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Son of Mary: A Tale of Jesus of Nazareth – Book Trailer

Nazareth has been cruel to my mother, more cruel than any village ever was.

All the village says that my blood father is not the man who married my mother.

They have shamed her on the matter all my life.

Every woman asks which man of the village is my blood father.

Every man scowls and says he was not the one my mother seduced.

My mother will not tell who is my blood father.

My mother will not speak on the matter.

My mother bears her shame in silence.

Some righteous man, a prophet, said a word over me when I was a babe in arms. He told how I will redeem Israel when I grow to be a man.

Now I have grown to be a man, but I do not know how to redeem Israel. The scriptures do not explain the matter.

My people say that the man who redeems Israel must take up the sword and throw off our enemy, Rome, which we call the Great Satan.

My family says I must take up the sword.

Only I am no man of the sword. I wish with all my heart to redeem Israel, but HaShem, the God of our fathers, must tell me how.

Lately, there came a new prophet to Israel, who immerses for repentance at the river Jordan.

I went to ask the prophet how I should redeem Israel.

He said I am to smite the four Powers.

I asked what are the four Powers.

He could not say, but he said HaShem will reveal the matter to me.

I wish HaShem will reveal the matter, only I am not a prophet. Not yet.

But I will be.

Here is what I know. Every hour of every day, I feel the Presence of HaShem.

I do not know why I should feel the Presence always. My mother does not. My village does not. Even the prophet of HaShem does not.

I think the Presence will teach me the way to redeem Israel.

But I am afraid to redeem Israel.

To redeem Israel is to leave my mother to the scorn of the village.

The rage of the village.

My mother begs and cries on me to make a justice for her.

To make a justice on the village.

I do not know how to make a justice on the village.

I do not know how to redeem Israel.

But HaShem will show me the way.

I will learn how to be a prophet of HaShem.

I will learn how to redeem Israel.

I will learn how to make a justice for my mother.

I will smite the first Power.

Or I will die in the trying.

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The Next Life Universe

James G.  Robertson
James G. Robertson Author Interview

Afterworld follows Leon as he discovers a new world after death and explores questions of life and the afterlife. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?

As you rightly identified in your book review, there were various religious aspects in my book. As a child, I was raised to be a Christian, and since have found myself towards a more agnostic approach in life for many different reasons.

The story is built on that from start to finish while adding in ideas of other religions and gods. If they are indeed real, who is to say one way or another for sure and what is undoubtedly right or wrong in the grand scheme?

So that’s where the story came from which I started back around 2010. When my grandfather passed away in February, that is when I got back to completing the book.

Leon is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?

Both Leon and his grandfather are actually heavily inspired by my own life and my grandfather’s. My grandfather was a farmer and always did his best to help people as he could, and others did the same for him

when he was battling his cancer and no longer able to farm his wheat fields. I created Leon knowing those factors, and what I strive to do is to help those around me, best I can. I honestly do find our world more mundane than not, you see fantasy movies and read stories, and the possibilities are endless; yet, we seem to be stuck in a world full of the mundane. So I guess you could say that the way I was raised, and what I’ve learned over the years from taking a look at myself are essential factors behind his development. There is still plenty of room for growth in both Leon, and myself, so hopefully, you’ll see that when the sequel finds itself completed.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Humanity, as a whole, can do some extraordinary things if we are willing to come together. We just need to be willing to set aside our own aspirations and greed for only a little. You definitely get a glimpse of what humanity has the capabilities to do, both on the positive, and on the grim darker side. Other than religion, my political nature definitely played a role in this book. I think, for the most part, we are starting to see people come together more as a society than run apart. You can see this through things such as the European Union, United Nations, WHO, etc. Even if they are not perfect, and some actors shouldn’t be in the positions they are, it at least gives hopes that our world is closer. The fact that we are willing to communicate at all to solve things shows just that. This doesn’t always work, but it is better than if it weren’t there at all.

This is book one in your Next Life series. What can readers expect in book two?

