ACRBA tour Better than a superhero by Belinda Francis, illustrated by Kayleen West

 21st – 25th  June 2014

is introducing

Better Than A Superhero

(Wombat books, 1 May 2014)

By

Belinda Francis, illustrated by Kayleen West

 

About the Book

Who is better than a superhero? Find out about Jesus as you explore what he did and who he was. And most importantly how Jesus really can be your best friend!

About the Authors

Belinda Francis

Award winning journalist turned children’s author Belinda Francis worked in newspapers, magazines and electronic media for ten years in South Africa before she and her family immigrated to Queensland.

Shortly after arriving in Australia, her elder son was diagnosed with ASD and she devoted the next few years to his early intervention, which with God’s guidance, has paid off miraculously. Her second son, who had been born ten weeks prematurely, is now healthy and strong – evidence of yet another miracle. She and her family recently celebrated the arrival of their third child, a much-prayed for daughter.

While raising her children, Belinda wrote Better than a Superhero, her first published book, and threw herself into the local church and community. She runs the Sunday school program at her church campus.

Belinda is passionate about raising children up in God’s kingdom and excited about the ministry opportunities the book will undoubtedly open up.

Kayleen West

An award winning artist, her work hangs in private and corporate collections in France, United States, Italy, and the Australian Embassy in Ireland and in government collections in Australia.

Although an initial childhood dream was to write and illustrate for children, Kayleen was encouraged to venture into a career of an exhibiting fine artist and later a graphic designer.

Returning to her original passion in 2009, Kayleen is now a published children’s Author and Illustrator working on her third children’s book and writes Christian content for magazines and blogs.

Kayleen is the author and illustrator of Without Me? (Wombat Books, 2013) and the illustrator of Better than a Superhero (Even Before Publishing, 2014).

For more information: www.kayleenwest.com.au  

Friday Weekend Escape to Ohio, USA with Jennifer A. Davids

Today we’re escaping for the weekend to Ohio, USA with my author friend Jennifer A. Davids. Jennifer is giving us a tour of her home state of Ohio and sharing her love of the history of The Buckeye State. Enjoy!

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I’m a Buckeye.

For those of you who may be scratching your heads and seriously doubting my sanity let me explain. Here in the States, that declaration is immediately understood one of three ways. You are: a) from Ohio (The Buckeye State), b) a graduate of The Ohio State University (our mascot is a buckeye also known as a horse chestnut) or c) both. As it turns out I am a full on ‘c’. Both sides of my family have lived in Ohio for several generations. My father can trace his side back to the early 1800’s not long after Ohio was granted statehood. So when I sat down to write my three Heartsong Presents books, it only made sense to set them in the place I know and love. Let me take you on a tour of a few of the wonderful places in my home state.

Slate Run Farmhouse

Slate Run Farmhouse

All three of my books revolve around members of the fictional Kirby family. When I needed some inspiration for their farm, I headed out to Slate Run Living Historical Farm in Canal Winchester, Ohio about 45 minutes away from where I live just outside the state capital of Columbus. It is an amazing place to visit. As the name suggests, it is a real working farm, run just as it would have in the 1880’s, complete with volunteers in historically accurate dress. You can pull weeds in the garden, feed and visit the farm animals and wander through the farmhouse to see how they lived. And the afor mentioned volunteers are fountains of information. I am indebted to all of them for patiently answering my numerous questions about 1800’s farm life. Isn’t the farmhouse lovely? You can find more info about Slate Run here: http://www.metroparks.net/ParksSlateRunFarm.aspx

Ohio Village Schoolhouse

Ohio Village Schoolhouse

My first two books, Yankee Heart and Wounded Heart, are set in Delaware County Ohio in the 1860’s. So what was life like in a small rural village in the 1860’s? To find out I headed to the Ohio Historical Society’s Ohio Village, a reproduction of what an Ohio village would have looked like in the 1860’s. Pictured here is the schoolhouse. It also has a town square, a doctor’s office, a church, a mercantile and several other establishments of that time period. The Historical Society runs a program at the schoolhouse where local schoolchildren attend school as it was in the 1860’s. They also hold special Halloween and Christmas events in the Village as well. http://www.ohiohistory.org/museums-and-historic-sites/museum–historic-sites-by-name/ohio-village

Lincoln Ohio Statehouse

Ohio Statehouse

After his assassination, President Abraham Lincoln’s body traveled from Washington, DC to his hometown of Springfield, Illinois. The route the funeral train took stopped in several cities including Columbus, Ohio where, on April 29th, 1865, he laid in state in the Ohio Statehouse. In Yankee Heart, my hero and heroine travel from the Kirby farm outside Delaware, Ohio to Columbus to pay their final respects. Every year on or around the twenty-ninth of April, a mock up of the casket is placed in the rotunda of the statehouse and Civil War re-enactors take turns guarding it, which is when this picture was taken. So no, sadly I do not possess a time machine but I had you fooled didn’t I? ;) I also attended a lecture in the statehouse museum downstairs given by another re-enactor who walked us through the details of that sad day. More information about the Ohio Statehouse can be found here: http://www.ohiostatehouse.org/

The Ohio State University

The Ohio State University

I couldn’t write a book set in Ohio without writing about my alma mater, The Ohio State University. Founded in 1871, it was originally called the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College but after it was decided that the college should offer more than just agricultural studies the name was changed to The Ohio State University. The ‘the’ was added to set the university apart from the other Ohio colleges and universities of the day. Pictured here is University Hall which was one of the first buildings on campus. It was the original site of the campus library and also contained classrooms, professor’s offices and a lecture room where a mandatory chapel used to be held every day. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wandered around this building’s halls as a student. It also has a fascinating museum and you can learn more about The Ohio State University here: http://www.osu.edu/

Well I hope I’ve piqued your interest in my home state. Ohio is a great place to live and I hope you can come visit us sometime. And if I’ve also gotten you interested in Ohio history there’s more in the pages of Buckeye Dreams, the compilation of my three Heartsong books into one volume. It releases on October 1st and is available for pre-order at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Christianbook.com.

Jennifer A. Davids

JENNIFER A. DAVIDS has been writing down stories since she got an A++ on her ninth grade creative writing assignment. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and a graduate of The Ohio State University, she makes room to write in between being a busy wife and mom and despite the fact her cat likes to lay in front of her keyboard.

Connect with Jennifer online:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jenniferadavids

Blog/Website: https://jenniferadavids.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5385735.Jennifer_A_Davids

Buckeye Dreams

Visit Ohio in the latter half of the 1800s, when rebuilding the country also involves rebuilding lives stripped of hope. Katherine has lost her home, Adele has lost her husband, and Anne has lost her dreams. Can each have their joy restored in romances with men who are also deeply wounded by their own pasts? Find out in this inspiring three-book collection by author Jennifer A. Davids.

Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/ouo6mrd

Barnes and Noble: http://tinyurl.com/oxhntd8

Christianbook.com: http://tinyurl.com/ozhfy43

Koorong: http://tinyurl.com/ph2a72j

Book Recommendation: True North by Susan Diane Johnson

True North

Back cover blurb:

Several months after a tragic accident that claimed their son, Lisa and Joe Kendall’s marriage has fallen apart. Feeling guilt over the death of their son, Joe has decided that the best thing for Lisa is for him to be out of her life. But, his marriage isn’t the only thing suffering, and Joe is forced into a leave of absence from work so he can find closure. Unsure where to spend the forced vacation, Joe decides to go alone on the Alaskan cruise he and Lisa had planned to take with their son. The last person he expects to see once the ship is well away from Seattle is Lisa. Lisa has prayed every day for Joe to reclaim his faith in God and come home so they can grieve together and rebuild the relationship they once shared. In hopes that two weeks alone with Joe will help save their marriage, she boards the ship. Little does she know that Joe has already decided to file for divorce. How will she convince him before the ship docks that they can still have a happy marriage even though their child is gone?

Narelle: I really enjoyed reading True North. The author is one of my critique partners and I’ve had the pleasure of watching this story grow and evolve. The premise is different to the typical inspirational romance because it’s a reunion romance story with a married hero and heroine. The tragedy of losing their only child has ripped apart Lisa and Joe’s marriage. At the start of the story they’re estranged and living apart, their relationship with God challenged by the unexpected loss of their son, Cody.

Lisa arranges, without Joe’s knowledge, to join him on the Alaskan cruise that was supposed to be a family birthday celebration for Cody. Their son’s dream had been to see the whales. The story has many emotional highs and lows as both Lisa and Joe deal with their grief , their faith crises, and their crumbing marriage. A couple of fascinating minor characters on the cruise play a critical role in helping Joe and Lisa heal and face their marital problems.

I loved the depth of emotion experienced by the characters as they worked through their very real issues. The Alaskan scenery was gorgeous and the close proximity of the cruise ship heightened the romantic tension in the story. I highly recommend True North for those looking for a deep and compelling contemporary romance story.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Read a FREE sample at Amazon.com

Friday Weekend Escape to the Rocky Mountains, Colorado, USA with Davalynn Spencer

Today we’re escaping for the weekend to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, USA, with my author friend Davalynn Spencer. Davalynn is giving us a tour of the high-country ranchland in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains and sharing her love of cowboy country. Enjoy!

