Novel Thoughts

THE BRIDES OF ALBA SERIES

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BOOK 1 - 2010

 

Many of you are aware of my passion for historical research. When a friend forwarded me a magazine article about what happened to the Davidic line after the nation of Israel scattered (1 and 2 Kings), I became intrigued with the possibilities. So I started a three-year journey of earnest research that birthed this new series.


With The Brides of Alba, I am once again stepping into the Dark Ages and surely controversial histories and traditions. It is set in the late sixth-century Scotland of Arthur, Prince of Dalraida, the only historically documented Arthur. Most scholarly sources point to Arthur, Merlin, and even Guinevere/Gwenhyfar as titles, so it’s easy to see why the Age of Arthur lasted over 100 years. There was more than one. The Dark Ages become even darker when you consider that there was no standard for dating and even the records that exist are written in at least four different languages. Neither names, dates, place names, or translations are completely reliable. So I quote eighth-century historian Nenius: “I have made a heap of all I could find.”


In Healer, Prince Arthur, like his historical forefathers, had claim to the royal bloodline of David and that of the apostolic priestly line from the first-century family and friends of Jesus according to multiple sources. A few are listed in the Bibliography (see p. 00). Because my hero and heroine are of similar heritage, they are greatly affected by the rules and traditions of these sacred lines. Just how so, came from the Arthurian scholars’ works highlighted in the booklist, Chadwick in particular. From these books come an Arthur and a Scotland/Britain that is unique to history, tradition, lore, and the Christian faith. (See Arthurian Characters on p. 00 and The Grail Palace on p. 00 for more.)


If figuring out who was who wasn’t hard enough, I also tackled the task of showing our fledgling early church and faith struggle in this time before science evolved from what was known as nature magic, and from where nature magic was often supplemented or replaced by miracle or dark magic. It is the last two that involve the supernatural—divine miracle or demonic magic. Nature magic was the knowledge and use of the properties of God’s wonderful creation, a knowledge practiced by my Christian heroine and accompanied by God. But sometimes it was used for evil and accompanied by dark magic. I can tell you that the research of some elements needed for the story left me unsettled and clinging to God’s shirttail and Scripture for discernment.


I found myself reading and re-reading the verses below as I worked on this novel and endeavored to show the difference between Christians and nonbelievers, as well as between the Christian Celtic or druidic priests, the Roman priests, and the non-believing druids. (Bear in mind that druid in that time was a word for any professional—doctors, judges, poets, teachers, proto-scientists, as well as priests. Druid meant “teacher, rabbi, magi, or master,” not the dark, hooded stereotype assumed by many today.


With regard to nature magic (proto-science) as well as the power of the Holy Spirit in the believer, I gravitated in my work to these verses:

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal.—2 Corinthians 4:18

And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.—Luke 8:10 

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.—1 John 4:1-3

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.—John 15:5 

Many of you know how my daughter had been stalked and assaulted in college, blamed and turned against God, and became involved in Wicca, or white witchcraft. It was through research for another Dark Age series, The Fires of Gleannmara, that I learned by God’s grace to witness to her effectively when she would not hear anything from the Word. I have included even more research to this in Healer, Book One of The Brides of Alba series.


To reach my daughter, I had to fish from the other side of the boat. This was revealed to me while reading the story of how the disciples had fished all night with no success. Then Jesus told them to try the other side of the vessel. They did and netted a boatload. My child would not listen to Scripture, but she was all ears about the history and oral traditions of that era that became the origins of many of today’s New Age beliefs.


These historical and oral traditions underscored or clarified what Scripture revealed and separated the wheat from the chaff. They separate works done for the glory of God, praising Him for creation and its properties (or use of nature magic/proto-science) from those done for self-edification and/or to harm others. They reveal how most druids knew who Christ was—the Son and Messiah ordained by the Creator—because their forefathers had recorded the astrological phenomena of His birth star and the darkness after His death. (See www.BethlehemStar.com to see how NASA technology and accepted history is used to affirm this.) And they define the line between the light use of nature magic (proto-science), often aided by the Holy Spirit, and the dark use of the same knowledge aided by demons.


The results of my fishing were not as instant as that of the disciples. It took a journey of eight years before my daughter was ready to jump in the boat. But the net had been cast and repeatedly mended each time I found something new to share, something that built on common ground and carried her one step more toward Christ. Both mother and daughter emerged stronger from that storm, stronger in faith, friendship, and love. I share this story because maybe someone out there needs to know how to approach a beloved nonbeliever who will not hear Scripture or traditional witness but must be reached from the other side of the boat.


This is my passion. To reach out and enable others to reach out effectively to those who are swimming on the other side of the boat from the written Word with a net that will bring them to Christ, the Living Word.

With all my heart,

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BOOK 2 - 2011

 

In Healer, I mentioned how a magazine article explaining what happened to the Davidic line after the nation of Israel scattered (1 and 2 Kings) started me on a research journey that resulted in this Brides of Alba series. With Book One introducing the O’Byrne clan, Book Two, Thief, carries on with Caden’s story. It isn’t easy to take the villain from one novel and make him hero material in the next, but, with God’s grace, anything is possible. Like our own faith journeys, early on or way down the road, it’s a bumpy ride, especially when God forgives, but we won’t let the past go.


I found a delightful old Scottish proverb that became Caden’s theme: “Love of our neighbor is the only door out of the dungeon of self.” And how true this is. When we stop focusing on ourselves and think about others, reach out to them, our own troubles seem to fade. I know this helps me when I start sinking into chemical depression, though sometimes I have to force myself out of my cave when I don’t feel like it. The reward is relief from my own troubles and the joy of helping someone else.


Like Healer, Thief is also set in the late sixth-century Scotland of Arthur, Prince of Dalraida, the only historically documented Arthur. Most scholarly sources point to Arthur, Merlin, and even Guinevere/Gwenhyfar as titles, so it’s easy to see why the Age of Arthur lasted over 100 years. The Dark Ages become even darker when you consider that there was no standard for dating and even the records that exist are written in at least four different languages. Neither names, dates, place names, or translations are completely reliable. So I quote eighth-century historian Nenius: “I have made a heap of all I could find.”


In Healer and Thief, we see how the Grail Church sought to preserve the royal bloodline of David and that of the apostolic priestly line from the first-century family and friends of Jesus. (See Arthurian Characters on p. 00 and The Grail Palace on p. 00 for more.) Nora Lorre Goodrich in several of her authoritative books on Arthur and company suggest this was done by arranging marriages of both lines into the royal families of the British Isles. The offspring born of both lines were raised and trained by the church to become kings, queens, warriors and priests.


The arranged marriage of Princess Eavlyn, my heroine’s benefactress and mentor, to the historical Saxon Prince Hering of Northumbra exemplifies this. Eavlyn’s goal is to build a church in Northumbria as its princess and future queen. Many Saxons were converted in this way, by the Christian queens who married pagan Saxon kings and built churches where the people might hear God’s Word. Such marriages (peaceweaving) also brokered peace between the two enemy peoples. The early church was very involved in this type of matchmaking and diplomacy.


Again, nature magic, or protoscience and dark magic, both involving the supernatural aid of angels and the Holy Spirit or demons, clash. I read and reread Scripture as I worked on this project and endeavored to show how nature magic was used by Christian and nonbelieving druids, with their fruit—good or evil—separating the two. Bear in mind that druid in that time was a word for any professional—doctors, judges, poets, teachers, proto-scientists, as well as priests. Druid meant “teacher, rabbi, magi, or master,” not the dark, hooded stereotype assumed by many today.


In Thief, I address astrology as used according to Scripture. It is not forbidden to look for signs in the sky, but it is forbidden to worship the creations instead of the Creator. God’s kings and prophets have said the heavens declare God’s glory. In Thief, the princess states that God has been teaching/giving mankind signs in the heavens since He hung the first clock and calendar by setting the planets and moon into motion in Genesis to keep time and mark seasons. God further ordained Jesus as His Son by the Star of Bethlehem on the day of Christ’s birth, and He mourned His death on the day of the crucifixion with darkness. These astrological events were key in most of the druids accepting Christ. They believe man might make up Scripture, but only the Creator God could write such messages across the sky, messages that were recorded and passed down in histories of believers and nonbelievers across the world at that time by the druids/magi. If one goes to www.BethehemStar.com, one can see how this history is combined with NASA technology to validate Scripture.


The heavens guide us, but do not dictate to us. Astronomy is the science; astrology is probability and statistics based on historically observed and recorded data. Think mathematics, a great tool deserving of study and use, but nothing worthy of worship. Only God is a certainty and beyond the realm of man’s measure. Many call him The Great Mathematician. Think of all the knowledge man has gained, the mathematical advances learned and mysteries unfolded from watching the stars.


I have to thank God up front that we all don’t have to be mathematicians or scientists to get into heaven. To me and those like me, He gave parables.

And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.—Luke 8:10

Thank You, Lord, for parables.

