My novels (right hand side of blog) have always been available on Amazon Kindle in the eBook version. Recently, because of a generous offer from Amazon, I have been converting each of my books to print on demand paperbacks, also. This means that readers are now able to purchase any of my current books in either eBooks (digital) or Paperbacks. I also plan to produce my books in Audible version, available possibly by the fall of 2017.
In this blog I have decided to share the Dedication and Preface and the first few pages of my novel, TRANSGRESSION, with my blog readers. Enjoy!
In dedication to the God of glory who created the heavens and earth and all that in them exists. Father, Son, and Spirit, Three in One. God of the universe, by Whose power all things live and move and have their being.
For my heavenly Father Who chose me and knew me as His own child before the earth was ever created.
For my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ Who came to earth to live a perfect life as a man, then to give that life as a substitute, dying in my place on a cross—the sacrificial Lamb of God—to pay the debt that I owed to God for my sins.
For the Holy Spirit who guided me and drew me to saving faith in Jesus, as my savior and since then has lived in my heart as my Comforter and helper.
A Preacher Has Gone Bad.
THE REVEREND DANIEL HOWARD SUTTERHALL has a secret. He’s had numerous secrets—brunettes, several blonds, and a red head. But when he is caught in the act with the church secretary by several teens in his current church, he resorts to an Academy-award-winning performance to duck the heat.
He turns the tables on the young folks, accusing them of the very thing they found him doing. His theatrics convince parents and church members alike, eventually placing the teenagers under such pressure that the young woman commits suicide (or so it would appear) over being wrongly accused, and the boy is killed in a drunken car wreck while fleeing from the police.
The preacher seems to have gotten away with the sham until Johnny Chandler comes home from college for the funeral of his kid brother, Chris. While home John learns the truth, tracks down the preacher, and pummels him in the parsonage driveway.
But Johnny derives little satisfaction from beating the pastor. In church the following Sunday John exposes the preacher and vows to get even with preachers, Christianity, and even God himself over his brother’s death. He openly calls on Satan for help to achieve this goal. But this is only the beginning!
Note: Transgression touches many of the deep things Christians and non-Christians alike wrestle with in life. The seemingly senseless loss of a child or loved one, a friend or family member who fails us, a disease or injury we feel we do not deserve. Those events most of us ultimately blame on a loving God. “Why did God let this happen?” we ask. “Where was he?”
Transgression pulls back the curtain just a little and lets us see a small bit of the behind-the-scenes conflict being waged between God and the forces of evil. The story and characters here are an honest, unvarnished representation of real-life.
Trick or Treat!
THE CHURCH WAS DESERTED this Halloween eve, 1975. It was shadowy as a moonlit graveyard, still as a moss-covered crypt, mysterious in the way darkened churches most often appear in the hazy after-twilight hours. No cheery lights welcomed from the windows, no beaming faces beckoned with joy from open doors, no rapturous music floated out onto the evening breeze from choir, piano, organ, or soloist.
Silent this night was the message of sin and salvation that had before plowed and seeded the fallow ground of hearts. Silent were the omnipotent words of hell fire and damnation that had, in times past, thundered like lightning bolts from the pulpit. Silent was the sweet promise of divine mercy and grace, begging sinners to come to Jesus. An uneasy stillness stalked the night as demons danced in happy anticipation and angels turned away in shameful awareness, shielding their faces with their wings.
Daniel and Vivian had agreed to meet in the retired parsonage on the back end of the church lot after seven Friday evening. They had come together there secretly maybe half-a-dozen times over the past year to savor unthinkable moments of sweet intimacy. But that was dangerous, and they knew it.
The bungalow was not the only rendezvous spot for Daniel and Vivian, simply the most convenient for this Halloween night. But they’d already agreed—tonight had to be the last time on church property.
The pastor glanced up at the dimly lit clock on the back wall of the church auditorium. 6:40. Like a gray curtain drawn slowly from the east, darkness had been closing in for almost an hour. Daniel stepped into the foyer, walked to the main front doors, and pushed against the handles once more, reassuring himself that they were, indeed, latched, locked, and secure. This was the second time he’d checked them in the past 15 minutes. Tonight, he had to be certain.
He stepped backward into the dark foyer and watched the sidewalk and street out front, now partially lit by the two carriage lights mounted on either side of the church’s main entrance way. Two matching wrought-iron pole lamps at the juncture of the sidewalk and the main front walkway added their warm illumination to the night. The large back-lit church sign on the southwest corner of the front lawn faced Fourth Avenue and the main highway beyond. The marquee rested on a three-foot-tall hand-laid moss-rock base and announced to passersby:
Parkway Baptist Church
Rev. Daniel H. Sutterhall, Senior Pastor
“Only Jesus Saves”
Daniel had driven to the church earlier and parked the faded-maroon Plymouth Valiant wagon, the church errand vehicle, around back behind the education wing, in a semi-concealed spot between two of the older renovated Sunday-school buses. He then locked himself inside the dark church building and waited. His plan seemed foolproof. Why not? It had worked at other times, under similar circumstances.
He had polished his sermon a bit that evening in preparation for Sunday, as he’d told his wife he was going to do. He’d also prayed as he walked the inside perimeter of the main church building, checking to make certain that each of the church’s entrance doors was locked. Now he stood hidden in the darkness of the foyer, staring out into the night, rehearsing his plan.
Chris Chandler, the church youth director, along with several kids from the senior-high youth group, were away visiting Mapleville Bible College until Saturday, noon. Mapleville was a small suburban community 20 minutes southeast of Akron, about an hour and a half from Oak Ridge.
Ruth Sutterhall, the pastor’s wife, now a partial invalid, was home with Emily Snyder, a retired nurse from the church who’d become fast friends with Ruth. Emily often helped Mrs. Sutterhall during those times when the Pastor was busy with church work or was otherwise unable to be home.
From his vantage point inside the dark foyer the pastor watched three mothers herd a gaggle of six or seven youngsters—the whole rag-tag army chattering their heads off like a flock of autumn starlings on a farm fence—past the church toward their next trick-or-treat conquest.
One youngster, outfitted as a smiling rubber-faced President Nixon, came tripping over his older brother’s rolled-up pants and suite jacket, borrowed for the evening. Another, a Cinderella princess, followed, pulling the hand of her little sister who was a newspaper-stuffed pumpkin tonight. A fourth little one was dressed as a tiny baseball player in a striped uniform. Mother carried Babe Ruth’s plastic bat because he’d been using it to whack and poke every other goblin and princess he passed in his rounds of the bases.
One more-mature kid, a six-year-old, broke away and ran up the wide walkway to the front doors of the church. He pressed his nose against the glass, cupped his hands on either side of his face, and strained to see into the darkness through his own mirrored reflection. He was hoping to get some treat here. He remembered the small white box of red and green sugar-coated gumdrops, cream-filled chocolate drops, and colorful hard candies and canes he’d received here the Christmas before when he was an angel in the church pageant. Tonight, he was dressed, more appropriately, as a devil.
“A suitable caricature of his true nature,” or words to that effect, his mother had told the other moms.
“Goodbye, David,” she called. “Hope the goblins don’t get you.” This nonchalant warning was working well on Davie this ghostly moonlit night.
The pastor was invisible to the youngster, who turned away and swooped in exaggerated demon-like steps back to catch up with the gang, Little Satan’s cape fluttering behind. The preacher smiled as a twinge of melancholy swept over him in the darkness. He imagined the hauntingly impossible dream of his very own son or daughter trick or treating tonight, filling bags with goodies to share with Daddy at home later.
But Pastor Dan’s thoughts were soon drawn away to the Halloween treat he had planned for himself that evening. A shiver tickled up his spine. He turned and stepped back into the dim gray night of the main auditorium. The center doors swished closed behind him, sending a soft echo reverberating through the cavernous room. He sat in the rear of the sanctuary, cloaked in the black silence, contemplating how he had gotten to this place in his life.
Click on the book’s cover, to the right, to read more.