Catholic Writers Conference Live 2018 Highlights #cwcl2018 #cmn2018

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.

CWCL 1a

Dinner with fellow Guild members, a few bookstore owners and a surprise friend from Canada!

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Clockwise: Fr. Don Calloway giving his keynote presentation at the Catholic Writers Conference Live; fellow Guildies and dear friends/authors Lisa Mladinich and Mary Lou Rosien; with “fans” Dr. Jean Egolf and her daughter; the CWG booth.

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With some of the Guild members and Fr. Don Calloway.

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Clockwise from left: Historic St. Mary’s, Lancaster Convention Center, Historic St. Mary’s (exterior), inside the convention center and Greenwood Cemetery (where some of my Gable ancestors are buried)

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Top: FQP Authors: Back row: me, Dr. Barbara Golder, Michelle Buckman, Amanda Lauer; front row: Carolyn Astfalk, Erin McCole Cupp, Karina Fabian and Arthur Powers. Bottom: the Writer and Spirituality panel (left to right: Arthur Powers, me, Marge Fenelon and Lisa Mladinich.) Right: with my dear friend and fellow Guildie and author of children’s novels, Karen Kelly Boyce.

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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!

Image and Likeness Now Available!

Image and Likeness: Short Reads Reflecting the Theology of the Body, with a foreword by Damon OwensImage and Likeness: Literary Reflections on the Theology of the Body is now available on Kindle and in paperback from Amazon. This anthology is edited by Erin McCole Cupp and myself and both of us have stories included in the collection.

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.

With a Foreword by international Theology of the Body voice Damon Owens, Image and Likeness puts life and breath into St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body in ways that readers won’t soon forget.

Warning: mature themes, content and language.

Reviews:

Barb writes: “What, exactly, are “literary reflections on the Theology of the Body?” They’re stories and poems about how we live, and how we live our lives in relationship with each other, with our bodies, with our souls, and with God. It’s not some complicated, esoteric subject. Because it’s an anthology, there’s something for everyone, from detective stories to poetry to tales of family life that range from the harrowing to the uplifting. These stories and poems are about life. Like life, they are not always neat and tidy and packaged in a pretty box with a crisply-tied ribbon. I’ve come to expect just this from other work from Full Quiver Publishing: this publisher does not shy away from difficult subjects and situations in its commitment to promoting the culture of life and the Church’s teaching on marriage and family.”

An Open Book Family says: “Recommended for reading, reflection, discussion, and even entertainment. A gritty but beautiful introduction not only to the Theology of the Body as it is lived (or rejected), but also to the breadth and promise of Catholic fiction being written by contemporary authors. These shorts are accessible to any careful reader, whether familiar with the Theology of the Body or not.”

Readers can buy the paperback book on Amazon at this link.

It’s available on Kindle at this link.

SQT – #CMN, Catholic Writers Conference Live

seven-quick-takes-friday-2-1024x727Please join me and other Catholic bloggers at This Ain’t the Lyceum for Seven Quick Takes Friday. I had a whirlwind trip to New Jersey for the Catholic Marketing Network and the Catholic Writers Conference Live. Here are seven photos from the CMN and Conference:

Speaking to the bookstore owners on Tuesday (notice the riser to help me see over the podium) Photo courtesy Megan Marley

Speaking to the bookstore owners on Tuesday (notice the riser to help me see over the podium) Photo courtesy Megan Marley

#CMNselfie2015, my attempt at a selfie before my first presentation on Wednesday (with help from Pat Gohn)

#CMNselfie2015, my attempt at a selfie before my first presentation on Wednesday (with help from Pat Gohn)

At the Author Reception, with Father Frank Pavone and Janet Morana (copyright Ellen Hrkach)

At the Author Reception, with Father Frank Pavone and Janet Morana (copyright Ellen Hrkach)

With Author Regina Doman

With Author Regina Doman

#cmnselfie2015 with Ann Lewis and Erin McCole Cupp

#cmnselfie2015 with Ann Lewis and Erin McCole Cupp

With other Guild members: Barb Szyszkiewicz, Marianne Komek and FQP authors Carolyn Astfalk and Erin McCole Cupp

With other Guild members: Barb Szyszkiewicz, Marianne Komek and FQP authors Carolyn Astfalk and Erin McCole Cupp

With new FQP author Karina Fabian and Amazing Catechists founder and author Lisa Mladinich at the CWG Booth

With new FQP author Karina Fabian and Amazing Catechists founder and author Lisa Mladinich at the CWG Booth

A List of Inspiring Theology of the Body Fiction: #ShowUsYourList

showusyourlistlogoErin over at “Will Write For Tomato Pie” has a wonderful idea of having bloggers create alternate lists of entertaining books that are true, beautiful and good. Here is her challenge and mine as well!

“I challenge anyone who complained about 50 shades of anything to now spend some time and energy promoting entertainment that is true, beautiful and good.”

I posted about the “Antidote to #50Shades of Degradation: TOB Fiction: over at Amazing Catechists last week. Below is the list of Theology of the Body Fiction that I recommended and continue to recommend as “true, beautiful and good!” (Pardon the self-promotion of my own books and those of my publishing company!)

St. John Paul II said we can “overcome evil with good.” Here is a list of contemporary Catholic novels (in order of publication date) with Theology of the Body themes that can uplift, inspire and serve as an antidote to ALL the secular, trashy novels that promote illicit lifestyles. These novels encourage virtue rather than vice, respect rather than domination, and love rather than lust.

Emily’s Hope (Ellen Gable, 2005, FQ Publishing)

Passport (Christopher Blunt, 2008, Pelican Crossing Press)

Midnight Dancers (Regina Doman, 2008, Chesterton Press)

In Name Only (Ellen Gable, 2009, FQ Publishing)

Stealing Jenny (Ellen Gable, 2011, FQ Publishing)

Finding Grace (Laura Pearl, 2012, Bezalel Books)

Angela’s Song (AnnMarie Creedon, 2012, FQ Publishing)

Rapunzel Let Down (Regina Doman, 2013, Chesterton Press)

Vingede (Friar Tobe #2) (Krisi Keley, 2013, S & H Publishing)

Don’t You Forget About Me (Erin McCole Cupp, 2013, FQ Publishing)

A Subtle Grace (Ellen Gable, 2014, FQ Publishing)

The Lion’s Heart (Dena Hunt, 2014, FQ Publishing)

A World Such as Heaven Intended (Amanda Lauer, 2014, FQ Publishing)

Working Mother (Erin McCole Cupp, 2014, FQ Publishing)

7 Quick Takes Friday – More VBT Links!

7_quick_takes_sm1I’m joining with other Catholic bloggers over at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday.

It’s been a busy week on the Virtual Book Tour! Here are some of the bloggers who hosted me with interviews or reviews this week:A Subtle Grace front cover Nov2013

1. AnnMarie Creedon
AnnMarie Creedon, author of Angela’s Song, posted this wonderful review on Sunday! Her last sentence summarizes my new book brilliantly: “Not merely the story of a young girl’s journey to maturity, A Subtle Grace is a masterfully written illustration of the difference between lust and love, between rashness and fortitude, between mere existence and truly living.” Thank you, AnnMarie!!

2. A.K. Frailey
Ann Frailey is a wonderful author in her own right. On Monday, she posted a reflection on Catholic fiction, information about my book and also her review. Thank you, Ann!

3. Barb @ Franciscan Mom
I’m grateful to Barb for hosting me on Wednesday! I especially enjoyed how Barb focused on my Philly roots with some of her questions regarding three of my novels!

4. Sue @ Sue Elvis Writers
Yesterday, Sue interviewed me about my writing and my new book. Thank you, Sue!!

5. Erin @ Will Write For Tomato Pie
My thanks to Erin McCole Cupp, author of Don’t You Forget About Me, for the intriguing interview questions! A Philly girl herself, Erin also asked some questions regarding the setting of some of my books.

6. Review Shelf
Hana Lani by Christine Sunderland

7. Cartoon
Many hands do make “light” work. I couldn’t have published my book without my editors, beta readers, proofreaders and handsome cover designer (my husband!) I also could not promote my book as well without the help of the many bloggers who stepped forward to host me on my Virtual Book Tour. One more week to go!!

cartoon copyright Full Quiver Publishing/James and Ellen Hrkach Please do not use without permission

cartoon copyright Full Quiver Publishing/James and Ellen Hrkach Please do not use without permission