Thursday, February 27, 2020

A Potential New Work in Progress

It's been quite a while since I've worked on any fiction, but I've had an idea percolating for the past few months that I have been doing some research on. I want to write a novel about St. Zelie Martin, the mother of St. Therese of Lisieux. I have read a few books about her, including The Extraordinary Parents of St. Therese.

It soon became apparent that the book I absolutely needed was the one of her letters: A Call to a Deeper Love. 

I ordered this book from Amazon at the end of December. The ship date was a few weeks later, but I could wait. The day before it was to be shipped, I received a notice saying the order was cancelled and that they had no idea when the book would be available. I started looking for other outlets. I found a convent bookstore that had it for sale. I hoped that they had one on their shelf they could ship out to me. Unfortunately, that was not the case. The book was nowhere to be found (at least not for a price under $100). The publisher had to print new copies. My copy finally came in yesterday.

To be honest, I have tons of other work on my plate and don't know when I'll get to it. There are definitely some challenges I'm trying to work out before I begin writing this story. St. Zelie is human, but she is also a saint and comes across as nearly perfect in biographies. Her flaws make most people's good points look bad. To make a compelling story, she needs to have some conflict and something that she wants. I want to be honest to her character, but also to write an interesting story.

In any event, I look forward to spending more time with her and seeing where this project leads. I've never written fiction about a historical person before so it is a new challenge. I have tentatively titled the book "The Lacemaker".

I plan to blog about the process here. I hope you enjoy the behind the scenes look at my writing endeavors.  

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Register for Catholic Writer's Guild Online Conference

The Catholic Writers Guild has opened registration for its annual Catholic Writers Conference Online, the must-attend online event for Catholic writers.

The conference is scheduled for September 20-22, 2019. Cost is $30 for Guild members and $45 for non-members. Registration is open at the Guild's website: or

This faith-focused, professional writing conference is being held completely online through webinars with audio-visual access. Attendees are able to ask questions of the presenters and receive knowledgeable feedback, and there is time between sessions for networking and socializing. The schedule is an immersive two and a half days covering all aspects of writing from idea conception to editing, publishing to marketing. Recordings and reference materials from the presentations will be available free to all conference attendees.

Authors will also be able to meet online with publishing professionals and pitch their finished writing projects. In the past, publishers from large Catholic presses, including Pauline, Ave Maria, and Our Sunday Visitor, as well as secular presses like Anaiah Press and Liberty Island, have participated.

This year's conference lineup is being developed. In the past, topics have covered the nuts and bolts of self-publishing, the importance of faith in writing, and nonfiction and fiction writing skills from characterization to plot, editing tips, marketing how-to and more.

"Each year, we try to get a mix of practical and philosophical - what it means to be a Catholic writer," says Karina Fabian, who has organized the online conference since its inception in 2008. "We're inviting back some of the favorites of our attendees, who always have great advice and a deeper perspective from the year before. In addition, we're seeking out new presenters in the areas of non-fiction, marketing and publishing."

Guild President Joseph Wetterling says, "The Guild exemplifies the Catholic 'both/and' with writers from every part of the world, in every genre, and from every walk of life. We're diverse in personality and style but united in our loyalty and love of the Catholic faith. Our writers' conferences provide a unique opportunity to come together in fellowship and sharpen each other toward our united mission: a rebirth of Catholic arts and letters."

"Every year we hear back from authors who finished a book, started a project, or got a publishing contract thanks to the Catholic Writers' Conference Online. Plus, people make contacts and good friends. It's a terrific opportunity, especially for those who can't afford to attend a live conference," says Fabian.

For more information about the Catholic Writers Guild, visit

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Two Books for Book Lovers

Browsing my local library recently, I came across two books that would make great gifts for the book lover in your life. 

Improbable Libraries: A Visual Journey to the World’s Most Unusual Libraries by Alex Johnson explores libraries that don’t fit one’s usual mental picture of “library”. Johnson, the son of two librarians, was clearly raised with a love of books. In Improbable Libraries, he showcases libraries found in airports, tents, subway stations, taxes, and hotels. He highlights libraries in rural locations that travel via mules, donkeys, camels, and elephants. There is also a section on the Little Free Library movement as well as on home libraries. Improbable Libraries is a delight to explore and will challenge your thinking on what a library can be.

Remarkable Books: The World’s Most Beautiful and Historic Works is a feast for the eyes. Using a chronological format, it traces the history of influential books from 3000 BCE to today. This oversized book features breathtaking photos, allowing readers to appreciate the history and beauty of these books, many of which are works of art. From the Dead Sea Scrolls to The Exeter Book to medieval illuminated manuscripts, the Gutenberg Bible, Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester; Robert Hooke’s Micrographia; Johnson’s Dictionary; Louis Braille’s Procedure for Writing Words, Music, and Plainsong in Dots, to Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit; and Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, each two-page spread is a visual delight. Both historians and book lovers will enjoy perusing and studying this impressive work.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Ever Eden: New Catholic Literary Journal

Ever Eden is a new Catholic Literary Journal written by women but intended to be read by both women and men. It is a print quarterly and features fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

From their website:

Our literary journal is not strictly about the Faith. Although some pieces explicitly concern Catholic tenets, many do not. All pieces are created flowing from the writers’ identity in Christ.

Our literary journal, complete at 68 pages, features creative nonfiction, flash fiction, and poetry that will nourish your soul, engage your mind and draw you to true wonder.

To find out more as well as download a free sample of the first issue, please visit

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

A Fascinating Look at the Library Card Catalog

Those of us of a certain age can recall the joy of flipping through the cards of a library card catalog. A few years back, I walked into a rural library and was ecstatic to find that they still had one! Yes, a card catalog may be “prehistoric Google” as the internet meme states and I certainly wouldn’t want to trade the ease with which I can search for and request a book via my computer. However, card catalogs served a useful purpose for a century.

 The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures by the Library of Congress is a delight for anyone who enjoys history, literature, or libraries. It traces the history of how books were organized in libraries (going all the way back to the Library at Alexandria); how the card catalog was ultimately developed; how technology impacted it; and how it has evolved into the computer systems we use today. Anyone reading this book will gain a whole new appreciation for those index cards and the people whose job it was to create them. 

In addition to the narrative, there are many full-color photos and illustrations of classic works of literature and their accompanying card catalog entry in the Library of Congress. Many of the cards have notations on them in addition to the standard information – I wish that there had been more text explaining why and what information had been added.  

Overall, The Card Catalog was enjoyable to both read and look at. It would make a great gift for the library lover in your life.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Write a Novel in 10 Minutes a Day

I had seen the hashtag #10minnovelists on Twitter but never realized it was a book until I Googled the hashtag! I was excited to discover that Write a Novel in Ten Minutes a Day was written by Katharine Grubb, a fellow homeschooler from my state of Massachusetts (not that I know her) and edited by Barbara Szyszkiewicz, a colleague from the Catholic Writers’ Guild. 

It makes sense that a homeschooler would write this book because, for the most part, homeschooling parents only have little snippets of time in which to get non-essential tasks done. I especially love the subtitle of this book: “Because your dreams are worth 10 minutes.”

Yes, your dreams are worth ten minutes and it is amazing what you can accomplish by simply setting aside a little bit of time each day to pursue something you love. 

If you have always wanted to write that novel, but keep feeling like you are too busy, this might be just the book for you. You can also check out the website at

Part One is dedicated to time management, helping you to carve out the time to work on that writing project you have been putting off. The rest of the book is a how-to guide for writing a novel. There is a huge amount of useful information packed in this book including writing prompts, character archetypes and exploration, story structure, and inspirational quotes from well-known authors. 

Write a Novel in Ten Minutes a Day will definitely appeal more to planners rather than those who prefer to simply sit down and write, but it is a very thorough guide to writing a novel and may be exactly what you need to start working on that story that has been itching to get out!

This post contains affiliate links to Amazon – purchases made help support this site.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Searching for a Reason to Write

I've been tossing around novel ideas in my head. That's always something of a fun process. I have a germ of an idea - could I make something out of it? The whispers of inspiration start coming. Will I listen? Should I listen? Is this what God wants me to be doing with my time right now? Is it really worth it to spend so much time on a project that I know will never recoup the cost in time or money? Is it worth it to write when my stories find such a small audience? Clearly, the literary world gets along just fine without my meager contributions.

One of my friends posted this article today on writing: Who Will Buy Your Book? There are lots of words of wisdom there, but these really spoke to me:

As a writer, you need to approach every project with the understanding that you’re doing this work for yourself, and everything that happens once it’s in the world is out of your control. Whatever project you’re working on now doesn’t derive value from your friends’ approval, but rather from the love and energy you pour into it. You can do the work, and you can keep showing up, and that’s all you’ve got. Most of the time, it’s all you need.