Interview: How did I get into Catholic publishing?

I was recently approached by Dr. Carrie Gress (author of The Marian Option) for an interview about how I got into Catholic publishing, and what it takes to get a book published today.

I wrote about it heremy-big-book-of-catholic-bible-stories if you’d like to check it out! Thanks, Carrie, for giving me a chance to brag about some of the wonderful books and authors I’ve had a chance to work with over the years!



Faith-Building Books for Teens (The Book Whisperer)

Book WhispererThis week I started teaching a class to prepare a small group of teens to be confirmed at the Easter Vigil this year at St. Basil the Great Parish in Kimberton, PA. So for the next few months — through Lent — I’ve decided that “A Mother on the Road Less Traveled” will be taking a spiritual journey along with them. And what’s a journey without a few good books?

This post will include a few titles that I’m recommending for my students.

The YouCat is a resource for teenagers that will provide reliable answers to any questions about the Catholic faith that you might have. I gave my students a copy at our first meeting. If you want to learn more, you can always read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, on which the YouCat is based.

The New American Bible, which is the version read at Mass. On this website you will find daily Scripture readings, which you can follow to learn  more about what God has revealed to us, the “salvation story” that covers more than four thousand years of human history, and culminates in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the reason for our hope; he created the Church while he was here on earth, and instituted the sacraments that strengthen us for the journey to heaven. The story of Jesus is found in the first four books of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). If you’ve never read the Bible on your own before, you may want to start there. It is also a good idea to follow the daily readings, which will help you to understand how to read the Old Testament in relationship to the New Testament — that’s important when you are studying the Catholic faith.

my-big-bookIf you would like to read more about the heroes of the faith in Scripture, pick up a copy of My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories. I compiled this book several years ago for Thomas Nelson Publishers. In addition to the beautiful pictures and stories, it also has Catechism references and other helpful information, and little prayers to help you apply the text to your life.

If you want to learn more about the saints, there are lots of books to help you! One I especially like is Mystics and Miracles: True Stories of Lives Touched by God, by Bert Ghezzi. You’ll find some of the better-known saints like Catherine of Siena, Francis of Assisi, and Teresa of Avila as well as some lesser-known like Francis of Paola (who “defied gravity to move huge boulders … passed through fire and handled glowing coals unharmed”) and Gertrude the Great (to whom Jesus appeared as a sixteen-year-old boy and captured her heart).

Next week, I’ll share some of the books that helped me when I was journeying toward the Church in the winter of 1993.

Taking Time to … Breathe

This morning when the phone rang, I wished very hardthat I had been able to find my Daytimer yesterday. That way I wouldn’t have been so surprised when my friend Pat Gohn (left) asked me if I was ready to interview for her podcast “Among Women.”

I wasn’t, not exactly. My husband was conducting business in the living room, and when I moved to the bedroom to conduct the interview he started moving around, getting ready for work. If I’d remembered, I have shoveled out my office enough to talk to Pat in peace and quiet. As it was, all I could do was … breathe.

Do you ever get like this? Feel like you’re going through life in auto-pilot mode, one step ahead of the lions? With kids to feed, home to clean, posters to make, meetings to attend, columns to write, e-mails to answer, books to read, and much else to do … Taking a moment to breathe seems like inexcusable luxury.

But that is exactly what we need to do sometimes. Breathe, so we have the resources to keep running.


Today at, I’ve posted a little article about another important way to keep perspective, at least at our house. It’s the family rules: 30 minutes of together time every single day. No computers. No agenda. Just … together. Talking. Singing. Even grumping. It’s all good.

In the interview with Pat about “My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories,” I talked about how we can never hope to have a relationship with God if we don’t spend timein His presence. It would be like running into Grandma’s house, shouting at her from the door, “Hi-Grandma-how-are-you-I’m-fine!” and running back to the car. That’s not the way to build a relationship.

So, c’mon. Breathe with me now.

Holy Spirit, you are welcome here.
Make me aware of your presence, right here and now.
As close and as warm as the air I breathe.
Fill me, calm me, and strengthen me. Amen!

Weeeeee… Ash Wednesday!

It was lovely, having dinner as a WHOLE FAMILY tonight! (We just got back from our trip to see my parents.) This week we’ve been talking about how we’ll observe Lent this year, and have come up with the following:

Dad:  No ice cream or chocolate.

He:  “Both? Do I really need to do both?”
Me:  “I will if you will.”
He:  *sigh* “Okay, then.”
Me:  “That’s the spirit!”

Me:  No ice cream or chocolate. Plus my “Forty-Day House Re-Treat”

Christopher.  Will not smack his sister. Oh, and the candy thing.

Sarah.  Will not yell at mom. Since brother can’t smack, may yell at brother instead. 😉

As a family:  Read together one story from my new book, “My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories.”  (Give you any ideas?! 🙂

My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories: Let The Reviews Begin!

I’m so happy that reviews of “My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories” are already floating in from cyberspace!  Thank you so much for spreading the word about my latest book!

Sarah at “Catholic Pondering” writes: 

My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories is a treasury for every age.  Whether you’re looking for a gift for a family in your life or searching, as I did, for a Bible story book that includes those wonderful deuterocanonical stories of Tobit and Maccabees (and the others!), consider this book.  It’s topping my list of gifts to give in the coming years.”

Esther at “Catholic Mom in Hawaii” was impressed that the book contains an imprimatur from the Archbishop of Nashville … and regretted that her son (now in college) was too old to read to any more! (Sorry, Esther. But save it for your grandchildren!!!)

Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur (at and writes: “The beautiful illustrations by Natalie Carabetta only add to the experience. This is a book that children will greatly enjoy looking at and sharing with their parents. It is primarily targeted to the 7 – 12 age range, although children younger and older could certainly benefit from it. I heartily recommend “My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories” to any Catholic family searching for a kid-friendly Bible. Perhaps the best endorsement is how much my two boys (ages seven and eight) enjoyed looking through this book. They said it was much better than the kids’ Bible that they currently have!”

This book is available through Amazon and B&N, as well as though Liturgical Press, Thomas Nelson, and will soon be available through my website (as well as your local bookstore). (If you would like to be notified when it’s available through my site, drop me a note at  (Christian Books ran an interview with me here.)