Sunday, September 25, 2016

SUNDAY EDITION


Coming Up This Week

Monday

Dianne Wilson

Tuesday

PA Baines

Wednesday

Alice Valdal: The Power of Story

Thursday

Jayne E. Self: Scars

Friday Devotion

Daniella Ojo

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Contest News

Congratulations to Iola Goulton for winning the ACFW Genesis Contest in the novella category. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

New Releases

Marion Ueckermann's contemporary romance set in England, A Hero for Heather, Book 3 in the Seven Suitors for Seven Sisters, releases independently in September 2016 in the Falling for You box set. 

Marion Ueckermann's contemporary romance set in England, A Husband for Holly, Book 4 in the Seven Suitors for Seven Sisters releases independently in September 2016 in the Candy Cane Kisses box set.

Marion Ueckermann and Narelle Atkins will have contemporary romance novellas releasing in An Aussie Summer Christmas box set on September 27. The six stories in the box set collection are set in Australia.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Upcoming Releases

Book 2 in Sandra Orchard’s Serena Jones Mysteries series set in St. Louis, USA, Another Day, Another Dali, will be an October 2016 release from Revell Publishing.

Kara Isaac's contemporary romantic comedy set in England, Can't Help Falling, will be an October 2016 release from Howard Books.

Narelle Atkins' contemporary romance novella set in Australia, Seaside Christmas, book 3.5 in the Sydney Sweethearts series, will release independently in October 2016.

Marion Ueckermann's contemporary romance set in Ireland, Ginger & Brad's House, will release in October 2016 in the Frosting and Flurries box set.

Valerie Comer's contemporary romance set in the US, More Than a Tiara, Book 1 in the Christmas in Montana Romance series, will release independently in October 2016. More Than a Tiara was formerly part of Snowflake Tiara.

Marion Ueckermann's contemporary romance novella set in Australia, Melbourne Memories, will release independently in November 2016.

Marion Ueckermann's contemporary romance set in England, A Romance for Rose, Book 2 in the Seven Suitors for Seven Sisters Series, releases independently in November 2016.

Valerie Comer's contemporary romance set in the US, Other Than a Halo, Book 2 in the Christmas in Montana Romance series, releases independently in November 2016.

Lisa Harris' romantic suspense, Desert Secrets, will be a February 2017 release from Love Inspired Suspense.

Lisa Harris' romantic suspense, Pursued, will be an April 2017 release from Revell.

Patricia Beal's debut contemporary women’s fiction set in Germany and in the United States, A Season to Dance, will be a May 2017 release from Bling! Romance / Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

To find more International Christian Fiction books, please visit our 2013 - 2016 Book Releases page and Backlist Titles.

Friday, September 23, 2016

What's on Heaven's Bookshelf?


Where does God keep His books? No, I’m not being facetious, for it is a fact that the Almighty has books in heaven. Who looks after them is not mentioned, or where they are stored, but they are there. I believe God was the original author and we have the privilege of following His lead. Maybe the reason for our overstocked bookcases can be attributed the sharing in this interest of God too.

How the psalmist knew of this he doesn’t say. This is what he records: ‘Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed.’ Psalm 139:16.

I wonder what God wrote beside each day the psalmist lived? Do I wonder what He writes in the columns of my days? Sometimes!

Books are mentioned a few times in Revelation. The one in chapter 5 caused John to weep loudly and feel deeply for it appeared no one could open it. That was until the Lamb stepped forward. It opened up issues people have been discussing ever since. Does that book relate to the book sealed in Daniel 12? In that chapter God made what was written an intriguing mystery. The account doesn’t say how Daniel felt but as he had been privileged with other future events I think he would have shed a tear or two also.

In Revelation 20 there are two, maybe three books highlighted. They are judicial books which will strike fear into those called before the throne. The book of life mentioned in both Testaments, (Exodus32:32-33.Psalm 69:28) a record of personal works seeking salvation through them. How sad will the verdict be as by such works no one can reach the standard required without Jesus as Lord and Saviour! Only by faith in Him can a person be recorded in another book titled ‘The Lambs book of Life.’ (Revelation 13:8). A person’s name though foreknown comes alight when that individual calls out to Jesus the crucified and risen Lord.

I have to admit I’m intrigued by a small scroll in Revelation 10:8-10. John had to take it and eat it. Was this a special and one off, limited edition? Sweet to the mouth, bitter to the stomach it had to be ‘regurgitated’ by John through his pen. None of us should have an idea that our writings are divinely inspired, but there is a principle shown here. What is it? What we receive from the Lord is pleasing to our taste. However when we share it with others they reject it. The result, we feel a sense of the bitterness of the moment, for the person and their loss which is ultimately sourness to their soul.

The final book I find on Heaven’s bookshelf is mentioned in Malachi 3:16. It is called ‘a book of remembrance.’ The name of those inscribed was because the revered the Lord and encouraged one another. They did this in troublesome times and the Lord was so pleased He underwrote their names with ‘They shall be mine. My special possession.’ Is this a one off book? Could it also be applied to Hebrews 10:23-25? There we read of a Church facing persecution. How did they rise about the pain, shame and loss? They held fast their faith. They believed in the faithfulness of the One who promised. They provoked each other to love [each other and their persecutors] and good deeds. They met together for mutual encouragement and may I add, to remember the Lord in teaching and communion.

That’s a book I’d like my name to be etched in. It is, however, Heaven’s book of those in hostile places who stand true to Christ and each other. Should you or I be facing such situations may, by God’s grace we stand true.

©Ray Hawkins September 2016.


The Warrior Lord's Sword is my latest 31 day Devotional. Scripture has a lot to say about itself. This centres around Hebrews 4:12.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

An Expectant Heart

Image courtesy of Tuomas_Lehtinen
FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Late last year a pastor spoke a word over me about the Lord wanting to give me a new book, a new optimism and referenced Habakkuk 2:2-3 which talks of waiting on a new vision. I stored it away and got on with life.

Over the last couple of years I’ve felt an increasing urge to start writing non-fiction material in addition to my fiction. A dear friend who has read some of the material encouraged me to give it serious consideration.

In May I determined I would head to Nashville in late August to attend this year’s ACFW Conference. I’d been to one in 2012 and have longed to return. Soon a bunch of things fell into place: Ted Dekker (an author hero of mine) was announced as keynote, my Angelguard publisher (Lion Fiction) would be present, an editor friend who I’ve never met was attending, and other friends from the US (some fellow ICFW members) and from down under were going. In addition, I submitted the manuscript to the sequel to Angelguard, Wrestling with Shadows (WWS), to Lion in early July.

There was a lot to be excited about. I left Sydney with an expectant heart. But with no expectations. I sensed the Lord would reveal something, what, I didn’t know and was excited to find out.

“There is an ocean of difference between expectations and expectancy.”1

Meeting old and new friends

My wife and I arrived a few days before the conference. We’d both wanted to visit Nashville. One of favourite TV shows in recent times is “Nashville” and so having the conference in the same city was a great reason to pay a visit. Fiona had to head off to Baltimore for work while I was conferencing so we got to be tourists for a few days before she had to fly out. It certainly is a fun place especially if you like country music.

As I waved Fiona goodbye at 4.30am (yes, she had a very early flight) my sense of expectancy grew. It was still 2 days before the conference started and I had set up a few meetings with various people. I had lunch with our very own David Rawlings (we’d never met before) and breakfast with friends Rel Mollet, Dotti Adamek and Ronie Kendig. It was a special treat to finally meet Rel after being buddies for a number of years.

Dotti Adamek and I getting ready
for Allen Arnold's workshop

Surprise, surprise

One of the wonderful aspects of conferences is running into people who’ve connected with virtually but have never met. I continued to have some delightful catchups.

The Lord kept on surprising me. I unexpectedly got to spend ninety minutes over coffee with Ted Dekker and his business partner. Talk about wow! Then another author hero of mine had a cancellation and we shared dinner together. My heart was buzzing and the conference hadn’t even started.

I set up a meeting with my publisher on the morning the conference started. I hoped he’d give me an update on WWS but hadn’t anything new to share as it was still doing the rounds within the publisher. Then he asked me whether I had any interest in writing non-fiction? You could have knocked me over with a feather.

I lifted my jaw off the table and realised I had an opportunity to give him a pitch. I wasn’t prepared (hey, it’s a fiction conference) and it showed. Tony was kind enough to chat over possibilities and we agreed I’d prepare a proposal and get it to him as soon as possible.

Heart overflowing

And then the conference began. Wow, so many great things happened. Not just for me but others. New friends (you know who you are) got asked to submit manuscripts, Iola and Jebraun won their Genesis Awards and golly gosh it was so good being present when their names were read out. I felt like a proud dad or older brother. And let’s not forget David Rawlings was a Genesis finalist. So great the Beyond the Borders clan is making inroads. Sharing breakfast with the BtB clan was fun. Two tables this year. There was only one when I attended in 2012.
David & Jebraun a few moments
before the Gala Event


The workshops, don’t get me started as I could write another entire post on those, the special worship time, witnessing God’s power and peace in the prayer room, new friends, and on it goes.

“Staying expectant is the opposite [of expectation]. It reflects anticipation for what’s to come. It is being open to what does happen regardless of what you think should happen. Life is not meant to be something we control but something we experience.”2

A few weeks have passed and as I was thinking about what to write for this post I read Allen Arnold’s words quoted above and the Lord reminded me of the word I received late last year.

Will I become a non-fiction author? Maybe. Maybe not. But I sure want to savour the experience writing with the Lord as we discover whether I will be or not. And that’s more than enough for me.

When have you approached a situation expectant and been surprised by the Lord’s goodness? I’d love for us all to be encouraged by each other’s experiences.

Notes: 1 and 2. Allen Arnold, “The Story of With” p103. Self-published.



Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Northern Sydney. Ian's first novel of speculative fiction, Angelguard, is available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Refreshing the Writer's Mind


By Morgan Tarpley

This writer just returned on Sunday from a mini writer’s retreat that my critique partner and I set up months ago. We usually attend a writer’s conference around this time every year but sadly it has been cancelled this year, so we decided to create our own writer’s retreat weekend instead. And it was great!

The first step was finding the perfect place: not too far from home and within driving distance, secluded to not tempt us with all the shopping options and other nearby attractions, well-furnished kitchen for our meals at the location, and lastly an inspiring location. 

About eight years ago I worked part-time as a travel agent and that job is how I met my critique partner, Carole. She was a veteran travel agent there, and we both hit it off immediately with our love for travel, books and writing – among many other interests as well. But, anyway back to the story at hand, it was when I worked at the travel agency that I found the spot that would house us over the weekend for our first writer’s retreat. And this is it! Willowbrook Cottage! 


One of the shared interests Carole and I possess is a love for all things British, so when we thought of where to hold the retreat I knew exactly where to suggest – the perfect little English-style cottage within a four hour drive from her house. We live in north Louisiana, and the cottage is tucked away in a small town surrounded by mountains called Mena. It’s in the state of Arkansas.

My Writing Spot
Healthy Writers Breakfast!
While at the cottage, we set a schedule to get the most out of the few days we were there. We had packed many healthy snacks and tea and scones, of course, along with items for quick lunches and dinners. We did go out one night for dinner to the Queen Wilhelmina Lodge Restaurant on top of a mountain with a gorgeous view.

Our day began around 8 a.m. after breakfast, prayer and a devotional and we started our first writing session at 9 a.m. Then, we worked for two hours, then took a 15-minute break, then continued on throughout the day with the sessions and breaks with an hour break for lunch and dinner. 

We knew to be most productive we needed to keep to the schedules, but we did take little breaks whenever we needed them and we had mini brainstorming sessions in between to help each other when we were stuck on a scene, etc.


View from the restaurant
Overall, the whole weekend was quite productive and enjoyable. And, truly, the location couldn’t have been better. It was secluded, well-furnished, quiet and inspiring with a lovely garden around the house and a waterfall. To top it off, the owners are a really sweet couple, whom are fellow believers in Christ, and he is from England. Isn’t that something?! And, furthermore, he aspires (like us) to be a published inspirational fiction author. It was just a God-ordained experience. We hope to go back for another writer’s retreat next year! For more information about our location, visit their website here.


So, have you attended a writer’s retreat whether an officially organized one or just with a friend or two like we did? What did you enjoy most about it? Do you have any tips to share? If you could have a writing retreat anywhere, where do you think your ideal location would be?


Morgan Tarpley is an award-winning newspaper reporter and photographer in Louisiana. She is also an inspirational novelist seeking representation. Besides writing and traveling to over a dozen countries, her interests include acting in her local theater, genealogy, photography, and singing. She resides in Louisiana with her husband.
For more information about Morgan, visit her website (www.morgantarpley.com). You can also connect with her on FacebookTwitterPinterest, or Goodreads.


Monday, September 19, 2016

Introducing An Aussie Summer Christmas

A guest post from Meredith Resce


The Christmas season—as we call it in Australia—is always a favourite time of year for me. As a kid we would have the various school graduation services, Christmas parties, and end-of-year breakup parties all at one time. December was crazy. Living on the farm, it was also harvest time, and though it was getting hot, we would struggle to find someone to take us to the next town, where the district swimming pool was located. December is beach weather, but there was less chance of making it to the coast, an hour’s drive away.

Instead, we would spend that week before Christmas decorating the house, putting fake frost on the windows, watching Christmas movies that featured snow and sleds, and hanging Christmas lights that we couldn’t switch on until late because of the long summer days. I had no idea what Christmas in the cold must be like, with long dark nights, snow, fires and hot drinks. We had those images on our Christmas cards, and joined in with Bing as he sang ‘White Christmas’.

It was all part of the season.

The best part was Christmas Eve. We would go into town to the little church and sing those precious old carols, accompanied by my grandmother on the old pump organ. Then we’d go to the main street where the locals would gather to sing carols out the front of the shop. Santa would arrive on the back of a ute (that’s Aussie for truck), we’d all get an ice-block and lollies (candy/sweets), and then tie ourselves in knots of excitement waiting for Santa to come visit. Of course he would visit us in Australia first, as we are a good ten to fourteen hours ahead of other countries. (He’d drop into New Zealand first, of course.)

So when I was asked to be part of this Christmas box set that had an Aussie theme, I was excited to have the opportunity. Just as I’m not familiar with the white Christmas, I’m guessing there are a number of readers out there who would not be familiar with our warm, summer Christmas.


We also have a beach theme. 


Luckily, I have had some experience with the beach since my childhood, so I’ve chosen one of the world’s most popular surf beaches—Torquay, Victoria.

In this set we have four Australian authors, and you will get a great mix. Two of the authors, Rose and Andrea, are from Queensland, a tropical region that is always warm and humid. One of the authors is from Canberra, the nation’s capital city. Canberra is nowhere near the coast, but Narelle has set her story in Sydney. I’m from the region known as the Flinders Ranges in South Australia, but I’ve set my story in Victoria.

Then, as part of the set, we have international authors, Lacy Williams and Marion Ueckermann. Lacy lives in Oklahoma (that’s a mile or two away from the Australian coast), and Marion lives in South Africa. I’ve read their Aussie stories, and felt they did a good job of representing those of us from Down Under.

During the proofing process I got to read each of the stories included in this set, and you are in for a treat: some engaging characters and great plot lines, with that added element of visiting Australia during the Christmas season. We don’t say ‘holiday season’ because we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving and Halloween. But we sure do celebrate Christmas and New Year. Barbeque, back-yard cricket, trips to the beach, and the odd case of sunburn.

Join us this holiday season, and take a trip Down Under.


About Meredith Resce

Meredith Resce is a popular Australian Christian fiction author, who has had novels in the Australian Christian market since 1997. She is proud of her Australian rural heritage, and is looking forward to sharing with readers from the international Christian Fiction community.

Her story, Falling for Maddie Grace, is set against the back drop of Australia’s number one spectator sport, Aussie Rules football. Maddie Grace, Australia’s first professional female umpire, gets caught up in an on field incident that sees her clash with a player, Zac Beecham. The accidental tangle brings about more than a trip to the hospital. The over-imaginative press decide there is a secret love affair between the two – a situation that, if true, compromises Maddie’s position and Zac’s reputation.

The other stories in the collection are:

Melbourne Memories by USA Today bestselling author Marion Ueckermann

Escaping his dangerous past, former British rock star Justin “The Phoenix” Taylor flees to Australia. Intrigued by the bearded stranger visiting her coffee shop, Ella Anderson decides to discover his secrets. But when Justin’s past collides with their future, Ella must decide whether they have a future at all.

Next Door Santa by USA Today bestselling author Lacy Williams

Will Harris is proud of his no-complications life. So why is he drawn to his upstairs neighbor, who seems obsessed with Christmas? Can Bridie soften Will-the-Scrooge’s heart in time for Christmas?

Seaside Christmas by Narelle Atkins

Political advisor and former bad boy Gus Donovan is intrigued by Chelsea Somers, the girl he didn’t call after their one and only date, six years ago. Chelsea is impressed by the new Gus, but can she trust him with her family secrets ... and with her heart?

A Christmas Resolution by Rose Dee

Breeah has avoided returning to her Australian coastal hometown of Kiisay Point for ten years—avoided the mistake that changed her life, ruined her friendships, and soured her first love. She’s never returned to Resolution, the island where it all happened. But now she’s back, and having to face up to the childhood she loved, the man she can’t forget, and the future that won’t start until she lets it all go.

All is Bright by Andrea Grigg

Amy’s always been a good Christian girl…except for being in love with her brother-in-law. Josh is looking for love again, surprised to find it with his late wife’s sister. But will a mountain of guilt and an unexpected letter stop them from making it to the altar?

Preorder An Aussie Summer Christmas from Amazon.com

Sunday, September 18, 2016

SUNDAY EDITION


Coming Up This Week

Monday

Iola Goulton: Introducing An Aussie Summer Christmas

Tuesday

Morgan Tarpley Smith

Wednesday

Ian Acheson

Thursday

Marcia Laycock

Friday Devotion

Ray Hawkins: What's on Heaven's Bookshelf?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Contest News

Congratulations to Iola Goulton for winning the ACFW Genesis Contest in the novella category. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

New Releases

Valerie Comer's contemporary romance set in the US, More Than a Tiara, Book 1 in the Christmas in Montana Romance series, releases independently in September 2016. More Than a Tiara was formerly part of Snowflake Tiara.

Marion Ueckermann's contemporary romance set in England, A Hero for Heather, Book 3 in the Seven Suitors for Seven Sisters, releases independently in September 2016 in the Falling for You box set. 

Marion Ueckermann's contemporary romance set in England, A Husband for Holly, Book 4 in the Seven Suitors for Seven Sisters releases independently in September 2016 in the Candy Cane Kisses box set.

Marion Ueckermann and Narelle Atkins will have contemporary romance novellas releasing in An Aussie Summer Christmas box set on September 27. The six stories in the box set collection are set in Australia.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Upcoming Releases

Book 2 in Sandra Orchard’s Serena Jones Mysteries series set in St. Louis, USA, Another Day, Another Dali, will be an October 2016 release from Revell Publishing.

Kara Isaac's contemporary romantic comedy set in England, Can't Help Falling, will be an October 2016 release from Howard Books.

Narelle Atkins' contemporary romance novella set in Australia, Seaside Christmas, book 3.5 in the Sydney Sweethearts series, will release independently in October 2016.

Marion Ueckermann's contemporary romance set in Ireland, Ginger & Brad's House, will release in October 2016 in the Frosting and Flurries box set.

Marion Ueckermann's contemporary romance novella set in Australia, Melbourne Memories, will release independently in November 2016.

Marion Ueckermann's contemporary romance set in England, A Romance for Rose, Book 2 in the Seven Suitors for Seven Sisters Series, releases independently in November 2016.

Lisa Harris' romantic suspense, Desert Secrets, will be a February 2017 release from Love Inspired Suspense.

Lisa Harris' romantic suspense, Pursued, will be an April 2017 release from Revell.

Patricia Beal's debut contemporary women’s fiction set in Germany and in the United States, A Season to Dance, will be a May 2017 release from Bling! Romance / Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

To find more International Christian Fiction books, please visit our 2013 - 2016 Book Releases page and Backlist Titles.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Devotion: Getting God's Attention


"See, God has come to save me.
I will trust in him and not be afraid.
The Lord God is my strength and my song;
he has given me victory."
Isaiah 12 v 2

Health, finances, family relationships, your job situation, infertility... whatever your issue is.

Today's devotion is aimed at anyone who is struggling to trust God. Maybe you've been praying for breakthrough for a long time and you just cannot see anything shifting. Or perhaps you are in such a desperate place that if God doesn't come through for you, you are sunk. I'm right next to you in this trench.

Bear with me for a moment and let me tell you the story of my cat, Sleepy. She is a sweet little thing who has a built-in alarm clock in her belly and is vocal enough to let the neighbourhood know when she is hungry. Sleepy will come and meow for food from exactly an hour before suppertime and continue to do so until those biscuits hit her bowl. She has stamina for nagging that would see most athletes through the Olympics.

I was in the kitchen last night, trying to wrap my brain around all I needed to get through before bedtime. Feeding the cats was already crossed off my To-Do's, so when Sleepy came nagging, I ignored her. She didn't give up. She came right up close and licked my leg. Three times. I kid you not.

That got my attention like nothing else. It made me laugh and remember again, just how much I love this goofy animal. I looked around and saw that her water bowl was empty. One refilled bowl later and I had a happy cat.

Unlike me and my cat, God never ignores us. Psalm 35 v 15 tells us that 'the eyes of the Lord are towards the righteous, and his ears towards their cry.' He won't ignore us but I have a feeling that it tickles Him pink when we seek Him out. He loves nothing more than being with us, otherwise  why would He have sent Jesus to make a way for us to be with him forever?

So I encourage you today, no matter what you're facing, give Him your attention. In whatever way you are able. Lick His leg if that's all you can manage.

I'm standing with you in this trench and together we have front row seats to His miracles. Let me know when yours arrive!

Dianne J. Wilson writes novels from her hometown in East London, South Africa, where she lives with her husband and three daughters. She has just signed a three book contract for a YA series, Spirit Walker, with Pelican / Watershed.

Finding Mia is available from AmazonPelican / Harbourlight, Barnes & Noble and other bookstores.

Shackles is available as a free ebook from Amazon & Smashwords.


Find her on FacebookTwitter and her sporadic blog Doodles.