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Kathleen Valentine
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Book Talk & Exchange of Views > Should your Church tell you how to write your novel?

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message 1: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
Should your Church tell you how to write your novel? - http://coolmainpress.com/ajwriting/ar...


message 2: by Claudine (new)

Claudine | 1110 comments Mod
The only person who should tell you how to write is you yourself.


message 3: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (patriciasierra) | 2388 comments I vote no, nor should the church tell politicians how to vote on issues. Voters elect people, not their churches.


message 4: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Tillotson (storytellerauthor) | 1802 comments Oh sure, I slide over here to ROBUST to see what's cooking and I find another religious discussion. Now I have to think. But that's what keeps me coming back. We - authors who wish to sell their books - (and everyone these days come to think of it) are warned not to address anything even remotely non-PC.

But if not authors, whom?

Thanks for having the chutzpah to bring these issues forward, Andre. It's always an inspiration to read your take on things. I won't comment on the topic because I've never been Churchly and thus would not feel myself adequately informed, but I will be watching the discussion with relish.


message 5: by Andre Jute (last edited Jul 05, 2011 07:43PM) (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
I also posted the same subject on the Kindleboards, and the moderators are clearly on tenterhooks.
http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php...
One came into the thread to threaten to lock it almost before anyone said a word.

Frankly, it hadn't occurred to me that I shouldn't be able to discuss the subject wherever I wish.

I must say, i was amazed when I arrived in indieland at the "authors" squirming to be agreeable to fools and idiots, simply to sell a single copy at 99c. One jerk reported me to Amazon for saying that of course I didn't want everyone to buy my book...

Nor had it occurred to me that a writer should or could be anything but an intellectual several steps ahead of the lowest common denominator opinion, by definition out of step with the present consensus. (That is one of the circumstances that made ROBUST necessary.)


message 6: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (patriciasierra) | 2388 comments How do you find out when someone reports you to Amazon. Do the powers that be contact you?


message 7: by Claudine (new)

Claudine | 1110 comments Mod
Patricia Sierra wrote: "How do you find out when someone reports you to Amazon. Do the powers that be contact you?"

I have no idea Patricia. I would assume that they contact you.

I reviewed a book a while back, I dared mention heathens would like it too as previous reviews felt that the subject matter (Jesus and vampires in 33 AD) was just far too Christian. Someone commented on my review saying they were reporting me to Amazon. That was in March. I haven't heard anything yet and my review hasn't been pulled. I'd simply repost if it was.


message 8: by Andre Jute (last edited Jul 06, 2011 01:16PM) (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
As Claudine says, those clowns gloat that they've reported you. In the DogFace episode they were actually gloating in public that Amazon would throw me off.

Sometimes you get a letter from Amazon, like the letter you got, Sierra; that is always the result of someone complaining. I've never heard of Amazon writing a letter like that on its own initiative.

Jesus won't be bothered at all by vampires. He'd turn their blood into water, the water would by definition be holy, and they'd die painfully.


message 9: by Claudine (new)

Claudine | 1110 comments Mod
Andre Jute wrote: "Jesus won't be bothered at all by vampires. He'd turn their blood into water, the water would by definition be holy, and they'd die painfully.,..."

Now that is a great premise for a vampire story Andre. You just know you are dying to write one.


message 10: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
Hello, this is Amanda calling. What have you got against me, Claudine? [signed] Amanda H.


message 11: by Keryl (new)

Keryl Raist (kerylraist) | 240 comments I see Churches as voluntary associations with set rules. So, if you want to be part of the group, then follow the rules. If you don't want to follow the rules, leave the group. No one, in this part of the world, is holing a gun to your head and forcing you to be a member of any church.

Which means, yes, the Catholic Church has every right to tell it's members how to vote, what to write, what to read, what clothing to wear, and on and on. But here's the great thing about living in the West. If you don't like it, go find a different Church. (I feel differently about this subject when we aren't talking about life in religiously divergent, mostly secular democracies.)

That aside, I also see a vast difference between The Catholic Church's Index Liborum Prohibitorum, and one Catholic reader saying his interpretation of the faith and your book don't go together all that well. Unless that one reader is the Pope, so what?

Meanwhile, if you say a reviewer has no right to criticize a work based on his own interpretation of his religion, you're saying he has no right to his own opinion. I find that distinctly unsavory.

