Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Remembering a Great Miracle Today!

I was pondering on my bed when I woke up at 3 in the afternoon today (slept lots to make up for lost sleep the night before while busy til the wee hours with food preparation). Just thinking about the matters relating to the birth of the Lord Christ, how the whole of history prepared and pointed to the moment of the Great Visitation. Then I prayed for the Church, that we don't take for granted the amazing gift of that child, who became that boy in the temple, wiser than his years allowed, who became that man who taught and healed and showed mercy to outcasts, who became that sacrifice for the redemption of mankind.

It's no wonder angels sang about that birth. His coming is a thing worth celebrating.

From the Gospel of Luke:
But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

May His favor rest upon all of you. AMEN!


*(The artwork is Murillo's "The Adoration of the Shepherds")

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Parable Comes to Life

I loved this account of one pastor's putting a parable into action:

Pastor's Challenge Shocks Congregation

As soon as I saw a teaser saying that a pastor had handed out fifty dollar bills and made a challenge, I figured it was the parable of the talents. Very cool idea, releasing the ingenuity and creativity of the congregation.

What would you do if you were given fifty bucks and challenged to increase it many times over for charity in a short period of time?


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy

No fantasy on this tour. It's all about the science fiction. That's because this month we focus on Wayfarer’s Journal, a site with this stated purpose:

Our mission is to develop a venue to publish and review science fiction with a spiritual dimension. Now, that doesn't mean that the fiction will be "message" oriented. I'm a big believer in the old adage, "If you want to send a message call Western Union." What you will find here are good stories with strong characters and engaging plots. However, some of the characters may have a spiritual world view and some of the plots may take place at the intersection of the scientific and the numinous.

I was not wowed by the two offerings in the poetry section. But then, it's a new magazine, and probably doesn't have the volume of subs for poetry that established mags, especially secular ones, have. In time, I hope to see improvement, as I hold a big, big soft spot for SF poetry, along with a desire to find new and good Christian SF poetry. I will say that there are moments in Terri Main's poem "A Prayer Under A Strange Sun" that offer good images and emotional tugs, especially since I share the expectations of the narrator. Of the two up for you to read, Terri's is the more successful poem.

Terri happens to be no ordinary contributor, but also editor-in-chief of Wayfarer’s Journal . Now, you know. :)

Because my eyes are still healing, and I now have to use reading glasses--a pair I ordered haven't arrived--I have not been able yet to read except for brief moments at a time. (And imagine how that feels to a bookworm! It's AGONY!) So, besides the poetry, I sampled only two stories from the latest issue. The first was a brief one called "Changed Minds" by a familiar name, Alice Roelke. The concept is reminiscent of some classic SF tales and of Twilight Zone episodes (where people try to extend life by less than ethical means, where there is an obsession with beauty), as well as referencing back to the Beauty and the Beast tale. However, the story needed more depth to succeed. The ending feels abrupt and without sufficient foundation, and the characterization's too sketchy. And yet, it does give that nostalgia factor. Come on, who didn't love TZ and B&B?

Stoney Setzer, another familiar name to those who have read DEP publications, offers a story that takes on the idea of fear, aptly titled--especially for a science fiction novel set out there on a Martian moon--"Phobos." This is marred early on by As You Know, Bob and later by unintentinally comical dialogue. (Example: "Aiieee" and "AARGH." The latter I don't expect to see as an actual distressed sound coming from a human being.) I'd have preferred to see snapshots or other presentations of the actually outworking of the phobias. Still, it's a solid SF premise, that of facing our deepest fears, especially when that there is a civilization that can use those fears against us via special abilities. What can one trust? What can one believe? When will one succumb? Is autophobia your big fear? Stoney offers considerable conflict and a setting that space-oriented SF afficionados will enjoy.

Please drop by the magazine and read some of what's published. If you love it, let Terri know, so that she can get an idea of what readers want more of--or less of.

And be aware that Terri is moving away from the usual "issue" model:

One plan I have right now is to move away from the "magazine" model of a story site. This model is one which has "issues" coming out at a set interval. One of the advantages of the web is that you can update a site at any time. We get enough material to be adding some new material every month, but not enough to create a whole new issue. Simply updating the site when something new and interesting comes in would create a dynamically changing destination on the web. It would also shorten the time for writers between acceptance and publication of their work.

For those of you wishing to submit your creative work, the author guidelines for Wayfarer’s Journal may be found HERE. This is a modestly paying market--but hey, money. Money's good!

I wish Terri and WAYFARER'S JOURNAL plenty of great subs and long may she publish. It's always good to see another paying venue for Christian SF, no matter how modestly, and hey, I've volunteered and still do at modestly paying venues. I dream of the day our CSF mags/sites will be able to pay well and publish better and better and..the BEST!

Brandon Barr
Jim Black
Justin Boyer
Grace Bridges
Amy Browning
Jackie Castle
Carol Bruce Collett
Valerie Comer
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Chris Deanne
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Marcus Goodyear
Andrea Graham
Jill Hart
Katie Hart
Michael Heald
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Mike Lynch
Rachel Marks
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirtika or Mir's Here
John W. Otte
John Ottinger
Steve Rice
Cheryl Russel
Ashley Rutherford
Hanna Sandvig
James Somers
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespac
Laura Williams
Timothy Wise

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Quick Update on Eyes and Stuff

The surgery went well.

My post-op check-up was good.

Baruch HaShem!

I have the expected haloes and starbursts, but no complication. I'm being careful, using my meds, not touching my eyes. I can't wash my face for A WEEK, and I have gunk stuck to my upper lashes, so that's gross. I can clean it from the corner and the lower safely (as the optometrist showed me), but I gotta live with the upper gunk for a spell. I have to sleep with goggles (and I've been sleeping sitting up on the couch), and wear safety glasses while doing chores like dishwashing and stuff, so nothing splashes in the eye during the first critical week of healing. (I'll wear them for a month, just to be on the safe side.)

I haven't showered since Sunday. Just sponge baths with the safety glasses on. I don't want to do anything to compromise the cornea or the flap. God's been good, controlling my allergies in the most amazing way, so that I have no had the usual itchy eyes and desire to rub them constantly. I itch elsewhere, but that's par for the course. I'm a dermatitis prone, itchy girl.

I am getting used to modified monovision (one eye corrected for mid-range use, so that I can see beyond arm's length (computer monitor, television) and one eye corrected for distance (so I can drive and see the trees, sky, etc). That means no perfect vision for everything, but decent vision for most. I will need reading glasses (and that was expected, since middle-aged folks gotta deal with presbyopia). I didn't get full mono (which lets you read until your eyes age some more, so a few years without reading glasses), cause I was afraid I'd be one NOT to adapt to full monovision.

Eyes get tired fast, so I'll leave this update as is. I"m already squinting at the light.

I'll get some good prescription reading glasses when my eyes stabilize. Until then, I bought two pairs of cheap generic ones at STAPLES. They kinda suck, but they'll do. Until then, my reading is seriously hampered. (Previous to surgery, I could see perfectly up to about six, seven inches from my face, so I could read all day, no problem. Couldn't see anything else!)

Thank you heartily to all who prayed.

ChrisD, if you haven't emailed me with the info for the cd yet, please do. John already got his.


Sunday, December 09, 2007

What a Person (Character) Is vs
What a Person (Character) Ought to be

An email conversation got me thinking about something, and I figure I'd better post it since, if I go through with the eye surgery, I won't have use of the computer from anywhere from 24 hours to more (Lord, help me!). (I read where complications had one woman off for 8 weeks. I would...die of withdrawal.)

No, no. NO complications. I will not even speak that into my life.

Anyway, the subject: What people and characters ARE as opposed to what they OUGHT to be.

I read a review of a particular novel that said that a character did not behave in such a manner that testified to a true conversion. (Oh, and that he deserved some bad thing that happened afterwards as a consequence of disobedience.)

At first, it didn't much speak to me. I mean, I know what the reviewer meant. It's a sort of narrow idea of behavior that I've seen before, particularly from readers and writers with a high sense of Christian mission in writing and preference in reading. (Maybe it's the same with Muslims and Orthodox Jews, etc, but I'm not much in fellowship with writing circles and reading groups of said faiths, so dunno.)

And I bet I've said and written the very thing myself in the past. I didn't mean ill by it, just using a sort of "Well, it's a heroic character and if they had a conversion, lemme see some spiritual and virtue-associated heroism of character."

Biblically, conversion means there should be a change. I won't dispute this.

However, conversion doesn't mean you suddenly become a paragon of virtue, acting consistently with revelation at every turn.

Um, not in this cosmos!

However, those words in that review had a chilling effect on more than one person who read the pronouncement on the character. And I understand that as well, because it touches on something I've brought up in reviewing novels with uber-squeaky people who say and do uber-squeaky things. Hallelujah, I've been saved and now sin touches me no more. That sort of thing. It may have come up when I reviewed, say, BLACK CHERRY (can't recall, but mebbe). It certainly applies to WIND FOLLOWER, where the process of moving toward truth is gradual and includes human missteps and poor judgement.

I believe there is a sort of fiction that offers charm by virtue of having the uber-sqeaksome. It's a sort of naive, gentle, fantastical in its own way, heart-warming ideal. And for some genres, subgenres, certain works of certain tone, it's just right, like Goldilock's porridge.

For most works, I think it's misleading and blinkered.

I converted to the faith decisively and zealously several decades ago. It changed me in a fundamental way--the way I saw, the way I understood, the way I perceived, the way I hoped. But it didn't perfect me. I was a screw-up in many ways after I said, "Yeah, Lord, here I am, I repent and I believe." I still sinned.

What changed was the battle in my mind and spirit.

If I knew I was tempted and gave in to the desire--be it an uncharitable thought, a lustful thought, a greedy thought, a covetous though, an envious thought, or an action in relation to any of those--my interior domain was not a peaceful place. I warred in my internal parts. Okay, maybe the war was often more like a lazy skirmish followed by a quiet nap full of self-justifications, but having been sealed by the Spirit did something: It never allowed me to sin without knowing and feeling ill at ease to some extent (be it minor or major), except in cases where I was still learning about the boundaries, where I was scouring the gray areas with my limited vision. (Still learning, scouring, and pondering to this day and will unto my dying day, no doubt.)

If I lied, no matter how benign the motive, I twinged. If I suspected I might have an ulterior motive for a benevolent act, even if I wasn't totally sure, I twinged. If I had a malicious thought, I was aware that this was not holy, even if I continued to indulge it long, long, weeks before caving and confessing.

Even during the years I was openly backslidden--Well, as backslidden as a goody-two-shoes like myself gets backslidden, which by the holy standards of YHWH is abominable, but by a materialistic and hedonistic society such as ours is a sort of "Oh, ho-hum, is that all?" sort of rebellion-- I knew it. I would wake up and think. God, I know I'm messing up, but I'm tired of the fight, and sorry, I'm just gonna go with the sin flow. I can't fight the flesh right now. I didn't kill, didn't go burglarizing, didn't shoot up drugs bought with money I pilfered from kin or employer, didn't pathologically lie to aggrandize myself, didn't smack around babies, didn't worship idols (other than myself, I suppose), didn't blaspheme the name of God, didn't abuse widows and orphans, etc. No, I just did stuff no one would think about twice in the US were they not fixated on the pristine glory of the Word and the Lord.

(I'll add that along with gluttony and lust, selfishness has always been a besetting sin. I am overly self-protective and reclusive, and that has a way of cutting people out. The Mir is a work-in-progress. Unfortunately, my culture is one that encourages selfishness (hence the consumerism, the ads making one feel justified in getting the self-serving goodies, the explosion of boob jobs and nose jobs and butt jobs, the billions spent on fashionable clothes and make-up, etc. Yeah, we're a selfish set.)

Still, I knew it. Knew I had fallen into a muddy, slimy place and was allowing myself to wallow.

When I came back, got all clean, revived, renewed, it was because I decided fighting was better than wallowing, even if I got really, really exhausted of the constant battle, the war against the world, flesh, and devil.

It can still get tiring, but one thing happened as I got older (maybe wiser, don't put it in stone) is that I got a greater sense of the overwhelming, surrounding, invasive, refreshing love of God. I just had this sense that as much as a slimebasket as my thought life might be some days, as vengeful as my heart might be some days, as judgemental as my brain might be some days, as willful as my spirit might be some days, through every single one of those flaws and days...I was utterly and irrevocably loved.

I remember reading how Rich Mullins came to a similar realization and it utterly, devastatingly changed his perspective.

Well, yeah. It does. It makes the battle no less a battle, but it gives you sustenance, and the surety that if the wound is bad and you fall, even of your own doing the wound, the Lord does not flee your side. He is there, saying, "I see your spots and scars and the specks that mar your vision, and I still love you." And He washes me up again and I go on.

I want my characters to be like me. They can mess up royally, even after a radical conversion, and still feel that love is there, unchanged, unreserved, patient until the day of consummation and perfection.

A reviewer who expects characters to suddenly live up to the highest sort of virtue, human impulses aside, is a reviewer who does not give grace to the people of a book. And if not to those ficitonal characters, then how to real-life screw-ups like me? Or like most of the people in the Bible--including the drunks, the adulterers, the gossips, the whoremongers, the liars, the backbiters, the causers of dissension, the selfish of the New Testament church that Paul chastised with such energy, but which God continued to unwaveringly call His saints and beloved ones by the Spirit that spoke through Paul. To the saints...to the saints...to the saints... All those letters to screw-ups called saints.

I'm not a saint cause I"m perfect. I'm a saint cause in His infinite grace He has set me aside for His purposes and to be His own.

I want my characters who are "saints" NOT to be perfect. I want them to mess-up. Sometimes, really, really horribly: To lust and fall. To lie to save face. To steal from the church missions fund or their best friend. To cheat on a spouse or on taxes. Even to kill. To be gluttons and fat as a barn. (Um, I'm on a diet. Honest.)

Because it's when they think, desire, and maybe do such tings, and when we see how they respond to both their resisting of temptation and their falling to it, that's when we can see the effects of conversion in the most realistic of ways. Not perfection from day one, all heroic and spotless--which is God's attribute, not mine. But struggle not to sin, and if sin comes, then second thoughts, battle, internal crisis, shame, remorse, repentance, reconciliation.

Saints sin and know it. Saints sin and pay a price inside for it, and sometimes outside. (Yo, David!)

If a reviewer expects a perfect decision from a converted character faced with overwhelming temptation at their weakest point--full frontal Satanic attack on sorest spot--does that reviewer live a perfect post-conversion life that justifies that view? Or is it merely a question of idealization in art, when life is not ideal?

Are your characters reflecting how people ARE or are they what you think people ought to be post-conversion? How do you judge them, and how do you judge flesh and blood folks like them?

It's okay, imo, to idealize in certain stories for certain effects. It's a tool of the craft, like anything else. But I question the sort of criticism that does not allow characters to be...human. There is a merciless quality, a lack of grace there for the human condition.

And I have tossed that stone out myself. Maybe this is a stone, too, though it's intended to be something much less hard and unforgiving.


Saturday, December 08, 2007

Monday, Dec 10th, 3:30 EST: Wanna Pray?

If you can set aside time that day and hour--adjusting for your time zone if you're no in the Eastern zone--Kristy Dykes' family is asking for prayer in desirous expectation of a miracle.

Some of you know Kristy or have heard of her situation--brain cancer--so I put this out for those who will and can take time out for the Monday prayer kaboom.

I'll be undergoing my own minor surgery at that time (if I don't panic), and I'll probably have so much adrenaline pumping that I won't remember, but who knows? I might get this spiritual nudge to remind me. At 3:30 EST.

Stranger things have happened.

(Those of you who've had that imperative nudge from God and seen confirmation thereafter know what of I speak:

Eg: You hear an internal voice saying, "Put $80 in X person's Bible when they're not looking," then you find out the next week that they couldn't pay an $80 energy bill and their utilities were gonna be shut off, and they'd been praying for the means to pay. *Happened to me. We put the 80 bucks in the Bible as directed when they left it in the pew and went to the fellowship hall for snacks pre-service.

Eg: Or you get a clear voice saying, "Tell X that YZ," and you think, "No way, God. Are you joking?" But you get in the car and go and tell this person you haven't seen in almost a year that God said, "YZ," and they smile with joy and whoop because two other people came and told them, "God says to you that are to YZ," and you don't know THOSE people did THAT, too, cause you hadn't seen one of THEM in almost a year and you didn't even know the other person; but you all gave the same message to the first person, who, coincidentally, had been asking God for an answer to a life-altering question and seeking guidance and validation of God's will. *Happened to us, after I'd spent more than a year as an invalid and had barely left the house and hadn't been to church, but I was outside in my jammies praying before bed on a warm night and got the clear message, went inside, told hubby, who, being the trusting full of faith soul he is, said, okay, let's go and deliver the message when I insisted we had to cause I got a clear Word.

May not happen often, but when it happens, it's pretty dang uplifting and utterly cool and totally freaky. Yay, God.)

Read about the family's plea HERE.

Ocho, yes, Eight Random Mir Facts

Well, I'll try to be random. I'm shaking up my brain as I type, trying to disorder it up a bit in there.

I got tagged by D.G.D. aka The Sci-Fi Catholic (or maybe Snuffles, or maybe Lucky, not sure). I am a little jealous of Snuffles having a heap of unshared gold, and of the oreo orgy over there of which I am not allowed to partake, but, really, D.G.D. needs to do something about those virgins. Like, rescue them and get them good husbands. It's just not right that Snuffles keeps them hoarded that way. It almost makes me wanna call N.O.W., except I don't like N.O.W., and if I called they might say something to make my head explode.

Oh, wait, I should have saved that for the random facts.

With the cabeza all nice and shook up....here goes (even though I'm pretty sure I did this one a while back, but I forget):

1. I forget which memes I've done.

2. When I dream of myself, I have long, curly hair that has a life of its own sorta like the comics villainess/superheroine MEDUSA, only not red. In fact, I'd give up non-essential organs to have hair like that.

3. I firmly believe that one's temperament is nature more than nurture,though the effects of toxins/etc in the environment (as well as abuse or great love) play their part. I say this because I had temper tantrums from a very young age--throwing myself off the sofa at age 1 to land on my head. Which explains much, I think. By the grace of God, I never murdered anyone. And I'm much better these days, thanks so much.

4. If I could only eat one thing on the afternoon of my execution--er, had I committed some dread crime for which my life was forfeit--I'd be in big trouble, cause I've never had just one favorite food. But I"m thinking pasta made by Molto Mario.

5. My favorite film that I watched this week is EVAN ALMIGHTY. If God appeared to me, I'd want him to look and sound like Morgan Freeman, who I adore in a non-idolatrous sort of way, and I'd want Him to dance with me under a palm tree. That would be cool.

6. The best cookies are NOT Oreos, although, yes, Oreos are pretty darn good. Snuffles has limited cookie vision. The best cookies are, of course, chocolate snaps. Second best are ginger lemon cremes. Third best are chocolate creme wafers. And those butter cookies from the Puerto Rican bakery in the South Bronx with the apricot filling that my mom used to buy, those are in the top five, for sure.

7. I hate humidity. It makes me cranky and my hair frizz and my eyeglasses condense.

8. I'm really, really scared of being a widow. This is why I pray almost daily that I go first or simultaneously with hubby. I'm talking about full-out panic at the notion.

9. I married the world's sexiest man. And no, I didn't marry Gerard Butler. My husband is sexier.

10. I want to go on a pilgrimage to Iona and Lidinsfarne. But I'm afraid to fly. And I get sick in hotels/motels/inns. This is a problem.

I don't know if I should tag anyone. They might get mad at me and begin to hoard chocolate snaps and kidnap Mario before he can feed me. And DGD already tagged Elliot and SteveT. Humph. But, one must take risks for life to be an adequate adventure.

So, if you're reading this and you aren't, you know, demon-possessed or a Pullman fan--or both--consider yourself memed, in the nicest way. Comment with a link if you do the list, so that I can read about how odd you are.

"Compass" Quote for the Day

In the end, if a fairy tale doesn’t bring joy and hope, it isn’t much of a fantasy. With no God, no good, no eternal life, there is no living happily ever after in the world of “The Golden Compass.”

Pullman only seeks to give us hell, and seems pleased to bring it, making concrete the old cliche that misery truly loves company.
--from The Golden Compass: How can it look so good and be so wrong? by Msgr. Eric Barr


The Mir's Eyes Need Prayer

Well, posting next week (at least early in the week) may be zilch. I'm going Monday to get eye surgery. I'm scared and on the point of chickening out, but, well, odds are I will show and get the deed done.

I'm hugely myopic and have presbyopia, too. So, it's unlikely that I'll be glasses-free. But I'll have improved vision and won't be blind sans glasses, which is what I am hoping for. Being able to get up and not bump into things without glasses or shower and actually see the body parts I'm lathering or shaving.

I'm a real wuss about eye stuff, so I'm in a half-terror at the thought of complications. Prayer most welcome.

But I'll post if I ran screaming from the doc and came back to my bifocals.



Friday, December 07, 2007

For those who love Christ & the Arts

Visit Intersection

I've joined. (Member number five.)

I've got a page up. The picture's 9 years old, and my hair is less poufy, but it's got my red lipstick mojo going. (I have about 40 sticks of assorted red lipsticks. If you meet me and my lips are bare of color, that's NOT me. It's a Pod Mir.)

Visit. See if this is a community that suits you.

I've been a little less active online than in the past, but I keep the hope that my energy will increase and I'll have something to say on lots of things. Meanwhile, another place where art and theology can ... er....intersect. And this one has been created by the Elfin Queen Blue-Bearer-formerly Elfin Princess White-Wearer, but she got a promotion and a new dress--which is a good thing.

I'm hoping my SF loving and Christ worshipping pals will come and make it a vibrant place. Me, not so vibrant lately. But I'm taking my vitamins religiously.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Why The Mir's National Geographic Subscription Form Goes Into the Trash!

Thanks to Elliot for a link to THIS ARTICLE, which has convinced me not to subscribe to National Geographic. I had been tempted by the low price and free world map offer. (Yes, the world map is tempting, oh, so tempting.)


Carole's Plea to Christians...and Mine

It's a really pathetic thing that she needs to even make this plea, but here goes, from her blog Dark Parables:

Wind Follower has six sex scenes that have been giving some -- not all-- Christians a tough time. Only about ten pages in all, but some folks have gotten way bent out of shape about them. If you find you don't like the book, you can pass it on to someone else or donate it to your local library. Don't throw it into the garbage or anything. Just being honest. I know how we Christians can be about our responsibility to the world and our duty to rid the world of any kind of evil.

That said, it's a good book and many Christians like it.

Just for the record:

That a man gets an erection when he desires a woman is not obscene. That a woman gets wet when she's having sex with her husband is not obscene. That women have nipples is not a disgrace.

Humans burp, cough, sneeze, fart, because the body is constructed BY GOD to do such things when there are appropriate stimuli (gas, mucus, pollen, etc). When an object of strong desire is in view or proximity, the human body has reactions. (Can't speak for you, but my parts are in working order.) These reactions are not dirty. These reactions are not something to get worked up over and censor away. They are part of having blood and nerves and hormones and emotions and all sorts of normal connections a la homo sapiens.

I am very glad my lubricating parts work and my husbands erectile tissue is functional. God made us to work that way. Love and desire expressed in story is not necessarily a crime or a sin. God himself inspired erotic poetry. If you think that's bad, tear Song of Songs out of your Bible, would you? Spare yourself the undue excitement.

If you can read a story where someone kills or lies or gossips or gets angry out of bounds or cheats on a spouse or judges harshly, why can't you read one where a husband and wife are naked together? So many sins are okay to read bout, but a non-sin is not? Oops, she's out of her nightgown, RUN FOR THE HILLS! We're being corrupted by...er...nipples?

What is wrong with this picture?

I also say: Ponder it. Stop with the knee jerk and think about it.

Something is very, very wacky when an author, a Christian author who has penned a God-honoring, well-crafted Christian fantasy with loads of wise teaching within its dialogue and exposition, which points unerringly to YHWH, has to make that sort of plea I copied and pasted. It's so sad, really, that I can barely express myself cogently. I want to scream.

We look like a bunch of dorks when we throw a book in the trash because it dares be as true to life as, well, Scripture. (The marital scene evokes Solomon's writing; the rape scene evokes the story of Tamar.) Being a novel, it has deeper characterization and more "real time," but it's hardly pornography.

Yanno, God's probably going, "Oy, vey!" up there over this. I know I am down here.

Oy, vey.

Buy Carole's book. Terrific story drenched with the author's love and worship of God.

And if it's not your cuppa tea, pass it on to someone whose it might be. This is not a book for the trash heap.


Winners of the Raven CDs

Since I only got two entries, I'll skip the random selection and give away two cds. Simplifies things, eh?

So, Chris of Write and Whine and John of Grasping for the Wind, please email me at MirtikaS (remember that "S") at my gmail dot com addy. I'll need your mailing addresses (and full names, natch).

Each of you will get a copy of Vol 2. (Amazon.com did an oopsie with labeling and they had to cease sending Vol 1 cds out.)