Crazy Busy

“If the worries of life don’t swamp us, the upkeep will.”

~ Pastor Peter Kinsella

Elevation Church, Penrith, NSW.

How often do we hear ourselves telling each other “I’d love to, but I am just so busy!”? Is this some kind of twenty-first-century virus, or are people truly busier than they used to be?

When I was knee-high to a grasshopper, I remember not being so busy, and not just because I was just a wee girl. The adults around me weren’t as busy back then, compared to the ‘grown-ups’ of today. aaChildren were allowed to be children.

To play, get horrifically dirty, laugh, sing, fight … anything at all that didn’t cost a lot of money.

Children were not expected to worry (even though some of us did).

So why are we so darned busy?

I do believe that we human beings have become obsessed with material and worldly objects and possessions. Most importantly, we have forgotten how to play!

For followers of Christ, we should realise that putting things above and ahead of Him is never going to lead to ongoing happiness. Even non-believers would notice that they are much happier when they aren’t rushing around from pillar to post, like ‘Tom and Jerry’ do in one of their skits.

Not that long ago, maybe only twenty years or so, life was so much simpler. Children were happy to play outside in the fresh air. In fact, children like my brother and I, never really wanted to go inside the house before sunset. Back then children didn’t need to be babysat by television sets, computers, Ipads, Ipods, smartphones and the like. Grown-ups didn’t mind owning a second-hand car or washing machine, and they weren’t especially  fussed about owning the most up-to-date model of anything. They were just grateful to have whatever they had.

bbSo what does having more than we know what to do with, have to do with being ‘crazy busy’ I hear you ask? It’s called maintenance! Everything needs to be maintained, and the more things we possess, the more cost and maintenance we will need to sacrifice.

There is a new buzz word this century, MINDFULNESS.

Hmmm … but is it really a new thought wave? Doesn’t being still for a while, taking in our surroundings, and expressing gratitude, amount to the same thing?

We really need to stop worrying and being distracted by the world.

“Now as they were travelling along, Jesus went into a village. A woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat down at the Lord’s feet and kept listening to what He was saying. But Martha was worrying about all the things she had to do, so she came to Him and asked, “Lord, you do care that my sister has left me to do the work all by myself, don’t you? Then tell her to help me.” The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha! You worry and fuss about a lot of things. But there’s only one thing you need. Mary has chosen what is better, and it is not to be taken away from her.”  ~  Luke 10:38-42

ccUntil we stop being ‘crazy busy’ nothing of this life is going to make a lot of sense, and certainly, it won’t bring us happiness, short-term or long-term.

We will never find that beautiful peace if we are always busy doing things, buying things, owning things. We need to stop for a while, be still, and allow Christ to give us a kind of peace that the world can never offer us.

“And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  ~  Philippians 4:7

It has taken me until my sixtieth year to really get this. I’m not perfect, though I’m still working on ‘being still’.  I love this quote: “The quieter you become, the more you can hear.”  ~  Ram Dass

What about you? Are you a Martha or a Mary? Are you rushing around day after day, paying heed to all this worldly stuff? Do you remember how to be quiet and still? Can you do it, just for a wee while? I would love to hear from you. Please feel welcome to share your thoughts.

Originally published on my Webnode site ‘Just Jo’Anne’ on 28th September 2016

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Addicted to Approval? Writing with Purpose … on Purpose.

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The fear of man brings a snare,

But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.

Proverbs 29:25

Have you ever questioned what your life’s purpose really is? I know I have. What motivates me to write? What motivates others to sing or play an instrument?

What makes it worthwhile for each of us to awaken each morning, and do whatever we do over again? Maybe you are an accountant, or drive a truck – or you are a nurse or a teacher. Maybe you are the quiet, shy child at the back of the room, that no one has noticed yet. I am hoping that by telling you why I write and what motivates me, that perhaps you may start thinking about why you do what you do each day, why it is so important to you, and what makes it so motivating and relevant?

