Saturday, January 28, 2012

Love Found Me

Note: Today's post is part of the CW blog chain. The topic is "Quest". Please check out my sidebar, further down on the right, to see some great posts by other writers.

I’ve been on numerous quests during my life. Sometimes I’ve been successful. Many times, though, I’ve stumbled and fallen, wondering if I’d ever get up again. It was during the tough times that my greatest treasures found me, when I wasn’t even searching for them at all.

Years ago, after escaping an abusive relationship, I swore off men—and my walk with God. The beatings I endured caused me not only physical pain—that was the easiest part of it—but also left me emotionally scarred. I figured I had to be some sort of worthless person. Otherwise, why would such a thing have happened?
And people wonder why I have such a sparkling personality.
I began living like a wild horse, which no human could tame. 

About a year later, I stood at work one afternoon, listening to one of my coworkers.
“Deb,” she said, “you need to come to church with me so you can find a good man.”
I gritted my teeth. “I don’t want another man, thank you very much.” I shot her an icy glare. “Besides, the kind you're talking about doesn't exist.”
Her eyes held a peculiar gleam. “Yes, they do.”
I jutted my chin. “I’ll tell you what. If God sends me a good man, I’ll quit my job, have babies, and take care of the house.” I carried my cocky attitude well. I knew it would never happen.
She smiled. “We’ll see about that.”
I narrowed my eyes. “Yes, we will.” Nosy thing.
A few weeks later, she approached me again. “Want to go to church with me tonight?”
“I told you, I don’t want a man.”
“You still need to go. Come on, Deb. Please?”
Did I ever mention that I have S-A-P engraved on my forehead?
I took her up on her offer.
The service started with some hymns. Moments later, my eyes filled with tears. What is wrong with me?
I shook myself, just as a boxer would do before a match. Just didn’t get enough sleep last night, that’s all.
Toward the end of the service, a strange sensation washed over me. It seemed as though a giant, invisible magnet sat at the altar—and I was the tiny piece of metal in its path.
I inched my way forward, finally snapping to attention as I approached my destination. And do you know what happened?
God met me there. Years of pent up pain washed down my face in a torrent of tears.
I haven’t been the same since.
Looking back on it now, I’m grateful God didn’t give up on me. No matter what I did, He kept pursuing me, His unconditional love always present.
Speaking of which, no matter who you are, where you’re at, or what you’ve done, I want you to know that God’s love is always there for you. His eyes run to and fro throughout the whole earth, seeking someone to show Himself strong through—no prerequisites required. Isn't that good to know?
Oh, I almost forgot. I later met a man, in that very same church. We recently celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary.
May God’s love find you, just as it found me.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cooking the Books

I can't believe it's been almost a month since my last post. The holidays, writing, and reading have kept me tied up for a while.

Speaking of reading, I have another great book for your review. It's titled Cooking the Books (A Sloane Templeton Story), written by debut author Bonnie S. Calhoun, and it will publish in spring of 2012. What a debut this novel makes!

It’s not easy being Sloane Templeton. Whenever something comes up that’s considered dangerous or reckless, Sloane’s name is usually attached somewhere.
Poor Sloane. Can you imagine?
Even Sloane’s mother, God rest her soul, always told her, “Fools rush in where angels dare to tread.”
Well, Sloane is sure the angels must practice running for the clouds every time her name turns up as an assignment, especially these days.
After her mother’s death, Sloane goes from Cyber Crimes Unit to bookstore owner before she can blink. Beckham’s Books & Brew, located in a crime-ridden area of New York, isn’t all she obtains as an inheritance. She also receives possession of her mother’s .38.
How will she carry herself like her fearless mother, brandishing a weapon, when she’s never held anything more deadly than nail clippers?
Well, she’s about to find out.
Saints, give her strength!
As Sloane's on her way to work one morning, she hears a woman’s screech echo from the interior of a car. Just as she pulls the .38 from her pants, the thumb hammer snags on top of her pocket, flipping the weapon out of her shaky hand.
Run, angels, run.
Much to her relief, the woman isn’t hurt. Sloane invites her to come to the bookstore, where she finds out the stranger’s name is Barbara Nelson. Barbara informs Sloane that she’s been watching her—every day. What’s up with that?
Rob Landry also shows up at the store, pestering Sloane to sell the business. Although Sloane doesn’t like being a bookseller, she likes even less the idea of selling him the building she’s grown up in. It’s the only home she’s known for most of her thirty-five years of life.
At least her ex-husband, who kept trying to divorce her by way of Shady Grove Cemetery—most likely in a cardboard box, mind you—the man probably wouldn’t even spring for pine—is out of her life.
Why do men behaving badly seem to gravitate to Sloane like insects to grease?
Andreas, however, is different. After meeting him at a Neighborhood Concerned Citizen meeting, and to the complete ticked-off dismay of her ex-boyfriend, Trey Alexander, she and Andreas become an instant item.
Now that Sloane has a good man in her life, everything should be okay, right?
Two doctors begin inquiring about a rare book in her store. One of the physicians tells her that her life could be in danger if it’s widely known that Sloane has physical possession of the book—worth one million dollars.
Soon after, Sloane starts receiving threats via emails on her computer. She uses her computer forensic skills to find out the source of the threats and discovers someone is out to kill her.
Could things get any worse?
Detective Griffen Justice shows up, determined to find out who wants her dead, and he doesn’t want Sloane in the way. But his voice, smooth as Godiva chocolate, intrigues her.
The angels sure have their work cut out for them on this assignment.
I absolutely loved this book. Who doesn’t love a good mystery? The added humor, though, not to mention the cast of well-crafted characters, definitely makes this one a keeper. You won’t be disappointed.
I highly recommend Cooking the Books.   
About the author:
Bonnie is the Director of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, a 220+ member organization that conducts weekly blog tours for the latest in Christian fiction from the major publishing houses.
She also is the Publisher of Christian Fiction Online magazine, featuring 35+ of the best and brightest in Christian fiction as columnists and feature writers.  

She is the Northeast Zone Director for the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).

And she is a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA)

And she is also permanent staff and the Appointment Coordinator for the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference every August, and the Colorado Christian Writers Conference every May.

You can find out more about Bonnie at the following links: