Review Quest

Hi friends,

Great news! My son, Ian, will be publishing his first book—The Dwarven Pillar, an epic fantasy—this year, and I plan to get my newest book—Melchior, a fifth-century romance with a spiritual bent—published very soon. I’d like to give our books a strong kick-off, so I’m doing a “REVIEW QUEST” for my books. I’ll be easy, cost-free, and hopefully, a lot of fun.

Each of my books will be free on Amazon Kindle on the dates listed below. The Amazon links are in RED. Please get a free copy and write a quick review—no more than a few words. That would be a terrific support to this author and our literary family.

God bless!

ARAM

Thursday, March 30th—Saturday, April 1st

Ishtar’s Redemption

Thursday, April 13th—Saturday, April 15th

Neb the Great

Friday, April 28th—Saturday, April 29th

Georgios I

Thursday, May 11th—Saturday, May 13th

Georgios II

~Date To Be Announced~

Readers’ Choice

Neb on AmazonReviewed By Karen Pirnot for Readers’ Favorite

In Neb the Great: Shadows of the Past, author A.K. Frailey offers the last in the Deliverance Trilogy. Not having read the first two books of the trilogy, I did not feel at all disadvantaged in reviewing this book on its own. The book is beautifully conceptualized and developed and was easy for this reader to follow. Gizah and Ammee are expecting their first child. They have asked Ammee’s aging father to tell the tale of his ancestors so that the history might be passed to their own child. And this begins a saga which encompasses six generations. But don’t be overwhelmed by the complexity of the book. It eases the readers into the various generations. The names are easily associated with beautifully-defined characteristics which make each of the characters unforgettable. I particularly loved the characters of the oldest generation of Hezeki and his children Enosh, Kenan and Eva. Their decision to leave the oldest brother, Neb, was instrumental in a series of choices throughout the generations. Inevitably, the choices were primarily those of good and evil.

There are so many moral and ethical lessons to be learned in Neb the Great that readers will find themselves pondering their own life choices. But perhaps the greatest moral dilemma of all is faced in the dying moments of Neb the Great when author Frailey has the man review his own life and come to terms with the evil he has taught and practiced. To see that evil in generations he has tutored is one which graphically stays with the reader. One of the most thought-provoking moral considerations is that of what one does with the limited time on Earth. Readers who love hidden messages will love to find the ones in this book!

Thank you Readers’ Choice!

Hollywood Book Festival Review

Neb on AmazonI am happy to announce that Neb the Great made Honorable Mention in the 2014 Hollywood Book Festival in genre based fiction.  This means that every book of The Deliverance Trilogy has won something.  ARAM won runner up for an Indie Publishing Contest.  Ishtar’s Redemption made finalist in the Tuscany Press Writing Contest and now Neb the Great has won this Honorable Mention in the Hollywood Book Festival. Also ARAM and Ishtar’s Redemption has won the Catholic Writers Seal of Approval while Neb the Great is under review for that.  What a great way to start a Monday!

Here are some great books for great minds.

The Scholar's ChallengeThere are very few books I would strongly recommend to Christians across the board but The Scholar’s Challenge qualifies. I found this book to be interesting as well as
vastly informative. It is really two books in one. Both are told from a servant’s point of view but the first is focused on Origen, the great third century Christian thinker and philosopher who did wonders to organize early church documents into a coherent whole. He did some serious speculating which put him into serious trouble but he was obedient to the Apostolic Tradition and bowed to church authority. The second book focused on Jerome, another early Christian thinker, who did a great deal to carry the message of Christ and the teaching of the church to the next generations, albeit, not always without controversy. I am not nearly as good a scholar as Julian Bauer so I can’t pretend to outline all his points but I found his book to be very insightful, well balanced, and engaging. I learned a lot from this book, though I’d need to read it over a few more times to pass any serious quiz. I have already put this on next year’s reading list for all my high school students. I can’t imagine a teacher who wouldn’t want to buy and share this book with inquisitive young minds. Wonderful job!

Reviews for ARAM

Cover for ARAM 2013I have been blessed with some very positive reviews from new readers.  Here are two recent reviews for ARAM:

http://motherhood-moment.blogspot.com/2013/09/consumer-critique-deliverance-trilogy.html

If you like religious fiction and fantasy novels, you’ll love the Deliverance Trilogy by A.K. Frailey. I had a chance to interview her about the books, and she does a better job describing them than I. I really enjoyed the first two books, and I’m looking forward to reading the third! It’s a very family-friendly book for older readers, a series that parents don’t have to worry about their kids reading. What was the inspiration behind the Deliverance Trilogy?

The Deliverance Trilogy began with ARAM as a simple story which told about a man’s search for the one true God in a world of chosen evil. It was basically a revelation (man coming to know the mind of God) as in the prayer the Shema:
“Hear, O Israel:
The Lord is our God
the Lord alone. You shall
love the Lord your God
with all your heart,
and with all your soul,
and with all your might.”
But Aram was born before Israel was in existence…before there was a united people of God. But I have always thought that in order for any man to do any great thing God prepares the way generations before with other faithful men and women who were open to the will of God.
IshtarCVBook two, Ishtar’s Redemption – Trial by Fire, simply continues the conversation that ARAM started. Humanity is broken and prone to sin. Ishtar is a man who falls not just once but repeatedly and it is in his weakness that he finally finds the answer we all need – that we are not strong enough to go it alone against evil and death. We may insist that we have good hearts and clean minds but the powers of darkness are too much for any man to struggle against alone. As both Ishtar and Obed learn, it is not enough to want to be good, or to be learned, or to be strong…one needs a real living God or one becomes lost in a maelstrom of horror which insidiously overtakes our souls.
            Book three, Neb the Great – Shadows of the Neb_Cover front cover onlyPast, was written at the request of my children. They wanted to know how the Neb got to be the way he was. It was a worthy question and one I could not run from. In looking back on the forces that formed Neb the Great who was the grandfather of Ishtar’s father, thus his great-grandfather, I came to realize, in considering my own family history, how the sins of the past do follow down through generations and how it takes a special grace to break free from those chains of bad habits and over reaching pride. Neb the Great made choices and those choices led him to a certain end….but there is hope because Ishtar made very different choices and the book ends not with Neb but with Ishtar’s grandson.
2) When you started writing, did you anticipate it being a trilogy?
No, not really, it just grew into one. I wanted to write a story large enough that it would be capable of delving deeply into the human experience as we journey together on this earth, but I couldn’t accomplish even a semblance of that end until I had written all three books.
3) What do you consider to be the main themes explored in the books?
The main themes would be the search of man to discover the answer to his soul’s deepest longing.  Also the consequence of chosen evil. The hope of redemption and the release from generational sin. Finally, the undying hope that God instills in the human heart for God will never abandon His own.
4) Who are some of your favorite authors to read?
No surprise that I enjoy reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings since I have written a book about the Christian themes in his books. And I admire his attempt to reflect a splintered fragment of the true light, eternal truth that is with God.  I also enjoy G.K. Chesterton’s works.  From a man who said: “Fairy Tales are more than true. Not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” I definitely feel a kindred spirit. I also have enjoyed reading Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset for her grand medieval landscapes and large family interaction. For fun I like to read anything by Jane Austen.

Aram

Deliverance Trilogy, #1

I thought that this book was going to be about Aram, however it was about the people that Aram led and the people that he affected. There was a really good paranormal twist in the book and I also loved the clan loyalty as well. This is the first book in a trilogy and I cannot wait to read the rest. I hope that Aram made the right decision at the end of this book. I liked the end, but like I said, was it the best choice? The family dynamics in this book were interesting and I definitely felt for Aram’s loss. The beast threw a wrench into Aram’s plans and as his past comes back to haunt him he is faced with the most difficult choices of his life.

I was really involved in this story and there was a lot of action. I am giving this book a 4.5/5.

I was given a copy to review from Night Owl Reviews, however all opinions are my own.

Spoiled Society

empty podsIn the Old Testament there is a very chilling scene where God calls to the child Samuel and tells him that he will act against the household of Heli the priest because Heli did not control his sons who were acting wicked in the eyes of God.  Of course, one can only surmise that Heli’s wicked sons didn’t see this coming.  And so in time God’s judgment came to pass.  I don’t know the details, but I take it that the son’s of Heli met an unfortunate end.  So often we are warned by God that reality has consequences.  You jump from too high a distance, you break a bone.  You eat lousy food, you get sick.  You make friends with the devil…he turns on you.  Yet reality doesn’t seem to be in vogue now a days.

I have noticed that more and more people are rearing their children with a complete disconnect to reality.  They honestly think that by giving their kids everything they want, keeping them from nagging and whining, that they are doing them some service.  But when kids get the idea that the world and all its pleasures are owed to them they have a way of spoiling everything because they appreciate nothing.

I have heard repeated cases of kids who attack and verbally abuse their teachers or other kids in school.  Yet we can’t really punish them. We can’t deny them anything.  We can’t deny them their “right” to an education they don’t even want, an education they will consistently try to destroy.  I have worked in both public and private school and I have witnessed this scenario myself.  There are some wonderful teachers out there attempting to do the impossible.  Why?  Not because educating kids is so hard but because too many parents aren’t preparing their kids for any meaningful life experience that has some bearing on reality.

