Congratulations to Michelle Buckman and Regina Doman for winning the Catholic Arts and Letters Award (CALA), or Lily Awards, at last week’s CWG Live Conference. Buckman won for her adult fiction book, Rachel’s Contrition (Sophia Institute Press, 2010), and Doman for her Young Adult fiction novel, Alex O’Donnell and the 40 Cyberthieves (Chesterton Press, 2010).

The Lily Awards were presented at a special breakfast during Catholic Marketing Network’s (CMN) annual retail trade show, held in conjunction with the Catholic Writers Conference LIVE August 3-5, 2011 in Valley Forge, PA. The conference is cosponsored by the Catholic Writers Guild.

“It was truly amazing to receive the award,” said Regina Doman of her book Alex O’Donnell and the 40 Cyberthieves. “It’s the first time any of my books have been so honored. And I felt doubly honored that Rachel’s Contrition, a book I edited, also won.”  

Alex O’Donnell and the 40 Cyber Thieves as well as Regina Doman’s other fairy-tale based novels are available at, as well as retailers like Amazon and Alex O’Donnell, first introduced in Doman’s novel Waking Rose, takes on 40 cyberthieves with his girlfriend Kateri Kovach. In this high-tech thriller, Alex returns from college to find that his dad, a computer hacker and software programmer, has inadvertently discovered a mysterious website which leads to sudden wealth and then murder. 

The National Catholic Register said, “Regina Doman reinvents myths with a clever, engaging, and fiercely Catholic imagination.” And Ellen Dore in her review of Alex O’Donnell and the 40 Cybertheives in Ink and Fairy Dust writes,”Oriental fans, swords, security cats, computer hacking, family dynamics, and one hotel business. These factors, seemingly unrelated, come together in the lives of the O’Donnell family and Kateri Kovach…Alex O’Donnell [is] filled with suspense, laughter, romance, and humor.”

The adult fiction Lily Award winner, Rachel’s Contrition, tells the story of Rachel who after her daughter’s death, loses her husband, son and her home due to her personal demons. When Rachel drifts closer to insanity and possibly her own demise, help arrives from two unlikely sources: a tattered Holy Card depicting Therese of Lisieux and Lilly, a troubled teenager battling demons greater even than Rachel’s. As Rachel grows closer to Lilly and Therese, unbidden memories reveal fearful mysteries of seduction, madness, murder, and a truth that will haunt Rachel forever, but enable her finally to be healed.

Nancy Carpentier Brown, author and blog/podcaster for the American Chetsterton Society calls Rachel’s Contrition, “An incredibly intense, intensely hopeful mystery story, with a surprising ability to help the reader connect her life to the protagonist’s; a powerful page-turner the reader cannot put down once the journey has begun. Have some tissues ready and prepare to be immersed.”
“Every now and then, a novel comes along that is so powerful and so well-written that it will stay with you forever. “Rachel’s Contrition” by Michelle Buckman is that kind of novel,” says Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur in her review blog on Spiritual Women. “It is a novel that will twist your heart and leave you breathless. You will not want to put it down until you reach the final word at which point you will once again be able to exhale.”

Rachel’s Contrition can be found at, Amazon, and

CWG Member Speaks at Annual Meeting

CWG member Antonella Garofalo spoke at the Philadelphia area Schools of Community annual meeting. Her speech, which can be read on her blog site On The Road To Jerusalem, details her faith journey from a young Italian girl who only “entered churches mostly as a tourist” to writing a spiritual meditation manuscript. Antonella now belongs to the Communion and Liberation movement founded in Italy by Monsignor Luigi Giussani.

A new all-genres blog event once a month: Writing Help Open Combox.

Starting Friday Evening at 5:00 p.m. EST, put your writing help questions in the comment box of the Writing Help post.  (It will appear then.)  Stick around to offer answers and encouragement to your fellow writers.  This is a chance to ask for very specific advice in order to help you move to the next step in your writing life.


CWG open chat on Sunday night from 9-11 pm EST. Non-members are welcome. It’s a great chance to talk to other Catholics in the writing industry! Go to for the chat room.

Also don’t delay in registering for the Catholic Writers Retreat at the St. Francis Retreat Center on October 5-9, 2011.  The deadline for registering is September 28. You can find more information at or to register go here.

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