Monday, December 29, 2008

John Paul 2 High Book Two...

For all of you who've asked me: when's the next John Paul 2 High Book coming out?

Right now Book Two is written and it's at the publishers. I don't know yet when they will be bringing it out: but I know this much: if they hear from you readers, they'll probably speed up the process!

So please direct any and all inquiries about the release date for Book Two to:

orders@sophiainstitute.com or call 1-800-888-9344.

Here's hoping for Book Two early in the New Year!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas! And a Present....! (?)

Merry Christmas to all of you! As per my occasional tradition, I wanted to post a Christmas present for you all. There are some secret doors on the Fairy Tale Novel website (see the FairyTaleNovel forum for more details) but I also thought I'd post this video made by my siblings, just to show you what they do when I'm not around...

Some of you may know that I'm the oldest of ten children (yes, Martin Doman of Steubenville song fame is my younger brother, and so are the various other Doman men who've sung at various conferences and venues: I occasionally get asked that). For years our family has been a fan of Roger Whittaker's first Christmas album (available on iTunes) and his eclectic Christmas tale Darcy the Dragon, a somewhat odd song about a dragon who goes Christmas shopping one year with disastrous results. It's been somewhat of a tradition to do a skit of the song on Christmas eve: I remember fondly the version I directed during my teenage years that featured my brother David dressed in a newspaper-stuffed garbage bag playing the hapless Darcy while my various small siblings played the elves, shopkeepers, and forest friends.... Alas, today David is a surgeon in Texas and I am a staid novelist encsconced in Virginia with my own family, so our holiday skit-making days are behind us for now.

However, there are still single and young-married Domans at home, with time on their hands on Christmas Eve, and this year they decided to do their own version of Darcy. It was comadeered by my sister Jessy Sheguit, while Johnny Doman (of the John Paul 2 High team) videotaped, and the inestimable Joseph Doman did the puppets. Anna and Maria Doman (who are a high school student and high school teacher respectively) did special effects. And the Token Teenager (from the JP2High team) was on hand to witness the madness, and did what any sensible person would have done: stand by with a bucket of water in case the show turned into inferno...

They posted the resulting movie on YouTube, so I invite you to enjoy. I have no idea if you'll find it as funny as I do. But if you do, be sure to check out the Director's Cut by Johnny and Joe Doman. (PS: Ignore the other Darcy movie done by someone on drugs - same song, but not really worth watching... you want the one posted by jessysheg).

Also there's an interview with me as part 3 of their Christmas special (the December 25 post) at Radio Drama Revival. My husband and I talked about the Shadow of the Bear audio drama, which is enjoying a run on a couple of sites devoted to audio dramas including RDR. Check out the interview if you like.

A Blessed Christmas!!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Shadow on Radio Drama Revival!


Good news! The audio drama of The Shadow of the Bear is being featured on Radio Drama Revival this week and next. They won't be playing the entire thing, but they're featuring some pretty long selections, so if you want to try out the audio drama (which, btw, you can download onto your computer or iPod for just $15), take a listen!

Monday, December 8, 2008

On St. Max's Book

Since it's the feast of the Immaculate Conception today, I figure it's only fitting that I honor our Lady by a post on the very topic. From an email I received last week:

Subject: Maximilian Kolbe book?

Hello Regina, I listened to you last night on Life On The Rock. It was not only interesting, but inspiring! Plus, you have a great laugh!

During your appearance, you mentioned the Influence of Maximillian Kolbe and his explanation of Mary and the Holy Spirit. If I'm not mistaken, you mentioned the name of a specific book, either by St. Kolbe, or about him, that talks about this teaching. Do you remeber the name of that book?


Hi Pete,
Thanks for your email! So glad you enjoyed the interview on Life on the Rock.

About St. Max's book, there is a bit of a difficulty there, because the saint was working on his book when he was martyred by the Nazis: so the definitive theological treatise on Mary and the Holy Spirit he planned was never completed.

However, there are books written by others that attempt to summarize his teaching and what his book would have contained. I believe the official one is The Immaculate Conception and the Holy Spirit by a French Dominican: Here is the title on Amazon: it is a tiny little book, and I have no idea why they are charging so much for it.

However, perhaps Marytown would have a copy of the book for a more reasonable price. I think it was only about $7 when I bought it.

But for myself, I first encountered St. Max's teaching in an out-of-print book called The Spirit and the Bride Say Come: Mary's Role in the New Pentecost by Fr. George Kosicki and a co-author: here is the title on Amazon.

I am delighted that I could find it for you on Amazon: last time I checked, it was unavailable. And the price seems to be right. :)

Glad to pass on the word about my favorite saint!

Happy Feast of the Immaculata!
Peace and good
Regina

Friday, December 5, 2008

EWTN show was great!

Just wanted to thank everyone for praying for me! I had a great time being interviewed by Fr. Mark and Doug Berry of Radix on Life on the Rock: it's the most fun I've ever had being interviewed: those guys really made me feel at home.

If you haven't caught the show, you can still catch the encore shows this weekend on EWTN: it's airing again at 11:00 PM EST. And it will be available for the rest of this week at this link here. To find it on the website, go to the streaming video page, scroll down to "archived video" and click on the Life on the Rock link in your preferred resolution.

Thanks again to all of you for your support and prayers!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Watching Me on EWTN

Hey there! I'm getting ready to leave for Alabama (we are driving: pray we have safe travels!), and I wanted to let you know that you can watch my Thursday interview on Life on the Rock online at http://www.ewtn.com/ at 8 PM EST. Click here for the exact link or just go to http://www.ewtn.com/ > Television > Live TV.

If you think of it, pray for me!!!! Thanks!

PS: I'm pleased to report that by now over 100,000 copies of my children's book Angel in the Waters has been sold. Woo hoo! If you've never seen it before, you can read the whole thing online. Enjoy!

PPS: Fan Rachel let me know that the Fairy Tale Novels are all on Amazon now!
Shadow of the Bear softcover -- hardcover
Black as Night softcover -- the hardcover should be up there soon...
Waking Rose softcover -- hardcover should be coming soon....
Midnight Dancers -- the softcover - the hardcover will be available later on)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I'm Going to Be on EWTN!

Okay, so here's the official blog announcement: I will be a guest on EWTN's Life on the Rock on Thursday, December 4th at 8pm EST! I'll be talking about Catholic teen fiction, including the Fairy Tale Novels and John Paul 2 High. Hope you all can tune in!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hope and Loose Ends

Today I'm the guest blogger on Barry Michael's blog The Tail End. He's doing a "Festival of Hope" all this month. Check out my essay on hope that I submitted to him by clicking here.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The First Fairy Tale Novel Fan Gathering a Success!

I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed having the fans who came over our house for the first-ever Fairy Tale Novel Fan Gathering. Though I was really unsure as to how it would work out, I am so glad everyone had fun! I was rather glad that the main attraction wasn't really 'meeting me' so much as "meeting other fans," and for that, I have to thank all of you who came at being so welcoming and inviting to one another!

Elizabeth, who as "Elenatintil" blogs and runs the Fairy Tale Novel forum, posted updates about what we did on her blog. (She's also making the student film of The Shadow of the Bear.) Check out her writings about the week!

So are we planning on doing it again? Well, there will be another fan gathering in St. Paul, Minnsota on Sunday April 26th: email me if you want details. And Andrew and I are talking about doing another gathering at our home sometime this summer: probably just an extended weekend this time. So stay in touch and let me know if you want to be updated about the next one!

How I Write Books

From time to time, I have emails from readers wondering what kind of techniques I use to write my books, and I thought I'd post my answer to one young author, Katie S., in case you would find it helpful. (Thanks Katie, for allowing me to post it!)

1. How long does it take you to write the general rough draft for a book. What comes after that?

Anywhere from a month to a year to ten years. It depends on how strongly I feel about the story and how much time I have. :) When I am working on a book continuously for several hours a day, about a month. After that, the REAL work of writing begins. I start reading the story, and as soon as I come to something that's confusing, boring, or doesn't fit, I start rewriting it. When I do this, I save the story as a new file with a date attached (ie: The Midnight Dancers 10-9-08) so if I change something and decide I don't like it, I can just revert to an earlier saved version and start over. I read and rewrite, read and rewrite, read and rewrite at least ten times.

When I can read the book without desiring to rewrite anything, I give it to someone else to read, usually my husband. If he likes the book, (and I trust his judgment so much: he is so skilled as a reader and editor and he is also hard to please) then I know it's pretty darn good. I had to search for a long time to find someone as good as him to be a reader/editor. If you are lucky, maybe someone in your family can do that for you. If not, you might just have to keep searching for a friend who is willing to do that and can give you advice that actually will make you a better writer. Writer's groups can help. But good editing is a rare skill that is difficult and time-consuming: I always say that when I finally met a really really good editor, I married him!

2. How do you organize a book before you write it? Do you simply let it take you where it pleases (this is what I tend to do) or do you make and outline for it almost as you would for a paper.

I have done it both ways, but in my experience it is much easier if you use an outline. Because otherwise, when your writing runs out of steam, you don't know where to go, and tend to just put the story aside. But if you have an outline, you can say to yourself, "Okay, I have to write the part where she convinces her friend to believe her." You might not want to write it, or when you write it, it might not be very good, but at least you wrote it. Real writing is in the rewriting, like I said above. An outline is a very useful tool. Plus you can revise your outline as you write, and that's easier than revising what you've already written.

3. What about your ideas for your books? Does this come from hours of planning and thinking things out or does it "just come to you"?

Both. Mysteries take a lot of planning on my part, because I'm not naturally gifted in that area. I am blessed to have a small circle of creative friends I can call on: when I get stuck or need to solve a problem or create a clue, I usually go and talk it out with them. They've come up with lots of ideas for me. So yes, hours of planning. But planning with a group of friends is really really fun for me (it's part of what started the John Paul 2 High books - see www.johnpaul2high.com). I'm not like JK Rowling, who needs to go off by herself and think and plan.


4. Also, could you explain a little on how you base your books on fairy tales. Once again, how do you sort it all out?

I start with a fairy tale I love, and think hard and for a long time about what the story actually means, what it's about on the deepest level. When I know what it's about on the deepest level, then I take that deep level and translate it into modern life. For instance, I think that on the deepest level, "Snow White and Rose Red" is about complementarity: about two very different siblings joining their gifts to help one another and others. You notice it's not just Rose and Blanche who help one another, but Bear and Fish as well. I had to make sure that translated. I also take key elements that we associate with the fairy tale -- for instance, the dark woods of "Snow White and Rose Red," the colors of black, red, and white in "Snow White," and ensure they appear in the story in some form, somehow.

I don't really try to be clever in finding new ways to tell the story: I'm more concerned that the story feel like the original fairy tale. For instance, at one point, a large amout of Black As Night took place in an office. I just could not make that office feel like anything that was in the original tale, so I got rid of the office building, and used Elaine's twisting house full of stained glass and mirrors instead as the setting for the climax (it slightly echoes the witch/queen's palace in the original tale). It's a lot of trial and error, and a lot of writing! But the end product makes it fun.

Thanks for writing, and please pray for me!
Peace and good
Regina

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hey hey hey, Shadow's back on Amazon again!

Okay, some of you will be thinking,"What? Shadow of the Bear has been on Amazon since last year, through Amazon merchants. And of course I can get old copies of the Bethlehem version on Amazon."

True, true. But now for the very first time, my edition of Shadow with the new cover can be ordered directly from Amazon! This is because my husband and I decided to bow to the inevitable and officially become publishers, with ISBN numbers and everything. After several months of work, we have the new edition all set up with Lightning Source, who funnels orders directly to Ingrams, Spring Arbor, and big distributors like Amazon.

So what does this mean? This means you can go to your library and ask them to get a copy of the new Shadow in hardcover, and they can. You can ask your local bookstore to stock it, and they can order it right from the usual distributor they use for everything else. You can order copies for Christmas from Amazon and take advantage of FREE Super Saver Shipping! And it hopefully means lots less work for me and more time to work on writing the next book. :)

In just a week or two, hopefully the rest of the books will be up on Amazon as well. They'll be listed as "in stock" on Amazon: give me a shout out if you see them there before I do. And as usual, I will beg your generousity in supplying reviews for the book on Amazon: just cut and paste your reviews from the older editions if you like.

So click here to see the Amazon page of the hardcover edition of Shadow of the Bear. Feel free to rate it, review it, or just enjoy seeing the book easing out "into the mainstream" at last!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Blessing God's Way in Steubenville!

If you are a female student at Steubenville, or a mom with daughters who lives in the area, you might want to check out this Blessing God's Way conference my sister Alicia is helping to organize. This is a 'coming of age' program for moms and daughters that, although not Catholic, does a wonderfully insightful job of communicating the tremendous significance of women and women's bodies in God's plan. If you've never thought of your monthly cycle as having any significance theologically, you need to attend this conference! If interested, click the link!

Waking Rose reviewed at Binnorie O Binnorie

Check out this review at Rosa's blog, Binnorie O Binnorie: if you like it, feel free to comment! Here's an excerpt:

One thing I love about Regina is that she doesn't feel the need to bombard the pages of her books with explicit details about painful subjects. Instead, she handles the situations with grace, providing the reader an insight into the pain that the character is experiencing rather than the details of the event which acted as a catalyst to the character's internal struggle. Fish is now one of my all-time favorite literary characters. His struggles are so hurtful that I felt actual physical pain as I read the book.
Written by a devout Catholic homeschooling mother, The Fairy Tale Novels are memorable reads, full of epic plots, real characters and Christian truth.
Read more...


Monday, September 22, 2008

Catholic Reluctantly on the Pondering Catholic!

Wow! Check out this great review of John Paul 2 High Book One on "Just another Pondering Catholic..."

My favorite aspect of this book was the fact that, despite having “Catholic” in its title, this book would be great for ANY teen or young adult. There’s no “secret Catholic stuff” included - you don’t have to be a Catholic or even understand anything about the Catholic Church to enjoy this book. One of the main characters isn’t a practicing Catholic and isn’t very familiar with things Catholic, and when the kids at her new school mention things - such as the Divine Mercy Chaplet - she doesn’t understand. And though she does sometimes feel like an idiot, we readers get a natural explanation (and a reminder of just how hard it is to be a teen, and to feel like you don’t fit in) that’s not ponderous or overly cerebral. Read more...

If you're an adult thinking about buying Catholic Reluctantly for your teen, you should read this one.

In other news, I send Book 2 off to the publishers last week! So if the editing process goes well, I hope you'll see the next exciting installment soon.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Shadow of the Bear movie!

I have been very neglectful in keeping this Updates updated, but I've been meaning to tell you all that I've given permission for a student film of The Shadow of the Bear to be made. Elenatintil, whom some of you know as the founder and moderator of the Fairy Tale Novel Forum, has decided to plunge in and try to make the movie I know you're all wanting to see. So go over to http://theshadowofthebear.blogspot.com/ and subscribe to the posts to keep updated. (As you can see by checking the blog, if you had to depend on me, you'd be way behind!)

Enjoy!!!!! And pray: if prayer helps my own books so much, I can only imagine how much it will help this movie.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Interview with Time With Tannia

I forgot to mention earlier that I'm the featured author for September on the blog Time with Tannia by Tannia Ortiz-Lopes. It was a lot of fun to do the interview: she asked very thought-provoking questions! You can find it by clicking here. Here's an excerpt:

Are you working on new projects?
Right now I'm in the thick of launching the John Paul 2 High series for teens (
www.johnpaul2high.com). It's a kind of fun "pulp fiction" series, about the adventures of seven kids in a new Catholic high school. I'm the overall editor for the series, and I love it. The first book, Catholic, Reluctantly is out on amazon now. It's not pious tripe: it's a pretty gritty story about real teens with real issues. I think Catholic teens from any kind of background will find it speaks to them where they're at.
Going back to missing Joshua, after he died, I found myself drawn to start writing another series of novels, which is now in the planning stages. Read more...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Catholic Reluctantly for Bookstores!

