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Sunday, 23 April 2017

God keeps His promises - by Helen Murray

This is something I wrote nearly five years ago, and I stumbled upon it a few days ago. Well, I say that I wrote it, but reading it back after all these years I have quite another idea where those words came from. I read it again with a sense of awe and amazement. My heavenly Father was there then, and He is here now.

God keeps His promises. He does what He says He will do. If you've ever doubted it, please listen to me: I know He does. 

He keeps His promises.



Dear Helen

Did you think I didn't see? 

I gave you a glimpse of your future self and I watched as you gazed with such longing at the woman that I showed you.   It was to encourage you; to give you hope. To reassure you that we have business, you and I, and I will not let you down. There will be a day when you look back and realise how far you have come.

Do you think that I don't understood what you were going through? On your face I saw pain and envy and so much sadness. I saw the things you worked hard to hide - I looked into your heart and I saw the depth of your shame, and the bitterness that you still suffer while this woman is free. I see everything, you know. I see the hidden things.

My daughter, I know you so well. You know that, but you still get angry with me sometimes because you think that I don't understand you. You ask me why I don't step in and sort out all the troubles that you hold so tightly in your fists and you question my love for you. No, don't protest - I hear you say that you accept my love, but you think that my love is a frail, pathetic, limited thing. 

I love you with a love that existed from before the beginning of time. My love has survived much greater challenges than anything you throw at it and still I go on loving. I am Love. You don't believe how much I love you because your capacity to give and receive love is tiny in comparison with mine. You limit it still further by refusing to believe the truth about yourself. 

I made you. I am the Lord, and I made the lions and the trees and the penguins and the pine-cones and all the things that you find appealing, beautiful and awe-inspiring - and I made you. I made every bone in your body, every cell and hair on your head, and I was pleased with what I made. I didn't look at my daughter and have the smallest regret. I smiled when I saw you, and as you sleep at night I gaze at you and I sing over you with the same tenderness with which you regard your daughters.

I love you, precious one. I love you just as you are. You remind me of my Son; you're more like him all the time. Don't keep batting my love away with polite thanks and disbelief. Let it sink in and transform you. It will transform you, you know. If you were to grasp just an inkling of the breadth and depth of my love, it would change your life.

You do not disappoint me. I love you with a love that will not let go. Not ever. Don't compare me with the people who have let you down in the past. You don't have to be wary of me. You don't have to protect that sore place deep in your heart; let me in. When I touch it, I will heal it.

I am the Healer. 

I know that you're not perfect. I know that you've made mistakes and I know that you will make more. That's alright. I don't stop loving you when you get things wrong. Not for a moment. Nor do you have to strive to get back into my good books; you can't put any of it right on your own - that's what my grace is for.

Listen to me, there is enough grace to go round.

My Son took care of that. There's always enough to cover you. I don't keep any record of the rubbish in your life; on the contrary, the things I pin on the walls of heaven are my snapshots of your face turned towards me, your hands reaching for heaven, your baby steps, your love-notes. Not one of those moments is lost - I treasure them all.

I grieve for the pain you put yourself through. I see how hard you try and I know you are so hard on yourself when things go wrong. You panic and lose your focus and if you can't do everything perfectly you are tempted to give up and stop trying.  I want you to believe that my love is not dependent on anything that you can or can't do; I love you because you are my precious daughter I could not love you more if you were better at this, or achieved that; I am so proud of who you are, right now.

You listen to the voices in your head when they tell you that you're worthless and inadequate and you believe the lies. One of those lies is that you would be more acceptable to me if you were thinner. My Spirit in you will soon teach you to hear how ridiculous that belief is, and then you will take your first steps to being the woman you long to be, but there is more that we must do before then.

Don't let the voice of the evil one overpower the hope that you have. You let that hope be eroded by self-doubt and self-accusation and perfectionism. I don't expect you to be perfect; I can use your imperfections! In your world people are desperate to give the impression that they are completely in control, but control is as much an illusion as self-sufficiency. Again and again I see the relief on people's faces when they find that they are not alone. You are good at this; I have given you a unique gift and I want you to give that gift freely to others. Be open with people and show your struggles and triumphs and the things that I teach you because it is in such honesty that people see Me and believe.

