Thursday, December 18, 2014
Monday, December 15, 2014
These prophetic words were spoken over me by Isobel Allum, a Canadian speaker, who visited our church about a month ago. She didn't know anything about me. The message continued...
"For there is a lot of treasure in you, many things people won't know. Things will disappear if you don't write them, for others will forget them. They are very, very important, for God is going to use you to show the journey of many. You're going to help people."
|Ready for another day.|
Transition is always difficult. The only person who's happy about transition is the midwife. She is excited because she knows the birth is close, new life is imminent. Holy Spirit is hovering over our nation, excitedly awaiting for the birth of a new thing. Like an baby it is still undefinable, as its not yet seen, but it is coming.
So write, Aussie writers. Write your books, your blogs, your posts...and write in your journals, your diaries. Write the change. Now you may not notice it in the moment, but when you look back you will see it.
Jesus came into the world, born into controversy and danger, his very life entrusted to a young maiden and a young man who listened to God. That event changed world history. How do we know? It is recorded, written by two gospel authors.
|Steve writes and writes. |
One day these words will
be in print, I hope.
Apostle John, exiled to Patmos was told to record what he saw and sent it to the churches and so to this day we ponder his Revelation.
Today, we have an incredible opportunity to record the new thing in journals, blogs, posts and books, even fiction books. Some of us will like what is happening. Many will oppose it. The debate and differences will refine and define the move.
Write, write, write. God has called you for this time.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
But perhaps not.
Perhaps there is some invaluable piece of advice hidden in my experience.
Well, now you mention it...
It all comes down to: promote now, because later you're going to be even busier.
If you want to be a writer, start as early as you can building up your online presence. No effort is wasted. Put everything you can into it at the beginning, because the internet is very forgiving, as long as you get in and start. And, as I learnt, the sooner you get in, the more credit you'll have in the bank in case you need to back off later.
For the past few months I've done absolutely no book promotion. I didn't blog, or tweet, promote my facebook page or do any tours. I didn't even bring out a new book. However, I continued to get sales. My books continue to sell at roughly the same rate they have been for the past six months, which I admit is not a huge amount, but has been consistent for over a year, which is more than a lot of people can claim. That was all possible because I had done so much at the beginning.
For the first year I did everything I could. I listened to podcasts on self-publishing, internet marketing, platform building, and writing. Then I implemented as much of that advice as I could. At times it seemed a bit silly; I didn't even have a book out when I started. But luckily I didn't let that stop me.
So no matter where you are now in your writing journey throw yourself into promotion, because by the time it comes to actually promoting your book all these efforts will pay off. And they will continue to pay off even afterwards, when you may be too engrossed in writing the sequel to keep it all up. Trust me, if you're in this for the long haul, you're not going to have more time later, just more drafts to edit and books to promote.
So stop reading this and do one thing today to promote yourself as a writer. Or if you need more ideas, drop by my blog for the two years' of great advice (and eventually something new).
Sunday, December 7, 2014
Of all the cast it is Dory that I am most like. Ahhh yes, quirky, forgetful Dory. She brings such innocence to the movie, doesn't she? It's her catch-cry, "Just keep swimming" that resonates most within me.
I had such a beautfiul moment whilst swimming recently which reminded me a little of Dory. Exhausted from swimming the entire length of the 50m pool, (thank the Lord for the great, big "SLOW PACE LANE" sign on the pool's edge), I decided to try a bit of a half-swim/half-float back stroke thingy. Yes, it looked as awkward as you are probably imagining right now. Picture a bowling alley with the gutter guards in place, and a ball zig-zagging down the lane as it alternately hits the left, then the right sides. Seeing it? Then yes, you've got the idea. So much for my relaxing stint down the pool.
I must confess, I did contemplate exiting via the stairs and making the 50-metre return journey on foot, but my towel was at the other end, and ...well let's just say, water can hide all kinds of evils, (need I say more?!). And so I prepared to push off ..."Helen, lay on your back and try again." Pffft! Seriously, Holy Spirit, I'm trying to exercise here! (Yeah, I'm pretty sure I heard a few angels giggling at this point; hope their wings got wet!). Okay, I guess it won't hurt. A little tentatively I readied myself to leave the security of the pool's side. "Helen, place your hand gently on the lane divider; this will guide you, and keep you on a straight course." It was such a simple thing, really, I was surprised I hadn't thought of it earlier.
The further I swam, the more relaxed I felt. By mid-way I had been transported into a place of quiet worship; yes, in the middle of the swimming centre! Finally, I reached the end of the lane. I opened my eyes and stood in the shallow water and looked back at where I'd come from.
