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Monday, 24 December 2012

Happy Christmas from the Keunings


Wishing you a very Happy Christmas & joyous New Year.
From the Keuning Family.
“Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.” 
Luke 2:14


Tuesday, 4 December 2012

R.I.P. Judith Keuning

My mum, Judith Keuning.

Born 24th September 1939; passed away to be with the Lord 2:30pm 4th December 2012.

Totally loved by husband, sons, grandchildren, cousins, nieces and nephews, neighbors, friends and everyone who met her. Totally loved everyone one she met.

Replace the word 'love' with the word 'Judith', 'it' with 'she', in the verses below and you will have some idea of what my mum was like.


Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.

I wish I could say more, maybe later.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

First Cheque for Writing part 2

I proudly took my $25 cheque, for seventh place in the '81st Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition' Children and Young Adult short story section, to the bank to day and got a surprise.

I knew that I'd lose some value with the exchange from US dollars to Australian, $23.21. What I did not know was that the bank would charge me $10 to deposit the cheque into my account. Is charge is to cover the, supposed, cost of applying to the USA to get the money. So now it's $13.21. Considering that the entry fee for the competition was $20, I actually lost $6.79. You can see why I'm in this for the money!

I'm very proud of this award, my first, and I'm very happy to have received my cheque for writing. I made a copy that I hope to frame one day. I also got a lot of other benefits from the award, 12 months free subscription to the magazine, free membership to a number of good web sites for writing, my story printed in a book and much more. However, if you are looking to make money, US competitions do not seem to be the way to do it. Although, first place was $1000, well a little over $900 after the exchange rate, fees and charges.



  


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

My First Cheque For Writing

Today I received my cheque for coming seventh in the Young Adult and Children's short story section the the 81st Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition. the cheque, posted from the USA, is for $25. It cost me $20 to enter the contest. The story is called, 'Leprechaun Yours Australia', which will soon be printed in a book of all the prize winners from the contest. I'll be getting a free copy.

One thing I'm not sure of is, do I have to declare it as income? I know that the $100 I'll be getting for my story, 'Crossroads', at 'In fabula-divinos' will be income, it's payment for the right to publish the story. However, I don't know if money won in a contest is the same. Hopefully, my accountant will know.

I had thought that my Leprechaun story would be my first story to be printed in a book. However, it's been beaten by the story I entered in the Unicon Freecon Short SF & F Story writing competition. The story, 'A Matter Og Technique', is story 8 in the booklet released my the Freecon organizer. You can see it in the picture of the booklet's front cover.

Interestingly, this story also came in seventh. For seventh place I will be getting a cheque for $17. Considering that it only cost me three dollars to enter the Freecon competition, I'm actually going to get a greater return from this little comp. than what I got from the big international contest.

Writer's Digest, $20 entry, 7th place, $25 prize = $5 profit.

Unicon Freecon, $3 entry, 7th place, $17 prize = $14 profit.

Writing is a funny business.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

My story is Publish!

I was excited when my story, "Crossroad", was accepted for publication on In fabula-divino.

I was amazed by how much better my story, Crossroads, could be with good editing.

I was Ecstatic when the In fabula-divino publisher (Nicole Murphy) said that Crossroads was ready to be published.

But NOW that Crossroads is actually published, my joy is beyond words.

Just in case you missed all the others, here is the link to my story, Crossroads, so that you can read it and find great joy as well. ;)

Just to make myself clear, please go to http://thetaletellers.wordpress.com/ and read my story.

I really hope that you enjoy it.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Aurealis: Subscribe Today

When I decided that I wanted to finally chase my dream of writing one of the things I did was go looking for  Australian Sci-Fi magazines. At first I only found one, Aurealis. I discovered that Aurealis was a highly respected publication that had been running for 20+ years.

I quickly sent of my subscription. It turned out that I subscribed just when the publishers of Aurealis decided that they would change from a print mag to a e-mag. I got two back print copies and was sent a link each month to down load the latest e-mag. This was a stop gap measure until the got a proper subscription system set up.

Well, now they have a proper system, and I'm pleased to be able to subscribe. I've not read a lot of Aurealis, but I can honestly say I've never read a dud story in it once. The stories are always high quality and they are looking to make things even better. With 1000 subscriptions, Aurealis can get accredited as a professional magazine by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America(SFWA) which will be of great benefit to any Australian writers, like me, who may have a story printed in the e-mag.

So, please take time to take out a 2013 Aurealis subscription for $19.99.  I have, and I'm looking forward to all the great stories to come.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Unicon Freecon day 3 2012

I only made it to the last two hours of the final day of Freecon, but it was a worthwhile two hours.

I came in just as they started a panel talk on over/under population in Sci-Fi. All the talk was either about over population stories or side tracks.

After that we heard from another man who was at the first Sci-Fi convention in 1953. He had some interesting stories about the Movies shown at the first two conventions. After another man from that early era  share his memories of all the characters and personalities that made up the Australian Sci-Fi scene at that time.