You fear failure, but I am not limited by your definition of success. Every time you fall I reach down and offer my hand and every time you take it and get to your feet again the angels sing. It's a beautiful, beautiful song.

Don't worry about that other woman. I showed her to you to give you peace; to help you believe that I am not finished with you yet. I have a plan for you, my daughter, and I will not give up on you. There is so much that we can do together.  One day you will be that woman, and I will give you a glimpse looking backward at who you are now. You will be amazed at my faithfulness and my gentleness. 

Don't worry about what might happen tomorrow, next month or next year. Don't worry about the road ahead, because I'll walk with you. In good times we'll celebrate together, and believe me, I'm a good person to have at a party!  In bad times I'll hold you tight and carry you in my arms, but you and me, we'll keep on walking. Don't look at the woman you'll one day be and despair of ever getting there. We'll do it one step at a time. I know you can do it. 

Be brave, little one. 

Here's what I want you to do. I want you to focus on JOY. Look for it. Ask me to show it to you - I will give you eyes to see. You have it in your reach but too often you turn inwards defensively and focus on your hurts and disappointments and you lick your wounds.

You have all you need. You are fully equipped. If I think that you need something else, something new, then I will give it to you. I will never see you go into battle poorly armed.

You have all you need, and I'm coming with you anyway. I will never leave your side; you are not alone. When the voice in your head tells you that you are lonely, overrule it. Again, I say, you are not alone. I am here. 

I AM all you need. 

Let my Holy Spirit into your heart and your mind and resist the worry, the anxiety and the fear. 

When you feel overwhelmed, say, 'No. I have the Lord.'

Say it after me: 'No. I have the Lord.' 

This is truth. 

With my love. Believe it. 


God




Helen Murray lives in Derbyshire with her husband, two daughters and her mum.

As well as writing and reading, she drinks coffee, takes photographs, swims, breeds Aloe Vera plants and collects ceramic penguins.

Helen has a blog: Are We Nearly There Yet? where she writes about life and faith.

You can also find her here:

Pinterest: @HelenMMurray
Twitter: @helenmurray01

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Take Your Seat by Emily Owen


I recently spent a couple of weeks with my right hand in a bandage.  Following surgery, my hand needed to stay protected and immobile while it healed. It goes without saying that I am right-handed. My left hand valiantly tried to learn to do all the things it never has to do by itself, such as wield a toothbrush (a surprisingly difficult thing to do with a non-dominant hand) or fasten buttons.

And, due to the impeccable thing called ‘timing’, I had a manuscript that needed to be checked.  As I laboriously and left-handedly looked up reference after reference in my bible (I prefer books with pages made of paper), I did ask myself on more than one occasion whether it had been necessary to include so many verses in my manuscript.

The manuscript is not overly long but it took the best part of two days to check.  I can’t tell you how many bible references I checked but definitely more than five.  I know this because I had five fingers to count on…

At the beginning of the two days, I was incredibly frustrated.  Things were taking so long.  As I settled into a new rhythm and pace, somewhere along the line I realised my frustration had disappeared.  I also realised I was actually enjoying being forced to slow down. Forced to be patient. Forced to sit and wait as my left hand fumbled with pages. It gave me time to reflect more on what I was doing. Time to just be.

Recently, I was on a train and I saw this sign:





‘Take your seat before the train arrives.’

In my experience, most people on a train do not take their seat as the train pulls into the station.  They (and I) stand up to gather luggage, put on coats, start towards the door; all the while in front of a sign advising them to sit down.

One of the passages my left-hand looked up was psalm 23:

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul….

It seems to me that this, unlike what happened with the train sign, is not a psalm to be noticed and ignored.
It's a ‘take your seat before the train arrives’ psalm.

Or maybe ‘take your seat before the manuscript deadline arrives’.

Or maybe ‘take your seat before getting more and more annoyed as you stare at a blank screen for hours, waiting for inspiration’.

