Stealing Jenny Receives Seal of Approval

My new novel, Stealing Jenny, has just received the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval!

Many thanks to the SOA Committee!

To check out the newly updated Stealing Jenny website and to read the advanced reviews, click here: Stealing Jenny webpage

Stealing Jenny also has a Facebook page…please consider “liking” it!

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Review of Seamus O’Flynn by Bill Tobin

Seamus O’Flynn: New York Diaries of an Immigrant Son is a fictionalized memoir written by Bill Tobin. It is engaging and interesting and, for the most part, captures a moving and believable portrait of growing up in NYC in the 30’s and 40’s.

Seamus is a typical youngster who goes through typical boyhood experiences. He is part of a large Catholic family, lives in an apartment building (where everyone knows everyone else’s business), attends Catholic school, is an altar boy and eventually gets his first job. His family’s attitudes reflect those of the time period. This is a poignant, sad and humorous book, depending on which section you’re reading.

Overall, the writing is good, mostly written in the present tense, although occasionally the author switches to past tense.

All that being said, this is definitely a book with mature themes. Abuse by a priest, wife abuse and murder all make an appearance in this novel.

An editor would have improved this book a great deal, but I still enjoyed the story and found it an interesting, engaging and poignant read.

Thanks to the author for sending me a review copy.

Interested readers can purchase the book on Amazon or from Create Space

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

Catholic Writers to Enjoy Special Spiritual Retreat

For Immediate Release

Lansing, MI: In collaboration with FAITH Catholic Publishing and Communications, The Catholic Writers Guild, will sponsor Your Word is My Delight, a Catholic writers’ retreat, Oct 5-9, 2011. Come and delight in God’s word and sacrament, and pray in a beautiful and serene retreat setting.

The retreat’s key presenter is Pat Gohn, Catholic columnist, podcaster and catechist. Other presenters are Father Charles E. Irvin, David Krajewski, Father David Rosenberg and Father Larry Delaney.

Writers will enjoy five spiritually-enriching days of daily Mass, adoration, the sacrament of reconciliation and many hours of writing time. Talks will explore how God speaks to and encourages writers through Scripture, papal writings and other topics in order to promote faith-filled writing.

Opportunities for networking also will be offered through an informal “book bash and social hour” Wednesday evening and Faith Catholic’s one-on-one “pitch sessions” that give writers the chance to sell their current writing projects.

Cost for the four-day retreat is $450, which includes meals and accommodations. Deadline for registration is Sept 28. A nonrefundable deposit of $45 is required at registration.
• To view a schedule of events, click here. :
• To download a brochure, click here.
• To register for the retreat click here.

If you are a writer, please consider going to this worthwhile event!

The Soul Reader by Gerard Webster


Special thanks to Gerard Webster for this week’s Fiction Friday excerpt, which is from his exciting new novel, “The Soul Reader.” My review for his book is here.

“I found out,” Ward said, “that Victor Rodriguez is still a scumbag.”
Both Carrie and Anton turned to him in mild surprise at the level of his still simmering anger.
“He hinted that the three men who died—Koehl, Reddick, and Galarza—all knew who was really in charge…and that their deaths secured their silence. But he also suggested that the two who didn’t die either knew nothing or else could be useful to someone in power.”
“We already suspected that,” Carrie complained.
“But,” Ward continued, “he did drop a clue—one word—Culebra. I don’t know if he was toying with me or if he was serious.” Ward left out what he had said about Ward signing his own death warrant if he asked about Culebra.
“What’s a Culebra?” Carrie asked.
“It means ‘snake’ in Spanish; but that’s all I know. I called Anton and asked if he’d ever heard it before, and he hadn’t.”
Anton leaned forward and made the wooden chair groan in protest.
“Actually,” he said, “after your phone call, I got curious myself. So I started asking around. I called an old friend with the DEA and he gave me the lowdown on Culebra.”
Both Carrie and Ward perked up their ears at this.
“What did you learn?” Ward asked.
“Well, you’re right. Culebra means ‘snake’ in Spanish. But it’s also the nickname of one of the most dangerous assassins in the Western Hemisphere. Nobody knows his real name—nor even what he looks like. Only that he leaves a ‘calling card’ when he does a job—a piece of snake skin over his victim’s eyes.”
Carrie shuddered at this.
“He got his nickname,” Anton explained, “because of the way he operates—like a snake—silent, quick, and deadly. The victim is usually dead before he knew what happened.
“My source told me that he first appeared during the in-fighting among the cocaine cartels in Columbia. At one time he worked for the Medellín cartel. Then, when they collapsed, he switched allegiances to the Norte del Valle cartel. They even suspect that he might be the one who killed Enrique Galarza. After that, he went independent. He’s known to have worked for the Mexican cartels—on both sides of the border—as well as for other terrorist or revolutionary organizations who want precision hits—just kill the target without collateral damage.”

To purchase the book on Amazon: The Soul Reader on Amazon

To find out more about The Soul Reader or about the author: www.gerard-webster.com

Copyright 2011 Gerard Webster

Review of Stealing Jenny at Catholic Fire

Special thanks to Jean Heimann of Catholic Fire for this fantastic book review of Stealing Jenny posted at her website:

http://catholicfire.blogspot.com/2011/08/book-review-stealing-jenny.html

(Reviewed by JEAN M. HEIMANN, freelance writer, wife and mother, graduate student in theology, retired educator, psychologist, and oblate with the Community of St. John.)

In her third novel, Stealing Jenny, Ellen Gable masterfully creates a tight, compelling, and totally gripping tale of mystery and suspense. It grabs the reader’s interest and attention from the very first page to the last, moving at quick pace from one action-packed scene to the next.

Stealing Jenny is the tale of Jenny Callahan, a Catholic wife and mother who, after three heart-breaking miscarriages, is now happily anticipating the birth of her sixth child. Jenny is nearing the end of a risky pregnancy and is eager to hold her newborn safely in her arms. Little does she realize that a mentally unbalanced neighbor has been stalking her and is plotting to take her baby from her. At a rural bus stop, Jenny is kidnapped and her three-old son is the only witness to the abduction. Will she escape or be rescued in time to save her life and the life of her unborn child?

Gable skillfully and cleverly crafts the story, combining elements of romance, drama, and suspense. The tender and loving, yet imperfect relationship between family members makes the characters seem very realistic and easy to relate to, the flashbacks reveal past information relevant to today, adding depth to the characters, and the well-concocted plans of the mentally unbalanced neighbor combine to produce a fast-paced, action-packed, suspense-filled tale.

Stealing Jenny is a uniquely Catholic story which contains themes of faith, love, hope, forgiveness, healing, and strongly emphasizes pro-life values. It is a book that provides high quality entertainment, while at the same time, reminds one of what is most important in life: faith and family. I highly recommend it.

copyright Jean M. Heimann August, 2011

Stealing Jenny is available for pre-order via Amazon.com

Divorce, Deterrents and Deception

My new column at Catholic Mom is a reprint from Amazing Catechists, entitled “Divorce, Deterrents and Deception.”

“Married love is also faithful and exclusive of all others, and this until death,” Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s Encyclical “On Human Life.”

Faithful and exclusive until death: these are the hallmarks of married life. Unfortunately, divorce rates have skyrocketed since the early 1900’s. (In 1910, the divorce rate was one in ten…it is now one in two.)

It is no surprise that the number one cause of divorce is adultery. Adultery is not new to the 21st century. However, the original proponents marketed birth control as a “happy marriage builder.” Unfortunately, 100 years later, the opposite appears to be true.

As human beings with a fallen nature, we need deterrents. If jails disappeared, crime rates would increase. While some criminals would commit crimes regardless of the deterrent of jail, many, if not most, people would avoid committing crimes to avoid jail.

Until the 20th century, the main deterrent to committing adultery for both men and women had been pregnancy. It didn’t stop everyone, but for the majority of the world’s population for the past couple thousand years, it was a concern which prevented most people from straying.

By the mid-20th century, contraception had become easily available. Now that the physical deterrent of pregnancy had been removed through contraception, there were less reasons to refrain from this sort of behavior, at least from a strictly secular perspective.

Although it can’t be proven that the only reason divorce rates have skyrocketed is because of contraception, it’s a natural progression to say that the availability of contraception as well as the widespread acceptance of its use have increased incidents of adultery. As well, nowadays most couples (Catholics included) engage in premarital sex, another natural consequence of the availability and acceptance of birth control. People who engage in premarital sex are statistically less likely to remain faithful in marriage.

One need only to look at the sports world, to politics and to the entertainment industry and the recently publicized affairs to see the harmful effects of adultery to families. Adultery hurts not only the innocent spouse and children, it also harms society as a whole and it causes scandal to all parties involved.

Let’s contrast that picture with couples who do not use contraception and instead use NFP. These couples have a less than five percent chance of divorcing. While it would be untrue to state that NFP couples are never unfaithful, it is true to state that statistically, it is less likely. Men and women who have practiced self-mastery in the area of sexuality and in the use of NFP are much less likely to stray from vows of faithfulness.

Although contraception was marketed by its early proponents as a “happy marriage builder,” experience has shown that it has contributed to higher divorce rates. Contraception has taken away the deterrent of pregnancy and has increased premarital and extramarital sexual activity.

Copyright 2011 Ellen Gable Hrkach