I had a wonderful time in Lancaster, Pennsylvania this past week at the Catholic Writers Conference Live and the Catholic Marketing Network Trade Show! Here are just a few of the highlights.
Theresa Linden is the author of the New Christian Mystery, Anyone But Him. Check out my previous blog post for my review and more information about this wonderful book!
Anyone but Him is told entirely from Caitlyn Summer’s perspective. What is Caitlyn like?
Caitlyn is one of the characters in my West Brothers young adult series, but she is all grown up in this new adult story. She is a faithful Christian who loves her life and her family, and she’s always been full of bubbly hope. She doesn’t swear, never did drugs, and she had always intended to save herself for marriage.
In this story, she wakes up in a nightmare situation, and she just can’t come to terms with it. She is miles from home and she is married to a boy she never even liked in high school. He’s vain and egocentric. And he’s always had drastically lower standards than her. And because she’s always romanticized her future, knowing what kind of man she would one day marry, she can’t believe this is her life.
Action scenes takes place in woods that seem unfamiliar to Caitlyn. And another scene takes place on the beach. What made you choose North Carolina for the location in this story?
For the story to work, I needed a location that was far away from where Caitlyn grew up, in South Dakota. As a young woman, I spent one summer in North Carolina with friends. I loved the beauty and diversity of the landscape, with forests and beaches and orange dirt. And I enjoyed the relaxed pace and listening to the southern accents. So North Carolina seemed like a perfect fit for this story!
What makes this mystery romance different?
Well, at first it doesn’t seem like this story will have a detective, but it does. And while all mysteries have elements which remain unknown or unexplained until the end, this story has more than a few elements. For one, Caitlyn wakes with amnesia. She has no idea what caused the amnesia and no one else seems to know either. The even bigger problem for her is this man she wakes up next to. He claims to be her husband, but she can’t imagine how she would’ve married a man like him. The stakes are raised when her husband’s younger brother arrives on the scene. She remembers being in love with him. Why hadn’t she married him? Throughout this story, while trying to solve these mysteries, Caitlyn finds herself evaluating her faith and her understanding of what marriage truly is.
While trying to understand how she ended up married to him, Caitlyn’s most important question becomes “Who changed?” Has she discarded the values she cherished or has her husband become the kind of man she dreamed of? What lesson is there for all of us in how we see each other, particularly those we’ve known a long time?
Sometimes it is easier to overlook faults in a stranger than in one who is close to us. It can be easier to offer kindness and mercy to a stranger as well. We see our loved ones’ strengths and weaknesses day after day. We expect them to act a certain way in various situations. So it can be difficult to recognize when someone we think we know so well has changed for the better. We too often jump to conclusions based on a person’s past behavior. I suppose this is because we have a vested interest in our family members. We feel responsible for them and want to help them become better people. But it’s important that we recognize the work of God in their lives as well.
What do you most want readers to take away from Anyone But Him?
We’ve all made mistakes and sometimes very big ones, but God is bigger than our mistakes and He can lift us up and set us on a new and beautiful path. I hope this story offers readers hope and encouragement that stays with them for a while.
You’ve written discussion guides for your other books. What extras do you have planned for this one?
This book will also have a book club discussion guide and discounts for bulk purchases. Visit my website for details. I also plan to share the recipes of the food that characters prepare throughout the story, including Chicken Florentine, apple crepes, and authentic Mexican tamales. I’ll share these recipes on my blog and website. Oh, and readers will finally get to find out what Jarret put in the eggs, as mentioned in chapter 3.
What is coming up next for you?
I am currently writing the next two books in the West Brothers series. The first one, Roland West, Outcast, is about a shy teen who fears speaking up, but when his best friend begs him to look into the vandalism of an outcast’s house, his detective skills may be the only way to find answers. The second one is a Confirmation story. I don’t have a working title or story blurb for that one yet, but I want it to really bring the grace of the Sacrament of Confirmation to life through the West brothers.
My novel, Julia’s Gifts, is a World War 1 Romance and the first of the Great War Great Love series. It is available on Kindle and in paperback. I’m currently in the midst of a Virtual Book Tour. Check out all the links here. The summaries of the other two books in the series are as follows:
Charlotte’s Honor is Book #2 and takes place at approximately the same time as Julia’s Gifts, but focuses on a different female protagonist, Charlotte, who finds her purpose in live when she begins working in the death ward and holding men’s hands as they die. She is attracted to Canadian Dr. Paul Kilgallen. During an advance by the enemy, everyone at the field hospital evacuates, except for Charlotte and Dr. K. They remain hidden in the basement of the chateau to take care of the terminally ill men and those soldiers who can’t be moved. Charlotte becomes convinced that Paul is her own “beloved.” But when she loses contact with Paul, she fears not only for his safety, but begins to doubt his love for her. Charlotte’s Honor will be released in late 2018.
Ella’s Promise is Book #3 in the series. It is about the daughter of German immigrants, Ella, an American nurse who (because of the time period) was discouraged from continuing on in her studies to be a doctor. She works as a nurse for three years in Philadelphia but reads medical books every opportunity she gets. During the Great War, she travels to Le Treport, France to work at the American-run hospital. She meets her own beloved in the last place she would expect to meet him. Ella’s Promise will be released in mid-2019.
Remembrance Day/Veterans Day
Today is also a day to remember those who served in wars. I’d like to remember in a special way my father, father-in-law and stepfather (all now deceased). Each served their country in war: my father-in-law was in the United States Air Force during World War II and was ‘Missing in Action’ for months, my father and stepfather (my father’s first cousin) both served in Korea. Today is also my father’s birthday. He died in 1978 at the age of 49.
Remembering Tony An article about my father-in-law, who was a gunner for the USAF in WW II. He was shot down over Yugoslavia, near his father’s birthplace.
Remembering Dad A tribute to my own father, who served in both the USMC and the United States Army, and who died when I was 18.
This last post is a special way to remember, with fondness, the three father figures in my life: Remembrance Day/Veterans Day 2009
Lest We Forget…
Today I’m hosting Jean Heimann’s Virtual Book Tour for her new book, Fatima: The Apparition That Changed the World.
My review: This is a wonderful book about the Apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, just in time for the 100th anniversary of Our Lady’s first appearance to the three shepherd children at Cova da Iria. It is well-researched, well-written and filled with beautiful color photos and images. In 1917, Our Lady of Fatima predicted many world events. After appearing monthly to the three children, devotion to her Immaculate Heart, the recitation of the Holy Rosary along with the new Fatima prayer, and the first five Saturdays were spread throughout the Church and continues to spread throughout the Church even in the 21st century. Although it’s been 100 years, Our Lady’s message continues to be urgently needed today. Highly recommend!
Tell us about your new book, Fatima: The Apparition That Changed the World.
Fatima: The Apparition That Changed the World (Tan Books, 2017) is the true story of three shepherd children who, in 1917, had visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the mountain village of Fatima, Portugal and met with her on six different occasions. Our Lady asked them to pray the Rosary daily and to offer penances and sacrifices for the conversion of sinners and for world peace.
In my book, I present a comprehensive look at the Fatima apparitions; offering a chronological timeline, describing each of the apparitions in detail, tracing the lives of the three visionaries as well as the death and beatification of Jacinta and Francisco Marto, and revealing the ongoing message of Fatima for the past one hundred years. I also share a history of the various popes from 1917 to the present and describe their relationship with Fatima as well as some of the modern day miracles that have happened since then. In addition, I explain why the Fatima message is relevant to us today and how we can put it into practice.
What prompted the writing of Fatima: The Apparition That Changed the World?
I made my consecration to Jesus through Mary about twenty years ago. I was just beginning to grow in Marian devotion at that time, although when I was a child, we prayed the Rosary daily and my mother was always turning to her heavenly Mother in time of trial. The Brothers of St. John attracted me to their community through the Marian consecration via the St. Louis de Montfort method which they taught in a group setting, providing spiritual guidance. I was then drawn to become an oblate with the Community of St. John in Princeville, Illinois and to entrust my life even deeper to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
As a child, I grew up in a small French-Canadian town in northeastern IL and was well-acquainted with Our Lady of Lourdes. Every day after school I visited the Lourdes grotto behind our parish church and prayed there, sharing my concerns with the Blessed Mother. I learned about the Fatima apparitions, but they did not stick with me the way the apparitions at Lourdes did. I do, however, remember watching the 1952 movie The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima, which left an impression on me. As an adult, I became re-acquainted with Fatima by watching EWTN. I decided to join the Blue Army and through this organization began practicing the First Saturday devotions and praying the Rosary daily. About a year ago, I realized that 2017 would be the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions and thought that this would be an interesting topic to write about. Last fall, I founded the Our Lady of Fatima Rosary and Study Group in my parish and we began meeting in my home, where we studied the Fatima apparitions and prayed the Rosary.
What did you learn from writing this book?
I learned what a powerful apparition Fatima is! The conversion of the world and world peace are dependent on our fidelity to its prayers and devotions. It is through devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and her Immaculate Heart as well as through the recitation of the Rosary that we will experience an end to the culture of death and obtain world peace. Pope St. John Paul II has stated that the message of Fatima is even more relevant today than when it was first given to the visionaries in 1917. I also learned about the details of the wonderful miracles that have taken place in connection with Fatima since the initial apparitions in 1917.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I enjoyed using my imagination and my five senses in depicting the apparitions. I enjoyed viewing things from the vantage point of the children, the Angel of Peace, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the other characters in the book. For example, I loved writing about the spectacular miracle of the sun, describing the wide array of colors of the sun and the earth, how the sun was seen as a silver disc and began spinning around. I imagined how beautiful and frightening it must have been at the same. In my mind’s eye, I put myself in that crowd of spectators, watching the sun fall from the sky, fearing that this was the end of the world, hearing those around me confessing their sins aloud and begging for mercy.
Who is the target audience for your book?
I wrote this book for adolescents and adults, both Catholic and non-Catholics who want to learn more about the Fatima apparitions, put its message into practice, and have a beautiful family keepsake to treasure for years to come in honor of the Centenary of the Fatima apparitions.
Why would readers want to purchase this book? What does it have to offer them? How can it help them?
This book helps the reader learn to live the message of Fatima: prayer, penance, and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It draws everyone who peruses it into a deeper, more intimate relationship with the Mother of God and helps them perform a crucial role in changing the world from a culture of death into a culture of life.
Other stops on the Blog Tour:
May 1 – Carolyn Astfalk, My Scribbler’s Heart http://www.carolynastfalk.com/category/my-scribblers-heart-blog/
May 2 – Ellen Gable, Plot, Line, and Sinker https://ellengable.wordpress.com/
May 3 – Virginia Lieto, Virginia Lieto, http://virginialieto.com
May 4 – AnneMarie Miller, Sacrifice of Love, http://marianninja.blogspot.com/
May 5 – Barb Szyszkiewicz, Franciscan Mom, https://franciscanmom.com/
May 6 – Steven R. McEvoy, Book Reviews and More, http://www.bookreviewsandmore.ca/
May 7 – Lisa Hendey, Catholic Mom, http://catholicmom.com/
May 8 – Jeannie Ewing, Love Alone Creates, http://lovealonecreates.com/fatima-apparition-changed-world/
May 9 – Lisa Mladinich, Amazing Catechists, http://amazingcatechists.com/
May 10 – AnneMarie Miller, Sacrifice of Love, http://marianninja.blogspot.com/
May 11 — Barb Szyszkiewicz, Catholic Mom, http://catholicmom.com/
May 13 – Esther Gefroh, A Catholic Mom in Hawaii, http://hicatholicmom.blogspot.com/
JEAN M. HEIMANN is a Catholic author and a freelance writer with an M.A. in Theology, a parish minister and speaker, a psychologist and educator, and an Oblate with the Community of St. John. She is a member of the Blue Army and founder of Our Lady of Fatima Rosary and Study group. Jean is the author of Seven Saints for Seven Virtues (Servant, 2014) and Learning to Love with the Saints, A Spiritual Memoir (Mercy, 2016). Visit Jean at her website http://www.jeanmheimann.com/ through which you can access her award-wining blog, Catholic Fire. Her new book Fatima: The Apparition That Changed the World is available for pre-order at Amazon.com or at TAN Books online.
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.
Special thanks to Erin McCole Cupp for writing the synopsis for the anthology!
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.
I’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 Ullo, Jennifer 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 Ortiz, The 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 Eyre?
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.