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Sometimes when we try to connect to others, especially loved ones, we miss each other for a variety of reasons, including racism, adherence to belief systems not grounded in spirituality, and resentments polished into gems. The stories in this collection, STUMBLING TOWARD GRACE explore instances of imperfect people trying to connect to loved ones and others despite fractured relationships and personal flaws. Often they fail, as in the story “Hidden in Boxes” when Kathy can no longer tolerate her husband’s paralysis after the accidental death of their only son. Charlie, in ‘You’ll Do Fine,” wants his wife to stay as she’s packing to leave the marriage because he fails to realize he’s stuck in a loop of a job-related trauma. In the title story, “Stumbling Toward Grace,” an elderly father dying of AIDS, Otto yearns to reconnect with his estranged daughter after he had disowned her for marrying a Black man. In “Sister Rafaele Heals the Sick,” a freelance nun, Sister Rafaele, is invited to live with a single mom and her children and tries to save them from the secular world. Many of the stories in the collection have been published, and some of won literary prizes, including a Maryland State Art Council Individual Artist Grant and the Editors Select Award, among others.

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“Scalia is an empathetic confident writer who illuminates the grief we carry in our hearts, family secrets we can no longer bear, and the voluntary prisons we create. These tender insightful stories explore the deepest conflicts of our times.They’ll propel you from cover to cover and melt your heart.”

Shauna Singh Baldwin



“Rosalia Scalia is Baltimore’s Flannery O’Connor. She inhabits her disparate characters,warts and all. Not an easy task considering the bigots, religious fanatics, hoarders, alcoholics, drug users, and damaged lives presented here. And yet, like the fictional Father Brown, she refrains from judgments, allowing each a generous shot at redemption.”

Richard Peabody

Editor/Publisher, Gargoyle Magazine

Richard Peabody

“These stories are like a diamond, and Scalia has given it a fine cut. It sparkles with the energy of its characters — all of them radiate their hopes, their tragedies, their humanity on the page. Reading this collection is like being given a close, multi-faceted look right into the heart of a city and its people.”

Susan Muaddi Darraj


Twitter/Instagram: @SusanDarraj


Rosalia Scalia