Thursday, 28 May 2015

Breathing Life by Anusha Atukorala

I opened my eyes. Seven a.m. My beloved was disappearing from my line of vision - off for his morning shower.

I sat up in bed; my eyes full of sleep; my brain still basking in the dream I’d been engrossed in till that moment.

With eyes half closed and stifling a wide yawn, I picked myself off the bed and padded towards our dining room.

“You can get back to bed” Shan called after me as he noticed his wife was on the move. “Don’t worry about my lunch. I can get something.”

Hmmm.. That was thoughtful of him. He has always been a considerate man; one of the many things I love about him. I half turned to go back to bed. But then .....decided I'd be a good wife and do the needful instead. I could always retire to bed for more sleep afterwards. Which is what I did. By the time my beloved was ready to leave, his lunch box had been filled and deposited on our dining table. His sleepy wife was back in bed; ensconced inside our soft comfortable duvet. I didn’t go outdoors to wave my man as I usually do. I was content to kiss him goodbye while wrapped in my duvet. Blame it on my fibromyalgia. It was pretty bad that morning, so needed some delicate handling.

When I finally opened my eyes it was midday. Not quite. Somewhere in the vicinity of 9 a.m. (Shh…don’t tell! The rest of the world might be shocked.) I grinned as I glimpsed my bed-fellow. Little Raf sat looking at me with his cute little giraffy smile. Who’s Raf, you ask. Raf is our much loved pet. Raf came to stay four years ago and has become very much a part of our family. My husband had placed Raf in a life-like position – so when I opened my eyes, it seemed as if he was looking up eagerly at me, ready to play. I had to laugh.

“Good Morning Raf” I said patting his head. Raf responded with a little wag of his tail. Raf possesses melting brown eyes. When we jiggle his legs and make him prance around – he can act incredibly life like. His expressions vary and tug at our hearts. So yes, I could easily fool myself that he was a real life giraffe. We’ve breathed life into him. Not hard to do. Don’t tell me Raf is only a soft toy because I shan’t believe you.

Breathing Life. Does that sound familiar? Fiction writers need to breathe life into their characters don’t they? If the characters in a story work well – there is a good chance the story will make it. True – a good plot’s vital. But I’ve often been hooked by stories whose characters have made friends with me. I’m presently reading one of my favourite authors – Mary Stewart – and her protaganist is easy to believe in. She lives in my mind as I read the story and I can’t put the book down.

Breathing Life. Have you asked God to breathe life into your writing journey? My own journey was on fire for many years. But in the last year my creativity took a slight nosedive and I have been struggling. I continue to enjoy writing. But have had to ask God to breathe life into my writing journey. Every day. Do YOU need to do that too?

Breathing Life. And how about your Christian journey? How’s that going? I've been reading an insightful book during my Quiet Time. “The Lost Art of Practising the Presence of God” by James W. Goll. It challenges me daily to a closer walk with God. It’s breathing life into my relationship with God through wise words and the example of several forerunners of our faith. It reminds me that God leads me deeper on an inward journey with Him so I can be useful to Him in an outward journey to bless His world.

Breathing Life. We writers have the Author of Life on our side. He, the Word – became flesh. His life has been the light of men. His Holy Spirit has breathed life into each of us. Do you need some life breathed into your spirit today? Or into your writing life? Or onto your journey? Or inside your characters?
You only have to ask. He’s the Author of Life. And He’s The Word of God; none other.

Breathing Life. Let’s breathe life into our world today. Through our writing. Through our lives. By working together. Let’s bring his kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

Anusha Atukorala has always been fascinated by the English language. She is passionate about Jesus, love, life, family, friendship, reading, writing, the beauty of God's creation and lots more. Her first book 'Enjoying the Journey' contains 75 little God-stories and 16 colour photographs of our beautiful world. Do drop in to say G'day at her website - Dancing in the Rain. She'd love to connect with you.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Then Who Will?

Imagine: Boundless potential

Over the past two decades there seems to have been a shift in the landscape of Christian fiction, a broadening of what’s ‘Christian’ enough for the inspirational industry. Yet, feathers still ruffle over the occasional publication that is seen to contain inappropriate content (not enough or too much of certain elements), or attempts to present more ‘liberalised’ content in a way that really misses the mark.

As writers we have the capacity to invent stories that push all bounds. I suppose as the apostle Paul said (I Cor 10:23), all things are permissible, but not everything is constructive or beneficial. He follows that up by advising us not to seek our own good, but that of others. In relation to our writing, how do we determine what is constructive and beneficial to the good of others (whatsoever things are ...), while still remaining true to a plot and relevant to readers?

