Friday, 21 October 2016

Why do you write?

Last week, my writing and edits were starting to get on top of me. I was stressed. I felt that my edits were no good, my book would fail, my marketing wouldn’t do any good, etc.

Then I thought to myself, why do I write?

What drives you to put pen to paper?

I write for two reasons,
  • I enjoy it
  • I really think God wants me to.

Now, do either of those things have anything to do with things like…
  • Getting published right away
  • Selling truckloads of books
  • Fame to rival Richard Castle? ;)


There’s nothing wrong with aiming for commercial success, and I certainly hope to achieve it.
But it’s not my number one goal.

And when you think about it, why would God want me to write? It’s not like He can’t think up His own words. No, God doesn’t need me to write at all. But He wants to take the journey with Him. And He wants me to learn to trust Him.

And what do I define success as, anyway? A relationship of love, trust and obedience with God. That may include a great writing career, a mediocre one or none at all.

My job is to simply do my best, and walk with God through it all.

What about you? What motivates you to write? How do you deal with pressure?

Join the conversation below!

Jessica Everingham is a 25 year-old Australian writer. She prefers the term writer because it’s too hard to say ‘journalist, online training developer and author’ in one sentence.

She loves connecting with readers and writers via FacebookTwitterGoodreads and her blog.

Her unpublished novel Hating Jeremy Walters was a finalist in the 2015 Frasier Contest, run by My Book Therapy, and runner-up in the 2015 Australasian Christian Writers Contemporary Romance Contest.


Thursday, 20 October 2016

Review: The Story of With by Allen Arnold


"Through allegory and invitation, Allen Arnold ushers us into a journey of imagination, insight, wonder, and wisdom...Read The Story of With!" New York Times Bestselling Co-Author of Captivating, STASI ELDREDGE
"This is your invitation into deeper identity, intimacy, and imagination with God. Like finding the place you've always longed to be. The moment you finish this book, you'll race to grab one for a friend. Highest Recommendation!" Bestselling Author of The Long Journey to Jake Palmer, JAMES L. RUBART
- From the Foreword -
"You are not alone. Whether you’re a free spirit, an office exec, a writer, musician, college student, or tired parent—your soul, like mine, knows life is meant to go beyond rat races and rare applause. This book speaks to that belief. And if you’re not careful, you may find tears warming your eyes as you read because finally someone is naming your weariness, your striving, your questions of why you just can’t quite make it, or the emptiness that hit because maybe you did. It is into those places The Story of With reaches—fusing allegory with application—to offer fresh perspective, restored hope, and a rebirth of creativity.”
—From the Foreword by Mary Weber, Christy & Carol Award-Winning, Scholastic Pick Author of the Storm Siren Trilogy.

My review

I was fortunate to attend Allen’s all day workshop at this year’s ACFW Conference where he outlined many of the principles he outlines in “The Story of With”. The book released a matter of days after the conference so it was a wonderful way to recap the workshop so soon after attending.
The gorgeous Dotti Adamek and I
awaiting the start of Allen's workshop

This book should be mandatory reading for everyone who attends a Christian college. Using allegory Arnold demonstrates how the God of the universe desires intimacy with us in all that we do. This isn't just a book for creative types but everyone as Arnold reveals the Lord's heart for walking with us throughout our day.

The allegory is easy to read and Arnold provides some explanation at the end of each chapter that adds clarity. It all comes together beautifully at the end when Arnold outlines the 4 Vials that Mia in the allegory collected: Be Expectant, Awakened Heart, Know Your Identity and Do it Together. Walking through each day conscious of these 4 elements has really opened my eyes to approaching life from a completely new and fresh perspective. Yes, I'm not in charge, God is which is wonderfully freeing.

"Stay with God" (Psalm 27:14a) - Yes, indeed. Pursuing Him and running with Him on His adventure is really the most exciting life to live. This excellent book provides a guide map to how to catch Jesus' slipstream and join Him on His quest.

I can't recommend this enough. Just buy it. You'll want to read it again and again.

Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Northern Sydney. Ian's first novel of speculative fiction, Angelguard, is now available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Love is ......

By Keona Tann

Love is…..

Almost 12 months ago all I wanted to do was withdraw from a loved one. They had wounded my heart and offended me. To protect myself all I wanted to do was COMPLETELY sever ties with them. BUT God showed me that He loves that person and He asked me to love them too. Rather than withdraw I reached out, prompted by God, and maintained a relationship. How did I do that? Well it was only possible through God’s strength. He reminded me of a study that I had been wanting to do based on 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. The verse talks about all the characteristics that love should and shouldn’t be:
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” This is the New Living Translation.

I broke the verse down into the following aspects and prayerfully considered each.

Patience: How easy is it to have a 'short fuse' to lash out and get easily annoyed?! But God wants us to wait, to count to 10, say a brief anything except be annoyed and anxious. We must make it a habit, catch ourselves in the act, recognize situations that we react to and RESPOND as God wants us to. Lay it down, ask Him for help and accept the need to change.

Kind: It's hard to be generous, it's not in our human nature to always be such, but it is in Gods character! How many chances has He given us?! Numerous, too many to start to count or list! So we should reciprocate that to those around us, be generous in our smile, our manners, our time, our patience, our forgiveness.... Consider your actions and the consequences of them, ask yourself about the actions you are taking or the words you are saying, ask are they things that will build or destroy?! Is it kind? Is it thoughtful? Is it how Jesus would respond?

Not jealous: How easy does jealousy come! Your neighbours pulls into their driveway with a brand new car or your friends on Facebook head overseas to a sunny destination, while you sit shivering on your couch with a nasty cold! So many times during the day pangs of jealousy can attack our heart. We can sit and wonder when it will be “my time to shine” or how much more sacrifice will we have to make for it to finally be “our turn” to have a nice holiday away etc. We need to stop ourselves as soon as those feelings arise, before those thoughts spiral out of control, and instead replace the negative by saying “Lord bless them”. Pray and celebrate that their hard work has paid off, that they worked hard at saving or received a bonus from work.

Not boastful or proud: Human nature is prideful. We can achieve something difficult and sometimes forget about the pain, heartache and hard work that has gone into it. We pray continuously for breakthrough and then in the good times tend to forget to be thankful. James 1:17 reminds us that “Every good and perfect gift is from above” therefore we need to continually thank God.

Not rude: It is so easy to be rude, to react harshly to something said to us and it can be a vicious cycle. Proverbs 12:18 “some speak rashly like the cutting of a sword, but what the wise say promotes healing.” Remember how impacting your words and actions are on those around you. Take a deep breath when something hurtful has been said to you, say a quick “help me Lord” prayer and respond with words of life.

Does not demand: Sometimes it is not what we ask for but the tone we use that can offend others. Asking for something without manners or kindness can sound like a demand rather than a request and ‘put people’s back up’. So be thoughtful in your requests of others.

Is not irritable: To be on the receiving end of a request, if we have a negative feeling already towards that person, can sound like a demand. No matter what is said we can be annoyed and easily angered. With God’s help he can enable you to let go of past hurts and hear with new ears.

Rejoices over the truth: When we see injustice we need to decide if it is something that God needs us to stand up against or to quietly pray about. Micah 6:8 states “….what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”. Ephesians 6:14 (ESV) also remind us to “stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth…..” when tempted to speak ill or unsure of something being spoken imagine that belt, buckled in God’s truth, surrounding you and ask Him to help you speak and hear His truth.

Remain hopeful and allow God to give you the endurance you need! Stand strong in God and allow Him to love your family and friends afresh today.

Please note: There may be some relationships that you need to put strong boundaries on or even walk away from. Seek God and ask Him for wisdom!

I have not been a victim of domestic abuse or violence but if you are then PLEASE seek professional help. Violence against any living creature is NOT ok!

You can get information at 1800 737 732 (1800 respect) or Lifeline

Keona Tann has lived most of her life in the beautiful Australian state - Tasmania. She has been married to her college sweetheart for over 20 years. Keona and her husband consider themselves extremely blessed to be raising 2 wonderful teenagers. They have also been long time child sponsors with Compassion. Keona's working life has seen her develop over 15 years of customer service experience. Health issues have plagued her for 28 years and over the past 2 years have been severely debilitating. Seeking direction from God her passion for writing was recently reignited. Writing the following mission statement: "I desire to impact the world through the words I share. I long to enrich, empower and encourage others whilst delivering my stories with empathy and understanding." she hopes to launch her new career soon.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Getting to know you with Christine Dillon

Today we are introducing Christine Dillon. Thanks Christine for telling us a little about yourself.

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Although born in Australia, my missionary parents returned to Asia soon after I was born. This meant that I only lived in Australia every fifth year until I was 17. I attended primary school in Malaysia and high-school in the Philippines. At 17, I returned to finish my schooling here and then studied physiotherapy. After working as a physiotherapist and Bible College, I returned to Asia in 1999. I work as a church planter in Taiwan. I now write on my airport forms that I’m a ‘storyteller’ as we introduce people to Jesus through Bible storytelling. I also train others in this area.
2. When you were a child did you have a favourite book or books?
I was a real bookworm and was limited to ‘two books a day!’ Enid Blyton books especially the ‘Adventure’ series; Silver Brumby books; Narnia; LM Montgomery especially ‘Anne & Emily’ series and “Blue Castle"  (Jenny here. I also love Enid Blyton and did love the adventure series also the Narnia books.)

3. Do you have a favourite Genre to both read and write?
Reading - I like crime, thriller and historical or biography.
Writing - I haven’t written enough to have a favourite. I did think if I ever wrote that I’d most likely write biography. That hasn’t happened yet. I certainly never thought I’d attempt fiction.
4. Did you have favourite authors growing up who have influenced you?
I read many books but not too many stand out. I wasn’t reading to learn about writing, I was just enjoying reading. 
The books mentioned in Q2 + DE Stevenson and Neville Shute - their gentle characterisations. 
5. When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I’m not sure that I ever wanted to. Having ‘been’ one for seven years  (in terms of having something published), I’m still not sure I want to be one. It’s a heavy responsibility and I don’t like how it changes the way some people treat me. 
6. How did you go about becoming an author?
My first book was about 1-to-1 discipleship. It was written for several reasons. One was frustration because the course about it wasn’t receiving much interest. I decided to write the course information down. I originally planned just to give people the file if they asked me questions. It wasn’t my idea to have it published - the OMF editor, suggested we try for a publisher. 

Looking back though I can see that there was a practice book (for Taiwanese) that I self printed about 200 copies, three volumes of poetry (thank you gifts to prayer supporters). In between, 1-2-1 discipleship (Christian Focus) and Telling the Gospel Through Story (IVP), there was also another non-fiction that hasn’t been published. 

In terms of fiction - I wrote two ‘practice’ Biblical novels before the one I’m working on. I thought that the Biblical ones combined my oral storytelling with practicing dialogue, plotting ...
7. If you were not a writer what would you like to be?
I’ll happily stick with being a storyteller (oral Bible stories), trainer and introducing others to Jesus.
8. Outside reading and writing what do you like to do?
Hiking, photography, stamp collecting and genealogy (love history and the detection that is needed)
9. Do you have a place you love to visit?
Many places - but mostly places linked with history (like Europe) or hiking (New Zealand, Australia, anywhere really…)
10. If you could have a meal with 3 living people who would you choose and why?
Living people is hard. I’d like to talk with Christians who have suffered but remain contagious in their love for Jesus. Someone like Helen Roseveare. They’d probably all be missionaries. Or someone from a totally different background who has been faithful under persecution - a Muslim background believer or someone like that.
Finally can you tell us about your current books and/or any that will
be coming out soon. Also where we can find you on the web.
Been working on a novel for about 4 years. Learning the craft and also educating myself on marketing, editing ….along the way. It is currently called, “Grace in Strange Disguise” - daughter of successful prosperity preacher is diagnosed with cancer, aged twenty-eight. 

