Thursday, 30 January 2020



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

Today's Interview: Ruth Embery


Question 1: Tells us three things about who you are and where you come from. 


I am currently living in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne, with my husband and dog (we are empty nesters these days). I have lived in a number of areas in country Victoria over my life, including Horsham and the Macedon Ranges, before moving into Melbourne as a young adult. 
I have a background in teaching (was a maths/chemistry teacher in a former life), which more recently I have realised is very closely linked to my passion for learning. Teaching is so innate I have to remind myself to turn it off occasionally. (My younger brothers bore the brunt of this when I was about eight and made them take lessons during school holidays.) 
I strongly believe in the transformational and healing nature of the Gospel message, particularly its essential value to our life journey as believers, both as individuals and as the Church. I can get pretty enthusiastic about this, so will leave it at that for now!

Question 2: Tell us about your writing (or editing/illustrating etc).  What do you write and why?


My writing career (if I could even call it that!), has been somewhat accidental in its birth and development. Growing up in a family where facts were valued far more than feelings, creative writing seemed like something of a waste of time. However, looking back to my childhood, I always loved words, and as a teen, dabbled in poetry as a way to express my feelings in private. I remember one of my favourite pieces of work from year 12 was a descriptive essay, where I let myself go, pushing aside the austerity of fact. It was eye opening to me that I could do it well and that it was not just accepted, but praised. 
I started journaling in my late 20’s and I think this probably was a foundation to the way I write today – from experience and my personal journey with God. As someone with a passion for teaching and preaching, I have also used writing as an outlet when there weren’t other opportunities. Blogging has been a great medium for this, although I have long struggled with the lack of the immediate feedback you get when speaking. However, all this has helped to hone the way I prepare for speaking, especially in the realm of really sticking to the point and not getting side tracked. 
My first book, “Handing Back Control” was very much something given to me by God in one of those suddenly moments. I really didn’t think I had a book in me. It still took me about five years to finish, but perhaps I had more journey to finish first!
After that, I had a number of people encourage me to write another book. I had no idea of what that might look like until again, I started getting ideas that all pointed to a consistent concept. And once more, it has been a painful, battling process to get it out. This book is quite different, in that it is far less personal Рmore of a discourse on society and how we view the world. In essence, it is expos̩ on the concept of what truth might look like in our post-truth world.
For the future, I would love to write two biographical books of family members. One about my grandfather who pastored a church in London during WW2. We have many letters between my grandparents during that time as well as his journals, which, to me, make fascinating reading. The other is the story of my great-grandfather and the call he had to be a missionary in far north India (now Pakistan). He started the journey in 1901 with my great-grandmother, two weeks after they married! (My great-grandmother gave birth to eight children while they were there – I would love to know more of her story, of how she coped, given my great-grandfather would often go on trips up into Afghanistan and so on, leaving her home alone. However, I think they were very stoic and just got on with it.) My great-grandfather wrote quarterly newsletters to folks back home, which I will have to travel to England to retrieve from a library where they still store over twenty years of hardcopies some 100 years on.
I also have a couple of other ideas in the pipeline, one an interactive journal using some psalms I have written alongside some of my photographs, with space for the reader to write their own psalms. The other idea is very recent and is around gathering and presenting stories of other people’s Jesus encounters. 

Question 3: Who has read your work? Who would you like to read it?


I have had numbers of people from diverse backgrounds read my blog and book, and it is always the responses from strangers that impact me the most. I love it when God uses my experiences and thoughts to help others on their journey and they let me know of it. Of course, I would like everyone to read my work – as a teacher, I am also something of an idealist, in that I want everyone to get “it”, whatever my “it” of the moment is. Whether it is relevant to their journey is another thing. 

Question 4: Tell us something about your process. What challenges do you face? What helps you the most?


With my walking companion
Process, in the strict definition of the word is not my strong point. I am quite haphazard and tend to need uninterrupted space to focus. However, I am also very good at allowing myself to be distracted easily (I think it is called procrastination – although Ted Dekker wrote a great article on the importance of procrastination in the writing process, which I actually think has more truth to it than I have realised: time to ruminate!). Walking my dog and gardening work very well as my muse.
When I go somewhere different specifically to write, such as the local library, where there are people and activity I don’t have to engage with, I am much more focussed (even though my writing space at home is idyllic). More recently, a friend has offered her prayer room as a space for me, which has been very productive – none of the “at home” distractions. I have realised that, as an extrovert, the energy I gain from just being around people is helpful, even (or maybe especially) when I don’t know them.

Question 5: What is your favourite Writing Craft Book and why? 


Confession time – I haven’t read any books on writing, other than the APA Style Guide, which was part of my compulsory reading when I studied psychology some twenty years ago. Occasionally I have read blogs and picked up helpful bits of advice in places such as CWD. Alongside that, Google is my go-to for finding that “just right” word or quote. My writing was honed and developed by necessity over a three year period of writing a weekly piece for my church newsletter. It taught me how to be succinct and to identify what was essential, as I had to be able to get the message across in less than 500 words. 

Question 6: If you were to give a shout-out to a CWD author, writer, editor or illustrator – who would they be?


The first person who springs to mind is Anusha Atukorala. She is always such an encourager and so filled with positivity, both within her own writing and in her personal responses to me. Her gentle manner and kind words make me feel as though I am adding value, which, as we all know too well, is not something we necessarily get much affirmation in when writing. I really do appreciate all those who take time out to encourage and give me input in this group. The instantaneous acceptance has been such a balm to me.

Question 7: What are your writing goals for the coming year? How will you achieve them?


A sample of the ever changing view from my desk
I really want to get my book finished and published in the next few months. I have been invited to speak at a healing conference in the US in May, which is a great incentive to have it ready to sell there. Some strong discipline in writing and in biting the bullet and preparing my manuscript to send out to some beta readers is an important (but scary!) step. Setting aside writing time and not allowing the needs of others to get in the way is a challenge I continue to grapple with.
An online “Planning for 2020” activity I have just completed has landed me with a commitment to finish the first draft of my book in the next thirty days, though, so I fully realise the only way this will happen is to set aside a day a week (at least) to write, and to make it an unbreakable appointment. If writing this book is not my top priority, it just doesn’t happen!

Question 8: How does your faith impact and shape your writing?


As my previous answers probably reveal, my faith is integral to my writing. It very much directs the course and substance. Early on in my writing, I was sharing material that was extremely sensitive to my journey, but it was amazing how God gave me words so that I didn’t feel too exposed while remaining transparent and honest. My writing also shapes my own faith, as it makes me dig deep and reassess what I really believe. I am learning the value and importance for me to be deliberate in praying and asking Holy Spirit for the words before I start, which I find makes a huge difference and makes the process easier.



You can check out more about me at www.ruthembery.com


Monday, 27 January 2020

Life answers for sceptics


ID 108603044 © Ermolaevamariya | Dreamstime.com

Julia Archer 

One day, Jesus was out with his disciples, accompanied by the ragtag bunch who followed him everywhere, when over the crest of a nearby hill (or maybe around the corner of a city street), two men came bustling up on an important mission.
            ‘When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’”’ (Luke 7:20 NIV)
            What!?  Hadn’t John’s mother told him, and retold, the story of Mary visiting her when they were both pregnant? Hadn’t they kept in touch as cousins over the years, especially on the annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem for Passover? So wouldn’t John know who Jesus was when he turned up at the Jordan? Hadn’t John seen the Holy Spirit descend on Jesus when he was baptised?
            Why question Jesus’ identity now?
            Well, Jesus was wandering around the countryside mixing with all sorts of nobodies and undesirables and deplorables, and doing nothing at all about raising an army to kick out the Romans and bust John out of Herod’s prison.
            Considering John was on death row, fair enough that he was feeling a bit tetchy. Poor guy.
            But here’s the thing. Can Christian writers learn anything from this story?
            Well, first, that it is a story. A true story, included in Scripture for a reason. Along with all the other forms of writing in Scripture, an honoured place is held by stories. This validates our telling stories to share Christian truth, particularly stories of how God has worked in our lives.
            Even fiction is included, unless you hold that the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son and his father and brother were real, historical people.
            But what can we learn from this particular story?
            Australian society around us is a lot more sceptical about Jesus than John ever was.
            How does Jesus’ response to the men who came from John help us there?
            Note first that Jesus does not enter into a religious argument with them. He lets them watch him at work, and at the end of the day he tells them to go back to John and tell him what they have seen. ‘”The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.”’ (Luke 7.22 NIV)
            I’d suggest from this, that our first response to a sceptical world is to display a surprisingly different life, where Kingdom values are lived out. Especially values of kindness and care and concern for the poor. To actually mix with society’s marginalised.
            A response where we don’t leap to defend ourselves when challenged.
            Where we’re not easily offended. Where we don’t turn on others who hurt us or doubt us.
            A response of compassion for the doubters, not superiority because we’ve ‘got it.’
            Second, Jesus wasn’t thrown off-course. He didn’t start doing whatever John and others must have expected a Messiah to do. He continued doing exactly what the Father was telling him to do.
            Are we doing what the Father has called us to do? Or something else? In our writing or elsewhere, do we take time to stop and check we’re on course?
            Are we keeping our ears open to the Father, while we live out the Kingdom in a world of sceptics? If so, there is a possibility a watching world might see a little of God at work behind the scenes, through the life we live and the words we write.

Monday, 20 January 2020

Omega Writers | Welcome to 2020 from Meredith Resce


Hello, all Australasian Christian writers.


I hope you’ve had a restful Christmas break, and that you’ve found the time to recharge your batteries.


There’s no doubt Australians have had an emotionally charged Christmas and New Year with the devastating bushfires across most states, and the disastrous fires the subject of news and social media conversation.

Along with the expected outpouring of concern and offers of help, unfortunately the situation also became the catalyst for a massive political fight. Sadly, this unusual situation has strained more than one friendship.

I hope the bulk of our attention during this time can be turned towards being a positive agent of relief and encouragement.

If you are one of our writers from a fire-affected area, please let us know if there is anything you think we can do to help those communities, beyond the obvious praying and giving.


Events in 2020

Our network of leaders in Omega Writers, while in holiday mode, have continued to keep our finger on the pulse of a number of up and coming events in 2020:

  • The group in Brisbane are preparing for their annual book fair, coming up in March. 
  • A small group of us in Adelaide are making some plans to hold an Omega Writers day in early May. 
  • The Omega Conference Committee have got the conference machine in motion, and I expect we will hear more soon of what’s coming up for our conference on the Gold Coast.
  • The 2020 CALEB Awards will be open for entries from 2 March to 30 April. 


Meanwhile, Omega members, Cecily Paterson and Penny Reeve, have coordinated an online initiative designed to encourage, motivate and connect Australasian writers over the summer holidays. 2020 Summer Writer’s Refresh has popped up in my daily feed all through January.

We have our bi-monthly management committee meeting in a few weeks’ time, when we will begin to put more body to the skeleton plans already in place.

As we enter into a new work/school/writing year, here is a personal thought from me:

I have a voice and considering I have a well-developed skill in communication in writing, I should be aware that there are other places to share insight, encouragement and ideas other than through the traditional publishing platforms.

Social media is an obvious place to start. 

However, given the propensity of users to vent with no thought to how their rant might affect relationships, nor any idea of how their words may be misinterpreted, I encourage patience. Social media is not the place to blow off steam, or take a quick shot. (Well, that is how it is sometimes used, but I recommend against it).

However, we can make thoughtful and considered use of social media. By thoughtful, I personally sit on an idea for days, weeks, months before I put it onto a page. I write when I’m in the heat of the moment, but I write on a closed document.

This writing may end up being completely discarded, or it may become the frame upon which I write something deeper. I have found the less I post, the more likely the post will be read when I finally feel confident to put a thought forward.

You have a voice, but you can do damage by using it without care and thought. I have a saying I go by at the moment:

Wisdom builds the house (read Proverbs 24 1-4)


I pray that each of you enter this year with a courage to persist in the face of difficulties and rejections, a grace to continue to write with passion, and a wisdom to use your voice to build up others.

God bless


Meredith Resce, President, Omega Writers Australasia

About Meredith Resce


South Australian Author, Meredith Resce, has been writing since 1991, and published non-fiction and Christian fiction, including period drama romance, contemporary romance, time-travel adventure, crime drama (under pen name EB James) and murder mystery.

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Meet Our Members: Melinda Jensen


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


Today’s interview: Melinda Jensen



Question 1: Tell us three things about yourself.

Who am I and where do I come from? Hmmm…let’s start with the basics. I’m an Aussie mother of two strong young women, a grandmother of two talented kids (blatant nanna bias) and a pretty ordinary human who has lived with a painful and debilitating illness since 1995. That’s the first thing.

And then, I’m an unashamed feminist in a world that finds feminists embarrassing at best, and demonic at worst, but true feminine strength is something I believe Jesus held very dear. He treated women tenderly and with infinite understanding and respect.

Thirdly, of course…well, I’m a writer, though I can’t claim to have yet published a book. I have had poetry, newspaper articles and some pithy (I hope!) short stories published in fiction magazines. 




I’m going to be cheeky and add a ‘fourth thing’. I’m absolutely passionate about the environment and my commitment to being a good steward over our earth infiltrates every aspect of my living, including my writing.


Question 2: Tell us about your writing (or editing/illustrating etc). What do you write and why?



For much of last year, I concentrated on a work of non-fiction, a process that was temporarily disrupted by having to evacuate my home because of Australia’s devastating bushfires. I’m very thankful we came out of it completely unscathed.

The topic of the book is going to sound truly boring - budgeting - but I’m writing in a light-hearted way, giving lots of practical tips on shopping, budget ideas for entertaining, saleable crafts and lots more, even cheap wine that’s cheap, but not nasty. And I’m peppering it with sketches of my own as illustrations. It’s a fun process and I hope people have fun reading it.

As for why I write, I think it’s probably twofold. Writing’s always been the subject I’ve been best at – since primary school, in fact. And I find it therapeutic. I get into the ‘zone’ when I write (and paint/sketch) that I can’t achieve with other activities. I figure that God planted the talent and desire in me from my very beginnings…and who am I to argue with that?

Also close to my heart is my blog on domestic violence which has been on the back-burner for some time now but for many years was my passion and, I hope, a source of education, comfort and encouragement for a few precious souls. I expect to continue blogging on the topic in the not-too-distant future.

Question 3: Who has read your work? Who would you like to read it?



I guess quite a few people in the general public have read a couple of my published short stories, which appeared in a popular mag. Some of my poetry has been published online and in printed anthologies so it’s hard to say who might have come across them, but there’s been a smattering of interest, at least. The same applies to newspaper articles. My blog on domestic violence has over 500 followers, all of them victims of psychologically, emotionally and/or physically violent partners. And there was a time a few of Toowoomba’s infamous ‘Quirky Quills’ had a gander at my writing, too, and all of them have been very encouraging and supportive, as has the whole CWD crew.

With regard to the book I’m currently writing, the people I’d really like to read it are those who need it most. We have a growing crisis in Australia (in addition to the drought and the fires), and it’s a crisis defined by the high number of people living well below the poverty line, by affordable housing shortages, an aging population and a number of other mitigating factors. Homelessness is on the rise, particularly among women over 55 who are then vulnerable to sexual assault and physical violence. As I’ve had intimate experience of living well below the poverty line, raising two children on my own and with a chronic health issue, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to live a happy and fulfilling life despite severe budget limitations. I want to be able to give people who are struggling a little hope and a little practical advice.

Of course, I’d be absolutely delighted if my book was read by the likes of Helen Garner, Ruth Park and Jackie French…Jackie French particularly as her style resonates with my own.

Question 4: Tell us something about your process. What challenges do you face? What helps you the most?


My writing process is a bit piecemeal. I’m somewhere in between a pantster and a planner. Generally, I’ll write furiously when the ideas are flowing are and the words come easily; then take it slowly during the inevitable lulls. During those times, I research, take notes, edit and sometimes just write anything and everything to get the juices flowing again.

My biggest challenge is my health. I require a lot of sleep and a very calm, quiet environment in order to optimise my good days. Even on good days, I rarely have more than four hours in which I’m not too debilitated to be productive, and there’s so much to cram into those few hours! It’s a constant balancing act. Today, I might sweep the floor, then do some research. Tomorrow I might do a couple of loads of washing and muck about with illustrations. In short, I hasten slowly. I live by my late father’s words, ‘The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get’, which I think he filched from the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. 

Question 5: What is your favourite Writing Craft Book and why?



I’m not sure I have a favourite writing craft book. I’ve learned a lot by searching online and also from having done a short course with the Writers Bureau. I highly recommend it.


