Category: Phoebe

My Favorite Character

My Favorite Character

After reading Part 1 of Phoebe’s Journey, one of my beta readers had a question for me. “Who’s your favorite character?” she asked.

That’s easy. My hands-down favorite is Ari, the Greek sailor working on the ship named the Zephyr.

At first, Ari seems to be a simple, minor character—just an uneducated, albeit skilled, deckhand. Ari doesn’t even make an appearance until Chapter 6, and then you might consider him forgettable. As the story develops we realize that Ari is far more and worth getting to know.

Without spoiling anything, Ari is a deeper thinker than he first seems. He’s multi-faceted–patient, until he can’t be anymore; a problem-solver; and loyal.

In Part 2 of Phoebe’s Journey, Ari has an expanded role where we’ll learn more intriguing aspects of Ari’s background and how he came to be one of Phoebe’s father’s most trusted friends.


Father’s Day

Father’s Day

Today is Father’s Day. While I was at church this morning, my thoughts drifted [as they often do]. I reflected on the relationship I had with my father.

My father passed to his heavenly home more than twenty years ago. He was still a vibrant man, full of dreams and plans. His unexpected death had a profound effect on my life. My father was a giant in my life. We didn’t live in the same city, but I talked to him every night at 6:00pm. Twenty-one years later, I still sometimes reach for my phone at 5:55. He gave me support. He gave me encouragement. He gave me love. And, when he was gone there was a huge void in my life.

In Part 1 of Phoebe’s Journey, Of Passion and Pride the pivotal moment in Phoebe’s life is the death of her beloved father, Miklos. So, is any part of this book autobiographical? Not really. There are significant differences in my 21st century life from Phoebe’s 1st century life. But, I can certainly relate to Phoebe’s sorrow and aching heart at the death of her father. I can understand her desire to keep his memory alive. I can connect to Phoebe’s longing to maintain her father’s life’s work. These are all actions that will honor her father and keep him close to her, even as she grieves. Centuries separate us, but our humanity connects us.

As yesterday’s church service came to a close, the congregation stood and sang a closing hymn together. It was one of my father’s favorites: Our God, He Is Alive. Tears streamed from my eyes as I imagined hearing my father’s booming voice, singing with abandon.

There is a God

He is alive

In Him we live

And we survive

From dust our God

Created man

He is our God

The great I Am.

What a legacy.

 

 

What’s In A Name?

What’s In A Name?

“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
― William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Nancy, one of my beta readers for Part 1 of Phoebe’s Journey commented that there were a lot of unfamiliar names that sounded similar and that was confusing and distracting. As an example, in the first drafts, Phoebe’s mother’s name is Demetra, which is very similar to another main character’s name–Demarus. Nancy’s advice was spot on and I changed a few character’s names. Phoebe’s mother is now Sophia.

Character names should never get in the way of a reader’s enjoyment. Roman and Greek names often have a similar sound to our unfamiliar ears, so Nancy’s criticism was certainly valid. Beta readers give valuable input and their comments always make the finished product better.

When I was thinking about names for the characters in Phoebe’s Journey, I went through the New Testament and made a list of the Corinthian Christians. What a melting pot of rich ethnicities this early church was:

Roman (Latin) Names

  • Gaius
  • Fortunatua
  • Crispus
  • Titius Justus
 Greek Names
  • Stephanas
  • Achalcus
  • Erastus 
  • Phoebe

Jewish Names 

  • Aquila
  • Priscilla
  • Sosthenes

 

The Apostle Paul’s Postal Service

The Apostle Paul’s Postal Service

Ancient Papyrus Letter

For good reason, Christians focus most of their  attention on the content of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans. But, considering how important this letter was to further Paul’s mission, he no doubt spent as much effort on ensuring its delivery as he did writing it.

So exactly how did Paul’s letter get from Greece to Rome? We can’t be certain about the details, but we can make some plausible conjectures.

During this era there were three ways to send a letter: 1) official material was transmitted through the postal service, known as the cursus publicus; 2) wealthy people often used a tabellarius, a slave acting as a courier, to carry their mail; and 3) the majority of mail was carried by anyone–even a stranger–headed to the same destination as the letter. You can imagine that in this case it was never a sure thing that the letter would actually be delivered safely.

Our first supposition, which is clearly supported by Paul’s own writings, is that he put his letters in the hands of people he knew and trusted. In the case of the letter to the Romans, Paul indicates he chose Phoebe to carry his letter.

“I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea. Welcome her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her with anything she may need from you.” Acts 16:1-2

What were Phoebe’s responsibilities?

Most importantly, Phoebe had to get Paul’s letter to the Romans from Corinth, Greece to Rome, Italy safely. By sea the trip was about 700 miles and could take 5-10 days in good weather. With a combination sea/land route following the Adriatic Sea, the distance was about 800 miles. There were paved roads and travelers often rode donkeys and stayed in inns along the way. This route took considerably more time–3 to 4 weeks–but in the winter months it was the only open route for travelers.

