Cover Reveal – Dying for Revenge

Dying for Revenge Final Front

Full Quiver Publishing’s upcoming new novel, Dying For Revenge (The Lady Doc Murders #1) by Dr. Barbara Golder will be released on Kindle May 20th and in print on June 1st.  Special thanks to Doreen Thistle for the cover design and for Ben and Kay, for being patient cover models!

Synopsis: Someone is killing the rich and famous residents of Telluride, Colorado, and the medical investigator, Dr. Jane Wallace, is on a collision course with the murderer. Compelled by profound loss and injustice, Jane will risk her own life to protect others from vengeful death, even as she exacts a high price from those who have destroyed her world. DYING FOR REVENGE is a story of love, obsession and forgiveness, seen through the eyes of a passionate, beautiful woman trying to live her life — imperfectly but vibrantly — even if she won’t survive.

“Barbara Golder joins the ranks of Chesterton’s bloodthirsty heirs as she spins a tale that will delight mystery fans. With Dying for Revenge in hand, your beach experience is now complete!”   Mark P. Shea, Author of Mercy Works

“Dying for Revenge dives into the deeply personal place in so many hearts with “justifiable” reasons for revenge… but the face of mercy is entwined in the unexpected turn of events.  You’ll be captivated…” Patricia M. Chivers, ABLAZE Radio WNRE-LP 98.1 FM Catholic Church of Saint Monica

 

Full Cycle by Christopher Blunt

Full Cycle

There aren’t too many novels that both parents and kids can read and enjoy equally. Full Cycle is one of those few.

Despite a physical disability that makes him one of the least-athletic kids in school, 11-year-old Alex Peterson sets his sights on something crazy: doing the 200-mile Seattle to Portland bicycle ride in a single day. The only way he can get there is to convince his father to return to the sport and train with him as a real partner, and this leads to some of the plot’s most captivating twists.

Full Cycle is not just a story about a bicycle competition. It’s a story of a father-son relationship; it’s a story of the importance of working together as a team, about encouraging our children to reach beyond their limits. It’s a wonderful story about focusing on abilities, not disabilities. This would be an ideal novel for a parent and child to read together. Highly recommend.

Only 2.99 on Kindle! To buy it, click here.

To buy the print edition, click here.

To read my review of the author’s other novel, Passport, click here.

Stay With Me by Carolyn Astfalk

Stay with Me front coverNeed some spring reading? Stay With Me, by Carolyn Astfalk, published by Full Quiver Publishing, is available on Kindle and in Print.

Synopsis
With her sister Abby’s encouragement, Rebecca has moved out of their overbearing father’s home. When a chance encounter with Chris ends with an invitation, Rebecca says yes. The authentic way Chris lives his life attracts Rebecca and garners her affection.

Chris loves Rebecca and her innocence, but he’s confounded by the emotional scars she bears from her parents and an attempted assault. Her father’s disdain for Chris’s faith and career only make matters worse.

With the counsel of their friend Father John, can Rebecca and Chris overcome every obstacle and bridge the deepening gulf between them and her dad? Or will a crucial lapse in judgment and its repercussion end their relationship?

Reviews:
“This is a warning: the book you hold in your hand is compelling and well-written and you may find it, as I did, impossible to put down. It’s a romance that’s not trashy in any way, one that illustrates what a novel of this sort should inspire in its reader. You’ll also be sharing this book with every woman you know!” Sarah Reinhard, author and blogger at SnoringScholar.com

“A romance of rare quality. It takes you to the heart of passion, through various trials of a real life relationship, and into the power of sincere love. And it’s hilariously funny!”
A.K. Frailey, author, The Deliverance Trilogy

“… a beautiful Christian love story that will put a song in your heart. It will make you hungry for Rebecca’s bakery but also hungry for true love that can best be understood in light of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body.” Theresa Linden, author The Liberty Trilogy

“… a poignant and believable love story about two young adults from very different backgrounds. The characters are richly depicted and memorable, including the secondary characters. The story is sprinkled with humor and contains the perfect balance of reality and sweetness and her writing entertains while radiating substance and depth. Stay With Me is a journey of discovery, forgiveness, and redemption—a beautiful journey of two hearts that long to beat as one.”
Therese Heckenkamp, award-winning author, Frozen Footprints

“A tale packed with desire and determination, pain and longing, healing and hope, not to mention peopled with flesh-and-blood characters who sweep the reader away into a world we all know with struggles so much like our own, Stay With Me delivers the very best of the inspirational romance genre. Highly recommended!” Erin McCole Cupp, author, Don’t You Forget About Me

Here is the book trailer on FQP’s YouTube channel:

Buying options:

Stay With Me Kindle Edition

Stay With Me Print Edition

The Four Keys to Everlasting Love

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

No marriage—even a sacramental one—is free from conflicts about sex, money, child-rearing, in-laws, and work/life balance. In their new book The Four Keys to Everlasting Love, marriage columnist Karee Santos and her husband, Manuel, a psychiatrist who has been counseling couples for more than fifteen years, explore how applying the wisdom of the Catholic faith to marriage can free us to experience deep, lasting, and soul-satisfying love.

The Santoses draw on real-life stories, scriptural principles, and the timeless wisdom of St. John Paul II to help celebrate the sacrament of Marriage without downplaying the difficulties of married life. In doing so, they will inspire readers to stay in love with each other, Christ, and the wisdom of the Church.

The Santoses tell their own story as well: how they learned not to cling to personality, culture, or religious differences; how they learned to put family first; how they overcame health crises that exacted a physical, emotional, and spiritual toll; and how they navigated stressful holiday get-togethers with extended family. They let God transform them and make their marriage stronger.

Each chapter provides discussion questions, action prompts, quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church and various popes, and additional online and print resources to stimulate the couple’s conversation, mutual understanding, and positive change. Free worksheets and other supplemental resources are available on the authors’ website, canwecana.blogspot.com.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Karee Santos is a Catholic blogger and speaker and a writer for the Catholic Match Institute. She has written numerous articles on marriage and family for the National Catholic Register, Catholic Digest, Faith & Family magazine, CatholicLane.com, AmazingCatechists.com, and Aleteia.org. She blogs at Can We Cana?

Manuel Santos, M.D., is a psychiatrist at Mercy Hospital, Rockville Centre, New York. He also reviews annulment cases for the Marriage Tribunal of the Archdiocese of New York. Dr. Santos is a member of the Sexual Abuse Review Board for the Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei and also is a member of the Catholic Medical Association, CatholicTherapists.com, and the Society of Catholic Social Scientists.

The Santoses designed and taught a pre-Cana marriage preparation course, and they write a monthly marriage advice column on CatholicMom.com called “Marriage Rx.” They contribute to FAITH magazine’s “Marriage Matters” advice column. The couple lives in Garden City, New York, with their six children.


The Four Keys to Everlasting Love
How Your Catholic Marriage Can
Bring You Joy for a Lifetime
By Karee Santos
and Manuel P. Santos, M.D.
ISBN: 978-1-59471-603-4
256 pages • $15.95
Catholicism/
Marriage and Relationships
Also available as an eBook

The Importance of Theology of the Body in the Year of Mercy #TOBtalk

Photo Copyright James Hrkach

Photo Copyright James Hrkach

To celebrate the Year of Mercy and to participate in #TOBtalk for the upcoming Theology of the Body Congress, I’m reposting this article from last year on practicing the spiritual works of mercy with a theology of the body focus. First, the question: Why is Theology of the Body important to you? I try to live my entire life according to Theology of the Body principles. As well, I reverted back to my Catholic faith through the teachings of the Theology of the Body even before I knew the term “Theology of the Body.” My then boyfriend (now husband, James) wanted us to wait until marriage to have sex and he also did not want us to use contraception. The contraception issue became our first major disagreement, with me arguing for contraception and James arguing against. He said things like “I don’t want there to be anything separating us when we consummate,” or “If we used contraception, there would be something separating us and I want sex to be between you, me and God. That’s all.” Incredibly, I decided to trust him and went along with his desire to not use contraception. Seeing the impact of following the Church’s teaching in this matter, I eventually became one of the biggest proponents of Natural Family Planning and Theology of the Body.

Living the teachings of the Theology of the Body has not only helped me to be closer to my husband and to God, living these beautiful teachings has also allowed me to be merciful and, in this way, follow the spiritual works of mercy more closely.

According to the Catholic encyclopedia, mercy is “a virtue influencing one’s will to have compassion for, and, if possible, to alleviate another’s misfortune.” The spiritual works of mercy are one way Catholics can show charity and compassion to others. Since my husband and I teach Natural Family Planning, we have always tried to practice the spiritual works of mercy through our NFP ministry. Many Catholics do not understand the Church’s teachings on sexuality. Mother Teresa once said, “If you judge someone, you have no time to love them,” Sharing the truth with charity and without judgment is extremely important.

Admonish the Sinner and Instruct the Ignorant
I often find myself in conversations about these intimate topics with acquaintances and relatives. For example, while I was attending a First Penance meeting with one of my sons, the instructor handed out a “Examination of Conscience” pamphlet. On page three, under “Thou Shall Not Kill,” sterilization was listed correctly as a mortal sin. The woman next to me gasped and whispered, “I thought the Church changed her teaching on this. I had my tubes tied and didn’t know it was wrong.” I then gently said, “The Church has never changed this teaching. Birth control and sterilization have always been considered mortal sins.” The woman glanced away, then turned back to me, tears in her eyes. I patted her shoulder, then said, “You know, if you didn’t realize it was wrong, then it’s not a mortal sin.” I pointed out the section in the “Examination of Conscience” pamphlet which stated that all three of these conditions need to be in place for mortal sin: it must be 1) serious matter, 2) the person must know it is serious and then 3) freely commit it. I strongly encouraged her to seek spiritual direction from a faithful priest. When she left the meeting, she thanked me.

Counsel the Doubtful and Comfort the Sorrowful
A few years ago, when we were speaking at the local marriage prep course on “Sexual Honesty Within Marriage,” we talked about the importance of keeping the marital embrace free, total, faithful and “fruitful.” During the last part of the talk, we explained that contraception removes the fruitful aspect from the marital act. All of a sudden, a young woman rushed out of the meeting room, in tears. James and I continued our talk while one of the other host couples followed her, but we were concerned. After the talk, I immediately went to speak to the woman. I learned that she was the mother of a 13-year-old daughter from a teenage relationship. The young woman shared that she was currently in remission from terminal cancer. Because of the aggressive treatment, her doctors told that she would not have any more children. She told me that it upset her to hear the suggestion that her marriage might not be “fruitful” since she and her fiancé would never have children. (Of course, we didn’t say that in our talk, but this is how she interpreted it). She admitted that she had mistakenly thought she had already dealt with the fact that she and her future husband would not be having children together. But our talk seemed to bring her sadness and regret to the surface. She then sobbed and I embraced her as she released emotions that had obviously been pent up for a while. When she stopped crying, I explained that fruitfulness was much more than giving birth to children. We discussed adoption. We talked about the fruitfulness of being a good example as well as other ways she and her husband could be ‘fruitful” in their marriage. After the course finished that evening, she came up to me, hugged me and thanked me for being so “kind.”

Bear Wrongs Patiently, Forgive all Injuries
Bearing wrongs patiently has never been something I have done well. And the following example shows that not everyone I “admonish” or “instruct” has been open to the information.

Ten years ago, a woman called for NFP counseling. She and her husband had taken an NFP class years earlier. Her husband, she said, had made an appointment for a vasectomy and he had indicated the decision was not up for debate. After using NFP for many years, he no longer had any patience for the abstinence it entailed. The wife sounded like she was crying. “What can I do to stop him?” she asked. I spoke with her, then sent her information on the moral, spiritual and physical implications of sterilization. I encouraged her to seek spiritual direction from a faithful priest I knew in the area. Four different times we spoke on the phone, her tone frantic and desperate. Finally, she stopped calling. I continued to pray for this couple. Some months later, she called to inform me that her husband had indeed gone through with the vasectomy and they were now ‘very happy.’ She wanted me to know that, although she knew I didn’t agree with ‘their’ decision, she had come to accept it and that it had been the ‘right’ thing for them.

