Month: January 2016

The Department of Lies

Christmas in NewTickets to the Weta Cave Zealand is in the summer, so it’s the time the kids have their long summer holiday, and the time businesses reduce or close their operations and we all go off on our summer holidays.

This year, we went to Wellington for Christmas. While we were there, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit Weta Workshops, the world-famous home of hobbits, trolls, and all things Lord of the Rings.


While Weta Workshops is most famous for their work on the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogies, they actually make physical movie props for a range of movies, from District 12 to Avatar (although that was largely the work of their associated organisation, Weta Digital, who do all the computer animation).

Our guide took us through the design process, showing us how it could take dozens or hundreds of sketches before a design was approved. How a plastic mould was then created—over 80% of the props, from the firearms to the swords to the vehicles, are made of plastic.

She then told us how the plastic models were turned over to the painting department: The Department of Lies.

Why the Department of Lies?

Because they take shaped white plastic and turn it into something it isn’t: a wooden gun, a leather shield, a metal sword. They can make it look new, or they can make it look old. It’s all just spray paint and plastic.

Plastic looks good, but lacks any functionality. A plastic sword won’t cut anything. Won’t hurt anyone. A plastic shield won’t protect an actor from anything other than plastic sword.

The plastic looks good, but it’s not perfect. Modern digital cameras are so powerful, they still need to use real props for the close-up shots. Real swords. Real knives. Real shields.

It struck me that the Father of Lies takes the same approach. He takes the real thing, and substitutes it for a fake. We can only tell the difference if we look carefully, and if we know what the real thing looks like.

And only the real thing will protect us.

That means spending time with God, in His Word, ensuring we know the real thing so we can see the lie. It means spending time with other Christians, learning from them, as iron sharpens iron.

Because we don’t want to be stuck with a plastic sword when the Father of Lies comes against us with the real thing.

Orc Army

Meanwhile, now I know it’s all makeup and plastic swords, it’s going to be difficult to be afraid of those orcs!

Be Thou My Vision

Book Cover - The Wonder of YouI’ve recently finished reading The Wonder of You by Susan May Warren, in which the heroine was influenced by the old Celtic hymn, Be Thou My Vision. By some strange coincidence (or God-incidence), three of the novels I read over the next two weeks also referenced this same hymn.

It struck me that now, at the beginning of the year, is a good time to reconsider this hymn and what it has to say to me. To us.

Be Thou My Vision

What is my vision for 2016? What is God’s vision for me? And what am I going to do to achieve that vision?

I’ve been reminded that I need to plan in order to achieve. Things don’t just happen. Well, they do. But ‘things that just happen’ usually take us off the planned path. Without a planned path, we have no way of knowing if we are heading in the right direction. And without a planned path, we have no way of getting back on that path when ‘things’ take us off.

I need that vision, and I need a plan for getting there. And planning TO do one thing may well mean I have to give up something else.

Be Thou my Wisdom

Along with vision, I need wisdom. Wisdom to show me the right path. Wisdom to show me the way back to the path. Wisdom to prevent me going down the wrong path. Wisdom to listen to the warnings of others.

Riches I Heed Not, Nor Man’s Empty Praise

Remind me that the focus is on God and His Vision, His reward. Success is defined by God and His vision for me, not by my family, friends, acquaintances . . . or the people who don’t know me.

Remind me that my success will be based on my obedience to God and His vision, that if I am obedient to God, I will have exactly the level of success He desires for me.

Remind me that God alone defines success, and while it might be riches and the praise of men, it may not. Remind me that God’s riches and praise are worth an infinite amount more than the riches and praise of men. And women.


Iola Goulton

Introducing Iola Goulton . . .

My name is Iola Goulton, and I am a writer.

Specifically, I write Contemporary Christian romance with a Kiwi twist.

Part of me is exhilarated by the prospect of this new journey. Part of me is petrified.

It’s not just the “normal” new author nerves about putting my writing out into the world. I’ve been doing that in a small way for years, first with my book review blog, Iola’s Christian Reads, and then with my freelance editing website, Christian Editing Services. And I regularly contribute to two group blogs, Australasian Christian Writers and Suspense Sisters Reviews, so it’s not that I’m uncomfortable with sharing my opinions.

What I am apprehensive about is some of the opinions I’ve expressed in the past, and how they might impact on or influence my fiction writing. As a reviewer, I’ve often been blunt about what I have or haven’t liked in the novels I’ve read—if I’m honest, that bluntness comes across more often in what I don’t like.

As a freelance editor, I’ve often been blunt about the writing issues I’ve found in novels I’ve read. And I’ve given a lot of advice on various writing topics, including genre, and point of view. I’ve also been less than impressed when authors have committed the very writing crimes they preach against.

And that’s what I’m most nervous about.

I don’t want to commit the crimes I’ve preached against. Of course, this doesn’t mean my novels will be perfect, rather, that I’ll make different mistakes.

Logic says there is no such thing as a perfect novel. Apart from anything else, all readers are different and looking for different things in their fiction. I’m not going to please all of the readers all of the time. My best hope is to please some of the readers most of the time.

And who are those “some readers”?

Readers who are looking for contemporary Christian romance that’s a little different: something slightly edgy, with a little humour, and a unique setting—the Kiwi twist.

If that’s you, welcome. It’s lovely to meet you. Have a seat, introduce yourself, and I’ll be back next week to introduce you to some of my favourite places.