Tag: narelle atkins

Which lesser-known Christian authors do you wish more readers knew about?

Bookish Question #80 | Which lesser-known Christian authors do you wish more readers knew about?

It’s easy to find out about the big-name authors in Christian publishing.

Think Francine Rivers and Karen Kingsbury. It’s not hard to find out about some of the middle rank—the authors whose books you see reviewed, or you find on the shelf of your local Christian bookstore.

But, as a reader, it can be harder to find out about the lesser-known Christian authors.

It’s equally hard—or harder—for those authors to find readers.

I try and feature some lesser-known Christian authors on my blog, either through book reviews, author interviews, or First Line Friday posts. But I still have to find out about them somehow, and that’s often through them contacting me to request a review or interview.

Anyway, here’s my completely biased list of ten lesser-known Christian authors I suggest you watch out for:

What do you think? Which lesser-known Christian author do you wish more readers knew about?

Book Recommendation | Solo Tu by Narelle Atkins (Tuscan Legacy #7)

The concept behind the Tuscan Legacy series is an original and fascinating concept: nine books by seven authors, each featuring one of the eight Rossi cousins. The settings are fabulous—from Tuscany to Australia, via Rome, Reading, New York, and Texas.

Solu Tu is the Australian connection, and is the tenth book from Australian author Narelle Atkins. It’s my favourite of the series (and not just because I worked with Narelle to refine and edit the story). It’s set in Sydney, and if we can’t have a Christian romance set in New Zealand, then Australia is the next best thing.

And there’s cricket, which is one of my favourite armchair sports. (If you know nothing about cricket, check out my Wandering Wednesday post at International Christian Fiction Writers last week).

A fun friendship formed over cricket and church soon turns serious as Sienna Rossi and Dave Maxwell realize how much they have in common. Both are teachers, both are Christians, both are family-focused.

Both have family problems—Sienna with her cousins, and Dave with his grandmother. They work at the same school, attend the same church, and soon find they have a mutual attraction. But neither are planning to stay in Sydney …

Solu Tu is a unique twist on an age-old story, with a fabulous Australian setting and an underlying family mystery throughout the series. Recommended for all lovers of contemporary Christian romance, especially those who like novels with international settings.

About Narelle Atkins

Author Photo Narelle AtkinsA 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.

Find Narelle Atkins online at:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

About Solo Tu:

Home means everything to Sienna Rossi.

Four years ago, Sienna defied her father by moving to Australia to obtain her teaching qualifications. Her grand plan is shaken by her father’s unexpected death and a trip back to Tuscany for her grandmother’s eightieth birthday where she renews her close bond with her sister, Alessa.

Teacher Dave Maxwell likes the freedom of his nomadic lifestyle. He works contract-to-contract, moving to different high schools around Australia. He’s in Sydney for a season, caring for his grandma while his aunt is on an extended overseas vacation.

Back in Sydney, Sienna moves in with her Aussie cousins and starts her first teaching job, torn between her dream for a future in Australia and her longing for home. Sienna and Dave work at the same school, attend the same church, and quickly become friends. They are drawn together by circumstances and an undeniable attraction.

But their idyllic time together is temporary. Can the girl from Tuscany and the boy from Australia risk everything for love?

You can find Solo Tu online at:

Amazon | Goodreads

 

You can read the introduction to Solo Tu below:

First Line Friday

First Line Friday | Week 43 | Solo Tu by Narelle Atkins

It’s First Line Friday, which means it’s time to open the book nearest you and share the first line. Today I’m sharing from Solo Tu by Narelle Atkins. It’s the seventh book in the Tuscan Legacy series, and it’s my completely biased favourite, because it’s set in Australia.

Here’s the first line:

Her fifth autumn in Australia wasn’t ending the way she’d planned.

About Solo Tu:

Home means everything to Sienna Rossi.

Four years ago, Sienna defied her father by moving to Australia to obtain her teaching qualifications. Her grand plan is shaken by her father’s unexpected death and a trip back to Tuscany for her grandmother’s eightieth birthday where she renews her close bond with her sister, Alessa.

Teacher Dave Maxwell likes the freedom of his nomadic lifestyle. He works contract-to-contract, moving to different high schools around Australia. He’s in Sydney for a season, caring for his grandma while his aunt is on an extended overseas vacation.

Back in Sydney, Sienna moves in with her Aussie cousins and starts her first teaching job, torn between her dream for a future in Australia and her longing for home. Sienna and Dave work at the same school, attend the same church, and quickly become friends. They are drawn together by circumstances and an undeniable attraction.

But their idyllic time together is temporary. Can the girl from Tuscany and the boy from Australia risk everything for love?

You can find Solo Tu online at:

Amazon | Goodreads

Click the button to check out what my fabulous fellow FirstLineFriday bloggers are sharing today:

You can then click the link which will take you to the master page of all this week’s #FirstLineFriday posts.

And you can click here to check out my previous FirstLineFriday posts.

