Monday, December 15, 2014

Senior But Not Retired: Editor Carol Smallwood Interview

Related imageCarol Smallwood, co-editor of the anthology, Writing After Retirement: Tips from Successful Retired Writers, recently interviewed me about my career as a senior--but not retired--writer.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

"There's More": Amazon Readers' Reviews

FEATURED BOOK, US Catholic Magazine, November 2014

Thursday, September 18, 2014

New Release--There's More . . . : A Novella of Life and Afterlife

I am very happy--"relieved" is more like it--to announce that my latest book, There's More . . . : A Novella of Life and Afterlife, is now available in broad distribution via (worldwide) and (It may take a few days to filter down into the Apple Store, Nook, Sony, etc.)

"Relief pitcher Jack Thorne stares at his catcher’s target. His single focus is to get this batter out. If he does, a coveted World Series ring will be his. But the Universe has a different plan for this Catholic priest-turned-ballplayer. There’s More is a creative imagining of the ultimate human mysteries—death and Afterlife. This gripping story invites readers to expand their existing concepts and consider broader cosmic possibilities in answer to the universal question, 'What’s next?'"

Available at: 


E-book: $1.99
Paperback:$ 8.55 (on Amazon)

I'd love to hear your reaction to this unusual story.

PS: Honest reviews always welcome.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Evening Sun: A Widow's Journey

Recently, I had the privilege of reading and reviewing a stunning new book by poet and essayist Aline Soules. As a professional grief counselor, I recommend it to women who have lost a beloved husband or partner. As a male reader/reviewer, I am certain it would touch the hearts of widowers, as well. 

The review is followed by an enlightening interview with the author.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

"Under the Influence of Jesus" -- A Book Review

Under the Influence of Jesus
by Joe Paprocki, D.Min.
Loyola Press (2014)
168 pages

Joe Paprocki’s latest book, Under the Influence of Jesus, models adult faith formation at its best: faith-full, contemporary, and applicable to everyday life. Readers who approach this book  with “same-old, same-old” expectations risk missing both its stirring evangelical passion and its down-to-earth/up-to-heaven spirituality. Paprocki invites his readers to imbibe the Spirit-filled joy that marked the original Pentecost event, as described in Acts 2. After spending days in seclusion, fearing for their lives, Jesus’ reenergized band of followers took to the streets of Jerusalem early on a Sunday morning. Instead of blending into the city’s normal life, they started proclaiming the “good news” that the Jews’ long-awaited Messiah had indeed come and had risen from the dead And they did it with such Spirit-filled enthusiasm that the mocking bystanders’ first reaction was to accuse the noisemakers of being “under the influence” of too much wine. 

As Paprocki reminds us, “The crowds . . . weren’t ‘wowed’ by miracles or . . . soaring rhetoric. Rather, what captured their imagination was the [disciples’] total lack of inhibition.” Relying heavily throughout the book on examples from familiar movies, literature, and music, the author compares the infectious joy of that first Pentecost to every movie buff’s favorite line from When Harry Met Sally: “I’ll have what she’s having.” Three thousand people joined the Jesus movement in a single day. Paprocki then fastforwards to later periods of Church history (including our own) when Catholics “instituted some kind of ‘prohibition’ against the inebriating influence of the Holy Spirit.” 

Under the Influence of Jesus invites today’s Catholics to indulge in the same intoxicating submission to the mystery of the Risen Christ that sparked the birth of Christianity. This book does more than inspire renewal of the reader’s faith. Chapter upon chapter offers practical methodologies for uninhibited kingdom dwellers. RCIA teams, in particular, will draw inspiration from chapters on the “baskets” of discipleship and the stages of conversion (drawing on St. Paul’s experience in Acts 9). 

“Ultimately,” Paprocki says, “the goal of discipleship is contagion: ‘infecting’ others with the Good News through our words and actions.” 

(Reviewed by Alfred J. Garrotto for the June 2014 Issue of US Catholic Magazine)

Monday, February 17, 2014

There’s More . . .

