Thursday, August 2, 2012

CONFERENCE UPDATES and FREE Screening and Discussion with Award-winning Director

Dear Catholic Writers and Artists,

As many of you know, we are participating in a HUGE event this October, and will have tracks for writers and artists, featuring some of the best in the publishing and art worlds, with workshops and panel discussions to help you connect and grow in your craft and in your faith! DON'T MISS IT! Register now, and just look at the speaker schedule. It's phenomenal. (Be sure to click the "Friday" or "Saturday" tab to see the schedule of events for each day of the conference.)

But even before that, we're gathering for a purpose. I hope and pray you will join us and tell all your friends about the following event:

Most of the details have been finalized for an absolutely thrilling event: The free screening of Jim Morlino and Navis Pictures’ award-winning Catholic children’s cinema feature, “The War of the Vendee,” which is the true story of French Catholic peasants who rose up to fight the armies of the revolution to defend their priests and their religion, under the ruthless attacks of Robespierre and his minions.

All the actors are CHILDREN and it is excellent!

The screening will take place at St. Anthony’s High School auditorium on Saturday, September 1st, at 6:00 pm. The movie runs about 90 minutes and is followed by a Q&A and discussion with the film's director and producer, and some of the cast!

Admission is absolutely FREE. All are welcome. Please spread the word!

Jim and his whole (homeschooling) family, some of whom were in the film, and other cast members, will stay afterwards and chat with us, answer your questions, and tell you about why they do what they do, and how you can do it, too. Jim is also bringing costumes and props from the film. They did a wonderful job of creating a believable world of French peasant life during the revolution, on a budget.

We’ll be selling inexpensive movie snacks and bottled water, plus pro-life car magnets (part of which will go to the Life Center of Long Island), and possibly some baked goods.

Totally voluntary donations for the cause of Catholic Writers of Long Island’s participation in the SCSS 20th Anniversary Celebration in October will be collected after the screening. This money will help defray travel and registration costs for Catholic writers, publishers, artists, filmmakers, screenwriters, editors, and others who have volunteered their time and talent for the conference. For them, even though these are not rich people by any means, it is a sacrifice they are willing to make for the good of the Church, and to encourage others coming up in their fields. I hope you’ll come and support them with whatever free-will donation is comfortable for you and your families.

Again, no pressure. The screening is free to all. We'd rather you came and paid nothing, than have you stay away because money is tight right now. These are tough times. Come and join us regardless and be inspired by the extraordinary things ordinary people like you and me are doing.

I have seen the film and enjoyed it very much. I laughed and cried, and marveled at how beautiful it was. My thirteen-year-old definitely wants to see it again. It's appropriate for people of all ages, and BABIES ARE WELCOME. This is a totally family-friendly event.

It’s so touching to see children very much like ours playing all the roles, and doing it with such dignity, passion, and commitment.

Jim cares very much about the future of the Church, and works very hard to teach children to make good films themselves. His Navis Pictures youtube channel has trailers for his feature films and for some of the short films made by children under his tutelage. He is very enthused about our event and looks forward to meeting anyone interested in film, art, acting, writing, and the New Evangelization!

In October, Jim’s film will be formally presented an award, “Best Film for Young Audiences,” by the Mirablie Dictu International Catholic Film Festival, which has its offices at the Vatican. The presentation will be in NYC, and Cardinal Dolan is expected to attend. The person coming from Rome to make the presentation is Liana Marabini, the CEO of the festival. She is also a filmmaker, and will be speaking at our conference in October, along with Jim, and the NCRegister’s film critic, Steven Greydanus.

Thank you for stopping by. I hope many of you will join us, and please, please tell everyone you know about it! If they have any questions, give them my email or phone number (below). Let’s pack the auditorium at St. Anthony’s. Remember, admission is totally free. All donations are free will and accepted in any amount (pocket change gratefully accepted). See you on September 1st!

Mark your calendars!

In the love of Jesus,

Lisa Mladinich
President, Catholic Writers of Long Island
Recent Activity:
    Please join in saying one Hail Mary each day for all the members of the IHM group.


    Friday, July 23, 2010

    Catholic Writers' Conference LIVE

    Learn, Connect, Pray, Grow in Your Vocation as a Writer and Have a Great Experience You'll Never Forget!

    Register Right Now! Don't Miss This!

