I Have a Book!
My book of short fiction Acts of Contrition: Short Stories is now available on pre-sale from Los Nietos Press. The official publication date is March 15, 2021. Yeah, the Ides of March! Thankfully, I’m not superstitious. At least not that superstitious. Please note: My stories are not specifically YA. The first half deal with many issues that teen girls live through. The others move on and deal with issues that women continue to deal with all their lives. However, I wanted to add this post here (pretty much the same as a post on my author blog) because I hope some teacher librarians will be interested.
I have to say I’m a bit (understatement!) anxious because there is a lot of darkness—dark humor—in these stories. There’s a lot of poking at sacred cows–traditional religions, evangelical cultism, new age spiritualism, and the currently popular ‘multi-marketing scheme as life-coaching.’ I worry that pious people will be surprised by them. I’m a deeply faithful person, but my faith, over the years, has veered away from the organized church. There’s a good essay to be written about the number of times my husband and I tried to stick with the Catholic Church. Someday, I will write it.
Acts of Contrition as a Journey
We left for other churches and returned, partly because the Catholics had more people that looked like my husband (brown). Ultimately, when the news broke that the Catholic Church had hidden pedophiles and just moved them around, endangering countless children, I knew I couldn’t go back, knew I couldn’t write any more weekly checks to support them. This was in no way fun. I am not a ‘lasped’ Catholic—I am a ‘leave on principle’ Catholic. It was one of the sadder days of my life, having to walk away from all that history and spiritually and the only church with madonna adoration, with the kind of symbolism that I—English major—love so much.
So, I hope people like the stories. But I am getting so old. Both my parents died this year, and it makes me think of what they never admitted to about themselves, and how I might, in a newer generation, be allowed admit who I really am. Writing fiction, creating on paper the world of my mind, is one way of making that admission.
For better or for worse, I’m in.
Back Cover Summary
The women in Acts of Contrition face society’s devaluation, from parents, from elders, from all who assume authority over them. They battle oppressions as simple as gender stereotyping, as complex as prerequisites to friendship or love. Some can look back and laugh, some find luck in their escape from harm, some engineer their own good fortune, all the while riding a wave of dark humor. What all the characters come to understand is that silence places them at greater risk than speaking out. They progress toward freedom through the telling of their stories.
Praise for Acts of Contrition
“Acts of Contrition is a great collection, one I read in a single sitting, the stories sly and engaging, hilariously dark and always surprising. The women of Victoria Waddle’s fiction are characters I’d spend much more time with – they are brutally honest, have excellent talents at remembering, and they soldier on with grace and humor and wine.”
—Susan Straight, author of eight novels, including Highwire Moon, and one memoir, In the Country of Women
“In ‘Solvent,’ one of the later stories in this collection, a reformed Evangelical-Christian-turned-New-agey-vegan-spiritual pyramid scheme saleswoman demonstrates the effectiveness of a caustic cleaning product over an heirloom dining table to a pair of tipsy Mormon missionary boys and a mother-daughter team of Jehovah’s Witnesses. In this one anecdote, the entire collection is distilled.”
—Cati Porter, author of The Body at a Loss, Director of Inlandia Institute
“I love Victoria Waddle’s Acts of Contrition for the way it sees life not as mundane but as meaningful. What a lesser writer might have missed about the meaning of those moments that pass us by, Waddle is able to explore, and her stories are extraordinary. They are magic. They draw out both the absurdity of personal mythologies found in tarot cards, prayers, and omens and the wonder in them as well. They find the magic in the extraordinary and in the every day.”
—John Brantingham, Poet Laureate of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park