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.

 

 

 

An Open Book – July 6

Open Book

 

I’m joining with Carolyn Astfalk and Catholic Mom for “An Open Book.”

Unclaimed Cover

Unclaimed by Erin McCole Cupp

Unclaimed by Erin McCole Cupp is an futuristic retelling of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre.  It’s extremely well written with well-developed characters and I highly recommend it.  Book 2 (Nameless) will be released in October.  More about Unclaimed on Saturday, July 9th because I will be participating on the Unclaimed Virtual Book Tour.  For more information, check Erin’s website here.

Sunflowers

Sunflowers in a Hurricane by Anne Faye

I thoroughly enjoyed Anne Faye’s new book, “Sunflowers in a Hurricane.” Single mother Cheryl and her young teen daughter Ruth move next door to elderly widower George Ferguson. George and Ruth forge an unusual bond as all three are forced to confront the past. The writing is polished, the characters are true to life and the story is compelling. This makes an ideal beach read that you won’t want to put down until you’ve reached the last page.  You can purchase it here.

 

Check out the other posts at Carolyn Astfalk’s website at this link.

 

Two Full Quiver Novels Are Finalists in CALA!

AWSAHI 2016RGB
Congratulations to two FQP authors! The announcement of the finalists for the Catholic Arts and Letter Award has been released: The Lion’s Heart by Dena Hunt and A World Such as Heaven Intended by Amanda Lauer (both published by Full Quiver!) are finalists in this year’s Catholic Arts and Letter Awards!
Press release from the Catholic Writers Guild:
It is with great excitement that the Catholic Writers Guild announces our finalists for the 2016 Catholic Arts and Letters Award for Fiction! We want to thank all of you who entered the contest. Our judges had many terrific things to say about all the entries this year. The quality was remarkable, and we truly appreciate your dedication to Catholic fiction.

The finalists in the category of YA/Children are:
The Tree of Healing by Diana Tabbaa
A World Such as Heaven Intended by Amanda Lauer
I Am Margaret by Corinna Turner

Front Cover Final revisedsm
And the finalists in the Adult Fiction category are:
Catholic Philosopher Chick #2 Regina Doman and Rebecca Weiss  
The Lion’s Heart by Dena Hunt
The Watson Chronicles by Ann Margaret Lewis
The winners of the CALA will be announced July 28th at the Thursday morning breakfast sponsored by CMN at the CMN Trade Show in Schaumburg, Illinois. For information on attending this show or to register, please go to www.catholicwritersconference.com

 

 

 

To celebrate, Full Quiver Publishing is offering a $4 off coupon for both books.

To purchase A World Such as Heaven Intended: go to this link and put in code: GYAKZBAR

To purchase The Lion’s Heart, go to this link and put in this code: ZWG5ZRME

The Wisdom of Humanae Vitae and the Joy of Being Open to Life

The end of June every year marks two very difficult anniversaries for me. On June 26th, 1986, I was rushed into surgery to remove a tiny baby from my right fallopian tube. This, after already miscarrying a baby from my womb. I woke up in the hospital with the knowledge that I had conceived twins…and I would be leaving the hospital with neither in my arms.

At the end of June in 1993, I found myself in an ambulance fighting for my life, bleeding internally as the result of ectopic pregnancy complications. It’s hard to believe it’s been 18 years.

The following is a reprint of an article I had published a few years ago which deals with the difficult decisions James and I faced when deciding whether we should limit our family to three boys after a life-threatening pregnancy in 1993.

Pope Paul VI in his papal encyclical Humanae Vitae states: “ Responsible parenthood… has one further essential aspect of paramount importance. It concerns the objective moral order which was established by God, and of which a right conscience is the true interpreter. In a word, the exercise of responsible parenthood requires that husband and wife, keeping a right order of priorities, recognize their own duties toward God, themselves, their families and human society.”

In the ambulance, as I drifted in and out of consciousness, I didn’t have much time for retrospective thoughts, except “Please God, I can’t die. I don’t want my little boys growing up without a mom.” I was bleeding internally, the complications of ectopic pregnancy surgery two weeks previous, and quickly becoming weaker and weaker. Waking up later in the recovery room, I was thankful to be alive.

“You should not be having any more children.” The words were harsh and at first, we took them as truth. I was capable of having more, but after two ectopic pregnancies and complications from one of the surgeries, we were told that we must limit our family to three boys. The doctors suggested that I be put on hormonal contraception. They later urged me to have my remaining fallopian tube tied. The physicians weren’t the only ones to give the ‘order’ to stop having children. Well-meaning relatives and friends felt it was their duty to tell us that we should not get pregnant again. “You don’t want to be irresponsible, do you?”

“It concerns the objective moral order which was established by God…”

It became evident, as we dialogued with both the physicians and the well-meaning relatives and friends, that they were concerned only about my physical health. Most of them cared little, if at all, for my/our spiritual well being. And, initially, in those first few weeks after my surgery, we felt that we ought to listen to the “doctor’s orders.”

However, as the months went by, I began to regain my strength. We continued using NFP in the most conservative way, often adding one or two days to the rules for extra security. A year later, with heaviness in my heart, I thought of the future and the fact that we would not have anymore children. I wondered whether God was calling us to actively seek another pregnancy. My husband and I discussed it, then brought our concern to our spiritual director, explaining to him that the doctor told us that we should not have any more children. “James and Ellie,” he said, “that is a decision to be made between the two of you and God.” He encouraged us to pray about it and he further recommended that we talk to a faithful Catholic doctor. We knew of a Catholic physician through a neighboring homeschooling community. Her response after reviewing my file was that we could try for more children, but that I would need to be monitored carefully in the first several weeks to confirm that it wasn’t another ectopic pregnancy.

… a right conscience is the true interpreter…”

For the next several months, we prayed together. We deeply desired another child, but we did not want to be careless or irresponsible. After much prayer and discernment, and weighing all the risks, we decided to actively seek another pregnancy.

“…the exercise of responsible parenthood requires that husband and wife, keeping a right order of priorities…”

Ten cycles later, we were still not pregnant. We felt at peace with our decision to seek another pregnancy and, although disappointed, we trusted that God knew what He was doing. Eventually, we stopped charting. Another eight cycles went by with no pregnancy and I began to sell off most of my baby furniture. A few weeks later, it dawned on me that I hadn’t had a period in six weeks. The next morning, I took my temperature and it was 98.9. After 18 months of saying no to us, God was saying yes and blessing us with another eternal soul. I was thrilled that another new life, the fruit of our love, had begun, and would be sheltered lovingly in my womb.

With the blessing, however, soon came suffering. I began having debilitating migraine headaches and some days I could not get out of bed. Worse than the physical pain, however, was the emotional suffering. Doctors, well-meaning friends and relatives told us that we were being “irresponsible” and “selfish,” and that if I was suffering, “I had asked for it.”

At 30 weeks, our unborn baby was six pounds and I had already gained 50 pounds. That might not seem like much, but with my four feet nine inch frame, it meant that I could not drive (the seat had to be pushed back so far to allow for my large stomach that my feet couldn’t reach the pedals) and I could not walk the last six weeks of the pregnancy.

Our son, Adam, was born eight weeks later at nearly ten pounds. The pro-life Catholic doctor who delivered Adam by C-section told me that we could try for another baby someday, but that the pregnancy would again have to be monitored. Three years later, our youngest son, Paul was born.

“… recognize their own duties toward God, themselves, their families and human society.”

The words of Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae courageously proclaim the truth of responsible parenthood and openness to life. The decision to have or avoid another child remains a decision between the couple and God. No one else ought to make such a life-changing and important choice because no one else will have to endure the consequences (and joys), nor will anyone else have to stand before God someday and explain their actions.

Although we could have used NFP to avoid pregnancy permanently and to limit our family size to three sons, we chose to listen to our hearts, to answer God’s calling, and to seek more children. When I consider that our two youngest sons (pictured above and below) might possibly not be here today, my heart becomes heavy. Both are unique, talented, funny and amazing human beings who have already given so much to our family and to society. I am grateful to God, because I can’t imagine our family without them.

Here they are posing for an updated shot of that same photo! (Now 20 and 17 years old.)

photo courtesy James Hrkach

photo courtesy James Hrkach

 

Copyright 2016 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Infinite Space, Infinite God II

InfiniteSpaceII_medIf you enjoy science fiction that recognizes faith, especially the Catholic faith, as an integral part of human society, you’ll love ISIG II. However, Karina has another surprise coming in September from Full Quiver Publishing: Discovery, the first Rescue Sisters novel, starring the three sisters of the Order of Our Lady of the Rescue as they travel to the edge of the solar system to explore an alien spacecraft. To get all the news, plus chances to win prized, writing tips and great articles and stories from all her worlds, join her newsletter, FabianSpace. http://eepurl.com/dc-8M

Infinite Space, Infinite God II is available from Amazon here at this link.

My review is below:

Infinite Space Infinite God II is a compilation of 12 short stories which have both inherent science fiction and Catholic/Christian themes. It is similar to ISIG I but slightly different in that most of the stories focus on the individual. The editors state: “Institutions had let humankind down overall, so it was up to the individual…”

These are stories with Catholic characters and situations, most set far into the future, where Catholic priests are no longer limited to parishes on Earth, but are appointed to positions on other planets and in other solar systems. The people in the stories are not perfect but believable and well-developed characters who are presented with unusual sci-fi moral dilemmas.

I’m partial to time travel stories, so my favorite of the twelve is “The Ghosts of Kourion” by Andrew M. Seddon, about a widowed professor (Robert Cragg). After Professor Cragg tragically loses his wife and daughter, he travels back to 365 AD to the Greek city of Kourion. This is the ideal story to start off this book of short stories not only because of all the moral implications involved in time travel, but this emotional story captures the reader immediately.

The remaining stories include a tale about a nun who faces venomous snakes, a priest who battles aliens, a character who is genetically engineered and whose usefulness has ended, a clone named Lorraine and her friend, Father Markham, and much more. Although many of the stories have Catholicity woven throughout, this book is appropriate and fun reading for readers of all faiths.

Entertaining, well-written, ISIG II is filled with interesting characters and unique situations, beautiful imagery. ISIG II offers humor, sci-fi, Catholicity and suspense all in one book.

I highly recommend this entertaining book to everyone, especially to those who enjoy Catholic science fiction. It is an “Out of This World” treat!

The Kindle Edition is here at this link.

The Print Edition is 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.