Category: Phoebe’s_Journey

Phoebe’s Journey Ebook Now Available

Phoebe’s Journey Ebook Now Available

I’m so happy to announce that the ebook version of Phoebe’s Journey Part 1 is now available. You can order it for just $3.99 from Amazon. It is really helpful if you leave a review on Amazon.com after you read the book. Although I hope you love the book, neutral and even negative reviews are useful.

If you prefer a paperback version, stay tuned. It will be ready for you to order shortly.

UPDATE: The paperback book is available now!

 

 

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.


The Corinthian Shortcut

The Corinthian Shortcut

In the first century, Corinth ranked with Ephesus, Alexandria, and Athens as one of the Roman empire’s greatest cities. Why? One of the main reasons was its geography. The southern half of mainland Greece connects to the northern half near Corinth. The connection is a narrow neck of land, called the Isthmus of Corinth, which is less than four miles wide. In ancient times, mariners traveling between Asia and Rome could avoid about 200 miles of dangerous seas by portaging through this isthmus.

A port was on each side of the Isthmus of Corinth. The eastern port was Cenchrae, Phoebe’s hometown in Phoebe’s Journey. Cenchrae is on the Saronic Gulf, leading to the Aegean Sea and the eastern Mediterranean. The western port, just north of Corinth, was Lechaeum in the Corinthian Gulf leading to the Ionian Sea, the Adriatic Sea, and the Western Mediterranean.

The Isthmus of Corinth was often called the bridge of the sea. Small ships were guided by slaves across the four mile isthmus on rollers. Larger ships would be unloaded in one port, their goods transported across the Isthmus, then the ships would be reloaded in the other port.

For centuries there was one plan after another to create a canal from Lechaeum to Cenchrae. It wasn’t until 1893 that a canal was finished. Even though it’s an east/west connector, cutting off more than 400 miles, the canal is still of limited use because it’s only 58 feet wide—too narrow for modern ocean freighters which range from 100 feet to more than 200 feet in width. By contrast, the Panama Canal, was expanded in 2016 from 110 feet to 230 feet. Today, the Corinthian Canal is used mainly by small tourist ships.

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.

 

Corinth–Rebuilt Bigger & Better

Corinth–Rebuilt Bigger & Better

Did you know that in the time-setting of Phoebe’s Journey, beginning around 51-53 AD, Corinth was five times larger than Athens?

This was actually Corinth’s second go-around. In 146 BCE, Corinth was completely destroyed by the Romans. The citizens were either killed or taken into slavery. Seems the Roman occupiers were not too happy with the citizenry when some Corinthians dared to pour the waste from their homes onto Roman officials passing by. The officials sent an army and the city was razed.

Corinth was deserted for nearly one hundred years until Julius Caesar rebuilt the city as a colony in 44 BCE. By the middle of the first century AD, Phoebe’s era, Corinth was bigger and better than ever. In fact, it was the largest city in Greece. A hustling metropolitan area, Corinth was known for its diversity, its great wealth, and yes, its immorality.

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?

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