Seal of Approval

The following books have been awarded the Seal of Approval for the 1st quarter of 2023:

  • A Freedom Such as Heaven Intended, Amanda Lauer
  • Notions of Murder, Joan Kelly
  • Survival Spirit, Theresa Alt
  • Shield of Faith, Theresa Linden
  • A Nation of Tyrants, C & C Spellman
  • Therese of Lieiuex: Little Saints, Cassie Herrington

From Our Blog

  • The Habsburg Way: Seven Rules for Turbulent Times – A Review

    7 hours 19 min ago
    The Habsburg Way: Seven Rules for Turbulent Times – A Review

    Remember when you were a kid and people were always asking what you wanted to be when you grew up? I never had a good answer. As much as I loved history and devoured books, I hadn’t ever given a thought to becoming an author.

    Fast forward a couple decades and I was looking to transition from full-time mom of four to part-time employee when our youngest started second grade. Having been blessed with a keen eye for proofreading, I found the ideal job as a proofreader for a major newspaper chain in our state. After proofreading thousands of articles from staff writers—who all had degrees related to that field—I figured out the formula for writing articles and threw my name in the hat when the paper was looking for stringers (freelance journalists).

    Our newspapers were shut down after 9/11 and shortly after I jumped completely into freelance proofreading and writing. I came to realize after a few years that nearly every journalist harbors a desire to write a book. After four years and countless rewrites, my first book, A World Such as Heaven Intended, was published. One and done. My life was complete. Or so I thought.

    Within a week of its publication, readers were asking when the sequel would be coming out, so I got to work creating the next book. I streamlined the process and began writing Catholic historic fiction—sweet romances—in earnest, while still doing freelance writing on the side. Nine years later books number eight and nine are in the publishing process.

    This career has allowed me—thanks in part to being a member of the Catholic Writers Guild—to have some of the most amazing experiences, including meeting remarkable Catholics from all walks of life. One person in particular is Eduard Habsburg, the archduke of Austria and Hungary’s Ambassador to the Holy See. I had the pleasure of working with Eduard on his children’s book Dubbie: The Double-Headed Eagle, and my husband and I visited him at the Hungarian Embassy in Washington, D.C., enjoyed a nice private lunch together in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol building, and attended one of his presentations on Blessed Karl, a relative who he’s praying will be canonized as a saint in the not-too-distant future (for more on Blessed Karl, see the author’s note at the end of this post).

    It was an honor when Eduard reached out to me earlier this year asking if I would read his latest book, The Habsburg Way: Seven Rules for Turbulent Times, and endorse it if I felt inclined to do so. Of course, I was more than happy to do that and spent time during a recent four-day silent Ignatian retreat reading his work. As a Catholic, as a parent, as a history buff, the book drew me in the moment I opened it. My five-star review is below:

    As a lover of history and all-things royal, I thoroughly enjoyed The Habsburg Way: Seven Rules for Turbulent Times. Eduard Habsburg, Archduke of Austria and Hungary’s Ambassador to the Holy See, has a clever way of writing that makes learning of his storied family’s history so interesting yet quite entertaining. He has no issuing poking a bit of fun at his ancestors (everything from the fabled Habsburg jaw to the inbreeding between cousins in centuries long past). Talk about name dropping, the archduke has a myriad of historical figures in his family tree from Holy Roman Emperors, Frederick III and Rudolph I to name a couple, to Queen Marie Antoinette, to Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination is said to have sparked the start of WWI. All that aside, the book itself offers an in-depth presentation on seven rules that the Habsburg family has lived by essentially since their first historical mention from the year 950. These rules are simple enough and still guide the family all these years later: Get Married, Be Catholic, Believe in the Empire, Stand for Law and Justice, Know Who You Are, Be Brave in Battle, Die Well. If every family had a set of standards like this that they lived by, what a different world this would be. As for myself, it’s an honor to be friends with Archduke Eduard Habsburg, who is a shining example of leadership with grace, not only as the head of his family, but in his public role as well.

    Author’s note: Blessed Karl Habsburg, who was raised a fervent Catholic, was the nephew of Franz Joseph I, Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, whose assassination in 1914 led to the outbreak of WWI. After the assassination, Archduke Karl became heir to the throne becoming Emperor Karl I of Austria. In 1918, under duress, the emperor renounced any participation in the administration of the state. He and his wife Zita and their seven children were exiled to Madeira. Karl died from pneumonia on April 1, 1922 in the presence of his wife, who was pregnant, and their 9-year-old son Crown Prince Otto. 

    The cause for his beatification was opened in the Archdiocese of Vienna in 1949 where the witness of his holiness was collected. As part of the trial, his grave was opened in 1972 and his incorrupt body was discovered. On October 30, 2004, Pope John Paul II proclaimed Karl of Habsburg blessed, stating, “He was a friend of peace. In his eyes, war seemed like a horrible thing. Having come to power in the turmoil of the First World War, he tried to promote the peace initiative of my predecessor Benedict XV.” 

    He is now known as Blessed Emperor Karl of Austria and celebrated on October 21, the day of his marriage to Zita. In 2008, a second miracle through the intercession of Blessed Karl was recognized, paving the way for his future canonization, although no date has been set.

    © Copyright 2023 by Amanda Lauer

    An avid reader since childhood, award-winning author and journalist Amanda Lauer is the author of the Heaven Intended Civil War series and two time-travel novels, Anything But Groovy and Royal & Ancient. Amanda—who’s been married to her husband John for 42 years—has had the privilege of being a Catholic mom for 38 years and a Catholic grandma for 10 years.

    Featured Photo: Amanda Lauer is seen with Eduard Habsburg, Archduke of Austria and Hungary’s Ambassador to the Holy See who holds her book, A Freedom Such as Heaven Intended. Photo by John Lauer.

The CWG Prayer

Holy Family, guide our minds, our hearts, our hands, as we write, speak, illustrate – help our words to live in union with the Word.

Teach us discipline and skill to use the talents God gives us.

Give us also insight and courage to convey God's love through our craft, and humility to be open to His divine will, shaping our lives, in loving loyalty to His Church.

In Christ's name,


I'm a member

Forgot your password? Need to set it for the first time? Follow these instructions

Not sure where to go next? View the new member welcome page!

Not seeing the full site? Check your account. If your membership is expired, you can renew.

I'm a visitor

Welcome! If you'd like to learn about membership, select Joining the Guild.

To learn about our events, visit pages for the Live Conference, Online Conference, and Writers Retreat. You're welcome to join our weekly chat, Sun 9pm EST, in the CWG Chat Room.

I'm a bookseller / organization

Please visit our list of Seal of Approval recipients and Catholics Arts and Letters Award winners.

You can find many of our authors, illustrators, and editors through member sites and our CWG Blog.

Need a great presenter? Visit our Speakers Bureau page.

Connect with us

Instagram  Facebook     Twitter          

Support your local Catholic bookstore

Visit the Catholic Marketing Network: Where the Catholic Marketplace comes together

Use the CMN Store Finder to locate a bookstore in your area.

Site design by On Fire Media