Tag Archives: Christian fiction

Chapter Twenty-three – What Do You Want from Me?

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Talia dragged Keith away from the windows of a travel agency with posters of Greece and Turkey destinations. They were spending the day in the “big city” shopping and finishing up preparations for the trip. “We’re going there,” she laughed. “You don’t have to look at pictures.”

“The history of these lands is like a huge press,” Remmy explained as they climbed into a rental car. “Wine, olives, cheese, words, all are squeezed, and the faithful were squeezed, by war, by persecution. Sometimes they flowed out to other places. Sometimes they went into hiding. Sometimes they hid in plain sight.”

“They hid in plain sight? How can you do that?”
“So many ways. Let me give you an example from Europe. The Jews, the Marranos, as the Spanish called them, publicly claimed to have converted to Roman Catholicism under the threat of the Inquisition. Jews have the Mezzuzah, the little box on the doorpost containing Scripture. They would still have that box, but it would be part of a whole design, carvings around the doorway, and none would notice that one part which contained the treasure. Even for the Moors, the Moriscos, it was so. In a country where one ruler proudly displayed no less than five severed Moorish heads on his coat of arms, these people lived and served another faith, but very cautiously.”

“I’m glad Christians don’t have to do that in America,” Keith said.

“Really? You think you still have religious freedom in America, do you?”

“Sure we do.”

“Nonsense. How many people have been fired from their jobs for such trivial things as wearing a pin with the Pledge of Allegiance, containing the words Under God?”

“What? Nobody.”

“You are wrong. How many teachers have been disciplined for having a Bible on their desks – not even showing it or reading the Word to students, just reading it themselves during times when the students have seat work?”

“They can’t stop you from doing that. How do you know this stuff? You don’t even live in America.”

“In America you have a saying, ‘to keep the ear to the ground’, I believe it runs. I have been a long time keeping my ear to the ground. I listen, I watch, I see the chipping away that goes on. Christians are supposed to turn the other cheek, to bear all things, to be longsuffering, to always be loving. You see, the enemy has used our own Scriptures against us, just as the evil one used them against our Lord in the wilderness temptation. I read of someone who pointed out that Satan used more Scripture in one conversation than many faithful use in hours of ‘fellowship’.”

“I never thought about that. We get together for a youth activity and we play basketball, eat pizza, and at the end we have a devotional.”

“Exactly. Even when we have a choice, it is divided into tidy packages. Why do we not ourselves always try to press the word stored in our hearts, to make it flow out into all our lives, not just the ‘devotional’ parts? Do we regard it so lightly, that the basketball and the pizza, they are given more time? What do the Scriptures say, over and over and over again? They call for meditation. They call for prayer. They call for tucking the word into the heart. They do not call for the basketball or the pizza.”

Keith laughed uneasily. “Right. But look at our Bible as Literature class. That’s spilling over into the kids’ lives, into their families’ lives. We had no idea it would take hold like that.”

“It is the Word. That is what it does, if we truly let it. What do you think will come of this archival project they have taken your Bibles for?”

“It could be the greatest thing that ever happened. So many people use computers and the internet for Bible study already. You can meet people all around the world. You can study with them. Getting school students involved in it can only be good, right? And you saw it yourself. They didn’t take anything. They gave it all right back. Didn’t even bend a page out of my Bible. I checked.”

“Are you trying to convince me, or yourself?”

“But they said they respected our faith. They thought it was important.”

“I respect the huge dog with many shining teeth who guards my neighbor’s yard,” Uncle Remmy smiled, pointing out a ferociously barking animal as they pulled up alongside a bistro. “But what if I persuade that man that I cannot sleep for the barking, that I do not feel safe. He must build a high, strong fence. He must get a chain. He must put a muzzle on his dog. These are reasonable things, already laws in civilized countries. But his dog can no longer do what he obtained it to do. ‘Oh, look, what an admirable dog he has’, we can say, when it is restrained and silent and troubles us no more.”

“Wow,” Keith said. “But everyone whose opinion I value, everyone I love, said we should do this. I mean, you two were right there helping us carry the stuff out to the church van Sunday night.”

They ordered coffee and pastries. “I think maybe Uncle Remmy’s just playing devil’s advocate with you,” Talia ventured, shooting some sharp looks at her uncle.

“Talia tells us that you are ‘safety man’ at your school,” Sophia said. “She says how much you and your father care for these children, and for your beautiful sister and mother. We just want you to keep on doing that, to think ahead and to plan for the safety of these you love and honor.”

“Okay, so, are you saying we’re being too short-sighted? You’re giving us that van for Grandma and Joana, because you thought we weren’t considering their safety enough? Maybe you don’t realize that my mother and father spent everything they had taking care of Grandma, and then Joana got sick. My mom worked sixty-or seventy-hour weeks, and my dad still has two jobs.

“I just took off like some oblivious teenager, because I had scholarships and grants for college and no debt, and got my own place and my own car. When my mom dropped dead from a heart attack, I realized that I’d quit being Mr. Safety and started being Mr. Selfish. Dad and I sold everything we could possibly do without, and we have done the best we could. I don’t know what you want from me, but I’m just a guy trying to do what’s right. I don’t need this kind of grief.”

Keith jumped up and took off running. The others called out to him but he was in no mood to stop. He had gone to college here and knew the city fairly well, but finally ran out of breath in the park. He collapsed on a bench and tried to get his breathing back to normal.

“No way,” he muttered as the familiar rental car pulled up alongside the black wrought-iron fence.

“Please don’t be angry,” Talia said as she ran up to him. “They do it to me too. The new cellphone we just got you for the trip? Uncle Remmy can track the GPS.”

“Why do I keep feeling like I’ve suddenly become part of some super-secret spy mission, and that it’s up to me to save the world?” Keith demanded. “Who are you people? Why did you come to our town? What are we to you? Why did you even need our participation in this trip? What’s really going on with these Golden Testaments, and why in the world would you need our school’s help, or my help, to get them?”

“Get them all out in the open, Keith,” Sophia said. “Every question you want to ask. We promise to try to answer anything you want to know. Anything we can, at least.” Remmy and Sophia sat on a bench across the footpath and Talia sat next to Keith.

“Well, okay, then, did you or didn’t you know that this Repository Project was going to demand that we get all our Bibles and materials scanned?”

“We knew nothing about that part of the project. We asked Talia to become involved in it, frankly, because we wanted to learn more about it, and could get no information from the outside. We did not specifically choose your school or you. Talia sought the teaching job there, because we wanted to learn about the project from the perspective of a small, conservative school and community where the program would be new. We wanted to see the implementation from the beginning.”

“What about these new families?”

“We have no connection to them, and no specific knowledge of where they came from or why they chose this town to push their agenda. But this is a pattern, which I am sure you and your father and grandmother have already noted, to extend government control and extort compliance in places where they would likely find great resistance. These small towns require special handling. It took us a little time to realize that the Bible as Literature grants would first break down the resistance, and then create obligations, and finally force obedience.”

“So who are you people, that you feel like you need to get involved with us? Talia was the one who told dad about the program. Nobody showed up from the government. None of those parents brought it up.”

“We are just people, Keith, who want to try to preserve the Word of God and slake the Great Thirst. We know that many governments, not just the American government, are trying to stifle reliance on the Scriptures. They don’t want them taught. They don’t want them to exist. So of course we assumed this program must seek to do the opposite of what we would wish it to do. Talia wanted to make a stand, to make their plan, whatever it was, what is the expression? – backfire. She wanted to teach truth as truth, not as just another mythology. The two of you have succeeded beyond our wildest hopes, especially in the memory aspect of the class. Your memory clues have been simply brilliant!”

“Well, I just remembered all those crazy memory cues we had to learn for Science. Mnemonics, I mean. Especially for Chemistry. Like ‘Leo says Ger! or Leo the lion, Ger!’ T stuff like that for the Bible memory, especially the references. That’s what I always mess up on.

“Grampa used to say, ‘If the Scriptures are your best friends, why don’t you know where they live?’ So I told the class; here’s Galatians 2:20: ‘They only asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I also was eager to do.’ Think of two gals who ate two hundred and twenty peanuts. These gals weren’t much like Paul, which starts with a P, because they didn’t care about the poor, which also starts with p. So the gals help you remember the reference, and the P in peanuts reminds you of Paul, plus the P in poor, and then we’re ready to start working on the verse itself.’”

All three of his companions exploded with laughter.

“But to get back to the nasty now and now,” Keith continued, “How’s the trip connect to the Bible as Literature Class, anyway?”

“For over two years now, we have believed that we were being followed and spied upon in our work to discover the whereabouts of the Golden Testaments. We thought we were getting very close with the information we had that was leading us to search in the Levant or Anatolia. Things began to go wrong with our research contacts, our travel plans, our equipment … All of this convinced us that we must be on the right track, but that we must try to misdirect those who wanted to stop us. So we arranged for Talia to offer this trip to for the school.

“Who would suspect that we would take forty-five high school students along with us on a quest that has brought us more and more into danger? It was our hope that they would think we have given up, or were aimlessly fishing and no longer a threat. Indeed, recent events nearly persuaded us that we had to stop, when we learned that people would kill to stop us, and even those we would want to be our allies did not think us worthy.”

“Oh, so this is that ‘honorable man’ who said that you shouldn’t ‘play with defilement’?”

“We have promised to be candid with you, Keith,” Sophia said. “So we must tell you that Talia did not have pneumonia. Please do not think that she intentionally lied to you. We had an emergency and needed her to come to us in Naxos, so we had contacts here arrange for her to appear to have fallen ill and be hospitalized. Poor Talia did not even know what was going to happen.”

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Coming soon from Findley Family Video Publications

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The Alexander Legacy Company Is on the Move — Proposed Cover Designs for All Eight Books! — Post by Mary C. Findley

8 alexander legacy books

 

Here they are … possible covers for the whole series. If this is the first you’ve heard about it, Sophronia Belle Lyon is Mary’s pen name for this steampunk series. It is inspired by movies like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but seeks to glorify God by using classic literary characters who honor God in their decisions and actions. Each book is narrated by one of the company. Florizel of Bohemia from Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Suicide Club stories handles the introductions in the first book, and chronicles the formation of the group. They pursue a mysterious enslaver of souls who wants to overthrow the social order of London and perhaps all the empire.

Book Two is narrated by Oliver Twist of Dickens fame, and takes on questions of regeneration, rebirth, and immortality. Book Three shift narration duties to Sluefoot Sue, wife of American folk hero Pecos Bill. They find themselves on the track of people who delve into the occult and learn the price of seeking ultimate power. Book Four puts Fun See from Louisa May Alcott’s Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom front and Center. Fun pursues a spectral dragon ship while uncovering an ancient civilization of Chinese faithful to the true God, and tries to protect them from the evil master of the dragon ship. Book Five takes Zambo of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Lost World to Algeria on the track of a subterranean empire reaching out tentacles to control many of the enemies the company has already faced.

Book Six takes Edward Ferrars of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility into the underground churches seeking to escape a persecution little known and understood. These people have clues to help the company fight against the looming terror they see forming a devilish alliance across continents. Book Seven shifts to India where Mowgli of Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book must help an old comrade protect English and Indian believers and find astounding secrets in an undersea city.

Phoebe Moore-Campbell, the company’s leader and a character from the same Alcott books that Fun See appears in, concludes the series. She has discovered ancient device plans, some by Leonardo da Vinci, that may dovetail with other discoveries made by her comrades around the world. They will need all the steam technology they can command to defeat the one who seeks to be emperor across the globe and fulfil the prophecy made by Kera Mion in the first book — “Some ruler will rise and take the throne of a true empire where the sun never sets, and where the people will never again be free.”

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“Why Are You Just Sitting on the Side of the Road?” — What Will You Die For?

Excerpt from my WIP “What Will You Die For?” by Mary C. Findley

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“Two weeks? You can’t tell me anything more – ?” Talia’s phone gave a bloop and she saw the message satellite signal lost flash on the screen before it went dark.

Talia pulled over to the side of the road and sat with her head on the steering wheel, praying with all her might for her aunt and uncle, and for clarity in this craziness. After all, they weren’t involved in some international spy mission. They were just digging holes in the ground! This couldn’t have anything to do with the Testaments, could it?

Talia realized suddenly that he felt really, really hot. She started to roll own her window, but the switch didn’t work with the engine off, of course. She started the car and cranked all the windows open. She pulled at her scarf and yanked down the zipper on her coat, but it didn’t help. Her vision started to blur.

