Catholics now have a “go-to” resource when experiencing memory impairment in their family.
“I remember the moment when my mother sat me down during Thanksgiving college break to tell me that my grandfather’s dementia had gotten so bad that he could not remember her name,” Matthew Estrade recalls from November of 1997. His grandfather was in a nursing facility in New Orleans, but she still struggled to cope with being a caregiver. No one could have guessed how that moment would impact Estrade and thousands of caregivers – or as he calls them – “care partners.” After losing his St. Bernard Parish home in the destruction of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, he continued working and enrolled in a gerontology master’s program at the University of Louisiana (ULM) in Monroe, LA.
Estrade, having graduated since, is the author of The Peace with Dementia Rosary: Education, Intentions, Community, a spiritual and practical care guide for Catholics seeking a primer on dementia education, built around intentions and the prayers of the Holy Rosary, and emphasizing the strength of community. Brian LeBlanc, an advocate, speaker, and person living with dementia penned the foreword. The book was granted the Imprimatur by Most Reverend Gregory M. Aymond, Archbishop of New Orleans on June 6, 2019.
“Dementia is a broad term used to describe a group of chronic symptoms that may include memory impairment disrupting everyday life, diminished judgment, inability to plan, challenges with words and communicating, disorientation of time and place, and other symptoms. Dementia can be caused by Alzheimer’s disease, Dementia with Lewy Bodies, vascular dementia, frontotemporal degeneration, or other irreversible diseases,” says Estrade.
Since publication, the book has turned into a community that Estrade fosters through an online prayer wall, daily Facebook live videos, weekly blog articles, and a monthly Facebook live Rosary and Dementia Q&A. He also facilitates a monthly care partner support group at his parish, Mary, Queen of Peace (MQP) Catholic Church in Mandeville, LA. The MQP group has become a model for groups that Estrade is seeking to create in other dioceses all over the country. Estrade says, “If there are parishes that want their own dementia support group, I’ll help them get started.”
The feedback from both care partners and professionals have been very encouraging. Care partner Joe B. wrote, “I love how you related the intentions of the mysteries to dementia. I feel blessed having you guide me through this journey with my wife of 52 years. You have discovered your ministry.” Ralph L. Piedmont, Ph.D., Managing Director, Center for Professional Studies states, “I found The Peace with Dementia Rosary to be a wonderful pastoral piece! Your commentary was very insightful, compassionate, and supportive. There are many tough motivations going on in such situations and works such as yours can be a real asset to them.” The book has also resonated with many non-Catholics who appreciate the practical dementia tips.
The vision of The Peace with Dementia Rosary book, its social media, and support groups is to offer a level of education and comfort that I wish my mom had as a care partner, says Estrade.
The Peace with Dementia Rosary is a ministry dedicated to helping families impacted by Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias find peace and hope through education, intentions, and community. It is based in New Orleans, Louisiana and was founded by Matthew Estrade.
Moonchild Rising (Shadows of the Sun #1) by Mina Ambrose
Mara the Huntress resides in the sunny little town of Archangel, California, the location of the Gate of the Underworld—a fact unknown to the general populace. Most people don’t even know that vampires exist. As Huntress, Mara does know, and it is her job to kill those that dare venture forth to the Upperworld to prey on the humans living there. She is well-suited to this purpose, gifted with skills and talents far surpassing those of ordinary mortals. Though some vampires manage to evade her, she has so far managed to prevent the unleashing of a full-scale infestation. She has been at this job for a good portion of her not-quite twenty years, and it seems she has everything in hand. Then one day she gets a chill of foreboding, a feeling that things are about to change…
For she stands in the way of the master vampire’s plan for world domination, and, he fears, may be a key player in the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy foretelling his destruction. One dark night he sends the mighty Prince (his second in command) to put an end to this Huntress, this bane of vampires, once and for all. Mara confidently goes out to face him, but finds she has met her match at last. Just as all hope seems lost, this powerful vampire turns from the “dark side” to become Mara’s ally in the battle against his own kind.
Her first warning was that unnatural chill in the night. Mara Dawn Amarantides froze, listened. Caught the slight whisper of a cloak and a flapping sound, as of bat’s wings. And that choking smell of death, faint but unmistakable. Vampire!
