Journey of the Magi

This week, I published a new book, “Journey of the Magi”!

Here’s a description of this new science fiction novel:

It is the year 2467, and a military coup has brought radical change to the Nakyrie Republic, which is now under the rule of Anatothryn Gant. Ambassador Aurelius DuKaine of Earth’s Concordium is deeply troubled at what the future holds for the galaxy. Meanwhile, within Nakyr’s secret police, Dyron Kyrshkandyr is on a hunt to uncover the identity of the Concordium’s most valuable Nakyrie agent, whose code name is Magi. As the Nakyrie Republic descends into dictatorship, events begin to spin out of control, and Aurelius DuKaine finds his life in ever-growing danger.

Hundreds of light-years away, on the planet of Zahyr, Niles Kaden of the Dragonwine Police Department takes part in a drug bust that goes tragically wrong. But is everything what it seems? Fearing for his life, Niles Kaden leaves his homeworld and becomes a Drakewrath, charged with providing security for Drake Enterprises. But Niles Kaden’s first assignment as Drakewrath forces him to confront the very danger that forced him to flee Zahyr.

The destinies of Aurelius DuKaine, Dyron Kyrshkandyr, Niles Kaden, and Magi become intertwined in this tale of intrigue and action as the story races towards its explosive conclusion. Will Aurelius DuKaine and his beloved wife escape the growing madness of Nakyr? Will the sadistic Dyron Kyrshkandyr succeed in capturing Magi? Will Niles Kaden bring a dangerous criminal to justice? And what connection does an assassination nearly 100 years earlier have to do with these desperate events?

http://www.amazon.com/Journey-Concordium-Chronicles-Derek-Atkins-ebook/dp/B00SWG8TW0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1422653780&sr=8-2&keywords=derek+atkins&pebp=1422653791294&peasin=B00SWG8TW0

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Tony

Here’s an excerpt from my novel.  This particular excerpt is about a man whose death changed the world, including his own son’s trajectory in life.  And on Christmas Day, this man’s son had a choice to make…

The man was burly, and had curly black hair.  He looked all around him.

“Where am I?”

“You are in heaven,” Jesus answered.

Startled, the man looked at Jesus.  “And who are you?”

“Tony,” Jesus called out.

“You’re…you’re…Jesus, aren’t you?”

“Yes, I am.”

Tony knelt down, bowed his head and crossed himself.  Rising, he slowly walked towards Jesus.

“What was the last thing you remembered, Tony?” Jesus asked.

“The last thing I remember was being in that stairwell, trying to help everyone get out of the building, when I heard this great roar….I remember thinking, ‘This is it!’  And then…”

“You prayed.”

“Yeah…I prayed.   It’s coming back to me now…I remembered one of the songs we used to sing in my parish, the one that goes, ‘I am the resurrection, and the life/He who believes in me will never die.’  And I remember the homily our parish priest gave one Sunday, about how your resurrection opens the door to heaven to all who believe.  And I prayed…”

“In your final moments, you asked me into your heart.”

“And then I felt an overwhelming, crushing weight bear down on me, and everything went dark….And the next thing I knew, I was up here, waiting in a long line…waiting to see you.”

Tony was silent for several moments, then he looked up at Jesus.  “I hope my family was able to cope with their loss after I was gone…I wish I was able to be there for my wife, Adriana, and our children, Maria and Nicolas.  I’m sure nothing was the same for them after I perished.”

“I watched over them, Tony.  The city gave your wife a generous pension.  She eventually married another firefighter.”

“And what about my children?”

“Maria later went to college, and became a ballet dancer.”

Tony smiled.  “She always did enjoy dancing.”

“And Nicolas?”

“He joined the Army, and was sent to Iraq, where he was killed by insurgents.”

“What—what do you mean?  Why did he join the Army, and why was he sent to Iraq?  Why was he killed?”

“Your death – together with the death of everyone else in the North and South Towers – started several wars.  Your son wanted to avenge your death, to strike back at those who killed you and so many others that day.  He was so crushed by your death, and so angry at those who killed you, that he gave up his dreams of becoming a doctor, and joined the Army right after he turned eighteen, even before he graduated from high school.  By the time he finished his training, America was about to invade Iraq, and he was one of those sent to invade that country.”

“We—we invaded Iraq?”

“After your country invaded Afghanistan.”

“Afghanistan!”

“The whole world changed after the North and South Towers collapsed, Tony.  Nothing was the same.  You would not recognize the land your country became.”

Tony shook his head, dumbfounded by all he was hearing.  “I don’t understand…how could all this have happened?  How could my son – Nicolas – have been killed in Iraq?”

“Iraq changed Nicolas in many ways, Tony.”

“How did Iraq change him?”

“The war revealed what was in his heart.  It revealed who he really was.”

“Would I have been proud of him?”

“I’m afraid not, Tony.  The war revealed his heart to be full of hatred.  And that hatred was eating him alive.  I tried to reach him with my truth, but he kept shutting me out of his heart.”

Tony began to weep.  “No, don’t tell me it’s true…not Nicolas.  Not my boy…”

“I never gave up on Nicolas.  I foresaw what was coming, and I kept reaching out to him, again and again.  He did three tours of duty in Iraq, and during his last tour, on Christmas Day, 2007, Nicolas was on patrol in Mosul, in one of the Christian neighborhoods, when he met a Kurdish girl named Maryam.  Maryam invited Nicolas and the men of his platoon to attend a Christmas pageant later that afternoon.  Nicolas did attend Maryam’s church that afternoon, where he heard the Christmas story one last time.  That was the last time he heard the good news of how I came into the world, grew to become a man, and died on the cross for the sins of all people, including for Nicolas.  That was the last time Nicolas heard the message of salvation.”

Tony’s voice was a ragged whisper.  “Did he accept your message of salvation?”

“No, Tony, he didn’t.  He couldn’t let go of his hatred.”  Jesus closed his eyes.  “He was so close, so close.  Little Maryam was sitting next to Nicolas, together with her parents, and Maryam was holding Nicolas’ hand.  Maryam told him, ‘Just believe.’  But Nicolas said nothing, and let his last opportunity for salvation slip by.  He was killed the next day when his Humvee was blown up by a roadside bomb.”

Tony was sobbing loudly.  “No, not Nicolas…not my son!”

Jesus came down from the Throne, and threw his arms around Tony’s heaving frame.  “I failed him, Jesus!  I failed him!  I never told him about you!”

Jesus spoke softly into Tony’s ear.  “Tony, your sacrifice was beautiful.  That alone would have been example enough for your son.  He made his own choice, and chose to give in to his hatred.  You were a good father to him.  You weren’t perfect, but you taught him what a man was supposed to be like.  And if he’d chosen to follow me, Nicolas would have grown to become a good father himself.”

Tony continued to sob.  “But how…how can I enjoy heaven, when…when my son—“

“I lost someone close to me, too, Tony.”

Tony drew back for several moments.  “You did?”

“Yes, I did.  Judas was a dear friend of mine, but Satan entered his heart, and he betrayed me.  But Judas never did turn to me for forgiveness, and in his overwhelming guilt, he committed suicide, and now he’s lost forever.”

“So…the loss was real?”

“Yes, the loss was real.  And so was yours.  But I’ve given you the gift of eternal life.”

Tony was silent for a long minute, just staring at Jesus.  At last, Tony kneeled down and crossed himself again.

“My Lord and my God.”

Maggie

Here’s another excerpt from my novel, Day of Judgment, in which Maggie, an avowed atheist, receives a most unwelcome surprise.

 

“Maggie,” Jesus said as the woman came forward.

“You!” the woman said indignantly.  “I wasn’t expecting to see you!”

“No, you weren’t, not after you died.  You were expecting oblivion, that you would no longer exist.”

“Yes, that’s exactly what I was expecting.  I never believed in you, always thought you were a fairy tale, like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.  I always thought there was nothing after death, that once I died, that would be the end of everything.”

“And you were wrong.”

Maggie remained silent while her eyes blazed with anger.

Finally, Maggie spoke.  “I was never wrong about much.”

“I’m afraid you were wrong about a great many things, Maggie, especially the most important things.”

Maggie continued to stare into Jesus’ eyes, an angry scowl on her face.  “What was I wrong about?”

“You were wrong about marriage.”

“But marriage has always been about men dominating women!  Before the institution of marriage, women were always free to mate with any man they wished!”

Jesus shook his head.  “No, Maggie, I designed marriage to protect you, to provide for your needs, and to give you a full life.”

“Hah!  You lie!”

“You were also wrong about marijuana.”

“No, I wasn’t.  Marijuana is so much safer than alcohol.  If marijuana is so bad, why keep alcohol legal?”

“Marijuana impaired your mind, Maggie.  It affected your capacity to make decisions.”

“All you want to do is deny people their freedom!”

“No, Maggie, my desire has always been to lead you to true freedom.”

“Freedom!  Hah!  In you there is no freedom!  How many people lost their freedoms because of corrupt priests during the Middle Ages!  How many blacks were lynched because preachers preached about the Curse of Ham!  How many young girls were denied the right to an education because Christians said it wasn’t right for girls to learn!  You’re nothing but a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, barbaric, anti-intellectual sadist!”

Jesus sighed.  “Oh, Maggie, Maggie, you are so, so wrong about a great many things.  Satan deceived you greatly.”

“Satan?  How can a non-existent being deceive me?”

“For starters, by convincing you he doesn’t exist in the first place.”

“Of course he doesn’t exist.  He’s just a fairy tale, just like you’re supposed to be!”

“You are wrong in that, too, Maggie.  I definitely exist.  See my hands?”  Jesus now raised his hands, his nail-pierced wrists clearly visible.

Maggie started to tremble.  “You, you mean—?”

“Yes, Maggie, you were wrong about that, too.  I really did die, and I really did rise from the dead.”

Maggie’s trembling increased.  “Then—then—?”

“Yes, Maggie, you are right about that.”

Two angels now came forward, and firmly grasped Maggie’s arms.  As they took Maggie away, the last Jesus heard from her were the sobs of a woman who was only just beginning to realize the truth that she’d believed so many lies all her life, and who was only just beginning to realize the magnitude of her mistakes.

Day of Judgment Book Excerpt – Tanisha

Here’s an excerpt from Day of Judgment, in which a young woman comes face-to-face with Jesus:

Derek Atkins iStock_000009925974Large (1000x1600) new

Tanisha

She was crying, her hands hiding her face.  Her voice was husky.

“I’ve failed you so many times, Jesus.  All my life.”

“I know, Tanisha.”  The words were true, yet spoken with a kind voice.

“I was a junkie.  I shot myself up more times than I can remember.  Heroin, morphine, crack…anything I could get my hands on.”

“And it ruined your life.”

“Oh, God, yes, it ruined my life….Oh, all the dreams I had!  I wanted to go to college, become a nurse, help people, have children of my own….”

“But you did have a child, Tanisha.”

Stunned, Tanisha lowered her hands, and stared at the One who sat on the throne before her.  Then great, heaving sobs wracked her entire being.

“My child…my child…I never held her in my hands…Oh, God, why did I ever do that!”

“Because you were told having her would burden your life.”

“I knew so many other girls who became mothers, and saw what happened to them!  They never went to college, they never were able to have good jobs, they always worked for minimum wage, worked late hours.  If I’d had my child, that’s the life I would have lived!”

“Yes, that is the life you would have lived, but you would still have had your child.”

“But what kind of life would she have had?”

“A good one, Tanisha.”

Others would have responded with sarcasm, derision, anger.  Not Tanisha.  She merely listened, and nodded her head.

“There were good people in your community who were ready to help people like you.”

Again, Tanisha nodded.  “Yes, that’s right.  Mrs. Jackson at my momma’s church was always helpin’ people in trouble.”

Jesus smiled.  “Yes, and she will receive many rewards.  Many are in heaven today because of her.”

Tanisha was silent for several long moments.  Then she asked, “What’s written in those books?”  She hesitantly pointed her hand at two large books, both open before the throne.

“This book—“ Jesus waved a hand at the book on his left.  “—is a record of all your deeds.”

“I didn’t have many of them.”

“No, not many.”

Once again, tears trickled down Tanisha’s cheeks.  “I messed up my life so much…”

“Tanisha, you were consumed with guilt.  You knew you’d killed your baby, and you never could get past that.  You had so much pain in your life you turned to drugs.  You also slept with many more men.”

“But I never had any more children.”

“No, Tanisha, you never did.”

“I’m goin’ to hell, ain’t I?”

“No, Tanisha, you’re not.”

Tanisha’s head snapped up sharply.  “I’m not?”

“No, you’re not.  You’ve always believed in me.  Your mother always took you to church when you were a child, and you heard all the stories of the Bible.  And you believed in your own childish way.”

“But I never went to no church after I got older.”

“No, you never did, but whenever you heard an evangelist preach at a shelter, you always responded to his message.  And whenever you found a Bible and read it, your heart was always warmed.  That seed of faith never died.  You always believed in me, and because you did, your name is written in this book—“ Jesus now waved his hand toward the book on his right.  “—the Book of Life.”

Tanisha trembled.  “No, that can’t be…I’ve been so bad all my life!  I don’t deserve your goodness!”

“No one does, Tanisha.  But you always believed.  And now, Tanisha, I have a surprise for you—“  Next to the throne, Tanisha could see a vague, indistinct figure.  The figure approached, and slowly, Tanisha could make out her features.

“Who is that, Lord?….That couldn’t be—is it—?”

“Tanisha, meet your daughter.”

Overcome, Tanisha drew her hands up to her mouth, hardly believing what she was seeing.  Finally, words choked out of Tanisha’s throat.  “My baby, my baby—!”

Slowly, Tanisha took a few hesitant steps towards her daughter, then began walking faster, until finally, the two wrapped their arms around each other in a tearful embrace.  Looking up over her daughter’s shoulder, Tanisha asked Jesus, “What’s—what’s—what’s her name?”

Jesus smiled.  “The same name you gave your favorite doll when you were a child.  Latoya.”

Welcome!

Welcome to my website!  I enjoy writing stories, and I have published my first novel, Day of Judgment, which is an imaginative examination of what the Day of Judgment will be like, when all of us will stand before God and be judged by him.  I plan to publish more books in the future, including at least one science fiction novel.  Please visit this website for more information about Day of Judgment and other novels as they become available.