Admittedly, I have no idea what happened in between her frantic calls and the vasectomy. I suspect she never called the faithful priest I recommended. However, I calmly responded, “But sterilization is against the fifth commandment as well as the sixth, it separates a couple…it causes an increase in prostate cancer, it – ” She cut me off by angrily telling me that she only called to inform me, not to hear what the Church teaches, that she already knew that. Her husband then got on the phone and yelled at me, his tone sharp, accusing me of trying to “sabotage” his marriage. I listened, heart pounding, as he screamed at me over the phone. It took a lot of self-control not to hang up nor respond to his verbal abuse. I prayed and waited until he stopped yelling, although by that point, I was nearly in tears and my hands were trembling. Then I said, my voice breaking, “I will pray for you and I wish you both well…goodbye.” My hands shaking, I hung up the phone and cried. I forgave them long ago for their verbal abuse, and I have prayed for them from time to time, but I’ve always wondered how they are doing.

Pray for the Living and the Dead
Prayer is so powerful, more powerful than any of us can ever imagine. Even if you’re not comfortable speaking up, you can always pray for anyone at anytime. Praying for others is an important part of the spiritual works of mercy. I pray daily that more couples can discover the joy of following the Church’s teachings on sexuality by learning NFP: to be chaste before marriage, to be generous and open to life within marriage. I pray for all the student couples to whom we have taught NFP over the years. I pray for the engaged couples who have listened to our testimony and talks at marriage prep courses. I offer up many prayers for relatives and friends who have chosen to lead alternate lifestyles, and those deceased ancestors and relatives who were not faithful to the Catholic Church’s beautiful teachings of sexuality.

Practicing the spiritual works of mercy through the Theology of the Body is an ideal way to show charity and compassion to others. And it’s an ideal way to celebrate more fully this beautiful Year of Mercy. It’s not always easy to do. However, I know that, for me, it is the right thing to do, even if the person or persons are not open to the message. The truth is, we never know when a seed of truth will be planted and someone will experience a change of heart.

#TOBtalk

Easter Favorites and Easter Memories

Happy Easter!  I’m joining Carolyn Astfalk today at her blog for an Easter link up.

We have had a very busy Triduum with my husband as Cantor as all the Masses and me as Lector.

Easter is somewhat different from the way it used to be when our boys were very small.  But we still fill Easter baskets!

Favorite Easter Hymn:

Jesus Christ is Risen Today

Favorite Chocolate: 

President’s Choice Dark Chocolate Peppermint Melts

Favorite Easter Memory:

In 1967, when I was nearly eight years old, my mother was in the hospital in critical condition. Back in those days, children were rarely allowed to visit patients in critical care.  I wrote her many letters (like the one below), but rarely could she answer any of our letters because of her illness. A few days before Easter, my father had arranged it with the nurses to allow my three siblings and myself to visit her on Easter Sunday because it was the end of March and also was very close to her birthday.  We hadn’t seen her in over a month so I was thrilled to be able to be with her and talk to her again.  My first view of her was sitting in a wheelchair, her complexion very pale and I remember being surprised at how thin she was. In fact, my oldest brother could put his fingers around my mother’s wrists they were so small. Mom, at five feet six inches tall, was normally about 110 pounds.  When we saw her that Easter day, she weighed about 85 pounds. I didn’t care how she looked, though. I was so excited to see her again after so long.  Later, whenever my mother would recall that day, she said that while she was happy to see us, just a few minutes with us tired her out so much that she wound up sleeping most of the rest of the day!  Thankfully, Mom made a complete recovery from that illness (and, in fact, gave birth to another child!). She eventually passed away nine years ago.  In fact, tomorrow is her birthday.  Here is an article I wrote about her several years ago.

copyright Ellen Hrkach

copyright Ellen Hrkach

Favorite Easter Photos Collage:

Top Left: James and I, our first Easter together, 1980

Right: Easter 2003, with my boys dressed (as they used to like to say)

like the brothers in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Bottom Left: My sibs and I, Easter 1962

Easter collage