Christian Fiction Friday - February 27, 2015

**Christian Fiction Friday is a weekly blog hop where authors post short (400-word or less) snippets from their current works in progress. It is hosted by Alana Terry and Hallee Bridgeman.**
The past two weeks, I've been sharing snatches of the book I'm currently working on, a sequel to my published book The Reunion, called 'The Return'. Be sure to check back next week for more!
(Today's snippet is a continuation of the conversation between Izobel and her videographer friend, Noah, who is obviously interested in becoming more than a friend and colleague, found in the post from February 13.)

      Izobel gripped her fork in frustration. Her relationship with Matt and her inability to move on after his death was a topic she did not want to talk about. Especially with someone interested in her. But how to express that without being flat out rude? Of course, if anyone was being rude, it was him, pursuing so personal a topic she clearly didn’t want to discuss. “Neither of us called off the wedding. He was killed in the line of duty before we could get married.”
     Regret pinched Noah's features. “Ah, I see. I’m sorry I asked, Izobel. I didn’t know.”
     At the dismay clearly written across his face, her expression softened. “I know you didn’t. It’s okay---it was a long time ago.”
      She could tell by the look on his face what his next question would be. Please don’t ask it. Let it go.
      “So why have you never married? You’re a beautiful woman. Surely there’ve been others in your life since your fiancĂ© died.”
      This time, she didn’t hold back the sigh. The throbbing behind her eyes became more persistent, and she rubbed the corners of her temples in an attempt to ease the pain. 
     And to avoid answering the question.
      “Can I get you something for that headache?” Noah asked, concern deepening his voice.
     “I’ve got some ibuprofen in my bag. Can you please bring it to me? I think I left it the foyer.”
     “Sure thing. Just sit tight and I’ll be right back.”
     She smiled, grateful to be alone. With any luck, he’d forget the question he’d asked and leave her alone for the rest of the night. That was the one thing everyone asked her the most often. And it was the one question she honestly had no answer for. Of course there had been other men in her life after Matt’s death. She enjoyed meeting new people, and casual dating provided a unique opportunity to do so. And it wasn’t as if she didn’t want to settle down and get married. She’d always dreamed of being a wife and mother. But every time she imagined herself falling in love with a person, panic filled her heart and she couldn’t continue the relationship. It wasn’t anything against the men she dated. They’d all been charming, wonderful men--not worthy of someone as unable to commit as she was. As wonderful as they’d been, however, they’d still fallen short.
     They weren’t Matt.


WIP Friday - February 20

It's that day of the week again -- time for another snippet from my work-in-progress, 'The Return'. Be sure to check out other indie authors' WIPs at the following website: http://www.alanaterry.com/blog/christian-fiction-friday-youth-group-van1.

Enjoy, and be sure to check back next Friday for more!

       There was no telling what would set them off. The slamming of a door. A car backfiring. The sound of gun shots. Even fireworks. But the flashbacks were always the same. And they were so horrifyingly real. The sounds, smells, sights--all of it--were so clear. So realistic that, when they passed, he was always shocked to discover he wasn’t still there.
       In his own personal hell, where he’d been trapped for the last six years.
       He was aware that nobody else could see, hear, or smell the same things he did, and that made it all the more difficult to be around people. As a result, he’d long since given up the idea of returning to a normal life.
       This time, the trigger had been something new. Someone in the motel room above him had dropped something heavy on the floor. Instantly, he’d been transported back to the days leading up to The Event. He’d been a soldier for a long time and he’d seen a lot of carnage and death in that amount of time. But nothing like that week from hell.
       With nothing but sheer force of will, he tore his mind from the darkness of those memories and back to the present. The breathing exercises he’d learned long ago helped calm his racing heart. As did one other thing.
       There were gaping holes in his memory. Some things he could see in vidid detail in his mind’s eye. Others were only clear in the flashbacks. But all of his recent memories contained more holes than a slice of swiss cheese.
       All of his memories, save one.
       The memories of her face.


A Sneak Peek at my Work-in-Progress (WIP)

Each Friday, the Christian indie author group I belong to encourages us to share snippets of our works in progress. My WIP is a sequel of my published novel, The Reunion, and will be called 'The Return'.

Here's a little sample:

        Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted her videographer colleague, Noah Roberts, headed her way with two plates of food. Dread filled her heart. Uh-oh--she knew that look. Over the last couple weeks, he’d hinted that he’d like their working relationship to become something more personal. He was a nice guy, even what other women would consider handsome. But she just wasn’t interested. She’d managed to turn aside each subtle hint he’d thrown her way---so far. Who knew, however, when he’d strike up the nerve to ask her out? And what she dreaded more than anything was that their working relationship would be ruined when she turned him down. Because she would turn him down.
       He handed her one of the plates of food he carried and sat down on the couch across from her, making her happy that she’d chosen to sit in the chair and not on the couch. “Thank you, Noah. That was very sweet of you,” she added, her smile not quite reaching her eyes.
       “You’re welcome, Izobel. You looked a little tired, so I thought I’d spare you the wait in line.”
       She frowned, disappointed in his obvious intent to stay and strike up a conversation with her. A dull ache was beginning to form behind her eyes and she’d almost reached her noise limit for one day. All she wanted at the moment was to sit quietly and enjoy the delicious food that Emma had catered in for the party.
       “So, how do you know the Bennets?” he asked around a mouthful of food.
        Izobel stifled a sigh. Clearly, he wasn’t going anywhere. “I was engaged to Justin’s twin brother.”
       His eyes shot to her finger, then back to hers. “Since I already knew you are single, and you happened to mention that you were engaged to be married, who called off the wedding? I know it’s none of my business, but c’mon--you can’t leave a guy hanging after a statement like that.”

That's it for now! Be sure to check back periodically for more. In the mean time, you can meet Izobel and some of her friends in The Reunion, available in paperback and for the Kindle.


The Most Passionate Love Story Ever Told

Once again, we are mere days away from Valentine's Day--that time of year when much of our focus is on that "mushy love stuff". There are constant advertisements for diamonds, chocolates, and flowers, all things guaranteed to make a woman swoon. Love is in the air at this time of year.

This year is no different....except for one thing. This year, the talk is not about the romantic holiday we're about to celebrate, but about one particular movie that is premiering in theaters. And it's not a movie one might expect at Valentine's Day.

Sure, there is a love story....of sorts....between the characters. But the selfish, domineering, controlling "love" shown the female lead by the male lead is anything but real love. While it may delight some women, it brings sheer horror to my heart.


Because I know of the most passionate love story that's ever been told. What's more, I'm the recipient of this love.

No, I'm not talking about the love between my husband and me, although that is a beautiful image of this other love, as is the love I have for my four children. It is a love that is patient. A love that is kind. A love that is not proud, nor envious. A love that keeps no record of wrongs, nor does it seek its own way. (Check out 1 Corinthians 13 for the remainder of that description.)

You see, the love depicted in many movies, books, songs, television, etc, like that in 50 Shades of Grey, is a perversion of this other love I've experienced. It is almost always selfish, impatient to have its own way, cruel, boastful, jealous, and tends to keep track of wrongs committed. It is the polar opposite of the love that was first shown to us.

The first love shown to us by God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

God the Father loves us, His creation. He desires a relationship with us. But we were sinful and selfish, choosing our own way because we thought we knew better. Romans 5:8 tells us that "God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." While we were yet sinners. Obstinate in our desire to have our own way. Even still, Jesus left the glory of Heaven and came to earth to die and forever bridge the relationship between God and man. We also know from John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life."

That, my friends, is a passionate love. Especially when we consider the cost of Jesus' sacrifice for us on the cross. Every year on Good Friday, we like to watch The Passion as a visual reminder of Christ's suffering for us. Only the purest, most passionate love would inspire someone to willingly face suffering like that for our sake.

The best part? If you had been the only person ever to sin, He would have done it all for you. You! Take a minute and substitute your name and personal pronouns into the above verses.

"God demonstrates His own love for [Jenny] in this: While I was still a sinner, Christ died for me."

"For God so loved [Jenny] that He gave His only Son, that if I believe in Him, I shall not perish, but have everlasting life."

No one will ever love me the way He does. Not even my husband. This love is what drives me to be a better person. A better mother. A better wife. A better friend. It drives me to write stories that open people's eyes to this love they themselves can have. Most importantly, I am compelled to share this love story with others on the mission field.

And it's why I'm aghast and confused as to the extreme popularity of a love story that is only a perversion of the love I know.

My prayer for you this Valentine's Day is that you will not spend money to witness a perverted love. Instead, I pray you will open your Bible and discover for yourself more about the most passionate love story that's ever been told.

It's found all throughout the Bible, but particularly in the book of John.