It’s a wonderful feeling for an author to to hear back from readers (especially when those readers are so enthusiastic!) My heart is surging with happiness and I have to keep from bouncing in my chair. We write obsessed by doubts -“no one will ever read it”, “who do you think you are,” “People are just being polite about your writing etc.” I’m sure we’ve all had to fight off those voices, or try to tune out to their perpetual murmurs. So, I want to share these first reviews with you, to encourage you to keep going, block your ears and know there are kindred souls out there who will empathise with your voice.
“I started reading “When Falls the Night” in the early afternoon and couldn’t put it down. It was a real page turner! A mixture of science fiction, adventure, love story and mystery – just my sort of book. She doesn’t gloss over the more disturbing incidents with moments of darkness and deep emotion. Well done for a first publication. I look forward to the next. Susan Loader.
“When Falls the Night” is a book that any reader would find difficult to put down. Its story line is riveting, and the heroes seem so real that one finds it difficult to leave them after turning the last page. It couldn’t have been published at a better time as it makes one question the meaning of what is happening in the world. Manon Vuilleumier.
“This is an amazing book. Easy reading, enjoyable, riveting. Fictional, but real story, full of jewels how the near future may play out. Couldn’t put it down. Wouldn’t miss it for the world! Especially I recommend it for right now, at the end of historic 2020, as more than a ray of hopefulness and encouragement as we move into these uncharted times.”
“I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.” And he replied: “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than a light and safer than a known way.”
I don’t know if your Christmas was like mine (a succession of grim fought battles) but it seems many were. I was feeling a little down, a little lacking in “Christmas spirit”. Then I heard a voice in my heart. “Christmas was full of battles, battles and great joy,” it whispered.
I reflected on the Christmas story, anything but “warm and fuzzy”, with its fearful visitations, rejection and humiliation, its hard journey on the jolting back of a donkey to find no refuge, or comfort at journeys end. Its having to flee from a tyrant’s wrath. Yet woven into the fabric of fear and stress were those moments of supreme joy – the birth of God among men, the prophecies fulfilled, the arrival of shepherds, who alone understood the symbolism of the sacrificial lamb, wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger, the visit of the magi, wisest of the wise, who read the signs and provided the means for their trip to Egypt.
I realised I had experienced a true Christmas.
God had made it possible against all odds for my daughter’s Danish husband to make it home from Greenland for Christmas (oh the joy in their faces!) Another daughter’s abrupt panic and seeming relapse into long covid, on hearing news of a new strain, was slowly replaced by peace and wellbeing. Best of all the diagnosis that my soon to be eighth grandson and beloved youngest daughter could be in danger proved to be a miscalculation. Mother and baby are fine and nearing a regular delivery the consultant confirmed. Battles though these were, each turned to a resounding victory heralding great joy, far more precious than the warm fuzzy feelings I’d been hoping for.
Strangely having recognised this, the Lord gave me the Christmas I’d been seeking, not on Dec 25th. but soon after, a peaceful day full of all the joys of Christmas, good food, games, carols, and a Christmas movie, celebrated with a dear friend and abounding in “warm, fuzzy feelings”. The Lord is so good to us!
Perhaps though we should remember, particularly in these days, a Christian’s path tends to be strewn with battles and war, victory and intense joy, rather than warm fuzzy feelings.
Christmas cannot be stopped by rules and regulations. It’s been celebrated in prisoner of war camps, in gulags. Even in the death camps it was not forgotten. If anything, it was stronger. Stripped of the trimmings, the food and glitter, Christmas gives forth it’s pure message, that hope was born into the world. Alone into a dark place of foreign occupation, of poverty and heartbreak, hope was born.
Not yet the certainty, but the seed, a tiny baby yet to grow, yet to heal, comfort, and mend the broken hearts, to set the captives free. They couldn’t see it yet. As the song goes, “Mary did you know?” How could she know all that was to come to pass, the joy and the pain this life brings, but she believed. Stripped of its Santa’s and reindeer, the tinsel and holly, stripped even of the presence of those we love dearly, Christmas still stands unconquerable in all its hope and glory.
I was watching my Christmas lights wink at me today from the comfort of my sofa. December always seems to go hand in hand with reminiscing. We reflect on the last 12 months, committing the highs to memory and banishing the lows to the year we leave behind.
Most, if not all of us, will be glad to see the back of 2020. The global pandemic and ensuing chaos has been challenging (to put it mildly). It’s safe to say no one has fully escaped its effects in one way or another. However, as 2020 draws to a close, I’m choosing to focus on some of the more positive outcomes we’ve seen. Communities have come together to support each other in tangible, unselfish ways. We’ve fed each other, clothed each other, and helped each other tackle these unprecedented times!
As December rolls in (and 2020 rolls out) I’m choosing to focus on the achievements of the year, rather than its pitfalls.
Perhaps the most significant (and in hindsight, ironic) personal milestone this year was seeing “When Falls the Night” come to fruition! I use ‘significant’ for obvious reasons – it’s been a lifelong goal of mine to publish a novel. When Falls the Night is the end product of decades of dabbling in creative writing (my hard drive can attest to this). Looking past my Christmas lights and seeing its cover binding among my other novels feels surreal – and empowering!
You’ll remember I used ‘ironic’ to describe publishing my book as well. Well, let’s be honest – there’s definitely been an apocalyptic undercurrent to this crazy year! We only have to look at our social media feeds to see the countless ‘zombie apocalypse meets Jumanji’ memes in circulation. Injecting a bit of humour into an otherwise difficult situation is always great – but ‘many a truth is spoken in jest’. This year has come eerily close to mirroring a lot of apocalyptic scenarios we’re used to only seeing on the big screen…
Or the pages of a book.
When I wrote ‘When Falls the Night’, it was important to me to accurately represent the grim reality of the post-apocalyptic world it features. However, I also wanted to convey a message of hope. That there IS life after death (whether literal or figurative). That we CAN rebuild ourselves and our communities. That tragedy can unite instead of divide us if we let it. That we can heal.
Healing and hope are gifts that everyone can offer. And while social distancing, tiers and restrictions may prevent us from imparting these in person, the power of the written word still stands. It’s why books have stood the test of the time, and are still one of the most popular gifts during the Christmas season when we’re all at home with time to reflect.
I started writing ‘When Falls the Night’ before I knew just how relevant it would become – and how soon! I’m now so thankful I was able to paint a picture of recovery from global (and personal) trauma. Reading back over it fills me with me hope for the future. Many of my readers have reached out and expressed the same.
If I could, I’d send every single reader a copy of my book right now. That’s how much I believe in its relevance to this year’s troubles and the coming year’s path to hope. And while it may not be conventional fireside reading (it’s pretty far from Charles Dickens), I’d like to think the reminder of God’s hand in our own through the darkest times is particularly relevant – and a gift that keeps on giving!
Before I sign off to collect my grandson from his Christmas Disco (another thing I’m thankful for, though never thought I’d need to be – support bubbles), I’ll include a link below for any of whose interest my musings might have piqued: (It’s on offer).
I checked this out with a Danish resident and not only has the intended draconian law been totally withdrawn, 6 ministers who knew it to be illegal have been sacked! Not mentioned here – it was in large part due to the actions of a Danish proffessor who said, “if one of my students proposed these action I would flunk them as they are clearly illegal.” It seems the government clearly overstepped the mark and has had to do a U turn on this. A real victory for civil liberties.
Also in the news a Portugise court has declared the PCR tests unreliable and unlawful to use to quarantine people. Two major victories in one day! Of course you probably wont find them on news media, but hopefully this will be a shot accross the bows for other governments seeking to use covid to enlarge their powers. Thank God for this glimmer of hope!
Purges, fear, anxiety, gloom, doom, and depression.
Reduces the effects of aging.
Has even been known to bring peace in the midst of war (see “Joyous Noel”)
Have you guessed it yet?
A genuine shot of Christmas!
I don’t of course mean the materialistic hustle for presents and party goods, but the joyful remembrance of the greatest gift of all, celebrated with those we love most. Strangely I suspect with all that’s transpired the past year, the chaos and fearmongering, the disturbing signs and most off all the separation from loved ones, this may be the truest celebration in years.
On Sunday we decided to bring both Christian zoom groups (all close friends) together to pray and hear from the Lord. Many of us were feeling anxious and confused by current events and needing direction.
One of the many things that really spoke to me was the message, “proclaim a fast”. I heard the Lord so clearly, “not a food fast, but a media fast”. I’d been concerned for a while that my “needing to stay abreast of things going on” had become a burden to my spirit. This was the confirmation.
I decided to do a complete fast for 3 days, no movies, documentaries, books, social media feeds, and most of all no news (I dropped TV at 13 and never resumed). By the end of the first day I was already convinced to make it permanent (at least the news and media feed parts).
I felt a huge burden shifted. I no longer had to struggle and fight to stay positive. My chanel to Jesus became so clear. His voice, so comforting and reassuring, cleansed away all fears and concerns. He was in control, no matter what, just as He always has been, my heart reasserted. It was so much easier to have faith when not battling all the negativity swamping the media. I hadn’t realised the extent of my “addiction”. Though I still spent an hour every morning in communion, I then spent up to two hours sometimes researching “important stuff” to stay abrest of the times. I’ve freed up so much time!
So no more. If the Lord wants me to be aware of some developement He can show me (God knows my kids have their fingers on the pulse in their various fields). No, there may be some called to politics etc. (Wilberforce comes to mind) but that is not me. I intend to “abide (firmly) in my calling” which is passing on things from Jesus, not the media, or even the various truth and liberty platforms, well meaning and essential as they are.