Monday, February 28, 2011

Mondays With Mike: Nuns in Outer Space???

NOW PICTURE THIS under the category Catholic fiction: nuns doing search and rescue missions in outer space, a zombie exterminator, and a dragon-nun partnership! No, I’m not kidding … those stories are not only in print, they were written by an award winning Catholic author who uses her writing to promote her faith.

Karina Fabian’s writing motto is “Fiction, Faith and Fun” and all of her works fall into at least two of those categories. A character-driven writer who tends to let her characters dictate the stories, she has written about a cynical dragon working off a spell by the Faerie St. George, the convent of nuns who do search and rescue operations in outer space, a psychic who’s telepathic abilities drove him insane, and the zombie exterminator. Known for her cutting humor Karina has a serious side and has also written nonfiction, from magazine articles on parenting to the devotional Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life, which she wrote with her father, Deacon Steve Lumbert.

As mentioned above, Karina brings her faith into her writing; she believes that religion is part of the human experience, and as such, authors should not feel afraid to incorporate it into their stories as needed. Besides, she finds it very interesting! She lives with her husband, Colonel Robert Fabian, wherever the Air Force sends them. They have four terrific kids, a dog with a perpetual wag, and a cat who likes to sit on her while she writes.

Today we’re going to wear a bit of Catholicism on our sleeve – I’ll explain why at the end of the column.

Mike: Karina, I want to welcome you to my blog today. You have an impressive list of writing credits, so I’d like to start out by asking how you got started writing.

Karina: I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I got serious as a Lenten sacrifice. In 1995, we’d just moved back to the United States. I was out of the Air Force and home with two toddlers, and getting a little stir crazy. I remember reading a Harry Turtledove book—not one of his better ones, and I was so annoyed that I was reading that when I had my own stories I wanted to write. So I decided to give up fiction for Lent and take up writing; then, I asked God to lead me. A couple of weeks later, I got a job writing for the diocesan newspaper.

M: I know what it is like to write for the diocesan newspaper. Writing for the paper is one thing, getting book-length manuscripts published is another. So tell me, how did you get your books published?

K: Each time has been a little different, so let me give you some examples:

Infinite Space, Infinite God I (Twilight Times) was the result of sending out the manuscript to publishers for two years. Infinite Space, Infinite God II, however, was compiled at the request of my publisher Lida Quillen. My husband, Rob, and I had a lot of fun putting together the first book and were so honored that they wanted another!

Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life (Tribute) came as a result of my answering a call for writers in a Yahoo Group I belong to. Nicole Langan was looking for someone to write a short devotional to fill an unexpected hole in her publishing schedule. I co-wrote it with my dad, Deacon Steve Lumbert, and it’s been a blessing in so many ways!

Magic, Mensa and Mayhem (Swimming Kangaroo) resulted from a conference. Dindy Robinson, a small press publisher, critiqued stories at a conference and liked my characters so much she asked me if I had a novel with them. I happened to have a serial story I’d been writing for a friend’s magazine, which I novelized. This book won the 2010 INDIE award for best fantasy.

Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator (Damnation Books) stars a character from my story “Wokking Dead” in the anthology The Zombie Cookbook (Damnation Books). I wrote the story as a lark because I know the publisher, Kim Richards, but people liked the story and asked her when they’d see a novel. We meet each Wednesday in The Writers’ Chat Room, and she asked me about it one day when we were talking about reality TV and great first lines, and the idea jumped into my head. I’m working the second one now.

So, it’s really a combination to some degree or another of: work, perseverance, connections, and God’s hand.

M: Can you give me a short summary of your works?

K: Infinite Space, Infinite God I features fifteen stories about the future Catholic Church: its struggles evangelize aliens and lost human colonies and to determine the soul-status of genetically modified humans, genetically-designed chimeras, and clones made from the Martian sand; the adventures of religious orders devoted to protecting interstellar travelers or inner-city priests; and how technical advances allow monks to live in solitude on the Moon and help one criminal learn the true meaning of Confession. But it's more than just a great read. With introductions exploring the issues at hand and current Church thinking, Infinite Space, Infinite God is bound to spark discussion and make people think – just as good science fiction should. It won the 2007 EPPIE Award—Best Science Fiction and was in the Preditors and Editors Top Ten Poll.

Infinite Space, Infinite God II: By popular demand comes the second anthology of the Catholic Church and its brethren in space and time. It features twelve science fiction stories featuring Catholic heroes. Meet a time traveler who sacrifices his life to give a man a sip of water, and the nun who faces venomous snakes to save a friend. Share the adventures of priests who battle aliens and machines in order serve the greater good. Infinite Space, Infinite God II spans the gamut of science fiction, from near-future dystopias to time travel to space opera, puzzles of logic to laugh-out-loud humor and against-the-clock suspense. Another P&E Polls Top Ten and recipient of the Catholic Writers’ Guild Seal of Approval.

Leaps Of Faith An Anthology of Christian Science Fiction: Tired of science fiction that ignores our spirituality, or religious fiction that's weak on science? Leaps of Faith is an answer to a prayer! Each of its stories examines the interrelationship of faith and science in the development of human kind:

• Can androids have souls--what is sentience?

• How can we evangelize on alien worlds?

• What role will the true Creator play when humans try to "play God" with time travel?

• Can we reach the stars without that leap of faith?

Critically acclaimed, a 2004 EPPIE Awards finalist, and P&E Top 10 Best SF, it received highest praise even from an atheist critic who usually hates SF!

Magic, Mensa and Mayhem: Vern is a cynical dragon living on the wrong side of the Interdimensional Gap and working off a geas by St. George as a professional problem solver and agent of the Faerie Catholic Church. In this case, he and his partner, Sister Grace, a High Mage of the Faerie Catholic Church, have been asked by the Church to chaperone a few dozen Faerie citizens at a Mensa convention. Should be a cushy job, right? Not when pixies start pranking, Valkyries start vamping and a dwarf goes to the equivalent of Disneyworld hoping to be "discovered." Environmentalists protest Vern's "disrupting the ecosystem," while clueless tourists think he's animatronic. When the elves get high on artificial flavorings and declare war on Florida, it turns into the toughest case they'd not get paid for. Magic, Mensa and Mayhem is based loosely on the award-winning serial "mystery" in the North Dakota Prairie Dawg. It won the 2010 INDIE Award for Best Fantasy; and another P&E Poll Top Ten

A Zombie*
Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator: By the 2040s, the shambling dead have become an international problem. While governments and special interest groups vie for the most environmentally-friendly way to rid the world of zombies, a new breed of exterminator has risen: The Zombie Exterminator. When zombie exterminator Neeta Lyffe gets sued because a zombie she set afire stumbles onto a lawyer's back porch, she needs money fast. So she agrees to train apprentice exterminators in a reality TV show that makes Survivor look like a child's tag game. But that's nothing compared to having to deal with crazy directors, bickering contestants and paparazzi. Can she keep her ratings up, her bills paid and her apprentices alive and still keep her sanity? Based on characters from "Wokking Dead" in The Zombie Cookbook.


Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life: Far too often, we expect God to show Himself in grand ways yet ignore when He makes His presence known in the day to day.  Written with my father, Deacon Steve Lumbert, this is about finding God in the day-to-day. With thought-provoking quotes, heartwarming stories, Bible verses, passages from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and simple exercises the reader can fit into his or her daily routine, they help others recognize God's presence. Great for the casual or converting Catholic longing for something more in their relationship with God, or the "advanced" Catholic wanting light spiritual exercise; another recipient of the Catholic Writers’ Guild Seal of Approval.

M: Do you have anything upcoming?

K: Yes, Mind Over Mind: Psychic powers, including the ability to communicate with aliens, overwhelm Deryl Stephens, driving him insane and robbing him of any hope of a normal life. Psychiatric intern Joshua Lawson refuses to let him give up hope. Although he himself doesn't believe in the paranormal, he plays along, teaching Deryl ways to "control his power" and lead a more normal life. When Deryl's powers flourish under his new control, bringing him under attack by the aliens, Joshua has to believe and help him to save their lives. Estimated Publishing Date: September 2011 from DragonMoon Press

M: I’m always interested in how writers market their books.

