Showing posts with label Books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Books. Show all posts

5 Sep 2017

On Mother Teresa's Feast Day: a Film, a Book

As I celebrate the feast day of St. Teresa of Calcutta, I'm reminded of a film about her from a couple of years ago. I enjoyed The Letters when it came out, but the best thing about the film was the way it inspired me to pick up the book on which it was based. The film is about her. The actual letters, cited extensively in the book, are by her.

Read the rest of the post at Leaven for the Loaf.

13 Sep 2016

Grace-filled Tuesdays (Book Club "Meeting" #20): An Erin's Ring Giveaway!

The Grace-filled Tuesdays Book Club met today over at my flagship blog, String of Pearls. We talked about my second YA Catholic novel, Erin's Ring, recipient of two book awards from the Catholic Press Association.
If you haven't read Erin's Ring yet and would like to do so, you might be interested to know that I'm hosting a giveaway.

I'm giving away five free promo copies of Erin's Ring,
with the winners to be announced on Nov. 1. 

If you'd like to find out how to enter, head on over to String of Pearls for more information.

18 Feb 2016

Public Speaking/Book Signings

In early January of this year, I had the privilege of speaking to four different classrooms of students (5th through 8th grade), at two different schools, about my two Catholic YA novels, Finding Grace and Erin's Ring.  I traveled down to Tampa to be a Confirmation sponsor for two of my nieces, and while there, my sister-in-law arranged for me to visit the Catholic school that her 8th grade triplets attend and also the one where she is a 5th grade teacher.

This was the second time I've been given the opportunity to speak to students in a classroom setting.  In May of 2015, I visited my niece's 4th grade class in Chicago, to talk to her students about Erin's Ring after they'd read the book together.  (I blogged about the experience here and here, if you'd like to read those posts.)
This guy--my best inspiration and my biggest fan--was there to cheer me on, as always.
I can't believe I'm about to say this (gulp!)...but if you would be interested in having me come to speak and/or do a book signing at your school or parish, please leave me a message.  There is an "EMAIL ME" button on my home page over at String of Pearls, if you want to contact me that way.  Although I am often busy traveling to visit my kids and grandkids (none of whom live right down the street!), I might be able to make something work out.

24 Jan 2016

Finding life and light in the midst of January doldrums

The prospect of a long winter ahead is daunting especially with memories of the epic snowfall amounts of last year still haunting many of us. I once anticipated January with dread. Winter can be dark, oppressive and confining: the arctic air and biting winds… the deep snows burying the landscape … ice covering the streets and sidewalks … darkness that greets us when we rise and meets us at the end of each work day.

January is a quiet month. Birds don’t come to the feeder; their songs no longer greet me in the morning. Crickets and locusts have gone silent at night.

January was a month without life.

Then I read Henry Beston’s classic, The Outermost House and it changed my perception of winter forever ...

 outermost-house

Click here to continue reading ...

6 Jan 2016

How phlegmatics can be saints

GA Sirani Esther ante Asuero 1630 MFA Budapest.jpg
Esther Before Haserus by Sirani (Wikimedia commons)

Below is an excerpt from chapter 4 of my newest book A Spiritual Growth Plan for Your Phlegmatic Child. Read how Queen Esther serves as a biblical model, portraying the strengths and weaknesses of the phlegmatic temperament. Temperament studies are not just for kids!

Phlegmatic women tend to be supporters of leaders of other temperaments. They express their temperament quietly, often at home. Few become famous. Esther would probably never have been known to history, except for the special circumstances she found herself in. She shows how one phlegmatic person can make a huge impact for God by following his will.

A phlegmatic replacement for a defiant, choleric queen

Esther’s story is found in the biblical book named after her. King Ahaserus (also known as Xerxes) is married to a beautiful woman named Vashti. When the king holds a banquet, he calls his wife to come show off her beauty to his guests. The choleric Vashti refuses. Ahaserus responds by deposing the queen and seeking another wife. He eventually chooses Esther, a Jewish girl who is Vashti’s temperamental opposite.

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

9 Dec 2015

Kids Love PB & J; They'll Love PB & G, Too!

I was recently contacted by a new Catholic micropublisher called Peanut Butter & Grace.  The kind folks at PB & G very generously offered to send me some of their children's books in exchange for an honest review on my blog.

One of the titles I received was The Little Flower, A Parable of Saint Therese of Lisieux.  This sweet picture book combines so many things that I love and am drawn to: the story of Saint Therese (one of my favorite heavenly friends), and her childhood aspiration to become a saint; an explanation for why she is often called "The Little Flower"; an introduction to the "Little Way" of which she spoke, a way to sanctity that even the smallest and humblest among us can follow; and some gorgeous watercolor artwork to go along with the lovingly rendered prose.
If you'd like to read more about this inspirational book that's perfect for kids of ALL ages, as well as some others offered by this wonderful Catholic company, head on over to String of Pearls for the full post.

23 Nov 2015

Thoughts on The Screwtape Letters


Recently, while reading C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, I came across this quote, and it stopped me dead in my tracks:

“We want him to be in the maximum uncertainty, so that his mind will be filled with contradictory pictures of the future, every one of which arouses hope or fear.”

And I thought: Imagine if C.S. Lewis— one of the most influential Christian thinkers of his day (and of all time, perhaps?)— listened to the naysayers- and was choked up, grabbed and threatened, and crippled from writing, because of fear? This book suggests that certainly, that would have been a sinful temptation.  To not hold out, to not radiate truth in spite of- or rather, because of- the spirit of negativity? That would be giving in, and not holding out. It might even mean giving up, defeated because of a feeling.

There are all kinds of dryness. And truly daily, I feel crippled by a thousand things.  Spiritual dryness. Selfishness.

{Read the rest at Picture a Skyline}

15 May 2015


It’s release day for A Spiritual Growth Plan for Your Choleric Child!
Enjoy the slide show on the temperaments I put together for the upcoming Minnesota Home Education and Curriculum Conference. I included lots of photos of my kids to make you smile.

Have you ordered your copy?

If you pre-ordered the ebook, you can access it now. The ebook is $3.99 on Amazon. The paperback is available for $12.95 at Amazon. You can also buy the paperback at CreateSpace.
As always, if you buy five paperbacks directly from me, I’ll sign them all and give you a sixth free–with no shipping cost. Email me at crossini4774 at comcast dot net if you are interested.

18 Apr 2015

Celebrating "Celebrate Teen Literature Day"!


Posted two days ago at String of Pearls:

It's still National Library Week, and I'm still running a giveaway here at the blog.  Leave me a comment anytime before midnight on April 18, and you could win one of two prizes: a signed copy of my first novel, Finding Grace, or a signed copy of my second novel, Erin's Ring.
This is a good day to talk about these two books, because today has actually been dubbed "Celebrate Teen Literature Day," and both of my novels fall into the teen/young adult (YA) category.  (Although don't let the YA tag deter you from reading them if you're a full-blown adult; I tried to write these stories in such a way that they could be enjoyed by readers from middle school to middle age.)

When I set out to write Finding Grace, I wasn't even sure it would ever be officially published as a book, with a glossy cover and professionally printed pages.  I thought that when I finished, I might run off copies for my boys, so that when they had children of their own, they could hand my homemade book down to them. (Then wonder of wonders, Cheryl Dickow agreed to give the manuscript the imprint of her company, Bezalel Books, and a work of fiction that I thought would only be shared amongst my family members was listed on the Amazon mega-site.  Life is amazing!)

I had no grandchildren when I began work on Finding Grace in August of 2007--but by the time I completed it in December of 2011, I had become a grandmother to identical twin girls.  I have five grandchildren now, and counting; and if any of them grow up to be readers, I hope they will enjoy and feel inspired by their Grammy's books.

To read the full post, click here.

8 Apr 2015

Erin's Ring Giveaway

I was so thrilled to receive this photo recently, via text message, from my niece.  She's a 5th grade teacher at a Catholic school out in the Midwest, and she's having her students read Erin's Ring--my second YA novel, published by Bezalel Books in November of 2014.
I'd love to see Erin's Ring, a story about "the legacy of love and the power of faith," get into the hands of more kids like the ones pictured here (and their parents, too--it's a book for all ages).  Therefore, I'm hosting a giveaway on my blog.  In honor of National Library Week, which is April 12-18, I'm giving away one copy of Erin's Ring, along with one copy of my first Bezalel novel, Finding GraceHead on over to String of Pearls to find out how you can enter to win.

4 Jan 2015

Small Victories: A Good Way to Celebrate Epiphany

I began reading essayist Anne Lamott's new book, Small Victories,  after  hearing her speak in November  at the Free Library of Philadelphia. My friend Shannon, an author and a  jail chaplain in Tacoma, suggested this would be a great book to read for Advent.

Well, even though it's under 300 pages, I just completed it today. Lamott's  is an authentic voice, one that does not sugar coat reality but which helps me find God in the smallest moments. Finishing the book is a good way to celebrate the Epiphany, that time when Jesus revealed himself to the world beyond his circumstances.

Lamott is a writer  we writers are supposed to love and one whose work I have not taken the time to read fully. While I have read bits and pieces of her illuminating work, this is the first full book of hers I have read from start to finish. She labels herself a "left wing" Christian and I suppose she is, but the label, as any political label does, reduces the value of her insights.

Keep Reading...

21 Dec 2014

Review of St. Francis of Assisi by G.K. Chesterton


"It may be an excellent thing that cracks should be filled up, but preferably not by somebody who is himself cracked." -G.K. Chesterton

This quote comes from a description of when St. Francis, so full of indignation about his father, Pietro Bernardone's business, completely strips his clothing and goes begging in the streets for building materials for an obsession he has with mending the wall in the city.

It is not just any wall. It was the ruins of the Church of St. Damian, an altar and a place he had become accustomed to praying at. He worked, collecting stones and food along the way, until it was finished.

Is it any wonder that my understanding of St. Francis of Assisi was skewed by the watching of "Brother Sun, Sister Moon" in high school? As I began reading this work by Chesterton, I kept thinking to myself.. wait, wait, wait... I thought St. Francis was the guy who was really into Donovan? After throwing things out the window, he prances around all emotional and naked and stuff? Is it any wonder that a snippet on wikipedia or a 1970's rendition of his life could easily lead you into thinking he was sort of a stupid guy, or at least somewhat flighty?

"This sense of the great gratitude and the sublime dependence was not a phrase or even a sentiment; it is the whole point that this was the very rock of reality." - G.K. Chesterton

Was he a sentimental animal-lover, as many statues and artistic renditions or children's books would have us to believe? No. St. Francis was actually a very intelligent man. His rock was Christ. He was a poet. He was in high standing in his hometown (I have been to Assisi; it is beautiful!) In fact, he was somewhat of a prince of the 13th century. His mother felt he was too prince-like for her care.  He was of high status, and also an accomplished swordsman, and he "delighted in all the exercises of chivalry." (see chapter 3: St. Francis the Fighter). He attempted to go to war, but after some time in prison, a sickness brought him home, and so he re-interpreted his dreams of fighting to mean engaging in the spiritual battle of ministry to lepers of Perugia.

Prince-like though he may have been for the 12th century, he was not popular.

read the rest at tacywilliamsbeck.com {picture a skyline}

30 Sep 2014

A biography of St. Therese (and a Kindle bargain)

File:Little Flower Catholic Church (Toledo, Ohio) - interior, statue of St. Thérèse of Lisieux.jpg

Note: In celebration of the feast of St. Therese on Wednesday, October 1, the Kindle version of Trusting God with St. Therese is only $.99 until 8 AM Pacific Thursday. This may be the only time I run such a sale, so it’s a great opportunity to pick up a copy if you haven’t already.

St. Therese of Lisieux is one of the most popular saints in history. Almost immediately after her death, her little way of spiritual childhood began to spread. She was canonized less than thirty later and named a Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II.

St. Therese’s childhood

Marie-François-Therese Martin was born in Alençon, France in 1873. Her parents were Louis Martin and Marie-Azelie Guerin Martin. She was the youngest of their nine children, four of whom died before age six. Louis and Zelie were committed Catholics. They were standouts even in the Catholic subculture that had grown up in the larger, anti-Catholic culture of their place and time. Both had considered religious life before they met and married. Zelie was a successful businesswoman. Louis eventually sold his business to help with hers.
Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

29 Jul 2014

You're invited to my book launch party

Join me for a live book launch on Google Hangouts next Tuesday!


Wednesday, August 6, marks the official launch of Trusting God with St. Therese. So far, I have mostly marketed it to my friends and followers on social media, giving you the first look at this important project. Everyone who has bought the book in either format by noon on August 5, or who has helped me with an endorsement or review, is invited to my exclusive launch party. Family members who received a free copy are also welcome.

I’d love to celebrate with you in person, but since we are scattered all over the country, I’ve chosen to host a virtual party. I will be hosting a Google Hangout from 8-9 PM Central Time. What’s a Google+ Hangout, you ask? It’s Google’s video chat service. I will be talking with you live via my computer. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be on camera! You can even attend in your pj’s.

You can submit questions to me ahead of time or during the Hangout itself. I will answer as many as I can. Do you have questions about any part of my book? Do you need advice for trusting God more fully? Are you curious about something in my memoirs? Do you just want to get to know me better?

For one hour I will chat with you on the subjects that interest you most.

Can’t make it at that time? That’s okay. The Hangout will be recorded and you can watch it later. You can also re-watch it if you attend live.

If you have bought my book and wish to join us, please email me your purchase order number to crossini4774 at comcast dot net by Tuesday, August 5 at noon Central Time. Use the subject line “Hangout.” I will send you an invitation with a link and more details.
This is going to be lots of fun! I hope you can join us!

16 Jul 2014

Win a signed print copy of Trusting God with St. Therese!

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the day! Happy Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Trusting God with St. Therese is now available on Amazon for the Kindle and in print.  For the time being (at least the next 90 days) the ebook will be exclusive to Amazon. However, the paperback should be available soon at Barnes and Noble and other online retailers. I hope to see it in some Catholic bookstores as well. And those of you who are local or who know me personally are always welcome to purchase the paperback directly from me as well.

The last 14 months writing and publishing this book have been busy but rewarding. I pray you will find them rewarding for you too. I really believe it will help almost everyone but those very advanced in the spiritual life to come closer to Christ.

Now for the fun stuff!
Visit Contemplative Homeschool to enter the contest and see the other contests and events marking the release of  Trusting God with St. Therese.

25 Jun 2014

For His Greater Glory (and Those Aren't Just Words)

In December of 2011, right around the time I was finishing up my manuscript for Finding Grace, I began to search the Internet for information about how to go about having it published.  My cyber-travels ultimately led me to this 2007 article about Cheryl Dickow, a former middle school teacher who had started her own Catholic publishing house called Bezalel Books.  I was immediately struck by the thought that I'd started writing Finding Grace in 2007, and that was the same year that this article originally appeared in Catholic Review--and I believe the same year that Cheryl started her company.  I felt an immediate connection with Cheryl and it seemed that God was pointing me in the direction of Bezalel Books.

I will always be grateful that I stumbled upon that particular article about this extraordinary woman at that particular time.
Cheryl Dickow is not only a publisher; she is also an editor, a speaker, a blogger, and a contributor to many Catholic periodicals.  She has written both fiction and non-fiction works. Bezalel website.




Now having given those recommendations, I cannot do the same for this novel, which I started on plane trip out to MI last week and finished on the way back home.
If you want to read the whole post, you can find it here.

24 Jun 2014

You're more like St. Therese than you think

Think Again Pin copy

Do you think you have little in common with St. Therese? Think again.

If I’ve learned anything in writing Trusting God with St. Therese, it’s how much Therese’s struggles were like mine. Consider these points:
  • Therese was born weakened by Original Sin.
  • It took her years of grace and hard work to overcome family tragedy.
  • She had difficulties relating to other children at school.
  • She suffered from scruples.
  •  God repeatedly made her wait for things she believed were His will.
  • Her family members misunderstood her spirituality.
  • She felt natural aversion to people with difficult personalities.
  • She feared losing her remaining loved ones.
  • Spiritual darkness and dryness in prayer were her norm.
  • Great deeds for God were beyond her capability.
  • She suffered terrible pain.
  • She was tempted to despair.
Now tell me that none of those sound like you.

Think you can’t become a saint? Think again.

Therese believed in the same God you do. He was her strength and her righteousness. He can be yours as well.


Connie Rossini blogs at Contemplative Homeschool.

11 Jun 2014

Book Recommendation: All Things Girl, Truth for Teens

Bezalel Books has published a 2014 second edition of All Things Girl, Truth for Teens (the first edition came out in 2009).  This fabulous book, written by Cheryl Dickow, Peggy Bowes, Heather Renshaw, and Kayla Brandon, contains a wealth of information and practical advice for teenaged girls who are navigating the treacherous minefield known as adolescence.  For the next four days, the Kindle version, originally priced at $5.99, is on sale for $0.99. 
If you are currently raising, or will one day raise, a daughter, you should really get your hands on a copy of this book.  Written in a conversational style that makes material that might otherwise seem too dry very entertaining and compelling, this book covers a variety of important topics. All Things Girl, Truth for Teens includes chapters on Relationships, Fashion, and Skin, Hair, and Make-Up, among a number of others.  It discusses practicing virtues, imitating the saints, and dating the right types of boys.  But most of all, this book will inspire your teen to appreciate and value the God-given gift of her femininity.

For a more in-depth look at All Things Girl, Truth for Teens (as well as a recent incident that really convinced me that all young girls should read this book!), you can find the full post here.

Augustine is not an Excuse

Da mihi castitatem et continentiam, sed noli modo.  -St.Augustine A few weeks back, the incorrigible Milo Yiannopolus posted  his side ...