Announcing Book 4

Here are the books from the series that are currently available. I am still waiting for the printer to confirm the date for the fourth title, but the eBook editions are available (Amazon and other popular platforms).

Click here to view information about the series.

I have been tidying up the tabs on the home page. There is now a tab that will take you to the River Wild Romantic Suspense page which has the information for all the related projects. Clicking on the images on that page then takes readers to the individual pages for each of the books.

Book 5 in the series is written and when I get my alpha reader reports back, I will start sending it out to my beta readers. An alpha reader gets the first draft with all the mistakes. The beta readers get the revised version for their comments. The editor has scheduled this manuscript for November-February 2021, with a projected publication date of April. I’m not making any promises, because ANYTHING could happen between now and then to throw the schedule out. The main characters are the two girls who appear in chapter 26 of the first book (Sara is the ‘heroine’ and Gina is her ‘friend’), and Oliver, the helicopter pilot who gets dragged into Piper’s adventures in Book 2, 3 and 4.

Book 6 in the series is being written now. I have finished the first two chapters, and am collecting inspirational verses that suggest there will be the usual kind of challenging situations for the characters to endure. In this story, the central characters are Sigrid (one of Piper’s agents – she appears in Books 3, 4 and 5) and Kurt (you meet him in Book 4)

I think that’s enough news for today πŸ˜‰

Balance – Part 3

Photo by Andrew Beierle from FreeImages

Do you recognise the toy depicted on this sign? I have a childhood memory featuring a large wooden plank that would accommodate at least eight players. It came with a high risk that someone might fall off and hurt themselves.

Those were the days before warning signs.
The danger added to the excitement.

Much later, I learned the science behind the seesaw game. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Or “What goes up must come down”.

Click here for the original photo by Andrew Beierle

What does this have to do with the writing journey? As one end of the seesaw rises towards the sky the other end drops towards the ground. For everyone involved, both on the way up, and again on the way down, there is a moment where the seesaw is in perfect balance. That is what I’m aiming for as a writer, that momentary perfection.

A seesaw needs more than one player to utilise it properly. Each person needs to negotiate with the other/s in order to anticipate actions and reactions.

Without readers,
the writing adventure
would have no momentum.
Thanks for joining me
in the game πŸ™‚

In the last few weeks, I finished the first draft of Book 5 (When Promises are Forever) – possible release early 2021. I began negotiations about the cover for my first fantasy novella (pre-Christmas release) and received back the copy-edited Book 4 manuscript (Which Promise This Time?) which is scheduled for an early September release. I also brainstormed the opening chapters for Book 6 (no title yet). The accompanying up and down emotions have included confidence, self-doubt, anger, excitement, exhilaration and fear.

Writers are complicated souls. They work long solitary hours writing their stories. But after the story is published, they anticipate some kind of response from their readers. Without feedback, questions and comments from readers, the momentum can be lost.

That brings my reflections on balance to a close. Let me know if you have any suggestions for future posts. Until next time, I pray that you keep safe, achieve balance in work and play, and find time for reading.

Chrissy )i(

Balance – Part 2

click here for Balance – Part 1

My creative focus remains on the River Wild Series. At the moment, I have a fascination with moving bodies of water. That’s why my second post on balance has an ocean theme.

When life gets a little turbulent, my initial response is to retreat to the safety of the shore. Experience has taught me that I need strength and self-confidence if I am to maintain my balance when the waves are breaking. This realisation teaches me that, while I enjoy watching moving water, being moved by the waves has become a fearful thing. A reminder of all my limitations, which takes my eyes off the potential adventure and parks me on the shore of “I must not dare”.

God and I have been talking about how I can regain my self-confidence. There are parallels between my creative hesitancy and my physical wellbeing. I have a long-term infirmity that has kept me out of the waves for the past two summers. Here’s a photo of me – note the sensible walking shoes to avoid any possibility that I might trip or fall.

January 2019, Tiger Head Beach, Dodges Ferry, Tasmania

Anxiety was the catalyst for my initial injury and anxiety continues to sustain the problem. I find myself pausing before I step forward to help someone, wondering if I will have the strength to make it safely home when I am finished.

Anxiety also nibbles away at my writing success. Not even three self-published books on my bookcase are enough to keep me upright when anxiety rolls in, like a thundering wave, and sweeps me off my feet.

The balance that I am seeking is halfway between “I am too afraid to try” and “my reckless decisions come at too great a cost”. I want to get back into the water, and to be confident that I won’t drown.

For me, the answer includes making a stand with God at my side. I’m looking for that place of safety, where He holds my hand. If the waves threaten to pull me off my feet, His strength sustains me. He created the waves and can see the danger that is coming, and He asks me to trust in Him. In everything I write, that search for balance is there.

DO you have a favourite Scripture to help bring balance into your situation? Please share.

The form you have selected does not exist.

Balance – part 1

Sometimes all I need is a little treat to tide me over until the next meal. This “little carrot cupcake with cream cheese icing” photo was hiding in my photo archive. If I had one of these right now, it would only take me a moment to gobble it up. Then I could get back to writing my post without feeling guilty.

But I have a confession to make. If I had some of these little cakes in the pantry, and nobody to share with, I would probably eat them all. Of course, I would make myself walk to and from the kitchen for each one. That would remind me that I was being distracted from the tasks that I have on my today list. And if that didn’t work, then I would set myself a longer walk, and maybe even allocate a household task to complete on the way.

January 2019 site specific weaving, Blue Lagoon Conference Centre, Dodges Ferry, Tasmania, Australia. Recycled knitting yarn and balcony structure.

If I am left to myself, I can sit at the computer for hours without moving – except to eat. I’ve been trying this walk-to-eat strategy for a few years. I even used it for my final university art project in 2017. Visit my artist page here.

Finding the right balance between writing and researching how I’m supposed to do all the other things on this writing journey is a challenge. Sometimes, I get so involved in writing that I fall behind with my publishing schedule. At other times, it feels as if I’ve gone too far the other way… This is a different kind of weaving, the meandering to and fro while still keeping my eyes on the final direction.

And then there are the knots! Those little intersections of time and opportunity where everything seems to converge and I come to a standstill.

It is times like these that I return to Scripture. I believe that there will always be an answer to whatever is worrying me. Here is one of my favourites: Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my Shepherd.
How does this apply to my situation? He leads and I follow. Like all “good sheep”, sometimes I get distracted, but He’s ready to call me back. If I get into trouble, He has a big shepherd’s crook to bring me out of the tangled mess I’m in. There are even a few times when He has to carry me. But my favourite times are when He runs along beside me, helping me discover the fun in this adventure.

DO you have a favourite Scripture to help bring balance into your situation? Please share.

Spare Time?

Rocks at Okines Beach, Dodges Ferry, Tasmania, Australia

It is winter here in Tassie. Much too cold to go to the beach today, but I can dream of warmer days as I sit here at the computer πŸ™‚
For the past few months, my Saturdays have been devoted to recording, editing, and publishing videos to YouTube so that my small church community could have a shared online Worship experience.

Tomorrow we will be meeting face to face for the first time since CoVid19 restrictions came in. Which means Saturday has become my own again.

So what will I do with
all this spare time?

All I really want to do is write, write, write.
Book 5 is nearing the critical point,
and I am impatient to get there.
And I have three more story ideas for a spin-off series
featuring Marco Fontana, the pizza-devouring teenager who has become a favourite.
Plus there’s the final book in my fantasy trilogy…

Alas, there are other tasks that must have their turn first. One of them was right in my face when I opened up my computer to start this post. A big red ! warning me that something technical was “out-of-date” and “unstable”. I had a quick look at the accompanying information and then hunted out the password to contact the Help Desk. Problem solved, and it didn’t cost me more than half an hour.

Plus there was a bonus opportunity to have a little laugh. The Online Helper said these kinds of red warnings were “normal”, and if my web page was working okay, I could leave it…

Would you? I didn’t think so. Neither did I.

It has been a busy week. The first shipment of paperbacks for Book 3: When Freedom Is Promised came early. I’ve made some hand deliveries and put a few copies in the regular mail. Here is Ezra, my helpful assistant, checking that I put the right addresses on a few books. With the borders still closed, he was tempted to mail himself to…

Help, please

I am keeping this short today. The final topic is a request for your help. Before I can start planning the Marco Fontana series of books, I need to invent a pizza menu for Papa Benito and Mama Rosa’s restaurant. If the choices were left to me, it wouldn’t be a very long list. I’m not very adventurous – give me meat and cheese and I’m happy.

So I am putting out an invitation to my readers. Please send me your menu suggestions in the comments section below. If you have a fancy name to go with your topping description, even better. If I include your idea in Marco’s menu, then I will credit you in his books.

Talk to you again soon,

Chrissy )i(

It has been a while…

That’s an understatement πŸ™‚

It has been more than a year since my last blog post.

A lot can happen in a year.

I released my first book…

And my second!

And I am in the process of releasing my third title in the series.

So what happened to my weekly posts?

