Monday, 20 May 2019

Words that Change the World

by Pamela Heemskerk

It seems the fame of the legendary Quirky Quills has spread beyond Toowoomba, and even Queensland.

How little I realised back then, how much impact a supportive group can have on developing your writing gift. Some of us were rank novices to writing—lacking courage to even show our cat what we had written; others were, like the Man from Snowy River, fast becoming a household name.

I was talking to Mazzy, one of our QQ, recently, and she said QQ was like her ‘church’—a place of love, care and nurturing of gifts. It reminded me of the parallel between our walk with the Lord and developing as scribes. As the Quills met, with encouragement, teaching and nagging (what was that word?), along with some serious hand-holding, we sent off works to anthologies, devotionals, and even competitions. And some were accepted!

Showing your writing is like baring your soul. I felt so vulnerable, writing from the heart, and then exposing it. Scary. Yet from this, I learnt that others related to my experiences. I learnt about taking risks, stepping out. And I learnt resilience—that first rejection … Ow! And then the second … And then a few more …

As I grew as a writer, I grew as a person. I learnt to persevere, to motivate myself, to be disciplined and to take responsibility for developing my craft—just as I have learnt to take these same steps in my walk with God. He is my source of inspiration, directs my writing goals, and stretches me (ouch), to show how much I can achieve when I work in partnership with Him.

Although I am yet a relatively new writer, I am past coddled eggs and milk in my own journey. I have wanted to give back to the writing community. When I renewed my 2019 Omega membership, I again saw the motto, and this prompted me to continue meeting with other writers in our locality.

Now, as a person with a hearing impairment, I am well aware of the effect words have when they are received; and the lack of effect, or even the negative effect, when they are not received. Sometimes I don’t hear important things; sometimes I miss out on a crucial part of the conversation and it leaves me bewildered and unable to follow. Lost words have no impact on my life; worse they can have a negative impact because I missed hearing something really important that would have made a difference.

I figured that if I was having trouble with using hearing aids, then there’d be others. My struggles with hearing prompted me (with some badgering from a friend), to put my experiences on paper. I realised through this, that I could turn my frustrations and negatives around hearing loss into something positive. And eventually, with support from QQ and Omega, it became a book. I hope it has helped someone.


I was meditating on these words – and the Lord put on my heart that there are writers whose words are not changing the world. Their words are sitting on a computer, or in a drawer and not doing the thing for which they were purposed. How like unused hearing aids! Hearing devices are meant to enrich our lives, to help us participate fully and be involved in our world. They are to help us move forward in our lives again. But they take practice, perseverance, and sometimes some support from other users. We sometimes fail, or feel self-conscious or embarrassed about using them.

Just as a user of hearing aids takes risks in learning a new way of living, will you as writers take the risk? Will you persist? Will you move forward into your calling? Will you chance letting your words ‘change the world’? Or will you play it safe, carefully preserving your ‘one talent’ on a USB?

Now, I’m sure the USB retailer will have appreciated the sale. But words are far more powerful than a few dollars at the shop. Your words can make or break the health and wholeness of another; those timely words can transform a life. Your gift of writing can make a difference. Will you seek support, take courage, and put your words out there?

Who knows, one day someone might come up to you and say, ‘Your words changed my world’.

Pamela Heemskerk is a physiotherapist, writer and jigsaw addict. She acquired a hearing loss during her first year at work and has worn aids for approximately 30 years. After many conversations, where others who are hard of hearing reported similar issues, she decided it was time to fill the information vacuum by writing 'Rather a Small Chicken ... A Guide to hearing Loss for Family and Friends.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Meet Our Members: Sally Poyzer

Most Thursdays in 2019 we will be interviewing one of the members of Christian Writers Downunder – to find out a little bit more about them and their writing/editing goals.

Today interview Sally Poyzer

Tells us three things about who you are and where you come from.

I got married to Josh when I was 19 years old and we’ve now been married nearly 21 years. We have two wonderful kids: our daughter, Promise (10) and our son, Rockford (4).

I grew up in cold, wet Mount Gambier at the bottom of South Australia. After our honeymoon Josh and I moved to the top of the country to sunny, tropical Darwin. We really loved it up there! 

Following God’s call into ministry, we moved back to Adelaide nearly 11 years ago.

Tell us about your writing (or editing/illustrating etc).  What do you write and why?

I have written non-fiction books, novels, middle grade fiction, picture books, poems, plays and even a musical!

So far I’ve only (self) published one book, ‘That Book for Wives’. I wrote it because I found the first few years of marriage challenging: my husband just wouldn’t do what I wanted him to do! I whinged to God and He began to show me how I could change my marriage. As I saw my marriage transform, I jotted down the different lessons God was teaching me. Eventually I turned it in to a book and published it. It only took me 14 years! It’s an easy to read book with lots of short, super-practical tips.

