Novella longa, vita brevis or Why I Haven't Written on This Blog Lately

I thought I would tell you all what I've been up to lately: I've been writing like mad the past few months, but not -- alas! -- on this blog. I've found that I've reached an age where I am willing to admit that multi-tasking is not what I do best. (This has probably always been true, but I'm finally ready to admit it.) So, since I've been trying to get my first novel ready for publication (not done yet, folks!), I've had little time for reading the kinds of things I like to discuss on this blog.

The Father's Tale, by Michael O'Brien
This is not to say that I haven't been reading at all -- indeed, I am now about 850 pages into Michael O'Brien's gigantic novel, The Father's Tale , and when I've read the remaining 300 pages or so, I will definitely want to tell you about it. O'Brien himself describes it as a retelling of two parables, the Prodigal Son and the Good Shepherd, and it is that, but it's also a romance in the technical (medieval) sense, a quest in which a man goes looking for his son and finds himself in the process.

I also want to tell you about a book I found when I tried searching for "Catholic science fiction" on Amazon -- I discovered a new book called Ad Limina: a novella of Catholics in space , by Cyril Jones-Kellett. It so happens that the author left a link to the book in a comment on this blog a couple of weeks ago, and I've promised him I'll write a proper review of the book, first chance I get.
Another book I hope to read and review soon is D. A. Knight's Cretaceous Clay & the Black Dwarf, written by a member of the Dallas/Fort Worth Catholic Writers Group, whose real name is Alan Brooks. I met him last summer at the Catholic Writers Conference, when he was getting this novel ready for production, and again at our most recent writers group meeting, where he was handing out review copies of his book. So that's in my stack of things to read and review.

If you'd like to know more about the Catholic science fiction novel I am writing, to be the first of a series I call Sancta Futura, please subscribe to my science fiction blog. I hope to put a proper author web site together soon, which will incorporate both this reading blog and my Sancta Futura science fiction blog, but my mono-tasking brain is shrinking from that task. It must happen soon, though, because I need to start making some money, and web sites apparently help do that. I hope to have the novel ready for publication by the end of September.

In the mean time, I'm working on a little pocket prayer book, something that will combine prayers already familiar to most Catholics, with a few treasures from the Anglican tradition. I'm a member of an Anglican Use Catholic parish (St Mary the Virgin in Arlington, Texas), a parish that will officially become part of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter, as soon as the Diocese of Fort Worth gets a new bishop who can sign the paperwork. Our current Pope Francis, and our two previous popes, Benedict XVI and John Paul II, have all made clear that Anglicans coming into the Catholic Church bring with them a precious and distinctive liturgical and spiritual tradition (what Pope Benedict referred to in Anglicanorum Coetibus as our "legitimate patrimony"). So I'm going to try to do my own little bit to share some of the Anglican tradition with the wider Church by including some of the wonderful Anglican collects that anyone can use as part of their own private, devotional practice. This book will also be made available on Amazon and perhaps, later on, through other booksellers as well. If you have a favorite prayer (Catholic, not necessary Anglican) that you think I should include, please let me know!

Making money as a novelist and literary blogger is even more difficult than making money as a musician or artist -- certainly, it takes a lot more time. I've recently begun selling off some of the books that I've had in storage for nearly four years, and it's a painful experience -- mostly because used bookstores pay a pitifully (insultingly) small amount. I've decided instead to sell my books to friends, which is one way of seeing that they go to a good home.

I'm also working on another way to help friends such as you, dear readers, to connect with great books, and this is to build my own personal Amazon bookstore, chock full of books that I've discussed on this blog (and others that I'd like to discuss or recommend). I've already begun building it, and will continue to work on it (it is a slow, tedious business), but you can already shop there. See the tab at the top of this page that says "Catholic Reader Amazon Store"? Click the tab and you will be magically whisked to my personal bookstore. When you buy books from the bookstore, two wonderful things will happen: 1) you will soon be reading a wonderful new book, and 2) I will be paid a small royalty on your purchase, at no additional cost to you.

When you're done shopping, just click the link at the bottom of the page that says "return to Catholic Reader blog," and you'll be right back here. Right now, I've loaded up some of the historical mysteries and science fiction books that I've mentioned in the past, and I'll be adding to the bookstore a little bit at a time.

One section that I'm particularly eager to add will contain works by contemporary Catholic writers, particularly novelists. If any of you readers have books that you would like me to include, please let me know. And if you have any books that you would like me to review, let me know that, too.

UPDATE: Aaargh! Amazon deleted all the books I put in my bookstore. I am rebuilding as fast as I can. Check back in a day or two.


  1. As far as Catholic novelists, I highly recommend Jon Hassler. I think folks should start with his novel _Staggerford_ and then move on from there. My favorite, maybe, of his books is one called _The Love Hunter_. Marty Sherman and I have read everything he has ever written, and he is the only author I ever wrote fan mail to. And he answered! He died just a couple of years ago and is not nearly so well known as he should be.

    And, of course, J. F. Powers novels - _Morte d'Urban_ and _Wheat That Springeth Green_ are excellent. He also writes short stories and novellas, but I am not as big a fan of those as I am of the novels.

  2. Thanks, Terry. I am not familiar with Hassler's work -- I'll see if I can get hold of something of his (just downloaded the Kindle sample of Staggerford). I'm familiar with Powers, of course -- even gave a collection of his short stories to our favorite parish priest, once upon a time.

    Actually, though, when I referred to "contemporary Catholic writers," I meant people who are actually writing *today.* (Powers was writing 50-60 years -- two generations -- ago. My, how time flies!)

    I'd like to introduce the new Catholic literary renaissance as it happens! At least, I'd like to showcase some of the works of members of the Catholic Writers Guild, most of which have been published by small presses and may not otherwise get a lot of promotion.

    Anyway, I appreciate your suggestions. I'll be adding titles to the bookstore gradually, as the process is rather slow and tedious. I'm starting with books I've already referred to on this blog, and will fill in with others later on.


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