I'm sure there are Jews who will have heart palpitations at what I did in Sylvianna. They're just as welcome to tell me about it as the guy who didn't like the fact my characters were insufficiently masculine, the one who thought it was too slow, and the one who thought the sex was too explicit. It's just an opinion.


message 12: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Valentine Well, as the author of the book that caused all this brouhaha (Each Angel Burns), I need to point out that, so far, the Church hasn't said a word about it. I see this as an oversight on the part of the Pope but perhaps not. The reviewer, who writes for a web site called CatholicFiction.net (which I have also reviewed books for) gave her opinion. It is slightly deceptive because, from the way the site is set up, it seems to speak for the Church but actually it does not.

Now, as to the reviewer's opinions, the passage she was most upset by concerned a rather dreamy and poetic description of two fifty-ish people, both deserted by their spouses, falling in love and having an affair. The passage has not one explicit word in it but, at the end, I wrote: The night deepens and grows ever more silent as they flow together in that most ancient form of worship. Oh God, they breathe, over and over. Oh God.
And God smiles and answers, yes.


That threw the reviewer into a tizzy and she got dreadfully upset. Apparently God doesn't say "yes" when two people who are not married to each other make love no matter how much they love each other.

I thought a LOT about that passage when I wrote it -- I put it in and took it out a dozen times. Finally, I decided that John Gardner got the final say: True art is moral, it seeks to edify, not to debase, to hold off for a little while the twilight of the gods. I left it in.


message 13: by Keryl (last edited Jul 06, 2011 08:20AM) (new)

Keryl Raist (kerylraist) | 240 comments That's not the sort of theological comment that would make me blink, but I can see how it would upset a devout Catholic or Protestant. If marriage is the only God ordained channel of sexual expression, then it's going to be a problem when sex doesn't fit into those boundaries, and a bigger problem if God starts saying it's OK.

With that clarification, I'm actually likely to agree with the reviewer. It's not a very Catholic message. (Just that bit, not having read the rest of the book, I'm not going to comment on it.) It'd be one thing to say the sex was a sin and forgiven, that would be entirely in keeping with Catholic doctrine. But the idea that God would approve adultery is distinctly un-Catholic. When it comes down to it, formal Catholic theology is much more about the rules than it is about love.

I've always found it amusing that the intellectual children of Paul are so hung up on "the rules." After all, he's the guy who tossed all the old rules out and told us that they were essentially the root of all evil.

I also find it amusing that subscribers of a theology that believes that all men sin all the time would then get upset because human characters are sinning. Granted, I get the difference that in your particular piece it's God's approval of the sin that got that reviewer's panties in a wad. Still, you see Christians get annoyed about sinning characters often enough. You'd think a religion that categorically denies the existence of a man without sin would be more tolerant of sinning characters.


message 14: by Kathleen (last edited Jul 06, 2011 09:04AM) (new)

Kathleen Valentine Thanks, Keryl. My thinking in writing what I did was that if, as St. Ignatius told us, God is always present in all things then God would be fully present where love is. Most of the Catholics I know are divided about things of this sort. The far-right fundamentalists, of course, get very upset by any suggestion that things might be different than the way the rules say. But the liberal Catholics (mostly taught, as I was, by Jesuits) think God might be more open-minded.

However, my biggest concern with her review was that she based 90% of her review on a very, very small part of the book. Plus, I really am tired of the stereo-type -- which her review perpetuates -- that Catholics are obsessed with sex. This is the blog I wrote about it: Critiquing a Critique: "You Catholics always focus on the sex..."



message 15: by Sharon (last edited Jul 06, 2011 11:44AM) (new)

Sharon Tillotson (storytellerauthor) | 1802 comments Andre Jute wrote: "I also posted the same subject on the Kindleboards, and the moderators are clearly on tenterhooks.
http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php...
One came into the thread to threaten to lock it ..."


After several months of being on the KBs as recommended by all the indie gurus, I recently decided it was not in my nor my potential reader's best interests to continue and cut back my participation to a fly by every now and again.

I read through the entire post there and was just thinking I should revisit my decision because the thread had great discussion and showed promise of meeting some great authors as had occurred in the past, when abruptly I came to the last post, which announced that the thread had been locked.

