Thursday, 29 September 2011


I have tried to distill what I have learnt into five areas. I’ll be interested to see if it is the same for you?

1. PASSIONATE IDEA; Whatever you write about it must grip you. In writing “Broken Pottery – the life of an African girl” it was something I felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to do as I watched these beautiful girls and women suffer physically and emotionally. How could one not be moved to hope with them as they sought a cure for their fistulas created by a difficult childbirth and then enter into their joy when they found healing. My hope and prayer is that through reading my fictional account it may bring some help to these women. See my website for more information.

2. START; Even though you can be convinced you should write it can be difficult to start. It may take months or even years to think about a storyline but at some point one has to brush aside interruptions and determinedly put pen to paper. My litmus test for this stage was to ask myself,

“At the age of 90 will I look back at my life and totally regret the fact that I did not “have a go” and see what God may have wanted to do with not just the book but with my being obedient to Him?” The answer was always a resounding “yes”.

3. TRUST; The problem with writing a book, even one you know God wants you to write, you can still feel unsure if it is any good. Most authors are perfectionists when it comes to their writing and could alter a sentence over a dozen times and still not feel that it is exactly right. My rule of thumb is to ask the question, “Does my writing evoke an image, emotion or response from the reader?” In writing a fictional book set on a real continent involving real issues my concern was that many people have not visited Africa but I wanted to write in a way that the reader felt, they had not only visited but they had lived there. Could they visualize the blood orange sunsets, appreciate the nuances of culture, feel their senses reel in the exuberant chaos of life which is an African market and most importantly walk in the bare feet of Aisha (the central character)?

Having done our best, we then need to TRUST that God would do all that He intends to do with our work. (I’m sure you will agree, simple to say, hard to live out)!

4. REALLY GOOD EDITOR; It’s a bit heart breaking if you then turn your work over to someone who “doesn’t get it.” A good editor knows about spelling and grammar. A REALLY good editor reads your work carefully and is respectful of the creative process and realises that your writing is an extension of yourself. They recognize your unique style and storylines and set about polishing your work till the beauty of the story glimmers from each page.

5. JOY; I am wondering if you think I will say that being published brings joy and yes that is a wonderful moment and of course if the book sells that is also great. But I think for writers the real joy comes as we create because we are using the gifts that God has given us for His purposes, (no matter how outwardly successful our books may or may not be).


Jennifer Ann

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Will we always have the poor and needy with us?

On the one hand I'm very excited about my new novel "Charlotte's Angel", being released. It's one of my favourite stories, and certainly important for those who've read Mary's Guardian, as it's the continuing story of William and Mary. But Charlotte's Angel is also the story of the next generation of Australians - those born to the survivors of the First Fleet. Charlotte, I believe, is a character who will capture the hearts of readers. However, hers is also a story which makes me remember again that generation after generation we continue to have living amongst us those who are vulnerable, endangered and at risk. In my writing of Mary's Guardian I think I've likened our earliest convict settlers to our current boat people; men and women who had to prove themselves worthy of acceptance and decency in a strange world, and who had to find extraordinary courage, faith and determination to survive. The children they bore were fortunate if their parents had the moral and spiritual fortitude to survive in healthy and safe ways. That didn't always happen of course, and so Charlotte's early life was anything but wholesome or safe. Hers is the story of growing up in a broken home, amidst violence and immorality. So sad that this is still so prevalent today, and if Jesus's warning to us is anything to go by, then we will always have these vulnerable and needy ones with us. In Charlotte's Angel I've tried to write a story of hope for the needy and a challenge for those of us who have the opportunity and the resources to reach out and touch their lives; to be God's angels to those in need who cross our paths. 

Monday, 26 September 2011

Tools of Creation

We have such a vast array of tools today to help us with our writing.  Computers provide ways in which we can speed up the writing process with spelling, grammar and formatting all part of the package.  Traditional pen and paper are fantastic for  those moments of instantaneous inspiration.  Voice recorders are useful for notes on the run.  Each type of writing tool has it's benefits, and it's pitfalls.  I believe every one of them has it's place, in the practice of writing. 

I guess you could liken the creation of a new work, to creating a garden. 

When seeds are sown, a trowel and watering can are needed to plant and water them in. When the weeds appear, a different tool is required. In the Winter pruning tools are used.

