On Mercy and Pain

Good Morning,

It’s a sunny Autumn day in Gippsland and I’ve woken to the news that two of the Bali 9 were executed this morning. News channels are rife with commentary on the issue and there are many standpoints on it: those who shout “They were silly enough to disobey rules when they knew the penalty was death” and those who shout “They were young and stupid. We all make mistakes. They should have been given a second chance.”

Then there’s the Twitter hashtag #IStandForMercy.

I really think that’s the end of the story. It’s a senseless waste of life, no matter who wasted it. Was it Chan and Sukumaran who wasted their lives when they got involved in international drug smuggling, knowing the high stakes of breaching Indonesian law on the matter? Or was it those who sanctioned the execution, despite the Australian government doing all it could to gain clemency?

Doesn’t matter. Either way, it caused pain. Either way, there were wages of sin. In this case, the wages of sin was death. Either way, we begged for mercy.

But what is mercy anyway? One thing I know is that God is the father of mercy. We can’t truly know much about mercy until we know him.

…until we know He first showed us great mercy.

…until we know that what happened today was a parable – that there is an eternal truth we can see from the mortal lives of these men. We’ve all made mistakes. We’ve all sinned. The wages of sin is death, and eternally so. In a way, we are all Chan and Sukumaran.

Imagine if the President of Indonesia chose to send his only son to the firing squad to pay their penalty, knowing that it had to be paid by someone. That would be mercy. That would be beyond comprehension.

That’s what God did for us.

I stand for mercy because I’ve been shown it. I also know that in eternity, even those who have met this sort of death can find it. Christopher Columbus once said “I am a most noteworthy sinner, but I have cried out tot he Lord for grace and mercy and they have covered me completely. I have found the sweetest consolation since I made it my whole purpose to enjoy His marvellous presence.”

This is what eternity has in store for those who seek mercy. I only hope that we can learn a lesson from these lives, from the parable they lived through. Eternity can be a beautiful thing, no matter what happened before it.

The sweetest consolation indeed.

RIP Chan and Sukumaran. I hope we all learned something so you didn’t die in vain.

Meet the Characters: Phoebe

After what I must say was a productive Monday (shock horror), hubby has gone out to a meeting and left me to my new computer and writing program (Scrivener, love it!)

Of course the above-mentioned newbies mean that I’ve got the itch to tap away at my computer for longer than usual. Will this newfound inspiration last? Probably not, but hopefully long enough for me to finish the draft and move through to the edit stage. So close yet so far!

Anyway,  I wanted to introduce you to another one of my characters. The Remnant has two main characters: Hunter (who you’ve already met) and Phoebe who I’m introducing now.

In many ways, she is the polar opposite to Hunter. Apart from the obvious (she’s a girl. He’s not), there are many ways in which they are polarised.  He’s had pretty much everything handed to him up until this point. She’s had to grow up fast and fight for survival in a hostile world. He is surrounded by people who share history, faith and life with him. She has no one – unless you include a snooty little brother who would sell her out for a slab of decent lasagna and a pat on the back.

She’s known for a while that day would come. They share a house, but barely a kind word passes between them. When Phoebe knows her name is about to come up on the Southern Global Quadrants ‘wanted’ list, she knows she has to get out of there fast.

How would she know her name is about to be called? It’s not because she committed a crime. It’s because she is an anomaly – the holder of a gift that should only exist inside the Remnant. She’s a seer – A prophet (sort of). Somehow she has tuned in to a supernatural world that isn’t supposed to exist. It’s a world you get executed for believing in but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. 

She doesn’t want to be a seer. That ‘gift’ that lead her father to an untimely death. Phoebe has a plan though: if she can find the Remnant, they can train her properly. She can be covered, protected, and surrounded by people who might actually care whether she lives or dies.

Before Phoebe’s mother died (many years ago), she used to sing her songs from a past civilisation. She showed her a symbol she could draw in the sand if she ever needed help from the Remnant: the mark of help-sought that would be completed by one of them in a gesture of help-offered.

She just needs to find one of them.

There are only two problems with that: How do you find the Remnant when they are hiding their light from the world (to avoid persecution and the threat of death. Sorta understandable)? And how do you avoid being discovered by a President and dedicated search squad that hate the Remnant with a particularly fiery venom.

The President of the Southern Global Quadrant has a theory: if he can track down ‘the seer girl’ who lives outside the Remnant, and apply the right ‘pressure’ then she might just lead show them the way.

She’s not helping President Saul Raymond find and kill anyone. Not if she can help it.

If you were to look at Phoebe, you’d see a skinny girl of sixteen, whose collarbones jut out after years of not quite enough. She has haunting blue eyes that have seen a lot – from death and heartache, to premonitions of the future. Phoebe has a strong sense of responsibility about her, but is plagued with loneliness, the fruit of a society in which trust is fatal and suspicion runs riot. She’s whip smart, and a non-conformist at heart – both of these being difficult personality traits to manage when average is the goal and the only way to avoid Special Forces attention is to not stand out in any way.

In this book, Phoebe will have to plumb the depths of her being to find strength she thought impossible. She’ll have to confront her fears and decide whether she wants to be bigger than them, or whether she wants to surrender to an evil so big that even the church has seemingly given up.

President Saul Raymond wants to find her and extract her premonitions so that they can find the Remnant, so Phoebe has been forced to leave the only life she knows to go on the run. She’s looking for the Remnant, but the Remnant don’t want to be found.
See below for happy snaps! And one unhappy snap 🙂 

   
      

 

Easter, Nigeria and Why I’m in the Remnant

Hey all!

Its a Tuesday afternoon. I’m nursing the beginnings of a head-cold and, let’s be honest, procrastinating about a serious edit session. Of course the obvious, responsible choice is that I should be blogging! (Read: I should be doing anything but blogging. I’ve got this pile of washing in the laundry. I’ve got a kitchen full of dishes. I’ve also got a healthy sense of YOLO about me. So I’m blogging).

Life recently has been full. I’m a happy girl with another completed manuscript under her belt. It’s not technically mine though. I wrote it with someone else. He did the hard yards coming up with all the intellectual property and thinking through an amazing array of medical issues and came up with the goods in terms of linking and fixing them.

I just developed the manuscript, a manuscript that has been edited and is now in the capable hands of the most amazing graphic designer I’ve ever worked with. It’s been the most rewarding project of my life, and it will change lives. It’s truly an honor. But its also done (-ish).

Hence I’m returning to my beloved Remnant. It’s going great.

Here’s the thing: I am well aware of the fact that, somewhere in a past life that’s still too recent, I was a workaholic. Stopping to smell the roses hasn’t always been my strong suit.

So we took time off over Easter. *gasp! It was out of mobile phone reception. It was restorative and torturous all in one. It meant that I could spend time with friends instead of with technology. I could spend time with family instead of characters. (Now that I put that down on paper, being an author sounds somewhat like insanity! But I’m writing this book for a reason, dude!)

Over that time, my Dad traveled to Nigeria with a dear friend of ours. He tells us, now that he’s back, that after they left their lay-over (at an airport I can’t recall), he observed that the plane was basically empty. Most foreign ex-pats had left in the lead up to the election. Goodluck Jonathan lost and General Buhari won.It was a big moment.

Such governmental transitions can be crazy to say the least. By crazy, I mean “Up your personal security and live off your canned goods for a month” crazy. The gentleman Dad and our family friend had gone to see was General Buhari’s previous running mate, Pastor Tunde Bakare – one I’d call a latter day reformist.

The stories they came back with after having been able to spend time with this great man, in what can only be described as an historic and significant time in the history of Nigeria, were amazing.

Fifteen years or so ago, Nigeria wasn’t at the crossroads its at now. Boko Haram wasn’t an issue. Something like 50,000 Christians had not been slaughtered.

Hearing about it all reinforced something to me that I guess I already knew: That freedom can never be taken for granted. We don’t tend to think that Australia will ever have its freedom threatened, and yet things happen every day in our nation that threaten it. Six years ago if I were to say “I’m a Christian” people would say “Good for you.”

Now they look at me like my face is on fire. Now I can’t agree with a law that has stood since the beginning of time for fear of being branded a bigot and a hater. So I stay silent, like millions of other Australians. Saying how you feel, saying with you think, is okay for everyone but Christians these days. It’s a slow creep, but that’s how you boil a frog, right? Turn up the heat slowly so they don’t realise they are dying.

You can disagree with me. That’s your prerogative. But check the temperature of the next marriage argument you witness and see who is getting bullied now (Now I’m not saying any bullying is ok. It’s not! But you’d be shocked to see the ones they call haters aren’t actually doing the hating these days). See where the name calling is angled. The tide is turning and we are ignoring it, saying “She’ll be right” and moving on with our days in the name of tolerance.

The only thing not tolerated in Australia these days is Jesus.I’m in the minority now and I’m curious: Where will we be in 15 years?

