Dodging Prayers and Bullets

Karen Beatty

A young girl prevails over poverty and religious bigotry to survive childhood abduction, a predatory theologian, family secrets, and the drug culture of the 1960s.

In an Appalachian Mountain town during the early 1950s, guns and domestic abuse are as prevalent as prayer meetings and dubiously ordained preachers. Young Skyla Fay Jenkins is often forced to choose between what’s labeled “righteous” and what she knows to be right. When her family moves up north to an urban setting, she struggles to overcome the social and gender limitations of the late 1950s and 1960s. Decades later, a chance encounter with a childhood nemesis prompts her to revisit the abiding love and playful river romps of her youth, along with a traumatic abduction and family violence.

This fictional story celebrates the ability of a child to survive and thrive, despite those who would do her harm and the failed intentions of those who would protect her. It also explores decades of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll, from the perspective of an evolving free-spirited female.

Trade Paperback Editions
Hardcover Editions

Book Details


Available Editions

, ,

About The Author

Karen Beatty

Karen Beatty

Karen Beatty’s early childhood was anchored in the Appalachian Mountains of Eastern Kentucky. During the mid-1960s, she was a politically active university student and became a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand. In addition to raising an amazing daughter, she achieved a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, trained in trauma-informed psychotherapy, and taught in the Counseling Department of John Jay College of the City University of New York. Karen has over 30 essay and short story publications in the United States and abroad. You can visit her website at

2 reviews for Dodging Prayers and Bullets

  1. Alice Slater

    “… depicting the life and often heart-rending experiences of young Skyla Faye Jenkins … beautifully depicted in the social and psychological dynamics of significant relationships with friends and family … skillfully navigates landmarks of American history while delivering a touching and wondrous narrative with beautiful characters who move your heart.”

    Alice Slater, Board Member, World Beyond War

  2. Sandra Storey

    “… like sitting in a dark theater watching a colorful, attention-grabbing movie unfold before you. The pictures, sounds, and settings are vivid. The dialogue is genuine, and the story is dramatic from the first page to last.”

    Sandra Storey, author of Every State Has Its Own Light

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *