Aisircul and GH

Despite the bit that I posted earlier, so far I am struggling with my two leads for Prairie Fire, Aisircul and Jane Singer. My primary trouble is that I do not know who they are, or why they would be interested in each other.

I have a good grasp on Aisircul, which does not surprise me, as male characters grab my attention better than female characters. Jane, my heroine — the character you’d think an aspiring romance writer would have the better handle on — is as smoke. She refuses to solidify. What little idea I have of her is a blonde 20-something who is almost Belle-like in her cheerfulness, a not-quite Purity Sue. This is unfortunate, because that’s the sort of character I can’t abide.

Aisircul, however, is proving resistant to the idea of romance. He doesn’t seem to feel that he would be right, or that he should fall in love. It doesn’t seem to be a case of feeling he doesn’t deserve love, but rather that he somehow shouldn’t ask, that he should be content with his lot as it is. And he is very happy with where he is — pretty much anything beats being in Hell.

In the meantime, while I wrestle with those two (or perhaps pack Aisircul off to a different tale), I’ve been feeling pulled to work on Getting Hammered, the namesake of this blog, again. I have 11 more sections thought up, and a few of them started, but they have languished while I went off to work on small exorcisms (a story that may never see the light of day).

I’m going to get something written, doggone it…

Anger and creativity

I find this somewhat annoying. After this much work, all the thought and time expended, I find myself perhaps unwilling to continue small exorcisms.

For years I have suffered from tremendous anger, a poisonous cloudy ball in my soul that had no source, or at least none apparent to me. What do I have to be angry about? Good, solid home, loving family, a career and good health. And yet I get just as angry over trivial matters (this person in front of me at the store is SO SLOW!) as I do about actual problems (Syria, poverty, Donald Trump).

But why? Every time I asked myself where my anger — at times so strong and senseless I feared for myself and/or my children — where it comes from, I get nowhere.

Until this past Sunday and Monday.

While listening to the sermon, the sun shone directly on us through a stained glass window. I felt it as a hug, as though God was saying “I am here, and you are loved.”

On Monday, I finally decided to get help. I sent an email to a therapist I found here in Manhattan through the power of Google. Within an hour or so, I had an appointment set for mid-November.

Since then, much of my anger has lifted. I don’t feel as though I have a new outlook on life or any large issues, but I feel lighter in spirit. I’ve had an outburst or three since then, but I think I’m doing better, thanks to God’s hug and the knowledge that I’m going to get help.

As I said, though, this lightness in spirit has muffled my willingness to work on my novel. I can’t seem to work up the want to spend time with those characters. Not at the moment, anyway.

Yesterday, Azrael and Jordan watched several episodes of one of their favorite Netflix shows, Veggietales in the House. One episode, involving Laura Carrot and painting, Bob sang a song about how what we make can be pleasing to the Lord. This also made me pause and think about small exorcisms and it’s plot — how can a story involving kidnapping, revenge and torture be pleasing to the Lord?

Now that I think about it, the primary themes are forgiveness and how love for one another can redeem… Maybe it can be made pleasing after all!

It’s official


We are moving to the Manhattan area. Both Chris and I have gotten well-paying jobs in Manhattan, so we are pulling up stakes here and heading west.

We will all miss Lawrence. It’s been our home for nearly 13 years; all three of our girls were born here. It’s a wonderful place, which is why it’s good that we’ll only be about 90 minutes away, so we can visit from time to time.

In the meantime, we look forward to the next step that God has prepared for us on our journey. Onward!

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.