Mary books

Thursday, 28 April 2011

It’s been a very busy week. I was rostered to share a post on http://www.internationalchristianfictionwriters.blogspot.com blog There I wrote about Resurrection Sunday and Easter Monday and ANZAC day. Yesterday I should have written something for my readers here. Instead, I found myself trying to finish editing a manuscript my brother, Stan Pedler, wrote.


This is a photo of myself with my brother Stan and sister Shirley.

A few years ago I did some editing on this story for him but early last week I saw a notice about a contest for unpublished writers and really wanted him to enter his “Joanna Downs”. As I read through the historical story again of an English couple who left their home to carve out a life for themselves and others in western Queensland back in the nineteenth century, I began to realise how much I have been learning myself since my last efforts on this manuscript!

When our children were younger, they used to listen with fascination when Uncle Stan told them stories of unusual people he had met and incidents both good and not so good that had happened during his days of farming on the Darling Downs in Queensland. Of course, he also especially enjoyed telling them stories about their mother when she was growing up! Stan is a wonderful story teller and also has a great imagination, but he is still learning how to put stories down on paper in acceptable ways to submit to editors – or at least that has been my observation so far.

For over 15 years he lived on Thursday Island right at the northern tip of Cape York and very close to New Guinea. After much sadness in his life, there the Lord gave him a ministry to Torres Strait folk through a Christian bookshop and sharing first Christian videos and in later years Christian DVDs. There are folk in the world today that Christ has transformed through my dear brother’s efforts and I am very proud of him.

However, even before Stan went to Thursday Island he started to write. Since he bought his first computer he has now written fifteen books. These he has simply printed a few copies out, including covers, bound them himself and given to interested family and friends to read. He writes different kinds of books from myself but I have lent them to some friends here who read widely and they enjoyed them so much they keep asking me when Stan will write another book! There are some great yarns among those books, but they do still need to be revised and edited. I would so love to see them published! However, over the years my dear brother has had little confidence in himself regarding his spelling and grammar especially.

Stan can do so many wonderful things, including not only using all kinds of large farm machinery, but he flew his own plane, sailed his own boat from Brisbane to Thursday Island and around the Torres Strait Islands. I keep telling him if he can do all these, he sure can learn some of the techniques of novel writing!

Oh well, his manuscript will be entered in this contest next week. I would so love it to at least be short-listed! I would love an editor and publisher to see the potential in his writing. I want to see him have the same delight as I have had of holding his own published book in his hands, seeing them for sale in bookshops!

But there are two more – so far – sequels to the Joanna Downs book. I wonder how I can make time to help him with the editing of those too. Hmm... perhaps less time on writing blogs – and Facebook – could be a start?

And this also makes me wonder just how many great story-tellers there are who sadly never do see their books published.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Book winner and Book Three

A big thank you to those who entered the draw for the first book in my Baragula series, Return to Baragula.

The proofs for Book Three, Justice at Baragula, arrived yesterday and I've been very busy today checking them for the Title Manager at Ark House Press so they could get to the printer in time for the release of the book in May. Sorry the draw for my book giveaway had to wait. Our son arrived right when I needed someone to select a piece of paper from all those with names on of those followers who left a comment.

I am delighted to be able to congratulate Mandy! Your book will be sent as soon as you send me your postal details.

Afraid my eyes have been glued to this computer screen too long today so this post needs to be kept short.

Justice at Baragula is the 18th story I have written and will be my 19th title released. Amazing! Now I need to knuckle down and think very seriously which book will be my 20th - a real milestone. There is still one manuscript I called Delayed Dreams that was rejected and still languishing neglected in a box somewhere. Should I rewrite that one? Should I finish writing Her Outback Cowboy or should I think about seeing if my second inspirational romance book, Damaged Dreams, could be re-packaged and re-printed? That really needs to happen now before I look at Delayed Dreams again.

So, what do I do now? The first thing is to pray of course -which I can assure you all I have certainly been doing.

Do any of you remember my second Heartsong Presents book, Damaged Dreams? Anyone read it?
And afraid this has to be enough tonight here. I need to stop, stretch, do hand and finger exercises - and exercise discipline to stop checking my Facebook home page!

Once again, a very big thank you to you all. I will have another draw for Book Two, Outback From Baragula in the next few weeks!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Giveaways, Guests and Greetings

Australian and New Zealand followers, you still have until before next Wednesday to leave a comment and be entered in the draw for Return to Baragula. Do remember you need to leave a comment AND be a follower to be in the draw.
As I mentioned last week this is Book One in my Baragula series. There will be another giveaway contest for Book Two, Outback From Baragula, before Justice at Baragula, Book Three, is released in May! Not long to wait for that book now, so do check back here! I will be including overseas followers later when I can offer them the e-books Ark house Press have said will be released as well!

Ray and I have been really blessed with hosting overnight guests this last month or so.

In fact, just after I typed that last sentence two lovely friends arrived to share with us. They have become “Grey Nomads” with a camper-van travelling around Australia and we have not seen them for many, many months. They returned to Tasmania for several weeks to see family and friends and we are so privileged to be included in their visit! (And that information is so you know I do have a bit of an excuse for this blog post being late – once again!)

I have truly had a feast of fellowship with guests these last few weeks. Jo-Anne Berthelsen and her husband stayed a few nights with us and while our long-suffering husbands also enjoyed fellowship as fellow ministers, we enjoyed sharing “writer talk”. We are both published by the same company, Ark House Press, and I am really looking forward to reading her next book, Helena’s Legacy, scheduled for release in June. Jo-Anne is also a wonderful speaker – as we discovered when she was the main speaker at the Baptist Women Ministries’ conference in March. Do click on her name to go to her website and learn about this lovely woman who blessed me so much during our time together.
(However, I'll make sure I don't stand in front of the stayed glass of our door next time. I promise you that is not a halo!)

