Friday, February 28, 2014

Author Showcase: Helen Whapshott The Glow

Today I'm pleased to showcase young adult author Helen Whapshott and her
new release The Glow, from Little Bird Publishing.




SYNOPSIS: What would you do if you saw a ghost? Would you ignore it hoping it would fade away, or would you go up to it and see if it needed your help?

When thirteen year old Megan Webb discovers she has been gifted with The Glow, so called because it gives off a light, like a candle in a dimly lit room attracting ghosts, spirits, and others who belong to the supernatural and paranormal world, she has to learn to come to terms with seeing the world in a whole new way. 

And if this wasn’t enough to deal with during the delicate years between childhood and adolescence, her parents make the shocking decision to move her away from everything and everyone she knows to live in a creepy hotel inherited from a late aunt.

But it isn’t just the hotel that is creepy, the whole town seems a little odd until she makes friends with a strange boy, a witch, and a chain-smoking spirit guide who help her adjust. Life couldn’t get any more complicated … could it?

AVAILABLE FORMATS: e-Book on and and Paperback available from and (It will be available for other retailers after October 2014)

REVIEW COPIES: We are delighted to offer free PDF review copies or paperback review copies under certain circumstances

INTERVIEWS and BLOG APPEARANCES: Helen is delighted to participate in interviews, spotlights and giveaways. Please contact the author directly at Helen Whapshott

* * * * *

BIOGRAPHY: Helen was born in Aldershot in the year of 1980. She survived the infant, junior and senior schools of Cove. Helen started her working life in a bakery before deciding catering wasn’t really for her, that she wanted to work in the care industry.

After attending Farnborough College of Technology, where she did her diploma in nursery nursing she took on a variety of roles that included being a Nursery Nurse, a Special Needs Teaching assistant, a support worker for people with special needs and a care assistant in a nursing home.

She’s worked as a Health Care Assistant at a local hospital for eight years and also works as a bank carer at a children’s hospice in Surrey.

She has five wonderful nephews, a lovely niece, two very understanding parents and extremely patient brother and sister.

Helen has always loved stories, ever since her Mum used to read Hans Christian Anderson and Roald Dahl to her at bedtime.  When she learnt to read by herself she couldn’t get enough of books, becoming a big fan of authors such as Arthur Conan Doyle’s, Sherlock Holmes stories, as well as Neil Gaiman and Ben Aaronovitch.

With a love of reading came a love of creative writing. She recalls how her first hit was, “How The Kangaroo Got It’s Hop, at infant school when I was six, but I missed out on seeing my classmate’s enjoyment because I was off several weeks with the mumps; when I got back the hype had died down. A disappointment I’ve never really gotten over! Being able to share my creations this time and is a dream come true.”

Please contact either

Helen Whapshott at


Kitty Rackham at

Monday, February 24, 2014

Finding The Child Jesus - Rosary Meditation

This is the first in what I hope will be a series of meditations on the Rosary. As an auxiliary member of the Legion of Mary, I pray the Rosary at least once daily.

Since today is Monday, my thoughts lead me to the fifth Joyful Mystery: the finding of the child Jesus in the temple.

The Child Jesus in the Temple - Image is from

You can read the Joyful Mystery here, along with all of the other Mysteries.
  1. When Jesus is twelve years old, He goes with His parents to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover.
  2. After the feast of the Passover, Joseph and Mary unknowingly set out for Nazareth without Jesus.
  3. At the end of the first day's journey they discover Jesus is missing.
  4. His parents return immediately looking for Him.
  5. This loss causes grief and anxiety beyond our understanding to the hearts of Mary and Joseph.
  6. On the third day they find Jesus in the Temple among the Doctors who were astonished at His wisdom.
  7. Mary: "Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been searching for you in sorrow."
  8. Jesus: "Why did you search for me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father's business?"
  9. Jesus goes down with them to Nazareth, and is subject to them.
  10. Mary keeps all these things in her heart.
Actually, I am more concerned about the events prior to Mary and Joseph finding Jesus, namely, the fact that they left the temple without Him in the first place. This event is also one of the Seven Sorrows of Mary that I pray daily, so it is frequently in my thoughts.

