ACRBA Tour Dear God It’s Me and It’s Urgent by Marion Stroud

16th – 20th  June 2014

is introducing

‘Dear God It’s Me and It’s Urgent’

(Monarch, October 2013)


 Marion Stroud



 About the Book

‘Dear God It’s Me and It’s Urgent’ provides prayers for private devotion and meditation, or for sharing with other women. Inspiring and challenging they are rooted firmly in everyday life. Topics range from A Bride’s Prayer on the Eve of her Wedding,Reluctant Hospitality and After Chemotherapy, mixing wisdom and compassion with a touch of humour.In a world where people often seem too busy to listen or care God is always available. No appointment is required.

About the Author

Marion Stroud has written 3 children’s books, and 23 non-fiction titles. She lives in Bedford UK the town in which John Bunyan wrote his famous Pilgrim’s Progress. She is a cross cultural trainer for Media Associates International [] which works to help Christian writers, editors and publishers write and publish culturally appropriate material in the ‘spiritually hard places’ of the world. You can contact marion at

Narelle: My book recommendation can be found at the following link:

Friday Weekend Escape to Atkins, Arkansas, USA with Cynthia Hickey

Today we’re escaping for the weekend to Arkansas, USA, with my author friend Cynthia Hickey. Cynthia’s giving us a tour of her hometown of Atkins (great name!) and sharing her vacation with her family. Enjoy!


In June of 2014, I visited my home town of Atkins to visit my family. While there, we attended Homecoming at the town of Appleton, where my father grew up. The church was built in 1912.


We also hiked my favorite mountain, Petit Jean, where I found my grandfather’s name carved into a rock. We estimate the year to be 1917, right before he shipped off to war. Me and my granddaughter are pointing out his name.


Here is a picture of my great grandmother’s name, carved the same year. I love history, don’t you? Many of my historical romances have a trace of my family history in them.


When we left the house cave where these photos were taken, I managed to fall and hurt my leg pretty severely, but that did not stop me from heading to one of the most beautiful waterfalls. This is also on Petit Jean Mountain.


This picture shows my son, grandchildren, and niece and nephew in front of the falls.


And the real reason we head home to Atkins, Arkansas … family. Here is my mother, me, and my two sisters.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into my vacation.

Cynthia Hickey author photo

Multi-published and Best-Selling author CYNTHIA HICKEY had three cozy mysteries and two novellas published through Barbour Publishing. Her first mystery, Fudge-Laced Felonies, won first place in the inspirational category of the Great Expectations contest in 2007. Her third cozy, Chocolate-Covered Crime, received a four-star review from Romantic Times. All three cozies have been re-released as ebooks through the MacGregor Literary Agency, along with a new cozy series, all of which stay in the top 50 of Amazon’s ebooks for their genre. She has several historical romances releasing in 2013 and 2014 through Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents, and has sold more than 160,000 copies of her works. She is active on FB, twitter, and Goodreads. She lives in Arizona with her husband, one of their seven children, two dogs and two cats. She has five grandchildren who keep her busy and tell everyone they know that “Nana is a writer”.

Visit her website at

An Unconventional Lady cover


But her strict mother keeps her close to home, working as a Harvey Girl waitress. Until Dallas Baker shows up in town and takes the job Annie really wants—leading tours through the Grand Canyon. Annie’s frustrated, but finds it impossible to ignore the handsome outdoorsman.

With her split skirts and modern hairdo, Annie challenges Dallas’s old-fashioned notions of what makes a lady. To his surprise, he finds her delightful, until he learns she has no interest in settling down. Dallas is ready to win her heart, but is Annie willing to fall in love?

Friday Weekend Escape to Canberra, Australia: Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve

Today we’re escaping into the mountains, and visiting one of my favourite places that’s only a short drive from Canberra, my home town. Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is located on the south-western side of Canberra, Australia, in the Brindabella Ranges. The southern end of the Brindabella Ranges adjoins the Snowy Mountains, the setting for my Snowgum Creek contemporary romance series.


There are a number of walking trails to choose from, ranging from easy to hard. The Sanctuary is a wetlands ecosystem, and an easy walk in the bush around a pretty lake.


The rangers hand feed the pelicans who live in The Sanctuary. During my last visit, a ranger provided a commentary on how Australian Pelicans usually live around coastal and inland waterways, and can fly long distances in search of food. The two pelicans in the photo below have unfortunately had their wings clipped in the past, which means they can’t fly and survive in the wild.


