Should Catholics Write Spec Fiction?

Well, Catholics do write spec fiction and have written it. For example, think of Michael D. O’Brien, Dean Koontz, and J. R. R. Tolkien.

Spec is an abbreviation for speculative, and it refers to the major categories of science fiction, horror, and fantasy. But not all spec fiction is alike, and reader discretion is advised.

The Father Capranica MysteriesI enjoyed The Father Capranica Mysteries: Stories of the Strange and Supernatural by Father Mike Driscoll. His character time travels, which is something that God initiates. Father Capranica finds himself in places throughout history where God has a task for him. The stories are fast-paced, varied, entertaining, and faith affirming.

The fact that a priest wrote “stories of the strange and supernatural” encouraged me regarding my fiction. It also made me realize that I could revise my work to include Catholic elements instead of things that are not Catholic. I think the villains in stories can do all sorts of very evil things, but usually not the protagonists, unless they’re in the process of reforming. However, I don’t think authors should give many details about the occult, such as specifics about witchcraft.

The Wolf's EnemyThe first book I revised, The Wolf’s Daughter, I renamed The Wolf’s Enemy. I changed the identity of the protagonist’s next-door neighbor from a witch to a cat rescuer. Tala, the main character, has an amulet that’s a family heirloom, but I have a relative destroy it as he voices harsh words about the pagan object. He reveals a Catholic holy object but warns her against using it as a magical talisman. Instead, he prays with her and explains that healing requires faith and depends on God’s will. I allowed the antagonist to remain as evil as he had been in the original version.

While revising the book, I thought about things such as prophecy, holy objects, and God’s signs in the sky. Reflected in a dark mirror, they’re twisted into sinful things, such as fortune-telling, amulets, and astrology.

Spec fiction is entertaining and popular. The stories often deliver a powerful emotional experience that could change a person on a more profound level than just an appeal to the intellect. Well-written spec stories that are not the reflection from a dark mirror can have a positive influence on a person’s faith journey.

Going against the Flow

God's Not DeadLast night my husband and I watched God’s Not Dead. It was refreshing to see a movie that has a positive message about Christianity and its adherents. Some characters have a little more depth than the ones I’ve seen in other Evangelical films. However, I found it hard to believe that the people in relationships could have ever gotten involved with each other in the first place, and the faith conflicts seem too sudden.

When I watched the student challenge the philosophy teacher, it reminded me of an experience I had when I returned to school as an adult to finish my degree. I had to attend an orientation (indoctrination) class, and though I don’t remember the name of it, it should have been something like “Modernism and Relativism—Welcome to the University.”

It was more than twenty years ago, but I’ll try to recreate the scene from what I can remember occurring during the first class.

Teacher—There is no such thing as absolute truth.

Me (raising my hand and being called on)—I don’t agree with that.

Teacher—Then tell me something that’s absolutely true.

Me—I’m sitting on a wooden chair and not an elephant. (By this time, some students are starting to squirm in their wooden chairs.)

Teacher—How do you know?

Me—Because what I’m sitting on doesn’t have floppy ears or a trunk. I should have said something about the chair’s not eating peanuts.

Teacher—How do you know?

No matter what I said, the teacher gave me the broken-record answer. I’m not sure if any students agreed with me, even though no one else spoke up. They were probably too scared. However, he certainly didn’t change my mind.

It’s not easy to go against the flow. But weakening belief in truth is one step leading to denial of Truth. We should always challenge both, verbally or in writing, regardless of the repercussions. I pray that Jesus will give us the discernment, courage, and skill to speak or write the words He desires.


Castle Wolves: The Story of the Story

castle wolves hardcover for bannerWriting this book was a challenge, and that was even before I decided to revise it. The book was notable because of all the firsts for me, such as the medieval historical category, romance emphasis, formal language, number of characters, and length.

When I finished the book, I participated in a Twitter Pitch Madness, and this link provides information, including the schedule. Be sure to read the new rules under #PitMad. I urge everyone who has a completed manuscript to participate. It’s a lot of fun, and so much less stressful than a live pitch. And many people receive requests for their manuscripts. I was encouraged by the amount.

Between the results of Pitch Madness and my own publishing company research, I sent out about ten submissions and took a deep breath. But after a few days, I started thinking that the book was a natural to have Catholic elements, so I began the revision. After several weeks, I started receiving rejections…and three acceptances from my original submissions. Two were from companies open to Christian themes, but no Catholic publishers had accepted the manuscript.

My protagonist is royalty and is a shape-shifter. However, she says a daily rosary and reads the Bible along with participating in many other things that reveal she is a Catholic. Instead of trying to resubmit the rewritten book, I decided to self-publish so I could have control over the content.

I’m satisfied with my decision. I need to put more effort into promotion, but most small publishers offer very little in the marketing category.

Wolf Cult Now on Kindle

final front cover wolf cult

In WOLF CULT, the fourth book in THE TALA CHRONICLES, Tala and Matt think they’ve solved their werewolf problem. However, a mysterious woman tells Tala a frightening prophecy. Tala and Matt again find themselves thrown into a whirlpool of pursuit and violence. But this time the stakes are much higher.

WOLF CULT on Amazon