Thursday, August 17, 2017

Celebrating a 400th birthday

Baby Bible was born in 1611. Conceived by king’s decree in 1604, his father was Bishop’s Bible. His gestation, in the womb of great universities of Mother England, was long and arduous. Aided by forty-seven expert midwives, his arrival revolutionized the Bible family. Closely resembling his father, he proudly carried the DNA of his Hebrew and Greek ancestors.
Christened King James Version, he was affectionately called the Authorized Version. In the light of his brilliance, all older English members of the Version family paled into insignificance. Such was his popularity; he was published under The Bible or Holy Bible.
Despite his regal name, he related well with the commoner. He spoke their language and deeply touched English hearts, becoming a central player in the great revivals of England and Wales.
As he matured, he traveled all over the world. He was aboard the ‘Mayflower’ and a stowaway on the first fleet to Australia in 1788. His life, though exciting, was never easy. Often suffering shocking neglect and abuse, he was trampled in the mud in the French revolution and suffered horrific burns in Germany during the Second World War. He has been spat on, profaned and ripped apart, but never destroyed, for there is no power great enough to defeat his message. The Truth he carries is supreme.
Yet his greatest grief comes from being misunderstood. Often men twist his words and use his name for their own selfish agendas. These misunderstandings have started wars and fueled angry men. The new Americas were nearly destroyed by such zealous but deceived persons. The Irish battled for years–fighting fueled by their biased interpretations.
As KJV aged, he became so revered that he was present in every court, hospital, parliament and home. Though they requested his presence, dressed in his best black suit with gold embellishments, people rarely conversed with him, or heeded his wisdom.
Realising his language was no longer common, he reproduced. English Revised Version arrived in 1885. Subsequently the Version family burgeoned, spanning countries, customs and dialects.
Today old KJV enjoys semi-retirement, resting comfortably in the bookshelves of Christian homes, surrounded by his expansive family. Though still bringing life, hope and revelation, his greatest joy is watching younger members of the Version family, who work unsung in remote tribes across the globe. They reveal Jesus, bringing peace and joy, as he did from his birth, four hundred years ago.(Thanks to Bible Society in Australia for pics)
Jo Wanmer hopes you don't mind her accessing her archives for this blog. A prolonged flu has made writing boring at best and unintelligible at worst. This article was written five years ago to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. As a writer, the Bible is her most important text book, full of amazing treasures and inspiration. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Whaaat? You’re not coming to conference?

By Jenny Glazebrook

I know there are all kinds of reasons not to come to the Omega Writers’ Conference. Most are good and reasonable. But there is one that I want to shoot down in flames (oh no, a cliché … maybe I’m not a real writer and all those real writers out there will notice all the grammer and speling mistakes in here).
Copyright © 2017

Impostor Syndrome.

Ever heard of it? This phenomenon was brought to my attention only last week. Well, the name of it, anyway. To tell you the truth, I have suffered from it my whole life. So how do you know if you have it and whether it might be making you hesitate about coming to conference?

Are any of these thoughts familiar?

Maybe I shouldn’t come to conference until I have ‘made it’ as an author.

I’m not a real writer. I only dabble a bit.

I’m not published like the real authors who will be there.

I wrote something great once but I don’t have the ability to do it again. It was a fluke.

I don’t really belong.

I self-published so I haven’t had the quality of my work screened by a publisher.

I don’t understand the rules and techniques of writing. I think it’s all going to be above me.

I’m not a writer. I want to write, but I hardly ever do. Life gets in the way.

People might realise the truth about me. I’m a fraud.

I’d love to be a writer, but I really don’t have the talent.

Some people are called to write. I just do it because I enjoy it. They’re more gifted and important than I am.

I don’t even know yet if I really am or want to be a writer.

I’m just someone no one listens to so I have to write to express my 10,000 words a day somehow.

I don’t write for the Christian market. I don’t belong. (I just have to say here, that we are a group of Christians who write many and varied things, including for the mainstream. A Christian carpenter is not expected to just build crosses and communion trays!)

Is there another, similar reason that comes to mind?

I want to tell you right now that we WANT YOU THERE!

Whether you have written 100 books and have them all published, or once wrote a paragraph for a church bulletin, or you journal privately every now and then.

Because the truth is, we all start somewhere. We are all at different stages of the journey. As Richard Bach, best-selling author of classics such as Jonathan Livingston Seagull, says:

A professional writers is an amateur who didn’t quit.

We all begin as an amateur.

And even those who have published many books still battle this impostor syndrome. Wikipedia describes it this way: Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a concept describing high-achieving individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a "fraud".

Maybe you’re like me and even as you read this definition you thought, ‘Oh, well I can’t have it because I’m not high achieving.’  So then my head started going around in circles. ‘Do I have it? Or do I like to think I have it because that would make me feel special and I want to be high achieving?’

However, I read something recently which challenged me. It was pretty much saying that if you’re scared you’re pretending to be someone you’re not and that others will find out – then become that person you think you’re pretending to be.

Edmund Rice Retreat and Conference Centre
So come along to a conference and learn the techniques you don’t think you have. Come along and develop. Dream big! Let God direct you without you putting up your own barriers of self-doubt and fear. Learn from those you consider to have ‘made it’. I can assure you they are more than willing to share with you. And they are still learning, too. They might just be further down the track than you are.

