Monday, October 30, 2017

CWD Highlights July-October 2017

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 July-October 2017


Awards


Congratulation the winners and runners up of the CALEB prize

On Saturday night at the Omega Writers Conference, the 2017 CALEB prize was announced.

Overall winners: 

Winner:
Charlie Frank is OK by Cecily Anne Paterson

Runner Up:
Small and Big - Karen Collum illustrated by Ben Wood

Category winners:

2017 CALEB ~ Published Non-Fiction

Winner:
Burn My Letters: Tyranny to Refuge - Ruth Bonetti

Finalists:
Heaven Tempers the Wind - Hazel Barker
Becoming Me - Jo-Anne Berthelsen
Burn My Letters: Tyranny to Refuge - Ruth Bonetti

2017 CALEB ~ Published Fiction

Winner:
Charlie Frank is OK - Cecily Anne Paterson

Finalists:
Daystar: The Days are Numbered - Anne Hamilton
Forgiving Sky - Jenny Glazebrook
Amazing Grace - Elaine Fraser
Charlie Frank is OK - Cecily Anne Paterson

2017 CALEB ~ Children’s Picture Books
Winner:
Small and Big - Karen Collum illustrated by Ben Wood

Finalists:
The Mighty, Mighty King Christmas Book - Penny Morrison illustrated by Lisa Flanagan
Small and Big - Karen Collum illustrated by Ben Wood
My Imagination - written and illustrated by Ellen Wildig

2017 CALEB ~ Unpublished Manuscript

Winner:
Siren’s Fight - Kristen Young

Finalists:
In the Middle of the Whirlwind - Hannah Currie
The Gryphon Key - Elizabeth Klein
Siren’s Fight - Kristen Young
Holy War - Anthony Peterson

Other Awards

In other news - Susan Preston received an a Finalist Award in the IAN Book of the Year Awards for Light of Truth, Book 3 in her Apostle John Series. Book 4 of the same series, Keep the Flame was a finalist in the Christian Historical Fiction section of the 2017 Readers Choice Awards. 

Amazon link https://www.amazon.com/Susan-Preston/e/B00BDY9BQ6/

New releases

Melissa Gijsbers - Lizzy's Dragon

Melissa released children's book, Lizzy's Dragon in September. The Launch was on September 7 at Reading's Children's Bookshop in Carlton.




When Lizzy finds an odd looking egg in the forest behind her house she decides to hide it in her bedroom in the hope that it will hatch into a lizard. What she gets is ‘Bubbles’, the oddest, fastest growing lizard she has ever seen. It doesn’t take long for her annoying little brother to discover her secret pet. It also doesn’t take long for Bubbles to grow out of her room. Lizzy begins to wonder whether Bubbles is a lizard at all, or something even more amazing. But how will Lizzy keep Bubbles a secret? And what will happen to Bubbles if anyone finds out about him?
Title: Lizzy's Dragon
Publisher: Stone Table Books
Buy link: http://stonetablebooks.com/product/lizzys-dragon/




D J Blackmore - Folly

D J Blackmore released book 2, Folly on October 2 2017

In 1822 the colony bells of Newcastle chime for a wedding but Emma Colchester's cousin is nowhere to be found. The family face their worst fears and fingers of blame are pointed too close to home. Emma's future with Tobias threatens to unravel. The walls of a homestead standing by The Hunter River hold the clue, and Emma risks everything in finding out the truth.

Folly is a sequel of Charter to Redemption. Although not strictly a 'stand alone sequel' it's not necessary to pick up book one to enjoy book two.


Publisher: D. J. Blackmore
Links: djblackmore.com.au
Biography: Often at a dirt track watching my husband race motorcycles, with a laptop in my arms and a head full of ideas.


Deidre is offering a Giveaway: The first reader to send an email to the author via her website will win an author signed copy of Folly.

TP Hogan - Extinct

T P Hogan released Extinct on 7th October. 

Everyone knows Thylacines are extinct. The truth is more complicated. Thylacines are real but the secret that hides their existence has trapped them in a half-life, and only one person can set them free.

Sent to live in Tasmania, Australia, with a father she’s never met, Ginny Martin’s mission is to lay low and get through the school year. That is until she sees that first ghostly creature. Refusing to believe she’s going crazy, Ginny will not stop until she’s unearthed the truth behind the silver apparitions.

Bio: TP Hogan writes speculative fiction. This allows her to escape...and explore hidden worlds, inhabited by the creatures of her imagination, and she invites you to join her in these realms.

Buy Link: Amazon.com - http://amzn.to/2y4lggn




Author: Catriona McKeown - The Boy in the Hoodie


Cate McKeown, Omega 2016 winner, is releasing The Boy in the Hoodie November 1st, 2017

Kathleen Morrow is a Pastor's kid struggling to find her place in the world. To protect a friend she lands herself in detention, where she meets a boy with a serious reputation. As an unlikely friendship develops between the two, Kat realises her own problems are insignificant compared to the ones this boy hides under his grey hoodie. And now he's asking for her help. How far is she prepared to go to help him? Kat must choose between the future she wants and a friendship unlike any she has ever known before.

Catriona McKeown is a teacher in country Queensland, where she lives with her husband and three daughters.

Publisher: Rhiza Press
Purchase link: https://www.koorong.com/search/product/the-boy-in-the-hoodie-catriona-mckeown/9781925563207.jhtml

Jeanette O'Hagan - Akrad's Children

Jeanette O'Hagan released Akrad's Children, the first novel in her Akrad's Legacy series. 

Four young lives, a realm ravaged by war, a haunting legacy

Four young lives are bound together in friendship, love, rivalry and tragedy. A realm ravaged by civil war, a ruler scarred by betrayal, a legacy that haunts them all.

Caught between two cultures, a pawn in a deadly power struggle, Dinnis longs for the day his father will rescue him and his sister from the sorcerer Akrad’s clutches. But things don’t turn out how Dinnis imagines and his father betrays him.

Does Dinnis have a future among the Tamrin? Will he seek revenge for wrongs like his sister or forge a different destiny? 

Publisher: By the Light Books

Other News:


Adam David Collings also released Earth's Remnant the first in his Jewel of the Stars series 

Christine Dillon will release her debut novel Grace in Disguise and released a non-fiction book Stories aren't just for kids: Busting 10 myths about Bible storytelling in October 2017.


CWD members have also had stories and poems accepted in a number of anthologies:

Nola Passmore, Raelene Purtill and Jeanette O'Hagan in Futurevision (1231 Publishing, Sept 2017)

Raelene Purtill, Jeanette O'Hagan and Jenny Woolsey in Redemption (BentBanana Books, Oct 2017)


Jeanette O'Hagan has stories in Tales From the Underground (Inklings Press: Oct 2017) and Quantum Soul (Oct 2017)

Lynne Stringer, Adele Jones and Jeanette O'Hagan had a stall at Oz Comic Con Brisbane in September.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Me Too




Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/FrameAngel
Well, me too. How ‘bout that?

It’s a subject I notice Christians seem to be skirting around, not addressing from any aspect, let alone a scriptural one.

So…me too. I’m one of tens of millions, probably more. For women in this lucky country…Australia…the figure sits at a disturbing one in five women. Look around you. Yes, you! In Church. Look around you. One in five females has been a victim of sexual violence. That’s not counting every-day, garden-variety sexual harassment. If we factor that in, I reckon the figure is more like one in one. That’s all of us. Married. Single. Engaged. Divorced. It doesn’t matter. We’re all ‘fair game.’

The ‘Me Too’ campaign has erupted in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein expose. In case you haven’t caught up on the news this fortnight and don’t know who Weinstein is, I’ll briefly recap.
Harvey Weinstein is a vastly successful, renowned and widely lauded movie producer. He is, of course, also immensely wealthy. That goes with the territory.

So too, it seems, does an enormous sense of entitlement that underpins the ugly underbelly of the current climate of rampant narcissistic machismo that sets the tone for our entertainment industry. He has, seemingly without reservation, propositioned, touched, threatened and downright sexually assaulted (let’s call it for what it is…raped!) huge numbers of actresses…sorry ‘actor is now the politically correct term. But the ‘actors’ he targets are all female. So far he’s been accused by around 50 women and that figure is escalating by the day.

Some of his targets have tried to report his actions. Others have been cowed. The overwhelming complicity from other men in the industry is, possibly, even more disturbing (and I’ll never watch another Matt Damon movie again. And then there’s Tarantino, not so much of a surprise but a bigger disappointment, given the sway he holds in the industry. He’s sorry now, but hey, too late). They knew. They observed. They were told. But they did nothing. It would compromise their careers if they did. Actually, I have that wrong. They did more than nothing. They actively worked to cover up Weinstein’s sexual abuse and harassment. And so, these women were left unprotected…un-championed. Disbelieved. And so they were shut up.

The real ‘shock’, however, (not to me) is that women the world over…ordinary women with ordinary jobs and lives and families, experience the same humiliation and degradation that well-known actresses are only just now feeling safe enough to expose. Think about that. Wealthy, ’perfect’ women in privileged positions, living fairy-tale lives, are only just now gaining the fortitude and courage to tell the sordid stories that are part and parcel of their daily existence.

Their stories have been enormously triggering for women and girls the world over. Add to that the widespread lack of empowerment the average woman experiences, even in this so-called enlightened age, where women are supposedly valued and equal…and you have a seething, boiling, wave of anger and resentment that is gaining momentum with every ‘me too’ posted on social media. Many of us don’t know what to do with the pain that is rising to the surface; pain we bury deep in order to survive just being female in this world. We desperately hope the whole thing doesn’t just fizzle and die, and yet, it may well do.

I have absolutely no idea how I would navigate life with its everyday experiences that include, for me as for so many, the degradation and humiliation of being reduced to an object of little value; something to be judged, sentenced, tortured and humiliated by the very beings God put on this earth to protect me and provide for me - I do not know how I would have survived so far without Jesus. I truly don’t.

I’ve worked in a Christian counselling environment wherein I was entrusted with the files and stories of hundreds of people, right here where I live, in this small, conservative, and overwhelmingly Christian city. If you’re under the illusion things are vastly different in Christian communities, please think again. The complicity of the Christian hierarchy mirrors that of the secular world. In many ways, it’s worse. There’s more than just a cover up. There is enablement through lack of condemnation for the perpetrators’ actions, a noticeable absence of any consequences and a widespread hushing up of victims.

Overall, there’s still a distressing tendency for the blame to be placed on ‘Eve’. Where there is seduction, she (the woman), is all-too-often deemed the temptress, even if she has rebuffed the advances. If sexual harassment has taken place and is made public, it’s overwhelmingly the woman who loses face, support and fellowship within the Church. She is far too often cast out of the community…while ‘he’ remains in leadership and worship positions. He is forgiven and allowed to continue his spiritual life, without missing a beat. She is left floundering, wandering alone in the desert…to pick up the threads…start a new life…somewhere else where she hopes they know nothing of her past.

Yes, I have witnessed it. Yes, I have experienced it. Not just harassment (as if that’s a trivial thing?) but sexual abuse and rape. I’m here. I’m raw. I’m telling it like it is.

I’ve experienced it first hand, and through the stories of hundreds of others.

So, yes. Me too. I have a tender saviour, who holds me so gently, and yet with such power and strength. In the final analysis, I’m okay.

But the Body of Christ has the distraught and damaged spirits of many of its women to answer for. We cry out for understanding and help. We reach out, mostly, to each other – other women who feel our feminine pain.

And yet…it is not yet enough.

I don’t propose to have the answers or the expertise to suggest a course of action but I do feel compelled to bring this issue before you all; to ask the question; to open the dialogue. We have an opportunity to be part of a massive wave of change and healing that will benefit the entire Christian community. Half the body of Christ is deeply wounded…and floundering.

Let’s go to Jesus with that, shall we? Men and women alike.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

It's Conference Time!




Omega Writers Australasia will be meeting this coming weekend for their annual conference, and it is set to be a great weekend meeting our writing friends from around Australia and New Zealand, and engaging in some first class learning with our conference speakers.

We are thrilled to have had a number of businesses join us as partner sponsors, and as a result we have been able to bring in a couple of sought after speakers who I know will bring another level again to those of us who have been writing in Australia for many years.

Added to this, we will have the CALEB Prize awards evening, where we will recognise Australasian Christian writers in different genres. Our partner sponsors have generously contributed towards the prizes that will be awarded to our winners.

I would like to take a moment to mention some of our partner sponsors, and ask that you would consider them if you are in need of this sort of service:

Tabor College – Education in creative writing
Ingram Spark – Self-publishing and Print on Demand specialists
Book Whispers – Writing and self-publishing assist specialists
Finesse Writing Services – Writing and self-publishing specialists
Breath of Fresh Air Publishing
Cam Print – Screen print and embroidery for t-shirts, corporate wear and caps
Simon Malcolm Productions – Video production specialist
Rosanna White – Graphic designer specialising in book covers
Christian Super – Superannuation specialists
Christian Editing Services – Professional and respected editor
Details for all these partner sponsors can be found on OmegaWriters website 



I hope to see many of you at the conference, and that you will enjoy the workshop streams that are being offered. If you have been unable to make it this year, the good news is that it has already been booked in again for next year. This time we will be headed to beautiful Adelaide, South Australia, and now would be a good time to make a plan to join us in twelve months time.

I have only just finished up a skype session with our Omega Screen Writers group this evening, and we have talked about trying to introduce a new stream to next year’s conference especially for writers of screenplay.

Don’t forget that there are writing chapters functioning around the country, so if you’d like to get together with other writers and can’t wait until October next year, look up the groups that may be functioning in a place near you.

As always, I like to remind members of Australasian Christian Writers and Christian Writers Downunder that Omega Writers continues to function because we have financial members. If you believe in the work that we do, and the services we provide, I would encourage you to consider becoming a financial member. There are benefits to be had. More information on this is on our website.

I would like to take this opportunity to bless you in your writing journey, and pray that you will continue to grow in God and as a writer.

Best regards


Meredith Resce
President
Omega Writers Australasia

Monday, October 23, 2017

Pinterest : A Thousand Words

by K A Hart


Sometimes I wish I’d pursued the art of painting or drawing earlier in my life. Now, don’t get me wrong. I can whip up a beautiful and intricate landscape of rolling hills or a spring garden brimming with colourful flowers and doting bees. My talents even extend to the chaos of war where hundreds of warriors clash for their king’s victory. 

There’s just a small problem. 

I’m the only one who can see it because it’s all in my mind.

As a child, my best friend and I lived mostly outdoors. We had overactive imaginations. We’d gallivant across the yard and play elaborate games, saving animals from bushfires and cyclones. Our bikes were shape-shifters. They’d transform into any animal we required for our daring rescues. Hay castles. Tractor monsters. Everything we could imagine was possible.

As I’ve grown older, it’s become harder to create those worlds. Worlds need to make sense. They need to have a purpose and I’ve become limited by my own experiences. I now need to write things down or the ideas become lost in the everyday rush and often, those thoughts written into words don’t fully capture what I’ve imagined.

That’s when I discovered Pinterest. Finally, some place to collect pictures, ideas, and information all into one place.

I can search through Pinterest and find almost any picture, article or website related to a keyword. I’ve then been able to set up files or boards where I can save them as pictures around a particular topic. As I’m a visual person, I’ve found it beneficial to set up boards for my novel ideas, character development, even possible locations. This has given me the ability to find pictures that look similar to my hero/heroine and the possible settings of their adventure (this has been invaluable as my WIP plays out in desert, forest and mountain scapes). I used to become stuck on how an action scene might look like. Not any more. 


I have to laugh at some of the things I’ve searched for on google. Who knew there were so many creative ways to drown someone … Maybe that’s why I like Pinterest so much. I can have a public board where anyone can see what goodies I’ve filed away or I can have secret boards. Every story I have written is hidden away from prying eyes. Even those I haven’t written yet. NO SPOILERS. I can always change them later to be public, so readers can see the thought process behind the novel.

When I’m not sure where to go with my story, I can add a friend to the board to help collaborate the obstacles my hero/heroine has to overcome. If I ever have the opportunity to co-author a novel, this would be a great way to correlate our ideas.

Writing can be very lonely and isolating if you let it. Most days I like it this way, though sometimes I’ve needed some guidance. I’ve joined a writing group of talented ladies who have encouraged, on an occasion nagged and for the better part, inspired me to reach beyond what I thought possible. If you haven’t yet joined one, now is the time to do so. But when we’ve all said our goodbyes and I sit back down at my laptop, I have those odd doubts as to why I’m doing this at all. There are so many inspiring pictures and words I’ve been able to capture, which help to remind me of this amazing gift God has given me.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (NIV)

It’s great to be able to keep all my favourite blogs in one place. All those insightful ideas on how to enhance my writing and the words of encouragement from those who have travelled before me. 

I’ve found myself up at one or two in the morning, surfing the web for information about something vital to the success of my hero/heroine’s journey. Moon phases and their meaning have been a particularly sore subject for my WIP. I’ve been able to find quite a few articles and pictures around this subject. The ease in which I linked these to my chosen board for perusal later was amazing. No more keeping a tab open or saving the website to favourites - what if I didn’t like it?


I’ve never been short on ideas - I have enough novel outlines saved on my computer to last me at least a decade. Short stories however, aren’t my strong point and when I have writers block (yes, it’s a thing), Pinterest has been a great resource to help spark my imagination again.

I’ve said it before. I’m a visual person. I now have an entire wall filled with pictures I’ve found on Pinterest. It depicts the storyline of my WIP and helps me stay focused on the big picture. If you ever come to visit, I might just show you.

Still hesitant? Come and have a look at my Pinterest page kahartauthor. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Find fifty you like? You might just have a novel.

If you already use Pinterest, how has it helped you in your writing journey?








K A Hart's first short story, Stone Bearer, appears in Glimpses of Light and another soon to be released in one of the Missed Blessings anthologies. She is currently working on a fantasy novel.










Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Honey Bee

by D J Blackmore



What is the only insect that produces food eaten by man? You guessed it, Apis Mellifera. Or as we often know it, the honey bee.

But did you know that the worker bee makes only a twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in its entire short six week lifetime?

Or that honey is the only food that contains everything necessary to sustain life, including minerals, vitamins and enzymes?

It is the one food that contains Pinocembrin, an antioxidant that is associated with accelerated function of the brain.

The hives only queen lives for up to five years. Without her, the hive loses all sense of meaning. The hive needs her to continue existence. Their selfless work is for her mother of all and for their community. They work tirelessly. So much so that a hive of bees will actually orbit the earth three times, or 144,840 kilometres, just for the production of one kilogram of honey.

The worlds most expensive honey is produced in Turkey and costs 5000 euros a kilogram. Thats as much as it costs for a small car.

The work of honey bees pollinates a third of all world food. Thats about one in every three mouthfuls that sit on your plate.

In ancient Egypt bees were seen as a symbol of royalty and power. Druids looked at bees with a sense of celebration and community. Christian monastic communities associated bees with selflessness, cleanliness, courage, sociability, wisdom and spirituality.

Pharaohs took it with them to the afterlife. Honey never spoils, and just as it was esteemed in ancient times, the worth of honey is rising once more.

The book of Judges teaches us about Deborah, prophet and judge. Deborah has been called the mother of Israel. Her name also happens to mean bee.

When Samson killed a lion with his bare hands, he went back the following year to discover that a colony of bees had made their hive inside the lions empty carcase. The pleasure at finding combs full of honey and not so pleasant stinging worker bees would have been considered an incredible bounty in those times.

In Judges 14:14, Samson tells a riddle:

Out of the eater, something to eat;
Out of the strong, something sweet.

The great power of a single lion had been defeated. In its decay there was nothing lovely, nothing clean and yet bees had made from it something sweet, an abundance of something good.

When we create loveliness out of the everyday, begging the beautiful out of the mundane, it is the sweetness of our efforts that is like gold. Our tireless work from continued routine is what makes us strong.

Yet as writers, it can often be a struggle to continue to push past indolence, flagging sales, rejections, not to mention writers block. For all that writing is by its very nature a lone undertaking, it is togetherness and community which can build and strengthen the individual and the team.

In encouraging, listening, being willing to share, we are a hive of many working in togetherness to make something sweet in His name, and thats powerful.



My newest work is Folly, the conclusion to Charter to Redemption. It has been an endeavour which was only made possible through the help of others, and Im indebted to all those whove been part of the process. Im thankful to the team at Rhiza Press regarding the release of Central to Nowhere in 2018. Im currently writing my second contemporary novel, Rising Son, as well as looking forward to starting a guest author blog in the near future. Thank you for the encouragement Ive found with Christian Writers Downunder; it is gold.

Author Biography:

I have milked cows and made cheese. I have reared babies, border collies, and kept bees. I bartered my Gouda for wine at a boutique vineyard near our home in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales. A short stint with horses saw me falling off and breaking my best arm. Now I steer clear of animals of the equine persuasion. Being mother to five is my highest achievement, but writing comes a close second. After all, it has been my friend for so many years, we two are inseparable.