My work


On July 10th 2012, I decided to start publishing books on the Amazon Kindle store. It’s nice to get some royalty payments (and trust me, they are few and far between), but I have never been into writing for the money. Don’t get me wrong, if I could actually make a living by writing and selling books, that would be awesome. However, if I never sold another copy, that wouldn’t stop me from doing what I love. Since July of 2012, I have published 4 novella length books on Amazon. Just wanted to list them here with short descriptions, so you can see them all in one place. They are all priced $.99 for Kindle.

 

Click to purchase
Click to purchase

I Was There is my favorite. It’s a collection of ten Bible stories written from a first person perspective. These stories get you inside the hearts and minds of the most well known characters in Scripture. I’m actually working on a second collection, and hope to have it available on Amazon in the next couple of months. This is available in Kindle format as well as paperback.

“For some, the Bible can be an intimidating book to dig into. Its pages reveal a history of days past, with practical application for the here and now. Every word inspired by God Himself, penned by the hands of mere mortals. It contains stories, not of super-human people with amazing powers or special abilities that no one can possibly measure up too, but of real people. Just like us. Human beings who were lost and without hope until a Savior was sent to shed His blood on a tree.”

 

Click to purchase
Click to purchase

The Stranger is probably my second favorite. This actually started as a serial story on my blog. I would publish one chapter per week. I never finished it, and then decided to just make it a novella and list it on Amazon. It’s a suspense/thriller, but as with all my writing, it’s clean.

“Something horrible happened eight years ago in the small coastal town of Seal Bay. Six high school girls were killed and dumped into the bay by a man named Lance Puckett. It was a crime which ripped apart a community and left emotional scars that time would never heal. A calm morning in Seal Bay is shattered by the appearance of a stranger who bears a striking resemblance to Lance. Has he come back to dig up memories from the past, or could this man be a drifter, just passing through? This suspenseful thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat with a twist that will leave you breathless. Who is The Stranger?”

 

Click to purchase
Click to purchase

Other Side of Night is a young adult novella I wrote for a newspaper in TN. They run a serial story during the summer months, and they published one chapter per week. This story also ran in the West Australian newspaper and was used as curriculum in some writing classes. This was the first novella I published on the Kindle store.

“When Luke Farmer and his two best friends find a cell phone in the park, they are thrust into a world of adventure and mystery. With his newly rescued Golden Retriever, Boone, Luke is determined to figure out what is so important on the phone and why someone will do anything to get it back. Other Side of Night is a heart-pounding story of three friends forced to rise above their fear and face unknown adversaries in order to discover the truth.”

 

Click to purchase
Click to purchase

Unknown was meant to be a three novella series, but I haven’t finished the second one yet. To be honest, I don’t know if I will continue this or not. I believe the story has amazing potential, but I may have rushed this first one somewhat. I know it’s probably not a good thing to judge my own work publicly, but this is my least favorite of all the stories I’ve written. Look, I’m all about being honest. I don’t think it’s a complete waste of your money at only $.99, but it’s just not as good as the other ones.

“Without a past, how can we possibly have a future? Darkness. The black, shapeless void that refuses the presence of light. The kind of darkness where only the dead dare to explore, and the living fear to gaze upon. With no memory of my past, I wake up inside a pizzeria with nothing but a wadded up piece of paper in my pocket. I will have to rely heavily on my instincts in order to survive. I have no idea who I am. I don’t know who to trust. Faded images briefly flash through my mind, but they make no sense. Are they memories from a past I have somehow forgotten? Are they clues to my identity? Only time will tell.”

 

There you have it. My published work. If you have already read some of these, please consider leaving a review on Amazon. Those are always greatly appreciated.

I want to thank my incredibly gifted Mom, Betty Jo, for the always amazing artwork for my novellas. Check out her blog HERE

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Am I Worthy?


From I Was There

The shame haunts me on a daily basis.

I’ve tried to be a good person, but I always end up failing. It’s not easy. It never has been. I am a woman with needs. I thought once I was married, everything would be perfect. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered that is not the case at all. There are times when I still feel alone, unwanted, and not very important. In his eyes, I’m just an object, or more like a slave. He thinks my sole purpose for existing on this earth is to serve him. If I don’t make him happy, he threatens to leave me. How can I continue to live like this?

My mother told me, on numerous occasions, that divorce is a sin. A sin that God will punish severely. I’ve always had a difficult time understanding that. My husband doesn’t beat me, but abuse takes on many different forms. Is it still a sin to leave him? I honestly don’t know the answer to that question. I’m afraid of what might happen if I leave. I don’t want to disappoint my mother, but most importantly, I don’t want to sin against God. I’m lost and confused and don’t know what to do anymore.