So it is with writing, each tool is useful in it's season. So now instead of worrying if I am doing it all the right way, I let the season dictate the tools I use.  I must say though, there is nothing quite as satisfying as rolling up your sleeves, donning your gloves, and ploughing away long hand.  It's seems to do something for my soul, that a computer cannot, and the fruit is usually much more flavoursome.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

God has Really Good Listening Ears

By Narelle Nettelbeck

This entry is not about writing, it is what I write; how my relationship with God helps me thrive and survive as a mum. I pray this is a blessing to all of you. You can read more of my thoughts HERE.

As well as having two boys of my own, I work with children four days a week. I love listening to children chatting with each other; they say some really interesting things!
On Wednesday I overheard Miss 4 saying to Mr 3, “God has really good listening ears you know. He can hear you even when you are very quiet and whisper.”
I never cease to be amazed at the lessons I learn from children. I was so encouraged by Miss 4’s words and I have thought a lot about prayer ever since.
I know; we know, that God hears us when we pray. He hears our calls for help, our petitions and our pleas. He also hears our songs of praise and our private adoration.
Sometimes our prayers are not even audible, they are just whispers. Sometimes our prayers are not even as loud as a whisper; they are simply desires of our heart.

Recently I was talking to someone about ‘impossible prayers.’ By this I mean the prayers we pray but still have a lingering doubt as to whether or not God can actually answer them. The situations, the people, the circumstances we pray for that we just cannot fathom how even our Mighty God will be able to intervene.
Perhaps it’s just me with an ‘impossible’ prayer or two?
I have been lead to two verses from God’s Word that have inspired my faith in the impossible. Ephesians 3:20 reads, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Secondly, Mark 10:27, “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God
I may still have my ‘impossible’ prayers, but I know that I am human and limited in my understanding. I know I believe in a God who can do so much more than I can ‘get my head around’. I know He loves me and understands my doubts and I know I have a God who has ‘really good listening ears!’
Do you have 'impossible prayers' on your heart and mind?
Consider the verses above as you spend time in prayer today.
Blessings and love,

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Keeping God in the writing journey

Many years ago now I went to my first writers’ weekend conducted by a secular writers’ organisation. I was new to it all and totally overawed by those around me who seemed to know exactly what they were doing. I listened to talks, asked some tentative questions and chatted to a few authors. At least, I tried to chat to them. They were pleasant enough and reasonably helpful – but I came away feeling slightly sorry for them and fervently hoping I would never end up like them. You see, when we talked, I had the distinct feeling they were very wrapped up in themselves and what they had written – perhaps even jealous of others there who had been more ‘successful’ or who had sold more books or won more awards.

Since thave been to quite a few more writers’ events and realised that perhaps many of those attending – even the ‘successful’ authors – may not be as sure of themselves as they appear to be. And I know a little more now, so am not as overawed as I was. Yes, I have definitely changed over the course of my nine year writing journey and of seeing five of my novels published and out there in the market. But how do I myself now come across to other authors or potential authors? Have I become a little proud and self-centred, perhaps even just a teensy bit envious of those whose novels or other works have sold better than mine?

When I began my writing journey, I knew clearly God had called me to do so. I decided my writing would always be God-honouring in every way. I would write as best as I could for God, working hard at it and taking advice on board. I would seek to reach out to others through my novels, particularly those outside church circles. I would write ‘from the heart’ and be very vulnerable in what I wrote, in the hope that others perhaps going through similar situations as my characters would relate strongly to them and be helped or encouraged in some way. And when and if my books were ‘successful’, I would seek to give God the honour and glory and not become puffed up myself. For that reason, I chose to put Psalm 115:1 at the top of the first page of my website:

Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.

But what about now? Was I giving God as much honour and glory as I should? Was I truly remembering that my novels had come into existence because of God’s call and because God had given me any writing gift I had? Was I as conscious of God’s presence around me, encouraging me and cheering me on each day, as I had been at the beginning? Was God still in fact at the very centre of my writing journey?

I have pondered these questions a lot during the past year in particular – so much so that I will be taking a workshop on this whole topic of ‘Keeping God in the writing journey’ as part of the Word Writers’ Fair in Brisbane on Saturday 12th November (see  I don’t want to be running a race that adds up to nothing in the end. So I am looking forward to sharing the challenges and hopefully helpful insights God has given me in this area and to hearing how others endeavour to keep God first as well.

So ... how are you doing at keeping God in your writing journey?  