It should be noted that the KindleBoards are apparently sanctioned by but not under the purview of Amazon. It's the board's gig, and I respect their right to their rules. It's just such a shame that honest and spirited debate such as this is not tolerated there.


message 16: by Keryl (new)

Keryl Raist (kerylraist) | 240 comments Kathleen wrote: "Thanks, Keryl. My thinking in writing what I did was that if, as St. Ignatius told us, God is always present in all things then God would be fully present where love is. Most of the Catholics I kno..."


Seems like there are many more Jerome or Origin style thinkers than people who focus on the value of love. Of course anyone paying any attention to the whole is homosexuality an abomination debate is probably aware of that. It's clearly a rules winning out over love issue.


message 17: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
Keryl wrote: "Meanwhile, if you say a reviewer has no right to criticize a work based on his own interpretation of his religion, you're saying he has no right to his own opinion. I find that distinctly unsavory."

Nope, I didn't say that, and nobody who knows me will think I would. But there is no reason to exempt a religious reviewer from the rules of honesty and due diligence that applies to all reviewers.

If Kathleen had claimed the reviewer has no right to her opinion, it would be Kathleen in the dock here, not the reviewer. But that isn't what happened. Kathleen merely pointed out that the reviewer's vision of the book was distorted, and specified the elements of distortion. I didn't take sides; I don't care who is right or wrong here; my interest is that Kathleen should have a hearing. That has been achieved, rather spectacularly, I thought.

The Roman Catholic Church is in the headline because,
a) I write a damn good headline as a reflex action
b) Controversy is a polemical tool.
c) Controversy is a commercial tool and Kathleen deserves to be rewarded for her talent and dignity, and
d) Most important of all, the Church shouldn't get away with letting semi-official bodies run around implying they're sanctioned to decide who can be a member of the church and who cannot. That's a form of mob rule, and I'm delighted to stick a stick in its spokes.
e) It provides an opportunity for Kathleen and others (Pearson Moore considered this a point so important that he concentrated on it in two substantial articles) to say repeatedly that a CatholicFiction.net review is not, repeat not the official Church view, an important distinction that can easily escape the sort of blustering idiot we saw a few of in the Kindleboards discussion.
f) As a warning to wannabe official kneejerkers that the subject has excellent escalation potential.


message 18: by Andre Jute (last edited Jul 06, 2011 02:18PM) (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
Sharon wrote: "It should be noted that the KindleBoards are apparently sanctioned by but not under the purview of Amazon. It's the board's gig, and I respect their right to their rules. It's just such a shame that honest and spirited debate such as this is not tolerated there."

Kindleboards is a commercial organization. They provide space for discussions that plug books. They do it well. Their close moderation sometimes rubs me mildly, but I understand their reasoning. But ask yourself, what can they do about a controversial subject, which is likely to leave one or more parties offended? Here on ROBUST we say, to the devil with who gets offended, but we aren't selling anything. Consider what will happen here if some idiot like "green pen" used this thread to launch a vitriolic attack on the Catholic Church. Someone is likely to roll right over him, and neither I nor Claudine, the two theoretical "moderators", would step in to protect him; our "rules", such as they are, specifically forbid it. On the Kindleboards they cannot afford a protracted bloodletting, because they would lose customers. So all credit to them for letting that thread run so long, as it happens one post too far. (In fact, when I saw the second last post, by Pearson Moore, and knowing that sooner or later, because these things always spiral downwards, the mods would have to bite the bullet, I thought to myself, This is it, do it now, Betsy.) You're right, that discussion, and the tone in which it was conducted, is a credit to the Kindleboards; I don't think it is fair to deduct points for *a commercial board* cutting it off after everyone had several turns to say their piece.


message 19: by Keryl (new)

Keryl Raist (kerylraist) | 240 comments Andre Jute wrote: But there is no reason to exempt a religious reviewer from the rules of honesty and due diligence that applies to all reviewers.

I haven't read Each Angel Burns yet, though I'm on a book swap for it, but, the review doesn't look bad to me. I know I've certainly written the sort where I spend a paragraph or two talking about how the majority of the book is just fine, and then a longer bit about something that really irked me.

In what way do you think the review has gone past the bounds of honesty?

The reviewer is Catholic, the book involves apparently not just a Priest but God Himself approving of adultery. If you'll forgive the term, that's just not kosher, nor would most devout Catholics find it so.

I had one book I reviewed where the author held up an abusive relationship as a good thing for a YA audience. It's a pretty small part of the book, but you can bet it got a really big chunk of the review. And the reason for that is I'm of the opinion that it's not okay to sell 14-year-old girls on the idea that it's okay if he beats you up as long as he's awfully sorry about it later.

