Heartsong Presents November 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 November.

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.

Rodeo Queen


Until she starts receiving threatening letters from a stalker. The good news is, the Texas Ranger assigned to her case is none other than her former sweetheart Mitch Warren—the man who chose his career over love.

Mitch vows to focus on protecting the woman he’s never forgotten. But Caitlyn stirs up memories best left in the past. When Mitch insists on hiding Caitlyn away on his family’s San Antonio ranch, will he keep things professional or seek out a second chance?

Read a FREE sample at Amazon.com

The Christmas Promise


No matter how lovely Keira Noble’s smile, or how adorable her four-year-old son. He’s been down that road before and knows it can lead to a broken heart. But that doesn’t mean he can’t help the pretty widow find a puppy to put under the Christmas tree for her son….

Pete claims he only wants to help her find the perfect gift for Cody. Yet Keira can’t deny the tender feelings in his eyes whenever he looks at her. Could this handsome Scrooge have a change of heart, and create a new family for Christmas?

Read a FREE sample at Amazon.com

Taming The Sheriff


Charlotte Nelson arrives in the tiny mountain town of Plumville, Arkansas, with big ideas. She wants to mend the decades-old town feud by throwing a Christmas pageant. But it soon proves to be a challenge, especially when three of her students are determined matchmakers. She’s in no hurry to settle down—certainly not with the rugged, handsome sheriff.

Sheriff Asher Thomas can handle most trouble that comes his way, but Charlotte’s flashing eyes and black curls are a threat of a different kind. Soon she’s taking over his time and his thoughts. Will Asher change his bachelor ways for love?

Read a FREE sample at Amazon.com

The Doctor's Bride


First stop: Hillsdale, Michigan, to break the marriage contract his late mother arranged between him and Katie Clark. Years ago, Katie left him behind in Charleston. But after a train crash, he comes face-to-face with Dr. Kathleen Clark, his childhood friend all grown up.

When Josh shows up in town, claiming they’re betrothed, Katie refuses to consider an arranged marriage. She’ll marry for love or not at all. Besides, he’s headed for Kansas Territory; her practice is here in Hillsdale. So why are they both finding it hard to break their betrothal and say goodbye?

Read a FREE sample at Amazon.com

ACRBA Tour Joy by Kirrily Lowe


21 – 25 October

Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance



(Wombat Books August 2010)


Kirrily Lowe


About the Book:

“I’ve lost my joy where could it be?”
Come with our little girl on a search to find her “Joy”. Is it under the apple tree, is it out to sea, or is it in something that we cannot see? A message for little ones and big ones – where do we go to find joy when we have lost it.

About the Author:

Kirrily Lowe is the author of The Invisible Tree series of children’s books – a delightful and fun series seeking to capture great and timeless values for little ones.

Kirrily began her career as a lawyer working with children in Sydney’s Western Suburbs.

She is now the pastor together with her husband Tim of C3 City Campus – a dynamic and creative congregation in Darlinghurst, Sydney.

Kirrily began writing in 2010 whilst at home with her young children.

Kirrily lives in the northern suburbs of Sydney with Tim and her 3 young and lively boys.

Narelle: Joy is the second book in the Invisible Tree series. BelBel has lost her joy and she is searching everywhere to find it again. The story has a lovely message that our joy comes from God’s love for us. I liked the ‘Invisible Tree’ analogy and thought it was an interesting way to explain to younger children how God’s spirit can live inside us.

The illustrations are eye catching and the text is presented as if the words and phrases were cut out of magazines or newspapers and pasted on the page. The result is colourful and could help children identify key words in the sentences. I recommend this book to parents and carers who are looking for a fun and educational book to read with their Preschoolers.

Many thanks to Wombat Books for providing a review copy.

2013 CALEB Conference Highlights and Christian Publishing in Australia

The 2013 CALEB Conference was held in Brisbane, Australia, on Friday and Saturday last week. The CALEB Conference is a Christian writing conference organised by Omega Writers Inc, an organisation dedicated to supporting Christian writers in Australia, New Zealand and other parts of Australasia. Christian writing conferences are a rare occurrence in my part of the world, and we were blessed to have three Christian publishers in attendance this year.

I was unable to attend the Friday sessions due to family commitments. I stayed with family in Brisbane and experienced an early taste of summer with mid-30 degrees celsius temperatures.

Dotti Cat Narelle

Dorothy Adamek, Catherine Hudson, me.

A conference highlight for me was meeting my online friends in person. The fourth annual CALEB Awards Dinner was a wonderful opportunity to catch up with my Aust/NZ writing friends. It was great to see my Aussie writing friend Dorothy Adamek, who also travelled to ACFW in Indy last month, and meet my NZ friends Catherine Hudson and Iola Goulton in person for the first time. I sat next to Rose Dee at the dinner and cheered for her when her Aussie contemporary romance book, A New Resolution, won the CALEB Award for Fiction.

Dotti Cat Rose Narelle

Dorothy Adamek, Catherine Hudson, Rose Dee, me.

A number of my group blog friends from Australasian Christian Writers (ACW) and International Christian Fiction Writers attended the conference. ACW blogger Carol Preston won the CALEB Booksellers’ Choice Award for her Australian historical novel, Tangled Secrets.

