March Journal, Third Sunday in Lent: The Magdalene Mystery

Mary MagdaleneIt is a curious thing that there is a sense in which my novels have become my children who have left home for the wide world, traveling to distant readers, into various hearts and minds, with varying welcomes. Authors can’t see their work objectively, and must steer around blind emotional attachments as self-extensions, rather like one’s own progeny. And so I was thrilled this week to sign a contract for the re-issue of one of my earlier novels, The Magdalene Mystery, with En Route Books and Media in St. Louis, Missouri. I was thrilled that one of my novels had been reborn, resurrected, given new and hopeful life.

The novel’s original publisher, OakTara, no longer in business, returned my rights in 2018, along with rights to four earlier novels: The Western Civilization Trilogy – Pilgrimage (2007), Offerings (2009), and Inheritance (2009); and my novel set on Maui, Hawaii, Hana-lani (2010) about the definition of love.

I’m most grateful to British author Francis Etheredge for making introductions and furthering this effort. En Route has published a number of Francis’s titles and is releasing three more this year. He is a gifted writer, tackling vital issues of today through poetry and prose, highly recommended! Be sure and visit him on Amazon and En Route.

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The Magdalene Mystery, as readers may recall, is about a search for the true, historical Mary Magdalene through clues in Rome’s basilicas and a Provencal grotto, La Sainte-Baume, where legend says she spent her last years. Having been to the area and the grotto, as well as Rome, on many trips, the novel was a joy for me to write. Photos of the Provencal sanctuary can be seen on this site.

As a correction to the historical Jesus movement (that claims Jesus was not divine and merely a good man, or even a myth) the research for The Magdalene Mystery fascinated and reassured me that the true historical evidence points to Christ’s divinity (plot spoiler). The way in which such New Testament scholarship is approached – methodology – is a theme of the novel, considering the many streams of knowledge that inform the scholar’s conclusions.

DONLEY.COFFIN AND CAVETwo endorsements were from scholars in their own right who were kind enough to read my drafts and make valuable suggestions:

“A gripping tale surprisingly easy to read. So much Gnostic and sub-Gnostic nonsense has been written about Mary Magdalene that it comes as a relief, as well as a pleasure, to read The Magdalene Mystery. Truth is often stranger than fiction—and much more fascinating.”

           —Michael Donley, Ph.D., author of St Mary Magdalene in Provence, The Coffin and the Cave.

The Magdalene Mystery has history, intrigue, romance, and predatory Internet behavior. Where else can you see a single parent and a theology professor compete with a cyber-predator to find a manuscript revealing the real St. Mary Magdalene? It made me yearn to visit Rome again!”

  —Paul S. Russell, Ph.D., author of Looking Through the World to See What’s Really There.

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And so I give thanks this third Sunday in Lent for my resurrection novel, to be soon resurrected, which asks the question, “What did Mary Magdalene see when she arrived at the tomb of her Lord early that Easter Sunday morning, when it was still dark?”MAGDALENE.MARY

Isola Tiberina from the river path, Rome

Deo Gratias.

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