As a younger person … a much younger person, I just wanted to make everyone happy. I desperately wanted and thought I needed the approval of everyone around me. It is, of course, a very human trait to crave that approval. We want our parents to approve of us, our friends at school. As we grow older we begin to realise that there are just so many people in the world, that it would be impossible to gain this close kinship with everybody. Why? Because God created each of us uniquely.

When I was first thinking about this post and preparing for it, I thought of calling it “Praying, Living, and Writing On Purpose”, and that is all very well, but we need to also think about doing things ‘with purpose’.  I have loved reading and writing ever since I can remember, however, I never considered it as being a purpose. After school, I went to college and learnt shorthand and touch typing on an incredibly annoying, clunky and old, manual typewriter.  I am sure many in my age group would have done a similar thing. You see, I always wanted to do a university degree in communication … that was it.  Nothing else interested me. Well as there were one-hundred and twenty places at the Institute of Technology, and over two thousand applicants, you guessed it – I became an office worker. No, there was no fancy title … just an office worker.

One day I thought ‘why don’t I study accounting?’.  From that day on it would seem that I had sealed my fate. Not only would I be an office worker, but I would also be an accounts clerk. Now don’t get me wrong, I was rather good at my job, and never found it a problem to learn new systems, time management, and so on.  But the problem was, that I was doing what I thought was responsible, what would bring in an immediate dollar reward.  My job/s served me well, but there was always this constant yearning to do something else with my life.

As a youngster, I was the quiet, shy child down the back of the room. There were times when I would be in trouble for talking to others at the back of the room, but you can be certain that the stories that I had to tell were awe inspiring. Then there were the other times (most of the time) when I would just sit quietly and daydream. That’s when I had my best ideas. Ideas that were just not appreciated by grown-up people.

bA wise man once said “find something that you love to do and do it every day. This way, you will never have to work a day in your life”.  And another quote I have always loved is this:

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born, and the day you find out why”

~ Mark Twain.

We are all given gifts and talents when we are born, even before we are born. We each have a destiny, but for some of us, it takes a while to realise what the heck we are meant to be doing, and how best to go about it. These days I am a writer, plain and simple … I write (and read of course).

Do I write for the money? Definitely not! The world is run by the dollar, but if I wrote for money I would consider myself to be very poor indeed. Is it recognition then? We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t want to be recognised – I wouldn’t mind publishing a book or two … or three. But I have come to realise that recognition in a human sense, isn’t really that important. Yes, it might pay some bills, but at the end of the day, if I don’t have a passion for what I do, then I won’t be able to tell the true story. As with most things in life, what we put absolutely first on our ‘to-do’ list or list of importance, is what everything else will be based upon.

c “for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”

~ John 12:43 NKJV

Whether we are Christian writers or any other kind of writer, let us all remember that the purpose of our writing is to tell a story, to get a point across, hopefully in a respectful manner. If our story isn’t getting out there, if people aren’t inspired in some way, then no amount of money or accolades can compensate for the real loss we must feel. And probably if we haven’t inspired anyone, then the money won’t be coming anyway.

Can we be published writers/authors and still share our heart and soul with the world?

I say a resounding ‘yes’!  Jesus wants the talents that His and our Father gave us, to be put to good use. If I ever had to make a decision to publish by telling the wrong story, or a story that came from my heart, but got changed so as to be more acceptable to the public, I wouldn’t see being published as very important at all. As a writer, and a Christian writer to boot – I see my purpose is to spread God’s love to everyone I come into contact with, whether in person or online in cyberspace.

So, what must I do to ensure that my writing can influence people in a positive way?

  1. Pray about it before picking up the pen.
  2. Believe and trust in my ability, which was, after all, a gift from the Father.
  3. Try to always be as consistent as possible. Don’t be swayed by worldly opinions.
  4. I must always be sincere in my efforts (not everyone will or must like me – there will be haters, and that’s okay).

