Friday, 20 October 2017

‘Home Away from Home’ Friends by Elaine Fraser

‘Welcome home!’ Lisa Clifford, an author friend in Florence, wrapped her arms around me and hugged me tight.

A warm glow filled my heart. I’ve only been to Florence five times, but the welcome from one of my writer friends made me feel like I belonged. Penny, a friend I’d seen in London a couple of weeks before, kissed me on both cheeks.

Heidi, a friend from Perth, was with me on her first visit to Florence and was embraced with the same enthusiasm. It felt good to be amongst friends.

This year, I’ve travelled through eleven countries, visited thirty-three cities, hiked over nineteen thousand feet up a mountain, been on over thirty flights, about twenty train trips, countless London Underground rides, and taken Uber, taxi, and ferry trips.

I caught up with friends from around the world and saw so many beautiful places–my heart, and mind, are full.

I’ve crossed the world, and datelines, so many times I’m not sure what day it is, or what continent I’m on.

I’ve been on a quest to finish a novel and have written on planes, trains, and in cafes. Rendezvousing with my husband at various points during his epic motorcycle adventure around the world.

In August, I finished the first draft of a novel I first conceived in 2010 in Tuscany. I’ve been back several years in a row on a mission to finish it where it began. I took the completed first draft to a retreat in Tuscany last month and celebrated with friends who’ve shared the journey with me.

Travelling for more than thirty weeks in a year takes a toll. It’s exciting and inspiring and exhausting all at the same time.

It's going to take a long time to reflect and consider what has actually happened this year–and it's not over.

Now, I’m home for a while and contemplating how much I love being here and what a privilege it is to live in Australia.

When you’re away from family, you miss home, but having a family of writers around the world has given me so much comfort on my travels this year–this includes my ‘home team’ of fellow writers who encouraged me from home.

It’s tempting to think that home is a place, but home is where I find friendship, love, and belonging. Nowhere else do I find it more so than in my own home, with my own family, but, my writer family has also been with me.

 My writing community encourage, mentor, champion, share, and function like sisters and brothers.

Next week, I head to the Omega Writers Conference and it’ll feel like home. I’ll meet up with people I’ve known now for over seven years and one of my home team of writers will join me for the first time.

I’m blessed with 'home away from home' friends.

Photo Credit: Jilly Bennett Photography

Thursday, 19 October 2017

The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey by Carolyn Miller

Review by Jenny Glazebrook

The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey

By Carolyn Miller
Published by Kregel Publications

Release date: 25th October, 2017

Tainted by scandal and forced to leave London for the quiet of Brighton, the Honorable Miss Clara DeLancey is a shadow of her former society self. A chance encounter brings her a healing friendship with the sisters of an injured naval captain. But Clara's mama, the Viscountess Winpoole, is appalled at the new company she's keeping.
Captain Benjamin Kemsley is not looking for a wife. but his gallant spirit won't let him ignore the penniless viscount's daughter - not when she so obviously needs to be rescued for the despair that threatens her from day to day. Can he protect his heart and still keep her safe?
When they're pushed into the highest echelons of society at the Prince Regent's Brighton Pavilion, this mismatched couple must decide if family honor is more important than their hopes. Can they right the wrongs of the past and find future happiness together - without finances, family support, or royal favour?
The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey is full of captivating, flawed characters, fascinating historical details, and masterful writing that Carolyn Miller's fans have come to expect.

Book Review by Jenny Glazebrook:

Brilliant. I love the cover, I love the feel of the book, I love its contents.

The history, the descriptions, the … people. Referring to them as book characters doesn’t do them justice. They were too real. Every single character was a living, breathing person with their own story. There were laugh out loud moments as I read the interplay between family members. There were moments of triumph and satisfaction as characters were put in their place. The story showed the hypocrisy and danger of valuing money and prestige above character, and enjoying gossip more than compassion and decency.

But what I loved most was the way characters grew to understand forgiveness and the grace of God. The author’s ability to turn an antagonist from previous books in the series into a lovable protagonist is remarkable, but is also a profound example of the healing power of God’s love. Although not preachy, there were several times I had to stop reading just to soak up the profound truth in the story. One of my favourites is on page 96 as Miss DeLancey works through her feelings, her understanding of God and the power of forgiveness:  ‘To wish good for someone who had hurt you surely required something from God, as opposed to natural inclination. When that person seemed to have used you, manipulated you for their personal advantage, then to not only forgive but also to pray blessing on them would surely require something of the divine.’

Just when I thought the books in this series couldn’t get any better, this is by far my favourite. I am awed by the author’s knowledge and skill. She has a gift with words that had me soaking up every phrase, enjoying every word as though I was swallowing smooth milk chocolate. From the moment I first held the book in my hands til I read the last word I was captivated.
It’s the first time I’ve read historical fiction that compelled me to find out more about the era and Google images to soak up more of the beautiful landmarks and buildings described. The Royal Pavilion in Brighton is just as I imagined after reading the author’s vivid descriptions. The Prince Regent is brought to life in a way that perfectly fits how he is portrayed in the historical reports I found.

The story built to an unexpected point of high excitement and drama that had me catching my breath. I was caught in the flow, swept along with the characters. And now I continue to think of them, my life richer for having lived their lives with them over the past few days.
What can I say? I loved everything about this book. I am grateful for the gift of creativity, expression and understanding of God and people this author has been given. I am grateful to have been blessed by God and touched by it through this book.

Carolyn Miller's books can be purchased from Amazon and Koorong.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Looking ahead and behind

My writing experience this year has been quite different from past years and I hope my reflections on it will not be too disjointed. In contrast to ten years of immersing myself in my family history, combining the known facts with fiction and producing ten novels, this year I have focussed on the life of an 80 year old man I would call a living legend. Bill, a man I had met a couple of times, and heard speak about his work with underprivileged children, contacted me late last year and asked if I would be interested in writing his life story. He and his family wanted to have in print his own journey from a childhood in Boy’s Homes, adolescence on the streets of Sydney, through alcoholism, workaholism, conversion to Christianity, and retirement spent establishing a foundation and successful work in helping children he so deeply identifies with.  Bill’s desire is that this book will be a guide to freedom and faith for those who struggle with the effects of deprivation, rejection and abuse in their early lives. He also wants it to be a helpful blueprint for those who are attempting to minister to and support neglected, abused and homeless children. No small or simple task!

After prayer and deliberation I agreed to do this and while it has been a privilege it has also been an amazing challenge. As Bill and his wife both struggle with failing health we have not been able to progress quickly and we have all had to trust the grace of God for the completion of this work, which is still a way off. Apart from the practical challenges of such an undertaking, this has been for me a huge learning curve in writing style. I would call what I’m doing, ghost writing Bill’s memoirs. So while telling his story, in his words, I’m attempting to help him structure and explore deeply his experience, so that readers will best understand not only what he has experienced and learned, but what has shaped him and led him to be the wonderful human being that he has become, and what God has been able to accomplish in and through him. 

While my work with Bill has taken much of my allotted writing time, I have also, through Book Whispers, re-edited and re-released one of my earlier novels. Price of Peace was my third novel, the last of my Oakes Family Saga, following Suzannah’s Gold and Rebecca’s Dream, which were re-released a few years ago. This was a new and quite different process of publication for me and so also involved a learning curve. It was interesting to go back to my earlier writing and see how much I’ve learned about writing and presentation. Editing one’s own work is always eye-opening, challenging and somewhat humbling, although it’s been satisfying to make adjustments to an earlier work and now have it available in better form.

Furthermore, there continues to be for me an internal debate about the future. Will I attempt to write another novel? Can I bear to go through the process of publication again – always so daunting. Do I want to write more fiction or should I think about non-fiction?  On our recent holiday in Western Australia I was tempted to have a go at writing comedy. It was our first holiday in a motor home – one we hired for three weeks as it seemed the best way to travel to the areas we wanted to explore in that vast state. This meant overnight stays and sometimes two or three days in caravan parks. As much as I loved our visits to National Parks, beautiful coastline areas, the gorges and our search for wild flowers, I must admit that I was as taken with the comedic antics we witnessed in these caravan parks. The arrivals and departures of couples, setting up and packing up of not only the van or motor home, but so many gadgets, appliances, specially made fixtures to ensure a home away from home experience for the travellers,  was not only an education for my husband and I, but provided much unexpected entertainment as we ate our breakfast or dinner.

So many men in singlets and thongs, apparently having thrown off the strictures of everyday work life, where what one looks like matters, to spend hours unwinding or winding up hoses and cords, setting up awnings, solar panels, TV aerials and BBQs, laying out matting, tables and chairs, cleaning wheel hubs, bull bars and windows.  While men saw to their outside duties, no doubt the women were as busy inside, before appearing with the nibbles and wine for happy hour, where couples would gather and have conversations which seemed amazingly repetitive: ‘where have you come from today? Where are you going next? What new invention or gadget have you acquired for your van?’ 

And then there were the dogs!  So often a dog, or even two, would emerge from unknown corners of the vehicle after the agonisingly long process of parking and straightening and balancing these huge vans, usually accompanied by a range of expletives as husband and wife yelled instructions and reprimands to each other. The dogs then often became the focus of attention as their beds, bowls, leads and jacket were brought out and they waited for their customary walk around the park where they’d meet up with other newly arrived dogs and sniff around each other while their owners discussed important things with other owners; ‘where have you come from today? Where are you heading next? Which is your van and what gadgets have you lately put on it? Would you like to join us for drinks and nibbles?’

Early mornings seemed to be taken up with more cleaning for the men, perhaps meeting up with other men at the ‘dump site’ with their jerry cans which were also of many and varied sizes and shapes, while women headed off to the laundry with huge baskets of sheets, towels and dirty clothes.  After all this seemingly exhausting activity I must admit I wondered how much energy or time most of these people had for sightseeing or enjoying the local area. It appeared as if the social life and community of the caravan park was often sufficient enjoyment and involvement for them. That said, I must acknowledge that we have numerous dear friends who have caravans and love this kind of travelling, and if it makes their retirement happy and fulfilled, then good for them, I say.

No doubt we provided a bit of entertainment for some of these experienced caravaners when we forgot to wind in our awning one evening and drove towards the exit with seven foot of waving canvas until we heard an almighty bang and looked back to see our awning in pieces on the road. Please note the ‘before’ photo. Clearly two and half weeks was not sufficient for us to become proficient caravaners. 

Those who travel regularly in this manner would have many a humorous story to tell and I’m sure someone with skills for recreating these images in words, could write a really funny book. For us it was experiment in holiday style and while we loved exploring Western Australia, we did decide that we’d go back to our usual way of travelling; a good four wheel drive vehicle and cabins or motels each night, where we can spread out in a decent sized bed, have a fresh set of sheets and towels each day, and leave what we’ve deposited in the bathroom behind.    

So my writing experience and reflections have been varied and interesting this year and apart from continuing with Bill’s life story I’m not sure what next year holds, but I am open to what God brings across my path and wants to teach me as my journey continues.  I’d love to hear what other writers have been up to. Any changes in direction, new challenges, inspirations?  


Carol writes historical novels based on her family ancestry in Australia from the First Fleet. They include the Turning the Tide series; Mary’s Guardian, Charlotte’s Angel, Tangled Secrets and Truly Free. Two of her earlier novels, Suzannah’s Gold and Rebecca’s Dream, were re-released by EBP.  Next of Kin was released in 2015 by Rhiza Press and the sequel, Beyond the Fight, was released in 2016. Most recently, with the help of Book Whispers, Carol has re-released Price of Peace, the third novel in the Oakes Family Saga which includes Suzannah’s Gold and Rebecca’s Dream. You can see more about Carol and her novels on her website, her Amazon author page or FB author page.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Caregiver Guilt: Confessions of a Walking Glue Stick By Dr. Linda Cobourn

Caregiver Guilt: Confessions of a Walking Glue Stick  
By Dr. Linda Cobourn

I'm rubber, you're glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.”

My father-in-law blamed me. It was unreasonable, hurled out of frustration while we stood in the trauma unit, waiting to see if my husband would survive. I was thirty miles away in a graduate class when the driver of the pick-up truck broadsided Ron’s Taurus, but the reproach stayed with me for seventeen years.

I’m a walking glue stick.

Guilt is a common emotion for those who find themselves in the position of caregiver. The 2015 State of Caregiving Report noted that 81% of spousal caregivers feel guilty, making guilt the #1 emotional trap. We think we should do it all without complaint and we become frustrated with ourselves because we can’t. We self-punish for simply being human.  I beat myself up for an accident I did not cause, questioning every decision I made concerning my husband’s care. Yes, I agreed to the emergency surgery and it damaged his heart. My fault. Yes, I let him be put into the rehab unit where his slippers were misplaced and he caught pneumonia. My fault.   I even had occasional thoughts that it might have been better if Ron had not survived the accident.

That thought stuck on with Gorilla Glue.

But God is a solvent to even the strongest of adhesives. I began to search the Scriptures for a way to dislodge my self-reproach. One day, I was led to this verse in Joshua 5:9:
This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.

The Israelites had been so beaten down by 430 years of slavery they no longer believed God could love them. Before they entered the Promised Land, God told them that the shame they carried was rolled off them. They were not stuck with the reproach of Egypt. They could stop being walking glue sticks.

So could I. It took time, prayer, and counsel from friends to realize that the guilt I bore was irrational. I held myself responsible for things that were not my responsibility. God had forgiven my shortcomings; I needed to forgive myself. Time to learn to be more like rubber, repelling thoughtless remarks.

Just the other day, someone ventured to criticize a decision I’d made for my husband’s well-being. I let it bounce off me.

Because it really is better to be rubber.


Dr. Linda Cobourn is a Literacy Specialist who works with at-risk learners and non-traditional college students. She holds Instructional II certificates from Pennsylvania and Delaware in Elementary Education K-6 and Reading PK-12. Dr. Cobourn earned her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership, focusing on the use of critical literacy in middle school. Currently, she teaches at Springfield College in Wilmington. She was recently cited by the Mayor of Philadelphia for her work constructing literacy programs for inner-city youth. She is the author of three published books and writes a blog at

Monday, 16 October 2017

Omega Writer's Conference: Packing Tips

By Iola Goulton

Eleven sleeps until conference! (Yes, I'm counting.)

Eleven sleeps means … packing.

I've done a lot of travelling over the years, both alone (for writer's conferences or business) or with my family. Here are my top tips for packing for conference:

1. Plan Ahead

You don't want to get to the airport and discover your passport has expired (yes, I've seen that) or that you got your flight time wrong and it’s leaving as you approach the check-in desk (guilty). Planning ahead can help avoid these little "issues". I use lists.

Travel List

All travel documents and sundries, including:

  • Tickets (I always carry the paper printout even if it’s also on my phone)
  • Passport (if required)
  • Booking confirmations (e.g. transport, rental car, hotel/s, conference)
  • Travel Insurance information

Note the flight time and the check-in time, and remember to factor in travel time to the airport (plus extra time for delays and parking).

Packing List

My basic packing list includes:

  • Toilet bag
  • A basic first aid/medicine kit (I never need it unless I forget it)
  • Kindle and phone, and the respective chargers (wall and car adaptors)
  • PC and charger
  • Any non-clothing items I need to remember (like books!)

I try and focus on the things I either won't be able to buy at my destination, or things that will be overpriced. Forget shampoo? No problem. You’re going to a writer’s conference. First, no one will care if you don’t wash your hair. Second, there are dozens of other women around. Someone will be able to loan you some shampoo.

Forget your underwear? That could be a problem.

One thing to remember: Deodorant. Please.

One thing to leave at home: Perfume. The Omega Conference isn’t designated perfume-free, although many conferences are, for the benefit of people with allergies.

Travel Light

This is the advice "everyone" always gives, but they don't necessarily tell you how to achieve it (I have a couple of suggestions that work for me below). There are two reasons to pack light:

  1. It's easier to carry (or drag)
  2. It gives you room to buy books. Yes, there is a bookstall at the conference, and you will want to buy books.

A lot of travel advice says not to check luggage if you don't have to. This is an option if you can travel light, although it does depend on what the airlines will allow through security, and what had to go in checked luggage. There was a time when this seemed to change every week …

My top tips for travelling light are:

Save the sample sizes

You know how when you buy makeup or skincare there is sometimes a gift-with-purchase? I save those product samples and put them in my holiday toilet bag. Then I don't need to carry full-sized bottles. It also means my toilet bag is pretty much ready to go.

Watch the Shoes

Shoes are bulky. More to the point, they take a lot of space in your luggage. Sure, you can stuff things inside them, but it’s better to take fewer pairs. The conference is only two nights, so you probably need one or two pairs … and you’ll be wearing one of them as you travel.

When I go on holiday, I take as few pairs of shoes as possible, in the same colour, or coordinating colours.

Choose comfortable, flat shoes. There is squishy grass around, and you’ll be doing a lot of standing (and chatting), and a little walking (from the dorms to the classrooms and dining hall). You may also want a nicer pair to match your outfit if you plan to dress up for the CALEB Award dinner on Saturday night. Some do; some don’t.

If you’re flying, make sure your travel shoes are easy to slip on and off, in case security needs to put them through the scanner.

Plan Coordinating Outfits

This goes along with the shoes. I have two basic colour "themes" in my wardrobe: black and navy. When I go on holiday, I take one theme, and I make sure that I have at least two tops to go with every bottom (skirt or trousers), and at least two bottoms I can wear with every top. It adds variety, and helps me not get too bored with limited wardrobe choices on a long holiday.

But this is just a weekend, which is much easier. I’ll pack:

  • Something comfortable to travel in. That’s usually jeans, because I tend to get cold on planes. But I’ll have something lighter to change when I arrive, if the weather is warm.
  • Something smart but comfortable for Saturday (you want to make a good impression if you’re meeting with publishers or editors).
  • Something nice for Saturday night (the CALEB Award ceremony). For me, that’s usually a skirt. I’ll probably wear the same skirt on Sunday, with a different top.
  • Layers (because the weather forecast can be wrong).

I know some people who can wear the same pair of jeans all weekend. I am not that person: if I only had one pair of jeans, you can guarantee I’d spill coffee on them before I even arrived at the venue. I always take one extra top for the same reason. Otherwise, I’m doomed to spend the conference with an obvious stain in an inappropriate place (like my friend who sat on a pumpkin pie. Yes, it looked exactly like you think it looked).

What Else Do I Need?

  • Cash, as you can only pay for editor appointments in cash. And there is a bookstall.
  • Printouts of your synopsis and/or first three chapters if you’re planning to sign up for editor or publisher appointments.
  • Notebook and pen, because you’ll want to take notes. Lots of notes. Although I have it on good authority there is a pen in the goody bag (yes, there is a goody bag).
  • Highlighters (blue, yellow, green, pink, orange). Because I’m sure Margie will talk about highlighters. Also, I find it cements my learning if I review my notes on my way home and highlight the important stuff.

You can also bring business cards if you have them (don’t worry if you don’t, as most people don’t), and a laptop if you plan on doing any writing (as if you'll have time!).

Okay, those are my tips. What tips do you have to share? And do you have any exciting travel plans?

About Iola Goulton

I am a freelance editor specialising in Christian fiction. Visit my website at download a comprehensive list of publishers of Christian fiction. 

I also write contemporary Christian romance with a Kiwi twist—find out more at

You can also find me on:
Facebook (Author)
Facebook (Editing)

Friday, 13 October 2017

Our Taonga, Our Treasure

By Iola Goulton

It was my birthday at the end of August. To celebrate (commiserate?), my husband and I took a short break to the South Island, famous for high country sheep stations, skifields, and Lord of the Rings filming sites.

Arrowtown is the site of the famous "if you want him, come and claim him" scene where Arwen saves Frodo from the Black Riders. It's also home to the Lakes District Museum and Gallery, which we visited. The museum has a permanent exhibition covering the history of Arrowtown from the gold rush days. There is also a small temporary exhibition space.

When I visited, the exhibition was 'Our Taonga' which broadly translates as 'Our Treasure'.

The exhibition was put together by a local school. If I remember correctly, it was part of a national initiative where children were encouraged to share their taonga, their treasure, and explain why it was precious. (I didn't take photographs ... annoying, in hindsight!)

It was a fascinating insight into what the children and their families valued. 

There was a range of items large and small, old and new. One display was a giant tapa cloth, a gift to the family from the Queen of Tonga. Another was a nineteenth century Prussian helmet. One child displayed her great-grandfather's box camera, another displayed the skis his mother used when she competed in the Winter Olympics.

The museum director also chipped in with her family treasure: her husband's rugby caps. For those of you who aren't from rugby-playing nations, a player is "capped" when they play their first significant match for a provincial or national team. Yes, it's a physical cap. There were three caps on display: his provincial cap, All Black cap, and another for captaining the All Blacks.

The one that touched me the most was a blue tartan pinafore: a school uniform. The note beside the pinafore explained that she'd chosen the uniform because she'd enjoyed her time at intermediate (middle) school, and was a little apprehensive about starting high school the following year. She also thanked her favourite teacher for being a positive influence.

The exhibit got me thinking: what is my treasure?

Sometimes our treasure isn't a possession. Sometimes it's a person (or people). Our family, our friends, our church fellowship. A treasured teacher.

Sometimes our treasure has monetary value, like my diamond engagement ring.

Sometimes our treasure has sentimental value, like the souvenirs we buy on holiday.

And sometimes our treasure has symbolic value. My husband has his grandfather's King James Bible. I have my great-grandmother's Book of Common Prayer, which was a gift from her own grandmother over a hundred years ago. Both are of little monetary value, but they symbolise a Christian heritage.

As Christians, we think about treasure differently to the people around us. The Bible talks about treasure.

We can't save ourselves through our treasure (Job 20:20). A focus on worldly treasure brings death (Prov 15:6). Physical treasures can be plundered and stolen (Isa 10:13).

Not all treasures are physical. People can be treasures as well. The Jews are God's people, his treasured possession (Deut 7:6).

Knowledge can be treasure ... if it's the right kind of knowledge.

We are called to treasure God's word (Job 23:12). God will give us hidden treasures so we may know Him (Isa 45:3).

Yes, we are commanded to store up treasure. But not worldly treasure:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matt 6:19-21)
See the contrast? Our true treasure is Jesus:
My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Col 2:2-3)

Jesus is what (who?) was missing from the Our Treasure exhibition. The focus was on earthly treasures, which moths and vermin destroy, which thieves break in and steal. There were no Bibles, no symbols of faith in God. The closest thing to eternal treasure was the school uniform. The teacher's name was Sister Mary, so I suspect the treasure she was sharing was eternal.

Whether her students realised it or not.

About Iola Goulton

I am a freelance editor specialising in Christian fiction. Visit my website at download a comprehensive list of publishers of Christian fiction. 

I also write contemporary Christian romance with a Kiwi twist—find out more at

You can also find me on:
Facebook (Author)
Facebook (Editing)

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Book Review: Jewel of the Stars by Adam Collings

Review by Jeanette O'Hagan

Back Cover Blurb:

The Cruise is Over

Haylee was more confident designing starships than raising an autistic child. Now she just wants a relaxing holiday with her family. But when Earth falls to an alien armada, she knows life will never be the same again.

Les was just a cruise ship captain. Now, he must rise up and become something greater, if he is to keep his crew and passengers alive.

Braxton never wanted to leave the space navy, but now, taking a cruise is the only way to feel the stars around him. This crisis may be his ticket to regaining the life he thought was gone forever.

Can they overcome their differences and save everyone on the ship?

If they reach unexplored space, they might yet survive, but an unstoppable enemy stands in their way…

Earth’s Remnant is the thrilling pilot to an episodic space opera, Jewel of The Stars, by Adam David Collings. Join the crew as they fight for survival against the wondrous backdrop of the unknown. What else will they find hiding among the stars?

Join the adventure today.

My Thoughts:

I was keen to read Jewel of the Stars, intrigued ever since the author Adam David Collings shared the concept.  Jewel in the Stars: Earth's Remnant is a science- fiction novella. It is classic space opera - think transporters, faster-than-light ships, travelling between the stars, aliens and space ships.  In this case, the action is set on a cruise ship travelling through space instead of on ocean and with planets, stars, and nebulae instead of islands or exotic ports. Apart the starliner Titanic in from the "Voyage of the Damned episode of Doctor Who (and yes, that starliner suffered a similar fate to it's namesake), I haven't come across this concept before. 

But what makes Jewel of the Stars particularly interesting is it's format. Earth's Remnant is the first 'episode' of the first 'season', much like the popular format of popular TV series.  Each episode has it's own story arc, as does the season and the series. 

Adam has launched the series with episode one (and it's free prequel) - setting up the dramatic situation and premise. Jewel of the Stars sets out on a regular tourist trip when a cataclysmic alien invasion cuts them off from earth. They are on their own and most avoid the predatory aliens while surviving the scarcity of space. Can they do it? 

The first episode, Earth's Remnant introduces us to pivotal characters - the captain, an ex-space navy commander, an astroengineer and mother, the doctor and so on.  The story presents a concrete dilemma that must be solved if the Jewel of the Stars and its passengers and crew are to survive. 

While Jewel of the Stars is written for the general market,  I like how Adam subtly and naturally brings in a faith element to the story.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Earth's Remnant. The characters are interesting, with believable challenges and outcomes. The episode was well paced, with an exciting and nail-biting climax, leaving me anxious to read the next episode without feeling let down. I'm anticipating more great adventures and await the second episode with bated breath.

Jewel of the Stars is for lovers of science-fiction - or anyone who have enjoyed Star Trek, SG1 or Doctor Who TV series.  If you love an entertaining, fast paced read with great characters and dramatic situations set on a cruise ship in space, then this is the series for you.