Saturday, December 12, 2015

Book Talk

It's been a while since I posted here at The Write Stuff.  More than a month, in fact.  (String of Pearls is still my favorite child, I guess.  It's not okay to have them as a mother, but I think it's okay to have them as a blogger.)

Today I published a new post called "Bookishness," with some news about my Catholic YA novels, Erin's Ring and Finding Grace.  In it, I copied and pasted the latest Amazon review of ER, a five-star endorsement that made my heart sing.

I also posted a few pictures of my 8th-grade niece's school project, which was all about FG.
There's some talk about book promotion in the post, too, and how blogs can help a whole lot with that process...

Hey, instead of giving you tidbits, why don't I just give you a link to the post in full?  Yeah, that's it; that's what I'll do.

So just click on over, if you're interested in hearing more book talk.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Winners of Erin's Ring Giveaway

Head on over to String of Pearls to find out who won the two signed copies of Erin's Ring, my award-winning Catholic YA novel(I was only going to give away one copy; but I changed my mind at the last minute!  Because you guys are the best.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

I'm Giving Away a Not-Kindle Copy of Erin's Ring!

I'm still running a giveaway over at String of Pearls.

Leave me a message in my combox over there at my flagship blog by Oct. 31, and you could win a free signed paperback copy of Erin's Ring.
In the future, Erin's Ring (my second YA Catholic novel, published by Bezalel Books) will most likely be available in Kindle format; but for now, it's being offered in the paperback version only.  Although there are probably many "eReaders" who won't purchase the book until it's available for digital download, I love that it's an honest-to-goodness, old-school, ink-and-paper book.  I love real books.  I have a Kindle and I do use it occasionally; but I much prefer the real deal. 

If you'd like to read more about why I prefer actual books to virtual ones, here's the full post today at String of Pearls.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Event Tomorrow at Dover Public Library

Tomorrow morning, I have a speaking engagement.  I'm going to be talking about Erin's Ring with two local chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution.  [Pause to furrow brow and chew on a fingernail, while the two-note "Jaws" soundtrack music plays in my head.]

Where was I?  Oh yes, the speaking engagement tomorrow.

The venue for this event is the Dover Public Library, which is totally apropos, since this building is practically a supporting character in the book.  The library is where Molly and Theresa's friendship is cemented, as they spend Saturday mornings there together, combing through documents in the Historical Room upstairs in hopes of uncovering the origins of an old engraved Claddagh ring that Molly found in the garden outside of St. Mary's Church.

I just realized something: this gathering is not only taking place at the library, but on a Saturday morning, too.  The DAR and I (who will become fast friends, I hope) will be practically reenacting a scene from Erin's Ring!

I am bringing along some signed copies of the novel, for anyone who's interested in purchasing them.  I'm also planning to give away a "door prize" to one lucky winner.
I was going to include a Claddagh ring in the gift box; but since a ring is size-dependent, I decided upon a Claddagh pin instead.  The great thing about a brooch is that it's a one-size-fits-all piece of jewelry.

I may add a few more Irish-themed goodies to this box.  I really hope to make the event enjoyable for the attendees, some of whom may be young readers.  The gal who arranged the whole thing said they specifically wanted to have it on Saturday morning, rather than on a school night, so that young people would be able to attend as well.

When I was interviewed on the radio recently (on Ken Huck's "Meet the Author" radio show), my daughter-in-law Preciosa marveled that it didn't make me nervous talking to someone without having any visual clues to let me know how it was going.  She is a social person, an extrovert to my introvert, and she said that for her, it would be so much easier to speak in front of a crowd.  Not for me, I told her; having no visual clues was actually the PERFECT scenario for me.  If I'd been talking face-to-face with Ken, I might have read too much into his expressions and imagined that my long-winded answers were boring him.  I'm a fast-talker anyway, but sitting across from him probably would have made me speed it up even more.  Chatting into the phone, to a disembodied voice, was actually the ideal set-up for me.  (Who would have guessed that I'd be comfortable talking on the radio?)

Thinking about tomorrow is giving me a case of the jitters, however, so I would appreciate your prayers!  Pray that I don't get all tongue-tied or go off on crazy tangents.  Pray that I can stay calm and collected, and that I can speak at a reasonably slow pace so that I'm not tripping over my words.  But most of all, pray that if it's God's will, this talk tomorrow will help to get Erin's Ring into the hands of even one young reader who might be inspired or edified by it.

Thanks, dear readers.  I'll be back Monday to let you know how it went.   [Pause to chew on a fingernail again..."Jaws" theme playing...AAAGGGHHH!]  No really, it'll be just fine.  It will!

(P.S.: Just a quick reminder about the giveaway.  Leave me a comment by Halloween, and you could win a signed copy of Erin's Ring.  No trick here, I promise; all treat!)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Grace-filled Tuesdays (Book Club "Meeting" #10)

Today over at String of Pearls, there's been another meeting of the book club.  Here's the link to that post if you'd like to join in.  (It includes a link to a article about Erin's Ring that was published in the "Book Notes" section of the website on Sept. 25.)

Friday, August 14, 2015

A Second Guest Spot on "Meet the Author"

Here's yesterday's post from String of Pearls (the second post of the day, actually, which came just hours after the first):

Well, just a little while ago, I finished up my radio interview with Ken Huck on his "Meet the Author" show.  I called in and talked to Ken about Erin's Ring for 20 minutes or so; and when we were finished I hung up, grateful that although there were some points in the interview where I might have been a little awkward in giving my answers, I had survived it.  After I hung up the phone, I exhaled, and even said "I survived!" aloud--then worried that perhaps I hadn't pushed the "off" button on the phone hard enough and those words had gone out over the airwaves.  I really, really hope not. 

Here's what kept me company on the dining room table as I talked to Ken.  With friends like this around (St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Joseph, Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, and Mary, Our Mother), how can you go wrong?
I had a quivery feeling in the pit of my stomach for parts of the interview; I babbled at times, and then at others didn't know how to end what I was saying. I think I ended some of my long-winded answers with, "So..."  I still need work at this public speaking business.   But Ken couldn't be nicer, and I so appreciate his willingness to have me on his show.  Not once, but twice! 

Ken gave away two signed copies of Erin's Ring during the broadcast, to callers of the show--with one caveat: they were asked to share the book with three people, and then to email Ken about those experiences.  I can't thank him enough for helping to spread the word about this book, which I hope will touch many young souls.

Thanks so much to those who prayed for me.  I appreciate it more than I can express!

Now here's the link to my interview with Ken, if you're interested in listening.  (My part of the program begins at about the 26 minute mark.)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Win a Copy of Erin's Ring!

I am giving away two signed copies of Erin's Ring.  The contest starts tomorrow (July 15) and runs through August 15.  This book would make great summer reading for your pre-teen or teen--or dare I say, even for you!

Goodreads Book Giveaway
Erin's Ring by Laura H. Pearl

Erin's Ring

by Laura H. Pearl           

Enter Giveaway

Head on over to Goodreads and enter to win: 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Erin's Ring Receives Two Catholic Press Association Awards!

I was so thrilled and honored to hear that Erin's Ring had garnered two awards at the recent annual gathering of the Catholic Press Association in Buffalo, NY.
Erin's Ring got 2nd place in the Books for Teens & Young Adults category, and 3rd place in the Catholic Novels category. 

I blogged about this in more depth at String of Pearls today, if you'd like to click on over.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Grace-filled Tuesdays (Book Club "Meeting" #6)

There was a Grace-filled Tuesdays book club "meeting" today over at String of Pearls, with Q & A from the awesome 4th grade class I visited recently to talk about Erin's RingHead on over if you want to join the discussion!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Grace-filled Tuesdays (Book Club "Meeting" #5)

The latest post in the Grace-filled Tuesdays Book Club series is up today.  Today's topic: character development in my first novel, Finding GraceHead on over to String of Pearls and join the discussion!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Giveaway Winners

If you're interested in finding out who won the signed copies of Erin's Ring and Finding Grace (a giveaway I ran over at String of Pearls, in honor of National Library Week), click here.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Giveaway in Honor of National Library Week (A Reminder!)

I've been hosting a giveaway over at String of Pearls.  In honor of National Library Week (April 12-18, 2015), I'm giving away a signed copy of each of my YA Catholic novels, for adults young and old--Finding Grace and Erin's Ring.  Leave me a comment before midnight tonight, and you could be a lucky winner.  (Let me know which title you'd prefer as your prize, if you're so moved!)

I need your comments by midnight tonight in order for your name to be tossed into the hat!  So visit my combox--oh please oh please oh please!  I love to hear from you.