Or, on a similar vein, there is a pretty large number of reviews that lambast the Laurel K. Hamilton Vamp books because some of the characters are 'obnoxiously' conservative. I haven't read the books, but having read lots of reviews of them, I'm guessing the politics isn't a big chunk of what's going on.

I guess I'm just not seeing the difference between a secular reviewer focusing on an issue that bothered him as the majority of his review and what the catholicfiction.net reviewer did.


message 20: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
Keryl, rather than argue the case with you now and perhaps influence you, I'll wait until your review arrives. (You were going to offer it to me for my netsite, weren't you? -- unless of course you have it earmarked for somewhere else already.)


message 21: by Keryl (new)

Keryl Raist (kerylraist) | 240 comments I was intending to post it here and on amazon (as per the terms of the swap) and probably my blog as well. I wouldn't mind letting it spend a little time in the lime light on your blog as well.

Granted, I'm probably not getting to it soon. It's a popular book on the Sisterhood of the Traveling book group, and last I checked I was the last one on the list.


message 22: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
That's what we'll do then, Keryl. Tell the Sisterhood to read faster. That's the trouble with litfic, all those long pars and full lines make for a slow read.


message 23: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Valentine The book is being hotly debated on CatholicFiction.net which is fine but today they went too far -- one guy started dissing James Lee Burke. I will not stand for that.


message 24: by Andre Jute (last edited Jul 06, 2011 09:52PM) (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
Kathleen wrote: "The book is being hotly debated on CatholicFiction.net which is fine but today they went too far -- one guy started dissing James Lee Burke. I will not stand for that."

For Steve Weatherbe to say that Clete Purcel, the James Lee Burke counterweight to Dave Robichaux, doesn't have a family life is an extreme understatement!


message 25: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (patriciasierra) | 2388 comments Burke and I have the same literary agent, so I'll stick up for him, too.


message 26: by Daniel (last edited Jul 07, 2011 01:16AM) (new)

Daniel Roberts (Daniel-A-Roberts) | 467 comments The written word from our fingers is a creation of our own universe, as we, the writers, are like gods unto those we ourselves create. Fiction in itself is an act of creation, of a place where we are in control for the benefit of our readers.

I can write a short story about a little girl going to the store with a dollar to buy candy. I am her creator. I am not God. I am only 'her' mediocre god, a mere mortal who imagines her and puts her into a plane of reality that she cannot pierce with her own conscious. To the little girl, her Universe is there already. The Earth. Parents who gave birth to her, all of their own lives unspoken, but there. A universe I created. It comes into existence, though it is only on paper and in our own minds. However we perceive such a place, it is there, or we can't imagine it and words are meaningless.

I can go back and forward in time, flipping the pages. I can change the color of her eyes. Make it ten dollars and not just one in her hand. Have a bully steal her dollar. Or I can give her extraordinary powers to defeat the bully. All within my own power of creation for her universe, and she wouldn't know of these changes...unless I allowed such knowledge. Such is the fabulous stuff of fiction.

As for myself, in our reality, I am a non-denominational Christian. How others portray God in their fiction is their pervue and no others have cause to get antsy over the content, because they cannot separate fiction from fact.

Do we not write fiction to give insight to a universe that isn't like our own? If not, then why do we even bother sitting down at the desk and wordsmith a plot line?

Those who cannot keep reality and fiction on the levels they aspire to be, I feel pity for them. If somebody goes into a tizzy and reports this or that on Amazon or where-ever, over a fictional god in a fictional universe, well, they have issues only pills can help.

In the faith of our own reality, we are either 'written' into the Book of Life or we are not. There is no 'Maybe Book' discussed. So then, are we ourselves in an elaborately written book, unable to see our own pages for what they are?

That is the stuff those people who need the pills will kill themselves over. Good riddance, says I, and hopefully when my own part in this tired old Universe plays out, maybe I can ask to have my own role written just a little bit better. Hehehe.


message 27: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Valentine Daniel wrote: "The written word from our fingers is a creation of our own universe, as we, the writers, are like gods unto those we ourselves create. Fiction in itself is an act of creation, of a place where we ..."

Daniel, I agree with you. Writing -- especially fiction -- is an act of creation that is highly personal and when others seek to control it they are trying to step between the writer and the inspiration, wherever you think that comes from.

