After being a straight-A student, Karina now cultivates Fs: Family, Faith, Fiction and Fun. From and order of nuns working in space to a down-and-out faerie dragon working off a geas from St. George, her stories surprise with their twists of clichés and incorporation of modern day foibles in an otherworld setting. Her quirky twists and crazy characters have won awards, including the INDIE book award for best fantasy (Magic, Mensa and Mayhem
), an EPPIE award for best sci-fi (Infinite Space, Infinite God
) and a Mensa Owl for best fiction (World Gathering
), and top placer in the Preditor and Editor polls. In May 2010, her writing took a right turn with a devotional, Why God Matters
, which she co-wrote with her father. Mrs. Fabian is former President of the Catholic Writer’s Guild and also teaches writing and book marketing seminars online.
|"Zaphod--he's just this guy, you know?" Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.|
You'd think a writer who not only does fiction but also monthly personality features on total strangers would be able to write her own biography. What subject would she know better, right? But frankly, I don't enjoy writing my bio. My books speak for themselves, and as far as my family life, we're pretty ordinary. Karina--she's just this gal, you know?
I was what seems to be one of those unusually blessed kids who had a stable home with parents who obviously loved each other and my sister and me. We had dogs, cats, hamsters, and fish (never cared much for the fish). We took long family vacations in the camper, where we got to lay on the bed part that hangs over the cab and watch the road go by as my father's wanderlust meant our "Colorado vacation" ended up in Disneyland. I was the class brain, had some but not a lot of friends and a couple of boyfriends. It bothered me in high school; now I know better.
I applied for Harvard, but despite a 4.3 gpa and a dozen extra-curriculars that I was often a leader in, I didn't get accepted. I'm kind of glad for that now. I attended Colorado State University, majored in math, minored in history, joined ROTC, had lots of boyfriends and some friends and graduated with honors and a commission in the Air Force. I loved college. I also wrote my first novel in college, mainly out of spite because the honors SF teacher misunderstood an essay I wrote and gave me a B.
I met the love of my life, Rob, while in Signals Intelligence Officer training in San Angelo, TX. Rob was a space operations officer at the tenant base. Ten days later, I knew I was in love. A month later, we were engaged. A month after that, I got orders to Italy. I decided I would not lose the opportunity of a lifetime (and a dream of living overseas). Rob completely agreed. In June, six months after we met, I boarded a plane to San Vito, Italy. In November, I came back to the US, married Rob, then went back to Italy. We call the first two years of our marriage the "extended honeymoon."
We finagled to get stationed together in Japan. There we had our first two kids, Steven and Amber. When Steven was born, I got out of active duty Air Force and joined the Reserves. I loved the Reserves. I also started writing again.
When we returned to the US, I began writing more seriously, mostly nonfiction, but some fiction. We had two more kids, Alex and Liam. I quit the Reserves while pregnant with Alex because I didn't want to risk getting sent on deployment with little kids at home. It was the right decision, though I kind of miss the work. In 2000, I decided to homeschool the kids. We had some wonderful years doing projects, going places and learning together.
Writing-wise, during that time, I wrote for local newspapers, diocese magazines, national "slicks." I wrote story treatments for the radio. However, right about the time Rob made Lieutenant Colonel, I was getting burned out. My articles were getting sloppy and I wasn't motivated to do them. (I was also trying to balance deadlines with homeschooling.) I decided to quit and concentrate on fiction. I found that old college novel, re-read it, gagged, and re-wrote it into a trilogy. (I should have a contract for that one coming soon.)
I also started Rescue Sisters stories. (Back when the first kids were toddlers, Rob and I decided we didn’t want to spend date nights hashing out family and finances. We knew each others' dreams, so we started crafting stories. Together, we created a near-future world in which Man had colonized the solar system, and a group of nuns performed search and rescue operations--the Order of Our Lady of the Rescue, or Rescue Sisters.) The Rescue Sisters stories led to our editing three anthologies: Infinite Space, Infinite God I and II and Leaps of Faith. I'm writing their first novel, Discovery, now.
I learned about a fun anthology called Firestorm of Dragons, and with the help of my family (and the comedy show Whose Line Is It, Anyway?), I dreamed up a cynical noir-style dragon detective. Vern is still my favorite character to write about. I not only have stories in anthologies and for sale on www.dragoneyepi.net, but also have one novel out (Magic, Mensa and Mayhem) and another I'm shopping around.
Although homeschooling was a great experience and helped our family grow closer, it also made me want to tear my hair out. The kids are now attending public school and while I miss all the hours together studying and learning, I also think we're less stressed. It also gives me time for writing and marketing.
Kids get older, lifestyles change and I find we're in need of a little extra spending cash, so I teach classes on marketing books. I also have a newsletter of marketing tasks. You can learn about those by clicking on the Marketing Mentor in the main menu.
Last, but by no means least: Around 2004, I became involved with a group of Catholic authors who wanted to band together and make a group to support to each other, not only in crafting our work, but getting it published and selling it. We created the Catholic Writers' Guild, and somehow I ended up President. I don’t know, maybe my high school club leadership days got the best of me. Anyway, I keep getting re-elected. Go figure.
On a more serious note, I am incredibly proud of the Guild and what it has accomplished. In five years, we've incorporated and will be a non-profit soon. We have an active forum where we share news, advice, crits, etc. We have a member newsletter and a marketing newsletter for stores. We attend the Catholic Marketing Network trade show. AND we have two conferences a year: the online conference which is free and the live conference (in conjunction with the CMN trade show.) We have so many ideas for the future--only money and volunteers are slowing us down. It's pretty exciting!
So there I am in a HUGE nutshell. Maybe a coco-nutshell. Want more? Check out the 100 things about me. I updated it in October 2009. (The ** are new.)
100 Things About Me
1. I like my married name so much better than my maiden name!
2. I love being a mom. I’m pretty good at it, too.
3. Before I had my first child, I would have never believed that I’d love being a mom or that I’d be good at it.
4. I birthed my last two babies at home--and loved the experiences!
5. My shortest labor was 45 minutes. (Amber, baby #2) My longest labor was 2 ½ days. (Alex, Baby #3)
6. I actually enjoy pregnancy and labor.
7. I knew Rob 10 days before I realized I was in love.
8. I freaked out and spent 45 minutes in the shower trying to talk myself out of it.
9. I told him that night!
10. Our first two years of marriage, he lived in Texas and I lived in Italy. Learning to communicate and work together at such distances laid the groundwork for a great marriage.
11. I fall more in love with my husband every day. No joke.
12. Rob and I each have our own allowances. We seldom argue about money.
13. I love hot wasabi peas. I like how they sting my sinuses.
14. The first time I stopped taking my parents for granted was my Freshman year in college. After hearing some friends talk about their parents, I called mine and thanked them for being so unusually wonderful.
15. I homeschooled my kids for 5 years and loved it. Now they go to public schools and I love that, too!
16. I could never teach public school. I’d hate it and probably get fired the first day.
**17. Even though I no longer homeschool, I'm still super-busy, and my house is still messy. Go figure.
18. My first short story was in 4th grade about the Planet Gololoony. It had police machines that turned offenders upside down and shook them until enough spare change came out of their pockets to pay their fine. I was heartbroken when my teacher didn’t let me read it in class, choosing Audrey’s dream sequence story instead. (It was a good story, too.)
19. I wrote my first novel in college. It was called The Miscria and featured a psychic college student who teleported to another planet and fell in love with an alien princess. I was heartbroken when no publisher accepted it. (Maybe Audrey was sending a manuscript around then….)
20. A decade later, I re-read The Miscria and hated it. Older and wiser, I realized the character was too cool, so I gave him some real mental problems--enough to send him to an asylum. The book is now a trilogy and so much better.
**21. I believe in torturing my characters for fun and plot-fit.
22. My favorite character to write about is my dragon detective, Vern. He’s cynical and proud, but always comes through for Good and God.
23. My favorite story is a Vern mystery that combined a legend of fairies who fought as insects, ancient Egyptian gods, and the Plague of Locusts from Exodus. I was so stoked to be able to mix them all together and not have it come out stupid.
**24. I have a new trilogy I want to write with Police Captain Santry and his griffin/human True Love. Going to call it Damsels and Knights. Wish I could write faster!
25. I love getting lost in my fantasy worlds.
26. I hate getting found in my fantasy worlds by children who want me to help them find their lost YuGiOh cards
27. I love being kissed on the cheek by one of my “littles.”
**28. I just noticed that #28 (I have trouble sleeping) is no longer true.
**29. I don’t have a favorite color, but I hate beige in a house or car. However, I am actually living in a beige house I adore here in California.
30. My favorite dessert is brownies from a mix.
31. I never could take off the 40 pounds I inexplicably and suddenly gained when we moved to Virginia. I've given up. Rob thinks I'm gorgeous; what more do I need?
**32. I finally bought an e-reader and love it.
33. I don’t like to window shop.
34. Every day, I find some way in which the Lord has blessed me.
35. I have been known to sing “The Lord is Good to me” over the phone to strangers, like when the car repairman told me our transmission was out but we still had 8000 miles on the warranty. (With a Fredericksburg/DC commute, that’s about a month!)
**36. I cry easily, even when singing songs in the car. Sentimental, not sad crying. I find if I think about my nose, I stop the teary-eye syndrome.
37. When I was pregnant with Alex (baby #3), I cried when I heard an Army commercial, the one that says, “We do more before 6 a.m. than most people do in a day.” I'd just had a bad day, helping my best friend move out of state.
**38. My greatest pet peeve: People who don't return phone calls or e-mails. Honestly, I don't call without a reason!
39. I write to quell the many characters in my head, but I'm motivated to write faster by contracts!
40. I was an officer in the Air Force. It was not a good place for me.
41. I was an officer in the Air Force Reserves. That was a terrific job!
42. I left the Reserves because we moved to a new base where most Reservists were getting deployed. I had two toddlers and a baby and did not want to be deployed, nor did I feel right being part of the military when I wouldn’t make that sacrifice.
43. I don’t regret leaving. I adore being home with my kids.
44. I get very whiny and frustrated when an article is due. Sometimes, I have to force myself to pound out something.
45. I often tell myself, “Just get that lousy first draft out and then we can fix it!” I often talk in split personality that way. It works for us.
**46. I used to have a problem with getting things done during February. Now I don't. Of course, the Catholic Writers' Conference is right about then, so I can't slack off.
**47. April and May are good months for me to get things done. I overachieve. When we're not in the middle of moving, of course.
**48. I've been President of the Catholic Writers' Guild for five years. I'm amazed and proud at how much we've done in that time, but seriously, I wouldn't mind handing over the reins to someone else.
**49. I’ve worked for fifteen years for a diocese I’ve never been in.
**50. I’ve lived in Italy, Japan, Wyoming, Colorado, Rhode Island, and Virginia, North Dakota and California.
51. I’d love to live overseas again.
52. I love moving. After three years in one place, I get restless.
53. Virgina was the first place where we’ve lived more than three years. (We were there five.) Rob and I got restless, so we repainted, tiled the floors, re-carpeted the steps and bought some new furniture. Then just before we moved, we painted the house beige and put in beige carpet. Very pretty and very NOT us.
54. I loved our tile! It’s terra-cotta red and goes great with the green walls and chili-pepper stenciling. We also have blue, gold, and green accent tiles along the thresholds, on two squares in the center of the tiled rooms, and on the backsplash. The whole effect is warm and Tuscan. I want to do it again when we have a permanent house.
55. We used to read bedtime stories even to the 12-year-old. Now, the older two go to bed a little earlier than the younger, so that's stopped. However, we're making up for it by subjecting them to DVDs of "our shows"--Star Trek DS9 was the torture of choice right now.
56. I’m a cat person. Rob is not. In 1996, a kitten strolled up to Rob and started licking his chin. He insisted we keep it because “It thinks it’s a dog!” Elbereth has been queen of the house ever since.
57. We’ve had four dogs: The first two were lab puppies that showed up on our doorstep when I was eight months pregnant. The shelter said they’d put them to sleep, so we kept them, but had to give them away when we moved. We named them Rif and Raf.
58. In 2004, we got a beagle puppy named Angel. I’d fought for years against getting more dogs, then decided on a whim to drive us to the farm and get her. She was smart, but nervous and we gave her away to a sweet, quiet lady after she started snapping at the kids. We worked with our trainer for months before giving up on Angel. We loved her.
59. Two months later, we got a rescue mutt named Layla. Layla is happy, passive, and long-suffering. She is the perfect dog for us.
60. I have finished a basement, fixed broken plumbing and replaced pieces in my oven and dryer. (I shocked myself because I forgot to unplug the dryer.) Yet I leave changing light bulbs to my man.
61. I have a Brookstone sound machine to help me sleep. I like the natural sounds, but the man-made sounds designed to adjust your brain waves just annoy me.
62. My first car was a '72 Honda Civic. I named it Percival B. McKinnley, once piled seven people in it, and drove it to college until I lost two engines with it. It’s still my favorite car.
63. I now drive a Town and Country with cushy seats and a DVD player. I blame my husband for giving me his expensive tastes.
64. When my husband and I got engaged, I told him I wouldn’t marry him unless he promised to get out of debt before we lived together. He paid off $16,000+ dollars in debt in two years.
65. I get nervous when our credit card bill gets too high. My definition of “high” is far, far below the average American’s.
66. My favorite charity is Food for the Poor. Each year, they send us a catalog. We can donate for specific gifts--from rice to houses--in a person’s name. I usually buy many of these as gifts to friends.
67. I am tired of getting “gifts” from charities hoping I’ll donate out of guilt. I have enough notepads and return address labels, thank you. Use the money on your cause!
68. Another pet peeve is “heartwarming” or “call to action” e-mails that try to guilt you to forward them on. I will not annoy my friends with sappy stories. I do not believe passing it on will give me luck, blessings, or fortune, and I especially hate the implication that I’m less of a friend, citizen or Christian if I don’t forward their stuff.
69. This number still gets a reaction out of me, usually annoyance about remembered high school jokes.
70. I majored in Math in college, yet I cannot balance my checkbook.
71. My favorite subject is history, but I’m not good at remembering names and dates.
72. I’ve always wanted to be a writer.
73. I love the TV show Firefly
. My favorite scene is when Mal pushed a feisty minion into Firefly’s engine intake, grabbed the next minion and started his speech again. It cracks me up every time.
74. I’ve had dark brown hair all my life. It’s long and wild.
75. I’m waiting for it to go gray so I can try a new color. I’m actually excited to see gray hairs. They’re a very pretty silver.
76. I think Terry Pratchett is a genius and want to write like him when I grow up.
**77. We have a Wii. I still can't play it any better than a Game Cube, Playstation, or any other video game. I do not see the appeal.
78. Only a couple of years ago did I learn that “some,” “several,” “one,” and “any” are pronouns! I had six years of public school grammar and never learned that. I do not think it will improve my writing in the least to know that.
79. I never understood the purpose of diagramming a sentence. I have never used it in my writing career, and don’t intend to teach it to my kids. I used to be really good at it, though.
80. I never intended to become identified as a religious or "faith-filled" writer, yet my work seems to fall in that niche.
81. I am a shy person in unstructured social situations. Give me a structure, purpose or a spotlight, though, and I am a big ham.
82. The older I get, the more typos I make. Sometimes, it's because I do the right stroke for a letter, but with the wrong hand. I have dyslexic fingers.
83. My spelling has gotten worse since I started using a word processor.
84. I am a cradle Catholic. In college, I explored other faiths, but Catholicism just felt right.
85. I grew up in a home that had the television going 12 or more hours a day.
86. I feel my kids watch too much television, but I didn’t enforce the times well enough. When we moved to Minot, I convinced my husband not to buy cable. We only watch videos and DVDs now and only on weekends. I find I'm much less stressed now that the background noise is gone.
**87. The kids have figured out Netflix and Hulu. Now I'm being subjected to hours of "Suite Life" and "American Dragon." AD Is kind of cool, but Suite Life is torture!
**88. When I look at my oldest son, I'm not sure if I should be excited, relieved or terrified that he'll be on his own soon.
**89. I'm awful at HTML. I wreck the code every time. I like PHP because I generally can't wreck it. For anthologies, my best friend put the template together for me and I manipulate it.
90. I used to be a hard-core Trekker. I once dressed for a con as a tribble trainer.
91. My best friend was the tribble.
92. We wrote a poem about Klingon eating habits. To this day, we fall over laughing when one of us says, “It was still twitching!” Rob saw that poem in the convention program, cut it out and still had it when we met two years later.
93. My favorite saints are Sr. Monica, Patron Saint of Mothers; St. Anthony, Patron Saint of Missing Objects; and St. Zita, Patron Saint of Homemakers and Lost Keys. These saints get a lot of pleas from me, especially poor St. Anthony.
94. I’m a notorious punster. Rob and I fell in love over puns and pizza. We give our children rewards for telling puns.
95. When I rotate my shoulders, I can hear the vertebrae rub against each other. I think it’s a cool sound.
96. I don’t have a favorite music anymore. I loved country in high school, rock in college, and Rob has expanded my tastes into just about everything from folk to classical.
97. In the past few years, I’ve become allergic to shellfish and peanuts and can’t tolerate syrup. Can someone explain that?
98. I get easily irritated when there’s too much static around me.
99. I hate clutter. Every quarter, I try to go through the house and get rid of stuff we don’t need. That includes going through toys with the kids. I usually make them keep four and discard one.
100. Every day, I am aware of the wonderful gifts of love that God has given me: my faith, my family, and my “fantasy.” I thank God for the wonderful life I have.