Rhiza Press Blog

Rhiza Press blog is the place to keep up to date with all the goings-on in the world of Australian books for Adult and Young Adult readers.

Amanda Deed Talks Fairy Tales and Superman

DeedAmandaWhat was your inspiration for adapting the Cinderella story? What aspects of her story were you most drawn to?

I’ve always loved fairy tales and Cinderella is one of my favourites. What drew me to rewrite it is that Cinderella is basically bullied by those horrible stepsisters and stepmother. This kind of treatment affects a person’s self-esteem, and self-esteem is something I struggled with a lot in my teens. I can’t say I was bullied precisely, but I was teased often, leaving me feeling worthless and unloved.

When I grew up I realised that the very things other kids teased me for were actually my strengths. What a way to destroy a person’s potential. Thankfully I worked through those issues and now have more self-confidence. But, it did leave me wanting to encourage others about their self-worth, and so I decided to weave that theme into my Cinderella story – Unnoticed.


How do you think Price Moreland compares to Prince Charming?

Well, he’s handsome, charming (in a good way), and he is the heir to a large fortune/estate. His father is a ‘king’ in the booming railway and shipping industry in America. And, of course, he is able to look past Jane’s apparent servitude and poverty.

Jane is often self-conscious about her appearance and tries to go unnoticed (a very apt title). Do you think a lot of teenagers would relate to this?

Absolutely. When the target of teasing, it would be so much easier to disappear. You’d rather be unnoticed altogether, than noticed and made fun of for your perceived faults. I found that for myself.

I have also witnessed it in teenagers recently. Watching a sixteen-year-old girl walk across the room with her head down—looking uncomfortable to say the least—I asked her, ‘Why are you feeling so awkward walking over here?’

She told me: ‘I feel like everyone’s looking at me.’

I smiled at her. ‘You know they’re actually not. They’re all too busy in their own little world to be taking much notice of you.’

‘Well they should be!’ was her bold reply.

‘So walk like they should be. You are absolutely worth looking at and worth noticing. You are beautiful.’

There’s a kind of confused mixture of wanting to be noticed and accepted, and not wanting to be noticed in case we are rejected.


If you could be any fairy tale heroine, who would it be?

I can’t say I’ve ever aspired to be one of the fairy tale heroines, although I do love the way Rapunzel wielded that frying pan in Tangled. I’d more likely aspire to Lois Lane just because she got to fly with Superman. I love Superman. In fact, every time I see a kid in a Superman costume, I ask them if they will take me flying. Unfortunately, no-one has said yes yet.


What can we expect in the next instalment Unhinged?

Unhinged will be a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast – another of my favourite fairy tales. However, instead of the beast being a monster, or a physical deformity in a man, the beast will be mentally-ill.

It is very challenging to write. But again, mental health is such a big subject these days, even with teens. I just heard of a Year Twelve student being put on anti-depressants to deal with anxiety. It makes me sad that people so young have to struggle with such deep issues. Hopefully Unhinged, amidst an entertaining story, will give encouragement to people who deal with this kind of illness.

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Rhiza Catches Up With Patricia Weerakoon About Winning The Caleb Prize

WeerakoonPatriciaEmpire’s Children by Patricia Weerakoon recently won the Caleb Prize for faith-inspired fiction at the Omega Writers Conference. Rhiza Press caught up with Patricia to discuss her novel and what it means to her.

1) Sum up Empire’s Children in one catchy sentence.
Set in the tea plantations of Sri Lanka in the dying days of British colonial rule, Empire's Children is a story of the redemptive power of love over the destructive force of exploitative power, racial tensions and abuse.

2) What first impelled you to write this story?
My father was a tea-maker during the time of British colonial rule of the plantations in Sri Lanka. This novel is both recognition of and a dedication to the Sri Lankan natives like my parents and the Indian indentured labourers like Lakshmi and her parents, who made a life under difficult and often demeaning circumstances.

3) Empire’s Children follows so many individual stories. Did you have a favourite, or one you liked writing the most?
Dr Jega Jayaseelan is my favorite. The illegitimate son of the British superintendent and Indian coolie labourer turned sex worker, he has the resilience to withstand the prejudices of Sri Lankan culture towards Eurasian children and makes an outstanding career for himself. Yet, when faced with the decision, he is unselfish and self-sacrificing enough to give up Shiro, the girl he loves, to his half-brother Anthony so they could find happiness.

4) Which character do you think readers most relate to in the novel?
I hope they relate to Shiro. She is feisty, brilliant and determined, yet deeply vulnerable when it comes to love.

5) Even though it is set in Sri Lanka fifty years ago, do you think there are a lot of parallels to modern day Australia?
Racial prejudices and power play between the rich and poor across countries, cultures and time.

6) What is your favourite part about being an author?
I live with my characters. My readers see only a sliver of my characters’ lives, I know them intimately. I know what happened in their life before they enter the page and what they do long after. They wake up with me and walk through the day by my side.

7) What is the hardest part about being an author?
Letting go of my characters when I move to another novel or story.

8) Explain how you felt when Empire’s Children won the Caleb Award?
Unbelief! My first novel! Surely, it couldn’t be that good? Then a deep gratitude for the recognition from my peers.


Read the award-winning Empire's Children for yourself.

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Rosanne Hawke on the Joy of Rewriting

WarWithinsmallI’ve had the joy over the last year to rewrite an earlier novel which is now The War Within. This is how it happened.My children are Third Culture Kids (TCKs), kids who are brought up in a culture which isn’t their parents’. They learn to adapt to the culture they grow up in and can find it very difficult returning to their parents’ own culture. To most TCKs their parents’ culture doesn’t feel like their own. Jaime Richards in the series Beyond Borders felt like this when she returns to Adelaide for high school in Dear Pakistan. I felt like this even moving states as a teen. Our whole family felt the culture shock of re-entering Australia after ten years in Pakistan and the UAE.

