Safety and Forgiveness: A Guest Post from Karina Fabian

Welcome, Tomato Pie Fans! I’m taking a hiatus from blogging to finish the sequel to DON’T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME. Meanwhile, I have a series of guest bloggers taking care of the place. Let’s hear from today’s guest, Karina Fabian, author of the Mind Over Trilogy (among much else).   

Mind Over Trilogy 160

Safety and Forgiveness

Have you ever struggled with forgiving someone, especially someone you love or who is close to you? It’s a difficult issue, especially when we believe we should do as Christ said and forgive seventy-times-seven times if need be.

MindOverAllAs often happens in my fiction, my characters explore issues I didn’t really think about at the time, but looking back, they have insights I can learn from. Case in point: in my latest novel, Mind Over All, the two supporting characters, Joshua and Sachiko, are on the verge of breaking off their engagement. Long before they met, Sachiko had had an abortion at the behest of her lover at the time. It was a wake-up call for her, making her dump the guy and change her life so that she became the kind of woman Joshua would fall in love with, but she never told him about the abortion. When they first met, he was still reeling from the fact that his own girlfriend had destroyed their baby without ever telling him she was pregnant.

By the time of the third book, they’ve been engaged for four years, and he’s forgiven his ex-girlfriend and even enlisted her help campaigning for a father’s right to know. Meanwhile, Sachiko still hadn’t told him. She kept waiting for the right time, kept stalling, and finally Joshua found out from someone else at possibly the worst time ever. Of course, now that the cat was out of the bag, she’s horribly sorry she never told him and wants to apologize and talk about it, but he won’t listen. He’s afraid to forgive her.

Why? It comes down to safety.

Even though Joshua was working with his ex, their romance was over. He knew she’d never be able to hurt him again the way she had. He knows how she thinks and how she works in a business situation, so he knows he can protect himself. Despite the pain she caused him, he can put it in the past because he feels safe. Thus, it’s easy for him to forgive her.

With Sachiko, the situation is different. He loves her, want to spend his life with her, and have as many children as possible. She said she feels the same way, yet she never told him this secret of her past (though he was very upfront about his). Plus, she’s put off the wedding date numerous times because she wanted to finish her medical internship. What if she gets pregnant at what she thinks is an inconvenient time in her career? She’s already has one abortion and has kept secrets from him. No matter how much he loves her and wants to trust her, he doesn’t feel secure in her. Thus, forgiveness is hard.

Joshua is lucky, He didn’t know the key element of Sachiko’s abortion: her lover at the time was a master manipulator, and Joshua knew him. (Another reason she never said anything.) Since Josh had seen this man in action and knew how well he could twist people’s minds, he was able to look at Sachiko’s situation with new eyes. Now, Joshua was open to her remorse, and he knew that with him, she’d never be in that situation again. Plus, he could see how she’d changed from the woman under Malachai’s spell into the woman he loved.  Once he was able to make that leap, he was able to talk to her and forgive, and they set a wedding date (the wedding happens in Hearts Over Mind.)

It’s easier to forgive people when you feel safe, which is part of why it’s easier to forgive someone you don’t see often or who no longer has an influence on your life. God, however, expects us to forgive everyone, even those who may hurt us again.

Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean we have to be martyrs. With few exceptions, which have to do with standing up for our faith, God does not expect us to knowingly put ourselves in danger. Forgiveness does not mean becoming a willing victim of a sinner. Find a way to make yourself safe. Not only will you make your life easier, but you will find it easier to forgive.
Incidentally, lest you think the Mind Over trilogy is all about relationship issues, let me reassure you. You will find sword fighting, talking animals, dangerous lunatics, aliens, and crashing planets. I hope you’ll check out the trilogy.

Karina Fabian headshot Aug 2013By day, Karina Fabian is a mild-mannered reviewer of business software and services for TopTenReviews.com. After hours, she’s a psychic intent on saving the world; a snarky dragon who thinks he saves the world all-too regularly, a zombie exterminator who just wants her world clear of undead vermin, and nuns whose callings have taken them off our world. Needless to say, her imagination is vast, her stories legion, and her brain crowded. When she’s not converting her wild tales to stories, she’s enjoying time with her husband, Rob, their four kids, and their two dogs.

 Find Karina: Website + on Facebook + on Twitter + on Google+

Are you in? #showusyourlist

ShowUsYourListLogo

“[…E]ven in situations where culture and the Church are far apart, art remains a kind of bridge to religious experience. In so far as it seeks the beautiful, fruit of an imagination which rises above the everyday, art is by its nature a kind of appeal to the mystery. Even when they explore the darkest depths of the soul or the most unsettling aspects of evil, artists give voice in a way to the universal desire for redemption.”  —St. John Paul II, “Letter to Artists”

Here’s a follow-up to Friday’s post, “50 Shades of Me, Angry at Catholics.”  Apparently, that post inspired Barb, Franciscan Mom, to make her own list in her post “Read This Instead:  50 WAY Better Novels.”  Christine at Domestic Vocation made a list of things to do besides enjoy the glorification of sexual assault.  And, it seems, the three of us are not the only ones sick of trash entertainment taking center stage while faithful fun gets ignored—by the faithful themselves.

Are you tired of Catholic media telling you what not to watch or read but not giving any suggestions of what is worth reading?  Have you had it with struggling to find entertainment that doesn’t downright soil your mind, heart and soul?  Do you wish that Catholic media would spend less time complaining about the popular and scandalous and more time celebrating positive entertainment?

Then #showusyourlist. 

Are you in?  Here’s how it works:

  1. Make your list.  Blog a list of at least three works of quality fiction that illustrate truth, beauty and goodness.  These can be books, movies, podcasts, whatever, but they MUST BE ENTERTAINING and they MAY NOT BE NON-FICTION.  Seriously, people, non-fiction already gets plenty of help from Catholic media.
  2. Include some version of the following:  “I challenge anyone who complained about 50 shades of anything to now spend some time and energy promoting entertainment that is true, beautiful and good.”
  3. Also, kindly include a link back to this post just for clarification as to where this whole cockamamie idea originated.  Blame me, people.  And feel free to use the logo at the top of this page.
  4. Pick at least three people who work in Catholic media and find their Twitter handles.  Go for the big names.  Don’t be afraid.  The worst they can do is ignore you.
  5. On Tuesday, February 17, 2015, Mardi Gras, a day originally designed to be a festival of joyful entertainment, Tweet the link to your blog post to those Catholic media folks, using the hashtag #showusyourlist.
  6. Note:  Say that hashtag out loud.  Sounds like something said on Mardi Gras for illicit purposes, doesn’t it?  And that’s the point.  We have the power to turn the bad to God’s service.  It’s high time we did so.

Anyway, this will not work if it’s just me doing this.  One whacko tagging with a lone hashtag will be dismissed, and rightfully so, as just that:  a whacko.  If you want the faithful to have entertainment options, YOPP it up, people! Demand more than complaints over the scandalous!  Promote the celebration of the good, beautiful and true!

My list is back here, but there’s another one here, and you can even get another version by clicking here.

Saint John Paul II, pope and poet, pray for us.

50 Shades of Me, Angry at Catholics

It’s 7 Quick Takes Friday, hosted by Kelly over at This Ain’t the Lyceum.

7QTlogo

I know.  You saw the title and are all, like, “Whuuuuuut?”  Why would I be angry at myself?  You thought I was all buddy-buddy with Frank and whatnot, didn’t you?20140801-070421.jpg

Warning:  Uncharacteristic rant ahead.  

I had been meaning to put something out here today in protest against packaging sexual abuse and calling it “romance.”  After all, that’s what all the cool bloggers are doing, right? And then I realized I’m not a cool blogger, so that took the pressure off, and I decided I wasn’t going to post a darn thing about anything at all today.

And then, I listened to Catholic radio during my 2.5 hour errand-running experience this morning (I won’t name which shows, as I’m about to rant about them, after all).  All 2-plus hours of it was about how nobody should read that trash, nobody should watch that trash, please reach out to others who think that trash is treasure, if you want to protest at your local movie theater we’ll help you out, why is the culture normalizing this stuff, why doesn’t Hollywood understand that family films grossed more last year than anything else…?

And that’s when I got ticked off.

See, when I first heard about The Book (and now Movie) That Everyone’s Talking About, I wasn’t offended as a Catholic.  I wasn’t offended as a Christian.  I wasn’t even offended as a woman.

I was offended as a writer.  

I remember when I wrote fanfic back in the day, watching my stories get modest attention and lovely, hugely positive but rather low-volume feedback.  Meanwhile, the erotica stories got a gazillion hits and lots of awards and so much attention… and I kept hearing about how poorly written most of them were.  I found it frustrating.  Petty jealousy, though.  I brushed it aside, learned the “Litany of Humility,” and kept writing.

But I found it even more frustrating when The Book (and now Movie) That Everyone’s Talking About got all this attention… enough attention for me to hear without even reading it that the darn thing was just so poorly written:  flat character, bad dialogue, laughable descriptions… all those things I kick my own butt to avoid and let myself be humbled by editors and beta readers so that I don’t inflict them upon readers, and this Book (and now Movie) That Everyone’s Talking About gets away with it, makes bazillions of dollars, and promotes abusive relationships?  Are you freaking kidding me?!?!

That’s okay, though, right?  I consoled myself.  I write clean fiction.  I strive to write excellent fiction.  I read it, too.  Surely the target market for clean entertainment will ignore trash and promote treasure.  Right?

Wrong.

Instead, writers like myself send media releases and go to conferences and try to connect with the JMJ Catholic Books VIRGINIA Beach, VAmedia types who could help us share something of (hopefully) better value, both artistically and spiritually… and those same media types ignore our contacts so they can SPEND AT LEAST TWO HOURS COMPLAINING ABOUT TRASH WHEN THEY COULD BE PROMOTING POSITIVE ENTERTAINMENT!!!!!

So I’m cheesed off.  In both my professional and my non-writing life, I put a lot of energy into accentuating the positive, eliminating the negative, and tuning in to the affirmative.  I try not to be That Author.  I spend a lot of time reading and promoting as best I can fiction that is well-written and  entertaining.  I’m blessed to work with a publisher who does the same thing.  I am active in the Catholic Writers Guild, and we’re all about promoting fiction that is both excellent and Excellent.

The media that is supposed to share our goals, however? Right now it looks like they’d rather complain about the popular and scandalous than promote the positive and affirming.

Okay, each of the three shows I heard did give at least brief mention to Old Fashioned as a positive option for moviegoers this weekend.  Yes, it’s a start, but that’s all it is:  a start.

Here’s my challenge.  The likelihood of this challenge being heard is miniscule, but here’s my “YOPP!”   For every minute you spent complaining about The Book (and now Movie) That Everyone’s Talking About, spend at least half as many minutes promoting some kind of positive entertainment.  

And now, the fruits of that Litany of Humility:  I’m going to take my own challenge and promote more than seven positive books, in no particular order.

  1. A World Such as Heaven Intended by Amanda Lauer (historical romance, specifically Civil War)
  2. Opal’s Jubilee by Leslie Lynch (mystery/romance–and THIS one is anti-domestic violence, so take THAT!).  Let me add Hijacked by Leslie Lynch (more romance, but ALSO anti-sexual assault, so take THAT!)
  3. End of the RoadNo Lifeguard on Duty by Amy M. Bennett (mystery/suspense with a little bit of a nice, clean love triangle thrown in there for you)
  4. A Subtle Grace by Ellen Gable (historical romance/suspense set in Golden Age Philadelphia)
  5. Two Statues by Brian Kennelly (a buddy-priest mystery; the ending needs a 3 Kleenex Warning)
  6. The Lion’s Heart by Dena Hunt (literary, genre-busting)
  7. Viper and Bleeder by John Desjarlais

Readers, can you add any others that I may not have read yet (or just ran out of numbers for a 7QT)?  In the event someone actually reads this whose radio show I heard this morning:  why, why, WHY don’t you spend more time highlighting godly entertainment?  I hear plenty of whining about scandalous secular movies and books.  I hear lots and LOTS of interview with non-fiction authors.  WHY ARE YOU PROMOTING THE MALNUTRITION OF THE CATHOLIC IMAGINATION?!?!

Lord have mercy on me.  I’m about to post this.

We interrupt this ebook launch…

… as I work on the sequel to Don’t You Forget About Meto bring you another silky smooth line from our love interest, Dr. Gene Marcasian.

“Yes, I want you safe,” he murmured against my ear, “but not at the cost of your trust.”

I dropped my hands from my face and hugged Gene as tightly as I could.  How could I let go of this man?  But, with his mind so different from mine, how on earth was I going to keep holding on?

Meanwhile, back at Amazon:

Working Mother” is just one rank under something from the Divergent series by Veronica Roth.

Forgive me for saying it, but it needs to be said.

I.  Can’t.  Even.  

Thanks to all of you who’ve supported the launch of “Working Mother.”  I hope it’s touched your heart even half as much as it touched–and healed–mine to write it.  This has been a much-needed shot in the arm.

WORKING MOTHER AVAILABLE TOMORROW!

Please join me in celebrating Holy Family Sunday with the release of my 99 cent ebook, “Working Mother.”

Working Mother Final-1Holy Family of Nazareth, pray for us! 

Many, many thanks to Ellen & James and all the team over at Full Quiver Publishing for all their hard work that went into this project.

7QT: An Interview with A. K. Frailey

7_quick_takes_sm1

It’s Friday, and it’s 7 Quick Takes over at Jennifer’s very own ConversionDiary.com!21

Today is my pleasure and honor to have a visit with Catholic author A. K. Frailey.

Author A. K. Frailey

Ann has a B. S. in Elementary Education and has taught in Milwaukee, WI, Chicago, IL, Los Angeles, CA, Wood River, IL and for Peace Corps in the Philippines. She was married to John Frailey who was an educator for many years. John died from cancer complication December 2013. Ann has eight children and she home educates them while maintaining a rural home – including chickens, bees, cats and dogs, apparently in early retirement.  Ann has a B. S. in Elementary Education and has taught in Milwaukee, WI, Chicago, IL, Los Angeles, CA, Wood River, IL and for Peace Corps in the Philippines. She was married to John Frailey who was an educator for many years. John died from cancer complication December 2013. Ann has eight children and she home educates them while maintaining a rural home – including chickens, bees, cats and dogs, apparently in early retirement

Ann is one of the first Catholic writers I really got to consider a friend after meeting her through the Catholic Writers Guild.  Her work is shot through with the dignity and integrity with which she lives her whole life, and you’ll be honored to get to know her too.  Let’s meet A. K. Frailey!

-1-

Tell us about your most recent work.  How did the idea come to you?  How long did it take you from start to publication?  

I wrote Georgios as a continuation in the “Conversation with God” theme I have in all my books.  It is a story about a young Greek boy named Georgios, growing up on the island of Patmos which is where St. John the Apostle spent some years in exile. I read an article about the island and thought it would be a great setting for a story.  It took me about a year to do the research and write the first draft of the story.  Then it took some months to get it edited and revised.

-2-

Idea, research, editing, design…What was your favorite part of working on this project? What was your least favorite?  

I enjoy coming up with the initial plot outline and then beginning the writing process after getting some research in place to back up the setting and the physical aspects of the story – like what people eat, how they dress and what kind of housing they might live in. My favorite part is when the characters begin to take over, usually somewhere near the middle of the book.  The characters become so real that they act the story out according to their own nature and I just come along for the ride.

-3-

Tell us about how this work came to reach us:  did you go the self-publishing route or did you contract with a publisher?  What was that like?

I am a self-published author and I learned about this blog from the Catholic Writer’s guild.  I have met a lot of supportive writers through the guild and have become a better writer for the experience. Self-publishing is tough since you have to do or hire someone to do pretty much everything from writing the story to editing, and marketing.  But I do believe that as a self-published author I know the process from start to finish, and I not only have better skills as an author now, but I certainly appreciate other authors more honestly.

-4-

What other things in your life do you juggle in order to keep at your writing?  How’s that working out for you?

In addition to being an author I also home school my children.  I have eight children, though one is in college now.  I have had to learn how to balance my priorities so that I can fulfill my vocation as mother and manage my job as educator, yet still have some time for writing and the whole self-publishing package.  It is a difficult balance to maintain, but it is worth the effort.  I believe that my writing has made me a better person, more thoughtful and introspective, and also more certain of what I think is really important.  I have learned to take necessary risks and to accept defeat.  But I have also learned to keep moving forward even when things are beyond difficult.

-5-

Setting, characters, plot, mood, tone… What would you describe as your greatest strength as a writer?

I definitely focus on character.  I love humanity and I am constantly encountering amazing stories of real life heroes who strive for the best in themselves and others despite incredible obstacles.  When I engage in the process of forming a character I reflect the reality that I know to be true and there is a point when something new happens – something that is beyond my conscious thought – and it is there, that I as the author, learn something important. I love that.  I need that.

-6-

Conversely, if you could change one thing about your writing style, what would it be and why?

I wish I knew the secret world of commas and punctuation better…  It is morass which sends me into grammar hell on occasion.

-7-

Lastly, where can we find your work, a. k. a. give you our hard earned cash?

My books are all available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble as both paperback and e-books.  There are other book sites which carry them but you’d have to Google them…

9781450288101_COVER.indd Cover for ARAM 2013 IshtarCV Neb_Cover front cover only

7QT: Interview With Author Amanda Lauer

7_quick_takes_sm1

Welcome to Seven Quick Takes Friday, hosted by the lovely and talented Jennifer over at Conversion Diary  Jess at This Ain’t the Lyceum.

Remember when I reviewed this book?

The author of A World Such as Heaven Intended has stopped by the tomato pie shop to have a little chat with us.  Let’s welcome Amanda Lauer!

ALauer-headshotAn avid reader and history buff since childhood, Amanda Lauer fulfilled a lifelong goal with the publication of her debut novel, A World Such as Heaven Intended. Lauer learned the technical aspects of writing as a proofreader in the insurance, newspaper and collegiate arenas. Over the last ten years she has had more than twelve-hundred articles published in newspapers and magazines throughout the United States. Lauer is the co-author of Celebrate Appleton, A 150th Birthday Photo Album, and contributed to the books Expressions of ITP…Inside Stories, and Living Virtuously — Keeping Your Heart and Home. In addition to her writing career, Lauer is involved in the health and wellness industry, striving to spread the message of true health — physical, mental and financial. Residents of northeast Wisconsin, Lauer and her husband John have been married thirty-three years. They are involved in their church and community and in their spare time travel for business and pleasure, play golf, run, bike, read, and further their education in the area of personal development. They are the proud parents of four young adult children, have a son-in-law and daughter-in-law, and are grandparents to one grandson.

And now, without further ado, here’s all you ever wanted to know about Amanda Lauer and A World Such as Heaven Intended!

-1-
Tell us about your most recent work.  How did the idea come to you?  How long did it take you from start to publication? 
My debut novel, A World Such as Heaven Intended, was released October, 2014. I’m a freelance writer by trade and one of my jobs is writing for local newspapers. I had written an article about a family’s Civil War memorabilia and the gentleman told me the story of his great-great-great uncle’s experiences in the Civil War and I thought it could be the basis for an excellent book someday. An acquaintance of mine was working on a book herself and she challenged me to write one chapter of a book each month and we’d get together and copyedit each other’s manuscripts over coffee. So it took two years to write the book, then two years to find a publisher. In that time frame, I only queried twelve publishers because our daughter was a Make-A-Wish Child, so most of my energy was spent caring for her. About a year ago I queried Full Quiver Publishing and was offered a contract earlier this year. In total it was about a six-year process.
-2-
Idea, research, editing, design…What was your favorite part of working on this project? What was your least favorite? 
My favorite part of working on this project was writing the dialogue between the main two characters, Amara and Nathan. I was literally laughing out loud as I wrote some of the lines and at times crying when the conversations got deeper. I also really enjoyed researching and learning more about the Civil War. I’m a history buff and it was fascinating delving further into this subject. My least favorite part was all the revisions. I realize now that every bit of feedback that I got made helped turned this book from a good story to a fantastic novel but it was a little disheartening at times. One particularly harsh criticism about the book literally had me walk away from the project for nine months; it was daunting considering what had to be reworked. But again, it made it the book it is today.
-3-
Tell us about how this work came to reach us:  did you go the self-publishing route or did you contract with a publisher?  What was that like? 
From day one I was determined to go the traditional route and find a publisher who believed in this work as much as I did. While I could have done self-publishing since I am also a copy editor and proofreader, I never pursued that seriously. I had thought about getting an agent at one point, but did not want to put the time and energy into that endeavor either. By the grace of God, my book made its way into the hands of Ellen Gable Hrkach of Full Quiver Publishing. She is a fantastic publisher and editor, and her insight really brought this book to life.  Plus her husband James did an outstanding job creating the book cover. If this book turns out to be a million seller someday, I will have that team to thank!
-4-
What other things in your life do you juggle in order to keep at your writing?  How’s that working out for you?
In addition to working on novels, I write for the Green Bay Diocese newspaper The Compass, I write for The Business News, I proofread for Saint Norbert College, I do product testing for a local personal product manufacturing corporation, I write product reviews online, I do commercial acting and modeling, and I own my own business that promotes true health — financial, mental and physical (www.KangenWisconsin.com). There’s never a dull moment around here, but I wouldn’t trade my life with anyone, I thank God every day because I’m so blessed with all these opportunities.
-5-
Setting, characters, plot, mood, tone… What would you describe as your greatest strength as a writer?
My greatest strength as a writer is the technical aspects of writing. Years of proofreading other people’s works helped me to figure out the mechanics of writing so I feel that I see the big picture and attend very closely to details. I do love writing dialogue, especially lines that reflect my sense of humor!
-6-
Conversely, if you could change one thing about your writing style, what would it be and why? 
Having worked in the newspaper arena for many years, my writing is very concise. We are generally limited to 800 words per story. I would love to be able to enhance my work more with descriptive wording but that just isn’t my style at this point.
-7-
Lastly, where can we find your work, a. k. a. give you our hard earned cash? 
My book is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Thanks for your support!
Thank you, Amanda, for chatting with us!  Now, readers, go pick up your copy of A World Such as Heaven Intended!