Things You Missed if You Missed the Catholic Writers’ Conference Live

The Pope gets us to behave for a change.


1.  Having a merlot with Johnny, the ninja assassin. (Regina Doman, when discussing set up and payoff in the Faith in Fiction panel, said, “Your character can’t say that he was a ninja assassin last year and not use it later.”  Then Karina Fabian, in the panel, mentioned she and John Desjarlais were ninja assassins.  That evening, Johnny went to make a phone call, and asked that we order him a merlot.  It arrived while he was still gone, and Joseph Pearce, who had just joined the party asked whose it was.  We told him Ninja Johnny, which got a bit awkward as Joseph had his arm around Ninja Johnny’s chair at the time.  Payoff!)

2.  Our first guild minion rendering Joseph Pearce speechless. (Squeeee!)

3.  Photos with the Pope, and the legality of it all.

4.  The EWTN interview round with a half dozen or more authors all talking about their books.  Then Ellen Hrkach getting them to interview yet another author on the floor.  (Said EWTN: “There are Catholic Writers all over!”)

5.  Karina squealing from across the hall, “Omigosh!  It’s (insert Guildie name here.)”

6.  To veil or not to veil?

7.  Matthew Bowman’s hundred-plus Lego pics, not to mention his feature-length Star Wars parody in stop action Lego.  (Impressive.)

8.  Much singing in the bar!  A jam session of Irish songs with the Flynns providing music, Ann Lewis singing Ave Maria.

9.  The reason why Ann Lewis will most likely ban spray glue at future conferences.  (Good thing Tony Kolenc had Jennifer Fitz to rinse out his eyes while her young daughter gave medical advice.  At least Michelle Buckman and Karina were only joking about gluing Michelle to the wall.)

10. Discovering the incredible poetry of 14-year-old Theresa Mladinich (daughter of Guildie Lisa Mladinich).

11.  Arthur Powers and Michelle running madly down the hall because they were late to the Faith in Fiction panel—and receiving a room of applause when they arrived.

12.  The world’s worst service at the bar—late meals, wrong orders.  At least Michelle got free fries from it.  In fact, Michelle got a lot of free things—free ride from the airport, free food and drinks from editors she lunched with.  The one meal she planned to pay for—at Ruby Tuesdays, where we all went to escape the bad service–ended up free because they gave her meal to the wrong person!

13. Father warning everyone to stay faithful to the church and not look for a “little Buddah on the side,” and Ed Hara’s reaction when he got the joke. (He buried his face in his hands for a minute, then declared, “Well, except for that, he’s really a great homilist.”)

14.  Ice cream!  But no airborne peanuts, please.  We had someone with an airborne peanut allergy.

15.  Meeting with so many friends we only knew online, via chats or Facebook.  Connecting with publishers, editors, priests and nuns, marketers, and bookstore owners.  The Catholic writing world is bigger than imagined, yet small enough to be cozy.  What a great group—what a great conference.

Did you attend?  What are your favorite memories, touching or comic?  Share them in the comments.

About Karina Fabian

Karina Fabian writes everything from devotionals to serious sci-fi to comedic horror. Her latest novel, Live and Let Fly, stars a Catholic dragon and his magic-slinging partner, Sister Grace, as they save the worlds from maniacal middle managers and Norse goddesses. (Coming April from MuseItUp) Karina also teaches writing and marketing online. Learn more at
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4 Responses to Things You Missed if You Missed the Catholic Writers’ Conference Live

  1. Sounds like a great conference! I’m so sorry I had to leave early, but it was wonderful to get to meet in person the dedicated CWGers behind the names. Thanks to all who worked so hard to make the conference such a wonderful event!

  2. Karina…really? You just HAD to put #2 in there??? 😀 Hey, at least he won’t forget who I am.
    Most memorable memory? Ann Lewis introducing me in front of a room full of Guildies as her Minion. I suppose you all won’t forget who I am either.
    Thank you, wonderful Guildies, for an amazing experience. I am so grateful for the welcome, the support, and the friendship you shared.
    ~Guild Minion, reporting for duty, ma’am!

  3. Don Mulcare says:

    If I comment, do I still have to complete the evaluation survey?

    Thanks Karina. Who was that guy in the picture, with the white hat standing next to the gal with the black hat? Did he give you a silver bullet?

    You and Ann effectively prepped the pitchers for their 7 minutes of publisher face-time. Thanks to the publishers for their feedback as well as the Critique Workshops. The publishers and workshop hosts painted a vivid portrait of the modern reading public. In their most urgent, pleading tones, they stressed that each author must address market realities to ever hope that her or his manuscript may live to roll through the presses.

    John Desjarlais focused my attention on “writing as a vocation,” an often illustrated theme throughout the conference. I like the idea that the Holy Spirit guides what I write. Maybe the Evangelists could help me wit the editing?

    The bountiful networking opportunities provided willing joiners for a long desired, long-distance Critique Group. Anyone else, especially from our shared Critique experience?

    The marketing exhibitors opened my eyes to the diverse and powerful forces rebuilding the Catholic Church. God bless them!

    It was fun to meet respected authors, like Joseph Pearce. We chatted about “Candles in the Darkness.” Check for my review tomorrow. He wrote the “forward” for at least a half dozen books exhibited by at two or more publishers at the show. We could sample his video course on “The Lord of the Rings,” (Catholic Courses). Nancy, my wife and I ate lunch with one of Professor Pearce’s delighted students.

    As for meeting “Guildies,” the blog bio-photos only approximate the actual appearance of many. Pope Francis looked flat to me. For some reason, Ellen glared at me when I told her, “We all look up to you.”

    New Jersey deserves its name: “The Garden State.” It’s residents, especially Guild members went out of their way to share and encourage.

    My only warning relates to the Cross Bronx (anything but) Expressway and the George Washington Bridge. A retired NYPD patrolman told me yesterday that the Cross Bronx is rated as the worst highway in the USA, a well earned distinction. We’ll take 287, on our next trip to Jersey.

    God Bless,


  4. It was wonderful meeting both of you, Barbara and Don! Barbara, I’m so sorry you had to leave early. Don, you’re hilarious! Hope to see you both next year! God bless…