Don’t compare yourself with others. The truth is, no one can write what you can. No one has experienced what you have. No one else has lived your life. God has not given anyone else exactly the same gifts, talents and experiences he’s given you. We can all learn from each other.

Don’t be intimidated by others. Realise you are not alone. (And if anyone else is willing to share their ‘impostor’ thoughts at the end of this and call them for what they are, I’m sure there will be many who relate to them and are encouraged by your vulnerability).

As C.S. Lewis said, ‘Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.’ Stop overthinking, comparing, worrying … step out and take a risk. Be the writer you’re scared everyone else might discover you want to be but might not actually be.

‘For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7 NLT)

Hmm, I don’t think I like this post. I’ve just challenged myself out of my comfort zone.

See you at conference!

You can book here:
Registrations close 10th October.

Jenny Glazebrook is this year’s conference chaplain and part of the pastoral care team. She lives in the small town of Gundagai, NSW, with her husband, four children and many pets. She loves to write and encourage others in their writing journey and walk with Christ. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A revealing experience

It is ten years since my first novel, Heléna, was published. During that time, I have spoken at all sorts of venues—churches, halls, Leagues’ Clubs, RSL Clubs, schools, private homes, even in the open air. I have addressed a variety of groups who meet for a variety of purposes—some simply to be together, some to learn more, some out of tradition, some to reach out and serve others. I thought I had exhausted most possibilities, but I was wrong. Last month, I was invited to speak at my first ever book club event—and what a unique, scary, humbling experience it was! After all, it’s not every day one walks into a room, knowing most present have read one’s latest book during the past month!

‘It must be like standing there naked,’ someone commented.

As I tried to banish that horrifying image from my mind, I realised how apt it was. If this group had chosen one of my novels instead, perhaps I would not have felt so exposed and vulnerable. After all, authors can hide in novels. And authors can refuse to take any blame for their characters’ beliefs and actions, because we know those characters have minds of their own. But no, this group had chosen my book, Becoming Me, which deals with my own struggles with self-doubt, insecurity and perfectionism. Nowhere to hide this time!
While we chatted over the yummy breakfast provided, someone asked me about a related issue. I could not remember, however, whether I had mentioned it in Becoming Me or in my earlier memoir, Soul Friend.
‘Oh, it’s definitely in Becoming Me,’ I was told. ‘It’s in Chapter Five!’
Whoa! Now I had read my own book again, in preparing for this event, because I have written many other things since it was published. But this person seemed to know it better than I did. Perhaps they had all gone through it with a fine toothcomb. Perhaps they were all about to tear me to shreds!
Eventually, everyone sat down and I was invited to talk for a few minutes about my life and why I wrote this particular book. Then the book club organiser began asking me some questions—and gradually others chimed in as well. As our time together unfolded, I began to relax and enjoy this unique, God-given opportunity. What a privilege to be there with such a lovely, sincere group of women to discuss my own book and the deep, related issues it brought to the surface for some of them! What a privilege to see the impact a book I had written and published with some trepidation had made in the lives of some at least! How humbling to realise God had used my words to convey greater self-understanding and reveal those often hidden hurdles that can be overcome in God’s strength!
I came away from my first book club event even more convinced of the power of our words to affect others in ways we could never imagine. It’s all so completely worth it, I said to myself, as I drove home across Sydney in a daze.
May you too know in your heart today the huge worth of your writing in God’s eyes and the power it can have to impact the lives of others.

Jo-Anne Berthelsen lives in Sydney but grew up in Brisbane. She holds degrees in Arts and Theology and has worked as a high school teacher, editor and secretary, as well as in local church ministry. Jo-Anne is passionate about touching hearts and lives through the written and spoken word. She is the author of six published novels and two non-fiction works, ‘Soul Friend’ and ‘Becoming Me’. Jo-Anne is married to a retired minister and has three grown-up children and four grandchildren. For more information, please visit

Monday, August 7, 2017

Exploring Genre - Rural and Medical Romance

by Nicki Edwards

This year, the cross posts between Christian Writers Downunder and Australasian Christian Writers are focusing on genre. So far, we’ve had posts on meeting genre expectations, in Space Opera and Superheroes, Portal Fantasy and Secondary World Fantasy, Poetry, Free Verse and Verse Novels and Regency and Historical Romance . 

Today, I'm looking at the place of Rural and Medical Romance.

I like what Iola Goulton said in a previous post that book genres are like food. If we go out to our favourite restaurant and order the usual and something different is served, we are disappointed, especially if we’ve been eagerly anticipating that familiar taste.

Book genres are a bit like ice cream. I have two or three flavours I keep going back to – English Toffee, Honeycomb Crunch or Cookies and Cream.

It’s kind of funny my tastes are so narrow as I’m one of those odd people who thrive on change, but when it comes to food and books, I’m always drawn to the familiar.

For me that means romance and women’s fiction. 

So what is romance, why is it my favourite flavour and why do I write medical-rural romance?

Romance can be classified into many sub-genres - contemporary, erotic, historical, rural, paranormal, regency, young adult, medical, Christian, romantic suspense . . . you get my drift. The list is probably never-ending.

All romance novels have a central love storyline and an emotionally satisfying ending. Beyond that, they can be set in any time or place and have varying levels of sensuality from sweet to spicy.

Women’s fiction are women-centred books that focus on women’s life experiences. These books are generally marketed to woman.

My latest book, One More Song which comes out in November 2017 is being marketed as both romance and women’s fiction.

When I started writing in January 2014 I was encouraged to “write what you know” and “write what you love”.

What I know and love is medicine and nursing, and it is from this I draw my writing experiences. I also love the gorgeous rural backdrop that sits behind small town Australia. I love the people in regional and rural communities and therefore it seemed a natural fit for me to write heart-warming medical dramas set in small towns.

My books explore the realities and complexities faced by people in regional and small towns with plots involving dramatic accidents, illnesses and critical medical situations. Think McLeod’s Daughters meets A Country Practice with a touch of All Saints thrown into the mix!

People ask why the rural romance genre is popular and why my books have sold so well. I think readers have an appetite for stories set on the land and they love strong, ordinary, everyday Aussie heroes and heroines. Whether it’s the city girl finding a new life in the country, or rural characters living their lives working the land, there’s something relatable for all readers whether they live in the country or the city.

Lucky for us writers of this genre, readers can’t seem to get enough of our stories. Perhaps because there’s something romantic and almost mystical about the Australian outback. Or perhaps because many city dwellers have an escapism mentality when it comes to the idea of a tree change or ‘escape to the country’. Ironically, ask any farmer and they’ll tell you there’s nothing romantic about living in the middle of nowhere!

Obviously authenticity is crucial in rural romance as with all genres. A country person can tell a mile away if a writer is faking it. It’s the same with the medical side of my books. Anyone with a bit of medical background and Dr. Google can be my harshest critic. I have to get my facts right.

What I love about writing small town medical romance is that the story is all about the community and the people, not just my hero and heroine. The setting is as important as the story because when people in small communities are thrown together into a medical emergency or crisis situation it makes for great dramatic fiction, especially when my heroine is the medico saving the day. I love demonstrating nurses and doctors working together doing amazing things because that’s what I see every day when I’m at work.

As a medical-rural romance writer I get to tackle all kinds of interesting rural and medical issues, whether it’s the problem of depression and suicide in the bush, or the complexities of care people in small towns face such as the lack of facilities and equipment or trained medical staff. I love showing how small towns rally together and just make things happen.

Despite tough publishing markets in recent years, the romance genre continues to do well but for all its market success, it still encounters a lot of snobbery from readers. There’s a dismissive attitude towards it. Additionally, as a Christian, one thing I’ve encountered is the presumption that if I write romance it’s probably smutty. This couldn’t be further from the truth. There’s a huge range of sensuality in the romance genre and my books are at the sweet or “clean” end of the scale with closed door, fade-to-black sex scenes.

The exciting thing for me as a romance author is our readers are extremely engaged and they’re voracious readers. It’s not unusual for a romance reader to admit to reading a book a day! I’m blessed with how the romance reading community have embraced me and my books and I’m also fortunate to be part of a group of romance authors who have a website specifically set up for readers who love rural romance. You can check it out here:

Nicki Edwards is a city girl with a country heart. Growing up on a small family acreage, she spent her formative years riding horses and pretending the neighbour’s farm was her own.

Nicki writes medical rural romance and when she isn’t reading, writing or dreaming about rural life and medical emergencies, she can be found working as a Critical Care Nurse in the Emergency Department or Intensive Care Unit, where many of her stories and characters are imagined.

Nicki and her husband Tim, a Pastor, live in Geelong, Victoria. With four teenage/young adult children, life is busy, fun and at times exhausting, but Nicki wouldn’t change it for anything. Visit her at to find all her other books.

Nicki’s latest book One More Song published by Pan Macmillan Australia will hit the bookshelves on November 28th, 2017 but is available to pre-order now wherever e-books are sold.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

My Passion for Story Telling

I am a passionate story teller.

As I reflect on my journey in creating meaningful narratives There are 3 elements that I think of immediately that have become essential elements in how I deliver a story.
There are many elements that others may hold as important to their craft, even other elements that may be technically eminent, and even other elements that I could mention that I deem important too, but these are my personal top 3.

1.       The Story needs to be Personally Meaningful
2.        The Story should be well told
3.        The Story is a catalyst for change

The Story needs to be Personally Meaningful.

Throughout my Primary school years, my younger brother and I shared our bedroom. One of my fondest memories growing up is of lying awake at night in our bunks while I told stories for Russell to help him sleep. Sometimes he was fearful of something, simply restless, or just keen for an imaginative story to finish the day. Fantasy and dramatic stories of friends and brothers facing fears, struggling through epics, discovering new worlds, meeting wonderful personalities, talking creatures, adventuring together, filled our pre-sleep nights. The hero was sometimes Russell. Often a challenge was conquered by the champions called “Russell” and “Shane” working it out together.

My childhood story telling not only set a tone for our brotherly mateship - that still resonates today – it developed my story telling ability. Interestingly at its basic level this meant that for our stories were personally meaningful because we were always part of the narrative somehow. In my simple terms as a child, this meant using our own names. No matter how fanciful the environment or situation crafted in those early tellings, it pertained to things that we were wrestling with. Being personally meaningful meant that the story was accessible, relatable, relevant, and pleasing. I have learnt that people connect with other people, so I make sure I focus my story telling on characters that emulate real life. The point is that the stories that pack the most punch are ones that have an innate, almost incarnate persona. They are authentic, open, honest, personal narratives.

The Story Should be well told

Some of my early writing is so difficult to read with the overuse of prodigious words, poor rhythm, unsubscribed animations, underdeveloped characters, over simplistic logic, lack of meaning, pithy adjectival manoeuvres, and just ‘bad’ telling that it distracted from what I had in mind. Somehow, I had bought into the mistaken notion that a story had to have a complex structure and had to be clever for it to be appealing, however, at its core, an effective story structure is simple. We can tend to fall in love with our own stories, and consequently we can end up including too many details. I guard against this by crafting my story, then walking away from it for a few days. I then revisit it with fresh eyes, and edit, edit, edit. I prune out all superfluous details. I give people enough detail to set the context and to help them experience the story and see what I see. Giving too few details doesn't work either, as it prevents people from envisioning your story, so it is an adventure in itself of achieving a pleasing balance.
Early on I was a better verbal teller (than writer), because talking and drama, and flowing with dynamic improvisation seemed to come naturally for me. When I began to flow with some of these same aspects in my writing I found that I could weave a powerful narrative, not because I was trying to drive the narrative, but I allowed the creativity to drive the story. I started to be surprised myself where the stories took themselves. When this began happening for me, I also started to get my audience more engaged: I have learnt to make them wonder “what happens next?” or “how is this going to turn out?” As the characters within my stories pursue their goal, they must run into obstacles, surprises, or some happening that makes the audience sit up and take notice.
They adage that stories don’t tell: they show is a good reminder here. It is perhaps the most fundamental maxim of storytelling. The receivers of our story telling should feel the environment, be emotionally engaged with the key characters, see a picture, feel the conflict, and therefore become more involved with the story. As my stories began to be told better something inherently spiritual began to happen too. I relied on the Holy Spirit to help guide me on my quest. Even utilising my imagination to envision how The Lord might be engaging in my created world to bring life and reveal His Kingdom. Alongside of this creative release, I began to learn some important construction techniques. I am now a student of how to tell a story: its different forms, genres, writing techniques and human pleasing, soul moving dynamics.

The Story is a Catalyst for Change

Finally, an important goal of my story telling is that it is not just a good read but that it moves people to grow or change. Stories have at least one “moment of truth.” The best stories show us something about how we should be responding in various circumstances, how we understand and connect with ourselves, others, creation or the Creator. The power of a good story is a profound one: it can help connect with and move your audience, and not just make your material more memorable, it can inspire and transform. Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” People are not inclined to think about things they don’t care about. Stories stir emotions not simply for melodramatic effect, but to break through the white noise of information that continuously inundates us and to deliver the message: this is worth your attention. Perhaps the most effective way to help people be engaged at deeper levels to consider inherent changes for their own lives is by telling a compelling story.

I love the gift God has given us to be creators with him in our story telling adventures. I truly am grateful for this developing craft in my life that I get to bless others with. In the forefront of my thinking is a gracious God who I have joined hands with to make this journey together.
In the back of my mind I think the key aspects I have shared above help take me back to weaving my tales with an innate fervour.

What are yours?

God Bless.

Shane Brigg :) 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Dealing with subjectivity - they can't all be right can they?

I’m currently sitting on tenterhooks waiting for a competition to announce a winner - one of my manuscripts is up for best unpublished. I’m familiar with those tenterhooks, my manuscripts have been in that position before. It’s a great feeling – one of validation.

But that same manuscript has been entered somewhere else and didn’t get over the first hurdle.  In fact, in one comp I entered, the feedback from the judge was that the story didn’t work – and would never work. I might also benefit from heading back to grammar class.

Writing is such a subjective pastime, isn’t it?

As I’ve been on my writing journey, I’ve spoken to a range of authors who have experienced the same thing. Competition entries that say a novel is a winner. Competition rejections that say you need to go back to the drawing board (or school in some cases).

I’ve also found it at conferences.  When I’ve speed-dated agents or editors, one has sat in thrall of my elevator pitch while the second one stifled a yawn.  They can’t both be right can they?

I’ve had two beta readers tell me my characters are both engaging and flat. They can’t both be right can they?

Well, they are actually, because writing is such a subjective pastime.

I’m guilty of it myself as a reader.  Someone has recommended I read a book because “it’s amazing” and I gave up 15 pages in because I was bored or lost or didn't engage with the characters. And then I haven’t rushed to Amazon to see what else that person has written.

So here’s my question for today: if we’re writers, and our work is the subject of such subjectivity, how do you know you’re heading in the right direction? How do you stay centered in such a subjective space?  How do you stay true to what you’re trying to do when conflicting opinions give you different feedback to the same work?

It can be a challenge to not take those comments to heart, and in turn to have them creep into your self-worth and your writing.