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.—1 John 4:1-3

Here is truth, plain and simple. God gives us wonderful gifts and revelations. But how we use them—for good or for evil—determines what is of God and what is not. The fruit will tell in abundance.

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.—John 15:5

As I was writing this today, I’d just read Matthew 10 in my morning devotional study and I think it is no accident. In verses 1-5, Christ equips the disciples with power over disease and demons. But He goes on to tell them not to use these gifts to amass fortune and recognition for themselves. They are instructed to go in poverty and depend on the generosity of those they help for their basic needs. Instead of glory and praise, they are to expect hostility sometimes.


The druids who earnestly sought truth, light, and the way gave up their high positions of power and prestige to become Christian priests of little material means, like Christ. The healer Brenna received such hostility from believers, even though she accepted no glory or payment for her gift. The princess in Thief, when criticized by believers and nonbelievers, states clearly that only God is certain, but heavenly signs can point to a probable outcome, as they do with weather.


Now, please, I am not advocating everyone take up astrology. I am stating that there is a purpose for it, God speaks through the heavens, and that we should be reluctant to judge those who do. We may have more in common with them than we think. Frankly, God is enough for me…although I do check the weather channel quite often.


I mentioned in my last book how my daughter had been stalked and assaulted in college, blamed and turned against God, and became involved in Wicca, or white witchcraft. It was through research of the Dark Ages that I learned by God’s grace to witness to her effectively when she would not hear anything from the Word. I continue to include this type of faith-affirming information in Thief.


Everyone knows the story of the disciples fishing all night to no avail. Then Jesus told them to try the other side of the vessel. They did and netted a boatload. My child would not listen to Scripture, but, Celtophobic that she was and is, she was all ears about the history and oral traditions of that era and culture that evolved into many of today’s New Age beliefs. These historical and oral traditions underscored or clarified what Scripture revealed and separated the wheat from the chaff.


The results of my fishing for my daughter were not as instant as that of the disciples. It took a journey of many years before she was ready to jump in the boat. But the net had been cast and repeatedly mended each time I found something new to share—some common ground to draw her to Christ. Both mother and daughter have emerged stronger from that storm—stronger in faith, friendship, and love. We still love the Celtic music, history, and lore of our heritage, but know now what vital part God played in it. I share this story, because maybe someone out there needs to know how to approach a beloved nonbeliever who will not hear Scripture or traditional witness but must be reached from the other side of the boat.


This is my passion. To reach out and enable others to reach out effectively to those who are swimming on the other side of the boat from the written Word with a net that will bring them to Christ, the Living Word.

In His love,

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BOOK 3 - 2012

 

A magazine article explaining what happened to the Davidic line after the nation of Israel scattered (1 and 2 Kings) started me on a research journey that resulted in this Brides of Alba series. Throughout the series, we learn of the Grail Church, formed specifically to preserve not just the Grail treasures, but two blessed bloodlines—the Davidic bloodline, preserved by the sixth-century BC marriage of Zedekiah’s daughter to the Milesian High King of Ireland, and the apostolic bloodline established in first-century Britain by Joseph of Arimathea and Jesus’ close circle of family and friends. Tradition holds that the lines exist through Britain’s modern royals. At the most, it’s plausible, given the numerous sources (some are listed in the bibliography), and at the least, ’tis great fuel for fiction. I leave the rest to the reader to discern. (For more information on the Grail Church and the sacred bloodlines in Albion’s history, see Arthurian Characters on p. 00 and The Grail Palace on p. 00).


In Healer, Book One, I introduced the O’Byrne brothers—Ronan, Caden, and Alyn. Their clan’s twenty-year feud, a result of the Grail Church’s arranged matches gone awry, is ended when a wounded, bitter heart and a lonely, forgiving one come together to heal the breach, proving all things are possible with God’s healing love.


In the second book, Thief, I found a delightful old Scottish proverb that became the middle brother Caden’s theme: “Love of our neighbor is the only door out of the dungeon of self.” After being the villain in Book One, Caden needed a door out of his prison of exile and shame. But don’t we all have a prison of some kind? Mine is occasional dips in chemical depression. Sometimes I have to force myself out of my “cell” when I don’t feel like it. The reward is relief from my own troubles and the joy of helping someone else. In Thief, escaping his prison sets Caden free to live and love again. Even if his heart—and purse—are stolen by his match in mischief and in love.


Now in Book Three, Rebel, Alyn O’Byrne doubts his calling into the priesthood after an alchemical accident in the East leaves the scholar riddled with guilt. He returns home, wounded and running from his destiny—and lands in the midst of court intrigue, church politics, and a marriage to a woman carrying another man’s child. While Lady Kella gets a hard-earned lesson in the difference between love stolen in shame and the wonder and forgiveness of God’s unconditional love, Alyn becomes an example of how God does not call the able but enables His called. So like us, both are flawed, both have doubts, but a flicker of faith is enough for God to use them for His glory and good.


Behind their stories is a setting filled with little-known traditions of Britain’s early history and church that shed light on the Arthurian legends buried in the mists of time. This setting is the late sixth-century Scotland of Arthur, prince of Dalraida, the only historically documented Arthur.


Most scholarly sources point to Arthur, Merlin, and even Guinevere/Gwenhyfar as titles, so it’s easy to see why the Age of Arthur lasted over one hundred years. The Dark Ages become even darker when you consider that there was no standard for dating and even the records that exist are written in at least four different languages. Neither names, dates, place names, nor translations are completely reliable. So I quote eighth-century historian Nenius: “I have made a heap of all I could find.”


I read and reread Scripture as I worked on this project and endeavored to show how nature magic or early science, medicine, and astrology were studied and practiced by Christian priests, druids, and nonbelieving druids. It is their fruit—good or evil—and to whom they gave the glory for their knowledge and success that separates the wheat from the chaff. Imagine the fine line a priest and scholar such as Alyn walked. It’s no wonder he found himself in doubt at times.


Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:


And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (1 John 4:1–3)


Bear in mind that druid in that time was a word for any professional—doctors, judges, poets, teachers, and protoscientists, as well as priests. Druid meant “teacher, rabbi, magi, or master,” not the dark, hooded stereotype assumed by many today. Alyn, though an ordained Christian priest, also qualified as a druid in this context. He saw beyond the parables, which he cherished and taught as a priest.


And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. (Luke 8:10)


I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (John 15:5)
In Matthew 10, verses 1–5, Christ equips the disciples with power over disease and demons. But He goes on to tell them not to use these gifts to amass fortune and recognition for themselves. They are instructed to go in poverty and depend on the generosity of those they help for their basic needs. Instead of glory and praise, they are to expect hostility sometimes.


This series endeavors to show the Christian perspective of the mysteries of God—the science that was often considered by the uneducated as magic—and its use for good and glorifying God, versus its use for self-edification and glorifying the unbelieving druidic scholars. It demonstrates that the more man understands of creation, the more reverence he should have for the Creator. Woven through all of the above is the emphasis on worshipping the Creator, not the creation.


And since the church is made up of humans with all their flaws, the story begs the reader not to throw out the sinless Christ with the dirty church water. I once had done that myself as a college student, after seeing hypocrisy in the church and learning of the church’s many dastardly historical deeds. Praise God, I came full circle.


My hope is to demonstrate the differences between Christianity, or Creator worship, and New Age thinking, which is really the Dark Age creation worship revisited. The reader will learn how much we have in common with nonbelievers and where we differ, so that we might build on our commonality a bridge to Jesus Christ. Maybe it will keep another from leaving the faith of their childhood or enable the reader to witness more effectively for Christ to those obsessed with man’s knowledge and creation.


I mentioned in my last book how my daughter had been stalked and assaulted in college, blamed God and turned against Him, and became involved in Wicca, or white witchcraft. It was through research of the Dark Ages that I learned, by God’s grace, to witness to her effectively when she would not hear anything from the Word. I continue to include this type of faith-affirming information in Rebel.


Everyone knows the story of how the disciples fished all night to no avail. Then Jesus told them to try the other side of the vessel. They did and netted a boatload. My child would not listen to Scripture, but Celtopile that she was and is, she was all ears about the history and oral traditions of that era and culture, which evolved into many of today’s New Age beliefs. These historical and oral traditions underscored or clarified what Scripture revealed and separated the sheep from the goats.


The results of my fishing for my daughter were not as instant as the results the disciples saw. Our journey took many years before my daughter was ready to jump into the boat. But the net had been cast and repeatedly mended each time I found something new to share—some common ground to draw her to Christ. Both mother and daughter have emerged stronger from that storm—stronger in faith, friendship, and love. We still love the Celtic music, history, and lore of our heritage but know now what a vital part God played in it. I share this story because maybe someone out there needs to know how to approach a beloved nonbeliever who will not hear Scripture or traditional witness but must be reached from the other side of the boat.


This is my calling. To reach out and enable others to reach out effectively to those who are swimming on the other side of the boat from the written Word—using a net that will bring them to Christ, the Living Word.


Gone fishing,