Get Your Pro-life Fiction at Bringing America Back to Life Conference

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This year’s conference takes place March 6th and 7th at the Embassy Suites in Independence, Ohio. Click HERE to check out the fantastic lineup of speakers! Click HERE for registration.

In addition to the awesome speakers I’ll be bringing a ton of pro-life fiction. And I do mean a ton!

You will be able to purchase titles by many Catholic Teen Books authors.

Fiction with Pro-Life Themes

For Eden’s Sake: New release! Endorsed by Alveda King, this contemporary page-turner gives a guy’s perspective on the abortion issue. Readers can’t say enough good things about it.

All in Good Time: A realistic, clean Catholic romance between a harried widow of little children, a guy who’s been single too long, and how pornography touches us all – not just men, but women and kids too – by degrading the dignity of the human person and how the damage done can be restored.

Life-Changing Love: themes related to contemporary dating practices and courtship. A teen character supports another in choosing life. Touches on the baby’s development in the womb and the importance of confronting another to save an unborn child.

BREACH!: A heart-warming, pulse-pounding, pro-life adventure about taking responsibility for your mistakes–and staying alive! The ultimate pro-life novel for teen boys and young men!

Contemporary books by Leslea Wahl: adventure stories that combine mystery and a hint of romance with messages of faith. Promotes purity and focusing on Christ.

The King’s Prey: A story about Saint Dymphna with themes including purity and mental and emotional instability. As two estranged brothers risk everything to save Dymphna from her deranged father and his sinful desires?

Anyone but Him: a pro-life mystery romance for new adults. A story about second chances. Brings the shocking abortion statistics to light through a character that has founds himself too close to the issue.

Ornamental Graces: A realistic, pro-life Catholic romance with love, mercy, and a sprinkling of chocolate chip cookies and lavender. It emphasizes the far-reaching effects of abortion and God’s infinite mercy.

The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch: Currently assigned in some Catholic schools, themes include children in foster care, overcoming past adversity and using it to strengthen our future.

Chasing Liberty series: a hard look at where our country/world is headed if we elevate the earth above man, lose the traditional family, and no longer have the freedom to practice faith. In this dark future, human life begins in the laboratory and the government indoctrinates from cradle to grave.

Mandy Lamb and the Full Moon: This rural fantasy deals with free will, friendship, and touches lightly on the dangers of genetic manipulation. Tweens and teens on up.

Faith & Kung Fu series: Characters face contemporary issues including chastity, modesty, drug use, and other temptations. Stories show how God’s strength can help overcome all temptations.

I Am Margaret  series:In a totalitarian atheist state of the future, a young woman rejects the accepted wisdom that the imperfect are more use dead than alive, and that religious belief is a threat to society. Fighting the culture of death.

Battle for His Soul: shows the detrimental effect of abortion on a guy who wanted his girlfriend to have one, even though she didn’t go through with it. 

Roland West, Outcast: themes include same-sex attraction, true compassion, and having the courage to speak up for the truth.

Someday: In 2014, 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped from their school in Nigeria. What if it had happened in the West? This is their story–brought closer to home. Sold in aid of charity Aid to the Church in Need.

Come to hear the speakers but also pick up some pro-life fiction for yourself and others in your life. Fiction is a great instrument for sharing faith.

All titles at a special

conference price of

$10 a book!

Contemporary ♦ romance ♦ mystery ♦ dystopian ♦saint stories♦ fantasy

Fiction that entertains, inspires and supports your faith.

These stories have Catholic characters and themes and Catholic solutions to age-old and contemporary issues, including those on the forefront of the abortion and sanctity of life issues. The Catholic elements are not presented in a preachy way that makes you think of a non-fiction but in an entertaining way that sucks you into the story through characters you can identify with who face trials, challenges, and victories that have you turning the page well past your bedtime.

Get copies for:

  • Yourself (you will enjoy and benefit from them)
  • your teens (they will thank you and have something to do that doesn’t require a battery or electricity)
  • your loved ones (they don’t realize Catholic fiction is a thing)
  • your book club (they won’t mind paying back $10)
  • your parish library (it needs new fiction)
  • your youth ministers (they like new ways to reach teens)
  • your parish priest (he doesn’t have time to read but he should make time)

All titles are available online or through your favorite bookstore. Discount available only at the conference.

Virtual Book Tour: Come Back to Me

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Inspirational Christian fiction

Story Summary

Alan Reynolds slid into marriage. When his wife kicks him out, it looks as if he may slide out just as easily. Forced to bunk with his newlywed younger brother and his pregnant wife, Alan gets a firsthand look at a blissfully happy marriage while his wife rebuffs his attempts at a reunion.

Caught in the middle, Alan and his wife’s mutual friend Megan grows increasingly unhappy with her own empty relationships. If that weren’t enough, her newly sober brother has found happiness with Jesus, a goody-goody girlfriend, and a cockeyed cat.

When Alan and Megan hit rock bottom, will there be grace enough in their bankrupt lives to right their relationships and find purpose like their siblings have?


Review:

Unlike some fluffy Christian romances, Carolyn Astfalk’s Come Back to Me addresses the emotional devastation that results from the hookup culture and the damage that immaturity and selfishness brings to marriage. The underlying themes of forgiveness and renewal make this unique story especially powerful.

Come Back to Me is told from alternating viewpoints, the first being from Alan Reynolds, who I cared about from the very first page as he got thrown out of the house in nothing but unlaced sneakers and cargo shorts. Having nowhere to go, he humbles himself and asks his younger brother and his new wife if he can stay with them. The resulting story line gives fans of Stay With Me a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with Chris and Rebecca, while at the same time offering a comparison between the two marriages.

The second viewpoint is Megan Pettrey’s. She’s an attractive and independent woman with a huge hole in her heart that she’s in the habit of trying to fill with brief, empty relationships that have left her hardened and miserable. Her brother’s recovery and new faith really rubs her the wrong way, I believe, because it makes her take a hard look at herself and where her choices have led her. The way this character grows over the story and what she does at the end really moved me.

Astfalk has a unique ability to develop a character’s history, thoughts, and worldview, allowing readers glimpses into lifestyles they’ve never experienced, and allowing readers to develop empathy.

While not your typical romance, this story reminds me that we all share a common hunger to love and be loved, but that real love takes work, respect of self and of the other, and that it’s worth fighting for. This book should be on every Christian romance reader’s “to read” list.

Book trailer:

Buy link Kindle:

Buy link print:

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50547920-come-back-to-me

Author bio:

Carolyn Astfalk resides with her husband and four children in Hershey, Pennsylvania, where it smells like either chocolate or manure, depending on wind direction. She is the author of the contemporary Catholic romances Stay With MeOrnamental Graces, and All in Good Time, and the coming-of-age story Rightfully Ours. Carolyn is a member of the Catholic Writers Guild, Catholic Teen Books, Pennwriters, and is a CatholicMom.com and Today’s Catholic Teacher contributor. True to her Pittsburgh roots, she still says “pop” instead of “soda,” although her beverage of choice is tea.

Author links:

Website: www.carolynastfalk.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CarolynMAstfalk

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CMAstfalk

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/castfalk/

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/c/CarolynAstfalk

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carolynastfalk

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/3428010-carolyn

Instagram: https://instagram.com/cmastfalk/

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1FyiK1v

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/carolyn-astfalk

Tour stops:

Mon., Feb. 24 – Sarah Reinhard, Snoring Scholar

Tues., Feb. 25 – Barb Szyszkiewicz, FranciscanMom

Wed., Feb. 26 – Ellen Gable, Plot Line and Sinker

Thurs., Feb. 27 – Patrice MacArthur, Spiritual Woman

Fri., Feb. 28 – Theresa Linden, Things Visible & Invisible

Sharing Faith-filled Fiction with Audiobooks

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A need in our culture

Now more than ever, we have a need in our culture for faith-filled entertainment.

  • stories with Christian themes
  • stories that support, rather than contradict or belittle faith and values
  • stories that convey the amazing love of God for us, His creatures
  • stories that make one think deeper about the choices they make and the values presented by society
  • stories that inspire one to seek the things that are above

Ways to reach more people

As a Catholic fiction author, I am always looking for new ways to reach and support my audience. I’ve created study guides for many of my books, I give talks related to story themes, and I’ve turned one of my books into an audiobook: Battle for His Soul.

Study guides can help readers dive deeper into story themes, whether used individually or in a book club. Audiobooks provide the freedom to listen to your story when you’re on the go, or even when your vision fails.


Audible book codes

I’ve published the audiobook of Battle for His Soul with ACX and they’ve given me free promotional codes. With these codes, I can introduce readers to audiobooks and even introduce readers to my faith-filled fiction.

ACX has improved the way it handles promo codes. Codes are now title specific and the redemption process–which was once tedious–is now easy; simply log in to audible.com/acx-promo or audible.co.uk/acx-promo and enter the code.

I have 50 codes available for Battle for His Soul and I’d like to give one to you. In return, I ask that you listen to my story and if you enjoy it, please leave an honest review on Audible so that more people can find my faith-filled fiction.

If you are interested, request a code in the comments. If you are not an Audible member, sign up for a free 30-day trial!


More Catholic fiction available in audiobook

I have read all of Carolyn Asfalk’s and Susan Peek’s books and most of the books found on CatholicTeenBooks.com website. These faith-filled stories are just what our culture needs and many of them are available as audiobooks. Check them out for yourselves or for the audiobook fan in your life.

Visit CatholicTeenBooks.com for young adult faith-filled audio book titles.
Visit Carolyn Astfalk’s website for Christian inspirational fiction available in audio book.
For saint stories on audiobook, visit Susan Peek’s website.

If You Only Make One New Year’s Resolution…

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I went to Mass today, the last day of the year. I’ve always wanted to attend daily Mass and whenever I do, I’m so happy I did. I believe in the True Presence and in the awesome gift of Holy Communion, and I know that daily Communicants receive a ton of grace to help them live holy lives. After all, they are receiving God Himself as their spiritual food!

My duties have often prevented me from making daily Mass. And when it wasn’t my duties, my own laziness stood in the way. My excuse: I have trouble sleeping through the night and the best sleep I get is often in the morning.

Thanks be to God our oldest son (19 years old with autism) loves to serve Mass and often asks me to take him. How can you say no to that request? So I went to Mass today!

The first reading today really got me thinking.

“Children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come; therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out, that it might be plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all know. 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and know that no lie is of the truth.”

1 John 2:18-21 RSV-CE

Saint John’s warning is so powerful and relevant! We Christians must be on guard and we must cling to and spread the unchangeable truth passed down to us from the Apostles. We live in an age when anti-Christs abound. What are we called to do about it?

At the end of every year and the beginning of the new year, I often think of making New Year’s resolutions. I think of the past year’s failures, accomplishments, and blessings. And I think of what I’d like to overcome and accomplish in the new year.

It is part of human nature to evaluate our lives and to set goals for the future. I imagine that’s why pagans created the mythical god Janus, and why the first month of the year is named after him. Janus is the mythical god of beginnings, transitions, and endings. He has two faces, one looking to the future and the other to the past.

Even though the pagans didn’t recognize the bigger truth of the one God who created and loved them, and who desired their holiness, they did seem to recognize the need to evaluate their lives and the choices they’ve made, to decide the kind of person they wanted to be, and to make concrete plans to grow closer to that goal in the new year.


Rather than make resolutions about my diet, exercise, and earthly goals, I’ve decided to make one New Year’s resolution. And that one resolution is inspired by the dogma and holy day we celebrate at the beginning of every year: the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

Virgin of the Lilies, Bouguereau, 1899

“Mary is truly “Mother of God” since she is the mother of the eternal Son of God made man, who is God himself.”

Catechism of the Catholic Church 509

This dogma was defined in 431 AD in Ephesus, the very city where Mary had lived for years. It was declared so that people would understand the truth that Jesus is one person with two natures, human and divine. This Jesus whom we love is more than just our friend and personal Savior. He is God. He can do all things. And He desires to be in the most intimate relationship with each one of us. He desires this so much that He took on human form, lived among us, died to save us, and continues to give us His Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:1-5

So this year, I want to entrust myself to Him at every moment of my life, and to come to Him the way He came to us, through the Virgin He created to be His mother and to be our mother. Oh how pleased God is when we consecrate ourselves to Jesus through Mary!

Concretely, how can we remind ourselves to stick to such a resolution?

The answer is simple. We can easily become distracted and temptations never cease, but to follow God and trust in Him is simple and the Church gives us simple means to remain focused, to renew the grace within us, and to remain committed to our holy resolutions. This is why Jesus built His Church.

I resolve to avail myself of the channels of grace Jesus gave to the Church, especially the sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion, and to make use of sacramentals too, especially holy water and the Brown Scapular.


Another thing that helps me to grow in faith is my work and research as a Catholic fiction writer. Each of my stories touches on various Catholic truths, so I delve into studying them. I pray, think about the subject when driving (or when I should be sleeping), and read everything I can so that I can bring the teachings to life through a story.

I’m writing a Confirmation story now, so I’m focusing on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Have you ever wondered why some people don’t seem any different or even stop practicing their faith after Confirmation? Why don’t the gifts of the Holy Spirit seem to come alive for everyone? And what exactly are the differences between some of those seven gifts of the Holy Spirit? Through this story, I hope to show each of the seven gifts in action and to answer other questions about Confirmation.


If you’d like read a story with a Brown Scapular thread, I recommend my contemporary young adult fiction Standing Strong.

Written for teens but enjoyed by adults too, this story follows twin brothers as they seek to discern God’s will when the path is not clear. Keefe West has been a follower most of his life, but not following the right people. In Life-Changing Love, he turned his life around and now he finds himself attracted to the Franciscan way of life but discernment isn’t easy. Is the brotherhood for him?

His twin, Jarret West, lived a selfish and destructive life for many years. At the end of Battle for His Soul, he found his way to Our Lord. But in Standing Strong, he’s down from the spiritual high we sometimes experience when we allow God into our lives. And he’s surrounded by the same friends and faced with the same old temptations, as often happens when we try to make positive changes. Sometimes these temptations are strong. How is he to remain faithful to God?


For a few non-fiction book suggestions, check out Carolyn Asftalk’s blog post 10 Reads to Help You Be Better in 2020.


May God bless you abundantly in the New Year!

Christmas cookie recipes!

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This post is inspired by Carolyn Astfalk and her Virtual Cookie Swap!

When I was growing up, we set up a Nativity scene at the start of Advent. Closer to Christmas, we put up our Christmas tree and we baked Christmas cookies–same ones every year. We also went to Midnight Mass, which I think was actually at midnight, unlike now when it’s at 10:00 PM around here. These were our traditions!

The older I get, the more I appreciate the way family traditions connect us to loved ones who live far away or who are no longer with us.

So in honor of my family, I post our traditional Christmas cookie recipes!

Warning: the temperatures and times might not work for your oven. Our oven was a bit odd and we were always adjusting the temperature/time for recipes. So keep an eye on your cookies as they bake!


Swedish Tea Cakes

(makes 60 cookies if you are precise with your cookie sizes)

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped almonds
  • more powdered sugar (sorry that’s not a precise amount)

Combine the butter and sugar first, then add the rest. Shape into 1″ balls and place 1″ apart on a foil- or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Cool slightly. Roll in powdered sugar. Cool completely. Roll in more powdered sugar!


Lemon Cherry Cookies

(Makes 48 if you are precise with your cookie sizes)

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel (use a real lemon)
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice (from above mentioned real lemon)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 48 maraschino cherries
  • 2 cups chopped nuts (recipe says pecans but we’ve used walnut too, with equally delightful results)

Combine butter and sugar. Add the egg yolks, lemon peel, and lemon juice. Stir in the flour. Chill for 3 hours then divide the dough into 8. Divide each 8th into 6. Make into balls (if you don’t like to be that precise, just aim for consistent sized dough balls). Roll in egg whites, then in the chopped nuts. Place on foil- or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and press a cherry into the center. Space cookies 2″ apart. Bake at 325 for 15 minutes.


Molasses Drop Cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 -1/4 cup flour (note: Mom was always trying to make things healthier and used to add 1/4 cup of wheat germ instead of the extra 1/4 cup of flour. It’s good that way too)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 heaping cup raisins
  • 1 cup nuts (I use whatever nuts are cheapest this time of year!)
  • note: Mom also added 1/2 cup powdered milk, but I never have powdered milk on hand. We used to drink it growing up–ack–so we always had it on hand back then.

Cream the butter and sugar together. Then add the wet ingredients. Sift the dry ingredients together to avoid a lump of nutmeg or baking powder in one cookie! Stir it all together and drop by rounded teaspoons, 1/2″ apart on foil- or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.

Note: I end up doing this recipe a little differently every year, whether it’s the spices or nuts, or the amounts of the flour and molasses, or whether I throw something new into the cookies. They are always delicious!


