7 Quick Takes Friday – Volume 54

7_quick_takes_sm1It’s Friday and time to join up with other Catholic bloggers at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday.

1. Prayer Requests
Please continue to keep Jen from Conversion Diary in your prayers. Also, I’d like to ask readers to pray for fellow CatholicMom contributor, Cassandra Poppe’s son, Fulton. He was severely burned in an accident. Prayers and donations are needed. Here’s the website: http://www.giveforward.com/PrayForFulton

2. Stealing Jenny Reaches 100 Reviews!
My novel, Stealing Jenny, just received its 100th review on Amazon with a 4.3 average ranking! Woo hoo! It was #1 for most of the month of December, has been in the top three for the past week, and in the top ten for the past 18 months.

3. Ellen Gable Author Facebook page
Please consider “liking” my author page. You can either click the link or click the link at the side bar to the right and just below the Stealing Jenny cover photo. There will be weekly free giveaways listed over the next few months and news about upcoming books.

4. Bring Him Home
With the recent release of Les Miserables, I decided to post a video on Facebook of my husband’s moving rendition of “Bring Him Home” (which was recorded nearly four years ago at my surprise 50th birthday concert). Please feel free to take a look and let me know what you think. You need not have a Facebook account to watch the video, although if you want to comment or “like” the video, you’ll need to have a Facebook account.

One of the reasons I wanted to post this video is because “Bring Him Home” is my favorite song of Les Mis. On the whole, I enjoyed Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of Jean Valjean very much, although I was disappointed with his “live” rendition of this particular song.

5. A Subtle Grace
I’ve been busy editing and trying to finish my latest work in progress, A Subtle Grace, the sequel to In Name Only which continues the saga of the O’Donovan Family. I’m specifically writing this book so that it can be read independent of the other, although reading both will give a more complete experience.

A Subtle Grace takes place in 1896 in Philadelphia. Each week during 7 Quick Takes Friday, I’d like to introduce one character from the book. This week: Kathleen O’Donovan, main female protagonist, is the oldest daughter of Caroline (main female protagonist of In Name Only) and her late husband, Liam O’Donovan. At the beginning of the story, Kathleen is 19 years of age and present with her mother as the older woman gives birth to another baby. Kathleen is the oldest of six children (soon-to-be seven children). She is naive, carefree and innocent although an unforeseen circumstance causes her to question everything she has believed about herself and her family.

6. Reading List
The Lion’s Heart by Dena Hunt

7. Cartoon – Skydiving

image copyright FQP - James/Ellen Hrkach

image copyright FQP – James/Ellen Hrkach

Copyright 2013 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Special Cyber Monday Offers

Full Quiver Publishing is offering three deals for Cyber Monday (this Monday, November 28):


Offer #1 Stealing Jenny print edition is available for 6.50 and shipping is free! Usual price is 12.99 plus shipping so that’s less than half-price! Email us at
info @ fullquiverpublishing.com with your address to receive your free book. LIMIT ONE PER FAMILY.

Offer #2 Stealing Jenny Kindle edition is FREE on Monday, November 28th. To receive your free Kindle book, just send your email address to info @ fullquiverpublishing.com.

Offer #3 Buy Stealing Jenny either print or Kindle and receive a FREE PRINT copy of Come My Beloved: Inspiring Stories of Catholic Courtship. To receive your free book ($13.00 value),
send your Amazon order confirmation email to
info @ fullquiverpublishing.com.

Sunday Snippets – October 16

Join me at RAnn’s Place where Catholic bloggers share posts from the previous week. Please check out the other bloggers’ posts!

Here are my contributions for the week:

Working With An Editor, my post for the Catholic Writers Guild blog

Desperate Plea for Help, about our friend’s desperation when his girlfriend was enticed into a cult.

My Relatives Are My Biggest Fans (Photo)

Powerful Weapon The Holy Rosary can be a powerful weapon…

Fiction Friday – Review of Pro Luce Habere

Pregnancy and Infant Loss

Photo copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

Powerful Weapon

“The holy Rosary is a powerful weapon. Use it with confidence and you’ll be amazed at the results.”
St. Josemaria Escriva

Although I grew up in a Catholic family, I learned how to say the rosary at school. My father often said it in private, but we never recited the rosary as a family and I rarely said the rosary on my own before the age of 11. One evening, however, my parents were involved in a loud (and heated) argument. It was my first experience at being “amazed at the results” of the powerful weapon of the holy rosary. The following is an excerpt from my novel, Emily’s Hope. It’s based on actual events and is a true illustration of Our Lady’s powerful intercession.

I listen as my parents are fighting again, fighting over bills they can’t pay. Each time my mom yells, my dad yells louder. Dad starts to throw things, not at Mom, just throwing things. I’m scared. It makes me feel anxious to see the two people I love most in the world screaming at each other. Don’t they love each other, I ask myself. Why won’t they stop yelling?

Dad just said something about moving out. Oh, God, please, I don’t want my dad to move out. Mom says good. Oh, please, Mom, don’t say that. I look at both of them but they don’t seem to see me or the panic in my eyes. They only glare at each other.

Dad goes upstairs. I run after him and watch as he gets a suitcase out and starts putting clothes in it.

God, why won’t you stop him? I pass by my bedroom and notice my rosary sitting on the bedside table. I grab it, sit down on my bed, and begin saying the rosary. As I say each Hail Mary, I plead with Our Lady, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.” Please, Our Lady, don’t let my Dad walk out.

As I’m saying another Hail Mary, Dad walks by my room and doesn’t notice that I’m even there. He stomps down the steps. I can’t hear if he says bye, but I hear the door slam shut.

Oh, God, please, make him come back. I continue saying the rosary, each Hail Mary becoming more fervent than the last. I pray until my heart is bursting. Please, God, listen to my prayer.

I begin saying the Hail Holy Queen prayer and suddenly, I hear the door open downstairs. Without finishing, I stand at the top of the stairs and I see that my dad is standing at the doorway. Mom walks over to him. At first, they’re silent.

Then, my dad starts to cry. “I can’t leave you. I can’t leave my family.” He and Mom embrace.

I begin to cry. Thank you, God, and thank you, Our Lady, for bringing my daddy back.

(My parents remained married until my father’s death eight years later. He was buried with his rosary in his hands.) The photo above is of my dad and me taken the summer I turned two years old.

Emily’s Hope is available on Amazon.com.

Text and photo copyright 2011 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Free Giveaway on Goodreads

In anticipation of my new book’s official launch date, ten print copies of Stealing Jenny will be given away on the Goodreads Book Giveaway. Contest ends September 15th. To enter, click on the link below:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Stealing Jenny is also available for pre-order on Amazon

Fiction Friday – Stealing Jenny Chapter One

Here is another excerpt from my soon-to-be-released contemporary pro-life thriller, Stealing Jenny. To read the prologue, go here.

One month later

Jenny knelt in front of the toilet, her protruding stomach pressed against the porcelain bowl. Her toddler stared quizzically at her.

“Momma ‘kay?” Caleb asked.

“Uh-huh. I’m just. . .” She emptied the contents of her stomach, straightened then exhaled.

“Yuck.” Caleb leaned in, but kept a safe distance away.

She didn’t particularly like the nausea, but welcomed it because her doctor said that it meant that Little Buddy was still safe in her womb.

Motherhood and pregnancy already had their usual challenges, especially with five small children. But when she first held her daughter, Christine, in her arms, she realized that this was her purpose in life: to be a mom.

The forced bed rest for most of the past month had been difficult, to say the least. Thankfully, a week ago, the doctor gave her permission to do simple housework and pick up the kids from the bus stop, but advised her to remain off her feet most of the time.

She reached for the hand towel on the counter and wiped her mouth.

“Don’t like that.” Caleb’s small hand patted her head. “Kay, Mom?”

“Yes, I’m okay.” She pushed herself up and stared at her reflection in the bathroom mirror. Some pregnant women glowed, but pregnancy usually brought out the worst in her, from the oily hair to the slight acne to the constant green tinge. At least her maternity shirt was bright and pretty with blue and white flowers.

“Come on, Caleb.” She took hold of her son’s hand and led him into the kitchen for a snack, then noticed that he hadn’t finished his grilled cheese sandwich. Now that her stomach was empty, the half-eaten lunch looked appetizing. She ate a couple bites, felt queasy again, then decided against finishing it.

She got a box of crackers from the cupboard and gave a handful to Caleb, who shoved them in his mouth.

Dirty dishes were stacked on the counter. She knew she ought to wash them, but at this time of the day, her body cried out for rest more than anything else. Besides, the doctor advised her to stay off her feet as much as possible.

She leaned against the sliding doors and stared at the spacious back yard. It was a beautiful, summer-like day and Jenny breathed in the fresh air. One of the neat things about pregnancy was the heightened sense of smell, although that could also be a disadvantage, depending on the scent.

Behind her, Bootsie barked to go outside. Jenny slid open the patio door and the beagle scampered away.

She took her son’s hand, sat him in front of the television and turned on a Blues Clues DVD.

Jenny lowered herself onto the sofa, her heavy pregnant body sinking into the cushions. Immediately, the dog began to whine and scratch at the back door. She sighed, pushed herself up and trudged across the living room and kitchen to open the sliding glass doors. The dog ran inside.

The clock on the wall chimed that it was quarter to three. In half an hour, the girls would be arriving at the bus stop. The new school year had been in session for the past week. Jenny had been hoping that this year she could persuade Chris to walk her sisters home the one and a half blocks. Unfortunately, Chris had a fear of walking alone since she heard her classmates talking about a girl who was abducted in Toronto. She tried to reassure her daughter that that sort of thing didn’t happen in their small community, but Christine wouldn’t hear any of it.

Next week: Excerpt from Chapter Two

Stealing Jenny will be available on September 15, 2011

Copyright 2011 Ellen Gable Hrkach/Full Quiver Publishing