Ishmael

Ishmael, a character in my book is about to read my story.  That’s not his real name, but it suits him.  He is a Moslem.  Before reading it, I was at pains to explain who “the King,” the main character in my book is.

“We worship the same God,” he replied, wanting peace between us.

Are God and Allah same

Really?  I heard the same thing from my new age publishing consultant.  She believed the market would be fine with my story as “any deity could play the King.”

“You mean, Jesus could be the same as Allah?” I asked, to clarify.

“Well, yes – as the Bible and the Quran contain many of the same elements” she replied.

It is true that Islam’s warlike prophet Mohammed did include parts of the Bible in the Quran.  The Gospels had been around at least 500 years before Islam.

But both books can’t be right.  I made it quite clear before publishing the book that I would not change the name of the King or dilute his persona or character – not for anybody.  He is who he is.

wpid-who-do-you-say-i-am-question

“Who do you say I am?”  Jesus asked. 

“What is truth?” Pilate asked. 

These are the questions we all have to decide.  I only hope my book “The Kingdom, Here Be Dragons, Here Be Dreams” presents the King as he is in the Bible; the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God. 1 Timothy 1:17

For Ishmael’s sake, I did try to read the Quran years ago.  I got through a good part of it before stopping at the part which advocated killing Jews and infidels.  There are over a hundred verses in the Quran dealing with Jihad or holy war.  That’s why we’re having so many problems with terrorism, which would be better named “Muslim fundamentalism.”

At his arrest, Jesus, the King in my story, told Peter “Put away your sword, for those who live by the sword will die by the sword.”  Matthew 26:52.

Jesus fought with a different sword – the word out of his mouth.

After praying for wisdom, I tried a different tack with Ishmael.  I looked at who Jesus, Isa is in the Quran.  Much to my surprise, in the Quran Jesus is called “Spirit of God” and “Word of God.”  And he is mentioned more in the Quran than Mohammed, their prophet.

But it’s like the truth is veiled from Ishmael.  His religion is designed to keep them away from Christ.  Knowing that only the true God can remove the veil.  I presented Jesus, Isa to him as the “Spirit of God.”  I can remember Ishmael referring to Jesus as such.

The Bible explains that with the Lord, there is freedom; “But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”  2 Corinthians 3:16-18

This poem is for Ishmael.  Although we are related through Abraham, peace cannot come through compromise.  To agree that God and Allah are the same is to break the first commandment, which says;  “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.  “You shall have no other gods before me.”  Exodus 20:1-3

Ishmael, my brother,
 How long shall we fight each other?

My brother from times bygone,
 My brother - Hagar's son,
 My brother the wandering one.

One angel was sent to us both,
 One angel watched over our growth -
 There in the wilderness, death threatened through thirst,
 I a sacrifice on the alter, Sarah's first.

Ishmael, my brother, hear my plea:
 It was the angel who tied you to me. . . .

Time is running out, put hatred to sleep.
 Shoulder to Shoulder, lets water our sheep.

Here is a Moslem who was asked “who is Jesus?”  It’s 3.31 mins.


God is fussy about His name.

Islam has 99 names for God and they don’t match up.

How Muhammad Broke the 10 Commandments – #1 I am the Lord thy God

Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’  Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”  Acts 4:11-12

Seeking an open minded reader

book-and-letters-ipad-backgroundRecently I attended a party in a beautiful spot near Leigh, a fishing village further up the coast.  While we were all mingling and enjoying the view, I was asked about my book.  “What’s it about?”

Er, um.  “It’s about a journey through two worlds – the outside world, and a hidden, inner world called “The Kingdom.”  The main character, the King, is Jesus.”

I study my listeners face as I try to explain my counter-cultural book.  I’m relieved to see she hasn’t shown any antagonism at His name.  I never know what kind of reaction I’m going to get.

“Are you religious?” she asks.

That’s a tricky question.  To me, religion is a lot of man-made rules and structures in man’s attempt to reach God, which doesn’t interest me. Jesus is different.  He is God’s attempt to reach man.  Jesus said “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.”  With Jesus there are only two rules – to love God with all our heart and all our soul and all our strength and with all our mind, and love others as we love ourselves.  I believe and try to live by those rules.

the-greatest-commandment

“I am a believer” I answer.

“Where is your book sold?” she asked.

“Right now, as an eBook on Amazon.  It’s a bit hard to market the book because Jesus lacks credibility in the world’s eyes.  And my book doesn’t fit in a niche.”

How can I promote the King in a world full of disinformation and lies?

It’s a shame because I know Him from experience, but it’s MY experience.  How can I convince people He is real?  Or of His worth?  Or talk about all the proof there is for Him?  I can’t offer any of that unless I have permission to.  And a party is not the place.

“I’ll check it out” she said.

I am surprised.  I think people can be more open-minded than I give them credit or.

overcome-personal-prejudice-step-1-version-2

Nicola was one such reader.  She wrote “I didn’t expect God to play such a huge role in the book or for there to be quite as many bible quotes, I am ashamed to admit if I had read the info sent to me better I wouldn’t have read the book. That being said I am grateful if misread my info as I would have missed out on a truly original book.”

Willing to overcome her bias and consider new ideas; she kept reading and found she liked my main character; “I really liked that God was a real character in this story and I think he would be very happy at the way he was portrayed, we saw things from Joanna’s view and also from God’s.

Lucifer was also portrayed, his voice at least. I liked the way that Lucifer was portrayed, not as his cloven, evil personal as he usually is, in fact I found him quite funny the way he heckles, scoffs and laughs, all the while whispering in Joanna’s ear how God doesn’t love her, how she doesn’t deserve his love. His role is to put doubt in people’s minds, convince them they are not good enough, not liked etc… etc… I found him more believable than the fire and brimstone totally evil role he usually plays, in this I found him more real his turning people from God by deceit.

God on the other hand is constantly assuring Joanna and others of his love for them, that he has always loved them and always will, and his sadness at those who turn their backs on him. I felt he was a very human God who had all of our good points amplified and more, with none of our bad.”

So I am seeking open-minded readers for “The Kingdom, Here Be Dragons, Here Be Dreams.”  Come and read a one of a kind book where God actually replies and converses with the characters. At some points you can even see the story from His perspective. This story is written with a different mind.

Can we understand something of the mind of God?  I hope you will read and decide for yourself.

 

 

Seeking 1 out of 99 readers

God plays an active and unapologetic role in my book.  He appears as ‘The King’ in various roles.  Sometimes he refers to Himself as the Shepherd.  Why?  Well, we are all like sheep who have gone astray. 

Sheep can get into a lot of trouble.  Growing up on a New Zealand sheep farm I’ve rescued them from creeks, mud, and barbed wire.

I loved finding the lost lambs, and so does Jesus.  Here’s me back from the lambing beat, with a lamb in my arms, about a hundred years ago …

Lambing Beat Aug 197452

Ever heard the parable of the lost sheep?

Jesus told the Pharisees and teachers of the law this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. Luke 15:3-7

My book won’t appeal to ‘Pharisees’ or ‘Teachers of the Law.’  It will appeal to those who understand the wilderness.  The reader I am looking for may not know the Bible, or God – but will love redemptive romance and a great good versus evil story.  I’m not writing for 99 people – I’m writing for one.  Come into the pages of my book.  The path will begin in a field.  Follow the butterfly.

I am offering my eBook free this month in return for a review on Amazon or Goodreads.  Offer ends on the 16th November.

book_by_fantasyart0102-dabdbjlSource of image: Deviant Art, Book by FantasyArt0102

My first book review

The Bookworm, Carl Spitzweg

The Bookworm, Carl Spitzweg

Try and imagine bookshelves lined with millions of books – and my book is just one of them.  And the bookshelves keep growing.  My book has gone from one in a million to probably one in two million by now!

I’ve probably got the worst person possible in charge of book promotion – me.  Marketing was my worst subject when I was doing the Dip of Business, unfortunately.  But I did learn about the five ‘P’s of marketing; People, Price, Placement, Product and Promotion.

It’s a struggle.  Who do I tell about the book?  Christians obviously, but I hope to get it to the New Age market.  I know they would love the King in my book if they read about Him.  As for the product – the book is in a genre all by itself.  I struggle to even describe it’s genre.  I said it’s a cross between a memoir and a fantasy novel, but my first book reviewer said it’s actually an Epic Journal. My book is unique; one in a million – and not just because of it’s place in Amazon. For placement, I’ve gone to where the readers are.

In order for me to promote the book, I need praise.  I mean, I can praise it – but I’m the author!  Today I got some much needed praise.  I joined Goodreads, and I’ve received my first book review from Valicity Garris, author of Cross Academy.

It was brilliant, five star review.  It’s helped me to keep going with my efforts to get the book out to the wider world.  So it’s made my day.  Come and read my first review, and celebrate with me.

Here’s the review:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1523617863?book_show_action=false

One in a million

The inspiration for my book “The Kingdom, Here Be Dragons, Here Be Dreams” came from Psalm 45 – which speaks of a King who is the most attractive man on the planet; “fairer than the sons of men.”  In the world his appearance was rather ordinary.  The prophet Isaiah wrote of Jesus 700 years before His birth saying “He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him.  He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.  Isaiah 53:2-3. 

To start with, I admit I too saw him like that.  As I began to know him from the Bible and from experience, I got to see him as beyond handsome – wise, witty, subtle and gentle with unimaginable power.

Here’s a screen shot of page 1 of “The Kingdom,” circa 1997.  I took a trip down memory lane and came back with a screen shot of page 1 the original story.  I’ve still got the story on the old software in DOS, which I run in DOSBox just because I can.

Now I’ve got to promote the story.  I’ve discovered that’s not going to be an easy matter!  There’s been millions of eBooks published.  My book is literally ‘one in a million.’  Sigh.

If you want to read an inspirational story where Jesus is the mighty one clothed with splendour and majesty with his sword girded on his side, this is the one.  It’s Jesus from the point of view of His Kingdom.  It’s Jesus without the religious exoskeleton.  Come and read all about him.

Kingdom 1997

For my WordPress followers – I hope you can come visit on Facebook.  Thanks for following my posts.

If you have any ideas how to market this ‘one in a million’ book I’d love to hear from you.

My eBook has been published

Amazon book coverHi fellow bloggers, you haven’t heard from me lately because I’ve been working on my book.  I’ve finally got the EPUB, PDF versions and Kindle versions published.

You’ll see I’ve put a Facebook widget on the blog.  It will take you to the book page.  You can like me there, but I can’t return the compliment.  I’ve built an ordinary Facebook page to link to it, where I can interact with you.

There are also links to Amazon if you want to buy the eBook.

I’ve made a video of the story, based on the book synopsis, which I’ve been told is awesome.

If you haven’t seen it on the book Facebook page, here it is.

The Kingdom – Here Be Dragons, Here Be Dreams

Thanks for following me, and I look forward to hearing from you.


KThe Kingdom is an inspiring story about a journey along the narrow path.  The story is in a unique genre all of it’s own, somewhere between an epic fantasy quest, supernatural adventure and memoir.  It’s a tale about good versus evil. 

If you are interested in how God can reveal Himself and speak to an ordinary person, this story is for you.

To begin with I wrote my story “The Kingdom” as a journal and map of the journey.  It kept a record of the Lord’s rhema words and revelation he gave me.  When the things he told me in the Kingdom worked out in real life I realised I was receiving the Lord’s guidance and counsel for real.
If you do not know the King, or the Bible, here’s a brief explanation of some concepts the story deals with.

spiritual-warfareRevelation

    A revelation is defined as;

  • An enlightening or astonishing disclosure,
  • The communication of knowledge to man by a divine or supernatural agency.

Revelation comes from the Holy Spirit.  Do you believe that God will speak to us in the last days?  “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”  Joel 2:28 and Acts 2:18.

DragonsSword of Spirit

We all have dragons to slay.  It is written in Revelation that they (the believers) defeated the dragon by the word of their testimony.  (Paraphrased from Revelation 12:11)

The Kingdom is my personal testimony.  The words of the King to me as Joanna are true.  It’s about how God guided me along the path, and helped me deal with my dragons.  If you are interested in spiritual warfare the story may appeal to you.

Dreams

Are you interested in dream interpretation?  In my story, I was given dreams.  The story served as a context for the dreams.  Knowing that revelation comes from the Holy Spirit, I would ask the King to explain them.    When I was writing, the King would give me a verse from the Bible that went with the dream.  The prophet Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar after he was asked to interpret his dream that there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. (Daniel 2:28).

Life can be a mystery.  Think about coincidences for instance.  Do you notice signs that appear at just the right time?  That’s God.  He wants us to seek Him out, and find the things He has for us.

Some things in life are hidden, but God can bring the concealed things to light through the great words of the Bible and the Holy Spirit.

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.   Proverbs 25:2

The Lord will bring revelation if you seek him.  “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”  Matthew 7:7.

JesusThe King, the Holy Spirit

The King in my story is the Holy Spirit, who works as one with God and Jesus.  He is the comforter, teacher and guide of Joanna.  He is the one Jesus promised He would send after He went back to God.  Jesus explains how He was sent to us in John 14;

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”  John 14:15-17

The final scene in my story

batonI ended “The Kingdom” with a scene where Joanna is handed a baton from Anna, her ancestor.  There is a race to be run. Sometimes we run alone, sometimes in a group.  At times the path is hard to see but there are signs.  The signs Joanna found along the path are recorded in the story.

The Kingdom story is my testimony.  It shows what I did with the words the Lord spoke to me as personal revelation.  God will speak to us all personally if we seek him through Jesus, the King.  I hope my story will inspire you to seek the King yourself.

If you would like to know more, please ask me questions.

I’ve taken a photo of one of the places where I walk.  The beach is at the bottom of my street.  The island off the beach is called “Kawau Island”.  It’s an island with no roads, where the residents get around by boat.  I’ve made a photo gallery so you can see other scenes from my story.

Habbakuk 2:2

Snells Beach and Kawau Bay

The book journey

I’m getting ready to publish my manuscript about ‘The Kingdom Within’ as an eBook.  I haven’t settled on the title yet.  My plan is to self-publish as I don’t think traditional publishers will be interested.  This book is in a unique genre all by itself.

I’ve been told in my book appraisal that the manuscript is so different that it may struggle to find a market. The blend of memoir/fantasy fiction/devotional theology is extremely unusual. Despite what has been said about publishers looking for fresh vibrant voices, they don’t actually want too unusual a book, since it is too great a risk for them in a marginal market. 

I understand that and look forward to the self publishing adventure.

Cath Dunsford, my publishing consultant, really helped me kick the ball off.  I gave her the first three chapters on paper whilst working on her computer.  Then she asked for the rest, saying “First impressions are always important when considering a text for assessment for publication as well as subsequent readings of the full manuscript. 

I have read the text you left me already – so gripped I could not put it down.  Many have written memoirs and about abuse but none, in all my 40 years of work, have ever related the close guidance of the Bible to finding a way forward in quite the way you have.  The writing is utterly beautiful and very moving. It is compact and powerful.”

Her feedback got the book going as I really respect her.  She is a published author and literary associate of Witi Ihimera, the author of “The Whale Rider.”

I’ve had the manuscript edited.  There’s a bit of a back-story finding Marie Anticich, my editor.   She’s a journalist and editor for some Christian magazines.  I got led to her through learning the sound desk at church!

The back-story:  Why, oh why did I put my hand up for a job best left for the boys?  That’s what I asked myself when I started doing the sound.  I’m a computer technician, so buttons and knobs don’t frighten me. I thought the sound desk would be easy enough to learn.  I also thought the Lord wanted me to volunteer for it!  Well you know what ‘thought thought.’  Sound practise was okay – but I made all sorts of mistakes during the church service the first few times.  Anyway it’s all good because the church has survived my efforts on the sound desk, I’ve learned a new skill, and it led me to the book editor.

Marie is a bit of a sergeant major, but I really appreciate her and the manuscript needed her criticism.  Marie told me about the Caleb award, a book competition that Omega Writers were running in 2013.  The competition fee included a book appraisal.  That was the next piece of the puzzle.

The book appraisal said “the constant reference to ‘the Princess’ actually detaches the readers slightly from the story, instead of allowing them to walk in her shoes.  Instead of the massive emotional punch certain scenes should carry, the real conflict is muted because of this detachment.”

So I’ve changed ‘the Princess’ to ‘Joanna’, keeping the viewpoint in the third person.

I was advised to tell the reader more of who I am and aim for reader sympathy.  Taking Marie’s advice, I changed the first chapters with that in mind.  Then she said I was too sad and no one likes a victim!  So it’s been back to the drawing board; and now (hopefully) I’ve got the mix right.

Here’s the overall comments so far:

Omega Writers: “This is a really awesome story with a fabulous blend of unusual elements. It has the potential to wield a strong and powerful impact if the issues of ‘show don’t tell’ are addressed.”  (I hope I’ve addressed those issues.)

Dunsford Publishing: “The quality and beauty of the writing in the preface really draws the reader in and it issues a warm invitation to come ad share this amazing journey. You have really achieved a stunning work of writing, here, Jo.”