New Fantasy Series: The Aletheian Journeys

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The Aletheian Journeys

Last summer I discovered The Arrow Bringer, the first in a new Christian allegorical fantasy series by Lisa Mayer.

ARROW BRINGERfrontThe Arrow Bringer tells the story of Evangeline Lewis, who has just been diagnosed with leukemia at the age of sixteen. Before she can catch her breath, a mysterious being called the Arrow Bringer offers her a choice: spend her last days in peace with her family, or save another world called Aletheia from a great evil. She chooses to stay. But then she learns Shawn Lawrence—the closest thing she has to a friend—has gone in her place. His life now hangs in the balance. Now it is up to Evangeline to save Shawn and race to fix her mistake as a shadow falls over Aletheia and the new friends she finds there. Even as her disease consumes her body, a new enemy and more imminent perils pursue her. And she must endure all and save Aletheia while keeping her darkest secret: that all of it is her fault. Hers is a story of Salvation.

Lisa Mayer’s writing style and fantastic character development drew me in immediately. Filled with betrayal, repentance, and forgiveness, this fantasy story has well-developed and interesting characters, beautiful setting details, and fantastic chapter endings that force you to turn the page.

This story is action-packed with battles, conflict, and mystery. The Christian allegory and symbolism appeals to me, the same way as in the Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia. I liked reading actual Scripture verses in the story. It is so well done!

“Filled with emotional, moving scenes, this story brings out the beauty of true sacrificial love, sacrificing one’s self for others. And it gives a vivid reminder that God is ever by your side, despite the trials you are going through, and He loves you intensely, even when you fall.” ~Theresa Linden


The second book in this series, Jairo’s Battle,  tells the story of a reformed traitor king Jairo'sBattleFrontCoverwho wishes to prove to everyone, especially himself, that he is no longer a murderer. But that will be hard to do when his past of serving Kotu, the greatest threat to ever overshadow Aletheia, haunts him at every turn. Before he can even try to gain his bearings, a mysterious dark magic user called Stassia banishes him and his friends to the Other-World. Now, Jairo has little time to discern not only how Evie and Shawn’s families fit into all this, but also Stassia’s impossible connection to Shawn. Most troubling of all is Stassia’s certainty that she will corrupt him, and he will ultimately lose the battle within himself. His is a story of Redemption.

“Why does God allow suffering? Why has He given us free will? And how can He possibly forgive a person who has fallen so far? We’ve all grappled with those questions, but nothing compares to watching those ideas materialize through the pages of a gripping story. Great character development, surprising twists, and high tension make this book a page-turner. The powerful messages will resonate with everyone who’s questioned the struggles and sufferings of life and keep reader’s thinking long after the story ends.” ~Theresa Linden


Helper'sBladeFrontCoverThe third book, The Helper’s Blade tells the story of Shawn Lawrence, who once thought he was nothing more than a regular guy. But that all changed when he learned the truth about his past, and that the invisible rapier around his waist isn’t the only secret his father kept from him. But simply saving his father’s legacy is not enough for him—he wants to save his life. It seems impossible, until he discovers that dark magic will allow him to travel back in time. With the help of Kata, a dark magic user, he journeys into the past, determined to kill Stassia before it’s too late. Now, Shawn will have to race against time, despite the fact that doing so will require him descending into the darkness he is sworn to prevent. His is a story of Conversion.

I haven’t read this story but I will soon!


The author was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about her writing. Please enjoy this author interview of Lisa Mayer:

What inspired the Aletheian series?

The Aletheian Journeys was inspired by Narnia. I had always known about Narnia, but didn’t get into them until 2005 when I saw the movie. I now own the books and love C.S. Lewis’ writings and consider myself a Narnian. I thought it would be cool to write an allegory series based on Narnia, which is why I wrote The Aletheian Journeys. I wrote it in honor of Narnia but I also gave it a modern twist so it would appeal to today’s youth.

Why did you write an allegory?

A lot of readers connect with an allegorical story. We all long to know the love of Jesus, even if we don’t know it. Allegories can be meaningful but also exciting. While the books are Catholic-Christian allegories at heart, they also have age-appropriate romance, fantasy, adventure, mystery, suspense, friendship and faith, hope and love. It’s meant to be enjoyable even if you don’t like allegory. It’s meant to help the reader have a deeper relationship with God, but also find themselves in the characters.

