Friday 21 October 2016

Mike & Bev Robinson - Our Journey Through the Valley

 Introducing Paster, Mike Robinson author of Our Journey Through the Valley. He hopes the inspirational dynamic of the journey he shared with his wife, Bev, will positively impact on those who read this book and that it will be a valuable resource for all who are currently facing their own death or the death of a loved one.

There is something very private about death, so it is a rare and noteworthy event to be invited into the lives of a married couple, both of whom are dying of progressive, incurable, neurological diseases. Their book is written from a Christian worldview.

Welcome Mike. I'm so glad you are my guest today. Tell us something about yourself.

 I am well on my way to age 75. I was born and bred in Newcastle (NSW Australia) and have one brother 7 years younger than myself.

 Having completed High School, I worked for a Transport firm briefly and then entered Bible College for 2-3 years.
 I met Bev in our Church Youth Group. Interest soon became attraction and attraction turned to love. In 1964 I married Bev (the love of my life ) and subsequently we had 4 children.
In 1968 we moved to Sydney so I could attend Morling Theological College and train for the Baptist Ministry.
I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease back in 2000. Although I'm limited in what I can do, I still manage life reasonably well.

And Bev?

Bev trained as a High School Teacher but during our time in Victoria she had the opportunity to train for something she had always wanted to be - a registered Nurse.

 For the remainder of her life she found great fulfilment in caring for people.
Bev was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in 2012 and subsequently died on April 12, 2015. The many tributes made reference to her life using such words as 'dignity', 'wisdom', 'joy', 'inspiring'.


Too young and vibrant, so sadly missed.

Mike, your book is Non-Fiction and written from personal experience. What compelled you to write it?

 Living under the reality of a predictable and inevitable outcome, Bev and I decided to keep a journal of our experience – the journal has become the book Our Journey Through the Valley.
We had assumed that, because I was the one who had Parkinson’s Disease, and Bev was a trained Nurse and a devoted wife, naturally she would look after me (!!) How things changed after Bev’s diagnosis.  

When we realised that Bev’s disease had no treatment or possibility of cure, we made a commitment to keep a journal, mainly for the benefit of our children.

But the idea of a book still hadn’t jelled.

So when did the idea of a published book came into focus?

 It was after her death, as I wrestled with how to keep people in my life,  I think I heard a whisper, "Why don’t you write 'Letters to Bev'?" So, as part of my own grieving, I began to write these letters. As I posted them on my website, the overwhelming response from friends and family was, "You must get these published".

As a Baptist Pastor, I often noticed how many Christians believe the deception that it is wrong to ask questions and even challenge their faith. They think it’s sinful to question God as if He is somehow accountable to us. This indicates to me there is a lack of integrity in how we respond to grief.

So, Bev and I needed to ask our own questions and confront our own struggles, responses and breakthroughs with honesty and transparency no matter how vulnerable that made us.  

 Frequent comments like:
'As I read your letters to Bev, I feel you are giving me permission to be honest with my own feelings and questions',
reassured me I can best liberate people from these crippling attitudes by telling my own story. Maybe even more than that, I wanted to write and capture the inspiration that Bev has been to so many people – myself included.  I believe people are more responsive at a heart level, not a head level.
Yes, this is truly a book written from the heart.  
 How did you come to choose this title, Our Journey Through the Valley?

This was/is a journey; a tiring, demanding, confusing journey and yet it has been a source of great comfort and reassurance.

'The Valley' is a reference to the 'valley of the shadow of death' mentioned in Psalm 23. This passage is often read at funerals which have a Christian emphasis. Bev and I often noted we were getting closer to that valley every day but we had no need of fear because the Lord was with her.
 Did the writing ever become so difficult you had to step away from it for a time?
 Physically the writing was always a problem because of the Parkinson’s factor. It affected my legs and every so often I would get the warning signals that my legs were about to become quite uncomfortable and I had to get up from the computer, move around for a while and only resume if the medication took hold. I never knew when that would happen so I was most often unable to predict or anticipate when these “bouts” would come.
But you persevered. Has writing about the journey you and Bev experienced been cathartic for you?
While the primary focus of the book is on the immediacy of Bev's illness (MND), writing “Letters to Bev” has been very helpful for me. Strangely, as I wrote them I was thinking of Bev (of course!) but I was also thinking of the people who would read the letters and find solace in what I was writing because it spoke to their own circumstances.
Readers have described Our Journey Through the Valley as 'inspirational and enlightening'. What would you like the reader to gain from this book?
a.     That no matter the circumstances, you don’t have to carry your load on your own.
b.     That they tap into the inspirational  dynamic that  was so evident in the life of Bev
c.     That their own situations don’t have to bring defeat.
I hope our journey will have value and significance for anyone experiencing great grief because of great loss of whatever kind.

What will you do now that the book is published?
 I expect to keep on writing. I find a lot of fulfilment in making resources available. Many years ago I heard that whisper, 'I don’t want anything I’ve taught you to die with you; pass it on!' I see the Internet to be a great vehicle to fulfill that directive.

 Before you go Mike, where can we purchase a copy of
Our Journey Through the Valley?
At this stage the book is not available in bookshops, so the best way to order is through the order form on my website:
For more details visit Mike at
 Thank you for being my guest today, Mike. I wish you every success with your book and look forward to your next publication. 


Sunday 7 December 2014

Free newsletter from MuseItUp Publishing Inc

The MuseItUp Newsletter has big discounts for its subscribers, new releases, a sneak peek, and a 100% free book --it's mine till Dec 12th, The Unhewn Stone -- and an exclusive author interview. Guess who? hehe. It really is worth subscribing. It's Free and it's Easy.

MuseItUp Publishing: Sign Up to Stay in Touch

The December issue is out now!

Newsletter subscribers will be the first to read exclusive author interviews, get special discount codes no one else is privy to, get a download code for the free book, take a sneak peek into upcoming releases, and much more... well, see for yourself. Christmas is special at MuseItUp.

Monday 15 September 2014

Elixer Bound Book Blitz

YA fantasy
by Katie L. Carroll

Cover Designer: Charlotte Volnek

Katora Kase is next in line to take over as guardian to a secret and powerful healing Elixir. Now she must journey into the wilds of Faway Forest to find the ingredient that gives the Elixir its potency. Even though she has her sister and brother, an old family friend, and the handsome son of a mapmaker as companions, she feels alone.


It is her decision alone whether or not to bind herself to the Elixir to serve and protect it until it chooses a new guardian. The forest hosts many dangers, including wicked beings that will stop at nothing to gain power, but the biggest danger Katora may face is whether or not to open up her heart to love.


Ebook on sale for $.99 until September 27:

 To Win a Signed Paperback of Elixer Bound on Goodreads until September 28,  Enter HERE

About the Author:

Katie L. Carroll began writing at a very sad time in her life after her 16-year-old sister, Kylene, unexpectedly passed away. Since then writing has taken her to many wonderful places, real and imagined. She wrote ELIXIR BOUND and the forthcoming ELIXIR SAVED so Kylene could live on in the pages of a book. Katie is also the author of the picture app THE BEDTIME KNIGHT and an editor for MuseItUp Publishing. She lives not too far from the beach in a small Connecticut city with her husband and son.

For more about Katie, visit her website at and follow her on Twitter (@KatieLCarroll) or Tumblr.

Katie's Book Blitz Schedule.
Check out all the other blogs on the list and don't forget to enter for her giveaways.

But first, come back here tomorrow and treat yourself to Katie's wonderful article on  'The Women in Elixir Bound'.



Sunday 14 September 2014

The Women of 'Elixir Bound' by Katie L. Carroll


I originally conceived ELIXIR BOUND as a there-and-back-again quest, a sort of tribute to my sister Kylene, who died at the age of 16. I had hoped to give her a fantasy tale of her own. When it proved too hard to write the story from the POV of a character inspired by her, I decided to try from a different character's POV: her sister Katora's.
This really changed the direction of the story. Where Kylene was sweet, sensitive, and wore her feelings on her sleeve, Katora was stubborn, independent, and also sensitive but would never want to show it. ELIXIR BOUND then became a story about a young woman (Katora) who must go on a quest to find out whether or not she will become guardian to a secret healing Elixir and bind herself to it.
The binding part was key because it wouldn't allow to just use the Elixir as she wanted to; the binding would force her to use it in a way that also served the Great Mother (who is also called Mother Nature, and is basically the highest form of being in Katora's world). Now I had a story where a very independent character was forced to make a decision that would seriously hinder her independence and impact the path the rest of her life would take.

Cover Designer: Charlotte Volnek
This whole story line was a personal journey that was paralleled by a physical journey in which Katora and her companions had to find the secret ingredient for the Elixir. Notice the total lack of mention of a love interest. It was really important to me that Katora's motives for the quest had nothing to do with a boy.
It was also important that Katora be chosen for this quest, not either of her two older sisters or her younger brother. I've always wondered why in so many real and fictional worlds the oldest son is the one who is entitled to the inheritance, so I wanted Katora to be neither the oldest nor a boy. The reason Katora was chosen as the next guardian of the Elixir, taking over for her father, was she was person who was best suited for the job. 

As I started writing ELIXIR BOUND, I realized I wanted these themes to be reflected in Katora's world as well. I think a lot of these themes spilled out of me unconsciously, and only in revision did I become consciously aware of the feminism in them. Suddenly Katora's world had turned very pagan with the people following a female deity (the Great Mother) closely tied to nature. From there I sort of ran with the idea that females would, in a sense, rule this world. Though I kept it that Katora would take over for her father because I wanted some balance in the world. Women didn't need to rule everything. 

And Kylene was still there on the quest and plays an important role (though not the starring one). I wanted her there to contrast Katora's personality because there are other strong female characters besides the bulldozer type, which is kind of how I think of Katora. I needed a female who was strong in character but not in your face about it. Also, Zelenka, a member of the miniature demick species, was an interesting female character. In many ways very much like Katora, but also a bit of an adversary to Katora. They never quite get along, mostly because they are so alike. 

There does end up being a love interest on the quest. One I had to emphasize and play up more as I went through revisions because several of my early readers didn't think it played a big enough role. Katora initially resists forming a relationship with Hirsten, the handsome son of a famous mapmaker. She doesn't want anything to distract her while on her mission and while she has such an important decision to make.  Though the quest part of the story is not driven by romance, Katora's ability to realize her capacity for love (and in turn why she has resisted her feelings for Hirsten) does play into her decision on whether or not to become guardian of the Elixir. 

As you can see, I thought a lot about the role of females in the made-up world of ELIXIR BOUND as I was writing it. I'd like to think my story offers a feministic look at females and hopefully speaks to teenage girls in a positive way. Although, I didn't want to force any certain didactic message about feminism in the story...more an offering of female characters and how they take control of their lives and futures. Themes I certainly plan on considering while writing future works as well. #

Come back here tomorrow for the 1st day of Katie's Book Blitz and Giveaway of Elixir Bound.

Friday 5 September 2014

Book Launch made news

At the Book Launch of The Unhewn Stone print book, the Lake Times newspaper sent their photographer to take a photo, and the editor wrote  this nice article which appeared on Wednesday, 27th August 2014. For the actual article click here.

The Unhewn Stone is now available in print from the Amazon stores in all countries, MuseItUp Publishing    Barnes &Noble , the Book Depository UK, Fishpond au, Angus & Robertson au. and  Holistic Page in Newcastle, NSW.

Also available to order from bookstores in Sweden, Finland, South Africa and Russia  (in English language).The Russian site has The Unhewn Stone priced at  $577aud so you mightn't want to buy it from there. :)

 Published by MuseitUp Publishing. Also available as an ebook.

Tuesday 19 August 2014

Fun Book Launch for The Unhewn Stone

Here at last! The award winning  e-book is now available in PRINT! 
The three day book launch event, in Shellharbour, NSW, for my YA historical novel, The Unhewn Stone, was hectic and satisfying.

The SVES -Shellharbour Village Exhibition Space, venue for the book launch.


 Because the novel is a new take on the Wilhelm Tell legend, and my hero travels back to 1307 AD, I thought I should dress for the medieval era. So I made this costume and felt way too comfortable in it. I wondered if I'd actually been in the 13th and 14th centuries before.

 Bürglen, Altdorf, Lake Luzern and Hohle Gasse retain a medieval atmosphere and they certainly feel like home to me.   They are important settings in the modern world and the medieval world of the novel.

Medieval music in the background, and the twenty-five minute, on location, photo display at the book launch made it possible for the reader to walk in my fictional Stefan Gessler's footsteps as he attempts to prevent the Legend of Wilhelm Tell from happening.    
Birthplace and home of my Stefan in The Unhewn Stone, and Wilhelm Tell, Switzerland's national hero of liberty.  The chapel marks the site of Will Tell's house.

This lovely old guesthouse in Bürglen, built in 1578, inspired the fictional 'Gessler Inn' owned by my Stefan's parents in The Unhewn Stone.
Altdorf -Fountain Square

The Wilhelm Tell monument marks the spot where Tell shot the apple off his son's head.
Lake Luzern


This chapel is on the rock Tell jumped onto when he escaped from Governor Gessler's boat on Lake Luzern

Hohle Gasse - The Hollow Way

the narrow path where, legend has it, Tell ambushed and killed the tyrant governor. The chapel marks the spot. 
Weeks of hard work and promotion  went into this event, but it was well worth it to be surrounded by so many smiling people and well wishers.
We  danced to the medieval music and ate authentic Swiss cookies and meringues. 
Now my book is a tangible reality, thanks to MuseItUp Publishing.
The Unhewn Stone is available from all  online book stores including Angus & Robertson and Fishpond in Australia.

Friday 4 July 2014

Anticipating the arrival of The Unhewn Stone

My first copy of the paperback version of The Unhewn Stone has been shipped by Amazon and is expected to arrive on 16th July. Ironically this is the birthday of Peter, my late baby brother. So, if the book does arrive then, the date will have huge significance for me.
Cover Designer: Tiger Matthews
I'm also waiting for the pack of books from my publisher so I'll have them for sale and display at my exhibition/book launch in August.
This is a three-day, one-man showing, in the gallery organized by the City Council. So much planning and expense is required. I had no idea what I'd let myself in for when I registered, but I'm getting excited now.
I'm trying to create a medieval world with a combination of music, some bought and some written by my son; a continuous widget of Swiss landscapes and medieval photos on one wall; wall posters,  a table display of items used in the book;  a medieval costume to be  worn  by my granddaughter on one of the days; an outside sandwich board. Door prizes, and the books to be signed, of course.
If I can organize to have a friend bake the Swiss cookies from the book, then they will be there as well.
No doubt more ideas will come to mind. I need plenty of items to create the genuine medieval atmosphere and interest, in this new take on the Wilhelm Tell legend, set in the Switzerland of 1307AD, seen through the eyes of a modern day time traveller.
Writing the Media Kit and Press Release for the book is underway but...that isn't easy. e.g. 'add a quote that is not a testimonial.' Just a small point among the many more difficult ones, for me.
Exciting but nerve-wracking. Oh well, at last this Aussie author is at work.