Summer days…

Red Ochre Beach, Dodges Ferry, Tasmania, Australia
Photo Credit Samuel Whittle

January here in the Southern Hemisphere heralds warmer weather.

It brings the opportunity to rest and reflect on the previous year and to plan for the new one.

It is also the time that I volunteer on the team for Scripture Union Tasmania Family Camp South, and my first beach visit for 2019.

Here I am on a child-friendly beach. The water was still too cold for me to take a swim )i(

There is something very special about living in a small community, away from the ordinary, everyday normal life. It opens up new opportunities to make discoveries.

This year, the theme for camp was Art/Artists, and in my spare time, I took over one section of the balcony and created an installation.
Here is the link to my Facebook album

Christine O'Malley, Shimmering Skies (installation view), 2019. Site-specific mixed media artwork, Blue Lagoon Christian Convention Centre, Dodges Ferry, Tasmania, Australia. Photo: Christine O'Malley
Christine O’Malley, Shimmering Skies (installation view), 2019. Site-specific mixed media artwork, Blue Lagoon Christian Convention Centre, Dodges Ferry, Tasmania, Australia. Photo: Christine O’Malley

This was the first one where I was the only participant, and also the only time I have had an outdoor artwork remain open to the elements for more than a few hours. I am happy to report, after five days, and a few stormy nights, the delicate strands remained exactly where I left them. My only regret was not having enough wind to make the severed ends fly when it was time to start disassembling the weaving.

Christine O’Malley, Shimmering Skies (installation view), 2019. Site-specific mixed media artwork, Blue Lagoon Christian Convention Centre, Dodges Ferry, Tasmania, Australia.
Photo: Christine O’Malley

Meanwhile, my writing projects had a holiday of their own.
Book 1: White Rose of Promise – the cover design has been chosen and I am waiting for the designer to send me the latest version. The blurb (that brief introduction that hides on the back of the book) has been drafted. The manuscript is with the Proofreader and been received favourably, with only a few errors – mainly Capitalisation of keywords to match the rest of the document.
Book 2: When Promises Are Broken – the cover design elements have been selected. The manuscript is with the beta-readers and has been favourably received. Those who have sent me their reports are already asking for the next book…
Book 3: (Still no title). I reached a critical point in Chapter 15 and then left my poor hero in limbo to deal with his troubles on his own (while I was at camp).

Help wanted:

As the first of my potential readers, I am inviting you to tell me what you think of my blurb for Book 1.

Ria Fontana is home from twenty years in exile.

She has changed – her name, her appearance, her personality. Her family barely recognise her. What happened to their carefree Maria? What secrets is she hiding? Ria’s dream for a new beginning fades.

Why has God asked her to risk everything for a promise?

Wealthy businessman Sebastian Romano has a heated argument with Ria at his favourite restaurant. The unhappy waitress knows nothing of his past, and no-one dares to warn her. Without family ties and few friends, this woman-hater is the last person she should turn to for help.

Her innocent presence draws out his enemies. Now Ria is in a battle for more than her dream – a fight for her life.

Will Romano do anything to save her?

Thanks in advance )i(

Farewell 2018

December 31 2016
Two years ago my vision for the future had diminished to a network of textile fibre threads weaving within my domestic space. My feet moved, my hands wrapped the threads that stretched out behind me around the anchor points I had chosen, and I listened to how my heart was responding.

What had begun as an experiment for a Visual Culture unit on identity was about to transform the final Fine Arts project that would bring me to the end of my double major degree. The experiment involved finding a way to express my presence within my domestic space, a self-portrait without any human representation. Meanwhile, my major project was about finding a way to overcome the emotional blues. As I lost myself to the experiment, my heart recognised the significance of what I was experiencing.

I had worked with textiles for as long as I could remember. I had even used yarn to explain to groups of children the connections that each of us makes when we engage in social activities. But the jump from a craft material to a form of visual expression for contemporary art changed the way I see the world.

My research had taught me that successful recovery from depression required the sufferer to find a way to reconnect to the ordinary everyday world. To learn how to take something mundane and discover the beauty and wonder that would transform their worldview.

December 31st 2017
I was emotionally and creatively exhausted. The months since I had submitted my final university assignment had been filled with indecision and idleness. My Blue Skies: Chasing Away The Blues Exhibition was fading to a memory and I was waiting for God to show me what would follow.

Now my days were spent wondering when my Graduation Certificate and Year Book would arrive in the mail, and daydreaming about possibilities. I made a beginning on archiving all my study assignments, and I put my cameras and the vast collection of assembled materials into hidden corners.

December 31st 2018
This morning I was reading one of my online devotions and a familiar Scripture leapt off the page at me. This same Scripture had a dramatic effect on me before, a few years before God moved me from the rural community where I had established deep roots and thought I would live forever.

At that time, I had been satisfied that I was ministering and working at maximum capacity, and the revelation that God had something bigger in store shook the foundations of my busy world.

Isaiah 54:2 (WEB) Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your habitations; don’t spare: lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes.

As I look ahead to a new year, I have the threads of my recent endeavours trailing out behind me. Into the idleness of waiting, God had unlocked a hidden door, the dream to be a published author, long abandoned and almost forgotten. Unexpected. Unfamiliar. More than a little bit terrifying.

I have sat and listened as God has given me new story threads to add to my already complex weaving, and I have learned a lot more about who I am and the trace of my presence that I leave behind me in the world.

In 2018, I have engaged in three large textile weavings with children as enthusiastic participants, started this blog, written many words and gained new friends.

In 2019, I hope to self-publish White Rose of Promise and to have the sequel When Promises Are Broken follow the same journey. I have the outlines for another five stories hidden away and am working on the third manuscript now. There are a few obstacles to overcome: my fear and my limited resources (time and money).

In preparation, God is asking me to stretch my understanding of who I am so that I am ready to receive whatever 2019 brings to me )i(

It is my prayer that you, my readers, will have the door of opportunity open for you in the coming days, weeks and months. That you will take hold of the threads that you carry forward from 2018 and continue to weave your own marvellous tapestry.

Thanks for being part of my journey )i(


Transformation business
“That is not the end of the story. God is in the transformation business. Judgement flows from God’s holy character but he delights to show favour and love; these are the things that last…” John Grayston, WordLive 09/12/2018. For the complete devotional please click the following link:

A milestone not to be forgotten )i(

Thirty years ago, I was in a terrible state. As a patient in a private clinic, I had been weaned off one powerful medication only to have an adverse reaction to the new one. Five months earlier I had been admitted to hospital after developing encephalitis, and then sent home when I didn’t die. The prognosis for the next few years was bleak. I wasn’t going to get better anytime soon.

I could no longer stand upright without support, and when I closed my eyes I fell over. I was plagued by visual hallucinations, nausea and a slowness of thought where the neurologist’s tests matched my waking moments to that of a normal person sleeping. I could barely look after myself, and my son had gone to live with my mother. No-one was surprised that I was clinically depressed, a chemical imbalance that robbed me of my joy.

My faith in God was tested.

Then a series of unfortunate events tipped me over the edge. First, I was violently ill in response to the new medication. Then one of my new friends told me she wished she had the hope that I had, and went away to die alone – she changed her mind at the last minute but the person she called for help didn’t arrive in time. But the straw that broke this heart was going out with my husband to a Christmas function and having the waiter accidentally tip a cup of coffee down my back.

My last recollection was wailing on the pavement, as a swirling pit of darkness underneath my feet. I cried out to God that I couldn’t take anymore. The darkness grew and I was falling. Then I felt the hand of God grab me by the back of the neck like a kitten carried by its mother. He pulled me back into the light. My husband watched me go from insanity to a quiet mess. Neither of us has been the same since.

There followed an amazing series of positive experiences that cancelled out all the bleakness of the previous days. I awoke on Sunday 18th of December, sane and alive, and in a defeated state. I lay in bed in the private clinic and told God He had to take over control because I had nothing left.
Within minutes, there came a knock at the door, an unexpected invitation from an acquaintance, and I was dressed and out the door on an unexpected visit to an unfamiliar church. During that morning service, one by one, people stood up and quoted scriptures, each with direct correspondence to some puzzling visions that God had given me in answer to my pleas for help in recent weeks.

Hope reawakened in my heart. But God wasn’t finished with me yet. I was still physically broken but my joy was overflowing and I knew God had heard my desperate cries. That evening, I went back to that same Church, and during the service, God called me to my vocation. I went from a helper for other people’s ministry to a leader of a ministry of my own. Only when I had fully accepted that new calling did God bring about the greatest sign of all.

I went forward for prayer at the end of the service, and witnesses told me it was marvellous to see. My walking stick went flying as I fell – I closed my eyes to pray and the catcher missed me. I had a bump on my head to testify to the hardness of the floor. After making my confession, my body felt as if I had been struck by lightning, and I jumped up. Much laughter and celebration followed, and then other people hurried down to have prayer, not wanting to miss an opportunity for a miracle.

I was delivered back to the private clinic afterwards, and the other patients had me walking and leaping up and down the corridor to prove that I was healed. My transformation was remarkable. God is good. )i( He steps in at just the right time. My faith in God was tested to the very limits of my sanity, and He didn’t let me down )i(

When I started writing White Rose of Promise one of my Church friends asked if this book was going to be autobiographical. I said no. Yet I realise that the transformation that takes place in the life of my central character has the foundations in that event that happened thirty years ago. I had been an active Christian for fourteen years when my faith was tested.

There have been other testing times, including the season that I am in at the moment. My WRoP manuscript went to the proofreader yesterday, and I have hired a designer to take over the cover preparation. I still have a lot to learn about life, about being a writer, about living a faithful life in a troubled world.

But today, God has filled my heart with rejoicing as He reminds me that the journey of discovery is ongoing, and He will be right there with me to pick me up when I fall. I have a couple of miracle memories to make sure I don’t forget )i(


For my newest writing project, manuscript 3, I have been investigating lots of D words. Disappointment is one of those I am most familiar with. It comes with a big emotional back catalogue to give me plenty of personal references.

Usually, I am disappointed in myself, in my imperfection, and in the way that I struggle to remain true to the impossible goals that I have set.

The opposite of dis-appointment is appointment. I need to remind myself that I was created for a purpose (1 Peter 2:9), and that the Creator of the Universe has a much bigger plan (Jeremiah 29:11). While I  am struggling with this teeny little corner of the wider artwork that is my life, He is making something amazing (1 Corinthians 13:12).

I selected the featured image for this post because it presents a good visual example. The foundation was a small section of an ink on paper drawing that I really liked, so I scanned it and played with it. It was only when I tried to use it that I realised it had been such a tiny segment that the pixelations (those little ‘invisible’ squares that make up a digital image) were obvious.

Now I must confess that I am growing to like the awkward feelings that arise within me when something morphs into one of these less-than-perfect images. It helps remind me of all the hidden things that lurk beneath the surface, and are only available when something brings the whole image into full focus.

For the past few years, I have been spending a lot of time sitting in front of the computer screen. After four years of study, I believed God was telling me to write a fiction novel. At this moment, White Rose of Promise is in the final Copy-editing stages, When Promises are Broken is almost ready to release to the beta reader volunteers, and Book 3 is underway (I am still waiting for a title to emerge).

I have two computers available to me: a custom-built PC that is long overdue for a check-up and my portable laptop. I have two options for internet connection, one that is unlimited broadband, but the modem is too far away for me to have maximum benefit; and a portable one that is really handy, but has to be recharged at regular intervals.

Today, I am typing this text on my laptop (the PC had a hissy-fit – a highly technical term where the frustrated user is tempted to throw it out the window). After three failed restarts, I realise it will be off to the computer-doctor later today. I am also using my portable modem because the ‘fast’ broadband is too slow to open anything other than my emails today )i(.

