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’.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Holding On and Letting Go

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay 

I’m not feeling the best while writing this. I caught a nasty bug over the weekend and my brain is still flagging. So today, I’m keeping it simple. 

The problem is that there is not a lot that’s simple in the life of a writer nowadays, not if you want to get your words out into the world. 

It's never been easy to be an author. It used to be that if you wanted your novel published there was one main way. You refined your craft and sent your manuscript out again and again either to literary agents or to the small number of traditional publishers who would accept unsolicited manuscripts. Getting accepted was a kind of lottery. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected anywhere between twelve and twenty-eight times depending on which article you read. And she (obviously) was one of the lucky ones. Writers have always had to persevere and wonderful stories have been rejected with their authors finally giving up their dream. In those days the only other option was to self publish, print a pallet load of books and store them in your shed until you either sold them or they rotted with mould. 

Things are a different today – but it’s still not simple. Today you can take the same journey towards traditional publishing – with lower or no advance – or you can be your own project manager and independently (indie) publish on online platforms such as Amazon and Apple Books. Indie publishing pays better royalties than traditional publishing but it still isn’t simple. If you follow that path there are so many decisions to make. You need to create a professional quality manuscript, which usually means paying for professional editing. You need a professionally designed cover and the insides of the book, be it e-book or paperback, should be well designed too. If you’ve done all those things then you still need to choose your platform. Do you publish your book as widely as possible or do you sacrifice independence and go exclusively with Amazon and enjoy the benefits of their Kindle Unlimited program? 

Photo courtesy of Pixabay
Just thinking about these things can be exhausting. Also, paid advertising has become a necessity if you want to properly promote your books. There are books and courses out there to tell you how to do this, but how do you sift through the advice? And having paid for editing and cover art, how do you find the funds to finance the advertising?

Publication is a complex process whichever path you pursue. Some people, frustrated by the traditional pathway and daunted by the indie one, opt for pay-to-publish options. Alas, many of these so-called publishers are vanity presses who prey on unsuspecting authors, They promise the earth but rarely deliver, even when you part with thousands of dollars. If you want to know more about what a vanity press is then read this article by Iola Goulton.

What are we to do? We feel a desire to write and believe it is part of our calling. Whether we create content that is overtly Christian or write stories seasoned with salt that give flavour to the world in which we live, we want our words to touch people with God’s love. Yet no matter what path to publication we choose, perseverance, knowledge and wisdom are vital. What do we do when it becomes all too much? How do we cope when we feel overwhelmed by it all? When we don’t know what to do?

At times like these I’m very glad I’m a Christian. People who don’t know Jesus are dependent on their own wit and wiles. But we have the resources of heaven at our disposal. We also have the rest that only Jesus can give. In Matthew 11:28-30 the Bible (NIV) says: ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’

Image by pixel2013 from Pixabay 
Many years ago, in my pastor days, I preached a sermon called Holding On and Letting Go. This has become one of the lessons I've had to learn and relearn again and again and again. Holding on is about persevering, not giving up, fighting the good fight. It’s about being diligent and doing things the best way we can. Letting go is resting in the abundant grace of our God and letting him work for us. Unless the Lord builds the house, it says in Psalm 127, the builders labour in vain. It's funny but I find it's a lot easier to hold on than to let go. Does that mean I like to be in control?

We don’t have to do this writing gig by ourselves. When we find ourselves stretched thin and wondering how we can move forward we need to remember that it’s not all about us. The true purpose and power of each word we write is in God’s hands. We need to learn to rest in that, and in him. Abandon ourselves to the one who knows us better than we know ourselves and is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us (Ephesians 3:20 NIV). 

Image by Lisa Caroselli from Pixabay 

Do you find it easier to hold on in God’s strength or let go and rest? Tell me about your experience in the comments below.

Susan J Bruce, aka Sue Jeffrey, spent her childhood reading, drawing, and collecting stray animals. Now she’s grown up she does the same kinds of things. Susan has worked for many years as a veterinarian, and writes stories filled with themes of suspense, adventure, romance and overcoming. Susan also loves to paint animals. Susan won the ‘Short’ section of the inaugural Stories of Life writing competition and recently won the 'Unpublished Manuscript' section of the 2018 Caleb prize. Susan is the editor of 'If They Could Talk: Bible Stories Told By the Animals' (Morning Star Publishing) and her stories and poems have appeared in multiple anthologies. Her e-book, 'Ruthless The Killer: A Short Story' is available on Amazon.comYou can check out Susan’s animal art on Facebook.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

CWD Highlights - January to March 2019

Christian Writers Downunder is a diverse group of writers, editors, bloggers, illustrators. As a group we support each other through our facebook page and blog.

Today's blog will highlight some of the achievements of our members from January to March 2019


Raelene Purtill 

Congratulations Raelene Purtill for winning first prize in the Greenleaf Blossoms Writing Competition (first chapter of unpublished YA novel) with Thursday's Child

You can visit Raelene's page here.


Jenny Glazebrook

Jenny Glazebrook is excited to announce that Elephant Press offered her a six book deal. 

"Very excited to have signed a new publishing agreement. Elephant House Press will be publishing the 6 books in my Bateman Family Series over the next few years with the first one to be released in December this year."
Jenny's new author page is here

New Releases:

Jenny Woolsey - Amy and Phoenix 

Jenny Woolsey was thrilled to launch her latest children's book, Amy and Phoenix

Title - Amy and Phoenix
Author: Jenny Woolsey
Publication date: 2018
Publisher: Pearls of Wisdom Press
Book launch date: 23 February 2019


Eleven-year-old Amy Pringle lives on a farm. She knows all the animals by name and can talk to them like Doctor Doolittle. Amy is looking forward to her favourite ewe, Edna, giving birth. When she sees her dad with his gun, she knows something is wrong.

Amy must think of a way to save Phoenix, the three-legged lamb's life.

After her sister Hannah, posts a video of Phoenix on YouTube and it goes viral, Amy thinks all her problems are solved. Little does she know what is about to happen.

Amy and Phoenix is a heart-warming fantasy story about a caring, strong-willed and determined girl. It explores the themes of disability, advocacy, friendship, farming and agriculture, animal welfare and cyber safety.


Bio: Jenny Woolsey is a disabled author and speaker whose passion is for raising awareness and promoting acceptance of difference, diversity and disability.

David Rawlings

David Rawlings debut novel was released last month.

Title: The Baggage Handler
Publication Date: March 5 
Publisher: Thomas Nelson


When three people take the wrong suitcase from baggage claim, their lives change forever. 
A hothead businessman coming to the city for a showdown meeting to save his job.
A mother of three hoping to survive the days at her sister's house before her niece’s wedding.
And a young artist pursuing his father’s dream so he can keep his own alive.
When David, Gillian, and Michael each take the wrong suitcase from baggage claim, the airline directs them to retrieve their bags at a mysterious facility in a deserted part of the city. There they meet the enigmatic Baggage Handler, who shows them there is more in their baggage than what they have packed, and carrying it with them is slowing them down in ways they can’t imagine. And they must deal with it before they can leave.
In this modern-day parable about the burdens that weigh us down, David Rawlings issues an inspiring invitation to lighten the load.

Other highlights:

  • The Baggage Handler has also been signed in Germany and the Netherlands and those language versions will be coming out this year.
  • David has also lodged his second novel with Thomas Nelson - The Camera Never Lies. This is due in December.


Bio: David Rawlings is a based in South Australia, with a 25-year corporate writing career behind him and stories that look deeper into life in front of him. 

Jeanette O'Hagan - Shadow Crystals

Jeanette O'Hagan  has released the fourth book in the Under the Mountain series.

Title: Shadow Crystals: a novella
Publication Date: March 2019
Publisher: By the Light Books

She will do anything to save her people.
Delvina, Zadeki and the delegation lead by Danel must seek answers from the haughty Vaane, but they find the Lonely Isles in turmoil. Will Delvina find the way to open the Gate in time to prevent her people from starving? Will she be reunited with her twin, Retza. And why are the Forest Folk so secretive? As tensions increase, Delvina must discern friend from foe and defeat the shadows in her own heart.
Join Delvina and her friends on their quest to save the Glittering Realm under the mountain.

Set in the world of Nardva, Shadow Crystals is the fourth novella and penultimate novella in the Under the Mountain series.

Bio: Jeanette spun tales in the world of Nardva from the age of eight. She enjoys writing fantasy, sci-fi, poetry, and editing. Her Nardvan stories span continents, millennia and cultures. Some involve shapeshifters and magic. Others include space stations and cyborgs. She has published over forty stories and poems. Jeanette lives in Brisbane with her husband and children.

