Where are all the Catholics?

I’m an author of Catholic fiction for teens. I’m a member of the Catholic Writers Guild and CatholicTeenBooks.com. I’ve received pretty awesome reviews for my novels and even an endorsement from Evangelist Alveda C. King for my pro-life novel, For Eden’s Sake. But if truth be told, my novels are not in high demand. And I’m not the only Catholic fiction author feeling the chill. Authors who I consider far better than I am are struggling to find the audience they’re writing for.

Around the time I wrote my first novel The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch, I remember the cry of many a Catholic complaining that there just wasn’t enough good Catholic fiction out there, above and beyond the usual Chesterton/Tolkien offering. It was true. My desire was to make that change in that regard. Many of the authors I know did too.

Catholic fiction for teens is not an easy genre to write, not because it’s difficult to write, I love it. God picked it for me and it’s my ministry. But like all things Christian . . .  music, movies, etc . . . Catholic fiction is not a popular genre. This makes it all the more discouraging for writers like me who have more than just a story to tell.

With an estimated 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world, you’d think there’d be a high demand for Catholic fiction for teens. You’d think Catholic parents would be rapidly sourcing these books out . . . at least once the usual classics have been exhausted. And especially since many of the teen struggles of today go above and beyond the scope of the classics, concerning issues that I can almost bet Tolkien didn’t see coming. But sadly, no. The secular stories still prevail, and with them, a message often lacking God’s word that Catholics are supposed to thrive on . . . especially teens, who are soon expected to leave the security of the nest and enter an unforgiving, faith-lacking, temptation-saturated world. Such a sad revelation.

Did I pick the wrong genre? I can easily write dark novels with tainted albeit likable characters, devoid of redemptive desires, but elevate them to positions of admiration and envy. I can write shallow tales of empty love, including scenes frenzied by desires of the flesh. I can write wicked stories, saturated in adventure, but bereft of light. They don’t even have to be masterfully written stories in order to gain momentum, as we’ve often seen far less exalted to supreme status simply for their perfectly progressive slant. And all these stories would probably get way more recognition, pleasing the social justice warrior to no end. But none of them would be the Lord’s.

No. God picked Catholic fiction for me. It’s my ministry. Teens need it. So, I write on, along with my fellow Catholic fiction authors, touting the goods inspired by a good and loving God who shares His truth with our words. Yet, always wondering where all the Catholics are!

I don’t expect Catholic fiction to surpass secular . . . although, wouldn’t that be an amazing feat? And, boy, would the world be better for it. But with so many awesome stories out there, wrapped in God’s amazing Grace, I do urge young readers to give it a go, and parents to encourage it! Teens may just fall in love with it. It may just be the guidance they need.

Inspired by 6th Grade Readers this Catholic Schools Week

How appropriate that for Catholic Schools Week I visited a Catholic school! I spent an hour with some pretty awesome 6th graders in Miss Abramson’s class to discuss The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch which was assigned as part of their Language Arts curriculum. And the consensus is that they loved it!

From realistic characters to real life situations, these children were quick to share the reasons why they were able to relate to the story. One young man said that he enjoyed the characters, especially Benedict, because he could connect to him. In fact, all the children raised their hands when asked if they could relate to any of the characters portrayed in the story.  They shared their favorite characters and why they liked them, what surprised them the most about the story-line, and what they believed the moral premise of the story to be.

And when my questions for them were done, there were many waiting for me. Along with a copy of The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch, each child had a list of questions in front of them. Questions about character development, plot, the moral premise, point of view, the writing process, the publishing process, and so on and so on. “Will there be a sequel?” “When did you start writing?” “If you could change any part of the story, what would you change?” “Who’s your favorite character?” “What’s your favorite quote from the book?” “Do you have any experience with foster children?” “Did you base any of your characters on your own experiences?” “What was your favorite scene to write?” “How long did it take you to write this book?” “What happened to Melanie?” “What did the other children think about Benedict and Mel coming to the Ranch?” “What inspired you to write this story?”

Nineteen children had read this story and each had a list of questions. Needless to say, there was a lot of discussion.

And in answering their questions, I was able to expand on the moral premise of this story which was based on Philippians 4:13.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13.)

Benedict’s baggage is reflective of a lot of issues that children experience in their youth. They may not be the exact same conflicts and struggles, but the response is the same. Trust in the Lord. Put your faith in Him and find your strength to overcome all obstacles with His Word. And they took it all in. They were fully engaged in the conversation and it was a pleasure to be with a group of 6 graders who got it! They read my book, a book inspired by a faithful God, and they heard His Word ring through, and it was awesome!

This school visit was a success, for sure. And just spending time with these children, I felt blessed that God has given me this gift and this ministry. I truly hope that these amazing children were just as much inspired by this experience as I was. God is good!

Thanks, Miss Abramson!

For more on The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch

To read the first chapter of The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch

 

Containing the Rebellious Character in Fiction Writing

I find the task of creating fictional characters a fun experience, for the most part. I determine their physical aspects, personality traits, background information, aspirations, fears, joys, and so on. No-one can tell me how to design a fictional character, because each one is created by me.

But what if the character takes a life of his own…I mean, that’s great, right? It drives the story along, creates a more natural piece of fiction. But what if the character becomes uncontrollable?

It doesn’t happen with all of my characters, but every now and then the odd boy (or girl) seems to take it upon himself to reveal an idiosyncrasy or personality flaw that bends and twists my story-line in a fashion that redefines it. It’s not always a negative awareness. Sometimes it’s a good revelation, but one that ultimately affects the story in some way.

Still, I allow him to let loose, because I give it all to the Lord and my God may have a plan that I’m yet to comprehend, and all I can do is follow His lead, hoping that the character behaves as best he can. Should the revelation be a negative one, -one that is simply rebellious and obviously not a gift from the Lord, I find myself in a bind. In order to maintain the integrity of the story, I am forced to lay down the law.

I have to remind my character of what’s expected of him, to a certain extent, of course.

I’m like a controlling mother, with more children than the ones I gave birth to physically. These are the babies I gave birth to creatively, and they had better behave, or they’ll be put in a time-out…which, of course, means I’ll save them for when another story, more fitting their rebellious nature, is conjured up.

Have you ever had a rebellious character take control of your fictional story?

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Have Some Catholics Really Evolved or Have They Just Turned Away From Christ?

Iraqi Worshippers Pray For Pope John Paul III have a question! I was watching a news show not that long ago, and on it a woman stated confidently that Catholics are evolving. She said it in response to a news story about a homosexual college student who wanted to ban a Catholic church on campus because the priest did not support gay marriage.

“Catholics are evolving,” she said, and went on to suggest that priests and Catholic teaching should evolve also. Really?

So because Catholics are turning away from Catholic teaching, priests should also? And since Catholic doctrine is based on Christ’s teaching, should Christ evolve also? Instead of priests looking to Christ and people looking to priests, should priests learn Catholicism from people, and in turn Christ should just go with what Catholics are believing? Makes no sense to me!

So what’s the truth? Are Catholics really evolving, or are they turning away from Catholic teaching and taking on beliefs that don’t fit into Catholicism.  Have they just turned away from Christ?

What do you think?

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Kermitt Gosnell Guilty! Does Case Reveals Truths About Abortion!

fetus_in_womb_delightintruth

I believe in the protection of innocent life. In fact, I have a fictional pro-life story due out some time in the future. Because I feel so strongly about this, I wanted to discuss a huge case that ‘s currently underway.

If you’ve been following the Gosnell case closely, you’ll know that this so-called doctor was found guilty of 3 counts of murder. I advise researching the story for the details as they’re too gruesome for me to post here.

What I do want to discuss is the truth that has revealed itself in the story. One is that in many states abortion is legal up until 24 weeks. Can you imagine that? A child is fully formed at 24 weeks. You can feel the kick of a 24 week baby. You are 6 weeks pregnant at 24 weeks. You are heading into your 3rd trimester at 24 weeks gestation. I’m currently 24 weeks pregnant!

The other truth that this case reveals? If this man was found guilty of killing babies outside the womb that survived abortions, what’s the difference between a child in gestation at that same age? What makes them worthy of life outside the womb that doesn’t make them worthy inside? Gosnell was found guilty of murder for killing these babies, so why is not considered murder when a child is killed inside the womb?

What are your thoughts about this case?

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Image Credit: delightintruth

Do Boys Like Gabriel and Faden Really Exist?

Guys on purity
You haven’t met Gabriel yet. But he’s a teen boy with gorgeous blue eyes, dark hair and a handsome face. He could be a model if he wanted to. And he could probably have any girl that he wanted to also. But his desire is to lead a pure life, dedicated to following Christ. Gabriel is from my upcoming novel, Freeing Tanner Rose.

Faden is another character with similar aspirations. He’s from my novel, The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch.

But do boys like Gabriel and Faden really exist? Are there boys out there who strive for purity, modesty and other strong Christian values, or are my novels just fairy-tales?

So tell me. Do you know boys like Gabriel and Faden? Why do you believe that these boys are few and far between?

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Michael Jackson’s Pro-life Song, “Song Groove (Abortion Papers)”

I don’t want to have a discussion about the accusations against Michael Jackson. I have my own ideas about a man who never had the chance to be a boy. It’s a sad story.

This post is for MJ fans who believe in protecting innocent life.

Following is a previously unreleased song on the newly released BAD 25 album -the 25th anniversary edition of Jackson’s album Bad. It’s called “Song Groove (The Abortion Papers).”

Following are some of the lyrics:

Those abortion papers
Signed in your name against the words of God
Those abortion papers
Think about life, I’d like to have my child

I also wanted to mention this song because I do have a pro-life novel coming up in the future. You’ll see the connection to this song when it’s out. Until then, enjoy the song.

I have to do it in a way so I don’t offend girls who have gotten abortions or bring back guilt trips so it has to be done carefully…I have to really think about it. (Jackson reportedly wrote)

Image Credit: rickey.org