Virtual Book Tour: Moonchild Rising

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Moonchild Rising (Shadows of the Sun #1) by Mina Ambrose

Story Summary

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.

Learn more: https://www.fullquiverpublishing.com/our-publications/shadows-of-the-sun-series-by-mina-ambrose/

Buy Link Kindle:    https://www.amazon.com/Moonchild-Rising-Shadows-Sun-Book-ebook/dp/B087JY8X4C/

Buy Link Print:   https://www.amazon.com/dp/1987970152/

Goodreads link:   https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53398004-moonchild-rising

Excerpt

California. March 1998

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.


Bio:

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.

Her book, Moonchild Rising, Shadows of the Sun, Book One, is available as an ebook and Print Book from Amazon.com and Full Quiver Publishing.

Virtual Book Tour Stops/Links

June 8   Patrice MacArthur

June 9  Steven McEvoy  Book Reviews and More

June 10  Ellen Gable  Plot Line and Sinker

June 11   Carolyn Astfalk My Scribbler’s Heart Blog

June 12  Karina Fabian

June 13   Theresa Linden

June 15  Sarah Reinhard, Snoring Scholar


Advanced Reviews:

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

CATHOLIC FICTION SALE

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****Updated June 12, 2020****

I am sad to learn that the IHM Homeschooling Conferences have been cancelled.

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 theresalinden@oh.rr.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 theresalinden@oh.rr.com 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***

West Brothers series: the final book is coming soon! Watch the BOOK TRAILER HERE!

***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 theresalinden@oh.rr.com or ask in the comments.


Dystopian titles

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 theresalinden@oh.rr.com 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 theresalinden@oh.rr.com or ask in the comments.


Children’s Books

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.

Check out Franciscan Friars reading this book to their cat!

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 theresalinden@oh.rr.com 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 theresalinden@oh.rr.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.

Happy homeschooling!

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

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

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

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

Fiction with Pro-Life Themes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All titles at a special

conference price of

$10 a book!

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

Fiction that entertains, inspires and supports your faith.

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

Get copies for:

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

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

Virtual Book Tour: Come Back to Me

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Inspirational Christian fiction

Story Summary

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

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

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


Review:

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

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

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

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

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

Book trailer:

Buy link Kindle:

Buy link print:

Goodreads:

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

Author bio:

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

Author links:

Website: www.carolynastfalk.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CMAstfalk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tour stops:

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

Tues., Feb. 25 – Barb Szyszkiewicz, FranciscanMom

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

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

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

New Contemporary Christian Novel: All in Good Time

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I highly recommend this story as an enjoyable, clean romance novel with three-dimensional characters and important themes.

Theresa Linden
Just came out October 22, on the Feast of Pope St. John Paul II

STORY SUMMARY

All in Good Time – 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.


MY REVIEW

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.


promo images by JustRead

Visit Carolyn Astfalk’s BLOG post to read why she writes romance that tackles tough sexual morality issues that people don’t want to talk about.

In the days since All in Good Time‘s release, a few people have commented about my “bravery” in tackling the pornography issue in this novel.

~ Carolyn Astfalk, Relevant Fiction for Body and Soul

BUY NOW

As an ebook:
Kindle
Nook, Kobo, Apple Books, and more

In paperback:
Amazon

Cover Reveal: All in Good Time

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All in Good Time – 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.


BOOK RELEASE DATE: October 22, 2019, feast of Pope St. John Paul II.


Let me begin by saying that I can’t stop looking at this gorgeous cover! The colors, fonts and image have me transfixed! It works well with the story too. I was able to read an Advanced Readers Copy of this inspirational Christian romance, and I’ll share my review in the days ahead.


Get to know inspirational romance writer Carolyn Astfalk HERE.


Carolyn Astalk is my favorite author of Christian romance because of the way her characters feel so real–they’ve got appeal and flaws that readers can relate to–but also because her stories open up true love in a unique way. I’ll share more about that in my review but for now, please check out her other books too:

Rightfully Ours – Sixteen-year-old Paul Porter’s relocation to Pennsylvania is a temporary move during his dad’s deployment. Or so he and his brother think, until devastating news lands on their doorstep. Paul’s new home with the Muellers provides solace, especially in the form of Rachel, his friend and confidante. Their abiding friendship deepens as they work side by side to uncover what could be lost treasure. Will they acquire the strength of character and virtue to take only what rightfully belongs to them or are they in way over their heads, with more than a few lost artifacts at stake?