My daughter Lenore returned to Pakistan when she was 18 and found the experience very helpful for settling in Australia. This what Jaime Richards also does: returns to Pakistan to ‘settle the ghosts of the past’ and see her friends. Except her experience turns into an adventure that Lenore could only dream of.

The War Within began with Lenore wanting a story about an abduction set in Afghanistan. One of our co-workers had been kidnapped by freedom fighters and this instigated the request for a story about it. That story became a book called Jihad. Jihad in this case meaning a spiritual struggle within. Jasper is having this personal jihad as he faces his grief about his father lost in Afghanistan.

I edited this story a little when it became part of the Borderland series, three books in one volume: Re-entry, Jihad and the new title Cameleer. But when Rhiza Press recently offered a contract to republish and rebrand these books into a series of four called Beyond Borders, I was stoked. ‘You might like to rewrite Jihad,’ the publisher said quietly. ‘Of course,’ I replied. However, I didn’t realise how much I had learned since the publication of Borderland. When I reread Jihad I was shocked to find how much it needed to be better.

I couldn’t wait to rewrite it. The plot was enjoyed by readers, so that stayed the same, but I restructured the novel to include POV chapters for Jasper. I changed the premise of it being a story that Jaime was relating in hindsight to one that was happening now. This eliminated the seemingly POV glitches, and the unnecessary foreshadowing, for now Jaime doesn’t know how it’s going to end and can’t add her two cents worth about the future. It’s become a tighter read, and I believe a more enjoyable and exciting one. I also updated the events in the background of the novel to be consistent with modern world events. Even some technology is thrown in the mix as well.

It was a joy to revisit this story, to rewrite it to a higher skill level with the knowledge that I’d picked up over the last ten years of encouraging other writers.


By Rosanne Hawke

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Speaking Aloud about the Unspeakable

4644146This Saturday is International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Author Irma Gold talks about how her anthology, The Sound of Silence, speaks out about the experiences of 22 women who have gone through miscarriages.

 Editing this book was an emotional experience and the launches in Canberra and Melbourne were unlike any others I have attended. At both of them strangers – women and men, mothers and fathers, grandmothers and sisters – came up to me to tell me their intensely personal stories of loss, the reasons why they had come to these launches to buy this book. Since then I have received many emails from readers thanking me for the anthology and telling me how it has helped them. These messages have been humbling.

Like this one from Charmian:
I have just sat and read this book from cover to cover! As a mum of two (six, including my angel babies) these stories touched my heart and soul in a way that no other books about pregnancy loss have. I experienced miscarriages when none in my circle of friends had, and felt alone as I waded through loss and grief. The final three miscarriages were particularly hard, given they all occurred in seven months. We have not gone on to have more babies, and I still feel my family is not quite complete. Thanks again for this wonderful resource.

And this one from Justine:
I have just finished reading The Sound of Silence. I must admit it sat on my bedside table for a couple of days before I found the courage to open it. I was anxious about the emotions it might stir up within me. It is a brilliant book, it allowed me to realise I am not alone in my grief and the feelings experienced are so normal. One of my regrets is that despite our best efforts to encourage submissions from men we did not receive any. Men are often forgotten in the grief of miscarriage, so I was disappointed that we weren’t able to represent their stories and perspectives.

It was, however, heartening to receive emails from men, like this one:
Thank you for publishing The Sound of Silence. While it is mostly written for females, it is also an excellent book for (potential) fathers to read as well – some of them also experience similar emotional symptoms when their partner miscarries. :(

When I wrote a post for Mamamia about the anthology and my own miscarriage it received an overwhelming number of comments. There are so many women and men out there who need to talk about their experiences. Today I’m remembering Rafael, the baby I miscarried at twelve weeks. I no longer feel sad about his loss, but blessed that he was, and is still, a part of our family. I am also thankful for the three beautiful children I was able to bring into this world, and conscious that there are many couples who are not so fortunate. These stories are the ones that break my heart the most. At the Melbourne launch a woman told me about her daughter who she has watched go through seven pregnancies, none of which have made it to term. As she told me this story, and the emotional toll it has taken on them all, she wept for her daughter and her lost grandbabies. Her story is one of many.

If you know someone who has had a miscarriage, who may still be struggling through grief, today is the day to reach out. All it takes is a simple ‘How are you?’ and the willingness to listen.

You can buy a copy of The Sound of Slience from www.rhizapress.com.au.

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Friday Chats with Rosanne Hawke

0 RosanneWhat made you become an author?

What finally gave me the push to write seriously was my daughter, Lenore asking me to write a book for her based on a story I told her. She made me become a writer.

What was your first published book?

A book called Re-entry which has been rewritten and is now in its 3rd edition called Dear Pakistan.

What inspired you to write the Beyond Borders series?

I had changed states when I was a teenager, and as an adult I lived overseas in voluntary work with a mission. My children became third culture kids, and watching their culture shock (and mine) as we returned to Australia inspired the series.

 Have you travelled to Pakistan since? Was it still a culture shock?

Yes, the first time I arrived in Pakistan I had culture shock and, as a woman, it took me a year to adjust. In coming back to Australia we also had culture shock. Possibly that is worse because you don’t expect the culture shock to be so bad in your own country, but it was. When I visited Pakistan in 2006 on an Asialink Fellowship to research more books, it was only for two months and the culture shock was less.

Why do you think Jaime is an inspirational heroine in the story?

Jaime is going through a difficult time of her life that people around her do not understand. She has to learn to adapt to different cultures and yet discovers the joy of doing that even though it is difficult each time she moves. During this process she picks up some wisdom and realises her experiences have helped make her who she is, a teen with unlimited potential. 

Who is your favourite character in the series?

Tricky question. Besides Jaime, possibly Jasper in The War Within.

Can you give readers a hint at what they can expect in the next installment of the Beyond Borders series?

In 2002 terrorists attacked an international Christian school in the Himalayas, Pakistan. It was the school that my kids had attended and is the school which inspired Jaime’s school which she visits in The War Within. In Liana’s Dance Jaime writes the story of what happens to Liana when her school was attacked by terrorists a few years earlier.

Do you have any hints for aspiring authors out there?

Read a lot and learn to read like a writer: decide what you like about a writer’s story or technique and takes notes. Write down golden lines, but always put the author’s name underneath so you don’t mistakenly plagiarize. Always find out as much as you can about your characters because your characters will make or break your story. Most importantly work out what they want the most in the whole wide world; something important enough that would motivate them long enough for you to write a story about it. When you’re finished the first draft get your secateurs out and start cutting out the dead wood. Learn to enjoy editing and re-writing.

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Got it Covered

Have you ever wondered what goes on at a cover shoot? How do publishers choose the covers for books? Adele Jones tells us about how it all went down with her latest book, Activate.

 Dark alleys and night-time trysts don’t always ring with appeal, but for the Activate cover shoot, this was a perfect combination. Just add the necessary ingredients …

Check 1: Photographer + camera & the necessary lenses etc

Check 2: Cover Model Simon (+ his gorgeous wife)

Check 3: A variety of jackets to complement the character’s fashion basics

Check 4: Additional lighting + filters

Check 5: Hair styling products

Check 6: A range of enlarged image printouts representing the feel/look being targeted

Check 7: Annoying and opinionated author + a loose cover brief + imagined ideal of the final result

 And it was all systems go – hair styling, testing different locations, checking lighting, trialling various looks and jackets.

Stand here; try this pose; turn your head; eyes to the camera; try a neutral expression; what about semi-squatting against the wall? (Poor legs – good thing our cover model is fit!)

Here are some of the results: (Photo credits: Jo Thomae, Stormgirlphotography)




Then over to the Rhiza cover team for the photo selection and reworking

Image editing, including cropping, colour adjustments & effects (i.e. all the fancy bits).

The result?


What do you think? What does this cover say to you? (About the character, the book, the genre?)

Drop on over to Rhiza’s FB page to have your say.

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New Historical Book Soars Off the Page

The Kingdom of the Air
by C.T. Wells
The stakes are high.
Whoever controls the sky above the English Channel
will decide the fate of nations.
Winner of the 2014 Caleb Award for unpublished manuscript
Winner of the 2015 Clive Cussler Adventure Writers’ Competition
1940. The Battle of Britain has begun.
A young Messerschmitt pilot is shot down over Dartmoor. He tries to evade a manhunt, knowing that if he falls into British hands, his war will be over. But when Josef Schafer encounters a sinister agent of the emerging Special Operations Executive, his troubles have only begun. He is returned to occupied France having made an impossible deal with the British.As the air war escalates, Josef is in danger in the sky and on the land. His allegiances are tested as he is torn between loyalty to his Luftwaffe comrades and a French woman whom he is compelled to serve.
Acclaim for The Kingdom of the Air:
"From the fiery first chapter, through the high-stakes excitement of electrifying air combat, twisting spy plots and the dark domain of the WW2 French Resistance, C.T. Wells takes you on a sky-high thrill-ride that never lets you down. Great characters and a historically-based story, The Kingdom of the Air is an amazing read; superbly written, it soars from page to page, from impossible, heart-wrenching situations to a surprising climax. Adventure fans and history buffs will revel in this recreation of one of the darkest times in world history. C.T. Wells delivers!” - Peter Greene, Director of The Adventure Writer’s Competition
TheKingdomoftheAir es
Available in paperback and ebook
from April 1st
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A Chat with C T Wells, author of The Kingdom of the Air

WellssmallRHIZA PRESS: Tell us about the your name, C.T. Wells - real name or pen name?

WELLS: Well, yes, it’s real. They’re my middle initials. My first name is Peter, and I get called ‘Pete’  but there are too many Peter Wells out there ranging from dead rock stars to writers of economics textbooks, so I had to go with something else. Initials seemed to work for the likes of Tolkien, Lewis and Rowling, so I thought I’d try that. Oh, and Herbert George Wells went with initials too.

RHIZA PRESS: No relation?

WELLS: Not that I know of.

RHIZA PRESS: So tells us about the new novel, The Kingdom of the Air...

WELLS: It’s a historical thriller, set in 1940 during the Battle of Britain. It centres on a young Luftwaffe pilot called Josef Schafer, who is shot down over England. He is captured, but then he’s sent back to occupied France with a specific job to do for the Special Operations Executive.

RHIZA PRESS: So given that he’s a German, why does he help the British?

WELLS: I can’t tell you that. Its classified. Readers will see how they apply some leverage...

RHIZA PRESS: Aviation plays a large part in the novel. Would you call it a techno-thriller?

WELLS: Maybe a “retro-techno-thriller”, if there’s such a thing. I don’t understand modern technology enough to write a contemporary techno-thriller.

RHIZA PRESS: So did you have to do a lot of research to set the story in 1940?

WELLS: Yes. I usually write with another screen open to check my facts as I go. I don’t want to be a slave to historical accuracy, but it is important to try to be true to time and place. Anachronisms and historical errors can really derail a story.

RHIZA PRESS: But details give a ring of authenticity to the story, right?

WELLS: Sure. I like to know things like the brand of a cigarette or the calibre of a pistol. Or whether wildflowers grow in Normandy...

RHIZA PRESS: What drew you to that era?

