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!

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:

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:

(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

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

Fiction Friday – In-Sight by Gerard Webster

Special thanks to Gerard Webster, author of “In Sight” and “The Soul Reader.”

This week, I’m running an excerpt from “In Sight,” his award-winning first novel. Next week’s excerpt will be from his newly-released “The Soul Reader.”

Carrie set her fork down.
“I don’t have a family,” she said.
Ward looked up suddenly.
“What do you mean you don’t have a family?” he asked. “What about your parents?”
“I don’t have any parents.”
“Aw, come on!” Ward waved his fork expansively. “Everybody has parents.”
“Not me.”
She looked down at the cloth napkin in her lap.
“You’re serious, aren’t you,” Ward realized too late.
“My parents,” Carrie said, “the people I thought were my parents…were killed in a car wreck when I was eighteen.”
Ward set his silverware down.
“My God, Carrie! I’m sorry…I didn’t know…” he stopped in mid-sentence when her meaning registered. “Did you say ‘the people you thought were your parents?”
“I was adopted.”
“Oh.” Ward was at a loss. It dawned on him that he didn’t know anything at all about Carrie’s past.
“I didn’t learn about that,” she went on to explain, “until three years later—when I applied for a passport.”
Ward reached for her hand across the table. He thought it best to just let her talk.
“I couldn’t find a birth certificate under the name Carrie Hope,” she said. “That’s why I couldn’t get a passport. Carrie Hope isn’t the name I was born with. I had to contact the attorney who handled my parents’ will to learn my real name…that’s when I learned I was adopted…three years after the accident.”
She looked up at him.
“Would you like to know my real name?” she asked. “The name I was born with?”
“If you’d like to tell me…”
“That’s not what I asked.”
“Yes,” Ward sensed that no matter what he said now, he’d be wrong. “I’d like to know.”
“It’s Caridad Padilla,” she said. “I’m half Cuban. My mother’s maiden name was Estella Padilla. That’s all I know about her.”
Suddenly Ward saw the pieces of her genetic beauty clicking into place—an American father, probably with blond hair and fair skin, and a Cuban mother with dark brown eyes and perpetual tan. Carrie got the best of both of them.
“Would you like to know my father’s name?” Carrie asked.
“Yes,” Ward ventured.
“So would I,” Carrie said. And with that, she pushed her chair back, threw her napkin on the table, and darted to the ladies room.

To find out more information about Gerard Webster’s novels, his website is

Interested readers can purchase In-Sight at

Copyright Gerard Webster

First Review For Stealing Jenny

Special thanks to Therese Heckenkamp of Traditional Catholic for posting this fantastic review of Stealing Jenny:

When I first read the back cover of Stealing Jenny, Ellen Gable’s latest novel, I was intrigued by the promise of a suspense-filled contemporary story involving the kidnapping of a young pregnant mother. I was not disappointed. Stealing Jenny was everything I’d hoped, and more!

From page one, I was pulled into the story. Jenny Callahan, a young Catholic mother of five, is nearing the end of a precarious pregnancy and longing to cradle her new baby safely in her arms. With only days to go until the necessary scheduled C-section, Jenny is unaware of the unbalanced woman who is stalking her and plotting to tear this baby away from her at any cost.

When Jenny is kidnapped from a rural bus stop, her three-year-old son is the only witness. Jenny’s stunned family is desperate to find her. The abduction quickly becomes a high-profile case, with news media hounding the Callahans. Father Paul, the parish priest, offers comfort and assistance to the Callahans, and he leads a public rosary for the intention of Jenny’s safe return.

Meanwhile, Jenny awakens to find herself in a living nightmare: chained to a cot in a remote cabin, at the mercy of a sad, sick, and desperate woman. If Jenny can’t escape before her labor begins, she and her baby are both in extreme danger of death.

When I had to put this book down, I literally could not wait to pick it up again. The perfectly-paced story features a stellar cast of believable characters. Jenny is the main character point of view, but the author skillfully shifts to other character viewpoints including those of Tom (Jenny’s husband), Chris (the Callahan’s oldest daughter), Denise (the villain), and Sergeant Kathy Romano (in charge of the investigation). Also, the story is interspersed with well-timed, poignant flashbacks of Jenny and her husband before they were married, which add to the richness of the story.

Stealing Jenny is a smoothly written, chilling tale of gripping suspense. There are terrifying moments and heart-wrenching moments. Catholic faith and hope are tested. Above all, the sacredness and privilege of precious new life is made indisputably evident.

Ellen Gable is a masterful storyteller. At 201 pages, Stealing Jenny is the perfect length for an intense day of uninterrupted reading. I wished the novel was longer, not because it wasn’t complete in itself, but because it was such an enjoyable read, I never wanted it to end. I’m rooting for a sequel!

To read the review in its entirety at the Traditional Catholic Novels website, click here:

Stealing Jenny will be released on September 15th or you can pre-order the book at Amazon

Stealing Jenny Available for Pre-Order on Amazon

Stealing Jenny, my soon-to-be released contemporary pro-life thriller, is now available for pre-order on

“After three heartbreaking miscarriages, Tom and Jenny Callahan are happily anticipating the birth of their sixth child. Their neighbor, however, is secretly hatching a plot which will find Jenny and her unborn baby fighting for their lives.”

For more information: