Tag Archives: Easter

Easter Give Away ~ Harmful Intent

harmful-intent-300-p

Spring is in the air. Easter is right around the corner. The most profound celebration of the Christian Church. It’s a time of deep reverence and immense joy.

I’d like to fill your Easter basket with a giveaway. The best comment will receive a Kindle copy of HARMFUL INTENT.

First let me share the most important story of all…that of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Luke 24New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The Resurrection

24 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has [a]risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” And they remembered His words, and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles. 11 But these words appeared [b]to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them. 12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he *saw the linen wrappings [c]only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened.

*****

To win a Kindle Copy of HARMFUL INTENT, leave a comment. Below is a synopsis of this detective story.

Betrayal runs in private investigator Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels’ family. So, why is she surprised when her husband of one year cheats on her? The real shock is his murder, with the local lawman pegging her as the prime suspect.

Ronnie Ingels is a Brooklyn bred private investigator who travels to west Texas, where her cheating husband is murdered. As she hunts the killer to clear her name, she becomes the hunted.

Deputy Sergeant Dawson Hughes, a former Army Ranger, is a man folks want on their side. Only he’s not so sure at first, he’s on the meddling New York PI’s side. As the evidence points away from her, he realizes the more she butts in, the more danger she attracts to herself.

Happy Easter

cross, daffodill

 

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The Easter Table: in my Sanctuary Point Whodunit Series

Let’s take a time-travel trip back to the 1940s to the fictitious village in my historical whodunit novel series: Sanctuary Point. The village is located on the south shore of Long Island. The original setters of Long Island were the Dutch, some German and French settled later, followed by the English, then the Irish and the Scots. Last came the great migrations from eastern and southern Europe after the two world wars.

Mrs. Brogna (heroine Erica Brogna’s mother in BURNING HEARTS) and Mrs. Lenart (heroine Katrina Lenart’s mother in GOODBYE NOEL) are best of friends and neither is a novice in the kitchen. They both hail from Czechoslovakia and both are ardent Christians who are faithful to their little church in Sanctuary Point. Mrs. Lenart plays the piano during worship.

Czech Wooden Easter egg. The design is inlaid.

Czech Wooden Easter egg. The design is inlaid.

 

The Czechs call the Wednesday before Easter Ugly Wednesday because traditionally it is the day Judas betrayed Jesus. In past generations, all Easter baking had to be done by the Tuesday of Easter week. Intense house cleaning begins on Wednesday which is a hold over from the ritual cleaning of Passover. Easter eggs are decorated on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Holy Thursday or Green Thursday to the Czechs and Moravians is the day Jesus ate the Last Supper with His disciples. This is a strict fast day when only vegetables can be eaten.

Good Friday in Czech traditions is the most solemn day on the calendar. In Czechoslovakia before the communist takeover, it was a day of prayer and fasting. The Czech Good Friday meal would be meatless, as it is in most European countries.

Easter Saturday is known as White Saturday in Czech tradition. It is the day new Christians are baptized in white robes.

As it is in the entire Christendom, Easter is the most important and the most triumphant feast day in the church Czech calendar. In the early days, red was the only color used to dye and decorate Czech Easter eggs, symbolizing the blood of Jesus. On Easter Sunday, Czech people greet each other by saying, “Christ is risen.” The response would be, “Indeed He is risen.” The Czech Easter table holds whatever the family likes best and features roast lamb, pork, or duck, and for those who hunt, roast rabbit. Many tables display a variety of smoked meats and sausage. Traditionally vegetables include braised red cabbage. There would be salads, hard boiled eggs, Easter breads and cakes with a cross cut into them. And of course strudel.

Roast Leg of LambIn PERILOUS SHADOWS, heroine and pioneer newswoman Kiera Devane wouldn’t know her way around a kitchen if her life depended on it. So, hero and ace radio broadcaster, Argus Nye, would most likely take her to the fabled Garden City Hotel for Easter dinner. In the novel, this is where he proposed to her. A 1940s restaurant Easter meal might consist of: a champagne or sparking cider toast, a crudite dish of celery stalks and carrot slices, oysters on the half-shell,  roast leg of lamb with roasted potatoes, buttered asparagus, tossed green salad, and praline sponge cake.

Lucinda Walsh, heroine in DARKEST HOUR, and her grandparents Nellie and Daniel Walsh, consider, as all Irish do, Easter to be the most important day in the Christian calendar. In their household, preparation for Easter starts at the beginning of Lent. The house has to be thoroughly cleaned. Many Irish refrain from eating any red meat for the entire forty days of Lent. This does not include Sundays, which are a feast day. They also refrain from indulging in a personal indulgence, such as alcohol, smoking, a favorite food, and the like. The Irish see the forty days of Lent as a time of self discipline.

The Irish take Good Friday very seriously. If they are in good health, many will fast for the entire day. Or at the very least will eat only a bite or two and take only a few sips of water. They remain in prayer from noon until three in the afternoon, the time Jesus hung on the cross.

The Eve of Holy Saturday is a vigil time for the Irish. A time of personal prayer and reflection.

Step Shoes

 

In Irish households, Easter is a time to break out and celebrate. This is the day to be decked out in new clothes. Each family has a feast of roast lamb or mutton, potatoes, stuffing,  and leeks, and the like. Easter eggs and chocolate eggs are given to children. This is a time for Irish step dancing.

 


Crime Fiction, Sin, and Easter

Cross, CelticI’m a traditionalist, I call the day Easter, where as some call it Resurrection Day. I guess I’m showing my age and perhaps my grumpiness.

Without going on and on about it, I’ve researched the word Easter, and its origin is that it came from the Celtic word for “east” as Jesus was crucified, died, and resurrected in the east. Of course the ancient Celts would select a word from their own language to describe the day…just as the Greeks chose the word pasha from their language.

The notion that Easter came from a pagan goddess of spring has largely been debunked by serious scholars. In fact, scholars can’t find any definitive proof there was a Germanic or Norse goddess Eostre. The major reference we have is the Venerable Bede, but scholars can’t find any evidence to back up his assertion. The reason this notion is so generally accepted in modern pop-culture is that as far back as the early 1900s modern pagans picked up the idea and ran with it. However, the truth is, it’s much more a neo-pagan fantasy. Fundamentalist Christians have done their share to muddy the waters as well. Early on, they supported this idea, without delving into historical, archeological, or linguistic scholarship on any deep level because certain fundi groups had no truck with the Easter holiday, or any holiday not set out in the Bible for celebration. There you have, as far as I know, the skinny on the word Easter.

Crime Fiction and Sin

Oh goody, we’re getting to the sin part. The fun part.

But this is why I deeply feel crime fiction is well suited to Christian fiction. It deals with sin, with the all too human sin nature. It gets in there and mucks around in the established values of our modern society, or the lack thereof. More than that, a good writer of whodunits explores the human heart. And in Jeremiah we learn the human heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Yes, yes, indeed…this is the realm of the crime fiction writer. I’m getting excited already.

Crime Fiction is a Sin

Now there are those who claim crime fiction itself is sinful, or the writing of it is a sin. Some feel the nature of murder is so sinful that it couldn’t be anything but sinful to write about it, especially the horrid crimes some serial killers have committed. I agree, serial killers are heniously sick individuals. I don’t like to read stories about them, but oddly enough have. I’ve also said I wouldn’t write those types of stories. Yet, I found myself creating a few abhorently sick killers in my Sanctuary Point historical murder mystery series. The fact that these stories are set in the 1940s, a gentler and classier era, didn’t prevent my killers from possessing truly evil hearts.

The Way Some Write Crime Fiction is a Sin

I might as well throw out a few of my pet peeves about the state of crime fiction writing. I hate it when the writer doesn’t get their police procedure set out in an accurate manner. Just as bad is when their detective hasn’t solved the crime so the writer makes the bady guy confess. It’s true you want to surprise the reader regarding the identity of the killer, but hey, come on, it has to be within the realm of possibility. I can go for a coincidence happening once in the story, but if the author has a string of coincidental happenings leading the main character to catch the killer, I’m going to cry foul.

Notes:

1. The Meaning of the Word Easter, by Caedmon Parsons http://www.celtic-catholic-church.org/oak_tree/easter.html

2. Eostre – Teutonic Goddess or NeoPagan Fancy?  by Patti Wigington http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/ostarathespringequinox/qt/Eostre.htm

3. The modern myth of the Easter bunny, by Adrian Bott http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2011/apr/23/easter-pagan-roots


Mysteries at Easter, Not Necessarily the Easter Mystery

Christianity, The Cross

While the crime fiction genre (murder mysteries, thrillers, romantic thrillers, police procedurals, suspense novels) can be seen as dark, it also has a “light” side. The good guys often at peril to their own lives fight against evil and for justice. It’s my contention that the “who dun it” originated in the Christian west. The history of the murder mystery is that of solving a moral dilemma (a deadly crime). The main characters may have to sacrifice and endure great punishment to bring the guilty party to justice. Yet they persevere and do what is right.

Acts 2:29-32 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence  about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with  us to this day.  Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn  with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he  foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not  abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.  This Jesus God  raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.

I’d like to wish everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ a blessed Easter. I’d like to wish my Jewish brothers and sisters a happy, healthy Passover.

In that spirit, let’s take a look at a couple of Easter season murder mysteries…

The Lord is My ShepherdTHE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD by Debbie Viguie

Abingdon Press

Cindy’s church is getting ready to celebrate Easter, and Jeremiah’s Temple is preparing for Passover when Cindy literally stumbles over the body of an unknown man lying dead in the sanctuary. The church was locked, and a bloody cross necklace on the floor seems to be the only clue. The killer is likely a member of the congregation, but there are hints that similar deaths have happened in the past. Are Cindy and Jeremiah dealing with a serial killer? They have to unravel the clues before Easter Sunday arrives and more people die.

 Cindy and Jeremiah come from two different worlds, even though they work right next door to each other. Cindy is a strong Christian who lives a normal but somewhat dull life, working as a church secretary. Jeremiah is a Reformed rabbi with a mysterious past full of danger and excitement. But one eventful Easter/Passover week, the two find themselves working together to solve a murder and stop a serial killer from striking again. Solving the mystery should put an end to their alliance, but the church secretary and the rabbi quickly find themselves enmeshed in another mystery. Soon the two form a friendly alliance and friendship, exploring personal history and faith and growing closer with each passing adventure. Despite their differences Cindy and Jeremiah find a lot of common ground.

Amazon. http://tiny.cc/e3b8sw

Barnes and Noble. http://tiny.cc/w4b8sw

 

Midnight at the CamposantoMIDNIGHT AT THE CAMPOSAMTO, a Taos Festival Mystery by Marie Privette Ulmer

Poisoned Pen Press

The first novel in a series planned to follow the sacred and secular calendar through its annual cycle opens on Good Friday as The Brotherhood of Our Lord Jesus, the centuries-old lay society known as the penitentes, march singing their ancient, primitive hymns towards their vigil at the morada, the prayer hall in Talpa. One hermano, one brother, has been singled out to die, the assassin striking him down in the graveyard, the camposanto, and tumbling him into the darkened room to lie all night with his unsuspecting comrades. The next morning, one is charged with the act.

This outrage arouses the widowed Christina Garcia y Grant, an attorney who gave up her practice in favor of innkeeping and writing, to defend the accused. Her team is composed of her mentor, La Dona Abogado — Miss Doris Jordan — a sturdy senior advocate, Ignacio Baca, an opera-and-sweet-loving public defender, and Mac McCloud, a doctor vacationing at Christy’s La Casa vie) a B&B. This motley crew suspects that Hermandad Pat Salazaar has been set up. Sorting through Satanism, witchcraft, and modern day science, their widening investigation covers Taos, Los Alamos, and Santa Fe. Seldom has so lyrical a voice described the beauties of Northern New Mexico and the very special culture of its Hispanic and Anglo people.

Amazon. http://tiny.cc/1vc8sw

Barnes and Noble. http://tiny.cc/uxc8sw

Christianity, Church


A Crime Fiction Twist on Easter/Resurrection Sunday

As we approach Easter, I wanted to bring to everyone’s mind the words of Jesus in Matthew 22:39 [NASB] ~ “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

St. John further expounded upon this theme when he wrote: “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. ~ 1John 4:8 [NASB]

If there is any over-arching theme I hope to convey in my writing it is that love never fails, never dies, and always triumphs. Some might wonder how I can reconcile this with penning stories that open with a dead body.

While the crime fiction genre (murder mysteries, thrillers, romantic thrillers, police procedurals, suspense novels) can be seen as dark, it also has a “light” side. The good guys often at peril to their own lives fight against evil and for justice. It’s my contention that the “who dun it” originated in the Christian west. The history of the murder mystery is that of solving a moral dilemma (a deadly crime). The main characters may have to sacrifice and endure great punishment to bring the guilty party to justice. Yet they persevere and do what is right.

I’d like to wish everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ a blessed Easter. I’d like to wish my Jewish brothers and sisters a happy, healthy Passover.


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