Friday, November 6, 2009

Hello from Tasmania, Australia!
Well, how exciting is this? My first blog on this new international Christian writers’ venture!

Mmm. . . what to write, where to start when my heart is still bubbling over from meeting so many great writers at the American Christian Fiction Writers national conference in Denver, Colorado, USA. Well, it was actually in September but my husband and I came home the long way around through England and Singapore so have only been over jet lag a couple of weeks now.

Do note – this Aussie author from the Island state of Tasmania, Australia, was in America!

I was at long last fulfilling my dream of over eight years to go to one of these conferences. And it was everything I could have prayed for, hoped for. There I met so many great writers that until then had been only names on their wonderful books or names on emails. Some of them from around the world you have already met here and will meet others as we share something of our lives and writing efforts with you. I couldn’t resist sharing with you some of the multitude of photos I have from those inspiring days.

Hi again, Lisa Harris! (We met last in Johannesburg on 2005)

Hugs again for multi-published Loree Lough (We last met at a conference in Chicago 1999)

Husband Ray helps at book signing (We met 47 years ago and been married 45!)

With guest speaker Debbie Macomber (We had just met – lovely writer and lady)

For too many years I wrote with very little contact with other writers, and that was certainly so during the years of writing that rough draft of my first book in long hand before typing it with my two fingers on a small portable typewriter. Then at last I managed to buy our very first computer – with a huge hard drive of 40 MB!

Not long after re-writing that first, many-times-rejected-manuscript onto that computer, I saw an advertisement in our local town’s newspaper about an adult education class for romance writers. I’d already done a correspondence writer’s course but still rang the number. As a result, for the first time I met other fiction writers and we formed a very supportive and helpful writers group. In fact, I owe a good friend there so much for telling me to take seriously the editor’s request on a rejection letter to “send me another manuscript” and to write another story. That next attempt earned my first contract with Harlequin Mills & Boon and my first contract with Barbour quickly followed. That is only the first example of many, many reasons why I always encourage anyone who has a dream of being a published author to join a writers group. It is even more helpful to join a group of writers targeting the same genre – as I’ve just experienced in a very special way in Denver!

Since that year in the early 1990s I’ve been so blessed by being a member of groups like Romance Writers of Australia, Romance Writers of America and their Faith Hope & Love chapter for Christian writers. When American Christian Romance Writers commenced in 2000 I was delighted. It is now called American Christian Fiction Writers and I only hope and pray God makes it possible for me to some year again fly across that huge Pacific Ocean to share in another of these wonderful conferences. As wonderful as it is to once a year share in conferences either here at home or abroad, there is nothing quite like regular face to face fellowship with other writers. For that reason I am also a member of the Society Women Writers Tasmania. How fortunate to live just less than an hours drive from Launceston where our monthly workshops are held! Somehow I find myself currently president of this group.

With the support of my wonderful family and writer friends, since 1993 I have written and had published 5 medical romances for Harlequin, 4 contemporary inspirational romances and 4 inspirational historicals in the Heartsong Presents line published by Barbour in Ohio. Barbour has also released my novella in their Christmas Dreams anthology and all except one of my Heartsongs in two 4-in-1 collections called Australia and Australian Outback.

Unfortunately those novels are now out of print but I ventured into writing longer inspirational romance novels. I am delighted that an Australian publisher, Ark House Press released Book One in my new series last year. Return to Baragula is also now more readily available to shops in North America through an American distributor, STL. Book Two in this Baragula series was released here in Australia earlier this year and Outback From Baragula is expected to be listed with STL next year.

Did I say I was still bubbling over? Well, it seems that means this post has now become a little long so I’ll have to tell you a little about our beautiful Tasmanian island next time I share with you. In the meantime you might like to peep at my website where there is more information about myself and my 18 titles.

And until next time, somehow I have to stop the bubbles and write more of Book Three in my Baragula series.


  1. Mary, my friend and mentor, thanks for sharing your inspiring writing journey with us :-) I can't wait to trek across the Pacific and attend my first ACFW conference!

  2. Great to read how it all started, Mary! Greetings from the deep North and all your friends in Queensland.

  3. Mary, I've been so inspired by your story. Thanks for encouraging me with your enthusiasm and commitment to the craft of writing.
    The same thanks to you too Narelle for your wise tips a few months ago. :) I am constantly amazed and humbled at the generosity of fellow writers who have gone before me.

  4. Great post, Mary. Love your books and can't wait to read the next in your series.



  5. Narelle, as I've proved the last few days, I also need your mentoring in computers areas! So this is a mutual exchange!

    A little warmer up there than down here in Tassie, Annie. Do hope the launch and contest is going well.

    And all the very best to you too, Dorothy. Thank you for your encouargement for this.

  6. Thank you, Lee. And I'll be looking for your article in Christian Woman magazine in a few weeks.

  7. Mary, what a great post for your first time. I'm so pleased you had such a great time.

    You know, I don't think I've ever told you this but years ago when I first started to write again, I was doing a TAFE course (up here in Maiyland NSW) and one of my teachers told me about this lovely lady by the name of Mary Hawkins who rode for M&B, and that I should get in touch with you. I didn't back than, but have to say how pleased I am that I finally got to know you via the RWAustralia loop.

    I'll look forward to more of your post.


  8. It was wonderful to connect with you again this year, Mary! Thanks for sharing from your heart!

  9. Mary, haven't had the pleasure of reading one of your books, can you BELIEVE IT!

    That problem will soon be fixed!

  10. Mary, I really enjoyed that post a lot. Thanks for showing us what it's like to write so far from the hub of publishing.

    Also big hugs and thanks to both you and Ray for helping me feel at home in Denver. You two rock.

  11. Mary and Dorothy, you're welcome :-) One of the great things about the writing community is their generosity in helping other writers. I really appreciate the encouragement and support I've received from my writing friends, many of whom I haven't had the pleasure of meeting in person.

  12. Thanks ever so much, Mary, for sharing your thoughts and your words and your photos with us!

    What an absolute delight it was, spending time with you and Ray in Denver! Last time we got together in 1999... so I'm praying it won't take another ten years before I get the pleasure of your company again!

    Maybe our Father will see fit for me to come down under... wouldn't that be a joy!

    Hugs, m'friend, and here's hoping you and your lovely family will enjoy a wonderful weekend!

    P.S. Hope your book signing went GREAT!

  13. Mary, thanks so much for sharing your journey with us. Your post has been an inspiration for me to keep getting those words done.

    It's a dream of mine that I will be able to attend the ACFW Conference soon. Your sharing about your experiences and the people you met has made me want to go even more.

    Enjoy the bubbles you are experiencing. I hope they will make writing your next novel easier.
    Noela Cowell

  14. Thank you all so much for your lovely comments. Isn't it all exciting to be part of this blog! I've had a busy day with books and visiting our two day old grandson - but more of that my next blog in December. I am so looking forward to reading the other writer's posts here.
    Hugs everyone

  15. Today we're featuring one of your very own, Tom Davis, AND highlighting international reads

    and leave a comment!

  16. Mary, it was so great to meet you at the conference and hear your wonderful accent, too. You are such a sweet lady!!

  17. I will look forward to hearing about your island.