Thursday, April 16, 2015

Celebrating "Celebrate Teen Literature Day"!

It's still National Library Week, and I'm still running a giveaway here at the blog.  Leave me a comment anytime before midnight on April 18, and you could win one of two prizes: a signed copy of my first novel, Finding Grace, or a signed copy of my second novel, Erin's Ring.
This is a good day to talk about these two books, because today has actually been dubbed "Celebrate Teen Literature Day," and both of my novels fall into the teen/young adult (YA) category.  (Although don't let the YA tag deter you from reading them if you're a full-blown adult; I tried to write these stories in such a way that they could be enjoyed by readers from middle school to middle age.)

When I set out to write Finding Grace, I wasn't even sure it would ever be officially published as a book, with a glossy cover and professionally printed pages.  I thought that when I finished, I might run off copies for my boys, so that when they had children of their own, they could hand my homemade book down to them. (Then wonder of wonders, Cheryl Dickow agreed to give the manuscript the imprint of her company, Bezalel Books, and a work of fiction that I thought would only be shared amongst my family members was listed on the Amazon mega-site.  Life is amazing!)

I had no grandchildren when I began work on Finding Grace in August of 2007--but by the time I completed it in December of 2011, I had become a grandmother to identical twin girls.  I have five grandchildren now, and counting; and if any of them grow up to be readers, I hope they will enjoy and feel inspired by their Grammy's books.

Over the years during which I was raising my sons, in the '90s and '00s, I noticed a disturbing trend: the amoral secular mindset, with all of its anti-God, anti-organized religion ideas, was creeping into every corner of the entertainment world.  Moral relativism was becoming the order of the day--on TV, in movies, and in books.  As I have always been an avid reader myself, from the time I was a young, impressionable girl, I wanted to write something that might be a sort of antidote to that kind of poison--a book that might actually inspire teens to swim against the tide and fight the good fight.  Inspire them to achieve what has always been a difficult task, even before the world became so God-less: to become saints.  I thought I'd write something about teenaged characters coming of age, with a strong pro-chastity, pro-life message--with characters who show how beautiful it is to let their Catholic Faith inform their life decisions.  My dearest wish was that it might resonate with young readers going through similar high school experiences.  But since just about every adult was once an unsure, angst-ridden teen, I hoped that more mature readers would enjoy it, too.

Although it hasn't found a wide readership yet, I have been gratified by the comments of readers--some teens, but mostly adults (and even some male adults)--who have read and endorsed Finding Grace.

My heart goes out to the young, it truly does.  And to the parents who must raise them these days.  Just recently, my publisher sent me a link that just about broke my heart.  There is an organization called "Negative Population Growth" that is offering a lucrative college scholarship to students, for an essay (or photo) illustrating why our government should be involved in population control.  Here's what they're advertising online:

Provided by: Negative Population Growth
April 23, 2015
The Negative Population Growth Essay Scholarship Contest is open to high school seniors and college freshmen, sophomores and juniors. You must submit an essay of between 500 and 750 words on the following topic: "Should the United States' government pursue population policies to protect our quality of life for future generations?" You must also be a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident to qualify for this award.
Is this what we've come to in the US?  Do we want to become communist China, and limit the number of children a family is allowed to have?  To storm into homes and force abortions on pregnant women who have gone over the legal limit?  To force sterilization on women who have had their quota of babies?  Have Americans any idea what getting the government involved in population control will really mean?  Have we abandoned the principles of our Founding Fathers, who created a country where its citizens were promised "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"?
This scholarship offer makes me feel sick, people.  Not to mention terrified.   Earth worship--environmentalist fanaticism--has turned human beings into the enemy.  If you don't believe me about this group and their scholarship offer, check out their website:

So in my own little way, with my small works of Catholic fiction aimed at teens, I hope to fight such anti-God, anti-life, anti-freedom forces at work in the world.  I hope these books can be, to use the motto of my boys' Catholic high school, Lux in Tenebris ("Light in the Darkness").

Because there is indeed darkness.  As if the Negative Population Growth scholarship story isn't disturbing enough, my husband and I were listening to Glenn Beck on the radio recently, and he was alerting his listeners about an incredibly awful book that he'd been made aware of: he was reading aloud from a children's book on the subject of abortion.

Yes, you read that right: there is a children's book about abortion out there that features a child named Lee talking about the sister his mom and dad aborted, referring to her as a "happy ghost" and putting a positive spin on the whole experience.  This abomination is called Sister Apple, Sister Pig.  Here's a little excerpt, if you can stomach it:

When Lee’s Papa asked, “[D]oes that make you sad or scared?” Lee changed his tune. “I’m not sad that my sister is a ghost! If you kept my sister, you would be tired, and sad, and mad!” When his father questioned why, Lee continued:
Because we would be wild and loud and sometimes we would fight. Mama might be scared that she could not buy enough food for us. Mama might not have enough time to read to me, to paint with me, to play with me, to talk with me…. 
Papa also noted “good reasons” Lee doesn’t have a sister “right here right now.” “Maybe you will have another sister when there is more time, and there is more money,” Papa said.

I have no words.  Only tears.  Imagine the tears in Heaven.
And that is one more reason that I may just keep on writing Catholic fiction for young people!  I thought I was a one-book author, that I would never write another novel after Finding Grace.  Then about a year ago, Cheryl Dickow approached me with a surprising offer to write another YA title for her company, and the result was Erin's Ring.  Published in November of 2014, it was a delight to work on from beginning to end.  "Okay," I told myself, "I'm a two-book author now.  But that's it.  Never again.  Now I'm in full-time Grammy mode."

However, I should never say "never."  Because when I hear about groups that are celebrating negative population growth and children's books that are glorifying abortion, I think there's a possibility that I'll keep on writing.  I'm too shy when it comes to the spoken word, so I don't I think I'm meant to spread the Good News that way.  But I do a little better with the written word.  And I'm beginning to get the feeling that that's the method God would like me to use, to add even a small flicker of light to the world's darkness.

Let's all celebrate teen literature that has spiritually enriching messages for our young people!  (And on that note, don't forget to enter the giveaway!) 


  1. You should keep on writing! What is this world coming to? A children's book about an aborted child? Why? Because it's politically correct? Give me a break! Keep writing your beautiful books, Laura!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement. It means a lot. <3