Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Guest Post by Katrina Monroe

by Katrina Monroe
Author of Sacrificial Lamb Cake

I’m scared of the dark. Terrified, actually. I can’t get into bed without a running leap from the doorway. I blame my grandfather for telling me this story:
            Once upon a time, there was a society of gnomes. These gnomes lived in the dark and liked it there. Then, one day, man appeared and shed light on the world of the gnomes. They were shown their ugliness, and for that they hated man. To get their revenge, they decided to hide in the dark corners that man never peers into—the closet, under the bed, and sometimes, under the pillow. When the time is right, they sneak out and eat the smallest of them (because gnomes have very small mouths).
            Then he said goodnight and turned off my nightlight. I was seven.
My grandfather is a great guy, despite his unusual sense of humor. Maybe that’s where I got mine from. That, and my Catholic upbringing.
             We were what people called C&E Catholics—Christmas and Easter (and sometimes Lent, if one of us was trying to lose weight via chocolate sacrifice). Earlier in my childhood, though, we were more devout. I even taught Sunday school for a brief stint. While most people think of handsy priests and sexually repressed nuns when they think of Catholicism, they often forget the time honored tradition of scaring the shit out of its followers.
            Ever see the movie The Exorcist? That’s basically Catholic dogma chewed up and spewed all chunky and green for mass consumption. The devil is real, they taught us, and he is going to get you.
            Like that story with the gnomes, the devil stuck with me all my life. Even as a struggling atheist—I say struggling because no matter what people say, it IS hard to let go of religion—Beelzebub worms his way into my thoughts and fears. So much so, that I can’t let myself think about him without a chill passing through my spine, or watch a horror movie with demon possession at the heart of the story. Give me vampires, zombies, disease, anything else, any day.
            They say that the best way to get over fear is to face it. So how was I supposed to face this fear of an imaginary villain figure?
            By making a fool out of him with my writing.
            In my novel, SACRIFICIAL LAMB CAKE, the devil is portrayed as a woman—Lucy—who has a short temper and a taste for human teeth. She likes to tease, taunt, and get into name-calling matches with other characters. She’s evil, but silly; a threat to other characters, but a caricature to me. Crunchy, but easily digestible.
            I don’t just write about the devil, though. Most of Christian lore has found its way into my writing, either as satire or as a way for me to examine it more deeply—to peel away the layers and thereby disrobe my mind of its propaganda. THE SEVEN AT WORK (forthcoming in TERRIBLE CHERUBS from DeadPixel Publications) is a short story in which I delve into the Seven Deadly Sins, how they manifest in daily life and how, as a Catholic, I believed there were external forces hell-bent on corrupting me in order to steal my eternal soul. Terrifying thought for a kid who just wants to get through the homily so she can eat a donut in the ladies’ hall. But by personifying these sins, and making them funny (Gluttony has quite the sarcastic tongue), I can look past the frightening outer layer and see them for what they really are—lessons in how not to be an asshole.
            A lot of people will probably see the bulk of my work as blasphemous. That’s because it is. And that’s okay. I don’t write for those people. Or maybe I do. Maybe they’re the ones who need to pick up SACRIFICIAL LAMB CAKE and look past that outer layer and discover what I hope will be a fun romp through what it means to be human. The point of fiction, what I believe the point is, anyway, is to take a mirror to the world and show it its dustiest corners. My dusty corner had a crucifix and a promise of eternal damnation for that time I shoplifted some eyeliner from WalMart. What’s in yours?

by Katrina Monroe

Oh. My. God.

Rain Johnson escaped the insanity of her radical environmentalist family, only to end up waitressing for a living. Her scale of success—with her at the bottom—only goes as high as that college degree she never got, until she gets one hell of an epiphany from a Trinity Corporation public-relations guy who calls himself Jude. He tells her she’s the Lamb of God, and it’s time for that whole Second Coming thing. But when her first minor miracle gets her arrested and an ecoterrorist using the name Messiah starts blowing up pesticide plants, Rain and Judas are in for way more apocalypse than either of them expected.

Jude scrambles to save his personal plan for salvation, but Lucy, the devil herself, has her own well-laid plans. It doesn’t matter that Rain’s a conflict-avoiding lesbian and Jude is history’s worst traitor. They’re all that stands between humanity and an end of the world that wasn’t supposed to happen.


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