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“What’s a Nice Girl Like You. . .?” by J.B. Marsden

It’s not a very well-kept secret that I am an Episcopal priest. In other words, I have a masters degree in theology and have been ordained by a bishop in the American version of the Church of England (think: Vicar of Dibley with an American drawl). I have served several parishes and on many committees and church councils in my Diocese, and love my work, although I am now somewhat retired, because a priest never fully retires from serving.

When I told my bishop, as I am supposed to do whenever I engage in off-ecclesiastical endeavors, that my lesbian romance had been accepted for publication, he laughed in a winning way, glad for me and not a little surprised. Then, he said he wanted to read my novel when it came out. Whew. Finally, he asked if it was a “bodice ripper”, referring to the hetero historical romance genre, I presumed. I told him that lesbians didn’t wear bodices, and no, none were ripped in my romance.

I grinned after our conversation that day, because, really, who expects a priest to write romances, involving, you know, sex?

Well, this priest—and most of my friend-priests—believe in the sanctity of our bodies, including all types of bodies, and in the joy of what our bodies can do. Namely, give us pleasure. So, I wrote about those things. I also wrote about the full human experience. Not only of the pleasure of sexual gratification, but of the pain of psychic and physical injury, because I believe God is in all of our human experiences.

My character, Yancy, is an everywoman in that sense. She reclaims her sense of humanity after trying unsuccessfully to quash her pain for many years. She acts to get through her pain, with the help of many people around her, and comes out the other end to find love.

What is more Godly than love?

That is why this priest writes romances, with all the gritty, dirty, messy pieces of life, as well as the goofy, sexy, and spiritual aspects of love. For me, God is in all of it.

J.B. Marsden's debut novel, Reclaiming Yancey is set for a March release.