Jo-Anne Berthelsen grew up in Brisbane and holds degrees in Arts and Theology and a diploma in Education. She has worked as a high school teacher, editor and secretary, as well as in local church ministry. Jo-Anne is passionate about touching hearts and lives through both the written and spoken word. She is the author of five published novels – ‘Heléna’, ‘All the Days of My Life’, ‘Laura’, ‘Jenna’ and ‘Heléna’s Legacy’. She is married to a retired minister and lives in Sydney. For more information about Jo-Anne and her novels, please visit her website,

Monday, 19 September 2011

A Writer's Library

A Writer's Library.

There are many things we are told we should do as writers. One of them, suggested to me early on in my writing days, was to begin a writer's library. A writer's library contains books about the craft, about writing or writers, that one can refer to over and over again.
I thought I'd share some of the favourites from my writing shelf, in no particular order:

1) Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott.
The story behind its place on my shelf: When I returned from several years overseas, with 5 books published while I was away, I returned to the big smoke of Sydney feeling very isolated and uncertain about my writing. I met Lisa Shanahan, a Sydney based children's author, who invited me over for lunch and a chat. She suggested Bird by Bird - I cannot remember exactly what reason she gave, but I've found it (and Lisa's ongoing friendship) incredibly encouraging ever since.
Bird By Bird is Anne Lamott's "every single thing I know about writing". I love the language used, the images she discusses, the honest way she talks about the hard reality and wonder of writing. Some may find her irreverent at times, but I appreciate her take on life.

2) Writing Hannah, by Libby Gleeson
The story behind its place on my shelf: Early on in my writing journey I wrote away for a sample copy of the NSW Writer's Centre newsletter. Our family was inbetween countries at the time so I didn't subscribe but I did order several resources from their store brochure. Writing Hannah was one of them. I read this book slowly, almost meditatively, taking notes, letting my imagination experiment with ideas and soaking up the experience of writing a children's novel that Libby Gleeson shared. I've referred to it often, not as a textbook, but a companion to the process of writing for children.

3)Ragman and other stories of faith, by Walter Wangerin Jr
The story behind its place on my shelf: On one home leave (that is the time missionaries spend in their home country with their support base) I was browsing Koorong for something different and found this book. I had not read any Wangerin before I read Ragman but from the first few paragraphs of the first story I was hooked.
This is not a
writing book, as such (although one story recounts the author's experiences being mentored in the craft). It is a book of short stories, some true, some fiction. What I love is the way Walter Wangerin Jr experiments with styles and rhythms and shows just how rich faith content writing can be. I feel like this book both gives me permission to write how I want, without being constrained to one genre or style, and inspires me to write more richly.

What about you? What is one book invaluable in your writer's library, and what is the story behind it's privileged position?

Penny Reeve is a children's author, currently living with her family in Western Sydney. This week she hopes to remember to water the garden, spoil her husband (his birthday is this week) and write something worth reading over and over again.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Aussie Writer on the Journey: What I've learned from writing conferences

by Narelle Atkins

I’m like a kid in a candy store when I arrive at writing conferences. The conference buzz and excitement has been building for weeks, and I’m looking forward to seeing my online writing friends in person. A long weekend focused on all things writing related is like heaven for writers, especially for those who are geographically isolated from other writers. The internet has helped writers connect from all over the world, but it can’t beat the personal contact with the publishing world that a writer experiences at conference.

I met my dear friend Mary Hawkins for the first time at the 2007 Romance Writers of Australia conference in Sydney, where she taught a great class on inspirational romance. Romance Writers of Australia run a fabulous annual conference in August that I recommend to Aussie romance writers. Although the conference is geared toward the general romance market, the quality of teaching is excellent and the conference attracts international editors, agents and keynote speakers. I was blessed to attend Debra Dixon’s wonderful ‘GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict’ workshop in Sydney last year.

In 2008 I travelled to San Francisco for the Romance Writers of America annual conference. Wow. It’s hard to explain the sheer awe I experienced in San Francisco. 1200 people attend the RWA conference, including New York editors and agents. There are hundreds of workshops to choose from, and most of the recordings are available for purchase after the conference. I attended a brilliant workshop by the late Blake Snyder, known for his ‘Save the Cat’ screenwriting books. I loved wandering through the crowds at the ‘Readers for Life’ Literacy Autographing, and purchasing personally signed copies of books from my favourite authors. Two of my Aussie friends were finalists in the Golden Heart contest, and seeing their photos come up on the big screens at the Awards Ceremony was beyond exciting. The Aussie contingent in the audience was very vocal and patriotic!

