My avoidance of PR may have hit a new low. I myself didn’t realize that as of April 1, my newest book is out!

I’d love for you to read it.

Here’s the press release:

Holy Desperation by Heather King
New Book Offers Spiritual Survival Guide for Desperate Times

Heather King’s new book Holy Desperation: Praying as if Your Life Depends on It (Loyola Press, $13.95 paper back, April 1, 2017) combines mysticism, 12-step wisdom, and a clear-eyed view of human nature into a survival guide for desperate times. “When life has driven you to your knees, this is the prayer book for you,” says King, a recovering alcoholic. “No one knows better than a drunk who’s been struck sober that things happen on a level we can’t see.”

King reclaims prayer for those who feel beyond the reach of God, debunking the myth that we have to shape up before we come to God. Prayer is not about becoming good, it’s about becoming fully human.

A survivor of years of hard living, King’s first prayer of desperation was said on her knees while she was strung out and half-drunk. “I was thirty-four, and it was the first time in my life I had ever sincerely prayed. I had just had what we drunks call a moment of clarity,” King writes. “For me, the moment consisted of the realization that if I didn’t stop drinking, I was going to die.”

Her recovery remains the central fact of her existence, King says. When she joined the Catholic Church twenty years ago,“the paradigm of Crucifixion and Resurrection, the parable of the prodigal son, the merciful God, the conscience-based teachings—all made perfect sense to me.”

King offers ways to pray when you’re uncertain that God exists or when you feel that you’re beyond God’s reach. Practices she has found transformative are Lectio Divina, a slow, rhythmic reading and praying of scripture passages; the Jesus Prayer, a brief, repetitive prayer; and examination of conscience or moral inventory—the basis of Ignatian spirituality, 12-step spirituality, and the Gospels. She also recommends the Divine Office: “If you don’t know about the Divine Office of the Catholic Church, you are missing one of life’s great mysteries and joys: psalms, feasts, solemnities, saints, and holy days; birth, death, resurrection, the whole cyclical pageant of the liturgical and human seasons.”

Prayer leads us beyond ourselves—beyond our own suffering and into a life of purpose, lived for the good of others. As King says in Holy Desperation:

• Prayer can help us wake up “from a narcotic culture that at every every turn numbs without ever really killing our pain.”

• The Gospels are meant to have practical application: “The teachings of Christ apply first, forever and always at the personal level: to our daily interactions with our fellows, to our relationships to money, power, and sex, to our secrets resentments and fears.”

• “Prayer gives us the increasing ability to discriminate between the true and the false, the authentic and the fake, the excellent and the mediocre, the vital and the inert.”

• “The sign of a follower of Christ is not necessarily that we have only healthy relationships and our checkbooks are balanced and our children are going to Ivy League schools. The sign of the follower of Christ is that we get a kick out of life.”

• “Spiritual awakening consists in our ability to rejoice at the awakening of another.”

• “I began to see that I had always loved God and that what I did each morning —sitting quietly watching the light, listening to sparrows, feeling incoherently grateful, letting my mind wander to the mysteries of the universe as prayer—was a form of prayer.”

King eschews the idea that prayer, or mysticism, for that matter, are esoteric matters. “Mysticism is not antithetical to reality. Mysticism underlies reality,” she says. “Prayer means nothing if its fruits can’t be communicated to a person of reasonable intelligence and goodwill in a way that is completely relatable and understandable. What is our prayer for if we’re not able to sit down with another human being, face to face, and say, ‘Tell me your story?’”

HEATHER KING is a Catholic convert with several books, among them Stripped. Parched; Redeemed; Shirt of Flame; Poor Baby; and Stumble: Virtue, Vice and the Space Between. She writes a weekly column on arts and culture for the Angelus magazine of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. King lives in LA, and blogs at www.Heather-King.com.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kelly Hughes, 312-280-8126



  1. Congratulations! I've just ordered it in the UK and apparently it's being released here on 15th April-

  2. I ordered it a week ago on Amazon, but they said they would mail it once they had it in stock. Should be here soon!


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