She twisted around, her long, golden braid swinging across her back and glinting in the circle of white cast from the streetlights. Where…? That alley across the way? No, no, further… She ran down the sidewalk, dodging the occasional pedestrian, frightening them perhaps, but—no time to apologize, this was urgent. A matter of life and death. She peered down side streets and alleyways, eagle eyes missing nothing as she flew past. Nothing…there was nothing out of the ordinary. Where is it? Have to find it before…
There—a rhythmic squeaking sound was moving away from her down an alley and out onto another street. She squinted into the distance; the light wasn’t good in that concrete-and-brick canyon. Just at the far end was the faint glow of a streetlight. Ah, there—a boy on an old bike, not in any hurry, it seemed, apparently oblivious to the horror hot on his trail. She felt that telltale chill again, stronger now, wrinkled her nose at the unpleasant smell, and looked around, eyes piercing the shadows. Nothing but the usual reeking garbage and clutter tossed carelessly about or jammed against the wall.
A cat yowled, dashing between her feet; she leaped aside, heart pounding. Good grief, what next! She’d no more than restored her calm and resumed her dash down the alley, when movement caught her eye, up ahead and off to the right a bit. Her heart jerked into overdrive again; stake in hand, she was ready for business. Just a rat, this time; it slithered behind a garbage can and was gone. She exhaled slowly.
Then she saw it. Even to her, the vampire looked like nothing more than a black blur, so fast did it move. Most mortals wouldn’t have seen that much; would, in fact, have had no warning at all.
She caught a glimpse of the boy on the bike again, just as he was about to turn the corner from the alley onto a quiet street. It looked as though he sensed something, then; maybe he felt that chill cloud of gloom bearing down on him, for he glanced back and stared. His eyes went wide with terror, and he surged into action, pedaling at a furious rate, his bike squeaking madly.
He might as well have been standing still; he’d never outrun the thing, Mara knew. It would be on him before he reached the end of the block.
She swept the surrounding area with a swift glance, missing nothing. Only one this time? Vampires were loners, true, but perpetually hungry, and more often than not several would emerge to hunt at any given time, to scatter in every direction, no doubt to foil her attempts to catch them all. An exercise in futility; she tracked them down quite quickly, as a rule.
No time to think about that now. This one was the immediate danger, all that mattered at the moment. Shadowy arms reached out toward its prey, long gleaming claws reflecting the meager light. Too close. Fast as she was, she’d never catch up in time to stake it.
She slipped a hand inside her jacket, exchanged the stake for her small crossbow. With narrowed eyes locked on that shadow-blur, she loosed an arrow. And another, right behind it, in one swift motion. Two bolts! Overkill, maybe—she’d never failed to hit her target dead-on, but—no, she couldn’t have that thing take the boy down just because she got overconfident. She was good at this, but vampires were fast and could kill in a heartbeat.
Her bolts flew true; one-two, straight to the middle of that shadow-shape. It shrieked, a long, pitiful wail, and fell writhing to the pavement. Then it disintegrated.
The boy glanced around, eyes huge, but he never slowed; sped up, if anything. That spine-chilling cry must have scared him half to death, but Mara doubted he’d seen anything, except maybe a cloud of dust if he was very sharp. He likely hadn’t seen her either. Her black attire blended her into the shadows; she wasn’t easy to see even when you knew she was there, and most people didn’t.
As soon as the boy was away, down the street and around the next corner, she went to retrieve her arrows. Her soft boots made no sound on the pavement.
The evening breeze had picked up, wafting away the last bits of vampire dust. The air smelled fresh and clean again. All clear now. Stars were out, sparkling overhead. It was a nice night, after all. Even so, she did not relax her vigilance. That could be fatal in her line of work. For others, if not herself.
She was about to be on her way when she heard a fluttering sound. A paper loosely tacked to the nearby wooden pole of a streetlight had torn loose at one corner and was flapping in the breeze. On it was a grainy photograph and bold black letters proclaiming: MISSING. Her heart sank. Not another one! She walked nearer and reached up to smooth the poster. A new one, obviously, so clean and white next to those other notices faded and tattered at the edges. Again some vampire had slipped past, it seemed, despite her watchfulness, to prey on the humans she was bound to protect.
How did they manage to elude her? Was there another gate to the Underworld that she didn’t know about, where they sneaked out a back door while she stood guard here at the main gate? Father Mike had assured her that this insignificant little town of Archangel was the gate; the only one, at this time. And he should know.
Deep in thought, she made her way to the public library, open late tonight, where she had arranged to meet her friends to study. Despite her calling, she still had to get through college.
Mina Ambrose was born in Oregon, a cradle Catholic, and grew up on a farm. Along with taking care of animals, she enjoyed reading, drawing and painting, playing music (mainly accordion, but a smidgen of piano, organ and guitar), and of course, writing. She began with stories and poems, as well as jotting down pages of notes—ideas for novels that never went anywhere due to the distractions of her many other interests. But she kept them on file and took them out occasionally to dream.
At age 21 she moved to British Columbia with her family. There she married, and for a number of years was raising children and running a busy household, her other interests relegated to the back burner (though she took them out and dusted them off occasionally). During this time she found new interest in sewing, gardening, and baking dozens of cookies and muffins for her growing family.
After her five sons and three daughters were grown, she returned to college, determined to at least get her Bachelor of Arts degree. (And did.) Meanwhile, she had a short story and poems published, and reawakened that life-long dream of writing a novel. As she wrote, it grew and grew, until the novel became a series: Shadows of the Sun. Moonchild Rising is Mina’s first novel, Book One of the series.
Mina is a member of the local Art Society, Catholic Writers Guild and the American Chesterton Society (as well as volunteer typist for their online project), and has also been involved in the Pro-life movement for many years. Mina has recently begun playing violin, and, since her retirement, once more finds herself baking cookies, in order to have some on hand for when her grandchildren come to visit. She lives surrounded by her eight adult children, eighteen grandchildren and one great granddaughter.
A fast-paced, engaging book that draws clear lines between Good and Evil, leading the reader on a great adventure through the darkness we cannot see. I loved the story—and I’m not even a fan of vampires!” Michelle Buckman, award-winning author, Rachel’s Contrition and Turning in Circles
“Can a vampire’s soul be saved? With beautiful imagery, Moonchild Rising pairs a redeemed vampire and a skilled huntress battling both the undead and the desires of their hearts.” Carolyn Astfalk, author, Come Back to Me and All in Good Time
We want our children to fall in love with their faith and to become saints! The Catholic faith is so rich and beautiful, like a treasure just waiting to be unpacked. We can help our children to explore this treasure in so many ways, and one of my favorite ways is through stories. That’s why I write Catholic fiction!
Jesus taught with stories. They have a unique way of helping us to own gospel truths. The second book in the Armor of God series, Breastplate of Righteousness, is available now. In this fantasy-adventure chapter book series, readers will dive into the Scriptural Armor of God—one piece at a time—as they follow George Pennington and friends.
Put on the full armor of God…
…be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; 16 above all taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
I just love Scripture verses that create a visual picture. Ephesians 6:10-17 encourages us to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power by describing a soldier dressed in full armor. Each piece of armor represents a different virtue that we, as Soldiers of Christ, ought to “put on”: the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, boots of peace, shield of the faith, helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit—which is the word of God.
The children in the make-believe Armor of God series struggle to earn each piece of armor by practicing the virtue related to it. It’s not easy, but by the end of each little story, the characters learn how important it is to practice the virtue associated with each piece of armor. And I hope readers will be inspired to practice these virtues too!
Even though we can’t see the spiritual battle, it is very real. And Scripture verses like this help us to visualize this battle that we can’t see and help us to respond to the challenges we face in a way that gives glory to God.
The stories for the entire series are completed. Once the pen-and-ink artwork is completed for each story, they will be released. Books one and two are available now! Give your children another way to explore the treasure of the faith through this series and with other Catholic fiction.
This month, the Catholic Writers’ Guild is touring Corinna Turner’s book, “Mandy Lamb and the Full Moon.” It is a CWG Seal of Approval recipient! Can the world’s only half-sheep girl be friends with strange, dog-like orphan James, who keeps disappearing every full moon? Buy Link:
Can a half-sheep girl and a werewolf be friends?
Mandy Lamb is the world’s only half-sheep girl, thanks to a spot of well-meant but ill-advised genetic tinkering. She’s starting senior school and she’s about to meet James, a strange, dog-like orphan who has a bad habit of running off at the full moon. With danger on the way, will James prove friend or foe?
This page-turning rural fantasy is a heart-warming tale about friendship, trust, and courage–and not letting what you are define what you do. Those looking for a unique, challenging read will love this ‘animal yarn with a Christian twist.’
Buy the book to start reading Mandy and James’ adventure today!
The boy dropped over the high stone wall and landed lightly on his feet. He remained motionless for a moment, listening, then eased through the shrubbery until he could peep out. Round the front of the house he could just see a woman standing next to a car. He could hear her tapping her nails impatiently on the hood. He had very good hearing.
“Well?” the woman asked, as a man hurried out to join her. “Where is he?”
“There’s a rolled-up blanket in his bed. Didn’t you check last night?”
“No, I didn’t check. It’s about his ‘time of the month’, isn’t it? Do you think he chooses the full moon specially, just to wind us up?”
The boy loped across the lawn and let himself in quietly at the back door.
The woman went on, “I’m sick and tired of phoning the police only to have him come strolling back in time for breakfast. Quite frankly, I’ve reached the point where I’d rather not know if he’s taken himself off for a bit. But today? He seemed so keen on the idea of a fresh start!” She heaved a big sigh. “Well, I know he’s missing now. I shall have to phone the police.”
She swung around and started—the boy stood behind her. He had a rucksack on his back and a water-filled plastic bag in his hands with a big black goldfish swimming around inside.
“There you are!”
“You haven’t been waiting long, have you?” asked the boy politely.
The woman made an exasperated noise and opened the car door. “Come on, get in, then.”
The boy didn’t move.
“You haven’t yelled at me yet.”
The woman shook her head. “Oh no, James, in a few hours when we reach Wales you’ll be someone else’s problem and I shall let them waste their breath. In you get, now.”
The boy shrugged, slipped off the rucksack and stuffed it in the back as she got into the driver’s side. He settled into the passenger seat and put the fish on his lap.
She glanced at him. “Is that everything?”
“It’s all I want.”
“Well, be careful with that fish.”
“I’m always careful with my fish,” said the boy, flatly.
The woman glanced at him again, but stuck the key in the ignition rather than reply.
The man looked through the car window. “Bye, James. The new place sounds nice. Try to make it work, won’t you?”
CORINNA TURNER is the author of the I Am Margaret and unSPARKed series for young adults, as well as stand-alone works such as Elfling and Mandy Lamb and the Full Moon (for teens) and Someday (for older teens and adults). All of her novels have received the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval (except new releases for which the Seal may be in process). Liberation (‘I Am Margaret’ Book 3) was nominated for the Carnegie Medal Award 2016 and Elfling won first prize for ‘Teen and Young Adult Fiction’ in the Catholic Press Association 2019 Book Awards. Several of her other books have been placed in the CPA Awards and the Catholic Arts and Letters Awards.
Corinna Turner is a Lay Dominican with an MA in English from Oxford University, and lives in the UK. She has been writing since she was fourteen and likes strong protagonists with plenty of integrity. She used to have a Giant African Land Snail called Peter with a 6½” long shell—which is legal in the UK!—but now makes do with a cactus and a campervan. You can find out more at www.UnSeenBooks.com.
I feel bad that homeschooling families will not have this opportunity this year. It’s great to hear inspiring talks about homeschooling. Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God was going to give a talk. Several priests and even Laura Berquist was going to be there, at the national conference.
It’s also a wonderful opportunity to meet other homeschooling families. And to actually see curriculum materials and Catholic books, to be able to hold them in your hands and flip through the pages so that you really know what you’re buying.
I was going to be one of the vendors, selling my Catholic fiction and books by other Catholic Teen Books authors at a discount. I’ve enjoyed meeting families at past conferences and being able to talk about Catholic fiction with parents and teen readers. Now we can’t do that.
I have all the books here, packed away in boxes. Whenever I look at them, I feel bad that the books won’t get to the teens who might enjoy and benefit from them.
We know stories can be powerful because Jesus taught with stories! These books are potential instruments for good!
So here’s what I’m going to do: even though we can’t meet in person at the conferences, I’m going to sell the books at the conference discount today. That’s $10 a book. I have a limited number of each title, so it will be on a first-come, first-served basis. And I’ll ship them out immediately, so your teens can have them for summer reading too.
I’ll provide the titles with short descriptions in this post, along with links to the author’s websites if you want to know more about certain titles. I welcome your questions about the books, study guides, and authors. Leave your questions in the comments, and I’ll get back to you ASAP.
Buyers can pay by check, PayPal, or credit card (you’ll get an invoice and pay online through Square). Simply tell me which titles you want. Email your selection to email@example.com. I will fill them in the order received.
Note: most, if not all of these books, have the Catholic Writers Guild “Seal of Approval” for quality and Catholic content. Many have been recommended on CatholicMom.com, Catholic Reads, and Virtue Works Media.
Most of what I have is teen fiction but some are adult titles and I even have children’s books!
Okay, here come the books!
Contemporary Fiction for Teens
Books with pro-life themes.
We teach our teens about life issues, but a story can bring those teachings to a deeper level. Through these stories, readers can gain insight and develop empathy for others, while also seeing the Catholic approach to the sanctity of human life. We want our teens to be able to understand, take ownership of, and even to defend important pro-life truths. Fiction is another tool that can help make those goals a reality.
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. Learn more about it and get the FREE discussion guide HERE. (I have enough copies for a book club).
***SOLD OUT***Life-Changing Love:A West Brothers story with 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. FREE study guides and discussion guide HERE.***SOLD OUT***
BREACH!: A heart-warming, pulse-pounding, pro-life adventure about taking responsibility for your mistakes–and staying alive! A great pro-life novel for teen boys and young men.
Books with pro-life themes for mature teens, college students, or Mom
Anyone but Him: a pro-life mystery romance for new adults. A story about second chances. “In addition to the love story, which is incredibly clean and honors the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, this story is brimming with suspense and mystery.” New adult characters make this suitable for older teens, college-age, and mom! I have enough copies for your book club too. No discussion guide yet. If you want one, let me know. Learn more about the book HERE.
***SOLD OUT*** All in Good Time: A realistic, clean Catholic romance between a harried widow of little children, a guy who’s been single too long. 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. This is a clean Catholic romance for adults. Attention book clubs: find FREE discussion questions on the author’s website. Visit the author website to learn more about this and the next book. ***SOLD OUT***
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. Attention book clubs: find FREE discussion questions on the author’s website.
If you have questions about a book or series, either email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or ask in the comments.
Contemporary novels for teens
The stories in this category take place in contemporary times and present challenges teens face, but each of these stories also contains elements of faith and Catholic themes. These stories will challenge and inspire and hopefully awaken within readers joy in the faith.
***SOLD OUT*** Extreme Blindside: by award-winning Leslea Wahl, this adventure story that combines mystery and a hint of romance with messages of faith. Promotes purity and focusing on Christ. Find the FREE study guide HERE. Visit the author website to learn more about her books. ***SOLD OUT***
***SOLD OUT***An Unexpected Role: also by Wahl. The devastation of a ruined summer. The gift of a second chance. As Josie sets out to solve the mystery, she realizes the importance of relying on her faith and discovering God’s will. FREE study guide HERE.***SOLD OUT***
***SOLD OUT***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. Suitable for junior high too. Check out the FREE discussion guide. Visit the author website to learn more about this and her other books. ***SOLD OUT***
***SOLD OUT***Roland West, Loner, and Life-Changing Love are ***SOLD OUT*** (I can order books directly from the printer and honor the conference discount, if interested in this series)
Each story in this contemporary series brings the Catholic faith to the challenges teens face. These stories highlight the unique aspects of our faith, especially those that inspired me as a teen, that helped me to realize that I wasn’t alone and that God was real and He loves me deeply! Themes include the Communion of Saints, Eucharistic miracles, pro-life and pro-chastity themes, guardian angels (using teachings of Thomas Aquinas), vocational discernment, the Brown Scapular, same-sex attraction, true compassion, and having the courage to speak up for the truth especially when it’s hard. Student and teacher study guides plus discussion guides FREE HERE. Visit the author website to learn more about individual titles.
If you are new to this series, get the complete set for $50 and I will throw in FREE study guides in paperback format–while supplies last They are always free in digital format on my website.
