Saturday, July 23, 2011

My Borders Closing Experience

I’m sure you heard the news that Borders is going out of business. I subscribe to Publisher’s Weekly updates, and for the past few months, I’ve gotten constant messages about the store chain’s demise. Eventually, I got so sick of reading about it that I stopped opening the messages. That said, I don’t know all of the gory details, but….we did go to our local Borders today to check out the pickings and it was educational.

Educational? Yeah – go to your local Borders armed with an iPhone or Blackberry. Browse the aisles. You’ll find titles that you never knew existed. But, wait…it’s only 10 percent off? 20 percent off? 30 percent off? Check the title online and 90 percent of the time, it will be cheaper on Amazon. If you have any self-control or interest in keeping to your budget, you’ll send yourself an email note about the book or add it to your wishlist, and order it later for half the price. It’s sad, but true. Unless it’s a last minute gift, or you need something for a train or plane ride, it’s hard to justify the extra expense unless you are simply in a mood to treat yourself.

I bought the things that were 40 percent off, like timeless greeting cards and magazines that I may want to write for. I am a complete bibliophile, but still couldn’t bring myself to buy the books because they seemed overpriced, or not steeply discounted enough for me to run around like a kid in a candy store.

As an author, I know that the higher prices are probably better for me in the end. So while one side of me wants consumers to pay the steeper price tag so I can earn a penny for my blood, sweat, and tears, the other side of me is still the savvy consumer. Talk about internal conflict! I’m sure the prices will come down as Borders liquidates, but my initial experience told me a lot about the changing marketplace.

While I always will love the books I can hold in my hands, I have a feeling that e-books are also changing the environment. When I was studying for my library science degree, nobody thought they were going to take off, but now? I’ve heard publishing insiders swear that e-books still aren’t taking a big chunk out of the marketplace and that it’s all hype, but my personal experience says otherwise. Some readers are really into their Kindles, etc. Put it this way - I’m glad my title is available as an e-book. Right now it's on the Kindle bestseller list for books in Catholicism - go figure!

A Final Plug for Tyler Blanski's Mud & Poetry

I promised people a summary book review of Mud and Poetry in the winter months and feel increasingly guilty for not delivering. I love the book, but life got in the way and I never finished the final few pages. It’s on my permanent reading list though, and I will get back to it. I probably shouldn’t wait any longer to give one final plug though and register my endorsement on for all book buyers to see….so here it goes….

If you have read Theology of the Body, Love and Responsibility, or The Four Loves and burned out on them, try Tyler Blanski’s Mud & Poetry. It’s contemporary, philosophical, theological, but readable and relatable. It is written by an Anglican and has some Protestant theological concepts. As an increasingly ecumenical Catholic convert, I found this interesting and not to be a turn off at all.

The first chapter is where Tyler describes the differences between Mud Love and Poetic Love. Poetic Love is a higher form of love than Mud Love, and the chapter is filled with various descriptions and metaphors to convey these concepts to readers.

My favorite quote from Chapter 1 is probably on page 15:
“You can’t have poetry without mud. Christianity knows this. This is why, for all its Sistine Chapels and Dantes and Bachs, it remains the faith of messy ordinary people living messy ordinary lives.”

Tyler talks about how popular culture’s concepts of the roving bachelor are damaging and unhealthy. He also mentions that Christianity’s courtship movement can be equally damaging and unhealthy. I am a huge fan of anyone who has the guts to stick their neck out in the Christian community and speak the truth about that, especially when they are young and getting the courtship sales pitch. Tyler says, “No, thank you.”

Mud and Poetry is a pondering book, and it takes quality time to sift through if you’re going to read it right. If you zipped through my book and want something else to chew on, try this one. It will make you think about what you’re looking for in a relationship.

Because Tyler is still single, it can sometimes have a wistful and idealistic tone of unfulfilled desire, but that’s okay. It’s real, and it’s poetic. His work has a beauty to it that reminds me of viewing a classic painting, and other times, it makes you feel the everyday beauty of sipping a favorite drink at a local coffee shop. I wanted to go read this at a coffee shop! The style of his work is inspirational in of itself, and for that, I have a deep respect for it.

I discovered Tyler Blanski on’s Belief Blog. When I read his post, I thought “Oh my gosh, I need to talk to this fellow.” Well, he’s a really nice guy and does check his fan mail. Tyler has been compared to a modern day C.S. Lewis. His faith is, to me, pretty traditional and I don’t think Catholics will feel too out of their element while reading his work. It will take you a little outside of your box, but sometimes, that’s what we need to grow.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How to Handle a Breakup

Summer is a rough time to experience a breakup because it’s the sunny season of barbecues and socializing. Chapter Eleven of my book is Coping with Disappointment and Betrayal. Most people who date have their heart smashed once or twice. It’s not pleasant!

Here are a few quick tips that should help you weather the storm:

Invite Jesus into Your Cracked Heart - First and foremost, realize that a broken heart gives Jesus a big opening to enter through. Invite him in and he will help you get through the pain. Suffering can amplify our spiritual sensitivity and leave us more open to Christ’s love and help.

Give Yourself Some Credit – In the hours, days and months following the breakup, you are going to wonder if there is anything you did wrong. Could you have prevented this mess? You may not feel so great, especially if you were the one who was broken up with. Most times, you can at least give yourself some credit though. You took a chance on love. Some people don’t have that kind of courage or trust, and lead lonely lives as a result.

Take Stock – Did this breakup save you from a troubled marriage? Can you find a silver lining or something to be grateful for? Is there a big relationship lesson you can learn from the whole experience? Maybe it’s to learn to read your gut instinct better or to avoid certain behaviors. Or, to draw boundaries more effectively. Maybe, you learn that one trait in a spouse is more important than you thought it was before. In Chapter One of my book, I describe how one really bad breakup taught me to change my dating strategy and philosophy completely. Breakups can be fruitful. They can change your life and usher in learning opportunities, so take advantage of the time and reflect.

Monitor Depression – It’s completely normal to feel depressed following a break up, but monitor yourself. Sadness can beget more sadness. You can change your brain chemistry in a negative way or become susceptible to illness if you don’t know how to coax yourself out of a melancholic slump. Journaling is a cheap and easy way to keep your mind moving forward. Studies show that journaling for 20-30 minutes every morning about your innermost thoughts and emotions is like clearing the cache of a computer. You can also do some therapy or life coaching if you want more one-on-one attention.

Move On, Even if You Still Hurt – It’s tough to know when to move on after a break up. You’ll probably always have a scar from a painful split that will stick with you for a long time. It’s like a tattoo. So, be careful about waiting a super long time to date again under the premise, “I need to heal.” You need to recover, yes, but the memory will never completely leave you. At some point, you need to replace bad memories with good memories. Here’s my rule of thumb: When you are at a point when you don’t need to talk about your past relationship or breakup constantly, you’re probably ready to date again.

Remember that all things happen for a reason. In the near-term, you should be able to learn something from your breakup that will help your future relationships succeed. Once years go by, you’ll have better hindsight and probably mature more. So don’t be surprised if you continue to discover things about yourself, others, and relationships in general through the memory of one breakup!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Book Wins First-Time Author CPA Award

The Catholic Press Association (CPA) just gave my book, How to Get to 'I Do,' an award in the First-Time Author category! Founded in 1911, the CPA of the United States and Canada has more than 600 member organizations and reaches over 26 million people. This award is a big deal, and as my editor said, "Winning a CPA award is definitely an honor—they’re hard to snag." One word: W-O-W.

The CPA said this about my book: "This well-written guide with the views of a young woman searching for that one most important relationship in all of life includes supportive comments by her spouse. A book that could make a lifetime difference."

I remember when I got that irresistible spark that led me to write the book. I literally felt something in my stomach - butterflies. My whole body got cold and clammy, like something big was about to happen. I felt like I was about to get on a roller coaster. I knew that God was asking me to do something special that would touch many people and change lives. I would know the excitement of using my creative gifts for a public audience. I've always been attracted to the glamor of being a writer, artist, or musician. But, I knew this venture wouldn't be all me, and that's why I felt cold and clammy. I would be God's instrument. That's both exciting and scary.

Since my book came out last year, I have given many interviews and answered many emails from readers. But, somehow the award confirms for me that my initial inspiration and inner knowing were authentic. I'm glad I persevered through the many discouragements I hit along the road to publication now. It was all worth it.

Thanks for all of your support!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

EWTN Segment Cancelled

Sorry gals - the segment was cancelled last minute. They wanted to cover Fr. Corapi. I hope to get re-scheduled for later this summer and I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

See Me On EWTN Tomorrow Night!

I will be on Raymond Arroyo’s The World Over tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. EST. Tune into EWTN and if you want to talk to me, prepare to call in!