ACW bloggers

ACW group, Left to Right: Catherine Hudson, Rose Dee, Kerry-Lee Harney, Narelle Atkins, Jo-Anne Berthelsen, Anne Hamilton, Jenny O’Hagan, Iola Goulton, Ray Hawkins, Mary Hawkins, Dorothy Adamek.

Romancing the Story

I participated on two panels at the conference. The first panel was ‘Romancing the Story’ with romance authors Mary Hawkins and Andrea Grigg. We talked about our writing journeys and encouraged participants to ask questions. Mary has mentored both Andrea and I, and we have appreciated her wisdom and guidance.

We talked about the faith element in a romance, ranging from a story written from a Christian worldview to a more prominent spiritual story arc. Writers need to show the character’s faith journey and not ‘preach’ their Christian message to the reader. We discussed genre expectations for Christian/inspirational romance and romance reader expectations.

The cultural differences between Aust/NZ and other parts of the world give our stories a unique flavour. We looked at the differences between the smaller Aust/NZ market and the larger international market based in North America. We also talked about a recent Australian article that questioned the value of Christian romance, and whether or not the issues brought up by the author had any merit or Biblical foundation.

Making the Most of Social Media

The second panel I participated on was ‘Making the Most of Social Media’ with YA author Michelle Dennis Evans. Michelle’s first indie book, Spiralling Out of Control, releases this week and we discussed how social media can be used to launch and promote books. Websites, personal blogs, group blogs, blog alliance book tours, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Instagram were  platforms we discussed during the session.

Michelle talked about the importance of remembering that social media is ‘social’, not ‘spam’ or ‘business’ media. She discussed the value of being strategic and using the platforms that will connect authors with their target audience.

I talked about my experiences with group blogs Australasian Christian Writers and International Christian Fiction Writers. explained how blog alliance book tours worked using the Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance as an example.

Social media is a great way for authors to interact with readers, but authors need to know and follow the etiquette for each platform. We talked about the importance of balance. Writers need to be writing their books and not spending their writing time on social media. Social media has different uses and applications depending on the stage of your writing journey.

Christian Publishing in Australia

A conference highlight was the ‘Publishing Today’ panel with Rochelle Manners, George Bryant, and Julie Firmstone.

Rochelle Manners is the publisher of imprints Even Before Publishing (fiction and non-fiction) and Wombat Books (children) in Australia. Rochelle is a big supporter of Aust/NZ Christian writers and books. She is a traditional publisher of print and ebooks in both the Christian market and general market (Wombat Books). She is looking to expand further into the international market and a couple of EBP titles will soon be translated into Korean. Rochelle is the founder of Light the Dark online book store and Australian Christian Book Club.

George Bryant is the publisher of Daystar Books in New Zealand. Daystar Books is a non-profit subsidy publisher that strives to publish quality books that have not been picked up by a traditional publisher. Daystar shares the costs of producing the book with the author.

George and I have discussed my attempt to define where his unique publishing model may fit in my recent Australasian Christian Writers blog post on publishing models. For those interested, more information on the details of the post and conversation can be found at the following blog link and on the blog post link in the Australasian Christian Writers Facebook Group. http://australasianchristianwriters.blogspot.com.au/2013/10/publishing-models-part-1.html

Julie Firmstone is from Christian Education Publications (CEP), a traditional publisher in Australia. CEP is part of Youth Works Media and is a non-profit ministry organisation that publishes a number of imprints including Growing Faith, Aquila Press, Youthworks Press, Fervr, Blue Bottle Books and Anglican Press Australia. CEP provide syllabuses for Scripture in Schools and their books focus on children, youth, families and Christian living. They don’t publish biographies. CEP are education suppliers and have trade distribution in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. They will soon be distributing books in the USA.

Rochelle and Julie talked about the struggles and challenges traditional Christian publishers in Australia need to overcome to survive and stay in business. A number of Australian Christian small presses have folded in recent years. Rochelle encouraged us to support Aust/NZ authors by purchasing books from Aust/NZ booksellers. The Australian Christian book market is small and many authors are making money from speaking engagements.

Traditional publishers take on all the financial risk when they acquire a book, and it helps if authors have a platform and the ability to hand sell books to their target market. Julie used the example of it being difficult for an author of Bible Commentaries to sell books unless they are a pastor and have theological credentials. Julie said an 80,000 word Christian living title will typically need 100 hours of editing and 40-60 hours of design time.

George is happy to talk with authors about how they can negotiate a unique publishing path. He’s looking for books that inspire, give hope and also books with Christian content that can be marketed to the general market. Daystar Books do not have a goal of making money for the organisation from the books they publish. George wants to partner with authors to help the author make a profit from their financial investment in publishing the book.

Marketing is important and a web presence, blogging and social media will help authors build their platforms and sell books. Rochelle does a lot of marketing with her authors and works hard to help them promote and sell books.

All three publishers will accept unsolicited manuscripts. Please read the submission guidelines on their websites for more information and to ensure manuscripts are suitable for the targeted imprint.

Rochelle receives a large number of submissions each year and occasionally closes to submissions in order to catch up on the back log. Rochelle asked that writers respect the fact that publishers are busy people with a large work load. She wants writers to read the submission guidelines on the website so they know when they can expect to hear a response. Writers are encouraged to follow up their submissions via email if they don’t receive a response within the time frame specified in the submission guidelines.

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