Fiction Friday – Passport Now Available on Kindle

This week, I’d like to again showcase one of my favorite Catholic novels, Passport, by Christopher Blunt, which is now available on Kindle for only $2.99. Leave a comment below before Friday, October 7th to be entered to receive a free Kindle copy.

I have mentioned Passport in a previous post about Catholic Fiction (and the link to my review is included there). I have also featured this wonderful novel in a previous Fiction Friday post. To read an excerpt, click here.

In 2009, Passport won the IPPY Bronze Medal for Religious Fiction.

Here are just a few of the incredibly positive reviews this novel has received:

Regina Doman says: “[Passport is] a great read whose message doesn’t obscure the page-turning romance, a story that will have a special resonance with Catholic men, especially dads…Stan’s saga is one my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed, and we’re happy to recommend this book. For those of you on the lookout for emerging Catholic genre fiction, you will want to check out this book.”

Midwest Book Review says, “A passport is what’s needed to pass into new lands freely, and they are not always easy to get. “Passport” is the story of Stan Eigenbauer and his search for happiness. He thinks he finally has it, but fate has it in for him, and he soon faces a decision which could either make or ruin his life. Using the passport as a symbol, “Passport” is a tale of choices, love, and doing what’s best for others and oneself. Highly recommended reading.”

Nancy Carpentier Brown says, “I recommend this book to any adult looking for some leisure or commuter-type reading. This book is easy to read. It’s a page-turner because you want so badly for the situation to be resolved in a good way, and there are so many almost insurmountable obstacles in the way. You won’t be uncomfortable reading it because it keeps itself modest, and yet, talks about subjects you might not talk about with your friends, unless you know them really, really well, and trust them with your secrets.

Passport: A Novel. Bring a tissue. Bring your hopes and fears. Prepare to be changed. Prepare to be challenged.”

Passport also has a Facebook page so please consider “liking” it!

Leave a comment below before October 7th to be entered to win a free Kindle copy of this wonderful book!

Feast of the Archangels

Today is the beautiful Feast of the Archangels.

Every day, my family says this beautiful prayer of protection to St. Michael:

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle
Be our safeguard against the wickedness and
snares of the devil
May God rebuke him we humbly pray
And do Thou oh Prince of the heavenly hosts
by the power of God
cast into hell Satan
And all the evil spirits
who prowl around the world
seeking the ruin of souls.

This prayer was recited after every Mass until 1964.

On April 24, 1994, John Paul II said, of the St. Michael prayer, “May prayer strengthen us for the spiritual battle that the Letter to the Ephesians speaks of: ‘Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might’ (Ephesians 6:10). The Book of Revelation refers to this same battle, recalling before our eyes the image of St Michael the Archangel (cf. Revelation 12:7). Pope Leo XIII certainly had this picture in mind when, at the end of the last century, he brought in, throughout the Church, a special prayer to St Michael: ‘Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil…’ Although this prayer is no longer recited at the end of Mass, I ask everyone not to forget it and to recite it to obtain help in the battle against the forces of darkness and against the spirits of this world.”

Hope and Trust

The following is a re-edited version of a Catholic Mom column I wrote last year:

“Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.” This quote by George Iles could well have been the catalyst for my first novel, Emily’s Hope, which is based on my own spiritual trials in the journey towards motherhood.

Our first pregnancy 26 years ago resulted in the conception of twins. A first-time mother, I never expected anything but a child (or two) in my arms. Sadly, we lost those babies early on. Two healthy pregnancies, resulting in the births of our oldest two sons, were soon followed by two very difficult miscarriages. After that, I was hesitant to become pregnant again because I wanted to avoid the emotional and physical roller coaster of another loss. I became filled with despair, then fear, both of which can rob a soul of hope and trust.

This reaction is not unusual. Several years ago, an acquaintance of mine tragically lost her first baby at birth. Within days, she asked her doctor to perform a tubal ligation because she “didn’t want to go through that again.” I didn’t agree with her decision to become sterilized, but I understood her reaction, which was devoid of hope and designed to shield her from future heartache. I have experienced those same feelings, although I did not resort to such extreme measures.

Despite our previous pregnancy losses, my husband and I felt that God was calling us to be open to more children. It was only through prayer that I was able to muster up any hope. Eventually, hope became dependent upon trust that God knew what He was doing.

We were later blessed with three healthy pregnancies and we joyfully welcomed our three youngest sons to our family. (Photo is of our oldest and youngest 12 years ago).

We have, however, also had to endure three more pregnancy losses. During one particularly heartbreaking miscarriage, I cried out to my spiritual director and shared with him that I was torn between saying, “God, Your will be done,” and “Please, God, don’t make me go through this again.” My spiritual director’s hope-filled response was, “Perhaps God is asking you to sacrifice the joy of holding this child in your arms so that He may quickly hold your child for all eternity in heaven.” His comment helped me to realize how important it is to accept God’s will, whether it’s a healthy full-term infant or a cherished unborn baby He gives us for a short time. It means trusting that whatever God plans, He does so out of love for us and for the good of our souls.

Today, I am the proud mother of five sons ages 12 to 24. I am also the mother of seven precious souls in heaven, children I did not get to hold in my arms, but continue to hold in my heart.

