Thursday, April 26, 2018

Doing Research Right

By Elizabeth Musser @EMusserAuthor 




My inspirational fiction is historical. 


I write what I like to read. With a novel, I want the author to have done her homework and present me with a well-crafted story that fits believably within whatever time-period she has chosen. I will very rarely pick up a history book and read it (I was not very good at reading my history books even in college), but I’ll gladly learn from a novel.

So, I do lots of research. 


Sometimes as a writer, it’s a bit maddening to realize that I’ve spent days and maybe weeks understanding a particular part of history that may in fact only be mentioned in a couple of paragraphs in my book. But the research must be done well to lend credibility to the story, and, in the end, I am richer for it.

A few months ago, I was blithely reading a historical fiction novel, one that had made it on many bestseller lists and came highly recommended. I was enjoying it immensely, especially because this engaging and harrowing story was recounting an unknown-to-me part of history in America. I turned the pages quickly…

Until… 


…the author did something that made me mad. She used a caricature for a character, grossly exaggerating something supposedly historical to the point that I just didn’t buy it.

And I felt deflated. 


Suddenly all of her exquisite prose and careful research unraveled for me. I finished the otherwise fine novel, but that one little slip by the author had tainted the story for me. It also served as a fresh reminder to do my research ‘right’.

I remembered all too well my first historical hiccup… 



In my debut novel, Two Crosses, I included an Author’s Note at the end, explaining the details of the Huguenot cross as it fit into French history. Somewhere between my writing the note and the publishing of the novel, the course of history got changed! I was mortified to discover that I had inadvertently destroyed the meaning of The Edict of Nantes*. (I actually think my editor changed it, and I never got to proof that part.)

Boy, was I embarrassed.

Fortunately for me, Two Crosses was reprinted (and re-edited!!!) a few years ago. My dear editor friend and I giggled at the mistakes we had made way back when.

How do we do research ‘right’? 


I’m obviously no expert, but here are three things that have helped me:

1) Whenever possible, get a first-hand account. 

 

This could come through an interview, research in a reputed history book or magazine, visiting a museum that has documented the history—something a little more trustworthy that Wikipedia (although I sometimes start there, just to get an idea.)

2) Visit the area.


As often as possible, I travel to the place I’m writing about to see it ‘up close and personal’. I need a visual to inspire my writing, so that my descriptions are accurate. If I can’t visit, I watch documentaries or find photos online of the actual place.

I visited the town of Aigues-Mortes in France while doing research for Two Crosses. The Tower of Constance, where Huguenot women were imprisoned in the 17th century, is seen in the distance.


3) Have smart and informed historians read your work.


(ie family, friends, professors, teachers, experts in the field). I’ve often been saved embarrassment by having someone wiser than I correct me.

My latest inspiration comes from a recent trip to Florida to visit Fort Caroline, the very first place that French Huguenots landed in what is now the United States. Or is it? A Huguenot descendant just told me last weekend that a reputable source is claiming that Fort Caroline was actually in Georgia.

At Fort Caroline

And so I go back to the drawing board…for a little more research…and trust that it will be worth it. 


*In 1598 The Edict of Nantes granted religious freedom to the first French Protestants (called Huguenots) until it was revoked by King Louis IV in 1685.


About Elizabeth Musser

ELIZABETH MUSSER usually writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France. For over twenty-five years, Elizabeth and her husband, Paul, have been involved in missions’ work in Europe. To be closer to family, the Mussers have moved back to the Southeast for 2017-2018 school year and are living in the Chattanooga area near their son, daughter-in-law and three grandkids. But you can read about her humorous Thanksgiving experiences in France here. Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Twitter, and her blog.


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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Wandering Wednesday - Digging Up Secrets

Hi everyone, Sandra Orchard here. 

Who wouldn’t want to visit the gorgeous Orcas island to research their book?


It is, after all, one of the loveliest of the 172 named San Juan Islands, which dot the sparkling waters of Puget Sound off the Washington State coast. It’s home to an assortment of plant life and wildlife. The quaint villages offer unique shops, fine food and numerous outdoor activities, including whale-watching, sea-kayaking, hiking, cycling, and sailing. And to top off the breathtaking ocean views, there are scenic farmlands and vineyards, and deep emerald forests, dotted with lakes.

When I was invited to write Digging Up Secrets, the fifth book in the multi-author Victorian Mansion Flower Shop Mysteries, set on Orcas Island, I was certainly game.

But alas . . . our circumstances don’t always allow for such fact-finding expeditions.

Yet sometimes life conspires in other ways to equip an author to write a story.
Book Cover for Digging Up Secrets by Sandra Orchard

I was in the midst of a summer-long hospital stay with my grandson at the time my editor invited me to write DiggingUp Secrets, but I knew instantly that I’d have no trouble finding fodder for it.

Sometimes the culmination of research from previous projects combined with the ridiculous calamities of our personal lives swirl together to create the perfect storm, or in this case, story idea.

First of all, the series’ heroine, Kaylee Bleu, has just taken over her grandmother’s flower shop housed in an old Victorian Mansion and I live in a similar old house—very old. In fact, two days before my editor emailed I’d been home for the weekend and our well’s foot pump went kaput. Before it could be fixed and we could have water again, we had to dig down to the wellhead.

Trouble was . . . we didn’t know where it was!

Based on where the pipes entered the basement, we began digging. And by the time we unearthed the wellhead, we had a grave-size hole, five feet deep beside our house. So . . .

Of course, I knew the same trouble needed to befall Kaylee. After all being without water for several days is pretty troublesome for a flower shop with countless thirsty flowers inside. But was it troublesome enough?

How much better would it be to find unknown human remains in the hole?

I mean the police will be slow to release the crime scene and allow the plumber to get her well back in operation, which not only puts her plants’ health in jeopardy, but her entire business.

Thankfully, the dead body part came from my imagination, not personal experience!

Then again . . . when my kids were younger, they did set up an “archaeological dig” next to our house and came across some bones.

But I’m pretty sure they were old beef bones a dog had buried.

I hope.

As if we didn’t have enough crazy things to deal with that summer, once we had the new pump installed, the awesome improved water pressure blew our hot water tank and flooded the basement. So . . .

I did what every intelligent author does when something bugs her . . .  I wrote it into the story.

As I alluded to earlier, it also helped that I had tons of “plant research” under my belt from my Port Aster Secrets Mysteries.

You see, Kaylee has a PhD in plant taxonomy, and had been a university professor who also did forensic botany consulting for law enforcement, before her position was suddenly eliminated.  

She also tends to refer to plants by their taxonomical name, rather than their common name, a phenomenon I also have ample experience with, since my eldest daughter studied horticulture for three years.

To top it off, while I didn’t get to visit the picturesque Orcas Island, I previously gained a helpful perspective on “island life” while researching Martha’s Vineyard for Over Maya Dead Body. So the extent of my “wandering” in researching this book extended to interviewing a few florists for anecdotal details.

And yes, when you get to the <shudder> creature Kaylee finds in her flowerpot, that is true-to-life too. But thankfully not mine!

About Digging Up Secrets:

Nothing is coming up roses for Kaylee Bleu. Not only are all of the plants in her flower shop going thirsty because of a busted well pump, but a competing florist on Orcas Island is stealing customers from The Flower Patch. As if that wasn’t enough to turn her into Florist Grump, a new client who could be Kaylee’s golden ticket to the lucrative country club set is also her most persnickety yet—and continuously threatens to take her business elsewhere.

But all of that seems like no big deal when Kaylee’s plumber discovers a fractured skull in her shop’s yard. The remains belong to Danny Lane, a troubled teen accused of killing a high school girl in a boating accident thirty-five years ago. The consensus around Turtle Cove was that the boy fled town shortly after the accident, but Kaylee thinks the holes in that story are as big as the grave-size pit dug up around her well head.


Unfortunately, somebody on Orcas Island wants Kaylee to leave the past buried.

Your Turn:

If you could go anywhere to research a book, or explore the location of a favourite book you've read, where would you go? 

Orcas Island Photo By Patrick_McNally, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54371764


Sandra Orchard—winner of several Canadian Christian writing awards, the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, and the National Readers’ Choice Award, among others—leaps off the garden trails of her herbal-medicine-researcher-turned-amateur-sleuth (Port Aster Secrets) series, to the museum corridors of her plucky FBI art crime agent Serena Jones, in A Fool and His Monet, Another Day Another Dali and Over Maya Dead Body. When not plotting crimes, Sandra plays make-believe with her young grandchildren or hikes with her hubby and husky near their home in Ontario, Canada. 

Subscribe to Sandra’s newsletter to receive a subscriber-exclusive mini-novella. 
Learn more about Sandra’s books and bonus features, as well as writer helps, at www.SandraOrchard.com

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Bookish Tuesday: Pounamu - the sacred greenstone of New Zealand

By Cindy Williams|@nutritionchic 



 If you have never visited New Zealand the title of ‘The Pounamu Prophecy’ may have you scratching your head. What on earth is pounamu?

 Pounamu is the Maori word for greenstone, a unique type of jade found only in the remote and rugged rivers of the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand. If you walk the spectacular Routeburn track you can see one of the routes Maori took through the treacherous southern mountains to collect pounamu. Imagine carting sacks of stones over steep mountain passes and across swift flowing rivers. No wonder Maori had one of the best physiques in the world!


A Sacred Stone

Pounamu is a sacred stone, often carved into jewellery and treasured by Maori as a sign of status or power. It is a stone one could readily endow with spiritual qualities.

In ‘The Pounamu Prophecy’ Mere gives her pounamu pendant, carved in the shape of a fishing hook, to Helene. Helene knows it is special to Mere and protests.

 ‘But I don’t deserve it.’ 

‘You don’t need to deserve a gift; you just receive it. And then say thank you.’ Mere’s amused scolding lightened the moment. 

‘Thank you, Mere. This is so special. I will wear it always.’ She hung it around her neck. The stone felt cool against her chest. She rubbed its smooth surface. 

‘My grandfather named this stone Rongo, which means peace,' said Mere. 'I used to think the stone gave me peace but I finally realised that it wasn’t the stone, but the maker of the stone.’ 

‘You mean your grandfather?’ 

‘I mean the maker of all stones, trees, people, the universe. God is the one who gives us peace.’


A Stone of Peace

Pounamu is still used today as a treasured gift to promote peace. When my husband’s mother died there was a bitter dispute over where she should be buried. As the eldest son, my husband had to decide what to do. The two tribes argued for a whole day until late at night he called his uncles.

As dramatic as any movie, they drove through the dead of night, stole her body and took her home to her own tribe. After the three day tangi the tribe sent a delegation to the offended tribe, giving them a gift of a large piece of pounamu to restore the tribe's mana (status) and to make peace.


Similarly, my cousin used pounamu as a symbol of peace to honour his brother who was tortured and murdered by the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia. In the movie, 'Brother Number One' he drops a treasured piece of pounamu into the sea where the Khmer Rouge had captured him just off the coast of Cambodia.

 A Stone of Strength and Beauty

Pounamu is strong. It can break granite and cut through steel - ideal for use as a tool or weapon. As a child I remember my father wishing he had extended his vegetable garden just a few more feet. Why? Because the new owner found a pounamu mere, a deadly club carved in the shape of a tear drop, a rare and valuable treasure.

Pounamu is smooth and cool and soothing and has a depth of pattern, as though peering into the deepest green waters. It is a reminder of how much our God loves to create beauty in this world. As you read this beautiful Maori blessing allow the peace of our Lord to soothe your mind and calm your heart.

May the calm be widespread
May the surface of the ocean glisten like green stone
And may the shimmer of summer dance across your path forever.





 About Cindy Williams 

With degrees in Nutrition, Public Health and Communication Cindy has worked for many years as a dietitian for sports teams, food industry, media, and as a nutrition writer and speaker.

Her first novel, The Pounamu Prophecy, was short listed for the 2016 Caleb Prize. She writes a blog - www.nutritionchic.com - stories of health, history, food and faraway places.

She lives in Sydney with her husband and son, writing stories of flawed women who battle injustice... and sometimes find romance.



Monday, April 23, 2018

Returning the gift of generosity to my writing friends


Being a generous writer is something I aspire to be.

As writers, we are given so much at a God level – a story to write or the seed of an idea that germinates into something beautiful. We are gifted with the ability to write that story, and to fulfill its promise. And we are given those people around us. Over my fiction writing journey – a smaller three year chunk of a two-decade professional writing stint – I have had so many people be generous to me.

 I am grateful for those who were (and continue to be) generous in:
  • A kind word. Writing can be a slog. I’ve been there … that place where you are convinced that every single word you put on the page is going to be edited out. Where you start to wonder if your characters are actually characterless. The point where you’re not even sure YOU’RE interested in your plot, let alone anyone else. It’s at this moment that some people have offered a kind word or a message: just something that says “I appreciate your gift.” If you’ve said that to me, thank you.
  • Their feedback. And by feedback I don’t mean the usual kind Auntie-style feedback that says “you should publish this, it will become a best-seller.” The feedback I’m grateful for is when someone (usually a writer themselves) who tells me the story is okay but needs some work in Character A or Plot Twist B. If you’ve provided this type of feedback to me, thank you.
  • An idea. As writers we can tend to the secretive when it comes to ideas. One of the big concerns I hear a lot from writers is this concept of playing your cards close to your chest, just in case they’re sitting on a best-selling idea and someone appropriates it. But writing is collaborative – it has to be – in order to fulfill the potential of a story. I’ve had people read my work and offered suggestions that have made a character stronger, or driven the plot into a left-hand turn to really throw the reader when they thought they could see what was coming. If you’ve provided an idea like this, thank you.
  • Support and encouragement. I’ve got a mentor (and I’d encourage you all to get one if you don't), and I can say that Jim’s encouragement of me has kept the candle burning and the hamster wheel spinning. I’ve had other encouragements through this Facebook group, other Facebook groups, email lists and friends on social media. If you’ve provided support like that to me, thank you.
  • Taking an interest. Sometimes it’s the unexpected message asking how things are going. Sometimes it’s the message after a deadline to see how things are tracking. Sometimes it’s just someone saying hello and wanting to know more about what I’m writing. This interest has fuelled me when things have been slow or difficult. So if you’ve taken an interest in my writing, thank you. 
So what is the takeaway from this?

I have set myself a challenge in 2018 to be as generous as people have been with me. To reciprocate; to return the favour to someone who could benefit from it as much as I did. To bless others as I have been blessed.

It’s not always easy, as life gets busy and deadlines tend to draw your gaze down to the page, where it often stays. Where either work or family calls you away from those writing around you. But it’s something I’m trying to be more conscious of, and proactive about.

And I’d encourage you to do the same. As someone who has been on the receiving end of generous writers, I can guarantee you it makes a difference.

Friday, April 20, 2018

A Still Small Voice

Lorraine Hossington | @lorrainehossing



I had an opportunity last week to spend the day at a quiet day of prayer at a Christian retreat centre in Wales. Nicholaston House is set in it’s own grounds and is in the countryside. I went knowing what passage of scripture to study and ready to write out notes.

Yet this was not to be. God wanted to do something different and my plans began to change.

Luke 10:40-42 (NIV) Jesus at the home of Martha and Mary.

Martha complains that she has been left to do all the preparation by herself and that Mary is not helping her. Yet Jesus said that Mary had chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.

As I sat in the quiet trying to study scripture, God spoke to me. He told me to put my own agenda aside and listen to him. This was my time to be a Mary and sit in his presence and listen to what he had to say. It was a time of peace and a refilling of the Holy Spirit in my life. Sometimes we all need a refreshing especially when our spiritual tanks start to register on empty. When our cars run out of petrol we need to go and have it filled up, or it won’t go anywhere. God is our fuel and we need him all the time to help us with every situation in our lives.

Life can be difficult and challenging at times. Yet I want to encourage you to come to God as much as possible, to seek his face and have a close and joyous relationship with him. John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (NIV) This is what Jesus wants for us an abundance and overflowing of life. And by having a relationship with him this is what we will have.

I love the way God can speak to us in so many different ways. He can use his word or a person. The verse of a song or an unexpected way. A few years ago I bumped into someone from a former church I attended. As we talked he surprised me by telling me that he had been praying for me since I had given my life to the Lord. This came as a surprise to me. It was wonderful to know that all those years someone had decided to pray for me. And that same afternoon in the ministry that I was a part of, something happened that put me and my friend in a dangerous place with some people. Yet knowing that someone had been praying for me for a few years just really encouraged my heart and knowing that God was in the situation and that he is in control helped me through this time.

1 King 19:6-7(NIV) Elijah Flees to Horeb (NIV)

Elijah had done so much that he felt afraid and exhausted he couldn’t do anymore. Sometimes that’s what happens in ministry you give and give until there is no more that you have left. God gave time for Elijah to be strengthened and healed before sending him out again. Maybe this is your time for restoration and refreshing, to come out of the desert place and into green pastures. A time for your healing to happen and for a new beginning to take place. God will never give up on us he loves us unconditionally and wants to see us whole.

Lorraine Hossington lives in the Gower Peninsular in Wales. She writes contemporary Christian Fiction. And loves nature and being able to see the wild ponies and sheep on the hills in the area she lives in. As she used to live in the city, but loves where God has put her in the country.
Twitter @lorrainehossing Facebook Lorraine Hossington

Thursday, April 19, 2018

A simple cry for help

 Paul Baines| @ICFWriters

Thinking of something to write for this blog has been the toughest thing I have had to do all week, and it's been one of those weeks.

I am still drawing a blank, so I will do what I always do when I don't know what to write: start writing.

To be honest, I haven't written much in over a year now. When my wife fell ill my life went into a strange twilight zone in which everything I knew and believed was turned upside down.

For most of my Christian life I have followed the "prayer warrior" mentality. This was my wife's influence. When she started taking her faith seriously just before we got married she attended the Durban Christian Centre with Fred Roberts and Kim Clement, where they taught the principles of spiritual warfare.

While sorting through my wife's possessions recently I found her stack of prayer journals. It is all prayer warrior stuff: pleading the blood of Jesus, binding the enemy, bringing down spiritual strongholds.

As a couple, our prayers were always very directed. A problem arose and we would pray for a distinct solution. A need came up and we would pray to receve whatever it was we lacked. It was all very specific.

So when my wife was taken into hospital and we were told there was no hope, you would imagine my prayers were as directed as usual. Actually, the opposite happened. I simply handed it all to God. If I prayed anything it was "Lord, you take control" or simply "help."

I let go.

A lot happened at once in those final weeks. I handed in notice at my work, gave notice on the house, and faced the daunting prospect of getting my seriously ill wife from mainland Europe to the UK. I did not even know if we were fully covered by our health insurance. For all I knew, I was facing a huge hospital bill. I was now unemployed, had very little in the bank, and had no idea how I was going to move my wife back home along with a house full of stuff collected over 16 years.

It was too much for the "prayer warrior" approach. All I could do was hand it over, and trust.

Sure I got busy praying for healing, but that was something I could aim at. The rest was too big. Before I handed it all over, I felt like I was drowning. After I gave it to God, I had a strange, almost fatalistic, peace. Nothing mattered. Nothing I could do would change anything. God was in charge. His will be done.

Looking back, I can see miracle after miracle as every single problem was solved. It was like having the best personal assistant in the world.

A support worker at the hospital spent hours on the telephone with the insurance company until they assured him that they would not only cover all hospital bills but would ship my wife to a hospice of our choosing in the UK by air ambulance. The house rental agency agreed to a one month notice period (it had been a year when we moved in). The landlord said that we could take our time with the move and even helped me with the packing. My work situation changed for the better.

It was a big lesson for me as a Christian. These days I still have a few specific prayers but, for the most part, it is a more general plea for help. God knows what is wrong, what needs doing, and how to do it.

After all, we are His children. When our own kids get into a mess, they don't ask us for specifics. They don't say "Mum/Dad, I spilled ink all over the carpet. Please call the cleaning company and find their best price for removing the stain using the perfect equipment."

No, they simply say "Mum/Dad I dropped the ink. Please help."

Maybe kids are onto something there.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Wandering Wednesday : A Trip to Paul’s Dungeon

By Nathan D Maki @NathanDMaki


Walk with me if you will into the Great Forum of Ancient Rome. My wife and I had that opportunity for our tenth wedding anniversary a couple years ago. Look up as you pass beneath the Arch of Titus and note the golden candlestick his troops carried away from the Temple after the sack of Jerusalem.


Turn around for a moment to view the looming Coliseum, that wonder of ancient architecture, splendid but deadly, built with the proceeds and by the slaves from Titus’s conquest.


Watch your step! The broad paving stones of the ancient Via Sacra are anything but smooth and regular. Let’s continue on, past the tumbled temple of the Vestal Virgins, the broken pillars of Rome’s sacred hearth, and the tomb of Julius Caesar, and you will find yourself before what is now known as Mamertine Prison.

It now has a gaudy façade added later, but beneath that façade lies a stark reality. Ancient Rome had only one prison. Then known as simply The Carcer, this irregularly shaped stone chamber was sandwiched in among the buildings and hills ringing the Forum of Rome. Just a few paces across, it was tiny compared with Rome’s population or our sprawling modern-day supermaxes. Justice, or what passed for it in the Roman Empire, leaned more toward scourging, branding, enslavement, exile, or execution than long-term incarceration.


Beneath that bare stone room lay the Tullianum. Once a cistern, it was now utilized as a dungeon for the most infamous prisoners awaiting execution. Nowdays visitors to Rome can make their way down via a staircase. In Paul’s day, those condemned to this dungeon were literally cast into prison, dropped through a round hole in the floor to plummet six or seven feet onto the cold stone floor below. A sewer ran beneath the dungeon for easy disposal of bodies. One can only imagine the musty stench, the bone-aching damp. There, in the endless darkness, most would come to long for the day of their execution.

Artistic renderings and movies portray this dungeon as relatively well-lit, Paul sitting and writing in a beam of sunlight coming through one or more barred windows or overhead grates. In reality, he and his faithful friend and physician Luke must have hunched over a candle, oil lamp, or guttering torch, a small mercy perhaps from a sympathetic guard. There Paul wrote his final letter to Timothy.

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

(2 Timothy 4:7-8 KJV)


In Paul’s words from that dungeon we hear not the resigned sigh of a condemned man, but the triumphant proclamation of a marathon runner who has followed the path laid out for him.

Not the easiest way. Not the path of least resistance. But the course Jesus marked for him.


Now Paul was ready to break through the finish line with arms raised, ascend the podium, and accept the victor’s crown.

Is that a path you would be willing to tread? Would you be willing to forgo comfort for a dungeon? To give up everything, even your life, for the cause of Christ?

In The Keeper’s Crown, I have sought to bring Paul to life through the eyes of the soldier chained to him for the last years of his life. I did so because I believe Paul the Apostle has much to say to us today. We who wear no chains but those of our own making, who dwell in no dungeon but our own fears. My hope and prayer is that through the life of Paul we will be challenged to rise up, a Church of spiritual warriors to fight the good fight of faith in a world every bit as depraved and desperate for the Gospel as the Roman Empire under Nero.

If the First Century church could say anything to the Twenty-first Century church, if Paul could speak to us today, what would he say?


Perhaps this:

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

(2 Timothy 4:2-5 KJV)


What do you think Paul would say if he walked into your church this Sunday and was invited to speak?


About The Keeper’s Crown

Paul turned the world upside down. Nero set it on fire.
Caught between them, can Quintus and Jael survive long enough to find the Truth?

In The Keeper’s Crown, readers will see Paul’s life and ministry in an immediate and accessible way, through the eyes of the young soldier who kept him under guard in Rome. The book follows Paul from his arrest in the Temple in Jerusalem, through his trials, transportation to Rome, shipwreck on Malta, imprisonment, appearance before Nero, and his eventual martyrdom. Along the way we meet such familiar figures as the governors Felix and Festus, King Agrippa, Timothy, Onesimus, Epaphroditus, Demas, and Emperor Nero. Paul’s courage and determination and the overarching theme of “What is Godly Success?” will challenge believers to dare greatly and obey God’s will no matter the cost. All of this presented in an engaging, action-packed book that gets the message across without being “preachy.”

Reviewers had this to say…

"Those who are fans of Francine Rivers “Mark of the Lion” trilogy will enjoy Nate Maki’s immersive “The Keeper’s Crown.”

"I was not only unable to put it down, I just HAD to see where the story as well as characters were going."

"Impeccably researched, this tale is difficult to put down."

"Well-polished, The Keeper’s Crown will leave you with highs and lows of emotion, and an inner seeking of what the story means to you, and to your family."

"If you have ever wondered what kind of person the apostle Paul was, this novel will satisfy that curiosity: his thorn in the flesh, how God ordained his lengthy imprisonment, being chained to a Roman soldier throughout, standing against the unbelieving Sanhedrin, and touching lives all the way to Nero's palace."

“A monumental work of much power.”

View the book trailer!


Order your copy today in either e-book ($4.99) or paperback ($19.99)!

About Nathan D. Maki


A life-long love for historical fiction and a passion to create high-intensity, realistic novels from a Christian world view has propelled Nathan into his writing career. He is the author of the War Within series of novels set in Ancient Rome and most recently The Keeper's Crown, a novel of the Apostle Paul.

A recent trip to Rome to walk the ancient streets, explore the Catacombs, and stand in the Coliseum plunged Nathan even deeper into the ancient world he brings to life for his readers.
Nathan's novels combine the faith and romance of Francine Rivers's Mark of the Lion trilogy with the action and adventure of Bernard Cornwell or Conn Iggulden.

Nathan lives in Ontario, Canada, with his wife, son, and three very spoiled dogs. He pastors a church and manages his own business in addition to his writing. Sometimes he even sleeps.

Connect with Nathan

Email: NathanDMaki@hotmail.com