When the king dies, a new king is crowned...so it is with Christian fiction. The old (sweet, churchy) form has gone; long live the new, gutsier form, the one that seeks to challenge people's perception of God and His place in their lives. No, I do not believe Christian fiction--fiction written about how Spirit-filled people approach the world and its problems--is dead. But I do think the old way of writing it has had its day. There's a new wind blowing. It's no longer enough to tell people, "God loves you." It's time to show them exactly how He does it through stories that reveal people's witness.
Are the people fictional? Yes. But fiction isn't created in a void. All fiction has root in reality, whether it is the author's own personal reality, their creative view of reality, or the reality of others. What isn't fictional is God and how He empowers Christians. That's the story it's time to tell.
Which might be a strange intro to a book that isn't about God at all. Leaving is the first book of my Crossroads Series. It's not about a Christian woman. It's not about how she finds God and her life changes. It's about the woman next door, or even you, who reaches her breaking point and decides to leave her old life and her old problems behind looking for something new, fresh, and exciting. It's about what she learns along the way, and it's about what it really takes to love life in all its messy, aggravating, beautiful ugliness.
There's a lesson in the story alone, of course, but for people who are looking for more "meat", there will also be a short article at the end of the book tying the message to the Christian perspective. Take it or leave it. That is the crossroad.
These Crossroads books will all be short. They are novellas. The price point for the digital version will only be .99 and the print version will be as low as CreateSpace will allow. That's because they are meant to be shared. Here, then, is a first peek at the cover for Leaving.
I'm hoping to release it by the end of February. I'm taking the month of January to rest and reflect. It's been a wild ride since I published The Shaking, closely followed by The Disciples, Salome's Charger, and Life & Death. Four books in just over a year. My workload is shifting, and I need some time to plan what's coming next. There are probably audio books in the near future and an omnibus or two. Oh, and a couple children's books. For now, I'll leave you with the beginning of Leaving, which starts just below the cover.
The shadowy form shuffled back down the hallway having delivered its message. Olivia groped for her glasses and heaved herself out of bed. The older she got the more aches and pains she had every morning. She groaned as she squinted at the clock. Four o’clock. Great. Up early and by the time she got the mess picked up, she’d never be able to go back to sleep. On the other side of the bed, her husband Doug snored blissfully. Why didn’t the kids ever wake him up at the crack of dawn to deal with problems?
The dog gave her an apologetic look as it slunk around the corner at the end of the hallway. The smell alone led Olivia to the accident site. It had been a blowout of epic proportions. Not simply feces, but diarrheal feces extending in one long line from where she stood to the closed door at the front of the house.
At least he tried to get outside, she thought morosely.
After cleaning up, an ordeal she gagged through using nearly an entire roll of paper towels and copious amounts of cleaning solution, Olivia washed, dried, and folded two loads of laundry, dusted the living room, made menus and compiled the grocery list, and put a chicken in the crockpot for supper all before the rest of her family began to stir and squabble over the shower. She started making breakfast, but was beginning to feel sleepy by this time and managed to burn the toast and scorch the eggs. Doug stared at her forlornly when she set them down in front of him, and she stared back, daring him to complain.
He sighed patiently and began eating, the newspaper propped up on the table in front of him.
Only one of the kids, the youngest, Jake, ate a normal breakfast anymore. The other two couldn’t be bothered. Olivia would have been concerned about anorexia—they were at that worrying age—except that they ate plenty of other stuff, mostly junk food. They were both thin, but not unreasonably so.
“Mom, where’s my jacket?” Brianna demanded, as if Olivia was her valet. “I left it on the chair last night when I came home.”
“Then it’s probably in the closet,” Olivia retorted, “where it’s supposed to be.”
Brianna stomped off to the closet just as Keith, her middle child, dashed through the living room and flew out the door. “Bus!” he threw back over his shoulder, making the other two scream and scramble after him, Jake dragging his backpack as though it was filled with bricks.
Olivia looked around for Doug. “Where’s Daddy?” she asked Brianna as she blew past.
“Gone,” her daughter answered helpfully.
The door slammed behind her and Olivia sat looking at the disaster area they’d left behind. “Goodbye. Have a nice day. Love you, too,” she muttered under her breath. She thought—very strongly—about spending the rest of the day supine on the couch. Every molecule in her body screamed for rest. But then the phone rang.