Great Summer Reads

Let’s talk summer! There’s nothing I like better than to sit under a tree on a warm summer’s day and read a story that will sweep me away. Full Quiver Publishing books make ideal summer reads!!

1. The Lion’s Heart
The Lion’s Heart by Dena Hunt is currently available on Kindle and in softcover. With the recent decision by the Supreme Court of the US that legalizes same sex marriage, this book is even more relevant and encompasses the Catholic Church’s teachings on this topic. Of The Lion’s Heart, Joseph Pearce, well-known Catholic author, says, “Dena Hunt is a consummate storyteller who does not shirk or shy away from the difficult questions about life and love that her story raises. The Lion’s Heart contains not only the loves of lovers, spouses, parents, and children but also the demons and dragons that selfishness unleashes. The Lion’s Heart is not for the faint-hearted, nor is it for the hard-hearted. It pulsates with a passion that will bring true hearts to their knees.”
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2. In Name Only (O’Donovan Family)
In Name Only is the first in the O’Donovan Family series (although both this and its sequel can be read independently of the other). It has been downloaded over 160,000 times on Kindle and won the Gold medal in Religious Fiction at the 2010 IPPY Awards. Check out the novel website and the profile page on Amazon.In name only much smaller

3. A Subtle Grace (O’Donovan Family)
A Subtle Grace is my newest book and is available both on Kindle and in paperback. In her review, Trisha Niermeyer Potter, blogger at Prints of Grace, says this:
“This is one of my favorite contemporary works of Catholic fiction. The storytelling is masterful, the characters fascinating, and the writing is of high literary quality. People are imperfect—past, present, and future—but each is given the opportunity to grow, change, learn, and be redeemed. In this story it’s shown how the greatest mistake of our lives can be turned into one of the most amazing blessings and even be a source of hope for others. Life’s messy. People are complex. We’ve all got some skeletons in our closets, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t also fit some trophies and triumphs in there as well. A Subtle Grace has all of the elements that good Catholic fiction should.”A Subtle Grace front cover Nov2013

4. Stealing Jenny
This is my biggest seller and most popular book as evidenced by the over 530 reviews on Amazon (and the six months it spent as a #1 bestseller on Kindle with over 280,000 downloads). It’s a quick and easy read. Check out the novel website here and the Amazon profile page here. Stealing Jenny

5. Don’t You Forget About Me by Erin McCole Cupp
Funny, quirky and great writing! Also referred to as a Theology of the Body mystery! Check out the novel website here and the Amazon page here. Don't You Forget About Me FTcasefrontcover

6. Angela’s Song by AnnMarie Creedon
A beautiful Theology of the Body romance with over 200 reviews on Amazon! AS Front Cover Final9-19

7. A World Such as Heaven Intended
A World Such as Heaven Intended by Amanda Lauer is an ideal beach read! It is available on Kindle and in print.AWSAHI Final Cover

8. Emily’s Hope
My first book is based on the true stories of myself and my great-grandmother. Check out the novel website here to read an excerpt and reviews.Emily's Hope

There are two other non-fiction FQP books: Growing Up in God’s Image: A New Approach to the Facts of Life Talk and Come My Beloved: Inspiring Stories of Catholic Courtship.

Live the Fast Welcomes the Holy Father with Fast4Francis

Fast4FrancisLOGOSm
Contact: Darcie Nielsen
Assistant Director
(781) 647-0034
Darcie@livethefast.com

Waltham, MA (August 15, 2015) – Live the Fast, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides nutritious breads and educational materials to encourage prayer and fasting, has announced that it will lead a prayer and fasting novena for Pope Francis’s upcoming visit to the USA next month. Fast4Francis is an opportunity for participants to embrace the Pope’s visit as an invitation to a deeper faith life and to pray for his safe travel leading up to and throughout his visit to the USA.

Darcie Nielsen, Assistant Director of Live the Fast, says “Prayers (novenas) and fasting together are powerful tools used in preparation for important events. This is a proactive effort to stimulate a fervent environment of prayer and faith for our Holy Father’s visit.”

The Fast4Francis novena will take place September 18-26, the nine days leading up to the pope’s arrival in Philadelphia. Anyone from any faith may take part in the nine day fast. There are various tracks of fasting that participants can take part in. All tracks of fasting involve giving up certain foods, praying the prayers of the novena and taking part in a sacrament (like Holy Mass or Reconciliation). For example, Track 1 involves giving up coffee, Track 2, fasting from snacks and dessert, Track 3 involves skipping one meal, Tracks 4 and 5 bread and water fasts. Since prayer, fasting and almsgiving are inseparable, participants are invited to choose one of the Works of Mercy as well. Participants may also begin in one track and move to another or combine tracks during the nine day novena. For those who cannot fast, spending more time in prayer and/or going to adoration for the nine days is an ideal alternative. As well, fasting can also entail giving up social media or television.

Pope Francis has said, “Fasting makes sense if it really chips away at our security and, as a consequence, benefits someone else, if it helps us cultivate the style of the good Samaritan, who bent down to his brother in need and took care of him.”

In May 2013, Pope Francis consecrated the Vatican City State to St. Michael the Archangel “to defend us from the evil one.” So taking the Holy Father’s lead, this novena also calls upon the intercession of St. Michael the Archangel.

To sign up for Fast4Francis reminder emails and for more information, resources and prayers, check out the event’s website at www.fast4francis.org. Here you can read the prayers for the novena and learn about the different kinds of fasts.