Up until now, Catholic, Reluctantly has been a print-on-demand book, but this week I learned that sales are such that Sophia Press is about to do a traditional print run on the book and enter it into their bookstore program: hooray! This means wider distribution for us and hopefully more sales! I'd like to encourage readers who liked the book to ask their local Catholic (or secular!) bookstore to consider stocking Catholic, Reluctantly. It's distributed through Ingram.

Bookstores not on Sophia Press's regular bookstore program can click here for terms of sale and wholesale prices. For bookstore terms, for our terms). And any youth ministers or teachers who want to order the book for use in their classroom can get a discount for orders of 5 or more books. Email Sophia Press if you're interested!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Two Neat Sites for Teens and Their Parents

Hi all,
Just had to tell you about two cool sites I discovered this summer for teens and their parents. The first is Maureen Wittman's blog No Question Left Behind. Blog author Maureen says,

This is a place where teens can go and feel comfortable talking about heavy and not-so-heavy topics. It is a peer-to-peer platform where teens can trust that their fears, struggles, and questions will be heard and answered by those who struggle with the same issues.I put together a team of teenagers and young 20-somethings to answer the questions of teens. The team worked to answer all inquiries in the framework of Catholic teaching. I already have 200 Q&A's ready to roll so you can count on this blog being around for the long term.Please pass the word along. If you work with youth in your high school, parish, or diocese, please link from those websites or mention in your bulletins.

So check it out!

Earlier this summer my daughter and I attended a great day conference by my friend Doran Richards on Maidenhood: it was a good, Scriptural, very positive presentation of the changes that take place in a girl's body that make her a woman. Doran did such a wonderful job of presenting the material discreetly and beautifully: my daughter's reaction was not "ick!" but "Wow!" I wish I had gotten this presentation when I was twelve years old: I can still remember the uncomfortable classroom lecture by a health teacher on menstruation, down to the smell of the lineoleum. But at the Blessing God's Way presentation, we spent the day making raspberry leaf tea, discussing ways to take care of the body God gave us, reading Scripture, and making a fun scrapbook. Really much more memorable. Just so you know, this isn't a "sex education" talk: not at all! My eleven-year-old daughter was very comfortable (and she freezes up pretty quickly when she's not!).

One of my favorite parts of the talk was when Doran, (who is totally pro-life and anti-contraception as well) explained how the birth control pill alters and disrupts the cleansing cycle of our bodies, and my daughter was disgusted by the very concept of the thing. I think Doran's right on the money when she perceives that the best way for Christians to raise kids who are pro-life and Christ-centered in their thinking on fertility is for Christians to tackle this part of a girl's education. She does a wonderful job! So if you have a pre-teen daughter, check out this program!

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Midnight Dancers reviewed on HollywoodJesus.com and Shelfari


There's a review up of The Midnight Dancers on HollywoodJesus.com. Go take a look and feel free to add your comments to the review. The same review is quoted on the Shelfari site: if you're a member of that site, please feel free to rate and comment on The Midnight Dancers there. Thanks for your comments!

"Paul" responds to "his" book

Some of you know that I based Paul Fester (of Waking Rose and The Midnight Dancers) on a two of my friends (and several of my brothers!). One of the "Pauls" is my friend Ben Hatke, who probably gets identified more as Paul than the others because he juggles and loves ninjas (but he is not in the Army, or a med student, and he married a girl very much like Rose Brier). Ben read the manuscript of The Midnight Dancers ages ago, but he just read the published version this past weekend, and sent me this email. Thought you might enjoy it, and it made me laugh.

To: regina doman
Subject: You Ruined Everything!

Not really. But I did stay up till 1:30 reading your book. Even though I knew the ending -which must mean it's pretty good. And so this morning I woke up late, and grouchy and tired. You see the awful power you have over peoples lives? Please, please use it for good. Write books that are easily cast aside. I suggest a nice dictionary, or "how to" book.

Anyway, I enjoyed all the changes/developments -even though there were actually fewer differences in this draft than I expected there would be. So thanks! This is definitely my favorite of your fairy-tale series. I hope there is more in store! But, as you know, I am a sucker for ANYTHING with a batman-esque scene like where Paul disappears into the shadows and Rachel says "thank you" even though she's not sure if he's there or not.

--ben

Thanks Ben! I promise to use my powers for good, but of course that will result in a conflict of interest between being true to my talent and the public's need to finish their homework assignments.... ;)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Midnight Dancers Reviewed on Experimental Living

Another cool review from Sarah Modene has appeared on her blog Experimental Living. Here's a snippet:

What I most appreciated, however, was Ms. Doman’s portrayal of how legalism can achieve the exact opposite of the purpose its proponents pursue. Restriction and suffocating rules are almost always the cause of downfall within conservative Christian circles. I hesitate to call these denominations- or cults, if you will- Christian, as the doctrines they promote are hardly in line with the Bible’s message of love, holy ambition, and evangelism. Ms. Doman effectively reveals the emotional and spiritual havoc wreaked on the lives of the children whose parents are sucked into legalistic circles.
Of course, legalism isn’t only to blame. But it certainly is a driving force in the numbers of “Christian” teens and young adults turning to darkness instead of light. Read more...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Twilight Review by me

Many of you have asked me my thoughts on Stephenie Meyer's vampire book series, starting with Twilight. I finally got around to reading them for HollywoodJesus.com as a review series anticipating the release of the new book, Breaking Dawn, out August 2.

My reactions to the series are mixed: I want to see where she's going with the series and whether or not she intends to do something more than write a very clever romance-fantasy series. Here's a snippet of my review:

Is it a parable? Or is it just a romance story? Is Meyer exploiting a choice dramatic situation or trying to tap some kind of message? Hard to tell. Twilight, determined by Bella’s first-person narrative point of view, could be female fantasy no deeper than shimmers in a puddle. And the book gives ample room to voice the conventional young-romance mix of sex, love, and death-longing, the recurring theme of so much teen poetry and art and rock songs: you can practically see the movie posters and hear the sound track already as you read it. But Edward, the moral compass of the story for all of his toying and sarcasm, might be the way for the author to angle in on a deeper meaning about male and female sexuality.... read more.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made Conference


For any of you who are near Front Royal, on Friday and Saturday I'll be attending this conference as a vendor at the New Hope Baptist Church. The conference focuses on the three stages of a woman's life: maidenhood, childbirth, and menopause. I'll be selling Angel in the Waters, of course, but I'll also have my Fairy Tale Novels on hand. If you like, come by the church during the vendor times and I'll sign a book for you! Please spread the word to anyone you think would be interested.


Fearfully & Wonderfully Made Conference

Schedule:
Friday, July 18 – for women of all ages:
8:00 – 8:45 Registration/Vendor Time
9:00 – 9:50 Introduction to Blessings God's Way

10:00 – 10:50 Women Serving Women

11:00 – 12:00 Celebrating Womanhood

12:00 – 1:00 LUNCH – Vendor Time!

1:00 – 1:50 Erasing Fear

2:00 – 2:50 How to Mentor

3:00 – 3:50 Trusting God’s Design

4:00 – 5:00 Breakout Session – Q & A

Saturday, July 19 – for Mothers and Daughters:
8:00 – 8:45 Registration/Vendor Time

9:00 – 12:00 Maidens by His Design Workshop

12:00 – 1:00 Lunch – Vendor Time

1:00 – 3:45 Maidens by His Design Workshop

4:00 – 5:00 Creative Memory Paper Album Craft Time


From Doran Richards, conference organizer: We will be making sample Red Raspberry Leaf Tea and having breaks and Q & A time with so many other fun things… great bonding time with our daughters! We will take a class photo in the morning on Saturday – have developed during the day and will have them for our paper album craft for the girls to have a great memory of their day out!
Please pass on to your friends, family, homeschool group and organizations. Thank you and hope to see you there!

Join us for our conference: July 18, 19, 2008 - for women of all ages!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

New Hatke/Lozano book!



Just had to tell you all that Ben Hatke, my illustrator for Angel in the Waters, has done another tremendous book with author Neal Lozano. Check out this sweet children's book, What Can I Give God?

It's the third one in Neal's series of "blessing" books for kids: the first two are Will You Bless Me? and Can God See Me in the Dark? As usual, the books are quality hardcovers with handsome typesetting.

I love Ben's illustrations of Christ and Our Lady in particular as Lozano retells the Gospel story of the loaves and fishes. If you have a chance, check out the website at www.willyoublessme.com.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Remembering the Girards

On July 5th, I had the honor of attending the funeral for Thom and Marc Girard. It was by far one of the most profound funerals I have ever been to.

I discovered that for Thom and Marc, Catholic knighthood was not a fuzzy, abstract concept, but a real way of life. One lament of modern men is that today's lifestyle provides no "initiation" for men, no moment at which boys can say, "Now I am a man." Thom didn't merely regret this fact: he actively sought to change it by creating a Catholic initiation for boys, including endurance tests and skill training. Marc had just completed the course and two weeks before his death, he was "knighted" by a Franciscan priest and vowed to always defend the Catholic faith and serve Christ and Mary.

As the Franciscan father read aloud at the funeral the vows Thom had written whic Marc had made, I was moved to tears, as were many in the church, by the daringness and beauty of them. I will go so far as to call Thom Giard a cultural genius for being bold enough to incarnate his ideals into an actual way of life. Marc was laid to rest in chain mail, and Thom was buried with the great sword of the Franciscan friary, which they gave to him in honor of his service to Catholic men.

And as I watched other new ceremonies unfold: the flying of a Marian banner over the coffins in the cemetery: the formal presentation of the widow of the deceased with a white banner as a commemoration of the departed: I was not the only one who felt that a significant moment in the recreation of Catholic manhood had just taken place.

One of the friars there present wrote:

All of us, including myself, take so much for granted. I was always so busy that I did not give Thom nearly the amount of time I should have. My loss.

The grace of our consecration to Our Lady we also take for granted. So much more could be done with a knighthood based on Marian Chivalry. Time is too short not to see this. The men have pulled together in the last week in the face of this tremendous loss. It is my prayer that we recognize this grace for what it really is and not let the hour of our visitation pass...

We are all looking for something transcendent and beautiful in life. Thom and Marc have gone before is in finding it. We have also, in a sense, found it too. It certainly hasn’t been what we expected, but I for one treasure not only memories of the last week, but the overwhelming providence of God hidden just beneath the sorrow. We cannot forget or become complacent, too much has been lost in the service of our Queen and too much is at stake. To arms, then, in the service of the Queen.

I hope that this is indeed a new birth for Catholic knighthood. I also feel I've been complacent in my own consecration to our Lady, and in the work she has for me to do. Please join me in praying for all Catholic men, and in thanking God for the gift of Marc and Thom Girard.

To learn more about the Knights of the Lepanto, Thom's apostolate, click here.

I am continuing to accept donations to the Girard family. Please use the PayPal button above to donate, or send checks to The Girard Family Fund at Bank of America, 590 West Main St (Rt 82)Norwich, CT 06360.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Live Chat Tonight With the Catholic Writer's Guild!

Sorry for the late notice but tonight I'll be chatting online with the members of the Catholic Writer's Guild. If any of you are writers and haven't joined, consider this a great opportunity! Go to http://www.catholicwritersguild.org/ and follow the instructions at the top to join.

In tonight's chat, I'll be answering any questions about writing and publishing, but I'll specifically focus on my experience of self-publishing on Lulu this past year.

Those of you who are members, I hope to chat with you online tonight!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Joshua Michael July 26, 2001 - July 8, 2006

I loved him so much.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Passing of a Young Knight

Marc Girard, 18, looked like your ordinary Catholic teenager. But he was not.

He had a Facebook page. He was a part of the Fairy Tale Novel Forum (even though, like most guys, he hadn't read the books :) ). He was careless about spelling. He hated having his picture taken. His avatar was a man making funny faces. To his four younger siblings and to most of his friends, I am sure he sometimes seemed very ordinary. Even though he took his Catholic faith seriously, and sometimes challenged his high school friends on different issues.

His friend Paul Ethier was surprised when Marc told him that he was planning to join the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, who had a friary near the Girard home in Griswold, CT. Marc was accepted as a postulant, and was going to join the Maine, NY friary in August.

The Girard family had been through a lot. Last year they suffered two hardships in a row: first, their home burned down. The only thing in Marc's room that survived the fire was his picture of Padre Pio.

The family lived on a trailer through the winter, but then this spring, the property was foreclosed.


Marc's father Thomas was working hard to keep the family together. In his free time he helped the Friars of the Immaculate on their outreachs: this past spring he was "Grand Master" knight for their group, The Knights of Lepanto, as Catholic fathers and the friars "initiated" their sons into Catholic knighthood. The photo at the top shows Marc carrying a "penance pack" of 15 pounds of rocks during the "intiation."
Thomas found a new house for the family, and they were going to move on the first day of July, yesterday, in fact.
The day before the big move, Thomas took his two sons, Marc and Lucas and daughter Hannah swimming at a pond down the street from their old house. There was an island a short distance from the shore, and they decided to swim out to the island.

Marc took his younger brother Lucas, 11, along and they swam safely to the island. Mr. Girard took their daughter Hannah, age 7, in his arms and came along behind them.
Hearing his sister Hannah screaming, Marc turned back and the boys saw her bobbing in the water. Their father was gone. Marc stopped several feet before reaching the island. He sent Lucas ahead and went back for his father and Hannah.

Marc swam out to Hannah. He pushed her towards shore until she was safe, told her to pray, and then dove back in to find their father.
He died trying to save him.

Rescue personnel speculate that Mr. Girard died of a heart attack suffered while swimming. Marc was brought to the hospital, barely alive. His mother Carol, some of his friends, and the Friars of the Immaculata prayed with him. He received the Annointing of the Sick and was blessed with a relic of St. Padre Pio. Then at 1:50 AM, on the Feast of the Precious Blood, he died.

It is terrifying how fast death can come. Earlier this past month, Marc was on the forum (screen name: The Illustrious Marceg) and on his blog, joking and laughing with his friends, running for "President" on the forum against Barak Obama and Mr. Darcy, and offering "words of wisdom" about following one's vocation:

Peasant
member is offline
Joined: Feb 2008
Gender: Male
Posts: 30
Re: Lord, what are You calling me to do?
Jun 19, 2008, 10:35am

I was so happy to find a thred wich focased on vocations. Just some words of wisdom, First, you are so right when you say long and short term vocation. Like being a good student was mine and being a good son, but now that I'm done with school. It's now to be a good son as well as a good friend. In August I will be leaving to enter the FI (Fransican Friars of the Immaculate) and am very excited about doing so. The thing is though, in my case, I'm almost poitive that this is Our Lords will for me, but as I grow closer and closer to the day i leave, I get spiritually attacked more and more (with emotions and worries such... I'm not talking about Emily Rose stuff ). I was warned by two very holy Friars about temptation and think it would be very helpful to everyone on this fourm especally for those who are looking into religious life. And that is that you will be tempted in ways you didn't think were possible, and if you do end up entering religious life it's still pretty hard. Its the transistion of being more contempt and 'unplugging' your self from the world. Many of the Saints went trough temptation and trial so just be prepaired and persivere. This also goes for those who are asking the question "what do you want from me". Satan will try to lead you against your vocation, just pray, hope, and don't worry and you'll end up doing His will.
Marc was ready to follow his call from God. But this week, he was called to be a hero. And he answered, without hesitation.

I am so sorry that Marc couldn't save his father, and that he couldn't save himself. But I am struck by his courage, and I will always remember him. Marc's friends were unanimous in calling him, immediately and from the start, a true knight.
I'm a novelist: I write modern adventures in which young adults carelessly tagged as "knights" and "ladies" battle modern demons and dragons. My friends and I play games and hold ceremonies similar to that of the Knights of the Lepanto: serious but always a bit tongue in cheek. We have to ask ourselves at some point: is any of it real? Are we really knights and ladies, or are we just moderns playing an odd game?



And then life overtakes us, and for a moment I recognize that for some of us at least, it is real. For Marc, it was real. He truly attained knighthood.
Just now I went on the Fairy Tale Forum and voted that Marc be elected president-forever of the Forum. Post mortem yes, but I think his qualifications are out of this world.

I love to write about young men who are heroes: it's one reason why I retell fairy tales. Marc Girard is a hero to me, a real knight of Our Lady and the Sacred Heart. I am so honored that he was part of our little online group and that our paths intersected for a short time.





Please pray for Carol Girard, and for the remaining children, Adam,17, Jaqueline, 15, Lucas, 11, and Hannah, 7. Pray especially for Lucas, who witnessed the entire tragedy.
As the Girard family has been under such financial stress, I can only imagine that this tragedy has left them even more at risk. I would like to ask the Christian community to consider helping them during this hard time. I know how much it helped our family when we suffered the loss of our son Joshua: please let this family know that they are not suffering alone.
Condolescences and donations can be sent to:
Carol Girard
c/o the Ethier Family
133 Lake Shore Drive
Pascoag, Rhode Island
02859
UPDATE: a fund has been set up for the Girards at the local Bank of America.
Bank of America
590 West Main St (Rt 82)
Norwich, CT 06360
Until I find out if they have a way to make donations online, I will continue to collect donations through my PayPal account and send them to the Bank of America fund.

My husband and I attended the funeral at St. Mary's Church in Connecticut. It was beautiful. I hope to post more about it later.

St. Padre Pio, pray for us. The first martyrs of Rome, pray for us.

For more about the Girard family, see this link from the Friars of the Immaculate.



Update: Since some of you have asked, by all means feel free to copy or excerpt this post for your own blog or email. And yes, the family does need financial help. If you would like to make a donation through Paypal, you can send a donation to me at regina@reginadoman.com. Attach a note saying that your donation is for the Girard family and specify the amount in your email. I will make sure it gets to them.

I am looking into finding out if they have a paypal account of their own that we can use instead: when I find out anything, I will post. But for now, feel free to use my address, and I will have the money sent to them. Thank you!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Midnight Dancers is on Amazon!



For those of you who have been waiting, you can get The Midnight Dancers through Amazon Merchants by clicking here.

And could I ask any of you who've read the book already to consider posting a review on Amazon? Feel free to just copy something you've already written about it (say, on your blog).

Oh, and if you have reviewed the book on your blog or website, please let me know! Email me at regina@reginadoman.com.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Hooray! My Talks Are Available on CD!

Well, for the first time I can point readers towards an easy way to get a hold of one of my talks. Thanks to LCE Media and the Illinois Catholic Homeschool Conference, my talks are now available to order online!

First off is my talk "No Matter What Happens, Blessed Be His Name," about our son Joshua's death and some reflections on suffering. I gave this talk at the Wichita Catholic Conference last year, but so far as I can tell, it was never offered online for sale, and I actually never heard it myself (though I am told it turned out well). If you have anyone in your life who has experienced tragedy, they might find this talk helpful (I know from my own experience that so little can be helpful at those times).
$7.50 click here to order

And next is my talk on writing, "Evangelizing the Imagination" which I've given dozens of times but which has never, to my knowledge, been successfully recorded. I love this talk: I can't wait to hear the CD to see how it turned out. Those of you who read The Midnight Dancers will particularly understand what I'm getting at in this talk. If you are a writer yourself or interested in becoming one, this talk should interest you. But for those of you who aren't, the talk gives some neat insights into the critical role that fiction and stories play in our imaginative life and in our faith -- just in case you thought it wasn't important.
$7.50 click here to order

Also my own Knight in Faded Blue Denim, my husband Andrew gave an awesome talk on chivalry in the modern world, "Becoming a Knight in Shining Armor" to the teen boys. Check it out! Even though my name is on the talk, I didn't do any of the talking. Unusual for me, I know. :) For those of you who wonder if chivalry is dead, Andrew illuminates a path for modern chivalry and the weapons of the modern Catholic knight.
$7.50 click here to order

If you're interested in having me speak to your group, these CDs will give you a chance to hear what I sound like and what I speak on. At any rate, I'm very happy to have them available at last. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

SPOILERS! Questions About the Midnight Dancers...

This post is for those who've already read the book The Midnight Dancers and who have questions about it. If you're a member of the Fairy Tale Forum (which I recommend: it's free, safe, moderated, and a lot of fun) you can ask your question there (and I've already answered some in the Midnight Dancers area). But for those who can't join or haven't joined, feel free to ask away.

I'll start out by posting the answers to two common questions:

Q: Where can I find the fairy tale this novel is based on, "The Twelve Dancing Princesses?"

A: On the book's website, I've posted the fairy tale here, courtesy of Sur La Lune Fairy Tales, which has excellent annotated versions of many popular fairy tales. In my novel I borrowed elements from both the original Grimm's (which I prefer) and the French version (with a garden-boy as the hero) of which I am less fond.

Q: When will the book be available in hardcover?

A: I hope to have it available for the Christmas season, so hopefully by the fall. I'll be posting on the website about it when it is available. It will most likely be the same price as the hardcover of Shadow of the Bear: $25.00.

Which Fairy Tales Will Become Novels Next?

Because I'm getting a lot of new readers, I thought it would be a good idea to recap some questions previously answered in the comments boxes on the blog and on the FAQ pages of the Fairy Tale Novels Site.

One question that is I've been hearing a lot is this one by Minni Mo:

I was wondering what fairty tale the next(there will be more right?!) novel will be based off of?What princess stories do you plan on doing in the future? Will you be doing only Grimm brother fairy tales?

So I thought I'd give a summary of where things stand right now. As I've said in the comments boxes, right now my immediate plans are to work on one of these two tales:

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves
For some time I've had a novel sketched out about the further adventures of Alex O'Donnell and Kateri Kovach (both introduced in Waking Rose) based on this fairy tale. It would be the first story I'd tackle that's not in Grimm's collection. I can't say much about this book, mainly because I haven't written it yet, :) but I have revealed that it's about Alex's dad's misadventures with computers. Stay tuned for more on Alex O'Donnell and the Forty Hackers! (working title)

Rumplestilskin
For those of you who really want to know what Fish was doing in the years between Black as Night and Waking Rose, this book should shed some light. While Fish is studying at a state university, he discovers that a top scholar, an international student (tentatively named Helene) is being blackmailed by an anonymous man. I've only written sections of this book, but I have to say it looks to be a dark, creepy book, which is sort of appropriate for Rumplestilskin, which is (like Snow White) a rather dark story, all things considered.

As for other fairy tales, I have a few others planned out about which I wish to be coy for now. I might even start mining the King Arthur stories and the Adventures of Robin Hood.

However, I will say that I have no plans to turn either Cinderella or (sorry) Beauty and the Beast into fairy tale novels.

Why? I love both fairy tales, but honestly, they've been done as modern stories over and over and over again, sometimes quite well, and I don't think I'd have anything more to add. That's the basic reason why. I'd rather illuminate the more obscure ones than plow again through well-worked soil. But who knows? Some day I might get an idea about one of them.

