Sunday Snippets – June 30

Image copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

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

I only managed one post this very busy week. My husband’s solo art exhibition opened in Cornwall, Ontario. It is an amazing exhibition, so if you happen to live in the Cornwall area, please drop by and take a look.

My one and only post this week is actually an excerpt from a wonderful article on Stealing Jenny by Pete Baklinski from LifeSiteNews:

Action-packed high octane pro-life novel tops Amazon Kindle

Action Packed High Octane Pro-Life Novel Tops Amazon Kindle

Special thanks to Pete Baklinski at LifeSiteNews for this amazing article:

PAKENHAM, Ontario, June 27, 2012 ( – Before becoming an award-winning and bestselling novelist, Ellen Gable practically devoured any book she could get her hands on. But the Catholic Mom and faith-filled woman of conviction constantly found herself disconcerted by much of contemporary secular fiction containing plot recipes that often included glamorous depictions of non-marital sex and gratuitous violence.

On the other end of the spectrum, Gable found much of contemporary Christian fiction not “deep enough” for her tastes. A near-death experience from complications of an ectopic pregnancy became the catalyst for Gable’s inspiration to write faith-based fiction with edge-of-your-seat plots that are inseparable from a life-affirming moral perspective.

“I write about what I know,” said Gable in an interview with LifeSiteNews.
Not only is Gable a wife, homemaker, and mother of five boys ages 12 to 24, but she is also a Natural Family Planning (NFP) instructor, marriage preparation instructor, and pro-life speaker.

“I want my stories to be packed with meaning. And I have found the most meaning within the treasures of my Catholic faith,” she said. Gable says that it “doesn’t matter” to her whether her readers are Catholic, Christian, or secular. “I want them to know and love the characters. I want to entertain them, but I also want them to come away with an important life-affirming message.”

Gable’s latest novel, Stealing Jenny, currently sits at number one in the Religious & Liturgical Drama category on Amazon Kindle.

To read the rest of the article at LifeSiteNews, click here.

For a limited time, Stealing Jenny is only .99 on Kindle!

Sunday Snippets – June 24

Image copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

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

Things have been crazy around here so I haven’t been posting to my blog as much. However, I did manage two posts this week.

7 Quick Takes Friday

Looking Closer at the Hail Mary – Now

7 Quick Takes Friday – June 22

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

1. Concordia Convocation
Our second oldest son received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film and Theatre (with Distinction) this past week at Concordia University’s Convocation held at Place Des Arts in downtown Montreal. It was a proud moment for Mom and Dad! (Our son was homeschooled until high school).

This week’s convocation at Concordia University in Montreal.
Copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

2. Solo Art Exhibition
My husband, James, is currently exhibiting a number of art works at a solo exhibition in Cornwall, Ontario. It’s exciting because this is his first solo exhibition in decades.

3. Stitches
I don’t like stitches. It means someone has been hurt or has had an operation. Of course, you can’t have a family with five sons without having some experience with stitches. This past week, one of my sons was visiting his friend and he fell (my son, that is) and cut his hand and finger. I wasn’t there at the time and only got the call from the ER. Four stitches. He explained that he was glad I wasn’t there because with the amount of blood coming out of his hand, I would have been “freaking out.” Darn right.

Thirteen years ago, my second oldest son (the one who just graduated from university; he was 9 years old at the time) also fell at a friend’s house. But I was present that time. One of the children was riding a bike behind him. He accidentally fell and the boy behind him plowed into his face. When I looked up and saw my son running toward the house, it looked like he had been shot in the face. I have never seen so much blood coming from a wound. There’s just something about seeing your child bleed that doesn’t sit well with me. We took him to the emergency room where the wound was cleansed and stitched (and he still has a small scar on his cheek).

4. A Tale of Two Turtles
Two weeks ago, I had occasion to encounter a slowly moving turtle in the road, just beyond our driveway. We live in the country so we do see wild animals from time to time. Well, I didn’t want to run over the turtle, so I waited. My husband, seeing our car waiting at the end of the driveway, came over and moved the fellow out of the way. Earlier this week, my second oldest son encountered a turtle in the middle of the road. He stopped the car, put on work gloves and went to move the turtle, then realized the poor fellow was dead. We hope it wasn’t the same turtle.