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. FREE study guides are available for every book in the series. Learn more about the books and enjoy book trailers and first chapters HERE.
If you have questions about a book or series, either email me at email@example.com or ask in the comments.
Do you and your teens enjoy a good dystopian? These stories are typically set in a dark future where the main character is unsatisfied. A good dystopian can motivate people to take a hard look at the world around them. It can help readers to visualize a potential future, to consider where we are headed if we don’t change direction. It can help us realize what we have and what we stand to lose. A good dystopian can also show that no matter how dark the world around us becomes, we each still have that inner voice. And it can bring home the message that you are responsible for the culture, and you can make a difference in your own unique way.
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. A series about fighting the culture of death.
***SOLD OUT: The Three Most Wanted and Liberation ***
I do have several copies of the first book in the series with the new cover. Also, Margo’s Diary and the novella Brothers are each only $5. The novella would be a great introduction to the series and is suitable for younger readers too, like junior high age.
Note: Corinna Turner is offering “Lockdown Sale” prices for her books, so check out those deals first. They might be better than the $10 a book that I can offer. Visit the author website to learn more about the books and her deal!
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. Check out the extensive study/discussion guide–which is FREE.
***SOLD OUT*** Books 1 & 3 are ***SOLD OUT*** (I can order books directly from the printer and honor the conference discount for this trilogy)
Appropriate for students studying American Government/Civics, Ethics/Morality, or American History. (Book 3 recounts specific events in American Revolutionary War history as experienced through 3D gaming.)
If you have questions about a book or series, either email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or ask in the comments.
Saint Stories and a Devotional
Saints are the best role models, especially the ones Susan Peek chooses for her fast-paced stories for teens. They stir up a desire for something beyond what this world has to offer. Susan Peek is one of my all time favorite authors. Her writing style is clean, stories fast-paced, and the faith elements are so powerful that they stay with you for a long time after you’ve finished the book.
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? This book would be great for a book club and I have enough copies.
A Soldier Surrenders: A fast-paced and inspiring story of the soldier-of-fortune who became an intrepid Soldier of Christ. The story of St. Camillus de Lellis will appeal even to those who don’t normally like to read! Visit the author’s website to learn more about her saint stories for teens and children. She has many more books.
Daily Pilgrimage to Purgatory: this is the only non-fiction among the books I have here. It is a reprinting of a beautiful classic devotion for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Get it for $7.00. Learn more HERE.
Junior High and Up
Secrets: Visible & Invisible – CatholicTeenBooks.com’s first anthology, contains 7 amazing stories in a variety of genres, each with the theme of “secrets.” Discussion questions FREE HERE. Learn more about this book with a foreword by Mark Hart of Life Teen International.
Gifts: Visible & Invisible – a Christmas-themed short story anthology that can be enjoyed all year round. Cathy Gilmore of Virtue Works Media says the authors show readers “your life can be a GREAT story, one that includes a lifestyle of authentic Catholic faith.” Learn more HERE.
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. I just loved this story. It’s so fun and unique, with beautiful messages and a lot of action.
Fiction for adults or mature teens
Tortured Soul – Set in modern times, this supernatural thriller is loosely based on the apparitions of souls in purgatory to Eugenie von der Leyen (1976-1929). “Tortured Soul gives an accurate, captivating, and novel way for readers to learn about and better understand the Church’s teaching on purgatory” ~Susan Tassone, The Purgatory Lady. Learn more on the author’s website.
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. “…an important novella that highlights the largely unsung heroism of persecuted Christians, and should make those of us in ‘safe’ countries consider: are we ready to count the cost?” ~Regina Doman, author of The Fairytale Novels. Learn more on the author’s website.
If you have questions about a book or series, either email me at email@example.com or ask in the comments.
Last but not least, I have a few children’s books available!
Molly McBride: I have several copies of these three Molly McBride books! Looking for books that gently encourage vocations? These beautifully illustrated books are perfect for children ages 4-7.
“It’s a fun, sweet series filled with virtue and simple lessons about the Catholic faith to inspire young readers.” Visit the author website to learn more about this delightful series for children. And in case you were wondering: there really is an order of purple nuns!
Saint Clare and Her Cat is the next book by children’s favorite Dessi Jackson. With lovely artwork and a glimpse into the life of Saint Clare, children are bound to love this book. Available now for $10. Learn more about the book HERE.