Hoping it will be ‘out’ by late 2017. Am delaying it by about 12 months because I want to actually be in Australia for a physical book launch (at least for this first one). for all things Bible storytelling. Facebook also has a ‘closed’ group (you have to ask permission to join) for those interested in getting in to storytelling ‘storying the scriptures’

New author website for things literary - 

Monday, 17 October 2016

Dear Author, You Need to be on Twitter

By Iola Goulton

As many of you probably know, I review books. Lots of books. I currently have over 800 reviews on my blog, going back over five years. Some are for books I loved, some for books I loathed, and some for books which were good books but not spectacular.

I review on my blog, and copy the reviews to other sites such as Goodreads, Amazon, Christian Book Distributors, Koorong Books, and Riffle. I also share a lot of my reviews on social media—Facebook, Google+, Pinterest … and Twitter.

And when I share a book I loved, I want the author to know about it. 

That’s not me being egotistical. It’s me being practical: authors love reviews, especially positive reviews. It encourages them:

But I want them writing, not stalking Amazon and book blogs looking for reviews. So when I post a review to Twitter, I like to tag them in the review so I can be sure they’ll see it when they do check. It also brings my review to the attention of other people looking at the author’s Twitter feed.

An author will often share my tweeted review, potentially bringing it to the attention of more readers. Well, why wouldn’t they? They want reviews, especially positive reviews. They want their current and potential readers to know about those reviews, in the hope that will influence more people to buy their book. This is a biblical principle:

If I say something about myself, it's not valid. If you say it, it is ... especially if someone else agrees with you.

There’s even an internet buzzword for it: user-generated content (or UGC). 

That’s a simple way of saying they author (the producer) gets shareable content (Tweet, book review, meme) from users (me). Because me (or you) saying something positive about a book is more powerful than the author saying it herself. Or himself.

It’s self-promotion, but not the annoying kind. Sure, Twitter is full of authors spamming the feed with “buy my book!” promos every six minutes. That’s the annoying kind of self-promotion, because it’s all about the author. The beauty of user-generated content is it’s from the user. An author who retweets me is promoting me as much as she’s promoting herself.

But not every author is on Twitter.

Or if they are, they have weird names that means I can’t identify them. And that means I can’t tag them in my posts. It means they don’t benefit from my user-generated content. It means they’re missing out on me promoting them—which means they have to promote themselves. Probably by spamming.

To plagiarise Jane Austen, it is a truth universally acknowledged that authors hate promoting themselves.

Fine. I get that. But that’s not a good reason to avoid Twitter. It means you’re thinking about it the wrong way. Instead of thinking of Twitter as another social media network you have to be on to promote yourself, think of it like this:
Twitter is a way readers, reviewers and authors can find you and influence for you. And a way you can influence for promote readers, reviewers and other authors.
Doesn’t that sound better? Pay it forward. Be relentlessly helpful. Make social media about other people, not you.

Some authors aren’t on Twitter because they think it’s going to be a lot of work. It’s not (or if it is, you’re doing it wrong). There are heaps of free (and paid) tools that will help you manage your Twitter account. I’ll be back next week to talk about some of my favourite tools.

Meanwhile, if you’re not on Twitter, why don’t you head over there and set up an account?

While you’re there, follow me (@iolagoulton) and Australasian Christian Writers (@acwriters). Then leave a comment with your Twitter user name so we can follow you back, watch for your Tweets and retweet you. If you’re on Twitter … well, that’s even more reason to follow us!

Friday, 14 October 2016


2016 Conference Centre at Mulgoa
My personal experience of conferences is that they can be wonderful, overwhelming, crush your dreams, build your expectations, and encourage you to achieve way more than you ever hoped all at once. You can come away exhausted.

So if you are attending the Omega Writers’ Conference this year, or any other writers’ conference, I thought I’d give you an idea of what to pack, what to expect, and how to be mentally and spiritually prepared to get the most out of it. 

Important items to pack:

Comfortable walking shoes. Although most of the rooms are fairly close together, some are upstairs and it’s amazing how much you can be on your feet at a conference. A few years ago I completely wore out a new pair of sandals. First mistake – trying to wear in a new pair of sandals. Better to focus on comfort rather than appearance.

Layers of clothing are good. Moving from room to room means varying temperatures. It’s good to be able to cool down and warm up as needed. Being comfortable takes away distractions.

A timepiece. If you are a time conscious person, a watch or timepiece is essential. I went without a watch one year and felt completely lost as I tried to follow the program and be where I needed to be.

Pen and notepaper! Make that several pens and a whole notebook! (although a little bird tells me you will receive a gift of a pen and notebook when you arrive so you don't need to totally load down your bags with notebooks). Expect to hear lots of good things worth remembering, but remember your mind has limited capacity – well, mine does, anyway. I still look back over my notes from past conferences to remind myself of the gems people offered. And for those of you who are more up to date than I am you might  prefer to bring your laptop. Especially if you are taking advantage of bootcamp or attending Deb Porter's eBook workshop.

Money for the book shop. (Note, there will also be credit card facilities. Bank transfers and cheques will also be accepted.) Now, you might be like I was one year and decide it’s a good strategy to not take money so you won’t be tempted. But if you’re going to buy books, this is the time to buy them! You will hear from many of the authors there, get to know them, and will kick yourself if you miss the opportunity to have them sign their book that you inevitably buy. And a book signed by its author is a treasure to give someone for Christmas.

Your work in progress. It’s always useful to have a sample of your work with you. You can apply some of what you learn straight away, or you may decide to take the opportunity to see an editor, publisher or consultant once you are there. Some are willing to take walk-up appointments. (Note this will cost you $30 per appointment and the consultant will not be able to pre-read any of your work).
There is also opportunity to come aside to one of the lounge rooms and join 'bootcamp' to work on your current writing project. Mentors will be available to help you free of charge should you want to take advantage of the opportunity.

How to plan:

It’s worth looking at the program on the website.

Decide which workshops you cannot miss. Then allow yourself to be flexible with the others. Once you arrive you may find you connect with a particular author and want to hear their presentation, or you may discover you actually need to brush up on certain techniques a presenter is speaking on.

Remember you don’t have to attend a workshop every session! Sometimes it’s better to get the rest you need or catch up with other people to make the best use of your time. A tired, overwhelmed writer suffering information overload will not get as much out of a workshop as they could. Better to take time to be refreshed and ready to learn again.

Be ready to look for mentors and networking opportunities. 
The Christian authors I have met at conferences are so different from other authors. They are not self-seeking and they are ready to share their wisdom and experience. I have come away from conferences with mentors, prayer supporters and writing friends who understand me like no other people can. Also be ready to share your own experiences. You have so much to offer because no other person’s writing journey is exactly the same as yours!

Make time for reflection. If possible, set aside time after conference to process. If you are travelling, this could be on the way home. If you live nearby, you may need to set aside some time. I can guarantee you will come away from conference with a head and heart full of much which needs to be prayerfully thought through and processed. Looking back over your notes and writing a plan for the next steps you need to take is a good idea.

Join with others in prayer. We have three people designated for prayer ministry at conference. Jo Wanmer, Anusha Atukorala and Anne Hamilton are all available for you, so feel free to approach them. Conference can be a spiritual battle ground. Our God is all-powerful and loves us. Let’s not become so involved in learning how to use our gifts that we forget to communicate with and spend time with the one who gave us the gifts!

Jo Wanmer
Anusha Atukorala
Anne Hamilton

  How to be mentally and spiritually ready

Be the you God made you to be! Watching professional authors with years of experience can be intimidating and make room for self-doubt and discouragement. By all means, learn from the way a published author interacts, speaks and presents themselves, but remember we are individuals and God has given each of us special, unique gifts and individual stories to share.

One of the bootcamp lounge rooms
Remember God’s plans are so much greater than your dreams. My first conference left me crushed. I didn’t know near as much as I thought I did. My book wasn’t the quality it could have been. My traditional publisher wasn’t really traditional and I’d spent a lot of money I shouldn’t have. I was ready to give up. But from that point I handed it all completely to God and He used it all for His glory and built me up, directed me, gave me greater opportunities than I ever dreamed.

Naomi Reed - keynote speaker

Know you are likely to be overwhelmed. But remember that being overwhelmed is not necessarily a bad thing. It means God has opened your eyes to greater, bigger things. Not to discourage you, but to enrich, enable and encourage you in the direction He wants you to go. Maybe He is changing your direction, or maybe He is encouraging you on toward excellence.

Don’t make any major decisions at conference or immediately after. Unless you have clearly heard God’s voice I would encourage you to take time to seek God before making any major decisions. You will be tired and have information overload. You will possibly be riding an emotional rollercoaster. Let God speak into your heart and give you His perspective despite the ‘noise’ of conference.

Be aware that everyone is human – even multi-published authors and publishers. There may be some people who disappoint you. Ask God to help you be forgiving but discerning. Take it as an opportunity to learn what not to do or say to others. God used one ‘disappointment’ for me to direct me into a better path He had for me. I was ready to sign up with a publisher who offered me an assisted self-publishing deal. Then he disappointed me by verbally attacking another publisher and showing his ignorance during a panel discussion. And God used that to direct me to the other publisher. Perhaps a mistake on his part, a disappointment to me, but something God used.

May God bless and use you this conference to build His Kingdom, 
encourage His people and bless His heart!

Submitted by Jenny Glazebrook. Jenny is a conference committee member, author, inspirational speaker, wife, mother, and above all else, a forgiven, adopted child of God.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Book Review: Amazing Grace, by Elaine Fraser

Review by Andrea Grigg.

Grace Bradley is in a pickle. A big one. Confused and uncertain, she’s held onto a personal secret for six years, and she needs to tell someone. But who can she trust?

When she chooses to unload on her best friend, she doesn’t get the response she’d hoped for. Things get even worse when her secret gets out and goes viral, because now she has to face her family, in particular, her mother. They used to be close but Grace is pretty sure her secret isn’t going to help bridge the gap in their relationship. Or will it? And what about all Grace’s questions to do with God? How will she find the answers to those?

Amazing Grace is a thought-provoking and insightful novel about a young girl who is unsure of her sexuality and her faith. Consequently, it tackles the controversial subject of being gay and the ramifications within Christianity. (How can God love me? Will Christians accept me? Will I have any friends?)

One issue the story raises is whether we can see someone as a whole person, rather than be blindsided by their sexual orientation. I hope we can.

There are kids out there who feel exactly the same way as Grace – confused, anxious and fearful – and that is why this book needed to be written. Amazing Grace brilliantly captures the struggle of a young woman trying to work out who she is, what she feels, and whether or not God can love her.

In reading the back matter, it’s clear Elaine has a compassionate heart. She hasn’t written Amazing Grace lightly, or just to stir things up, but has come from a place of love. I’m hoping mothers, aunts, sisters and cousins will be brave enough to give this book to their struggling relative and be there for them when they’re ready to talk.

I loved how this book made me think, put me in Grace’s shoes, and caused me to pray. I hope it does the same for many. Elaine Fraser, I applaud you.

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Andrea Grigg is the author of three contemporary Christian romances. You can find her on or You can also connect with her on her Facebook author page, on Twitter, or simply send her an email, at