Tag Archives: Rome

Sneak Peak at The Cartaphilus Saga


The release date is March 27, 2015 reserve your copy now for half price. It will be available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Apple, and all the major book retailers. Below you can read a description of the book, and I have a link where you can read the first six chapters online, or download it to the device you like to read books on.

The Cartaphilus Saga book #1: Amissio will be available everywhere e-books are sold. With the first release to be on Amazon. The print editions will follow the e-book edition.

NOTE: though this is being released as both Historical Fiction and Christian Fiction it is not a religious book and does not take a position on Christianity either for or against. The crucifixion is used as the source of the curse placed on Cartaphilus. A curse of immortality.

And the best thing is it is FREE. All I am asking is for you to leave a comment.

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Here’s the description:

The Cartaphilus Saga, Book #1: Amissio

David Gerrard is a freelance reporter for the tabloids, but one with definite principals. Though he has researched and written dozens of stories, he will only publish the ones he truly believes. For ten years, he has been receiving story leads from a source he has never met in person. Mark Long is a remarkable storyteller, bringing David stories from throughout history and adding unique and substantial variations to each one. For the first time, Mark has requested a face to face meeting between himself and David.

The first thing the men do together is visit Mark’s old friend, Tony Vargas, who is an expert on the Roman Empire period and an avid collector. Mark presents Tony with an ancient sword in a velvet lined case and asks Tony to tell him exactly what it is. Tony states that it is a first century Roman gladius sword. He shows the men other swords in his collection and discusses the detailed differences. Then he tells them the sword had once belonged to a soldier named Casius, since the name is engraved on the handle.

At this, Mark is eager to leave, though he doesn’t explain why at the time. When he and David are alone in the hotel, Mark tells him in secret that Tony was right: the sword had belonged to a Roman soldier named Casius. But what Tony hadn’t known was that Casius had had the sword taken from him by a Jew named Peter, and a Roman centurion had taken it from Peter. Intrigued, David settles into his role as reporter, with his digital recorder, pen, and paper always at the ready.

Mark tells him the centurion’s name was Marcus Cartaphilus Longus. He had been stationed with the Roman garrison in Caesarea when he’d discovered his daughter was close to death. After learning the name of a man who had reportedly saved others from death, Cartaphilus went in search of this Yeshua. Unfortunately, his daughter died before he could reach Yeshua. Desolate over the death of his daughter and the subsequent death of his wife, Cartaphilus vowed to destroy Yeshua.

At that time, Pontius Pilate was the Prefect of Judea. He was in charge of keeping the peace. When the Jewish Passover came, he ordered in extra troops, and Cartaphilus led those troops. Upon their arrival, Cartaphilus was ordered to arrest a Jew accused by the priests of causing trouble in Judea. They were led to the accused by a man named Judas Iscariot, but the Jew was surrounded by his followers, including one man named Peter who grabbed Casius’ gladius and cut the ear off one of the men with the soldiers while trying to protect Yeshua. Miraculously, Yeshua was able to pick up the severed ear and reattach it to the man’s head with the simple pressure of his hand. Eventually, Cartaphilus placed Yeshua under arrest and led him to Jerusalem and the house of Caiaphas, the High Priest.

Over the next few days, Mark’s story continues, reliving the final hours of Jesus Christ’s life, and even the years following.

David listens carefully and questions often, impressed by Mark’s in-depth account of this two thousand year old story. When Mark begins to add in details that David cannot find in his research, David becomes determined to disprove the story. He compares Mark’s details to those told in the Bible. He contacts a professional researcher, a genealogist, and a professor friend, asking them all questions to help him refute this story, but despite their best efforts they cannot. Over a few exhausting days and nights, the two men take the story apart, but David cannot find any flaws. The problem is, the only way Mark could know any of these details was if he had been an actual eyewitness, which is obviously impossible.

One night David sits bolt upright in his hotel room bed, jarred awake by a detail. He checks his recorder to be sure and confirms what he’d thought. Caught up in the emotion of the story, Mark had accidentally messed up by using the pronoun “we” instead of “they”, and the vigilant reporter had caught his slip on tape.

Cornered by the recorded remark, Mark admits that he is two thousand years old. Of course, David tells him the whole idea is ridiculous. He is angry at the waste of his time and toys with the idea of leaving. But Mark begs him to stay. He says he doesn’t need David to necessarily believe him, he needs him to believe the story. He says that if David believes it, so will his readers, and he needs David to tell the world what really happened.

Highly skeptical, David begins to question him about other events that have happened over the past two thousand years—including Mark’s participation in WWII as a Nazi—but Mark stops him, saying the stories must be told as they happened, not by skipping through the centuries. Eventually Mark hands him a daguerreotype of two men from the American Civil War, and David has it checked by experts. They all agree that the daguerreotype is authentic. One of the men in the picture is one of General Robert Lee’s sons, and David has a very hard time telling himself the other is not Mark.