The pelican’s favourite food is fish. The ranger threw a number of whole fish, which the pelicans caught in their large bills. I learned that the pelicans have a hook on the end of their bills. This enables them to hold onto and manoeuvre the slippery fish into their bill pouch before they swallow it whole, longways. If the fish is swallowed sideways, it could get caught in their throats and cause the pelicans a lot of distress.


A large number of eastern grey kangaroos live in the nature reserve. They graze in the open grasslands, and are usually found in groups.


The mountains views in Tidbinbilla are gorgeous, and a definite highlight.


I hope you’ve enjoyed hiking around Tidbinbilla, and exploring the native flora and fauna. Enjoy your weekend!

ACRBA Tour Charter to Redemption by D.J. Blackmore

2nd – 6th  May 2014

Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance

is introducing

Charter to Redemption

(Even Before Publishing, 1 May 2014)


D.J. Blackmore

 About the Book

At the close of 1821, the penal colony of Newcastle looks to be every bit as black as it’s painted. Emma Colchester charters a ride to Australia with a promise of marriage to a man she has never met. But appearances aren’t always as they seem. And with a commitment unavoidable Emma learns that shackles are not always forged from iron. Tobias Freeman longs for redemption and hope. After a rough journey to New South Wales, Tobias learns the rations, the regulations, and the reprisal. But neither Emma nor Tobias expect the repercussions.

About the Author

D.J. Blackmore grew up in the wine growing region of the Hunter Valley, New South Wales and is currently based in Central Queensland.

She draws inpiration for her historical fiction novels from her love of age-old crafts such as spinning and cheese making. She considers being the mother of five, her greatest achievement.

Friday Weekend Escape to Canberra, Australia: Lake Burley Griffin

Today we’re escaping for the weekend to my hometown of Canberra, Australia. I live in the national capital, population of just under four hundred thousand, in the Australian Capital Territory. Lake Burley Griffin is a man-made lake in the centre of Canberra.  We’re going to relax on an afternoon cruise around the lake, taking in the gorgeous scenery.

Telstra Tower, located on Black Mountain in the photo below, is one of the most prominent landmarks in Canberra. Situated on the western side of the central business district (CBD), it’s visible on the horizon from a large number of Canberra suburbs.


The Australian War Memorial is located on the northern side of the lake, to the east of the CBD. In the photo below, the War Memorial building is above the memorial plaque on the lake foreshore.


Canberra is known as the bush capital, and is the largest inland city in Australia. The city centre, pictured below, is low rise compared to many cities, and in keeping with the natural demography of the landscape.


Canberra is surrounded by mountains to the west and south. Falling for the Farmer, The Nurse’s Perfect Match, and The Doctor’s Return are set in the South Western Slopes region of New South Wales. The Brindabella Ranges are visible on the western horizon in the photo below, and the fictitious town of Snowgum Creek is located on the other side of the Brindabella Ranges. It’s only a short drive south from Canberra, less than two hours, to the Snowy Mountains.


Parliament House is on the southern side of the lake, opposite the Australian War Memorial. The flag on top of Parliament House is visible on the left hand side of the photo below.


The Kingston foreshore is a recent development on the lake. There is little development on the waterfront, and you don’t feel like you’re in the middle of a city when you’re out on the water.


I hope you’ve enjoyed cruising around Lake Burley Griffin. Next week we’re going to explore one of my favourite places just outside of Canberra. Enjoy your weekend!

Book Recommendation: Dear God, it’s me and it’s urgent by Marion Stroud

Dear God its me and its urgent

Book Description:

Here are soul-building moments for every woman, at every age. These prayers are ideal for private devotion and meditation, or for sharing with other women. Inspiring and enriching, they are rooted in everyday life. Topics range widely, from a Bride’s Prayer on the eve of her wedding to Shopping with a Daughter and Blue Monday. With imagination and care Marion offers prayers for every season. Each prayer is enriched with Scripture and thought-provoking quotations.

Narelle: I enjoyed reading this devotional prayer book. The front cover includes the description ‘Prayers for every season of a woman’s life’ and it sums up the essence of this lovely book. The devotional prayers are divided up into six sections and cover different aspects of a woman’s life, including marriage, children, work, caring, and growing older. Topical issues are covered with sensitivity and include heartfelt prayers that provide direction for women seeking Biblical wisdom.

