemon grass.”
“That’s exactly it.” Her face lit up, making her eyes comets in a sky of ordinary stars, and dimples pressed at the base of full cheeks. Something stirred within him as he watched the exchange, and his whole body became alert. “Lemon grass and coconut oil. Great for your skin as the air turns dry this time of year.”
“How’s your husband?” the customer asked. “Away as usual?”
Could he have imagined the woman spoke of the pretty soap lady? The one he couldn’t help watching?
She merely kept her gaze turned down toward her wares. The table was laden with a variety of soaps, jars of creams, or so he presumed, and about a hundred bottles of apple sauce and chutney.
Then he spotted it on the pretty lady’s hand, on the ring finger—a huge stone the size of the Gibraltar rock. His heart sank and he turned away.
He should have known by the way she dressed. Top class—sleek cashmere sweater, hair salon-sculpted, classy make-up and hot-potato-in-the-mouth speech. The faded denims didn’t match though. He sighed and went back to his stall. Maybe a good thing, he realized, as he neared the stand. A group of people harassed his assistant, Bongani, and the man looked flustered.
“Just hand out the flyers, Bongi,” he said, patting the youth on the back.
“They’re asking lots of questions. Like do you fell trees, clean gutters, burn fire breaks?”
“What?” Burn fire breaks. Why would they think he did that?
“Okay, everyone,” he announced to his new audience, “one question at a time.”

Once everything had calmed down to a steady stream, he chanced a last glance at her. Strange, he’d never thought of her as the married-to-a-rich-guy type. She looked too sweet, too approachable and way too lonely.

You can buy the book here:

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