Free Manuscript Appraisal.

TGLHave you read Book Fun Magazine’s February Edition?

In the Australian Spirit of ‘Having a Go’, and following the theme of my column in Book Fun this month, I am offering one reader a free manuscript appraisal with my editor, Iola Goulton of Christian Editing Services, N.Z. 

All you have to do is provide Iola with a 25 word overview of your manuscript. Send this to her by email at:

We would also like to know why you would like to win this prize. Please leave this answer here on my blog in the comments. 

This contest will be open throughout the month of February. We will prayerfully considering any submission. 

Full details of prize: 

Manuscript Assessment – Iola Goulton. Christian Editing Services. New Zealand.

Manuscripts must be written in English. The winning manuscript must be sent before June 2015.

A manuscript assessment is an appraisal and critique of your novel, providing feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of your plot, plot, structure, characterisation, point of view, dialogue, interior monologue. I may also undertake some basic fact checking or, for historical novels, highlight potential anachronisms.

This will highlight your strengths, and provide you with specific areas on which to focus the revision of your manuscript. This is most appropriate when you have finished writing and revising your first draft, and is especially useful for authors who have doubts about one or more aspects of their writing—there is little point in polishing the spelling and grammar of a passage that needs to be rewritten.

Up to 60,000 words only.

Value AU $275.00

Iola Goulton Headshot
Iola Goulton

I am a freelance editor specialising in Christian fiction aimed at adults and young adults. While I specialise in fiction, I also edit non-fiction on occasion. Non-fiction projects have included memoir, theology and self-help. I love to read, and I read and review around 150 novels a year on my blog,

I hold a Bachelor of Commerce degree majoring in marketing, and have twenty years of experience as a human resources consultant, which has included writing and editing a company newsletter, designing and writing the content for a government website, contributing three chapters to a professional text, and writing and proofreading more client reports than I can count. You can find out more about my services at

Book Fun Magazine

Book Fun Magazine October 2014I am so grateful for the opportunity to contribute to Book Fun Magazine.

This monthly online Magazine is a MUST for readers of all Christian literature, both fiction and non-fiction.

If you haven’t checked out Book Fun yet please click on the link below. A yearly subscription is only US $9.95, and it’s worth every cent.

Have a browse through the archives to find my columns – Look for:


March – ‘G’day From Down Under’

April – ‘Least Likely To…’

May – ‘Yabberin”

June – ‘Hole in the Wind’

July – ‘You Inspire Me’

August – ‘Speakin’ Aussie’

September – ‘Little Glass Heart’

October – ‘What Counts – Education or Learning?’

Click here to find out more:

And for a lot more Book FUN (and to connect with readers and authors of Christian Literature), check out The Book Club Network.

Aussie Authors in America – Narelle Atkins.

The_Nurses_Perfect_Match_coverTwo books in my ‘Resolution’ series have American main characters. I have been asked – Why American? There are a few reasons. One is that I enjoy creating American characters that fall in love with my country the way I fell in love with theirs.

But I am not the only Aussie having an American love affair. My friend, Narelle Atkins has just released her second novel, ‘The Nurse’s Perfect Match’ (Mills and Boon, Heartsong Presents). This novel follows her first release, ‘Falling for the Farmer’. Like my novels, Narelle’s books are also set in Australia, and are written with both Australian and American audiences in mind.

I asked Narelle a few questions about writing for a global audience. Here is what she said:

  1. What made you want to write for both the Australian and Overseas market?

I write category romance in the contemporary inspirational romance genre. There aren’t any publishers in Australia who sell category romance books in my specific genre. Writing for an international audience, and targeting the Harlequin Love Inspired lines based in the USA, was a logical decision.

The Australian Christian romance market is small when compared to the overseas market based in North America. From a business perspective, it makes sense for Australian Christian authors to have a vision for selling their books to overseas readers, irrespective of the location of their home market. My home market is North America, and my sales in  Australia are considered foreign sales. The rising popularity of ebooks will help Australian authors reach international readers.  

  1. What will an International reader learn about our country from your novels?

Australian books have a unique cultural flavour. My books are edited in the USA, with a North American audience in mind. As a result, there are more American expressions and less Australian expressions than you’ll probably find in the typical Christian fiction book published in Australia. It’s important that your international readers are not thrown out of the story by foreign expressions, or word usage that doesn’t translate or make sense to overseas readers.

The foreign setting is a selling point for Australian books. Readers have the opportunity to travel to Australia through our books, and explore our wonderful country with our characters in the story. My first three books are set in the gorgeous Snowy Mountains region of Australia. Readers will see native animals, and experience country life in a small town setting.

