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Oh, the Places You'll Go

As they say, books can transport you anywhere. While that certainly is true for book readers, it can be equally true for book writers as well. When my first novel, A World Such as Heaven Intended, was published in 2014, I had no idea of the adventure on which I was embarking.

It started out with short trips, like driving to my hometown in Northern Wisconsin for book signings. Then it was to Chicago to attend the annual Catholic Writers Guild / Catholic Marketing Network convention where I was able to connect with other Catholic writers. More conventions followed in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and Chicago again.

Then, as I delved further into the world of writing by co-writing a screenplay (The Islands for which my team earned the 2020 Best Writer Award – Red Letter Awards), there came my dream trip to Hawaii to watch the premiere. Working with the director of that movie brought us an invitation to attend the premiere of another of his movies at Fox Studios in Los Angeles.

Researching for books currently on the drawing board took us to Ireland and Civil War battle sites including Gettysburg, North Carolina and obscure battlegrounds in the Tennessee foothills. Our latest trip was to Washington, D.C. where we met His Excellency, Archduke Eduard Habsburg-Lothringen, Hungary’s ambassador to the Holy See and Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

So, how exactly does a writer living in America’s heartland get such an honor?

In a word — Twitter. One of my fellow Catholic writers tweeted this, which I retweeted:

After some thought, I composed my own tweet using Eduard’s original tweet and threw it out to the universe. You’ll never get anything in life if you don’t ask:

Which brought me this follow:

Eduard sent me a message saying that he would buy his daughter Sophie the Heaven Intended series as he wanted to support writers. Lo and behold, she loved the series and declared that I was her favorite author. Sophie and I began corresponding via e-mail and I sent her a copy of the manuscript that I was working on at that time. She read Anything But Groovy and gave it a glowing review which is now one of the reviews on the inside of the book.

Then one day I got this DM from Eduard:

It turns out that Eduard is an author himself. He had written a book in his native language of German (translated by his older daughter who was studying English literature in college) based on a bedtime tale he’d told his children as they were growing up. Dubbie: The Double-Headed Eagle was the sweet story of this little double-headed eagle (which happens to be on the Habsburg family crest) who was on the search for any other double-headed eagles like himself.

Eduard had a dream of having this book published in the United States. By chance, I had the ideal publisher who could help make that happen. Full Quiver Publishing had published all my books. Ellen Gable Hrkach and her husband James Hrkach, who is a professional artist and musician, were delighted to take on the project. I copy edited the book with Ellen, James illustrated it and Full Quiver published it.

Earlier this year, Eduard mentioned that he would be in Washington, D.C. in October for a Mass honoring his relative Blessed Karl of Austria. He invited my husband and I to attend the Mass at St. Mary Mother of God Church. We drove out there the day before to meet privately with Eduard and take him to lunch. We introduced him to his first taste of Buffalo chicken and pastrami. (I’d say he’s a fan for life.) I presented a gift to him from writers in the Catholic Writers Guild and Catholic Teen Books — 14 books to take home to his three youngest daughters in Rome.

Who knows where this writing journey will take me next? If it’s in God’s plan, it will be to Hollywood or Georgia to begin filming a movie or limited-run television series based on my book A World Such as Heaven Intended. Only time will tell!

My advice to budding authors? Dream big and keep asking. You’ll be surprised how often the answer will be “yes!”

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