New Anthology, Image and Likeness, Puts Life Into the Theology of the Body

Image and Likeness: Short Reads Reflecting the Theology of the Body, with a foreword by Damon OwensMy latest from Catholic Mom:

If St. John Paul II ever summarized his Theology of the Body, it may have been when he said, “Man cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself.” But how does this sincere gift look when lived out by human beings with all their failings? What happens to our humanity when we withhold that sincere gift? What does life require of us when we give most deeply?

Full Quiver Publishing brings you this moving collection of poetry and prose, featuring some of today’s brightest Catholic literary voices, including award-winning authors Dena Hunt, Arthur Powers, Michelle Buckman, Leslie Lynch, Theresa Linden, and many more. By turns edgy and sweet, gritty and deft, but always courageous and honest, the works contained in Image and Likeness explore countless facets of human love—and human failure. Readers of Image and Likeness will experience in a variety of ways how humanity, in flesh as well as spirit, lives out the image and likeness of a God who created human intimacy to bring forth both our future and to illustrate our ultimate meaning as human persons.

When asked where the idea for the book came from, editor and publisher Ellen Gable said, “I got the idea a few years back after I read a short story from another member of the Catholic Writers Guild.  When I sent out an initial request to other members of the Guild, I only received five stories but one of the authors, Erin McCole Cupp, said she had some ideas for a few Theology of the Body-themed short stories.”

Editor and contributor Erin McCole Cupp, says: “I had two separate ideas I’d been batting around for a while, and I knew they were short story ideas and not novels, but I couldn’t imagine what to do with them. Ellen’s request gave me the kick in the pants to write both “Good for Her” and “Guess Who’s Coming to Sunday Brunch.”  Once I had them written, I offered — okay, I begged — Ellen to let me do some of the legwork on this.  I loved the idea of an anthology, a space where authors and readers could come together to see both the dark and the light side of living TOB in a fallen world.

Ellen Gable continues, “When Erin asked me last year if we could release the book on St. John Paul II’s feast day of October 22, I thought that was a perfect date.  However, I had no idea that that would also be the day my son and his fiancée would choose for their wedding day.  So while we were in the midst of last-minute wedding preparations, I was also trying to get this book ready for publication.”

To find additional contributors, Erin and Ellen took two approaches.  Erin clarifies, “We put a call for submissions on the Image and Likeness Anthology page, but we also asked some authors in our networks if they would be interested in contributing either something already written or something written specifically for this project.”

Damon Owens, International Theology of the Body expert, wrote the foreword.  “I am indebted to the authors and poets of Image and Likeness for their gifted storytelling of real life “ugly.” This book isn’t afraid to hold our gaze into the darkness of sin, doubt, and brokenness before the resolution of redemption. Some of these stories are heartbreaking to read precisely because I know this is true. Some of them I will never forget because of their unexpected turn to redemption. Through and through, this is an artistic instruction in TOB that shows us the wounds needing the balm, the balm applied, and the health and wholeness of men and women healed. And, like every well-told story, its penetrating TOB truths will influence even the most reluctant reader.”

When asked who should be reading Theology of the Body fiction, Erin answered, “Since TOB is just the truth, and all fiction is supposed to be aimed at truth, I think all readers should be reading TOB fiction.  On the flip side of that coin, when it comes down to it, I believe pretty strongly that all fiction should be TOB fiction.  Art, if it is to be any good, must serve truth.  If it’s just a wad of lies in a tasty package, then it’s not art; it’s propaganda.  What drives me most to write and share TOB fiction is that it ought to be nothing more than a candle in the darkness, a light down the dark hall of living in this culture that is so bound up with lies we can’t even tell the difference between love and hate anymore.  TOB draws a clear line between the two, and that line is truth.  As I always tell my kids, ‘You can believe what you want, but that doesn’t make it reality.’  TOB fiction is a window into reality. As the contributors show so successfully, I think, in Image and Likeness, reality is harsh.  Reality is full of tough choices.  Reality is full of consequences.  But reality is true, so we do ourselves no favors if we believe something other than reality.  The fiction we read is a school for reality.  If we school our hearts and souls in lies, then we are not preparing ourselves to live in truth.”

Readers should be aware that the anthology includes mature themes, content and language.

For more information and for interviews and bios of the contributors, check out the Image and Likeness page on WordPress.

It’s available on Kindle at this link and in paperback at this link.

Special thanks to Erin McCole Cupp for writing the synopsis for the anthology!

EWTN Bookmark Interview With Catholic Writers Guild Authors

Last year, four authors from the Catholic Writers Guild were interviewed at the Catholic Marketing Network Trade Show in Somerset, New Jersey.  The interviews were just aired on EWTN yesterday.  Here is the video of the entire show.  I am up first, followed by John Desjarlais, Karen Kelly Boyce, and Lisa Mladinich.

Unclaimed Virtual Book Tour

Unclaimed CoverI’m happy to be participating in my friend, Erin McCole Cupp’s, virtual book tour for the re-release of her Jane E series.  Unclaimed is Book #1 in the Memoirs of Jane_E Friendless Orphan and it is available through Amazon.com.

FB UNCLAIMED Release Party link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1301691563176042/

Summary: Born not in a past of corsets and bonnets but into a future of cloning and bioterror, could Jane Eyre survive?  This Jane is an “unclaimed embryo,” the living mistake of a reproductive rights center–or so her foster family tells her.  At age ten she is sold into slavery as a data mule, and she must fight for freedom and identity in a world mired between bioscientific progress and the religions that fear it.

A Few Quick Endorsements and more available at this link: http://wp.me/p3dFKH-Z5

“A riveting, heart-wrenching retelling of Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel, Unclaimed packs a punch that brings the timeless truth of the original Jane Eyre to Millenials, Generation Z, and beyond. Bravo! Bring on the next installment…” Antony Barone Kolenc, The Chronicles of Xan Trilogy

“In a style that’s engaging and unputdownable, Erin McCole Cupp grabs readers, sucks them into her world, and makes Jane E a part of our hearts. Be warned: you’ll finish this book and demand the next one.” Sarah Reinhard, Word by Word: Slowing Down with the Hail Mary

Brilliant and inspiring with a unique blend of genres. This book is for classic and sci-fi fans alike. It will leave the reader anxiously waiting for the next installment.” Tanya Weitzel, Catholicsimplicites.com, Catholicmom.com Contributor

“Whether in Georgian England or the global community of a technocratic future, there will always be orphans who can teach the rest of us how to love, if we will only take the time to learn.  This is the reason we need books like Unclaimed.” Karen UlloJennifer the Damned

“What a great read! Jane E has Hollywood written all over it: strong, complex characters; rich settings, adversity, action and intrigue—it’s all here in this modern updating of Jane Eyre. I couldn’t put it down!”  Rhonda OrtizThe Virtuous Jane Austen

A QUICK INTERVIEW with Erin McCole Cupp, author of Unclaimed: The Memoirs of Jane E, Friendless Orphan (Book 1)

Q: So what made you think you could get away with rewriting Jane EyreEMCHeadshot

EMC: I never expected to get away with it! I think of it as more of a translation than a rewrite, anyway, and when you’re reading a translation, you must always keep in mind that it is but a pale image of the original.  At any rate, way back in Y2K, I had spent the first part of the year reading a steady diet of William Gibson, Neal Stephenson and Bruce Sterling–the revered trifecta of the cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction.  When our summer vacation came around, I decided I’d take a vacation from reading for professional development as an aspiring SF writer and bought a bunch of books from the literary classics bargain bin at a boardwalk bookshop.  A few chapters into Jane Eyre, my mind kept throwing up these weird parallels between the character of Helen Burns as Jane’s spirit guide and the character of Molly as Case’s spirit guide in Gibson’s Neuromancer. I remember thinking, “Wow, Jane Eyre would’ve made great cyberpunk.” [beat] “Oh, crap, now I have to write it!”

Q:  That was sixteen years ago, and the first edition of Jane_E dropped a decade ago. What made you decide to revisit your first novel and rerelease it electronically? 

EMC: I just think (“hope” might be a better word) that the audience might be ready for it a bit more now compared to ten years ago.  I’d already been thinking of re-releasing it as a single book and getting a fresh cover, having it available in hard copy as well as electronic format.  However… it’s a long book when taken all in one slice! Jane’s story (mine as well as the Bronte version) also divides itself naturally into three parts: her early years, her developing relationship with her employer, and then everything that happens after that relationship catches fire, for lack of a better term (and those of you who’ve read Jane Eyre know of which I speak).  I figured that by breaking it down into smaller portions, a reader could take a chance on Book 1 (Unclaimed) without the commitment to some giant tome.  Of course if you want the giant tome, that’s still available.

Q: So when do the next two books come out?  

EMC:  I’m looking at October 7 for Nameless (Book 2)  and December 6 for Runaway.

Q: Why make us wait so long?!

EMC: Because I’m mean.  Ha!  Actually, there’s the cover art to take care of, thanks to Fiona Jayde Media.  I also wanted to give the text a little extra polish that may have gotten lost in the initial editing, which was done when I had infant twins.  I’m working with Rebecca Willen over at Our Hearts are Restless, and she’s great–reasonable, thorough, no-nonsense–but I’m also letting those aforementioned twins (now 12 and homeschooled) provide an additional level of copyediting.

Q: What’s that like, letting your children correct your work?

EMC:  You mean, besides the weird factor of letting them read something on the edgy side that came out of my brain before they were even born?  Actually, it’s a lot less stressful than I thought it would be.  It’s a good way to model humility, really.  I mean, I’m the one always correcting their work, and now I’m letting them turn the tables.  I think it’s good for all three of us.

Q: Any other projects in the works?  

EMC:  Always!  Besides the Jane E series, I’m a contributor to The Catholic Mom Prayer Companion, which is available on pre-order for an August 29th release.  I’m also working with Ellen Gable of Full Quiver Publishing on an anthology of Theology of the Body fiction and poetry tentatively titled Image and Likeness.  That’s exciting, working with so many talented authors, and that’s scheduled for a October 22 release.  Finally, I’m still pecking away at the first draft of the sequel to my murder mystery Don’t You Forget About Me.

For more information on Unclaimed, go to Erin’s website here at this link.

 

 

 

Catholic Writers Conference 2016

Check out this wonderful video for the Catholic Writers Guild upcoming conference:

Prominent Catholic Writers to Speak at Conference in Schaumburg, Illinois

Contact: Ann Lewis, 317-755-2693

SCHAUMBURG, Ill., June 16, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ — Several prominent Catholic writers will speak at the eighth annual Catholic Writers Conference LIVE taking place July 27-29 at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center in Schaumburg, Illinois (near Chicago.) Sponsored by the Catholic Writers Guild and the Catholic Marketing Network (CMN) and held in conjunction with CMN’s annual retailer trade show, the Catholic Writers Conference LIVE provides Catholic writers with a prime opportunity to meet and share their faith with editors, publishers, fellow writers, and bookstore owners from across the globe. The theme of this year’s conference is “Openness to God’s Will.”

Presenters include keynote speaker Margaret Rose Realy (A CATHOLIC GARDENER’S SPIRITUAL ALMANAC), authors Gary Zimak (FROM FEAR TO FAITH), Karina Fabian (GREATER TREASURES), Lisa Mladinich (TRUE RADIANCE), Lisa Hendey (THE GRACE OF YES), Ellen Gable (STEALING JENNY) and many others.

The conference will give authors an opportunity to meet personally with publishing professionals and pitch their writing projects. Some participating publishers are Ignatius Press, Ave Maria Press, and Servant Books. In addition, attendees have the opportunity to sign up for a fiction critique workshop with award-wining short fiction writer Arthur Powers (A HERO FOR THE PEOPLE), a non-fiction critique group with Nancy Ward (joyalive.net) and attend writing workshops with novelists John Desjarlais (SPECTER) and Michelle Buckman (RACHEL’S CONTRITION). Michelle Buckman will also be offering one-on-one critique sessions. Information for all these events can be found on the conference website.

The Catholic Writers Guild, a religious non-profit organization affiliated with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, sponsors this conference in July, an online conference in March, and a writers’ retreat in October to further its mission of promoting Catholic literature. CWG President, Joseph Wetterling, says, “The Guild exemplifies the Catholic ‘both/and’ with writers from every part of the world, in every genre, and from every walk of life. We’re diverse in personality and style but united in our loyalty and love of the Catholic faith. The Catholic Writers Conference Live is a unique opportunity to come together in fellowship and sharpen each other toward our united mission: a rebirth of Catholic arts and letters.”

Registration costs $80 and $45 for students. CWG Members receive a 10% discount. There’s also a discounted registration combined with a CWG membership. To register or for more information, go to www.catholicwritersconference.com.

Sunday Snippets – January 24

Photo copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

Photo copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

Please join me and other Catholic bloggers at RAnn’s Place for Sunday Snippets, where we share posts from the previous week.

Here are my posts:

Feast of St. Agnes

If the Morning

The next one is an older article (from 2011), but it’s been getting a few hits recently since I mentioned it in my Catholic Writers Guild blog post last week:

Difficult Anniversaries – Responsible Parenthood

GIVEAWAY!! Also check out Erika Marie’s blog, One Simple Mama. She posted an interview with me earlier today. As well, I’m sponsoring a giveaway of A Subtle Grace at her blog! Click on this link to enter!

Sunday Snippets – January 29

Join me and other Catholic bloggers at RAnn’s Place for Sunday Snippets where we share posts from the previous week.

If The Morning I shared the lyrics of a pro-life song my husband wrote when he was a teenager. The words are incredibly beautiful and it’s hard to believe he had this sort of wisdom at such a young age. The lyrics are included in my book Emily’s Hope.

God Messaging: Will You Accept the Friend Request Book Review My friend, Dana, who blogs at Catholic Working Mom, has written a beautiful series of essays in this newly-published book. You can buy her book at Amazon.com in paperback and on Kindle.

Wordless Wednesday – Venice For Wordless Wednesday, I posted a few photos from our trip to Europe in 2007. One of my favorite places in Europe was Venice. I especially enjoyed the beautiful outdoor art treasures.

7 Quick Takes Friday For 7 Quick Takes Friday, I shared a post about my son turning 16, my late grandmother’s birthday, a moment that God allowed me to stop and watch the sky, a cartoon, a Skype book club appearance and the CWG Blog sharing my recent bestseller news.

More NFP Humor Another NFP-themed cartoon.

For more Sunday Snippets, please visit RAnn’s Blog.

Copyright 2012 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Trashy Novels, Move Over

Special thanks to Lisa Mladinich, columnist for Patheos, and Katheryn Lane, author and blogger, for their recent interviews of me.

The first is an excerpt of Lisa’s interview of me for Patheos:

Shun immorality. Every other sin which a man commits is outside the body; but the immoral man sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Cor. 6:18-20)

When we watch or read sexually arousing material, we are putting our soul in harm’s way. Impurity, as I have mentioned recently, distances us from God and reduces our sensitivity to and compassion for others.

Teresa of Avila likened the soul to a garden, which is a very apt image. Our souls need tending, protecting, nourishment, and weeding. When we watch or read erotic or pornographic material, we deliberately plant weeds in among the flowers and choke off our spiritual growth.

Our culture is loaded with trashy material that tugs at our brokenness. But I’ve got great news for you. Beautifully written, clean fiction is making a comeback. And it’s not the dull, preachy, formula stuff in the generic Christian market.

This is Catholic literature with an emphasis on storytelling, with solid values woven throughout. Authors like Ellen Gable, Karina Fabian, Michelle Buckman, Ann Margaret Lewis, and John Desjarlais (all members of the Catholic Writers Guild and bearers of the organization’s “Seal of Approval”), are turning out thrilling sci-fi, fantasy, historical, romance, and mystery novels with irresistible characters, plots, humor, and pathos.

Today, I’d like to share a conversation I had with the Guild’s Vice President, Ellen Gable, a writer whose work will greatly entertain you, while it treats your immortal soul with respect.

Hi Ellen! Welcome to Patheos!

Thanks, it’s great to be here!

I’m a huge fan, so I know a lot about you and your work, but for our readers, tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a freelance writer and author of four books. Although I’m originally from New Jersey, I moved up to Canada after I married my Canadian husband. We have five sons ages 12 to 24 and we live in a small town in rural Ontario.

What inspired you to write Catholic fiction?

I have always been an avid reader. Even now, I usually read two to three novels per week. Years ago, before my re-version, I devoured trashy romance novels like they were candy.

Like anyone, I love a good story, but I especially enjoy a compelling romance or suspense novel. As I grew in my faith, I no longer had any desire to read fiction with explicit sex scenes. So I began seeking out Christian fiction. However, I yearned to read good fiction with Catholic themes. I missed this in the Christian fiction I was reading after my re-version. And I didn’t like the formula and the predictability of many of these novels.

To read the rest of the interview, click on the link below:

http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/Trashy-Novels-Move-Over-Lisa-Mladinich-12-14-2011?offset=0&max=1

Next, I’d like to share an excerpt of Katheryn Lane’s interview of me:

Can I start by asking you how you became an author?

I actually began writing in a journal 20 years ago to ease my grief during miscarriages. That journal became my first published article in 1995 called “Five Little Souls In Heaven.” Six years later, I began writing my first book because I wanted to share the parallel stories of myself and my great-grandmother.

However, I knew I would have to fictionalize the stories, amalgamate incidents and change names so that’s how my first novel, Emily’s Hope, was born. I couldn’t wait to write more novels and my second and third novels are totally fictitious and I had a lot more fun writing them.

To read the interview in its entirety, click here.