7 Quick Takes Friday – Book News Etc.

7_quick_takes_sm1Please join me and other Catholic bloggers at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday. I’ve been light on blogging of late trying to get both the Kindle edition and print edition ready for publication. One down, one to go!

1. A Subtle Grace Kindle Edition Now Available
My new book is now available via Kindle. Want a copy? Just leave a comment below before Monday, March 24th. I’m giving away one FREE Kindle copy of A Subtle Grace.A Subtle Grace front cover Nov2013

2. Print Edition Coming
The Print Edition of A Subtle Grace will be published in about ten days and I will be giving away free copies here on my blog. Stay tuned.

3. World Down Syndrome Day: Inspiring Article
Today is World Down Syndrome Day. This inspiring article was written by my friend, Christopher Blunt, author of Passport. It’s entitled “Stage Six: Joy.”

4. Happy Anniversary, Holy Father!
It’s now been one year since Pope Francis became the Holy Father. Happy Anniversary, Holy Father!

5. Prayer Intentions
Can you please pray for a couple of special intentions I have? Thank you!

6. Review Shelf
A Pius Legacy by Declan Finn
Wonderfully Made: A Catholic Perspective (coming soon)

7. “Laundry” Cartoon

image copyright James and Ellen Hrkach Please do not use without permission

image copyright James and Ellen Hrkach Please do not use without permission

copyright 2014 Ellen Gable Hrkach

7 Quick Takes Friday – New Reviews, Beautiful Pro-Life Video, Snowy Winter

7_quick_takes_sm1Please join me and other Catholic bloggers at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday.

1. #2, #3 and #4 on Amazon
Two nights ago, for a few hours, my three novels were ranking at #2, #3 and #4 in the Religious Drama category.SJ 2, INO 3, EH 4

2. Cool Review of Stealing Jenny (Thank you, John!)
Posted here: http://www.examiner.com/article/review-ellen-gable-s-stealing-jenny

And here: http://apiusman.blogspot.ca/2014/02/review-stealing-jenny.html

3. Catholic Writers Conference Online
If you’re a Catholic writer and would like to attend the Catholic Writers Conference Online, click here. Today is the last day to register!

4. A Subtle Grace EndorsementsA Subtle Grace front cover Nov2013“The plot tugs at the heart and gets the heart racing. Reading A Subtle Grace was like riding a Victorian-era wooden roller coaster: a luscious historical setting that provides a tantalizingly dangerous thrill ride.” Erin McCole Cupp, author, Don’t You Forget About Me

A Subtle Grace is a compelling read, a great addition to the genre of Catholic fiction.
Patrice Fagnant MacArthur, author The Catholic Baby Name Book

Fascinating read with meticulous historical detail and great suspense built around true-to-life characters.”
Karen Murphy Corr, freelance writer

“Ellen Gable’s A Subtle Grace is a masterfully written illustration of the difference between lust and love, between rashness and fortitude, between mere existence and truly living.”
AnnMarie Creedon, author, Angela’s Song

5. I Believe (Beautiful pro-life video by Sapphira Sinasac)

6. Snowy Winter
Up here in Canada, like in many parts of the upper USA, we have had a very snowy winter. Of course, the difference is that we usually have a snowy winter. It has also been bitterly cold and I’m pining for spring already.

The snow drift is taller than me!

The snow drift is taller than me!

sm photo snow

7. Virtual Invitation Cartoon

copyright James and Ellen Hrkach, please do not use without permission

copyright James and Ellen Hrkach, please do not use without permission

Copyright 2014 Ellen Gable Hrkach

7 Quick Takes Friday – New Book, New Reviews & Downton Abbey!!

7_quick_takes_sm1Please join me at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday!