As a writer, you need a central point to which you can turn – an anchor to which you can ground yourself.

For me – as I presume it is for other Christian writers – it is God. I need to keep coming back to the realisation that He’s given me the stories, He’s given me the ability to string two words together, He’s given me the framework to write them and He’s opened up opportunities in my life to be able to write them.

He is the ultimate publisher, the ultimate editor and the ultimate reader. I just need to trust Him.

To me, that’s a significant challenge of being a Christian writer.  To please God in what I do, and to interpret the other opinions – important as they are – through that lens.

I’ll leave you with one piece of advice that I’ve found invaluable as I navigate the subjectivity maze.

We had a guest speaker at church a few weeks ago and he gave this quote, which was aimed at the congregation, but I took it to heart as a writer. The speaker said this:

Sometimes we tell God we’ll trust Him for the process, because we’ve got the end goal in mind. The reality is He wants us to trust Him for the goal and we need to look after the process.

That has helped enormously in trying to work out if I’m on the right track or not. It helps to put into context the fact that the award nomination is as valid as the person who didn't get past page three. And it helps to provide context to what I'm trying to do.

And I hope it can help you too.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Recent Local Author Meet and Greet

by Raelene Purtill

The Moreton Bay Regional Council was formed in 2008. Until then, it was known as Pine Rivers. The little gallery in our suburb is still called the Pine Rivers Art Gallery.

It was there on Saturday June 24 that the first Moreton Bay Local Author Meet and Greet was held.

Following my recent post (and confession) about being a conference junkie, networking meet ups like this are exactly what I enjoy.

The resident artist at the gallery that week was Marg Bennet. She presented a talk to our gathering on her display called ‘Morning Glory.’ This is the name given to a cloud formation seen in Northern and outback Queensland. Its presence attracts glider pilots who ride the associated winds. As well as Marg’s beautiful textiles, the audio-visual images taken by one such pilot, were the back drop to our writers meeting.

So, among the clouds, children’s author and blogger, Jenny Woolsey hosted the inaugural Author Meet and Greet.

Each writer presented themselves, talked about their work and then we mingled and networked over morning tea.

I have always found the writing community in Brisbane to be friendly and supportive. People genuinely care about each others creative journeys. The numbers present that morning reflected this.

Writers there ranged from aspiring to emerging, from traditionally published to indie or self- published.

Hebrews 10:25 encourages us to not give up meeting together and while this refers to gathering as Christians. I also think writers can be encouraged in the same way. Have you thought about organising one for your area?

This post follows from my own recent ‘Confessions of a Conference Junkie.’

Don’t forget to sign up for the Omega Writers’ Conference in October in Sydney to meet up with their lovely aspiring writers and authors.

From the feedback received, these meetings will continue.

The next Moreton Bay Meet and Greet will be in October.

Contact Jenny at her website

If you would like ideas about hosting one in your suburb, please get in touch.

Images from Raelene Purtill c 2017

Raelene writes as R.A. Purtill.

Raelene enjoys all sorts of creative writing but short stories have been her most successful medium. Her current work in progress is a novel length fantasy/fairy tale with steam punk tendencies and Christian themes.

She facilitates a local writing group and is a member of the Writers Anthology Group, the editorial committee which oversees an annual anthology in the Moreton Bay shire. She loves connecting with other writers through workshops, retreats and seminars.

Her virtual world is a life in the northern suburbs of Brisbane with her very understanding and long-suffering husband and their three young adult children.

You can connect with her at:

Facebook: R.A.Purtill – Writer

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Hurrah for Omega Writers

Hurrah for Omega Writers!

Does that sound a bit like Enid Blyton’s Famous Five? Perhaps, but ‘hurrah’ sounds like the best word to use on this occasion. 

Omega Writers as an organisation of Australasian Christian writers is steadily gaining momentum every year, and this year is no different. I need to catch you up on how things are progressing, and encourage you once again: if you are not yet a member, jump on board and invest in this venture whose purpose is to benefit you in as many ways as we can think of. Please click here to re-watch the You Tube video that will tell you why. (NB there has been a small increase in membership since this video was made).


It’s happening! Our conference committee have been pulling together a brilliant program for writers, editors and publishers to be a part of, and it is my job to get you to go to the website and take a look. Don’t miss out on this opportunity. You will get great professional input, collegial encouragement, opportunity to connect with publishers and editors and fellowship that is on a level that relates to YOU – the writer. We can go to church all year and mix with other Christians, and this is lovely, but how often do you get to really connect with Christian writers – you know, those crazy people who think like you do, in terms of plot, character, narrative and story idea. It is something that will fuel you, and I can’t encourage you enough to hop online now and at least see if it is possible for you to attend.

EARLY BIRD RATE ENDS NEXT WEEK!! Now is not the time to procrastinate people!

Oh, and we have not one, but two international speakers lined up alongside some outstanding Australasian speakers and workshop facilitators. 

Click Here for more details about how to register

Click Here for more details about the speakers

Now, lastly, but most importantly, I need to tell you about this year’s new initiative. Some of our volunteer team have been contacting businesses and organisations to see if they would be willing to partner with us in the promotion of Christian writing in our region. I am pleased to say that we have eight partner sponsors so far, with the possibility of more. (If you have a small business and you’d like to sponsor, send me an email and I’ll send you the sponsorship proposal package to consider).
What I would love you to do is to click onto our website and check out our official sponsors.