Good question. There are a few reasons I stopped writing. Some of them are understandable, and others took me by surprise. I’m not going to fill this page with the details. I had some challenges to manage, and lessons to learn. But I’m hoping that I have come out the other side and found my online voice again.

What I want to share is why I have been able to make it back.

Once people discover that I have written a book, they ask questions. Some of those questions are tricky. Sometimes, they purchase a book, which leads to more questions. And some of my readers want to discuss the different themes that I have woven into my stories.

Please keep the questions and comments coming. Talking about my books, and finding answers to some of the trickier questions, is making me a better writer. And a stronger person.

That doesn’t mean writing and publishing are getting any easier. I made a rookie mistake that has set the release date for Book 3 back by a few weeks. But Book 4 is already queued into the Editor’s schedule and should return to me for more hard work mid-July. I am hoping to release that one in September.

Where can you get my books? Paperbacks are available from me. The eBook links are on my Facebook author page

When I work out how to add the links to this new version of the program I am using, I will add them here – this is another of those “things” that have changed while I was away πŸ˜‰

Amazon links here. All three books are “live” here.

Universal Book Links UBL below:
Book 1: White Rose of Promise
Book 2: When Promises are Broken
Book 3: When Freedom is Promised (released June 11)

Talk to you soon,

Chrissy )i(

Book Launch Party

White Rose of Promise, the paperback version, became available to the wholesalers on May 20, 2019. To celebrate, I am holding a small local party, here in Sorell, Tasmania. There will be cake.

Time 2pm -4:30ish
Saturday 1st June 2019
Afternoon Tea and Book Signing
BYO alcohol, soft drink and hot beverages provided
Sorell School Performing Arts Centre, Walker Street, Sorell, TAS, 7190

I have been fortunate to secure a talented musician to perform for me at my Book Launch Party. I am especially pleased, as his colourful tattoos were a key inspiration for the visual development of the hero in my novel.

Here is one of my favourite videos from 2014, when my famous nephew was a contestant on The Voice.
Here is the link to his onscreen audition for The Voice from 2014. To date, this video has had 6 million+ views. He was a little nervous, but the judges forgot to ask him his name, so it wasn’t the usual chat at the end. If you hang around, you will even get to ‘meet’ my little brother, my sister-in-law and my other talented nephew )i(

If you can’t come, but would like to leave a greeting to add to my Memory Book, please leave a comment )i(

Empty or Full?

A favourite treasure rescued from a charity shop for my Blue Skies 2017 artist project

One of the hardest problems for a writer is Writer’s Block. This can come at any time and will attack both the well-established writer and the newcomer. It robs them of their self-confidence and makes meeting deadlines impossible. The frustration from looking at an empty page for hours steals their joy.

There is a mountain of advice available today for dealing with this problem, including reminders to try writing something different, to read other people’s work, to get out and enjoy the natural world, to meet up with friends and be more social, and to make space in their life for new inspiration.

One of my favourite suggestions is to read about other writers’ experiences on the writing journey. I subscribe to lots of other writers’ Blogs. Click here for a great post about Writer’s Block written by Wendy Parker. In her ‘Empty, Borrowed, Full’ post, Wendy takes her readers to the Old Testament story of the widow and the oil (2 Kings 4:1-7). As this is one of my favourite stories, I immediately sat up and paid attention. This post is highly recommended.

At the moment, I have a Toby Mac music CD on repeat in the car. His song Love Feels Like seems a perfect match for the same Bible story. ‘Poured out, used up, still givin’.Β Stretching me out to the end of my limits’. Click here to listen to the official version of the song.

If you believe you have a gift for writing, then anything that stops you is like a thief who comes to ‘steal, kill and destroy’ (Jesus, John 10:10). Recently, our visiting Sunday morning guest speaker, John Hannaford from Covenant Ministries, spoke about the importance of making sure that the windows are bolted and the doors securely locked. The thief can’t get in if our lives are secure.

Wendy has a post about making sure that we don’t make the thief’s job easier by handing him the blueprints to the location of everything precious to us. Click here for her insightful explanation.

What steps are you taking to protect your writer’s dream? Write me a comment and let me what works for you.

Missed me?

Writer’s Block is a real thing

An empty page,
a painful silence

Since I last wrote here on my Blog page, I have learned a thing or three about Writer’s Block. What I share below relates to my own personal experience and that is the only domain where I am the expert. My discoveries may not be relevant to anyone else, but I feel my own recovery depends on my ability to share.

I am especially interested in the discoveries about what Writer’s Block IS NOT.

It is not laziness. I have seen that accusation made as a comment more than once when some other writer has dared to share their difficulties on one of the many writer’s facebook groups I am following.
While I have been unable to write here or on my prayer Blog, that hasn’t been because I have been sitting idle. I have been researching and reading and spending lots of time talking with God and with my friends about what was stopping me from writing here.

Nor is it having nothing to say. I have learned so much and there were so many times when I sat down and opened the form to start writing. I even have three unfinished half-written posts waiting for me to pick up the thread and bring them to a conclusion.

But it is personal

It destroys my self-confidence and undermines my self-esteem.

It leaves me thinking that it doesn’t matter if I don’t share about what is happening, and persuades me that by the time I get past this thing that keeps me from writing here on my page, there won’t be anyone interested in what I have to say…

Yesterday, a wise person listened to a passing comment and then contacted me later. They wanted me to go back to a familiar parable that Jesus told, and to consider what God was saying:
To read the whole story for yourself, follow this link:

The key message the wise person wanted me to look at was this verse: To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one; to each according to his own ability (15) .

I sat up and paid attention. The wise person suggested God had given me many talents and I should get on with the job of using them. If I sit and look at this empty page, I am no better than the man in the story, who dug a hole and buried his talent.

As a writer, I can imagine the day to day torture for that servant. The knowledge that the treasure was hidden in the ground would have played on his mind. There was always the risk that someone might find it and steal it. His fear was so great that he was blind to any other possibility. His fear kept him from succeeding and became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because he was unable to use the talent, it was taken away and given to someone else who already had more.

Naming my fear

The first step to recovery is identifying the problem, and reflecting on that. My fear is like a double-sided coin. On one side is the possibility that someone (or a few someones) will like what I write and expect me to write more, and on the other side is the possibility that no-one will ever read what I write.

Today I am writing for an audience of One. I am writing because He has told me that I have something to say, and He is interested in seeing how I express myself on the page.

If anyone else reads the words, that’s a bonus )i(

February here already

What else could go wrong?

The closer I get to self-publishing my first Romantic Suspense Novel, White Rose of Promise, the more unexpected little problems I encounter.

The most recent one took me a lot of time, and a whole treasury of emotional energy, to deal with. It derailed my progress in all of my writing activities. Long hours spent online ‘chatting’ to the Technical Support team took me on an adventure of discovery.

For those who have visited my page before, you may have noticed that the ‘my email isn’t working’ notification was up for a VERY long time. I was reasonably certain that I had made some foundational error, but didn’t have either the time or the emotional energy to deal with it in 2018.

A tricky problem

Turns out I was correct. The seventh ‘chat’ finally revealed that I had missed some basic information right at the start of setting up my account. An attempt to rectify the problem back then didn’t work, because the additional feature I was paying for was not attached to this page… It was NEVER going to work. All fixed now πŸ™‚

As a writer, I am very interested in the emotional rollercoaster that accompanied this difficult lesson. The first time I contacted the Help Desk, I felt very anxious but confident that I had explained myself correctly. The second time, I was annoyed that the reassurances hadn’t come to anything. In fact, my situation was much worse – my whole web page went offline!

The third time, I was frustrated and impatient.

Something unexpected happened after that. The anxiety and anger dissipated, to be replaced by a lighthearted feeling of relief. I was able to sit at the computer with a smile on my face, and gratitude in my heart.

It didn’t seem to matter that I was losing writing time, only that someone was doing their best to help me. The worst case scenario had been fulfilled and rectified – my web page was back online, the links to my posts on my facebook page worked again, and eventually, the promise that my email would work would be fulfilled.

So what changed?

So what changed between the third and fourth ‘chat’? The helpful advisor told me that I ‘obviously’ hadn’t waited long enough for changes 1 and 2 to work, and said not to contact them again until I had waited 48 hours. So I did.

Please don’t think that I patiently waited during the remaining hours in silence. I petitioned heaven, both about my problem with the email and because the torrent of emotions and the accompanying fallout was wrecking my ability to deal with all the other daily struggles.

Only when I reached the end of the seventh ‘chat’ did I see the resolution to the email problem, but having my emotions flip to positive ones gave me patience and the expectation that everything was going to be fine )i(

Ezra’s words of wisdom:
There is nothing a good prayer,
a cup of hot chocolate, a cookie,
and a friendly bear can’t fix )i(

Please comment!

I am signing off now. If you have the time, please help me celebrate the email account victory, by leaving me a comment. I would love to open my emails and find a notification to remind me that even the little problems have a guaranteed success.
Chrissy )i(