5. Father Jungle Jim

Cartoon copyright Full Quiver Publishing/James & Ellen Hrkach

6. LifeSiteNews I recently received an email from one of the writers at LifeSiteNews who just finished reading my novel, Stealing Jenny, and would like to do an interview with me for an article he’s writing about my book! Cool!

7. The “Chosen” One
Last, but not least, my youngest son took this photo earlier this week. We were sitting on the couch watching TV and noticed the sun streaming through. When we saw this, we both laughed out loud. This shows our “baby” wall, with each of my sons at around 9 months old, the oldest at the top and the youngest at the bottom.

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

Text and photos copyright 2012 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Looking Closer at the Hail Mary: Now

My latest article is a reflection on the word “Now” in Sarah Reinhard’s “Looking Closer at the Hail Mary” series:

“now” adverb the present time or moment.
2.without delay; immediately; at once.

Now has always been one of my favorite words. Procrastinators don’t like this word. As a wife, mother, NFP teacher, Marriage Preparation instructor and writer with numerous deadlines, I live this word daily.

My mother also loved the word “now.” One of her commonly-used expressions was “Now means now…not five minutes from now.” Of course, if you ask my kids, I also use this expression more often than they’d like.

“Now” means “without further delay.” Now I must change my baby’s diaper or his bottom will get a painful rash. Now I must feed my children or they will go hungry and become ill. Now, I must finish this post so that I can move on to the next deadline. Well, you get the drift.

The Hail Mary is a beautiful and powerful prayer. In the first part, we recite the words of the angel Gabriel, then those of Elizabeth. In the second part, we are asking Mary to pray for us. And to pray for us Now.

Mary said yes to God immediately (without delay). She didn’t say “Maybe later.” She said, “Be it done to me according to thy word.” Mary nurtured and protected the unborn, then newborn, then child Jesus. She watched her son suffer in agony and die a brutal death and held his brutalized body in her arms after death. She knows intimately what it is like to watch a loved one suffer and die.

“Now and at the hour of our death.” Nineteen years ago next week, I had occasion to pray these words with desperation as I drifted in and out of consciousness in the back of an ambulance. I was weak, scared and in excruciating pain, the result of a tumor that was rapidly growing inside my abdomen and causing massive internal bleeding. At the time, I was the young mother of three small boys: 10 months, 3 and 5 years of age. I was afraid of dying but, more importantly, I didn’t want my little boys growing up without a mother.

“Now and at the hour of our death.” I prayed those words with such fervency because I realized that “Now” might very well be the same as “the hour of my death.”

In the back of that ambulance 19 years ago, the moment I prayed those words, I no longer felt afraid; I no longer felt concerned for my boys. It was as if all the worry and fear were stripped away and an all-encompassing peace permeated every cell, every artery, every muscle in my body. Most importantly, this peace filled and comforted my troubled soul. I sensed a presence around me, almost cradling me. It happened so quickly that it took me by surprise.

Obviously, I did not die that day. But I caught a glimpse of death and a glimmer of heaven….I asked for help Now because I needed it immediately. Jesus and His Blessed Mother were (and are) dependable and work quickly.

Now is a good time to take stock in our spiritual life. Now is a good time to take care of our bodies, our minds and, most importantly, our souls.

And I know, without a doubt, that when it is my time to return home to heaven, Mary will be there with me, at that exact moment, praying that her Son gives me that all-encompassing grace I need for the journey home.

Photos copyright 2012 Josh Hrkach
Text copyright 2012 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Sunday Snippets – June 17

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

It’s been crazy around here for the past few weeks with my husband’s retirement activities and his recent performance in Fiddler on the Roof. He’s also been preparing for his first solo exhibition in decades and…well, suffice it to say, we’re busy! So…most of my posts this week are visual.

Here are my posts:

The Value of Live Conferences and Long-Lasting Friendships My latest post for the Catholic Writers Guild Blog.

After Day 20 – Cartoon

7 Quick Takes Friday – Father’s Day Edition An all-photo Quick Takes…

Text and images copyright Ellen Gable Hrkach

7 Quick Takes Friday – Father’s Day Edition

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

With Father’s Day coming up this weekend, this will be an all photo Quick Takes, devoted to the father figures in my life and to my husband:

My father and me, 1961, at a picnic. He died in 1978.
Copyright Ellen Hrkach

My stepfather, who recently passed away, and my sister, 2011.
Copyright Ellen Hrkach

My husband and his father, 1980. He passed away in 1995.
Copyright Ellen Hrkach

1987, with our oldest son. My husband has always been a “hands on” type of father.
Copyright Ellen Hrkach

1990. With our second oldest son at a winter carnival.
Copyright Ellen Hrkach

1992. Rocking our third son.
Copyright Ellen Hrkach

1997, swimming with our fourth son. Copyright Ellen Hrkach

2000. On the beach with our youngest son.
Copyright Ellen Hrkach

Did you count more than seven? There are actually eight photos (I couldn’t do this in less than eight!)

Happy, Happy Father’s Day to my father, stepfather and father-in-law in heaven. And a Happy Father’s Day to my husband!

Copyright 2012 Ellen Gable Hrkach

The Value of Live Conferences and Long-Lasting Friendships

My latest post at the Catholic Writers Guild Blog:

There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.” St. Thomas Aquinas

When I self-published my first novel seven years ago, I joined a local secular writers’ group but never quite felt a connection. It was only through the Catholic Writers Online (Yahoo group) that I discovered a new group called the Catholic Writers Guild in 2007. Initially, being a member consisted of receiving a newsletter and participating in Sunday chats. This grew to an online conference, then an opportunity to attend the Catholic Marketing Network Trade Show in 2008.

2008 Trade Show with Lisa Mladinich and Karina Fabian

At the time, there was no accompanying conference, just interaction with fellow CWG members and Trade Show attendees at the CWG booth. In the beginning, I was nervous at the prospect of meeting such diverse and accomplished writers. However, I soon learned there was no reason to be nervous; they welcomed me with open arms and treated me as one of their own.

The next year, 2009, was the first year for the Catholic Writers Conference which was held in conjunction with the 2009 Catholic Marketing Network Trade Show in New Jersey. I learned a lot, met more talented Catholic writers and made more friendships. There were opportunities for book signings (photo below), as well as great talks by Regina Doman and Fr. Frank Pavone.

With Karina, signing books at the CWG Booth, 2009.

For me, the highlight of the 2010 Catholic Writers Conference Live was acting as moderator for the Catholic Fiction panel (third photo below).

Moderating the Catholic Fiction panel at the 2010 Catholic Writers Conference Live: L to R, Michelle Buckman, Regina Doman, Elena Maria Vidal, Christian Frank and John Desjarlais.

That was probably the most fun I’ve had in years. I looked a little dwarfed behind the podium, but I’m sure my loud voice overcompensated for what I lack in the height department.

In 2011, CWG president (Ann Lewis) and vice president (me) had an opportunity to show off our IPPY Gold medals (photo below). There were talks on blogging, Catholic fiction and marketing. My talk on “Marketing the Self-Published Book” was so well-received that I’ll be giving it again this year at the 2012 conference.

Ann and I showing off our Gold Medals, 2011.

The Catholic Writers Conference is a great place to learn about writing, marketing and our faith. But when it comes right down to it, the best thing about the Catholic Writers Guild and the live conferences are the friendships. I have made long-lasting and deep friendships based on mutual faith, charity and respect. When I ask for a review of my latest book, my friends in the CWG are there. When I ask for prayers, they respond with great charity.

Whether you’re a self-published author or a traditionally published author…whether you write for a living or as a hobby…whether you write non-fiction or fiction…the Catholic Writers Conference Live is an outstanding opportunity to learn, to network and to gain deep friendships.

This year, the Catholic Writers Conference Live will be held on August 29-31 in Arlington, Texas. I’ll be running the CWG booth, giving two talks (one on Marketing the Self-Published Book and one on Fiction and the New Evangelization). Most importantly, I’ll be reconnecting with old friends and making new ones.

I hope to see you there!

Text and Photos copyright 2012 Ellen Gable Hrkach