Growing Up In God’s Image – Excerpt

The following is an excerpt from Full Quiver’s upcoming publication on how to talk to your kids about sex, “Growing Up in God’s Image,” by Carolyn Smith. This is the author’s introduction at the beginning:

To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.”(1 Corinthians 12:7)

It’s been many years since that first talk with my oldest daughter about the facts of life, but I remember it very well. Like most moms, I was a bit nervous and consternated over what to say. Actually, I remember resenting that I had to talk with her so soon. I felt pressured because many of the children at school were already “knowledgeable.” Hearing something from a classmate was the last thing I wanted to happen. I didn’t want her to hear about “sex.” I wanted her to hear about the beauty of God’s gift of love. I was getting ready to tell her about a very special and holy love, the love that existed between her father and me. My husband, Jim, is truly God’s gift to me. So I went to the Source of the gift and asked Him, “Lord, what do you want me to say to her?”

I felt certain God wanted me to start at the beginning with Him. After all, He is Love itself. All love, especially this love, comes from Him. God created us to love Him and to love each other; therefore we should talk about His creation of Adam and Eve and His plan for marriage from the very beginning. What we have today is nothing new. It has existed since the beginning of time. And, in the One that we image, it has always existed! Thus, this theme became the beginning of the “facts of life” talk.

The second theme came to me many years later while away with my husband for a weekend. The gift came during Mass between the consecration and the communion. After Mass, I couldn’t wait to tell Jim! It left me absolutely in awe that God has given to married people a love that resembles His own in the Eucharist!

I was then able to share this with my fifth daughter, (and the sixth, seventh, and eighth) when I talked to her about the “facts of life.” Her reaction was everything a mom could hope for. She looked up at me and said in wonder, “Wow, THAT is really neat!”

The third theme talks about marriage as a sacrament. What God intended from the very beginning of creation was elevated to a new level of sanctity by His Son. God is intimately present to every couple through the sacrament. He is the very Center of their life and love.

Advanced Review Copies available upon request. Email me: info(at)

Copyright 2012 Carolyn J. Smith and Full Quiver Publishing

7 Quick Takes Friday – Writing News

Please join me and other Catholic bloggers at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday.

1. I’m nearly finished writing the first draft of “A Subtle Grace,” which is the sequel to In Name Only, my second novel. I love writing historical fiction because I enjoy researching history. This particular book, however, has been a difficult one to write because I’m dealing with many challenging issues: attempted rape, stalking, accidental death etc. When I’m finished the first draft, I will upload the cover photo and possibly an excerpt. A Subtle Grace is scheduled to be released sometime in 2013.

2. Two of my novels, Stealing Jenny and In Name Only continue to be in the top five of Amazon’s Religious and Liturgical Drama category. In Name Only has been in the #1 position since January. Stealing Jenny has been in the top five since January (reaching #1 and occasionally bumping In Name Only out of the #1 spot).

3. We are close to releasing Full Quiver’s newest book, Growing Up in God’s Image, which is a book on how to talk to your kids about sex. Author Patti Armstrong recently sent this wonderful review: This book guides parents to gradually expand a child’s understanding of life beginning with how the love of family reflects the love of God. Teaching the facts of life fully demands including the spiritual. Carolyn does a beautiful job explaining the physical changes that occur during puberty while including the responsibility to be true to God’s plan and purpose for our bodies. The life lessons are presented in clear language and will enrich not just the children, but the parents also reading this book as an aid. Thanks, Patti!

4. Last week’s 7 Quick Takes prompted more comments than I’ve ever had on this blog! Thanks to everyone for the wonderful anniversary wishes! We had a great anniversary and, to celebrate, I posted a short retrospective video on Facebook.

5. Disappointment… Two months ago, a writer from a major Catholic magazine contacted me and asked for a copy of Stealing Jenny for an article she was writing on Catholic fiction. She explained that she was reading many Catholic novels and she would let me know whether my novel would be mentioned. A week or so later, she emailed me to tell me that Stealing Jenny would indeed be one of the nine novels featured in her article and she asked for a cover photo to accompany the article. This magazine has a somewhat varying (and large) target audience so I was elated that Stealing Jenny might find some new readers. Imagine my surprise a few days ago when this writer posted a message on one of my Facebook groups listing the eight other writers whose novels would be mentioned in the article. Thinking it was an oversight, I emailed her and asked her why my book wasn’t included. She responded by saying that mention of my book must have been “cut for space requirements.” While I’m very disappointed, I do understand that, given that the majority of the authors included were female…and given that there were two other suspense novels (written by male authors) mentioned, my book was probably the logical one to be cut.

