A Novel Based on True Events

I am often asked the question: What is Emily’s Hope? Is it a novel or a non-fiction book?

Novels are most often the product of an author’s imagination and are usually fictitious. Sometimes, an author will use real events or create characters from people he or she knows. Although my book is based on a true story, Emily’s Hope is a fictionalized version of my life and my great-grandmother’s life, so it is considered a novel. Names were changed, characters and events were amalgamated. Some events were added for continuity. My great-grandmother’s life was more fictionalized.

Writing a novel based on true events has its advantages: the story, basic plot and setting are already in place. But it also has its disadvantages. Creatively, I felt limited and I was hesitant to change the events or characters too much.

This is why I decided to write another novel, In Name Only. I thoroughly enjoyed writing this novel and was free to create an interesting story and a wide variety of characters.

To purchase it on Amazon or to read an excerpt of Emily’s Hope, click here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/product-description/0973673605/ref=dp_proddesc_0?ie=UTF8&n=283155&s=books

Copyright 2010 Ellen Gable Hrkach

The Dangers of Hormonal Contraception

For a few years, I’ve watched with frustration the enticing commercials for “Yaz” birth control pill, wondering how long it would be before there were lawsuits. As it turns out, it wasn’t long.

William Riley, the lawyer who is representing many of the women, told Fox 59 that he believes the company was aware of the danger that their product presented. “They’re not doing adequate clinical studies and they are aggressively marketing this to women, young women,” he said.

Click on the link below to read the entire article from LifeSiteNews.


There is a safe, effective and morally acceptable alternative to hormonal contraception: Natural Family Planning. For more information: www.ccli.org

Copyright 2010 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Review for The Handbook for Catholic Moms by Lisa Hendey

The Handbook for Catholic Moms, Nurturing the Heart, Mind, Body and Soul is the name of Lisa Hendey’s wonderful new book. Traditionally, and innately, mothers are nurturers, often forgetting about themselves. The author has done a great service by writing a book which can help Catholic moms in taking better care of their own needs.

In the preface, Lisa Hendey (well-known creator of CatholicMom.com) writes, “I am vitally interested in looking daily at my own private journey toward being a better person. The journey is multifaceted, so it’s necessary to work, a bit at a time, on each of those facets. Focusing on any one of them uniquely and ignoring the others throws off the balance necessary to keep life’s wheels rolling along smoothly.”

A mother who is emotionally, psychologically, physically and spiritually well is a better mother and a better person. With that in mind and in order to assist other moms, Lisa has divided “The Handbook for Catholic Moms” into four relevant and important sections: “Heart” “Mind” “Body” and “Soul.” Each chapter begins with “My Story,” as we journey with Lisa through the milestones in her life, from her childhood to the meeting of her husband to their wedding. These stories also recount her time as a career woman, to becoming a mother and deciding to be a stay-at-home mom, to her challenging battle with non-invasive breast cancer. I was touched by and related very much to these poignant and inspiring stories shared by Lisa and by the numerous other contributors to her book.

I found the writing engaging and easy to read and I was delighted with and inspired by the beautiful and relevant quotes from Scripture, Popes, Saints and others.

Not only is this a wonderfully inspiring book, it is also an informative, helpful reference manual for all mothers. At the end of each chapter are two useful lists: “Mom’s Homework” and “Web Resources” regarding that particular topic.

The author did an excellent job gathering together into one book all the helpful information a Catholic Mom would need. This is an ideal gift for new Catholic moms (and a most appropriate bridal shower gift) as well as a great resource for experienced moms.

I myself intend to buy a few copies to have on hand to give to all the new Catholic moms in my life!

Available at the Amazon Store for Amazing Catechists:

copyright 2010 Ellen Gable Hrkach
Cross-posted at Amazing Catechists

NFP: The Antidote

Here is a link to my newest column on Amazing Catechists.com.


“This particular issue caused our first heated argument when James and I were engaged many years ago. Like many Catholics, I wanted the “freedom” to be able to use whatever I wanted in the area of contraception.”

Copyright 2010 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Review of The Midnight Dancers by Regina Doman

The Midnight Dancers
published 2008
by Regina Doman
Chesterton Press 214 pages

The Midnight Dancers is the fourth in Regina Doman’s series of “Fairy Tale Novels,” and this, by far, is my favorite of her four books. The story takes place in Bayside, Maryland and is a new take on Grimms’ “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” and involves twelve sisters (six sisters and their six stepsisters) who are being raised in an extremely strict Christian household with little or no room for freedom.

The book’s main character, Rachel Durham, 18, is the oldest daughter who believes that goodness is not interesting and she yearns for adventure. Her father, a colonel in the army, and worried about his daughters and stepdaughters, secretly enlists the help of an army friend, Paul, a medical student and part-time juggler, to keep an eye on the girls. Her stepmother is a rather unlikeable woman who seems to only speak to Rachel to ask her to take care of her younger brothers or to clean up a mess.

Rachel and her sisters discover a secret door (an old Underground Railroad escape, no doubt) in their bedroom which leads outside and which brings them to an old cave by the beach near their house. Every night, the girls decide to venture outside (in the dark) and swim in the bay, visit with boys and eventually take a boat to a forbidden island. Daytime becomes monotonous and tiring (“the light is boring” metaphor). Keeping this secret from their parents, the girls’ new taste of freedom brings them into all kinds of trouble.

Paul knows about the ventures, but doesn’t at first share this information with the girls’ father, since he is keeping an eye on them, trying to make sure they don’t get into any more trouble. In the climax of the book, he is shown to be the epitome of goodness (with some metaphors to Christ-like behavior) and the girls, most especially Rachel, finally realize that goodness is anything but boring.

I would highly recommend this book. It is a delightful read with a little bit of everything: romance, suspense and action. For the most part, the characters are rich, well-developed and believable. Because of the mature nature of some of the themes, I would recommend it for ages 13 and up. It is a compelling, entertaining page-turner not only for teens, but also for adults who are looking for a great story and solid, engaging writing.

To purchase this and/or any of the Fairy Tale Novels: www.fairytalenovels.com

copyright 2010 Ellen Gable Hrkach