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

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A New Romantic Comedy

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Style and Substance. Fire and Ice. It’s a Roman Hell-iday when Janetta Orlando and Bob White clash in romantic Rome.

Story Summary

Janetta Orlando’s life has been bouncing along the gutter like a Brunswick bowling ball after a series of disastrous relationships. When her girl’s getaway with her best friend is abruptly cancelled, she is left with nothing to look forward to. No vacation. No wine. No men.

Bob White is headed to Rome with his girlfriend, who is fluent in Italian, to sell his invention to an Italian businessman. When she dumps him, he is left without a translator.

After Bob learns that Janetta, his hairdresser, has two weeks off and speaks Italian, he presents her with a deal: He will pay her to accompany him to Rome to serve as his translator. A lover of the Eternal City, Janetta agrees to the deal, but soon learns that the devil is in the details as their trip turns into a Roman Hell-iday when she and Bob clash over nearly everything from fashion to food to faith.

Laughter, tears, and love flow like the Trevi Fountain as Janetta, with the help an unlikely aide, finds her true herself, her true faith, and her true love in Rome.

Buy Links for Our Lady of the Roses

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07XSR56JJ/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

Barnes & Noblehttps://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/our-lady-of-the-roses-janice-lane-palko/1133717181?ean=9781734086706

Smashwordshttps://www.smashwords.com/books/view/958961

Apple Books:  https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1480797060

Kobohttps://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/our-lady-of-the-roses

Draft2Digital:  https://www.draft2digital.com/book/483142


More books by Janice Lane Palko


Janice Lane Palko has been a writer for more than 20 years working as an editor, columnist, freelance writer, teacher, lecturer, and novelist.

She is currently the executive editor for both Northern Connection and Pittsburgh Fifty-Five Plus magazinesand the lead writer for the website PopularPittsburgh.com. She has had numerous articles published in publications such as The Reader’s Digest, Guideposts for Teens, Woman’s World, The Christian Science Monitor, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and St. Anthony Messenger. Her work has also been featured in the books A Cup of Comfort for Inspiration, A Cup of Comfort for Expectant Mothers, and Chicken Soup for the Single’s Soul.

Our Lady of the Roses is a spinoff from her first novel, St. Anne’s Day, a romantic comedy. She has also written the Christmas novel, A Shepherd’s Song, and the romantic suspense novels, Cape Cursed and the award-winning Most Highly Favored Daughter. Currently, she is working on another romantic suspense called Mother of Sorrows.

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.

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.

JPII Unfolds the Mystery of Love

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menThe mystery of love? Whether it’s Valentines Day, Christmas, your birthday, or any day of the week…who doesn’t want to unwrap that mystery?

A friend of mine recently gave me a copy of Edward Sri’s Men, Women, and the Mystery of Love. I admit I prefer fiction to non-fiction, but I am enjoying this book so much that I want to tell everyone all about it!

Easy to read, this book provides practical insights from John Paul II’s Love and Responsibility. It has discussion questions at the end of each of fourteen chapters, making it ideal for a book club or for digging deeper into what you’ve just read. The topics are ones we all can relate to, but it contains many eye-openers that will likely change the way you think about love and relationships.

It is one I will read over and over so I can more fully grasp the messages and so I can grow in my relationships—especially my relationship with my husband. Honestly, as a writer, I’ll also use it as a resource for relationships in my stories!

The book covers real-life relationship issues:

  • What makes a true friendship and how can this kind of friendship lay the foundation for love?
  • What are the two main ways men and women are attracted to each other?
  • How can these attractions lead to either friendship and selfless love or to a relationship where someone is being used?
  • How do I know if I am in a relationship of authentic love or just another relationship that is doomed to failure?
  • What ingredients are necessary for true love?
  • The differences between men and women and the particular needs of a man and a woman in marriage.
  • Two aspects of love and knowing the difference is crucial for any relationship with the opposite sex.
  • The difference between feeling “I’m in love” and love itself.
  • Why should people wait for marriage to have sex?
  • The problem of pornography.
  • How can I be a better spouse?
  • How can I grow in self-giving love?
  • How to win the fight for purity in our relationships and in our hearts.

There is a lot more about friendship, attraction, relationships, emotions, love, sexuality, marriage, and chastity in the book too.

“Friendship… consists in a full commitment of the will to another person with a view to that person’s good.”    ~John Paul II, Love and Responsibility


While I find this non-fiction book indispensable, I believe fiction is another great way to grow in our understanding of these themes and to unfold the mystery of love.

Full Quiver Publishing is a great place to find fiction that celebrates the Church’s teachings on sexuality and marriage. Check out their website for books in a variety of genres.


carolyn saleAuthor Carolyn Astfalk writes contemporary Catholic romances, sometimes also referred to as Theology of the Body fiction. Her book Ornamental Graces is #FREE on Valentine’s Day!

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.


marchmeme.pngA young adult fiction, faithful to Catholic truth, that unfolds the mystery of love:

The ebook version of my contemporary young adult fiction Life-Changing Love is on sale for 99cents through the month of November.

With interesting characters and a fun story-line, this story addresses themes such as courtship vs. current dating practices, struggling with purity, obedience, finding the beauty within, Eucharistic miracles, supporting a friend faced with a crisis pregnancy, abortion vs. adoption, speaking the truth when it’s hard.


CathTeenBooks

For young adult fiction, in a variety of genres, that unfolds one mystery or another of faith and/or love, check out CatholicTeenBooks.com

Check out Carolyn Astfalk’s #OpenBook blog on My Scribbler’s Heart and CatholicMom.com