Innocence

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 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!

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:

https://books2read.com/u/4EMonM

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

Two-Sentence Edgy Catholic Horror Story

So, for “Horror Week” on Goodreads.com, 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!