Friday, February 17, 2017

Tales for Today: 'Salutaris,' 'For the Burnable Cities'

My first book was "The Scattered Proud," a historical, so I and a lot of other people thought I would continue writing only historicals. Guess what? Things didn't work out that way. Not because I no longer wanted to write historicals, but because what I needed to say went beyond one genre.

This was the case with two stories I just published in paperback: "Salutaris," and "For the Burnable Cities." "Salutaris," the story of a vampire damned to live everlasting as a priest drinking the blood of Christ instead of the blood of humans, combines historical, paranormal, and contemporary. "For the Burnable Cities," a fable about people parrying lies and love in 1830s America, might look like a straightfoward historical, but it's speculative fiction set in an era that recalls Rome under Augustus Caesar as much as it takes after America under Andrew Jackson.

Each tale is founded on principles and moral truths that transcend time and place and trends: social justice,  reparation, and the human ability to condemn and caress--often at the same time. "Salutaris" was influenced by issues of homelessness and immigration at the Jersey Shore, where I live and where the issues continue to effect residents and politicians.  I began writing "For the Burnable Cities" last spring and continued writing through the general election season. The content is cautionary. But the connection to Jackson turns out to have had a certain . . . prescience.

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