The Blue Ridge Reader Connections

DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

A Guest Blog Post from Debb Hackett @Debb_Hackett

Early into my radio career, the station staff would gather for weekly prayers in the conference room. After my shyness at being the newbie ran out, I mustered the courage to ask my boss what all the books were that decorated the window ledges in haphazard piles. You see, they’d been whispering my name for some weeks, but I hadn’t dared reply.

Imagine my delight as a lifelong avid reader, and longtime Christian, to learn these books were promotional copies from publishers, but that no one was reading them. WHAAAT? After I learned this shocking truth, my boss told me to help myself. And again I say, WHAAAT? Followed by—“Does anyone have a box I could use?”

Other than C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, I’d never heard of Christian fiction. Combining two of my greatest loves was a dream come true. This was the mid-nineties, and there were far fewer choices then, but still plenty. I immediately immersed myself in the House of Winslow (Gilbert Morris, anyone?) and the first in the now epic, Left Behind series by Jerry Jenkins and Tim La Haye. Shortly after, I began interviewing authors about their new releases for a ten-minute book review show.

My point is, connecting readers with new books, and the people who write them has been a twenty-five-year habit for me.

I can’t think of anything better than opening a book by a brand new author and within a page or two, knowing you are in for a treat. You’ve made a valuable discovery. This writer is for you. Or, being reminded an old favorite has a new release coming up. There’s a certain frisson of anticipation that skitters down my spine when I consider what I have to look forward to.

These two reactions are why I’m thrilled beyond measure to be a part of the Blue Ridge Reader Connections. The team is working hard to offer the best to readers and writers: Debb Hackett, Darlene L. Turner, Heather Kreke

The premise is simple, readers come to our site to find books to read. We have a growing army of writers, both fiction and nonfiction. So readers navigate to our author page (the clue being a simple invitation “Meet our Authors,” and peruse the selection. Readers can search by genre and pick someone they’ve heard of or try some new. On an author’s page, readers can explore out some of their work, enjoy a sneak peek and, if the reader is hooked, they can buy a copy. One of my favorite parts is that all the author’s social media links, website, and newsletter sign-ups are there too.

For the writers, besides the increased exposure, they benefit from access to our burgeoning team of volunteer reviewers, the Blue Ridge Readers. This group is also searchable by genre, and also preferred book format, for any writer looking for an honest review. Finally, we’re building a solid, topic-led marketing library, with an array of free resources, but also offering the services of industry experts, all offering a discount for our members.

To further help bring the readers and writers together, we have our Facebook Group, where we have daily interaction, book discussions, reading challenges, live events, and a lot of literary fun.

Come join us!

We’d love to have you stop by.

FB: Blue Ridge Reader Connections

Twitter: @BRReaderConnect

Instagram: @brreaderconnections

Thanks, Debb and the Blue Ridge Reader Connections Team!

Writer, broadcaster and speaker Debb Hackett has been a radio journalist for more than twenty years. Married to a test pilot, Debb writes for military wives and lives just outside London, England, with her husband and two daughters. She’s having lots of fun working on a contemporary romance series. When she’s not writing, Debb can be found leading worship, playing bass or skiing. If you can swing by her house while she’s making scones, that would also be a win. She blogs at: