Monday, June 28, 2010

It pays to read the contract

This is totally off my usual topic of writing, but it does have to do with things dear to my heart: using your mind, doing research and making wise choices.

We just moved into our new home, and wouldn't you know, the Kirby salesman came by five days later, offering to shampoo a carpet for free. I said, "why not?" and let him in to demonstrate the Kirby Sentria.

There's no doubt this is an amazing machine. It does a decent job of vacuuming, does the dry foam shampoo which I like, and even buffs floors. The salesman, Josh, went on about its durability and fabulous extras. (He lost me with "designed by NASA," but that's another story. Let's just say we're believers in commercial manned space in this house.) Josh showed me dusty black "bags" that he picked up, but I know from experience, I could get one of those same bags, run my vacuum over the same area and pick up the same amount again. That doesn't sell me.

One thing he kept bringing up is the lifetime warranty, however. Josh enthusiastically insisted that as long as I own it, they'll replace anything but bags and belts, and even pay for shipping if necessary. That tempted me. I seem to break a vacuum about once every couple of years. Just normal use, seriously! It's worse than computers for me. To have a vacuum that I could get fixed would be well worth the price ($2650 for the full package). But I was skeptical. I'd been bit by this "lifetime warranty" line before. So I asked questions.

"There are licensed Kirby dealers everywhere--and in 48 countries! We send you the shipping box. Everything is covered. You probably won't need it--this was designed by NASA."

Rob came home and he looked up Kirby dealers in some of the bases we're more likely to visit. There's even a dealer in Minot, ND. I'm a little more tempted. Our son Alex is waxing poetic about how clean the carpet feels. Josh showed us how it works on floors. The manager came by and offered a military discount.

So we left Josh to shampoo the carpet, and got online and Googled "Kirby complaints."

--"I was told my Kirby had a lifetime warranty, but it's only 3 years!"
--"I just paid $$$ to get it fixed!"
--"I was told I'd have to purchase and install my own power cord."

(Point One: Research. Don't just take the salesman's word for anything.)

We went back to Josh. Rob told him it's really more than we want to pay right now. We refused to discuss payment plans because that's not the point--we didn't want to spend $2600 (with taxes) on a vacuum. They in turn offered a "crazy discount" to make it $1800.

I brought up the research on the warranty. Josh replied:
--Maybe these people probably weren't first-time owners. (The warranty is a name-only deal.)
--Maybe they didn't go to licensed Kirby service centers--there are dozens throughout the country. (Notice how the number went down?)
--Well, it's 3 years for everything and after that, it's only $175 to get it totally refurbished, top to bottom. So ten years from now, if it breaks you send it in... (Where was that lifetime, covers everything but bags?)

(Point Two: Keep Asking Questions.)

Finally, the manager came by and showed the warranty to us. I asked to keep it. Let me tell you what it says, nice and clear:
--Three Year Limited, from date of purchase
--Transportation expense paid by owner
--Service calls ... at the expense of owner
--Warranty does not apply to charges for labor

And the Factory "refurbish" (actually called "Rebuild") Plan?
--During the year of original purchase, the rebuild will cost $175. Each year thereafter, the rebuild cost will be increased... (What happened to "ten years from now..."?)
--transportation charges... shall by paid by original owner
--Warranty for the rebuild--ONE YEAR

(Point Three: Read the actual writing.)

Now, I didn't argue with the salesmen--maybe their office has a lifetime warranty (for as long as the office exists--we saw complaints of companies disappearing after a couple of years.) I also still think the Kirby is an amazing machine--but not $1800 of amazing. And not given my history with vacuums and the fact that we move so much.

If Rob and I hadn't done some research, we might have given into temptation and bought the vacuum. It pays to think before you act.

In this case, it paid $1800-$2650.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Wrap up of Tour and Reviews for Why God Matters

Wow, what a great book tour! Steve Lumbert (aka Dad) and I not only had a lot of terrific opportunities to talk about our book, but we also had some great reviews and a few surprises.

First, the best surprise. One of the interviews got read by my cousin, Shelly, whom we'd lost track of decades ago! She found me on Facebook and contacted me last week. How cool is that?

We also had a few folks who said we answered some questions of faith or gave them inspiration to renewing their relationship with God. Talk about "mission accomplished!" I'm praying for all of you!

Finally, we got several awesome reviews. One thing I really enjoyed seeing was that readers of other faiths still found something of value in our book, even though it is geared toward a Catholic audience. I've always felt that God will reach to people of any belief (or even no belief). After all, we are His children, every one. I'm glad no one felt threatened by our stories of faith.

Here are some snippets of the reviews.

" easy to digest look into how God touches us daily... in many ways able to express what that type of faith can mean to an individual better than straight theology or dogma." Cheryl at The Book Connection

"This is a short book which casts a long shadow in the literature of modern Catholic apologetics." Walt Staples, former president, Catholic Writers' Guild

"... a perfect dose of encouragement for those seeking a deeper relationship with God."

" Although Why God Matters has been written from the Catholic viewpoint, I think that everyone of Christian faith who has experienced God in their lives can learn something from reading this book." Susanne Drazic,

"... very approachable and does its job well. You are reading about the authors, you are learning how to apply faith in your life and in the end you feel as if you have gained three friends." The NY Book Journal,

"... the book explained the passion behind the faith. ... This is a very interesting read and will probably open up your eyes to something you didn't know about this interesting and historic faith." Marta Hoelscher,

"Throughout this book, they also made no attempt to sway the reader toward sharing their beliefs. They are just very straight forward—'I love God and this is why.' ... What I did come away with was a better understanding of God and a deep desire to appreciate Him more every day. I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to enrich their relationship with God." Lynn McMonigal,

"... if you are looking to get the most this book has to offer I think it would be best to only read a chapter at a time and fully reflect on the wisdom contained in each chapter, particularly the life lesson section. Approaching the book in this manner would only take a few minutes per chapter to read making it a book that even the busiest person would be able to squeeze into their schedule." Karen (for the Catholic Book Company),

"A short book, but it covers much.... not a book that should be read by only those of the Catholic faith, but instead by all who have experienced the touch of God in the everyday moments of life... Several times while reading, I stopped as a memory entered my mind of one of those everyday life lessons that have taken place in my life. I can say with all honesty that you will too. Six colors on the rainbow scale." Joyce Anthony,

"fun, engaging, quick, easy reading...but with a powerful message.... This inspirational little book is indeed a gem – it is a power-packed treasury of heartwarming stories, helpful spiritual lessons, and useful, practical suggestions to guide us in our daily lives." Jean Heinmann,

"The vignettes are what really bring this book to life.... This book is written from a Catholic viewpoint with a Catholic audience in mind. I think, though, that any Christian reader would enjoy and benefit from the insights it offers, which transcend sectarian borders." Fred Warren,

"Some (stories) will make you cry and others will make you laugh, still others will make you wonder if you own relationship with God is all that you want, but more importantly, if it's all that He would like it to be." Reading at the Beach,

Thanks again to Dorothy Thompson at Pump Up Your Book Promotions and my publisher, Nicole Langan at Tribute Books for setting this up. You guys are tops!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My Novel's Journey: Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator: Make the Beginning Match the End

One thing about being a seat-of-the pants writer instead of a plotter is that you have to go back and make sure that the end matches the beginning and middle.

When I started Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator, I didn't know a lot about my characters. They really told me their lives as we progressed in the plot. LaCresha's little brother flirted with the idea of joining a gang. Roscoe has a condo in Malibu. Neeta's front door sticks.

There are world events I didn't know about either. Woody Harrelson is running for President. Iran has decided it's their turn to take over Afghanistan. Wow--where did this stuff come from?

From the fertile imagination of my twisted mind, of course, but I had to follow the twists to discover them. If I plotted, I would never have discovered them.

However, now I need to go back over the manuscript and make sure I laid enough clues and hints that events flow seemlessly. Just because I got blindsided does not mean my readers should be, after all.

How will I do this? I'll read it over once, taking notes, maybe even as I do my usual backward read for typos. Then I can insert stuff into the text as needed. Then, I'll read it aloud to the kids to see how well it flows. They are good at stopping me when I miss an important fact or hit them with something out of the blue. Finally, if I have any doubts, I'll ask my crit groups to keep an eye out for certain things.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Resources for Learning about the Catholic Faith

Why God Matters Cover and link
Purchase from Tribute Books

Why God Matters is a book about the working of the Catholic faith in my father's and my life--its legacies, its hopes, its influences. I know a lot of my readers are not Catholic. I'm not here to convert you--only God can do that--but if any of you are curious to learn more about the Catholic faith, I wanted to share some resources with you. These came from our appendix in Why God Matters, and are good for Catholics as well. Thanks to Tribute for letting us reprint it here.

For Further Reading

There are so many wonderful books and websites we could recommend, but here are just a few that we or people we trust recommend for learning more about our wonderful Faith.


Catholic Answers. Answers common questions about the
faith and provides help in defending the faith. Active message board.

Catholic Community Forum. A large website with over 4800 members, containing discussion forums, Catholic news, frequently asked questions on the faith, and more. Paying membership also allows you to chat and blog on their site.

Catholic Exchange. Has lots of information, timely articles relating to current issues, and many 'channels' for readers: arts and entertainment, faith and morals, media, etc. All are rock-solid, informative and up-to-date.

Defender of the Catholic Faith. Offers help on faith questions but also has a very helpful message board for anyone with questions.

Eternal World Television Network, Global Catholic Network. The must-go website for Catholic news and entertainment. Also a nice library of prayers and devotions and other information about our faith.

The Integrated Catholic Life. An e-magazine about integrating faith, family and work.


Amy Welborn. Prove It! Church. Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 2001. ISBN: 0879739819. Although written for teens, this wonderful work of Catholic apologetics explains some of the most fundamental traditions and practices of our faith.

Father Robert Spitzer. Five Pillars of the Spiritual Life. San Francisco: Ignatius, 2008. ISBN: 9781586172015. A practical, yet rich guide for helping busy people develop a regular and deeper prayer life.

Gerard P. Weber, James J. Killgallon, Mary Michael O'Shaughnessy. Becoming Catholic even if you happen to be one. Skokie, IL: ACTA Foundation, 1997. ISBN: 0914070134. This book is for those who are “looking into” the Church, to life-long Catholics who want to go deeper into their faith, to “retired” Catholics, and to those who have become inactive or opted out and now may be willing to take another, more adult look at the Church.

Gregory F. Augustine Pierce. The Mass is Never Ended. Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria Press, 2007. ISBN: 1594710694. This book helps us to rediscover our mission to transform the world in bringing about an understanding of the relationship[p of the Mass and the mission of Christians in the world.

Hans Urs von Balthasar. Love Alone is Credible. San Francisco: Ignatius, 2005. ISBN: 0898708818. Von Balthasar delves deeper into this exploration of what love means, what makes the divine love of God, and how we must become lovers of God in the footsteps of saints like Francis de Sales, John of the Cross and Therese of Lisieux.

Joseph Martos. Doors to the Sacred. Chicago: Triumph Books. ISBN: 9780764807183. A historical and cultural evolution of the Sacraments and rituals and the practices associated with them, this book is written in easy to understand language to increase the knowledge of the reader concerned with religious topics.

Karl Keating. What Catholics Really Believe. San Francisco: Ignatius, 1995. ISBN: 0898705533. Addresses the 53 most common misconceptions of the faith held by Catholics and Protestants. Spells out the teachings and explains the rationale behind Catholic practices.

