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.

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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

for

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

johnwesleysmall

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

EmpiresChildrenSmall

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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An interview with Irma Gold

An interview with Irma Gold

The Sound of Silence is an anthology of 22 women's stories of miscarriage. Described by Parenting Express as an 'achingly beautiful collection', the anthology has garnered praise from organisations like SIDS and Kids and TLC Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support Australia. Even Birth Psychology, the journal of the Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health, USA, had this to say:

This book is recommended for anyone who has experienced a miscarriage, but more importantly, for anyone working with childbearing families and others in society who have not experienced a miscarriage. No one can read this book and not gain a deeper understanding the impact an early pregnancy loss can have. It is seldom 'just a miscarriage'...The Sound of Silence takes the reader through what can often be the shadow parts of this journey in a deeply moving and honest way. We all can benefit from the wisdom and experience of the stories captured and shared here. This book is a very good addition to the library of anyone drawn to the field of prenatal and perinatal psychology.

As the book continues to help men and women through their experiences of pregnancy loss, we spoke with The Sound of Silence's Editor, Irma Gold.

What was your original inspiration behind bringing this book together?
When I was 12 weeks pregnant with my third baby I miscarried [see more]. The loss felt huge, and in processing my grief I wanted to talk and talk and talk. But I quickly realised that it wasn't a subject most people felt comfortable discussing. Because I'm a writer and editor, an anthology of miscarriage stories seemed like an obvious thing to do. I wanted to break the silence that surrounds miscarriage. And I wanted to offer other women some support in the only way I knew how. But something else happened, too.

As I immersed myself in this project, as I surrounded myself with others' heartbreaking stories, I found myself letting go. My miscarriage was over four years ago now. I had to look back at an old diary to work that out. It's a marker of how I no longer feel sadness. But I know this is also partly because since then I have had another baby. That fourth pregnancy was tough. There was so much love and so much worry. I remember reading submissions for The Sound of Silence—so many of them—while I was pregnant with him. I was grateful to be far enough along that I could feel him kicking. Otherwise I think fear may have consumed me.

That baby is now a gorgeous three year old and I can't imagine life without him. Without my miscarriage, he would never have been. That's a strange thought. I find that Clare McHugh's words in her story 'Unexpected' now resonate more fully: 'There is no use fighting losses, not even fighting to understand them. Only acceptance and gratitude for the rest.' And I do feel that. Enormous gratitude for the family I have. And also gratitude for all those strong women and men that I have met through The Sound of Silence. That's a gift that our lost baby gave me.

What has been the most encouraging moment since the release of the book?
There have been so many; every time someone takes the time to email me or comes up to tell me why the book has been important to them or someone they know. Many readers have shared their own stories with me which has been both moving and humbling. And comments like this one from reader Charmain mean everything: '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.'

Perhaps I can share one of the many stories that was related to me. One lady gave a copy to her son and daughter-in-law who had had several miscarriages and no children yet. This couple talked to no one about their miscarriages. On receiving The Sound of Silence the daughter-in-law put it on a shelf and didn't look at it. It wasn't until two months later that she opened the book and read every story. She then thanked her mother-in-law for the gift—no easy acknowledgment—and asked her to pass on her thanks to all the writers. She felt unable to discuss her miscarriages with those around her, but the women in The Sound of Silence spoke to her from the page, offering comfort.

What has surprised you the most about the book's reception?
I was both surprised and delighted when The Sound of Silence won the ACT Writing and Publishing Award for Non Fiction [read more]. I didn't expect that at all. A book about miscarriage seemed such an unlikely winner. But it was the judges' comments that I found most heartening. They wrote:

The Sound of Silence was the stand-out winner on every level. This book proved to be compellingly readable, boasted good production design and evidenced careful, respectful editing. Although neither of the judges initially expected to be taken by this volume, both ultimately found it absorbing and uplifting. The writing was of the highest quality and deserves a readership well beyond its niche market. In short: An inspirational book and a clear winner.

thesoundofsilencesmallIt wasn't the praise that struck me most, though of course that was gratifying, it was the fact that both judges shied away from the idea of a miscarriage anthology (one of the judges later told me that they deliberately left it until last because they couldn't face reading about such a sad subject) and yet when they finally picked it up they found it 'absorbing and uplifting'. That was the real win.