    Catholic Writers' Conference LIVE, Aug. 4-6
    King of Prussia, PA

    The train from NYC to Philly is dirt cheap, and shuttles are available to the conference site. Registration also gives you FREE access to the CMN Trade Show! Two phenomenal events, side-by-side, for one price. One-day admissions, student pricing and comps for priests and religious available. For more information, click here.

    Check out this schedule of events! Bring your manuscripts, bring your questions, bring your Christmas list [the shopping at the trade show is not to be missed]. Come and meet Catholic celebrities and authors, see the latest Catholic media, books, art and products. Hear live music, listen to great talks, meet the people whose books you love. Come and be a part of the family!

    Schedule of Events

    (M)= Moderator
    * = Speaker tentative

    Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

    7:30-8:00AM Rosary with CMN, Radisson Independence Ballroom

    8:00-9:00AM Mass with CMN, Radisson Independence Ballroom

    9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
    Welcome and Opening - CWG Who are We and What Do We Do? Lewis/Fabian/Davidson, GS1

    10:15 AM - 11:15 AM
    • Marketing Tips for Authors—Lisa Wheeler, GS1
    • How to Create Evil Characters if You're a Good Catholic—Regina Doman, GS8
    • Your Manuscript is Complete, Now What? —Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle, GS9

    11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
    • Making the Most of Your Blog, Lisa Hendy, Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, Mark Shea, Karina Fabian (M), Jimmy Akin*, GS1
    • Writing a Winning Proposal—Michelle Buckman, GS8
    • Panel - Dealing with the Media (Press releases, interviews and other things that make authors nervous) – Lisa Wheeler, Jeff Gardner(M), Lynn Goodwin, Nick Thomm—GS9

    12:30 PM 1:30 PM
    lunch break

    1:30 PM - 2:30 PM
    • Authors and New Media—Lisa Hendey, GS1
    • Time Management for a Busy Writer—Karina Fabian, GS8
    • Panel - Catholic fiction—Michelle Buckman, Elena Maria Vidal, Regina Doman, Ellen Hrkach (M), John Desjarlais, GS9

    2:45 PM - 3:45 PM
    • Why Can't We Just Hit'em Over the Head? Fostering the Christian Imagination with Children's Books—Heidi Bratton, GS1
    • Tips for Would-Be Authors—Claudia Volkman, Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle, GS8
    • Panel - Marketing Brainstorm (more ideas to promote your work) —Karina Fabian, Lisa Wheeler, Lisa Hendey, Joe Wetterling (M) GS9

    4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
    • How the faith tradition, culture, folklore and history influences story writing—Arthur Cola, GS1
    • Journaling: Why It's Good for an Author—Lynn Goodwin, GS8
    • Catholic Historical Fiction: Why We Need It—Elena Maria Vidal, GS9

    5:15 PM 6:15 PM
    • How to Pitch Your Book—Ann Margaret Lewis, Karina Fabian, GS1
    • Working with an Editor—Regina Doman, GS8
    • Panel - Writing Books that Teach Our Faith—Margot Davidson, Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle, Lisa Hendey, Lisa Mladinich, Joe Wetterling (M), GS9

    6:30 PM 8:00 PM
    • CMN Author’s Reception, Radisson Ballroom

    8:15 PM 10:30 PM
    • CWG Wii Bowling Hang Out Meet & Greet – Chumley’s Sports Bar in the Radisson (cash bar)

    Thursday, August 5th, 2010
    7:00-7:30AM Rosary with CMN, Radisson Independence Ballroom

    7:30-8:30AM Mass with CMN, Radisson Independence Ballroom

    8:45-10:00AM CMN Breakfast, Radisson Grand Ballroom

    10:15 AM 11:15 AM
    • Three Philosophies of Writing: Rowling, Meyer, and Pullman—Joe Wetterling, GS1
    • The Right Details—Michelle Buckman, GS8
    • Pitch sessions—Regina Doman, Andrew Schmiedicke, Claudia Volkman, Tom Wehner, Breakout Rooms C-F
    • Panel - Writing for Magazines—Jeff Gardner, Margot Davidson (M), Lisa Hendey, Melanie Rigney, Arthur Cola, GS9

    11:30AM – 12:45 PM
    Lunch Break

    1:00 PM- 1:15PM – Opening Remarks, Alan Napleton, and Ann Lewis

    1:15 PM - 2:15 PM – Michelle Buckman: The wonder of Catholicism and expressing that Catholicism in fiction – keynote, GS1

    2:15 PM - 3:00 PM
    Awards ceremony – Seal of Approval Winners and the Catholic Arts and Letters Award for Excellence in Achievement. Recipient: Rick Hinshaw, Long Island Catholic GS1

    3:15 PM 4:15 PM
    • Journalists as Evangelists—Rick Hinshaw, Tom Wehner, Jeff Gardner (M), GS1
    • What a Character: Creating Fictional People – John Desjarlais, GS8
    • Dealing with Negative Feedback— Susie Lloyd, GS9

    4:30 AM - 6:00 PM
    • Free Time at Trade Show

    6:30 PM 9:00 PM
    • CMN Entertainment Reception, Radisson Grand Ballroom

    Friday, August 6th, 2010
    7:30-8:00AM Rosary with CMN, Radisson Grand Ballroom

    8:00-9:00AM Mass with CMN, Radisson Grand Ballroom

    9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
    • Publishers Panel: Hear What’s Happening in the Industry—Regina Doman, John Barger*, Volkman (M), Todd Aglialoro, GS1
    • What makes for good Catholic Poetry? —John Desjarlais, GS8
    • Critique Workshop—Arthur Powers, Breakout Room D
    • Editing Your Manuscript—Melanie Rigney, GS9

    10:15 AM - 11:15 AM
    • Finding an Agent—John Desjarlais, GS1
    • Choosing between Self-Publishing and Going with a Publisher—Claudia Volkman, GS8
    • Critique Workshop cont.—Arthur Powers, Breakout Room D

    11:30 AM - 1:15 PM
    Lunch Break

    12:30 PM - 2:30 PM
    • Idea Generation Workshop—Karina Fabian, GS1

    1:30 PM - 2:30 PM
    • Creativity Corner: Remember why you want to be a writer—Melanie Rigney, GS8
    • Panel: Show Don't Tell (Fiction mechanics) —Michelle Buckman, Ann Margaret Lewis, Arthur Powers, GS9

    2:45 PM - 3:00 PM
    • Closing Remarks—Ann Margaret Lewis, Karina Fabian & Margot Davidson GS1

    Monday, July 19, 2010

    Take Our Survey!

    Hi Everyone,

    Please take a few minutes to fill out our brief survey as soon as possible. We'll be collecting data for a short period only, and will use your responses to help us set an agenda for our first member meeting this fall.

    Feel free to pass the link along to any interested friends and colleagues.

    There's so much we can do together. Thanks for your prayers and your participation. Keep the Faith and keep writing!

    Lisa, Peggy, Rick and Alex

    Thursday, July 8, 2010

    Moving Forward

    Hi Everyone,

    Thank you SO much for your ongoing support of CWOLI. We prepared a survey to send out to you all, but my email distribution will not handle so many names! God is so good. We'll have to hire a service to distribute our mail in the future, so we're working on that. We'll keep you posted.

    Also, our event is solidly in the black, with a few hundred left over for future use and over $500 raised for Catholic Relief Services. Thank you again for your kind, loving support of our raffle and the freewill donations for Kellenberg Consortium CD's. You folks are truly the best.

    Our first event still shines in memory and fuels our momentum forward. We keep reminiscing about how wonderful our attendees were. You brought your hearts and souls to our event and lifted us all up with your faith and enthusiasm. Our speakers all knocked it right out of the park, too. Wow! I was just awed by them. To all of you who participated, please know that we are acutely aware that we could not have done any of this without your willingness to join in wholeheartedly and prayerfully. Thank you again.

    Here are a few more blog posts from some of you wonderful folks who attended:

    Bioethicist and pro-life blogger, Dr. Gerard Nadal:

    "Among Women"'s own Pat Gohn, the gifted speaker noted by Elizabeth Scalia at First Things:

    Leticia Velasquez, award-winning pro-life blogger and journalist:

    God bless you all, and know that you are in our prayers. Pray for us, too, okay?

    Thursday, June 24, 2010

    The Long Island Catholic write-up by Alice Gunther

    Check out the article on our event! Thanks to all of you who attended, those who prayed for us, and all of you who supported us by spreading the word, assisting us financially or wishing us well. God bless you!