“Ms Rodriguez? Are you okay? Why are you just sitting on the side of the road?”

Talia turned her head, so … so … slowly. Her neck hurt, and it felt so heavy. “”Oh … Clark ..I mean, Officer Johnson. I don’t know. I’ve had this cold, but I just … I feel so weak, and I can’t see straight … “

“Sit right there. I’m calling an ambulance,” Clark exclaimed.

“Oh, no …” Talia’s tongue felt so thick, she could hardly talk.

“No arguments. Don’t you move. We’re seeing lots of these cold things turning into serious cases of pneumonia. It’s nothing to mess around with.”

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Review of Beloved Daughter by Alana Terry

Beloved Daughter is on sale now for only 99 cents!

About the Book —

In a small North Korean village, a young girl struggles to survive. It is her father’s faith, not the famine of North Hamyong Province, that most threatens Chung-Cha’s well-being.
“The Beloved Daughter” follows Chung-Cha into one of the most notorious prison camps the contemporary free world has known. Her crime? Being the daughter of a Christian.
“The Beloved Daughter” is Alana Terry’s debut Christian novel and has won multiple awards, including the Women of Faith writing contest and the Book of the Month award from The Book Club Network.

My Review —

“I Want to Know More About Moses!”

Alana Terry presents such a gripping and realistic picture of life in North Korea. The mentality of the Korean prison system becomes chillingly clear. Overtones of George Orwell’s 1984 ripple through this book. The determination to break spirits, destroy loyalties and humanity, and snuff out hope is everywhere. But faith is really the only answer, the only hope, in this visionary work, no matter what goes wrong, no matter how flawed or pressured God’s servants may be. God will do His work and prepare His servants.

About Alana —

When Alana isn’t writing, it’s likely that she’s on the floor wrestling with her kids. Or playing outside with her kids. Or chauffeuring her kids. Or trying some random science experiment with her kids. But she’s probably not cooking or cleaning.

Alana is a homeschooling mother of three who loves to write, hates to cook, and enjoys reading a good book almost as much as she enjoys writing one.

Alana won the Women of Faith writing contest for “The Beloved Daughter,” her debut inspirational novel. “What, No Sushi?” is Alana’s first book in a chapter-book series for kids published by Do Life Right, Inc.

Image of Alana Terry

The Beloved Daughter has won awards from the Book Club Network and the Women of Faith writing contest. It is also currently one of the nominations for Book of the Year at bookfun.org.

The Beloved Daughter will be on sale for just $0.99 (regularly $3.99) from the amazon kindle store from December 26-30. As a special Christmas bonus, if you are one of the first three people to comment on this blog, you can win your own free kindle copy today! And if you’re feeling especially lucky, enter this giveaway for a $25 amazon gift card!

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Guest Post: New Book by Adam Blumer — The Tenth Plague

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Water turns to blood. Flies and gnats attack the innocent. Marc and Gillian Thayer’s vacation resort becomes a grisly murder scene, with a killer using the ten plagues of Egypt as his playbook for revenge.

When their friend turns up dead, Marc and Gillian put their vacation on hold, enlist the help of a retired homicide detective, and take a closer look at the bizarre plagues as they escalate in intensity. Meanwhile, a stranger is after the Thayers’ newly adopted baby. Will they uncover the truth behind the bitter agenda before the tenth plague, the death of the firstborn son?

About the Author

Adam Blumer is the author of Fatal Illusions (Kregel Publications) and The Tenth Plague (Kirkdale Press). A print journalism major in college, he works as a freelance writer and editor after serving in editorial roles for more than twenty years. He lives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with his wife, Kim, and his daughters, Laura and Julia.

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Title:                            The Tenth Plague
Publisher:                    Kirkdale Press
Release Date:             January 29, 2013
ISBN 13:                     978-1-57799-524-1
Format:                        E-book
Genre:                         Christian suspense/thriller
Author Website:          http://www.adamblumerbooks.com
Author Facebook:       http://www.facebook.com/AdamBlumerNovelist
Twitter:                       https://twitter.com/adamblumer

Purchase Links:           Vyrso:             http://kirkdalepress.com/books/the-tenth-plague/
Price:                           $7.49

The book will be available for purchase at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com on release day, January 29.

