Wednesday, 30 May 2012

To Trail or not to Trail

What a journey this writing has been! It seems not so long ago I was pondering how on earth I would find an agent when none of them seemed interested if I wasn't already published, and none of the publishers would look at a manuscript without it came through an agent. It seemed such an impossible hurdle. Thankfully I'm well past that, and very grateful to have a great publisher. 
However, being a published author seems an ever increasingly complex journey that has involved learning about e-books, social networking, advertising and promotion, blogging, web-sites, online selling. I could never have imagined all these aspects of writing when I started.
I suspect that I'm not the only writer who LOVES writing and finds all this extraverted, self promotional, time consuming stuff much more difficult. What a dream it would be to be able to exclusively spend time writing! However, I can't deny the wonder and joy that it is to get positive feedback about my stories, or to see my covers on FB, or to see reviews of my work on sites for readers and writers and book sellers. It's been fantastic to get to know a group of writers with the same passions and goals and struggles and to be encouraged and supported. So all of the difficult stuff has been worth it. It's stretched me and challenged me and I've learned heaps.

So now, as the prospect of yet another leap, into producing TRAILERS, faces me, I must look back and remember that all the steps have taken me in a good direction. 
I know some of you have done trailers and they're very impressive. I love the idea of seeing something of my story done pictorially - even moving pictures! In fact wouldn't we all love the idea that our stories might one day be made into movies - even mini-series, on television? What a thrill that would be. No harm in dreaming! With God there's no end to the rainbow! 

For now I'd love to know what you think about trailers. Are they an effective way to get our books noticed? Will they help us stand out amongst the thousands of new books that come out week by week. Do trailers produce results? Do they sell more books? Are they worth the cost and time and brainstrain? What's the best way to go about producing them?
I hope this yet another experience in the world of writing where we can share and support each other. 
Love to hear from you, my fellow writers and readers. Carol Preston  

Monday, 28 May 2012

Who is going to open the door?

I’m just a little tentative to address this subject. I have very strong feelings on the matter, but have been observing the dramatic changes in our society over the last forty years or so, and while twenty years ago I wouldn’t have had any qualms about saying it, now I’m just a little anxious about what response I might receive. So, here goes…

I like the old fashioned respect that men used to show women: opening the car door for them; carrying their bags; showing them respect and honour. I don’t think it means that women are stupid, weak or incapable necessarily. It just means that a man has a sense of honour and is willing to show that in acts of service and care. Is that so bad?
I have to admit that I cringed several times during uni lecture when a young man was scolded for being sexist. While delivering a practice lesson on using hand tools, he made the mistake of warning the girls to make sure their hair was tied back, and offered the assistance of the guys if they felt they weren’t strong enough to hold the block of wood in place. Personally, I didn’t even hear the comments, as it didn’t register to me as anything other than a sensible comment being made among other sensible comments, but he was told that it was offensive to women.
A couple of weeks later, I heard another student ask if the guys could move the tables ready for their practice lesson, and froze, waiting for someone to point out that this was sexist. And the thought crossed my mind. Wait a minute! What is wrong with guys being thoughtful, helpful and taking the weight? Could I move a table? Yes, and have done on many occasions, but if a man offers to move the table, change the tyre, carry the heavy bag of groceries, should I be offended that he has offered, or should I be grateful that he has had the thoughtfulness and decency to offer. I’m thinking the latter, and now I’m feeling grumpy with the whole feminist thing. No, I’m not stupid, fragile or helpless, but I do like to be cared for and honoured.
I’ve thought a lot about the feminist ideals: the original suffragette movement went to great pains to establish that women weren’t stupid, and that they were capable of doing just about anything a man could do, and the First World War gave them plenty of opportunity to prove that. They took persecution and ridicule to establish the right that women could speak into a political debate, and have their say right alongside their fathers, brothers and husbands. All good. They fought for equal pay for equal work. That seems sensible. But somewhere along the line, I feel we’ve gone past the sensible into the plain ludicrous. I look at the young men in the uni class (I’m a VERY mature aged student) and feel sorry for them. This study adds to that of watching my young adult sons and their friends try to negotiate the world of relating to young women. It seems an almost impossible task.
The young women are encouraged to dress provocatively, and when their sensual appearance does its job, the young men are hammered for being sleazy (not making excuses for sexual assault here, just making observations). If one talks about dressing modestly, we are restricting the woman’s right to dress how she likes. If young men act in a manner that would have been considered chivalrous in the past, they can very quickly be accused of being sexist, controlling and demanding. I feel quite dizzy trying to figure out how young people are supposed to conduct a relationship in this day and age. Some young women react strongly to the idea that they should have to cook, wash or clean their homes if they have a partner who could and probably should do it.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve encouraged my boys to learn how to cook, and to clean their own rooms. They can wash their own clothes, if it comes to that. I think that boys should be domestically capable, but I also think that girls should be domestically capable, and that it doesn’t hurt for domestic roles to be established when children arrive.
I don’t know – I need to summarise, but I simply don’t know what to say. Has feminism done good? In a lot of things, I think I’d have to say yes. Has it gone too far? Well that is the question for the day. All I can say is, I admire and appreciate a chivalrous gentleman, no matter his age, and I hope that we haven’t killed chivalry stone dead in this next generation.

Meredith Resce

Meredith has written and published 14 novels. Most of them are period drama romance, with an odd time travel adventure, murder mystery and contemporary drama romance thrown in.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Playing God and the Devil’s Advocate

I’m odd. My favourite book of the Bible is Job. I think the main reason is the wonderful theology that a foolhardy exegete such as I can eke out of it. However, the book is also a great example of how writers should treat—or rather mistreat—their protagonists.

Job’s normal existence is portrayed as idyllic: gifts from God abound, and Job doesn’t have a care in the world. But that doesn’t last, of course. What a boring read the book would be if it did! Unbeknown to Job, Satan gains permission from God to mete out a progression of blows on the man. Initially, Job’s possessions are taken away and his children die. Then, to kick him while he’s down, Satan inflicts a painful disease on him.

The final problem to befall Job is a lack of understanding from his friends (well-meaning though they be).

These troubles give rise to the conflicts that comprise the bulk of the book. The main conflict is internal: since Job wasn’t privy to the scenes in which Satan communicates with God, he attributes his afflictions to God and this causes him to question his faith. The external conflict involves Job defending himself and his beliefs against the questionable logic of those around him.

As writers, I think we all know what it’s like to play God in the stories we create. We fashion the characters and settings. We shape how events unfold and direct the final outcome.

But the bit that interests me is that we should also play Satan. In the same way that Satan seeks and obtains permission from God to inflict travails on Job, we must grant ourselves permission to inflict travails on our beloved protagonists—and preferably several layers of them. If I may be permitted to refer to mystical arts in a Christian blog, it’s like sticking pins into a voodoo doll.

I’ll confess that I derive a perverse sense of satisfaction from inflicting challenges on my protagonists. Perhaps I should be worried about this! Hopefully it’s only because I’m curious to see how they’ll respond.

As writers, it would be a problem for us if we get so attached to our stories’ heroes and heroines that we become unwilling to load them down with obstacles. Without problems, there can be no conflict; with no conflict, there can be no drama, no plot and no story. A hero with no challenges can’t show how heroic he is (and presumably a heroine couldn’t show how heroinic she is).

So next time you’re playing God, don’t forget that you’re also the devil’s advocate.

Peter McLennan writes YA novels. His first novel has just been published on Amazon and Smashwords.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Only a Toy Giraffe

I received him as a free gift when I did my weekly grocery shopping. Who’s “him” you ask! Good question. The Supermarket was having a special promotion. For several weeks, shoppers who spent over 75 dollars, would be rewarded with a soft toy; a different one each week. They were all on display to tempt us. A lion, an elephant, a monkey, a pig, a cow….. and more. I hadn’t seen them that day, so experienced a happy surprise when I put my bags into the shopping trolley and got ready to pay my bill.