How many books do you plan to write in this series?

I plan to write seven books all together. Three are currently available. Readers can contact me at thearrowbringer@gmail.com for a free PDF copy of the first book: The Arrow Bringer. The Arrow Bringer, along with Jairo’s Battle and The Helper’s Blade are on Amazon as well.

What authors inspired you to write fantasy?

 I’m inspired by C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, John White and his Archives of Anthropos series, as well as J.K. Rowling. I’m also a huge nerd and I love other world stories and movies, superheroes, sci-fi and fantasy.


15589960_706039216220005_8956142513724993667_n (002)Author Bio:

When not writing, I enjoy hanging out with my husband Rich and our dog Scooby. I spend time with family and friends, work on puzzles, bike-ride, read, watch my favorite shows, and jam out to loud music in the car. I’m a huge fan of superheroes and am proud to be a nerd.

Visit Lisa Mayer’s website and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.

FB: https://www.facebook.com/TheArrowBringer/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lisa_Mayer2015

Website: https://lisamayer0125.wixsite.com/thealetheianjourneys/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisa-mayer-216a05150/

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New Release: Catholic teen fiction and St. Francis!

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STANDING STRONG, the fourth book in the Catholic teen fiction West Brothers series, came out October 4th, the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi. I chose this for the release date because of a strong Franciscan theme. In this blog post, I’ll tell you a bit about seventeen-year-old Keefe West and the Franciscan Brothers.

Standing Strong follows the seventeen-year-old West twins, Jarret and Keefe. While Jarret struggles to remain faithful to God when faced with old temptations, Keefe tries to discern whether he has a calling to religious life.

Roland Front Cover with Award NoteKeefe West has come a long way since readers first met him in Roland West, Loner. He was once under the thumb of his controlling twin brother, Jarret. Sometimes he tried to talk his brother out of bad ideas, but more often he went along with Jarret’s schemes, even when he knew they were wrong.

While Keefe has always cared about his brothers—not wanting them unhappy or in trouble—he had a distorted view of true compassion.

The word “compassion” means to “suffer with” someone. However, true compassion cannot “suffer with” someone when sin is the cause of the suffering. True compassion considers the real needs of the other, including moral and spiritual. And sometimes the compassionate choice is to speak the hard truth.

In Life-Changing Love, on a trip to Italy, Keefe experienced a life-changing event. LCLFrontCover(Spoilers: he visited the Basilica of St. Mary in Bagno di Romagna, where he witnessed a Eucharistic miracle.) As he knelt before the Lord, the transforming fire of Christ’s love touched his heart. Upon returning home, he experienced the true measure of his transformation. He had to finally show true compassion to his twin by refusing to condone Jarret’s poor choices.

Keefe’s transformation created a rift between himself and Jarret, but it opened the door of Keefe’s heart to Christ. In Standing Strong, the latest book of the West Brothers series, Keefe feels drawn to a religious vocation, but he must first fight a few inner battles.

Battle Front Cover with awardIn Battle for His Soul, a group of Franciscan Brothers passed through Keefe’s town. To ensure accuracy, I researched Franciscan communities and happened upon a group of Brothers who I’ve been following ever since: the Franciscan Brothers of Peace in Minnesota. The Brothers in my story are loosely based on the Brothers of Peace.

These Brothers know all about true compassion. From their website: they are a “Pro-Life Religious Brotherhood dedicated to giving (their) lives for love of our Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Catholic Church.” Faithful to the teachings of the Church, these men are committed to serving and defending the most vulnerable members of society: the pre-born child, the severely disabled, survivors of torture, the poor and the homeless.

I was incredibly touched by the story of their founder, Brother Michael, and by the other Brothers’ loving care of him. At age thirty-two, he suffered cardiac and respiratory arrest and was left with brain injury and a severe disability. The Brothers remained by his side at the hospital and later at an extended care facility, where he spent seven months. Then they brought him home to provide round-the-clock care. They did not see caring for him as a burden.