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Cowboy Country

As an author of historical western romance, one of my favorite places is the high-country ranchland of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. It is in just such a setting that I chose to place the second in my 3-book series, Branding the Wrangler’s Heart.

When my husband and I came upon this little valley one summer day, I wanted to send down roots and stay right there forever. The low slopes surrounding the grazing land are covered with scrub oak, piñon, and juniper trees.

1 Homestead

The log cabin has been refurbished with all the comforts of a modern home, including indoor plumbing. Originally, a hand pump in the yard and a privy beyond the fence met the needs of ranchers and cowboys. One thing that remains the same is the presence of rattle snakes in the tall grass. Wanderers beware!

2 Cabin

If these old cedar-post corrals could talk, what a tale we might have heard of busting broncs and branding calves. I could almost pick up the hoots and hollers of a rousing family roundup.

This old wagon bore witness to a simpler way of life. Harder, yes, but simpler. Sometimes I think I would welcome the change.

4 Wagon

Clusters of bright Indian paintbrush edged the road on our way back to the city. I didn’t want to leave, but my next book beckoned. So many stories remain to be told of these beautiful, secluded mountain valleys and the lives that once flourished in them.

5 Indian paintbrush

Thanks for coming along with me on this day-trip through cowboy country. I may not get to live there, but it’s satisfying to know that my characters do.

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Wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters, DAVALYNN SPENCER began her writing journey in the national rodeo market, winning awards in the process. Today she writes inspirational western romance – both historical and contemporary – and teaches writing at Pueblo Community College. She and her handsome cowboy have three children and four grandchildren and make their home on Colorado’s Front Range with a Queensland heeler named Blue. Connect with her online at www.davalynnspencer.com, www.Facebook.com/AuthorDavalynnSpencer and on Twitter @davalynnspencer.

Branding Wrangler's Heart_2

Whitaker Hutton always gets his way, and when cattle go missing from the Bar-HB Ranch, the tenacious foreman will stop at nothing to find them. But his boss’s granddaughter, Livvy, is more than Whit bargained for. Once the victim of Whit’s childhood pranks, Livvy has grown into a feisty beauty.

Olivia Hartman can’t forget the way Whit used to tease her. Even worse, he doesn’t think she’s capable of helping in the roundup. She could stay mad at him forever—if he wouldn’t act all sweet toward her. But when he literally rides to her rescue, Livvy starts to wonder whether her old enemy might turn out to be much more than just a friend.

Read a free sample of Branding the Wrangler’s Heart here.

 

Book Recommendation: Wild Mint Tea by Valerie Comer

Wild Mint Tea

Back cover blurb:

She’s rooted deep. He flies free.

Local-foods chef Claire Halford envisions turning Green Acres Farm into an event destination. Weddings prove trickier than she imagined when the first one comes with a ruggedly handsome brother-of-the-bride, who has everything but a fixed address. Oh, and faith in God.

Noel Kenzie loves the freedom his reforestation company affords him. Why worry about deep stuff like God and commitment when he’s in his prime? Except there’s a woman who might make it worth giving up his wings…and digging in some roots. If he dares.

Wild Mint Tea is the second novel in the Farm Fresh Romance series which sees three young women purchase an old farm in northern Idaho together with the purpose of growing their own food and proving to those around them that they can make a difference. It is a story of living sustainably on the land and focusing on real, local food from a Christian point-of-view. It doesn’t pad the issues nor preach about them, but allows the characters the freedom to grapple with environmentalism as believers.

Narelle: I really enjoyed reading Wild Mint Tea. Claire and her friends, Sierra and Jo, are working hard to create their dream of sustainable living on their farm. Claire dislikes her job at a restaurant in town and applies for a high paying short term cook position with Noel’s reforestation company. Sparks fly when Claire and Noel meet at the job interview.

Despite Claire’s excellent credentials, including her previous chef position at a top Seattle restaurant, Noel overlooks Claire for the job. Feeling bad when he calls her to break the news, he learns she’s building a wedding business at the farm and recommends the venue to his sister.

Noel and Claire are thrown together when his sister plans her wedding at Green Acres Farm, which happens to be located near his short term work camp in the mountains. Claire can’t imagine life away from Green Acres. Noel loves travelling and exploring the world. I was impressed to learn he has ridden horses in the Snowy Mountains in Australia. But, despite his attraction and growing feelings for Claire, he can’t see himself settling down in one place.

