My heart bursts its banks, spilling beauty and goodness. I pour it out in a poem to the king, shaping the river into words. (Psalm 45:1)

Welcome to our new blog!

Note that this blog is primarily for members of CWOSA. Only those members who have signed up as authors to the blog are able to post on this site, although all may leave comments.

You may not pass on any posts from this blog without permission of the author, but you may pass on a link if you wish to share something written.

To join CWOSA, you are required to either be a Christian writer or aspiring writer who lives in Southern Africa, or a Southern African Christian writer living overseas. If you qualify and wish to learn more, click on this link.


1. Read the topmost post, then click on "comments".
2. Read the last comment to see the most recent addition to the story.
3. Copy/past the entire story to date into a new comment box.
4. Add a further three words.
5. Click on Comment as. If you are signed in, your name will appear. Click on Publish.
6. If you're not signed in, click the small dropdown arrow, and select Name/URL. Give us the name we know you as, and click on Publish.

Remember! This is meant to be a story!
Have fun!

Monday, 27 June 2011

We All Need Encouragement

 "Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near." (Hebrews 10:24-25, NLT)

Even great people need encouragement. Dr Chuck Swindoll tells of a TV documentary when Dr Daniel Boorstin, the librarian of Congress, brought out a little blue box containing the contents of President Lincoln's pockets on the night he was assassinated. Among the ordinary items were some worn newspaper clippings.

The clippings told of some of Lincoln's great deeds. One of them reported a speech by John Bright which said that Lincoln was one of the greatest men of all times. In 1865, millions shared a contrary opinion. Lincoln's critics were fierce and many; his was an agony that reflected the suffering and turmoil of his country.

There is something touchingly pathetic in the picture of this great leader's sitting alone under a candlelight and seeking self-assurance from the comfort of a newspaper clipping.

Yet even when his critics were hanging him in effigy, Abraham Lincoln found somebody who believed in him and he put the reminder in his pocket to read and be encouraged when nobody was looking.

Is there somebody that you can encourage today? There is tremendous power in words of encouragement. Power to motivate and transform and shape the future. Never underestimate the guidance you give by the words you speak or do not speak. Jesus spoke to a woman at a well, and her life and the lives of her neighbours experienced a miraculous change. Peter preached at Pentecost and 3,000 souls came to salvation through faith.

Is there somebody you need to encourage today? Maybe you need to write that long-overdue letter! Write it to your child who is now grown up. Or to a parent that sacrificed so much for you. Write it to that pastor that faithfully teaches you each week. Write it to that fellow employee who has been doing the same menial job since the start of the millenium. Don't wait.

Put your arms around your son or daughter the next chance you get. No matter what ages they are. Look into their faces and tell them what they mean to you. When they bury you someday, those will be the words they will remember. They will be imbedded in their minds and they will never forget them.

Kindle Books Are Outselling Paperbacks at

Writing and selling Kindle eBooks in the Amazon Kindle Store is HOT. If you sell a $9.99 eBook, you may receive a 70/30 commission in most major territories, including the U.S.A. Amazon takes 30% and you get 70%. Sixty days after the month the sale occurs, they either deposit the money in your USA bank account or send you a cheque if you live in another country.

This means an author only has to sell 14,327 copies to earn slightly more than $100,000 in royalties. Or, in other words, you only need to sell 39 copies per day to hit the $100K mark in a year.

Selling eBooks at lower prices – e.g. under $4 – is a great way to get traffic. It costs nothing but your time! And some expertise in formatting. See my Kindle Publishing Made Easy eGuide for more information on that.
Check out the kind of books selling on Kindle and their prices to give you a good idea what you should be charging. Think about what you are willing to pay yourself.

Write about popular subjects, your specific area of expertise and interests. Invest in a good graphic for the book’s cover. People DO try to tell what’s in a Kindle book by the cover and not just the description alone so that investment could easily pay for itself. I recommend you visit for expert eBook – and book – covers. (This is not an affiliate link – Clive really is good and he designs most of my covers. Visit my bookshop at Pilgrim Publications for some examples of his work. My amateur efforts will stand out in sharp contrast!).

Many people are spending money on iPads and Kindles and phones instead of computers and this is the place to be right now. It is generally believed that Kindle’s market share for eBooks is at 60 to 65 percent, while Apple’s hovers around 10 percent. Their eBookstore carries around 200 000 titles, while the Kindle store has over 950 000 titles.

By the way, if you haven’t got a Kindle yourself download a free one for your PC from Soon you will want the portable one. It’s a superb eReader.

This is what I am concentrating on at the moment and I am amazed how quickly people find my Kindle books. Worth a shot!


Thursday, 23 June 2011


Not sure I can leave a comment ---- nothing achieved when I click on comment so I've gone this route


This seems to be working well; thank you very much Marion for your patience and help

Blessings and have a good evening


Praise the Lord ---- thank you both

trying again

I do hope this works!!!!!!!!!

Thank you Marion [and Shirley] for the help

Testing for all users

Gmail notification to all users - test blog!

Cleaning up posts

I've been deleting a lot of our checking-in posts, and leaving the stuff we want to keep. So if you're wondering what happened to your valued, "Hi! I'm here!" post - it's probably gone. You'll just have to put up a new post and tell us what you're up to. :-)

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Learning the hard way

Naureen and I have had some real fun but hopefully we've won through! Thank you for your persistence, Naureen. Now to help others with what I've learned in the progress.

PLEASE NOTE everyone
- If you get an "illegal post time" message don't waste time trying to figure it out. Contact me and I'll help you. It's a setting that has to be sorted out on the admin side.

Testing testing . . .

One more test to see if the moderators receive notification of the post. Oh is this fun or what . . . ?

(No comment!)

Testing Posting Notifications for Moderators

Just a test posting to see if notifications are sent to moderators.

Just Trying

Okay...overcoming a fear and seeing if I can post

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

A Character in Africa

Ruth Ann's book, Polka Dot Feathers, is a cozy mystery set in South Africa. Accused of murder and desperate to keep the child she found wandering in the streets near her home, Ellie Lombard hunts down the real killer.

Read the article below by Ellie to see how she came into being.

A Character in Africa

My name is Ellie Lombard and I have a confession to make. I started life as a cardboard character. Ho-hum. Shallow. Flat. Even I found myself boring. Not once did I lift off the pages Ruth Ann typed.
Who’s Ruth Ann?  Oh, that’s Ruth Ann Dell, my creator. I’m the protagonist in her cozy mystery, Polka Dot Feathers. Ruth Ann lives in South Africa, so her characters and setting started out South African. That was part of the problem. Not only did she want me to come to life, but she needed Americans to identify with me because she was targeting the Christian fiction market in their country.

“I have to write what I know,” she explained. “That’s what my writing books tell me. Now Ellie, if you’d just get real and . . .”

I sank through a monotony of pixels on her computer screen to a state of blissful slumber.

“The trouble with you is that you have a stiff upper lip,” Ruth Ann said when I surfaced again several days later.

Well now, what else did she expect? My face was made of cardboard.

“You don’t care about anything! You never laugh, cry, stamp or shout. In fact, you never do anything at all. Between your lack of response and your deadpan face, you’re a dead loss,” she said.

Ruth Ann decided she had to find a way to bring me to life. One of the challenges she faced was the lack of resources for Christian writers in South Africa. There were no conferences where she could go to learn her craft. Outside the virtual world she had nowhere to meet writers, agents and editors. However, she did have access to the Internet, and while I napped, she spent many hours searching it for help. She found blogs, international critique groups and other online loops which helped her develop her craft.

As she put her new found skills to work, I sparked and tingled.  A slew of emotions and sensations coursed through my body. They animated me and jerked me out of my lethargy. One day I caught sight of myself in a mirror. Yuk! I looked so scruffy in my old PJs that I wore day and night. After that I got up and dressed every day. I also discovered I had a talent for making earrings, so I made a new pair to wear every day. Ruth Ann admired my new jewelry. I experimented with materials like tiny keys, knobs of driftwood, stripy porcupine quills and white spotted guinea fowl feathers. Oh I had fun!

Her next step was to join an online group, the American Fellowship of Christian Writers. What a difference this made. She now had writer friends, fellowship and a wealth of information, help and online workshops. She spent hours at her computer, reading and learning more and more.

This went on for months until one day I burst out “Why are you reading all the time? You should be writing! You know I’m going to be stuck in jail if I don’t find the murderer soon––that detective thinks I did it.”

There was a hush for several seconds, then she exclaimed, “Ellie, you’ve come to life! You’re right, I have to finish your story. Then we’ll look for a publisher in America.”

“America? Why not here?”

Ruth Ann slumped back in her chair. “I looked in our Bible book shop last week. There were shelves and shelves of novels. Only four titles were written and published here, and they were translated from Afrikaans. All the rest came from America. We have to aim for the American market.”

A time of intense research followed. Several people in the know, including an acquisitions editor, told Ruth Ann she could set her book in South Africa, but if she was writing for the American market, she had to make me a “transplanted American. Would this be possible? Could I become an American? Could Ruth Ann pull this off?  After all, she had never set foot in America.

For a while we were daunted by this new challenge. Again the Internet proved to be an invaluable source of information.  Ruth Ann plunged into the necessary research with the help of cyber and real life friends.

We discovered that I grew up in Ohio and met Steve, a South African, on the Internet. Steve and I emailed each other, became friends and eventually fell in love. I immigrated to South Africa as his bride. Ruth Ann also met some of my relatives who soon made themselves at home in her novel. Like my Aunt Vicky who’s coordinating the painting a string of quilt barns in Ohio.

I chanced to hear Ruth Ann chatting to Aunt Vicky this morning. “I love your quilt barn photos, Vicky.  I’m going to put them into my book, they could even provide a clue to the identity of the murderer. I wonder what Ellie will think of that.”

I grin as I listen to their conversation. Hold on for a surprise when you see what happens in your book, Ruth Ann. I’m not cardboard any more, remember? I have my  own ideas.

This article was first published in the July 2009 edition of Christian Fiction Online Magazine

Monday, 20 June 2011

If you're having trouble posting . . .

You're not the only one.

If you get as far as hitting "Post" and you get an "illegal time" comment, there are two things you need to do. (And Ann, I suspect this is why your posts are "disappearing". Scroll down and see if you find an illegal time comment. If so the rest applies to you. If not, let me know.)

1) If you have a button for "Automatic" above the space for time, select that and then post again. That should have sorted the problem.

2) If you don't have an "Automatic" button, your blogger is set to the "Old Blogger format". This is nothing you've done wrong. Please email me your password and I'll sort it out. You can then change your password or trust me to delete it and forget it - which I will do. I've been known to forget my kids' names.

The Real Deal

One of the most famous characters in the movie industry was Charlie Chaplin.  He was a comedian, actor, director, and producer who earned world wide fame in the silent movie era.   At one time there was a Charlie Chaplin look-a-like contest being held and, always the practical joker, the real Chaplin decided he would enter. After deliberating long and hard, the judges unwittingly awarded Chaplin the third prize behind two impostors.

So you often can't tell the fake from the real by outward appearances.  In Jesus day the Pharisees were the religious leaders. They knew the Bible cover to cover; that is, the Old Testament portion as the New Testament hadn't been written then. They knew their doctrinal teachings by heart. They had all the outward trappings of religiosity. But for many of them it was an outward show. Furthermore, they loved their doctrines more than they loved people and used them to control people. Jesus not only knew the same Scriptures, but he was real and saw through these religious play actors--and didn't mince words with them regarding their phoniness.

Sad to say, there is no shortage today of play-acting teachers, phony religious leaders, counterfeit Christians, and those who love their religion more than they love people-and use their religion to control people.

It is time to remove the masks and be the real thing. 

Nico Bougas

Original post:The Real Deal