  1. The Heartsong Presents division of Mills and Boon presents great inspirational stories. What would you say to a Christian Fiction Reader who hasn’t explored this brand before?

Heartsong Presents is part of the Harlequin’s Love Inspired brand. The ebooks are sold under the Mills and Boon brand in Australia and New Zealand.

Love Inspired books are category romances. The focus of the story is on the developing romance between the hero and heroine. The faith element is woven into the story, and may be more subtle than the longer books, or books in other Christian fiction genres. Love Inspired books are clean romances, and suitable for younger readers. The stories explore the hero and heroine’s spiritual journey as part of the developing romance plot. They are written from a Christian worldview, and the stories provide role models for Christian romantic relationships.

Thank you, Narelle for visiting me on my blog and telling us a bit about your work. You can find out more about Narelle by visiting her website:

Narelle has also very generously offered one person a copy of her new release, ‘The Nurse’s Perfect Match’. Just leave a comment here, or on my Facebook Link to this blog post to be in the running. 


NarelleA fun loving Aussie girl at heart, Narelle Atkins was born and raised on the beautiful northern beaches in Sydney, Australia. She has settled in Canberra with her husband and children. A lifelong romance reader, she found the perfect genre to write when she discovered inspirational romance. Narelle’s contemporary stories of faith and romance are set in Australia and she is thrilled to have the opportunity to write for Heartsong Presents.


NURSE AMY WILKINS HAS COME HOME  After her marriage ends in tragedy, Amy returns to Snowgum Creek to rebuild her life. There she meets widower Ben Morton, who's not looking for romance, though his young children are eager for Amy's attention. She's given up on her dream of being a mother, but can't ignore how she's drawn to Ben's little ones, and to their handsome farmer dad.  As love kindles between Ben and Amy, she worries how she'll ever measure up to the wife he lost. And Ben is concerned about how Amy will ever truly fit into life on the farm. They could be the answer to each other's prayers—if the secret Amy is keeping doesn't tear them apart.
After her marriage ends in tragedy, Amy returns to Snowgum Creek to rebuild her life. There she meets widower Ben Morton, who’s not looking for romance, though his young children are eager for Amy’s attention. She’s given up on her dream of being a mother, but can’t ignore how she’s drawn to Ben’s little ones, and to their handsome farmer dad.
As love kindles between Ben and Amy, she worries how she’ll ever measure up to the wife he lost. And Ben is concerned about how Amy will ever truly fit into life on the farm. They could be the answer to each other’s prayers—if the secret Amy is keeping doesn’t tear them apart.

More Stories – More Snakes.

A friend emailed this to us in 2011.Gives me the horrors. :-(
A friend emailed this to us in 2011.Gives me the horrors. 😦

My Book Fun article has inspired more sharing of stories in my family. My mother had me in fits of giggles this week over the antics of my father. She reminded me of the time my Dad expertly fixed her broken windscreen wiper with a ball of Hubba Bubba chewing gum. It stuck fast, fooling the Queensland Transport inspector who had come to town to issue fines for all non-compliant vehicles. The wiper stayed happily in place until the next downpour of rain, when (forgetting it was held on by chewing gum), my mother turned on the wipers sending the broken arm flying off the glass and in the direction of the main street footpath. It narrowly missed an unsuspecting pedestrian. My mother, and sister, (who was in the car at the time too), didn’t realize what had happened until further down the road when they put the events together. It was fits of laughter all around for that tale, and for every retelling of it since. 🙂

Another amazing family event was the story of my cousin. In his youth he and his mates were on their way back from a night out. He leaned out the window of the car to give a spontaneous ‘Ya Hoo’, and the car hit a bump forcing his hat from his head. Now, an Acubra hat is a vital piece of clothing for a country man. In country Australia hats are used for far more than keeping the elements off one’s head. They are also used to fight fires, direct livestock, swipe at something attacking you, and to hold a drink of water from a creek if needs be – so a hat was something to retrieve. The problem with retrieving this hat was that, when they reversed the car they found the bump in the road had been a massive carpet snake. The snake spanned the road with the hat resting next to the snake’s head. My cousin thought the best idea was to pull the snake off the road by the tail, thus gaining enough space between head and hat for the retrieval.

He started pulling the tail when suddenly the snake whipped around and latched onto his hand. If this wasn’t a dire enough situation, seconds later the local drunk screamed around the corner, collecting both my cousin and the snake. The force of the blow from the vehicle dislodged the biting reptile and sent both snake and man flying into the air. The good news was that the hat was retrieved. The bad news was that my cousin suffered a broken leg, (thankfully that was the only injury). To our knowledge the snake went on his way, but he left his mark – the really bad news was that for years to come my cousin’s hand would swell up with little sores. From these little sores a carpet snake’s tooth would emerge.

This story was so amazing that it made the national news. It was certainly a series of unfortunate events, with really quite a fortunate outcome.

If you would like to hear some more of my family stories please have a look at my article in this month’s Book Fun Magazine. Scroll down the index until you find ‘”Yabberin'” – Page 159.

I must also say that it is due to the great protection of the Lord that our family are able to tell these stories. I do not advise anyone to pull a snake (even a carpet snake) by the tail.






Falling for the Farmer by Narelle Atkins.


And she’s incredibly grateful when Jack Bradley offers her a job on his apple farm. Working side by side in the orchards with her best friend’s brother seems like the perfect way to get over her disastrous engagement. Until Kate finds herself falling hard for the handsome farmer.

Jack Bradley knows city-girl Kate isn’t here to stay. Yet suddenly he’s imagining a life with her in the country. When Kate considers going back to the city, can Jack find a way to show her that her real home is here on the farm, by his side?

I sat down to read this book after a busy and stressful week. It was the perfect story to lift my spirits. This is a well written, easy read, with characters you can easily relate to, and a story-line to suit most contemporary fiction readers. The romance elements develop nicely over the course of the novel, and the story had just enough drama to keep me turning the pages. I haven’t read a Harlequin novel in a very long time, and I was so taken by the standard of this one, that I can’t wait for Narelle’s next release.

NarelleAbout the Author
NARELLE ATKINS writes contemporary inspirational romance and lives in Canberra, Australia. She sold her debut novel, set in Australia, to Harlequin’s Love Inspired Heartsong Presents line in a six-book contract. She is also a member of International Christian Fiction Writers group blog.
Narelle is a co-founder with Jenny Blake of the Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance (ACRBA).
Her debut book, Falling for the Farmer, will be a February 2014 release, followed by The Nurse’s Perfect Match in May 2014 andThe Doctor’s Return in August 2014.
Twitter: @NarelleAtkins

G’Day. This is ME!

Foot ProofI don’t know about other fiction writers, but I have a challenging time writing about myself. I think this is because I never seem very interesting compared with any of my characters. Maybe that is why I write about imaginary people and not myself! So as I proofed my debut column for this month’s Book Fun Magazine I wondered if the, primarily American audience, wouldn’t be a little bored with the fact that I didn’t like wearing shoes, or that I loved being Australian. Then, after attempting a mental reworking of the piece, I realized one important fact – It is supposed to be about me – and I DON’T particularly like wearing shoes, and I DO love being a North Queenslander (different though we are). I had to write about myself, and that is what I had done.


Here it is – Me being Me. I hope you like it. 🙂 (with a smiley face inclusion – because that is Me too.)

PS – I couldn’t believe that a week after writing the first draft of this piece an old re-run of Crocodile Dundee came on the telly (television). Still get a kick out of that characterization – there really used to be people like Mick Dundee in Queensland.

Then: two days before this magazine went live I had an after school argument with my son about him not wanting to wear his shoes. He wanted to take them off to play. Looks like a case of ‘like mother, like son’!

I’m not buying anything new until Christmas!

A woman hand carrying a bunch of colorful shopping bagsIt was early June when I made this statement. Having just returned from our third camping trip, it occurred to me that there was a whole lot of ‘stuff’ we had, and a great deal of it was superfluous to our existence. Don’t get me wrong, I love my house and am very grateful for every belonging, but having enjoyed camping so much, and with only the very basics, that I realised that there was nothing more I could possibly need.

The conditions of this grand statement were: no new clothes, shoes, accessories; nothing new for the house; no new toys; not one new anything. Only what was necessary, food and consumables, gifts, and what needed replacing (little boys grow and things break).

You would think this isn’t an overly difficult thing to do, but in week one I found myself having to return a product, purchased without thinking. Two months in, I can honestly say that I still find it difficult. There are new fashions out, and not to mention the sales – oh, the sales!

Here is the amazing upside though – I spend a lot more time at home, because apart from groceries, I don’t need to go to the shops. Tully is working hard for every single thing he wants. We have always required him to do jobs, but I was amazed at how a little thing here and a little thing there added up. Now he really appreciates what he receives because he has worked hard for it.

Lifelong lessons are also being learned. God is teaching me a lot about self control, something that I know for sure I have lacked in my life. He is also feeding the heart I have to give to those in need. I have found it astounding how, when you stop concentrating on your wants, you are more in tune with the needs of others.

I am unsure how I will continue in this endeavor. I live in hope that I get to Christmas without having to take anything else back , (explaining my goal to a shop assistant is a little embarrassing). But then, another great revelation in this experiment is, that a good dose of humility is the starting point of change.