I grew up on a farm near Tambellup in the Great Southern of Western Australia. I am married to Rae with two wonderful adult children, three grand-daughters and a grand-son. I am a retired Anglican priest, having worked in the Diocese of Perth as a school chaplain and a parish priest. I was Executive Director of The Churches' Commission on Education (YouthCARE WA) for five years, and a lecturer in Religious Education at Murdoch University.
I am professed as a Third Order member of the Society of St Francis. I served as Provincial Minister for the Australian Province from 2005 - 2011,
I write short stories, poetry and hymns with a Franciscan twist.
Where to find Ted Witham online
Jesus the Child We Worship
by Ted Witham
The weeks before Christmas rush by, and we are hardly prepared to celebrate the extraordinary celebrations of God coming among us as a child. Ted Witham invites us to slow down with the Scripture readings set by the daily lectionary and to prepare for this Christmas with daily meditations and invitations to activities in music and art.
The Upside-Down World of St Francis
by Ted Witham
(5.00 from 1 review)
St Francis of Assisi set out to re-make the violent, unequal, greedy community he was born into. He had a vision of a world in which people could live together as equals. He called this new world by the name of ‘fraternity'.
The talks and seminars collected here are Ted Witham’s work. They come from the time that Ted was Provincial Minister for the Third Order, Society of St Francis for Australia
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Smashwords book reviews by Ted Witham
on Jan. 23, 2011
An engaging 'road' story of an apprentice story-teller in post-Roman Wales. The narrator must learn humility before being apprenticed to a master story-teller. Rich in historical detail.
Death After Midnight
on May 25, 2011
A new genre of popular novel has grown up in the wake of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code. This genre combines the actions of a thriller with a mystery concerned with symbols and the Church. Death After Midnight fits this new genre well with explosive action centred around powerful groups looking for what is at the heart of the Priory of Sion.
One character after another picks up the narration in Death After Midnight, the action often over-lapping as it is seen by the different story-tellers. It takes a little while to get used to this way of presenting the story, but the interchanges suit this complex plot well. We begin to trust that these disparate people will interact with each other in meaningful ways.
Commander Sen Jaared from law-enforcement and Mistress Stel from one of the powerful self-interest groups become the main characters, and the dénouement of the story is not about their relationship, but about the discovery of Jaared's son, Emile. I wasn't sure whether this off-kilter approach to plotting was deliberate, but it meant that this reader has to pay careful attention to stay with the story. We have come to expect that plots in the new genre will drive reasonably straight.
None of this spoiled the enjoyment of the book for me. As a French-speaker interested in church history, I was hooked by the subject matter. Unlike Dan Brown, Dean Fetzer includes elements of fantasy and places Death After Midnight in a somewhat dysfunctional future Europe. This surrealism was well achieved.
But this novel did show the lack of a good editor. There were typos and errors in the French dialogue which could, and should, have been easily fixed. “Au revoir” is sometimes spelled correctly, and sometimes misspelled as “Au revior”. “Madamoiselle” jumped off the page as inaccurate, and in other places “Mademoiselle” was correctly spelled. A basic French spell-check would have corrected many annoying errors.
People – especially people in thrillers – don’t speak in complete sentences. The story would have flowed better with more naturalistic dialogue. And yet, the dialogue achieves well what other novelists have difficulty with: different characters can be recognised from the way they speak, and these different speech patterns are carried quite consistently into the narration as each character picks up the story.
Beginning writers are urged to show, not tell, the action. Many times, Fetzer both shows and tells, a belt and braces approach to narrative that can get quite irritating. A character speaks harshly, and their speech is concluded with “he said sternly”. Having shown us the feel of the speech, the adverb jumps out as superfluous. We don’t want to be told as well as shown the underlying tensions between characters. If Dean Fetzer had taken Stephen King’s advice and deleted as many adverbs as possible, the story-telling would have been much more powerful.
An editor would also have reined in the sprawl of the plot driving us straighter to a conclusion.
As writers, we all learn to write stories by writing them. Dean Fetzer has provided a good yarn, and his next ones will be better.
on July 18, 2011
*Concerto* is a thriller romance in three movements. The narrator, a violinist in the Newton Symphony Orchestra in Ohio is the victim of stalking and harassment ,and she must continue to do her job there working out who really is violent. The suspects narrow to members of the orchestra but it is certainly not the talented Alexis to whom she gives her heart quite early in the story.
I enjoyed reading *Concerto*. Its setting - a working orchestra - was intriguing and the villainous action just believable enough to hold me. I wondered whether the book would have worked better in the third person. The first person telling tends to diminish the emotions like fear as the mind too quickly provides reasons to mitigate the rawness of the emotion.
Overall, *Concerto* is a pleasant summer read.
on Aug. 02, 2018
Canberra-based David Vernon has been running the Stringybark Story Awards since 2010 to promote Australian short story writing. Writers are rightly sceptical of contests where you are asked to pay a fee to enter and then pay to purchase the collection. This would be vanity publishing. In Stringybark’s case, there is an entry fee and the e-book collection is then free to all the authors included. Having entered three or four Stringybark awards, however, I am satisfied that David Vernon’s enterprise is good for writers.
This year 249 entries were received and a panel of four judges including Vernon made the selection of 37 stories.
This year’s selection range over a diversity of themes and styles: there are stories reflecting on mortality and birth, drought and love, children’s imagination and loneliness – the human condition with an Australian accent.
Unlike some contests where the requirements of the contest cause a certain uniformity in the stories, the story-telling in Stringybark is diverse. All are well-crafted, some are strong on dialogue, one is a framed monologue, some are vernacular, others more literary.
It’s hard to review such a variety, but I enjoyed nearly all the stories. Some like Mark Scott’s The Jam Tin evoke the quotidian feelings of diggers in the trenches in World War I. Roger Leigh tells the story of a day-dreaming boy Missing in Action whose fantasies contribute to an actual kidnapping. His ability to show us the boy’s perspective stayed with me long after reading it.
The old lady’s vendetta in Gab Gardner’s Timber! kept its surprise till the last paragraph. An Indian kid included in a game of cricket, a dance instructor in a country town finding a way to make dancing cool, funerals, starting afresh – the plots go on. Martin Lindsay scared me on a Lonely Stretch. There's even a gentle story about a West Australian con-man by this reviewer.
Timber! is a collection to enjoy and to come back to. I will be looking out for future Stringybark anthologies, and more and more content to enter their contests.