Book Review, Books, Christian Writer, Faith, New Author, The Word of God


Instead of my ramblings, this week on the blog I am pleased to invite a new writer friend of mine, Susan Sutherland, to guest blog about how she came to write her book. If you love Biblical fiction you will love her book ‘Leaving Bethany‘, an imagination based around the story of Martha of Bethany.


“You should write the story from Lazarus’s point of view!”

This comment was in response to me writing Leaving Bethany from Martha’s point of view rather than her brother’s. When I asked why, I was told it would be more interesting.

Let’s rewind a bit.

It was five years ago, when I can only say, I received the call to write a novel about Martha of Bethany. The over worked woman whose story Luke told us in chapter 10 of his gospel. Having only written non-fiction articles which found their way into education and nursery journals before, I found the prospect of writing fiction daunting. Just one short story, well I thought I can cope with that. Then what about a short novella? That would not take too much time surely. Before long it was the length of a novel. Then before I know it, I’m on with the sequel, with a third in a trilogy taking shape in my brain.

The message of this is to be very careful what you start, you don’t know where it will lead! The other message is to take whatever help you can get. I knew nothing about creative writing, except that I was an avid reader from being a child. The daughter of a reading mother, who I knew read my Christmas books before wrapping them and took me to the library every week. I met with poets and authors, googled “how to write a novel”, and took it all on board.


Oh, another message to take from this, is don’t take on every piece of advice. I knew the story had to be Martha’s, and not that of her brother, Lazarus. The story of Jesus’s female disciples is not often told, and I wanted to redress that imbalance. Read the gospels and Acts of the Apostles slowly and you will find them, some hidden away and others on full view.

Martha, the overworked and overwrought sister of the devout and spiritual one. That is just a cliché I want to dispel. Women in the Bible were as real and complex as women today, and how we have been throughout history. But perhaps their stories are not as often told or diminished into neatly boxed clichés. It was time to open the box and let Martha and Mary out. I hope and pray that I do them justice, and their brother Lazarus along the way too.


Martha says of meeting Jesus. “This was to be the pivotal point in my life. There was my life before that moment and now there is life after that moment.” (She may not have actually said these exact words, but these are the words I have given her.)

Leaving Bethany is the story of Martha and how she became a teacher in the new faith and worked at the heart of the group of believers who followed Jesus after his death and resurrection. But those who killed Jesus were still looking for ways to prevent his message of love from spreading, and would stop at nothing, including murder. It would not be long before persecution knocked at Martha’s gate.

To find out what happened next, you will have to read Leaving Bethany and follow Martha’s journey through danger, betrayal and finding a friend and ally in an unlikely place.

Susan Sutherland is the author of Leaving Bethany. For details on how to buy her novel go to her website

Aemilia Metella is Susan’s fictional first century female journalist who zips around the Roman world interviewing women found within the pages of the New Testament. Read her interviews on the website blog page.

Acceptance, Belonging, Books, Christian Writer, Faith, Healing, New Author


I love ITV’s ‘Long Lost Family’ –  a show about reconnection and restoring of broken family relationships. It’s definitely one where having a box of tissues handy is advised! Some of the stories are heart-breaking – young mothers forced to give up babies, siblings separated through no fault of their own, long held feelings of guilt, shame, abandonment, loss. The reunions are always wonderful. Especially when the reconnected families look so similar, or speak or laugh in the same way. Heart-warming stuff.

I’m thinking a lot about families at the moment. The easing of restrictions has meant that we can reconnect with long lost family members of our own. This weekend we have travelled south to attend a wedding celebration and we will be seeing family members in the flesh, some of whom we haven’t seen for two years or more. Not quite a lifetime of separation, but it will certainly be great to reconnect and catch up with them all. I am so thankful for my biological family, they are all so cherished.

Another family I am grateful for is the long lost family I didn’t even know I had, until the beginning of this year. In January I made the bold move of joining a zoom call with a group of writers I had never met before. I had found the Association of Christian Writers online, and joined up, but this was new territory – actually introducing myself to a group of real faces, and as an actual bona fide writer. I discovered a family there. These were people who knew what being a writer felt like, who had the same joys and frustrations as me, knew the pitfalls, had experienced the highs and lows. I was so warmly accepted, and now some of those people are really dear friends. One of them, Maressa Mortimer, is hosting us this weekend in her lovely holiday home, and it is so good to finally meet her in the flesh. Another, Wendy H Jones, has opened many writing doors for me, one of which was inviting me to contribute a chapter to an anthology for writers. Creativity Matters: find your passion for writing, is available to purchase now. Exciting times!

