Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

Suffocating Creativity.

I never thought I'd ever say it. But I did. 
Two weeks ago. Right before putting on my happy face (or at least for those who saw it, it was supposed to be my happy face) and heading off to a conference to celebrate the very thing I'd just said I didn't want to do any more.
My confession is this: I actually said the following words:
"I don't want to be a writer any more."
Did I mean it? 
Well, yes. I did. And the feeling, as unusual as it was (and somewhat confusing too because 'being a writer' has been my 'heart-thing' for so, so long) lingered longer than to be just a writer's gloom comment. 
So what was going on?
On reflection I think I've identified three things contributing to my despondent confession: depression, fatigue and wordly overdose.

Depression:
I know how you feel.
Depression can almost be standard issue for writers. We tend to experience it in waves and cycles, I think it is part of our creative make up to see and feel the world deeply, and this has consequences. (Please note that if your depression is deep and ongoing then medical/psychological support can be extremely beneficial.) For me I know I need to monitor my mental health; I need to eat well, sleep well, take care of my introverted self which sometimes just needs to soak in silence and stillness without interruption. Prior to my "I don't want to be a writer" confession these factors had been out of balance, especially the introvert-self-care, so I was feeling low. I don't know about you, but when I'm feeling low I need creativity. And that would have been easy to fix if it wasn't for...

Fatigue:
I read somewhere, I can't find it now (don't you hate that?), that fatigue is one of the biggest killers of creativity. For me this is probably magnified. I'm a big sleep person. Always have been. I can't wake early and write (just visit me at 7:15 one morning and you'll see why that is) and I can't write at night because ideas keep me awake. So I have to write during the day - but I have three children. Add to this equation several writing deadlines that ate up every inch of rest time (and introvert recuperation time) and you'll understand why I was tired. 
Writing for me requires (celebrates?) creativity. Normally I'd rave to you about how much I love story, and ideas and thinking up new ways of expressing truth in fiction. But burn me out with fatigue and I just want to crawl up and hide. But hide I could not because I had...


Have you bitten off a bit much?
Wordly Overdose:
Emails, books, social media all crowded around me demanding I think up correctly worded responses and neatly summed up answers. Speak to me on a good day and I'll agree with you about the importance of an online presence, a faithful mailing list, marketing connections, promotional give-aways. But all of these require words, and if words are a writer's commodity - sometimes we can end up broke. Broke and badly in debt.

In the time since I've returned from the writer's conference I've had to work hard to restore a balance to my life and creativity; time on my own, paying back the debt of wordliness with silence, catching up on sleep etc. I'm aware that creativity is gradually creeping back in. But I can't take it for granted. 
Because, after all, I want to be a writer. 

What sucks the life out of your writing ambition? What are the warning signs for you, and how do you recharge/realign your creativity? 




Penny Reeve is a children's author currently living in Western Sydney. This week she hopes to read an Amanda Deed novel just because, watch the passion-fruits grow and enjoy her toddler's company.  You can   read more from Penny at her website, or facebook page. 




Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Selecting a Good Book

 As a book buyer, when you go into a book shop, what are you looking for? Or when you trawl the on line stores how do you select what you down load onto your Kindle?
 I'm always searching for a good read: a book I know I will enjoy. How do I select that book? Hopefully I have a recommended title. If not I wander the shelves looking at displayed stock. I go to the fixtures and check out authors I have previously enjoyed in the hope they will have released another title.
Over the years, I have bought many disappointing books. Some books don't grab me, or the plot gets lost somewhere in the detail, or they are boring. Many books languish on my shelves having never been opened past page twenty .
So I'm careful when looking for something good to read. I love a good fiction, a meaty, challenging story with a satisfying ending, but struggle to find them.
So, as an unknown author, how can I help readers to buy my book; an unknown title ? What would draw a buyer to take a risk and purchase an unproven book?
As I pondered this question, an idea formed in the back of my brain. A God idea perhaps. Crazy, but maybe it was worth trying.
With my publishers assistance, I offered my book to readers as 'a guaranteed good read'. The WORD book stores agreed to promote it and Though the Bud be Bruised went onto the shelves supported by an author guarantee.


"I believe ‘Though the Bud be Bruised’ is an enjoyable, satisfying and compelling read. I have taken every care to supply you with a book that is professionally published, well written and interesting to the last page. If, for some reason, you are disappointed in the reading experience, contact me, within 30 days of purchase, and I will send you a voucher to buy another book."

