I am humbled by this recognition of my heart’s work, Bethany, House of Song. Thank you, Ink and Insights Writing Contest and the four independent editors who judged my manuscript, Allison LaBorde, Melody Quinn, Shelby Leith, and LP Wirth. I appreciate your professional critique, feedback, and comments.
Thank you for nominating my submission for the Judges’ Favorite Award List.
In addition to this distinction, Bethany, House of Song also placed in the Top Three Submissions in the Master Category and is currently in the Agent Round. This means the submission is circulating the desks of literary agents who have the option of requesting the entire manuscript…and hopefully, more. I would love to see this novel traditionally published.
The work has been in process for a few years, following a lifetime of Bible study. In 2019, I completed the first draft under the tutelage of a writing certification program at San Diego Writer’s Ink, and I would like to thank author Tammy Greenwood for her encouraging words of wisdom in this effort. The manuscript currently stands at 109,400 words.
This project would not be possible without the fierce love that binds the family of Denise Boomer, and to her, I dedicate this novel.
When Martha’s parents die, the elders from her Israelite clan decide to marry her and her sister off and take over the property. She interrupts their plan by taking a vow that binds her to the estate for life, making time for their baby brother to claim it once he comes of age. By trading marriage for property management, Martha marks herself as the most unusual girl in their village of Bethany. And the loneliest.
Although no one else realizes it at the time, she has also saved their special needs brother, Lazarus, from a future as a beggar in the streets. Or worse.
Miri must support her sister, Martha, in the effort to keep things running, but it soon becomes clear that her duty revolves around raising Lazarus. In her determination to foster him well, Miri becomes the most educated woman in Bethany. And the most frustrated.
Once Lazarus is old enough to take over the family estate, the sisters realize their job has only just begun. In addition to juggling political upheaval, taxation, social pressures, religious norms, and their own personal journeys, the sisters watch helplessly as Jesus’ rising ministry challenges the status quo, both global and personal, and their beloved village of Bethany lands in the crossfire. When Lazarus dies and Jesus resurrects him, the sisters are thrown irreversibly into decisions that jeopardize everything they sacrificed for.
A family secret ties the past to the future—an alabaster flask of perfume that speaks from beyond the tomb to point the way forward. Once again, the sisters must break with tradition and risk violence, rejection, and losing everything they spent their lives fighting for to protect Jesus.
Martha is a woman in a man’s world, determined to establish her brother’s rights. Her sister Miri is caught between her brother’s future and a future she must forfeit in his name. And Lazarus is the sunshine around whom everything revolves—the reason, the catalyst, the proof that love never dies.
True to the Biblical narrative, this story is timeless in its truth to family. Martha and Miri spin a tale of loss, tenacity, hope, and faith. I wrote it to stand alone, and it will appeal to both Bible scholars and fans of Sue Monk Kidd’s The Book of Longings, Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent, and Anna Solomon’s The Book of V.