1. Early Feedback for A Subtle Grace
One beta reader said that it was a “tremendous sequel.” Another reader said that it is “your very best work. I absolutely loved it! I particularly enjoyed how you wove a pro-life message throughout the book without being preachy. And it was so easy to read! It just flowed. Wonderful!” A Subtle Grace front cover Nov2013

2. New 5 Star Reviews on Amazon.com for Stealing Jenny
I’m very grateful for the most recent reviews of Stealing Jenny on Amazon. Of the last ten, nine have been five stars and one, four stars. From Claire: “This book held my attention from beginning to the end. I read it in one day even through the president’s state of the union message. It was well written, fast moving, and really believable.”
From Meredith: “Being a mother, I totally relate to this. Some might write this off as a Catholic lack of reality story. Not me. I’m not Catholic, more pro-choice with a personal feeling of pro-life. It’s a real MUST READ kind of book, and this comes from my heart. But the reader has to dig deeper and realize the emotional depth that Ellen has brought to us.”

3. Downton Abbey Season Four (Spoiler Alert)DA-405-Bates-Anna300x231I’ve so enjoyed this Masterpiece Theatre/PBS British show for the past few years. My favorite couple is Anna and Bates. She’s usually so joyful and such a good person deep down and her husband, who is many years older, is a sweet and gentle man. I wasn’t convinced that their romance was the right thing for either of them during the first season when they began their courtship, but now it seems so natural for them to be together. This season has been difficult for them. Anna has been raped and until last week’s episode has been able to keep it secret from her husband because she’s afraid he will kill the man who did it. During last week’s episode, he overhears her speaking to Mrs. Hughes and finds out Anna’s secret.

Anna: “Well, it’s in the open. No more secrets. I’m glad of that at least. No more fear of being found out, because I am found out. My shame has nowhere to hide.”
Bates: “Why do you talk of shame? I don’t accept that there is any shame in this.”
Anna: “But I’m spoiled for you! And I can never be unspoiled.”
Bates: “You are not spoiled. You are made higher to me, and holier because of the suffering you have been put through. You are my wife, and I have never been prouder, nor loved you more than I do now at this moment.”
Anna: “Truly?”
Bates: “Truly.”

I know these are actors, but when you have brilliant writing, outstanding acting and excellent direction, well, these actors ARE Anna and Bates. We’ll see what happens next week and whether he will find out who assaulted his wife. But after last season (when Bates was finally vindicated and released from prison), no one wants to see him in prison again or — worse — hanged for killing a man, even if it was the man who raped his wife.)

4. Picture Perfect yellow shirtsIt’s hard to believe, but this was only my second published article. It was written in 2002 and appeared in Family Foundations, Spring 2003 issue: I tried to take a mental snapshot of the previous 10 minutes or so. Everyone had come to the table for dinner without being asked twice. The food was piping hot. All five children were sitting and quietly waiting for grace to begin. A soft snow had started falling outside, the woodstove was crackling, cookies were baking in the oven and the Christmas tree, which smelled fresh and green, sparkled with the twinkling lights. It all seemed so perfect, like a painting by Norman Rockwell or a scene from “Ozzie and Harriet.” For just a minute, I had wished that, like in the “Twilight Zone,” life would stop so I could savor the moment. I knew, however, that the scene wouldn’t last like that for long.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

5.Stealing Jenny: Featured Book on Freebooksy!
This past week, my book, Stealing Jenny, was featured on Freebooksy!Freebooksy

6. Reading Shelf
2012 Tuscany Prize for Catholic Fiction

7. Cease Fire Cartoon

Image copyright James and Ellen Hrkach/Full Quiver Publishing Please do not use without permission

Image copyright James and Ellen Hrkach/Full Quiver Publishing Please do not use without permission

Copyright 2014 Ellen Gable Hrkach

7 Quick Takes Friday – Mini Review Edition

7_quick_takes_sm1Please join me and other Catholic bloggers at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday.

I’m trying to catch up on reviews and there’s no better way than to write a 7QT post with seven mini-reviews!

1. The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning by Simcha Fisher
Funny, engaging, entertaining and true to life…this book needs to be on every NFP-using couple’s bedside table. I laughed out loud many times and shared favorite sections with my husband. Highly, highly recommend! Buy it here on Kindle.

2. Elizabeth: A Holy Land Pilgrimage by Cheryl Dickow
In this short novel, we meet Elizabeth, wife and mother who takes the (solo) trip of a lifetime to Israel. We accompany her as she travels throughout the Holy Land. Not surprisingly, she makes a spiritual journey as well. The book’s summary says it all: “not the typical inspirational novel. Part travelogue, part history lesson, part Bible study, this book blends a wonderful story with empathetic characters.” Enjoyable, edifying read. Buy it here on Kindle.

3. The Good Sinner by Elizabeth Schmeidler
Speaking of women named Elizabeth, many readers may know Elizabeth Schmeidler from her pro-life and music ministry. She is also the author of three novels. The Good Sinner is a fast-paced, page-turning, pro-life thriller that illustrates any heart can change. Entertaining, edifying and inspiring!! Here is the link to the Kindle edition.

4. A Body in Prayer by Neil Combs
Have you ever thought of using your whole body to pray? Have you thought about how each part can be used to praise and glorify God? Prayer doesn’t only have to be vocal. We can pray with every part of our body. Neil Combs walks you through “praying from head to toe.” Inspiring, beautiful and highly recommended! Only 2.99, the link to the Kindle edition is here.

5. Now And at the Hour of Our Death by J.S.B. Morse
Mary Credence is the daughter of a senator and the professed virgin finds herself pregnant. How did it happen? Was it by the Holy Spirit, is she keeping a romance secret or is there some other explanation? It was an interesting enough story and a compelling page turner. However, sometimes the writing seemed too clinical for a novel and I found Mary’s character at times off-putting. The ending was a bit too neatly tied up. But overall, I enjoyed the story and would read more by this author. Buy the Kindle edition here.

6. The Miraculous Medal: Stories, Prayers and Devotions by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle
This is a fascinating, inspiring and prayerful book and anyone who wears the Miraculous Medal can learn more about this beautiful devotion, even if you have already read other books on the topic. The story of St. Catherine Laboure is included, but the author shares personal stories as well. Highly recommend! Buy it here on Kindle or Paperback.

7. Wrapped Up: God’s Ten Gifts for Women by Teresa Tomeo and Cheryl Dickow
Delightful and inspiring book about the “ten gifts” God gives to every woman to help her embrace her unique vocation: God’s Love, God’s Forgiveness, Allowing God to be God, Joyful Attitude, Suffering, Letting Go, Sacramental Life, Sisters in Faith, Setting Priorities and the Gift of You. Beautifully written in each author’s distinctive voice, I found it inspiring and enjoyable read. I highly recommend it! The Kindle edition is at this link.

Copyright 2014 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Sunday Snippets – Epiphany Sunday

Image copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

Image copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

Please join me and other Catholic bloggers at RAnn’s Place for Sunday Snippets, where we share posts from the previous week.

It’s been a quiet week of blogging with the holidays, entertaining relatives, taking care of sick people and watching my husband perform in the local Christmas musical.

But tomorrow is the Feast of the Epiphany and one of the ways we celebrate is with an Epiphany Blessing, which you can learn more about in my previous post.

My one and only post for this week:

7 Quick Takes – Happy New Year Included are a link to my favorite Christmas present (a video), updates on my new novel (review requests welcome!!), our Christmas card and other cool tidbits!

Copyright 2014 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Sunday Snippets – December 15

Image copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

Image copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

It’s time again to connect with RAnn and other Catholic bloggers for Sunday Snippets where we share posts from the previous week and answer a weekly question.

Question of the week: What spiritual gift do you want for Christmas this year? I’ve had to juggle extra work, the boys’ sporting and musical events, Christmas shopping, writing deadlines etc. This Christmas, I pray for increased charity and patience.

Here are my posts:

Advent Wreath Link Up

A Beautiful Advent Story (from Catherine Doherty, foundress of Madonna House)

7 Quick Takes Friday – Volume 100 Update on my new novel, Christmas card humor, a mini review etc.

7 Quick Takes Friday – Volume 100

7_quick_takes_sm1Please join me and other Catholic bloggers at Jen’s Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday.

1. A Subtle Grace Update
My editor has finished working on the manuscript of A Subtle Grace and I will be implementing her suggested edits in the coming weeks. The next step will be to have my team of beta readers share their feedback. My capable proofreaders will then carefully read through the manuscript for typos. The Kindle edition will (fingers crossed) be published in January or February. Print edition will be available in the spring.A Subtle Grace front cover Nov2013

2. Advent Wreath Link-Up
If you missed my post about the Advent Wreath Link-Up, it’s not too late to add your own Advent wreath photo.Advent Wreath

3. Christmas Tree Farm
We’re heading to the Cedar Hill Christmas Tree Farm over the weekend to cut down our Christmas Tree.trees

4. Christmas Miracles
Another favorite book of mine that I read around this time is a book called Christmas Miracles. It’s a lovely book with heartwarming and inspiring stories. Highly recommend!

5. Crazy Love by Eileen Leamy (mini-review)
Crazy Love is a beautiful story of love and faith, joy and loss. Based on true events, Harry and Eileen were blessed to find love late in life. Harry was eventually diagnosed with cancer and their love story becomes a fervent plea to God. Uplifting, heartfelt and inspiring, I highly recommend it!! Buy it here on Amazon.Crazy Love alt green grey front

6. Reading Shelf
A.K.A Genius by Marilee Haynes (published by Pauline Books and Media)

7. Christmas Card Humor
(Last year’s original Hrkach Family Christmas card)

image copyright James and Ellen Hrkach 2012

image copyright James and Ellen Hrkach 2012

Copyright 2013 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Sunday Snippets – December 8

Image copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

Image copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

Please join me and other Catholic bloggers over at RAnn’s Place for Sunday Snippets where we share posts from the previous week and answer a question.

This week’s question: What is your favorite title for Mary, and why? My favorite title for Mary, the Mother of God, is the Immaculate Conception, not only because December 8 is the feast of the Immaculate Conception, but because this is the way Mary introduced herself to St. Bernadette at Lourdes. Mary was immaculately conceived in her mother’s womb, without sin, and we can look to her as a holy example.

Here is my one and only post this week:

7 Quick Takes Friday – Volume 99 (a video preview of the upcoming Christmas musical my husband will be in, Yo Vikings, a mini review and an Advent cartoon, among other things.

Copyright 2013 Ellen Gable Hrkach

7 Quick Takes Friday – Volume 99

7_quick_takes_sm1Please join me and other Catholic bloggers over at Jen’s Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday.

1. Feast of St. Nicholas
Happy Feast of St. Nicholas!! Read more about St. Nicholas and traditions here.

2. Immaculate Conception (December 8th)
Sunday is the beautiful Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Since it is a Sunday, however, the Mass on Monday, December 9th will celebrate that beautiful feast day.

3. Yo Vikings – Kanata Theatre
If you’re in the Ottawa Valley and would like to see a wonderful children’s musical during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, consider coming to see “Yo Vikings.” My husband, James, plays a viking and this song is entitled “The Prayer.” It was recorded earlier this week at one of their rehearsals. (James carved and made the instrument he uses in this number.) The website for tickets is also listed at the end of the clip.

4. Snow and Blue Lights

photo copyright James Hrkach

photo copyright James Hrkach

5. Mareritt by Krisi Keley (Mini Review)
Mareritt is the first book in a new “Friar Tobe” series by talented author Krisi Keley. Private investigator Tobias (“Friar Tobe”) Berger is a former novitiate of a religious order who is hired to investigate the unexplained coma of a high school girl and the frightening incidents and continuing close calls experienced by her three friends. Interspersed throughout the contemporary story is an old-fashioned fairy tale involving another “sleeping beauty.” Tobias is now a lay person living out his Catholic faith; he must set aside his growing attraction to one of the girls to focus on finding out why the incidents are continuing to happen and if they are connected. The characters are flesh and blood multi-dimensional and it’s easy to get to know them. Not surprisingly, my favorite character is the main protagonist, Tobias. He is likeable, though imperfect and entertaining at times I didn’t expect. Krisi Keley is one of the best contemporary (and, I believe, undiscovered) novelists today. Her rich language, complex story lines and well-defined characters make the reading of any of her books a compelling, enjoyable and entertaining read. This one is no exception. At only .99, the Kindle edition of this book is a “steal,” and I highly recommend it!!

6. Reading Shelf
Ceremony of Innocence – Dorothy Cummings McLean

7. Advent Cartoon

Image copyright Full Quiver Publishing Please do not use without permission

Image copyright Full Quiver Publishing Please do not use without permission

Copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach