21 February 2010


In My Mailbox: A Meme
(Peek into the mailboxes of other Book Bloggers at The Story Siren.)

Getting books in the mail (real books in snail mail) is a big part of Book Blogging. Sometimes one buys them; sometimes one wins them; and sometimes one gets Advanced Review Copies straight from the publisher. It's the logical effect of all the discounts offered by online book retailers, the giveaways and contests hosted by the more social and savvy book bloggers, and the generous PR from publishers who want in on the action.

Being ineligible for most of these freebies, as I live outside the "continental USA," I don't bother entering most of them. Having had, moreover, a horrible experience collecting a package of books from my city's central post office last year (See my indignant article Pro-Smuggling: Because I Have a Brain), I've tended to shy away from even those which are open to international entries. It was an aspect of book blogging which I didn't think would be available to me, for the time being.

What a great surprise it was, then, when this aspect of book blogging came looking for me! Which it did long before I had resigned myself to my new identity as a Book Blogger Who Wishes She Were a Horror Blogger!

So now I publish my first--and ideally, not my last--post about why receiving mail has become fun again. Here's my loot . . .

Since Mark Shea is a former Evangelical himself, he knows firsthand what non-Catholics think about Mary. He knows how most Protestants ignore her. And now that Mark's a full-time Catholic apologist, he also knows what Catholics don't know about Mary but should . . .

Oh, is there anything that Mark Shea doesn't know? *rolls eyes*

You may remember my first month as a Werepunk, when I blogged something on Sancta Sanctis which insulted Shea so much when he read it (which he didn't have to do, now that I think about it), that he must have spent about an hour composing an angry reply.

After we had ironed things out to his satisfaction, he offered me complimentary copies of the three books in his new series Mary, Mother of the Son, to show there were no hard feelings. (By that point, it was clear that that was the only satisfaction I was going to get, so I folded . . . and accepted the offer.)

The day I picked them up from the post office, I brought them to work at XYZ Tutorial Centre, where they caught Noxxtis' attention. She picked up the first volume, read a bit of it, and then surprised me by asking angrily:

"Teacher Enbrethiliel, how long has this guy been a Catholic?"

I honestly didn't know! "Over ten years, at the very least. Why?"

"Well, I've been Catholic for seventeen years and I don't like what he's writing about my Faith in this book!"

"Oh." (Tee-hee!)

"May I read them when you're done?"


Later, I looked it up. Shea has been Catholic for longer than Noxxtis has been alive, but I don't think that really helps his case with her. I do think that she might have read that passage which provoked her out of context, and wonder what she will have to say after she reads the whole set.


Set amid the turmoil of the Albigensian Crusade in thirteenth century France, The Night's Dark Shade tells of heresy versus orthodoxy, and of forbidden love versus fidelity.

Heiress of her father's estates in Auvergne, the orphaned Lady Raphaƫlle leaves her home to marry a nobleman in a remote castle in the Pyrenees.

There she encounters the mysterious Cathar sect who challenge all of her most deeply held beliefs.

As she seeks the path of her true calling, she discovers hatred and betrayal, as well as abiding friendship and unexpected love.

This is the first book I have ever won in a real giveaway! (It also has a much better copywriter. Just read that synopsis!)

As this novel was something I really wanted, I checked with the author, who was hosting it on her own blog, just in case she was willing to ship it internationally. And she was!

Read my (soon-to-be-successful) shot at the moon: Book Giveaway: The Night's Dark Shade by Elena Maria Vidal

I'll definitely have a Reading Diary post on it in the future!

Image Source: a) Mary Mother of the Son (Three Volumes) by Mark P. Shea, b) The Night's Dark Shade by Elena Maria Vidal


elena maria vidal said...

Thank you very much for the mention of my book, Mademoiselle Enbrethiliel. (I can't believe I missed the fist fight that occurred in the combox of your old blog. I must say I am a bit shaken that your words could be so misunderstood. You handled it all with kindness, charity, and class.)

Enbrethiliel said...


You're welcome, Elena! I've already finished The Night's Dark Shade and am just letting it "settle" some more before I actually review it.

I did think it was a touching love story--and one with an ending I, experienced Romance reader that I am, could not have predicted! What really fascinated me, though, was the idea of a nobly born lady serving as the "centre of gravity," so to speak, for her community--as the one who sets the standards of morals, behaviour, and religious devotion. It seems a uniquely medieval ideal, and I know I want to read more about it.

Enbrethiliel said...


PS--Now that I've read other people's IMM posts, I've edited my own to include the synopses of my featured books.

PPS--"Fist fight" is right! Someone else called it a "meltdown," which is even more accurate. Thanks for understanding what I really meant to say! =)

elena maria vidal said...

Looking forward to reading your review, dear.

PolishOutlander said...