Ornamental Graces – 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? An inspirational Christmas romance that spans every season.

Stay With Me – With her sister Abby’s encouragement, Rebecca has moved out of their overbearing father’s home. When a chance encounter with Chris ends with an invitation, Rebecca says yes. The authentic way Chris lives his life attracts Rebecca and garners her affection. Chris loves Rebecca and her innocence, but he’s confounded by the emotional scars she bears from her parents and an attempted assault. Her father’s disdain for Chris’s faith and career only make matters worse. With the counsel of their friend Father John, can Rebecca and Chris overcome every obstacle and bridge the deepening gulf between them and her dad? Or will a crucial lapse in judgment and its repercussion end their relationship?


Carolyn also has a short story in each of the Catholic Teen Books anthologies, including the new release Gifts: Visible & Invisible.

NEW RELEASE: The Power of Forgiveness

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The Power of Forgiveness
by Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur

Published by Our Sunday Visitor

ISBN-13 978-1-68192-466-3

Retail Price $4.95

Amazon link: https://amzn.to/2YQq17k

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

How many times have we uttered those words in The Lord’s Prayer? How many times do we stop to consider what we are saying? We are asking God to extend mercy and forgiveness to us in the same manner as we treat those who have hurt us in some way. Do we really mean that?

It is hard to ask for forgiveness from God. It is difficult to admit that we have done wrong, that we have failed in our relationships with God and with others. This is one reason why people don’t take more advantage of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is very humbling to have to say our failings out loud to another person. The bigger the failing, the more humbling it is.

In The Power of Forgiveness, you will come to understand more fully that God’s mercy is always there. Through true stories of the lives of saints and examples from the Bible along with a short prayer and reflection questions, this devotional helps us focus on the challenge and power of offering forgiveness.

The Power of Forgiveness is a useful reflection in preparing for the Sacrament of Reconciliation or for every day prayer.

Part of the Companion in Faith series.

About the Author

Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur is a lifelong Roman Catholic with a B.A. in Art and History and a Masters in Applied Theology. A homeschooling mother of three, she has been working as a Catholic writer and editor for the past fifteen years. She blogs at spiritualwomanthoughts.blogspot.com and is editor of TodaysCatholicHomeschooling.com

contact: pfmacarthur@comcast.net


Sample Reflection

They Know Not What They Do

And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.’ – Luke 23: 34

Jesus forgave not only those who personally ordered and carried out his torture and crucifixion, but all those who contributed by standing in the crowd shouting, “Crucify him.” When we repeat those words on Palm Sunday and Good Friday, we are forced to think about our role in crucifying Jesus.

When I sin, my thought process doesn’t usually go that far. I’m not consciously trying to hurt Jesus. Instead, I’m thinking about what seems good for me in that moment. The devil is skilled at making what is evil seem attractive. My human nature is weak. The guilt comes later, after I’ve given in to temptation.

The same holds true when people sin against us. Very rarely is someone intentionally trying to ruin our lives or inflict long-lasting emotional pain. Instead they give in to their human weakness. They are tired, frustrated, or angry about the pain in their own lives and take out their rage on us…The sins are real; the pain is real; but they know not what they do.

Prayer

Dear Jesus, help me to forgive as you forgive those who hurt you.

Reflection

Looking over your life, can you recall the times that you unintentionally deeply hurt someone else due to your human weakness?

New Historical Romance: Charlotte’s Honor

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I am honored to be part of the Virtual Book Tour for Ellen Gable’s new historical romance. In this blog post you will find the book description, early reviews, an excerpt from the story, and an author interview!

Charlotte’s Honor (Great War Great Love #2) by Ellen Gable

Charlotte's Honour Front Cover sm After receiving news that her brother – and only relative – has been killed in action during the Great War, 21-year-old Charlotte Zielinski enlists as a medical volunteer. She eventually begins working in the death ward of the field hospital near Soissons, France, holding dying men’s hands and singing them into eternity.