I have since discovered that others have had a similar reaction. Those who have experienced miscarriage have sometimes approached the book with reservations about the way it might potentially affect them. As one reader wrote: '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 I experienced are so normal.'

So my hope for this book is that both women and men will continue to find The Sound of Silence when they need it and have the courage to dive in.

Buy The Sound of Silence online here. Visit Irma at irmagold.com, follow her on Twitter @Irma_Gold, and on Facebook at facebook.com/IrmaGoldAuthor

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Aussie author Dr Nick Hawkes wins US Award!

Aussie author Dr Nick Hawkes wins US Award!

Dr Nick Hawkes, author of the upcoming, The Summary of the Bible won the 2014 Selah Award: Bible Study Category.

The 2014 Selah Awards were announced at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, USA last week. Adelaide based author, Dr Nick Hawkes won the Bible Studies Award for his book The Bible on the Key Issues of Life.

On hearing of his award, Nick Hawkes said, "I'm thrilled and humbled by this award. My passion is to make the Bible known in a really useful, easily accessible form. I'm delighted to think this might occur."

This award-winning book contains Bible studies on 50 of the most common questions asked about life and faith. Issues covered include: guidance; suffering; healing; getting a job: sex; the environment; and the resurrection.

Dr Hawkes' next book, A Summary of the Bible set for release in August 2014 continues his passion for providing the Bible in a simplified form. It is about one sixth the size of the full Bible and provides a simple, concise and easy to understand summary of its contents.

Dr Hawkes has two degrees in science and two in theology. He is an author, radio broadcaster, college lecturer and pastor.

Find out more about Dr Hawkes and his upcoming book A Summary of the Bible.

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Guest — Wendy Rose
Wonderful news. Congratulations Nick.
Monday, 30 June 2014 20:29
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My manuscript is ready! How do I approach a publisher?

Your manuscript is ready to go! You've had it professionally edited, proofread and you've been over it a thousand times.

Where do you go from here?

There are a few things you need to remember when approaching a publisher about getting your book published. The most important thing is to visit their website first. They will have a specific section that details their requirements for book submissions. If you want a good chance of being accepted for publication make sure you visit their page to see what they require.

It is important that you read this page carefully. Follow the details specifically. If the site says they are not accepting submissions at the moment, do NOT send your manuscript anyway. If they are so busy that they have closed to submissions for the moment, your manuscript is likely to be discarded. If they provide a time when they will reopen to submissions, don't send your manuscript early. It will make them think that you either haven't bothered to read their submissions guidelines, or have chosen to ignore what they said there. Neither of these things will make them eager to publish your book.

Make sure you follow every step. If they ask for the full manuscript first, make sure you don't send a query letter or just a few chapters. Send the whole thing. If they ask for it electronically, send it that way. If they want a physical copy and request that you send a stamped, self-addressed envelope for the return of your manuscript, please do that.

Make sure that your submission includes your name, phone number, email and postal address. Include a cover letter telling them briefly who you are and what you have written about (i.e. its genre, length and any experience you have in writing in that area). This cover letter should be no longer than one A4 page.

Some of these requirements may seem like common sense, but it is surprising how many people don't follow instructions like these. Remember, the more you make an effort to do what the publisher has asked, the more likely they are to view your manuscript in a favourable light.

Once you have submitted your manuscript, it is best not to continually call or email them to find out what is going on, especially if the submissions guidelines say it will be a few weeks before they get back to you. If they have given you no specific details on when they will get back to you, contact them after about a month. If they tell you that you still have to wait, don't continue to contact them for updates. Publishers have a lot on their plate and calling them a lot will slow them down even more.

Remember to be patient. It is often a few years between the submissions phase and the publishing phase. This is a marathon, not a sprint. If you want your book published, you need to commit to a long haul to get it there.

To find out about Rhiza Press's submission guidelines visit the submission page.

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An interview with Dr Nick Hawkes

An interview with Dr Nick Hawkes

Dr Nick Hawkes is a broadcaster, novelist, ex-research scientist, academic and pastor. He has lived in a number of countries overseas – and his adventures there inform his writing. Nick writes in three different genres: 1) novels; 2) biblical resources; 3) apologetic works that make the case for Christ.

Dr Nick Hawkes is the author of A Summary of the Bible.

Question 1: What was the first story you ever wrote and has it been published?
My first novel was The Celtic Stone. I love ripping yarns that have a heart and make you think... so I had a go.

Question 2: What is your favourite part about being an author?
Authors have the power to reach people's hearts. It is amazing when that happens – and an extraordinary privilege to be allowed to do so. I loved hearing that one of my books was instrumental in changing a person's life direction from being a water engineer (and atheist) ... to a person training for the priesthood.

My novels are a bit different. I get huge pleasure when weary, time-pressured people report their delight in being refreshed by my novels.

Question 3: What is the hardest part about being an author?
Getting overseas publishers to take you seriously.

Question 4: What do you do for fun?
I do woodwork. I love building furniture.

Question 5: How do you test out your stories?
I test ideas with dear friends in coffee houses. On one occasion, it involved the waitress!

Question 6: What was your favourite children's book when you were a kid?
King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table by Roger Green. It's full of adventure and valour - fantastic

Question 7: Have you ever travelled overseas as an author?
No. But my adventures overseas find their way into my novels.

Question 8: Have you met anyone even more famous than you?
Almost everyone is more famous than me! I once had a wonderful time in Oxford as a guest of Prof John Brooke (Harris Manchester College) – and had some great debates. Prof David Wilkinson (John's College, Durham Uni.) also has a fabulous mind and a gracious spirit. I greatly enjoy his company.

Question 9: What genre do you like to write the most?
Hard to say. I enjoy writing novels... but I also feel the passion and need to write apologetic works that make the case for Christianity. Along the way, I also write Bible resources. Perhaps the diversity keeps me fresh.

Question 10: What do you consider your biggest achievement?
The biggest achievement was getting 20 years of biblical research on life issues into one book, The Bible on the Key Issues of Life. It was a big undertaking – one I could not have done without the help of good friends.

Question 11: What book are you reading right now?
My latest draft of The Pharaoh's Stone.

 

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An interview with Adele Jones

An interview with Adele Jones

Adele Jones lives in Queensland, Australia. Her writing is inspired by a passion for family, faith, friends, music and science – and her broad ranging imagination. She has had a variety of poems, short stories, magazine articles, devotions and meditations published. Her first novels are due for release in 2014.

Adele is the author of Integrate to be released in September 2014.

Question 1: What was the first story you ever wrote and has it been published?
If I remember correctly, the first novel length story I wrote as an adult was about a lottery winner who swiftly discovered that money truly can't buy the best things in life. It has never been published (and that's probably a good thing).

Question 2: What is your favourite part about being an author?
Those moments when the ideas all come together and a story just pours itself out on the page. Oh, and going to conferences and meeting other authors. It's great sharing the journey with those familiar with the path and learning from their collective wisdom.

Question 3: What is the hardest part about being an author?
When life gets busy and I get hardly any writing (or anything else) done. It's like the ideas build up in my head and I get a bit antsy because it's like keeping track of all these thoughts in my head at once. (Always important to have a note pad on hand to jot them down before they run wild! ☺) I also find those writing sessions when it's just plain hard work writing anything half decent really frustrating. That said, I'm a great believer in "something is better than nothing" and know that eventually the ideas will start coming if I persist.

Question 4: What do you do for fun?
Lots! In addition to writing, I'm a mummy and wife, a musician, a science geek, a people person, and I like sports, so I've got plenty of things to choose from.

Question 5: What was your favourite children's book when you were a kid?
I was an avid reader as a child, so there are too many favourites to choose from. As an animal lover who was horse mad, I LOVED stories like 'The Silver Brumbies' series by Elyne Mitchell. I also loved historical fiction and non-fiction; classic titles by May Gibbs (Snugglepot and Cuddlepie); Anne of Green Gables and other stories by L.M. Montgomery. Lots and lots!

Question 6: Have you met anyone even more famous than you that was exciting?
Famous? LOL! Only my daughter thinks I'm famous, so that leaves every other famous person I've ever met to choose from. I have had opportunities to "meet" (i.e. goofy two second conversation) a couple of my favourite musicians, which was pretty cool, but I've not met very many famous people. Not really. That said, a work related event last year did include a brief introduction and shake of hands with Professor Ian Chubb, Australia's Chief Scientist. (He came across as a very pleasant, well informed man.) I've also been at a conference keynote address by Nobel Prize winner Professor Barry J. Marshall. Okay, so that's not meeting him, but I was so excited I couldn't wipe the smile off my face! (By some miracle I did manage to refrain from waving from the audience – just.)

Question 7: What writing genre do you like to do the most?
I like writing generally and perhaps one of my faults as an author is my propensity for writing across a variety of genres. But it is fun. I find historical fiction particularly satisfying due to the amount of research involved and the challenge of putting together all the puzzle pieces to form a whole, then knitting them into a story. That said, science fiction can also be like that, and being a science geek is kind of handy when writing in that genre.

Question 8: What do you consider your biggest achievement?
That's a really hard question. When I was a child I used to think it was pretty momentous when I'd gain the trust of a wild kitten or manage not to get thrown when my pony would get in a strop and pull a swift move on me! (I did mention that I was an animal lover...) As an adult it's harder to pinpoint a particular "biggest" moment. I suppose it's probably those occasions when I've stepped out of my comfort zone or taken up a challenging task and it all comes off. This is something that never gets old, whether it be a parenting experience; a successful result for a large project; or a performance that just works! I think if we stop doing things that are a little bit scary, then we miss something in life. The best moments often turn out to be the ones that are shared and the most satisfying journeys usually start with a leap of faith.

Question 9: Where do you see the future of children's books (ebooks/apps/print)
Hey, I'm still getting my head around iPads/tablets, let alone apps! (Oops, am I not supposed to admit that in public?) Having had a little play with an app, I think it's cool what can be done, but I also love the feel of a book in my hand and being able to flip back to favourite places as required, which you can't do with an e-book. (Although my daughter did demonstrate the "go to" function on my Kindle when I was bumbling around the other day trying to go back a few chapters. She's only used it a couple of times...)

Question 10: What book are you reading right now?
I'm a repeat multi-book reading offender. As such, I'm currently reading (or trying to read...) 'Parentless Parenting' by Allison Gilbert (it looked interesting); Creative writing by Adele Ramet (how could you go wrong with a name like that?); 'The seven habits of highly effective people' by Stephen R. Covey (I'm beginning to suspect that effective people don't try to read five books at once...); 'He still moves stones' by Max Lucado; and another book I've downloaded onto my kindle, the name of which currently escapes me (clearly life altering...).

Worse, since beginning these books I've started and completed several others, including 'The Self Leadership of the One Minute Manager' by Ken Blanchard, Susan Fowler and Laurence Hawkins; and 'Persuaded by the Evidence' by Doug Sharp and Jerry Bergman (great book – do read it if you haven't yet). Let's face it; I'm walking evidence for the time management fallacy we refer to as effective multi-tasking!

 

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An interview with Andrea Grigg

An interview with Andrea Grigg

Hi – my name is Andrea Grigg, and I live on Queensland's Gold Coast with my husband, Geoff, and Micky, our border collie. We have three adult children, two daughters, a son, and a son-in-law, who all live locally for which I'm very thankful. I moved to Australia from New Zealand when I was in my mid-twenties, and I have a foot firmly in both countries. As well as being a wife and mother, I was a primary school teacher for many years, but retired at the end of 2012 in order to concentrate on writing.

Andrea is the author of the upcoming Too Pretty due for release in August 2014.

Question 1: What was the first story you ever wrote and has it been published?
I wrote prolifically when I was a child but none of my stories were published. (A Day in the Life of a Coin – really?) Most of what I wrote was fan fiction. I remember writing extra chapters to 'The Secret Garden' and I re-wrote the ending to 'Little Women' because I was so annoyed when Beth died. (Apologies to Louisa May Alcott)

Question 2: What was your first book published?
My first book, A Simple Mistake, was published in 2012.

Question 3: What is your favourite part about being an author?
My favourite part (and it still thrills me when this happens) is when my characters take over my laptop and say or do things I haven't planned. Very addictive!

Question 4: What do you do for fun?
I love reading, listening to music and having coffee with friends. Most of all, I love it when my family is all together – there's a lot of hilarity!

Question 5: How do you test out your stories? Or who do you test them on?
I have a group of friends who read them for me. They are an eclectic bunch, and range in age from 20-something to 50-something. And then a fellow writer (sometimes two) critiques my manuscript. I appreciate these women so much - the feedback is invaluable.