Question 6: If you were to give a shout-out to a CWD author, writer, editor or illustrator – who would they be?

I have to say I’ve gained such a lot of insight from Anne Hamilton’s books, of which I’ve read four and intend to read the rest! I’ve loved Adele Jones’ ‘Integrate’ series and have also enjoyed David Bennett’s thought provoking, thoroughly researched work. I’m keen to read more.

And I absolutely cannot express the profound comfort brought to me by Anusha Atukorala’s beautifully penned devotionals.

There are so many other talented CWD writers whose books I haven’t yet read and when I do, I’ll likely want to list them among my favourites.



Question 7: What are your writing goals for 2020? How will you achieve them?



I’m keeping my goals focussed on the non-fiction work I mentioned earlier. I have a tendency to allow myself to be spread around too many ‘projects’, resulting in none of them coming to fruition. I really want to get my book to the first draft stage before the end of 2020 and it will take discipline for me not to distract myself with the myriad writing ideas that seem to shuffle around inside my head. I’ll certainly be asking God for His guidance. And asking family to hold me accountable.







Question 8: How does your faith impact and shape your writing?


That’s an interesting question. I think of myself as a bit of a fringe-dweller in that I don’t feel compelled to write only for Christians, or even to craft my writing in an overtly Christian way. That way, I feel I can reach people from outside Christian circles and perhaps plant a seed. My values, drawn from my faith, underpin all my writing. I keep things gentle, compassionate, inclusive and just. Christ’s heart for the poor, the sick and the disadvantaged is very much my own. I prefer to ‘love’ first, put my values into action and then, if the opportunity arises, I’ll share my faith.



Melinda Jensen has blogged extensively on emotional and psychological abuse and is currently enjoying a sea change from writing fiction to writing non-fiction, self-development books. Who'd have thought? A keen student of human nature, she's had articles, short stories and poetry published in a variety of magazines, newspapers and journals, having juggled single-motherhood and chronic illness for about 24 years. She's still almost sane and definitely has a heart for God and a yearning to bring a couple of books to fruition this year. Apart from that, she's besotted with cats, makes jolly good fudge and is desperately trying to keep her garden alive in the drought. On that note, she’s extremely passionate about the natural environment God has gifted us all with.

Monday, 13 January 2020

Explore Possibilities in a New Decade




Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

The Road Not Taken is one of my favourite Robert Frost poems. It’s become a little clichéd, but the image of the diverging roads resonates with my soul.

At the beginning of a new decade, the poem is a timely reminder that while we make plans, life doesn’t always go the way we expect. 

A few years ago, I visited Vermont, walked in a yellow wood, and explored a leaf-covered path that hadn’t seen a lot of foot traffic. Experiencing this landscape was a spiritual experience for me as I walked in places I had dreamed of when reading this poem. 

I took this photo as a reminder of one particular moment. It’s my desktop screensaver and is a visual reminder of how each day is a series of choices and intentions and that each choice or intention can influence the direction of my life.

My house backs onto a national park. We walk through the back gate right into it as we take our evening walk with our golden retriever. Crisscrossing this piece of bushland are many trails and firebreaks. We’ve lived here for years and we still get lost sometimes as we explore a new trail.

The outward-bound trails wind downhill so, if we get lost, we know that all we have to do is head uphill and we will eventually find our way home.

Sometimes, I wear my sports watch, which has a GPS tracker. It measures time, calories, and distance and, when uploaded on my laptop, a map with my path comes up. 

Sometimes, the map shows a circular route. On other days, when I go down a new path and get a little lost, it looks like spaghetti. 

My goals are achieved, no matter what the picture looks like–I’ve exercised, the dog has exercised, my husband and I have talked as we walked. Sometimes, we talk to God as our golden joyfully explores the varied scents in the bush. 

In January, we like to set our path for the year and hope that our path will be straight. However, life sometimes isn’t that predictable. Things happen. We change our minds. Opportunities emerge that we never imagined. If we had a bird’s eye view of our lives over a year, the path would rarely be smooth and orderly.

However, if we set our intentions and keep heading in the direction of our goals, even allowing ourselves to explore new trails along the way, we look back and see that we have arrived at the destination we were supposed to, and perhaps had a few fun adventures along the way. 