Dr. Paul Kilgallen is a Canadian surgeon working at the field hospital. During a siege by the enemy, everyone evacuates except for Paul and Charlotte, who volunteer to remain in the basement of the chateau to care for the critically ill soldiers.

During those three days, Charlotte sees a side of Paul that very few have seen and finds herself falling in love with him. Before Paul leaves for the front, he abruptly tells her that he cannot love her, and it would be best to “forget him.”

Just when the war is coming to a close, Charlotte is surprised by two events that are destined to change her life forever.

You can learn more about the book here.

Get a copy of the book here:  Amazon Kindle

Print:  Coming Soon

Book 1 of the Series: Julia’s Gifts: Available on Amazon


Advanced Reviews:

Charlotte Zielinski, to whom we were first introduced in Julia’s Gifts, is a strongly positive role model for our daughters. She endures trials throughout this story that most of us cannot imagine facing today, yet the genuine manner in which the characters react and respond rings true for all time. I would add Charlotte’s Honor to the must-read list for any historical fiction, mother-daughter generational, or virtue-based book club. Of course, Gable’s tales are perfectly delectable as a personal poolside treat as well!”   ~ Jean Egolf, author, the Molly McBride series

“Charlotte’s Honor includes a little bit of everything: WWI history, sweet romance, and a little mystery/suspense. This page-turning love story (it’s a fast read!) is built on a foundation of faith and above all, the dignity of human life. Charlotte devotes herself to the care of dying soldiers. It is through this calling that Charlotte meets and falls in love with Paul, a skilled surgeon who has closed his heart to the possibility of romance. Expect a little humor amidst the backdrop of wartime brutality and a couple of surprises along the way. Charlotte’s Honor is not only a pleasant romantic escape but edifying as well.” ~ Carolyn Astfalk, author, Ornamental Graces

“Set toward the end of the Great War, Charlotte’s Honor allows readers to glimpse ugliness and death, blossoming relationships, and the most challenging experiences a person could face, juxtaposing the brutality of war with the beauty of sacrificial love.” ~ Theresa Linden, award-winning author of Catholic Fiction


EXCERPT

May 1918

Vauxbuin Field Hospital

Near Soissons, France

The air was thick with the mineral stench of blood. Inside the canvas tent that served as Barrack Number 48, Charlotte searched for a place in the unconscious soldier’s body to insert the hypodermic.  The poor gentleman had burns and wounds everywhere, but she managed to find a one-inch diameter spot on his thigh in which to plunge the needle.  The man didn’t flinch, and Charlotte suspected that his injuries were too grave for him to survive.  She recited a silent prayer for this man’s soul, then moved onto the next soldier.

The large canvas tents that were part of the field hospital covered the lawn in front of the chateau. Most volunteers referred to it as a chateau because it looked the part with its high ceilings, plentiful rooms and marble floors. However, it wasn’t a castle. It was a 19th century country manor.

A tendril of dark brown hair slipped from her headscarf, and she tucked it back in. Charlotte Patricia Zielinski didn’t care much whether her unruly hair was tame, but she did care about keeping healthy. She wasn’t a large girl, nor was she small.  However, roughhousing with her brother Ian for so many years made her strong.

After preparing another soldier for the operating theater, she took a short break and sat on a bench near the tent.

She glanced up at the dark sky, enjoying the quiet. After the sunrise, she’d hear the distant booming that came with being ten miles from the front.

After her bout with influenza last month, she’d felt fatigued for weeks.  In the past few days, she had enough energy to move a mountain.

Sister Betty, the medical volunteers’ middle-aged supervisor, called to her from the barrack beside her, Number 49.  She was a big-boned woman who seemed taller because she always stood so straight.  Charlotte wasn’t sure whether it was because she was British or because she was a big woman, but she also had a booming personality and a loud voice.

Charlotte stood up to speak with Sister.

“How many more men have to be prepared for the O.R., Miss Zielinski?”

“Four, Sister.”

“Maybe you’d be of more use in this barrack.” She pointed toward Number 49.

“Certainly.”  She turned to alert her co-worker in 48, when Sister yelled, “Wait.”

Charlotte stopped. “Yes?”

“Perhaps you’d better stay where you are. If there are only four left to prepare, finish that duty, then report to this barrack.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

It took a bit of getting used to, but here in Europe, nurses were referred to as sisters.  And all sisters – and most medical volunteers – wore headscarves that looked like habits.

She approached a soldier on a cot, noticing the maple leaf on his collar. Canadians tended to be an agreeable bunch.  He pursed his lips as she stripped his clothes, wincing as bits of skin came off with his pants.  The poor fellow tensed, but Charlotte could only offer, “I’m so sorry.  I am doing my best not to hurt you.”

The dark-haired man attempted a smile. 

An ear-piercing explosion caused the world around Charlotte to vanish, and she reflexively collapsed on the cot, falling across the soldier lying in front of her. Ears ringing, she remained still for what seemed like an hour but was likely a few minutes. Blinking, she opened her eyes and stared at the metal side of the cot in front of her and felt the soldier moving underneath her.

As she lifted herself up, not one but three large drops of blood splattered the white sheet below her. Her head seared in a flash of pain. 

When the Canadian soldier took hold of her hand, he said something she couldn’t hear. 

His warbling soon became words. “Are you all right, Miss?”

Her mouth was open, but she couldn’t speak.  Nodding, she raised her hand to her headscarf.  When she pulled her hand to her face, it was covered in blood.  Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

“Are…you all right, sir?”  Charlotte asked the man.

“Yes, no worse than I was.  Thanks to you, Miss.  You shielded my body with yours.” He paused. “You have a bad shrapnel wound on your head.”

“Y…yes.”  Charlotte winced but forced a smile. She turned and picked up a bandage from the side of the overturned cart. She pressed it to her head.

By this time, the entire ward was awake and bustling with moaning soldiers. 

Standing up, her surroundings seemed to shift and sway, so she reached for the soldier’s hand. “I’m so sorry.”

“Think nothing of it.  I’m happy to reciprocate.”

Glancing just above the soldier’s head, she spotted five or six holes the size of watermelons blown through the side of the barrack’s canvas wall and hundreds dotting the rest of the walls. Following the holes from the side wall to the ceiling, she stared upwards at the roof of the tent, now shredded in many places.

A few soldiers near the wall had sustained minor injuries, but no one appeared to be mortally wounded.

Panicked and fearing the worst, Charlotte rushed outside, the bandage still to her head. As she turned toward the adjacent barrack, she stopped and gasped. The influenza ward was no longer there.  Body parts, blood, torn-apart furniture, and bits and pieces of the barrack were all that remained.  The realization that she had escaped death made her knees buckle.

She blessed herself and lowered her head. “Requiescants in pace.”  Her hearing had not yet fully returned, but she could hear someone call her name. 


Author Biography:  Ellen Gable is an award-winning author of nine books, editor, self-publishing book coach, speaker, publisher, NFP teacher, book reviewer and instructor in the Theology of the Body for Teens. Her books have been downloaded nearly 700,000 times on Kindle and some of her books have been translated into Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, and French. The mother of five adult sons, Ellen (originally from New Jersey) now lives with her husband of 36 years, James Hrkach, in Pakenham, Ontario, Canada.

Find Ellen at:

Blog: Plot Line and Sinker

Full Quiver Publishing 

Amazon Author Page

Facebook

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Goodreads

Pinterest

Linked In

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Author Interview: 

What was the inspiration for Charlotte’s Honor?

Since one of the themes of Charlotte’s Honor is preparing and being with soldiers who are close to death, the inspiration came from being with two close people in my life in the hours before their deaths. These experiences served as inspiration for Charlotte’s Honor.

Eleven years ago, when my mother was close to death, my sister called me in Canada and urged me to come right away (to New Jersey, my home state), that Mom didn’t have much time left.  I arrived before she passed, but by the time I got there, she was unconscious.  My sister and I prayed the Litany of the Saints (which she requested) as well as the Divine Mercy Chaplet. In the middle of the night, I got up to sit with her. I held her hand and prayed for her, talked to her and told her she was loved, and that it was okay to go.  When she did pass away, I was grateful and honored that I was present at the moment of her passing. And an interesting experience happened. My stepdad, siblings, and I were all sitting by my mom’s bedside and all of a sudden, I felt like my mom was on the ceiling staring down.  I lifted my head to look up, but at that point, my brother patted my arm and said, “Hey, El, I have this strange feeling that Mom is on the ceiling looking down at us.”  I believe that we were given a great grace at that moment.

