A Deliciously Definitive Demolition (An Easter Contemplation)

A Deliciously Definitive Demolition (An Easter Contemplation)

(Note: Mild Trigger Potential: Mental Illness, Grief, Loss, Abandonment, Childhood Trauma)

A dear friend phoned me last Sunday to ask how I was going, post-surgery. She’d been thinking about me for a few days … it was lovely to reconnect and a true blessing to have an empathetic listening ear. But … how was she doing? “Thanks for asking,” she said. You see, her empathy was born of her own set of struggles which, like mine, had left her feeling isolated, lonely … and disconnected.

There was that word again—disconnected—cycling through my contemplations in a cycle that whirred into action shortly after I said I’d participate in this Easter synchroblog.

Disconnected. What had that to do with Easter? Wasn’t Easter a time to reconnect? With family? With friends? With faith?


I remembered the title of Chapter 13 in my novel, Licence to Die (GRUnGE.001):


Ben’s heart skittered. He stepped back, closer to the anchor …

Through a muffled wash of words, he heard, ‘… multiple fatalities …’

‘No! God, no. Please.’ Ben’s prayer bounced off Vaig’s bland expression, the floor, the walls, the ceiling and heaven itself.

‘Would you like me to call a relative or friend, so you’re not alone?’ Torino’s voice sounded distant. Disconnected.

Like him.

The next page continues:

Ben retreated into the empty, anchored space behind him, overwhelmed and drowning. Why, Father? Why? Why have you forsaken me? His own heart bled words from a lifetime of Good Friday sermons.

 (Excerpts from pages 49 and 50) 

It’s no coincidence Ben’s disconnection occurs on Good Friday … the day we remember Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man, the One who ‘came to seek and to save the lost’ (Luke 19:10 NIV). Ben’s own disconnection from family drives his determination to find and rescue Mac, another character tragically disconnected from family, held hostage in a dodgy witness protection scheme.

Being separated from a loving parent, or child, or sibling, is hard … at any age … at any time. During special holiday celebrations like Christmas and Easter, along with the flood of happy memories (or deep regrets), grief also likes to invite itself to dinner.  

Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother and her sister … When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then He said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” So from that hour, this disciple took her into his home. From John 19:25-27

My grandfather passed away when my mum was only four. Septicaemia set in after a fall from a horse broke his hip. He left in an ambulance … and did not return.

On the third day after my birth, my mother suffered a sudden severe mental health crisis requiring urgent medical intervention. Driven by fearful memories of her father’s fateful ambulance trip, she vehemently refused to relinquish me or get into the ambulance—until her eldest sister arrived. Believing she, too, would never return, my mum ‘gave me’ to my aunt who received me as her own.

Thankfully, my mum recovered, though I understand it was almost six months before I returned home. My aunt often said, ‘Any longer, and I wouldn’t have been able to give you back.’

I loved and adored them both. They were strong, loving women of faith who lived their faith daily. Nevertheless, throughout my childhood and teen years I lived through the trauma of repeated disconnection when my mum’s illness required extended hospital treatment. During those years (and beyond) I often felt like a misfit, an outlier … distanced in a crowd … awkward amongst peers … times when I would ‘stand outside myself and observe’, a dissociative response I later learned was not uncommon amongst adoptees and others who had suffered childhood trauma. Strangely enough, the ability to observe comes in handy when you’re an author.

Unlike Ben, my fictional hero, I was not forsaken, but I was forgotten. I don’t think my beautiful mum ever fully overcame the grief of our early, and subsequent, separations. Nor did she fully accept that it wasn’t her fault. It wasn’t, but her regret and deep sorrow would resurface from time to time. On one such occasion she told me she’d realised something was dreadfully wrong with her when the hospital discharged us from the maternity ward—she’d turned to leave without me, then suddenly stopped and cried out, “Wait! I forgot the baby!” Through tears she asked me, “What mother forgets her own baby?”

Oh, how the devil loves to grasp any opportunity to oppress us; being ‘forgotten’ was a regular occurrence for me until Mum’s admission exposed a spiritual stronghold and it was broken. Which is why this gift, an original watercolour by my dear friend and fellow author, Nola Passmore, herself an adoptee, holds special significance for me:

Can you read the words Nola penned along the mountain tops? They are from Isaiah 49:15-16. “I will not forget you. See! I have you engraved on the palms of my hands.