I supplied the posters, shelf talkers and coupons to the book stores and I carried the total risk for this venture. The statistics were clear. For every claim, ten books must be bought for the venture to break even. But if the strategy sold ten books, ten more people would have the book on their shelves. How many of those ten would read it? As they bought it intentionally, I felt most would start it. Once started a good percentage would finish it. Hopefully half of them would give it to someone else to read and maybe one of those would buy their own copy to pass on to another. 
Yes, that would be a good result. I'm confident this book will make a lasting impression on any reader. God will use it to encourage, challenge or inspire. So the risk taken in offering a guarantee seemed tiny compared to the fruit reaped from selling more books.

Every time I get a letter addressed to 'Though the Bud be Bruised' my heart leaps into my mouth. Is this person claiming the promised voucher? The first envelope contained a beautiful card from a lady in Victoria who congratulated me on my book She went on to say, "I really hope no one asks for their money back as there would be no reason to." Two other vouchers have come in, both thanking me. "Thank you for the most valuable time of healing and restoration." Meanwhile WORD have sold over sixty copies. And for every book sold, more people hear the message.

We have a message of hope to bring the world and we must help the world find it. Who is your costumer? What will help them purchase your carefully crafted book? 

* * * * *

Jo & Steve Wanmer live in the outer suburbs of Brisbane. Her book, Though the Bud be Bruised, was released on June 1st.  A faction, it is a testimony of God's great love and faithfulness, set in a background of a family struggling to come to terms with child sexual abuse in their home and church.


Friday, October 19, 2012

the four p's

A few weeks ago I went to a big Pathfinder Camporee. There is a statewide one every two years and a big Australian wide one every four years. It always has a theme, this year is was "The quest for the four 'P's". Pray, pause, pick and peace.

It got me thinking do we do that in our writing. I will explain what the four P's mean.

PRAY - pray to God, for whatever dilemma/ problem you may have.

PAUSE - Pause and allow God's soft voice speak to you.

PICK - Pick the solution that you think is right.

PEACE - Then if it is right you will feel at peace with what you have chosen.

When I write i sometimes pray especially in my devotional writings. I do 'pause', that is usually to decide what God wants me to write and to do. I pick the topic than see if I feel peace.

It isn't always easy but I believe it is a good lesson. Even if we don't use it in our writing we can use it in our daily lives.

Give yourselves a chance to Pause, to listen to God's voice and leading.

May God grant you peace in your decisions.


A Pathfinder Camporee is very much like a scout Jamboree. Clubs from all over come and do activities and we have a speaker to do the worships. Some times the activities are obstacle courses, sometimes messy and sometimes hard and sometimes easy. But they use things that they may have learnt.
Pathfinders are a club that has a Christian basis, they learn spiritual things and survival skills. It is run under the banner of the "Seventh-day Adventist" church.
As you do things during the year you get patches to put on a sash. My husband has so many he is a second sash. They start at age 10 and go up to 16, but can be involved at any age.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Greatest Achievements In Life




The Greatest Achievements In Life

Having just left a writers’ getaway weekend and contemplating my writing and life work, I’m asking myself, what is the greatest achievement of my life so far? What will my legacy be?
No one event stands out in a life punctuated by a series of small successes. I had a successful teaching career and left at the top of my game. I have written three books and worked on more for others.
I’ve raised two children into decent adults who have completed university degrees and contribute to the community in a meaningful way.

I have a 27-year marriage with an amazing man who encourages me to be all that I can be. We are transitioning into a life of us both being full time ‘creatives’ after a life of corporate success. We may have had bumps along the road, but we love and live together happily with lots of laughter and adventures.

I travel to Cambodia regularly to train teachers as part of Transform Cambodia. The lives of 1800 children are being transformed through the opportunity to be educated and I get to play a very small part of that.

When my son was in Year Three, I found out he couldn’t read. He used to ask why he couldn’t read and called himself a loser. I was determined that he would not reach high school and struggle.
 We tried many ways of helping him through learning difficulties. Finally, in Year Seven we felt he had caught up with his peers enough not to feel inferior. 

The first time he sat up in bed with me and read his own book while I read mine, brings tears to my eyes even now. When he won an academic award at Year Seven Graduation I felt like all the effort was worth it.

Even in Year Eleven some of his difficulties resurfaced as the work challenged his weaknesses. However, he got through TEE and this year sees him complete a Commerce degree, majoring in Sports Management and Marketing. I’m so glad I fought for my boy and that long the way he learnt to work hard and be responsible for his own progress.

