Posts Tagged ‘conflict’

How to bring a book to public notice?

January 4, 2010

When Angels Lie video.
I wrote When Angels Lie a while ago. Those who read it were surprised and found it a jolly good read, even though most of them would not normally read a book with this church setting. These readers have included a newspaper reviewer, a bookshop manager, students (male and female) a professor, in fact a whole spectrum of readers from all walks of life aged from 16 to 80 with a with range of taste as regards reading matter.
Ah, but how to get it to the attention of readers everywhere — National Newspapers will not review a book unless it is freely available in every major bookshop. And major bookshops will not stock books unless they are certain of sales — reviews get the sales! At least I have the pleasure of knowing I have written books that are enjoyed.

It is published here in the UK under my pen name Richard L Gray (When Angels Lie, all hell is let loose and Demons Fly!) by my own Magpies Nest Publishing. (Can be bought on line. Free delivery in the UK) and in the USA by AG Press. It is also an Ebook published by Mythica Publishing and can be bought from Amazon (Kindle books – but they show the UK cover there).

When Angels Lie: An Award Winner

Gladys Hobson (aka Richard Gray) has written an award winner with ‘When Angels Lie.’ Daring to take on a subject guaranteed to make some readers squirm, Hobson boldly explores the life of handsome Anglican priest Paul Stringer as he takes on an impoverished parish and pursues a loving affair—with a neighboring male priest. The author follows him as he struggles painfully with a commitment to his church and his desperate need for acceptance and companionship.

Although the two priests determine to keep their personal affair confidential, they learn that suspicions are quick to arise in this small community. Confused by the rebuffs of the parish’s most eligible bachelor, local women begin to grow increasingly suspicious of his often repeated vow of bachelorhood. Worse, the enmity of the church warden, the jealousy of a woman spurned and the sexual escapades of two teenage lovers in the chapel are twisted into a scandal that threatens to expose not only the relationship of the priests but destroy their many accomplishments in the church.

Smoothly, expertly written, the author captures the essence and conflict of human love and religion as they struggle to coexist in a judgmental world. Hobson reveals a church hierarchy attempting to compromise with a nervous reality, and walks the reader ever so beautifully through the torment of a young man deeply devoted to his vows and wanting fervently to serve his parish–with the support of a loving partner. As the story unfolds, however, his options grow more desperate and his torment ever more intense.

Hobson is a writer of the first class, able to build a story quickly and maintain excitement throughout the book. Her characters are full and multidimensional—at times, the reader is torn by compassion and empathy for one and then the other. Such is the making of a fine novel and a book well worth reading. It is unfortunate that books such as these, so worthy of recognition, go unheralded by the literary establishment. I, for one, give it “tens” across the board.

Andrew F. O’Hara, editor, The Jimston Journal
author, The Swan, Tales of the Sacramento Valley

And another full star review:
Young, handsome, and driven, Paul is completely devoted to the practice of his faith as an Anglican priest. With all that he has going for him, it should come as no surprise that he remains square in the sights of many a single woman scattered throughout his doting parish. Unfortunately for them, Paul’s heart is set solely on the pursuit of someone he finds quite special – little does anyone know, though, that someone just happens to be a fellow male priest…

When the two fated lovers eventually surrender to their desires, they begin a passionate, loving – albeit completely clandestine affair – but despite the pleasure of their physical indulgence, both men struggle greatly with the inner spiritual torment stemming from the juxtaposition of their flesh and their faith. Even worse, as suspicions regarding their relationship begin to grow throughout the surrounding community, Paul and his lover soon face the very real prospect of having to contend with the disastrous consequences of their actions – however well-meaning they may be. In light of all the looming controversy, each man is forced to engage in a fierce spiritual battle in order to reconcile the various conflicting elements deep within themselves…

When Angels Lie takes the reader on a piercing, heart-rending and ultimately edifying journey through the deepest recesses of the human soul. Insightfully well-crafted, author Gladys Hobson’s endearing tale does a superb job of humanizing the eternal battle between the spirit and the flesh – a battle, it should be noted, that is no more or less difficult whether centered on homosexuality, addiction, or any other spiritual affliction. In the end, we all struggle daily with issues of acceptance vs. propriety, and the manifestation of this struggle in the form of Paul’s relationship with his lover is guaranteed to inspire serious reflection within the reader on a number of different levels.

With a compelling storyline and well-rounded cast of characters, When Angels Lie is literary jewel that shouldn’t be missed. Kudos to Hobson for launching such a brave headlong foray into what remains a highly controversial topic – and for pulling it off with the utmost class, grace, and much-deserved empathy. Highly recommended.