[ I am 40,000+ words into my current work-in-progress, a novella titled, There's More . . .  Recently, the California Writers Club, Mt. Diablo Branch (to which I belong), challenged our members to tell a story, not in thousands of words, but in 100 or less. I accepted the task. The following is my novella from start to finish. ]

A bat. A ball. A swing. A bullet.
A death. A guide. A life.

A bat—black-varnished, rays of setting sun splintering north, south, east, west, until tension-stilled,
at the ready. 

A ball—Virginal white. Never pitched, nor struck. Rocketing from hurler’s hand. 
A swing—fluid, potent contact, ball arrowing moundward. 
A bullet—fired in revenge, racing ball to target. 
A death. Accident? Murder? Projectiles: protagonists in this unplotted drama. The pitcher falls, forehead concaved,
a blackening hole deep at crater ’s base. 

A guide. Heaven-sent to assist at this unexpected crossing-over. 
A life—“There’s more, my son . . . .”

The End

Thursday, February 13, 2014

My Valentine--Caring For Your Most Important Relationship

[ My guest blogger is Rev. Charles Ara, married Catholic Priest/Marital Therapist and author of the book, THE GRASS IS GREENER WHERE IT’S WATERED. Charlie and I were schoolmates back in . . . well, let's just say, 'Back in the day.']

On this Valentine’s Day, I offer 10 suggestions on caring for the most important relationship in your life:

1.     Have specific times when the TV, Cell phones and the computer are OFF.
2.     Make dates at least a month in advance and write them own on your mutual calendars.
3.     Take an evening walk at least once a week enjoying the evening air and holding hands.
4.     Get away to a hotel or motel once every three months for two nights and three days.
5.     Go to the beach or park in the early evening and enjoy the sunset.
6.     Exercise together in the morning or in the evening
7.     Take a long auto drive getting out of the car every few miles to take a short walk together.
8.     Have breakfast together at a restaurant on a Saturday morning without the kids.
9.     Have a good strong lock for your bedroom door.
10. Every day, find your partner, look into their eyes and say THANK YOU FOR BEING MY LOVER, MY PARTNER, MY COMPANION IN LIFE, MY PAL AND MY BEST FRIEND.

Some of these activities may cost money, but what better thing to spend your money on than taking care of the most important relationship in your life.

(c) 2014 by Charles Ara
Father Ara can be reached at (562) 865-4075, His e-mail address is

Pablo Neruda Love Poem: When I die . . . (Cuando yo muera)

[This has become one of my most popular blog posts. People from all over the world have visited my site in search of this beautiful love poem.]

When I die I want your hands on my eyes:
I want the light and the wheat of your beloved hands
to pass their freshness over me one more time
to feel the smoothness that changed my destiny.

I want you to live while I wait for you, asleep,
I want for your ears to go on hearing the wind,
for you to smell the sea that we loved together

and for you to go on walking the sand where we walked.
I want for what I love to go on living
and as for you I loved you and sang you above everything,
for that, go on flowering, flowery one,

so that you reach all that my love orders for you,
so that my shadow passes through your hair,
so that they know by this the reason for my song.

*  *  *  *

Cuando yo muera quiero tus manos en mis ojos:
quiero la luz y el trigo de tus manos amadas
pasar una vez más sobre  su frescura:
sentir la suavidad que cambió mi destino.

Quiero que vivas mientras yodormidote espero,
quiero que tus oídos sigan oyendo el viento,
que huelas el aroma del mar que amamos juntos
que sigas pisando la arena que pisamos.

Quiero que lo que amo siga vivo
y a ti te amé y canté sobre todas las cosas,
por eso sigue  floreciendoflorida,

para que alcances todo lo que mi amor te ordena,
para que se pasee mi sombra por tu pelo,
para que así conozcan la razón de mi canto.

Pablo Neruda, Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperadaCien Sonetos de Amor.
Plaza y 
Janés. Ave Fénix 205-2. Sexta ediciónjunio 1998.