Friday, 19 January 2018

Books on Display

by Jeanette O'Hagan

image in header courtesy of Apolonia at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



Readers and writers are in some ways like dance partners - we need each other, we need some way to connect, though our aims may be different.

As readers we wish to discover and follow great authors who write great books. We want to be entertained, taken on an emotional journey, inspired, transported into another world (whether the this world is contemporary, historical, futuristic or imaginative.) As readers we are spoiled for choose - over two million new books are published each year.  More than anyone could read in a lifetime. Of course, not all of those are in English, not all of those are in the genres we love or on the topics that interest us, and many of those are perhaps not the best quality. As readers how do we find the books and authors we would enjoy amid the ocean of books?

As authors, we spend maybe years on writing and polishing our books, immersed in our words, living with our characters. In many ways, they are like our children. Writing (when it's not torture) can be exhilarating, thrilling, addictive. But who hides their children in the basement? Most of us want to the world to read our stories, we want to connect with new readers who will enjoy our books, who can't wait for the next one. But it's hard to do that in a world swamped with new titles each year, especially as publishers spend less time marketing new authors.

So how do we find dance partners?  Of course, there are a number of ways - launches, browsing, book-signings, catalogues, book clubs, newsletters, reviews, giveaways, author talks, social media, word of mouth ...  All legitimate ways for readers to find new books or authors to connect with new readers.

And then there are book events - markets, cons and book fairs.

Markets 



I know some authors have stalls at local markets to sell their books and connect with their readers. How successful these are often depends on the day, the weather, the type of market it is (if most of the other stallholders sell fresh food, books may not be what patrons are looking for), and perhaps, building a presence over time.

I've had table at our church's Twilight Markets and sold a few books - more this year than last.

Things to consider might be the cost of stall hire, props (are tables supplied, table clothes, posters or banners etc), promotional materials, insurance, change & eftpos facilities, and a way to carry the books. While there are ways to sell ebooks at physical events, it works best if you have print books for sale.

As a reader, this would be hit and miss, unless you know for sure a local author - or group of authors - regularly come to a market.

Conventions


Conventions may provide a more focused audience, but may have higher costs.


Last year Adele Jones, Lynne Stringer and I shared costs at the Brisbane Oz Comic Con over a two day period.  This is a convention dedicated to fans of all kinds of speculative fiction (we are science fiction and/or fantasy writers) and we had a very willing audience. We must have spoken to hundreds of people who were interested in what we wrote and in our books. And while we didn't sell hundreds of books, sales were healthy. We also had fabulous fun enjoying the vibe and seeing the fantastic cosplay and speaking to people interested in speculative fiction. We had discovered our tribe.

Last year I was also invited to speak at Conquest - a speculative fiction fan group - and was given table space to display my books. It was a fun afternoon, though I found most people were interested in telling me about their passions than buying books.

For readers and fans, these can be fantastic events with opportunities to meet authors (or actors) you follow and to maybe discover a new fandoms (Nardva anyone? Or Verindon? Or Blain Colton? You know you want to - smile).


Book Fairs


Books Fairs allow a number of authors to display their works and hopefully attract keen readers looking for the latest book from their favourite author, but also to look at new titles and authors in their favourite genre.

The Readers and Writers Dowunder run a book fair at the Gold Coast each year, though (at least the year I went) the vast majority are romance and generally romance with bare-chested men on the covers.

Omega Writers ran a Book Fair in 2016 (organised by Raelene Purtill and myself) - with a range of authors, workshops, readings, prizes.  It was so successful that Omega Writers is running the Book Fair again this year on Saturday 10 March at the same venue (Queens Road, Everton Park). Judy Rogers and I are the main organisers this time round.

We are excited to have Gary Clark - the award-winning Australian cartoonist, and creator of Swamp, Diesel Dog and Dingbat comics - to give a one hour workshop on Inspiring Humour.

This is also an opportunity for Christian authors to display and sell their books and connect with readers. And an opportunity for readers to connect with a wide range of Christian authors - from non-fiction to fiction, from romance to science fiction, from children's to adults' books.

Entrance for readers is by gold coin donation, while registration for display tables and the workshop will available next week. To find out more, watch the Omega Website - or join the FB event page here.  If you are in our near Brisbane in March this year, we urge you to come check it out -  you'll enjoy it.

So, what is your experience of markets, conventions and fairs. Any tips, either as a reader or a writer, about how to get the best out of these events?



***

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. Find her on Facebook , Twitter, or at her webpages Jeanette O'Hagan Writes or Jenny's Thread.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Book Review: Dealing with Python: Spirit of Constriction by Anne Hamilton

Review by Judy Rogers


For years I have listened to Anne Hamilton speak on destinies, thresholds, names and covenants. Covenants that date back to Biblical times—covenants that have guided and destroyed men and women. Covenants that have guided and destroyed Nations. Covenants that have released blessings and hope and promise. It has been this book, ‘Dealing with Python: Spirit of Constriction’, that has consolidated this information and turned on the light in my mind.


‘As far as the word threshold goes, whenever it is used in a spiritual sense here, it denotes the entry point into our destiny. It’s essentially the ‘doorway’ or the ‘opening’ into the individual calling God has appointed for each of us before the foundation of the world’ 
‘This book focuses on one of the most common of all threshold issues: a sentinel spirit known as Python.’

Discover his rights, his tactics, his colleagues and his downfall.

Do you ever find yourself on the brink of a new venture or a new project only to find it go belly-up just as you are ready to step into conquest? Maybe through constriction, silence or ambiguity. Maybe through intimidation, seduction or illness. Maybe through wasting or rejection. Maybe the world seems like it’s shutting you down. This book may help you sort through to your victory.

Do you want to understand more about thresholds, threshold covenants, name covenants and what just might be holding you back in life? Anne will show you how to recognise the blockages, how to overcome them and how to walk in victory through the Power of the Lord who is the Name about all Names.

Although this book is easy to understand, it’s not a book to be read in one sitting, or two sittings or three, but it is a book to be read. Read and mulled over, read and prayed over, read and rejoiced over.

If you read it and heed it—your life will be changed.





Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Getting Under Your Skin by Rita Stella Galieh

Another bill to pay.
I recently finished reading a great historical romance
where everything was going wrong for the heroine.
One thing after another seemed to weigh her down.

Now was this enough to turn me off? Somehow the author had managed to draw me in so that I was experiencing all the angst of this poor young woman. As in all good plot lines, conflict followed upon conflict

She had weak parents who ignored her, instead favouring the son and heir, a ne'er-do-well and an inveterate gambler. They willingly paid one debts after another by purloining monies their daughter had saved to pay household bills. They left her to worry over everything. With a poor excuse for a father who spent his whole life, to the detriment of his family, collecting bird's eggs and a helpless mother who spent all her time making yards of unsaleable.lace, their daughter surprisingly developed as a responsible and very sympathetic character. Not an annoying goody-goody but a genuinely nice person.

The author wrote in such a way I found myself feeling as frustrated as if I was in the heroine's skin.  Then when things began to go her way in the form of a bequest, my spirits rose. I had to remind myself I was reading a novel, for goodness sake! That is what good writing is all about, my friends, totally identifying with the character.

Writing as a Christian

This is also a challenge as we want our characters to have that inner struggle that Paul spoke about. eg. The things she wants to do she doesn't and the things she does, she knows she shouldn't. Oh yes, Christians have certain moral boundaries and struggle against temptations. So how will your character react when faced with these? 

In the story I am presently writing, I am constantly asking myself how would I feel if this or that happened to me? Besides figuring out your character's goals, questioning your own emotions or attitudes helps give that character flesh and bones. It's also challenging if one of your main characters is a real nasty piece of work, but dredging up memories of certain real life people from your own experiences helps. Especially if you've been treated poorly. No, that is not a type of 'author's revenge', it's simply writing true-to-life to reveal the depths of a mean character,not forgetting to include what happened in that character's past to make them that way.(Yes, even a villain needs to evoke some sympathy.)

Without naming the title, have you recently read a story where you felt the main character did not have realistic feelings? And did it leave you disappointed?

Indie Publisher, Rita Galieh, has written a trilogy of historical novels & also contributed to several US anthologies. She is now completing a third historical romance series. Besides her blog, she can be found on Facebook and www.ritastellapress.com   Rita studied art at the National Art School then joined the family ceramics studio. After their marriage, she and her husband attended Emmaus Bible College, and were also involved with Christian Television on Sydney’s Channel Nine. Currently she co-presents Vantage Point, an Australia-wide Christian FM radio program. She enjoys giving her fun-filled presentations of ‘Etiquette of the Victorian Era’ in costume.
                                              

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Tuesday Book Chat | 16 January 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. 