“Would you like a free soft toy with your purchases today?’ asked the friendly girl at the checkout. I was astonished but delighted at the offer! “Sure!” I responded, flashing all thirteen of my top front teeth (which are often determined to make an appearance when I grin)! She handed me a lovely little soft toy. A Giraffe. He looked so cute and cuddly that I took an instant liking to him. I also had a distinct feeling that God whispered in my ear that it was a gift from Him!

I had been going through a difficult season in my life. Perhaps this little giraffe was a special gift (not just from the supermarket), but from a loving Heavenly Father to comfort me and to see me through my difficult moments! Back home, I took the little giraffe out of the shopping bag and cradled him. Instantly, warm, fuzzy feelings engulfed me. The strength of my feelings surprised me. If I felt so loving towards an inanimate soft toy – how much more would my loving heavenly Father feel love towards me, His child. Perhaps that’s what this ‘gift’ was about!

My husband was equally interested when I showed him our latest acquisition. “He does look cute, doesn’t he?” he agreed. We had often discussed the possibility of getting a pet. But for many reasons didn’t think we could have one. And so Raffy – our little toy giraffe became our family pet. And what a perfect pet!

Our new pet had a roundish oblong face, two cute little ears and two small brown horns. He was white with brown patches all over him. He possessed two little nostrils to breathe through. But the most appealing part of him were his large melting brown eyes which gazed soulfully at us. We were hooked!

What a wonderful difference little Raffy made in our lives!

You may laugh… but it’s true. All three of us in my family; that’s my husband, my 22 year old son and I play with him. We leave him in various places, in cute contortions, for the others to find and enjoy a throaty chuckle when they do. When I ask questions of Raffy – my husband helps him nod or shake his head. Raffy’s beautiful brown eyes look deep into me and he looks so lifelike that he’s cute as well as hilarious.

Whenever we watch TV, Raf sits plonk on my husband’s knee or between us. Raf greets my husband joyfully (with a little help from me), when Shan returns from work! At bedtime, Raffy walks over to the bottom of our bed and lies down, is covered by our duvet and instantly goes to sleep. (Far easier than putting a child or live pet to sleep, I should add!)

Yes, Raffy our soft toy is also Raffy our pet. I would not have believed it had I not lived it. Raffy may not be a living creature. But the smiles and laughter he brought was exactly the therapy I needed. He also added an extra zip to our marriage. Laughing and playing with him together reminded us of how we’d play with our son when he was little.

So God not only reminded me how much He loved me through Raffy. He also brought a new element of fun into our family through him.He was only a toy giraffe but what a lot he did for us! He was only a soft toy but he was also so much more.

I wonder if you feel a bit discouraged today? If so, I would like to encourage you. Are you ‘only a writer?” or ‘only a Mum?” or ‘only a something else’? Are you disappointed by your writing achievements to date? Do you feel you only write children’s stories? Or only write non fiction? Or only write romance novels? Do you sometimes compare yourselves with other writers and feel that they are racing ahead in your careers while you are stuck in a groove?

Let me assure you that there is no ‘only’ about it. There is only one you and only one person who can fulfill the future God has for you. That person is YOU! So whatever you do is not an ‘only’ but an ONLY! Get the difference?

You, a writer are one of a kind. God is working out His special purposes through you. Raffy was only a soft toy but what joy he brought into our lives and our home.

You may be only one writer but what a difference you make to this world.
Write on, friend… Write on! You do make a difference!

Anusha has always been fascinated by the English language and loves playing with words. She is passionate about Jesus, life, love, family, friendship, the beauty of creation and many other wonderful facets of this wonderful world. She lives with 1 husband, 1 son & 1 pet giraffe, tapping keys at 1 little computer in 1 cosy home, in 1 beautiful suburb, in 1 breathtaking country, in 1 brilliant continent, in 1 glorious world, in 1 vast universe, but also finding over 1 million and 1 reasons every day, to praise her Amazing Creator.

Do drop by to say Hello to her at her website and blog, Dancing in the Rain:

PS And please DO Keep Writing (or Publishing... or Whatever Else you do)! :)

Friday, 18 May 2012



As I was thinking about my next blog post I was thinking about what I had been doing over the past few months.
The answer was TRAVEL. I travelled from the bottom of New Zealand to the top and many areas in between. Over my short life I have travelled through many states in Australia and lived in three, which gives me a range of places I have seen.

When writing I like to have a setting for my novel. I have used NSW, country Victorian/Melbourne. As I write contemporary novels I can use places I have been.

How do you get your ideas of places/settings? I may use fictional towns but think of a place I might have been. Do you use real towns, or do you make them up?
In one of my novels it is set in Victoria but I needed a town and a fictional town was the only way I could see getting the town I wanted. I have read a few books where they may have a map, and they point out that the town they are using is fictitious. So I made up the name of the town my characters grew up in.

Do you feel like you have to have been to the place to write it into your story? I co-wrote a story with a friend of mine, she lived in USA and she used to travel with her hubby so she had been to the places we used. I used a little bit of Australia and hoped what I wrote would sound all right and she said it did. I have never had to the chance to travel to the United States, but would like to one day, if only to see those towns my characters were in.
I really get immersed in my characters’ lives (or them in mine). I like to be able to see the setting. Like something in Melbourne wouldn’t be the same as Sydney (ie. Trams). I see a church and it was the church I was a member of. I even used the idea of their being two exit doors like this church had. I think it does help if you have been in the same setting/situation.

I use Aussie terminology in my stories so I think most of the times I will set my stories in Australia. The country I love and live in. Maybe if I ever lived somewhere else ….. But that doesn’t seem all that likely.
Settings are important, because you want to have readers want to see what you see, at least partly. Will my readers understand mountains and hills? I know if I say hills to people in WA will have a completely different idea to those who live in the Eastern states. So I try to use something that I may have seen, I can imagine things, but I want them to be realistic to a point.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Listening to our ‘deep gladness’

At the moment, I find myself at something of a crossroads. I have been writing for around eight years now and have had five novels published in that time. I have also completed a sixth and submitted it to a publisher. Last year, I also completed my first non-fiction work and am in the process of deciding where to direct it for possible publication. And more recently, I have re-edited over a hundred of my blogs, in the hope that at some future date they will be published in book form. I have enjoyed it all. But what next for me in my writing journey?

Common sense would tell me I should apply myself to those rough outlines and first chapters of three further novels waiting on my computer. I am not getting any younger (!)—and who else is going to write them if I don’t? Sure there will be many other novels written in the years ahead, but they won’t have my characters in them or the many ideas running around in my head right now! I think I could complete each of these novels—but for me, the bottom line is whether this is actually what God wants me to do.
So how do I discover that? The whole picture becomes a little more complex too when I realise afresh how much I enjoy mentoring other women in their walk with God--particularly other authors. Before I began writing, I was part of a local church ministry team. I loved that role and still find myself wanting to care for others in the way I did then. How is this all meant to fit together in my life, now I have reached this ‘mini-crossroads’ point again?

Well, first and foremost, I take time to pray—and listen to God. I have learnt not to make quick decisions but to ‘hasten slowly’, asking God all the while if I am on the right course for my life and in my writing. I read God’s word and journal about that. I know God can speak so clearly through it to me—in fact, my initial call to write came as I was reading some verses from Isaiah 42. I talk the matter over with those close to me. And then I watch as circumstances unfold in my life under God’s hand. By that, I mean I may take the step of submitting a manuscript to a publisher. If it is accepted, I am grateful, but if it is rejected then I accept that too. I have asked God to lead and I need to trust God is actually doing that and will show me the road ahead in these practical ways.
But there is something else I try to do as well—and that is to listen my own self! I am learning to recognise what energises me the most and gives me great joy and fulfilment—or, as the American author Frederick Buechner puts it, to recognise the place where my ‘deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet. I also remember Psalm 37:4 where David writes:
Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
And as I do, I move forward step by step with hope in God, aware of that ‘deep gladness’ that tells me I’m on the right track and using my gifts well to make a difference in this world.

Jo-Anne Berthelsen grew up in Brisbane and holds an Arts degree from Queensland University.  She has also studied Education and Theology and has worked as a high school teacher and editor, as well as in local church ministry. Jo-Anne loves communicating through both the written and spoken word and currently has five published novels—‘Heléna’, ‘All the Days of My Life’, ‘Laura’, ‘Jenna’ and ‘Heléna’s Legacy’.  She is married to a retired minister and has three grown-up children and three grandchildren.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Inspiration: By Appointment

The torpid artist seeks inspiration at any cost, by virtue or by vice, by friend or by fiend, by prayer or by wine. Ralph Waldo Emerson
In the name of research and inspiration I’ve been on Pinterest, Facebook, design blogs, writers’ blogs, watched movies, read myriad books, searched quotes, lost myself in paintings, wondered in nature and engaged in absorbing conversations.
Writers are like magpies, collecting thoughts, ideas, phrases, and word pictures in a magnificent obsession. We carry a notebook in our mind, if not a literal one, to record inspiration.
Inspiration is found everywhere if we look for it, however, in the midst of the crowded landscape of life, how do we take inspiration and convert it into something tangible like a book?
How does a writer who does not have the luxury of a cleaner, nanny or chef, produce an amount of work that justifies listing one’s occupation as author in the midst of everyday life?
One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received is to make appointments with yourself. A personal trainer once told me that women are particularly poor at putting exercise as a priority in their lives. He told me to make appointments with myself and stick to them. It worked. I exercise every week at least 5 times and it’s become a lifelong habit.
I gave up a teaching job a few years ago to concentrate on my writing. However, in a gradual shift, other things such as ageing parents, children and significant life changes, have taken precedence. Volunteer work at home and in Cambodia, along with regular travel means life does not have a regular routine.
I have written and published two books; one manuscript is in review stage and one is being written. I am inspired, called, and compelled by God to write.
It’s time to make appointments with myself to write every day and not just fit in a self-imposed writer’s retreat or the last couple of hours in the day when I’m tired or on the road.
Inspiration provides the imperative to work, but sometimes I get sidetracked and don’t actually get down to write. I’m inspired but not necessarily converting that into a tangible product.
My husband keeps telling me to treat it as a job. So, what can I say to parents who need me and young adult children who want more of me? I have an appointment from this time to this time on this day and then I’m free.
Critique partners who want to see a chapter a week help keep me accountable and give me another appointment to keep.
It’s time to take the inspiration filling my head and finish those books.
Elaine Fraser

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Learning From Each Other

Greetings to all, in the name of Jesus. It is my pleasure to Post on here this week.
Thank you Lee for your invitation.

To introduce myself: I am Crystal Mary Lindsey

Christians down under are just the same as Christians Up Over. 
Prior going to live in America, I had misconceived ideas about Americans.
How wrong I found myself to be. 
Yes! Americans are very patriotic. So much so that in their schools they hardly learn anything about any other country accept their own. That is where their power has come from, and that is why they are the strength they are today. They unite together.

There can be good said about this, and there can be bad.
When you don't know any better, then you believe you are the best.
This is a recipe for two things.
Being positive and successful, or,  being ignorant.

My husband Ray is American. I didn't know him very well before I met him in person over there.
He knew nothing about Australia.
I told him I wanted him to come back here to meet my family.
Before he came he told everyone how backward we Australians were.
I didn't say too much in return accept, "Well,  you'll see."

From the first day he arrived, he felt the freedom of this great land. 
Then he began to tell me how more advanced we were in many things. 
Electricity was one of these.
America isn't much older in white inhabitants than Australia is.
They fought earlier in the piece to free their country from the British, while we remain united.
The size of the USA is almost the same as Australia. 

Their population is approximately  311,591,917.
Australia's population is approximately 22,328,800.  
Now that is a vast difference.
It is no wonder Americans are ahead of us in somethings, such as literature. 
There are more people experiencing it.  

That doesn't mean we can't learn, and it doesn't mean we won't improve.

In all truth, these are two things that will and are, already happening very well!

I have to say this also. Americans are hard workers. They do not shirk their responsibilities, and that is something we need to improve on, to succeed.
I speak from experience about this, because I worked there.
Instead of an eight hour day that I had worked here, it was more of a fifteen hour day there, and no one complained. They have a pride in striving for their country.

Lets not feel disheartened about them thinking they are better than us.
At the moment they are. However, we are on our way to better accomplishments.
One day we may even lead the world of literacy.

I was once invited to a church in the town where I lived in Tennessee. Excitedly I was watched for my reaction to the beautiful beach overheads, and the music.
"Well, what did you think?" I was asked at the end...
I didn't want to hurt any feelings, but I had to tell the truth.
"Well," I said as kindly as I could. "Those beaches are Australian and the songs, were from Hillsong."    It was so hard not to laugh out loud....
But then, I laugh at almost everything.
The singing in the church I attended, was fabulous, and I learned a few different songs.
Lets unit and grow together helping one another, and improving our world.
After all, Jesus said the most important thing we can have, is love...  
Love and Blessings to all.  CML

Monday, 7 May 2012

Introducing a reader.

Hi all. This is my first post here so I thought I would introduce myself. Around the online I use the nickname Ausjenny due to the very first board I was ever on having many Jenny's and one other using Jenny from Downunder. I started using Ausjenny as its so much easier to type and it wasn't taken at that stage. I am Ausjenny on most boards, forums etc and it distinguishes me. 

I started blogging just over 4 years ago answering a meme from Camy Tang. I started the blog in a simple way by adding a few reviews, then joined a blog alliance to help promote new books and gain free books to read and review. I then added interviews and still remember my first ever interview was with Mary Connealy. Since then I now do a regular getting to know you interview every Thursday where I introduce authors to readers. 

The past year I have been able to introduce Australian authors and books to my readers which has been a real joy. I have a reader friend in Canada who has loved being introduced to Australian fiction. I love learning more about authors and love being able introduce and promote authors and books.

One question I ask in my interviews is what were your favourite books when you were a child. I have been interested in the answers. As a child my first favourite book was a book of  fairytales. It had 3 stories with one being The Snow Queen which I feel in love with. My next favourite was The Magic Faraway Tree series by Enid Blyton. I loved these books and many of her other books. I reread them so many times. I so wanted a tree like that one in my back yard. I have found authors from the Commonwealth countries often mention Enid Blyton but so far no American authors have. I also loved Seven Little Australians and the Billabong books. 2 of my favourite books were Betsy, and the other book was Helen Keller's Teacher. I loved this book.

After school I didn't read a lot for many years until an older lady from church gave me the first book in Janette Oke's Canadian West series. I devoured this book and she gave me the second book early for  my birthday and I then bought the rest in the series. This gave me a love for Mounties, Canada and reading. I have watched the Christian fiction scene changed in the past 25 or so years from just a few novels to where it is today. I am also excited to see the Australian Christian Fiction growing also. I am loving the range we have and looking forward to more exciting things. I am on a few forums at Goodreads and many say they want to read books set in Australia and they want the Australian voice. I look forward to more exciting times.

Thanks for bearing with me for this post. I am not a writer and normally just post interviews and reviews. This has been an interesting experience. 

Jenny Blake aka Ausjenny has her own blog at where she posts reviews, interviews and information on new books. Jenny is always looking for authors to feature on her blog.

Friday, 4 May 2012

The Power of Words

Two things recently have started me thinking about the power of words. One was the recent post by Jackie about 'it only needs to be a small flame.' When I thought about that, one of the examples that struck me was the example of Aussie poet Andrew Lansdown. He is a quite openly a Christian who writes poetry that is accepted by literary magazines and Christian journals. His poetry is recognised and acclaimed by Christians and those in literary circles. I admit he is on my mind at present, as I have recently finished reviewing his poetry collection Allsorts that has been entered in the Caleb Poetry Prize which I am privileged ot be judging again this year. His faith is evident in his poems which are always a tribute to the Mighty Creator. He is a great example of a writer whose words are a beacon in our world. If you love poetry and haven't read any of his poems, I encourage you do do so.

The second was a text message I received from a friend who was in the middle of preparing a talk for Mother's Day. The text asked,  'What is the best advice you received from your mother or best advice you have given as a mum.' I answered the first part of the question with two bits I remembered from my mum. One was humorous. The other practical. My mother was a person who drew people to her as naturally as breathing. The practical one was, 'make lots of friends. Don't just make one best friend.' 

I don't remember the exact context of her saying this, but suspect it could have been when my best friend moved to Queensland in my first year in high school and I was devastated. But it may well have been even much earlier than that. Because of moving house a bit, I had been to three different schools before high school and so had to make new friends quite a bit.

Not wanting to presume what advice my children had deemed valuable, if anything, I decided to text and ask. My daughter thought for a bit before her texted answer came back. 'One that comes to mind is about marriage and what to look for in a marriage partner and you said " that as no-one is perfect and everyone has faults, choose someone whose faults you can live with because you can't change them to be the person you want them to be. You marry them as they are. The other thing she remembered me saying was, 'marriage requires work. It won't just happen.'

I wondered then how different it would be if I asked my son and so off went another text message. After a while his answer came back saying, 'I can't remember any specific advice but your encouragement to follow the Lord in both words and example would be the most significant.' Needless to say, I felt good after those replies and felt somewhere along the marriage and parenting way, my husband and I must have managed to get a few things right.

So, I guess it highlighted for me the importance of words and how sometimes they can have an impact even when we may not be aware of it. That's true whether it is in marriage and parenting or in writing. Sometimes in writing, our characters can get away with giving advbice and saying what the author may not be able to say openly. That way it doesn't come across as preachy but as an intrinsic part of that character and the way they live their life and make choices. At least that's why I hop to do in my fiction so that those who are outside the church will read it and hoepfully it will make them think. Who knows whether sometime down the track those words will take root and lead them to the Saviour, especially if we seek to write what God wants and cover our writing with prayer.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Putting Australia first.

American National Pride is indeed a palpable thing, compared to how we Australians view ourselves.

Do we as Australian's get caught up in this American nationalism?

We adopt their tv shows, and their slang, to the point of changing our language to reflect more Americanisms than Briticisms. For instance, peanut paste is now peanut butter and 'dead horse' is becoming widely known as ketchup.

Are we losing our own identity?

America is most certainly the super power, so perhaps we are seeking the approval of the powerful parent.

As it pertains to fiction writing, we spend considerable monies to join and partake in American writing groups and organisations, attend their conferences etc.

Do we therefore consider American fiction superior to Australian fiction, and as a result we are trying to expand our knowledge, or by joining these groups are we trying to achieve a sense of equality?

Do we sincerely believe, through membership in these groups, that they offer the potential to enter the American market place, or to be blunt, are we just rubbing shoulders with what we consider successful authors, editors and publishers? And hoping this will rub off?

Should not Australian writing enterprises, have a greater propensity to assist Australian authors?

Depending on your perspective, should we be spending our hard-earned financial resources through memberships or subscriptions to these American enterprises?

How often have you heard that in order to publish in the Christian market, you need to have an agent?

Not in Australia.

How often have you heard that Christian publishers will not accept unsolicited manuscripts?

Not in Australia.

How often have you heard that to be accepted by an American Christian publisher, you need an American hero/heroine or part of the book must be set in America.

Not in Australia.

Australian Christian authors are blessed to be in on the ground floor of this emerging industry. We have the ability to be able to stand on our own feet and be proud about what we do.

However, in order to achieve growth within our own industry, perhaps we need to mirror some of that same nationalism displayed by American's, here, at home!

Lee Franklin is a director of HyalineHouse, an Australian publishing company.