Monday, 23 September 2013


One thing dawned on me pretty quick on my first day in the new job I have as a Bookseller, and it's only because I am so well acquainted with what I love that I realised this.

Only Christians read Christians. Inspirational Fiction authors, the world is not reading you.

I have yet to learn all about the myriad of amazing authors out there (and I already know a stack of them). However my knowledge of the Inspirational genre may yet prove helpful to my employer. As I was learning how to order a book, my colleague showed me the slip of paper with the ISBN of the book requested by our local library.

Terri Blackstock! I know that name very well!

I might as well have been an alien spouting a foreign language when I spoke of what kind of stories she writes. The book was not on their system and they had to go to another website to track down the distributor for the book. Pfft. I could have just sent them to Koorong and they'd have had it in a flash. Of course I know this. I am well-practised (and have the bulging bookshelves and pile of invoices to prove it).

But Terri Blackstock wasn't the only author they'd never heard of. Names as big as it gets rang no bells. Authors with as many as thirty books up their Inspirational sleeves meant nothing.

Are you sad?

You should be. I was. Read between the lines and tell me what this proves to you.

What's hot right now in the world we're supposed to be reaching?


YA adventure.

YA mythology/bloodsuckers (no thanks to Twilight).


Sex (50 shades worse).

People are searching. Maybe God is too simple, too original. They want the packaging of the world.

Or do they?

Please, make whatever you write something RELEVANT to the people of the world. Christians are officially obese. Yes, it is important to build up the body, but to what extent? I love that I was raised on such amazing and beautiful fiction, but is this where the rubber meets the road?

Somebody help me out here. I'm struggling with this.


My New Life

It goes like this: I am officially classed as a bookseller. In a lovely turn of events I find myself working in one of our nation's leading bookshop franchises, being taught wholeheartedly the ropes of the industry and loving it. (My feet are almost in agreement with me)...

It is a huge blessing, and adds to the new season the life of the Valleys has taken. God amazes me in the way He works behind the scenes on our behalf, and I am feeling very blessed.

Last week as I walked the aisles perusing, dusting my new babies, investigating all sorts of things between all kinds of covers, I reflected on the amount of books out there that are not going to do anyone any good. By that I mean no eternal good. I became acutely aware that while Christians require some entertaining, we do have our heads in the sand more than a little bit. We're fat on what we love, while literal rubbish is as equally as copiously available to those who do not love what we love, and never will.

As a reader/writer/critic, it challenged me about my own output and what that might look like in the future. If you fall into the writer category, for heaven's sake, make whatever you write COUNT for all eternity. Life is short, and the days will be shortened for the sake of the elect. Don't get too distracted as you enjoy yourself.

I am finding this very interesting and how this new work is shaping my opinions and beliefs. I pray it is God alone Who moulds me as I venture farther into the world and I am in it, but not of it.

What does your faith look like to you?

What does it look like to others?

Are you slipping under the radar, adding to the many available distractions, or are you effective?


Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Point of conflict

Check out these pictures. Stop and consider how they make you feel. Give each one an answer in your own mind:

What gets your goat? What makes you sit up and pay attention? What matters most to you? This is your passion, and the thing that makes life worth the pursuit.
Do not ignore it.
Make a difference for Eternal worth and value.

Ember Island ~ a review

This is the first Kimberly Freeman book I have read. It has set a standard that some of the subsequent books I've been given to review have failed to live up to, and the story positively captured me from beginning to end.

You can read the back page blurb here.

How I love Australian history. Our story is not in the buildings, wars or events, but in the people who made the country and provided our heritage. Ember Island portrays this truth in a touching and vivid way. Set between past and present, it is clear this story is character driven and this makes it impossible to put down.

I have to say how much I loved the sections set in the past and am glad much of the page time is spent there. The present day scenes are entertaining and hold life lessons we can learn from. The best thing about this book is that it is refreshing, and it is different. Some people aren't bothered by reading the same old stuff. Personally I latch onto anything that isn't a stereotype.

Tilly's journey becomes heart-wrenching very quickly. It is easy to feel for her, and the closeness she yearns for makes her humanity so tangible. The treatment she receives following the death of her Grandfather spurs her onward until she reaches a point where she will stop for no one. The temper she has been strenuously instructed to keep under wraps is a cauldron on the boil while she struggles against her better sense to do things 'right' in the proper ways expected of a Victorian lady. Yet her circumstances are anything but proper.

The palpable atmosphere Tilly endures and searches out creates a stunning backdrop as the plot unfolds, and makes this book a real standout amongst recent others I have read (or failed to read because of what they lacked). Her naivety is endearing as well as scary, until at last the results of her actions reach dramatic and terrifying heights and she becomes a woman entrapped by her lies.

Rocket forward most gently and seamlessly to the present day where Nina is living in a self-made tangled web. Her arrival at Starwater House is fuelled more by escape than the need to make sure all is well following a sizeable storm that has wracked her heritage home on the island. Nina's path of discovery to personal and professional truth is led with help from her handyman, Joe, and her best friend, Stacy.

In between these two women is Nell, a precocious young lady on the verge of womanhood when she meets Tilly, and the very late grandmother to Nina. Much of the story is conveyed through Nell, and she is an outright pleasure to traverse the pages with. Her father's gentleness and love are conveyed so beautifully, and their relationship really is something special.

Clergy generally cop a hammering in modern secular books, and in fairness, not all of church history is worthy of a glowing report. Here, the experiences the characters have with faith are varied, and it prevails that while not everyone is deserving of grace, those who are given it will take advantage of it for better or for worse. If the despairing soul can take hold of it with both hands and drinks deeply of its salvation, promise lies right around the corner.

Human nature can always be relied upon for so many things, not the least of which here is the need for trust, the desire for companionship, and the brutality of emotions given full vent. I will give nothing more away. Ember Island is a book that will stay with me for a long while yet. The clarity and light of the story should not be missed.

My sincere thanks also to Kimberly Freeman for such a lovely glimpse into our history, and in doing it justice with this poignant telling.