I write because I love to write – it is fun to create stories and I really enjoy trying to construct a well-written sentence. My other main motivation is wanting to help draw others nearer to God.

Who has read your work? Who would you like to read it?

It’s been lovely hearing from complete strangers in Australian and the US who have emailed me to say how much my book has helped their marriage. But, of course, I’d love many more people to read it. I would also love more CWD members to read it because I think we all appreciate how important reviews are to authors! So, to get more CWD members reading and (hopefully) reviewing it, I’d like to offer two things:

  1. A giveaway. I’m going to give away one a free copy of ‘That Book for Wives’, posted to anywhere in Australia. To have a chance of winning the free book, please share in the comments your best tip for someone who is about to get married. Next week I’ll send ‘That Book for Wives’ to my favourite tip!
  2. A free PDF. If you’d like to read my book and write an honest review on Amazon, Goodreads or Koorong (or all three!), please message me your email address and I’d be happy to email you a PDF of ‘That Book for Wives’.

Tell us something about your process. What challenges do you face? What helps you the most?

I find it very challenging to get time on the computer to write. I have run my own consulting business from home for nearly 10 years, which has been a great blessing with young kids. However, it also means my kids always see me on the computer (for work) so trying to get back on it to write (for fun) is hard – to them it just looks like I’m ignoring them again! Not getting much time on the computer can be frustrating, especially since I have about 10 different books I’m thinking about/working on at the moment (4 books in a kids adventure series, 2 novels, 3 books in the ‘That Book for …’ series and a cookbook!).

One trick that’s helped has been to record my ideas on the Voice Recorder app on my phone, which I can do when driving to pick up the kids from school. Knowing the ideas are recorded removes the worry that I will forget them.

I also make sure I have a small exercise book lying around my house so I can quickly jot down thoughts when I get them. Then, when I actually get time to jump on the computer and type, I have plenty of material to work with. I usually aim to write for a couple of hours every Sunday afternoon, although sometimes I just end up crashing in bed with a good book and some chocolate!

What is your favourite Writing Craft Book and why?

I recently read Lisa Cron’s ‘Story Genius’, as recommended by some of you in CWD. I borrowed it from the library and quickly realised I needed to buy my own copy so I could highlight it. It’s definitely a book you need to interact with! I loved the first third or so because it really got me thinking about my characters and their motivation and how this (rather than the external plot) is really what the story is about. However, from there it got a little bit too prescriptive for me. I finished it, but the last part of the book had a lot less highlighting. Still, it was definitely worth reading.

If you were to give a shout-out to a CWD author, writer, editor or illustrator – who would they be?

Um, all of them? I am so grateful for this group. When I first joined CWD (at the recommendation of someone at Book Whispers) I had no idea about the publishing and marketing process. I have learnt so much from the blogs, from people’s posts and from members who have answered my questions. Thank you everyone, for sharing your wealth of knowledge and allowing me to be a part of your journey too.

What are your writing goals for 2019? How will you achieve them?

My goals for this year are to:

  • Finish writing the fourth book in my adventure series for 7-10 year old kids and hopefully find a publisher, which may be a bit challenging. The books have a strong Christian message, but also have some toilet humour! The kids who’ve read my drafts love the humour and the suspense, but I’m not sure if Christian publishers will be keen to publish books with references to wee and booger, even if the kids in the books meet heroes from the Bible and learn valuable Scriptural truths. Thoughts and suggestions would be gratefully appreciated.

  • Launch a blog. I watched a video by Cyle Young (a Christian literary agent) last year where he talked about the importance of platform which made me realise a blog could be a good way to increase my platform. My plan is to focus on writing practical blogs about Christianity (e.g. an overview of the story of the Bible, a ‘Reading the Bible for the first time’ reading plan), marriage (e.g. how to forgive when he hasn’t said sorry, how to apologise well), and parenting (e.g. teaching your kids to be kind to each other, how I got rid of TV during the week). I’ve started writing it already but want to get a few more finished before launching. I’m also thinking these blogs will help me get some content written for a couple of books in my ‘That Book for …’ series. I’m not sure how I’m going to achieve these two goals with only a couple of hours each Sunday, but I figure it’s one word at a time!

How does your faith impact and shape your writing?

All of my books (apart from the cookbook!) have a significant faith element. All the ‘That Book for …’ books are Biblically-based. I started writing the kids series because I was trying to teach my daughter powerful truths from the Bible (such as, you don’t need to be afraid because God is always with you) in a fun, engaging way. Even my novels, which don’t have a particular ‘message’, are written from a Christian world-view.

I’m really conscious that Christians don’t love super-preachy books, but at the same time, I believe story is a very powerful way of sharing the truth of the gospel. Hopefully I can get the balance right!

Sally Poyzer is a credentialed pastor with CRC Churches International and has spent many years ministering to women, particularly in the area of marriage. She is passionate about sharing how God can help wives enjoy being married.

​With a background in corporate training and a Bachelor in Adult and Vocational Education, Sally is an experienced and enthusiastic preacher and teacher. She has her own consulting business, specialising in writing and facilitating customised training programs, as well as writing and formatting business documents.

Sally was married at nineteen to Josh Poyzer, who is now the Senior Pastor of Portlife Church. They have been married over twenty years and live with their two gorgeous children, Promise and Rockford, in Adelaide, South Australia. She loves reading, especially literature, with Pride & Prejudice easily topping her list of favourite books.

Monday, 13 May 2019

The Danger of Words

Thoughts from Jenny Glazebrook

Dare I write this post? It could be misunderstood … and held against me for years to come.

Words are dangerous.

They can set a forest on fire; they have the same power as a small rudder which changes the path of ships (James 3:3-9).

They can be so positive but they can be equally harmful.

Words are powerful and that’s what makes them dangerous.

I believe the written word is even more dangerous. Especially in this day and age, where what is written cannot be wiped away. Technology allows it to be retrieved even when deleted. And when coupled with no knowledge of the writer and no body language to confirm the real meaning or conversation to validate what is meant by the words, misunderstanding is sure to follow.
In the world of social media, I see more and more misunderstanding. I see words written with no thought of the effect it will have on the people reading; things people would never say face to face. Hurtful, thoughtless words.

We’ve seen the impact of Israel Folau’s social media post. Many believe it shows him to be bigoted and insensitive. Some think he should have been more careful what he wrote; provided more explanation. Others believe he was speaking the truth and so has every right to have said what he did, the way he did. In the end, only God knows whether he was prompted by the Holy Spirit or made a costly mistake.

We are also seeing politicians in trouble because people have gone back over their social media posts from ten years ago, taking them out of context, using them to damage their reputation.

I have personally experienced the use of a Facebook post against me. Someone being deliberately vague, making accusations, implying I had motives I certainly didn’t, and not mentioning my name so that those who wanted to believe it was me, could, and those who didn’t know what or who it was about would either question themselves or start guessing who could have done what … and making it fact in their own mind.

What about our published works? Do people understand the heart and meaning of them? There is a fascinating article about a living author who couldn’t answer the test questions about her own poem; questions given to High School students, requiring them to dig into the meaning and purpose of her work.

See article here:

It got me thinking that the only real way to understand the true meaning of something written is to speak personally with the author.

And God’s Word is the same. We need to read the Bible with the Holy Spirit so that He can reveal God’s true meaning. Without Him to confirm the meaning and without a personal relationship with God Himself and an understanding of His heart, the words can be misconstrued, used as weapons, misunderstood and harmful.

As we write for God’s glory, I believe we need to ask Him for the words; words that can be understood, that He can use, that will be clear and meaningful to the reader.

To be honest, these times we live in scare me a bit. Now, more than ever, we need to use caution with every word we put out there. One of my books deals with an issue that, at the time, was socially acceptable to write about. Now it is politically incorrect. I could see it, in the future, being used against me to discredit all my writing. So what do I do? I have to trust that at that time, God was guiding my hand; that He is in control. I don’t want to be living in fear of the power of my words, but I do want to be cautious, respectful and seeking God with each word I write.

So yes, my words can be misunderstood, but they could also encourage someone, challenge them in their thinking, bring hope and life and be used by God.

I have concluded that we must not live in fear, but we must live in such close connection with God who knows the future; who knows all things, that each word we write will be of positive eternal consequence and bring light into this dark world. We need to trust Him.

May we take courage. May God be our inspiration and guide our hands in all we write. May we write hope and light and life. May we use the power of words for His glory!

Jenny Glazebrook lives in the country town of Gundagai with her husband, Rob and 4 children along with many pets. She is the published author of 7 novels, 1 traditionally published, and 6 self published. She is currently working on her Bateman Family series to be published by Elephant House Press with Book 1 due for release in December, 2019. She writes because words burn within her. She is an experienced inspirational speaker and loves to encourage others to walk closer with God and hear His voice each day.  Jenny’s website is:

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Meet Our Members: Ben Dixon

Each Thursday in 2018 we will be interviewing one of the members of Christian Writers Downunder – to find out a little bit more about them and their writing/editing goals.

Today interview is with Ben Dixon (aka Wolf McTavish)

Tells us three things about who you are and where you come from, Ben. 

