Rhiza Press Blog

Rhiza Press blog is the place to keep up to date with all the goings-on in the world of Australian books for Adult and Young Adult readers.
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Short on time, big on story

Too busy to read these days? It’s an interesting idea because as a civilisation we’re probably reading more now than ever before. But our time is so limited—life is so busy and interrupted—that we’re reading in bite sized chunks. Facebook posts, tweets, emails, texts and only when we really have the time do we relax with a novel. It seems too big a job to handle.book image for fb

This is why the Novella and Short Story as forms of writing are making a comeback.   The short story was where the Australian Literary scene began in the 1890’s. Back then, the issue was a different one: many readers struggled with lack of funds to purchase a bound book, so stories were published in magazines or as pamphlets. But I’m guessing time was also an issue then. The everyday person on the street or on the farm was busy just scraping by and getting the stuff done so they could survive.  Perhaps not so much has changed after all?

I recently spent an evening at the Queensland Writers Centre hearing Brisbane author, Nick Earls, talk about his set of novellas and his reasons for trying this form. Nick shared some interesting insights into modern reading habits. We want to read, we really do! But the time-poor among us are turning to shorter story forms to satisfy that need to finish the book. With a short story or novella, we can read it in one sitting and not feel we’ve failed to finish yet another task.

With these thoughts in mind here are Rhiza Connect we are planning to publish our first collection of Short Stories.  Submissions are open now until 31st December 2018.  For all the details you need, go to our Short Story Submissions page on the Rhiza Connect website.

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Unhinged Shortlisted for Caleb Prize 2018

Rihza Connect is proud to announce that Unhinged, by Amanda Deed, has been shortlisted for the Caleb Prize 2018.DeedAmanda

Amanda talks about the inspiration for her intertextualised fairy tales ...

Once upon a time … I was a child who loved fairy tales. Now I am an adult and I still love fairy tales, and happy ever afters, and romantic stories. Actually, I can’t remember exactly when this attachment began, but perhaps it is related to the amazing sacrificial love story of God and his people, which means more to me than any other story and by which I compare all other love stories.

When I started writing books in earnest I thought it would be fun to re-write some of my favourite fairy tales in my genre of choice—Australian Historical Romance—and sticking with the themes that speak to me in these stories.

I tackled Cinderella first, setting it in Hay, NSW in the 1880s with a theme of self-esteem. Unnoticed was thus born and subsequently published.

Next, I wanted to do Beauty and the Beast, but rather than make the Beast animal-like, or beastly in attitude, or with a physical deformity, I wondered if I could make him a sufferer of mental illness.

One day, while I was reading my Bible, I came across the story of Nebuchadnezzar, a Babylonian king whose pride lead to a humbling downfall. It was prophesied to him that unless he acknowledged God as creator and king over all, he would go mad and live with the animals for a time until he did bow to the Almighty. He didn’t listen to the prophecy and so what was said came true. He was humbled, and on his return to sanity, he acknowledged God as the King of Kings.

Could I use that account in my Beauty and the Beast story and bring more awareness to the mental health issues which are so prevalent in our society, I wondered? It promised to work well in a historical setting: mental health patients were treated like criminals in those days and the treatments were inhumane.

With those ideas in place and after much research of the 1840s time and setting, I began to write Unhinged. Although I had a good story in mind, it was nevertheless challenging to write because, in reality, loving a person with severe mental health issues is sometimes very difficult. Hopefully I have been successful in showing those struggles within the novel as well as offering hope and a future. And, of course, the happy-ever-after that appeals to all lovers of fairy tales.

I am currently working on a third fairy tale – Rapunzel – which I am calling Unravelled, so stay tuned.

Take a look at all Amanda's books HERE



Buy all six of Amanda's novels for the special price of $80 Inc Free Postage


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Seeking Short Stories

Rhiza Connect

At Rhiza Connect we’re excited to announce that we’ve launched a search for some fabulous new short stories.  We will gather the very best of these and collate them into a collection to be published in 2019.

The theme of our short story collection is ‘Home’ and the stories can be written in any genre but must be in tune with the Rhiza Connect brand.  So, they should be family-friendly in content and suitable to be read by anyone aged 13+years.

The idea for the theme of ‘Home’ springs from the purpose of Rhiza Connect: to publish relatable stories that focus on relationship and growth, and are inspiring and ultimately hopeful.  The theme can be explored in any way you imagine: in terms of people, place, habitat, nature, spirituality, and time, to give just a few ideas – but feel free to let your creativity and inspiration run free!

The Short Stories Submission portal is now open and can be accessed via that link or by searching on the Rhiza Connect website and looking under the Submissions tab. You’ll find all the other details you’ll need right there too, including a specially discounted pack of Rhiza Connect books for inspiration and a great sample of what fits under the Rhiza Connect brand.

We’re looking forwards to reading your submissions and would love you to share this page with all your writerly friends!


Take a look at our specially discounted inspiration pack, including a great selection of some of our best-selling favourites. These books provide a great sample of what fits in the Rhiza Connect brand, and all feature themes of home.


Short Story Inspiration Pack - Rhiza Connect favourites. 3 books for $55 + free shipping (RRP $75)

For more ideas and inspiration check out our other Rhiza Connect titles here.

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Nick Hawkes talks about his 'stone collection'

dr nick hawkes non fiction authorI write books because I love great stories. You do too, I expect. There is something primal in us, isn’t there, that enjoys hearing tales of unlikely heroes doing extraordinary things—usually at some cost to themselves.

I also love exotic locations.

By the time you’ve finished reading, you should feel you know the places you are taken to… and hopefully find yourself enriched—for they are places that have enriched me. I’ve visited most of them at some stage in my life and when I did, I was like a child—revelling in all I experienced. I absorbed the culture, soaked in the ambience and noticed the wildlife (a legacy of my scientific training). My aim in writing is to have the essence of these places spill out on the pages… and delight you.

All my novels have the word ‘stone’ somewhere in their title. Six have been written. Three have been published… and three are in the pipeline. The “Stone” books are a collection rather than a series. Each has different characters, romances and adventures and each is set in a different location.

However, there are some common themes. Every book in the ‘Stone collection’ charts the story of someone journeying from brokenness to wholeness. Each book always contains romance as well as mystery and adventure. And all ‘Stone’ books are designed to be read by both men and women—particularly by those who need a page-turner to keep them engaged.

One of the most characteristic features of these books is that they are garnished with philosophy and spirituality. Issues such as grief, hopelessness, shame, and meaninglessness are explored. There is depth—but you don’t always know you’re absorbing it because it flows naturally in the dialogue. It peeps out from the mystery and adventure like a shy child… and you are warmed by it.

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Welcome to Rhiza Connect

Rhiza ConnectWe're so excited to be launching Rhiza Connect, an excellent platform for authors who write fabulous, well-crafted fiction for the faith-based inspiratonal market.

So why did we name this new imprint Rhiza Connect? You may already know the Rhiza Press logo as a tree covered in fresh, green leaves. The word Rhiza is from the Greek for root so our tree represents the life that springs from that root - the lifespring that dwells in the heart of each of our authors.

Rhiza Connect titles are styled in a way that will encourage the reader to make better connections with the people who share their life journey, and with the root of who they were created to be.

Our stories deal with relationship in all its ups and downs, and demonstrate characters who learn, change and grow along their journey. These are stories that our readers will want to share. They are real and relatable stories that will appeal to adults but with content that is suitable for our faith-based market.

In March we are releasing the latest intertextual work by Amanda Deed, an Australian version of Beauty and the Beast that explores the issue of depression woven with faith that brings joy into darkness. April will see the release of Snowy Summer by Patricia Weerakoon, a drama and romance that looks into cross-cultural differences, marriage, and a foundation of hope.

Look out later this year for London based mystery The Pharaoh's Stone, by author Nick Hawkes, and a biblical fiction by Cindy Williams with an original and heart-warming study of The Woman at the Well.

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