Thanks for the question!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Obscure Fairy Tales: Snow White and Rose Red

I love this story. I think it's even better than its more-famous counterpart. Except that if you look at it a little too closely, it kind of doesn't make any sense whatsoever. Okay, fine, even if you look at it from a mile away, the narrative is a total mess. But who cares? It has a talking bear! Talking bears are always good!

My husband found this very funny commentary on the fairy tale "Snow White and Rose Red" by author Sarah Beth Durst, author of Into the Wild and Out of the Wild.

In the course of her research for her fantasy novels, Ms. Durst started noting and commentating on obscure fairy tales. Check out her post on my favorite fairy tale. Here's an excerpt:

One day in the woods, the girls find a dwarf with his beard stuck in a crevice of a tree. He cries to them for help. To free him, they cut off a bit of his beard. He shouts at them, "You uncouth hooligans! How dare you cut my beautiful beard!"

The famous Snow White has Sleepy, Dopey, and Sneezy. This Snow-White has Fussy. I'm rather fond of Fussy Dwarf. Read more...

Interview with The Sword and The Pen

This interview was published in "The Sword and the Pen," the newsletter of The Young Writer's Club. I am happy to republish it here with their permission.

Recently, author Regina Doman, was kind enough to fill out this interview for us via e-mail. Mrs. Doman is the author of the series, Fairy Tale Novels. These modern, Christian stories are based on different fairy tales, creating an awesome twist between the reality of our modern day world, and the romance of the fairy tales that everyone loves. For a full overview of her three completed novels, turn to page ten. Visit Regina Doman’s website at: www.FairyTaleNovels.com

Q: Was writing always something you wanted to do?

A: Yes, definitely. Pretty much as soon as I learned how to write, I knew it was how I wanted to tell stories.

Q: What influenced you most as a writer?

A: “Other stories” would probably be the most honest answer. But oddly enough, reading philosophy, theology, and even literary criticism (which generally deals with how stories are constructed) can give me ideas. I got the germ of the story for The Midnight Dancers from a quote by the philosopher Dietrich von Hildebrand.

Q: Do you have a favorite amongst your four novels?

A: That’s a hard question! For a long time, Waking Rose was my favorite. But I really like Midnight Dancers too. It tends t be true of me that the book I’m writing is usually my favorite book at the time.

Q: Were parts of the books (such as Rose and Blanche’s hilarious trips to the thrift store) ever based on real events in your own life?

A: Oh totally! But generally speaking I don’t like to write about events in my own life: I’d rather pilfer other people’s lives. For instance, some of the adventures that befall the friars in Black as Night actually happened to some friar friends of mine. And Rose’s dream about the Styrofoam balls in the first book was an actual dream my best friend from high school had.

Q: Which character appeals to you most: Bear, Fish, Blanche, or Rose?

A: Fish is definitely my favorite character. I think it’s because he has the most conflicts and the most assets: I feel like I could write more books about him. And although Rose was more fun to write, Blanche was more challenging and more interesting, because of her internal conflicts. But my favorite parts of Black as Night were Bear’s parts. I still love that guy.

Q: When you wrote Shadow of the Bear had you already planned out its sequels?

A: By the time I finished the first book, yes, I had definitely planned out the other two books. It took me ten years to write the first book (if you measure from the time I had the initial idea to the time the book was published) One day during that time – I remember that I was in a parking garage with my nine siblings, waiting for my parents to come back from something – I had the idea, and said out-loud to whichever sibling was next to me, “After I finish this book I’m writing, I’m going to write two more, based on “Snow White” and “Sleeping Beauty.” My sibling said, “Huh, that’s nice,” and went back to doing crossword puzzles or whatever it was that the rest were doing.
But all I did was sketch out a few ideas until the first book was published. Then I started on the sequel, but it took me alot longer than I had expected.

Q: Your website (www.FairyTaleNovels.com) mentions that Waking Rose was actually completed before Black as Night. Was it difficult to write the stories out of sequence?

A: Yes, but writing novels is hard enough anyhow. But keeping the books consistent wasn’t as difficult as it might have been, since I had several opportunities to revise all the books along the process.)

Q: Did the completion of your first novel make it easier to finish the others?

A: The publication of the first novel definitely made it easy to publish the others. As author Ronda Chervin told me, publishing your first book (with a traditional publisher) is the golden key that opens the rest of the publishing world to you, generally speaking.

Suddenly everyone takes you seriously when you’ve published a book, even if it’s only a obscure book by a tiny publishing company. (Self-publishing is generally looked down upon: it means you’re a vain upstart not good enough for real publishers.) And there’s nothing like a deadline and a waiting contract to make you want to write more.

But if you mean, psychologically, was it easier to finish the other two books when the first one was done? Somewhat: but The Shadow of the Bear was not my first book. My first book was an obscure and meandering allegory that I had written after college which I finished in 1992, The Pilgrim’s Dilemma. It was unpublishable, and still is, but the psychological lift that I received from finishing it was enormous. I had proved to myself that I could write a book, and I knew that it was only a matter of time before I did it again.

Fortunately, my second book was much better, and actually publishable!

Q: Your blog says that you are revising the first chapters of Shadow of the Bear. How significant are the changes?

A: Hopefully not too much! I had been bothered for years by how slow the opening chapter was: I’ve said before that was my least favorite part of the book. The main changes were to eliminate some of the slowness that mars the opening chapters. But hopefully everything that made readers love the first chapters is still there.

Q: Do you have plans to continue the Fairy Tale Novel series after Midnight Dancers is released this summer?

A: I’d like to. I have promised at least two more books, “Alex O’Donnell and the Forty Hackers” (based on Ali Baba) and another thriller based on Rumplestilskin (as yet untitled). And I have two other books, already written but not yet ready to be published,
about which I shall remain coy for now, and an idea and some outlines for a totally new one. It would be nice to have about ten books in the series, if I keep getting ideas.

Q: Can you give us any advance hints on Midnight Dancers?

A: Those who read my website (www.reginadoman.blogspot.com) and those on the Fairy Tale Novel Forums (http://forum.fairytalenovels.com) know a few things that I’ll repeat here: The fourth book will be about Paul Fester, who first appeared in Waking Rose, and a blended family of twelve girls (two widowed parents, each with six daughters, got married – I needed a blended family to have twelve teens and preteens!) Rachel is the oldest girl, and the heroine of the novel. The family lives in a Civil-War era house on the coast of Maryland. I’ll try to tell you something new: Rachel’s Father and Stepmother are very serious Christians who are attracted to a very simple way of life – not quite Amish, but definitely heading in the direction of plain, unadorned simplicity. Rachel, who’s what some would call a “typical teenager,” wants nothing of it. From her point of view, her parents’ Christianity is holding her back from enjoying the best years of her life. then she and her sisters discover a secret in their house that changes everything…stay tuned to find out the rest this summer!

Q: When writing the first draft of a novel, do you think it is better to focus on telling the story, or the more technical aspects, such as grammar, ect?

A: Focus on telling the story, absolutely. Grammar and all that is for later drafts.

Q: Your novels do a fantastic job intertwining the fairytale elements with the reality of our modern day world. Was it difficult to fit your plots into the fairytale context?

A: Sometimes it is difficult. It’s a pretty complicated process that I go through to
write the books. I start with the fairytale and ask myself, ”What does this fairytale really mean? What is it really about?” For instance, “Snow White” is about temptation and sin, on a really basic level. Then I look at the core images in the fairytale: what are the elements that we really associate with that story? I mean, there had to be an apple in my version of “Snow White.” I don’t just look at traditional elements.

I look at modern elements, like movies, too, because these elements shape how readers think of the story.