When God-willing I leave this earth, and my creator asks me ‘What have you shown Me during your life’? (taken from “Imagine Heaven” by John Burke). How have you used the gifts which were given to you? How have you thanked God for saving you? I would like to be able to say ‘Lord I tried my very best, I have made so many mistakes along the way, but in the end I loved people, and I tried really hard to love them as much as You love me.

If this earthly life is merely a preparation for our eternal life to come, good or bad, is there any point to our persistent writing at all? I say ‘yes’!

We are not here to please ourselves or to entertain ourselves. We are here to please God whether writing, singing, balancing the books, helping the sick, raising children, loving our spouse, weeding the garden … or anything else for that matter. Life is only as complicated as we make it. So let’s just do everything that we do each day, with love. For myself, I shall just do my very best to write with a strong conviction and belief, that God’s love is all that matters at the end of any day.

What do you think? Should the promise of monetary gain be the only motivator to do what we most love to do? Do we need approval if we know in our own hearts, what we are doing is heartfelt and worthwhile?

Originally published in “Christian Writers Downunder” as a guest blogger on 23rd May  2016. More recently on my Webnode Blog ‘Just Jo’Anne’ on 14th June 2016.

 

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Glimpses of Light Anthology Blog Tour (stop 10) by Josephine-Anne Griffiths

The following post was written just under a year ago.

There was much excitement around the birthing of this book baby as for many of us, it would contain our very first published piece of art. I should also mention the stress and angst of the people who generously gave of their time to edit and publish this gorgeous anthology right down to the cover design. The cover photograph was generously provided by Helene Young (author).  Of course, you can still buy ‘Glimpses of Light’ through the links which follow below, and we hope you will.

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January 29th, 2016  My goodness, we only have three days left of January.  I remember thinking at the very beginning of this blog tour, which began prior to Christmas with Nola Passmore’s post, that I had oodles of time to write this.  How time flies! It wasn’t until I read this anthology myself and all these wonderful blog posts, that I really gained a better insight into the many meanings and interpretations of ‘light’. You could say ‘I saw the light’.light-bulb

Being the ‘International Year of Light’ 2015 was the perfect year to produce this beautiful collection of short stories, poems, flash fiction and creative non-fiction.

Today it is my turn to inspire you with my thoughts on the anthology as I take the baton from Adele Jones  who is a Queensland author who writes young adult and historical novels, poetry, inspirational non-fiction and other works of short fiction. In her spare time, Adele balances family responsibilities with her daytime job in the field of science.

My contribution to this anthology was a complete surprise to many, especially myself as it is my first published piece – ever.  When the call came out for applications for contributions, my initial thoughts were – I wish I could do something like that.  Well here we are many months down the track, after so much hard work by so many wonderful and talented people – it’s done.  There are so many ways to look at light – heavenly light, the light of the sun or the moon, electric light, even seeing things in a different light.

At the time of the call, I was working on parts of my brother’s fictional memoir. I tried very hard to take a scene from the memoir and turn it into a piece of flash fiction.  Once the editors saw it they knew that it really did belong to a much bigger story. In a quandary, and having not tried my hand at poetry before, I thought – okay here goes nothing. But in the end and thanks to our very patient editors, it became something.  My inspiration came from all of the emotions that bubbled up while I was trying to write about my beloved brother, Charlie.  My poem is based upon my own Grandfather, whose name my brother shared.  Yes finally the light was on, my words and emotions were flowing, and I just had to finish before the globe popped. Consequently, there were edits required, enough to give anyone a headache.  But it was so much fun. I enjoyed reading all of the stories, poems and words of hope and inspiration, and in particular, I really enjoyed Adele’s story Kaleidoscope. kkkAs a child, I enjoyed playing with one as I am sure many in my generation did.  Out of curiosity I actually read Adele’s story first. Why you ask?  It just seemed to me that a ‘kaleidoscope’ of works of art, was exactly what this anthology was.  Within my poem, I tried to represent the natural lights and hues of nature, the heavenly light that we can mostly only dream about, and of course when Charles finally ‘saw the light’ and realised what an important member of the family he was.