"MEDIUM PACED LANE."
What?! Didn't I start in the slow lane? Perhaps I swam over the divider? Quickly dismissing this as just silly I thought about it rationally. I was, or course, in the same lane as where I started, but as I'd been swimming someone had changed the lane's definition, thereby altering my position in the process.
I could do little more than stand and smile at the most amazing lesson God had given me. Here it is, broken down into easy to see points:
* Just keep swimming - don't give up! No matter how slow you feel you are going, keep on going!
* Always keep your hand on the Holy Spirit, in his hand or on his shoulder, clutching the bottom of his coat if need be! - he is our guide here on earth and will always - ALWAYS - keep us on track, according to the Father's wishes.
*Worship - in the fear, in the frustration, in the quiet times of relaxation; whatever the circumstance we find ourselves in, worship the Lord. Don't worry about who's watching, (or who's 'not' watching); worshipping God is what matters, and it is where we find our rest, our strength, our spiritual tenacity to keep on going.
* Watch and see - as we do these things, and often when we least expect it, God commands a shift in the spiritual realms that brings change in our world. Whether our path be a few short metres, one 50-metre length of an olympic-sized swimming pool, or many tiring, tedious laps over and over, it is in the keeping on, in the presence of the Holy Spirit and with worship in our heart that our slow, plodding lane of obedience can suddenly be transformed into a steady-paced stream of opportunities that we never thought we'd see!
It is both exciting and liberating, and as I'm learning of late, incredibly daunting; much like the parallel storyline of Nemo's dad, Marlin, in Finding Nemo . . . but that, my friends, is a whole other devotional.
Helen (aka Dory) Curtis
Monday, December 1, 2014
When Satan was allowed to remove Job's worldly attachments, Job’s faith did not crumble. When Satan attacked Job’s body with almost unendurable pain, Job remained steadfast. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble? And throughout all of this Job did not sin in what he said (Job.2:10)! What an example to us... thank You, Lord!
Then the final test arrived: a prolonged attack on Job’s integrity by those whom he counted his friends. Their psychological assaults would have hurt just as much as the physical and emotional pain Job endured. If only they had remained silent! But when his time of trial was finally over, Job’s faith had grown and his understanding of God had deepened. In his suffering he had sought God like never before, and his reward was a more intimate knowledge of the Almighty as well as physical blessings. His attitude would have been, "Thank You, Lord!"
I am so glad that God answered Job’s cry, Oh, that my words were written! That they were inscribed in a book! (Job 19:23). The record of this faithful man encourages those who suffer and gives a rare insight into Satan's involvement in human affairs.
Satan was given power over the elements, marauding people and physical illness, and he was able to use Job's friends for an attack on his integrity. While their assumptions were well meant and based on cultural norms, their reasoning couldn’t have been more wrong in this particular case. Let’s remember not to be like them when we take on the role of comforter. Let’s never assume, never offer cliché answers, and instead be willing to listen without judgement and to love without giving advice.
Thursday, November 27, 2014
I just thought I’d have a little fun with some metafiction – enjoy!
Metafiction: fiction that discusses, describes, or analyzes a work of fiction or the conventions of fiction. (Analyses is spelled with a z because I pinched this definition from an American online dictionary)
Lyndon pulled his car up outside Naomi’s flat. She paused for a while, because she really didn’t want this time together to end.
‘I had a really great time tonight,’ Naomi said.
Lyndon undid his seatbelt, and for a moment, Naomi thought he was going to lean across and kiss her, but instead, he pulled the car door handle and began to get out. Naomi took the cue and got out from her side.
‘Can I come in for a while?’ Lyndon asked.
Naomi grinned and nodded. She was all thumbs trying to fit her front door key into the lock, and it only got worse as Lyndon placed his warm hands on her shoulders, and bent his head to kiss her neck. Bolts of pleasure shot through her like electrical currents. She could hardly wait to get the door open. She almost fell through the door, dropped her bag and keys on the floor and turned around to face this wonderful man – the one she had dreamed about for months. He stepped close to her and put his arm around her waist, drawing her body close to him.
‘Can I get you a cup of tea?’
‘Tea. Would you like a cup?’
Lyndon pulled his head back, but didn’t let her go from his embrace.
‘I didn’t come inside to drink tea,’ he said.
‘Oh, I know, but you know how it is.’ Naomi carefully extracted herself from Lyndon’s grip.
‘No, how is it?’
‘The author.’ Naomi whispered the words and put her finger up to her lips.
‘What about her?’
‘She’s in control of this whole scene you know.’
‘Surely she knows why I came into your flat.’
‘Of course she knows, but we can’t go there.’
‘Why not? I want to go there, you want to go there, the whole reading world wants us to go there.’
‘Lyndon, really. You know she’s a Christian author. It’s not going to happen.’
Lyndon let go of Naomi completely and sat disconsolately onto a kitchen chair.
‘I think she should just butt out and mind her own business.’
‘Well, controlling us is her business, and we have to mind our...you know...’
‘Mind our morals.’
‘Sure. She has an agenda too, you know. Shortly, I will quote a Scripture to you, and possibly tell you I can’t see you again.’
‘Why on earth not?’
‘Because you’re not a Christian – Lyndon, you know this.’
‘How am I supposed to know that? I don’t read Christian fiction.’
‘Oh! That’s a shame. I can lend you some if you like. The hero always has to have some sort of religious experience before he can really get together with the heroin.’
‘Seriously. Isn’t that a bit lame?’
‘Well, that’s what has to happen. In the meantime, we can drink tea.’
‘Nothing with a bit more kick to it?’
‘I have ginger tea with lemon grass!’
Lyndon got up from the chair and picked up his keys from the bench.
‘Well, you can just tell the author to go ....’
‘Lyndon! You can’t say that! You’re not allowed to use bad language.’
‘She is such a control freak – she’s driving me crazy.’
‘Well, I am really sorry, but for now, you’re just going to have to deal with it. Oh, and by the way, the Scripture she has just looked up and will probably run across your path in an upcoming plot point is John 3:16.’
Lyndon opened the door to leave.
‘Will I ever see you again?’ Naomi asked, tears beginning to well in her eyes.
‘Of course. She’ll have written some plot that will make our paths cross, probably tomorrow, and probably in either an embarrassing situation for you, or a really tense one.’
‘Ooh! I’d prefer tense. I have to go to the bank tomorrow, do you suppose there will be a hold up?’
‘It’s likely, but the bank robbers will be ever so polite.’
‘Now you’re being sarcastic, Lyndon. The author doesn’t appreciate your tone!’
Meredith Resce has just released her sixteenth title, but under a new pen name: E.B.James.
To read about this exciting new Crime Drama and her other fiction titles, please visit her website:
Monday, November 24, 2014
My favourite genre.
I spent five months working on the story. The characters were sassy, gruff & deeply layered. The countries I created were mystical & unique & the theme of my story was profound.
I was in love with my creation & if I’m truly honest with myself… I had become narcissistic.
It was my first competition. There’d be five winners & I knew I’d be one. How could they not love my story as much as me? I was a perfect match for their competition & already basking in the glory.
Then came the awful truth. If I entered the competition & won, all the work I’d done, all the characters I loved, would be signed away. The publisher would have FULL copyright rights & license to my story. I was flabbergasted. How could I sign the form? I couldn’t. Yet, I’d spent months plotting & writing specifically for THIS competition. How could I not? Gah!
What was I to do?
I asked fellow writers if this was common for competitions, I asked what they would do in my case & I got several different answers. Most, however, told me the submission form was not author-friendly & urged me to stay away. Still I struggled, with all the work I’d put into the project, was it now all for nothing?
I mean I was supposed to win this. I was going to be published!
During one discussion a friend urged me to finish what I started. “You’ll love the next one just as much.” He said & I heard his challenge… but the "What if's" still struggled away. What if I won the competition & a film producer read it & and what if that producer wanted to make it into a film? I’d have no control over the project. The publisher would have full ownership to say “yes” or “no”. It would be heart-breaking because I’m not just a writer. I’m a filmmaker too. I couldn’t watch my story get turned into a big blockbuster success & have no control over it. No. I wouldn’t enter the competition.
It was then I realized how out of control I had become. I was being prideful. Narcissistic. The chances of my little novella being seen by a producer & turned into a feature film were slim to none, but I had reached the point it WOULD happen. I’d blame my over active imagination like I had no choice in the matter, but it wouldn’t be true. Looking back, I can see where I let good, healthy admiration for my story turn into something vain. Ugly.
I was in the wrong.
I had let my God-given talent become a snarling, terrifying monster. Ironic considering the story I wrote was a retelling of Beauty & the Beast.
In the end, I decided not to enter the competition, but it took some long, hard soul searching to be sure I was making the decision for the right reasons. I needed to protect my creative equity not for vain, selfish gain, but because I wasn't finished with the story. God still wanted to teach me something through the characters He was co-creating with me. Which leads me nicely to the moral of this little tale. Be proud of what you write and keep it safe, but don’t let it grow into something monstrous and narcissistic because then your beautiful work will become ugly.
What about you, have you ever let your love for story become a hindrance to your God-given talent?