We have a screen print and embroidery business – Cam Print – who has sponsored, so if you’re looking for t-shirts, ball caps, aprons or letter jackets with your logo, Cam Print will help you Australia wide.
We have video producer – Simon Malcolm Productions – on board as a partner sponsor, so if you’re looking for a video promotion, corporate training video or any audio video need, go to their website and check them out.
We have editorial, design and publishing-assist businesses who have sponsored, including Christian Editing Services, Book Whispers, Finesse Writing and Editing, Breath of Fresh Air Publishing and an American design company, Roseanna White Designs. Please, please, please check out their websites and see if they offer something that will suit your needs.

There are a couple of other minor sponsors as well who have decided to support Australasian Christian writing – Eastern College and Focus on the Family.

Please support us by supporting our partner sponsors.

There is much more happening with Omega Writers: The Caleb Prize awards evening looks like it is going to be a great night of celebration and entertainment.

I have also been liaising with one of our major booksellers to see if they would visit our conference and meet some of our more prominent published authors and publishers.

There have been some great chapter events held around the country, and it is great to see this groundswell of Christian writers who are forming friendships and networks. 

So in summary:
  1. If you’re not yet a member, help us support you by supporting us with financial membership
  2. If you haven’t registered for this year’s exciting international conference, now is the time!
  3. Please support us by supporting our partner sponsors – check them out here.
Blessings to you all and can’t wait to catch up with you late October.

Meredith Resce
Omega Writers Australasia President

Monday, July 24, 2017

Priorities - Yours, Mine or God's? by Melinda Jensen

Image courtesy of

 If you're like me you probably have several writing projects on the boil at any one time. You'll likely be writing regularly for your blog or website, crafting short stories for competitions or in the hope of publication, and having a bit of a dalliance with poetry. Perhaps you also love to write devotionals. Then there's your main project, 'the' book – the one you've been writing for months now, or perhaps even years. It might be fiction, non-fiction or faction, depending on your leanings and unique talent.

I'm always tempted to pick up whichever task takes my fancy at the time. You know, the one I feel like writing in the moment. That's all well and good sometimes, and it often provides a delicious taste of satisfaction and fulfilment, at least on a certain (human) level. But, as with everything else in our busy lives, we need to pause and consider whether or not our industry aligns with God's design – and that's not always easy.

Prayer, of course, is our first port of call. And then we wait...looking for subtle signs or nudgings in our spirit. At times, God gives us free reign, indulging us and allowing us to use our time to develop our creativity and skills. At other times, God has a very specific plan for us. It might be only for the day or it might be for a period of weeks or months. We can be sure though, that He has a particular purpose for our writing and a particular time frame in which to do His will.

Ecclesiastes 3:1
'To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:'

At times, we'll receive confirmation from a fellow Christian about where our focus should be, although we must always test what we hear by bringing it before God and seeking Him in earnest prayer. I received this kind of direction from a beautiful woman of God a few months ago. As an editor, publisher and fellow Christian, I felt her words resonate with me as she read some of my work and gave me direction. I now know which one of the many writing tasks God wants me to concentrate on over the coming year. (No more excuses for me!)

At other times, I only figure God's priorities in retrospect. If, at the end of the day, I feel God's arms around me, and hear the words, 'Well done, good and faithful daughter,' wash over me, I know I've been fulfilling His will. My habitual anxiety abates as I'm bathed in an incredible sense of spiritual and emotional well-being. It's like snuggling up to a newborn babe and drinking in that delicate smell of luscious soft skin and downy, sweet hair. The experience of peace and contentment is profound.

Jeremiah 29:11
'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'

When we allow God's will to come to fruition in our lives, doors open and the path is laid before us bit by bit. If we ask Him, as I invariably do, to gently correct us when we go astray, He is faithful. He has pointed me back to the path many times in my life by simply stepping in and stopping me from proceeding, and then leading me back in the right direction. For the past four years, I've authored a blog about verbal, emotional and psychological abuse. From time to time, I consider it time to let it go; I feel the blog has run its course and served its purpose. But every, single time … without fail over the past year or so … each time I've considered shutting the blog down, I receive an email or comment from a new subscriber who thanks me sincerely for helping them to understand, and to embark on their healing journey. Many have been moved to tears. It's a beautiful dance between me and my best friend, my confidante, my King and my saviour.

God's will never harms us. He promises we will prosper but we need to bear in mind that His riches are not those of the world. We may earn an income, or we may not, but our spirits will be nourished and nurtured every step of the way. We'll continue to grow and learn, but most importantly, He'll be using our words to touch the hearts and minds of His people.

May this be our prayer: 

 Hebrews 13:21-21
'Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.'