Which brings me to here. I often find my inspiration among the many online subscriptions that send themselves helpfully to my email account. The word ‘disappointment’ jumped off the screen and the creative inspiration had me rushing to start capturing my thoughts. Here is the quote that started it all today:

“If we’re honest with ourselves, disappointments can leave wounds that take time to heal.” Wendy Parker,, Blog November 28, “Your Third Day – Dealing with disappointment” Click here for the full text 

As I was setting up both my backup technology options, my husband remarked that it wasn’t a convenient day to have both these problems. Even he now knows that Thursday morning is my dedicated writing time. First I read all my online subscriptions and log into my daily devotions. Then I sit down and write something – usually, it is for my Butterfly Prayer House Facebook blog, but sometimes, I find myself disappointed by technology or my own ability to pay attention.

Disappointment comes crashing in like a wave, trying to knock me off my feet. If I allow disappointment to influence me, then I will either drown in the negative emotions. Or I will leave the water, too frightened to learn how to overcome it.

Today, I discovered that I have greater resilience than I imagined. Despite lots of disappointment-inspiring difficulties, I have accomplished my main goal for the morning.

I even managed to find an alternative image when the one I REALLY wanted was on the PC. I am thankful that I have options, and that if one door of opportunity closes, instead of retreating from the arena, I need to open my eyes and look for another one. Often people question why I have such a positive approach to life – they don’t see what I am revealing to my readers. They don’t realise that God picks me up and turns my attention to the next adventure and that by His appointment, I expect everything to end in victory.


This is Ezra, study companion, writing critic, artist assistant
This is Ezra. He has had a VERY big day.
What was supposed to be
a dedicated writing day at home,
turned into an adventure.

I am juggling different writing tasks this week. Book 1 White Rose of Promise is back from the editor, and I have started the conversation about the recommended changes. Half the report was easy to respond to, but the other half will require a bit more effort.
Book 2 When Promises Are Broken is written and is now in the revision stage. Two of my beta readers have been promoted to alpha readers, and are helping to identify any troubling scenes. I know more now about what I want them to look for, and they have both stepped up to give me their honest opinion. My other beta readers are waiting to get their hands on the revised manuscript.

Books 3 and 4 are still clamouring for me to set aside time to write their outlines. I already know that heroine 3 is going to cause lots of trouble for me. Heroine 4 might be easier to write, but the two of them are going to have a face-off confrontation, hinted at in book 3 and explored in depth in book 4. 


Among all the interesting texts I have looked at this week, the following one is especially relevant to the stage I am in.

“Sometimes we authors want to shield our characters just a little. Okay, a whole lot. But we mustn’t. They have to slam up against obstacles, problems, conflicts, trouble.
They have to hurt. Why? Because our readers hurt.”
(Davalynn Spencer, ACFW Blog, 18 October 2018. Available from

Thanks for taking the time to read my update. Do you have any interesting blogs or on-line articles that you think I should read?


What is the worst thing that could happen? This author is good at catastrophising.

This image was taken at my April 2018 Red Skies Mini-Exhibition.
Do you focus on the tangles, the balloons, or the artist trapped in the middle?

Never Boring

Some people long for a simple life, while others find a way to enjoy the drama and excitement that is part of the contemporary culture in the twenty-first century.

Writing complications into the lives of my fictional characters seems to be an easy task for me because I am good at catastrophising.

I wasn’t sure if that was a real word, but am delighted to say that it is. It refers to the habit of looking at some ordinary event and thinking about the worst complications.

While I was verifying my facts I came across some helpful information. 

How to stop Catastrophising (Tanya Peisley, The SANE Blog, Sane Australia, 31st May 2017) Click HERE

Pinch Points

I have joined a few reader/writer discussion groups recently and discovered that there is a whole new language I need to learn. Pinch Points are the little dramas (aka catastrophes) that I build into my narrative. For example, in White Rose of Promise, my heroine goes for a job interview. She is feeling anxious and worrying about all the things that could go wrong.
What would be the worst thing that could happen? She might get lost on the way? She might arrive late? She might get run over crossing the road? *Please add your suggestions to the comments below. If you come close to my own ideas, I will send you a copy when WRoP is ready.

