Monday, November 4, 2013

When God Does the Schedule


As I wrote my last post in July for ICFW, the registrations for our Australasian Christian writers CALEB conference were open. I shared, “I believe the CALEB conference should be a MUST for Australia and New Zealand Christians who are writing - whether it be for the Christian market or general one.” And after this conference in October, do I still think so? Yes, even more so!


      Rochelle Manners with her Wombat
and Even Before Publishing authors


Ruth, Bonetti, Anne Hamilton and Jo Wanmer











Each year these conferences have kept on improving and it was great this time to have more publishers present to share with us. Those of you who have been privileged to share at such conferences know the delight of meeting author friends again and getting to know other authors, writers, editors and folk in the publishing industry.

CALEB Award dinner
Finalists waiting for the winner.


Writing exercise at master class









The sessions on both full days sought to cover topics for fiction and non-fiction writers both published and unpublished. The Friday included Master classes on writing Fantasy and Young Adult books and the Romance genre - which I presented. Other sessions included “Over the Ditch” - on writing in New Zealand, Spiritual obstacles in Writing and Devotional Writing - which Ray presented. Included on many and varied sessions on the Saturday were the panels I shared with other published authors about “Romancing the Story” and “Writing a Series”.

Then of course there was the CALEB Award dinner with some excited finalists waiting to hear the winner in various categories.

This year, instead of flying to Brisbane, my husband Ray and I decided we would put our car on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry to cross Bass Strait and spend several weeks on the Australian mainland before and after this great conference weekend. From Melbourne we would travel out west up to Queensland to attend the conference and then back down the east coast to Sydney on the way to Victoria to get on that ferry for home 6 weeks later. We planned to try and book as many speaking and book-signing appointments as we could. However, the months beforehand while we tried to organise our schedule ended up being a very busy time with commitments, especially trying to finish writing projects.

Of course, from the start the whole venture was much prayed about and we tried to leave it all in God’s hands to open and close doors for us. Now we can testify once more that God is the very best scheduler any writers can ever hope to enjoy the benefits of. That doesn’t mean there were no challenges or unscheduled events. Sounds just like “life” doesn’t it?

Click on the link below to see details of this beautiful shop. A real privilege to share there.
Cornerstone shop in Erina, Gosford area of New South Wales.

Book-signing at Cornerstone at Erina
This is one of the most beautiful Christian bookshops we've ever seen.
Also has a great café at back with an outdoor courtyard with tables



















We were able to do book-signings in Christian bookshops at Orange and Erina in New South Wales, and at a general bookseller in Dalby on the Darling Downs west of Brisbane.

The plan was also to visit briefly other Christian bookshops in towns we drove through to at least introduce ourselves as published authors to the staff. We had a list of shops but were really saddened to discover quite a few had closed their doors, including in major country towns like Albury and Tamworth. With online and e-book sales becoming more prevalent, many shops are doing it very tough. Over the years I have worked as a volunteer in small independent shops and know the ministry these can have. It is sad for us as writers of course. It is even sadder to have these real opportunities disappearing to share with folk who may never enter a church door but will venture into a Christian shop and leave with material God can use to show His love in their need, to draw them to Himself.

Another challenge was a health one. During those hectic weeks before we left Tasmania, Ray had visited his doctor to have treatment for a sore on his face. A couple of weeks into our trip, in Dalby God provided a very experienced doctor in skin cancers who even sacrificed his afternoon off to correctly diagnose and cut out the skin cancer - fortunately a carcinoma, not melanoma but which still needs further treatment by a specialist now we are home.


So Ray had a dressing on his face all through our time in Brisbane. When we needed to find another doctor as we continued on our travels, God again had us with the right friends at the right place whose doctor was only around the corner and without delaying our journey was able to check the wound and remove the many sutures. Was it merely a coincidence that many weeks before we had arranged to stay with my brother near, Dalby, have appointments there, visit these friends ten days later? No way!

My dear Hunter Valley romance writer
friends of many years.
 Ray and I had not only a rich time of fellowship at the conference and bookshops. Besides God’s doctor appointments, He also organised the three Sunday church services where Ray preached and the various other meetings we both were able to share something of the writing journey our faithful, loving God is still taking us on. There were wonderful moments right through those six weeks of unexpectedly meeting old friends and sharing with family members, some not seen for many years.

It was a real delight to see an aunt of mine from South Australia I have not seen for over fifteen years who just “happened” to be visiting my cousins in Brisbane while we were there. We travelled 5,124 kilometres with so many other “God incidents” during those six weeks that I am still awed by. I am often the “list maker”, the main “organiser” in our family. I like to know why, when, where, what and how. Once again God has reminded me that HE is in control, that when I hand over all that I am, all my ambitions, self and pride, HE will be able far more affectively to use me in His service where and when and how HE wants to.

Mary Hawkins's first book was published twenty years ago. Since then her books have been released in 19 titles and she is now trying to do final edits on her current manuscript before submitting it to a publisher.

She is delighted that her Heartong Presents historical and contemporary inspirational romance novels are now available again as e-books from Barbour Publishing through their Truly Yours Digital Editions.

Check out the video trailers for her current Baragula books and especially the new one for historicals, The Southland series, on YouTube.

18 comments:

  1. Great report, Mary. What a journey! So glad you felt it was all so worthwhile. I hope you have had some time to catch your breath a little since returning home--but somehow I doubt it! I also hope Ray's face is healing well too.

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    1. Yes, Jo-Anne, it was quite a journey this time and of course a lot more than I could share here. Ray preached on four Sundays. As well as conference I had six events where I shared my writing journey and at some of them persuaded him to speak also about his devotional writing. He still has the extra surgery in a couple of weeks to make sure that rotten cancer is cut out. Do appreciate prayer so much.

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  2. Oh Mary, I too am one of those list makers and organizers that all too often finds out that God had something better in mind! Loved hearing about your plans and how God stepped in and showed his presence. Praying for Ray as well and that you will get some rest now. :-)

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    1. Thank you, Lisa. Have been continuing to follow your blogs and journey too. So much the source of comfort and peace knowing the God who loves us so much He gave us his only son is in control.

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  3. Beautiful pictures and people. Blessings

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    1. Thank you, Susan. I do have more on the camera we started this journey and now is broken with - another "incident". Have now managed to get all the photos off it now but now and hope to make time to put more on Facebook.

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  4. What a wonderful adventure with the Lord, Mary. It is so encouraging to see the Lord in every detail of our lives, isn't it?
    Take care with that ear, Ray. Amazing the way doctors were there just when you needed them. We'll pray.

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    1. Thank you so much, Rita. We do value your prayers.

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  5. As Rita says, what adventures the 2 of you have had, Mary. And thank you for sharing it with us.

    Wishing you all the best with your writing and I'll be praying for Ray's complete healing.

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    1. Thank you, Ian, and I am still intending to buy you new book!

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  6. Mary did most of the hard work as I obeyed her list making and appreciated God's interventions. Thanks for your interest and prayers re my face. Never had so many people look at my better side. Good for sympathy. It's great to be in The Family of the Lord Jesus.

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    1. We did have a couple of vigorous discussions though. It is so true that the "three stranded cord" in our life together, my darling husband, makes us both strong!

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  7. What a wonderful journey. I love the way God just fixes it all. Love to hear how open you are to the God moments. xxx

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  8. I sure wish I could claim to always be open to God, Michelle. He does have ways of reminding me to always dwell close "in the shadow of the Almighty."

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  9. Mary, thanks for sharing your journey and adventures with us :) It was wonderful to catch up with you and Ray in Brisbane. I'm praying Ray's procedure will go well.

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    1. Was great to see you, Narelle, Sure wish we'd had more time together in Brisbane - but then I've felt that too about many other writer friends there!

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  10. loved hearing more from those able to go to Caleb. beautiful bookshop indeed, Mary. Thanks for sharing your trip.

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    1. Would be lovely to see you at a conference too sometime, Dale.

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