6. I’ve also ventured into the business of editing. I’ve now edited five manuscripts (working on two more as we speak) and I am thoroughly enjoying this facet of the publishing/writing world! I’m only able to take on one or two manuscripts per month, but if you’re interested, email me info(at) and I’ll let you know my availability.

7. Planning to self-publish? Want someone to help guide you through the maze of self-publishing? I’m now also a book coach/self-publishing consultant. For more information, feel free to email me info(at) for more information and rates.

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

Copyright 2012 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Sunday Snippets – May 20

Join me and other Catholic bloggers at RAnn’s Place for Sunday Snippets where we share posts from the previous week.

My husband and I will celebrate 30 years of marriage on Tuesday! It’s hard to believe we’ve been married that long.

Here are my posts:

Saints and Scripture Sunday – Happy Mother’s Day

Awards Contest for Self-Published Authors: Are They Really Worth It? (latest post for Catholic Writers Guild)

Catholic Writers To Hold Conference in Texas Press Release for the Catholic Writers Guild

Down to Earth
(latest cartoon from Family Foundations)

7 Quick Takes Friday – Quotes on Marriage

Cartoon copyright Full Quiver Publishing/James and Ellen Hrkach

7 Quick Takes Friday – Favorite Marriage Quotes

Please join me and other Catholic bloggers at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday.

Since my husband and I will be celebrating our 30th anniversary this weekend, I’d like to share seven of my favorite quotes on marriage.

1. “Intense love does not measure; it just gives.” (Blessed Teresa of Calcutta) This quote so perfectly illustrates the sacrificial love of marriage and, indeed, of any relationship. I see this illustrated every day when my husband goes above and beyond to sacrifice for our family. I try to live this quote: every morning I wake up and think, “What can I do to make my husband’s life easier today?”

2. “Marriage is an act of will that signifies and involves a mutual gift, which unites the spouses and binds them to their eventual souls, with whom they make up a sole family – a domestic church. ” (Blessed John Paul II). Love is not merely a feeling; it is a choice. Every day I have an opportunity to choose to love my spouse. Sometimes it isn’t easy, but it’s always worthwhile.

3. “Be not afraid.” (Blessed John Paul II) As shown in the photo below, I certainly wasn’t afraid of what the future would hold for us. I was too happy at that moment to think of future difficulties and challenges. I had no idea what the next 30 years would bring. All married couples will face hardships and challenges. But they will also experience great joy to balance any hardships. Of course, couples who enter into a sacramental marriage (and who live their faith) have the additional graces to assist them in handling any challenges and hardships.

4. “The two shall become one.” (Genesis 2:24) There’s no better illustration of our unity and oneness than our children who are the walking “representations of our love.” (cr Blessed John Paul II).

5. “Be fruitful; multiply.” (Genesis 1:28)

6. “How can I ever express the happiness of the marriage that is joined together by the Church strengthened by an offering, sealed by a blessing, announced by angels and ratified by the Father? …How wonderful the bond between two believers with a single hope, a single desire, a single observance, a single service! They are both brethren and both fellow-servants; there is no separation between them in spirit or flesh; in fact they are truly two in one flesh and where the flesh is one, one is the spirit.”(24) Tertullian (cr FC Blessed John Paul II) I love this quote from Tertullian, who exquisitely describes the spiritual and physical joys of the one flesh experience of Christian marriage.

7. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Romans 4:6) Prayer is such an important part of a sacramental marriage. But having people pray for you is also essential. In that regard, I’d like to share my favorite anniversary gift: a beautiful card that my sister and some of the other Dominican Novices lovingly made for us. Each sister signed her name to one day in May with a note below saying that “In honor of this occasion, we will offer 30 days (plus one) of prayer with a different sister praying for you each day this month.” Wow.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary.

Text and photos copyright 2012 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Catholic Writers to Hold Conference in Arlington Texas

Press Release:
CONTACT: Ann Margaret Lewis
Phone: (317) 755-2693


For Immediate Release

Catholic Writers to Hold Conference in Arlington, Texas

Arlington, TX–The fourth annual Catholic Writers’ Conference LIVE will take place August 29-31, 2012, at the Arlington Convention Center in Arlington, TX. Sponsored by the Catholic Writer’s Guild and the Catholic Marketing Network (CMN), and held in conjunction with CMN’s annual retailer trade show, the Catholic Writers Conference LIVE provides Catholic authors with a prime opportunity to meet and share their faith with editors, publishers, fellow writers, and bookstore owners from across the globe.

This year’s conference will focus on “Writing and the New Evangelization.” Speakers include Catholic publishing representatives Claudia Volkman of Servant Books/St.Anthony Messenger Press, Mike Marshall of FAITH Catholic Publishing, authors Ellen Gable Hrkach (In Name Only and Stealing Jenny) and Patti Armstrong (Catholic Truths for Our Children, Stories for the Homeschool Heart), Ann Margaret Lewis (Murder in the Vatican: The Church Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes), and EWTN personalities Teresa Tomeo and Father Andrew Apostoli, CFR. More excellent speakers are still being confirmed.

The conference will offer “pitch sessions,” allowing authors an opportunity to meet personally with publishing professionals and pitch their writing projects. In addition, attendees have the opportunity to sign up for critique with professional editors and writers. Information for this event can be found on the conference web site.

In partnership with the Catholic New Media Conference, also taking place in the convention center, writers conference attendees will be able to attend a special track on blogging for $25. Information on this opportunity will be made to attendees upon registration.

“It’s not just writing, it’s not just fellowship, it’s inspiration, too!” says 2011 Conference attendee Sarah Reinhard, blogger and author of Catholic Family Fun: A Guide for the Adventurous, Overwhelmed, Creative or Clueless and several other Catholic family books. “It was great to put faces with names and personalities with suspicions. It was also great to share the Eucharist and evening meals in person with writers who inspire me, encourage me, and motivate me the rest of the year. I enjoyed it so much I’m afraid I’m addicted.”

The Catholic Writers Guild, a religious non-profit organization, sponsors both this live conference in August and an online conference in February to further its mission of promoting Catholic literature. “Our conferences are totally focused on encouraging faithful Catholics to share genuine Catholic culture and faith in their writing no matter what genre,” says CWG President Ann Margaret Lewis. “These events are integral to our mission of ‘creating a rebirth of Catholic arts and letters.”

Registration costs $70 for CWG members, $75 for non-members and $40 for students. There’s also a discounted combined membership. To register or for more information, go to


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Graphics, interviews and further information available upon request.

Click here to download the media release as Word document.

Awards Contests for Self-Published Authors: Are They Worth It?

My latest post for the Catholic Writers Guild blog is about awards contests and whether they are worthwhile.

In my post last month, I gave a link which lists some popular awards contests for self-published authors:

This list doesn’t claim to be all inclusive, but it is helpful. And be aware that most of these contests require an entry fee.

One award that doesn’t require an entry fee (if you’re a member) is the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval. Sarah Reinhard gives extensive information on the SOA contest in this blog post:

Another awards contest that CWG members have been quite successful with is the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPYs). In 2010, my Catholic historical romance, In Name Only, won the Gold Medal in the Religious Fiction category and CWG President, Ann Lewis’, book Murder in The Vatican: The Church Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes, won the Gold Medal in 2011. Other CWG members have won Bronze medals for their novels in past contests.

As well, CWG member, Karen Kelly Boyce, recently won the Eric Hoffer award (in commercial fiction) for her novel, Down Right Good.

The question is: are awards worth it? Awards are certainly affirmation that we are producing quality books. But do they sell books?

Case in point: A few years ago, at a local Catholic conference, the organizers allowed me to speak briefly in front of the 400 or so attendees. I then proceeded to tell them that my novel, In Name Only, had won a Gold Medal for Religious Fiction. Later that day, the local Archbishop came to my table. He said he was an avid reader and was interested in the book that “had won the Gold Medal.” “It’s a romance,” I replied, thinking that an archbishop would not be interested in a romance. I continued, “But it has inherent Theology of the Body themes.” “Great,” he said, “I love romance novels, especially one with Catholic themes.”

The archbishop wasn’t the only one who stopped by my table after I mentioned that my book had won a gold medal. During the next three hours, more than 40 people lined up at my table to buy my book.

While medals may help to sell books at conferences, I have to admit that the award didn’t make much difference in my online sales (in fact, I didn’t see any spike in sales following the medal announcement).

Even so, winning an award is an incredible honor, an invaluable addition to a resume and it increases personal one-on-one sales. So…what do you have to lose? The cost of the registration fee. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Contests are definitely worth it.

Copyright 2012 Ellen Gable Hrkach