Phoebe was also most likely responsible for paying her travel expenses, including sea passage for her and any travel companions, food and wine for her journey, etc.

Importantly, Phoebe needed to physically protect Paul’s letter. The biggest threat was from moisture from the sea and from rain.  The letter could have been wrapped in a parchment wrapper, then stored in a box. Was Phoebe able to book an enclosed cabin for the sea portion of her voyage? We have no way of knowing, but if she did, Paul’s letter would have even been safer.

Once Phoebe arrived safely in Rome, her next responsibility was to deliver the letter to the Christian community on Paul’s behalf.

 

Home

Home

 

Phoebe’s Journey: Part 1 Of Passion and Pride

In this first book in the Phoebe’s Journey series, privileged, impetuous, beautiful and headstrong Phoebe finds herself at the center of a power struggle when her father dies unexpectedly.

Although she is just a teenager, Phoebe is determined to protect her father’s legacy as a leader of the Christian church and successful businessman in Cenchrae, Greece. Phoebe is unwavering in her efforts to retain ownership of her family’s lucrative Greek shipping agency, regardless of the roadblocks she encounters. Evil jealousies, resentment, and power struggles, conspire against her. Even Phoebe’s lifelong friends and family have their doubts and shake her resolve, causing her to question who she can trust and if her love is misplaced.

Meanwhile, just north of Phoebe’s hometown of Cenchrae, the Apostle Paul is struggling to make ends meet alongside fellow tentmakers Priscilla and Aquila in the city of Corinth. When their paths cross, an unlikely partnership is formed between Paul and Phoebe.

This richly imagined backstory of the woman, Paul called “worthy of honor among God’s people,” [Acts 16:1-2] brings texture and nuance to first-century life in the Roman Empire. Corinth is no longer just a dot on a musty map. Experience the excitement and the debauchery of the marketplace, known as the Agora. Enter the hushed halls of Proconsul Gallio’s villa. Meet soldiers, servants, and gladiators. Suddenly, life at all levels of society from the mariners to the merchants and the military to the synagogue leaders and the `Corinthian girls’ is real.

If you like historical Christian historical fiction books like those authored by Francine Rivers, Liz Curtis Higgs, and Tommy Tenney, you’ll want to order your copy of Phoebe’s Journey Part 1: Of Passion And Pride.  The ebook and the paperback books are available now from Amazon.

The reader’s guide is available absolutely free. Please send us your email address below.

Two Sentences

Two Sentences

Phoebe was only mentioned one time in the New Testament. In Romans 16:1-2 the Apostle Paul tells the Christians in Rome: “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a deacon in the church in Cenchrea. Welcome her in the Lord as one who is worthy of honor among God’s people. Help her in whatever she needs, for she has been helpful to many, and especially to me.”

Those two sentences are jam-packed with information about our leading lady. Let’s dig deeper.

It seems obvious that in the first century A.D., most letter writers didn’t carry their own letters. Why would Paul write a letter if he was going to see the recipients in person? Much like letter writers today use the post office, in ancient times, emissaries carried letters on behalf of their writers. It was common for letter writers to include an introduction of the person(s) who brought the letter on their behalf. When Paul introduces `Phoebe, from Cenchrea,’ it’s logical to assume that Phoebe was person who brought Paul’s letter nearly 1000 miles from Corinth, Greece all the way to Rome.

What else can we super-sleuth from this one verse? Well, when Paul says “Welcome her [Phoebe] in the Lord as one who is worthy of honor among God’s people,” we know that Phoebe was a Christian. We also hear that Paul expects brothers and sisters united in Christianity to treat each other with respect and Christian love–whether or not we have ever met before. Paul wants Phoebe to be honored and to be warmly welcomed into their lives.

Paul goes on to tell his friends in Rome, “…give her any help she may need from you…” There are so many possibilities as to what kind of help Phoebe may have needed while in Rome. In the third book of the Phoebe’s Journey series, you’ll read all about the work I’ve imagined Phoebe doing in Rome. Of course, Paul doesn’t specify any business reason for Phoebe to have traveled to Rome, but we can use our imaginations.

Paul wraps up his introduction of Phoebe, “…she has been helpful to many, and especially to me.” Phoebe was obviously special in Paul’s eyes. Doesn’t that sentence make you wonder about the kindnesses she showed to her fellow Christians, and especially the Apostle Paul?

Two Sentences

Two Sentences

Phoebe was only mentioned one time in the New Testament. In Romans 16:1-2 the Apostle Paul tells the Christians in Rome: “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a deacon in the church in Cenchrea. Welcome her in the Lord as one who is worthy of honor among God’s people. Help her in whatever she needs, for she has been helpful to many, and especially to me.”