“Brother Michael became the loving heart of our home and of our Brotherhood. In the mystery of God’s plan for Brother Michael and for us, the Lord Jesus Christ manifested Himself in Michael and through his brokenness, and brought about a spiritual formation that we could not possibly have experienced in any other way.” 

I encourage all to pray for vocations and to visit the Franciscan Brothers of Peace website to learn more about the Brotherhood. Read about their history and “The Roots of Brotherhood.”

Like the Franciscan Brothers of Peace, I too have been deeply moved by the story of St. saint-francis-of-assisi-300x300Francis, especially by the way he took the words of Christ literally.

“If you want to be perfect, go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow Me.”      ~Matthew 19:21

I wrote a blog post about this called “All In with St. Francis.” Thousands of men and women hear this call today and choose to follow Christ in the footsteps of St. Francis. And the Franciscan Brothers of Peace are beautiful testimony to that.


Standing Strong is available in paperback or ebook.


Follow the blog tour now!

  • CatholicMom.com posted the Press Release: “Catholic teen fiction can turn the tide of young adults leaving the faith.” You can also read an excerpt from Standing Strong!
  • T.M. Gauoette – writer, blogger, and author of Catholic fiction and non-fiction. Author T.M.G. has been kind enough to host my guest post “Why We Need Catholic Teen Fiction”
  • Leslea Wahl, author of award-winning Catholic teen fiction has read an advanced copy and posted her review, along with several other early reviews of the book.
  • Cynthia Toney, author of the Bird Face series, has posted my article about the inspiration for Standing Strong. It has to do with a nun and her teenage student who doesn’t like to read.
  • Carolyn Astfalk, author of coming-of-age romance Rightfully Ours, has posted the book trailer and her review of the book.
  • And finally, please check out my blog post about the Top Ten reasons you need a copy of Standing Strong!

 

#Open Book: September 2107

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Reading is an important pastime that has the potential to create lasting effects. We can learn life lessons without actually experiencing them ourselves. We can develop compassion for others whose lives are different from our own. Books can take us to new lands or even planets and still teach us life lessons. They can educate and inspire, make us think and help us to grow in so many ways. But they should always entertain!

This is my first time participating in CatholicMom.com and Carolyn Astfalk’s #OpenBook, where bloggers link posts about books they’ve recently read.

img2955552a9b133eda3I didn’t read the first two books in this series, Bleeder and Viper, but I thoroughly enjoyed Specter. I read this book in preparation for October’s Sabbath Rest Book Talk, where the hosts discussed books that deal with the afterlife.

This story opens fast, with gripping scenes of conflict and intrigue that set up the mystery characters will face in the rest of the story. Then we meet Selena De La Cruz, a tough young woman who drives a souped-up 69 Dodge Charger and who knows how to fight. While scenes alternated between point of views, I enjoyed following this character the most, especially when she was with the rest of her family. Their strong Mexican culture influences the way they face everything, from her engagement to a gringo, to the strange dreams and visions of a deceased family member.


TOSOF front cover FINAL (002) I recently blogged about The Other Side of Freedom, but I wanted to mention it again because it will be coming out October 9th! I read an advanced copy of the book and posted my review on Goodreads.

Written for ages 10 to 17, this story is set in the 1920s and follows Salvatore and his Italian immigrant father as they get tangled up in a crime which results in a murder. The author’s descriptive writing style let readers step back in time. In addition to the strong messages of courage and self-sacrifice, themes include the ugliness of segregation and the courage of the immigrant.


22749769Mummy Cat is another book that was discussed in October on Sabbath Rest Book Talks. My library had an eBook version that I could read right away.

I loved the beautiful artwork throughout this book. It looks like water color and pen & ink. And every picture has so much to look at. I would’ve enjoyed the book for that reason alone! But the story was good too. As soon as mummy cat woke up, he immediately pulled at my heartstrings, checking to see if his “lovely friend” came back too. I know the Egyptians didn’t have Divine Revelation to help them understand the afterlife, but they did recognize a universal truth: we were made for more than just this world. Death is not the end.


I absolutely love Fatima: The Apparition that Changed the World by Jean M. Heimann. I wish everyone could read it, especially since this is thefatima cover year of the 100th Anniversary of Fatima. It begins with a timeline that sets the visions in context with other historical events. It contains over 50 beautiful illustrations, biographies of the visionaries and of the recent popes, and details about relevant devotions and heavenly promises. And, of course, it explains the messages of Fatima and shows its relevance today. I confess that I felt all tingly reading some of the messages and the popes’ interpretations of messages. And I am determined to pray even harder, not only for my loved ones but for the conversion of sinners.


PlayingbyHeart cover (002)Playing by Heart is Carmela Martino’s newest release. This is a historical fiction inspired by the lives of two talented sisters who lived in the eighteenth century. One sister loves learning (things like philosophy, math, and languages) but she longs to take the veil and serve the poor. The other sister other loves music (playing and composing it). This is an absorbing story of perseverance, the pursuit of excellence, and of sacrificial love. The engaging prose brings the story to life. And I loved to see how the family members practiced their faith.


“Angelhood” is a bit of “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “13 Reasons Why” with some Dean Angelhood2 1400x2100-1 (003)Koontz style supernatural elements! Written for young adults, this story deals with the difficult subjects of teen depression, loneness and suicide in a way that offers hope. This book could potentially save lives by providing a new perspective to someone who is suffering with similar struggles.This story sheds light on our fallen human nature and offers a new perspective and hope.

My full review is on Amazon. And this book was also featured on Sabbath Rest Book Talks!


Okay, that’s all I’ve got for this month! If you want to link up to Open Book with the books you read, you are more than welcome to! Click here for details.

Top Ten Reasons: Standing Strong

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Okay, so I’m excited about the next book in the West Brothers series. And I want you to be excited about it too! So I brainstormed a list of reason why you might be interested in this book. Here they are:

Top Ten Reasons Why You Need a Copy of New Release, Standing Strong

Reason #10: It’s fun to jump into someone else’s life for a while, especially when it’s the West castle-1290637_1920brothers, who live in a castle-like house, own horses, have a genuine suit of armor in the house…

Reason #9: The West twins are not too good to be true. They’ve got flaws like we all do. Jarret finds temptation around every corner and Keefe is afraid to take the next step.

Reason #8: The West twins are not too bad to be true either… not anymore. Yes, Jarret, I’m referring to you.

Reason #7: You get to find out Jarret’s reaction to Peter’s prank (remember the limburger cheese?)limburger-cheese-3516

Reason #6: It will remind you that you’re not the only one who faces temptation.mary-33541

Reason #5: It will also remind you that the Blessed Mother has got your back.

Reason #4: It shows the power of several unique aspects of your faith, like the sacraments and sacramentals.

Reason #3: It’ll get you thinking about things that really matter, like how God has a plan for you.

Reason #2: You can share the book with family, friends, a youth group, your teens, your friends’ teens, your teens’ friends . . .

And last but not least, the #1 reason you need a copy of Standing Strong: Saint Francis makes a guest appearance!saint-francis-of-assisi-300x300

The Blog Tour has begun! Check out the following sites for two chances to win a free copy of the book, to read my guest post, and to check out early reviews! There will be a few more stops with different reviews, articles, and contests, too. I’ll keep you posted!

  • CatholicMom.com posted the Press Release: “Catholic teen fiction can turn the tide of young adults leaving the faith.” You can also read an excerpt from STANDING STRONG and enter a GIVEAWAY!
  • T.M. Gauoette – writer, blogger, and author of Catholic fiction and non-fiction. Author T.M.G. has been kind enough to announce a GIVEAWAY of STANDING STRONG and to host my guest post “Why We Need Catholic Teen Fiction”
  • Leslea Wahl, author of award-winning Catholic teen fiction has read an advanced copy and posted her review, along with several other early reviews of the book.

Pre-order is available now for the  paperback and soon for the eBook. October 4th is the official release date.

If you know of anyone who might enjoy Standing Strong, please send the link to this post! Thank you for your support!

Theresa Linden

 

New Release by Cynthia T. Toney

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1920s Historical Novel coming soon!

Write Integrity Press continues author Cynthia T. Toney’s commitment to providing meaningful fiction for young people with publication of The Other Side of Freedom, a coming-of-age historical novel set in 1920s America.

In a southern farming community in 1925, thirteen-year-old Salvatore and his Italian immigrant father become involved against their will in a crime that results in the murder of an innocent man and family friend. Will Sal keep the secrets about that night as his father asks, or risk everything he and his family cherish in their new homeland, including their lives? 

Amidst bigotry, bootlegging, police corruption, and gangland threats, Sal must discover whom he can trust in order to protect himself and his family and win back his father’s freedom. Sal’s family, their African-American farmhand, and the girl who is Sal’s best friend find their lives forever changed as dreams are shattered and attitudes challenged in a small community called Freedom.

Inspiration for Ms. Toney’s novel came from her own ancestry.

“Possibly orphaned but definitely impoverished, one of my great-grandfathers journeyed from Sicily to America as a young boy with a family not his own, and he grew up with their children. He established the strawberry farm that inspired the setting for this novel.”

Written for ages 10 to 17, but with appeal for adult readers, The Other Side of Freedom lends itself to discussions on immigration, segregation, Prohibition, and numerous other topics. The book includes thought-provoking questions for classrooms and book clubs.

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I was able to read an advanced copy of this book, which comes out this October. The eBook is available for pre-order now!

My Review:

As a fan of historical fiction, I thoroughly enjoyed The Other Side of Freedom by Cynthia Toney. This story, set in the 1920s, has so many historical and time-period details, from the 1924 Ford Model T Tudor to the mention of Al Capone and the first black man elected to the US Senate. The tension begins in the first scene when Sal finds well-dressed strangers at the door. And the tension mounts from there with an attempted bank robbery, a death, sneaking and spying, and a lot of tough choices and obstacles for thirteen-year-old Sal. Toney’s attention to descriptive and sensory details makes this story even stronger.

This coming-of-age story about Sal, who belongs to a tight-knit Italian family, helps readers to understand the difficulties of farm life during this time period, the ugliness of segregation, and the courage of the immigrant. It also brings out a strong message of courage and self-sacrifice. I highly recommend this book.

Cynthia T. Toney is also the author of the Bird Face series for teens, which began with 8 Notes to a Nobody. She lives in the Houston area and can be reached through her website www.CynthiaTToney.com.

She is a member of the Catholic Writers Guild. Her books are available on Amazon, your favorite bookseller, and they are listed on Catholic Teen Books website. Her other books include the Bird Face series:

Care to share? Tweet about this book!

Thanks for reading my blog post!

Book Trailers!

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I love book trailers! As a reader, I enjoy watching them. They can give me a feel for the genre, tone, and theme of a book. Really good book trailers can hook me, just like the first page or back cover blurb of a well-written story.

As an author, I love making them. Authors are always thinking of creative ways to find their readers. We create promotional images to post all over social media. We write blogs–like this one–and have contests or give talks. And some of us make book trailers too!

When I make a book trailer, I begin by pulling out important elements and symbols from my story. Then I search for images and music and brainstorm phrases that can best convey mood and theme. To put it all together, sometimes I use Animoto because they have premade styles. You simply add your pictures and text. But I would also like to have more control over my video. I haven’t found the perfect video maker yet.

If you make book trailers, please share in the comments what program you use. And tell me why you like it.

Several books at Catholic Teen Books have book trailers, including mine. You can check them all out by clicking on the links below. Enjoy!


Rightfully Ours by Carolyn Astfalk

8 Notes to a Nobody by Cynthia Toney

Treachery and Truth by Katy Huth Jones

I am Margaret by Corina Turner


Books by Amy Cattapan


Books by Leslea Wahl


Books by Theresa Linden

I hope to soon have a book trailer for my next book, Standing Strong. If you want to be one of the first to see it, make sure you are signed up for my author newsletter!

STANDING STRONG

 

 

Back to School Giveaway at Shower of Roses!

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Have you ever visited Shower of Roses blogspot?

This site is packed with tons of fun for Catholic families!

  • Arts & Crafts
  • Book Lists
  • Feasts & Seasons
  • Home School
  • Lap Books
  • Little Flowers Girls’ Club
  • Party Time
  • And More!

To celebrate the upcoming school year, Shower of Roses is hosting a giveaway each Friday for the rest of August, featuring educational products and books.

This week’s Back to School Giveaway is sponsored by Catholic Teen Books. Two winners will win six books each! Stop by and enter to win!

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