A Prodigal Christmas Story

Picture1Today I am releasing a Christmas short story called “A Prodigal Christmas” which is available for a nominal fee on Amazon.com.

“A Prodigal Christmas” is the story is about Austin Shelton who is a successful sports writer for the Atlanta News Press. His father is the Reverend Bobby Joe Shelton who is a TV minister. They haven’t spoken since his mother’s passing. Austin receives a letter from his father which seems to end all hope at any reconciliation. Just when Austin gives up hope, he finds an old family Christmas portrait. Is it possible that this portrait could be the key which unlocks a Christmas miracle?

As I watch the Hallmark Christmas movies, my wife said that I should write a Christmas story.  Unfortunately, you can’t always just sit down and write a story without some good inspiration behind it.  They say that writers should write what they know.  I know this story and the emotions that are the foundation of the story.  The inspiration for this story came upon me one night last week and I could not sleep until I had written it.  So at somewhere around 2 a.m. one morning, I typed this entire story out on my iPhone then tweaked it over the next couple of days.

During the holidays much is said about being with family and enjoying the holidays with those that we love.  For some, relationships aren’t so good.  Words are said, deeds are done and decisions are made which strain the relationships we have.  In this story of an estranged father-son relationship, it depicts both sides of the strife that often occurs.  While it’s quite cliché to say to each one to “forgive and forget” the act of making the effort becomes the obstacle that neither side can overcome.

A “prodigal” is a characterization of someone who is reckless or wasteful with something.  In the Biblical account of the Prodigal Son,  a father has two sons. The younger son asks for his inheritance and after wasting his fortune, becomes destitute. He returns home with the intention of begging his father to be made one of his hired servants, expecting his relationship with his father is likely severed.

When we are wasteful with the years of a relationship, there is a void in our souls.  Nothing can fill it except a reconciliation of the severed relationship.  In spite of all our reasons for it whether our reasons are legitimate or not, nothing can cure it like forgetting the past which has passed and birthing a new relationship.

It is my hope that this story will give people the nudge they need to reconcile with a family member or friend at the most magical time of the year.

To purchase and download a copy for only 99 cents, click the link below:

“A Prodigal Christmas”

Advertisements

Passing Toward The Prize: Interview with the Author

BookCoverImageToday is the official release of the new Christian football fiction book, “Passing Toward The Prize”.  In this blog entry, I am going to do a self-interview of this self-published book.

Briefly tell us what your new book is about.

The book is the story of Colton Preston.  He is a teenager at a small town high school in Georgia.  His father is a minister at a church in town.  Colton has lots of friends, a sweet girlfriend and has a promising chance to become the starting quarterback on the football team.  His world changes when his father decides to accept an appointment to a new church hundreds of miles away.  The story is set in about the early 1980s when we didn’t have the luxury of smartphones, texting or even email.   The book follows the challenges that Colton faces in his life.  If you liked “Facing The Giants” or “Remember The Titans” I think you will like this book.

What was the inspiration for the book?

It is a combination of a lot of things.  I would say it’s foundation came from my own life’s experiences.  I would say that it is loosely based upon my life because I was never a football star and I never had the relationships that Colton has in the book.  I might go as far as saying it came from an inspiration about how things could have been.

The book deals with some serious issues such as racism, premarital sex and depression.  What do you want your readers to come away with on these issues?

You are right to say there are some serious issues, but they are real issues that young people deal with.  I want them to see that, if they hang in there, things can get better and not give up when everything seems to be against you.   The racism in the book is what some would call “reverse racism” but racism is racism regardless of who you are.  I was raised to respect everyone.  We should never judge people based on their differences but work together for a common purpose.  The issue of premarital sex in the book might be a difficult topic for the church folks; however, it is a very real issue and not one we should hide from.  Sometimes there are moments of weakness but we must remember that forgiveness can heal.  Teen depression is also another subject that I think adults take lightly.   Colton goes through all of these things and shows that you can be a winner in your own life.

You have made Colton a preacher’s kid in the book.  Why add that into the mix?

That part is based upon my own experience and I think it adds the additional pressures that a preacher’s kid faces in the desire to please everyone because they live their lives in a fish bowl for everyone to see.  I think we can learn that when we do things to please everyone that it is a frustrating pursuit.  We have to be the best person we can be and just let people deal with their own expectations of us.  Ultimately, we are going to disappoint people.  That’s just a sad reality of life but we can rise above whatever label people put on us because of who are parents are.

In the book you depict a strained relationship between Colton and his father. Is this something you experienced personally?

Yes, but I think you will see in the book that sometimes a strained relationship such as a father-son relationship is about the lack of communication and not understanding each other.  It seems that when each side doesn’t understand the other and that creates the strain in the relationship.  We tend to have unreasonable expectations and not enough information about why we do the things we do.

Colton is depicted as a talented football player in the book.  Were you also gifted in football ability?

Absolutely not.  I had the desire but I lacked in physical ability.  I did try to play in high school but I took a beating.  I would come home bruised and battered.  I think what I enjoyed the most was being on the team.

Who do you think this book will appeal to?

While it is a story about a teenager, I believe this book will appeal to any age group.  The issues that Colton deals with are issues that we all face regardless of our age.  I think the subject of forgiveness transcends any age group.   Some people get so caught up in casting stones that they ignore their own need for forgiveness.

You can get your copy of “Passing Toward The Prize” today on Amazon.com in paperback or Kindle format.

What If God Had A Delta Force?

book coverToday I have released my new e-book.  The book is a Christian fiction novelette about a secret paramilitary group called “Gideon Force”.   Gideon Force is an elite tactical unit led by Commander Gabriel Morrison called to help missionaries around the world by rescuing them from persecution they face from radical groups and governments. The unit is equipped with a futuristic military-style armada to assist them in their mission. Members of the Force are hand-picked by God to serve their fellow man in protecting those who are called to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In the biblical story of Gideon and his army, God had Gideon further test their readiness and thinned the army down to 300 men. That night, Gideon gave each man a trumpet, a torch and a clay jar. They surrounded the enemy camp, with each torch hidden inside the jar. At Gideon’s signal, every man blew his trumpet and broke his jar. The confused Midianites turned on one another, with the survivors fleeing the camp. Gideon and his courageous 300 men won the battle against a larger and more powerful army.  

Although this novelette is a work of fiction, the reality is that Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world today.  Many are being jailed and killed because of their faith in Jesus Christ.  While many Christians in the United States are not persecuted to the extent of believers in other countries, it is certain this will come before Christ’s return.  This book has not been written to condemn other countries or other religious beliefs but to show the extent of the persecutions being suffered by believers in Christ.

So exactly what is meant by persecution?

Persecution is the hostility in any form to believers because of their faith in Jesus Christ.  It can range from verbal harassment to beatings, torture, confinement and death.  Today, approximately 75% of the world’s population lives in areas with severe religious restrictions.  In over 60 countries, Christians face persecution from governments because of their belief in Jesus Christ.

So what is so threatening about Christians and believing in Jesus Christ?  The threat is from the fact that belief in Christ is based on grace and not on works.  This theology takes the power out of the hands of the leaders in other religions.

Consider this:

  • 322 Christians are killed each month because of their faith
  • 214 churches and Christian properties are destroyed each month
  • 722 forms of violence are committed against Christians

(Source:  OpenDoorsUSA.org)

I originally wrote this story as a series in a local church newsletter.  I thought I had lost these several years ago but recently found them and decided to self-publish them in an e-book format.  I felt strongly that this was the appropriate time and platform to release them.  The e-book is now available in Kindle format from Amazon for 99 cents.  Please download it, read it and review it.  

Click here to purchase Gideon Force

Thank you for your support.