A definite highlight in San Francisco was attending the Faith, Hope and Love Inspirational Chapter of RWA’s One-Day conference. It was so exciting to finally meet my American writing friends in person and have the opportunity to talk with editors and agents in the Christian publishing world.

Conferences provide attendees with networking opportunities, and the opportunity to pitch their manuscript to editors and agents. A large number of US Christian publishers will only accept agented queries, or queries from writers they’ve requested manuscripts from at conferences.

I’d love to attend the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference. If only international airfares to the US weren’t so expensive! Each year I purchase the ACFW conference recordings and enjoy learning more about the craft and business of writing. I’d also love to attend an Australian equivalent to the ACFW conference, catering for both Christian fiction and non-fiction writers. I like dreaming big!

I encourage all the writers reading our blog to attend writing conferences and reap the benefits from mingling with like minded people and industry professionals. Have you been blessed by attending writing conferences? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Narelle Atkins writes contemporary inspirational romance. She resides in Canberra, Australia with her husband and children. She can also be found at the International Christian Fiction Writers blog. To learn more about Narelle, please visit her website.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011


Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing on a Fiction Writers’ blog ‘cause I don’t write fiction. That’s my wife, Mary’s, expertise. But I don’t know of any other realm catering for the likes of (strange) me. And I do need the encouragement of others who tell stories and play with words.

So I hope you can endure this writer whose way might be a source of friction to writers of fiction. However I dare to say in each of us there is a strange streak, a madness only those similarly infected understand. Hence the following poem.

What Madness has Gripped Me?

What madness has gripped me?
This compulsion an insanity
Runs riot around my mind
Interest in others decline.
My heart trembles
My conscience crumbles
I’m bewitched

What madness has come near?
Characters like ghosts appear
Yelling, begging for release
Unsettling inner peace.
My fingers twitch
My mind has an itch
I’m hypnotized

What madness has driven me?
Away from friendly society
To a room, solitary
Outsiders find so scary.
My passions stirred
My emotions unfurled
I’m in a daze

What madness has transfixed me?
Daring me to break free
Before giving humanity
To ghosts of my insanity!
My hands begin to write
My story comes to light
I’m amazed

Will I ever escape those periods of madness?
I hope not!

Raymond Hawkins ©September 2011.

Am I correct in thinking you too are a little ‘strange’ from time to time when a story line is born?

Ray Hawkins is a retired Churches of Christ minister and married to Mary, a multi-published Romance author. Over the years his writing has developed from magazine articles and Bible studies to having two themed devotional meditation books published by EBP. They are ‘Children: God’s Special Interest and From Eden With love (About Marriage). He will be a presenter for the workshop on ‘Writing Devotionals’ at the Brisbane Word Writers’ Fair in November. Poetry also seems to creep into his heart from time to time.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Brave Little Flame

I've always been a bookworm. I thrive on the adrenaline rush a good story give me, and how I can be reduced to tears one moment and begin cheering when I turn the page. I enjoy daydreaming new events for characters I grow to love. After finishing a great novel one evening when I was very young, I sensed a clear question deep in my spirit, prompting me, Why don't you give it a go?

Immediately, I knew I wanted to do that more than anything. My kitchen stove has old fashioned gas jets for its hot plates, which we need to ignite with matches. With a powerful sounding WHOOSH, a beautiful ring of flame shoots up. That was the same effect this question had on my spirit. I quietly responded, Yes, I will, and felt that I was being obedient to God's prompting.

For year after year, that's exactly what I've tried to do. A novelist or author is what I'd tell school teachers I wanted to be. Now I have seven fiction titles circulating out there. Like the Olympic Torch, that flame kept burning strong. But recently, I noticed it beginning to dwindle. Trying to fan it back, I identified several extinguishers.

Financial hardship is a big one, especially as my husband studies, we struggle to make ends meet and I wonder whether I ought to cave in, place my homeschooled children in 'the system' and seek a 'proper' job - meaning one with a steady income. That one is like throwing a damp towel on my flame.