So, this is where things get a little bit complicated. The Next Life series deals directly with Leon and his journey and struggles with the events in Afterworld and our universe. There is also the Next Life Universe series which is where the website gets its name, which may or may not be connected directly with Leon or even with each other. I’m building a universe that I like to call the mix between Stephen King and DC comics. The next book coming out is The Ripper which deals with the mysterious story of Jack the Ripper in a whole new perspective on the character. This will eventually be woven in with the Next Life series, so it’s worth the read. The third book will be The Desperado’s Tale which then tells of someone from a different world, that’s all I’ll say about that one. Then finally we pick back up with Leon in my 4th book Untitled (Next Life, #2). This will deal with Leon upon his return to Earth and in search of an ancient weapon. Along the way, you will see him encountering those that linger in the shadows. You will get a glimpse of this aspect in The Ripper, but it will be expanded upon in this book. Then there will be the witches and others that Leon will come in contact with and you’ll see how those relationships develop. All this as he tries to make his way back to Afterworld in a race against time. For every day on Earth, there are 100 days that pass by there.

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Mundane and boring was how Leon perceived the world. Earth had already been explored and claimed, but he never thought critically about why there was such a great separation of humanity. Nor had he thought about why there were so many different religions in the world. Leon never genuinely contemplated what would happen after death. Like many before, he never understood the truth of the universe. That all changed when a fateful camping trip took a turn for the worst. After falling into a new world, the truths of advanced science, magic, gods, and human savagery would all be showcased in all their glory. Both in a new light, and new disturbing darkness, would the truths of Earth and Afterworld give him a greater understanding of the universe; or in turn, break him as they have done to so many before?

It Arose in Dreams

Ruth Finnegan Author Interview

Ruth Finnegan Author Interview

Black Inked Pearl follows Kate, a young Irish girl, as she searches for her lost lover. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?

It began in a dream when I was in New Zealand visiting  my daughter and granddaughter who live there. This was, essentially, the first page (and chapter) of the novel when Kate,  panicked and feeling she was too young for love runs away desperately as her best childhood friend (I never learn his name) tries for the first time, a teenager to kiss her. That scene, that act,  is the foundation for the story as she years later discovers that she as frantically and desperately  loves him as she had frantically fled from him years before

I say ‘dream’ as that is the nearest word I can get, vision perhaps they would have called in in the middle Ages. But that word’s a bit misleading.  In two ways.

First, it wasn’t exactly a dream in the sense of being, asleep more an experience in that liminal in-between state of being neither awake nor asleep but somehow fully both – the whole novel came in that somehow enchanted enspelled state ( I suppose you might call it ‘inspiration’). I planned nothing, but it was still a chapter a night, written down effortlessly (I don’t even remember doing it! or, by now, what the words were. it surprises me every time – so many times – I reread the book now).

Second, ‘dream’ suggests something visual, But it was more a kind of very intense node of emotion, something very personal to me (in a metaphorical sort of way the whole book is kind of autobiographical – what serious novel is not? – and the second chapter about a small girl experiencing the magical world of Donegal – is directly so.

Then the novel – and Kate –  just grew. I came to know the hero well, but wish  that my ‘dreams’ had given me his name

Black Inked Pearl is told in a dreamlike, almost stream of consciousness, style of writing. Why did you want to tell the story in this style and what were the challenges?

Well, it arose in dreams and the writing essential came from, and took place in, my unconscious – at least that is the only way I can understand and it. So the style is scarcely surprising, it was little under my deliberate control and almost not at all revised later.

I didn’t know in what style I was writing – the process was almost unconscious – but when it was finished I saw (or rather heard when I read it aloud ih my inner ear as I always do with my writing)that   it had the rhythms and sonorities of African and Irish story-telling (my mother was a wondrous story-binder) and that some literary giants (Joyce, Fulkner, Hopkins … many others) had written in similar styles. Poetry is mixed with prose – well in a way, as with its oral resonances (a subject on which I have written in academic contexts, in Oral Poetry for example), it is all poetry, some fully, some ore in a kind of blank verse: all unexpected by me!

Also, the content. Part of what I learned as the story revealed  itself to me was that the division between dream and reality is an elusive and perhaps non–existent one.

Problems – well some of my readers have problems with it! Some object because they cannot abide what they see as ‘incorrect’ grammar orthography words, not what they learned in the first form at school  – I appreciate that they have tried but think they miss the point (how do they cope with Shakespeare?).

Others including my deeply wise best friend, get a bit lost in the plot from time to time, too full of Celtic mists said one.  It’s too late now to amend that (and maybe it is just a necessary feature of the novel – mystic, mysterious – anyway) but I have tried to make things clearer, while not abandoning what has now has now become my signature style,  in the related ‘Pearl of the Seas’ and, on the way, The helix pearl’ (the latter the same story but this time as told by the garrulouos ever-sprarklng laughing sea (a very different perspective but equally born in dreams). I wonder what is coming next ..

Oh yes, the unusual spellings were loved by the Garn Press, the lovely publishers,  but at the same time gave the copy-editor real problems. Microsoft, can yoy believe it (the cheeky thing)  kept automatically ‘correcting’ the ‘wrong’ spellings. In the end they got me to send a special list to add to their ‘glossary’ of all my new spellings and word and abbreviations etc. I thought that would be quick and easy – about fifty cases? Whew, no! They tell me, incredibly, that it was nearly two thousand! Don’t believe it! Ut they ear that’s true. Anyway, hey did a great job whatever.

Kate is an enthralling and curious character. What were the driving ideals behind her characters development throughout the story?

 As I say it wasn’t conscious since it  all came in dreams. So in a way no ‘driving ideas’.

Still I have noticed some abiding themes , detected, later, in the text, as if looking at someone else’s writing (well in way it’s NOT exactly mine, not t=in the normal way anyway  – not of the deliberate, conscious careful academically trained me). /tow especially, the ones `I swoudl like to think readers will take form the novel (and from the movie if it gets made a I hope it one day will)

First as I said earlier is the understanding , that we may pretend or think we do, but that actually we do not really know the difference between reality and dreams. Given the way we have been brought up as children of the scientific revolution, this is an exceedingly difficult idea, is it not – but so important to try to accept, specially now as we become more aware of the lives, and, in a way, precious value of those with dementia. Perhaps it is only through literature and metaphor that we can eventually begin to grasp this.

Second is the thought, revealed near the end, that it is and was indeed right as Kate did, to search for others and try to help them carry their burdens. But that in the end it isourselves we are responsible for, it is our own souls for which we have to answer before (whatever metaphor we prefer here) the last judgement throne. As Kate in the final chapters had to do.

Also, after I had finished the book, I was inspired by the little butterfly that, unknown to me, the publishers had put, with the pearl and the jagged black, on the beautiful cover. ‘Butterfly’ in Greek –elsewhere too I think – is the same word and concept  as for the soul, breath, spiritus, life:  psyche (as in ‘psychology’, ‘psychiatry’). So the soul – figured as Kate, as every man – flies through the black ink print of the story and at the end settles down on the back cover, life fulfilled story told, with her wings folded.

Kate’s discovery of herself at the end was also, I now see, a kind of discovery of myself as person, as soul.

What are some of your inspirations as a writer that helped shape Black Inked Pearl

Again, ‘dreams’, my unconscious I suppose. But, as one perceptive reviewer put it, only someone with my background and personality would have had those dreams. So – my life, my loves, my experiences of the resonances and styles and images of great literature, above all Shakespeare, Rumi, Homer and the Bible.

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An epic romance about the naive Irish girl Kate and her mysterious lover, whom she rejects in panic and then spends her life seeking. After the opening rejection, Kate recalls her Irish upbringing, her convent education, and her coolly-controlled professional success, before her tsunami-like realisation beside an African river of the emotions she had concealed from herself and that she passionately and consumingly loved the man she had rejected.

Searching for him she visits the kingdom of beasts, a London restaurant, an old people’s home, back to the misty Donegal Sea, the heavenly archives, Eden, and hell, where at agonising cost she saves her dying love. They walk together toward heaven, but at the gates he walks past leaving her behind in the dust. The gates close behind him. He in turn searches for her and at last finds her in the dust, but to his fury (and renewed hurt) he is not ecstatically recognised and thanked. And the gates are still shut.

On a secret back way to heaven guided by a little beetle, Kate repeatedly saves her still scornful love, but at the very last, despite Kate’s fatal inability with numbers and through an ultimate sacrifice, he saves her from the precipice and they reach heaven. Kate finally realises that although her quest for her love was not in vain, in the end she had to find herself – the unexpected pearl.

The novel, born in dreams, is interlaced with the ambiguity between this world and another, and increasingly becomes more poetic, riddling and dreamlike as the story unfolds. The epilogue alludes to the key themes of the novel – the eternity of love and the ambiguity between dream and reality.

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