David has failed in his quest to disprove Mark’s story. His researchers have as well. So David grudgingly allows himself to believe in the possibility that Mark is two thousand years old, that Mark Long is actually Marcus Cartaphilus Longus. And if that is possible, how many other stories could Mark have to share with him? Would he be able to unearth more of the most famous lies or half-truths throughout history?

Unfortunately, now that David is swept up in the excitement of the idea, Mark is called away on urgent business. He promises to get in touch so they can continue with this story and more. David stares at him as he leaves the hotel, unable to believe he is suddenly gone.

Two months later, David receives a short email from Mark, stating the place and time where they should meet. This time David is prepared and smiling with anticipation as he packs his things.

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Here’s the link for the FREE download (or you can read it online) of the first six chapters:

The Cartaphilus Saga, Book #1: Amissio

 

 

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… And The River Flows On


(written April 17, 2013)

Have you ever looked at a river, really looked at a river. Looked at the things that make up a river, the surface, below the surface, and what is on the bottom of a river; are all different things, but they all make up part of the river. The river always flows on. You can change its direction, you can dam it, but the river ultimately determines its own path. You can fight the river, but the river wins. The river will break through the dams and levies and go where it will. What you can do is to take care of the small piece of the river where you are … nothing more. This helps. However, the river will clean itself as well, burying all the bad, deep within the confines of the river bottom. The bad is still there on the bottom, with more coming down the river. You will never get rid of it, but you can stir up the river, bringing back the old bad and mixing it with the new.

Yesterday was an historic day for many reasons. In 1912, April 16, was the day that the world awoke to realize the Titanic had sunk with a great loss of life. April 16, 2013 was a day that people around the world mourned the loss of a loved one or friend who died in a terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon. It was a terrorist attack, this was not a robbery gone bad or a dispute between two people. Yesterday was an attack, by an attacker, on people the terrorist did not know personally. This is terrorism. Terrorism is not new in time or to this country. Ancient Rome experience terrorism. There has been an ebb and flow to terrorism in the United States. No matter the time, no matter the place, there is one reason for domestic terrorism and only one. There is one reason for foreign terrorism against the United States, and only one.

Before I go any further, I want to state that terrorist, all terrorists, are criminals. No matter their own self-justification for their actions, they are criminals. They attempt to use fear to increase their power over us. Terrorist seek only power to force their will on others. You cannot work with terrorists, but we need to work together, only then can we weaken the power terrorists have over us. Terrorism has always existed, and always will.

The power domestic terrorism has over us, exists because we refuse to work together. One side vs. the other. One side (our side, whichever side that is) must win and utterly destroy all opposition. The commentators of CNN, NBC, and others were speculating yesterday (and will probably continue to today) by saying, “of course, since domestic terrorists are always extreme-right-wing-conservatives…”, and ” this latest act of terrorism must be the work of the T.E.A. party or a veteran.” I am not here to talk politics, and I do not care what your politics is, I want you to see the futility of this mess we have created. A mess we created and blame on others. Could anyone call Bill Ayers a “right-wing-conservative?” Bill Ayers has freely admitted to terrorist acts and continues to state to this day that he did not do enough in his earlier terrorist days. What about the Weather Underground, The Black Panthers, Earth Liberation Movement, or the Animal Liberation Movement; could any of these be called right-wing. Timothy McVeigh, now there’s a right-wing terrorist (well sort of, he wasn’t a Marxists at least). These terrorist act not because they are right-wing or left-wing. They act because we do not work together. We do not work together to heal those with mental problems. They act because we do not work together to explain the importance of freedom. Freedom? Oh yes, we know what freedom is, but what does that have to do with terrorism.? I am sure I can find people who can give hours of instruction on freedom, volumes of books have been written on freedom, wars have been fought over freedom. Do you know what freedom really is? Choice. Yup, that’s it. The definition of freedom has fewer letters in it than the word freedom itself.

If you may choose between A or B, (or more options) then you have freedom in that area. However, when your choices are limited by others, or you are not allowed to choose for yourself, you are not free. A great man once said, “Freedom works every time it is tried.” Criminals use terror to get us to limit our own freedom, our own choices. Governments, from ancient Rome to modern governments, use terrorism to increase their power over us, to limit our choices. They legislate away our freedoms in the name of security.

This brings me to the one cause for foreign terrorism. Because we have been successful. We are a democratic republic, only a democratic republic attempts to give equal protection to all citizens under one law. A free, democratic republic with a capitalist economic system, because (unlike other economic systems) in a capitalist economic system each person controls their own money and property. The individual chooses what they will do with their property. We are a collection of free people who have chosen the freest political system and the freest economic system. These two systems are not perfect, but they do allow the most freedom to all citizens. Americans have used this freedom to create the most successful country to date. The United States is 4.52% of the world population, consumes 24% of the world’s natural resources, and creates 25% of the world’s production. Those who do not like the United States’ capitalist system point out that the United States uses more resources than any other country, without out mentioning the GDP. Those in favor of unlimited capitalism point to the GDP of the United States compared to the rest of the world, without mentioning the cost.

The cost is great and the results are great. No matter what you think of the American system, we are attacked by terrorist because we are successful. We produce more and have a better standard of living, our people have enjoyed (over the course of our history) unparalleled individual freedom. Today our greatest external threat comes a small group within the Islamic community. A small group that would have their religion rule every part of the lives of their people … and the people of the world, if they get a chance. This group is only the latest to target us, there have been others in the past, and there will be others in the future. There is no reason for you to remain inactive, either you agree with the American system and work to preserve it, or you disagree with the American system and work to destroy it. The choice is yours.

So, why do we have domestic terrorists? Because we refuse to find common ground and work together. Our division is used by the terrorists.

Why do we have foreign terrorists? Because the American system is successful (I did not say it is right, and I did not say it is wrong, only that it is successful).

The pursuit of power is the root of all evil, not money. If you want to know who is the person or group behind a criminal act, do not follow the money; follow who has power to gain through that criminal act.

I am not taking a side in this one way or the other. Oh, I do have an opinion, but that is mine. Here, on my column, I shun my own personal opinion as much as possible. I shun religion, politics, and money (my grandfather always said it is best to avoid these subjects in polite company). Just as with the Hunley and many other topics I have written about …

… when there is no clear-cut, scientific, black/white, right/wrong answer, I present what I can to you and leave each of you to write the last paragraph of the column. This Sunday, I am not going to publish a column. Spend some quality time with the ones you love, or maybe some quality time alone, you know what is best for you. But, while you are in that quality time this Sunday, think about this column and which side you support. What will you do? We all take sides, even the decision to “sit this one out” is indeed, taking a side. I am not asking you to go join some organization, or march around with signs. You take sides with your voice to those you come into contact with, changing the world … one mind at a time.

My prayer for you is for peace and joy.

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“I Hope You Get to Live Like …”


Daddy and Elizabeth playing put put golf at Young's Dairy 25 May 2008

Daddy and Elizabeth playing put put golf at Young’s Dairy 25 May 2008

The Ides of March, 15 March, two days ago as you read this (I wrote this on the 9th of March). Of course, ides just means the half division of something, and comes from the Romans. So, how do we all know the phrase “Ides of March?” After all, we can use the “ides” to all the other months and many other things as well. Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar Act 1 scene 2,

Brutus: “A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.”

Brutus was saying this to Julius Caesar. Good reason for that warning as the 15th of March was the day Caesar was assassinated.

I like the halfway point as a good place to take stock of where I am, where I’ve been, and where I am going. I’ve been doing this on the run, but the 15th of March is when I pause for a moment and really take stock of this.

Daddy and Elizabeth 4 May 2008

Daddy and Elizabeth 4 May 2008

I like being a man. Not for some political reason (be it politically correct or incorrect). I like the “manly” things like a barbershop, a real old-fashioned barbershop.  Keith’s Cuts in West Liberty, Ohio was the first real barbershop I had been too in a decade or more. My wife found it for me, paid for my first haircut and gave me the address. When I moved to Columbus, I drove more than 100 miles round trip for a haircut, until I found the Gahanna Barbershop, another real barbershop, not a beauty salon.

Keith’s is that male bastion of the times of old … without the true crime magazines. Decorated in a “Cincinnati Reds and bowling” theme. I’m a Yankee’s fan (a cousin played with them), but Keith’s Reds stuff is pretty neat. The bowling is really just bowling pins marking Keith’s 300 games, and boy has he had a lot of 300 games (a score of 300 in bowling is a perfect game). I think though the best part is the men who go to Keith’s. West Liberty is a small farming community, and you can usually find a few of the city’s elder statesmen of agriculture waiting their turn in the chair and talking about manly stuff. None of which I understand. I appreciate it, but I really don’t know what a three-point-hitch is or what it does, much less why it is important. But I nod my head in agreement just the same. That’s what men do when we have no clue what someone is talking about, just nod your head and say “yup” once in a while. I just love going to Keith’s Cuts.

The Gahanna Barbershop is another bastion of sheer manliness. I think Tim the tool man would feel right at home in either of these barbershops. Gahanna Barbershop has four barbers and on most days you can usually find three of them there. These men are all military vets, or at least deserving of the title honorary vet. One is a Navy vet, so I feel right at home in the conversations. The décor is outdoors and vintage barbershop “stuff”. They have a hornet’s nest that the original inhabitants no longer use, old signs (including Burma Shave signs), a few tools, and shadow boxes with old barbershop instruments. The mirrors are framed like windows and they have a clock with the numbers backwards so it reads the right time while you are looking in the mirror.

My favorite time to go to the Gahanna Barbershop is Saturday mornings. This is when a parent (usually mom) will bring in their small son for a haircut. Of course, we include them just like one of the guys. I like to watch their faces beam at being one-of-the-boys. I think mom brings in her son for the price though, not the camaraderie. A real barbershop still charges half what one of the beauty shops or unisex shops charges. I don’t like that name “unisex”, sounds like someplace Larry Flint get’s his haircut at. I still go back to Keith’s once in a while, we need to patronize these old barbershops men. If we don’t one day they will all be gone.

Daddy and Elizabeth reading Dr, Seuss Easter 2009

Daddy and Elizabeth reading Dr, Seuss Easter 2009

I was pondering all of this as I read the poem “Given A Choice”  by Sheri. Her poem for International Women’s Day. With everything I am interested, or have been interested in, poetry is not one of them. However, Sheri’s poetry always speaks to me and makes me think, those deep thoughts.

As I thought about my Southern roots, and why Sheri prefers to be a woman, I also thought about what being a man means to me — a Southern man. This brought me back to Shakespeare. To be specific Hamlet Act 1 scene 3 Polonius is giving advice to his son Laertes as he prepares to leave for Paris.

Polonius: This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man. …

Those who know me would certainly say I am that. But, over the 20 years I have lived in the north I have quietly amputated small portions of who I am to fit in more with the Yankees (some of which you have read in recent articles). Something I have recently decided to undo.

Elizabeth on a merry-go-round 2008

Elizabeth on a merry-go-round 2008

Along with all of this I have also been thinking about those other things I like about being a man. Like the first time I held my daughter, or how I feel when she runs up to me on a playground, looks me in the face and says, “Daddy I love you”, just before she turns and runs off again. That and all the 1,000’s of other things she does. It makes you feel like you could take on heaven and hell for her if you had too.

There are also the not so good feelings too. As the man (at least for my generation and the older ones) you learn from the time you are a small toddler that daddy fixes everything. Like George Bailey “fixing” the rose petals back on the rose for his daughter when they fell off. Dads are supposed to be the defender of the family. You stand between your family and the ugly and dangerous things of life. The not so good feelings? When you hold your dying child in your arms knowing you can’t fix this. It does not ease the pain knowing no one else can fix it either. It makes you feel like you’ve failed, and worse than that, you failed a child, your child.

I also remember a while ago something that probably shocked me more than anything ever has. I remember the moment I realized a woman loved me totally and completely. She accepted me warts and all, no judgment or “fixing” required. There was nothing about me that would cause her to love me any less. She did not say this with words, but with one act, it was as if she had placed a sword in my hand and then bared her chest to me, smiling because she knew she was perfectly safe in my arms. It was the most restraining and most liberating I have ever felt in my life. It was also the most scared I have ever been in my life. I should have told her, but I didn’t. This is one of the “unconditional loves” we talk about. But there are conditions, you need to nurture and protect the “unconditional loves.” A dog will flinch if you beat it enough as will a child. You must always nurture love specially during hard or busy times, because that love between lovers is fleeting if not nurtured.

Do we get a second chance, after we learn from our mistakes? I don’t know. I know that no matter what comes, my daughter will always know the bountiful love of her daddy. Always accepting and never judgmental, I will not need a second chance with my child. I will always tell my daughter, and more important show my daughter, that I do and always will love her. But what of the other? There are many people around the world that have felt that “unconditional love” in their lives at one time, only to lose it. Will they get a second chance too? I don’t know. I do know that if I get a second chance at another relationship with another woman, I will not make the same mistakes again. I will make a whole new set of mistakes, it’s what we do, we are human, not perfect. I do know this though, you only make a mistake once, the second time it is a choice.

So, what can we do?

“To thine own self be true…”

Let nothing go unsaid that you should say. Live in today. Yesterday is gone, and can never be changed. Tomorrow is not a guarantee, it is a gift. Accept people as you find them — today. Accept responsibility for yesterday, and then let it go. Make plans for tomorrow, but do not let planning for tomorrow keep you from living today. In one word LIVE. Like the song says “… I hope you get the chance to live like you are dying …”

My wish for you is peace, joy, and love.

Have a great day,

Joe

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