I’ve had a lot of jobs over the years, I’ve pastored in several churches from NSW to Outback and North Queensland, but by far, my favourite job was in the Christian Bookselling industry. For over ten years I worked as a Bookshop Manager for a non-profit Christian book chain. You could say I married into it. When I moved to North Queensland to take up a position as a youth pastor I found the local Christian bookshop. There nice young lady who volunteered at this shop, and was also a member of my church, so it made visiting the shop all the more attractive.

After we married we were presented with two options, move out to a small outback mining town and continue as a pastor there or join the Christian mission as managers of a new book shop they were opening. We choose the latter. It was an interesting time. One of the things I loved about working for this small company was that there was a lot of job variety if you wanted it. I got to create several websites, train new staff and help set up shops in places like Mount Isa and Alice Springs.

By far my greatest achievement, and biggest challenge is parenting my four children and supporting my wife as she home schools them.

Tell us about your writing. What do you write and why?

Most of my writing can be described as non-fiction, I have a blog (and a YouTube channel) where I write about books, reading and why we should read. It focuses on science fiction mostly. I blog under the pen name Wolf McTavish.

I'm currently working on an adventure novel with a fantasy twist, along with a superhero novel, a non-fiction book for home schooling dads and two science fiction novels. I think I need to focus on one and get it finished.

When I was younger I tried my hand at writing a few science fiction stories. I presented them to my Grandfather to proofread and provide some feedback. He tore my stories to shreds and went to great detail describing how scientifically impossible my stories were. I know he meant well, but it did shake my confidence in writing.

Years later I discovered blogging, but as I looked around I noticed the internet was clogged with so many blogs already, some just waffly streams of conscious post that went nowhere. I decided that there was too much 'noise' on the internet already so why should I contribute to it as well. Then I read an article about how creating content (like writing a blog post) rather than consuming content passively is a far more rewarding use of your time and energy. It may be more difficult to do but this well eventually help you develop character. 

So, I decided instead of just reading books, I would review them. Rather than reading about books I would write about them. The other reason I decided to blog was for the experience. Recently my desire to write and publish some novels has been rekindled so part of my plan was to write more in order to improve my writing skill. 

We were all created in the image of God and have an innate desire to create as well. So in order to grow I believed we need to become creators, not for the recognition that might follow (even though that would be good), but for the sake of the process itself. My preferred way of creating is to write. 

Who has read your work? Who would you like to read it? 

Most of my work can be read online, it’s free to view on various platforms: Blogger, Medium, Wattpad and YouTube. I’ll add the links below so you can take a look for yourselves. 

My novels, though, haven’t been read by anyone yet. The exception would be the Adventure Story with the fantasy twist. My father has read a few chapters and told me to blow something up and I’m currently getting feedback on the first chapter from the Omega Sci-fi / Fantasy chapter. 

My target audience for the novels would be a general audience, with maybe the exception of the superhero story which I’m trying to write for my children to enjoy. 

Tell us something about your process. What challenges do you face? What helps you the most? 

For my blog posts, I normally read a book or an article which starts me thinking about a certain topic. I’ll write down some ideas that I have, then read what others have to say about that topic and grab some quotes. I’ll them mash that together into article.


In regards to writing a novel this is my process so far:

· I come up with an idea and think about it for a while.

· Then start world building – basically I do a mind dump and write down everything about this universe: the characters, their backgrounds, the way the magic or tech works etc.

· Start drafting out a few chapters…

· Come up with another idea and start world building that universe.

· Get distracted by life, which gets in the way and give up for a few weeks before starting the cycle again.


My greatest challenge is completing a writing project. But I find that becoming part of a community of like-minded writers, CWD is a good example, provides the encouragement that I need, along with the opportunity to help others by sharing my knowledge and story to encourage them.

So hopefully you feel encouraged :)

Silence would help me the most, but trying to work from home with four children who don’t know the meaning of silence, is definitely a challenge.

What is your favourite Writing Craft Book and why?

I have two for this list: 

· Writing into the Dark: How to Write a Novel without an Outline by Dean Wesley Smith 

· How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson 

I knew I wanted to write novels but I didn’t know where to start so I just kept reading more books on the craft of writing. In the introduction of Writing into the Dark, Dean Wesley Smith says he wanted to motivate writers to write and not be bogged down or scared by preconceived ideas of how you should write. It certainly helped me. After reading all those other books on the craft this was the one that really motivated me to start writing and stop being scared of starting. 

Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method was another book that I found really helpful. He claims that his snowflake method will work for people who plot, those who write without an outline and those in between. But the line that really stood out to me what this one: “You’re going to get lots of advice on how to write a novel. But that’s all it is. Advice. If you don’t like that advice, if it doesn’t work for you, then ignore it. If it does work for you, then run with it.” 