The last thing was the announcement of the winners in the short story contest. I did not win. The voting was a point system where you had 120 points and could spread them how you pleased. Give all your points to one story or different amounts to different stories depending on how much you like them. Garry, the host of the Freecon, told me I was allowed to vote for myself. However, there were three, out of the twelve, I really liked, so I spread my points amongst them. I would be interesting to know if I'd put all my points on my story whether it would have won. I'll probably never know.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Unicon Freecon Day 2 2012

I enjoyed day two, there was a lot of good stuff.

The day started with a bit of a random review of Sci-Fi TV and Movies in 2012 which was interesting but not informative.

Next was a topical discussion on whether Star Trek & Dr Who lead us away or towards reading Sci-Fi. I said towards, others said away and some said they made no difference.

We then had the pleasure of two writers sharing with the group. First was Sam Bowring, who just gave us some random, but very interesting thoughts odd things about fantasy stories. One of these was how in stories on two people have the same name, but in real life we often know a number of people with the same name. If we can keep track of who's who with the same name in life, we should also be able to do the same in stories. Next was Richard Harland, who read from his next book and shares about his love for Steam Punk. All good stuff.

Next those who had passed away in the last twelve months and were significant writers or fans of Sci-Fi were honoured.

We than had writer Zena Shapter read one of her short stories. It was a very good story with a nice twist at the end. It was called 'Trigger', I'm not going to give anything a away.

After this came a writers panel on the question: Is there more to life than writing SF&F? The writers were Sam Bowring, Thoraiya Dyer, Richard Harland, Zena Shapter and Stella Tarakson. Two of the panel answered no. I'm not going to tell you which two.

The last thing I attended was a workshop run by Zena Shapter on how writers can use the web and social media. I was really enjoying this workshop and getting a lot out of it. But, because it started late and I had to leave by 4:30, I missed half of it. Zena said that she runs the workshop a lot, so I'm hoping I'll get a chance to do the whole thing another time.

There was only one down side to the day, numbers. I really felt sorry for Garry, the organiser, because there were so many who said they were coming that just didn't show up. Instead of the expected 50-100 there was only just over 30 people.

I still had a great time and I'm looking forward to getting to the last few hours of day three.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Unicon Freecon Diary 2012 Day One

Unicon Freecon is a free Scifi conference being held at UTS in Sydney, 26-28 October 2012.

At the end of each day, starting today, I'm going to give my reflections on the conference.

Day One, Friday Night.

I must say up front that I enjoyed the first night of Freecon, but it was not what I had expected.

Seeing that it's being run on a University campus, and sponsored by a Uni group, I was expecting a lot of Uni aged people. But it was mostly people my age and older.

Because it's a free conference and I knew there were over fifty people registered I was expecting at least 30-40 people there on the first night. But there were 14.

One of the 14 was a man who was at the first ever Australian Scifi Conference held in Sydney in 1952. What he had to say was very interesting. One thing that he talked about, which blew my mind, was how they seemed to spend as much time fighting over differences if Scifi Ideology as they did in working together to promote there love of it. I didn't even know you could have such divisive views on Scifi, so I learnt something.

We had an open discussion on 'What is Scifi?' with a number of interesting views put forward, but no fights.

There are 12 short stories posted on the conference wall. These are the entrants in the Freecon short story contest. Apart from mine, I found three of them very interesting. One is a very different take on Technology gone wrong. The second is a time travel story with time travel being used in an interesting way that I would not have thought of. The third is a well written story about two people meeting on an asteroid.

I'm looking forward to day two.

Friday, 19 October 2012

On being edited

I've just sent my third, but probably not last, set of revisions for my story 'Crossroads', to Nicole. Nicole is the editor/publisher of In fabula-divino, where the story is going to appear on the 1st of November. I have to say that the whole process has been wonderful.

The initial 'I love your story, here's what you need to change.', and through each set of edits, I have found everything suggested positive and helpful. There have been things I haven't change, there has been things I've changed differently to what was suggested, but mostly, there has been things I've changed exactly as suggested because it has made the story better. The whole process has none nothing but make the story better.

I was proud of the story when I wrote it, I'm even more proud of what it is becoming.
I'm very much looking forward to seeing the finished product out there for everyone to read.

I hope you will.

Monday, 15 October 2012

A weekend of Scifi for free!

I've just received an update on the free SciFi convention being held soon in Sydney, and it's looking great. There's  free be bag (for the first 100), panel groups, authors to meet, special presentations, a short story completion and lots more.

It's call Unicon Freecon, and will be on from 26-28 October at Building Six, University of
Technology, Rooms CB06.06.103 and CB06.06.123.

It's free, so I guess you can just show up. However, seats are limited, so you would be better to register in advance.

You can download a rego form here

You can find out more here

I'm going and I'm excited!

Ups and Downs in Writting

In my short career (if it can be called that) as a writer, I've already learnt that writing is full of ups and downs.

Up: My name in Writer's Digest as one of the winners in their 81st annual competition. There it is seventh place.

Down: Getting my first 'form' rejection letter for a short story I submitted to a Scifi magazine.

Up: My first paid story will be appearing on In fabula-divino on the 1st of November.

Down: Having to waiting until the 1st of November for my first paid story to appear on In fabula-divino.

Up: I've started work on my first long story.

Down: Realizing that if I don't start writing faster I will take a decade to write my first long story.

In the end the ups are great, the downs are not, but it's good to be on the ride.

A bit like life.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Some More on Reading

I'm sure that I read to slow.

I mentioned my backlog unread Scifi magazines last time, well it is just getting worst. The reason, I'm reading books.

It just took me about six weeks to read the 'Hunger Games' trilogy. I really enjoyed the books, but found the final conclusion a bit disappointing. I'm not talking about the little twist at the end, which was good even though I saw it coming. I mean the very end, after the climax and resolution of the conflicts. I found it flat. Don't know how it could have been better, but it didn't work for me. I still enjoyed the books.

I've now gone from one series that the rest of the reading world has already read to another. I've started reading book one of 'A Song of Fire and Ice', 'A Game of Thrones'. I really want to read this book, and I already love it, at just 142 pages in, but I'm very worried that I won't make it through the whole series. The last long series I tried, Robert Jordan's 'Wheel of Time', I didn't finish. I just stopped at book six, or it could have been seven. Anyway, I just got to the point where I needed to read something else and never went back. I want to read the whole, 'Wheel of Time', series, but I would have to go back to the start and that is a daunting prospect. I fear that I'll have the same problem with the 'Firs and Ice' series. It's already seven books long, I think, and they are not short books. My version of 'A Game of Thrones' is 807 pages, not including the appendix, and all the others look just as long.

But I do want to read them.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Love Sci-Fi - No Money

If you love all things Sci-Fi & Fantasy,called Specfic now days, (Yes. I am old) love the idea of going to a conference about all things Specfic, but have no money, you are just like me.

I've found a way to get a Specfic conference fix without money. It's called 'The 2012 Unicon-Feecon'. It's a free, all things Specfic, conference being held a UTS in Sydney 26, 27 & 28 October. It's going to have all the really cool things you'd hope to have a a Specfic conference, including a short story contest, which I am entering.

You can download the details and registration form for the conference and writing contest at http://utsatheists.weebly.com/sff-unicon.html

It's free, so why not come?

Friday, 21 September 2012

More Writing Success


I Submitted a short children's story to the 81st Annual Writer's Digest Competition back in May. So long ago that I'd almost forgot about it. I certainly was sure I didn't do any good.

But I was wrong!

Early Thursday morning I received an email from Writer's Digest that my story, 'Leprechaun Tours Australia' has been awarded seventh place in the Young Adult/Children's Fiction category. I said 'Wow'.

I will get a prize money cheque  in the mail some time in the next 60 days. I don't know much it will be, but it will be my first ever cheque for writing something. 'Wow'

I also get a whole bunch of free stuff and discounts from Writer's Digest, and I can display the really cool 'Award Winner' thing that is up in the corner. My story will also be published in a book next year containing all the winning stories. 'Wow'

Sunday, 9 September 2012

I have sold my first story

This is amazing, someone is actually paying me to publish one of my stories. Who is this incredibly clever, insightful someone? Nicole Murphy, publisher of In fabular-divino (The Tale-Tellers).

Let me explain. In fabular-divino is a webzine that publishes one story a month of a specfic nature. Nicole selects one story a month, from that months submissions, to be published on the site after she has worked through a full editorial process with the author. Nicole is a very experienced writer and editor, so the story gets a real good polish. She than pays the author $100 for the right to publish the story on In fabular-divino for a month and to put it in an anthology at the end of the year. The author also gets two free copies of the anthology and royalties after costs have been covered so that the next year is financial.   The full submission/selection process is found here

I feel very privileged to have such a great breakthrough so early in my writing career. Nicole has already said some wonderful things about my story on the site blog and I looking forward to what I'll learn from all this. I'd actually almost convince myself that my story going to be accepted. This was because it's so different from the two other stories I had read on the site. I like both stories at lot, especially the latest one 'Regret', but neither of them are the type of story I would ever write. However, Nicole has proved me wrong.

Oh, and the story is called 'Crossroads' I will appear on the site for the whole month of November.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Submissions

I've never been quite sure if I should post about my story submission, say when I've submitted a story and where I've submitted it. I'll always post about successes, when I've had a story accepted, but I seem to be worried about letting people know about possible failures. I see some ego issues here.

Anyway, because I think ego is a dirty word, here are my current submissions. ( The song is great.)

I submitted my short story, 'Bounty' to Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine on the 16th of August. Seeing that it is the No. 1 SF Magazine in the world I will be very surprised if get a story accepted my first go. They gave me a tracking number and told me it would be about 5 weeks before I'll hear anything. I've checked my tracking number at least twenty times. :)

My only other submission is my short story, 'Crossroads' to In fabula-divinos (http://thetaletellers.wordpress.com/). Which is a webzine, I think, that publishes one short story a month, of an up and coming writer, and then puts all the stories into an anthology at the end of the year. You have to submit your story between the 1st and 7th of each month. You then find out on the 8th of the month if your story has been accepted.

So, even though I submitted my story to Asimov's two weeks before the story I submitted to In fabula-divinos, I'll find out if In fabula-divinos has accept my story at least two weeks be fore I find out Asimov's response.

Interestingly, to me, is that one of the requirements for In fabula-divinos is that you've not had any professional sales. Acceptance by Asimov's would be a professional sale. If, amazingly, Asimov's accepted 'Bounty' within the next two days, I would become ineligible for In fabula-divinos. However, if In fabula-divinos accepts 'Crossroad', and then Asimov's accepts 'Bounty' after that what happens?

I don't know.

Friday, 24 August 2012

More On Reading

When it comes to writing, a common recommendation is to read what you want to write. Thinking that I wanted to start my writing with short stories I decided I needed to read short stories. It seemed to me that the best way to do this was to find some magazines that specialize in printing the type of stories I wanted to write. I knew of a few such magazines, but I didn't no how many there were out there.

I first tried to subscribe to Asimov's Science Fiction (http://www.asimovs.com) as I had read a few copies over the years (The rare times I'd seen one in a newsagents), but I accidently subscribed to Analog Science Fiction & Fact (http://www.analogsf.com) instead. The Asimov's online subscription page was down and I got the Analog one through random pressing of anything that said subscribe. I managed to subscribe to Asimov's some months later. 

I discovered a number of online magazines, but at this point I was only interested in printed stuff. I also wanted something Australian. I found Aurealis (http://www.aurealis.com.au) and promptly subscribed. It was interesting timing that I subscribed, hoping for a printed magazine, just as Aurealis decided to go digital. They did send me two hard copies for my troubles.

Anyway, this opened my up to the possibility digital reading. I've since subscribed to two other digitally formatted SF magazines; the webzine AntipodeanSF (http://www.antisf.com.au) and SQ Mag (http://www.sqmag.com) both of these are free subscription. Lastly I subscribed to the online version of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine ASIM (http://www.andromedaspaceways.com/).

There are many more magazine and ezines I could subscribe to, but the truth is I cannot keep up with what I'm getting now. At one point I had three unread Aurealis' on my computer, I've got one now, the latest. I'm trying to get through my first ASIM. I've got two unopened Analogs and one Asimov's unopened.

I guess I'm just a slow reader. I am also trying to read books at the same time.

Perhaps I'll tell you about that next time.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

On Reading

When I decided to have a serious go at writing about 12 months ago one thing I did was start looking around at what advice was out there about writing. One of the messages that was repeated many times was, "A good writer must also be a reader." At first I went, "Great, I'm a reader.", but then I realized that it was no longer true. I'd actually stopped being a reader.

I came to reading late. I could not read until I was 10 years old, but I then tried to make up for lost time. I also had a desire to write from the very beginning. The first book I read was The Hobbit and I wanted to write stories just like it. I also discovered comics and ended up creating a whole pantheon of Super Hero's in my head. As I grew, I read great Science Fiction writers like Asimov Heilein, Herbert and Dick, and great fantasy writers like Tolkien, Moorcock, Leiber and Le Guin.  (There many other writers I could name these are just a sample.)They all inspired me to want to write, but I never did.

In time, the tasks of life gradually took over and I read less and less. At first I began to just re-read my old books, never finding the time to discover new ones. However, over time I mostly stopped even doing that. I never stopped completely.

The passion for reading has returned with my quest to be a writer. In some ways it is almost over whelming, but I might keep that for another post.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

I'm Surprised

I'm surprised that I'm blogging again.
I'm surprised that after only 12 months of writing I've written three short stories and two flash stories.
I'm surprised that I have a story published. Check it out: http://www.antisf.com.au/the-stories/leprechaun-in-the-backyard
I'm surprised that I once thought that Kenny Roger's 'The Gambler' was really deep and meaningful.
I'll be surprised if more than 2 or 3 people read this blog.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Back with more Writing Journal

Last time I posted an aim to complete two flash fiction and two short stories by the end of April. It did not all happen. There were a number of reasons, but let us not dwell on the past.

I did, however, get the two flash stories done. 

I am submitting them both. One, 'Leprechaun in the Backyard', to AntipodeanSF. The other, 'Mouse' to 100 Words or Fewer Writing contest. I'll report here how I went in both, when I know, in a future blog.

Meanwhile, even though I intended otherwise when starting it, this blog will just be about writing from now on. My quest to become a successful writer, my thoughts on writing (if I have any) and, hopefully some reviews of writing by others.

Only time will tell.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Rick's Writing Journal (dropping the numbers) Learning To Write.

It was around six months ago that I really decided to give writing a real go. One thing I really had no idea about was how much there is to learn.

First, I heard of something called, 'voice'. I was reading comments about a piece of writing having a strong or weak voice, I had no idea what this meant. I think I'm now beginning to get it; just the act of trying to write has helped me to understand.

Next came 'flow', people talking about how some writers have a great flow in their writing. Again I had no idea, but I have begun to understand after recantly reading a book by Margo Lanagan. The book, 'White Time' has ten stories in it. I did not like all the stories, but I found myself wanting to read them just because of the way they were written. Because of the way the words 'flowed' off the page.

Most recently, I want to a one day workshop on grammar for writers. I knew that I didn't know a lot about grammar, that good grammar helps, but how much I need to know really surprised me. It was a classic case of, 'The more you learn, the more you realize you need to learn.', but I learnt enough to want to learn more.

Learn about all of it, I want to learn and to write.

PS. I'm making good progress on my story goals for the end of the month.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Hallelujah

Hi discovered this really incredible version of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah the other day, the link to it is below.

http://www.godvine.com/Girl-Sings-an-Absolutely-Beautiful-Version-of-Hallelujah-1337.html

I was so amazed by this girls singing that it lead me to look closely at the words of the song and was quite struck by by the things I found. Here are just two:

1. The song seems to be about King David!

2. There are some amazing words.

The most amazing, to me, are:
Love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

What this line said to me is that real love is not about when it's easy, when you feel your a winner. Real love is when it hurts.True love is there in the deepest darkest hours, when all hope seems lost, when it cannot hurt any more that it does right now. Love finds it's greatest expression in our greatest pain, when you love that which hurts you the most.

I'm writing this on Good Friday, the day that God still loved us when it hurt the most, more than we can ever know.

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Jesus on the cross, God's cold and broken Hallelujah.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Baptism No. 1

I had the privilege of baptizing two men on Sunday the 1st of April, yes a perfect date for it.

Leading up to the baptisms, I was struck by the number of times I had to explain that I wasn't sprinkling water on the heads of babies, but actually baptizing two grown men by immersion. This lead me to thinking about the different views of baptism found in christian churches. Two different views to mine that I have encountered often and recently are:

1. You must be baptized by full immersion to be saved.

2. A child of christian parents who is baptized, by having some water sprinkled on their head, is part of the covenant relationship between God and the Church, and assured a place in heaven until old enough to be accountable to God for themselves.

These represent to totally opposed views of baptism and, as I have already said, are both wrong in my judgment. However, the only real judgment that counts in God's word, the Bible. So over the coming few weeks I'm going to attempt to show how these two views do not reflect what is taught in God's word, and how my view does, or at least comes closer.


Saturday, 31 March 2012

Rick's writing Journal No. 7

It's time to put off procrastinating to another time and get on with some writing.

Here is the plan:

1. Enter the latest 100 words of fewer contest with a little story I'm working on about a mouse.
2. Submit a very short Leprechaun story to the AntipodeanSF web site for publication. (This will be the first time I've sent any of my writing to something that is not a contest.)
3. Do a major rewrite of my Leprechaun short story and submit it to a YA short story contest.
4. Finish the short story on vanity I'm working on and submit it to the Stringybark Short Story, 'Seven Deadly Sins', Award.

I intend to complete the above list by the start of June.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

I'm doing it all wrong!

Since my latest effort to do a blog I've read many other blogs with advice on how to grow your audience. So, I no what to do, I just don't do it.

First and foremost, you must be regular in your posts. Fail!

Second, you must promote your blog at every opportunity. Fail!

Third, you must post interesting and informative content. I find it interesting, and it may have some information? Fail!

There is usually a fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, etc, but I can never remember them. Fail!

I feel really good about myself. :)

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Some Thoughts on Prayer

Why do we pray?

This thought came to me as I reflected on some of the unusual outcomes I've had lately from my prayers, here are just one.

I was returning a bus to it's grassy parking spot in the evening, and I knew it was needed by another group the next morning. I had been warned not to go on the grass if it had been raining. Well, the sun had been shining most of the day, the only real rain had come just haft an hour before I returned the bus. Praying, I decided to risk the grass, it was a bad idea. Yes, I got a 5 ton 22 seat bus bogged!

As the man who own the field and I tried many different things to get the bus unstuck I prayed that they would work, I really prayed that the bus would be available for the group the next morning. nothing we tried worked. After some frantic phone calls, I was able to find that the bus has NRMA road side assistance cover. The NRMA was able to call a toe truck company who come out and try to move the bus, but it was going to cost a lot of money. I was willing to pay the money, my prayer was just that the bus would be ready for the next morning. The toe truck driver took one look, said it was to hard and left. At least it didn't cost me any money. By this time it was well into the evening and completely dark. I promised to come back first thing the next day to try and get the bus out. I want home praying that it would not rain over night, it did, but I slept well.

The next morning the ground was much worst than the night before and, despite bringing everything I could get my hands on to give the bus wheels a solid foundation to move on, nothing worked. We moved the bus about three feet. Then one of the men associated with the group who owned the bus showed up with a man in a four wheel drive. In fact, the man was a four wheel drive touring guide and he was fully set up to pull bogged stuff out of just about anything. Fifteen minutes later the bus was free, and well in time for the next user.

So, what was the point of praying through all this? There are a number of points here are just a few.
1. Prayer kept me at peace. I had a confidence that it would work out, I just didn't how.
2. Prayer kept the real goal in front of me. Because I was praying for a specific outcome I was focus on that outcome and not distracted by the complications of the situation.
3. God provided what I needed and, because I was praying, I could God's hand at work.
4. Prayer is how we depend on God.

Just one verse to finish this

 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Rick's Writing Journal No. 6

I'm still waiting to hear how I did with my 100 word story.

In the mean time, I've started to write a bit again. I'm working on a number of story's and I've got some hopes.

My hopes are to have at least two short stories published in some form this year, to have written a first draft of my first novel, again, this year, to enjoy doing it.

Towards these goals I have to short stories in progress, many ideas for others, a very short synopsis for my novel, and I'm having fun.

It's a start.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Chess and the Bible No.3

I play a lot of online chess.

There are two types of online chess:
1. Live chess, where you play online against an opponent, who is also online, with a set time limit. This time limit can be 15 minutes, which would be considered a long game, or as little as 1 minute, often called bullet chess, which is very popular. I find this all to fast for me.
2. Turn based chess, which is like correspondence chess for the internet. In this type you make a move and your opponent, who may not be online at the time, has a number of days to make their move. Three days is the most common time limit. This is what I play.

I started playing chess online because it became hard for me to get to tournaments, which I love playing in. The online stuff became a kind of substitute for the missing tournaments. Over the years I've developed some opening patterns that I follow in my online games, and they have served me well. I thought that if I got back into tournaments I would now be much stronger in my openings.

I'm now near the end of playing in the City of Sydney Championship, and I have found that I was wrong. Openings that did fairly well against, even fairly strong, online players, where no match for seasoned tournament players. They just blew holes in all my games! It made me realize that there is nothing like the real thing.

The same is true for the Bible.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Life Interrupts Routine

I've set myself a routine to blog three time a week, but this last week it has gone right out the window: life interrupts routine.

First: I could not post last Saturday because I was on a camp for adults with intercultural disabilities, I was their bus driver, so I planed to do it Sunday night when I got back.

Second: I got the bus I was driving bogged while parking it. I spent three hours on Sunday night trying to get it out. I finally gave up and committed to coming back Monday morning, another group needed the bus by 8am. On Monday morning we got the bus unbogged in time, with the help of a 4WD.

Third: My three year old son became ill and I spent most of Monday night looking after him.

Fourth: My son was still sick Tuesday night and I was again up most of the night with him. We took him to the doctors on Wednesday and found out he has tonsillitis.

Fifth: Wednesday night I just went to bed.

So, now I'm writing this blog Thursday night: life interrupts routine.

Although, a friend posted this picture on Facebook showing some people who are not letting life interrupt their routine.

 This is Beverly Hills Railway Station in Sydney today during a very heavy rainstorm. 

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Rick's Writing Story No. 5

Today's blog title is misleading, because right now there is no story to tell. Apart from my blog's I haven't written anything. Hopefully I'll be able to kick start things again soon. It's hard because the stories are in there, I just can't get them down on paper, so I stop trying. Not good!

15 March is an important date for my writing hopes. This is when I find out if I've done any good in the '100 Words or Fewer Writing Contest. Having some success would help I think. However, I need to do it, get writing again, regardless.

I'll see where I am next week.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Three kids, all different

The first day my oldest daughter went to preschool, aged three, her response once in the gate was' "Bye mum, you can go now." From that first day, until now, she has had no problem leaving the nest, as long as there are children & things to play with.

Our second child was a bit slower, but it took very little time for him to get excited about being at daycare one day a week. In fact, he was so excited that the lady running the daycare decided he was to excited to stay, "to active" were her actual words. So he was expelled from daycare at two. Although, he is now well settled in a preschool, and is looking forward to starting big school next year.

Our third child will not have anything to do with daycare, he's not quiet two yet. His response to a room full of toys and other children his age is to cry for mum & dad. Today, mum tried leaving his stroller at the centre for security, so he sat in it and cried for mum & dad. The lady running the daycare pushed him, in the stroller, close to some toys and books (at home he loves books and often just sits and reads one, well he's not really reading. The other thing he really loves are balls, he can already throw and kick well.). His response was to get out of the stroller, push it back to where mum had left it, get back in and cry for mum & dad. At this point mum got a phone call and our youngest son was soon home and happy, and reading books.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Free Will?

I can across a blog post on free will this week and it reminded me of how I came to conclude that there is no such this as free will. However,  do not mean what most people would think I mean by this.

We all have a will (the capacity to make choices), but acts of the will (our choices) are never free. They are never free of consequences and they are never free of influences.

Every choice (act of will) has at least one consequence, sometimes more than one. Small choices usually have small consequences and big usually big. Sometimes a small choice can lead to a big consequence. A man decides to stay up and watch the late night movie, even though he has an early start in the morning, a small choice. A small consequence could be that the man is extra tired the next day. A big consequence is that the man falls asleep while driving to work, swerves onto the wrong side of the road and has a head with another car and kills a mother driving her kids to school. (of course,  the choice to drive while tried contributed to this consequence) This is an example of a choice leading bad consequences, there can also be good consequences coming from our choices. Whatever the consequence, we are responsible for the choices we make.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23


We never make any choices free of influence. Every aspect of our lives influence the choices we make, our upbringing, biology, temperament, world view, past choices, friends, family, health, mood, etc etc etc, all play a part. Our choices are never free of influence. I am not saying that we cannot help the choices we make, an influenced choice is still a choice. What is important is that we be as aware as possible of the influences in our lives that lead to bad choices, and work to negate them, so we can make the best possible choice we can.


The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Corinthians 4:4

Friday, 24 February 2012

Rick's Writing story No.3

First I'm changing the days I blog to Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, It think this will work better. Blogger to e regular schedule has certainly increased my readership.

What have to do now is writing to a regular schedule!

When i decided to have a go at writing (a childhood dream) last year, I got all excited and rushed some stories just to get them into writing contests by the deadline. This does not work. However, since realizing the need to just get the story right first, then look to where I should submit it, I've gone off the boil.

I've got a story I'm working that I'm really liking, but I'm getting no where fast with it. I'm only looking at it about once a week, and when I do I just find myself editing what I've already written. I know that this is the wrong approach, but with no deadline I seem to lack the motivation to get on with it.

I need a schedule, so my aim is to have one by next Thursday. Then I can put what it is right here in the blog, and then follow it.

It's a plan.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

A Win is a Win

I'm currently playing in the City of Sydney Chess Championship. For those who know about chess tournaments it's a seven round open swiss event being played on Monday nights. I'm not a contender for the Championship, but I did win my division (rating group) last year. I also won tonight.

It was a good close game with a funny end. My opponent opened poorly and gave me an open center with good  attaching chances. However, he then defended well and survived my first attack. The game then developed into a tense situation focus on one of my pawns. In some time trouble my opponent took my knight, forgetting about a counter attack I had on his rooks. He mistakenly thought that this was going to lead to a totally lost game and resigned.

I was very surprised but accepted the resignation. I then showed how he could have survived my attack only slightly weaker, but still with some chances.

A win is a win.

I'm happy.:)

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Evidence No. 3

I'm a day late. I'm doing this Saturday instead of Friday, as planned, and it's going to be short.

Lot's of people want to say that Jesus really did not rise from the dead, and they have lot's of theories as to what 'actually' happened. Below are just a few.


  • Some disciples had visions of Jesus, so the story of the empty tomb was made up to account for them.
  • The tomb was empty, so they made up story's of seeing Jesus alive to account for it.
  • Jesus only appeared to die, but actually never hung on the cross.
  • Jesus was saved from dyeing on the cross by a secret conspiracy.
  • Jesus was never put in the tomb, that's why it's empty.
And there are many more.

The question one might ask is why are there some many different theories? or If Jesus didn't rise from the dead, why isn't there just one 'real' alternative? The answer is that all the alternatives to the Resurrection lack one thing, evidence.

Just about the only evidence concerning Jesus' death and resurrection are the Gospels and Paul's writings, and they all point to Jesus rising from the dead. There is no evidence that he did not.

If you'd like to know what my preaching is like go to: http://www.youtube.com/user/keuning1999?feature=mhee  

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Rick's Writing Story No. 3

This is going to be short, because I am very tired.

As I anticipated, the story I sent into the Stringybark Short Story Award 2011 did not rate place in the winners list. I'm now waiting to see what feedback I get. It is supposed to come within two weeks.

I'm now waiting to see if I've done any good in the 100 Words or Fewer Contest on the 15th of March.

I'm very tired, more next week.

Monday, 13 February 2012

They All Want Your Soul

Being the pastor of a small church, I have to earn a second income. I currently have a casual job that I like, but is not quiet ideal. So I looked around at some other ways to make a little money last year. I decided to look at self employment options as they would, I felt, give me the income and flexibility I was looking for.

I found this site on the internet where I could register interest in working for home type job's or self employment.  The web site worked and I had a good number of people contact me about opportunities. with the exception of two, they all involved the one thing I didn't want to do, recruit others. There were different brands, different products, different pitches, but they all had the same end. There was a product to sell, which would make you some money, but the real money was in getting others to sell for you. Actually, it was for them.

It's positively evangelical in it's methodology. Each one promised it's own brand of salvation, salvation from poverty into prosperity. They have all the tricks, slick presentations, a condensed "bible" to follow, bible study groups, I mean seminars, self esteem building conferences that look and feel like Billy Graham Crusades and very attractive leaders who can make you fell like your the most important person in the whole world.

I was amazed at how brazen some of them were. In one promo video I watched showed one of the leaders speaking her congregation, oops, I mean fellow members, at one of the conferences. She was excited by how bad the economy was, because it meant a boom in they business. The worst the economy, the more desperate people there were to be sucked into these businesses. They thrive on people's misery.

Anyway, you'll be surprised to learn that I didn't join any of them, I have my own church and I like it.

Friday, 10 February 2012

A Bit More About Evidence

In Luke 16:19-31 Jesus tells the story of the rich man and Lazarus (I don't regard this as a parable, others do, and whether or not it is makes no difference to what is being taught.). At the end the rich man wants to go back and warn his brothers, and Abraham concludes the story in verse 31 by saying, "If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead." What this final statement is telling us this that the Bible is all the evidence needed to believe. The other side of this that if someone will not believe the Bible, no other evidence is going to convince them.

I recently found confirmation of this from the, recently deceased, atheist spokesperson Christopher Hitchens. In a clip on YouTube ( here is the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmxAGhC-gLU&feature=related ) In it he clearly states that even if all the miracles in the Attributed to Jesus are true (including the Virgin Birth and Resurrection) it's still no proof that there is a God. His exact words are, "I'll give you all the miracles and you'll still be where you are now, holding an empty sack." He is effectively saying that the Bible is not evidence for God, neither is someone raising from the dead. This demonstrates the truth of Abraham's words in Luke 16:31.

Christopher Hitchens has pass away, so I'll  never know if I'm right, but I believe that even if he had a personal encounter with the living Christ, like Saul on the road to Damascus, he still would not have believed. Actually, if I'd had the chance to ask Christopher, I think he would agree.

One cannot believe in the God of the Bible without first believing the Bible. When it come to evidence of God, the Bible is the only evidence that really matters.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Rick's Writing Story No. 2

As mentioned last week I've entered two other writing contests, and am waiting for the results.

The first is the "100 Words or Fewer Writing Contest No. 9" with the theme of "Uncommon Character". For this I came up with a story about an Australian Leprechaun. One advantage of this contest is that they give you (for a price) a check mark evaluation and critique. I scored 47 out of 75 on the check mark and the critique was positive overall as they liked my story despite the hole they felt was in my plot. I'm very happy with the feed back and find out if I win or place by 17th of March. I think I have a chance of a honorable mention.

The second is the Stringybark Short Story Award 2011. For this I had to provide a short story (1400 words max) that had something Australian about it. I again went with an Australian Leprechaun story, it's about a young Leprechaun who sets up tourism business in Australian foe holidaying Irish Leprechauns. When I finished this, just a few days before the contest deadline, I realized that i had approached the story all wrong. I think the idea is good, but I wrote it all wrong. I agonized over if I should submit the story. In the end I decided to because this contest also offered feedback. I won't get the feedback until ten days after the winners are announce on the 14th of February. I'm not expecting to win or place in this contest, I'll know next week. I'm just hoping that the feedback will help me develop my writing.

Next I will be about my future writing projects and if I've done any good the the short story contest.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Speaking to myself

I don't have a lot of people reading this blog, and the few that do never leave any comments. It almost feels like I'm talking to myself.

The interesting thin is that now my blogs are out there, they are out there forever, well kind of. Ten or twenty years from now someone could still be reading this blog. For some reason it might pop up in a search and they'll read this and may ask why?

I don't know.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Evidence?

Some years ago I had a go at debating some atheists on an online forum. I learnt two things.

1. I'm not very good at debating atheists on an online forum.

2. For some atheists, if not many, it's not really about the lack of evidence for God.

In case you don't know, one of the big cries of the atheist cause is that there is know evidence that God exists. One way this stand is justified is by discrediting anything that might be considered evidence, like the Bible. In one of my debates online the opponent claimed that the Gospels could not be relied on because they were not historically accurate, in particular none of the claimed miracles had any external verification so they could not be regarded as history. I asked, "What if everything else in the Gospel that could be shown as accurate by external verification was shown to be accurate?" (or something like that, it was a long time ago). He's answer was that this would make the miracles even more unbelievable. I was stunned. He basically was saying that if the Gospel were bad history the miracles cannot be believe, and if they were good history they still cannot be believed.

So, for this atheist (and I have found many others who are of the same view), miracles, and therefor God, cannot be true, regardless of the evidence.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Rick's Writing Story No. 1

From the time I learnt to read at ten (yes ten years old, that's for another time) I've had a dream to be a writer. It's always been a dream to write science fiction and fantasy, what is now commonly called spec fiction.

I've had a number of false starts over the years, but for some reason I really got the bug about haft way through last year. At the same time as starting to write a story that had been in my head for some years, I discovered a magazine on writing called, "Writers Digest". As well as lots of articles on improving writing, I found they had a short story contests on there web site. The deadline for there spec fiction one was close, so I rushed writing my story, got a few people to proof read it (all family) and got it in by the dead line. I then got really annoyed when they put back the dead line, not once, three times. Anyway if I'd won or placed, I was supposed to get a letter (in the mail!) by the 31st of December 2011. I held out some hope because the contest was in the US, and I thought it might take longer for the letter to get to Australia. A month has passed, so now I'm fairly sure I didn't win. Which is not a real surprise. I reread the story the other day, it's called 'Bounty', and I think its' a good story, but I don't think it's well written. I decided to highlight all the parts that needed more work, there is more story highlighted than not. I also found two spelling mistakes, despite the spell check on my computer and all my proof readers, who all found many mistakes. Anyway, I'm going to give it a rewrite soon, find some new proof readers, and try again. Probably not a contest, more likely a magazine (or ezine) that prints short spec fiction stories.

In the mean time I've got another story I'm working on and two more in other online writing contests, but I'll get to that next week.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Becoming Regular

I've read on one of the blogs I follow that to get more people to read you blog, one of the things you must be is consistently regular in you posts. This is something I'm not. Seeing that his blog has more that 5 million people reading it, I think he might know what he's talking about!

So, I'm going to try and blog three times a week, Mondays (today, only just), Wednesdays and Fridays

On Mondays I'm going to just do random stuff, just what pops into my head.

Wednesdays will be given to a Chronicle of my quest to become a publish writer.

Fridays will be spiritual or theological in some way.

This is the plan, and I'm going to stick to it.

One other thing the successful blogger said was you had to write something worth reading. This could be a problem!