Hell Shall Not Prevail – the end

Apostle John Series book covers with Hell Shall Not Prevail
Hell Shall Not Prevail cover option 1

As members of my VIP Readers group know… one evening last week I wrote, ‘THE END.’ Hell Shall Not Prevail, book 5 in the Apostle John Series is finished.  

Yes, there have been many hiccoughs and delays with this final book in the series. It was supposed to be released sooner than this. However, I needed to do the other books justice. It is a ‘capstone’ on the series.

Now, I have finished going through it, line by line, so that it is the least amount of work for an editor.

Typing ‘THE END’ was a strange, but satisfying feeling.
(I never did find the missing Epilogue, but I believe the one it has now is probably better.)

Each of the other books in the series has finished with… ‘To be continued in…” (Whatever the next book was called.)

This one finished the series!

Sometimes it was ‘odd’ living between two time periods – but it was incredible what I discovered as I researched all I could about their time and culture… so that I could walk in their shoes!

I would not be telling the truth if I said I LIKED every character, but I did come to know them. I had to in order to ‘live in their skins.’

It has hard to describe the feeling when I looked at those words ‘THE END’ on the page.  After five books!

There was a tinge of sadness that my late husband is not here to share the pleasure. I know he would have been delighted – he lived with the first few books.

Other feelings? Mainly there was excitement, joy, satisfaction, all competing for supremacy.… and I found myself wondering if God feels the same way when ‘one of His saints’ reaches the end of life.

Perhaps.

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. Psalm 116: 15

It gave me an inkling of what He might feel.

But why?

Why is it ‘precious in His sight’ when his saints die?

And why does he take no pleasure in the death of the wicked?

“Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’
Ezek 33:11

Perhaps it is because the race is run, and for the ‘saints’ THE END can be ‘stamped’ on a life lived well.

The death of a sinner is a different story.

Just thinking, and delighted that the Apostle John Series has ‘lived well.’

Teddy bear and red roses image

Thank you to all who have supported me through this journey through the lives of the people of the late 1st century AD.

P.S. To those who have asked, yes, another series is coming… a different one. But first, a rest, friends, family – oh, and a book award for Keep the Flame.

Thank you, readers, for your support. Stay tuned.

Tread softly

Susan

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Christian Historical Fiction – Lonna Seibert

This week, we move out of the era of early Christianity and cover another time period identified as popular by readers of Christian Historical fiction. (I will include a link to the Readers’ Survey results at the end.)

In the meantime, please welcome Lonna Seibert.

Lonna is the author of the, as yet unpublished novel, ‘A Servant’s Heart’.

Over to you, Lonna, please tell us a little about yourself and your novel.

     Thank you, Susan.

Lonna Seibert, author

During the summer of 2015, I wrote my first book. I am a wife and the mother of two young children, and at that time, I was a stay at home mom. My educational and professional background is in history and archaeology.
One day, while visiting a local historic site near my home in northern Virginia, the idea for my story began to form. I was at a point in my life where I doubted my usefulness and questioned whether I had anything more to contribute to the world.

I know that God is the reason I was able to create something out of nothing. Writing this story increased my confidence and self-esteem and reminded me that I can do hard things at a time when I was full of doubts about my purpose.

Written from a Christian worldview...

          A Servant’s Heart is an inspirational romance.

 In writing this story I hoped to show the redeeming nature of love, despite the trials of life. By writing a love story, I have shown that God’s love for us determines everything else. My story proclaims the paramount importance of a place to call our own—home; and people to love—family. And it shows us that through God’s grace we can find these gifts anywhere if we only look with open minds and hearts.

A Servant's Heart

Christian story, A Servants Heart

Catherine Abbott, reeling and alone after her parents’ deaths and a betrayal by a manipulative suitor, leaves her past behind and sails from England to colonial Virginia. Full of hope and bolstered by her faith in God, she is determined to build a new life.
As an indentured servant for hire she attracts the attention of a man with a frightening reputation. But local physician James Craig notices her predicament and purchases her indenture, preventing the other man from hiring—and possibly hurting—her.

James takes Catherine to live and work at River Farm, his home on the Potomac. His initial intention as a Christian man is to protect her, but the two grow to care for each other. James’s past, like Catherine’s, is complicated and they both struggle to trust, acknowledge, and act on their feelings.

As the colonies teeter on the brink of war, the couple faces an uncertain future, as well as a more immediate danger. Catherine’s obsessive admirer returns, threatening her safety and James’s life.

When the American Revolution begins, James joins the Continental Army as a surgeon.

After the war, he is full of dark moods from the suffering and death he witnessed on the battlefield. He loses sight of the perfect promise of God’s love and becomes convinced that love leads only to pain. Instead of embracing the wonderful gift God has given to His people, James sees the emotion as a burden.

Christian story, A servants hear, American civil war

Catherine possesses a fierce and steadfast belief in God’s goodness. When the life she knew is suddenly gone, her fear of a future she cannot see, control, nor even imagine leads her to rely more completely on God. Catherine’s idealism and optimism propel her to begin the painful process of starting over, and her faith is rewarded when she finds the life God always intended for her. As Catherine draws closer to God, James experiences a crisis of faith and worries that Catherine won’t love him if he no longer shares her beliefs. Unless they can let go of the broken trust of past relationships, overcome his combat trauma, and trust in God, happiness and love will elude them.

Lonna says….

A Servant’s Heart affirms that God is present and working for our good even when we can’t understand the process or know the outcome. It is a story of woman searching for a home, a man standing in the way of his own happiness, love thwarted by the course of history, and a message of hope about the power of God.

I do not know exactly how or why these elements came together in my mind and resulted in characters I love and a story I am proud of. It is my dream to see this story in print and I am relying on God to guide me in my endeavors. I am hoping to find a literary agent who will champion my book but the road to publication is rocky and uncertain. I do not know what the future holds, but God knows, and He will reveal His plans to me, just as He does to those who live and love at River Farm.

Susan Preston, image

Thank you Lonna for sharing about yourself and your manuscript… hopefully to be published soon.

You are welcome, Susan, thank you for inviting me to be your guest.

Thank you, readers, for making Lonna welcome.

God-willing we will hear more of Lonna Seibert and A Servant’s Heart in the future.

Now… if you want to see the results of the Readers’ Survey which many of you completed, you will find them here…

https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/reader-survey-results/

With many thanks and good wishes to all who participated in the survey!

Susan

Christian Historical Fiction Author, Carol Ashby

Carol Ashby website image
Carol Ashby, author

This week please welcome Carol Ashby to the blog.

Welcome Carol, and thank you for agreeing to tell us about Carol Ashby, author. It might interest readers to know that the ‘featured image’ on this blog is from Carol’s website and provided by Walters Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.

Carol’s novels are set in the time of the Roman Empire. A little later in time than the Apostle John series, but about people living with the challenge of death for their faith.

A little of my history will put how I write in perspective.

I have a Ph.D. in chemistry and worked in research for many years. You could say I’ve been a professional writer almost all my life since being a scientist means writing many technical journal articles about your research. That background makes me obsessive for getting the details of my time period correct. It also equips me to pull information from books by history professors and use it to make my stories as historically accurate as I possibly can.

Most historical fiction writers try hard to get their history right, but some time periods are easier than others. Fortunately, the Roman Empire has been a popular topic for a long time, and there’s lots of information available. I now have more than six dozen books by experts in Roman history. (Yes, I’m a bookaholic, but what writer isn’t?)

To make my characters behave like “real” people true to their own time, I study everyday things like normal household activities, food preparation, clothing and uniforms, and medical practice in the Roman world. It can be very dangerous to be in my novels, and I actually use the translation of the 8 volumes on Roman medicine written by Celsus during the reigns of Augustus and Tiberius.

Sketch of Roman man in toga

We history buffs love sharing the details of our favorite eras. I’ve turned my research into a Roman history website. You will find the link at the end of the post.

 I try to add something new every week. Some topics include slavery, adoption, and why you’d really want to be a Roman citizen if you were charged with a crime. I’m working on an article on medicine right now.

Did you know the Romans did cataract surgery?

Books by Carol Ashby

The novels of the Light in the Empire series are set in different provinces of the Roman empire at its peak, between AD 114 and 122.

Two are published now, and four more will be releasing during the next two years.

The first, Forgiven, is set in Judea where a family of Messianic Jews whose son was killed by a Roman soldier care for an injured Roman officer after his own brother tries to murder him to inherit more of the family fortune

The second, Blind Ambition, is set in Germania where a German Christian risks having her whole family executed for their faith when she finds a Roman officer left for dead by robbers and takes her enemy home to care for him.

These stories are about people who struggle to live out their love for Jesus when the desires of their hearts or the demands of their culture are pulling them in another direction. Sound like a contemporary problem?

If your own experience is anything like mine, I bet you’ve experienced that struggle yourself.

But there’s nothing more exhilarating than seeing a friend you care about who didn’t even have God on her/his radar begin to ask questions about life and eternity. That’s a unifying theme in all my novels. Each one is a story of hope about human love and spiritual transformation, a story about how our faithfulness can inspire another to open his or her heart to God.

What got me started writing Roman?

From the safety of living the US, I’ve been watching and praying for my Christian brothers and sisters in other parts of the world who risk everything and sometimes pay the ultimate price when they stay true to the faith. I couldn’t miss the parallel between their lives and those of early Christians during the time of Roman persecution. A few months before I retired, God put it on my heart to start writing stories about people living their faith in dangerous times.

As a follower of Jesus working as a scientist, I’ve had many opportunities to share with my friends why I believe. It’s those years of honest conversation with friends and colleagues that guide how my characters approach their lives. The believers know why they believe, and it isn’t just because they grew up in a culture influenced by Christian teaching. My characters who are not Christians at the beginning of each story ask the same questions I’ve been asked by friends. They wrestle with the intellectual and emotional questions that confront them when they see how a genuine believer lives out what Jesus taught in a time when that might get them executed by the Roman state.

When I talk with someone about my faith, it has nothing to do with trying to prove I’m right and they’re wrong. It’s because I want to share the most wonderful thing any human can experience. It’s because I’ve seen how God loves me more than I can even imagine, even though I can never be good enough on my own to earn the right to be in the presence of all that’s perfect and holy. He loves me enough to take human form and be tortured to death on a Roman cross for my sin to give me an escape route from the death I deserve to life with Him.

God isn’t some fairytale figure made up to comfort or scare us.

If that were the case, my scientific training would have “cured” me of belief before I even got my undergraduate degree. But it was my first biochemistry class that guaranteed I would believe in God, whether it was culturally popular or not.

Paper and pencil cartoon

Give me 5 minutes with paper and pencil, and I can show you some simple facts of molecular biology and the easy math that lets you calculate the probability of getting heads or tails when you flip a coin. That’s all I need to prove it’s statistically impossible for life to have accidentally started. Once the math and science convince you there was a designer, how could a person not start asking questions about who that designer is, does he want you to know him, and what is he willing to do so you can?

My stories are about selfish ambition, envy, greed, hatred, love, painful loss, and world-view transformation set in the Roman world at the peak of the Empire. But nothing has really changed between then and now except our technology. God still loves us and wants a loving relationship with each of us. The mental and emotional struggle that can keep someone from accepting that hasn’t changed one bit in 2000 years.

I love writing stories where someone struggles through the swamp in the valley to reach the bright sunshine of the mountaintop beyond. The beauty of writing historical fiction is having a setting that’s enough different from our own daily experience that it’s easier to set aside our cultural conditioning to consider what we believe and how we might want to live as we enjoy a compelling story

Carol, thank you so much for sharing your writing, and yourself.

It has been an honor and a privilege to hear from you.

Now… if you want to explore Carol’s website and enjoy the benefit of her research here is the link to get there. (You will find links to buy her books there also.)

http://www.carolashby.com

Enjoy,

Susan