#WednesdayWisdom

Did you know the Middle Ages and Renaissance Europeans thought Ethiopia was an entire continent and there was no mightier kings to be found than on those shores? Or that the ancient Egyptians said Ethiopia was “the place where Gods walked with man.” Writing thrillers based on Ethiopian history and biblical mythology means you never lack for inspiration or material. Unfortunately, due to civil wars and a new drought, over twenty million people in the area now risk starvation. I fear that soon the beautiful, rich, complex country I write spiritual thrillers about will become as legendary as the ancient Egyptians who called it Heaven.

Writer Mandate

At no point in history has it been more vitally important that we do our jobs, and do them well. We need more books, not less. We need more people reading. Through reading can come educating, inspiring, enlightening … and this world is in desperate need of all of those things. Let’s get people dreaming again. Let’s motivate them to take the energy they absorb from our words to create change in the world. Hate breeds in darkness, and the only thing that destroys darkness is the light.

So light it up, and write more–not less.

Jacqueline Jing Lin GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

#WednesdayWIP

The chemistry between Destiny and Raffe wrote itself from the moment they introduced themselves. Getting a chance to explore these two dynamic characters has been an absolute blast. Enjoy a scene from GOD REMAINS, when Destiny gets a chance to finally explain women to Raffe.

gj-bannner-gr

“What is it you wish?”

“I wish to be cherished,” she asserted. “I wish my man to accept me as I am without condition. I would have a man who would rejoice in the person I am and the life I have been forced to live. What I want is what every woman wants.”

“Here I thought you wanted to be a queen.” Raffe tried to joke to lighten the moment that was becoming fraught with emotional landmines for them both.

Destiny turned from him to return to their stealthy walk up the stairs. “I’d be the queen of my man’s heart,” she whispered loudly enough for him to understand. “That is the secret between men and women. Women wish to be queen of their man’s heart, and men wish to be king of their own harem.”

“You’re a pessimist.” He scowled, joining her in the climb.

“And you’re a fool.”

#ThrowbackThursday

As I get God Remains, third book in the series, ready for publication, I thought I’d revisit the wonderful world of the renegade Ethiopian priest that is Father Josephus. Here’s a piece from Journey of Josephus.

joj_final_rev

The golden gleam from the Dome of the Rock shone over the despair surrounding it, like the spring sun after a long hard winter. It did not matter if it were day or night, good weather or bad, war or peace. The Dome was a constant reminder of the power of faith. It was the hope of a better tomorrow, and a gift from a long gone cherished yesterday. Built by Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, he had intended the structure to be used as a shrine for pilgrims. The narrow lane leading to the holy place was lined with lush and leafy trees, a present from a long ago king.

Between the gifts of the caliph and a king, were the armed guards and tanks that kept the peace – or maintained the war, depending on the side of the Jordan you were born into. It was a pitiful statement of the human race that one family could cause so much pain in the pursuit of glory for ostensibly the same God.

And that is what they are. Islam, Christian, and Jew … distant cousins all.

Father Josephus was standing by one of those trees, watching as the men returned from their final prayers for the day. He held the girl in his arms, in her disguise designed by Mrs. Shapiro. He hid his smile; he was a priest, holding a girl of unknown origins, disguised by a Jew, about to enter one of the holiest Islamic sites in the world.

Who said missions of faith were boring?

#WednesdayWIP

The third book in my Ethiopian Chronicles has been a challenge, to say the least, but the relationship between Destiny and Raffe makes it worth it. Check out a passage from God Remains

Destiny approached Setur’s side. “If he fails, you will not k

ill him.”

“It is of no concern.”

“You will not kill him,” she ordered again.

“If he fails, he is not worthy of you.”

“Then you will send him on his way and I shall stay.” When he turned to her in surprise, she stared deeply into his eyes to be sure he fully understood what she was offering him. “I will stay as whatever you wish.”

“You know I would only accept your eternal presence. You would bargain your life, even eternity, for him?”

“I would give far more than my life.”

“You are my Sheban,” he murmured.

“I am Destiny.”

“Did I neglect to mention?” When Destiny turned to him, bemused, he gave her a wolf-like smile of triumph. “‘Sheban’ means Destiny.”

#FridayFeeling

A taste of God’s Remains, coming soon from avalerionbooks.com

They reached Tel Aviv Airport late at night, and thanks to Destiny’s contacts, they were breezed through customs. Gabriel smiled as he remembered the last time he had come through this transportation mill he had been with his wife, though they had first met only a few days before.

He watched with bemused tolerance as Raffe and Destiny continued to bicker as they made their way from the private terminal to the waiting armored van.

“Why are we going straight to Hebron?” Raffe asked. “I think it’s most inhospitable of you not to invite us to your home to rest overnight. Some of us no longer look as if we were freshly pressed from the cleaner.”

“I told you, we’re going to a friend’s house in Hebron.”cropped-close-up-of-hands-of-a-group-of-tribal-children-ethiopia.jpg

“Not good enough.” Raffe growled. “Why can’t we go to your place here?”

They watched the driver load their luggage and briefcases into the armored van before climbing into the air-conditioned interior.

“I no longer have a house,” Destiny muttered.

Raffe stopped so suddenly that he almost fell from his perch as he was climbing into the van. “What?”

“I no longer have a house here,” Destiny yelled at him as she elbowed him out of the way to take her own seat. “I sold all my holdings in Israel a few months ago. I no longer have any property here.”

Raffe scowled at Gabriel. “So why is she coming?”

“I still have my contacts, fool.”

#ThrowbackThursday

Both men winced when she snapped. Gabriel tried to smile at her. “Jazz, Raffe’s family are the descendants of the man who housed the Ark for King David. They have kept their rich history alive throughout the centuries by sheer force of will. It’s their belief that God chose their bloodline to be the guardians of the Ark.”

“So if we found the Ark …”

“I would take it away from you.”

Jasmine ignored Raffe’s comment as she continued to stare at Gabriel. “You would condone this? Even if it means Keda’s life?”

“I would,” he answered. Though his face was stoic, his eyes were teeming with his desire for her acceptance. “I gave Raffe’s family my word,” he tried to explain. “I will not go back on that.”

“We’re talking about a child,” she implored them both.

Raffe drew himself up straight. “And I’m talking about a task given to my family from God.”

#TBThursday

“The Ark had definite opinions on when the Israelites did things, where they went, and what they did. There was a cloud of fire that would cover the tent where the Ark resided. When the cloud was there, the Israelites would stay camped; when it dissipated they would march again. The priests spoke to the Ark and received all forms of counsel. Moses would speak with the cloud and pass out edicts to the freed slaves.”

“You would think that the rabbis would want to get the Ark back.”

“I found an interview with the head Ashkenazi rabbi, who feared the Ark being discovered. You see, the current children of Israel are not pure from the viewpoint of the Ark, and if it were found, they would have to be forbidden from seeing or touching it. Also, finding the Ark means that they have to rebuild Solomon’s temple.”

Gabriel groaned at this news. “Well, so much for them helping us.”

“The building of the third temple is tied into the end of the world and the book of Revelations. No one is going to be looking forward to those events coming to pass. Well, no one sane at least.”

“Did you get anything about the Ethiopian church?”

“I stuck with the Ark. Why?”

#wednesdaywip

“Destiny.” Raffe’s eyes conveyed the importance of his question even though she could only see him through the small strip of gauze allowed in the ritual garment. “Tell me.”

“I have other priorities right now.”

“Answer. Do you wish to be loved?”

Destiny hissed at him. He slowly withdrew his sheltering embrace. She couldn’t keep her beliefs on this subject to herself. “Love is something people use like Kleenex. People love their cars, a specific type of food, the warmth of a day.”

“What is it you wish?”

“I wish to be cherished,” she asserted. “I wish my man to accept me as I am without condition. I would have a man who would rejoice in the person I am and the life I have been forced to live. What I want is what every woman wants.”

“Here I thought you wanted to be a queen.” Raffe tried to joke to lighten the moment that was becoming fraught with emotional landmines for them both.

Destiny turned from him to return to their stealthy walk up the stairs. “I’d be the queen of my man’s heart,” she whispered loudly enough for him to understand. “That is the secret between men and women. Women wish to be queen of their man’s heart, and men wish to be king of their own harem.”

“You’re a pessimist.” He scowled, joining her in the climb.

“And you’re a fool.”

#ThrowbackThursday

Gabriel and Raffe found Jasmine sitting in the middle of the columns, her head thrown up to the sky, tears streaming down her face. They were panting from the exertion of chasing her through the streets. At first the song seemed strangely discordant, but soon Jasmine’s hands adapted to the tones of the harp and made the melody flow.

The clouds moved slightly, and a beam of sunlight pierced the gloom to bathe Jasmine in a warm light.

Raffe fell to his knees. “I have never heard the begegna played so beautifully,” he whispered.

Gabriel began to approach her, but Raffe pulled him to his knees as well. His friend acted as if they were witnessing a holy moment. The two men watched as Jasmine’s hands continued to move over the strings of the wooden instrument, the tune calling to them.

“This is the first time I have seen her truly cry,” Gabriel whispered. “She told me she vowed she wouldn’t touch another instrument until she found Keda.”

#WednesdayWIP

“How could you tell what that said?” Raffe asked.

“I recognize the name Benjamin of Tudela.”

Destiny shook her head at the wonder of it all. “You can’t read anything else?”

“Not a thing,” Gabriel said.

“So,” Raffe prompted impatiently, “tell us about your friend Benjamin.”

“To do that we shall have to return to the story of the Tomb of the Patriarchs.”

“Most problems do stem from the father.”

Destiny gave a ladylike snort into her tea at Raffe’s joke. “You should know.”

#ThrowbackThursday

Gabriel pulled Jasmine up from the floor and into his arms. He held her head tightly to his chest, smiling over the top of her hair at Destiny. “It’s not like that, Destiny. I’m like her older brother.”

“You do not act like an older brother, my friend; and I do not like being made a fool.” Destiny walked through a nearby doorway to a beautifully appointed living room and reclined on a chaise set in front of a group of plants. She knew the lighting there made her gown appear to shimmer and her skin glow like satin. Destiny was still angry that her former lover had used her connections to seduce a new bedmate, but she would be dammed if she wouldn’t remind him of all he was missing.

Her men ushered in the two Americans and made them kneel before her. Chase rolled his eyes at the drama she was conducting and said in a bored tone, “Get to the point, Destiny. What do you want?”