Thomas, Williams. Greater Than You think. Nashville, Tennessee: FaithWords, 2008. ISBN: 97804465149340. Written in response to atheists, this book answers inconsistencies and logical fallacies and shows that God is not only remarkably plausible, He is greater than you think!

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The United States Catholic Catechism for Adults. Washington, D.C: Unites States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2006. ISBN: 1574554506. Written and published by the Unites States Conference of Catholic Bishops, this book does not change the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is an adaptation of it in easy to read language which goes beyond the question and answer format.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My Novel's Journey: The Ending Song

Why is it that the ending to this book is so hard to write? It's not that I don't want to, but so much is getting in the way! I was thinking about it in the shower, and came up with this song.

ENDING (To the Tune of "Tomorrow" from Annie.)

I'm thinking about the ending
'cause you know I'm almost to the ending
And it's such fun
All the plot twists and bendings
I'm resolving now to reach the ending
What a great run!
The ending, the ending
I love you, the ending
You're only 10K away

I'm working on the ending
Through the long path that I've been wending
There's the sun!
I'm dreaming about the ending
Will it be funny or heart-rending
Or both in one?
The ending, the ending
I love you, the ending
You're only 5 K away

I'm almost to the ending
The characters their good-byes now are sending
To everyone
And when I've reached the ending
A victory I'll feel here with the ending
Oh, yes, I've won!
The ending, the ending
I love you, the ending
You're only 1 K away

I've written those words, "THE END"ing
Can't believe I've come now to the ending!
At last it's done.
Except for critiques
And editing
And rounds of submissions
And rejecting
And new books to come!
The ending, the ending
I love you, the ending
You're only 80K away!

(big finish)
The ending, the ending
I love you, the ending
You're always a book away!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Five Random Memories of My Dad and Me

In honor of the Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life book tour, I thought I'd share five memories I have of my dad and me. These are totally off the top of my head.

1. Dad saved me. I was about 11, I think. We were always building something at my house and that year, Dad was finishing the car port. I was climbing up the ladder to go help when the thing slipped right out from under me. I had no purchase, but faster than thought, my dad grabbed my wrist and pulled me up.
2. Dad's retirement party. My sister Gina and I wanted to do something special for him to commemorate his 30 years in the state patrol. Since we knew Dad's favorite stories of his years there, we satirized them into the Really Real Stories of the State Patrol. Gina's husband, Chuck, played Dad. Poor Dad was totally roasted and loved every minute.

3. "Shall I keep her?" My dad loved to say this about my mom: "Isn't she wonderful? Shall I keep her?" "I love your mom--shall I keep her?" We used to get annoyed about it, especially when that really demeaning commercial came out with the tag line, "My wife--think I'll keep her." (Was it for shampoo?) You could not deny how much they loved each other.

4. Their 40th wedding anniversary. My mom is from Puerto Rico, and when they married, she moved "to the mainland" and made her home in Colorado for most of their marriage. On their 40th wedding anniversary, she went ahead to Puerto Rico for a couple of months to plan the renewal of vows and reception and be with her sisters. She loved it. At the reception, Dad got on one knee, gave her a new ring, and said, "You gave me 40 years of living where I want to live. It's your turn." They're debating about moving back to Puerto Rico.

5. "Coo-Coo!" When I was about seven, my best friend Vicki Gross and I were getting very silly and making up really bad jokes that we'd run and tell my dad. We told him the following while he was shaving, "What time is it, old witch? Coo-coo time! Coo-coo time!" then we ran off to tell my mom. As we headed back to my room, My dad leaned out of the bathroom doorway, like a cuckoo bird, saying "Coo-coo! Coo-coo!" We about fell over laughing.

Learn more about my dad and me--specifically our journeys in faith--in Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life

Why God Matters Cover and link
Purchase from Tribute Books


Thursday, June 10, 2010

On Doors and Relationships

We all know that reality does not match fiction. But sometimes, fiction can mimic reality.

I had one of those moments this week with Neeta Lyffe. You ever had a relationship that fell apart over the stupid things that were clues to the underlying problem? That's what happens with Neeta. Her relationship with her hot, sweet boyfriend is going sour. Brian is cute and thoughtful and girls sigh over him, but Neeta finds him clingy and is annoyed at how he wants to rescue her. She really wants a guy like Ted--funny, oblivious, who is neither in awe of her warrior-exterminator ways nor feels like she secretly needs emotional support to cope with the supposed angst of ridding the world of undead scum.

She's not recognizing that on a conscious level, however. So, the relationship falls apart over little things, like a door.

Neeta's front door sticks. Brian wants to surprise her by replacing it. She compromises by letting him have the old door painted and planed so that it closes more smoothly. But it upsets her that it doesn't stick. She mentions the door to Ted, who immediately says he liked how it stuck. Later, he gives her a door limiter, which he "acquired" at a wild party.

"You stole a door limiter."

"What a hoot, huh? I mean, everyone was grabbing souvenirs. Had to act fast, or I'd have gotten a splinter or something lame. Roscoe said this happens every time they hold a hotel party. Their manager pays for the damage ahead of time."

She glanced from him to the door lock--door limiter, she told herself. Then she grabbed her latte from him and took a large swallow. Caffeine. She needed caffeine to keep up with this conversation. When she thought she felt a kick, she started again.

"And why are you giving this to me?"

They walked up the two steps to the building and Ted pulled open the door. A blast of air conditioning caressed his hair as he went in, Neeta following.

"I'm not the knick-knack type."


"Well, I sobered up, and I realized I can't use this thing. I'm in an apartment where I can't even put a nail in the wall. I should have gone for the safety procedures sign--I could have had them autograph it and stuck it up with poster tape. Live and learn."

"But why are you giving this to me?"

He shrugged. "You own a door."

Monday, June 07, 2010

Five Questions No One Asked About Why God Matters

Why God Matters Cover and link
Purchase from Tribute Books

Preparing for the Why God Matters virtual book tour took about a month of answering questions. I'd guess about two hundred in all. Yet some questions didn't get asked, so I thought I'd share them with you today.

1. You didn't feel intimidated about offering "life lessons" on faith?

Yes and no. I've been a catechist (though not a good one, IMHO) and I've done a lot of advice-type stuff so I know what and how, but I'm always a little edgy about offering lessons on faith. That's one reason I wanted my dad to join me on this--as a deacon, he has the education and training I lack. It's also why I applied for the Catholic Writers' Guild Seal of Approval. My book was evaluated by writers who understand the Catholic faith, and they could point out troubles.

2. How'd the breakdown of tasks work with the actual writing of the book?

Tribute gave us the format and approximate word count. Dad and I each wrote seven stories and life lessons. Together we found Scripture and paragraphs from the Catechism of the Catholic Church to fit. Then I put the whole thing together to send to the editor at Tribute.

When it came to promotion, I've also been doing the bulk of that--this is my job, after all. Dad has provided a lot of photos and done some of the interviews.

3. What's a deacon really do?

If you ask my mom, too much! While we were writing Why God Matters, Dad was assisting at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel parish and running the deacon formation program for the diocese--both full-time jobs of themselves, really. He also does a lot of weddings and funerals and quinceneaneras. Since he speaks Spanish well, he gets asked to do a lot of bilingual ministry as well. He and my mom also do marriage preparation with couples.

This month, he's taking a new position--parish administrator for St Anne's Parish. He will basically do all the leadership work a parish priest would do and will assist in Masses when a priest is present and hold Communion services when a priest is not. He's done this before, and really enjoys it, but it's a lot of work.

4. Have your kids read this book?

Actually, not yet. This was one manuscript I did not read aloud, in part because we were so rushed with it and our lives were so busy at the time. Each one will get a copy once I get them. (At the time of this signing, they are being shipped.)

5. You wrote about your atheist son. Do you think this book will sway him?

I hope it will influence him, but I don't think it will change his mind. Right now, I can only keep him aware of the beauty and truth and love found in faith. I honestly think he has a long journey back to our Church. It grieves me, but I also know I can't force his choice. The story I wrote, however, reminds me that I have proof that it is possible, and that I should never give up hope.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Why God Matters Virtual Book Tour: Give Me Your Opinion!

Why God Matters Cover and link
Purchase from Tribute Books

The NY Book Review's review of Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life didn't come through as planned today. So, instead, how about you give my dad and me your opinions? (Good or bad, but be kind to my daddy--it's his first book!) Here's an excerpt; read it, post a review comment, and I'll do a drawing Monday for a copy of the e-book.


Love in a Pot of Rice

You know well enough that our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them.
–St. Therese of Lisieux

One meal that always connects me to my heritage is arroz con pollo—chicken and rice. For me, this meal doesn’t so much represent an ethnic identity, it symbolizes the love and generosity of my family.

My mother is the seventh child of ten, born to a very poor family in Puerto Rico. They bought shoes only for the winter, shared two toys at Christmas (a game and a ball), and meat for dinner was a rare treat. Yet my grandfather, a schoolteacher, regularly brought home the students who lived too far away to walk home from school during the week, and they shared the family meal. My grandmother would say, “If I can feed ten, I can feed twelve.” When I cook arroz con pollo, I imagine her adding a cup of rice to stretch their meal, giving of their need rather than their wealth.

Many of my grandparents’ children escaped poverty, becoming doctors and social workers, businesspeople and spouses. However, they never lost their legacy of charity. When one is in need, the others are there. I remember when a hurricane took the roof off my grandparent’s house, where several grown children still lived. In Colorado, my mother combed the garage sales for linens and clothes to replace those ruined by the storm, and all contributed what funds they could to repair the roof. Years later, my grandmother died in that home, cared for by her children and grandchildren.

My own parents carried on that legacy, which, like my grandparents’, spread beyond family. Our friends were welcome in our homes, sometimes more than in their own homes. My parents called them their “love daughters” and supported them in their extra-curriculars, and on occasion, took them into our home. Several still call them “Mom and Dad.” When we did not have treasure, my parents gave of their time and talent. My dad made costumes for the school play; my mother was always crafting for someone. Mostly, though, they gave of their love.

When I’d given birth to my daughter, my mom came to visit for several weeks, and she met a pregnant friend who said she had only one craving: arroz con pollo. The next time we saw her, Mom had it ready.

As a mother myself, I must now carry on this legacy by setting an example for my children. Far wealthier than my parents or grandparents ever were, we do our best to give to the Church and to charities—and we involve our children in that. We also do our best to be available to their friends as well as to them. This year, I pack an extra lunch each day for Amber’s best friend. It’s a little thing, yet it connects me to my grandmother somehow.

Last night, I made arroz con pollo. It’s a different recipe, because I’m not the cook my mother is, yet it brought me back to my past, and my mother’s past, and to roots deeply embedded in charitable love.

Life Lesson

God calls us to be the first teachers to our children in living a life of faith, hope, and charity.

How did your parents teach you this? How are you teaching your own children? Spend some time in reflection and prayer today, then find something that ties you to that heritage—or inspires you to build a new heritage for your children.


So Help Me, God, I Didn’t Do It
Deacon Steve

Each of us is free to choose. Our decisions are important because they shape our life. Good choices take us in one direction, while bad choices can have devastating results. Morality is another word for living a good, full, decent life according to right choices. –Bishop Donald Wuerl

I can still hear the clang of the jail cell door as it closed behind me and my brothers in 1960. We were just teenagers, and I was terrified that it would never open again and that I would never get free. No matter how many times we told the sheriff we were innocent, he wouldn’t believe us.

The night before, someone had destroyed $4,000 of feed and seed by slashing the bags and pouring them down the elevator shaft. The real culprits had implicated us—and our reputations had sealed our guilt.

In the small town of Berthoud, population 1,200, everyone knew the Lumbert boys were trouble. We left burning sacks of doggie doo on random doorsteps. We moved the outhouse to the middle of Main Street. The night of the crime, we’d skipped Bible study to run around town. In fact, later that evening, we were hanging out with the real culprits, throwing water balloons at a state patrol car. We couldn’t resist temptation when it looked like it would be fun.

All day long, the deputies would grill me or one of my brothers, trying to get us to admit we were involved. We even tried demanding a lie detector test to prove our innocence! That was the longest day of my life. I spent a lot of time sitting on the jail cell bed—the only furniture in the room—thinking about what had gotten me into this mess.

That evening Mom came to get us. The real culprits had finally admitted they had lied about our involvement.

It was terrifying to think that we could have been convicted of something we did not do. I learned a valuable lesson that day, one that has remained with me all my life. A lesson that I taught my children about honesty, integrity, truth, and resisting temptation.

Years later I became a state trooper. Each time that jail cell door clanged shut on someone I had arrested, I remembered my own jail time and my narrow escape from the fruits of a bad reputation.

Life Lesson

Sin does not always look dark and evil—sometime sin looks like a lot of fun. It’s easy, then, to give in to that seemingly harmless fun, but it can lead us down the wrong path. The next time you’re tempted by something you know is wrong but seems innocuous, consider not just the impact of the moment, but the overall effect on your reputation. How will others see you? How will God see you?

Seek out the way of Christ, and with each new decision for him, you will be stronger to resist the evil one.


Thursday, June 03, 2010

My Novel's Journey: Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator: Social Comentary

When I wrote a press release for Magic, Mensa and Mayhem winning the INDIE Award, I asked my publisher for a quote. She wrote "Karina has successfully blended fantasy, humor and cultural references into a fun-filled book that people of all ages can enjoy."

It's kind of funny, because I didn't plan on writing social commentary, but when it comes to humor, there is so much in society to comment on. We are a people full of contradictions. Housing divisions pride themselves on their how their houses are "green," yet their covenants forbid you to put up a clothesline. Environmentalists are now protesting windfarms because birds don't always avoid them. I don't want to be a comedienne, because I'm not as funny in real life, but when I write my DragonEye stories, it does seem to come naturally.

Neeta Lyffe is another case where I can have fun playing with society--exaggerating common contradictions, extrapolating to ridiculous extremes, taking trends to ludicrous ends. Am I trying to make political statements? Eh, maybe--but really, I'm making jokes. Any statement runs more along the lines of, "Can we insert some common sense here?"


I'm not to the end of the novel yet, but I had a great idea for the last scene. I live in California, where touts stand outside the kush clinics on Venice Beach invite you to go into their tents to get "evaluated" and "prescribed" medicinal marijuana. Last week, I drove the kids to school, and the radio was playing "Can't Get No Satisfaction." The verse about "he can't be a man because he doesn't smoke the same cigarettes as me," got me thinking about the tobacco companies and the real irony of demonizing nicotine while working to legalize marijuana. If they succeed, I can easily see Neeta going to a local pharmacy...

Neeta paused to look at the medicinal marijuana aisle. Not that she planned on purchasing anything, but the stocker had such a great imagination when it came to labels: Cannabis for Cramps. Reefers for Relaxation. Pot for Pains. Perched on the top shelf was a long ad with several individuals from the suntanned surfer to the well-dressed businesswoman. "Medicinal Marijuana--It's for Us!" the banner declared.

Meanwhile, when she pays, she'll see the cigarettes in the locked cage behind the cashier, with a sign form the Surgeon General warning that nicotine is addictive and dangerous.

It's not the only reason I write, but it is one of the perks.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Announcing the Why God Matters Virtual Book Tour!

Why God Matters Cover and link
Purchase from Tribute Books

Deacon Steve Lumbert (aka my dad) and I are pleased to announce that we are touring the Internet to promote our book, Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life.


Do you feel distant from God? Do you want a closer relationship with him? God is with us always, sometimes in ways we don't even realize. Deacon Steve Lumbert and his daughter Karina Fabian share their stories of how God led them from casual belief to deep devotion, and offer tips and exercises to help you see God's hand--and take it.

Far too often, we expect God to show Himself in grand ways yet ignore when He makes His presence known in the day to day. Neither Deacon Steve nor Karina had dramatic conversions. Rather, God led them into deeper faith through the seemingly minor details of life: pot of rice, a habit of prayer, a frustrating flight home, or a barefooted stranger. This father-daughter team have written a delightful, quick book about finding God in the day-to-day. With thought-provoking quotes, heartwarming stories, Bible verses, passages from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and simple exercises the reader can fit into his or her daily routine, they help others recognize God's presence. Great for the casual or converting Catholic longing for something more in their relationship with God, or the "advanced" Catholic wanting light spiritual exercise.


Deacon Steve Lumbert officially converted to Catholicism in 1988, but had been a "practicing" Catholic long before that. He met his lovely and loving wife, Socorro, while sercing in Roosevelt Roads Naval Base in Puerto Rico in 1966. They raised their daughters, Karina and Regina, in the faith. Steve spent 30 years as a Colorado State Trooper, but retired when God called him to the diaconate. Currently, he serves the Diocese of Pueblo as Associate Director of Deacon Formation.

Karina Lumbert Fabian was born into the Catholic faith, but truly grew to love it as an adult. A busy mother of four, she finds her strongest encounters with God's love happen in the ordinary events of the day-to-day. Karina started her writing career with diocesan newspapers but has settled into writing fun-filled fantasy and science fiction that nonetheless incorporates the principles of faith-filled living.

Please visit these sites to learn more about the book. Many of them are offering contests, too.

Tuesday, June 1
Interviewed at Book Marketing Buzz
Review at Joyce Anthony
Review at Spiritual Woman
Guest Blog at Pretty, Powerful, Prosperous

Wednesday, June 2

Interview Joyce Anthony
Guest blogging at As the Pages Turn

Thursday, June 3
Book spotlighted at Examiner

Friday, June 4
Book reviewed at The NY Book Journal

Saturday, June 5
Review on Frederation

Monday, June 7
Interviewed at Personovelty
Blog post on Fabianspace

Tuesday, June 8
Interviewed at Pump Up Your Book
Interviewed at Divine Caroline

Wednesday, June 9

Guest blogging & book giveaway at Catholic Chicks

Thursday, June 10
Book reviewed at Margay Leah Justice
Interviewed at Gloria's Corner

Friday, June 11
Book reviewed at Putting Words on Paper
Guest blogging at Writing Daze

Monday, June 14
Interviewed at Putting Words on Paper
Guest blogging at Cafe of Dreams
Blog on Fabianspace
Guest post at Write It! Publish It! Market It!

Tuesday, June 15
Guest blogging at Literarily Speaking

Wednesday, June 16
Interviewed at Beyond the Books
Interviewed at Blogcritics
Guest post at You Can Write a Novel

Thursday, June 17
Book reviewed at Lynn’s Corner
Interview at Greta Writes
Blog post on Fabianspace

Friday, June 18
Guest blogging at Lynn’s Corner

Monday, June 21
Interviewed at The Hot Author Report
Book reviewed at Marta’s Meanderings
Blog post on Fabianspace

Tuesday, June 22
Book reviewed at Reading at the Beach

Wednesday, June 23
Guest blogging at The Book Boost

Thursday, June 24
Book reviewed at The Book Connection
Interviewed on Introducing Writers Radio Show

Friday, June 25
Interviewed at The Writer’s Life

Saturday, June 26
Wrap-up of reviews at Fabianspace