April 16 was dubbed "Celebrate Teen Literature Day," and on that date I blogged about my motivation for writing fiction aimed at teens (and their parents!).  If you missed that post, you can read it here.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Eager Readers

Talk about a dream come true for an author of a Catholic YA novel: a group of schoolchildren reading her book!  Wow.  There's a lad giving it the thumb's up here.  And is that young lass up front hugging her copy?!  (As an added bonus, these eager readers are dressed in Catholic school uniforms, which I just love.)
These 5th-graders are reading Erin's Ring at a Catholic school out in the Midwest, and their teacher is my niece.

For more on this, head on over to String of Pearls.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Book Giveaway, in Honor of National Library Week

In honor of National Library Week, I'm going to give away one copy of each of my novels (you can enter to win here at The Write Stuff, and over at String of Pearls, too).

Tuesday April 14 is "National Library Workers Day," and I thought that was a perfect reason to give away a copy of Erin's Ring--a book that features the public library and a kindly and helpful librarian who works there.  If you win, perhaps you could give it to a special librarian in your life as a gift (or then again, you could keep it and share it with your favorite reader, middle school-aged and up).

Thursday April 16 is "Celebrate Teen Literature Day," and I thought that was a perfect reason to give away a copy of Finding Grace--a book that I wrote with high school-aged readers in mind.  If you win, perhaps you could give it to your favorite teen as a gift (or your favorite adult, for that matter!).

To enter the giveaway: leave me a comment anytime between now and Saturday April 18.  In your comment, let me know which of the two titles you would prefer to win.  It's a short window of opportunity, so if you want to throw your name into the hat, don't shilly-shally!
I look forward to your comments, fellow bookworms!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Review of Finding Grace at Epihpanies of Beauty

My new on-line writing friend Christine was kind enough to read and review Finding Grace a while back.  Although she felt it was very long (and might have been better as three separate books instead of one), she had some very kind things to say.  I value her opinion, as she writes a blog that is solely dedicated to Catholic writing.   You can read Christine's review here.

(I should think about sending Christine a copy of Erin's Ring for review as well--I can't help but wonder if the shorter length and narrower scope of it might be more to her liking.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A New Review of Erin's Ring, by Kari Burke

Catholic blogger and novelist Kari Burke (author of the wonderful pro-life novel The Life I Dreamed) recently posted a review of Erin's Ring on her blog, From My Catholic Perspective.

Thanks so much, Kari!  I am humbled and touched by your kind words, and so glad you feel that it's a book you can enjoy along with your daughters!

(Also, I blogged about my first Erin's Ring book signing today over at String of Pearls, if you want to check it out!)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Book Signing at St. Mary's Church

This weekend, I will be signing copies of Erin's Ring, a YA novel about Irish immigrants and the impact they had on Dover, NH, after all the Masses at my parish church.  It seemed like the perfect weekend to do this, with St. Patty's Day just around the corner.   I will have a table in the church hall at St. Mary's in Dover (the church so prominently featured in the novel).

I've been working on ideas to make the table appealing, and here's what I have so far:
(I blogged more about this event over at String of Pearls today, and if you want you can read that post here.)

It's just a few hours until the anticipated Mass...and I'm getting nervous, but excited, too.  Please keep me in your prayers, won't you?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Grace-filled Tuesdays ("Meeting" #3)

If you'd like to come to a "meeting" of my on-line book club, Grace-filled Tuesdays (where we'll discuss not only Finding Grace, but Erin's Ring as well), head on over to String of Pearls today!

Monday, February 23, 2015

A New Review for Erin's Ring

Here's a new review for Erins Ring, by Catholic writer, artist, and homeschooling mom, Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur (who also reviewed Finding Grace a couple of years ago):  The review appeared not only on Patrice's Spiritual Woman blog, but on Amazon, too.  And she gave it five stars!

Thanks, Patrice!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

#showusyourlist (Good, Clean Fiction to Nourish Your Soul)

Erin McCole Cupp, a Catholic blogger and the author of a wonderful novel called Don't You Forget About Me, has come up with a Mardi Gras hashtag media blitz idea: she has invited a slew of fellow writers and bloggers to share lists of fictional works they've enjoyed (books, of course, but movies as well)--works that remind readers that there are choices out there that are a whole lot more wholesome and inspiring than the trashy and surprisingly popular garbage that passes as "literature" in our modern world.  Works that are polluting minds and damaging souls.  (You know, like 50 Shades of Grey, to name one such offering.)  The plan is to saturate the Twitterverse, the blogosphere, and the land of Facebook with these encouraging lists of entertainment choices that are "good, beautiful & true," and to tag them #showusyourlist.
Here's Erin's post, if you'd like to check it out and see what titles she's put on her list.

I've never read 50 Shades, a shameful trilogy of books that glamorizes kinky, misogynistic, and abusive sexual practices.  But I've heard enough to know I never will.  And I don't think you have to be a mental giant to realize that what's being peddled here isn't harmless escapist entertainment for women; it's pornography.
This meme would be sort of funny if it wasn't for the expression on Belle's face.  She's looking at Gaston (a macho doofus who might be my boys' favorite Disney animated character of all time) with a patronizing expression, as if to say, "What do you expect from a meathead like him?  His biceps might look like watermelons, but his brain is the size of a pea."  But in this case, even a man of little brain like Gaston is right on the money.  Ladies, if you think these books have any redeeming qualities, you're fooling yourself.  If you think they're morally neutral escapist fantasy, you're fooling yourself.

You wouldn't be happy if you caught your husband looking at pornographic materials, would you?  So how do you think he'll feel if he finds you reading this sort of smut?


I decided to join Erin and make a list of way-better-for-your-soul books that I've enjoyed, works of contemporary fiction that you can read in public without one iota of shame.  I posted my list earlier today at String of Pearls, if you'd like to check it out.

I urge you to support authors who are writing uplifting, clean, inspiring literature.  Buy their books.  Leave reviews on Amazon, if you're so inclined (even just a few words can help).  It's not enough to say "Don't read 50 Shades!" and leave it at that.  Find books that you think people should read, and promote those among your friends and loved ones.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Plug for My Book Club

I have the best publisher!

Cheryl Dickow, president of Bezalel Books, just blogged about the Grace-filled Tuesdays book club that I started recently on my String of Pearls blog (we just had our second "meeting" yesterday).  I love the title Cheryl chose for her post: "God's Grace and Grace Kelly."  (Methinks THAT would have made an excellent name for this club!)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Harper Lee's Second Novel

You guys, I have an author's page on Amazon.  Amazing.  And my long-held pipe-dream was to write just one novel in my lifetime, a la Harper Lee (yes, folks, I did just put my humble little self in the same sentence with that literary giant--shame on me!).  Yet there are  two books listed on my Amazon page now.

Sometimes I have to pinch myself.

When I add up my sales revenues, there's no pinching going on--believe me.  I am not going to be able to tell my husband that he can retire now because my book income can support us. 

But getting rich has never been the goal, anyway.  Using the gifts God gave me to give Him greater glory is the only important thing here.  If even one reader is inspired to love Him more after reading one of my books--just one reader--then my goal has been accomplished.

When I read To Kill a Mockingbird at the age of about eleven, Harper Lee's history inspired me.  That book was the catalyst that set my dream in motion: one novel, that's what I would write.  Just one.   In 2012, when I was a newly-minted grandmother, that dream was finally realized with Finding Grace; and I thought, "Okay, now I'm done."  I didn't think I had another book in me.  Truly I didn't.  And that was okay by me.  For goodness sake, one book was good enough for Harper Lee--it was certainly good enough for me!  (By the way, thank you, Cheryl Dickow, for thinking otherwise, or I wouldn't have had the joy of bringing Erin's Ring to life.)
But have you heard the exciting news about Harper Lee?  At the age of 88--55 years after her first (and only) book was published--she is publishing her second novel, titled Go Set a Watchman.  It is a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, featuring a grown-up Scout.  In reality, however, this is the novel she wrote first!  But the publisher was very taken with the flashbacks to Scout's childhood in Lee's debut manuscript and convinced her to write another book, from young Scout's perspective.  That book became the wildly successful To Kill a Mockingbird, and it made the reclusive author a millionaire many times over.  (If you want to read more about this incredible story, check out this article, or this one.)

I have lots of copies of Lee's masterpiece in my house.  Two are hardcover special edition copies, with vintage-style artwork on the covers.  (Those are the ones I keep in the living room, for show--they're too precious to thumb through with chocolate-stained fingers; I have several dog-eared paperback copies, complete with coffee stains, on the family room shelves as well.)  And you can bet I'll have some copies of Lee's second published work (which will be available in July of 2015) on my shelf as soon as it's out.  In fact, I've already pre-ordered a hardcover copy from Amazon.

Harper Lee's is a lot more impressive than mine...but you guys, I have an Amazon author's page.  And sometimes I think if it wasn't for Lee and the effect her work had one me, I wouldn't have one at all.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A New Review of Erin's Ring

I was thrilled to get this review of Erin's Ring from Madeline, who blogs over at A Dash of Snark.

Thanks so much, Madeline!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

I've Started a Book Club!

Well, I started a book club over at String of Pearls, to discuss both of my Catholic novels (Finding Grace and Erin's Ring).  It's called Grace-Filled Tuesdays, and if you want to head on over and join the discussion, here's the link:

I hope you'll stop by!  I'd love to talk books with you!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Review of Finding Grace from Life of a Catholic Librarian

My very good on-line friend Tiffany, a librarian and fellow book enthusiast who blogs at Life of a Catholic Librarian, recently offered this review of Finding Grace , my first novel for Bezalel Books.  (There is also a short endorsement from Tiffany on the back cover of my second novel, Erin's Ring--which coincidentally just happens to feature a character who is a Catholic librarian!)

Thanks for your support of my books, Tiffany!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

"Meet the Author" Interview

Finding Grace, my debut novel (published in 2012) is a story set in the town where my husband and I grew up--Plattsburgh, NY.  And like me, its young heroine, Grace Kelly, turns 14 the summer of 1972 and gets ready to enter the local Catholic high school.

It is only fitting then that it was an old high school friend from Plattsburgh (who was a few years behind us--a classmate of one of my younger sisters and one of my husband's younger brothers) who was instrumental in giving me the opportunity to talk about that book with Ken Huck of Radio Maria.  This wonderful gal--who lived right down the street from my husband, on the shore of Lake Champlain--belongs to the same parish as Ken these days, and she knew that he had a show called "Meet the Author," where he talks to writers of Catholic works of fiction and non-fiction.  God bless her, she gave him a copy of Finding Grace; and God bless him, he liked it enough to want to bring me on his show (where I was able to chat about Erin's Ring as well).

When January 15 (the scheduled date for the interview) rolled around, I was a bundle of nerves before I went on--but just as with the Catholic Vitamins podcast interview back in December, it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be.  In fact, I enjoyed the experience more than I would have thought possible.

If you'd like to listen, here's a link to the interview (I'm the second guest--about 32 minutes in): 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Mom's Books and Good Intentions

When our youngest son was packing up his stuff to head back to Notre Dame (for his final semester before graduation!  Yikes!), I saw his carry-on bag sitting on the edge of the bed in his room.
Yes, those are copies of Finding Grace and Erin's Ring in there, right on top.

I have no illusions that my baby--who didn't inherit his mother's obsession for reading and who has only a few months left to matriculate at one of the most beautiful and opportunity-filled universities in the USA--will actually spend his off hours with his nose in his mommy's books.  Aside from his studies, he has ROTC responsibilities that take up a good deal of his time.  And he has a nice group of friends who are just as sick of books as he is by Friday afternoon, so that the last thing they're thinking is, "TGIF!  Let's crack open some novels and hunker down for the weekend!"  (College kids: they just don't get how great a plan that actually is!) So I'm not going to expect him to call and tell me he's finished them.  But I love it that when he left home after his last Christmas vacation as a college undergrad, he had those two books close at hand for his flight out to Indiana.

I love his good intentions.

To put it quite simply: I love that boy.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Real-Life Inspiration in Dover

Today over at my main blog, String of Pearls, I take you on a photo tour of Dover, NH, the setting of my second YA Catholic novel, Erin's Ring.  Dover has a rich history, and I mined the part about its 19th-century Irish immigrants and the impact they had on the town to find inspiration for this novel.

Here's a sneak peak...

To see the rest and read more about Erin's Ring, click here and head on over to String of Pearls.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Curling up with a Good Book!

A dear old high school friend, whom I haven't seen since the Reagan administration, just posted this photo--wherein she is curled up on her couch, reading Erin's Ring--on Facebook, with the caption: "This pajama fest I have going on includes slippers and a warm blanket, football, coffee and Kahlua and a really sweet story that I can't seem to put down!  #Erinsring #myfriendcanwrite."
Doesn't this look like the most relaxing way ever to spend New Year's day?  I want to hop into this picture and hug this wonderful, loyal, supportive friend! (#feelingblessed)

And doesn't this cozy scene make you want to head on over to Amazon and order your very own copy of Erin's Ring with which to curl up?  (Or perhaps you could contact me via email, if you'd like to have me send you a signed copy.  Just click over to String of Pearls and find the "EMAIL ME" button on the sidebar.)

That could be one of your New Year's resolutions: to read more Catholic fiction in 2015.  And Erin's Ring might be a good place to start!  ;)