 Last week we were privileged to also have John Mackay stay overnight with us. He is the International Director of  Creation Research - the man the media has called "The crocodile hunter of creation." and an international speaker http://www.creationresearch.net He had several appointments in our area and was great to renew fellowship with him in this way and be informed, blessed and challenged by his message. This photo was taken with John and another member of his team at Brady's Lookout between where we live and Launceston - a beautiful place.

With still catching up on the hundreds of neglected emails, organising book launches for Justice at Baragula  and Ray’s two books in Melbourne (June 4th – more details later) and Launceston as well as family and other commitments, this of course does mean I haven’t written anymore of my new manuscript. But I do know God IS in control! The time to write will come.

And now I must finish here and get back to checking the proofs for that new release in May.

Please remember the draw for that first book in the series, Return to Baragula. The draw will be Tuesday evening and announced next Wednesday.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

My First Book Giveaway - on my own blog!

Baragula Book Three, Justice at Baragula, is coming in May! The edits have gone back to the publisher at last, the book is currently being formatted for proof editing and is scheduled for release in early May.
I have written other series before this, but it wasn't until I was doing these last edits I wondered if I have given away too much of the stories in the first two books.

This means I should be encouraging readers to make sure they have read them first. To start with, between now and April 27th, I would love to give away a copy of Book One, Return to Baragula, to anyone who is a follower of my blog and also leaves a comment.

This first Baragula book was published in 2008 and Book Two, Outback From Baragula, in 2009.
These are my first longer inspirational romance novels after the five Harlequin Mills and Boon category medical romances (1994-1998), and contemporary and historical inspirational romances published by the American publisher, Barbour Publishing, in their Heartsong Presents Book club (1993-2002). All except one book were later in two Barbour 4-in-1 volumes under the titles Australia (2000) and Australian Outback (2003). The novella in Australia, Search For the Star, was first published with three other stories by different authors in Christmas Dreams. Do check out my website - still needing updating though, I'm afraid! 

Many folk have asked me where "Baragula" is. Sorry, readers, it is a fictitious town set in the real area north-west of Sydney, not far from the Barrington Mountains to the east of Scone in the Hunter Valley. I do have a scene in the hospital in Scone and along the real road from Scone through to the Barringtons.

Many folk have also asked me, "Where do you get your ideas from?" For most of my books I simply have to say, "I really don't know - or remember where the germ of an idea originated from." So what about that first Baragula book? Let me say first of all that when I wrote Return to Baragula I had no idea of it becoming Book One in a series!

Australian readers will know that at the end of the school year in Australia, many thousands of teenagers completing their last year of High School before Tertiary education or entering the work force descend on various places around Australia to celebrate. We lived in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales when our seventeen year old daughter completed her final Higher School Certificate examinations. Several of her friends travelled to celebrate at the Gold Coast in Southern Queensland. While they apparently had a great time there, I have to confess feeling a little relieved our daughter did not go as she was preparing for twelve months overseas as a Rotary Exchange student. Years later my writer's brain clicked into gear. That simply means I started to ask many "What if?" questions about a Christian teenager who joined a School Bash party at the Gold Coast. The result was the prologue in Return to Baragula and the "ripples" that affected many others in Emily Parker's life for many years.

Book Two and Book Three are not sequels as I understand them but more "spin-offs" about characters you first meet in Return to Baragula. Over the years I have introduced minor characters in my stories and then later decide I just have to write their stories also!
Emily Parker and Doctor Matthew Davidson have their story told mainly in Book One. Then in Outback From Baragula, Matthew's sister, Jillian Davidson and one of Emily's friends, Steve Honeysuckle, have to survive many dangers out in western NSW on her family's cattle station.

In Return to Baragula I introduced Madeline Honeysuckle and the local policeman, Bradley Hunter, who obviously had some history between them. I just  had to share their story in Book Three, due out this coming May! I enjoyed creating an odd outback character - a kangaroo shooter - in Book Two so much he just had to appear again to help Brad and Maddie try to bring a criminal to justice in the final book in the series - well, right now I think it is the last in the Baragula series!
But there's another story, other characters trying to tell me their stories in outback Queensland in a manuscript I'm writing I've tentatively called Her Outback Cowboy. A young woman returns to her old outback home from America after many years growing up in Texas. When still a teenager, she had been wrenched away from her father and her beloved home in the outback.
Hmm, but then there's that Dream series I would love to finish. It is still evolving from my second Heartsong book, Damaged Dreams!

Enough of that! Lets get back to Baragula!
Apologies to my overseas readers, but this time I am limiting this giveaway of Return to Baragula to Australian and New Zealand readers only. And why? Well, Justice at Baragula is going to be released later as an e-book!  My publisher, Ark House Press, has told me it will be one of their first books also released in print AND an e-book. I am also anticipating the other two books will also be available later as e-books.

Of course that means more giveaways in the future!

And there's still more! Book One has had a few changes since that first print edition. I realised Book Clubs and Study Groups were looking for Questions for Discussion included in Christian Fiction books. All my three Baragula books now have them, including the latest version of Return to Baragula which will be the book sent to the winner of the draw.

And yes, I will have another giveaway here later for Outback From Baragula too. And then of course there are my husband's two devotional books, then BookThree in the Baragula series as well, then...?

REMEMBER: TO ENTER FOR A CHANCE TO WIN RETURN TO BARAGULA YOU NEED TO BE A FOLLOWER AND ALSO LEAVE A COMMENT BEFORE WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27TH
Please don't forget to leave your name and email contact details - or if your prefer, send them privately to me at mary@mary-hawkins.com