The End Times
Okay. Call me silly, but I am a believer in keeping my readers reading! I love getting notes that say, “You kept me up late”—or even “all night!” I write to keep my readers reading! I don’t think they get upset with me, either!
In THE SIXTH TRUMPET, book two of my “Days of Dread Trilogy,” the young hero (fifteen years-old) knows in his gut that his mom is in trouble. Everything in his world has been turned upside down by a electromagnetic pulse that America’s enemies used to catapult our country back into the 1800s.
This scenario could happen for real tomorrow or next week, as the second coming of Christ comes closer every day. At least that’s what I believe . . . not His actual coming being that close, but such an event as an EMP exploding over our Midwest couldbe the beginnings of those days of dread spoken of in Matthew 24.
In versus 8 through 13, Jesus Himself basically tells us “ All these are the beginning of sorrows. The enemies of God’s people will deliver us up to be afflicted and killed. Israel and His children will be hated by every nation for His name’s sake. Many be offended and betray and hate one another. Lots of false prophets shall rise and deceive many. Because iniquity abounds, the love of many will wax cold. But those who endure unto the end, will be saved!”*
We know from verse 14 that before the end of this age, the gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all earth for a witness to the nations, and certainly we can see that’s come to fruition in our generation. So, what’s holding up His return? Many think He may show up in the Eastern sky any day now. What does the Word say?
I believe we are coming—or are already in—those last days; most Christ followers do. Unlike most though, I don’t believe that means Jesus is coming anytime . . . say . . . in the next three years. Why? Because later in that same chapter of Matthew, verse 15, 21, and 22, He tells us “When we see the abomination of desolation (from Daniel) stand in the holy place, THEN there will be great tribulation like the world HAS NEVER SEEN OR WILL EVER BE AGAIN. We know those days will be shortened, for the sake of His elect.”
That’s me and you! YAY!
I have not seen that happen.
Our Messiah tells us what to expect, that “immediately after said tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon won’t give her light. Stars fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens are shaken. (Again) THEN the sign of the Son of man in heaven will appear. THEN all the world’s tribes will mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
So, this tells me we will see all that before He comes. But at this writing, I haven’t seen those things either.
The chapter’s last verse, 31, is the one most believers correlate with what‘s called the Rapture, the one where He sends His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
So, in my stories of those terrible days, especially in the beginning of them, Christians are sill “in the world.” I’d love for you to consider this in light Messiah’s Words in Matthew.
And—oh, I want to talk about this too long! Let me just say to check out my blog on my website for another interesting and totally wild prospect to consider! It isn’t in my trilogy, but something I’ve pondered.
So please do read THE KING’S HIGHWAY first, but then enjoy THE SIXTH TRUMPET. THE KIDRON VALLEY debuts before the year is out, Lord willing! Get a set for each set of your grands but read ‘em before you give ’em!
Here’s its back cover copy: And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. Revelation 9:15
The sixth trumpet has sounded. The world is at war.
Compelled by a night terror, Jackson leaves the relative safety of Red River County on a quest to rescue his missing mother. He plans a quick dash to retrieve her from bondage in Rockwall, but at every turn, he is thwarted by others who need rescuing. Big girls, little girls, a medium-size boy, the smartest kid he’s ever known, and one giant dog comprise his army. If there is a God in Heaven, is He really watching out for him? Fifteen-year-old Jackson still hasn’t decided.
Here’s where to get your own copy!
I just love discussing God’s Living Word! I know we don’t all think alike anymore than we all look alike, but I love hearing different takes from mine with the scriptures to back those opinions! I’ve learned a lot of my Truths that way, listening to others, and them backing up different thoughts with Scripture!
I’d love to hear your take and scriptural reasons!
I’m so blessed with the stories God’s given me. I used to feel weird calling them mine, but Holy Spirit impressed on me He gave them to me. They are a gift. When I give a gift, it isn’t mine anymore, it belongs to the recipient!
Anyway, I love giving my stories right along to those who love to read. I know a workman is worth her hire, but also that I could never outgive God!
Linda Brooks Davis
Politics can stir most anyone’s dander. Personally, I avoid it like the plague. But political discord, congressional disagreements, and infighting are grim realities of today’s world. They can provide fodder for a historical fiction writer also.
As heated as speeches, interviews, and press conferences can become, rarely has physical violence broken out among members of Congress themselves. We have yet to witness what South Carolinian, U.S. Representative Preston S. Brooks, one of my distant cousins, perpetrated on Senator Charles Sumner in the U.S. Congress on May 22, 1856.
According to an account of the event at www.ushistory.org, Republican Senator Sumner of Massachusetts, an avowed abolitionist, gave a bitter speech in the Senate after the sack of Lawrence, Kansas on May 21, 1856 in which he blasted the murderous robbers from Missouri, calling them hirelings, picked from the drunken spew and vomit of an uneasy civilization.
The Sacking of Lawrence occurred on May 21, 1856, when proslavery settlers, led by Douglas County Sheriff Samuel J. Jones, attacked and ransacked Lawrence, Kansas, a town which had been founded by antislavery settlers from Massachusetts who were hoping to make Kansas a free state. The incident fueled the irregular conflict in Kansas Territory that later became known as Bleeding Kansas. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacking_of_Lawrence)
Part of Sumner’s speech was a bitter, personal tirade against South Carolina’s Senator Andrew Butler whom Sumner declared an imbecile. “Senator Butler has chosen a mistress. I mean the harlot, slavery.” Stephen Douglas predicted that a fool like Sumner would likely get himself killed by another fool. The speech went on for two days and another two days passed before the prediction proved true.
Representative Preston Brooks of South Carolina, a Southerner raised to live by an unwritten code of honor, considered defending the reputation of his family at the top of the list. As a distant cousin of Senator Butler, Brooks entered the Senate chamber where Sumner was working at his desk. “You’ve libeled my state and slandered my white-haired old relative, Senator Butler, and I’ve come to punish you for it.”
Brooks struck Sumner over the head repeatedly with a gold-tipped cane. The cane shattered as Brooks administered blow after blow on Sumner, but Brooks could not be stopped. Only after being physically restrained did Brooks end the pummeling.
Northerners were incensed. The House levied Brooks a $300 fine for the assault when they were unable to garner the votes to expel him. He resigned and returned home where South Carolina held events in his honor and reelected him to his House seat. Replacement canes were sent to Brooks from all over the south. This response outraged northern moderates even more than the caning itself.
His physical and psychological injuries kept Charles Sumner away from the Senate for most of the next several years. The voters of Massachusetts reelected him and let his seat sit vacant during his absence as a reminder of southern brutality. The violence from Kansas had spilled over into politics in the national legislature.
Which brings me back to politics today. Sure enough, what’s old is new. We’ve seen via news and online clips the brawls that have erupted in legislative bodies in countries around the world. And both violent and peaceful political gatherings in the U.S. We’ve seen the extremes to which political and religious fanaticism has taken some. And we’ve turned off our TVs to find peace amid the turmoil.
So far, we haven’t seen physical altercations among members of Congress like the one perpetrated by one of my distant Brooks relatives. Given today’s political temperature, would such a scene surprise you?
Lord, deliver us from such actions. Make us peacemakers instead. And keep the canes out of Congress.
Linda Shenton Matchett
Part of my father’s family came to the United States a century before Great Britain had her eye on the New World. The rest arrived rather late – in 1883 to be exact – and took up residence in Baltimore, Maryland. Life was good until The Great War when having surnames like Braun, Schafer, and Nagel could get you beat up or worse. As a result, my ancestors downplayed their “German-ness,” and my siblings and I knew little of our German heritage while growing up. Fortunately over the last ten years, my father’s wife has explored our genealogy, giving the family a peek into our past and an appreciation for the various cultures that make up the population of the United States.
Three-dimensional characters that readers can relate to are important in any story, whether contemporary, historical, speculative, or some other genre. Part of the complexity is based on the background of the hero or heroine. Many of my recent books take place in America’s Old West, an area filled with immigrants from eastern and western Europe, South America, and Asia, so I’ve taken the opportunity to create characters from Ireland, Norway, Germany, Britain, and France. My September release features a Scottish duke.
Research for these characters has included reading diaries and memoirs, contacting cultural societies such as the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia or the Norwegian-American Historical Association, and cooking ethnic foods. I struck gold when my sister introduced me to a farmer in Iowa who was Scandinavian who could educate me on the state, his vocation, and his heritage.
After I decide on my characters’ background, I give them names indicative of their culture. Next, I determine their jobs (probably because of my long career as a human resources professional). Only after my character is fully formed do I devise what sort of mess I can subject him or her to.
I’ve loved delving into the tapestry of cultures that comprise the United States and hope I’ve honored the brave men and women who reached our shores through grit and perseverance.
The past clashes with the present to jeopardize their future.
Fiona Quigley’s parents came to America for a better life, but illness and the Civil War took them from her. Now, she’s barely scraping by as a seamstress to Boston’s elite. A chance for a new start arises in the form of being a mail-order bride, but to her dismay she must marry the man by proxy. Once they’re wed, there will be no turning back.