    Here's the feature from NY Net TV's coverage of our event:

    and Elizabeth Scalia's [a.k.a. The Anchoress] blog post:

    We'll be posting a survey soon, to get everyone's feedback on the event and hopes for the future of our group. Stay tuned, and make sure I have your email address, okay? Send it directly to me at

    May Our Lord forever be honored in all we do in His Holy Name, make up for where we lack, encourage us when we are suffering and connect us joyfully and fruitfully in His Body as Church and family. Love to you all!

    Monday, June 21, 2010

    Father Fink's Homily and Our Big Event!

    Dear Friends,

    We are just soaring after a successful first conference. Thank you all so much for your generosity in attending and sharing the day with us in the midst of so many other commitments and challenges in all your lives. We are beyond grateful for your presence at the conference, and for your enthusiasm, which inspired us greatly. As our gift to you, I'd like to share the text of Msgr. Charles Fink's homily so you can enjoy it yet again. For those of you who were not able to join us, we will have all the recorded talks for sale very soon, including the homily and Msgr. Peter Vaccari's talk [which he chose not to give so that Pat Gohn could expand her presentation]. Those who registered for the conference will get a reduced price on purchasing one or all of them. Pat Gohn graciously recorded everything for us and is hoping to do a full recording of Fr. Peter's talk, as well. So, here is the homily by our beloved friend and mentor, Msgr. Charles Fink. Enjoy, and God bless you all! We'll be in touch!

    Homily at Catholic Writer’s Mass
    June 19, 2010, Seminary of the Immaculate Conception
    Huntington, NY 11743

    Isaiah 55:6-11 1 John 1:5-7 John 1:1-5, 14-16

    The first chapter of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Silmarillion, the prequel to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, bears a striking resemblance to the opening chapter of the Book of Genesis and has some affinity to the Prologue of John’s Gospel. It’s a magnificent portrayal of creation, but the key instrument in fashioning the world is not the Word, as in John’s Prologue, rather music. God, Illuvitar in Tolkien’s telling, proposes a musical theme to the angels and invites them to weave harmonies of their own to embellish the original theme. Unbeknown to them, the harmonies they weave, or the disharmonies in the case of Melkor, the Satanic angel, turn out to be musical renderings of realities played out in the history of the material world: They are, in effect, blueprints and foreshadowings of creation’s future. The things that stand out in Tolkien’s creation myth are God’s absolute mastery over all the music, and, therefore, all creation, and His patience and generosity in permitting lesser beings than Himself to share in the work of creation.

    Later in life, in a very different genre, a short story called “Leaf by Niggle”, Tolkien returned to the theme of how beings infinitely less than God are enlisted by Him to participate in the making of things they have little or no idea they are contributing to. Here, however, the central image is not music but art, and the art doesn’t figure in the making of the material world but rather the Kingdom of Heaven.

    Niggle is an amateur painter, obsessed with painting pictures of trees, and leaves in particular, with which he gets so hung up that he never finishes his work. He has a vague sense of what he’s striving to put on canvas but seems never to be able quite to achieve it. In the end, he dies and, after passing through a rather purgatorial rehab, is taken to a country side where he is free to garden and bicycle around, enjoying the scenery. One day he literally falls off his bicycle in astonishment at what he sees. It’s the trees and leaves and scenery he’d been struggling all those years to paint, now perfectly realized right before his eyes. The voice of one of the overseers of this splendid landscape is heard to say that it’s been named “Niggle’s Parish by the Bay” and that Niggle’s “picture” has proven a wonderful refreshment for many a person continuing his journey to the Shepherd in the distant hills.

    We’re here today to celebrate the Word of God and the Word made flesh, to be enlightened and nourished, comforted and challenged by that Word, to become what we are called to be, namely little words, radiating the light of the one big Word, through our lives, our prayers, our service, and, yes, our own miniscule words. And what I want to suggest is that, just like Tolkien’s angels and humble little Niggle, we have been enlisted by God to participate in the creation of a great work. Our work may not be great, either in terms of value or scope, but that doesn’t matter. Our imperfect work will find its place in God’s completed masterpiece.

    Cardinal Newman, soon to be beatified, said something similar:

    God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed
    some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my
    mission—I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the
    next. Somehow I am necessary for His purposes, as necessary in my
    place as an Archangel in his—if, indeed, I fail, He can raise another,
    as He could make stones children of Abraham. Yet I have a part in this
    great work. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.
    He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work.
    I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while
    not intending it, if I do but keep His commandments, and serve Him in
    my calling.

