Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Dragon Goes to Confession

Rob is home from Baghdad for two weeks, so some of my blogs are re-runs right now. This is one of my favorites from the Live and Let Fly tour of April 2012.  It's also appropriate since we're in Lent, and all good Catholics should go to Confession during this season.  If Vern can do it, you can!  

If you've not read it, it's available on e-book.

A Dragon goes to Confession

By Karina Fabian

One of the things I like about working with smaller press is that they aren’t as worried if something has religious overtones.  Neither of my publishers for my DragonEye books are Catholic, yet they loved the incorporation of the faith in the world and character building.  I like to think that it’s because it is part of the world and character, rather than for preaching; and certainly, if I had started preaching, they would have caught me.
Still, it’s been fun to be able to put in scenes like this one in Live and Let Fly.  Vern, my dragon who has been “drafted” into serving the Catholic Church, goes to Confession with a priest from Idaho who has never even seen a Faerie creature, much less a Magical.  However, Vern and his group have just come out of a very dicey situation and are wounded in more ways than one, and Sister Grace has fetched a priest knowing the Sacraments will help:

"Well," Sister Grace said with false brightness, "why don't we leave these two alone to talk? Gene, perhaps you can explain to me why you're not practicing your faith?" She grabbed him by the ear and led the crouching, staggering and protesting federal agent out. Heather swallowed a giggle, made an awkward curtsy toward Father Jacob (like she had learned to do for Bishop Aiden of Peebles-on-Tweed) and followed.
Which left me with a tongue-tied priest.
We stood there a moment like two kids being told to make friends while the moms went off to have coffee and gossip. He toyed with the strap of his bag. Some of the numbness in my wing and arm was wearing off, and my front paw had prickles. I lifted it some and splayed the fingers, stretching them out.
"Well!" He mimicked Grace in word and tone, then fell silent.
I decided to give us both a break. I jerked my head, gingerly, toward the tarp-covered hay bale. "Would you like to sit down, Father?"
"I—Yes! Yes, I think I would."
I followed in his wake, doing my best not to reveal what each step cost me.
Once he'd settled, he reached into his book bag, pulled out his stole and blessed it. It seemed to give him confidence, because he managed a couple of sentences this time. "You'll have to be patient with me, I'm afraid. This is the first time I've done something like this."
"Heard Confession in a barn?"
He smiled. "Yes, yes. That, too."
"Well, it's new for us both. Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It's been four days since my last Confession."
"Really?" He sounded surprised, though that might not have had anything to do with my species. He spoke his greeting, and I began listing my sins. I decided to go easy on him and work up to the big ones, so I catalogued the usual things he'd heard a thousand times before: moments of greed, resentful thoughts about my pre-George predicament, my nastiness toward Kitty McGrue. Once I saw his neck and shoulders relax, I moved into the more serious ones. I started with my threatening behavior toward Phil A. Minion—sans the jokes, though I confessed that I still found it funny—then confessed to pouncing on Sally and scaring her out of ten years of life. Finally came the big one:
"I'm not quite sure what Grace told you about the rescue, but it got pretty dicey, and talking and making threatening pounces weren't going to cut it. In the chaos, I...bit off a guy's hand." I waited for his reaction.
I didn't get what I expected. "I'm sorry. I'm really quite new at this. Is eating another sentient being considered a sin for dragons?"
My lip curled in a smile. Good question. Points for the newbie. "For dragons under normal circumstances, no. But my case is...special."
He nodded. "Go on."
You know, this could be the beginning of a beautiful spiritual friendship. And he'd made it easier for me to say what I had to say next. "For a moment, I enjoyed it, Father. I really enjoyed it. Like I haven't enjoyed something in nearly a millennium. And humans are not my first choice for a meal." I shivered with the memory of how good it had felt.
"Grace did tell me a little more of what happened. You were not yourself then, were you?"
"Injured, poisoned, imprisoned, my friends threatened. And I was hungry. So, no."
"You've been given a great temptation in a time of extreme physical weakness and mental distress. But you did pull back from the brink of greater sin. Having tasted that temptation—" He winced when he realized his words, but continued. "—you must redouble your efforts to resist it. I hope that makes sense?'
"A lot of sense." See? I said to the Holy Spirit. How come you never do that for me when I ask for inspiration?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

no Circuit Torture blog today... husband is home from Baghdad for two weeks on leave!  I am still going to the gym and trying to eat well, plus drink all that water.  However, I'm not being as good diet-wise.  Thing is, I'm in this for the long haul, so if I slip up a week, I'm not going to fuss about it.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Five Random Questions for a Dragon and his Author

Rob is on mid-tour leave until the end of the month, so I'm re-running some favorite guest posts I've done for various book tours.  Today, I share a little about myself and my character, Vern, who features in Magic, Mensa and Mayhem; Live and Let Fly; and numerous short stories in anthologies.  Get the complete list at  While you're at it, think about buying the books.  You'll make Vern a happy dragon.

Sally asked me to write my own interview this time, and knowing her penchant for unusual questions, I pulled out a little tome called The Book of Questions by Gregory Stock.  My husband and I actually used this when getting to know each other while dating. (We celebrated our 22nd anniversary in November.)  I am picking five questions at random, adapting them to writing as need be:

1.  If God appeared to you in a series of vivid and moving dreams and told you to leave everything behind, travel alone to the Red Sea and become a fisherman, what would you do?
Urk!  Naturally, that would be the first question I come across.  I think the first thing I’d do is doubt my sanity.  If that proved intact, then—and as a devout Catholic, it pains me, but I want to be honest—I would probably resist.  I still have children at home.  Now, if they were grown, I’d be more likely to say “yes,” especially if my husband gets into the astronaut program and heads off to Mars.
I wonder if there’s internet available for fishermen on the Red Sea.  Can you imagine the books I could write?  Otherwise, I’ll be ordering a lot of paper.

2.  How close and warm is your family?  Do you feel your childhood was happier than most people’s?
Absolutely.  I grew up in a stable home with parents who adored each other and loved us.  I took it completely for granted, too, until I went to college and one night, everyone started talking about how happy they were to have escaped their parents’ homes.  I loved life on my own, but I knew I was welcome back home and would gladly have run there if I needed anything; plus, my parents were just a phone call away.  In fact, I called them that night and thanked them for being so wonderful.

That’s not to say my childhood was idyllic, mind you, but as far as immediate family, I won the gold ring. I think that influenced my writing, too.  Even the stories where I get dark, there are strong families, if only in the background.  I do think it’s still the norm, and I definitely believe it should be.

3.  Does the fact that you’ve not done something before increase or decrease its appeal to you?
When it comes to writing, it increases the appeal.  I love a good challenge.  That’s how Vern (the main character in Live and Let Fly) came about.  I had heard of a dragon anthology, and I’d not written about dragons before.  Rob and I brainstormed for about half an hour trying to find something not yet done, but it wasn’t until we went down with the kids to watch Whose Line Is It, Anyway? that I realized I could write a noir-style dragon detective.  Vern proved such fun, I sought new challenges (can I mix Irish legend and the Ten Plagues?  “Amateurs” says “Yes, I can!”).  I also had challenges given to me, like the invitation to write a serial story, which I’d never done before.  That became the first DragonEye, PI novel, Magic, Mensa and Mayhem.

Last autumn, I decided I needed a new challenge, and Rob suggested writing a sci-fi based on The Old Man and the Sea.  I finished it in February and it was such fun!

Some challenges, however, do not appeal, especially technical ones.

4.  Do you feel you have much impact on the lives of people you come into contact with?
I never feel like I do, but then someone will say something about some favor I did for them or something I wrote that touched them (especially with my devotional, Why God Matters) and I’ll realize that I actually did.  Still, that’s the hand of God playing, not anything to do with me in particular.  I’m just grateful that it does happen now and again.

5.  If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one unique ability or quality, what would it be?
To be able to write scenes just as I imagine them.  Even if I then read them and think, “Ack!  No!  Burn it, burn it!”  I would still want to do this.  Sometimes, I think up the most amazing scenes, but when it comes time to write them, the words don’t do justice to my imagination.

So now you know a little about me.  What about my main character, Vern?

Vern is a dragon from the Faerie world who was captured by St. George and pressed into God’s service.  He’s done it all from Pope’s pet to Church champion against demigods and demons.  Now, for reasons only God knows, he’s living in our world as a private detective.  His partner, Sister Grace, is a mage in the Order of Our Lady of Miracles.

1.  If God appeared to you in a series of vivid and moving dreams and told you to leave everything behind, travel alone to the Red Sea and become a fisherman, what would you do?
Are you kidding?  Caraparavalenciana is right by the Red Sea.  I’d be going home!

2.  How close and warm is your family?  Do you feel your childhood was happier than most people’s?
Dragons are androgynous, created at the beginning of time and immortal, so we don’t have families like most species think of them.   My “family” is a drove of dragons.  We would meet every couple centuries or so, hunt together, dance, fight (sometimes, they’re the same thing), and gripe about the humans.  I didn’t have a childhood; or I’m still in it; or I’m merely choosing to have one.  Depends on who you talk to and how much I’m enjoying my day.

3.  Does the fact that you’ve not done something before increase or decrease its appeal to you?
Increase, definitely.  Being immortal gives you a taste for novelty…and plenty of time to learn from mistakes.

4.  Do you feel you have much impact on the lives of people you come into contact with?
I have saved both the Faerie and Mundane worlds so often, I’ve developed a pay scale for it.  (Not that Grace always lets me extort that kind of money.)  So, yeah.  Big impact. Colossal impact.  But I’m a dragon.  Did you expect anything less?

5.  If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one unique ability or quality, what would it be?
Chew gum.  I tried it once, but I had to use six entire packs and then it stuck to my teeth.  You can only imagine the time I had trying to get a dentist  to clean them.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Character Sketch: Joshua of Mind Over Mind

Rob is home from Baghdad for his mid-tour leave, so I'm re-running some favorite guest posts I've done on book tours.  This is a character exercise I did for the "romantic Lead" of Mind Over Mind, Joshua Lawson.  Joshua is interning at the mental health institute where Deryl had been committed for the past five years.  It was fun to visit his first impressions and see how he changed over the course of the novel.  The second book, Mind Over Psyche, is with the DragonMoon editors, and I'm writing the final book, Mind Over All.  If you've not read Mind Over Mind, check it out:

Journal of Joshua Lawson
Day One

I'm writing this journal in the hopes that it will help me keep my mouth shut while I'm at work.  I have the feeling I'll be needing all the help I can get.

I knew when I took this internship, that I'd be facing an uphill battle.  It doesn't matter how many years you've been working in the psychiatric field--when you're only 19 and all that work has been done alongside your psychiatrist father, people tend to dismiss it.  Well, most, anyway.  I think I have a couple of the staff convinced that I know my stuff--or at least enough that they can trust me with something more than bedpans and playing catch with the only teenage client, Ydrel.

Ydrel.  What a piece of work he's going to be.  He's got this idea that he's psychic--and he's real good at living it.  Maybe too good.  How the heck did he know about Mass in Pueblo?  Maybe he'd keyed in that I was Catholic--but he described Mrs. Montoya pretty well.  Spooky well.  Anyway, it doesn't matter, right?  No one is helping him here, and if I can, I will, even if it means trying to teach him control of "psychic powers."  Guess I'll be browsing the paranormal section at the bookstore, though I might start with Myth, Inc.  It's got ley lines and stuff, and anyhow, Ydrel needs to develop a sense of humor in a bad way.

Then there's Sachiko.  Oh, man!  She's beautiful and funny and she drives a Harley and I thought I was going to melt through the blacktop when she smiled at me in the parking lot and offered me a ride.  Do I want to ride with her!  And I can not, NOT, think that way this summer.  She's staff--a swing shift nurse, like five or ten years older than me, and Ydrel's pretty protective of her, too.  Apparently, she's taken care of him a long time.  Just the way to wreck any trust I build with him, not to mention professional image.  Besides, after Lattie, I promised to swear off women for the summer.  So why can't I stop hearing her beautiful voice?

Okay.  Enough for tonight.  Work in the morning--and I don’t know what traffic is like that early.  Rhode Island traffic is a far cry from Pueblo's.  Bless me Lord, and help me keep my mouth shut and my feelings to myself--especially around Sachiko.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Great Weight Write-Off Winner--Dennis McGeehan!

You know, when it comes down to it, the reason for diet and exercise is not to lose weight or look great, so much as to get healthy.  This week's winner in the Great Weight Write-Off, Dennis McGeehan has shown that a little discipline can get remarkable results.  He joined with the goal of managing his high blood pressure by diet and exercise, and has been off his medication and doing great for two weeks now.  Congrats, Dennis!

Dennis P. McGeehan is a husband and the father of nine kids: 1 daughter and 7 sons plus one daughter-in-heaven. He is a freelance writer and author who writes both fiction and non-fiction on numerous topics - family, faith, fantasy , etc. His first published magazine article is in the Lenten Edition of The Word Among Us, viewable on-line at

Selecting the Best Martial Art Class for Your Child  
He has one e-book, Selecting the Best Arts Class for Your Child, at  A concise book to help parents make an informed decision on choosing a Martial Art school for their child. The book covers the different types of Martial Arts classes available, the distinctive characteristics of the styles, and the factors to consider when deciding what class is right for your child.