K: Mostly online. I have my websites and Facebook, of course, and I do a lot of virtual book tours. I make trailer videos for all my books, which are a lot of fun. I was a member of a lot of groups on Ning and Yahoo, but those are becoming more of writer-to-writer so this year, I’m planning on exploring some other venues in Amazon and Goodreads.

M: Okay, with four kids, a dog, cat and husband, how and when do you find time to write?

Col. Robert Fabian, USAF
K: I write whenever and however I can and it’s always changing. I’ve written stories on my cell phone in the car waiting for kids to come home from school, and I’ve spent hours in my study pounding out a novel. I sometimes write by hand, but mostly, I type now. My handwriting is getting really illegible! When I get ideas, I put them in a program called Storylines. I use this a lot because often I’ll be talking to a friend on IM or via e-mail about a particular story, and I’ll come up with a scene or a great bit of dialogue. The program makes it easy to copy and paste it in until I can develop it properly.

M: Besides writing, do you have any hobbies?

K: I’m not much of a hobby person, but I do have projects. For example, in February, my parents came to visit and we reupholstered my chairs, then made new napkins, valance, table runner, etc. for the dining room. We’re military, so we move a lot, so each home is a new adventure—it’s like being an artist with a blank canvas. However, I tend to get things done fast so I can return to writing.

M: Where can someone find your books?

K: Rather than list them all, let me give you the main ones: has everything. There’s a big list of my books, along with the descriptions and purchase links from the publisher or Amazon. I also have lists split up by genre, in case you’re interested in a particular kind of book. In addition, I have a big section for writers with goodies from how to organize a virtual book tour to places to get your books reviewed. is my blog. On Mondays, I blog about whatever: book reviews, home repairs, interesting bits of news. On Thursdays, I blog about whatever I’m writing, usually with some kind of lesson. is the easiest way to find me and read about my day-to-day

M: Thank you Karina, and good luck with your writing.

K: Thank you, too, Mike.

M: I’m also including links to Karina’s book trailers that you might like to view:

I should also note that all of Karina’s books are available as e-books. Finally, as many of you know, I am also an ordained deacon in the Catholic Church and on March 8 at 7:30 I will be interviewed on KWKY Radio (AM 1150) on the subject of Catholic Fiction. To facilitate that discussion, I’m including the links to several blog interviews I’ve done with other writers of Catholic fiction. Most are purely secular stories with no overt religious message, but some do have subtle and some not-so subtle Christian messages:

My review of John Desjarlias’ new book Viper.

Author and musician Alex Basile

Thriller author Brett Dougherty

Murder in the Vatican author Ann Lewis

Mystery author John Desjarlias

Also, for anyone interested, there is an on-line Catholic Writers Conference; you can find out more by following this link.

Finally, some have asked me how to access my monthly column in the Catholic Mirror. Simply follow this link.

*Hitchhiker Zombie from ‘The Reunion’ Directed by Jeff Stewart, Photo and SPFX Makeup by Doug Sakmann.


  1. Thanks for posting this Mike. I enjoyed the interview. BTW, how do we get to listen to your interview--will there be a copy somewhere afterwards?

  2. Karina,

    I don't know if KWKY archives the programs, but you can listen on the internet at I'm scheduled for 7:30 a.m. Tuesday March 8 -- that's Central Time.


  3. Hi, Deacon Mike. This post I read with interest and thought of the saying, "It's a small world". I know you because of a common link through two Des Moines parishes. I know Karina because of participating in last year's Catholic Writers Conference. I've followed many of her exploits on Facebook. It's interesting to see the connection here, on your blog. Btw: I've been invited to present my book to the St John's parish and Altar and Rosary on Saturday, March 12, after the 9 AM Mass. Also, of note, Mindy Uitermarkt (sp?) of Stepping Stones Christian Bookstores read "Into a Soul Enters the Cold", loved it, and is scheduling a book signing event for sometime in March. God Bless both you and Karina and God Bless our endeavors, if they be his will.