My first fiction book contract

by Narelle Atkins

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve signed a six book contract with Harlequin Heartsong Presents. The contract is for two 3-book series of contemporary inspirational romances set in Australia.

The first series is set in a fictitious small town near the Snowy Mountains. Book 1, currently titled Running to Love, is a runaway bride story scheduled for release in North America in February 2014.

The second series is set in Sydney. Book 1 of this series is the book I initially sold in September last year.  I’ll post more information about my upcoming book releases over the coming months.

ACRBA Tour Soul Friend by Jo-Anne Berthelsen

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18 – 22 February 2013

Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance

Is Introducing

Soul Friend: The Story of a shared Spiritual Journey

(Even Before Publishing October 2012)

By

Jo-Anne Berthelsen

Available at Light the Dark for $16.95

9781922074492

About the Book
Soul Friend is an honest and intimate portrayal of the author’s own journey with her wise, spiritual mentor and the warm, life-giving relationship that developed between them during their fifteen years of meeting together. This story is written in the hope that it will inspire many not only to seek out such a spiritual friendship for themselves but also to provide such a friendship for another.
“Beautifully written, this honest and insightful memoir is an inspiring celebration of the ancient art of spiritual companionship.” Dr Rick Lewis
“Soul friendship is a very under-emphasised resource of Christian discipleship, particularly for Christian leaders. Jo-Anne has written honestly, beautifully, sensitively and powerfully.” Dr Keith Farmer

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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 LifeLauraJenna andHeléna’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.

Narelle: Soul Friend is a beautiful story of an extraordinary friendship that developed over fifteen years between Jo-Anne and her spiritual mentor, Joy. We journey with Jo-Anne as she embarked on a new phase in her ministry including theological studies, pastoral work and five published novels. Jo-Anne recalled her initial meetings with Joy and how their friendship was a blessing in many ways.

I enjoyed Jo-Anne’s conversational writing style and I found Soul Friend easy to read. Jo-Anne was honest as she shared personal issues and spiritual struggles that she encountered while seeking to follow God’s will for her life. Her friendship with Joy challenged her to question many of her core beliefs that formed the foundation for important decisions in her ministry work. Joy showed unconditional love, wisdom and care for Jo-Anne as they developed a trusting and authentic relationship. I was encouraged and inspired by watching their unique friendship evolve and seeing God at work in their lives. I highly recommend this book to those looking for role models on how to build and nurture mutually beneficial relationships with spiritual mentors.

The joy and privilege of writing

by Jo-Anne Berthelsen

Thank you for having me share in this blog today, not only about my fiction writing journey, but also about my latest book, Soul Friend, my first work of non-fiction.

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I have been writing now for over nine years. I have had various occupations in my life, all of which I felt were what God wanted me to do at the time. But always there was this desire in me to write. Eventually, in 2003, I felt God showed me from Scripture that it was time to begin my first novel that had been in my mind and heart for so long—around twenty years, in fact. I began writing Heléna, which in the end became my first two novels! I wrote and wrote—and the whole experience was both cathartic and fulfilling for me.

My first two novels were released in 2007 and 2008, followed by three more, Laura (2009), Jenna (2010) and Heléna’s Legacy (2011). But which direction to head next? I wrote a sixth novel, The Inheritance, but then the challenge came, I believe from God, to write a memoir about my own journey with my spiritual friend and mentor, Joy. One day, someone gave me a copy of Mitch Albom’s book Tuesdays with Morrie. As I began reading it, I sensed a prompting in my spirit to write about my visits with Joy and how much our relationship had impacted my journey through theological college and the ministry role the followed, as well as my current roles of writer and speaker. After thinking and praying about it further and mentioning the idea to Joy, I took the plunge and launched myself into yet another story—this time, my own!

And that was when the challenges began to come. As I sifted through my journal entries that recorded many of my visits to Joy and the reflections that followed, I realised I would have to decide how vulnerable I was prepared to be. Was it wise to share this thought or that struggle I had had? Would it benefit anyone else? And would Joy feel happy about what I had written?

Another big challenge was the whole matter of honesty and integrity. This time around, I was not writing a novel. I could not make the story up or invent characters! After all, Joy and I are real people and I could not embellish the truth of what had happened in my journey or in our relationship. I wanted to be able to stand by all I had written and I wanted it to have that ring of truth about it.

I’m so glad I persevered. Each time I receive an email from a reader, telling me how much Soul Friend has blessed and encouraged them, I am thankful to God. I also send these on to Joy, who is now eighty-three, to encourage her and show her how so many things she shared with me are now blessing others. How wonderful our God is! And how privileged I feel to have been given this opportunity in my life to write both fiction and non-fiction!

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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, with a sixth due for release in 2013.

Her first non-fiction work Soul Friend: The story of a shared spiritual journey was released in 2012. Jo-Anne 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.

***On Thursday, Jo-Anne’s non-fiction book Soul Friend will be featured on our blog (including a book recommendation) as part of the Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance (ACRBA) book tour.

International Christian Fiction

by Narelle Atkins

Christian fiction covers a wide range of genres including romance, contemporary, historical, suspense, mystery, thriller, women’s fiction, young adult, and speculative fiction just to name a few. American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) have a fabulous resource called ‘Fiction Finder’ where you can search for books using various parameters. http://www.fictionfinder.com/

A few years ago a group of writers with an interest in international Christian fiction set up a group blog called International Christian Fiction Writers (ICFW). The large majority of Christian books are sold in the US market. We wanted to promote books with international settings and also promote authors who live outside the US. Many of our members have published books with UK and Australian publishers.

