2013 ACFW Indianapolis Conference Highlights

In mid-September I had the pleasure of attending my first American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Conference in Indianapolis, USA. I’ve attended a number of Romance Writers of Australia conferences and I made the trek across the big pond back in 2008 for the Romance Writers of America Conference in San Francisco.

This is the first writing conference I’ve attended as a newly contracted published author. I’m in the middle of a six-book contract with Love Inspired Heartsong Presents and, unlike many attendees, I didn’t have a manuscript to pitch. A definite highlight was meeting my editor, Kathy Davis, in person. It was wonderful to finally put a face and voice to the person on the other end of the emails, and to have dinner with Kathy and the Heartsong authors.

Writing conferences provide the opportunity to meet our online writing friends in person. Ironically, I met three Aussies, Dorothy Adamek, Rel Mollet and Megan Sayer, for the first time in Indy. I travelled to Indy from Washington State via Chicago with my US critique partner, Suzie Johnson. Suzie and I had a lot of fun brainstorming new stories during our train trip from Seattle to Chicago. I’ll post more about my USA travel adventures in the coming weeks. It was great to reconnect in Indy with writers I’d met at RWA in San Francisco, including Seekerville ladies Missy Tippens, Debby Giusti and Janet Dean. http://www.seekerville.net/

Dotti Suzie Narelle

Dorothy Adamek, Suzie Johnson and me.

Dotti Narelle Suzie Seekers

Dorothy Adamek, me, Debby Giusti, Missy Tippens, Suzie Johnson, Janet Dean, Mary Connealy.

I enjoyed a lovely dinner on my first night in Indy with the ladies from the Inkwell Inspirations blog. A great way to start the conference and an opportunity to meet my online writing friends. http://www.inkwellinspirations.com/

Inkwell Inspiration ladies

Back: Jennifer AlLee (photo: Dina Sleiman), Barb Early, Lisa Karon Richardson (photo: Niki Turner), Anita Mae Draper, Gina Welborn, Suzie Johnson (photo: DeAnna Dodson), Front: Susanne Dietze, Debra E Marvin (photo: CJ Chase).

A benefit from attending ACFW conferences is the opportunity to have fifteen minute appointments with editors, agents and mentors. My appointments were a blessing and a valuable part of my conference experience.

Writers who live in my part of the world can feel geographically isolated. The hub of Christian publishing is North America. The internet and social media have provided innovative ways for us to connect with people from all over the world. I belong to a number of writing organisations and group blogs where my participation is primarily online and through email groups.

ACFW Beyond the Borders Zone group were able to meet in person at the Zone breakfast. There were writers from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Bermuda and Norway at our breakfast tables. It was great to meet my International Christian Fiction Writers (ICFW) blogger friends Lisa Harris, LeAnne Hardy and Kara Isaac for the first time.


Beyond the Borders group: Rachel McMillan, Megan Sayer, Karen DeBlieck, me, Anita Mae Draper, Kare from Norway, Cathy West, Susan Anne Mason, Dorothy Adamek, Cherie Gagnon.

Lisa Narelle

Lisa Harris and me.

The quality of teaching at ACFW is excellent and I learned a lot from the workshops I attended. Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck’s Continuing Education session ‘Xtreme! Master Workout for the Middle of Your Book!’ was a definite highlight. I highly recommend those writing Christian fiction invest in their writing career by purchasing the conference recordings. There’s a link on the ACFW website. http://www.acfw.com

Another benefit from attending a Christian writing conference is the worship times that are scheduled into the program. It’s helpful to have time to stop, reflect on why we are at the conference, and focus on how we are writing for God’s glory.

The conference ended with the gala awards dinner. We celebrated with the winners of the Carol Awards and Genesis Contest. A great way to end a brilliant and blessed conference.

Narelle Dotti

My Aussie friend Dorothy Adamek has posted more photos and conference highlights on her blog.


ACRBA Tour The Inheritance by Jo-Anne Berthelsen

7 – 11 October

Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance


The Inheritance


(Even Before Publishing September 2013)


Jo-Anne Berthelsen

About the Book:

Michael Trevelyan is determined to claim his inheritance at all costs. Bitterness consumes him and he refuses to forgive those who have betrayed him. Yet, when he meets Alexandra Hope, things begin to change. She challenges his views but also listens while he shares his pain. Can Michael move on from the past and learn to forgive? Can Alexandra hold onto her faith in God as she deals with their deepening relationship? Can they both learn to trust each other – and God? The Inheritance is a stirring story of family secrets, forgiveness and faith – of leaving behind a dark, painful legacy and walking into the light of God’s eternal inheritance. 