For those interested in bread and water fasts (for Fast4Francis and for fasting throughout the year), fasting breads provided by Live the Fast are made with unbleached and untreated flour, with no additives and preservatives and with a variety of flavorful, nourishing ingredients that will help one maintain and finish a bread and water fast. Fasting kits also include prayer and fasting guides to aid a healthy fast.

NOTE: Live the Fast strongly urges you to consult your physician before beginning the practice of fasting.

About Live the Fast
The mission of Live the Fast is to encourage the practice of prayer and fasting by providing a variety of exceptional, all-natural, nutritious breads, along with educational resources and a support community that will inspire one to live the fast. Inspired by the words of the Blessed Mother at Medjugorje, the Live the Fast team ministers to share the spiritual and physical benefits of fasting while teaching how to do it safely and effectively. For more information: livethefast.org

Children: A Living Reflection

copyright Ellen Hrkach

copyright Ellen Hrkach

My latest post from Catholic Mom is entitled Children: A Living Reflection

Thus the couple, while giving themselves to one another, give not just themselves but also the reality of children, who are a living reflection of their love, a permanent sign of conjugal unity and a living and inseparable synthesis of their being a father and a mother.” St. John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio (On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World)

Children are indeed a “living reflection…a living and inseparable synthesis” of a married couple’s love. This can be evident physically (as children often look like a combination of both parents), but is evident spiritually and emotionally as well.

It is also been said that the greatest gift you can give to your children is to love your spouse.

James and I have been blessed with five sons (now ages 16-28) but we have also faced the heartbreak of losing seven babies through miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. Born or unborn, each of our 12 children is an unrepeatable and eternal sign, an outward expression, that we love one another.

This truth that children are a “living reflection” of a couple’s love was not something I fully appreciated until a trip to the beach many years ago.

It was a beautiful July evening and our sons (then ages 4-16) were running and playing in the sand, their laughter like sweet music to our ears. The sun was setting and the sky a brilliant pink and orange, reflecting off their bodies as they ran in the sand. Watching them, I had a ‘light bulb’ moment. “Those children exist because we love each other,” I whispered to my husband. James, ever wise, said, “And because God loves us. Pretty awesome, eh?”

Precisely because of the truth that “children are a living reflection of their love…a living and inseparable synthesis…” divorce can have a negative impact on the children (even adult children). While separation is sometimes a necessity if there is abuse, divorce is too often used because a couple “stops loving one another.” We all have a choice to love.

As a “permanent sign of conjugal unity,” a divorce can sometimes make a child feel like he is being torn in two directions. My husband, whose parents separated when he was 16, said that is exactly how it feels. So when we became engaged, James (only 18 at the time) said, “Ellie, are you sure you want to be married for the rest of your life? Because we will be together for life. We will never get a divorce. I do not want to put my kids through that.” Although we have experienced ups and downs, challenges and loss, we both know that divorce would never be an option.

A Catholic couple we know was facing divorce court. They had lived together before marriage and had used birth control for many years, eventually drifting apart. They had tried secular counseling, but it didn’t seem to work. Even before physical separation, some of their children had begun to show signs of depression and irritability. They agreed to sit down and speak with a priest. This priest urged them to try one more time, and he gave them books on Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. While this is a simplification of their story, they eventually rediscovered their love for one another and are now happily married. They still face challenges, but their love for one another is evident in their relationship with each other and their children.

It is awesome to experience the gift and wonder of new life, as children are indeed the illustration and reflection of a married couple’s love. This love for one another is the greatest gift you can give to your children.

My story of love, loss and conversion is the basis of my novel, Emily’s Hope, which is available on Kindle and in print.

Copyright 2015 Ellen Gable Hrkach

EWTN Bookmark – A Subtle Grace

Three members of the Catholic Writers Guild were interviewed by Doug Keck for EWTN’s Bookmark last year at the Catholic Marketing Network Trade Show near Chicago. I speak about my fifth book, A Subtle Grace. Ann Margaret Lewis speaks about her book, The Watson Chronicles and Margaret Realy talks about her Catholic gardening books.

SQT – #CMN, Catholic Writers Conference Live

seven-quick-takes-friday-2-1024x727Please join me and other Catholic bloggers at This Ain’t the Lyceum for Seven Quick Takes Friday. I had a whirlwind trip to New Jersey for the Catholic Marketing Network and the Catholic Writers Conference Live. Here are seven photos from the CMN and Conference:

Speaking to the bookstore owners on Tuesday (notice the riser to help me see over the podium) Photo courtesy Megan Marley

Speaking to the bookstore owners on Tuesday (notice the riser to help me see over the podium) Photo courtesy Megan Marley

#CMNselfie2015, my attempt at a selfie before my first presentation on Wednesday (with help from Pat Gohn)

#CMNselfie2015, my attempt at a selfie before my first presentation on Wednesday (with help from Pat Gohn)

At the Author Reception, with Father Frank Pavone and Janet Morana (copyright Ellen Hrkach)

At the Author Reception, with Father Frank Pavone and Janet Morana (copyright Ellen Hrkach)

With Author Regina Doman

With Author Regina Doman

#cmnselfie2015 with Ann Lewis and Erin McCole Cupp

#cmnselfie2015 with Ann Lewis and Erin McCole Cupp

With other Guild members: Barb Szyszkiewicz, Marianne Komek and FQP authors Carolyn Astfalk and Erin McCole Cupp

With other Guild members: Barb Szyszkiewicz, Marianne Komek and FQP authors Carolyn Astfalk and Erin McCole Cupp

With new FQP author Karina Fabian and Amazing Catechists founder and author Lisa Mladinich at the CWG Booth

With new FQP author Karina Fabian and Amazing Catechists founder and author Lisa Mladinich at the CWG Booth