Mary books

Monday, 29 July 2013


After my "Catch Up" blog last week, Ray took pity on me. This priceless story suddenly landed on my desk. After a good laugh, knew I had to share it with you.

I think Ray should be a novelist as well as a devotional writer!

A Husband’s Greatest Fear - Or

("I was swallowed by my Wife’s Handbag.")

I had seen it. Mouth open with zipper pulled right back. Here was a monster waiting a victim. Mary’s handbag had been placed on my favourite seat. As I moved towards it my eyes and mind became distracted by a television news item. Suffering short term memory loss, I decided to sit down. Then the nightmare began.

As my rump squashed the handbag it came alive. It grabbed me. I resisted but the suction was too strong. Down, down, down I went past a forest of paper. I glimpsed such things as a car license, shopping list, an invitation to our grand-daughter’s children tea party and a shopper docket. Trying to cling onto of one was fruitless. In fact I cut my fingers on the sharp edges of the papers. At least my fall was softened by a moist tissue.

There at the base of the bag I realised I was a captive in a fake leather, slightly faded voluminous and crowded bag. Cramped, confused and feeling claustrophobic, panic tried to ride roughshod over me. Being a man however I knew how to cope. I screamed! Unfortunately the soft sides of the bag muffled my cries. Taking a hold of myself I did what any self respecting, self controlled man would do. I lashed out and kicked the nearest item.

“Ouch!” That was silly; now I had a slight gash on my shin from a collection of keys lurking in the crevices like a metal spider.

Only one thing to do, climb! Light seemed to trickle down from above, casting shadows due to Mary’s wallet and credit card holder. Still I realised I had to escape. Loose change made my footing unstable as I searched for the comb I knew she carried. I fell. My face hit something hard yet sweet. A cough lolly. As I licked it I felt a renewed sense of vigour, found the comb under a piece of Lego. This was probably taken from our small grandson who had a habit of putting things in his mouth. I placed the comb, with much effort, against the bag’s side. Comb tooth, by comb tooth, I made my way upwards.

What the…? What was wrapping itself around my leg? What had fallen on my head? A sense of unease was only overcome when, in the dim light, I saw it was strands of grey hair. I never realised Mary’s hair was so strong. It was like Tarzan’s swinging vines. I kicked, shook and finally pulled my way clear.

Who would have thought all those jokes about a woman’s handbag would prove so true? So much stuff closeted away in what I could now believe was similar to Dr. Who’s Tardis. Nervously I continued my climb.

“Careful now,” I said to myself, “don’t fall over the edge into the secret compartment or you’ll never be found.”

Drawing near to the top, I sighed with relief which soon gave way to despair. Fingers had hold of the zipper. Mary was home but danger lurked for me as she began to close the bag’s mouth. Was I about to be devoured? Would Mary ever wonder what had happened to me? And I hadn’t even kissed her that morning!

Tears of fear and frustration joined in a torrential outburst of anger. Too late! I was doomed to wander forever in Mary’s handbag. As I sank down in misery, a cry shattered my sorrow. My eyes flickered. Light penetrated.

A voice spoke to me “Are you alright my darling? What’s happened to you? Why is the chair upside down? How did my bag become squashed and things scattered over the floor? Look at you, you’re a mess and that bruise on your head will need some ice.”

Uh oh! How could I ever tell her the truth?

We are so grateful to God for over 48 years of sharing fun, ministry, rearing our beautiful family and now writing together.

Do check out Ray's published devotional books - print and e-books.

If you cannot find a printed copy in your bookshop he can sell them direct. 
See the contact page on:  

Thursday, 25 July 2013

‘LIFE”: Catching Up on Mary’s weeks.

Our daughter just rang and said, “you’ve had a hectic few weeks, Mum.” As I told her some of the recent highlights in my life, I realised how little I have shared here with my blog readers the last few weeks, perhaps even months.

“Life” happens to all of us. Some days and weeks roll by smoothly. Some weeks race by in a flurry of busy days until suddenly an appointment that seemed many weeks away is suddenly on the doorstep. I’ve had a few of those “doorstep” moments already this year. It has made me strongly suspect I’ve made a few too many commitments for 2013. Trouble is too often I forget to make time for the unexpected, unplanned events.

Fortunately most of those busy days are physically – if not mentally and emotionally - free of any pain. Last August I had that week in hospital with septicaemia and it took several weeks to regain anywhere near the strength I had before it. This year it has been the turn of my teeth! This last week I’ve been getting used to having four less old teeth and four brand new teeth on a plate that I’m still trying to get used to. Although it all took too much time and disrupted days travelling to dental appointments, this has been and still is a much “happier” and pain free experience than I dared expect or prayed for.

Unfortunately I’m a “one track” minded kind of person and this shows up when I’m trying to do any creative writing. The brain needs to be relatively free of clutter to dwell for long periods in the heads of characters who need their stories told. That means I have to try and exercise far more discipline than I have had lately to make time to daydream, to sit and write than I’ve been able to the last few weeks, even months really. Besides clicking on this keyboard, reading and resting when I have to, I want to savour those delightful, joyful days with my loved and loving family, including with our church family members through their good and bad days too.