Events & Opportunities:

Omega Writers Book Fair

Last month, over 30 authors and a bunch of readers got together for the 2019 Omega Writers Book Fair.  Fiction, Non-Fiction, Children's, Young Adult, Adult, memoirs, biographies, mystery, romance, science fiction and fantasy, self-help books and picture books - it was all on display. Authors were mostly from Brisbane but also came from Toowoomba, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, northern NSW, even Victoria. Readers came from as far away as Emerald. There was certainly a buzz happening as people perused the tables. 

Over thirty people attended the two different workshops - Healing Histories by Anne Hamilton & Writing Life Stories by Ruth Bonetti.  Readings by our authors was also enjoyed in the reading lounge. 

We are looking forward to another Book Fair in March 2020.

News from Toowoomba Omega Writers Chapter

The Toowoomba Chapter of Omega Writers was thrilled to host a workshop by up-and-coming author Jessica Kate on 30 March. 

Jess has landed a multi-book deal with Thomas Nelson in the US. Her debut novel Love and Other Mistakes will be released in July 2019, with her second book A Girl’s Guide to the Outback being released in January 2020. Both are in the romantic comedy genre. 

She shared tips about breaking into the US market, making the most of conferences, writing winning book proposals and maintaining a professional mindset. The nine attendees were really appreciative of her input and effervescent enthusiasm. For more information, please check out her author site:

Rendered Realms at Supernova Gold Coast

Three CWD members, Jeanette O'Hagan, Lynne Stringer and Adele Jones will be at Supernova Gold Coast from Friday, 12-Sunday14th April.

Other News:

The 2019 CALEB awards are open. 

The 2019 CALEB Award is open for entries. There are three ways you can be involved:

  • Entry opportunities
  • Judging opportunities
  • Sponsorship opportunities
Entries are for the Unpublished & Published prizes can be made here.  Closing date is 30 April, 2019. Check eligibility and enter here.

If you would be interested in applying as a Judge for the CALEB prize apply here.

More information is available either on the Omega Writers website, Christian Writers Downunder website or Australasian Christian Writers website. 

Poetica Christi

Entries to the 2019 Poetica Christi Press Poetry Competition are now open. The theme is Love’s Footprint.

From the Poetica Christie entry form:

This topic lends itself to poems about the multi-faceted nature of love and the many ways love forms and shapes us. Love’s footprint can be found in tenderness, delight, devotion, worship, friendship, affection, attachment, courtship, partnership, marriage, regret, forgiveness, reconciliation, God’s love for us. Love can be found in families; in parenthood, childhood, allegiance, involvement, the hurt of disappointment or the practice of discipline, unconditional love and the imprint of pets.

Competition is open to poets aged 16 or over, residing in Australia.
Closing date April 30th, 2018.

For more information click here.

Stories for Life

From Stories for Life: 

For the fourth consecutive year,
Stories of Life is running a short story competition, seeking out true stories of faith and testimony. Our vision is two-fold: to equip Christians to tell their stories well and to share these stories widely.

To this end, we hold free writing workshops and publish all shortlisted entries in an anthology by Christmas. Some of these stories will also be broadcast on LifeFM in Adelaide. Throughout the year we love to celebrate the writing successes of contributors, past and present, by publishing links to their new books and articles.

We are not looking for devotionals or homilies. Rather, we want stories where something happens to someone (could be you or someone else – with their permission). Stories of faith could be so many things - happy, sad, warm, quirky, funny – the unifying theme will be a loving and faithful God at work among his people.

We hope you will consider sending in a story. The submission deadline is 31 July. We’d love to hear from you.

Toowoomba Retreat

The Toowoomba Writers Retreat is on again in from 7-9 June 2019.

The keynote speaker will be the fabulous Jo-Anne Berthelsen. She'll do two sessions relevant to fiction and non-fiction writers. There will be an Indie Publishing Panel; and lots of free time for writing, networking, brainstorming and soaking up the beautiful surrounds. So pop it in your calendars now. This is a great event, well worth attending.

Omega Writers Conference

This year the Omega Writers Conference with be from 11-13 October.

For more information read here.

Congratulations to all our members for your milestones and achievements in start of 2019

Monday, 1 April 2019

Exploring Genre: Slipstream

By David Rawlings

In this month's cross-post with Christian Writers Downunder, David Rawlings discusses slipstream, an ellusive mix of fantasy and literary fiction.

As an author, I’ve always had issues trying to throw a genre rope around what it is I’m writing. As an author yourself, you know why it’s important—it’s nice to have an answer for the inevitable question you’ll get after you announce you’re a writer: “So what type of stories do you write?” We all need a literary hook on which to hang our hat.

My answer has never fully satisfied me.

“A bit of contemporary. A bit of speculative.” It’s actually both but fully neither, and you want to have a descriptor that fully sells how you write. My stories take place in the real world but have speculative elements. I know that speculative fiction is often used as an umbrella term to cover anything “weird” but I’ve never thought my writing embraces science fiction, fantasy, horror or even dystopian fantasy. No aliens. No wizards. No clowns lurking in the gutters.

My debut novel, The Baggage Handler, is a story told in an airport and at 2019 locations of work, University and home – making it contemporary – but sets challenges for characters that are more fantastical. With my next novel – The Camera Never Lies – I’ve set it in the present telling the story of the marriage of a marriage counselor, but the story contains a mysterious camera that drives the story forward.

So I'm writing about a world we all know, but introducing elements that we don't.

How could I better define what I was writing? The best definition I could find is from the TV show Black Mirror, which focuses a lot on the technology we use in our society. Creator Charlie Brooker refers to stories that take place in society “in 10 minutes’ time”. It places stories in a world we can relate to, but adds an another element that throws off your equilibrium. That wasn’t bad as a description.

Then someone mentioned Slipstream.

Slipstream was first coined back in the 1980s and has remained an elusive mix of fantasy and literary fiction ever since. The best definition seems to be that it “falls between speculative fiction and mainstream fiction.”

Slipstream, like many other genres, appears to be a broad church; some argue slipstream throws you off your axis into cognitive dissonance territory. Others talk about slipstream being science fiction with less robots or aliens. Other describe slipstream as nonrealistic fiction; stories that take the best of both and apply it to a modern society. I found some attempted definitions that outlined the experience of reading a slipstream novel as “fantastical, illogical, surreal and jarring.”

That’s a fairly wide berth.

This genre plays with the edges of reality, and can even be found in Christian fiction. My favourite story by Ted Dekker – Skin – fits this description. This is the blurb:

A freak storm has spawned three tornadoes that are bearing down on the town of Summerville.

Yet under the cover of the storm looms a much more ominous threat: A vindictive killer known as Red who's left a string of victims in his wake and is now bent on exacting his final revenge on the unsuspecting town.

But there is an enigma surrounding Red that the FBI is unwilling to admit-closely guarded secrets of something gone terribly wrong beneath the skin of Summerville. Secrets that will destroy far more than one small town.

Wendy Davidson is caught in the middle. She's a recovering cult survivor who takes refuge in Summerville on her way to visit her estranged mother. And with her, four strangers, any of whom could be the next victim . . . or the killer.”

The longer you go into Skin, the more it feels like it’s playing with the edges of reality.

I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s set in a contemporary environment but stretches the bounds of what reality could be. And the final third of the book is mind-bending.

I’ve just finished reading The Pages of Her Life from James L Rubart (an advance copy, lucky me!) It’s the same deal with this book – it’s a story about contemporary issues surrounding a young woman surviving the games of the corporate world, but the story is driven by a fantastical element.

Modern problems with modern characters, but the central component is a journal – a mystical journal – that becomes one of the central characters.

One book belonging to Frank Peretti crops up – with Prophet telling the story of a newsroom, but brought into the mix supernatural voices.

I think it’s important to reflect both the contemporary and speculative elements of these stories, and mine. To say it’s contemporary says it’s accessible. To say it’s speculative says it will appeal to your imagination. Maybe the label of Slipstream brings both of those elements, and better encapsulates what you'll get when you read books like these.

Slipstream is one of those genres that appears elusive to find, but that’s what I’ve found as I’ve looked into it.

So which stories have you read that could possibly fit into this genre?

About David Rawlings

David Rawlings is a based in South Australia, a sports-mad father-of-three who loves humour and a clever turn-of-phrase. Over a 25-year career he has put words on the page to put food on the table, developing from sports journalism and copywriting to corporate communication. Now in fiction, he entices readers to look deeper into life with stories that combine the everyday with a sense of the speculative, addressing the fundamental questions we all face.

You can find David at: