Thursday, 19 July 2018

Book Review: Dancing in the Rain

by Jeanette O'Hagan  @JeanetteOHagan

The Book

Sometimes … life hurts.
What do we do then?
How do we keep going?
Who can help us?

The One who created you knows you by name. He draws near to the broken-hearted. He will gather you in His arms. He will hold you close. He will be with you always.

You will find—
• Comfort for your sadness.
• Peace for your fears.
• Hope for tomorrow.
• Light for the journey.
• And joy through every season.

Dancing in the Rain is a collection of poems, stories and life-giving words designed to bring you comfort and hope during life’s stormy seasons.

Published March 1st 2018 by Armour Books
Available Books in Stock

The Author

Anusha delights in many things – life, the love of Jesus, people, the beauty of God’s Creation. She writes mostly for pleasure. She has decided never to grow old in spite of a body that is already defying her intentions! She enjoys the finer things of life including friendship and chocolate! Singing, walking, connecting with people and sharing God’s love are her some of her deepest passions. Like her writing, she is a work in progress! 

Anusha lives in Adelaide with her husband Shan and their son, Asela.

My Thoughts

I've been looking forward to reading Anusha's Dancing in the Rain as I'd enjoyed her story in Glimpses of Light and have also been encouraged and inspired by her regular blog of the same name

The book has a eye-catching cover that entices me to pick it up and read.  Inside, it has an interesting structure, broken up into sections such as Oh No! It's Raining; I need an Umbrella; It's OK to grieve; A Rainbow called HOPE; Splashing Through the Puddles; Laughter the Best Medicine; Tall Stories about Rainy Days; Sailing Paper Boats; How Green is my Valley; And Best of All - the progression seeming to follow, at least in part, the progression of emotional journey through difficult times. Each section is filled with reflections from the author (divided into Part 1 and Part 2), Friends' Stories (told in first person), Nuggets (quotes, epigrams, Scripture), My story (from the Anusha's experiences), a poem and a serialised story 'Each Monday'. 

It's an interesting mix, with different perspectives and approaches to our feelings, responses and options when facing difficulties and discouragement. The personal stories (both from Anusha and her friends) give testimony to depth of feeling, faith, and God in action in each one's lives. The reflections, nuggets and poems give both comfort, commiseration, as well as inspiration and hope in God's loving presence, spiritual meditations and practical ideas to gain a different perspective on the rain-soaked times, how to survive and even thrive. I think my favourite section is the Each Monday story, as I waited for the next instalment of the narrator's journey.

Overall, it's an easy to read, a part devotional, part inspirational gem that brims with Anusha's gentle and vibrant faith. Worth reading and also an excellent gift for those going through hard times.

Jeanette started spinning tales in the world of Nardva at the age of eight or nine. She enjoys writing secondary world fiction, poetry, blogging and editing. Her Nardvan stories span continents, time and cultures. They involve a mixture of courtly intrigue, adventure, romance and/or shapeshifters and magic users. She has published numerous short stories, poems, two novellas and her debut novel, Akrad's Children and new release Ruhanna's Flight and other stories.

Jeanette has practised medicine, studied communication, history, theology and a Master of Arts (Writing). She loves reading, painting, travel, catching up for coffee with friends, pondering the meaning of life. She lives in Brisbane with her husband and children.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Tuesday Book Chat | 17th July 2018 | Narelle Atkins

Narelle here. Welcome to our ACW Tuesday Book Chat where we encourage book lovers to answer our bookish question of the week. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Please join in the conversation in a comment on this post or in a comment on the blog post shared in our Australasian Christian Writers Facebook Group.  

Let's chat. Does your library stock Christian books?

Monday, 16 July 2018

Who Are We Writing For?

By Iola Goulton

I often come across writers who are considering writing a book, or who have just published their first book. Someone will invariably ask who the book is for.

Many new authors have a common response: their book is for everyone.

I have news for them: it's not.

The only book ever written that is truly for everyone is the Bible (and the pedantic will say that's not actually one book. It's 66 books in two major sections, the Old and New Testaments).

Even if we accept the Bible as one book, we also have to accept another truth: It might have been written for everyone, but not everyone cares. Even those who say they care often show a woeful lack of knowledge of the contents.

Not even the Bible can please everyone.

This is why savvy authors don't try to please everyone. Instead, they focus in on a target market.
  • Men or women? 
  • Boys or girls? 
  • Children or adults? 
  • What age? 
  • What language? 
  • What religion? 
  • What are their likes and dislikes? 
  • What are their hobbies? 
  • Their favourite book, movie, TV show?

All these questions can help us better understand our target reader.

Some writers identify with their target reader to the point they have an audience of one. One person they are writing for. This may be a real (unnamed) person. Or it might be an avatar, a made-up person who symbolises their target reader.

Christian writers often talk about writing for an audience of one when they actually mean an audience of One: God.

While I understand and respect the sentiment, it has always struck me a somewhat redundant. We're talking about God. The all-knowing, all-seeing, ever-present God. He knows our hearts and our minds. Our writing isn't telling Him anything He doesn't already know.

So what's the point in writing for an audience of One?

I've considered this, and I think it's a question of obedience. Obedience to God, obedience to His Word, obedience to our calling.

In Writing in Obedience, Terry Burns and Linda W Yezak describe Christian writers as either writing as a calling, or writing as an offering.

Both are forms of obedience. If we believe we have a calling to write, then we must be obedient to that calling. We must write, and we must write what we believe God has called us to write.

Writing as an offering means writing as a gift to God. I see it as an act of worship. We might not all be called to write, but we are all called to worship. Some people worship through music and song. Some worship through prayer, through words. There is nothing to say one form of worship is better than another. It all comes down to our heart attitude. If writing is your form of worship, then write.

So are we writing for an audience of one? Or One?

I do believe we should write for an audience of two: One plus one.

We write for the One as an act of obedience, whether that's a calling or an offering.

And we write for the one, the target reader the One has called or led us to write for. Then we let the One lead the one to our writing, for His glory:
Through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous
Romans 5:19

The key is obedience: knowing what we are writing, and who we are writing for. The One and the one.

What do you think?

About Iola Goulton

Iola Goulton is a New Zealand book reviewer, freelance editor, and author, writing contemporary Christian romance with a Kiwi twist. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Unpronounceable Names (Iola is pronounced yo-la, not eye-ola and definitely not Lola).

Iola holds a degree in marketing, has a background in human resource consulting, and currently works as a freelance editor. When she’s not working, Iola is usually reading or writing her next book review. Iola lives in the beautiful Bay of Plenty in New Zealand (not far from Hobbiton) with her husband, two teenagers and one cat. She is currently working on her first novel.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Why Should I Write?

Keona Tann | @ACWriters

I've been a long-term journal writer, I've always found it so therapeutic to pour my heart into those lined notebooks. During my illness the stuff that was brewing inside of me threatened to take me to a very very very dark place and I found it was simply a must to pour it all out. There were times that I knew I had to destroy those words because I never ever wanted to read or acknowledge them again! If I didn’t feel a need to destroy the dark moment I can now look back over those painful words and praise God at how much He has done.

For me the 'leap' between a closet journal writer and a blogger was a long process and came about kinda by accident. Over 12 years ago I thought I could share my struggle with endometriosis to encourage others and so I started writing about it. Then my computer ‘died’ and I lost all my writing. I figured that I wasn't a writer anyway so that had just been a silly idea. But at the end of 2015, I felt the desire to write return. I entered every competition possible during the first half of 2016 but didn't have any success. I chatted to a writer friend towards the end of 2016 and she suggested I could start a blog. I had been reluctant as I wasn't sure I had the energy levels to commit and I really didn't know if I wanted to go public in calling myself a writer. Therefore, I just 'sat' on the idea.

Then on the 27th of November 2016 I attended a writing workshop. I'm not sure if I misunderstood the blurb of what I had signed up for, or if it was a huge big push from God but suddenly I found myself in this workshop creating a blog site. Now of course I could have closed it down and again told myself: 'don't be silly, you're not a writer, why should you write? who would want to listen to your ramblings?' but something had been ignited in my heart. Suddenly I realised that the thing I'd been resisting for SO long was actually something I was called to do! I was given a mission statement by God:

I desire to impact the world through the words I share. I long to enrich, empower and encourage others whilst delivering my stories with empathy and understanding.
“He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD.” Psalms 40:3 NLT

I decided that November day that I would venture upon this journey called writing and allow God to take my seemingly small efforts and turn them into something truly extraordinary. I promised myself I would walk along the unknown path and rely upon God. I've placed my trust in God to turn a desire into a destiny. I'm allowing God to interrupt my schedule; my to do lists; and plans so that He can reveal something far greater than I could possibly imagine.

"Believing for something God put on your heart is trusting that He will bring it to pass in the way He wants to when He wants to. It’s also having the humility to understand our purpose isn't for our personal elevation, rather for the promotion of the Kingdom." Kristen Dalton

Why should I write? Well I decided that if my story only touched and helped 1 person it was well worth the uncomfortable-sick-feeling I get sharing my heart. To be a writer isn't an easy path in life and I know that there will be many people who simply don't get what I'm trying to convey but I'm trying to be ok with that. Because I believe God is calling me to write then I've just got to trust that He will get the right words out and into the right hands to read them.

So today, my dear reader, know that I've given you a piece of my heart here today. I pray you're encouraged by my story. If you're also called to write, then PLEASE do it! Don't wait another minute, quick get those fingers swiftly pouring out your own story. Remember that:

"Your story could be the key that unlocks someone else's prison. Don't be afraid to share it." Unknown

Now go and write, write, write!
Many blessings, Keona

About Keona:
I’ve lived most of my life in Tasmania, which is one of the beautiful Australian states. Deliriously happily married to my college sweetheart for over 20 years, we consider ourselves extremely blessed to be raising 2 wonderful teenagers. Hubby and I have also been long time child sponsors with Compassion so we have overseas kids!
I struggled with illness and disease for most of my life. The biggest battles were: endometriosis for 28 years and adrenal/chronic fatigue which was severe for 28 months. In September 2016 healing was declared over my life, praise God, this set me on a path of deep inner healing, restoration and transformation. My passion to write was reignited and I wrote out a mission statement:
“He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD.” Psalm 40:3 (NLT)
I desire to impact the world through the words I share. I long to enrich, empower and encourage others whilst delivering my stories with empathy and understanding.
In my new-found boldness I’ve started a weekly blog which you can find at:
Many Blessings, Keona

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Book Review: Sensible Shoes: A Story about the Spiritual Journey by Sharon Garlough Brown

By Ian Acheson  @achesonian

A 2013 Midwest Publishing Awards Show Honorable Mention Sharon Garlough Brown tells the moving story of four strangers as they embark together on a journey of spiritual formation: Hannah, a pastor who doesn't realize how exhausted she is. Meg, a widow and recent empty-nester who is haunted by her past. Mara, a woman who has experienced a lifetime of rejection and is now trying to navigate a difficult marriage. Charissa, a hard-working graduate student who wants to get things right. Youre invited to join these four women as they reluctantly arrive at a retreat center and find themselves drawn out of their separate stories of isolation and struggle and into a collective journey of spiritual practice, mutual support and personal revelation. Along the way, readers will be taken into a new understanding of key spiritual practices and find tangible support for the deeper life with God. If you want to travel this journey with others, you will find a group study guide and book club resources at

This is quite a unique story, part instructional non-fiction, built around the fictional account of four women from different backgrounds who meet at a Scared Journey retreat. It's compelling reading as we get into the detail of each of these women's lives and their journey towards God's heart. Even though I'm a man I was able to relate to all four of them at various stages of their journeys. Whether it was Charissa's perfectionism, arrogance and thirst for information, to Hannah's being lost in her calling, to Mara's struggle with a non-believing spouse and Meg's struggle with the loss of her parents and fiancé, I found a bit of myself in all of them.

I particularly enjoyed how Brown combines the heart journey and desire for intimacy with God with the telling of the ladies lives. It's a tremendous practical demonstration of how we can pursue the heart of God while going about our lives incorporating various spiritual disciplines plus the importance of community (ie, each other) and guidance from a mentor (in this story it was the leader of the retreat: Katherine).

The novel is filled with spiritual insight plus instructional guidelines as to how to incorporate various spiritual disciplines and provides a wonderful insight into a scared journey with the Lord.

I'm excited to read the next one in the series.

Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Sydney. Ian's first novel of speculative fiction, Angelguard was recognised with the 2014 Selah Award for Speculative Fiction.You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Tuesday Book Chat | 10 July 2018 | Iola Goulton

It's Iola here. Welcome to our ACW Tuesday Book Chat, where we encourage book lovers to answer our bookish question of the week. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Do you read reviews before buying a book?

I'm a book reviewer. I write book reviews. But do you read them? Do you find them useful?

Please join in the conversation in a comment on this post or in a comment on the blog post shared in our Australasian Christian Writers Facebook Group. Or, if you're feeling wordy (like me), write a blog post and link to it in the comments.

Let's chat! Do you read reviews before buying a book?

Monday, 9 July 2018

July 2018 New Releases

Jenny Blake | @ausjenny

Miss Serena's Secret by Carolyn Miller (Kregel Publications 24 July 2018)

How can a wounded young woman ever trust a too-flirtatious earl with her heart?

With devastating scars in her past, Serena Winthrop is sure no man can be trusted—especially not a man like the too-smooth Viscount Carmichael. His reputation as a flirt and a gambler is everything she despises. And the young artist makes sure that this disreputable heir to an earldom knows of her deep disapproval whenever they encounter one another.

Henry, Lord Carmichael, is perfectly aware of his charms. He's gambled with plenty of ladies' hearts as easily as he has with their husbands' money. But lately he's wondered if there's more to life—and if his actions might prove unworthy of an admirable wife such as his friends have found.

When Serena's guardian asks his best friend to protect his young ward, Henry promises to be on his best behavior and not woo her. But the more he learns of her, the more he realizes she might be his best reason for changing his character.

Then the lady's art leads her to London infamy. Now Henry must choose between the life mapped out for him as the earl apparent and the love of his life. And Serena's secret may mean the end of his titled family line.

This second novel in a new series by internationally popular author Carolyn Miller is full of the rich historical detail and evocative writing her readers enjoy, and familiar characters make appearances here. The witty banter will continue to draw in fans of Jane Austen, Sarah Ladd, and Julie Klassen.

"Carolyn Miller gets better and better with each book!"

"This entire series is going straight to my all-time favorites shelf!"
Beth Erin

"My girls and I have fallen in love with the Regency Brides series."
Ann Hibbard

Amazon link


Seekers Finders Finders Keepers by  Jennifer Phillips (Wing To Wing
date of release June 2018

After her mother dies, Haras is left with an important message for the father she has never known, but how will she ever find him? Did he go looking for the ancient path? Will she find him if she finds the ancient path? Haras’s quest leads her to discover treasure she never set out to find. 

Amazon link

Fire Storm by Laura V Hilton (Whitaker House, July 10, 2018) 

Bridget Behr and her family migrate from the bustling Amish community where she grew up in Ohio to the mostly unpopulated Upper Peninsula of Michigan after a stalker breaks into their home. While her father and brother try to find work in the area, the family is forced to reside in a borrowed RV until the house and barn are rebuilt. While Bridget is hoping for a fresh start, she’s afraid to trust anyone—even Gabriel, the overly-friendly Amish man who lives nearby. Bridget thinks he’s a flirt who serial dates and doesn’t even remember the girls’ names.

Due to not enough construction work in his Florida community to keep him out of trouble, Gabriel Lapp has been sent to Michigan to work. His father is desperate for his son to settle down. When the family walks into Gabe’s home in the middle of a thunderstorm and he discovers their circumstances, he offers to help with construction. For Gabe, the beautiful girl he teasingly calls “the recluse” once he discovers she doesn’t attend youth events, confuses him like none other.

As Gabriel and Bridget grow closer, they realize there is more to a person than meets the eye. Just as Bridget is finally settling into her new life, and perhaps finding love, tragedy strikes. Now Bridget and her family must decide if they should move to another Amish community, or dare to fight for the future they’d hoped for in Mackinac County.

Amazon link

Plain Everyday Heroes by Laura V. Hilton (Amazon Digital Services LLC,   July 4, 2018

After her mother dies, Haras is left with an important message for the father she has never known, but how will she ever find him? Did he go looking for the ancient path? Will she find him if she finds the ancient path? Haras’s quest leads her to discover treasure she never set out to find. 

Amazon link

A Love For Leah by Amy Lillard (Zebra, July 31 2018)

For the Amish of Pontotoc, Mississippi, faith can open minds—and hearts—to create surprising bonds for a lifetime . . .
Independent-minded Leah Gingerich has always been outspoken. And even though she is now a progressive Mennonite, she's rediscovering the joys of family traditions back in her Amish hometown. Yet she can't help but clash with her handsome new Amish neighbor, Jamie Stoltzfus. He's too hard-headed and old-line to see that his traumatized young nephew, Peter, needs faith and help—or that a woman who stands up to him may be what he needs to heal . . .
After a devastating tragedy, Jamie moved to Pontotoc with his nephew for a fresh start. Holding fast to his beliefs is the only way he feels he can aid Peter—and himself. But somehow, Leah's freethinking ways and feisty challenges are sparking a happiness he's never felt before. Soon, Jamie can't imagine his life without her. But are their differences ultimately too great to overcome—or can love bridge their way to a future together?
Praise for Amy Lillard and her Wells Landing novels
“An inspirational story of romance, faith, and trust . . . will appeal to fans of Wanda Brunstetter and Beverly Lewis.”
Library Journal on Caroline’s Secret

“Fans of inspirational romance will appreciate Lillard’s vivid characters and positive message.”
Publishers Weekly

Amazon link