Indifference I face is another extinguisher. A small part of my fire dies whenever booksellers remain aloof or seem to snub me, whenever family or friends disappoint me by giving me the NOT INTERESTED message, whenever I find that people aren't leaving comments on my blog or even bothering to click LIKE when I've placed a link, announcement or review on Face Book. That one feels like dry ash being shoveled right over my flame.

Perhaps the biggest deterrent of all is the undesirable change I perceive in my attitude and personality. I become this praise-junkie, approval seeking, self-promoting bundle of raw nerves who feels uncomfortable every time I try to thrust myself into the spotlight, but understand that this is the way the world dictates it needs to be done if I'm to get anywhere. This is the blast that almost killed my flame; like a harsh jet of icy-cold foam.

I felt that if I have to make myself an unauthentic person who needs to thrive on pride and ambition to get my name known, I'd be far better off dousing the dream. It just didn't seem worth the price I had to pay. I began considering other paths instead. Therapist of some sort, dietician, pastor, masseuse? They all sound like good, helpful possibilities but I have no heart to pursue them for one simple reason. I never sense that same convincing voice, urging me, Why don't you give this a go?

I can't deny that my little flame is still burning steadily. Sometimes it shoots up through the piles of ash and debris and ignites the hot plate in my heart. An analogy between the great outdoors and human nature may occur to me, and the voice will whisper, Write that down, record the beauty. A throw-away remark on the News may fill me with the thought, You could easily get into the head of a character like that. Some hilarious irony may set me off laughing, and the voice is back again, telling me, That'll make a good blog post.

So while the brave little flame continues to burn, I continue to honour it. I know the gentle voice which whispers these things to my heart is good and worth heeding. Whenever I do obey the promptings, I enjoy myself tremendously, like putting all this into words for this blog post. I guess you haven't heard the last of me after all.

Paula Vince is a homeschooling mother and award-winning author of fiction. She lives in the beautiful Adelaide Hills of South Australia with her husband and three children. She keeps a wise and witty blog, It Just Occurred to Me, which aims to refresh readers with optimism and encouragement. If you'd like to check out her published fiction novels, please visit her website.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Scintillate, Scintillate...

Scintillate, scintillate, globule vivific,
Fain would I fathom thy nature specific
Loftily poised in the ether capacious
Strongly resembling a gem carbonaceous!

My son is learning to play the violin, and this week the song of choice is the one written above.
As I listened to the tentative first few notes, the squeaking of a misplaced bow across the strings, I was reminded of my own initial attempts at writing.

The first few times my fingers were hesitant, my thoughts disjointed. Nothing seemed to fit. The words that at times could flow so easily seemed to have evaporated like mist in the morning sun. I worried and fretted. Could God really have asked me to write; knowing my limitations, my lack of writing education?

My son queried me this week on the same issues. As we drove to his first lesson, he voiced the same fears. What if I'm not good enough? What if, even after I practice and learn and listen, I still can't do it? I listened to his pleas and was instantly transported back to my first critique.

I had sent my precious story to my writing group for their comments. Each day I waited for their response. Would they like my story, even a little bit? Would they make the requisite 'nice' comments so my feelings wouldn't be hurt, or would they tear it apart and announce my writing would  never measure up to the world's standards.

You can imagine my mixed feelings when my story came back. I shook as my finger clicked on the email and it opened to reveal...they did like it. They actually liked it and thought it had promise. 

Wow. I related that story to Pierce as we drove to his violin teacher. I reminded him that perfect practice makes perfect, while rubbish practice makes rubbish. He smiled a little, gave me a hug, took a deep breath and walked through her door.

My husband and I sat outside and listened. Chickens roamed around us pecking for food. Sheep grazed in the paddocks and a ginger cat sunned herself on the stone steps. 

We sat and waited. Soon, the sound we were waiting for touched our ears, and our hearts.

He played. Tentatively at first, and then with joy as his worries melted away.

Tears filled my eyes with every squeak,every misplaced note. My son had listened and won.   

What fears have you conquered in your life?

Twinkle, twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are
Up, above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky
Twinkle, twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are.

Lee Franklin lives in Western Australia with her husband and violin-playing son. She loves to read, cook and sing to her cows. They, on the other hand, are very glad they're tone deaf. 

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

When Time Stands Still

Get Reading, Australia's largest celebration of books is on again this September. The challenge? To read the recommended 50 books you can't put down.

To help, the good people at Get Reading offer the latest 2011 list of books for readers to download. They also encourage young and old to find their way to Reading Rooms in most major Australian cities where author appearances, quiet browsing and comfy chairs provide the right atmosphere for sinking into a good book.