I might have to check out The Night's Dark Shade. I first encountered the Cathars in Kate Mosse's Labyrinth and then in Elizabeth Chadwick's Daughters of the Grail. It's quite the fascinating story and time. Happy reading!

Elijahmaria said...

Dear Enbrethiliel,

The day you closed your Catholic blog, you tossed off any moral high ground you might have had to say anything at all negative about anyone concerning their own expression of Catholicity or things Catholic.

In this regard you are more sleezy than cheezy. Your out-of-context comments about Mark Shea are now more calumny than they are commentary.

You might have had a strong supporter here but at this point I must say that, although you came highly recommended by one of my own favorite Catholic bloggers, I am exceptionally underwhelmed by what I have found, and am sorry that I wasted my time to come here.


inthehammockblog said...

Congrats on winning a giveaway!! Thanks so much for visiting my blog!

Enbrethiliel said...


PolishOutlander: The thirteenth century is fascinating! I hope you get a chance to check out this book. =) Thanks for your comment.

Elijahmaria: I'm sorry that you wasted your time, too. It can't have been much time, though, if you managed to miss the context, so you can take comfort from that. =) I hope you enjoy having the moral high ground on your own Catholic blog (Who knew that was all it took?), from now on.

PS--I spell my "cheesy" with an S.

Inthehammockblog: Thanks for visiting my blog, too. =) I appreciate that you took the time to leave a comment.

Lori said...

Enjoy your books. Here's Mine.

Enbrethiliel said...


Thanks for stopping by, Lori, and for inviting me to your own blog. =)

Mark P. Shea said...

(By that point, it was clear that that was the only satisfaction I was going to get, so I folded . . . and accepted the offer.)

My apologies for offering to send the freebie books. I thought I was extending an olive branch, but apparently I was just taxing your patience. Thanks for your gracious and classy response to my attempt at a fence-mending gift.

Enbrethiliel said...


Mr. Shea, do you google your name on a daily basis to find out who is saying what about you? Or do you let other people's trolls (Hi, Janice Wilson/Jblessing1991/Anonymous/EllenM!) play Thought Police for you?

The books are highly appreciated and I will be glad to judge them by their own merit as soon as I'm done with them, but your personality is really something else.

Elijahmaria said...

Dear Enbrethiliel,

However harsh my note from yesterday, my primary concern is that you not leave your other blog fallow, since some of your best work is there.

Also, please try not to stoop to conquer.

Some of your smart aleck and not-so-clever responses puts you on the same level as Mr. Shea and his merciless bashing of what he not-so-cleverly calls rad-trads.

Go back to your original commentary on the Catholic Converts Corner and try again. You are on to something there and it probably needs to be said aloud.

This current blog is not the place to engage that kind of sober examination of converts, Catholics and Catholic Converts.

But if you continue racing down this precipice trying to out-clever the truly not-so-clever ones on their terms...then I fear you have nothing to offer but more of the same.

I don't really have a dog in this hunt but I did think you had more to offer than what I am seeing at the moment. Perhaps you should treat it more soberly and not hide behind what passes, in some circles, for clever reparte.

You don't need that. You can do it with care and concern and straight forward estimations of what is good and what is not quite so good. I'd happily support that effort.


Mark P. Shea said...

No. I get a boatload of mail from sundry folk including, apparently, one of your readers. The mail has links saying things like "Check this out". So, I check it out. I don't follow your blog. That's why I've only commented on two threads, both of which were written to gratuitously insult me for no reason I can discern while blaming me for taking the insult you intended to give. And, rest assured, I will be more cautious in future about clicking on anything that links here.

Enbrethiliel said...


Elijahmaria: Thank you for clearing things up and your kind words about my old blog.

This new blog is not a member of the so-called "St. Blog's Parish," and no matter how Catholic it gets, I hope that it is never considered a member.

I may think about reopening Sancta Sanctis someday, but I hope you understand why I don't want to do any commentary on "St. Blog" issues for the time being.

Mark P. Shea: You may not come back to read this, but I reply to all comments and I'll bet my reader who is also your fan (?!?!?!) has been waiting on tenterhooks for it. He may just send you another link, so be really careful!

Yes, it's clear that you don't follow my blogs. I don't mind. It's also clear that you feel obliged to click on all links which your fans send you. I understand that it may be something else your livelihood depends on; and when a potential book buyer asks you to do something, you can't really afford to say no. So I hope that the person who keeps sending you my stuff buys up a lot of your books, because I think you've at least earned that from him.

What's not so clear, however, is why you think you need to leave comments that don't do yourself any favours. You want to sell books, right? Well, this post happens to be linked up to a weekly meme on a very popular book blog. I wonder how many people who have never heard of you have come here, read the comments, and decided they didn't want to try out a new writer who might go after them on their own blogs if they give him a poor review?