The road few find

Kaukatea Valley Rd 1978 resized
The road I grew up on was a difficult road that few bothered to travel without good reason. Our nearest neighbours were a mile away, so we could be as noisy as we liked. 

‘Mount Zion,’ the sheep station at the end of our road straddled two valleys – ours and Longacre, and part of it bordered our farm. Mount Zion could be accessed from a paper road which connected with our road – but you had to know where it was.  I used to ride there to get horses shod.

I learned to drive on that road and it was difficult, handling a motorbike on the gravel.

Poplars that had grown from fence battens the original farmers used lined the road. Number eight wire was used with the fence battens.  There were lots of interesting places along the road – even a cave, which is included in the video clip below.

This is the actual road, filmed by a motorcyclist.

So that’s my narrow road in the natural.  There’s another road, and another Zion.  Named as “the King’s holy mountain and the place where God dwells with man,” Mount Zion is referenced in the Bible at least 52 times.

The Bible points to the narrow road which leads to Zion.  Jesus said on the mountain, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”  Matthew 7:13-14

In my thirties I wandered off, got lost and found myself on the wrong road.  I couldn’t find a lot of help when I wanted to get off that road.  After two unsuccessful attempts at counseling I gave up and turned to the pages of the Bible, because one of the King’s names is “Wonderful Counselor.”

This is his promise; “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”  Psalm 32:8

I had to get some help from somewhere.  So I went to the King for counseling.  It was the best thing I ever did.

In New Zealand we’ve had to be resourceful because of the difficulty sourcing stuff, being at the ends of the earth as we are.  We are known to “fix things with number eight wire.”  Using inventive number eight wire mentality, and thinking outside the box, I built a world I could go into and hear from the King, who counseled me on the way I should go.  I wrote down His words in my story.

As for the setting, God knew I’d write it into a book later on in life.  My book is a paper road that leads to Zion.  It’s for those who want a good, unconventional read from a traveler, a stranger, a sojourner on the road not well-traveled.  I promise you that you’ll never read another story like it.

Click on the Amazon link at the top right-hand side of the page to purchase the book.

Kaukatea Valley

Kaukatea Valley Road


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.

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.”

 

The Kingdom, Here Be Dragons, Here Be Dreams

KLost on a crooked path, Joanna could not see the wood for the trees. Denied her dreams, she’d got caught up with Silver-tongue, an evil manipulative man. 

Seeking a way out of the maze, she encountered the King, who she’d been estranged from. It was to him that Joanna turned for counsel after discovering he was Abba, her Father.

Leading Joanna to a narrow road, he told her to set up signposts and build landmarks. She was to set her heart on the highway leading to his Kingdom and a forgotten inheritance.

But here be dragons, and Silver-tongue. She had to battle her way out of bewilderment in her effort to break free.

Learning the King’s will from the Book the King inspired, Joanna found that man cannot live by bread alone.  “Call to me, and I will show you great and wonderful things” the King promised.

The King’s word came alive, and she was given dreams, with signs to follow.

Given a shepherd’s staff in the Valley of Shadow, Joanna was led by the King along the Path of Righteousness. Picking up her lamp she followed him towards the sunrise.  His word was like a light shining in a dark place.

As Joanna struggled through the Valley of Trouble she learned that you have to go through many trials to enter the Kingdom of God.  In the desert Joanna had to make a choice between Ishmael, and Isaac … the son of the promise.

One thing the King spoke – but two things could be heard if Joanna listened. She paid attention, listening to the Logos word for learning and the Rhema word for revelation.

In writing about her journey home by recording the Rhema word, she uncovered her part in a story that had been written generations before.

♥♥♥

See the book trailer on You Tube

This inspirational story is well worth the read.

Amazon book cover