It’s the seemingly small things in life that may become our greatest legacy. The things that perhaps others don’t see. That aren’t necessarily going to get your name up in lights or earn you a million dollars.

So, what is my greatest achievement?  What do I want to create in the next season of my life that will leave a legacy? It’s not one particular thing, but I know that whatever I do will not be completely about achieving goals for personal gain.

The greatest achievements
are those that benefit others.
Dennis Waitley

According to Jesus the greatest achievement in life, our legacy, will not only be what we’ve been able to do for ourselves, but what we’ve done for our friends, family, neighbors, and complete strangers.

God has not called me to be successful. He called me to be faithful
 Mother Teresa


Elaine Fraser
www.beautifulbooks.co









Monday, October 15, 2012

Instress - Can you see what I see?

I’ve recently been studying poetry as one aspect of a particular English course I’m doing. Of course, I wouldn’t call myself a fan of poetry, in fact I never read poetry. Over the years I have memorised Banjo Patterson’s ‘Mulga Bill’s Bicycle’, which I think is classic Australian humour, and also John O’Brien’s ‘Said Hanrahan’, which to me is an anthem to my father and his mates. Other than ‘Roses are Red, Violets are Blue…etc’ I haven’t had a lot of time for poetry. But university courses have a way of insisting you pay attention to things that you wouldn’t ordinarily look at.
I chose to do an assignment on late-Victorian British poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins. I found Hopkins, as a person, a rather sad and intense person, but as I looked at one of his poems, ‘God’s Grandeur’, began to appreciate something about him and about the craft of writing in particular.
Gerard Manley Hopkins was brought up in a High Anglican Church family, but in his early adult years, he converted to Catholicism, and was so moved by his religious experience that he committed to the priesthood. He had written some poetry already, but felt that the writing of poems was a self-indulgent ambitious pursuit that did not fit with the life of self-sacrifice that was demanded of being a Jesuit priest. Apparently he burned those early poems.
However, as he progressed, he had read the writings of a medieval thinker who sparked in him an idea that he at once espoused and he used. The idea of what he called ‘Inscape’. It was the notion that the poet or artist would capture the particular detail and intricacy of a God created landscape, creature or object, and paint it either in words or art to show the brilliance of God’s creative ability. In taking this approach to writing, he felt that it fit in with his fierce commitment to God as a priest. He also introduced the notion of ‘Instress’, which simply put means the experience and emotion that an ‘Inscape’ evokes in a reader. Can the reader capture the full picture and experience that same sense of appreciation that the writer has when looking at the scene first hand.
When I began to think about these ideas as related to the work that I do as a novelist, I wondered how I would measure up. Actually, I don’t do a lot of detailed description of people, countryside or animals. The reason I avoid it is because, as a reader, I often get annoyed and bored with an author’s long and painstaking effort to paint the scenery. And sometimes I feel really annoyed when the author shows me what the character looks like, and it is different to how I’ve already imagined. I want to connect with the emotional side of the story, and get on with the rollercoaster that is complication and resolution in a story.
But when I was forced to sit and carefully analyse Hopkins poem, I began to appreciate how he used words to carefully paint the picture of ‘God’s Grandeur’. Each word was carefully chosen and then crafted together with the rest to form the poem. I felt as if I could connect with what he was trying to paint in words. It was a satisfying experience.
I don’t know that I am necessarily going to run out and buy volumes of poetry, but I certainly appreciated what I had seen in this man’s work, and in his ideas.

About fourteen years ago, when one of my writer-mentors had asked me to work on description in my work, I wrote a short piece of ‘inscape’. I don’t think I’ve ever included it in any of my novels, but I thought I’d share it here, and see if the ‘instress’ causes you to see what I saw.

The Setting Sun during Autumn

The sun drops behind clusters of gum tress and it is merely the rays that filter through to give the glorious effect. The sun’s rays seem to be almost a liquid gold that washes through the trees, leaving them sparkling and shining. To say the colour was rose would be equally as accurate as to use the word apricot. Our western aspect is one of vegetation, but when it is dripping with the day’s last rays of sunshine, it comes alive with a picture of God’s jewellery reflecting off the normally mundane dark green.


Meredith Resce


Author of ‘The Heart of Green Valley’ Series, ‘Cora Villa’ and many more.

New release ‘The Greenfield Legacy’ written in collaboration with Paula Vince, Rose Dee and Amanda Deed.

Check out book trailers :



http://bit.ly/CoraVillaTrailer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWAb7xhtCnA




Friday, October 12, 2012

Regrets?


Last summer, whilst browsing in an antique shop, I stumbled across this book. Dorothy's Difficulties. It made me laugh - enough to dig my phone out and take a picture. I thought it might inspire a blog post... someday.

Fast forward to now... and I regret walking away without buying that book. It's pretty, it's vintage style and how cute would this have looked on my shelf? Really, what was I thinking to leave it behind? 

An olde worlde book with my name on it? 

Someone slap me. 

Ok, not too hard, because this week, I've had my own generous dose of difficulties. A bucket full. One of those jumbo sized troughs people use to wash small elephants. So, a book like this might have come in handy. 

Not to add my difficulties to the ones our heroine already has. But perhaps, I may have glued in a few blank pages here and there. So I could hold onto the words whispered to me by dear friends and God himself.

Because difficulties were never meant to stay bound in books. All alone. They're meant to be delivered to God, as cares only He can hold. And in return, He delivers words to raise us up and cheer us on. 

Words like these from my reading in Galatians. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity let us do good to all the people and especially to those who are in the household of faith. Gal 6:9

Yes, I regret not buying that book. For one who can hardly walk out of a thrift store empty handed, I can't believe I turned my back on Dorothy's Difficulties. But I can always hand my own storms over to the One who calms and encourages. For every difficulty I surrender, He has a word of comfort.  

That, is something I can never regret. 

(But, why oh why did I not buy that cool book?) 

***

What wonderful finds do you wish you'd taken to the counter? Are there any books you regret not buying when you had the chance?

Blessings for a wonderful weekend, dear friends,
May you know God's words of comfort and deliverance,
Dotti 

***
Dorothy Adamek lives at Crabapple House with her Beloved, their three teenagers and five pampered backyard chickens. She writes historical romance, Aussie style. Follow her love of all thing yesteryear at Ink Dots.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Off to the Getaway

Alright, so call me obsessed! All I can think about this week is The Word Writers Getaway which starts on Friday. I'm so excited, I've had butterflies in my tummy since Monday. There are so many reasons why I'm looking forward to this trip:
  1. I get to fly. I love to travel and flying is right up there. No, seriously, I have been known to embarrass other passengers by whooping in the midst of turbulence.
  2. I get to thaw out. Melbourne has been far too cold for far too long this winter just gone. (Queensland had better put on some exceptional weather for me.)
  3. I get to escape wifely and motherly duties for a few days. Don't get me wrong, I love my family to bits and will miss them, but it will be nice to have a break from the domestic routine.
  4. I get to learn stuff. I'm looking forward to all the different workshops - POV, story structure, marketing, book trailers, the list goes on. I know I will bring home a head full of new ideas.
  5. I get to work on my manuscript. Love the editing room.
  6. I get to discover new books. There will be a number of book launches, and a huge range to buy from as well.
  7. Oh, and I get to launch my new novel, Black Forest Redemption, and together with Meredith Resce, Paula Vince and Rose Dee, launch The Greenfield Legacy.
  8. I get to attend the CALEB Prize awards dinner. What a great night that will be!
  9. Best of all, I get to hang with plenty of like-minded passionate-about-books people. I'm looking forward to late night chats, brainstorming with other writers, general fellowship. This is the stuff Anusha was talking about in her blog the other day - belonging and community. Connecting with other writers is the part I look forward to most of all.
So, for those of you who are NOT attending this year, I have just given you a bunch of reasons why you should go to the next one. And for those of you who ARE attending, I'm looking forward to meeting you.
What do you appreciate most about writers conferences and the like?


Amanda Deed resides in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne where she fills her time with work, raising a family, church activities and writing historical romance novels. Her new novel, Black Forest Redemption, was released on the 1st of October this year. For more information, see:
http://www.amandadeed.com.au/
http://amanderings.wordpress.com/


Friday, October 5, 2012

A Jigsaw versus a Body


When my family arrived in Australia (almost 14 years ago now), one of the first things we did was to hunt for a church to join. Every Sunday, we’d visit a different church. Having worshipped in the Baptist church since my husband and I were married, we were drawn to three Baptist churches in the area. One was very large, one was very small and one was in between. After some thought and prayer and several visits, we felt that the Tea Tree Gully Baptist church would suit our little family best.

The people were friendly and welcoming. We enjoyed the worship. The children’s programs were great – an important consideration for our eight year old son. A wide range of ages was represented in the flock, from bonnie bouncing babies to wise white-haired elders. And yes, the size of the church was just right! Our first years there were happy ones and I soon made a few friends. Every Sunday morning after service, I sipped my morning cup of tea while enjoying a blessed time of fellowship with them.

