Month: November 2015

TESTING LIBERTY AVAILABLE NOW #mondayblogs #dystopian

Welcome, Tomato Pie Fans! I’m taking a hiatus from blogging to finish the sequel to DON’T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME. Meanwhile, I have a series of guest bloggers taking care of the place. Let’s hear about the searing new release TESTING LIBERTY, sequel to CHASING LIBERTY, both by Theresa Linden.


Testing Liberty ~ book two in Theresa Linden’s fast-paced dystopian trilogy came out November 7th. Take a trip into the future and into the past with Liberty. Sneak peek: https://theresalinden.wordpress.com/excerpts/

Liberty bides her time in a cell in Aldonia’s Re-Education facility. Flames leap among billowing black clouds in her mind, consuming all other thoughts. Houses of the once-secret Maxwell colony burn. Faces flash in her mind, faces of the men, women, and children who had shown her freedom. The all-controlling government has captured them. This is her fault. Liberty will not rest until she repairs the damage.

“Testing Liberty is an action-packed thrill ride that’ll have you rooting for freedom, self-determination, and Liberty.”       ~Carolyn Astfalk, author of Stay with Me

“Testing Liberty never disappoints as it treks through the wild, the underground, and sordid inner-city slums to prove that freedom isn’t free.”      ~Don Mulcare

Theresa Linden, author of the Liberty TrilogyTheresa Linden resides with her husband and three boys in northeast Ohio. She was born in San Francisco, California. Her father was in the Coast Guard, so the family moved every three years. This probably accounts for her love of traveling and desire to see the world. Living by the ocean and under the palm trees in Guam and Hawaii spurred her imagination. She began writing illustrated short stories with her sister in grade school, borrowing characters from favorite movies and shows. Now, writing is her passion. Her favorite genres include Fantasy, Western, Contemporary, Supernatural and Futuristic. Other interests: acrylic painting, drawing with ink, hiking, traveling and American History. Theresa is a member of the Catholic Writer’s Guild  and the Elyria Library Writers’ Group. She has an Associate’s Degree in Electrical/Mechanical Drafting and a Catechetical Diploma from Catholic Distance University. She is currently working on the last book in the Chasing Liberty trilogy.

The Itty Bitty Soul: A Guest Post from Jim Fellows #mondayblogs #adoption

Welcome, Tomato Pie Fans! I’m taking a hiatus from blogging to finish the sequel to DON’T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME. Meanwhile, I have a series of guest bloggers taking care of the place. Let’s hear from today’s guest, Jim Fellows, author of the author of the children’s book The Itty Bitty Soul.  It is a children’s story that explains adoption from a unique perspective.


The Itty Bitty Soul by Jim Fellows, a book about adoption

Tell us about your story

The Itty Bitty Soul is, at its core, a story about adoption.   The main character, Jimmy, is having a conversation with God prior to being born.  God tells him that there is something special that Jimmy can do for him on Earth. And while we’re not privy to what that task is, he whispers it to Jimmy.  He then shows Jimmy the two people  who will teach him what he needs to know.  This is when he’s first introduced to his mom and dad.  God shows Jimmy what both his parents do and all the people that they love and care for.  When Jimmy asks, if God is sure they would have room for him, God tells him that he is so loved already that his mom and dad would go to the ends of the Earth to find him.  And they do.

Is this a different interpretation of the adoption story?

I haven’t found a children’s story that approaches adoption in this way.  At one time I studying to be a therapist I learned about a therapeutic technique called reframing.  The purpose of reframing is to take an event in your life and look at it from a different perspective.  You don’t change the facts, you cast a new light on them.  Storytelling can be a powerful tool in reframing events in our lives.  “I never looked at it like this” is a comment I get often after someone reads the story.

What has been the reaction to the story?

Many people who have read my story were touched by it. Most people have had wonderful things to say about the story.  There are some who wished I had touched on other aspects of adoption in the story. But no one story can touch on everything.  I’ve gained a great deal of respect for the fact that adoption is a deeply personal event for people. I’m thrilled that so many people who read my story connect with it.  It’s a blessing that it’s being shared with their children.

What inspired you to write The Itty Bitty Soul?

When my two best friends in the world decided to create their family through adoption, I got to be one of their sources for support.  For a couple of years, we would regularly sit in their kitchen and I would listen to all the stories about the journey.  They would talk about how vulnerable they felt at times, how frustrating the process can be, and how heartbreaking it can be.  People who were trying to console them would say things like “I knew a couple who adopted! But then they were able to have one of their own!”  Statements like that made me realize that there were still some social stigmas to adoption that shouldn’t exist.  Adoption is viewed by so many like it was a consolation prize.  The purpose of The Itty Bitty Soul is to show that children are not “given up” for adoption, they are sought after!

Why the blog tour now?

I am partnering with a wonderful organization called Gift of Adoption.  During the month of November, I’m donating $1 from every book sold to them. Their purpose is to help families close the financial gap that usually incurs with adoption.  It’s heartbreaking that some families are prevented from becoming a family because the cost of adoption can be too great.  Gift of Adoption has been a big supporter of the book and I love partnering with them!  

If you would like to purchase a copy of The Itty Bitty Soul visit www.ittybittysoul.com.  If you order during the month of November, $1 will go towards Gift of Adoption Network and go to help a couple to realize their dream and build their family!

Jim Fellows, author of The Itty Bitty SoulJim Fellows is a storyteller and a public speaker. He lives in Woodbury MN with his wife and stepdaughter. Jim has spent much of his life working with teensand young adults. In his spare time, Jim is a avid Minnesota Twins fan and an amateur sheepherder with his Australian Shepherd Baxter. He is a strong advocate for pro-life issues.

The Sisters and I! A Guest Post from Karen Kelly Boyce

Welcome, Tomato Pie Fans! I’m taking a hiatus from blogging to finish the sequel to DON’T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME. Meanwhile, I have a series of guest bloggers taking care of the place. Let’s hear from today’s guest, Karen Kelly Boyce.


SOTLSbanner

The Sisters and I!

Last week I found myself sitting with a group of fallen Catholics. We were instructed to go around the table and talk about our faith in God. The first woman announced that she was an atheist – an intellectual. She claimed her education did not allow her to believe in a fairy tale-like God. Then she went into a tirade about how the nuns in her grammar school abused her and were responsible for her loss of faith. Her cover of intellectualism quickly turned to a revelation of anger as the true source of her lack of faith.

As we went around the table, the theme continued as an attack on the nuns. The poor Sisters were blamed as a cause or excuse for not attending church or believing in a Supreme Being. Years ago, I might have been hesitant to reveal my deep faith in God and my devotion to the Catholic Church. Luckily, that is no longer the case. I silently prayed to the Holy Spirit for guidance, and found myself announcing that I was sure there was a God because He has worked so many miracles in my life. Looking around at the shocked faces around me, I told them that I read my Bible and meditate on His word for an hour each morning and that I can hear Him talk to me in my heart. I told them that I have a great peace and sense of love since I have the tenets of the Catholic Church to guide me in all my decisions. I thought the people there would fall off their chairs when I announced that I credit the kindness and loving teaching of the Sisters of Mercy who taught me the deep foundations of the Catholic faith for the joy in my life. After a few minutes of stunned silence, the last man spoke. Apparently a fundamentalist, he reddened with anger and shouted something about man-made laws and eating fish on Friday. Spitting his hatred of the Catholic Church across the table, he attacked me personally and my faith especially. I think my smile made him even angrier. I had to smile. My faith gives me peace and trust in the Holy Spirit to reach those who lack faith. His faith made him angry and more intolerant of Catholics than the atheists around him.

On the trip home I thought about the Sisters who taught me, the Sisters who wore heavy veils and clothing without air conditioning. The Sisters of Mercy packed sixty rowdy children into a small classroom and taught us the wonders of God and His Mother.  They taught us about the saints and the teachings of Jesus. They taught us that we were blessed to be Catholics and in the meantime threw in advanced teachings in English, math, and history. Was I grateful then? No, but I am now.  I was one of those rowdy kids who took every opportunity to be a class clown. I even wrote songs about each nun, singing them to my classmates delight during recess. One day, as I was singing about the flaws of the roughest nun, Sister Mary Jean (the kindest nun) was standing behind me. She quickly corrected me and that was the last song I ever wrote about my teachers. However, God has a sense of humor and knew that I would be writing about the Sisters again!

With hindsight, I now realize the wonderful education and faith that the Sisters of Mercy gifted me. Most of the Sisters were kind, hard-working, and faithful. I remember them with great delight and I am grateful for them. I realize now the sacrifices they made. Yes, they were human and got weary, uncomfortable, and sick. As an adult, I understand that nuns are human beings with virtues and flaws. Perhaps that is why God inspired me to create characters who work hard to overcome their human failings. In my children’s series, Sisters of the Last Straw, Sister Krumbles loves animals and all of God’s creatures but is disorganized and clumsy. Mother Mercy is protective and a born leader but struggles to control her temper. Sister Lovely struggles with addiction but is kind and generous. Sister Lacey is rough and tumble a hard-worker who fights an impulse to ‘cuss’ with silly rhymes and exclamations. Sister Shiny is vain and fussy but keeps the house spotless. Sister Wanda is always getting lost but never loses her gentle personality. All of them are good, all of them human.

I hope the books teach children to be forgiving. I know the series make children laugh. It makes me laugh to think about God’s sense of humor. I’m a senior citizen now, but I haven’t changed much. I am still writing about nuns. However, with an adult faith and trust, I can be much kinder than I was as a child. I can present the Sisters and the faith with truth, humor, and gratitude. It goes to show that what they taught me must be rubbing off.

KBBheadshotKaren Kelly Boyce lives on a farm in New Jersey with her retired husband. She has two grown children and two grandchildren. When she retired as a registered nurse, she rekindled her love of reading and writing. She has written for Canticle and Soul magazines. She has four published novels– According to Thy Word, Into the Way of Peace, Down Right Good and In the Midst of Wolves. The first three have received the Seal of Approval from the Catholic Writer’s Guild. Down Right Good received the 2012 Eric Hoffer award for commercial fiction and was a finalist for the Montaigne Medal. In the Midst of Wolves has just been published.
When her grandchildren were born, Karen started a children’s series. The Sisters of the Last Straw is a series of humorous mysteries that are solved by a group of misfit nuns. There have been three volumes published by Chesterton PressThe Case of the Haunted Chapel, The Case of the Vanishing Novice, and The Case of the Stolen Rosaries.
Karen is a columnist for the CWG Blog and her column “Writing Tips” appears every Monday. Her personal blog can be found at www.karenkellyboyce.com.

She is currently working on future books while enjoying farming, camping, and road trips with her husband.