Friday, September 11, 2015

Best of the Archives:Writing Edgy Inspirational Fiction

Ruthy note: It's 9/11

I picked this post for our Best of the Archives, not because it's the best, but because it's best-suited.

Life changed for a lot of people 14 years ago. I held a newborn baby in my arms and watched in horror as the world changed on a brilliant, sunlit Tuesday morning. We had friends trapped, trying to escape the dust cloud of the falling towers, strangers, huddled together, of all faiths, all races, praying as one.

Our world changed that day. At least once a year I come down to visit Manhattan and Ground Zero. My daughter had worked in the twin towers two years before they came crashing down. My son stood on the finish line of the Boston marathon about 30 minutes before those bombs went off. Two sons work and live in Lower Manhattan now, in sight of the beautiful new buildings and heart-breaking memorial erected as a tribute to thousands lost.

It is a day and a site of strong emotion. Lives changed. We changed. Time changed.

And yet, life goes on. 

Folks have their own definitions of "edgy". I like Vince Mooney's take of "Romance Realism", and that's where my edgy reigns. Real people, real world, real love, challenged by life's abrupt right turns. 

Today's post is about "Running on Empty" a top-selling indie book with over 260 reviews and a 4.7 star rating. How I wish this story didn't relate to so many people. But the fact that it does makes me so glad I wrote it... and published it, because strong fiction should touch us in ways that grab hold and refuse to let go.

May God bless you this day. May your family be safe, your children be fed, your fields lay thick with harvest and your water run clean and pure. And may God bless you and hold you in the palm of His most gracious hand.

"Running on Empty" Writing Edgy Inspirational Fiction 

For the record:

The Urban Dictionary defines "edgy" as: 

"Applied to books, music or even haircuts which tend to challenge societal norms and reveal the dark side. Cutting edge." says this:

"Daringly innovative. On the cutting edge."

The term "edgy" is subjective. One person's "edgy" is another person's ho-hum... and that's kind of the way of the world, right?

I remember posting an excerpt about three naughty little boys in church on a loop years ago and someone called it "edgy" because the thought of little boys being naughty and loud in church was beyond their "ken"... Oh my stars, they needed a dose of reality from the Blodgett boys, LOL!

Then I had someone offer to read the opening chapter of "Try, Try Again" when I first wrote it, and the reader said the life-saving former NYC cop "Sarge" shouldn't smoke because it would turn readers off, it was too "edgy"....

A smoking ex-cop in New York City on a rain-swept bridge is not edgy. A trio of naughty boys in church is not edgy.

"Running on Empty", my newest independent release, the story of a woman who's kept a secret for over a decade...  You know, that kind of secret...

The story of a woman who thought she fell in love with her running coach at age 13...

And didn't realize how a predator works, that they pick their prey with knife-like precision. And sometimes, no matter how much time goes by, they.... can't.... let.... go.

Let me tell you: that's edgy.

Now Anne has come home to help her sick mother, a mother who thought Anne left for very different reasons, a mother who blamed the wrong man, a good man of truth and justice, a man who wears a uniform for law and order with pride.

Maybe too much pride?

And now mother and daughter must deal with separate truths they thought they knew. And they're working on borrowed time, because Anne's mother is dying.

That's edgy.

That's the kind of fiction we're talking about today, the kind of story that grips the heart, tugs the soul, and mentions the unmentionables...  But in a way that shows God's grace, the healing, the help, the warmth and humor of taking the chance to love again--

A chance that seemed impossible short months before.

Here's what we all have in common: We love God. We believe in Christ, the Savior. We embrace faith, hope and love. We love romance, we think heroes are supposed to act like heroes, but we love them flawed, too... Because perfect men don't exist and we want to see God's wondrous ways working in tandem with our humanity.

And that's what I tried to do in "Running on Empty".  It was my first "North Country" book, the story that won all kinds of awards as "The Prodigal", and the story that made it by personal request onto several big editor desks... but then didn't make it past the pub boards because talking about pedophiles isn't readily accepted. And you might think that bothers me, but it doesn't. I understood that I took on a topic other authors had been rejected on, authors with bigger and better track records than mine...

But that's never stopped me before (much to my family's chagrin!!!!)

and it didn't stop me then. God put this story on my heart and soul when I was visiting the North Country a dozen years ago... when my son, a freshman at a beautiful North Country university said, "Some of the people in these small towns take their sports way too seriously."

From that snip came the "What if's???" writers mentally embrace. What if the coach didn't have the child's best interests at heart? What if the small town, a town hit with economic downfall with the collapse of manufacturing, embraced a winning record with too much ardor? What if the coach/teacher was a well-respected man of stature in his church, profession and community?

I wrote "Running on Empty" before Penn State was common knowledge, before we started looking hard and long at Syracuse University and the problems there.

Yes, this story is edgy... but it's also beautiful in its simplicity, in its grace and in the dignity of embracing those affected by depravity.

Do I want you to read this story?


Do I want you to love it?


Would I be honored by your review on Amazon?


But I will also understand if you shy away from it... although, I'm going to tell you honestly, I think it's a heart-wrenching beautiful love story, a tale of hope, redemption, renewal and faith. And the hero, Police Chief Joe McIntyre? Well, he's worth the price of admission and more.

I'm just sayin'...   :)

"Running on Empty" is a marriage reunion story that holds up that "mirror dimly" we all talk about but sometimes fail to see in our own homes, our own lives.

Today we're talking "edgy".... because it needs to be talked about. Do you write edgy fiction? Does your work break the rules in a manner pleasing to God but unnerving to man?

Tell us about it!

And as I saw the effect this story was having on people, the healing power of the Holy Spirit at work, I made it a forever .99 cent story. Because Anne's story, and stories like Anne's shouldn't be just about making money (though don't get me wrong, I have a mortgage just like everyone else!). It should be about help, hope and healing, enough to take the "edge" off edgy.

 Knowing how ugliness can smear truth with innuendo...

And rocked a somewhat smug small town on its heels.

So what's your "edge"? Share with me, with us, and we'll chat about what gives a story organic "edge" as opposed to piled-on shock value.

We've got coffee, remembrances, prayer and thanksgiving... As we contemplate the amazing beauty in our lives.

Multi-published, best-selling author Ruth Logan Herne loves to write warm inspirational fiction from her old farmhouse in upstate New York. She loves God, her husband (a very patient man who is quiet because he has little other choice) her family (a horde of kids, her own and those she's stolen) her country, her dogs, chocolate and coffee... There are days when chocolate and coffee nudge their way higher on the list and Ruthy is okay with that. :) Contact her via her website, friend her on facebook where she LOVES TO TALK!!!!, or swing by the Yankee Belle Cafe to find great convo, pics and fun recipes from Ruthy and a group of regional authors/cooks who love food even as they find ways to cut corners! 

Comments are turned off for the day... but prayers are always welcome! God bless you!