When Aram discovered that his people were being mercilessly attacked by a deadly foe he could neither identify or control he began to run – taking his people into new lands which brought them into contact not just with new beauty, but with new cultures which would change their lives forever. And so it is with us at times. We find ourselves forced to deal with trials and fears that push us beyond our boundaries and take us into new territory. When we try to journey alone on our own strength we often find ourselves lost and confused in the darkness of discontent, sometimes full of remorse for what we have done in fear and panic. But when we embrace a power which goes beyond our natural strength and we admit that there is more to the created world than our mere eyes can see we come into contact with a great source of strength and wisdom.
In the story ARAM, Aram does not know who God might be. He is only dimly aware of the fact that there is a providential reality which seems to guide and assist him. We come to terms with that same charity when we open our minds and our hearts to our Creator. We have a lot more assistance than Aram had in the sense that our generation has a long history of God’s revelation to humanity to consider – but even still - the leap of faith is just as great. We must face our fears, we must come to terms with our limits and we must embrace Someone who is beyond our control.
ARAM is just a story but the struggle is our own. We must come to terms with the reality of our existence and the fact that we and all we love will one day die. What happens next? Where will we go? What happens to our loved ones? Are questions we can put off for days or years but eventually the questions must be answered…by ourselves or others. Perhaps we won’t know all the answers but by asking the questions we begin the conversation….
The word tribulations hearken back to times of old when God warned of a great purging but we rarely think of the modern world enduring such suffering. In fact, I suspect we believe we are about as immune from tribulations as we are from small pox. Tribulations just don’t happen now-a-days. Or of they do - they happen to other people. Or if they happen in our neighborhood in the form of fire or flood - we always have good neighbors and government programs to see us through. But the tribulations that really change history and alter the course of human destiny are a bit more dramatic. For one thing, they tend to be more severe and they tend to last longer. Real tribulations that we read about or remember from stories change things because the old ways won’t work anymore. In fact, like in the time of the Israelites during the Babylonian captivity – everything changed – even their position in society, the place they called home, family & societal connections and their ability to worship God as they had been taught. Yet, as much as they were warned of the coming tribulation so they were comforted with the knowledge that God would not forsake those who loved Him. It was the remnant who were forced to leave who ended up coming back bearing the fullness of a strengthened and renewed faith to their ancient homelands a generation later.
The Britons also experienced a similar reality. The Christianized Britons were the early faithful who were attacked by invaders; first the Pict’s and then the Anglo-Saxons and their faith was submerged by the Wodin & Thor-loving barbarians who plunged their society into what we now call the Dark Ages. But it was from those faithful who survived the tribulations and learned something from them, who experienced the power and the majesty of God to preserve the souls of those who love Him. It was only a matter of time (a few centuries, true) but the remnant were the winners and Christianity blossomed in the monasteries from the painstaking efforts of monks and sisters who were undoubtedly raised by God-loving parents. Someone kept the flame alive even in the darkest times and those who passed on the flame may not have seen with their earlthly eyes how their faith would one day be kindled into a universal glory.
We live in a time where we think we are untouchable but tribulations tend to happen to those who least expect them. The prophet, Isaias, warned of trouble and the hope of redemption and so did the Christ. We must be aware that tribulations come not so often to those who expect them as to those who need them. But many innocent men women and children paid dearly for the necessary change of course. Without these alterations we might find the human race unaltered, enduring not tribulation but doom.
In the book, ARAM, I set up the scene where a man comes to wonder who he is, why he was created, and where he is going after his earthly struggle is over. The characters’ struggle is our struggle on a basic level. In the sequel, Ishtar’s Redemption, the tribulation changes from identity to facing and enduring the changes that must be made, the altered course that must be taken. In this too, we struggle for no one likes to have their plans changed, their lives thrown into upheaval and their certainty changed to doubt and confusion. In the final book of this trilogy, Neb-the-Great, the tribulation is explained from its inception and seen through to a noble hope; the hope that we all bear deep in side – that humanity will grow, that we will become a better race of beings, and that God will never forsake those who love Him.
May we endure our tribulations well.
Trial by Fire
Ishtar is exiled, wandering alone over rocky hills up into imposing mountains and down through a winding pass into a new land as dry and barren as he feels. A gentle patriarch named Matalah helps him to face his greatest tormentor so that he can return home reconciled to his friends and rescue his sons before it is too late. Barak, Obed and Eoban leave the safety of their own homes to go on an uncertain quest to find Ishtar only to encounter a strange stone city filled with mystery and danger.
New friendships are forged and old friendships are strained to the breaking point as faithfulness and endurance is tested to the limits. Can these friends overcome their mistakes, refuse alluring temptations, accept unacceptable loss and still become reconciled to both themselves and each other? Find out in the newest Deliverance Trilogy adventure of Ishtar’s Redemption.
Ishtar’s Redemption is a gripping story of exile and reconciliation. From lush grasslands to barren deserts Ishtar encounters evil from within and without. Can a man cursed by his own father leave his torments behind and help a kindly desert nomad who is being persecuted by his own sons? Learn how Ishtar and his friends face their past, their future and their own personal mistakes as they forge a new destiny embracing a hope that lives beyond their present sight. Ishtar’s Redemption is an adventure from start to finish in a world of shadow and light.
How do you like it?
I will be posting Ishtar’s Redemption – Trial by Fire cover very soon. Perhps as early as tonight! So keep a look out and tell me what you think! The designer, Trese Gloriod, of IDesign did a great job and I think she captured the feel of the sequel to ARAM very well. We are continuing the editing and hopefully will have the new book ready for down load by middle/late February….. Remember those you love with a story to remember…get your copy of ARAM and soon….Ishtar’s Redemption – Trial by Fire!
For those who are looking forward to the sequel Ishtar’s Redemption – Trial by Fire coming out soon - I have a deal for you. I have a few copies left of the original paperback of ARAM and since we are considering changing the cover of ARAM to more exactly fit the trilogy I am having a sell out sale. ARAM will be on sale for $3.85 for a short time for those who are interested in getting a copy of the original. See Amazon books and get your copy while the sale lasts.
Have a happy and holy Christmas Season!
When I got married I had no idea what I was doing! In fact – I still don’t. Not because I wasn’t a semi-intelligent person who understood the depth of commitment I was undertaking or because I didn’t know the laws of the church concerning marriage when we were married. I did then and I do now. And since my husband and I have been married for 18 years now and been blessed with eight living children you’d think that I understood marriage inside and out as well as parenting…homeschooling…friendship and a host of other important issues but the thing that comes clearer as each year passes is that I have only begun to see with eyes that still cannot fully envision the perfection, the depth, the height, the breath of what God calls us to…in marriage…in motherhood…in family life…in friendship.
I have learned that marriage is impossible without the life of God in our souls. So it is good parenting and so it is with everything else. It is called “grace” but many people think this is something that we can simply ask for and it is served up as a nice warm comfy feeling in our hearts – when in fact I think it is most often served up cold in the most extraordinary ways – when you are least expecting it. When my husband was diagnosed with Leukemia it was an act of total grace that allowed my second son to offer his father to the Mother of God – He knew that anyone who loved Jesus would take care of his father. It was a series of graces which kept me calm and at peace when John was in the hospital and it has been a big mountain of graces that has allowed John to accept God’s will in all things – even in this terrible sickness. John has been able to consistently look at the bright side and keep an attitude of gratitude through out months and years of suffering. If that isn’t grace – I don’t know what is.
And parenting is much the same. I would never have survived any pregnancy without the conviction born of something beyond my present sight - that not only I would survive the pain of terrible morning sickness but I would actually be able to raise good kids who love and support each other - something I didn’t see so much in my own childhood family environment. Grace has been a moment by moment experience which supports those big decisions with little acts of faithful commitment – doing the daily work of living right; feeding people, cleaning up, teaching lessons, paying bills, talking out arguments and misunderstandings, forgiving and forgetting the stupid and bad stuff….just doing what is in front of you to do….in order to fulfill your lofty vocation as a son or daughter of God.
And so, when I realized this past week that I wasn’t going to get an established publisher to take on my work I felt rather sad because I had prayed so hard to Mary for a publisher and I had thought she had answered my prayer. But this week I had to accept that what I had thought was wrong. Then after a time of sorrow I simply accepted the fact that I had misunderstood what was going on. She had answered my prayer and given me a publisher – just not the one I was expecting. It came to me that once again God is giving me grace to do what He is calling me to do….write stories that lift the soul into the mystery….but He was calling me to do it in a way I had not envisioned. I prayed to Mary most Merciful for a publisher and I thought I was rejected but then I realized – she did give me a publisher – I just didn’t recognize her. Holy audacity tells me that sometimes God tells us to forge ahead with an impossible task because He has all the strength needed to make the impossible possible. Sometimes God closes doors so that that He can teach us to move mountains. That’s GRACE.
And so, as publisher of A.K. Frailey Books I am going to put ARAM‘s sequel – Ishtar’s Redemption – Trial by Fire - on Amazon Select as an e-book and it will be the readers who decide if it is worthy reading material. Right now I am doing a final check before I put Ishtar’s Redemption into the editor’s capable hands. The designer and I will work together to come up with a great cover to reflect the vivid struggles of the characters and we will make it available to you all as soon as possible. There hopefully will also be the pre-quell which goes into the background history of Neb the Great. (My kids really wanted to know more about him) It is a story reflecting the family struggle to break free from a shadowed past. Once we get Ishtar’s Redemption finished (God willing) we can quickly get to work on Neb the Great – Shadows of the Past.
So I hope you will share this adventure with me. I will keep you posted as to the steps of publication – it s an interesting process full of turns and twists and leading to wonderful surprises. Please feel free to give me your responses. I’d love to hear from you. If you’ve read ARAM and liked it please hit the like button on AMAZON – it helps. Do a review if you feel inclined. The more feed back the better. God bless you all!
We’ve just finished a read-aloud and are hoping its sequel will soon be published! Aram is A.K. Frailey’s inside story of a fictional tribal culture whose leaders and members must face fearful realities – internal and external, imagined and real – as they carry on typical human lives of family interaction and metaphysical questioning. Frailey’s characters are complex and varied – no cardboard cut-out Good Guys and Bad Guys here, but no attempt to render right and wrong ambiguous or iffy.
Our favorite scene (must tell without spoiling it for you) was one in which we saw a threat approaching in one character’s duplicity, but instead of seeing The Clues given to point us to that awareness, we lived the experience of mounting tension in a less simplistic and cerebral way. I had to go back over that chapter, wondering at how the author had accomplished such a great carrying of her readers right into the lived experience of danger without leaving a trace. I must bow to her writing skills, because it was simply magic!
I have a particular dislike (a la Flannery O’Connor) of fiction that is a vehicle for ‘truth’ without being true. With trepidation I opened this book, but with delight and joy I read it aloud – anxious to get back and see what happened whenever we had to take a break. I very much appreciated the deep spiritual insights that Frailey wove in, and this chance to share them with my children. It’s a much harder task than I could manage to tell realistically a story of a pre-Christian people, to avoid sermonizing, but also to treat truthfully their very human, very real need to find out about the God who made them and the way to please Him.
There have been a lot of exciting things happening in the A.K. Frailey Books world and I am pleased to announce an opportunity to get your own free copy of ARAM for your school or church community.
Our society today is overwhelmed with some pretty dark fiction and A.K. Frailey Books is committed to bringing a lighter, more hopeful vision of humanity’s past and future into our national psyche. Frankly, if the world were as bad as some people make it out to be we would never have survived this long and there would be no reason to continue on in despair. But as God lives and He continues to work and inspire the minds and hearts of His people there is yet a reason to recall that ”This is the day the Lord has made – Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
The world may be alternately convulsing over political upheavals, suffering the hemorrhage of wars and violence but the human hearts of millions are not thus enchained and we can make a wonderful difference but the difference must be supported and spread.
First we must nurture our minds and hearts with something inspiring. We must turn to the source of all light and hope. If we read depressing literature we will be depressed. If we focus in on the evil of our times without the relief of humor and the sincere repentance we will stay stuck in the grief of evil. I believe there is a reason to hope and that we can feed our minds and souls stories which lift us and allow our hearts to soar beyond this world’s momentary though tragic travails.
So I am offering a free ARAM to the first five Christian schools or churches which e-mail me with their address. Use the email@example.com address to let me know. If I get more than five requests I might possibly be able to extend the offer to a few more. If you want to know more about ARAM or the up-coming sequel Ishtar’s Redemption and the following pre-quel Neb the Great please look on my website at the top and you will see links to the books which give an overview of each.
“Let not your heart be troubled”…God is still God and as long as our hearts are beating we can even yet – turn to Him.
ARAM isn’t just an adventure story about a man’s search for God in a troubled world but in fact it has taken the author on quite a journey as well! I am hoping to get Aram’s sequel (Ishtar’s Redemption – Trial by Fire) out before too long so I want to sell off the stock I have in order to do a 2nd printing of ARAM – new and improved and all. So I have put the ARAM paperback on Amazon on sale for only $4.00. I am working on making the e-books a little more affordable as well but that is taking time as I have to get it categorized differently. My! There are a lot of rules & things-to-know in this writing business. Putting out a good story that makes sense and lifts the soul is frankly the easy part!
In any case ARAM is only the beginning of the Deliverance Trilogy and for those looking for a fun, exciting adventure which takes the characters from doubt to trust, from darkness to light, from despair to hope then it might be the book for you. At $4.00 you can’t go wrong!
Today the term “brotherhood” seems to have taken on some dark connotations as if the very nature of brotherhood draws us into something secretive, something that should be met with suspicion and doubt. In ARAM there are many brother-like relationships between men who are not actually family members but support each other completely none the less. And there are also two young brothers who find themselves in the midst of a dangerous world where they must decide what action to take. Jael is the older brother, son of Jonas and Onias, and though still quite young he feels that his place is with the men in the midst of a coming tribulation. He knows well the cost of failing to face a trial head-on and he refuses to follow the example of his more passive father. But his mother, like most mothers, feels it is her duty to protect her son and she orders him to stay with her and the younger son so that they can flee successfully into the hills. The younger son, Tobia, has to live with the results of his elder brother’s reasoning and defiance and yet he learns to admire the spirit which would not rest at ease in security. It is the younger son who really bears the fruit of the elder’s hopes but it is at a cost he must bear for the rest of his life. As Eoban notices years later; Tobia was never a child, he was born a grown-up.
There are children who seem old before their time. There often a direct correlation between those who have had to deal with the effects of their own family’s trials and tribulations and advanced maturity of certain sons and daughters. But trials and tribulations do not have destroy a family for often it only takes one example of faithful hope and enduring love to recast a possible tragedy into a new light where the joy of undying hope is born. Tobia becomes a wonderful character in the continuing story of ARAM and it is against his brother’s selfless bravery that Tobia measures his own life. The bar is set high and thus he reaches high and in time he leads others through trial into new hope.
For more information about ARAM see www.akfrailey.com or see AMAZON BOOKS