For example, we’ve all been influenced by the Disney versions of the fairytales. In the original “Snow White” the prince doesn’t waken Snow White with a kiss: that was an element Disney added. But I put the kiss in my book, because that’s become an important expected element in the tale. And I put a symbolic dragon in my “Sleeping Beauty” as a nod to the dragon-villain in Disney’s film. I give myself more liberty with plotlines so long as there are enough elements of the original fairytale so that teh stories still “feel” like the old fairytales. Like I said, complicated!

Q: What advice would you offer to young writers’ aspiring to take a Christian novel all the way to publication, as you have done?

A: Be persistent! Try not to get discouraged: it is a very discouraging business to be in: you have to be prepared to be disappointed again…and again…and again…! But persistence can pay off in every area: in writing (starting a draft all over again, starting a new book when one has proved hopeless) and especially in publishing (finding a publisher, finding an agent, marketing…).

About getting published: try to be as good as you possibly can be, but recognize that part of the process depends on luck (or God). I only got published because I got a break. I got lucky: someone noticed me, and when they did, my story was good enough to deserve the notice. There is definitely an element of chance in the whole process. It might not work for you. But if it does work for you, hopefully you will always recognize that you were lucky enough to get a break. It should keep you humble, and it should make you want to help others out as well.

And suppose you learn the writing process, you try to write, you try to publish and you fail…is it all for nothing? I wouldn’t say that! If we’re going to have a Christian revival of the arts, we need people at every level of the writing industry: we need Christian editors, Christian agents, Christian salespeople – and all those people have to understand the writing process and understand good storytelling. You might marry a writer: my husband did! you might have a child who becomes a writer. God can use anything. It’s definitely something worth trying. Just commit your talent to Him and ask Him to use it as He wants. You might be surprised at what He will do.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Shadow of the Bear reviewed at Experimental Living

Sarah Modene at the blog Experimental-Living.com gives a well-written and thoughtful review of The Shadow of the Bear. Speaking from a non-Catholic perspective, she gives some interesting insights. Here's a sample:

...it’s not every day that I read a novel that combines a Christian world view and illuminating truths with memorable characters and a flowing, mature writing style. But the beauty of the story and the powerful message that weaves page by page captivated me so tremendously that I will not hesitate to recommend the series. These books are sweeping conservative colleges across the country, and for good reason: you can’t find books like these anywhere else. Read more...

Thanks Sarah!

More Catholic Reads: Passport by C. Blunt

TGIF!

I wanted to let you all know about a new Catholic novel I've had the chance to read, Passport by Christopher Blunt. It's a great read whose message doesn't obsucre the page-turning romance, a story that will have a special resonance with Catholic men, especially dads.


A choice between the woman he loves and the woman and child who need him.


On the first page of the book, Stan Eigenbauer, vintage car specialist and comfortable Catholic, meets the girl of his dreams -- or so he hopes. Trinh Le is a gifted photographer, an immigrant from Vietnam, luminous and fragile -- and already married and separated from her sinister husband. The tangling of their lives and a fateful choice one night throws Stan into a heart-wrenching moral dilemma with tragic consequences. But Stan decides to make a heroic choice and shoulder a burden most men would want to leave behind.


Stan's saga is one my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed, and we're happy to recommend this book to you. Passport is better written and plotted than your average self-published novel, and better reading than typical amateur Catholic fiction. For those of you on the lookout for emerging Catholic genre fiction, you will want to check out this book.


To find out more about Passport, go to http://pelicancrossingpress.com/AllPub.aspx
Order from the website, B&N, or Amazon, or ask your local Catholic bookstore to order it.

Check out the novel if you have a moment, and if you read it and like it, consider reviewing it or having it reviewed in your blog or other publication. Thanks!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

First Review of the Midnight Dancers!

The first review of the Midnight Dancers appeared at Lady Rose's blogspot. But I forgot to post it here! To try to make ammends, I am doing it now. It was a wonderful review. Enjoy!

Love comes softly. That is how I describe my reaction after reading The Midnight Dancers, the lastest in the Fairy Tale Novel series by Regina Doman. After reading it through one - very quickly, as I usually read - I admit I was not as impressed and enthralled as I had been after reading Regina's other books The Shadow of the Bear, Black as Night and Waking Rose. I liked it very much, I just was not sure how much. A few hours later, I picked it up and started it again - somthing I only do with the Fairy Tale Novels. By the time I finished it again, I was in love. ...read more...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Midnight Dancers Reviewed on Homeschooling With Joy!

At the Illinois Catholic Homeschool Conference I was pleased to meet the Dominick family. The mother, Laura, has posted a great review of The Midnight Dancers. Check this out, especially if you're a mom wondering about whether or not to get this book for your young teen (I will say as the author that the book is really not for pre-teens).

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Review on Elenatintil's Blog


Many of you blog readers know Elenatintil, or Elizabeth, as the gracious moderator who runs the Fairy Tale Novel Forum. She posted a review of The Midnight Dancers on her blog (she was one of the proofreaders) and I was really honored by what she said. Here's some snippets:


...Like the other fairy tale novels, this story brilliantly combines the familiar of the everyday with the enchantment of extraordinary happenings. Unlike the other books, however, there is more depth and less mystery, which makes a story that is more thought-provoking, though no less engaging.


What Paul understands is that the girls flee to the darkness because they have not been introduced to the beauty of the light. The restrictions of their parents (and church) have left them with little to occupy their time... Without things to interest them and occupy their time in an engaging way, the girls become bored and turn to other, more dangerous things for amusement...
This book, though lacking some of the action of the earlier novels, should be in no way counted as inferior. In fact, about halfway through reading it, I stopped and said to myself "this is brilliant." The problem with books today is that many authors don't seem to be able to combine an intriguing storyline with ideas to ponder without turning it into a sermon or coming off as cliché. "The Midnight Dancers", however, is both light and depth, adventure and wisdom. The story doesn't stop when the ideas enter- the ideas propel the story. Click here to read more!


BTW if any of you who've read the book want to place a review on Lulu, please do! Thank you in advance!

Midnight Dancers #63 on Lulu's Top Weekly Sellers!

Wow! Released just two days ago, and we're already #63 on Lulu's Weekly 100 Top Sellers list! Thanks all of you who bought the book! Hope you enjoy it!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

At Midnight, The Dancing Began



Thanks to some devoted fans on the Fairy Tale Novel forum holding a midnight release party, I actually did an official release of The Midnight Dancers on Lulu at 11:58 EST a few hours ago.


So it's here! Click here to get it on Lulu! I hope you all enjoy it!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Hey! I'm on the Rosary Army Podcast!

If you've never heard the Rosary Army podcast, you're in for a real treat. Husband and wife team Greg and Jennifer Wilits have a weekly show about family life, the faith, and whatever comes their way. I met them at the Franciscan U Media and Faith conference: they're a great team and just darn funny! They podcast a weekly show out of the "Cloffice," their master bedroom closet. Anyhow, they just read The Shadow of the Bear and Catholic Reluctantly, and loved both of them. So they had me on to talk about the books, and even mentioned The Midnight Dancers. The interview was a lot of fun, and I personally just enjoy hearing Jen and Greg's joke and squabble on the air. Probably the best Catholic "radio jocks" out there! I'm on the second half of show #227. BTW a technical glitch ended the show early, but it was still a great interview. Click here to listen.

... there's also a great review of Shadow up at Steve McEveroy's blog. BTW if you read the review and liked the book, feel free to put a comment on the review. I think that really helps people to take the review seriously.

... plus watch for another review of the first three Fairy Tale Novels appears in this week's National Catholic Register.

Wow, this is the biggest "media blitz" I've ever had. And -- wow, my all-time sales rank on Lulu for Waking Rose just hit #101 and it is in the Top 100 Best Sellers for this week at #40! Hey, if you're considering buying the book as a graduation present, birthday present, gift to a teacher or a school library -- please go do so! Just a few more sales might push us into the top 100. Amazing!

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Book is Done! Relase Date: June 1st

Just wanted to make an official announcement to say that The Midnight Dancers is finished and the official release date is June 1st. While we can't take pre-orders (although bookstores can pre-order with us), we'll be putting the book into print on June 1st at Lulu.com and posting links here.