Nook link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-tenth-plague-adam-blumer/1114254199?ean=2940015959727 

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When a Man Suffers

http://www.amazon.com/The-Barons-Ring-ebook/dp/B0040V4EYI

All of my books deal with men who have gone through some sort of devastating event that leaves a permanent mark. I want to explain how and why I put my male characters through severe trials.

Our daughter has said, “You know you really put you men through a lot, don’t you?” I look at physical suffering as a metaphor for and a necessary part of spiritual refining. Silver and gold aren’t worth much unless they go through the furnace. The Scriptures talk a lot about putting men through very tough times. Jacob wrestled with the angel and got a permanent limp. Job was covered from head to foot with boils. Naaman got leprosy.

The Bible tells us that the refinement process is physical and spiritual. My characters go through suffering whether they’ve done anything to “deserve” it or not. Some people object to violence in Christian books. Fight child sexual slavery and you are likely to get hurt. Spy for Texas against Mexico, and, as one of my characters puts it, “there can be serious consequences.” Take on political and religious conflict and someone might try to take you out of the equation. Confront a boy with hard evidence that his hero’s “holy quest” might be a scam for personal gain and you will pay a price.

Even in my children’s and YA adventure series, Benny and the Bank Robber, there is a man who is mauled by a cougar. He was attacked trying to save someone else. Later he was stared at and avoided because of his scars. Yet he found a way to prove that God can “make all things new,” blending the character’s past with his present to make a future with marriage and godly service possible through God’s grace.

In the YA Medieval Suspense Hope and the Knight of the Black Lion, I needed a character who seems superhuman, but at the same time has unexplained bouts of weakness. There was so much depending on him, but he and others needed to depend on God. At one time he was arrogant, depending on his own abilities, but something other characters don’t know about happened to him. Now he operates with humility and reliance on a Power that never falters. This helps us understand where the “super power” comes from.

The  Adult Romantic Suspense novel Chasing the Texas Wind describes a character, rumored to be a wounded war hero, who calls a promotion merely becoming “head clerk over a larger office of clerks.” He appears to drink and cannot even dance at his own wedding. What is he desperately trying to hide from his sham wife? She married him for a show of respectability and to have a veteran to show off at her fundraisers for wounded soldiers but keeps trying to like him, to get to know him. Is he just struggling with his own pride or are his secrets not his to share? Does he actually have more than one secret from the woman he grows to worship?

In The Baron’s Ring, a prince has to prepare himself to save his kingdom from ruin at the hands of his drunken, idolatrous brother. Can he do that by common labor, barter and befriending poverty-stricken villagers in a foreign land? Can merely being a teacher expose him to occult influences that seem to rob him of all his future hopes? This is the story of how a man finds strength overcome what seems a hopeless obstacle. It actually positions him to go back to the life he left with strength and maturity no one could foresee except for the God Who oversaw it all.

Some books make people suffer for no reason. These are governed by determinism, the belief that life has no purpose. Arbitrary forces brutalize or leave characters alone. These stories might teach lessons like the poem by William Ernest Henley, “Invictus,” producing an arrogant man whose “head is bloody, but unbowed.” But that is human pride and personal glory in a world that ends with the grave.

Sometimes man can act with self-sacrifice and humility on his own. To truly explain why people suffer, they need to know that this life is not the end. Nobody is really satisfied with the random chance theory. Confirmed atheists still demand to know why bad things happen to good people and they actually blame God. Even if it only makes us better humans and better servants of other humans, refinement cannot be a random, arbitrary process. Its real purpose is to fit us for heaven and to earn God’s “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

 

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After Christmas Sale!

All of our e-books are now marked down for our After Christmas sale. Unillustrated books are now $2.99 and illustrated books are $6.99. (The Teachers Edition of Biblical Studies remains at 99 cents, however.) If you got an e-book reader for Christmas and haven’t filled it up yet, follow the links on the right side of the page to Smashwords or Amazon! Merry Christmas to all!

And a shout-out for some bluegrass performer friends of ours. Check out their YouTube Channel!

http://www.youtube.com/user/bargwranglers/feed

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