“He can no longer feel the wind’s chill,

As the door opens … Who will read the bedtime story, if I’m not here?

There are gardens to water, meals to help prepare, and stories to tell.”

I would humbly thank my Heavenly Father who helped me from that very first moment when I decided to apply;  also all of the contributors/authors, editors, proof-readers and artistry team. I also thank all of my family and friends who have believed in me and supported me along the way.  Whatever you do don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to purchase “Glimpses of Light Anthology” either as an eBook or print copy.   You can purchase from the following links:

Amazon.com   as a hard copy (US$12 plus postage) or as an eBook  (US$3.53) 

or through Amazon.com.au  eBook @ (AU$4.87)

You will be making so many people happy as well as inspiring yourself, as all profits are going to CBM Australia who work tirelessly with the poor and disabled in developing countries, restoring sight to the blind.

Lastly but certainly not least, keep an eye out for Robyn Campbell as she takes the baton from me next week on Monday, February 1st. daisy-in-the-sunRobyn is a children’s author and poet from the United States. Picture books are her greatest love, and she will be hoping to find a worthy home for them soon. Robyn lives on a mountain in North Carolina on a horse farm where she has plenty of story ideas to keep her creative cauldron bubbling for quite some time.

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Is It All Just Too Difficult?

The following post was written just over a year ago.

At the time I didn’t have a clear enough vision for my book baby. After many drafts and redrafts, I finally got that ‘vision’ … how would Charlie have wanted me to tell this story? Does that matter? Yes, I think it does! That flashing lightbulb went off for me just prior to National Novel Writing Month this year. During the first half of November, I wrote a fresh 11,000 words of “Charlie Dreams”.  Due to some family and health complications, I had to resign from ‘NaNoWriMo’ half-way through. However, I have those precious words safely tucked away on my flash drive. Twenty-seventeen is going to be a fabulous year. I cannot wait!

riverSeptember 3rd, 2015  A few weeks ago when I was kindly invited to write this blog post for Christian Writers Downunder, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about. I wanted to communicate something, which is usually why I write. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of point in keeping one’s thoughts too private; no one would ever really know me, be able to advise me or just have a quiet read and a chuckle to themselves and say “That’s Just Jo’Anne”.  

In an earlier post, I talked about why I found it necessary to blog when I could just jot down my thoughts into a journal and be done with it. Today I wish to deviate a little from my intended topic. I wanted to cover the ‘pros and cons of Life Writing’ but that may or may not eventuate down the track. You see, after doing lots of research (as I haven’t yet done a course on Life Writing); I began to realise what an extensive topic it was.

I then realised that some very important questions would need to be answered. 

  • Will the contents of this story hurt any family or friends of my main character, and sub-characters who are  still living and compos mentis?
  • What sort of an impact would my story have upon people whether or not they know me or my family?
  • Is my story relevant to the focus of my blog/genre?
  • Does it matter?
  • Can my story hurt my own reputation in any way?
  • Would I ever regret writing this book?

These are just a few of many questions which should be considered when writing about the life or lives of others; and indeed even if I was merely writing an autobiography, shouldn’t I consider how my thoughts and feelings would affect others.  hold-the-penTrue, partially true or complete fabrications, we as writers must take responsibility for the hearts and minds of our readers as well as our own.

So today instead of the ‘pros and cons’, let’s just look into ‘Why’?  I have already been down the path of ‘What If’?  There were so many questions building up in my mind that I had to give it a rest.  You see I have never done life writing before!  I cannot believe I just completely admitted that to you all; but it is the plain, honest truth.  Life writing can be somewhat scary and confronting at the best of times, but in my case, my very first piece of what is supposed to be biographical is going to look and read like a novel of fiction. 

I struggled with what name or label to give the genre for this book. Would it be a memoir?  Perhaps not.  How about a fictional memoir?  Maybe narrative non-fiction?  No that can’t be it, even ‘narrative’ non-fiction must have more factual content than not.  Perhaps this life story doesn’t fit within the mould of any known genre.  The real problem is that my main character, although very much a real person, didn’t live what we would consider a real life …. at least not a realistic life by most worldly standards.