Proverbs 3: 5-6 tells us to trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

I’ve always found it interesting that this verse says, he will make your paths straight. At times, we are encouraged to stay on the one path, whatever that is. The picture I have in my head is of a central path with lots of deviations that zig-zag. 

Gretchen Rubin put it like this in her book, The Happiness Project

Go off the Path was meant to push me to encounter the unexpected thoughts, unfamiliar scenes, new people, and unconventional juxtapositions that are the key sources of creative energy–and happiness. Instead of always worrying about being efficient, I wanted to spend time on exploration, experimentation, digression and failed attempts that didn’t always look productive.

Setting goals for a new decade, writing to-do or wish lists, and setting our course are things we should all do. But, as we look ahead to 2020, I hope we get off the path a little and explore possibilities in new ways. 

The Lord will make our paths straight and we will end up at the right destination in our creative work and life generally. 

Blessings,

Elaine 

Find out more about Elaine at http://www.elainefraser.co

Thursday, 9 January 2020

CWD Highlights - October-December 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 October to December 2019

Awards


Congratulations Kathy Hoopman for being short-listed for the ALCS Educational Award (UK)

Name: Kathy Hoopmann
One sentence bio: Author of 22 books with translations into 19 languages
Book: All Birds Have Anxiety (2017; Jessica Kingsley Publishers) 



Short blurb: This simple yet profound book validates the deeper everyday experiences of anxiety, provides an empathic understanding of the many symptoms associated with anxiety, and offers compassionate suggestions for change.
Details of highlight: Shortlisted for ALCS Educational Award (UK)- the UK's only award for educational writing which stimulates and enhances the learning experience. I didn't win, but shortlisting was wonderful :)
https://www.alcs.co.uk/news/2019-alcs-educational-writers-award-shortlist-announced-for-the-uks-only-award-for-creative-educational-writing

Book Releases 


Hannah Currie's Heart of a Royal


Hannah's debut YA novel, Heart of a Royal, was published 15 October 2019 by WhiteFire Publishing.







Blurb:

Brought to the palace as a newborn, the royal life bestowed upon Mackenna Sparrow was never meant to last forever. With Princess Alina engaged to be married, Mackenna’s presence as companion is no longer required and, like it or not, she must return to the birthright which should have been hers – that of a commoner.

But not everyone at the palace wants her gone. When the truths she’s based her life on start crumbling as fast as her future, will she find the courage to trust, both herself and the prince she’s fallen in love with?

One sentence bio:
Hannah Currie loves God, family, people (in small numbers, let’s not go crazy here!) and escaping into other worlds through stories - both those she writes and the hundreds of books gracing her shelves at home.


Helen Brown - New releases from Reading Stones


This last quarter has been a busy one for Reading Stones, after the launch of Matt’s Boys of Wattle Creek, we then prepared a second book Maggie & Minotaur, by Olwyn Harris, released on the 5th December. 



Currently we are preparing a workbook, designed by Wendy Wood, for those who work in School Age Care services. The intent of this workbook is to try and make the critical reflection involved in the task of looking after children interesting, and therefore, more productive. We have included some inspirational spots and some clean jokes to help make it interesting. 

We are also working on a new project, a book for younger readers, also by Olwyn Harris, which will be released on the 3rd February 2020. It will be the first of six books, where two girls, through time travel, discover some things about our Australian History and how God works even in the worst of times.

Events

Rendered Realms



Rendered Realms - Lynne Stringer, Adele Jones & Jeanette O'Hagan had a wonderful time at Brisbane Supernova in November 2019.  We're looking forward to more events in 2020

Omega Writers Book Fair 

Omega Writers Book Fair  Saturday 14th March 2020 at Everton Hills, Brisbane

There will be author displays, author readings, a scavenger hunt, prizes and a colouring in contest for kids.

Workshop by Simon Kennedy on Script Writing
Panel on Writing Diversity, disability & difference, featuring Kathy Hoopman, Jenny Woolsey & Adelen Jones.

Attendees don’t need to pre-book and there is no entry fee (but a gold coin donation will help to cover costs), so come along, bring some friends, and peruse the wonderful books, chat to the authors, listen to readings and enter the scavenger hunt.


Registrations for author tables open soon.  Follow the facebook page to keep up to date. 



Bushfires


Bushfires - our hearts go out to all those that have been directly affected by the bushfires in Australia over the last few months.  Cliffton Creek Primary School in Gippsland burnt to the ground. There is an opportunity to donate new children's book to help them rebuild. For more information here.

Writer's Retreat


Penny Reeve and Cecily Paterson are running a virtual writers' retreat this January. Not too late to join here.

Congratulations to all our members for your milestones and achievements and wishing you all the best for your 2020 writing goals.

Thursday, 2 January 2020

2019 Reading Recommendations

Wishing you all a wonderful New Year.

For something different, we're starting the year with some reading recommendations from the CWD Admin team

From Mazzy Adams 


1. I finished reading the final instalment of Jeanette O'Hagan's Under the Mountain Series of novellas  - Caverns of the Deep -  in 2019.



What a perfect way to round off her terrific set of YA fantasy adventures. Each novella was a lovely, bite-sized chunk of readerly goodness which left me hungry for more. Although fantasy is not my automatic go-to genre, Jenny's lively and creative approach is wonderful. She makes it easy to connect with the three main protagonists, and I was totally caught up in their exciting adventures.

 At the Toowoomba Omega Writers Retreat bookstall in June, I treated myself to two new books: Catriona McKeown's YA novel, The Boy in the Hoodie, and Paula Vince's New Adult novel, Imogen's Chance



2. Imogen's Chance took me gently into the characters' lives when they were at their most vulnerable, wrapped me up in compassion for their problems, and frustration at their responses, added heady moments of suspense that kept me reading much later into the night than I'd planned, and left me soaking in the hope-filled practicalities of God's grace, forgiveness, and unlimited, unconditional love. 



3. The Boy in the Hoodie proved to be a fabulous read. I'd thoroughly recommend it for YA, but heck, if you're older (like me) go for it! It'll take you into the world of teens at school, fraught relationships, self-discovery, the value of true friendship, and a renewed appreciation not only for our young friends and their trials and discoveries, but thankful for the embedded wisdom that unfolds through Catriona's writing. Loved it.



From Sue Jeffrey aka Susan J Bruce



1. ‘A Better Man’ by Louise Penny. One of my favourite authors is Louise Penny. Every year she writes another in her now long series of Chief Inspector Gamache mystery books. It’s a regular, secular mystery but the main character Armand Gamache, is a good man who loves his wife, poetry, the people he works with, his community and his dog. He also is willing to do what’s right even at great personal cost. A Better Man is another beautiful and uplifting book in the series. I’m not sure how murder can be uplifting but these books are  :D. You want to know these people and have them as your friends :). Five star brilliance.



2. Out of the Cages by Penny Jaye, is an excellent YA book about Nepali girls trafficked into slavery. Jaye handles the dark issues sensitively, not shirking the reality of the terrible life trafficked children face but drawing the reader through the struggles of the main character, Meena, as she tries to escape from the world in which she is enslaved. In her author note, Jaye says the book is ‘a kind of prayer that one day we might live in a world that no longer accepts any form of slavery as common place’. I found myself joining in that prayer as this surprisingly beautiful book stirred deep emotions of both anger and hope. This book won the YA section of the 2019 Caleb prize.


From Jeanette O'Hagan




1. Becoming Mrs Lewis by Patti Callahan. A novelised retelling of the love story between Joy Davidman and C. S. (Jack) Lewis with glimpses of Jack's life and writing at the Kilns as well as a empathetic and honest presentation of Joy, a writer, poet, thinker and soul-mate, and an exploration of Joy's spiritual life.



2. A New Reality - Jewel of the Stars by Adam David Collings. The second episode of the Jewel of the Stars series. Fleeing alien-controlled Earth space, the crew and passengers of the Jewel of the Stars must adjust to an new reality while a group called the Red Guard threaten the peace and safety of the ship. A great second episode with the introduction of new characters.



3. Too Bright by Charis Joy Jackson. A collection of short stories inspired by the author's dreams. A mix of gripping, emotionally intense dystopian stories and more fairytale stories full of wonder and faith.

From Paula Vince


Check out Paula Vince's reading blog The Vince Review for a whole heap of other suggestions :)

Now over to you - what books have you read in 2019 that you'd recommend to others?