Photo and Text Copyright 2011

Fiction Friday – Heartbreak by Kathleen Basi

Special thanks to Kathleen Basi, who posted this excerpt last week on her blog and has given me permission to share it with my readers:

As Carlo strode down the gravel walkway toward the winery grounds proper, Alison stood in the living room, listening to her little boy crying. The pain within her seemed oddly familiar. She was accustomed to feeling her child’s pain, but this…this was different. It seemed to expand without limit; she had no idea there was room enough inside her for so much hurt.

In her mind’s eye, she saw a golden-haired boy in a letter sweater, standing with his back to her in the warm sunlight of a day much like this one. She saw herself as she had been then, an awkward girl in a pink cardigan softened by too much wear, a strand of dime store pearls at her throat, pulling the chapel veil off her head after Sunday Mass. Her parents chatted while her little brothers played tag, weaving in and out of the adults’ legs with an uncanny knack for avoiding restraint.

Over by the flower-crowned statue of the Blessed Mother stood Jerry. Jerry, with his hands shoved in his pockets, scuffing the sidewalk with soft leather soles as he talked to a group of kids from school. It was a beautiful day, but he was the most beautiful part by far.

To read the rest, click here.

Copyright Kathleen Basi

Son Rise Morning Show Interview

I’m going to be interviewed on Brian Patrick’s Son Rise Morning Show on Sacred Heart Radio this Tuesday, September 27th at 8:50 a.m.

I’ll be talking about my latest book, Stealing Jenny.

To listen, go to the Son Rise Morning Show website and click on the “On the Air: Click to Listen” button to the right.

A Weekend at the Convent

A few weeks ago, I traveled down to Tennessee to visit my youngest sister (Sr. Elizabeth Grace) at the Dominican Motherhouse in Nashville. It was a great weekend with my sister and I especially enjoyed the fellowship of the other sisters. One of the advantages of staying at the motherhouse was that I had the opportunity to participate in Holy Mass, Lauds, the Divine Office, the Rosary, the Angelus and other periodic prayers throughout the day.

One thing is for certain: these sisters pray a lot. Now, that may sound silly. Of course, they pray a lot. They’re nuns. That’s what they do.

The first time I visited my sister at the convent last year, I noticed that the sisters seem so radiant, like they’re glowing with happiness. It’s the same sort of expression I’ve seen on people who are in love.

Now…look at the photo. What do you see in the clouds above us?

Text and photo copyright 2011 Ellen Gable Hrkach

More Great Reviews for Stealing Jenny

Special thanks to Krisi Keley, Gerard Webster and Joan Kelly for these terrific reviews of Stealing Jenny! Here are some excerpts:

Krisi Keley, author: “Stealing Jenny by Ellen Gable is a terrifyingly realistic suspense story that could be ripped from the headlines, but it’s also a beautiful life-affirming novel that offers so much more.

As is the case in all of her novels, in Stealing Jenny the author again excels at smoothly weaving the Catholic understanding of marriage and family – the sanctity of life and the precious gift of children and the sexual relationship – into a moving story of real people facing real world challenges and traumas. The characters of Jenny, her husband, Tom, and their children, as well as those of the unbalanced kidnapper, Denise, and the police officers who search for Jenny, are developed wonderfully. Through the family’s present suffering and glimpses of both the joys and sorrows Jenny and Tom have experienced throughout their relationship, the reader descends into this nightmare with them, but is also lifted up by the Callahan family’s faith and hope in God and by the strength He imparts in the very love which unites them.”

(To read Krisi’s full review, click here).

Gerard Webster, author: “Stealing Jenny has all the qualities of a keep-you-up-at-night thriller: high life-and-death stakes, three dimensional characters you care about, the clash of good vs. evil, and complications galore. I guarantee once you pick up this book it’s going to be a sleep-stealer. As a writer, Ellen Gable just keeps getting better and better. I can’t wait to read her next novel.”

(To read Gerard’s full review on Amazon, click here.)

Joan Kelly, author: “…the author introduces the reader to other members of the Callahan family; a family who finds strength to endure this trauma through their strong Catholic faith.Stealing Jenny is a well-written story that emphasized the preciousness of each life and the strength of family.

Stealing Jenny is available on Amazon in print or on Kindle.

Christ on Your Guest List – Book Review

Christ on Your Guest List is an all encompassing Catholic Wedding Planner. I was especially intrigued by the title.

At the front of the book, in answer to the question “What is the goal of this book?” the authors state “To guide engaged couples to take charge of all the details and to prayerfully plan it all.”

Too often, engaged couples forget to include Christ in their planning and preparation. This book is a great resource which helps couples to remember to include Christ in their planning and preparation.

The book is told from both the bride’s and groom’s perspectives. I loved reading the anecdotes and stories. There are also helpful exercises and wonderful quotes from Scripture, saints and others. I especially enjoyed the chapter entitled “Old Wives’ Tales.”

This is definitely a book of “lists.” Checklists are included at the end of each chapter and there are various checklists for different events.

I think this beautiful book should be on every bride’s “to buy” list.

Highly recommend!

Copyright 2011 Ellen Gable Hrkach