Here follows a short synopsis of my work.

“Charlie Dreams” 

Charlie was an odd wee fellow, always with his head in the clouds. He would be day-dreaming or telling tall tales, which often lead him into all sorts of trouble. Charlie had a vivid imagination and because we spent so much time together, he nurtured my imagination with ease. You see Charlie was not only my brother, he was my best friend, my soul-mate.

After a short, often sad but sometimes happy life, Charlie passed away at the tender age of thirty-nine. I was just thirty-six year’s old, way too young to lose my best friend. Charlie’s parents who are still living at the time of writing this played a huge role in shaping both our lives and the passages which will appear in my book. Our grandfather, also named Charles plays an important role in piecing together our story.

Charlie suffered from Bipolar disorder, but sadly we weren’t aware of this until after his tragic death. He played his cards very close to his chest so that the people closest to him couldn’t see in. I am also Bipolar, however, my family is more than aware of the fact. I have fabulous support from family and dear friends, and it is these wonderful people who encourage and inspire me to tell our story. My only regret is that we were not able to see through Charlie’s dreams and look more closely at the true heart and soul of the matter.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

quoteSo why do I feel compelled to write this book?  My answer – why not?

Charlie really did have an interesting if sad life. There were many moments of happiness, whether they were real or imagined doesn’t matter too much. His life was a good life. He was a kind soul with an extremely gentle heart. Everything Charlie told you was exactly as he believed it to be himself.

While life writing of any kind can be extremely challenging, I have made my mind up to continue with this challenge, with its risks and plethora of things that could go wrong. I want to honour someone with compassion, praise, respect, unfathomable love, honesty (as far as possible) and great big dollops of humour along the way.

straw-hatThis person is my best buddy, Charlie.

What do you think? Should fiction be a part of a life story? Does it really have any place there?  What if the person we are writing about was unable to decipher fact from fiction, believed everything he said; but beyond all of that was satisfied that he was living the life he had always wanted (dreamt about).

I would love to hear your opinions and kind advice. Please feel free to leave a comment below.

Originally published in Christian Writers Downunder Blog

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Promises, Anticipation, Enjoyment

pooh-1“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best –” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.” ~ Winnie the Pooh

*¨*•♫♪¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪¸¸.•*¨*•♫

Ah, don’t you just love the anticipation? pooh-2Isn’t it just the best thing? Oh, but the enjoyment of actually doing it! Then, alas it is over …. Oh, but the memory is worth its weight in gold …. err honey. 

When we take a look at those three words, promises, anticipation and enjoyment, we would think that they mean very different and separate things. If we limit ourselves to the dictionary meaning for each of those words, we would be correct.

promise is an assurance, a guarantee, a pledge or a vow, that something will be so; or something will happen, either immediately or eventually.

To anticipate something is to be expectant of that thing, person, occasion, gift etc. Also to have hope that something wonderful is going to happen, based upon past experiences.

pooh-3Enjoyment is the actual pleasure, delight, satisfaction or gratification that we derive from whatever it is that we have obtained.

If we look more closely at each of these words, we would realise that they are intimately conjoined. 

Even Winnie-the-Pooh knew from past experience that there was something more to eating that honey, than just the sheer enjoyment of it all …. And of course he was a bear of very little brain. Sometimes I think that maybe we aren’t much more ‘cleverer’ than dear old Winnie. We probably know the word to match the feeling, but we don’t always appreciate that feeling for how wonderful it is. I know I often forget to stop, listen and feel – how about you?

cruise-shipBack in 2008, I went on a cruise. HoneyBun and I flew to Bangkok, stayed a week, and then took a 21-night cruise back to Sydney via South East Asia. We spent months planning and talking about our upcoming holiday, imagining what it would be like (I had never been on a cruise before). We had both travelled before, HoneyBun more than me, however, each experience is different. We were so excited!  I remember being about one week out of Australia on our return trip home. I became impatient to be back home, not because I wasn’t having a good time, but because once more I was anticipating something. This time my anticipation was backed up by a promise that something good would happen – I loved going back home. ‘There is no place quite like home’.  HoneyBun and I had thoroughly enjoyed our trip; the feelings of satisfaction and gratification were immeasurable. Yes, when we arrived back home there was also the feeling of “oh, it is all over now”; but those precious memories would remain forever.

