Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Happy Australia Day (and a book release plus giveaway)

By Narelle Atkins

Happy Australia Day! Today I'm celebrating our national holiday and the release of my eighth book. The Bridesmaid’s Hero is a contemporary Christian romance novella in my Snowgum Creek series. The story is set in a fictional town in the Snowy Mountains region of Australia.



Book Description:

Pastry chef Serena Blaxland isn’t staying in the small Australian town of Snowgum Creek. She’s there for her sister’s wedding, and to help out at the family B&B until her mother’s arm heals. Sparks fly when the handsome driver of their bridal car saves Serena from disrupting her sister’s perfect wedding day.

Harry Westmore’s dream of becoming an equine vet was put on hold when his father passed away. He’s working several jobs in his home town to pay his bills and prepare for his future career. He can’t stay away from the beautiful chef when he visits the B&B each day to look after her mother’s horses.

Serena’s home is in Canberra, where she has built a successful career. When Harry’s offered an opportunity too good to refuse, they must decide if their love and faith can overcome all obstacles.

The Bridesmaid’s Hero is a standalone novella and Book 1.5 in the Snowgum Creek series. It’s available in Kindle Unlimited and for 99 cents from Amazon Kindle.

Here’s a short excerpt from Chapter One:

Serena Blaxland leaned back into the soft leather rear seat of the white BMW hire car, her bare shoulders tense. Wedding planning had transformed Debbie, her easygoing older sister, into Bridezilla in her quest for a perfect day. She’d never forgive them if they kept her waiting.

The front door of their parents’ Snowgum Creek home remained open. Serena’s younger sister was inside the farm house. Why was it taking Gina so long to find a missing tube of lipstick? She’d been in there ten minutes already.

Serena fidgeted with the hem of her knee-length pale pink bridesmaid dress, her immaculate French manicure catching the early afternoon sunlight. Her nails had never looked this good, but the manicure failed to hold her interest.

The handsome driver of their hire car had captured her full attention.

He paced the length of the front veranda, his elegant suit accentuating his tall, muscular physique. Harry Westmore. The name suited him.

Harry returned to the car and crouched beside her open window, his fair hair ruffled and eyebrows drawn together. “The rest of the bridal party left fifteen minutes ago. Should I find out what’s holding up your sister?”

She shook her head, meeting his concerned gaze. “I’ll give her a few more minutes before I go inside and yell. Unlike Debbie, Gina has no concept of punctuality.”

“The bride was determined to leave on time.”

“That’s Debbie for you.”

His eyes, the color of the cloudless sky overhead, hinted at his impatience.

An idyllic September spring day, and they had a long drive ahead. The bride had left with her parents in a matching BMW. The chief bridesmaid had snubbed Serena and Gina by catching a ride to Sunny Ridge with her boyfriend in his luxury sports coupe. Debbie hadn’t been impressed by Crystal’s last-minute change of plans.

Gina flounced onto the veranda, slamming the front door behind her. Two inch heels didn’t slow her progress across the lawn. “I found it, finally.” She held the lipstick in the air as if it was a precious gem.

Serena let out a deep breath. If Harry drove the speed limit, they should make it on time to Sunny Ridge Community Church in the large town west of Snowgum Creek. Pre-wedding photos were scheduled in the adjoining park.

He opened the car door for Gina and she slid into her seat behind the driver, her skirt a tangled mess around her thighs.

Gina bit her lip. “I hate this skirt.”

“Be thankful it’s not floor length.”

“True, but I wish Debbie had asked what we thought before she chose our dresses.”

“It’s her wedding.”

“And don’t we know it.”

She let Gina’s comment slide. Her younger sister’s relationship with Debbie was fraught with issues, and Harry didn’t need to hear their complaints. He’d already witnessed Crystal’s emotional outburst. Debbie’s best friend had refused to travel to Sunny Ridge in the bridesmaids’ car.

Harry started the car, a quiet purr compared to the cough and splutter of Serena’s aging hatchback. “Ladies, are we ready?”

“Let’s go.” Gina buckled her seat belt. “I hope we won’t be late.”

Serena suppressed a groan. “Me too, because Debbie doesn’t need the extra stress. Harry, I’m ready.”

“Okay.” He maneuvered the luxury car over the cattle guard at the front entrance next to the prominent Blaxland B&B sign, onto a short dirt track leading to the main road. “We have enough time.”

“Oh, good.” Gina stashed her lipstick in her purse. “I’m already in Debbie’s bad books.”

Serena tightened her grip on the door handle. “What did you do this time?”

Read more in the sample at Amazon.com.



Kindle ebook giveaway of Love Blossoms box set:

My novella is part of the Love Blossoms box set, available for pre-order on Amazon Kindle. It’s releasing on January 28, 2016, and will be available in Kindle Unlimited.

To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment on this post and answer one of the following questions. If you're an Aussie: How are you celebrating Australia Day? If you live outside Australia: Which part of Australia would you like to visit?

I'll announce the winner in a comment on this post on February 1. Please leave an email address where you can be reached.

"Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws."





22 comments:

  1. Narelle, congratulations on both the novella and the inclusion in the box set. Fabulous. Love the name Serena Blaxland … modern Aussie sounding name. She must have had forward-thinking parents. I've grabbed myself a copy of your novella.

    All the very best with both. Enjoy your Aussie Day!

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    1. Hi Ian, Thanks so much for your support and good wishes :) She's younger than Serena Williams, so I figured the name would work!

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  2. Happy Australia Day, Narelle! Yes, I'm looking forward to reading your novella, esp. after your last set in that area. As for today, I'm wondering if we should brave the rain to see the Australia Day parade through Berrima. Regardless, a BBQ finished with homemade pavlova & lamingtons is on the menu tonight ��

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    1. Hi Carolyn, I hope you enjoy my novella. I also hope the weather has improved in your part of the world. It has been threatening to rain here in Canberra all day. Enjoy your BBQ, pavlova and lamingtons :)

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  3. Happy Australia Day, Narelle - or Survival Day as some of the first Australians call it. I'm afraid my plans are rather boring - a relaxing day, not agendas except some writing and editing. Loved the excerpt and the boxed set looks cool.

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    1. Hi Jeanette, I hope you had a relaxing day writing and editing :) We're really excited about the box set release - lots of fun!

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  4. Happy Australia Day! I am not an Aussie, but would love to go to the outback. My German cousins went and keep going back. Getting a bit jealous!

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    1. I forgot my email. So sorry! here is it sonja dot nishimoto at gmail dot com
      Best wishes on a successful book launch!
      Sonja

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    2. Hi Sonja, An outback holiday is a fabulous idea! Your cousins are very fortunate - I'm a bit jealous, too :)

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  5. We are celebrating with friends. I have just finished reading your book and now starting on a second one. Love it!

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    1. Oh good - I see you worked out how to comment! ��

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    2. Hi Judy, I hope you're enjoying a lovely day celebrating with your friends :) Thanks so much for stopping by and I'm glad to hear you loved reading my book. I hope you enjoy the next one.

      Hi Catriona, Thank you for sharing the blog post link with your friends. I hope you're having a great day! :)

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  6. It's not so sunny in Queensland today but never mind, we will be enjoying lamb and prawns on the barbie. Happy Australia Day and thanks Australia for adopting us South Africans, we have been here for 7years and love it. This would be a lovely prize to win. Blessings, Jacqui Jacqui.roof@gmail.com

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    1. Hi Jacqui, The weather is cloudy in Canberra where I live, too. Enjoy your lamb and prawns on the barbie and we're glad you've adopted Australia as your home :)

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  7. Congrats on the new book. I normally go to the cricket at Adelaide oval for Australia day but today am watching cricket from Adelaide oval.

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    1. Hi Jenny, I hope you're enjoying the cricket! I'm a big tennis fan and I love watching the Australian Open. A few years ago we went to Melbourne Park to see the tennis live - an amazing experience :) I also love my cricket. Unfortunately I haven't made it to Manuka Oval this year. Hopefully next season :)

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  8. I would love to visit Australia in general, because there is so much that I would love to explore. What I've heard and seen in pictures points to such a beautiful country, rich in culture and heritage. So I'd love to see the cities such as Sydney, but also, the natural landmarks that take some hard work to get to, but in the end are so worth it. I don't know what those would be... Definitely open to suggestions. Just want to be able to go and explore.

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    1. Hi azipprick, I hope you'll have an opportunity to visit Australia and see everything on your travel wishlist. Uluru, Kakadu, the Great Barrier Reef, the Kimberleys in Western Australia, our island state of Tasmania. There are so many beautiful places to visit. Thanks for stopping by :)

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    2. Thanks! Those sound like amazing places to keep in mind for the future.

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  9. So excited to see you have another book out, Narelle! Can't wait to read it. I really enjoyed your last series. Hope you've enjoyed Australia Day. We've been to the pool and had a BBQ with friends. The children have had fun with fake Australian flag tattoos which I have a feeling are going to take longer to get off than they're supposed to. I also suspect I'll find them on more than just their skin. Oh well, all part of the fun.

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    1. Hi Jenny, I'm glad you've enjoyed reading my books and had a fun day of celebrations :)

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  10. Congratulations to Judy M - you've won an Amazon Kindle copy of Love Blossoms! :)

    Judy, please leave your email address in a comment here, or in a comment on the post link in the ACW Facebook Group, or alternatively message me via Facebook to arrange the delivery of your book prize. Thanks!

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