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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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#GraceofYesDay – Saying Yes to Motherhood

Originally posted on Plot Line and Sinker:

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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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#GraceofYes Day

We’re celebrating the release of The Grace of Yes by Lisa Hendey of CatholicMom.Com.

How do you say “Yes” to God?

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“by writing novels while in my bathrobe.”  You know, like Balzac.

And just ’cause you’re special, here’s something I’ve written on the draft of Never Let Me Down Again, the sequel to Don’t You Forget About Me.

And then there was Gene’s brand of love.  There was nothing casual about it.  He wanted to talk with me, teach me things and learn with me, to challenge me and yet still accept me.  He just did not want to sleep with me.  The world I’d been living in for nearly four decades told me that I was being rejected.  He should have been finding me irresistible—especially since the guy hadn’t, you know, tripped the light fantastic since that one time in college.  Shouldn’t he have been spending every second with me trying to get my clothes off? Was I that repulsive?

Gene wasn’t rejecting me, though.  He was accepting me.  He just wasn’t ravishing me.  It was like dating a foreign exchange student: terribly romantic but terribly frustrating.

Do you need more encouragement to get your very own copy of The Grace of Yes?  Here’s my review.  LOVED IT!

7 Quick Takes Friday – Mini Reviews, Enter to Win, Autumn Sunrise and Cartoon

Erin McCole Cupp:

Win hard copy of a great romance!

Originally posted on Plot Line and Sinker:

7_quick_takes_sm1Please join me and other Catholic bloggers at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday.

1. Photo at the Library of Madonna House
Special thanks to Tim Baklinski who took this lovely photo (along with all the other photos for Family Foundation magazine a few months ago)!

photo credit: Tim Baklinski, Two Trees Photography

photo credit: Tim Baklinski, Two Trees Photography

2. Enter to Win a Print Copy of A World Such as Heaven Intended on Goodreads!
Enter to win one of three print copies of FQP’s new book, A World Such as Heaven Intended by Amanda Lauer: Goodreads Giveaway A World Such As Heaven Intended. AWSAHI Final Cover

3. Mini Review of The Grace of Yes by Lisa Hendey
The Grace of Yes is a moving, inspiring, challenging and entertaining look at the virtues. I was especially touched by the personal experiences Hendey shares. It is beautifully written in conversational tone and is a book that…

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7QT: Interview With Author Amanda Lauer

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Welcome to Seven Quick Takes Friday, hosted by the lovely and talented Jennifer over at Conversion Diary  Jess at This Ain’t the Lyceum.

Remember when I reviewed this book?

The author of A World Such as Heaven Intended has stopped by the tomato pie shop to have a little chat with us.  Let’s welcome Amanda Lauer!

ALauer-headshotAn avid reader and history buff since childhood, Amanda Lauer fulfilled a lifelong goal with the publication of her debut novel, A World Such as Heaven Intended. Lauer learned the technical aspects of writing as a proofreader in the insurance, newspaper and collegiate arenas. Over the last ten years she has had more than twelve-hundred articles published in newspapers and magazines throughout the United States. Lauer is the co-author of Celebrate Appleton, A 150th Birthday Photo Album, and contributed to the books Expressions of ITP…Inside Stories, and Living Virtuously — Keeping Your Heart and Home. In addition to her writing career, Lauer is involved in the health and wellness industry, striving to spread the message of true health — physical, mental and financial. Residents of northeast Wisconsin, Lauer and her husband John have been married thirty-three years. They are involved in their church and community and in their spare time travel for business and pleasure, play golf, run, bike, read, and further their education in the area of personal development. They are the proud parents of four young adult children, have a son-in-law and daughter-in-law, and are grandparents to one grandson.

And now, without further ado, here’s all you ever wanted to know about Amanda Lauer and A World Such as Heaven Intended!

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Tell us about your most recent work.  How did the idea come to you?  How long did it take you from start to publication? 
My debut novel, A World Such as Heaven Intended, was released October, 2014. I’m a freelance writer by trade and one of my jobs is writing for local newspapers. I had written an article about a family’s Civil War memorabilia and the gentleman told me the story of his great-great-great uncle’s experiences in the Civil War and I thought it could be the basis for an excellent book someday. An acquaintance of mine was working on a book herself and she challenged me to write one chapter of a book each month and we’d get together and copyedit each other’s manuscripts over coffee. So it took two years to write the book, then two years to find a publisher. In that time frame, I only queried twelve publishers because our daughter was a Make-A-Wish Child, so most of my energy was spent caring for her. About a year ago I queried Full Quiver Publishing and was offered a contract earlier this year. In total it was about a six-year process.
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Idea, research, editing, design…What was your favorite part of working on this project? What was your least favorite? 
My favorite part of working on this project was writing the dialogue between the main two characters, Amara and Nathan. I was literally laughing out loud as I wrote some of the lines and at times crying when the conversations got deeper. I also really enjoyed researching and learning more about the Civil War. I’m a history buff and it was fascinating delving further into this subject. My least favorite part was all the revisions. I realize now that every bit of feedback that I got made helped turned this book from a good story to a fantastic novel but it was a little disheartening at times. One particularly harsh criticism about the book literally had me walk away from the project for nine months; it was daunting considering what had to be reworked. But again, it made it the book it is today.
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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? 
From day one I was determined to go the traditional route and find a publisher who believed in this work as much as I did. While I could have done self-publishing since I am also a copy editor and proofreader, I never pursued that seriously. I had thought about getting an agent at one point, but did not want to put the time and energy into that endeavor either. By the grace of God, my book made its way into the hands of Ellen Gable Hrkach of Full Quiver Publishing. She is a fantastic publisher and editor, and her insight really brought this book to life.  Plus her husband James did an outstanding job creating the book cover. If this book turns out to be a million seller someday, I will have that team to thank!
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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 working on novels, I write for the Green Bay Diocese newspaper The Compass, I write for The Business News, I proofread for Saint Norbert College, I do product testing for a local personal product manufacturing corporation, I write product reviews online, I do commercial acting and modeling, and I own my own business that promotes true health — financial, mental and physical (www.KangenWisconsin.com). There’s never a dull moment around here, but I wouldn’t trade my life with anyone, I thank God every day because I’m so blessed with all these opportunities.
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Setting, characters, plot, mood, tone… What would you describe as your greatest strength as a writer?
My greatest strength as a writer is the technical aspects of writing. Years of proofreading other people’s works helped me to figure out the mechanics of writing so I feel that I see the big picture and attend very closely to details. I do love writing dialogue, especially lines that reflect my sense of humor!
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Conversely, if you could change one thing about your writing style, what would it be and why? 
Having worked in the newspaper arena for many years, my writing is very concise. We are generally limited to 800 words per story. I would love to be able to enhance my work more with descriptive wording but that just isn’t my style at this point.
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Lastly, where can we find your work, a. k. a. give you our hard earned cash? 
My book is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Thanks for your support!
Thank you, Amanda, for chatting with us!  Now, readers, go pick up your copy of A World Such as Heaven Intended!