What are we to make of this serious lack of parental supervision on Mary and Joseph's behalf?

The moral/message revealing itself to me is more along the lines of a cautionary tale: If we do not constantly pay attention to Jesus, we will lose sight of Him. Luckily, we always know where to find Him, for, as he tells Mary "I must be about my Father's business."

I think the difficulty is first of all realizing that we have lost sight of Him, and then figuring out how get Him back into our lives. Without knowing that we have lost Jesus (and all that this sad state of affairs entails, including His redemptive sacrifice on the cross for us), we cannot move toward changing our situation.

So, how do we know if we have lost sight of Jesus?
One way to find out is to perform a sincere examination of conscience to see if/how we are leading exemplary Christian lives. Do we follow all the commandments, not just the easy ones that we are comfortable with? Do we truly see Jesus in others? Do we give our lives completely to Christ? Do we read the Bible and meditate on God's Word on a daily basis? As Catholics, do we read/study the Catechism of the Catholic Church? Do we regularly seek reconciliation, and all of the other sacraments God has instituted on Earth for us? Do we study the lives of the saints, in order to learn how they were able to dwell on Earth and to follow God's Law? Do we respect human life from conception to death?

If we're not as close to Jesus as we would like to be, where do we find Him again?
The very easiest way is to invite him back into His temple - in us, body and soul.

The second (and also easy) way is for us to go to the temple - His Holy Church. Jesus waits for us in His Church, especially in the Blessed Sacrament; in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. We will always find him there.

No one is perfect. We can all be better. The question is: are we willing to make the effort, before it is too late? The first step is to ensure that we search for, and find, and then keep our eyes firmly on Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer.



Thursday, February 20, 2014

Review: At the Heart of the Gospel: Reclaiming the Body for the New Evangelization

At the Heart of the Gospel: Reclaiming the Body for the New Evangelization
At the Heart of the Gospel: Reclaiming the Body for the New Evangelization by Christopher West

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As far as stars go, this book falls between three and four, I more than "liked it", but less than "really liked it". Still, I gave it four stars because it is an important and edifying book on John Paul II's Theology of the Body (TOB).

I read At the Heart of the Gospel(2012)on the heels of reading West's Theology of the Body Explained (2003). I don't know what happened between 2003 and 2012, but West's tone in At the Heart is decisively conciliatory, and at times literally apologetic.

At the Heart seems to have been written in response to a variety of arguments and criticisms leveled at West from a various people, including some who are Catholic.

I'm still trying to understand West's aims in writing At the Heart. For one, the book has the feel of a flashback episode tv show. He apologizes (several times) for not making certain issues central to the TOB clear in the previous TOBE, and he quotes extensively from his previous work. He also appears to try to shore up his previous understanding of TOB with more references from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as well as to John Paul II's original texts. And he quotes extensively from a variety of other sources, including Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's pronouncements, which can be taken as substantiating or explaining West's hermeneutics, along with several Professors of Theology from around the world.

Having read West's comprehensive and authoritative TOBE I'm not convinced that At the Heart absolutely had to be written, other than to primarily grind a few axes against his critics. Without more context, and possibly naming the critics West seems to address, it is difficult for the reader to get involved in the issues that propelled West into writing At the Heart.

Of course many people (traditionalists) will balk at Bl. John Paul II's new body-centered theology. So what? As West says, criticism is healthy, that's how the finer points of doctrine get disclosed.

Yes, it seems that some of the attacks were malicious and personal. See Index I, where West feels compelled to explain that he has never said, nor agrees with, the view attributed to him about the Church's acceptance of certain sexual practices - you'll have to look at it yourselves, I'm trying to keep this a "family rated" review. The tone and subject matter found in Index I could have been written in a blog post instead of a book.