    The angels in Tolkien’s story of creation had no idea initially that their music had any purpose beyond being a harmonic counterpoint to God’s great theme. Only later did God show them how their harmonies (and disharmonies) were played out in a different key, so to speak, in creation. Niggle never dreamed his trees and leaves had any lasting value, that they might have a permanent and essential part to play in some much greater scheme of things. He only discovered their true purpose after he died and had passed through the initial stage of his purgatory. Newman writes, “I have my mission—I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next,” meaning, among other things, I take it, that I may never understand in this life the full significance of what I do and how it contributes to the Kingdom of God, but I will understand when faith gives way to vision, and I see God face to face and in Him see all things as they really are, in all their interconnectedness and in their true meaning and purpose.

    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. You and I are made in the image and likeness of that Word, each of us, in his or her own right, a little word, speaking and writing yet smaller words. But the purpose of all words, we as individuals, and the words we speak and write, is to show forth the splendor of the one great Word, which is Christ. Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said, “Words that do not shed the light of Christ only serve to deepen the darkness.” Only one steeped in or enamored of darkness could possibly see our service to the Word and to the Light as an unnatural constraint. The Word we serve, the Light we spread, is infinite in its glory and grandeur. The only limits to the variety of ways we can communicate it are truth, beauty, and goodness, and these are not limits at all.

    Whether the medium in which we work is music, art, or the written word, for that matter, whether it’s mothering, medicine, plumbing, or collecting garbage, we are all part of a great story, and we all have an essential assigned role to play. We wouldn’t exist otherwise. It’s not important that we comprehend our place in the scheme of things perfectly, only that, as best we can, we serve the Word and radiate His Light, performing our assigned task as our way of serving, helping others along the way, trusting that our few notes, or leaves, or words will be taken up by the Master Musician, Artist, Author, and woven into a masterpiece the likes of which no eye has seen, no ear heard, nor the mind of any, save God, ever even imagined.

    Praise God for His Word. Praise the Word made flesh. Praise the Word made known in scripture and given to us in the Eucharist. Praise Him for counting us worthy to share in His wonderful plan of creation and redemption. God keep us true to our calling, the service of the Word made flesh.

    Msgr. Charles Fink
    Director of Spiritual Formation
    Seminary of the Immaculate Conception
    Huntington, NY

    Sunday, May 2, 2010

    The Word Made Flesh: A Day for Catholic Writers

    CONTACT: Lisa Mladinich

    For Immediate Release

    Catholic Writers of Long Island Launches First Conference

    Catholic Writers of Long Island will hold its first full-day conference at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, 440 West Neck Road, Huntington, New York, on Saturday, June 19th, 2010 from 8:45am-5pm, entitled, “The Word Made Flesh: A Day of Encouragement and Enrichment for Catholic Writers.” All are welcome, including nursing mothers with their babies.

    Our keynote speaker, Rick Hinshaw, editor of the Long Island Catholic, will receive the Catholic Writers’ Guild’s “Lily” award for Meritorious Achievement in Catholic Arts and Letters. Signed copies of good Catholic books and other prizes will be raffled off and proceeds will benefit Catholic Relief Services.

    Other speakers include: award-winning author and publisher, Josephine Nobisso; author and composer, Alexander J. Basile; retreat leader and host of “Among Women” podcast, Pat Gohn; and author and seminary rector, Msgr. Peter Vaccari. Msgr. Charles Fink, Director of Spiritual Formation for the seminary, will be the homilist.

    The event emphasizes connectedness in the Body of Christ and supports professional networking through: name tags; three networking breaks with refreshments; and a special bonus – early-bird registrants will have bios and contact information listed in ¼-page sections in the program, an added value of $15. Mass, Rosary, and buffet lunch are included. Tickets before June 1st: $25 for adult early-birds and $17 for student early-birds. From June 1st-June 15th, tickets: $35 for adults and $25 for students. Meal head-count closes June 15th. Walk-ins: $45 for adults and $35 for students.

    Register at: and click on the “Catholic Writers of Long Island” link in the left sidebar under "Important Links." Add your 100-word [max] bio in the “comments” section, or mail check and typed bio to: mater et magistra, P.O. Box 251, Hamlin, PA 18427 and put “LI Writers” in notes section. For more information, see Facebook page for “Catholic Writers of Long Island” or contact chapter president, Lisa Mladinich, at
    [Media kit and photos are available upon request]