The night my mum went home to be with her Lord and Saviour, another resident of the aged care facility who occupied the room next to hers, heard her singing hymns through the night and early hours of the morning …

I grieved her loss gently and over time … confident and content that she was reunited at last with both her fathers—the one she’d lost as a child, and the Heavenly Father she had trusted implicitly throughout her life, despite its many challenges.

Some years later, while visiting my aunt in hospital, as I hugged her, the comfort of her arms, and her sweet smell flooded my senses as they always did with an overwhelming sense of belonging; the body memories of my early months with her mothering remained forever strong. Her voice, gently murmuring, ‘my daughter’, in my ear, confirmed the connection was mutual.

Then came that terrible day … the phone rang. I answered it. My big sister broke the news—our aunt had passed away.


At that moment, I heard a primordial wail; where had it come from? As I stood beside myself, I realised that gut-wrenching cry had been mine, triggered by the agony of sudden, irreversible separation tearing through my heart and soul.

My beloved took the phone as I collapsed in tears. At the time, both he and my sister reassured me mine was a natural response to the shock of the news … maybe it was. But this week, I finally understood the deeper level … with my aunt’s departure, the last protective, connective link to my earthly mothers had been severed. At that agonising moment I’d been … disconnected.

And my cyclone of thoughts surrounding this blog intensified …

When Adam and Eve rebelled against their Heavenly Father, who heard the primordial wail as their connection to God was severed? Who heard their tears when the intimacy they shared with God as He walked and talked with them in Eden was shredded?

What did the cry of the Father’s heart sound like? Did it rend both earth and sky that day?

Did it reverberate through millennia to be heard by the watchers at the cross when God’s Son, Jesus—who had heard that primordial cry—cried out himself in a loud voice, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? (Mat 27:46)  

Who heard God’s cry when death wrenched His beloved Son from Him in the greatest act of redemptive love ever known? The cry that shook earth and sky …


And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:50-54 NIV)

And, on the third day, was that cry finally swallowed up in victory as Christ, once and for all, wrenched a lost and fallen humanity from death’s grasp, so that all who believe on Him can reconnect for all eternity? He’s reaching out His open arms today, longing for the joy of our return. That’s the glorious, magnificent truth of the Easter message.

So, as we demolish those divinely delicious chocolate eggs this Easter, may our gratitude flow afresh for God the Father, Jesus Christ, His Beloved Son, and the Holy Spirit who raised Christ from the dead, demolishing once and for all, the disconnection of disobedience through His glorious restoration of eternal life.

Oh, did I mention that my mother’s name was Grace? And my aunt’s name was Eve? No? Then I’ll mention it now because their names reinforce the mystery and marvel of Easter: In His grace, God relinquished his beloved Christ child to Eve, the mother of humanity. And now, in grace, every child ever born can be restored to God. If that doesn’t pull an earth-shattering shout of joy from our lips … maybe it’s time to reconnect, for the first time, or in renewed passion, with the Son of God, the true Hero of Easter.

Are you ready?


Would you like to read more? These encouraging contemplations written by Christian friends and fellow bloggers are just a click away via the following links. Fresh faith-based perspectives like these are a great way to nurture your sense of connection. 

Easter through a female lens by Susan Barnes

Barabbas or Jesus? By Nola Lorraine

Easter: so much more than tradition by Virginia Wright

https://www.hisherd.com/our-stories/my-most-memorable-easter by Tamika Spaulding



It’s Spring Again!

It’s Spring Again!

It’s Spring Again!


My windows and doors

have been closed all winter as

hermit-like, I shunned

its bluster.

As winter weather wanes,

westerly winds bring

dry heat,

dust haze.

Ants gather at my kitchen sink,

a million and more

form a black

magnetic maze.

Frustrated, I forget

the sixth commandment and


crush, kill.

The sickly stench of formic acid

fills the air. I reach for

the dust pan, and

air freshener.


My windows and doors

have been closed all winter.

I open them and invite

Spring inside.

She obliges, bringing Jasmine and

Peach Blossom with her.

I breathe deeply, and

step outside.

Spring blossoms attend my garden, refreshing my soul.



This blog post was originally published September 21, 2017.

As I was unable to transfer it directly to my new website, I’ve copied and pasted the comments from the original blog below.

