Tag Archives: times of trouble

Works in Progress….

As I’m currently working on the prequel to Times of Trouble, which is taking me a whole lot longer to write than anticipated because of having to replace a computer part, causing me to re-install Windows 7, with everything else on my computer, then not having an updated version of Word, since it was at my brothers’ house (who is my IT guy), and finding out that I’m doing more research than I had originally anticipated, I had an idea pop into my head as I was watching the “Gospel Music Showcase” on Daystar (I enjoy Southern Gospel) the other day.  It’s an idea that I have no idea if it’s been done before, so I’ll share it with you, my readers.

Here’s what I wrote down in a notebook I have for such occasions:

The novel starts off with a narrator on a TV show  focusing on the life of a once famous musician, I guess like what they do on, I think it’s on VH-1, sort of a “Where Are They Now” kind of thing and how they got to where they were at. Then, the story will go back to the time when this musician was only known to his friends, family, and fellow church members, because he sings in church. He’s discovered, is asked to show up on a national singing competition, sort of like “Star Search” or “The Voice,” and he wins the competition. As he begins recording music with a record label when he gets the contract, the singer begins experiencing various temptations. He also ends up with an agent that will eventually convince him to leave Christian music behind because no one important listens to it and he’ll make more money in secular music (shades of Amy Grant, Whitney Houston, or Katy Perry). So our singer begins recording secular music (not sure which kind of rock yet). At a party, he’s introduced to a girl, who the singer eventually marries, but she is most definitely not a Christian. She introduces him to drugs and alcohol, while his agent gets the singer into all the right parties, eventually giving him enough visibility to win awards, like a Grammy.

He gains the attention of President-elect David Collins, who invites him to sing the national anthem at the inauguration, followed by an invite to the NFL to sing at the next Super Bowl, and an invite by NASCAR to sing the anthem at the Daytona 500. Our singer’s on top of the music charts, along with being the most popular singer on Earth, when tragedy strikes. His whole family dies in a plane crash on the way to wherever he was touring. Unfortunately for him, he had an argument with his wife over his gambling and all sorts of other things he shouldn’t be doing, and he went on tour without apologizing or patching things up. The singer feels guilty, but instead of praying and trying to get right with God, he responds by drinking more and more. His grief and general drunkenness gets to be so bad, he gets dropped by his record label and agent, his expensive cars get repossessed, and house gets foreclosed on. In an attempt to help him, his home church tries to reach out to him, but he angrily rejects their help, because he’d rather rely on his worldly friends, but they reject him. At his lowest point, when he’s living in a broken down car, he prays for the first time in years by asking God to forgive him for going down this path. He feels a peace come over him, when he hears a trumpet sound, and is taken up along with thousands of other Christians.

The novel  ends with the TV show saying they hope the singer is happy wherever he is.

So, what do ya’ll think? Would you read something like this? Or back to the drawing board?

 

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Character Timeline for my End Times novels

Since I’m about to start working on a prequel to Times of Trouble and Times of Trial, I decided I should probably work on a timeline for the characters, since I also had to figure out how to keep the timeline straight in Times of Trial after writing Times of Trouble. This is a rough draft, but I’m sure some people are curious about the dates in the novels of when the characters were born, got married, went to college, etc. Since this is a 100+ year period, I might have to break up the next novel into parts, but I’ll just have to see how it goes.

1915 – George Leonard Evans born in New York City, grandfather of Michael Evans
1920 – Charles Atwood born in Fairfax, Virginia, great grandfather of Brian
1940’s -George Evans collaborates with the NAZI’s, begins to gain power; Charles Atwood fights in Europe during WW 2
1948 – Tom Atwood born in Virginia, grandfather of Brian; Evans protests the re-creation of Israel, tries to talk England out of giving them any land whatsoever
1952 – Amy Atwood born in Virginia, Tom Atwood’s sister
1950 – George Evans marries Vera Thompson
1952 – Jason Michael Evans born in California
1971 – Jason and Amy meet in college at the University of Southern California. Amy is a born again Christian, Jason was raised as an atheist, but after some time with Amy, Jason also becomes a Christian
1973 – Jason and Amy get married
1974 – Aaron Atwood born in Virginia, father of Brian, family moves to Delaney, Nebraska after Tom serves in Vietnam
1975 – Michael James Evans born
1976 – George, not liking the fact that his son and heir is a Christian, has Jason and Amy killed off, adopts Michael, vows to make the Atwood family miserable because they converted his son
1990 – Charles Atwood dies
1993 – Michael graduates high school, sent to Harvard
1993 – David Collins born in Florida to a powerful political family with connections to George Evans
1997 – Michael graduates Harvard. George is 82, transfers everything over to Michael, dies a few months later
2000 – Brian Atwood’s parents marry
2001 – 9/11 Terrorist attacks, Lynda Delaney’s parents marry, Aaron Atwood joins the Army, goes to Afghanistan, Lynda’s dad goes to Iraq
2002 – JahAngir Karimi born in London
2003 – Heather Delaney born nine months after her father returns on leave
2004 – Aaron returns from Afghanistan
2005 – Frank Atwood, brother of Brian, born in Delaney; Paul Delaney born nine months after father returns on leave
2008 – Brian born
2009 – Lynda Delaney born nine months after father is on leave
2011 – Melissa Atwood born; Mike Delaney born nine months after father on leave
2012 – Lynda’s father dies in Iraq before U.S. withdrawal; Michael discovers Karimi in orphanage, raises him to be the future Islamic savior
2015 – Collins is sent to Harvard, paid for by Evans
2019 – Collins graduates Harvard
2020 – Collins becomes Mayor of Miami, Florida using Evans’ political connections
2028 – Tom Atwood dies
2024 – Collins runs for and wins a Florida State Senate seat
2026 – Brian serves in the U.S. Air Force for four years 2026 – 2030
2027 – Lynda attends Pensacola Christian College 2027 – 2031
2032 – Brian and Lynda marry; Collins elected as a U.S. Senator for Florida
2035 – Brian’s parents die in a mysterious car wreck
2038 – Collins elected President of the United States
2042 – Collins declares his dictatorship, Karimi takes over Iran, Lynda dies of breast cancer
2043 – Collins assassinated, United States falls apart, Christians are raptured, Evans takes over, Karimi is revealed as the anti-Christ, Yellowstone Caldera blows up
204? – Tribulation period

I don’t know if this clears anything up, but I hope it helps, and if anyone has any helpful suggestions, please leave a comment.

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Sales for the year so far

Now that it’s June, here are my sales numbers for the year so far, from regular sales to when one of my novels was in KDP Select to free giveaways. These are all from mostly just promoting online on Twitter, Facebook, and a bunch of message boards. The novels are listed in order of publication, from 2008 to 2012.

Amazon US Kindle
Out of Time – 34
Don’t Mess With Earth – 13
The Usurper  – (regular sales) – 67
KDP Select numbers for The Usurper – 329
Shattered Earth (which I unpublished on Amazon) – 8
Voyager & The Aliens – 3
Dust Storm – 4
New Frontier – 50
Times of Trouble – 89
Times of Trial – 9

Amazon UK Kindle
Out of Time - 8
Don’t Mess With Earth – 4
The Usurper – 8
KDP Select for The Usurper – 176
Voyager & The Aliens – 1
Dust Storm – 0
Times of Trouble – 4
Times of Trial – 1

Amazon Germany
Out of Time – 1
The Usurper (KDP Select) – 4
New Frontier – 1

Amazon France
The Usurper (KDP Select) – 2

Amazon Italy
The Usurper (KDP Select) – 2

Amazon Spain
The Usurper (KDP Select) – 6

Barnes & Noble Nook, which is partially through PubIt, B&N’s publishing platform and through Smashwords
Out of Time – 17
Don’t Mess With Earth – 17
The Usurper – 15
Shattered Earth – 19
Voyager & The Aliens – 1
Dust Storm – 3
New Frontier – 12
Times of Trouble – 109
Times of Trial – 7