Question 6: What was your favourite children's book when you were a kid?
I devoured the Famous Five series. When our family went on our annual holiday to Ngunguru (north of Whangarei in NZ) my dad posted a sheet of paper on the door of our little cabin, stating that it was 'Kirrin Cottage' and then named its inhabitants, ie. The characters from the books. I was in heaven.

Question 7: What writing genre do you like to do the most?
I've always enjoyed reading contemporary romance novels, so it was a natural progression to write it. I also prefer stand-alones, both to read and write, as they're bigger and I'm a very quick reader. I am not, however, a fast writer! Hopefully, that will change.

Question 8: What do you consider your biggest achievement?
My three children. They constantly amaze me.

Question 9: What is your favourite way/time to read?
I will read anytime and anywhere. I used to get reprimanded as a child for bringing a book to the dinner table. If it's only me at home, I still do it!

Question 10: What book are you reading right now?
I've just finished Nicholas Sparks' latest, The Longest Ride. I read it in a day.

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Guest — Paula Vince
Interesting interview I agree with you, Andrea, that it's fun to make up extra, or even alternative endings, to well known books.... Read More
Thursday, 13 February 2014 18:07
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Rhiza: So what does it all mean?

Rhiza (pronounced: rise -a) is the Latin word for the roots of a tree. A tree will not grow strong without a good foundation: strong roots. The name came after thinking about the ne­cessity of having a strong foundation to build on.

The fruit of the tree is what people see, though, not the roots. Our new logo shows the tree and the leaves and is very alive and welcoming. That’s how I would like to see our books. They show the fruit of our faith, the fruit of our strengths as writers and creators. Still the message is in the sto­ries, and those who have ears to hear will very likely get something.

Rhiza Press aims to publish exceptional stories and deliver fresh, family friendly titles in a wide variety of genres for all people who love books.

We made the decision to start afresh with Rhiza Press in order to reach not only the Christian market but the general wider audience, with great, family-friendly, real, natural and integrated stories that you can trust won't include any explicit content.

We want our books to show faith through the characters rather than telling the readers about the faith – in so many ways faith has to be experienced or welcomed, it (often) cannot be learnt.

 

- Rochelle Manners, Director of Rhiza Press

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Guest — Andrea Grigg
Great post, Rochelle. Love the concept, the logo, the premise for the new branding. Looking forward to how it all unfolds.
Tuesday, 11 February 2014 15:27
Guest — Mary Hawkins
Congratulations on this new venture and wishing you every success at reaching many more folk with the truths of the Word. ... Read More
Thursday, 13 February 2014 08:10
Guest — Dale Harcombe
Congratulations Rochelle. Sounds like a great move. Praying this tree flourishes and bears lots of fruit.
Thursday, 13 February 2014 08:33
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An interview with Rosanne Hawke

An interview with Rosanne Hawke

Hi, I'm Rosanne Hawke from rural South Australia; I write books for young people from 6 – 18 years, but adults read them too. I tend to use themes of relationships, culture, identity and place, but I also like writing about cats and music. I'm interested in Cornish culture, as I am a fourth-generation Cornish descendant, and also in the culture of the Middle East, especially Pakistan, as I and my family worked there as aid workers for ten years.

Rosanne is the author of Zenna Dare, set for re-release in July 2014.

Question 1: What was the first story you ever wrote and has it been published?
I have loved writing since I was little. It began with reading by the light under the door, or by moonlight, hanging out my window. My mother knew a jotter and pencil would keep me happy for hours. I wrote snippets of stories and buried them in tins. My first published story – in the school magazine – was called 'Bushed' set in the South American jungle.

Question 2: How did you start writing books?
I told my children stories; they gave me characters' names, settings, even a problem and I told the story with lots of their interjections. One night when we lived in Pakistan I told my eldest daughter a story she wanted about a kidnapping in Afghanistan as one of our colleagues had been abducted by freedom fighters. She thought how exciting that would be. She liked the story so much she begged me to write it for her to read, then to type it, then to send it to a publisher. She wanted to be able to buy a book that her mother wrote just for her. This became my second book, Jihad.

Question 3: What was your first book published?
Re-entry: The story of an Australian girl who had grown up in Pakistan and returned to Australia for high school. It explores one's own culture from the outside and culture shock.

Question 4: What is your favourite part about being an author?
Writing the stories and seeing how they affect readers. One mother told me reading one of my books (Zenna Dare) got her daughter off drugs. Another girl said she didn't know a book could change her opinions like Soraya the Storyteller did for her.

Question 5: What was your favourite children's book when you were a kid?
I had many but reread The Prince and the Pauper many times (probably a retelling) and loved all the fairy stories & folktales like The Arabian Nights.

Question 6: What is your favourite children's book now?
There are too many great books to mention just one. I love Glenda Millard's The Naming of Tishkin Silk and Kate DiCamillo's Because of Wynne Dixie. Christine Harris' Audrey of the Outback; Janeen Brian's Where does Thursday Go? Patricia MacLachlan's Sarah, Plain and Tall. The list is never ending.

Question 7: Have you ever travelled overseas as an author?
Yes, I was asked to speak at the Cornish Studies Centre in Redruth, Cornwall about Cornish children's literature in Australia, and also to speak in schools. I have spoken in an American school but that was arranged while I was holidaying with friends.

Question 8: What writing genre do you like to do the most?
I often write realism, but have written historical (Mustara and Taj and the Great Camel Trek), an historical fantasy (Wolfchild), and fantasy (Across the Creek).

Question 9: Where do you see the future of children's books (ebooks/apps/print)?
I think the future is exciting. Stories or books will never die but they will change shape. Print books will become a special event as children gradually lose the art of writing by hand.

Question 10: What books are you reading right now?
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton and I am Malala by Malala Yousefzai with Christina Lamb.

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Guest — Carol Preston
Great interview Roseanne. I just bought Zenna Dare and I'm really looking forward to reading it. Sounds like my kind of book, thou... Read More
Tuesday, 01 July 2014 15:22
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Adult Fiction Submissions

Adult Fiction Submissions

Rhiza Press is calling for Adult Fiction Submissions from 1 March 2014.

What we are looking for:

Rhiza Press publishes books for new adult and adult readership in two different lists.

Novellas – works of 35,000 – 55,000 words. Aimed at those who love to read, but have only limited time in which to do so. Primarily romances or drama for female readers.

Novels – works of 60,000 – 110,000 words for male and/or female readers. All audiences, family friendly stories.

General comments on fiction style submissions:

Books should NOT be first draft when they are submitted. Multiple submissions of the same manuscript because you realise you made typographical errors will not be considered.

Books may have multiple points of view, but points of view should not be broken with head hopping in the middle of a scene. We prefer titles that are not written in omniscient point of view. First or third person and past or present tense is the author's choice.

Books should be action driven with the principles of 'show-don't-tell' utilised. Books should be real, relatable and strong in plot.

Please watch out for attributions and adverbs that are overused or used in a way that distract the reader.

We recommend all authors get their work appraised or edited or both (perhaps more than once) before submission. Please include these professional appraisals in your submission including the name of your editor. If we contract your book, it will then go through further editing and proofreading before publication.

If you are an Australian author writing fiction we sincerely suggest you read other Australian authors so you know the style of writing in Australia. Check them out and ensure your book is unique.

Submission Instructions:

To submit a manuscript:

  • A personal CV/resume relating specifically to the field of writing.
  • A full synopsis
  • A minimum of four chapters of the book, at least three must be the start of the book.
  • Your full return details (name, address) which must also be included on the pages of your manuscript.
  • Your manuscript must be page numbered.
  • If you have not completed the manuscript when you submit a timeline of when you are submitting
  • Feedback from any editors you have worked with is welcome

We accept submissions via either post or email (never both). We do not consider query letters. Please do not phone to check on your submission. Queries can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

For email submissions, follow these guidelines:

IMPORTANT: all information and attachments are to be sent in a single email only with a total maximum size of 2MB – if that is not possible, then you should submit via post instead. Emails that do not comply with these requirements will be automatically deleted.

A cover letter in the body of the email that includes well researched information on how your manuscript compares with other books on the market, and with other books Rhiza Press has already published.

An automatic response will be generated if your submission is received safely.

For postal submissions, follow these guidelines:

  • A return envelope with enough postage to cover the return of your manuscript (prepaid envelopes or parcels are best). Submissions without this will not receive consideration and will be destroyed.
  • Post submissions to: Rhiza Press, PO Box 1519, Capalaba QLD 4157

For specific details on other genre requirements visit the submissions page.

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