4 Replies to “Mazzy’s Musings: It’s Spring Again!”


Nola Passmore says:

September 25, 2017 at 12:33 pm

Thanks for those musings, Mazzy. Love ‘magnetic maze’. Spring must truly be here because I massacred my first Huntsman spider of the year last night. Maybe he could have eaten your ants 🙂


Mazzy says:

September 25, 2017 at 12:48 pm

Haha! Shall I invite your Huntsman spiders over next time the ants visit? You could tuck them into your pocket while you drive here. Or … not! Perhaps, you could just write a poem about them – moaning the massacre. 🙂


Adele says:

September 25, 2017 at 11:49 pm

What a breath of fresh air, Mazzy. The ‘magnetic maze’ also captured my imagination, perhaps even more because I spent time this afternoon removing such a maze. And so lingers the acrid taint of formic acid … LOL. Ah, spring and all its goodness. Thanks!


Mazzy says:

September 26, 2017 at 7:47 pm

Thanks Adele. Gotta love ants for their industry and persistence, if not for their presence in the wrong places.

Poking the Muse: Weird, Wacky, or Wonderfully Worthwhile?

Poking the Muse: Weird, Wacky, or Wonderfully Worthwhile?

Poking the Muse: Weird, Wacky, or Wonderfully Worthwhile?

The Muse can be a fickle and cantankerous beast. Give it a deadline and it will run away and hide behind any number of obstacles and excuses, be it a flu virus, a family crisis, or the sudden need to binge watch six seasons of a thirty-year-old television series because, you know, you can never experience too much historic authenticity in research mode … (a worthy cause according to The Right Honourable Idle Pro Crastination). Yet that same muse will shove its stubborn creativity under your nose when you’re trying to grocery shop, work the 9 to 5, drive a car, cook dinner, shower, catch up on desperately needed sleep, or during any number of awkward and inappropriate moments.

Despite her unpredictable (and unreliable) nature, I’ve learned to truly appreciate my creative writing muse. Her weird, wild, wasteful, wistful, and wonderful moods have inspired some worthwhile words over the years—not to mention several truly wacky ideas.

But hey, I love her anyway.

When we first met, I thought my muse was amazing—funny, clever, sophisticated—and, with my typing prowess, we had to be a match made in heaven. First love …

is blind.

Truly great relationships don’t just happen. Ours was no exception. Our relationship needed nurturing. It took time and effort for us to discover each other and to develop an understanding of each other’s hopes and dreams. It demanded tolerance, patience, persistence, perseverance, and mutual respect (we agreed Alliterers Anonymous meetings didn’t work for either of us).

We spent our courtship hours creating quick responses to writing prompts for uni, socialising with other writers (and their muses), dreaming and scribbling together, chatting about all the wonderful places we could visit, all the friends we’d make along the way, arguing over which of us would take the rap for the characters we planned to kill off, choosing cream and white sheets to make up our literary bed, picking out names for our book babies …

Licence To Die GRUnGE.001

Though I speak tongue-in-cheek, for a writer, the relationship between inspiration and actual, useful text on a page requires active encouragement, engagement, and frequently, some outside assistance (like education and counselling). Poems, flash fiction, memoirs, novels, informative and/or inspirational works of non-fiction don’t magically arrive, perfect and mature, on the first draft. It takes informed effort to transform ideas into useful and entertaining literature. For this reason, I say kudos to every writer who perseveres to improve their craft.

But today, I don’t want to focus on the hard slog of editing and perfecting. I simply want to rejoice in that crazy, delightful ‘something’ that calls and inspires people to write. I want to celebrate the huge variety of writing styles, voices, forms, and expressions arising from the relationship between muse and writer. I want to sing and splash around in the bubbling flow that springs to life when the muse turns on the faucet. I want to thank God for it. Thank him for the fun and the frustration alike. Thank him for the solid, worthy ideas that translate into powerful text. And thank him for the absurd, quirky ideas that remind me to embrace the momentum of words and enjoy the ride.

Speaking of quirky ideas, 10% of the marks for some of my creative writing university subjects were earned by completing ‘Quick Writing Exercises’. Students were required to read the prompt, write for ten minutes by the clock, post the piece to the forum, and engage in mutual feedback and discussion. I found the challenge daunting at first, but also very fruitful, because it taught me to think beyond the obvious, to stretch my imagination, to get words on the page without stressing about their initial quality (big ask for a pedant and perfectionist) and, ultimately, to not only discover my ‘voice’ but to trust and treasure it. But you know what? During one such exercise, a curious character invaded my psyche with such presence and force, I knew I would have to tell Mac’s story, and Licence to Die (GRUnGE.001) was conceived.

Like all good relationships, I believe our connection to the writing craft grows in quality as we invest in it and strengthen it through engagement. If your relationship with the muse is a tad stale, if you’ve been neglecting it (willingly or reluctantly) of late and it needs a bit of a jump start, or if your muse has been persnickety, hiding behind excuses when it should be making you a cup of tea, perhaps it’s time to try a quick writing exercise or two. All it takes is a prompt not unlike the example* I’ve posted below (or a word, an image, the poke of an umbrella …) and ten minutes of your time. It’s a small but invaluable investment for such an important relationship don’t you think?

One of my favourite uni prompts was this:

*Write a piece that begins with the words, ‘I write this sitting in the kitchen sink …’

The variety of responses posted to the forum ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous, but it was a great deal of fun. Here’s what I wrote way back then. Why not give it a go? If you’re game …

Sitting in the Kitchen Sink

‘I write this sitting in the kitchen sink’ is an intriguing opening to a story. It raises so many questions at so many levels.

At level one, I consider the grammatical structure and its implications; if the absence of a full stop and capital letter is intentional and not accidental, the introduction proposes several truly mind-boggling possibilities. For example, I can envisage a scenario which quite reasonably puts me in the sink. I’ve cleaned the gable windows above my kitchen sink before and very nearly come a cropper. A landing in the kitchen sink would be a more viable option for survival than a continuance of movement downwards to the floor.

If, however, my comfortably large posterior is actually lodged in my kitchen sink, I doubt that I would have the peace of mind or inclination, given the unlikely and clearly uncomfortable circumstances, to engage myself with pen and paper and wile away several minutes, hours or days in creative composition. I suspect my first, and only, priority would be to dislodge myself from my constricted circumstances with as much haste and as little pain as possible.

At level two, conditional upon the previous assumption of grammatical correctness of course, another possible scenario involves my accidental exposure to some strange beam of light which has transformed me instantly into a midget. Or a teacup. But teacups don’t have hands, so the ‘writing’ part of the opening becomes problematic in this instance also. Perhaps the beam allows me special new skills, such as the ability to project an image across the room onto a piece of paper or onto an interactive whiteboard using purely the power of thought. That could be cool.

Of course, there’s level three, where I might not actually be me. I could be someone else. Or something else. That raises even more mind-boggling options. I could be a cockroach in search of a tasty morsel left dangling on a dirty dinner plate. If so, I am not only intelligent, but extremely skilful—and I have access to miniature writing implements, unless I intend to cocky-poo my message on the illicit bacon rind which should be residing in the bin.

I could be the mouse that I once clobbered with a rolling pin and then drowned in the kitchen sink. (Ick! Disgusting, right?) I doubt that in the midst of all that violence, with the threat of imminent death looming, I would have the presence of mind to write, not even my last will and testament. Hmm … Imagine that …

‘To my darling great-great-grand-nephew, Horatio Mousling, I hereby bequeath my summer nest in the pile of left-over roofing insulation in the rear right-hand corner of the Brown’s garage. To my cousin, Katrina Ratspring, I leave the directions to the dog-bowl at 57 Evinrude Avenue, St. Kilda …’

Sadly, given my current predicament, the creative juices just aren’t flowing as swiftly as they should. Perhaps I should play it safe—and punctuate. Therefore:

I write this. Sitting in the kitchen sink are the questionably salubrious leftovers of my husband’s first adventurous exploration into the world of gastronomic creation. I have to say, for a first effort, the dinner didn’t taste too bad. Even the aftertaste was reasonable. After the third and fourth regurgitations however, I have begun to suspect that something was not altogether kosher.

I would rise from my chair at the kitchen table and call an ambulance, but the slightest movement results in another violent altercation with my digestive system. Thus, I write this, just in case I don’t survive, so that any investigation of my demise will be straightforward.

I write this so you will know there was absolutely no ill or harm present in my husband’s intent. He’s just never tried to cook anything more adventurous than a fried egg before! 

As for the lengthy verbosity of my report, I simply offer, in my defence, that I never do my best writing when I’m throwing up.

© Mazzy Adams

(Adapted from my original blog posted  Christian Writers Downunder September 2019.)

Big or Small, Make the Most of it All

Big or Small, Make the Most of it All

Big or Small, Make the Most of it All.

The email lands in my inbox filled with punchy phrases designed to provoke and spread excitement about the next big conference in a major US city. It’s only a plane flight away but that’s a fanciful flight too far for my budget.

I press delete.

The state or national writers centre informs me of upcoming events. All very interesting. But the scheduled times clash with other commitments. There is a webinar but that’s not the same as being there …


Incoming: A reminder about the early bird discount period for the Omega Writers Conference …

If only …

I spend several days organising, if not holding, a personal pity party as obstacles that will preclude my attending pile up: The timing’s all wrong because it clashes with the crucial final countdown for our year twelve students and, for their sake, I need to be here more than I need to be there. The accommodation costs are too great a challenge to the budget bottom line, especially given my current mobility issues … (sadly, a tent in a camping ground is not an option.)

I know how valuable that conference will be. Heck, the main speaker is a Mystery/Thriller guru and I’d love to soak in all that experience-based wisdom. Sigh.

Instead, I pray blessings and safety for those who can make it and hope to hear more of their experiences down the track.

We’ve all been there, longing to gather with like-minded souls, fellow creatives who understand the word-driven psyche. We desperately want to participate, contribute, and make the most of any, and all, opportunities to connect, learn, promote, celebrate, and, er, commiserate. Let’s face it—there’s a unique blessing that comes when chatting to someone who UNDERSTANDS. When I say to a fellow writer, ‘He says, “Just put it up as an ebook”,’ and her spontaneous laughter tells me she KNOWS there’s no ‘just’ about it. She KNOWS it’s not that simple.

To be fair, pre-pandemic, I enjoyed the enormous blessing of sharing these experiences and more at our Omega Writers Toowoomba Retreats. In terms of numbers, we’re not exactly huge. But in my calendar, it’s super significant. Each time, this gathering has been a wellspring of blessing and encouragement to me in my spiritual walk and my writing journey—even the year I sported a plaster cast over a broken wrist.

But if the truth be told, the reason this ‘small’ event is such an enormous blessing to me arises from a plethora of tiny moments when I’ve been able to interact with writer friends throughout the year:

  • birthday celebration dinners with fellow Quirky Quills
  • gluing thank you cards and assembling welcome packs with fellow event organiser, Janelle Moore
  • spending an afternoon cheering on fellow author, Jessica Kate, as she shared her experiences breaking into the US market
  • learning ‘How to Avoid Literary Speed Bumps’ at a workshop by fellow author, and editor, Nola Lorraine
  • the spontaneous encouragement of a monthly writers’ chat n share in Pamela’s cosy sunroom—especially when new-to-the-experience-but-longing-to-learn friends, (now no longer strangers), join in
  • or the crying-with-laughter emoji posted by a Facebook sympathiser that makes my day.

A hundred and one little moments and short experiences combine to create a gigantic collective fellowship of encouragement (with the odd nag to get on with the business of writing thrown in for good measure; oh yeah, we should do some of that.)

Whether we’re writing a six-word short story, a three line haiku, flash fiction, blog, devotion, self-help treatise, novella, memoir, novel, epic saga, or multi-book series, a few moments of mutual fellowship and encouragement can make a huge difference.

So next time you feel the disappointment at having to let a grand opportunity pass you by, settle your soul with an engaging moment …  post an emoji, phone a friend, grab a picnic lunch with a critique partner, post a star rating or book review on GoodReads or Amazon, or read or write an encouraging blog.

Above all, be comforted knowing that your little contribution to mutual interaction goes a very long way to make somebody’s day.

Maybe even your own.

Have you experienced, or imparted, a ‘blessed moment’ recently? Big, small, or minuscule, positive connections strengthen and inspire us all.

Mazzy Adams: Q & A

Mazzy Adams: Q & A

Q & A: From Mazzy Adams CWD Member Interview 02/2019
Question 1: Tells us three things about who you are and where you come from.

Who am I?

I’m an evolving story—with a title change along the way. I have poetry, short fiction, creative non-fiction, and spiritual devotions published under my real name and as Mazzy Adams, the penname I adopted about four years ago. I’m also a word addict. I am totally hooked on those incredible lettered delicacies that pepper pages, tantalise tongues, trip through teeth, evoke a million images and emotions, flood curious minds with knowledge and wisdom and release springs of love, hope, compassion and understanding from responsive hearts. Not to mention, words can be oh so much FUN to play with!