WELLS: When we read a novel of this sort, it’s essentially so we can escape from our ordinary life. I find there’s something compelling about the thirties and forties. Close enough to be relatable, but far enough to be escapist. Everything from the styles of that period to the overwhelmingly high stakes of the second world war is engaging for me. Of course, there are some cool planes to write about too!

RHIZA PRESS: The Kingdom of the Air is set against a backdrop of war and espionage in a time of fear and violence. Would you say it is a dark story?

WELLS: It’s certainly set in a grim time of history, and it tries to be real about that,  but it also explores how character can prevail under those circumstances. I think there is a redemptive element to it. It’s essentially an action story, but hopefully readers find some head and heart in there as well.

RHIZA PRESS: You said “heart”... does that mean romance?

WELLS: Yes, but it’s tough for relationships to develop when you’re on opposite sides of a war.

RHIZA PRESS:  The Kingdom of the Air has won some awards – The Caleb Award and The Clive Cussler Adventure Writer’s Competition. Does this make it literary fiction?

WELLS: It’s not necessarily setting out to be something like that. I hope it’s a smart thriller. A gripping story, but maybe there’s something to think about as well.

RHIZA PRESS: And the title, The Kingdom of the Air, is that a reference to The Battle of Britain?

WELLS: Yes, but it’s also a phrase from the Book of Ephesians in The Bible. It alludes to the death and rebirth theme in the story.

RHIZA PRESS: Speaking of death and rebirth, is it true that you nearly died during the publication of the novel?

WELLS: Yes, it is true. I was in Jakarta and on my way to Las Vegas for the Adventure Writers’ Competition Awards and my taxi got hit by an out-of-control  dump truck. My son and I were in a bad way with internal injuries. We had emergency surgery, followed by several weeks in hospital. But we’ve pulled through OK. We’re very thankful to be alive, but it was a very close call.

RHIZA PRESS: Well, we’re all pleased that you’re still here. This is the first novel you’ve published. When did you start and how did you write it while working full time?

WELLS: It took nearly five years from inception to publication. But even if you’re time-poor, you can still produce a thousand words a week. If you do that for two years, you’ve got a full length manuscript. The thing is, you have to keep believing in the story over that period of time. Even Stephen King says he has to write fast to outrun self-doubt.

RHIZA PRESS: Well the story seems to be gathering plenty of interest now. And what’s next for you? Anything else in the works?

WELLS: I’m half way through the sequel now.

RHIZA PRESS: Thanks for sharing with us and all the best for The Kingdom of the Air.


The Kingdom of the Air comes out 1 April. 

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Adele Jones Does it Again in Her Sequel: Replicate

Adele Jones Does it Again in Her Sequel: Replicate


Is it life-saving research or a devious attempt to salvage a failing institute?

Suspecting the embryonic cloning has breached ethics agreements, Blaine Colton soon discovers truth comes at a high price.

“Blaine, now an 18 year-old man, is juggling with the discovery of who he was, is and what will become of him. The reader is taken along an amazing journey as he reaps the rewards and lows of scientific achievement, human greed and the pulls of friends and family,” said Wendy Szabo, special education teacher.

“Author Adele Jones is on a winner here with a wonderful combination of scientific advancement, suspense and action interwoven with ethics and the basic forces of life. Highly recommended.”

In this sequel to the award-winning, Integrate, the appearance of an identity from Blaine’s past sees him questioning everything he knows of his life.

“Blaine’s ‘messed up DNA’ ensures he has to deal with more than the usual problems of negotiating maturing and changing relationships associated with emerging adulthood,’ said retired teacher, psychologist and academic, Majella Albion, PhD.

A keen observer of human behaviour, Majella added, “On a different level, the story also deals with complex ethical issues around genetic research, and explores Blaine’s moral conflict as he sees how the research might actually benefit him in the future. Another gripping tale from this award winning author.”

With help from close friends Sophie and Jett Faraday, Blaine begins putting the pieces together. Then tragedy fractures his world. Uncovering a link to these events and the embryonic cloning, he seeks justice—whatever the cost.

“Friendship and a sense of self-worth are vital for each of us, especially as a young adult. Blaine draws value from meaningful relationships with his peers, even as he continues to wrestle conflicting views on life, faith, ethics and identity,” said author, Adele. “He also learns just how unpredictable life can be.”

Australian author, Adele Jones writes young-adult and historical novels, poetry and short works. Her first YA novel Integrate was awarded the 2013 CALEB Prize for unpublished manuscript. Her writing is inspired by a passion for family, faith, friends, music and science—and her broad-ranging imaging.

Replicate is available in all good bookstores or online at rhizapress.com.au.

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New Zealand Author Remembers her Country's Past Injustices

New Zealand Author Remembers her Country's Past Injustices

New Zealand book builds a redemptive future

"The prophecy of Titahi is beginning to be fulfilled; the struggle, the pain and now the peace.” - Deanna Tamariki, Kuia, Ngati Whatua.

Author Cindy Williams does not shy away from New Zealand’s past sins in her debut novel, The Pounamu Prophecy. She highlights what you should really be remembering on 5 November when the world commemorates Guy Fawkes Day.

On 5 November in 1881 the people of Parihaka, despite their superior warrior skills, stood firmly but peacefully on their land as the Crown unlawfully arrested the leaders and burned their village.

On the same day in 2011 the people of Ngati Whatua stood on the quarter acre remnant of their land and accepted the apology of the Crown for the wrongs of the past.

“The historic choices of these Maori leaders have blessed New Zealand with a peace seldom seen in other nations. It is a heritage for every New Zealander to be proud of. It is a cause for celebration far more important than a failed attempt to blow up parliament on the other side of the world,” Cindy Williams said.

Weaving fiction with the traumatic history, The Pounamu Prophecy commemorates the injustice suffered by the Ngati Whatua tribe. The book promotes reconciliation, healing, and the rebuilding of a proud and ingenuous people.

Maori elders have also embraced the book, including Ngati Whatua Kaumatua, Danny Tumahai. "We welcome this novel as another chapter in our journey for Aucklanders and the nation to know that we are a giving and forgiving people,” Mr Tumahai said.

Cindy Williams grew up in a culturally rich part of New Zealand where the kids sang the songs, played the games, and heard the stories of Maori. Many years later she heard the injustice of the Ngati Whatua tribe. She listened to the elders who spoke about forgiveness and moving forward and knew The Pounamu Prophecy was a story that had to be told.

Yesterday Cindy Williams commemorated this emotional day with the Ngāti Whatua people at Orakei Marae.



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New Award-Winning Titles Lined up for 2016

New Award-Winning Titles Lined up for 2016

C.T. Wells


The Kingdom of the Air

Las Vegas, Nevada: October 10, 2015. In a crowded conference center at the Tuscany Resort and Casino, Dirk Cussler announced the winner of the 2015 Adventure Writer's Competition. "I'd like to offer my personal congratulations to the finalists. I know from prior competitions that there is a very thin line between the top finalists and the winner," said Mr. Cussler. With those words he opened the envelope. "And the winner of the 2015 Adventure Writer's Competition is...The Kingdom of the Air by C.T. Wells!"

Rhiza Press enthusiatically congratulates our new author C.T. Wells for taking out 2015 Adventure Writer's Competition. His award-winning book The Kingdom of the Air will be released by Rhiza Press early 2016. Check out the blurb: 

1940. The Battle of Britain has begun.

A young Messerschmitt pilot is shot down over Dartmoor. He tries to evade a manhunt, knowing that if he is captured by the British, his war will be over. But when Josef Schafer falls into the hands of a sinister agent of the Special Operations Executive, his troubles have only begun. He is returned to occupied France having made an impossible deal with the British.

As the air war escalates, Josef is in danger in the sky and on the ground. His allegiances are tested as he is torn between loyalty to his Luftwaffe comrades and a French woman whom he is compelled to serve.

The stakes are high. Whoever controls the sky above the English Channel will decide the fate of nations.

Adventure Writer's Competition director Peter Greene said after the ceremony "Congratulations to C.T. on a fantastic book. This is a tough competition with many strong entries. They all were different, and all had a unique take on the genre of adventure writing. There were some fantastic authors and during the judging, the top spots moved about often. In the end, our champ was C.T. Wells! Well deserved."

Read the full article here: http://www.adventurewriterscompetition.com/ 

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John Wesley - the Man and his Message


by David Malcolm Bennett

Many books have been written about John Wesley, the man who founded the Methodist Church in the 1700s, but while researching his latest book, David Malcolm Bennett looked for something new.

His search became John Wesley: The Man, his Mission and his Message. In its pages David tells the remarkable story not just of Wesley’s dedicated preaching and effective work, but also of his relationship with his brother Charles, his unfortunate love life, and allows Wesley’s acute sense of humour to shine.

John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, was a key figure in the Evangelical Revival of the 18th century. Throughout his life massive crowds came to hear him preach and thousands of ordinary people joined him in his mission to take Jesus Christ to the world. 

Unlike many biographies, this book is written in a fiction-like style to make it an enthralling and dramatic read.

“John Wesley is fascinating and what he did was amazing,” said David. “His life is a story that can inspire all of us.”   

David Malcolm Bennett is known for thorough and painstaking research and for presenting the results in an easy-to-read form. He has written two biographies of William Booth: The General: William Booth (two volumes) and William Booth and his Salvation Army, and also a book on cricketer CT Studd, entitled From Ashes to Glory.

Other books he has penned include The Altar Call: Its Origins and Present Usage, his M.Th thesis (awarded with merit), and its companion volume The Sinner’s Prayer: Its Origins and Dangers. In addition, he has researched and published The Origins of Left Behind Eschatology, his Ph.D dissertation, which examined the origins of the ideas behind the Left Behind books, and Edward Irving: The Man, his Controversies and the Pentecostal Movement

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Desire, love and betrayal in the tea plantations of Sri Lanka


by Patricia Weerakoon

Patricia Weerakoon, sexologist and author, turned to personal experience when writing Empire’s Children.

The novel, which is set in the tea plantations of Sri Lanka, brought back many childhood memories.

“I am a Tea maker’s daughter,” said Patricia. “The rigid boundaries between natives, Indians and British were a part of my life. This story is a dedication to my Sri Lankan parents and the Indian ‘coolie’ labourers who worked in appalling conditions under the British Raj of the colonial empire.”

Empire’s Children tells the story of Shiro, the native Tea maker’s daughter and her friendship with Lakshmi, the daughter of an Indian tea plucker. They should not have been friends – but they were. It also tells the story of Anthony and William Ashley Cooper, the sons of the British owner of the tea plantations. The Ashley-Coopers should never have had any contact with the girls – but they did. Their destinies are woven together in the dying years of white British rule in the tea plantations of Sri Lanka.

The result is a tale of love and sex in all its complexity, reluctant passion and innocent faith, of power and abuse and one man’s longing to make reparation.

Patricia Weerakoon is a medical doctor turned sexologist and writer. She retired in 2012 after a distinguished career as director of an internationally renowned graduate program in sexual health at the University of Sydney to pursue her passion for writing and public speaking. Her nonfiction books Teen Sex: By the Book; Growing up: By the Book and The Best Sex for Life are gold-standard guides for good sexual practice. Patricia is currently an honorary academic with the University of Sydney. She is also a popular public speaker and social commentator at schools, churches and conferences in Australia.


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New release: Next of Kin

NextofKinesby Carol Preston

Next of Kin tells the story of a woman in colonial Australia who was brave enough to stand against discrimination.

Fanny Franks was raised to believe in honesty, equality and acceptance of all people, regardless of their background or circumstances.  When she meets Jack and Jim Smith, she is determined to intervene and help them find happiness, until trauma in her own life brings a personal experience of discrimination and shame for which she is ill prepared.

Next of Kin is the latest novel from author Carol Preston. Set in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales in the late 1800s, it is based on Carol’s own ancestors, who took on the many challenges of starting out in a new land and in new communities.

“Writing Next of Kin gave me a new appreciation of the difficulties around multiculturalism,” said Carol. “It was eye opening for me to explore the development of these issues through the eyes of my ancestors and imagine what it must have been like for people of different cultures, languages, expectations and traditions to work together for their common good in an emerging nation.”

In 2000, after many years of researching her family history as a hobby, Carol began writing novels based on the lives of her ancestors, going back to the First Fleet of convicts sent to Australia in 1788. Next of Kin is her ninth novel. 

Next of Kin portrays the struggle of people trying to live together with acceptance and tolerance despite their differences of opinion, language, traditions and beliefs,” she said. “It’s a tribute to a young woman who was courageous enough to stand up for what she believed.”   

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New Release: Motive Games 2: Death Down Under

New Release: Motive Games 2: Death Down Under

Follow-up to the award-winning Motive Games soon to be released!

The standalone sequel to the award-winning, Motive Games, by LD Taylor will be released on 1 November. Motive Games 2: Death Down Under, follows teenager, Phil Roland, and his videogame-production company across the world from Canada to New Zealand where the company is once again under threat.

Motive Games mysteries are fast-paced, high-tech thrillers enriched by thought-provoking themes. The first book, Motive Games, won the 2011 CALEB Prize for best Young Adult Manuscript and was a YA book silver medal-winner in the 2014 Literary Classics Book Awards in the USA.

'Having spent six months in a New Zealand police station, working as a university researcher, gave me an excellent opportunity to learn the ins and outs of crime investigation in my new country. I love the fact that I can give my readers 'true-to-life' glimpses into fascinating worlds (game development and murder investigation) and cultures (Canadian and Kiwi) that they might not otherwise be familiar with.

Social Rewards Programme
Readers who blog, tweet, Google + or write a FB comment about Motive Games 2: Death Down Under are eligible to receive a free enhanced ebook of the first story in the Motive Games series. In order to receive their reward, readers simply need to use the hashtag #motivegames with their social media post.

About Motive Games
In Canada, Phil Roland is a hero: he saved his dad's company, Motive Games; solved his dad's murder; and exposed a mafia ring. But by his second day in Auckland, Phil's life is out of control. The E3 East gaming show was supposed to be Motive's big chance to get published. Instead, people are blaming Phil for a controversial FPS; someone's hacked Motive's game; and Australian mega- distributer, PFG, is threatening to ruin the company. The guy whose name keeps popping up? PFG president, Bailey Kant. Thanks to Kant, Phil is dodging the press and protestors and being trailed by the mysterious girl in green.

Then a PFG exec turns up dead. An exec anyone could have mistaken for Kant. Now Phil and friends have 48 hours to solve the mystery... or watch their dreams die down under.

About LD Taylor
LD Taylor broke into the world of young adult fiction in 2011, after a successful and prolific career writing for the entertainment technology industry. In the award-winning Motive Games Taylor combined her in-depth knowledge of the game industry with her passion for mystery novels. Today, Taylor expands the Motive Games series, from her home in Whangarei, with the help of her daughter, sons and programmer husband.

Motive Games 2: Death Down Under is available in all good bookstores or buy online now.

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New Release: Mortal Insight

New Release: Mortal Insight

When your life is at stake, are some truths worth bringing out into the open?

Mortal Insight, the first title by E.B. James is a gripping crime drama that will have you flipping pages to follow the insidious work of chemical additive, TDB. Detective Steve Keller has uncovered a dangerous side-effect, but the more he tries to find out further information, the more he hits opposition, and then danger.

Though not this author's first novel, Mortal Insight is the first under this pen name and in this genre. A popular author in her usual genre, James hopes to engage new readers with this political crime conspiracy, addressing legal, political and social issues.

"The overwhelming tide of sexualisation in our culture has been an increasing concern for many people for many years, ranging from the use of sex in advertising through to hard core porn. TDB is my metaphor for this deep social phenomenon," said James.

Mortal Insight follows Steve Keller's investigation into a little known chemical additive called Tanordebetian or TDB. The main problem is, Steve's information about a dangerous side-effect has come through a vision, and that is not something he can tell anyone about.

His main ally is the enthusiastic social reformer, Dorothy Kent, whose big claim to fame is the ridicule she regularly receives as being a kook. If it weren't for the belief that TDB is likely to have a serious effect on sexual crime, Steve would abandon the project altogether, but his own experience tells him it is real and must be investigated. Together they battle against a tide of opposition, until they hit upon something that sees one man dead and death threats against their family. The trouble is, they don't know how deep it goes.

E.B. James has been in the published market since 1997 and this is her sixteenth title, though the first under this pen name. Due to a great response in Australia, some of her previous titles have successfully been introduced into the UK and US markets.

Mortal Insight is available in all good bookstores or buy online now.

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Interview with the creators of the Motive Games 2 Cover

Interview with the creators of the Motive Games 2 Cover

Interview with Stephen Thut and Michael Taylor about the creation of the cover for Motive Games 2: Death Down Under.

In designing the cover for Motive Games 2: Death Down Under, in what ways did you maintain continuity with the first Motive Games book?

Stephen: There were a few decisions that were made that maintained a consistency between the first book and the second. 

I suppose one of the more obvious was the use of the same figure in both books as the main subject through which we were trying to convey a compelling image. 

The overall tone of the cover had to be dark. It was important for the setting of the scene to be at night in order to convey a mysterious ambiance.

There wasn't an exact colour palette used, however, I tried to keep some tones in the cover character's suit and fedora the same, or similar to, the first book.

The use of typography on the cover was also a direct carry-over from the first Motive Games cover. Some of the shading techniques on the type were altered slightly, however the use of the same font weights and basic lock-up helped to convey a sense of continuity.

MGDDUimage1How was the character created?

Michael: The focal point of the character is the head and fedora that were created and rendered in 3D. By using this type of technology, we were mirroring how most videogame characters are created: an art form that gets a lot of mention in the Motive Games story.

The 3D work was done by game artist Guillame Mollé who works at UbiSoft in France. The rough shape of the head was sculpted first, in a software package called 3D Studio Max, and then colour and extra layers of fine detail were painted onto a flat surface and then wrapped around the 3D shape (a process called texture mapping). The fine wrinkles and other skin bumps were painted as a black-and-white image where the light parts of the image are bumps and the dark parts of the image become valleys (a process known as bump mapping).

Finally, I adjusted the head and texture map to make the character more youthful looking than the original.

What were you aiming to communicate stylistically with the cover?

Stephen: It was important for me to take what I had thought of with the first book as an 'establishing shot' and evolve the cover somewhat for the second book.

More than anything I wanted to create both a mood as well as a sense of place and to set a scene for the reader.

The books are murder mysteries, and so early on some design decisions were made that leaned in a modern noir direction.

The cover looks quite stylized, did you use any stock photography?

Stephen: The cover is a composite of layers of the 3D character and fedora placed within layers of stock photos, textures and shading. While the typography is a design element, I really considered the gathering and compositing of all of its various imagery to be a very illustrative process. When I use stock photography it is important to me to use elements from that stock piece, altering that element somehow, creating something new and unique.

The suit jacket for example had to be cut out of what appeared to be a scene set in the past and made to fit with what I wanted to be a scene set in a more modern or timeless period. So, I cut out the jacket and suit (essentially the body for the figure) and applied textures and shading to them, altering their look somewhat, making it my own.

The Auckland cityscape is another example of a stock shot, with tonal filters applied to it and many layers of texture and shading digitally applied, to again, make it unique to this particular piece of art, and also new and fresh and a part of a whole new illustration.

mgdduimage2What are the key tools you used to achieve your look?

Stephen: I worked completely digitally on this piece. Aside from the very first rough sketches in the earliest concept stages with pencil and paper, everything is run through Photoshop CC. I tend to work seamlessly, building up my artwork from rough stages through to final art directly within Photoshop. It's a process that's become quickest and most comfortable for me over the years.

The type for the back cover and spine compositions are created within InDesign CC, and a print-ready file can be exported from there to send to the printer.

What was the biggest challenge in achieving the look you wanted?

Stephen: One of the biggest hurdles that had to be overcome with the second cover was capturing the subtlety of colours and textures I wanted present, but to still keep the overall tone enveloped in darkness.

I was finding that on-screen, everything was working, but when it came time to print the work on actual paper, a lot of the tones were turning muddy and washing out.

So, I did an extensive series of colour tests, altering the brightness and saturation levels, not only of various compositional elements, but of the background sky texture as well, and sent a random to a print house in order to best see how far to push the colours to get what I wanted on press.

Do you enjoy designing book covers... and if yes, what in particular do you find interesting?

Stephen: Working collaboratively with an author on a book cover is ultimately very gratifying. From choosing compositional elements to the main subject matter itself, it is quite fun to work out. Creating what is a still frame that says everything it needs to say.

Covers are art. They use design, illustration, and are marketing tools. There are an infinite number of permutations of what a book cover can be, which is very exciting for a designer.

MGDDUimage3Stephen Thut is a graphic designer/art director based in Toronto Canada. Stephen works for an award-winning design firm as well as taking on freelance projects—the most recent being Motive Games 2: Death Down Under. Stephen, who also designed the first Motive Games cover, talks a bit about the process of creating his latest book cover.

Michael Taylor is the husband of the author of Motive Games, and the technical editor of the story. Michael's day job is creating 3D software programs, for the entertainment and medical visualisation industries. This work has earned Michael an Academy Award (ie Oscar).

Thanks also to LD Taylor, the author of the Motive Games Series who helped compile this interview.

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New release: Too Pretty

New release: Too Pretty

Too Pretty has just been released and you can win a copy!

Subscribe and leave us a comment below with the name you subscribed to go into the draw!

Pretty Girls Have Problems Too

Being beautiful isn’t as easy as people think, Ellie Paxton’s stunning looks not only attract judgment and criticism, they also cause breakups with boyfriends who aren’t interested in the real Ellie, just the external one. Too Pretty, by inspirational romance author Andrea Grigg, is a story of faith, love and self-discovery.

‘In a world where importance is placed on fame, fortune, and beauty, being blessed with these qualities should make life easy. Or so we think,’ says Eloise Whyte of Soul Inspirationz, a website dedicated to the promotion of quality Christian fiction. ‘Too Pretty takes us behind the scenes, showing us that such qualities don’t necessarily make life easier – just more complicated, and how having good character is far more attractive and of great worth.’

Ellie always feels on the outer. So does the darkly handsome Nathaniel, for reasons of his own. Both are determined to avoid a relationship, but when they keep bumping into each other their attraction escalates. And then Ellie makes an impulsive decision which may jeopardise everything.

‘How often do we think the beautiful people have it easy?’ asks the author, Andrea Grigg. ‘Writing this story has made me think outside the box and given me a new appreciation of how life can be difficult for those who seemingly have it all. I hope Ellie’s story will help young women (and not-so-young) realise that each of them is unique and precious to God no matter what they look like, and that even though you love someone, your relationship needs work in order to succeed.’

Andrea is a former primary school teacher who lives with her husband on Queensland’s Gold Coast where they have raised their three children. Having been a musician all her life, Andrea received a pleasant shock when writing took over as her number one passion. Andrea’s first inspirational romance, A Simple Mistake, was published in 2012. It was also a finalist in the 2012 CALEB Awards.

Too Pretty is available in all good bookstores or buy online now.

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Guest — Melissa Wray
It's been great learning more about Andrea and this new release sounds like a terrific read!
Wednesday, 20 August 2014 14:12
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New release: A Summary of the Bible

New release: A Summary of the Bible

A Summary of the Bible is released on 1 August 2014 and you can win a copy!

Subscribe and leave us a comment below with the name you subscribed to go into the draw!

Finally: for those who want to read the Bible in simplified form (one sixth full size)… or want to be guided through its complexities accurately and clearly, Dr Nick Hawkes, has written A Summary of the Bible: Simplifying the Greatest Book in History.

The book has already received international praise in the lead up to its official release. “For many of us, the Bible is big and complicated. Dr Nick Hawkes has done an amazing job in creating this Summary of the Bible. It has become one of the most valuable tools for our church planters and believers in Asia. None of us now have an excuse in not understanding what Bible is all about. This is a “must have” resource for both Christians and non-Christians,” said Jossy Chacko, Founder and International President of EMPART.

A Summary of the Bible is a unique idea … a fresh idea for a popular reference book that gives a great overview of the entire Bible,” said Scott Bolinder, President, Global Publishing, Biblica [Publishers of the ‘New International Version’ of the Bible].

A Summary of the Bible was written to meet the needs of time-pressured people who want to know what’s in the Bible—without having to read all of its 800,000 words!

Not all sections of the Bible are easy to understand. Dr Nick Hawkes, theologian, broadcaster and award-winning writer, guides readers through it with simplicity and clarity. He’s done this so effectively that the book has been translated into Hindi, due to demand in the two-thirds world for an easy-to-understand form of the Bible.

Dr Hawkes said, “I wrote this book because people in Africa and India asked me for a version of the Bible that could be understood by those without much training. I confess that I demurred until time-pressured friends in the West heard of the project and said they’d like it too.”

A Summary of the Bible is for me, an essential hands-on tool for ordinary people in our global village that will unlock Biblical truth,” said Mike Hey, Area Director, East Asia and Pacific, for Operation Mobilisation.

The book features key scriptures in full, an introductory page for each book of the Bible, scriptural memory verses and discussion questions.

Dr Nick Hawkes is also the author of The Bible on the Key Issues of Life, winner of the Bible Study category at the US Selah Awards 2014. 

A Summary of the Bible is available in all good bookstores or buy online now.

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Interview with Phil Roland: Motive Games, Montreal, Canada

Interview with Phil Roland: Motive Games, Montreal, Canada

Phil Roland is the son of renowned game designer, Marc Roland: creator of Iron Men, the Hammerhead series, Serial Assault I (technical design) and MasterCrime. Following Marc's tragic death last year, Phil started work at Motive Games where he is helping finish up his father's final contribution to the world of gaming, MasterCrime. Phil is himself a long-time modder and budding game artist/animator. Modder Magazine caught up with him the day before the start of E3 East. He was joined in the interview by Motive Games PR executive, Kate Marshall.

How far along in the design process had your dad gotten with MasterCrime before his death last November?

Phil: Quite far. My dad had all the technical part of the design completed, with the exception of some effects stuff. Charles Magne, whose taken over the design process, arranged for us to license some middleware to solve that problem. The AI had been long done, and the script was also finished by that time.

There have been a lot of rumours about the game's PVM, Player Versus Maker, feature. Will Motive Games be showing that feature at E3 East?

Phil: Yes! And it's every bit as cool as people have heard. You guys should come out and give it a try.

Is it true that Motive Games has had trouble finding a publisher willing to keep PVM?

Kate Marshall: Motive Games has many criteria for a publisher. An appreciation for PVM is just one of them. We are meeting with numerous publishers over the course of the show and fully expect we will find one with whom we will be able to come to an agreement with in regards to all aspects of the game.

Right. Phil, can you describe PVM for our readers?

Phil: PVM is an optional ending for MasterCrime where players that are hitting the end of the game on a pre-determined day once per week, would get to play Motive Games employees. We play the Master Criminal Organisation thugs – which are usually Non-Player Characters. That means the PCs have to escape from real people now... from us.

Don't you guys have a bit of an advantage, as the makers of the game?

Phil: We've kept it quite fair and given ourselves some handicaps such as limiting our knowledge of player location and condition. Plus some aspects of the game are randomized so the scenarios will play out differently every time.

Tell us a bit about your modding. When did you start and what have you worked on?

My dad got me started with modding when I was 12. I had a bit of an advantage over most modders because I had access to Dad's licenses of the professional tools. The best thing I've done so far is a scenario of Paladin's Quest that I've named Troll's Toll. I released a new update last month.

What advice would you give young artists interested in getting into game development?

Do some research on the game studio you'd like to work for. What 3D, animation and other art tools do they use? Take some courses on those. Also I'd say that the artist/animator who understands a bit more about the technical side of game development has a definite advantage over others. So learn a bit of scripting, and even a little bit about game programming. A good place to start is to learn how to do some scripted animation. Oh, and pay attention during math class!

Thanks Phil. We'll be sure to stop by the Motive Games booth during the show.

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