How Is It Going? Pretty Well, If the World Isn’t Ending…

A friend of mine asked, “How’s it going?”

An innocent enough question that should be easy to answer. Just say, “fine” and be done with it.  But that would not be the truth. It is not going fine.

I have become a character in a real-life edgy-Catholic horror story. Or it could be an episode of the twilight zone where it is all in my head.  My friend writes horror comics, so perhaps he has even created characters in my position.

I have become the guy who knows of a prophecy—a prophecy so terrible that it will, if true, result in billions of souls descending into hell like snowflakes falling. It is an ancient prophecy that seemed so impossible to ever happen, especially not in so modern a time. But then, there it is. And, it is not some incredible prophecy in some obscure book hidden away from the eyes of history in some cave. It is an ancient prophecy from the old testament in the book of Daniel, which was confirmed by to words of Jesus Christ himself. Likely, therefore, to be the most credible biblical prophecy of them all.

So if it is not true, my faith is in doubt. But if it is true, the horror to come will be truly terrible. And, if I don’t tell people about the prophecy so they have a chance to repent, I will be held to account and may find myself descending into the abyss of everlasting flames with the them. But if I warn people and I am wrong, I will be laughed to scorn, subject to derision, and have damaged my reputation so badly, I will never find work again.

The everlasting flames--watching my loved ones fall into torment, and myself following being the most dire possibility, I must warn people.

Here is the prophecy:

Matthew 24:15-25

15When therefore you shall see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place: he that readeth let him understand. 16Then they that are in Judea, let them flee to the mountains: 17And he that is on the housetop, let him not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18And he that is in the field, let him not go back to take his coat. 19And woe to them that are with child and that give suck in those days. 20But pray that your flight be not in the winter or on the sabbath. 21For there shall be then great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, neither shall be. 22And unless those days had been shortened, no flesh should be saved: but for the sake of the elect those days shall be shortened. 23Then if any man shall say to you, Lo here is Christ, or there: do not believe him. 24For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets and shall shew great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect. 25Behold I have told it to you, beforehand.

The “abomination of desolation” has long been understood to be a graven idol of a false god.  The “holy place” had long been considered to be the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, which was destroyed in 70 AD.  But, it does not say the Temple. And I do not believe idol worship preceded the Temple destruction.  It says the “holy place.” But who worships graven idols? How could that happen in the 21st century?  There just aren’t many pagans around, so how could it happen?

The Amazon.  The “Amazonian Synod.” Pagans invited into the holy places of the Catholic Church. Pope Francis has been present while pagans have worship an idol of the goddess pachamama in one of the holiest places in the Catholic Church. First, in the Vatican Garden, and later in St. Peter’s Basilica, just a few yards from the tomb of St. Peter, one of the holiest places in Christendom.

Here are images:

Cardinals processing into St. Peter’s with an idol of pachamama:

Pope Francis with pachamama in St. Peter’s Basilica:

I have been tweeting about the pope, and I realize that I sound mad. But if this is the prophecy, we are all in for a rough go, and I can’t stop it by tweeting at the pope. I’m not sure anyone can stop what is coming, if this is the fulfillment of the prophecy.

So, what can you do? Get right with God, while you can! Repent of any sins you have. If you are Catholic, go to confession. If you have been estranged from the Church and thought you might come back some day, do it now! You may not have much time.

If it’s nothing, we’ll all have a good laugh about it someday. But these events are so beyond anything that we might have expected and come way to close to fulfilling a terrible prophecy for me to risk remaining silent.

Game of Thrones Writer Malpractice

Game of Thrones, probably the edgiest television series ever created, ended in an epic fail, as many television series do.  The difficulty in ending a television series in a satisfying way is that what makes a great television series is the ability to keep it going.  There has to be a next week.  So ending it is a whole nother ballgame.

But, the task was easier in the Game of Thrones and still, the writers failed.  Why was it easier?  The Game of Thrones was set up like a tournament.  And tournaments have built-in excitement as contestants are eliminated and the action heads to a climax where the remaining finalists face off.  The one left standing is the winner.  But. Game of Thrones bailed on the idea of the last man standing wins and had a panel of judges hand the throne to a weakling who did almost nothing for eight seasons.  There was very little edgy in the last episode except Jon being manipulated into killing Dany.

