Marion Ueckermann – and her Reflections from the Ocean

And it’s Friday again!

I thought time was supposed to be going slowly. Yet it seems to be speeding by as if someone has his foot stuck on the accelerator of his new Ferrari. It’s time once again for another interview with one of the South African authors involved in the boxed set, In All Things.

Today it’s my pleasure to introduce you (or re-introduce you) to popular Christian Romance writer, Marion Ueckermann, who took a break from her romance writing to share some devotional insights in her book, Reflections from the Ocean (and Surrounds).

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Musings from an African Garden – by Anna Jensen

This entry is part of the series In All Things

Can you believe it’s Friday again?

And halfway through the first month of the year.

Today, we’re chatting to a South African author who is actually an ex-pat from her beloved England, Anna Jensen. Anna wrote two of the books in our In All Things boxed set, and it’s a pleasure to interview her today. I think we’ll take her first book first—Musings from an African Garden.

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Opening the Year with Val, Author of Saints in Lockdown

This entry is part 12 of the series In All Things

Happy New Year!

It seems impossible that it’s a whole year since our last interview two weeks ago with Vida Li Sik!

Talking to others, I’ve found it fascinating how many people reporting that 2020 seemed more like a decade! That although the days seemed to fly past, the weeks went on forever. I was chatting on WhatsApp with my daughter in Montenegro. She said she’d been talking to her teaching colleagues the day before, and they had all said the same thing!

Isn’t it strange?

How about you? Has 2020 seemed a particularly long year for you?

So today we return to one of the last interviews with authors who participated in our boxed set, In All Things, and today we’re chatting to Val Waldeck, a multi-published author who lives in Durban, on the South Coast of South Africa.

Welcome Val!

Shirl: Great to have you here.

Val: Thanks Shirl, good to be with you.

Shirl: I love the title you chose for your book! What motivated you to choose this particular theme?

Join us in our chat with prolific South African author, Val Waldeck, author of Saints In Lockdown, a creative devotional book available in the limited edition of the boxed set of 13 e-books, In All Things. Click To Tweet

Val:  Observing the reaction of people to the lockdown in our own country (South Africa) and globally. People seemed to have a real problem coming to terms with the issues they faced and still trusting in the sovereignty and goodness of God. Yet we read in Scripture of so many Old Testament saints who stood tall as they faced and conquered their varying circumstances by focusing on the Lord.

Val, how did the book affect you?

Shirl:  Did you yourself get anything out of these devotions as you wrote them? Did you grow at all spiritually (or in any other way) while you were writing these chapters?

Val:  The faith of these Old Testament believers challenged me deeply. We have a complete Bible, access to anointed teaching, and freedom to encourage and share with one another. Yet still, we complain when things don’t go our way. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 took on new meaning for me: The Will of God is for His People to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks. Our God reigns.

Shirl:  Wow! Yes, we’re not good at any of those, are we? So tell me, what was the best thing for you about the whole process?

Val: I really enjoyed collaborating with the other authors and sharing their devotional books. It is amazing to see how many different aspects of God’s creation are shared and applied to our lives.

Working with others

Shirl:  You’re right. It’s been great seeing all the different themes come together, hasn’t it? You had to produce seven chapters on the theme, Overcomers. Were all seven easy to find? Or was there one (or more) that caused you to struggle?

 Val:  The biggest struggle was to choose only seven overcomers! The Bible is full of stories about amazing saints who believed God, no matter what. Maybe someday this book will morph into a whole year of devotionals!

Shirl:  Ooh that sounds wonderful! I’ll look out for that! Shifting topics now, the party from all accounts was a resounding success. What did you enjoy most about it? What was the biggest challenge?

Val:  The party was fun. It was amazing to chat with so many people and enjoy their slant on life. I enjoyed the openness of people and their willingness to participate and chat with us. The biggest challenge was keeping track of all those comments!

Shirl: Yes, that was a real challenge, wasn’t it? But so good to discover even when you lost your own post one of the team was happily keeping it going! I loved the entire experience.

Do you have any “last words” for our readers today, Val?

Val:  I believe “In All  Things” will be a blessing and inspiration for many years for all who get this Limited Edition of 13 books. I would invite everyone to pay it forward and buy a set for a friend (or two). This will make a wonderful gift!

Other authors in the set already interviewed:

Shirley Corder – 7 African Animals
Sunrise to Sunset- – Deryn van der Tang
What God Wants – Ashley Winter
Inspired to Worship – Ann Goodfellow
Steps of Faith – Crystal Warren
Life is Good – Yvonne Tippins
Promises to Cherish – Vida Li Sik

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Let’s close with the question I began with.
Have any of you experienced 2020 as being a long year? Tell us more. 

Shirl: Thank you so much, Val. Leave us with a few ways of connecting with you.

My website: Reaching Our Generation One Book at a Time
Amazon Author

Off with the Old – And Singing in the New.

Singing in the New Year

Singing in the New Year!

Well, we’re at the end of the year, 2020.

The other day, I came across a local group singing a song that expressed how many of us is feeling. It’s actually an advert for a local product so I can’t play it here – and it also contains some bad language which I’ve edited out. 

They sing it to the tune of ‘We wish you a merry Christmas’ but use the words,

‘We wish this year never happened!” And it ends with …
We’ve got a tiny bit of hope left, ‘cos December is here!’
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Happy Christmas Eve. Is it possible with COVID?

Many years ago Bing Crosby recorded a song that been a favorite across the world, “It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!”

You can listen to it here.

But my question for you today, which quite probably is Christmas Eve, is:

Is it beginning to feel a BIT like Christmas?


A few days ago, I wrote a simple post and put it on my Facebook. I have been amazed at the feedback it has brought me! read more

Chat with Vida Li Sik, Author of Promises to Cherish

This entry is part 11 of the series In All Things

Goodness me! It’s Friday again!

And the last Friday before Christmas and New Year!

Vida Li SIk

Time to once again meet up with one of the eleven authors who contributed to our 13-book boxed set of devotional readings. Each book covers seven days of meditations based on a different theme but loosely connected with Africa.

Meet Vida Li Sik

So today we’re chatting to Vida Li Sik, author of Promises to Cherish.  Isn’t that a beautiful title? Lovely cover too.

Vida lives in South Africa’s “City of Gold” – Johannesburg. She has two young adult sons, one of whom recently wrote the matriculation certificate examination after surely the most traumatic year any students have ever faced for their final and most important school year. We wish him well in the results. read more

Chatting to Yvonne Tippins, Author of Life is Good

This entry is part 10 of the series In All Things

Can you believe it’s Friday again!

Time to meet up with one of our eleven authors once more. Together we have brought out a 13-book boxed set of devotional writings, with each book covering seven days of devotions, and based in Africa.

Every one of these books has a totally different theme, each chosen by the authors, and yet wow! They all gel together so beautifully.

Today, we’re chatting to Yvonne Tippins, author of Life is Good.

Yvonne lives in Vereeneging with her husband Mark. They have a daughter, Laura, who is also a writer.

Today we're chatting to Yvonne Tippins, author of Life is Good - one of 13 e-books available in In All Things - available now on Amazon. Click To Tweet

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Steps of Faith – Spending Time with Author Crystal Warren

This entry is part 9 of the series In All Things

It’s Friday again!

Time to interview one of the authors of our beautiful boxed set, In All Things. This is a 13-book boxed set of devotional writings, with each book covering seven days of devotions, and based in Africa. Every one of these books has a totally different theme, each chosen by the authors, and yet wow! They all gel together so beautifully. So today, I’m going to be chatting to Crystal Warren, author of the book, Steps of Faith – Seven Journeys.

Crystal lives in a small town which has actually earned its right to be called a city called Makhanda, recently renamed from the old name of Grahamstown. This is a small town in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. One must travel an hour and a half to Port Elizabeth or two hours to East London. The part of that which excites me the most is the distance from Port Elizabeth – my hometown! So she’s a fairly near neighbor! We have worked together on NaNoWriMo a number of times, acting as twin MLs on two occasions.

Talking to Crystal Warren, author of Steps of Faith - Seven Journeys, one of thirteen books in the boxed set, In All Things. Click To Tweet

Introducing Crystal Warren

Shirley: So – welcome Crystal! It’s great to have you here on my blog today. It’s been good working with you and knowing that we’ve actually worked together!

Crystal: Thanks Shirl. It’s been such an exciting project, and you’re right. It’s good that we’ve met in person. 

Shirley: So Crystal, as you know, I invited all those who had volunteered to write one of the books of the set, to choose their own theme. What motivated you to choose the theme of journeys? Your full title was This was an unusual topic to me.

Crystal: Shirl, I suspect it might have been influenced by the lockdown as a result of COVID-19, when we were all at home and nobody was travelling anywhere. This was the longest period I had been at home without leaving town since I moved here thirty years ago. Several planned trips had to be cancelled. I was working from home, so not even walking to work each day. So physical journeys were very much on my mind.

When I started to think about which poems might fit together in one theme, I realised that a lot of my poems dealt with physical or spiritual journeys, and this seemed something that would work.

Steps of Faith

How did you find this experience?

Shirley: I asked you all to produce seven chapters on the theme. Did you find that easy?  Or was there one (or more) that caused you to struggle?

Crystal: I started with selecting a range of already-written poems that fit the theme. Then I prayed over them and wrote the reflection as one came to me. Some poems didn’t suggest anything that fit the devotional format, but fortunately, there were enough that did. In fact, I lost count and when I came to do the formatting, I realised that I had eight rather than seven. So then I had to choose which one to leave out. I think that might have been the biggest struggle.

Shirley: Okay, all the books were short. This was done on purpose. It was a lock-down project, and I wanted each writer to be able to complete a book within what I initially anticipated not being long. So each book is only seven chapters. How long would you say it took you to write the first draft? And from start to completely done?

Crystal: This is a difficult question for me. My book was based on poems. Most of these had been written previously, with the long process of editing and polishing. I did write some new poems for the project but in the end, only one of them made it into the book. So a lot of my “writing” time was thinking about which poem to use, which Bible verse fitted with it, and what message or reflection needed to be written. Because so much time had gone into thinking about this when I sat down to write the actual reflections they didn’t take that long at all.

Other experiences?

Shirley: Crystal, have you ever participated in a boxed set or any other multi-author project before? If so, how did this one compare with the others?

Crystal: I haven’t done a boxed set before, so this was a new experience for me. My previous collaborative project was a children’s book for Book Dash where I worked with an illustrator, editor, and designer. Book Dash is quite frenetic as while the writer develops their story in advance, the book is edited, rewritten, illustrated, and designed in a marathon 12-hour creative session. It occurs in a room filled with teams of people each working on their book. It was great fun but exhausting. And once the day ended the Book Dash team took over the production side, eventually posting the book on their website where it was free for anyone to read or download.

With In All Things, we each worked on our own book, but we were able to support and advise each other. We especially did this when it came to formatting the books, developing covers, final proofreading etc. We also worked together to promote the book, each creating our own posts but tagging in the others. Because I haven’t done a devotional project before it was wonderful having more experienced authors on the same team who had lots of useful advice.

The FaceBook Launch Party

Shirley: The party from all accounts was a resounding success. What did you enjoy most about it? What was the biggest challenge?

Crystal: I really enjoyed being able to interact with our readers, as well as other writers. I learned a lot about the people I had been working with and got to know a whole lot of new people. It was also wonderful seeing how people responded to the posts.  We all asked questions in our posts to get people talking, but I found it amazing how people were really engaging and commenting on the replies of others. It felt like a real conversation between friends.

At times it got a bit hectic, trying to follow the various conversations. But at least with this text-based Facebook format, I was able to go back later and catch up on any threads I had missed. And to read a whole lot of new comments from people who had come online while I was sleeping.

Shirley: Yes, I know what you mean. With us being in South Africa, we ended the party officially at 9 pm (for us) which was before lunch-time for a number of our readers. I say officially because I don’t think any of us left the party until more like 10 pm or later. But the next morning, I was aware that many of us were there on the page catching up on comments and even posts from others of our teams that we had missed during the party.

Crystal, thank you so much for spending this time with us today. I wonder if you would like to read a short excerpt from your book? Perhaps from the introduction?

Over to you, the reader: Crystal’s theme was all about journeys. In just a few words, tell us which journey brings a special memory to your mind? 

Get the Boxed Set here

Other authors in the set already interviewed:

Shirley Corder – 7 African Animals

Sunrise to Sunset- – Deryn van der Tang

What God Wants – Ashley Winter

Inspired to Worship – Ann Goodfellow


Please sign up to receive regular updates from me. I promise not to spam you, and you are free to unsubscribe at any time. You will receive a copy of my 7-day book, God in the Unexpected, just for signing up. 

News from Shirley


Inspired to Worship – Getting to know Ann Goodfellow

This entry is part 8 of the series In All Things

Interview with Ann, author of Inspired to Worship

So it’s Friday once again. How quickly they come round! Today we’re chatting to another of the authors published in In All Things, a 3-month boxed set of daily devotional readings, all linked to Africa. Each small book of seven devotions is written by an author who was either born in Africa or was born elsewhere but has lived in Africa for some time. So we all share the theme – Out of Africa! Today, I’d like to introduce you to Ann Goodfellow. read more

What God Wants – Ashley Winter

This entry is part 7 of the series In All Things

It’s Friday Again!

Once again, I am interviewing one of the authors from our beautiful boxed set, In All Things. Today, I’m chatting to Ashley Winter, an author who was born and brought up in South Africa, but today lives in Wales. She wrote a 7-day book covering seven desires of God’s Heart.

Interview with Ashley:

Hello Ashley, It’s great to have you as a guest on my website. I loved having you as part of the team of authors who together wrote short devotional books based on Africa.

Ashley: Hi Shirley. It’s great to be here. Thanks for the invitation to talk about our latest project. I so enjoyed the whole process.

Shirley: That’s great to hear. I loved your theme. When I first read the title, What God Wants – Seven Desires of God’s Heart, I wondered where you were going with the idea. But it is a lovely and challenging read. And your cover is incredible! If there was a prize for the best cover, you’d get my vote! What was the best experience for you?

Producing the book

Ashley: I love to create, and this project was no different in that regard. Planning, writing, designing the cover, and then seeing the finished project is always rewarding. Then working with other like-minded authors, I got to enjoy seeing their books come together and compliment mine. A lovely process.

Shirley: That’s fabulous. I’m sure it wasn’t all fun and easy-going though. I know it certainly wasn’t for me. I had some real challenges. How about you?

Ashley: So true. I am not a non-fiction writer, so this was a challenge for me! I found selecting the chapters and then organising my thoughts into those chapters the hardest part.

Shirley: How did you find your experience working with the other ten writers? Some of them were well-published. Others were fairly new to the publishing scene, especially to e-book writing.

Ashley: That was an absolute highlight! And really—this was the reason I wanted to join in! Shirley, you were so organised, yet gracious, and made the whole process easy.

Shirley: This sort of comment constantly amazes me! It was a totally new experience for me, and I lived in fear of being blasted out of the water by one of you who had more experience in this field. You were the ones who were gracious! You just kept encouraging me and literally did everything I asked of you.

Working on a multi-authored project

Ashley, have you ever participated in a boxed set or any other multi-author project before?

Ashley: No, this was my first, but I’d love to do more in the future.

Shirley: I’m so glad this worked well for you, and that I haven’t scared you off!

Shirley: On launch day, 24th October, we held a bumper Facebook Launch Party, attended by 743 people. Wow!

From all reports, it party seems to have been a resounding success. I know I loved every minute of it. Well, almost every minute! There were times when Facebook had me chasing all over the page trying to find my missing posts!

How about you? What did you enjoy most about it? Did you have any major challenges?

Ashley: I always enjoy these Facebook parties! I love the interactions with readers and the way we like-minded women can come together and find a place to open up a little bit and share about our lives. No challenges! Only fun!

Over to the Readers:

As we round off this short time together, let’s ask our readers a question. Whether you’ve read Ashley’s book yet or not, how would you answer this question?

What one thing do you think God wants of you today? Don’t dig too deep. Just think of your life today, given all our current challenges, and give us an idea. What does God want from you?

Get the Boxed Set here

Other authors in the set already interviewed:

Shirley Corder – 7 African Animals

Sunrise to Sunset- – Deryn van der Tang

Please sign up to receive regular updates from me. I promise not to spam you, and you are free to unsubscribe at any time. You will receive a copy of my 7-day book, God in the Unexpected, just for signing up. 

News from Shirley