Gluten free alternative: Since we have a family member with gluten intolerance, I have also made batches of all these cookies using gluten free flour (usually Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix–my favorite).


We also make Magic Cookie Bars, cut out cookies, and peanut butter cookies (gluten free are the best), and we are open to adding cookie recipes to our list so please share your favorites!

Catholic Teen Books ~ FaceBook Christmas Party

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What are you doing this Thursday, December 5th from 7:00 to 9:00 PM EST?

Several authors from CatholicTeenBooks.com are hosting a pre-Christmas party on Facebook. Won’t you please join us?

We will have games and prizes and a chance for authors and readers to get to know each other! No purchase necessary to play and win. You’ll find pictures of the prizes at the end of this post!


You stand a good chance of winning prizes but even if you don’t, maybe you’ll get some gift ideas! Books make great gifts, but faith-filled fiction is even better! Faith-filled Catholic fiction can inspire and support a teen in their faith and help them deal with the challenges today’s culture throws at them.

Who we are:

At CatholicTeenBooks.com you will find books in several genres: saint stories, mystery, contemporary, romance, fantasy, dystopian, speculative, and historical. Many of these books are award-winners. Many have been featured on Virtue Works Media and Catholic Reads. Many Catholic Teen Books authors have given presentations in schools and churches and might even be available to come to your parish, either in person or virtually.

Every book on the website reflects our faith through Catholic themes, characters, and perspectives. The characters in these stories struggle with challenges that we all face. Some stories follow the lives of saints, of those who dared to live counter-culturally and give themselves entirely to God. Other stories bring to light the beauty and power of the unique aspects of the Catholic faith. The Catholic element is more subtle in some works, but the worldview and themes bring the message of truth.

We hope that our fiction will challenge and inspire, that it will awaken within our readers some of the mystery, joy, and beauty of the Faith. We hope to stir within our readers a desire for something beyond themselves. Because God calls everyone to the fullness of faith and happiness, we invite readers of any faith or no faith at all to read our fiction.


Check out some of the prizes!

NOTE: If you plan to come, I encourage you to gather the following items for my game, which will be a SCAVENGER HUNT!

  • pencil
  • paper
  • family portrait
  • wedding ring (or any ring will do)
  • Christian Christmas ornament
  • Bible
  • I think that’s it but if there is something else, you’ll have time during the party to get it!

I hope to see you at the party!

Kids grow in their faith by learning about 8 great saints!

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The North American Martyrs served among the Native Americans of eastern Canada and the United States in the 1600s. Their lives are an amazing testimony to their love for God and for their fellow men. They are giants of the faith, yet they were also ordinary men who struggled with everyday problems like poor health, depression, unfaithful friends, spiritual dryness, and more. Though they lived centuries ago, their lives can still inspire us in our faith.

The North American Martyrs Kids Activity Book will bring the lives of these holy men alive for Catholic children. This 135-page paperback book includes bios, discussion and reflection questions, word puzzles, mazes, colouring pages and more activities about the lives of the North American or Canadian Martyrs. There are also quotes from the saints and suggestions for applying what kids have learned from each saint to their own lives.

Kids ages 7-13 will learn about St. Isaac Jogues, St. Jean de Brebeuf, St. Antoine Daniel, St. Charles Garnier, St. Noel Chabanel, St. Rene Goupil, St. Gabriel Lalemant, St. Jean de Lalande and their friends and be inspired in their faith!

Intended for a multi-age audience, North American Martyrs Kids Activity Book can be used in catechism classes, homeschools, parish kids clubs, Catholic schools, and more.

Author Bonnie Way is a Catholic convert and homeschooling mom of 5 children. She and her family live in Vancouver, BC. She has a B.A. in English (with a minor in history) from Concordia University of Edmonton and a B.A. in Writing from the University of Victoria. She blogs about motherhood, homeschooling, books and more at thekoalamom.com.

Illustrator Katherine Babcock is a mom of 4 children who lives in Victoria, BC. Her art explores the West Coast in a variety of mediums, from watercolour to pen and ink.


North American Martyrs Kids Activity Book is available on Amazon: bit.ly/namartyrs

Learn more about the book: https://thekoalamom.com/na-martyrs-kids-book/

Learn more about the martyrs: https://thekoalamom.com/2019/05/north-american-martyrs/

Please follow on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kidssaintbook/?hl=en