Catholic Writers To Hold Conference in Arlington, Texas

For Immediate Release

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.

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. Some participating publishers are Ignatius Press, Ave Maria Press, Christus Publishing, Tuscany Press, Ascension Press and Servant Books. Information for this event can be found on the conference web site.

This year’s conference will focus on “Writing and the New Evangelization.” Speakers include EWTN personalities Teresa Tomeo and Father Andrew Apostoli, CFR, authors Ellen Gable Hrkach (Stealing Jenny, In Name Only) and Patti Armstrong (Stories for the Homeschool Heart), Ann Margaret Lewis (Murder in the Vatican: The Church Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes), and author and blogger Sarah Reinhard (A Catholic Mother’s Companion to Pregnancy). More excellent speakers are still being confirmed.

In partnership with the Catholic New Media Conference also taking place in the convention center, 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 presenter Sarah Reinhard. “It was 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.”

The Catholic Writers Guild, a religious non-profit organization affiliated with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis sponsors both this live conference in August and an online conference in February to further its mission of promoting Catholic literature. Says CWG President Ann 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

Graphics, interviews and further information available upon request.

The Importance of a Good Cover

My latest post at the Catholic Writers Guild Blog is entitled, “The Importance of a Good Cover:”

A book’s cover is the first thing a prospective reader sees so it is important that it be professionally created. If it is poorly designed or if it is too simplistic, it can turn your reader away. I know of some self-published books in which the story and writing were pretty good, but the covers screamed “Self-published!”

In these days of digital printing and e-copies, a good cover also needs to look interesting in thumbnail.

With traditional publishing, the author may not have much say regarding the cover. However, with self-publishing, the author has 100 percent responsibility for making sure the cover is professionally created.

I cannot stress enough the importance of hiring a professional cover designer. In my case, my husband (James Hrkach) is an artist and he has designed all my covers.

Some self-publishing websites also offer cover design services. However, if you want a professional looking cover and not too simplistic, it’s better to hire a cover designer. Ask fellow authors for recommendations. Do an online search. Cover designers are as diverse as authors. Look for a designer whose portfolio includes covers which are professionally done and thematically in line with your book’s topic.

Once you’ve hired a designer, it’s important to work with him or her to create a cover design which sets the mood for your book and intrigues a prospective reader.

Two things an author should realize with regard to good cover design is that:

1) one of the most important things about a cover design is the composition
2) artistic/visual composition is probably one of the things authors/writers know the least about

Look for books which have interesting designs and ask yourself:

What’s the theme?
Why does the layout work?
What’s the emotion?
What’s being represented?
Do the lines, color and composition support the theme?

A book’s cover is a marketing device. Professionally produced covers will not only enhance your book, they will also help in marketing it to prospective readers.

7 Quick Takes Friday – July 6

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

1. Feast of St. Maria Goretti
Today is the Feast of St. Maria Goretti. I grew up attending a church named for this saint and I’ve always been fascinated by her story. St. Maria Goretti refused to submit to her rapist (which led to her death) but this refusal led to her rapist’s conversion.

2. LifeSiteNews
I’m still receiving notes about LifeSiteNews’ recent article about my third novel, Stealing Jenny. Again, special thanks to Pete Baklinski for this wonderful article. Since the article was posted last week, I’ve had over 500 Kindle downloads and many print orders.

3. Husband’s Retirement
My husband’s first week of retirement from teaching (in fact, first day) was spent taking care of me last week as I was suffering from a bad case of the flu. Thankfully, I feel much better. Since the weather has been sunny and clear, he’s been spending more time in his new kayak.

4. Stealing Jenny Kindle Edition Only .99!
Stealing Jenny Kindle Edition has been lowered to .99 for a limited time only!

5. Many Hands Make Light Work

Cartoon copyright James and Ellen Hrkach

6. Exhibition a Success!
The opening reception for my husband’s exhibition was a great success! My husband sold a painting but, more importantly, the people seemed to love his art work. He’ll be returning to the gallery on July 21st, to give an art lecture: “I would like to speak about my 30 year endeavour to discover the many levels of meaning in art and specifically to unite content and form,” says Hrkach. “I was never happy with only representing or merely expressing emotion, focusing on media use or obsessing with geometric rules of composition. It seemed to me necessary to see how they could all relate…how they could collaborate.” For more information, check this link.

7. St. Gertrude’s Prayer
One of my favorite prayers is “St. Gertrude’s Prayer.” Our Lord told St. Gertrude the Great that He would release 1000 souls from Purgatory whenever we say the following prayer: Eternal Father, I offer You the most Precious Blood of Your Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for all sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen. More prayers for the Holy Souls in Purgatory can be found at this link.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary.

Photos and text copyright 2012 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Faith Beyond the Trials by Paul Turk

Faith Beyond the Trials is a novel about John Taylor and the difficulties and hardships he faces after he is arrested for driving under the influence. One of the reasons I jumped at the chance of reviewing this novel was because it has 17 5-star reviews on Amazon.

The back cover says: “…the Taylors have achieved the American dream – prestigious careers, a sprawling home in Palm Beach and exotic vacations to locations around the world. Although John and Anna’s relationship seemed to be made in heaven, a tragic death followed by an unexpected arrest puts them through the fires of hell. These stormy trials will test their confidence in God and the strength of their love. Only time will tell if their faith – and their marriage – will endure.”

First for the good: I enjoyed the story and the faith themes. The author is a lawyer so the court scenes ring true to life. I worked as a court reporter for many years, so I especially liked these scenes. The cover is professional and eye-catching. The characters, for the most part, are well-defined and believable.

His debut novel, however, needs a lot of polishing and could have used more extensive copy- editing. Adverbs are overused and there is a lot of repetitive wording. His book contains a lot of back story. Perhaps most readers aren’t critical, but as an author and editor myself, I found it hard to ignore the writing flaws.

The bottom line, however, is that I enjoyed the story and faith themes, despite the flaws.

Copyright 2012 Ellen Gable Hrkach