Melinda Jensen is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, dedicated to protection of the environment, social justice and equality. She has had a smattering of short stories, poetry and articles published in books, magazines and newspapers. While having two fantasy novels currently underway for middle school readers, she is focused on a work of non-fiction, which she hopes to illustrate herself. For four years she has ministered to victims of domestic abuse through her blog

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Digging Deeper With Character by Nola Passmore

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My protagonist has a really clear goal.  Maggie is a young Englishwoman travelling to Nova Scotia in 1881 to find her young brother and sister who've been sent to Canada as part of the Home Children program (a scheme that sent orphans and waifs from England to homes and farms in Canada). She was working abroad as a governess when their mother died, and the children were shipped off to Canada without her knowledge.  Sounds like a pretty good premise, doesn't it?  Well I thought so, until Lisa Cron arrived and shook my world.  Lisa Cron is the author of Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel.

If someone had asked me a few months ago about my character's motivation, I would have said that she wants to reunite her family.  If they'd asked why, I would have looked at them with a blank expression.  Well isn't it obvious?  Anyone in that situation would want to find their siblings and reunite their family.  The trouble is that I was looking at the external motivation without considering what was going on under the surface.  In Story Genius, Cron shows how to dig deeper to find out what your characters are really about.  What is the internal struggle going on that's fleshed out in the plot?  Do they have misconceptions that drive their behaviour?  Who were they the day before your novel began and how is that going to change as the novel progresses? Without that underlying conflict, the story can just become a bunch of things that happen, regardless of how beautifully written it is.

To avoid spoilers, I don't want to say too much more about my novel, except that I've discovered Maggie's main issue is abandonment.  Instead, let me use a hypothetical example to show you how 'digging down' might work.

Imagine your protagonist, Miranda, has a dream of becoming the CEO of a large corporation.  She starts out as an Administrative Assistant and overcomes a barrage of obstacles to finally reach the top.  However, the story won't necessarily engage the reader.  Unless we can connect with Miranda in some way, we won't want to go with her on the journey.  We won't care if she makes it or not. To build a connection with readers, you need to go deeper into her motivation. Why does she want to get to the top?  There are many possible reasons, but let's say she wants to have a job where she can earn a lot of money.  Why does she want to earn a lot of money?  So she can buy the things she's always wanted (e.g. nice clothes, house, car, travel).  But why does she want those things?  It's because her family didn't have a lot of money when she was growing up and she often missed out on things like a new dress.

So far, we've discovered some of the reasons that make Miranda tick, but it's still pretty general.  Most people would like more money so they can buy things they want.  Why does this mean so much to Miranda?  Think of a specific event when she couldn't afford something she wanted.  How about this?  When she was in Grade 10 at school, a boy she liked asked her to the school dance, but she didn't have anything suitable to wear.  She couldn't afford to buy a new dress and she didn't want to wear one of her old ones because some of the girls at school had previously made fun of her clothes.  So rather than be embarrassed, she turned down the invitation.  The boy asked someone else to the dance and she stayed home.  So how did that make her feel?  She felt like she was a second-class citizen who wasn't as good as the other girls.  She felt unloved.  What is the incorrect belief that guides her current behaviour?  She thinks that if she can rise to the top of the corporation and earn a lot of money, she will finally gain the love and acceptance she craves.  However, this is a mistaken belief because money doesn't guarantee love and happiness.  The plot then shows Miranda's internal struggle and we see her change over the course of the novel.  There's still more drilling down to do, but hopefully you're getting a sense of what is needed.  It's the internal struggle that drives the plot and builds connections with readers.

Lisa Cron explains it much better in her book, with lots of examples and practical tips.  I highly recommend Story Genius if you want your novel to really connect with readers rather than just being pretty prose that goes nowhere.  Now I just have to apply that advice to my own novel!

Could you dig deeper with any of your characters?  I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Nola Passmore is a writer and editor who has had more than 140 short pieces published, including fiction, poetry, devotions, magazine articles, and true stories.  She and her husband Tim own and operate a freelance writing and editing business called The Write Flourish.  You can find her weekly writing tips blog on their website.  She is currently penning her ever-changing debut novel, which involves lots of digging down :)


Monday, July 17, 2017

CWD Highlights

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 in the first half of 2017

New Releases:

Ruth Bonetti - From the Midnight Sun to Southern Cross

In May 2017 Ruth Bonetti released Midnight Sun to Southern Cross: Those who go and those who stay - the follow-on from Burn My Letters.

In the tradition of great family migration stories, Midnight Sun to Southern Cross continues the saga of the Back brothers' flight from Russian occupied Finland to Australia as the nineteenth century turned into the twentieth. From frozen Finland to the lush rainforests of northern New South Wales, to the dry and dusty sheep country of western Queensland, Ruth follows the highs and lows of their new life under the Southern Cross as well as exploring the lives of the siblings who stayed in Finland.

WA's granddaughter Ruth contrasts his and KJ's formative years in Finland with her own upbringing in outback Queensland. Her voyage of discovery and self-discovery uncovers research in Finland and Australia, and interweaves her own transformation from shy bush girl to speaker and musician.

Bio: Musician, teacher, author, performance coach, Ruth Bonetti is the author of dozens of books including Speak Out Don't Freak Out and Practice in Not a Dirty Word and more recently her historical-memoirs Burn My Letters and Midnight Sun to Southern Cross. Ruth initiated Omega Writers in 1991.

Carolyn Miller - Regency Romance

Carolyn Miller has had her first two Regency historical romances published this year by US Christian publishers Kregel.