So that was uncomfortable realisation #1.  Realisation #2 is far more buoyant: no matter how far society falls, no matter how out of control things get, God always has a redemption plan – A remnant he raises up to restore freedom and righteousness to the nation and to point the way back to where we belong. In Nigeria, Tunde Bakare seems to be leading that group of people. It’s staggering to see the change that has happened and its because of righteous men like him standing up and showing the way.

Whenever I stop writing this book, I’m reminded of why I’m doing it, and why I have to finish it. It doesn’t matter who you are, or how small your contribution is, do what you can. Do it for freedom. Stay true to what’s inside you. It’s more important than you think.

This was supposed to be a happy post with lost of smiley pictures. But the thing about blogging is that you just end up saying what’s on your mind. This is whats on mine.

I’m not scared by anything I wrote in this post. Please don’t take it that way. What I am is resolute. My generation was born for such at time as this. I believe we are brave, curious, creative and connected. We just need to choose to be part of the Remnant, raised up for such a time as this, tasked with showing the way back to truth and freedom.

Just some thoughts for you.

Peace

C

 

Question: Who’s on Wattpad?

Hey fellow bloggers!

I’ve just set up an account on Wattpad. It seemed like a good idea at 3am in the morning when I was trying to do something that would send me to sleep. (Success!)

Now the big question is “Who else is on there?” I’m looking for people to follow! Of course there are options to invite my entire Facebook friends list, but of the 1200 odd friends, I think that would irritate maybe 1197 of them!

Over to you. Are you on Wattpad? What’s your handle? Mine is ClareHMcIvor. Follow me!

Cheers
C

Meet the Characters: Hunter

When I started writing this book almost 14 months ago, I visualised it being finished by now. Of course, I started ghostwriting another book for a client and quickly discovered that you can’t write two books at once! There is this golden zone of concentration that you kinda have to be a bit antisocial and obsessive to get to – and I had to balance life and obsession, er I mean work.

Anyway! The Remnant is now my sole concentration point and, with a bit of luck, I’ll be presenting it to you in August. In the next few months I’ll post some excerpts, some book trailers (Yeah baby!) and some cast photos.

So it is with great excitement that I present to you the main character in the book: Hunter Rhodes. I can’t give too much away, because then you’ll know what happens in the first chapters and I’m not giving any spoilers! But here are some fast facts. 

(Before I introduce him – if you haven’t read the synopsis for “The Remnant,” you can find it here. Scroll down to the bottom half! Defs read that first!)

So who is Hunter? He’s 16, around 6 foot 2, and has eyes that are two different colours. It’s a genetic marker that links him back to a past that he’d rather forget about. (Sam, who played him in the film clip had to wear contacts to get that effect! Uncomfortable things that they are!)

You wouldn’t call him quiet, but he’s hardly the class clown. His past has left him with some scars that cause him to view the world in a slightly different way.

Namely – his biological mum died a brutal death and his bio-dad is the kinda guy he’d like to cause a lot of pain to, should they ever meet. Once you know what thats all about, you’d be in that fight right along side him.

Hunter was the first character that started to form in my mind. He wasn’t born into the Remnant, rather, he was rescued from a literal scrap heap in a world where abortion can occur in the minutes after birth. The couple who rescued him had founded the Remnant in resistance to a tyrannical government that demanded the execution of anyone who so much as believed in the existence of Jesus Christ.

Hunter Rhodes was raised in this secret rebellion where they are trained to be prophets, either seers or hearers. But until now, he’d been a no-talent. Well thats what he has the rest of the Remnant believe. He’s recently developed the ability to see straight into the spirit realm, where angels and demons war, but at this point he isn’t picking sides and he’s certainly not fessing up to owning this new skill.

In the opening chapters, he’s fed up with the cloak and dagger nature of his existence, but isn’t willing to betray the people he loves and the cause he believes in.

In reality, Hunter’s day of reckoning has arrived. The enemy just marched right into his place of safety and took one of the his nearest and dearest. The fight for survival is beginning and Hunter is right at the centre of it. He’s going to have to  to grapple with the cost of freedom and the cost of staying silent.

The body count is piling up on both sides.

Hunter’s storyline involves a lot of action (that I can’t tell you about without spoilers) and a fight between two natures. I can’t wait to introduce you properly! But until now, thats the scoop! And a pic of the guy I had play him in the clip. Thanks Sam!

Peace!

C


Hunter Rhodes 2

Hunter (1 of 1)

Hunter Rhodes