Recently I saw a clip that someone had put together on Polycarp. It interested Hold the Faith cover imageme because I had collected so much research on him.

He was a fascinating person to research. (Book One, Hold the Faith.)


This clip said Polycarp had been born in 70 AD.  Other sources put him as being born in 80 AD (I had found 69 AD the most preferred option, and went with that one.) The clip says that legend has it that he was anointed bishop of Smyrna by the Apostle John. I had read that too, but further research led me to the first bishop of Smyrna being a dedicated man by the name of Bucolus.

So, as can be seen Polycarp is someone about whom there is much contradiction in writings.

Now, as to whether the Apostle John was the one who ordained him bishop – which means overseer…

Legend has it that the Apostle John was taken captive to Rome, and, becauseboiling oil image he persisted in his refusal to acknowledge Emperor Domitian as lord and god, was plunged into a vat of boiling oil.

When he survived, he was sent to the Isle of Patmos, where he is generally considered to have written the book of Revelation. (He was released from Patmos, most likely after the murder of Emperor Domitian, in 95 AD)

At that time Polycarp would have been approximately twenty-four or twenty-five. If John had made him a bishop, presumably it would have been before then.

Although, in the overall scheme of things, it does not matter to us who anointed Polycarp as bishop it did for Hold the Faith. (For those of you who have not read ‘Hold the Faith’… in order to introduce the reader to the challenges faced by brethren in those times, John and his fictitious great-grandson walked from Ephesus to Smyrna.)

For the background of that stay in Smyrna, I needed to check who was bishop at that time. Whilst it is not impossible for Polycarp to have been anointed as bishop by John, I considered it unlikely, given the Bible’s guidelines about notBible image appointing young men to the office of an elder… a bishop is an overseer. Then, as mentioned at the start, I discovered another source that stated that the first bishop of Smyrna was a well-loved and respected man named Bucolus. According to some sources, he was the one who passed the fellowship in Smyrna into the care of Polycarp.

Still, if you are not writing about any of these early church ‘fathers’ all we need to know is that they were dedicated, honorable and very committed men. Life in those days was a ‘risky business’ for a Christian… as it seems to be  increasingly becoming today.

Back to taking big scissors to book three in the series.


scissors image

Keep walking




eBook piracy

Should I be flattered, angry, disappointed or what?

It appears that one of my novels, Hold the Faith, is available for illegal download and/or in a library for illegal download.

Piracy flag

I read the reviews… all positive. But since they were not purchased, the reviews are not on one of the two selling sites.

So far, I have published two eBooks. The sub-title of both is ‘The Apostle John series’.


First. Because it is set in the first century AD.

Second… in the course of the lives of the people in the book, and the fictional family of the Apostle, the books go through the writing of the gospel of John.

Third… it is how those first Christians lived their faith.

It is a rich and powerful period of the early Christian church, and whilst facts are documented in the Bible (which is my primary resource), it does not explain what it felt like to be living in those conditions. It was a dangerous time to be ‘different’, and Christians WERE different. So this book series puts, in fictional form, some of the challenges and difficulties of their faith. In spite of the cost, which was sometimes their lives, they did ‘Hold Fast’ to what their Saviour taught them, and passed that teaching on through the generations.

I have are several gigabytes of research for these books. I also have physical research books … Josephus’s Antiquities. Travel in the Ancient World, a book on Domitian, Roman emperor at the time, a bunch of Bible versions and various Bible resources.

I wanted it to be as accurate as it is possible to make something that is approximately twenty centuries in the past.


stealing, kidnap cartoon

The people in the books became ‘part of the family.’ Perhaps that is what I feel, sadness… that someone would steal them. Kidnap them.

I am not a high-ranked author. I never expected the books to be profitable. They are not rude, crude, occult or sexual, which is what sells these days. They tell a story. I learnt a great deal about my early Christian forebears in writing these, and that has value for me.

At $4.99 US I do not think they are unreasonably priced. Currently there are two titles published. Hold the Faith (Book 1) and Grow in Grace (Book 2)

Both are available, as eBooks only, from Amazon Kindle, and from Smashwords.

If I had decided to put them in the Kindle lending library, I would not have been able to offer them for sale on Smashwords.

To the person who was looking to download a PDF version of Hold the Faith, Smashwords is where you can buy a copy. But it sounded as though you wanted to pirate it.

Do people who ‘pirate’ eBooks go into bookstores and steal a book they want to read?

cartoon book thief


You can buy my books at


(a better deal for authors but you need to know how to add it to your library manually)

Hold the Faith cover imageHold the Faith








Grow in Grace, cover imageGrow in Grace








Amazon Kindle

Hold the Faith


Grow in Grace


And by the way, if you do buy and read the book, please leave a review on the site where you purchased it. It was sad to read those positive reviews where they had been illegally downloaded.


Why do Christians have ‘trials’ ?

I watched a video clip on the site of someone who followed my other blog. It was an interesting song. ‘Before the morning’ – I will link to the clip at the end.

It begins with questions about why ‘you’ are suffering if there is a loving God Who cares. Questions like this are quite common.

Remember the old song “I never promised you a rose garden’? Well God does not promise us a life without pain and trials if we accept the sacrifice His Son made for us.

Cover for The Light of Truth

In book three of the Apostle John series, I have been writing about the trials of a background character who has moved to the foreground.

Then someone who left in book two, Grow in Grace, is making a re-entry.

In this third book, The Light of Truth, things are moving toward another arrest of the Apostle John. It looks as if at least one more book will be needed.

So why am I talking about these books? Why mention the song? Because, although my book series is fiction, my primary resource book has been the Bible, and in writing this series I have learnt a great deal about why things happen.

Take for example Jesus’ words…

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

Many people are told that because Jesus said “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world’, that He has done it all for us. Not so.

Look at the lives of those first disciples… only John survived into old age. The others, according to legend, all martyred. Also, according to legend, John was put in boiling oil. That does not sound like ‘Jesus did it all’ to me.

And what about these…

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
James 1:2

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials
1Peter 1:6

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Romans 12:12

Warning, challenges ahead image


These writers, who were Apostles, make it clear that we will have trials, and as we plod through them, our faith and trust in Him grows.


Have you read this one?

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
James 1: 3, 4

The trust in His Father that Jesus had to exercise must have been enormous, and another scripture says that He learned obedience through the things He suffered. Heb 5: 8

I think Ronny Graham puts it well in his essay, published on my other blog. In the introduction, he points out that Jesus was schemed against all throughout His ministry.

You can read the full post here… https://religioushistoricalfiction.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/jesus-suffering-on-passover/

Although it makes what we go through seem ‘mild’ by comparison, our trials are horrendous to us. Sometimes all we can do is ask God for help.

You might enjoy this song if you are going through a painful trial…


Thinking, and believing His word…

Never will I leave you, quote