'The Elusive Miss Ellison' released in February 2017

“Can the not-so-meek reverend’s daughter and the reluctant Earl of Hawkesbury look beyond painful pasts and present prejudice to see their future?"

Available at Koorong

'The Captivating Lady Charlotte' in June 2017

“Romance, responsibility and true love…
Can a widowed duke ever learn to trust the high-spirited Lady Charlotte when her heart demands the opposite of duty?”

Available at Koorong

A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer's Regency era, Carolyn Miller lives in the Southern Highlands of NSW, Australia, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God's grace in our lives.

Jeanette O'Hagan - Blood Crystal

Jeanette O'Hagan released Blood Crystal, the sequel to Heart of the Mountain 30 June 2017

YA Fantasy Adventure in the lost realm Under the Mountain – Book 2

The underground realm is under attack from mad Overseer Uzza and the Crystal Heart is failing. As things become desperate, Twins Delvina and Retza must brave a treacherous journey to seek help from Zadeki and his people.

Will they find the answers they seek before it’s too late? Is the blood of Uzza’s children the only way to restore the Crystal Heart? What are the twins prepared to do to save their realm and those they love from certain destruction?

Available from Amazon

Bio: Jeanette O'Hagan started spinning tales in the world of Nardva at the age of eight or nine. She enjoys writing secondary world fiction, poetry, blogging and editing and has published several short stories and poems and a novella, Heart of the Mountain. She has four short stories due for publication this year. Jeanette loves reading, painting, travel, catching up for coffee with friends, pondering the meaning of life and communicating God’s great love. She lives in Brisbane with her husband and children.

Jeanette Grant-Thomson - Healing Song

New edition of Healing Song - Merrilyn Billing with Jeanette Grant-Thomson was published in June 2017 (initially released in 1998 as Hear my Cry, Oh God!). It has a new title, new cover, a huge amount of editing, formatting by Lilly Pilly Publishing .

A True Story.

An electric shock caused many years of terrifying and crippling 'storms' in Merrilyn's brain. Desperate, she reached out to God and her sister . . . and embarked on a roller coaster healing journey.

Dramatic and inspiring, this true story has keys for people with long term problems.

Merrilyn is now Senior Pastor of Zions Hill Church, Launceston.

Buy from directly from Jeanette Grant-Thomson-

Bio: A Moreton Bay Region author, Jeanette currently writes biographical works, novels and short stories.


Lynne Stringer - Once Confronted

Lynne Stringer's Once Confronted (published October 2016 by Rhiza Press) won an Silver Award in Literary Classics (College Fiction section) on 1st July 2017

After a normal day turns disastrous, Madison Craig tries to put her life back together. She’s jumping at shadows and finds even familiar places terrifying. Can she forgive the men who hurt her? 

Her friend Evan Mansfield sees no need to do anything but hate their assailants. He struggles with bitterness, but Maddy wants to move on. What will she do when one of the men asks for forgiveness?

Buy link:

Bio: Lynne Stringer has been passionate about writing all her life, beginning as the editor of a small newspaper (later magazine) for seven years, before turning her hand to screenplay writing and novels.

Susan Preston - Hold the Faith

In November 2016, Susan went to Miami because her novel Hold the Faith had won a Finalist award in the Christian, historical fiction section. Hold the Faith was published in 2014, and is the first book in a series of five books.

The series is self-published. It is set in the late first century AD and although sub-titled the ‘Apostle John Series’. Though important, the apostle John is the main focus of the books. The series focuses on the challenges and day to day life of the early Christians and the people whose lives they impact. (John’s fictitious great-grandson is a link through all the books.)

Susan Preston is a Scot transplanted to Western Australia, and now a widow. This and the loss of a stepson has given depth to my writing that it wouldn’t have otherwise.

The books are available on Amazon and although each is standalone it is a much better experience to grow with the people of the books.

Hold the Faith – Amazon link


Kaye Hollings - Shaped launch

SHAPED - Is your life pear-shaped or purpose shaped?

By Kaye Hollings

Launch: 27 August 2017 at Mosaic Baptist, Mudgeeraba, QLD

Genre: Non-fiction; mind, body, spirit.

What shape is your soul?

Shaped is the story of the fashioning of my soul and filling that space with purpose and peace. How do you go from writer to Psychiatric Chaplain to Funeral Director? What a journey! I invite you to come and retrace my steps with me and perhaps discover your own revealed path emerge from the confusing maze of life and find yourself in the safe hands of the Divine Potter. 

Who or what is shaping you now?

The clay of our lives is pliable and can be moulded into many forms. It has been said that every person is born with a God-shaped hole, a void on the inside that only he can fill. This vacuum is the inbuilt desire of the human heart for something more, something transcendent, something spiritual that will last forever and give meaning to our existence. Have you discovered that vital connection between personal well-being and development of the inner life? 

About the author

Kaye has worked as a writer for the Church Missionary Society and Wesley Mission in Sydney, and has had many human interest stories and poetry printed in magazines and other publications.

She has authored two books of inspirational fiction – Dawn of Hope published in 2013 followed by the sequel Kept by Love in 2014. Shaped is the non-fiction prequel to the first two books and completes the story.