Bill Sanderson's Blog

April 18, 2014

I was asked to present a meditation on the second word at our Good Friday service. This is what I said:

And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you today, you will be with me in Paradise.”

Crucifixion is possibly the most painful, gruesome and humiliating way for a human to be publicly put to death. Our word for the highest degree of pain is excruciating from the Latin ex crucio, from the cross.

Rome and other ancient empires deliberately used crucifixion as an object lesson to its subjects. It was a punishment reserved for slaves, pirates and traitors – the lowest of the low. The mocking sign above Jesus head was particularly sarcastic – labelling a person king yet executing them as though they had less status than a slave.

The stronger the person being executed, the longer they lasted on the cross before they died, the longer they suffered the pain. After they died the body would be left on the cross, unless the deceased had rich friends, to continue the object lesson that defying Rome had consequences.

Jesus, the true king, is crucified in between two other convicts. Tradition says that the men were highwaymen who waylaid, killed and robbed travellers who passed through the desert on the road south from Jerusalem. The authorities place Jesus in between two men who are no better than pirates, thus implying that Jesus is himself no better than either of the two notorious highwaymen or even in league with them.

For some length of time, perhaps an hour, perhaps four, depending on whose timeline you believe, Jesus was continually mocked by the assembled crowd. He was mocked by the thieves themselves, at least at first. The crowd, out for an afternoon of free entertainment, mocked Jesus for his supposed pretensions. The thieves mocked him because an all-powerful Messiah would be able to save himself and them from this excruciating humiliation. But Jesus chooses not save to himself, therefore, in the eyes of the crowd he cannot be the Messiah that they expect.

But over the minutes and hours of hanging on the cross in dreadful pain in that terrible place under the hot sun, one of the thieves begins to observe that Jesus is not reacting as expected. Jesus does not turn inward to a place of endurance; he does not shut out the crowd nor does he rail at them. The bandit hears Jesus quote Psalm 22 and realizes that Jesus has truly forgiven the crowd and him with them.

Then the impenitent thief makes one final plea to Jesus to save him from this earthly torment. If you are the Messiah save yourself, and more importantly, save me.

The penitent thief, convinced of Jesus’ authority, rebukes his fellow highwayman. The words of the penitent make it clear that he fears God enough to know that he had done wrong; that he was going to a deserved fate. He acknowledges Jesus’ innocence and his own guilt.

Then he does something remarkable. He asks Jesus for a boon. Not a great boon in the eyes of the world but a boon nonetheless. “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

In the eyes of the world this is true folly. A condemned murderer and thief asking a convicted enemy of Rome to remember him when, not if, but when he comes into his kingdom. He does not ask pardon. He does not ask forgiveness. He does not ask for a place at the table or even a menial job in the stables. He asks only that Jesus remember him.

Then Jesus does something equally remarkable. He demonstrates yet again that he has true authority, the authority of a king, and grants that boon. Those hearing the words without faith would interpret them as merely comforting words from one misguided criminal to another. But Jesus again reveals, in the midst of the most painful humiliating death imaginable, that he is Lord of all.

And he said to the penitent thief, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

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Published on April 18, 2014 15:41 • 83 views • Tags: christian

December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas to all.

The story of Jesus birth has four visits from angels. Angels are not cute and cuddly beings. They are angelos, messengers, from the Creator of everything.

As Father Paul was speaking I was reminded that every angel has the phrase 'fear not' in the record of the conversation.

I remembered the time that I was peremptorily summoned to the Minister's office to explain the details of some audit finding. Of course the messenger did not, being human, tell me to 'fear not'. So I arrived, full of fear and trepidation, trying to compose myself so that I could speak clearly and factually about the unknown topic of the meeting.

It turned out to be quite routine. The Minister herself was not present, only one of her senior advisors. The political implications of the file I was working on depended somewhat on whether the malefactor I had identified was the COO or the chairman of the organization. The COO was politically connected with the Minister's party, the chairman was not.

A few questions and a short discussion later I was dismissed. I did comment that I would have appreciated knowing the topic of the meeting so I could be better prepared.

But the memory of that fear came back to me while Father Paul was speaking about the angels. If I can get that worked up about a surprise meeting with the Minister of my Department, how much greater would be my shock and fear if the Lord of the entire universe sent a messenger directly to me.

No wonder the angel had to reassure everyone.
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Published on December 25, 2013 05:24 • 65 views

June 13, 2013

I'm currently hip deep in a major audit project that is draining quite a lot of my creative energy but I am finding some time to write.

The story of Cassie, the runaway, and Frank, the billionaire's grandson is closest to completion. There are a few scenes that still need to be written and a complete edit and continuity check needs to be done. I'm hoping to be able to publish that in July or August. The working title is Building Trust.

The Woman on the Bus
, the story of Heather, a pregnant widow, and Jim, who lives in fear of losing his sobriety and temper, is beginning to reassert itself in my head. That one has got the potential for a spin-off as well.

I seem to generate story ideas faster than I can write them, which is good because it means I'm never without company. There is also a Regency novel in the works, about one of the Huxley sisters I introduced in The Vicar's Daughter.

In all, I have about a dozen outlines and another six concepts waiting to inspire me. And it is always possible that a Bible verse or sermon will inspire me to take a sidetrack and end up with a book, as happened with both Running Home and A Brother's Duty.

And to think, I had been wondering what I would do after I retired.
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Published on June 13, 2013 07:59 • 105 views

March 12, 2013

My wife is a volunteer with an outreach mission to homeless people and the conversation often turns to some of the challenges that face people on the streets. In December, Environment Canada issued a wind chill warning advising that the temperatures could drop below minus 45.

The person speaking with my wife made the offhand comment that he hoped the police were stepping up patrols near the strip clubs because a lot of the girls on the street would probably hang around trying to pick up a guy who could offer them a warm bed.

That got me to thinking about what sort of girl would be that desperate and what sort of white knight would come to her rescue.

Cassandra finds herself married to her workaholic prince and tossed into the deep end of his dysfunctional family and high society life. Frank, who is a committed Christian, really does fall in love at first sight with his underage Cinderella with trust issues.

There are seeds of love on both sides and with careful nurturing, mutual respect and some false starts along the way, their relationship grows deeper, until Cassie finally trusts Frank enough to fully commit to him.

It's been interesting trying to imagine the challenges inherent in a marriage between a 31 year old successful businessman and a 17 year old young woman who is returning for her last year in high school.

There was one such couple that I knew, although not well, and they waited until after she graduated high school to marry. Very few people thought it was possible that they were actually in love with each other and there was some malicious gossip that she'd had a miscarriage shortly after they married. For the first ten years of their marriage they were seldom seen together in public because of it. The last I had news of them, they'd celebrated their twentieth anniversary and I hope that they will be able to celebrate number 38 this year.

I won't give a timeline for it to be completed but the writing is going well. There are 14 complete chapters and about 80,000 words of a planned 98,000 or so.

In the mean time, if you'd like to read some of my work, both Running Home and A Brother's Duty are free at Smashwords, the Nook Store, and other ebook retails.

Running Home by Bill  Sanderson A Brother's Duty by Bill  Sanderson The Vicar's Daughter (Huxleys #1) by Bill  Sanderson Getting His Attention by Bill  Sanderson Choosing Hope by Bill  Sanderson A May-September Wedding by Bill  Sanderson
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Published on March 12, 2013 12:34 • 111 views

March 4, 2013

My distributor, Smashwords is having its annual sitewide promotion - Read An Ebook Week - from March 3 to 9.

I have entered a 100% off coupon for The Vicar's Daughter and 50% off coupons for my other books.

Please visit to see what some of my fellow independent romance authors are writing. Many of them have also registered 100% off coupons to tempt you to give them a try.
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Published on March 04, 2013 08:51 • 122 views

December 24, 2012

To my readers and especially to those who have taken the time to give me feedback via ratings and reviews, thank you for your support in the past year.

Christmas is a time when we count our blessings and give thanks for the many gifts that God manifests in our lives. I would like to thank my family for their support and to my many friends, colleagues and acquaintances for their stories, some of which mutate and conflate to become parts of my books.

May He always bring you blessings, even the ones that seem like the darkest trials at the time, and bring you joy and contentment in their season. Christmas is a reminder that great things come from humble beginnings and that temporal power and riches are no guarantee of long term success. May your prayers always be answered and may He always teach you to recognize when they are.