Last year, my mother-in-law passed away. She had both dementia and cancer.  She was surrounded by those she loved and, although unconscious, we prayed the Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet and other prayers for her in the last few days of her life.  It was a good death, a holy death. It’s the kind of death I hope to have: others praying the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet for me as I’m close to death.

Why World War 1?

I’ve always been interested in history and I knew very little about this war.  I decided to focus the bulk of my research on the last year of the War (after the United States entered).  Because I am American, and my husband is Canadian, the female protagonists in this series are American and the male protagonists are Canadian. So for Charlotte’s Honor, Charlotte is American, and Paul is Canadian.

Why is the name of the series Great War Great Love?

I owe my gratitude to the son of a friend of mine, Ian, for coming up with the title. The reason for the title is that World War 1 was called the “Great War” by the Allies before the USA entered the war, and is still often called the “Great War,” by the British, Canadians and Australians. And Great Love because there are many examples of how couples met and fell in love during times of war.

Can you tell us about the first book in the series and next book of the series, Ella’s Promise?

Julia’s Gifts (Book #1 Great War Great Love) As a young girl, Julia began buying gifts for her future spouse, a man whose likeness and personality she has conjured up in her mind, a man she calls her “beloved.” Soon after the United States enters the Great War, Julia impulsively volunteers as a medical aid worker, with no experience or training. Disheartened by the realities of war, will Julia abandon the pursuit of her beloved? Will Julia’s naïve ‘gift scheme’ distract her from recognizing her true “Great Love?” From Philadelphia to war-torn France, follow Julia as she transitions from unworldly young woman to compassionate volunteer.  Julia’s Gifts is now available in Italian and French and will soon be available in Portuguese and Spanish.

Ella’s Promise (Book #3 Great War Great Love) The daughter of German immigrants, Ella is an American nurse who, because of the time period, was discouraged from continuing her studies to become a doctor.  During the Great War, she travels to Le Treport, France, to work at the American-run hospital. She meets her own “Great Love” in the last place she would expect to meet him.  Ella’s Promise will be released in mid-2019.

This is very different from some of your other books in that it is a very clean romance and can be read by young teens to elderly women to middle-aged men.  Was that a conscious choice?

Yes, it is very different and no, it wasn’t a conscious choice at first.  When I came up with the story and as I was gradually developing the characters and plotlines, it made the most sense to keep this a “sweet” and “clean” love story that anyone can enjoy.  It is, however, a war novel, so there are descriptions of war injuries.

Are you working on any other writing projects?

I’m in the process of writing Ella’s Promise, which is book 3 in the Great War Great Love series.

I’m outlining another novel, tentatively entitled Where Angels Pass, based on my father’s life and experience as a clerical abuse survivor. Since he never saw justice in his lifetime, I’d like to create a story where there is justice for him, even if fictional.

I’m also working on a non-fiction project that will offer guidance in coping with loss (I’m still in the outline stages of that project). 

Who are some of your favorite authors?

My favorite Catholic author is Dena Hunt (author of Treason and The Lion’s Heart), but I also enjoy reading Willa Cather’s books (Death Comes For the Archbishop, One of Ours).  Dena’s books are incredibly well-written and moving.  Cather’s books are well-written and rich in imagery and meaning.

And while this may seem biased, I enjoy reading books by all the Full Quiver Authors.  I also enjoy the books of the authors who are fellow members of the Catholic Writers Guild

One of my favorite secular authors is Nelson DeMille (author of the John Corey series).   I also enjoy reading Kathleen Morgan’s Christian historical novels.

 

Virtual Book Tour Stops/Links

October 22      Plot Line and Sinker

October 23       A.K. Frailey

October 24      Book Reviews and More,   Patrice MacArthur

October 25      Amanda Lauer

October 26     Franciscan Mom

October 29     Carolyn Astfalk

October 30     Catholic Mom

November 1    Plot Line and Sinker

November 2    Michael Seagriff

November 5   Virginia Lieto

November 6  Leslea Wahl

November 7   Theresa Linden

November 8   Sarah Reinhard

November 9   Erin McCole Cupp

November 11  Plot Line and Sinker  Remembrance Day/ Veterans Day post

November 12  Mary Lou Rosien

November 13  Therese Heckenkamp

November 14  E.M. Vidal

November 15 Leticia Velasquez

 

Sweet Romances for Sweetest Day

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Sweetest Day ~ Saturday, October 20th

Are you ready?