In my humble little home-school my kids thrive in their educational environment, and it isn’t because we have the newest and greatest materials and technology.  What makes them motivated learners is that they have been shown in a myriad of ways that this is their life.  Their future is for them to forge.  Their success is for them to win.  Their profit is for them to reap…if they have the skills, know-how, and desire to do what it takes to become successful and useful in this world.  I haven’t given my sixteen year old a car.  I haven’t promised anyone a college education.  I am not going to sign for any student loans.  They have to work while they live at home.  Kids thrive on being needed.  They love to know that they have a future to work for.  Their minds like to absorb new information and to work hard…if they haven’t been spoiled by the lazy virus which attacks too many youth these days.

The lazy virus is the attitude that they don’t really need to lift a finger to get what they need and want.  They will be fed, clothed, sheltered, and cared for without doing any work.  Grown-ups will beg to be allowed to secure their future for them, entertain them, give them what they want to make them “happy”.  Everyone feels terribly guilty and uncomfortable if kids complain.  And they are good at complaining.  I have heard some doozies.  Young people see life through an intense filter and they seem to think that the world revolves around them. But they need to widen their vision – for their own sake.  They need to see the needs of others..including other kids who really are without very basic necessities like food, clean water and shelter.  They need to see that they have a part to play in making the world a better place.  They need to realize that like Heli – wickedness doesn’t pay – reality has a way of catching up with a person eventually.

We are living in a society that is so completely detached from reality – we don’t even feel the need to pay our bills any more…as a nation or as a world.  Instead the president calls for universal preschool!  Oh, good, lets take our children out of our homes at an even younger age and make the state and federal government responsible for teaching them responsibility and reality. How are the majority of federally funded (underfunded) offices doing? Consider the last 30 years -Sesame Street, kindergartens, preschools abound like never before and yet our educational system is failing in the fundamentals. Our kids know more about homosexuality than about our presidents, Constitution, or monetary systems. Does anyone actually research the men or women they vote for? Why is this?  Because we are out of touch with reality.  Everyone wants to pass their responsibilities onto someone else.  No one wants to say no.  Are we cowards? Like Priest Heli was a coward.  There is no better person to teach a child reality and responsibility than his or her parents – unless they have forfeit that right by being irresponsible themselves.

So where do we go from here?  Psychologists would make us feel better about the suffering we have endured at our own hands, but I can’t feel sorry for a spoiled society which has brought catastrophe on itself.  I want to like Priest Heli but, in the end, I know he was a cruel man.  He never challenged his sons, he never made them look at reality but instead he allowed his children to suffer the ultimate fate of wickedness: sterility and death.  Let us not repeat the mistake.

Grace

Georgios symbol-fish2When I got married I had no idea what I was doing. In fact, I still don’t.  Not because I wasn’t an 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 relationships, but the thing that comes clearer as each year passes is that I have only just begun to see 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 with good parenting and with everything else.  It is called “grace” but many people think this is should be 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 a total act of grace that allowed my son to turn to Mary, the Mother of God, for help. 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 grace 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 morning sickness but I would actually be able to raise good kids who would love and support each other.  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, paying bills, talking out misunderstandings, forgiving and forgetting the stupid and bad stuff…fulfilling our lofty vocation as a son or daughter of God.

Holy audacity tells me that sometimes God tells us to forge ahead with impossible tasks 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 out of the way.  That’s grace.

Quiet Time

Cover for ARAM 2013Onias is a husband and father in the book ARAM who has to face the fact that he might soon die from a terminal illness and when that reality hits him he has to decide what is most important in his life. Why does it often take dreadful illness or some other catastrophe to get us to think and act meaningfully in our own lives? Too often we move from one duty and distraction to another throughout the course of the day without really choosing with purposeful thought what we are doing or how we are living. It would be rather tragic to realize. at the end, that we never really lived our lives, rather we just sort of rambled through them.

But how do we move from merely reacting to thoughtful action? We need time to think. And when do we get time to think? Not when the radio, t.v., computer, or sports/other game is going on in our midst. We need quiet time to think. We need quiet time as much as we need air to breathe, though we can hold our spiritual breath for years it seems. Quiet time, alone with our thoughts, can be very intimidating because often we have difficult memories and concerns which pop into our minds: guilt over things we have done, or not done, grief over old injuries, the loneliness of being misunderstood. There are a lot of reasons to keep busy so that our minds do not dwell on the difficult stuff. But it is the difficult stuff that can bring us to real peace as Onias eventually realized. At some point, we have to face out past and our fears. We also have to take responsibility for our present.

Being alone and listening to the little voice in our head and facing the haunting specters of guilt, grief, and sadness can be our saving grace for even when we are most alone we are never really alone. God is always with us, though we do not always notice Him in the bustle of the day. Facing problems is the first step to solving problems, and though we cannot solve every difficulty, we can always ask for help from the Ultimate Problem Solver. God wants to be with us, to help us and to allow us time to get to know Him before our time here on earth ends. The question is: when will we make that effort? Onias had death staring him in the face before he gave quiet time and deep thought a try.  What will it take for us?