A Land I Call My Home

What better way to conclude our Australian adventure this month than hearing from a real Aussie from Down Under? I would like to introduce my new friend from the blogging world, Anusha Atukorala, who gives us fascinating insight into her country. Enjoy! ~ Karen

By Anusha Atukorala


On the 19th of January 1999, my husband, our eight-year-old son and I landed in a strange new country, 3655 nautical miles from home. We had left our beautiful small war-torn island of Sri Lanka because life amidst bombs, conflict, and bloodshed was so uncertain. Was I excited? Yes. And YES again. Was Australia the land of milk and honey? We didn’t know. But as I stepped off that plane, the fresh, cool air of Adelaide enveloped me, and my heart beat faster with glad anticipation. We had arrived.

We arrived! January 19, 1999

We arrived! January 19, 1999

Today, seventeen years, four months and 11 days later, I look back in wonder. What a journey! Not without difficulties and disenchantment as most journeys entail, but one also filled with beauty, awe, and joy. What has Australia taught me and brought me? What has it fed me and made me? Like the shimmering faces of a sparkling diamond, our experiences in this God-breathed Land Down Under have been multi-faceted and precious.

Lake at Mt. Gambier

Lake at Mt. Gambier



I’ve enjoyed the wide open spaces of Australia and its winding country roads; I’ve reveled in its skies, filled with a million glittering stars—silver dust sprinkled on a black velvet cape. The Southern Cross winks at me; Alpha and Beta Centauri point the way to the South Pole. Orion salutes me, twinkling across the night sky. The laugh of the Kookaburra is as lyrical to my ears as the happy screech of parrots and galah birds. Red earth and dry ground are striking landscapes of the unique Aussie outback.


A kookaburra

A kookaburra


Shh--Don't disturb my nap!

Shh–don’t disturb my nap!

I don’t like vegemite and don’t think I ever will. And Aussie slang takes a little getting used to, but I do love it when my rellies visit me, and I serve them veggies cooked on the barbie. And oh, how I thrill to the koalas and the kangaroos, the emus and the echidnas. The vast white, sandy beaches of Aussie-land are among my favourite haunts—each with its unique stamp. The myriad tall gum trees that sway in balmy breezes and flaunt their glistening leaves are my friends. I thrive on the other kind of mate-ship too in this exotic land where everyone stands equal—no tall poppies here. Australians are a friendly people always ready to greet you with ‘G’day Mate’ that’s pleasing to the ears, even if it might sound more like ‘Goodai Mite’.


Torrens River in Adelaide

Torrens River in Adelaide

Why do I call Australia home? Because it crept into my heart the day I walked in and has taken root within me. This heart-warming country-continent is my home away from home. Or perhaps … it is my home now and Sri Lanka’s my home away from home? I’m never sure which is which. When I visit Sri Lanka, I catch up elatedly with family and friends, enjoying scrumptious food, sipping of its tropical beauty, exulting in the land of my birth. But when it’s time to head back, I’m not sad for too long because the lucky country beckons and I return, ready to plant my feet firmly on its soil, content to be home.

The truth is that what makes a country a home is not just its places but its faces. Australia is diverse–a land of many cultures. I’ve made numerous close friends here—my mates who warm my heart and soul. And here’s something you may not know: Over 400 years ago, on the 14th of May 1606, a Portuguese navigator de Quiros, explored the South Pacific, spotted land and believed it was Australia. He declared it to be ‘Terra Australis Del Spirito Santo’, The Great South Land of the Holy Spirit. Yes, there are many reasons I call Australia home, not least the presence of our God in this beautiful sun-drenched land and my journey with Him.

Complete the prompt below for an entry in our blogaversary drawing! Submit your completed writing prompt via Comments.

Writing prompts: Choose 1 or 2 or 3 or even 4 and … ENJOY!

  1. Home is where the heart is. Does it resonate with you? Write about it.
  2. Imagine a special assignment: To take a trip to the Land Down Under and live there for a year. What are your thoughts and your hopes? Your dreams? Your fears? Your response? Which city would you choose and what would you do?
  3. Who are the people who make your country your home for you? Write a letter of thanks to one of them. Craft a story including several of your favourite people.
  4. Finally… a few pictures from Australia. Write a story based on one of them.
Australian Pond

Australian Pond


Ocean in Australia

Ocean in Australia

Australian Lighthouse

Australian Lighthouse



Anusha Atukorala

Anusha Atukorala

Anusha has always been fascinated with the English language; scribbling poems and stories when little; composing songs in her teen years; and sending off reams of emails into cyberspace, when she gleefully stepped into the cyber age! Anusha is passionate about many things – Jesus, love, life, family, friendship,music and the beauty of Creation, to name a few. Her first book, Enjoying the Journey’, is a collection of 75 little stories centred on God’s reality in her life. Anusha has had stories published in 12 Anthologies. She lives and loves to share God’s amazing love with the world. She’s deeply blessed to have two places she calls home; the beautiful little island of Sri Lanka and Adelaide, Australia where she and her family reside; well perhaps three homes—since our Father God’s heart is her first and best resting place.

Enjoying the Journey

Enjoying the Journey

Website: Dancing in the Rain: http://anusha-atukorala.webnode.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Enjoying-the-Journey-by-Anusha-Atukorala/147587801967379?fref=ts

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Anusha-Atukorala/e/B00R0UNJC4

Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6996785.Anusha_Atukorala







Shadowed Eden by Katie Clark

DSC_8889Today I’d like to introduce my friend, Alabama author, Katie Clark.  We’re featuring her latest YA release, Shadowed Eden.

Hi, Katie! How long have you been writing?

Katie: It sounds cliché, but I’ve been writing stories since I was about 7 years old. I can actually quote my first “story” by heart still! Professionally, though, I’ve been writing for six years. My first published piece was thirteen years ago.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

Katie: It wasn’t on purpose! I had written a few romance manuscripts that were really terrible (I know that now; I did not know it then). But nothing clicked for me. That was back thirteen years ago. Fast forward five or six years, and a friend recommended a book to me. It was a young adult sci-fi novel (I had never read young adult before, and certainly never sci-fi!). I fell in love with the genre. I still love romance, but I had found a genre that really clicked in my head. Now I focus on young adult sci-fi and fantasy, but I also write inspiration romance for adults (nothing published in that area yet, but I’m working on it!).

What are some of the references you used while researching your book?

Katie: My book, Shadowed Eden, is set in the desert in Iraq. There was some geographic research I had to do, but also Biblical research about the history of that area. The book is a Christian YA fantasy/supernatural novel.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Katie: I loved the mystery and intrigue that went into it. It was really fun to write!

What do your plans for future projects include?

Katie: Right now I’m working on a couple things: another YA fantasy series as well as that inspirational romance I mentioned earlier.

Thanks, Katie, for taking time to join us!

Katie is happy to offer a giveaway of Shadowed Eden, a PDF copy, to be chosen among those who leave a blog comment.

Shadowed Eden

High school senior Avery Miles is ready to spread her wings and ShadowedEden_ws11813_680
prove her worth on a mission trip to Iraq, but when their entourage gets blown off course in a dust storm in the desert, the group finds themselves lost in an inexplicable garden oasis. Along with the luscious fruits and crystal springs, Avery and her friends find poisonous snakes, deadly sink holes, and a group of natives that are almost unearthly—but that’s not their biggest problem.

No matter which way they trek, they can’t seem to leave. Avery steps up and takes charge to keep the group safe, but it isn’t long before she begins suspecting things aren’t as they seem. She isn’t the only one seeing the mysterious boy named Rae, and after following her father’s path in the jungle she’s pretty sure he’s sabotaging her rescue efforts. Gathering her courage, Avery must decide what’s most important to her—finally winning her father’s approval, or getting out of the jungle for good.

DSC_8889KATIE CLARK started reading fantastical stories in grade school and her love for books never died. Today she reads in all genres; her only requirement is an awesome story! She writes young adult speculative fiction, including her YA supernatural novel, Shadowed Eden, as well as The Enslaved Series. You can connect with her at her website, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

The Aussie In Me

The Aussie in Me

By Betty Boyd


I find the geography of Australia exciting. According to Wikipedia, Australia is located in Oceania between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean. It is the sixth largest country and the smallest continent. The landmass is 2,967,910 square miles, which is still smaller than the 48 contiguous states in the United States and is 31.5 times larger than the United Kingdom.

The diversity of Australia has always fascinated me.  It has the lowest, flattest and oldest continental landmass on Earth. Its terrain has low plateaus with deserts, rangelands entwined with fertile plains in the southeast portion of the country. Australia also has the Australian Alps (its largest mountain range) which does not contain any permanent icefields or glaciers.

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef, and it lies just off the northeast coast of Australia.  It has over 2,900 individual reefs, and the 900 islands stretch over 1400 miles. The total area is approximately 133,000 square miles and is off the coast of Queensland, Australia. Another interesting area is the Great Artesian Basin, the world’s largest and deepest fresh water basin.

If money were no object for the trip of a lifetime, then I would definitely visit the country of Australia. I could probably spend half a lifetime there and still not see everything there is to see.  I would also have a vacation home for six months out of the year since their seasons are the opposite of the United States.

I love that it is both a continent and a country–how cool is that! I know people that have visited Australia, and their stories are so intriguing that it makes me want to jump on an airplane right now to visit and stay for a spell.

What do you find irresistible about Australia?

Complete the prompt below for an entry in our blogaversary drawing! Submit your completed writing prompt via Comments.

 Can you write a story with these words about Australia?

  • Coral Reef
  • Continent
  • Oceania
  • Queensland

3 Questions Wednesday with Carole Browne

CaroleAug14 (14) croppedPlease welcome inspirational author and mentor, Carole Browne, to 3 Questions Wednesday. Carole enjoy her grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, and the simple life.

So how did she answer our 3 Questions? Read on–

What books have fortified you as a writer? How?

Carole:  Besides my trusty dictionary and Thesaurus, I always turn to Tim LaHaye’s “Why You Act the Way You Do,” a book that describes personalities, temperaments, etc. Very useful! Because I write suspense, to me, these subjects are especially helpful with my characters. I learn how certain antagonists would behave and react, etc.

  • When writing mysteries, I like some older books I have, including “Writing Mysteries” edited by Sue Grafton, with material offered from many writers. Then there is “You Can Write a Mystery” by Gillian Roberts, a detailed book of what to consider. Since I love mysteries, these books are super books to sharpen my wit on how and when to do what. Clues, red herrings, personalities, etc.
  • Plot and Structure” by James Scott Bell with his unique arc descriptions is good too. The story arc was very impressive to me. If you can learn to separate the sections in your planned novel, you realize they can be written when you want. Say, the third arc first. Weird? Yes, but I love it!
  • Writing the Breakout Novel,” “Amazing Face Reading,” “Bird by Bird,” and “Character Traits” are useful books.

There are others too, but these give you an idea of some great books that have kept me going and encouraged me to write the best I can.

One last thing. The Word of God has strengthened me in discouraging times, has given me the assurance I need to do what I do, and led me to push on when I — one time — thought I would quit. What a stronghold it is to me.

I love Tim LaHaye’s book also! And the Word of God: where would we be without it?

What secret talents do you have?

Carole:  Lol. Well . . . You asked, so here goes:

  • I’m a pretty good marketer for my books. I’ve worked very hard learning what works for me, what avenues seem to produce the best results, and what is worth the dollar and what doesn’t seem to be. I’ve made it a point to listen and learn from the masters of marketing. I’ve tried a LOT of marketing spots so I’ve experienced the good and the bad–well, not that many was what I label as “bad.” You have to realize that some are meant for sales and some for visibility.
  • I’m a good organizer, although if you sneaked into my work area, or even home, when I was overwhelmingly busy, you might not think so. But I love to make lists and cross off completed tasks. I like things a certain way, but I’m not obsessive about it. I think I can organize a party (whatever kind, from a book release, to a baby shower to a church get together) to suit almost anyone. And I like to pen down what jobs I want to complete in sections so that if it’s one I despise doing, it won’t seem so awful. J
  • One more. I have to laugh at this one, but since I get quite a few compliments on it, I’ll share it with you. I’m a pretty good decorator. I love creating beautiful atmospheres whether gardens, rooms, or the church sanctuary. I ask for opinions when I need them and I know what I like. That’s exactly how I tackle decorating projects.

Marketing, organizing and decorating. Great skills to have. Have you written a book on marketing? I’m sure it would sell...:)

If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?

Carole: Oh, wow. I have several I enjoy preparing for guests, but one of my VERY favorites is Lasagna. Quite a few years ago, my sister-in-law shared her recipe with me, and it’s been my go-to Lasagna recipe ever since.

Along with that, I’d offer either a salad with the works or a specialty salad hubby and I love. (I’ll share that recipe with you!). And, of course, homemade Italian herb bread will finish up the meal. For a dessert, I’d serve one w/fruit: perhaps a homemade cheesecake.

Specialty Salad recipe:

Lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces (we like loose leaf, but use whatever you like best.)

Sprinkle a few pine nuts on top.

Add some Alfalfa sprouts on top.

Edge around the side of the salad plate, a few chunks of cantalope

Drizzle a papaya chutney dressing on top


Wow. When should I be there? Thanks, Carole, for joining us at the Writing Prompts blog.

Carole will be glad to do a book giveaway of Knight in Shining Apron: U.S.: print or kindle, winner’s choice. Outside U.S. kindle only.

Knight in Shining Apron Front Cover1 w apple blossom

Starli Cameron gave up her career plans to be a concert pianist to marry the man of her dreams. He turned out to be a nightmare. When he dies in a car accident, Starli takes the insurance money and builds a successful and upscale restaurant: Apple Blossoms in rural West Virginia.  Threats from someone determined to ruin her life and the suspicious romantic advances from her new chef force Starli to search her heart and finally turn to God for real healing.

Sir Joel Peterman-Blair, top notch chef from England, is roped by his uncle, into filling in as head Chef at Apple Blossoms.  Joel, with his sanguine-personality, has always laughed and flirted his way through life. But now, confronted with and attracted to the most beautiful woman he’s ever met, Joel has to prove his sincerity and depth of character to his icy-cold employer.  Can his love for God and for this woman reach out far enough to rescue her from her own mistrust and bitterness? Will he learn that life is not all play?

And can they both work together to find the source of threats that seem to be coming from Starli’s past?

CaroleAug14 (14) croppedBesides being an active participant of many writing groups, Carole enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense, tough topics, romance and whimsy into her books, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

Personal blog: http://sunnebnkwrtr.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CaroleBrown.author

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Carole-Brown/e/B00EZV4RFY/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1427898838&sr=8-1

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/browncarole212

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/sunnywrtr/boards/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5237997-carole-brown

Linkedin:  https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=67381031

Google+:    https://plus.google.com/u/0/113068871986311965415/posts

Word Sharpeners: https://wordsharpeners.wordpress.com/

Stitches in Time:  http://stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com/

Barn Door Book Loft: http://www.barndoorbookloft.net/

Can You Hear, Can You Hear the Thunder?

by Carlton Hughes

me 80s promIt was the fall of my senior year of high school in 1981. The Big ‘80s were just beginning, and I was in love simultaneously with Pat Benatar, Lisa Whelchel (‘Blair’ from The Facts of Life TV show), and Olivia Newton-John. Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley were my go-to television programs. And a catchy little ditty on the radio caught my attention.

Down Under by Men at Work fascinated me—still does. To quote every “Rate-A-Record” participant in the history of American Bandstand, “it had a good beat and you could dance to it.” Beyond that, it chronicled adventures in the mysterious land of Australia.

Down Under CollageThe song raised so many questions. What does vegemite taste like? What is a Kombi? What did the strange lady make for breakfast? What is this land of plenty? Why do we have to run and take cover? Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder?

Olivia Newton-John Wikimedia Commons (see full attribution below)

To this day, when I think of Australia, I think of the song Down Under (I also think of Olivia Newton-John and Koala bears, but I digress). It not only makes me think of that carefree teenage year in the ‘80s but also of that land so far away. I’ve never been down under, but I can experience it through music and other forms of media and entertainment.

Here are two prompts:

1. Listen to the song Down Under (see below). Write a story based on the images from the song.

2. In your memory, go back in time to your senior year of high school. What was your favorite song? Write a story, either fictional or non-fictional, based on or including that song.

Wikimedia attribution for Ms. Newton-John's photo: By Nationaal Archief, Den Haag, Rijksfotoarchief: Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Fotopersbureau (ANEFO), 1945-1989 - negatiefstroken zwart/wit, nummer toegang, bestanddeelnummer 930-0132 (Nationaal Archief) [CC BY-SA 3.0 nl (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/nl/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

Aussie Jargon



The writer in me loves the words, and the actor in me loves the accent. And because I’m an actress accents are lots of fun for me, and come relatively easy. British and Irish are in me head by default, it seems, and I can turn either of those on or off like a spigot. But I could not get the Aussie accent quite right—it’s so similar to British, yet so different. Until… (now you have to understand, there is ALWAYS some stream of thought or “conversation” running through my mind, even if it’s commentary on traffic or the clouds passing overhead) So, one day I was driving along and realized I was thinking in a fair dinkum Aussie accent. And I had to wonder why. Turns out, it was because I had been watching a series (DVD, back to back episodes) on the tellie where most of the actors are Australian! Just hearing it spoken consistently, it “implanted” in my brain, and voila! there it was! (hmmm, isn’t there a Scripture to that effect? But that’s another topic entirely!) oh, and writing this post? Yeah, I’m thinking in strine now!


So without further ado, I’ve a little story for you:




Here are some more Aussie terms and phrases that I thought were particularly fun.




A word of caution. Note the last word listed in the red box above: root. It apparently does NOT mean the same thing down under as it does in America. Neither cheer on nor a tuber that grows underground; you don’t want to be “rooting” your rugby team on, as it could prove rather embarrassing. That said, I’d venture to caution that if you travel to Australia, or any other country for that matter, be prepared to stick your foot in your mouth. I don’t reckon there’s any way to know every.single.slang.term or phrase there is. Even if you’ve a personal guide, it’s not likely you’ll get a thorough run down on what not to say.

I’d like to give a huge shout out to three Australian writer friends, Autumn Macarthur, Andrea Grigg and Karen Shravemade, who “proofed” my little soliloquy for proper use and authenticity. And caught what would have been an egregious error and embarrassment. (note my caution above!) And my apologies to the Australian people at large for abusing your language with my iffy accent!

Ta a million for allowing this Yank to play Aussie for a few minutes!


Without looking, which of the Aussie terms did you recognize?


Choose three (or more) terms from the list that catch your eye, and write a scene using those terms.

ME - 041115

“I once said I should write down all the story ideas in my head so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!

Ms. Mason has been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on her debut novel, Tessa in 2013. She resides in the Upstate of South Carolina since 1988. Besides Tessa, she has Clara Bess, book two in her unsavory heritage series. She is currently working on Cissy, the third and final book in the series. It will be released in June of this year.


Come visit me at:





Aussie jargon, Aussie speak, Aussie accent, Farscape, Down Under, fair dinkum, yank talking aussie,


3 Questions Wednesday with Tanya Eavenson

Tanya Eavenson3 Questions Wednesday welcomes  inspirational romance author, Tanya Eavenson. Don’t miss the opportunity to win a kindle copy of her latest book, Restored. You’ll find the details below. But first, find out her answers to our 3 questions…

What books have fortified you as a writer? How?

Tanya: About ten years ago, God was calling me to write, but it wasn’t until I read Lori Wick’s series The English Garden that I began writing. I can still recall the Biblical truths I read and how it applied to me then as it does today. Stepping out in faith isn’t only in words, but in actions.

Secondly, there’s a children’s book entitled Tell Me About Faith by Joel Anderson that the Lord used as a confirmation a year later. I was struggling to know how to go about being published, who to speak with and was starting to get discouraged. I remember sitting with a room full of children reading this story about faith, hope, and trusting God. It literally brought tears to my eyes. The Lord says that we must come to Him like little children, and there I was, needing to surrender it all, believing by faith and not by what I could see.

Thirdly, the Bible has brought me strength and comfort at various times during my writing career. It’s wonderful how God gives us a peek into the lives of people like Moses, Gideon, Elijah, David, Peter, Paul, James, and so many more. Faith was a theme in all their lives during the good and not so good times. They all had strengths and weaknesses and God used each of them mightily for His glory. It’s not in myself that I write, but in Him, through faith.

Great choices, especially the last one. Now…

What secret talents do you have?

Tanya: I had two secret talents that I didn’t know of until I stepped out in faith and did it. Writing and teaching. The Lord guides and directs because He knows us better than we know ourselves.

He sure does! Last question:

If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?

Tanya: I love to cook, but what I prepare would depend on what you’d liked to eat. Stuffed pork chops, grilled salmon on cedar planks, or if you preferred something Southern, I’ve got you covered! I’d cook anything your heart desired! Desserts included! =)

Put me down for the salmon and maybe some chocolate pie:) Thanks, Tanya, for stopping in…

Tanya is offering a Kindle copy of her book, Restored. Please leave a comment to be entered to win…



Restored_1400x2100Sometimes love arrives when you least expect it.

Dr. Steven Moore is known nationally for saving lives. If only he could save his own. Unable to deal with his cancer prognosis, he retreats to a happier time in his past—to the woman who once stole his heart.

Four years after the death of her beloved husband, bookstore owner Elizabeth Roberts still struggles to sustain her faith and joy in the Lord as she raises her two sons. She strives to find a way through her family’s grief, never suspecting a man from her past might offer hope for her future.

But how can there be a future when he’s only come to kiss her and says good-bye?

Buy Links:
 Amazon: http://ow.ly/YhprC
iTunes: https://itun.es/us/0XoMab.l
Barnes & Noble: http://ow.ly/YhpB1

Tanya EavensonTanya Eavenson enjoys spending time with her husband, and their three children. Her favorite pastime is grabbing a cup of coffee, eating chocolate, and reading a good book. Tanya is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Word Weavers International, and writes for Christ to the World Ministries. You can find her at her website http://www.tanyaeavenson.com/ on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google, or on Amazon.