If you were to give a shout-out to a CWD author, writer, editor or illustrator – who would they be?

That would be Adam Collings and Jeanette O'Hagan. Adam introduced me to this group and the Omega writers group and both Adam and Jenny have made me feel welcome within the group.

Also they both write the type of genre l love to read, science fiction and fantasy. I can't say how much I enjoyed reading Adam’s Jewel of the Stars novels and would recommend it to anyone who loves science fiction. I was privileged to beta read book two in this series and can say that both stories are better than a lot of the newer science fiction novels I've read over the last few years.

I've just started reading and enjoying Jenny's Heart of the Mountain fantasy series too. What I also like about both of these authors is the way they’re able to subtly weave in ideas about Christianity and their faith without breaking the reader out of the story. This is something I'm still working on with my writing. 

What are your writing goals for 2019? How will you achieve them?

I have an ambitious goal of completing and publishing two books by the end of this year. That was my goal last year but I ended up helping my wife publish a nature journal. (Still a win!) 

I believe the first and most important step to achieving this year’s goal is to finish a first draft of at least one of my projects.

(Could place image BenHeatherNatureJournal.JPG here with following link  Ben and Heather with the One Year Nature Journal. Click on link to find out more and purchase in Australia.) 

How does your faith impact and shape your writing?

I grew up in a Christian home and have been a Christian from an early age so I view everything that happens through a Gospel worldview and hopefully my writing and videos reflect that too. I’ve read some really good science fiction and fantasy novels which teach scientific principles or discuss philosophical and religious ideas as its part of the storyline in a way that seems natural. A good example of this, despite its name is Amish Vampires in Space which juxtaposes Amish, Christian and Secular beliefs, discusses each in detail and keeps the tension of the story going at the same time. It’s well worth the read. (See Adam Collings YouTube review for more detail)

This is what I want to do with in my novels, write them from a Gospel worldview and be able to have the characters discuss ideas like redemption or show these ideas through their actions without ‘taking the reader out of the story’ because it’s to cheesy or seems forced. This is something I’m struggling with but want to accomplish especially if I’m aiming at the general market.


Ben Dixon spends his days taking photos of his beard and dog to post on his Instagram page, while his wife, Heather home school's their 3 children.

He is also on a quest for a good book. While Science Fiction is his favourite genre to escape to, he also enjoy Fantasy and Detective Fiction. In the non-fiction section he likes to read Theology, History and Leadership books.

This quest is never ending as there are always more good books to read.

You can read Ben Dixon aka Wolf McTavish's work at:

BloggerYouTube |  Wattpad | Meduim | Facebook | Twitter 

Monday, 6 May 2019

Exploring Genres: Westerns

by Roger Norris-Green


About 55 years ago I picked up a ‘Cleveland Western’ for 2 shillings in my local newsagent. I thought I could write one so I had a go. At that time I couldn’t even type so I wrote 40,000 words in longhand in an exercise book. My dear wife Elaine typed it on a portable typewriter and I posted it off to the publisher.

The editor at Cleveland Westerns accepted it for publication.

I was paid 60 pound

Since then I have written 140 westerns for the company under the pen names Cole Shelton, Ben Taggart and Sundown McCabe and two under my own name, ‘Last Stage to Sundown’ and ‘A Stranger comes to Town.’

These last two titles are available direct from me for $10 each if you message me on Facebook.

What are Westerns?

Westersn are mostly set in the later half 19th century (1860-1900) in the American Old West. They usually focus a nomadic cowboy or gunfighter sporting revolvers, rifles and horses, in quest of justice in an unfair world. There may be a empahsis on arid desert setting of the 'wild west' and common themes or plots can revolve around building the railway, conflict with cattlemen or Native Americans, outlaws and lawmen, protecting family and/or revenge stories.

 Westerns include such classics as Zane Grey's Riders of the Purple Sage or TV series such as The Lone Ranter, Bonaza or the John Wayne movies.

Settler romances, set in the American Old West may pick up some of these themes, but have less focus on gunfights and a greater focus on woman's lives and romance. Settler romances are popular in Christian Fiction.

Traditional Westerns with Old Time Values

I write traditional westerns with ‘old time values’. The hero is a good man or at least one who was formerly living a troublesome life but who is coming good. He treats women in a civil manner, respectful and of course, ‘always gets the girl’.

He might be tempted by the ‘baddies’ but he never gives in.

The hero isn’t perfect but the reader can always identify with him because he is a decent human being. 

I have just had two westerns accepted for publication by Black Horse Westerns. One has just been released. It’s titled LAST CHANCE SALOON.

The story concerns a gunfighter who hangs up his guns for the peaceful life but then receives a letter from a beautiful young widow pleading for his help. The exciting finale takes place in the Last Chance Saloon where the hero stands alone against the forces of evil—and wins, of course. I don't have copies for sale but some libraries may have copies. Or you can buy online.