Which books are you hoping to read over the summer holidays? Or over the summer, if you've already gone back to work? Or over the winter, if you're on the other side of the world?

We 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. Or, if you're feeling wordy (like me), write a blog post and link to it in the comments.

Let's chat! 

Monday, 15 January 2018

New Year Writing Goals and Resolutions | Narelle Atkins


By Narelle Atkins   @NarelleAtkins


January is that time of year when we reflect on 2017 and consider what we’d like to achieve in 2018. A writing career isn’t built by accident. Successful authors have take steps to achieve their writing aspirations. 

Each writer will have their own ideas on how they define success



Work Life Balance 


How much time do you have available for writing and writing-related activities? Can you write part-time or full-time? Is your writing a business or a hobby? 

These are important questions to answer. Most writers have a life outside of the writing world. They’re balancing their writing time with day jobs, family responsibilities, church and other volunteer work.

It’s helpful to ask the question:

Realistically, how much time do I have available for writing? 

This is different to asking how much time I’d like to spend writing. 

Take a look at your calendar and see where you have blocks or snippets of free time. What is the best way to spend that time? Can you write and still meet the other responsibilities and obligations in your life?

Establishing Priorities


Where does writing fit among the items on your priority list? I have school-aged children and my responsibilities as a wife and mother are higher up on my priority list than writing. I took a step back from writing in 2017 to focus on my family. 

Creating time vs. Admin/book promo time 


I define creating time as the actual time you spend working on your ms. This includes brainstorming, outlining, writing, revising, editing and proofreading. It doesn’t include checking email or cruising social media for fun.

We need to factor in time for writing admin and book promo. Indie authors have additional admin workload with book production, cover design and editing responsibilities to manage.

Writers are encouraged to build a platform for book promotion before they are published. This takes time and, more often than not, it’s time away from creating.

Writing networking – Groups and Social Media 


The experts tell us that social media is all about building relationships. The goal is to build relationships with our target audience. We need to ask the question: What is our ‘Return on Investment’ (ROI) from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, blogging, Pinterest, Goodreads, etc.?

ROI includes money, time and any other resources we invest in a particular activity. Are we achieving our goals and receiving a good ROI as a result?

Are we connecting with our target audience by providing content they value? What strategies can we employ to improve our ROI (including exit strategies if the activity is not working for us)? 

Your contribution to the writing world


How can we volunteer in our writing organisations? How can we help and support other writers? 

Are we involved in groups and activities, both in-person and online, that are aligned with our goals? For example, if my goal is to network with contemporary romance authors, I’m not likely to achieve this goal by joining my local poetry group.

Your faith journey


I’ll finish today with a few questions to ponder. There’s no right or wrong answer and we can prayerfully consider all of our options.

How does your writing influence your faith?

Is your writing drawing you closer to God? Is it encouraging and inspiring you in your faith journey?

How does your faith influence your writing?


Are you writing for the Christian market, general market, or both? Who is your audience and how can your writing add value to their life?



A fun loving Aussie girl at heart, NARELLE ATKINS was born and raised on the beautiful northern beaches in Sydney, Australia. She has settled in Canberra with her husband and children. A lifelong romance reader, she found the perfect genre to write when she discovered inspirational romance. Narelle's contemporary stories of faith and romance are set in Australia.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Friday, 12 January 2018

Word for the Year

Image courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
By Ian Acheson @achesonian

Word for the year?

Huh? Explain that to me.

That was me a few years ago. Here I was in my late forties and I’d never heard of the thing. Why limit your year to a single word?

A few of you might be having the exact same reaction this very moment.

I read a little about it. And tried it. And have continued the practice for the last six years or so.

Why?

“Each year, you should choose a word to represent the year you have in front of you.”1

Claire Diaz-Ortiz explains the rationale behind the concept: “Think long and hard about one word that will serve as a guidepost for what you want to do and be in the year to come. One word that will remind you of what’s important when you need it most.”2

I like that: a guidepost.

I tend not to think too much about it, rather talk to God and meditate on a word for a week or so. Often He gives me one of those “Aha” moments that provide clarity.

In 2015 my Word was “ADORATION”, in 2016 it was “DELIGHT” and last year “LINGER”. As I’ve drawn closer to the Lord these past few years I’ve felt an increasing desire for more of Him and less of me which probably best sums up the last three Words. I’ve so enjoyed adoring Him, delighting in Him and lingering with Him that I figured there was so much more for me to experience that I was expecting I would stick with something similar for 2018.
As some of you know I’m working on an intimacy project and as I’ve spent time in the Word I’ve been increasingly fascinated by the many examples of intimacy. Whether it’s God walking in the garden with Adam and Eve (how cool is that?), to David and Jonathan’s friendship, Mary of Bethany’s lying at Jesus’ feet to Jesus washing the disciples feet it’s clear that is what we were designed for.
The River from The Temple
I was reading Ezekiel 47 a few weeks ago where the prophet describes venturing into the river and as often occurs when I read this passage I was captivated by its imagery.
“As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep.” (v3 NIV)

Often in our walk with the Lord we can accumulate lots of information about Him, but the Lord wants us to venture into Him. Here we see Ezekiel encouraged to enter the river, not simply look at it. But the man doesn’t stop there with Ezekiel:
“He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waistHe measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross.” (v4-5)

See the progression: knee-deep, waist-deep and finally to a point where he can no longer stand. His only option is to swim and be carried along by the current.

And there was my word: IMMERSE

“… we can immerse ourselves in Him and allow Him to be fully in control of our lives. He’s not content with ankle-deep devotion; He wants us to lose ourselves in Him, to be swept under, knowing full well that as we lose ourselves in Him we will truly find ourselves.”3

That’s what I desire. To dive into the deep and let Him lead me.

I’m not sure what immersion neither looks like nor how to do it but hey, we’re only 12 days into the year. Now the fun part begins in discovering it.

Do any of you follow such a practice? Perhaps you have a verse or a “theme” for the year that you might like to share with us all.

Wishing all of my ACW friends a wonderful God-filled 2018.

Notes: 1.  “Design Your Day”, Claire Diaz-Ortiz, Moody Publishers. 2016. Pg 15. 2. Ibid pg 15-16. 3. “Reckless Devotion,” Rolland and Heidi Baker, River Publishing, 2014. Day 77.



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

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Book Review: Across the Blue by Carrie Turansky

Review by Carolyn Miller

From the publisher:

Isabella Grayson, the eldest daughter of a wealthy, English newspaper magnate, longs to become a journalist, but her parents don't approve. They want her to marry well and help them gain a higher standing in society. After she writes an anonymous letter to the editor that impresses her father, her parents reluctantly agree she can write a series of articles about aviation and the race to fly across the English Channel, but only if she promises to accept a marriage proposal within the year. 

When James Drake, an aspiring aviator, crashes his flying machine at the Grayson's new estate, Bella is intrigued. James is determined to be the first to fly across the Channel and win the prize Mr. Grayson's newspaper is offering. He hopes it will help him secure a government contract to build airplanes and redeem a terrible family secret. James wants to win Bella's heart, but his background and lack of social standing make it unlikely her parents would approve. If he fails to achieve his dream, how will he win the love and respect he is seeking? Will Bella's faith and support help him find the strength and courage he needs when unexpected events turn their world upside down?

My thoughts:


I recently had the wonderful opportunity to read this soon-to-be-released novel by American author and Edwardian England specialist Carrie Turansky. This novel explores the fascinating world of those involved in the start of the aviation industry, something I'm quite unfamiliar with, so I felt I learned a lot through the rich descriptions of historical details of both the aviation and newspaper worlds of that time. 

I also enjoyed the element of adventure and mystery, as various characters struggle with the idea of identity and learning more about their background, and how this affects their faith, and their relationship.

In keeping with the depictions of social class presented the tone feels polite, which may jar with those who prefer more contemporary renditions of character angst and unfettered emotions. But if you're looking for a Christian historical novel of hope and determination 'Across the Blue' may be one you'll enjoy, with scenes destined to make your pulse soar. Releases February 20, preorder available now.

About Carolyn Miller


Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has pastored a church for ten years, and worked part-time as a public high school English and Learning and Support teacher.

A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. 

Her Regency novels include The Elusive Miss Ellison, The Captivating Lady Charlotte, and The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey, all available from Amazon, Book Depository, Koorong, etc

Connect with her:        Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter