Mary books

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Meeting old friends

Once again I am writing this from our son and daughter-in-law's home in New South Wales. Many parts of Australia are experiencing a very cold day and it is no different here. I am just glad I am this close to the equator and not in Tasmania where my husband tells me it is COLD! And spring officially commences in less than a week - in fact, the day after I arrive home.

Ray joined me last weekend, took me to the Australian Christian Writers Fellowship day seminar in Sydney and afterwards north again to Maitland in the Hunter Valley to that 30th anniversary church dinner. A wonderful time, so great trying to meet all our old friends there I simply forgot to take photographs to share with you. Some lovely ones have been put up on Facebook, especially on the Maitland Church of Christ page that you might like to have a look at. I did take some photos after the Sunday morning service there but somehow on this computer when I downloaded the photos from our camera to share with you last week they then simply disappeared off the camera! I am not game to do that again, so now I'll wait to share with you next week when back in my own familiar computer-photo environment.

Afraid I also forgot to take photos at the writers' workshops in Sydney. Mary, you had better start remembering readers of your blog might enjoy them too!

So, when you meet old friends again after a long time, do you find it easy to talk with them, share your lives again? There were so many warm hugs last weekend, so many faces I had to try and remember the names of. Trouble is, we all never stop changing. Our faces become thinner, fatter, a few more wrinkles and hair - well, hair sometimes disappears on the guys, the gals usually try to hide the grey hairs and are a little easier but at the dinner everyone was encouraged to wear 80's clothes. One dear lady friend had a flowing blonde wig while one man had a wig of black, boisterous curls! However, despite the changes in outward appearance I remembered so many from their smiles, their voices. But they did all look different at the church service the next morning!

And of course, there are those old friends we may not see from one year to the next but can pick up the threads with so quickly. We stayed a couple of nights with such friends and while I enjoyed talking to Rhonda Hall about our families and other topics, it was a joy to hear these two retired ministers, Ray and his old friend Max in the office discussing truths about our walks with Christ they are still digging out of the scriptures. Max and Ray shared a room at Bible College when training for the ministry many, many years ago. That kind of friendship becomes more like intimate brothers sharing, and what can be more intimate than sharing what Christ has been doing in and through our lives as we seek to always walk in step with Him. 

And meeting old friends on this trip is still not over. I have another special event tomorrow. Ray had to fly home last Tuesday while I am still here to be the main speaker at this coming weekend's Newcastle and District Christian Women's Fellowship Retreat. Hopefully I will have a few photos to share with you next week - if I don't forget the camera in the excitement of meeting more old friends!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Romance Writers Australia conference 2010 plus

 I am typing this on our son and d.i.l's computer after a few days recovering from a hectic few days over last weekend at this great conference. For me the Authors Day just a week ago was the highlight. Having said that, I just loved meeting old friends and meeting new ones.
Instead of raving on about the workshop on promotion and marketing, the great Awards Dinner and the excitement of seeing writers receive awards in various categories, I'm going to just share a few photos with you.

I met Narelle Atkins on the internet a few years ago and have been in regular contact with her ever since, including a quick visit to her home on one trip to Canberra. She brought her friend Karen Ward with her who is now one of my friends! With us here is also another Christian writer, Laura O'Connell. Wonderful to share fellowship with these lovely ladies!

Editors from different publishing houses in Australia were present and also Dianne Moggy from Harlequin in North America. A real privilege to have a brief chat with her one day.

Then of course there were authors that have been to every RWA conference I've been to. But I met Valerie Parv, now called "Australia's Queen of Romance" several years before RWA commenced. She had an article in a woman's magazine about a writer's course called Art of Romance Writing. It is now in book form, but I am so grateful that part of the course was sending her a full manuscript to critique. I give her credit for honing my skills so that I signed my first contracts back in 1992. Was great seeing her again!

And I think that might be all I should do on Lance & and Karen's computer for this blog. Hopefully I'll be able to share more about the Australian Christian Writers Fellowship day seminar I am doing the workshops for this coming Saturday. This is at St Phillips Anglican church hall at Eastwood in Sydney. I do hope to meet other old friends there also who are targetting the Christian markets.                                                                            

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Meditation Moment

Life’s Hurricanes

From out of nowhere it came. Sweeping across my life with the ferocity of a hurricane it caused widespread devastation. Emotional wreckage lays strewn amidst the physical pain. I’m powerless, speechless, miserable.

Voices within and around call me to curse you Lord.

They taunt me with your unfairness. Their words are like swords piercing the heart as they belittle your goodness and grace.

My tears burn as they fall.

Weariness overwhelms.

Aftershocks batter my spiritual life,...O God, unbelief is trying to undermine trust in your love and holiness.

I feel as though I drowning in the deluge. I cannot hold onto you.

Lord, don’t let me go.

In my numbness I feel you not. Your word is all I can take hope in.

Silence my lips from making rash comments about you or life’s circumstances.

Wipe the mist from my eyes.

I need to see beyond the moment and behold your faithfulness and purposes.

As the hurricane spends itself across my life let it not smash me to the ground. Be the strength of my being. Let me stand true to you, surrounded though I be by broken dreams, unanswered questions, uncertainty of action. From my quivering lips and burdened mind may I truthfully share to any who will listen, “God is Good. His mercy endures forever!”

I understand not that which has come to pass.

What I know and by an effort of my will I do, I bow before you and seek to honour you in and through it all.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Off to Romance Writers Australia conference - and other places!

And the suitcases are locked, just need to tidy the house more for my dear husband while I am away and write a few lines here.

It is with a sense of excitement and perhaps some trepidation I am ready to go to the Romance Writers Australia National Conference in Sydney. Tonight will be great to share with my two friends Rita Galieh and Jo-Anne Berthelsen and then tomorrow the Published Authors day.

After conference on Sunday I head to the home of our son and daughter-in-law north of Sydney. Haven't seen them since Easter and my "special" birthday celebrations so looking forward to that very much and the other old friends in the Hunter Valley where we lived for over 20 years.

And no, I won't be able to travel west in the Hunter Valley to the site of my fictitious town of Baragula. I have had people ask me where exactly is the setting of my trilogy town. I have to smile because I have taken the liberty of creating one in the general area where there is only a much smaller village - and not called Baragula which is aboriginal word meaning "flood-tide" - as mentioned in Book One, "Return to Baragula."

And because we leave in less than an hour for the airport, my dear husband has another few thoughts to share with us. Hopefully I will be able to use a computer while away to let you know about this conference.

The ‘Road’ We’re On
‘Everything…written in the past was to teach us so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4. (NIV).

We were in a strange country, going to an unknown village along an uncharted road. Mary and I relaxed, maybe too strong a word as we were cramped in a twin cabin ute with three others in the cabin and two others plus luggage in the covered back. It was fun in a mad sort of way and we were safe because the driver knew the way. It took a long time to arrive yet in meeting the villagers all the difficulties, frustration and uncertainties along the way became insignificant.

Proverbs 3:1-8 tells us to commit our way to the Lord. He has purposes in mind and the destination. Spiritually we may have a similar experience to Abraham, going into the unknown. Then again, Joseph’s experience may be ours, betrayed, forgotten and ‘marking time’ before God turned it around for good. Israel’s journey from Egypt to Canaan gives an insight into our journey. God’s faithfulness never wavered even when they took wrong turns or had bad attitudes. All is recorded to help us trust God as we go into the unknown and unexplored days ahead.

As we journey the controlling factor must be God’s goodness, not our wisdom contained in the Scriptures. We may not enjoy all the experiences. However through them the Lord reveals purpose and blessing. Faith clings to God’s faithfulness and keeps us focused. Along the way we bear witness to our Lord’s providence and grace.
Prayer: Hold my heart steady in your purposes and be honoured in my journey.
Thought for the Day:   Each disciple blazers a trail for God.
Prayer Focus: Prayer focus. God’s pioneers in different cultures.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

My week - so far.

This is only the middle of this week and I want to share a few things. I sure know why the topics "Time" and Priorities" have kept cropping up in my heart and mind!

Last Sunday as usual was a very busy day. Ray too has been busy helping at Seahorse Australia and with our grandchildren. We try to post his Meditation Moment each Wednesday but this week it will be late. Ever since we moved here to Tasmania in 2003, he has been a guest speaker at churches who either do not have a minister right now or when a minister is away on holidays. His motto is "Have Bible, will preach!" This week we were at Westbury Baptist church and really did enjoy the worship and service. Of course, I think the preacher's sermon was really wonderful - as always when this retired minister preachers! It certainly blessed and challenged me as he shared the passage in Revelations chapter three about the Smryna church.
Westbury is about 45 minutes drive from us, and by the time we arrived back home to a light lunch it was not long before we were off once more to our own little church. That night we had a special guest, Stephen Atkins, who shared in song and message. Wonderful! Inspired me to an even deeper love for my Lord Jesus Christ. Do check out his website and CDs.

And then Monday morning I had to leave early to go to Launceston for the Annual General Meeting of our Society Women Writers Tasmania. This is one of the groups I mentioned in my last post. And since that meeting I am so pleased that another member accepted my request to nominate to take my place as president. So, this year while I stay on as Vice-president, I have shed the other resonsibility and thus less to to occupy my mind! Our membership this last year has been the most for many years and of course this does also mean more work and responsibility also for the committee.

Since arriving home I have been trying to prepare the workshop I am taking at the day seminar for Christian writers on Saturday 21st. It has been suggested I share about: A Christian aspect in writing novels, Preparing manuscripts for publication and Marketing. But how much material can I share in the time available? How can I be sure I speak about things that are relevant to those in attendance?
In fact, as I said not long ago to Ray, “I am having my usual problem preparing. Too much material and which is the most necessary, the most needed, the most important?” So tonight, I am taking a break from that and chatting to my blog readers instead.
Help me out here please!
Do any of you have a specific question on any of those three topics? I know, I know! There are heaps and heaps of questions. But do mention a few for me that some of you may either need input on if you are a writer or simply curious to know what writers have to think about when writing a novel.

Are you interested in how I approach writing that next book, how I try to sell it first to a publisher before ever trying to interest readers in my book? Are you interested in how my Baragula series came about?