The services strengthened me greatly in my faith and so I looked forward to my Sunday mornings. One Sunday, I looked for my friends but they weren’t to be found. To my consternation, I heard that they had decided to leave TTGBC. I was very sad. I’d grab my cuppa and look for someone else to chat to – but often I’d not find anyone. My cup of morning tea didn’t taste the same.

It was embarrassing to hang around sipping tea, while around me swarmed lots of chattering people. I rate myself as friendly rather than unfriendly, but I can be painfully shy. I hate to butt into other people’s conversations. And so – I started to feel very lonely in church. A misfit. A bit like the piece needed to finish a jigsaw puzzle but the wrong shape, size and colour for it! I have to admit that there followed a period of several years, when I was often tempted to leave our church.

Why did I stay on? Simply because each time I wanted to leave and sought God about it, He said ‘No’. And who was I to resist God?

Some years later our church moved. Guess where! Right near our home. We now had less than a five minute walk to get to church. What luxury! We loved the new building – a modern spacious one. It was situated right next door to my son’s school. How easy it was to get there. Very simple too to get to my volunteer job at church, now only a hop step and a jump away unlike the earlier 1 ½ hours away by bus. Wonderful!

Little by little I got to know the church folks and they me. I began to make friends. When we went through difficult seasons, our pastors blessed us greatly by their support, their encouragement and their prayers. I became very active as a church volunteer as we ministered to the community. I began to feel a delicious sense of belonging. I didn’t even mind if I had no one to talk to after service. But you know what? I usually found plenty of people to chat to, with our without my tea cup in hand!


Yes, I finally belonged. It was an awesome feeling. How thankful I was to God that He didn’t allow me to leave when I pestered Him about it. How thankful that I’d obeyed Him. I thanked God that my church, its pastors, its flock and it’s worship had added much richness into my life.

We writers are part of a Christian Writing Community aren’t we? Do we need each other? Yes, of course we do. Yes, you and I do need each other. And you know, collectively we can make a far bigger difference to our world far more than we could ever do as individuals. At church last Sunday, the sermon spoke clearly to me. The preacher talked about the difference between fitting in and in belonging.

She said that if we try to ‘fit in’, it means we need to change.
But if we “belong” it means that we may come as we are.

Isn’t that lovely? We writers belong. We don’t need to change who we are or what we do. We don’t need to “fit in” to a jigsaw puzzle of writers. One of us might write romance stories; another mystery novels. One might write non fiction and one may write short stories. One writer may be a children’s writer while another writes YA novels. It doesn’t matter that we don’t all write the same genre of books. In fact, it’s preferable we don’t. We need variety in the body. That way, we can fulfil the niche in the Christian market by joining together to provide the variety of books that are needed to serve our world.

Do you feel you belong? In your family, in your community, in your church and in our writer’s group? Belonging is such a vital part of life. We were all made to belong.

A jisaw puzzle has to fit in just right. The pieces have to be exactly the correct shape, the right pattern, the right colour. Thankfully God has not called us to be a giant jigsaw puzzle. No, He has called us to be a body – each with a special function. We all have diferent aspects of life to bring to the body. As individuals we contribute. Through our strengths; through our backgrounds; through our experiences; through our knowledge; through our writing; through our giftings; through our walk with God.

If one person suffers, we all suffer. If one rejoices, we all rejoice.

1 Corinthians 12 reminds us that we are all important in the body of Christ. The eye cannot say it doesn’t need the foot. The hand cannot say it doesn’t care about the kidney. The nose cannot say the ear is not important. We have all been touched by His grace and redeemed. Redeemed to sing the praises of Him who called us all out of darkness into His marvellous light.

Do you sometimes feel a misfit? Please remember that you don’t need to change your ‘shape’ to fit in. In the Kingdom of God, everyone belongs. It’s a promise from the Master Himself. And He's the head of the body isn't He? He should know!

Yes, my friend, you can come as you are. You belong!


Anusha loves playing with the English Language and also loves connecting with people. She's blessed to be part of this wonderful writing community Down under who seek to lift God's name through what we were created to do. You will see her sitting on her garden swing enjoying God's creation, typing away at her much loved computer or drinking in the beauty of her world as she walks around her beautiful neighbourhood.


You can also visit her at her website Dancing in the Rain:
http://anusha-atukorala.webnode.com/blog/



Her first book 'Enjoying the Journey' was published in June 2010. She hopes there will be many more hitting the bookshelves in the not too distant future!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

On the Bookshelf

Most writers I know have a collection of writing books that they turn to or books have inspired them and been helpful in some way with their writing. Of course these books may not all be books about writing. Sometimes they may be novels or poetry that strikes a chord because they are so honest, or beautifully written, or such great examples of well-drawn complex characters. So I thought I’d share few of the myriad books that are on my shelves. Some of them are by Christians others are not. They are in no particular order but more as they come to mind as I glance around the room.

Writing Books

Walking on Water - Madeleine L’Engle. This is one of my absolute favourites.

Bird by Bird - Anne Lamott

Write His Answer - A Bible Study for Christian Writers - Marlene Bagnull

Indelible Ink - 22 International Christian writers discuss the books that shaped their faith – compiled by Scott Larsen

Shouts and Whispers - twenty one writers speak about their writing and their faith –edited by Jennifer L Holberg

A Writer’s Book of Days – Judy Reeves

Walking on Alligators - A Book of Meditations for Writers - Susan Shaughnessy

The Invisible Child - Katherine Paterson

The First Five Pages - Noah Lukeman

The Plot Thickens - Noah Lukeman

Wild Minds - Natalie Goldberg

Escaping into the Open - Elizabeth Berg

How to read a Novelist - John Freeman

I’ve just finished reviewing this and among the interviews with a host of well known writers, it has some interesting practical information. You can find my review here http://www.livejournal.com/users/orangedale/

Take Joy - Jane Yolen

Poetry

Rilke Selected Poems – English translations by CF Macintyre. I picked this up second hand for a couple of dollars at a Lifeline book sale. What a bargain!

Far from Home - Poems of Faith, Grief and Gladness - Andrew Lansdown

Birds in Mind –Australian Nature Poems – Andrew Lansdown

Flame Tree - Kevin Hart

Other Non Fiction Books I Treasure

John Doe Disciple – sermons of Peter Marshall

Mr Jones Meet the Master – sermons and prayers of Peter Marshall

My first experience of Peter Marshall was watching the film A Man Called Peter with Richard Todd and then reading Catherine Marshall’s story of her husband. So well did Richard Todd play the part of Peter in the movie that when I read the sermons, it is his voice I always hear in my head. I have most of the Catherine Marshall books.

Another author have myriad books of is Madeleine L’Engle. I may not always agree with everything she says, but she makes me think more deeply, a bit like our own Anne Hamilton. I’ve just finished reading one of her books for the third time.

God’s Poetry – The Identity and destiny encoded in your name – Anne Hamilton

Novels

The Friendly Persuasion Jessamyn West

I bought this book after I saw the movie, Friendly Persuasion. It remains my favourite movie and one of my favourite books. I would have liked Except For Me and Thee written by the same author and concerning the same family but I haven’t got it yet. I'm working on it.

Nine Days by Toni Jordan. From a writerly point of view, this is a great example of voice. The story is told in nine chapters each in first person from a different family member over a span of years. Be warned though some chapters contain a little strong language, which seems sadly to be so much a part of today’s books. If you can ignore that, it is worth reading as a writer to learn about voice.

Caleb’s Crossing - Geraldine Brooks. Again this is another which impressed me with its story and voice, though sadly I don’t have this one on my shelves... yet. It’s coming.

I’ve never been one to confine myself to reading only Christian fiction. I read widely so the bookshelves also include a raft of other authors including Nicholas Sparks, Fannie Flagg, Jodi Picoult, Gail Godwin and many others as well as some Aussie Christian fiction authors including Paula Vince and Mary Hawkins.

And there is one book I turn to often, but it does not live on the bookshelf but on the desk, the table near the armchair or wherever I happen to be at the time and that is the Bible.  Where else can you find a book with true stories, poetry, stories, action, prophecy, proverbs and wisdom, symbolism, and picture language,  songs, dreams and their interpretations, etc not to mention the fact that it is the way God speaks most clearly to His people. Through the bible we are introduced to the ultimate hero – Jesus.
Dale writes and reads fiction and poetry. Her latest novel Streets on a Map, was published by Ark House Press.  Prior to that Dale has had seven children’s books and Kaleidoscope a collection of poetry published. Many of the poems in Kaleidoscope have been previously published in Australia’s literary magazines. She has won prizes for her poetry and has been published in several anthologies.
More information about Dale can be found at www.daleharcombe.com or on her Write and Read with Dale blog http://www.livejournal.com/users/orangedale/