In recent months I’ve read a range of best-selling YA novels. Most include the usual modern ‘teen themes’, and overall they’ve been enjoyable reading. But some experiences depicted in a few of those novels would have been very foreign to my teenage self. Not that I always responded wisely as a young adult, but I had a sound personal conviction of actions, choices and consequences. On one hand, I’m extremely grateful for that awareness, yet what niggled in the back of my mind was this isn’t always the case and some of those topics would not be broached in many ‘Christian’ novels, at least, not in a way that enabled a reader to unpack and gain greater insight into those challenges.

In response to why a Christian should write books on particularly gritty topics (specifically rape, abortion and violence, but this could also include intimacy, sexuality, substance abuse, origins etc), author Stephanie P McKean recently tweeted, ‘Then who will?’ And she makes a good point. Like it or not, young people today are being confronted by issues many Christian novelists are reluctant to touch. It’s occurred to me that if young readers aren’t offered a safe, reasonable, honest and respectful alternative, these confusing concepts will take root from whatever angle they're presented and develop unchallenged into their adulthood, potentially forming unhealthy behaviours, thinking and relationships, which can become a life-default.

The fact is, bad things–and I mean really bad things happen to really great people, which can shake what a person ‘knows’ and values. Sometimes even internal forces, like a series of poor choices, can over time cause a life-destroying fallout that impacts generations. I’ve watched it happen to people dear to me, but I’ve not written many comparable situations in a novel. For one, some wouldn’t be viewed very favourably in the current climate of political correctness. Further, I feel one would have to pen such stories in a very sensitive, positive and purposeful way. And maybe that’s a key.

Perhaps the soul of our stories, the unique voice each author brings to their work, should be found in our ashes of brokenness, that wrestling with life’s real nightmares and prevailing in spite of our wounds. Being intimately acquainted with suffering brings an honest vulnerability, but it takes bravery to write truth in its gritty, confusing, imperfect reality. Perhaps what is ‘constructive’ and ‘beneficial’, is the willingness to take what was intended for harm and use it for good, writing stories that shed the light of truth on the grey corners of our world, with the knowing of a soul that has walked a healing journey with the One.

I know some of you are already brave. I’ll try to be braver, too.

Adele Jones lives in Queensland, Australia. She writes young adult and historical fiction, poetry and short inspirational works. Her first YA novel Integrate was released in September 2014. Her writing is inspired by a passion for family, faith, friends, music and science – and her broad ranging imagination. To find out more visit or email

Thursday, 21 May 2015

The writer's greatest hurdle, REJECTION

Dianne Riley

The writer's greatest hurdle, REJECTION.
How to get over it.
It's personal, so it isn't easy.
It's also our polished and re-polished gem - who wouldn't love it?
But it comes and it's crushing.  
After waiting all those months (just like the publisher's website advised) no invitation, no letter, no email.  No congratulations for presenting a great piece of work!

Recently it struck me.  We are in good company.  
People rejected Jesus, in His day, as they still do today. 
I'm not saying anything I have written compares remotely with Jesus message and sacrifice.  My level of comparison is about Jesus attitude.  
The verse, from Matthew's gospel, I think of, is where Jesus advises the disciples to shake the dust from their sandals and to keep going.
In early Christian days it was a sign of disdain towards those who weren't accepting of the message to do this.
AND I'm not saying to have disdain for a publishing company who doesn't accept your work.

I want to connect with any readers, reading this post, who are feeling rejected.  Maybe someone out there is feeling they don't have anything to say because of being rejected.  
I know what it feels like!  
But if you are like me, and believe God has given you a gift, a written word to share....Shake the dust of discouragement from your keyboard and give it another go.  And another go.....

In the end, for me, we did a self publish. An amazing and expensive experience!  Yet one God generously blessed.

So dear readers, follow Jesus example of handling rejection. 
Follow your dream of writing for your reading audience!

with a huge splash of love from me to you!

Dianne Riley
Author of 'The Significant You and Me'
An ordinary girl with a big hope in an extraordinary faithful Creator.

Monday, 18 May 2015


It hits every one of us. From Lucifer wanting to be like the Most High, to Jesus, the Son of God.

How to describe it and where does it come from?
It has many definitions like; being enticed to do something on the promise of pleasure or gain; the act of being lured to do evil.

It is age old and it is powerful.

It might come from outside, but soon settles itself within our souls if we allow it. It stirs our imaginations to such an extent we see visions of what we most desire. It can even capture the greatest saint. Sadly it plays on those who want to do the right thing. Who doesn't it bother? Those who go ahead and give in to its promises; perhaps even savouring the experience. But only for a while. Consequences always follow. Oh yes, it's a powerful emotion. Who hasn't ever felt its grip? Not I.

Our characters must face conflict in our novels. That's real life. However I believe the greatest conflict is within their very souls. Think long and hard when you were resisting temptation and wrestling against giving in to its promises. Write this into your character's lives. The three greatest temptations of life are these. Money. Sex. And Power. Understanding this will help you write a compelling story with your reader immediately identifying with your protagonist ... or even your antagonist. Write it so your reader can feel the intensity of it in their own heart.

Besides the hook, 'Everything can change in a heartbeat', I have used this theme in my novel, The Tie That Binds. I ached with understanding as I wrote of both Marcus' and Charlotte's pain. But we have a loving God who understands our frailty and gives us an amazing promise.

We have a faithful, loving God who will not let us

be tempted more than we can bear. For when we are tempted and find it hard to resist, He always provides a way of escape for us, so that we can withstand it.
I Corinthians 10: 13

As believers it's a great privilege to share our hope with our readers. Not by giving them the uncomfortable impression we are preaching, but through the struggles of our characters. Jesus 's parables are wonderful examples.

Rita Stella Press is now Indy!

Her passion is historical romances, revealing her characters' struggles. Two have been published.
Signed Sealed Delivered is Book I of a trilogy.

Rita's novel, The Tie That Binds, Book II, is also
a stand-alone story.

Now at the printers, it should be available in the next week or so.

For those interested in pre-ordering in Australia, she will send the book postage free.
She can be contacted at:  ritagal at optusnet dot com dot au

Weekly blog:  Facebook and Twitter #RitaSGalieh

Thursday, 14 May 2015

All One in Australia?

It’s my pleasure to introduce my new novel, Next of Kin, which has just been published by the recently formed Rhiza Press.

It’s always exciting to get to the end of project and see something that was once just an idea, a dream or goal, completed. A finished novel, printed and published, is an especially satisfying project because it has a life of its own; the potential to challenge, inspire, educate and entertain others for a very long time.  I feel very privileged and grateful to be able to participate in such a project. It’s been my pleasure to do so now with nine novels and I hope I can go on writing for many years.

Next of Kin has taken me on a journey through the lives of some of my ancestors, as have all my  novels, so I owe a debt of gratitude to those earlier Australians who survived the challenges of making a new life in a land on the other side of their world, and raised their children to continue the quest to make Australia what it is today. Through each life I have learned so much as I’ve explored the environment in which they lived, the political scene at the time, the cultural developments, the historical events. It’s been a great educational journey for me, as well as an affirmation that human beings can and do survive the most dreadful of circumstances and are capable of overcoming amazing challenges.  

While I know very little about the spiritual lives of my ancestors, their stories have given me a window through which to reflect on the ways that God can be involved in the human journey. It’s not hard to see the need for a God who directs, comforts, enables, rescues and leads, when you consider the challenges faced by people of any generation and culture. I can only hope that at least some of my ancestors really experienced the faith, hope and love which I have invested in their stories.

With my earlier novels I had the opportunity to learn much about the first white Australians, particularly convicts who arrived here in the late 1700s, and the first-born Australians who were their children, often known as ‘currency’ kids. With Next of Kin, I was led into a whole new area of learning, as I explored the coming of migrants to Australia in the mid to late 1800s, specifically those who came from Germany to work in the towns of the Northern Rivers area of New South Wales, and were often called 'continentals'. The experience of families attempting to assimilate into a culture with a different language, different traditions and backgrounds, is an ongoing challenge for all of us in Australia. It is a battle for many already here and definitely for those arriving. It was fascinating for me to delve into how this might have been experienced over 150 years ago.

I suppose when all is said and done, it is true that nothing is new under the sun, that human beings have difficulty accepting and cherishing what is different or unfamiliar, that we are more prone to prejudice and discrimination that we’d like to think, and that we are all on a journey of becoming more human in the best sense of the word; more Christ-like and open to growing through all the challenges we face in relating to others.  

I hope Next of Kin takes some readers on this journey, that it inspires or challenges people to be more tolerant, accepting and loving, regardless of creed, colour, socio-economic status or sex. I’d like to believe that as Christians we can honestly say with Paul that … “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galations 3:28).  In the case of Next of Kin it might have been said, “There is neither English nor German, black nor white, male nor female, rich nor poor, for you are all equal in Australia.” 

Carol writes historical novels based on her family ancestry in Australia and include the Turning the Tide series; Mary’s Guardian, Charlotte’s Angel, Tangled Secrets and Truly Free. Her earlier novels Suzannah’s Gold and Rebecca’s Dream have been re-released by EBP. You can see more about Carol and her novels on her website or her FB author page.