Monopoly for Blog

One board game we kids loved was Monopoly. Since the game usually takes quite some time to play, it was guaranteed to fill up the tediousness of long summer days.

However, we got a bit inventive about it by devising a rule its creator never envisioned: we were allowed to cheat. You could cheat in any way you desired, by stealing money, houses, hotels, even property, provided you could get around the board once without being caught. (Apparently that was the Statute of Limitations.) If you were caught, you had to fess up and return the stolen merchandise.  Continue reading

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An Interview with Catholic Author Amy M. Bennett

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I managed to score an interview with Catholic author Amy M. Bennett, who specializes in mystery novels. In a day and age where our media is often full of profanity, sex, and condemnation of the Catholic Church, Ms. Bennett’s books are a refreshing ray of sunshine.

What are your books about?

I write what are known as “cozy mysteries”–mystery novels set in familiar, home-style settings, like small towns. Because I’ve always been a fan of mysteries, I chose to write mysteries (yes, murder mysteries) set in a small, New Mexico town where most of the characters have lived all their lives and have a strong Catholic culture. Any resemblance to my own life is strictly coincidental!

Where do you get the ideas for your books? 

I joke that, working in retail, it’s easy to find villains and victims for murder stories, but the truth is that I’m a shameless eavesdropper (thanks to the advent of cell phones, no conversation is private anymore… remember that the next time you’re carrying on a “private” conversation in a public place!) and I pick up ideas from news stories. Radio news gives great teasers–”A long-buried secret surfaces just before the mayoral election.” “Feuding families come together for a child’s last wish.” I don’t even want to hear what the real story is… I’m busy coming up with my own!

What inspired you to write your first book?  
Continue reading

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Leaving the Answer Space Blank

Miracle Sign for blog

One day, since my younger daughter was quite ill, I made an appointment for her at the doctor’s. I wasn’t feeling all that great myself, but I was nowhere as sick as she was. Fortunately, I was able to get an early appointment that morning. After dropping my older girl off at our local parish kindergarten, I headed to the clinic.

But on the way there, I started feeling worse, a lot worse. By the time we arrived, the illness had come upon me in full force. I was so sick I was having trouble standing in line to get my daughter checked in.

I began to worry. I knew my HMO, a stickler for details, wasn’t going to squeeze me in without already having made an appointment for myself. I was concerned about not only getting my kid through her exam, but driving the car home in my condition seemed dangerous.

Then, while I was still standing in line, something very strange happened. Continue reading

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The Great Possum Adventure

Possum for blog

One hot summer evening a baby possum got into our house.

There was a tiny space beneath the screen door, just big enough, apparently, for a small animal to squeeze through. Since the front door was open to help relieve the heat, the critter slipped in and took up residence under the sofa.

Have you ever tried to get a possum out from under a piece of furniture? Of course our first attempt was getting the broom to sweep him out. But he just wriggled under the broom handle, moving even farther from the front door.

Fortunately, I knew exactly what to do. I called Animal Control.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that one thing Animal Control doesn’t do is animal control.  Continue reading

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Love Thy Neighbor

Neighborhood Sign for Blog

This Biblical command is sometimes hard to follow. “Love thy neighbor” is easy when your neighbors are lovable. Not so much so when they’re unlovable.

Of course by “neighbor” the Bible means any human person, not just the people on your block. But those living close by are the ones you’re going to run into and have to deal with the most.

Depending on how you look at it, the street where I grew up was either comical or downright pathetic. We lived only half a block from two bars, and the couple next door worked at one of them. Amazingly, they used to drive to and from work, but considering that they consumed far too much of the product sold at their place of employment, maybe it’s a good thing it was just half a block. Unfortunately, if the husband was too drunk to get his back door open, he tended to answer nature’s call right outside my parents’ bedroom window.  Continue reading

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Getting Rid of Garbage

Garbage Disposal picture for blog

One day our garbage disposal stopped working.

It happened when a male friend of my husband’s happened to be visiting. So the two of them decided they would fix the problem.

Because the disposal wasn’t even turning on, I suggested they check the fuse box. Maybe a fuse had blown.

That’s when I got The Look.

If you’re a woman, you’ve probably been on the receiving end of The Look at least once in your life. It’s a look that essentially says You can’t possibly know what you’re talking about. This is technical stuff, guy stuff. Hey, we’re guys, and you’re a woman! Let us guys who know what we’re doing handle it!

Well, okay. So I sat back and let them work on it for an hour or so. Finally one of them came up with a brilliant idea. The disposal wasn’t getting any power, so maybe a fuse had blown. Maybe, just maybe, they should check the fuse box.  Continue reading

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The Source Phenomenon

Source Phenomenon for blog

Sometimes teaching high school was rather daunting. Often I wished students were equipped with funnels sticking out of their heads so I could just pour the knowledge in.

On one occasion, a young lady in my freshman class was having trouble understanding an idea. I don’t remember what the topic was, but I explained things to her several times, only to be greeted by her forehead frowning in confusion. Finally, a student sitting next to her repeated what I had just said, in the exact same words. Imagine my surprise when the first girl said, “Oh! Now I get it!” Then she snapped at me, “Why didn’t you say that?”  Continue reading

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The Nap Fairy

Nap Fairy for Blog

I spent a semester in a public school kindergarten. Back then we not only prayed before we had our snack of milk and graham crackers (“God is great, God is good, and so we bless Him for this food”) but we had a nap during class time.

This entailed lying down on floor mats. My teacher, who happened to have somewhere procured a magic wand, came up with the unusual idea of a “Nap Fairy.” Continue reading

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Nearer the Dawn

Nearer the Dawn Cover for blog

Right now the Kindle version of my novel Nearer the Dawn is on sale for just 99¢. You can find it here:

As usual, all net profits go to charity.

If you don’t own a Kindle, you can download Kindle onto your computer absolutely free at

This is one of the top rated novels on Catholic, where it received a glowing review that will give you some idea what the book’s about:

How this book came to be: I wondered what an atheist would do if he witnessed a miracle. I figured he would try to explain it away. But what if he couldn’t explain it away? Well, I think he’d still try to explain it away, no matter how ridiculous the explanation.

Nearer the Dawn grew out of that idea.

This is my most Catholic book. Because the battle between good and evil can be violent, this book is recommended only for those age 13 and up.

Here’s the prologue:

Evil oozed up between the floorboards and glanced around. Puffs of dust, four bed legs. A throw rug nearby. Peaceful ticks from a clock.

The usual danger was nowhere in sight. Excellent.

A blob of thick oil, it crawled from under the bed, slithering along the planking, fingers of darkness gliding up the wall. It snaked along the ceiling, then paused, hovering over the four poster bed.

Below slept the loathsome creature.

Auburn hair, spread on the pillow, haloed her face. One hand rested on her stomach. The other, fingers curled upward, lay near her head.


Oil coagulated, drew into a rough cylinder, its tip sculpturing into a serpentine head. Eyelids sliced open, red crescent pupils burning within. Scales sprouted along a belly coiled on the ceiling.

Eyes narrowing, it spiraled down to scrutinize the creature. Repugnance rose into a groan, dark vibrations purling outward and rippling about her brain before worming into her dream.

Her eyes slipped open.

Ah, yes. Time for terror. He thrust at her and hissed.

“Oh, pheeeew.” The woman pinched her nostrils and gagged. “Your breath is rancid. You need a mouthwash.”  Continue reading

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Slamming the Door

Slamming Door for blog

BFF. Best Friends Forever.

My girlfriend in high school and I were very close. Like most teenage girls we shared lunchtimes, classes, plus our hopes and dreams. Of course we also discussed boys, what kind of man we’d like to marry, and how many kids we’d have one day.

One memorable summer my girlfriend even invited me on a short vacation water skiing with her aunt and uncle. How cool was that?

Although after graduation we attended different colleges, we kept in touch, getting together for lunch, sharing our most precious moments.

On one of those occasions I asked how the aunt and uncle we’d vacationed with were doing. A dark cloud crossed her face. “We don’t talk to them anymore,” she informed me. “They’re out of the family.” Continue reading

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