December 4, 2015

Just because you are all so patient...

From Remarkable Likeness

(Which I SHALL publish in 2015)

 
 
“In spite of everything I still believe people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery and death.  I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end that that peace and tranquility will return again.  Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl
 
 
Prologue:  In the forest near Alten Frühling, Germany
 
 
She opened her eyes cautiously.  This was the third day in a row that the sound of shelling and the smell of cordite drifted from the town below.  As far as Helena knew none of the shells had hit the camp.  Yet.  Between the shell bursts the only sound was the buzzing of flies.  Always in summer it was the flies, but now with summer ending the pests were getting meaner, as if they knew it would soon be the end for them.  And perhaps also for the women around her too.  There had been no food for four days and, while it was tempting to go to the well outside, they all suspected that the Commandant had ordered the well contaminated.  There was paranoia everywhere.
Only a handful of men remained in the camp.  The guards had left two days ago to reinforce the fighters defending the town.  Most of the male prisoners had struck out then toward the woods but Rabbi Cohen had argued that they were safer in the camp.  If the fighting spilled over into the forest they were likely to be caught in the crossfire.  Still.  Most of the women, and there were many, cowered in the barracks.
Scratching, she sat up.  Why were the fleas so healthy when none of the people in the camp could stand?  Virtually all of the women were huddled together in the far corner of the barren room.  They talked only of the hope that the allies would come up from Alten Frühling where they were fighting and find them here in the camp by the river.
The door burst open and then slammed shut.  Helena snarled.  It was the Commandant, the man she hated most in this world.  For a moment she was ashamed of the feral woman she had become.  She was ashamed that her mother would have not approved.
“Up against that wall, all of you.”
Even his voice made her furious.  She rolled off the bed and tried to slide under it but he saw her and a vicious kick of his boot and a jab to her side with the butt of his rifle sent her scurrying across the floor on her hands and knees biting back a scream and joining the other women near the end of the line.  She stood up, back against the wall next to Alma, eyes downcast, heart racing. Outside an automobile engine was running and then she knew his plan.  She had heard the gunfire from the other barracks. He would kill them all before they were rescued, before they had a chance to identify him to their liberators.
But just as the thought finished its journey through her brain the gunfire started. His gun sprayed quickly down the line. 
But she was quicker, years of dodging her tormentor made it instinctual.  As the woman before her began to fall to the floor she began to fall too dragging Alma with her.  She felt the bullet enter her arm, but it was just her arm.
She lay absolutely motionless on the floor.  Could one breathe without moving?  She tried.  When she breathed there was a whistling sound.  She had to silence it. She had to try. 
His boots with their mirror shine moved nearer.  He would kill her now.  He would kill her because she knew and she would tell. He would kill her because he knew she was strong.
The crack of the door hitting the wall tested her resolve to remain motionless. The Commandant jumped back, his weapon at the ready, but it was his assistant, Hans, who came stumbling in, grasping his thigh.  The Commandant gave her one last kick and then dragged his subordinate out of the room. In a few moments there was a spray of gravel on the wooden steps to the barracks.
For three minutes more Helena still held her breath.  Then, when her eyes and her heart told her that she was safe, she lightly touched Alma who lay beside her.  There was no response to her touch.
She rolled onto her side.  She knew her ribs were broken. Her breath came in short gasps.  She considered that holding her breath was a better idea because it didn’t hurt so much but, she needed to staunch the wound in her arm.  With her teeth and her good arm she succeeded in ripping off what was left of the hem of her dress and tightening it around her upper arm.  For a moment she rested against the post of the bunk bed trying to find air.
She looked around.  They all looked dead.
“Is anybody alive?”  She asked tentatively.
No response.
She sighed and tried to crawl but that hurt too much so she pulled herself to vertical.
Methodically she checked the women with whom she had worked for the last two years.  None of them showed signs of life.  At the door she collapsed sending waves of pain through her brain.  But she willed herself to stay awake, afraid that she would be thought dead and buried alive.
The door opened with the barrel of a gun.  A boot cautiously slid across the door jam.  She was ready to trip him but looking up she saw the face of a very young British infantryman and heard him say,
“Bloody hell, they’re all dead in here too, Sergeant.”
She wanted to say “all but me,” but she was afraid of scaring him and catching a bullet so she waited.
He turned to see her sitting propped up by the door.
He knelt down with his gun as a staff.
“Who are you?” he asked, his adolescent face crossed with amazement.
“Helena Sarah Steinberg, I am a British subject.”
With that the world went dark for Helena Steinberg.
 
 
© 2015 Christina Wible
 
 

July 16, 2015

What to do when you are blocked. Study number 1

Hi, my name is Christina and I am a writer and I am blocked.

Okay, now I've admitted it, what will I do?


The first thing I have decided to do is not to think about all the books I have in my PC just sitting there waiting for me to....  Oops.

The second thing I am doing is to cultivate other artistic sides of myself.  I've always loved photography so I bought myself a new (used) camera and I am doing light studies.  Eons ago when I was doing this it was a whole nuther thing.  You took the roll of film.  You had it developed.  You found someone who would let you have time in their dark room.  And then you spent oodles of money on developing fluid and paper.  Much easier now.

I may just concentrate on this for awhile but there may be other things in the works.

Standby.



July 12, 2015

Watchman angst (spoilers)




All over Facebook today the question is "Will you read Go Set A Watchman? so I sat down to answer twenty of my friends asking the question and decided to answer it here instead.

Yes.  Yes, I will read Go Set a Watchman.

I have heard answers that range from my enthusiastic YES.  To NO NEVER, EVER, EVER.  In almost every case the latter is explained that they don't want to know that (spoiler here) Atticus was a racist.  They say it would "spoil" Mockingbird for them or that it just wasn't right.

Now I know that lotsa people don't like change and certainly having your mind changed about someone is very hard.  But I don't think that gaining a better understanding of a man and his time is a bad thing.  To me finding out that Atticus is a racist is an interesting placement of the man in his profession.  That he can be a racist and yet still believe in the law and justice for everyone is not necessarily inconceivable for the time in which he lived.

Now, stop there a moment. I am not condoning racism or anything that happened with regards to the vile persecution of people of color.  What I am saying is that there must be, and I must believe that there is as a Christian Buddhist, a spark of the divine in everyone.  Sometimes that spark only manifests itself in an individual's love for a single thing.  Sometimes a person radiates love for the whole world.

In Mockingbird we were set up to believe that Atticus was a saint, the best, someone we could have to dinner without fear of a bad discussion at the table.  In Watchman we find out not so much.  Does that ruin my life?  I don't think so.

It's a book, people. A work of literary fiction.

Read it.  Find out what life is really like.  So another childhood dream bites the dust.  Adulthood is for finding out all about reality.  Adulthood is for changing, for learning forgiveness.

Adulthood is for creating new realities.

It's just a book, people.  Summer reading.

February 20, 2015

Welcome!




Welcome to my new readers!  As a special offer to you all of my books are on special right now on Kindle for $0.99.  I hope you will take a chance on the rest of them if you liked the one you are currently reading.  The link at the right will take you to my Amazon page where you will find all the rest of my books.

Please feel free to amble around my pages here or to join my Facebook page where I post more frequent updates and musings on the work of writing.

Thank you for visiting!

January 29, 2015

A bit of Adelaide II

As an apology for not outputting for the last couple of years, and as a thank you to those who posted reviews for me, here is a teaser from Adelaide II, right now known as The Shepherd's Gift.


Evensong over she grabbed everything from her box on Emma’s desk, pulled Malik’s pile out of Emma’s inbox and added everything to the diocesan financial statistics binder that Emma had made up for her and started up the narrow staircase to her loft.

She looked down over her shoulder at the door to the office to confirm that all the bolts were shut.  She wanted to make sure she had no lip from Emma in the morning.

She squeezed in the door to the loft making sure Arthur didn’t escape.  He’d become an escape artist of late, probably trying to return home to Welborn.  She didn’t blame him.  After today she might want to return home to Welborn.

Fully intending to eat dinner out of the microwave, she took a shower and sat down at her desk with the papers with Arthur as a paperweight.

She studied Malik’s suggestions marked them up with stickies.  He was good.  Very good.  Not sure she deserved him.  Already the “interim” part of his titles had been erased from her brain.  She was trying not to look at Emma’s fat binder so next she sorted through her inbox.

There were three formal pleas for funds from three very small parishes in the mountains.  She moved them to Emma’s binder. 

There was a letter from a discernment committee recommending one of their parishioners for postulancy as a priest.  She carefully read the recommendation.  The person would need financial support.  She had a fund designated for support for candidates but this person wanted to go to Seminary in California. She wrote a note to Emma to have her set up an interview with the recommended person.  The major question in her mind was whether she wanted to support anyone for holy orders who would not be staying within the diocese.  Should she be requiring them to sign a letter of intent to stay in the diocese?  Could she require him to go to school locally and reduce the diocese’s financial liability?

The next sheet was pink and was typed in Emma’s usual style, formally addressed to her and signed with Emma’s full name.

To: Bishop Adelaide Wasserstein

From: Emma Jane Baron

 

Bishop:

From time to time I will have questions that I think require your attention.  They will be placed in your box on these pink sheets.

 

I just wanted to establish this form of communication.

 

Emma Jane Baron

 

Adelaide snorted and reworded the communication to “read this or else.”

The next letter saddened her.  It was from an 80 year old priest in a small town in the west of the diocese.  He’d retired years earlier but taken on his old church again as a supply priest when they couldn’t afford to hire a full time priest.

Now he had been diagnosed with end stage lung cancer and needed to let his church down easy.  He was formally requesting time to come and see her here in Turner City.

Adelaide wrote a note to herself to call him and then go visit him and perhaps his church on the next available Sunday.

Pink sheet.

 

To: Bishop Adelaide Wasserstein

From: Emma Jane Baron

Subject: Need to plan visitation schedule

ASAP

Emma Jane Baron

 

Adelaide put on her slippers and crept down the stairs.  She found that every lockable cabinet and drawer in the place was locked but, using her office skills acquired during her years in Wall Street, she jimmied open the cabinet where Emma kept the paper and found a packet of a particularly obnoxious puke green color which she hijacked up to the apartment.

 

To: Emma Jane Baron

From: Bishop Adelaide Wasserstein

 

Subject: Pink memos

Great idea.  My replies will be on puke green.

I leave the visitation schedule in your capable hands.  Leave me one blank Sunday each month for emergencies.  Schedule me a visit ASAP with the priests attached.

 

Bishop Adelaide Wasserstein.

 

There was a second visitation request which she clipped to her green memo and then another pink memo.

 

To: Bishop Adelaide Wasserstein

From: Emma Jane Baron

Subject: Bishop Cutter

 

He needs a part time secretary.  Suggest you rescue Maria Hernandez from Burger King.  She could also staff the Hispanic ministries committee and maybe the Diocesan Ministry School.

 

Hopefully she can type.

 

Emma Jane Baron

 

What would she do without Emma?  She scrawled HIRE HER across the pink sheet.

Adelaide started to look over what she now called the insolvency binder but she knew that she was now totally incapable of making figures stick in her brain.

She stopped for a moment to pray.

“Dear Lord help me to, well, do the right thing.  Help me to understand the mission of the church and to guide the people of your church to that mission.  Help me to listen for you and know your leadings.  Just help me. Amen.”

Then she scrawled on another blank piece of paper: “Comprehensive plan”, stumbled to her bed and fell asleep despite the fact that the lump she had crashed on was a hissing ball of fur.
 
 
Copywrite 2015  Christina K. Wible

January 22, 2015

Unabashed plea for reviews



This is my semi-frequent plea to my friends and readers. (I'm pathetic, I know.)

If you have read a book that you really enjoyed (or maybe even really hated) be sure to review it on Amazon.com. Many non-authors do not know that there are perks available to authors out there IF they have enough reviews of their books on Amazon. So this year, as you are stuck inside reading because of some (&%)86** ice storm, take the time to review the book that you just finished (or didn't). The authors (including this one) will bless you for it.

And if you read one that was truly bad you will be blessed by the reader who didn't have to spend her $9.99 to find that out.

January 3, 2015

Intersecting brains




Some of you may know that I have two blogs, a writer's blog that appears here on my website and a religion blog, The Wayward Deacon, that appears, um, elsewhere.  They sort of mirror the two sides of my life, writer and clergy vacillating religious person in serious need of a path. They both, however inhabit my left brain which can cause a situation not unlike the BQE at rush hour.

Most of the time these two things compete for my time, they very rarely integrate with each other.  Oh well, maybe there is a spiritual component or hidden message in my novels, but the whole thing came to a head in The Shepherd's Image wherein I wrote about the journey of an Episcopal Bishop.

So now I am engaged in not writing three or four novels and one novella at once and getting absolutely nothing done and agonizing, in only the way a writer can, about why I can't get anything done, and wishing I could get something done, and reaching for the bag of Doritos to forestall getting anything done.

I have done some careful analysis, the bulk of which was accomplished between 3AM and 4AM one night, and realized that my own peculiar religious bugaboos (hey spell check really likes that word!) were getting in the way of my writing what I refer to as Second Adelaide.  So I've laid the Turner City debacle to one side in favor of the convoluted life of Helena and Kate and shall endeavor to finish their story shortly. 

Stay tuned for other updates or whining.  Whichever happens first.