Everything she thinks of comes nowhere near the possibilities that I throw into the mix once she enters the door. By the time I have added some new details to the working environment, she begins to think the worst outcome might be getting the job.

How close to publication?

Book 1: White Rose of Promise – is still away at the Copy Editor. Another author’s project pushed back my return date

Book 2: When Promises Are Broken – first draft complete, halfway through the second edit, with 20 chapters sent to my alpha reader, and 8 to my first beta reader. Initial feedback indicates there may be a quicker turn around for this one.

Book 3 and 4: Untitled – Preliminary research has begun, and the plot outline under development.

There are lots of possibilities.
Which one will be the rising star
that takes my story beyond the ordinary
and makes it shine?

Thanks for reading )i( Please add your suggested catastrophes for my heroine as she goes to her job interview. Perhaps you have had a real catastrophe of your own that you would like to share?

Making better choices

Making choices is a central theme in my series of unpublished manuscripts. It is also significant to my own journey towards being a published author.

Make a better choice.  

That has become my mantra when I am working with the children in the real world 

I find it applies to my young friends, both at school or here at the KTL Church House in Sorell, Tasmania, Australia.

Children often need reminding about the choices that they make. They can choose to argue with their friends or they can find a way forward that brings them more enjoyment. They can choose to continue their current behaviour which has poor consequences, or they can make a change. They can choose to sit there feeling bored, or they can look around for something interesting to do. The list of scenarios seems endless…

Making better choices is also one of my goals for the characters in my current series of unpublished manuscripts. In Book 1 “White Rose of Promise” the heroine has to choose between the plans her family have made for her life, and the promises that God gave her for a romantic future. In Book 2 “When Promises Are Broken” the new heroine faces choices that will have significant impact on her future. In Book 3, untitled as it only exists as a paragraph outline, my third heroine has to wrestle with past choices that are bringing her an evil harvest.

But it took an evening of sickness to remind me that this command applies equally to me. This morning, I could choose to stay in bed and let the one dedicated day of writing drift away. Or I could get up and make a start on the list of tasks I set myself.

Which brings me here. I have to remember that this writing journey is like preparing for a race. Each day I miss out of my training schedule puts me further from my prize. If I really want to wear the status of being a published author like a crown, then I have to put in the time. 

I am a visual learner. Here is one of my inspirational images that helps me get up and keep going. This floral coronet was a gift for my double celebration in April 2018: graduation and my 40th Wedding Anniversary.

1 Corinthians 9:24 (NIV) 
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

All week, I sneak moments to think about my writing projects and look ahead to this day where I can devote a solid block of time to writing. I have chapters from Book 2 to print for my alpha reader, and changes to implement in preparation for sending that manuscript out to my beta readers*.

*I am seeking more beta readers, so if you are interested in having a say about character development, and getting a sneak peak at my Christian Romantic Suspense series of manuscripts, please visit my Facebook page and leave me a comment. There is also a secret discussion group where you can contribute to research and planning. 

The rest of my list includes looking at cover design options for Book 1, writing advance posts for my daily prayer blog, and praying over the other stories that haven’t made it from my heart to the typed page yet.

I also try to catch up on reading all the subscriptions that are sent directly to my personal email address.

And take the time to meet up with a friend and work colleague to keep myself anchored in the real world.

This is Ezra Teeb-O’Malley.
One of his real-world followers made him his own Facebook page

Click here to follow Ezra.
Sometimes I think he has a more exciting life than I do 🙂

Here are a couple of inspirational quotes that have been helpful this week.

“Why does that give us hope? God chooses people who are open, listening and ready to speak out – no matter who they are or what they do. Can he choose you today?” Sarah Bingham

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time.”
Maria Popova,  Brainpickings 

“The Dos of Blogging – End every blog post with an open-ended question.”
Edie Melson, The Write Conversation, Monday September 10 2018.

A final word for this week – and I am taking the advice of Edie Melson, and leaving you a question.

My first book has a heroine who has the makings of a saint, the second book has a heroine who stands up for herself and readily admits she is a sinner. The third book has a central character who changes her name as easily as changes her clothes. She steps onto a plane as Jezebel and gets off as Delilah. When she tires of this identity she chooses another one, leaving behind broken hearts and shattered lives, but she has no regrets.

What will be Delilah’s new name?

What matters most

When faced with a blank page I turned to an online devotional page. This week’s post is the result )i(

One of my digital drawings inspired by a butterfly wing )i(

This morning I sat down and looked at a blank page, wondering what had happened to the promise I made to myself that I would add snippets of interesting information to the draft for this post, ready for my Thursday morning writing session…
The past week has been full of the usual busyness, plus I included a day trip to spend time with a visiting relative, and I was rostered to lead Worship in Church on Sunday, followed by a shared community meal.
Otherwise, every spare minute has been spent hunched over the keyboard typing new words into my soon to be completed first draft for my second manuscript When Promises Are Broken.
The conclusion is in sight, and I can see the happy ever after ending, but there have been some tears this week as I said farewell to one of my favourite characters.

From the blank page, I turned to an online devotion and found this inspiring quote.”As a result, the psalm invites us to reflect on how the life we have been given is a gift from God: for us, and for our good.” (Psalm 16 reflection, Richard Briggs, 9/9/2018.

This page also made reference to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is the contemporary term for the 19th Century adage “Count your blessings.” CBT relates to making a conscious decision to look for something positive to focus on to manage difficult situations.
For more information about CBT click on these links

One of the strategies I employ to keep my personal anxieties in perspective is music. If I find myself unable to concentrate, I turn to YouTube for inspiration. For each of my manuscripts, I collect songs that have relevance for my heroines as they deal with my dramatic settings.
Sometimes memory comes into play, bringing to mind one of my Dad’s favourite old songs. Here is a video link to the one that is playing in my head – I love the surprising choice of images to accompany the song, and one of them includes butterflies…

Count Your Blessings YouTube video

Philippians 4: 4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

One of my digital drawings with overlaid text

One final word and then I will close for the week. Here is a helpful list for those who may struggle to find something to rejoice about:

Consecrated things

Matthew 6:21 (NIV) 
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

I have finally fallen under the influence of my first winter illness – as I work primarily with children, and in two different communities, my previous immunity is a miracle in itself. While I have been unwell, the calendar has turned and officially it is Spring.

Finding the mental stamina to write has been a struggle and I spent the recent weekend in bed, only surfacing long enough to go to Church. I have been praying about how I would meet the vows I made to write regularly.

When I turned on my computer up popped this reminder to read a post from my Facebook page Butterfly Prayer House, which was written a while ago, and published to a schedule that allows me some breathing space. The post was published on September 2nd 2018.  Here is an excerpt from that post:

Today I am wrestling with a couple of challenges. Firstly, I want to fulfil the vow I made to God and set aside enough time to write more posts in preparation for another busy week of life. One day a week is my dedicated writing day…

I turn to God in prayer, frustrated that all my attempts to bring him the ‘consecrated things’ and to fulfil my vows have taken me to this place of emotional upheaval. My sense of failure overshadows the truth that it is God who has brought me here.

To read the rest of that post, click here

o build on my habit of sharing some of my research, here are a couple of quotes that I found very helpful.

* The first one is from Steve Lauble’s blog:

“Many can write about God and live a fairly righteous life by all appearances. Fewer can write from within an experience, portraying lessons learned from the battlefields of life as they worked out their faith in relationships and service to the Creator.”
This quote came from a blog post: 

* Here is a second one from the same blog: “So, next time you open up a Word document and start to write about something, ask yourself how deep you are embedded in the topic, whether you are writing from deep within it…or whether this is just a surface connection.”

* The most exciting resource to land in my email Inbox this week was from a renowned author Ted Dekker. I had only spoken to some children the evening before about how they would enjoy his work, but I knew that the adult format would be difficult for them to manage. He is self-publishing a four book series for children. I was disappointed to find Australia wasn’t on the current pre-order list, but it is very encouraging to find that an author with many published works to his credit is making a similar journey. Here is the link to the pre-order information: Ted Dekker’s Dream Travellers

I have spent my sick days writing about storms and floods. One of my characters escapes their difficult situation by returning to memories of summer at the beach.
Do you enjoy building sandcastles? I have many happy memories, both from my own childhood and from summers since.
The delight of standing back and viewing the creation.
Then comes the reality, the tide turns and the waves come crashing in.
There were times when we worked to try and protect our creations, but more often we acted to speed up the process,
to build channels that would entice the waves to come further forward and flood the moats we had dug.

My final topic for today is to tell you about my Works In Progress (WIP).
I have received advice from my Copy Editor that White Rose of Promise will return to me on the 24th of September.
The first draft of my second manuscript When Promises Are Broken is almost complete. All the dramatic scenes have been written and now I need to wrap up the story to satisfy the readers who want a Happy Ever After ending. This week I discovered that 21st-century readers are sometimes content with Happy For Now endings, which is where I am at the moment, but I am looking for that special something that will transform the heroine’s situation into something filled with more hope )i(

There Is A Season…

My mood is as changeable as the weather.
Sometimes I grow impatient.
I am still learning to relax and enjoy
whatever opportunities God places before me. )i(

Water is one of the references I am exploring in my River Wild Series.

It is winter here in Tasmania, and it will be a few months before the weather is warm enough for me to contemplate going to the beach.
I am one of those mortals who rug up at the first sign of a cool wind and hide away from the colder weather. Yet I also struggle in the heat of summer and could not survive in a hotter climate.

Whenever my mind turns to seasons, I find myself singing an old song, which is based on an Old Testament Bible passage from Ecclesiastes.

Click here for a link to the song ‘Turn, Turn, Turn,’ by the Byrds

Ecclesiastes 3:1-10 (NIV)
There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
   a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

Virtual Gallery Installation, 2017 Windmills of My Mind Series
inspired by the song Turn, Turn, Turn
Here is one of my Butterfly Prayer House images )i(

This week I have been researching an exotic location for my second manuscript.
My heroine is flying to Thailand. That inner critical voice has been asking how I could ever write a convincing account of her experience when I have never travelled there myself.

In a moment of doubt, while I was praying about my anxieties and fears, God brought me three memories.

Image result for sydney olympics

The first one was from 2000 when I volunteered at the Sydney Olympics. I was assigned to the Olympic Weightlifting venue in Darling Harbour – my husband is a coach, and I have been a State official for that sport for decades. This was my first solo trip to the mainland, and there were lots of new experiences. I remember struggling to get through the crowds to get to my venue. It seemed that hundreds of thousands of people were going in the opposite direction. On more than one occasion I was physically accosted by a stranger, and I had to learn how to speak up for myself and get myself out of trouble.

Image result for free download crowd at sydney train station

The second memory is also from the Sydney Olympics. At the last minute, I was invited to accompany some of the other volunteers to the Opening Ceremony. It was a wonderful opportunity and I was very thankful. Afterwards, in the crush at the train station, I was separated from my companions. I waited for hours for my line to get close enough to the platform for me to catch the train home. The conversations with my companions the next day revealed some strategies that would have saved my tired legs and blistered feet from all that shuffling in the wrong queue.

Image result for movie world gold coast

The third memory is from 1993. My husband and I had our one and only family holiday. We went to Queensland in January, not the best time for someone who struggles with the heat. We had with us our two boys. Both of them are on the Autism Spectrum, but that was a diagnosis we had yet to receive. It was a memorable holiday, for all the wrong reasons, a story for another time. Of course, we went to Movie World and this was my first real experience with a crowd filled with faces from many different countries. We arrived early, and stood in a line, surrounded by voices speaking in unfamiliar tongues.

From these three memories, I realise that I have enough connection with the kind of situations my heroine will face to be able to write convincing scenes. I have also discovered some very helpful information on the internet including some great YouTube videos to help me choose the accommodation and the special places my heroine will go on her adventure. I am looking forward to sharing the finished story soon )i(