Book Spotlight: Beatitudes and Woes: A Speculative Fiction Anthology

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by Parker J. Cole

Book Spotlight

Beatitudes and Woes

A Speculative Fiction Anthology

by Parker J. Cole

Beatitudes and Woes

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Around this time last year, I had the honor of being part of a wonderful anthology called Beatitudes and Woes. In this anthology, thirteen Christian authors bring to life a beatitude and woe from the scriptures in fantastical ways. 

Published by Bear Publications, Beatitudes and Woes features highly imaginative stories that take the concept of Jesus’ teachings in the avenue of fiction. From high fantasy to science fiction even a superhero story, Beatitudes and Woes remains a unique book sure to have something for everyone. 

As the only romance writer among the bunch, I used the opportunity to write a sci-fi court scenario with romantic elements. It was interesting to flex my writing muscles in the speculative world, but I had a lot of fun doing it. My story, called “The Door to Wishes”, explores a concept where Earth has come to the aid of another world that reached out for assistance and eventually intermarry with the species.  

In backstory, you learn that Kulkutern is an ice world who has depended on Earth. I felt it was necessary to have this element because often, our world is treated so shabbily. In secular science fiction, Earth is just an ‘insignificant pale blue ball’. We’re often treated like leftover baby food. I wanted to change that view of Earth, so this planet is grateful to Earth for its help. 

I won’t reveal more than that because I’m going to share an excerpt but there’s something for everyone within book. Each story ends by quoting Jesus-from either one of the nine “blessed are” statements in Matthew chapter five or one of the four “woe to” sayings in Luke six.

EXCERPT FROM THE DOOR TO WISHES 

Detroit, Michigan  

9th District Kulterian Morals Court  

May 19, 2107 

“I object!” Chanucer Dewright leapt up from his seat in the courtroom. “She’s a liar!”  

“Ms. Sautern, please restrain your client,” Judge Markolo Quinn ordered with a narrowing of his eyes. “Before I hold him in contempt of court.”  

“Yes, Your Honor,” Advocate Judith Sautern assured hastily, placing a restraining blue hand on Chanucer’s shoulder. “Please understand my client is severely distressed about the—”  

“I can appreciate your client’s situation, Ms. Sautern, but he will respect this court and this office. Have I made myself clear?” Judge Quinn’s eyebrow lifted in warning.  

“Perfectly, Your Honor.” Judith glared, her black pupil-less eyes hardened like chips of obsidian. “Chaz, sit.”  

Anyanna’s lying,” he hissed, sending an incensed gaze in the direction of the witness stand to behold the Kulterian woman sitting in the box. The woman’s royal blue skin, with its patches of darker blue hexagonal scales along her neck and on the right side of her face, seemed almost garish among the warm, brown tones of the courtroom. Chaz snorted at the sight of the blue tears trickling down her cheeks from the same obsidian orbs as his advocate. It was all a show. A show to condemn him.  

“She’s trying to destroy me,” he told Judith as he flopped back down into the chair. “You can see she’s trying to destroy me!” He rubbed the back of his neck. “I’m surprised her father isn’t here in court, gloating.”  

“I know that, but you have to control your emotions or people, human and Kulterian alike, are just going to assume you’re lying.”  

Chaz dragged shaky fingers through his long dreadlocks, feeling the slight slickness of the jojoba oil he used to care for them, moisten his hand. His blessed oil that his sister, Gloria, had given him before she left to marry her Kulterian husband, the brother of his wife, and relocate to the distant world of Kulkutern.  

“Use this whenever you’re in doubt,” Gloria had told him that day two years ago. “I’ve had it blessed…by Pastor Owen,” she added, referring to the pastor who’s church they had gone to for years. “It’s not like it has special powers or properties, Chaz. Just a way of consecration and being obedient to whatever God’s will is.” 

 Was this farce, this great lie gripping his life with the acidic talons of a beast, a part of God’s will?  

“This is a delicate matter.” Advocate Judith whispered. “It’s already going to be difficult to prove you aren’t the father when the DNA test states otherwise.”  

“I’m not,” he gritted out. “I’m not.”  

“If you don’t maintain your composure, this court will rule in her favor. There is too much at stake here. So, please, keep quiet no matter what she says.”

There’s more where that came so pick up your copy of Beatitudes and Woes today! 

When you explore the Beatitudes and Woes of the Bible through the stories of 13 Christian authors in this uniquely powerful anthology, you will find tales of courage in the face of suffering, persecution, unexpected loss, self-sacrifice, joy in spite of circumstances, tears suppressed and expressed, love from the heart, kindness shown to friends and strangers, a monster slain, an alien plague, high adventure, a comedic hero finally taking a stand, a lost love found, and much more in these beautifully-crafted tales.

Where did the idea for this Collection of Short Stories come from?

One day, several months ago, in a Facebook group not so far away, an author posted this:
…I think it would be cool if someone organized a speculative anthology where each story is based on one of the 9 Beatitudes in Matthew or one of the 4 woes of Luke. 13 authors, each assigned/choosing one of those verses, expressing it in fantastical story form…

That author, C.W. Briar, had created a firestorm.

Immediately, interest piqued. Christian authors and readers jumped on the bandwagon of this wonderful idea. Of course! Why hadn’t we thought of it before? General online excitement ensured as authors clamored for a chance to be one selected for this project. After all, most of us could recite these verses forwards and backwards.

But had we ever had a chance to explore them in a deeper context? What better way to do that than through the universal language of story?
-Parker J Cole.

Each story ends by quoting Jesus-from either one of the nine “blessed are” statements in Matthew chapter five or one of the four “woe to” sayings in Luke six.

Featuring:

“AS THE PROPHECY FORETOLD” by C.W. Briar ∞ When a prophet comes promising the family’s power to defeat an ancient dragon, the emotional conflict is tied to the father’s hope to provide a better life for his wife and son.

“THE DOOR TO WISHES” by Parker J. Cole ∞ Chaz knows the child his alien wife carries isn’t his, but finds an ability to wish for dreams to come true.

“RIGHTFULLY OURS” by Steve Rzasa ∞ The Duval family is fleeing through space from a colony where they once lived. Achille Duval finds himself having to stand up for the truth and do what’s right when no one else is willing.

“BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFUL” by Lelia Rose Foreman ∞ Will a jealous thief of podvines and pigs on one of Talifar’s islands face justice? Or mercy?

“WONDERMIND AND THE ALMOST KING”; by Gen Gavel ∞ Khaled has seen heaven and returned from the throne of God. Will he live his God-given life on Earth, or will he choose to give it up in the face of an oppressive ruler from afar?

“THE TEARS OF THE EMPEROR” by RJ Conte ∞ Laki wants to do the will of God; shed magical tears that will cleanse his island from sin, but he also wants to protect his people, especially his sister, from the suffering his tears could bring.

“CINEMA BENDIGA” by Hillari Deschane ∞ A strange group of people have been committing crimes against the state–or have they? Will the letter of the law be upheld, or will the investigating detective allow himself to find true righteousness?

“THE MEEK SHALL INHERIT” by JL Ender ∞ A comedic superhero finally makes a heroic stand against nefarious villains.

PLUS:

“THE HEARTSTONE” by AT Hamlet

“HOPEFIRE” by Rachel Kimberly Hastings

“THE PATH OF MERCY” by Rebekah Loper

“THE PROMISE” by Andra Marquardt

“SOMETHING IN THE WATER” by Randy Streu

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