“The Other Side of Freedom.” is a 2018 Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval recipient! In 1925, the thirteen-year-old son of immigrant farmers witnesses a crime and must choose whether to remain silent as his father asks or defy evil to save his family.
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.
The closer Sal got to Freedom, the more the butterflies in his stomach fluttered. For the first time in his life, he had to sneak into town. He didn’t belong anymore, wasn’t welcome, wasn’t even safe. None of his family was. All because of a crime they didn’t commit.
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 writes for tweens and teens because she wants them to know how wonderful, powerful, and valuable God made them. Her novels include The Other Side of Freedom, which received a 2018 Catholic Press Association CPA Book Award, and the Bird Face series, which begins with 8 Notes to a Nobody. Her books include thought-provoking questions for classrooms and book clubs. She has a passion for rescuing dogs from animal shelters and enjoys studying the complex history of the friendly southern U.S., where she resides with her husband and several canines
In one week, BELT OF TRUTH, the first in my Armor of God fantasy-adventure children’s chapter book series comes out! To celebrate, I am hosting a virtual scavenger hunt on the release day (April 23, the Feast of St. George). On this scavenger hunt, players will get to know 7 authors and their Catholic children’s books and more.
Today, I will introduce those authors.
I’ve loved Susan Peek’s books long before I came to know her through the Catholic Writers Guild. My boys love her saint stories for teens. Her stories are unlike any other saint stories. They are fast-paced, engaging, and powerful. Her characters come alive and are easy to identify with. And every story reveals the transformational grace of God in an amazing way. These stories stay with readers long after they’ve finished the books and they inspire holiness.
And isn’t that what we want? We want our children to grow in their relationship with Jesus and to strive to please Him with lives of holiness. The example we give our children is vital. The entertainment we provide our children is important too. Susan Peek’s books for children and her books for teens are sure to entertain while at the same time inspiring readers to come to know, love and serve Our Lord in this world!
Martina Parnelli is multi-talented. She is a poet, author, and illustrator who writes for adults, teens, and children. Her artwork is beautiful and adds a wonderful dimension to her stories. I especially love the way she draws animals: they are so detailed and cute! Please check out her Little Runty series to see what I mean! And it’s interesting to note that the Little Runty series is inspired by The Mystical City of God by Blessed Maria D’Agreda.
As Catholics, we have a great treasure that not only consists in the sacraments (the amazing channels of God’s grace) but it also consists of sacramentals, saints, apparitions, and miracles. These awe-inspiring “extras” were the things that spoke to me as a young person. They not only brought the faith alive for me, they helped me become more aware of the spiritual realities. Let Martina Parnelli’s wonderful stories enrich your faith and the faith of your children.
Karen Kelly Boyce is an author of adult Catholic fiction (including Down Right Good, which won the 2012 Eric Hoffer Award), but I came to learn of her because of her delightful series of children’s books. Her Sisters of the Last Straw is an entertaining series that combines faith, mystery, trials, and humor. The message of perseverance really comes through in these stories because each of the sisters has a bad habit that they struggle to overcome. Your children will be laughing out loud with the books in this series, proving that faith can be fun!
Humor is a fun gift of God and another powerful instrument for the faith. It is tied to joy! G. K. Chesterton said of St. Francis of Assisi, “The sense of humor salts all his escapades.” So I pray, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” Romans 15:13.
In addition to being an author, Virginia Lieto is a speaker and evangelists. She has a Master of Arts Degree in Pastoral Theology from St. Joseph’s College of Main, and she evangelizes through the Catholic arts. Her book, Finding Patience, is something every child—and even us adults—can relate to.
Waiting is never easy. And sometimes the things we are waiting for feel so important that it shakes our peace. The virtue of patience is pivotal in a Christian’s life. When we have patience, we have trust in God’s holy will for our lives. Virginia Lieto’s book will inspire children to prayer and trust, and to wait on the Lord who can do all things and who knows what is best.
I am glad to discover Aleesa McCarthy, of My Little Patron, and another Catholic author and illustrator! I wish that this scavenger hunt had taken place earlier. She has the perfect Easter gifts for your children. As you are buying candy for their Easter baskets, don’t you wish you had something else that would make them just as happy– but not contain sugar? Well, Aleesa McCarthy has what you are looking for: an Easter coloring book! But she also has a Lenten activity book that you can get now for next year.
Her products offer fun ways to deepen your family’s faith, celebrate the saints and the seasons of the Church year, and supplement your preschoolers curriculum: a flash card game book, a saint book that journeys through the alphabet with the saints, saints coloring books (one for boys and one for girls), printables, stickers, and so much more!
