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Apr 03

Don’t Let Satan Win

(Since this post inspired such good conversations when it first appeared on International Christian Fiction Writers, I decided to repost it here. )


Until Kindle came along, with its free or almost-free downloads, I got most of my reading material from the library. I hated it when I found an author I loved only to discover he/she had written only a couple of books. What happened? I wanted to know.

Since I began writing myself, I’ve met a surprising number of authors who appear to quit after one or two successes. (You can include me in that list.) And I still wonder, what’s happened? Why do so many of us seem to be one or two-hit wonders? Did we max-out our imagination? Or did something more sinister happen? Did something steal our passion?

Recently, a friend returned from Hillsong’s annual Colour women’s retreat and she shared with me one of the ‘messages’ she gleaned during the experience.

Don’t let Satan steal the gifts God gives.

The conference speaker, it seemed, was referring to things like joy, peace, forgiveness, grace… But I realized the same warning could apply to the passions God gives.

I have another friend who’s a gifted nurse, but work situations and complicated relationships have wearied her so that the passion she had for caring for others has been crushed almost into non-existence. Did her job do that? Yes and no. I believe the ultimate responsibility lies with Satan who has worked over-time to undermine her stand against unsafe practices in her workplace and destroy her ministry among the sick.

He has stolen God’s gift from her.

I have a passion for writing. Like many others, however, time and circumstance have dulled that passion. I wonder, what’s the point? Why keep trying? Haven’t I sacrificed enough to this failing cause?

Then I hear Hillsong’s speaker’s message: Don’t let Satan steal God’s gift.


Although this message was delivered women thousands of miles from me, I am still challenged. How shall I respond?

My passion and energy are still dull—I can’t roll back the consequences time and circumstance have had on me. But I can will to move forward. I can choose to reclaim my gift. I can risk re-opening that computer file that’s sat idle for so long. I can take the initiative and reclaim what was almost lost.

How about you? Are there precious gifts you have lost to the enemy of your soul? Will you decide today to reclaim them with me?


Feb 09

What’s New?





I’m facing the blank page that’s 2016 and wondering what will this new year bring?
Having completed my tenure as Write Canada conference Director (June 2015), I confess I’m at a bit of a loss.
I launched into a new writing project in the fall and at first it seemed to go well. Until I ran out of steam.
Sometimes life is like that.
These days I feel a bit like exhausted Elijah dozing  under the broom tree. God recognized Elijah’s need to rest and provided shade and sustenance until the weary prophet was fully recovered. He then hiked all the way to Mount Carmel where God’s spoke.
Elijah heard God’s still, small voice of guidance.
I’m not sure a trip to the mountains is in my immediate future. I do know, though, that when this season of rest has past, I will be ready for wherever God’s still small voice leads me.


Where is God leading you in 2016?

Dec 14

Self Family Letter Christmas 2015


It seems each year gets busier than the one before. How can this be? Maybe because our family keeps expanding! Here are our highlights.

March 2015, Harvey & I celebrated our 35th Anniversary a bit early. We spent an absolutely wonderful week in Barbados being wined and dined by our brothers-in-law. There aren’t enough superlatives in the English language to describe how amazing our visit was, or enough ways to say thank you.

May 3, 2015 Our newest granddaughter joined Allan & Natalie’s family to make Five Little Selfs in one little house. That she arrived the day after Allan received his Masters of Theological Studies only added to the excitement.  Our baby is a delightful little bundle of sleepless giggles. She is adored by all.

June 10, 2015 Jon graduated from the University of Waterloo. He sandwiched the big event between his return from Burkina Faso and two months touring Europe. This fall he began working for Free the Children’s We Day Events and living in Toronto. We’re glad to have him so close.

October 1, 2015 Bec received her Canadian permanent residency. What a relief for us all who feared Jamie might be forced to follow her back to Australia if it didn’t come through. But it did! Jamie & Bec celebrated with a sunny & warm month long vacation down under.

And so, from our household to yours, may you have a wonderful Christmas full of joy, peace & love and a blessed new year. All our love, Harvey & Jayne

Now for the photo spread! Harvey & I in Barbados. Jon in Paris. Allan receives his hood. Jamie & Bec receive their good news. (No kids shots this year. Gotta keep our little ones safe.)








Sep 11

Review: Bloom and Doom

51BOp9+ZNYL._AA160_Bloom and Doom

by Beverly Allen

Berklyy (2014)

Bloom and Doom, Beverly Allen’s first Bridal Bouquet Shop Mystery, is an entertaining read. Allen has created the perfect heroine in Audrey Bloom. She’s intelligent, imaginative, quick-witted, and just a little clumsy. Totally delightful. Audrey and her cousin Liv co-own a florist shop in Ramble, Virginia. Ramble’s the ideal setting for a cozy mystery, a small town with plenty of off-beat characters and oodles of regional charm.

In this first mystery, Audrey’s friend Jenny is accused of murdering her fiancé—the town’s most eligible bachelor. As with all mysteries, people aren’t what they appear to be and Jenny’s dream-man is no exception. Neither is Jenny, for that matter. With the help of a handsome sidekick, cupcake baker Nick Maxwell, Audrey must sort through the weeds to find the truth. But can she stay out of trouble while doing it?

What fun would that be?

I give Bloom and Doom a solid five stars and I look forward to Allen’s next mystery, For Whom the Bluebell Tolls.

Sep 04

Review: Beneath the Surface


Beneath the Surface

by Mike Martin

Biaco Publishing (2014)

Once again Mike Martin delivers a gently meandering mystery set in beautiful Newfoundland. Always polite Sgt Windflower, the star of this series, has been farmed out to another detachment as part of a task force investigating drug related crimes. There’s a murder, this is a mystery after all, with a dash of international intrigue—human trafficking—and even some timely Canadian issues—the way the RCMP treats its female members. Although the book’s pace is relaxed, the issues addressed aren’t. As the title suggests, there are many things lurking beneath the surface.

Like Martin’s first two mysteries, The Walker on the Cape and The Body on the T, this books is full of Newfoundland colour, Newfoundland food and Newfoundland lore. Martin delivers a pleasant tale that will please the fans of his other novels.

Mike Martin is presently on a book tour. To check when he’ll be in your area go to

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