About the Author:

Jo-Anne Berthelsen lives in Sydney but grew up in Brisbane. She holds degrees in Arts and Theology and has worked as a high school teacher, editor and secretary, as well as in local church ministry. Jo-Anne loves communicating through both the written and spoken word. She is the author of five published novels – Heléna, All the Days of My Life, Laura, Jenna and Heléna’s Legacy, with a sixth, The Inheritance, due for release in 2013. Her first non-fiction work Soul Friend: The story of a shared spiritual journey was released in October 2012. Jo-Anne loves music, reading, mentoring younger women, and sharing with community groups about writing. She is married to a retired minister and has three grown-up children and three grandchildren. 
For more information, please visit www.jo-anneberthelsen.com or www.soulfriend.com.au.

Heartsong Presents October New Releases

My first fiction book release with Harlequin’s Love Inspired Heartsong Presents line, Falling for the Farmer, is scheduled for February 2014.  Today I’m posting information on the new Heartsong Presents releases for October.

Harlequin publishes four Heartsong Presents books under the Love Inspired brand each month: two contemporary inspirational romances and two historical inspirational romances. They also publish the Love Inspired books, including contemporary romance (Love Inspired), historical romance (Love Inspired Historical) and romantic suspense (Love Inspired Suspense).

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.

A Family Reunited


Years ago her husband abandoned her with two children to raise alone. Now Pamela is ready to graduate from college and move into her own home. When Jack reappears, eager for a second chance, Pamela’s not sure what to think or feel about the man she once loved.

Jack’s worked hard to overcome his addiction and become a man worthy of Pamela’s trust. Now all he needs is a chance to prove to her that he’s changed and he’s here to stay. But is their love strong enough to conquer all and reunite a family forever?

Read a FREE sample at Amazon.com

Big Sky Bachelor


All she’s ever wanted is to attend cooking school in Seattle. But when a big-shot rodeo rider comes to work on her family’s Montana ranch, Janessa’s determined not to let the cowboy distract her from her goal—no matter how charming he is.

Micah was a rodeo star, but he’s been trampled by one bull too many. While he’s deciding his next move, he gets sidetracked by a pretty cowgirl who’s headed out of town. Can Micah convince her to take a chance on a cowboy ready to put down roots?

Read a FREE sample at Amazon.com

The Governess Dilemma


When her train derails in Hillsdale, Michigan, a wealthy stranger offers her shelter—and a position in his household. Grateful yet wary of the mysterious man, Myrna must guard her secrets—and her heart.

Returning home upon his brother’s death, Dalton Freed is now heir to a grand estate and guardian to his niece. Dalton desperately needs Myrna’s help. But even as he looks forward to seeing the beautiful governess each day, he suspects she’s keeping secrets. Can she ever earn Dalton’s trust and bring light and laughter back to his life?

Read a FREE sample at Amazon.com

The Earls Ward


After rescuing her from near ruin, the Earl of Lucashire dutifully takes in the vicar’s orphaned daughter. But he discovers Angella is a beauty too lovely to ignore. Soon the rakish earl is falling for his innocent ward.

Despite his reputation, Angella has no choice but to place herself under the earl’s protection. Even as she resists his charms, when he accepts her faith as his own, she finds herself drawn to him. But then a secret from his past threatens their growing bond. Is it possible her beloved protector is not the man she believes him to be?

Read a FREE sample at Amazon.com

Interview with Valerie Comer and book giveaway

Today I’m interviewing contemporary romance author Valerie Comer on the Australasian Christian Writers group blog. We’re also giving away an electronic copy of Valerie’s latest release, Raspberries and Vinegar. The interview can be found at the following link. Hope to see you there!


I wrote a book recommendation for Raspberries and Vinegar a few weeks ago. Check it out at the following link.


ACRBA tour: Streets on a Map by Dale Harcombe


23 – 27 September

Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance


Streets on a Map

(Ark House Press December 2010)


Dale Harcombe


About the Book:

Every choice carries a price as Abby discovers when she marries Joel. If she had known when Joel first walked into Clancy’s what lay in store, she would have stopped the relationship before it got started. However, by the time she found out it was too late. The choice was made. Or so she thought.

But then between her and her one friend in Astley, Laila, they arrive at solution that could benefit Abby and the small county town. A deliberately lit fire and an unplanned pregnancy threaten to bring their carefully laid plans and Abby’s dreams undone. Problems of some newcomers to the town impinge on Abby’s life too, but it is the arrival of an old resident of Astley that could end up destroying everything and not just for Abby.

Who else’s lives will be affected and changed forever. Will the unwelcome arrivals in Astley destroy everything Abby and Laila have worked to achieve? What is the secret that will have all of Astley reeling? 


About the Author:

Streets on a Map was published by Ark House Press. Prior to that Dale has had seven children’s books and Kaleidoscope a collection of poetry published. Many poems in Kaleidoscope have been previously published in Australia’s literary magazines. She has won prizes for her poetry and has been published in several anthologies.

Along with her husband, Dale was for a time houseparent for a family of twelve boys. She has also been a manuscript assessor and book reviewer and run creative writing classes. She has also written bible studies and Sunday school lessons. For several years she wrote about Christian living, marriage and home related topics for www.families.com. She has a BA in Literary and Australian studies. More information about Dale can be found at www.daleharcombe.com or on her Write and Read with Dale blog

Why are genres determined by reader expectations?

Today I’m blogging on the Australasian Christian Writers group blog. Monday is our writing craft day and my post on genre and reader expectations can be found at the following link. Hope to see you there!


ACRBA tour: What would Jesus drive? (Car Park Parables series) by Paul Clark and Graham Preston


September 16 – 20

Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance


What would Jesus drive? (Car Park Parables series)

(Even Before Publishing March 2012)


Paul Clark, illustrated by Graham Preston


About the Author:

Paul Clark is married with two kids. He has nearly 20 years experience in children’s and youth ministry having worked in both the city and rural areas. Paul has a knack of sharing the gospel message, simply and profoundly through story – something he is very passionate about. With 10 titles to his name, and more on the way, his resources are down to earth, Australian, and to be watched!

About the Book:

It is Palm Sunday in the Church Car Park and Jesus is riding into Jerusalem. The only problem is deciding what Jesus would have driven into Jerusalem if there had been cars in his time. Was it a motorbike because Jesus was a rebel? Was it a truck so he could stand on the back and teach the crowd? Was it a bus because he was a man of the people and he could have brought his friends along? Find out what the cars think! Part of the Australian Car Park Parables series.

Narelle: What would Jesus drive? is an engaging story that poses an interesting question. It’s Palm Sunday and the cars in the church car park are taking turns guessing what type of car Jesus would have chosen to drive into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday if cars had existed back then. Each car comes up with a different answer, providing insightful reasons behind their choices that are both humourous and reveal Jesus’ character. When the true answer is revealed, the cars learn more about the significance of Jesus’ role in the Easter story.

I love the Australian flavour in the story. The illustrations are cute and the text is easy to read. I recommend this book to parents and carers looking for a relevant and informative story that explains Biblical truth in a fun and light hearted way for primary school age children.

Many thanks to Even Before Publishing for providing a review copy.

Book Recommendation: Raspberries and Vinegar by Valerie Comer

Raspberries and Vinegar

Back Cover blurb:

Breaking ground with the Farm Fresh Romance series, in RASPBERRIES AND VINEGAR Josephine Shaw and her two friends renovate a dilapidated farm with their sights set on more than just their own property. However, transforming the town with their sustainable lifestyle and focus on local foods is met with more resistance than they expected, especially by neighbor Zachary Nemesek. Jo needs to learn that a little sweet makes the tart more tasty.

Narelle: I really enjoyed reading Raspberries and Vinegar. Jo and Zach are fascinating characters who are drawn to each other despite having different life philosophies. Jo and her friends, Claire and Sierra, are intent on ‘practicing what they preach’ by creating a sustainable living farm. Their beliefs regarding sustainable living and decreasing their carbon footprint have a Biblical foundation. The girls are prepared to make sacrifices, including temporarily living in a rundown caravan with an ongoing mice problem, to fulfill their dream of creating a sustainable farm. They also strive to engage the local community in learning about how they can live in a more sustainable way.

Zach enjoys the culture and convenience of city living. He grew up on the farm next door to Jo and the girls, and is he is only back in town  temporarily to help his mother while his father recovers from a serious illness. At the start of the story Zach can’t understand why Jo and her friends are determined to create a new life on the farm.    

Sparks fly whenever Jo and Zach are together, and an adorable pup called Domino creates a lot of mischief in the story. Raspberries and Vinegar is a fun romance that addresses important issues without being preachy. The story is contemporary and touches on issues that are relevant to twenty-somethings in today’s society. Both Jo and Zach experience character growth during the story and the plot twists kept me turning the page to find out what happens next. I highly recommend this book to those looking for an exciting and inspiring contemporary romance.

Read a FREE sample at Amazon.com

Interview with Aussie YA fantasy author Lizbeth Klein and book giveaway

Today I’m interviewing Aussie YA fantasy author Lizbeth Klein on the International Christian Fiction Writers blog. We’re giving away a print copy of Lizbeth’s debut novel, Firelight of Heaven (Aussie mailing addresses only).

My interview with Lizbeth Klein can be found at  http://internationalchristianfictionwriters.blogspot.com