Merry Christmas everyone and may God shower his blessings upon you each and every day.
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Published on December 24, 2012 10:29 • 108 views • Tags: christmas-thanks

November 27, 2012

It's published and I've already found three typos in the .epub version I'm reviewing.

For now, it's only available through Smashwords. Click here to go to the page.

I've decided that this book should also be free.

I hope you enjoy it but regardless I'd like to hear your thoughts via reviews or ratings.

Update:

Now available at Kobo.
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Published on November 27, 2012 06:42 • 131 views • Tags: free

November 16, 2012

I wish I was a trained artist. I have a concept for the artwork for Brother's Duty but my hands won't obey my imagination.

Good visual images are both a sales tool and an indicator of the content. But far too often the covers can be somewhat misleading.

Recently I read a book that featured a protagonist who is described as having Native American features. The cover shows a very handsome man but neither his skin tone nor his features looked remotely like any of the many Native Americans I've known over the years. Another book described the heroine as having straight dark auburn hair and amber eyes but the model in the cover photo was a redhead with pale blue eyes. I can't imagine the authors were entirely happy with the covers.

Suffice it to say that it may take longer than I was expecting to release A Brother's Duty because I'd like something more attractive than the kinds of plain bindings common in the 1800s.
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Published on November 16, 2012 08:20 • 66 views

October 19, 2012

A Brother's Duty is now complete but too long. It's sitting at around 90,000 words but needs to be tightened up in at least three places, expanded in two then put on the back burner to let it simmer for a while before I do the final formatting for publication.

I'm still hoping to have it available for Christmas, which means up on Smashwords around November 20 or so.

I'm very pleased that I can get a full book from idea to obsession to publication in four months while writing part-time. I'd still like to find a compatible editor and an agent to help me sell my books but I'm not going to worry too much about that.

I think I may be ready to finally complete Small Battles then start serious work on Faith Huxley's story which has the working title of The Schoolmistress' Son.

It would be nice to be able to publish in a cycle of Christian contemporary, Christian-friendly contemporary and Christian-friendly historical. At some point I have to write at least one of the two concepts for a sword and sorcery fantasy so my darling wife will be tempted to read my books.

Thanks again to all of my readers who have taken the time to give me feedback and reviews.
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Published on October 19, 2012 08:37 • 111 views

September 21, 2012

I have a love/hate relationship with certain of my characters. Despite all my careful planning they don't always want to go where I do.

A Brother's Duty is the working title of my now 47,000 words of sidetrack. I will get back to my other projects but John MacLeish and Lucinda Wilkinson have other ideas for how much of my brain is allowed to be used for things like work, cooking and interacting with real humans.

Without giving too much away John has to reevaluate his life when his hopes for working with his older brother in a construction business is dashed when Rob is killed in action. Lucy has to reevaluate her life when her career is stolen from her and she finds herself unexpectedly pregnant by Rob's friend Nick, who is also killed in action.

Before dying, Nick makes Rob promise to find and help Lucy. Rob extracts a promise from John to try to help Lucy if he doesn't make it back and John feels that it is his duty, a brother's duty, to honour his late brother's promise to his late friend.

When John finally tracks her down, she isn't what he expected. Underneath her piercings and tattoos is a vulnerable woman who is dealing with some real hurt. Unfortunately for him, John is what she expects, at least at first. Stern, rigid, judgemental and far too conventional, she dismisses him as being like all the other 'good Christians' she'd ever encountered.

Prodded by the Holy Spirit through a sermon on Corinthians and feeling duty bound to honour his brother's last request, John's heart is softened toward Lucy until he can see past the odd jewellery in her face.

Lucy, also prompted by the Holy Spirit although not recognizing the source, finally accepts that her choice is between bitter loneliness and taking a risk that the friendships she is being offered are genuine.

There will be problems. John needs to deal with Rob's death and his prejudices. Lucy needs to deal with her mother and her baby's father's family. They both need to deal with the public perception that they are mismatched.

I'll stop there. Suffice it to say that there will be a happy ending and the various kinds of love will triumph.
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Published on September 21, 2012 11:29 • 116 views • Tags: works-in-progress, writing-process