Belt of Truth: I’ve got copies of book one in the fantasy-adventure Armor of God children’s chapter book series. The series is based on the Scriptural Armor of God in Ephesians 6:13-17.
This book is $8.00. It’s the same as the Amazon price. Sorry. But I couldn’t reduce it because it’s already as low as it can go.
The second book in the series, Breastplate of Righteousness, is a new release, available on Amazon or through your favorite bookseller!
Learn more about the Armor of God series, including book two HERE.
Okay, that’s all I’ve got! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to give me your list. Unless otherwise noted, each book is $10 plus shipping. I will use media mail to keep the cost as low as possible. And you are free to pay by check, PayPal, or credit card. Let me know what you prefer in the email.
If you have questions about a book or series, either email me at email@example.com or ask in the comments. I’ll get back to you quickly and I’ll even reach out to the various authors for questions related to their books.
This month, the Catholic Writers’ Guild is touring Carolyn Astfalk’s book, “All in Good Time.” It is a 2020 CWG Seal of Approval recipient!
Brian’s finally found the woman he’s meant for. So why iseverything falling apart? Physical trials, old temptations, and a new menace threaten to keep him and Melanie apart.
With three rambunctious, young children, Melanie Lombardi can’t see beyond the day-to-day struggle to maintain her home and her sanity since her husband’s sudden death. A second chance at romance isn’t on her radar.
Brian Perella is done with dating, resigned to being the fun uncle and never the dad. Until he meets Melanie and her brood of lively kids on the sidelines of a Little League game.
But when Brian uncovers a co-worker’s secret, it re-ignites a temptation that Melanie can’t know about. It’s his secret to keep until an unexpected diagnosis brings everything to the surface, jeopardizing his future with Melanie and her children, who, when threatened by an unknown stalker, may need him now more than ever.
He’d finally met the woman who was, quite literally, an answer to years of prayers. Hadn’t God confirmed as much in his heart?
To ask “Why me?” seemed arrogant. Why not him? Brian Perella was no better than anybody else. He didn’t deserve an exemption from suffering.
The question he couldn’t answer, the one that had already begun to fester deep in his soul, echoed in his mind.
The characters in this story feel so real. So three-dimensional. They have strengths and weaknesses, hopes and dreams, and face trials and challenges that many can relate to, especially in our contemporary culture. Brian Perella loves kids and has wanted to be a husband and father, but he has yet to find “the one” and he’s almost given up. Then one day, it seems God has dropped the woman of his dreams—Melanie Lombardi—into his lap! He’s a solid character and he’s great with kids, but he’s not sure he wants to start dating. I really enjoyed the tension between the two main characters before they decided to see each other. As the story progresses, we find that his past failings affect his ability to develop and maintain a healthy relationship with Melanie. This theme is so well done and helped me really consider the temptations and effects of pornography even after a person has given it up. Melanie Lombardi is one tough woman. At least on the outside. Her husband recently passed away, leaving her with three young children. My heart really ached for her at times. She is an extremely likeable character, a good mom who tries to be responsible—but one person can’t keep track of everything, and this leads to some chaotic and humorous incidents in the story as she deals with the trials and joys of life with three children. I both admired and, at times, could relate to this character and her challenges. As the story develops, a mystery (a threat) begins to appear. I admired how the author did this—so subtle and yet relevant, as you discover in the end. This fictional story is not only enjoyable because of the characters and storyline; it carries relevant themes—tough themes that aren’t often dealt with in fiction but should be. We can read articles and studies about the challenges of single parenthood and of losing a spouse and of the long-term effects of giving into temptation and pornography, but reading a novel that deals with these issues takes it to a deeper level. We get to see the thoughts and experience the feelings these characters have throughout their challenges, failures, and victories. I highly recommend this story as a great, clean romance novel with three-dimensional characters and important themes.
Carolyn Astfalk is a wife, mother, and author of contemporary Catholic romances Stay With Me, Come Back to Me, Ornamental Graces, Rightfully Ours, and All in Good Time. She formerly worked as a communications director and now works just to keep her head above water. Find her books on Amazon and her other words scattered around the blogosphere and social media.
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.
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?
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.
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 Me, Ornamental 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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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?