We don't want to dwell too much on the failure but let's identify some things that need fixing.

  1. The battle of Winterfell was fought with no sensible strategy.  The writer's planted the idea that Bran would be used as bait to kill the Night King, but there were only Theon Greyjoy and a few men protecting him and no sensible strategy.  If a sensible strategy had failed and Arya had finished the job, it would have at least made a little sense.  But there was no strategy.  A pointless calvary charge, men fighting in front of barriers rather than using them for cover, minimal use of projectile weapons, and almost no use of two dragons against the advancing dead.  That is a moronic strategy.
  2. Dany's attacking civilians was totally out of character.  If you want to say she did it because she's the mad queen, then you have to sell her madness more.  But, to have her maintaining the idea of "breaking the wheel" and killing civilians makes no sense at all.
  3. Having the dragon fly away was a complete cop-out.
  4. A committee awarding the throne just did not fit with how the whole show was set up.  All the treachery, the power trumping justice, and the end comes down to a group of knuckleheads agreeing that the cripple should be king?

So let's make this an edgy-Catholic ending.

First, the Lannisters decide to sit out the war with the dead and don't show up.  Their plan is to let the people of the north and Dany and her army deal with the problem.  Now, a Game of Thrones player does not let them get away with this.

What if Jon Snow says, "If the Lannisters will not come to the war, the war will come to them.  We send Bran by boat to Blackwater Bay south of Kings Landing.  Abandon Winterfell and retreat to Hornwood, which is well protected by rivers that the dead won't easily cross.  We can take down the bridges once we cross.  That will give the army of the dead a clear path south along the Kings Road.  Send men to warn the people to clear the road.  The army of the dead will have a clear path to King's Landing.  If the Night King and his army want Bran, that's where they will have to go, and they will have to go through the Lannisters."

Sansa can say something stupid like, "We must defend Winterfell" to which Jon replies, "The dead don't want castles.  They want more dead and they want Bran.  We stay alive and let the dead fight the Lannisters, then we meet them from behind at King's landing."

So, now you have a strategy worthy of the Game of Thrones.  You can work out how this strategy fails.  Like, Bran's boat gets captured by the Iron Fleet.  They take him to King's Landing with Cersei, who uses him as a hostage.  Have Cersei's scorpions ready to fight dragons, but she has to fight the dead instead.  Likely, a dragon would be necessary to give air cover to Bran or perhaps the Night King's honing in on him is not strong enough to locate him at sea.  You could have the dragon try to defend Bran's ship and shot down.

At least, it is a strategy that uses Bran as bait. You can still have Arya with Bran and kill the Night King.

For the final episode, you could still have a stand-off with Cersei.  If the scorpion weapon is that effective against the dragons, you must come up with a strategy to defeat them.  You can't have them being deadly accurate in one episode then not effective at all in the next.  This is easily accomplished by looking at the angle of attack.  So, if the dragon flies high and then dive-bombs down, the weapon cannot get an angle for a shot at the dragon.

In the end, Cersei should be captured, not die in a roof collapse, which was totally lame.  Dany's madness should be played up much more, with visions of her crazy brother egging her on to burn them all, rely on the power of the dragon, be the dragon queen, that kind of stuff.  She needs to be really crazy not just sold on her idea of changing the world.

Jon could even say, "Most of the nobles of the great houses are dead and the Lannisters are captured.  The wheel is already broken.  You've done it."

Dany could say something crazy like, "You just want to take what is mine."

Jon: "We both know I am the true heir but I am pledged to you as my queen.  I would be taking what is mine, but I don't want it."

Dany, "You may be the true heir, but I am the Mother of Dragons.  Which counts for more?"

Now, you have judgment day, when Dany starts lining up her enemies egged on by visions of her brother.

Cersei, condemned to death by dragon fire.

Jaime, condemned to death by dragon fire.

Tyrion condemned to death by dragon fire for treason.

The people are appalled but it is a show of raw power.

Sansa is given an opportunity to bend the knee and refuses.

"The north will never again bend the knee to a southern sovereign."

Sansa is burned to death by dragon fire.

Arya has had enough and does her assassin move and kills Dany.  Dany's last words, "Burn them all!"

The dragon goes berserk and starts killing everyone, starting with Arya.  He kills the remaining Lannister army, the Northmen, Greyworm and his unsullied.  Jon takes shelter with Bran.

Bran says, "Jon, you have been the bastard of Winterfell, a ranger beyond the wall with the wildlings, the Commander of the Nights Watch, to the netherworld and resurrected and King of the North.  Now be who you were meant to be.  The Dragon King.  Control your dragon or kill your dragon before there is nothing left of your kingdom."

Jon musters his courage and approaches the dragon.  The dragon breaths fire at him.  The fire has no effect.  His dragon blood prevents him from being harmed.  He draws his sword and slays the dragon.  "The world has had enough of dragons.  It is time for a new way."

So, now Jon is the last remaining contestant in the tournament, the returning resurrected King.  That idea, of a returning, resurrected King, who makes all things new, makes Jon a Christ-like figure and that is one of our models for Edgy Catholic fiction.

And, I think it is more dramatic, edgy, and satisfying than the solution from the actual show.  And, would have had the shock value and wow factor the show is known for and it would have made more sense.  Of course, this rough outline does not address the fates of any number of relatively minor characters like the red witch, Theon, etc, but you could work all those in and as a default have the dragon kill them.  After all, in the Game of Thrones, you win or you die.  You don't get appointed by a committee.

What do you think?

My book, When the Wood Is Dry: An Edgy Catholic Thriller, features a Christ-like character, though not in the returning king aspect, but in the crucifixion-resurrection type.  Catch it at:


What happens when we are in the presence of innocence?  How does it affect us?  
Innocence and the impact it has on people is a common theme in Edgy-Catholic fiction.  Graham Greene saw innocence as a source of temptation, as even the more corrupt characters would strive to protect the innocent.  One of my favorites was the lighthearted spy thriller, Our Man in Havana,  where the main character's daughter is a complete innocent and the motivation that draws him into trouble is a desire to buy her a pony.
And J R R Tolkien in Lord of the Rings also saw innocence as a powerful temptation, as Gandalf explained to Frodo that if he possessed the ring of power, the temptation to aid the innocent would be too great for him and the ring would corrupt him.  
My own novel, When the Wood Is Dry: An Edgy Catholic Thriller explores the impact of innocence.  In fact, the first part is titled, I. Call of the Innocent.  But rather than focusing only on the character's drawn to corruption to protect the innocent, my work also reflects the view of the innocent herself saying, "Don't sin to protect me."  The call of the innocent is complex, however, also pulling toward redemption.  Characters are both drawn to the light and drawn toward darkness to protect the light.
When I sent copies of my books to Dean Koontz as part of a Christmas present, When the Wood Is Dry had not yet been released.  He sent me in return his book titled, Innocence, which I recommend, as well.  His book, however, focuses on a different aspect of how innocence can affect people: people respond with violence when in its presence.  
I find that my work includes this possibility, as well.  After all, my innocent character Lali needs protection, as she finds herself in a heap of trouble.  The call to protect the innocent would not be so strong if there were not those who wanted to destroy innocence when confronted by it.  The sinister desire to corrupt the innocent or abuse the innocent is purely evil, and the darkest reaction of the presence of innocence.  
I remember someone familiar with only part of When the Wood Is Dry suggested that my character, Lali, may be "too good."  I am aware that the "too good" trap is one that many authors fall into.  But, her innocence and naivete are what makes the theme possible, and the things that happen to her the more horrific.
There are, after all, saints who walk the earth.  And, when this innocence confronts evil, violence is the inevitable result.
Or, so I've heard...

The Unborn Person – A Problem for Hollywood

Georgia has passed a law that recognizes the preborn human as a "natural person" in terms of law once a heartbeat is detected.  The law will presumably be adjudicated and it is uncertain whether it will be upheld, though the errant reasoning of the Roe vs. Wade decision will need to be revisited and either further tortured to permit abortion or overturned, at least to some extent.  That is a legal issue which will be fun to watch play out.

But, the politics is more fun to watch right now.  Hollywood threatened to shun Georgia as a location for filming movies and television if they dared to adopt such a law.  We have every reason to believe that they will carry through with their threat and no longer film in Georgia.