At the Heart of the Gospel is definitely worth a read for someone new to the idea/debate of Bl. John Paul II's Theology of the Body, but I did not see a need for this book, given all the information contained in TOBE, and all the references to this previous work with little to no different further explanations.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Review: Theology of the Body Explained

Theology of the Body Explained: A Commentary on John Paul II's Theology of the Body Explained: A Commentary on John Paul II's "Gospel of the Body" by Christopher West
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This truly is an amazing book. West explains, in great detail, what John Paul II's catechesis of the Theology of the Body is, and why it is so important and necessary for current Catholics.

This book is not as easy a read as George Weigl claims in the introduction, but it is very rewarding. John Paul II takes traditional Catholic views and turns them on their heads, all the while keeping true to the Magisterium's and the Church's traditional scriptural teachings. Not an easy task, but John Paul II accomplishes it with humility, wisdom and genius.

Although it is always best to read the actual source material instead of relying on second-hand explanations, West quotes extensively from the Pope's published audiences as they relate to the TOB, so the initiate does not feel left out of the conversation.

West follows the Pope's five-year cycle of Wednesday catecheses as he explains the elements of the Theology of the Body. This would be my suggestion to the reader: read the last section first, Cycle 6, and then return to the beginning. Obviously, this way the reader will not understand everything that West is referring to, but Cycle 6 places the Pope's argument in both a theological and historical context, and once you see the need for such a radical theological revision you will want to understand all the details.

Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body (TOB)is an answer to the criticisms that Pope Paul VI (and the Catholic Church) received after issuing in 1968 the controversial encyclical Humanae Vitae, which was the Church's response to the contraceptive use of The Pill. Humanae Vitae is a life-changing document that must be read by every Catholic. In his TOB John Paul II explains the theological underpinnings of Humanae Vitae, and why understanding this document is still needed in our current society.

In TOB John Paul II explains what it truly means to be a man and a woman, and what it means to be in love, and to live a conjugal life. Obviously, a cursory glance at these topics shows their significance as they relate to today's Culture of Death.

Pope John Paul's analysis of love is thorough, thoughtful, and scriptural. Taking his cue from Jesus' reply to the Pharisees' question about divorce, John Paul II returns to Adam and Eve in order to re-examine their relationship, in order to further understand the authentic man and woman, before the Fall. John Paul II also examines extensively St. Paul's controversial letter to the Ephesians and he explains, in great detail, the theological implications of this text.

With constant analysis of specific biblical passages, John Paul II creates an overwhelming case for a new theology, a new way of understanding married life, and of living out our faith more authentically/sacramentally. West also delves into the Pope's analysis of The Book of Tobit and the sensual poetry of The Song of Songs as further evidence of how/why his TOB is not really anything new, and how it has always been in the Bible.

I cannot stress the necessity for the faithful to understand and implement John Paul II's TOB as soon as possible. In fact, I would add West's book to my very short list of necessary documents to guide a Catholic's life: The Bible, The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Humanae Vitae, and The Theology of the Body Explained. Given that the TOB is seen as a stepping stone to The New Evangelization, the task of immediate implementation is all the more pressing!

Whatever you may think of the Catholic point of view about married life and conjugal love (yes, I'm talking to "modern" Catholics who think the Church is outdated and not in touch with the real world) be prepared to abandon your old beliefs and to adopt a more authentic, Bible-based, faithful (faith-filled) way of life. Reading this book (and/or John Paul II's published TOB) will be a liberating, life-changing experience for the Catholic faithful. And it just may convert a few non-Catholics along the way.

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Review: On Time and Being

On Time and Being
On Time and Being by Martin Heidegger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Heidegger signals his fundamental metaphysical shift when he reverses the terms from his seminal Being and Time to Time and Being. To appreciate this change in direction, one needs to have read Heidegger's journey through metaphysics.

In Time and Being Heidegger comes to the conclusion that dasein is ontologically a temporal being.

Anyone familiar with Heidegger's fourfold ontology and/or with his previous metaphysics will immediately recognize the significance of this later philosophical position.

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