My Writing

Chain-Breaking Fiction

Writing to Break Chains by the Power of His Word

23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Colossians 3:23-24 NIV

Current Work in Progress (WIP)

The Patterner’s Test: a Scottish fantasy

I’m up to draft five on my young adult contemporary fantasy novel, The Patterner’s Test. For those following my writing journey, you’ll notice a title change. Of course, this may not be the final title, but as I worked to shape the story, it became clear that Rowan (see below) was not the most important part of the plot. The idea of a test became central, thus the new title.

This story was inspired by a Celtic legend concerning the battle between God and Satan when the devil and his angels were removed from Heaven and sent to earth. In the legend, another third of the angels did not choose between God and Satan. These angels were cast to earth also, but with the task of choosing a Lord––Lord of Neamh or Lord of Caos. In Scottish Gaelic neahm means heaven and caos means chaos. I’m using these terms to add authenticity to the fantasy element and a little of the exotic.

Meet Rowan Gillanders. Sixteen, loves puzzles, ciphers, and codes. Considered odd by her classmates, abhorrent by her six-year-old autistic sister, Faith, and ignored by her parents. She enters and wins a six-week study trip to Scotland, the place that has called her for as long as she can remember. Oh, did I mention, she has swirling puzzle pieces in her mind that cause terrible things to happen when they join together? Her greatest hope is that she can stave off her illness or insanity long enough to enjoy her trip.

Meet Birk. Dryad, seventeen, loves nothing and noone unless it benefits him in some way. At least that’s how he’d like to be. Unfortunately, he’s been given more than a Gift of Seeing from his dead mother, he’s inherited her intense emotions as well. Perhaps that is why he possessed such a weak Power Mark, and though he’s matured into full use of his essence-given power, no Gift has yet manifested. His next assignment for the Unseelie queen should prove his easiest yet––take part in some folklore tour and identify the lost faerie written about in the Ancient Prophecy and the Great Book of Patterns. Not that he believes in such things, but he’ll do most anything for the coin they’re paying, and to escape the constant pull toward the fiery-haired girl he glimpsed in a vision when he was twelve.

Meet Duncan. Human raised by a dryad and a faerie, sixteen, gifted with languages, including the Ancient tongue. From his earliest memories he’s been preparing to fight a coming battle between the Patterner and the Destructor, between the Seelie and Unseelie faeries. At five, he lost his mother to the Unseelie faeries who captured and imprisoned her. He trains and studies with his father, at once hoping for and dreading the appearance of the lost faerie princess, the true child of the couple who raised him, who will lead them into battle.

Contemporary Fiction: My practice manuscripts on hold for the moment

Book 1

Strength to Stand

Lee Russell is a lost cause—a failure—just like her parents said. As her opportunities in horse racing shrink due to gender prejudice, losing mounts to unscrupulous agents, and her own growing dependence on drugs, Lee wonders if she should abandon her dream. Is it too late to listen to friends who insist a loving God waits to forgive her? A God whose words have been so twisted she doesn’t know what to believe?

At Lee’s darkest moment, comfort comes from unlikely sources, a drug-addicted street person, a stray calico cat, and the horses she loves. When opportunity comes at last, will she sacrifice her integrity, her dream, and her freedom? Or will a chocolate-stained Bible lead her to choose another path?

Lee’s story is about betrayal and redemption, brokenness and healing, and the courageous pursuit of a heart’s longing. It’s about the willingness to take the offered hand, to believe in the kind word, to accept others as they are, and to discover the hope that brings with it the strength to stand.

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:10-17

Book 2

Time to Trust

This is the second book in the Strength to Stand series.

Lee’s cat, Armor.     Photo by Viktor Forgacs on Unsplash

The heroine from Strength to Stand, Lee Russell, is to leave Washington for Great Falls, Montana with her mentor and friend, trainers Lucille and Rob Holden and her calico cat, Armor, when she is abducted and, along with fellow jockey and friend, Lenny Fratelli, drugged and beaten.

Who will rescue them? And will Lee successfully leave her problems in Yakima, or will her secrets continue to haunt her? Will she allow God’s love to grow in her life, or will her inner demons rise up and smother her newly-lit flame? Can she ever believe she is capable of being loved – of deserving love, or were her parents right when they said that she is destined to be a failure?

Photo by Jeff Griffith on Unsplash

So many questions. So few answers. Like Strength to Stand, this story has behind-the-scenes information about horse racing and backstretch life from the points of view of jockeys, valets, and grooms. Set in beautiful Great Falls, Montana, it details both the good and the bad of living as part of the greater racetrack family and the damage secrets can have on relationships – past, present and future. It speaks to how reliance on God and trust in his plans for our futures takes the pressure off of our todays. Instead of spending our time worrying and scheming, we can rejoice and give glory to the One who has defeated sin and death and promises good for us if we seek him.

Book 3

Faith to Fight

Stay tuned for more on the third book in the Strength to Stand series.

Photo by Gene Devine on Unsplash