Photo above: My shape poem, Maple Music,was listed as chosen by the judge in the 2013 Poetica Christi Press Poetry competition and published in their 2014 Anthology, A Lightness of Being

Where do I come from?

I’m Queensland born and bred and, after a five year dalliance with Northern Beaches Sydney, New South Wales, my husband and I settled in Toowoomba to raise our three amazing children (I look at them and marvel). I’ve also been blessed with wonderful grandchildren. Currently, I help my Maths/Science genius husband support my writing habit by working as a creative and academic writing tutor and manager in our Education Consultancy.

Question 2: Tell us about your writing (or editing/illustrating etc).  What do you write and why?

What do I write?

I’m a PAGE—Poet, Author, Genre Rebel, and Encourager—or Essayist if you prefer. At times, I’m PAGES, either because I’m writing Songs, or Scripts, or Spiritual devotions, or I’m being long-winded, at which time the E stands for Editing and the S stands for Strike that/ Slash and burn/ Stalking typos and grammar gremlins or Scratching my head and tearing my hair out.

I’ve also written a New Adult Thriller. (Throw Ludlum’s Jason Bourne into a bowl with a metaphysical worldview. Sprinkle with quirky acronyms and allegory. Add a dash of Calvin and Hobbes’ Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat’s philosophical humour. Bake with a fertile imagination. Enjoy.)

Despite my concerns, the suspense of writing the novel didn’t kill me so I expect I’ll survive the Indie Publishing learning curve. Then, Licence to Die will be a living, breathing, deadly intriguing debut novel available in paperback and e-book—before 2019 expires. (Edit: I did survive; LTD finally hit the stores in August, 2022.)

Why do I write?

Because I can. And because I can’t not write. The urge to collate words with intention and purpose has become both a passion and a divine commission. And it’s FUN! (Yeah, even when I’m tearing my hair out.)

Question 3: Who has read your work? Who would you like to read it?

Readers of the dozen Australian, US, International print and online anthologies in which my poetry, CNF, short fiction and devotions have been published.

Also, my compassionate, encouraging, and helpful Quirky Quills writing companions. Several Beta Readers and my Editor have read the novel as a WIP.

While my children were young, I managed to woo and entertain enthusiastic audiences with my drama sketches and puppet plays (especially during the lolly meteor showers and dust storms), but technically they were hearers and viewers, not readers.

Who are my target readers for Licence to Die (and other works-in-progress I’m percolating)?

That mysterious and wondrous group recently recognised in their own right as New Adults; 16-25ish, they’ll have conquered—or be in the process of conquering—the trials and tribulations of senior schooling, university study, earning a living, or generally nailing Introductory Adulting—or giving it a good bash. Also, Advanced Adulting students (25-106ish) who remember what it was like to be a young adult, and can cope with adulting being used as a noun and a verb, not just an adjective (You’ll be relieved to know I haven’t nouned or verbed the word ‘adulting’ in the novel).

Question 4: Tell us something about your process. What challenges do you face? What helps you the most?

Process? It usually starts with a couple of words, a line of poetry, or a sentence that intrudes upon my everyday activities or my attempts to go to sleep and gives me no rest until I’ve written it down. Many of my published pieces (and my novel) began life as ‘quick writing exercises’ for my Creative Writing degree. I focus on the ideas that have promise and those that are downright demanding till I give in and write them, like Licence to Die. I either go with the flow, or formulate a plan which I modify, as flow and coherency directs.  

Challenges? The poet in me likes to slip ‘writerly’ masterpieces into the mouths and minds of my characters which I then delete for POV authenticity. Sigh! Like so many writers, balancing the financial budget also creates challenges.

I am most helped by the assurance (and reassurance) (and re-reassurance) of the Holy Spirit that this is what he wants me to do. Frequently, he uses other Christian Writers as his mouthpiece in this regard.


Question 5: What is your favourite Writing Craft Book and why?

I found Manuscript Makeover by Elizabeth Lyon invaluable in managing and simplifying the complex structure of my novel. I also appreciate the wealth of quality wisdom and advice available online. In terms of influence, I found Janice Elsheimer’s The Creative Call helped me realise the hand of God had written ‘writer’ into my DNA long before I learned how to read his writing.

Question 6: If you were to give a shout-out to a CWD author, writer, editor or illustrator – who would they be?

Absolutely, Nola Passmore—writer, editor, Quirky Quill and my most significant influencer. Some people won’t let you down. Nor will they let you let yourself down. Nola is one of these rare and precious friends.

Also, Iola Goulton—not only for her excellent work as copy editor for my novel, and her informative blogs, newsletters and social media links to all things writing, editing, publishing and marketing, but as a significant early influencer who, along with Anusha Atukorala, sent me out from my first Writers Conference believing I had writer’s stuffing inside me—and it wasn’t all fluff. (Now you’re singing, ‘Winnie the Pooh, Winnie the Pooh, funny little tubby all stuffed with fluff’, aren’t you?)

Question 7: What are your writing goals for 2019? How will you achieve them?

Indie Publish Licence to Die, acquiring new and necessary skills in the process. Start pushing up the word count for the next novel. I hope to achieve this one step and one day at a time.

Question 8: How does your faith impact and shape your writing?

I’ve been a Christian believer from my childhood. I survived life’s wild, stormy weather long enough to become a writer because Jesus Christ is my anchor. We’re tethered together in love and trust. Just as nothing can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus, so nothing can separate Christ in me from the words that I write. Sometimes that connection is overt and obvious. Sometimes it is as inconspicuous and deeply layered as the rock beneath the ocean’s currents. 

As Galatians 2:20 says, ‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.’ 

That sounds like a licence to die, don’t you think? And also freedom to live (the ultimate sequel). 

Scripture quoted from: Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Through the Maze

Through the Maze

Through the Maze

As a child, I loved working my way through fun activity books, ones with colour-by-numbers or dot-to-dots. If I followed the instructions, a completed picture would emerge. Seeing my efforts come to fruition was such a thrill.

My all-time favourites were the MAZES! Helping Fido find his bone, or helping the lost bunny find his way home was more than fun; it was satisfying. I confess I rigorously planned the route in my head before my pencil touched the page, so I wouldn’t end up drawing messy detours.

Those fun activities reinforced important life lessons, like the wisdom of following directions, the blessing of assisting others, and the value of planning. These principles have helped me negotiate life with satisfaction and some success. They inform my efforts and habits as a writer.  

Writing, like many of life’s activities, can be fun, but it is not always child’s play. At times, connecting the dots is complicated and messy. Putting the ‘right’ colours in the ‘right’ places doesn’t always work out, especially when numbers are missing, or your green felt-pen runs dry halfway through the leaves. Fido bites your finger on the way to his bone. Or, like Alice in Wonderland, you chase the bunny and fall down a rabbit hole into a whole world of confusing encounters and unexpected challenges.

When it comes to life’s mazes, some walls are so high, planning the route is impossible. Dead ends leave you backtracking, or stuck in a corner, puzzled, stunned, confused and exhausted. Where’s the fun in that?

During the seven-plus years (!) of writing, editing, and upskilling so I could indie publish my debut novel, Licence to Die (GRUnGE.001), I’ve had plenty to hinder my writing progress. Midway, I had major surgery, with complications that injured my brain and left me with ‘neural neglect’, a condition where my brain lost contact with some of the nerves on the left side of my body. Two weeks after that, I discovered my left wrist was broken (how did that happen?).

I spent months stuck in a confusing maze, struggling to link the simplest of thoughts together; the big picture eluded me completely. I found myself thinking thoughts like … I don’t have to write. No-one’s making me. I could just … stop.

Then again, where’s the fun in that?

Writing may not be child’s play, but it does bring joy and satisfaction. Writing creates images with words. It orders our thinking and colours our world. It helps us connect the dots when it comes to important issues of life, faith, purpose and destiny. Writing helps us make sense of the journey, keeps us on track, and moves us forward. When we write right, we help our readers enjoy these things too.

Pushing onward through that frustrating maze produced surprising results for me too. Continuing to write whilst also developing new design and technology skills, helped rewire my brain, creating new pathways where ideas could flow. I reviewed my novel with fresh eyes and perspective and actually enjoyed giving it an overhaul. Although the messiness of life hindered my progress and satisfaction for a time, it also gave me breathing space, and permission to go easy on myself for a while. Most importantly, it reminded me that writing truly is worthwhile. And … it’s fun!

(Adapted from my original version posted on Christian Writers Downunder September 2017)

Photo images from Pixabay.