One thing that does upset me when watching ‘Long Lost Family’, is the way individuals talk about ‘feeling empty inside’, as though something is missing, disconnected, incomplete. They are looking for long lost family members in the hope of filling those voids, healing that emptiness. I wonder if they really do truly find that missing piece?  

It’s true that we all need that sense of belonging, that sense of identity – who I am, where I come from, how I fit in. We can get a measure of that from our biological families, and that is wonderful. We can also get acceptance and a sense of belonging from groups of people who share our passions and beliefs. But a part of me, a big part of me, knows that however good our human relationships are, that void can persist. That uncertainty as to my identity can easily be triggered if I base it on how well I am accepted and loved by those around me. I have learnt, and relearnt, over the years that true acceptance, belonging, and identity can only come from God my Father. After all, He knows absolutely everything about me, He made and designed me as I am, and yet STILL loves me unconditionally. If I take my sense of who I am, from who He says I am, then, in Him, I am never disconnected, never abandoned, never alone, and never lost.

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.’                                                                           Isaiah 43: 1 NKJV

I have loved you with an everlasting love; 

Jeremiah 31:3 NKJV

Joy Margetts is new to blogging, and new to being published. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. A work of historic fiction, set in mediaeval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, it is also a story of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. Joy has also self- published a short novella, ‘The Beloved‘ as both a companion to ‘The Healing‘, and as an easy to read standalone story, which is available to buy on Amazon Kindle.

More information on Joy and her writing can be found here

Faith, God in control, God's faithfulness, House renovations, Lessons from life, New Author, Seasons of life, Thankfulness, Uncategorized


The last of the new windows is coming on Monday. Hooray! Phase 1 of our building project completed. It will be a milestone moment. All the major reconstruction and external work will be done at last (except for a balcony balustrade that is still on order). It is both an exciting and ever so slightly terrifying time as our builder hands over the project management of the rest of the renovations to us. On our immediate horizon is a lot of cleaning, decorating, and the fitting of a new kitchen and bathroom – a shedload of work still to do – but it also means that the date we can move back into our home is getting really close now. So we are celebrating! And so thankful. It’s felt like it’s been a long time coming, to get to this point.

It made me think about milestones. In times past milestones were exactly that; you still see them sometimes alongside ancient roadways –  little stones bearing place names and numbers, counting down the miles. I suppose for wearied travellers of the past they were equally encouraging, or discouraging, depending on how far down the journey you were towards your destination! You could at least see that you were on the right path and making progress, either way.

The travellers of the Old Testament had a similar way of marking important moments on their journeys. They built their own ‘milestones’, often in the form of altars. Jacob built his at Bethel as he returned to the land of his inheritance; Joshua built his after the miraculous crossing of the Jordan. For both of them it marked a significant stage in a momentous journey, but not the end point. It was an opportunity to stop and thank God for His protection and provision up to that point. And to celebrate that God had kept His promises.

When God gave His people victory over the Philistines, the prophet Samuel raised a stone and placed it in a visible place. He gave that stone a name, ‘Ebenezer’, which means ‘Thus far has the Lord helped us’. I love the ‘thus far’. Even when it isn’t quite over, when perhaps you know there may be more difficulties to come, there is comfort in that. If God has helped us thus far, we can be confident that He will continue to be there for us. Mile after mile. Working miracles, winning battles, making a way for us, being at our side.

There are many moments in our lives when we have the opportunity to stop and just thank God for what He has done, and is doing. To remember and celebrate His faithfulness. They don’t have to be momentous life changing moments, and they don’t have to be at the end of the journey. We don’t have to wait until every promise of God is fulfilled in our lives to give Him our worship. In fact every day we can stop and see how far we have come, and be grateful!

Those altars the patriarchs built would have stood for years, as a reminder to all who saw them, of the goodness and faithfulness of God. I hope I can look back in years to come, perhaps even to this blog post, and remember God’s goodness, and celebrate again, seeing how it was just another milestone on an incredible journey with Him.

Joy Margetts is new to blogging, and new to being published. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. A work of historic fiction, set in mediaeval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, it is also a story of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. Joy has also self- published a short novella, ‘The Beloved‘ as both a companion to ‘The Healing‘, and as an easy to read standalone story, which is available to buy on Amazon Kindle.

More information on Joy and her writing can be found here

Christian Writer, Faith, Forgiveness, Healing, Lessons from life, New Author, Seeing as God sees, The Word of God, Uncategorized


Last Sunday I stood up to preach in front of a real life congregation for the first time in a very long time. It felt like a milestone moment, and it was a joy – gazing out at those lovely faces, half- hidden by masks, and seated in their socially distanced seats. Except that I could not see them. Yes, some of them were a long way away and I definitely felt the distance standing on my own at the far end of the hall, with just the lectern for company. But I couldn’t see their faces (or their reaction to my message!) not just because of the masks, but because of my glasses. I have reached that age where to see the words on the page in front of me requires glasses. That means that when I wear them I see very little else in focus. So then started the little dance – glasses on to read the Bible, glasses off to see my listeners, glasses on to check my notes, glasses off…. You get the picture. Finally I gave up and put the glasses down, choosing to rely on my memory and the prompting of Holy Spirit, rather than my notes, so that at least I could interact with those dear people who had made the effort to be there, sanitised and all.

I was preaching from Luke 5, the story where four friends bring their paralysed friend to Jesus for healing, and have to make a hole in the roof to lower him into the crowded house, so as to get him to Jesus’ feet. I have always loved that story; I can remember hearing it in Sunday school and always being very concerned about the hole in that poor homeowner’s roof, and whether they minded? And who fixed it after? In a lovely book that I am reading to review at the moment, the author uses this story as a beautiful picture of how much we need our friends when we find ourselves unable to help ourselves, or even to pray for ourselves. (More on that next week!) For today I wanted to bring another message from the story.

That man had an obvious problem that everyone could see. His friends knew it, the crowds knew it, anyone who had ever known him knew it – he could not walk. Nobody needed glasses to see that. Yet when Jesus looked at him He saw something that nobody else could see. The paralysed man had a greater need; he carried a greater burden than his disability – he carried the burden of guilt. Jesus looked into that man’s eyes and told him that his sins were forgiven, and then, and only then, He addressed the more visible problem and healed the man physically. That man went away whole in more ways than one.

On Sunday I only had to put my glasses on to see, and be able to read the Word of God clearly. How wonderful if it were as easy as putting on glasses to be able to read people and situations in the same way as Jesus did. To see in clear focus what was really going on below the surface. The truth is, that it is possible to see as Jesus sees, because as His believers, His Spirit lives in us. I just have to remember to ask Him to show me how He sees, and not rely on what my flawed human eyes can perceive. As the words from this song put it….

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love Like You have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks Yours
Everything I am For Your kingdom’s cause
As I walk from earth into eternity

*from ‘Hosanna’, by Brooke Ligertwood. Hillsong UNITED

Joy Margetts is new to blogging, and new to being published. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. A work of historic fiction, set in mediaeval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, it is also a story of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. Joy has also self- published a short novella, ‘The Beloved‘ as both a companion to ‘The Healing‘, and as an easy to read standalone story, which is available to buy on Amazon Kindle.

More information on Joy and her writing can be found here

Book Review, Books, Christian Writer, Faith, Medieval Fiction, New Author, Uncategorized


As a newly published author I have had the extraordinary blessing of being introduced to a whole new community of like-minded gifted writers. In fact the pandemic has helped me meet far more people than I could ever imagine as online groups have sprung up all over the place. One such group that I have become a part of is ‘FAB CHOW’. I know – makes no sense. But it was the name adopted as the group has a rather wordy title – the Association of Christian Historic and Biblical Fiction Writers – A O C H B F W, rearranged, is FAB CHOW. And it is fab to meet together, share our writing and critique one another, and champion each others achievements. So today that is what I am going to do. I want to introduce you to these great books by two authors, who, like me, are new to this publishing business. Both are very enjoyable reads, with good storylines and containing strong faith messages. I’ll leave the authors to tell you more…

MAN OF GLASS by Andrea Sarginson

As rumours of a terrible plague reach gifted young glazing apprentice Amalric’s village in East Yorkshire in 1349, he dreads its arrival and despairs of the Church’s response and his village’s rampant superstition – but even he cannot deny the ominous portents that seem to abound. When the gruesome pestilence at last comes to Warren Horesby and neighbouring Meaux Abbey, Amalric and his family are blamed. Exposed to brutal recrimination, he is horribly injured in a vicious assault. Suddenly his survival depends on the care of a shy servant girl and the improbable support of the village priest and a newly qualified doctor of physic with pioneering ideas. Can the village ever come to terms with the ravages of the pestilence? Can Amalric honour his family, fulfil his talent and help the village survive? And can he find love and happiness in the aftermath of the terrible disease.

Andrea Sarginson says, Man of Glass is fiction based on fact, inspired by the remains of a medieval village and Cistercian Abbey in East Yorkshire, and the history of the Black Death. I have written about what could have been. After all, who knows about the lives of people buried long ago in a village church graveyard when records were seldom kept: who made the stained-glass windows of the fourteenth century churches, how did the ordinary person with only the basic traditional healing methods react to the symptoms of the devastating pestilence, what was it like to be a doctor unable to help? Written just before the Covid pandemic, when it was unknown in England, my novel has proven to be eerily prophetic.

About the author: Andrea Sarginson trained as a midwife, operating theatre nurse, teacher, and later as an art historian with interests in art and stained glass. She lives in Greater Manchester and since 2012 has been an Authorised Lay Minister in the Manchester Diocese. She approached retirement combining both art and medicine as an associate of the Arts for Health Department at Manchester Metropolitan University. Creative writing became an interest for her when retired, developing a curiosity for the interaction between medicine, art and spirituality.

Man of Glass by Andrea Sarginson (ISBN: 9781912726189) is published by Instant Apostle, 304pp, £8.99. Available from for £7.00 incl postage.

Leaving Bethany by Susan Sutherland

“I was a bird that liked my own garden and lacked the confidence to fly away to new places. I wondered whether I would ever have the courage to leave Bethany.” 

Judea 32 AD

It is a day like any other in the sleepy village of Bethany. Martha, a young widow, meets a travelling Rabbi called Jesus. And her life changes forever.

To become a disciple of Jesus is a dangerous decision, but one Martha must make. She follows Jesus to his death and sees him comes alive again three days later. Now, she is at the heart of the group of believers around Jesus. She changes from one always ready with a plate of food for a hungry guest, to being eager to teach others the things she learned.

How can she follow Jesus in the perilous world of religious politics and Roman rule? Those who killed Jesus are now looking to stop them by any means possible, including murder. It is only a matter of time before they come for her family. Martha now faces her greatest challenge. Can she find the path to truth through danger and betrayal to save those she loves?

Susan says:  There has been much talk of late about the women who followed Jesus as his disciples. Not only providing materially and financially for him but working and learning alongside the traditional male disciples. The story of Jesus’s female disciples has for far too long been given less prominence than his male ones. An imbalance I wanted to redress. Martha of Bethany has such a compelling story, her voice cried out to be heard and I had to write it for others to read.

About the author: After running her own educational training company and writing articles that appeared in several educational journals, Susan turned her hand, and her keyboard, into writing her debut novel. Following success in flash fiction, the full-length novel, Leaving Bethany appeared. The sequel is now in process of being written with a third planned.

Visit for more information and details of how to buy Leaving Bethany.

Hope you are inspired to read them yourself!

Joy Margetts is new to blogging, and new to being published. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. A work of historic fiction, set in mediaeval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, it is also a story of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. Joy has also self- published a short novella, ‘The Beloved‘ as both a companion to ‘The Healing‘, and as an easy to read standalone story, which is available to buy on Amazon Kindle.

More information on Joy and her writing can be found here

CHOOSING HOPE, Christian Writer, Dealing with Fear, Faith, God in control, Lessons from life, New Author, Thankfulness


There was cause for much celebration towards the end of last week when our window frames for our new extension finally arrived. Even more excitement when they were fixed in place and the window glass fitted. We have been waiting long weeks for those windows, and their fitting signals that the end is truly in sight, when it comes to our build. Those windows look great, but what is more, they make the space into a real room. With a touch of plastering, some heating and lighting, we will soon have a warm, weatherproof, secure living space, where there was once an open void.

It’s a wonderful thought.

The view from that room is stunning. I know how blessed we are to have it. The sea and mountains are beautiful on a clear blue sky day, but equally as spectacular on the dreary wet days. It was the reason we bought the house, even in the dilapidated state it was in. It is the reason we knew we wanted to invest in this build, to make this our forever home, our forever view. The view was stunning before the windows went in, but with the framing, somehow it is even more appealing. Frames can do that. Artists know that well; the sort of frame you use can change the way you view something. A well chosen frame can enhance a picture, or a photograph, drawing you in, making you focus more on what is inside that frame. A frame can change the way you see things.

The term ‘frame of reference’ I think originates from the world of physics, but it has come to be understood as the set of views, beliefs and values we might have as individuals that inform how we interpret things, and the assumptions we might make. We can blame a frame of reference for the choices we make and even the way we behave as a result. Each of us lives and operates within unique frames of reference.

I have come to learn that there is only one frame of reference which I should use to see and interpret the things I experience. And that is that GOD IS GOOD, and I CAN TRUST HIM. That isn’t always easy, believe me, but I have found it by far the safest frame to see things through. Whatever I am facing.

So when the answers to prayer seem to be slow to arrive. When the build goes over time, and worryingly over budget. When the world is in so much confusion still in the fallout of the Covid crisis. When I prepare myself for my second jab this week, when the first left me feeling so unwell. When a close relative experiences a death threatening medical emergency out of the blue that shocks us all to the core –

THIS has to be my frame of reference for all these things – that God is Good and I can trust Him.

Maybe I need to put that in a frame…

Joy Margetts is new to blogging, and new to being published. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. A work of historic fiction, set in mediaeval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, it is also a story of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. Joy has also self- published a short novella, ‘The Beloved‘ as both a companion to ‘The Healing‘, and as an easy to read standalone story, which is available to buy on Amazon Kindle.

More information on Joy and her writing can be found here

Bearing Fruit, Book Review, Books, Christian Writer, Faith, New Author, The Word of God, Uncategorized


Beyond the Hills by Maressa Mortimer

I love books and I love reading, and one of the absolute delights of becoming a published author is making lots of new friends who are also writers. And who write great books – that they send me free copies of – and ask me to review for them! I am thrilled that my blog this week forms part of the Blog Tour for the new book by Maressa Mortimer, Beyond the Hills.

Beyond the Hills is the second book in the series of the Elabi Chronicles, fiction aimed at young adults but suitable for anyone teen and above. Walled City introduced us to Elabi, a dystopian world set sometime in the future, where society is strictly controlled, emotions are frowned upon, and faith actively prohibited. In the first book, Gax, a young man on a mission to share his faith, infiltrates the city for a time and becomes frustrated at how little he seemingly can do to make a difference. Beyond the Hills picks up from after he leaves, and shows just how much he did achieve, unknowingly, by living a different way among the people he interacted with. And by leaving behind a legacy… in the form of a few thin pages torn out of an ancient book.

I love reading, but the book I love reading the most is the Bible. I make no apologies for that. It has become more and more important to me, particularly over the last few years, to spend time in that amazing book. The Word of God, is exactly that to me. It speaks life and health and strength to me, every day. I was so thrilled then to discover that a major theme of Maressa’s  new book is the power of the Word of God to transform a person’s life.

The central character in Beyond the Hills is a girl called Macia. She appeared only as a minor character in the first book, and when we first meet her she is the perfect Elabi citizen. Her father is a council member and she is aiming for the highest class status she can achieve, through hard work and assiduously keeping the rules. She is outwardly successful in her ambitions and her future seems secure, but inwardly she is struggling. Someone she was once close to mysteriously disappeared from Elabi, and left a letter containing a bundle of thin pages from a now barred book. Macia fights the urge to read the words on those pages but something draws her to them. The more she reads, the less resistant she is to reading more, and bit by bit she finds herself longing to read those life-giving words, returning to them over and over again, memorising them, and letting them change her heart. The changes in Macia do not go unnoticed, and to give nothing away, she finds she has to cling to those words she memorised to survive the devastating consequences of choosing to follow the God they introduce her too.

I asked the author why she chose to have Macia come to faith in God through the Word of God alone, and whether she knew of anyone else who had come to faith that way? This is what she said:

I wanted Macia to be touched by the Word, without any help. I think as Christians we can easily forget how powerful the Word is, and we think it’s up to us to ‘reach the lost’, forgetting God’s Spirit working irresistibly in people’s hearts. Macia has no understanding, or desire, to know God, yet the unfamiliar words, printed on strange paper, draw her back time and again. I found it utterly fascinating, and I felt myself wondering if she would carry on reading or throw the pages away. I have heard of people becoming Christians after reading the Bible only, but I can’t remember exact names or places. In most cases, I seem to remember that those people had met missionaries handing them the books, so at least there was some outside influence. I felt it was a message of hope, a casting your bread out on the water, trusting God to bless it and make it fruitful.

I thoroughly enjoyed Beyond the Hills. It did help that I had read Walled City first, but it does stand alone as a very readable and compelling story. I loved the way Maressa wove truths of scripture into the narrative, and her insights into Macia’s thoughts and feelings. I found myself drawn into Macia’s journey with all it’s twists and turns, and rooting for both her, and her fledgling faith in God, to survive. I am looking forward to book three, and knowing Maressa, it is well and truly in the pipeline!

Maressa Mortimer is Dutch but lives in the beautiful Cotswolds, England with her husband and four (adopted) children. Her debut novel, Sapphire Beach, was published December 2019, and her first self-published novel, Walled City, came out on 5 December 2020, followed by Viking Ferry, a novella. Beyond the Hills is the second book in the Elabi Chronicles, and will be released on 18 June 2021.

Maressa is a home-schooling mum as well as a pastor’s wife, so her writing has to be done in the evening when peace and quiet descend on the house once more. She loves writing Christian fiction, as it’s a great way to explore faith in daily life. Her books can be found on her website and on Amazon in both kindle and paperback format. You can follow Maressa on both Instagram and Facebook @vicarioush.ome

Christian Writer, Dorothea Quarry, Faith, God in control, Lessons from life, New Author, Seasons of life, Thankfulness, Uncategorized

A walk in the woods

Last week we had a few days off. With the house renovations, the new grandson, and family coming to visit – we couldn’t go far. We were really blessed to be offered the use of a caravan less than twenty minutes from home, but far enough to feel that we had got ‘away’. It was bliss. No TV, limited Wi-Fi, and peaceful enough to enjoy the birdsong. We took a few hours to get used to having nothing we HAD to do, but once we did, it was wonderful to just be able to read, talk, play board games, eat, sleep…

Having had a little crisis of confidence about my writing before we left I also decided not to write while we were away. Apart from one scene that was gnawing at me, that I had to get down in rough form, the laptop stayed closed. I needed to just spend time re-evaluating what my priorities and motivations were when it came to my writing, and how much time and effort I should be putting into it. It was good to breathe… and pray, and listen.

We also had time while we were away to visit places. One of these we had never visited before, even though it is less than thirty minutes from home. The site of old quarry workings, it consisted of several stunningly atmospheric steep- sided blue -green water pools, and a spattering of ruins, both of industrial buildings and what was once a fine three story Victorian house. Well marked paths led through the lush native woodland that had reclaimed the site, interspersed with sunny glades and colourful undergrowth. It was magical. And so full of inspiration for my writer’s mind that I had to consciously switch that part of my brain off to just enjoy being in the moment.

It did make me think, though, how easily we miss the beauty right on our doorsteps. We have lived here now for 25 years and never discovered the Dorothea Quarry site before. Life takes over, and busyness blinds us to what is so close to us. We stop taking the time to explore and discover. We stop stopping, just for a moment, to enjoy the things God has placed around us to bless us and feed our souls.

I realised I had also become blinded by busyness with my writing. I have been so blessed by the response to my books, and by the new writing communities I have become a part of. I have been offered the opportunity to write lots of things for different people and publications, and have loved honing my writing skills doing so. I have also tried to get on with writing that second novel but it has not come easy. What I needed to do was to stop. Breathe. Pray. Have some space to listen and hear and be inspired afresh. To just enjoy the beauty all around me and appreciate it. When I did, I could see things from a different perspective.

Unexpectedly finding a new place to explore was a lovely surprise. Having a publisher offer to publish my book had been an unexpected surprise too! Just like the way nature had beautified that harsh industrial landscape, so God had taken my roughly written words and made them into something of beauty for Him. I believe that my writing is a gift , and one that God wants me to share. It should never feel like a burden, but an absolute joy. As a good friend advised me, my writing can be, and should be, an expression of worship. And if it takes stopping to take a walk in the woods, from time to time, to remember that – then that is what I need to do.

Joy Margetts is new to blogging, and new to being published. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. A work of historic fiction, set in mediaeval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, it is also a story of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. Joy has also self published a short novella, ‘The Beloved‘ as both a companion to ‘The Healing‘, and as an easy to read standalone story, which is available to buy on Amazon Kindle.

More information on Joy and her writing can be found here

Bearing Fruit, Books, CHOOSING HOPE, Christian Writer, Faith, God in control, Lessons from life, New Author, Rick Warren, Seasons of life, Uncategorized


This is my how my front garden looks at the moment. I took this photo yesterday on our obligatory visit to our home/building site. The overflowing skip and wrecked sofa are especially decorative features I feel (there is a move to more hard industrial landscaping, and ‘outside room’ living in modern garden design, isn’t there?) But actually I would quite like my front garden back – the little patch of well mown grass, with it’s ornamental tubs overflowing with bright summer flowers; and a well managed shrubbery, without cement mixers and scaffolding boards hiding under the bushes. But saying all that, our bright pink Azalea is actually doing really well. We were worried for it, as it had to be moved pre-build, and they don’t like being moved, apparently. It’s lost a few leaves but the flower display is pretty spectacular nonetheless.

I also listened to an interview clip yesterday featuring Rick Warren. The well known ministry leader and author was being interviewed by a Christian television network about how he and his wife dealt with the sudden suicide of their youngest son some years ago. It was a moving interview, especially when he spoke candidly about his son’s lifelong struggle with clinical depression, and the years of seemingly unanswered prayers. But Rick also spoke about how during his too short young life his son had led people to faith in God, counselled some who were contemplating suicide, and helped others deal with their own mental pain. In describing this, the phrase he used that really stood out to me was this one,  ‘In God’s garden of grace, even broken trees bear fruit’. Now he may have said it before, but it was the first time I had heard it and it struck a chord.

There is a lovely scripture in Psalm 1 where it talks about the tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth it’s fruit in season. I love how The Passion Translation puts it,

 ‘they will be standing firm like a flourishing tree planted by God’s design. Deeply rooted by the brooks of bliss, bearing fruit in every season of their lives.’  Psalm 1:3 TPT*

 I love this, because I believe, like Rick Warren, that it is possible for our lives to bear fruit for God whatever season of life we are in, whatever we have gone through, or are going through. In fact sometimes it is even the brokenness itself which causes the most bountiful fruit to appear. My book is that – the fruit of a season of brokenness in my life. By God’s grace, I stayed planted in His garden, even when it felt that my roots weren’t quite as deeply planted as I wanted them to be. Obviously, like that Azalea, my weak, disturbed roots managed to stay held deep enough that my life continued to produce something alive and beautiful for God.

So when I look at my front garden now, I can see that actually little has changed. The cherry tree has blossomed and is in leaf, the shrubs are growing healthily, the grass (and the weeds) are flourishing, and once the build is done – once that season has passed – the garden will return to it’s former glory. But meanwhile, as long as those plants stay rooted, they will continue to bear fruit.

Joy Margetts is new to blogging, and new to being published. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. A work of historic fiction, set in mediaeval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, it is also a story of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. Joy has also self published a short novella, ‘The Beloved‘ as both a companion to ‘The Healing‘, and as an easy to read standalone story, which is available to buy on Amazon Kindle.

More information on Joy and her writing can be found here

*The Psalms: Poetry on Fire, The Passion Translation, copyright 2012. Used by permission of 5 Fold Media, LLC, Syracuse, NY 13039, USA. All rights reserved.

Book Review, Books, Christian Writer, Faith, God in control, New Author, Uncategorized



‘Are we nearly there yet?’ For anyone who has ever transported young children on a car journey of any length those words will be alarmingly familiar. And yet put yourself in that poor child’s place for a moment. Strapped into a moving vehicle with no idea exactly where you are going, how long it will take, and what you are going to find at the other end; that is, with no control whatsoever. A child in that situation has only one option- to trust the adult driving the car – that they know where they are going, how long it will take, and what is at the other end of the journey.

For many of us life feels a bit like that at the moment. Uncertainties surround us on every side. How long is this pandemic going to last? What are the easing of restrictions going to mean for us and our loved ones? Is everyday life coming out of this going to look very different? What about vaccines and variants, and foreign travel, and homeworking, and schooling, and exams, and church? The questions are endless.

It is into this world of uncertainty that a great new book by Jocelyn-Anne Harvey comes, with such a timely message. ‘Not Knowing But Still Going’ is an exploration of the story of Noah’s Ark, from the perspective of those who travelled in it, the women in particular. If ever a journey was uncertain and an outcome unknown, it was the voyage of the Ark.

Jocelyn- Anne does a marvellous job of getting us to imagine what life pre-flood, life on the Ark, and life post- flood might have been like, by fictionalising parts of the story, including giving those nameless wives names of their own. I love the cover of this book, it is beautifully designed, but what really caught my attention was the strategically placed washing line! I love that, because in reality the Ark was much more than a floating zoo, or an escape ship, it was those women’s domestic world, their home, for over a year. In that Ark they had to cook and prepare food, for themselves as well as the animals, they had to make comfortable places to sleep and rest, and they would have had to do the washing! Although it probably wouldn’t have been hung outside to dry! How did they cope? Not just with the enormous job of keeping them all fed and cared for (animals included), and living with the in- laws in close proximity in the most strict of lockdown bubbles! But also with the realisation of what the flood meant to mankind. How would it have felt to know that they were the only survivors, and that life, and even the earth itself was going to look very different when they emerged from the Ark? And they were going to be responsible for repopulating the earth, and with only each other to rely on? They had no control over any of this, and no real idea of what any of it was going to look like.

I love animals, but I could not imagine being shut in with a whole menagerie for all that time. In a sense Jocelyn-Anne creates a veritable menagerie of complimentary ideas with her writing. Alongside the fiction and the imaginings there is a wealth of wisdom. Her knowledge of scripture is evident and she uses it very well. She also applies things that she has learnt from her own life experiences and these add real weight to the book (I’d have liked more of these – some stories left me hanging!). It is also rich in other well researched detail about the geography of the earth pre- and post flood, the construction of the ark, changes in weather and diet after the flood. Some things take you by surprise- like getting up in the night and stepping on an escaped snake in the dark would! And others require you to examine your pre-conceived ideas and think more deeply on these things. You may find you struggle with some points of theology or supposition, but it certainly does make you question and go back to the Bible, and that is a very good thing.

The book is divided up into chapters that follow the story of the flood, tackling such subjects as: working with what you know, not pleasing people but leaning into God, being content in the waiting, sensing when new windows are opening, and the importance of family. Ultimately Jocelyn- Anne shows us how it is possible to keep going without knowing, trusting God to know what He is doing, and living the way He would want us to do, amidst the uncertainty. It is aimed primarily at women, and the author does celebrate particularly the way God sees and honours women, which I appreciated greatly. Throughout the book, the author challenges the reader to think and apply things to their own life and experience. I particularly loved that each chapter ends with a really helpful prayer, and some questions as an aid to thinking more. The book even provides blank pages for journaling, if you can bear to write on the pages of a pristine new book!

This is a great debut book from an imaginative and obviously well- read writer. If anything, I found it almost too rich. I read it through fairly quickly so that I could review it as part of Jocelyn- Anne’s blog tour, but I know I am going to have to go back to it, and re-read certain parts again. And maybe, just maybe, bring myself to write something on those empty journaling pages!

Not Knowing But Still Going by Jocelyn- Anne Harvey was published by Instant Apostle on 21st April 2021 and is available from all good bookshops or from a variety of online shops including: FoylesWaterstonesAslan EdenAmazon  Amazon US and The Book Depository (this has worldwide free shipping).

Jocelyn-Anne loves the Lord, learning and literature. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Chichester, and her flash fiction has been published. Having taken the leap from her senior HR role in the UK Government, Jocelyn-Anne can identify with those walking through uncertain times, and she is passionate about supporting others through theirs and helping them develop. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her in a coffee shop with friends, exploring coastal paths or trying out recipes.