Simply google Last Chance Saloon is on the right hand side of the front page. Also available in e-book.

Oh, although my wife typed my first few stories, I since learned to type and have a computer!

This is the monthly cross post between Christian Writers Downunder and Australasian Christian Writers

Roger Norris-Green is the author of Outcast, Seagulls, Secrets, Tipping Point, A Stranger Comes to Town, Sunday At Ten Ten, Redemption, Last Stage To Sundown, Pathways and The Lonely Shore .

You can follow him on his facebook profile here or learn more about him from his CWD Meet or Members interview here.

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Member's Book Review: Dancing in the Rain

Review by Jeanette O'Hagan


The Book

Dancing in the Rain by inspirational writer Anusha Atukorala. It interlaces poems, stories and life-giving words designed to bring you comfort and hope during life’s stormy seasons. 

"The One who created you knows you by name. He draws near to the broken-hearted. He will gather you in His arms. He will hold you close. He will be with you always.

You will find—
• Comfort for your sadness.
• Peace for your fears.
• Hope for tomorrow.
• Light for the journey.
• And joy through every season."

Published March 1st 2018 by Armour Books
Available here or maybe contact Armour Books or Anusha.

The Author

Anusha delights in many things – life, the love of Jesus, people, the beauty of God’s Creation. She writes mostly for pleasure. She has decided never to grow old in spite of a body that is already defying her intentions! She enjoys the finer things of life including friendship and chocolate! Singing, walking, connecting with people and sharing God’s love are her some of her deepest passions. Like her writing, she is a work in progress!

Anusha lives in Adelaide with her husband Shan and their son, Asela.

My Thoughts

I've been looking forward to reading Anusha's Dancing in the Rain as I'd enjoyed her story in Glimpses of Light and have also been encouraged and inspired by her regular blog of the same name.

The book has a eye-catching cover that entices me to pick it up and read. Inside, it has an interesting structure, broken up into sections such as Oh No! It's Raining; I need an Umbrella; It's OK to grieve; A Rainbow called HOPE; Splashing Through the Puddles; Laughter the Best Medicine; Tall Stories about Rainy Days; Sailing Paper Boats; How Green is my Valley; And Best of All - the progression seeming to follow, at least in part, the progression of emotional journey through difficult times. Each section is filled with reflections from the author (divided into Part 1 and Part 2), Friends' Stories (told in first person), Nuggets (quotes, epigrams, Scripture), My story (from the Anusha's experiences), a poem and a serialised story 'Each Monday'.

It's an interesting mix, with different perspectives and approaches to our feelings, responses and options when facing difficulties and discouragement. The personal stories (both from Anusha and her friends) give testimony to depth of feeling, faith, and God in action in each one's lives. The reflections, nuggets and poems give both comfort, commiseration, as well as inspiration and hope in God's loving presence, spiritual meditations and practical ideas to gain a different perspective on the rain-soaked times, how to survive and even thrive. I think my favourite section is the Each Monday story, as I waited for the next instalment of the narrator's journey.

Overall, it's an easy to read, a part devotional, part inspirational gem that brims with Anusha's gentle and vibrant faith. Worth reading and also an excellent gift for those going through hard times.

Jeanette spun tales in the world of Nardva from the age of eight or nine. She enjoys writing secondary world fiction, poetry, blogging and editing. Her Nardvan stories span continents, time and cultures. Many involve courtly intrigue, adventure, romance and/or shapeshifters and magic. Others, are set in Nardva’s future and include space stations, plasma rifles, bio-tech, and/or cyborgs.

She has published numerous short stories, poems, four novellas in the Under the Mountain series, her debut novel, Akrad's Children and Ruhanna's Flight and other stories.

Her latest release is Shadow Crystals, the penultimate novella in the Under the Mountain series with Caverns of the Deep due in April/May.

Jeanette has practised medicine, studied communication, history, theology and a Master of Arts (Writing). She loves reading, painting, travel, catching up for coffee with friends, pondering the meaning of life. She lives in Brisbane with her husband and children.

Find her on:

Monday, 29 April 2019

Rest in Peace by Ruth Bonetti

What a month! Many poignant emotions touched our hearts as Easter terrorism shattered once safe havens of worship, followed by ANZAC remembrances.

What a long first term! After 10 weeks, we craved rest! What better than a seven-night cruise from our nearby port?

My husband is wary of waves and crowds. But stabilisers and ginger tablets curbed queasiness. Moi? I have Scandi blood and welcome waves. We so enjoyed our first cruise that we booked a 4-nighter to the Whitsunday Islands in July. (Hey like-minded friends, do join us.)

As many grieve lost relationships, no one can be complacent. Like other couples, we weathered occasional turbulence. We're grateful for being sustained through those valleys. And give credit where it's due.


A few weeks before our wedding, my grandfather wrote us memories of his 1908 marriage to Christina. His letter described how he surprised his bride with the gift of a piano—her family were musical—and he’d phoned to engage a teacher. They knelt at the bedside and asked God to protect and guide and bless them through their lives.

"And we certainly asked for some material blessings that in the eyes of the Lord were very small and he blessed us with very much more than ever we contemplated or asked for. If you take God into your partnership I am sure it will be even better than what you anticipate."

Grandad presided amongst his prolific family, said grace before our smorgasbord. He died two weeks after our wedding. Out of range on our honeymoon, we missed the funeral.

[Excerpt from Burn My Letters]

Term 2 is busy playing performances of the musical, Strictly Ballroom and Mendelssohn's Oratorio Elijah with Brisbane Symphony Orchestra at St John's Cathedral and Caloundra. When do I find time to write, you ask. So do I. Can I submit a short story end of April? Write 9000 words on NaNoWriMo? Just two days. If not, some gentle goals are preferable to none. And in rehearsals I note how composers paint emotions, scenes and characters in music, as writers do with words. How dialogue carries action forward. 

Elijah's prayers for rain were answered; the drought broke. Pagan false prophets of Baal were executed. Then he crashed from his Mount Carmel pinnacle into burn-out, anti-climax and depression. When vengeful Queen Jezebel threatened to kill him, Elijah fled to the desert, huddled under a tree and wished to die. He needed rest. Angels provided food and drink. Then came the gentle whisper of the Lord's direction.

Enjoy the Aria "O rest in the Lord" as sung by Kathleen Ferrier.

Feeling rushed, frazzled, overwhelmed? Tick.
This resonates with me:

"...We become slaves to our to-do lists and become doers instead of be-ers. We give ourselves little or no time to feel, to more fully experience much of our lives.We forget that the essence to feel is the very essence of our vitality...When we're operating on the proverbial fast track, our brains will only do what which they have already done before...There is no room for the new...Slow is how we discover what it is to feel and be vital and alive, to fully participate in the dance of life.
                             [Anat Baniel, Move into Life, pp. 135-6.]

                                                         Slow down. Rest. Refresh.

RUTH BONETTI will share self-publishing panel tips at Toowoomba Omega Writers Retreat June 7–9. This year she has been invited to judge the Lutheran Education Young Stories of Life.

Burn My Letters won the CALEB Nonfiction prize in 2017. Midnight Sun to Southern Cross is Ruth Bonetti’s second book in her historical biography/memoir saga of local stories. In the tradition of great family migration stories, it continues the saga of the Back brothers’ flight from Russian-occupied Finland to Australia as the nineteenth century turned into the twentieth.
Available: Amazon, Bookdepository etc. Autographed copies from and Ruth’s blog is

Earlier books are in her primary field of performance–of words and music–and education. Ruth founded Omega Writers in 1992.

Monday, 22 April 2019

Doing the Deep Work by Elaine Fraser

The monotony & solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind. Einstein

I often wish I could just go into a cave and write and write and write. However, my life only allows me to do that for a couple of hours a day–unless I go on a writing retreat. 
In order for me to do my best work, the kind of deep work you have to do in order to go deep into the topic, deep into the research, deep into the thinking, with long cycles of reflection, I need to make sure I get to my version of a cave as often as possible. 
That’s how I develop ideas. That’s how I do good stuff.
After a busy couple of years of travelling, I was beginning to forget how to get back into the wellspring of the deep, quiet solitude of work.   

Hopefully, each book I write will be better than the last, however, if I’m so busy travelling and doing myriad other things, I question if I am bringing my best to my work. I want the quality to always get better, so I really need to put myself in a place where I can disappear into my thoughts. 

I’ve found that NaNoWriMo doesn’t work for me. Neither does Stephen King’s advice in his instructional memoir, On Writing (A strict diet of 1,000 words a day, six days a week). 

Anne Lamott proposes something similar in her guide, Bird by Bird (Sitting down to write at roughly the same time every day).
The problem for me is that each week has a completely different routine. I also work from home with my husband, and we have projects and unexpected things that come up. 
So, I have to have a different approach. When I’m working on a book, I have to approach each week as its own scheduling challenge. The reality is that I just have to squeeze as much writing as I can manage in the most practical manner.  
Sometimes, this might lead to times where I write at a regular time or other periods where I binge write for days.
The point is that I commit to plans that I know I can achieve and commit to as many hours of deep work as I can. 
Every week looks different, but what’s consistent is that I rack up deep hours and watch my next book start to come together.
And those persons who can shut themselves up for long periods and work out their thoughts alone, constructing beautiful and orderly representations of their own spirits, are to me a continual mystery. I know this is the way that things are accomplished, that ‘monotony and solitude’ are necessary for him who would produce creative thought.Youth and Life by Randolph Bourne (1913)

In February, I went camping for a week and hardly looked at my phone or computer. I realised I'm rarely left alone with my own thoughts and imagination. One of my goals this year is to increase the number of hours I spend in solitude and in deep work.

Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, tries to log one thousand hours of deep creative time every 365 days.  He says, there’s no rule about how many you get in a day. Sometimes there’s zero and sometimes they can be nine or ten–it doesn’t matter if you’re sick, it doesn’t matter if there’s other stuff you’d like to be doing. Collins keeps 1,000 creative hours a year as a minimum baseline. 
The number isn’t important, but the overall objective is that over time there’s quality work. Creative hours lead to some kind of creative output–whether it’s research or writing or thinking–it’s leading towards producing something. 

Are you challenged in this area? Are you a Stephen King, Anne Lamott or Jim Collins? How do you get into the wellspring of the deep, quiet solitude of work?

Elaine Fraser writes YA fiction and inspirational nonfiction. She writes about life issues with a spiritual edge. Elaine blogs at, Kinwomen, and several other journals. She travels several months of the year and is otherwise found in her library in Perth, Australia—writing, reading, and hugging her golden retriever.

Monday, 15 April 2019

What do you think He meant?

There was this awesome Easter cartoon I saw – I cannot post as I don’t have the rights, but it can be found on this site.

It shows Jesus walking out of the tomb right into a paparazzi of disciples holding mobile phones taking footage of the event.


 Of course it is ridiculous because the mobile phone wasn’t invented in 33AD, but after having chuckled I thought about the depicted scene a bit more.

Why weren’t the disciples waiting in anticipation to see Jesus walk out of the tomb? 

I combed through the Gospels and turned up all the things Jesus had said to his disciples during those years he walked closely with them. Matthew recorded that Jesus said he would be crucified and that he would rise again on the third day no less than six times, not including the Last Supper.
Considering the miracles the disciples had seen, and all the strange things Jesus had said about being the Messiah and Saviour of the World, it would be reasonable to expect that they might have been camped there, ready for the action on resurrection morning.

 What happened? 

Half of them were in hiding, and the women who did come to the tomb early in the morning weren’t there with mobile phones in anticipation. They’d come in mourning, with spices to anoint Jesus’ body.

How are we like this today? If there is a new announcement about a new iPhone being released, people will camp outside the store ready to be first. There is more faith in Apple than there is in the words of Christ.

Jesus said many amazing things during his life on earth, including that he had come to save the world, and that whoever believed in Him would have eternal life. 

On Resurrection morning, Peter was hiding, ashamed of what he had done. He had boasted of his commitment to the cause, yet had denied Christ at the first sign of pressure.

Judas had misbelieved, lost hope and when he was at that point of despair, he made an irreversible decision. He’d got caught up with the idea of making money. He believed and followed Jesus, but had his eye on the opportunity to build his wealth.

 John and the others were disillusioned and bewildered. John had been caught up with the position he thought was his due in the coming kingdom. Then when Christ was crucified (as predicted) everything fell apart. What happened to the kingdom and the position? Had they just wasted three years of their life following a circus? 

Mary was grieving, believing she had lost the one man who had believed in her and forgiven her.

None of them expected the promise to still be on track—poised and waiting to break forth.

What do you think Jesus meant when he talked about overcoming the world? Where are you situated this coming Easter? Are you poised with your mobile phone ready to record the miracle?

I have promises from God that have come by Scripture and prophecy, and some of those promises look impossible, right at this moment. But this Easter, I’m going to be facing the tomb—my disappointment—and I am going to be waiting for the Saviour to break forth in victory. I don’t want someone to have to come after me in hiding to say, guess what? He did what he said he would do!

There is a song I heard on the sound track of the movie, Fire Proof called ‘While I’m Waiting’

While I’m waiting, I will serve you, while I’m waiting, I will worship.

Let me add to those lyrics: While I’m waiting, I will watch for the victory. 

We could ask the question of the disciples and followers of Christ: What did you think Jesus meant when he said all these things?

We could ask the same question of ourselves.

What did you think he meant?

While you are waiting, serve and worship. 

You are writers, and even while you’re waiting for an international break through, you can always serve and you can always worship. Serve with your ability to communicate with others, and worship the same way.

God Bless you this Easter

Meredith Resce

Author of the ‘The Heart of Green Valley’ series, and many other titles including ‘Falling for Maddie Grace’.