We recently updated our new/upcoming releases and backlist titles web pages.

http://internationalchristianfictionwriters.blogspot.com.au/p/2013-2015-book-releases.html

http://internationalchristianfictionwriters.blogspot.com.au/p/backlist.html

If you’re interested in reading Christian fiction with an international flavour, please check out our blog and browse our list of backlist and new releases. We also have a free International Recipe eBook available at Smashwords for our blog visitors. Enjoy!

40 Days of Prayer and Fasting

The National Day of Prayer and Fasting in Australia is scheduled for Sunday, February 10. The theme for 2013 will be LIFE and a Prayer Service will be held in the Great Hall of Parliament House, Canberra between 10am and 4pm. The National Day of Prayer and Fasting will be followed by 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting over the period of Lent from February 13 – March 24.

For more information please visit:

http://www.nationaldayofprayer.com.au/ http://www.40daysofprayer.com.au/

ACRBA Tour The Greenfield Legacy by Rose Dee, Amanda Deed, Meredith Resce and Paula Vince

4 – 8 February, 2013

Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Greenfield Legacy
(Even Before Publishing October 2012)

by

Rose Dee, Amanda Deed, Meredith Resce and Paula Vince

Available from Light the Dark with a contest which ends
14 February 2013.

About the book:

Mattie was in love with Billy, but she was too young to wed. When Billy was conscripted to fight in Vietnam, they made a decision that affected their lives and their future. But so much pain resulted that Mattie never really healed. Every turn Mattie made affected her daughter and her granddaughter in ways she didn’t even realise. But forty-six years later, is it time for things to be set right?

Navy is a young woman who has never known her family. But what could be a wonderful opportunity is met with jealousy and apprehension from her cousin Brooke and her aunt Connie, especially with handsome Aidan around. Each must look past their struggles and find forgiveness and trust and perhaps even love.

This absorbing family drama, set in South Australia’s beautiful McLaren Vale wine region, is written by four of Australia’s outstanding Christian fiction authors who have brought you best-selling and award-winning novels.


Left to Right: Rose, Meredith, Paula, Amanda.

About the authors:

Award winning Australian author, PAULA VINCE, loves to evoke tears and laughter through writing fiction. She has a passion to provide inspiring stories that highlight her own beautiful country.http://www.paulavince.com

ROSE DEE was born in Ingham, North Queensland, Australia. Her childhood experiences growing up in a small beach community would later provide inspiration for her first novel. Rose, who holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree, decided to try her hand at writing two years ago. The result of that attempt is her first novel, ‘Back to Resolution’. Her novels are inspired by the love of her coastal home and desire to produce exciting and contemporary stories of faith for women. ‘Beyond Resolution’, and ‘A New Resolution’ are the second and third books in the ‘Resolution’ series. Rose resides in Mackay, North Queensland with her husband, young son, and mischievous pup, Noodle. http://rosedee.com

AMANDA DEED grew up in the South Eastern suburbs of Melbourne in a Christian home, and found faith at an early age. She has followed her passion to serve the Lord through music and literature since her teen years. Now married, with three children, Amanda enjoys the variety of being a mother, finance administrator, musician and historical romance writer. Her debut novel, The Game, won the 2010 CALEB Prize for fiction, and Ellenvale Gold was a finalist for the same prize in 2012.http://www.amandadeed.com.au

South Australian Author, MEREDITH RESCE, has been writing since 1991, and has had books in the Australian market since 1997. Following the Australian success of her “Heart of Green Valley” series, an English Publisher has taken the first three books in this series, and has released them to the British and American markets. ‘The Greenfield Legacy’ is her 15th novel published. Apart from writing, Meredith also takes the opportunity to speak to groups on issues relevant to relationships and emotional and spiritual growth. Meredith has also been co-writer and co-producer in the 2007 feature film production, “Twin Rivers”. With her husband, Nick, Meredith has worked in the ministry since 1983. Meredith and Nick have one daughter and two sons.

Narelle: I really enjoyed reading The Greenfield Legacy. Set in the picturesque wine region near Adelaide, the story looks at the emotional fallout created as a consequence of decisions made nearly half a century earlier.

The Greenfield Legacy explores the complex and fractured relationships between the four main characters. An ensemble story, the plot threads for each of the main characters revolve around a central minor character who is a catalyst for change in all their lives.

Maddie, Connie, Brooke and Navy are forced to confront their issues and consider matters of faith and family. We follow each of these characters through the story and witness their character growth as they are challenged by secrets revealed concerning their family heritage. There are flashbacks into the past that gradually reveal the truth behind previous decisions made by each of the characters.

This book is unique because it is co-authored by four authors who have each written a plot thread for one of the main characters. Initially I was distracted by wondering who wrote each character, but after a few chapters I became absorbed in the story which flowed smoothly to the end. I had tears in my eyes during a couple of poignant scenes and I found the ending very satisfying.

I highly recommend The Greenfield Legacy to those interested in reading Aussie women’s fiction and family drama stories with a touch of romance.

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

In October 2012 I interviewed the authors of The Greenfield Legacy on the International Christian Fiction Writers blog. The author interview can be found at the following link. http://internationalchristianfictionwriters.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/the-greenfield-legacy-interview-with.html