Expect high-minded talk from the cultural leaders of La-La land about the importance of women's rights and the woman's right to choose.  But, be aware that long before there was any "woman's right to choose" in law, folks in the film industry were forcing the choice of abortion on women.

Here's an article from Vanity Fair detailing the abusive behavior, including placing clauses prohibiting marriage and children to their starlets.

Abortion is a necessity for keeping their stars fit, sexy and unpregnant.  Coercion of abortion is much easier when it is legal and accepted as a legitimate choice.  But, is it a choice if you will lose your Hollywood star status once you become pregnant?

There was even a case of a Hollywood star, Loretta Young, who pretended she was sick while pregnant, had her child, and then arranged to adopt her own daughter in order to keep her pregnancy private and avoid being bullied into getting an abortion.

Hollywood's favoring of abortion is a business decision for making money.  It's not about "women's rights."

In my book, When the Wood Is Dry: An Edgy Catholic Thriller, one of the characters is compelled by her boyfriend to have an abortion.  Sometimes, a women's right to choose devolves into a man's right to bully.

Get When the Wood Is Dry: I. Call of the Innocent totally free at

The Dangers of Praying at an Abortion Clinic

Abortion clinic workers live in fear.  And, it is not totally unfounded.  Once in a while, a "pro-life" zealot will do something violent and extreme.  But, on the other side, sometimes the peaceful, pro-life protesters are also targeted.  And, both sides, rely on protection from the government from those who would do them harm.

But, what happens when someone from the government chooses sides and harasses one side or the other?  Well, that is what appears to have happened in the City of Brotherly Love.  State Representative Brian Sims on two occasions harassed pro-life activists who appear to have been doing nothing other than peacefully praying in front of an abortion clinic in Philadelphia.  And, so convinced that he was doing something noble, proudly posted the events which he recorded with his phone on social media.

So, here are the full videos:

Now, there are laws that single out pro-life demonstrators for more restrictive treatment than other protesters and the elected representatives have a right to make such laws.  But, should elected representatives be harassing protestors like this?  Should they be claiming, as Mr. Sims did, that as a representative he has nothing to fear from the police?

My novel, When the Wood Is Dry: An Edgy Catholic Thriller (Get part I free on Amazon), deals with a pro-life advocate who gets into an altercation while praying at an abortion clinic.  I would never have conceived, however, that she could have been in such an altercation with an elected representative of the people.

Something is terribly amiss in Philadelphia, the home of Kermit Gosnell and Representative Brian Sims.

For those interested, there will be a rally at the Planned Parenthood clinic at 1144 Locust St in Philadelphia where this occurred on Friday, May 10th at 11 am.

I plan to attend.  I hope you will join us!

An Uncle Tom’s Cabin for the Pro-Life Movement?

Only time will tell, but that’s what one fan of When the Wood Is Dry: An Edgy Catholic Thriller had the temerity to suggest.

When the Wood Is Dry: An Edgy Catholic Thriller, the new book by author Joseph Cillo, Jr., explores the many circumstances that women find themselves in when confronted with the choice to terminate their pregnancies. Written as a thriller, the action centers around Lali Russo, a Catholic high school girl, who while praying at an abortion clinic, is drawn into a world of violence and abuse she hardly conceived possible.


Visited by Jesus in a dream, Lali is called to walk in the footsteps of Christ, in this deeply religious yet provocative work. “Sometimes we must suffer if were to save souls.”  Jesus’ words from the dream echo in her mind, as she struggles to make sense of them. And with each footstep, the coming suffering looms larger, as she encounters the girlfriend of a notorious gang leader at the abortion clinic where Lali prays after school. Walking the girl home, she confronts her boyfriend as he sharpens his machete on the front porch of the girl’s home. 

"Go away, little girl, this is no’ ju beesness."   he says, as he scrapes the stone along the blade.

When I described the story in When the Wood Is Dry to a friend, he suggested that it could be a kind of Uncle Tom’s Cabin of the Pro-life movement.  While any author would be flattered to have his work compared to such an influential classic, there are indeed some similarities.  Uncle Tom, though our modern world often uses his character as an example of cowardly submission to authority, was a saintly character used as a device to communicate the horrors of slavery to a complacent and tolerant population content to look the other way.  The issue of a class of humanity being dehumanized is a parallel, though the dehumanization of the unborn is worse by degree.  Dehumanizing a person to property at least maintains a level of value consistent with the value of property.  As disturbing as that is, the pre-born human is devalued to the point of being garbage to be thrown out with the medical waste, with no value at all.  

A more subtle difference, perhaps, is Uncle Tom’s Cabin’s fairly overt appeals to change the state of the laws on slavery.  When the Wood Is Dry, seldom references the state of the law and does not so overtly make an appeal for its change. While the pro-life perspective is obvious, the focus is on persuasion of the evils of abortion and the damaging effects it has on not only the pre-born child whose life is lost, but on the women who have abortions and on the minds of men in a society where abortion is freely available and actively encouraged as a solution to an unplanned pregnancy.  

Any law protecting the rights of the pre-born will be difficult to enforce in a society that demands the right to unlimited promiscuity. And, while there may be many voices decrying the evils of abortion, there are far fewer decrying licentious sexuality. Demonstrating that abortion is not a satisfactory solution to the reproductive consequences of sexual activity is but a step in addressing the sickness of a society obsessed with promiscuity as a right, a norm, and almost as a virtue. The root of the problem lies in devaluation of the virtue of chastity where people are convinced of the ability of science to disconnect sexual activity from its reproductive consequences, which science can in fact do, but not without the moral consequences of a degraded society and the dehumanization of the human beings in the womb, a state of being through which all living persons have passed. 

The publication of this dramatic work was deliberately timed to occur during the season of Lent.  The EBook version will be published in three parts: I. Call of the Innocent; II. Crucifixion; and, III. Resurrection. I. Call of the Innocent is currently available for free in EBook form on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble and a number of other popular sites. The EBook for the second and third parts are scheduled to launch on 4/9 and 4/23, respectively. The second part comes with a warning to readers, as it may be too intense for some readers, advising them to skip to Part III. Part III includes a synopsis that allows readers to experience the disturbing events of the second part in a less intimate way.

The author and publisher wish to warn readers without spoiling the impact for those who are more daring. At the same time, they believe this book to have important social value. So much so, that they have committed to making the EBook for When the Wood Is Dry: I. Call of the Innocent free at least until the Easter Holiday.

As the subtitle, An Edgy Catholic Thriller, suggests, When the Wood Is Dry is Edgy - Intended only for mature audiences, Catholic - includes overtly Catholic religious imagery and perspectives, and Thrilling - "full of twists and turns, action and heart-wrenching moments," as one early reader commented.

So, is When the Wood Is Dry an Uncle Tom’s Cabin for the Pro-life movement? Only time will tell. But, with a number of northern states currently scrambling to pass laws liberalizing abortion rights and, as in Vermont, explicitly dehumanizing the pre-born, a book exploring the impact of this controversial medical procedure on the lives and attitudes of people in a completely fictional way may at least make some room for discussion while enjoying a thrilling, exciting, and impactful story.

The free book is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other sites at this link:

We ask interested patrons to download When the Wood Is Dry: I. Call of the Innocent and let us know what you think by posting a review on Amazon or whichever story you download from.

The entire book is available in paperback at Amazon and coming soon in hardcover and paperback at other venues.

Banned By Google!

Is the Cover of When the Wood Is Dry Too Edgy or Too Catholic for Google?

My new novel, When the Wood Is Dry: An Edgy Catholic Thriller will be released in three parts.  The first part, I. Call of the Innocent, is currently available for FREE as an EBook from a number of sites including Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, etc.  You may check it out at:

When I Googled my name, however, my author profile came up and the book cover for When the Wood Is Dry was censored.   Ironically, they did not censor my covers for Blind Prophet, even though those covers have demons on them.

So, I'm trying to figure out why Google would censor the cover, without concluding it is a religious bigotry thing.  There isn't any graphic violence or sex.  There is a very stylized wound on a hand, which has highly religious significance, but it is not graphically bloody.

And, I think it goes beyond that.  When I googled, When the Wood Is Dry, I got a lot of results on how to dry wood, but my title was nowhere to be found.  Are they making it difficult for people to find my book?

I want to believe that our friends at Google are tolerant, enlightened people who do not discriminate based on religion.  Am I wrong to be suspicious?

Google has a lot of power to censor content and make it hard to find.  I would hate to think they are abusing that power.  What do you think?


When the Wood Is Dry cover:

Google Author Profile with Cover Censored


A fellow author, Mary Ellen D’Angelo-Lombari  just published a book on the Kindle and asked me to review it.  It really blew me away!  It’s called


The book juxtaposes artistic portraits of people who died from heroin overdoses with short bios from their family members, and a poem.

I’m not usually one who goes for poetry, but I think this book really is a work of art and you should check it out, especially if you know anyone who suffers from addiction.  Here’s a link to the review:

Here’s the link to the book on Amazon:

Me, too?

I met an author recently who “…simply told a story about a young woman.” But, she does admit that, “…only fiction and poetry show us the truth,” so we suspect there is a truth here she is attempting to show us.

You may sample the story she wrote in just a few pages, Pear Trees, by Dena Hunt, here:

In an interview about the story, she says:

A lot was gained by the feminist movement, but a lot was lost, and young women today have no reference point for those losses.


So many young women unknowingly participate in their own degradation.

You can check out the full interview here:

I don’t like to comment on things I don’t understand, which leaves me out of most serious conversations about women. But I find the story to be edgy and Catholic, though it really should not be considered edgy, given our modern values, and it does not mention religion at all.

I wonder, though, if there are women who will read this story, and have the courage to raise their hand to say, “Me, too…”

And, I wonder, as a man, is wondering about such things not a dangerously Catholic and Edgy thing to do?

Two-Sentence Edgy Catholic Horror Story

So, for “Horror Week” on, they sent questions to authors requesting a two-sentence horror story. So, here’s the question and my response, then a little analysis of the Edgy Catholic nature of this concise example:

Goodreads: Can you tell us a two-sentence horror story?

Joseph Cillo Jr: Ok, but it will be dark, Poe-like, with a Catholic edge, and I will need to use commas in a way that some may view as cheating to keep it to two-sentences…

The More Infernal Hell
By Joseph Cillo, Jr.

And I wondered, as I felt the life draining out of me, why, if there were no God, why was it that I so delighted to see her suffer at my hand, why any of it should matter, why anything should be so important, in this random, accidental universe? Feeling the heat of the eternal flames as my soul made its hellward descent, I pondered whether there were, indeed, saints who pass the test, who have faith enough to not cross the point of this hidden God’s mercy, and if perhaps I had not done her a favor in cutting off her path to that point, when my blade slit her throat, condemning my soul to a hell more infernal than the flames meant for my torment.

So, what’s so Edgy and what’s so Catholic about our two sentence story?

1) A first-person murder confession is a bit edgy, putting the reader in the place of the murderer. Also, very Poe-like.

2) The idea that the narrator “delighted” in causing suffering? Well, sure, that is edgy, especially in the first person.

3) The Catholic writer’s advantage of eternal consequences raises the stakes. Imagine this story without the existence of an afterlife and a judgment. The first sentence still works and is a bit edgy, but the eternal stakes adds power and intricacy, a whole new dimension to the story.

4) The discovery of the truth of a God and a judgement is very Catholic. The edginess of the character will often lead to a discovery of some truth that confounds their edgy worldview, which they may accept and change to accommodate in a redemption story, or, as in this story, be made more miserable by the revelation.

5) The idea that there is a merciful God is very Catholic

6) The idea that a murderer may have done his victim a favor in killing her, well that’s Edgy, and likely only makes sense in a Catholic context.

7) The idea of lack of repentance making Hell more infernal, I’d say that’s Edgy-Catholic.

When you find these kinds of elements in literature or movies, especially the unexpected discovery of the truth of something Catholic’s believe, no matter what the primary genre, you are likely experiencing something that we would consider Edgy-Catholic. The degree of edginess typically depends on the character’s worldview before discovering the Catholic moral truth.

So, that’s your edgy-Catholic lesson for today. Keep an eye out for the Edgy-Catholic! It’s coming for you!