Come My Beloved Free on Amazon Kindle January 2 and 3

To celebrate the beginning of a new year, on Monday, January 2nd and Tuesday, January 3rd, the Kindle edition of my book of courtship stories, Come My Beloved: Inspiring Stories of Catholic Courtship, will be available for FREE on Amazon.

To read excerpts, click here:

In her review of Come My Beloved, bestselling author Lisa Hendey said, “Whether you’re courting, engaged to be married, newlyweds, or celebrating your jubilee years together, this terrific resource offers something for anyone looking to grow closer to God and to one another in a loving relationship. I loved each of the diverse stories in this book, which show a variety of “real life” couples living out their vocation to marriages in different circumstances. Having just celebrated my 25th anniversary, this book reminds me of the importance of keeping Christ at the center of our relationship. Thanks to all who shared their stories and to the editors for creating a great resource for our families!”

Lisa Mladinich, founder of Amazing and author said, “Come My Beloved: Inspiring Stories of Catholic Courtship” is a Song of Songs, a book of praise, a treasure-house of faith and romance par excellence! I dare you to try and put it down once you open its grace-filled, enchanting pages. For me, reading this book was a lot like falling in love! The presence of God in the lives of the contributors came through so powerfully to me that as I read the stories, I found myself stopping from time to time to pray and give glory to God. This truly beautiful collection of Catholic courtship stories is a must-read for anyone discerning a vocation, especially the call to marriage; and for those courting, engaged, already married, or widowed. What a great gift to Holy Mother Church, and a powerful witness that God does make marriages in heaven.”

To download the book to your Kindle for FREE, click on the following link on Monday and Tuesday: Come My Beloved Kindle edition. NOTE: The FREE book will not be available until Monday, January 2 and ends Tuesday, January 3 at midnight.

A Blessed and Joyous Christmas!

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:8-11

“Fear not little flock, fear not. Come with me to Bethlehem. Let us celebrate a joyous Christmas. Let us be merry and happy no matter what because Christ is born.” Catherine Doherty

I’ll be taking the next week off from blogging.

A Blessed and Joyous Christmas to all!

7 Quick Takes Friday – December 23

Please join me and other Catholic bloggers at Conversion Diary’s Blog for 7 Quick Takes Friday:

1. My novel, Stealing Jenny, received a great review from the Midwest Book Review. “Stealing Jenny” is a dark page turner that won’t be easy to put down.”

2. Two nights ago, I attended the Preview performance of Kanata Theatre’s Christmas Musical, A Year With Frog and Toad, in which my husband (who co-directed the musical) and son are performing as Father Frog and Young Frog. The cast did a phenomenal job! For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the box office at 613-831-4435.

3. Yesterday, I watched my favorite Christmas movie It’s A Wonderful Life with my family. I still get emotional at the end when George reads the note from Clarence: “Remember George, that no man is a failure who has friends. Thanks for the wings, Clarence.”

4. A gift idea for the newly engaged: Give the gift of an NFP course, either a virtual online class or a live class.

5. If you’re giving a Kindle as a gift to someone or if you’re getting a Kindle this Christmas, I’m offering one free Kindle copy of my newest book, Stealing Jenny, to three people who comment on this 7 Quick Takes post before Sunday, January 1, 2012. That’s three free copies! Leave a comment below to be entered.

6. I took the photo below two nights ago when freezing rain coated the hedge in front of our house with ice. This photo doesn’t fully capture the beauty of the frozen hedge and blue lights, but it’s still quite captivating.

7. And, last but not least, it will be a white Christmas for us up here in the Ottawa, Ontario area! We awoke to a beautiful, fresh snowfall of about two inches (photo). Since we will have a white Christmas, I decided to turn on the “snow” feature of my blog.


For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary.

Photos and text copyright 2011 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Prayer: The Cry of a Child by Catherine Doherty

I’d like to share another excerpt, this one from Catherine Doherty’s “Living the Gospel Without Compromise.” This is entitled “Prayer: The Cry of a Child” and is available free as a Pass it On article at this link.

The first step in praying is to understand who we are, and that is awfully difficult. We must acknowledge that we are creatures, saved sinners, entirely dependent on God. We must be, as the bible says, anawim, poor people of God, the poor people of the beatitudes who know that they depend on God. We must face ourselves and realize that we cannot exist on our own, that we are dependent.

To the proud, this is anathema. We look at ourselves and we say “I depend on no one” — and suddenly, in the very saying, we realize that this is not so: we do depend on God. This is the beginning of prayer: that we become beggars before God, knowing that we receive even the steps we take from him.

To begin to pray we must first cleanse our souls of arrogance and pride. In grave humility and as beggars, must we come to him who alone can make us princes and kings and queens, not of earthly kingdoms, but of the kingdom of God. Only when we are thus poor and realize our total poverty, can we go to Bethlehem and meet the Child who became poor for us.

Is there any human being who does not respond to the cry of a child? Did you ever consider the first cry of the Child Jesus? It was his first message of love to us. When we know that we are poor, we can easily enter Bethlehem and answer his cry. We can easily walk behind the donkey that bears the woman and Child. If we are poor we will not hesitate to enter the humble home of Nazareth to take part in the hospitality of Joseph and Mary. Yet the proud and the arrogant look down their noses at simple folk from Nazareth: “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”

If we realize our own poverty we will follow him who had nowhere to lay his head. Prayer is the interpersonal relationship of a poor man with the Poor Man.

If we remain poor and keep following the Poor Man, a change will take place. Up to a point Christ will console us. But as our prayer deepens, we will enter the darkness of a fantastic faith, a faith that we have to pray for. The time will come when we will have to console Christ. For we see him all over the world — in slums, in Park Avenue — in people committing suicide because of the greed of people.

When we console him our prayer will take on a new dimension. The Son of Man became incarnate that we might console him, so that in consoling him we might learn to console one another, to be tender toward one another. He offered himself as a victim for us on the cross so that we might take him in our arms as Our Lady took him in hers.

Our prayer will be dirgelike, and yet, a joy! Our pain will be purified and our prayer will have moved into another dimension: we will want to be on the cross because Love is crucified. A strange thing will happen: our prayer will become a prayer of joy, a fantastic resting in the heart of God.

Thus from a recognition of our total dependence we are led to a prayer where we realize the Father is coming to us, know the touch of his hand, see Christ’s human face reflecting his glory. Thus does prayer become a total and final resting place, a unity, a complete union of ourselves with God. The darkness of faith grows light and there is no need for words anymore. There is only a need for rest, the rest of a beloved in the arms of her Beloved.

A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms by Lisa Hendey

A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms: 52 Companions for Your Heart, Mind, Soul and Body by Lisa Hendey is a beautifully written, well-researched and extraordinary book which showcases 52 saints. The reader can focus on one saint per week (although some people might prefer to read it straight through). I especially like the format. Each chapter begins with basic information about the saint, their feasts, patronages, etc. A story of the saint follows, with lessons, traditions, quotes from the saint, then a week of scripture passages, saint-inspired activities for Mom and children and ends with a prayer and something to ponder.

This is is an outstanding book with inspiring quotes from the saints and scripture passages unique to each saints’ lives and traditions.

The list of 52 saints is not meant to be all inclusive, although I did notice that six of my favorite saints are included: Virgin Mary, St. Anthony, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Gianna Molla, Blessed John Paul II and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.

This is a wonderful, inspiring and informative book that should be on every family’s bookshelf. I highly recommend it!

Order A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms from Amazon or Ave Maria Press.

Copyright 2011 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Sunday Snippets – December 18

Please join me and other Catholic bloggers at RAnn’s Place for Sunday Snippets where we share our posts from the previous week:

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Self-Promotion or the Strangest Place I’ve Ever Sold a Book My latest contribution to the Catholic Writers Guild Blog.

Not My Mother’s Journey Book Review

Trashy Novels, Move Over
I was interviewed by Lisa Mladinich of Patheos and Katheryn Lane, author.

Sights of the Season

7 Quick Takes Friday: More Sights of the Season

Photos and text copyright 2011 Ellen Gable Hrkach

7 Quick Takes Friday – More Sights of the Season

Please join me and other Catholic bloggers at Conversion Diary’s blog for 7 Quick Takes Friday. Today is an all photo Quick Takes with more sights of the season. Some of these were taken last year, some this year:

1. At the Christmas Tree Farm

2. Gingerbread House made by my youngest son

3. Christmas Tree Farm

4. My oldest son experimenting with the camera

5. More photography from my oldest son

6. Winter scene outside our window

7. Another winter scene

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary’s blog.

All images copyright 2011 Ellen Gable Hrkach/Josh Hrkach

Trashy Novels, Move Over

Special thanks to Lisa Mladinich, columnist for Patheos, and Katheryn Lane, author and blogger, for their recent interviews of me.

The first is an excerpt of Lisa’s interview of me for Patheos:

Shun immorality. Every other sin which a man commits is outside the body; but the immoral man sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Cor. 6:18-20)

When we watch or read sexually arousing material, we are putting our soul in harm’s way. Impurity, as I have mentioned recently, distances us from God and reduces our sensitivity to and compassion for others.

Teresa of Avila likened the soul to a garden, which is a very apt image. Our souls need tending, protecting, nourishment, and weeding. When we watch or read erotic or pornographic material, we deliberately plant weeds in among the flowers and choke off our spiritual growth.

Our culture is loaded with trashy material that tugs at our brokenness. But I’ve got great news for you. Beautifully written, clean fiction is making a comeback. And it’s not the dull, preachy, formula stuff in the generic Christian market.

This is Catholic literature with an emphasis on storytelling, with solid values woven throughout. Authors like Ellen Gable, Karina Fabian, Michelle Buckman, Ann Margaret Lewis, and John Desjarlais (all members of the Catholic Writers Guild and bearers of the organization’s “Seal of Approval”), are turning out thrilling sci-fi, fantasy, historical, romance, and mystery novels with irresistible characters, plots, humor, and pathos.

Today, I’d like to share a conversation I had with the Guild’s Vice President, Ellen Gable, a writer whose work will greatly entertain you, while it treats your immortal soul with respect.

Hi Ellen! Welcome to Patheos!

Thanks, it’s great to be here!

I’m a huge fan, so I know a lot about you and your work, but for our readers, tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a freelance writer and author of four books. Although I’m originally from New Jersey, I moved up to Canada after I married my Canadian husband. We have five sons ages 12 to 24 and we live in a small town in rural Ontario.

What inspired you to write Catholic fiction?

I have always been an avid reader. Even now, I usually read two to three novels per week. Years ago, before my re-version, I devoured trashy romance novels like they were candy.

Like anyone, I love a good story, but I especially enjoy a compelling romance or suspense novel. As I grew in my faith, I no longer had any desire to read fiction with explicit sex scenes. So I began seeking out Christian fiction. However, I yearned to read good fiction with Catholic themes. I missed this in the Christian fiction I was reading after my re-version. And I didn’t like the formula and the predictability of many of these novels.

To read the rest of the interview, click on the link below:

Next, I’d like to share an excerpt of Katheryn Lane’s interview of me:

Can I start by asking you how you became an author?

I actually began writing in a journal 20 years ago to ease my grief during miscarriages. That journal became my first published article in 1995 called “Five Little Souls In Heaven.” Six years later, I began writing my first book because I wanted to share the parallel stories of myself and my great-grandmother.

However, I knew I would have to fictionalize the stories, amalgamate incidents and change names so that’s how my first novel, Emily’s Hope, was born. I couldn’t wait to write more novels and my second and third novels are totally fictitious and I had a lot more fun writing them.

To read the interview in its entirety, click here.

Not My Mother’s Journey Book Review

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13) could well be the theme of Heather St. Aubin-Stout’s book, Not My Mother’s Journey. It is the story of one woman’s experience with surviving breast cancer.

It was a challenging read because of the subject matter, although I can see how this book would be helpful to women going through the same journey. St. Aubin-Stout said in a recent interview, “we all will face difficulties in our lives, and with faith, community, hope, and love we can persevere through them.”

The author’s mother died at a relatively young age (45) of breast cancer. When the author was first diagnosed with a breast abnormality in 2000, it was benign. However, when she was diagnosed years later in 2006, unfortunately it turned out to be cancer. The book takes the reader through her entire journey, not only with cancer but in the day-to-day life of her family. This includes experiences with a son who made poor choices which led to difficult repercussions for the family.

Written in the present tense, it is compiled entirely of diary entries and emails to and from the author. It reads more like a journal than a non-fiction book and also includes photos of the author and her mother.

I can imagine how therapeutic the writing of this book was for St.Aubin-Stout and her enthusiasm to share her candid story is to be commended. The author stresses that “A lot has changed in the cancer community over the last twenty years. It is very important to be your own best advocate, to be diligent with your health, your mammograms and early detection saves lives.”

I especially recommend this book for those who have experienced breast cancer.

Copyright 2011 Ellen Gable Hrkach