But he was a good person…

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From time to time, I write flash fiction–whenever it flashes in my mind. Here’s my latest piece.

BUT HE WAS A GOOD PERSON…

Rocko Smith III was born a fortunate man.

One could even say born with a silver spoon in his hand.

But he was a good person.

He didn’t squander or waste.

Instead he did his best posthaste.

Unlike others in his class.

He didn’t party hard and fast.

He worked hard and did good deeds.

He truly was a good person but…

One bad choice he made.

Or should I say one good choice he didn’t make.

But he was a good person…

The car circled the public square for the third time. The Christmas lights sparkled and blinked merrily but Rocko wasn’t there for the decorations. His gaze went past the bright lights and peered into the shadows.

He tapped the driver’s shoulder. “Pull over, Jives.”

“My name’s not Jives, Rocko.”

“I know that but can’t you humor me just once, Martin? I always wanted a driver named Jives.”

“If it makes you happy, I suppose you can. Just tonight since it’s Christmas Eve.”

“That’s a deal, Jives.” He opened his door and picked up the package off the seat.

“Be back in a few.”

“Take as long as you need, Boss.”

“My name’s not boss.”

I know but I always wanted to say that.”

“Fair enough…Jives.”

Rocko chuckled as he made his way toward the alley. With his back turned to the merry lights, the night turned dark. And cold. He shivered glad to have his warm coat and gloves.

He walked into the alley. He saw his target. “Hi.”

“I’m not doing nothing wrong.”

“I know that.  I just wanted to give you a Christmas gift.”

“I don’t need no charity.”

“I’m sure you don’t but still I’d like to give you this gift.” He reached the box toward the man.

“Why?”

“Because I’ve been so fortu—”

Blinding lights came toward them.

Rocko stood in a line—a very long line. It went as far as the eye could see and he was at the end of the line. In front of him stood a man in tattered clothes. Rocko still had on his warm coat and gloves. “Hey buddy, where are we? What’s going on? How did I get here?”

The man turned.

“You’re the man from the alley.”

“And you’re the man that was in my alley.”

“What happened? Why are we here?”

“Guess that runaway truck got both of us.”

“You mean I’m dead.”

“It seems to be so.”

“But I was just trying to do something nice for someone on Christmas Eve.”

“Hey don’t blame me. I didn’t ask you to come in my alley.”

“No. No. Of course not. That’s not what I meant at all. I’m just surprised. So then what’s this line?”

“My guess is that it’s the judging line.”

“What’s that?”

“You know it’s where God decides if you go to heaven or hell.”

“I don’t believe in God.”

“Believe or not, I think you’re about to meet your maker.”

“You really think God’s at the end of this line?”

“No, we’re at the end of the line. He is at the beginning of the line. Of course, He is the Alpha and the Omega.”

“You sound like you know what you’re talking about.”

He shrugged. “I used to go to church a long time ago. Of course, I started making bad choices that ended up with me being in that alley. First it was alcohol. Then it was drugs. Then I needed more money to get the drugs and ended up in prison. And then the alley.”

“So things aren’t looking good for you, huh?”

“I guess you could say that. But I made the choices so I gotta face the consequences. Got no one to blame but myself.”

“Sorry about that buddy.”

“It is what it is. How about you? How are you feeling about the whole thing?”

“It’s true I didn’t believe in God but I am…was a good person. For the most part I tried to do the right thing. I was kind to the people in my life, I donated lots of money to charities. And not just money but my time as well. I think I’ll be OK.”

“Sounds like it.”

And then it was their turn.

A man sat on a large golden throne. But not just any man, the Son of Man but also the Son of God. He wore a robe of white so bright it glowed. To his left was brightness and warmth that beckoned all. To his left darkness and death.

The man from the alley fell on his face.

“Stand up, Stanley.”

He lifted his head. “I can’t. I’m not worthy to approach you, Lord.”

“I know you Stanley and you know me. Please stand up. Fear not, you have been made righteous through my blood.”

As Stanley stood, his tattered clothes turned into a glowing white robe. “But I’m not worthy. I’ve done so many bad things. Made so many mistakes.”

“And yet I know you, Stanley.”

Rocko breathed a sigh of relief. It was going to be OK. If someone like Stanley got to go to heaven, surely he would. After all, he was a good person. A really good person.

“Please go to the left, Stanley. There are people waiting for you. People who love you.”

It was his turn. He walked up to the throne with a confident smile.

The man stared at his for several long moments. Then with a booming voice, “Who approaches my throne?”

Gone was the kind loving voice, in its place was a cold angry voice. Something was wrong. Stanley had knelt so Rocko knelt. “It’s me. Rocko Smith III, Lord.”

“You dare to call me Lord. I do not know you.”

“True but I was a really good person.”

“I do not know you and you do not know me.”

“But I want to know you. Now.”

“Did you not have chances when you were alive?”

“Well, sure I had chances but I didn’t think you were real. Everyone said you were a myth. Obviously, I was wrong about that and I’m sorry. But I was a really good person. I worked hard. I was nice to people. I gave money to…”

“Your good deeds are like filthy rags. They mean nothing to me. Please go to the right.”

He looked to his right and only saw darkness awaiting him. “That can’t be right. You let Stanley, the drug addict into heaven. That’s where I belong. In the light. In heaven.”

“I never knew you.” His voice was heavy with sorrow.

“It’s not fair.” Invisible hands pulled him toward the darkness. “But I was a really good pers…”

 

So what did you think? BTW, don’t forget to scroll down and leave a comment to be in the drawing for BEAST by Chawna Schroeder. Thanks!

God Bless & Good Reading.

My Friday Friend–Chawna Schroeder

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AND A BOOK GIVEAWAY!

Chawna Schroeder is My Friday Friend. She loves stretching both imagination and faith through her novels. Living in Minnesota, she dreams of far-off places, daring swordfights, magic spells, and princes in disguise, just like her favorite Disney princess Belle. When she isn’t committing her dreams to paper, you can find her studying the biblical languages, working with fiber, or teaching about the importance of discernment.

Chawna has been gracious enough to offer a print copy of her book–BEAST–to one lucky winner. Leave a comment and you’ll be entered in the drawing. So here’s what I thought of the book:

Lillian’s Review of BEAST

I loved this book! This is not a book everyone will love but I certainly did. It’s different in a quirky sort of way but is a wonderful portrayal of God’s unconditional love for each of his children. Without giving the plot away, in the character Beast, Ms Schroeder managed to portray what each of us feel at some time in our life and for many of us–all the time. After all there is a beast in each of us that we often manage to hide from the world but is with us always, lurking for just the right time to show itself.

I highly recommend BEAST by Chawna Shroeder.

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NOTE: This book was given in exchange for an honest review.

 

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you want to win a print copy of BEAST!

 

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

 

Another Day Another Dali by Sandra Orchard

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I mean really–how cute is Another Day Another Dali for a book title?

The title caught my eye but the characters kept me reading! Serena Jones isn’t just an FBI agent, her specialty is art. What a refreshing change for a mystery novel. And Serena isn’t the only interesting character–the book was filled with her crazy…um I mean unusual family members and what about the handsome hunks vying for her affections.

I’m not a big fan of first person novels, but this one was done extremely well. So much in fact, I forgot it was being written in first person.

It wasn’t just the characters that kept me reading, the plot did it’s job brilliantly as well.

If I had one complaint it would be that there’s not much Christian content in the book. There’s a mention or two of going to church as well as a prayer now and then. But all in all, I enjoyed the book.

Good job, Sandra!

NOTE: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review which I’ve done.

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

 

 

My Friday Friend–MARY ELLIS

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Mary Ellis is my Friday Friend. Mary and I have shared a table at various book events in Ohio. Not only is she good writer but she’s a very nice person who’s fun to be around! Mary’s written a variety of novels. Most of her books have been Amish stories, but in the past few years she’s branched out to historical and mystery novels–all Christian books as well.

You can learn more about Mary and her books at www.maryellis.net.  Her latest book is MAGNOLIA MOONLIGHT.

 

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What Sinister Secrets Lurk in the Shadows of Yesterday?

Natchez, Mississippi—Private Investigator Nate Price and his new wife, Isabelle, need a vacation. Their coworkers generously team up to surprise them with a belated honeymoon…but the happy trip turns sour when Izzy spies her ex-husband, who appears to have taken up his gambling addiction once again.

While the boss is away, Price Investigations remains in the hands of Beth Kirby, a former police officer, and Michael Preston, a former forensic accountant. Hardly a dream team, as Beth resents working with a man who has no experience in his new job.

But Beth and Michael must move past their differences if they hope to uncover the truth behind a beloved Southern preacher’s demise. The preacher’s widow suspects foul play, despite the evidence indicating suicide.
With tension escalating between these investigators and local law enforcement—and new threats arising on all sides—how will Beth, Michael, and Nate hold on to faith and bring the truth to light?’

MY REVIEW OF MAGNOLIA MOONLIGHT

I’ve read and enjoyed some of Mary Ellis’s Amish books so I wasn’t sure what to expect with Magnolia Moonlight. After all mysteries and Amish books are not exactly similar. I was delighted with the characters and even more surprised by the double  plot. She did a great job depicting the southern lifestyle and attitude.

Magnolia Moonlight is an enjoyable book that I would recommend to others. Great job, Mary Ellis!

NOTE: I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

 

Sabbatical Update…

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It’s been almost a month since I started my official sabbatical from writing so I thought I’d update you about the books I’ve been reading as well as an update on my writing. Let’s start with the books I’ve read.

Fool Me Once by  Harlan Coben–This is a mainstream suspense, I enjoyed it and was pleasantly surprised to find very little bad language or objectionable scenes. I can’t speak to his other books but this one is “safe” to read.

Voices by John Michael Hilman–This was a sequel to Messages. I would call this a supernatural Christian thriller. I enjoyed this one.

Donna’s Detour by Jo Huddleston–I have a full review on this one but if you don’t want to look for it I’ll tell you that this is a sweet and sassy Christian romance set in the fifties. Good for those who enjoy straight romance.

The Bitter Season  by Tami Hoag–I used to love Tami Hoag novels so this came as quite the disappointment. Within the first few pages there were a number of vulgar words including the F word. I read a few more chapters and the vulgarity continued so I quit reading and took it back to the library. The story itself was good but I couldn’t get past the offensive language. I don’t know if she’s changed or I’ve changed but I couldn’t finish the book.

The Devil and Pastor Gus by Roger Bruner–Another book I did a full review on. Scroll down to find it.Great book that was fun to read with lots of subtle and some not so subtle spiritual lessons.

Waking Up by Ted Dekker–This is a non-fiction book by one of my favorite Christian horror writers. It did not disappoint and I’m in the process of reading it for a second time. Don’t be impressed; it’s a short book

Bloom Within My Heart  by Nadine Hapaz–Another non-fiction book that I’m not quite finished with so more on this one later.

Magnolia Moonlight by Mary Ellis–A Christian mystery. I’ll have the full review up soon.

Right now I’m reading ANOTHER DAY ANOTHER DALI by Sandra Orchard. I’ll let you know about this one when I’m finished.

ABOUT ME!

So I’m proud of the progress I’ve made on my reading. I’m definitely enjoy taking time off to read but… I’ve started a few new writing projects but only work on them for a short time each day. Still it feels good to feel good about writing again.

Along with that I got the good news that my publisher accepted another one of my manuscripts to be published. I’m quite excited about this book. It’s completely different from my other books. It’s NOT a mystery, suspense or a thriller. I would call THE PUZZLE HOUSE  simply Christian Fiction. Here’s the blurb thought it might change in the future:

Life isn’t a box of candy—it’s a puzzle!

Rachel Summers was all about Rachel Summers until the day she crashed headlong into a truck. While unconscious she has a very special guest who asks a very special question–Do you want to be healed or be a healer?

Years later Rachel runs The Puzzle House—a place of healing and miracles. Guests come for one reason and one reason only—to be healed. Sometimes they receive their miracle and sometimes they discover there’s more than one kind of healing.

Nia Johnson is a fourteen-year-old African -American girl who is dying. The doctors have told her there is nothing else to be done. No more treatments. No more hope. No more life. No future and she’s angry about that.

Together they work on Nia’s puzzle as Rachel shares what she’s learned about puzzles, life and God.

The Devil and Pastor Gus by Roger Bruner

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Roger Bruner worked as a teacher, job counselor, and programmer analyst before retiring to pursue his dream of writing Christian fiction full-time. A guitarist and songwriter, he is active in his church choir, plays bass on the praise team, and plays guitar at the weekly nursing home ministry. He also enjoys reading, web design, mission trips, photography, and spending time with his wonderful wife, Kathleen.

Learn more about Roger and his writings at http://rogerbruner.com/

So without further ado, here’s what I thought about The Devil and Pastor Gus…

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The Devil and Pastor Gus by Roger Bruner

I loved this book! It was so very entertaining but also made me think. There are hidden spiritual messages if you’re looking for them. If not, then the book is still fun to read. Either way, I’d highly recommend this book to anyone.

My one caution is that if you don’t like books that are a bit out of the box, then you might not like this book because this book is definitely out of the box! The two main characters of the book are Pastor Gus and B.L. ZeeBub. I’m sure you can figure out who B.L ZeeBub is, right?

As you can imagine, B.L is up to his old tricks but Pastor Gus thinks he can out trick B.L ZeeBub. Can he? I’m not telling. If you want to know, you’ll have to read the book.

NOTE: I was given a copy of this book for an honest review, which I’m giving.

God Bless & Good Reading!

Donna’s Detour by Jo Huddleston

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So, I’m on a self-imposed sabbatical from writing. After more than twenty years of writing, I needed a bit of a break. So what am I going to do with all those hours I usually write? READ, of course! I’ve finished three books so far. From time to time, I’ll share my thoughts about books I’ve read and what I think about it!

The first is DONNA’S DETOUR by Jo Huddleston. This is a sweet romance novella. Novella meaning shorter than a novel and perfect for an afternoon read. I enjoyed this sweet story even though my tastes run to a bit more suspenseful plot.

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Donna’s Detour by Jo Huddleston

Sweet but sassy–that describes not only  the main character but the story as well! If you’re looking for sweet romantic stories that reflect Christian values, then this is the book for you. Even though the story is set in 1956, Donna exhibits timeless values that we still cherish today–honesty; integrity; and independent thinking to name a few.

The story’s a bit predictable but isn’t that what we want in a romance?  All in all, a fun story to read!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book for an honest review and that’s what I did.

Jo Huddleston is an Amazon Bestselling author of books, articles, and short stories. Novels in her West Virginia Mountains series and her Caney Creek series are sweet Southern historical romances. The redeeming story of God’s pursuing love is the foundation of her novels, and in them you will find inspiration, hope, and gentle stories that are intriguing and entertaining. Jo is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the Literary Hall of Fame at Lincoln Memorial University (TN). Learn more at http://www.johuddleston.com.

 

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!