I loved the authenticity of the characters and I understood why they held certain beliefs and ideas. I enjoyed reading Raspberries and Vinegar (Jo and Zach’s story) which provided helpful background for this story. The stories can be read as stand alone novels. Personally, I prefer to read series books in order because I can gain extra insights into the characters from the previous books.

Noel has ignored his childhood upbringing in the church for years, and he is challenged by Claire’s strong faith. Claire struggles with her attraction to a man who isn’t walking close with the Lord. The story is fun, engaging, and deals with real issues in a contemporary setting. I highly recommend Wild Mint Tea to readers who are looking for an exciting and inspiring contemporary romance.

Read a FREE sample at Amazon.com

Friday Weekend Escape to the USA: Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July to my American friends! I’m looking forward to visiting San Antonio in a few weeks time for the Romance Writers of America conference. It’s winter in Australia and I can see snow on the Brindabella Ranges from the front of my house in Canberra. I can’t wait to visit Texas and enjoy a brief taste of hot summer weather.

Today I’m sharing photos from some of the places I visited during my 2013 USA trip. Enjoy your weekend!

2013-09 September USA trip Waikiki, Hawaii 027

Waikiki Beach, Hawaii

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Mt. Hood, Oregon

Mt. Hood, Oregon

Neahkahnie Mountain, Oregon

Neahkahnie Mountain, Oregon

Chicago, USA

Chicago, Illinois

Mississippi River, Minnesota

Mississippi River, Minnesota

Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington

Heartsong Presents July New Releases

My second fiction book release with Harlequin’s Love Inspired Heartsong Presents line, The Nurse’s Perfect Match, was released in May 2014. Today I’m posting information on the new Heartsong Presents releases for July.

Four Heartsong Presents books are released each month under the Love Inspired brand: two contemporary inspirational romances and two historical inspirational romances. The Love Inspired range of books include contemporary romance (Love Inspired), historical romance (Love Inspired Historical) and romantic suspense (Love Inspired Suspense).

North American readers can purchase books from the Harlequin Reader Service. International readers outside the USA and Canada can purchase the print books online from Amazon and The Book Depository (free international shipping). If you’re looking for inspirational (Christian) romances to read, please check out the Heartsong Presents and Love Inspired books.

Second Chance Cafe

ISABELLA ROMANO HAS GIVEN UP ON LOVE

Between her demanding work as a nurse and her father’s poor health, Isabella has no time for distractions. So when a handsome firefighter practically falls at her feet, she keeps him at arm’s length. But Ethan Carter is determined to win her over.

Orphaned at a young age, Ethan longs for a family of his own—and he’s sure Isabella is his match. But when he opens a café near his firehouse, Isabella is less than thrilled. She knows firsthand the strain of being a restaurant owner, and she wants no part of that life. Can Ethan convince the busy nurse they can overcome any obstacle and have their happily ever after together?

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Read a FREE sample at Amazon.com

The Best Mans Secret

DAVE DUCHARME IS A MAN OF MYSTERY

Dave’s heart is captured from the moment he lays eyes on Ashley Kruger. Too bad it’s while he’s saving her from a bank robbery! When Ashley is injured, Dave promises to stay close. He’s determined to take care of her—and to win her trust.

Ashley can’t believe she was rescued by such a gentle and handsome man. As she gets to know her dashing hero, hope grows that he may be the one for her. But when dangerous secrets from his past come to light, Ashley will have to choose between safety…and love.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Read a FREE sample at Amazon.com

Winning the Captains Heart

LOVE ISN’T IN CAPTAIN WYATT DARLING’S LOGBOOK

After a violent robbery, Wyatt is left bereft, broken and looking for answers. Solace comes in the form of beautiful Mercy Hastings, who insists he must recuperate at her family’s home. Mercy doesn’t anticipate her pure act of charity will endanger both their lives.

Wyatt’s always been married to his first love: the sea. Resigned to forever being alone, his resolve is severely tested by his captivating rescuer. As Wyatt works with Mercy to identify his attackers, will he find a way to make her his first mate forever?

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Read a FREE sample at Amazon.com

In a Texas Rangers Arms

KATIE GAMBLE IS ON THE RUN

After her unscrupulous stepfather accuses her of being a thief, a horrified Katie hopes to hide out until she can prove otherwise. But slipping into obscurity in a small Texas town isn’t so easy. Not with Texas Ranger Ward Alston on her tail.

Ward’s used to getting his man—or woman. But he’s not used to the accused being so resolute in her innocence or so beautifully appealing. As he uncovers the truth, Ward realizes this Harvey Girl isn’t all she seems. Together, can they evade danger and obey the law of their own hearts?

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Read a FREE sample at Amazon.com