Dear God, it’s me and it’s urgent is the type of book you can pick up and read in bite size chunks. Or, you can work through it each day over three months. The devotions include relevant quotes, applicable Bible verses, and a prayer that you can pray as you read. I appreciated the wisdom and insights I gained from each devotional prayer. I recommend this book to women looking for a helpful devotional book that provides a focus for their daily prayer time.

Many thanks to Lion Hudson (Monarch Books) for providing a review copy.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Available in Australia at Koorong Book Stores

Heartsong Presents June New Releases

My second fiction book release with Harlequin’s Love Inspired Heartsong Presents line, The Nurse’s Perfect Match, was released in May 2014. Today I’m posting information on the new Heartsong Presents releases for June.

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.

A Romance Rekindled


The small-town CPA can’t forget how Blake Mitchell jilted her and left their hometown without an explanation. But when her first love returns to Leavenworth, the ruggedly handsome writer evokes conflicting emotions, especially when Susan meets the child she assumes is his daughter.

Since his parents’ deaths six years ago, Blake’s been raising his little sister on his own. But he’s never forgotten the woman he left behind. Now, he can’t undo the past, but maybe he can change the future…if he can convince Susan to give him one more chance.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Read a FREE sample at

The Rancher Next Door


Raising her orphaned siblings alone hasn’t been easy. So when she suddenly inherits a cabin in Arizona, she plans to settle down and stay forever. Jenny is sure that she doesn’t need help from anyone. Especially not Mitch Anderson, the handsome neighbor her young brother and sister idolize.

Mitch is an ambitious rancher who’s convinced Jenny won’t stay. After all, his mother and fiancée both abandoned him for the big city. When Jenny fights hard to keep her home, Mitch realizes she belongs in the desert he loves so much. But will he learn that trust is the soul of romance?

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Read a FREE sample at

Ozark Reunion


In the aftermath of the Great Depression, it’s time for Riley to start over. And the first step is winning the trust of his Missouri hometown. But it isn’t easy for a man with a troubled past. Especially when his first love, Jolene Delaney, seems to believe that the new rumors about him are true.

After Riley broke her heart, Jolene threw herself into teaching school and caring for her father and little sister. But she knows something is missing from her life. Especially when she comes face-to-face with Riley again. Can he convince Jolene that he’s truly a changed man? Or will he succumb to old temptations and destroy her faith in him once again?

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Read a FREE sample at

Bride by Necessity


But when the master of Kent Park takes in the orphaned daughter of a tenant, Jonathan doesn’t expect his young charge to be a stunning woman. Or for a predatory relative to lay claim to her. Marriage may be the only way to protect Payton from an unthinkable fate.

Payton Whittard knows her marriage to Jonathan is about safety, not love. But the feelings that soon arise during their arrangement are anything but safe. Still, there’s something about her handsome protector that makes her trust him with her life. Can Payton trust him with her heart, as well?

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Read a FREE sample at

USA trip: Cobb Salad and Weetbix

This is the final post from my USA trip. Last week I shared the highlights from my overnight visit in Hawaii on the way home to Australia. I have two favourite foods when I’m travelling in the USA. The first is Weetbix, and I travel with a small box of Weetbix from Australia. A bowl of Weetbix with milk is my preferred breakfast, whether I’m at home or abroad.


My second favourite food is Cobb Salad. It’s very difficult to find Cobb Salad on a restaurant menu in Australia. There is one pizza chain where I live that offers it, but it doesn’t compare in taste or quality to the Cobb Salads I’ve sampled in the USA.


Above is a photo of a Cobb Salad I enjoyed in a Seattle restaurant. Below is a photo of a Cobb Salad from an Indianapolis restaurant.


The photo below is a Cobb Salad from a restaurant in Portland, Oregon.


I’m heading back to the USA in July for the Romance Writers of America conference, and I’ll be looking for Cobb Salad in San Antonio, Texas. The cinnamon roll I sampled in Oregon was a definite foodie highlight. We don’t have cinnamon rolls in Australia.


The most interesting food I sampled was dirty chips at a baseball game in Seattle. I will always associate baseball with the garlic aroma of dirty chips.


Next Friday I’m starting a new travel series on my blog called Friday Weekend Escapes. I hope you’ll stop by and check out the gorgeous locations we can dream about visiting, or visit through reading a good fiction book set in that location.