The Texans join us.
I spent some busy but “good” days being a tutor for a memoir story telling, six week course of our recently commenced West Tamar University of Third Age. Just after that concluded we enjoyed nearly a fortnight of “good” days with a team from Texas helping our church fellowship reach out to children and adults in our community with the message of Jesus Christ. A wonderful time again with Chris and Heather Horton and their children. This was their fourth visit with us over the last five years and once again so very timely for all that has been happening here. A real blessing of love and grace from our Lord.
Some “bad” days have included losing our dear friend Rhonda Hall last December, our elderly next door neighbour a couple of weeks ago and last week the 37 year old young husband of a church friend. Ray was honoured to take the funeral for both our elderly friend and the young man killed in a car accident.

As I look back over the years, there have been other periods of mind tumbling events that have stopped that creative flow, made me have to simply grit the teeth and force myself to write –whether it be a blog like this or that next chapter in the manuscript. Strange as it may seem, especially to anyone who has never tried to write a novel, there are also heaps of “writer business” that can help clutter the brain. Lately for me it has been waiting for the release of my out of print back list of novels as e-books – especially when they have not gone up on websites for sale on the scheduled time period I’ve been given! There are also the events to try and plan like book-signings and speaking appointments. 
Book Two

Book One

See details of these books on websites like

Book Three

Book Four

I am so thrilled that all four historical books in my Great Southland series are now available again as e-books. Tonight is a “catch-up” blog but soon I hope to have more information for you about these books. A video trailer is currently being created about them for readers. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, do be patient with my irregular posting here. And one day in the near future, hopefully even before my trip to the Word Writers conference in Melbourne on August 9th and 10th , I’ll have completed the draft of the full manuscript of Her Outback Cowboy. As long of course as “Life” permits more time.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Blog Tour: No Substitute

Before I realised “No Substitute” was the book for the ACRBA July fiction book tour, I saw it when checking out Christian Fiction e-books. I am still new to buying books that I do not choose by picking them up in a shop, reading not only the back blurb but being able to flick through the pages to try and decide which ones to buy. I was unfamiliar with the author – which is one of the biggest reason for choosing my e-books at this stage. What I could read on-line about the theme, story and characters intrigued me enough to read the first few lines. I am just so glad I did.

First there was a verse that always challenges me:
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:13

Then the first few lines intrigued me:
“True or false, Miss Welsh? Did you ever date my father? Were you once in love with Him.”
Amy Welsh squirmed in her chair at the front of the high school classroom, shocked by the unexpected question.

I too have attempted to write novels dealing with the issue of forgiveness and after reading another few lines was hooked.
Why the question from a precocious student to her school teacher? Why did it upset her so much? How would a teacher handle that question that to her “appeared carefully chosen, deliberate, as if Shayne knew the answer but needed to hear it confirmed.” What did the forgiveness issues in the book have to do with a student and her teacher?

I was hooked. and proceeded to do that rather dangerous “click click”. In a few seconds it was on my e-reader. I am certainly very glad I did so and thoroughly enjoyed the story of Amy, Shayne (that teenager), and her father Quentin. It is a “can’t turn off the e-reader” book and after checking Susan Diane Johnson’s blog am delighted she has another book accepted by a publisher. I am looking forward to the release date for her “True North”.
Congratulations to this new Christian Fiction writer, Susan Diane Johnson

Do read more about her and her first book below.

1 - 5 July
is introducing

No Substitute
 Pelican Book Group November 30, 2012)


Susan Diane Johnson

The Book Depository

About the Author

Susan Diane Johnson aka Suzie Johnson

I live on an island in Northwest Washington. A writer of Christian Fiction, my debut novel, No Substitute, is now available from Pelican Book Groups. During the day I work at my local hospital as a cancer registrar. During the evenings and on weekends, I write novels that I hope will bring joy and uplift the hearts of readers. I am married and have one grown son. I love to travel and see new places - especially by train. My favorite destinations are Victoria, B.C.; Williamsburg, Virginia; Disneyland; and Avila Beach in California. I love to read, write, go to baseball games, and ride roller coasters with my son. I am a member of American Christian Fiction Writers;Romance Writers of America; Faith, Hope and Love; National Cancer Registrars Association; and Washington State Tumor Registrars Association.You can find me on Inkwell Inspirations, a daily Christian Women's blog where I am a regular contributor. You can also find me on my personal blog, Suzie's Writing Place where I share my faith, my writing, and my love for books. I'm also onFacebook and Pinterest where I can explore my love of beautiful historical clothing, the South of France, beaches, and certain television shows.

About the Book:
Amy Welsh knew when she came back to the small Washington town of Goose Bay she'd eventually run into her high school sweetheart—the one who broke her heart seventeen years ago. Only Quentin Macmillan isn’t the boy she remembered. He could potentially be everything she's ever dreamed of. But remembering the past reminds Amy that she and Quentin aren't a pair of teenagers in the bloom of first love. Letting him into her life resurfaces all the hurt she's tried to ignore. Forgiveness isn't as simple—or easy—as it sounds, especially after Quentin and Amy discover his teenage daughter has been manipulating their feelings. If Amy can open her heart to healing, she’ll find the future God prepared for her.