Charis Joy Jackson is working as a missionary with Youth With a Mission (YWAM) a non-profit organization & is part of The Initiative Production Company. She loves creating stories & is currently writing a novel, which she hopes to create into a seven part series.
Here's to a life lived in awe & wonder.
Welcome to the adventure.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Author - Rose Dee: http://rosedee.com/
Rose, who holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree,
was born in North Queensland, Australia. Her childhood experiences growing up
in a small beach community would later provide inspiration for her first novel,
Back to Resolution.
Her novels are inspired by the love of her coastal home and desire to produce
exciting and contemporary stories of faith for women.
Beyond Resolution and A New Resolution are
the second and third books in the Resolution series.
Rose’s debut novel Back to Resolution won
the Bookseller’s Choice award at the 2012 CALEB Awards, while A New Resolution
won the 2013 CALEB Prize for Fiction.
She has also released The Greenfield Legacy,
a collaborative novel, written in conjunction with three other outstanding
Rose resides in Mackay, North Queensland
with her husband, young son, and mischievous pup, Noodle.
Her novels are inspired by the love of her coastal home and desire to produce exciting and contemporary stories of faith for women.
Monday, November 17, 2014
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Philippians 4 verse 6 (Amp)
Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything , by prayer and petition (definite requests) , with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.
Writing has been an innermost desire and passion of mine since I was a little girl but over the years I lacked one major thing that would be stop me from getting my work published and that is - CONFIDENCE.
I was always amazed when I read the work of other writers and then I would convince myself what could I write that would make a difference when others have said it better than me before . God had been opening doors for me to write in the past but until I could take down this thick veil over my eyes these opportunities came and went and I would then be pulled down into my pit once again.
In 2012 I had found myself starting life over at 50 and again God was opening doors for me to take my writing seriously but my confidence was still lacking. I had a part time job but I wanted to write to supplement my income and finally become that writer / author that I only dreamed about.
Until a few days ago I was unsure what I would be writing, then God pointed out to me about a piece of artwork that I had done at a ladies camp a few weeks ago. I had no idea what the finished piece would look like and I had to put my trust in God to be my hands as I created this flower onto the canvas. God showed me through this piece of art work that if I step out in faith each time He would give me the words to write my story. When he opens the door of opportunity to write I do not need to be anxious but instead to step out of my comfort zone and let him be my guide.
Monday, November 10, 2014
The rumours that had me so worried turned out to be inaccurate. My job was safe for the moment. Still, times are tough at my workplace - probably yours too.
With the difficulties and struggles at my day job I've been realising that more than ever I need to get my writing career going. I’m under no illusions that I’ll get rich off writing books, or even make a living off it, but it might help supplement my income. I've heard it said that it’s wise to have something on the side these days, and for me, the obvious choice is to use my writing gift. In order to make it work I’d have to step up my efforts. Despite my busy life I’d have to give my writing more regular and consistent effort.
With the news that I’d have to take three days off before the end of the year (either annual leave or unpaid) came the realisation that the very thing that worrying me was an opportunity. I would treat these days like normal work days - except instead of going to the office and developing software, I’d spend eight hours on my writing. I’d edit my novel and I’d write some more first-draft material to practice my craft. If I could get a novella together I could self-publish it. My idea could be expanded to a series of novellas - each one each one building momentum for the next.
It turns out that this setback was the shove I needed to help move me up to the next level in my writing journey. It was time to stop talking about approaching it professionally, and start actually approaching it professionally.
As all of this was happening it dawned on me that NaNoWriMo was just days away. What better time to try building a new habit and upping my level of commitment to my writing? I’d be joined by millions of others around the world doing the same thing. After a months of writing every day it would start to become second nature right?
In the midst of all this, my wife has just started working as a nurse - fulfilling her life’s dream. That has been a long journey and is a story all its own. If things go badly for me next year at least she’ll be making some income to help us get by. God’s timing?
As I pondered what I would blog about for this article today, I began to see the hand of God around me. He never promises that our lives will be free of trouble, but I can see how he has been putting things in place. Unexpected and undeserved blessings.
I've haven’t got it all down pat yet? I still have my times of doubt an anxiety about the future. I really don’t know what’s going to happen next year. I haven’t written every day, although NaNoWriMo is helping me to up my game and you don’t give up just because you fall over once or twice.
Really, I should be more worried than I am, but I just can’t help thinking that somehow, all will work out as it should. I wonder where I’ll this time next year.
What about you?
What challenges are you facing, and are you seeing the opportunities and blessings from God?
How are you 'upping your game' in your writing?
Can you reach a point where you've got your process down pat, or is there always room for improvement?