Or maybe ‘take your seat before facing whatever it might be’.

Or even ‘take your seat for two seconds as you dash from A to B’.

Take time to stop, to pray, to reflect, to be refreshed…so that you make it. 

You arrive. 

Or, to put it a bandage-related way, you ‘wind up at’ (!) wherever your Shepherd leads you.

Friday, 21 April 2017

We've been on holiday..............by Ruth Johnson

There is a time 
for everything, 
and a season 
for every activity
under heaven.  

Ecclesiastes 3:1








In March we made our third trip to New Zealand visiting Brian’s two cousins who, with their parents,  had emigrated in 1962.

On our first trip in 1990 we had permission to take our children out of school for a month, it being seen as a one-off educational event.  And making the most of it we linked the time to the Christmas holidays.  We based ourselves with the family in Auckland, and toured the south island.  Christchurch looked very English with its huge church, market stalls, and river punting. In Queenstown’s we enjoyed ‘safe’ white water rafting, took the paddle steamer across the lake to a sheep station to see the shearing and wool processed into garments.  And to enjoy a boat trip from Milford Sound to the Tasmin Sea we opted for amazing, but  bumpy flights over the mountains in a six-seater Cessner. 
Back on North Island we stayed with different families from our UK church who lived in towns from windy Wellington with its hillside houses to Lake Taupo where from the original bridge our son did a bungee jump. In Rotorua we experienced Maori culture, mud pools, geysers and rode the Luge (rubber sledges down a steep hill) which I found terrifying!   After several days in Auckland we took the one main road north to stay in Paihia in the Bay of Islands. There we took a boat trip delivering post and supplies to the few people and  sheep on the remote islands and drove north to Cape Reinga and along the 70 mile beach.    

Our second visit in 2001 was combined with Australia, and with two weeks to reconnect with family.  In our third visit we wanted to do the same and meet new additions to the family, but to do so we had to travel around the north island.  Except for cows replacing sheep, not much had changed since our first visit..  The majority of roads are quiet with one lane in each direction and towns barely changed from the 1920's.  However, farmland is now being sold for housing. You buy a 'section', design your house and have it built. Each has every modern convenience, is unique in style and together form an attractive estate.

Farmland was sectioned off in 1999 to build a very different kind estate, the village  'The Shire’ of the Tolkien books. The original thirty-nine hobbit holes along with the bridge were made out of untreated timber, polystrene and ply which was later dismantled. No-one could have predicted the films success and ten years later it was rebuilt out of permanent materials.  Since 2011 has been open to the public as 'Hobbiton' the Movie Set.  The sheep farmer is said, for use of his land, to receive 20% of the profit. We estimated at around £6,000,000 a year!   

In 1936 Tolkien was persuaded by his children to submit “The Hobbit” for publication.  When it was widely read in the 1960s they must have been thrilled, but no-one could have predicted the popularity of the sequel.  And Peter Jackson, although inspired to make the films, had no idea of the wealth and fame he, and others, would derive from the story. 

I came away encouraged.  We have no idea who will read what we write, who we will inspire while alive, and saw how God’s plans and purposes can extend long after death as the written word continues to touch hearts and open minds.


A Hobbit house facade, there are no interiors





Thursday, 20 April 2017

Called or not?



Unlike many, I don't mind going to the dentist, despite enduring, over the past few years, several unwelcome interventions, including the pulling of three teeth (happily not all at once.) The loss of teeth not only makes chewing less efficient but also serves as yet another reminder of advancing age. That I don't regard a trip to the chair with dread may be due to my faith in my dentist professionally (practically painless and ultra-swift extractions) but also because he is a very likeable man. In fact dental appointments are often the occasion for humorous banter. Some years ago - I don't remember what let up to this - I rather tactlessly exclaimed, 'I don't know how you can look in people's mouths all day long!' to which he replied, with a hurt expression, 'I see dentistry as a vocation.' No doubt he was serious, despite the frivolous tenor of our conversation, and I guess the same idealistic line may be taken by others in medical professions: even if only at first, they may be motivated by a desire to alleviate suffering and improve their patients' quality of life. As Christians most - all? - of us have a sense of vocation, even if only in a general way that we are called by God to follow him through our lives, striving to become more like Christ. But can we apply this to our writing?
Of course I appreciate the power and value of the written word, whether in the dissemination of facts and opinions or in the weaving of stories and poems - otherwise I wouldn't be a writer or a reader at all, presumably. But to describe what I do as a vocation is somehow embarrassing: am I not claiming for it something more than it merits? Am I -  horror of horrors - doing that most unBritish thing, blowing my own trumpet?
The problem may be compounded by our being not only writers but Christian writers. Even if our Christianity is not overtly on the page, no doubt our selection and treatment of a theme and our inner attitudes will leak out regardless. But even if I try to make my stories as authentic, well-crafted and enjoyable as I can, it's unlikely that any of my words will ever save someone's life - unlike, for example, a surgeon finishing a successful repair on a patient's heart. I realise there are different types and levels of calling; in the words of George Herbert's poem, 'Who sweeps a room as for thy laws Makes that and th'action fine.' But is there not a danger of calling something a vocation when it may simply be the thing we like doing most? Does God ask us to do things for which we have neither talent nor inclination, and if he does, how do we respond?
Oddly, I do have a sense of vocation in my writing, even though admitting this makes me squirm and mutter caveats. Unlike some perhaps more sensitive souls I have not received divine messages in any unequivocal way - except once, when I had the distinct sense, while beavering away on my first novel, of God saying, 'Do this for me.' However, I regard this less as a mandate-with-fanfare than as a result of my peculiar dimness in certain areas, to which God gently and graciously responded by providing a focus which had been signally lacking!
What about you? Do you feel called, as a writer as well as a Christian? If so, or if not, what impact do you think it has? I'd love to know.



Sue Russell has five novels out in the usual places. A sixth, 'A Vision of Locusts', will be published by Instant Apostle in the autumn, and a seventh is even now brewing and festering in her fevered brain. They are all contemporary stories from a Christian viewpoint.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Scene and herd? by Veronica Zundel

In the course of doing a poetry writing MA (well, mostly not doing it recently, since I've found it hard to concentrate between hospital visits), I've had occasion to spend more time around what I can only call 'the poetry scene'. Like all specialist groups (anyone watch the wonderful TV comedy Detectorists with its hilarious meetings of the local detectorists society?), it has its own ways and more importantly its shibboleths (if you don't know about shibboleths/sibboleths, check out Judges 12). It's all 'Did you go to X's launch?' and 'What do you think of Y's new collection?', and among its initiates I am a mere ignoramus whose knowledge of contemporary poetry stops around 1965 (well, I  did my English degree in the early 70s so that was contemporary then).

This has made me think about whether, to write in a particular field, one needs to be a member, however loosely, of the 'scene' that gathers writers from that field. If you are a crime writer, do you need to mix with other crime writers? Can I be a poet, a serious poet, without being part of the poetry
A literary pub?
scene? Because really, I don't particularly want to be, if it involves going to a crowded pub on an inconvenient weekday evening and listening to the ramblings of a poet one has never heard of (and outside London, you'd be lucky to get even that). But without doing that at least occasionally (and I am expert at making the most of a tiny bit of knowledge), how can one understand what is currently going on in poetry, or make the contacts that are so useful in getting publication/readings?

It's a live issue, of course, for our ACW local groups, where one is often thrown together with people doing entirely different types of writing: anything from parish magazines through scientific textbooks to historical novels. How well can we understand what our fellow writers are doing, let alone offer informed critique, if we have never written, or maybe even read, the sort of material they are writing?

A poet one has never heard of...
The thing is, we Christian writers are a rare breed (and not all doing something debatably called 'Christian writing') and we are unlikely to spend much time with other Christians in our own area of writing. If we want to 'press the flesh' and pick the brains of those working on similar projects, that
leaves us the various secular 'writing scenes', and inevitably in them we will encounter competition, envy and cronyism (not that these things are entirely absent amongst Christians!). We will have to learn what or whom to stick with and what or whom to avoid like a dairy herd with BSE, because they are bad for our a) self-esteem, b) writing career or c) spiritual life.

So can I be a poet without spending half my life in the poetry scene? Probably not, but as with everything in life, perhaps I have to pick and choose my circles and especially my battles. First of all, though, I have to learn to write better poetry; and in this, hearing or reading the work of others, Christian or not, can only be an inspiration (unless it's a dire warning...!).

Veronica Zundel is a freelance writer whose latest book is Everything I know about God, I've learned from being a parent (BRF 2013). She also writes a column for Woman Alive magazine, and Bible notes for BRF's New Daylight. Veronica used to belong to what was, before it closed, the only non-conservative, English speaking Mennonite church in the UK, and is currently playing at being a high Anglican. She also blogs (rather occasionally!) at reversedstandard.com

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

How to move from critic to encourager by Joy Lenton

I gazed at the screen in disbelief. A blog post had attracted a critical response based purely on my writing technique. 

Though I'm my own worst critic, and tend to edit my work to death, still someone had picked up on a mistake my tired mind had missed.

Don't you just hate it when that happens? And I thought, (a bit peevishly): why say anything if you can't say anything nice?  

How should we approach a book, a blog? Do we read it openly, or primarily as a critic?

As we enter a writer's world, we engage with her mind's rich creativity. A well written story will always captivate us—as long as we can set aside our prejudices.

How about non-fiction writers? I believe each genre involves storytelling, reaching deep into our subconscious. Poetry, especially, encapsulates emotions and experiences, real and imagined. 

What matters most is the truth we sharethe veracity of our words and their resonance within, the roots of reality they are planted in. In writing, and in life, let's celebrate our differences and appreciate most what unites us.

Is it possible to take off the critic's hat? Can we savour a story without picking holes in the way it's written? I'm by no means suggesting sloppy writing is a good thing. We should all strive for excellence in our work, yet always try to be kind, generous toward ourselves, as well as others.

Though our inner critic can cripple us from seeing writing (or life) in a positive light, what if we tried to see ourselves through God's lens of loving understanding, rather than via a lens of laceration for all the things we think we've got wrong?


Self-criticism comes as easily to me as breathing, because my fractured upbringing led to a fragile self-esteem.

Now, I'm freer to create, love having a means to write and an audience to share my words with. 

I've gained confidence from blogging, publishing a poetry collection book and having new writing projects on the go.

I still struggle with low self-esteem at times, and find the critic in me cannot be completely silenced. 

Yet I am zealous in supporting fellow authors and encouraging people to write, because we all have the potential to touch lives with our words. 

The same is true for you, whether you share your story publicly or in a private journal. So keep on writing, scribbling, staying faithful, hopeful and encouraged. God sees and smiles at all your efforts—yes, even those you scowl over, crumple and throw in the bin.




Do you know what the real secret is? Your words are helping to shape you just as much (if not more) than they influence others. Let's aim to let the spirit of what we read and write speak to us and rest the critic's hat, because criticism can hurt, unless it's the constructive kind, spoken in love, with the other person's welfare uppermost in our minds.



Joy Lenton is a grateful grace dweller, contemplative Christian writer, poet and blogger, author of 'Seeking Solace: Discovering grace in life's hard places'

She enjoys encouraging others on their journey of life and faith at her blogs wordsofjoy.me and poetryjoy.com as she seeks to discover the poetic in the prosaic and the eternal in the temporal. You can connect with her on Twitter and on Facebook.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Embracing the moment by Claire Musters


With all the other things vying for our time, carving out moments to write can seem almost impossible. And, when we get them, we can guard them as if they are the most precious thing in the world – or get totally distracted and end up frustrated that we didn’t achieve what we wanted to.

I know, in the past, that I have actually wished moments to pass so that I could get to my writing. I’ve come to realise that that causes me to miss what is right in front of me at any given moment. As a Christian and as a writer I need to realise that that is foolishness, as savouring each second feeds both elements in my life.

I recently co-presented a seminar on being mindful of Christ’s presence and am currently writing some Bible study notes based on the same subject. It has taught me a lot about how being totally present in the moment can help us to be open to learning new things about the mundane, experiencing Jesus afresh in daily tasks and opportunities.

I am just coming to the end of two weeks with my kids on Easter holidays. There is very little time to write during such times, and yet I have had to learn to let go of my desire to do so. I have had to choose not to resent being away from my writing, which is such a part of me. Instead I have leant into the time spent building memories with my children – who are also a huge part of me. The gorgeous weather meant we got out and about much more; something I don’t do enough during term times and so I know it has done me a lot of good. I hardly turned my computer at all, which is almost unheard of for me!

I found that God caught me unawares during a walk or other activity during the two weeks. He whispered to me, and taught me more about embracing and enjoying what was before me on any given day. When I reflected on how He has also been drawing me to spend quiet, contemplative moments with Him each morning too, I realised that He is moving me in a slightly different direction in my walk with Him. In doing so, He has also been giving me fresh ideas for my writing.

So, during this season, I have been learning that embracing each moment as it comes can help us to connect with God in a deeper way – and even connect more deeply with our writing too.


How can you embrace each moment today?

Claire is a freelance writer, speaker and editor, mum to two gorgeous young children, pastor’s wife, worship leader and school governor. Claire’s desire is to help others draw closer to God through her writing, which focuses on authenticity, marriage, parenting, worship, discipleship, issues facing women today etc. Her books include Taking your Spiritual Pulse, CWR’s Insight Into Managing Conflict and Insight Into Self-acceptance, Cover to Cover: David A man after God’s own heart and BRF Foundations21 study guides on Prayer and Jesus. She also writes Bible study notes regularly, and her latest co-written book, Insight Into Burnout, was published in February. Her next book, Taking off the mask: learning to live authentically, is due for publication in November 2017 by Authentic Media. To find out more about her, please visit www.clairemusters.com and @CMusters on Twitter.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Resurrection Power



He is risen! Hallelujah!

May I start by wishing you all a very Happy Easter. May you all know the joy and power of the resurrection this Easter Sunday.

This Easter I have been thinking about the power of the resurrection. It is the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which we celebrate on Easter Sunday, that gives our faith it's power.  In Ephesians 1:18-20 Paul says 

Aaron Burden via Unsplash
"I ask that your minds may be opened to see his light, so that you will know what is the hope to which he has called you, how rich are the wonderful blessings he promises his people, and how very great is his power at work in us who believe. This power working in us is the same as the mighty strength which he used when he raised Christ from death and seated him at his right side in the heavenly world." GNT
The power that we have available to us is the same power that rose Jesus from the dead. One of the things that helped me to not give up on my journey to freedom from bingeing, and keeps me seeking further freedom, is knowing that the Jesus I have in my life is the same Jesus as I read about in the Gospels. And he can free me. He has the power. He has the willingness. He died and rose again that I may receive that power for myself. 

I can remember reading the gospels years ago and thinking 'The Jesus I read about in the Bible can free me. I won't give up until I am free. I choose to keep believing it'.  I knew that what I was living was not necessarily in keeping with what I read. So I had to ask myself, do I believe my own experience or keep on pressing forward to receive the power of Christ I see in the Gospels.  I chose to keep pushing to receive the truth I read.  Sometimes I have had doubts (and a period of major unbelief) but I keep coming back to the hope I have in Jesus Christ and the power of his resurrection. The resurrection is proof that God accepts the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. Our sin is paid for. We are forgiven. Now the Holy Spirit of God can live permanently in his people - that is us. I keep choosing to believe this through life's ups and downs and I find it helps me to not give up. I keep Jesus and his love, mercy and power at the forefront of my mind. That is a choice. It doesn't just happen. I chose to turn to him and seek him always. I make mistakes and turn away from him again for a moment but I refuse to stop seeking him.

This Easter make a decision to really believe that Jesus rose from the dead. Believe it not just in your head but ask God to let it sink deep into your heart, deep into your spirit. Jesus is alive and his Holy Spirit is available to those of us who have chosen to follow Christ. Believe it and don't give up seeking freedom. Do you love Jesus? Have your given your life and heart to him? If so then the same power that rose Christ from the dead lives in you. 
Have an amazing day celebrating the love, power and mercy of Jesus. 

Lynda Alsford is a sea loving, cat loving GP administrator and writes in her spare time. She has written two books, He Never Let Go describes her journey through a major crisis of faith whilst working as an evangelist at a lively Church in Chiswick, West London. Being Known describes how God set her free from food addiction. Both books are available in paperback and on kindle on  Amazon.co.uk  and  Amazon.com. She writes a newsletter called Seeking the Healer, in which she shares the spiritual insights she has gained on her journey. When she finally starts her blog, it will also be called Seeking the Healer and you can find out more about both at  www.lyndaalsford.com

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Shout it from The Rooftops



The 15th of the month means it's news day here on the More Than Writers blog. News from our fabulous writers that is.

Book launch
If you're within reach of Oxford on Saturday 10th June, Philip S Davies will be launching his second novel, Destiny's Revenge, at Blackwell's Bookshop on Broad Street in Oxford between 3.00 and 6.00 p.m. The shop will be open to the public at the time, so everyone is very welcome. If you'd like to come, please RSVP to the Facebook Event, or to: revdavies@btinternet.com.

Congratulations Phillip, and we all, at ACW are waiting to grab this and read it.


ACW Crime Competition

We all love a bit of crime. Well… crime fiction anyway. So, for our next competition, which is being launched jointly with Alfie Dog Fiction, write us a crime story with a Christian element - perhaps a Christian setting, or main characters whose Christian faith is an important element in the story. Our judges, Wendy H Jones (of DI Shona McKenzie fame) and Rosemary Kind (of Alfie Dog Fiction website) are looking for a well written and complete story, which will satisfy the reader. Avoid commonly repeated storylines. Be original. Make yours stand out from the crowd.

Email your entries to competitions@christianwriters.org.uk by Tuesday 18 April 2017. Entry fees: ACW members free; non-members £3 for one entry and £5 for two. Maximum of two entries per person, please. For an additional £7 (members and non-members), you may receive a critique of your story.

More details and payment information can be found on our website 

Great comp, so well worth sharpening, or honing,  your crime writing skills.

Children's Writer Eleanor Watkins

Eleanor has a new book from Dernier Publishing, Rebecca and Jade: Choices, due out in May with a launch in Hay-on-Wye on May 30th during Hay Festival week. Venue Bethesda Church, Oxford Road, 11am - 1pm, with tea coffee, cake, nibbles, chocs, signing, chat, and a talk by Dernier's Janet Wilson.

Also her three latest titles, Rebecca and Jade; Choices, To Everything a Time (Malcolm Down Publishing) and The Village (Books to Treasure) have been included in this year's onsite Festival bookshop, quite a breakthrough as normally only books from people appearing in the Festival programme are on sale here.

Also a sequel to The Village has been accepted for publication by Books to Treasure.

Wow, Eleanor! Impressive indeed. We wish you all the very best with it all. 

Fallen Warriors by Mark Smith

Fallen Warriors – a Christian thriller is on sale on all major estores during April: Amazon, Apple, Kobo and Nook.

In the city of York, a young woman dies in a tragic accident but is mysteriously brought back to life. As she attempts to find out and understand what happened, a terrorist group plans the largest attack the West has ever seen. A group of ordinary people find themselves drawn together, fallen warriors called to stand and fight, but will they stand or will they fall?


This is Mark's latest book which was released on 30th March, 2017. Looks good. 

I'm sure you will agree that ACW authors are a varied, and prolific, bunch. More news next month. 

About the Author

The author of this post is Crime Writer Wendy H. Jones, she who is judging the crime competition. If you would like to take a look at her credentials and her books, pop over to her Amazon Author Page