Tracy Moore
Apex Reviews

A Lonely Path to Tread — short story by Gladys Hobson

March 17, 2008

He walked towards her, his body rigid, his face swollen with fury. It was if he were being choked by the clerical collar tightening around his throat.

“Is this your doing?” he asked, waving a sheet of paper in front of her. “You’re supposed to get them to accept my proposals. Now they’ve come up with this!”

Her pulse was racing. She had never seen him so angry.

“But the Mother’s Union thought visiting all the families for two anniversaries was a waste of time. They don’t get inside the homes and most of the cards have to be pushed through the letterboxes. This way—”

“I want all baptism families visiting for five years, whether doors get opened or not!” he bellowed. “They would have done it if I had been there.”

Her stomach was tying itself in knots.

“I don’t think so. They were quite adamant that it was a waste of time. They want to concentrate on those who are interested and—”

I would have persuaded them.”

“I don’t think so.” She swallowed hard, but the lump in her throat would not budge. “It really was a good discussion. They came up with plans they were happy to work with. I thought they were spot on. After all, they are the ones doing the work.”

“But I run this parish!” he blasted. A rumble left his throat as he shook his head. “I should not have left it to you: this is far too important.”

She avoided his blazing eyes.

“Well, look at it this way: at least, without you present they felt able to say what they thought. If you had been there, they—”

“Are you telling me I frighten them? Ridiculous!”

She knew it was nothing of the sort. If he had been a fly on the wall at the meeting, he might be a little more humble. No — a man like him would be even angrier at having his instructions-disguised-as-a-request, questioned. They had told her they were not listened to. In truth, they were scared of him. If they disagreed with anything he said, they were likely to get verbally attacked.

“Mark, I—”

“I’ll arrange another meeting.” He shook an angry finger at her. “And you will stay out of it.”

He marched out of the vestry: a short man with fine white hair, large nose, thin lips and a light frame on which a too-large black cassock swung uneasily in time with his long stride. She watched him disappear from sight, and then sat down at the desk on which were spread a pot of various writing tools, several documents, and the funeral register, open ready for the service she was due to conduct that afternoon.

Pushing aside the register, she placed her elbows on the desk and her head in her hands, refusing to let her tears of anger and frustration, flow. That would be giving in to his bullying, and she was determined not to give him an excuse to get rid of her.

Her mind went back to her ‘call’ and her struggle to accept it: an ever-present reminder of what, and who she was. No angel sang, no lights flashed, no mystic voice sounded from the flames of the candles, but she had felt the Holy Spirit’s anointing and holy joy had filled her heart.

Refreshed by the memory, she looked around the vestry, her eyes settling on her robes hanging on the rail ready for the service. Maybe her vicar did not appreciate her, but most of the congregation welcomed her presence. Many were warm and gracious towards her, including some Parochial Church Council members, who had previously voted against women ministers. She smiled: she was winning.

Voices could be heard coming from the far end of the church: Joyce, the sexton was receiving mourners and handing out service and hymn books. Had she heard Mark bellowing at her? More important, had the mourners? She bowed her head in prayer.

“Be with me, Lord I pray. Make me worthy of my calling. May all who attend this service, leave the church comforted and blessed. And as I take each hand in mine, give me the words to speak, and a heart to love. So may your name be glorified in this place, and saddened hearts be lifted in hope of life eternal.”

Slipping on her cassock, snowy-white surplice, and black scarf, she walked serenely out of the vestry. Shutting the door behind her, she proceeded to the church porch, greeting the mourners already in the pews with a gentle smile. She glanced at her watch. The funeral was still ten minutes away, and yet people were coming along the church path in a steady stream, chatting to each other; some cheerfully, others with sorrow in their voices. Judging by the numbers on foot and the cars parking nearby, it was going to be a big funeral. Mark was not going to be pleased: he conducted all the important funerals.

 

Lorna sat back in her chair and read the words on the computer screen. Writing down what had happened that morning, and on many other occasions, during the years of her ministry was a mere therapeutic exercise; it would not go in her book. What then could she write? She sighed: clearly this literary work was going to be only half her story. Acceptance had come easily from the man and woman in the street: indifference, grudging acceptance or even open hostility had been the attitude of many clergy and some officers of the church.

But why not tell the whole story? The anger, the tears of frustration, the loneliness, the denigration of who and what she was? Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, chapter thirteen, popped into her mind, and she knew why not.

Wiping away the tear from her cheek, she smiled as she pressed ‘delete’.