After being jailed one too many times for protesting against the Unionists in Ireland, Keegan O’Rourke heads for America—land of the free. He takes advantage of the Homestead Act to create a farm in his new country, but he has no one to share his success, so he advertises for a mail-order bride. They wed by proxy, but after she arrives, he discovers his Irish lass hails from the northern reaches of the Emerald Isle – the very area he fled.
History, intrigue, and romance will keep you turning pages in this addition to the exciting Proxy Bride series.
Why Write Different Genres?
You may have a favorite author who writes in a single genre. Every book they write is either romance or suspense or historical or contemporary or split fiction. There is certainly nothing wrong with an author who has discovered his or her niche, who loves writing that type of fiction, and sticks to it. Doing so makes branding so much easier because if hear their name or see it on a book, you know exactly what you’re getting.
But a good number of authors, perhaps even a majority of them, write in more than one genre. Trisha Goyer is one that immediately pops into my head. She writes both Amish and WWII and does them well. Such different ends of the spectrum. I’ve written just about whatever can be written – WWII, romantic suspense, Amish, and historical romance. I just released The Silver Shadow, which is romantic suspense. My next book, A Picture of Hope, coming in October, is WWII. And in February, my first mystery, Slashed Canvas, is set to release. So why can’t I just settle down and write one genre? Why do so many authors write a wide variety of books? Here are just a few of my thoughts.
- To keep from getting stale. If I were limited to a single genre, I think I’d find myself writing the same book over and over again. Sometimes it’s a good thing for an author to take a step back from the genre they always write to try something fresh. It’s like a palate cleanser. Then when they return to what they are known for, they have a new perspective, a rejuvenated mind, and are ready to write something fabulous.
- To challenge themselves. When I was first asked if I’d be interested in writing romantic suspense, I hesitated. After all, it wasn’t a genre I was familiar with. My agent encouraged me because, as she said, I was already writing suspense, just set during WWII. I read a bunch of romantic suspense novels and articles on how to write the genre. Once I got into it, I was really glad I had accepted the challenge. I hope that by writing in a different genre, it will make my writing better overall.
- Because sometimes stories just beg to be told. That’s what happened with my Amish romance. My family was visiting an Amish bakery we love to frequent, and I spied an Amish girl with Down syndrome by the barn. I wondered what it must be like to be Amish and have a disability or to have a child with a disability like I do. Did they go to public school? How were they treated? And that’s how the story was born. I just had to write it.
- Because opportunity knocks. This is a business full of ups and downs, droughts and floods. It seems like you either have no contracts or you have too many, so when your agent comes to you with a publisher looking for a certain type of book or you are approached to do a boxed set with a group of other authors you admire, you jump on the chance. That’s what happened with A Picture of Hope. Barbour Publishing let agents know they were starting a new series center around heroines of WWII. Of course, when I saw that, I was in. I went to my vault of ideas for WWII novels, pitched a couple, and they picked up A Picture of Hope. The bonus for me was that it is in the genre I most love to write.
- Because that’s what’s popular at the time. I had always wanted to write WWII, but when I first started in the business, it wasn’t a hot market. WWII novels were difficult to sell. So I wrote a novella first and then WWII. The market cooled, and I returned to my novella writing. Now it has heated up again, so I’m pleased to be back to writing WWII. Split fiction is huge at the present time, so after A Picture of Hope, my next couple of books at least will be split fiction. Along the way, I’m learning more about writing and having fun trying my hand at a different way of storytelling.
I realize that my Amish fans don’t necessarily go for my suspense or WWII books, and that’s okay. I’ve built a number of different audiences and have enjoyed getting to know readers who appreciate each of the genres that I write. My goal, no matter the genre, is to write well, entertain my audience, touch their hearts, and please the Lord.
Marguerite Martin Gray
Early Morning Musing
Are you an early or late riser? I’ve always been a morning person and an early riser. I envy the ones who can snuggle deeper under the covers and sleep another hour or two. Not me! My body and mind lean toward the six o’clock hour ignoring the alarm set for later. But instead of forcing my body to remain inert, I embrace the early morning hours, filling them with purpose and musing.
One of the joys of empty-nesting is the quietness of the morning. No one—including my husband—is up to cross my path, except my cats who are quickly fed and ready to roam outside. Quiet, except for the awakening birds. I live next to some woods and have melodies all around me. Quiet with my thoughts. Time for me. My routine is rarely compromised.
With my first cup of English breakfast tea, I satisfy my curious brain with a few chapters of my latest read. I enjoy escaping to the British Isles in another century or facing a dilemma with a modern-day prince. I relax into my big comfy chair and into the role of inquisitive reader.
My second cup of tea accompanies my time of journaling. This habit commenced at the age of ten while living in England. My teacher suggested the activity, one I latched onto and never let go. This exercise gets my brain waves churning for the day. As I jot down snippets of my life, I add notes and ideas for my writing. My current work in progress benefits from my time of musing and reflecting. The tidbits follow me and blossom until my writing time later in the day.
My corner of the world contains its morning rituals as a school bus passes, the shower runs, and the nuances of traffic surface. I continue with the part of my morning that solidifies me for the day—the part I covet as the most important. This time anchors me and sends me in the right direction each day. My quiet time with the Lord! I focus on God’s Word, followed by devotional readings and prayer. Ending my quiet early morning this way ties my mind to God’s direction, not mine. I now have a fighting chance to get it right.
What is Biblical Fiction?
Biblical Fiction is a sub-genre of Christian Historical Fiction. It is not merely Christian Fiction with Biblical values. In fact, I prefer the term Historical Fiction Set in Bible Times, but alas, the genre is Biblical Fiction (Bib Fic)
Bib Fic takes place during the timeline of the Bible, New or Old Testament. It can be a real person mentioned in the Bible (Miriam by Mesu Andrews—about Moses’ sister and the plagues on Egypt) or a fictional character who interacts with the historical people or events (Harvest of Rubies and Harvest of Gold by Tessa Afshar— the fictional cousin of the prophet Nehemiah and the rebuilding of Jerusalem)
Doesn’t that take away from the power of the Bible message?
My goal is to point people to the Bible. The Scripture has ultimate authority in my writing. I use fiction to expound on the culture, and character choices. Why did this person make this choice? What culturally would have influenced that decision? This aides my study of the Scriptures, because suddenly they are real people and not just a name in a list of genealogy.
Culture, customs and conversations.
Like other historical novels, you don’t know every word this real person said. The cultures have shifted and the customs are non-existent. An author’s job is to bring you back to that era through time travel.
Why I like Biblical Fiction
I have to admit I am a skimmer. I skim over scripture that I think I know already and especially genealogies. Are you with me?
I love when the Lord opens my eyes to the suddenly different wording practically jumps off the page at me.
Balaam and the Talking Donkey
Do you recall the story of Balaam and the talking donkey? We read in Numbers 22-25, 31 about the story of Balaam and his talking donkey.
Balaam is commissioned to curse the Israelites—and he ends up blessing the nation instead (after the angel of the Lord and the talking donkey bit). Here’s the crazy thing—- No where in the text does it say Balaam crossed paths with the Israelites. According to the text, he was a pagan seer–a curses for hire type of guy. Yet God used him to richly bless Israel four times.
So how do we know about Balaam’s blessing and crazy adventures? How is there documentation in the Israelite’s scriptures?
In Numbers 22 we see
Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the Moabite officials. But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the Lord stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, it turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat it to get it back on the road.
So, we see he had servants with him. What else could make this story logical to appear in our Bible?
So [King Balak] took [Balaam] to the field of Zophim on the top of Pisgah, and there he built seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.
Check out this passage where Moses and “they” (elders? The whole nation?”) went up to Mount Pisgah. Numbers 21:20
And from the wilderness they went to Mattanah, from Mattanah to Nahaliel, from Nahaliel to Bamoth, and from Bamoth, in the valley that is in the country of Moab, to the top of Pisgah which looks down on the wasteland.
Both sets of men were up on Mount Pisgah. As far as the gap in chapters, the Bible tends to group together a story until it is completed. We are hearing about Balaam from Numbers 22-24 but it isn’t telling what is happening in the world around him. To me that is plausible.
With those couple of tidbits, it’s easy to connect the dots.
I imagined Balaam crossed paths with the Israelites there and they exchanged stories of God’s power. I imagine one of those servants was a boy who saw the glories of the one true God and wanted to follow Him.
And when Balaam gets himself in trouble with the Ladies-of-Midian-Seducing-the-Israelites-in-Moab-Fiasco, the boy transfers his allegiance.
Sadly, Balaam, by all appearances made his choice–despite meeting God on desolate heights and viewing His power. Balaam is mentioned throughout the Bible all the way through Revelation as a stumbling block and a byword.
What do you think? Did you grow up thinking Balaam was a hero of the faith?
What Biblical Fiction have you read that has opened your eyes to the culture of the Bible?
****All Scripture is used from the New King James Bible