Share your first line in the comments, and happy reading!

What is Success?

A Thought for Today | What is Success?

This post first appeared at Australasian Christian Writers in February 2015.

How do we define success?

I’ve recently read two Christian romance novels which looked completely different on the surface, but ended up both addressing two issues we all have to grapple with. I then read an article on Writer Unboxed which addressed the same issues, although not from a Christian perspective.

This got me thinking … if it came up three times in a day, it must be important.

The first novel was The Doctor’s Return by Narelle Atkins.

In the novel, Megan has to decide between chasing career success by pursuing an advanced degree in the city, or staying in her hometown and marrying her high school sweetheart. Towards the end, Megan says:

I don’t need to chase academic accolades to feel like I’m a success.

I’ve spent twenty years working in a corporate environment, and I’ve seen a lot of people chasing career success, whether measured by the degrees they hold, the promotions they are awarded, the position title they hold, or the salary they earn.

Yes, we all need to work, and many of us are lucky enough to be able to earn a living doing a job we enjoy. But degrees, money or position shouldn’t be our sole source of recognition, our sole measure of success.

As Christians, we have a higher calling.

The second book I read was Too Pretty by Andrea Grigg.

This is the story of Ellie, who meets the gorgeous Nate about ten minutes after declaring a six-month moratorium on dating. She realises that in the absence of her family (serving as missionaries in countries such as Papua New Guinea and Uganda), she has been turning to a succession of loser boyfriends to fill the void inside. She decides:

I want to allow God to fill up those spaces, not boyfriends or even my family.

I’m sure we all remember that girl at high school, the one who always had a boyfriend, and managed to acquire another one within days (hours?) of breaking up with the previous one. We’ve all seen the photographs of the ageing lothario with a beautiful new wife young enough to be his granddaughter.

This is another way of chasing success: instead of searching for identity and success in work, some people seek to find their identity in their partner or spouse. They don’t consider themselves successful without the right man (or woman) on their arm.

Expectations

Writers (and probably other creative types) have a third issue: the crushing weight of expectation, the temptation:

For our self-worth to become wrapped up in our commercial performance.

For the hope or dream that this will be:

the manuscript that validates me in the eyes of my family, my friends or my peers.

While the writer isn’t a Christian (as far as I know), it strikes me that many Christians experience this same compulsion to seek validation, to chase success.

Why?

We know the verses. God has a plan for my life. God shall supply all my needs. God will grant the desires of my heart.

But will He?

Yes. And no.

Whether we are writing as a calling from God or an offering to God, I believe he will honour that sacrifice as long as we are being obedient to Him and to His plan for us. To obey is better than sacrifice. We are deceiving ourselves if we believe anything else.

There can be a fine line between writing (or doing anything else) to serve God, versus writing to serve ourselves, and the emphasis on marketing ourselves can make it hard to see that line (like the log and the splinter).

There is a danger that we can turn our writing into an idol. A danger that we measure “success” by the number of sales or blog comments or website hits or Twitter followers. We look for external validation rather than seeking to obey the author and perfecter of our faith. It’s something I need to remind myself of all the time.

We are called to be His disciples: that means disciplining ourselves to follow His plan. Not our own.

God can’t bless our writing unless it’s His plan for our lives. And His plan for our writing might not be that we sell it for megabucks. It might be that we give it away (like on a free blog!). It might be that the “audience of one” you are writing to help is actually yourself.

Where do we seek validation for our writing? How do we measure success? Through God—or others?

Book Review: The Bridesmaid’s Hero by Narelle Atkins

Amazon Description

Serena Blaxland’s job at her parents’ B&B in Snowgum Creek, Australia, is only temporary. Sparks fly when hire car driver Harry Westmore saves the beautiful pastry chef from disrupting her sister’s wedding day, but the opportunity of a lifetime threatens to push them apart. Can Harry and Serena’s love and faith overcome the obstacles in their path?

My Review

Okay, I’m slow. I’d wondered why Bridesmaid’s Hero was part of a box set was called Love Blossoms. There was the obvious: that each of the seven stories had a flower or garden theme. But I’ve only just realised that it’s also around spring blossoms, because was published as the Northern Hemisphere was coming into spring. Duh. It’s high summer here. Spring is almost a year away.

Anyway . . .

The Bridesmaid’s Hero is a standalone story which is part of a series (although after reading it, you might just want to check out more in the series).

It was a fun Aussie story featuring two characters who have to decide if their attraction and common faith is enough to overcome the obstacles in their way. I did have to question the sanity and intelligence of one of the characters: surely no normal person would call a snake ‘pretty’! (However, it did provide the hero with an early opportunity to be a hero.

It’s a short story, but a fun easy read for a bright summer day (or a long winter night).

Thanks to Narelle Atkins for providing a free ebook for review. Disclosure: I edited Bridesmaid’s Hero, so there might be a slight element of bias in my review . . . This review previously appeared at Iola’s Christian Reads.