I agree with your comments "Those who cannot keep reality and fiction on the levels they aspire to..." I suspect thee are many who do not know the difference.

I see you are from Erie -- I spent much of my childhood there and went to Behrend. My first novel The Old Mermaid's Tale is set in a fictionalized version of Erie called Port Presque Isle.


message 28: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Jordan (kajordan) | 3042 comments I'm reminded of a play by some famous English guy - 'Much Ado About Nothing.'

What was his name?

Anyway, best wishes Kathleen, and congradulations on a controversy that will surely sell a thousand more books.


message 29: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
Patricia Sierra wrote: "Burke and I have the same literary agent, so I'll stick up for him, too."

Like all great writers, an Irishman. I especially liked his early comment on the Amazon Star Chamber for the Indies:

“We know that we bring before a bribed tribunal a prejudged case.” -- Edmund Burke to Sir Philip Francis, 1784

Your literary agent must be quite old, which no doubt accounts for his natural affinity for vampire tales.


message 30: by Andre Jute (last edited Jul 07, 2011 04:48PM) (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
Daniel wrote: "...and hopefully when my own part in this tired old Universe plays out, maybe I can ask to have my own role written just a little bit better."

Thank you for that, Daniel. Since my lines have been written rather well, perhaps next time round they could be written a little LARGER, say bigger sales than Stephen King?


message 31: by Will (new)

Will Granger | 91 comments Kathleen wrote: "Well, as the author of the book that caused all this brouhaha (Each Angel Burns), I need to point out that, so far, the Church hasn't said a word about it. I see this as an oversight..."

Kathleen,

As Catholic, I'll admit your passage makes me a bit uncomfortable, but I completely support your right to write it. I believe in artistic freedom - I think we have to write honestly. I may not want to read your book, but congratulations for being brave enough to be an honest artist. I hope you do well with your book.


message 32: by Will (new)

Will Granger | 91 comments I have enjoyed reading this discussion. It is great to have a place to openly discuss any topic. I'm Catholic, and I don't like Kathleen's depiction of God approving of adultery. To me, any attempts to justify adultery are just lame excuses. On the other hand, I fully support her in writing that. I don't think the Church ever tells us what we can and cannot write and do. As some of you pointed out, the reviewer in this case was not an official spokesman for the Church.
As for me, I do not set out to write anything with a Catholic agenda in mind, but I could, and I might do so in the future. My YA series happens to have an overall focus on peace, and I am glad for that. I hope it appeals to young readers and I believe it is a Christian message. Maybe my faith subconsciously led me in that direction when I wrote the books.
Cheers to Kathleen for arousing such a controversy with her book! What writer would not want to attract such attention? I hope all the discussion leads to many more sales for her.


message 33: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (patriciasierra) | 2388 comments Andre, the agent is Philip Spitzer. He's quite young at heart. A really wonderful man in more ways than I can count.


message 34: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Roberts (Daniel-A-Roberts) | 467 comments Kathleen - Ah, somebody else who walked the streets of Erie! Very cool indeed. I will have to check out your fictionalized story on it, and I love the wordplay on it. Presque isle was a favored haunt. As well as Waldamere, as that place was booming in the early to mid 70's.

Will - I am quoting your comment here... "I'm Catholic, and I don't like Kathleen's depiction of God approving of adultery. To me, any attempts to justify adultery are just lame excuses."

Why is it that people attach a non-fiction meaning to a complete work of fiction? God doesn't approve of adultry in our own reality. In non-fictional terms. Had her work been non-fiction, such feelings would be justified. However, this is a made up story, invented by the author, and in no way is supposed to be a lame excuse for anything in real life.

Being bothered by a work of fiction and God's fictional role in it is akin to watching an episode of Superman and then claiming that it bothers you because God didn't make people on Krypton. Of course God didn't. It's a work from the imagination. Krypton doesn't exist. Neither does the God in Kathleen's fictional story. It shouldn't bother you anymore than any other fictional universe. Find a book by Robert E. Howard called Conan the Barbarian. They mention many gods in that book including Crom. They shouldn't bother you either, because they too aren't real. Are you understanding the point?

Andre - You're quite welcome! Keep at it, your sales are just the beginning, my friend. ^_^


message 35: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Tillotson (storytellerauthor) | 1802 comments Andre Jute wrote: "... Like all great writers, an Irishman..."

Sounds like a perfect debate-in-the-making...


message 36: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
Sharon wrote: "Andre Jute wrote: "... Like all great writers, an Irishman..."

Sounds like a perfect debate-in-the-making..."


My tutor said to me once, "Andre, dear boy, you really must stop giving elderly dons apoplexy."

"What did I do? This time."

"You said, and I quote you precisely because the Master wrote it down, 'Mmm. I wouldn't include Swift, Shaw and Burke quite so readily among the "English writers of genius". Like most writers of genius in English, they were Irish. Likewise so-called English soldiers of genius, vide Wellesley.'"

The British are big on appropriating the upper hundredth of a percentile of other nations' talents.


message 37: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
More "Why the Irish are Best" from Rochelle Tullis:

"All polar bears are Irish"

http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article...


message 38: by Kathleen (last edited Jul 07, 2011 05:17PM) (new)

Kathleen Valentine Will wrote: "...I don't like Kathleen's depiction of God approving of adultery. To me, any attempts to justify adultery are just lame excuses...."

I know this may seem like splitting hairs but my feelings when I wrote that was NOT that God was approving of adultery but rather that God was approving of what these two people were bringing to one another. I'm afraid the over-emphasis on sex that always gets dragged into discussions among Catholics has diverted attention from what is really going on in this scene. I can't really explain it without revealing plot points but what I was attempting to describe in the scene was a woman who was grateful for someone who wanted to care for her and protect her and (in the words of the story) "shield her from all that is not his love for her." And it is a man's gratitude for a woman who loves him as he is -- not regarding him as an endless failure. In my mind God was saying "yes" to love -- not to where body parts go. (Plus they are both over fifty so not in the baby-making business any more.)

I always have this sneaking suspicion that a lot of folks don't think people past the baby-making stage should actually HAVE sex.


message 39: by Kathleen (last edited Jul 07, 2011 05:21PM) (new)

Kathleen Valentine Daniel wrote: " Presque isle was a favored haunt. As well as Waldamere, as that place was booming in the early to mid 70's ..."

Yes, it was -- and there is mention of it in the book, too. My Erie friends said as they were reading the book they kept saying "I remember that!"

Some of the Erie bars are in it, too. Sullivans -- which is still there (or was the last time I checked). Do you by any chance remember The Crazy Horse Saloon downtown or are you too young for that?


message 40: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Valentine Claudine wrote: " (Jesus and vampires in 33 AD) was just far too Christian ..."

Someone told me if you want to make a fortune you need to write a book called "Teen-aged Amish Zombies in Love"...


message 41: by Keryl (new)

Keryl Raist (kerylraist) | 240 comments Daniel wrote: Why is it that people attach a non-fiction meaning to a complete work of fiction? God doesn't approve of adultry in our own reality. In non-fictional terms. Had her work been non-fiction, such feelings would be justified. However, this is a made up story, invented by the author, and in no way is supposed to be a lame excuse for anything in real life.

Probably because it's not entirely fiction. It's set in the real world, involves characters with real world problems, real world vocations, a Catholic Priest (not some made up religion), and so forth and so on. This story is supposed to feel "real." It's supposed to resonate with the reader in a "real" way.

If anyone was complaining about Kargon God of the Salmon People from K'ruthgttung approving of adultery, I'd be right with you for thinking them a bit touched in the head.

It's another thing to write a real world set story, with a real world religion with clearly defined rules and observances, and say the God that supposedly gave those rules actually doesn't much care for them.

Now, I'm all in favor of working on expanding the ideas of love. And I'm fine with the idea that gently working to subvert written in stone laws handed down from through the ages is a good thing. But people who love those laws might find it off-putting, and I'd say they're welcome to be put off.

I mean, could we all agree that if the book had had God and a Catholic Priest approving the murder of a baby that the Catholic reviewer would be well within bounds by being bothered by that? And if we can agree to that, why should adultery, no less a sin, be any different?

Let me make clear, I am looking forward to reading this, nor do I mean to insult Kathleen, or indicate that I see no difference between murder and loving adultery (the Catholic Church doesn't though, both being mortal sins if I remember correctly). But from what Kathleen quoted I can see how that might be unsettling to some Catholics.


message 42: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Valentine I'd like to add it is only SOME Catholics who are having a problem with it. I personally know of 2 nuns and 1 priest who read it and had no problem at all with it.


message 43: by Keryl (new)

Keryl Raist (kerylraist) | 240 comments Kathleen wrote: "Will wrote: "...I don't like Kathleen's depiction of God approving of adultery. To me, any attempts to justify adultery are just lame excuses...."

I know this may seem like splitting hairs but my ..."


I know it got brought up somewhere else (and if this is too spoiler-y I'm sorry) but there was a comparison to Abelard and Heloise. Of course, for the majority of their relationship not only was it non-sexual, but entirely chaste as it was done through letters.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is, if the sex isn't the important part, and the being Catholic is, why not have a deeply passionate but chaste friendship? The bits you describe as important don't require slippery friction. Granted, they're a lot more fun if they do. ;)

You mention the over fifty thing, do you think some of the backlash you're getting is from people who are disturbed by mature sex? I know I've gotten the occasional snarky word aimed at me for sex that hit someone's personal definition of squick.


message 44: by Will (new)

Will Granger | 91 comments Daniel,
Thank you for quoting me. That doesn't happen to me everyday!
I of course see that this is a fictional account, but I felt the need, and the freedom here in Robust, to state my opinion about the book. You did leave out that I explicitly defended Kathleen's artistic freedom to write the scene in question.


message 45: by Keryl (new)

Keryl Raist (kerylraist) | 240 comments Kathleen wrote: "I'd like to add it is only SOME Catholics who are having a problem with it. I personally know of 2 nuns and 1 priest who read it and had no problem at all with it."

I hope we all understand that. Any group as large and diverse would have differing opinions.

Get 15 Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Jews, or whatever, in a room and you're likely to have at least ten opinions on any given subject, and probably more.


message 46: by Kathleen (last edited Jul 07, 2011 05:52PM) (new)

Kathleen Valentine Keryl wrote: "Of course, for the majority of their relationship not only was it non-sexual, but entirely chaste as it was done through letters...."

Well, yeah, but that was because Heloise's uncle had Abelard's "naughty bits" chopped off.

Have you read her letters??? They SMOKE! She said she wouldn't marry him because to marry him would make him just an ordinary husband and she would rather be his whore than reduce him to that.

Keryl wrote: "I guess the point I'm trying to make is, if the sex isn't the important part, and the being Catholic is, why not have a deeply passionate but chaste friendship?...."

I think that's what some of these people would like -- they want me to tell my story their way. But if I told it their way it wouldn't be MY story! There are dozens of characters in this book and a LOT of stuff happens. That scene is on page 207 of a 278 page book! A whole lot happened before it! And after for that matter.

BTW the reviewer was wrong when she said the priest approved -- he comes right out and says to the guy "don't you think you got into this too soon?"


message 47: by Will (new)

Will Granger | 91 comments Kathleen wrote: "Will wrote: "...I don't like Kathleen's depiction of God approving of adultery. To me, any attempts to justify adultery are just lame excuses...."

I know this may seem like splitting hairs but my ..."


Kathleen,
I think that God is probably happy when people make each other happy, but I still can't get past the point that your scene was, in my black and white viewpoint, adultery. It is ok if you want to minimize the fact that this is about sex, that is your right, but I don't think the emphasis on sex is a flaw in the Catholic faith.
I still do support your right to create this scene. The world would be a boring place if we all agreed all the time.


message 48: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Valentine Will wrote: "I don't think the emphasis on sex is a flaw in the Catholic faith.
I still do support your right to create this scene. The world would be a boring place if we all agreed all the time. .."


Thank you, Will. I don't think that emphasis is a flaw in and of itself but emphasizing it to the exclusion of everything else starts to feel a little too close to theologically-approved titillation with some of those weighing in. (The Pope still hasn't though...)


message 49: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Tillotson (storytellerauthor) | 1802 comments @Andre And now we find out that Canada was invaded by Irish Ursus maritimus' too? Just kidding, we love our Irish (two and four-legged). You should see us on St. Patrick's Day, we go all green and poetic over our beer.

Back to the (extremely) interesting discussion at hand...


message 50: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
Keryl wrote: "Get 15 Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Jews, or whatever, in a room and you're likely to have at least ten opinions on any given subject, and probably more."

You must be a Catholic. The Jews will have 15 opinions, the Presbyterians will have 15 rifles to enforce the pastor's opinion, and the Episcopalians will have no opinion at all for fear of offending someone.

Being an Episcopalian is the nearest you can come to belonging to a church that isn't really a church because it doesn't stand for anything.


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