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.http://internationalchristianfictionwriters.blogspot.com
Narelle is a co-founder with Jenny Blake of the Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance (ACRBA). http://acrba.blogspot.com
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 https://twitter.com/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.

Another Snippet of Wisdom.

Sun shiningHere is the next saying from inside the covers of my Dad’s Bible.

‘Immensely Spiritual; Thoroughly Practical.’ 

So what does this mean? I think it’s about balance. We all know that faith without deeds is useless. But a lack of faith can also be debilitating.

Balance is hard. I know I don’t always get it right. But I do know I am learning every day.

I don’t know who originally said this little snippet of wisdom. If you are aware of the source please let me know.

The first ‘Snippet of Wisdom.’

John Wesley, along with his brother Charles was credited in founding the Methodist Movement. It was a movement that encouraged people to have their own personal relationship with Jesus.
John Wesley, along with his brother Charles was credited with founding the Methodist Movement. It was a movement that encouraged people to have their own personal relationship with Jesus.

I have decided that short blogs with a great message are sometimes the best, so I am embarking upon a string of blogs centered around inspirational quotes. Some of these have been real ‘light bulb’ moments in my life. I hope you enjoy these snippets of wisdom as much as I have.

I am starting with my Dad’s favorite sayings. Here is the first:

Do all the good you can,

by all the means you can,

in all the ways you can,

at all the times you can,

to all the people you can,

as long as ever you can. ‘

(John Wesley)

Wouldn’t the world be different if we all applied this saying to every deed and thought. I think my father loved this saying because it supported the Lord’s direction to us – to love one another.

Amanda Deed’s ‘Black Forest Redemption’.

blackforestredemptionsmallHave you ever read an historic novel where you were so engrossed in the story line you didn’t even realise you were learning something about historical events and places? When I had finished ‘Black Forest Redemption’ by Amanda Deed, I thought back over the story and marveled at the way she had incorporated so much of our Australian history into the novel. This is a fast paced read – which I loved. Action, adventure, romance, and the added bonus of a dramatic insight into this colourful era of Australian history. 

A man resigned to a life without fulfillment or purpose. A woman desperate for adventure. Set against the tumultuous times of the Eureka uprising in Ballaarat, 1854, the two find themselves victims of an abduction. To escape could mean death. To hope for rescue is not an option. Together they must find a way to survive in an untamed land where bushrangers, dense forest and wild animals are only some of the dangers they must face. Can he find the courage to succeed? Can she realise her dreams of freedom? Will the ordeal forge a bond of love between them, or drive them apart? And above all, will they find their way home?

Amanda was good enough to answer some questions about ‘Black Forest Redemption’ for me.

1. I think that Australia’s gold rush era tends to be romanticised in our modern culture, but it could be a very dangerous time to live in. Did your research unearth any interesting stories, and how did the lawless aspects of this era influence your story line in Black Forest Redemption?

I actually stumbled across a conspiracy theory from a descendant of a family who was very involved in the lead-up to the Eurkea Stockade. He suggested, and he had some compelling evidence (none of which I’ve verified) that perhaps the sly grog industry was involved. The Eureka Hotel was doing good business, so the sly grog people tried to put him out of business, setting him up for murder. The murder outside the Eureka Hotel was one of the factors that started the flame of revolt leading to the Stockade. I hinted at this controversy in Black Forest Redemption. With men around who were either greedy or desperate for gold, it was dangerous indeed.

2. One thing that struck me when I read Black Forest Redemption was the drastic difference between what was appropriate for pioneering woman, and what was appropriate for women today. How hard was it to write a strong, independent female character, and still work within the constraints of the era?

One of the reasons I used a head-strong female character was to show what women were not permitted to do in that time period, and the scandal they caused if they did. Things that seem insignificant to us today, such as wearing or not wearing gloves, the length of hems, the way one sat on a horse. The 1800s was still a very ‘women belong in the home/kitchen’ time period. I had a lot of fun with my character though, who wanted to break out of those confines, but did learn a few lessons along the way, that some of those confines are useful.

3. The Australian bush plays a major role in this story. It feels like a main character, the way it influences and sways each villain and hero in the book. As the author, how important was it that the stetting of this story stand out?

When I first read about the Black Forest, that it was a favoured haunt of bush rangers, and that travellers feared to pass there – at least not to camp there for the night – I thought it would be a great setting for a story. What better place to hide a couple of abductees? And what a great adventure to try and escape from there. I drove up to Mount Macedon to explore the area, so the view described from the top of the mountain is from my actual experience. So is the discovery of the waterfall. That waterfall actually exists. Nothing much remains of the Black Forest today, however, as most of it was logged by the late 1800s. But there is a road called Black Forest Drive which leads into the Macedon area.

Amanda2You can visit Amanda at:



Picking up the Pieces, by Paula Vince.


How do you know a book is good? For me it is when you go through wave after wave of emotions when reading it. ‘Picking up the Pieces’ did this for me. It was so well put together, I could hardly believe it when ‘villains’ won me over, and I wanted to throttle the heroine.  I started out thinking that the subject matter was a bit heavy, but the characters are depicted in such a relatable way that I found myself sympathizing with each complex situation.  Paula Vince does an amazing job of drawing you into each heartbreaking predicament, as well as portraying the power of love and forgiveness.

About the Book:

“One terrible decision leads to another and the Parker and Quinlan families find out what it means to be in total despair.
In a moment of recklessness, Blake Quinlan does something he never should. The bitter consequences of his impulse will reverberate through the rest of his life unless he learns to deal with his past.
Without warning, Claire Parker’s life shatters. One horrific event leads to a choice that she can never forget. She must find a source of strength and forgiveness to help her recover or she will never again be the happy person she once was.
Moving forward, there is still a ray of hope. A triumphant story about forgiveness, new beginnings and the power of love.”

paula promotional photoAbout the Author

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.