Well, my second book Enemies of the Cross was released last Tuesday. It continues the suspenseful story begun in The Strange Man and takes the series into some unexpected places, setting the stage for what will be an epic battle between good and evil. You should really go buy it :p
However, what should have been an exciting time—with the release of the book—was marred by personal tragedy. Just a couple days before the release, I discovered that my best friend had been involved with child pornography for many years. So much so, in fact, that he has been arrested and sentenced to spend the next ten years in a federal prison. As the grisly details surfaced on the news of what authorities found on his computer, I felt a deep black hole open up in my heart, devouring every good memory I had with my friend. We grew up together, he was the best man at my wedding, he stood by my wife’s side during her stay in the hospital after my first daughter was born. This man was a brother to me and now to discover this ...
I spent the first day I learned of his crimes crying, nearly to the point of vomiting. The next day I felt nothing but a cold emptiness as my entire outlook on so many years of friendship was painted in a new, disturbing light. I’m still processing it, and imagine I will be for many, many years to come (though I am doing better). I’m thankful to God that my own young children were not harmed by his actions, but I’m left in a weird sort of limbo—torn between being disgusted and oddly compassionate. Christ calls us to love our enemies, but He doesn’t deny that we will have enemies. People who are opposed to the things we stand for, or who could be a physical danger to us or those we love.
I do still love my friend, though I acknowledge that he has fallen into a pit of evil. Can he climb out of that pit? Only with years of therapy, perhaps—but, more importantly, the transformative power of Christ. Will he accept that, though? I don’t know. How will I respond? I don’t know that either. I confess I need some transformative power myself to overcome the conflicting feelings I have.
In some respects, Enemies of the Cross—finished long before any of this surfaced—proved to be darkly prophetic to my own life, and seems to only further prove the point of why I write horror. Why I need to write horror. I need to write about fictional monsters with claws and fangs and slime because I’ve seen—now first hand—that there are more terrible things in the real world. Incomprehensible things. I need that fictional world as a retreat, where the monsters are easy to identify and quickly vanquished by good and noble souls. Where righteousness can conquer over depravity, where hope always wins out in the end. I need that place, however fantastic it might be. Because, ultimately, I want to believe that those things aren’t just possible in fantasy, but in reality as well. God is still more powerful than all the wickedness of man and forces of hell. Christ is still in the business of righting wrongs and saving souls—even those souls we might not initially think are worthy of saving. I believe the world can still be a place where good conquers evil, where hope and faith are our only driftwood in the dark, tumultuous seas. I want to believe that... I must. Otherwise, what hope do we have?
So, I will face this the only way I know how. By lassoing the fears lurking in my heart and binding them to the page, where I will do battle with them once again.
I’m a writer. If the pen is mightier than the sword, then I have wars to wage.