Down Under

By the time this blog is posted I should be nearing home after spending the weekend with a wonderful group of Australian and New Zealand writers at a retreat center in Mulgoa, Australia (approximately an hour’s drive west of Sydney) for The Omega Christian Writers Conference.

I had the privilege of giving six hours of presentations, taking a number of appointments, and just enjoying their hospitality. It was a marvelous time. (Did not see any kangaroos although they were apparently in the area.)

We absolutely must remember that publishing is a global business. The issues and challenges of the world and how to express one’s faith are universal.

It is rather unusual to be the one everyone accuses of having an accent!  But the “differences” are curiosities, not barriers. These writers wrestle with their words, tackle marketing frustrations, and balance work and life with the call to write.

While we may not be close in proximity (it is a 14-hour flight from Los Angeles to Sydney and you gain 18 hours) to the rest of the world, we are close … because we are all part of the Body of Christ.

I came away impressed with an enthusiastic group hungry to learn how to change the world through the written word.

It was great to spend significant time with agency Aussie clients David Rawlings, Narelle Atkins, and Carolyn Miller. David, with his novel The Baggage Handler, is the first Australian to be a finalist for the Christy Awards.

For those of you in the U.S., take a moment today and pray for our fellow brothers and sisters around the globe who are striving to improve their craft of writing, just as you are. In fact, anywhere you may be, take a moment to lift up your international fellow writers.

We are on this journey together!






30 Responses to Down Under

  1. October 14, 2019 at 5:17 am #

    Love this one, Steve. Praying now. (It’s 7:16, Texas time, Monday morning, October 14th, dear Aussie brothers and sisters.)

  2. damonjgray October 14, 2019 at 5:54 am #

    Same as Cathy. 5:53 a.m. here.

    Thank you for broadening our perspective. It is too easy to become engrossed staring at my own naval as though that is the entirety of my world.

  3. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser October 14, 2019 at 6:44 am #

    Seek to greet in brotherhood
    each Christian that you meet.
    Embrace, as Jesus said you should,
    no matter what they eat.
    Dig in if offered kidney pie;
    you do not get a vote.
    But if need be, on the sly,
    put a finger down your throat.
    Some cultures like their alcohol;
    in Russia, it’s no fable.
    It’s best to watch the spinning walls
    from underneath the table.
    And do not ask what’s in the stew;
    knowing won’t be good for you.

  4. Bryan Mitchell October 14, 2019 at 7:51 am #

    Amen, and I’ll certainly have them in my prayers. About seven years ago, I asked an older friend, “Is it just me or are things crazier than they’ve ever been?” I kept thinking that things were continuously heading in a bad direction for the nation and on the world stage. But I was young and thought it too naïve to come to such a gloomy conclusion. My wiser friend thought the same.
    Fast forward to yesterday, a special speaker at my church, Rev Mike Slaughter mentioned this. There’s so much arguing, and everyone wants to right and more influential. Like Ellen DeGeneres got lambasted for sitting with George Bush at a football game. A judge gives a Bible to the cop convicted of murder, and people lose their minds. I think they call it “Outrage culture”. Whatever it’s called, I find it to be a foul spirit thriving on divisiveness.
    That’s why it’s important for us to remember that we are a family regardless of nationalization, race, political leanings, etc. Jesus told us to be careful with our words, that they can defile us. We can heal or hurt others with them. So God be with you all no matter where you are in life or in the world.

  5. Kay DiBianca October 14, 2019 at 8:16 am #

    “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” — Hebrews 12:1

    Praying for brothers and sisters everywhere who have chosen words as their medium to reach out to the world. Let’s run this race together, celebrating each other’s victories and giving a helping hand to those who stumble or fall.

  6. Eileen Hickman October 14, 2019 at 9:46 am #

    Thanks, Steve, for the reminder. It’s easy to get caught up in our own affairs and loose sight of what Christ’s body is doing in other parts of the world. It’s a good reminder and also an encouragement. I’ll be praying.

  7. Roberta Sarver October 14, 2019 at 9:56 am #

    What a great reminder to pray for our fellow writers. Just last week I stopped at a small-town post office in Missouri and the post mistress had a beautiful accent. When I asked, she said she was from Australia. We chatted a bit about the different accents she has encountered. She told me the accent they used in Crocodile Dundee was “guttah” (gutter) version of the way Aussie’s really speak. I loved listening to her! Thanks for this post; hope you have recovered from jet lag.

  8. sharonkconnell October 14, 2019 at 10:00 am #

    Absolutely, Steve. We should all be supporting each other, whether traditionally published or Indie. We are aiming at the same target and goal, to bring a good story to our readers. Prayer is the most important thing we can do for each other.

  9. Patti Jo Moore October 14, 2019 at 10:51 am #

    What a wonderful time of fellowship you all had, I’m sure! 🙂
    And a great reminder that we need to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ all around the globe.

    Giggling at your “accent” comment, because when my dear friends from Australia visited the states a few years ago, they teased me (a lot, LOL) about my southern accent. 😉 But I do love to hear them talk and share stories of living “down under.”

  10. claire o'sullivan October 14, 2019 at 12:35 pm #

    Wonderful! Remember our brothers and sisters worldwide in prayer for their courage in the face of persecution, for their protection. I get Open Doors prayer booklet to pray for the 50 most persecuted Christians in countries for leadership on down and then I go global. Never forget our mission to pray.

  11. Hannah Currie October 14, 2019 at 1:41 pm #

    Thanks for coming down to Australia! Sorry you didn’t see any kangaroos :p Next time 🙂

    • Steve Laube October 15, 2019 at 3:21 pm #


      Next time you are in charge of herding the kangaroos my way!

  12. Loretta Eidson October 14, 2019 at 4:04 pm #

    What fun! So glad you were able to connect with David and the other authors. I’m sure everyone wanted to hear you talk. Praying for everyone to learn and wade through the writing and publishing process.

  13. David Rawlings October 14, 2019 at 10:48 pm #

    It was great to host you Steve, and share a time zone for once. Your insight, wisdom and teaching was greatly appreciated by everyone at the conference and we all are grateful you made the trek. I, for one, was so pleased to be able to speak to my agent in real time, without the threat of Skype dropping out.

    Thanks mate (you’ve now earned the Aussie version of a knighthood.. 🙂

    • Steve Laube October 15, 2019 at 3:11 pm #


      Does this mean you have address me as Sir Steve? I was thinking more along the lines of High Potentate.

      With ESPN playing Rugby 24/7 in Australia, I now have my fill of a game whose scrum rules are unclear. And three minutes of Cricket was enough to make me long for the Baseball playoffs.

      Spending that day in Sydney and Manly with you was a highlight as I would still be traveling the Harbour on the wrong ferry.


  14. Meredith Resce October 15, 2019 at 2:52 am #

    Thanks for coming Down Under, Steve. We at Omega Writers appreciated that you were willing to fly the 14 hours, and suffer jet lag. It was great to hear about how your agency works, and the market in the USA. Loved your talk on the power of words, confirming the foundation of what Omega is all about. Sorry about the appalling lack of kangaroos and koalas. They never appear when needed. Many blessings.

    • Steve Laube October 15, 2019 at 3:20 pm #

      Thank you for having me!

      I found it amazing that the theme for changing the world with words matches the philosophy of the agency “To help change the world word by word.”

  15. Angela Enos October 15, 2019 at 3:12 am #

    Amen. Glad you had an amazing time. My husband and I have traveled extensively and find that people all around the world are living and fighting for the same things…peace, love, family, and success. We should constantly pray that through our writing and through our lives we reach the lost and encourage the family of God!

  16. relsegoodRaewyn Elsegood October 15, 2019 at 3:45 am #

    Oh Steve, your words are greatly appreciated. We loved having you Down Under , our world is now bigger because of it. Thank you for the call to prayer globally, I’m praying right now for all our fellow writers. On a lighter note, how did you like the Chocolate Caromello Koalas?

    • Steve Laube October 15, 2019 at 3:12 pm #


      Caromello Koalas are actually better than Tim Tams…if I may speak as a heretic.


  17. Babsie Tshabalala October 15, 2019 at 4:52 am #

    Hi Steve!
    Thank you for the empowering message.
    I just published my very 1st book: GIVE THEM WINGS : An experience in child upbringing on the 28/09/2019.
    I wish to learn more about this aspect:
    1) How to qualify to be an Editor
    2) Also how to qualify to be a Publisher

    Kind Regards

    • Steve Laube October 15, 2019 at 3:19 pm #


      Tough questions to answer in a comment reply.
      1) Read all the blogs we have here. There are over a thousand to read. That should give you some sense of the industry and its variety.
      2) To be an editor takes a particular skill set. But editing isn’t a one-size-fits-all. Some are developmental editors (usually learning as part of a publishing company at some point in their career); some are copy editors; some are proofreaders. Each takes specific skills.
      3) Publishing takes business acumen, the ability to recognize books that are sellable, funding to underwrite the production and marketing of a book, etc.

      That should give you a taste of where to start.

  18. cecilypaterson October 15, 2019 at 3:04 pm #

    Hi Steve. I was really impressed at just how much you were a part of the conference. You were in all the sessions, at the awards night, and were there talking to people throughout. Thanks for being an accessible, smart, frank, kind person. We very much appreciated it.

  19. cecilypaterson October 15, 2019 at 3:05 pm #

    Oh, and if you’d come to Kangaroo Valley, where I live, I would have found wombats and kangaroos galore for you to see. They are everywhere.

    • Steve Laube October 15, 2019 at 3:15 pm #


      It was a delight to be among such an enthusiastic group. Hiding in my room is not an option for me when at a conference!

      Maybe next time I’ll plan on visiting your Valley. Sounds exotic!

  20. Jenny Glazebrook October 15, 2019 at 3:56 pm #

    Thank you Steve for being who you are, for your pastoral heart for writers, and for all you shared with us here in Australia. I learned so much from every session, and took away great insight for my own books. God knew exactly who we needed to quench our thirst for encouragement and wisdom. Your vast experience mixed with your heart for God was exactly what we needed. I love that it’s never an issue for God to bring someone from across the other side of the world! Thanks for making yourself available to be used by Him.

  21. Iola October 16, 2019 at 1:45 am #

    Steve, thank you for coming Down Under. It was great to meet you and learn more about the publishing industry from you.

    Let me know if you ever feel the call to visit New Zealand! We don’t have kangaroos (and we consider wallabies a pest), but we do have kiwis and Hobbiton 🙂

  22. rachelsweasey October 16, 2019 at 4:19 am #

    Thank you, Steve, for making the significant effort in coming all this way to be a part of the Omega Conference, and I echo Cecily’s sentiments – you were so very present and involved in every way.

    The chance conversation we had over breakfast will, I believe, be beneficial to the businesses we represent and the writers in our teams on both sides of the pond! Until next time ?

    P.S. I can’t believe you didn’t see the kangaroos! You’ll just have to come back again now.

  23. Karen Hudson October 18, 2019 at 5:23 pm #

    Dear Steve re your contribution to to the Omega Writers Conference. I’ve heard speakers ? blah on for 35 years in my previous corporate life but I honestly believe you’re the best speaker I’ve ever heard. The richness, succinct delivery with humour of just the greatly distilled essence of what it takes to be a writer. The crafted “memory joggers” format (eg write these points with a “k”), and most of all confidence perfectly balanced with humility and reverence for God. Wow! Thank you for your blessings!

  24. Narelle Atkins October 20, 2019 at 2:56 am #

    Hi Steve, My apologies for chiming in late. Thank you for accepting our invitation and making the big trek across the pond to our Aussie conference. It was great to catch up and spend time with you in Australia. 🙂

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