This made me think about my own favourite reading spots. In the summer, my reading room is outside. I have a cane rocker on the porch, beside the long arms of our quince tree. It's no coincidence an old rusty double-sided clock sits above me, screwed into the wall. Some might lament its faded face, stuck eternally at quarter past 4. I think it's perfect. Time stands still when I'm gardening or lost in a good book and if my broken outdoor ornament agrees, who am I to remedy this?

In Melbourne's winter, nothing beats reading in bed against the honey glow of a lamp. Could there be a more perfect reading room? Add the fingertips of rain against the window, a lit fire and peppermint tea, and I may never leave.

Oh and at this point in my life, the book must be made of paper. I may be tempted by a backlit iPad one day... but for now I'm holding onto the dog eared variety to be shared with friends when I'm done.

What about you? Where are you drawn to, when the clock stops ticking and a good book finds its way into your lap? Tell me about your perfect reading room.

Dorothy Adamek is a Melbourne based writer of Historical Romance. Read more at her Ink Dots blog.

Monday, 5 September 2011

The Magic of Storytelling

"I don't read fiction," a lady said to me at a recent market where I was selling books. "I read things that are real ... very real." I bit my tongue. After all, everyone has their own taste. But I did think Lady, you are missing out on a whole other world.

There is something magical about storytelling - indeed all the arts - that bypasses the brain with its rationale and the walls and barriers we have in place and goes straight to the heart.

I used to tour with a worship pastor and I remember him referring to a group of rough-looking tattooed-up men. He knew if he said to their face that they shouldn't be abusing their wives, they would probably knock him out. However he could sing "You had a fight with your wife last night ... don't let the sun go down ... with anger in your heart." They would clap along and walk away singing the catchy phrase "Don't let the sun go down."

The same goes for other forms of art. Paintings, sculpture, drama, movies - they all managed to touch a place deep within. I know a man who never cries about anything, except at the movies.

So it is with storytelling. Nathan the prophet used a story to get David's attention, rather than confronting him with his adultery outright. "Once there was a poor man who had a little lamb..." (See the story in 2 Samuel 12)
David's heart was engaged and he was outraged. "Off with his head!"
Nathan then brought conviction by saying "You are the man."

Jesus himself used parables - stories based in absolute truth - to teach the crowds about the Kingdom of God.

And that's why I love fiction, why I write fiction. I want to share the message of the Gospel of Jesus, absolute truth, in a way that bypasses people's stubborn walls and rationalism, to get to their heart.

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. For more information, see:

Friday, 2 September 2011


This Historical Romance has been some years in the making. I've come to really know and understand why my characters
act the way they do. As in real life, their past has so much to
 do with their present.

As an art student I'd wander through the cell-blocks of the Old
Darlinghurst Gaol wondering about its previous inmates. I'd
heard about the infamous Bloody Code and how it was enforced. Incidentally, the famous 19th century actress, Sarah Berhardt was given a tour and it highly amused her to discover the jailor's cat was in reality a cat-o'-nine-tails!

Years later, after simmering away in my subconscious, the idea
for this story had me scrambling to do some thorough research.
Scrolling through various Ticket-of-Leave documents, I found my heroine, and as they say, "the plot thickened". I knew it was a real saga and only a trilogy would capture all the various twists
 and turns in her life and the life of those she loved. Also, in a
 marvellous God-incident one eventful day I "happened" to attend a High Court hearing of a murder case. The court room had apparently been built early in the 19th century which gave it the exact atmosphere I could have wished for. I hung on every word of that judge and from notes taken, I was able to quote much of the judge's manner in the handing down of his verdict.

As in so many historicals, the story begins in England. And on our return from an evangelism conference in Amsterdam, my husband and I spent 3 short days in London. We traipsed the back streets, lanes, parks, and famous landmarks all part of 19th century London Town. We visited the British Museum and Windsor Castle and the details I gained from soaking up the atmosphere in those particular places I used to great advantage in Books II and III. Being there is great, but if you can't manage the travel, an author's fabulous 21st century tool, the Web, is a far cheaper and more convenient alternative.

Signed Sealed Delivered, released  Sept. by Ark House Press, is Book I of the Watermark Women Trilogy. You can pre-order from Koorong or Christian Bookstores.

Read Prologue and Excerpt at