1474151094I have done some travelling in my life; seeing places such as Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Great Barrier Reef, Islands of the South Pacific – the list goes on. Then there was Bali, Los Angeles and Egypt.  I really do feel blessed; however if I had not anticipated each journey before going, I don’t believe the experience would have been quite the same. As human beings, we rely on our memories of past events to know whether or not something might be good or worthwhile. That pot of honey was pretty good judging by the amount of golden joy that was running down Winnie’s paws, and the remnants smeared all over his cute, furry face; but the day-dreamy look on his sweet face when he anticipated the enjoyment he would derive from that golden pot of heaven, is almost indescribable.  I feel that same way about a piece of lemon-cakelemon cheesecake, or maybe a slice of chocolate/raspberry torte, chocky-cakewith loads of cream. Oh, the expectation, the sheer delight and the afterglow of basking in the memory – mmmm, mmmm, mmmm!

We need promises, anticipation and enjoyment to be so closely related to fully appreciate the beauty of everything that is around us, provided for us, and even those things and events that we indeed work so hard for. I have always said that half of the fun is looking forward to something. Now as I approach more senior years, I believe that looking forward to something and then cherishing the memories, are usually most of the fun.

You can probably see where this is heading by now. I hope so because when I first started preparing this post I didn’t think it would lead to exactly where it has. The message I wanted to remind myself of and pass on was basically the same, perhaps with a little bit less cake.

Our lives here on earth are for us to enjoy, to make others happy, to work hard and provide the best we can. We won’t always be happy with everything that happens in life, but we need to make the best of everything. Our lives are filled with sadness and joy, pain and delight; life is one big rollercoaster. We are not meant to stay here on earth forever, we are actually citizens of heaven. We don’t know what that really entails, but we have been made a promise by God so that we can anticipate with joy and delight, the world that is yet to come. Our total enjoyment of our eternity is based on faith – faith that God is true to His Word, and of course, we know He is.

 dreamy-clouds“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  ~ John 3:16

Patiently we must wait; but with joyful anticipation, that God’s promises to us will come to pass, and our joy will be everlasting, surpassing any form of human enjoyment that we could ever imagine.

hands-on-clock “The Lord is not slow to fulfil his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”       ~ 2 Peter 3:9

Photo courtesy of LivingWithGod.org

 

Never my dear friends, take any moment or memory for granted – yes we know that there is something more beautiful coming and we must joyously anticipate; but every moment and every memory that we make here on earth will contribute to and richly embroider our everlasting lives in paradise. I wish us all a beautiful and glorious life of hopeful anticipation, laced with excitement for the enjoyment that has been promised to us. 
pooh-4Oh yes, and honey, cake, and whatever else our little human hearts desire.

Originally published on my Just Jo’Anne website/blog in August 2015

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Daystar – The Days Are Numbered by Anne Hamilton

My Review

download-2I’ve never been a huge fan of the fantasy genre. Why? I really don’t know. I read Jeanette O’Hagan’s ‘Ruhanna’s Flight’ which was published in ‘Glimpses of Light – Anthology and was absolutely delighted. Then I read Ms O’Hagan’s ‘Heart of the Mountain’ … Wow! I loved it. I had seen Anne Hamilton’s ‘Daystar’ earlier on and had put it on my ‘to read’ bookshelf on Goodreads, thinking maybe one day I’ll have time. Well, once this delightful book turned up on my doorstep, with a beautiful card inside from Anne Hamilton, I just had to read it, didn’t I?

I think I am becoming addicted to fantasy … we’ll have to see. I’ve read ‘The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe’ and also Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed. I haven’t read any previous books written by Ms Hamilton, so my mind was fresh, and I didn’t have others to compare it to. Perhaps that’s a good thing as I enjoyed this book, for itself, immensely.

‘Daystar – The Days Are Numbered’ is a gorgeous story, in some ways similar to C. S. Lewis’ ‘Narnia’. In fact, ‘Narnia’ was mentioned within the pages. Fern, who is obviously from the same dimension as myself, is awkward and unhappy in her life, ever since her mother left her step-father, Nick. Fern’s greatest desire is to be invisible. At the blow of a whistle, Fern is transported to another dimension where the race for good to overcome evil isn’t too dissimilar to that of Fern’s world.

I really liked the characters’ names and personalities. Talking animals always intrigue me. The fact that the seven heroes of this story were children, was delightfully encouraging considering the age group the book is aimed at. I loved the quaintly illustrated capital letters at the beginning of each chapter, and their relevance to the musical notes, which were explained further into the book. It took me a wee while to immerse myself in the book, due to the small print, however, Ms Hamilton kindly sent me a PDF copy, and then it was difficult to put down my smartphone.

The subtle injection of humour was delightful, and the entire theme held my interest until the end. The only slight quibble I had was that I felt there were an awful lot of ‘big’ words for a middle-grade reader to grasp. Overall I found Daystar to be beautifully written, with just the right amount of wit and humour, adventure, and intrigue.

With the use of musical score, numbers and days, the plot gradually fused together like a well-designed jig-saw puzzle. I would love to read a sequel to Daystar and see what Ms Ashe, Golliath, Hector, and Fern will face next … and what dimension will it take place in?

I would like to thank Anne Hamilton for providing a free copy of Daystar in return for an honest review.

Originally posted at 

https://josephineannegriffiths.blogspot.com.au/

November 2016

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BLOG AWARD TOUR – Whats and Whys of My Words.

ritaAustralian, Inspirational,Historical Romance author, Rita Stella Galieh has tagged me for the Blog Award Tour. Rita’s heritage is an interesting one, being of English, Scottish and Jewish decent. Her love of storytelling began during childhood, inventing tales of adventure with her Grandmother, while her mother worked. Rita’s mother encouraged her to write poems after school was finished for the day. These poems which were published in the children’s section of the Sunday papersin instilled into Rita a thirsty craving for writing. In addition to being an accomplished author, she is also an extremely talented artist, specialising in ceramics.

Rita has an absolute passion for the 19th Century Victorian Era, which is evident in her stories. She writes to entertain and inspire her readers while remaining faithful to the honour and glory of Our Lord.

Rita is currently editing her next book “A Parcel of Promises” which is book number three in her Victoriana series. The other two in the series which come highly recommended, are “The Tie That Binds” and “Signed Sealed Delivered”. She is also working on “Miss Kate’s Great Expectations” which was runner-up in the Caleb Awards. You can find Rita and her wonderful works at www.ritastellagalieh.com

 

As part of the Blog Award Tour, Rita has asked me to provide answers to four questions. So, here’s a little about me and what I am working on.

  1. WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?

Good question. What am I not working on? I have recently finished another 10,000 words towards my first draft of my very first book “Charlie Dreams”.  I had previously written another 20,000 precious words during NaNoWriMo last November, and this 10k was dragged out of me in this year’s (July Camp NaNoWriMo). I did manage just over eleven thousand, but ten was my goal. charlie-dreamsI refer to ‘Charlie Dreams’ as a book for now, as whether it becomes a novella or a novel really depends upon how far my memory and imagination takes me. The picture to the right of the screen is one of many cover ideas (this being my favourite at the moment). It is a fictional memoir (or realistic fiction, depending on how each reader may view it).  July Camp NaNoWriMo was really exciting as I got to be Cabin Mum (or Mumma Bear). What a wonderful experience it was getting to know other Christian writers, sharing virtual coffees and cakes, snuggling around an imaginary campfire, singing and strumming, and realising that I am not alone.