I don’t have anyone I can really talk to. My friends are busy with their own lives, and their own set of problems. I tried to pray, but I just don’t know what to say. How do I even know anyone is up there listening to me? There has been so much talk about God and His Son, Jesus, but I have yet to see anything worth believing in. I’ve heard the stories of miracles being performed, but nothing has ever happened to me personally. I just need something to believe in. Something I can use as my anchor in this world so full of uncertainty and confusion.

I make no excuses for what I’ve done. Yes, my marriage is failing, and I am nothing more than a lost soul searching for help, but I have to face the consequences of my actions. I don’t know what the penalty is, but somehow I will endure it. My mother hasn’t spoken to me in three days. I didn’t think she knew about what happened, but her actions indicate otherwise. I know they will be coming soon to determine my punishment. I just have to be strong.

I hear commotion outside, and I open the front door. Several men, with their long beards and flowing robes, stand there in heated argument. They stop talking as I walk forward. I see my mother standing off to the side, watching intently. My husband is working and will not be around to witness what is happening. The other man is there with the group, looking at me with eyes full of contempt. I don’t understand that. He told me that he loved me.

I stand there, with hands stretched out in a gesture of surrender.

One man walks over to me. “Do you know what sin you have committed?”

I nod and drop my head in shame. “Yes, adultery.”

“Do you know what the penalty is for such a sin?”

“No.”

“According to the Law of Moses, you are to be stoned to death.”

My heart begins to beat faster, and I swallow the lump of fear that has formed in the back of my throat. These were the teachers of the law. It wasn’t possible they were wrong in their knowledge of sin, or its consequences. They had studied the ancient Scriptures more than anyone.

He turns to address the small crowd that has gathered, but before he can speak, one of the older men walks over. “Why don’t we take her to the Teacher? The one they call Jesus. Let’s see what he has to say about this woman. If He doesn’t do what is required, we will have reason to suspect His true intentions.”

They all agree. They push me forward toward the temple, and the crowd follows. I feel the eyes of every person staring into my back. I am so ashamed. Not only have I brought disgrace to myself, but I have embarrassed my family as well. I am terrified. I didn’t know the penalty for adultery was death. I have seen people being stoned before, and it’s not a pleasant way to die. Tears stream down my face as we enter the temple courtyard, and I see a large group of people.

They are all standing around listening as someone speaks. As we approach, the crowd turns, and starts to move back, giving us a path. We reach the front of the crowd where the one they call Jesus is sitting. He stops talking and looks at us.

For several moments, there is complete silence. I am trembling as I stand there awaiting my judgment. I keep my head lowered, facing the ground so he doesn’t see the shame reflecting in my eyes. I begin to hear whispers from the crowd, and my face burns with embarrassment. I try to stop my tears, but it’s futile. The stories of this Jesus have been spreading like wildfire. According to some, He can cast out demons and heal the sick. What will He do to me now?

Two men walk up from behind and force me to my knees. “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. According to the Law of Moses, we are to stone such a woman. Now what do you say?”

I glance up through my tears. Jesus looks at the men for a couple of seconds, and then kneels to the ground. With His finger, He begins to write in the dirt. He says nothing. A murmur trickles through the crowd as He continues to write and ignore the question. I notice that all of the men who came to my house are now holding large rocks.

“Teacher?” the man repeats. “Surely we are to obey the Law of Moses and stone this woman. She has sinned against God. What do you say?”

Jesus writes several more things, and then He stands up. “Let any one of you, who is without sin, throw the first stone.”

The men roughly push me from my knees to a prone position on the ground. I close my eyes and cover my head with both hands. The intense pain of rocks slamming into my body will begin at any moment. It’s often hard to recognize a person after they have been stoned. I wasn’t sure if my mother was still around, but I hoped she wouldn’t remain to watch me die. I am terrified, but I know there must be a consequence of my failure to keep the law. I am a sinner.

I hear the sound of a rock hitting the ground. At first, I assume someone has thrown a stone, and missed. I hear the sound again, and I open my eyes. In utter disbelief, I watch as one by one, the men open their fists and allow the rocks to fall harmlessly to the ground. They slowly turn and walk away. Following their example, the remaining crowd walks away as well. I don’t know what to say or do. Will Jesus stone me Himself? Is that the point of making them all leave? He wants to be the one to punish me?

I rise to my knees and look up. He is staring directly at me. Surprisingly, He is not looking at me with contempt or condemnation. His eyes burn with an expression of love that I have never felt before. What I have done is unforgivable. Am I worthy of this love? How could I have committed such a sin against God, and this man is looking at me with love? Why isn’t He picking up the rocks and stoning me like I deserve?

He smiles and offers His hand. He helps me to my feet. “Where are they? Is there no one left to condemn you?” He asks.

I fight back the sobs that threaten to overtake my entire being. I shake my head. “No one is left, Sir.”

“Then neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more.”

Love Never Fails


Earlier this year, I published a collection of 10, first-person perspective Bible stories entitled I Was There. (Click HERE to purchase) I had such a great response to the book that I decided to write another one. The proposed title for the new one is I Believe. I plan on publishing first of next year. I still have a couple more stories to write, and then the editing process. I wanted to give you a taste of what’s coming. This story is entitled Love Never Fails. It’s not the complete story, because that would be more than just a taste. Let me know what you think. (This is not the completely edited, polished manuscript, so please ignore any errors)

 

I wasn’t sure how the day was going to end, but there was a feeling deep inside my being that would not go away. Regret, mixed with dread, churned in my stomach and clawed at my conscience. I have done some things in my life that I am not proud of, but I may have gone too far this time. The addiction had rooted itself into such a level of my soul, that I feared its hold would never be broken. I felt so ashamed.

No one knew anything when we met to break bread together. The secret I carried in my heart would more than likely destroy many people. Some of whom were my closest friends. That fact alone caused me to hesitate, but unfortunately, the damage had already been done. The money burned like hot coals inside my cloak. Even though I loathed the very thought of what I had to do, my greed claimed a larger piece of my soul.

The men I had met with earlier knew my weakness. They devised a plan that would ensnare me and render me helpless to refuse their enticing offer. I always said that loyalty could never be compromised by gold or silver. Apparently, I was dreadfully wrong. They had purchased my services and would force me to hurt someone I truly loved. By the time we met that night, it was far too late to change my mind. They owned me, and they knew it.

I wasn’t sure what the others would say if they found out. We were so closely tied together, like a family, for several years. The friendships I had formed were real, not just casual and fleeting. There were times we didn’t all get along, but that was to be expected. We were following a man who was different than anyone else. We didn’t’ always see things the way he did. We couldn’t possibly. I could honestly say I loved each and every one of them. They knew things about me that not even my blood relatives knew. Hidden things. Secret things.

If they had any idea about what I would do that night, they would be devastated. Somehow I had managed to live a double life for a period of time, and had covered my tracks very well. I would be labeled a traitor; there was no doubt about that. I would have to accept it, and somehow move past the hurt feelings and broken hearts. Somewhere down the road of my life, I would once again find peace. That was my hope.

Things had become rather chaotic leading up to our last meal together. We entered the city under the praises of most everyone just a few days earlier. We were accepted at first, but things began to take a turn for the worst. The religious leaders couldn’t stand our Teacher. On several occasions, they attempted to trap him in lies and deceit, but always failed. They began to see him as a threat and not the promised Messiah. That’s when they contacted me. I guess they could sense my wavering dedication to the man I had lived with for three years.

Shame burned through my veins as I sat there wondering if anyone knew. I had been extremely careful with my meetings. No one ever seemed to notice I was gone. Although I was confident my secret was safe, I had a sinking feeling at least one of the men at the table knew exactly what was going on. Would he say anything to the rest?

When we had all finally gathered at the table, there was an uncomfortable silence for several moments. It was hard to describe. Jesus looked troubled. He sat there looking at us as the soft candlelight danced inside his soft, brown eyes. I had noticed him in that mood occasionally during our travels over the years, but something was bothering him even more on that night. His stare met mine and I couldn’t blink. His eyes bore deep into my soul. Even though he could read my every intention like an open book, he suddenly smiled.

I wanted to feel at ease, but I couldn’t. I looked down and waited until he stood up from the table. He took a bowl and carefully filled it with water. He knelt before Thomas and began to wash his feet. There was a tenderness and sincerity in the action that nearly brought me to tears. This was God’s only son, born into the earth as a man, removed from his throne as a king, and was now honoring the men he called family. I couldn’t understand. I looked around and realized everyone else was confused as well.

He finished with Thomas, and moved over to Peter.

“Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Peter asked quietly, almost in a whisper. The silence felt like a fragile vase that no one desired to break by speaking too loudly.

The guilt and shame gripped my heart even tighter as I watched the scene unfold before me. I had accepted money in exchange for betraying my Master. That was something I would have to live with until the day I passed from the earth. I swallowed the lump of emotion that had formed in the back of my throat. I was so thirsty, but didn’t dare move to get a drink.

“You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand,” Jesus replied as he knelt down.

“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” He shook his head and drew his feet back. I knew Peter was stubborn, but there was something else going on in that moment. Something I couldn’t explain.

Jesus reached out and rested his hand on Peter’s knee. “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me,” he said.

“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you. You are not all clean.”

My heart dropped after hearing those words. Of course he knew what I had done. He was Jesus. He knew our every thoughts, desires, and secrets. I bowed my head and stared at the floor. If any of the other disciples looked me in the eye, they would see my guilt and shame. They would know the Master was talking about me.

When Jesus was finished with Peter’s feet, he knelt down in front of me. The weight of the silver in my pocket couldn’t compare to the heaviness that hung over my shoulders. Darkness like no other had invaded my heart. I didn’t want to look up.

“Judas?”

 

To be continued…

Amazing review for I Was There


A blogger friend, Jessie Lambert, wrote an amazing review for I Was There. Please visit her blog at http://jessielambertwrites.com/ and show some love.


A few weeks ago, author Chris Martin  invited bloggers to review his book I Was There.  As an incentive to review his work, he was offering to give each reviewer a free e-book.  At the time, I thought, “Hey, this dude seems alright.  I want to give his book a try.”  So, I shot him an email wherein I went full Katniss (“I VOLUNTEER!!”) partly because I generally enjoy helping others, but mostly because FREE BOOK.  That same day, lo, his e-book was in my inbox.

To be perfectly honest, the book surprised me.  It was fresh and exciting, and it gave me a deeper understanding of the Bible.  Martin writes Biblical stories from the first person perspective.  So, you don’t watch as Abraham leads his son up the hill.  You are in Abraham’s head.  You are taking that walk with him.  You are privy to his thoughts and fears and prayers.  It is such a simple change, but it is so powerful!

In fact, I brought my phone into my Sunday school classroom the Sunday after I received I Was There and read the story about Abraham and Isaac to my students.  They loved it.  I asked them what they thought and one boy said, “I wish the Bible was more like this.  I feel closer to them [Abraham and Isaac].”

So, I had an idea.  As a writer, I might be a bit partial, but I believe that to understand something, it helps to write about it.  I looked at my class of budding teenagers and said, “How would you feel if we did the same thing that Chris Martin has done?  We can pick a story and write it from the perspective of the person who lived it.”

I asked for a thumbs-up, thumbs-down vote.  I told them that it didn’t matter to me, that it was just an idea.  We could run with it or drop it.  I received a unanimous thumbs up!

And, so, for the past few weeks, I have ended my lesson twenty minutes early so that my kids can have writing time.   It is great for me, because I don’t have to keep them occupied for the full hour.  But, more importantly, this activity is giving them a better understanding of the Biblical stories they have chosen.  Definite win-win.

Martin also does something in his stories that I really appreciate.  He doesn’t begin with, “My name is Abraham and God told me to . . . ”  Instead, he begins in such a way that it takes time to discover who the story is about.  I love this, because it turns each story into somewhat of a puzzle.  What’s more, it also helps you relate to the characters.  In my advanced fiction class, we talked about short story authors who never give their characters names.  My instructor pointed out that if you don’t name a character, the reader can easily become that character, especially if it is written in first person.  It is a tactic that pulls the reader in deeper and helps him/her relate on a new level.  Martin achieves this by not divulging who the story is about until it is necessary.  Even then, he doesn’t tell you.  He shows you.

I highly suggest that you purchase I Was There.  It’s only $2.99 for the e-book and the paperback is $7.99.  Those are fair prices.  With each story, Martin includes the scriptural references as well.  I like to read Martin’s story, then read from the Bible with a newer understanding of the person’s perspective.  It works for me!

I Believe


I’ve been working on a second collection of first person Bible stories entitled I Believe. I hope to have it available for sale at some point in December. Wanted to give you a sneak peek of what’s in store for this next book. My first one, I Was There, can be purchased HERE in either Kindle or paperback formats.


 

I’ve never witnessed the sky grow so dark since that awful day. Pillows of blackened clouds pooled together like a thick blanket, nearly cutting off the brilliant light of the morning sun. Heaviness descended like a shroud, causing the air to feel burdened with despair. I was only passing through, but it would be a day that would forever change my life. Even now, the memories invoke hot tears that slowly trickle down my face. I will never forget the look inside those eyes.

It was early. The morning was alive with the chatter of distant birds, and a breeze that carried the hope of safe travel on its breath. My boys were tired and not at all enthusiastic about our last day of the journey home. I woke them up and allowed the last portions of our food to be consumed. I would eat once we entered our home. As the father, it was my responsibility to make sure my children did not go hungry. I ignored the growls within my stomach and packed our sleeping mats.

Since we had no money, we stayed just outside the city gates of Jerusalem, where many others had also set up camp. My plan was to make our way through the city and continue on toward home. I smiled. The thought of returning home always made me happy. I could almost smell whatever my wife would prepare to celebrate our safe journey. No one in all the land could cook like her. As I gazed at my boys preparing to leave, and thought about the woman who had chosen to spend her life with me, I knew how fortunate of a man I was.

As we entered the city, I realized it was going to take much longer to pass through than I had originally anticipated. Crowds of people were gathered outside the main courtyard. Roman soldiers rushed by with determined looks on their faces. They tried to push the crowd back, but the people pressed in even harder. They waved their fists and shouted at the soldiers. I couldn’t tell what they were saying, but they appeared very distressed. If we didn’t find another way around, I knew our route would become blocked by the throngs of angry protesters.

I motioned for my boys to follow, and we headed for higher ground. We ducked into an alley and walked quickly toward the other end. I could see people standing there as well, but I hoped the crowd wasn’t as large as the one below. We walked out of the alley and stopped. People lined both sides of the path. Some held rocks in their hands. Others carried sticks. There were men, women, and children standing there, looking in the same direction. I stepped around a small group and tried to see what it was that held everyone’s attention.

I could make out some commotion toward the bottom of the hill, but the surrounding cloud of dust made it impossible to see clearly.

My youngest pulled at my cloak. “Dad? What is it? What do you see?”

“I don’t know, Son.” We hurried across the dirt path to the other side where I thought maybe I would have a better view. I still wasn’t able to see very well.

I glanced over at an elderly woman standing next to me. I smiled, but she didn’t return it. There was a glazed look in her eyes that made me uncomfortable. I wasn’t sure why. “What’s happening?”

At first, I thought she was going to ignore me, and not even answer my question. She looked down the hill and then back at me. “You don’t know?”

I shook my head. “No. My sons and I are just passing through Jerusalem. We aren’t from this place.”

She glanced at the rocks in her hand. “They are going to crucify him.”

The Romans were known for their brutality and lack of compassion for any person unlucky enough to become their prisoner. I had never witnessed anyone being crucified, but had heard stories. Whomever this man was she spoke of must be a human of the worst kind to deserve a crucifixion. Those were normally saved for the most heinous of criminals.

“What has he done to deserve such a punishment?” I asked.

“He has defied Caesar by calling himself a king. He also proclaimed to the people that he is the son of God.”

I frowned. That was indeed blasphemy. “What is his name?”

“Jesus of Nazareth.”

My heart skipped a beat. I had heard of the man they called Jesus. The stories reached far beyond the borders of my country. He had healed many who were sick, caused blind eyes to open, and even raised some from the dead. Many believed he was indeed the Messiah that was prophesied about in the ancient scriptures. Others felt he was some kind of magician who performed sorcery. I had no idea what the man was like.

If the Romans had deemed him vile enough to crucify, then there must have been solid evidence of his wrongdoing.

“Why do you hold rocks in your hands?” I asked the woman.

She looked up and smiled. It wasn’t the pleasant curve of someone’s mouth when they greeted a friend or loved one. It was a look saturated with evil intentions.

“This is the biggest thing that’s happened around here. I don’t want to miss my chance to participate.”


To be continued…

 

New buying option


I have decided to add a new option for buying my books. Using a website called Sellfy, I am able to offer PDF versions of my titles. If you don’t have a Kindle, or don’t want to mess with installing the software on your computer, you can purchase the PDF version and start reading right away. My latest book, I Was There, is available to purchase now. They make it easy to pay through PayPal.

I will set up a page with links to my other titles soon.

Click the picture below to purchase the PDF version.

Click to purchase
Click to purchase

Exciting News!


Many of you have asked for a paperback version of I Was There. Well, now there is one. I went through CreateSpace, which is an Amazon company. I just got the proof today, and it looks excellent. I Was There is available for $7.99 on the CreateSpace website. It will take 3-5 days to find the book on Amazon.com. I hope to have both the paperback and Kindle version listed on the same page. I will post the link when it’s available.

THUMBNAIL_IMAGE
Click to purchase

Why I Write Clean (Re-post)


This is my most viewed, commented on, and discussed post of all time. Figured I would post it again.

 

A few years ago, I picked up a Stephen King novel (I can’t even remember what it was titled) and tried to read it. It was the first time I had the desire to read one of his books. There were so many F-bombs in the first two chapters that I just could not continue. I put it down and haven’t picked up one of his books since that day. Writing fiction is about telling a story, bringing characters to life, and entertaining the masses with a great novel. I get that, I truly do. And I know what the world is like and how ordinary people talk.

I’ve just decided that I don’t need that kind of language in my own novels.

It is a personal choice, and I’m certainly not trying to bash other authors who chose to use offensive language in their works. I have nothing against them at all. In fact, my favorite author of all time is Dean Koontz. He has bad words sprinkled throughout his novels, but not every other sentence. They aren’t enough to where I get so tired of reading curse words and close the book as I did with Mr. King’s. I honestly don’t see the need for it.

Now, maybe it is because I’m a Christian and I don’t talk like that anymore. I used to swear like a sailor, and I would be lying if I didn’t admit to the fact that a profane word slips out every now and again, but I don’t want it in my stories. I want my kids to pick up my novels one day and read them all from cover to cover. If I’m setting an example in my daily life for them with my actions, but writing vulgar words in my books, how will they know which lead to follow?

My very first novel is entitled Hollow Eyes (which I’m in the process of rewriting, by the way), and I had some elements in there that I now realize I don’t care for. I guess, at that time, I felt the need to write curse words and gory descriptions in order to sell books. That was nearly fifteen years ago. Now, it’s not about writing what I think is going to sell a million books. It’s about the legacy I leave behind for my children. I don’t want them to be embarrassed, twenty years down the road, when they have friends over, and they are looking through the things I wrote while still alive on this Earth. I want them to be proud of my work and have the desire to share it with the rest of the world.

That is why I write clean.

I’ve recently joined the growing number of indie authors who self-publish online, and I’ve met some truly awesome people. It is an amazing sense of camaraderie and encouragement that I get on a daily basis. Whether it’s people retweeting me on Twitter, or giving me a positive review on one of my stories, they are there not only to promote themselves, but the rest of us who are in the same boat. It’s satisfying to know I’m not alone in the overwhelming world of being an author and trying to get my name known to the millions of people who purchase books online.

As I mentioned earlier, this post is not intended to bash authors who use cursing in their stories. It’s not about that at all. This is just a declaration of where I stand on the issue and my reasons for it. I hope I didn’t offend anyone with my words. It wasn’t my intention whatsoever. Having said that, I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Feel free to comment.

My Library


Just wanted to put all my novellas, with their links, into one post. I’ve gained a lot of new readers over the past few months, and I know how easy it is for older posts to get lost. You can click on each picture, and it will take you right to the Amazon page where it’s for sale. Thank you so much for your support. I would ask that if you read any of these books, please leave a review for me on Amazon. I greatly appreciate it. God bless.

Click to purchase

My latest book is entitled, I Was There. It’s a collection of ten Bible stories written from first person perspective. To date, this is my favorite one. I love writing fiction, but there’s no real hope that it can change someone’s life. With I Was There, I believe it has the potential to help people in all areas of life. I’m truly excited to see what God is going to do with it. I’ve already started on a second collection and have the rough drafts completed for three stories.

 

 

Other Side of Night CoverOther Side of Night actually ran for ten weeks in the Kingsport, TN newspaper and the West Australian. It was part of the Newspaper in Education department where they read the story to children in school and used it as a teaching tool. Pretty cool stuff.

 

 

 

The Stranger CoverThe Stranger has been my most popular book up to this point. I started it as a serial story on my blog a long time ago, then decided to turn it into a book.

 

 

 

 

Unknown CoverUnknown is the first in a trilogy that I hope to get back to one day.

 

 

 

The Stranger – Chapter Ten


The Stranger was the first novella I published on the Amazon Kindle store. It’s currently for sale at a whopping $.99. I’ve decided to post it here, on my blog, in it’s entirety, for free. I am passionate about writing posts that demonstrate the love and grace of Jesus and what He’s doing in my life, but I also love writing fiction.

Here’s the plan. For the next ten weeks, I will post a chapter each Friday. Let’s call it Fiction Friday. Feel free to hashtag the crap out of that. I hope you enjoy the story. If you like this one, I have a couple more on Amazon. You can find them here: Author Page

Chapter Ten

“Dillon, can you hear me?”

Unable to see anything but darkness, I slowly opened my eyes. The throbbing pain inside my head had vanished. I waited several seconds before trying to move. I decided to take things nice and easy. The room materialized into focus, and I looked upon a man sitting in a chair directly across from me.

“Dillon? I know you don’t like these sessions, but we need to talk.” He was dressed nicely in a suit, but no tie. His darkened hair contained streaks of gray, revealing a hint of his age. On the table between us, laid an opened spiral-bound notebook. He held a pen in his hand.

“Do I know you?”

He smiled, but for reasons unknown to me, it didn’t lower my anxiety level. “Of course you do, Dillon. We’ve been meeting together for a long time now. You took quite the fall today, so things might be a little…fuzzy for awhile.”

I blinked several times so my eyes could adjust to the dim lighting. The room was modest, just the table and two chairs. Cold, drab, cement walls surrounded us on all sides. It reminded me of an interrogation room I had seen in many movies. The feeling swirling through the air was somewhere between cozy and frightening.

I frowned. “Where exactly am I? Are you a doctor or something?”

“You could say that. What do you remember, Dillon?”

“What do you mean? Remember about what?”

He smiled again and a chill slithered down my spinal cord. I tried not to shiver.

“Let me put it this way, what is the last thing you remember?”

I started to answer the question but realized I didn’t remember anything except for waking up in that room. He noticed my hesitation and leaned forward. I struggled to make sense of the chaos inside my mind. Clouded bits of memories flashed briefly, but disappeared before they were discernible.

“I…I’m not really sure. I keep seeing these images in my head, like short bursts of pictures, but they don’t make any sense.”

“Can you describe what they look like?”

I shook my head. “They don’t last long enough for me to get any details.” I looked at the floor and then closed my eyes, concentrating. “I see some woods. It’s raining. There’s a cabin. I think someone is with me, but I can’t tell.”

“Good, go on.”

“It’s almost like I feel scared, like I’m in a very bad situation, but I can’t see anything else.” I opened my eyes and looked up. “I’m sorry. I know that’s not much detail.”

“You’re doing great, Dillon. We’re not in any hurry. We’ve made some significant progress, which I’ve put in my report.”

I glanced at the notebook which he had yet to pick up. All I could see were blank pages. “Is that what you’re writing your notes in?”

“Some. Not all though. This is merely to keep track of the session. I put everything into the computer once we’re done. I keep remarkably thorough records.”

I sat there wondering when the light bulb would come on and I would start remembering things. I had a feeling that the good doctor wasn’t telling me everything. It was as if he had placed a puzzle in front of me, but kept several key pieces tucked away inside his pocket. Not only that, he also hid the box so I couldn’t see what the picture should look like. “What’s your name?” I asked. “You know mine, I think it’s only fair I know yours.”

“Of course, Dillon. My name is Dr. Parker.”

I had expected to hear the sound of a large gong and an announcement that I had won the grand prize of getting my memory back. I was sorely disappointed. The name meant nothing to me. “Hmm, Dr. Parker…and we’ve been meeting like this a lot?”

He nodded. “We meet once a week, sometimes more if the situation calls for it. Like today, for example. Our normal session isn’t until next Thursday, but after the incident, they called me in right away.”

“Incident?” I asked. “What incident?”

Dr. Parker leaned back in his chair and folded one leg across the other. He studied me for a minute without saying a word. “You were involved in an altercation earlier this morning. You hit your head painfully hard on the concrete floor. I’m surprised you don’t have a headache.”

“I remember having one earlier, but I’m not sure when. I woke up in here and now it’s gone. What exactly happened?”

“That’s what I’m hoping you can tell me. Your mind has blocked it out for whatever reason, and we need to figure out how to extract the memories.”

Dr. Parker stood up and pulled a syringe from one pocket.

I shifted in my seat, beginning to feel terribly uncomfortable. “What is that for?”

He walked around the table and stood beside me. “This will help you remember. It’s designed to remove any mental blocks your subconscious has established as a defense mechanism.”

He removed the cap and flicked the needle a couple times. He applied a small amount of pressure to the plunger and a tiny stream of liquid squirted from the tip.

He reached down to roll up my sleeve, and I raised a hand to stop him. The clank of metal reached my ears and I realized my arm had not raised as I intended. I looked down to find I was handcuffed to the chair. “Wait. What’s going on?”

“This won’t hurt much.”

I felt a small prick in my upper arm, much like that of a bee sting. I grimaced, but the pain relented almost instantly. Dr. Parker returned to his seat after discarding the needle in a bin underneath the table. He stared at me with the same, disconcerting smile.

“What was that stuff?”

“You wouldn’t be able to pronounce the name of it, so I won’t bother telling you. You will start feeling relaxed which means it’s working. I’m hoping it will break down the mental blocks around your suppressed memories.”

I swallowed dryness and tried to clear my throat. My tongue felt thick. “Hoping?”

Dr. Parker nodded. “Yes, Dillon. Hoping. It’s experimental, and you just happen to be subject zero. We needed someone to test it on, and you fit the bill perfectly.”

“Am I supposed to be making sense of what’s going on? Because I’ve got to be honest, I’m so confused right now.” I looked at my hands again. “And why the nice, shiny bracelets? They’re kind of tight.”

“Protection.”

“From what?”

“Yourself.”

A ripple bent the room as the ceiling became the floor, turning upside down, hanging for a moment, and then righting itself. “Whoa. What was that?”

Dr. Parker smiled. “Don’t Take Life Seriously,” he said.

A sudden burst of fire shot through my head and I cried out. The searing pain was so intense I felt my eyeballs threatening to pop out of their sockets. I screamed again and tried to force my eyes shut. It was useless. I fought against the restraints, nearly snapping my arms while flailing about.

After what seemed like several hours, the pain suddenly stopped. I gasped for breath as tears streamed down my face. “What…what’s happening to me?”

“Suppressed memories can be activated by what we call triggers,” Dr. Parker explained. “That was obviously a huge one. Do you remember where you saw that phrase?”

“It was on something…a jacket, or…wait, it was on…” I remembered Jimmy walking through the door with a worried look on his face. “Jimmy had it on his shirt. He was wearing it the day…” I stopped talking and rolled my head back. I stared at the ceiling and tried to shake the confusion out of my head.

“Jimmy was your friend, right?”

I returned my focus to Dr. Parker. “Is my friend. Jimmy is my friend. He practically saved my life after, well, after she left me. He’s always been there for me. I don’t know how I would have made it without him.”

“What would you say if I told you that Jimmy’s gone and he’s never coming back?”

“I would say you’re out of your mind. He wouldn’t go anywhere without saying goodbye. He wouldn’t do that to me.”

“I’m sorry, Dillon. I wouldn’t lie to you. I told you from the beginning that I would never do that. Everything I’ve ever said to you has been the truth.”

“No, I don’t believe you. I don’t even know you. You won’t tell me where I am. You inject me with God knows what and then tell me that my best friend is gone. Bring in someone else I can talk to. I want to know what’s going on.”

Dr. Parker slowly shook his head as his expression saddened. “Dillon, I’m the only friend you have right now. Do you realize how serious this situation is? You’ve got to work with me, Son. I’m only trying to help you.”

I felt my face flush with heated anger. “Don’t you dare call me Son. Only one man has ever called me that, and it sure isn’t you.”

“You don’t get it, do you? You need to wake up and understand what is about to happen. If I don’t leave this room and convince them that you’re crazy, then you are a walking dead man. There’s nothing else I can do for you.”

I struggled to find the piece of the puzzle I had obviously missed.

Dr. Parker stood to his feet and leaned over, placing both hands on the table. “Do you remember Lance Puckett?”

My heart skipped a beat in recognition.

“Dena? Mel? Do any of those names ring a bell? How about the six girls you murdered and dumped into the lake on Halloween night? Do you remember them? I read your journal. You wrote down everything in such vivid detail. The problem with that is, you can’t plead insanity at trial with words from a notebook. We need to record video of a session which provides evidence of mental instability.”

I closed my eyes, hoping I would open them to discover I was living a horrifying nightmare.

“You need to tell me the same story you wrote down while behind bars all these years. This is your last chance, Dillon. Both of your appeals have been thrown out. It’s now or never.”

I opened my eyes and realized my wish had not come true. Dr. Parker stared at me with a determined look on his face. He picked the notebook up from the table and slid it over to me. I looked down at the pages. I recognized my own handwriting on the paper.

“I can prove you have multiple personality disorder. There’s no Jimmy, Lance, or Dena. You weren’t forced to some mysterious cabin in the woods where Lance and his father were killed.” Dr. Parker walked around the table to my side. He placed his finger in the middle of my forehead. “It’s all in there, Dillon. Those characters aren’t real. They are figments of your deranged imagination. All you have to do is tell me this story, the work of fiction you’ve written down, let me get it on tape, and you won’t have to face the electric chair.”

I remembered everything. The night I killed six high school girls, loaded them in the back of my pickup truck, and dumped their bodies. Every time I went to sleep, I could see the terror on their faces and hear the screams. I’m in no way proud of what I’ve done, but I will face the consequences of my actions.

Over the last five years of incarceration, writing had been the only thing to keep me busy. I’ve often wondered if putting the story on paper as being played out by several people would bring me some form of closure. In the end, I alone was responsible for the horrible events that shocked a nation.

I looked into the pleading eyes of Dr. Parker and shook my head. “No.”

He left, and two guards walked in. They hauled me from the interrogation room and returned me to the six by nine box that served as my home. I sat down on the cot and closed my eyes.

Thunder rolled across the darkened sky as I stood over the still body of Dena. Her eyes remained open in terror. “I’ve released your soul since you couldn’t do it yourself. It’s over.” I dropped the gun and returned to the Ford Taurus. I climbed inside and closed the door behind me. Steady rain beat against the roof, but it calmed me like nothing else could.

I glanced into the review mirror.

The stranger looked back.

 

Chris Martin