As I annouced before, we're doing a special preview edition for the Illinois Catholic Homeschool Conference on May 23-24, which I will be speaking at. If you're going to the conference, you'll be able to buy a signed copy from me! Hope to see some of you there!

Right now the book is being proofread by a few of our friends, and I'm particularly grateful to Jan the Maven (www.quoththemaven.blogspot.com) who's been giving us some excellent feedback. So revisions are still being made, but hopefully now just cosmetic ones.

We're on the home stretch! Thanks for all your prayers!

Meet the Durham Family....

For those of you who've been wanting to know more about the family of twelve girls who are the main characters in The Midnight Dancers, we've decided to post the names and ages of the all Durham girls who represent the "twelve dancing princesses" of the original Grimm's fairy tale.

I want to say thanks to all of you who participated in the "Names Guessing Game" on this blog and on the Fairy Tale Novel Forums. My husband teases me about the sadistic pleasure I get from making people guess things: but you all rose to the challenge! I still can't believe you managed to guess all fourteen names of the Durham children.

For those of you who don't want to take on the challenge, you can see the Durham's family tree here, and get to know the characters who figure in The Midnight Dancers.

The Last Battle: the Last Column

This last column on The Last Battle concludes my series on the Chronicles of Narnia of C. S. Lewis. Here's a sample:

The metaphor of Heaven as a Great Story is perfectly picked for moderns. We are unlike previous generations, who, tired out with backbreaking daily labor, dreamed of Heaven as Endless Rest, or, surrounded by the mundane and the ugly, pined for a Beatific Vision. To contemporary Americans, Endless Rest sounds like a super-long weekend, and the Beatific Vision sounds like having to spend life in front of only one painting in an art gallery.
Lewis’s genius was to portray Heaven as a Story, because there are few things that thrill we leisure-laden moderns more than going to the movies or opening a book and immersing ourselves in a good story.
Read more...

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Secret Door is back!

For those of you who remember the Secret Door (the hidden link) on the Black as Night website that vanished when we redid the site, I wanted to let you know that, thanks to my husband, the hidden link is back! It's somewhere on the Black as Night section of Fairy Tale Novels.com. It's in a new place, so even those of you who've found it before can go treasure hunting.

This hidden link is for those of you who've read and finished Black as Night and are interested in finding out how much the book changed before it was finally published. You'll need your copy of Black as Night (any edition) to get the key to the Secret Door when you find it.

Happy hunting!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Polly Plummer: Back To Genesis

Just a quick note to say that my new column on Polly Plummer and The Magician's Nephew is up on HollywoodJesus.com. Hope you enjoy it! Here's a snippet:

As we come to the end of our series of articles on The Chronicles of Narnia, I want to return to the attacks of atheist Philip Pullman on Narnia, which I dealt with in my first article. In his infamous assault on Lewis’ writing, Pullman says of Narnia, "It is monumentally disparaging of girls and women."... To anyone who has read the Chronicles, this is arrant nonsense. Flying in the face of this statement is the panorama of wonderful female characters who are the main heroines in Lewis’s stories. Read more...

Monday, April 28, 2008

Reading it for the Hundredth Time: The Final Edit

Andrew and I are joking that we should call ourselves, "The Midnight Editors" because it seems that way too much of this book is getting edited between the hours of midnight and 2 AM. It's just that it's so nice and quiet during those times. With six children in the house, this is the only time that it seems this novel will get done.

Occasionally people ask me to describe what the editing process actually looks like. Since my memory of this time tends to dissipate into a blear of lost sleep once the book is actually published, I thought I'd jot down some notes from the front lines.

This stage, the final edit, is where I suspect the best writing on the book gets done, even though it can be painfully like beating an equine cold corpse at times. It is also the point at which I (and I suspect most writers) are "in the zone."

At this point, the book is written. You have your creative opening sentence at the beginning and your killer climactic moment at the end. You've written, "The End." You've set your chapter openings and breaks. You've done your grammar and spellchecks. You've done a search and replace on MS Word to replace all non-smart quotes with smart quotes, and to replace double hyphens with dashes.

Now is when you do your real writing. How? By reading it. Over and over and over and over again. Each time you read it, you change the parts that don't sound as good. You pause in your reading when daily life interrupts you (and at this stage, interruptions are helpful), then return and start reading it again with more of a fresh mind. You read and edit, read and edit, then stop. Then you re-read and edit more, re-read and edit more.

In this way, you can get through your book (at least the first part and the last part) at least a hundred times.

You're switching your brain constantly between "reader" mode and "editor" mode. In reader mode, you follow the emotional progression of the plot. You laugh at the jokes. You skip the boring parts. If you have Andrew's brain, you also notice the typos, and the parts where the character turns off his car twice in the same paragraph.

In editor mode, you're fixing the boring parts - ejecting them, making them shorter or reworking them (yet again) to give them significance. You're trying to think of better punchlines. You're deciding whether or not it's better to say of a sunset landscape that it was "tempting" or "inviting." You're debating as to how much information you should give the reader now, and trying to remember what it is that the reader would know by this point in the story.

I try to read my opening chapters the most because they have to be the best, especially the first three pages. It's easy to get sick of those opening pages. If after reading them a hundred times, you still find *some* parts that are interesting, your book is in pretty good shape.

The best part of this book has been that my husband Andrew is working on it so closely with me. This is different: before, I was always working with Bethlehem Books editors, and I wrote Waking Rose expecting that I would have it published by someone else. But The Midnight Dancers is the first book whose excellence is dependent almost entirely on us.

So we are reading it VERY closely.

And arguing. We each have a typical part in the argument.

I am the author: I have my favorite parts, the bits that I want for "me", for my art, for my "moment," not for the plot. My message, my heartache, my piece to say in print.

He is the reader: he gets bored by the parts that are too much about "me." He hammers his hand and demands I get ON with the story. He demands I demonstrate the importance of everything in the story.

Microsoft Word is the battleground. We have the "track changes" tool on, so every keystroke is instantly highlighted in red on the screen. He reads a sentence, says, "Too wordy," and deletes it. It vanishes into a red bubble on the side of the screen.

I become an advocate for the sentence. I right-click on it, reject his change. I then rewrite it, and it's a blaze of red across the monochrome page. He points out I just used the word "fastidiously" twice in the same paragraph (and it was *not* for stylistic effect). I rewrite. His head nods. I highlight the text and right click "Accepted." Black and white unity returns. On to the next paragraph.

(Repeat this process a thousand times.)

After a while, we start to get silly. We "accept" changes, and belt out Marie Miller's song, "I am Accepted, hey yeah-eh-yeah!" We "delete" changes, and bellow like StrongBad, "Deleted Forever!"

Today the delete-accept war reached titanic proportions when he declared that two scenes (one of which was my favorite, set in a fabric store) were "useless." He highlighted them and hit a key. DeLETED! I yelped as five pages of manuscript vanished from the page and were sucked into a red bubble on the sidebar. I dabbed out a quick hand: cntrl-Z. Text restored in red glory! Yelling back, he hit "redo" and the pages vanished. Delete! Restore! Delete! Restore! Unable to sustain the serious frustration of the moment, we dissolved into laughter.

I agreed to go back and rewrite the offensive scenes to justify them. He decided to break the cycle of Midnight Editing and go to bed at 9:30.

I stayed up and rewrote the scenes, embellishing them with a few plot points to please my editor, then re-read them tenderly and assured them that they won't be cut from the manuscript.

I can't tell if I'm preserving a scene that posterity will adore, or just stroking my ego.

No doubt my editor will let me know in the morning.


PS: My editor just stagged back up to the computer to make sure I'm okay. He edited this blog post before I could post it. It is much better.

For the record, he takes issue with the phrase "red glory" in the paragraph above, saying that he remembers the text being restored as black and white.