Those two sentences are jam-packed with information about our leading lady. Let’s dig deeper.

It seems obvious that in the first century A.D., most letter writers didn’t carry their own letters. Why would Paul write a letter if he was going to see the recipients in person? Much like letter writers today use the post office, in ancient times, emissaries carried letters on behalf of their writers. It was common for letter writers to include an introduction of the person(s) who brought the letter on their behalf. When Paul introduces `Phoebe, from Cenchrea,’ it’s logical to assume that Phoebe was person who brought Paul’s letter nearly 1000 miles from Corinth, Greece all the way to Rome.

What else can we super-sleuth from this one verse? Well, when Paul says “Welcome her [Phoebe] in the Lord as one who is worthy of honor among God’s people,” we know that Phoebe was a Christian. We also hear that Paul expects brothers and sisters united in Christianity to treat each other with respect and Christian love–whether or not we have ever met before. Paul wants Phoebe to be honored and to be warmly welcomed into their lives.

Paul goes on to tell his friends in Rome, “…give her any help she may need from you…” There are so many possibilities as to what kind of help Phoebe may have needed while in Rome. In the third book of the Phoebe’s Journey series, you’ll read all about the work I’ve imagined Phoebe doing in Rome. Of course, Paul doesn’t specify any business reason for Phoebe to have traveled to Rome, but we can use our imaginations.

Paul wraps up his introduction of Phoebe, “…she has been helpful to many, and especially to me.” Phoebe was obviously special in Paul’s eyes. Doesn’t that sentence make you wonder about the kindnesses she showed to her fellow Christians, and especially the Apostle Paul?

COMING SOON!

COMING SOON!

 

Phoebe’s Journey: Part 1 Of Passion And Pride

In this first book in the Phoebe’s Journey series, privileged, impetuous, beautiful and headstrong Phoebe finds herself at the center of a power struggle when her father dies unexpectedly. Although she is just a teenager, Phoebe is determined to protect her father’s legacy and retain ownership of her family’s lucrative Greek shipping agency, regardless of the roadblocks she encounters. Evil jealousies, resentment, and power struggles, conspire against her. Even Phoebe’s lifelong friends and family have their doubts and shake her resolve, causing her to question who she can trust and if her love is misplaced.

Meanwhile, just north of Phoebe’s hometown of Cenchrae, the Apostle Paul is struggling to make ends meet alongside fellow tentmakers Priscilla and Aquila in the city of Corinth. When their paths cross, an unlikely partnership is formed between Paul and Phoebe.

This richly imagined backstory of the woman, Paul called “worthy of honor among God’s people,” brings texture and nuance to first-century life in the Roman Empire. Corinth is no longer just a dot on a musty map. Experience the excitement and the debauchery of the marketplace, known as the Agora. Enter the hushed halls of Proconsul Gallio’s villa. Meet soldiers, servants, and gladiators. Suddenly, life at all levels of society from the mariners to the merchants and the military to the synagogue leaders and the `Corinthian girls’ is real.

If you like historical Christian historical fiction books like those authored by Francine Rivers, Liz Curtis Higgs, and Tommy Tenney, you’ll want to reserve your copy of Phoebe’s Journey Part 1. Plus, when you reserve now you’ll receive the book absolutely free! Part 1: Of Passion And Pride will be published July 2017. Simply complete the opt-in form below. There are no tricks here, send us your email address and we’ll send you a link to Amazon to get the book free as soon as it’s published.

Who is Phoebe?

Who is Phoebe?

One of the best-loved books in the Bible holds a mystery.

While working in Corinth, the Apostle Paul penned his letter to the Romans. Paul chose a woman named Phoebe to hand carry his letter to the church in Rome. In Romans, Chapter 16, Phoebe’s name is at the head of a long list of noble workers Paul commends for their service.

Who is Phoebe? Why did Paul choose this woman to deliver his precious letter? And why would Phoebe volunteer to make a nearly 1000-mile, sometimes harrowing, always dangerous, journey from her home in Cenchrae, Greece to Rome?

Phoebe’s Journey, a three-book series, imagines Phoebe’s story from her days as a 16-year-old girl on the verge of womanhood, fighting to save her father’s shipping agency through her journey to Rome as Paul’s emissary. This is a world of duty and honor, love and loyalty, revenge, scandal, and treachery.

With an intriguing storyline, Corinth comes alive in Phoebe’s Journey. Experience the excitement and the debauchery of the marketplace, known as the Agora. Encounter life at various levels of society from the mariners to the merchants and the military to the synagogue leaders and the `Corinthian girls.’ Hear Paul reason with Proconsul Gallio, son of philosopher Seneca the Great. Discover the importance of the Isthmian Games to Paul and his fellow tentmakers Priscilla and Aquila, and how the games made their way into Paul’s writings.

Phoebe’s Journey is sure to capture your imagination and enhance your understanding of the life and culture in New Testament times.

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