Apple iTunes
Out of Time – 29
Don’t Mess With Earth – 4
The Usurper – 5
Shattered Earth -25
Voyager & The Aliens – 4
New Frontier – 3
Times of Trouble (only available since May)
Times of Trial (not yet available)

Kobo
Out of Time – 10
Don’t Mess With Earth – 1
The Usurper (Kobo has yet to list it)
Shattered Earth - 8
Voyager & The Aliens – 0
New Frontier – 0
Times of Trouble (only available since May)
Times of Trial (not yet available)

Sony Reader
Out of Time – 1
Everything else – 0

Smashwords paid/giveaways
Out of Time – 1/39
Don’t Mess With Earth – 1/26
The Usurper – 0/9
Shattered Earth – 0/37
Voyager & The Aliens -0/14
Dust Storm (I unpublished it because I couldn’t get the formatting right) – 2/12
New Frontier – 5/41
Times of Trouble – 0/87
Times of Trial – 0/1

Createspace Paperbacks, all of which were sales from mostly Amazon
Out of Time – 2
The Usurper – 7
Shattered Earth – 3
New Frontier – 12
Times of Trouble – 30
Times of Trial – 0

Total between January & end of May: 1423

Overall total since 2008: 26381

I’m posting this because some writers get discouraged, but you just have to keep at it. While I don’t have the money or much in the way of resources to push my novels to greater visibility, I think I’m doing pretty well. I took The Usurper out of KDP Select because my sales were actually worse overall, and I had a grand total of 3 borrows, so I didn’t think that program was worth it. Stay tuned for the sequel to New Frontier, plus a short story anthology based on minor characters in the two End Times novels, and a novel about Michael Evans, the man-behind-the-scenes in both End Times novels.

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More reviews & the Book trailer

Here is the book trailer I made for Times of Trouble. You do what you can afford….

And I received another review on Amazon, a 4 star:

“scarily prophetic!April 16, 2012

By Dirtboy’s Girl

Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
The way Mr. Ball writes I wonder if he isn’t living as a fly on the wall in the White House. You meet the characters and can feel their joy and sadness, anger and frustration as he tells the story. There were points in the story where I found myself talking to my Kindle telling Brian what I thought he should do next. Fast paced story that has you reading until the end. Another awesome “novel” by Cliff Ball!”
Plus, my parents sent a paperback copy to the late preachers’ wife (Mary Singleton) of a church I grew up in in Tempe, AZ, which was Tri-City Baptist (now in Chandler) and she sent a letter back saying she enjoyed it, she bought 5 more copies, and would ask the church library to stock it. Very cool!

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Reader Reviews for Times of Trouble

Here are the reviews of Times of Trouble that I have received so far, and is available on Amazon, B&N, Smashwords. Please feel free to share this with everyone.

LaTawnia Kintz on her blog

Though I found the book easy to read, I thought it could have used some more fleshing out. It’s a short book that can be easily read in a couple of hours. Cliff Ball has a writing style that works for him in writing first person point of view. That’s not an easy way to write. But, I would have liked to have seen more detail, filling in of spaces.

Now the great thing about the story is how current events actually play a part in the plot. If you read any news articles or watch the news on TV, other than the tripe you hear on the major networks, then what you will read in Times of Trouble is disturbingly prophetic. This isn’t just near in the future but some of it is already taking place!

I had just read an article on NewsWithViews.com before I had read Cliff Ball’s book. All I can say is Cliff Ball is either working with those folks at NewsWithViews or they are on the same wave length with God. This book looks at America and her citizens in a way that will either have you saying, “No way, that can’t happen,” or “Oh wow, this is fiction turning into reality.”

It is definitely not a book for the faint of heart, but for those who trust in Jesus Christ, it is a book that will encourage every reader to trust even more in Him.

Fast paced, short chapters, strong characters, Times of Trouble is worth reading.

This book was graciously provided freely for the purpose of review, by Cliff Ball.

Sherrie, reader review on Amazon

This is a very interesting & entertaining book. There are places where it drags a bit by going into to much detail on things not related to the story line. Since it’s a self published book I’m assuming the author didn’t have it edited and that shows. If you can overlook that you will really enjoy it. I certainly recommend it!

Sharon Naatz review on Amazon

I consider myself a born again Christian and I enjoyed certain parts of the book very much. Brian praying and carefully making choices and choosing to let his child live against the laws of the country was admirable.

I don’t agree with stockpiling weapons to fight people who are desperate for money and supplies. I believe as Christians we are to share our resources that God has so bountifully supplied to us with others who need them to show our reliance on God’s giving. This in turn may bless others.

Even though I had some difficulty with some of the actions I overall enjoyed the book. Thank you for such a thought provoking read!

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Times of Trouble featured & interview with Karen Baney

Original post

Thirty years in the future, the U.S. government has turned into a tyranny as the EPA and TSA grow with ever more power.

Brian, the main character, tells his story from first person point of view. His work with the FBI involves mostly cyber terrorism and actual cases of potential real world terrorism. Eventually, his wife gives birth to their third child, who has Down’s Syndrome, which does not please the U.S. Health Administration because there are rules and regulations set-up in cases like these to prevent “genetic freaks” as they like to call them, from sucking up a lot of Health Admin money. Because the Atwoods are born again Christians, they never considered aborting the baby, so now the Health people have to take him away to deal with the problem later.

Meanwhile, the Secret Service decides to recruit Brian to be the personal agent of the President of the United States, David Collins, due to his great work stopping a terrorist plot that would’ve involved Offutt Air Force Base. Brian’s faith is tested every day as he deals with a man that has no morals from what Brian can see, and is tested even more when his wife finds out that she’s dying from a fast growing form of breast cancer. Trouble in the rest of the world pits the U.S. against Israel as that country attempts to defend itself from attack.

When the re-election of Collins doesn’t turn out the way he wanted it, he and his people declare the election nullified because of supposed “irregularities” with the ballots. Collins claims that the new President-elect may take the seat sometime in the middle of next year, if everything looks to be sorted out. Collins purges his staff of what he considers unloyal people, including Brian. At the same time, Brian loses his wife, but regains the son he thought he had lost.

Brian moves back to his family home in Nebraska, where we follow what happens as the country slowly falls apart. Events play out as Brian and his family sees the End Times approach.

swirl_flourish_inverted_hi_Med

1. Thanks for being my guest, Cliff.  Can you tell us where are you from?

I’m originally from the Phoenix area. Lived in Apache Junction, Chandler, and Mesa. Family moved back and forth between Amarillo, TX and the Phoenix area, so part of elementary school I was in Arizona then Texas then back in Arizona. Graduated from Mountain View High in Mesa. Family moved back to Texas after I graduated and I’ve lived in Texas now 20 years straight.

2. Wow!  I know all about the Phoenix metro area, having lived here the last 15 years myself.  When and why did you begin writing? 

I discovered I liked to write when I was about 10 years old. My parents made sure I was well read, so I read a couple of books that I liked, and wanted to be like the authors who wrote the books.

3. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite? 

I’ve written six. I would have to say my current novel, Times of Trouble, is my favorite. The reason is, is that I felt inspired to write it and I felt as if God was guiding me to write it.

4. What is the most challenging part of being an indie author? The most rewarding? 

The most challenging part of being an indie author, I think, is the marketing and promoting part of it, especially when you’re doing it by yourself. The most rewarding is being able to instantly see if I’m having any kind of affect on my sales when I do have promotions and how many people were willing to buy my novel.

5. As an indie author, what would you say to a potential reader who has never read anything from an indie author? 

Give us all a chance. I have read a lot of amazing work by indie authors in the last year or so. I’ve noticed the quality of traditionally published work going downhill in the last few years, which is a shame. There are quite a few indie authors out there who do it all themselves and don’t need a team of publicists, editors, agents, or whatever to make their work shine.

6. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 

Probably the most challenging is writing dialogue that doesn’t look wooden and flows naturally.

7. Can you share a little of your current work with us? 

I’m currently working on an indirect sequel to Times of Trouble. A Preacher and his family live in Arizona and their church has shrunk down to 30 people, mostly retirees, and then the song leader decides to take his family to Wyoming to live in a community of Christians who decide to wait for the Rapture. In the meantime, the President orders small church congregations to be rounded up first and have them sent to FEMA Camps. The President decides he doesn’t like the results of the Election, so has it nullified, then orders DHS to round up the slightly larger churches.  The family tries to survive until Christ’s Return.

8. How much of the book is realistic?

I tried to write what a future Health Administration might look like. I have them purge society of “genetic freaks.” So when the Atwoods, the family in the novel, have a son with Down’s Syndrome because they don’t believe in abortion, the Health Administration takes him to deal with the boy later. I try to project how much power the TSA and EPA have in the future of this novel. The TSA not only rules the air now, in the novel, they also limit travel by car. I even have rumors in the novel about the UN and the EPA taking land from people in the Prairies so the land can go back to its native-ness. I even have the President nullify the elections due to ballot issues and forces one of the candidates for President to stop running by coming up with charges of adultery and bribery.

ISBN-13: 978-1469964799
ISBN-10: 1469964791
BISAC: Fiction / Christian / General
Kindle ASIN: B0075CNFFI

Paperback:

Createspace

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

Hardcover:

lulu.com

Ebook:

Christian Books/Bibles.com

Lulu.com

Songs of the Word epub version,

PDF version

Barnes & Noble Nook

Smashwords

US Kindle
UK Kindle
German Kindle
Kindle France
Kindle Italy
Kindle Spain

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Feds, Family farms, and Times of Trouble

The Blaze has a story about how the Federal Government wants to regulate family farms, partly due to the Agenda 21 plan by the United Nations, which regulates resources and wants people to move back into the cities. In Times of Trouble,  I don’t mention Agenda 21 directly, but I do have the EPA and the UN forcing people off of their land, telling them that the land will go back to being native grasslands, and sometimes they claim there’s some endangered animal that needs protecting, even though some of the people in the novel have had their land in their family for over a hundred years. This is meant to bring down the U.S. by stripping the country of its resources and trying to stuff everyone into the major cities. While I don’t have the government regulating who works on the farms, the family farms are harassed by the government, while the corporate farms end up being given the former lands owned by these families in some cases.  The brother of the main character sells farm equipment. He constantly complains about the EPA inspecting every piece of equipment to “protect” the environment, and he seems to think that the government wants everyone to go back to using plows and mules to ply the land.

It’s amazing to me that sometimes fiction seems to align with real life, even when one is not even trying to follow real life examples of government over-reach. I try to go for  in my novels what I think would be way beyond what the government really would do, only to find out that they might just be doing that. Personally, I think we haven’t been much of a Federal Republic since sometime before the War Between the States, because since then, the United States government seems to be trying to reach all of their tentacles into our lives, and that’s really too bad. Maybe the Doomsday Preppers have the right idea….

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Eugenics and how it relates to Times of Trouble

I was sent a link to an article from Townhall.com by mom, who claimed I was being prophetic when I wrote in Times of Trouble about the new Health Care system in the novel wanting to purge our society of “genetic freaks” such as children with Down’s Syndrome, etc. In the novels’ world, the Health Care Administration requires all women to have an amniocentesis and fill out paperwork when doing all sonograms to ensure there’s a baby that will contribute to society at large, and if it doesn’t the baby would be aborted. In the novel, the Atwoods ignore this because of religious belief (and not really knowing any of this is happening, since a lid is kept on any news about it), and their doctor helps. Unfortunately, their baby ends up being taken away to be “processed” later and the Doctor is punished for his lack of following regulations. At the time I was writing it, I figured this was one of those things that Eugenicists were always harping about, but were never really taken seriously. This article covers Seniors, Babies, and those with Down’s Syndrome.

What the articles says, in regards to Down’s Syndrome:

Down Syndrome EliminatedSo much attention has been focused on the birth control entitlement, many of us missed the latest in Obama eugenics:  A Down Syndrome free USA.  This administration is sending you the bill for the $1000 + prenatal test to find where all the babies with Down Syndrome are hiding and target them for elimination from the gene pool.  As an adoptive parent of a beautiful child with Down syndrome, I take special offense at this Mengelean expenditure.

Mark Leach, an attorney and fellow parent of a child with Down syndrome put pen to paper on this one:

Fiscally, public funding of prenatal testing for DS just does not make sense. There are an estimated 2.4+ million pregnancies each year eligible for Medicaid-funded prenatal care. Down syndrome has a birth rate of 1 in 691 pregnancies, with an estimated incident rate, i.e. the number of pregnancies carrying a child with DS, being equal to that. This means that of those 2.4 million pregnancies, only about seven thousand actually are pregnant with a child with DS. Yet, current medical recommendations are to offer both screening and diagnostic prenatal testing to all pregnant mothers. Therefore, the millions of pregnancies not carrying a child with DS may nonetheless accept the testing and thereby incur the cost to the Medicaid system. Current diagnostic testing costs over $1,000. That results in a possible exposure of $2.4 billion to the Medicaid system. All for just 7,000 pregnancies actually carrying a child with DS.

Let me spell this out. Over 90% of babies with Down syndrome are aborted already. Columnist George Will has labeled the aggressive screening a “search and destroy mission”. The Obama administration has targeted the Down syndrome babies of the poor for elimination, obligating taxpayers to a $2.4 billion liability. Presumably the entitlement means now we will pay for their abortions as well. How long before the Obama administration mandates insurance pay for screening for the entire population and their abortions?”

To read more visit: http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/ginaloudon/2012/03/05/the_cost_of_eugenics_obamastyle

Truly a frightening world if all of this were to come to pass. Maybe we’re being paranoid, maybe not. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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#Samplesunday Times of Trouble

Here is the sample from Chapter 1 of Times of Trouble, an End Times novel. Buy links are at the end.

Chapter 1
TimesofTrouble_frontcoverMy wife, Lynda, was about to give birth to our third child, but she seemed to be having a lot of complications, so I was incredibly worried about her and the baby. For the fourth time in what seemed to be as many days, she said she felt like she was going into labor. We’ve lived in Omaha for the past three years, so now I was taking her back to the hospital to see if my wife was actually in labor.
Doctor Ryan was telling me: “Brian, we’re going to have to induce labor,”
Since I was worried about Lynda anyway, this sent my imagination off on a wild goose chase, and I could imagine all sorts of potential problems. Questions of all sorts ran through my mind, but I asked, “What will that involve? Will it be dangerous?”
“No, it won’t be dangerous; it’ll mostly involve a lot of drugs. Don’t you worry, your wife is safe in our hands.”
“Thanks, Doc.” I went to sit down on a couch, because as incredibly nervous and worried I was about this, the hospital staff decided that my wife shouldn’t feed off of my nerves, because they didn’t want to cause complications to the birth of the baby. I made my wife nervous the other two times she gave birth, which is also why I’ve never seen my other two children born.
In times like these, I tend to reminisce and think about how we’ve come this far. My name is Brian Atwood. I’m thirty-four years old, the middle child of three, married to Lynda, and we have three children, including the one that’s being born. I currently work as a field agent for the FBI in Omaha, after having served as a military policeman in the Air Force at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. Both of us are originally from a little tiny town in northern Nebraska, closer to Rapid City, South Dakota, than we were to our own state capital. My grandparents moved there right after my grandfather was mustered out of the Army after Vietnam. He wanted to try his hand at farming, which didn’t work out, because he ended up selling John Deere tractors to the farmers in that part of the state.
My parents met at our Baptist church, got married in the same church, and shortly afterwards, the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, occurred. My dad felt it was his patriotic duty to join the military campaign to rid Afghanistan of the Taliban, which took a whole lot longer than anyone even anticipated, but he came home three years later with a Purple Heart for getting shot up. Fortunately, he was missing no limbs, but did have a problem with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for a few years afterwards. He followed his father into the selling of farm machinery, until he and my mother died in a car wreck four years ago while I was attending classes to be an FBI agent. The business landed in Frank’s, my oldest brothers’ lap, who had worked with my father since he was sixteen. My sister, Melissa, is the youngest. She’s currently living in Dallas, working for the Dallas Mavericks as one of their public relations people.
Lynda’s family settled in Nebraska in 1870, five years after the Civil War, since Nebraska had become a state three years earlier. They dropped stakes, built a couple of buildings, named it Delaney, which is their family name, and began farming. The Delaney’s lived fairly close to Sioux lands, but the Sioux never troubled them, even during the Indian Wars, because the Delaney’s treated the Sioux fairly. The Delaney’s continued to farm through wars and depressions, and even through heavy-handed government regulations. Even now, her brother, Mike, who is the youngest, continues to farm the land, claiming he makes a lot of money off of all those people who still think ethanol is the future of fuel.
My mom and Lynda’s mom were best of friends from the moment they met in school. Her mom met her dad as a teenager, when they were introduced at a church social. Lynda’s parents married after 9/11, and her father was sent to Iraq for combat. He went on four tours of duty, and each time he visited home, nine months later another child was born, Lynda was the third of the four. Unfortunately, her father was one of the last killed two months before the withdrawal of Iraq by the United States military. Lynda’s mom never re-married, and still lives on their family farm. Lynda’s other brother, the second oldest, is Paul, who is in the military. The oldest is Heather, she lives in Colorado, and is the webmaster for Focus on the Family’s website.
My wife and I have known each other all of our lives, since our mothers were best friends. She is a year younger than me, so we never had the same classes together in school, but we always saw each other while waiting for the school bus, at church, and other events around town. Before I left to join the Air Force, I saw her as a good friend, and that’s about it. While I was in the Air Force, she went to Pensacola Christian College in Florida to get a teaching degree so she could teach in Christian schools.
I returned to Delaney after my four years in the Air Force, and Lynda returned to town the same time during a summer break. We laid eyes on each other at church for the first time in four years, and I fell instantly in love with her. Some people think that was just weird, but it’s the truth. She eventually told me she felt the same way when she saw me that first time in years.
The best description I can give of her is that she looks almost like the actress who plays Scarlett in Gone with the Wind, only prettier. She is five-five, chestnut brown hair, blue eyes, tanned because of the Nebraska sun, and is slender. While I’m an introvert, she is an extrovert, and can talk about anything under the sun with no trouble at all. Most people sometimes wonder if I even talk, but she assures everyone that I’m a chatterbox when I’m comfortable with people. She loves children and loves being a teacher.
She claims that I look a lot like that guy who played Greg in that old 1990’s sit-com, Dharma and Greg, and he also played an FBI character in the crime drama Criminal Minds that was on when we were kids. I don’t know about that. While the character and I are both FBI agents, I think the resemblance ends there.
We were married a year later, I was recruited by the FBI, so we moved to Omaha so I could work in the office there. Lately, I’ve heard rumors that the Treasury Department wanted to recruit me to work on the President’s security detail, as a member of the Secret Service. That would be a great opportunity, even though I didn’t vote for the man, but I think I could lay my politics aside to protect a President of the United States. Of course, that’s only a rumor, so nothing may come of it.
While I was waiting for news about the birth, I picked up my Kindle to read one of the novels I recently downloaded. I’ve had this Kindle since I was a kid. I’ve never felt the need to replace it with the smaller ones with the streaming capabilities and all the high tech gadgets that are currently available on it. All I’m doing is reading, so for everything else, I either use my computer or TV.
My nerves had finally settled, when three hours later, Doc Ryan came out, shook hands with me, and said, “Congratulations, Brian, you have a baby boy. There are some problems, however,”
My happiness went to concern in a matter of seconds, “What’s wrong?”
“Your son had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, which is why your wife had false labor a couple of times. He came out blue due to lack of oxygen, but appears fine otherwise. There’s also another issue,”
I knew that babies have died from being choked by their umbilical cord, so I was glad to hear that he was fine, but Doc Ryan saying there’s another issue seemed just as grave. “What is it?”
“He has Down’s Syndrome. He can live a normal life, but you need to know that the United States Health Administration is on the look-out for children that will cost them a lot of money. Normally, I’m supposed to report this, and I know you’re FBI, but they’ve taken way too many children and it needs to stop,”
“The USHA takes kids?” I had never heard that before.
“Yes. Ever since the health care bill became effective in the mid-2010’s, the government has taken newborns they think will cripple our economy. I’m sure the only reason you haven’t heard about it, is because parents are threatened, and there’s a tight control of what’s said online about it. I just thought I’d warn you of that possibility,”
“Thanks, Doc. Will your nurses support your decision?”
“Yes, they feel the same way. Be lucky that you found me as your Doctor. Would you like to see your son now?”
“You bet.”
Doc Ryan led me to my wife’s room, while I thought about his warning to me about the government taking away sickly children. I decided not to tell Lynda for now, because I know how upset she gets with most of the government’s policies, and I really didn’t want her to worry about something that may not even come to pass. Maybe old Doc Ryan was just paranoid.
I walked into my wife’s room to see her beaming with pride and holding our baby. I walked over to her, gave her a kiss on the forehead, and asked, “How are you two?”
“Other than being tired and sore, I’m wonderful. What do you think we should name our son?”
“How about Joshua James, JJ for short?”
“After our dads? I like that idea. I like the fact that we left this as a surprise. Getting a sonogram would’ve left all the fun out of it. Doc, when do we get to take him home?”
“Would tomorrow suit you?”
“Are you sure it wouldn’t harm her?” I asked with worry in my voice.
“Yeah, don’t worry about it. This is the wonders of modern medicine; mother and baby get to go home within twenty-four hours. Lynda, we need to let you get some rest, so we’ll put little Joshua here in the nursery and he can get some sleep too. Brian, why don’t you go home and get some rest? You can come back to the hospital bright and early tomorrow to take them home,”
“Can’t I just stay here?” I protested.
“Doctor’s orders. Your wife needs her rest and sleep. If you stayed here with her, she’d probably worry more about you. Go on now.”
I went home only because Doc Ryan insisted on it. I couldn’t get my brain to stop running a thousand miles an hour, so I stayed up past midnight watching old movies from the 1990’s. At eight in the morning, I discovered that I had fallen asleep watching the second Jurassic Park movie. I shaved, took a shower, ate breakfast, and then went back to the hospital to retrieve my wife and son. My other two kids were staying with their grandma back in Delaney, so I didn’t have to worry about feeding them or sending them off to school, even though this was summer vacation. Next week, Lynda and I will drive to Delaney to introduce the family to JJ and bring the kids back to Omaha.
Lynda was dressed and waiting for me when I arrived, and one of the nurses went to the nursery to retrieve JJ. Lynda was told to sit in a wheelchair, since that was hospital regulations, and the three of us left the hospital for home an hour after I had arrived there. I put JJ in the safety seat in the back of my car, and helped Lynda into the front seat. I waved at the hospital staff and Doc Ryan, who were outside watching us leave, and they waved back. I put my car into gear and drove home.

ISBN-13: 978-1469964799
ISBN-10: 1469964791
BISAC: Fiction / Christian / General
Kindle ASIN: B0075CNFFI

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