Creative Works

Author: Jason Kelly '95

When Fiction and Philosophy Meet: A Conversation with Flannery O’Connor and Simone Weil, E. Jane Doering ’69M.A. and Ruthann Knechel Johansen (Mercer University Press). Former Notre Dame professors Doering and Johansen examine the intersection of Weil’s philosophy and O’Connor’s literature, revealing how their explorations of good and evil, informed by the Catholic tradition, illuminate each other. The philosopher and the storyteller emerged from different places and experiences, spanning the tumult of World War II in Weil’s France and the racial unrest in O’Connor’s American South, each one making an enduring impact on 20th-century thought. Doering and Johansen bring them into dialogue with each other, deepening readers’ understanding of the intellectual currents that shaped the era.


All the Deadly Secrets, Carol Schaal ’91M.A. When widow Lauren Andrews discovers the word “Killer” painted on her car, she flees her Florida home for a new life along Lake Michigan. There she discovers a dead body and becomes a murder suspect, a turn of events that leads to the unveiling of Lauren’s hidden identity and forces her to become an amateur sleuth to prove her own innocence. Schaal, the former managing editor of this magazine, offers a story of twists, turns and trinkets from the shops of a charming lakeside village suddenly beset by an elusive killer.


Creative Works Web Extra

The Philosopher’s War, Tom Miller ’06MFA (Simon & Schuster). Robert Canderelli Weekes returns in the sequel to Miller’s historical fantasy debut, The Philosopher’s Flight, as the first male to join the U.S. Sigilry Corps’ Rescue and Evacuation Service, a team of elite flying medics. Working in France at the end of World War I, Weekes becomes embroiled in a risky scheme to win the war and save millions of lives, while a German attack threatens widespread destruction. Magic, romance and covert missions mark Miller’s return to the fantastical world of empirical philosophy.


Irish Iowa, Timothy Walch ’70 (The History Press). Fleeing famine and poverty, Irish people immigrated to Iowa in large numbers — the second largest of any ethnic group to come to the state — and their impact may have exceeded their size. Walch, an Irish-American historian and Iowa native, chronicles the role the Irish have played in the Hawkeye State, from the nuns who opened the first schools, hospitals and asylums to the laborers who laid the railroad tracks to the five sons of the Sullivan family lost in World War II.


Compassionomics: The Revolutionary Scientific Evidence that Caring Makes a Difference, Steve Trzeciak ’92 and Anthony Mazzarelli (Studer Group). Compassion matters in medical care. That seems plain enough, but Trzeciak, chair of the Department of Medicine at Rowan University, makes the case that compassion could be a wonder drug with measurable benefits in all facets of the health-care industry. Combining case studies with a survey of scientific evidence, Compassionomics outlines the ways that empathetic care benefits not only patients but health care providers as well — and how it may even serve to control costs.


False Horizon, Joseph Reid ’00J.D. (Thomas & Mercer). Air marshal Seth Walker, introduced to readers in Reid’s Take Off, returns to investigate the suspicious crash of a commuter plane in the West Virginia mountains. He encounters a complex mystery involving money, power and politics. Ecoterrorists, frackers, miners and drug smugglers create a combustible situation that for Walker becomes personal.


Messy Larry, David J. Perri ’91 (First Edition Design Publishing). Perri wrote and illustrated this tale of a kid who is a little different from his classmates. Larry looks like a bear — fur, pointy ears, claws — and his clumsiness makes his art projects go awry. He might be messy, but he’s imaginative and wants to express himself through art. Thanks to a kind relative, he learns how to do just that.


Awaken Your Wealth: Creating a Pact to Optimize Your Money and Your Life, Julie Marie Murphy ’05MBA (Beyond Your Wildest Dreams). What kind of relationship do you have with money — healthy or dysfunctional? Murphy, president and chief visionary officer of JMC Wealth, grew up as one of 12 children with a “scarcity mentality” that instilled financial guilt. To overcome her own money issues, she developed a plan to help others achieve the same sense of empowerment and freedom in their financial lives.


A Catholic Survival Guide: Plain Talk from the Pews: Protecting Family and Faith, Andrew P. Hicks ’81 and Mack R. Hicks ’57 (Splenium House).  As “laypersons with a scientific bent,” the authors, father and son, are Catholics and psychologists who put the Church under a microscope to examine the institution and its practices against external criticism. They offer humor and informality to help ordinary people strengthen, recover or discover the faith.


Baptismal Ecclesiology and the Order of Christian Funerals, Stephen S. Wilbricht, CSC, ’91, ’95M.Div. (Liturgy Training Publications).  The entry into Christian life is the first step into eternal life. Recognizing that, Wilbricht says, should encourage faith communities to make a deeper commitment to attend to the dead and accompany the grieving. Outlining Church doctrine and offering practical pastoral advice, the Stonehill College theologian reminds the faithful of their responsibilities to the dead and the union that remains with them through baptism.


The Canonical Order, T.R. Kurtz ’02MBA (CatAero). In Kurtz’s spy thriller, Chad Stryker, an ex-CIA paramilitary officer, has become a Vatican intelligence operative, working with the clandestine Black Swan team to stop an Islamic State plot to destroy the Catholic Church. Kurtz’s background in real-world U.S. government counterterrorism efforts informs the details of this novel that follows Stryker’s efforts within the Canonical Order, the fictional Vatican intelligence agency, to stay a step ahead of the plotters.


Always Cedar Point: A Memoir of the Midway, H. John Hildebrandt ’71 (Casa Flamingo Literary Arts). Familiar to Notre Dame fans as the place where Knute Rockne and Gus Dorais practiced the Army-slaying forward pass while working as summer lifeguards, the Cedar Point amusement park has been a popular recreational destination for northern Indiana residents throughout its 150-year history. Hildebrandt, who started his career there as a public relations writer, became general manager in 2005. He helped develop the marketing campaign that dubbed Cedar Point “America’s Roller Coast.” Retired since 2014, he reflects on a lifetime at the park in a book that combines business, history and autobiography into a “love poem” to Cedar Point.


Chasing Shadows, Kevin W. Luby ’84 J.D. (CreateSpace). John Callahan is an ordinary man facing an extraordinary crisis. A pandemic that threatens to wipe out human life has destabilized the nation. Under martial law, Callahan must confront a cruel military leader in a battle for his own and others’ survival. Including a character named for and modeled after Notre Dame law professor Tex Dutile ’65J.D., the novel invites readers to consider how they would construct a society worth living in amid such devastation.


The Reform of Zeal: François de Sales and Militant French Catholicism, Thomas A. Donlan ’96 (Centre for French History and Culture of the University of St. Andrews). During the lifetime of St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622), the French “wars of religion” forged a fearful and aggressive strain of Catholicism that was antagonistic to Protestant reformers and even toward other Catholics. Donlan argues that de Sales “developed a spirituality of nonviolence” through a notion of God as “gentle and humble in heart.”


From Dust to Stars, Jake Frost ’93 (CreateSpace). Featuring 21 poems drawing on Scripture and Catholic tradition, as well as on myth and imagination, Frost’s first poetry collection and third book — following Catholic Dad: (Mostly) Funny Stories of Faith, Family and Fatherhood, and the children’s picture book, The Happy Jar — includes tales of saints and dragon slayers. Historical notes and images add context to Frost’s verse. 


The Social Media Workbook for Teens, Goali Saedi Bocci ’10M.A., ’12Ph.D. (Instant Help). Among teenagers in particular, the benefits of social media often seem outweighed by the drawbacks. Real-life connections sometimes suffer in the virtual world, where superficial, curated depictions of life can create an impression that you’re not living up to the achievements and happiness of others. The results can cause anxiety, alienation and even addiction in the rush to keep up. Saedi Bocci, a millennial psychologist, offers guidance based on cognitive behavioral therapy for managing social media use in a way that does not overwhelm teenagers, for dealing with cyberbullying and for prioritizing friends over followers.


Mr. R: A Rock & Roll Romance, Tracy Neis ’84 (Mischievous Muse Publishing Arts Alliance); Abul-Abbas the Elephant, Karen Neis ’16 (MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing); Aviator in the Amazon: Tales of a Flight Engineer with Pan Am, Laura Neis ’18 (Paragon Agency). The Neis family, mother Tracy and daughters Karen and Laura, could stock their home bookshelves with their own work. All three have published new titles, including Tracy’s contemporary retelling of Jane Eyre set in Germany and Ohio in the ’70s and ’80s, a children’s book about the journey of Charlemagne’s elephant from Baghdad to Europe that Karen wrote and illustrated, and Laura’s biography of a swashbuckling engineer who lived through plane crashes and encounters with jungle headhunters. For good measure, Karen also illustrated a children’s book about Mary Shelley, The Frankenstein of the Apple Crate: A Possibly True Story of the Monster’s Origins, written by Notre Dame professor emerita of French Julia Douthwaite Viglione.


A Parish Guide for Bereavement Ministry & Funeral Planning, Jill Maria Murdy ’99M.A. (Twenty-Third Publications). Planning a funeral can be a trying burden for families grieving the loss of a loved one. Murdy, the director of liturgy and music at St. Frances Cabrini Parish in West Bend, Wisconsin, has developed a guide to help those in parish ministry support people after the death of a loved one and a planning resource for families dealing with aging and illness.


Jason Kelly is an associate editor of this magazine.