A !$@%$#@ problem

Is small exorcisms a Christian novel?

Could it be presented to a Christian audience, a Christian publisher?

If so, what might people think of all the !@$^% and darkness? What would a Christian publisher think of the fact that one of my characters is a gay priest? Who gets the ever-loving %$$@&* tortured out of him?

I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do; I will have no part in it. — Psalm 101:3

Owen, a psychopath incapable of feeling regret, is quite capable of vile acts, and does them. Most are merely alluded to, but the last one is described, and it’s a nasty one.

However, Frank and Sophie — the main instigator of the kidnapping, and his daughter — wrestle with their guilt, and struggle with understanding forgiveness and God’s love. There’s a strong theme of forgiveness and letting go of the past. I’m presently writing a scene where Sophie asks a Christian friend/coworker about forgiveness.

I’m concerned that the message — God redeems and forgives — will get lost in the muck of Mischa’s torture at Owen’s hands. But I don’t want to write a novel that dances around, either. Vengeance, rape, torture, possible suicide — these things happen in this world!

A quote from Mike Duran, author:

We are called to think pure thoughts and meditate on that which is good. However, that does not mean we should live in denial about the darkness all around us. Nor should we eschew the horrific simply because it is unsettling. In fact, it is this “unsettling” that may make our stories more efficacious.

I’m glad I’m not alone in my thinking. But will I convince a publisher? Or a reader?

Tell me your thoughts. Please. And then go read Duran’s article.

A letter to Speaker Ryan

Office of the Speaker
H-232 The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-2012
Dear Mr. Ryan,

Though I am a Democrat, I have been following the Republican race closely. From all I have heard and read, I implore you, as you have asked others, to follow your conscience and not endorse Donald Trump.

More specifically, I ask that you not put party before country. I can only imagine the pressure you feel as Speaker of the House to lead the party and present a strong front for Republicans, but consider the long-term impact a Trump presidency could have on our beloved country.

Trump’s racist, insensitive remarks about Mexicans, Muslims, and others could jeopardize our country’s relations around the world.

A few southern states depend on a good relationship with Mexico for trade. Building a wall, and somehow ordering Mexico to pay for it, would seriously damage any goodwill our southern neighbor has.

Muslims are spread around the world, and to bar them from entering our country on the basis of religion would be both offensive and against the First Amendment. Out of fear, we would be turning our backs on our own history.

I am not saying we don’t need stronger security. I believe we do. But we must keep in mind that horror can be homegrown, as in Orlando.

I do not believe that Donald Trump – a blowhard business man with a pocked track record and a documented history of offensive statements – is a terrible choice for president. I’m not going to plead with you to support Sanders or Clinton, as I understand the reaction from your own party would likely be horrendous. I ask that you look within yourself, ask your conscience, pray, and ask yourself what you and other Republicans want to be remembered for – as the party that supported its candidate right or wrong, or as Americans who put what is right for the country ahead of partisanship.

I thank you for your attention.


I’m seldom kept awake by my characters.

My flesh-and-blood children? Sure, they’ve kept me awake in the past. My husband? He has asthma, and tends to snore. (As do I, apparently.) My own personal anxieties? Absolutely.

But my characters? This does not often happen. Certainly not for two hours.

Last night, as I worked on finding a comfortable position, I realized that in small exorcisms Mischa cannot do the same. He is a prisoner, tied down against his will. Whenever my muscles became stiff or sore, I thought about how he must feel in the story, the desperation of body and mind to stretch, to relieve the pain. When I became thirsty, I reached for the bottle of water at my bedside, thinking my thirst was too annoying for me to ignore if I wanted any sleep. He can’t do that in the story either.

Millions of people in real life can’t, either. Slavery and imprisonment are still enormous problems in our society today and around the world. And that realization, and Mischa’s musings on whether or not he is a good person – if, even though he is a priest, if he was truly doing all he could, truly loving his fellow man – is what kept me awake.

As I listened to my creation question his worth as a Christian, and as a person, I started to question myself. What do I do? I do what I can, but is it enough? Can I do more? Can we all?

The answer is simple: Yes, I can. Yes, we can.

National Human Trafficking Resource Center

FBI: Human Trafficking