7 Quick Takes Friday, the Accidental Writing Prompt Edition

Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!  I am so excited that Kelly of This Ain’t the Lyceum is the new hostess-with-the-mostess for 7QT!  She’s one of those folks whose blog I follow and who makes me feel like she’s my smarter-and-funnier-than-me little sister, only she doesn’t know that we’re related, and if I were to fangirl on her in person, it would be one of those awkward things where the police might get involved, and so on and so on.

I am grateful to Jennifer F. for hosting 7QT for so many moons, and I wish her much continued success in the world of memoir-writing and radio-hosting-in-her-living-room and otherwise becoming a real live celebrity.  Though I’m sure she’ll miss us now that she’s broken it off with us…

… but somehow I’m sure the ONEHUNDREDMEEELIONDOLLARS that she’s undoubtedly making in the world of Catholic culture will be a balm to her heartbroken soul over losing us to Kelly.

Ahem.  And now, back to my 7QT.  Things are a kind of busy around here that we don’t often suffer.  Pft.  Who am I kidding?  We’re usually this kind of busy.  But I have an ebook coming out on Holy Family Sunday and am doing a reverse-blog tour (interviewing people here at my place) to share the joy of “Working Mother,” and we’re still homeschooling and trying to Advent and thinking about Christmas… you know how it goes.  Anyway.  Anyway.  What was I saying?  Oh, yes.  7QT.  I’m about to put the Quick in that Q there.

On my personal FB page, I often, sometimes several times a day, post the funny, awkward, and COMPLETELY BIZARRE things that come out of the mouth of Second Shift of Kid, age 4.  The fabulous Amy M. Bennett commented on one, “You never run out of story prompts, do you?” I responded, “Second Shift of Kid is a walking, squawking story prompt.”  And to put that to the test, I bring you a 7QT made up entirely of Second Shift Story Prompt Lines.


“Raccoons have terrible ideas.”


“Can you watch my baby while I’m gone?  If she starts crying, don’t call me, okay?”


“Christmas is even the worst time to go butterfly-catching.”


“I don’t think spiders have necks, but cats definitely do.”


“Mommy, I’m writing a book that you can read!”

How exciting! What’s it about?

“I don’t know. I can’t read yet. You’ll have to read it to me.”


“Cats don’t get sunburn.”


“You can’t be real if you never go to the bathroom.”  

Feeling inspired?  You should be.  I know I am.  Feel free to comment with your responses to said story prompts.



I wish we were bears.  Then no bears would eat us.  

Gooooooo TEAM! As Morning Breaks

Congratulations to the Catholic Mom Gospel Reflections team!  Their new ebook, As Morning Breaks, is burning up the Amazon charts.

I’m not on that particular sub-team, but I am a proud member of the CatholicMom.com family, and I am very excited for all my fellow contributors who have worked so hard on this project.  Proceeds from the sales will go to support the ever-growing hosting needs of CatholicMom.com.  Help keep the CatholicMom.com team writing the good fight for you and all of us who are looking for quality, down-to-earth content that has meaning and brings joy to our lives.  Download your copy of As Morning Breaks today!

From the Sacred to the Profane, Books!

Erin McCole Cupp:

I get to make pear jam AND see Don’t You Forget About Me on someone’s year-end list? All in one day? Oh, it’s CHRISTMAS! Except not yet, but you get the idea. Thank you, Cristina!

Originally posted on Filling My Prayer Closet:

As I was getting ready this morning, I thought of you. Yes. You staring at these letters that are organized into words. I wanted to share all the books I’ve read this year, just in case you would like to read them before the year is out. I created a Pinterest board of all the books I read in 2014. There are certainly other books that I have read, but never finished or have yet to finish (Game of Thrones and Read Like a Writer, I’m looking at you) but since I didn’t get to the back cover, they will not be included.

Let's Talk Books! I share my favorites from 2014. They were all written by women, and are indie publishers to boot! by @fillpraycloset

I will highlight those books that are written by gal-pals I know because I think they deserve center stage. It’s a brave thing to write, an even braver thing to share it with the world. They love their words, so much, that they set them free…

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Church Triumphant: St. Catherine of Alexandria

Erin McCole Cupp:

BTW, gotta reblog this one. Mary Catherine Whelihan is named in honor of my confirmation saint, Catherine of Alexandria. She’s the original girl power saint!

Originally posted on Filling My Prayer Closet:

Today is our saint day. In case you missed the last few installments, head there and have a look!

Tiffany at Life of a Catholic Librarian, is blogging about St. Cecilia and I am taking a Dominican saint again , with St. Catherine of Alexandria. Please head over for her installment as her saint is very much connected to mine today – as we were both very surprised to find for these posts. It’s truly amazing how we’re all so connected!

St. Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr (c. 282 – c. 305) is one of the Patronesses of the Order of Preachers. Born of noble blood and well educated in the sciences, she is one of the fourteen Holy Helpers (The others are: St. Acacius, St. Barbara, St. Blaise, St. Christopher , St. Cyriacus, St. Dionysius of Paris, St. Erasmus, St. Eustace, St. George, St. Margaret, St. Pantaleon, St. Vitus and St…

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7QT: An Interview with A. K. Frailey


It’s Friday, and it’s 7 Quick Takes over at Jennifer’s very own ConversionDiary.com!21

Today is my pleasure and honor to have a visit with Catholic author A. K. Frailey.

Author A. K. Frailey

Ann has a B. S. in Elementary Education and has taught in Milwaukee, WI, Chicago, IL, Los Angeles, CA, Wood River, IL and for Peace Corps in the Philippines. She was married to John Frailey who was an educator for many years. John died from cancer complication December 2013. Ann has eight children and she home educates them while maintaining a rural home – including chickens, bees, cats and dogs, apparently in early retirement.  Ann has a B. S. in Elementary Education and has taught in Milwaukee, WI, Chicago, IL, Los Angeles, CA, Wood River, IL and for Peace Corps in the Philippines. She was married to John Frailey who was an educator for many years. John died from cancer complication December 2013. Ann has eight children and she home educates them while maintaining a rural home – including chickens, bees, cats and dogs, apparently in early retirement

Ann is one of the first Catholic writers I really got to consider a friend after meeting her through the Catholic Writers Guild.  Her work is shot through with the dignity and integrity with which she lives her whole life, and you’ll be honored to get to know her too.  Let’s meet A. K. Frailey!


Tell us about your most recent work.  How did the idea come to you?  How long did it take you from start to publication?  

I wrote Georgios as a continuation in the “Conversation with God” theme I have in all my books.  It is a story about a young Greek boy named Georgios, growing up on the island of Patmos which is where St. John the Apostle spent some years in exile. I read an article about the island and thought it would be a great setting for a story.  It took me about a year to do the research and write the first draft of the story.  Then it took some months to get it edited and revised.


Idea, research, editing, design…What was your favorite part of working on this project? What was your least favorite?  

I enjoy coming up with the initial plot outline and then beginning the writing process after getting some research in place to back up the setting and the physical aspects of the story – like what people eat, how they dress and what kind of housing they might live in. My favorite part is when the characters begin to take over, usually somewhere near the middle of the book.  The characters become so real that they act the story out according to their own nature and I just come along for the ride.


Tell us about how this work came to reach us:  did you go the self-publishing route or did you contract with a publisher?  What was that like?

I am a self-published author and I learned about this blog from the Catholic Writer’s guild.  I have met a lot of supportive writers through the guild and have become a better writer for the experience. Self-publishing is tough since you have to do or hire someone to do pretty much everything from writing the story to editing, and marketing.  But I do believe that as a self-published author I know the process from start to finish, and I not only have better skills as an author now, but I certainly appreciate other authors more honestly.


What other things in your life do you juggle in order to keep at your writing?  How’s that working out for you?

In addition to being an author I also home school my children.  I have eight children, though one is in college now.  I have had to learn how to balance my priorities so that I can fulfill my vocation as mother and manage my job as educator, yet still have some time for writing and the whole self-publishing package.  It is a difficult balance to maintain, but it is worth the effort.  I believe that my writing has made me a better person, more thoughtful and introspective, and also more certain of what I think is really important.  I have learned to take necessary risks and to accept defeat.  But I have also learned to keep moving forward even when things are beyond difficult.


Setting, characters, plot, mood, tone… What would you describe as your greatest strength as a writer?

I definitely focus on character.  I love humanity and I am constantly encountering amazing stories of real life heroes who strive for the best in themselves and others despite incredible obstacles.  When I engage in the process of forming a character I reflect the reality that I know to be true and there is a point when something new happens – something that is beyond my conscious thought – and it is there, that I as the author, learn something important. I love that.  I need that.


Conversely, if you could change one thing about your writing style, what would it be and why?

I wish I knew the secret world of commas and punctuation better…  It is morass which sends me into grammar hell on occasion.


Lastly, where can we find your work, a. k. a. give you our hard earned cash?

My books are all available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble as both paperback and e-books.  There are other book sites which carry them but you’d have to Google them…

9781450288101_COVER.indd Cover for ARAM 2013 IshtarCV Neb_Cover front cover only

#GraceofYesDay – Saying Yes to Motherhood

Originally posted on Plot Line and Sinker:


Today is “GraceofYesDay!”

Lisa Hendey, author of “Book of Saints for Catholic Moms” and “Handbook for Catholic Moms,” has written a wonderful new book, entitled “The Grace of Yes.” Today, for its launch, she has asked people to share how we say “Yes” to God in our everyday lives. I’m linking up with other bloggers over at Catholic Mom.

For me, saying “Yes” to motherhood has been the most joyful and grace-filled way to say “Yes” to God. In this updated article from a few years ago, I share what that all means:

image copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

image copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

On June 26th, 1986, I was rushed into surgery to remove a tiny baby from my right fallopian tube. This, after already miscarrying his or her twin from my womb. I woke up in the hospital with the knowledge that I had conceived twins…and I would be leaving the hospital with…

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