I am also studying a certificate of Editing and Proofreading, and wading through the sixth edition of the Style Manual. Hopefully, I will be finished by Christmas and able to focus more on my writing. I am currently developing my website/blog which I’m aiming to fill with poems or short stories. My blog is meant to touch upon various aspects of life and how God’s word influences them. I hope to be inspired with the right words to capture you. Next year after my course is out of the way, I shall begin work on the first draft of my next book. It will be a work of narrative non-fiction of which I am extremely excited about.

  1. HOW DOES YOUR WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS IN YOUR GENRE?

As a novice writer, that is a difficult question to answer. I don’t believe at this stage that my writing is that different other than the fact that it has my own personal stamp on it. I write from my heart as most writers do, however, my heart is unique.

  1. WHY DO YOU WRITE OR CREATE WHAT YOU DO?

I have always had a passion for reading good stories. I love to read them, tell them and now I have this burning desire to put those little gems down on paper (or on screen for those with an e-reader or tablet). I have actually been writing in one form or another since I was quite young, but now it would be nice to share some stories with the rest of the world. I daydream a lot. dreamy-cloudsSo many story ideas sprout from these daydreams. I’ve been in trouble throughout most of my life for this delightful habit of constantly drifting off with the fairies. I was born on February 24, so what can I say? Dreaming is good.

I have always held fast to a strong faith, but in recent years circumstances made me question a lot of details about my life, and have consequently brought me closer to Our Lord. These days my faith has changed, for the better, I believe. I now have a relationship with Jesus; He is my best friend, my comforter and protector – my absolute world. So why do I write and create what I do?  It is simple really, my pen is guided by God’s love and grace, illuminated by the light of His Holy Spirit; and I allow Him to show me what He wants me to share with others. Reading, but especially writing completes me. It is all I have ever wanted to do.

  1. HOW DOES YOUR WRITING/CREATIVE PROCESS WORK?

Hmmm, process – do I have one? Yes of course I do, but I wish I could tell you that I am super organised, plotting out each scene, developing my characters before sitting in front of my laptop – sigh. Most writers would tell you that they are a combination of organised planners (plotters) and running by the seat of their pants (pantsers) writers. Balance is good. Often I go mad, pick up my notebook and do some planning, but mostly I am a pantser – guilty as charged. I am also known as “last minute Jo’Anne” or “eleventh hour Jo”.  I am even writing this the night before it is due to be published. So in a nutshell, I am a crazy, passionate pantser who thrives on stress. Yes, the last minute or moments can be extremely motivating. My very best ideas and thoughts usually come in the wee small hours of the morning (notepad is on my bedside table); also inconveniently loads of ideas and stories come to me while in the bathroom. I really must invest in a waterproof writing pad. Seriously though, I am my most creative when writing with a pen on notepaper; I don’t know why, but the words just seem to flow better. Of course, they get changed around again when I am feeding them into the computer. One thing is for certain, when I have my writer’s hat on, I am not present, not available for anyone or anything – just my story, poem, blog or book baby.

The next writer to take part in this awesome blog tour is Robyn Harbour.

robyn-harbourRobyn, along with her husband Russell, served as a full-time missionary in Vanuatu for three years. Based in Inverloch, Victoria, Australia, both continued to minister throughout the islands of the South Pacific, speaking at conferences, Pastor’s Retreats, and Sunday School conferences for another four years. They have both been happily retired since February 2015.

Beyond the Palm Trees” is Robyn’s first published book, published by Ark House Press.

Robyn continues to maintain many beautiful and valuable friendships with local indigenous people, who have shared their stories and experiences with her.

To find out more about Robyn, her writing and her fabulous ministries, please look out for her post on this blog tour next Monday, August 24th, 2015.

You’ll find Robyn at www.robynharbour.com

Originally published on my Just Jo’Anne blog, August 2015

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