Treat your story as a gift

Photo courtesy of "anankkml"/

Photo courtesy of “anankkml”/

The contract was signed and now we had to complete the final draft. Lion Fiction had kindly provided me with an experienced editor to work with to tighten the manuscript. In addition, I had to lose an additional 20% of it, that being 30,000 words or 60 pages.

It was now 8 years since the first 700-page draft. It’s incredible how many scenes and characters I’ve deleted including entire sub-plots. I hope one day some of those characters may make a re-appearance. In particular, there were a number of angels and demons that I let go. I think of like the casting call for a movie or TV show. Some actors get the nod, many don’t. Those that missed out were just not right for this publication but may well be in a future one.

My experience of working with editors has been exceptionally rewarding. Both Claire, who worked on the original draft, and Jan, on the latest one, took the opportunity to teach me how to write. They re-wrote a small sample of the manuscript, say a few pages, explaining why they made each change. I was then able to incorporate those methods in the rest of the manuscript.

Read more

Let go …


Photo courtesy of ddpavumba/

I’ve started most days this year sitting for ten minutes in silence, as part of my new desire to better experience God. If you missed the background for this, please check out this post on “A Word for the Year.”

It has surprised me how difficult it is, not so much being silent, but stopping my thought life. Try it for yourself after you’ve read this post, and see how random thoughts come at you constantly. For those of you experienced in meditation, I expect it’s not as difficult. But I don’t want to clear my mind. Well, only of my thoughts. I want to fill it with God’s thoughts.

“Be still, and know that I am God!” (Ps 46:10 NLT)

The Hebrew word translated “Be still” literally means “Let go of your grip.” Let go of all that preoccupies your mind so you can open yourself up to a whole new kind of knowing.1 A knowing that can only come from God.

Read more

“Invitation to Solitude and Silence”, Ruth Haley Barton

835454_w185I felt invited to adopt ” Silence” as my word for 2013.

Funnily, enough as I looked around for some wise counsel on the subject, I was led to this beautiful work that has been sitting on my bookshelves for a few months. I can’t recall why I bought it originally, however, now sense some divine purpose in it.

This is a delightful book to read. It is filled with some tremendous Biblical insight regarding Elijah’s journey into the wilderness in 1 Kings 19. This revelation underpins the gentle flow of Ruth Haley Barton’s musings.

In sharing her journey where time with the Lord in solitude and silence has become a common daily practice, Ruth guides the reader with wisdom and practical application. There are many wonderful supporting quotes from the likes of Thomas Merton and Henri Nouwen.

I’m 25 days into the new year and am thankful for reading this wonderful guide as I dive deep into seeking to better experience God and all He has for me. I expect I’ll be reading it a few more times before the year is up.

Highly recommended.

Rounding the Last Bend – The Journey to a Contract Concludes


Photo courtesy of xedos4/

I walked back to my desk to be surprised by the new email that had just arrived in my Inbox. Ten minutes earlier I sent the email that I hoped would release me into a new life. With nervous anticipation I clicked on the email to open it.

Good morning Ian

This sounds interesting.  I was the UK publisher for THIS PRESENT DARKNESS and PIERCING THE DARKNESS.

Can you send me the text?

Are you serious?

Hallelujah. I’m bouncing around the room with excitement. It’s end of day Friday and the weekend beckons.

As a write this post, it’s almost two years to the day since that email arrived. If you recall from my previous post in this series I mentioned I had been provided with an introduction to the acquisitions editor of a UK publishing house. In my proposal I made reference to Frank Peretti’s “Darkness” books playing an important part in my writing journey.

This is another one of those moments that some would call coincidence or luck, but I term a “God-thing”.

Read more

“Eyes Wide Open”, Ted Dekker

timthumb.phpTwo teenage friends, Austin and Christy, both with “forgotten” childhoods get accidentally lost in a mental hospital. You’d think once they could explain their situation, all would be fine and they’d leave and go on their way.

But this is a Ted Dekker novel.

The hospital authorities re-admit them both as Scott and Alice. So who are they? Are they Austin and Christy or Scott and Alice? Dekker weaves his clever story telling skills in a thrill-of-a-minute ride where even we the reader are unsure of the truth.

The truth? What is it? How can we be certain we know the truth? Why do our perceptions of our reality play such an important part in our understanding of our individual lives? Who can provide the truth, about who we are? about our childhood?

These are great questions which Dekker asks as we the confused reader try to understand what’s going on in the two protagonists lives. Are the doctors and even delightful psychiatrist Nancy really the bad guys?

Read more

Be Prepared

Image courtesy of 89studio/

Image courtesy of 89studio/

Two years ago I decided to reduce my sugar intake. Not so much because of the chocolate and lollies that I had a reasonable control over but it was all the fruit and juice I consumed.

May I stress I’m not saying either are bad but I simply ate and drank too much. So I chose to cut back.

I’d been consuming too much for over 20 years so my body was used to getting a lot of fructose each day. And it (my body) wasn’t going to easily give up reminding me.

I needed to prepare myself. I knew I was going to be tempted.

What did I do?

Three things:

  1. Stopped buying a lot of fruit each week and having Fiona make me a week’s long supply of fruit salad.
  2. Changed my breakfast routine from a highly fruit/cereal based one to more protein and grains.
  3. Stocked up on nuts and extra vegetables so I could ward off the temptation when it inevitably struck.

Read more

The First Offer – The Journey to Publication continues…

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/

It took me three months to shake up the manuscript. Remember I hadn’t touched it for five years and the world had changed. If you’re catching up with my story please have a look at these two earlier posts: here and here.

I was surprised how quickly the writing bug came back. I hadn’t written much on anything non-business during my writing hiatus. I quickly settled into a groove and found modifying the story and characters relatively painless. My struggles with the craft continued. Of course it would until I developed a healthy routine of regular writing and studying of the craft.

The new completed manuscript was reduced to 450 pages and 155,000 words. I had managed to reduce the volume by almost 25% from the previous draft.

Read more

Suit up


Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/

The four of us were strolling along the beach esplanade. Even though we were in Far North Queensland, it was almost winter, so the mid-morning temperature was relatively mild.

“Have a look at this guy.” My friend nudged me and indicated with his head whom he was referring to. The shirtless disheveled young man was 50 feet ahead walking haphazardly towards us. A shiver crept up my spine, as an overriding sensation to flee struck me.

A quick glance at the intense expressions on my colleagues’ faces revealed a similar foreboding. Our previous casual saunter now became tight and upright.

As he drew closer, his hands were talon-like, his mouth moving as if he was muttering to himself. I was sure he was going to walk straight through us.

Ten feet away his eyes met ours. I gulped.

Read more

The Angelguard Journey to Publication

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

I rushed out of the company’s lobby and hopped into a vacant taxi, a bevy of emotions bursting within me: shock, anger, hurt, disappointment and confusion. But surprisingly, genuine peace. I called Fiona and shared the news. Her response was also mixed. Could see the positives but the immediate financial impact wasn’t ideal.

“Hey Bill, you know how I asked you to pray so that I could attend Presence? Well, God listened and answered.” My friend Bill, was my second call.

A few weeks earlier, my client and I had agreed a launch strategy for the new business. It was to be in Melbourne, the week of my church’s Annual Conference, titled “Presence”. It’s a four-day event where all of our churches around Australia attend. My heart had sunk as I had sensed a strong nudge from the Lord the previous Sunday at church when the “Presence” trailer ran.

Read more

Not long now to lift off – Angelguard launches February

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

I’m excited. Angelguard, my debut novel, releases in the US and Canada in February. The UK launch follows in late March and finally, it hits Australian shores sometime in early May.

It’s been a long journey as it is for most authors.

Over the next few weeks I thought I’d share my experience, warts and all, of writing the novel and getting published.  Further, I’ll talk more about the novel, giving you some behind the scenes access to the characters, the story, and the future story lines.

Today, I wanted to start with an overview of the ten years from its inception to this point of imminent release. It’s useful for you to read this post that features on the slider on my home page (“What Inspired Angelguard“) and the “About Me” page as they provide some initial background.

Read more