I just discovered that Sweetest Day is mostly celebrated in the Midwest. Well, that makes sense, because I also discovered that it started in Cleveland, Ohio!

In 1921, Herbert Birch Kingston, an employee at a candy company, wanted to make the less fortunate happy, so he passed out candy to the homeless and orphans around Cleveland.

A year later, it became an official holiday!

So Sweetest Day is not just for couples. You can do something sweet for anyone! And while candy is nice, I think books are better!

This Sweetest Day, I would like to recommend a few sweet inspirational romances that will deepen your understanding of and longing for true love.

I’ve also interviewed the author, Carolyn Astfalk, so you can see what makes her books unique.


41MmpqQbnbLWith her sister Abby’s encouragement, Rebecca has moved out of their overbearing father’s home. When a chance encounter with Chris ends with an invitation, Rebecca says yes. The authentic way Chris lives his life attracts Rebecca and garners her affection. Chris loves Rebecca and her innocence, but he’s confounded by the emotional scars she bears from her parents and an attempted assault. Her father’s disdain for Chris’s faith and career only make matters worse. With the counsel of their friend Father John, can Rebecca and Chris overcome every obstacle and bridge the deepening gulf between them and her dad? Or will a crucial lapse in judgment and its repercussion end their relationship?

Click here for reviews.  Click on the book covers to reach the Amazon links.


OG-Front-Cover-FINALAfter 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?

An inspirational Christmas romance that spans every season.

Check out the book trailer here.


rightfully oursSixteen-year-old Paul Porter’s relocation to Pennsylvania is a temporary move during his dad’s deployment. Or so he and his brother think, until devastating news lands on their doorstep. Paul’s new home with the Muellers provides solace, especially in the form of Rachel, his friend and confidante. Their abiding friendship deepens as they work side by side to uncover what could be lost treasure. Will they acquire the strength of character and virtue to take only what rightfully belongs to them or are they in way over their heads, with more than a few lost artifacts at stake? Themes include premarital chastity and overcoming temptation.

This young adult Christian fiction is always listed high on Amazon’s “Values & Virtues” category.

Read an excerpt from Chapter 1.


Author Interview: Carolyn Astfalk

I’ve read all three of your published books. I found them all to be well-written and enjoyable with characters that remained with me even to this day. Stay With Meand Ornamental Graces are both adult romance and Rightfully Ours is young adult. Why do you write romance?

I didn’t set out to write romances. In fact, before I wrote the first draft of Rightfully Ours, which was my first attempt at fiction writing, I read very few romances. Somehow, as words spilled onto the page, what I imagined as a teen adventure morphed into a romance. And that’s what I’ve been writing ever since.

I’ve come to love clean, inspirational, and Christian romances. And I continue to read and write them because that spark of romance is not only fun, but provides opportunities for reflecting on the role of romantic love, which gives us a glimpse of the loving fervor with which God pursues each of us and helps us love as He loves.

Romance stories revolve around a central love story that ends in an optimistic ending. Christian romances are typically sweet (no explicit content) and they contain an element of faith woven into the plot. What makes your romance stories different from other Christian romance stories?

What sets my romances apart from other Christian romances is my Catholic worldview. Only a small minority of Christian romances include Catholic characters and themes.

I read heavily in the non-Catholic Christian genres and enjoy those novels very much. But there’s something to be said for seeing your own experience reflected in novels from time-to-time. So, when my characters pray, they’re more likely to bring out the rosary beads. If they’re practicing their faith, they’re at Mass on Sunday. They have the benefit of the sacraments and the grace that they offer. They’re more likely to be open to large families.

And, less significant, but contrary to what some Christian booksellers and publishers would condone, my characters enjoy a good beer, a glass of wine, or use a rare, well-placed mild curse word.

I also treat sexuality in a frank but non-explicit manner. I don’t gloss over the temptations we all face in remaining chaste, no matter our state in life. I try to communicate the joys and challenges of married sexuality lived in accordance with God’s plan.

I understand that themes in your stories reflect ideas found in Pope Saint John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. What is TOB and how do these ideas influence your writing?

When my husband and I were newlyweds, Pope St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body was becoming more widely known thanks to people like Christopher West, Janet Smith, and George Weigel. Simply put, the Theology of the Body, presented in a series of Wednesday audiences between 1979 and 1984, is a reflection on the body’s capacity for making visible an invisible reality manifested in our creation as male and female. It is an integrated look at the human person, made to love and be loved.

At the time, we volunteered for Catholic Engaged Encounter in our diocese and saw first-hand the extra challenges faced by couples who rejected the Church’s teaching on sexuality. As a consequence, I really delved into that aspect of theology and developed an affinity for it and a real love for Pope St. John Paul II.

While I never set out to write about the Theology of the Body, that holistic view of the meaning of our bodies always seems to find its way into my stories because it is integral to the intimacy between men and women and ultimately discovering our happily ever after.

How can a romance novel combat the false notions about love and sex that permeate our culture?

There’s a real dichotomy between the way love is often portrayed in modern media, often self-serving and fickle, and the kind of self-donative love we’re called to live.

The kind of romances I write are sometimes witty and flirty—at least I hope so! But, they also delve deeper. While the rush of attraction has an important role to play, I force my characters to move beyond those feelings to deal with what sustains love over the long term. So, that means they’ll wrangle with temptation, sin, forgiveness, mercy, and self-sacrifice.

Ultimately, that kind of love, self-sacrificial love, is more satisfying and fulfilling.

Christian YA fiction #Giveaways!

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Summer is a great time for books and free books are even better! If you enjoy Christian young adult fiction, here are two GIVEAWAYS for you!

THE PERFECT BLINDSIDE – Fresh off a championship medal, Jake Taylor’s parents have dragged him to a middle-of-nowhere town in Colorado, far from where he wants to be. Smart and savvy, Sophie has spent the summer before her junior year of high school avidly following Jake Taylor in every article she can find, but now she sees the “truth” behind the story — he’s really just a jerk. When the only thing they can see is each other’s flaws, how can Jake and Sophie work together to figure out what’s really been happening at the abandoned silver mine? Follow Sophie and Jake into secret tunnels as they unravel the mystery and challenge each other to become who God wants them to be.


AN UNEXPECTED ROLE – The devastation of a ruined summer.The gift of a second chance. Can Josie learn the lessons she needs in order to discover her true self? After a humiliating event and overwhelming peer pressure, 16-year-old Josie flees her home to spend the summer with her Aunt on a South Carolina island. Her fresh start turns into the summer of her dreams as friendships grow, romance blossoms, and a series of thefts surround her with excitement. However, when tragedy strikes someone close to her, Josie realizes there are more important things than her reputation. As she sets out to solve the mystery she has become entangled in, she not only realizes the importance of relying on her faith but along the way also discovers who God wants her to be.


Click here for a chance to win both of Leslea Wahl’s books. Winners will be selected August 7th!


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RIGHTFULLY OURS – Sixteen-year-old Paul Porter’s relocation to Pennsylvania is a temporary move during his dad’s deployment. Or so he and his brother think, until devastating news lands on their doorstep. Paul’s new home with the Muellers provides solace, especially in the form of Rachel, his friend and confidante. Their abiding friendship deepens as they work side by side to uncover what could be lost treasure. Will they acquire the strength of character and virtue to take only what rightfully belongs to them or are they in way over their heads, with more than a few lost artifacts at stake?

Themes include premarital chastity and overcoming temptation.

“When a young man or woman recognizes that authentic love is a precious treasure, they are also enabled to live their sexuality in accordance with the divine plan, rejecting the false models which are, unfortunately, all too frequently publicized and very widespread.” Letter of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to the Young People of Rome, Sept 8, 1997

Click here for a chance to win an AUDIOBOOK of Rightfully Ours! All you need to do is comment on the blog post here.  The winner will be selected on August 15th!


Happy reading and have a wonderful summer!