I have actually met this talented and amazing author in person! Jean Schoonover-Egolf and I both attended the Columbus Catholic Women’s Conference, making our books available to attendees. At one point, a sister in a purple habit approached Jean Egolf’s table and the two of them stood talking for a moment. Well, I was impressed. This woman loves Jeanie Egolf’s books so much, I thought, that she dressed up like the main character in her Molly McBride and the Purple Habit series!
Well, I was wrong. She was a real Sister! There really is an order of Sisters who wear purple habits! They are called the Children of Mary and they are a new community in the service of the Church “to satiate the thirst of Jesus to be loved in the Most Blessed Sacrament.”
Through entertaining and beautifully illustrated stories, the Molly McBride and the Purple Habit series promotes charity, virtue and even plants the seeds for vocations in little hearts.
Amy Cattapan is not only the author of the fun, faith-filled and engaging children’s book 7 Riddles to Nowhere and one of the authors at www.CatholicTeenBooks.com, she is also the host of BOOK.eD, the new Catholic book review radio program on Shalom World TV!
Her book 7 Riddles to Nowhere won a Catholic Press Association award and is sweeping its way through schools. The main character in this story loves his little Catholic school but the school might have to close—unless he becomes the heir to a large fortune. In order to become the heir, he needs to race to solve the riddles first! Through this story, readers will visit churches and gain insight into several mysteries and symbols of our Catholic faith. This story will also inspire young readers to trust that they can make a difference in the world.
I want readers and bookstore owners to be assured of the quality and content of all my books, so I submit them to the Catholic Writers Guild for review. I am excited to announce that the final book in the Chasing Liberty trilogy has received the Seal of Approval!
Final book in the Chasing Liberty dystopian trilogy
Liberty has gained a deeper understanding of true freedom, but having it for herself is not enough.
Prompted by the inner voice that has guided her for years, Liberty is compelled to bring the freedom she possesses to others in Aldonia. While unsure of how to carry out this mission, she is willing to risk all to accomplish it. Threats from outside the Boundary Fence and threats closer to home cause chaos and confusion that have everyone unsure of what direction to take. Troubled by Liberty’s risky choices, Dedrick wishes he could convince her to leave for the colonies. But Liberty has chosen Aldonia over him. When faith, family, and freedom have been squashed, what can one person or even a group do to reclaim the culture?
Fight for Liberty and the entire Chasing Liberty trilogy has great themes that are so relevant to today. I would love to see this trilogy to reach more people.
SAFETY IS NOT THE ABSENCE OF DANGER, BUT THE PRESENCE OF GOD.
Fr Kyle Verrall is living a quiet life as a parish priest in Africa when he’s snatched from his church one night by armed assailants. He’s in big trouble—his sister’s worst enemy is hell-bent on taking revenge on the famous Margaret Verrall by killing her brother, just as slowly and horribly as he can.
What could possibly save him? The humble young priest is defenceless—or so Reginald Hill believes. But Kyle has a powerful weapon Hill knows nothing about. And he’s not afraid to use it.
Is Reginald Hill really the hunter? Or is he the hunted?
When the struggles of the world and his devotion collide, he must choose between his own desires and the will of God.
The world continues to press in on Gabriel Livingstone’s quiet life when fifteen-year-old Aaron Buckley enters Yeung’s Martial Arts Studio looking to learn kung-fu. Gabriel knows there’s a desperate secret behind the boy’s bruises, and secretly vows to be his guard, with the help of his friend Christian. But when Tanner Rose pressures him for strength and direction, and Faith’s continued rebellion send him and his friends to the hospital, jeopardizing Tanner’s career, Gabriel is forced to reexamine his decisions. Is he called to the priesthood or is life behind the monastery walls merely an escape?
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:10-11 RSVCE)
This month, the Catholic Writers’ Guild is touring Dan Gallagher’s book, “The Secrets of Successful Financial Planning: Inside Tips from an Expert (SSFP).” It is a CWG Seal of Approval recipient! From a retired (i.e., no-bias or client acquisition agenda) nationally recognized, thirty-year expert, this comprehensive, yet easy to understand, personal financial planning book is for users, old and young, seeking to DIY or better understand/choose advisors.
Catholic: The only financial planning book with a Catholic perspective, yet appropriate for users of all and no faith. As noted in Catholic News-Herald, “SSFP provides 30 true tales of client tragedy and triumph” rather than boring case studies. Experience the “moral and relationships dimensions of money decisions.”SSFP Discloses secrets kept from the public and poorly knowns even among professionals.
Secular: 30 true tales of client tragedy and triumph, rather than boring case studies. Excellent reviews, including “…everyday language for practical use. SSFP can help almost anyone bring efficiency to their financial planning…. SSFP is strongly recommended.” – Arthur B. Laffer, Ph.D., Father of Supply-side Economics, Economic Advisor to two presidents. SSFP discloses secrets kept from the public and poorly knowns even among professionals.
Page 28, regarding asset allocation and income draw:
The old technique still used, a reasonable rate of withdrawal below an average rate of return is assumed [to result in never exhausting income-producing assets]. But those were always a known numbers. Anything wrong with that picture? Right! The future is not known at all. Not only were rates of return not correctly known, no market losses were assumed (merely some conservatively assumed rate of return). Worse, no early losses were assumed, and early losses are the worst because they reduce what is actually available to grow. The picture was always better than reality. Inevitable result: exhausted assets for retirees, failure to adequately save for those working. …math dangerously flawed.
Where can you get a copy?
This book is available through any bookseller, online or physical, but signed and personalized copies are available at DanDirect.AuthorDan.com
Want to know more about the author?
Dan retired from financial services in December 2017 to work professionally as a writer, freelancer, speaker and educator. During his practice, Dan’s professional designations included: Chartered Financial Consultant & Chartered Life Underwriter (1989), Certified Financial Planner® (1992) and Certified Business Intermediary (2002). Dan’s thirty-year financial practice encompassed group andindividual benefits, money management, financial plans, business valuation & brokerage, commercial realty and – often very personal – counseling. He now writes fiction and nonfiction and also offers speaking/training services. Dan was recently (June 2018) accepted and registered as an “expert witness” with The Expert Institute, New York.
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Want to learn ACTUAL secrets & poorly knowns of financial planning from a Catholic POV? Want it by a zero-bias expert? Want true tales of client “tragedy & triumph”? Feel the responsibility to be efficient with your gifts? AuthorDan.com
After his duplicitous girlfriend left, Dan Malone spent six months in a tailspin of despair and destruction: emotional, physical, and spiritual. Just when his life seems to be back on track, he meets Emily Kowalski, younger sister of his new best friend. Emily’s the kind of girl he’d always dreamed of—sweet, smart, and sincere. But he’s made a mess of his life and ruined his chances for earning the love and trust of a woman like her. Could Dan be the man Emily’s been waiting for? How could he be when every time they get close he pulls away? And will he ever be free from his shady past and the ex-girlfriend who refuses to stay there?
The man had lifted a Douglas fir from where it leaned against the rope Dan strung across the lot. He stamped its trunk on the frozen, dry ground a couple times and then twirled it around so the woman could see every side. It was a woman, wasn’t it? No telltale pink gloves or hand-knit, sparkly scarf. No expensive boots designed for gawking rather than walking. Just a puffy, navy jacket and white tennis shoes. It could be a skinny dude.
The person spent less than three seconds observing it before planting hands on hips and signaling disapproval with a shake of the head. Yeah, definitely a woman.
Dan rolled his eyes. Another one. If nothing else, this job had given him an unforgettable real-life lesson in male-female dynamics—a lesson that would’ve been helpful a couple of years ago. The man would ferret out the best-looking tree, well-shaped and full, and the woman would turn up her nose, forcing them to cycle through four to seven more trees before one met her approval—sometimes the same tree the man had first shown her.
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 inspirational romances Stay With Me and Ornamental Graces 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.
I am excited to be part of the Virtual Book Tour for Leslea Wahl’s newest Christian young adult mystery, Where You Lead! Please check out my post so you can not only learn about the book but find out about a treasure hunt and discover author Leslea Wahl’s favorite Washington DC sites. Note: these sites are also mentioned in this story!
Teen Eve Donahue’s lonely existence changes in an instant when visions of a mysterious stranger haunt her. Certain God is calling her for a mission, she bravely says yes and begins her quest to meet this young man. Thousands of miles away, Nick Hammond has been dealing with his own unusual experience, an unwavering certainty to convince his father to run for political office. When these two unlikely teens finally meet, their belief that God has called them to work together sets them on a journey of faith to untangle a web of deception involving international trade agreements, lost confederate gold, and a blossoming romance. As they follow century old clues, they realize God can call us all in big and small ways. We just need to listen.
Available in Kindle and paperback. Buy the book here.
Wahl is one of my favorite authors of young adult fiction. But she is also the favorite of a lot of readers! I want to congratulate her on the Gold Medal The Perfect Blindside recently won from Readers Choice! This book was also the 1st-place winner of the 2016 Catholic Press Association book awards, in the teen fiction category. Another one of her books, An Unexpected Role, was a Gold Medalist in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards. Her books have also received the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval. You can check out other awards her books have won here. Or on her website. And if you ask me, Where You Lead is another winner!
This is an incredibly fun mystery with a great combination of action and adventure and tension that builds throughout the story. The main characters, Nick and Eve, are well-developed and likeable. She’s romantic, talkative, and has a style all her own: Eve doesn’t try to be like everyone else; she’s comfortable just being herself. Nick is level-headed, resourceful, and charming. Plus, he comes from a big and very interesting family.
I enjoyed the attraction and interactions between these characters and following along as they tried to solve this unique mystery. As a history lover, I enjoyed the tidbits about the Civil War and the “virtual tour” of Washington D.C., visiting museums, monuments, cemeteries, and other historical places with the characters.
Several wonderful messages are weaved through this story, too, like trusting in God even when we can’t understand His plan and realizing that the smaller missions from God are just as important as the bigger missions. With her sharp writing style, ability to develop a riveting mystery, and the way she weaves faith into her stories, Leslea Wahl has become one of my favorite authors.
I highly recommend this story for teens and adults. In addition to the bits of history and positive role models, this book is just plain fun!
Leslea Wahl’s 10 Favorite DC Sites
“As a reader, I’ve always enjoyed books where the setting of a story comes alive through the eyes of the characters. I certainly hope I that I was able to accomplish that feat in my new novel, Where You Lead. This adventurous mystery is set in a city that is near and dear to my heart. A place that I lived for four years, right after I was married – Washington DC. I loved every moment of our time there and had so much fun including some of my favorite spots in this story. Here are 10 of my favorite DC sites that are part of this book’s adventure.” ~Leslea Wahl
1. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
2 – Embassy Row
3 – Georgetown
4 – The Smithsonian
5 – The National Cathedral
6 – The Tidal Basin and cherry blossoms
7 – The Reflecting Pool between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument
Leslea Wahl is a Colorado native who loves to travel with her family. She considers herself blessed to have found a way to intertwine her two passions by creating adventurous stories with positive Christian messages for today’s youth. She hopes to inspire others to find their gifts as well. Her first book, The Perfect Blindside, was awarded a 2016 Illumination Christian Book Award silver medal and was a first place winner at the 2016 Catholic Press Association Book Awards.
Available in Kindle and paperback. Buy Where You Lead here.
Online Writers Conference to Coach Catholic Writers to Succeed!
If you are a Catholic writer, don’t miss this opportunity!
If you can never seem to get to the annual Catholic Writers live conference, don’t miss this opportunity!!
If you prefer the convenience of following a conference from the comfort of home, don’t miss this opportunity!!!
September 14-16, 2018, the Catholic Writers Guild will host, via webinar, an online writers conference focused on helping Catholic writers succeed in their craft.
The Catholic Writers Conference Online provides Catholic writers with a prime opportunity to meet and share their faith with editors, publishers, and fellow writers from across the globe.
Speakers will discuss writing as a calling, literature as evangelization, and even how genre fiction like horror and science fiction can still reflect Catholic values.
Presenters include Joseph Pearce (Further Up & Further In), Michelle Buckman (Turning in Circles), Karen Ullo (Jennifer the Damned) and many others.
Recordings and reference materials from all presentations will be available free to all conference attendees.
The webinar conference will also give authors an opportunity to meet with publishing professionals and pitch their writing projects. In the past, publishers from large Catholic presses, including Pauline, Ave Maria, and Our Sunday Visitor, and secular presses like Anaiah Press and Liberty Island, have participated.
Of those who pitched at the 2017 online conference, over 10 percent have been offered publishing contracts and several are published, including one finalist for the Catholic Arts and Letters Award, Michelle Buckman.
The Catholic Writers Guild sponsors the online conference, as well as a live conference in July, and a semi-annual writers’ retreat in October. As a religious non-profit organization affiliated with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, the CWG uses these conferences to further its mission of promoting Catholic literature.
CWG President, Joseph Wetterling, says, “The Guild exemplifies the Catholic ‘both/and’ with writers from every part of the world, in every genre, and from every walk of life. We’re diverse in personality and style but united in our loyalty and love of the Catholic faith. The Catholic Writers Conference Live is a unique opportunity to come together in fellowship and sharpen each other toward our united mission: a rebirth of Catholic arts and letters.”