The Senator’s Sons

Rome: 54 AD:

This third and last book in the series is another tense historical thriller, which weaves fact with fiction, and reflects on the daily power games in Rome when, after Claudius is poisoned, Nero claims the Empire of Rome, and Senator Vivius Marcianus realises this is not a good time to have a Jew or a Christian in his family.

I found it amazing how the research into all three books deepened my understanding of the difficulties facing Jews and Christians. It also brought colour, light and understanding into scriptural passages, and enabled me to see how the wider picture in Rome, had consequences in Jerusalem.

I thought it a strange way for my faith to grow and to deepen, but it has.

Each book stands alone.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=The+Senator%27s+Sons+by+Joan+E+Histon

It’s 2023. HAPPY NEW YEAR1

Can you name something good that happened to you in 2022?
Why?
Because remembering the good raises your spirits, lifts your stature, brings a smile to your face and gives you a positive outlook on life – after all, who wants to see a grumpy face?
Let me give you an example. I spent a good part of last year bemoaning the fact that I’m rubbish at technology. Marketing my books on social media was no fun; I was no good at it; I didn’t understand it. In fact, my computer was beginning to lack confidence in its own abilities at the degrading names I yelled at it. However, at the end of last year, I read:
Matthew 19:26: ‘With God all things are possible.’
I know this scripture well, but this time I found myself absorbing it instead of just letting it sail over my head.
So, after much prayer, I eliminated self-doubt at my lack of skills; I eliminated negative self-talk, and I began to think ‘positively’ regarding technology and trusted God for success. Added to that, as Proverbs tells us the tongue can bring life of death, I began to talk kindly to my computer, and as it was delighted at not being yelled at any more it responded by throwing up relevant web sites to help me on my way.
Now I’m still no genius, but this year, 2023, me and my computer are much happier, we have a better relationship, and I’m well on my way to succeeding where once I failed.

The Senator’s Sons – the last in the Senator series – published October 2022
https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=The+Senator%27s+Sons+by+Joan+E+Histon

Just an ordinary copper

Just an ordinary copper.
Whenever we lose someone we love, after the initial grief the memories come flooding in. The trouble is, not many of us have actually met the Queen. Perhaps some of us remember her car flashing by as we stood and waved a flag, but I bet you she was looking out of the opposite window at the time. That was my memory of her. But I have another, totally different memory.
My brother Bill, a young policeman at the time told me told me he had spent the entire day guarding the Queen.
‘I’ve heard of some excuses to get out of the washing up, but that’s the stupidest one yet!’ I complained and flung the tea towel at him.
My warning is – be careful who you call stupid, because the following day my brother’s photo appeared in the press – guarding Her Majesty the Queen.
It’s amazing how you can make a story out of the simplest memories, isn’t it?

If the shoe fits….

There’s this wonderful little shoe shop in the market town where I live. The out of the ordinary styles and colours really appeal to me.
I was trying on an unusual pair of sandals yesterday, wriggling my toes to see if they pinched, and walking across the floor and back again to see if they were comfortable. I was staring down at my pink toenails peeping through and planning what summer dresses would go with them – the shoes I mean, not my toenails, when it occurred to me that starting a new writing project is like trying on new shoes. If the plot excites, the characters have colour, the research interests you, well … if the shoe fits – wear it.
Of course, the reality is they’ll pinch a bit; new shoes always do, but writing is exactly the same – at least marketing is for me. Finding my way around unfamiliar technology and especially starting up my first newsletter; that’s an uncomfortable business. Will anyone sign up? But then not every aspect of writing is comfortable. However, if you’re passionate about writing – get on with it!
So I did… I stuck my credit card in the machine and walked out of that charming little shop with my lovely new shoes – broke – but happy.

Watching grass grow


I’m busy watching grass grow. No, I’m not bored – just puzzled as to how I’ve managed to get as much grass growing on my pebbled flower beds as on my new lawn. It’s a disaster! Shouldn’t the box have told me not to scatter seeds on a windy day? Or perhaps I should have known that.
I was contemplating this during our Jubilee Street party. It was a delight meeting all our new neighbours in this lovely little market town in North Yorkshire and being invited to join so many local events. However, it occurred me that perhaps I shouldn’t say ‘yes’ to everything. Perhaps I should plant myself around things to do with my faith, my writing, my books and my family. Things I can contribute to and need to give time to. After all, I want to make a difference – not be a disaster.

Curiosity can be rewarding

There are  many books on the history of the Roman Empire, but this book provides a new perspective.  It is set a few years after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ,  A Roman Senator, Vivius Marcianus is sent on a secret mission to Jerusalem by the Emperor Tiberius.  His assignment – to investigate Pontius Pilate. This well-researched historical thriller weaves together fact and fiction and draws a colourful picture of first century Rome and Jerusalem.

I wrote this book purely because I was curious to find out what was happening in Rome after the crucifixion, and the outcome surprised me. The point is, if you’re curious over something, anything, start exploring, delve into the historical facts. They’re everywhere. My explorations turned into a book, and judging by the sales it has stirred the curiosity of others as well.

Weathering the storm

A warm breeze moved lethargically through his study, barely flickering the candle on his desk. He lifted his stylus, contemplating his opening sentence.  It wasn’t so much how he worded his sentence, he brooded, more a case of how to weather the storm when Caesar received his letter.

Excellency, I would beg you to reconsider …

He thought of the Jews as his stylus scratched over the parchment, the scratching sounding unusually loud in the silence of his study. He hesitated before adding his signature …. Then he signed with a flourish …

*

The Senator’s Darkest Days is a tense historical thriller; a mixture of well-researched fact and fiction; a tale of conspiracy, intrigue and romance set against the brutally political world of ancient Rome and Jerusalem. But it is more than that. This is a story of hope, courage and winning through, despite the odds – and isn’t that what we all need right now?  

A thrilling sequel to ‘The Senator’s Assignment’           

Both books can be bought on Amazon.

Long forgotten memories

We were in the process of clearing out the loft in preparation for our house move when Colin gave a cry of delight. ‘Look what I’ve found!’ The item in question was a toy Dinky car – a faded green jaguar – rusted with age, with one wheel missing, a broken windscreen and a dead wasp sitting in the driving seat. Ugh!

Much to Colin’s – not the wasps – disgust I threw it in the ‘discard’ pile.

‘You can’t do that, Colin protested, and, reluctantly, I had to agree with him. We shall definitely be throwing out the picture we can’t stand but kept in case the person who gave it to us called unexpectedly, but we can’t possibly throw out Colin’s happy childhood memories of stretching out on the rug creating a traffic jam of cars. Or in fact, the memory now being formed of him nostalgically running his three wheeled jaguar – with wasp – down the rafters leaving me to get on with the packing.

Memories! We have so many of them. What a store of colour to add to our writing.

For my books: Web page : https://www.joanhiston.com

…And on the sixth day of overtime, God created …Mothers

God was on his 6th day of overtime, He was creating mothers.

‘You’re fiddling around a lot on this one?’ an angel commented.

God replied, ‘Have you seen the specifications for this order? She’s to have 6 pairs of hands, 18,000 moving parts, run on black coffee, and have a kiss that cures everything from broken legs to disappointing love affairs.’

‘No way!’

‘And the challenging bit,’ God said warming to his theme, ‘Is that she needs eyes to see through doors, eyes in the back of her head and eyes of love which can look at a child who has messed up and say, “I love you anyway.’

The angel said, ‘Lord, you look weary. Take a break.’

‘I can’t,’ God said. ‘I’m close to finishing a creation so very like myself. Already she can heal herself when she’s sick, feed a family on a pound of mince and get a 9-year-old to stand under a shower.’

The angel touched her. ‘She’s soft,’

‘But tough,’ God answered. ‘You can’t imagine what this mother can endure.’

‘Can it think?’ asked the angel.

‘Not only think but reason and compromise,’ God said proudly.

Running its finger down the mother’s cheek the angel said, It has a leak.’

‘That’s not a leak,’ God explained. ‘It’s a tear.’

‘What for?’

‘It’s for joy, sadness, pain, disappointment, loneliness and pride in her off-spring.’

‘Lord, you’re a genius,’ said the angel.

And isn’t he just? 14th March – Mothering Sunday

Memory floodgates

Many of the characters in my novels are based on real people. Take for instance Vivius Marcianus; an austere Roman Senator, feared yet admired by many in Rome.

As a motherless child, he knew what it was like to be neglected, ignored and abused by a strict military father. Too scared of a whipping to cry, Vivius buried his emotions – until Caesar sent him on that awful assignment to investigate Pontius Pilate.

Sadly, and as frequently happens when reaching middling years, a simple incident strikes a chord and, for some unexplainable reason, those deeply buried memories come flooding back and begin to affect our decisions and the way we behave.   That’s what happened to Vivius.

So, when you read ‘The Senator’s Assignment’, you will forgive him I hope, when he behaves out of character at times. After all, he’s based on a real person.

Have events in your life dictated the way you behave?

Or, if you’re a writer, do your characters have a back story that affect the way they react to any given situation in your plot?